Archive for January, 2011

Boy Wonder Violates the Separation of Church and Cape

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

You knew it was out there somewhere…I know I did. But I’m still surprised at the length that results. Although I suppose I shouldn’t be.

Ka-pow, zowee.

“A Template for Every Awful Facebook Discussion You’ve Ever Witnessed”

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Here.

Thanks to Mike, by way of an off-line.

If They Were Countries

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

From The Economist, hat tip to Dyspepsia Generation. Who is wondering “how come we take so much shit from these piss-ant places.”

Comment poster cylarz had some interesting thoughts about this lately…like

Have you ever heard the familiar refrain that the United States is a bully and a victimizer of third world countries, especially those in the Middle East? Did you ever stop to wonder, if that were even true, how we got into a position of being able to do so in the first place? It’s not like the British gave us a grant to get started – we began with a continent-sized untamed wilderness, and proceeded to build a mighty nation capable of projecting its will halfway around the globe. How did we do that, when so many other countries can’t even control the territory they claim?
:
Why other countries would have a say in our affairs, is an idea that positively mystifies me, and I’m even more mystified as to why they’d have any more wisdom than we do. Aren’t their citizens human, too? The rest of the world divides its time between demanding our money and telling us to stay out of its business. Being an American is a lot like raising teenagers.

Hey, Jude

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

From Graph Jam.

Bringing a Beatdown to the Republicans Who Thirst For Death

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Gerard lowers it down upon them…it is deserved, and deserved well.

I’m seeing a lot of “Woe is us” kvetching and whining cropping up around the sphere in the last few days. Powerline’s got a dose of this social media disease (SMD). Pajamas has a dose. Rove and Krauthammer are probably close to Patient Zero when it comes to the origin of the dose. Innumerable others have a dose. And now they all seek to “give a dose to the ones they love most” — fellow Republicans and the American people.

The SMD in question is the sudden onset of the “Oh, God, we’ve got nothing but losers to run for President in 2012” syndrome as they wander about the echoing warehouse of their traditional and perennial candidates and see… well, they see losers. And these clear and present losers constitute a collection of schmos that cannot be seen to be able to beat the New and Improved Obama that has emerged in the last week or so, phoenix-life, from the ashes of Tucson.

Wasn’t it only yesterday that many of these same doughnuts were dropping their pundit kibble around the idea that “Hey, Hillary could beat this guy!” Why yes, I do believe it was just about only yesterday. Today we’re back to the “This bozo is unbeatable.”

Gerard carries weighty words deserving of respect. Three years ago, this Fred Thompson fan was nursing his wounds and Gerard was one of the people pointing out the obvious — McCain is the guy, like it or not, and everyone who can see what’s happening needs to get behind him. Not that I ever agreed with that; I still don’t. At least not with too much enthusiasm. But give him credit for being consistent on this position, and the position makes better sense today.

Not to mention any names, but there are certain other people who were trying to talk some sense into Yours Truly back then — and seem to have flip-flopped now. Someone will emerge…someday…but the current lot is hopeless, so let’s just keep wishing.

The wisdom we need now is Rumsfeldian: You send the incumbent communist president home with the challenger you have. Obama is beatable. As much as any president who has ever presided over a crappy economy…but not with this agenda-driven, or not-agenda-driven, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth going forth, pining away for the challenger the country does not have. And it bears repeating one more time: The unenlightened snowbilly chick is not yet among the challengers we have. If you’re complaining that she shouldn’t be running, do you understand that you don’t have a complaint yet? And if you don’t get that, then why am I listening to your opinion again?

What are these bozos trying to sell? Some of them are forthcoming about it. Most aren’t. They just drone on and on with that word that begins with “U”, toward what purpose I do not know…

Time for a re-definition.

“Unqualified”: An adjective we attach to people who tell the truth without using a bunch of bullshit euphemisms.

Memo For File CXXIX

Friday, January 28th, 2011

I finally figured out how we’re going nuts, and it doesn’t have anything to do with conservatism versus liberalism.

Well…that is perhaps overstating it…it doesn’t have much to do with it. Okay, maybe it has quite a bit to do with liberalism. But it has more to do with what you saw in Idiocracy. We humans in this day and age don’t have to do a whole lot to stay alive, and we have no natural predators. We’re starting to become idiots.

When I made a list of all the ways our thinking has started to suck green donkey balls, busted them out into their most simplistic elements and eliminated the duplicates, I found the resulting list had exactly thirty items. That seems like a good, round number. Let’s blog it.

This has actually been many years in the making. The plain truth that has to be recognized here is that we don’t really do an awful lot of thinking. Our day-to-day survival is not linked to our arriving at the right answer. Most of the time, when we make decisions about things, we do it for the sake of convincing those in proximity that we’re decent people. These are not decisions that are supposed to produce an outcome consistent with our stated goals. Things like “I’m going to vote for MONDALE!” are just ways of showing off our decency…and our absolute, complete credulity.

For decades now, we have not even been trying to show off any inherent ability. For the most part, what we’ve been trying to demonstrate to each other is harmlessness. Which, as you’re about to see, isn’t that harmless…

Our thirty widespread modern mental illnesses are as follows:

1. Given a factual observation, the recognition of one, and only one, valid conclusion to be drawn from it.

This is Number One for a reason. Too many people, on this point, are absolutely inflexible. Example: Sarah Palin made a reference to “our allies the North Koreans” and this means she is unqualified for the presidency…and she hasn’t declared herself a candidate for that office anymore than I have. But because she is unqualified for it, and this is “proven” by the fact that she momentarily mixed up her Koreas, she is to be hated. Oh, and you have to agree with all this. If you fail to, or if you even hesitate to, it just proves you’re crazy. Or you’re thinking with your little head; you want to wait until Todd Palin is looking at something else and then jump her bones. Or both of those. That Sarah Palin said what she said cannot mean anything else, and your failure to agree with that, also, cannot mean anything else. They are guarantees. Nice and simple.

People who think this way forget that one thing may mean — one thing, or it may mean any one of a lot of different things. It’s a very common problem. Poeple running around, like small children, all too ready to give voice to those magic words “Aha! Now this proves it!” Completely forgetting that someone else might have a different view of the situation and what it all means.

This is the most common mental illness, and it is by far the most damaging. People who are unable to express, or sustain, or give a decent respect to the simple idea: “I think A, but I do see how a reasonable person might think not-A.”

2. Insistence that there must be a certain point where (most) people have made enough money.

Ever run a potato-sack race?

If one foot can never be too far behind, then the other foot can never be too far ahead. The net effect is, not too much progress can be made.

It’s called communism. It’s been tried before; it always leads to suffering. That’s why.

3. Shadow-lurking; fear of unilaterally altering the outcome of a situation, even for the better.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and when you take steps to alter an outcome for the better, you need to put your name by the idea that the outcome is indeed being improved. This can be a scary thing. There is always the possibility that the outcome, when all’s said & done, is not being improved after all.

And so for the cowardly, it becomes an appealing proposition to leave all matters unchanged. You don’t get any credit for improving anything that way, but you might not get blamed for anything deteriorating either.

4. Irrational hatred of anybody who doesn’t share this fear of altering situational outcomes for the better.

This is understandable. If someone is being mugged and you stand down, allowing the mugging to proceed, it looks like a perfectly reasonable decision. Until someone else comes along to stop the mugging and then you look like a craven coward…which is what you are. But in that situation it suddenly becomes a great deal less subtle.

It’s understandable, but that doesn’t make it logical. It certainly doesn’t make it noble.

5. Directive 10-289: The belief that all human behavior is static; the failure to anticipate unintented consequences.

We see it time and time and time again with liberal policies. A tax rate goes up; subtract the old rate from the new rate, multiply the difference by the volume of commerce that comes under the tax, and the product is something you are absolutely sure to collect next year. Every single nickel! They do the same thing with tax cuts — a tax cut can be assessed to “cost” us a half a trillion dollars, or some such.

If humans were inherently non-intelligent, it might work out that way. But they’re not. When something becomes more or less lucrative, they change their decisions to adapt to the new environment.

6. Rejecting the delivery of a beneficial outcome, over trifling concerns about the process followed.

There is a simple test to discern whether this has crossed over into insanity: Does process matter over outcome? If the outcome falls short of the stated goal, is it acceptable anyway because a certain process was followed? If it gets that far, then what is being done is that a failure is being falsely regarded as a success. What if someone deviates from the stated process, but by so doing, delivers on the stated goal? If that is rejected then the reverse holds; a success is being falsely regarded as a failure.

From developing software, I have found the projects that really justify their existences are the ones that put humans in the role of being human. That is to say, all the repetitive work is systematically routed to the machinery, and all the creative demands are made upon the people. And yet, I don’t have to wait for too many years to roll by before I have to deal with the tiny minds, those who say that the proper place for the human “talent” is to do things exactly the same way some other human would do it; to follow the same process. In other words, the people should do the work of machines.

I have begun to view that as working backward. Wherever there are machines, humans should not do repetitive work. Not only is it tedious, but compared to the machines, people aren’t any good at it.

7. The feeling that if someone is wealthy, he must have done something morally reprehensible to become that way.

You almost can’t blame us for falling for this; it’s the better part of a century of programming straight from Hollywood. Wherever there’s a wealthy industrialist there must be a soul enshrouded in pure darkness, dedicated to evil. Facts are not considered. It’s just assumed.

But there’s something about this I don’t get: If you’re independently wealthy but have taken a leadership position in advancing the progressive agenda, suddenly you’re not evil anymore. If you’re Sen. John Kerry, you can dock your sailboat in another state to avoid paying taxes and you’re still wonderful. If you’re George Soros, you labor under no obligation whatsoever to “give back to the community.”

8. Oikophobia; the fear of the similar, or of the familiar.

This was once synonymous to “wanderlust.” Now it’s a polar opposite to xenophobia; it means, if someone is similar to your or your native culture, you’re afraid of it, or you’re automatically convinced it must be an evil thing.

9. Blame; every single situation leads to the same individual, group or class being at fault.

Do I even have to use the name “George W. Bush”?

10. Rationalization; every single situation leads to the same idea about what to do.

This seems reasonable because, and only because, humans in this day and age do not need to hunt for their food. And we do not toil away on the food chain underneath any natural predators.

Without a need to exercise basic intelligence, to vary our responses according to the flavor of the current stimulus, our ability to do this has begun to atrophy…

11. The denial of any difference between male and female physiology, psychology and/or aptitudes.

This was popularized during the 1970′s. If you acknowledged so much as a whiff of difference between the sexes, you needed to be educated.

It wouldn’t be possible to explain to anyone who was not slowly acclimated to the new order: Women could only be properly respected by people who pretended they were men. If you acknowledged there was anything different, and therefore special, about women that must have meant you were putting them down. This, necessarily, meant any acknowledgement of femininity was an insult — and that, in turn, had to mean women were inherently inferior.

In sum: Those who were really discriminating against women, successfully projected it on to others.

The tradition continues today.

12. Desire to be better than everybody else, coupled with a mutually-exclusive goal of resembling everybody else.

This is what Thing I Know #160 is all about:

Being better than everyone you know; being the same as everyone you know. You can have one, not both. I think we all get that. But too many among us want both. They know they can’t have both, but they’re unwilling to do things differently from the crowd, or to take second-place. They want it all. And they don’t know why they end up unhappy.

13. Upon hearing one side of a story, failing to factor in that there might be another side to the story.

The very essence of adult-like thinking. We’ve been losing it, a little bit at a time, for quite awhile now.

14. The cyclical and perpetual fantasy that all of human existence might be on the verge of extinction.

This latest eco-fad, too, has been going on uninterrupted since the mid 1970′s: The idea that man is about to cause his own distinction, inadvertently. That’s thirty-five years give or take. All along the way, ten years at a time, we authoritatively expect the oceans to dry up, become superheated, de-salinated, or otherwise uninhabitable…

Before the 1970′s, about every fifty years or so we have another prophecy of the end of the world. Whenever it fails to happen we come up with another prophecy.

Not healthy. Not even a little bit.

15. The insistence that the leader of a people, in order to be qualified, must be somehow different/superior to them.

This is really a fundamental split. Some of us think a leader is a sampling; his role is to meld the values and sensibilities of the people he leads, with some measure of common sense. Others think the leader is elected to bring wisdom that any other ol’ schmuck wouldn’t be able to offer up. The difference is that the second of those two groups, who are in search of some demigod to pick up all these ordinary people and move them to a place they wouldn’t otherwise be able to find, conflate values with wisdom. They see it all mixed together into one goulash which they want served up by someone who knows something they don’t, and therefore it isn’t their place to question any of it. Which takes a lot of the pressure off compared to actually thinking.

16. An exuberance about a stated method for solving a problem, enjoined with an inexplicable inattention to details.

My favorite example is sitting down to talk out our differences with our enemies. Nobody ever talks about standing around something with our enemies, holding wine goblets, admiring the artwork on the walls; no, it’s always sitting down to talk out our differences.

Once we sit down, what exactly gets discussed? The litany never seems to go here. Just sit down, that’s all.

17. Filtering out the facts problematic to a desired inference, with rage against anyone who doesn’t filter the same way.

This is what lazy thinkers do. They figure out what they want the conclusion to be, and then they treat all the evidence with selected hostility or gullibility, depending on whether the evidence befriends that conclusion.

They tailor the knowledge to fit the opinion, rather than the other way around.

18. Deciding on the morality of a proposed plan based solely on which classes of people it might help or hurt.

This is perhaps the most common. Certain people, you’ll notice, you can predict how they’re going to feel about a certain plan just by categorizing the plan as crudely as possible. Pro-white, anti-black…or…pro-woman anti-man. Pro-gay, anti-gay. It sets aside positions, or it gives away money. Or it imposes a new standard for child custody. To figure out how these people are going to vote, it isn’t necessary to wade into the details or even to figure out if something is required, not-required, prohibited, subsidized, taxed. Just figure out who it helps and who it hurts. Simplistic, childish thinking; right & wrong don’t enter into it.

19. Leaping to the conclusion that statistical over- or under-representation proves injustice, and therefore conspiracy.

My favorite example of this is women under-represented in Congress. People tend to forget, there’s a certain amount of self-imposed humiliation involved in running for something. Men are going to be more open to this. Women don’t like to be embarrassed, and that’s just the way it is. The same goes for hard sciences, computer technology, etc. If you can work miracles and fix things other people can’t fix, and make a huge difference, but not too many people are going to notice, then women are not going to be attracted to that particular field. Some will but most won’t.

When there aren’t too many people of a certain demographic group in a certain position…it very often might mean there’s a problem attracting willing candidates. It doesn’t have to mean there’s a conspiracy to keep them out.

20. Placing additional weight on opinions solely for the reason that they aren’t connected to a meaningful identity.

A candidate interviews for a job and you’ve got all these questions for him. One single wrong answer and he’s disqualified…but…a band of strangers says he’s capable of handling this job, the details of which are understood only by you and a few others. You don’t know who these strangers are and you have no way of finding out, if you cared. But with their signature upon a diploma or a certificate, suddenly you’re all done asking questions…

It’s cowardice. There’s no other word for it, since you don’t know anything about these people, they don’t know anything about you, therefore their signature provides you with absolutely no information that is useful to you.

In 2008, candidate Obama said, “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times…and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.” Had Obama used a hard reference to identity, like for example “Bob”…some guy somewhere named Bob, would look like a silly ass. “Other countries” somehow seems fitting.

We have this strange surreal reverence for the unknown, for the unidentifiable.

21. A lust for more and more guarantees; valuing security at the expense of opportunity.

Seriously, go to a country that is not America if this is your deal. There are scores and scores of them. Socialist mudpuddles who will cover you womb-to-tomb, but then tax away every dollar you make minus what you need to stay alive — to pay for all this “free” care. There’s no reason to extinguish the last candle of freedom on the planet. Just move.

22. Bundling; the inability to say “I agree with him on issue A but disagree with that same person on issue B.”

This is childlike thinking. Sure, some people are always wrong, or wrong so often it might as well be always; and some other people are right much more often than the average. But if you agree with everything a certain person says, or disagree with everything a certain person says, it can be fairly said you must not be paying attention.

23. Politics; people express opinions to manipulate others, instead of saying what they really think.

The real tragedy here is that people meet up and when they come to an agreement about what to do, they think they have done some vigorous thinking to reconcile different approaches and backgrounds. But they really haven’t. They’ve only made a point of expunging the ideas germane to the most incendiary conflict…which, nevertheless, might very well have been good, decent ideas.

24. Laodicean bell curve; the idea that if you take what is perceived to be the moderate position, you can’t go wrong.

The hazard here, which is actually an understated danger, is that an illusion of excellence is being imposed upon people who are actually cowardly. We mistake mediocrity for excellence, nothings for everythings.

25. Appeasement; laboring under the delusion that one side in a conflict can unilaterally decide the fighting will end.

It’s an extension of oikophobia. If fighting is going to continue only if both sides are resolved to continue the fighting — a proposition that anybody with the mental acuity necessary to graduate from sixth grade, should immediately recognize as ajbect nonsense — then, whenever one’s own country is involved in a conflict, it is one’s own side that should be prevailed upon to propose peace. Which means, to surrender. Since, to impose the same demand on the other side would involve all that inconvenient traveling and stuff.

26. Anti-Pillar-Five: The belief that nobody should be allowed to recognize patterns or trends.

It started out as a well-intentioned desire to fight stereotyping, like “blacks are lazy” or “Mexicans will steal all your stuff.” But now, any thought that begins with the word “whenever” has to be kept secret. We can’t even notice cultural differences anymore, like women from certain geographic origins wear certain clothes. If we do, non-judgmentalism is not good enough — it has to be immediately included with a lavish compliment, like “the sari that women wear in your country is so beautiful,” or else it’s a racist remark. No in-between.

27. The conviction that, if anyone anywhere thinks a certain thought, further action must be necessary.

Five seconds thought, and you realize this is an attack on freedom. You don’t have to legitimize bigotry to point this out; if further forceful, coercive action is to be expected when someone thinks a certain thought, that is thought control. It is the very definition of it.

28. We should expect to be punished, as a group, for the behavior of an individual who might be associated with us.

It starts at school, with the yard duty teacher saying “if I make one exception I’ll have to make a hundred.”

29. We should expect to be deprived of our livelihood permanently, if a complete stranger misunderstands what we say.

Sexual harrassment policies. Go to any training class, and what do they tell you: Intent of the accused does not matter, it’s the perception of the offended that carries weight.

Why is that, if the object of the exercise is to make the workplace non-threatening for everybody? This doesn’t achieve it. So who’s responsible for this rule? Who’s accountable?

30. Proxy offense; regarding the above, it is noble to invent ways an imaginary third party might be offended.

Especially if it causes REAL life-altering injury to the second party, a REAL, UNIMAGINED PERSON.

Maybe, in the weeks & months ahead, I’ll think of some more.

But one other thing to sort of staple on to the end here: Tax increases. I do understand how some sane and reasonable people would or might think they are necessary; the budget deficits are not pretty, the public debt that accumulates as a result is not pretty. And so I understand the conclusion…

…the excitement over it, though. The dedication to an entire way of life built up all around it. That, I don’t get. It seems to me to be unstable…unsettled…juvenile…nuts.

Update 1/29/11: You know, the President lately asked for a more civil discourse, and it occurs to me that with all thirty of these mental illnesses on an upswing, that is not possible. Somewhere…and I’m far too lazy to go out and look it up…I had conjured up a hypothetical about two answers to a single problem that appear to both be viable, but only one can be correct. I think I used a math problem, like two and two are four, or they could be five. That doesn’t work though, really…the guy who thinks 2+2=5 is obviously a jackass…therefore I cannot state with confidence that someone else must be insane, for thinking so. It would be perfectly understandable.

Here’s something that works: When, exactly, did the 21st century start. If I say it started at midnight local time on January 1, 2000 — and you say it started a year after that, which is actually a common situation where this question is concerned. It’s a simple matter to agree-to-disagree, and then pepper the conversation with cherry-picked “facts,” walk through the math involved, explore the concepts of counting from 1 versus counting from 0…we can relate it to counting the minutes from zero, and then we can relate it to counting the months and days-of-the-week from 1…

We can fulfill the President’s desire and have our civil discourse.

But! If one of us engages in any one of the thirty mental illnesses here, then we can’t. If every speck of evidence you present that the century began in 2001 makes me angrier and angrier with you, and earns you a preening snotty lecture from me about how you need to watch something besides Fox News, we can no longer have a civil discourse about this.

And that is why we cannot discuss politics in the workplace. Like I’ve been saying for years, we need to ask our friends the liberals about that. If we work shoulder to shoulder with them, we have to keep our mouths shut about political opinions in order to preserve our working relationships.

And I don’t think this is an accident. I think it is by design. A populace that is cowed into keeping its political viewpoints secret, or confined to the timid venue of blogs and threads, is an easier populace to drive into extremist leftward living. It becomes much easier to marginalize the people who think we all have a right to keep and bear arms…that babies are sacred and shouldn’t be aborted…that ObamaCare is likely to increase the public debt…that Saddam Hussein needed to be driven out of power…as fringe kooks, if there is a thick veil of anonymity between the sensible conservative and the sensible moderate. It becomes a simpler matter to deploy the bandwagon “of course everybody agrees” fallacy.

It arrives at the cost of this civil discourse we supposedly value so highly. Because then, having sold liberalism according to this “of course everybody agrees” technique, if you ever meet up with someone who doesn’t agree you have to bring down the Mighty Napalm Lava Hammer of Thor upon that person. You can’t go letting someone walk away in one piece if he says, where others can overhear, “Naw, y’know, I don’t think we need to have a carbon exchange system to save the planet.” In that situation, you become obliged to react the same way a Hell’s Angels gang would react to some skinny nerd wearing thick glasses calling them a bunch of ballerina pussies.

So no, Mister President, we cannot have a civil discourse about much of anything in this day and age. Because the most ardent fans of Your Holiness are going crazy in at least thirty different ways, and are determined to drag what’s left of our society along with them.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

Creation and Destruction

Friday, January 28th, 2011

What all the arguing is really about…

Creation.

Destruction.

Both links from Instapundit.

New Perspective on the Gender Gap

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Sonic Charmer brings it. If you’re one of these time-travelers out of the 1970′s ready to get offended-at-the-drop-of-a-hat at any suggestion that men & women might be a tiny bit different…reading this will be like wiping out on your motorcycle on a gravel road wearing a thong & a grin, jumping in a vat of alcohol, then going back & doing it again.

To describe the cycle (starting arbitrarily somewhere in the middle of it – it has no beginning or end):

The more women pursue and indulge alpha-male-exclusive fantasies, the less they have (stable, monogamous) relationships with men in their lives. The less monogamy and stability, the more big government women support. The more that government involves itself in and arrogates to itself the right to control, suckle, and nanny every aspect of human existence, the less pressure women will feel to have stable, monogamous relationships with men, and the more inclined they are to join alpha-male harems. The more they join alpha-male harems, the more they’ll need big government to be their husbands…

Compounding all this is a little-commented but not-unimportant side effect: as government gets bigger and power/money more concentrated, the few alpha males who come out on top of the game become that much more alpha. There’s far more ‘spoils’ accruing to a President, or Senator, or CEO of a firm tied to/dependent on government – which, increasingly, means virtually all firms – in a big-government world than in a small-government world; there’s far more in 2010 than there was in 1910. That makes those alphas that much more alpha, which makes alpha-pursuing women want them more, which only helps further the sort of society that creates these mega-alphas.

He goes on to engage in some good old-fashioned generalizing. But, if you don’t like that, it’s going to be difficult to form a coherent, rational objection to it because he’s laboring under no delusion that his generalizations make for absolute, verifiable rules. As observations of statistical skew, they are entirely valid ones, and have been for a very long time.

And it’s a serious issue. I remember arriving in Seattle from out in the sticks, with some “skills,” wondering what I could make of them; I suddenly realized that with my talents all tied up in the figuring-out-what-needs-to-be-done-and-doing-it in an office — I was uniquely suited to do all kinds of things, which were overwhelmingly being done by nice looking and not-nice-looking females. Of course, like lots of young people my priority system was all tied up in paying the rent…make enough to just-get-by…and that helped. But there were a few moments where I had to wonder what was going to happen over the long term. “Business” seemed to know exactly what kind of creature should be doing what was then called “word processing,” and it was a female creature. Before you can achieve excellence in any position you first have to fit the bill of mediocrity.

Well, the computers had to be set up. Fortunately for me, the dream of a business-to-business service of a nice obedient sharply-dressed male setting everything up and then dashing off, so the female who worked there could just “push a button and make it go,” never actually materialized. Know-how made such an enormous difference back then. The dreams the entrepreneurs had about what technology could do, were (rightfully) out of this world. But the common reality, all too often, was a bunch of harried people swarming around a box that had lately consumed some gargantuan quantity of investment capital and were busily trying to figure out how to turn it on, plug it in, or achieve some other Step One with the damn thing. My time in the typing pool lasted all of four months, during which time I was sent out on all sorts of temp assignments where they “needed some kind of a computer guy.” The Marge-Simpson’s-sisters types lampooned by Sonic, would not have been sent out on these. At the end of the four months I was a full-time software developer. This was not a random-chance hire, this was actually set up by way of the old-fashioned Victorian-era introduction; I had made a positive impression, back where I came from, on someone who knew someone else.

My point is that this is not just damaging to the ladies alone, but on the gentlemen as well. And being the age I am, with the skills back then that I had, with what the business world was trying to get through, what I bore was very far displaced from the full brunt of the damage. Our sons as well as our daughters are being wretchedly and viciously short-changed here. The girls have to be wondering — with a special, acute reasoning not shared by the boys — what in the hell they’re doing getting this degree or that degree, if it will make a difference in their career prospects, if the money is being spent well. As for the boys, can they come out on top just being “some guy who knows a lot about computers”?

This passage illustrates candidly where exactly where headed:

The end goal sought is, as stated brilliantly in the comment unearthed by Vox Day…

…a polyandryous society that still maintains a “Sex and the City” civilization. They somehow expect to limit sexual access to the five percent of men they find attractive while the rest toil away to make life easier and more comfortable for them.

Yeah yeah, I know — a perfect description of high school, so we ought to cope just fine. It’s just evolution at work on the males. Boys can just be what they’re expected to be, and if they deserve to, they’ll climb into that tight circle of the five percent.

There is a problem with that though, and the problem impacts lots of people who aren’t males: What makes that five percent? In context, this is the description of the alpha male. Google the term “alpha male” and half the pages you get back will have something to do with “how to become” one. Definitions? Taking charge. Dominant. Socially desirable. Think, not so much of humans, but of sled dogs. Or wolves.

Problem: We’re not talking about canines or quasi-canines. We’re talking about people. When wolves hold some kind of “election” about who’s going to be the alpha, what they are evaluating is the alpha’s skills — how that alpha could function individually. How likely is that alpha to survive not only within the immediate group, but out in the wilds. From this, the other wolves make a calculation about their own odds of survival, should they consider forming an association with him.

It is only on this last point that humans share any commonality with wolves, as they select alphas — calculating their own odds of survival as they ponder the prospects of supporting a prospective alpha. We do not evaluate his individual skills for survival…or even for setting up computers. Within our species, it is all about the social structure. We have no natural predators and we don’t need to hunt for our food, so there are no other considerations.

As a result, the archetype of our “alpha male” fantasy is Bill Clinton, whom according to some legends has difficulty trying to work an ordinary blender.

We figure out who deserves to be called an alpha male, based on who can sharply turn the emotional vibe emanating within a room.

That is something girls do.

Our so-called alpha males, I’m afraid, are being shoehorned into the classic mold of females, far more than I ever was in my temp-typing-job days back in Seattle. Masculinity has been disconnected from knowing how to do things; we, today, wouldn’t know real masculinity if it ran up and kicked us square in the ass.

And the people paying the price for this are not men. We’re having a little bit tougher time getting work and when we get it, we’re paying a little bit more in taxes…but it’s the women who are losing their bearings on what it is they’re supposed to be doing, what they should know how to do, how to get good at it & stay good at it, whether any of it matters, how they’ll know it does — in short, what life is all about.

“This is Abdication”

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal:

Amid his Reaganite sunshine and new admiration for the wonders of private enterprise, President Obama’s political message in Tuesday’s State of the Union address boils down to this: Republicans, it’s your budget problem now.

The deficit is awful and must be cut, entitlements are unsustainable and must be addressed, the tax code hurts growth and must be reformed, and government should be smaller and more efficient, but don’t look to Mr. Obama for ideas on how to fix any of this. Go ahead and cut spending and Medicare if you want, Republicans. The President will get back to you with his reply as time and politics allow.

After you, Congressman Ryan.

As political strategy, perhaps this will turn out to be shrewd. Republicans will advance their budget and spending cuts, Democrats will attack them, the voters will sour, and Mr. Obama will ride to re-election. It happened in 1996.

As leadership, however, this is an abdication that contradicts Mr. Obama’s rhetorical flourishes about a new bipartisanship and the need “to merge, consolidate and reorganize the federal government.” Beyond his welcome if vague support for reducing corporate tax rates in return for closing loopholes, Mr. Obama offered not a single new idea or spending cut. The bulk of his address was devoted to his familiar priorities that he said Republicans should spend more on. Green energy subsidies. High-speed rail!

This is the weakness of the American political system. An elected leader may have no plans at all and be gifted only in the talent of talking impressively. Such a deficit in talent is never really detected because it’s never really tested.

You just say “I’m going to make that deficit go away” — in majestic, sonorous tones. Then you make deals with Congress to spend money like it’s going out of style…at the end of the road every single budget has had a massive deficit and the public debt has ballooned, so you just say “aw, it’s those other guys who were fighting me. Their fault.” Again, sounding super-duper-sophisticated, and you get away with it.

There is no actual mechanism in the system to deal with this. It’s all up to the vigilance — or lack thereof — of the electorate. Blame the voter.

If it Makes You Happy…

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

A member of Congress is unable to handle reality. While he’s sober, anyway.

No no, Ted Kennedy’s still dead. This is another guy.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (N.Y.), who is known for his outspokenness, praised Obama’s speech as “uplifting,” but said that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) response was too dour for his taste.

“[Obama] was then followed by a guy who was bumming us out,” he said on MSNBC Tuesday night. “I felt like I just needed a drink when I was done with Paul Ryan.”

Althouse nails him for this.

Now, let’s think about this. He didn’t need a drink after Obama’s talk, but he did after Ryan’s. What does that mean? Apparently, Obama’s rhetoric comes with its own high, while Ryan’s is more of a plain glass of water. Is Weiner interested in reality or not? I think we deserve sober Congresspeople at this point.

Is it really this bad? Congress has a constitutional hold on the nation’s purse strings…the nation’s frayed, tattered, and oh so troubled purse strings…and it’s filled with a bunch of, uh, weiners who just like to sit and listen to “uplifting” speeches about unicorn farts that make them feel good. Three hundred million people are counting on these 535 to maintain some substantial connection to reality, and whenever they’re told about that reality these weiners start crying about how they need to go get blasted.

It is a mental illness of sorts. Measuring how real things are, according to whether those things make you happy or not.

Well, well. If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad.

Two State of the Union Speeches Later…

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

…the Venn diagram still applies.

But my reaction to the whole parade of silliness is gradually morphing.

Up until now, I have been nauseated by the spectacle of presidents — from either party — who do one thing, for a whole year, and then when the time comes to get up behind that big ol’ rostrum, say something different. This is not the kind of behavior we’re supposed to be seeing in that job. The office is not built for complicated men; it’s built for a simple dude, someone who is about one thing all the time. He gets up and delivers a report to Congress and to the nation on the state of the nation and what he intends to do about it, and from that, we have an executive agenda going forward.

Now, far be it from me to contradict the 92% who I’m told approved of the speech. I understand how this is supposed to work, we figure out what we’re “all” thinking and then we repeat it as if it is our own idea. But this has always bothered me. Obama spends money like it’s going out of style; this turns out to be unpopular, and so He gets up and delivers a State of the Union asking for more more more more more…and then says…oh by the way, we gotta do some belt-tightening around here. Presto chango, He becomes Mister Fiscal Responsibility.

This year I’m bugged by something different though. There is this meandering odor that we’re so lucky to have a president who happens to be this kind of duplicitous weasel. This doesn’t explain the 92%; that is an effect and not a cause.

But I remember this from during the Clinton SOTUs. Every now and then Bill Clinton would get up and extoll some conservative virtues…and there would be a palpable sense of…Hey! He’s really going to sock it to those Republicans now! This guy is so awesome, just so slick and greasy. Can’t be attacked because he can’t be defined. This is wonderful! …kind of like going to trial, and finding out the lawyer who represents you is the son of Beelzebub himself. One does not relish being so close to the Prince of Darkness, but hey, you want to win don’t you.

Let us speak with one voice.

We need to get this budget under control.

God bless the United States of America.

Those are three values, three priorities, three visions…to which, in His actions prior to last night’s speech, President Obama has been stridently opposed. Now He gets to throw them out there and get credit for them.

I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a democrat, or which side you want to see “win.” This is not how the presidency is supposed to work.

Okay, Now That Hurts

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Twenty-Two Facts About California That Make You Wonder Why Anyone Would Still Want To Live In That Hellhole Of A State…geez guys…why not just go ahead and stick my freakin’ name in that headline.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a “fiscal emergency” in his state on Thursday, but nobody is even pretending that such a declaration is actually going to help matters. Brown wants to cut even deeper into the state budget (even after tens of billions have already been slashed out of it in recent years) and he wants to explore ways to raise even more revenue. Meanwhile, the standard of living in California is going right into the toilet. Housing values are plummeting. Unemployment has risen above 20 percent in many areas of the state…
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Of course on top of everything else there is the constant threat of wildfires, mudslides and earthquakes. One day a really “big earthquake” is going to hit, and once that happens many people believe that the geography of the state of California could be permanently altered forever.

But what most people are focused on right now is the horrific financial condition that the state of California currently is in. Governor Brown recently summarized his analysis of California’s financial condition with the following statement: “We’ve been living in fantasy land. It is much worse than I thought. I’m shocked.”
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The state has become a rotting, festering hellhole that is getting worse by the day. Yes, some really good people still live there, but there are some really, really good reasons why so many people are leaving the state in droves.

Yes, some really good people still live here. Gee, I’m having a Sally Field moment with that. You like me! You really, really like me!

Maybe my perspective is just skewed. I spent some years in Seattle…liberal shithole…and then Detroit, that would be a ditto. So I apply low standards to the Sacramento area, I admit.

I don’t think I’d be able to tell a front page of the Seattle P-I apart from the Detroit Free Press apart from the Sacramento Bee. I read way more than my share of all three of those — and, looking back on it, they all looked the same. “Wah! Wah! Social programs running out of money! Waaah! Deficit! Waaaah, gotta raise taxes! Wah!”

You put liberals in charge, that’s where things go. So, in truth, that’s a big reason why I’m not leaving quite yet. All our major cities, all across the country, are headed here. All run by left-wing tax-raising idjits. Where’s my sanctuary? Where’s Nirvana?

But I do have to agree with the article. It’s getting bad.

Where Did the Stimulus Go?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Commentary Magazine:

During the recent recession, the U.S. Congress passed two large economic stimulus programs. President Bush’s February 2008 program totaled $152 billion. President Obama’s bill, enacted a year later, was considerably larger at $862 billion. Neither worked. After more than three years since the crisis flared up, unemployment is still very high and economic growth is weak. Why have such large sums of money failed to stimulate the economy? To answer this question, we must look at where the billions of stimulus dollars went and how they were used.

It’s a “War Games” situation: Fascinating game, the only way to win is not to play.

Here’s something else that’s fascinating: Can we achieve some agreement on the low nadir of the administration of our 43rd president, and the high zenith of the administration of our 44th? Both are easy questions. Even if you agree with me that the invasion of Iraq was necessary, and overdue, you’d have to concede the point that this one act, more than any other by any president in modern history, was singularly responsible for that president losing the greatest share of popularity, measurable or otherwise. This, without a doubt, would be President Bush’s low point.

The crown jewel of all the achievements of Barack Obama, for sure, would be the Reinvestment Act. Oh, I’m sure the strident liberals would have much more fight in them about defending ObamaCare, but that’s only because of necessity. For the top spot on Obama’s list of accomplishments it’s got to be the Reinvestment Act.

Now…step back and look at this situation. Doesn’t this say it all? President George W. Bush’s greatest failure…or, let’s call it his greatest setback…identified a measurable goal and achieved it. Obama’s greatest triumph also identified a goal. And there’s no way you can even begin to say that goal was reached. You can’t even come close to saying such a thing.

Conclusion: To maintain that George Bush was a bad president, and/or that Barack Obama is a good one, you must necessarily declare an open hostility toward, or at the very least a nonchalance toward, the setting and the reaching of measurable goals.

No Government Ownership of Corporations in Whole or in Part

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

An amendment up for consideration in the House:

Backed by top GOP leaders including House Speaker John Boehner, Republican Rep. Mike Turner is introducing a constitutional amendment to ban the federal government from owning corporations in whole or part following aggressive intervention by the Treasury Department during the financial crisis.
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Turner’s constitutional amendment “would stop a bailout where the end result is that the federal government owns a private company. The federal government would still be able in financial crisis situations to step in and provide loans, loan guarantees. But I think it’s particularly troublesome to Americans that the federal government could end up owning private industry,” he said.

Hmmmm…seems at first blush like a good idea, although I’m open to whatever arguments may exist that it might not be one. And, it must be said, not only has this thing has been a boondoggle from start to finish, but from all I’ve managed to learn about it that does seem to be the one spot where the whole thing came undone. The government bailout. Government calls the tune, everyone else has to dance.

And it warms my heart seeing some legislation proposed that is somewhat consistent with the real founding principles of the nation. Limited government. Laissez-faire.

Let the debates begin…

The Barbrady Move Didn’t Work

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Telegraph.uk:

The University of East Anglia set up two investigations into emails stolen from its Climatic Research Unit (CRU), which sceptics claimed showed scientists were willing to manipulate the science behind global warming.

Both inquiries cleared the researchers of scientific impropriety but campaigners insisted that questions remained over the openness of research and the content of certain emails.

An investigation by the Science and Technology Committee into the official inquiries is the latest effort to get to the bottom of the matter.

Andrew Miller, the Labour Chairman of the Committee, said the previous inquiries had failed to answer the allegation that in some of the stolen emails researchers appeared to be encouraging each other to delete emails.

Sceptics claimed these emails may refer to how researchers tried to influence the climate change debate.
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Graham Stringer, a Labour MP on the Committee, said there are questions over how the scientists chose the figures they used to back up the case for global warming.

He said the ‘missing email’ may refer to how researchers tried to further influence how their science is accepted by the scientific community.

He said both reports had failed to answer these questions.

“It does not say this is the end of the scientific case for global warming but it does say that people at the centre of this research did some very bad science,” he said.

“It is not a whitewash, it is the establishment looking after their own. They are not looking hard enough at what went wrong.”

Not sure if transparency is an issue, but from what I’m reading here it certainly looks like independence of the audit is one. The UEA set up two investigations nto what the UEA did, and in so doing gave the UEA a clean bill of health?

Move along, folks. There’s nothing to see here…

The Most Extremist Conservative Position

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Lately I challenged a “moderate” to come up with one, and she wasn’t able to think of anything. Maybe eventually someone will be able to think of a tactic…like for example the so-called “nuclear option” of getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate…but a tactic is not a position.

Something with an “all” or “always” or “never” in it, that isn’t necessarily appropriate. Something as strident and uncompromising as our current liberal president’s famous decree — “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

Invading Iraq? That might seem a promising answer at first. But if it really passes the test, you need to be able to state the antithesis of it in such a way that the antithesis would be more moderate, and I don’t think that’s possible with the invasion of Iraq. Let’s see…”We have to demand absolute proof there are WMDs before we remotely consider any military action.” That doesn’t sound moderate to me. “Every sovereign nation on the entire earth gets to do whatever it wants, and nobody can touch it.” That doesn’t sound moderate either.

A lot of what I see in the Constitution is extreme. “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That certainly qualifies…but…is it really extreme to demand our elected leaders follow the Constitution? Also, there’s a difference between the Constitution providing a right, and merely recognizing a right that is already there. Don’t infringe — don’t encroach, don’t trespass. Are old men being extremist when they tell kids to keep off the lawn?

I notice this is a much simpler challenge if we try to point out an extremist liberal position. Abolishing the death penalty is extremist, because that would say you don’t care what the case is, who murdered who, how it was done, how sure we are of it. Doesn’t matter, capital punishment is off the table. That’s a good example of extreme. Also: There’s something wrong if the rich get a tax cut and the poor don’t get it…even if the tax cut is a rollback of a prior tax increase, that affected only rich people. Or, the state agency has to grant this concession to the union, nevermind what it costs or whether the budget is going to be a complete disaster at the end of the year — just do it. That’s extreme. Anything that says “just do this now, and let the details work themselves out later,” I think, you could fairly call extreme.

I keep hearing about these “extremist conservatives”; there has to be an extremist-conservative position somewhere.

Bob Talks About Keith

Monday, January 24th, 2011

I’m tellin’ ya, I’d much rather have Bob cut my lawn than your average Sarah Palin hater. He’s more emotionally stable.

“Raw Deal”

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Daily Mail:

Dominic Raab, a new MP tipped for high office, said men were getting a ‘raw deal’ from the cradle to the grave following years of anti-discrimination legislation favouring women.

He pointed out women in their 20s are now paid more than their male peers, who work longer hours, retire later and die earlier.

Mr Raab, the 37-year-old MP for Esher and Walton in Surrey and a former chief of staff to David Davis, called for an end to what he called feminist bigotry.

He said men were blamed by society for the banking crisis, discriminated against by parental leave rules which favour women who want time off and ignored by the courts when relationships break down and they seek custody of their children.

I detest whining. But I detest intellectual dishonesty even more.

A good test for intellectual honesty is, can you justify a cultural protocol to an intelligent observer who is not from the culture, and thus was not availed of an opportunity to become gradually acclimated to that culture. Could you justify it to the space alien renting out living space in your laundry room. To an intelligent caveman thawed out from a 20,000 year old ice block. To a genie. To Mork From Ork. To your grandchildren who are yet to be born…

Yeah, see, we treat the sexes equally because we despise discrimination in all forms. And so a man loses custody of his kids if he…um…has testicles…and a woman might lose custody of her kids if she is a complete coke fiend and has her own meth lab and extracts the organs out of her kids to give to her pimp in exchange for her next hit of acid and…and…and…

See, this is where we’re a little bit nuts. “We comes a long way but we gots a long ways to go” is not a good excuse when you’re all about, treating people exactly the same, but at the same time treating them different. Because, with an I.Q. of below 70, with a sugar-caffeine headache, without your first cup of coffee, fresh out of bed with a head full of pillow-hair, after four hours of sleep in six days…you should still be able to tell the difference between discriminating and not-discriminating.

But we can’t. We treat women one way, men another way, and we call it non-discrimination. I’d expect better out of a zombie, freshly dug-up and freshly re-animated.

Skirt Length and Stock Prices

Monday, January 24th, 2011

C’mon…this can’t possibly be the first time you’ve heard of this. Can it?

It Is Now, Officially, a Huge Failure

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Washington Examiner:

Democrats have lambasted Republicans for years for believing in “Voodoo economics.”

Well, the evidence is mounting that economic superstition is alive and well in the nation’s political circles, though it has nothing to do with a fondness for tax cuts. It’s instead the crazy belief that the government can spend its way to prosperity for the rest of us. Underscoring this conclusion, the Ways and Means Committee in the new GOP-majority House released a report titled “It’s Official: On Unemployment and Jobs, Democrats’ 2009 Stimulus Was a Huge Failure.”

The Ways and Means report provides a number of striking reminders about the predictions the White House made in January 2009 while urging the passage of their $814 billion Keynesian spending bill. By January 2011, the stimulus bill was supposed to have lowered the unemployment rate to 7 percent. It now stands at 9.4 percent, and the report notes that “the unemployment rate would be 11.3 percent if it included all the ‘invisible unemployed’ — American workers who have simply given up looking for work.” The report also claimed that the stimulus would create 3.7 million jobs by now, for a total of 137.6 million jobs in the American economy. Currently, there are 130.7 million jobs. Since passage of the stimulus, 47 of the 50 states have lost jobs; overall, the private sector has seen 1.8 million jobs disappear.

I’d like to know what the rebuttal is, aside from the standard change-the-subject.

Thank goodness we did this or else even more jobs would’ve been lost?

The GOP-led Ways and Means committee is making it all up?

You’re-a-racist?

Seriously, I would like to know how they plan to respond to this. Let us review: The economy is collapsing because of FaPoBuAd (failed policies of the Bush administration) so we have to stimulate it to keep it from entirely bottoming out…the taxpayers have to give us all this money so we can check out these key ways we can stimulate the economy. And oh my goodness, it turns out to be a matter of giving a billion dollars at a time to our friends! That, and putting all of the nation’s interconnecting traffic thoroughfares under construction at the same time. Yeah, that’s a great way to stimulate the economy.

If you need to get something from Folsom to Auburn or vice-versa in order to run your business — the road you would be using has been torn to shreds for just shy of about two years now, thanks to Obama. There’s really no practical way around it. My girlfriend works in Roseville, and it affects her. Every time I lend her an assist I can’t help myself, that’s where I say “if I ever did like Obama, this, right here, all by itself, would be where I change my mind.” The economy is barely treading water…so…let’s tear up all the roads! It’s a Fish-Called-Wanda situation, calling it stupid would be an insult to stupid people.

And now the facts are in and they say it didn’t work. Well, duh. How on earth could it.

But has there ever been an oxygen-breathing creature on all of Creation, less capable of learning from experience than the dedicated Keynesian?

Update 1/25/11: Aw, darnit all, we didn’t even get our road problem fixed with this boondoggle.

Cain

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Bubba got into a reasonable exchange of ideas with a knowledgeable executive who really knows his business…you know, the kind of “sit down with our enemies and talk out our differences” the left wing is constantly telling us we need to have.

Didn’t work out so hot.

Or it worked out awesomely, depending on your point of view.

Straws

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Sonic Charmer notices something:

Everyone knows that you’re supposed to be able to take the paper off a drinking straw by grasping it gently by its sides, banging it briskly on the table in one clean vertical motion until the top of it pops out of the paper, grabbing that top, and then sliding the paper off easily in one piece.

For some reason, this no longer works.

Pastorius has an explanation. Oh my goodness, it goes back to China once again. And…disturbingly…it makes perfect sense. The straws are being made in China, and wrapped in chopstick wrappers that are designed and built for the purpose of holding chopsticks but sized for the purpose of holding straws.

Well…IMO, no it isn’t a good development. But if it leads to a situation where every red-blooded man & boy is expected to be carrying a knife on his hip, I’m for it. Kinda.

Chinese Piano Player Plays Propaganda Tune at White House

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

That would be anti-American propaganda.

Lang Lang the pianist says he chose it. Chairman Hu Jintao recognized it as soon as he heard it. Patriotic Chinese Internet users were delighted as soon as they saw the videos online. Early morning TV viewers in China knew it would be played an hour or two beforehand. At the White House State dinner on Jan. 19, about six minutes into his set, Lang Lang began tapping out a famous anti-American propaganda melody from the Korean War: the theme song to the movie “Battle on Shangganling Mountain.”

The film depicts a group of “People’s Volunteer Army” soldiers who are first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military “jackals.”

The movie and the tune are widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for decades. CCP propaganda has always referred to the Korean War as the “movement to resist America and help [North] Korea.” The message of the propaganda is that the United States is an enemy—in fighting in the Korean War the United States’ real goal was said to be to invade and conquer China. The victory at Triangle Hill was promoted as a victory over imperialists.

The 2012 Republican commercials practically write themselves.

I think among independent voters, the ones who decide our elections, there is a significant saturation of belief that America has been due for a dose of humility and I don’t know if that’s a majority viewpoint, but I do see it as an unshakable one among the people who hold it.

The message that needs to get out, I think, should be one of “Okay, assuming we had it coming…that’ll do. We’ve had enough of it.” I think most people would sign on to the idea that having anti-American songs played live in the White House, will suffice.

I’d like to hear that little jingle. On a GOP commercial, within the next twenty-one months, or else someone needs to go find a different line of work.

Postmodern “Night Before Christmas”

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

From one “Bryan Stone, Boston University School of Theology

Twas a Postmodern Christmas, when all through the regime
Not a concept was stirring, not even a meme.
Essentialist dogmas were nurtured with care,
And imperialist ambitions still hung in the air

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While grand narratives of progress danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just performed gender before taking a nap.

The end of that second paragraph made me giggle.

Hat tip to Professor Mondo.

Olbermann’s Ouster

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

And the fallout that followed…Van Helsing at Moonbattery has a lovely collection of tweets like this one:

He adds something I find a little bit off-topic, but uplifting: “The high water mark for left-wing lunacy was the election of the Manchurian Moonbat. The floodtide of foolishness has begun to recede.” I certainly do hope so.

The irony is, these people are the ones who are failing to keep up with the times, to get-with-it. Evil sinister shadowy corporations, feeding off us good people, stopping us from saying anything about it…yadda yadda yadda. Starring Cliff Robertson, Robert Redford and Hal Holbrook I suppose? Catch it on ABC at 9:00?

Some of our leftists simply stopped learning about how the world functions right after Watergate. Conservative politicians and evilcorporashuns are the cause of every single bad thing that ever happened. They’re like the wicked witch in some ancient fairy tale, where if there’s any other source of evil, or if bad things just plain happen without anybody making them happen, it would complicate the story to the point where it becomes unworkable.

Of course a lot of people stuck in Watergate were born well after Watergate. That is sad.

To call them useful idiots, would be to give them too much credit for usefulness.

DJEver Notice? LXIII

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

For some reason, I was thinking about ghost movies. Ghost Story (1981), Stir of Echoes (1999) and The Ring (2002) are three of my favorites; they all have it in common that the ghost is the first & final step in a trail of clues to be followed, in something that is just as much a detective story as a tail of the supernatural.

The Ring, though — or, something else somewhere — seems to have started something. As a movie-watching culture, we seem to have formed a pinpoint-sized laser-focused idea of who is supposed to be following clues and figuring things out. We are no longer going to accept anybody who’s too remarkably different from Naomi Watts. Bruce Willis can’t do this anymore and neither can Kevin Bacon or Kevin Bacon’s family…the odd thing is, once The Sixth Sense (1999) successfully installed the “pre-teen creepy kid” thing it seemed like it would hang around forever.

But what’s really got some staying power is the “awesome looking gal who should be naked but has all her clothes on”…figuring out what’s going on, following the trail of clues. If there is anything to be learned she will be the one learning it.

This is not to say, however, she’ll be doing what Nicholas Cage did in National Treasure (2004). There, they had the star figuring everything out, while everyone else just stood around and watched. That got silly, and then they kept on doing it a few more times. When you’re inserting a parody of it into the movie itself, and into the very first installment of the franchise yet, it has been taken very, very far. It still ends up being an enjoyable flick, but it probably could have been something better.

Naomi WattsNo, the chick-that-should-be-naked-but-is-wearing-all-her-clothes does not act this independently. She takes information in from others with this wide-eyed, naive, “what do you mean by that” look on her face. She needs the knowledge of the men, who are specialists, possessing knowledge that is narrow but deep. Or, they’re stupid ornery redneck sheriffs representing PATRIARCHY! But usually, they’re friendly handymen or morgue attendants or realty agents or whatever. They provide the pieces of the puzzle and she puts them together. While keeping all of her clothes on.

Once The Grudge (2004) came out, followed by Skeleton Key (2005), the die was cast: She has to be a blond. A doe-eyed blond who looks fantastic naked, or next-to-naked, but you’ll never be able to check that out here because she’s going to keep all her clothes on. While she asks the men how things work, and gathers the pieces to put the puzzle together to figure out where the ghost came from and what it wants.

Now, that I find interesting. We don’t want to watch raven-haired girls figure anything out and we don’t want to watch men figure things out. Unless it’s Nicholas Cage…and we don’t want to see Nicholas Cage figure anything out from asking anybody anything, we want to see him find clues and mutter to himself.

But really, the people we want to see asking questions, admitting they don’t know something so a wise man can fill them in on the one tiny piece he knows about, are gorgeous blond women with big blue eyes. With great looking bodies. But wearing bulky long-sleeved sweaters throughout the entire film.

What’s the take-away from all this?

I think it’s got something to do with the sex appeal of information. Already having the information is manly; think of all the old James Bond movies where M would say “Bond, what do you know about [fill in the blank]??” And Bond would show his manly side by turning all walking-encyclopedia for a minute or two, and M would congratulate him and maybe fill in one tiny but key missing piece of the body of knowledge. The pastiche of the manly-man-with-the-photographic-memory has been consigned to the scrap pile of…uh…memory. If you’re under thirty you probably don’t even remember what I’m talking about here, unless you own a complete James Bond collection like myself…

But even today, it is somewhat appealing to already have the information, so long as you don’t overdo it. Of course it’s difficult to discern these things, since nowadays masculinity itself is thought to lose its appeal if it’s overdone. And the cultural cut-off seems to be ratcheted downward, still, year by year. But still: We do not like seeing men asking questions. We like to think they already have all the information they need…and they don’t need much.

Women, on the other hand, seem to be more attractive to us when they’re asking questions. I’ve heard it said women and girls find it necessary to dumb themselves down and end up dateless if they’re perceived as too powerful, independent, capable. This is channeled into some kind of threat, in the eyes of those whom they would like to pursue. I still think this says more about who it is the ladies have decided they want to pursue, than it does about men in general. My own relationships have generally deteriorated when the woman acted too helpless. But…maybe there’s something to this. Certainly there is a perception out there that you can’t be too feminine, and therefore can’t be too attractive, if you don’t have some need for information and require someone better informed to fill in the gaps for you.

I wonder how we’d take it if it were up to a dark-haired girl to ask the smart man the questions, gather the pieces, put the puzzle together, find out where the ghost came from. Heather Langenkamp did okay, I thought. Of course, her eyes were blue. Saaaaaay…now there’s a thought. If it’s the inquisitive one asking all the questions, who has brown eyes, is the scene suddenly not quite as much fun to watch?

From what I can see, Hollywood is much more careful casting the “protagonist who needs to ask the questions and gather the clues together,” than they are about casting the guy-cracking-safes-and-karate-chopping-the-bad-guys. And they are probably right to do this. The rest of us seem to know exactly what it is we expect to see.

Still can’t quite figure out the “she should be naked but she’s wearing all her clothes” thing though. That, to me, seems like a question that was settled without enough thought, that would be best re-opened for further inspection.

I can’t recall the last time I saw a ghost-chasing protagonist woman displaying so much as her forearms. Or her ankles. Face…hands…that’s it. A great-looking flaxen-haired swimsuit model type with blue eyes as big as dinner plates, wearing a sweater so bulky you don’t even know what her cup size is. But she’s no shorter than 5’5″, and no taller than 5’7″.

Cross-posted at Washington Rebel.

Best Sentence CVI

Friday, January 21st, 2011

The one hundred and sixth Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately is hereby awarded to HotAir commenter juliesa for the following:

This will have the same lifespan as the “civility” thing.

You’ll have to click on over to check out the context.

Thatisall.

Abercrombie Gives Up

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Absolutely pathetic. Hawaii’s new governor announced at Christmastime:

Gov. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, who befriended President Obama’s parents when they were university students here, has been in office for less than three weeks. But he is so incensed over “birthers” — the conspiracy theorists who assert that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya and was thus not eligible to become president — that he is seeking ways to change state policy to allow him to release additional proof that the president was born in Honolulu in 1961.
:
But on the matter of the birthers, Mr. Abercrombie grew serious. “I’m going to take care of that,” he said, though he acknowledged that they would be difficult to convince.

Riiiiiiggghhht. Because as we all know, anytime anybody says they want to see evidence of something, that automatically means they’ll never be convinced. The people who already have their minds made up are the open-minded flexible ones. Uh, er, or something.

How’d that work out Gov. Abercrombie?

Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie will end his quest to prove President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii because it’s against state law to release private documents, his office said Friday.

State Attorney General David Louie told the governor he can’t disclose an individual’s birth documentation without a person’s consent, Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said.

“There is nothing more that Gov. Abercrombie can do within the law to produce a document,” said Dela Cruz. “Unfortunately, there are conspirators who will continue to question the citizenship of our president.”

At the risk of damaging my reputation for humility…I’m going to quote myself again. From an off-line:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t know anything about Obama that is exculpatory or positive.

By “know,” I mean, achieve a state of awareness such that I can personally vouch for it, or some solid evidence that supports it. I “know” He is not a socialist or a communist only in the the same way I “know” He was born in Hawaii; legions of vocal people are lining up ready to make fun of me if I fail to accept it, or hesitate to accept it, or dare to believe something else.

I “know” Obama loves America the same way. Also, I “know” He was napping or tuning out when that bigoted pastor of His was oozing that communist America-bashing drivel for twenty years. I “know” He’s a Christian and not a Muslim this way too. I am to accept all these things without reservation, as if I had some personal background in it. Some of these propositions not only fail to find support in what logical, normal people refer to as “evidence” — they suffer from real problems created by the evidence. Obama believes in free markets, Obama possesses a deep and scholarly understanding of constitutional law, Obama is a brilliant public speaker.

I do see some solid evidence that Obama is sharp and effective in some of the things He tries to do.

But that stuff isn’t helpful to anybody but Obama’s closest friends. Or, over the longer term, to anybody but Obama.

I suppose this isn’t all Obama’s fault. He does have His own bubble of hyper-charisma around Him, it’s not entirely within His control. Whenever something unflattering is spread around about Him, His followers or groupies or toadies, call ‘em what you will, climb all over each other to whip up the peer pressure to make it all go away. Which doesn’t by any stretch mean the ugly insinuation about Him has any truth to it.

I’ve pretty much made up my mind He was born in Hawaii, just speaking for myself…but do I think people are unreasonable when they show skepticism? Do I think true hardcore “birthers,” the people who are equally convinced He was born in Kenya, are unreasonable? Or out-and-out nuts?

Mmmm…no…sorry, I can’t make that call. I wasn’t in Honolulu in August 1961. They haven’t seen any hard evidence one way or the other, just like I haven’t.

The issue is hyper-credulity. The pro-Obama people, in fact the hard loyal left in general, may want to be given all the props & recognition & accolades for master-debating…for assertion, for rebuttal, for the highbrow intellectual smackdown. But that is not what they have been doing. Engaging in rhetorical battle, on an idea-against-idea basis, is not what they do.

They offer an idea, and if you are acceptable to them you will be absolutely credulous. You will accept whatever it is without a whiff of question or suspicion or skepticism. If you do not do this, you are unacceptable and trust me, that is where the argument is going next. You’re stupid, you’re indecent, you’re sexist, you’re a homophobe, you’re a racist, you’re a xenophobe.

Go on, find me an exception. One single dedicated leftist who has ever been told something besides “I believe that 100 percent”…and his response to that, in turn, was something along the lines of “that’s quite reasonable of you my good man, allow me to provide some further foundational support” as opposed to “why, you redneck asshole you.” Just find me one example.

They debate facts when it seems the facts are on their side. When it goes the other way they pull the switcheroo. That’s the way it works and it isn’t all Obama’s doing. So He doesn’t get all the blame.

But I must say. It is a little bizarre that every little thing we know about Him, once you strip away the bad stuff we know — and as a general rule, we know all that for certain — everything that’s left is just peer-pressure wild-ass speculation being rammed down our throats by enthusiasts who, as I said, are ready to spread ridicule upon anyone who believes something else.

And it can’t be good for us.

It also can’t be good that we’re re-defining open-mindedness to mean what closed-mindedness is supposed to be. Obama’s a Christian, that’s it dad-gummit, if you don’t believe it uncritically then you’re crazy stupid.

Nor can it be good that we’re re-defining closed-mindedness to mean…you’re just not buying it yet. Yeah, I think it is this bad. We have long ago begun to look at people who are still absorbing information as people who are not, and vice-versa.

Gov. Abercrombie was set on proving something once and for all, so that everyone would be forced to accept what he wanted them to accept. He failed. Also, I notice he failed due to things that would have been easily anticipated by anyone who’s paid the slightest bit of attention to the issue. Which means, if he’s been on the up-and-up here, he never was in a good position to be lecturing anybody on the facts.

But now that he’s failed, everybody is supposed to find that convincing and if they don’t, that’s even more proof how crazy & stupid they are.

In some ways, I think liberals’ ideas are not nearly as destructive as the methods they use to sell those ideas. Peer pressure is what you do in high school. It really isn’t the way the grown-ups in our nation need to be deciding things right now.

Then Stop Noticing Her!

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Dennis Miller has a rant about Sarah Palin (audio file). Actually, it’s a rant about the people ranting about Sarah Palin, and it’s pretty good.

Like I said earlier this morning over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging…and no, in keeping with my earlier moratorium, I am not going to link it, because this “I’m going to get attention by criticizing Sarah Palin” thing has gotten rather silly and I’m not going to help it along. But I said,

And yet…whenever we’re talking about her, it’s the people who are tired of hearing about her who started the conversation. Ain’t that somethin’?

Of course, you can tell by my pinup artwork I would like to see a President Palin. I want to see a President saying no to the left-wing balderdash, and then not apologizing to anyone for saying no to the left-wing balderdash. A real leader who will say “that’s cocked up right there…it will be all cocked up tomorrow, we’re not doing it, we won’t consider it until such time as someone proves there’s something to it. That’s my position and I’m sticking to it, and if you call me bad & filthy names for taking this position, guess what it isn’t going to change my mind one bit.” We’ve just had way too many so-called “leaders” doing their leading by way of avoiding criticism. We desperately need something else. Find me another candidate who will offer the something-else and I’ll consider supporting that candidate. Right now, there’s nobody in the running like that, and only one with a recognizable name worthy of any draft effort.

But here’s the point: That’s my take on it. It isn’t Sarah Palin’s. I don’t know if she’s running, you don’t know either…and she might not know. So venting your spleen about how unqualified she is to be President, is about as on-topic as noticing any other mother of a Dancing With The Stars contestant is unqualified to be President. Or, noticing any other reality show star is unqualified to be President. Or, noticing the hot dog vendor down the street is unqualified to be President.

This is all off-topic from Barack Obama…but at the same time…it needs to be said that these are exceptionally bizarre times for anyone to be noticing anybody is unqualified to be President. The energy would be more constructively spent worrying about the person unqualified to be President, who actually is President.

Does that mean I get to say “Palin for President!” and still criticize other people for saying “No, she’s unqualified!” Actually, yeah. It means exactly that. She isn’t running, so we get to talk about it being a good thing if she did. And you get to disagree if you want to. But if she’s unqualified, we’ll figure that out at the Republican convention or in the general election of 2012. You don’t get to unilaterally decide that.

These repeated attempts to do so, just go to show she is uniquely qualified. To run for the position, at the very least. And if she wins? It certainly wouldn’t be any worse than the situation as it exists today.

But the take-away from this is, whenever we’re talking about her, most of the time it isn’t the Palin fans like me who started the conversation. It’s the Palin haters who do that. Nor is it the Palin fans who are militant or hysterical about it. Again, it’s the ankle-biters doing that. They’re the ones with the uncontrollable reflex, the neurotic twitch.

Let’s just get that one thing straight.

Thanks to blogger friend Phil for forwarding this along in an off-line.

Ten Million a Day

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Art Horn, Pajamas Media:

This year, your government will spend in the neighborhood of $4 billion on global warming research, despite the fact that there has been no global warming since 1998, and despite all of the billions that have been spent so far yielding no conclusive evidence that using fossil fuels to make energy has any significant effect on Earth’s temperature.

The human component of carbon dioxide that is injected into the air each year is very small, on the order of 3%. Half the carbon dioxide emitted into the air by human activity each year is immediately absorbed into nature. Carbon dioxide is 8% of the greenhouse effect; water in the air is 90% of the greenhouse effect. By volume, carbon dioxide is currently at about 390 parts per million in the atmosphere, increasing at about 2 parts per million annually. In other words, carbon dioxide is increasing at a rate of .5% per year. Since human activity adds 3% of the carbon dioxide that gets into the air each year, the human component of the increase in carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year is 3 % of .5%, or just .015%.
:
Redundancy on top of redundancy, piles of money on top of piles of money. All to study climate change, which, according to the theory, should be warming us rapidly, but, according to the data, has stopped. How much of the requested money these government agencies actually get is not yet known. The way they spend money in Washington, you can rest assured they’ll get most of it.

If you’re looking to cut the budget, climate change is a good place to start. If we don’t get a handle on Washington’s spending soon, and I mean very soon, climate change will be the least of our problems.