Archive for February, 2012

DJEver Notice? LXXI

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

There is no one recent event that inspires this observation, it’s just something I’ve noticed for awhile.

When you have people agreeing about the problem that has to be solved but disagreeing about what to do about it…I have seen many, many incidents in which the disagreement meanders almost perfectly along the separation between a simple solution and a complicated one. And so we have two intellectually inimical forces, berating each other not quite so much about which solution is likely to work and which solution is likely to fail, as about the nature of the problem they are trying to solve. That’s my first observation.

Examples abound. Violent crime, just for starters; there are those who say where it happens to excess, it is a natural consequence of failing a basic governmental function, which is to separate those who refuse to live by the social contract, from those who could be hurt by them. Lock up the bad guys where they can’t do their bad stuff, and they’ll stop doing it. Others say the root causes are far more complex, having to do with economic issues like widespread poverty, an ever-expanding gap between the rich and the poor, vanishing middle class, historical segregation and discrimination, et al. Simple versus complicated. Not sure there’s much value in fleshing out such a list, but other examples would include: How do you revive an economy, what do we do about global warming, what do we do about the skyrocketing Autism diagnoses in children right now, should we drill-baby-drill…in all these issues we seem to be arguing around the simple-versus-complicated template.

Second observation: It is pretty much a constant that the two sides will slip into a comfortable mode in which each one presumes to carry the mantle of being reasonable, rational, in many cases scientific, and accuses the other of being anti-logical. This one is unsurprising, it is to be expected when people start to argue about things that matter to them.

Third observation, and this is something not often explored, perhaps worth pointing out: The people who argue toward the complicated solution, wherever the disagreement endures for any length of time, even as they pretend to be conducting themselves according to the scientific method, sustain a hostile relationship against the concept of experimentation. This is almost by definition — if you were trying to resolve a disagreement about the proper solution being simple, versus complicated, and set about finding the answer by means of experimentation, the rational way to do it would be to try the simple solution first, right? It seems unavoidable. Well, if you happen to be on the side that insists the solution is a complicated one, think about where this puts you: The other side’s solution is going to be tried out, and horror of horrors it might work! Then what? Well…your options would be narrowed down considerably. You could hope nobody saw what just happened. If the experiment was conducted successfully on just a sample of something larger, which represents the real problem, you could conjure up a danger involved in expanding the scope and pronounce that the experimentation must stop here because it’s just not worth the risk. Other than those, there isn’t much. You can admit defeat, of course, but that’s it.

Notice that the advocates of the simple solution do not have to worry about the experiment reaching an unfriendly conclusion. They get to say, legitimately, that if things don’t work out then there needs to be some minor refinement to what was tried, and then try it again. Like, for example, extinguishing a grease fire with a Class A extinguisher; it’ll fail, but the experiment’s more-or-less on the right track, there’s a detail that needs to be modified. My point is, to the advocates of the more complicated solution, there is no good outcome — even if the experiment “proves” the simple solution doesn’t work, they don’t get to say “Alright we tried it your way, so the answer must be what we have in mind.” Because that’s too complicated, and the layman can see it’s unwarranted. The layman can see it’s only logical to try out the simple solutions first, and if they repeatedly fail, complicate them by increments until you find something that works. It just makes sense. It’s evolution in action.

So the advocates of the more complex solution, have to end up being anti-experimentation. Ultimately, they all end up in the same mode, sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling “I can’t hear you la la la.”

We see this a lot when people, acting as individuals, are free to use their personal discretion and personal resources to try out whatever solution they wish, without being accountable to some larger group. Parenting comes to mind as the best example of this. Many parents find themselves experiencing common problems with parenting, but then you look around and you see there are other parents that do not have these problems. Is that because the parents who do not have the problems, implemented very complex solutions and/or prevention countermeasures? Generally, no; the most effective methods are the simplest ones. This kid’s got a potty-mouth, that one doesn’t, the one that doesn’t lives in a household that doesn’t have cable. Like that.

How do the advocates of the more complicated solution — who, by & large have enjoyed far less success dealing with the problem — respond to this. You might expect they’d say “Huh, I guess I have something to learn here, I shall go home and try out the other guy’s solution.” That would make a lot of sense…but, of course, that won’t happen. And here are my fourth and fifth observations: More theory, this time dealing with separation of the two situations that would make the defined simple solution (conveniently) unsuitable for the environment still laboring under the problem; and, some insults directed toward the practitioner of the simpler solution, along with anyone else who might think it would work. My kid’s as good as your kid but he’s got ADD, and if your kid had the same disability you’d find your overly-simple solution doesn’t work — and, for daring to think it would, you are a slope-foreheaded troglodyte. I am clearly smarter than you are even though my kid’s growing up to be a profane jackass and yours is not…because I see things in a more sophisticated, nuanced way, and you limit yourself to two-dimensional, comic-book answers.

Somehow, it’s eliminated as a possibility that the other fellow might have left his methods simple, because he complicated them only to such an extent that he was able to make things work, and then sensibly stopped complicating them.

That’s your disciplined, scientific thinking at work, supposedly. Obviously it isn’t. But whenever this occurs, and I see it occuring quite often, unfortunately it has become an exceptionally rare happenstance that it gets called out.

As I see each year come and go, I am gradually being swayed toward the notion that advocates of overly complex solutions, that exist in theory, can be seen safely as advocates against any solution being effectively applied. Either they want the problem to continue, or the repercussions of the problem’s continuance are not as much of a concern to them as the preservation of their ego. They want to be viewed as having the “right” solution even though nothing is being solved. They don’t really own the problem, only the solution to it. Which has not been seen to be effective quite yet because…well…at that point, to continue the thought, you have to evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis.


Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Regarding the “insurance for contraceptives over the religious objections of the employer” hoop-de-doo, A Republican Senator has offered up a new amendment and the White House is none too pleased.

Unbowed by the dust-up from last week’s contraception debate, the Obama administration has jumped feet-first into the next round.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in a statement to The Huffington Post, weighed in heavily against a toughly-worded measure being considered in the Senate that would greatly restrict women’s access to critical health care services.

“Let’s be clear about what’s at stake,” said Carney. “The proposal being considered in the Senate applies to all employers — not just religious employers. And it isn’t limited to contraception. Any employer could restrict access to any service they say they object to. That is dangerous and it is wrong. Decisions about medical care should be made by a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss.”

The measure, proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) would amend the Affordable Care Act to allow any employer to exclude any health service coverage, no matter how critical or basic, by claiming that it violates their religious or moral convictions. Moreover, according to the National Women’s Law Center, the amendment would remove critical non-discrimination protections from the Affordable Care Act. For instance, an insurer could deny maternity care coverage to a same-sex couple, an interracial couple or a single woman for religious or moral reasons.

Is anyone besides me taking note of what an impressive job The Modern Left is doing, of monopolizing entirely any & all discussion about the potentials. The ifs, and the maybes and the coulds. Could, might, possibly, what-if. It really is quite an amazing thing.

Let’s see. If it is possible to envision a thing happening…if “the National Women’s Law Center” says it could happen, which means some spokesman from there went on record with it…the entire debate needs to shift to that hypothetical. I saw this before with the whole parental-consent thing, someone came out and said “Who knows how many of those fathers you would be obliging this young girl to inform of their pregnancies, might have caused those pregnancies in the first place.” Few-to-none had the decency to ask: Hey waitaminnit, just how often does that happen?

On the left, if you can imagine it, not only is it reality, it becomes all the reality that matters. By the next day, it’s the only reality anyone’s talking about.

What if that worked the other way? I see gay marriage is back in the news; must be an election year. Some on the right have spoken in worried tones about churches being sued for refusing to conduct such ceremonies, but this concern has not managed to capture any currency from what I can see. Which it seems to me it should. It’s happened, for one thing; for another thing, this is part of the track record we’ve seen played out again and again, politicians get all excited about some new piece of legislation, we argue about some appealing aspect of it, it passes, and it turns out the whole thing was about creative new ways to get lawsuits started.

Conservatives are just not very good at discussing possibilities. Even when it’s rather silly to discuss the possibilities as mere possibilities, as opposed to near-certainties, they struggle to move the larger public into any deliberation about them. It seems if they enjoy even a scintilla of success there, all it takes is for a liberal to crack a joke about it, and said larger-public drops it like a hot potato.

Meanwhile, a lefty just makes a comment about dads impregnating their own daughters, or mean ol’ bosses forcing their female employees to carry pregnancies to term by refusing to pay for their birth control? And mission accomplished. That becomes what the whole topic is all about. Suddenly we’re all engaged in a Good Fight to show this theoretical nasty discriminating employer what’s what.

And then there’s Sonic Charmer‘s point: Somewhere along the way, we seem to have accepted the idea that these “health plans” have to include everything, because if there’s any one single item missing, no matter how nominal the cost of that product or service might be, failing to include it in the plan is equivalent to denying the insured any access to it.

I’m afraid I have a good understanding how we got suckered into that. How a rational and knowledgeable grown-up falls for it, I don’t know, but it’s clear the snake-oil has been sold to our national discourse, successfully, and that does not speak well for those who participate in it.

Womens’ Lives Would Be Better With a Republican President

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

This is good to see. There’s been enough smack talked up about the Republican candidates…most of it deserved…but you know, I see a lot of this stuff in California, some liberal politician runs for office and mutters a few pre-digested syllables about “protect a woman’s right to choose” and the whole conversation’s over. Oh, he’s pro-woman, so his opponent must be anti-woman…we have to keep those Christian Ayatollahs from running things, so off we go to the voting booth.

It doesn’t work. That isn’t Republican sloganeering, it’s a statement of cold hard fact. The liberal democrats run things, women suffer along with everyone else.

Means of Production

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Sonic Charmer is confused, but in a good way. About socialists & socialism.

This government-ownership-of-the-means-of-production definition of socialism is a popular one, a comfortable standby especially in online debates. I wonder why, because it’s meaningless.
There’s almost no such thing as a ‘mean of production’ today. Yes, there are still factories, but it is not there that the locus of industry resides (and arguably never was; from our vantage point the socialists’ obsession with ‘means of production’ almost seems like forest-for-the-trees, cargo-cult style thinking). Thus, applying the ownership-of-the-means-of-production definition of socialism literally, you can practically never conclude that anyone or anything is ‘socialist’.

But of course, perhaps that’s exactly the point.

I’ve noticed this too.

If you’re going to discuss in detail how an established word does not apply to an established person or thing…seems to me the emphasis needs to be on the gap. What is required that is not being met. In other words…if Barack Obama wants to be a socialist, what else has He gotta do?

Santorum’s Plenty Good Enough

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Wisdom from my Hello Kitty of Blogging account (looks like you can’t follow the links unless you’re signed up):

The job of the American voter, is to reject socialism. If we do that, all the pieces fall into place; if we don’t do that, all is lost.

There are four “bright shiny objects” that distract us from this goal of rejecting socialism:

1. Making sure pregnant women can butcher their own babies whenever they want;
2. Proving you’re not a racist, even when there’s no reason for a rational person to think you might be one;
3. Gay marriage;
4. Proving you have compassion for poor people, again, when there’s no evidence to suggest you [don]’t.

Within the last fifty years, all four of these “bright shiny objects” have been leveraged to get us to accept socialism. They’ve been hauled out and used this way, because they work. But they shouldn’t, because not a one of ’em has anything to do with the real issue. We are AMERICANS. Whoever wants socialism can go plenty of other places to get it, enjoy it, live in it…choke on it. It doesn’t belong here.

I’m also heaping some mild scolding upon Neal Boortz — which I’m sure will absolutely devastate him — for this thing he jotted down that Rick Santorum needs to go away. Boortz might or might not write that headline all over again; I don’t really give a fig. Actually, I agree with Boortz in his distaste for Santorum’s comments, I just disagree with how far he took it. The “So-and-so needs to go away” thing has been way, way over done this year.

If we’re in the mode of seeing each and every candidate as a blight, one that needs to be removed and sent home, just because the candidate said something we don’t like — then we deserve another four years of Obama.

There is a mindset at work, along with a whole bunch of snotty, condescending pre-canned lectures by which it makes itself known, that Mitt Romney alone enjoys the defense provided by the thought in the above paragraph. We all need to be ready to fall in line behind Mittster, and put aside our differences with him, so we can dig up a contender to go up against Obama who is “electable.”

My observation here is that the people dishing out this pre-canned lecturing need to do a better job of sticking to their own knitting. And maybe they cannot do that, because they’re absolutely insincere in what they’ve been saying. Santorum, too, has been saying and doing some things with which sensible conservatives and freedom-minded libertarians might not agree. And that, too, is okay.

I grow quite weary of watching every politician who might reverse or halt our descent into a socialist shithole, getting ritually drawn into this death-by-reproductive-freedom debate, like a bug into a zapper. I am tired of the Tyranny of the Uterus. I am fatigued from a lifetime of living in a country devoted, by heritage, to freedom…read that as, the ability of individuals to make choices, about themselves, as individuals…and contemporarily, only caring about freedom when it has something to do with sex.

The spectacle — that is what it was, a spectacle — of a debate “moderator,” having held a senior position in an extremely polarizing recent democrat administration, asking questions to the Republican candidates about contraceptives, when contraceptives had, at the time, absolutely nothing to do with anything that was going on in the news.

I’m tired of the men, insisting men shouldn’t have any opinion about any of it, and then going on to fester with these passionate and intractible opinions that men shouldn’t have opinions about it. And then those men become “privileged” to watch as their children become the first generation in living memory to lose economic freedom…to enjoy fewer financial options than their parents…wonder how those men like that. Hey, those daughters of yours (your wives thought you should go ahead and have ’em) are getting hooked up & married & divorced four times before they’re thirty because they can’t find anyone to stick around and support these whelps that are your grandchildren, good thing they can abort the whelps!

The notion that nobody male has anything to say about the future, absolutely sickens me, and I don’t think God is too pleased with it either.

But to me, it’s all about freedom. And I recognize Santorum is not entirely in lock-step with that…so yeah, I disagree with Santorum in what he said. I don’t want government involved in this issue, in any way. But that’s quite alright…because we’re just not doing a good job safeguarding our freedoms, the way we’ve been goin’. Seriously. Barack Obama, after all, is the living culmination of this desire to have a government entirely separated from matters having to do with contraceptives. So we can contracept freely…and worship freely…hey, how’s that all working out? Mega-fail. Politics 101: When you’re giving up one thing to gain or secure another thing, and you end up with both of those things either missing entirely or put in serious jeopardy, it’s time to three-point-turn and get out of that cul de sac. Because you just got suckered.

Sooner you admit it, the less damage gets done.

“How the Stimulus Fell Short”

Monday, February 13th, 2012

That’s the name of the slug in the hyperlink and also of the TITLE attribute of the page. The human-readable headline, itself, has been changed to “How Not to Revive an Economy,” but with lots of other stuff not updated. Interesting…

The stimulus — a historic package of tax cuts, safety-net spending, infrastructure projects and green-energy investments — certainly did a lot of good. As the economists Alan S. Blinder and Mark Zandi have noted, it’s one of the key reasons the unemployment rate isn’t in double digits now.

But the stimulus ultimately failed to bring about a strong, sustainable recovery. Money was spread far and wide rather than dedicated to programs with the most bang for the buck. “Shovel-ready” projects, those that would put people to work right away, took too long to break ground. Investments in worthwhile long-term projects, on the other hand, were often rushed to meet arbitrary deadlines, and the resulting shoddy outcomes tarnished the projects’ image.

The real problem is, this is always the result. Every single stated objective is missed, the money’s gone nevertheless, and in the end, in order to defend what was done you have to say “yeah, but if we didn’t do it, things would be a whole lot worse.”

I’m not completely sure what, at this point, is the very lowest calculated per-head cost I’ve heard in saving or creating these jobs. It’s somewhere greater than half a million but less than a full million, so it’s well in the six digits. Per. Job.

The article is very friendly to the ideas behind stimulus spending, but like every other softball summary I’ve seen, it fails to take into account the temporary nature of a lot of these jobs. Great emphasis has been placed on teachers and road construction; I scarcely hear of any concern for any other occupation. And sad to say, nuclear plant cleanup falls into that — because — sooner or later, the plant’s been cleaned up, just as the highway has been widened or the entrance ramp built or the backroad has been paved. The teacher job, hopefully, has some permanance to it. But where does the plant-cleanup guy go? Where does the construction guy go?

So the notion that we’re enjoying a lower unemployment rate now, due to the Reinvestment Act, is something I’d like to see put to a bit more vigorous inspection. I mean, really? How would that work? And even if it did, isn’t $600,000 per job a little high?

Five Dollar Gas This Year

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Maybe. Get ready.

Prequels Were Better

Monday, February 13th, 2012

And they say I’m wordy, they should meet this guy.

I’ll bottom-line it for you: The “classic” movies worked an old-fashioned, cowboy-movie-style, clear distinction and delineation between good and evil. The author of the article likes the newer ones better because there’s drama involving the difficulty in seeing what’s good and what’s evil. Rather like the difference between a Marvel comic book and a DC comic book. The prequels are better because the good guys are kinda bad and the bad guys are kinda good. Also, the much discussed mistake is made in which excessive power is invested in the police state to deal with the crisis, then of course the state becomes the crisis. Hippies like that story.

It’s an architect-medicator divide. You aren’t going to convert anyone on either side of this yawning chasm; people who like it when there’s a lack of definition, like it for reasons that have nothing to do with drama or making a good space opera movie. They like it because, when good and evil are not clearly defined, the necessity of confrontation is obviated.

It’s nice to see him getting his ass handed to him in the comments.

No, You Can’t Interview Them

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Hat tip to Kate at Small Dead Animals.

You can pick up a vibe that the have-nothing-to-say part of it has a glimmer of truth to it…that might be because they’re just doing what they’re paid to do, sixty bucks a nose. And as Nathan Harden says at National Review Online, “I thought these people were against the influence of money in politics?”

We Might Have Been Hauling Our Heads Around in Our Asses Forever, If the Obamas Never Told Us to Pull Them Out

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

That long headline might very well become a recurring one…if we continue to see this…which, let’s face it, has shown no signs of slowing down.

“You all look really good, really fit,” [First Lady Michelle Obama] told the airmen. “Thank you for eating your vegetables. We need you strong.”

She encouraged healthy habits during a visit with individual airmen at their tables.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be a vegetable guy soon,” she reassured one airman.

It ventures out into “Hello Republicans, gonna make an ad about this?” territory. After all, FLOTUS is practically giving the election away on a plate here. Makes me wonder if future generations will have any idea who Marie Antoinette was; they won’t have any reason to know. And it’s not like this sneering condescension is any kind of a new thing, it’s been on parade since the beginning of 2009, even before that really.

Here we all are just fumbling and blundering and slippin’ and slidin’ like the Keystone Cops. Can’t do anything right! And here comes Barack, or Michelle, the new royalty, throwing out some statement of the form: “Hey [blank], quit [blank]ing.” Oh, my GOSH! Look at this silly dumb thing we’ve been doing just because that’s the way it’s always been done! Good thing the Obamas are here to think outside of the box for us.

Hey you other airmen! Michelle Obama’s right! The nation needs us strong, let’s eat our vegetables!

These are men and women who have families, who’ve made the decision to give their services and their time and who knows, maybe even their lives, to defend their country. And they’re being lectured to about their diets like they’re eight. Gee Michelle, what time should they go to bed, and should they brush their teeth for the full two minutes?

It’s hard to say what perplexes me the most about this. It might be, among the many components of this I’ve seen for the last three years, the one in particular that got her husband in trouble after He intoned from the lectern that the “Cambridge Police acted stupidly” — based on absolutely nothing whatsoever, He got it in His head that there was no reason for the events to take place that He’d heard about second-hand. That, right there, is a sign of just plain poor leadership: The idea that, if something was handled by the local authorities in a way contrary to the way you (think you) would have handled it, there’s no need to learn anything further about it. You are free to leap to extravagant conclusions that, if you can’t understand what was done, it must have been the product of bone-chilling stupid judgment on someone else’s part. They couldn’t possibly have any procedures in place that are outside your understanding, they couldn’t possibly know something about the facts-on-the-ground, that went sailing over your head because you weren’t there. To the substandard leader, all that stuff can be safely dismissed.

Show him a thousand people doing something different from the way he thinks he’d be doing it, that’s a thousand heads stuck up a thousand asses. No need to look into it any further.

I do not see how honest people close in on the end of their forties, living life this way, thinking about it this way…that everyone who does something they wouldn’t have done, just holler over at them “Hey! Do it this way!” and they’ll just…wow, I had no idea how cocked up I was. Look at that, some stranger hollering incredibly simple ideas for a mid-course correction at me. I’d better shape up and do what that guy says!

I don’t think honest people do live into adulthood that way for too long. By which I mean, people who behave the same way off-camera as the way they behave when the camera is on. I mean, picture it; how would such a person walk through, say, a construction zone, each and every little thing being done that he doesn’t understand, is someone doing something the wrong way, in need of his superior wisdom. Why, he’d have hollered himself hoarse before making it fifty yards, right?

I’m so tired of this. If the rest of the country is just one quarter as tired of it as I am, just call this behavior out exactly the way we’ve seen it between now and November…Barack Obama will be lucky to win Illinois.

Seriously, people put up with this? Some of them even like it? Do the polls really say that? I’m skeptical. It’s childish, stupid, more than a little bit daffy, and it looks that way.

Update: You know, it occurs to me this might be a problem with just plain maturity. Imagine yourself, for the very first time, taking a gun apart and looking at the pieces. Or taking a lawnmower engine apart, or a bicycle apart, or a computer laptop apart…these are all fairly sophisticated, capable devices, and among their parts you’ll find a big mish-mash of orthodox and unorthodox. Self-contained and not-self-contained. Here & there you will see things like screws, washers, nuts and bolts, which work a certain obvious way and serve a certain obvious purpose…then you’ll have these very odd bits of metal, levers, cams, things that do not provide their intended function until such time as they come in contact with something else. With those odd-looking strangely-curved pieces of plastic and metal, you aren’t going to form an understanding of how they work until such time as you form an understanding, a fairly rugged one, of how the machine works as a whole — then it will make sense.

This late in the game, Barack Obama has come to represent, to me, an emblem of the bossy little seven-year-old who is constantly issuing these proclamations and orders, with great confidence, since He has not so much a shred of uncertainty about any of them…but He lacks the uncertainty about them because there’s never been any necessity for Him to question anything. Has Barack Obama been stuck on the side of the road with a bent chain on His bicycle? Had to take His computer apart because the floppy drive wasn’t working right? Don’t make me laugh.

He lives in that enviable world, although I do not envy it even a little bit — in which each item therein either is readily understood in form & function with only casual thought applied, or else it’s dumb & stupid. You bark an order at it, and hopefully it’ll shape up its shit.

In other words, sort of a cartoon world in which nothing really works. A Hanna Barbera cartoon world, where you walk without your arms moving, passing the same clump of trees every three or four seconds.

Update: It bugs Terri, too.

I recall all these straw-men President Obama tends to build up so He can tear them down…many of His lectures are formulated for a simple-minded nemesis that, although it may not be obvious, is something He just invented on the spot. “There are those who say” has managed to find a space on the Obama Speech Bingo card — and then there’s the famous “folks ain’t been reading their bibles” speech —

He tends to become embarrassed when He’s caught, how shall we put it, misunderstanding the misunderstanding. In so doing, he imagines a misunderstanding that isn’t actually there. I’m afraid He’s going to become an exquisitely annoying former President.

It reminds me of the blonde joke that takes place in a coffee shop. A blonde typing at a laptop screams because her screen has gone dark and her work appears to have vanished. One of the other patrons helpfully points out that, since there’s no power cord evident, perhaps the unit shut down because it simply ran out of juice. She peevishly clucks her tongue and chastises him, “No, you don’t need a cord on this! It’s wireless!”

Yeah…a lot like that.

I Made a New Word LIII

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Sort•of•God•iocre (adj.)

Or… Sortofgodequate or Sortofgodisfactory.

Of, or pertaining to, a brand name that is well known in the public’s consciousness, and in that cloister of thought inextricably intertwined with an exuberant adulation. Because the brand name is connected with this extroardinarily enthused approval, it is also connected with a cultural expectation that you’re supposed to share in it.

This broadcast and reverberated understanding that the thing is super-duper-mega-awesome-wonderful, is based on emotion and not reason. It cannot be explained with words. If one among the enthused does deign to explain with words why the object in question is mega-awesome-wonderful, it is part of the definition that the rambling, confused, directionless missive that comes out, if it justifies anything at all, it only justifies that the object has met a standard. The observer is left waiting interminably for some rational explanation as to why the object should be elevated above its peers, for no such explanation exists in logic. Such an explanation cannot be seen or described, it is merely felt.

I was inspired to make this new word by a simple observation over at Sonic Charmer’s, which I then waded into to help over-complicate and “overthink” according to a subsequent critic. The kick-off had to do with Twilight, a movie series that is not for everybody, in fact once one inspects it logically one sees it is a provably bad offering, liked by many, most of them females, who cannot even begin to explain anything good about it since there isn’t anything.

I’ve been noticing this for years now. I recall watching Die Another Day, which is in the James Bond franchise and carries the distinction of being a last-entry-before-a-reboot…arguably, this specimen is no better than any other last-entry-before-a-reboot movie. In the commentary chapter of the disc, star Pierce Brosnan was describing in detail why it was such an honor and a privilege to be working with the great Madonna. He shouldn’t have; he really, really shouldn’t have. Vapid and glittering bullshit phrases cloaked in the dulcet tones from the Brosnan voice box kept tumbling into the microphone like little turds…”such an icon”…et cetera. I distinctly recall thinking: Why didn’t they just drop that? It ends up being an insult to Madonna, when you think of it. Here’s Pierce put on the spot to say something positive about the star Madonna, why she has the fame that she has, what she did…for a whole new generation…and he can’t think of anything.

In the overthinking department, I’m in for a penny, in for a pound. So let’s continue to overthink. Maybe this is entirely insignificant, but like I said over there, I got a feeling there might be something to it. Could be wrong.

I perceive a steady, linear, deterioration in this century:

1. Phantom Menace and The Matrix: Slobbering fans can explain why it’s so important to them to see it, and once they have seen it they can explain what is “good” about it. It seems to escape their notice that this good-ness has to do only with special effects, which by 1999, although they’re still state-of-the-art this falls short of suggesting anything particularly miraculous has taken place. Although that three-way sword fight at the end was pretty cool.
2. After the September 11 attacks there follows a long period where there isn’t much remarkable being observed, in our culture, and maybe that is the origin of the problem.
3. Windows XP is kind of stable, and as a consequence of this, receives all sorts of praise as if it was an amazing new achievement. I suppose it was. Wonderful, an operating system that doesn’t eat your work; setting the bar kind of low here…
4. The Harry Potter film series takes off. Again, I understand how, and the fans can explain how, it is a story for children that captures their imagination because it has something to do with wizardry and magic. But how sad that in this century that’s some kind of event that sends shockwaves, whereas in the last one it was a rather ordinary occurrence. Still just as miraculous in the meaning behind inspiring children to worlds of wonder. But not a once-in-a-lifetime event, by any means.
5. The XBox game console. Again, it’s a new wave of technology, which is a good thing…I wish the technology had been put to better use, and I wish the public reception had been toned down. Between this offering, and the Wii and the PS3 and the XBox 360 we had a whole generation of kids who defined their very existences around getting hold of the doodad, and it’s a little hard to blame them when I recall the drudgery of my own childhood. Once the energy had been all blended together, there was a whole deluge of excitement lurching forward, unstoppable, around a new technological offering that really doesn’t compare that well with, let’s say, a cure for Cancer or something along those lines…
6. Superman Returns. It was eagerly anticipated because there hadn’t been any Superman movies for nineteen years. Reactions are mixed.
7. Barack Obama. ‘Nuff said.
8. Hillary Clinton, come to think of it, has been representative of this problem for quite awhile. Name one spectacularly good thing about Hillary Clinton, just one. I got some grief over on Facebook for pointing out that her chief qualification for these high offices is that she isn’t a very good wife and her husband doesn’t seem happy with her. I get how that offends people, and that isn’t my goal, but I didn’t make the situation; her fans made it. They’re heralding her as uniquely qualified for Senator, Secretary of State, President, et al and there isn’t a single positive detail to be noticed about her or anything she’s managed to accomplish, anywhere. Her husband cheated on her, and that’s her qualification.
9. The Occupy movement. All these politicians “get the frustration” of the Occupy movement. I wish there were more politicians, at the local level, who got the frustration with the Occupy movement…what is its goal, really? The Occupy movement still can’t say. Once again, we’re inclined to behave as if we’ve seen some detail where we’ve actually not seen any.
10. Twilight. Here we approach a whole new level. Asked what’s extraordinarily great about Twilight, the Twilight fan spews out pure nonsense; they have absolutely nothing. Not even red herrings. If you don’t like it, don’t go! Uh okay, but that’s not the issue…I really wanted to understand…

All of these events have excited, and been eagerly awaited by, vast multitudes anxious to share their excitement with like-minded.

Nobody can explain what is particularly wonderful about any of it. It all reads like what Tam said: “[Obama]’s a handsome younger guy who delivers vapidly inspiring slogans smoothly, and he was seen as a reaction to the mean, stodgy old men that control everything.” So there is excitement there but it isn’t based on attraction to the object of interest, it’s all based on the recoil from the alternative. Overly-energized, overly-displayed, overly-popular enthusiasm is made that way, not because of anything positive about Obama, who is far from being the only “handsome younger guy” who can deliver a speech, but because of something negative about the “mean, stodgy old men that control everything.” It is criticism for one object, cloaked rather dishonestly as a compliment paid to its opposite, so the compliment ends up being bloated, grandiose, overly platitudinous, obsequious and silly. It simply isn’t being carried aloft with the positive energy it claims to have; at the core of the cloud, it’s based on negativity. Which in turn means the substance of the cloud has a lot to do with dishonesty.

That is not true of everything on the list.

Much of it is based on starvation, I notice. Just as a glass of water looks a lot different to a man who’s been dragging himself through the desert on his belly all day long…in fact, maybe Titanic is what really got this whole thing started. Women, some working, some housewives, some too young to be either one, starved for an item of entertainment directed toward them. (In some way that I do not understand, since, let’s face it, movies & teevee were directed much more toward females than males in the nineties.) So what’s super-awesome mega-wonderful about Titanic?

There was some stuff about it that was good. Maybe that’s how the phenomenon slipped under the radar and went unnoticed up until now. But the question remains difficult to answer…and fast forward to twenty-twelve, you see: It is now an everday occurrence. Something with a conspicuous trademark is being nudged out onto the stage in front of us, and we are made into a captive audience of whatever this thing is, with this bumptious bullying overtone that we’re supposed to find, and help to pronounce, the object in question as…all kinds of glittery, creatively-inspired superlatives. None of which are really sustained by anything in reality. It’s the frog in the gradually boiling pot, and the boil hasn’t really been that gradual. But the water is hot, that’s for sure. Lots of wonderful things that are wonderful in ways nobody will, or can, describe. Put on the spot to do so, they can only supply legitimacy for the idea that the thing meets par.

Everything wonderful the thing has done for us, we recall fondly, although such amazing feats necessarily lack some vital details because they exist in the future. Doesn’t President Obama hold a Nobel Peace Prize that is a good example of this?

I remember about twenty years ago, maybe more recent than that, a Krispy Kreme opened up in Sacramento. There’s another one. All this excitement; anyone who doesn’t get it, and asks why, is told something about really good doughnuts. He’s not supposed to have asked in the first place, but if he compounds his error by saying “so what’s the big deal about doughnuts” he gets back this…don’t know how to describe it…this crushing wave of rhetorical nonsense. No, you don’t understaaaaaaaand! These are really gooooooood doughnuts! Okay…I’ve got a pretty good idea of how much excitement I’m going to churn up over the best damn doughnut the world ever saw, and it falls very far short of what I’m seeing here…

My point is not that we have the capacity to fool ourselves this way. That much is obvious without anyone pointing it out. My point is the increased frequency. This is a rather spectacular thing we are doing to ourselves, rather surreal, and now it’s about as out-of-the-ordinary as a detergent commercial. Yes, that’s it; we are more-or-less at the same place with everything else, where we were at back in the 1970’s with soap commercials. Logic and common sense say it’s just goop that will clean your socks, if you’re lucky. The narrative, on the other hand, says this is the most wonderful thing invented since the wheel. We all know it’s crap but nobody calls it out. Nobody bats an eye over it anymore.

There is great harm and danger involved in this confusion between the mediocre and the excellent. Because when everything is supreme and deity-like and worthy of our deference and adoration and adulation and genuflection — then nothing is. We are losing our ability to recognize what is superb and remarkable. If this metastasizes into an inability to recognize what is merely good, to distinguish it from the bad, the injury that is inflicted on our sense of judgment is only obvious. This is not a good road for us. We should turn back.

Legitimacy is Based on Accepted Belief

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Richard Fernandez writes at The Belmont Club (hat tip to Gerard again):

Among recent news stories are instances of people talking back, openly challenging the received wisdom in surprising ways. For example, Karen Handel calls Planned Parenthood a “gigantic bully” for pushing abortion on the Komen foundation.

The bishops of the Roman Catholic church finally nerved themselves to openly clash with the president in a public space, according to the New York Times
A prominent supporter of global warming has recanted his belief in public. “I feel duped on Climate Change,” said former German environment senator Fritz Vahrenholt.
The significance of these public outbursts is that they come from quarters not notably famous for being confrontational. These are people and organizations that would have preferred to keep things running smoothly and quietly. Now they will pay a price.
All legitimacy, even that of authoritarian regimes, is fundamentally based on an accepted belief. In dictatorships, it is the belief that the secret police are all powerful. In the liberal West, it is the myth that the elites are the all-wise source of public approval. Just as Syria’s Assad is suffering from a growing realization that he can’t stop the rebels, the biggest danger facing the liberal orthodoxy is a growing awareness that they can’t stop the heretics from speaking out in the public square. [bold emphasis mine]

The rebel rebels against the institution in Year N, and in Year N Plus One the rebel has become the institution. For him, it’s a chance to see how things work from the other side; for the public, it’s a case of “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Reminds me of something

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibnum, however far it is pushed one way or the other.
The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim…is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.

Bruch Concerto Number One

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Happy Friday! Time for some culture.

Rand Paul’s Questions for the President

Friday, February 10th, 2012

One of the decisions I’ve made that pleases me the most, is to separate my tentative judgments on this distinguished Senator and his garrulous geezer of a Dad.

The elder is doing damage, the younger is undoing some damage…or, at least, taking some first steps anyway. He deserves more credit. His old man’s cramping his style. The Senator will never say so, of course. But it’s true.

To be a fly on the wall during those family visits…

Your 2012 Lineup

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

This was just a brain fart over on the Hello Kitty of Bloggin’, but it got way more “likes” and commentary than I expected…right before I figured out I left some things out. So I decided to polish it up and bring it in here.

Without regard to who is actually running…my ranking is…

Sarah Palin still out in front, with John Bolton and Allen West. Followed by Tim Pawlenty and Paul Ryan, and a bunch of other people, followed by a small gap, followed by me, and then some others whose judgment isn’t quite as good as mine, followed by a larger gap. And then some Hooters waitresses I’ve met who happen to vote Republican, then a gap not quite as big, followed by the people who are actually runnning. Santorum, Newt, oh wait, there’s a considerable gap behind Newt, and then Romney. Behind Romney is the corpse of Natalie Wood dug up out of the ground, just because she looked so damn good when she was still alive.

After Natalie Wood’s corpse is the Honey Badger because I like his attitude. For that same reason, the Gino Saji comes right after the Honey Badger…and then SMOD.

After SMOD there’s a gap, because there’s really nothing to recommend anyone who I haven’t mentioned by now.

Road kill scraped off a randomly-selected backwoods highway comes next, followed by a gap, followed by the spider I killed last summer because it bit my girlfriend. Then the proverbial syphilitic camel, then a few randomly selected lunatics just sprung from the asylum, then we get into the presidents from history who were voted out because they blew it. I mean, the rancid ones. Buchanan, Tyler, Harding, Hoover…THEN we go overseas and look to some dictators who’d like to see us dead…THEN include Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars…THEN, after another gap, we loop back over here and pick up Jimmy Carter…

Tyler Durden. The Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. A bucket of turpentine. An old sock someone used because they were out of toilet paper. A spitoon. Its contents. A booger. A mummified hemorrhoid.

And then the guy who has the job right now. Yeah…it’s that bad.

Although I’m not entirely sure Jimmy Carter would beat the Wicked Witch.

We Need More Millionaires!

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Neal Boortz says the liberals are gonna hate this. He’s right, I think…

In 2007, there were 392,220 tax returns reporting $1 million or more in adjusted gross income (AGI). In 2009, by contrast, there were 233,435 millionaire returns, a drop of nearly 159,000, or 40 percent.

Of the total number of tax returns filed each year, millionaires’ share of returns declined from 0.3 percent to 0.2 percent.
The AGI of taxpayers earning over $10 million fell 61 percent, the biggest decline in AGI of any group. Their incomes dropped $342 billion in two years, from $561 billion in 2007 to $219 billion in 2009. Their lost income comprised roughly 33 percent of the overall fall in AGI over those two years.

Help!We here in California have had a very similar situation play out statewide for a long time now, during which time our biggest problem has been: When you just start to explain what’s happening, the lefties think you’re making an aggrieved victim class out of the very rich people, which they simply won’t allow to happen of course. Unfortunately, once they get just so much punch-drunk on liberalism, that’s how they see the world; they lose their ability to notice things that matter, if said things don’t involve some disenfranchised minority being oppressed. Kinda reminds me of the cartoon about Wiley Coyote walking off the end of the cliff and not falling downward until such time as he notices the ground’s gone.

Well, as California’s financial situation can attest, in this case the aggrieved victim class that’s being oppressed is not the rich people who used to be reporting more income than they’re reporting right now, it’s the treasury that used to be taking in more tax receipts. And the problem is real.

It’s universal, too. It works in states, regions, valleys, counties, townships, municipalities, anything you want. A lavish assortment of social programs funded by a “tax the evil rich” nicely sloped progressive-shaped curve in Year N…by Year N+5 you have these newspaper headlines, supposedly original ones, all humming the same monotone of “Oh, dear, budget cuts, revenue shortfalls, deficit deficit deficit!” It’s plain to see the recipe doesn’t work, but it’s only plain to see to those who pay attention.

Also, we’re not Wiley Coyote. Once we run off a cliff, gravity doesn’t give a good goddamn whether we know it or not.

He Wasn’t There Again Today, I Wish That Man Would Go Away

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Professor Mondo is asking tough questions about movies, which is interesting, because some of the young guys at work roped me in on something similar just yesterday afternoon. I suppose, with the Super Bowl over and nothing exciting coming up except that holiday for chicks, our brains just naturally flail about for something to think about that’s interesting.

I need to put the Bogart movie in the Netflix queue so I can figure out what’s up with Owen the chauffer. But the bombshell from yesterday sorta blew my mind: Suppose Ferris Bueller never actually existed. WHA-A-A-T? No really think about it, the argument goes. The parade float. That’s just silly. And Ferris never gets in trouble. He never has any actual plans for staying out of trouble, nor does he show good judgment or skill at staying out of trouble, but the boom is never lowered on him. The reason is, he isn’t there; he lives inside Cameron’s head. Cameron’s just a lonely bored guy with nothing going on, so he imagines everything.

Which is a nice thought, since that means nothing happens to the car. But what about Sloane?

Well, let that one go. It was pointed out to me that this would make the whole movie an extension of the theory behind Garfield Minus Garfield, a modern culture-meme that says the eponymous cat doesn’t exist either, it’s just a fantasy conjured up by this sad, lonely guy living alone wishing something would happen.

Quite a thought. Or not.

So is Deckard a replicant, or what?

An Economic Positive

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Press Secretary Carney, speaking on the disillusioned jobseekers leaving the workforce, thereby making these rosy unemployment rates much lower than they would otherwise be:

“A large percentage of that is due to younger people getting more education, which in the end is an economic positive,” Carney said. “This increase in the number of people leaving the work force has been a trend and a fact since 2000, because of an aging population, which is not to say this is wholly — that’s not to say that I would wholly disregard as an issue.” Carney had been asked about the 19 million underemployed or unemployed Americans, and about people who had left the work force.

“I think some of those who, I suppose, don’t wish us well politically have tried to make a point about this,” he also said. “The facts are that in these most recent numbers, this is not an issue of people leaving the work force; the numbers are positive across the board.”

My red flag goes up anytime I hear someone on the left say “the facts are.” That usually means what I’m about to hear are not facts, and by “usually,” what I really mean is there haven’t been any exceptions to the rule in a very long time now. Nor have there been any exceptions to this: When you take the time to go and look at the facts, you find out the lefty telling you what “the facts are” must not have wanted you to go doing that…

Between Barack Obama’s election and his first year in office, the [labor participation] rate dropped from 65.8 percent to 64.6 percent. At the end of January, when the BLS was conjuring up its latest jobless number, the labor participation rate dropped to 63.7 percent. That number represents a 30-year low. The raw numbers, however, tell the real story. Since 2008, approximately 8.8 million more people have been classified as “not in the labor force,” including 2.6 million more than one year ago. [emphasis mine]

There is another thing happening here: People getting more education who aren’t so young. It’s a gut-wrenching decision for people to have to make, who consider themselves to be already well-qualified, just for jobs that no longer exist or that can no longer be found. They need to be wondering about things like: Is this going to work? And if it does, for how many years before I’m told, again, I need to get more education before I can find another job. Or maybe I’m getting closer to the day I realize I’ve been employed for the last time.

The educational institution, of course, doesn’t need to wonder about any of that stuff. They just get lots and lots of money…which may end up working out in the student’s interest, or maybe not…but for the teacher it works out pretty well.

The education industry is third in line as far as donations to Barack Obama, following retired & legal.

He’s the low-labor-participation president. Not just a decent campaign slogan…that, Mr. Carney, is a fact.

Computer Error Song

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Super Social Network

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Our blogger friend over in New Mexico has been asking for this kind of treatment for quite awhile, so here goes…

…I’m thinking he’s the gentleman on the right in the rodent costume, and I’m the Boy Scout in blue. Looks like one of our conversations, once you have those premises in place…

“What Do You Think of This Quote?”

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

I was looking for this thing I said, I asked Google about it…I was expecting to be taken to The Best Quotes of 2009, of which I snagged the #11 spot…but I ended up being led to Yahoo! Answers. To my surprise, I must say.

What do you think of this quote?

‘Intellectualism has become the readiness, willingness and ability to call dangerous things safe, and safe things dangerous.’ — Morgan Freeberg

One of my former co-workers was amused by this reply:

Considering Freeberg is a Zionist, Military Industrial Complex advocate, it would make sense that she would put down those who might question the integrity of the actions of her type.

Boy, those Ron Paul fans. Nobody can ever accuse ’em of hurting themselves jumping to conclusions. Yeah, Mom wanted me to be a girl, but it wasn’t in the cards. Don’t know about the “Zionist, Military Industrial Complex advocate” thing…I do like the smell of scorched gunpowder on a Saturday morning. But I’m supposed to be Jewish or something? Sorry, baptised Presbyterian…couldn’t do the Zionist thing…bacon’s yummy. Although I do appreciate Topol’s performance in Fiddler On The Roof. Then again, who doesn’t?

But my favorite reply was this:

It means that Morgan Freeburg is not smart enough to understand the conversation. Which infers he is also not qualified to determine what is dangerous, and what is safe. Furthermore, he wants to maintain the status quo because he feels safe here or there if he means going back to the time of his imagined youth.

Hah! So the quote calls out the intelligentsia as a bunch of schoolyard-level arguers, who are trying to sell dangerous things as safe and safe things as dangerous, simply by elevating themselves to the level of “intellectualism” and calling anybody who doesn’t agree, stupid. Like a third-grader. And this yokel responds by…well, the first thing he does is prove the point absolutely true, since he knows not one single thing about me but has figured out I’m “not smart enough to understand the conversation.” Misspells my name when it’s right in front of his stupid face. Misuses the word “infers.” And then garbles the last sentence in such a way…well…it’s really not worth my time or effort to figure out what’s missing from that, I’ll leave it to the Microsoft Word grammar checker. Not my job.

But all this before the issues have even been defined. And I have the feeling that the guy who originally asked the question, was looking for something just like this.

I’m also partial to “More fear mongering from the right wingnuts is what I think.” Holy cats, lighten up dude.

For the record: It’s now been two years, plus a couple months since I said it…on the occasion of the Fort Hood shooting. My long-term memory is showing some signs of age, and is no longer infallible assuming it ever was. But as far as what I had in mind, I think the “calling dangerous things safe” had to do with Islamic weird-beards and Jihad bullshit and Saddam Hussein. You’ll notice our “intellectuals” have been pretty consistent in lecturing us that we have nothing to worry about there…and none of them have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, in terms of substantiating such reassurances to us. Just whistlin’ dixie, as they say.

And the “calling safe things dangerous” would be carbon in the atmosphere. Oh, yes, if you have one of those powerful, capable minds, you’re grousing away like Chicken Little about what’s going to happen to Mother Earth…probably driving a huge truck that gets four miles to a gallon, but who cares what you do, listen to what you say. That makes you an intellektshewel.

To borrow a favorite catchphrase from our current President — Let Me Be Perfectly Clear. This is a lamentation. The “has become” is intended to be a sad commentary on where we have taken ourselves. Our intellectuals, almost by the very definition of the word, have become people who are no longer attached to the necessity of living in reality. No, think on this carefully: What does Paul Krugman have to lose, personally, if he is wrong about the effects of stimulus spending? Not one thin fuckin’ dime. Well forgive me for saying so, but that’s why he has the opinions he has — he can afford to. He labors under no necessity of being right, feels no incentive to be right, doesn’t see the point. So he just spouts.

The architect who designs a five-story building, and then walks on the top floor when it’s all built, ready to tumble forty feet if he made a calculation wrong — he lives in a completely different world. Did you see Atlas Shrugged Part 1? Remember the train ride, minute after minute…you were probably wondering what the fuss was about. Well, read the book, there’s like a two or three thousand word essay surrounding nothing but the dumb ol’ train ride. I’ll tell you what that was about: If something wasn’t done right, the people indside the train woulda been dead before they knew what hit ’em. But…they knew it would be okay. Why? Because they had faith? No, because they worked within a web of trust. They knew what worked and what didn’t work. They weren’t “intellectuals.” They lived in a world where things worked or else they didn’t work. So they made their decisions out of logic, reason, and common sense; and their victory ended up being everybody else’s. It has been ever thus.

These “intellectuals” will never see that world, and they don’t want to, because they know they aren’t ready for it.

A man has no use for nature’s reality, when he’s been busily creating his own.

Reagan Refuses to Make Age an Issue

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

I’d be dancing on air if I heard any of the contenders today pull off something like this.

Update: Reagan had the good fortune to have done his campaigning & presiding in an earlier age, before the Obama Girl with the Dragon Tattoo came along.

A Million Dollars a Job

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Love him or hate him, Karl Rove sums it up accurately here:

It’s a whole lot of debt for not that many jobs saved. The White House says they were not involved in the ad in any way, but if you listen to what Rove actually said during the interview, that’s not the issue.

Hat tip to John at Verum Serum, who actually likes Clint Eastwood and his ad. But ultimately, reality wins every time, and “halftime in America” is not about reality.

Maria Menounos, Giants Fan

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

For a few minutes, anyway, since she lost a bet.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Looks cold out there.

This Is Good XCV

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Gerard Van der Leun reprints the reason he stopped voting democrat, and although I have a feeling he’ll be reprinting it again, we’d like to preserve it here:

The monsters from the id that now control the Democrat Party have transformed that party into a mob of undead extras from The Dawn of the Dead. It’s an indecent and disgusting spectacle and I suspect there’s more than a few million long-time Democrats who are revolted by it. That certainly seems to be creeping into the polls. No matter the good it once did, the Democrats today present as sick and crazed political party that is so greedy and hungry for power that it will do anything, including selling its country down the drain, to get it back.

Regardless of the race of the Democrats’ current leader and failed president, Martin Luther King’s dream of judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin has been transformed into a tawdry thing; a dried husk in which they wrap their skeletal remains, a hollow phrase spewed by the ascendent race hustlers of the party and lapped up by their acolytes.

Until 2004, with the exception of Guiliani’s second term as mayor, I voted the Democrat ticket in every election since 1967. In 2004, offered the Insane Clown Posse of John Kerry and John Edwards, I voted for George Bush. The spectacle of the last four years of various Democrats reaching for the gold ring did not inspire me to change my view. Only the dead enjoy parties in a crypt. Not even Roman columns improve the Charnal house atmosphere that fumes through the party today.

From the party that gave us FDR, Truman, JFK and even, yes, LBJ, the Democrats have gone through a process of gradual but inexorable devolution to the party of such weak, tepid and compromised souls as Carter, Clinton, Kerry, and now Obama – the ultimate bargainer, the race hustler with an Ivy League sheepskin. But these chestless men the Party puts up are only the shadows cast by the compromises it has made within itself. It has made many compromises over the years, taken in many “causes” each one more dubious and rotten than the last.

As a result of this unremitting ideological promiscuity, the “progressive” party has become progressively more diseased from each submissive encounter. The gangrene that has rotted the body of the party has transformed it into some transnational Dorian Gray. Strutting and noble and handsome when preening before the cameras and the crowds, but putrid and pestilential when you see it as it is in the dull light of its polluted “new morning.”

Welfare State Bear
Politics is a profession founded on and fueled by hypocrisy. This we all know. But, at the same time, we also need a politics that somewhere within it has a shred of uncompromised decency, the understanding of honor, and more than a little courage. None of these qualities exists in the Democratic Party today.

I was once married to a democrat myself, although I didn’t realize it until the third year after the divorce. That’d be eighteen years ago, last conversation I ever had with her — I think she was calling me to try to get me to sign a car over to her or something…from this experience I have a pretty good idea where all the “gangrene” set in, where the original infection point was.

It’s the bear at the table. You’ve seen the picture, you know what it represents. It is the mutation of the instinctive drive, common to every species in the kingdom, to seek out nourishment. The self-sustenance instinct. Once that’s been transformed into an “occupy” movement, that’s it for cakes…from that point forward, every li’l thing you want or think you need, that you don’t have yet, is some unforgivable transgression against your “basic human rights” or something. Wherever a transgression has been committed, someone, of course, must have committed it. That’s what triggers everything else. That’s what causes people to look at their friends as enemies, and their enemies as friends. After all, the friends are friends because they provided in the past, which means we know they can do it, and they’re not providing now — why, how dare they?? And the enemies must be friends because they’re not involved in any way in this latest occupy. As for the strangers who are neither friend nor foe; well, they need to join our movement, and why haven’t they already? The idiots! Don’t they know how to vote their interests?

I see Robert at Small Dead Animals has discovered the clip of the saintly diesel truck driver getting cussed out by the cow with exactly the attitude I just described…

(Potty mouth language not safe for a work or family environment.) No, I don’t know if this is a democrat or not. But I’d be willing to bet money, because this is exactly the problem we see coming from the “tolerant” ones: We all need to get along and respect each other, and in order for that to happen, you have to do exactly what I say and you’re just a terrible person for not already doing it.

The politicians keep it going, but the politicians are not the problem. They are merely salesmen, rushing in to fill a void. Like the tiny fruit flies that invade your space when you don’t throw out the banana peels fast enough, they are merely a symptom of a deeper cause.

Best Sentence CXXII

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

The one hundred and twenty-second award for BSIHORL (Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately) goes out this Super Bowl Sunday to commenter Jim Klein, who says over at Daphne’s place

The cost of information and its distribution has been steadily decreasing over time, to the point where it’s effectively zero now. This means that the trillions we sink into the “educational system” will be ever more plainly a complete waste of resources. Sure, there’ll always be a value in critical thinking, but that’s the one thing public education doesn’t teach anyway.

Bravo! Although in about fifty years, it will seem like belaboring the obvious. Hell, it could be called that right now.

The model is simply outdated. You reach majority age and then go into this cloister…a cloister with a name attached to it, and therefore a brand. The brand name is recalled fondly by the alumni, and maybe by those who wanted to go there, and simultaneously it is mocked and derided by those who invest their loyalty in its competition.

And then you attend lectures by these professors…you pass if you successfully parrot back what they lectured to you, and fail if you don’t. Your passage signifies not only your command of the material, which all by itself is a mistaken assumption since it’s mostly just mimicry. But also, your raw intellect, your teachability, your competence in tasks both rudimentary and advanced.

You have a diploma, that means you can apply for jobs and win arguments. The central focus of the jobs and the arguments may or may not have anything to do with the curricula…but hey, it’s all good because “they” must have known what they were doing when they gave you your shiny diploma…who is “they”? Nobody knows and nobody cares. If you lack the diploma, are you doomed to miss out on every job opportunity? No, not necessarily. If you have one, are you going to get the job? No, not necessarily. What about the arguments that you win, is that assured? Well, only if all who are assembled to hear the arguments, subscribe to this seventeenth-century idea of “whowever attended the most prestigious institution must be correct.”

If you pay your tuition and get your diploma with your major in — whatever — and still can’t get a job, hey no problem. Just Occupy.

Miss Piggy Doesn’t Like Fox News

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

This was an event worthy of note, if only just barely, and I realized there’s two months worth of dust on it now and I don’t have any kind of record of it.

The Muppets go over the line, and some morning Fox news program calls ’em out on it.

This makes Kermit and Miss Piggy unhappy.

First thing I notice about the press conference is, there is skill going into the puppeteering, which is commendable. Little nudges and head bobs and gestures, the kind of talent that that arrives only with experience and give-a-damn. Good to see. Second thing I notice is that the distinctive voice-lilt of Kermit did meet a demise after all, along with the man behind it Jim Henson. It’s a good imitation they have here, but an imimtation is all it is.

Regarding the Fox broadcast: High points and low points. There is enough quality in it that when the libs attack Fox for calling out the elephant in the room, they are deserving of some chastisement for not having invested the seven minutes in watching the segment before investing the hour or two popping off about it, for the argument is succinctly and compellingly made: Give it up for awhile, it’s a kid’s movie for heaven’s sake. On the other hand, I tire quickly of the interrupting and the cross-talk. No one got interrupted here except Caroline Heldman, with whom I happen to disagree, but that doesn’t make it any more tolerable. I wish they’d stop this. They can.

Now, to the meat of the matter: Professor Heldman nailed it (around 6:20) when she made the “they’re doing it so we get to do it too” argument. “Marketers have access to children…if marketers have access to our children, why shouldn’t we be telling them about the truth of the corporations.” The “truth” she managed to get out here was: Deepwater Horizon exploded killing eleven people; and, gas costs four dollars a gallon at the pump so people have to make choices between driving to work and feeding their kids. Both of these unfortunate things she somehow manages to chalk up in some undefined way to corporate greed or something — so the “truth” must be told.

Enter villainous puppet Tex Richman.

I’m seeing some problems here myself. Three, in fact. First of all, there is the issue with personal values. Like the host summed it up at 2:28 “We were dead broke…my parents would see someone wealthy driving by, they’d be like, see that guy? He started a business, he worked hard, you can be like that someday; not pointing the finger at Tex Richman and saying he’s a bad guy.” I have to acknowledge and understand there are people out there who want to raise their kids differently, I guess they have the attitude of “I’m jealous of people who do better than I do, so I’m damn well going to make sure my kids are the same way (and yours too).” It’s a terribly sad thing, but it’s a reality. Well, incest is a reality too…how come one of those is sidelined and criminalized as it should be, and the other one is out in the limelight?

Second problem is this monopolizing and shameless usage of the bully pulpit. “If marketers have access to our children, why shouldn’t we be telling them about the truth.” I wish time permitted a more scrutinizing exploration of that pronoun “our” as in, “our children.” I guess when you make a muppet movie, you become a parent to every kid who goes to see it, or something? Or is it “our” as in, property? Or is this some reference to Hillary Clinton’s it-takes-a-village; if that’s the deal, it occurs to me that the “marketers” are part of the village, too, and they also would be able to lay claim to the children. But the problem I identify here is the attitude — we-get-to-do-this. Uh no, you don’t get to do that, those are other people’s kids. You’re supposed to be entertaining them by showing them a quality movie — one that’s built for kids.

Third problem: The ridicule. This is why it’s important to actually watch the seven minutes. There is something happening here; when it serves the interests of the whatever-ya-calls-em…neo-communists, Alinsky-ites, Occupy people, anti-capitalists…when they get the feeling it’s time to yank off the veil, or drop the fig leaf, choose your metaphor — they do it. With flourish and bumptiousness and finger-waggling, well of COURSE we’re trying to convert these kids! It’s only right! So we know there’s something there…it’s just intellectually dishonest to engage in this ridicule of “Look at Fox News what they’ve lowered themselves to, they’re going after the Muppets now and calling them communists or something!” Well, when you hear from all sides and evaluate the arguments, you see the Muppets are being communists. In fact, they’re putting a decent level of effort into it. It’s become a rather tight and simple exchange: What the hell are you DOING demonizing the oil companies? This is a kids’ movie! And the greenie yells back: What are you doing NOTICING? This is kids’ movie! Why bring an elephant into the room, expecting nobody will notice, and then when someone points it out “hey, there’s an elephant in the room” start heckling them about it, when everyone understands damn good and well that there is an elephant in the room?

Ah, I know the answer to that. Proggies just want to win.

So Miss Piggy doesn’t like Fox News. Okay, then. Next time some moonbat starts making his snide little “we all know Fox news isn’t really news” snippets to get a nurturing chuckle out of the like-minded, I’ll know he takes his advice on what to watch from Miss Piggy. Maybe that’s showing my age; I’ve been around longer than Miss Piggy, and when she first hit the scene, her role was one of Muppetized ignorance. Maybe that’s not true anymore? I dunno. But back in the day, she existed as an emblematic reference to those among us who know very little and cannot be told anything — they may possess the faculties required for learning new things, but they may as well not because they aren’t taking it in. They think they’ve got a lock on it all, already. I’ve found that to be generally true of people who look down with condescension and derision upon Fox News, without watching it, making their snide comments about it only because they see other people saying the same thing.

Maybe she should been made a sheep.

Update: Apropos to the ignorance of those who insist there is nothing going on here and there’s some urgent need to not call out Hollywood for being a left-wing anti-corporate hate-fest; my favorite gal finished up her shift last night and stumbled in about 10:30 or 11:00, in need of just an hour or so of some idle chit-chat and Netflix Instant entertainment before hitting the sack, so we watched an episode of Quantum Leap, where Sam goes back to his hometown, the one with the bank robbery.

I noticed that once the plot was defined about fifteen minutes in, you really couldn’t do a better job of getting all left-wing-ey and communist-ey than what they managed to churn out here. The three brothers are robbing the bank, so that they could pay that same bank, so that their mother could get out from underneath an unfair loan through which the farm was about to be foreclosed. Got all that? The bank is being robbed and it’s the bank’s fault.

There are other examples far, far too numerous to mention. And no, just because some of them are in Muppet movies doesn’t mean it’s a silly or frivolous issue. The capital-D Dads and capital-M Moms who say beneficial, productive things to their children like “See that rich guy? He worked hard, maybe you can be like that someday” are being crowded out…drowned out…silenced. Deliberately. And it’s been going on for years and years.

Doing Business with Liberals

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Captain Capitalism has his reasons for avoiding it. Said reasoning is sound, and avoiding it does appear in hindsight to be the wiser course.

This is quite bizarre:

The California owner of a Honda Civic Hybrid car has won her unusual small-claims court lawsuit against the auto giant over the vehicle’s failure to deliver the promised mileage.

A Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner has awarded Heather Peters $9,867.

Peters opted out of a class-action lawsuit so she could try to claim a higher payment for the failure of her Civic to deliver the 50 miles per gallon (21.26 kilometers per liter) that was promised when she bought it.

Informed of the decision by The Associated Press, Peters exulted, “Wow! Fantastic.”

“I am absolutely thrilled. Sometimes big justice comes in small packages,” she said. “This is a victory for Honda Civic owners everywhere.”
Peters claimed her car never came close to the promised 50 mpg (21.26 kpl) and that it got no more than 30 miles per gallon (12.75 kilometers per liter) when the battery began deteriorating. She still owns the car and wanted to be compensated for money lost on gas, as well as punitive damages, amounting to $10,000.

That part doesn’t faze me much. Thirty is less than fifty; I’ve not had much experience with this problem — my cars have all performed more-or-less in the neighborhood of their advertised gas mileage, sometimes even a bit beyond that — but if I’m only getting sixty percent, I’m pissed. Probably not suing over it, but then again, it’s a litigatory world, and I must bow to the plain fact that everyone isn’t exactly like me, however many problems that may cause from time to time…

No, this made me do a double-take.

Peters, a former lawyer, hoped to inspire a flood of such lawsuits by the other 200,000 owners of the Hybrid Honda Civic model sold in 2006. She said that if all 200,000 owners of the cars sued and won in small claims cost, it could Honda Motor Co. $2 billion. [think they meant to say “in small claims court, it could cost Honda the two billion” or something.]

I wish they interviewed for this story a bit better. Did she hope to inspire a flood of such lawsuits in order to legitimize her own claim? Or, now that the case has been decided in her favor, she hopes to make it as expensive as possible for the defendant. Because the way the story reads, it sounds like the latter…like I said, bizarre…it ends up looking like she doesn’t care that much how well she’s compensated for her own complaint, she’s on a campaign to make sure Honda pays and pays and pays. If that’s the case, how am I expected to identify with her and her battle-for-the-underdog? This is what motivates you? This is what makes it worthwhile to get out of bed in the morning?

I know this feeling exists out there. We’re having a big ol’ back-and-forth right now about taxing the rich, and I’ve made the acquaintance & come to be aware of many who carry around and boast of great exuberance and excitement about this. Yeah, make ’em pay! Ostensibly to make the treasury more solvent…but they don’t know anything about the public debt, what it’s doing in relation to GDP, how big our government’s annual budget deficits are, how they’ve changed in the last few years and why.

In short, they do not care who gets what. They say they do, but they don’t. They care that large amounts of money are taken away from certain targeted people. Where the money goes, is strictly off their radar — they put on a big show of making sure things are “properly funded,” but the truth is the money could disappear into a hole as far as they’re concerned. They’re not all about creation, they’re all about destruction.

I’ve had girlfriends like this. Buy them something, they’re pleased as punch — until they find out it didn’t cost as much as they thought it did, and then there’s a problem.

There’s another issue here worthy of observation. These liberals are out there, with this taste for destruction. These scorpions from the frog-and-scorpion story. Don’t care who benefits, only care about who’s destroyed; don’t care if I live, as long as you die. The other issue of which I speak, is how they select a target to put in the crosshairs. We’re well acquainted with the pattern by now:

“Millionaires and billionaires flying around in their corporate jets.” Target.

Oil and gas companies. Target.

Government that nets a dozen times as much loot, or more, off each gallon compared to said oil companies: Not a target.

Banks, with their absurd fifty cent ATM fees: Target.

Government that taxed the money you’re taking out of the ATM: Not a target.

Kid that shoots up your kid’s school: Not a target.

His gun: Target.

Policeman who risks his life to save your kid from the kid shooting up the school: Target.

Terrorist who wants to kill you: Not a target.

Soldier fighting the terrorist over there so you don’t have to worry about the terrorist over here: Target.

I have commented before, with regard to human relationships, that the species seems to be split more-or-less down the middle between a) people who are nice to people who are nice to them, and dicks to people who are dicks to them; and b) the other kind who have it all bass-ackwards, being dicks to people who have been nice to them, and (making up for it by?) being nice to people who are dicks. I have also said, further, that these a) people and b) people should not meet — most of the difficulties we have come from these two kinds of people coming in contact with each other.

These are the people with crossed wires and messed up circuitry. If you follow them around all day and night, you’ll find they’re pretty consistent with their Stockholm Syndrome and their Narcissistic Personality Disorder and their other…well, let’s call ’em what they really are…mental problems. And the one sure-fire way to get on their bad side is to provide them with something they want or need. There the trouble starts.

This is why The Captain’s words make sense to me. Based on what I have managed to observe about modern liberalism…and I’ve collected a lot of notes on it by now, some written, some I carry around in my head, but they all make an impression on me…this has a lot to do with what liberalism is right now. Being dicks to people who make your life, and your way of living, possible. If someone provides you with the things you need and want, satisfies your demands, well, it’s curtains for them. How do they think they can get away with that? You’ll show ’em. Teach ’em a thing or three.

Now, I do not mean to say these other kinds of people, the ones who make an obsession out of the “be a dick back to whoever is a dick to me” thing, are all that. That’s some dysfunctional behavior right there…that’s not what keeps a society humming along. We honor and respect saints for a reason. But those people, those “be a dick to whoever’s a dick to me” people, are light years ahead of those other people, the ones with the crossed wiring, who reward kindness with dickish behavior and vice-versa.

If I had to choose between the two of them, and have just one kind running everything, I’d pick the vengeful dick type people. I really would. They’d bollux it all up for sure up at the top, but elsewhere there’d at least be a way for others to prosper, thrive, and co-exist in a more-or-less functional society. Plus there’d be some shenanigans going on that we could read about and it would be funny. Besides of which, we’ve had those kinds of people in charge before, quite a few places and quite a few times. Society can limp onward after that…but the crossed-wiring people, they’re just nuts. The real danger with them is that the damage, by its very nature, cannot be contained. If they make a mission out of destroying someone who was nice to them and provided them with what they needed, it just spikes their appetite and then they want more. They’re like sharks picking up the scent of blood, that way.

Obama is Getting Archie Bunker Ticked Off

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

And color of skin doesn’t have a whole lot to do with it…

Hero and Villain Alignment Chart

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

From Geeks Are Sexy.

Seems like there should be another layer in there…something dealing with altruism versus pragmatism or something.