Archive for December, 2009

Best Sentence LXXVII

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

The last Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award of 2009, the seventy-seventh one, goes out to Lee Doren’s twitter account (hat tip to Ann Althouse, via Gerard).

This is pure gold, folks. True too.

The people calling for Rush Limbaugh to die are the same people who ask to control your healthcare.

Know what I’d choose as worst sentence of the year? Something about the Cambridge cops acting stupidly…but close behind that, I think I’d pick any one of a number of journalistic bromides I’ve seen lately about how much the past decade sucked, and was the worst one ever. Time Magazine, I’m looking at you.

I’m sure if you’re in the print media somewhere, it did suck large. Well, here’s how I see it: Yes, it sucked, and the nineties sucked just as bad. But with the nineties it was much easier to stick your head up your ass and ignore reality. That means, if you think this one was really so different from the nineties, that must have been precisely where you stuck it.

Housing bubble, dot-com bubble, oil market bubble, radical Islamic terrorism, S&L mess — these things were all Philip K. Dick stuff, unreality-within-reality. You know what happened in the decade just past? We all got our heads pulled out of our asses. Whether we were ready for it or not. Some among us still aren’t ready for it.

But time keeps on rolling on, regardless of who’s ready. Best wishes to you all, hope 2010 fulfills all your hopes. And wherever it doesn’t, hope you find wisdom and strength in that experience.

F*ck You, Scott Adams

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Thanks a lot, pal. Now, everyplace I’ve ever worked…minus the places where they can’t remember me and don’t care about me (which is probably most of ‘em), will be clipping this out and sticking it on the wall. Thanks huge.

Well, there’s a lesson here. Obviously there’s something about that first name. I can tell you it’s not an ordinary experience going through life with it. Beyond that, I can’t say much. Except to promise nobody, anywhere, is ever gonna say “Naw that doesn’t fit the Morgan I know at all…he’s always had great communication skills!” That’s not going to get said.

One thing does jump out at me though. I’ve had my share of dust-ups with people through the years. But the overall pattern for such conflict, especially the conflict that is rooted in differences in communication styles — which is most of them, I think — has been that I’m the guy in glasses. As in, “Waitaminnit, am I really the only one in this room who sees ambiguity here?” Situations such as this, provide the inspiration for Thing I Know #291: Some folks see ambiguity where there is none. These seem to be the same people who don’t see it when it’s there.

I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective. And, I suppose further, I should be pleased to see that surreal Christian name of mine used as a predominantly masculine handle. Four decades of showing the world what it’s all about, maybe they’re finally catching on.

Scott Adams, thanks again. I gotcher communication skills, right here.

Update 1/1/10: Here are the strips from 12/28, 12/29 and 1/1.

Dilbert.com

Dilbert.com

Dilbert.com

That jackass he’s talking to today, I wonder if that’s still “Morgan”? Haircut seems different, and the tie is different. Same loathing of specifics though. Hey, Scott Adams, I am confused by the ambiguity in your comic strip. Your communication skills are being found wanting. And unlike me, you actually do this for a living, so stick that one where the sun don’t shine.

I’m impressed by this observation of his, that details are avoided by people who have “no communication skills.” As I indicated up above, my experience has been precisely the flip-side of this; people with “excellent communication skills,” I call them “Guy Smileys,” always at the ready with the newest hot business cliche from a trade magazine, never show a shred of talent for making something actually work — and they know all the tricks to keep the decision-makers from noticing that.

And because they’re never under any actual, personal burden to make something work, they take in the entire world in terms of an emotional vibe. Because they can afford to. They are the first to form an opinion, and to voice it most forcefully, without any hint of hesitation or doubt…because they can afford to. And because this forms their entire working methodology, they react to specifics the way a vampire reacts to a cross. And when they take on something that absolutely, positively has to work — and break it — they get all pissed off at the next guy for fixing it.

Mr. Adams and I are having an Inigo Montoya moment with that phrase “communication skills.” I do not think it means what he thinks it means. In my world, it is “If you can’t dazzle ‘em with brilliance baffle ‘em with bullshit,” and this Morgan is pleased and proud not to have them.

How to Run a Meeting

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

This list is a sad thing for me, a former Project Manager, to review. It’s not because I failed to do these things; it’s because, on the rare occasions on which it was really up to me to run a meeting, I did do them and they probably weren’t helpful to my career. In fact, the only thing on the list I didn’t do, which is to bring munchies, if I did that I would likely have gotten into trouble. I can just hear management asking “did you, or are you going to, expense that?” with no correct answer to the question possible.

Other people who were so-called Project Managers were clearly more in keeping with what my organization wanted, and enjoying a boost to their careers…although many of them hit the unemployment line as quickly as I did. They did not do anything on this list. In fact, they did the opposite. And this “helped” them…I guess. They got their positive strokes, their approval.

I suppose when the mediocre performers are employed just as long as the people who are really trying, and the merit increases barely keep pace with inflation, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to do anything. Process over outcome, folks. World’s becoming more vaginized. Still & all, if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t do it any differently. If you want to stand up for what’s right, make the best possible use of your time and everybody else’s time, and really give it your all to make sure the project is a success, act-like-you-own-the-company and all that — this is pretty good:

Establish whether the meeting is absolutely necessary. Before you even think about scheduling a meeting, figure out if you really and truly need one. You should only call for a meeting if:

* The information to be discussed could not be disseminated via telephone or email. Meetings should never be called when only a one-way information exchange is needed.
* There are clear benefits to having everyone together in one room.
:
Type up an agenda for the meeting with a specific list of what items will be discussed and in what order. Email everyone a copy a day or two before the meeting to give them a heads up about what to expect and some time to start thinking about the issues and what they’d like to contribute. People can also make additions and objections to the agenda before the meeting instead of at the meeting. Make it clear in your message that if it’s not on the agenda, it can’t be discussed at the meeting. Paste the agenda into the body of the email. People don’t open attachments. [emphasis in original]

And I really, really like this thing down near the bottom. A whole lot.

There are 3 different ways to set up a meeting room: the U-shape, a circle, or lecture style…The circular, uber-democratic, let’s hug it out style has been in vogue for awhile now, and it makes everyone feel important, but it’s also the reason meetings get off-track and become totally unproductive. The truth is that not everyone does have something important to say, and a leader is crucial in keeping things focused on the things that matter.

You know what is a great example of what he’s talking about here. Thunderball, the scene where Number One calls out those two guys who didn’t make as much profit as they were supposed to, and fries the one that was skimming off the top. Not “fires.” “Fries.”

I really detest the round table marathon. I think everyone with a working brain hates it. Anyone who’s been there for any length of time, can make the connection: That’s next year’s raise that’s paying for this circle-jerk. Oh goodie, ol’ Windbag McWindbaggerson to my left, wants to point something out that nobody’s thought of before…oh, you’re so important Windbag, go for it Windbag, don’t leave any detail unexplored.

The problem isn’t that the Project Managers don’t know any better. The problem is one of incentive. There really isn’t any such thing as a good Project Manager or a bad one. So the problem, I think, really exists in the layer above; the PM role is viewed as one of purest bureaucracy. It isn’t acknowledged that this PM over here really excels at making the most of staff time, and this other PM over there really sucks at it. Instead, the PM’s stewardship over a particular project is seen like a gallon of vegetable oil — a can is a can is a can, no difference amongst any of them.

It’s really more like a waiter. This guy can effectively work three tables, that guy can work five, it’s simply not do-able to take on more than seven, so don’t try. If I had my way, they’d earn their wages like waiters; they’d exist on tips. These are crucial people. If they can’t multi-task and manage details and make the best use of an hour, then nobody else can either.

America Loves a Fighter

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Now here‘s something to chew on, something to make you think and go hmmm.

Byron York put up a column earlier this week blaming Republicans for the excesses of the democrat party. Much of it filters through the lens of the fact that democrats currently enjoy a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. It’s a critique that the Republicans need to fight just a teensy bit harder. Had just 157 Minnesotans voted differently, Al Franken would not be in that august body and we would not have this albatross of a health care bill.

SusanAnne Hiller takes this one down. I am not entirely sure these two disagree with one another, when I read things like this…

The GOP’s white flag allowed the left to gain momentum, until it was unstoppable. So much so that the McCain campaign wouldn’t even touch Obama’s associations or Rev. Wright’s anti-American sermons. I think this was due to fear of what the left would do to them with their compliant and obedient MSM ready to report. The Obama campaign said repeatedly that their intentions were to transform America. The MSM never called them out on what that transformation was going to look like. And when McCain started to gain momentum, he would pull back and actually give kudos to Obama and his campaign. With such a non-strategic campaign, circling the wagons and shooting in, and the wrong presidential candidate, the GOP met its doom.

The democrat party wanted to choose, during the campaign, what subjects would be “on the table” for discussion. Each and every single minute of each and every single day. And the Republican party let them go ahead and do it. We don’t want to talk about Jeremiah Wright! Um, alright then…after all, this isn’t an argument about who associates with the most decent friends. Yeah, but we want it to be an argument about who’s most decent, and you John McCain are indecent! Um, alright, okay…we’ll talk about that then. And we won’t mention Jeremiah Wright because you don’t want us to.

Obama talked about McCain’s flawed policies. McCain talked some about Obama’s flawed policies…but made sure for every minute of that, there were two more minutes about Obama’s noble intentions. Intentions didn’t enter into it when it came time for Obama to criticize McCain. McCain was just Bush’s third term, the doddering old fool didn’t know how many houses he had, and that was the end of it.

Obama fought, McCain did not, and Americans love a winner.

But there is cause for optimism here. It is quite silly and absurd to insist the democrat party will enjoy a filibuster-proof majority in the 112th Senate. Nobody’s predicting that. In fact, it is reckless to suppose Republicans will gain seats in only one of the chambers, as opposed to both. It isn’t even a safe bet to predict the democrats will come through it retaining control of Congress.

The big question is this: Can we keep the grown-ups in charge for more than eight years? More than twelve? When the democrat party first got started, this country said “no” to it quite regularly. Lincoln to Arthur — that’s 24 years. Disregard Cleveland and the trend extends to Taft, 52 years. Disregard Wilson and it goes to Hoover, 72 years.

This is the one place on the globe that rejects the “trickle-up-poverty” of socialism. That really needs to be the platform. And if that means the platform is more about rejecting things than accepting things, then so be it. Smitty speaks wisdom when he takes on Dan Riehl:

But other than some scolding for what has long been known and already widely discussed, I’m not sure York’s item says much at all. Net net, the GOP has to find a way to bond with the base and the American people as a whole. They shouldn’t think they’re going to win any election prizes simply for not being Democrats.

I’m not sure, Dan. Didn’t BHO win by saying he would not be Bush? You know Progressivism is killing the country. The real danger would seem to be fragmentation, as voting for 20 different “not being Democrats” effectively elects the Democrat. So the principles should always trump the personality, in a thinking electorate. Oops.

There is going to have to be some revulsion here. Some anti-democrats are going to have to be made miserable by their tethering to some personality who is opposed to them on some secondary issue. They are going to have to be tortured with avoidance-avoidance-conflict, holding their nose while they punch the chad, muttering something about “well, if it’s an asshole/jerk/big ol’ dummy against Obama, I can’t vote for Obama.” One man’s fine dessert is another man’s sewage. Personally, I think the best scenario would be to hand the plate-of-poop over to the “conservative” Palin-bashers…the Rick Moran, David Frum types. That would be my ideal scenario, because if we embrace what they want — “let’s be intellectuals, and let’s define intellectualism according to the whims and dictates of whoever talks the loudest” — the democrats will be back in charge in a heartbeat. So let them be he ones tortured with avoidance-avoidance conflict. It makes sense.

First and foremost, the grown-ups have to fight their way back to the front of the bus, and the steering wheel. And it needs to be presented to the electorate not in terms of who’s going to do the driving, but in terms of who’s driving right now, and shouldn’t be. Because that’s what’s really important.

Fight.

On climate change –

WRONG: “I cannot back the cap and trade legislation being proposed right now, although I do acknowledge it is a serious issue and we definitely should look into it.”

RIGHT: “This is an enormous, unprecedented, global scam being put on the American people and I’m not going to stand for it.”

On Al Qaeda –

WRONG: “My administration will not rest until these bad men are brought to justice. And they will be treated humanely and given every protection we offer to all the other accused persons in our great justice system.”

RIGHT: “Some say this enemy knows no nation and no uniform, and can therefore never be defeated. I’ll tell you how we defeat them. With steadfast loyalty to those who stand with us, and swift retribution against those who attack us. Under my administration, America will become the most valued ally the world has ever known, and the most frightening nightmare our enemies have ever seen or imagined.”

On offshore drilling –

WRONG: “My administration will not be responsible for importing one drop of crude oil from overseas than is absolutely necessary; we will work vigorously to bring the technology to the forefront that will make the best use of alternative fuels, and we will leave our arctic reserve the beautiful pristine wilderness that it is.”

RIGHT: “For too long, our antiquated laws have kept our own natural resources out of our reach. This is absurd. We will use whatever means is at our disposal to restore our nation’s energy independence, and all other goals are secondary.”

Stimulus spending –

WRONG: “Of course, it has to be about creating and saving jobs…”

RIGHT: “Keynesian economic theory has been shown repeatedly to be flawed, ineffective, unworkable and damaging. My administration will not tolerate this in any form. Give the money back to the people who made it in the first place, so they can spend it as they see fit. To those who say the tax rates need to be raised, I say you are free to send your own surplus taxes to the U.S. Treasury any time you want to.”

Airport screening –

WRONG: “My Transportation Security Administration is going to be the most non-denominational, non-discriminatory, non-profiling, non-judgmental Transportation Security Administration ever!”

RIGHT: “My Transportation Security Administration is going to make transportation secure. That will be its prime directive and that will be its only directive.”

Conflict in general –

WRONG: “We will do anything we have to, to avoid a bloodbath.”

RIGHT: “If there’s gotta be a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.”

On political attacks –

WRONG: “My friends, I would like to assure you, I am not what my opponent said I am.”

RIGHT: “On this occasion, I invoke the Morgan Freeberg Rule Number One: ‘If I’m gonna be accused, I wanna be guilty.’”

A war against Muslims –

WRONG: “This is a war against terror, and a war against bad men. It is not a war against Islam! It’s not! It’s not! It’s not!”

RIGHT: “A fireball burning at 3,000 degrees Celcius knows nothing of race, creed or sexual preference. You want non-discrimination? Make a move against some of my fellow citizens. Harm them or threaten them, and I will bring you some non-discrimination.”

And then you go right on like that, all the way down the line, issue by issue. You see the pattern? You do things the wrong way, you set up some glimmering feature about yourself, and then you have to follow that up by proving it. You start with few goals and then task yourself with many goals to show off what a broad, complex, Picard-like thinker you are. You appeal toward those who become quivering, neurotic and frightened whenever anybody acts on something. This was given a fair try in ’08 and it didn’t work…which means it won’t. You do things the right way, you identify an enemy and offer some reasons why that enemy must be defeated, gelded…something about the consequences involved in leaving that enemy influential. And then, to prove that, all you have to do is recite some facts. You remain concentrated on few goals, and your promise is action. Action…not to build, or to destroy, for that is what the private sector does. To protect. Protect within a narrow field of constitutional jurisdiction.

Let the other guys assume the defensive position. Stay focused. Stay on target. Unidirectionalism. Clarity and transparency — through simplicity. Show yourself equal to the task of guiding a small government. It takes a big man to do that. Any ol’ fool can “rule over” an omnipresent, omnipowerful government. Show yourself equal to the task of…guarding something. Single-mindedly, simple-mindedly. More watch-dogging. Less dissembling, obfuscating, equivocating.

In other words, you fight. That’s the right way.

Clinton, Palin Tied as Most Admired Woman

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

USA Today did a poll on who’s the most-admired American:

President Obama is the man Americans admired most in 2009, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin are virtually tied as the most-admired woman.

The close finish by Clinton, named by 16% in the open-ended survey, and Palin, named by 15%, reflects the nation’s partisan divide. Clinton was cited by nearly 3 in 10 Democrats but only 6% of Republicans, Palin by a third of Republicans but less than 1% of Democrats.

Hmmm…for an alternative headline, how about “Republicans think six times more independently than democrats.” There’s something rather one-celled and Borg-like about your party when there’s that thick of a prohibition against thinking well of The Enemy.

I think, in fact, that this is the bigger story. Let’s see…maybe it’s a Patton/Rommel thing? You might be open and receptive to admiring the positive attributes, the “magnificent-bastard”-ness of your enemy, if-and-only-if you’re shouldering the responsibility of getting something done? And democrats are far less likely to do this. The “elect someone charismatic and wonderful to put gas in my tank” mindset inspires a tendency to engage in a rhetorical style of “you’re just a big ol’ poopy head.” The poll results suggest this is what’s going on…you read some right-wing blogs, and then some left-wing blogs…that further suggests this is what’s going on.

In fact you know what poll I’d like to see? I’d like to see a poll among registered democrats, in which they pick out one single statement from a series of multiple-choice options. Just one, to describe Sarah Palin. Let’s say four positive statements, two negative. A thousand participants. And make sure all four are indisputably true. The two negative, obviously, would be something like “not qualified to be President or Vice-President” and “completely irrelevant, people should stop talking about her.”

Ninety-nine-plus-percent would pick one of those two, over one of the four? Even if all four are fact-based, non-subjective, verifiably true?

If it really comes out that way, that’s a sad, sad thing. It doesn’t say anything about or against Palin herself, it says something about the people who run things right now. They aren’t grown-ups. They argue like six-year-olds. Participating in an argument between two others about what it is that should be done, they quickly abandon the discussion of what should be done, and start reciting pre-canned encyclopedias of negative attributes about the participants, letting ad hom carry the day. You’re unsophisticated. You’re hysterical. You’re stupid. You’re uneducated. You’re a closet homosexual. You’re insecure. You’re a creationist. You’re a hyyyyyppoooooccccrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiittteeee…………..

The realization that persons possessing negative attributes, can occasionally be right about something, is enough to logically devastate everything these people have to say. And most of us come to that realization in our teenage years, or in late adulthood, perhaps in late-late-adulthood — but after we’ve cut our teeth on being truly responsible for something. To think things out in ad hom, is a luxury enjoyed by people who haven’t gotten to this point just yet. Or who have built up a successful career by sifting through credit and blame like wheat from chaff, taking all the credit for themselves and blaming others.

How to Cover Obama’s Double-Homicide

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

John Hawkins printed up a list of the Top 40 Quotes From 2009, and we got a trackback out of it because we came up with #11. For grins, we decided to skim through it top to bottom, and we realized we completely missed out on this eight-month-old Onion article.

Sadly, it remains just as relevant today as it was then.

Media Having Trouble Finding Right Angle On Obama’s Double-Homicide

More than a week after President Barack Obama’s cold-blooded killing of a local couple, members of the American news media admitted Tuesday that they were still trying to find the best angle for covering the gruesome crime.

“I know there’s a story in there somewhere,” said Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, referring to Obama’s home invasion and execution-style slaying of Jeff and Sue Finowicz on Apr. 8. “Right now though, it’s probably best to just sit back and wait for more information to come in. After all, the only thing we know for sure is that our president senselessly murdered two unsuspecting Americans without emotion or hesitation.”

Added Meacham, “It’s not so cut and dried.”

Since the killings took place, reporters across the country have struggled to come up with an appropriate take on the ruthless crime, with some wondering whether it warrants front-page coverage, and others questioning its relevance in a fast-changing media landscape.

“What exactly is the news hook here?” asked Rick Kaplan, executive producer of the CBS Evening News. “Is this an upbeat human-interest story about a ‘day in the life’ of a bloodthirsty president who likes to kill people? Or is it more of an examination of how Obama’s unusual upbringing in Hawaii helped to shape the way he would one day viciously butcher two helpless citizens in their own home?”

“Or maybe the story is just that murder is cool now,” Kaplan continued. “I don’t know. There are a million different angles on this one.”

So far, the president’s double-homicide has not been covered by any major news outlets. The only two mentions of the heinous tragedy have been a 100-word blurb on the Associated Press wire and an obituary on page E7 of this week’s edition of the Lake County Examiner.

Since this one was printed up, the Obama administration has specifically fingered Fox News as “not a real news organization.” The Onion piece reports — prophesies — why this might be. Some bit of fact emerges that is unflattering to the administration, and Fox News comes out and actually reports it. I mean, hey, what in the world is up with that? What responsible news organization would do such a thing?

Speeches Fix Everything

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The guys on the radio are criticizing Glorious Leader for his speeches. Specifically, that his Monday speech about the Christmas bombing sets up an unmistakable aura of “investigation is ongoing, nobody rush to a judgment about anything” and the Tuesday speech contradicts that directly with the “systemic failure” theme. (Hat tip to Rick for the link to the Tuesday speech and to Another Black Conservative for the Monday speech.)

I’m currently missing links to the slobbering pundits commanding us all to believe the Tuesday speech was the BEST OBAMA SPEECH EVAR!! Also, to the same regarding the Monday speech. I’m sure both are out there. Oceana is at war with EurAsia, Oceana has always been at war with EurAsia.

Perhaps the time has come to just face up to it: A speech is the answer to everything. Has life really been that simple, all this time?

Or is Obama an even bigger of an empty-suit failure than He has been made out to be?

How a Marriage Works

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Just received this via e-mail. If it’s news to me, it might be news to most others…

Language would not be appropriate for mixed company, or for reading in your company. As you shall soon see.

A newlywed couple had only been married for two weeks. The husband, although very much in love, couldn’t wait to go out on the town and party with his old buddies .

So, he said to his new wife, ‘Honey, I’ll be right back.’

‘Where are you going, honey bunch?’ asked the wife.

‘I’m going to the bar, pretty face. I’m going to have a beer.’

The wife said, ‘You want a beer, my love?’

She went and opened the door to the refrigerator and showed him 25 different kinds of beer brands from 12 different countries: Germany , Holland , Japan , India ,etc.

The husband didn’t know what to do, and the only thing that he could think of saying was, ‘Yes, lolly pop…but at the bar…you know…they have frozen glasses…’

He didn’t get to finish the sentence, because the wife interrupted him by saying,

‘You want a frozen glass, puppy face?’

She took a huge beer mug out of the freezer, so frozen that she was getting chills just holding it.

The husband, looking a bit pale, said, ‘Yes, tootsie roll, but at the Bar they have those hors d’oeuvres that are really delicious… I won’t be long, I’ll be right back. I promise. OK?’

You want hors d’oeuvres, poochi pooh?’ She opened the oven and took out 5 dishes of different hors d’oeuvres: chicken wings, pigs in blankets, mushroom caps, pork strips, etc.

‘But my sweet honey… At the bar… You know…there’s swearing, dirty words and all that…’

‘You want dirty words, Dickhead? Drink your fucking beer in your Goddamn frozen mug and eat your motherfucking snacks, because you are Married now, and you aren’t fucking going anywhere! Got it, Asshole?’

So he stayed home…

…and, they lived happily ever after.

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XXIV

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Atomic Nerds:

…I don’t expect every freshly-minted 18-year-old to posses the full gamut of wisdom and experience a middle-aged person, let’s be clear. Experience and wisdom take time to acquire, and often painful lessons, and often times the only way to gain anything is by doing something spectacularly stupid and learning from it. To continue to classify these adults as kids, however, imparts a sense that the spectacularly stupid mistakes don’t count, or aren’t really that severe, and are just products of youthful high spirits. The latter sentiment may be perfectly accurate, but the former gives tacit license to the adults who should be learning from these fuckups to keep on fucking up for longer.

There is absolutely no good reason for this practice. The idiots don’t benefit from it, as they get to continue doing stupid things until they’re “really” adults, whenever that might finally trickle around, and then just start figuring things out when they should have a pretty good working grasp already, and the rest of us don’t benefit from it because fucking idiots are doing stupid things around us, deluded into thinking it’s somehow all right because they’re too young for it to count. Less than a hundred years ago, adolescence stopped sharply around fifteen or sixteen, especially during the Great Depression, when your options were either bust your ass and scrabble to keep you and yours on the right side of the dirt, or get trampled by those who were trying. Fifty to sixty years ago, you finished high school, and then you got right after figuring how to not be a fuckup, glad you got the extra time the depression folks didn’t. Now it’s something of a minor miracle if someone doesn’t move back in with his or her parents after college. I know the expression is “you’re never too old to play” or “always be young at heart,” but at some point it’s a good idea to at least pick a new game, or if keeping a young heart, at least try to get a wise head to go with it, and every Officer Sparky lumping an adult, albeit it a young one, in as “just kids” is doing every last one of us a disservice by dragging this problem out.

Hat tip to The Bastidge.

Update: I’m doing some more thinking about this…drawing on the long term memory. This has been in the works for a very long time, you know, and it hasn’t been put into effect simply to enable eighteen-year-olds to keep acting like eleven-year-olds until they’re thirty-five-year-olds. The author makes reference to the sink-or-swim climate of the Great Depression, and of a century ago when “kids” were unceremoniously slammed into adulthood at fifteen.

Item #2 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 — is — socially stigmatize the opposite of what you want done. What is going through my long-term memory is how this was everywhere. I do mean everywhere. If it was possible for a process of growing-up to take X many years, it had to take that many years. I remember a teevee commercial about extra-extra big training pants for an extra-extra-old kid, so he could learn “on his terms.” Only the most wizened doc fully understood the benefits of this, and only the cruel and heartless would sound any kind of alarm about it.

Soccer parents during the 1990′s…they were not obnoxious until such time as they yelled at their kids to play harder and better. Then they were in the way. Now who in the world came up with that?? There are many things about the soccer phenomenon that are tough to take, and the effort and achievement involved in winning is pretty far down the list.

The Doofus Dad in the movies. What makes him? He’s a repentant small-dee dad who’s spent ninety minutes doing things wrong, who right before the closing credits resolves to do better so the family can live Happily Ever After. Wife, kids, in-laws, after all — each one of them as witty and downright repulsive as a Monday is long — have been doing everything perfectly. But what are these principal sins that so distress all others? The desire for the kids to do well ranks high on the list. Try harder. Do better. Do more. Small-dee dad shouldn’t be “pressuring” you to do that, kiddies. Huh. In my day we were told to “do your best and don’t worry about winning”; but there was, at least, an important emphasis placed on the do-your-best part. Oh, and give a hundred and ten percent, remember that one? Am I showing my age?

There is an agenda here, and the agenda provides mystery. An agenda can be deliberate; and it can also be not-so-much. Now, who in the world would harbor a deliberate agenda to make our young people sluggish, weak, incapable and dull? I’m tempted to dismiss it outright. Does it even matter. A more subconscious, jealous urge — to deny, derail, inhibit, dissuade achievement in others — is well within the capacity of the flawed human genome. This is what we’ve been seeing these past few decades? Occam’s razor, I think, smiles upon it.

Occam’s razor is not always right, of course. But when we think the razor might be wrong, there are some “regardlesses” that emerge. As in…regardless…is it really that much of a traumatic experience for a child to be in the position of potentially scoring a goal, or simply making a goal more likely, and hearing his parents up in the stands cheering him on to make it happen? How about another experience…drifting on past age four, five, six still pissing his pants, with a chorus of parents and grandparents giving him the message that’s perfectly all right and he should pick up his training on his own timeline?

What, exactly, is wholesome about that? How does that make the child happier over the long term, more emotionally balanced, capable, robust? How’s that work exactly?

“Crayola Akbar”

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Allahpundit says blame Bush. I agree. Is Obama the fix for what’s busted? That’s for Him to prove.

This reads like the plot of one of those over-the-top David Zucker attack ads against the left — except it wasn’t the left that presided over this one. The next interview with Dick or Liz Cheney should be pretty interesting, huh?

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi…

“The so-called rehabilitation programs are a joke,” a U.S. diplomat said in describing the Saudi efforts with released Guantanamo detainees.

Saudi officials concede its program has had its “failures” but insist that, overall, the effort has helped return potential terrorists to a meaningful life.

One program gives the former detainees paints and crayons as part of the rehabilitation regimen.

From “Allahu Akbar” to “Crayola Akbar.” On the bright side, at least The One has learned from Bush’s terrible folly here, right? Wrong. Bob Gates has been pushing since May to transfer 97 Yemeni detainees to the Saudi rehab program; as of 10 days ago the plan was to send six Yemenis back to Yemen itself with possibly scores more to follow.

Mmmmm, doesn’t look too promising.

So if Palin chooses not to run, is there a Klingon Warlord somewhere in the line-up? We’ve tried government by compassion now…#42, #43 and now #44 have all made it their trademark.

There’s no protection for this “homeland” in that, and at this point some guy walking around wearing a necklace made from the fingers or genitalia of his enemies would look like a vast improvement. We have a Constitution to keep him from becoming the next Genghis Kahn, we don’t need some phony-baloney veneer of “swell guy” decency for that purpose. It doesn’t work, it makes fools out of all of us. Kersey/Beowulf 2012.

Whoever runs, the logo needs to be an artist’s easel and palette with a red line through ‘em.

Tyranny of the Minority

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Fred Barnes starts out with a dreadful headline that states the obvious. Then he works his way through current events, and leaves you with a Thing That Makes You Go Hmmmm…

The Tyranny of the Majority Party
If Democrats insist on passing unpopular laws, they won’t control Congress for long.

[Alexis de Tocqueville] toured America in the 1830s and published his conclusions in the classic “Democracy in America.” He noted the powerful impact of public opinion. “That is what forms the majority,” he wrote. Congress merely “represents the majority and obeys it blindly” and so does the president. They are free to brush aside minority opinion, creating a threat de Tocqueville described as the “tyranny of the majority.”
:
Doing a reverse de Tocqueville, willingly endangering one’s political career by voting for ObamaCare, hasn’t fazed Democrat Michael Bennet, the appointed senator from Colorado. He was asked by CNN’s John King whether he’d vote for ObamaCare “if every piece of evidence tells you, if you support that bill, you’ll lose your job.” Mr. Bennet said “yes.”

Mr. Bennet isn’t the only potential martyr. A Democratic strategist told Byron York of the Washington Examiner that Mrs. Pelosi “believes losing 20 or even 40 Democratic seats in the House would be an acceptable price for achieving a goal the party has pursued since Franklin Roosevelt.” Now that Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith has bolted the Democratic Party, Republicans need 40 seats to capture control of the House.
:
That arrogance shaped the economic stimulus passed in February. Republicans wanted tax cuts to spur investment and create jobs. Democrats rejected that idea and enacted a huge increase in spending. As unemployment continued to rise, public opinion turned against the stimulus. Nonetheless, House Democrats passed a new, smaller stimulus bill last week with the same emphasis on spending.
:
“I regard as impious and detestable the maxim that in matters of government the majority of a people has the right to do everything,” de Tocqueville wrote roughly 175 years ago. But what about a congressional majority—which lacks a mandate from a majority of Americans—seeking to do everything? The Frenchman might have dubbed that the “tyranny of the minority.”

I’ve pointed this out before, what these people are all about. They seek to eliminate the opposition…which is fine, this is what partisan politics is all about, and our system is a partisan system.

But they go through a rather casual expurgation of reality as they achieve and then seek to make the most of their triumphs, and they drag the rest of us with them. Which is not fine. We were hearing a lot of this as President Obama was being sworn into office, how “Hope Won, Fear Lost.” Thus it was settled, everyone was on board with the democrat vision as they began to rule over us. But then again — not everyone. Stimulus I, Al Franken taking his seat in the Senate, Healthcare, Cap ‘n Trade, Cambridge cops acting stupidly. Every single week, all year long, there’s always a “them.” And then it was the “teabaggers.” Someone was always outside of this prevailing understanding of “everyone.” One end of the year to the other, the task ahead was always to vanquish them into oblivion — some more.

I pointed this out last year, after the elections were over. Their platform suffers from devastating and irreconcilable internal contradictions, before it is even brought into contact with the platforms of their enemies. They are there to represent “us”; which means “all of” us, supposedly, but on a little bit closer inspection you see it’s more like “the rest of” us after the more aristocratic classes have already been overly-represented. So yes there’s someone outside of the “all of us” but that someone isn’t supposed to count for anything. A little bit of tit-for-tat, some justified payback Tyranny-of-Majority. The hitch in the giddy-up arrives after the conquest, when the conquering army insists on fighting the battle all over again. Rather like a dog playing fetch. Exactly like that, in fact. Their brains go on this circuitous loop — we’re “everyone”; no we’re not; yes we are; no we’re not.

That’s the troubling dichotomy. You can’t have an exclusive club, if you don’t exclude. If nobody’s left out, nobody can stay in.

And so the King never quite takes the throne — first order of business after that, would have something to do with a bunch of boring old make-a-new-government type stuff. We saw as Obama built his circle full of cronies, czars and tax cheats that this isn’t really His forte. Instead, the King takes the crown off His head, throws it back in the bushes where He found it, mounts His steed and insists on fighting the battle all over again. Makes Him feel more Kingly. He’s supposed to be representing a return to democracy, representing “all of us,” and yet there’s always conflict and He doesn’t seem to know how to present Himself without the conflict. The legislation that works for “all of us” is dismally unpopular, and has to be passed not with a great flourish and fanfare, but instead with a whole bunch of bribery, kickbacks, threats, and sneaking-around.

That’s because, as Barnes points out, it’s really Tyranny-of-Minority. More people have been left out of the exclusive club, than in; it really is exclusive. More people are to be hurt by this new legislation, by design, than helped by it. That is what is supposed to happen.

In the final analysis, there really isn’t anyone in this exclusive club at all. Not out here in the real world. It’s strictly a beltway crowd. They’ve declared war on all economic classes within the country they are supposed to represent, save for the most dependent classes. They aren’t friendly with the dependent classes either, they’re simply taking a pass on trying to destroy them. And the reason they aren’t trying to destroy the dependent classes, is because they are dependent. There are other ways to control them.

April Conquest

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Julie Newmar in Monkees Get Out More Dirt (1967)

A good idea from Boortz, who links to Shane Gilnes’ Cartoon Retro.

Most Underrated TV Dads

Monday, December 28th, 2009

This one has a whole lot of dust on it.

I was looking for something else. Specifically, I had heard or seen somewhere that Bo’s parents were in the same accident as Luke’s parents and they were in the same accident as Daisy’s parents and they were in the same accident as Coy and Vance’s parents…I figure it had to be a flatbed truck on a bridge that got washed out. In fact Jesse was supposed to be the eleventh one and he got his directions mixed up or got a case of measles or something.

I can’t remember where I saw this. Or if I read it somewhere. Or if I simply arrived at it by process of elimination (all the particulars, together, don’t really allow for anything else).

Anyway. I didn’t find the legend of the Duke tragedy at the river-bridge washout. But I did find this. It’s a decent list.

Green Studies

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Okay, up until now it might have been just irritating. It has just now ceased to be harmless.

Green TechnologyColleges are rapidly adding new majors and minors in green studies, and students are filling them fast.

Nationwide, more than 100 majors, minors or certificates were created this year in energy and sustainability-focused programs at colleges big and small, says the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. That’s up from just three programs added in 2005.

Two factors are driving the surge: Students want the courses, and employers want the trained students, says Paul Rowland, the association’s executive director.

“There’s a great perception that there’s a sweet spot with energy to do good and do well, and it appears to be the place of job growth,” says Rob Melnick, executive dean of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.

Uh, yeah. That’s the problem. It’s going to appear to be the place of job growth for a good long time…I give it about a decade.

At the end of which, we’re going to be acutely feeling the effects of all these professionals walking around, every bit of fluff stuffed into their noggins pure symbolism, no substance. Which means they won’t know how to build a goddamn thing, and they won’t know how to think like builders either.

Already, during any stretch of time that sees you accumulating…oh…let us say…twenty things of which you feel the need to complain — nineteen times or more, you are told “I don’t make the rules.” Or “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Or “company policy.” And these aren’t you-charged-me-too-much types of complaints. Overcharging benefits somebody. It makes sense on one side. This is stuff that is unreal…sur-real…inexplicable…doesn’t help anyone. You present your logical, well-thought-out argument that this is the wrong way to be doing it, and you’re given some bulletproof iron-curtain policy that says they gotta keep doing it that way, whether it makes sense or not.

You see what’s happening here? We’re becoming experts in doing things efficiently…in theory…while carefully avoiding testing it out in practice. “Education” is quickly becoming proficiency in following sequences of steps scripted by invisible, alien, otherwordly others. We’re not trying to become efficient so we can do more of something. We’re becoming skilled in going through the motions, that appear to be the delivery of the substance behind truckloads of marketing bullshit. Green health insurance. Green Karate studios. Green banking. Green coffee, and green cups to hold it. Green Chinese food — blecch. Yes, sure, it looks like a genuine market demand. It really is, for the next few years or so.

This green graduates are still going to have solid careers, at the time their own kids are going to college?

How’s that possible? We’re losing the notion that revenue comes from other people…from our neighbors who are just like us. Something goes right at work, your sales guys land an account and it’s “an account.” It’s just there. Usually begins with “State department of.” They have an open bid on — something.

Real people needing things? That’s so yesterday. So our business world is becoming something of a festering swamp of narcissism. Each one of us wants to end up with “all” the money…or enough to live in comfort…but these green guys have their entire professional disciplines dedicated to servicing faceless agencies trying to satisfy arbitrary rules. Not people. The circle has been anti-circuited.

And they’re navigating a vast ocean in a canoe made from a giant salt lick.

Enough of your “green” marketing twaddle. For every unit of carbon you don’t emit, I’m going to emit three.

The Real War is at Home

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Star Parker’s column appears at Townhall.com:

The management bestseller from the 1960′s, The Peter Principle, points out that one sign of an organization or an individual at their “level of incompetence” is thinking that re-organizing alone solves problems. Drawing new organization charts or moving around furniture is a lot easier than getting to the heart of understanding what is causing failure.
:
Today, after allowing a terrorist to operate within the ranks of our own military, and, after he did his devastating work at Fort Hood, we refuse to identify him as a terrorist.

We view the maniacs running Iran as negotiating partners while we ignore the Iranian youth who struggle and long to be free.
:
With imminent passage of multi-trillion dollar health care “reform” that is pure socialism, we relinquish our personal autonomy and freedom to a point where the task to redeem them will be unprecedented.

Family and traditional values of personal behavior — once the moral glue holding us together — are now mere life style options.

That point from The Peter Principle absolutely nails it shut.

How many times have I seen this in the technology field. This group over here, is now two groups. That guy’s going to spend more time with his family, and the guy who reported to him will now report directly to that guy up there, these two directors will be co-responsible for this thing over here. A little bit of “synergy,” communication, collaboration, syndication, blah blah blah and now we’re going to have the bestest organization EVAR!

That’s precisely what post-modern liberalism is doing with our nation and our culture. A lot of their “change” is conscious change…women good, men bad, black people good, white people bad, straight bad, gay good, “nation of immigrants,” et al. But there is another element to it that is just change for the sake of change.

Seldom do they have any precedence to which they can point to suggest their ideas are any good…which is embarrassing, when their “new” ideas are based on playing-catch-up with other countries, as is the case with socialized medicine for example. If it works, shouldn’t they be able to cite historical examples instead of calling all who disagree a bunch of dumbasses?

But in the case of gay marriage, it’s purely change for the sake of change. If you have the temerity to suggest bestiality is next, or incestuous marriages, or threesomes or foursomes or more, you’re erecting a strawman. So it’s all human…all twosomes…just same sex and that’s it? We’ll stop there? Good heavens, what on earth for? Who’s making this assurance to us, exactly? What’s so magical about the number two?

So this is a constant churning of the family unit, and that in turn is metaphorical of the constant churning with our ways of thinking things out, and arriving at conclusions about things. “Change” is not this year’s revolution, but a constant.

And The Peter Principle is precisely what it is. They’re rearranging deck chairs on the boat, to distract from the gaping leak in the hull.

“Secondhand Hate”

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Noemie Emery writing in the Weekly Standard:

For years now, those on the left have conflated resistance to any item of their agenda–high taxes, extravagant spending, laxity on crime, what have you–with motives of a dark nature: racism, nativism, fear of “the other,” and various species of “hate.”…But it was the appearance in 2009 of the real first black president that lifted this theme to a whole new level: The left, which invented first “hate speech” (opinions they didn’t like) and then “hate crimes” (crimes judged less on the criminal’s actions than on what he was presumed to be thinking), has now gone on to its epiphany, which is “hate” defined not by your words or deeds but by what other people have decided you really think. “Hate” is no longer what you do or say, but what a liberal says that you think and projects on to you. You are punished for what someone else claims you were thinking. It hardly makes sense, but it does serve a political purpose. You could call it Secondhand Hate.

All Gone Wrong

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Click the pic to view portfolio.

Six Badass Skills You Can Learn in Under a Week

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Cracked.

How many times have you watched an action movie and thought to yourself “Man, it must take years of training to be able to pull that off?” Real life police officers, soldiers, and spies have to undergo rigorous training before they get to pilot submarines and shoot people, right?

As it turns out, that’s… entirely true. Being a real-life James Bond would take a lifetime of learning and practice. But as it also turns out, there are classes you could take this year that could get you half-way to James Bondhood, many of them taking a week or less of your precious, movie-watching time.

Hat tip to Linkiest.

VDH: On the Horizon

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson’s predictions for 2010. I’m particularly fond of items #2 and #3:

2) Either shortly or soon next year, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano will resign. I don’t see how the nation’s point woman on domestic terrorism can claim that the system worked like “clockwork,” when the Nigerian terrorist’s own father contacted American authorities long ago to warn us about the proclivities of his own son, who came within seconds of blowing apart a transcontinental jet. The system worked only at the 11th hour thanks to a courageous Dutch tourist who took matters into his hands.

3) I think the overseas bowing, apologizing, and kowtowing will stop in 2010—it brought no tangible results. Indeed, Obama is one bow away from global caricature and humiliation. And when one examines the recent behavior of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, or Syria, one concludes that they all think they can make favorable readjustments in regional landscapes and power relationships in 2010. Obama’s advisors will try to stop his natural inclinations to apologize, and I think will be successful—given the gathering storm clouds of 2010.

Lessons learned? Let us hope so.

The Terror This Time

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Wall Street Journal editors take a hard look at what’s going on, and what our leaders are prepared to do, with regard to the recently increased “terror tempo”:

This increasing terror tempo makes the Obama Administration’s reflexive impulse to treat terrorists like routine criminal suspects all the more worrisome. It immediately indicted Mr. Abdulmutallab on criminal charges of trying to destroy an aircraft, despite reports that he told officials he had ties to al Qaeda and had picked up his PETN explosive in Yemen. The charges mean the Nigerian can only be interrogated like any other defendant in a criminal case, subject to having a lawyer present and his Miranda rights read.

Yet he is precisely the kind of illegal enemy combatant who should be interrogated first with the goal of preventing future attacks and learning more about terror networks rather than gaining a single conviction. We now have to hope he cooperates voluntarily.

It’s a debate between an active defense, and a passive one.

Except it isn’t being debated quite so much.

Sexy Nerds

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Nerdy GirlSome brave soul has made a list of ten, which is always a daunting prospect because any name left off of it is an instant “epic fail.”

And, this one is indeed missing some. Like Kari Byron for example. Morgan Webb. Olivia Munn. Still & all, it’s a good starting point; Mila Kunis is certainly easy on the eyes.

Kate Beckinsale is an interesting item to have on here. Never really thought of her as a sexy-nerd type, she’s more of a glamor-queen. She’s made now, what, two movies about angst-ridden, leather-wearing, ultra-hip vampires? This makes a girl a sexy-nerd…ah, I think we’re having an Inigo Montoya moment.

Besides, I don’t think too highly of the angst-ridden leather-wearing vampire genre. About time for that one to retire, methinks. It’s Item #9 on my own list of things I never want to see in movies again.

Others on the list, of which I’ve never heard…well…most of ‘em. I’m gettin’ old, I s’pose. That’s it for my reactions. FARK reactions are here.

Dave Barry Year in Review 2009

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

It’s finally up.

It was a year of Hope — at first in the sense of “I feel hopeful!” and later in the sense of “I hope this year ends soon!”

It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result, Washington, rejecting “business as usual,” finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at it, and instead started trying to solve every problem by throwing trillions of taxpayer dollars at it.
:
The No. 1 item on the agenda is fixing the economy, so the new administration immediately sets about the daunting task of trying to nominate somebody — anybody — to a high-level government post who actually remembered to pay his or her taxes. Among those who forgot this pesky chore is [President] Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, who sheepishly admits that he failed to pay $35,000 in federal self-employment taxes. He says that the error was a result of his using TurboTax, which he also blames for his involvement in an eight-state spree of bank robberies. He is confirmed after the Obama administration explains that it inherited the U.S. Tax Code from the Bush administration.

You sure you want to read this? Kinda like living it all over again huh?

Where Americans Aren’t Moving

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

They’re the blue states where liberals run everything.

Shocked?

Napolitano: “The System Worked”

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Ace of Spades:

The words coming out of her mouth have no relation to anything close to reality.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the thwarting of the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit airline flight Christmas Day demonstrated that “the system worked.”

Asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union” how that could be possible when the young Nigerian who has been charged with trying to set off the bomb was able to smuggle explosive liquid onto the jet, Napolitano responded: “We’re asking the same questions.”

Mind-boggling, especially in view of this.

Someone explain to me again how the adults are in charge now.

Update: Jonah Goldberg can’t see any excuse. He says to can her, period, full stop, right now.

Update: Bookworm deconstructs, Cassy adroitly summarizes the administration’s bizarre handling of this incident and Gerard photoshops.

Update: Something going on in Nigeria? Another passenger from there is disruptive.

Update: Congressmen King and Hoekstra don’t seem to be in agreement on this part about the system working (hat tip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air):

King, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, also said that the Obama administration hasn’t done enough in raising awareness of the risks of Islamic terrorism – a point echoed by his House Republican colleague, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.).

“It’s important for the president or the secretary to be more out there and reminding people just how real this threat was and how deadly it is,” Kind said. “For the first three months of this administration, they refused to use the word terrorism.”

“This is a teaching moment,” he went on. “I believe he or the secretary or the vice president or the attorney general should be out there reminding the American people that this shows how deadly this enemy is, this shows how real this threat is, and how we have to do whatever we can to protect the American people.”

Update 12/28/09: The Secretary is backpedaling like crazy, says her comments were “taken out of context.” Yeah she’s playin’ that card. Video behind the link.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace: Brutal Review

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Fourth Check Raise gets the hat tip on this. Some naughty language.

He forgot the big one (although he brushed up against it in certain places in the seventy minutes): Necessity. Nothing in the plot was necessary, for anything. It wasn’t necessary to leave Naboo, it wasn’t necessary to go back, it wasn’t necessary to bring Jar Jar Binks along to get through the Planet Core, it wasn’t necessary to file a no-confidence motion against Chancellor Finis Valorum, it wasn’t necessary for Padme Amidala to sign a treaty, it wasn’t necessary to enter the pod race.

Well alright, it was necessary to enter the pod race. But there was no suspense involved in that one at all. The audience was given no time to ponder to themselves “yikes, what are our heroes going to do about this problem?” Not like…Han and Luke wondering how they’re going to go about rescuing the Princess…or Han, Luke and Leia wondering how they’re going to make it to the Millenium Falcon with all those stormtroopers surrounding it.

This goes back to the guy’s very first complaint: It doesn’t have a protagonist. That’s the definition. Protagonist = “I want to do this thing, how am I going to do it?” Antagonist = “I want to stop that guy from doing this thing.”

On the plus side of things, I disagree with the caustic, prostitute-murdering critic about the lightsaber fighting. This was unbelievably cool, I thought. And with “conventional” sword fighting, it wouldn’t work; this was strictly Jedi choreography. The Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan/Maul three-way? Nobody cared about that? You kiddin’?

Six Government Projects for a Faster Recovery

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Andy Kessler’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:

The House has passed a $154 billion jobs bill, and the administration has announced a plan to spend $50 billion of repaid TARP money to “create” jobs—this time its green jobs, “shovel ready” infrastructure projects ($27.5 billion for highway construction and repair) and a tax credit for small businesses.

More infrastructure? Recycling Great Depression-era projects is lame. My advice? Put down that shovel! It’s time to try something else.

We’re in a knowledge economy now; we use high-tech tools to efficiently and effectively design, make, market and sell. Building roads and bridges willy-nilly won’t make us more productive; and without increases in productivity and the associated corporate profits, there can be no sustainable job creation, no increase in standards of living, and no real economic recovery.

Given that real tax cuts are off the table and a new stimulus (even if it isn’t called that) is inevitable, the best we can hope for is to use the power of the government to clear a path that private enterprise can’t, via one-off projects that end and disband. Stop thinking concrete and massive construction projects. Think small—photons, electrons and proteins.

He continues with six ideas…creative, promising, business-friendly ideas. Ideas that would make business, as well as everyday tasks like education, more effective and more efficient. They get back to that old pre-Obama paradigm of “do more with less.” Remember that? It treated us pretty well while we were treating it well.

Rush Limbaugh had another idea. School textbooks are currently loaded with lies about “climate change,” and someone needs to go through them all and correct them in the wake of ClimateGate.

I’m sure we can all think of some more ideas if we really try.

Did Tom Coburn Wish Robert Byrd Dead?

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

No need to ask Dana Milbank…or for that matter, his critic Ann Coulter.

Irritated at the bumps on the road to the Democrats’ Thousand-Year Reich, liberals are now claiming that Republican Sen. Tom Coburn requested a prayer for the death of Sen. Bob Byrd during the health care debate last Saturday night.

Here is what Coburn actually said: “What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.”

After reporting Coburn’s remark, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank added: “It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.).”

Contrary to Milbank’s claim, I find it extremely easy to get away from that conclusion. In fact, I’m a regular Houdini when it comes to that conclusion. That conclusion couldn’t hold me for a second.

There are a million ways a senator could miss a vote, other than by dying. Ask Patrick Kennedy. At 1 a.m. on a Sunday night in the middle of a historic blizzard in the nation’s capital, I don’t think the first thing that came to anyone’s mind was death. More likely it was: “Last call.”

I’m confused. I thought when you find it desirable to call out the less desirable aspects of new legislation…PATRIOT Act, ObamaCare…it was execrable for others to leap to the conclusion that your motives were nefarious, or even anything less than pristine. Unpatriotic…wanting Robert Byrd to be dead. I thought it was an obligation everyone else had to presume the very best and noblest of intentions out of you. Did something change?

Or is it yet another double-standard, just another way to leave the most left-wing ideas unchallenged — the only way they can survive — and inflict death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts on all other ideas. Is that the end goal, and however you manage to get there…is just however you manage to get there.

T and U

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Torrey DeVitto, bested a couple weeks ago in a head-to-head against Scarlett Johansson.

Bollywood superstar Urmila Matadonkar.

I like Urmila. In fact, for the Wonder Woman live-action film, she’d be on my short-list. Sure you could say her nose isn’t shaped “right”…but I think it’s perfect. Amazon means — someone living on an island off the shores of Greece, right? That, and an awesome way to avoid shopping malls. Exotic beauty. Trying, and failing, and trying again ot make a home for herself in modern America. Urmila would be great for that.

Bu-u-u-ut…in tonight’s match-up, I’m afraid Torrey wins. In my opinion anyway. We’ll see how the Bollywood beauty does next week.

Northwest/Delta Flight 253

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

American Thinker may have the best article up about this, and they definitely have the best lead-in I’ve seen so far (hat tip to PalinTwibe‘s twitter feed):

The passengers of Northwest/Delta Airlines Flight 253 are lucky they are still alive. They should be the last passengers in the US exposed to this kind of risk because of political correctness.

Update: I first learned about Jasper Schuringa at Blogger Friend Rick’s page, and it looks like a lot of other folks first learned about him there as well. Congratulations to our friend for the scoop.

Jasper Schuringa, a video director and producer from Amsterdam, told CNN how he helped the cabin crew to subdue Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old who reportedly ignited a small explosive device on board the plane Friday as it prepared to land in Detroit.

Thanks also from Amsterdam’s acting Prime Minister:

According to the Dutch newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, the Acting Dutch Prime Minister Wouter Bos today thanked Dutch video director and producer from Amsterdam, Jasper Schuringa, for his actions aboard the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Bos thanked Schuringa on behalf of the Dutch Cabinet for the role he played in subduing the alleged terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and possibly preventing a tragedy.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has video:

Boxing Day, 2009

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Have to jump out the door real quick and go get all the stuff I really wanted.

Image from here.