Archive for January, 2011

How the Housing Crisis Started

Friday, January 21st, 2011

It has a lot of dust on it…and there’s no one particular recent event that makes it any more relevant now than it was before. Just want to get it into the database.

And, as always, it bears repeating:

“Cheney: Obama Has Learned That Bush Policies Were Right”

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Well, well. Yet another reason why they don’t want us reading or watching Fox News. It isn’t helpful allowing things like this to get out…

In his first interview since undergoing major heart surgery last July, [former Vice President Dick] Cheney said he thinks Obama has been forced to rethink some of his national security positions now that he sits in the Oval Office.

“I think he’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate. So I think he’s learned from experience. And part of that experience was the Democrats having a terrible showing last election.”
“I think he’s learned that he’s not going to be able to close Guantanamo,” Cheney said. “That it’s — if you didn’t have it, you’d have to create one like that. You’ve got to have some place to put terrorists who are combatants who are bound and determined to try to kill Americans.”

All together now:


This is one subject on which Obama looks like a complete dumbass. Speaking for myself, I always prefer to believe if someone got elected to something…anything…then that person must know something. Besides of which if you’re in politics, you have enemies, and those enemies will always want to make you look stupid. So the stupid-ness of politicians is something I think is naturally overstated.

But this Guantanamo situation, knowing what I know today about it, still looks exactly like what it did at first. OBozo was completely flummoxed and bamboozled, ambushed in a surprise attack by reality.

“Okee dokee, now that I won and I’m the President and everything, let’s just let all these falsely accused and mistreated ordinary Americans out! Oh dear…oh, my…it looks like some of them really are bad. Oh, what to do what to do…”

I mean, it has to be more complicated than that. I find it hard to believe a master showman like Barack Obama can talk this thing up, day and night, month after month year after year, and never once give any serious thought to the possibility that maybe someone in Gitmo would like to hurt people and can’t be released. He never even considered it? Nobody in His inner circle even considered it? Not once?

Every little smidgen of information I’ve learned about this, supports that spectacular, unbelievable narrative. That they really did come to believe their own claptrap, and got snookered when they found out things aren’t that simple.

Calling it irresponsible is an insult to irresponsible people.

Honest Grad School Ad

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

From here.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Taped to Royal’s Desk

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

From Neal Boortz:

The Christian faith makes it possible for us to accept that which cannot be changed, to meet disappointment and sorrow with an inner poise, and to absorb the most intense pain without abandoning our sense of hope, for we know, as Paul testified, in life or death, in Spain or Rome, “that all things work together to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. – Martin Luther King, Jr

There ya go. Shepherd for the sheep, in a chaotic, messy, painful world.

Royal Marshall, Neal’s producer, had a heart attack and passed away at his home over the weekend. He was 43. I’m really feeling for these people right now because I’ve been in exactly that situation…right after New Year’s…and it really sucks big ones. There’s nothing quite like hearing someone in the office get off the phone and say, “[insert name here]’s dead.”

But my boss was 52 and his health had been in something of a down-slide….a relatively sudden down-slide, but it was still there. This was a healthy young man, from what I read, no warning at all.

May time heal the wound with grace, may the memories remain fond, and may Royal’s example endure and inspire.

“They’re Too Many to List”

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Another “why they hate Palin” piece, this one by Evan Sayet. This one I had teetering on the brink. In fact, I wasn’t even going to read it all the way through, but the way it starts is delicious:

It just happened again.

I spend a fair amount of time at my local coffee shop. I like to do my writing outside and, besides, it gives me an opportunity to try and initiate political conversations with the people who pass by — my hope always being to begin to enlighten them as to what conservatives really believe (and not just what the leftist media tells them.)

Today, the conversation turned to Sarah Palin and my latest acquaintance blurted out: “Oh I hate her.” Since she did not yet know my politics, and since we were in Los Angeles, it is clear that she expected to hear back what you usually hear back in this city: “Yeah, I hate her, too.” Instead, I asked her why.

At this point I could have predicted her response because it’s the same response you get from liberals no matter who on the Right you’re talking about: “Because she’s stupid.” I replied: “Being stupid is no reason to hate someone, but tell me, which one of her policies do you disagree with?” It wasn’t hard to predict her response: “All of them!”

I continued to push. “Well, then, if it’s all of them, it should be easy for you to name one.” Her reply? “They’re too many to list.”

“So don’t list them, just give me one,” I said.

This went on for awhile until my new acquaintance finally admitted that she didn’t know any of Ms. Palin’s policies. Before she ran off – Democrats always run off when asked to provide facts to justify their hatred for Republicans – I looked her in the eyes and said, “If you don’t know any of her policies, perhaps you should look into them.” She promised she would. She won’t. If there are two things you can count on with Democrats, they are filled with hate and empty of facts.

Now, I suppose any time you trounce someone in an argument one-on-one, and then write up a column or a blog post about it to describe a generalized phenomenon, it’s a treacherous business you undertake. It might feel good at the time to beat somebody, after all, but there’s always someone else who’s better at debating…and it is an important thing to take into account after you’ve finished wrestling with a true lightweight, and emerged victorious simply by asking questions.

But as most of us understand by now — extrapolating this as a generalized phenomenon is more than fair. More than fair. How often has the exact same conversation been repeated? Countless times. The average liberal can no more name what exactly it is he despises about Sarah Palin, than he can name what exactly it is he likes about Barack Obama. “There’s just something about” keeps floating to the top.

The middle of Sayet’s column, not wanting to be unkind about it, but it’s a retread. It might as well have been printed up in September of ’08. In fact, there’s at least one “fact” that’s wrong. So I was going to pass it on by…but then…Sayet runs into some points that, although they have been made before, haven’t been made before too often. Not given how important they are.

They bear repeating:

And Sarah Palin ran a small business. Democrats don’t run businesses. In fact, Democrats don’t do anything. If you eliminated from the voting roll everyone who did nothing other than talk – the academic, the newscaster, the actor, the politician – and those who game the system, collecting welfare and years of unemployment benefits and “workman’s compensation” and food stamps, how many people would be left voting Democrat?


Let’s put it this way, if having had a job – having done something that required either physical labor or risking one’s own money – were a prerequisite to work in the White House, Barack Obama would have to fire 94 percent of his top advisers. That’s a real number. Ninety four percent of Obama’s top advisers have never done anything like run a small store, paint a bridge, wire a house for electricity or anything else other than flap their lips.


This is the genesis of the notion that Palin is “stupid.” Liberals are convinced that there’s something “the matter” with people who have jobs. This is what they mean by “What’s the Matter with Kansas,” Kansas being a place where people work – Hollywood, Cambridge Massachusetts, the TV studios in Manhattan are places were people talk. To the liberal, anyone who has a job must be stupid, after all, not everyone is as good a talker as they are, but surely everyone can find one excuse or another to sit at home and collect welfare.

Trifecta complete.

Now, at this point we’re very close to the end of Sayet’s column and he doesn’t explore this too much further, insofar as how it would pose a danger to progressive institutions for Palin to be seriously evaluated as a candidate for high office. So he finishes off here, right where the real story has just begun.

Palin represents something much bigger than Palin. It isn’t hockey moms or Momma Grizzlies or lipstick or GILFs or nice-lookin’ legs. What she represents is perceptive intelligence, the kind of intelligence you have to have if you work for a living, but don’t have to have if you talk for a living. You need to perceive…and based on your perceptions…make a decision that affects how, and if, you’re going to be getting your work done.

If you paint that bridge, for example, it will mean something to you if the wind is blowing too fast that day. So to do this job you’re going to have to take in some facts, and not just use them to puff up a report that services your political agenda — but modify your behavior according to those facts. Can’t fly the plane, the runway is too icy. Can’t milk the cows, it’s too cold. People who talk for a living don’t need to think this way. Their behavior is unintelligent and unconditional. Really, look into it; check out what they do, and take special notice of how incredibly constant it is.

Give a speech, and make sure it’s wonderful. Spend money. Raise taxes. Give a shout-out to someone you know who’s sitting in the audience. Talk about civil discourse. Raise money for your campaign, or someone else’s campaign. Produce a report. Raise awareness. See to it people know how to get the benefits if they are eligible. Maybe you need to start a second program to raise awareness of the existence of the first program. Show your support for a progressive cause. Rally the crowd. Make people feel good about themselves. Raise more money. Give a speech. Remind people how far we have come. But also remind them there is still a long, long way to go. Raise taxes. Give a speech.

My point is not that these things don’t do what they’re supposed to do…although, most of the time, they indeed do not. My point is that these behaviors are constant. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. These are going to be the things to do. Because they are constant and not determined by any particular situation, they are inherently unintelligent. In fact, if you put an intelligent person in the position of doing these things, over time he will have to develop a disrespect, almost an animosity, toward truth, logic, evidence and fact.

You can’t afford to be doing that when you build a building, scrape the barnacles off a boat, or load logs into a truck. In fact, in those jobs if you’re unintelligent the way our “leaders” are unintelligent, someone might very well get killed. So you need to show the intelligence God gave you in those jobs, and in addition, you have to be resourceful. Every time you make the call that it’s too ____ to do ____, if the job cannot be delayed then you need to find some different way of doing it. And that, in turn, means wandering off the prepared script. So now you really have to use your brain to figure out how, following this new process you’re making up as you go along, people might get injured, and acting on the spot to prevent that from happening.

I suppose this might look like I’m saying we’ve metastasized into a society in which unintelligent people make rules for intelligent people to follow; which, obviously, would be a regrettable situation.

Yes, that’s precisely what I am saying.

And every status quo, for whatever reason, has its defenders. When the time comes to change it there’s going to be some resistance.

And that’s why the establishment hates Sarah Palin so much. Surely you’ve noticed a lot of the hate has very little to do with Trig. A lot of the hate has very little to do with ideological position. She’s upsetting the establishment; the non-partisan, non-intelligent establishment.

Hat tip to Linkiest.

Cross-posted at Washington Rebel.

This Is Good LXXVIII

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Via an off-line e-mail from rob.

Two-Year-Old Knows Her Presidents

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Can you watch this without a goofy grin on your face?

This girl’s going places.

From here.

Hat tip to Linkiest.

Bond as a Period Piece

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Sonic Charmer has an intriguing idea:

I’d only add one thing to mkfreeberg’s James Bond wish list, and it’s a complaint I’ve had about the Bond films for a while now: It’s time for the Bond films to become period pieces.

These are stories of the ’50s and ’60s. They were written in the ’50s and ’60s and take place in the ’50s and ’60s. Set them in those time periods for crying out loud. They don’t try to set ‘Three Musketeers’ stories in modern-day France; having James Bond, WWII veteran, running around fighting cybervillains in the ’10s for a female M. and ‘Cool Britannia’ is just ridiculous. Is he 90 years old? This isn’t merely a matter of slavish devotion to historical verisimilitude on my part or anything. Part and parcel of what makes Bond interesting is the Cold War mise en scene (even if at times it’s masked by having him fight made-up villains like SPECTRE). Terrorism notwithstanding, we simply don’t have that atmosphere now. But they did then. So that’s when they should take place. In my ideal Bond movie there should be vintage ’50s era cars, East Germany should exist, Bond (and all other adult males) should wear a suit and hat everywhere they go, his watch should have a radium dial that glows, the women should smoke cigarettes with filters, trains should be glamorous and mysterious, there should be secret codes or stolen plans on microfilm, his key field equipment should be a trick leather briefcase. Et cetera. Come on, you have to admit this sounds good! But none of those things would work in a movie set today; it only works if you set them in that time.

Bond is the longest-running movie franchise ever. MGM just got out of bankruptcy and Bond 23 is the first thing they announce. It is clearly a cash cow, and will never die. Which just means that at some point the anachronism will become too obvious and unworkable; thus, if you think about it freezing him back in his actual time period is something that has got to happen sooner or later. So why not now? I’ll keep watching the Daniel Craig Bond films and I appreciate the ‘reboot’ effort they’ve represented, but what I’m really waiting for is a real reboot back to real Bond stories – the ones that haven’t really been made since, maybe, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

I’ve been mulling this over in my head all day, and the more I think about it the more I like it. I still see a potential problem; as I wrote there, James Bond exists first & foremost as a male fantasy, a target of “I wish I was doing this”…and that does seem to work better as “I wish I was doing this right now.” Well, you can’t wish you’re fighting with Bulgarian thugs who are throwing explosive briefcases at you to make the world safe for a communist overthrow on behalf of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics…right now. But I dunno. Does that really have to get in the way? We take these little trips back in time pretty much constantly in the land of cinema.

I think it’s up to the gentlemen to decide this. Not to trivialize the female attraction to the Bond saga, but…well, it is trivial by comparison. It’s all “Connery was sexier than Moore” and “Ooh that Pierce Brosnan is just so suave” over there. If James Bond is put back in 1958, the lady fans will adapt to this just fine.

The male fan is a bit trickier. We’re thinking…I wonder if I could do something like that if I was in the same situation. How awesome would it be if I could. And for us to do that, does it really have to take place in 2006, 2008, 2012? I’m thinking…if it’s handled right, no it doesn’t.

And I’ll bet a 1955 Thunderbird tricked out with machine guns behind the headlights would be mega-awesome.

One thing would be missing though: The “Tom Clancy” factor involved in the technology. James Bond films should inspire a debate about whether such-and-such a thing is possible or not. Remember the dialogue from Goldfinger? “You’re joking” (acting legend Connery, wearing his very best puzzled-and-perplexed face). “I never joke about my work, double-oh-seven.”

If Bond movies take place sixty years ago, all that stuff has to take a powder…all the “maybe Popular Mechanics will have this on the cover in another five years” fantasy gear. I would miss that, but to be honest, I could do without it.

“Left-Wing Creationism”

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Ed Driscoll has an impressive collection of links to be sprung on anyone who’s fixated on the notion that facts and reason have a well-known liberal bias:

At Ricochet, Rob Long writes:

The left likes to portray conservatives as “anti-science.” They even like to talk about a “Republican War on Science.”

Science, though, seems to be getting it from the left, at least as often.

In the NYObserver, Bill Wasik reviews Seth Mnookin’s new book The Panic Virus:

Near the beginning of The Panic Virus, Seth Mnookin’s definitive, infuriating history of the myth that vaccines cause autism, the author relates a story from a Park Slope dinner party he attended in 2007. Mr. Mnookin was discussing pediatric health with a new parent in his early 40s who explained that he and his wife had decided to delay their child’s vaccines. On what sources had he based this weighty decision? Questions along these lines were met with murk. “I don’t know what to say,” the man replied. “It just feels like a lot for a developing immune system to deal with.”

It was this F-word—feels—that left Mr. Mnookin justifiably gobsmacked, and it serves as the departure point for The Panic Virus, an attempt to explain how thousands of otherwise sophisticated Americans could make a fatuous decision to opt out of what is arguably modernity’s greatest medical achievement. Most children “exempted” from vaccines (a fittingly ridiculous term, as if the kids place out via AP exam) are not low-information progeny. They are being raised in college towns, in wealthy suburbs and in tony urban enclaves like Park Slope, by the sorts of parents who are otherwise given to grave tut-tutting about the anti-science stances of others—the climate-change know-nothings, say, or the ovine devotees of the garish Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky.

Perhaps the tide is slowly turning; as Investor’s Business Daily noted earlier this month, just before all eyes understandably turned to Tucson, junk science has come under increasing scrutiny:

A study debunking vaccines by a scientist in the pay of trial lawyers was found to be “an elaborate fraud.” Meanwhile, the “Great Garbage Patch” turned out to be a sea myth. Science has some explaining to do.Scientific inquiry, once perceived a noble redoubt of objective truth-seeking and enlightenment, is doing a bang-up job of dragging itself down to P.T. Barnum-style snake oil-elixir hype, given the amount of fraud being exposed almost daily.

Of course, mistakes happen in any field of inquiry, but these are politically motivated ruses intended to advance an agenda.

Meanwhile, in the London Telegraph, James Delingpole quips, “‘Why will no one listen to us any more?’ wails [manmade global warming] propagandist.”

Perhaps this headline from the London Independent in 2000 might answer that question.

The Left claims to be friendlier to science, and yet it works by figuring out what the conclusion is supposed to be, and then massaging and selecting the facts to fit into that. This process is oppositional from how science really works.

Doofus Philanderer

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

I was watching 10 today and suddenly I had a thought…

The movie is thirty-two years old now (!), so I trust I’m not giving anything away to anybody when I point out that in the end, the hero realizes the object of his lascivious fantasies is a shallow bitch with little to no redeeming value as a human being. So he goes back to his slightly frumpier lady-love, confesses how much of a horse’s ass he’s been, and enjoys true love…kind of a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” sort of thing.

A few years later, John Cusack did the same thing in a movie called The Sure Thing, eventually getting it through his thick skull that Daphne Zuniga was the one for him.

My observation is that when the primary promotional artwork for the movie has something to do with the pelvic area of a young lady in a bathing suit, this is a constant. Hijinks shall ensue as the protagonist feeds his own fantasies, usually egged on by his overweight goofy sidekick, and sees his entire world shrink around some feminine object of imagined carnal bliss. In the final ten minutes he finally is alone with the object of his pursuit, and is like the dog catching the car. Just as the doofus dad figures out 1) he’s a liar, 2) nobody can count on him, 3) he’s missing out on being a father and 4) he’s lower than whale dirt, the doofus philanderer comes to a similar epiphany. Everyone hates him, and should. He’s scum. His frumpy girlfriend is the real goddess, and this naked Aphrodite in front of him is just a waste of time.

Just watched Frat Party and Sex Drive. Now, those are on the low end…but it’s still embarrassing how stilted and tropish the story lines are. Makes me unhappy to have sunk 90 minutes into it, even if it isn’t exactly my prime viewing time.

It’s funny, isn’t it. The women don’t spend a movie lusting after some stud, and then finding out at the end that it was the wrong dream…and their kids are never having emotional breakdowns because momma didn’t make it to the piano concert. It’s always the dudes. I’m still not sure what this means, but I am sure there are some people making bank for being creative who aren’t all that creative. And, in an indirect way, I’m paying ’em.

They’re just hocking the same wares over, and over, and over again. Like thirty-two year old hot dogs or donuts.

“Screw You and Your Civil Discourse”

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Surber speaks for me.

The left suddenly wants civil discourse.

Bite me.

The left wants to play games of semantics.

Bite me.

The left wants us to be civil — after being so uncivil for a decade.

Bite me.

There is grown-up work to do now. Liberals ran up the federal credit card, destroyed the American medical system and undermined the rule of law — which is the foundation of capitalism — with a bunch of unconstitutional fiats from the president and his bureaucracy.

The economy is a mess. The president “inherited” a 7.6% unemployment rate. It’s now 9.4% — after we spent a record $787 billion on a stimulus.

I was not consulted on that stimulus. I had a very good argument against it. I said the money supply was too large and printing more money would fail. I said let the economic downturn run its course.

Lefties were too busy celebrating the 2008 election to listen.

When people protested lefties made vulgar remarks about tea-bagging and giggled.

So screw you and your civil discourse.

I don’t want to hear it.

I have been screamed at for 10 years.

It’s my turn now. I am not going to scream back. But I refuse to allow anyone to dictate what I say or how I say it. I refuse to allow the same foul-mouthed, foul-spirited foul people who dumped on me to now try to tell me what I may or may not say.


When “civil discourse” arrives at the cost of the left accumulating more power, and they still want it, then I’ll believe them. Or I’ll give it some serious thought at that time, anyway. Until then it’s just lip service.

The American Left has a long-standing pattern of promoting unity when they perceive themselves to be at the top of the resulting unification; negotiations when they perceive themselves able to fully direct the compromise that would result; peace, when “peace” means everybody has to agree with them. In other words, they are fair-weather friends to these things and have been for a long time.

When a lefty has to choose between civility and power, and consciously chooses civility, do let me know. Until then, a lefty demanding a more civil discourse is just a fox offering to guard the hen house.

Top Ten Unhinged Reactions to the Arizona Shooting

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Cassy rounds them up at NewsRealBlog:

As more and more is known about the murderer, it becomes clear that Jared Lee Loughner was a psychotic nut unmotivated by politics either on the Left or the Right. The Left, however, still wasted no time exploiting this tragedy to smear Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, the Tea Party, and conservatives in general. If you needed an example of how unhinged they have become, you need look no further than their reaction to the Tucson shootings.

Tragedy -> Strategy.

What cracks me up, is these are the people calling for more civility in our discourse. They lead by example until something remarkable and unfortunate happens, and then here comes the tortured logic to somehow blame it on…

…on…how did Our Holy Leader put it? “People who don’t think like them” or something?

See, here’s the thing. A civil discussion, like a truce that halts a war, is a mutual decision or else it is nothing at all. I’ve said this before (somewhere) — if I say one and one make three, and you say one and one make two, we can have a civil discussion about that. You just go “Hey, I can call Morgan a dumbass who doesn’t know how to add…or I can refrain from doing that…and so I shall refrain.” Simple as that. But! If my position is: One and one are three, and anybody who says anything different is a sexist and a bigot, a mutually respectful conversation is no longer possible.

That’s where they are. What they are doing, is name-calling; but they do it in such a way that it doesn’t look like name calling because they work according to the opt-out. “Agree with me on this, and maybe you aren’t prejudiced.”

And, maybe the Tucson incident is not all your fault. But if you don’t go along…all bets are off.

Tragedies big, tragedies small, they’ll do it every time. As long as it’s a tragedy that most of us will be talking about for awhile, the “blame value” is there and they’ll keep zeroing back in to this point like a homing pigeon.

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XXVIII

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Gagdad Bob at One Cosmos:

Senior Raccoons will remember a time, not too long ago, that abnormal people in our culture actually felt abnormal. They were aware of their deviancy, and how this deviancy contributed to an unhappiness that no government has the power to eliminate.

But under the guise of “tolerance” and multiculturalism, we have deprived these poor souls of the feedback they need in order to know that they are not normal. This is not empathy, but cruelty — like shielding someone from a cancer diagnosis on the grounds that it will make them feel bad, but depriving them of the chance to fight it.

In order to allow such people to feel normal in their abnormalcy, we have had to develop a deviant culture for them to live in, to such an extent that the normal are now made to feel abnormal.

This is one of the hidden influences of the Tea Party movement, and more generally the effort to take our country back from the deviant. Not surprisingly, this is enraging the abnormals of the left, as witnessed, for example, by the weird attempt to suggest that normal people somehow caused the patently abnormal Jared Loughner to open fire on a bunch of normal people.

If multiculturalism were true, it would mean that all cultures are of equal value. But this is equivalent to saying that there is no reality to which culture is an adaptation. As a result, culture devolves to a mere fantasy world. Which, of course, it is for the left. They are, by their own lights, not oriented to reality, since reality is just an oppressive white European male construct.

Hat tip to Gerard.

For All Your Revolutionary Ideas

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Thanks to Mike

Related: Freedom is on the decline worldwide:

Global freedom declined for a fifth straight year in 2010 as authoritarian regimes dug in worldwide and crime and unrest plagued democracies like Mexico, a US watchdog said Thursday.

In “Freedom in the World 2011” the Washington-based Freedom House said it had documented the longest continuous period of decline since it began compiling the annual index nearly 40 years ago.

“A total of 25 countries showed significant declines in 2010, more than double the 11 countries exhibiting noteworthy gains,” the group said.

“Authoritarian regimes like those in China, Egypt, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela continued to step up repressive measures with little significant resistance from the democratic world,” it said.

WaitressThe recent decline “threatens gains dating to the post-Cold War era in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the former Soviet bloc.”

The nations are evaluated in whole, one at a time, the national score being one of three possible values. It seems America is & was evaluated as “free.”

I’m not sure this is reasonable, and it certainly isn’t a suitable method for showing freedom slippage within a nation on a micro-, as opposed to a macro-, level. Were I to design such a system it would almost certainly use percentages and it would carry a palpable red-state bias. Can I go to Hooters. Can I take my kid to a Hooters. Can I go to a Hooters on swimsuit contest night. Can I eat fatty foods with salt at Hooters. Can I drink a pitcher of beer all by myself at Hooters. Can I carry a gun into Hooters. Can I work at Hooters. Can Hooters, since I’m a dude, tell me “no way in hell are you working here.” Can I build a mosque near a Hooters. Can I build a Hooters near a mosque. Can I open a Hooters near a school. Can I open a Hooters near a bunch of busybody parents who happen to sit on the PTA.

My point is, yes human rights are important. But just because you had ’em last year and still have ’em this year, doesn’t mean freedom hasn’t slipped a notch or two. The tyrants don’t start there anyway. They finish there.

Hmm, maybe if there’s time left this weekend I’ll fire up my Microsoft Word and put together this survey the way it should’ve been done. Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin would approve, I’m sure.

Twin Boys Aborted for Being Boys

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Herald Sun, Australia:

The couple, who have three sons and still grieve for a daughter they lost soon after birth, are going to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to win the right to select sex by IVF treatment.

They say they want the opportunity to have the baby daughter they were tragically denied.

An independent panel, known as the Patient Review Panel, recently rejected the couple’s bid to choose the sex of their next child using IVF.

They have gone to VCAT in a bid to have that decision overturned.

VCAT recently ruled that it has the power to review the Patient Review Panel decision. It will hear the couple’s case in March.

So determined are the couple to have a girl that they recently terminated twin boys conceived through IVF.
Victoria’s Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 bans sex selection unless it is necessary to avoid the risk of transmission of a genetic abnormality or genetic disease to a child.

All IVF clinics in Australia must stay within National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines that say sex selection should not be done except to reduce the transmission of a serious genetic condition.

Australian IVF pioneer Gab Kovacs – not involved in the case – said he could not understand why the couple should be banned from having a girl.

“I can’t see how it could harm anyone,” he said.

“Who is this going to harm if this couple have their desire fulfilled?”

Other than the plain fact that it diminishes all of humanity when babies are served up in a made-to-order smorgasbord, I guess yeah it’s completely harmless.

How absurd. You have the parents and the pencil-pushing busy-body bureaucrats in their little yelling match, and here’s God way off in the corner of a room, murmuring “is it all right if I get a vote in this?”

Yeah, yeah…I know…sky fairy, doesn’t really exist, you’re stupid if you think He does, yadda yadda yadda. Well, isn’t there something jacked up about it when, if you want to think it’s really a decision between the parents and the bureaucrats because there’s no such thing as God — you must necessarily believe in the “mass of cells” mythology, that fetuses don’t count until such time as they get squeezed out and turn into babies?

How about if you believe that children are their own people, and they’re not property, and some great wrong is being done any time they’re treated like belongings owned by the parents. Isn’t there a terrible problem being posed for that mindset if the kids are made-to-order, by process of elimination in this way? Reminds me of a “thought for the day” I saw somewhere: If a gay gene is ever discovered, would our progressives support the “choice” by parents who aborted a gay baby?

There is one other aspect to this story that needs to be pointed out; easy enough to pick up on this on a subconscious level, but very few people will stoop to the low level of pointing it out. Well as usual, I’m hear for ya:

The “Replacement Clergy” thing. IVF is to be allowed, abortion is to be allowed…we need progressive societies that are open, tolerant, permissive, respectful of choice. The framework has been cobbled together, the mindset diligently pursued and where does it all end up? These parents that have been-through-so-much that need to have their choices respected, and so forth — are left to quibble endlessly with government bureaucrats. “Keep your laws off my body and get your government out of my uterus” indeed. Oh, the irony.

Thanks to Cassy for snagging this.

Not Stuck in the Nineties

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Yay for us! We are awesome!

However, in the interest of full disclosure, we are fans of Goldeneye, Contract With America and Darth Maul.

Be that as it may, of all the decades in which one may get oneself stuck, this one doesn’t rank too high does it? There was kind of an undertone of “if we just get rid of anything that’s manly we’ll be all right”…that’s what I get out of it, anyway. Bill Clinton, Thelma & Louise, oh and let us not forget that Country Music and Pop got together and had some bastard love-child that’s still hanging around like a bad smell…

We did have some “masculinity” in the nineties that was on a popularity crescendo, but it was all gritty, urban, narcissistic, self-centered, ungentlemanly, loutish. No chivalry, all thuggery. Useful for one thing: Appealing to the female libido, in females who happen to be immature and stupid.

As far as the feminine mystique…this decade completely sucks ass. Sorry, there’s no other way to put it. When it began, the big-hair look was still in vogue. When it went out, all the women were trying to cut their hair like Hillary Clinton. That, right there, is a flunk. I’d say that even if I thought Clinton’s politics were completely wonderful. That hair style, that “rodent with a bowl cut,” is not appealing because it isn’t supposed to be. It is inherently negative. It’s an I-don’t-do-anything-to-make-men-happy haircut. It imbues all of the anarchy in an open rebellion but none of the balls. It is the hair equivalent of a petulant child, maybe a slightly mentally impaired one, sitting in a corner and grumbling about something. Let’s not even get into the pant suits.

And I have long maintained that from 1997 to 1998, not a single decent movie came out except LA Confidential.

My income doubled, almost. But that’s the way it should be.

All in all, not a good decade. And yeah, the web page bells-and-whistles are rancid, some of them should be punishable.

Does this site use tables?
Does this site use frames?
Does this site use inline formatting?
What about .gifs?
Does this site auto play music?
Does this site use marquees?
What about blinking text?
What about a hit counter?
A guestbook?
A “make this your home page” button?

No to all of the above, and that is the correct answer.

Thanks to Daniel for the link.

H&R Block Wrecking Ball Commercial

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Global Warming: The Facts

Friday, January 14th, 2011

From Boortz.

Of course, keep in mind every year in late June, as the fireworks stands start to go up in the mall parking lots, “climate” and “weather” magically go back to being exactly the same thing again. Cyclical, like all things in nature.

Anterograde Amnesia

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Severian entered a comment that, in Arsenio Hall fashion, makes you go “hmmmmmm…”

It’s either 100% pure awesome or 100% concentrated evil to those guys. Every speech Dear Leader has ever given is the best one in the history of human utterance…until the next one; meanwhile, I honestly think you’d have trouble getting a liberal to agree that the sun rises in the east if Sarah Palin was on record claiming so (typical responses would probably include “only somebody as stupid as her would need to say so” or “what is ‘east’ but a convention of language anyway?”, depending on the context and the pretentiousness of the liberal).

Made me think of a status update I placed on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, soon after The Left went back into their 2009 orgasms of “OMG Was That Not The Bestest Speech Evar!?!?!”:

Observations: Every stupid thing Palin says is the stupidest thing she has ever said. Every wonderful speech Obama gives is the greatest speech Obama has ever given. Conclusion: People who love Obama and hate Palin are like that guy in “Memento”; they have absolutely no working long-term memory.

Yep, can’t be a good leftist unless history is in a perpetually infantile state, and always began yesterday morning.

The Online Encyclopedia Anyone Can Edit suggests that “anterograde” may not be an entirely perfect fit for this…

Anterograde amnesia is a loss of the ability to create new memories after the event that caused the amnesia, leading to a partial or complete inability to recall the recent past, while long-term memories from before the event remain intact. Anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia, where memories created prior to the event are lost, can occur together in the same patient. To a large degree, anterograde amnesia remains a mysterious ailment because the precise mechanism of storing memories is not yet well understood…

Among those who are constantly insisting every single speech Obama has given is the BEST SPEECH EVAR, which is classic anterograde, it is a common failing to audibly articulate that George W. Bush was the WORSTEST PRESIDENT EVAR, leaving entirely unaddressed the question of acknowledging Carter, Harding, Nixon or the two Johnsons…which is a symptom of retrograde. So most seem to have both.

I’ve come to doubt these people have any long term memory that could be handicapped. I don’t hear them say things like “I remember the first time I saw my wife, wearing that dress…” Now and then they might mention their hometown, but I don’t hear them say anything about the little hill where [insert name here] started a dirt clod fight with ’em, or anything of the sort. I don’t even very often hear mention of where they were on 9/11/01. Or, if they’re old enough, when Kennedy was shot or when Lennon was shot. Which is oddly paradoxical, because you’d think someone so committed to living life for the emotional highs would have at least a mediocre level of sentimentality.

I think the constant adrenaline rush burns out the long-term memory entirely, I really do. Strips the cogs clean off the gears.

Now, while we’re on the subject of that Nolan movie, I see the wiki entry for it includes a chart that wasn’t there last time I looked. Hey, nice. Could-a used that…

The barking moonbat brain, on the other hand, I’m just going to have to continue figuring out as I go along…

I think the long-term memory doesn’t quite so much burn out, as wither and atrophy from lack of use. The superlative, from what I have noticed, doesn’t mean the same thing to a left-winger as it means to an ordinary person; superlatives are de-linked from history. “Best speech ever” sounds like a comparison between the speech just given, and each selection within an archive of earlier speeches — that is precisely what it is supposed to mean. Well, I don’t think it does.

I think these are people so committed to prerational thinking that they’re just grasping for a more bubbly and exuberant way of saying “that was a good speech and I approve of it.” In the classic prerational mold, they have hyper-individualized their motives and their thoughts. Whenever we labor to create a new culture in which the individual is diminished, and subordinated to the priorities and needs of the group, paradoxically people will start to act out according to the individual priorities they’re supposed to be neglecting. As they attend to the group membership in order to do their group thinking, they say things out of service to their individual interests.

Put in much simpler terms: When they gather in a group to discuss how good Barack Obama’s latest speech was, they end up in a competition to find the most enthusiastic expression of what a good speech it was, like sharks at a feeding frenzy. The superlative is the natural conclusion of this journey, the zenith from which one can proceed no higher. Even if it means comparing today’s Obama to yesterday’s Obama and finding the historical Obama to be wanting.

But of course, Obama cannot be found to be lacking in anything, at any time. So yesterday’s Obama becomes a sort of made-up Obama. Through this exercise, they not only ignore history, but consciously reject it. It didn’t happen. The brain cells that store and retrieve long term memory rot away just a little bit more…and then, they go back and do it a few hundred more times.

They, essentially, do with their memory-related brain lobes what I do with my stomach muscles when I sit around and blog. The natural result is atrophy. Lack of definition and lack of capability through lack of use.

The Two Speeches

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Gotta hand it to that Barack Obama. He can really deliver a speech! He’s better than anybody, and will always emerge as the all-time champion of speech delivery…

…provided His competition is an Alaska housewife holding no elective office whatsoever. Who holds a special reputation for being a dimwit. The word “special” meaning, of course, that it’s a reputation carved in stone, and whatever evidence has to be shunted aside to keep it going will be, and whatever fiction has to be written to prove it, also will be.

Neal Boortz is falling for it. Making a special point of assessing the speeches in terms of how they adapt to & help shape the emotional tone of the moment — after also making a special point of mentioning he isn’t qualified to do this.

I didn’t watch. If I had watched the speech last night any appreciation I might have had for the words spoken would have been clouded by the contempt I have for the man speaking them. I did, though, read the transcript this morning, and I’ll say this. It was a wonderfully crafted and expertly delivered address. President Obama – and you won’t hear me put those words together too often – delivered the exact right speech at the exact right moment in the exact right tone. I actually found myself getting all weepy-like this morning as I read the transcript.
Oh … and about Sarah Palin. Yesterday we saw why the Republicans just cannot even flirt with the idea of making her the GOP candidate for president in 2012. Compare her statement to Obama’s last night. Obama will eat her alive on the stump. Recognize that now to avoid carnage in the future.

Mmmm, hmmm. Well, if the argument begins & ends on the point that “majority viewpoint must prevail, be it right or be it wrong!” — then, it becomes something worth noticing that Boortz is being absolutely eaten alive in the comment section.

Our own blog-comment-poster friend Physics Geek speaks for me:

“Compare her statement to Obama’s last night.”

I can’t. For some reason, Obama didn’t have to respond to people calling him responsible for mass murder. If they had, you could probably have compared his response to Palin’s.

There is one criterion that is sufficiently general in nature, that they can be compared side-by-side though, and compared fairly. Believability. As Boortz pointed out, when you noodle this through with the left side of your brain, the hemisphere that is concerned with facts, hard sciences, what it all really means, etc. there are some real problems that surface in listening to Obama’s speech. Oh sure the emotion-driven right-side-lobe is having an awesome time of it, as is always the case when His Eminence intones. Wheeee!

But Obama just isn’t believable.

The hillbilly housewife from Alaska who isn’t running for anything, on the other hand, is.

Advantage Palin. Again.

Lawmakers Calling for Civil Discourse Haven’t Always Been Civil

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Yet another reminder of why we aren’t supposed to be watching or reading Fox News. It seems you’re not supposed to be holding the powerful accountable unless you’re doing it the same way some other powerful people are also holding the powerful accountable.

“Violence has no place in our democracy,” [Congressman Pete] Stark said in a statement shortly after the shooting that killed six people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, and wounded 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

“While the details of the shooting are still coming to light, we can all agree that political rhetoric and imagery that condones or encourages violence — whether from activists, party organizations, or politicians — is unacceptable. We can have differences of opinion on policy and still treat each other with humanity,” Stark said.

But Stark’s own record of vitriol goes back a long way. In 2007, he infamously condemned Republicans for not supporting a Democratic-backed bill to expand health care for children from low-income families.

“You don’t have money to fund the (Iraq) war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people – if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”

The column goes on with three other examples, all democrats.

We recall the blog comment of the day for January 10, noted that way by Instapundit. Comment-poster mesquito, posting at Althouse’s:

Anyone else find it creepy that new standard what me may and may not say is: How will it affect the behavior of an [o]bviously crazy person who may or may not hear it?

Everybody hates the politician who tries to figure out which way the crowd is moving, and then runs to the front of it so he can pretend to be a “leader.”

Why we work so hard to keep that figure around, and obnoxious as he can possibly be, is a real mystery.

Why the Left Went Nuts

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Henninger, WSJ Review & Outlook:

There has been a great effort this week to come to grips with the American left’s reaction to the Tucson shooting. Paul Krugman of the New York Times and its editorial page, George Packer of the New Yorker, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek and others, in varying degrees, have linked the murders to the intensity of opposition to the policies and presidency of Barack Obama. As Mr. Krugman asked in his Monday commentary: “Were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?”

The “you” would be his audience, and the answer is yes, they thought that in these times “something like this” could happen in the United States. Other media commentators, without a microbe of conservatism in their bloodstreams, have rejected this suggestion.

So what was the point? Why attempt the gymnastic logic of asserting that the act of a deranged personality was linked to the tea parties and the American right? Two reasons: Political calculation and personal belief.
The divide between this strain of the American left and its conservative opponents is about more than politics and policy. It goes back a long way, it is deep, and it will never be bridged. It is cultural, and it explains more than anything the “intensity” that exists now between these two competing camps. (The independent laments: “Can’t we all just get along?” Answer: No.)

The Rosetta Stone that explains this tribal divide is Columbia historian Richard Hofstadter’s classic 1964 essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” Hofstadter’s piece for Harper’s may be unfamiliar to many now, but each writer at the opening of this column knows by rote what Hofstadter’s essay taught generations of young, left-wing intellectuals about conservatism and the right.

After Hofstadter, the American right wasn’t just wrong on policy. Its people were psychologically dangerous and undeserving of holding authority for any public purpose. By this mental geography, the John Birch Society and the tea party are cut from the same backwoods cloth.

Viewed from a simpler perspective, the events of last week were all about Expectation Bias, in which a subject expects a certain event or situation and then systematically discards any evidence that would pose a problem for the narrative, perhaps placing inordinate emphasis on the evidence that fits it better.

The recollection of The Paranoid Style in American Politics puts an interesting light on all this. This is an epistle that was written up by a communist who felt all bullied and persecuted by the McCarthy hearings, and used the classic communist tactic of “accuse the accuser” right before the election between Goldwater and LBJ. Yeah, good ol’ LBJ…how’d that work out.

The effort to keep the “paranoid style” out of our politics by means of calling it to our attention, since 1964, has been a colossal failure by any reckoning. As we see this past week, The Left has been as paranoid as anybody else. But Hofstadter’s essay is recalled as “one of the most important and most influential articles published in the 155 year history of [Harper’s].” How can that be? From following the link, one can see the answer easily: Certain people are awash in Expectation Bias, convinced nobody can ever be paranoid about anything unless they’re conservatives.

But there is another reason that deals with a fundamental misunderstanding of the tract’s purpose. Hofstadter’s essay was not supposed to excise paranoia from American politics.

A few days ago, I pointed out how effective it can be to audibly accuse someone of doing something, in the very moment in which you yourself are doing that exact same thing. People will forget all about who’s doing what, rather instantaneously. If their senses pick it up they’ll immediately block it off. This is what the Hofstadter essay was really all about: It’s a communist jotting down a big dissertation about “they’re all out to get me,” while simultaneously saying it’s those other guys who are running around all paranoid and worried about people who are out to get them.

And so The Left has its narrative. They are the “reality based community,” and they must be perfectly sane because look how often they make fun of people. See all the jokes they tell without any real humor or good will, that’s a mark of sanity if ever there was one. And everyone else is just nuts.

And so, when a member of Congress who happens to have a “D” after her name is stalked and then gravely wounded by a deranged gunman, of course he must be one of those paranoid, schizophrenic conservative tea party people. It fits the narrative. And so it feels “right.”

A grown-up will change his beliefs over time to fit the evidence. An intellectual child who resists growing up, will tailor the evidence to fit the beliefs.

More Space

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Oh my…this is after backing up, what, I’ve lost count I think. One desktop, four laptops, and some movies & television episodes I happen to like.

After spending a day on that, look at all the lovely purple that’s still there.

Think we can get used to this…

Bond 23 Date Announced

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

November 12. Of next year.

Isn’t it interesting that whenever James Bond has a long snooze, the world just generally withers and dies a little bit? It’s like all the world’s testicles shrivel up and fall to the ground, like leaves on the trees as a winter rolls in that is going to be particularly harsh, dry and dead-looking.

I have a theory about this. My theory is, if people look at men and don’t see anything impressive, they don’t see anything of value in all of humankind either. They’ll never admit it, but once they get that nasty feminist patina, that “Rueben Reuben I’ve been thinking what a fine world it would be” thing, they just naturally see the entire human race as a sort of infestation. Like lice. Good for nothing but an apology.

That’s pretty much what the James Bond struggle is all about, isn’t it? The villain wants to zap the entire planet with his moon laser, and it’s all up to Bond to short circuit the thing. Screw everything that looks good in a skirt, humiliate the bad guy in a contest of golf or skeet shooting or backgammon or downhill skiing or baccarat or whatever, sleep with some more women…just generally make men feel good about being men. And then the happiness and hope of everybody else, just naturally follows.

I think we’re about due. All over the world, people are generally unhappy with other people…with themselves…with the way things are going. The cure is more Bond.

Okay, here’s my wish list:

1. Moneypenny should be someone just slightly older than me, someone who’s been famous before but is now far less so. Miranda Richardson would be good. Phoebe Cates too. She doesn’t have to have any particular look, she just has to work extremely well with Craig. But put her in, by all means.
2. Q too. Since there will never ever be another Desmond Llewellyn, John Cleese is just as good as anybody else.
3. We really need to get this thing back to the five basic Bond chapters. Briefing with M; flying to the location, following the clues, surviving assassination attempts & meeting the oddball characters; confrontation with the bad guy who then monologues & recites his biography; ingenious and daring escape; final assault on the fortress.
4. The camera man from Quantum of Solace — check him into a delerium tremens treatment facility and get someone else.
5. Also, whoever had the bright idea for Bond not to sleep with the co-star, should go onto another project. Fer cryin’ in the sink. “Not sleep with” is what Moneypenny is for. Bond should sleep with at least two women, preferably three. At four, things start to get a little bit silly. Three is a good number.
6. A cool car would still, in 2011, enhance the final product provided it is handled right. Move the emphasis away from the gadgets, and over toward “guys with balls would kill to have this car.” I think that worked well in Casino Royale.
7. What’s really been missing is the grisly demise. We owe the Connery/Moore-era James Bond a huge debt for having pushed the boundaries of the PG movie rating. People don’t realize it nowadays, but back then you weren’t going to see a bad guy get eating by Piranhas, or electrocuted in a chair, or crushed in a car, anywhere, except in a Bond movie. So re-use what works: Bad guy has stockholders. He gathers them around a huge table and says “who’s with me?” Everyone is in except one guy…and you know what comes next.
8. Put some thought into the threat. If it isn’t threatening in some way to every man, woman and child on the face of the globe then it isn’t a good threat.
9. Also, when M has her briefing with Bond, the thing she asks him to investigate should be something MI-6 would really have some business investigating. I would say both Daniel Craig movies passed this test, but some of the older ones did not (some of the Ian Fleming books did not).
10. I’m all for a return to gadgets. I was even a fan of the quasi-invisible car, although I recognize I’m in the minority on that one. But the best gadgets are going to have a Tom Clancy kind of feel to them. Real, or conceivably possible on a micro-level, not just on a Star Trek macro-level. Think of the cover of a Popular Mechanics issue that isn’t going to hit the stands for another year.
11. If James Bond parades around in front of the bad guy in some kind of a disguise, it should work for a good long time. I think if you sat in front of the older movies and did a survey, you’d find the average length of time Bond uses a cover before it is blown, is something around two minutes — I frankly don’t understand why he would’ve kept bothering with it. I also don’t understand why things are that way. If Bond earns the bad guy’s trust right after his plane lands, and we’re well into the second hour before the bad guy figures out who he is and what he’s doing, wouldn’t the bad guy be really pissed off and therefore scary? Just sayin’.
12. Want to see more of the “Dark Bond” thing with Daniel Craig. I think it suits him. Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore were particularly brilliant about this. You know the drill: Bond is being all smartass Napoleon-Solo, in Moore’s case a little bit foppish, and then someone in the bad guy’s hierarchy rubs out someone Bond happened to care about, so after a little cat-and-mouse game Bond has the assassin cornered and out comes this Mr. Hyde sort of a Bond. Quantum was supposed to deliver on this, and failed. Casino Royale delivered, but it was with more of a flavoring of “poor Bond is rather nauseated when he kills people even though that’s what his training is really all about.” Thus far, Brosnan beats him in this department because Pierce had this look of “yeah dude, your time is up.” I’m absolutely certain Craig has what it takes to turn that around.

Congratulations to democrats for Higher Taxes

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

A story coming up out of President Obama’s home state of Illinois, which helps to show us what they’re all about as if we didn’t already know:

A triumphant Gov. Pat Quinn congratulated fellow Democrats early today after the Illinois Senate and House sent him a major income tax increase without a single Republican vote in favor.

Quinn smiled and shook hands on the floor of the Senate around 1:30 a.m. after the Senate voted 30-29 for the bill, which would raise the personal income tax-rate by 67 percent and the business income tax rate by 46 percent.

The House passed the bill hours earlier Tuesday night — likewise without a vote to spare and with nary a Republican in support.
Republicans, powerless to stop the Democratic agreement, were left to blame the majority party for lacking the guts to make tough budget choices.

“So here we are in the very end of this lame duck session on a late night putting more burden on the hardworking people of this state,” said Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon. “Here’s an investment tip, put a lot of money into moving vans.”

“You may think your stabilizing this budget but you’re not,” said Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine. “You’re bankrupting our state with this bill.”

So I have this former colleague over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging who’s a moderate, but more thoughtful of a moderate than most. His big deal is the deficit. He thinks it’s unconscionable for both the democrats and the Republicans to continue to embiggen it; the former through wasteful spending and the latter through tax cuts. He wants tax increases, but not for their own sake. He thinks the further expansion of the deficit is the one metric in the equation that threatens to explode out of control.

His point of view, I think I get. What I do not get — where the democrats agree with him — is the exuberance. The smiles, the handshakes, the congratulations. The high-fiving; the “yipee” factor. My former co-worker might like what they did here…I’m qualifying that with a “maybe”…but I’m certain he wouldn’t be grinning about it. The headline of this story, plus the first two or three paragraphs, all seem to be heralding some kind of ticker tape parade or at least a champagne and scrambled-egg breakfast. Yay, private enterprise just became less profitable in Illinois. Yay, less prosperity less freedom. Hip hip, hooray. All right! Way ta go! We’re really gonna have fun now!

You know what, I think they ought to go ahead and do that. Mark the date and have an annual parade so we can see what they’re all about.

Myself, I disagree about what is the one metric threatening to spiral out of control. I think it is a composite; I think it is public debt, in proportion to GDP, plus a bunch of other things.

The deficit? No. If you’ve got a carefully jotted-down income statement showing me I’m going to take home $25,000 less than I’ll be spending in 2011, I’m not one bit worried. I’ll just churn through that puppy and drop everything on the expense-side of that sheet that I don’t have to have, until it comes out right. Sure it’s a lot tougher for legislators to do that with their pet projects, but that doesn’t mean the financial concepts are any different.

BOHICA CycleOnce you get into that BOHICA Cycle though, that’s where the trolley really comes off the tracks. It’s happening in the United States, in Illinois, New York, California — every single place democrats have been in charge long enough to leave their mark.

Why? The story linked up top says the new tax increase, the “hooray, we’re bilking people more” tax increase, is gonna raise $6.5 billion. It won’t, of course. That number is produced by simple addition and multiplication, and presumes people will maintain consistent earning and spending habits as the tax consequences are in a state of flux. That they won’t change any of the decisions under their control, as the employers that sign their paychecks see less of a profit coming in, and new, artificial expenses are built into the products and services they bring to market.

It is our “free” press that is most at fault for this problem. When the $6.5 billion target is missed, they won’t talk about it. Not in terms of how it should be discussed — “last year, legislators used fourth-grade math to figure out how much extra revenue they’d get from the tax increase, and they turned out to be wrong.” In all my years of reading newspapers, I’ve never seen a statement printed that way, although I have seen it happen time after time. No, they’ll wait until the new deficit is broken down, agency by agency, until it percolates down to the level of social programs…they’ll print up a story about some “vital” assistance being “cut.” Then they’ll find some sad sack who doesn’t know how he’s going to pay his heating bill or get his hangnail treated, and stick him on Page B-1 like they always do.

But hey, that’s all next year. In the meantime — congratulations to the democrats of Illinois for getting that tax increase they wanted. You must be so pleased and proud. Hooray! Hey, are fireworks out of the question?

Memo For File CXXVIII

Monday, January 10th, 2011

So back to the Arizona shooting. We’re all split squarely down the middle on this thing; our pinhead columnists and authority figures are convinced it was an act of political extremism, whereas the red-blooded people with whole brains, are leaning toward the gunman being just-plain-nuts. The evidence is falling in behind the ideas of the people-with-whole-brains. But the jump-to-conclusions people have fancy titles and big, big names. I guess that’s why they don’t need to wait for facts like the rest of us.

We’ve all heard the arguments by now about why this might be Sarah Palin’s fault, and about why it might not be. Also, by now, I think it’s pretty clear it’s the latter argument that has carried the day. The facts keep on pouring in to help support it; the offerings of those who promote the former do not enjoy the benefit of such a crushing weight of friendly evidence; their motivations are extraordinarily suspect; and, for the most part, I think most people clearly understand the concept of “just plain nuts.” It typically means, and seems to mean here, that the subject is not particularly interested in any particular strain of ideology.

The left took on a mission to deftly pin this on the tea partiers. They failed.

B-u-u-u-t…not really. People are still following this story, and as of now anyone still following it has fully realized the whole proposition was stupid. Anyone who isn’t on the partisan fringe, that is. And neither fringe-side decides an election, or even part of an election. It’s the wishy-washy people who make the rules, for better or for worse. That’s how it works. And they “know” there’s nothing right-wing about this assassination attempt. The caveat has to do with why I put the word “know” in scare quotes like that.

We need to come to grips with an ugly truth about the mind of the casual observer. The mind of the scholar who is passionate about a certain subject only occasionally. We don’t like thinking about it because we all have this flaw.

I have a favorite analogy I like to use, and it is a crass one. You’re at a cocktail party and a man walks into the room, climbs up on top of the banquet table, drops his pants and defecates into the punch bowl. Simultanously, he points to a random partygoer and says, “Hey, you just dropped a turd into the punch bowl!” In other words, he points at somebody else and accuses them of doing exactly what he’s doing. Pretty silly, right?

Well, give it another second or two of serious consideration anyway. Because if you’re the guy he’s pointing at…think about it. It’s a “When did you stop beating your wife?” moment. There’s no suitable response. Oh sure it seems perfectly reasonable to say “What are you talking about, I’m not the guy taking a shit into the punch bowl, you’re the guy doing that.” Indeed, the personal observations of everyone in attendance will back this up. But…well…now you can see the connection to the Arizona shooting, I think. It doesn’t matter what the facts say. It doesn’t matter what people can see with their own eyes.

It’s something embedded deep within us, burned into our wiring. We see two people, each accusing the other of doing the same thing, and the attention span just shrivels like a raisin. We tune out. We walk away. It doesn’t matter if we’re watching one guy shit in the punch bowl and the other guy not doing it; the point is, we stop relying on our own senses. Our predilection is going to be to put the the two players on the same level even though logically, we know they do not belong there because they are not the same. We start to think “I don’t have a dog in this fight” even though we do.

So the mission to “deftly” pin this on the right wing, has failed, but it has also succeeded. The prevailing viewpoint, that one that has to have command over everything even if it cannot be explained, goes something like: Oh sure both sides do it, and both sides need to tone it down. We “know” that going even just this far is silly. As a commenter said on Althouse’s blog,

Anyone else find it creepy that new standard what me may and may not say is: How will it affect the behavior of an abviously crazy person who may or may not hear it?

We all find it creepy, we all find it risible, we all find it unworkable. But that’s the meme that will be carried forward.

And the evidence says that, if it does have to be toned down before the next politician or little girl gets shot, then it is the left that has far more work to do in the toning-down department.

The evidence says that. But remember: Man, table, turd, punch bowl. Doesn’t matter what the evidence says.

So Palin’s face will be the symbol of inflammatory rhetoric leading to shootings. Even if Barbara Walters, herself, has trouble buying into it. Our mistake is thinking that The Left is gambling something, putting something at risk, when they say plainly dumb things like “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was.” We make a mistake in thinking they’re putting their credibility at stake chasing off after the Underpants Gnome theory of mass shootings by crazy people.

They don’t live in a world of facts, evidence, logic, exoneration, vindication, conviction, damnation, anything of the like. They live in a world of reverberation. Making ripples. Things becoming true just by being repeated over and over again; that is their world.

They do this stuff over and over again because it works. It failed here, but it also triumphed; and, on balance, it is a win. The exercise in face-to-phenomenon association has been a smashing success. Even better, the consensus that has emerged is that we need less contention and more peace. We’ll figure out what “peace” means later.

Meaning, it will be up to them to define it.

Meaning, “peace” will become just a matter of doing whatever they say. And finding a way to shut up that irresponsible, hatred-inciting hick from Wasilla for crying out loud!

That’s how they work. Whenever they get their way, the rest of us become less free. The chasm that separates us from truth and common sense, yawns just a little bit wider. We become a little bit less independent, and a little bit less whole. The net effect is that we decide more things while doing less real thinking.

Nobody wins except the guy who is selling a bad product. The guy who wants us to accept one product, reject another, and stay away from scrutinizing any ideas too closely, be they old or new.

Update 1/11/2011: Neal Boortz monitors the progress being made to channel this momentum into some kind of ban on talk radio.

Update 1/12/2011: Palin responds, and as usual is far classier — and more patient — than I am:

Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.

Cross-posted at Washington Rebel.

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Rockin’ the ol’ boat, are we. Well, good

All the same, even when Western parents think they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.

I noticed when we were watching Mean Girls last night, Tina Fey stole one of my lines. This was something of a shocka, since her way of looking at the world has been very clearly established as fundamentally different from my own way of looking at it…and it must be a line that came from the heart since she wrote the screenplay. She’s asked to address an auditorium full of poorly-behaved girls, to offer something that might restore their self-esteem or some such, and she says something like (paraphrased) “it looks just fine to me, they seem to think very highly of themselves.”

Bingo. That’s it. We confuse a sense of true accomplishment with a feeling of self worth, and make the mistake of thinking the little brats can have the latter without going through the trouble of earning the former.

I think Homer Simpson had some wisdom to dispense on this subject too. “Trying is the first step toward failure,” I recall hearing on someone’s e-mail notification sound effect or laptop boot. That captures the other side of this. An attempt…toward anything…involves an evaluation of success, and an evaluation of success might conclude toward the negative. The potential for failure exists, and the failure would damage their self esteeeeeeem…so it’s best to not even start.

On the Arizona Shooting

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

I’ll not be blogging it because I made a vow I’m not going to give people attention here just because they want it, and see bashing Sarah Palin as a way of getting the attention. That’s what has been going on for a long time now, and regrettably the shooting has turned into another example of it. Ooh ooh ooh, if I can echo the Jane Fonda Twitter line that Palin caused the shooting, people will pay attention to ME ME ME!

Not playing that game. But I did link to a sensible Howard Kurtz column over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging, and a lengthy and interesting discussion has ensued

Update: This is worthy of a link if nothing else is. William A. Jacobson, Two sicknesses on display in America: “The manner in which the left-wing is seeking to exploit this crime reflects an attempt to replicate the political success Bill Clinton had after the Oklahoma City bombing.”

Making of Florida One

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

E-mailed to me from GBIL.

(Girlfriend’s brother-in-law.)

ObamaCare’s Reality Deficit

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Lots of good quotes in this Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook column, although none better than this sub-headline some pithy editor slapped in:

If you believe that a new entitlement saves money, you’ll believe anything.

Like Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss once said, “When we saw you would willingly spend your entire days in cubicles smaller than a prison cell, we realized anything was possible.”

I’m going to peg this at sixth grade. Would there be some problem with sixth-graders reading a column like this, perhaps doing a report on it? It would have helped me figure out what was going on, quite a bit; when I was in sixth grade, Jimmy Carter was our President. A lot of grown-ups on both sides were insisting government was lying to us in obvious ways, but nobody ever filled in details. Back then, things were different. If one adult was in favor of Carter’s policies and another adult was opposed, the adults would likely have known each other and wanted to stay friends. They’d only give us the details up to the point that objective was about to be placed in jeopardy and then they’d stop. We didn’t learn much from talking to the grown-ups, and we learned even less from the public school curriculum. President is Commander-in-Chief blah blah blah Senate six years blah blah House two years blah blah blah. That about covers it.

Kids should learn a whole lot more, especially when our elected representatives are lying to us about such elementary contortions of fact & logic…of math.

Of all the claims deployed in favor of ObamaCare, and there are many, the most preposterous is that a new open-ended entitlement will somehow reduce the budget deficit. Insure 32 million more people, and save money too! The even more remarkable spectacle is that Washington seems to be taking this claim seriously in advance of the House’s repeal vote next week. Some things in politics you just can’t make up.

Terminating trillions of dollars in future spending will “heap mountains of debt onto our children and grandchildren” and “do very serious violence to the national debt and deficit,” Nancy Pelosi said at her farewell press conference as Speaker. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius chimed in that “we can’t afford repeal,” as if ObamaCare’s full 10-year cost of $2.6 trillion once all the spending kicks in is a taxpayer bargain.

The basis for such claims, to the extent a serious one exists, is the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis this week of the repeal bill, which projects it will “cost” the government $230 billion through 2021. Because CBO figures ObamaCare will reduce the deficit by the same amount, repealing it will supposedly do the opposite. The White House promptly released a statement saying repeal would “explode the deficit.”

Meanwhile, other Democrats have taken up arms about House procedure. The GOP adopted a budget rule that says repeal doesn’t have to be “paid for,” and the press corps is treating this exemption as a scandal against Washington decency.

In a memo, the inimitable Pete Stark spied a GOP plot “to shove through a massive bill”—the repeal measure is all of two pages—while Henry Waxman and other outgoing committee chairmen shook with outrage about “an offense to good government.”
Amid the repeal debate, Democrats and the media are behaving as if they have no knowledge of Congress’s habits or the history of government health-care programs over the last half-century. Entitlements are always sold as modest and “paid for,” then years later everyone suddenly discovers that they are “unaffordable” without digging deeper into the pockets of the middle class. How do you think Medicare and Medicaid got to their current pass?

The government can’t subsidize coverage for tens of millions of new people and simultaneously reduce the deficit, as most Americans seem to intuitively understand. The real offense Republicans are committing in the eyes of Washington is exposing its illusions.

The point that seems to be lost in this, is that it doesn’t very much matter if the people are able to cast authoritative votes every two years if they’re so dreadfully uninformed. And I don’t know if they are, but certainly somebody is, if so many members of Congress are so confident about telling us we need to spend money on a new program in order to save money, and we can’t afford not to spend it. We need to be asking what it is we have been doing, over the past several years, to allow a perception that they can get away with such a thing whether it be real or imagined.