Archive for September, 2013

“What is President Obama’s Incentive to Negotiate?”

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Obviously, He doesn’t have one. “If He doesn’t give anything up on this, He gets what He wants, so…”

From CainTV.

By a margin of 57 to 38, America disapproves of Obamacare, and that disdain is present in virtually every key demo. Men disapprove at 60%, women at 55%, and independents at 67%.

So, Americans may not like Congressional Republicans, but they also hate Obama’s train wreck law. All of this indicates that – if the GOP members would just get out there and fight – they’d stand a good chance of turning their fortunes.

I think it would not cause too much of a big disagreement with anyone to take note of the fact that it’s now two-for-two — or is it three-for-three? — of “shutdowns” in which, if & when the government does have to shut down, the prevailing viewpoint is somehow established that it’s the Republicans that did it and are responsible for all the wreckage that ensues. This prevailing viewpoint is established early, and often. In ’95 as well as now, the boat isn’t getting too much rocked. It’s just kind of a background melody that endures across centuries, ages too, I suppose…

I’m concerned not so much about Republicans losing and democrats winning, as with the sloppy logic. Obama won’t negotiate, so if the worst comes to pass, it must be on the heads of…His opposition? Huhwha??

I also notice something else: At the state level as well as at the federal level, a “government shutdown” is pretty much a continuous fireworks display of the message that important things are being decided in pretty much the exact opposite from the way they should be decided. Can anyone arguing honestly, deny this to be true? It’s the sprawling and ever-expanding debt that brings the shutdown situation about; if debt is ever-expanding, that’s a pretty reliable sign that things aren’t being done the right way. And then you have the high-drama. As anyone with some dysfunction somewhere in their extended family knows all too well…and you know, I’m reasonably sure that’s all human beings with warm blood and a pulse to slosh it around…high-drama, all the time, as a rule rather than as an exception, is a sure sign that things are hosed. Problems are not getting solved, confrontations are going on, and whoever wins those confrontations is whoever is advancing the non-sustainable lifestyle. Which is a guarantee that more high-drama awaits tomorrow and the day after. In other words, in simpler terms: The “system” just isn’t working.

You know what sets that all off? The catalyst of the problem is not the person most people think it is. It’s the “bubba”; the baby of the family, usually. The jag-off. The screw-up. Momma’s always bailing him out of his latest jam. It’s that one guy — nothing is ever his fault, ever, no matter what. He doesn’t do anything wrong; bad things just keep happening to him. Know the type? I’ll bet you do. If you don’t, well…better-than-even odds, you’re that guy.

That’s what is happening here, I’m afraid. Obama’s skin is dark, so He shouldn’t ever have to give anything up, ever. There, I said it. Yeah yeah…I know…well, Freeberg Rule. You call me a bigot, just for that, I call you a coward.

What a shame. It’s obvious, now, that the people who questioned whether America was ready for a black president, were a hundred percent wrong. They won’t admit it, but they were. Why did it have to be Obama? We’ve got a lot of black notables in this country who would have made fine presidents. Why did it have to be the freshman senator who can’t ever take responsibility for anything? The “bubba”? What a mess.

What we have here is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. The outcome is being affected, rather directly, by the reportage. And not in a good way.

“Right Wing Obamacare Myths DEBUNKED”

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Matt Walsh:

They claim that Obamacare will raise taxes, but this has been PROVEN false so many times. You know it’s been proven because I capitalized “proven.” Sure, there might be a few minor billion dollar taxes, like the individual mandate tax and the employer mandate tax, the Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans, the Tax on Health Insurers, the Tax on Innovator Drug Companies, the High Medical Bills Tax, the Medicine Cabinet Tax, the Tax on Indoor Tanning Services, and the Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals. And, yeah, there might be a small number of multi-billion dollar tax hikes on things like the Medicare Payroll tax and the “black liquor” tax and the HSA Withdrawal tax. And, OK fine, we’ll even see some tax deduction eliminations, like the deduction for employer-provided retirement prescription drug coverage.

But besides, like, 20 new taxes and tax hikes totaling, like, hundreds of billions of dollars, there aren’t ANY tax increases attached to Obamacare. None. NONE. See? I did the capital letter thing again. Pretty convincing stuff.

The Chinese Dragon Dance of “Science”

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

By which I mean

The basic skills are simple to learn, however to become a competent performer takes dedicated training until movements become second nature and complex formations can be achieved – which rely not only on the skill of the individual member, but on concentration by the team as a whole to move in co-operation.

For some six or seven years or so now, I’ve had in my glossary two definitions of “science,” a classic one and a modern one. The classic definition places emphasis on the learning objectives and the method, and the newer definition places the emphasis on the institutions, the phony consensus, and the elitism; the choreography, the “Chinese dragon-dancing.” Sad to say, I think that’s still correct. The word is undergoing a change. It would be dishonest to insist that it means what it has always meant, when it is abused constantly.

Around the time of entering those glossary items, I wrote:

I keep on hearing that science is in danger of being destroyed by politics. I believe this has already taken place.

President Obama, early in His first term, showed how concerned He was about this too (hat tip to Goddard).

When President Obama lifts restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell research today, he will also issue a presidential memorandum aimed at insulating scientific decisions across the federal government from political influence, officials said.

“The president believes that it’s particularly important to sign this memorandum so that we can put science and technology back at the heart of pursuing a broad range of national goals,” said Melody Barnes, director of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council.

That was then, this is now.

President Obama angrily blasted climate change skeptics during his energy policy speech Tuesday at Georgetown University, saying he lacked “patience for anyone who denies that this problem is real.”

“We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society,” Obama said. “Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.”

This is a perfect exercise of anti-science:

Anti-Science (n.)

Whereas real science is a disciplined accumulation of knowledge, toward a more useful and complete understanding of the world around us, this is the exact opposite. It starts at the opposite end and runs perfectly backwards. The conclusion comes first, and then as evidence arrives it is compared to this conclusion. If the evidence doesn’t support the desired conclusion, an elaborate anti-treatise will be prepared giving reasons why the evidence has to be discarded.

In anti-science, it’s all about the consensus; the consensus is the product. And, just as you get a sharper point to the pencil by whittling parts of it away, as opposed to fastening on something new, anti-science works according to a subtractive process. You get rid of whatever doesn’t belong. Anti-scientist Barack Obama did a great job of showing how.

When no one is left with any authority intact, save for those who can repeat back the catechism, then you have a good dancing-dragon and your choreography is complete. That’s a successful (anti) science-ing. Quoting myself yet once more:

I think we should just cut the crap and go straight to the point.

[Anti-] Science is not about learning the nature-of-nature. It is not about accumulating any kind of information at all. It’s about arriving at a consensus and making it so that “everyone” agrees. This is done by conversion or else by some sort of obliteration/defenestration, that part of it doesn’t matter too much, the important thing is that everybody arrives at the same conclusion.

This metastasizing is long and slow, I can tell, given that I was making notes about it that now have six years of dust on them, and it isn’t hard to find some more examples three or four times as old. Some of the influences driving this, I believe, have been around since the very beginning. Scientists are human. It’s in the job description to fight the demons within, to resist the human temptations.

Think about when a prison guard or sheriff’s deputy is accused of being a bully. There is a certain air of immediate legitimacy to such a charge; if you are a bully and have yet to settle on a lifetime vocation, well…these are good jobs for you to have. So it isn’t unreasonable to suppose, within the ranks of such employment, you might find some bullies. Well, for similar reasons, scientists can be “bullies” too. The labels “science” and “scientist” possess such a positive appeal for those who detest debate, just want to say what’s so and impose an obligation on everyone else, near & far, to believe. If it really is science, you have to, right? It’s science!

But this situation is more hazardous than the prison-guard thing. A prison guard who is a bully, can get the prison-guarding done. At least, at the end of the day, the prison is guarded.

Science suffers, though, when people who loathe dissent and discussion, just want things done their way with no questions asked, start to saturate the ranks of those who are authorized to call themselves “scientists.” They may say that’s what they are, they may have the proper credentials, they may do some of what has classically been called science. And, on a wholly separate topic of discussion when they drift away from the scientific method, and start Chinese Paper Dragon Dancing and repeating the conclusions of others without understanding any of it, like David Suzuki did, they can certainly still reach the correct conclusion; the authority on whom they were relying, may be properly exercising the scientific method and the “web of trust” system may work beautifully here and there.

The fact remains. Dragon-dancing is not science-ing.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts and Right Wing News.

Equality Myth

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Gerard links to a most excellent essay that is a diary entry from Ben Stein:

I AWOKE STILL feeling shaky about the bees. I slept very late, then slept some more, just laying in bed listening to Mr. Buffett’s trains and thinking about Mr. Obama’s tirades against inequality and about the need for the rich to pay more taxes…
It’s great to talk about equality, but hardly any of us really wants to be just “equal.” The blacks want preferences in schools and jobs and they get them. The poor want to be rich. The rich want to stay rich. “Equality” is a code word for “take away something from someone else and give it to me.”

Equality at the starting gate? Yes, absolutely. Equal justice under law? For sure. But rejiggering government policy to make lazy, shiftless people better off and take away from hard-working, clever people operating within the law? What’s so great about that except satisfying the envy of the poor and ordinary?

Of course, raise taxes on the rich if the government really needs the money for basics like defense. But take it away just to satisfy envy? Take away incentives to create, to produce? Why would we want to do that?
“‘Equality,’ I spoke the words, as if a wedding vow, ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” So sang Bob Dylan long ago. How clever he was. No, I don’t know what it means. I do know that equality is like “infrastructure,” “post-racial,” and “fixing education.” Just sales talk. Just sales talk to fool people into thinking that politicians do much besides advance their own interests. Well, they’re human. That’s what humans do. Usually. There are exceptions.

Imagine you can snap your fingers, and all throughout the universe the voltage in every material thing is instantly equal. That necessarily means nothing runs; the lights go dark, the fans stop turning, and your car doesn’t start. If you can hand-crank it to get it going, like a biplane pilot from a century ago, it won’t run. Nothing works.

Equalize the temperature, PH level or pressure, life forms go extinct. Equalize the wealth, we’re all poor. Equalize the heat and the life-energy, we all die.

Life itself relies on inequality. Equality is death.

This Is Good CXI

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

From the Brother-In-Law, in the e-mails.

Makes perfect sense to me. I’m sure the Book of Genesis just sort of left it out or something…writer’s strike, maybe.

Global Warming is Like Gay Pizza or Something

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

The Hill, via Weasel Zippers, via Fox, via Steven Goddard:

Former vice president Al Gore on Monday called for making climate change “denial” a taboo in society.

“Within the market system we have to put a price on carbon, and within the political system, we have to put a price on denial,” Gore said at the Social Good Summit New York City.

“It is simply not acceptable for major companies to mimic the unethical strategy of the tobacco companies in presenting blatantly false information in order to protect a business model,” Gore added, alleging that’s what some oil and coal companies are doing. “There needs to be a political price for denial.”
He urged attendees to challenge denial of climate change in conversations in families and communities and elsewhere. “We can win this conversation and winning a conversation can make all the difference,” Gore said. “Don’t let denial go unchallenged.”

Gore noted how racism and later homophobia have become increasingly unacceptable.

He pointed to news accounts of an instance in which two gay men were subjected to anti-gay insults by another customer in line at an Ohio pizza spot.

The other people in line and the employees uniformly condemned the insult, according to reports.

Article goes on to provide a link to the Ohio/pizza/gay story, according to which…

Two gay men stopping for a late night slice of pizza in Columbus, Ohio unexpectedly received a heartwarming show of community support when confronted with a hateful tirade.

Joel Diaz and Ethan White were holding hands and waiting in line at Mikey’s Late Night Slice pizza truck last weekend when another customer told them to cut out their “gay s–t,” the pair told Huffington Post.

“I was a bit startled by his words, but I didn’t expect what happened next. Almost every single person in that line made it known to him it was not OK for him to speak to us like that,” said Diaz.

Unfazed, the man continued his homophobic rant, Diaz said.

Other customers, both gay and straight, continued to argue with the man, but it was actually the employees of the pizza truck that finally squashed the situation.
“The guys who work the truck stopped what they were doing and leaned towards the window and told him they would not serve him because he was spewing hate. They said they support everyone in our community and that he should get out of line because they would not be serving him,” Diaz said.

The man finally left, and moved by the incredible support from his community, Diaz posted about the experience on Facebook.

Thousands of shares later, Mikey’s Late Night Slice also chimed in saying the company can’t “tell you how proud we are of our truck workers that night for speaking up and doing the right thing.”

What fascinates me most about this is the obvious flaw in Al Gore’s comparison. The pizza thing is a classic case of “tolerance in the form of intolerance toward intolerance.” Therein lies a complex and most worthwhile debate, I think, about whether that can actually work. Maybe I’ll leave that for some other forum. Or not. But at any rate, before we disappear down that bunny trail, let us first inspect this fragile connection between crowd-shouting-down “his homophobic rant,” and doing the same thing against what the former Vice President calls “denial” against the climate change scam.

The tactic is the only connection between the two situations. That, and the lust behind it. There’s no other tie, at all. And I can say that without knowing much of anything about this “rant.” All I really know about it is that it seems to have started from the PDA, so the rant must have been about what the guy didn’t want to see in public. The hand-holding got to him. I mean, that’s what he said, according to the story. Dissent against the weird climate-change power play stuff, on the other hand, has nothing to do with that at all.

The climate-change snake oil has been sold, a lot of people aren’t buying it, because to be frank about it the sales job we’ve seen across the decades leaves a whole lot to be desired. It’s full of obvious fibs, tainted information, thoroughly corrupted peer-review processes, contradictions, institutional arrogance and other red flags. It relies on snobbery, buffoonery, selfishness and intellectual laziness; even with all that, a lot of climate change dissenters would suffice with an eyeball roll, standing quietly by on the sidelines while the alwarmists continue to hog the limelight and insist on the final word and make asses out of themselves, except for one thing. It has become clear that the outcome is likely to be determined by a shouting match, like it or not. So it doesn’t do any good to quietly mutter to oneself, “I’m on to that Al Gore guy, I’m not falling for this.”

Unknowns are being falsely characterized as knowns. While that’s going on, the alwarmists are making noises about moving money around. We’re talking huge, big money; it’s a trillion-dollar scam. Those who can see this is happening, have to get out, and speak up. Professional hysterics like Al Gore put us into that position.

In fact, if his analogy works at all, it’s people like Al Gore who are the homophobic guy because they’re the ones causing the original offense, trying to usurp unilateral control over the prevailing viewpoint. To run a successful business that employs people and has a beneficial effect on the economy, would be like the holding hands. “Cut out that gay shit” is essentially the same message, is it not, as “cut out that carbon-emitting shit”? And the skeptics are like the rest of the crowd, and the truck guys, delivering the message: Uh no, if we’re settling this by majority rule, a dubious proposition at best, you didn’t characterize that majority-rule fairly just now, and we’re here to make sure you know that.

But of course, you don’t vote on the freezing temperature of water. We don’t conclude things based on one faction deliberately and methodically eliminating from the discussion anybody who doesn’t go along — although it is nice to have Mr. Gore on record as saying, that’s how he wants to “win this conversation and winning a conversation can make all the difference.” I have often thought that the toddler-desire to win-all-arguments was at the center of this whole thing, and ice core samples and satellite radiation measurements never had anything to do with it. Now that there is proof, I’m not surprised. This isn’t climate science, it’s a behavioral disorder we’re seeing play out. Psychology has a lot more to do with it.

If there’s a hitherto undiscovered and undiagnosed disorder playing out, Popular Science magazine (via CNET) must have it. They’ve just shut down their comment section. Suzanne LaBarre, online content director, put up some explanation as to why:

…even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story, recent research suggests. In one study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Dominique Brossard, 1,183 Americans read a fake blog post on nanotechnology and revealed in survey questions how they felt about the subject (are they wary of the benefits or supportive?). Then, through a randomly assigned condition, they read either epithet- and insult-laden comments (“If you don’t see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these kinds of products, you’re an idiot” ) or civil comments. The results, as Brossard and coauthor Dietram A. Scheufele wrote in a New York Times op-ed:

Uncivil comments not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself.
In the civil group, those who initially did or did not support the technology — whom we identified with preliminary survey questions — continued to feel the same way after reading the comments. Those exposed to rude comments, however, ended up with a much more polarized understanding of the risks connected with the technology.

Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought.

Another, similarly designed study found that just firmly worded (but not uncivil) disagreements between commenters impacted readers’ perception of science.

If you carry out those results to their logical end–commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded–you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the “off” switch.

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

It’s a good argument if, and only if, her concern is limited to “trolls,” and if it is truly mistaken to have these things “up for grabs again.” But as one of my friends pointed out on the Hello Kitty of Blogging…what are we to make of it when there is a debate going on, and one side of the debate starts manipulating these control levers to shut the debate down? What are we to think?

If I had a dime for every time some pious organization said that the “science” is settled, that there is no room for debate, as if that were the period at the end of a very long sentence nobody actually remembers reading, I’d be obscenely rich by now. And then a week later, science would say, no, turns out eggs are good for you and not cholesterol-laden death.

My perspective is that nothing is settled if you can’t, or won’t, make the case for it, and then defend it against opposition. And here, “Popular Science”, which by virtue of eliminating reader comments, now has one less way to tell just how popular their “science” actually is, just pulled a “the debate is over and we’re right–no reason for further discussion” card out of the deck.
If I’m on the fence on a controversial issue, what am I to make of the side that shuts down debate, versus the side that wants to actually have a conversation? If global warming, for example, is such a given, then why can’t the following questions be fielded in a maturely scientific manner:

Why is the entire theory predicated on doctoring numbers (throwing scalars on top of actualized data to create the infamous “hockeystick graph” that started it all)? Or why has there been a systematic suppression of contrary evidence (Climate-Gate)? Why are the models constantly being tossed out and rebuilt to fit the current weather patterns instead of the forecasted warming projections we were told were inevitable? Why did the name change specifically from “global warming” to an amorphic “climate change,” if the underlying theories in the original models were sound and specific enough on which to base public policy? Where’s the null hypothesis, if both hot and cold weather point to the same conclusion? Why has the so-called warming trend been flat (and even inverse) in the last fifteen years? So if it’s hot, if it’s cold, or if temperatures don’t change much (are flat), then it’s all because of global warming/climate change/whatever it’s called next?

I guess I shouldn’t bother asking because it turns out we’re all too dumb to understand, or that some among us might make pejorative comments on a website that might sway others against the “settled science”. So the discussion isn’t worth having. It can’t be that what’s passing for popular science nowadays is devoid of true scientific methodology, but is instead, fueled by a tribal-driven false consensus and political expediency. No, that’s not it. We just can’t be trusted to be a part of the discussion, and I’m fine with that.

Which leads us to an overdue inspection of the idea that the alwarmists have a better command of the “science.” This was dealt a blow recently during a Q&A session with noted and outspoken alwarmist David Suzuki (via Herald Sun, via Instapundit).

BILL KOUTALIANOS: Oh, hi. Since 1998 global temperatures have been relatively flat, yet many man-made global warming advocates refuse to acknowledge this simple fact. Has man-made global warming become a new religion in itself?

TONY JONES: David, go ahead.

DAVID SUZUKI: Yeah, well, I don’t know why you’re saying that. The ten hottest years on record, as I understand it, have been in this century. In fact, the warming continues. It may have slowed down but the warming continues and everybody is anticipating some kind of revelation in the next IPCC reports that are saying we got it wrong. As far as I understand, we haven’t. So where are you getting your information? I’m not a climatologist. I wait for the climatologists to tell us what they’re thinking.

TONY JONES: Do you want to respond to that, Bill?

BILL KOUTALIANOS: Sure, yeah. UAH, RSS, HadCRUT, GISS data shows a 17-year flat trend which suggests there may be something wrong with the Co2 warming theory?

DAVID SUZUKI: Sorry, yeah, what is the reference? I don’t…

BILL KOUTALIANOS: Well, they’re the main data sets that IPCC use: UAH, University of Alabama, Huntsville; GISS, Goddard Institute of Science; HadCRUT. I don’t know what that stands for, HadCRUT; and RSS, Remote Sensing something. So those data sets suggest a 17-year flat trend, which suggests there may be a problem with the Co2.

DAVID SUZUKI: No, well, there may be a climate sceptic down in Huntsville, Alabama, who has taken the data and come to that conclusion. I say, let’s wait for the IPCC report to come out and see what the vast bulk of scientists who have been involved in gathering this information will tell us. You know, we can cherry pick all kinds of stuff. Cherry pick, in fact, the scientists that we want to listen to, but let’s listen to the IPCC

TONY JONES: David, this is one of the most frequently asked questions or claims made by climate sceptics: a global temperature spiked in 1998 and since then have plateaued, even though they remained at very high levels, as you said, over the 10 years.


TONY JONES: It is a problem, isn’t it, explain that, for scientists?

DAVID SUZUKI: Well, what’s the problem? I mean they’re concluding still the warming…

TONY JONES: Well, the problem is it didn’t actually get warmer when people expected it to?

DAVID SUZUKI: Well, as far as I understand it is getting warmer, so I don’t know what the disagreement is there.

There’s a lesson here. I’ve said it before but I’ll go ahead and say it again: Learning, as in changing your behavior non-instinctively as a result of getting wiser/smarter, is achieved by way of accumulating information. You don’t get smarter by removing information. You may achieve greater dexterity in determining the form and shape of the final conclusion by doing that…hence the temptation. There is a temptation there for people who already know what they want to have done, and can’t be bothered with the facts. They tend to want to get “smarter” by throwing away information, making themselves dumber. To them, it makes sense. You make a pencil sharp by removing whatever isn’t part of the “point,” right?

Their justification for throwing away information and acting as if they’re getting smarter by doing so, is that the information they’re throwing out is bad. There is some merit to this, but if that is the concern then the answer is to keep adding information. The fact that such-and-such a piece of information is bad, is in itself more information, right? This is demonstrable when you start to get quizzed about why the first piece of information was bad. As Suzuki most ably showed, when you’re asked this and you can’t answer, because you’ve been playing this little game of “it doesn’t fit my narrative so out it goes” — you don’t look very smart, and there’s a reason for that. People don’t get the feeling they’re getting any smarter by listening to you. Because they aren’t. In that situation, you have nothing to add to a real conversation.

This is the problem, I think, with the former Vice President’s advice. It’s a problem staining the entire climate-change boatload of power-mongering, media-manipulation and snotty condescension, stem to stern. Lately it’s become a constant thing — they can “win” all the arguments, provided there is nobody else participating in those arguments. I imagine that must feel pretty satisfying. It’s always fun to tell the people who disagree with you, or are merely asking unwelcome questions, begone & don’t let the doorknob hit ya where the Good Lord split ya. Winning arguments is fun! But this doesn’t bring you any closer to the truth when it’s done this way. And that matters, in ways that are actually important, to all of the rest of us.

Ignorance is ignorance. Blocking out information makes you ignorant. I know a lot of people think it’s somehow more complicated than that…but I don’t think so. I doubt that even after listening to and reading all they’ve had to say about it, which is something I notice they’re not willing to do with the arguments of others.

Al Gore’s whole point was to not let climate change denial go unchallenged. That must mean spread ignorance; David Suzuki showed how to do this, and since his knowledge is incomplete by way of stenciled selection, he was left just stammering “I don’t know where you’re getting that” over and over again. The alwarmists are constantly telling each other, and everybody else, not-to-listen to such-and-such, not-to-read such-and-such. From that, I conclude that the way Suzuki did it, is the way it’s supposed to be done: Tell everybody how to remain ignorant, and then keep doing it, over and over again.

They may think that has something to do with “science.” I have a different meaning in mind.

“Fire Two Blasts Outside the Door”

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Buy a shotgun!

Victory White

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Oh cool! Thank you, Gerard. Because maybe, just maybe, this is the part where I finally have it coherently explained to me why anyone would want to have her actually running anything…

On the other hand, if that is not the case…and I’m a-thinking, maybe no…then the rule about Hillary Clinton supporters would hold firm. Show me a thousand of them, I can show you a thousand people upset and pissed off about something.

So what we would have here, then, would be a “buttery soft,” angry white wine. Suitable for sipping with with a surfeit of spoiled seafood, plump fat chicken thighs, and beltway pork. Through clenched teeth. Afterward, you can do some yelling and shatter the glass.

What difference, at this point, does it make?

The Freeberg Rule About Barack Obama’s Skin Color

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Fuck it. I’m making a new rule.

You call me a racist for having a problem with His Majesty’s execrable policies, or insinuate in any way that my “real” problem is with having a black guy in the White House…

…I’m going to call you a coward for hiding behind someone else’s skin color.

Fair’s fair.

How to Make a Monster

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

…a male monster. Sarah Hoyt, by way of Instapundit:

I have bad news. Men and women are different…
Yes, men and women had different evolutionary pressures. There is a pattern to humanity.
It all comes down to men hunted and women gathered. Neither work was – before I get jumped – easy or what we’d call safe, but they presented different kinds of danger and different kinds of overcoming it, which in turn led to very different group mechanics.

Men needed to trust each other absolutely; needed to know their place in the hierarchy; and allowed for innovation in the service of group success. Women, on the other hand needed to have a cohesive group, meaning you had to behave like the rest of the group. Sticking out was bad because it didn’t materially help the group…
A while back there was a book about a woman who dressed up and passed as a man – I think it’s called Self Made Man – and the revelations she got this way. The things that “wives can’t know about husbands” type of revelations. By and large, she got me to blink and go “you didn’t know that?” or “You mean most women don’t know that?” Because I already did. But I might be a different case. As I said I grew up around my brother and his friends, and they tended to think it didn’t matter what they said in front of me. And my husband and I talk about just about everything.

BUT that said, there is a group of women, we’ll call them “the sob sisters” who are really really dumb about this. They either view men as a sort of hairier woman with a penis, or they wish he were so. These are the women who fight you tooth and nail on things like “Men are truly different” and “No, gender is not all ‘social construction’.”

I never understood their psychology, though I’ve been interacting with them since Kindergarten. They were the little girls who wanted to boys to admire their pretty frocks, but didn’t want to play rough lest they tore the frills, and therefore demanded that boys not be “rough” around them. (Which largely amounted to their not being boys.)
…Hell hath no fury and ability to oppress as one of these weak, die-away sisters given some power, but every woman here will know what I’m talking about, because sooner or later you find yourself fin a group where one of these has got the bit between their teeth. Their power is mostly gossip and back stabbing and unbelievable psychological abuse, but they use it to the hilt.

Which is why they think that if men aren’t using their superior strength, it must be because they’re weak, and the “solution” to society (they nurse in their black little hearts the hope of not just making women equal but reversing society and having women do all the masculine jobs and men do the feminine ones. It’s nuttiness) is to raise men to be weak and not to know their own strength. Hence the entire “rise of the sensitive male.”
…yes, boys can be taught to act weak and much like the sob sisters. The problem is they aren’t. Not even when they’re raised to act that way.

The end result is that they don’t know how to express their strength and they’ve never been taught to modulate it.

Men who have only been taught to “act sensitive” but have no other discipline, no other moral, no other idea of what it means to be a man, will in fact hoist the pirate flag.

Whenever a memoir surfaces from the sixties, the thing that always strikes me is how these men who were considered champions of women were in fact nasty little petulant creatures, taking advantage as much as possible. Say, the story of Ayers raping a girl and then making her sleep with someone she had no interest in, by bullying her with the idea that not to do so would be unenlightened.
Chivalry and the code thereof was the laying down of those good reproductive (and civilizational) rules that make for a functioning society that passes on its values to its young: men who put their strength at the service of the weaker; women who praised them and admired them for it; and children who were raised to do the same.

Tearing it down might seem like freedom, but you can’t remove the walls and wish the roof would remain standing.

Superman gets it. “…[T]hey don’t know how to express their strength and they’ve never been taught to modulate it.” That’s the whole situation, right there. And that’s the problem.

Apart from that, there is much upon which to be chewed here. The bit about “men and women had different evolutionary pressures” fascinates me, because I’ve often thought so. But the science that has come my way hasn’t been usefully decisive about how this kind of “wiring” could work. And we as a society are only allowed to comment on the eventual results about half the time — when it makes men properly and politically-correctly look like idiots.

Raymond and the Kitchen FireOnly a woman can make things work in the kitchen — good. A woman’s place is in the kitchen — that’s bad. Very, very bad. Can’t say that. Sometimes differences are good, sometimes they’re bad, if ever you’re in doubt just ask yourself if your comment would make a feminist smirk, full of haughtiness, self-righteousness, and smarmy glee churned up with just a touch of ritual righteous indignation. If it does that, then it’s “okay” to say it in mixed company, otherwise keep your dumb retrograde chauvinist monkey-face mouth shut, you sexist hater you. Notice the differences when the differences put women on top. All other times, it’s back to “pretend men are just hairy women with a different way to pee sometimes.”

Over and over again, we see reminders that women are indoors and men are outdoors. There are the fights over the thermostat, and memories of our parents having the same fights about the thermostat.

It’s late September now, and I will soon be stripped of my incentive for walking & biking & jogging early in the morning. No more sexy fellow joggers at 6 a.m. Unless, for whatever reason, you think a sexy jogger can be a dude. A sausage-fest of dudes out there, wearing things guys shouldn’t wear, displaying parts of dude-body that nobody wants to see. The girls will haul it in for the winter, taking their exercise on the machine at the gym, or in the 75-degree living room. Which is really something considering this is NorCal. An autumn sunrise hour here is not harsh climate by any reasonable measure. But every year at this time, the gender shift on the jogging trail is swift, sudden and remarkable. Chicks hate cold. We can pretend it isn’t true, but pretending is about the best we can manage. Their bodies are built to get pregnant. We guys can be well on our way to hypothermia before we’ll admit anything is amiss. Our bodies are thicker, furrier, our fathers were far quicker to tell us something unsympathetic like “put on a damn sweater,” and because of the pregnancy thing, the sensation of cold involves different connotations for us. Besides of which there’s always that male-denial thing.

Every four years we see a voting disparity, also impossible to ignore. That isn’t because dudes-is-racist. That, as we have been reminded even in recent years, is the security-versus-freedom thing. And why should we criticize one side of that divide or the other, really, when you think about it. If you’re personally caring for a small child for a good chunk of your days and nights, it makes perfect sense to value security over opportunity. If men and women can indeed evolve on separate tracks, then it stands to reason women would look at such issues differently, even the women who’ve decided they’d rather have a career than a family.

I’m wishing Ms. Hoyt did not choose to put the following inside the parentheses…

[T]hey nurse in their black little hearts the hope of not just making women equal but reversing society and having women do all the masculine jobs and men do the feminine ones. It’s nuttiness…

That is the tip of a tail of a very, very large dinosaur skeleton, worthy of study over every corner of every bone, every rib, every tooth and claw. Feminism, today, is an unworkable contradiction: It seeks to assert doctrinaire beliefs about personal characteristics, while at the same time seeking to obliterate those very characteristics. They seek to render meaningless the gender divide, even though the gender divide is the cornerstone of every argument they have to make. And you see this conflict in everything they do. If a feminist plays miniature golf, or Tetris, or Monopoly, or Poker, or Risk, and there is a way to play the next move that is somehow anti-gender-identity, then that is how she will want to play it. It’s fascinating to watch. And a little bit embarrassing, if you can feel embarrassment for the object of your study, by proxy.

Finally, “you can’t remove the walls and wish the roof would remain standing.” Excellent. Stealing that one, shamelessly and probably soon.

“I Have an Angry Bird Too”

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Tech loudmouths complaining about their first-world problems, fall into a trap.

Great stuff.

“Breathless Wrongness”

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

“All of yesterday’s confusion in reporting — it’s not a mistake!…This is deliberate. The chaos, the vomit onto the screen, the very thing we thought news organizations were created to clarify…is a feature, not a bug.”


Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Once again, we see democrats are willing to negotiate with those whose interests are different from America’s, but not with those whose interests are different from their political party.

This is important, because in these times, being on the political left has a lot to do with kicking people out of the meeting room. No use talking with so-and-so, waste of time arguing with such-and-such, can’t discuss this with anybody who doesn’t agree to [whatever].

Many’s the time, talking to leftists, I’ve gathered the impression they really haven’t got anything else to say. It often boils down to “When do we get to the fun part, where everyone in the room agrees with me…and I’ve just figured out we won’t get there until you leave the room.”

So since so much of their so-called “arguing” has to do with defenestrating the arguers they don’t like, it’s worthy of note when we spot these patterns that show who does & doesn’t make the cut.

“Liberals Want to Feel Good About Themselves Regardless of the Consequences”

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

GOPUsa. Regarding the Navy yard shooting, and Piers Morgan making an ass out of himself about it:

The question is… why? Why promote “gun free” zones when ANYONE, even a liberal, would know that it means the only person who will have a gun is the bad guy. Why make American society into one big pond of sitting ducks?
It seems like liberals want to feel good about themselves regardless of the consequences. Did it ever occur to them that creating an atmosphere in which one race (any race) can feel like they can do anything and the media and politicians will be on their side could have devastating consequences?
The mind of a liberal is almost impossible to understand. They are so bent on making themselves feel good, but they pay little attention to the people they say they are helping. If you can figure them out, you are certainly smarter than I am.

No Thanks I'm a LiberalI don’t think we can lump them all together. Theirs is an ideology built on deception, and where you have deception you must necessarily have deceivers and deceived people. Where you have those, you have different factions of people toiling away working toward different goals, with different priorities. At least two sets; two at the very least. Were they truly unified, there wouldn’t be any need for deception.

In the comments, I thought JDZ brought up a great point:

One obvious difference between a conservative and a liberal is how they approach budget management, and to show the effects of these differences, just compare the fiscal sta[t]us of a Republican controlled state or city to a Democrat controlled state or city. Every conservative state has their finances under control or improving whereas most liberal run states are sliding even more into growing budget deficits with higher taxes and fees in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
The liberal mindset seems to feed on political correctness and social justice as the focus of human life while conservatives embrace the whole spectrum of human life with individual freedom and responsibility being a fundamental premise in their lives. Conservatives are more pragmatic and fully embrace the basic thought that the individual most create an independent life for themselves through our free enterprise American [capitalistic] system whereas liberals embrace socialism and a lower standard of living built around a nannystate government providing more and more welfare like government subsidies for more and more people. The connection between “makers” and “takers” seems to be missing in the liberal mindset. They fail to acknowledge that for millions of people to be living off of government handouts (takers), the government has to confiscate earnings of taxpayers (makers) and that this dynamic is a destructive dynamic when unbounded through unreasonableness, and is the core reason fr the failure of socialism across the history of the world.

Liberals have a strange view of time; time is the T in the S.T.A.C.I. quintet of reasons why liberal ideas always turn out to be wrong. Any honest inspection of these conservative vs. liberal states & counties, is going to eventually conclude that the difference has to do with looking down the road. Conservatives do and liberals don’t. A great example of this is the bill our Gov. is about to sign raising the minimum wage to ten dollars an hour. There are many other examples, but let’s just look at that one. Who, in their heart of hearts, thinks this won’t raise the price of goods & services, and drive businesses out of the state. Who? I’m sure you can find some liberals who will mouth or write some words about “making the economy better for the least among us” and so forth, but you’d never get them to actually bet anything on it. What they’re doing by arguing this all has to do with looking good in the moment. Winning the argument. That’s the eminent trend: Winning the argument and looking good, to other liberals, as opposed to acting toward the realization and ultimate fulfillment of long-term goals.

“You Just Involved the IRS With Your Health!”

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

I’m sorry. When, exactly, does this start to become something resembling a good idea?

I seem to have lost track…

Zack Morris: Serial Killer?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

It has four years of dust on it and I just discovered it. But it’s most convincing:

Zack fits squarely into eight of the fourteen categories. Zack is obviously single and white. We also know that he is exceedingly bright as evidenced by the fact that he scored a 1502 on the SAT without even trying. Furthermore, despite the fact that Zack is vastly intelligent – even more so than SBTB “brains” Jessie and Screech – the series constantly references Zack’s poor performance in school. In addition, Zack’s family is clearly unstable. His parents have little involvement in his life and rarely appear in the series. Furthermore, Zack’s father Derrick Morris is almost wholly absent. For example, in the episode “Rent-a-Pop,” Zack’s father will only pay attention to him if Zack calls him on a cell phone. Zack also has trouble trusting his parents, or any other adults for that matter. Even more troubling, the only animals ever left in Zack’s care during the series – Becky the Duck and Artie the Lizard – ended up dead.

Markedly, Zack demonstrates an intense interest in voyeurism and mind control. In the early episode “Fatal Distraction,” Zack and Screech bug the girls’ sleepover party in order to find out who Kelly is going to take to the dance. Later, in the episode “Jessie’s Song,” Zack has Screech dress up as a cleaning lady so he can record the girls singing in the locker room. Finally, in the episode “The Zack Tapes,” Zack uses subliminal messages in a cassette tape so that Kelly will date him. These are not the healthy pastimes of a normal child.

It’s about this. You did watch it, didn’t you?

Congress’ Exemption From ObamaCare

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

John Fund, writing in National Review:

Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has demanded a floor vote on his bill to end an exemption that members of Congress and their staffs are slated to get that will make them the only participants in the new Obamacare exchanges to receive generous subsidies from their employer to pay for their health insurance. Angry Senate Democrats have drafted legislation that dredges up a 2007 prostitution scandal involving Vitter. The confrontation is a perfect illustration of just how wide the gulf in attitudes is between the Beltway and the rest of the country — and how viciously Capitol Hill denizens will fight for their privileges.

In 1995, the newly elected Republican Congress passed a Congressional Accountability Act to fulfill a promise made the previous year in the Contract with America. For the first time, the Act applied to Congress the same civil-rights employment and labor laws that lawmakers had required everyday citizens to abide by. With some lapses, it’s worked well to defuse public outrage about “one law for thee, one law for me” congressional behavior.

In 2009, Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) decided that the principle deserved to be embedded in Obamacare, and he was able to insert a provision requiring all members of Congress and their staffs to get insurance through the Obamacare health exchanges. “The more that Congress experiences the laws it passes, the better,” said Grassley. Although his amendment was watered down before final passage to exclude committee staff, it still applies to members of Congress and their personal staffs. Most employment lawyers interpreted that to mean that the taxpayer-funded federal health-insurance subsidies dispensed to those on Congress’s payroll — which now range from $5,000 to $11,000 a year — would have to end.

Democratic and Republican staffers alike were furious, warning that Congress faced a “brain drain” if the provision stuck. Under behind-the-scenes pressure from members of Congress in both parties, President Obama used the quiet of the August recess to personally order the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises federal employment issues, to interpret the law so as to retain the generous congressional benefits.

OPM had previously balked at issuing such a ruling. Even without OPM, Congress could have voted to restore the subsidies or ordered a salary raise to compensate for the loss of benefits, but that would have been a messy, public process, which everyone wanted to avoid.
What Vitter’s opponents fear most is that this fight will penetrate the public’s consciousness. A new poll taken for Independent Women’s Voice, a conservative group, found that 92 percent of voters think Congress shouldn’t be exempted from the insurance provisions of Obamacare. Most voters blame both parties equally for the exemption, which means Republicans will also be hurt politically if it stands. “This is an issue with almost unprecedented intensity,” IWV president Heather Higgins told me. “Republicans have the choice of leading the Vitter parade for repeal or getting run over by it. To duck it will be viewed by their constituents as political malpractice.”

They do fight hard for the perks, don’t they.

“Great Necessities Call Out Great Virtues”

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Burt Folsom draws from the wellspring that is the wisdom of Abigail Adams, in explaining “Why America is an Exceptional Nation”:

We fought a war for independence to preserve the liberty we were enjoying. Robert Morris, the man George Washington called “the financier of the Revolution”, was from England. He migrated to America, fell in love with his adopted country, and fought to see it emerge as a new nation.

Years later, at the Alamo, several Mexicans died with the Texans because liberty brought them there, and they were willing to die for freedom and Texas rather than live under a dictator in Mexico. So it has been with millions of immigrants who have come to this exceptional nation. We were not built on conquest, on power, or on domination, but on the idea that a free people, under God, can govern themselves and enjoy the blessings of liberty.

John Winthrop, the Puritan governor who came to Massachusetts, said, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.” We were in an experiment in liberty and in obedience to God, which would make us an exception to what was happening everywhere else in the world.

Abigail Adams, wife of one president and the mother of another, wrote to young John Quincy Adams when he was resisting the work his family was doing to secure independence from the British. “These are the times in which genius would wish to live,” she wrote. “It is not in the still calm of life or the repose of pacific station that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues.”


Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

As in, Ya Got Took.

For those who are familiar with Clarey, this is vintage:

(Some language NSFW.)

For those who aren’t, this is a great intro. Especially if they’re liberals. Young, wide-eyed, Pollyanna, innocent, just-starting-out-in-life college-community liberals.

Hat tip to Small Dead Animals.

I grew up in Bellingham, myself. So I’m wondering if the intended audience has what it takes to stop what they’re doing, pay attention, and learn the necessary lessons.

I’m a-thinkin’ not.

But Dad’s right about one thing: It is God’s Country, at least in the aesthetics department.

It’s Not Racist, Just Smart

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Looks like we’ve got another case of racists calling non-racists racists

Have you ever purposefully avoided the bad part of town? Well then you might be a racist. Or something. That’s the sentiment behind critics of a new app called Good Part of Town, which helps people identify safe areas of unfamiliar cities.

Originally titled Ghetto Tracker (they changed the name due to public backlash), the app allows locals to rate the safety of various neighborhoods so that visitors will know which places to avoid. Critics claim that the app is racist and classist for helping the rich avoid the poor.

Oh my gosh, people need to lighten up. Ghetto Tracker was a much catchier name for an app that might be really useful for staying safe. Now, if the app used racial demographics to tell you which areas to avoid, then yes, that would be racist, wrong, unfair, and basically disgusting.

The fact of the matter is that there are ‘bad’ areas in every town, and they are not limited to any one race. It turns out that bad guys come in all skin colors! Who knew? Until we have enough cops to prosecute every criminal, eradicate every gang, confiscate every illegal firearm, etc, then I’m going to avoid the bad parts of town.

Detractor David Holmes wrote:

It’s pretty detrimental to society when we reinforce the idea that poor or crime-heavy areas are places to be categorically avoided or shamed — As if to assume that every person who lives in an area with comparatively high crime or poverty is a criminal, or that these areas are devoid of culture or positivity.

How exactly is it detrimental to society to avoid crime-heavy areas, or even refer to them as crime-heavy? If it’s an area with a lot of crime, then it’s an area with a lot of crime. That doesn’t mean everyone that lives there is bad, or that it’s devoid of all culture or positivity, it just means more bad things happen there than in other neighborhoods.

Avoiding shady areas doesn’t make you a racist, an elitist, or a bad person — it makes you smart.

Hmmm…no, I don’t think every person who lives in an area with comparatively high crime or poverty is a criminal, I just think they might be forced to cope with some daily struggles with which they’d rather not. And I’d rather not. I do, however, think they are places to be categorically avoided. And shamed, too, because who the heck wants more areas like those? So they’re certainly not to be admired.

And yeah, as a matter of fact, I do think they are devoid of positivity. Crime’s bad. When a place has a lot of it, we don’t like that. In fact, I think it’s pretty detrimental to society when we enforce the idea that…

But, I didn’t see anything racist in what Mr. Holmes wrote.

When people inject race into the application’s function…which is what some have actually been doing…that, there, would be a “when you point a finger, three others curl around and point back at you” thing. What does skin color have to do with wanting to stay out of bad parts of town? Not wanting to get beaten up, not wanting to get mugged, not wanting your wife or daughter to get raped; these are color-neutral things.

What Happened to Europe

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Very cool video, which has some minor issues discussed in the post and underlying comments.

“Poisonous Ideologies” in the Age of the “Mass Man”

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Mass man, or “cognitive miser“; hat tip to Severian for this one.

One of the concepts I’ve been trying to get across to my readership over the last few posts is that of the “cognitive miser” or mass man. I really can’t emphasise enough just how important this concept is…the trajectory of the 20th Century makes a lot of sense when you look at it from the perspective of the cognitive miser. Simply by weight of numbers, it is he who determined the course of 20th Century history and has been its motor. Nazism, Socialism and Liberalism were harmless ideologies as long as they were confined to the parlor discussions of the philosophers. Cultured people saw the ideas for what they were and rejected them, their fertile ground, however, was amongst the cognitive misers, i.e the people.
…in the age of Beethoven the average German had no say in public affairs, but in the age of “democracy” stewardship of the nation was passed to the cognitive misers of Germany. Hitler would have been impossible in the Kaiser’s Germany, but he is possible in a modern Democracy.
Historians tend to think that the average man is swayed by ideas when in reality he is swayed by emotion. Fascism and Socialism appealed less to the mind than to the blood…democracy elevates the unthinking man into a position of power. It is therefore no surprise that when the wise and considered are pushed aside, governance ceases to be a considered subject but becomes an exercise in mob power in pursuit of the satiation of its hindbrain appetites.
In a democracy, the intellectual “center of gravity” drifts from a society’s best and brightest and, instead, finds its home amongst in the mind of the cognitive miser, who forms the bulk of humanity. The net effect is that there is an inevitable “prole drift’, not only of political debate, but of culture and morals, everything eventually gets vetted by the people (within their cognitive limitations) But there is another factor that needs to be considered here, namely economic democracy, i.e the free market. In a free democracy, cognitive misers do not just exert their malign effect through political power, but through economic power as well. Elitist activities–activities which represent the high point of civilisation– such as opera, classical music and and art, esoteric academic disciplines, and libraries struggle to survive economically in a market where the proles do not appreciate their intrinsic worth. Th[is] is not an argument against the free market, but an argument against the notion that everything has to pay for itself, it’s this latter notion that ensures that prole economies of scale overwhelm everything which eludes their comprehension.

Hmmm…great observations, although they’re in need of minor updates in some places.

First thing that would receive some updates from my little red pen: I am, no doubt, among the people who are bothered by what is happening here, would act against the damage wrought by these “mass men” were I in any position to do so, and yet I am very far removed from what might be called “a society’s best and brightest,” nor am I often a patron or supporter of said best-n-brightest. More people making more trips to the library, wouldn’t do much to mollify my concerns. Also, we have had some strain of “democracy” in parts of our government, restrained by other forces no doubt but still acting with some effect, since the founding of our nation. We’ve certainly had it since our senators were subject to popular vote, about a century ago. Many a “conservative revolution” has taken place since then, and the argument could be made that these were not all about putting Republicans in power or putting democrats out of power; they were about restoring sanity, bringing to a temporary end this reckless fantasy that great and grand things could be built by way of destroying other great and grand things. Conservatives, or libertarians, or anti-liberals, anti-“mass men,” are often mediocre people. What separates us from the cognitive misers is that we know what we don’t know, and we can — and do — distinguish between a creative process and a destructive one.

Conservatives seek to create and preserve things that create or preserve, and destroy things that destroy
Liberals seek to create or preserve things that destroy, and destroy things that create or preserve

Second thing that draws my attention for red-ink highlighting is this business about “the notion that everything has to pay for itself”; my critique here is a bit more complex, and it intertwines somewhat with the other. I disagree with the statement. Quite to the contrary: The poisonous ideologies that deluge us in recent times, concede quite readily that everything does not have to pay for itself. Not only do they insist upon this point, but they leverage it on the way to asserting other things, some of them reasonable and others absurd. It is not an accurate illustration of the true split. The true split, in fact, overlaps with the other thing, this distinction between creative processes and destructive ones. Or, non-creative ones.

When a guy who pulls radishes out of the ground, or runs the machine that makes toilet paper, or does something else that would get him an interview on Dirty Jobs…toils away all year long, failing to make even a fraction of what the Kardashian sisters make in one episode by producing moving electronic images of themselves arguing about a bunch o’ nothing — that situation is, I think, a stepping stone on the way to the toxic effect explored here. But lust for Nielsen ratings money is not the problem. The guy who crawls into the big sewer pipe to remove the last bits of used-food out of it, wants money too. Were he offered twice as much as he’s already getting, of course he’d take it, and who could blame him? We see here the origins of a problem that will eventually gum up the entire machinery that is the society in which we live: It pays a lot more to entertain, producing nothing but nonsense, than it does to produce goods and provide services that people actually need. The people living within the society, therefore, are encouraged to produce nonsense, rather than goods that other people need.

Such a society becomes a victim of its own success. People living within, can rely upon getting what they want and what they need. Because of this, they are drawn toward placing greater value upon the wants, taking the needs for granted. The mass-of-mass-men, therefore, goes rushing off headlong toward the Kardashians, toward Paris Hilton, toward…I dunno, that list probably needs updating in ways that require current information I don’t have. They go rushing off toward empty idols. These “cognitive misers” want to watch the empty-idols, and they want to become the empty-idols. Certainly, they manage to get the job done of compensating the empty-idols for being empty. Such material rewards do not find their way to the guy who cleans the filth out of their sewer pipes, nor to the guy who presses their toilet paper for them (so they can clog up the pipe again).

Ultimately, the mass moves where it moves, which means destructive — and non-productive — endeavors are richly and materially rewarded, whereas the productive ones are not. And here, I would meld my second-red-ink-target correction into that wonderful phrasing about “the satiation of…hindbrain appetites.” The productive things are not being provided, because the rewards for providing them are whittled down. Everybody sees a Kardashian, so everybody wants to be a Kardashian.

The way it’s supposed to work, of course, is that people are rewarded for doing productive things, and this provides an incentive for production. So the “everything has to pay for itself” dictum is not where the problem starts, the problem is a bit further down the line as the dictum is turned around & perverted. You can’t go to the football game until you get new tires on your car; it costs $200 to get the tires, and twice that for the seats at the football game. People freely give up the money for the seats at the game, and somehow feel resentful over giving up less money for something that can be used afterward on many other things. The “mass man” starts to see entertainment as a necessity; he sees true necessities, when they cost real money from time to time, as some kind of theft or other skulduggery. Why do new tires cost that much money? It should be more like $140 or something. And didn’t we put the last set on just eight years ago?

So the problem isn’t that everyone can vote and have a say. The problem is that when they can, they are asked about what’s important and what isn’t; being overfed, fat, spoiled and lazy, they don’t understand how to provide the necessary answers. So they vote on what’s fun. And not just in November of even-numbered years, the rest of the time they vote with their feet. About what’s fun.

Cognitive misers…seeing to the satiation of society’s hindbrain appetites. That’s good wording there. Artistic, and accurate.

Every Tech Commercial

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Why Do Mothers Grieve When Their Children Grow?

Friday, September 13th, 2013

This gets into something personal. My Mother was, by all accounts including mine, a truly remarkable woman who acted a lot more like a capital-D Dad than a capital-M Mom in many ways. I mean, by that, the she built her relationships with my brother and me around an expectation of her own demise. Toward the end this became a necessity, as the tumor took hold in her brain and proved to be inoperable. But by this time we were in our late twenties, and of course she had to learn to “know” us long before then. Teaching us independence was always part of the equation.

Except, I must say, for laundry. She never did tell me why I shouldn’t use Tide. Guess that’s lost forever.

Anyway, in a lot of little ways it’s been brought to my attention that my Mom was unusual among mothers, and my understanding of the more typical mothering process has emerged a bit skewed.

Item: Well, there’s my own son, who has a capital-M Mom. I always make a point of spelling that pronoun with a capital-M, and I always make a point of reminding people that, in my world if in none other, there is meaning involved in this. Some moms and dads deserve lowercase m’s and d’s, because they do their parenting much the way a lazy caps-free typist does his typing. Like trying to copy e.e. cummings with every little keystroke. Every little demand for attention or energy is met with a spoken or unspoken “Why should I?” And so I try to do them the “honor” of giving them small m’s and d’s, because I doubt they’d have it any other way. But that is the burden to be borne by their kids. My kid deserves a Mom and Dad spelled with capital letters. I insist on it. I’m selfish that way. But — the kid is growing into an adult. Without going into too much detail about it, there are certain events that remind me that his two parents are coping with his new ambitions and abilities in different ways, and there is a distinct gender split emerging here. My own Dad says “Kidzmom” is grieving. Again: I didn’t have that kind of Mom, so this is something I don’t understand, and I’m unique in not understanding it. Just about everyone else who ever had a m/Mother, of whatever flavor, is in a superior position to clue me in. I’m uniquely ignorant. Everyone with a belly button knows more. Grieving?? WTF?

However. Second item:

One of the few experiences upon which I can draw, is from when I was learning to drive. Learner’s permit in hand, I would very often have the “idea” that I would drive us wherever we’d be going, and Mom would wail “Morgan, why do you always want to drive? It keeps leading to Dad yelling and you arguing.” This was, I think, the only time I ever saw this side of her: To keep the peace, don’t learn something. Like any other teenager, I was jealously guarding my stature as an emerging adult, thinking about destinies. I should enter adulthood not knowing how to drive, but having avoided fights with my Dad, that would’ve happened over other things anyway? How silly. What was Mom thinking? What the heck? Was this really my Mother? Was she wavering? With the benefit of hindsight and a bit more maturity, I realize a much simpler & more credible explanation exists in the spoken wisdom of Bill Cosby: “Parents are not interested in justice, they want quiet.”

Third item:

I have been unfriended on Facebook. That’s a bit unusual for me. And that isn’t because I’m most agreeable, I’m certainly not, it’s more likely because when I’m curmudgeonly and disagreeable, it’s pretty easy to see that coming miles down the road and so I don’t have too many friends I shouldn’t be having. This was probably a “friending” that never should’ve been done in the first place. The friend, a Mom who I’d always considered to be a capital-M type, was bursting with pride because her daughter made some big advances in speech. The girl’s been in special-ed because she’s been a few years behind in this delicate talent. I really thought this was wonderful news, and unfortunately made the inquiry about the time-line for potentially mainstreaming. Well, it’s been brought to my attention, in this particular case and perhaps in general, that this is a big faux pas. It seems there is a reason why kids in special ed are not supposed to be mainstreamed. And this has to do with the maternal relationship, which is expected to have been crafted according to this premise that requiring special education is part of the child’s identity. It logically follows that any vision for mainstreaming is tantamount to a vision for the child to be abducted in the middle of the night and replaced with some doppleganger or other such interloper…who might not require the special education. But because of that, wouldn’t be the same child. Wishing for a child to be mainstreadmed, is like wishing for the child to be replaced. Big no-no. Well, now I know.

In this day and age, when the genders are quickly becoming interchangeable, and we have masculine women and effeminate men, gender stereotypes are becoming treacherous and unreliable. But, typically, a d/Dad is not going to relate to the children that way, if he’s around. The male-parent tendency is to relate to the kids the way my Mom related to me: Good, you can do something you didn’t know how to do a week ago. That does not mean you’re dead; that means you’re going to be less of a pain in the ass. Cheers!

Fourth item:

Another Facebook friend became noticeably piqued with me, although she didn’t go to the extreme of e-mail-yelling “Thanks for crapping on my daughter’s special day Morgan” and unfriending me, when I linked to this with a derogatory reference to “helicopter moms”:

Am I early for pick-up?…I’m used to an army of harassed looking mums and dads jostling for first contact with their little ones, but all I see is a small cluster of middle-aged people staring at their feet. Then it dawns on me why no one is here. And when I reali[z]e what’s going on it feels like a bucket of cold water has been poured over my head. Parents don’t pick up children at senior school, do they? They make their own way home. And the thought of my 11-year-old doing this makes me feel physically sick.
I lurched past the hordes to cuddle her, but the look of fear in her eyes stopped me in my tracks. The little girl who used to let me blow bubbles on her tummy was finally gone.

Like the melancholy sadness at the end of summer, this rite of passage feels unbearably poignant. I miss that little girl so much and I don’t feel we ever had a chance to say goodbye. [bold emphasis mine]

It’s clear that the whole point of the column is that there are a lot of people who can relate to this. I can’t even come close; I just don’t get it. I see old videos of my sixteen-year-old when he was eight, or four, or two, much shorter and shaped differently, and not able to do things. And I think: That is just so cool, look at all he’s learned since then. It’s one of those situations where different people look at exactly the same thing, and see different things because of their different backgrounds, values, and perspectives.

“Miss that little girl so much?” What the…?

Fifth item:

Yet another Facebook friend, a male, posts:

Heh. My oldest boy is on the phone, asking a girl on a date. My wife is LOSING HER FUCKING MIND. “My baby’s too young to be asking girls out!”

Looks like time is progressing.

There it is again. Now, I’ve only had lunch with this fellow one time, when he happened to be in town, and I’ve never met the wife. But I’ve known of them for awhile, my esteem for her runs high, and it would be an understatement to say I have way too much respect for her to start calling her a small-m mom, or a “helicopter mom,” or anything derogatory like that. Besides the respect/esteem thing, I know it wouldn’t be accurate. Among the many reasons she’s made a favorable impression on me, are anecdotes about parenting. It’s pretty obvious the husband is one lucky sonofabitch. He says so, and he must know something about it…and it looks that way…

Nevertheless, helicopter-mom behavior is what it is. “My baby’s too young”? I recall the m/Mom of one of my friends saying something to mine, along the lines of “If Dan wants to build a nuclear bomb in his bedroom, my big deal is that he not make too much noise or leave a mess.” My Mom agreed. In the wake of the Columbine incident, I realize that looks like something very far removed from what it really was; in the early eighties, building bombs in bedrooms was not closely associated with actually hurting people, unless you had aspirations for joining Weather Underground, Symbionese Liberation Army, or something like that. If you engaged in behavior stereotypically associated with hurting people, you might be stocking up on serial-killer apparatus like a tire iron, duct tape and a tan Volkswagen Beetle. Building a bomb meant trying to build a bomb. It was implicitly understood in the Mom Community that the big worry wasn’t an explosion, it had more to do with a mess. Plutonium in the living room, no place to set anything down…can’t find the remote…and all that. Point is: Neither one of them would have said something like “my baby is too young to build a thermonuclear device.”

I made a comment earlier that nowadays, with the gender roles being intermixed, faded out, occasionally reversed, stereotypes are becoming unreliable. Perhaps it is more accurate in some ways to say, the male and female roles still mean something, and it has become our default predisposition to define the male role and then make it irrelevant. To geld it.

To frown upon it, to bat some angry eyelashes at it, to shake a big fuzzy magenta head at it, unless & until it complies. Complies with the protocols by making itself absolutely ineffectual, voluntarily. By evolving to become indistinguishable from the female meanderings. To do what it is told, and nothing else.

Like the mahna mahna guy:

I realize it is in our nature to fear what we do not understand, and there can be error involved in that. And I don’t understand mothers who “grieve,” as in, act as if their children have ceased to exist, when the children stand on the cusp of learning how to do things they didn’t know how to do before. I note, apart from the plain and simple fact that this is what children are supposed to do, that we live in an age in which the female sensibility & value system, where it is different from the male varieties, is expected to prevail. That’s usually a harmless thing. Females can be right about things; they may know more than the males; if they know far less, they still might have something in mind that will eventually work.

But being emotionally invested in the next generation being weak and incapable, clearly, is something that over the long term isn’t going to work. It worries me because it is a vision toward expansion of something we already have in great abundance, and for which our economic demand throughout the decades is bound to be lacking; and shrinkage of something else, for which our demand is much higher, which is already in critically short supply. The expansion is going to be of weak, incapable people who can’t do things, and the shrinkage is going to be of talented, creative people who can build and fix things. The abundance, as well as the shortage, in the moments in which I’m writing this, are already at crisis levels. Exacerbating that imbalance can’t lead to anything good.

For all of society’s sake, we need to find ways to help these m/Mothers grieve when their children learn how to do new things. If they have to do this kind of grieving as if the child has actually died, my place is not to reason why, but perhaps it is advantageous for us all to help them get over it & move on. Our children deserve nothing less. They don’t need more obstacles, more “jump-through hoops,” more hurdles, on the way toward learning new things. They’re already having a tough time, I think.

Perhaps I can make my first million selling little cardboard coffins, a foot long or so, so the family can hold little mock-funerals in the back yard? With crying and everything? Organ music? Would that help?

The male-friend’s response when I proposed this over the IM was, and I quote: “OH HOLY SHIT I WILL INVEST.” Huh. Maybe I’m on to something. I do have to say, if I’m going to start my own business, I’d prefer it be in something I understood just a bit better than I understand this. On the other hand, a need is a need is a need, right?.

“Home Training”

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Gregory Kane writes in the National Examiner:

Consider this a “sagging pants” tale.

A while back, Don Lemon, an on-air personality for CNN News, boldly sallied forth into the cauldron about American racial and cultural mores.

Specifically, Lemon offered five pieces of advice to black American men. They were:

1. Stop wearing sagging pants.

2. Stop saying the n-word.

3. Stop littering.

4. Finish high school.

5. Have fewer children out of wedlock.

Though I was a bit confused about Lemon point number three, I have to admit the other four all amounted to cogent, sound advice.

Black liberal cognoscenti tended to disagree. They skewered Lemon, almost unmercifully at times.

Music mogul Russell Simmons’ response was to call Lemon a “slave” and then imply the CNN personality is black America’s enemy number one.

All Lemon was doing was offering advice to young black men about how to make themselves more employable in the job market.

A lot of what passes for “liberalism” nowadays amounts to little more than narrow-mindedness. Draw a tight circle around accepted “underdog” ideas, and refuse to entertain anything from outside of that tight, tight circle, under any circumstance whatsoever. Everything inside that circle is a “hill I wanna die on,” even though most of it’s just a bunch of junk; clogs skewered from the drainpipe; diapers pulled from the swimming pool filter; chaff separated from the wheat. Residue. Detritus. Counter-culture nonsense. Crap.

It’s just truckloads and truckloads of “must” floating around, without the vital balloon-anchoring companion to that intoxicating and fun word, “in-order-to.” Metric tons of supercilious command without so much as a gram of genuine, practical rationale.

Which was aptly illustrated in the tale Kane heard second-hand:

This young man, whom I’ll give the name Jack, had the habit of wearing his pants in that sagging-down-over-the-rear-end style.

So it came to pass one day that the lead dispatcher called Jack into the office. The topic of discussion was Jack’s pants, and how he was wearing them.

“Pull ‘em up,” the dispatcher told Jack. And he did, but not before subjecting his fellow workers to a lot of his grousing and kvetching.

“I’m a grown-ass man,” he hissed, prompting some of his co-workers to wonder why he didn’t dress like one.

Jack is a young black male in his 20s. He failed to notice the difference between him and his black male co-workers who were in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.

All of them wore their pants up around their waists, where their pants should have been.

Nor did Jack notice that the two black male office managers – men not much older than he is – also wore their pants up around their waists.

As might be predicted, all of Jack’s black male co-workers – including the dispatcher who brought him to heel – still work for the company in question.

Jack does not.

Kane parts with some thoughts worthy of careful consideration, by anybody, of all ages, regardless of skin color:

I remember when black Americans used to talk about home training all the time. Actually, we talked about the lack of it.

Whenever we saw someone out in public acting either the fool or shamelessly and disgracefully, we’d shake our heads in pity and proclaim, “No home training.”

Anyone – no matter race, ethnicity or gender – who sallies forth into the streets wearing his or her pants down over the butt has shown a total ignorance of Home Training 101.

I look, with cautious optimism, at the “sagging pants” fad as something that’s come & gone. I live in a western, urban area, so my information is probably somewhat okay there. If this hasn’t disappeared altogether — and what ever does, really? — it seems to have dried up, having isolated whatever is left of it into smaller pockets within the first-world.

Although, boy, it sure did hang around a long time. Heh. “Hang around,” I made a funny.

Fashion history will not look back on it favorably. The whole thing was just stupid. You want to look tough, so you dress like a prison gay-sex toy. You want to look like a gangsta or hoodlum or graffiti tagger or thief, or someone else operating outside the law, so you wear your pants so you can’t run. And, yeah, if the C.O.P.S. episodes are any indication, yes it does actually work out that way. Just dumb.

The Passive-Voice 9-11 Anniversaries

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Out of respect to the memories of the fallen and their friends & families, I’ve been biting my tongue on this. Now that it’s September 12, I have to say: I’m at the point where I dread 9/11 commemoration ceremonies.

My beef is not that we’re remembering. Quite the opposite. I want this to be remembered across the generations, just like Pearl Harbor. Pearl was, after all, a slaughter of thousands of innocents; so was this. But as I see one September 11 after another passing us by, like boxcars on a moving train heading into our past, I’m noticing a trend in the ceremonies and it seems to be a trend in motion. Perhaps it’s just my imagination, or my perspective as I become more sensitized to it. But there is an appearance that with each year, there is greater and greater weight placed on the tragedy of these three thousand lives, with so much potential for living ahead of them, prematurely snuffed out — and less & less emphasis placed on how unnatural this was. That this was a man-made act, not a bridge collapsing or a storm wiping out a crowded metropolitan area or a giant lizard crushing it underfoot. To borrow some words from our current President, “someone else made that happen.” That part is losing emphasis. Oh yes, the ceremonies are somber by their very nature and there are reasons why we don’t dwell on this. I get all that. But erosion is erosion, and when it’s erosion of something so important, I have to question whether the mission of propriety is being achieved.

I have no idea what I can recommend as a solution to the problem I’m calling out. Memorial services are occasions on which we try to achieve some healing, and we need to heal our divisions as well as our spiritual wounds. We should be trying to come together, and we don’t do that when we swear blood feuds on other countries, or terror organizations, or individuals. But the problem is there, for sure. Our divisions are not being healed when all’s said & done. After the crowds disperse and the ornaments are put away and all the other take-down chores are completed, people go from September 12 to September 10 of the next year solidly ensconced into their respective sides alongside the deep and wide fissure. Which is demarcated by the question: Just how precious is human life, anyway? It’s nice that we all agree we should be sad when it’s snuffed out. But is it worth defending? Vigorously? Swiftly?


And if it cannot be defended, is it worth avenging?

Taking Care o' BusinessI completely understand the concerns of people who respond in the negative, for sake of something called “peace.” Well here’s another question: When you sacrifice something for peace, but swear you’ll always honor the memory of whatever you’ve sacrificed for it, and then the period of peace eventually ends as so many eras of peace in human history have; hasn’t this immortal memory then been effectively obliterated? Robbed of its supposed immortality? And if that be the case, would this not be a betrayal? Aren’t these all things that should find consideration within us, as we ponder the price of the latest peace?

The culture within our country, in fact the one that spans several countries throughout the civilized world, is being deluged lately by a kind of “death worship.” However distasteful it may be to ponder that death worshipers are invading memorial ceremonies, and I suppose that may mean it’s distasteful to suggest it as well — it’s hard to dismiss it as a possibility. There is a sickening surfeit, in every sound clip of these solemn occasions, of passive-voice statements like “his/her life was so tragically taken away” or “cut short.” To get the real story, you have to sit down in isolation, and read. One article I saw yesterday beautifully described the everyday life of the pilot of Flight 77, and then dropped the bomb that is the best intelligence we’ve gathered to date: Mohammed Atta killed him by slashing his throat.

That’s clearly not fitting for a large, general, assembled audience, and not at all comforting to the man’s family. You can’t read that aloud at a memorial service. I said earlier I don’t have a solution in mind for the problem, I only know the problem is real. Because the fact that someone conspired and then acted to make all this happen — is important. It matters. It’s part of the memory because it’s part of the event.

In the first few years after the attacks, I heard the phrase “never again” quite a few times. Didn’t have to wait long for yet another utterance of it, in fact. It would be nice to hear something like that again, from someone in a position of authority, whose decisions matter.

With that not happening, I am gleaning from the tributes a terrible unspoken overtone, more unsettling than any outburst about throat-cutting: That we’re all just — here. We’re teeming with life and that’s wonderful, if the life gets cut short that makes a lot of other people really sad. But it’s not like there’s any actual point to it all. We’re just kinda like grubs in a log, hoping we don’t get scooped out by a predator. But whatever happens, happens.

We know we have peers, colleagues, neighbors and fellow countrymen who have always thought exactly this. We argue with them, and they argue with us, about all sorts of tangential issues — military action, social spending, judicial activism, union work rules, abortion, euthanasia, prayer in public schools, the Obama family vacations — when in reality, we’re arguing about that underlying question. What is life? Is there a point to it? Are we sentient beings with dignity and purpose, or are we just grubs in a rotting log?

Recordings of broadcasts from years ago, strongly suggest to me I’m not getting more sensitized. There is a real movement I’m seeing, a movement toward the passive-voice memorial service. And that, in turn, suggests the nihilists are coming out on top in this schism…without even directly addressing the question. Winning the war without firing a shot. And using a most distasteful battleground to do it, each eleventh day of every ninth month.

It has been suggested that the reason we were attacked in the first place, far from having anything to do with occupation of some far-off land, or our Hollywood sluts promoting degeneracy, or our support for Israel, is nothing more or less than our respect for the power and autonomy of the individual. Every baby born, no matter how or where, may grow up to be President. Or to do something wonderful, like cure cancer. Americans believe the potential is there, and it exists at the level of the individual. I don’t know how you go about proving or refuting the idea that this was the primary motivation of the terrorists. Individualism is a concept that exists universally, in all societies, in some form whether the mad mullahs wish to acknowledge it or not — each jihadi can figure out for himself why he wants to choke the life out of the serpent that is the Great Satan. But if that’s the case, then it logically follows that there’s something to this concern I have, for it would be another piece of evidence that the attacks are still in the process of reaching success, years and years later, in their goal at inception: To derogate the individual. That’s one thing the statists, over there, have in common with our statists over here. At both sides of the globe the statist nurtures a fondness for passive-voice statements over active-voice statements, and a preference for the rights, privileges, dignity and concerns of the collective, over that of the individuals within it.

The Nine-Thirteen Republican

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Thoughts about how liberals do their thinking, and how it relates to the 9-11 attacks, from Catherine Wilkinson at Victory Girls Blog, who in turn is inspired by Evan Sayet.

“If it was stupidity, they’d be right more often.” “How do they think they’re making a better world?”

They’re wrong on every issue, predictably, and by design. Granted a lot of them aren’t consciously aware of it.

Reminds me of something I jotted down a bit earlier. And, since.

An Excellent Question From Michelle Malkin

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Who just goes ahead and asks

Before we head to Syria to avenge the mass murder of their kids, how about we finish avenging ours?

Powerful opening. And on the way to a strong finish, she makes some salient observations:

That’s the unapologetic vigilance America was supposed to have adopted after the towers fell, the planes crashed and the ashes choked the air. Instead, America’s leaders have allowed jihadists to make a mockery of justice. Muslim Brotherhood radicals waltz freely in and out of the nation’s capital. Border security remains a joke. A functioning entry-exit program for foreign visa-holders is still nonexistent. There still is no systemic, coherent and unapologetic plan to keep Islamic radicals from spreading their hate and endangering Americans in our military, prisons and schools.

I’m sick of 9/11 anniversary ceremonies by politicians who pay lip service to peace and justice for our country, but refuse to secure them all the way, every day. Remembrance is worthless without resolve. Resolve is useless without action.

Want to honor the 9/11 dead? Take care of unfinished business here at home. Put America first.

Much good stuff between the endpoints. Might not make you happy, but might alter some perspectives on the remembrances today.

“Because Obama”

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

From an entry at Instapundit, brought to my attention thanks to Lance at Small Dead Animals.

“Just Sayin'”

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

She called it.

It’s always a huge red flag when large throngs of people are feeling super smart, just for climbing on a bandwagon, especially if it involves them all heckling some common target of ridicule. And when their underlying argument is little more than pointing to everyone else in the bandwagon and saying something like “everybody thinks so.” You see that, odds are you’re seeing a long, dragged-out slow-motion car wreck.

But I guess some people never matured past the eighth grade or something…

From Best of Cain.