Archive for the ‘Nanny State Crap’ Category

“The Thousands of People You Killed Won’t Even Know You Killed Them”

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Yeah, Stossel’s a nut who wants to legalize pot. But I like his style, I agree with him more often than not…and I really like the point he’s making here.

Real life continues to counsel us, over and over again — when you have a decision to make and there is risk to be weighed on both sides, you really need to look at both sides.

Governments of all kinds of countries, living and dead, continue to tell us — naw. We like to look at just one side. It is our nature.

Hat tip to theCL at Washington Rebel.

Timely. And that’s an understatement.

Daughter Released, Wife Does Not Require Surgery

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Good. That’s a very serious injury, and I’m sure the Senate Majority Leader is relieved. Ms. Reid is still in the hospital in serious condition; hope everything goes back to normal, as close to normal as possible.

As far as the crappy legislation is concerned, I dunno. It was on the ropes…or, lumbering onward with extraordinary awkwardness. Obviously, this near-tragedy can be used in all kinds of interesting and disgusting ways to give the crappy legislation new life. Let’s just say this much for Sen. Reid: If he elects not to do that, it will favorably influence my regard for his character.

You can tell by the comments under the linked story, that it’s pretty easy to find some scolding against comments “attacking family members.” Not so easy to find the “attacking” comments themselves (it seems Politico had three of those, and whacked ‘em). Because of that, I have more concern about the scolds than about the attackers. They seem to be in a great big hurry to prove they are decent human beings in relative terms — by demonstrating some nameless faceless stranger, somewhere, is not as good as they are.

It makes me nervous when people get in that mode, especially when there is crappy legislation in the hopper. Some of them are bound to work in Congress. And there is a bad habit in there, I cannot help but notice, for people to try to redeem themselves — from what, I don’t know? — by voting yea on crappy legislation they might otherwise reject.

If the legislation is wonderful when you’re a glorious compassionate human being, it would be just as wonderful if you were a perfect asshole. Bad law, on the other hand, doesn’t anyone a good person.

This concern of mine is much bigger than the health care issue. Why were Sen. Reid’s family members rear-ended by that truck, anyway? Was the driver texting someone on a cell phone? Did he spill his coffee? Nod off after driving eleven hours without a break? Or maybe…God help us…just two? What other crappy legislation can we see tossed into the hopper because of this?

If there’s one thing I have absolutely no faith for anyone in Congress to say out loud…or even think to themselves…it is this: “That’s a terrible thing that happened right there, but there’s no sense trying to make a law about it because that’s just the way life is sometimes.”

Haiti as of Now

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Or to be precise, as of nine days ago. Harry has a report that ought to cause some measure of distress to Alyssa Milano:

Outside of trying to destroy Israel and bring down Western civilization in general, is there anything the UN is useful for? According to Jeff Andrus,

USAID, when in control of all inbound flights, had food and water flights stacked up all the way to Miami , yet allowed Geraldo Rivera, Anderson Cooper and a host of other left wing news puppies to land.

Pulled all the security off the rescue teams so that Bill Clinton and his wife could have the grand tour, whilst we sat unable to get to people trapped in the rubble.

Stacked enough food and water for the relief over at the side of the airfield then put a guard on it while we dehydrated and wouldn’t release a drop of it to the rescuers.

No shower facilities to decontaminate after digging or moving corpses all day, except for the FEMA teams who brought their own shower and decon equipment, as well as air conditioned tents.

No latrine facilities, less digging a hole. If you set up a shitter everyone was trying to use it.

I watched a 25-year-old Obamite with the USAID shrieking hysterically, berate a full bird colonel in the Air Force, because he countermanded her orders, whilst trying to unscrew the air pattern. “You don’t know what your president wants! The military isn’t in charge here, we are!”

If it’s about helping people in need, rather than buying up some relatively cheap PR, someone important is going to be checking this stuff out and chewing off enough ass to get it fixed. Ms. Milano just might be as big a help there, potentially, as anyone else. I have a big pledge for her if she chooses to step up…maybe not by her standards…but I don’t think I’m alone in saying my purse strings would loosen up, considerably, if I could just get a little more confidence in what’s going on.

Hope someone gets on this.

Five Things Americans Need to Understand About How Government Works

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Hawkins:

One of the biggest problems we have in this country is that so few Americans understand how our government works in the real world. Since that’s the case, most people simply aren’t capable of making an informed judgment about whether politicians can deliver on a promise. With that in mind, it seems like a good idea to go back to basics and explain what so many of us have already learned the hard way about the government.

Government can’t compete on even footing with the private sector:
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Government action often creates more problems than it solves:
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It’s extremely difficult to shrink government:
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Our politicians lack expertise:
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The first priority of our politicians isn’t solving our problems: As the great Thomas Sowell has said:

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.

Four Ways to Spend Money

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Radio guy just went off on this. I missed the part where he explained whether he came up with this on the spot, or read it somewhere…and the GooglGodz are frowning with disdain on my attempts to nail down any source. But I can’t let this go.

There are four ways to spend money.

With your own money, for yourself.

You will be extremely careful about what it is you are buying, what it is the thing is going to do for you, for how long, and most of all — you will pinch pennies like there’s no tomorrow.

With your own money, for someone else.

You will spend money with just as much caution as in the above example but you won’t pay too much attention to what it is you are buying because you don’t really care.

With someone else’s money, for yourself.

You will spend lavishly as you pay attention only to what it is you are acquiring. You will be somewhat concerned about “bang for the buck” but not overly much.

With someone else’s money, for someone else.

You will spend with reckless abandon, caring not one whit about how much you burned up or what you got with it.

Government taxing-and-spending falls mostly into the fourth of those. What doesn’t fall into the fourth of those falls into the third. And perhaps there’s way too much falling into the third thing and not enough falling into the fourth, but that’s a different discussion.

Point is, if this is coming to you as a paradigm shift, there’s lots and lots of good stuff on the teevee on election day and you should really spend your time watching that instead of voting.

Vertical Man, Vertical Man, Doing the Things a Vertical Can

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Gagdad Bob:

“Horizontal man, in denying the vertical, necessarily replaces it with a counterfeit version that substitutes the collective for the One and human will for the Divine authority. Taken to its logical extreme, this manifests as the demagogue, the cult of personality, or the dictator-god who expresses the vitalistic will of the people. But all forms of leftism lie on this continuum. So much of the pandering of the left is merely totalitarianism in disguise — a false absolute and a counterfeit vertical.”

And there is no one so inflated with narcissistic hubris as the leftist social engineer who will save mankind from its own self-inflicted wounds. The leftist can give man everything but what he most needs, and in so doing, destroys the possibility of man. As Eliot said, the leftist dreams of a system in which it will be unnecessary for anyone to be good. But man is the being who can — and must — choose between good and evil.

Likewise, “the moment we talk about ‘social conscience,’ and forget about conscience, we are in moral danger” (Eliot). Eliminate the idea of moral struggle, and “you must expect human beings to become more and more vaporous.” Since man is placed at the crossroads where he is free to choose between good and evil, this again eliminates man…

They have a fight, and Horizontal Man wins.

Don’t Dare Call it Stupidity

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

…because the whole point to zero tolerance is to take human thinking out of the equation. So in assessing the actions put into play by the policy, there is no human intellect that can be evaluated. It’s been removed.

And you need that explanation…to keep your jaw from hitting the floor

Finding character witnesses when you are 6 years old is not easy. But there was Zachary Christie last week at a school disciplinary committee hearing with his karate instructor and his mother’s fiancé by his side to vouch for him.

Zachary’s offense? Taking a camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about recently joining the Cub Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary was suspended and now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school.

As Neal Boortz pointed out, someday our country’s defense will rely on kids Zachary’s age. Yeah that’ll work out real well, if the little darlings have never seen a knife before won’t it?

My kid knows how to handle a knife, bow & arrow, and a gun…somewhat…anyway, why do I teach him to do these things? Because I got upset when someone had to cut up his meat for him, when I thought he was way too old for it — and I don’t want to get shot in the ass with a pellet or an arrow. But then there is the matter of his safety. What if the time comes he has to use a gun? He’d need to own one first, of course…and childhood seems an apt time to learn the rules. It’s always loaded, never point it at anything you don’t want to shoot, etc.

But there is this vast multitude of unfortunates out there — and some of them are parents — who believe any scintilla of danger anywhere represents a job left undone. They’re the ones driving this…the ones who think life, womb-to-tomb, should be danger-free. Ironically, these are the same folks who talk on cell phones while they park-and-unpark huge minivans they have no business driving, before and after dropping off their kids. Your preciousness is very likely to be in greater danger during those few minutes than at any other time of day.

What we’re seeing here is a great culture clash. Because let’s face it, we really don’t have occasion to come together across class lines, outside of the schools our kids attend. How this is reconciled should be of great concern to everyone, even to the people who prevail in the reconciliation. The independent-minded folks, responsible gun owners, rednecks, call ‘em what you will, send their kids to the same enclave as the ladies who sat in the back seat with the little ones when they were babies, and now drive minivans with sixteen sets of airbags, and live under the delusion they can somehow make life hazard free.

I’d be happier if there was some kind of big melee that resulted.

As it is, rulz is rulz and…game-set-match, the pussies win. This community area called “school” is custom made-to-order so as not to offend their sensibilities of what a kid-friendly environment should be. Everyone else just needs to learn to cope.

Neal raised the question of how the nation is to be defended in the years ahead. Well there are other things that have to take place, too, once the defense has been provided. People don’t learn to engage diligent, responsible, strong thinking when they haven’t learned things can go wrong.

What Does a Hate Crimes Bill Have to Do With Defense?

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Byron York, writing in the Washington Examiner:

Nothing, except that the National Defense Authorization Act, which will win final passage in Congress and be sent to the president’s desk this week, also contains the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which Democrats placed inside the defense measure over Republican objections.

The crime bill — which would broaden the protected classes for hate crimes to include sexual orientation and “gender identity,” which the bill defines as a victim’s “actual or perceived gender-related characteristics” — passed the House earlier this year as a stand-alone measure. But it’s never had the votes to succeed by itself in the Senate. So over the summer Democrats, with the power of their 60-vote majority, attached it to the defense bill.

Republicans argued that the two measures had nothing to do with each other. Beyond that, GOP lawmakers feared the new bill could infringe on First Amendment rights in the name of preventing broadly defined hate crimes. The bill’s critics, including many civil libertarians, argued that the hate crimes provision could chill freedom of speech by empowering federal authorities to accuse people of inciting hate crimes, even if the speech in question was not specifically related to a crime.

All of which gives me cause to wonder…

…what if the bill passes, and then the hardcore left-wingers persist in referring to tea party attendees as “teabaggers”? It has become quite a common practice of late. When you belong to the more adorable political party it seems you can be just as homophobic as you want, in front of as many people as you want, as often as you want. So that would all change right? Or am I just being silly and naive?

“The Soup is Terrible and the Portions Are Too Small”

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Much of the “governing” that took place in our country throughout the twentieth century, has consisted of a) identifying a problematic social program that had been put in place in some past generation to redistribute money — what in God’s name were we thinking when we put that turkey in?? — and b) putting together yet another one to give our children the same nightmares our parents gave us. We seem to possess a regrettable ability to fail to recognize a Faustian arrangement, right up to the last phases of it, the moment our nose-hairs are tickled by the sulfuric fumes.

Regarding the President’s speech Wednesday evening, I got five things out of them:

No one single plan is finalized yet, so nobody else can criticize it but I can “dispel rumors” by fantasizing about what I’d like to see in the final draft;

I get to call my opponents liars, but when they say I’m a liar it’s a breach of some kind of sacred code of civility;

If my opponents point out something won’t work, you should pretend nothing of value has been said at all, until such time as they can come up with a solution to it — but when I say something that makes no sense whatsoever but sounds good, go ahead and get as excited as you want;

Medicare is broke because it promises things we cannot afford to pay, so the solution is to promise more;

My plans all make it harder for any person or company to make a profit providing the services we say we want & need, thereby making it much less likely that it will happen — but don’t call it that, call it “holding them accountable.”

All in all, a fine and stylish re-hash of all twentieth-century left-wing proposals to “fix” our social-engineering and gimme-gimme programs handed down to us by our parents and grandparents. There’s nothing new added, but all the old stuff has been meticulously covered.

The editors of Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook have gone over the President’s remarks to see what else they can get out of it:

Mr. Obama began by depicting a crisis in the entitlement state, noting that “our health-care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers,” especially Medicare. Unless we find a way to cauterize this fiscal hemorrhage, “we will eventually be spending more on Medicare than every other government program combined. Put simply, our health-care program is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close.”

On this score he’s right. Medicare’s unfunded liability—the gap between revenues and promised benefits—is currently some $37 trillion over the next 75 years. Yet the President uses this insolvency as an argument to justify the creation of another health-care entitlement, this time for most everyone under age 65. It’s like a variation on the old Marx Brothers routine: “The soup is terrible and the portions are too small.”

As astonishing, Mr. Obama claimed he can finance universal health care without adding “one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period,” in large part by pumping money out of Medicare. The $880 billion Senate plan he all but blessed this week would cut Medicare by as much as $500 billion, mainly by cutting what Mr. Obama called “waste and abuse.” Perhaps this is related to the “waste and abuse” that Congresses of both parties have targeted dozens of times without ever cutting it.

Apparently this time Mr. Obama means it, though he said this doesn’t mean seniors should listen to “demagoguery and distortion” about Medicare cuts. That’s because Medicare is a “sacred trust,” and the President swore to “ensure that you—America’s seniors—get the benefits you’ve been promised.”
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Mr. Obama also called for “civility” in debate even as he calls the arguments of his critics “lies.” So in the spirit of civility, we won’t accuse the President of lying about Medicare. We’ll just say his claims bear little relation to anything true.

We’re gerbils on a treadmill, the way we hear these promises about how budgets will be met without cuts being made anywhere. We act like we can look back on some track record that promises accuracy in these rosy prophecies — or at least provides some way to determine accuracy, accurately.

That’s probably the biggest lie that’s been told or implied in this whole issue. These programs don’t cost what we’ve been told they’ll cost; they cost orders of magnitude more. There isn’t even a mathematical formula available to predict how much exploding they’ll do. The only one that’s worked out over the generations has been “>1″. Beyond that — the programs cost every single bit as much money as they want to cost, and when it happens, we’re powerless to stop it. There’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

Except of course for one thing: Make more programs, provided the guy trying to get us to make them, is a really good speech-maker.

Update: John Hawkins interviews Congressman Joe “You Lie!” Wilson. You shouldn’t miss it. You know, that whole thing we talk about from time to time…hearing the other guy’s side of the story. Turns out there is one.

I was looking at all of the amendments and I knew that the Democrats had defeated the enforcement amendments about illegal aliens and these would be the amendments that would provide for verification of citizenship. That’s the wording and I’ve actually read the 1,000 page bill. The references to the illegal aliens in the bill didn’t have any enforcement. It was simply fluff.

So in other words, they say illegal aliens aren’t covered at all in the bill all they want, but if they deliberately leave out any enforcement provisions, it doesn’t mean anything because they can still…

It doesn’t mean anything. The verification, as proposed by the Republican amendments, was defeated in committee. I knew that and so I just felt like what I was hearing was not accurate. …So I was just really appalled at this.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

“No Enemies to the Left”

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Michael Barone, writing in the Washington Examiner about our President’s “convenient fantasies”:

Legislation to restrict carbon emissions that is supported by the administration would undoubtedly kill a large number of jobs by increasing the cost of energy, and so you can see why its advocates might want to argue that there will be a compensating number of “green jobs” created — at least if the government spends a lot of money on them.

But this sounds like fantasy. If there were money to be made in green jobs, private investors would be creating them already. In fact big corporations like General Electric are scrambling to position themselves as green companies, gaming legislation and regulations so they can make profits by doing so. Big business is ready to create green jobs — if government subsidizes them. But the idea that green jobs will replace all the lost carbon-emitting jobs is magical thinking.

Obama’s approach to health care legislation, unless he makes a major course correction in his speech to the joint session of Congress tonight, is of a piece with his hiring of Van Jones. By ceding the task of writing legislation to congressional Democratic leaders and committee chairmen, he has been following a “no enemies to the left” strategy.

One of the reasons The Left stays so strongly unified whereas The Right does not…bonded together and emulsified, almost in a surreal sort of way, like a demonic force is at work…is that The Right is motivated by a desire to avoid engaging in bad ideas, ideas that have been shown in the past to be wrong ideas, but that are nevertheless seductive. The Right therefore must be engaged in a schism regarding how forcefully to reject these wrong ideas, since we are all surrounded by well-intentioned but naive and inexperienced folks who want to go for the wrong ideas, and feel personally alienated when the wrong ideas are labeled as the wrong ideas they really are. And so any time it is necessary to drum up support that is represented through a count-of-noses, The Right becomes instantly fractured, if not vaporized.

The Left, on the other hand, is motivated by simple jealousy: If that guy over there has something I don’t have, something somewhere must have gone wrong, there’ve been some shenanigans going down, and I should get some of what he has. Obama says “no enemies to the left,” He is not the first leftist to work this way, because there’s no division in place until after the dog has caught the car, the spoils have been seized, and it’s time to divvy ‘em up. Then leftists turn on other leftists. But during the paper-chase there is no primal force to divide them. They’re not trying to stop a bad idea from becoming the law of the land, they’re trying to make it happen.

It’s interesting that they’re running into problems now with staying together on this “public option” business. That’s because now is one of the rare times in which there is a price to be paid for reaching too far in implementing too much of the bad idea within too narrow of a timeframe; and, we’re starting to wake up to what they’re doing, so there is also an opposing danger to not implementing enough of it. A window of opportunity may be closing on them. Next year, our country just might be too wise and cynical to be slapped by this stupid-stick of wrong ideas — it may very well be now-or-never. So now, for once, it is The Left that is sailing between Scylla and Charybdis. That gets ‘em fighting with each other.

Compassion Fatigue

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Gerard now has a hardcore case of it.

I’ve been told, so often and so stridently, to feel this and to feel that and to feel for the downtrodden of the world, that I find I no longer feel anything at all. I don’t think I’m alone in not caring. I think caring and compassion, now that it has been institutionalized enough to demand caring and compassion, has finally found its limit…Compassion can never be made compulsory and cash-flow positive at the same time. Whenever and wherever compassion has been made compulsory the people soon find they no longer have care or quartas to spare.

Perhaps what our friend in Seattle is feeling, is the onset of some deplorable disease.

Or perhaps it’s a recovery. A recovery from that wretched infestation known as…dramatic pause…drumroll, please…

Goodperson Fever.

It’s our modern plague. If you’ve ever done a good deed, and then just kinda hung around awhile to see if anyone noticed, and if so, how many, and what they thought about it all…you have been infected. And you probably still have it, unless you’ve since gotten in touch with your inner dark, uncaring, cynical bastard.

Cash for Clunkers Going Broke

Friday, July 31st, 2009

The Other McCain told me all about it last night, and this morning it’s burning up the news wires. Real life continues to play out like a free-of-charge “Palin in 2012″ commercial:

In one of those fiendishly stupid examples of liberal logic that will be cited in Econ 201 texts for decades to come — typing is difficult when I’m laughing so hard — “Cash for Clunkers” is broke:

The program…was supposed to expire at the end of October. But in the one week since it took effect, it appears to have run dry of the $1 billion allocated to it…

Lots more at NTCNews.com, including a post from the Cato Institute’s Chris Moody, reminding us that Cato senior fellow Alan Reynolds figured out six weeks ago how to game the system: Trade clunker for crappy new econobox, collect fed bonus, sell econobox, add that to your bonus — congratulations, you’ve got the purchase price for a classic V-8 ’67 Impala or a second-hand SUV!

I’m reminded of something P.J. O’Rourke once said, in regard to “affordable housing”: Every time the government promises to give you something for nothing, imagine the result if you tried this yourself. You’d quickly find yourself with a severe shortage of something and a whole lot of nothing.
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Clever libertarians now hot-rodding around in their ’65 Mustangs and ’71 Camaros are no doubt very grateful to…the taxpayers who paid the tab.

Two flaws are exposed here, but few people will learn anything from this because these are flaws that have been exposed before.

One:

A crisis creates a news story. A program created to confront the crisis creates another news story. The program inevitably runs into another crisis, which creates yet another news story. The people who make money off of running news stories are supposed to be unbiased and objective with regard to everything, but nobody ever seems to ask them what their thoughts are about crises. We further presume the people who make money running news stories have little or no effect on public policy. And yet — things continue to be done this way. Crisis, program, program, crisis.

Two:

Once upon a time I was placed in proximity to a liberal who didn’t know he was a liberal. Actually this has happened to me many-a-time. This guy, however, was an interesting case study because he readily ‘fessed up, in so many words, that he didn’t believe in supply-and-demand. As in, prices go up when more people line up to purchase something, and more people line up to purchase something when the price goes down…pay people to do something you get more of it…tax them on something, you get less of it…he refused to allow such thoughts into his head. Wouldn’t even consider them. With regard to progressive income taxes, gas prices, anything.

Needless to say, he and I often failed to find agreement on what would be the wisest course of action with regard to this problem or that problem. And naturally, that was all my fault. I suppose this is to be expected: People who refuse to consider all sides of equations that involve human behavior, are never responsible for anything. Any disagreement anywhere is an unworkable conflict — another crisis — and disagreement is always the result of the other guy not doing the right things.

I don’t know if this is lack of knowledge, or a bristling ego, or both. I don’t even know if that matters. I suppose it does; we should find out why there are people who think this way, that economic consequences and rewards can be changed, and human behavior will either remain static, or flow along microscopically architected channels toward the goal desired by the bureaucrats, with no unintended consequences possible. So to me, the real story isn’t that C4C is going broke, it’s that this ignorance persists. I’m assuming it will persist, that this won’t be the lesson that will finally provide the education. No other lesson has.

We need to have a national dialogue on that, before we start talking about how you can end up handcuffed and being hauled downtown, right after showing your asshole side to a cop. That ignorance is a far more urgent societal crisis.

Hey…maybe it needs a new program.

I Made a New Word XXX

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

For the thirtieth time, I have come up with a brand new word.

Autonopia (n.), a portmanteau of autonomy and Utopia.

au·ton·o·my
1: the quality or state of being self-governing ; especially : the right of self-government
2: self-directing freedom and especially moral independence
3: a self-governing state

Autonomy, it goes without saying, can extend to individuals. And it damn well should.

But…for the immediate future, you’re going to see no such tomfoolery taking place, not in Obama’s New Society we have going.

As I was pointing out earlier this morning in an update, Obama owes His presidency to the fact that some among us dream of Autonopia, and among us, some of us are sufficiently deluded to think we live in it. It is an asset to be guarded jealously, at least, when it is present: This quality a culture has in which one individual can be a dumbass, and the injury that results is inflicted on him, and him alone. So many of you were out there ready to go voting for the Chosen One, and so many others instinctively thought to themselves “that’s pretty stupid, but at least nobody else will be harmed by it.” This led to a decision, in too many cases, to stay home on Election Day and watch the teevee. There was no intellectual support for the idea that an election would be inconsequential; especially a Presidential election. Especially that one. But it had to do with how they were raised. Anti-activism. You do something dumb, that means you should be left alone to do your dumb thing and eventually you’ll learn not to do it. That took over, so they stayed home and let everyone else pick their leaders for them.

Who’s stupid now?

I was alerted to the immediate necessity of coming up with this new word when I read about this Executive Pay Bill that managed to pop out of committee in the House of Representatives, and now goes sailing on to the floor for a vote:

Legislation that would slap new limits on U.S. executive pay won approval on Tuesday by a congressional committee, advancing a component of the Obama administration’s broad plan to tighten financial regulation.

The bill was expected to go to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote on Friday, aides said.

Drafted by House Democrats, the bill would give shareholders the right to cast non-binding, annual votes on executive pay and on special pay packages, such as “golden parachutes, in instances of changes in corporate control.

Nanny StateIt would also empower regulators to ban pay structures that encourage “inappropriate risks by financial institutions … that could threaten the safety and soundness of covered financial institutions, or could have serious adverse effects on economic conditions or financial stability.”

Yeah, you pay your executives too much money, and you just might start another economic crash that’ll impact everybody. Better stop you before you start!

See what I mean by an asset to be guarded jealously? We don’t have it anymore. And we are conditioned to think that’s no great tragedy, because what has left us is a cynical personal isolationism that breeds resentment and jealousy. You dumbasses; I can see Charlton Heston pounding his fist into the sand, damning you straight to hell. That was freedom that left you. Now we’re “all connected, all in this together”…and so the statists get to leap to the microphones and intone to the rest of us that hey…we gots to have more rules. That dumb thing that guy over there can do, could result in an injury to that perfectly innocent fellow over here. So every business decision, personal decision, personal choice, is on the table. We’re all in this together. We have no Autonopia.

Hat tip to Boortz for the article, and he has much more to say about it.

Government officials never, ever call for a restoration of this autonopia, you’ll notice. They never call for a bubble-wrap arrangement in which one bubble can be popped and the other bubbles stay intact. Nope, it’s always we’re-all-in-this-together, and one-rule-away-from-complete-bliss. The idea that one guy can do something dumb and injure himself, and no one else, is always cast as an idea that someone else can do him harm. That’s the big lie from Washington. And we see nobody standing up to challenge it.

So. Government bureaucrats get to decide how much people in corporations make. But don’t worry, there’s a scope defined so it isn’t universal: “Covered institutions.” Aint’ that swell? The law doesn’t take effect unless the institution is covered. So who decides what’s covered.

So it’s settled. We can’t count on politicians, especially now, to say “I see there’s a possibility that one guy can do a dumb thing and bring harm to others, but nevertheless let’s leave this part of life unregulated.” They can’t be trusted to think such a thing or to say such a thing. Not now, not ever. Freedom, therefore, is synonymous with this new word I invented, and the concept it describes. Or to be more accurate about it freedom is dependent — completely — on it. It is a national treasure. We need to look at ways to preserve it, assuming such a possibility exists for us.

And if no such possibility exists, and autonopia is gone for good, then let’s just stop the charade. Every little thing we do is either regulated, or is about to be. We are “free” only to such an extent that the legislators haven’t quite gotten around to making us otherwise, which means we are not. In all aspects of life. Because we have lost that most precious of rights, the right to do stupid idiotic harmful things to ourselves with a realistic expectation that our stupidity will bring harm to absolutely nobody else. Lose that, and you lose everything.

The Half-Wit

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Received through the e-mail…

A man owned a small ranch in Montana. The Montana Work Force Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him.

“I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them,” demanded the agent.

“Well,” replied the farmer, “there’s my farm hand who’s been with me for 3 years. I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board.”

“The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $150 per week plus free room and board.”

“Then there’s the half-wit. He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.”

“That’s the guy I want to talk to … the half-wit,” says the agent.

“You’re talking to him right now.”

What Problem Are We Solving?

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

NY Daily News dissembles this number of which we’ve heard so, so much…47 million. As in, uninsured. What’s in that number? The answer may surprise you.

Maggie’s Farm, linking to the above, ponders that which tends to go unpondered as these hardcore lefty proposals are debated: Exactly what problem is this bill supposed to be solving?

What a silly question to be asking right now, Maggie’s Farm. You’re supposed to actually pass the bill…watch everything go sour for a decade, maybe a whole generation…and then ask that when it’s far too late. You’re breaking form.

Nevertheless, Boortz has an answer in his latest newsletter, but don’t read it. Not unless you think you can handle it. Remember what Jack Nicholson said about the truth…

The Democrats want to make people more dependent on government. They are going to do this by offering something that more Americans now value above all: stability. Americans think they want freedom. What a crock. Americans will whine about their freedom to choose which sports team to root for or which Hollywood gossip magazine to buy. But when freedom requires any ounce of personal responsibility, people immediately wipe their hands clean and want someone else to do it for them. This is where the Democrats come in .. the Democrats will make sure that the government is there to do the things the people of this country no longer feel is their personal responsibility. The reason why the Democrats are willing to do this is also simple: power. Ensuring votes. Not hard to figure out, is it?

The New York Times has a thought-provoking entry (hat tip again to Maggie’s) about why health care m-u-s-t be rationed:

You have advanced kidney cancer. It will kill you, probably in the next year or two. A drug called Sutent slows the spread of the cancer and may give you an extra six months, but at a cost of $54,000. Is a few more months worth that much?

If you can afford it, you probably would pay that much, or more, to live longer, even if your quality of life wasn’t going to be good. But suppose it’s not you with the cancer but a stranger covered by your health-insurance fund. If the insurer provides this man — and everyone else like him — with Sutent, your premiums will increase. Do you still think the drug is a good value? Suppose the treatment cost a million dollars. Would it be worth it then? Ten million? Is there any limit to how much you would want your insurer to pay for a drug that adds six months to someone’s life? If there is any point at which you say, “No, an extra six months isn’t worth that much,” then you think that health care should be rationed.

Somewhere in the basement of some liberal headquarters, perhaps the DNC, perhaps the Speaker’s Office in the House of Representatives, perhaps the White House, where all the old stuff is stored, someplace between a giant portrait of Sam Rayburn and a stack of unpaid bills…I’m convinced there is a chart, and there may not even be any dust on the chart. I’m thinking across the bottom of the chart, there are days, maybe weeks, marking off the time some bold new initiative like health care has been in the public eye…one…two…three…four…etc. And then on the left side, counting up, there’s a percentage of interested voters who have figured out The Truth. The curve is something that starts out on the left side, a third of the way up that Y-axis, and then snakes up farther north, toward 100%, as you go out to the right. That curve is of pressing interest to your typical democrat politician. I envision a chart that has gobbled up reams of data to verify the accuracy of this curve, one that is revised constantly. So maybe it’s not in the basement after all. Just well hidden, very well hidden.

What is The Truth that people figure out? That some 30 percent of us already know, and that more and more of us learn as we debate back and forth on the latest “gimme”? Simply this: That the government doesn’t really have money; it spends only what it has taken from others, plus what it borrows on the credit of others. Which naturally means that one man’s “right” is another man’s burden. That when we debate these proposals, we aren’t debating how to make life more secure, we are in fact debating how to make our country less free.

Hillary-care was debated for an extended period of time, IIRC. Someone was saying quite a lot about it in ’93, and they didn’t nail the lid on that boondoggle until ’94. That really is what killed it. People talked for awhile about how wonderful it would be when no one “would have to worry about health care.” And then someone mentioned a rule…someone mentioned another rule…before you knew it, there were all these pages and pages of rules, naturally some noise was made about them, and people got concerned. It started to look like what it was: Just another hardcore liberal democrat way of making people dependent on government for their daily needs.

This time, they’re going to do it the right way by golly. Get that reeking shit sandwich sold and shoved down our throats before we even know what we’ve swallowed.

And then hussle down to the basement, and get that chart updated.

Money Hole

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009


In The Know: Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole?

Just found this via Another Rovian Conspiracy.

I have got to get quicker about this stuff. Last month, when it went up, it was good satire. Now it’s three weeks later, and…uh…well what can I say. Good satire has a serious shelf life now. Nowadays, it’s more like a slightly surreal illustration of some bullshit that is really happening.

I see there are some real consequences to my laziness. I’ll try to do better.

Best Sentence LXVIII

Monday, July 6th, 2009

It’s about time Neal Boortz snagged a Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award. And today he picks up the sixty-eighth one. Well done, Neal.

The best sentence:

Does it seem just a bit absurd to you to be celebrating freedom while the government tells you that you aren’t allowed to have fireworks?

The Worst Place to Do Business

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Carol Platt Liebau, writing in RealClearPolitics (hat tip to Conservative Grapevine):

As the end of California’s fiscal year approaches, the Governor and state legislators confront a $24 billion deficit. While Republicans and Democrats wrangle over how to address the gaping shortfall, some members of the press have started to look for a scapegoat for the fiscal train wreck. Many have blamed the California taxpayer’s only protection: Prop. 13, the 1978 measure capping state property taxes at 1% of a home’s assessed value.

Perhaps the most egregious example of the finger-pointing is a recent piece from TIME’s Kevin O’Leary, moaning that “Before Prop 13, in the 1950s and ’60s, California was a liberal showcase.” He insists that “at the root of California’s misery lies Proposition 13,” and concludes that “in California, the conservative legacy lives on.”

How ridiculous. Of all the problems contributing to the fiscal mess, state under-taxation is the least of them. California’s sales and gas taxes are the highest in the country – and it has the highest vehicle license fees and the second-highest top-bracket income tax, too. Its corporate tax rates are the highest of all Western states, and for the fourth year in a row, a survey of 543 CEO’s found that California’s toxic combination of high taxes and intrusive regulations made it the worst place in the nation to do business.

Said TIME article is here.

The financial crisis in California grew worse this week as state controller John Chiang warned that if legislators and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fail to come up with a budget-balancing package, he would begin paying California’s bills with IOUs on July 2. The last time the state did this was during the Great Depression.

What has brought California to such a perilous state? How did its government become so wildly dysfunctional? One obvious cause is the deep recession, which has caused tax revenues to plunge for all states. But California’s woes have a set of deeper reasons: direct democracy run amok, timid governors, partisan gridlock and a flawed constitution have all contributed to budget chaos and people in pain. And at the root of California’s misery lies Proposition 13, the antitax measure that ignited the Reagan Revolution and the conservative era. In Washington, the Reagan-Bush era is over. But in California, the conservative legacy lives on.

As a red voter living in this blue state, I find those last two sentences to be…interesting. More than interesting. Coffee hurts when it comes out your nose, did you know that?

Still, the Time columnist might have a point. Why don’t you look into things and decide for yourself, whether California’s problems are on the taxing end or on the spending end. But I would suggest including in that research a reading through California’s list of state agencies…out loud…maybe after you’ve put on Henry Mancini’s March of the Cue Balls. Start at A and work forward.

After you’ve finished, does this look like a state that just might be suffering from some bloat — maybe? Or does it look to you like “the conservative legacy lives on”?

Who is Glenn Beck?

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Stossel wants to know:

Why is he so popular? Beck says it’s because he really believes what he says. I don’t buy that. Rachel Maddow and Lou Dobbs believe what they say, but their audience is a fraction of Beck’s. I hope he’s popular because of what he says, like: “Both parties only believe in the power of the party”; “if we get out of people’s way, the sky’s the limit”; and the answers to our problems “never come from Washington.”

“The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” — Heinlein.

Week Ending June 12, 2009

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Do you realize what an incredible week this has been? I’m ready to go ahead and call it right now: In the months and years ahead, when Republicans and democrats try to figure out when the national scene all turned around, there will be bipartisan agreement that the fickle wheel of fortune did its spinning in the week ending June 12, 2009. That is when the Republicans really returned to power; when the democrats really fell out of it. When mainstream America figured out the Obama experiment was, in all the ways that mattered, a complete failure. Time to absorb the lessons of reality and let the tender bloated easily-bruised ego receive the punishment that had been coming.

There is, I confess, some wishful thinking involved in that. But that’s not really a bad thing. Every triumph against the odds, in human history, has started with that. And there certainly have been some. I’ll presume, for the thinking reader, no listmaking is necessary to bolster that point.

Let us instead fixate our list-making obsession on the week just departed. And in doing that, let us start with the big kahuna:

David Letterman’s sad, pathetic, stupid joke. Does Letterman have a Republican plant on his writing staff? The damage done here was incalculable. The joke delved down deep into what everybody knew, in their dark subconciousnesses, and brought it bubbling up into the light where it all had to be consciously acknowledged: How humor itself has been re-defined in the early part of the twenty-first century. Blue-blood super-liberal Manhattan comedian makes a conservative look like a buffoon, and the rest of us give a courtesy laugh. Even though it’s NOT FUNNY. This has been a seriously powerful weapon in the liberal arsenal, because if you respond to this the way a reasonable person does — roll your eyes — in our modern, twisted culture, you’re a die-hard lunatic extremist. In a more reasonable environment it is acknowledged that it takes a die-hard lunatic extremist to do the laughing.

The punchline simply didn’t pack any humor. Nobody’s waltzing into a bar and saying “Hey, didja hear the one about Alex Rodriguez and Sarah Palin’s daughter?”

What Letterman did, was wake up the “mainstream” Americans who don’t give a rip about conservatives or liberals — but who could’ve easily been suckered into voting liberal with some well-placed signals that Republicans are subhuman, beneath contempt, it’s okay to abuse ‘em so it certainly should be alright to vote against ‘em without bothering to study up on the issues. Well from here on out, maybe that will still work, but I think America will have a little bit better idea of what’s being done to it now. And that can’t be good for the plan.

Elsewhere on the Manhattan-lib fashion-plate front, Katie Couric’s ratings plummeted some more, and fellow fashion-plate blue-blood Manhattan-lib Jon Stewart actually had the balls to made fun of her about it.

Paul Krugman, seldom correct but never in doubt, tried to lead a charge against right-wing hate by fastening the identity of the Holocaust Memorial shooter to the conservative movement. And everly ambitious, he thought as long as he was at it he’d try to revive some credibility for that discredited Homeland Security report. He failed on both counts; as is usual for Mr. Krugman, his point failed when it was discovered the facts simply weren’t on his side. Hating George Bush, hating John McCain, being a registered Maryland democrat…these are not traits that typically apply to conservative-movement agitators. But they applied to this nutburger who’s supposed to be our new icon for conservative hate. Swing and a miss.

By now, there had arisen an urgent need to prove what was supposed to have already been proven seven months ago: that the democrats were innately nice folks, and there was something about human nature that made Republicans inherently mean. Typically, democrats like to pursue this with an objective of purity: Everything anybody does that is nice was inspired by a progressive movement somewhere, and every anecdote about man’s inhumanity to man has some conservatism in it somewhere. The Letterman joke all by itself was plenty enough to upset that applecart, so now the effort was to recover the sentiment through saturation. President Obama’s former Pastor and spiritual advisor Jeremiah Wright demonstrated his impeccable timing by choosing this as the week for his comments about talking to his former spiritual pupil: “Them Jews aren’t going to let me speak to him.” Good one! That guy we elected President to start our new Hopenchange good-time rock-n-roll chapter in history, who’d inspire us all to do better and love each other — he received spiritual counsel from this bigot for two solid decades. Republicans tried to warn ya. Ya didn’t listen. It was, and is, a reality. Yet another reminder.

And the week was still young.

Ah, but our country certainly knew what it was doing. We had a skeptical, energetic and free press filling us in on what was going on, and letting us come to our own decision about who would get our vote. Right? Well…hope you didn’t put too much faith in that. If you did, it might have come as a bit of a shock when Evan Thomas went on record to say President Obama “is sort of God.” Chris Matthews agreed. Yup. Real balanced and objective, there, gentlemen. I don’t understand why anyone ever doubted you. They must have been a bunch of unreasonable, lying, irrational, bitter angry conservatives.

Perhaps this is why — also this last week — a San Francisco Chronicle editor said “Obama and the fawning press need to get a room.”

After all that, the solid meat is still just ahead of us. Remember back in January when, if the world went to war and caught fire, you’d never have heard a single thing about it because the news was all filled up with stories about Michelle Obama’s gowns, Barack Obama’s ten balls (!), and hope was in the air? About how much the economy sucked but it was all going to get more better because we had our hopey changey iPresident now and He was going to fix everything? Nowadays the hardcore liberals, the mildly liberals, and the main-street guys who don’t care or say they don’t care — still defend that because hey, it’s only been five months since then. Give Him a chance! He’s trying His best! It’s too early, and He inherited all this! Well…sit down for this one…now, according to Rasmussen, by a six-point margin Republicans are more trusted than democrats on economic issues. Yup, that’s from this week too.

Now how’d that happen? I see a link between that story, and the one about the study from Ohio that found conservatives are more open to opposing arguments than liberals. Call me Pollyanna, but I think even the Main Street folks who don’t give a crap about any of this, intuitively understand that you can’t make good decisions in life if you already have your mind made up about something before you gather the facts. What I’m trying to say is that people want to follow a good leader, they know in their guts what a good leader looks like, and they don’t want to see someone locked into a mindset and with that mindset, a narrow field of options from which to choose for any given situation. Which, ironically, is what the democrats keep saying, citing reasons why conservatives can’t be trusted. But it turns out, in reality as well as in public opinion, liberals are the narrow-minded ones. This was aptly demonstrated when the study hit the innerwebs, and some cloistered communities of liberals aired their reactions to it. It typically looked something like this.

It’s not news to anyone who’s really been paying attention. But liberals are not open-minded, they’re not receptive to all points of view, they’re not willing to listen to new ideas, and they damn sure aren’t tolerant of anything called “diversity” unless, by diversity, you’re referring to monochrome concentrations of dark skin.

President Obama also thought He would demonstrate His impeccable political timing. Now that the country He was supposed to be leading was showing its reservations about investing in Him all this godlike power, He thought He’d appoint a czar to limit executive compensation at private firms. Now, He may have found it politically expedient to limit the effects of this to corporations accepting taxpayer funds in the form of bailout programs…and He may want to promote that…but you just can’t get around that it raises serious questions about the relationship between government and the private sector. And how long would such a policy remain limited to bailout firms? We’ll have to wait a few weeks for the polls to come out, I think. But my gut says most people are on my side on this thing, or at least, are similarly concerned. This is an alteration of the fundamental relationship between our government and the people it purports to govern. The party hacks get to decide if I’m making too much money, and cut me off at the knees if they think I’m getting as big as they are? What country is this again?

The point is, I thought it was Obama’s predecessor who was supposed to be making us ask that question.

Affirmative Action was in the news this week. You know what that is, right? That’s where, if your racial makeup is caucasian and you try to make something of yourself, you are artificially injured to help make up for the abuse that was heaped on persons of darker skin in times past. It’s a tit-for-tat thing. No wait…it isn’t…supposedly, it’s an effort to help the disenfranchised and underprivileged, and it’s entirely color-blind, any thoughts muttered to the contrary are purely hardcore right-wing agitprop. It’s long been my impression that a bare majority of the country does support Affirmative Action, but because and only because they believe that last summation. In other words, by a bare majority, we are on board with helping the underprivileged but we do not want special race-based privileges to apply. So it was further damaging when it came out that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayer ‘fessed up that she is an “Affirmative Action baby” in comments released by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Affirmative Action baby…as in…her test scores were not comparable to her classmates’ test scores. She leapfrogged ahead in line because of her racial background. Her statement that says that.

Is America on board with that kind of Affirmative Action program? An outcome-based one that confers the same prestigious position — Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, in this case! — upon members of beneficiary-groups with mediocre achievements, as it would upon a boring-old-white-guy who can offer spectacular achievements? Don’t forget, across all racial classifications, mediocre people vastly outnumber spectacular people. So what are the ultimate consequences of this? More to the point, could the country possibly become worried about such consequences? Want to have your next brain surgery done by someone who’d never been called on to truly distinguish himself, except by his or her race? Does Main Street USA’s support for Affirmative Action extend that far? Maybe we’re about to find out.

Congressman Barney Frank…whom nobody thinks is a Republican…demonstrated that much-lauded progressive-liberal patience and tolerance for diverse points of view during a live television interview. Wonder if they factored this in to that above-mentioned study.

And then we had that progressive-liberal respect for the rule of law demonstrated by our Climate Queen — yeah, that’s another matter, our liberals-in-charge want to control our weather. Climate czar Carol Browner apparently violated the Presidential Records Act.

So the picture’s pretty complete — as it has been for awhile, but in this damaging, damaging week, it was pencilled in, painted in, tinted, shaded, and framed to perfection in such a way that the apathetic mainstream centrist voters can understand it. And understand it well. These people are in power, uncontested, out of control, as closed-minded as any Republican has ever been, hateful, intolerant, impetuous, as pissy and resentful as any loser of elections has ever been. They are as dim and incurious as George W. Bush has ever been. They cannot get along with anyone else, even their own. They cannot deal with important decisions because they cannot deal with facts. They just want to have power over everybody else, and that’s all. Well, that and accumulate magnitudes of personal wealth as lofty and imposing as what they would deny to others.

The only thing missing from this week…and this may have happened too, if I missed it…was the usual, regularly “scheduled” embarrassing gaffe from Vice President Joe Biden. Other than that one cherry on top, everything else was there this week.

Small wonder that Biden’s old contender for the #2 spot, apparently felt so justified in saying I told you so.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Pay Czar

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

If you think Bush’s “warrantless wiretapping” was scarier than this, there is something wrong with you. Stop voting now.

The Obama administration plans to require banks and corporations that have received two rounds of federal bailouts to submit any major executive pay changes for approval by a new federal official who will monitor compensation, according to two government officials.

The proposal is part of a broad set of regulations on executive compensation expected to be announced by the administration as early as this week. Some of the rules are required by legislation enacted in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and they would apply only to companies that received taxpayer money.

…that is, they’d only apply to companies that received taxpayer money for now.

This is truly a “Poll I’d Like To See” moment. What percentage of us think it’s just a swell idea for our country to have a Pay Czar? What percentage of us think this is a road our government should even be going down, even with the taxpayer-funded bailouts? What percentage of us recognize the danger in that? I’ll bet this is one of those fifty-fifty situations; it’s a given that some of these government busybodies think they might gain additional support by putting these rules in place, but the hushed and muted tones suggest they know they need to be careful when they talk about it.

A similar situation existed when Clinton’s Department of Justice went after Microsoft. If that case made the headlines every single day for months at a time, rather than several weeks IIRC…if it sustained the coverage as well as, let us say, the Iranian Hostage Crisis or the O.J. Simpson case…more people would have seen it for what it was. Which was, “Hey, you’re getting big enough your size might one day become comparable to the Government’s and we can’t have that!”

Yes, some people make vastly more money in the private sector than anyone could ever hope to “make” by working at any level in the Government. In the strictest and most technical measurement of compensation, that is true. Anyone who thinks that is the end of the story, is a fool. Government seeks to minimize and marginalize businesses, as a competitive measure against those businesses and against business as a whole. It doesn’t have anything to do with looking out for consumers or taxpayers. This isn’t coming as news to anybody, is it?

Biden: We’re Going to Waste Some Money

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Gee, thanks for clearing that up, Joe.

The liberal vision is an endless source of fascination.

Eradicating pain for everybody certain targeted classes of fortunates — the vision is one of perfection. We’re as sensitive as the princess reclining on the mattress with the pea stuck under it.

Human-activity-related emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases — again. Perfection. If you could buy a three-wheeled hybrid and get 70 miles a gallon, your 50 mpg isn’t good enough. (So say I, the lib-politician, as I streak around the country on a whim in my 747 with eight people riding in it.)

Efficiency…naw. Some money will be wasted. It’s just the way things are. Get used to it.

Nanny State Wants More Smoke-Free Movies

Friday, May 29th, 2009

CNN:

Smoking in youth-rated movies has not declined despite a pledge two years ago by Hollywood studios to encourage producers to show less “gratuitous smoking,” according to an anti-smoking group.

The American Medical Association Alliance, pointing to research that big-screen smoking leads teens to pick up the tobacco habit, called for an R rating for any movie with smoking scenes.

The head of the group that gives U.S. movies their ratings, however, said the smoke has been clearing from youth-rated movies, a result of the film industry’s sensitivity to the issue.

The alliance, the medical association’s advocacy arm, launched a summer campaign this week aimed at publicly shaming studios into making smoke-free films.

“Research has shown that one-third to one-half of all young smokers in the United States can be attributed to smoking these youth see in movies,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.

Fielding cited another study that he said “found that adolescents whose favorite movie stars smoked on screen are significantly more likely to be smokers themselves and to have a more accepting attitude toward smoking.”

The Motion Picture Association of America, the industry group that issues ratings and parental guidance for U.S. films, added smoking scenes as a factor in ratings two years ago, but Fielding said it has not made a difference.

“In all, 56 percent of the top box office movies with smoking released between May 2007 and May 2009 were youth-rated films — G, PG or PG-13,” he said.

Joan Graves, who chairs the Motion Picture Association’s movie rating committee, offered her own statistics, based on all of the 900 films rated each year, not just the top movies included in Fielding’s numbers.

The association has given no G ratings in the past two years to a movie with smoking, Graves said.

Overall, 55 percent of the movies rated in the past two years showed some smoking, but 75 percent of those with smoking scenes were given R ratings, Graves said. Twenty-one percent were rated PG-13 and the remaining 5 percent were PG, she said.

A G movie is deemed suitable for all audiences, while a PG rating is a signal to parents that a film may include some material they might consider inappropriate for children. PG-13 indicates a stronger warning that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

No one under 17 can be admitted to see an R movie without a parent or guardian.

American Medical Association Alliance President Sandi Frost used as her chief example of a movie with “gratuitous smoking” this month’s blockbuster “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which was rated PG-13 “for intense sequences of action and violence, and some partial nudity.”

“Millions of children have been exposed to the main star of the film, Hugh Jackman, with a cigar in his mouth in various scenes,” Frost said. “I’m willing to bet that not one child would have enjoyed that movie or Mr. Jackman’s performance any less if he hadn’t been smoking.”

Interesting times. Back when I was a kid, people were worried we’d grow up to be racists and bigots, and this was thought of as a consequence of things we did not do…things we did not see. And so it was thought to be desirable to make us cultured. The result was a big push to get kids to socialize with other kids. Which was kinda stupid, because, being kids, we were all like “yeah he’s my friend anyway.” We didn’t see the race. The grown-ups were the ones bringing it up.

Now the push is on to make sure kids don’t experience things. The principle is the same, but now we’re thinking bigotry is desirable, if it’s bigotry against the right things. If we keep kids thinking of these vices as being alien, they’ll tap into their human instincts to think of those things as deplorable, and this will encourage them to grow up to be Good People.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The first paragraph indicates that movie content does not have a bearing on how much kids smoke. The second paragraph indicates that movie content does have this effect…based on “research.” How come, when we engage in these massive nanny-state efforts to change human behavior, and we fail, that isn’t thought of as “research” just as valid as what comes off the whiteboards of the pocket-protector Theory Boys? See, we’re valuing ideas from the egghead set over & above actual experience. This is how we get on these endless treadmills. We don’t pay attention to actual experience.

My suggestion: Stop stigmatizing smoking, drinking, et cetera. Just stop it. Yes it’s bad when kids do these things — but these are symptoms, not causes. Instead, stigmatize idleness. If there are laws on the books saying kids can’t work more than xx hours in a week if they’re under xx years old, then repeal them. Every single one. What’re we afraid of? Some Tammany Hall guy is gonna come by in the dark of some terrible night, abduct a couple hundred of our doe-eyed little waifs, and put them to work eighteen hours a day putting sweatshirts and sneakers together for Kathy Lee? Our goo-gooder liberals are supposed to have ended that problem in this country, about a hundred years ago. So if the problem is ended, let’s act like it’s ended. Let the kids do some work. Some work.

There are too many laws on the books designed to make absolutely, positively sure that nobody ever experiences — certain things. A “no” answer from a bank evaluating a home loan application. Creepy guys at work that like to stare at beautiful women. A movie with a guy riding a motorcycle with no helmet on his head. When I say “too many” laws, what I really mean is “some.”

There shouldn’t be any laws like this. Humans are much more resilient than this.

I Made a New Word XXVIII

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Goodperson Fever (n.) is an obsessive-compulsive disorder involving the demonstration of certain positive attributes to strangers, for purposes of self-validation. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle if these positive attributes don’t really exist, or if there is a great need to achieve this validation for purposes of acquiring social status, contrasted with a much lower level of confidence that these attributes really exist.

The fever has one distinguishing symptom, the recognition of which provides a conclusive, undeniable diagnosis that the fever is in its advanced stages: The more that has been achieved as far as getting the word out that the patient is a Good Person, the greater the impulse to do it again.

Eco CupLesser symptoms include: Expressing one’s political beliefs about something when the topic of conversation is different or unrelated, and when nobody inquired; isolating classes of people as targeted beneficiaries of one’s helpful efforts, for purely obsequious purposes, such as “women” and “minorities”; excessive concern about the environment, but purely as a social issue and without any regard to cause and effect — such as drinking coffee out of a “green” eco-cup, but then commuting to work in a Ford Explorer or Toyota Tundra. The litmus test is that the incentive to do these good things that good-persons do, suddenly dissipates when it is perceived that nobody is paying attention.

In government and in other positions of authority, Goodperson Fever is the cause of nearly every bad law in human history. Someone, somewhere, wanted to demonstrate to strangers what a good person he or she was.

There is very little that can be done to treat Goodperson Fever, since ignoring it doesn’t make it go away, and providing the validation that is so desperately craved by the patient, just makes things worse. Experts say there are lots of things we can do to prevent it though. Some significant responsibilities for potential victims in the childhood years, will give them an opportunity to measure their self-worth from within and therefore mitigate the need to go seeking such validation from total or near-total strangers later on. Also, Goodperson Fever epidemics take hold most often in social circles and in geographic regions where there is little work to do, or what little work there is, is done by “everybody” with little or no opportunity for individuals to distinguish themselves. It seems to be a natural consequence of propagating the “Together We Can Do This” meme with a little too much zeal. People start to hunger for ways to establish an identity and ultimately fall into the trap of proving themselves to be the “Most Extraordinary Ordinary Person” around.

Some say our susceptibility to this may be a holdover from thousands of years of evolution, from when man lived in villages that operated as a commune. The theory is that after a bleak harvest season, when food and other resources became scarce, people began to look for ways to prove themselves worthy in case the sustenance on hand was insufficient to accommodate everyone, and some villagers would have to be cast out for the survival of the rest. According to this, those who were less inclined to engage this vicious cycle of proving themselves, were the ones who were ostracized. They died off, and were thus removed from the gene pool. Those who are alive today, therefore, are descended from the sycophants who managed to straddle that illogical line: Everything that is worth doing, is worth doing by everyone, and nobody should go off and do anything by his lonesome — that would imply a specialty, and we can’t have specialties because everyone is worthy and everyone is equal. But oh, by the way, just in case the hunting is bad and the crops are withered, here are the reasons why I’m more worthy than most.

Whatever the cause, it is responsible for a great deal of damage, although, it must be said, no hard scientific correlation has yet been found between Goodperson Fever and global warming.

But — for the good of society — we’re sure as hell going to try to come up with one.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Serving His Country

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Before...AfterBlogger pal Gerard has remitted a service to his country of priceless value.

Maybe not priceless, actually…the piece o’crap he started with cost just north of 350 big ‘uns. That’s a lot for a picture, you know. If you tasked me to go out and find a camera that costs as much as a house, I wouldn’t even know how to begin. How did it come to cost that much? In case you’ve been living in a cave, this is that debacle that had those frightened Manhattan folk scrambling around like ants beneath a magnifying glass…our wonderful in-touch-with-the-common-folk Prez, doing His wonderful work, with His finger on the pulse of America, knowing what we’re thinking before even we are too sure about it. Someone in His office didn’t understand that flying a huge plane low over the 9/11 site might not be too swell of an idea. There’s that Holy Empathy for ya.

On a related note, a scapegoat that is supposed to be that someone…just threw himself on his sword. Wonder if that’s the right guy. Ya think?

Anyway, why don’t you give a quick glance and see if something’s improved over what our wonderful (soon to be auto-manufacturing and healthcare-providing) government put out. Before…after.

He did it in two minutes, he claims, and I’ll bet you he didn’t even scare the bejeezus out of anyone in order to get it done. Van der Leun for Prez, I say. Or Picture-Czar at the very least.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

California May Cut Jobs of 2,000 Firefighters

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Yup, we found a place to make a cut. Fire halls.

Radio guys are busy reading off a list of California state agencies that could, possibly, absorb some kind of a cut so the firefighters might be able to stay on and fight some fires. But these agencies are not absorbing any such cuts, and nobody’s asking them to. So they must be running lean-n-mean.

It is quite a list. Gay/lesbian/transgender caucuses…womens’ studies, department of…lottery…Native American heritage commission…optometry, board of…professional fiduciary bureau…mediation and conciliation services…motor vehicles, department of…workers investment board, workers’ compensation adjustment board, workers’ compensation advocacy board, workers’ compensation sweetening board, workers’ compensation this, workers’ compensation that…astrologers’ union…(okay I made up some of those). This has been going on for, dare I say, twenty minutes and is starting to make for some medium-to-poor radio. Just keep in mind: They aren’t giving a one-paragraph summary of each. Not even one sentence. They read the name and go on to the next one. Twenty minutes. And then some. Twenty-five, almost.

None of these can be cut. Nope. The firefighters have to go.

Because it’s high time we got the government to do what it’s really supposed to do: Lecture young chubby goth chicks on what towering assholes men really are…and let the buildings burn to the ground.

Socialism-Free Vacation!

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

So remember boys & girls, you have to have your tax dollars pissed away on a whole slew of “They’re Too Big To Fail” bailouts, or else you just might get cholera.

Enjoy a little bit of False Dilemma on your next vacation.

Man Detained at Airport For Carrying Cash

Monday, April 6th, 2009

This…

…was enough to make blogger friend Duffy ashamed of our country.

It All Begins With an Investment…

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

…and from there things spiral down.

Two Wheels on my Wagoner
[Mark Steyn]

Incidentally, the government “overhaul” of GM is a useful shorthand for where we’re heading:

The first quid pro quo for the government giving you money (or “investing”, as President Obama and David Brooks say) is that it gets to regulate your behavior. Not just who sits on your board or (see Sarkozy last week) where your factory has to be. When the government “pays” for your health care, it reserves the right to deny (as in parts of Britain) heart disease treatment for smokers or hip replacement for the obese. Why be surprised? When the state’s “paying” for your health, your lifestyle directly impacts its “investment.”

The next stage is that, having gotten you used to having your behavior regulated, the state advances to approving not just what you do but what you’re allowed to read, see, hear, think: See the “Canadian Content” regulations up north, and the enforcers of the “human rights” commissions. Or Britain’s recent criminalization of “homophobic jokes.”

You’d be surprised how painlessly and smoothly once-free peoples slip from government “investing” to government control.

Blogger friend Buck found, I think, the perfect cartoon about this, and the best article I’ve yet seen to go along with it…

You're Fired, I'll DrivePresident Obama said Monday, “my team will be working closely with GM to produce a better business plan.”

To that confident assertion he added these stern sentiments:

“They must ask themselves: Have they consolidated enough unprofitable brands? Have they cleaned up their balance sheets, or are they still saddled with so much debt that they can’t make future investments? Above all, have they created a credible model for how not only to survive, but to succeed in this competitive global market?”

Who is in a better position to know the answers to these questions? Rick Wagoner, the GM CEO for nine years and former GM chief financial officer who has been with the automaker since the late 1970s, even running one of its foreign affiliates in Brazil, and who holds a Harvard Business School MBA?

Or President Obama, a former community activist from the south side of Chicago with a great rhetorical gift?

The president answered that question this week by ordering Wagoner’s firing.
:
It should now be clear: Federal bailout funds are a corporate narcotic. Once a company starts taking them, a chemicallike dependence develops. The addict does whatever will bring in more of the drug. Ultimately, like heroin, the short-term euphoria gives way to decreased function for the recipient, even destruction.

Being a wild-eyed right-wing blogger in his underwear, and therefore an extremist, I see two distinctly separate issues here. (God willing, the typical “moderate” voter and taxpayer sees at least one.) There is the issue, first of all, of federalism and traditional restraint. How long do we have before GM employees are somehow forbidden from taking their personal salaries, which after all were made possible with taxpayer funded bailout money, and using them to send their precious curtain-critters to parochial schools? Or signing ‘em up with that “hate group” known as the Boy Scouts? This is the issue Steyn brings to our attention from across the pond in jolly ol’ Great Britain.

And then, secondarily, there is the issue of effectiveness. IBD contrasts the experiences and talents of ex-chief Wagoner, against our Messiah in the White House. I perceive it to be more like Wagoner against Congressman Barney Frank, and it’s a scenario straight out of Atlas Shrugged — tough, ambitious, dedicated and experienced men are isolated from the decisions that matter, and the baton is passed to slick, glib shysters whose rolodexes are packed full of just the right names. Men who’ve built the careers not on building things, but destroying things. Not on coming up with a formula for a better brand of steel, or on saving a company from insolvency, or on marketing, or on finding a revolutionary new way to extract oil from shale rock…but on walking away from disasters without absorbing any of the blame.

How is this new class of decision-maker, whose occasional episodes of honesty can happen only by the purest type of accident, to supply the judgment and talent needed?

If you think that has a good shot at happening, with the private-sector specialists such as Wagoner gracelessly tossed over the side, you’ll probably gain a new sense of perspective after you get done watching this.

And Rendell Belongs to Which Party?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

No more mopin’ around!

Gov. Ed Rendell is trying to do his part to aid the citizens of the commonwealth.

His latest plan is to use about $15 million from the federal stimulus funds pouring into the state to try and change the mood of Pennsylvanians.

The Patriot-News has learned that the money will be spent to hire clowns, mimes, magicians, street performers and comedians (nothing blue) who will be dispatched to malls, fairs and festivals across the state to boost morale.

I’m awfully glad the federal and state governments are spending this money so wisely. Who knows where it would’ve gone had the lowly citizens been allowed to keep it in the first place. They probably would’ve poured it in ditches and set it on fire.