Archive for November, 2010

These Are Not The Droids You’re Looking For, and You’re Not Robbing My Store

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Hehehe. Idiot.

Twenty-Two Percent

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

You’re going to have to watch this video to find out what that statistic is, because I’m just like that. A meanie-cow.

You can say this is all a world-economy thing, or that it’s Bush’s fault. Meanwhile, these people have to keep on waiting and waiting…and sooner or later, every thinking man and woman has to ‘fess up that current policies matter. You keep staring and staring at that flower bed with nothing growing in it, and it becomes inescapable that something has to get re-evaluated. Fertilizer, location, watering…something is bollywonkers & gunnybags and it’s not 2001 tax cuts or a 2003 war. It’s something still in the system.

That’s not a Republicans-versus-democrats screed. That’s just something you need to admit if you are a sane person and don’t want the problem to continue indefinitely.

When the turkey’s been carved and the cranberry’s been passed around and that cranky McGovern-voting-granduncle can’t restrain himself from picking a fight any longer…you might want to point this out and see what happens.

Thanks to blogger friend Virgil for dropping the link in a comment.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form XXXII

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

All Palin all the time, today. Not my idea; everybody else’s.

Seven months ago I had it figured out: If She Comes Gunnin’ For it, the Job’s Hers. Last week I took a hard look at this statement of hers that she could snag it, placing a little more scrutiny on how she’d fare in the battle for the nomination.

This morning, Frank Rich writes a similar exploration of her chances of becoming the nominee. It is peppered with creative insults directed toward Republicans in general and Palin in particular, but…see for yourself…

If logic applied to Palin’s career trajectory, this month might have been judged dreadful for her. In an otherwise great year for Republicans she endorsed a “Star Wars” bar gaggle of anomalous and wacky losers — the former witch, Christine O’Donnell; the raging nativist, Tom Tancredo; and at least two candidates who called for armed insurrection against the government, Sharron Angle and a would-be Texas congressman, Stephen Broden, who lost by over 50 percentage points. Last week voters in Palin’s home state humiliatingly “refudiated” her protégé, Joe Miller, overturning his victory in the G.O.P. Senate primary with a write-in campaign.

But logic doesn’t apply to Palin. What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger: the malapropisms and gaffes, the cut-and-run half-term governorship, family scandals, shameless lying and rapacious self-merchandising. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor.
:
Republican leaders who want to stop her, and they are legion, are utterly baffled about how to do so. Democrats, who gloat that she’s the Republicans’ problem, may be humoring themselves. When Palin told Barbara Walters last week that she believed she could beat Barack Obama in 2012, it wasn’t an idle boast. Should Michael Bloomberg decide to spend billions on a quixotic run as a third-party spoiler, all bets on Obama are off.

Of course Palin hasn’t decided to run yet. Why rush? In the post-midterms Gallup poll she hit her all-time high unfavorable rating (52 percent), but in the G.O.P. her favorable rating is an awesome 80 percent, virtually unchanged from her standing at the end of 2008 (83 percent). She can keep floating above the pack indefinitely as the celebrity star of a full-time reality show where she gets to call all the shots.

If Palin makes the decision to run — and, as Rich correctly points out, she has not and may not — she faces two high hurdles: Becoming the nominee for the Republican party (or something else perhaps?), and taking down the incumbent. Rich’s purpose is obviously to launch a salvo against all those ideological positions he hates, and so he has placed the emphasis on the former question and not the latter.

But my challenge stands: In January of 2013, someone is taking the Oath of Office for the Presidency of the United States. That much is a near certainty. How can it not happen? Events could unfold as they did in that John Cusack movie, or aliens could attack us, or China could call our debt and we’d have to sell everything to buy our next helping of oxygen to breathe. Or the world could blow up, or God could unplug the whole thing. Barring those alternatives, someone is getting sworn in.

So let us walk through all of the possibilities systematically. For reasons that will become abundantly evident, Palin-bashers are terrified of doing this…but let’s do it anyway.

If it’s the incumbent who is to place His Holy Hand on a Bible and sonorously intone that oath, this economy is going to have to get substantially stronger or He can just forget it. All of we who lay some claim to our own sanity, agree on this right? By 2013, the electorate is not going to persist in this dogma of “I guess Bush screwed things up really badly and You just need more time.” Obama’s personal charisma is formidable, but at this point we have a reasonably sturdy understanding of the limits to what it can achieve. It can get a democrat elected President when a Republican President is being term-limited out, and people are fed up with an unpopular war that seems to have been instigated by him. It can buy that incoming democrat President a super-majority in the Senate — just barely — and a little tiny bit of time. A breathtakingly small amount of time. That’s it.

It can’t do anything like exempt Him from the timeless and eternal rule of American politics that if you’re the sitting President, and the economy sucks green eggs, you’re deader than Constantine. Period, end of story. Obama sees the economy turn around, or He’s out. You need to sign on to that much, or you’re just plain nuts. Or a shill. Or both. Either way, that’s the reality of the situation, Obama will be held accountable for results. Perhaps for the first time in His life.

Is the economy going to turn around?

My hope is that it levels off, but — well, how do I say that nicely. “Level off” is an optimistic assessment. A stimulus isn’t going to do anything better than that, because this economy isn’t suffering from a lack of cash, but rather from a lack of confidence. The businesses simply don’t know what to expect next. This government needs to get out of the way. It needs to get libertarian real quick, or you can forget it.

Under Obama it isn’t going to get libertarian. Not possible. So I hope the economy stagnates, not because I want Obama to lose but because that really is the best possible outcome. I don’t even want to look into the alternatives that could really happen and you don’t want me to do that either.

A Dick Morris type will start working in the White House, tell Obama to take a sharp right turn, and Holy Man is gonna listen? You dream. You’ve forgotten the nature of The Man. Nope, it’s just more pencil-pushing rules from here to the end of 2012. Lots of bureaucracy, lots of centralized authority, lots of half-cocked legislation and you’d better believe a whole lot more speech-making peppered thickly with “Make No Mistake,” “Let Me Be Clear” and “Change.”

So we’ve supped at the sumptuous buffet table of what Obama has to offer us, grown weary of it, and there are no more dishes to bring out from the kitchen. Variety is not this chef’s game and it never was. Check, please.

So it isn’t Obama. Could we have a situation like 1968, where He decides if He isn’t going to win He isn’t going to play? That certainly would be in keeping with His personality…but only if He could face up to the prediction that He would lose. Again, you forget the nature of The Man — Barack Obama cannot even face up to the possibility. Since being born in…aw, I don’t wanna get into that, it’s out of scope…He hasn’t had to consider it. It has not been a possibility. He’s spent a lifetime being a pre-declared winner, pre-declared by fiat, and He’s thoroughly spoiled on this.

Could the democrats figure this out, and pressure Him to step aside? Could they force His hand, running a competitor up against Him during the primaries? Don’t be silly. The democrat party does its thinking like an insect’s hive; it’s all cooked up at the top, it all trickles down to the lower ranks, and if you don’t go along you’re out of the club. Just like a labor union with a little less kneecap-breaking.

So the dems are losing this thing. Whether they act like it or not, this whole thing is slipping out of their fingers and they’ve lost it already. So back to the President-Elect taking the oath in two winters. Is it…Newt Gingrich? Is it Mitt Romney? Tim Pawlenty? Mike Huckabee? Bobby Jindal? You need to go back and read Frank Rich’s column. Or, if you’re more into reality, take a look at what blogger friend Gerard Van der Leun gathered about it. Yeah, we’re in there a few times…but still, they’re good points.

And then you have to look at how Republicans see…what is the proper name for it. Let’s call it equity. Heard the story of the little red hen who wanted to bake some bread while all the other barnyard animals just yawned, napped, made some ObamaCare emergency room visits, cashed their stimulus checks and watched reality television all day? That’s a Republican fairy tale. It’s still a conservative party, and it doesn’t look too kindly on one person doing all the work, as Palin’s been doing this year, while everyone else sunbathes away…followed by some suit-wearing “electable” smiley guy swooping in and reaping the rewards. Well okay, some of the politicians might approve of that. But the voters who will be participating in the primaries, aren’t too fond of that. Generally, they’ve read the hen-story before. And they figure, if it’s just one person who’s done all the work, then the hen-story rules apply. The bread is yours. Doesn’t matter if you’re a dumb ol’ girl who wears slutty airline stewardess glasses. Let the democrats worry about stuff like that.

So the distinguished looking gentlemen wearing their nice suits, who are white, straight, male, six-feet tall, sixty years old, oh so dignified and distinguished looking and respectable — have sat this whole thing out. Palin jumped in and did all the work. Okay, maybe you’re part of the “Republicans could have taken the Senate if it weren’t for her” crowd. That’s silly, but okay you’re entitled to your opinion…still….she did the work. She was out there. Sorry, I don’t care how nicely you can smile and how good you look in a suit. You can’t sit out there and let someone else do everything, then leap in and say “Okay, you have to nominate me I’m going to represent your party in the general election now.” It just isn’t going to fly.

To a Republican voter, that looks exactly like what it is: a usurpation. They don’t look too fondly on that. The democrats might approve of such a thing, after a whole lot of in-fighting about who’s gonna win and which designated-victim-group enjoys the more exalted aggrieved status. If that’s what you’re used to, Palin’s nomination will come as a surprise to you. But there still are some differences between these two major parties, especially when you factor in the personalities of the voters who are faithful to them. And this little-red-hen-baking-bread story, or rather the lesson it teaches, has a lot to do with the biggest difference.

So no, it isn’t Gingrich Pawlenty Romney Huckabee or Jindal. It sure as hell isn’t John McCain. Now you’re down to George W. Bush, and he’s been term-limited out.

I will concede that the Supergirl-costume part of my inauguration day fantasy may not be a winning bet. Even with global warming, the winds off the Potomac in January are a little nippy for those red hot pants…and I’m a little unclear how they’re going to manage the 20th landing on a Sunday.

As to the rest of it, we’ve explored all of the alternatives and the probability of all of them, added together, doesn’t amount to much. Yes, they’re all possible. But only tangentially so. As possibilities go, they are freakish outliers…each and every single one of them. Except, maybe, for her choosing not to run!

If she comes gunnin’ for it, the job is hers.

Memo For File CXXV

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Packing votes for Bristol the Pistol?

I shall not be participating. Mind you, John Hawkins is not calling for votes to be stuffed or dummied-up or cast by dead people or registered to hundreds of people named “Mickey Mouse” who all live at the same address. All he asked, here, was “how do we help her win?” Furthermore, among those who are ready to log on with hundreds of machines with different IP addresses and rig the system for Bristol Palin — they’re doing something I wouldn’t do, but I’ll not think the worse of them for it. I’m not doing what they’re doing, because I just don’t give a rip. Yes, the “you’re becoming the very thing you hate” deal does apply…but only so much. Assuming the ballots are really being stuffed, or can be — they’re altering the outcome of a silly reality teevee show, not unilaterally deciding who’s going to represent Minnesota in the United States Senate.

I should make it clear here that I am not pursuing any kind of high ground. I’m one of those unfortunate disableds who cannot arouse passion in trivial, meaningless things. I’m not a sports fan, can’t tell you for sure what sport the Miami Dolphins play, cannot list the first names of the Kardashians, I don’t know if America’s Got Talent is still on the air or not. But a first-term Senator from Chicago is elected President, end-runs around the Constitution and puts our country into levels of debt George W. Bush never even could’ve dreamed about — suddenly I start paying attention. Hey, what can I say. I’m funny.

Nor do I sympathize much with the “we must not lower ourselves to be like them” types of conservatives. I do admire them for trying to be good people, or to prevent themselves from becoming bad people. But I think when they pursue these fantasies about their chivalrous behavior affecting the outcome, they’re fooling themselves. They’re missing out on a key point: There is a reason we admire civilized behavior when people argue. It’s like passing a water bottle around a circle of people, with an obvious social taboo against backwash. You can observe this or you can ignore it; but the outcome is only affected by those who ignore. You can’t sip cleanly out of the bottle and undo the backwash, right? That’s the way arguing is. Once someone’s polluted the environment, the deed is done and there’s no going back.

We saw it with the Tea Party. A movement can be filled stem-to-stern with people who behave decently, interact courteously, salute the flag, call older people by “sir” or “ma’am,” pick up their own trash at demonstrations. And at the end of the day, whoever wants to put the hate on is going to go ahead and do that anyway. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, and for no other reason — because no minds will be changed.

Anyway, Maggie Block had something to say about helping Bristol Palin win:

What about the fact that her dancing really and truly SUCKS! No offense John but why the “us vs them” attitude”? Aren’t we all people 1st, Americans 2nd, with affiliation somewhere down the line? I was rooting for Bristol, (I think her mother is an ignorant wolf shooting hick) I hoped she would do well, but the girl can’t dance. Maybe I am naive, (being that I’m a liberal democrat) but there is more to life than politics… I[t] shouldn’t matter if her Mother is Sarah Palin, Princess Diana or the antichrist.

Ms. Block is missing something. John Hawkins did not start this absurd situation. I don’t want to speak for him, but there is a phenomenon taking place here and there is urgency in recognizing it. The current happening seems to be merely a symptom, of something much bigger that is always with us whether there’s something to manifest it or not.

I don’t know how she missed out on what’s going on. Someone who lives completely outside of the whole matter, I could see them being ignorant about it. But anyone who’s paid the slightest bit of attention knows something about the Bristol-Derangement-Syndrome churning away out there, which reached a frenzied boil once Brandy was eliminated.

An extremely abbreviated and lazy round-up of examples…spelling and grammar mistakes left uncorrected…

Like politica like dancing

I am so close to wretching… and wretching… and wretching. I’m sure the only thing that has kept me from doing so is that I haven’t yet had the appetite to eat anything! I won’t bother taking the time draw the analogies between Bristol, her dancing ability and the voting results as compared to republicans in general and the downhill state of our nation…

Anonymous

Bristol can NOT dance. This is not about talent or ability it’s about the Tea Party voting block conspiracy. I’m not watching the show anymore, not just this season.

AnimeGirl229

The teabaggers strikes again! I mean seriously what do you expect? someone made a website of how to vote for bristol I know they tring to avoid trying saying it, but it has to be said she has made it through all this time because of the tea party.

Tim

You people do realize that the “Stars” part of the shows title refers to the non-dance professionals that the show keeps on staff… Palin is not a star by any stretch of the imagination.

Hypocrit, yes (I can’t wait for her kid to see all this in about 15 years), Teabagger tool, absolutely, but she is no Star. She should never have been on the show to begin with. The fact that she has made it this far only proves that this show is no longer about talent or who the best is.

“Most Improved” only counts when you improve beyond your competetors, as opposed to the “Hey, I didn’t fall down, doncha know”-category.

sharon lopez

I think dwts are about to lose a lot of their ratings.It was a travesty that Maks and Brandi got booted off.When politics enter something like dwts,then I think it’s time for the producers to sit back and evaluate what is happening.If Bristol Palin win this season,I and a lot of other people will stop watching dwts.It’s a wonderful program but politics is ruining it just as it does everything else.The ratings keeps dwts going and if they drop,so will the program.

The end-of-sentence-impaired k_s_w48

Don’t tell me this BP was not some political scam going on if her Mother was not SP she would never have gotten as far as she did so don’t tell me BP got this far because of being popular with the audience I agree this is just a big scam of a show I’m sure DWT will loose much of their viewing audience after this show.

Steed2

What makes it look like a conspiracy is the infuriating spin ABC is putting on this! Why not just admit, we didn’t plan for the response, we tried to improve the show and maybe tried too many things, and the judges felt like they couldn’t judge Bristol at the same level and be fair. Over and done with. But instead we get Brooke, Tom, Producers, and anyone ABC can trot out doing the political spin tactic… “American voted and Bristol won her place.” Maybe some of America voted, but long-time viewers and voters have not been able to get in to vote for other dancers since week 4 and nothing was done about it! I’m one of them, I know that frustration so don’t tell me all of America voted for Bristol, they didn’t! To speak to your point faye5830, another spin point, “Bristol is the most improved and deserves her chance.” She is the most improved, because she was so totally lousy to start with. But she has NOT come up to the caliber of a finalist. Not even close! It is a once in a lifetime chance that she unfairly receives instead of someone else more deserving getting that fair once in a lifetime chance! And the spin that starts me seething, “all the complainers don’t vote and don’t understand the show! ABC! How dare you! I have loyally watched every episode of every season, voted for some winners and some losers, I have tried to vote each week this season and except for the first two weeks I have not been able to complete my phone calls because the phones are blocked and unless I want to stay up until 3 in the morning, which I did last week, I have been unable to cast votes online! I know that it’s a percentage system so even if you give Bristol a lower score than others, because she is at the bottom of the leader board means nothing, because in most weeks she was only 4% below the leader hence the fact; if the judges had given her the lower scores she deserved she may not have made it. The fact is Faye5830 there have been contestants in every season people complained about. Nicole was a pro, Pamela was too sexy, Emmit had the NFL behind him, and, significantly Kelly Osborne couldn’t dance. But none of them had the extra unfair advantages Bristol has been given and if they made it to the finals, when they did, they were finals caliber dancers and based on last week, Bristol clearly is not. Want all of this bitterness and anger to go away? Treat all contestants the same! If one is judged easy, they all get judged easy! If fans from one side are log-jamming the phones, add extra lines, if one contestant has their name all over GMA one day, then another one gets their name all over GMA the next day, or better yet, none of them ever do! The Erin Andrews segment on GMA Tuesday saying “everyone is voting for Bristol” with 3 hours of voting left without any mention of anyone voting for Brandy, Kyle, and Jennifer is the type of Palin pandering that makes people livid!

A couple of things appear repeatedly, and I can’t help noticing them.

When you hear people say that Bristol’s mother, Sarah, is some kind of a dolt or a dimbulb or a dumbass — you get the feeling that if they were stating their feelings honestly, they’d be saying something like “I want the world to know I think Sarah Palin is a dumbass.” An excessive zeal to get their feelings on the record. When you apply some critical thinking skills to the situation, you see there is no call for any drama whatsoever. None. There are people who hate Sarah Palin and Bristol Palin, there are people who like Sarah but agree Bristol’s dancing leaves much to be desired, there are people who appreciate both of them. Everybody’s had their say. Nobody’s changing their mind.

There is a great enthusiasm about predicting what is going to happen. People will stop watching the show, the ratings will plummet, the show will get canceled…supposedly, the need to so opine, arises from the absolute certainty that these events are to take place. Well, if they’re so certain then why not just wait to see what happens?

As is the case with Maggie (herself), excessive (use) of (parentheses). And bangs!!!!!!

Lots and lots of anger. Over the wrong person getting eliminated on a reality show? I have to acknowledge that, sure, people get grumpy and upset all the time over “voting off the island” not going the way people expect or desire for it to go…but, and this latest part is only obvious, this isn’t that. It isn’t just that. There are extra ingredients in the mix. This is a toxic, bubbling stewpot with more seasonining than the usual batch.

My own response to Maggie follows:

I remember being accused of racism when I opposed the Ground Zero Mosque; the argument was that I would’ve gotten pissed off about it earlier if my motives were honest. Maggie, it seems to me this particular argument would apply to you. There’ve been a few dancers on DWTS who sucked donkey balls and still won out, haven’t there? I don’t pretend to be able to offer an exhaustive dossier, but I don’t think you can either.

Watching libs get all bent out of shape does little-to-nothing to gratify me or make me happier with life. But I do think there’s something wrong with people when they get bent out of shape at that name “Palin.” Think about it…she’s got a funny accent, she’s a housewife, she used to be the Governor and *maybe* she’ll run for something. A mature, capable, reasonable mindset that happens to disagree with Sarah Palin on the issues — would not get angry about it. There’s something unhealthy going on lately, and we need to learn what it is so we don’t elect any more sucky-ass presidents like The One we have right now.

For examples of what I’m talking about vis a vis the mosque issue, you can read up over here. You’ll see the other side has very little else to say besides “we think you’re a racist” and this accusation of racism is based on nothing more than this “where were you when” argument.

What am I to make of this? I’ll tell you. And the conclusion I’ve drawn about this, is a little bit out there. If it is true, it says a whole lot about humans and it isn’t good. But I’ve had a lot of time to watch Palin Derangement Syndrome by now, and I’m reasonably sure about what comes next.

I think this is all about race, but not about any one particular race. And I don’t think this is your typical strain of racism. It is not color-based. It does not seek a preservation of, elevation of, or special privileges for the similar; nor is it hostile toward the different.

This kind of racism is flipped around. It is racism against the human race. Sarah Palin, you see, should not be elected to any office associated with special honor or authority, and Bristol Palin should not be elevated to any position that makes her superior to Brandy or to anybody else. And quaint little midwestern accents, or decisions to carry Trig to term and not abort him, don’t have a whole lot to do with it.

The desire, here, is for special powers and perks and privileges to be reserved for special people. The issue is the responsibility that goes with that kind of power. See, you elect a hopey-changey demigod like Barack Obama to the presidency, and each of the rest of us get to toil away in a relatively anonymous, mundane existence. We’re spared from even having to learn enough about our own government, to immigrate legally to the country, were we not already born here. We don’t need to know that Congressmen are elected to two-year terms and Senators are elected to six-year terms, or any of that other complicated stuff. You see the mindset? All that stuff is too big for us, it’s too high of a bar for us to reach. We just to to work with our lunchboxes and thermos bottles…sit in our cubicles doing whatever…come home, eat dinner, and watch dreck on teevee. Like Dancing With The Stars, for example.

We hear much about the rabid, fire-breathing far-left types who are putting pressure on Obama to stick to the agenda. Out of those who continue to support Him and maintain their approval, I’d peg those types at about one in five, maybe one in three. I think what remains is much more responsible for this inexplicable white hot bitter hatred directed against the Palin family.

The Palins of Alaska seem poised to do precisely what was done by the Kennedys of Massachusetts. And yet there are so many who love the Kennedys and loathe the Palins. I’m saying — the battling between Republicans and democrats doesn’t have as much to do with it as it might seem at first. If I am right, then here is the real sin committed by Sarah Palin and her family: The Palins did not “undock” before embarking on endeavors of greatness. They did not separate themselves from the rest of us. They did not make themselves different…and so they are alienating a key constituency. They have offended those who seek to separate themselves & their peers from the remarkable, and maintain that separation.

I think these people are motivated simply by a desire to avoid responsibility. They don’t want to actually own anything. The only time they want to have an effect on something, is when they’re part of a large crowd having the effect so they can, when the time is right, get lost in it. They voted for Obama “To Be A Part Of This Thing.” That is their idea of doing something. Getting swallowed up.

They live out their entire lives never truly taking point on something, so they don’t want anyone else doing that either. That’s what I think. They don’t want to be reminded that we’re all together — because that would mean, if they don’t like something, they have every bit as much business coming up with a plan for fixing it, as Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, or anybody else. That’s too much “change” for them to handle. That is what I mean by “un-docking.” When Palin didn’t do it and pursued a high office anyway, she ticked off the lazy people…who know, inwardly, without anyone pointing it out, that to be a “Mama Grizzly,” you have to get up off a couch.

Look how these people do their threatening, when the time comes to offer a threat. They’re going to stop watching a show. Ooh, impressive! Hey, if the batteries in your remote are less than three years old, you can do that with a twitch in your thumb.

So that’s what I think, it’s just plain laziness. There really is no other reason, logical or otherwise, for anybody to hate the Palins this much. Resigning a governorship is not sufficient provocation, carrying a Downs Syndrome baby to term doesn’t make the cut either, and neither does lasting a few extra rounds on a reality-dancing show.

The anti-Palin phenomenon pre-dates Sarah Palin herself. It pre-dates the term of time during which most Americans have known about her, it pre-dates her actual lifetime…it may pre-date the industrial revolution.

It is among the least productive distinctions of the human condition. It is within the worst that our species has to offer. It is cowardice. It is laziness. It is jealousy. It is resistance to human achievement itself.

It deserves excoriation, condemnation, retribution, and ultimately extinction. Just as much as any other kind of racism.

So hell yes, provoke them. Get this vile crabs-in-a-bucket mentality, this “ordinary people have to be ordinary” worldview out in the open. We’ve tried ignoring it, and the result is a full-frontal assault and threat against the continuing survival of the nation we love, from within; a threat more dire than any she has faced, possibly since the end of World War II. So a confrontation is necessary, and you can’t confront something that persists in hiding itself.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

This Is Good LXXVII

Friday, November 19th, 2010

From here.

Thanks to blogsister Cas for putting it up at the Hello Kitty of blogging.

Steve Clemons Does Not Know the Difference Between a Request and a Demand

Friday, November 19th, 2010

But he thinks he has discovered a constitutional issue.

It would be adorable if it were not so loony.

Little Valley Girl

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Hey, look! She’s got communication skills far beyond her years, and she’s sociable! Exactly what parents and teachers cherish most nowadays — now you get to see what it all looks like.

Hat tip to Boortz.

We need more kids exactly like this, right?

Next busybody plying me with a lecture about how school is just as much for developing social skill as for academic command knowledge of the material, gets this video whacking ‘em right upside the head.

Very pretty girl. Somewhere there’s a toe-headed towheaded boy (thanks, Rob) who, in about a decade, will be married to this…and, in another, having had to listen to this drivel all day every day, will become but a shell of his former self.

We’re strange. We idolize, appreciate and crave very strange things.

Best Sentence CII

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Blogger friend Andy thinks about love and diversity; and opines, succinctly, thereby snagging the latest BSIHORL (Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately) award.

You can love diversity all you want, just don’t expect it to love you back.

Diversity might not have anything to do with alienating people, or ostracizing people, or vanishing people or destroying people. But only if it is absolutely, positively random. And it can only be verified in this way if it is transparently random.

Once it gets into “We need more X and we need less Y”…it’s about targeting and eradicating classes of people. Quite unavoidable, really.

GOP to Force Vote on NPR Funding

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Mmmm…I like the proposal. Not sure this is going to net a political win for them though.

House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colo.) said that cutting funds to the publicly subsidized news organization was the winner of the conference’s weekly “YouCut” contest, in which the public votes online on spending items they want eliminated.

“When NPR executives made the decision to unfairly terminate Juan Williams and to then disparage him afterwards, the bias of their organization was exposed,” the two Republicans said in a statement. “Make no mistake, it is not the role of government to tell news organizations how to operate. What is avoidable, however, is providing taxpayer funds to news organizations that promote a partisan point of view. Eliminating taxpayer funding for NPR is precisely the kind of commonsense cut that we have to begin making if we want to fundamentally alter the way business is conducted in Washington.”

Oh great, another beltway trope is born…now, for the rest of my life, whenever I read a statement from a politician about something important, “make no mistake” is going to be sprinkled in there like pepper flakes. Thanks loads, Barack.

But you’ve got me thinking like a politician now, and the timing is not right. If this reaches the floor, and then passes, it will make me a happy guy…but then, looking at it realistically, I see this as the last significant win of the House GOP. And you can forget all about de-funding or repealing the health care law. If something is done about Obama’s health care turd first, and then this is done sort of as frosting-on-the-cake, that would be much more agreeable.

But doing it this way, presents a picture of a House of Representatives that governs from passion and that there is a need for us to place it in some kind of check. I can see it now: Juan Williams said something dumb, got himself fired, and now we have to live with this cranky old “Juan Williams’ Revenge” Republican Congress. And your Social Security payments are in danger!!

This will play in Peoria. The enemy is being handed live ammunition.

Like the proposal. Not sure about the plan.

But Can She?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Sarah: Yes.

Asked [Barbara] Walters: “If you ran for president, could you beat Barack Obama?”

“I believe so,” Palin said.

Boortz: No.

If Sarah Palin is the Republican nominee for President of the United States in 2012, you can go ahead and make an advance purchase of your tickets to Barack Obama’s second inauguration ball. I don’t care how many times she shows up on talk shows, or how many mini-series they gin up for the tube … she cannot win the presidency. Nominate her and you get ObamaTwo. Guaranteed.

Sorry. I know. The truth bites … but that’s why you have me.

Corbett, in a post titled “Here we go with the ‘electability’ crap again,” speaks for me.

The GOP’s pursuit of “electability” gave us Bush I (a 1-termer who repudiated everything Reagan stood for), Dole, Bush II (who out spent Clinton and grew government at a faster pace) and McCain.

If being a Republican is all about staying away from failed policies that have been proven not to work, then what’s up with this oh so wise strategic thinking, that Palin should be passed over for someone more electable? This gets back to the question I keep asking…

More electable in what way, exactly? I understand that at a certain point, irreversible damage has been done to a candidate — this shit works, or else they wouldn’t do it. But if we’ve learned anything from watching Palin over the last two years, we’ve learned that it works only when it is granted permission to work.

Palin has not been giving it permission to work, and thus far she’s won every battle. “Refudiate,” for example, was supposed to be the straw of humiliation that finally broke the camel’s back. Here it is in the dictionary now. That’s the way the whole drama has been playing out.

And as always seems to be the case, “here we go with the ‘electability’ crap again” when Palin has enjoyed a recent spate of such triumphs. The crap rises up again out of necessity. It is desperation. “Oh no, someone’s got to do something about her!”

Who’s this more “electable” Republican to emerge from the nomination process in 2012, after Sarah Palin has been so wisely shunted aside? Some guy…exactly six feet tall, sixty years old, with distinguished silvery hair. Mitt, Newt maybe. He’ll win independent voters by reaching across the aisle, voting for free health care for everybody, amnesty for illegals, and for heaven’s sake would someone please do something about that global warming!

And the voters will say…eh…why elect a phony when we can have the real thing. Why, this guy the Republicans put up, he doesn’t even have black skin! And then, Mr. Boortz, you can buy your ticket to Obama’s second inaugural ball.

Know ye this: If someone rises on the GOP side who shows some real promise in offering any other outcome…not even “promise,” just a hint of it…the Soros attack machine will sputter, then hit its stride, then kick into overdrive. That candidate will be asked all kinds of Trivial Pursuit questions while The Jar Jar Binks of Presidents continues to be tossed softballs like “What do You have to say to people who…” and “How does it make You feel when…”

And the first time your oh so electable sixty-year-old six-foot-tall silvery-temple white guy can’t name the Seventh Avatar of Vishnu, the headlines will be all abuzz with “this guy’s even dumber than Sarah Palin!”

So Palinphobes, I understand your objection. You’re kind of in that big no-man’s-land between pointing out a valid objection, and coming up with a viable, constructive alternative. You’re lacking a vision, here; a vision for victory. Take what you’ve got, add in a vision for victory and a likely way to reach it, and you’ve got the beginnings of a persuasive point. Then again — take what you’ve got, add a buck seventy-five and you’ve got a coffee-of-the-day at Starbuck’s.

That’s a nice way of saying you got nothin’.

An independent voter is concerned about President Obama and the democrats bankrupting the country. So he’s going to go into the voting booth in two years and say “I don’t like what He’s doing…but Sarah Palin…she’s so stupid and unqualified!” And then punch out Barack Obama’s chad? That will happen, huh? Really?

Or he’ll stay home? That’s what happened to Palin’s running mate…but Sarah Palin is not John McCain. She’d never agree to this in public, but they’re polar opposites, as far as I can see. If policy is bad, and Palin opposes it, you know what her position is going to be on it six months from now. You know for absolute certain. McCain just has to have a conversation with the right person, and (in most other matters besides abortion) after that you don’t know what you’re gonna get. That is what motivates people to stay home.

“Oh no, Katie Couric is going to make a fool out of her again” is not what makes people stay home.

This is something people have a tough time remembering. They have a tough time seeing it coming, too. Reagan versus Carter in 1980 — that was supposed to be a photo finish, remember that? Yeah, the economy sucked and all, but Reagan was such a likable dunce. There’s just no telling how it will come out! Even the day before the elections it was impossible to call.

We look back on it today, and realize there was an attempt there to hoodwink us. It didn’t work then, but then we go through all these motions of falling for it now.

She’s born in the US, she’s over thirty-five, and when her beliefs are under assault she stands up for them. Seems to relish the game, in fact. That makes her not only electable, but uniquely so.

Find me another like this, and we’ll talk. Meanwhile, if she comes gunnin’ for it, the job is hers.

We Already Convicted Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Don Surber, by way of Kate at Small Dead Animals:

Before he left office, President Bush 43 had a conviction of 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal court. All President Obama had to do was accept KSM’s guilty plea.

But noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

That was in a military court.

Military court may be fine for our soldiers, but liberals refuse to allow their soldiers, er, the other side’s alleged soldiers, to go through that.

President Obama had those guilty pleas vacated and set up to hold a civilian trial near Ground Zero.

New York City soon had a shortage of tar and feathers and so the decision was put on hold.

The Washington Post reported:

LAST NOVEMBER, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that the federal government would prosecute Sept. 11, 2001, mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a Manhattan federal courthouse.

One year later – and nine years after the attack – Mr. Mohammed has yet to be brought to justice. The administration’s paralysis is as confounding as it is damaging.

The Authorization for the Use of Military Force allows the administration to continue to hold Mr. Mohammed without trial. Preventive detention should be available to a president in cases in which there is not enough admissible evidence to bring a prosecution but where intelligence reports indicate that a suspect is too dangerous to release. The White House and Congress should work together to fashion a legal framework to govern such cases.

But the government has a moral and legal obligation, and strong policy reasons, to bring formal charges whenever possible. Detention without trial should not be a default position to avoid tough political calls.

This is what you happens when you politicize justice. Voters should hold him accountable for this miscarriage of justice. No, really, it is an abortion. President Obama had the conviction. He threw it away.

So now, in order for a society to be civilized, it’s supposed to throw away the convictions its government has already won against the bad guys? Gosh, I dunno you hard-left dovey libs; this is starting to look more and more like just letting ‘em walk, and less and less like affording them their presumed innocence, right to counsel, et al. Are we at the point now where “We Are Better Than” finding someone guilty when he’s guilty?

Update: Regarding that guy who was convicted on one count out of 281 zillion…Ed Morrissey has a good argument up persuading toward the obvious: The wrong guy is in charge of Justice. The Attorney General needs to go.

Testosterone Filled Movies

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

John Hawkins was asking for nominations for the most manly, testosterone-filled movie of all time. I offered up a suggestion or two, but ultimately decided this needed a more decent treatment.

Here’s my twenty-five.

1. Chato’s Land
2. Rob Roy
3. Shane
4. The Great Escape
5. Taken
6. Stagecoach
7. The Cowboys
8. The Shootist
9. The Hunter
10. The Godfather
11. True Grit
12. Old Yeller
13. Terminator II: Judgment Day
14. Jaws
15. High Noon
16. Braveheart
17. The African Queen
18. Road House
19. 300
20. Bad Day at Black Rock
21. Die Hard
22. Raiders of the Lost Ark
23. A Bridge Too Far
24. The Patriot
25. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

You Go First IV

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

I said it in November of 2005, in December of 2005 and in June of 2006.

Now, it has become (hat tip to Instapundit, by way of blogger friend Joan of Argghh!) a rallying cry.

I could not be more pleased.

Isn’t this really what all the arguing is all about? We have all these superhuman godlike wonder-people in charge of our glorious government with all their infinite and well-deserved powers…who function as sort of a modern aristocracy. We have to stop when the traffic light is turning red, they don’t. One in every eight of us is jobless, but that’s okay we’re just ordinary mortals, they get to traipse off to Asia with an entire flotilla and have a swell time.

Or…everybody is everybody. We all have to file our tax returns by April 15th and we all have to work according to the same rules.

It is a divide that cannot be straddled. It is a pair of visions…and there is no compromise, practical or logical, between the two.

Seven Celebrity Men Whose Careers Would Founder in Modern Wussy Hollywood

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

NewsRealBlog.

As late as the mid-1980’s, most of our examples of masculinity in Hollywood boasted several attributes of male maturity which distinguished them from both young boys and women. Many of these attributes were physical. Just as many were components of attitude, body language, and their roles within the fiction they portrayed.

Let’s take a look at seven such celebrities, men whose stars have risen in decades past but who have either passed on or faded over time. Some of them are still working, even successfully. However, their modern work is arguably enabled by their past achievements, which would have been more difficult in our current wussy metrosexual culture.

Hat tip to Linkiest.

The tragedy of the times in which we live, is: The bar has been lowered, and yet what used to make the cut, no longer does.

Suppose you get your idea of what a real man is, and what a real man does, out of the movie theater. You poor dumb bastard. But suppose, further, that anything that came out before January 1, 2010 does not count. We-ell…what you are then left with is not pretty. And not very manly either.

He cries a lot. He doesn’t have any kids of his own, and if he does, they don’t want to be like him. He doesn’t have all the answers. Heck, he doesn’t have any of the answers! Except for one: Gosh darn it, I’ve been working way too many hours, I missed my kid’s soccer game, I’ve been lying my ass off but I’m going to make it up to everybody.

The modern male’s story is one of redemption, not unlike when Darth Vader flung The Emperor down that bottomless pit and then died in the light to join Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda in the light side of The Force. But what has he been doing wrong? It has something to do with taking life seriously…demanding excellence out of himself and his kids. How can he redeem himself? Through mediocrity…more smiling and laughing…staying home from work “sick” when he isn’t really sick. Overall, just taking life less seriously.

Men wear shorts that aren’t really shorts. Trousers that look like they were made from left-over circus tents. Their tops are a perfect fit — plus about fifty percent. If the guy’s six foot five, his shirt should be tailor made for a guy about…nine foot seven.

Big ol’ white sneakers. Like, built for a human duck.

Gold chains around the neck.

Baseball cap backwards.

In 2010, the well-dressed man — on the silver screen, or out in real life on an ordinary sidewalk around the summer solstice — is a clown. He is not a creature taken seriously by anybody, for he does not take himself seriously.

Unless he does. Which is a sin. Huh. In John Wayne’s time, that was thought to be a redeeming quality. Thirty-one years after The Duke shucked his mortal coil, a man isn’t a man until he learns to laugh at himself. And cry, too.

When George C. Scott played George S. Patton — who can forget this monologue? He threw out many quotes that were genuine. Among these, was this: “I wouldn’t give a hoot and hell for a man who lost and laughed.”

Doesn’t that just cut to the quick of it?

A real man, is someone you want between yourself and danger.

A real man, is someone who will impose himself there. The danger is the action, he is the reaction. Ready to rattle sabers. Ready to take the bullet, to lose the limb. There’s your manliness for you.

How come it is, I wonder, that we’re in such a hurry to make that unfashionable?

Texas Up, California Down

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Forbes:

In the future, historians may likely mark the 2010 midterm elections as the end of the California era and the beginning of the Texas one. In one stunning stroke, amid a national conservative tide, California voters essentially ratified a political and regulatory regime that has left much of the state unemployed and many others looking for the exits.

California has drifted far away from the place that John Gunther described in 1946 as “the most spectacular and most diversified American state … so ripe, golden.” Instead of a role model, California has become a cautionary tale of mismanagement of what by all rights should be the country’s most prosperous big state. Its poverty rate is at least two points above the national average; its unemployment rate nearly three points above the national average. On Friday Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was forced yet again to call an emergency session in order to deal with the state’s enormous budget problems.

This state of crisis is likely to become the norm for the Golden State. In contrast to other hard-hit states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada, which all opted for pro-business, fiscally responsible candidates, California voters decisively handed virtually total power to a motley coalition of Democratic-machine politicians, public employee unions, green activists and rent-seeking special interests.

In the new year, the once and again Gov. Jerry Brown, who has some conservative fiscal instincts, will be hard-pressed to convince Democratic legislators who get much of their funding from public-sector unions to trim spending. Perhaps more troubling, Brown’s own extremism on climate change policy–backed by rent-seeking Silicon Valley investors with big bets on renewable fuels–virtually assures a further tightening of a regulatory regime that will slow an economic recovery in every industry from manufacturing and agriculture to home-building.

I recall finding out blue-blogger-in-a-red-state Ed Darrell was in the tank for Bill White’s campaign for Governor of Texas. I looked into it a little bit and discovered White was a former Clinton crony who was being hailed by all sides as some kind of a centrist, and the most popular reason for voting against incumbent Republican Rick Perry had something to do with his being in the office for a long time. Ain’t that a kicker? Republicans manage to stay in an office awhile, it’s some kind of scandal; a democrat does exactly the same thing and the seat becomes his. Other reasons had something to do with “improving education,” which of course means paying for it for strangers out of the taxpayer’s billfold. That, plus unionizing, is how California got where it is.

Anyway, this Californian was heaving something of a sigh of relief seeing that Texas was not going to follow our lead. When you’re sailing over a cliff, it’s a little bit reassuring to see the rest of the crowd stopping at the busted guardrail and not following you. A very, very little bit reassuring.

Last weekend I rode my mountain bike eighty miles in a day. I usually come back from such journeys with some pictures of “house for sale” signs. Not so this time. Blogger friend Duffy caught up with me on the hello-kitty-of-blogging chat window, and we talked for awhile before some weird cyberspace hiccup severed the connection. The upshot: I have a thorough renter’s mindset now. Seriously, what is the point of buying up a plot? Why do it? The folks in charge are just going to declare themselves to be wonderful people by discovering and inventing some brand new entitlements, the productive people like me will continue to leave the state and we’ll be right back to the same ol’ Madoff style Ponzi scheme of fewer people paying for more. Everyone with a house will be recognized as a “millionaire or billionaire” and I will continue to be plied with more rhetoric about “need a tax increase the money’s got to come from somewhere.”

I’m from Washington, the girlfriend is from New York. The kid is living with his mother over in Nevada. The awesome full-time job is the only tent peg left in the ground.

It hurts to see a nice, livable, reasonably-priced, reasonably-located two-story with a realty-sign stuck in front…and just keep right on riding. But such a major investment is all about planning for the future. And if you have to close your eyes to the future to even consider it, then what’s the point?

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XXVII

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Show it to a lefty you know. It’s only a couple minutes…

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Of course, generally speaking conservatives live in a world of “gonna” whereas liberals live in a world of “should.” So when the point is made that businesses aren’t gonna be hiring anyone when they haven’t the slightest clue what’s about to happen to their taxes and their other labor costs…it might just roll off like water & the duck’s back. This has been known to happen. When you live out your entire life just thinking about nothing but what everyone should & should not do, at a certain age it becomes tough to slip out of that and start engaging reality.

Judging people is more fun.

Meanwhile, the businesses aren’t gonna hire. So all you can do is open a bottle of beer with your teeth, sit back & watch.

We’re All Abuzz Once More About “Qualifications”

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Must mean the Terror of the Tundra has recently blackened some eyes and bloodied some noses. It has always been like this; she has a victory and we all start discussing “qualifications.”

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowki told CBS News’ Katie Couric today that she would not support Sarah Palin for president because Palin lacks the “leadership qualities” and “intellectual curiosity” to craft great policy.

I’ve been paying this an appropriate level of attention, which is to say very, very little. I don’t know how accurate or precise that final paraphrasing is, or if it is, if someone has come along to nail Murkowski to the wall for her apparent lack of understanding about how our legislative and executive branches work together. She evidently hasn’t been sufficiently curious to educate herself about this.

Or, about how ungodly expensive it has been in the last two or three generations to pay the bills brought to us by “great policy.”

Is ObamaCare great? If it is, I’d hate to see “magnificent.”

Meanwhile…it’s it awesome that the current White House occupant is intellectually curious and adequately qualified? Oh wait

Can any single person fully meet the demands of the 21st-century presidency? Obama has looked to many models of leadership, including FDR and Abraham Lincoln, two transformative presidents who governed during times of upheaval. But what’s lost in those historical comparisons is that both men ran slim bureaucracies rooted in relative simplicity. Neither had secretaries of education, transportation, health and human services, veterans’ affairs, energy, or homeland security, nor czars for pollution or drug abuse, nor televisions in the West Wing constantly tuned to yammering pundits. They had bigger issues to grapple with, but far less managing to do. “Lincoln had time to think,” says Allan Lichtman, a professor of history at American University. “That kind of downtime just doesn’t exist anymore.”

Among a handful of presidential historians NEWSWEEK contacted for this story, there was a general consensus that the modern presidency may have become too bloated. “The growth is exponential in these last 50 years, especially the number of things that are expected of the president,” says presidential biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin, who had dinner with Obama and a handful of other historians last summer. Obama aides speaking on background say that the president’s inner circle can become stretched by the constant number of things labeled “crises” that land on his desk—many of which, like the mistaken firing of Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod in Georgia or the intricacies of the oil cleanup in the gulf, could easily be handled by lower-level staff. “Some days around here, it can almost be hard to breathe,” says one White House official who didn’t want to go on the record portraying his boss as overwhelmed. Another senior adviser says that sometimes the only way to bring the president important news is to stake out his office and “walk and talk” through the hall.

Hat tip to Rick for that one.

So two years ago we got together and formed these preconceived notions about who can do the job and who cannot — Obama even got a Nobel Prize for all the “hope” that surrounded the good work He was going go do.

Having been thoroughly schooled in the plain and simple fact that there’s no way to predict with certainty who’s going to be a smashing success and who’s going to be a dismal failure…our news wires, or whatever takes their place in this day and age, are burning up with our frenzied attempt to do it all over again.

I agree Palin is unqualified — if we recognize a new definition for the word. If the job does require lots of bullshitting, she lacks the skill and she lacks the experience.

I just don’t think people have fully grappled with the dynamics of an equation in that time period after the parties have nominated their candidates. You loathe this party’s principles, but the other party has nominated a guy you don’t think is qualified. So you’ll pull the lever for the party you loathe? People generally don’t do that. A small portion of the time, they’ll vote third-party or write someone in…or, they’ll “hold their nose” and vote for the guy who represents the vision they could learn to tolerate.

I remember lots of discussion from presidential elections past about who is & isn’t qualified. What I try to recall is, some of this buzz between the nomination at the party’s convention, and the general election. Regarding the top guy on the ticket. Not the #2 guy, who often is introduced very shortly before the convention, as was the case with Palin back in ’08. The top dog. “But is ______ qualified to serve in the presidency?”

I don’t recall anything, which is interesting because after the convention is when the debates start. We typically have three during that season.

When people use this word, it demonstrates to me that people are not wired to learn from their mistakes. There seems to be a unified common mindset behind this, closely resembling your mindset you maintain when you hire someone. There are baseline “qualifications”…if you don’t meet those, then best of luck in your job search and get the hell out. But it isn’t an on-off pass-fail thing because the field has to be narrowed down to a single winner, and once in awhile you’ll meet the guy who’s super-duper qualified. Unless there’s a reason you don’t want him. In which case he’s “overqualified.”

But two years into a failed presidency, it is clear that using popular consensus to arrive at these answers is problematic. And that’s putting it charitably.

You’d have to be nuts to argue there are no problems involved in it.

So is Murkowski nuts? Is she qualified to get dressed in the morning and go walking around?

Going by recent events, she’s not qualified to even get her name on the ballot.

Keys and Locks

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Of course there’s no way I completely agree with this…but it’s an awesome response to something I’m more than a little bit tired of hearing.

Hat tip to Linkiest.

[I]t is odd how society sees things. [L]et[']s say if a guy sleeps with all these girls, “he[']s the man!” or a stud. [B]ut if a girl does, she’s a total slut or whore. [I]s society sexist?
———
[W]ell think about it this way. [I]f a key can open a bunch of locks, it[']s viewed as a master key, and is awesome to have. [B]ut if a lock is opened by a lot of different keys, well that[']s a pretty shitty lock if you ask me.

I’m sick to death of hearing about this double standard, because it’s real and it comes from an acknowledgment of a superior role women have to play in the coupling process. Let’s face it, the key only decides that an attempt is going to be made, the lock is what gives the yea or nay as to whether it’s a success.

It is a projection of the reproduction process itself; all those millions of male things competing with one another to see which singular champion will succeed in penetrating the one female thing.

And to act all oppressed over this difference, is a projection of modern feminism. Whining away about such a meaningful advantage; that just captures the whole spirit of it.

It’s a good answer. Not a perfect one, but then again it’s a stupid question.

“Refudiate”: Word of the Year!

Monday, November 15th, 2010

A bigger hunk of venison than usual being cooked up at the Palin household tonight:

Congratulations, Sarah Palin: “Refudiate” Named Word of the Year

Sarah Palin has officially changed the modern lexicon, one tweet at a time. While one might expect the New Oxford American Dictionary to refudiate the former Alaska governor’s favorite verb, today they embraced it, announcing “refudiate” as the official 2010 word of the year.

“From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used ‘refudiate,’ we have concluded that neither ‘refute’ nor ‘repudiate’ seems consistently precise, and that ‘refudiate’ more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of ‘reject.’ “the New Oxford American Dictionary said in a press release.

Palin’s use of “refudiate,” launched critics into a frenzy when she first posted the made up verb on her Twitter page over the summer.

“Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” the 2008 vice presidential nominee tweeted in July, launching a string of harsh responses from the media. While some called Palin’s linguistic mash up egregious others said she would never hear the end of it (look who’s laughing now).

Palin later joked at her own expense, “‘refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”
:
Refudiate beat out other tough competitors for the top spot in 2010, including “gleek,” “vuvuzela,” “retweet,” and “tea party.”

Whether you love it or hate it, you can longer refudiate the validity of “refudiate” and remember, never misunderestimate Sarah Palin.

Maybe there are some heady celebrations being planned at the Philmon household as well.

The evidence says Palin’s enthusiasm got the better of her, and that she just plain botched it. But of course, anyone who blogs knows this means next to nothing; humans make mistakes. What speaks to character, is how it is handled.

Our current President pronounces out the “p” in “corpsman,” and His slobbering fans ignore it entirely. If it’s brought up in conversation, they change the subject. If someone doesn’t go along with changing the subject, they call that person names like “racist,” “bigot” and “teabagger.” Palin, on the other hand, is confronted by her misuse of these words and she makes it into her own little piece of humor…and at the end of the day, when the chips are down, she wins again.

It’s a perfect metaphor for what America’s foreign policy should be. If we’ve thought out our principles, and made a conscious decision that they’re worthy of our support — what does it matter whether we’ve fully thought out the little stuff? All the Perfect Higher Beings with their hopey-changey nonsense aren’t any better at noodling out the little things anyway, so what’s it matter?

Big stuff counts big, small stuff counts small. That’s life.

Also

“Sarah Palin’s Alaska” Breaks TLC Ratings Record

Sarah Palin’s documentary / travelogue / reality / biopic shattered TLC ratings records Sunday night.

The debut of Sarah Palin’s Alaska delivered a whopping 5 million viewers.

The first episode of the eight-part series was the most-watched program launch in TLC’s history.

That “Pffff” sound you just heard is hundreds of thousands of Palin-haters’ heads exploding, all across the fruited plain.

Taylor Marsh adds:

But one question continues to be asked, “Is Sarah qualified to be president?” Jeb Bush answered “you betcha!,” likely because looking at his brother he remembers where he started. The only difference between Sarah Palin and George W. Bush is political pedigree, the class issue.

There is a much better question to ask. Considering the great year Palin’s had in 2010, why shouldn’t she run or at the very least put a campaign together so she has the option?

Let us all, regardless of party affiliation or position on the ideological spectrum, agree to the following: If you voted for Barack Obama you have no business commenting on who’s “qualified” to be President, or, for that matter, who’s “qualified” to be or do anything at all. Leave the room, the rest of us will hash it out. Thank you. And yes, you should have volunteered to do that before you got called-upon to do that. Whatever confidence you have left in your own judgment on such a matter, is misplaced. But you knew that already.

Methinks the next thing to happen to that word “qualified,” is the exact opposite of what just happened to “refudiate.” It exists today, and tomorrow it should cease to be. If Barack Obama is “qualified” to be President, everybody and nobody is qualified to be everything and nothing.

Superman Rebooted Again?

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

iFlight365:

The Superman movie franchise is being rebooted in 2012 and casting is already underway for the lead roles of Superman and his mild-mannered alter ego, Clark Kent.

According to a few entertainment industry publications, both John Cena and Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson are being considered for the lead role in Superman: Man Of Steel.

IMDB.com reports that the film is being executive produced by Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight”) and will be directed by Zach Snyder.

Aside from John Cena and The Rock, actor Joe Manganiello (“Spider Man 3,” “True Blood”) is also being considered for the part.

I’ll have to keep looking for the IMDB.com story. Haven’t done too vigorous of a job praying to the GooglGodz, so if you want to beat me to the punch in the comments with a nice link, have at it.

I don’t like the idea of rebooting such a prominent superhero again after six years, when it takes that long to turn out a single movie. Not sure why the 2006 entry gets such a bad rap. I’m overall pretty happy with it, mostly because it’s got lots of “Give-A-Damn” in it and in the final analysis, that’s what makes a movie good. It had a couple of loose ends that were supposed to be pursued, too, and I think abandoning those is a mistake. Which is not to say I like both of them. I only like the Kryptonite planet. Want to see what happens with that. The Jason White character and the “deadbeat dad” stuff I didn’t like.

Even there, though, I still appreciate what Bryan Singer was trying to do. It is a theme as old as Superman himself: The realization that his efforts to live a normal life, fall in love, live life to the fullest as an ordinary human, are ultimately doomed. Singer was just looking for a different way to tell that same story. He picked the wrong one, but that by itself doesn’t make a movie into a complete turkey. And I’d have liked to see a more involved and complicated story constructed around the primary threat — “Luthor conducts an experiment to kill the Man of Steel and it gets out of control” is something of a retread. But in the first movie after a reboot, that’s pretty much all that can happen. You have to grant that exemption to the Donner work, I don’t see why Singer’s product can’t benefit from it.

And we’ll have to grant it to the 2012 installment too, that’s why I don’t like the idea. We shouldn’t see this character rebooted until my grandchildren graduate from college. Krypton will be doomed, Jor-El’s baby will zip off into space just as the planet explodes, Ma and Pa Kent will adopt the baby, Pa Kent will die, Clark will find out who he is and then get a job as a reporter in Metropolis, Lex Luthor will figure out a way to kill him, the plan will get out of control and Superman will have to do something spectacular to save everyone. It will take nearly three hours to tell all this and there won’t be time for anything else…including, taking off in some wild crazy direction so that it’s bigger and better than what came before. It will have to be an “equal sequel”; those don’t work.

Besides, after thirty years I’m still trying to figure out what the deal is with Lois remembering that Clark Kent is really Superman. Does Superman have super-spit that induces amnesia and makes people forget things when he gives them a kiss? This issue needs to be pulled out of the murky, cloudy, “Is Rick Deckard a Replicant?” layer of movie legend.

Denair Isn’t That Bad

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

San Jose Mercury News:

Cody Alicea looked a little unnerved as he approached his bicycle Friday afternoon.

The 13-year-old walked into a clutch of news crews, drawn to Denair Middle School after a school employee’s request that Cody remove an American flag from his bike attracted national headlines. The district, in this small Stanislaus County town, reversed its stance Friday.

“I didn’t think it would cause this much attention,” Cody said after unlocking his flag-festooned bicycle. “No one has told me (today) I can’t fly the flag.”

Edward Parraz, superintendent of the Denair Unified School District, said that a campus supervisor asked Cody to remove the flag earlier this week out of concern for his safety.

Those concerns arose from a dust-up among students last school year after some racial tensions arose when Latino students brought Mexican flags to school around Cinco de Mayo.

“It’s one of those things that the campus supervisor was thinking in the best interest of Cody and it backfired on her,” Parraz said Friday. “I think it was the right decision with the wrong result. She feels miserable.”
:
Parents and community members, in the meantime, developed their own plan to walk students to school on Monday morning, flags flying high.

“We want to show the nation that this isn’t Denair,” said Cassie Olson, who is helping to organize the walk. Wearing red, white and blue, the parents will escort children down Main Street to the Lester Road middle and high schools.

“I live here. This is my town,” she said.

Okay, now here’s my question. Every now and then we see a story like this where some innocent unsuspecting strutting martinet thinks like a bureaucrat and accidentally stirs up a big ol’ hoop-de-doo over Old Glory…and we get a situation roughly comparable to “I thought it was a pinata, didn’t realize it was a wasp nest.”

Why’s it still happening?

If you were running around looking for some orders to dish out because that’s just the kind of person you are and that’s the kind of authority with which you’ve been entrusted…and the order you wanted to dish out was something along the lines of “don’t talk about the Holocaust as if it really happened” — an alarm bell would go off in your head, right? Just as if you were about to repeat a joke with the “n” word in it. We’ve been working really hard to build a civilized society in which all kinds of alarms go off in people’s heads before they say things.

I do not know if every single time someone acts to constrain the display of the American Flag, it turns into something I hear about. That would involve rendering a judgment that depends on things I might not have heard about. But I do know every time I end up hearing about it, it seems the guy who started the whole thing claims to be surprised at the way things turned out.

Who are these people who are issuing all these decrees and commands, and then getting surprised that someone else is hearing about it and having a problem with it? It seems there is an expectation out there that Americans should not be proud to be Americans. The people who think this are shown something different, they feel awful, and then give it a few weeks or months someone else will be surprised by the same thing.

Kind of like bank robbery. Except, every now and then, a bank robber gets away with it…and the ones that don’t, to the best I recall, don’t claim to be all that surprised at the way things turned out.

Memo For File CXXIV

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

We have a Memorex combo DVD/VHS player that I snagged from somewhere after “Kidzmom” and I went our separate ways, which means it’s either past six years old or coming up on it. It works great, but over the last six months or so the remote has been developing bits of character. I really didn’t want to get rid of the combo unit over an issue with the remote. I’d say some three-quarters of the movies we watch are from Netflix, maybe twenty percent are from the DVD section of what we own, with the five percent left over coming from our VHS library. Having a combo player is great.

And I have a thing for machines that show Methusaleh-like longevity because of a superior design. I have interesting stories to tell because of this. I have always admired this in artificial things. I admire superior craftsmanship. I think it is to be honored, not kicked out to the curb.

So blogger friend Phil suggested a Logitech remote…but with the caveat that Ms. Phil was still in the process of making up her mind about the one he has, and is leaning toward a verdict of thumbs-down. (Update: Or not; the story on this seems to be as complicated as Ms. Phil, whom I’ve not yet met in person. But it seems the two grown-ups in the Phil household are having different experiences with the device which is my main point.) I took this advice nevertheless and have experienced similar results. I like it, although as remotes go I find the center of gravity to be quite a bit toward the back, which results in occasional “droppage” as my thumb flails about to find the right button. And there’s no command for turning on the clock timer of the DVD player, but that’s mostly because I haven’t taken the time to call tech support about it. I’m sure there’s a way.

Logitech HarmonyMy gal isn’t terribly pleased with it. She’d rather use “the” remote, which is to say the remote AT&T gave us to use with our cable receiver. On their books, I’m sure it shows they’re renting it to us or something. Whatever.

The point is…and this gets perilously close to “The Three Things Morgan Hasn’t Got the Balls to Blog”…there is a clear and present gender split with regard to devices like this.

I recall reading about a problem with exploding gas tanks. Daylight savings time would end, it would get nippy out, and for the next couple months the reports would pour in about sparks igniting passenger car gas tanks during fuel stops. It was thought that the cold, dry air elevated the risk of static discharge during the winter months, which would explain everything, but there was one problem: The victims were overwhelmingly female.

Overwhelmingly. It would happen again, and the authorities would know instantly it was another dame…and it would be. It never happened to a fella. Never, never, not ever.

What the hell?

The experts kept this on the down-low for obvious reasons, but they were perplexed. Someone had to get to the bottom of this, and they had to do it without discussing too much what they were trying to figure out.

The bright minds came and the bright minds went. No one could figure out what was happening. Winter here, winter gone…another one…theory, theory and more theory.

Finally, someone thought on it while keeping an open mind to the radical idea that women and men do things differently. And in a flash — literally — there was the answer.

Chicks don’t like cold.

They’re built to get preggers, you know…so by process of evolution, the condition of hypothermia carries different ramifications for the two sexes. Women are, for reasons that become abundantly obvious once you’re willing to consider them, acutely sensitive to the idea of the core of their bodies descending below 98.6. Granted this is not a good condition for boys & men either. But women have more of a primal fear of it; they’re built to live inside the village, we’re built to go outside in our bare feet, run around and hunt down wild boars. That’s our gig. Not theirs.

So they use the little metal tabby thing to get the nozzle pumping…then go inside the car while the tank fills up…meanwhile, the dude who’s filling up his car just stands there. She might be wearing a fur coat, he might be in shirt sleeves. But the discrepancy will remain. She’ll go inside the car and he’ll stand outside, because that is what we are built to do.

So his body is naturally grounded, whereas hers has enjoyed ample opportunity to move to a different voltage. Spark.

The Logitech remote, I notice, communicates to your devices by two levels of smartness. You can use it as a modal device. That means, you can tell it “TV”, meaning “I’m talking to the TV now.” You recognize and accept that until you switch it to another mode, you have nothing to say to the cable receiver or the DVD player. Or, you can take it to a higher level and tell it “I just want to watch a movie” and have it cycle through and send the right signals to the right devices…

The first of those two methods of use works pretty reliably. The second one never does.

I figured out the gender disparity. Like the gas pump puzzler, when you look at the evidence logically and factor in human behavior, it is exceedingly simple. Men like the remote. Women don’t. You see where I’m going now right?

Women use the remote as a device to prevent them from having to push more buttons. They use it to save steps…therefore, using the feature of it that does not work terribly well.

Men use it as a device to keep them from having to get up. I bought it for a specific reason: So I could shitcan the other three remotes. Let them get lost in the couch cushions, let them get run through the washing machine & dryer, barbeque the goddamn things for all I care. This one thing is supposed to take their place — and it does.

But that is how a man looks at it. We don’t care how many buttons we have to push, you see. It beats hunting down a wild boar in your bare feet.

The gals, they like things to be automated. Doors opened. Glasses of wine poured. They don’t mind getting up, but they want to ascend to a higher plane of decision-making, having a lower level of it completely handled. They want things put on auto-pilot so they don’t have to mess with details.

This is not to say chicks are lazy. If anything, it’s an observation that the dudes are the lazy ones.

But I think if you found ninety-eight more couples picked out at random — straight couples — and just gave each of them a super-duper remote like ours, you’d see the same outcome ninety-eight more times.

Men and women, you see, are different. It may not be politically-correct to point it out…and of course every rule is riddled with exceptions, as this one no doubt is.

But overall, it’s true. We don’t work the same. And I think my theory explains everything.

“I’m Actually Chinese”

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Aw, man:

“I feel obliged to take maybe one question from the Korean press — since you guys have been such excellent hosts,” Obama said, after answering a string of questions from White House reporters during his post-G-20 summit news conference.

“Anybody?” the president said, searching the audience.

It was an unusual move for Obama, who usually reads from a predetermined list of reporters to call on at news conferences. Plus his aides had already given him a clear signal to wrap it up. But he found a taker, and for a moment it seemed the risks of calling on a reporter at random might bear fruit.

“This gentleman right here — he’s got his hand up,” Obama said. “He’s the only one who took me up on it. Go ahead. And I’ll probably need a translation, though, if you’re asking the question in Korean. In fact, I definitely will need a translation.”

“Unfortunately, I hate to disappoint you, President Obama, I’m actually Chinese,” the reporter said.

I’m with the Missouri Megamom on this. The first few times the person in that office proves Himself unworthy of being there, it’s a chuckle and a groan mixed together. Second time, the chuckle is gone. Then He does it a few more times, and more times, and then He has no more popularity than the guy who was in that office before. Then, He does it a few more times.

There is an old saying about political leaders: “If (blank) was the answer, it must have been a pretty stupid question.” It’s awfully funny, you know…all these opinions drifting around this way and that about Republicans and democrats, but not a soul to be found who’s willing to say “That season of 2008, where we picked out our President that one time? That worked really well. That’s the way we want to pick ‘em. That was a model campaign. We need to choose our presidents that way from now on, that’s how we want it to go.”

Interesting.

I wonder if Air Force One would have buzz-bombed Manhattan in a Palin administration. Any takers on that one?

Jessica Valenti Slams the Door

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

She’ll not be participating. Her quibble has to do with the definition of what a feminist is…and evidently, there’s only one vote to be cast in such a matter and she gets to cast it:

As you may already know, MORE magazine* is hosting a panel tomorrow at the 92Y Tribeca: Naomi Wolf Talks With Feminism’s New Young Leaders based on the magazine’s recent feature on young feminists. I was originally slated to be a part of this panel, but when I found out that Allison Kasic – who works for the virulently anti-feminist Independent Women’s Forum – was also a panelist, I decided to pull out.

I’ve been writing a lot lately about the faux feminism of the Right – how conservative women who have long fought against feminist ideals and goals are now identifying as feminists in an attempt to woo women’s votes for the GOP. I think it’s an incredibly dangerous trend facing the movement – if those who work actively against women’s interests can claim feminism as their own, the movement will become meaningless.

Given all that, it felt hypocritical for me to be a part of a panel that named Kasic a feminist leader. I didn’t want my presence to lend credibility to the false notion that people who work against women’s rights are feminists.

Hat tip to blogger friend Cassy.

I’ve been noticing for awhile now that when Jessica Valenti wants to debate what exactly feminism is…or not debate it, just express a dictatorial rumination about it as she does here…the principles that emerge don’t seem to have a lot to do with women, let alone their rights, privileges or stature in society.

Two issues make their way to the forefront, with a vast distance to be traversed before you drift back to whatever is in third-place: abortion and gay marriage. Both of these leading contenders, as they achieve greater approval, appeal and practice, actually erode the place women occupy in our civilization. They both have to do with re-making our way of life into a protocol of social practices in which we do not need mothers and we do not need wives. Not the way we needed them before. It is a distinctly anti-woman revolution.

This thing we call “feminism,” nowadays, is to women like Col. Sanders is to a chicken.

TIME Reviews “Decision Point”

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Good Lord, what a disgrace:

What a DisgraceIt’s official, TIME Magazine is a complete joke

Joe Klein has reviewed Bush 43′s memoir and is as shallow and clichéd as any leftist can be in it:

As I read on, trapped in the sketchy carelessness of this presidency, I was surprised by how angry I didn’t become. For me, at least, weariness has replaced anger. Bush’s was an exhausting presidency that will, I suspect, be remembered more for its waste — of time, lives, money, moral standing and economic strength — than for anything else. We have survived nearly a decade now since Sept. 11, and the cataclysmic events of that day have receded, not just in memory but in importance, compared with the global economic changes and Wall Street sociopathy that together challenge America’s future pre-eminence. We have not been successfully attacked since, a matter of luck and skill. We do have Bush to thank, in part, for that — but far too much testosterone was spent kicking irrelevant butts and landing, breathless with self-regard, on carrier decks to celebrate victories that were Pyrrhic at best. We struggle to recover from the thoughtless carnage of his tenure.

Sketchy carelessness, eh, Mr. Klein? Tell me please, I’d really like to know — where do you see TIME Magazine’s place in the grand scheme of things? Are you just pumping out glossy petroleum-based paper with any ol’ thing carelessly sketched upon it, to be aged a couple of years and then stacked on a coffee table in a medical office’s waiting room? You think that’s where the demand is in this age of the iPhone?

More photoshop jobs of our 43rd President holding books upside-down. How edifying. How educational. Boy, I really feel like I know what’s going on in the world now! I just got a window into the cobwebby mind of Joe Klein as he was reading a retired President’s autobiography.

Of course, some folks aren’t going to see anything wrong with this, because they happen to agree with Klein’s view of things. Ends justifying the means, or something. I cannot help but wonder what they’d think of Fox News photoshopping our current President…mmm…running around with a bucket over His head? It would be “fair and balanced,” wouldn’t it?

On a slightly different subject, I left a comment over at blogger friend Rick’s place about liberals and other anti-war zealots who don’t know, or care, about what country it was that we invaded — just “sovereign nation that did not attack us” and that’s all they have to say. Of course, my criticism isn’t quite so much about the not knowing. I cannot claim an encyclopedic knowledge of the details of Hussein’s regime. What really rankles me is the not caring. All this passion worked up about a decision having been made with which they do not agree, “blood-on-his-hands” and all that.

After all these years I am still thunderstruck by how under-prepared the average liberal is to discuss what Saddam Hussein really did. What he was trying to do, what he had been trying to do, what he got caught trying to do, what he was on record having done…and what this illustrated as far as what kind of a threat our nation was facing over there.

If we’re going to be passing value judgments on the wisdom or lack thereof of going into Iraq to take the old regime down, shouldn’t that stuff…y’know…kinda come up once in awhile? These are the people who fault Christine O’Donnell for not being able to name a Supreme Court decision off the top of her head. This is their one big topic upon which they like to opine most feverishly and most tediously. It’s even displaced the Florida “recount,” remember that?

And when you get to the details, without flocking to Google they generally can’t talk butkus about it.

It is really, really something. I think of it as a national embarrassment and national tragedy, I really do. A longing for peace, and a passion for peace, is a good thing, and a vision for greater understanding that leads to a lasting peace is a laudable goal. But there is so little follow-up that I have to conclude, for the most part, the lip-service toward “understanding” is exactly that and nothing more. Just lip-service. If there was more to it, they’d understand more than they do.

“I Will List Palin’s Priorities For You, So You Don’t Have to Read Them”

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Thursday morning, in a post that received much attention and inspired much discussion, I made an observation about the way liberals tend to introduce their audiences to the subject matters they want to discuss. My observation was in the way they, in keeping with the tradition of all collectivist economies and totalitarian regimes, discourage the acquisition of knowledge and assume a superior level on a sort of information-trickling pecking order, essentially telling people what to think. As a general rule, I observed, you would even be able to see it just scotch-taping a six-lines-per-inch printout of a liberal blog posting on the wall of a large room, next to a similar printout of a posting by someone ideologically inclined toward the opposite…then walking to the far side of the room and look upon their disparate forms:

The conservative (to your left) says “Look what this guy said, then look what happened over here. Now, my thoughts about this are these…”

The liberal works differently. He explains to you what’s going on in the world according to his own take on things. This guy’s “The Real Deal,” that woman is “stupid,” this guy over here is “a village idiot.” He’s clean and articulate. He’s a dimbulb. He’s sophisticated, he’s educated, she’s a bible-thumper bent on establishing an American theocracy.

If there are quotes at all, they’re in the bottom half. Just little snippets, very often taken out of context. Not there to prove anything, just to lead-in to the next snarky one-liner. It isn’t an absolute no-exceptions rule, but it works well as a general one.

What is funny about this, is I have also previously observed that liberalism has degenerated into a — what’s the word. Not a science, not a discipline, not a justice system, not a religious order, not a way of viewing the universe…but sort of a hodge-podge of all these things. A dogma. And if the dogma could be summed up in a single sentence it would be “Look at this thing over here I hate so much, come gather with me and help me hate it.”

I just think if that is the priority…and the evidence says that it certainly is…I would expect a greater emphasis to be placed on defining the thing. Right? But liberals don’t have that much respect for the individual. One liberal explains to another what is going on, and he’s essentially making an intellectual clone of himself.

You will note from the comment thread that one of our readers did not like this observation, because he’s a liberal. He was also the example I cited…which I know from having the same thing happen to me, this can be a little bit of a jarring experience. So he did what liberals tend to do with observations they do not like: Pretend I was defining a hard rule to be applied to everybody with no exceptions (I never said such a thing, and in fact said much toward the opposite)…and point me out as a hypocrite who can’t or won’t follow his own rules. Then he proceeded to prove me absolutely right, waxing lyrically about all the things he figured out the motives of Sarah Palin, whom as far as I know is a person he has not yet met. True to form, there was & is no firm evidence forthcoming to prove any of what he had to say about her, or even to compel a neutral mind to receive these ideas more hospitably. To the best of my knowledge, they seem to have been things that were fun to think, nothing more.

I say again (since it was ignored last time I said it): This posting is not an example of what I’m talking about because it is a re-inspection of something else that has already been inspected elsewhere. My observation concerns writers who introduce their readers to the topics they wish to discuss. If you want to see how I do this so you can weigh an accusation of hypocrisy in your own mind, you can check out how I do it over here.

And I don’t intend to allude back to that discussion again since it’s been milked to death…and I don’t like talking smack about Huckup because he is, kinda-sorta, in his own way a somewhat fair and principled thinker.

But I did upload the image with those essay-form-outlines for a reason, and I intend to embed it and refer back to it again and again and again, whenever the occasion calls for it. I intended that from the beginning, for this is something I have been noticing for awhile now…view conservative commentary from a distance alongside liberal commentary, you will notice even from twenty feet away a distinct difference that reflects the different thinking styles. Conservatives and liberals are both close-minded in their own ways. But conservatives close their minds after they have experienced something. Yeah, I’m even talking about that big one, “God doesn’t exist.” With most of them, the experience is parenthood, and I’m part of that crowd. I was raised Presbyterian and taught in childhood that you should have faith, which means slamming your mind shut like a steel door on the notion that we may be living in a godless universe. But in truth, I never did completely close my mind to this until I watched my son develop in his mother’s womb. And find out about what’s going on. This machinery, you know, it’s a whole lot more complicated than people give it credit for. Doctors can’t even explain it to you without using that troubling past-tense verb, “designed.” To keep all the secularists from being offended, everyone uses passive-voice so it’s linguistically unnecessary to explore who’s doing this designing. But eventually a truly curious mind will need to ‘fess up that someone’s doing it and it ain’t Darwin’s ghost.

To the subject at hand. I said that I intended at the beginning to re-embed the image of the paragraph-boxes. I did not expect to be doing it within just a couple of days. But this is a perfect fit:

People have struggled to define what the Tea Party stands for, but Sarah Palin has provided a manifesto for the incoming freshmen. She starts with the conceit that the results of the midterm elections have put the government back on the side of the people. But she quickly disabuses us of that belief. I will list Palin’s priorities for you, so you don’t have to read her entire screed.

1. Defund ObamaCare.
2. Eliminate earmarks.
3. Make is procedurally easier to cut taxes than to raise them.
4. Enforce zero-based budgeting.
5. Cancel all unstarted stimulus programs.
6. Return all non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels (she may have meant discretionary spending).
7. Extend all of Bush’s tax cuts indefinitely.
8. Control the growth of Entitlement spending.
9. Control the borders, but decouple it from immigration reform.
10. Continue our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
11. Get tough with Iran.
12. Sign free-trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia.
13. Oppose ratification of the START treaty.
14. Side with Netanyahu’s position that all of Jerusalem is part of Israel, and that no building in East Jerusalem can be considered settlement expansion.
15. Keep Guantanamo prison open and deny all prisoners there access to the courts.
16. Return to Bush’s freedom agenda.
17. If anyone in the press praises your actions, do a reappraisal because you’ve probably gone off-track.

So, this is what Palinism stands for. It does not appear to deviate in any way from the policies of George W. Bush. Excepting earmark reform, increased hostility toward Latinos, and an even more Likudnik-friendly position towards Israel, nothing in Palin’s proposals would change how the country was run between 2001 and 2009.

It’s Bushism stripped of all it’s redeeming features. [emphasis mine]

What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think. What to think.
What to think.
What to think.
What to think.
What to think.
What to think.
What to think.
What to think, what to think, What to think, what to think, What to think, what to think, What to think, what to think, What to think, what to think, What to think, what to think, What to think, what to think, What to think, what to think, What to think, what to think…and…here’s a link.

A link that I don’t really expect or want you to click. I’ve summarized it all for you so you don’t have to do any of that…you know…that reading of things written by people who are not me. Don’t do that, just take my word for it.

Pardon me for noticing this thing people don’t want me to notice. I grew up in the seventies and early eighties, during which time I was told it was liberals who were “open minded.” Conservatives were just doltish old people who acted in movies, got elected President through nefarious means and then fell asleep in cabinet meetings. Liberals are smarter because they’re more humble and more curious…

Funny how I so seldom actually see any of this. Liberals telling other liberals what is going on, is purely an exercise in the-blind-leading-the-blind. There’s so little by way of actual exchange of knowledge, it’s so much more just dispensing of instructions.

Here’s what Palin actually said:

Welcome to all Republican Freshmen and congratulations!

Congratulations to all of you for your contribution to this historic election, and for the contributions I am certain you will make to our country in the next two years. Your victory was hard fought, and the success belongs entirely to you and the staff and volunteers who spent countless hours working for this chance to put government back on the side of the people. Now you will come to Washington to serve your nation and leave your mark on history by reining in government spending, preserving our freedoms at home, and restoring America’s leadership abroad. Some of you have asked for my thoughts on how best to proceed in the weeks and months ahead and how best to advance an agenda that can move our country forward. I have a simple answer: stick to the principles that propelled your campaigns. When you take your oath to support and defend our Constitution and to faithfully discharge the duties of your office, remember that present and future generations of “We the People” are counting on you to stand by that oath. Never forget the people who sent you to Washington. Never forget the trust they placed in you to do the right thing.

The task before you is daunting because so much damage has been done in the last two years, but I believe you have the chance to achieve great things.

Republicans campaigned on a promise to rein in out-of-control government spending and to repeal and replace the massive, burdensome, and unwanted health care law President Obama and the Democrat Congress passed earlier this year in defiance of the will of the majority of the American people. These are promises that you must keep. Obamacare is a job-killer, a regulatory nightmare, and an enormous unfunded mandate. The American people don’t want it and we can’t afford it. We ask, with all due respect, that you remember your job will be to work to replace this legislation with real reform that relies on free market principles and patient-centered policies. The first step is, of course, to defund Obamacare.

You’ve also got to be deadly serious about cutting the deficit. Despite what some would like us to believe, tax cuts didn’t get us into the mess we’re in. Government spending did. Tough decisions need to be made about reducing government spending. The longer we put them off, the worse it will get. We need to start by cutting non-essential spending. That includes stopping earmarks (because abuse of the earmark process created the “gateway-drug” that allowed backroom deals and bloated budgets), canceling all further spending on the failed Stimulus program, and rolling back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels. You can do more, but this would be a good start.

In order to avert a fiscal disaster, we will also need to check the growth of spending on our entitlement programs. That will be a huge challenge, but it must be confronted head on. We must do it in a humane way that honors the government’s current commitments to our fellow Americans while also keeping faith with future generations. We cannot rob from our children and grandchildren’s tomorrow to pay for our unchecked spending today. Beyond that, we need to reform the way Congress conducts business in order to make it procedurally easier to cut spending than to increase it. We need to encourage zero-based budgeting practices in D.C. like the kind fiscally conservative mayors and governors utilize to balance their budgets and reduce unnecessary spending.

There in the insulated and isolated Beltway you will be far removed from the economic pain felt by so many Americans who are out of work. Please remember that if we want real job growth, we must create a stable investment climate by ending the tidal wave of overly burdensome regulations coming out of Washington. Businesses need certainty – and freedom that incentivizes competition – to grow and expand our workforce.

The last thing our small businesses need is tax hikes. It falls to the current Democrat-controlled Congress to decide on the future of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. If it does not permanently renew all of them, you should move quickly to do so in the new Congress. It would remove from households and businesses the threat of a possible $3.8 trillion tax hike hitting all Americans at the worst possible moment, with our economy struggling to recover from a deep recession! You must continue to remind Democrats that the people they are dismissing as “rich” are the small business owners who create up to 70% of all jobs in this country!

Another issue of vital importance is border security. Americans expect our leadership in Washington to act now to secure our borders. Don’t fall for the claims of those who suggest that we can’t secure our borders until we simultaneously deal with the illegal immigrants already here. Let’s deal with securing the border first. That alone is a huge challenge that has been ignored for far too long.

On foreign policy and national security, I urge you to stick to our principles: strong defense, free trade, nurturing allies, and steadfast opposition to America’s enemies. We are the most powerful country on earth and the world is better off because of it. Our president does not seem to understand this. If we withdraw from the world, the world will become a much more dangerous place. You must push President Obama to finish the job right in Iraq and get the job done in Afghanistan, otherwise we who are war-weary will forever question why America’s finest are sent overseas to make the ultimate sacrifice with no clear commitment to victory from those who send them. You should be prepared to stand with the President against Iran’s nuclear aspirations using whatever means necessary to ensure the mullahs in Tehran do not get their hands on nuclear weapons. And you can stand with the Iranian people who oppose the tyrannical rule of the clerics and concretely support their efforts to win their freedom – even if the President does not.

You need to say no to cutting the necessities in our defense budget when we are engaged in two wars and face so many threats – from Islamic extremists to a nuclear Iran to a rising China. As Ronald Reagan said, “We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.” You will also have the opportunity to push job-creating free trade agreements with allies like Colombia and South Korea. You can stand with allies like Israel, not criticize them. You can let the President know what you believe – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not a settlement. And for those of you joining the United States Senate, don’t listen to desperate politically-motivated arguments about the need for hasty consideration of the “New START” treaty. Insist on your right to patient and careful deliberation of New START to address very real concerns about verification, missile defense, and modernization of our nuclear infrastructure. No New START in the lame duck!

You can stand against misguided proposals to try dangerous, evil terrorists in the US; precipitously close the Guantanamo prison; and a return to the failed policies of the past in treating the war on terror as a law enforcement problem. Finally, you have a platform to express the support of the American people for all those around the world seeking their freedom that God has bestowed within all mankind’s being – from Burma and Egypt to Russia and Venezuela – because the spread of liberty increases our own security. You, freshmen lawmakers, can and will be powerful voices in support of foreign policies that protect our interests and promote our values! Thank you for being willing to fight for our values and our freedom!

In all this, you should extend a hand to President Obama and Democrats in Congress. After this election, they may finally be prepared to work with Republicans on some of these issues for the good of the country. And if not, we will all be looking forward to 2012.

Remember that some in the media will love you when you stray from the time-tested truths that built America into the most exceptional nation on earth. When the Left in the media pat you on the back, quickly reassess where you are and readjust, for the liberals’ praise is a warning bell you must heed. Trust me on that.

I and most Americans are so excited for you. Working together, we have every right to be optimistic about our future. We can be hopeful because real hope lies in the ingenuity, generosity, and boundless courage of the everyday Americans who make our country exceptional. These are the men and women who sent you to Washington. May your work and leadership honor their faith in you.

With sincere congratulations and a big Alaskan heart,

Sarah Palin

As a conservative, you would have to be nuts to think such a manifesto is not necessary. It is not by any means some kind of order that has been put together by someone elected to office with authority in it; it is an offering, to be accepted or rejected according to future events. Just like our nation’s original Declaration of Independence. It is a statement of principles. The 104th Congress was brought in on the strength of just such a resolution. The goodwill that was made available from that moment, was all but squandered away by the sessions of the 110th Congress, by which time the legislative branch was working according to make-it-up-as-you-go-along. See, it’s that conservative mind-closing process to which I was referring earlier. Two methods are tried, one consistently succeeds and the other consistently fails. After awhile the sensible mind becomes closed.

But only within its own domain. In submitting such a resolution, Palin recognizes, as do all mature adults, that others may have different ideas. Even if everyone agrees on the primary subject matter, it is still necessary to have a debate proving that to be the case, and you cannot debate things that have not in some way been scribbled down. That’s why I did pretty much the same thing way back when Palin’s old running mate was selected (to my chagrin) as the Republican party’s nominee.

But the point is, in summarizing what has happened, the mature, capable mind will not attempt to obscure the details from those whom he seeks to persuade to his point of view. The mature mind does not seek to clone itself. It is not afraid of the different perspective brought by others, from their disparate life-experiences. It is does not fear individuality.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

Skeet Shooting for Real Men

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

GBIL (Girlfriend’s Brother-in-Law) sent it via e-mail.

Update: He also sent this one…

DJEver Notice? LXII

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Thing I Know #183. When an education has given you the ability to dismiss ideas more quickly, it’s not really an education.

I was making a reference to that particular TIK in a comment I left at the home place of one of our occasional comment-posters, who tends to lean leftward. He’s none too fond of the leggy former Governor of Alaska, which suits us just fine…but where we get into a scrap, is where he joins a large body of thought that starts from this dislike and allows it to discolor reality as they are in the process of perceiving it.

Sarah Palin, cocooned as she is in the conservative media echo chamber which never, ever calls her out on her patent falsehoods, not only seems incapable of admitting fallibility, but also thinks that compounding lies with even more egregious and disingenuous ones is no problem as long as it placates her fawning admirers who can see no wrong in anything she does and who see her as combatting that evil, “lamestream” media for daring to point out her lies. There is just no way that a serial liar like she is should have any business even being close to the Presidency.

The scrap is unavoidable because the discoloration of reality is absolutely, positively consistent. Every single time the Wasilla Wonder can possibly be wrong about something, she must be. And anybody who defends her in any position at all, must be the one who is incapable of perceiving reality accurately. If Sarah Palin is caught eating her dinner with her salad fork, it must be an indicator of something deep, dark, unscrupulous and haywire in her very soul, and we know this is the case because they know what they know.

Under no circumstance can there possibly be any doubt. Ever. About anything Palin-related.

Aside from that, all the ingredients in the now all-too-familiar Palin-argument-stew are present and accounted-for. This is one of the special concoctions, in which Palin herself has felt inclined to revisit something, tempted by the opportunity to lay an awesome smackdown upon a smarmy WSJ Palinphobe.

The original disagreement, forgotten now to all, has to do with Quantitative Easing, a Keynesian move that enjoys common initials with the current monarch of Great Britain: QE2. Does it work? Well, as is the case with a movie title, the “2″ at the end does not portend success beyond the “1.” And since it’s a government effort, you know the “2″ is necessary because the “1″ failed.

Palin made a comment about food costs gong up, and Sudeep Reddy nailed her on it because they have not been. So we have a situation here: If food costs have been going up, Palin is right and Reddy is wrong; if they have not been, Reddy is right and Palin is wrong. Well, not only have food prices being going up but the Wall Street Journal said so. So Reddy is not only wrong, but gloriously wrong. He’s been exposed as not even bothering to read his own paper.

This entire thing, to me, is ludicrous. The Palin bashers enter the argument with this preconceived notion that, as I said, if Palin can be wrong then she must be. A disagreement starts and then both sides are expected to play along with this fairy tale fantasy that the Palin bashers first soaked up all the relevant information, and then came to a dispassionate, reasoned conclusion about what is happening…and then, oh dear, discovered Sarah Palin is in error. Why do we play this game? Seriously, why even bother. We just got done with that Party Like It’s 1773 thing where the Palin haters made absolute fools out of themselves, by flying on the seat of their pants and letting their passions take them for a ride. Next time they make the same noises, they want us to pretend it didn’t happen and we somehow accommodate them.

So now we are to pretend food costs have not been going up.

To diminish the reputation of some housewife out in Alaska, who just happens to have once held an elective office? A housewife? We’re to gang up on a housewife with our superior knowledge and wisdom about whether food costs have been going up? Gee, uh…arguing with a housewife about how much food has been costing…who we going to argue with next, I wonder. With a fisherman about what fish do? Wouldn’t the cool-headed dispassionate observer who knows how to think…like…fly up there and go on a shopping trip first, if he really wants to be “right” about something?

Oh yeah, it’s Sarah Palin who is the housewife. That changes everything. Dumb ol’ broad must not know what she’s talking about.

Anyway…that’s a summary of the whole situation. I’ve already written more about it than I wanted to, and I said at the time I don’t really care about the other details like QE2, or whether Jimmy Carter’s second presidency is screwing up the economy as badly as his first one. I care about PDS. These people seem so certain that they’re perceiving reality as it actually exists. But when they give you a link to show you how wrong Palin is, and you actually chase it down to read what is said on the other side…you find it boils down to something like that. They form their speeches for the benefit of people who, clearly, are expected to just believe what they are told.

So here’s the “D’Jever notice??” moment. I formed a comment for HuckUpChuck’s place, and since he’s still on Blogger it wouldn’t accept more than 4,096 characters. A “Blogger Character” is something like a “Microsoft Minute”; I had my reply nicely polished down to 3,900+something and it was still complaining about length, just like all the humans who read my stuff.

I’m not going to abuse Huck for being on Blogger, I know lots of people who are on it. I was on it. It’s a little tough to move off.

I like everything about Blogger, apart from the experience of using it.

But here is what did not make the cut. It’s something I have been noticing for a long time, since before PDS existed, back in the BDS days.

And it’s got to go somewhere:

Our Essays, Their EssaysGo back and look at my article again. Look at it on a BIG monitor…maybe print it out, tape it to a wall, and look at it from across the room. There are only minimal remarks from me, before I start quoting people. Two mini-paragraphs of two lines each, then an indent. AFTER the quote, I give my opinion about it, then I go into the next quote, give my opinion AFTER the quote, and on and on. By the time I come to the situation that is the focus of this current disagreement, I’ve quoted everybody who’s said anything that matters…then I give my opinion on the whole thing.

Palin’s FaceBook commments, I see, are structured the same way (although she quotes inline).

Palin-bashers…work the opposite way. We get to the quotes in the bottom of his article, after we plow through two…three…four…five or more paragraphs telling us what we’re supposed to think about it. It is an exact reversal. Your own post is a single article containing your thoughts, with a link we have to go follow to find out who said what. And the link is to Chittum [the upside-down article with the quotes in the second half].

So even the writing style represents the thinking style. It just has to do, I think, with how the universe is seen, felt, heard, sensed, perceived. We form an inference about something, and in that space in our heads, a story forms alongside the inference. Recorded in that brain tissue somewhere is a story alongside every little thing you know…and as time dulls the outline of the memory, the story lasts just as long as the thing learned.

With some of us, the story is the thing, and it is told before all of the facts are in. That’s what a cognitive bias is. It is harmful because it tends to filter out any information that doesn’t fit the narrative.

Example: Ask a Palin hater what’s the last thing Palin did right? “Quit as Alaska’s Governor because she sucks so much” doesn’t count; what complimentary things do they have to say about what she’s thought, said, done? Ever? If there isn’t anything, anything at all, that could be the symptom of a deeper problem.

And the contrast you see in the form and shape of these essays that hit the web, as I said, remains more or less consistent. It isn’t a “Love Palin/Hate Palin” contrast, because it predates her presence in our popular culture.

But you do see it in the Chittum piece. You see it in a lot of DailyKOS treatises. Lots of paragraphs about what you’re supposed to conclude…and okay now that we’ve got that spelled out, let’s go look at some quotes. It’s upside-down thinking.

And yes, I realize this particular item more-or-less follows that other, upside-down, form and shape. <grin> Doesn’t count. I’m providing further comment on something I’ve already described elsewhere.

Bottom line, some of us base our conclusions on observed or demonstrated fact, others only pretend to. Perhaps when Ralph Waldo Emerson said that thing about consistency and simple minds, this is what he was talking about.

Sunburned Whales

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Discovery:

Painful sunburns are usually associated with people, but many whales are now acutely sunburned, with cases escalating in recent years, according to new research.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, is the first to demonstrate that sun damage to whale skin is on the rise and is likely tied to increasing levels of ultraviolet radiation resulting from the thinning ozone layer.

“The thing is, whales do not have hair, fur or feathers that could offer some protection, and they are forced to surface in order to breathe,” co-author Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse told Discovery News.

“Other animals have behavioral adaptations — hiding in the shade, for example — but whales cannot afford to do so,” added Acevedo-Whitehouse, a postdoctoral fellow at the Zoological Society of London.

So what are you standing there for? Do something! Like, uh, call the Justice League…

Raccoon Disables Car

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

The Morning Call, Pennsylvania:

The damage didn’t seem bad at first, but two miles after a Wilkes-Barre motorist hit a raccoon on Interstate 80 in Tobyhanna Township, the car’s coolant was gone.

Lamont Hubbard, 39, was eastbound on I-80 at 11 p.m. Sunday when he ran into the raccoon as it crossed the highway. Damage to the car was minimal, state police at Fern Ridge said, but the radiator was punctured and leaked steadily as Hubbard drove on.

In 2 minutes, he was forced to pull over and call for help, police said. No human was injured.