Archive for August, 2011

Crazy

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

There is a campaign underway to associate the Tea Party with some kind of psychosis, to call the people caught supporting it crazy or nuts. You hear the term “crazy Tea Party rhetoric” often enough that, for me to go inserting links to buttress the observation, would be redundant, pointless, needlessly time-consuming and silly.

As I commented over at the Hello Kitty of blogging (I think you need a Hello-Kitty-of-blogging account to follow that link), I perceive the results of this campaign to be mixed. It is constantly moving along because it is constantly pushed, but it is building up no momentum because in their inner consciousness, I believe Americans hold an unshakable understanding that is contrary to this. There isn’t anything crazy or nuts about insisting your property is your property. It’s not crazy to say, if some jackass who wears a suit well and talks a mile a minute and manages to rake in a thousand more votes than his competition on election day, wants to achieve personal control over some vast mountain of loot, maybe the right thing for him to do is resign from his “public service” position and start a business. This isn’t nuts at all. And if people are constantly told that it is, even every single day, they aren’t going to sign onto that idea unless they wanted to sign on to it in the first place.

Now, this Dr. Helen post has about seven months of dust on it, and I assume by now she must have finished that book which I’m just getting around to ordering. But I’m much more interested in the study that says, when people are presented with an opportunity to destroy the wealth of others, not only are they inclined to go ahead but they are strongly motivated. They’ll pay for the privilege. See, this is why conservatives have a tendency to be religious and liberals are more inclined toward the secular. It all goes back to that damn apple. There is goodness; there are the base impulses that stir within us; these are two different things. Civilization must therefore entail some kind of restraint being placed on instincts from which we cannot separate ourselves, because they are part of us. We fell with Adam. In the world of liberalism, goodness is survival-of-the-fittest and hey, we must have it because we’re here. Every thing on earth your little heart desires is either a “civil right” that’s been legislated as one, or will be legislated as one someday soon. Which means individual effort is useless. It also means, every single act you can perform as an individual has been declared illegal already, or might very well be declared illegal soon. Irony: When every little thing is a “right,” nothing is.

A couple months ago Neal Boortz went to see Green Lantern and the story resonated with him. He likens the democrat party to Parallax, the cosmic being that thrives on yellow, fear-based, energy. Viewed through the lens of the “Tea Party is nuts” campaign, his corollary makes a lot of sense. One thing though: If you go see the movie, you’ll see the green will-based energy came first; there is an errant mindset emerging (spoiler?) that the green power rings are inadequate against the threat, and someone needs to build a yellow power ring and use it to do what the green power rings cannot do.

May I humbly suggest the exact opposite. We have these “un-Green-Lantern” people running around, un-policing the known universe exactly the same way the Green Lantern Corps police the universe. There are thousands of them, some paid by George Soros, others doing it for free, waving around their yellow power rings, getting the word out that it’s crazy and evil to want to hang on to your own property. Using fear to drive home the mantra that we’re all screwed unless we gather our possessions, put it in a great big pot, and let the wise elders exercise the control over it that we’re not good enough to exercise. In our real-life universe, it is the yellow, fear-based power-ring that exists already and is in fact everywhere and we’re seeing it in the mythology about the Tea Party patriots being mentally feeble and crazy.

The momentum is not being built, because green energy is present in all living things. Let’s forge the green power ring, and drive home the contrary message that makes sense:

It is freakin’ batshit-crazy to look at some guy who has a lot of money, and see a walking billfold. Or some kind of task that is left undone which, should that rich guy’s property be distributed — or destroyed! — has now been properly addressed and can be jotted down as a job well done. In brightest day in darkest night…channel the will. The green energy, which calls out crazy as crazy, and recognizes sanity as sanity. The study from ten years ago seems to indicate we all have this craziness. Well, if there’s one lesson to be learned from the Fall of Adam, it is that there is a meaningful difference between the impulses that are inextricably bound to our very being, and the desires that are to be channeled into a civilization destined to endure. Everything we feel, is not necessarily good. There has to be some restraint.

And the recognition of one’s own rights as an individual, is not where the restraint needs to be applied. The civilizing restraint has to be applied against the destructive impulses. That’s what we can learn from the study, that redistribution is really destruction. That is the innate desire. “Fairness” isn’t really the driving force. That’s really nothing more than a catch-phrase. The motivation is to destroy, and to destroy out of pure jealousy. It is crazy, it is nuts, and the time has come to start calling it out.

Blame Game

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

There’s been a slow, creeping, gradual change in direction here and it isn’t good.

1950: Your honor, the defendant just snapped and killed three people.
2010: Your honor, I’m innocent, I just snapped and killed three people.

“Not Just About Us”

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Regardless of how you look at the world and the things in it, if your brain is even somewhat properly engaged, this is just blisteringly offensive.

The White House has issued detailed guidelines to government officials on how to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, with instructions to honor the memory of those who died on American soil but also to recall that Al Qaeda and other extremist groups have since carried out attacks elsewhere in the world, from Mumbai to Manila.
:
Copies of the internal documents were provided to The New York Times by officials in several agencies involved in planning the anniversary commemorations. “The important theme is to show the world how much we realize that 9/11 — the attacks themselves and violent extremism writ large — is not ‘just about us,’ ” said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal White House planning.

…Obama administration officials caution that public commemorations here should not cast the United States as the sole victim of terrorism, an argument underscored by killings and maimings from extremist attacks overseas.

Some senior administration officials involved in the discussions noted that the tone set on this Sept. 11 should be shaped by a recognition that the outpouring of worldwide support for the United States in the weeks after the attacks turned to anger at some American policies adopted in the name of fighting terror — on detention, on interrogation, and the decision to invade Iraq.

The apology tour…continues…

Hat tip to Weasel Zippers.

William Teach speaks for me:

Who the hell do they think was attacked on September 11th? Yes, there were citizens of other countries killed in the Twin Towers, but the attack was on America. Talk about tone deaf!

On Planet Obama, you’re never tone deaf when you’re in the middle of talking smack about America.

“Republicans Against Science”

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Paul Krugman is digging up an old corpse and making it dance once again.

This was already dealt with, more than a little bit effectively, years and years ago. Not from over here and not by me.

However, we have had a few things to say about it. Here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

So why is Paul making those bones dance in the moonlight? Right now? I think it’s damage control. It is a strange and fascinating thing to observe, when you think about it: People who push what they call “science,” which happens to implore people to live life littler, are never seen to support any kind of “science” that would enable people to live life bigger. Ever. Even though, throughout the centuries, what we have classically called “science” has offered a bounteous cornucopia of gifts — without trying to — that have improved our lives immeasurably.

Once again, I notice, we need to take a much closer and more scrutinizing look at how the word is being used. Real science is apolitical. So what is this word really being used to describe? If you use it to “conclude” something, and then gauge the character of others based entirely on whether or not they believe the same thing — is it right to call that “science”? Really? Because if there’s a proper dictionary definition for “Holy War,” then I think that little ritual would adhere to such a definition right down to the letter.

Vibranium Adamantium Lightsaber Theory

Friday, August 26th, 2011

A sacred-cow theory is questioned, and a loudmouth lays a smack-down:

He’s almost certainly wrong, of course. It’s just been given a fair try, and in my own experience I’ve yet to get a job from an unemployed person or hear of anyone else get a job from an unemployed person. Tattoo parlors don’t usually have employees, no matter how much business they’re doing that they weren’t doing the month before. The same goes for the grocery stores moving the milk, cereal, malt liquor and cat food; if they’re in a depressed area and their cashiers are taking in lots of food stamps and unemployment checks, they’re not to go out and hire a lot of people just because the benefits have been extended.

But of course, none of that is really proof; Carney could still be right. Thing is, it’s when we consider that Carney might be right, right there & then it’s vividly illustrated how badly he’s mishandling this could-be-right theory of his. He swerves off deeply in to Argumentum Ad Plausible territory: “My theory is plausible, or at least it sounds plausible when I describe it, that proves anyone who doesn’t support it is a dumbass.”

It is a Vibranium Adamantium Lightsaber theory that cuts through anything & everything. It is the wildcard in the paper-scissors-rock game, burning through the paper, smelting the scissors and atomizing the rock. Mine beats yours, haha! Proof? Evidence? What are those? You only show your ignorance by asking, mortal!

I’m impressed by the civility of the many liberals with whom I’ve discussed these things — they give me one chance to reform my ways, by walking through the plausible Vibranium theory from beginning to end as if I’ve never heard it before. Unlike the reporter-babe in the video though, often I don’t pose the question as a “how” about the whole thing, my pattern is to ask a “what happens when” about some specific detail within. What happens next is almost cute: They magically zip back up to the thirty-thousand foot level and recite the litany all over again. That’s my one chance. I’m supposed to genuflect on the spot and mend my ways. When, instead, I point out “yeah I’ve heard that a whole lot of times before, we just gave that a shot and it didn’t work” suddenly I’m a moron.

But we did give it a shot. Wasn’t that the complaint about trickle-down? Gave it a shot and it didn’t work?

But the weirdness is how they apparently can’t distinguish between a question about a detail within the plan…and a complete lack of knowledge about the plan itself. The remedy is always the “Our Theory 101″ lecture with lots of pontificating and piousness. It reminds me of how they’re always saying we “need to raise awareness about global warming.” Seriously? In 2011, you think there’s someone out there who has yet to hear about it?

I wonder if this clip is what inspired Sonic:

As I alluded to over on this EconLog post, economic discussions often reduce to two camps:

  • People who think of the economy in a very simplistic (essent[ia]lly cartoonish) way, abstracting away all details and likening it to a machine you can control and tune – tweaking dials, pulling levers, opening valves, priming pumps.
  • People who don’t, and who instead think the economy is pretty complicated, and details matter.

Now, fine. Two approaches, to each his own, right? But here’s what I find astonishing:

The former group thinks they are Smart and they look down with sneering contempt on the intelligence of the latter group.

This is quite inexplicable. I am at a loss to understand it. Trying to explain this curious role-reversal phenomenon almost belongs neither to economics nor even to the study of politics. I am convinced it belongs to the realm of psychology. [emphasis mine]

I’m getting there myself.

I’m a little bit down on the discipline of psychology here. It tends to be a source of confusion, rather than enlightenment, when we get into those fault lines where a mental feebleness lazily & hazily borders on a natural but unfortunate personality attribute. In this case, simply being a dick.

One of the personality attributes of dicks is a complete lack of humility: It’s this way, there can be no doubt about it, because I just said it’s that way. I have my Vibranium Adamantium Lightsaber with me, I’m incapable of making mistakes because if I ever make a mistake it stops being a mistake and becomes the right thing to do, so that settles that.

Okay fine, you’re a dick. But is it too much to ask that dicks be able to complete a thought logically, and figure out what’s going on — sort of bend their preconceived notions to fit reality rather than the other way around? We expect doctors to do that. Anybody who’s spent as much time as I have working with doctors as I have, want to tell me there’s a shortage of dicks in that field? Sure not all doctors are dicks. But they’ve got their rep. There’s something to it, I can tell you that. So yes, you can be a dick and still find out in a reasoned, methodical and scientific way what’s going on. Sort of earn the privilege of your dick-ish-ness, as it were.

These people don’t do that. They don’t so much as make an initial or precursory gesture in that general direction; not even close. They know what they know and anybody who gets in the way must be an ignoramus. And sadly, that includes whatever muse you choose to represent reality itself — reality must bend and yield, and if she does not, then she’s a stupid idiot too.

No — really.

School Supply Socialism

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Put this up on the Hello Kitty of Blogging because I was hoping I could do what Armstrong & Getty are doing, on a smaller scale, and find out how much & how often this is going on among my personal acquaintances…

But it occurs to me it’s probably just as good to bounce it off my “blog peeps” as well. It seems to be a national problem. From here in the Golden State, ya know, it’s kind of hard to tell.

It starts with something the radio dudes opened up…quoting from my page (Fb subscription required):

Jack and Joe are taking phone calls right now about school classrooms forcibly redistributing school supplies so one kid doesn’t feel bad about another kid having better stuff. Rather shocking how many teachers & parents are calling in with this blase attitude of “Oh yeah, you can’t have order in the classroom otherwise…” WTF??

Here, let’s list out the problems one by one. One: It’s communism. If you think it isn’t then your definition of communism is too narrow to work because you’re waiting for Che Guevara and Leon Trotsky to come back from the dead before you see any communists.

Two: When I was a kid, if a crayon fell on the floor it didn’t cause commotion. If it did, they removed the kid that caused the commotion and made sure he wouldn’t do it again.

Three: This seems to be going on in quite a few places — I was previously made to understand it hardly goes on anywhere. One caller said it would only take one lawsuit to bring it to a stop, and Jack commented well nobody wants to be that parent. Funny: When the time comes to sue the school for saying “under God” in the pledge, a LOT of parents want to be that parent.

And four: You know what? Real life doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to say “Hey he has something I don’t have, now I feel bad” and hope someone brings it to you. Well…not until a couple years ago…

What everyone seems to be letting go on this thing is: From all I’ve been able to tell about it so far, the one thing all of the reports have in common is that everywhere this is going on, there has been some kind of opaqueness to it. The creepy-crawly slithery-squirmy stuff is proliferating and thriving in the dark. It’s good old “Thou Shalt Not Covet” commandment-breaking jealousy…along with all of the inevitable miseries cropping up around it that must’ve inspired the Commandment in the first place. When the rock is uplifted and the light streams in, the critters scurry. Light, plainly and clearly, is the answer. And yet the push is on to keep the place dark. Don’t tell anyone. Yeah, I’ve been seizing your kids’ stuff, what’s your problem? Pipe down, shut up, go away, we’re doing what we need to do to keep order in the class.

I’m liking Jack Armstrong’s attitude: “You’re not taking my kid’s stuff, not gonna happen, listen to me carefully here: It isn’t going to happen.” That’s the right attitude. We need more of that.

I’ve already done my bit — had the conversation with my kid years ago, last time I heard about it. We’ve not had our experience with it just yet. But that’s us. What’s happening with everybody else?

Ideas From Liberals?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Why is this such a sad and pathetic empty shell of what it is supposed to be? Not — why do we tolerate it as it is; that’s a different question which I’ll explore some other time. The question that surfaces here is, why do they require the tolerance. What does it take to prattle on for a third of a century about such timeless social problems when you don’t have anything to offer about how to make them better.

A well-thought-out answer arrives from over…here.

Sometime in the mid-1970s, near the end of the Vietnam War, liberalism in America died an intellectual death. Since that time, virtually every new idea — whether good or bad — about how to solve our most important economic problems has come from the right. Virtually nothing has come from the left.

Do you doubt that? Okay, it’s test time. Tell me what the liberal answer is to the problem of our failing public schools. …..tick, tick, tick ….. I’m waiting …. tick, tick, tick …. Give up? What about the liberal solution to the failed War on Poverty? … pause….. pause ….. pause …. No luck there either?

Okay, let’s take what President Obama says is the biggest domestic problem we face. What is the liberal solution to the huge unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare? ….. Can’t think of one? What about solving the problem of unfunded pensions and post-retirement health care benefits for state and local workers? …. Not even a vague suggestion or two? Wow. We seem to be really striking out.

Well, can you tell me what a liberal income tax code would look like? Zip. How about a liberal international economic system? Nada.

Note: I’m not asking if you have a liberal acquaintance who has an opinion or two on these matters. I’m asking if you can produce a solution that would be generally recognized as the liberal solution.

Mr. Goodman finishes strong. Check it out.

DJEver Notice? LXVI

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

It seems to me that without fail, every single time our current President gets away with something that would have been out of the question for His predecessors…or tries to get away with it anyway…

…right then and there, we have to become immediately re-immersed in the you-know-what. The race. Time once again for a national dialogue. Like a defense mechanism. His Divine Eminence tries to get away with some crap, it doesn’t quite go over like He thought it should’ve, and so here we go again on this tangent. Every time He walks out on the ice and it turns out to be thinner than He thought, that’s the rope.

Well, you know what I think about the word “dialogue”.

Reboot Button Stuck

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Good things about the Superman reboot: I like the people who are involved in it, they all have good names with me. Even Costner. That, alone, should ensure a good product in the summer of ’13.

Bad things? I just don’t see the necessity of a reboot. The Singer product was in itself a halfway-reboot. It had some problems but it didn’t have Batman & Robin problems. It was also going somewhere…and pardon me, I had some measure of curiosity about where these things were going. A Kryptonite planet? Son-of-Superman?

Amy Adams is the answer to the problem that Kate Bosworth is an unfit Lois Lane? How? Because she’s older, is that it? And I’m having this beef about pretty much all of the cast-ing. The cast is fine. The roles into which these actors have been placed, raise some questions…pretty much every single role does that. Diane Lane? She’s just slightly older than me, and still a sexpot. Why do we have to have a sex-kitten Martha Kent? It’s possible to be a class act when you have a 64″ waist, you know. How come that’s out of the question in movies nowadays?

I’m afraid at this point, Superman is turning into something of a classic Opera, or Shakespeare play. I mean that in the sense of…I say “Here’s a new Superman movie” and it’s like saying “Here’s a new production of King Lear.” You know each and every single plot point, and in addition, you already have a pretty well crystallized and dead-on idea of what what will be left out. The variety will be in the new faces and the timing and the music, nothing else.

Superman MUST be launched into space as a baby. You MUST show those oh-so-wholesome Kents rescuing the baby and then raising him. He’s GOT to suddenly discover on the farm one day that he can fly. Metropolis…gotta get that reporter job…gotta meet Lois Lane…Fortress of Solitude…Luthor…real estate is the one thing they’re not making anymore…

There’s just too much standard stuff that cannot be moved out of the way. The bitching is supposed to have something to do with Superman not fighting anyone. Well, there isn’t time. So…he won’t…and, at the end of it, there will be disappointment and bunch of loudmouths clamoring for a reboot.

If I wrote it, I’d make it like Lord of the Rings — a trilogy, with each installment released twelve months after the previous. And Clark doesn’t even leave Smallville until Part II. At this point, based on what I’ve seen, that’s the only thing that will dig him out of the rut.

But that sums up the situation as it exists now. It’s not a prediction. The future’s always pliable. His isn’t…that’s the focus of my complaint…but that could change. Let’s see what they do.

Question for Paul Krugman

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

The fellow Nobel Laureates and economics professors and students and enthusiasts of Keynesian economics…who just totally get what you’ve been trying to say all these years…

How exactly are those cool people implicitly understanding, within a split second, that this quote was faked? What’s the giveaway, the one part of it that anyone & everyone who knows which way is up, without a trace of doubt or hesitation, would conclude is something you wouldn’t say?

You’ve written all these columns and appeared on all these Sunday morning talk shows, and after that I must ‘fess up I’m a little unclear where the line is drawn. Where’s the definition, the perimeter, the “Oh no, Paul Krugman would never say we need to wreck that” outline?

Twelve Things I Notice About Liberals Since the Debt Limit Debate Started

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Something’s going on lately. They’re acting all cornered, wounded, tender, defensive. Since the election of Nancy Pelosi back in ’06 they had been going back to being petty, childish, smug, snooty, “aggressively non-threatening NPR male” Alan-Alda peevish. Now they’re back to the way they were after the Bush v. Gore decision. Us smart and good, you stupid and evil! Grrrr!

Not all twelve of these observations are entirely new. Some of them are things I’ve noticed awhile ago, a few I’ve even written about, but those have become more crystallized with the events of the last two or three months.

1. They want government to manage more and more intimate aspects of our lives, without transparency, oversight or process of appeal, even though six years out of ten they tell us the government is doing bad things because the guy at the top of it is stupid or evil.

2. They’re terribly concerned about the solvency of the government during these debates about taxes, and want the “rich to pay their fair share” so the government doesn’t run out of money and go into debt. But then when it comes time to discuss the continuation of a program, or possibly starting up a whole new program, suddenly their concern about government solvency flies out the window.

3. They seem genuinely agitated about the length and the emptiness of the yawning chasm between the rich and the poor, and rail against the social problems attendant to the preservation of an aristocracy entrenched in privilege which is perpetually renewed without merit. But the very first thing that happens when they’re in charge, is their election of some charismatic individual who is to be entrenched in sustained and unearned perpetual privilege. All of their domestic agenda items have something to do with just a narrow and elite few unilaterally dictating the benefits and burdens to be applied to the many. Everyone is to be impacted by what is done; it cannot be set up in a test bed to see how well it works, it must be deployed for the very first time right on the production floor, and there can’t be any getting away from it. And yet any discussions about how it will work, have to take place behind closed doors, and not everyone can take part.

4. You ask them to point out when & where higher taxes did something good for an economy, and without fail they point to FDR’s New Deal which, along with the opening of World War II, lifted us from the Great Depression. Okay…so your policies, plus the LARGEST MILITARY CONFLICT IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND, will measurably improve an economy?

5. They don’t even seem to have an internal understanding of what an “economy” is. It seems like their point-of-view is that the government is part of the economy, but I don’t hear them actually say this, nor do I hear them dispute the point that the government is outside of what is commonly referred to as the “free market.” It’s like this is a question on which they haven’t coordinated yet; is “the economy” a different, larger thing apart from the “free market”? Or are these two terms used to describe the same thing, the government is outside of the economy — which must mean they think “the economy” is something helped when wealth is removed from it, so that their prescription becomes indistinguishable from the notorious bedside bloodletting of the middle ages.

6. According to them, America has cherished modern liberal values from the very beginning and it is the conservatives who are usurping the constitutional values of the republic by demanding the republic be governed according to the Constitution. The American Revolution, therefore, was a victory of liberalism over conservatism, which was represented by King George III and Great Britain. Yet, also according to them, there is something about America that makes the poor get poorer, allows businesses to run roughshod over “working families”…it’s just a terrible place and we need someone strong to fix everything. Take it all seriously, and it points to an inescapable conclusion that liberalism is destined to fail. And that’s according to the liberals.

7. They say one of the many things wrong with Christians is that the Christians insist their faith is the only path to salvation, therefore there is something wrong with anyone who doesn’t follow it. They then proceed to vilify Ayn Rand as a terrible person…and then throw out the zinger that oh, by the way, didn’t you know she was an atheist? Which seems to have some significance for them. But, according to their own argument, such a thing cannot have any significance in any way whatsoever. Judging from their own conduct, it obviously does.

8. They certainly are fond of diatribes about their ideological opponents being evil or stupid. Produce some evidence unfriendly to their position, ask them for something similar to support what they’re trying to say, and if they don’t have it ready — here comes the snark. It will be bitter, it will be pointed, it will be focused, it will be personal. Above all, it will be a sure thing, like tomorrow’s sunrise. But according to their constant complaints, it’s the other side doing that. Classic psychological projection. Evil, stupid, stupid, evil…with a great flourish, they go through the motions of applying some intelligence test, or “goodness” test, and finding their opponent wanting. But what they’re really applying is a loyalty test.

9. The evil/stupid thing has some complexity to it that’s a little tough to figure out, for those on the outside. Liberals seem united on the idea that George W. Bush is stupid and Dick Cheney is evil. Circulate a questionnaire among a thousand liberals, and all thousand will mark the boxes that say Bush=Stupid and Cheney=Evil. That seems to be the orientation; now and then someone will occasionally pronounce Bush to be Evil, but I’ve yet to hear a single one say Cheney is Stupid. I haven’t heard anybody say Sarah Palin is Evil, either. Did they all meet somewhere and decide Dick Cheney is some kind of rocket scientist genius and Sarah Palin is an okay person, therefore the dogs of Cheney=Stupid and Palin=Evil just aren’t gonna hunt, so don’t even try it? If that’s what they think, they’re doing a great job of hiding it.

10. If they have a plan for improving the economy, and after it’s implemented the economy improves, this is proof that their plan must have worked. If, after the plan is implemented, the economy suffers — this, also, is proof that their plan is the right way to go, we’re just not doing enough of it.

11. I notice when our country is in some conflict with another country, their recipe is for a diplomatic solution. Very often I hear the phrase “sit down and talk out our differences.” They don’t discuss much what exactly is going to be said in these sit-downs, but after you listen to them awhile it’s clear they want America to be making most or all of the concessions while the other country makes none. Another thing I hear from them often is that we are “seen” as arrogant, lacking in humility, and we need to work harder to clean up our rep. Now, when their partisan faction enters into conflict with somebody else, they work this very differently — in that situation, it is the other side that needs to be making more concessions to them, even if they’re the ones who just lost an election. Their party does not have a problem with “humility.” I suppose that reads like I’m saying they’re safeguarding liberals’ interests in a way different from how they’re safeguarding the country’s interests…well, hey. Gotta call it like I see it.

12. They must understand that if we have a pressing and urgent problem with the atmosphere filling up with carbon & the earth heating up as a result, and we also have a pressing and urgent concern with our government running out of money, an individual’s effort to curtail his own carbon emissions isn’t going to make any difference at all with the environmental problem, whereas a few people contributing voluntarily to the Treasury just might change the outcome for the better. And yet, liberal individuals do not brag about donating excess money to the Treasury; they brag about drinking out of eco-cups and driving hybrids. That is supposed to show they’re the ones more concerned about things like “reality” and “science.”

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

“The Impossibility of a Socialist Jesus”

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

They’re out again. I’m not sure what it is; Obama’s failed economic policies, I guess. Maybe His speeches are more boring than usual. Maybe someone actually started snoring audibly a few minutes in.

But it seems whenever His Eminence is trotting around giving wonderful speeches, a meme resurrects itself like it’s some dark, unholy anti-Easter…rolls the great rock away from its tomb…and emerges to proclaim the gospel that Jesus Christ was a socialist and all those who are not socialists better make right with The Lord for the end of the world is nigh.

It fails the first test of soundness in an idea, failing to retain its shape and composition when placed under the simple pressure of being taken seriously. Ponder it without ridicule for awhile and it collapses under its own weight. There is therefore a certain loss of dignity involved in even indulging it.

But the challenge has been answered, and it’s a decent job. At least good enough for the archives.

This theological assertion — a reading of Scripture that has completely escaped theologians for two millennia — rests on the story of Ananias and Saphhira, who were struck dead after they “lied to the Holy Spirit.” They had sold land, given part to the Apostles but claimed that they had given all. Here are the Apostle Peter’s words to Ananias:

Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.

Catch that? The very passage which Mr. Paul believes clinches his argument that the Bible endorses “terror-enforced-communism” actually reaffirms private property rights. The land belonged to Ananias, and after he sold it, the money was “at [his] disposal.” (Indeed, Jesus Himself declared that “the worker deserves his wages.”) His crime wasn’t withholding money; his crime was lying.

While the Bible is hardly an economics text, some economic and social themes do endure, and they are incompatible not just with socialism but also many aspects of the modern welfare state.

While the Bible calls us to help the poor, it is also clear that the poor must help themselves to the extent they are able. In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul warns against idleness and says, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” In 1 Timothy 5, Paul also declares, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Even inclusion on the widows’ “list” (which entitled widows to receive aid from the church) was conditioned upon age and good conduct.

Hat tip to Ace of Spades, by way of Linkiest.

The True Face of Stimulus Requires a Wide-Angle Lens

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Susanne Eman wants to become the most obese human being ever and she’s halfway there.

It’s certainly obvious she doesn’t want to become the world’s fattest sack of goo in secret, this is all about achieving fame. So I’m going to do my best to help her.

The unemployed mother – who cannot work because of her weight – claims she stays active by doing simple exercises and having regular health checks.

‘I go for a waddle and do stretches and exercises every day,’ she said. ‘My muscles need to hold up to my weight, so I have to stay strong.
:
Despite warnings from her doctor that her bizarre experiment could kill her, Susanne insists she wants to break the record.

Dr Patrick Flite said: ‘She’s really playing Russian roulette with her life with this goal. There are well-documented complications that come with morbid obesity.

‘I would never encourage anyone to be doing what Susanne is doing.’

Dr Flite said Susanne’s medical checks showed no current problems, adding: ‘She’s capable of making her own decisions. I don’t see any psychiatric problems or anything else wrong.’

I do. If you click through to the article, you’ll see she has that smug smirk on every single picture. (Warning: She’s wearing shorts in one.) The woman is a nut, and if current mental health science cannot identify a psychiatric deficiency then that means it hasn’t looked hard enough. I’m not a psychologist and I do not play one on teevee, but I think my initial impression is the right one: In a welfare state in which there is no place for individual exceptionalism, this is where the natural instinct to achieve it is siphoned off. Yes, this is lunacy, and it’s man-made.

Thanks, Cas.

The other obvious problem is, if she should ever reach her goal, with the elapse of a little more additional time someone else is going to pass it, and then where will she be? Well, practically speaking, under the ground and that’s another problem. Doesn’t that sum it up? When Al Bundy waxes lyrically about scoring two touchdowns in a single game at Polk High School…that’s as pathetic as Susanne Eman will become if she lives, which isn’t gonna happen. So she’s one notch beneath Al Bundy. One notch and six feet.

Ed Darrell thinks it’s time for Americans to dream, and we realize our biggest dreams through government spending. Jabba The Eman of Arizona, at “52 stone” (that’s over 700 lb.) and still packing it on, proves he has a point.

“Whose Idea Was Martha’s Vineyard?”

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

The White House won’t think outside the box on this one, so Victor Davis Hanson does it for them.

PostcardIf the president thought that a campaign bus tour would rescue his numbers, he was mistaken — it seems to have had the opposite effect, perhaps because it seemed staged, almost like what a wealthy person would do if he wanted to act “real” for a bit.

But if President Obama has already purchased the new bus, why not use it Winnebago-style to see America with his family for a week, visiting a national park, a closed-down plant — or a real vineyard?

Two possibilities:

One, it’s a “Jar Jar Binks” decision, meaning the Guy At The Top came up with it, and the leadership dynamic is such that nobody in earshot would point out the obvious deficiencies in the plan, so it went forward.

Two, we’re suffering from a misunderstanding of the whole point of Obama’s “vacation.” It’s a listening tour, sure, a “get the word out that I am one of you” road trip. But Obama has no reason to show He’s one of the hoi polloi; He wants to show He’s one of the New Englanders. It’s about donations and not votes.

According to Two, which I’m thinking is a bit more likely but not by much: Obama is not going to pick up a single vote because of any whistle-stop vacation. If the economy continues to suck and He manages to win re-election anyway, He’ll have to win back some votes He lost when the economy started sucking…and He’s going to do that by buying them back with the money He’s going to start raising right now. He could very well be on to something here.

Sure is a weird transformation of our nation’s political cycle, though.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Space Alien Stimulus

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

I don’t watch these things because it seems absurd to me to provide air time to people who are selected based on the fact that, whether it’s in print or electronic form, they enjoy excessive opportunities to blather away already. And I’m not seeing any reason to revisit that particular question here. But I do see some value in checking the lunacy level. Bearing in mind, these are the people who wield influence in the status quo. These are the heavy hitters, the ones whose ideas gain traction and currency…solely because those ideas came from them, not because the ideas show promise.

I think most people don’t understand how bad the problem really is.

A Liberal Fixes the Economy

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

This is the spirit of what they’re all saying; the wording changes somewhat from one walk-through to the next, but it all boils down to this.

“Okay what we have to do is raise taxes on the rich. And then we keep doing it, over and over again, until there aren’t any rich people anymore. Now, after we’ve gotten rid of all the rich people, we, uh…that is, the next step is, er…um…gah! This is no fun! When do I get to say some bad things about conservatives and Republicans??

This Is Good LXXXIII

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

From here, by way of blogger friend Phil.

The Google Plus Song

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Hat tip to blogger friend Buck.

“We’re the People, They’re Not!”

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Niiiiiicccceeeeee……………………………..

Reason, via Althouse.

Top Twenty Heavy Hitters All Lean Left

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Way, way off to the left

I am not morganovich, but s/he speaks for me

…interesting to see that the left takes in 76% of the top 20′s money, then spend their time vilifying the re[p]ublicans for selling out to ” large special interests”.

[T]hat’s pretty astounding hypocrisy.

Hat tip to Linkiest.

“Why Zombies? Why Now?”

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Ethan Cordray at On the Square, at First Things:

There’s no denying the popularity of zombies—by which I mean the modern brain-hungry, shambling, disgusting, undead-or-plague-infected monsters, not the traditional figures from voodoo culture. The modern craze started in the late 1960s and 1970s with George Romero and John A. Russo’s Night of the Living Dead in 1968 and the movie franchises that followed it. But recently the popularity of zombies seems to have grown dramatically. Movies like Zombieland, 28 Days Later, and Shaun of the Dead seem to come out every year; books like Max Brooks’s World War Z and the young adult novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth climb the bestseller lists; and video games like Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead sell millions of copies.
:
But what if this fascination is about more than just gross-out gore and action thrills? What if it represents a subtle, subconscious understanding that something is wrong—spiritually wrong—with our culture.

Zombies represent the appetite divorced from everything else. They are incapable of judgment, self-awareness, or self-preservation. Though they still move and act, they are not really alive. They hunger and are never filled. And they aren’t just hungry for anything—they specifically want to eat the living, and even more specifically the brain, seat of rationality and self control.

In Pauline terms, they are the sarx in its purest form. Without a soul to control it, the flesh is a slave to its own desires. The rise in popularity of zombies, then, may reflect a rise in anxiety over the elevation of appetite in modern life, a popular recognition that appetite has gotten out of control, and that unchecked, unreflective, and immoderate appetite is a form of death.

Hat tip to Anchoress.

It’s definitely a Thing That Makes You Go Hmmmm…especially for me. Many’s the time I’ve driven through the mean streets of Folsom, where the story is always the same: Dickhead in the car in front of you has all the time in the world, dickhead in the car behind you is in some big ol’ hurry — until he passes you and gets his butt in your face, then all of a sudden he has all the time in the world. What a bunch of dickheads. Move it, dickhead!

And then I stop and think…my God, this is why they behave like this; they’re doing it to each other. They just did it to me, and I’m becoming one of them! It’s like zombies! And I’ve been bitten!

So why now? I think Cordray is on to something. People “work” by sitting in cubicles five feet wide and seven feet deep, and doing something that justifies a status report or a time sheet. That’s their “work.” If they’re exceptionally lucky, they’ll be among the very few who actually build something and then they’ll be able to say, look, I pulled in a paycheck by building something. But most people don’t build something…so they perform something…then they get the paycheck and spend it, or give it to somebody else to go spend. Then they consume, sleep, and it’s time to go do it again and again. Perform and consume. Occasionally some unsettling piece of evidence will arrive to suggest nobody’s placing any real value on the performing, that the remuneration of the paycheck is simply part of someone else’s performance. And so people, quite logically, start to feel like zombies; just drifting through a so-called “life” with an appetite.

Why now? Because we’re bored, that’s why. We are overly-urbanized. The problems we manage to identify in hopes of a constructive solution, we look to others to solve — without faith.

Update: Neal Boortz has a video clip up that seems apropos. “Flash Mob Loots 7-11″:

Natalie

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

An amazing and riveting story, via Instapundit, by way of blogger friend Rick.

He lay Natalie on their front step. Tears ran down his cheeks. You will make it, he thought. She had blond locks and blue eyes. They will think you are a Gentile, not one of us.

Walking away, he could hear her whimper, but forced himself not to look back until he crossed the street. Then he turned and saw a man step out of the apartment. The man read Weinstein’s note. He puzzled over the baby.

Cradling Natalie in his arms, the man walked half a block to a police station and disappeared inside.

Weinstein was beside himself.

What if the Gestapo took her from the police?

What if they decided that she was a Jew?

“Britain is a Riot”

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Pat Condell tells it as he sees it. Potty-mouth language warning is in effect…but it makes much better sense than any other description you’ve heard, do’nit?

Hat tip to Gerard.

Actually, the Wording is Good Enough to Chisel in Stone

Monday, August 15th, 2011

It began with some lefties putting up a link to a hundred bits of liberal-against-conservative snark. It ended with the libs running away crying about the (Zulu time) late hour making them all sleepy & what-not, the tough day they had, their hurt feelings, snips, snails, and puppy dogs’ tails (Facebook membership required I think).

The tough-guy Beta Male aggressively non-threatening NPR dude who stepped in when it got too hot & nasty for the delicate Grrrrrl-power English lass who went cyber-shrieking out of the room in a furious grand exit, declared my writing flawed. Ooh, how shall I ever recover. But the flaw was neither spelling nor grammar nor punctuation, rather the flaw he detected was with a perceived plurality of interpreted meaning. Eh, sorry Hawkeye…that’s a real stretch. It’s the kind of thing lefties seize on when they are desperate to change the subject, when they get in that mode where the uncertainty is only in what they’ll eventually find, not in whether they’ll find it. Kind of like a soon-to-be-ex-wife assessing the job you did with the cleaning of the bathroom.

Hey, what can I say. I’ve pretty much had it with people critiquing my writing based on their not liking what it points out. And that was certainly the case here, because I’m not seeing a single word I’d prefer to change.

As to whether it’s true? Hehe. I’ve argued with a liberal or two in my time; I know what I’ve seen.

An observation to make: Lefties seem to be emphatic that their policies are the best and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But you haven’t long to discuss that with a lefty, before the subject changes to how much better of a person the lefty is than you are…so the policies must not be good.

Also, you haven’t long to discuss with a lefty how much better a person the lefty is, before the subject flips around to how much worse of a person you are…which is a subtly different thing…so I guess the lefties haven’t got much to offer about being good people, either.

Now obviously this doesn’t apply to everybody who is left of wing. Some of them are decent people; some are intelligent. That may even be true of the people with whom we were having our discussion. It would’ve been nice to see evidence of it.

But I’m really most concerned about the policies. Might as well face facts. The “policies work” morphing into “me better than you,” and the “me better than you” vectoring off into the “you worse than me,” are just topic drifts brought about, and made necessary, by the plain and simple fact that the policies have no bragging rights. They haven’t fixed anything. And it isn’t because they haven’t been given a fair shot. In fact, I would argue between 2007 and 2011, liberal public policy has been given more of a fair shot in the United States than it’s ever been given anywhere. Except maybe across eight decades in Russia, perhaps? Yeah, that was a success story if ever there was one.

It’s simple embarrassment. A double-boomerang maneuver resulting from simple embarrassment.

Everybody Loves T-Paw!

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Funny, I was just noticing this myself before the HotAir write-up.

My observation was a little different, though: As of yesterday, Bachmann is a crazy-eyed whack-job emblematic of where those dangerous Republicans want to go, and Tim-P is a reasonable centrist independent moderate emblematic of who the dangerous Republicans would like to leave behind.

It was just a few days before Pawlenty dropped out — just a few days! — that they were being called the “Minnesota Twins.” By somebody, somewhere, there’s little point digging it up because it was a generalized, floating, prevailing, permeating theme.

I expect this trend to continue as the GOP herd is culled further. Every time someone is ejected from the running — “God damn it! Wouldn’t you just know those crazy Republicans would get rid of that reasonable, reasonable guy!”

BSOD

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

An oldie but a goodie…

“Movie Law”

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Memo For File CXLIII

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

So yesterday I burned through half a tank of gas “scouting out” some new bike trials. It’s time-consuming, but relaxing in its own way and I’ve found it to be a smart thing to do. Google Maps doesn’t tell you where the hills are, you know, and it’s not too functional at warning you about the spots where there’s simply no place for a bicycle to go. Anyway, about four hours went into the ether for this excursion, and I did ‘em all without the benefit of any audio distractions of any kind. The brain just starts to percolate. Not with entirely useful stuff, mind you. Just as a sampling, I had suddenly realized, in my four-wheeled air-conditioned chrysalis, that the “Dinner With the Bad Guy” scene in James Bond movies seems to consistently take place within the last thirty minutes of the film, whereas in all other action movies it seems to be required somewhere in the first half.

Wouldn’t mind at all getting together with you to knock back a couple cold ones, if you’re the type who’s sitting there right now saying “Duh, hey…now that I think on it, he’s right.” But I suspect most people will say, just dang, how do you get off on these tangents, Freeberg?

Another thing I thought about was power and freedom. I have long been convinced that our failure to find satisfaction in our system of elected representation, is due not entirely to our perpetual unpleasant discovery of the ramifications involved in allowing all others to have a voice. We are unhappy, primarily, because we don’t know the difference between power and freedom.

Upton Sinclair wrote, “The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC.” He was speaking of his experience running for Governor of California in 1934 under the platform “End Poverty In California” — in which he lost, but his point was that he netted many more votes in that campaign than he did previously, running as a socialist. Labels are important. They’re far more important to us than they would be, if we went running around being honest about our motives all the time. But we’re all sons and daughters of Adam, possessing such a formidable level of genius that we can deceive even ourselves. Yes, the calories in the donut count when nobody’s looking, and yes that politician is a rotten egg-sucking socialist. But he knows what Upton Sinclair figured out, so he doesn’t call himself one. Doesn’t mean he isn’t one.

Now freedom and power are interesting and illuminating tells against our psychology, because they aren’t even used as labels.

I think most people would be willing, even eager, to sign on to the statement “I’m going to vote today to preserve my freedom” whereas the same cannot be said of the statement “I’m going to vote today to acquire power.” Conversely, the “power” statement would probably, in many cases, be much more refreshingly honest. That’s what I think the problem is: People believe they are casting a vote for the sake of their own freedom, but their intent is really to deny someone with different interests of their freedom. The denial of freedom for this other guy, in turn, is their idea of “power” but even that is mostly an illusion. Someone somewhere (I’ve pretty much given up on my quest to try to find this again) made an excellent point that if there is any one facet to life in America in which local authority remains everlastingly sovereign, and respected across the board, it is the selection of stations on the stereo in our cars. His point was that because of this, we do not have alienating, heated arguments about radio stations. But as sure as the sun is going to rise tomorrow, if we were to eliminate all radio stations except for one, and coordinate the programming on that one station and vote on its contents — do I even need to finish that sentence. You know what would happen. We’re already living it day in and day out…with all other things that are centrally managed.

People want an end to the contention and they want to be unified. You do that by allowing people to choose what makes the most sense to them, and protecting them from the impact of what the next fellow chooses to do.

Do that, and everybody has real freedom. They have real power, too.

What we have been doing is exactly the opposite. We trundle off to the polling place before or after work on a Tuesday in November to protect our “freedoms” we think, but really to acquire “power” by making sure some other guy is defrocked of all this power. If we succeed at it, then the next election cycle or maybe the second one afterward, maybe the third, he’ll do it back to us again. Every now and then one of these back-and-forth rituals is finally settled forevermore, never to be raised as a question ever again. In that case, it has not escaped my notice that the final solution to the problem has something to do with less power and less freedom for everybody, save for whoever makes the rules, and nobody’s really sure who that guy is. But the end of the road is that we don’t get to pick the car radio station anymore. It’s one less choice for us, some rule to be followed…and I have the unsettling feeling that a majority of my countrymen find some comfort and satisfaction in this. Oh goody! A rule to follow. I can’t get in trouble.

The freedom thing I find more disturbing than the power thing. There would be an obvious stigma attached to a person who says “I’m going off to vote so I can get more POWER!” even if that is, in most cases, true. There would be no such stigma placed upon someone who says “I’m going off to vote so I can keep my FREEDOM!” That’s what we’re all supposed to be doing anyway…

So how come I don’t hear that many politicians, nowadays, making speeches about freedom? I hear “millionaires and billionaires” and “private jets” so many times, the cliché becomes a caricature of itself…and then I hear it a whole bunch more times. But the simple word “freedom”? It doesn’t seem to make the cut.

FDR used it; he built an entire speech around it. Having apparently learned the same lesson Upton Sinclair learned, he used his labels wisely and in such a deceptive and sneaky way as to deploy the “F-word” for the explicit purpose of advancing the “S-word,” socialism. Seven decades later, his legacy has been continued with such gusto that his heirs-apparent would sneer at his “Freedom of Speech” and “Freedom of Worship.” They work against both, zealously, pretty much constantly. They’re proud of it.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

“I’m a Girl Watcher…”

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Because hey, it’s Friday.

“Dear California: I’m Leaving You”

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Atlas is shrugging:

…I love it here in San Diego. The weather is amazing, the beaches are beautiful, and the people are friendly and generally entrepreneurial. It’s a refreshing change from the Bay Area, where everyone seemed like they were always “too busy” to hang out. Here, life is more laid-back, and I’ve grown to appreciate it.

But one thing I’ve struggled with about California for years is the government. The government is notoriously business-unfriendly–with everything from high taxes on business earnings to badgering businesses into more work…

Nothing out of the ordinary about this at all. Nothing out of the ordinary about this person’s disgust with the stupidity, the “final straw,” or the wonder-why-I-didn’t-do-it-sooner. And wait until you read about that final straw.