Archive for October, 2011

We’re Being Setup for Future Protests

Monday, October 31st, 2011

President Obama continues to make life better for us:

Millions of students will have an easier time paying back their student loans thanks to reforms President Obama announced yesterday, including a “Pay As You Earn” proposal and the option to reduce monthly payments.

The changes will help folks like John, a law student in Vermont. He is pursuing a degree in environmental law, and hopes to work at a nonprofit once he finishes grad school.

After he graduated from college two years ago, John says he struggled to find work:

“I had a really hard time finding a decent job—so I had to go a full year between college and law school without a job. I lived at home with my parents to make ends meet.”

But he thinks the new reforms will help:

“I have been keeping my eye on loan repayment options. It sounds like the President’s plans will be helpful for me when I graduate—and hopefully the job market will continue to improve.”

So the kid is solving the problem of not making any money, by taking on more debt, and keeping his eye on the options available for paying the debt back. I wonder if I’m alone in wishing he’d said “I’ve been keeping my eye on what environmental lawyers for nonprofits make per year so I can make sure my debt-load aligns with that.” But of course John didn’t say that.

Above The Law points out (hat tip to Instapundit):

Hey, we’re all glad John is excited about Obama’s plans. But I bet nobody in the Obama administration knows how much John is being charged to attain his J.D. It’s $43,468 per year, by the way. It’d be a lot easier for the Obama administration to help him pay this money back if they also did something about the kid getting price-gouged in the first place.

And blogger friend Terri notes:

I do always wonder about the interviewees in the Occupy movement. The papers mention the amount owed in student loans, but never the major.

Apparently President Obama used a “good” example the other day for his new student loan program.

This dude has been unemployed for a year after graduating in something. The new loan program will help him see his dream come true.

He is going back to school to major in environmental law in order to work at a nonprofit. Estimated cost of the degree? $130,000.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to the average wage of a nonprofit environmental lawyer? Are we being setup for future protests here?

Of course, John’s finances are John’s business. He’s doing a great job of going through the motions of being concerned with how it all turns out…”keeping an eye on loan repayment options” makes it kinda sound like that, right? Of course, in my experience, a friend-or-relative who takes charge of his finances by leaving his income anemic but eliminating some unloved expense, in Year N, is back in trouble by Year N+1. Eliminating expenses doesn’t help if lack of income is the problem. And if I’m understanding the proposal correctly, there’s more emphasis on flexibility involved in paying back the same amount so it isn’t even the elimination of expenses we’re talking about.

Environmental lawyer for a nonprofit. So…the kid thinks profit is something to be avoided…he’s about to get his wish. But then there’s the matter of all the rest of us. We’ve got this economy we’re all supposed to be wishing would get stronger. Our President thinks a great example of where our youth need to be going, is some vocation that doesn’t produce anything. Well hey, at least the Community Organizer is not being a hypocrite…but we don’t know what advantages Barry Soetoro had that John might not have. Who He knew, how He financed His school tuitions, where exactly Frank Marshall Davis entered the picture. Maybe everything’s on the up-and-up, but unfortunately this thick narrative of “you’re whacked in the head and probably racist if you don’t believe every little thing Obama says” has arisen to enshroud every single open question, and we saw last year what a remarkable event it is for our President to actually present a hunk of paper about something. Which is routine for all other presidents, and candidates for the presidency. The end result is, as He enters the last year of His term, we really don’t know an awful lot for sure. The one thing that seems almost certain is, connections had something to do with it.

So who did young Barry know? Who helped lighten the load? Is He going to helpfully offer some names to young John, maybe write some letters of introduction for our hopeful future environmental law (for a nonprofit) attorney?

Because if, for some reason, it all comes off the rails — I’d just like to know what’s going to be occupied, when, for how long, how much property is going to be damaged, how many women are going to be molested, how many human stools are going to be deposited on police cars, how many arrests there are going to be…what magnitude of a mess is goin’ down. Hey, we’re not wondering about the generalities of the end result anymore, I’m just asking about the particulars. We can’t count on Obama’s Twitter feed to do that for us.

“In Time”

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Pure socialist propaganda. Summary message: Everything would be all perfect and we could get rid of all human misery, if only everybody could be made equal. But it isn’t equal, we have just a few people living in their ivory towers hoarding resources. One percent of the population has about ninety-nine percent of the — not money, but time. Time is a metaphor for money. People have these implants on their wrists that glow in the dark, showing up as numerals that display how much time they have to live. People stop aging at twenty-five. From what reading I’ve been doing, it seems the no-aging-after-25 came first, and after that came a problem with overpopulation and famine. So the bio-clocks came after that, as a technological solution, which seems logical.

Olivia WildeTime can be transferred from one person to another. It’s a very easy process. A block can be moved from one body to another by mutual agreement, a set quantity can be given without the receiver’s knowledge, it can be taken without the other person’s consent, it can be stored in machines. Time is used as currency. Everything costs an hour, or a day, or a week or whatever. A few minutes in, the plot is made more complex through some common bolshevik grumblings. The most heady of which is that the “inflation” that has become all-but-expected is actually deliberate — goods and services cost half again as much, or twice as much, as they did the day before. That’s so that more people die, so that shortages can be avoided.

Since there is no aging, the movie is filled with twenty-something puppy-faces. It’s a little creepy when this girl is supposed to be the mother-in-law of that guy, and he in turn is the father of that girl over there, and they’re all 25. Well one day, this puppy-face who’s already 105 years old gives away a century to Justin Timberlake. He leaves himself five minutes, which he then uses to commit suicide. Justin Timberlake, that night, gets all pissed off when his 25-year-old mother clocks out. She struggles to get home in time, running across town on foot with ninety minutes left on her life clock. Doesn’t quite make it. (Her feminine footwear for this hour-and-a-half mad dash…not quite appropriate for the task.) Well, when you zero out, your heart stops and that’s it. And so, just before her loving son could give her a few precious minutes from his new bounty to extend her life, she perishes in mid-stride, a cadaver before she hits the ground. So Timberlake does this “Nooooo!” thing, crouched on the pavement cradling her dead body, and the next day uses his wealth to travel into the posh district and make the rich bastards pay. He pays a few weeks for a swanky hotel suite, and then ups his vast holdings from a century to 1100 years. Then he pays “cash,” about 50 or 60 years, for a fancy car. The movie proceeds forward from there, sort of a hodge-podge toss-up between Soylent Green, Logan’s Run, Bonnie & Clyde and 1984. Justin ends up on the lam, with the daughter of the rich guy, and a time enforcement cop guy chasing them.

They end up tearing down the barricades of society, stealing time from what I guess would be the “robber barons”? — and distributing it to the masses in a way that is equitable, if anarchistic. Power to the people! Occupy time! It’s a little disturbing when you see the cliche repeated more than a couple times: “Is it really stealing, if what we’re stealing was already stolen?” Hmmmm…….

A thought: Some people die with time left over, and it seems from what I saw that in those situations, the time vanishes. Therefore, it is possible to spend time foolishly. If I’m pondering this correctly, then it isn’t really a zero-sum game. And if that’s true…if, as that guy says at the beginning, when he channels Michael Moore and says there’s plenty enough time to go around the problem is it isn’t being distributed…even taking this at face value, that could change. Time, in some situations, can disappear into a rat-hole. In fact, there’s one subplot where one of Justin’s friends goes to a bar with a decade on his clock, drinks a year’s worth, and goes into toxic shock. He dies that night, and there go nine years. Poof! So no, whether the people who wrote the movie realize it or not, you don’t get to equitably distribute this time and stop worrying about it. People have to be competent, even in this movie, even at the end. It’s a non-negotiable rule of life that when people go a few years without worrying about something, over time that thing will be managed as if nobody’s worried about it.

Another thought: Since Timberlake actually comes out and states the central message of the movie toward the end, something like “Nobody should be immortal if someone else has to die to make it happen,” this could very well be a prequel to Logan’s Run. Think about it: People don’t age past 25, Justin says nobody should be immortal if. What’s the rule in Logan’s Run? You check out at thirty. Logan’s full name was Logan 5? Maybe we’re looking at Logan 1. Suggest a sequel, in which they lay the foundation for the City of Domes.

It’s very difficult to work past the social commentary of the movie and evaluate it based on other things, especially when you happen to dislike the commentary…some of us have seen this same ol’ “everything is wonderful if everybody’s equal” thing get tested by reality, more than a few times. For us, the problem isn’t that we think the commentary is idiotic, the problem is that we know it is. And I’m not entirely sure that it’s possible to give the movie a positive review while giving the message a negative one. But I’m feeling generous, the directing was good, the acting was good, it moved along at a nice pace and it was entertaining. Plus, Olivia Wilde in her undergarments looks about as nice as you’d expect…the tits-and-car-explosions score is a bit low, since they’re wanting to hang on to their PG-13 rating. So there are no bare tits. I don’t recall seeing a car actually explode (one flips over an embankment, which is visually impressive). Either one would have improved things somewhat. Ms. Wilde’s hot bod is enough to keep the final product from completely sucking, even if the lighting is a little dim.

I Made a New Word LI

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Femcrone (n.)

One of the female persuasion clinging to a discipline, throughout an entire lifetime, against grooming herself to offer aesthetic pleasure to the male. The resulting pulchritude is less than a zero. It isn’t even what one can call “ugly,” at least in comparison to other human specimens that have achieved real and superlative ugliness. It is more of an extreme on the spectrum of give-a-damn about visual appearance, and it is extreme toward, and beyond, the light end.

(adj.)

Of, or pertaining to, the visual appearance of a Femcrone.

WarrenSo many constants in the equation; where to start? “No makeup” does not adequately describe the makeup-less condition. It is a face that takes great pride in never having been near any makeup since, possibly, ever. Think of your hair when you forgot to brush it — there is “unbrushed” and there is “looks like it’s never been touched by a brush.” Even better, think of Dracula and a cross. That is the relationship between the Femcrone and makeup. The wrinkles seem to be almost accentuated, as if she’s undergone surgery to make them deeper. Nose: potato. Eyebrows: inelegant and untweezed. Grin: Something strange going on here, like it’s upside-down, with the wrong set of teeth showing. Hair: Aw that’s easy, ponytail all the way. Just make sure it’s un-sexy, not like Heather Mitts playing soccer or something like that. This is not a fun-sporty or sporty-fun ponytail, it is strictly a ponytail for low-maintenance. Ponytail or a bowl-cut, something decidedly non-feminine, like everything else.

It is a special, paradoxical brand of neglect, one that requires intensive effort to be maintained.

Recounting my encounter with a Femcrone yesterday, who didn’t like my “Worst President Ever” tee shirt, at the Hello Kitty of Blogging I said…

…[O]ne lady showed her testosterone by confronting me…with “you forgot Bush!” I do mean her testosterone. Had that Hillary Clinton hairy-upper-lip look going on. Why do they all have that?

Must be a sad way to live. Three years in, the only way you can defend your Golden God is to say “the other guy was worse,” knowing full well that if you were to argue the point you’d have your ass handed to you. I just said “No, including all of ‘em, this one’s the worst,” and walked on.

Why do they all have that, anyway? Answer: It’s a uniform. When a military unit, or a company workforce, or a school clique wears a uniform, it is less an actual “uniform” and more a suite of expectations among peers. Well, that’s what this is. Except it is an expectation toward a dearth, rather than an abundance, of drive. Like I said: Neglect that paradoxically requires intensive effort. We saw it for the last several years with Sarah Palin, didn’t we? A pretty lady who gives a damn about her appearance — how many people inferred she must be a lightweight, a dingbat, an non-serious candidate based in large part on the fact that the lady puts some effort into her appearance, and has more than her share of natural gifts with which she can work?

How many women in positions of real power have we seen in the last twenty years…women who, from all we know about them really are dingbats! — but such a narrative never really quite took hold, because they’ve taken special care to put together an appearance that says they don’t care. Bloated bod, pantsuit for a wrap, with a cauliflower face peeking out on top. And the lesson has been learned. Everywhere you look, in our “university districts” now, there’s a face that looks like some kind of vegetable left on a sun-soaked windowsill for a few days. The look of knowledge and authority! According, anyway, to somebody.

Paging Burt Prelutsky…what did he say?

Frankly, I don’t know what it is about California, but we seem to have a strange urge to elect really obnoxious women to high office. I’m not bragging, you understand, but no other state, including Maine, even comes close. When it comes to sending left-wing dingbats to Washington, we’re number one. There’s no getting around the fact that the last time anyone saw the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Nancy Pelosi, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on ‘Macbeth’.

The dingbat look.

Have we reached the point where women have to look dowdy and frumpy in order to be taken seriously? It seems, at least in some social circles, as if that is precisely the case. I wonder if there is any hope for us? What if we were to wake up one morning, coming to our senses, realizing “We want to empower conscientious, driven women; it takes conscientiousness and drive for women to make themselves up and look nice; therefore, we should be drawn to the ones who make themselves attractive.” Is that within our capacity anymore? Perhaps that would leave quite a few of these wrinklepusses out in the cold; the Femcrone look is one worn on the skin, down in the facial bones, and every layer of tissue in between. It has the look of permanence about it. Like once the wearer achieves that full sense of dedication to the Femcrone mystique, the wrinklepuss look must be worn to the coffin and into the Great Beyond.

At least, that seems to be so. Maybe not? Maybe a “teen movie makeover” scene could be re-enacted and they’d emerge from the beauty parlor, swirling the silky hair around in slow motion, looking like Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly? Anything’s possible, I suppose, but some things are harder to envision than others.

I should hasten to add — “gentlemen” have their own look going on in the ultra-liberal college towns. One day, I should come up with a word to describe that, as well. Envision Santa Claus possessed by a demon, or just found out someone stole his scotch from where he’d been hiding it. White beard, white mustache, black eyebrows, and pick just any tuft of facial hair you like, you can hide flashlight batteries in it where they’ll never be found. But that’s a post for another day.

Update 11/2/11: Litmus test: If girls in bathing suits are offensive to you, you’re almost certainly a Femcrone.

Commune

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

My imagination ran away with this awesome pic hosted on Facebook:

It is not an idea substantially different from something I’ve been pitching for years. We have people who think their way through problems, and people who feel their way around problems; gather me a thousand souls from each of those two camps, and you’re going to find pretty reliably that the people in the second camp believe in wealth redistribution, and the people in the first camp do not. Actually, that has the vibe of something having to do not quite so much with human sampling, as logical pondering: If you make it a point to think your way through life’s challenges, you’re going to insist on the rewards to be gained from that, are you not? There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and it takes some effort and experience to figure out which is which. Who needs some jackass to come along at the very end of it, and say “Okay, now that you’ve got it all figured out, you need to share the rewards you’ve earned with other people who are lacking your experience, but want to pretend they’re smarter than you are even though they haven’t done squat”?

I’ve since taken to calling these two types of people Architects and Medicators. Because let’s just get down to brass tacks here: Deep down, we all know it’s really about facing responsibility. When a real architect builds a house, something is done to make sure the house doesn’t cave in, and the architect has some kind of a real obligation there. The nature of medicating, of course, is that no responsibility is taken for anything. To the contrary, the responsibility is off-loaded to some external party, who then is supposed to accept the responsibility to make sure the medicator is completely happy. Both kinds of people are struggling with something. But the Medicator’s struggle is much simpler. He struggles to regulate his own emotional state; all objects that exist outside of himself, are to be considered only because they might have a bearing on that state. To the Architect, “happiness” is an unclear concept, and if it exists at all it is simply the satisfaction that comes from realizing some effort has been carried forward to its defined goal.

The paradox of the Medicator’s existence is that the level of authority he demands is very great, but he isn’t willing to accept any level of responsibility that would go along with it. I made the point in the above link, “An Architect doesn’t particularly care how many other Architects there are. A Medicator wants everyone else to be a Medicator.” And so everyone who disagrees with the Medicator, about any point, great or small, is an unfinished task. This ties in well with the whole thing about “wealth inequity” and 99% and 1%. The Architect, who might very well be part of the 99%, nevertheless says “What the fuck do I care?” about someone else having a lot more money than he has. Everything either has something to do with the widget he’s putting together, or it doesn’t…and wealth distribution doesn’t have much to do with that.

Contrasted with that, the Medicator is obsessed with how much money other people have.

Worst President EverBut here’s the funny part: They only care about that, when they’re forced to think about individuals. If they aren’t forced to think about individuals, suddenly they don’t give a damn about what this person thinks or that person thinks. As representatives of the Medicator mindset, our modern political left works tirelessly to align a bare majority of the electorate to their side of an issue, and once that objective is realized, they abruptly stop. As they count percentages, they can’t count to fifty-two. So that’s strange; they care about changing minds, only as long as they confront the minds, or the minds confront them. Short of that, all they care about is winning elections. If ever they hear from the individual voices, suddenly they’re back in “every single disagreeable opinion is an unfinished task” mode again. Just like that woman I saw in the parking lot yesterday who didn’t appreciate my anti-Obama tee shirt. They know, consciously as well as unconsciously, there are millions of people who disagree with them — but as long as they don’t actually meet these people, it doesn’t bother them a bit.

Like it’s got much less to do with bringing “truth” to people, or enacting a public policy that is beneficial to all, than about just winning every single argument. It’s just weird. They have enemies, or at least, there are people among these poor whelps whom they regard as enemies, and the enemies are sufficiently inimical in nature that it is necessary and urgent that the enemies be opposed, throughout all waking hours. But! Only when the enemy is in sight. Out of sight, out of mind. Like I said, weird.

And I can’t help but think, there is a promising remedy to the societal rancor wrapped up in this cognitive dissonance. This is why I think separation is a solution.

But there is an obvious problem. The people who feel their way around problems rather than thinking their way through them, can’t actually make anything work. And so if they were to be banished to a commune together, everyone would be happy for awhile but it wouldn’t be a self-sustaining situation, since the commune itself could not be self-sustaining. It would end up being a collectivist-economy shithole, just like any other, very few productive people ending up in it, and the few ensconced therein, given every incentive to leave and none whatsoever to stay. And so the commune would starve.

Outside the commune, in Architect-land, we’d need some kind of a “don’t look back” rule, a no-compassion rule. Long-term, I just can’t see it working. Like a six-year-old running away from home, the Medicators would wrap themselves up in some little cloister that oughta work great — but won’t — and one way or another, the experiment would be ended prematurely and we’d all re-integrate and labor under this soft-coercion to pretend the whole thing never happened. The spoiled-rotten would be spoiled-rotten some more, because that’s their nature and that’s our nature as well.

I’ve got a one-word solution to this problem: Hollywood. Just as Medicators don’t really want all the authority they’re demanding, so too do Hollywood stars not really want all the money that our “Architect” rules — read those as capitalist rules — say is really theirs. They claim to feel guilty about it, and call me a sucker, but I think they’re honest about this.

So here’s how we make it work a little longer. Baldwin goes in. Redford goes in. Ono, Cameron, Douglas, Roberts, Milano, they all go in. And just like the sign says, half of the commune lives off the “work” of the other half. Well, more like lives off their assets. That might not entirely avoid that final bleak winter, but it should delay it by quite awhile. Warren Buffett will be in there, and for goodness sake, after this year if we know anything for sure we know he must believe in redistribution!

If this plan has a weak spot, it must have something to do with its presumption of what what the residents of the commune really want. It relies on something looking like a duck, really being a duck; I’m not entirely sure it is correct, here, and I am almost certain that it’s wrong. Can these Occupy Wall Street activists and Hollywood movie actors be walled off from the rest of us, where they can’t see any parts of humanity save for those who are sharing the same circumstances as they are…and, once assured that all the foodstuffs and staples are being distributed equitably within, along with the gadgets and toys, come away completely satisfied day after day? No more bitching about 99% versus 1%, since they wouldn’t have ‘em.

It would be like a swimming pool — the water would reach entropy, with the level uniform from one end to the other.

I think the key is, don’t bring these poor wretches any news. They don’t want it anyway. Let the commune exist as a sort of “pocket universe,” with opaque walls, its own government, but with nary a hint that anything is taking place outside. Just like The Truman Show. Or that goofy midsummer dream I had three years ago about the smaller city existing within the larger one; residents of the smaller city took delight in banishing everyone who didn’t quite adhere properly to notions of the “right” ways of doing things, and without realizing it they ended up banishing themselves. If we make a discovery or invent something out here, they hear nothing of it. If, by some slender chance, they manage to come up with something new, they can keep it. Let’s face it, they don’t want our stuff and we don’t want theirs.

Bikini DollAnd now for the good part: Imagine how things would work out here! You make a new widget the world needs, and your company gets billions-of-dollars huge because of the help it gives people and the software license fees people willingly fork over to it…you keep it. Sure, something somewhere is going to be taxed, but only to raise revenue for the vital functions of government — not to even things out. Everyone who “just think(s) when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody” will be in the citadel. And, you know how when you’re at at Starbucks, you could limp around with a sprained ankle and end up at another Starbucks before it even starts to get uncomfortable? Well here, outside the cloister, we’d have exactly that same thing going on, but with Tilted Kilt and Hooters. Freakin’ awesome! Some females look better than others, and that’s quite alright…the crazy-cat-ladies who run around all raspy-voiced and pear shaped, constantly objecting to this, won’t be part of the equation. So we’d have pin-ups. In office cubicles. In offices that employ both men and women…and it will be perfectly okay. Lots of things that aren’t okay now, would be okay. You could walk down the sidewalk with a gun on your hip. What’s your crime rate do then? You tell me; you wanna mess with a guy with a .44 on his hip? In this world, a car exists, not so much to transport your pampered ass from Point A to Point B, but as a project that is an assembly of parts, which can be tuned up, stripped down, replaced in a modular way, or supercharged in your spare time. Oh, of course it requires gas. So we drill. On land.

Something might go wrong with that. In which case, someone needs to fix something on land, not under a mile of seawater.

Life would be just one big year-’round horrific-gasping scare-fest — to a bunch of hysterical, matronly busy-bodies who wouldn’t be involved in it anymore. Lookin’ more like win-win all the time.

We’d stop putting dads in movies. At least, they wouldn’t be in there all the time…no more subplots about daddy issues. If dad is ever in a movie, it’s as a capital-D Dad, like the Dad who showed up at the end of Old Yeller to opine away with his fatherly wisdom about the meaning of it all.

The hippies are all in the giant bell housing, with the crazy cat ladies and the gun control freaks and the wealth redistribution types, where they belong. There probably isn’t any oceanfront property in there — hippies don’t want that anyway. Hippies like backyard gardens. What are they doing crowding up our seashores? So this plan translates to about a thousand miles of primary-residence and rental property along the Pacific, and some fifteen hundred more on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, opened up to decent, non-hippie people who actually like and appreciate the rugged life out on the ocean. Ever see a hippie out on a boat, callousing his hands tying two dozen different knots just to make the damn thing go? I’m not talking about a sailboat, I’m talking about things like tugboats and fishing trawlers. Someone Mike Rowe might interview. Sure, one in ten of those guys might look like a hippie, but that’s not what I’m talking about. If it involves real danger but has to get done in order to feed people…if it involves scraping barnacles or mopping up goo…the hippies, who make such a big deal out of growing their own tofu in a garden to serve up as replacement-Turkey and fool the hated meat eaters, are constantly and most assuredly MIA. They like cosmetic work, just the bare wispy idea of living off the land. They’re not too big on actually doing it. Why are they all over the place around Highway 1? Why do we let them take our lovely oceans? Why are they interested in having them? Hippie goes on vacation, first thing he does is scramble inland to some “Tuscan” resort so he can pretend he’s in Europe. Makes no sense.

Red-staters on the ocean! Imagine it! People who know how to work with muck, and get things done, and grow food and bring it to market…enjoying widespread access to the ocean. So in this world, if you’re a tough-as-nails female and you’ve got something to prove, you don’t prove it by yelling some guff out your car window to a decent American like me who you catch wearing an anti-Obama tee shirt. No, you prove it the Sarah Palin way, breaking bones in your hand helping your hubby haul in ambrosia from the sea. Imagine lobster tails, costing pennies a pound more than chuck steak. Put a sunset on the Age of Aquarius, and it’s a done deal.

So my plan would solve the “goddamn hippies cluttering up the surfside zip codes” problem. But there’s more!

My state of primary residence, California, would lead the nation — in creating a flat tax. No more of this nonsense where a couple hundred tax returns in a state of 35 million people, fall short of the high hopes of our wizened bureaucrats to generate the crucial revenues and in so doing doom us to an entire fiscal year of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. No can do; Architects summon the problem-solving from within, since their stuff has to work. Everyone in California wants to bitch about no money in the coffers? Then everyone in Cali can contribute. I think California would have the biggest change, with tax revenues, as well as with public policies in general. We’ve got this obscenely thick rulebook full of rules that aren’t actually enforced. It would be like — go or stop time. Knock it off with this “going through the motions” stuff…everything that’s illegal, start busting people for doing it, and if you’re not going to do that then repeal the damn law because it doesn’t matter. So I guess our annual summer fiasco with the missed-the-budget-deadline thing would be a thing of the past, probably because we would no longer have the deadline, and we probably wouldn’t need it.

Drive a car in California, just sort of making up all the rules as you go along, potentially killing someone? Big change in the Golden State: You won’t make it where you’re going.

Start a business in California, on a shoestring, without legal advice or the better part of a year available to wrangle with spineless bureaucrats and nebulous rules? Big change there too: It’ll probably work out just great.

I hear the Occupy Wall Street kids are upset that they’ve graduated from college and find they can find work in their fields. The problem appears to be that their fields are nonsense. There’s another problem solved: All the campus profs who teach “oppressed women” studies and “America sucks” studies, would be walled off. I imagine the institutions of higher education, out here, would change a lot. Much more emphasis on hard sciences. In the early years, they’d continue to teach basic things, stuff that in my day was put in the textbooks as early as seventh grade. How come if a right triangle is 1 unit long on one leg, and 2 units long on the other, the hypotenuse is 1.732? We’d begin a long, slow recovery making sure our Masters Degree candidates were all clear on stuff like that…then we’d press the degree-inflation bell curve, back again, where it was before all the trouble started…and beyond. Me, personally, I’ve never understood why we couldn’t have the geometry & trig all cleared up by fifth grade. Seriously, why not? I’d have been completely fascinated. It’s so easy to see how the knowledge can be practically applied. Welcome to third grade, Jimmy, here’s your CAD station. Seriously, why not?

So universities would teach hard sciences, things that can be used to build exciting new things. The message that comes from higher education would be one of “With what we teach you, you can create new knowledge, and have a meaningful impact on what we will end up teaching your kids” — rather than what it is now, which is “Keep the money coming in, so you can have a job in a cubicle, and when you get that job be sure & set lots of money aside so your kids can come here and end up with jobs in cubicles.” The emphasis would be on doing rather than on being. I imagine, this would actually change the architecture of college buildings. They would look efficient, rather than sprawling, ivy-covered, hoity-toity holier-than-thou. They would impart the message of “if you come inside these walls, you will learn something you can use,” rather than one of “the people inside these walls are better than you.” In short, it would function importantly toward that egalitarian society the Medicators have been telling us they’re trying to build…during all these long years and decades in which they haven’t been doing any such thing.

Race? We’d get past our ugly history by — get a load of this — getting past it. Quit making a big deal out of it. No reparations. No Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. You know where they’d be. If the President is black, he’s black, and if he isn’t he isn’t. No big deal. You can put a swimsuit calendar on your wall at work. We’ll treat you as if you’re harassing your female co-workers if you…get ready for another big change…are caught harassing your female co-workers. In which case, you can forget about “training” or other such silliness. Let’s get real, if you’re guilty, it’s a serious issue. We’d go through all of life that way, solving problems to actually solve problems instead of to make money for lawyers. Classes would disappear, left right & sideways. The drivers who think the rules of the road are for everybody else, go to traffic school? Bullshit. You don’t care about the rules of the road, you lose your license, drive without the license and you lose the car. Ask yourself how we want rules enforced on pilots. Ask yourself why we do it any differently with cars. Answer: There are more cars, therefore enough money flowing around to start a phony-baloney industry. Stop the insanity.

Super FriendsNo more projected guilt. The United States builds up a huge stockpile of weapons, but has much greater appreciation for the men and women trained in using it, who have dedicated their lives to making sure this “stockpile” does what it is supposed to do. If they can take out a nest of terrorists at night, using night goggles that the terrorists don’t have…that’s just fine. People wear flag pins, on television, reporting the news, and there’s nobody around to ridicule them for it. Wonder Woman is back in shorts, looking wise, dignified, strong, courageous, desirable and sexy; how did we ever get the idea one character cannot have all these things? Womens’ Lib told us that? Explain that to me if you can. Superman stands for truth, justice and the American way — looking more like 40-ish than 25, and built more like a wrestler than an underwear model. The Man of Steel looks the way he did in the Golden Age. Six-pack? That’s something beer comes in. Superheroes smile. Even Batman smiles. They’re there to vanquish evil and set things right, aren’t they? When & where did this idiocy with glowering GQ-model superheroes start? Save the glowering for the computer software developers.

Music is different. Television is different. All the kids are different because their dreams are different. Kids’ dreams, remember those? Thinking is different.

Maybe, if you’ve read this far, you’ve started to see where I’m really taking this. The thought exercise is an illumination of what all the arguing has really been about the entire time: It’s about visions for the future, made real through decisive action. It’s about how individuals can behave to alter their circumstances for the better, and change the circumstances of those around them in a meaningful, beneficial way — not by babbling things, but by moving, refining, molding, shaping, building. What a powerful thing this is, when you don’t need to lobby or picket or “occupy” or bully or cajole some stranger into looking at things your way…or write letters to the editor…when you can simply act. Just do stuff.

We have what it takes for this to excite us. We are built for it. That’s why we started liking superheroes in the first place. You see a water tower about to fall over and squish a baby flat, if you’ve got what it takes to stop that from happening you stop it. You don’t look up some rule that says you can’t do it and tell people “yeah, here on this page, that’s the rule.” You save the baby. Sane, decent people work that way.

Yes, it’s a selfish dream of mine. But like Yoko’s husband said: I’m not the only one. I’m one of thousands and thousands of bloggers, perhaps millions, with the same story: I’m spending the leisure moments of my adulthood in exactly the opposite way from how I spent them in childhood. I was one of the “Lincoln Log and Lego” kids, putting things together with my hands rather than communicating with people, and now I communicate with people instead of building things with my hands. I’m doing it under protest. I’ve figured out some people would rather communicate than get ’round to doing stuff…and, if they’re given a complete monopoly on the communication, the rest of us end up unable to do stuff because they won’t permit it. In fact, if we can somehow do some stuff in this world where they’re making it harder and harder to do stuff, they’ll make sure we can’t profit from it.

But if I really had my druthers? I’d spend my leisure time the way I spent it as a kid. Tune things out and build stuff. The reality is, for the present time, that can’t be anything more than another dream. And a distant memory.

And so, like many, I’m a reluctant blogger. I communicate at the expense of getting things done…because I have no choice left to me…the other folks are communicating up a storm, because that’s all they’ve ever had any interest in doing. Now they’re “occupying,” that’s just wonderful. Every week that goes by, they get more attention than they got the week before, but it’s never enough. Ever. They’re supposedly dissatisfied and angry because they can’t get jobs, but how many things would they need to do if they really wanted jobs — that they aren’t even getting started on doing? They aren’t protesting joblessness, they’re protesting their proximity to the rest of us. Putting them in a special place where they can do their communicating and interfering, and leave the rest of us alone? Seems like a win-win, the more I think about it. And they’d welcome it. I mean, they would, wouldn’t they? They’d have to, unless their real desire is really nothing more than a lust for conflict.

Blame the Revolution, Not the Men

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Mona Charen:

[Kate] Bolick seems genuinely conflicted about marriage. The daughter of a committed feminist, she marched off to third grade “in tiny green or blue T-shirts declaring: A WOMAN WITHOUT A MAN IS LIKE A FISH WITHOUT A BICYCLE.” She recalls that when she was cuddling in the back seat of the family car with her high school boyfriend, her mother turned around and asked, “Isn’t it time you two started seeing other people?” She took it for granted, she writes, “that (I) would marry, and that there would always be men (I) wanted to marry.”

So sure was she of the limitless romantic opportunities available that at the age of 28, she broke up with a wonderful boyfriend. They had been together for three years. He was “an exceptional person, intelligent, good-looking, loyal, kind.” Why did she discard him? “Something was missing.”

Ten years later, she writes somewhat (though not entirely) ruefully “If dating and mating is in fact a marketplace…today we’re contending with a new ‘dating gap,’ where marriage-minded women are increasingly confronted with either deadbeats or players.”

You should check out Bolick‘s article, and watch for yourself as she slowly comes around to what’s been going on:

According to Robert H. Frank, an economist at Cornell who has written on supply and demand in the marriage market, this shouldn’t be surprising. When the available women significantly outnumber men, which is the case on many campuses today, “courtship behavior changes in the direction of what men want,” he told me recently. If women greatly outnumber men, he says, social norms against casual sex will weaken. He qualifies this by explaining that no matter how unbalanced the overall sex ratio may become (in either direction), “there will always be specific men and women who are in high demand as romantic partners—think Penélope Cruz and George Clooney.” But even Cruz and Clooney, Frank says, will be affected by changing mores. The likelihood increases “that even a highly sought-after woman will engage in casual sex, even though she would have sufficient market power to defy prevailing norms.” If a woman with the “market power” of a Penélope Cruz is affected by this, what are the rest of us to do?

Just wow. After 45 years of achieving power…”what are the rest of us to do.” Constantly oppressed.

Last year, a former management consultant named Susan Walsh tried to dig a little deeper. She applied what economists call the Pareto principle—the idea that for many events, roughly 20 percent of the causes create 80 percent of the effects—to the college dating market, and concluded that only 20 percent of the men (those considered to have the highest status) are having 80 percent of the sex, with only 20 percent of the women (those with the greatest sexual willingness); the remaining 80 percent, male and female, sit out the hookup dance altogether. (Surprisingly, a 2007 study commissioned by the Justice Department suggested that male virgins outnumber female virgins on campus.) As Walsh puts it, most of the leftover men are “have nots” in terms of access to sex, and most of the women—both those who are hooking up and those who are not—are “have nots” in terms of access to male attention that leads to commitment. (Of course, plenty of women are perfectly happy with casual, no-strings sex, but they are generally considered to be in the minority.) Yet the myth of everyone having sex all the time is so pervasive that it’s assumed to be true, which distorts how young men and women relate. “I think the 80/20 principle is the key to understanding the situation we find ourselves in—one in which casual sex is the cultural norm, despite the fact that most people would actually prefer something quite different,” Walsh told me.

This matches my experience as a single fella…except, as always seems to be the case with the book-smart, reality starts to separate away from theory like badly hung wallpaper, when it is implicitly presumed that individuals and their experiences remain static over time. As part of the eighty percent, I’d safely assumed my experiences in K-12 were part of an education about the opposite sex, and an incomplete one; in adulthood I was determined to figure out the rest of it. Dating and sex were about getting that done, and as life continued to throw me the lessons I needed to learn, and I moved on to new lessons, my experiences changed. By about sixteen years ago I was sharing these experiences with the only one of the exes with whom I still communicate, who is known colloquially as “Kidzmom” — just from that, it’s pretty clear I eventually had experiences different from the way things were going from the start.

I have a bad reputation of turning just about any ol’ humdrum subject into vast bloated wreckage of loquacious nonsense. It isn’t so with my four-phase days, in spite of the learning that had to take place; I can sum it up with a single sentence. Once I learned a few fundamental secrets about reeling them in, I found myself carnal witness to a seemingly endless parade of confused waifs. That says it all. But let me break it down: The passage “marriage-minded women are increasingly confronted with either deadbeats or players” explains it (Charen pretty much lifted this from Bolick’s article)…of course, I must confess, I’m not completely sure in all cases how my “conquests” would qualify me. Assuming they could remember me.

Point is, they were daughters of the post-feminist era, just as I am one of its many hapless sons. They were looking for what they found. They were programmed to find deadbeats and players. I can recall a couple here and there who had problems with me for not dressing sharply enough, so I suppose they’d put me in the “deadbeat” file; many among the ones who didn’t have this issue with me, either because their standards were lower or because they met me after I figured out you need to dress like you care — would almost certainly pigeonhole me as a “player” because we ended up in that “Okay, we did it, now what?” phase.

I don’t know what sort of man really would make them happy, and I think I don’t know this because they don’t know either. I conclude this from applying the “remove everything from the block of marble that does not look like a horse” method, which works very well since it’s easy to identify what makes a modern marriageable female unhappy, and the customary sin of generalization becomes unusually safe. First on the list is a deficiency of financial wherewithal, or evidence of such a deficiency. Second would be problems with social interaction, recreational occasions — fun. Somewhere in that list, goes your male genetic breeding stock. This is where a whole lot of years of confusion and frustration and plate smashing and explaining domestic situations to cops, distills down into something embarrassingly simple: The trouble with women is simply that women are people, and people would prefer not to be miserable. Girls just want to have fun. And a future. How unreasonable, eh?

So you act like you can pay your bills, and then you have enough left over to take someone out and have a good time and behave properly in public. Then you can be part of the 20%, I suppose…some might say I eventually did that, although I’d hate to think so. The paradox is, that if it all works, you get a small loud pink thing that fills diapers and then you can forget about going out and having fun for quite awhile. The paradox exists because women are either really bad at planning ahead, or so good at it that it looks like they can’t do it. That part, I still haven’t quite got figured out yet. Don’t know if I’ll ever get that far.

But I find the “deadbeats or players” to be revealing. Like I said — they found what they were programmed to find. The maiden skips past all the ones who can’t dress properly, don’t live in the right neighborhoods, don’t have jobs she’d like to tell her mothers and girlfriends about, drive modest cars…these would be the deadbeats…whoever survives this initial round marries her immediately, unless he doesn’t, of course. Darn it all, who ever thought he might actually have a say in this?? Momma didn’t say anything about that! And so that would be your player. Deadbeats and players. The ones who she refused, and the ones that are refusing her.

My one liner that really sums it all up? Much of the time, looking back on each failed relationship with the benefit of hindsight, I realized I had used up a piece of life with someone who really wasn’t prepared to share life. They’d filed some other guys in the “deadbeat bin,” found me, decided I was a keeper and waited for that diamond ring. Got pissed off when it didn’t happen. And then, of course, there were the relationships that didn’t make it that far…when I was the guy who got skipped-past while they were looking for something else.

Almost like…I would say, exactly like…shopping. Shopping for a set of napkin rings, or linens, or interior paint or any fine retail product that is supposed to match up with something else. In a fine establishment where you expect your credit card to work all the time, and instead it works maybe one percent of the time. That’s the behavior I saw. Lots of merchandise being skipped over, for entirely nebulous reasons (“it’s not you, it’s me”), something perfect is found, it’s hauled up to the cash register and — WHA??? What do you mean? I just sent a payment! Try it again!

Yes. Perfect. That scenario sums up my single days; every female, every relationship casual and otherwise. My roles changed. But the serious ones, who found me suitable and waited for me to make that deeper commitment, acted exactly like a customer who handed her card to the cashier, watched her swipe it, and now was waiting for the approval to come back through the phone line — merchandise all bagged up in her well-manicured hand, sunglasses & car keys out ready to go. What’s taking so fucking long?

Guy’s perspective: Our lives do not revolve around the event of the “sale” (or, if they do, we don’t realize it). We don’t necessarily want to be single and we don’t necessarily want to be married, and this doesn’t mean we’re treating the girl as a plaything — we just want things to work. The lady treats the marriage as an asset, the gentleman treats it as a liability.

Hey, you know who else has been checking out the Pareto Principle? Sonic Charmer, better part of a year ago. This really struck a chord with me:

Been seeing a lot of chatter recently about the intersection of feminism, the sexual marketplace and progressivism. The basic pattern being observed is a cycle (whether virtuous or vicious depends on your POV) that resonates between female independence from men, female pursuit of alpha males, and female support for big government.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s not clear how to halt or even slow down the progress of this development before it leads to real disaster.

Here we come to the crux of what’s been happening, throughout the decades. We’ve heard the complaints from men that women are finding boys in the sexual marketplace, because the boys have been deprived of any incentive they might have had to grow up into men. The classic status of the patriarch within the household was found oppressive, we’ve done away with that status, and without that place for the responsible male to occupy the responsible male has gone missing. You end up with spinsters like Bolick complaining they can’t find anybody as the golden years lunge threateningly toward them, with all their plastic surgery appointments and their shopping excursions for ice cream, liquor and cat food. The husband and father has been displaced by big government; manhood has been reduced to a paycheck, and then government has stepped in to provide that. We could make a movie out of it: No Country For…Men.

Well, perhaps the sexual revolution has intertwined with the big-government revolution to bring us a situation where the government not quite so much displaces the sort of masculinity that is required to raise and protect a family, but channels it. Through taxes and the various public assistance conduits, all of the productive males in our society are engaged in providing for all of the females/children. There is a great priority being placed on making sure these providing men don’t actually decide anything as they do the providing. Whatever is not involuntary, is simply not involuntary yet. There’s always a revolution taking place, be it large or be it small, toward the objective that some obligation that is opt-in today, will be made not opt-in, but rather compulsory, in the near future. That would be your “rest toil away to make life easier and more comfortable for them.” While the confused damsel wandering the dating market in this post-feminist age, continues her shopping trip…finding the perfect piece of merchandise, and then waiting endlessly by the credit card machine for the approval to come through…frustrated that the answer is taking so long, sunglasses and keys in hand.

The bank, meanwhile, doesn’t approve nor does it reject. It not been provided with reason to respond either way.

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back For ReelGirl

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

We here consider Margot to have noble goals, although we think she’s often misguided. We identify with her because she’s a parent who seeks to take an active role in forming her childrens’ perception of gender roles, rather than passively allowing society to determine that for them, and as she recites her laundry list of objectionable societal propositions, we usually can’t find anything disagreeable. It would be good if more parents took an interest in this the way Margot does.

But the flare-up over here, in our view, was a huge mistake.

Let’s clear up a few things: Margot & all the people who share the offense she takes, may be entirely consistent in saying the image is “degrading” but I don’t see any of them protesting that it’s overly sexual; although there is an occasional use of “objectify(ing) women” which the careless reader may infer to have something to do with sensuality. And from wading in to the thread, I have the impression that the bulk of the anger doesn’t have to do with Chapstick putting the image up in the first place, it’s got to do with deleting comments about it which is a different thing.

Now, all that having been said: This campaign of hers, which was ultimately successful in persuading Chapstick to remove the offensive ad, was still a mistake. The message is not a helpful one, and ironically, it becomes even more unhelpful when you factor in that the initial pique was caused by indignity rather than sensuality. Just ponder it for a moment or two: The ad must go because the female has her ass stuck up in the air. “Objectification” is a complete falsehood; it is clear the viewer is intended to identify with the lady whose hindquarter points skyward, the message is one of “make sure you have plenty of our product because don’t you hate being in this position?” So if the ad must go because of the prominence of the posterior, and just a few among us now must labor to correctly infer the location of the new boundaries, the message that emerges is — females must be portrayed with dignity at all times. It’s a hard and fast rule. No exceptions. We’ll just have to learn to deal with it, like you can’t take a drag off a cigarette in the movies or drink an alcoholic beverage on television.

Which reinforces all of the unflattering stereotypes about feminists, as well as about women in general. Feminists look like cloistered, putrefying malcontents, living in a hermetically sealed world, scribbling down their irritations with this-and-that in spiral-bound notebooks, ready and eager to launch “campaigns” at the slightest offense, constantly embroiled in some tempest-in-a-teapot, sending out the shopworn broadcast of “how I hate this thing over here, come gather ’round and help me hate it.” As for women-in-general, they look…more irony here…like delicate, sensitive little waifs. Save the ridicule for the gents, fellow ad men, the chicks can’t handle it.

Worst thing is, though…and this is why I ultimately decided it was worth blogging…there’s no change here. None. As I pointed out already, anyone who’s seen a household cleaning product commercial sometime in the last 35 years knows that’s how it already works. Make sure the wife is using what we’re selling and the husband is using Brand X, so that in the last ten seconds of the spot, the female can be wise and the male is on the receiving end of the lecture. That’s a hard and fast rule, too. No exceptions tolerated. Why? Because it’s all about moving our crap. If the man is the one who has the knowledge and the woman is the one who has to be told, we’re not going to end up moving as much crap because, again, the chicks can’t handle it. How do we know that? Hah! You should see what happened on Facebook after we launched our “lose your lip balm in the couch cushions” campaign. We have the experience to back this up. Chicks are thin-skinned.

Suffice to say, I am unclear on how gender equality is achieved, or even pursued, with our ad people being encouraged toward this way of looking at the world. We are to think of women as strong, capable, resourceful and rugged, when the people whose job it is to sell us stuff — understand from their personal and professional experience that the opposite must be true? We have to show the gals as statuesque and dignified at all times or we’re given these P.R. headaches. Some simpering jackass uses a supercharged leaf blower to send his plastic lawn furniture tumbling while his frustrated wife whines to the camera about her migraine, and all is good. Dignity is a basic human right in advertising, but only for the “basic humans” with estrogen. Because woemyn have thin skin.

A real sea-change would be: Let’s move beyond the “women can do everything men can do,” and onward to “women can take everything a man can take.” Hey! What a revolutionary thought. Half a century of feminism; maybe it’s high time we got there.

Savor the victory, Margot, but you’d do well to be quieter about it. Save the champagne for something else.

Finally, a Point to the Occupy Wall Street Protests!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Turns out we’re all just reliving a parable, “The Little Red Hen.”

The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a “counter” revolution yesterday — because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad.

They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.

To show they mean business, the kitchen staff refused to serve any food for two hours yesterday in order to meet with organizers to air their grievances, sources said.

Looks like the “Occupy Occupy Wall Street” counter-movement has begun. Sucks to get a taste of your own medicine, donnit?

Noticing

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Reviving a hot fashion statement from 2002: Some smarmy git is cataloging all the things that make Americans inferior to real-people. The prevailing overtone is one of “they all carelessly stereotype” or something.

I know I’m a bad American myself, because I live in a world all my own. See, off in my corner of the universe, when I read a sentence that says “Scotland would be horrified to see the way Americans use paper towels,” call me funny I guess, but over here that says a great deal more about Scotland than it does about the United States. A bunch of damn Yankees eight time zones away, and their use of a paper product, somehow rates on the palette of everyday concerns over in Scotland? So Scottish people are are bored, is that it? Perhaps I owe the Scots more respect than to just take what’s-his-name’s word for it.

A decent fisking is done over at Spleenville, by way of our blogger friend Sonic Charmer at Rhymes with Cars & Girls, who has a list of things he’s noticed about non-Americans. Kinda. I tried to help him out. One thing I missed though, not so much about “non-Americans” but about non-Americans who air laundry lists of pet peeves about Americans: They look down with disdain on materialism, and also with a special brand of snotty derision against Americans who don’t travel, and it seems to have gone flying over their heads with a big “whoosh!” sound that, here in the states, traveling is necessarily materialistic. We work some and we play some, striving to maintain a balance. When we play, we might come to Europe, or…maybe we’ll just live frugally and drive the earth-friendly but non-pretentious 4-cylinder out to the coast. And there, the seagulls can curse our materialism while demanding more croutons out of us, thus bringing us all the non-American culture our little hearts desire.

Something Wonderful

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Gerard‘s okay and he’s coming back.

Many years ago, I chanced to hear Rush Limbaugh read something on the air that was so well put together I had to figure out who wrote it. Ironically, I was in a Starbucks at the time I was listening to it: “You hear this soft, inflected tone everywhere that young people below, roughly, 35 congregate. As flat as the bottles of spring water they carry and affectless as algae, it tends to always trend towards a slight rising question at the end of even simple declarative sentences…whisps across your ears as if the speaker is in a state of perpetual uncertainty with every utterance…it has a misty quality to it that denies it any unique character at all.” When I heard these words, I knew I was blogging this for sure.

Many years later, after he’d linked to me many times, and I to him, Gerard Van der Leun put up Something Wonderful: This is a Future Leader Who Will Give You Real Hope. About a six-year-old boy who might very well be one, and definitely did. The kid knows his 44 presidents frontwards and backwards. As a blogger I decided he didn’t quite make the cut, but as a father, I sent a link to my son. But then, nothing. This one went up on October 13. There was nothing throughout the 14th, 15th, 16th…Van der Leun is, from what I can tell, an intensely private man. He lives somewhere in my old stomping grounds, Seattle, apparently alone. I thought little of the silence, although in the back of my mind there was some concern. Over here, I operate according to strict rules against SNUL. We don’t put up posts that say “sorry no updates lately,” except in very rare situations anyway. We don’t make it a point to ensure something’s going in at least every 48 hours, or anything like that. Which means if you think something happened to us, you’ll just have to browse the obits. Our blog is a scrapbook and not a billboard. Perhaps Gerard has the same sentiments about refusing to allow the blogging to dominate all else in life? Took off somewhere to clear his head? After a full week passed, it was clear something out of the ordinary was happening. Our favorite Blog-Uncle did go off on sojourns before, but he was known to put up some one-liners before doing so.

On the tenth day, this materialized on the front page I was now checking daily:

Message from Gerard

This is a friend, delivering a message from Gerard: he was taken ill but is glad to report that he’s recuperating nicely, and plans to be back in the not-too-distant future to tell you all about it. Knowing Gerard, he should have a lot to say.

And so, from what we can see, things are continuing to hum along nicely. At least, given that our worst fears were confirmed: Something to do with the ticker. An apt metaphor. For many of us, Gerard is the “heartbeat” of the blogging world itself. Glad to see you back, my friend. Take it easy, take your time, and thanks to Little Miss Atilla for bringing us up to speed.

The Power of Greed

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

The Globe and Mail, via Say Anything:

“It’s weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it’s time to go, they’re still there. I guess that’s why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That’s the power of greed.” – Jeremy, 38

Okay, then. Nothing to add.

Hat tip to Maggie’s Farm, by way of blogger friend Terri.

Mike Rowe Not Impressed by Obamanomics

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

But I’m always more and more impressed by him. Here’s the setup: Obama is going into a re-election campaign with absolutely nothing to sell us, except for some crispy dead terrorist carcasses He only managed to pull in by following the policies of His predecessor, you know, the Texas bumpkin who was supposed to have been screwing everything up and making a big mess for Him to fix. So Obama gives some speeches telling us that we have Pass His Plans Right Now!!1! because we need to tax those rich people, who are screwing things up even more by not paying enough. As the Government continues to spend far more than it ever has…ever.

Mike Rowe calls this what it is. He’s very thoughtful about it, skilled in his writing, draws all of the important distinctions. Doesn’t hate Obama, but disagrees with His policies; doesn’t think Obama is trying to hurt people, thinks He’s just trying to get re-elected. But he calls our man-god-king-Replacement-Jesus out and pulls no punches:

When you want to marginalize a group, or turn the general sentiment against a specific demographic, you don’t call people out by name – you call them out by something else. That something else is usually race or class. (The Jews, the Blacks, the Rich, the Poor, etc.) You define them by something other than their individuality and humanity. That’s why I take his “fair share” attacks personally. Even though I wasn’t named, I am in the group.

Wow, he went there! Almost called Obama Hitler or something! Eh…yeah he kind of veered off in that direction, but with class, grace, and most important of all, accuracy. He does come off as somewhat upset, but not excessively so, and after he states his case you really can’t blame him. Says what needs to be said, doesn’t say anything that would go over the line. It’s a masterful performance, and it’s actually a constructive exchange.

And out of whatever motives, someone comes along to misconstrue his comments anyway.

With all due respect, I still think you’re overreacting. If Obama was trying to make a point about the amount of money various groups of people contribute to the country compared to what they earn, how else could he say it without mentioning the rich or the poor? How can you talk about the economy without mentioning money?

This whole time, I’ve been under the impression that he was talking about large powerful corporations with political influence, but let’s assume his comments included individual business owners as well. In the spirit of things not being black or white, isn’t it possible that he didn’t mean ALL rich people are at fault. He must be aware that there are wealthy people out there who in fact pull their weight and more. Would he (or anyone) purposely badmouth well- meaning, hard-working Americans? That makes no sense to me.

Note the disconnect here. Mike is going off of what was actually said, speculating on absolutely nothing. This person who disagrees with him about his misinterpretation — maybe that’s all she’s doing and she’s being sincere, or maybe she’s one of the few unrepentant Obamafans left…it really doesn’t matter which. Point is, her argument is based on a lot of “When I hear one thing I’m going to presume another.”

“Perpetual Apprentice” Mike Rowe wouldn’t be able to think like that, with the job(s) he has. He could end up hurt or killed…or, at least, a lot of the people he interviews, are in that situation. Must respond to reality the way it actually exists, or end up dead, what-I-want-it-to-be just doesn’t enter into it too much.

Now, watch how skillfully he handles this.

With all due respect, I still think you’re overreacting.
Hi Agi -

How come? I have not taken to the streets to protest. I have not made signs or used bad language. I have not gotten myself arrested. I have not disrupted anyone’s business or personal life. I have simply shared my views in a virtual world. Overreacting? Hell, I’m not even acting.

If Obama was trying to make a point about the amount of money various groups of people contribute to the country compared to what they earn, how else could he say it without mentioning the rich or the poor?

Ok, I’ll give it a shot.

(cough cough)

“My fellow Americans. I know that many of you are suffering. And I know that many of you look around and see a country where not all things appear to be equal. Well, guess what? They aren’t. They never have been, and I can assure you, as long as liberty and freedom remain supreme, they never will be. Let’s be honest – looking for equality is a democracy is like looking for love in a wh0re house. You might see something that comes close, but in the end, that dog don’t hunt.

No, my fellow Americans, I believe our best hope for a true recovery will come not from a temptation to make all things more equal, but rather, to make all things more possible. To do that, we must rethink everything we currently hold dear in our modern economy, beginning with our obscene relationship with Debt and Spending. These are the true enemies of prosperity – not your neighbor. Our problems today were not caused by the success of others. They were caused by the mistaken belief that we could have some things we wanted – but in fact, could simply not afford.

I look now to the wealthiest among us. To the ones who have in the past, provided the jobs we need so desperately today. To the innovators and risk takers that truly drive our economy. We need your help. Even though just 1% of you pay nearly 30% of all the Federal Taxes we collect, I must now ask you to pay even more. It pains me to ask those of you who have already given so much because as any fool can plainly see – it simply isn’t fair. Alas, I believe that I must. Our country is suffering, and we need you.”

How can you talk about the economy without mentioning money?

You can’t. But if you need more money from people who already give a lot, there’s a polite way to ask.

This whole time, I’ve been under the impression that he was talking about large powerful corporations with political influence, but let’s assume his comments included individual business owners as well.

There’s no need to assume such a thing. He’s been crystal clear about individuals. How many time’s has he pointed to Buffet as “an example” for the wealthy?

In the spirit of things not being black or white, isn’t it possible that he didn’t mean ALL rich people are at fault?

No, it’s not possible. It’s definite. Of course, he is not talking to the rich people who agree with him. In fact, he is not talking to the rich people who disagree with him. And I doubt seriously that he really believes “rich people” had anything to do with our messed up economy. I think he’s talking to the “99%,” and attempting to say the thing that will result in the most possible votes. I think he’s running for office.

He must be aware that there are wealthy people out there who in fact pull their weight and more.

Of course he is. But this isn’t about them. It’s about votes.

Why would he (or anyone) purposely badmouth well- meaning, hard-working Americans? That makes no sense to me.

Isn’t it obvious? If you’re right – and I think you are – there is but one logical explanation. He wants people to see “the rich” as the problem – not him, not spending, not debt, and not some other failed policy. He wants the Rich to be the scapegoat.

What I find confusing about your reaction, is that you of all people live in relative proximity to the public eye. Anyone with a mediocre search engine can see that you aren’t hoarding your wealth, you’re using it to give back and move things forward.

I’m judged everyday by all sorts of people. I really don’t mind. But this is the president, Agi, suggesting that people in my group are not paying their fair share. I’m calling bull*****.

I don’t think anyone is blaming you.

If the President wants to be more specific about which of the 1% aren’t paying their fair share, that’s up to him. It’s not really for you or anyone else to tell me what he meant. His words are crystal clear. If he wants to take it back, he will. But he won’t.

If you were an oil tycoon from an oil tycoon family with immeasurable wealth and serious political ties, I would understand if you were taking it personally.

As we discussed with Clem, if an unemployed carpenter wanted to, he could probably feel pretty envious about the Longshoreman who works 4 hours a day for $125K a year. It’s relative, and it’s really not about the amount. It’s about the suggestion that some pull their weight and some do not.

Mike

You should really go read the whole thread. It covers a wide range of topics, it’s not about bashing His Holy Eminence over the class-warfare-rhetoric that isn’t supposed to be class-warfare-rhetoric…and the comments about unions are very well thought-out, in addition to educational. Good find.

Hat tip to Big Hollywood.

President Throws First Pitch

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

And the crowd goes wild. No, not that President…that one.

From here.

The Texas crowd roared last night as America’s 43rd president George W. Bush was introduced to throw out the first pitch in Game 4 of the World Series. Rangers President Nolan Ryan played catcher.

Can’t resist including what follows:

“No More Years”

Monday, October 24th, 2011

President Obama seems increasingly likely to lose His bid for re-election.

Just two years ago it seemed highly unlikely that Barack Obama would turn out to be a one-term president. But looking at voters’ frustrations with our continuing economic problems and the growth of federal government intrusiveness during Mr. Obama’s first term, more and more commentators are saying this may actually come to pass. Of course a lot can happen over a year, and we should never underestimate the power of incumbency (or the benefit Democratic presidents have with the press). The question is whether, even with these advantages, the president can possibly win re-election without significant good news on the economic front. The other question is: If Obama does lose, what will the new Republicans in the White House and, presumably, Congress do, and what should they do?

The current polls are not encouraging for the president. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey shows him trailing a generic Republican by 6%. Gallup shows the generic Republican up by 8%, and the ABC News/Washington Post poll finds 11% more disapprove than approve of the president. Rasmussen has strong presidential approval at 19% and strong disapproval at 41%. The RealClearPolitics average last week shows just 17% think our nation is on the right track, and 76% think it is on the wrong-track. Rasmussen also reports that just 16% of likely voters think the country is headed in the right direction, down 16 points from last year.

Now comes an Investors Business Daily/TIPP survey showing, according to IBD, that a “majority of Americans now oppose giving President Obama a second term, and that by 51%-41% respondents in October picking ‘someone new deserves a chance,’ over Obama ‘deserves to be re-elected.’ Among independents it was 54%-36%”.

And it gets worse. The current ABC News/Washington Post polling finds that 55% of American people believe a Republican will win the election, and 37% that Obama will win. Democrats expect to win by 58% to 33% percent, while Republicans believe they will win 83% to 13%. By 54% to 36%, independents think a Republican will beat Mr. Obama.

A lot can happen between now and Election Day. Obama’s best hope at this point, in my opinion, is sliming the opposition. The “Obama the Terrist Killing Machine!” hype just isn’t working, it’s turning off the base, and the opposition that likes to see dead terrorists roll in, myself included, tends to work from a position of knowledge, pay attention to the details, and therefore we’re left unimpressed.

Just speaking for myself, I’ve entirely excluded the possibility that the “economy might rebound.” Oh, here and there a positive blip, maybe. But Barack Obama is in charge. So it will stay anemic, and Obama’s campaign strategy for the next year vis a vis the economy, will be what it has been for the last three: Blame you-know-who.

Look for the Al Gore strategy. No not the global warming thing, the “Put that guy in charge and your grandmother is going to have to choose between heart medicine and cat food” ploy. That’s all there is.

Anonymous Defaces Police Website

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

…in so doing, releasing private information of a thousand police association members.

The above clip is mildly amusing (slow build-up to the good stuff at about 5:30)…what follows, not so much:

Along with the IACP data, Anonymous revealed 1000 names and passwords from the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association; 1000 names, ranks, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers from the Alabama law enforcement systems; and the full contact database Matrix Group, a web development agency serving government websites.
:
“We have no problem targeting police and releasing their information even if it puts them at risk because we want them to experience just a taste of the brutality and misery they serve us on an everyday basis,” reads the press release.

Now, go back up and listen to the recording again; put on the spot to explain his reasons, the hacker mutters some nonsense and gibberish about being “bored.”

Captain Obvious sez: This isn’t about brutality or misery, and it isn’t about the one percent oppressing or slighting or hoarding money from the ninety-nine percent. It isn’t even about gettin’-even-with-em-ism, of any kind. It’s about inexperienced and over-privileged kids getting attention. Within this particular stunt, the instigators think of police as a source of trouble and nothing else, certainly not of protection. Okay, then. They haven’t been through anything yet. They love trouble because they’ve never really had any…except, maybe, the kind they’ve managed to manufacture themselves.

I’m thinking there’s a lot of “one percent”-ness about this ninety-nine percent movement.

The Seam

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

To fight for change, and emerge victorious against a resourceful and determined oppositional force, conservatives must go about it the way it’s always been done: By attacking the opposition on a fault line. Dividing and conquering.

Blogger friend Irish Cicero had an encounter with one of the persons I think of as “The Hooked”: A waitress, probably angling for a larger tip, commiserating with him by means of such twaddle as “We of the 99.” The bait is gone, the hook has set, she’s not yet fully reeled in but the line is taut. These aren’t individuals anymore for they have willingly given up their individual identity even though they don’t know it. This is a monolith; it’s a blob. It’s everywhere, it’s annoying, it’s maddening, it has all the characteristics of a zombie infestation and it looks unbeatable. Even worse, the closer you study it the more you despair. If these people gave a rat’s rear end about jobs-jobs-jobs, or conservative-versus-liberal, one might nurture some hope about cluing them in. But since they go through life feeling their way around problems rather than thinking their way through them, you might as well argue with a hamster. They are beyond reason, and any one among them is ready, willing and able to fully cancel out your vote. What’s the use of even trying.

But then you look closer still, and you see this is the key to the opposition’s defeat.

Quoting from myself, during a discussion about Cicero’s unsettling encounter:

If this is cast as a conservative/liberal thing, people react the same way they react to a Cowboys/Niners thing. They’ll just line up with their favorite team and stay there. So I would counsel away from this…The so-called “liberals” who are really the enemy, are the Washington liberals, vastly outnumbered by the liberals who are like your favorite lovable Southern Baptist Auntie, and their concerns are far different from hers. They are the dupers, she is the dupee. The object of the exercise is not to get her voting Republican for the rest of her life, it’s to help her to stop being duped.

There is a palpable anger against “millionaires and billionaires” and “bankers” and “Wall Street” and “business.” Much of it is ill-thought-out and ill-advised, but it’s silly to try to assert it’s completely unfounded…Why end up in the same old plate-smashing sneering snarling Thanksgiving drunken brawl over labels, when both sides in fact share a common enemy? What a waste. So much common ground.
:
So my suggestion is: Swivel the topic of conversation around, ever so slightly, to the question of what these “millionaires and billionaires” have actually produced

Join in on the two-minute-hate, after doing your part to make sure it’s pointed in the right direction. Then tell ‘em a thing or two about a guy named George [Soros]. More often than not, you’ll find they’ve never heard of him…Don’t forget, we’re still in the extended Steve Jobs dirge-fest. Capitalists that actually design, build and provide stuff, aren’t quite as much the villain this year as they usually are; the point is easier to make now, than usual. Just imagine an alternate universe in which Steve Jobs [had been making] his fortune, for the last thirty years, the same way George Soros had been.

The Left is enjoying the benefits of a fragile success here, one that can be easily dismantled and is key to any victory that might come their way in the near future. They have convinced the “big middle,” which is people with non-existent or weak ideological affiliation, who pay little or no attention to the news day-to-day — those who want to be availed the luxury of forming passionate opinions without taking the time to learn. They’ve prevailed on this vast and important demographic to erase the line between “businessmen” who produce and “businessmen” who do not. To them, it’s all a big blob, “The One Percent” I think they call it?

And so by envisioning a big blob, they have become a big blob. One percent, ninety-nine percent. We’re back thirty-five years in time, when everyone wearing a suit and tie is to be regarded with deep suspicion and maybe a hefty garnish of hatred, but the blubbery hippie in the tie-dyed tee shirt smelling like Cheetos and grass and ass is…well…not that other guy, and that’s good enough. But my point is: Think about this uneasy alliance you have here. You have the beltway lefties like Barney Frank, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi — what exactly is it that they want? Just power. They don’t have a vision for the future. Their entire suite of goals can be summed up in five words: Congress has the final say. That captures it all. Name one thing they do that isn’t motivated by this. So yes, they’re engaged in some efforts that are straight out of Communist Manifesto, and they have friends in the unions. They’re all gung-ho on the homosexual agenda and they’re hostile to the family unit, their policies throw millions of people out of work, but these are just means toward an end. They just want power.

Your nice old Auntie and your airhead 99-percenter waitress, are motivated by entirely different things. They don’t like seeing people hurt. They’ve blossomed this into a hatred, for no reason more complicated than that hatred is easy. It comes naturally, it comes quick, and once visibly displayed it helps to establish your allegiances. Michael Corleone said “Never hate your enemies, it clouds your judgment,” and this is true. Their judgment is clouded. See, the whole problem is they know more about who they want to have as friends, than about who they want to have as enemies; they don’t really know where to direct the anger.

They have no interest in making Washington more powerful. Yes they back policy proposals that do exactly that — more taxes, more regulation. But they don’t really want anyone receiving this money and power, they just want it all taken away. They’d be just as happy seeing it all go into a big bottomless hole.

So the seam must be attacked — the seam that binds these power-hogs in Washington, to the people out in the heartland who haven’t a care in the world about what the power-hogs do. That’s where the education needs to be. Jobs got shipped overseas — why?? Why would a business do such a thing? Nearly all of the time, the answer is that there were regulations in place that made it a sensible business decision. Businesses, after all, don’t make their profits by screwing people over and throwing them out of work. They don’t even think in terms of friends-and-enemies, unlike politicians. No, a business is exactly like an electrical current moving through a circuit, or through their air to the ground in the form of a lightning bolt. It’s all about path of least resistance. Nobody ever says “stupid lightning bolt, it should have struck that tree over there instead of this one over here”; if the lightning struck, the test is completed and the question is settled, the path-of-least-resistance has been fully defined.

Businesses are seen as different, and mistakenly so, anthropomorphized into almost supernatural beings motivated by malice. This is an ideas-based victory for the left made possible by neglect on the right. It’s possible to reverse this by attacking that seam, that weak spot that unites the beltway power-goblins with the unthinking, uncaring, too-busy-for-that, wanna-do-right-by-everyone crowd that pays attention only casually. It is a weak flank. They have no love for each other, they aren’t motivated by the same things, and best of all, one side is sure to be repulsed when the mask finally slips off the other side.

That’s the way to win. The stakes are high.

Drum Tax

Friday, October 21st, 2011

From Terri, a story from Ed Morrissey about order, chaos, valiant crusading, and becoming that which you loathe most:

“[The high school] couldn’t teach,” explained Josh Nelson, a 27-year-old occupier from Nebraska. “And we’ve had issues with the drummers too. They drum incessantly all day, and really loud.” Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out,” said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.

But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly.

“They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music,” said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. “The GA decided to do it … they suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.”

To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former “head drummer,” this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. “They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest,” he said. “They didn’t even give the drummers a say … Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.”

The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. “Now they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places,” said Engelerdt. “We’re like, what’s going on here? They’re like the banks we’re protesting.”

All belongings and money in the park are supposed to be held in common, but property rights reared their capitalistic head when facilitators went to clean up the park, which was looking more like a shantytown than usual after several days of wind and rain. The local community board was due to send in an inspector, so the facilitators and cleaners started moving tarps, bags, and personal belongings into a big pile in order to clean the park.

But some refused to budge. A bearded man began to gather up a tarp and an occupier emerged from beneath, screaming: “You’re going to break my fucking tent, get that shit off!” Near the front of the park, two men in hoodies staged a meta-sit-in, fearful that their belongings would be lost or appropriated.

As Morrissey notes, the stick-it-to-the-man, outside-the-corporate-world shantytown is building up an oppressive rulebook of its own:

And how did organizers of this free-speech demonstration react? By, er, telling people they couldn’t talk to the press:

As the communal sleeping bag argument between Lauren Digion and Sage Roberts threatened to get out of hand, a facilitator in a red hat walked by, brow furrowed. “Remember? You’re not allowed to do any more interviews,” he said to Digion. She nodded and went back to work. But when Roberts shouted, “Don’t tell me what to do!” Digion couldn’t hold back.

“Someone has to be told what to do,” she said. “Someone needs to give orders. There’s no sense of order in this f*****g place.”

George Orwell would be proud. Anyone with an assigned reading project for Animal Farm should really be taking notes.

They have unlimited freedom of speech so they can demonstrate all day and all night, but you can’t film them doing it.

Once again, I experience some confusion about the message. Do they seek to demonstrate that, when the law only applies to a few among us rather than to everyone, pandemonium ensues? Because if that’s the whole point of the exercise, you don’t need eleven days to demonstrate that. Let me organize the event, and I can get that point across in under an hour.

I Did Not Make This New Word

Friday, October 21st, 2011

But just wow…I wish I did…

Unlike what you might call a “left-wing-tocracy,” an ineptocracy is to be criticized not quite so much for being lefty, as for putting all persons & classes in roles that are polar-opposite from where they belong. The mediocre are examples of excellence, the undecided & apathetic are examples of great leadership, children are examples of wisdom and the indigent are examples of desirable, productive living. But left-wing-ocracies mutate into ineptocracies, or vice-versa, so they could be regarded as synonymous. Of all American cities that are home to five million people or more, perhaps 4 out of 5 could be fairly characterized as both. Ineptocracies are governed by left-wing pukes. Left-wing pukes create ineptocracies.

It is all sustained by higher taxes on the “rich,” which means the producers…who inevitably must decline in number, causing the same angst and grief over and over again wherever the ineptocracy thrives. Naturally, the solution to the angst and grief is more taxes on the rich.

None of this has a thing to do with pregnant mothers being able to murder their own unborn children on a whim. It is disconnected from the notion that we live in a godless universe. Or that humans are screwing up an ecosystem in which Bambi’s Mom & all the other adorable creatures are cohabitating beautifully, renewably and peacefully. But there must be a connection amongst those four — ineptocracy, abortion, secularism, humans-are-bastards — because if you can pick out for me a hundred people who put their faith in any one of those things, I will be able to show you ninety-nine adherents, probably more than that, to the other three. The ideas cherished, affect how they are communicated; all those ninety-nine make a good show of “sitting down to talk out our differences” with the opposition, using science, reason, logic and common sense as the guardrails on such an avenue toward conciliation — but a few points & counterpoints down such an avenue, all will be reduced to snotty, dismissive comments, hurling third-grade playground insults in a new, utterly futile game of “never mind who’s right for look how much better of a person I am than you are.” Reliable as a season. So there must be a connection amongst all these items, what is it?

I think it is a hungering for significance. If God put us here and is looking after us, there must be a purpose involved; even the “deists,” as the Revolution-era theologians would define that word, fall into this camp since God must have had a purpose in mind with our creation, never mind whether He can bother Himself to continue paying attention — the sense of purpose remains. But if we just grew as a natural phenomenon, like bread mold, the hole that is left in our lives is game-changing and devastating. When you think on it, anyway. The unasked question is “What, then, is significant about me?” How in the world can the “me” bread mold be meaningfully distinguished from any other kind of bread mold?

Events within time is my current operating theory. The ineptocrat hungers for a current event that upsets the apple cart of all that came before. How did His Holy Eminence put it during His inauguration?

Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.

I think this captures the hunger elegantly. “This was the moment.” It’s a bunch of nonsense, of course, there’s nothing momentary about it. These are people who live out their entire lives on a hairpin turn. It’s always dawn, just as the first ray of sunshine peeks over the hilltop to the East. Before this moment there was darkness, from this moment onward there is enlightenment. And just think, we’re here to see it all go down.

It’s always twilight, too. Apocalypse is just around the corner. We’re going to see that happen, too. And whether it is sunrise or sunset, the ineptocrat is on the right side of the history that is being made, and everybody else is on the wrong side. That is the point. The ineptocrat is living at the right time and has the right ideas.

Of course! Who wants to be any ol’ piece of bread mold, at any ol’ time of the day with just any ol’ ideas in its moldy little brain? The hungering for significance must be satisfied, so we’re living at a new renaissance and we’re also teetering on the brink of Ragnarok. Without any deities, though. Just good humans saving the planet from bad humans. It’s all just drama…high-spiked, highly desirable, sanity-saving drama. Sunrise drama and sunset drama.

Still not entirely sure how this “wealth inequality” ties in to it. The ineptocrat gets hold of some statistic about one percent of the people having ninety-nine percent of the stuff, and parrots it endlessly as if anyone should care. On this issue, the disregard for specifics is rather stunning, they care nothing for whether their statistics are accurate, and can’t even keep track of whether they’re talking about assets or income. I have a current operating theory about this, too: It’s simply part of the “sunrise drama.” Up to this moment, all has been in darkness because we had these peasants toiling away barely trying to make ends meet, but now, me and my friends are going to start up this giant movement and liberate the goodies from the iron-fisted grip of those “robber barons.” Again with the hungering for personal significance.

But this does not save sanity. It erodes it. Here, I’ll prove it: Walk up to an Occupy Wall Street protester and ask if this current protest is more significant than the civil rights marches of the 1960′s. See, that’s the prototype; there’s an event where people really did live with fewer rights, or “softer” rights, before the event than they were able to enjoy afterward. An event that involved real personal sacrifice so others could live better lives. The OWS protester won’t know how to answer. Maybe he’ll stammer out some gibberish about “building on top of” or working in stages or something. But as to which one is more challenging, which one is more meaningful, you won’t get a coherent answer. That’s because the OWS movement is a parade for all the feelings that go into an ineptocracy, and as such, it is a structure whose foundation lies on a fault. It lives in an inherent contradiction and your question pierces the center of that contradiction. These current protests are more significant than everything that came before, but it knows it is right because it’s modeled on something that came before — which is free of flaws and more significant than anything imaginable. Logically, all of these things cannot be true. You have trudged up the Escher Staircase.

Now ask one of the ideological opponents an equivalent question — he’s likely not holding a revolution or protest, just going about his life doing whatever productive work he thinks maximizes his effectiveness in the marketplace. So ask him “Are your challenges in life greater than the challenges of those who came before?” and you’ll get back a negative. There’s no contradiction in it. It is from this idea that he draws his strength, his ability to cope. He tells himself, this is nothing compared to what Grandpa had to do when he got off that boat at Ellis Island and had to learn English. He tells himself: My challenges lack significance, and that’s a good thing because they do not define me, they oppose me, and because they are tiny, I know I will win if I keep my head on straight. So to the truly rational human, the simple thought “this isn’t all that tough” is what keeps life worth living. To the ineptocrat, and the OWS protester, that same thought is the most frightening thing imaginable.

If God did not exist, mankind would have had to invent Him for sanity’s sake. Perhaps all the biblical stories of divine manifestation are exaggerated, embellished, or metaphorical, and that’s exactly what happened: We — depending on your faith system — invented, or recognized, God, sanity could not be retained over an indefinite stretch of time by any other means. Humans, taking full charge of the task of generating their own significance, tend toward building ineptocracies. They create revolutionary movements that, with the benefit of hindsight, are revealed in subsequent generations to be quite silly. By which I mean polyester-suit-lambchop-sideburn silly. And then, tragically, they weld their identities to these silly movements. It ends up entailing a good amount of implied disrespect toward the real movements that came before, usually without the new-revolutionary’s conscious knowledge. But more tragic than that, is the loss of human potential which is voluminous and profound.

Ineptocracies are inept because they can’t be anything but. When they end, they end not with a bang, but a whimper. The significance that is sought throughout the ineptocracy’s entire existence, is denied to the very end, and beyond.

Ten Things to Keep In Mind for 2012

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Exchequer, Kevin D. Williamson. The ten items are pretty good, but I like what was tossed in above & below.

Between the candidates’ debates and my conversations with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, it seems to me that there is a persistent, dangerous disconnect between our political conversation and reality. On the right, we’re still too focused on taxes, rather than on the spending that drives taxes. On the left, they’re . . . the Left, still, unfortunately for them.

With an eye on 2012, here are ten important but sometimes counterintuitive facts to keep in mind:
:
: (The ten, with links)
:
The real debate isn’t whether to cut, only what and how much and when. (My preferred answers: almost everything, a lot, now.)

Hat tip to Instapundit.

“David Gergen is Incredibly Lifelike”

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Stephen Green drunkblogs the debate.

This has become, over time, my preferred medium for finding out what happened in debates. Am I one of the “one percent,” so to speak, that doesn’t watch these things live? Can’t bring myself to do that; it’s just one more thing that is gobsmackingly important, for no other reason than that lots of other people think it is gobsmackingly important. Frankly, if it were up to me, I’d say we don’t want a President who does well in debates. That seems to be where all the trouble starts. You know someone personally who does well in debates? Ever try to tell that dumb bastard anything?

Besides, I’m building another computer, looking for receipts for GPS devices that don’t work, and watching Mia Sara’s gorgeous writhing naked body on Timecop. Priorities, you know.

On RONPAUL!…

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Yes, I’m throwing on the angry-caps-lock and making one word out of it. Because that’s the way the RONPAUL! fans say it…

I’m with Misha.

We wonder if there’s a way that foreign policy could be made off-limits to the president? If so, we’re all behind Ron.

Regretfully, no. RONPAUL!’s batshit crazy “Who gives a flying fig if Iraq gets a nuke?” statement remains relevant, and the crazy uncle in the attic remains crazy. Keep looking. The rest of RONPAUL!’s ideas do look appealing, though; that they would be a radical shift from the way things are now, says a lot lot more against the way things are done now, than it does against RONPAUL!

Are You Smarter Than a Wall Street Occupier?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Find out.

From Memeorandum.

Related: Random thought from Dr. Thomas Sowell (hat tip to Boortz):

Have you ever heard anyone as incoherent as the people staging protests across the country? Taxpayers ought to be protesting against having their money spent to educate people who end up unable to say anything beyond repeating political catch phrases.

Laffer on the 999 Plan

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

It’s as if he saw yesterday’s post and decided “oh, there are some people paying attention to this after all, let’s write about it.”

Anyway. The Professor opines in the Wall Street Journal. I’m liking the first two paragraphs because they are difficult, perhaps impossible, for the opposition to dispute. The very name “Laffer Curve” invokes a disputatious undertone; indictments of the status quo tend, by their nature, to be disputatious; this is not. It’s just highly inconvenient — for some.

It used to be that the sole purpose of the tax code was to raise the necessary funds to run government. But in today’s world the tax mandate has many more facets. These include income redistribution, encouraging favored industries, and discouraging unfavorable behavior.

To make matters worse there are millions and millions of taxpayers who are highly motivated to reduce their tax liabilities. And, as those taxpayers finagle and connive to find ways around the tax code, government responds by propagating new rules, new interpretations of the code, and new taxes in a never-ending chase. In the process, we create ever-more arcane tax codes that do a poor job of achieving any of their mandates.

I make the point that it’s hard to deny the truth of these paragraphs, never mind how much some may wish to, on my way to making a larger point: Our tax code sucks. It’s one of those things nobody is defending, anywhere. They gripe that it punishes such-and-such a group too harshly, or doesn’t punish it enough, or “We here at the IRS don’t make the rules, that’s up to Congress” or “We here in Congress didn’t write the tax code, it’s some previous Congress that did that” or that it doesn’t generate enough loot. But it is the culmination of this self-imposed mission to reward and punish behavior. It is the very best scenario that can be produced from that. That’s what you get — when some behavior is to be “softly” punished through the tax code, since there is disagreement on what behavior is to be punished, eventually all behavior will fall under this. And this is exactly where we’re going.

Whatever it doesn’t punish, it rewards. If you don’t like that, you demagogue against it and eventually, if you get enough people ticked off about it, you get your way. Then that behavior loses its cozy little exemption clause, and is dutifully punished like all the other behaviors. Whenever you hear the word “loophole,” that is exactly what is happening. If you like the exemption clause or if you’re taking advantage of the exemption clause, it’s an exemption; if you don’t like it and want it to go away, you call it a loophole. In the long run, it seems, the loophole people generally win.

On this issue of static versus dynamic scoring, regular reader cylarz sez…

I don’t get it. What’s so hard about recognizing that economic policies shape economic behavior? Cause, effect. Stimulus, response. We can debate about what the response is or whether it’s desirable or whether the chicken or the egg came first….but why are we sitting around pretending that there isn’t going to be any response, that it’s all going to work out in the three-dimensional real world just like it did on paper?

Any military veteran will tell you that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. We’ve got cliches like, “The best laid plans…” and “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I just don’t understand what’s so hard to grasp about this, or how anyone sane can ignore at least a hundred years of economic history and think things are going to turn out differently this time….or worse, how people this dense manage to get elected to high public office.

I suppose it comes from advocating for a tax increase. The third-grade math says, you’re bringing in so-many dollars by hiking the rate so-much. That helps your argument for an increase; the more sophisticated examination of human behavior, would reverse this. Why belabor a more complicated review that hurts your argument, when the simpler one helps your argument? Maybe you’d do that if you were sitting in judgment and mulling it over logically. But liberals don’t do that — they like to look like they’re doing that, when they’re selling things, but all they’re really doing is selling things. No really, go see what they say, and go do the research on things when they tell you something is a certain way. You’ll see what I mean. They sell things, and they’re very fond of making it look like they’re weighing things fairly, bringing zero preconceptions to their little weighing session, when they know at the outset exactly what conclusion they want to reach and so does everybody else.

Like I’ve said before: It would almost be adorable if it didn’t cost us so much human potential and money.

Anyway. To the subject at hand: The 9-9-9 draws glowing praise from Prof. Laffer:

The whole purpose of a flat tax, à la 9-9-9, is to lower marginal tax rates and simplify the tax code. With lower marginal tax rates (and boy will marginal tax rates be lower with the 9-9-9 plan), both the demand for and the supply of labor and capital will increase. Output will soar, as will jobs. Tax revenues will also increase enormously—not because tax rates have increased, but because marginal tax rates have decreased.

By making the tax codes a lot simpler, we’d allow individuals and businesses to spend a lot less on maintaining tax records; filing taxes; hiring lawyers, accountants and tax-deferral experts; and lobbying Congress. As I wrote on this page earlier this year (“The 30-Cent Tax Premium,” April 18), for every dollar of business and personal income taxes paid, some 30 cents in out-of-pocket expenses also were paid to comply with the tax code. Under 9-9-9, these expenses would plummet without a penny being lost to the U.S. Treasury. It’s a win-win.

Me, I find Laffer’s remarks edifying, but I’m still on the fence about it. I’m one of the people he acknowledges in the final paragraph:

Still, a number of my fellow economists don’t like the retail sales component of the 9-9-9 plan. They argue that, once in place, the retail rate could be raised to the moon. They are correct, but what they miss is that any tax could be instituted in the future at a higher rate. If I could figure a way to stop future Congresses from ever raising taxes I’d do it every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Until then, let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Valid point, just an insufficient one. For the last century or so, this has been the history of taxation in the United States: Gotta do something, we’re not collecting “enough.” Well waitaminnit, the geniuses in Washington just got done spending 40% last year than they did the year before, and what they spent the year before was 20% higher than the year before that. These spending binges never seem to attract the scrutiny they deserve. It’s always the taxpayer’s fault for not paying enough. And that, as is usually the case, is my beef with the “perfect enemy of good” argument: Since it seeks to dismiss rather than explore, it leaves legitimate objections largely intact.

But Laffer is right. The 9-9-9 plan is static-score neutral, and as it shows the “failings” of this static scoring in a dynamic-scored world — refer back to cylarz‘ comment about “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy” — said “failings” would work to the benefit, rather than to the detriment, of the generation of the tax base. So I’m still undecided, but this is a powerful argument in favor of the plan.

Whether or not it could actually happen, is a question future events will settle, or at least help to discern.

The Full Alinsky

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Michael Walsh, The Corner:

[Saul] Alinsky rode into town on a one-trick pony that the Left has since turned into its warhorse: Agitate one side’s grievances, and appeal to another side’s decency and gullibility in order to provoke the establishment, whose reaction will unite the other two. Then the community organizer charges in on his nag-turned-steed and proceeds to set the rot in motion under the banner of “progress.”

It is the very devil’s work, and Alinsky certainly made a splendid devil: unctuous and whiny at the same time, and always casting himself as the real, heroic victim standing for progress, when in fact he was a particularly nasty, cowardly kind of cultural vandal. Here he is, talking to Playboy about his days in Rochester:

ALINSKY: In the aftermath of the riots, the Rochester Area Council of Churches, a predominantly white body of liberal clergymen, invited us in to organize the black community and agreed to pay all our expenses. We said they didn’t speak for the blacks and we wouldn’t come in unless we were invited in by the black community itself. At first, there seemed little interest in the ghetto, but once again the old reliable establishment came to the rescue and, by overreacting, cut its own throat. The minute the invitation was made public, the town’s power structure exploded in paroxysms of rage. The mayor joined the city’s two newspapers, both part of the conservative Gannett chain, in denouncing me as a subversive hatemonger; radio station WHAM delivered one-minute editorial tirades against me and told the ministers who’d invited me that from now on they’d have to pay for their previously free Sunday-morning air time. A settlement house that had pledged its support to us was promptly informed by the Community Chest that its funds would be cut off if it went ahead; the board retracted its support, with several members resigning. The establishment acted as if the Golden Horde of Genghis Khan was camped on its doorstep.

If you listened to the public comments, you’d have thought I spent my spare time feeding poisoned Milk-Bones to seeing-eye dogs. It was the nicest thing they could have done for me, of course. Overnight, the black community broke out of its apathy and started clamoring for us to come in; as one black told me later, “I just wanted to see somebody who could freak those mothers out like that.” Black civil rights leaders, local block organizations and ministers plus 13,000 individuals signed petitions asking me to come in, and with that kind of support I knew we were rolling. I assigned my associate, Ed Chambers, as chief organizer in Rochester, and prepared to visit the city myself once his efforts were under way.

PLAYBOY: Was your reception as hostile as your advance publicity?

ALINSKY: Oh, yeah, I wasn’t disappointed. I think they would have quarantined me at the airport if they could have. When I got off the plane, a bunch of local reporters were waiting for me, keeping the same distance as tourists in a leper colony. I remember one of them asking me what right I had to start “meddling” in the black community after everything Kodak had done for “them” and I replied: “Maybe I’m uninformed, but as far as I know the only thing Kodak has done on the race issue in America is to introduce color film.” My relationship with Kodak was to remain on that plane.

But the key to Alinskyism is the whipsaw, a constantly shifting “moral center” that can argue both sides of an issue at the same time. Thus Alinsky’s love child, Barack Obama, can boast of being rich and siding with the “99%” simultaneously; attack him as one and he’ll say he’s “really” the other. Just look what the Obama administration is doing now, claiming to suspend the “CLASS” act of Obamacare while the president swears to defend it. Intellectually absurd — but emotionally pitch-perfect: Barry as the eternal outsider, battling dark forces inimical. For Alinsky always needs a villain, even if the villain is Alinskyism itself. But what do you expect from a political philosophy that claims up is really down, in is really out, and black is really white?

Alinskyism forces the Right to always be on the defense, shadow-boxing in a hall of mirrors against a foe whose moral turpitude it refuses to credit. If Alinsky stood for anything, it was, like Lucifer, destruction; the Left’s rage is animated by its lust for demolition, and the sooner the Right stops accepting its pretensions, the quicker the real battle can finally be engaged.

Hat tip to Small Dead Animals.

The Laffer Curve Wins

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Daniel J. Mitchell, Cato:

Over the past few years, I’ve shown lots of evidence from around the world (England, Spain, and France) and in various states to make the case that it is foolish to ignore the Laffer Curve. Not surprisingly, leftists never seem to learn.

More recently, I’ve explained why Obama’s class-warfare tax policy is especially misguided because of Laffer Curve effects.

But I sometimes wonder whether I make any progress with these arguments. Maybe I’m being too much of a wonk? Perhaps I need an example that strikes a chord with regular people.

I don’t know if that’s true, but let’s give it a try. I now have an example of the Laffer Curve for the MTV audience. Best of all, the story is from USA Today.

The IRS got red-faced trying to collect the new tanning tax, burning a hole in estimates on how much the levy would bring in to federal coffers, a new report said Thursday. …Tanning tax receipts for that nine-month period totaled $54.4 million, the report found. That was below projections by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, which had estimated the tax would raise $50 million in the last three months of fiscal year 2010 and $200 million for the full 2011 fiscal year.

Let’s deconstruct the numbers from the article. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that this new “Snooki” tax (part of the awful Obamacare legislation) was going to raise about $50 million every three months.

Yet during the first nine months, the tax raised just $54.4 million, not $150 million.

To be fair, some of this huge revenue shortfall may be a result of short-run factors associated with levying a new tax, but does anyone think the actual revenues will match the JCT’s estimates at any point in the future? If you think that will happen, get in touch with me so we can make a friendly wager.

Since Laffer, it has strangely become a left-right point of disagreement when we consider the potential behavioral change shown by people in response to a changed economic incentive, with the “right” side of the spectrum predicting the change will occur and the “left” side of the spectrum insisting it won’t, that people will just stand still like stationary architectural structures, takin’ it.

Time was when it was the foundation of what we call “economics” to believe that altered prospects bring altered behavior. After all, if this is not the case, what is there to study?

It has all become a bit embarrassing to watch. The local newspapers, as I have observed repeatedly — since it happens repeatedly — plaster all over Page B1 all the sob stories about the welfare cases who don’t know what they’re going to do with the budget cuts that are coming. At the federal, state and county level there is weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth about the red ink and the shortfalls and the “crisis” and the missed deadlines and the defaults and the expanding deficits…the talking heads go on the Sunday morning talk shows to spew their gibberish about “the discredited Laffer curve,” someone makes that tragic observation that “the money’s gotta come from somewhere” and so there is a tax increase. Wait for the seasons to change a couple times, and we have the stories like what you see in USA Today: It was expected to take in X, it actually took in less than X. Unexpectedly.

But pay no attention to the curve behind the curtain.

Then we go back, Jack, and do it again.

DJEver Notice? LXVIII

Monday, October 17th, 2011

We very often fail to express skeptical thoughts about things richly deserving of skeptical thought, through our failure to give those things names. The reverse is true as well: A lot of the things that are frequently on the receiving end of mindless criticism, are derogatorily named, when there exists little rational cause for them to be named at all, let alone criticized. “Unfettered capitalism” would be tops on that list. “Climate change” would be a close second. If it’s climate, don’t we expect it to change? If it’s the free-trade brand of capitalism, isn’t it impossible for it to be unfettered? Whoever loses out, should be in a position to do some fettering. Patriarchy. Heteronormativity. Hyper-nationalism. Jingoism. Such terms exist, not because of any pre-existing need to describe something, but because of a need someone had to destroy something.

Most of the time I make up words, this is the reason why: Something, somewhere, is getting away with becoming mainstream just because nobody’s calling out its toxicities or deficiencies, and they’re not calling it out because there’s no name for whatever it is.

We need a name to describe pointlessly elaborate explanations for undesirable situations. We already have a rule that says people should make the effort to avoid them, it’s called Occam’s Razor. Example: Last night I saw a light in the sky that is unlike any I have ever seen. The most alluring explanation that can be found for this, would be that I saw an aircraft engineered and sent over here by an extraterrestrial intelligence. That would likely mean, though, that someone had achieved interstellar travel, which must mean waiting some extraordinary length of time for a journey to be completed or else achieving FTL (faster than light) velocity. The simpler explanation is the less exciting one, that I’ve witnessed a light show that is outside of my previous experience. Fireflies, swamp gas, or if you really want to get unhinged, some experimental craft being fiddled around with by the Air Force. But there exist among us many who will irrationally leap to the little-green-men theory.

And here, I must focus my misgivings upon parents of small children, and the mental/behavioral-health practitioners who enable them. We need a word to describe this phobia they have against the simpler explanation to be supplied with regard to undesirable behavior — which, I notice, would involve some work for the parents. Example: It is work for the parents to counsel the child “We are expected to abide by certain behavioral customs at the dinner table, such as not telling our invited guests to go fuck themselves in the ear.” Simple explanation: Johnny needed to be told this. Work: Make the lesson stick. This may involve a confrontation if Johnny thinks it’s acceptable behavior to tell people to go fuck themselves at the dinner table. It may involve an assertion of the protocol that the parents are right and Johnny needs to change his mindset.

A lot of parents aren’t up to the challenge, so we have Tourettes, ADHD, and all sorts of codswallop like that. We do have the controversies over whether these are real or imagined maladies, but I notice those discussions often get sidetracked into exchanges about the maladies themselves, to wit: “I knew someone who knew someone whose kid had hardcore Tourettes, and it was freaky, he did…[insert long windy paragraph about what the freaky kid did]…and if you haven’t been around someone like that you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Which is the purest kind of abject nonsense, of course. You don’t need to have met that other kid to be able to say something about “Johnny.”

The point is, the issue is not the learning-disability or maturity-deficiency itself. The issue is, what are you concluding about the boy’s genetics/environment, and what evidence has been brought to your attention — or anybody else’s — to provide rational support for what you are concluding. We seem to be living in an age in which, for reasons not fully explored or defined, our current prevailing cultural sensibilities are stuck in a belief that parenting needs to be zero-effort. I’m really not sure where we got this. It seems to have snuck up behind us and caught us all in a big net when we weren’t looking. But these “diagnoses” of learning disabilities are based not so much on scientific thinking, or even on scientific knowledge, but more on a logical contortion of our reasoning skills, toward the end of finding support for a conclusion that would demand as little as possible effort out of the parents, particularly in the realm of having unpleasant confrontational conversations with their kids.

So everyone & his dog seems to have a learning disability that explains what the kid’s doing that he isn’t supposed to be doing.

Left unexplained, is: This is driving a statistical skyrocketing of the so-called “diagnoses”; a lot of people are supposed to be super-duper concerned about that, but not nearly enough to ask some questions or re-think anything.

A Dozen Proposed Themes for the Occupy Wall Street Movement

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Their signs say one thing, their actions say something a little bit different. People on the inside accuse people on the outside of missing the point, but can’t or won’t offer a cohesive, coherent statement of exactly what it is they’re trying to say. I’m given to understand there is a great deal of momentum in this movement, but what they have accumulated looks less to me like “momentum” than the much more superficial quality of visibility. Momentum may come after the definition of the message. And, were it left to me, I’d say that would be a necessary first step before the visibility.

Thought I’d help them out. And for the record, they can count on my support if they go with the first seven items.

1. Too Big To Fail, with the S&L bailout, was a fraud and a sham, let’s never do that again.
2. Sarah Palin is completely right about “crony capitalism” and it needs to stop, gosh darn it.
3. When you have one guy saying something…when you have one guy saying something…and the crowd around him repeats it…and the crowd around him repeats it…you may not have realized this…you may not have realized this…but it’s really, really, creepy…but it’s really, really creepy.
4. See all those old people joining us in our demonstrations? They are testament to the waste of human potential taking place here; they prove that entire lives are being wasted on this leftist gobbledygook. And it doesn’t make a face any prettier.
5. When people are born with silver spoons in their mouths, they don’t end up satisfied, they end up “demonstrating” for more goodies. Me and my friends are living proof!
6. If you spend some kid’s entire childhood telling him how wonderful and special he is, rather than teaching him a rugged work ethic and marketable skills, it doesn’t make society more orderly or better-functioning, it just brings rancor. And again, me and my friends are living proof!
7. All you kids just a few years younger than us, still going to school: See the way we’re dressed? When you dress like this, you can’t get a job. Think about your higher ed: Too many of our universities are soaking up copious quantities of money, and teaching students like us nothing but a bunch of drivel that will land them on Wall Street, with signs in their hands, crapping on police cars. Maybe it’s too late for us but you can still save yourselves.
8. Everybody should have the same amount of stuff.
9. Everybody should be making the same amount of money.
10. Like the spectacles lady says: Corporations control the government, and we need government regulation to protect us from these corporations.
11. Those OWS protesters telling you this isn’t about overthrowing capitalism, are a bunch of damn liars! It is! We’re a bunch of Bolsheviks and it’s high time we faced up to it!
12. George W. Bush has screwed up this economy so badly, that millions of people are lining up around the block to shell out hundreds of dollars to get a fancy new phone, with a new numeral and letter printed on it. It’s just brutal!

Does “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” Need a Subplot About Female Ninjas?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Tom Schlegel, Taki’s Magazine, “Feminist Delusions About Children’s Fairytales.”

Feminist sensibilities have brought us heroines such as Samantha on Sex and the City: materialistic, self-obsessed, defined by work and, oh yes, someone who abandons a man to find a more experienced male model.

The argument goes something like this: Women are seeking out divorce in record numbers because there isn’t enough husband material with Fabio hair, a noble steed, and a return address that simply says THE CASTLE.

Stories are the best way to teach. Even the transvestite hookers on Sex and the City understand that.

I’ll take Sleeping Beauty any day. At the end of her story she knows that our behavior has good and bad consequences that affect the people around us.
:
The Little Mermaid taught us we need to sacrifice for the one we love. The problem here isn’t the fairytale’s message. No, the trick is in teaching our daughters how to recognize good men from bad ones.

Thankfully we have Little Red Riding Hood, who shows us that sometimes the sweetest tongue is also the sharpest.

By the way—that schlub you’re about to divorce could be the real Prince Charming. Just so happens he’s prematurely bald, allergic to horses, and castles are out of his price range.

Virtual Philanthropy

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

It’s all about helping mankind? Then an inexplicable viewpoint, one that has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity in recent years, must need a re-think:

A student at one of my talks on the nonprofit sector asked if I could name a for-profit company that was making a difference on the scale that nonprofits do. I said I’d be hard-pressed to name one that wasn’t.

Our youth are growing up with the strange notion that the only way to make a big difference in this world, or to be of service, is to work for a nonprofit organization, or become the next Bill Gates and establish a private foundation, or to start some kind of “social enterprise,” often without any understanding of what that means.
:
What a loss to humanity it would have been if [Steve] Jobs had dedicated the last 25 years of his life to figuring out how to give his billions away, instead of doing what he does best.

Following that last sentence, it gets interesting. RTWT. Thanks to Instapundit.

Unite With This?

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

OWS protester(s) in a complete meltdown, on camera…complete…as in, Wicked Witch of the West with water poured on her.

From here. Elsewhere, I’ve seen a lot of legitimate question put to this video, in terms of is this real or is it an act. My experience growing up in a college town blinds me to the evidence, or edifies me, depending on your point of view. No, it’s not an act. They prattle about how strong they are, they get mad, they cry, they cringe, they hug, they prattle some more. That’s the cycle.

Another OWS protester, or sympathizer of same, blames “religious fundamentalism” for the 1% being so much wealthier than the 99%. Hey rocket scientist: Whenever people come up with complaints against fundamentalists and the complaints actually manage to resonate, they have to do with the fundamentalists working too hard to make others more like them, which when you noodle it out for a second or two, is the polar opposite of creating a stratified society with a 1% and a 99%. Begone and take your fail with you.

I see the New York Times is putting a good amount of elbow grease into dredging up a new scandal, inferring that “bankers” express different opinions about the OWS protesters in public than they do in private. If this is true, it seems only reasonable, to me. Whenever one speaks in any proximity to a corporate emblem, and the association that could be made is in fact a substantial one — the speaker is on the corporation’s payroll — it is wise to remain extremely guarded, lest the comments be construed as an official position. This, for example, is actually a muted tone version of the thoughts going through my head about it:

“Most people view it as a ragtag group looking for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” said one top hedge fund manager.

If I worked on Wall Street, there’s no good that could come from me saying what I really thought about OWS, out in public. I’m sure some people from the New York Times would love it, but it wouldn’t be helpful to anyone else.

But I don’t want to talk about these three items, per se. I want to talk about our response to them and our response to the situation that has caused them.

What it all has in common, I think, is this mistaken perception that something is broken and the cure for it is more unity. One cannot help but sympathize; it’s in the name of our country, is it not? And so if we have a fractious phenomenon taking place, the unthinking primal instinct is to move forward, see what we can do to glue the fine China dinnerware together. Get everybody united again.

It is to our credit. It is something hard-wired deep within us, not as a species but as a nation: Someone’s got a beef? Let’s see what they have to say. Give it a fair hearing. They can’t live here the way things are? Maybe we can improve. What does it take, to absorb them into our expanding and evolving culture, so they can learn from us and we can learn from them. We seek to be a growing, sentient entity, as a nation. And why shouldn’t we? We’ve made it work.

But this is also, I think, the point where a more vigorous method of thinking would improve the situation.

Everything cannot be united with everything else. The harmful deception that permeates the Occupy Wall Street movement, which never is challenged since it is never put to voice or to ink, is that all this protesting is a necessary step toward building something big, functional, and beneficial to all. Those who announce their support for the movement, whether they say so or not, predicate that support on this premise. But the protest itself has been an endless procession of behaviors not to be carried out in job interviews, which says something when you think about it, since much of the angst that launched the protest is supposed to have something to do with the difficulties involved in getting a job.

So the energy we’re seeing on parade here is not creative or preservative energy; it is destructive. It seeks to bring moving, functional machinery to an indefinite halt. That’s the point, isn’t it? Occupy Wall Street…so that Wall Street can’t get anything done while it’s being occupied?

This is nothing new. Ever since the protests in the sixties, America has been blitzed by one “protest” after another after another, enshrouded in this unspoken, glittery, translucent narrative that this is a disruption necessary to a larger process of building something big that will help everybody; such disruptions have received a lot of support throughout the decades, presuming the truth of such a narrative, and it has never once actually been carried through. The closest we’ve ever seen it come is the election of a lot of fringe-radical leftists to political offices, and the damage came in the wake of that. Now, we see it come full-circle — the last White House Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago actually came out and said a crisis is something you shouldn’t let go to waste. So the leftist/anarchist damage, manufactures the crisis, the crisis leads to the protests, the protests now & then manage to affect an election and the election leads to more damage.

Everything cannot be united with everything else. Oil and water cannot occupy the same space. Insert them in a common vessel together, and they will separate; put ‘em in a blender and turn it on puree, you’ll get a frothy mixture that isn’t good for anything, and then the contents will settle never having truly emulsified. And that’s the way it is with creative and destructive energies. They don’t mix. It may make us feel good to fantasize about some big sit-down where all the differences get talked out and somehow reconciled and we end up square-dancing at some big picnic, but it isn’t gonna happen. These are people who have problems with it if they see someone making money. No, I’m not about to make less money to make them happy.

Does this mean I want them marooned on an island somewhere? No, there are too many of them. That might be a good idea for some of the organizers though, some of the die-hards, the ones who will never rest until there’s a national salary cap in place. They don’t want to live with anybody else anyway. I mean, think about it: They go apoplectic when they find out someone made more money than they did, how could they live in any populated, advanced society? But, of the “99%” we see, 99% of the 99% fits the description of the unnamed hedge fund manager. They want to meet girls and smoke weed. They’re followers.

The solution is not to unite, nor to ostracize, but to dissipate. If they really think they want to overthrow capitalism, they should be granted the right to speak their minds, freely — so that others can see what they’re about, and the movement can be discredited as it deserves to be. And then incentives can be applied for them to show up, participate in a process that already has been built and might benefit incrementally from their contribution…so they can contribute to it in this incremental way, without completely dismantling it and starting from scratch. See, that takes a lot of maturity, and that’s the problem. Riding in like a hurricane and saying “This is all messed up, we need to tear it apart and start over, the way it needs to work is like this” — that doesn’t take anything. Somehow, these children have been given a massive incentive to live out their entire lives this way. Maybe their professors are all socialists, maybe it’s the hormones talking, maybe they weren’t raised right. I vote for a combination of all three. Whatever it is, that’s how they’re looking at life: Nothing exists before I come along, and if something does, then it needs to be wrecked so I can make things the way I want them to be.

Rather than uniting with their cause, the solution is for the rest of us to give them an incentive to do things the mature way. Clock in, shut up, see how things work, find out where you can make your contribution and get busy.

The point is, we’re going into our second half of a century now, uniting with every crackpot cause that’s come along — none of which has sought to reciprocate, to be part of any unifying effort. Unification does nobody any good if it isn’t paired up with intelligence, and in order to make intelligence useful you have to see what’s going on and respond to it. Where we’ve really been falling down is in our determination to treat adults like children and children like adults. We’ve treated constructive people like they’re destroying something without defining exactly what it is they’re supposed to be destroying, and we’ve treated destructive people like creators without inspecting too closely what it is they’re trying to create. Maybe this is the point where we finally learn the lesson we’ve been needing to learn.

If Dr. Seuss Created Star Wars

Friday, October 14th, 2011

It’s Friday. Time to take a break from beating up on the liberals and man-god-king-president and the silly twits in Congress and the douchebags lining up to protest the…well…we’ll take another crack at figuring out their so-called “message” next week…

More such stuff here.