Archive for July, 2010
Anne Rice, founder of the sparkly-vampire craze of the naughty-aughties, is no longer Christian.
The “Interview With The Vampire” author, who in recent years has spoken publicly about her faith and written a series of novels tracing the life of Jesus, wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday that she was finished with organized Christianity.
For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outside. My conscience will allow nothing else.
She followed that post a few minutes later with more details:
As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
As far as I’m concerned, she can believe what she likes. But there are two things about this that cheese me off…outside of the ugly, false slander against Christianity.
One, she’s a revolving-door-slammer. And I think you know perfectly well what I mean by that. “I’m out” means a cessation of interest, and I would expect so accomplished a writer to string together some words more in keeping with her true sentiment. She’s not out. She seeks to use shame to shape and mold something into her way of thinking.
Our world would be a much more tranquil place if everyone who applied the rhetorical flourish of the Grand Exit, could be somehow required to adhere to it. And stay out.
The other thing I don’t like is that it reminds me of Meghan McCain. Yes, I’m comparing a literary giant to a bubble head. Because it fits. Anne Rice is doing to Christianity precisely what McCain has been doing to the Republican party.
Just think this out: You have an institution. Someone like Anne Rice or Meghan McCain wants to join it…maybe they do and maybe they don’t…and a situation develops because you have already figured out your institution relies on A, and A cannot exist with B. Therefore, your continuing existence relies on an intolerance toward B.
Now, that is almost certainly a matter of opinion. And your tradition of excluding B might even be wrong, if your premise that A and B are mutually exclusive, happens to be incorrect.
But my point is, whether this interloper acts consciously as a destructive agent or not, they are still destructive. It is a destructive thing to say “I love this thing over here and want to be part of it…I think it’s just adorable…and so it disappoints me when it doesn’t tolerate everything like I think it should.” To require an object to tolerate everything, even things that are injurious to it, is destructive to that object. It really doesn’t matter if the destruction is intended or not. Everything cannot tolerate everything. That’s just the way the universe works.
I see my Rice/McCain analogy continues to work when one considers what exactly the point of contention is: Homosexuality. The author and the socialite pipsqueek, both desperately want to be part of something, but their consciences will not permit it because they want more tolerance shown to homosexuals.
Well in Anne Rice’s case, the logical error is the one committed by the blind men feeling up the elephant. She’s ticked at some guy named Bradlee Dean, and has decided his views are representative of all of Christianity.
So working from the same logic, I could say all homosexuals and their sympathizers want to arrest and imprison anyone who will not support their agenda, as they did with Dale McAlpine. That is not the case, of course. The world’s a big place. There are homosexuals, and homosexual-rights advocates, who aren’t going to support the hate speech laws; and even the ones who do, will typically acknowledge something is terribly wrong when you can be arrested for providing your opinion, or your interpretation of scripture, to someone who specifically asked. In short, my extrapolation would be bigoted. It would be ignorant. It would be precisely what Anne Rice did here.
To dictate to an institution what it should tolerate, and deny it the God-given right to figure out for itself what is & is not compatible with it, is to ultimately destroy it. I don’t think Rice’s intention is to destroy Christianity; not on purpose. But she does intend to re-shape it to her liking.
She doesn’t intend to leave it. That’s just a dramatic license, to give more punch to her message. If there was substance to it, she would have done it more quietly.
The way she was…
See what I mean? Even when she was flubbing her lines, there was something about her. I can’t think of the word for it and there’s no use flailing around for it, since I already have my own “Script Girl” who has loads of this whatever it is. But the new girl, up top, doesn’t have it.
She’s too generic. Like she was pulled out of a big warehouse full of pretty things, each one just as suitable for the task at hand as the next. Not much personality there.
Oh well. Keep watching the space. Maybe the old one will come back.
Man, this really isn’t good. Wonder Woman in long pants, Script Girl becomes a generic perky weather girl.
Something tells me this afternoon’s entertainment is going to involve fresh air, shooting something with a gun, and lunch at a Hooter’s restaurant.
Melissa Clouthier put this up at Liberty Pundits blog. Miss this one, you miss a lot…even if you’re a lefty. This should be required reading if you’re a lefty. Might save your sanity.
A leftist has all the panicked mission of a person struggling to Change The World Or Else. So, every generation has had a pseudo-religious substitute whether it be the next Ice Age, Ebola, HIV, or now, Global Warming aka Climate Change aka Gaia be pissed.
When it all depends on you, the anxiety must be nearly impossible to bear. And then, when the leftist has it all–all branches of government–in their very grasp; and for the elected officials to fail at stopping war and famine and general unfairness and badness, it’s so defeating and misery-inducing.
The biggest hippie dream came to fruition with Barack Obama and guess what? He’s in bed with corporations. He acts like a war-monger. He refused to ensure the public option, aka socialized medicine.
Sad part is, for them at least, right now, this moment, is the pinnacle for like forever. They worked for a generation to achieve this win. They have the most liberal president in ages, who has set America on the road to the kind of socialism most only dreamed of, and it’s not enough.
So yeah, miserable.
Just from sharing the experience of being human with liberals and conservatives, it seems to me if there’s one thing everybody has in common it is this: The impulse to come up with a fix when you see something is busted. I think we all have this. Even the lazy people who never do anything; I believe they’ve got the glimmering of an idea of what needs to be done, they’re just waiting for someone to come along and do it for them.
What makes the conservative mind a more practical fit for an increasingly complicated world, is that after this plan has germinated and is in a state of growth, it is kept pliable. The conservative’s query is one of “Wouldn’t something like this do the trick? What am I missing here?” Reality, invited, comes swaggering into the conservative’s idea just like a bull in a china shop. And the conservative learns. This is all expected.
The liberal plan, on the other hand, crystallizes before implementation. What’s that?? No!! You shouldn’t have to do that!! Because what?? What?? No!! Why are you doing that?? Well, that shouldn’t happen!! They shouldn’t want it!! What?? Why do they think they want that?? No!!
It gets back to a quote from one of their own economic heroes, John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Is there anyone, anywhere, of any ideological stripe at all, who can forcefully argue the Obama administration has been a decent example of this way of thinking? Is there a great abundance of examples of the administration changing its mind when the facts changed?
Before Melissa got to her point, though, she quoted from a lefty friend of hers. In my opinion she would have done well to grant this a bit more weight. Perhaps she is right that there is more to add at the end of this, but that’s always going to be the case. To me, an explanation that stopped at the end of what follows would have been, if not complete, adequate for the moment and thought-provoking too.
…because conservatives cast a more skeptical eye toward human nature, they are much more willing to simply say, “Life isn’t fair – deal with it.” Conservatives get frustrated just like anyone else, but it’s been my experience that they are, on balance, better able to vent their anger, let it go, and move forward. Their skepticism of human nature allows them to possess and sustain a cultivated awareness of life’s difficulties, which then enables them to develop a tougher and more resilient attitude to life. It’s not cold – surely not to conservatives themselves – but merely a steely defense mechanism, a necessary survival tool that liberals would do well to cultivate on a more consistent basis. Lefties aren’t as ready to admit that life isn’t fair; we want to make life fairer! [emphasis in original]
This is an Architect/Medicator split. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: These people I call “Architects,” by which I mean the people who think like Architects, have it in common that when they’re working on something there is some kind of a line drawn around whatever it is. The work exists within a perimeter. The train model sits on a tabletop. The engineering drawing is taped to a drafting table. The software solution is “checked in” to a repository that sits on the network and there is a group with privileges to check it out. This is a forever-thing; it is a situation that exists outside of the subject matter, it is timeless. It is a prerequisite for the control they have over the work they do.
They are doing work with some delicacy to it, that relies on an environment. And to control an environment, you first have to establish its scope.
Liberals run into the same frustration I see visited upon the heads of Medicators, because at heart that is what liberals are. And the Medicator’s cross to bear is that, without a perimeter, they have to become vexed and piqued the instant they learn about something that should not be happening.
This observation of mine has a lot of overlap with the observation of Melissa’s, her “everything depends on you” insight. But this global-scope I’m calling out, is subtly different. Imagine a worldview that makes frustration possible, or likely, every single time your feet carry you out of one valley and into another. Further angst becomes a real likelihood every single time a hilltop summit is crossed.
What one mindset seeks to do with an acre, is precisely what the other mindset seeks to do with the universe. Dissatisfaction becomes a constant companion, until such time as ignorance and immobility displace it as the new constant companions. Only then is everlasting bliss possible, when the protagonist is reduced to a stationary, fetal posture.
Shrewd readers will notice this is the polar opposite of the condition liberals started out wishing to embrace. They must unavoidably become the antithesis of what they wanted to be. They are learning people, finding out the hard way the virtue of the project-scope; they are liberals because they haven’t had their flash of insight about this just yet.
Update: One of them came along, yesterday morning, and apparently bumped into the cross-posting of the Racism Test over at Cassy Fiano’s place. This person didn’t particularly cotton to negative sentiments expressed against His Holiness, and felt entitled to presume all kinds of things about anyone who would deign to such an utterance…so s/he let me have it with both barrels.
You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.
You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.
You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.
You didn’t get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.
You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.
You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown.
You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.
You finally got mad when.. when… wait for it… when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all ok with you but helping other Americans… well f*ck that. That about right? You know it is.
What makes this germane to the subject at hand, is my response.
…[I]t’s clear you have a class of people in mind whose priorities/value systems leave you less than thrilled. Now, with a name like globalpeace it seems likely…perhaps undeniable…you have some plan in mind, or know someone who has a plan in mind, that is to be implemented with influence upon everybody. All of us, all over the globe. The globe which is home to those of us who are obviously ticking you off.
What exactly is it that you plan to do with us?
This is a train of thought that leads to dark and ominous places.
I think we should leave that for later, and wish Cassy a joyous 26th birthday.
Dennis Prager. This one has a couple of weeks of dust on it, just got it in the e-mails today.
If every school principal gave this speech at the beginning of the next school year, America would be a better place.
To the students and faculty of our high school:
I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.
I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.
First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships.
The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity — your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American. This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans.
If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity-, race- and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values — e pluribus unum, “from many, one.” And this school will be guided by America’s values.
Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly took aim at “unmarried women” at a recent fundraiser and in an interview with TPM, saying that they overwhelmingly support President Obama and are all on welfare. Democrats aim to exploit the comments to pressure the more than 60 Republican candidates who have earned Schlafly’s endorsement.
“Unmarried women, 70% of unmarried women, voted for Obama, and this is because when you kick your husband out, you’ve got to have big brother government to be your provider,” said Schlafly, president of Eagle Forum and infamous for her opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment.
It is revealed in the audio, although not in TPM’s article, that Schlafly had a coherent point to make about this. Side note: Hey TPM, do you realize that under our new Shirley Sherrod standard, this means you can be sued?
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Schlafly’s point is just one that intelligent and observant people have been noticing for a very long time now.
The democrat party has positioned itself as a savior for people who are in desperate situations. And so — as you might logically expect — their strategies have evolved into ways to make people more desperate…and to make more people that desperate.
Yes, Schlafly should apologize. She should say “I’m sorry I ‘singled out’ — no pun intended — the single moms. They are, as I noted at the time, most statistically significant to Obama’s victory, but the problem is so much bigger than them. Other people on welfare, for starters. The illegal aliens who shouldn’t be voting in the first place. All those people who would rather be gainfully employed who had their jobs taken away by Obama’s policies. Even the banks! The banks who now depend on government largess to keep from folding, the automakers, the car dealers. The dependency, the addiction to paternalistic government, it’s everywhere. Our country decided two years ago it wanted hope and change, and now we see what that is and there’s nothing hopeful about it.”
Something like that.
So let me get this straight democrats. You want to stigmatize and scandalize the Republicans for putting forward the appearance of making a plan to stop this? This is going to make all of America really angry with them, huh?
Go to town. Do it. Can’t wait to watch it happen.
Mike Grimm, a G.O.P challenger for Mike McMahon’s Congressional seat, took in over $200,000 in his last filing.
But in an effort to show that Grimm lacks support among voters in the district, which covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, the McMahon campaign compiled a list of Jewish donors to Grimm and provided it to The Politicker.
The file, labeled “Grimm Jewish Money Q2,” for the second quarter fundraising period, shows a list of over 80 names, a half-dozen of which in fact do hail from Staten Island, and a handful of others that list Brooklyn as home.
“Where is Grimm’s money coming from,” said Jennifer Nelson, McMahon’s campaign spokeman. “There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees.”
As a point of comparison, the campaign also provided in-district and out-of-district fundraising totals from McMahon and Grimm’s G.O.P primary opponent, Michael Allegretti. However, they did not provide an out-of-district campaign filing from Grimm, but only a file of Jewish donors to him.
Nelson said that the list was compiled by the campaign’s finance director, Debra Solomon and that she did not know exactly how the finance team knew who was Jewish and who was not.
“She herself is Jewish so she knows a lot of people in that community,” Nelson said.
++ BLINK ++
Not to worry, Jennifer Nelson has been fired. I’m sure that’s Andrew Breitbart’s fault.
“These comments were entirely inappropriate and there is no place for this kind of behavior. I was outraged by these unfortunate remarks which were unauthorized and are in no way indicative of my beliefs or of my campaign,” said Congressman Michael E. McMahon. “I am proud to represent an incredibly diverse community and to enjoy an incredibly diverse base of support. Any comments that could serve to divide our community along religious or ethnic lines have no place in our community or my campaign. I sincerely apologize for her comments, and as she has since been terminated from our campaign, there will be no such incidents in the future.”
I’m still not sure which political party it is from which McMahon hails; I’ll try to find that out. Whichever one it is, I call upon them to work to purge the ugly anti-Semitic nastiness in their midst.
Frank J. Tipler writes at Men’s News Daily:
“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” is how the great Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman defined science in his article “What is Science?” Feynman emphasized this definition by repeating it in a stand-alone sentence in extra large typeface in his article.
Immediately after his definition of science, Feynman wrote: “When someone says, ‘Science teaches such and such,’ he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, ‘Science has shown such and such,’ you should ask, ‘How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?’ It should not be ‘science has shown.’ And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but be patient and listen to all the evidence) to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.”
And I say, Amen. Notice that “you” is the average person. You have the right to hear the evidence, and you have the right to judge whether the evidence supports the conclusion. We now use the phrase “scientific consensus,” or “peer review,” rather than “science has shown.” By whatever name, the idea is balderdash. Feynman was absolutely correct.
When the attorney general of Virginia sued to force Michael Mann of “hockey stick” fame to provide the raw data he used, and the complete computer program used to analyze the data, so that “you” could decide, the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia declared this request — Feynman’s request — to be an outrage. You peons, the Faculty Senate decreed, must simply accept the conclusions of any “scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer review standards.” Feynman’s — and the attorney general’s and my own and other scientists’ — request for the raw data, so we can “judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at,” would, according to the Faculty Senate, “send a chilling message to scientists…and indeed scholars in any discipline.”
According the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia, “science,” and indeed “scholarship” in general, is no longer an attempt to establish truth by replicable experiment, or by looking at evidence that can be checked by anyone. “Truth” is now to be established by the decree of powerful authority, by “peer review.” Wasn’t the whole point of the Enlightenment to avoid exactly this?
We’ve sometimes referred, here, to a logical fallacy we have given the name of “Malcolm Forbes’ Demise.” Back when the balloon-riding mogul assumed room temperature, we happened to have read about it first in some trashy tabloid (reading the cover while waiting to pay for our groceries, of course). Now, 1990 being well before the maturity of the Internet as we know it today, and at the time not really caring about it too much, it was some time before we learned of this from any other source. So pretending for the moment we were forced to rely on a tabloid magazine — if we were to try to arrive at a “scientific” hypothesis about Mr. Forbes’ health, and engage in this “peer review” process done by “science,” the first step would of course be to establish the level of credibility of these trash-tabs. It’s very low, of course. And from that we would then have to conclude, tentatively, that Forbes is alive and well until we hear differently from a more reliable source.
According to the methods we are told are sound, that’s only reasonable!
A man of genuine logic and reason, on the other hand, would ask himself how likely it is that the evidence in hand would arrive, were there no truth behind the statement. Well, a better source would be desirable, for sure. But our exercise, being one of deriving conclusions from facts, rather than of gathering the facts, says we are deprived of that…so in the absence of that, would the rag print up the headline if Malcolm Forbes was not dead? The potential for this is peripheral at best. Would you bet money that Forbes is alive? Or that he’s dead? Use your common sense. He’s probably dead.
It seems a piddling distinction to make. And when you have the luxury of demanding information out of Google on a whim, it does become mostly meaningless. But all human affairs are not scrutinized by the robots of Google. So “consider the source” remains good advice, but that’s all it is. It doesn’t decide the entire question. This is a mistake commonly made by esteemed experts in the scientific community, as well as by us “peons.”
Another way we’ve been putting it: If someone known to you to possess appealing attributes says something that is known to be false, how do you react? How about if someone known to you to possess harmful attributes, says something known to be true? Does it then become untrue? What if the “knowns” are not entirely known, but mostly-known?
I lately made the acquaintance of another blogger. “Made the acquaintance of” means “got into a big ol’ cyber-dustup S.I.W.O.T.I. (Someone Is Wrong On The Innernets) argument with.” Late in the exchange I had noticed our real disagreement wasn’t with regard to the facts, or the conclusions to be reached from them, but rather with the method used for deriving conclusions from facts. You see, he had come off a very intoxicating high, having successfully bullied all sorts of folks to stop looking at something, and I kept looking at it. So he started telling half-truths about the study being recanted, which turned out not to be true; then, all other approaches having been exhausted, he started having an electronic hissy-fit trying to get me to ignore what he wanted me to ignore.
Noting that what the study purported to prove wasn’t even anything outside the realm of agreement between the two sides, I made this observation:
Your blog is fascinated with, and named after, a canard that was started (unintentionally) by H.L. Mencken; mine is fascinated with, and named after, an ancient library administrator who figured out the size of the Earth. So you’re sort of a “Bizarro Eratosthenes” from an anti-matter universe: Instead of encouraging people to look at things, you’re encouraging them to look away. I’m a software engineer, and from your comments it appears you are a (failed?) lawyer.
It’s the “fruit of the poisoned tree” doctrine. Cop illegally enters my apartment and catches me building a bomb, or torturing my kidnapped toddler, or writing a confession in my diary about having murdered somebody — and the law has to pretend it never happened. Yes, I know the doctrine is refined across time and it’s a good deal more complex than this, but the fundamental principle remains: We are to allow our lawyers to decide for us what “truth” is, and they are to instruct us to disregard big chunks of real truth.
There is a skill involved in this, and it is a learned skill passed down through the generations from parent to child. Today it is all but extinct: Isolating a claim from those who make it and argue about it, focusing only on the claim, exerting one’s mental energies toward figuring out if there’s truth to it or not.
Our overly-mature society has lost this. We look to the “experts” to figure it out for us, and trust them implicitly even in situations where we have no idea who they are, let alone what their agenda might be. Much of the erosion has been relatively recent. I trace it to the early 1960’s, to mid 1950’s; the Warren Court had transformed the “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree” doctrine into an iron fisted jurisprudence requiring judicial and enforcement officials of the law to pretend false things were true and true things were false.
The good news is that we always have the potential within us for a revival. It is interwoven into our DNA. If you’re about to crawl under a car, you will automatically become a highly skilled philosopher, dedicated to love of wisdom and love of truth, as you set about the task of figuring out if the jack stand is worthy of your trust. We rekindle this spirit by doing work, and we rekindle it quickly, forcefully, keenly, by doing dangerous work.
We allow it to atrophy when we shirk our responsibilities, when we become comfy, when we allow our existences to whither and shrivel into these little menageries of iPods, iced coffee drinks and video games. That is when we curl up into a fetal position and look for someone else to tell us what truth is. That is when we stop peeking into water wells, imploring our aristocrats, our superiors, our overseers, to form their communities and publish their papers and define their collectives.
You see, “peer review” is actually a misnomer. A peer is a relative term, applied to someone who possesses equal stature. This is a process for declaring communities of demigods, to stand over us and give us orders about what to think, to strip us of our God-given autonomy, independence, masculinity and resolve.
Hat tip to blogger friend Rick.
Greg Plum has gotten hold of a memo from the DCCC leadership that says no. No matter how bad our product is, there’s no revolution coming.
Republicans will need to win 39 seats to take back the House. Democrats will win at least four Republican seats (the best opportunities include: LA-02, HI-01, IL-10, DE-AL, FL-25). As a result, the real number of seats Republicans will have to pick up to win a majority is at least 43. To win 43 seats, the NRCC would need to put 70 to 80 seats in play. The NRCC have simply not put that many Republicans seats in play and do not have the resources or caliber of candidates to do so.
They still have a lot to worry about, IMO. Exhibit A: They’re worried! Now, why are they worried? Supposedly we had a revolution back in ’08, and put some wise, benevolent spiritual leaders in place who have been toppling the old ways and erecting a government that works for “everybody.” The Death Star is all exploded and there’s nothing left to do but dance with the Ewoks on the Endor forest moon.
How could we ever back away from that? Who’d want to? If the policies are the best ones that work “for everybody.”
Well, it seems there is a feeling in the air that the Obama delivery is not equal to the Obama promise:
Last month Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Fed, warned America that without more care being taken it could have a Greece-style debt problem. The president seemed to regard this warning as so self-evidently absurd that he quickly asked Congress for another $50 billion for various social projects. Last week, benefits for the long-term unemployed were extended for another six months at a cost of $34 billion. The health care programme is forecast to cost at least $863 billion. The total deficit this year is to be $1.47 trillion. America’s debt is likely to be $18.5 trillion by 2020, though it will be so low as that only if growth is maintained at 4 per cent: it is currently 3 per cent, and rocky.
Unemployment is 9.5 per cent and forecast to stay there for the time being. There are three million more jobless than when Mr Obama came to power, and unemployment among teenagers is around 25 per cent. The very constituencies to which he made his greatest appeal – the young and the disadvantaged – still suffer. This is despite the $787 billion stimulus programme last year, much of which was sucked into America’s corrupt and inefficient local government system, or did favours for congressmen and senators, or provided wonderful pay days for trade unionists, or in some cases all three at once. The President sought the stimulus on the grounds that it would stop unemployment rising above 8 per cent; so that has been an expensive failure. All Mr Obama appears to have done is wave the money goodbye. Last week, trying not to sound provoked, Mr Bernanke announced that there was “unusual uncertainty” about economic recovery. The dollar fell against sterling and even the euro.
Mr Bernanke wants a renewal of Bush-era tax cuts for people earning over $250,000 a year, which are due to expire on December 31. So do many Democrats, who fear that removing incentives and purchasing power from the better-off will harm recovery by reducing consumption and employment. These are arguments familiar from Britain, about the equally damaging and pointless 50 per cent rate. The response, by Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary, is familiar too – the “rich” must take their share of the burden. It is equally specious here; the political importance of bashing the (presumably Republican) wealthy plainly exceeds what is good for the US economy.
What we’re seeing is not so much a discredit to liberal politics, or Mr. Obama, or Keynesian economics — but rather to the idea that government needs to be in the equalization business. Remember the comments to Joe the Plumber? “I just think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”?
Government cannot do this because government doesn’t have an off switch. It inherently lacks the ability to say “Okay that’s it, you’re not a bad dude anymore because you’ve paid your fair share. You’re not rich anymore, you’re no longer evil, we’ve hired enough women that men no longer enjoy an opprobrious statistical advantage, we can stop subtracting test points from Asian students now.”
The task of equalizing something carries with it an implicit expectation of the ability to monitor; to measure. The story of “civilized” governments identifying specific demographics for a run of gettin’-even-with-em-ism, is much older than the American republic herself. This monitoring, spotting, declaring the equalization to be all fine & good mission-accomplished, is something that has never taken place. In short: All we’ve seen these governments do is identify good guys and bad guys. Assume a comfortable position and let the pummeling begin.
I remember from thirty-two years ago that this is how Carter lost his job. It wasn’t a fiery rage, and it isn’t that in the here & now, against Obama. At least, the feelings are not nearly as inflamed as they were four years ago against George Bush, on the other side.
Rather, there’s just a muted, but palpable, feeling of what can best be described as fatigue. The shopping spree is over. We can’t afford any more of it. And maybe the reason we can’t afford any more of it isn’t quite so much that it’s an overindulgence of a good thing…but that it was just a stupid idea from the very start. We’re waking up. Believing in ourselves. It’s always the first step to really solving a problem, you know.
And you can’t support Obama if you believe in yourself. He’s worked hard for a long time to make Himself the perfect walking incarnation of paternalistic government, the feeling of co-dependency that goes with it, helplessness, and truckloads and truckloads of guilt.
Time to move on.
Blogger friend Phil relates a tale about the Thriller From Wasiller:
Had a conversation with a woman at work today. Apparently she forgot my answer the first time she asked several months ago, but she asked “why is there a picture of Sarah Palin on your wall?”
I’m a supporter, I told her. She couldn’t believe it…[She] says she’s not into politics at all and she never voted before she got married…but now she does…get this…to cancel her husband’s vote.
She said “I won’t send you my cartoon of her then. You wouldn’t appreciate it.” Then she described it to me. It said something about we didn’t go through X number of years of women’s suffrage to put Sarah Palin in the White House.
I said “I don’t get it, anyway. Is it because if she doesn’t agree with you then she’s not a real woman?” She looked puzzled for a second and replied “Let me think of another way to put it.” and fumbled around for a few seconds.
I said “You can’t, because that’s exactly what they meant.”
What it really, of course, boils down [to] is that [Palin] doesn’t believe in abortion as birth control, she doesn’t sound like most people they know, and she’s way too pretty — and she’s everything women’s suffrage was really about (she was the Governor of a State for crying out loud!) and that pisses them off. She’s supposed to be agnostic…demand a woman’s right to kill her baby at any point during a pregnancy, think that being a wife and a mother is somehow a form of slavery…oh, and she’s supposed to look like Helen Thomas.
I’ve had my own experience dealing with these bitter, crusty females. who are part of the Palin Hater Brigade. And my experiences lead me to believe that last item in Phil’s list is the most important one.
It isn’t political ideology. Not quite so much. Think about it…a man who is aspiring for high public office, or has maybe achieved it, holds opinions about things that do not like. How do they feel about this? If that man is George W. Bush and they happen to be really excited about liberal politics, maybe they’ll launch their blood pressure into the stratosphere at the mention of his name, just as they do at the mention of Palin’s. But other than that, no. If they’re not that much into politics, just leaning left, receiving the newsletters from the DNC at home, feeling somewhat strongly about “woman’s right to choose” but regretting that abortion has to happen anyway…just another white straight conservative Christian male isn’t going to launch them into a frenzy. He’ll just be a dick, as far as they’re concerned. He will be a mild irritation. He won’t turn their faces purple. He won’t make veins stick out of their necks. He won’t send them into a sputtering fit.
Not like Sarah Palin.
In fact, I venture to guess given enough time, I can find a few conservative, Christian, Republican people who agree with Sarah Palin…I’m talking here about women, mind you…who are just as angry with her as the Birkenstock-wearing liberal hippie flower-child women. Angry over nothing. Political opinions have very little to do with this.
There is a large, and perhaps still growing, contingent of mostly females who believe it’s quite alright for some among their sisters to be prettier than they are. And more powerful. Just not both.
Our current President has had an opportunity to nominate replacements for, what, two Supreme Court vacancies now? And both nominees are ugly toad-like women. You only have to analyze the statistics so long before there is an ugly truth revealed to you: Someone is being satisfied with this unbroken trend. It has to be the case. If you sent me out to find women this homely and unappealing, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I wouldn’t know how to start. Two out of two of our vacant seats on the Supreme Court have to go to homely women? This is what “best qualified” looks like, huh. Yeah. Tell me another.
It shouldn’t come as news to anybody who’s been around the block, that women are jealous creatures. My theory about this is that there is a curvalinear relationship. It’s rather like children pushing miniaturized shopper-in-training grocery carts when you run in to the store to buy a gallon of milk: Two unattended children pushing these wagons from hell into your ankles, are together four times as obnoxious as just one. Three such children would leave your ankles nine times as bruised.
My thinking is that among women reviewing the situation, another woman who possesses both authority and beauty is like mixing the rocket fuel and liquid oxygen together. The situation becomes much more explosive than it would be if she had one of these qualities but was missing the other.
There’s a code-of-honor taking place to reinforce this, which Palin is violating it seems. And for better or for worse, it seems this leaves me without other data points I can use to test my theory — I don’t know of any other women accepting or pursuiing positions of real authority, who are gorgeous and strutting around. So I cannot make a comparison there. But I can make a comparison to men. There is something going on with the fellas.
They have a different curve. Like I said over at Phil’s place:
Males, on the liberal side of the fence, can be as pretty or as homely as they like. It does seem that if you want to run for President, you have to be somewhat pleasing to the eye. Henry Waxman won’t be running for President.
So with real power, among liberals, men have to be at least as handsome as John Kerry, and women have to be at least as homely looking as Hillary. Outside of that, you need to accept some constraints on your power, as must we all really. Unless you are in a position to provide indeterminate benefit to the progressive cause, like Barry & His pals. Then, you can be a sultan, with a nation assembled solely for your pleasure. Tell the lesser mortals to conserve on their carbon emissions and vacation in the gulf, then take off for Maine, with your family dog in a separate jet. The sky’s the limit. It’s all good.
Now let’s just get one thing clear here: I cannot explain any of this. I’m just making observations, gathering data, plotting points, trying to make sense of it all. You’ll have to look to our collectivist-minded and our left-wingers to figure out what’s really going on here.
But I do think we should get it straight who’s keeping women under a “glass ceiling” here. It isn’t the political right. And it isn’t men, for the most part.
Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal:
President Obama’s Inaugural was a hopeful day, with an estimated 1.8 million people on the National Mall celebrating the election of America’s first African-American president. The level of enthusiasm, the anticipation and the promise of something better could not have been more palpable.
And yet, it has not been realized. Not at all.
Rather than being a unifier, Mr. Obama has divided America on the basis of race, class and partisanship. Moreover, his cynical approach to governance has encouraged his allies to pursue a similar strategy of racially divisive politics on his behalf.
The first hint that as president Mr. Obama would be willing to interject race into the political dialogue came last July, when he jumped to conclusions about the confrontation between Harvard Prof. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates and the Cambridge police.
During a press conference, the president said that the “Cambridge police acted stupidly,” and he went on to link the arrest with the “long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”
In truth, the Gates incident appears to have had nothing to do with race—a Cambridge review committee that investigated the incident ruled on June 30 that there was fault on both sides.
Well, the review committee got it half right.
They were playing to a modern mindset that says when persons of disparate race are involved in a disagreement that spirals out of control in any way, the person with darker skin must be found unconditionally blameless. These mobsters are being manipulated, in turn, by a swaggering elite that seeks to enslave the melanin-enhanced as well as the melanin-challenged, with a dysfunctional protocol that says skin color decides guilt & innocence. “Fault on both sides” was a concession to this anarchy, and it brought the anarchists an important victory: If you’re a white cop, avoid these confrontations in the first place. It’s the only way you can come out ahead. Pretend something’s wrong with your radio and you can’t hear the dispatcher.
But back to the President, since it’s a much more serious charge that this racial division goes all the way to the top.
It isn’t accidental. Listen to Obama talk about something that doesn’t have to do with race: I, I, I, Me, Me, I, I, Me, I just think, seems to Me, Michelle & I, I, I, I, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me. The subject shifts to race, and all of a sudden it’s we, we, we, we, America, Ms. Sherrod, bloggers, talk shows, Cambridge police, we. He stops talking about Himself, because He’s cataloging sins…things that have been done wrong. When that happens, He isn’t part of us anymore. Suddenly, He can grind out entire paragraphs without mentioning Himself one single time. He’ll re-join us when the lecturing is done. Then He’ll be happy to tell us, once again, what He thinks about things.
So our President is a divisive agent, a willfully divisive one, and not only does he see race as part of the division He seeks to deploy, but He has a carefully laid-out and executed strategy in place for dividing us along racial lines. He seeks to remedy & heal nothing. But it isn’t just about race. It’s also about money. Have you listened to this “full” video clip of Shirley Sherrod’s speech to the NAACP? I’m using scare quotes because there’s still some editing that’s been going on. But the point is this: It started out being about race, how a woman of color found herself approached for her legal assistance by a farmer of pallor. She didn’t apply the full force of what she could do for him, feeling that he should be helped but only by his own kind. The longer, 43-minute version becomes relevant because the speech is revealed as a “Grinch” story; the protagonist realizes her way of thinking about things is wrong, she reforms, and she does things she would not have done if she had not reformed. The speech was about this reformation, which is why there is such anger about the posting of the abridged version.
But why did she reform? I’ve seen lots of leftists subjected to this spiritual awakening, and it isn’t permanent, one-way, or spiritual. In my case, they’ve gone back and forth, and with the wisdom of hindsight I’ve come to realize something: What they were trying to decide, was whether or not I was a “mark.” Was I desperate enough yet that, if they short-circuited some rules to “help” me, would I give them my soul. This is the true face of the progressive movement: Put the non-producers in charge of figuring out how the goods and services are allocated, and if enough people are in desperate circumstances & stand to benefit from your little modern Bolshevik revolution, they will help you do this and you will succeed. You cannot succeed without them. This is how Shirley Sherrod saw that white farmer. She changed her mind about him. As his plight became more and more desperate, she figured out how he would come in handy.
This is a perfect illustration of Obama’s agenda. He is not a unifier because He cannot ever be one. He’s had a long time to enhance, rather than diminish, the control exerted over the production of things by those who do the producing; He hasn’t taken advantage of that opportunity one single time. Every move He has made has been to put the non-producers in charge. And ultimately, you have to drive wedges in order to do that. You have to have class envy. If we all have the feeling that we’re in the same boat, then our natural inclination is going to be to let the producers have the control that belongs to them, so the rest of us can benefit. To shift the wealth to the non-producers, you need to subvert the natural order of things, and you need to achieve broad interest in altering that natural course. Get the message out that the non-producers are the only ones interested in bringing a benefit to others across class lines. You need to spread a myth: Money makes a person naturally mean and selfish, unless the money a person has is money that came from somebody else, then that person becomes virtuous, egalitarian and civilized. Our poor, and the thieves who steal what they give to the poor, are the only enlightened beings in our society, or in any other. That is the Obama agenda and that is the Obama propaganda drive.
So anybody waiting for Obama to be any kind of unifier, is in for a long wait.
Partial hat tip to Irish Cicero, since I already had this in my “stack” when I was following a trackback to his place where he was talking about me…when I scrolled down I saw he already did a decent write-up about this.
You know, it would make a decent bumper sticker wouldn’t it:
Can We Elect a Black President Who’s Not Quite So Communist-ey?
We got Boortzlanched this morning sometime between 5:30 and 6:00.
Our all-time record of daily hits, before this, was 14,650 or something in that neighborhood. February 2009, right after the first State of the Union speech by His Holy Eminence, we had put together a handy Venn Diagram to show what we thought of it. Which caught an Instalanche.
Today’s results, in web page hits and page views, compared to the month previous, look like this:
That’s a new record: 16,266 hits as of now, it’s 11:30 and I’m going to bed. My ass has been hurting me all day.
Not really caring too much about the traffic, but looking forward to making the new friends.
Update 7/28/10: Irish Cicero sends congratulations for reaching this milestone.
There are currently only 232 million IP addresses left — enough for about 340 days — thanks to the explosion in smartphones and other web-enabled devices.
“When the IPv4 protocol was developed 30 years ago, it seemed to be a reasonable attempt at providing enough addresses,” carrier relations manager at Australian internet service provider (ISP) Internode John Lindsay told the Herald.
“Bearing in mind that at that point personal computers didn’t really exist, the idea that mobile phones might want an IP address hadn’t occurred to anybody because mobile phones hadn’t been invented [and] the idea that air-conditioners and refrigerators might want them was utterly ludicrous.”
Nothing sells quite like the next Apocalypse.
Up until late summer of ’05, I put in a recurring headline called “Look At Me, I Can’t Park For Shit“. Back in those days, The Blog That Nobody Reads really was exactly that, so it was probably harmless to put one of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words right in the large-font headline.
Nowadays, there are more nobodies, so in a spirit of consideration and cooperation, we make a point of keeping the headlines clean…and pulling the spicy language down in the small-font body of the post where it fucking belongs.
And we haven’t had any “Look At Me I Can’t Park For Shit” posts in all these years. Almost five years now. Why is that? Because it was a passing phase? No…here is the spooky part. We’ve been out there with our little cell-phone camera looking for transgressions. Not as a primary purpose in our peregrinations mind you. But we have been looking. Something’s happened. People aren’t parking like fucking morons anymore. Maybe, just maybe, they’re trembling in fear of The Blog That Nobody Reads. Minding their P’s and Q’s.
Until this weekend that is.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Just so brazen and in-your-face.
For the record: You can sort of tell in this shot, but I’ll clue you in anyway. There was not plenty of parking to go around. It was a scarce commodity. People were having to park way far away, and walk & walk & walk some more, and you could tell they were pissed about it and not just a little bit desperate.
Wasn’t my problem, I already had my spot. But in my mind’s eye, this scene replayed…
Blogger friend Daphne loves her all to pieces.
We all have stories to tell, hers are peculiarly Southern and like most of our mixed racial tales told south of the Maxon-Dixon line, they’re tinged with a streak regrettable sadness. Black people didn’t get anywhere near a fair shake under Southern skies before the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, admitting that fact means nothing more than acknowledging the truth of the times.
I think Andrew Breitbart is a self-aggrandizing, corner cutting, race baiting, money chasing, media whore. Jeffrey Lord is an illiterate asshole and Shirley Sherrod doesn’t deserve a single day she’s spent under this ugly conservative sun.
Sonic Charmer has a different opinion.
I’m vaguely aware that there’s a controversy surrounding some government employee named Sherrod who was fired because she’s a racist but then she turned out to be not. But I didn’t know the details so I decided to Wiki it.
Reading about the controversy itself, it does seem as if this particular rap against her was unfair.
However, reading about the rest of Shirley Sherrod’s “career”, I think there are much worse things to charge her with:
She and her husband lost their farm when they were unable to secure USDA loans. Sherrod along with other activists sued the USDA in Pigford v. Glickman in order to protect the remaining black farms which were in danger of becoming shut down. The Department agreed to compensation which was to be paid between January 1, 1981 and December 31, 1999. The event was considered as “the largest civil rights settlement in history, with nearly $1 billion being paid to more than 16,000 victims.”
Translation: She wanted the taxpayers to chip in to give her a below-market-rate loan to buy her and her husband a farm. They didn’t. So she sued the taxpayers. She won and got the money from taxpayers. $1 billion distributed among 16,000 people (oh sorry “victims”) equals some $60k per person. Although what do you want to bet that her share was more than the arithmetic mean?
I’m seeing things more Sonic’s way than Daphne’s. Partly because of things like this video (h/t Riehl World View)…
…and partly because I’m sick of being told what to think about people. I’m sick of the sophistry. Yes, Ms. Sherrod’s speech was the polar opposite of what it appeared to be, and her boss Mr. Vilsack — not Andrew Breitbart, not Fox News, but the Secretary himself — overreacted.
Does this mean Shirley Sherrod is a decent person? No. It means Tom Vilsack is a spineless jerk.
More and more, it looks to me like this: Shirley Sherrod spent 43 minutes lying about her motives and what she’s been learning on the job, and Brietbart unfairly played a few bits out of context, the ones where she told the truth about herself.
I’m tired of the duplicity. I’m tired of being told Sarah Palin is malicious because some stalking pervert moved in next door to her. I’m tired of being told just because someone can be called a victim of something and she happens to have dark skin, and a chestless jackal for a former boss, that her motives must be pure.
In fact, there are other crackpots and nutjobs in the mix as well. I’ve had it to here with the “because”-es. I’m fed up with being told Elena Kagan will be a great Associate Justice because she’s funny. Rush Limbaugh is evil because he’s rich. Dick Cheney deserves to die because he ran Halliburton. The Gulf oil spill is in good hands because Stephen Chu has a Nobel prize.
I’m at the Popeye stage with the sophistry; I’ve had all me can stands, and me can’t stands no more.
You put something out there that’s incorrect, or misleading, and there are only two possibilities after that’s found out: You were hoodwinked by someone, or you’re a liar yourself. Well, Brietbart has an iron-clad alibi about the edited video he received. If he was lying about that — if he was in fact the person responsible for whittling this thing down, and giving it an appearance so strikingly at odds with the real intent of Sherrod’s speech — there’s been plenty enough time for that to have been borne out. It hasn’t happened. There isn’t a shred of evidence that Breitbart was complicit in this.
Sherrod, meanwhile, has been helping to spread the word around that Fox News deliberately brought about her dismissal, and she knows better.
She was treated unfairly.
Only those who are withholding the intellectual vigor, or are coming up empty in an attempt to supply it, would infer from that that she’s a nice person. Just because you get the shaft, doesn’t make you a sweetie-pie.
I’ll keep an open mind, but this woman is really setting off a lot of alarms in my head. She fits a profile, and it’s not a skin-color profile. It’s one I would call “Play Dirty But Act Like You’re Playing Nice.”
Because, above all, I’m sick to death of liberals getting caught doing sneaky underhanded things, and then claiming someone conservative was responsible for making them do it. Enough of this. Obama and Vilsack overreacted, Obama and Vilsack can own the problem. For once. Even if Sherrod wants it to work out some other way. It’s their fuck-up.
Wow, don’t go feeling sorry for Marina Orlova. Girl’s got it made.
So much eye candy. Lady in the bikini…boat…lady…boat…lady…boat. I was trying to figure out if this was a private yacht or some kind of small cruise ship she had to share. Doesn’t look to me like she’s sharing it in any way. So she’s doing alright, or else has a sugar daddy in which case she’s doing alright.
This looks exactly like the beginning of Tomb Raider: Underworld. Except I think Lara Croft’s boat was diminutive by comparison.
And is that a picture of Bowser stuck on a Mac PowerBook?
In Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg makes the point that the word “fascism” is actually credited with very little by way of useful definition, and when one seeks to imbue the word with such a useful definition one runs into the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle — the object of study changes in its properties, either in reality or in measurement, as it is studied.
Nevertheless, on page 23 he offers a definition so that the discussion can commence:
Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the “problem” and therefore defined as the enemy.
As I continued onward with the book, I thought back on this definition exactly as Goldberg intended, but I had another thought that he perhaps did not intend for me to have. The definition is slightly inadequate.
I see a mostly uninterrupted pattern, in which each fascist movement is an offering by one particular charismatic individual, usually a male. His wit, speechifying, masculinity, drive and flair are thrown in to every discussion about his ideas, as replacements for any logical demonstration that his ideas might make sense. To put it another way — nobody can construct a rational argument that his ideas have potential to bring about the desired results, and so wherever his apologists enjoy any representation at all, the discourse dissolves into a sloppy, childish exchange of observations about how good he is at talking to large numbers of people. This seems to be a constant in all fascist governments, the charisma of the dictator.
A few months ago we called it Obamalarkey:
Rhetorical defense of a dumbass idea, offered by subtly re-directing the discourse from the merits and weaknesses of the idea itself, toward the appealing but meaningless attributes of the personality most prominently associated with it.
As Goldberg points out, as this particular subject is poked and prodded a little bit more, it loses composition and becomes more difficult to define. But like I said, I wish he covered this part of it since it seems to be an integral component. Fascist leaders, generally, are not boring & dull. To achieve the minimal requirements of the dictator gig, they must demonstrate an ability to sell things contrary to the long-term interests of the buyer.
It seems almost medieval. King’s counselors rush up to him and say, Your Majesty! The royal coffers are nearly empty! Whaddya talking about, says the King, my country is very wealthy. All those farms with all those crops…they’re mine. I Am The State.
You know, I thought we had some kind of a revolution to do away with that kind of thinking.
I find it rather ominous: The one sequence of words you can string together to prove to your kids and grandkids that you’re senile, and have probably been batshit crazy for a good long time, is the one truth that has become more and more obvious to me as I get older: The commies are takin’ over. I’m now reaching the point where it is becoming undeniable, so maybe the time has come to check into assisted living facilities. Because from my point of view it seems the evidence is rock-hard and accumulating all around us.
Something pretty interesting happened Friday when Neal Boortz made a reference to the November, 2009 “study by J.P. Morgan” that found only seven percent of President Barack Obama’s cabinet has experience in the private sector. You may recall this thing went viral. And, as is usually the case when things go viral, there is much misinformation making its way in, from both the right and the left.
Well, the study itself doesn’t interest me too much. Obama’s cabinet doesn’t know what it’s doing; you don’t need a study telling you that. The evidence is all around us. And common sense should tell you that if there are some smarts in that cabinet, they aren’t going to be of very much use are they? How on earth could they be? Imagine yourself as a high ranking official in the Obama administration. A decision comes along, and what do you do? Answer: You don’t. If you say “peanut butter and jelly” and the Little Emperor says “roast beef on rye” you look like a complete dork. You’ll be backpedaling like crazy, claiming that your remarks were taken out of context — and that’s among your friends, before word even gets out. So no, this isn’t a relevant statistic. For all practical purposes, the experience of this cabinet must be zero percent.
Their Special Guy at the top is just too big and important. With or without Secretary Chu’s coveted Nobel prize, the “Me Too” people don’t count. They are indicators of Chairman Zero’s priorities, nothing more than that.
But I do wish to inspect the debunking. Oh goodness gracious, do read that from top to bottom. It is a fascinating portal into how dedicated liberals “debunk” things.
First of all: The study is bogus, and if you weren’t a simpering moron you’d immediately see the study is bogus, because the math doesn’t work.
Vice President, plus 15 executive department heads, plus six others: 22 people.
If only 10% had private sector experience, that would be 2.2 of them. Each of the 22 people comprises about 4.5% of the cabinet. Two of them with private experience would be 9% of the cabinet. Three with private experience would reveal the chart to be in error. Would it be possible to create a cabinet of 22 people and have only two of them with private experience?
The bullshit detectors in the bloggers’ minds should have been clanging like crazy when they saw that chart. [emphasis in original]
Secondly: J.P. Morgan is a bank. What is a bank doing conducting a study into the resumes of cabinet members?
Well, the article about the study is here.
Michael Cembalest is chief investment officer for JPMorgan Private Bank. The views expressed herein are Cembalest’s and may not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of JPMorgan Private Bank or any of its affiliates.
There is a serious effort here to gather data according to a consistent methodology, and extrapolate meaningful statistics from them. Careless, casual statements like “the chart is a hoax” are, quite plain and simply, wrong.
A hoax is a deliberate attempt to deceive or trick people into believing or accepting something which the hoaxer (the person or group creating the hoax) knows is false.
It is true that the study has been recalled by those who linked it in haste, with perhaps the most representative and thoughtful example provided by Eugene Volokh. The chart could be regarded as misleading, not so much because of bad data or malicious intentions behind it, but because of a strong potential among the readers to misinterpret it.
The rules applied are consistent, but subjective. The headline chosen for Cembalest’s column is “Obama’s Business Blind Spot” and the data support the point Cembalest set out to make: Here we have these real-world problems with our nation’s unemployment situation, and Obama’s tackling them with a bunch of damn professors, P.R. people and lawyers. Their hands are soft. And it is a superlative situation. Cembalest chose a methodology by which each administration could be measured, and was able to produce a data series showing something remarkable about this current one, and indicative of how the administration would view the problem. Therefore, indicative of how it would choose to solve it.
How a bank might be interested in such a thing, should be obvious.
But let’s go on to the debunking blogger’s most pivotal and often-mentioned point, for this is my favorite, and it is probably the most important one in “debunking” the study:
I figure, Rahm Emanuel was a spectacular success at investing. He made roughly $4 million a year, his clients presumably much more. Most people work a lifetime for less than $2 million — so can we credit Emanuel with 8 lifetimes of experience? Why not?
If these bozos don’t want to deal with the facts, they can offer their methodologies, I figure. And if they don’t, it’s probably because their methodologies are unfair and indefensible, so must be hidden.
In any case, a rational person looking for “private sector experience” wouldn’t discount a lawyer’s representation of an historically on-the-border of corrupt company like Chiquita Brands.
Geithner was president of one of the largest and most important branches of the Federal Reserve Banking System, in New York. Working with the highest ranking and best recognized foreign economic consulting firm isn’t toothpaste. His time with Kissinger and Associates was golden, not deserving in any way of the denigration you lend to it. It’s like going from college to a team that includes at their peak, Michael Jordon, LeBron James, and Bill Russell — and getting at least significant playing time.
I didn’t redefine anything I had. I merely looked at the bios of the people Cembalest claimed didn’t have private sector experience.
Chu, who…won a Nobel for his private sector experience, is acknowledged as a genius in the field his department covers, and has more than a decade managing some of the most demanding groups imaginable, including the physics department at Stanford and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, one of the best-respected masses of 4,000 bright people ever created.
Attempts to denigrate the experience of this, one of the best qualified cabinets, tell us more about the size of the critics, than about the qualifications of people like Steven Chu or Hilda Solis. Or, maybe I should say more accurately, the lack of size of the critics.
His argument mostly hinges on this: Lawyers are hard workers because practicing law is really, really tough. And don’t dare contradict him or else he’ll demand your experience practicing law, and discount whatever that experience is rest assured, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. In the comments section you see him coming back to this point again and again and again. Lawyers are golden. Every lawyer in Obama’s cabinet represents lots and lots of “private sector” experience, even if he didn’t work in the private sector. Maybe we should count that guy multiple times. I see it this way, therefore it is Truth.
Well, my own experience practicing law is as short as it can get. But as a voting citizen, when I go through his painstaking summaries of the experience of each cabinet member, nose-by-nose, my confidence in the Obama administration is not bolstered or even recovered. It is diminished. This idea that practicing law should count as private experience — maybe it should count even more than the other stuff! — think of it what you will, but the “debunking” relies almost completely on this.
And that’s the observation I’d like to make here about liberals “debunking” things. Based on the meandering of the presented argument, and their analysis of it, they see things a certain way. And that way of seeing things is local, not global. There is no guarantee of consistency across time with it. For example, if the Republicans put up a couple of experienced lawyers against Obama in 2012, I don’t know that this liberal blogger will go on thinking law experience is all-that-and-a-bag-o-chips. I expect he’d do a hairpin turn, something to the effect of “Yeah, but Obama has grown into the job of President! President beats Lawyer any day!” Or something to that effect.
But even if that doesn’t come to pass, here the weakness in the debunker’s argument becomes a philosophical one. You m-u-s-t see things the debunker’s way. You m-u-s-t agree that practicing law counts as private sector experience…and it must count exactly the way the debunker says it counts. Agree to that, or else you’re just a big ol’ dummy.
That they think this is a solid argument, let alone a debunking, exposes the fact that they really don’t know truth or falsehood when they see it. And it worries me mightily when these are the people who say we need to “sit down with our enemies and talk out our differences with them.” Look how they do the talking. It’s all point…counterpoint…value system…value system…THE VALUE SYSTEMS FACE OFF AND ONE DEVOURS THE OTHER NOW WE MUST MARCH IN COMPLETE LOCKSTEP ON THE VALUE SYSTEM. And then when we get past that, it’s on to the next point. As opposed to point…counterpoint…value system…value system…now since those value systems are not going to change, let’s try to find some real common ground. The latter is the thinking method of reasonable, rational people. The former is the thinking method of tyrants. And small children.
I recognize that when we’re trying to figure out how lawyering counts as private business experience, some number has to be produced and that number has to win, so that it can be applied consistently across the administrations across the generations. But a rational person would have pointed this out and exposed the real weakness with this study — that it is inherently subjective, although it might be reasonably viewed by a casual observer as something different.
Liberals never seem to want to service the casual observer, to give him the benefit of the wisdom he would pick up himself if he were not a casual observer. They always seem to want to write a headline that offers a different twist to the casual observer, and keep him casual. And so they end up writing garbage. The study is a “hoax”…which the casual observer would infer to mean, it didn’t happen, or there’s nuthin’-to-it. That is not the case.
Their world is one in which everyone must value everything and see everything in a uniform way, and those who value things or see things any differently have to be somehow neutralized. I do not want people who think this way, to represent me as they “sit down and talk with” that I’m-A-Dinner-Jacket guy in Iran, or the Gargoyle in North Korea. Because let’s face it, when the “discussion” gets to that one-value-system-gobbles-up-the-other thumb-wrestling contest — I don’t know they’re gonna win.
This makes them the vastly inferior choice for managing both foreign policy and domestic issues. It is their way of seeing the world and all the things within it. It is immature. Nobel prize or not, it is a worldview inadequate for making real decisions.
Yes, way to go Paul.
That would be a good bumper sticker slogan. The motto in Washington already seems to be Rahm Emmanuel’s “never let a crisis go to waste” — if it’s gotta go that way, might as well operate from a real crisis instead of a made-up one.
Greece brought down the Euro. Now, just ponder that. The European Union was chartered and they came up with a currency so they could compete against the dollar as a foreign investment vehicle. (Any kind of a “union” always has a central target in mind, which the union desires to surround horseshoe-style, and destroy; in this case it was us.) The EU achieved a competitive foothold against our currency, with much better results than any single country within could have netted by itself. It worked great, and then Greece tripped it up. That’s our future if we don’t change something. All of the evidence says so.
It’s a powerful argument.
Another thing: Congressman Ryan makes reference to our nation’s founding principles, our founding documents. If you read through Article I of the Constitution where it lays out the responsibilities and authorities of Congress, what you see there is an essay on what a legislative body is supposed to do. From a thirty-thousand-foot level, it is to pass laws and disburse money.
You’ve probably done this yourself. You might sit on some non-profit organization, maybe a band or orchestra for your kids’ school, the PTA…if you haven’t had such an experience, there is your own household. A new expense comes up and if it’s a low priority you’ll probably smack it down. If it’s a high priority, then you go back to these other places where you’ve allocated money, and you change the plans.
And then if someone comes up with more places to spend money, you start to get pissed. You go, waitaminnit…you saw what we just got done doing with this other thing over here. How come you didn’t say a single word about this new thing, then? We could have prioritized it.
And then they do it three more times. Each time waiting for the fancy new plans to be laid in, and then dong their cute little ambush…eventually you have enough and there’s some smack-down. You lay down a moratorium. Something to the effect of, if it isn’t mentioned right here right now, you don’t care enough about it so why should we. There’s no point trying to figure out what has priority over what, if your list isn’t complete.
Now look how this Congress has been operating. It’s going to go down in history in disgrace…and it’s going to go down that way, compared to other congresses, which really says something. Every new expense isn’t greeted with “Goddammit, why didn’t you say something while we were funding Cash for Clunkers? Or Recovery & Reinvestment? Or S&L Bailout?” Nobody has to face the music on any of that…it’s just “Ooh! There’s a way we can pick up some more voters!”
This isn’t going to fly, and it’s not the way the country was set up. Congress is supposed to make decisions on allocating money. That means they are supposed to prioritize, and that means they need to do this in big batches, not one little sales pitch at a time shouting “yes yes yes” at the tops of their lungs like Meg Ryan in the diner scene.
And that is a point that should resonate on both the left and the right. If you see value in some of what the Congress has been funding, you, too, should want it to work this way. Congress should be saying no to some things so that they can say yes to other things.
Hat tip to Smitty.
Very magnanimous and thoughtful of this punkweasel to give that little nod to the First Amendment, as he waxes lyrically about this “gatekeeper” idea.
You knew it was coming, folks. Shirley Sherrod is a perfect wonderful human being now, don’t dare say a word against her — call her “Saint Shirley” — and now that this horrible, dreadful nightmare has descended upon her, we need to go back and do something about these bad, bad bloggers. The “Internet is like this giant bathroom wall” upon which anybody can write anything about anybody. Something must be done! Need a “gatekeeper”!
We’re gearing up for a giant Architects-and-Medicators battle.
I’m putting it in that growing file, because Architects…and we are not a fringe group, we are a goodly sized half of humanity or something approaching half…see it as people doing things, and those things having an effect on other things. Like, DUH. That’s the way the entire universe works.
Just because someone’s late catching on to this, is that a necessity for creating more rules? Well, Architects see it like this; it’s a pretty short discourse. If you’re out-and-out lying you can bring someone some harm, and that is troubling — but we have libel laws, we have slander laws. Okay then. We already have laws. Conversation over.
Medicators, on the other hand, have this primal urge toward more and more regulation and they don’t really care who’s doing the regulating. I’ve often thought maybe they care a lot about not knowing. They want it done by a stranger. There has to be this system of elites and commoners, and most of the Medicators want to be on a first-name basis only with the commoners. They don’t want the responsibility.
So they want all of human activity to go into a great big bell housing, and then everything in the bell housing is affected by some magical focusing lens…which is someone they’ll never actually meet. They’re constantly doing this. All of humankind needs to be arranged into a giant “V”, like a big flock of birds.
We go ahead and do it and the results aren’t any better than they were before — the Medicator does not care.
They just want the ranking system. They care about the process, not about the results. So now I expect they’ll all rally behind this “gatekeeper” idea or something like it. Regulated is better. Until it isn’t. And then, somehow, it still is.
So that’s how I see it. There are people who will support this idea, not because they care about bloggers slandering people but because they absolutely loathe the idea of ordinary people being allowed to influence things. They aren’t terrified of ordinary flawed people like themselves making things worse; they’re terrified of their peers and compatriots of equal stature & rank making things better. That absolutely fills them with dread.
The character of the Medicator really comes out after some massive regulation scheme or social program has already been passed, and its deleterious effects on our lives begins to be felt. And then they invite you in on the massive bitch-fest. We’re sharing an experience, so let’s bitch about it. That’s how they do the medicating. Bitch about the weather, bitch about social security, bitch about the bus not showing up on time.
Mark Steyn commented once about a new slang that has developed in the UK: “It’s health-n-safety gone mad, mate; health-n-safety gone mad!” This is how it works. A new bureaucracy extends its tendrils into our lives, we’re all affected in the same way, life becomes less joyous and we get together and start medicating/bitching. Then come up with some new ideas about the next thing that has to be regulated.
The truth is, these people don’t care about progress, or damage for that matter. All they care about is escape, and what they’re trying to escape is a sense of identity. They want to be part of a comfortably large mass, each man within indistinguishable from the next one, and everything anybody does anywhere is attributable to some all-knowing regulatory busybody that is managed by magical strangers whom they don’t know.
This is not to say we will not find anybody who wants to be the gatekeeper. We will. We’ll find someone just chomping at the bit to become the gatekeeper. That’s the most frightening part of it.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News.
Wise, wise man this is. I can see why they named him after me.
Here, as in all walks of life, the low-drama answer is the only one that works.
Hat tip to blogger friend Rick.
I liked it a lot. But when my girlfriend sent me a text message asking how it was, I had to reply that I liked it just as much as The Pacifier, Big Momma’s House, The Spy Next Door and Tooth Fairy. That would be my one reservation against it; creativity is being short-changed again.
Something is happening to the Doofus Dad movie; it is transforming into the Doofus Stepdad movie. The loner is talented in his own way, fun to watch, and selfish. An “instant family” happens along and hijinks ensue.
There is much more, because this genre is becoming extravagant, complicated and rigid. Something is happening to the children — or rather, to the configuration of children. It is solidifying. Three is becoming a popular number. The oldest is a girl, and there’s a side subplot wrapped up in here because the oldest is coping with the most daunting abandonment issues and she comes ’round last to the idea that New Daddy might be a cool guy. The middle child is more of an incorporation of the entire set, sort of a “straight man.” This could be a male, it really isn’t that important. And then the baby of the family is just plain adorable.
Maybe the three are supposed to be representing something from Freud’s Id, Ego and Superego?
As far as events, well we have New Daddy meeting up with adorable moppets while doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. This juxtaposition, seemingly innocent at first, brings on trouble and then a separation. The story of the separation is intertwined with some performance the little tykes are putting on, and they’ll be just devastated if New Daddy doesn’t show up to watch it. The separation happens before, during or after the performance…to which New Daddy is on time, late, or doesn’t show at all.
So the drama involving the performance takes on all kinds of forms, but it’s gotta be in there somewhere. And that means New Daddy’s attendance has to be an open question.
Be that as it may, it is also a constant that New Daddy’s life seems to be incompatible with the moppets, and/or he does something abysmally stupid that shows his selfish streak. The kids all decide the New Daddy sucks, especially the oldest one (the youngest accepts this only reluctantly or not at all). New Daddy is mad at himself and lonely. But he continues on with his mission, and there’s some madcap adventure at the end during which they’re all pushed back into each other’s arms while the adrenaline is pumping hard, and at the absolute climax the oldest one has to make a choice-that-isn’t-a-choice, finally overcoming her distrust and bonding with New Daddy.
The villain is a complete jackass. He isn’t killed, just badly humiliated. Oh, and also he kidnapped the kids about halfway through. That’s a given. New Daddy has to scowl at the camera and intone something to the effect that nobody but nobody messes with his kids!
Sorry, did I just review this movie or a whole bunch of other ones? I sorta lost track.
We need a word for this. “Trope” doesn’t do it, because a trope is a character trope or a plot trope or a theme trope — this is all three. Let’s call it a “template.” The “How I Became A Family Man” template. Because nobody can pay attention to a story that takes place across nine months anymore.
So now you know what the template is. This one implemented it extremely well. I’d like to see the template retired for good…but since it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, if you have to see one this is probably as good as any.
What makes it superior? The jokes that are aimed at the grown-ups are funnier than usual.
Also, it’s a little tougher for me to beat up on it. The constant in the “How I Became a Family Man” template, and in the Doofus-Dad template as well, is that whatever the father figure is doing when the kids are not, around he needs to stop doing right now. He needs to take on a new life that involves having the kids up his butt all the time, since Lord knows the women have been making do with that for thousands of years. So he needs to cease & desist all non-kid things. Even if that’s working at a job to provide for the family.
In this one, they went out of their way to make the non-kid activity bad stuff. Indeed, the entire project seems to be built around this objective. New Daddy has to stop doing his bad stuff. This is a message to little kids I can support. Although, at the end of the movie, it remains an open question what the world they’re all going to live on…but…that’s the part where you have to say hey, it’s a kid’s movie, don’t sweat the details.
It was with considerable reservation that I conceded the point the 43-minute version of Sherrod’s “unedited” speech (which was in fact edited) delivered a completely different sentiment from the much shorter one that was aired earlier. In view of that, and some other things, I came down hard on Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture who fired her.
I stopped short of saying anything good about her character though, and this video makes me glad of that.
Somewhere out there is a democrat talking point that says this: Talk these things up at your heart’s content, make money on your book deals, that’s all fine & good — but make sure at the end of the day that the character of conservatives is impugned. In fact, make sure that’s the case every time you end a sentence and come to a (.) dot.
Had Sherrod taken the time to think this thing out…or if she wasn’t making an effort to talk to morons…she would have seen the strategy runs into some real problems here. Andrew Breitbart received a video. The NAACP saw the same video. They both came to the same conclusion, as did Vilsack. This makes Breitbart a terrible person and the other two parties innocent pawns. How’s that work? Breitbart has gone on the record to say the video was whittled down before it got to him, and I know of no evidence to suggest anything different.
A blogger jumped to a conclusion. A cabinet-level official jumped to the same conclusion, as did an organized advocacy group. Only the blogger is a reprehensible monster. He fooled everybody.
I saw this before, recently. Yes, a number of democrat legislators voted for the AUMF, the Authorization of Use of Military Force in Iraq, so they could look all tough. And then, as if someone said “go!” it was time to be all dovish and anti-war. (Maybe someone really did say it.) Suddenly, it was George W. Bush’s war. He fooled us all. We’re still saying “Somewhere in Texas a village is missing an idiot,” but the idiot fooled us. Those right-wingers. So stupid, and yet successfully fooling everybody. And they never get fooled, oh no. They’re just evil.
Liberals would be able to connect with people so much better if they’d just allow us to make up our own minds about who’s a monster. They must have figured out somewhere they cannot afford to do this.
I took Sherrod’s side in this thing…at least, so far as agreeing the context is changed when you watch the entire video, which is true. Her speech had a point to it, and the point was that we’re all in the same boat when it comes to issues like losing farms and livelihoods, regardless of the color of our skin. Her speech had this point from beginning to end, so in that sense I think she got a raw deal. It’s really undeniable.
However, from about Wednesday on there has arisen a sense that Sherrod, personally, doesn’t really feel this way. She really does see issues as race-based even if they don’t need to be. She’s as racist as anybody else. From that point in time two days ago, I would have characterized this as likely-but-irrelevant. I left it unaddressed because it was not germane to the point, and it was idle speculation. Granting it the benefit of the doubt — Shirley Sherrod is giving a speech saying when we help people we should be race-blind, and she doesn’t personally believe this so she’s standing up there lying. Then her comments are taken out of context and she’s fired. Alright, you may say that’s poetic justice. But it’s still a raw deal, and not just for Sherrod. The people who saw the chopped-down version should still understand what was in the longer version.
But if that’s part of the story, it’s also part of the story that the woman is a liar and a manipulator. To me, we can’t even make it to the question of whether she’s a racist or not. We don’t make it that far, because she’s a democrat party activist and she’s read & chosen to practice this talking point about make-all-conservatives-look-like-monsters. Because her mouth moves faster than her brain, it’s extraordinarily blatant in this case.
One other thing. If you listen to her speech from beginning to end, it is a classic parable. Which means, among other things, there is some learning going on and the learning is worked into the story by having the protagonist practice values at the end diametrically opposed from what was practiced at the beginning. Think of Ebenezer Scrooge. Or Return of the Jedi. It is a tale of redemption.
Well, here is a problem encountered by the faithful left-wingers when they practice their “we’re wonderful because we’re liberals, conservatives are terrible monsters, even if the facts say we all did exactly the same thing” snake-oil. They don’t even know they ran into it, but they ran into it hard.
For forty years or more, they have used this cudgel called “political correctness” to transform our office workplaces into battle fields. During this time, it has been quite accepted, even tragically commonplace, to “Sherrod” innocent people whose remarks really were taken out of context. Breitbart, or whoever edited the video, was working entirely according to these rules. And I believe that was Breitbart’s original point. The underlying premise that validates this is, and I am turning on the bold font here on purpose, that bigotry in any form, even in appearance without substance, is a sin beyond any possible redemption.
I call it the impossible-to-achieve “Could Be Construed As” standard.
Sherrod told a tale of redemption. And it was about real bigotry. Even according to her own words, granting her every benefit of the doubt, it was ancient bigotry but just as real as the screen upon which you’re reading these words.
Is it possible to be redeemed after committing such a sin? This is not a question that can be settled on a case-by-case basis. There has to be a single unified answer handed down that applies equally to everybody.
And if the answer is a yes…or even just a possible yes…then the “Could Be Construed As” standard has to die. Right. Now. If a lucrative legal profession has to die with it, then that’s just too bad but it’s going to have to happen.
Immediately. Everywhere. In the offices, on the campaign trails, in the newsrooms…and in Don Imus’ recording studio. Sorry, Al. You’ll have to go get yourself a real job now.
“Could Be Construed As” has to be taken out. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
I insist on it. We may civilly disagree about what Shirley Sherrod does & does not deserve, but we should all agree, without any reservation or any need for additional discussion, that she doesn’t deserve her own set of rules.