Archive for the ‘Eat The Rich’ Category

Nationalizing the Oil Industry

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Hello, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, Patrick Henry, James Madison, James Monroe, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin…how y’all doin’? I’m from 230 years from now. Just flew in from the 21st century, and boy are my arms tired! Thanks for that Independence thingie by the way.

But I have some news you might find unsettling. Here in 2008, fewer than half of us oppose nationalizing the oil industry. Yup…but don’t worry, we think about you guys every summer when we chow down on hot dogs and beer and blow up mailboxes.

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 29% of voters favor nationalizing the oil industry. Just 47% are opposed and 24% are not sure.

The survey found that a plurality of Democrats (37%) believe the oil industry should be nationalized. Just 32% of voters in Barack Obama’s party disagree with that approach. Republicans oppose nationalizing the oil industry by a 66% to 16% margin. Unaffiliated voters are opposed by a 47% to 33% margin. [emphasis mine]

The knee jerk reaction to this is that we need to license people to vote…and of course, the knee jerk reaction to that is we can’t start licensing people to vote — it is contrary to American ideals.

Hmmm…hmmm…hmm, hmm, hmm.

Well, it’s clear something has to be done. Maybe we can get around the objection about “American ideals” by nationalizing the votes of the socialist-minded and stupid? It’d be a little tough on them to argue against that, when it seems they’re not that emotionally invested in opposing it, and some of them who serve in Congress are hard-pressed to even remember what the word is.

Via Malkin, via Rachel.

Fewer Services, Lower Taxes

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

A Rasmussen poll, about which we learn via Boortz.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 62% of voters would prefer fewer government services with lower taxes. Nearly a third (29%) disagrees and would rather have a bigger government with higher taxes. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.

Kinda funny. When President Bush’s approval rating is the same, 29 percent, we are instructed to believe the 29% are a bunch of…well…whatever. Stupid, drunk, crazy, either way the 29 might as well be zero.

On this issue, however, the 29% manage to end up running the whole freakin’ election. We’re all just squabbling on how exactly we’re going to get the 29% exactly what they want, even though 62% of us aren’t thrilled with it by a damn sight.

Hey — how many among that 29% who want “higher taxes” are talking about themselves? I mean golly, there’s just no way they could be talking about passing on the “higher tax” to someone else, is there?

Thing I Know #176. I’m slow to figure out what people expect when they clamor for higher taxes. They must expect their own tax bills to go down or to stay the same, because they’re consistently surprised when they’re expected to pay more like everyone else. And they must expect to unilaterally dictate where all the money goes, because they’re consistently surprised when other people have some kind of say.

What Has The Left Done to Reduce Gas Prices?

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

Isn’t it about time we started asking that question? So far, I have…

1. Don’t let us build nuclear power plants;
2. Don’t let us drill for oil stateside;
3. Tax our gas purchases, ostensibly for research of “alternative fuels”;
4. Make it more expensive to sell oil and gas, so those companies pass on the costs to US.

Anything I missed?

Well, Phil has been doing some slant-drilling in cartoon land, and he seems to have hit a mother-lode of sorts.

On Gas Prices

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Stumbled across this short nugget at NRO’s The Corner when I was trying to find some background information on some statements I heard from Sen. Clinton, which I found to be disquieting. You know, it’s the same ol’ Hillary Clinton crap…there’s this problem caused by a bunch of people who are trying to screw you, and I, The Great Hillary, am going to screw them longer and harder and you’re going to smile when you see me do it. (In this case, it’s something called “the big oil companies.”)

Anyway, Andrew Stuttaford makes the point…

Barack Obama isn’t right about very much, but he’s correct to say that the McCain/Clinton idea of a gas tax holiday is a bad idea, not least, I suspect, because it would probably have little impact on the price at the pump.

Then, as Ron Bailey notes over at Reason, there’s this:

Don’t both senators [Clinton and McCain] support imposing a cap-and-trade market on carbon emissions to combat man-made global warming? In a Washington Post op/ed last year, two RAND researchers calculated that a relatively modest $30 per ton of carbon price would boost gasoline prices by 35 cents per gallon (and household electricity bills by 20 to 30 percent).


Obama, here, is not to be given credit for his economic insight; he’s just being a typical liberal. As I pointed out awhile ago, the ideology has been twisted into something (presuming this isn’t what it was in the first place) dedicated to the premise that no two classes of people have, as of yet, any sort of symbiotic relationship. Of the plans you hear coming from liberals, perhaps about half of them are proposed for the purpose of forming such a relationship — Obama’s call for a “dialog on race” comes to mind as an example of this. Each and every single one of those ideas is faulty or disingenuous. That’s not my personal conclusion; it’s a simple article of sturdy logic. Just listen to a liberal talk about people of diverse economic circumstances, or races, or creeds, coexisting sometime. They’ll talk about their dreams in this regard. Never, ever do they say “A and B are living together in peace, and I want to make it easier for them to do so.”

Nope. In the liberal universe, all separate classes are fighting with each other — all the time. The liberal is here to promote a “peace plan,” or else the liberal is here to make sure things are less comfortable for B so they can be made more comfortable for A.

Drilling in ANWR, building power plants, starting businesses, employing people, keeping them. Liberals haven’t made it easy for anyone to do anything — except hostile things. Women getting divorces from their husbands. Unions of employees screwing their management. Lawyers sucking money out of people and employers. That’s all.

In all other aspects, they are here to make life difficult.

To simply acknowledge that two classes of people, with somewhat different economic interests just might have a symbiotic relationship, in some respects, is to make the argument for a conservative libertarian without the conservative libertarian even showing up, let alone saying anything. You pull oil out of the ground and sell it to that guy over there; he refines it into gasoline and sells it to me. The three of us exist in a symbiotic relationship — which the liberal doesn’t want me to think about, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s there. You, he, and I engage in a cooperative effort to pull the oil out of the ground and use it to make my car take me places. Liberals exist to make that whole process more difficult. To make sure that by the time we’re done doing it, we’re all poor.

They restrict. They regulate. They tax. And then they ask for “contributions” to “offset” the “carbon”…which are voluntary…for now. They use this shell game where I’m supposed to pretend your interests, as a oil guy, are antithetical to mine, as a gasoline consumer — so that I consent to you being beaten up financially. But anyone with a brain knows as soon as it happens to you, you’re going to pass it along and I’ll end up paying it.

After which, I’ll drive my car someplace, with an artificial level of difficulty, and when I get where I’m going I’ll be doing something else the liberals have made more difficult. Like parent my kid, for example.

It’s based on lies. It’s based on the idea that it’s every man for himself — except they make it look like the opposite, because they’re doing this with classes of people. Women. Working families. Persons of color. But what they’re talking about, is this-or-that class doesn’t share any common goals with any other class, and so it needs to elect the liberals so they can screw that other guy. After that’s done, then we can live together in harmony.

But they don’t mean it. Because next year, they’ll be back in your face, selling you something else. Because symbiotic inter-class relationships don’t exist — that other guy is still screwing you over — and you need to vote for them so they can screw him over, and he can find out what it’s like.

There’s nothing centrist or productive about these ideas we call “liberal.” They are the nature of extremism, and we never should have gotten started with them.

On the Easterlin Paradox

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

I’ll let the New York Times guest-column speak for itself:

Arguably the most important finding from the emerging economics of happiness has been the Easterlin Paradox.

What is this paradox? It is the juxtaposition of three observations:

1) Within a society, rich people tend to be much happier than poor people.
2) But, rich societies tend not to be happier than poor societies (or not by much).
3) As countries get richer, they do not get happier.

Easterlin offered an appealing resolution to his paradox, arguing that only relative income matters to happiness. Other explanations suggest a “hedonic treadmill,” in which we must keep consuming more just to stay at the same level of happiness.

One criticism of the Easterlin report is that the data upon which it is based, comes mostly from survey responses and there is a psychological hobgoblin at work here because we don’t tend to think highly of ourselves when we admit we’re unhappy. So it stands to reason the responses are going to be skewed toward “oh yeah, I’m ecstatically happy.”

But another criticism I would have is that we have a societal taboo against acknowledging one of the possible — and I would label highly probable — outcomes: That money makes you happy. Let’s face it: Overly-simplistic as that may be, missing money when you need some really sucks!

But I think anyone pondering the situation for a minute or two would have to admit there has been, at least since the 1950’s or so, a swelling of pressure on people to presume out loud that wealth is only tangentially related, if it’s related at all, to a state of happiness. The pressure is sufficiently significant that it has an effect on people who have no personal experience at all, with being destitute & happy, or with having wealth in abundance and being dismal. And that’s my definition of significant pressure: When people are missing anecdotes within their personal experiences that would be needed to back something up, and will nevertheless sit there and say “oh yeah…uh huh, that’s right on.”

Well, the author of the column, Justin Wolfers, goes on to drop a bombshell:

Given the stakes in this debate, Betsey Stevenson and I thought it worth reassessing the evidence.
Last Thursday we presented our research at the latest Brookings Panel on Economic Activity, and we have arrived at a rather surprising conclusion:

There is no Easterlin Paradox.

The facts about income and happiness turn out to be much simpler than first realized:

1) Rich people are happier than poor people.
2) Richer countries are happier than poorer countries.
3) As countries get richer, they tend to get happier.

Moreover, each of these facts seems to suggest a roughly similar relationship between income and happiness.

Now, you can see from the reports and the cool graphics, that there is an abundance of data going in to these conclusions. So a disturbing question arises: Assuming this attack on the Easterlin paradox withstands scrutiny better than the paradox itself, are there some negative social ramifications involved in realizing this? Once it settles in that money does indeed make us happy isn’t there a risk that we’re all going to become a bunch of hair-pulling eye-gouging money grubbing zombies?

Well…to answer that we’d have to get into the debate about the “pie people”: Those who insist, like Michelle Obama, that when some among us have bigger pieces of pie then someone else must have smaller pieces, and in order to get more pie to those deprived persons it will be unavoidably necessary to confiscate pie from someone else. All transactions are zero-sum, in other words.

Seems to me, if you buy into that you have to agree there was at least a social benefit to the Easterlin paradox, even if it wasn’t true. And there must be a commensurately deleterious effect involved in repealing it.

I suppose, like the Easterlin paradox, the Pie Paradigm ought to be given a benefit of doubt, of sorts, so it can remain standing on clay feet across the generations without much supporting evidence. There must be a truth to it, and even if there isn’t, there must be a social benefit to believing it, and even if there isn’t, darn it it just feels so good to say it’s true.

Except, like Columbo, I can’t help noticing just one…little…thing.

So many of these Pie People, like Ms. Obama herself — are stinkin’ rich. What does that say about them, if they really do believe in the pies?

Obama Billionaires

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

From Zombietime:

On April 6, 2008, Barack Obama visited the San Francisco region, zipping from event to event all day long, from one end of the Bay Area to the other.

What? you might ask. How did I miss that? If only I had known, I would have gone to see him.

Well, there’s a reason you didn’t know about it. Obama didn’t want you to know about it. Because the events he was attending weren’t for people like you.

They were for people with lots and lots of money, who use that money to gain access and influence with politicians — especially politicians who might become president.

So although the San Francisco Bay Area is probably the most pro-Obama section of the entire country, with Obama signs and stickers visible everywhere you turn, when Obama himself actually visited his electoral home base, he ignored the hoi polloi — all the little people who swoon over him — and instead, he spent the entire day with the rich.

Heh heh. Hope, change, hope, change, hope, change…the latest charismatic young Robin Hood campaigns on his message of hope-change, while hob-nobbin’ with the big boys just like any spoiled little rich old white Republican. Oh yeah, you riff raff, he really feels your pain.

H/T: FrankJ.

Everyone Gets a Raw Deal

Monday, March 24th, 2008

The post previous to this one inspected the possibility about whether the CIOs in our information management businesses might be causing the problems…about which…they do their grumbling. Said problems having to do with this alleged “IT skills shortage.” My answer boils down to Yes, but not in the way most people think. I believe a trend exists wherein everything in Information Technology is being distilled down to a step-by-step process, with no problem-solving skills necessary, no knowledge about how things actually work necessary. The goal is to make all skills economical — portable — easily transferred to the next person. And, IT being a big thing, all skills within it simply don’t translate that way. They’re trying to put fifty pounds of potatoes in a twenty pound bag. So yes, we should blame the CIOs.

I hope people found that one to be thoughtful. A lot of people decide this stuff with feelings, and you know, that’s the second sign that you are going insane.

What happens when you go insane? You can’t make decisions that are beneficial or productive anymore…or at least, are beneficial or productive on a frequency greater than random chance. You leave it to others to make things better, as a best-case scenario — worst-case scenario being, you jump in and bollux it all up for them.

And here’s a great example of that: Via ZNet Cartoons, via Alas! A Blog!, via Glenn Sacks writing in Men’s News Daily:


Why do I find this cartoon to be insane? Because it derogates the accomplishments of white people, indeed is calculated and designed to do that very thing, and I’m a white person? No. Because it fails to navigate the first triad and it cannot culminate into a thought that will navigate that triad: FACT…OPINION…THING TO DO. The fact it seeks to point out is that white people benefit from racism without knowing it. What opinion are we to draw from this? That white people are, typically, less competent than they believe themselves to be? I think even among people who sympathize with the cartoon, most of them would be reluctant to jump to that conclusion. They’d need to see a few more facts.

And forget about the Thing-To-Do. Just forget it. What are we to do about this? Well gee, affirmative action with quotas might seem like the only reasonable way to go…that might seem like a sound plan…to people who feel their way around problems rather than thinking their way through them. All those who seek to define a goal before they make their plans, so they can assess their progress toward that goal…abandon all hope ye who enter here. What are you trying to do? Make everyone the same? Lay the smack down on whitey? Give persons-of-color opportunity? Cool down racial tensions? People who want the first two to happen, can’t say how that helps anyone. People who want the third thing to happen, can’t say how that’s supposed to work, over the long term. And people who want the fourth thing to happen, by supporting quotas in college admissions, hiring and contracting, work diligently against the goals they say are theirs.

Over on Alas!, there are just shy of a hundred comments about this cartoon. I’m particularly interested in #5, #6, #8, #10, #16 and #47.

Sailorman doesn’t seem to think too highly of the comic. He ‘fesses up that he can’t draw, but if he could this is the strip he’d do in response…what follows is a panel by panel description of what happened to the white folks and their ancestors — the darker side.

Jake Squid calls him a “right-winger.”

Sailorman points out that Squid is engaging in ad hom; Jake Squid denies it, then engages in it again.

Ampersand, who seems to be the CEO of the blog, does some backpedaling…

Sailorman, I’m not sure where the cartoon said that white people have it easy, or don’t work for what they get. The person was offered “a foot in the door,” not the keys to the executive washroom; the white couple was given a mortgage, not a free house.

What the cartoon does say (in my view) is that white people have it easier than black people, and that the system works in a way that makes it easy for white people to be unaware of how they’ve benefited from racism. I don’t think believing that requires believing that white people are handed the world on a silver platter.

I call it backpedaling because if one accepts the point of the original cartoon, and from that does navigate the first triad of fact/opinion/thing-to-do, albeit in an insane way — it’s almost certain that whatever navigation that was, it just got scuttled by Ampersand’s miniaturization of the original point that was being made. White people are being given, not free stuff, but opportunities. Oops. Well, here’s news for Ampersand — a lot of people who saw the cartoon and liked it, it doesn’t seem at all a logical leap to say, thought the stuff that belongs to white people should be taken away from them. What else is to be done? We shouldn’t do that? The cartoon seeks only to make white people more thankful for the opportunities they’ve had? Eh…if that’s the case, it’s not that good of a cartoon, because it doesn’t seem to stop there. I’m pretty sure Jake Squid isn’t stopping there. He thinks you’re a “right-winger” if you simply bring up some historical points the cartoon might’ve forgotten to mention.

Leora, also, doesn’t find much use in Sailorman‘s point. But interestingly, when she discusses why this is, she makes his point all over again for him. Read her entry, all the way to the last paragraph:

What this comic (and Sailorman’s response) reminded me of is a very personal interaction I have in my own life. It is not exactly the same, but humor me on this analogy, ok?

My sister and I are both white females, both came from working class parents with a strong work ethic, and are both first-generation college educated with advanced degrees. Inasmuch as we can be similar, we are as sisters. The main difference in our lives is that she is able-bodied and I am disabled. (I am very obviously vision and hearing impaired.)

My sister is a very hard worker and has a successful career. I would not say that she hasn’t “earned” her successes because she put her nose to the grindstone, made the right decisions to get to her goals, and met her goals by working hard.

The difference between her and I is that she has always had the OPPORTUNITY to work hard. For her, say the goal is “D”. If she worked hard at A, it would get her to B. If she worked hard at B, it would get her to C. If she worked hard at C, it would get her to D. She pretty much has always had the benefit of the assumption that A B C=D. There was an obvious return to her investment.

For me, A may or may not = B, which may or may not get me to C, etc. And the time I will have to spend at any one of these steps (working just as hard or harder than my sister, is usually longer and may offer me less return on my investment.)

To use real life examples: My sister could earn money in high school by babysitting or doing high school fast food jobs. It was relatively easy for her to get the opportunities to work hard. I sat around a lot in high school earning way less money because people were less inclined to hire a deafblind babysitter or fast food worker. She had the opportunity to work hard.

She was in honors programs and I was in special ed, which didn’t even allow me to take the qualifying tests for honors programs. She worked hard in her honors programs because she had the opportunity to work hard.

She got through college more quickly than I did because she was able to work to pay for college at a much increased rate than I did. I did work, in high school and college, but I spent much more time job hunting and doing volunteer work to get my foot in the door or begging for more hours than she did. She did work hard to put herself through college, as did I, but the benefits allowing her to work hard gave her more opportunities.

Most notably, she got many jobs and internships, etc. by word of mouth. Someone would recommend her and she would get hired. I had people who were also willing to vouch for me, and they would come back to me apologetically saying that they put in a good word for me but that the other person said that they just didn’t know if they could see themselves hiring a disabled person.

In her case, with all of these opportunities to work hard, she was able to build on her success over time. In my case, any accomplishment I earned in the past by hard work was not likely to count for anything past my disability. Her past accomplishments led to more opportunities to work hard and earn more successes. I have to start over proving myself at every opportunity as if I have no past. I have to defend myself for things that may or may not happen in the future. I have no past and no future in regards to earning things, her past accomplishments are step ladders for her and no one expects her to prove that she will never make a mistake in the future she cannot foresee.

So, I have never understood this argument that sailorman gives. No one is saying that white people didn’t work hard to earn their successes. But don’t they understand how fortunate they are to have those opportunities to work hard? And how frustrating it is when you want to work hard, you have the skills, you have played by the rules, yet there is no return? Working hard and earning success is a privilege that is not afforded equally to everyone in society. Why is that so hard to understand?

As an interesting epilogue here, my sister has now reached the proverbial glass ceiling in her career. She is finding that she has reached a point that she cannot move out of. A B C is no longer easily equal to D. She is seeing younger, less qualified men jump past her in promotions and opportunities. And I’m sure they worked hard, too.

So the privileged sister peaked out, and now must take her turn on the sidelines watching men leapfrog over where she is, just because they’re MEN. “And [Leora’s] sure they worked hard, too.” Uh huh…and I’ll tell you something else, Leora: Those men had to put up with a lot of guff that didn’t get in the way of your privileged sister…or you. They could have had their careers destroyed by some underachieving woman, not even all that good-looking, or for that matter even having anything to do with the guy at all — going to Human Resources and saying “when he walked into the room he made me feel uncomfortable.”

One wonders, further, how many opportunities this privileged sister had that were denied to the men who are now passing her up, back when it was fashionable to hand the plum assignments out to the gals. Can anyone deny there is such a force of nature at work here? We’re seriously considering putting a woman in the White House this year — a nasty, toxic woman who has accomplished very little, and doesn’t seem to have a kind word to say about anyone except when it’s in the context of bashing someone else. And for that matter, does Leora really expect me to think it is never in vogue to hand things out to a disabled person? It hasn’t happened in her case? Shenanigans. What if we went and talked to the privileged sister? What would she say?

I’m sure if we tallied up the unfair advantages and got into a subtraction game, net-for-gross, Leora’s point would still stand. But…a subtraction game is useful only if you’ve validated that you’ve collected everything that should go into it. In this case, there’s no way to validate it. We live in a big complicated world full of people gaining “unfair” advantages all the time. And there’s another question to be pondered — aren’t we supposed to be working together for some things? When did this become a competition against each other?

My point is that all this stuff is useless. All these arguments to be made are “valid,” on the most superficial level anyway, because they all have a kernel of truth to them. But just a kernel. You can’t really do anything with any of them…all they say is that this class of people, or that class of people, got a raw deal.

I like the idea of white people being more thankful for the advantages they’ve had — but that’s good advice for anyone isn’t it? Here and there, I know I’ve had benefits because of the friendships I’ve had, as well as whatever class to which someone thinks I’m a member. I’ve been hurt too — passed over for opportunities that went to persons far less qualified.

You really open a Pandora’s Box when you say because Morgan was passed over for something, Morgan is owed something by someone. We just shouldn’t get into that. Nobody owes Morgan anything…because everyone gets a raw deal. And it logically follows that for whatever opportunities I have had come my way…I don’t owe anybody anything either. Just some gratitude toward those who made it possible. Anything beyond that, we have to get into the whallopin’ countin’ business. Oh no, to make up for past opportunities he shouldn’t have gotten, we gave this guy three whallops, now we think on it some more we see he only had two whallopin’s comin’. He gets one back, so who does he get to whallop?

And once you start that crap, it never ends. Worse still, someone has to get the job of figuring out how many whallopin’s so-and-so has comin’ to ’em. And ultimately, that is a position involving so much power, we shouldn’t want anyone to have it.

Does that make someone angry?

Then that would be a sign someone is participating in the formation of our public policies, and they aren’t engaging any spirit of compromise before doing so — they just want things their way, period. If we’re looking for something somewhere that needs fixing, I think we should start there.

Anti-Danger, Anti-Achievement, Anti-Defense, Anti-Life

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

This morning I was rubbing my hands together in giddy glee over the finding that the Nintendo Wii is not environmentally friendly, or at least, is not perceived to be that (Nintendo’s crime against the environment seems to be mostly related to a failure to divulge information about being clean, which is different from a substantiation of evidence about being dirty). My comment was,

The anti-corporate pro-enviro hippies, are hopefully going to be locked in a huge fracas with the video-gamers and therefore with the kid-dumbing-down people. I hope. It’s always fun to watch the anti-achievement types feast on their own.

Hundreds of thousands of e-mails have poured in and called my attention to…

…alright, nobody’s uttered a peep about it. But it nevertheless occurs to me, even though this is The Blog That Nobody Reads, that I should expound.

Surely you’ve noticed, haven’t you. The people here stateside as well as across the pond in Europe, who are so quick to rap us across the knuckles for taking out Saddam Hussein — offer little or no alternatives for us to defend ourselves in any other way from the threat of worldwide terror. Oh yes, I know, many among them will say we were “distracted” from the “hunt for Osama bin Laden” when he was “in Afghanistan.” They imply in a bullying way, but usually do not come out and say word-for-word in any true sense of commitment, that had we focused on Afghanistan they’d be behind our defensive efforts a hundred percent.

These are the very same folks who are all gung-ho about going after the globular-wormening ManBearPig, insisting that the climate of the earth is changing, we homo sapiens are the cause, it’s a done deal, the “science is settled,” and hey even if this turns out not to be the case it’s just as well that we act as if it is.

You can see where I’m going with this now. They insist that the benefit of the doubt be awarded to the course-of-action that involves doing…on this issue over here…and the option that involves not doing on that issue over there.

People like me, on the other hand, are “inconsistent” in the opposite way; I think we should not do, here, and do, there.

Who is more properly inconsistent? Well, the most jarring empirical evidence, which is people-gettin’-killed, it seems to me is on my side. This thing over here hasn’t killed anyone. That issue over there has killed thousands…oh yeah, oh yeah, I know, no solid evidence connecting Saddam to the terrorist attacks, but that’s kind of my point. These people, in addition to being inconsistent, are nuts. The “no evidence” is just as good as “close my eyes and yell la-la-la-la I can’t hear you.” The people who say we should act even though we don’t know anything, about ManBearPig, are the same ones who say we should not act because we don’t know anything on a different threat that really has killed people.

Chicks with GunsSo my point is this: Since there are so many of these people, and they all agree with each other in near-lock-step about both Iraq and globular-wormening ManBearPig…two issues on which their mindsets conform to completely opposite philosophies about how we should behave on important issues when certainty is not forthcoming and doubt is rampant. In fact, we can toss in a third issue without upsetting this solidarity one bit, I notice: Guns and self-defense. People who are pro-global-warming-curtailing, are anti-Iraq, and pro-gun-control. The consistency from one pair of ears to the next, is just amazing. It’s north of 99 percent. So I say, let us look for consistencies in the arguments. Let us look for common threads that are sustained among these three issues, in the way all these people perceive them and grapple with them. Are there some?

I see one.

Before I get to that, though, let’s inject a fourth issue in a round-about way…and let us do this, by exploring one of my favorite web sites:, where you can learn how to thwart, obstruct, derail and generally bollux-up the efforts of your neighboring human beings to…well…to move their asses from one place to the next. Which means, now, just about anything else anyone would be able to do once they get there.

This deepens, but does not broaden, our chore of looking for common threads. If you think it’s settled RIGHT NOW that we should do something about globular wormening, but we need to shut down the War on Terror, but we need to grab everybody’s guns and lock ’em up — you probably think traffic calming is a wonderful thing. If you roll your eyes at it like I do, you probably think ManBearPig is a big ol’ scam, you probably think Saddam Hussein was just as much a dangerous spoiler jackass in 2003 as he was in 1993 & it’s a good thing he’s gone, and you think the Second Amendment actually means what it says: Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

So traffic calming, you see, fits right into the mold.

Traffic calming consists of operational measures such as enhanced police enforcement, speed displays, and a community speed watch program, as well as such physical measures as edgelines, chokers, chicanes, traffic circles, and (for the past four years) speed humps and raised crosswalks.



Chicanes, traffic circles, speed bumps and raised crosswalks.

What are these things? Well, they are devices that make traffic safe by making assumptions about you, the driver, which in turn cannot be borne out as legitimate or truthful unless they are analyzed in a purely statistical venue. If you go faster than X speed, you must be dangerous. If you can be bullied and cudgeled and coerced into going slower than X speed, you must be safe. If it’s three thirty in the morning and nobody’s around, why, that don’ matter none. You have to go slower than twenty-five miles per hour, and once we make you drive that slowly, surely some lives will be saved.

It sounds like it came from…from…could it be? Why, yes it is!

European traffic calming began as a grassroots movement in the late 1960s. Angry residents of the Dutch City of Delft fought cut-through traffic by turning their streets into woonerven, or “living yards.” This was followed by the development of European slow streets (designed for 30 kph or 20 mph) in the late 1970s; the application of traffic calming principles to intercity highways through small Danish and German towns in the 1980s; and the treatment of urban arterials in areawide schemes, principally in Germany and France, also in the 1980s. [emphasis mine]

Gotta hand it to those Europeans. The European ego isn’t one bit bruised by the fact that we yankees came up with the telephone…the car…the airplane…the innernets. They’ve got their claim to fame East of Greenwich. When you’re a busy guy trying to get things done, relying on all this American technology to beat the deadline so that that other guy can beat his deadline so that the people depending on him can meet their deadlines…here come the Europeans to mess everything up for you!

Thought you were getting to Point B by two-thirty this afternoon did you? Not after our roundabouts and raised crosswalks get done. Now feel the wrath of the residents of Delft!

The really interesting thing about traffic calming, is its effectiveness is measured in traffic retardation on a miles/kilometers-per-hour basis, and a percentage basis — not on the basis of lives saved. I have to look at that a little bit funny. I have no choice but to do so.

I live in Folsom. We have our own “traffic calming” in terms of poorly-designed controlled intersections. Traffic lights that turn red just as you get to them, should you fail to exceed the speed limit by less than twenty miles an hour, and all that. You think that “calms” traffic, everybody in their shiny BMW’s having to stop constantly when they shouldn’t have to? Hell no. It turns them all into raging jackasses.

Sorry, fellow Folsom residents. You know it’s true. You know it damn good and well.

So on the notion that this makes traffic safer…I have to call bull poo. Even if you can pump out hundreds of studies showing the rate of speed has slowed. That’s a point in my favor, isn’t it? All the jackasses are spending more time inside city limits, after having been offered increased motivation for going all jackass?

There is a lesson here about human psychology. It is what ties together all these “let’s go ahead and stop global warming even though there’s no solid evidence we have to” types…in with the “naughty naughty naughty shame on you for taking out Saddam Hussein” types. It is what makes these two camps come together, even though their respective doctrines are 180 degrees opposed from each other. It is what makes them all such loud, bossy sunzabiches.

It is this:

Poor Widdle BabumsWhen you’ve made the decision that the stuff you do in your life doesn’t matter and shouldn’t be given much priority, you rankle at the idea of the stuff anybody else does with their lives being given any more priority than your stuff. The traffic-calming measures, with all the phony egghead studies “proving” that things must be safer because the traffic moves slower — they are metaphorical, of something much deeper and much more meaningful. When you’re in this boat, you want everybody to stop whatever it is they’re doing. To slow way down…until they stop. And sit. There’s really nothing rational about it. It’s a primal urge.

You don’t want anybody to make it anywhere on time to be able to do anything. Because you know you aren’t doing anything.

You don’t want anybody’s kids to grow up with a feeling of self worth, since your own kids aren’t growing up that way.

You don’t want anybody to consume anything, because you can’t justify consuming anything yourself. You can pretend you’re disturbed about the prospect of the whatever-it-is being depleted…but the truth of the matter is, you just want all motion around you to stop. Because you yourself aren’t moving.

That’s why the people who want to take your guns away are the same ones waggling their fingers at you about “emitting carbon” and those are the same people who prattle on about an “illegal and unjust war” — we should presume action is warranted in the face of doubt on one issue, and not on another issue. And those are the same people who think traffic is automatically safer if the drivers are frustrated in the efforts to get where they want to go. And those people, in turn, are the same ones getting all peevish if you buy your nephew a toy gun for his birthday. And those are the same people insisting that if said nephew is acting a little bit weird, he should be doped up on drugs and put in a special program.

And that once you’ve eventually triumphed over the round-abouts and traffic circles and gotten where you wanted to go, and made some money from doing it…you should be taxed up the ass. It’s human potential. It offends them.

This is easily substantiated. Because once you open your mind to the evidence involved — it’s really a little bit silly to try to argue Saddam Hussein was harmless. So people aren’t angry about the fact that Hussein was taken down, because he was a harmless guy. They’re angry Hussein was taken down because taking him down was a worthwhile thing that some brave, but ordinary, people did. That really gets in the craw of some among us. And that’s the truth.

Now, if you’re one among those “googooders” as Mike Royko used to call them, here, via Boortz, are some places where you can raise your kid. Notice how eager these googooders are to share notes on this stuff. Again: When you aren’t doing anything with your life, you don’t want anybody else to do anything with theirs, and when you aren’t raising your kid to grow up to be someone with guts and courage and resourcefulness, you don’t want anybody else’s kid growing up that way either.

To give you a quick idea of how much location matters, consider this: Kids are six times more likely to die from a violence-related injury in Alaska than they are in Massachusetts. In California, public playgrounds must meet all federal government safety recommendations, but 34 states offer no standards for where your kids climb, jump and swing. Connecticut and 20 other states have made big improvements in school-bus crossings, while 13, including Nebraska and Arizona, are way behind.

Location, location
1. Connecticut
2. Rhode Island
3. New Jersey
4. New York
5. California
6. Maine
7. Pennsylvania
8. Mass.
9. Maryland
10. Oregon

Oh, joy! Enough rules to crumple into a big ball and choke a horse to death! Or at least you could…if it wasn’t a federal crime to choke horses to death on things. And my Golden State is number five!

Of course, as any knuckle-dragging red-state real-man daddy like me knows, there’s a lot more to raising a boy into a man than just making sure he reaches Age Eighteen healthy and alive and whole. Us guys know that…but unfortunately, some eighty-eight years ago we went and gave them womyns the right to vote, and wouldn’t you know it the uppity females done gone out and started doing it. Now we have taxes up the ass…and rules rules rules, you can’t drive anywhere over thirty miles an hour because of those damn roundabouts, and in a few years you won’t be able to buy a car that can go that fast because we’ll have used the “carbon emissions” excuse to yank real cars off the road.

But our pwecious babums is going to be all safe. Won’t know how to do a God damn thing, but they’ll be safe.

Now you know the common thread. The common thread is — that people are cattle, and really aren’t worth anything. They shouldn’t be taught anything, they shouldn’t be raised to deal with danger, they aren’t worth defending, they can’t achieve anything and if they can, they should never be given the opportunity to do it. Might as well seal the damn things up in a great big jar and poke some holes in the lid.

This explains why when you face off against someone who insists we never should have taken down Saddam Hussein, and you ask well what should we have done instead — you don’t get anything. Just a deer in the headlights look, maybe a few stammering statements about George Bush being a really bad guy and his grandfather was connected to Nazis. Nothing about what to do. These people don’t come from the Land Of Do. They’re all about being, not doing…being…uh…well, happy. There’s nothing more in their lives than just that. So they don’t want anything more in your life than just that.

Funny thing is, though, when it comes to the anti-defense plank — they do think some folks are worth defending. Just the bosses. The kingpins of society. And you probably thought they were egalitarians, didn’t you?

I beg to differ. They’re aristocrats through and through. Earls Lords and Dukes are worth defending…Vicounts, Barons and anyone lower than that, are not.

Mr. Heller, the good guy in DC v. Heller, delivered one of the best slapdowns we’ve ever read when asked about the “safe streets” of DC:

At that point, a reporter interjected: “The Mayor (DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty) says the handgun ban and his initiatives have significantly lowered violent crime in the District. How do you answer that, Mr. Heller?”

The initial answer certainly wasn’t expected – Dick Heller laughed. Ruefully.

Pointing at the Mayor who was making his way across the plaza, surrounded by at least six DC police officers, Heller said, “The Mayor doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t walk on the street like an average citizen. Look at him; he travels with an army of police officers as bodyguards—to keep him safe. But he says that I don’t have the right to be a force of one to protect myself. Does he look like he thinks the streets are safe?”

There was no follow-up question.

We bet there weren’t.

The anti-achievement anti-defense subjects have that in common too. The Wizened Elders who run our Bottle City are worthy of protection…we low-life scum, are not. They don’t think they’re worth it, and so they don’t think anybody else is worth it either.

Not unless you have six bodyguards or more guarding your pampered ass.

So you see, opposing the right to defend oneself and one’s family, opposing the privilege of driving to get somewhere in time, opposing the natural exigencies of life…ends up being, quicker than anyone imagines, opposing life.

These are the same blue-state numb-nuts who want good-lookin’ women to wear short hair and be fully clothed all the time. Like wearing a bunch of damned burqas. Hey, nuts to you. Here, choke on this:

Self-reliance. Achievement. Self-defense. Supporting what makes life possible, and makes life worth living. And, good-lookin’ girls with long hair in skimpy clothes. Stuff that real men like. That’s what America is all about. It is the American way.

This ultra-pasteurized version of lowercase-l “life”…this continent called “Europe” seems to be cultivating a rich culture in supporting that. Seems to be something like growing sea monkeys in bleach, but if that’s what toots the horn of my fellow lowercase-a “americans,” I suggest they move the hell there. Stop trying to turn this place into that place.

And take your stinking round-abouts with you.

Thing I Know #168. People with limited attention spans get peevish when they see other people doing a better job of paying attention; people who consistently champion peace over justice, get downright pernicious when they see someone else uphold justice.

Our Sanity in Decline

Friday, March 14th, 2008

You know it’s leaving us, because there’s a prevailing viewpoint that the labor market has become soft for those seeking work; there’s a prevailing viewpoint that this is due to the “outsourcing of jobs” by “big companies”; and there’s a prevailing viewpoint that, to fix this, we need to elect someone who will raise taxes on those companies.

There’s a geranium in our societal cranium. We’re rotting from the head down. It’s terminal, or curable, and I don’t know if it’s curable.

Best Sentence XXVI

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

There is a round-about way we stumbled across the winner of the latest BSIHORL (Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately) award. Follow along…

Michelle Malkin linked to a curious item in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, which was crying crocodile tears for the illegal aliens who couldn’t find any work leaving any parallel dilemma faced by the people who actually belong here, mostly uncommented-upon.

And the story contained this curious undertone. Like trout in a plentiful pond, it would break the surface when you least expected it, and elude capture by vanishing almost instantly. And then do it again. And again.

The bad times are trickling down to the lowest rung of the work force: the illegal labor pool, which has long been tapped by both contractors and homeowners for convenience and low cost.
“Everybody is going to suffer in a recession — from the top on down,” says Patti Decker, a branch manager with Labor Ready in Soquel, whose number of Spanish-speaking customers, she added, has been on the rise in the last few months, in part due to the poor economy.

This recurring reference to verticality. I think it’s relevant, because if you accept that the illegal aliens are the lowest among us — rather than the children who are brutalized by some of them, more often than we’d be led to believe — this would mean every time a politician makes reference to our goodness being defined by how we treat the least among us, that politician is saying our goodness is defined by how we treat our illegal aliens.

Which would be groundbreaking, because I’m hearing it from them every goddamned day. Society is to be regarded according to how it treats the weakest…the least…the lowest…the poorest. Many saying this is so. Few saying why.

Not sure if this comes from The Gospels or any other part of the Bible. This seems to be a misattribution based on Luke 9:48, “…the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”

But thankfully, I don’t see this attributed to the Bible too much. Most of the time people are claiming to come up with it themselves, which is funny because there are so many original authors of this one bromide.

Including one Helen, cited by Don Quixote while guest-blogging at fellow Webloggin contributor Bookworm Room.

A nation is only as powerful as its weakest citizen, as prosperous as its poorest, and as decent and moral as its empty jails.

Whereupon commenter Lissa wins the BSIHORL award with this apropos rejoinder:

Why should we judge a society by its poorest and weakest? Why not judge it by its best, and the opportunity for the poorest and weakest to become neither poor nor weak?

A question for the era, Lissa. WELL done.

Update: In another example of wonderful/wretched irony, I see the overall liberal mantra is a short dialog of sorts, in which an interested outsider applies for assimilation into the liberal collective union, inseparable from adoration and adulation from those already therein — and is granted it.

It can be distilled into the following brief exchange:

APPLICANT: I believe we are all equally worthwhile in every conceivable way, without regard to gender, race, creed, credo, sexual preference, income, net worth, or place of birth.

COLLECTIVE: That clearly makes you far superior to those who don’t believe the same. Enter when ready, New Member.

The theoretical egalitarianism is an indispensible component. So is the practical non-equal stratification of “We’re Better Than You.” Neither one of these are tangential or optional. They are BOTH core, even though they are opposites.

Self-mockery, thy name is liberalism.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

The Amazing Dennis Kucinich

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

I’ll post it, most of it, in total because sometimes even one mouse-click is too much to ask of people.

Read it today on Neal’s Nuze page, if you don’t read another thing. Because some of the “class envy” politicians, unlike Kucee, actually have a shot…and I don’t think they know any more than he does…

Kucinich has a long history in congress of trying to shift the tax burden away from low and middle income Americans onto the backs of the high-achievers. In 2003 he sponsored a law that would give a “refundable” tax credit to protect low and middle income people from having to pay Social Security or Payroll taxes. Kucinich, who is chairman of the “Progressive” (that means liberal) Caucus also proposed something he called a “tax dividend” for every man, woman and child. Well, almost every man, woman and child. He wanted to limit the dividends paid to the top 1% of income earners to only 1% of the total tax cut.

Well, there’s our clue. Kucinich doesn’t have any idea in the world how much of the total taxes are paid by the top one percent of income earners … so I asked him two questions:

1. What percentage of total income is earned by the top 1% of income earners?
2. What percentage of total federal income taxes are paid by the top 1% of income earners.

The answers were astounding. Congressman Dennis Kucinich thinks that the top 1% of income earners earns about 60% of all income, and he thinks that they pay about 15% of all income taxes. The fact is that the top 1% of all income earners pull in about 18% of all income and pay 38.8% of all income taxes.

This is an astounding level of ignorance on such an important statistic. You can excuse a mother of three loading up on Happy Meals for her porky little kids at a McDonalds for not knowing this .. .but a member of the Congress?

Nothing Good

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I agree with Neal Boortz on just about everything, since he’s a capital-L Libertarian who is pro-war. But I must respectfully disagree on this, Barack Obama’s Social Security plan.

“If we kept the payroll tax rate exactly the same but applied it to all earnings and not just the first $97,000,” Obama wrote this week in an Iowa newspaper, “we could eliminate the entire Social Security shortfall.”

Neal’s position, and I get the impression he’s half-joking about this, is that it “would expose Social Security once and for all as nothing less than a grandiose income redistribution scheme.” Well yes, to some among us it is exactly that and not intended to be anything different — and it would expose it as that, to some others among us.

Not the folks who need to learn about that, though.

I’ve written probably tens of thousands of words, in this blog alone, about the Yin and Yang theory which says mature humans have exactly two fundamentally different ways of accumulating the aptitudes necessary to come to what passes for maturity, and end up spending their entire lives in two different villages, trying to communicate across a monstrous chasm with the other half. You know what inspired the Yin and Yang theory to begin with? Yeah, it had something to do with a string of Yang-y ex-girlfriends and ex-wives…that was the personal side of it. But the public-issue side of it was Social Security.

We can’t fix it, you see. Not to the satisfaction of everybody. It is viewed in two fundamentally different ways. When we talk about whether or not it was an experiment that we should have attempted in the first place, we discuss it in the terms under which it was marketed to the Yin: As a retirement vehicle. You get out of it what you pay into it, not one penny more. And supposedly, nobody’s scamming anybody else out of anything through this noble system, since they only recoup their “investments.”

And then when it comes time for us to make good on that promise we made to ourselves, we tend to get all Yang-y. Yes, people can get out of it what they put into it, plus a whole lot more…assuming they put anything in to begin with, which maybe they didn’t. And that’s perfectly alright. It’s all about the “social justice”…Comrade.

It is far too chameleon-like to ever adhere to a singular set of protocols, let alone a set that can allow it to run smoothly. Monday Wednesday and Friday it’s supposed to provide “dividends” to those who “paid into the system”; Tuesdays Thursdays and Weekends it’s supposed to “provide” for those who “deserve it.” See, that’s the problem. We don’t know what this program is supposed to do — we have never achieved agreement on it.

Now, for the half of us who think it’s supposed to take money away from some of us, and give it to others — Obama’s plan is a dream come true. But to them, those who need to learn the lesson, the Obama plan would provide no education. They’ve got a raging case of CBTA, they Can’t Be Told Anything. Some people have money, other folks are supposed to get the money, that’s just how it’s supposed to work.

So no, Mr. Boortz, this wouldn’t provide the benefit you anticipate — although I suspect you realize that already. Those who need to learn what Social Security really is, or has become, wouldn’t learn anything. There’s nothing good about this plan.

We’re The Government And You’re Not

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Oh good golly…Boortz found something good. Not that this is anything unusual. Set aside ten minutes and watch this.

You’re A Racist If You Want Lower Taxes

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Derrick Z. Jackson links the issue of race, to the decidedly non-race-related issue of taxes.

“Taxes” has become a code word for “we got ours, forget the rest of you all.” “Taxes” avoids real discussion of white privilege. “Taxes” avoid s how old-line white families were able to transfer wealth and property during slavery.

Why does this guy have a column?


Monday, November 27th, 2006

I call them collectivists because they won’t come up with a name for themselves. If they were to do such a thing, it would make it easier to define their ideas and what they want done. They don’t want to do that, they just want to talk about the things they don’t like — which is that some people have lots of loot, and other folks have none. Hard to disagree with that, huh? And since it’s hard to disagree with it, they become absolutists.

Which necessarily must mean, they don’t want anyone to have anything. Or at least, they don’t want anyone to have any more stuff than what anyone else has.

You were an ant, someone else was a grasshopper? You refined your skills, someone else sat on his ass all day watching Girls Gone Wild? They don’t care. Everyone should have the same amount of stuff.

Every once in awhile, though, a collectivist will get caught spouting his collectivist drivel, while at the same time hoarding…stuff. America provides a fertile ground for this, because we safeguard the absolute right to spout drivel…and to hoard stuff. For everyone. In other words, no offense can be detected until you analyze the content of the drivel being spouted, and then contrast them against the things being done by the drivel-spouter who has all this stuff.

And then the drivel-spouting collectivst gets nailed. An event of which I like to take note, when it happens. As it did this morning, when Neal Boortz handed a good zing to Yoko Ono.

By the way .. your husband wrote perhaps the most hideous song in the history of modern music. “Imagine,” I think he called it. Maybe you can show us how you feel about the insipid line “imagine no possessions” by giving away all of your stuff!

Hey…it’s a damn good question. Does she part company with her deceased husband on that line? Or did John Lennon never believe in it in the first place? Or does she think she’s above everyone else? World citizens demand to know.

By the way, Boortz is none to happy about President Bush’s new pick for the Department of Health and Human Services. Here at The Blog That Nobody Reads, we are disinclined to believe the religious right has much to say…about anything. We look at the evidence as it exists and noodle things out for ourselves, here, and the evidence shows that the religious right hasn’t managed to actually get too much done. I can still have sex in any position I want, I can still buy beer on a Sunday, you probably can too.

But Neal makes a very good point. Common sense would say — right after a stinging defeat for the Republican party, olive branches should be extended, if not to Democrats, at least to the freedom-inclined Republicans. States’ rights. School vouchers. Repeal national speed limits. Phase out the death tax. And the minimum wage, too; keep legal jobs legal.

But when the Republican party is in a position where it needs more political capital…to the churches they go. In the final analysis, nothing ever changes about our freedoms or lack thereof. But anyone watching, who is not on the extreme right themselves…is scared shitless every time. Why do they do it?

Perhaps they do need political “capital” after all, but it’s not so much political in nature, as much as floating around on that cotton-paper green stuff.

Pretty funny when you think about it. When all’s said and done, American politics is driven by money…just like anything else that is American. The money flows in on the right from the religious fundamentalists, and on the left from the phony collectivists like Yoko Ono and Chappaquiddick Ted, who say one thing and do something else. Seems to me a rather poor investment. Neither the extreme-right money people nor extreme-left money people end up with public decisions being made in any way to their liking; yet, next year, they’re back at it again.

Well, that’s what the art of compromise looks like. It seldom makes sense to anyone looking in from the outside.

None of this is a big mystery to me — except for the guy in the White House. It’s been said here, it’s been said elsewhere, many, many times. You want to win elections, stick with originalist principles. The Federal Government has the responsibility to protect the borders, so kick the illegal aliens out and keep ’em out. The Federal Government does not have the responsibility to interfere with the sovereignty of the states, in fact it has the responsibility to protect same. So follow through.

It would have worked.

So what’s up with this urgency to get a bible-thumper in charge of birth control advice? It’s sure to be an ineffectual move, but it gives the Bush-bashing media and snarky FARKers something to jaw about. And that stuff has a lot of momentum. So what is the point?

Kennedy’s Agenda

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

If I ever get tired of trying to make an honest living and want to start ripping people off, and make sure I never get caught at it, I’m going to start talking in a thick Boston accent heavily sprinkled with the word “Ah.” It seems to be an effective way to deflect probing questions. That’s the one thought I have, reading the AP’s puff-piece about Ted Kennedy’s “agenda” for next year, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Ted Kennedy“Americans are working harder than ever, but millions of hardworking men and women across the country aren’t getting their fair share,” Kennedy said during a speech outlining his legislative agenda for next year. “We’re not rewarding work fairly anymore, and working families are falling behind.”

President Bush signaled readiness last week to consider some Democratic priorities such as a minimum-wage increase, overhauling immigration policy and finding compromise on renewing the No Child Left Behind education law.

Critics of boosting the minimum wage say it kills job creation as employers hire fewer entry-level workers to compensate for the higher wage expenses. Kennedy said the minimum wage has remained at $5.15 an hour for nearly 10 years. Under Kennedy’s proposal, the increase would occur over about a two-year period.

Most states have their own minimum wages laws, with some states having rates the same as the federal minimum wage and some with rates higher than the federal minimum.

Kennedy noted that ballot initiatives establishing or raising the minimum wage in six states all passed in this month’s election.

“If there is one message from this election that emerged loud and clear, it’s that no one who works for a living should have to live in poverty,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy also said he would seek to expand federal support for research on stem cells coming from embryos, which Congress approved last year, but Bush vetoed. The issue won’t go away, he promised.

On education, Kennedy said he would seek to make college more affordable by increasing the size of Pell Grants from $4,050 to $5,100, and by cutting interest rates on student loans.

He said that the student loan business has become too profitable for the banking industry. “It’s time to take the moneychangers out of the temple on student loans,” he said.

I don’t have to wait too long, nowadays, for a left-winger to insist that his positions on various issues makes him smart, and my position make me dense. We live in a time in which people on both sides of the aisle, apply rustic and faulty “intelligece tests” to those around them, by gathering up peoples’ positions on the issues. Well, the minimum wage has become my way of paying this back. Lefty says I’m a big ol’ NASCAR dolt because I supported “George Bush’s illegal war in Iraq,” and golly, you know he just may have a point. Maybe the left-wing hippy does know something I don’t. So like a pig digging for truffles, hoping to engage an intellect that maybe has a different perspective to provide me, perhaps finding an angle to the big picture of which I was previously not aware, I ask about the minimum wage. If my left-wing antagonist supports the minimum wage, I can rule out this possibility. Completely. If the asshole has a brain in his head he isn’t using it. And he isn’t seeking to “educate” me, he just wants to indoctrinate me and assimilate me into the collective. There’s no thought involved. Guaranteed.

Raising the minimum wage has been a favorite agenda of Democrats my entire life, and then some. Whenever the subject comes up, my favorite way of commenting on it has come to be “Congress is currently reviewing a measure to outlaw millions of jobs.” The lefties out there, predictably, cite this as further evidence of my cluelessness and thick-headedness. But who’s clueless? Congress raises the minimum wage — is Congress considering the appropriation of general funds to reimburse employers for the difference? Not so far as I can see…ever. Is Congress going to provide punitive measures against employers who dismiss their associates, specifically because of the financial ramifications of the increase? Again, not within my memory.

So the minimum wage is all about defining a class of jobs out there, and announcing that something has got to happen with them if the employer is not to violate this new law. On what that something is, Congress, within the information that has made its way to me, throughout my lifetime — has not a tinker’s damn to say about anything. Nor has Congress sought to say anything. The employer has absolute latitude; all that is required of him, is that something be changed. We have this pipe dream that the employer is going to say “Good golly! I better find some more money to pay these people!”

But a pipe dream is all it is.

With things left unchanged, these millions of jobs, which up until the moment in question were in comportation with the law…no longer are. And at that point, Congress’ involvement abruptly comes to a stop. Seriously. In my lifetime, I have yet to see a pro-increase-minimum-wage Congressman step up and so much as denounce employers opting to get rid of these now-more-expensive associates. I have not yet see anything like that happen yet. I’m waaaaaaiiiiiiting…haven’t seen it.

So to say this kind of activity is “a bill to outlaw jobs,” is simply a more accurate statement of the facts. The pit bull that is in place to keep those jobs from being eliminated, is the union. But of course all those “hardworking men and women” who are affected by minimum wage laws, are not necessarily represented by a union. Those who are not, are off Kennedy’s radar. This is only about the unionized forces. And the purpose of the legislation, is to pay back those unions by increasing the wages from which the union dues are going to be derived.

Just a little bit of payback. One hand washing the other.

But don’t the egghead economic scientists insist that the minimum wage does nothing to eliminate jobs, in fact, may actually cut the unemployment rate? Why, yes they do! They have yet to explain how making any commodity more expensive, stimulates the consumption of it. They can’t explain that…because that simply isn’t how things work. In fact, if you listen to them carefully, you’ll see they don’t even come out and say this is what’s happening. They’ll recite some cherry-picked facts to lead the audience to this conclusion, but you won’t hear a pro-minimum-wage egghead economist guy come out and say, “when it became more expensive to hire people, employers jumped at the chance to do so, because it made good financial sense to them to spend more money on the same labor.”

As far as the unemployment rate being kept more-or-less the same throughout various increases in the minimum wage, this much is true. And it’s by design. Adjusted for inflation, throughout forty years the minimum wage hasn’t even been raised, really. It is generally agreed to have peaked, in “real” dollars, sometime in the late 1960’s. We’re coming up on ten years since the last federal increase…unemployment is at an all-time low…the conditions are right. It is “time” to raise it. What if — and this is just a hypothetical — we were to yank the minimum wage up when unemployment was high? If it really wasn’t a job-killer, wouldn’t that make a lot of sense? Or…what about the Rush Limbaugh hypothetical? Why not $20 an hour? Why not $50? The position of the left on this, as far as I can gather, is that this would be “silly.” Or yes, this would cause unemployment, but things are different when the increase is more “reasonable.”

So you see, there isn’t any disagreement about the minimum wage between the right and the left. Both sides agree that it is safe in smaller doses, dangerous in higher doses — essentially, that it does indeed cause existing jobs to disappear. They disagree only in what is to be acknowledged exuberantly, or conceded grudgingly. What it does, is put people in control of the job market — union officials, politicians, lobbyists — who have nothing whatsoever to do with creating those jobs, or for getting the objectives of those jobs fulfilled. It keeps them in charge of things.

Now, what would happen if regulation was peeled way back, and the employers and employees had more control? There are those who believe the employers would run everything; and since employers don’t really want to hire anybody, all the jobs would disappear except for a handful, and those wouldn’t pay for shit.

Well, I can only go by what I see. People having jobs and losing them…people applying for jobs and not getting them…people hired on, and the jobs suddenly going away…this happens five times, and only one time out of those five, at most, does the issue have something to do with a stingy employer cutting corners. The other four, it has something to do with regulation, or auditing. Decisions about jobs, being made by people who have nothing to do with the job being done.

Why does this ratio seem so out of balance? It makes perfect sense when you think about it. The stakeholders in the job getting done, if they are to make the decisions, the job stays. Of course it does. They want to get that job done, because if they didn’t, the job never would have come to be in the first place.

Of course…Kennedy speaks with that thick Boston accent. And he uses the word “Ah.” So none of this came out in the interview…or press conference…whatever it was. Kennedy said stuff, and if anybody asked a probing question anywhere, it didn’t make it into print. The AP just caught his glittering generalities and wrote ’em up.

Kennedy also said he wanted to support embryonic stem cell research.

What exactly is this committee and when did it get formed? I was just noticing…grinding up babies doesn’t have a whole lot to do with outlawing jobs. Kennedy’s chairmanship puts him in a position to do both. This borders on the surreal.

When I was a pre-teenager type kid, “baby in a blender” jokes were all the rage. If I could travel back to that time, and tell people in 2006 this will actually become a legislative agenda, they’d never believe it. And here we are.

I’m more concerned about the ability we have to vote in these legislative agendas. Mark Foley sent some spicy Internet messages to a former page, and we have this huge sloshing mushbucket of unrelated liberal objectives now in charge of the nation’s capital. Suppose — and this is another hypothetical — as a member of the electorate, I was desiring a little bit more surgical precision in what was to receive my support. Suppose I was in favor of grinding up the babies, but against outlawing jobs. Or vice-versa. What if some parts of Kennedy’s agenda sounded good to me, and other parts of it did not.

How do I vote for that? I just have one Congressman…some years I have a Senator running too, the one this year was a shoe-in even though I despise her…I can elect these incumbents, or vote ’em out. And based on who wins — and a lot of years, it’s just like this one, some silly scandal decides everything — we have this asshole and his juggernaut agenda, mashing up babies, outlawing jobs, making war on the cherished American values of individuality, capitalism, opportunity, keeping the money you have earned…choice. We vote for our elected representatives, and the elected representatives vote on all of Sen. Kennedy’s agenda, or none of it. Can’t have nuthin’ in-between.

I’ve been listening to liberals for six years tell me our “democracy is slipping away.” Well, it certainly is…just not in the way they’ve been saying.