Archive for July, 2011

Memo For File CXXXX

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Don’t ask me how, but while we were on the road for the holiday doing our bit to emit carbon and shove the price of gas upward, we were given occasion to talk about “The Mode.” You know, the women-mode…the one where you have to do something all over again, because she’s just let you know in no uncertain terms that you botched it good. But you don’t exactly feel like jumping right into it because with the mode she’s in, the verdict will come down that you botched it again, and how you did it & re-did it, you have the feeling it isn’t going to factor in to things too much. The Mode will decide everything, and at the moment it is not working in your favor.

I think men of all ages, co-existing with all sorts of grades and flavors of women, have encountered The Mode. It seems to me there is a communication glitch occurring between the sexes here. The female, by handing down one item of criticism after another after another, is communicating a simple message of “you need to be paying closer attention.” The fellas, on the other hand, think like men; how unreasonable, huh? And so they are picking up a message of “your energy here is entirely wasted.”

Now, a word or two is necessary on the subject of my unique story. I’m a peculiarity among most men. The typical male will start out in his adulthood convinced he knows everything about women, and then he’ll demonstrate this is not so, the first time he encounters The Mode. He’ll take the message literally that he needs to be paying closer attention, and busy himself with managing an ever-expanding list of things that need to be fixed or improved upon. This is precisely the wrong approach, not at all unlike trying to push a grocery cart down a steep hill. It gets away from you pretty quickly, and your efforts to keep up only result in actions that are at odds with the female’s expectations…which, in turn, causes the list of things to be fixed-or-improved, to explode even faster. The male pays a very steep price for this. My price was steeper than most, and so I had burned within me at a tender age that most central and all-defining of libertarian tenets:

Expect to see more of that which is encouraged, and expect to see less of that which is discouraged.

I took that to extremes. As a result, I should have more tales of woe to share, since extremes seldom lead to anything good. But in this case, it’s worked out alright. Perhaps what I discovered is the bedrock principle upon which all working human civilizations must function. If you want to see less of something, you shouldn’t encourage it. Seems like something we should remember more easily, and more often, than we do.

So my technique has been — honesty first. The most honest response to The Mode is, if you’re trying to get me to pay closer attention, this is not the way to go about it. Here on Planet Man, if something somewhere is so loaded with problems that the faults in its behavior must be pointed out several times a minute, it is necessary first of all to catalogue the faults, so it can be determined whether they all share a common cause. And you can’t catalogue something if you don’t know the quantity of it…therefore…the very first task to be achieved, if we take The Mode seriously, is to count them.

“Yes, sweetheart, that’s the third thing I’ve botched today.”

“You’re right, cupcake, that’s the fourth thing I’ve biffed today.”

“Absolutely, puddin’-butt, that’s the fifth thing I’ve fucked up today.”

I’ve never made it past eight.

My message here for the gals is simple: The “strafing run” is not helping you. After three, you’re done. We are NOT paying more attention to you — why would we? — and we’re not going to. It isn’t that we don’t care; we just don’t manage lists the same way you do. If we’re seasoned and smart, we stopped taking the details seriously a long time ago, and come to the realization that you’re in The Mode and we can’t do anything right. If we’re young and stupid, we’ll take it more seriously, but just end up overwhelmed and frustrated.

For gentlemen: You really need to re-examine how they’re doing things, anytime the lady gets that look in her eye, where she wishes you would take a hike for a time, and in your place would materialize a nice White Zinfandel, a box of chocolates, and a video device playing some New Moon movie, or Sex in the City, or Dr. Zhivago.

But that last one works for the gals as well. It works for beer, pizza and James Bond. (James Bond never does anything wrong!) It isn’t a good effort, or a noble effort, or an effort likely to meet with success, when you try to command more intense levels of attention by dispensing endless lists. Somewhere after item number five or so, the list becomes just so much static. And if the one or two issues that are really most pressing, are not present in those five, then the only message you’ve managed to send is: You suck ass at prioritizing.

If you seek to inspire a more deferential attitude from your beau, you shouldn’t signal to us that you suck ass at prioritizing. We’re fixers. It’s what we do. If we’re picking up that you’re in the middle of handling a list of something and it’s beyond your abilities to properly handle it, we’re going to jump in and do some of it for you. This, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict, is not even in the same ballpark as the kind of behavior you’d like to see from us.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

Wisconsin Schools Buck Union

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Washington Examiner:

The Hartland-Lakeside School District, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee in tiny Hartland, Wis., had a problem in its collective bargaining contract with the local teachers union.

The contract required the school district to purchase health insurance from a company called WEA Trust. The creation of Wisconsin’s largest teachers union — “WEA” stands for Wisconsin Education Association — WEA Trust made money when union officials used collective bargaining agreements to steer profitable business its way.

The problem for Hartland-Lakeside was that WEA Trust was charging significantly higher rates than the school district could find on the open market. School officials knew that because they got a better deal from United HealthCare for coverage of nonunion employees. On more than one occasion, Superintendent Glenn Schilling asked WEA Trust why the rates were so high. “I could never get a definitive answer on that,” says Schilling.

Changing to a different insurance company would save Hartland-Lakeside hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be spent on key educational priorities — especially important since the cash-strapped state government was cutting back on education funding. But teachers union officials wouldn’t allow it; the WEA Trust requirement was in the contract, and union leaders refused to let Hartland-Lakeside off the hook.

That’s where Wisconsin’s new budget law came in. The law, bitterly opposed by organized labor in the state and across the nation, limits the collective bargaining powers of some public employees. And it just happens that the Hartland-Lakeside teachers’ collective bargaining agreement expired on June 30. So now, freed from the expensive WEA Trust deal, the school district has changed insurers.

“It’s going to save us about $690,000 in 2011-2012,” says Schilling. Insurance costs that had been about $2.5 million a year will now be around $1.8 million. What union leaders said would be a catastrophe will in fact be a boon to teachers and students.

Tell the collective-minded leftists to go stick it, solve a problem nearly overnight. There’s a lesson here for the rest of us.

Ever wonder why the words “energy crisis” can be associated with the 1970’s but not with the 1980’s? Tell the left to go stick it, solve a problem overnight.

In all matters outside of sex, they don’t believe in choice. And their end goal is to make things more expensive, so one or several of their friends can enjoy a kickback.

Issue by issue by issue, this remains a constant. Liberals are exactly what they tell us conservatives are.

Why I’m a Republican

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

This is a take-off on this.

The parody is a perfectly adequate response to the original video. But maybe it would be good to jot down some reasons why I’m a Republican. Or, to be more accurate about it, why I’m a conservative, or a rightward-leaning libertarian, or why I’m a Tea Party guy. Why I’m not a democrat.

1. Before we realize absolute success in making life completely perfect and before everybody’s safety and happiness are resolutely guaranteed, I think we can stop making new rules. Yeah, before we get there. For no reason, just stop. Otherwise, all things within our ability fall into two categories: What’s already illegal now, and what will be someday. And, you know, I don’t like that.
2. I don’t want my elected officials to make me a better person. I don’t think they have what it takes to do that, even when my favorite guys are the ones that got elected. It’s just not in the job description.
3. I think the whole point of taxation is to raise revenue for vital services. Their purpose is not to punish or reward people, or offer people incentives to start or stop doing certain things.
4. If you have a hot new idea, I think it should be tested out someplace where it doesn’t impact anyone, before we force it on people. That’s just the way I see it. For this reason alone, I can’t be a democrat.
5. I believe in equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.
6. I don’t think we’re more civilized when we find reasons not to lock up violent criminals, or look for excuses not to execute them when they’ve killed innocent people. That doesn’t protect the innocent. Actually, I think that’s barbaric behavior, because innocent people get hurt and we know it. I think we’re more civilized when pull the switch.
7. I think when some people produce goods and services of value and other people do not, the people who produce things can go ahead and do their producing without advice or regulations from the non-productive people. Those non-productive people, if they knew anything about the best way of producing things, I figure they’d already be doing it.
8. The way I see it, humans are part of nature. Even when you take humans out of nature, this doesn’t make nature “pristine,” or free of malice, violence, death, even sadism…so what’s the point? Leave humans in it. We belong in it.
9. I don’t think it’s right to count “jobs created or saved.” I think when you create jobs with money you forcibly removed from other people by means of taxation, you need to produce a “net”; you need to factor in the jobs that failed to materialize because the people who would’ve created them, had to worry about these taxes.
10. I think when you earn money, and you pay all the taxes in effect at the time, whatever’s left belongs to you. And that is perfectly okay.
11. It remains okay even if you end up with vastly more money than some other guy. I don’t think there is any one point where you’ve made enough money.
12. I respectfully disagree with Michael Moore. Private property is not a “national resource.” It is a resource that should be placed under the control of the people who own it.
13. I’m worried about the exploding public debt. I’m worried about it when we debate tax policy…AND…unlike democrats, I keep worrying about it when we discuss where the money should be spent. I can’t turn it off like a switch.
14. By the way, those two are separate in my mind. Because I’m not mentally disabled, I don’t think a tax cut is something that “costs” us anything.
15. When we talk of the virtues of “choice,” I don’t think sex means an awful lot. To be a democrat, you have to think choice is important when you’re talking about sex, then you have to be suddenly anti-choice when we’re not talking about sex anymore. I just can’t bend that far.
16. I don’t think, when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.
17. However, when a child has both a mother and a father…I do think, generally, that is good for everybody.
18. Drill, baby, drill. Consuming resources is a natural part of living life, and going after those resources is a natural part of consuming them. There is no shame for anyone in any of this. The shame is in compelling others to make sacrifices you yourself are not willing to make.
19. I don’t think people are necessarily better if they voted for Obama.
20. I don’t think people are necessarily better because of the color of their skin.
21. I don’t think people are necessarily better if they’re women.
22. I don’t think people are necessarily better if they’re gay.
23. I don’t think people are necessarily better if they choose to be vegetarians.
24. I don’t think people are necessarily better if they happen to work for the government.
25. I know too much to be a democrat. I know you can’t restore the hours that the library is open, by cutting defense spending.
26. I don’t think a nation can tax its way into prosperity. I don’t think the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. And if they are, then that’s great, because you can only get so poor, but if the rich are getting richer then that would mean the economy is doing better, and who would have a problem with that?
27. I don’t believe the middle class is taking any kind of a beating when it is found that fewer people are in it. I don’t think organized labor is taking a beating when there are fewer members. I don’t think people appreciate the environmental movement more when they see more hybrid cars or eco-cups. I don’t think college graduates enjoy a brighter future when there are more college graduates. In short, I can’t be a democrat because I appreciate the simple economic truth that commodities become precious through scarcity, not through abundance.
28. I think a study that is funded by the government has just as much chance to be biased and inaccurate, as a study funded by oil companies, in fact the government-backed study has greater potential to rely on false information.
29. I don’t believe in “unfettered capitalism.” Such a thing is an impossibility, because you cannot have capitalism without a free market, and in a free market all transactions 1) must involve at least two parties representing different interests, and 2) are suspended by default, permitted to go forward only if both sides believe they’re coming out of it ahead. Capitalism is self-regulating. Socialism, on the other hand, works within the rules only until such time as it figures out it needs to break the rules, and then consistently tries to find ways to break the rules.
30. I know Ronald Reagan was right: If not a one among us is sufficiently competent to manage his own affairs, there cannot be anyone among us sufficiently competent to manage everybody else’s.

“Most Revolutions Install Dictatorships”

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

At 4:16: “This is a nation blessed by God.” Wild applause. Makes that beer a little tastier and that barbeque sauce a little bit yummier, doesn’t it?

I know VDH already made this point, but there’s something to be said for the video format, as well as for this special celebrity personality.

Hat tip to Kate at Small Dead Animals.

Me And My Osprey

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Great news!

My fiance finally managed to take a picture of me that makes me look thin not extremely fat.

“Because Everyone Should Have Health Insurance, Or Else”

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

I like the angry shirt-and-tie guy. I’d say that’s your Internet version, right there. All snarky and angry, like Bill Bixby right before he turns into the Incredible Hulk…or…maybe more like Hawkeye Pierce or any one of a number of other “aggressively non-threatening NPR males.”

Why are you a democrat? Something to do with Halliburton? Or hope & change maybe?

Plot Device

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Plot Device from Red Giant on Vimeo.

Hat tip to Gerard.

America’s 235th

Monday, July 4th, 2011

On Friday I said:

I’ll put up something to make you feel better about the holiday, as it approaches. At least I’ll give it my very best shot.

Re-discovered long-time blog bud Terri delivers:

Victor Davis Hansen has this covered (bold is mine):

Individual freedom in America manifests itself in ways most of the world can hardly fathom — whether our unique tradition of the right to gun ownership, the near impossibility of proving libel in US courts, or the singular custom of multimillion-dollar philanthropic institutions, foundations and private endowments. Herding, silencing or enfeebling Americans is almost impossible — and will remain so as long as well-protected citizens can say what they want and do as they please with their hard-earned money.
This year, a minority of babies born here will resemble the look of the Founding Fathers. Yet America will continue as it was envisioned, as long as those of various races and colors are committed to the country’s original ideals.

The Founders’ notion of the rule of law, coupled with freedom of the individual, explains why America runs on merit, not tribal affinities or birth.

While EJ Dionne just doesn’t get it.

Our nation confronts a challenge this Fourth of July that we face but rarely: We are at odds over the meaning of our history and why, to quote our Declaration of Independence, “governments are instituted.”

Only divisions this deep can explain why we are taking risks with our country’s future that we’re usually wise enough to avoid. Arguments over how much government should tax and spend are the very stuff of democracy’s give-and-take. Now, the debate is shadowed by worries that if a willful faction does not get what it wants, it might bring the nation to default.

This is, well, crazy. It makes sense only if politicians believe — or have convinced themselves — that they are fighting over matters of principle so profound that any means to defeat their opponents is defensible.

Then he goes on to explain how those damn tea partiers just don’t understand their own movement. If they did, then they would bend and we could all go forward.

What he doesn’t get is that government spending needs to be reduced BEFORE taxes go up.

If government spending continues to grow at the rate it has grown in the last few years we’re all going to fail. If the government can’t show that it is willing to give up some of it’s spending, and leave it like that for a little while, I bet we’d all be happy to pay a little more to get some of this freaking debt reduced. But NOT with a government that thinks our money is their money.

Dionne does not get it.

We are a free people because we insist upon it. Not because the federal government grants it. That IS a principle so profound that it’s worth standing your ground.

Robert at Small Dead Animals has a special treat for the readers there: The Fourth of July Declaration by Prager University.

We’re out here by the seashore for the long holiday, losing our “rented beach house” virginity. Got a Weber kettle, fire pit, and close proximity to the beach. Making good use of all three, declaring a little independence of our own.

Happy Fourth, everybody.

On the Strauss-Kahn Accuser

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011


Twenty-eight hours after a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York said she was sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, she spoke by phone to a boyfriend in an immigration jail in Arizona.

Investigators with the Manhattan district attorney’s office learned the call had been recorded and had it translated from a “unique dialect of Fulani,” a language from the woman’s native country, Guinea, according to a well-placed law enforcement official.

When the conversation was translated — a job completed only this Wednesday — investigators were alarmed: “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said.

It was another ground-shifting revelation in a continuing series of troubling statements, fabrications and associations that unraveled the case and upended prosecutors’ view of the woman. Once, in the hours after she said she was attacked on May 14, she’d been a “very pious, devout Muslim woman, shattered by this experience,” the official said — a seemingly ideal witness.

Little by little, her credibility as a witness crumbled — she had lied about her immigration, about being gang raped in Guinea, about her experiences in her homeland and about her finances, according to two law enforcement officials. She had been linked to people suspected of crimes. She changed her account of what she did immediately after the encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn. Sit-downs with prosecutors became tense, even angry. Initially composed, she later collapsed in tears and got down on the floor during questioning. She became unavailable to investigators from the district attorney’s office for days at a time.

Now the phone call raised yet another problem: it seemed as if she hoped to profit from whatever occurred in Suite 2806.

This particular strain of the feminist movement — the Anita Hill offshoot, the “Women Never Lie About This Stuff” strain — has been aging rather poorly. It has now devolved into that brand of silliness that only possesses a passing similarity to common sense, from the perspective of people who’ve lived through its maturity; the ones suffering from the “frog in a pot of gradually warming water” syndrome.

Expose it to someone intelligent and sensible, who makes an acquaintance with it in one dazzling instant — a Visigoth or a Hun who’s been frozen for centuries, Mork from Ork, your great-grandchildren who read about it in history books and then come asking you about it, My Favorite Martian — and there’s no way to explain it logically, or even, why & how we were hoodwinked by it.

What’s this? A certain demographic group never lies about this stuff, so you just presume it’s on the up-and-up? Send men to prison, end their careers? You call that justice?

But yeah. We’ve been living under this system for generations now.

Don’t pick on the girl.

World’s Shortest Health Care Debate

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

They tell me I’m wordy where everyone else is brief. It has not escaped my notice, that they say this about things that seem to be sufficiently complex that the “brief” people never seem to be finished discussing them…but that’s a rant for another day…

There’s lots more wrangling to be done about that Ohio decision, and the only thing that can be stated with confidence is that Anthony Kennedy will end up making the final call. One thing I know for an absolute certainty, is no matter how ObamaCare turns out, more is coming afterward; we aren’t finished with statist politicians beseeching us to support this-or-that centrally-managed scheme. That’s going to go on and on. The non-productive people will always want to make rules about how the productive people produce. And suckers will fall for it. When you get a bill for $2,000 after having a cut stitched up over the weekend in the emergency care center, there’s something appealing about a plan to “fix it.” Or “reform” I guess is their favorite catchphrase. Maybe that’s the answer. Slime that word “reform.” Kill off every appealing buzzword they find.

But this crap is going to go on. When my grandchildren are suffering senile dementia, we’ll still be hashing this stuff out.

Here, I’ll make it REAL simple. I’ll be brief where everyone else is garrulous. Just to shake things up a bit.

Pick a year. Like, for example, 1975. Would you say government has become more involved or less involved in the administration of medical care since 1975?

Wow, that was easy. Okay. Would you say medical services have become more customer-oriented, or less customer-oriented, since 1975?

More or less prone to screw-ups? I’m not talking about amputating the wrong foot. I just got done facilitating communication between a referring physician and a referred physician, just got them to agree the referring physician did, indeed, fax over the correct paperwork. Turned that puppy around in a week or two. You know, I could have used that time actually working at my job…so I could go home earlier…

It seems to me almost like a ritual. Oh dear, we didn’t get the referral. Oh dear, it’s wrong. You’ll have to call them back and…

How about cost? Would you get slapped with bill for two thousand bucks after having your hand stitched up in the emergency room — in 1975?

So, government has gotten much more involved. Customer service is down, screw-ups are routine and expected, costs are soaring out of sight.

No need to argue in a vacuum about what “would” happen with more government intervention. We already know. We know it for an absolute, tested fact.

Argument over.

Sippican Takes on the “Unable” Racket

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

The public school “unable” racket, that is. You know the drill by now. Bewildered parents are contacted by very prim and proper school officials, and politely corrected with regard to their previous mistaken notions that junior just might have the potential to live a normal life. No can do, parents. We’re here to tell you the kid’s Rain Man.

There does seem to be a broad and intense epidemic these days, of public school officials notifying parents that kids are unable to do things.

That coincided nicely with my son’s kindergarten administrators telling us that he’s: “unable to express ideas in front of a group, unable to selectively listen for sounds, follow multi-step directions,” and our supreme favorite: “unable to to complete assigned tasks in allotted time.”
The school administrator that summoned us to discuss my boy’s “inability to complete assigned tasks in the allotted time” came in, plopped a slovenly 8″ thick, undifferentiated and dogeared pile of foolscap paper on the table, and was sipping from a franchise restaurant disposable hot coffee container unavailable in the town I live in. And although the meeting was held at their school, had been postponed twice already, and she has a secretary, she was a full twenty-five minutes late.

This is all part of a big octopus of bureaucracy, one that is engaged lately in a writhing, slithering effort of some kind — and, as is the case with any octopus of bureaucracy, no single tentacle can explain fully what it’s all about.

But I don’t trust this octopus. It’s calling in one parent after another after another, and delivering the same canned speech about junior-can’t-do-things. Assuming it takes itself seriously, it must be bearing witness to a skyrocketing disability statistic — and its response is to just keep on keepin’-on, not bothering to question anything, just call in the next parent to deliver the next speech, that yer-kid’s-an-invalid.

After a few years of this problem spiraling out of control with the tentacles all writhing around like that…eventually you have to blame the parents, for putting up with it. They don’t all react the same way Sippican did.

The Paradox of Choice

Friday, July 1st, 2011

In which some grown-up hippie starts giving motivational speeches about choice being a detriment, and Lee Doren goes after him.

I think, in this one case, Mr. Doren is being a bit overly tough on the guy. Mr. Schwartz does have a point here. People do tend to under-perform, to their own lack of satisfaction, when given too many options.

The aging hippie’s mistake — and is this not always the case? — is to confuse the common with the ideal. People have been known to experience confusion when they are offered too many choices. That means, according to graying-hippie motivational-speaker Mr. Schwartz, that’s what will happen with all of us. A weakness borne by some, is a weakness that encumbers all.

And, once again, the structure crumples in on itself, falling in to that ages-old vestigial remnant: It’s beyond human capacity to be great. We all must settle for mediocrity, resign ourselves to being footsoldiers in some far greater construct, like carpenter ants slaving away for a queen. Wealth redistribution.

What did Reagan say about this? Crudely paraphrasing: If not a single one among us is sufficiently responsible to manage his own affairs, who among us is competent to manage everybody else’s?

This whole thing cuts straight to the quick of why I think leftists are full of shit, and maybe I shouldn’t opine on this on such a gorgeous, breathtakingly beautiful Friday night before a long weekend. But here it goes: The utterly phony sense of egalitarianism. It really makes me wanna barf. The contents of the package are the precise opposite of the covering. Supposedly, we’re going to make this perfect society where everybody is equal; but, in reality, the “normal” people are going to slave away, without the benefit of choice, and these ultra-special people at the nucleus of the atom are going to make all the decisions and tell the drones how to live. Because the drones are too simple and stupid to handle a decision.

Kate Upton Bikini Gallery

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Happy Friday, everybody. And where were you nineteen years ago?

Yeah, I’m at that age where, a few years ago, I’d see one of these new swimsuit models and think “Yeah, with a lot of awkwardness maybe I could have been her father, and therefore I shouldn’t look.” And now, it’s more like “Aw hell yeah, I can name the woman who could have been her mother.” In Ms. Upton’s case, I was already divorced from my first marriage at the time she was conceived. And she’s got me wondering how long it’s gonna be before I’m admiring ladies in swimsuits who could be my granddaughters. Ewww……

I suppose you just shouldn’t be thinking about the passage of time. Admire the curves…quit looking up birth dates in Wikipedia. That is the part that can’t lead to anything good.

June of ’92. Seems like just yesterday.

Once again: Ewww……..

“As Long As We’re Free to Buy Beer, Who Cares?”

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I’ll put up something to make you feel better about the holiday, as it approaches. At least I’ll give it my very best shot.

Have a completely awesome and wonderful long weekend, everybody. And don’t forget what it’s about. Not that it’s a problem here…this may be The Blog That Nobody Reads, but we’ve got some smart nobodies here.