Archive for August, 2009

Twilight of Honeymoon VII

Monday, August 31st, 2009

That was pretty damn short, wasn’t it?

Experts see double-digit Dem losses

After an August recess marked by raucous town halls, troubling polling data and widespread anecdotal evidence of a volatile electorate, the small universe of political analysts who closely follow House races is predicting moderate to heavy Democratic losses in 2010.

Some of the most prominent and respected handicappers can now envision an election in which Democrats suffer double-digit losses in the House — not enough to provide the 40 seats necessary to return the GOP to power but enough to put them within striking distance.

Top political analyst Charlie Cook, in a special August 20 update to subscribers, wrote that “the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and congressional Democrats.”

“Many veteran congressional election watchers, including Democratic ones, report an eerie sense of déjà vu, with a consensus forming that the chances of Democratic losses going higher than 20 seats is just as good as the chances of Democratic losses going lower than 20 seats,” he wrote.

At the mid-August Netroots Nation convention, Nate Silver, a Democratic analyst whose uncannily accurate, stat-driven predictions have made his website FiveThirtyEight.com a must read among political junkies, predicted that Republicans will win between 20 and 50 seats next year. He further alarmed an audience of progressive activists by arguing that the GOP has between a 25 and 33 percent chance of winning back control of the House.

I think that’s just about right. The House will probably stay in democrat hands…but “probably” as in a revolver loaded with two bullets in six chambers “probably” won’t go off. The GOP has a chance. And, at any rate, it seems silly to try to deny some kind of a shake-up is in order.

The democrats had their chance, and they blew it. And I think it might very well have been the “Pass health care for Ted” that really sealed their fate. It’s not right-wingers bad-mouthing them anymore; Main Street USA has started to figure them out. They’re all about finding the perfect sales pitch to sell ideas that aren’t good for anyone. Well…aren’t good for most of us.

It took Republicans three election cycles to urinate away that much opportunity.

Looks like the pattern’s staying consistent: The public doesn’t like skyrocketing debt. Now then — when does Washington start to pay attention?

Update 9/2/09: Wanted to snag this bit from yesterday morning. Although it isn’t important enough to justify a post of its own, it is a point worth remembering that the “Obama Slide” is nothing short of historical:

The White House has failed to veto measures, like the pork-laden omnibus spending bill, that would have demonstrated independence and fiscal restraint. By force of circumstances and by design, the president has promoted one policy after another that increases spending and centralizes power in Washington.

The result is the Obama slide, the most important feature of the current moment. The number of Americans who trust President Obama to make the right decisions has fallen by roughly 17 percentage points. Obama’s job approval is down to about 50 percent. All presidents fall from their honeymoon highs, but in the history of polling, no newly elected American president has fallen this far this fast.

Memo For File XCIII

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Out of all the things said in yesterday morning’s post, this part didn’t go over too well with a couple of our loyal readers…

The “I’m a fiscal conservative but a social moderate” stuff. It’s a phrase tossed around so casually now, so meaninglessly. Check out what that means. Socially, the democrat agenda is to increase the standard of living for those who don’t put much effort into taking responsibility for things, and to decrease the standard of living for those who do. What’s the Republican response to that? If “fiscal conservative social moderate” means agreement with that, then don’t let the doorknob hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

The question that arises is whether the nugget stirred discontent because of something that needed aligning with the truth, or whether it brought a stinging sensation that is the natural result of an effective disinfectant going to work.

I submit that it is the latter of those two. Had I any doubts about that, they were put to rest a half an hour ago when I heard the lies spewing forth from the lying lips of the early morning teevee news bitch (paraphrase):

For several months now the feds have been putting a lot of money into our banks, and now things are looking better.

I submit, further, that the thing being done to us has a lot to do with Item #3 on the list of ways To Motivate Large Numbers of People to Do a Dumb Thing Without Anyone Associating the Dumb Thing With Your Name Later On:

3. Switch Moderation and Extremism with Each Other

It’s a dirty little secret about people: They lack the ability to recognize an extreme idea when they hear about it. Even more helpful to your cause, they also lack the humility needed to confess, even to themselves, that they are lacking in this ability…

Is it really an extreme idea to call the lying teevee news bitch a lying teevee news bitch? Is it really an example of moderation to question the moderation of those who call themselves moderates? Well, how can we measure extremism versus moderation. We can go by popular decree, which I’ve never liked at all. And yet perhaps it has some legitimacy here — popular decree was how we figured out moderation-versus-extremism in the first place, was it not? And once the public has been forced to live through something, once it’s been educated through pain, the value of popular will slowly escalates. There isn’t too much sophistication demanded of an organism that is expected to recognize “Hey, this really sucks” when it goes through pain. Actually, on the flip side of that, it’s kind of insulting to demand the organism think to itself “Hey, this is really awesome” just because it’s told things are so awesome by lying teevee news bitches.

Obama Debt GraphOr, we can rely on simple mathematical concepts. The feds did pump a lot of money into our banks…but what the feds pumped into our banks…came from us in the first place. That, or it was borrowed. Our simple mathematical concept therefore is –

Money feds pumped into our banks, equals
money taken from us in the first place, plus
money borrowed on our credit

The borrowing has real consequences. First of all, it will be paid back. So your kids thank you. Secondly, as it is paid back, the federal government waddles into the money-lending market on the “borrower” side of the table…something like a seven-foot Kodiak bear waddling into your backyard swimming pool. Actually, that big bear sitting in your kids’ wading pool. We have a device to calibrate how the money-lending market works, in its effort to adjust to supply and demand. That device is the interest rate. You were wondering why, sometimes, we struggle with skyrocketing inflation rate; well, now you know. That’s most of it, the interest rate.

Interestingly, the second method I’ve proposed to measure moderation-versus-extremism, is currently not too far different from the first. Earlier in the year, as I wore my anti-Obama tee shirts around Folsom on the weekends, I’d gather my usual eclectic mixture of smiles & high fives versus dirty sideways glances & sneers. Lately I’ve added a new one to the inventory that removes all subtlety:

The reaction to this is unprecedented: People want to talk to me about it. Not “Hey, whaddya think you’re doing, you some kind of racist trash or what” kind of talk to me. They want to know things. They want an education. You can see it in their eyes, they just got done making a serious decision about something on which they now realize they knew next-to-nothing; they’ve lately become aware of this vast multitude of issues that were involved, and they want to find out about some of them. They suspect they’ve made a terrible mistake, if they don’t realize it outright; and they’d like to at least start the process of comprehending what exactly it was.

They’ve been told that it’s radical gun-and-Bible-hugging agitprop to suggest His Worshipfulness might have Communist leanings. And they’ve made the conscious decision that, you know what, I think I’d like to find out a little bit more before I just sweep all dissent aside like I did last November. They’ve started to figure out there’s a bit more to the story.

In fact, let’s rework that mathematical formula just a little bit more:

Money feds pumped into our banks, plus
money spent on interest servicing debts incurred previously, plus
money spent on all the bullshit administration layers associated with pumping money into our banks, equals
money taken from us in the first place, plus
money borrowed on our credit

Even with these new lines added, this formula still adheres to reality only in a superficial, Fisher-Price-Toy kind of a way. Many more lines would have to be added in order to capture all the things that really do matter; but as the additional lines are tacked on, you’ll see for the most part they aren’t any more flattering to the plan that was just carried out. The point is — the lying teevee news bitch’s summary only included the first line. This goes to show the high level of difficulty involved in capturing just how deceptive it is. This is exactly the kind of “news” that is worse than no news at all. But it’s the kind of news we’re being given, and expected to believe, if we are to evolve as good “moderate” citizens.

In fact, it is worthy of emphasis that I didn’t counsel the Republicans to ostracize or excoriate the “fiscal conservatives and social moderates.” My teachings had to do with inspecting, case-by-case, what exactly this highly overused phrase means. As I noted in my follow-up –

It is a hackneyed phrase that has been overused and abused to the point where it no longer means anything. What do you have to say when FCSM is used as a cover for things that are obviously not true? The “I’m a ‘conservative,’ but I acknowledge global warming” thing for example?

Is it moderate, or extreme, to infer against the data that there’s some planet-wide “mean temperature” that is increasing as we pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and because of this, we anticipate a global catastrophe; one that can somehow be averted if, and only if, we place large sums of money into undisclosed locations any time a transaction takes place that involves the consumption of energy; and then that we labor with the assurances, again against the evidence, that this virtual tax will somehow stop the planet from dying?

Form whatever opinion you wish to form about that one, fiscal-moderates-social-conservatives. I’ve formed mine.

Free Advice For Republicans

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

We’re spending the day celebrating the arrival of cooler weather, via a trip to the seashore. If we stay inland, such a celebration is still a couple months off. That’s Sacramento living for ya. School starts in early August, the temperature descends to match that situation…oh…somewhere around Christmas. Yeah. You see why I have trouble adapting to this.

If I don’t make it back, this will be the last post. If I get arrested and can’t make bail, this will be the last post for a few days. If all goes well this will be the last one for at least twelve hours, more likely twenty-four.

Let’s make it about some more free advice to Republicans…

…You see the last line of the Palin/Supergirl logo to the left? “And Don’t Change A Thing“? That’s where you are. Don’t change. Wait. Or rather…purify, then wait. These jack-holes spending money just as fast as any democrat; get rid of ‘em. That’s just belaboring the obvious.

The “I’m a fiscal conservative but a social moderate” stuff. It’s a phrase tossed around so casually now, so meaninglessly. Check out what that means. Socially, the democrat agenda is to increase the standard of living for those who don’t put much effort into taking responsibility for things, and to decrease the standard of living for those who do. What’s the Republican response to that? If “fiscal conservative social moderate” means agreement with that, then don’t let the doorknob hit ya where the Good Lord split ya. People who work hard, should enjoy more things than people who do not. The market already works that way, and government should make no effort toward overturning that or overruling that. It isn’t something that needs any correcting. It’s just things the way they’re supposed to work. Ants have it better than grasshoppers.

Repeat after me: Equality of opportunity. Not equality of outcome.

Don’t wait for people to be dissatisfied with democrats. Wait for them to be freaked out. For forty-five years now, if you’re a superstar democrat Presidential candidate…that means you are missing standards. Good, reliable character, and superstar-democrat, have been mutually exclusive things. For these forty-five years, if the democrat party is pinning their hopes and dreams on you that means nobody in their right mind would let you spend a weekend with their kids. Not even five minutes, if you’re alone. And that includes loyal democrat voters. Your opposition isn’t about “values are unimportant”; they’re about “values are toxic, and are to be avoided.” In the final analysis, that won’t play in Peoria. During elections, it plays because it is hidden, and only because it is hidden.

But look who bears the party standard during those elections. The electorate is constantly being lectured to look past things, to forget things. Obama’s asshole preacher friend. Kerry’s “Winter Soldier” speech. Clinton’s affairs. Carter’s apologia on behalf of Palestinian terrorist thugs, and general wimpiness.

The democrat party thinks living under the right set of laws, makes a people into a better class of people. That is really their platform — outlaw the guns, outlaw the capital punishment, outlaw discrimination, create a uniform standard of living regardless of the level of effort, and we become “good.” But every election cycle, they claim to have found a super-duper-good guy for us, good enough to be the best of the best among us after we’ve been made into good people. And when they tell us about him, most of their words amount to lecturing us about what information we should not be absorbing and what questions we should not be asking. Obama’s friends. Obama’s ears. Obama’s middle name. Obama’s death panels. Obama’s childhood. Obama’s college years.

How good are these people, if filtration is so much more important than edification, when it comes time to learn about who & what they are? How good of a person could that possibly be? If he thinks the best shot he’s got at winning an election, is for people to not learn things about him?

So don’t change…other than to kick out your traitors, those who contaminate your message by bearing your emblem while failing to capture the spirit that is supposed to go behind it. Stop spending money, and if you can’t stop spending money, at least stop finding new ways to spend money. Run government more like a business, that at least tries not to go broke. Stop interfering with life’s pain…especially when the pain comes as a direct result of individual stupidity, and is so obviously part of the nature’s educational curriculum. Like John Wayne said, “Life is tough; life’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

What an awful campaign slogan, huh. My message for you is a simple one: Don’t be too sure about that. Hire fewer political consultants that wear nice suits and leather shoes. Hire more of ‘em wearing plaid shirts, blue jeans and hiking boots. Even better, hire some political consultants who have to wipe fish guts off their hands before they come talk to you, because they’re just clocking out of their “real” job. You’ll start to see things differently.

One last word: Incorporate a plank into your party platform about philosophy. Leave it unwritten if you think that’s best, but don’t keep it a secret, shout it loud and proud. We’ve had a lot of noise made over the last generation or two, about seeing “the other side” of things. This has resonated very well with people who want to elect leaders who look past the packaging, and into the contents, of whatever comes along. This has not worked out well. The electorate has wisely sought keen insight, and they have been rewarded with a topsy-turvy upside-down way of looking at things, and seeing their opposites.

Now, it is all over the place. Anarchy is order. Lawbreaking is law-abiding. Children have wisdom. Old people are stupid. Women make perfectly fine dads. If you champion womens’ rights, you should have wanted Saddam Hussein to stay exactly where he was. Murderers have a right to life. Babies do not. Abortion is a right guaranteed in the Constitution. Carrying a gun, is not. Barack Obama loves America. Ted Kennedy was the Conscience of the Senate. The best cure for the nation’s economic depression is for the government to put us further in debt. Timothy Geithner is a financial genius who is the only logical nominee for Secretary of the Treasury. Bill Clinton does right by people. Financial solvency comes from making everything artificially more expensive: food, fuel, books, data transfer, home ownership, education, cigarettes. Now we’re looking at everything that requires energy to be marketed…which means everything…

The people are frustrated because it seems every move we make to get out of this hole, gets our country deeper into it. The reason for this is quite simple: Our solutions do not work, and cannot work, because we have been taught for decades to see things as the opposite of what they really are.

This is all a failed experiment. Find me a hundred people who are blind to this in 2009, and I’ll show you seventy-five who’ll be able to see it by 2012. The people have had their taste of new-age complexity, and their appetite is on the wane. They still want the insight of their leaders to be necessarily “nuanced” to match the complexity of everyday life, of the reality those leaders are supposed to accurately perceive. But no more than that. Not past the point of diminishing returns.

The time has come for our nation to see things as they really are.

Jeans Are Sexist

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

I’m going to go ahead and link this one without comment, too.

Because feminists don’t have much to legitimately complain about, they have to resort to making up sexism. They can go so far as to even find it in different styles of jeans. (No, I’m not kidding.)

Okay, forget the creepy “modelquins” commercials for a second. Old Navy has managed to once again be condescending to its customers. They have added a new style to their ridiculously named women’s jeans that neatly packages their women customers into brightly colored, cotton, female stereotypes.

Previously, you could be slutty (the Flirt ), a doormat (the Sweetheart ), or a bitch (the Diva ). Now you can be The Dreamer.

In other words, you’re fat and you better push those curves into the appropriate shape.

Cause if you don’t, you’ll only get to daydream about a boyfriend to steal jeans from when you would rather not be a slutty, doormat, bitch.

These are cuts of jeans that this feminist is complaining about. Here is how Old Navy actually describes them.

The Dreamer: classic-rise jeans that sit at your waist, are straight through the hip and thigh. Have a front panel that slims the tummy and a no-gap band for full coverage in the back.

The Flirt: mid-rise jeans that sit right below the waist, are straight through the hip and thigh.

The Sweetheart: classic-rise jeans that sit at your waist, are relaxed through the hip and thigh.

The Diva: low-rise jeans that sit on your hips, are slim through the hip and thigh.

The Weekend: low-rise jeans that sit low on your waist, and have a relaxed boyfriend fit.

Yes, I can clearly see how these five styles translate to fat, slut, doormat, and bitch. It’s SO obvious. That girl isn’t reading too much into it at all!

Worth Remembering

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

The betraying-Reagan thing…

Kennedy dispatched former Sen. John Tunney, a fellow Democrat from California, to seek face-to-face meetings between Kennedy and General Secretary Yuri Andropov. Tunney brought with him a memo on the tense relations between the U.S. and Soviets – with Kennedy siding unequivocally with the Soviets and blaming Reagan.

In a report by KGB Chairman Viktor Chebrikov, Kennedy is represented as suggesting “that in the interest of world peace, it would be useful and timely to take a few extra steps to counteract the militaristic policies of Ronald Reagan.”

The Life of Ted Kennedy…and the “heard any jokes lately?” thing.

One of Kennedy’s close friends, former editor of Newsweek and New York Times Magazine Ed Klein, tells the Diane Rehm Show that Chappaquiddick jokes were high up on the list (audio here, at 30:10):

I don’t know if you know this or not, but one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, “have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?” That is just the most amazing thing. It’s not that he didn’t feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, but that he still always saw the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too.

Jules Crittenden wonders (with a great deal of snark) if “you had to be there.” Mark Hemingway is aghast:

EXCUSE ME? If that’s true it makes Kennedy kind of a monster. The odd thing is that if you listen to the whole show, the tone of everyone involved is nauseatingly haigographic and reverential. Klein apparently let his guard down a bit; after he lets it slip Kennedy liked to joke about the woman he killed you can actually hear in his voice that he’s trying to backpedal. The show actually cuts to a break as he’s trying to explain himself, and I seriously wonder if it wasn’t the producers trying to do Klein a favor. But I’m sorry, there appears to be little to that could explain this. It goes way beyond “you had to be there.”

If the first thing is true, we’re talking about a traitor. Period, full stop.

If the second thing is true, he was a sociopath.

There doesn’t seem to be any evidence anywhere to suggest a meaningful question with regard to either one.

Image credit to Tom McMahon, with a tip of the hat to Gerard.

I Made a New Word XXXII

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Garofalogic (intang. n.)

A picture is worth a zillion words, so let’s go with a picture on this one…

Hat tip: Rick.

And if we really had to go with words, the words would be something like…

…I like X. If you don’t like X, that gives me license to spin tall tales about you and what you’re all about, pull ‘em completely out of my butt, with little or no evidence, believe them uncritically, spread ‘em around, and if anyone shows the slightest bit of hesitation believing my slander about you then I’ll do the same thing to them.

Come to think of it, I’ve been aware of Jimmy Carter’s existence for a very long time by now. Since he’s never had a single kind word to utter for Israel with regard to their long-standing conflict with Palestinian terrorists, Garofalogic would say Carter is an antisemite. Which, in that case, might actually make a lot more sense than slapping the “racist” label on anyone who’s the slightest bit disappointed in His Worshipfulness, as the dim hateful and unfunny comedienne has been known to do.

Hmmm…that’s a good one, isn’t it. Looking forward to using it.

Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… XXXII

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

I’ve been cross-posting on the weekends at Right Wing News for a little over a year now. One thing that takes place over at RWN that doesn’t take place over here, is that readers can click “up” or “down” on a post to rate how well they liked it. Which, to the folks who pump out material for The Blog That Nobody Reads, doesn’t mean very much. Part of putting an honest effort into figuring out what’s really going on, is showing a little bit of a rugged apathy toward who does & doesn’t like what’s being said.

Now partly because of that…this…which is in regard to this post…has never before happened anywhere

Worthy of notice, I suppose. It seems a certain recently-departed and supposedly venerable member of our nation’s upper legislative chamber, rubbed quite a few folks the wrong way.

Questions For Nancy

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Peter Krisanow, writing in National Review Online and apparently having some fun doing it:

Since the mainstream press seem unable to figure out what questions to pose to Speaker Pelosi concerning her claim — discredited by the recently released IG’s report — that the CIA never told her about waterboarding in fall 2002, below are a just a few questions to help the press get started:

1. Given that you were aware of the conduct for which CIA interrogators are now being investigated and possibly prosecuted, and you at least tacitly approved of such conduct, will you ask President Obama to pardon the interrogators?

2. Since you were aware of what the CIA interrogators were doing yet remained silent, are you at all complicit in their conduct?

And there’s more.

We have quite a few folks in charge right now who are really running things and seem to be among the last to figure out they’re really running things. They seem, like Speaker San Fran Nan, to be stuck in campaign mode. You can tell your adoring fans whatever crap you think will fly with ‘em, when you’re in campaign mode. Running things though…that’s just a little different.

Or it’s supposed to be.

But, you know…liberals enjoy some natural advantages in getting away with their bullshit. That’s just the way it is.

Phil’s Thing-I-Know #29

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Read and learn:

I much prefer people who have standards and sometimes fail to live up to them over people who never fail to because they have none.

I notice there are quite a few people walking around these days who think they have “standards” because they are in the advanced stages of Goodperson Fever. I lived up to a standard, because I’m drinking out of an eco-cup. I lived up to a standard, because I recycle. I lived up to a standard because I’m protesting the experimentation on animals.

These are not standards; they are events. As “standards” they fail the test, like the hash marks upon a yardstick made out of rubber. They don’t measure things absolutely, they measure them relatively. Relatively, as in “…and that guy, over there, didn’t do the same thing so that makes me better than him.” That’s the real purpose of doing all that stuff; for comparison purposes. In gauging the conduct of a person living in solitude, they gauge nothing.

Those aren’t actual standards.

To Boldly Wear What No Dog Wants to Wear

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Submitted without comment. Original here.

Hat tip: Inst.

Where’s the Outrage

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Hans von Spakovsky, writing in the National Review Online.

Given the apparent political motivations behind so many of the recent decisions at the Department of Justice (DOJ) — from the dismissal of the voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party to the re-investigation of CIA interrogators after DOJ prosecutors had already reviewed the matter and decided there was no reason for further criminal prosecution — the latest news about the dropping of the investigation against New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, Obama’s former nominee to be commerce secretary, raises a lot of questions. The Associated Press report cites a DOJ source saying that the investigation of pay-to-play allegations involving one of the governor’s largest political donors “was killed in Washington” by top DOJ officials.

For anyone familiar with internal Justice Department procedures, this is particularly suspicious. The DOJ has a manual called “Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses” (I helped edit the latest edition when I was at Justice) that sets out the rules and procedures for U.S. attorneys when they are investigating these types of public-corruption cases. It is the U.S. attorney in New Mexico who would normally make the final call on a local public-corruption case, not “top Justice Department officials” in Washington. The DOJ manual sets out the consultation rules for U.S. attorneys, who are required to “consult” with the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division in Washington. But only consultation is required; the Public Integrity Section does not make the final decision on whether an investigation should go forward. (Attorney General Eric Holder should not have forgotten this, since Public Integrity was the first place he worked at Justice.) So if the AP is correct in reporting that “top” officials in Washington killed the investigation, then political appointees within the department did not follow normal DOJ procedures.

There is a crude sort of Pascal’s Wager inspiring this ageless double-standard. Conservatives and liberals may be telling us the truth, they may be lying to us, or they may be getting duped, passing along bad information they’ve been duped to believe when they shouldn’t, as they get duped with us. I think, in spite of the rhetoric, most people are open to all six of these possibilities.

When conservatives and liberals tell us the truth and we choose to believe it, we’re relying on our rational thinking, so are they, and everything is humming along as it should.

But when conservatives lie to us about something, or choose to get duped by something and pass on their weakness to us by telling us untrue things and inviting us to get duped along with them, they manipulate us in this way because of our darker human instincts. Something about “fear.” Suspicion, mistrust, jealousy, bigotry, paranoia.

When liberals lie to us about something and we choose to believe it, or when the liberals get duped by something and pass along their failings by inviting us to be similarly duped…at least our intentions are noble. We can at least look ourselves in the mirror and tell ourselves that.

Now, the conservative mindset doesn’t put a lot of stock in that. To a true conservative, if you make the wrong decision, it really doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn why you made it. You got snookered, or you chose not to believe someone who was telling you the truth because you hated them, or you rolled dice. Who really cares? The outcome is the same: You made the wrong decision, and the consequences are going to have to be somehow sustained. They are not made kinder or gentler because of your good intentions.

This is why liberalism enjoys a mutual hospitality with those who make decisions in service of a social exercise, rather than an intellectual one. To a liberal, the final word is always about how good of a person you are made to appear.

And so, to hard-left socialist governments across the world and throughout modern human history, double-standards like this are natural, and they’re tolerated. They are but a means to an end. And it’s viewed that way both by the leftism-inclined ordinary folks, as well as by the leftism-inclined elected and appointed power-brokers, king-makers and puppet-masters.

That’s why there’s no outrage. Leftist politics and politicos get a pass.

Thing I Know #230. We’d call them “rationalists” if they thought things through rationally; that’s why they’re called “socialists.”

Carly and Daniella Rematch

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

This last Thursday I put Carly Zucker and Daniella Sarahyba up together, and proclaimed that Daniella comes out on top. The majority viewpoint came out against me, overwhelmingly. And it made some good points, like: Daniella is lacking in flesh, most noticeably in the chest area, a region in which Carly seems to trounce her by two inches and perhaps more.

In spite of the compelling bodies of evidence on both sides of this little debate, this is, as I pointed out, a facial thing. Daniella has a face that makes a grown man weak in the knees. Carly, not quite so much. She looks very well put together when she goes out to the games played by her husband, “footballer” Joe Cole. Yes, her physique is slightly curvier…although on the planet from which I come, both ladies are somewhat anorexic for my tastes.

But there’s something about Carly’s face that brings a weakness to this tough, tough match-up in just the crucial spot. Her lips are a little funny. Kinda Shari-Lewis like. It doesn’t make for an unpleasant-looking face by any means. But it can’t compete with Daniella’s. Daniella is going to age wonderfully, and become one of those MILFs retaining all or most of the sizzle, doe-eyed look and all, well into her sixties; Carly, not quite so much.

A review of a broader portfolio reinforces this, and as frosting on the cake, reveals that Daniella has much more to bring to the curve-battle than what was perhaps previously thought.

Your mileage may vary, as they say.

Click for larger.

“Strange Hypocrisy”

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Yglesias, indulging in circular argument: Don’t call us hypocrites when we’re being hypocrites, because we’re just giving the people what they want. And we know it’s what they want, because the elections turn out the way they turn out…after we indulge in our hypocrisy.

In 2004, Massachusetts changed its laws to prevent Republican Mitt Romney from appointing John Kerry’s replacement in case he became President. Now it’s 2009, the Governor of Massachusetts is a Democrat, and Ted Kennedy is dead so the state legislature is considering changing the rule back so that Deval Patrick can appoint an interim Senator to serve in Kennedy’s place.

This is being described in some quarters as “hypocritical,” which really strikes me as silly. The underlying principle here is that the outcome of senatorial vacancies should reflect the underlying preferences of the people of Massachusetts. You could imagine a different state in which the parties are much more competitive in which this bobbing and weaving really was nothing more than a transient majority in the state legislature entrenching its power. But does anyone seriously dispute that the Massachusetts electorate prefers (a) to be represented in the U.S. Senate and (b) congressional Democrats? It’s been over ten years since the Bay State sent a Republican to Congress, and the last Republican Senator lost in 1978.

Probably there should be a uniform national system for filling senate vacancies. But instead, we leave it up to state legislatures. Given that legislatures have been granted this discretion, it would be perverse of them to refuse to actually use it when doing so is crucial to advancing what their constituents want.

Just talking to liberals face-to-face, and thinking back on those experiences…I’m having difficulty recalling even just one who was enamored of the liberal position on every single issue across the board. Most of them, if not all of them, possessed great passion on one or two things, and in service of that one or two things, held their nose & pulled the lever to overcome some mighty reservation on a great bunch of other things. I’m pretty sure things work the same way in Massachusetts as well. I’m also pretty sure there are exceptions to this rule of mine, that there are some liberals who are dedicated to the left-wing solution to every problem, nevermind what the problem is, just make sure this team wins out over that team. Yglesias makes sure to get the message across that he’s in this camp. That’s his right, but he makes a serious mistake projecting his fanatical extremism over an entire state.

Even that one. Romney, once upon a time, did win an election did he not?

Within the ten terraces of liberalism, there is an important tumbling-down from one terrace to the next, when the liberal in question promotes the adored ideological position over & above a consistent interpretation of the rules. Once it’s reached a point of “Do it this way here…but that other way over there…so that my side wins, and wins, and wins some more!” — something important has been lost. Yes, I know. Here & there, a conservative does it too.

But when you look over the entire issue and how it works out, that’s not really true. There’s a disease that plagues the liberal viewpoint, one that knows little or no counterpart in the conservative community. It has to do with reconciling oneself with the idea that one’s ideological framework has been rejected, in the present cycle, at the ballot box. Overall, conservatives know exactly what to do about this. They know that when you think on something diligently enough that you see things about it that aren’t seen at first, the price to be paid for this is you’ve lost the assurance that lots of others people will see it the same way. They understand that you can perceive something well, or you can perceive something “ordinarily” — those two are mutually exclusive. And so when they are told, through any poll, and official elections are included in this, that the majority is against them…it’s just something to be expected. Oh well. The majority is in a mood to be suckered. It happens. Give it time. People will learn.

Liberals, on the other hand, never seem to know what to do. We have to change the rules. Oh, no, we need to change them back again. Let’s count votes in this county in Florida/Minnesota, in a completely different way from the way we count them in that other county over there.

This is why the psychiatric profession experienced such a surge in caseload at the beginning of 2005; searching the archives for a similar surge in 1997, you don’t find one. That’s why. Conservatives are rejected, they moan sadly, and roll their eyes — that’s about it. Liberals get rejected…by popular will, and in some cases, by their own logic and/or procedural changes…and they become absolutely unhinged and unglued.

They’re doing the work of The People. And so The People can be trusted to say what it is The People want…only some of the time…when they give the correct answer. The rest of the time, they have to be told.

Ezra Klein’s Confusion Over Rationing

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Just before the elections, I had made an observation about the various failures of capitalism. Actually, it was an observation I had made before:

Think of this as an extension of D’JEver Notice? I, in which I made the point that each one of the industries that have “let us down,” if you take the time to inspect how that industry works and how it has morphed in recent history, you find it fails to stand as an example of the weaknesses of capitalism because it no longer adheres to any capitalist model. You have education, healthcare, the world oil market, and — since I wrote that above installment, which has turned out to be prescient — we’ve had this huge ol’ dealy-do with the subprime lending mess.

Capitalism didn’t create those problems. It didn’t leave us; we left it. We started messing around with some cross-breeding against the marxist way of life and that is when the real problems started.

Now there’s an election upon us in which we get to figure out an answer to the central question: Are we ready to give up on capitalism? Are we ready to put the socialists in charge of our government, unopposed, when they aren’t even ready to admit they’re socialists? And it occurs to me:

Capitalism is “failing” because we have seen it fall short of a standard that is so inherently silly, we cannot even say what it is, out loud, and still preserve a healthy, decent sense of shame. That standard is this:

To motivate all those involved in a financial transaction, to act in the interests of other parties similarly involved, to the detriment of their own.

Yesterday, Charles Krauthammer came up with some constructive criticism for the democrat party regarding what they should do with Obamacare: Junk it, and come up with an “Obamacare 2.0.” It’s not lost on me that as you read through Krauthammer’s piece, it almost comes through as an entirely unintended subtext — which it isn’t — that what’s good for the democrat party is bad for everyone else, and vice-versa. Krauthammer’s closing uppercut makes it clear that a “public option” to ensure that “everyone” receives the care they need, is a fool’s dream regardless of who wants who to win: “Look at Canada. Look at Britain. They got hooked; now they ration. So will we.”

Ezra Klein took exception to this:

So do we. This is not an arguable proposition. It is not a difference of opinion, or a conversation about semantics. We ration. We ration without discussion, remorse or concern. We ration health care the way we ration other goods: We make it too expensive for everyone to afford.

Klein then uses some statistics to create a beautifully symmetrical Rorschach pattern: “38 percent of Britons and 27 percent of Canadians reported waiting four months or more for elective surgery. Among Americans, that number was only 5 percent…24 percent of Americans reported that they did not get medical care because of cost…In Britain and Canada, only about 6 percent of respondents reported that costs had limited their access to care.”

It reminds me of what President Obama said about public sector vs. private sector competition, comparing it to the postal service co-existing with private carriers with his crack about the “Post Office always having problems.” The point is supposed to be universal coverage; uni-coverage that won’t make us sorry we asked for it. Klein, like Obama, seems to have lost track of what he’s trying to argue here. Obama was trying to sell us a public option as the answer to our problems, and to buttress his point, look at the Post Office that’s always having problems! Klein, on the other hand, if I’m reading him right — his message is one of “Sure there are long waits when everybody is covered, but that’s okay because everybody will be covered…okay, they won’t be…but things are just as bad now, so let’s just change the badness without expecting anything to get better, and you see, we’ve just gotta do this.”

Or…something like that.

The commonality between the two, is this dogged determination to defeat each argument from the opposition by any means, usually with some technicality that might look good on paper but logically ends up being entirely meaningless.

The trouble they’re having, is that with a radical change to America’s health care system, there is a REAL possibility that REAL people might get REALLY hurt — and everybody understands this. That motivates people to think differently. You tell people “The reason the economy sucks is that we aren’t taxing the rich enough, what we need to do is tax them completely into oblivion so we don’t have any rich people anymore”…and people buy into that. Why shouldn’t they? You’re admitting you’re hurting someone, but that’s okay because it’s someone they’ll never, ever meet…

So they buy into your fairy tale: We must destroy the economy in order to save it.

When this obvious fissure between your fairy tale, and truth itself, threatens to hurt them, though — this all changes. This is a situation somewhat like trying to figure out if there’s a scorpion’s nest under the backyard structure on which their kids play. It makes people think differently. Better. It renews their bond with the plane of reality, and responsible planning. The cold hard fact of the matter is this: People are much more interested in reality when it directly benefits them. Not the other guy. Them.

And so this dog won’t hunt. Let’s turn everything around, because too many people are denied care. But after we turn everything around, an equal number of people will still be denied care…but that will be much better because…uh…where was I going with this?

As for the substance of Klein’s international comparison, Ronald Bailey takes him to task in Reason:

Like most left-leaning folks, Klein clearly doesn’t know the definition of rationing. Take this one from Britannica:

Government allocation of scarce resources and consumer goods, usually adopted during wars, famines, or other national emergencies.

Klein evidently thinks that market outcomes that he dislikes mean that government should step in and impose outcomes that he does like. All right, let’s admit it; the health insurance market and the rest of health care are royally screwed up as a result of decades of government interventions and mandates. Consequently we don’t actually find the usual benefits of falling prices and improving products and services that we experience in normally operating markets where robust competition and choice reign.

As I explained in an earlier column where I tried to clear up New York Times economic columnist David Leonhardt’s similar confusion over rationing:

…what is rationing? Leonhardt is correct when he writes, “In truth, rationing is an inescapable part of economic life. It is the process of allocating scarce resources.” The crucial question that Leonhardt misses is that “rationing” depends on who is allocating the scarce resources. It’s not rationing if an individual decides to spend his money on a 16-ounce steak—but it is rationing if he can only purchase a USDA prime rib eye when he has a coupon issued from a government agency. In other words, true rationing occurs when individuals are forbidden from spending their money on products or services they want to buy.

Imperfect as private health insurance markets are, if a customer [or his employer] doesn’t like the decisions made by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente, or Golden Rule insurance bureaucrats, he can look elsewhere for his health insurance coverage. But if the government health care scheme becomes a monopoly, when the bureaucrats at the new Health Benefits Advisory Committee decide that a treatment should be withheld, that treatment will be withheld. That’s rationing.

I concluded:

“Americans should get the first chance to limit their own health spending,” Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) observed recently. “Once they learn the true cost of what they are buying, share a larger portion of the cost, and can judge the benefits—if any—of treatment options, then they will choose more wisely than the government.” He’s right. Congress should think about “rationing” health insurance and health care the old-fashioned way—through the market.

But through the usual lack leftwing lack of imagination and a truly touching and naive faith in the efficacy of top/down government “solutions,” Klein ends up advocating for government rationing and for imposing a government monopoly on health care, instead of for more competition and choice.

This all goes back full-circle, to the original point I made about these industries that demonstrate the failures of capitalism by letting us down so badly — but do not really stand, any longer, as models of what we have in mind when we talk about “capitalism.” Health care, like home-equity lending, has been stuck in that whirlpool for a very long time now. In my own way, I know this first-hand from my twelve years plus-something in the health care industry. Even Information Technology geeks, at some point, have to be concerned with the health of the industry that provides the wealth in their paychecks…and from the inside, I could see that industry was not terribly impacted, like a true capitalist mechanism, with the “real” costs of providing quality care.

It was the “general” expense that represented the big headaches, the sorry-no-raises-this-year, the apprehension about the next round of layoffs. The layers of “oversight” and “regulation,” the tort system, the latest political hiccup that got Congress suddenly interested in our industry as a whole. That is what increased the difficulty of operating, and it wasn’t terribly hard to see after awhile.

With that experience behind me, I’m still waiting for someone to coherently explain how a public option would streamline this. So far, all I’m hearing is the Klein argument, that equal numbers of people would be left uncovered, but somehow more artfully. And the Obama argument, that I should look to the Post Office as my harbinger of what’s to come, with all the problems they keep having.

I’m not finding these arguments terribly convincing, I must say. And I don’t think I’m alone.

Deadly Dust

Friday, August 28th, 2009

I just love this bad guy. You know he’s extra, extra bad because not only does he show the proper attributes and accoutrements — he’s obviously over forty-five, and wearing a nice suit with the tie knotted all the way up to the collar — he almost certainly dresses the same way at night, which in the 1970′s nailed the whole thing shut. Good guys wore plaid shirts, and jeans that were skin-tight around the size-twenty-eight General Lee window-wriggling ass, legs that trumpeted out to the size of manhole covers around the ankles. They did their good-guy things like jump up in the air and perform flying scissor-kicks, talk about self-esteem, tell beautiful naive young women they mustn’t blame themselves for something, and they rescued a lot of Russian gymnasts.

The nice suit was that decade’s “black top hat and twirly mustache” outfit. High-end menswear, worn properly, that meant you were bad. Call it the “Barbara Boxer Decade.” Just to eliminate any doubt, the necktie is white, he plans to blow up lots of innocent people with an atomic bomb, along with the President, and…

…just to make sure all doubt is removed, he forces beautiful women to wear skimpy bathing suits.

Oooh! What a demonic, dastardly devil! Atomic bombs and bathing suits? I’m so glad the bikini thing made it in there. Not only is Joanna Cameron a feast for the eyes whether she wants to wear the thing or not…but I wasn’t quite sold on the bad guy’s badness before that. The whole incinerating-thousands-of-innocents thing hadn’t pushed me over the top just yet. The Jabba-The-Hutt move accentuated his badness perfectly.

You know, I shouldn’t be so hard on the seventies. Nowadays we have the same mentality. Blow up lots of people with a bomb, but cherish the idea that the proper clothing for a woman in a desert environment is a big black walking-cocoon, and we’ll go easy on ya. How we’d treat mad bombers who like women in bikinis I don’t really know, but I got a gut feel the bikini thing would be just as much worth mentioning alongside the bomb thing nowadays, as it was back then.

Crowder Goes Undercover

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Ten Things to Throw in the Casket With Him

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Instead of coming up with dumbass laws to pass to “honor his memory,” I thought it would be a much better idea to figure out what we can bury forever right now, sort of toss into the hole with Uncle Ted’s carcass…then pour concrete on the whole thing.

I cut it off at ten. I don’t think there’d be much difficulty involved in pushing it out to a hundred, so leave some ideas in the comments section if you’re so inclined.

1. The idea that a senate seat should belong to a family dynasty, according to any rule written or not, hard or soft. We were supposed to have done away with this way back at the Battle of Yorktown.
2. The idea that if you come from a prominent family, you should be able to get away with killing people.
3. Politics of personality in general. From this point forward, a politician with a boring personality who promotes good ideas, should enjoy a longer, fuller career than a “charismatic” blowhard who promotes stupid ideas.
4. Death taxes, exit taxes, capital-gains taxes…and progressive taxes. Progressive taxes are actually as anti-American as any of ‘em.
5. Rich people using poor people as poker chips to push bad laws. If it’s a dumbass idea, some sob story about some guy who had it rough, doesn’t suddenly make it into a wonderful idea.
6. The practice of re-electing people just because they happen to have a narcissistic streak a mile wide.
7. Borking.
8. That thing where you “reach across the aisle” and write legislation with that guy from the other party, and then as soon as he can’t do anything to benefit you politically anymore, turn on him, calling him every dirty name in the book in front of the microphones and cameras. That whole “scruples of an alley cat” thing.
9. That sick, sick custom of old, bloated, drunken sot politicians keeping themselves popular through hedonistic lifestyles, dishonoring, mistreating, and exploiting women.
10. Last but not least: Liberal politicians who promote abortion while claiming to be devout Catholics!

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Top Ten Pain in the Ass Taxes in History

Friday, August 28th, 2009

I’m late to the party here. AskMen put this up on tax day, April 15. It’s a good little nugget of research, handy for restoring the sense of perspective…or reminding yourself of what an inherently antisocial thing the tax really is…whichever seems appropriate to ya.

England only showed up twice in the list, or three times, depending on whether you think a pre-Norman Saxon society is English or not.

I’m not having much faith in the list-maker’s sense of judgment here about taxes. America’s death tax didn’t make the cut. Neither did capital gains, or the tax hike on the “wealthy” that started in the early 1930′s and continued onward from there. But it’s so outrageous that poor Al Gore has to pay a tax on his Nobel Peace Prize…when Gore’s sole contribution has been to lay the groundwork for what might very well turn out to be the most idiotic tax in all of world history.

If there was an cluelessly-unintentional-irony tax, you’d be going on the IRS’s installment plan right about now mister list-maker guy, and you’d be paying on it awhile.

C and D

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

A week ago, legendary “football wag” Carly Zucker lost out to the goddess-like Beyonce Knowles — as all ordinary mortal women must. Today she has an opportunity to emerge victorious against the next letter in the alphabet, aptly represented by Daniella Sarahyba.

And my verdict is…

Carly. You are absolutely stunning…far more radiant and pleasing to the eye than most…and it is unfair you should be a two-time loser in this little tournament of ours. But sweetie, it’s shaking out that way. Not your fault. Doesn’t say anything bad against you at all, really. Just a bad place to be filling out in the alphabet.

The fact is, you cannot compete with Daniella. She’s amazing. You’re amazing. She’s just slightly moreso.

I’ll say this much for you though. I predict that by the time this whole thing is wrapped up, if I round up all the two-time losers, you’re going to be way up toward the top of that stack, and you’ll probably beat a lot of the one-time losers as well. I’m pretty sure of this.

But for today, you’re still a two-time loser. Daniella is warm, Daniella is personable, Daniella is the down-home girl-next-door. The girl-next-door who takes your breath away when you look at her, as if you were just hit in the gut with a sledgehammer like that guy in King of the Ants. Beyonce could beat Daniella. You, I’m sorry to say, cannot.

The Senator’s Corpse

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

I’m reading the headlines and I’m watching the news on the teevee, and it’s looking more and more definite: Unless someone’s blowing smoke up my butt, it’s a done deal. The democrats are going to take their pig-in-a-poke of a European-style universal health care plan, toss around a few brainless bromides about the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and try to put it over the top. They’re hoping X many members of Congress who are up for re-election in 2010, are going to look at their constituents and figure out they couldn’t afford to vote yes before Teddy Swimmer kicked it, and now that he has, maybe they can say “I voted yea to honor his memory” and get away with it. Tug at the heartstrings a little. Think of the children, think of the guy who needs Viagra and can’t afford it, think of Ted.

Dead Senator's CorpseThink of, think of, think of. Think of everything except whether the idea is a good ‘un or not. As I said this morning…and it is worth repeating…

Every left-wing politician’s argument, it seems, is a distraction away from the “If we do this, that thing will happen” that is central to all responsible planning. Their talking points seem to systematically address all concerns in the universe except that.

And now the nation is supposed to look back on this health care scheme it deplores, and smile upon it, to give a dead narcissist a cheery send-off.

Wonder what Mary Jo thinks of that.

You know why the nation is so unbelievably divided right now? It’s not because Republicans are smart and democrats are stupid. Here is some truth: Our division comes not from a divide over smarts, or even a divide in priorities or a divide in principles. It is, fundamentally, a disagreement in how quickly one should be distracted.

The typical democrat voter is plenty smart enough to understand conservative principles — at least the obvious ones. The ones, like: If you’re a proponent of womens’ rights across the world, you should have supported the invasion of Iraq. Or…if all the guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Or…if you say yes to all the illegal aliens, you really don’t know what you’re saying yes to — because being illegal is all about nobody knowing who you really are, or what you’ve done. Or…if you’re really tired of seeing gas prices go up, fer Chrissakes, drill baby drill.

These are not esoteric belief systems. They’re fairly obvious. They’re like “two plus two equals four” — if you use the part of your brain that specializes in basic, concrete cognitive thought.

And that’s what the ideological split really is. Our liberals don’t disagree with us about what two plus two is. They disagree about “overriding” concerns. To the liberal mind, there is always something that changes that particular play, by slapping the ball out of bounds. There’s always some exception clause being invoked. Something that turns everything upside-down; something that makes wet into dry, North into South, red into cyan, makes the moral immoral and the immoral moral, makes children wise and the elders childlike, makes a school district struggling with seventy languages into an optimal model for efficient education, a plutocracy into an egalitarian society, yesterday’s no-account bum into today’s “working family,” global-warming into climate-change, Hillary Clinton into a smart attractive woman, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq into some earthly paradise, John McCain into a divider, Nancy Pelosi into a uniter. Everything is transmogrified into the opposite of what it really is. Because of some kind of right-brain-induced logical hiccup.

They don’t really believe the stuff they say they believe. If they did, they really would be stupid. But most of them aren’t stupid; they’re just distracted, and because they’re distracted they’re jealous of anyone who isn’t.

And now a Senator has dropped dead. It’s just another loophole. Another exception clause. In their world, there’s no way to really show proper respect to the dead, except by turning the rules of the universe upside down. In their world, if I really respect you, and you happen to kick the bucket on the day I’m asked what two plus two is, I have to say three. Or five. If I give the same answer to that basic question that I’d give on any other day, I’m not respecting you. And so when Senator Kennedy drops dead, we have to suddenly pretend a stupid idea is a great one.

But it isn’t. Two and two are still four. And the idea still sucks ass.

Recession’s Over, Business is Booming, Bonuses Paid

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Not out here, quite so much. In there

A month after they voted to punish some corporate executives for taking hefty bonus payouts, members of the House of Representatives quietly gave their own staffers a new potential bonus by making even their top-earning aides eligible for taxpayer dollars to repay their student loans.

The change, which took effect in May, means House employees earning up to $168,411, or the top level, are now eligible for government-funded subsidies to help pay down their student loans.

Hey, you oughta be happy; that’s the economic recovery that got your vote last November. Remember? “Change” and all that?

Thanks to the Guilty White Liberals

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Lloyd Marcus, writing in The American Thinker:

Thank you very, very much. You see us poor helpless inferior blacks, and you want to help us using your superior intellect. After all, we could not possibly succeed in this racist, homophobic and greedy country without your assistance.

I first met you guys in the 70s when I attended the prestigious Maryland Institute College of Art on a scholarship. A black kid from the ghetto, I found myself amongst white kids from well to do families. I worked a part-time job to cover my books and art supplies. You guys did not have to work.

And yet, I remember many conversations about how you would never bring a child into this “freaking world” and how “freaking screwed up” this “freaking country is”. You told me how “freaking selfish” your “freaking parents” were and how they only cared about “freaking money”. Then, you drove off in your convertible given to you be your “freaking parents” as I stood at the bus stop.
:
In closing, you libs, please keep up the good work. With your continued diligence, we minorities and most Americans will not have to work or be responsible for anything. Your president is in the process of confiscating the wealth from those greedy rich white SOBs and redistributing it to us. Right on!

Now, if I can just figure out how to tie my shoes all by myself. But if I can’t, I know you libs are there for me. Fighting back tears of overwhelming gratitude, again, I thank you.

I recall President Obama got some props this last winter for doing His part to help fight this mindset. He got a lot of positive comments from people about this, and even one or two in casual conversation from me. Finally, a powerful message that a good plan for a young man, of any color, is to learn to take in information, form educated opinions, address people politely, be firm if necessary, but courteous whenever possible. Keep your anger off the table, and there’s no limit to what you can accomplish. It was a good message.

But the war against the individual, the war against personal independence, continues. And so the President has emerged as something of a disappointment here, not that I’m terribly surprised. The year has brought us, from the White House, just a handful of proposals…gargantuan ones, more a truckful than a handful, but still just a handful. Of the three or four of them, the common theme is that government should take care of things so individuals don’t have to worry about them. Just worry about hating who we tell you to hate, but help us pass this bill so you don’t have to worry about things that really should be your concern.

Standard democrat fare, in other words.

Hat tip: Rick.

Update: Blogsister Daphne has more words for the liberal race-baiters. Perhaps it belabors the obvious, but as is to be expected in her quarters it is exceptionally well written and well worth reading:

Do you people really see color? Is ethnicity your baseline of identification or cutline for judging another human being? Have we regressed once again to this foul level of dealing with one another on nothing more than the basis of race? Maybe I’m naive, but I find this whole color tone thing incredibly ignorant, bizarrely retrograde and seriously repugnant. I have never judged a man by the color of his skin. I have been an equal opportunity lover, wife, mother, friend and family member to the whole crayon box of humanity. Color doesn’t make the man, integrity does, always has in my book. I proudly claim membership in Bill Whittle’s Tribe.

I am speaking to liberals and black democrats here, you’ve taken our national discussion down to the level of Jim Crow and you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. What in the hell are you doing? Turning back the clock forty years to make political hay is worth stirring this ugly shit back to the surface, instigating people’s natural instincts to categorize and separate across color lines? Do you have fucking rocks in your head? Do you really think this is wise?

“Kennedy’s Dream”: Whoomp, There It Is

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Throughout most of yesterday I heard & read of speculation here & there that the democrats were going to start rising up to pass a health care bill this year, because very late the night before a profound, meaningful thing happened. The question “what problem is this supposed to solve?” got answered. Ha ha! No, that’s a little joke right there. Of course that didn’t happen. What happened was that Ted Kennedy started taking his scheduled course in swimming lessons from Mary Jo.

How long before the democrats would start a campaign to revive their terminally ill stinky albatross health care bill under some misguided platform of “Let’s win this one for the swimmer”? How long before we started an autumn of misery, constantly hearing the refrain that although no one can justify this Obamacare plan any better after The Swimmer’s demise, than they could before…that we just gotta do it for dear old Uncle Ted?

Now we have our answer: One stinkin’ day.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Wednesday to push through embattled health reform legislation this year following the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, who called the effort “the cause of my life”.

“Ted Kennedy’s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Senate President Pro Tem Robert Byrd joined in the fun.

Ailing Senator Robert Byrd, one of only two to have served longer than Kennedy, suggests in an emotional statement renaming the pending health care legislation for the late Massachusetts Senator:

In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American.

Evidence of a parallel universe — one in which debates can be “civilized,” or debates can grapple meaningfully with the consequences of implementing a proposed plan. But it’s one or the other. Those are mutually exclusive things. Pondering the ramifications of doing something, is inherently uncivilized.

It really is democrat politicians against The People. All people; white, black, rich, poor. Every left-wing politician’s argument, it seems, is a distraction away from the “If we do this, that thing will happen” that is central to all responsible planning. Their talking points seem to systematically address all concerns in the universe except that.

Now we have to pass a bad bill to put a smile on the face of Kennedy’s ghost.

My question is: How about putting smiles on the faces of people who actually have to live with the laws that are being passed? And pay for them? Part of the democrat party world-view seems to be that by passing just the right law to force people to do something, you can make those people into a better class of people…more morally inspired and pristine…because of what they are forced to do. The reality is that laws don’t, and cannot, do that. But laws certainly can kill a lot of dreams.

So here’s an idea. Here’s another way to affix the health care debate to Kennedy’s passing. How about this: Ted Kennedy, like our health care debate, lived a long, full life and is now dead. The decent thing to do is to bury them both. Anyone who wants to live in a country that provides universal health care, there are scores of other nations they can live. True, some of those nations are desperately trying to find ways to do things the American way…but for the time being, if you want to wait half a year to get an MRI, you have your pick of where to do your waiting. Let’s honor Ted Kennedy’s memory and send all our universal-health care advocates to those places. Maybe drive them there over a bridge.

Here Comes The Sun

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

And we’re putting it up for absolutely no reason whatsoever. That’s just how we roll.

Ted Kennedy and the Death (Hopefully) of an Era

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Harsh words (relatively) for the recently departed, from Nick Gillespie, Reason Online:

With the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), two points immediately come to mind.

First is the endless, generally uncritical encomia that journalists and other public commenters immediately generate whenever any major figure, especially a controversial one, dies. Here’s a writer for what was effectively Kennedy’s hometown paper, The Boston Globe:

“I think they’re gonna say he is one of the greatest legislators, or most effective legislators—if not the most effective legislator—the Senate has ever seen,” Boston Globe reporter and author Susan Milligan said. “And I don’t think you could find a sitting senator right now, Democrat or Republican, who would disagree with that assessment.”

Milligan’s assessment may well be on-target: When you consider major legislation that Kennedy helped to hustle across the finish line, such as No Child Left Behind and the Americans with Disabilities Act, he was indeed an incredibly effective legislator, typically reaching far beyond the partisan rhetoric for which he was famous to work with hard-core Republicans. Kennedy was, in the turgid term regularly applied to him, the “liberal lion” of the Senate, a principled and unyielding advocate for bigger government, higher taxes, more business regulation, you name it. Yet many of his signature accomplishments—No Child Left Behind and the Americans with Disabilities Act, for instance—were not pushed through along partisan lines. In each instance, he worked with the respective President Bush and a slew of Republicans at the time to ensure passage.

Which brings me to the second point: The legislation for which he will be remembered is precisely the sort of top-down, centralized legislation that needs to be jettisoned in the 21st century. Like Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) and the recently deposed Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Kennedy was in fact a man out of time, a bridge back to the past rather than a guide to the future. His mind-set was very much of a piece with a best-and-the-brightest, centralized mentality that has never served America well over the long haul.

And it’s had lots and lots of chances.

Enough is enough.

Compassion Fatigue

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Gerard now has a hardcore case of it.

I’ve been told, so often and so stridently, to feel this and to feel that and to feel for the downtrodden of the world, that I find I no longer feel anything at all. I don’t think I’m alone in not caring. I think caring and compassion, now that it has been institutionalized enough to demand caring and compassion, has finally found its limit…Compassion can never be made compulsory and cash-flow positive at the same time. Whenever and wherever compassion has been made compulsory the people soon find they no longer have care or quartas to spare.

Perhaps what our friend in Seattle is feeling, is the onset of some deplorable disease.

Or perhaps it’s a recovery. A recovery from that wretched infestation known as…dramatic pause…drumroll, please…

Goodperson Fever.

It’s our modern plague. If you’ve ever done a good deed, and then just kinda hung around awhile to see if anyone noticed, and if so, how many, and what they thought about it all…you have been infected. And you probably still have it, unless you’ve since gotten in touch with your inner dark, uncaring, cynical bastard.

Buying the Age Gap

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

How to Spot a Rich GuyIt’s a dating web site for sugar daddies and sugar babies. Yeah…that’s pretty much what you think it is. And the industry is withstanding the current economic malaise quite well.

Erin Miller, a 23-year-old, self-described model/actress, uses a dating Web site called SeekingArrangement.com. On her profile, she has advertised herself as looking for a “playful, open relationship with financial benefits.”

“I’m dating four sugar daddies right now,” she said.
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Miller has only been on the Web site for a couple of months, yet she feels as though her life has already changed drastically.

“I’ve been shopping all over, nice cars. I got a new condo,” she said. “Every day is a new adventure.”

One of her sugar daddies lets her use his yacht. He also sends her a Rolls Royce and a chauffeur to take her shopping. Another date pays for her condo, and another gave her a Mercedes.

“Self-described model/actress.” For some reason, that just cracks me up.

Aston Martin Versus Man on Roller Skates

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

…with a jetpack, that is.

Politics of Charisma, Reminiscent of the Third World

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Johns Hopkins University prof conducts an autopsy in WSJ on the bloated putrid corpse that is the Obama Presidency. Conclusion: It was stricken by a terminal but subtle disease, which spread like wildfire throughout the host, even though that host was the very picture of health.

Obama’s Summer of Discontent
The politics of charisma is so Third World. Americans were never going to buy into it for long.

:
The man was elected amid economic distress. Faith in the country’s institutions, perhaps in the free-enterprise system itself, had given way. Mr. Obama had ridden that distress. His politics of charisma was reminiscent of the Third World. A leader steps forth, better yet someone with no discernible trail, someone hard to pin down to a specific political program, and the crowd could read into him what it wished, what it needed.
:
The Obama devotees were the victims of their own belief in political magic. The devotees could not make up their minds. In a newly minted U.S. senator from Illinois, they saw the embodiment of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
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Now that realism about Mr. Obama has begun to sink in, these iconic figures of history had best be left alone. They can’t rescue the Obama presidency. Their magic can’t be his. Mr. Obama isn’t Lincoln with a BlackBerry. Those great personages are made by history, in the course of history, and not by the spinners or the smitten talking heads.

In one of the revealing moments of the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama rightly observed that the Reagan presidency was a transformational presidency in a way Clinton’s wasn’t. And by that Reagan precedent, that Reagan standard, the faults of the Obama presidency are laid bare…At no time had Ronald Reagan believed that the American covenant had failed, that America should apologize for itself in the world beyond its shores. There was no narcissism in Reagan. It was stirring that the man who headed into the sunset of his life would bid his country farewell by reminding it that its best days were yet to come.

In contrast, there is joylessness in Mr. Obama. He is a scold, the “Yes we can!” mantra is shallow, and at any rate, it is about the coming to power of a man, and a political class, invested in its own sense of smarts and wisdom, and its right to alter the social contract of the land.

Whether you still hold hope for the Obama administration or not, whether you think these criticisms are valid or not — it is a rather scathing indictment that Obama’s flaws are defined most starkly, in August, when He is contrasted against the historical figures He thought would be making Him look good back in January. Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, Reagan.

But Lincoln’s task was to restore the union. Lincoln believed in the union.

FDR performed poorly with regard to the Great Depression; he did not believe in capitalism. FDR is the only one of the four to whom Obama is a worthy successor. But FDR also steered the country through a war, and FDR wanted us to win that war.

Kennedy confronted Kruschev — and did a mediocre-to-poor job of it. But he wanted to win.

Reagan believed in victory over the “Evil Empire,” down to the marrow of his bones. And he made it happen.

Obama is going to fix the economy?

That’s a little bit like having a mechanic fix your car, when the mechanic’s been a lifelong advocate of hitchhiking and public transportation. Obama cannot be great, at least in the respect of reviving our troubled economy, because His heart isn’t in it.

It isn’t because He’s a communist. There is some of that…but the real weight to His unsuitability for this task, is that He is first and foremost a politician. Every single failure, every single disappointment, every single setback — in His world, these things are opportunities. And so, on some virtual Mount Rushmore full of the faces of Presidents whom we wanted to succeed at something, and subsequently delivered, His face will not be going there. It simply cannot happen. Because as wonderful of a salesman as He is, He doesn’t know how to sell anything to people who are fulfilled. His sales pitch only works on people who are suffering, so it is against His programming to end suffering in people He sees as His core constituency. Their suffering cannot ever dissipate, it can never diminish, because that is an indispensable part of His arsenal.

Rich No Longer Getting Richer

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

…love it or hate it, it’s a reality now.

The rich, as a group, are no longer getting richer. Over the last two years, they have become poorer. And many may not return to their old levels of wealth and income anytime soon.

For every investment banker whose pay has recovered to its prerecession levels, there are several who have lost their jobs — as well as many wealthy investors who have lost millions. As a result, economists and other analysts say, a 30-year period in which the super-rich became both wealthier and more numerous may now be ending.

And I have the perception that if we were to conduct a vote on it, the folks who say this is a good thing, would outnumber the folks who say it is not. At least, that’s the way things have been up until now…when the vision of “social justice” and income equalization was a distant dream.

Now that it’s “Mission Accomplished” I wonder how much that’s going to change. The most likely future is one in which our kids swap stories about the good ol’ days, when there were rich people. Before we got rid of ‘em. You know, it’s kinda tough to nurture those dreams for a better life, when there are fewer people around who’ve managed to achieve it and hang on to it.

Brother, you asked for it!” — Atlas Shrugged, Ch. 25.