Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ed Darrell Agrees with Crazy-Lady Sarah Silverman

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

For all his other faults, Ed’s a classy guy or at least, in certain specific ways, I can appreciate the honest effort he puts into trying to be one…and it’s giving me the giggle-snorts watching the identity crisis that ensues when he finds vulgar-vagina-monologue gutter-trash-talk “comedienne” Sarah Silverman echoing his talking points about voter ID. Lay down with dogs, wake up with fleas, that’s what’s going on here. Commentary in the video is extremely not-safe-for-work.

Comment thread explodes, as it tends to when I lower myself into participating in it…although I’m not the only one presenting my point of view, nor am I the first one. He’s getting spanked again. It’s all either silly, or redundant with my sensible comments that sum up the entire situation thusly:

It comes down to one question, Should things be proven? Is it good and necessary to prove things, when the integrity of the voting process is at stake?

Just a little consistency is all that is needed. If it is not necessary to prove things, then people can vote without presenting anything to prove they are who they say they are…until such time as laws are passed saying we don’t do things that way anymore. Because of fraud. Which, ya know, according to the rules, doesn’t have to be proven and your repeated demands for proof are what everyone already knows they are, just a bunch of distracting noise.

If things should be proven, on the other hand, then the Republicans need to prove there’s fraud before they can say there is fraud…until then, there is no fraud because they haven’t proven it. But just in case, to be consistent…people should prove they are who they say they are, when they vote. So pass the voter ID laws already. Without proving anything. And that’s alright. Again, your demands for proof are just so much noise.

If you wish to press the double standard, and say Republicans have to prove there’s fraud before they can do anything about the fraud, but the fraudulent voters don’t need to prove diddly-squat when they cast their fraudulent votes, well then…what that would show is what we’ve all known all along, you can’t make a democrat idea look like a good one without applying a double standard.

Those are the three options, with their logical consequences. There is no fourth one.

After that, all the rest of it is just repetition, partisanship and noise.

Distrust of the Media

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

…it’s at an all-time high. A clear majority perceives bias.

From the article:

Partisans continue to perceive the media very differently. Seventy-five percent of Republicans and conservatives say the media are too liberal. Democrats and liberals lean more toward saying the media are “just about right,” at 57% and 42%, respectively. Moderates and independents diverge, however, with 50% of independents saying the media are too liberal and 50% of moderates saying they are just about right.

Summarized at CNS News:

Only 8 percent of Americans say they have a “great deal” of trust in the news media, according to a new Gallup poll.

That is down from 11 percent a year ago and is a record low for the 40 years that Gallup has been polling on the question. [emphasis mine]

Hat tip to Boortz, who adds:

Who is the most trusting the ObamaMedia? Democrats. There’s a real shocker. Goes with the territory, I guess.

Democrats are going to trust the ObamaMedia because people tend to gravitate toward news sources that confirm their beliefs. Therefore, their love affair with Barack Obama is simply confirmed by consuming the daily drivel that is passed off as news.

Kavita Channes’ Venice Beach Shoot

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Lots more from here.

Instructions, Not Requests

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Every “good” (sleazy) salesman is taught to tell and not ask. Treat the customer like a child. Too many promising sales fall through because the salesman had the courtesy to seek the customer’s blessing before doing something; if you issue instructions to the customer, rather than requests, you can get things sold that otherwise never would have been.

We’ve seen over the years that this is the way our current President works. He talks a lot about “national dialogue” when it’s a schtik that will get Him out of some kind of trouble, and He’s very fond of playing Himself up as some kind of conduit through which the concerns of the common man can be sent into the beltway so that they, at long last, have an effect on big, important things. But have you ever considered what things would look like if this were really true? Have you ever stopped to consider what it would look like if Obama started a national dialogue every time He wanted something done? As opposed to informing us lowly peons of what He has decided is the right answer? What if Obama was a question-mark — as He ritually presents himself — instead of an exclamation-point?

Would you like your new president to have a special logo? How about an “Office of the President-Elect,” should we have one of those?

Should we implement the DREAM Act?

Do you think, when we spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody?

Would you like your president to bow to foreign dictators?

Trillion dollar budget deficits aren’t something we really care about…right?

How about a half-billion dollar loan to Solyndra, is that a go?

Do you think we should tax capital gains at the same rate as W2-status paychecks, so that Warren Buffett’s secretary never pays a higher rate than he does?

I think it’s time to get rid of manned space flights. What say you?

Should we front-load the taxes on ObamaCare to make it harder to figure out whether the plan pays for itself?

Do you think business owners built the businesses that…uh…y’know, they built?

Do you think we should return the bust of Winston Churchill to the United Kingdom?

Do you think marriage is a union between a man and a woman?

Should Catholic hospitals and charities be forced to provide abortifacients and contraceptives in their health plans, in contravention to their religious principles?

Did the Cambridge Police act stupidly?

Would you like a re-designed American flag?

And my personal favorite: Is the private sector doing fine?

Now with some of these, if you look in some places, you’ll find quite a few of your fellow citizens who will answer “Not only yeah, but hell yeah!” They’re out there. But…not nearly enough to push such a question over the top, were it to be asked in any kind of a respectable nationwide poll.

And here we come to what Barack Obama really is. He is a device. He is a mechanism, to put ideas through that are so bad, that they cannot be “put through” in this way without the benefit of such a magical device. The device He uses is His race. Hillary would have used her sex. John Kerry and Al Gore would have used their ultra-sophisticated ultra-highbrow nuance, their vaunted intellectual ability to “think in shades of gray” as the saying goes. Meaning you’re just a big ol’ slope-foreheaded dummy if you can’t see the wisdom.

Bill Clinton used his charisma. As in: Who gives a flip about the merits of the argument, when this guy walks into a room he lights it up and the ladies just love him, so who cares what you have to say.

Post-Dukakis, the democrat party has been consistently looking for this quality as they choose their champions. Some flavor of false cachet. Some cynical device to make sure arguments are won, always, even when they should not be won. That way, the ideas can mutate and migrate into ever-deepening depths of nuttiness, to such an extent that they make no sense whatsoever, and still have a shot at getting through and hopefully sticking.

Barack Obama is really nothing more than a machine, designed and selected for the purpose of selling ideas that are so bad that a less capable and less sophisticated machine would not be able to get them sold. Merely re-posing these ideas in question form, vividly shows how unsaleable, and how bad, these ideas really are.

Folsom’s War on St. Pauli Girl

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Ah, that poor cashier at the grocery store. The one who made the mistake of asking us if we were able to find everything okay, when the answer was no.

I try to build my theories about what is happening based on what I know to be true, and I try to confine them to what I know to be true. But, of course, that is not a realistic way to go about living life; sometimes we have to use inductive reasoning. And Folsom, for all of its blessings, does have this serpentine infestation writhing just beneath the surface, this way of thinking that says “I’ll bet this offends somebody, and you know what will make me an extra good person is if I get rid of it before I wait for anyone to actually complain about being offended.”

Salute!I do not know if that has anything to do with the extraordinary difficulty lately in finding St. Pauli Girl, a bitter-tasting, mid-range bottled ale that is typically stacked in the cooler right between the Becks and Heineken. I know the Becks is still there and the Heineken is still there. They are similar in content but lack the attractive and buxom young beer wench on the labels.

Without STP, an entire beer-and-wine aisle is pretty-young-lady-free. Insecure women can look all up and down such an aisle, and not be reminded of the truth that men appreciate the look of pulchritudinous young females. You know what, I’m going to go down on a limb: I think that’s the motivation. Well, I think sales are down, for some reason. I think it’s a combination. I think sales are down and there’s a pretty girl on the boxes, so the inventory managers are saying what the hell let’s just get rid of it.

Which means I have to say something. Well, I advanced my conspiracy theory to the cashier. I mean, why not. It’s probably right on track. I cannot remember the phrasing I used. I made sure it was extra polite, using good manners like my mother taught me and everything. I did not use the word “piss” as in “piss the feminists off,” and I did not use the word “ass” as in “store managers kissing their asses” and I did not use the phrase “sand in their vaginas” or anything like that. I’m not going to be like that smug prick who browbeat the Chick-Fil-A lady; one must remember the cashier in this situation is just like the cashier in that one, just doing her job. But I did point out, in some way that adhered to all the rules of class that eludes me in the moment, that it wasn’t just this store, there’s something city-wide going on. And it’s annoying me. And I think the pleasing visage of the beer wench has something to do with it.

Now, if there was another beer I liked better that didn’t have a pretty girl on the boxes & labels, I’d buy that other beer. But beer that doesn’t have that Germanic bite to it, grosses me out, frankly. Makes me think I’m drinking urine or something. Chimay Grand Reserve is good once in awhile, but absent a special occasion, the experience is lost on me. If I was a billionaire I still wouldn’t feel right about it. And it’s too sweet, I get tired of it.

There is something else going on in Folsom, and in other places: A perceptible mindset that says, you’re a good person if you remove something that has caused offense, and you’re an even better person if you remove it before anybody steps forward to complain — effectively inventing a class of offended-person that may or may not actually exist. At least, I hope such a person does not exist. I don’t want to live in a world in which beautiful women, and facsimiles of same, must be concealed from view because someone is offended by it all. That would be quite awful. Especially with Oktoberfests going on this time of year. Do we really need a new cultural-protocol that says, the delightful experience of imbibing good beer should be disassociated in the public’s mind, from the spectacle of a pleasant looking female bringing it to you? Who thinks that would be a good move? Whoever that is, I don’t want them making any decisions about anything that have to do with me.

Perhaps this is for the better. I’d probably be in better shape, literally, if I shifted more toward wine, and limited my purchases of the ale to something more occasional, and at WinCo which still stocks my preference and manages to undercut everybody else. Slimmer waist, thicker wallet, those are good things. But I’m not happy about this at all. I don’t like complaining about things, and I detest the idea of having to complain in order to counterbalance somebody else who’s complaining about the opposite…especially if that somebody-else might be a phantom, living rent-free in the beverage-inventory manager’s mind.

“Nobody Gives a Damn Anymore, People”

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Nothing to add.

Hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.

Memo For File CLXIX

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Inside the election/campaign season as well as outside of it, I am seeing a persistent trend: People with loose lips and loud voices running around (in the case of social media, those are obviously figurative expressions), clearly fancying themselves as capable thinkers who have managed to come up with the final solution or solutions to the problems that ail us — and when you talk to them a little while you find out all of what they have to say can be summed up in a statement taking the form “[so-and-so] should have no more influence than [he/she/they] already have had up to now, they should not have any more from this point going forward, and they’re probably overdue for some kind of a beat-down.” That is all they have to say; nothing more.

The comment I saw that primer’d this detonation had to do with “rich white men,” to which I objected out of personal umbrage. I am, after all, sixty-seven percent of the way there. Much of the world’s population would be well-justified in opining that I’ve crossed the goal line: White, adult, male, and in all the ways that really matter when you get down to it, richer than snot. Ahem, maybe I have a personal bias in so observing, but it remains true nevertheless does it not? There is coming up with a good solution to all of our problems so that they’ll stay solved — and then, there is making sure rich, white men are ostracized from any further discussions of influence as the loathed “guys who made the problem in the first place.” Those are two different things; they are not the same. I don’t think we can solve our problems merely by proscribing against which demographic classes should be able to affect our approaches to them.

I remember my Mom used to tell me when I was very young, something of Thomas Edison saying “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” It took me a lifetime of professional and amateur try-fail-try-again to learn what I could’ve learned in a couple minutes’ time, simply by reading some of Edison’s other comments: This has to do with deductive reasoning.

During all those years of experimentation and research, I never once made a discovery. All my work was deductive, and the results I achieved were those of invention, pure and simple. I would construct a theory and work on its lines until I found it was untenable. Then it would be discarded at once and another theory evolved. This was the only possible way for me to work out the problem…I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed 3,000 different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently likely to be true. Yet only in two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory. My chief difficulty was in constructing the carbon filament…Every quarter of the globe was ransacked by my agents, and all sorts of the queerest materials used, until finally the shred of bamboo, now utilized by us, was settled upon.

That is some hard work — if for no other reason, than the bushels and bushels of energy that have to be sunk into trying the thousands of (failed) theories. And, the logical thinking that has to go into each one, ultimately unrewarded, save for the incremental knowledge gained by the understanding that yet another theory did not work.

My realization in Anno Domini Twenty Twelve: This is what people on all points up & down the ideological spectrum, are trying to avoid. That’s a problem. People are trying to get it done on the cheap. “Get it done” meaning: Propose a solution, which may or may not pan out, and end up with lots of community esteem from being the hero. There is an excess of this “drive-by problem solving” in which people want to have their names fastened to a statement consisting of, “Here’s how to fix it once and for all, you just [blank].” Then someone else puts the work into implementation. If it works, the drive-by “here’s what you do” guy is a big hero. If it doesn’t, he’s still the big hero for suggesting it, it must not have been implemented right. If it’s implemented and the situation actually gets worse, he can still be the hero because someone else must have bolluxed it up.

It’s an understandable temptation. The trouble with it is, it leaves us with an acute shortage of real problem-solvers. Fewer people who are willing to stop their steed, dismount, attend to the problem, learn all they can about it and say “Okay, based on my learnings, here is what I think will fix it…and I’m going to stick by and own these results, for good or for ill.”

That isn’t happening, and we see the effect of it on the solutions being proposed. They don’t have to do with problem-solving. They have to do with alienation. “Rich white men made the problem, don’t elect any more of them, vote for Obama.” We’ve had four years to see that’s not the solution but people are still sticking by it. They like to go through the motions of learning from experience. They just don’t want to do any of it; it’s way too much work.

Update: Perhaps my pontificating in the above paragraphs is unclear. Perhaps I can bring things into focus by way of an example. Here is one of the best ones in recent memory: Warren Buffett fixes the deficit in five minutes!

I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that any time there’s a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. Yeah, yeah, now you’ve got the incentives in the right place, right? (Laughs)

I shouldn’t be too tough on the billionaire after whom the “Buffett Rule” was named…even though, it is my understanding that he lacks the resourcefulness to figure out where to send his excess tax payments. After all, he is worth a good deal more than I am.

But the fact remains: If you do think it is that simple and you do want to do something about it…you could run for Congress. I’m sure if Warren Buffett were to run, he would win, and from the lower house he could propose such a rule. It would likely get very far. It might even pass, and stand. Would it really solve the deficit in five minutes? Only then would you find out.

But the point is, he didn’t do that and he won’t do that. It’s so much more fun, more socially-uplifting, and more risk-free to just shoot the bull. Too much fun to do this drive-by problem-solving. This pull-pin-walk-away problem-solving. Which leaves the problem unsolved, and in all likelihood, exacerbated. But who cares, right?

He’s not the only one with this problem.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

The Decline of Manliness in All Sorts of Things

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

The rigid & frigid brand of feminism has long had a good answer for anyone daring to stand up for the concerns, privileges and rights of men: They simply reassert their monopoly on victimhood. They don’t wish to acknowledge that men can ever deserve anything better than what they get, so they don’t want anybody else to acknowledge it either. Human nature is vulnerable to suggestion, and a real man is reticent to complain about the hand he’s been dealt. It’s inherently, and cumulatively, unmanly. So this works. They mock any sympathy toward anything masculine, and if all else fails they recite the canard about how men treated women like property “for five thousand years.”

Well lately we see a lot of clues that if we cannot stand up for men, then maybe it is fitting to stand up for manliness.

First things first: If I was an Al Qaeda terrorist, I’d be loving life right now because all the death and destruction I’d be raining down would be the fault of some silly YouTube video nobody’s seen. The American President, Himself, said so many times. So cool beans! I get to do whatever I want. It’s a social disease, Officer Krupke, deep down inside me there is good, there is good!

Second things second: I am, frankly, a little bit appalled at the news reports talking up the fly-by of the space shuttle, with the emphasis on (imagined) little kids staring at the aircraft with eyes the size of dinner plates, fantasizing about becoming pilots someday. You want some news, here’s some news: This occasion was the precise opposite of the way it’s been presented. The shuttle was “flying by” on the back of another plane, on the way to the wrecking yard. Well, museum. But same thing. It was a symbolic journey as well as a practical one: Death of America’s space program, as we have known it. This was a funeral procession.

And: I’m buying a handgun. In California. There are quite a few reminders in the process that this is something I’m expected not to do.

Margot the Reel Girl is upset about the head tilt in her daughter’s school pictures. She perceives the girls are being taught to be submissive. I don’t know if there’s anything to this or not, it comes via word-of-mouth from her daughter, and it seems the (male) principal says he was asked to tilt his head so she could be reading a bit too much into this. At any rate: I do not want to live in a world in which men and women are exactly the same, and I don’t think I’m the only one. Furthermore, if you can force me to live in such a world, I’m only going to take swifter and more enthused notice of a woman from the outside who looks like a real woman. That goes double for the teenage boys whose hormones are in a state of effervescence. So this is a campaign that cannot win.

Yesterday we had quite a spectacle in the wake of Mitt Romney releasing his tax return(s). I suffer feelings of proxy embarrassment pondering what numbers and percentages register on the scandal-o-meters of his antagonists…and in the press…but let’s review what they have to say at a high level, ignoring the evidence they’re using to try to prop it up: There is some grrrrr! outrage (yawn) in Romney having paid a mere one dollar out of seven when he makes all that money, he should’ve paid more. In their world, this is exactly the kind of guy who should be disqualified from running the country or anything else, he was fabulously successful, took less punishment for that success than these nattering nabobs think he should’ve taken, and somehow found a way to make it all legal. That’s their world. In mine, this is precisely the kind of guy we want running big, important things. Not for his sake, but for everybody else’s. This is the picture of a desirable leader. He put his hands on something, made it into something positive, then a bunch of ankle biters came after him and tried to nip his ankles…he outran them. Followed the rules doing it. Gave a bunch of what was left over to charity. Um, hello? What more do we want? Yet some of our so-called “countrymen” complain, and don’t describe the nature of their complaints, the rest of us are just supposed to fill it in for them. Okay…I’ll make a point of trying to get around to doing that for you.

These five observations all have one thing in common: They constitute, and manifest, an unwarranted and unproductive assault on manliness. Not on men, you’ll note. I cannot undertake to define any single man, or group of men, demonstrably harmed in any of the above (with the possible exceptions of the late Ambassador Chris Stevens and his staffers.) This is not about people and groups, but about cultures and expectations. We are not expected to do things like what Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins did when they landed on the Moon. I’m sure a girl coulda done it, and my point has nothing to do with the fact it was an all-male voyage — my point is that this is manliness. Why does a man climb a mountain? Because it is there. Sending men into space, to actually land on heavenly bodies, is just the next step beyond the mountain.

But that was then, this is now. We are effecting a retreat. In the long-term future, it is destined to be recorded in history as a temporary one; that American president who came after the two Bushes, the Kenyan one with the logo, stopped things up around 2012 and they get started again in [blank]. So how temporary? If Denny’s is offering you senior discounts, you are unlikely to see such an effort again — how about your grandchildren? This should bother people more than it is bothering them, I think. We’ve seen the beginning of a dark age and we do not know how dark it will be or how long it will be.

September 11 of any given year is now “Fuck With America” day. Lately, no serious effort has been put into practice to make it not so. The ramifications are rather terrifying, depending on who you are and where you need to be traveling. Our President’s response is not only an assault upon manliness but upon logic and common sense as well. He wants all these mad props for having done away with bin Laden, but when the weird-beards are agitated into a state of murderous rage (which, hey let’s be honest, that’s their whole reason for being anyway) His first move is to blame it on a YouTube video. Typical unmanly, nightmare boss: Something good happens, hog all the credit, something bad happens find a scapegoat. Then go play golf.

Are feminists trying to get rid of any images of females being submissive? Or any images of females being agreeable & pleasant? “Both” must be the only sensible answer to that question, must it not, if they haven’t put any thought into telling the difference and want to push ahead with their crusade anyway? And have you listened to a strident and proud feminist giving a speech lately? For a thought exercise, listen with some “manliness” by putting yourself in the shoes of a man who is married to it and has to listen to it day and night. Yikes, gives me a headache just thinking about it. But we’re not supposed to think about things that way anymore. Someone made a soft, unspoken and unwritten rule that when a woman’s tone of voice is corrosive, we’re obliged not to notice, as long as she’s shattering the glass vessels and window panes expressing a politically correct feminist sentiment.

The handgun thing, of course, has been debated to death. What is not mentioned so much is that dangerous things are good for kids. At least, that’s been my experience with parenthood. Time comes to get the kids in a serious frame of mind about things, it can be a little bit tough. Or very tough. But, with the arrival of a little bit of maturity, and a desire on their part to not hurt others or get hurt themselves, it comes naturally. Yes, they do have what it takes. I feel sorry for kids who are raised all the way up into adulthood never having worked or played with hot molten lead, or bows & arrows, or sharp knives, or explosives. Yes, their judgment is not all the way there yet, that’s what adult supervision is for. Maybe that’s what we’re really arguing about. Maybe the cultural split is with whether parents should be bothered with having to supervise their kids.

And, the tax return thing: We’re having an argument there about whether success is success. When things degenerate to that level, we are entertaining a quibble about Aristotle’s Law of Identity. That is not a good thing, because that demonstrates that one side of the argument is refusing to see things for what they really are. Do we really want to be governed by people who are not capable of making a success out of anything, or if they do happen to blunder into success, end up losing their shirts over it? That is the criteria? Really? I would then have to ask what exactly it is that we’re trying to do. Does anybody know?

In the final analysis, manliness is pretty simple. It’s all about finding something constructive to do after you roll out of bed, and using your brain as you get it done. That’s it. It doesn’t have much to do with actually being a man (although it should); women can be, and some are, quite “manly.” Climb the mountain — just because it’s there. Build good things, and build things that build other good things. Don’t destroy things, unless those are things that would destroy good things. In which case, make sure you get it done right and get it done the first time. Acquire your equipment before you need it, and maintain it properly so it is there for you when you need to use it. Live and let live. Prosper. Donate. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but stand up for your rights. Choose your own charities.

The percentage of Americans who say the country is headed in the wrong direction was last reported, within a casual Google search, to be sixty-one. It has been hovering between sixty and eighty percent for a good long time now. Well, I can tell you why that is: People crave a reason to be. They are not satisfied with an existence in which their own job is safe, and through that job they get medical benefits and don’t need to know what the pills & treatments actually cost, but the job lacks a definable purpose. Even the ones among us who value security over opportunity, and would give up that opportunity at a moment’s notice to make everything just a little bit more extra-extra-super-duper-safe — they share this instinct too, they’re just bad at figuring out what it is they really want. My experience with buying the handgun proves that. The wiring in our circuitry, as a species, drives our desire to go to bed at night with a sense that something is better than it was when we got up that morning, and it’s better because of something we did. We all want that, even if it involves a little bit of risk.

The Utopians are now in high gear on their acceleration ramp toward this perfect society in which everybody gets what they want when they want it, and there’s no reason for anybody to do anything. There is not much remaining to be done, in fact, and because of this they are now enjoying the fruits of their labors. It’s not that sweet, as it turns out. The temple is built, the mortar is all hardened and all the bricks are in place, all that remains is to remove the scaffolding and start taking pictures. But we can see, already, that the reality is not as pleasing as the blueprints. We do not like this new structure and we cannot live in it, for the architecture is formed around a vision of the people, and the vision of the people is as something lacking purpose, just sort of milling about. Like a pestilence of sorts. A pestilence that requires health care and vacations and union cards or something. And it clashes with our instinctive desire to see ourselves as something better.

Regardless of party affiliation, we all have it in common that we have a desire for our tomorrows — along with reasons for those tomorrows.

The Vaginization of America is complete. And it is a fail.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

On Needing to Take a Break From Politics

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

This catchphrase is flying thickly and swiftly through the air lately, which is understandable and one is tempted to associate it with sensible moderation, wisdom and maybe trace amounts of the courage to speak out. But, something funny: It’s 45 days before the election. That doesn’t gel. It’s like getting sick of a Rocky movie right before the final bout.

I’ve lost faith in the honesty behind this complaint. I keep thinking — this is not the making of a decision every day, or even every week; it is the exchange of ideas in advance of making the decision only once. So you say you’re sick of politics; well, you aren’t sick of making the decision, what you’re sick of is weighing the pros and cons. That and maybe having your teevee schedule interrupted. Being reminded that something is happening, that life is not static. That, some time ago, you did indeed emerge from your mother’s womb and life involves a bit more than bobbing around in a sac of warm amniotic fluid.

I think these are liberals talking. They’re putting on a good show of trying their very best to make up their minds between the two candidates, being concerned centrist/moderate types; but, I think these are people who voted Obama/Biden in ’08 and they’re gonna vote that way in ’12. They’re “sick of politics” because they’ve gotten wind of the realization that their decisions stink on ice, and there’s no way they can polish the turd.

Apathetic liberalsAnd I’m lacking the hard data I can use to prove it, but I have the distinct impression that these are people who have gotten “sick of politics” before. And, in the months since then, have been anything but sick-of-politics; have gotten a real charge out of boring the ever luvin’ snot out of the friends, family and co-workers about how terrible it is that Ann Romney’s blouse cost so much money. These are people who have invested their emotions, their excitement, their energy adrenaline and ego in an argument which they now realize they cannot win. They are “sick of politics” because they have a renewed awareness, now, that they have painted themselves into a corner. They are wishing the election was today because every one of the 45 days ahead makes it less likely that their guy can win. And they don’t want that. They want Romney to lose…they want it all over…but most of all, they wish to stop being reminded that they have what is needed to make mistakes. They fastened their whole outlook to the Obama presidency and it’s turned sour, which is a constant reminder that they are fallible.

I made this observation on Facebook, an experience which shocked me in terms of the number of likes that came flying in, and how swiftly. Seems I’m not the only one who’s been noticing.

A lot of these people are not Judeo-Christian, which makes them very proud of course. But, maybe there’s a connection between their secularism and their extreme discomfort with staring down their own imperfections, eyeball-to-eyeball. The parable about The Fall of Adam is an important part of this religion, perhaps the most defining part; it says that mankind is flawed. It is a corruption of blood, we are all descended from him and so we are all tainted. There’s something healthy about that: “Yes, you’re broken, now are ya over it yet?” And so our task becomes one not of seeking perfection, but rather of seeking continual improvement.

One might say that’s a relaxation of the goal, and a higher goal is always better. It’s a case of the perfect becoming the enemy of the good. Whatever else might be said about it, the pious sinner who strives for this continual improvement, knows exactly what to do with his own sin: Get a do-over, if the situation permits it, and in any case resolve to do better from that point forward. In other words — learn. The mere mortal who aspires toward perfection, on the other hand, doesn’t have the first clue. All he can do is deny, deny and deny some more, and then when denial is no longer possible his whole world is up-ended.

Others, from what I’m noticing, are sports fans. I myself am not one and oh, I find that to be so rich…words cannot describe. Do these people have any idea how tedious their favorite time of the year is, for those who are not into it? I cannot even begin to fathom these people. I really can’t. I mean, what…you only want to pay attention to things that have absolutely no impact on you whatsoever, directly or indirectly? Unless you make a bet with somebody? While the politicians decide where the rest of your money goes.

Or — what else? The teevee thing? Can’t wait for it to go back to American Idol, Amazing Race and feminine hygiene product commercials?

Fine. Tune out, drop out, go get stoned somewhere. But…why do people who don’t pay attention, so eager to browbeat everybody else into not paying attention?

How to Build a Middle Class

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Was thinking about combining this into the previous, since I see this as a consequence of where that kind of thinking takes you. It is a subtle connection, but it does exist. Ultimately, I thought explaining the connection would be a more concise and better-worded exercise if I split things up.

Andy Kessler writes in the Wall Street Journal:

In his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., this month, President Obama said, “We believe that when a CEO pays his auto workers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.”
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Let’s go back. Henry Ford is popularly credited with inventing the middle class by doubling his workers’ salaries to $5 per day in 1914. A multiplier for the economy, right? Wrong.

The year before, Ford revolutionized manufacturing with the moving assembly line, slashing automobile build times to just 90 minutes from 14 hours. That’s productivity. It allowed Ford to reduce the price over time of his Model T to $290 from $950. Demand took off because it was far cheaper than the cars made by his 88 competitors.

By 1927, 15 million Model Ts were sold to people (most of whom did not work for Ford) and businesses that retired their horses and used these new automobiles productively to lower their own costs, fueling a boom. Raising wages was a byproduct, not a cause. From Ford Motor’s corporate website about the wage increase: “While Henry’s primary objective was to reduce worker attrition—labor turnover from monotonous assembly line work was high—newspapers from all over the world reported the story as an extraordinary gesture of goodwill.”

But 98 years later, the Obama administration still doesn’t get it. According to an Aug. 15 article by Paul Tough in the New York Times Magazine, the administration’s economic team during the financial crisis—Lawrence Summers, Tim Geithner, Jason Furman—”was carrying around this list of multipliers” from Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics. A dollar spent to cut corporate taxes would grow the economy 30 cents; make the Bush tax cuts permanent, 29 cents; extend unemployment benefits, $1.64; food stamps, $1.73. “And food stamps was always at the top. That had the largest multiplier.” This is economic malpractice.

Food-stamps recipients are up 70% in four years, to 46.7 million. But, surprise, we haven’t seen that “virtuous cycle.” Jobs build the middle class, not handouts or pay diktats.

What is creepy and dangerous about this is that it is reality-immune. The “true believers” get things their way — stimulus is passed, unemployment benefits are extended, food stamps are distributed. The statistics show that this is not having the effect predicted. And so reality must be bludgeoned to fit the contours of theory, rather than the other way around.

Thought this comment was a good one:

They think money can be redistributed to groups with no direct involvement earning it to create more economic activity than the money they just gave away.

What is conveniently spun out from the argument is that ‘return’ follows either the product, or the effort…You earn AFTER you succeed creating something which represents more value to others than they give you for it. Not before.

There is solid math behind a $16 trillion debt and the $5 trillion of it during the last four years. We’ve been paying out for evaporative ideals.

The people in charge right now don’t seem to see money as any kind of an effect. There is a sort of ideological split here. The ones on the left, representing consumers, see money as a causative agent: We have to get money so we can buy X. The ones on the right, representing the producers, “the ones who sign the front of the check instead of the back of it” as the saying goes, see money as wealth, and the wealth is a consequence: It has been produced by an effort.

The leftists decry the unfair/uneven distribution of the money…which is needed to buy X…but since it is primarily an effect and not a cause, it is being “distributed” the way any other effective residue is distributed. Light is an effect of the lamp. The light in the room will be unequally clustered about the source of it, which is the bulb in the lamp. Heat is an effect of a running engine. The heat in the car will be unequally gathered about & within the engine block. This is only natural.

Since they view money as a cause and not as an effect, they are reality-immune to points like Kessler’s “raising wages was a byproduct, not a cause.” It isn’t that they’re too dumb to see it or even that they refuse to consider it; their mindset won’t allow them to seriously entertain it. The “workers” were paid twice as much — why? Kessler has explained it, linked it to productivity, which makes sense and he’s discussed each step, logically and well. In the progressive narrative, the “why” is: Henry Ford said it should be so. See, we’re not agreeing on the strategy because we’re not seeing money the same way. Conservatives see it as merely an indicator, a telltale signature of something more complex going on underneath the surface. Much like the dorsal fin of a shark. Or, the heat signature of a plane. The money follows an energy that cannot be seen, and the energy is flowing as people produce things.

The progressives, representing the consumers, see the money as the real thing. It is, in their world, more like the water that irrigates the plants, and they’re constantly dreaming up creative new ways to seed the clouds.

Homework

Friday, September 21st, 2012

I recall in seventh grade I got completely hooked on trigonometry. I found it liberating because it was completely evident how such skills could be used in practical, everyday life. The only problem was, in seventh grade we weren’t supposed to be working on trigonometry, we were supposed to be working on something else. (I think it might have been the most fundamental lessons in algebra, the “find x” stuff, which I found to be interesting and challenging for maybe half a day, and the class proceeded to spend several weeks on it.) My recollection is that my school career proceeded this way, with my grades all over the map while I read ahead in the book to the practical stuff I’d actually be able to use. Occasionally a concerned teacher would take me aside and give me The Lecture, having discerned that I could do better. Now and then, a fellow student would do the same.

I also have a recollection of one of these students, polar opposite from me on the popularity scale — which is to say she was on top of it — taking the time to badger me into givin’-a-rip. One of the straight-A, ASB President, lots-and-lots of extracurricular activities types…almost certainly prompted by the teacher. I recall my genuine astonishment that somehow, in this conversation, it emerged that her command of the concepts was simply not there. The high achiever of the class, that is. What she did not actually understand about this, was positively mind-blowing.

Thirty-five years later it’s still blowing my mind. Maybe I should have made a lifelong study out of this.

I have so many unanswered questions about this, first and foremost is: What exactly is it we’re seeing, here? Why do so many students like this have straight-A’s when they…well, to coin a phrase…simply don’t know what they’re doing? Is this cheating? These seem like such good, honest, respectable clean-cut kids, now and in yesteryear. And the answer is complex. I think a simplified version of the correct, overly-complex answer would be a “no,” at least it isn’t a conscious cheating. I think what we’re seeing is a confusion between honest education and mimicry. I have other recollections of an occasional “extra credit” challenge coming up. Why, now that I think about it, I had such a thing happen at work a few months back: Find the encryption keys and then unscramble the message. This kind of thing would pop up now and then at school all those years ago. The assignment would — uniquely — challenge the students’ grasp of the concepts that were taught. Outcome would count for everything and process would count for nothing.

The clean-cut, social-apex, straight-A, ASB President kids would gasp, their faces visibly tinted, and immediately begin “collaborating.” In a big panic.

Morgan, true to form, would dive into this “extra credit” with a huge sigh of relief, like a drowning man finally gulping some fresh air, while his “real” work went only partially finished.

It seems to me that the greater the number of students failing such assignments, the more smug the teacher’s attitude. I infer from this that the takeaway was supposed to be that the learning is never complete, you should struggle with this subject and struggle some more, because even though you’re getting straight A’s you’ll never have it mastered. They were most smug on the occasions on which I was the only one turning it in correctly completed, but that had nothing to do with me because their cachet as teachers was not fastened in any way to my own as a student. I think the lesson was simply: Look how hard and complicated this stuff can get. Now, go back to reducing those fractions we have five more pages to go.

Salute!End result: The entire semester’s “learnings” are reduced down to something like a choreographed dance number. The students that “know” the most will be the ones showing the most unfailing fidelity to the dance steps, although that is demonstrably not any kind of elite “knowledge” since everybody knows what those dance steps are. Extra credit that tests genuine knowledge is an exception. It should be the rule. That’s what homework used to be all about: Zero social interaction, zero opportunity to emulate others, just full-on demonstration of understanding of concepts. Whatever happened to that?

Now, how this ties in with Jessica Alba and the rest of the Hollywood/not-so-Hollywood dipshits saluting President Obama with junk written on their hands:

We must begin with the realization that the “mimicry equals achievement” mindset in our school system did not leave me, rather I left it. The mystery is why the kids who shared my experience were, or at least appeared to be, in the minority. Is a changing perspective with changing priorities not supposed to be what maturity is all about? Are you not supposed to become more concerned with the practical side of things? But the process-over-outcome students were more “successful,” visibly in the majority, and were at least consistent. This is, after all, the way Kindergarten works. Teacher gives a cue, the students then show what good students they are by following it. There is this mindset dominating our educational system that says, this is what education is. Command of the academic material? Command of the concepts? What of it? And it becomes more extreme over time.

Example: In my day a “times table” was something you started out with, way back in fourth grade or something, and you stuck with it a little while until multiplying single-digit numbers became second nature. By the time you get into middle school, someone asks you “what’s four times six” it will become a knee-jerk process to answer 24, and you will have already been ’round the block on all these interesting mathematical quirks like, five times five is one greater, because n^2 is 1+((n-1)*(n+1)). The times table will have helped you get a start because you’ll have the ability to envision all this stuff in your mind. It is a springboard into the world of multiplying two-or-more-digit numbers; that’s how I see it, anyway.

Reviewing my son’s work with his teachers, my girlfriend and I made the discovery that kids today are working from much larger times tables, and for longer — not to get a start, but to continue onward. And it seems they aren’t being tasked with making their own. The tables are printed, laminated, and the kids are considered to be unable to get their work done if they happen to lose them.

And what I’m picking up from it all is this: “Knowing what you’re talking about” has subtly switched places with “giving the right answers.” And we see it in the ink-hand saluting slobbering Obama fans. They can tell us ObamaCare will balance the budget. And that Clinton left a huge surplus when he left office…if you quiz them on the hows, it ends up being embarrassing for everybody concerned. They haven’t got a clue. Oh, it’s painful to watch. They stammer out a few syllables about “it costs less to treat an illness in the early stages, or as a preventative measure…” and drone on from there into a disintegrating, dissolving, incoherent hot mess. How did Clinton fix the budget? Dunno. He’s Bill Clinton. Something wonderful, something amazing.

I’m also picking up that — and this may be right, it may be wrong — this all got started shortly before my school career (class of ’84, meaning something happened in the mid to late sixties) and the trend has accelerated since my time. The teachers are doing it, but they’re not to be blamed, I think the problem is lack of parental involvement. The educational institutions are thinking too small. They’re mired in the world of “Find a question, find the answer, put the answer in the back of the teacher’s book, ask the student the question and compare the answers.” Comparing answers is a swift, economical process. But the core mission of the educational establishment — assessing and building upon the student’s grasp of the concepts — has been neglected and is being further neglected.

And so we have these Obama zombies. They think “We’re all in this together” is an adequate substitute for knowing what you’re doing, knowing what you’re talking about.

Well, why should they not think that? They’ve been taught that every single day between K and twelve. And into adulthood as well. What can you do, in our ultra-modernized society, realizing success if and only if you really know what you’re talking about? Look around; there isn’t much. It’s scary when you think about it. Yes, the mechanic needs to know what he’s doing when he puts the lug nuts back on your car, or else the lug nuts will fall off and the garage will hear about it. But — again, procedure. Reattaching the lug nuts has been scripted. The mechanic follows a script. Maybe he’s made it his business to understand the concepts behind reattaching lug nuts so he can be the best mechanic he knows how to be…but he doesn’t really have to. He can follow steps.

Well what of it, you might say. The steps are the correct ones, and if for some reason they aren’t, they will be revised. Besides, Freeberg, there really is only one way to properly reattach the lug nuts so everyone should be doing it the same way anyhow. You’re complaining about nuthin’. And you’d be completely right, except for one thing: Properly understanding a realm of technology, beyond following the sequentialized steps, is essential if one is to build on it. What is it we like to complain about, when we’re done complaining about high gas prices and high unemployment and Al Qaeda attacking our embassies and old people can’t get their medicines: America losing her competitive edge. We came up with Penicillin and the light bulb and the automobile and the airplane and, ya know, maybe those days are all behind us…Germany is doing this, China is doing that, technology companies are knocking down Congress’ door to raise the work visa allowances so they can hire smart, talented young people from overseas who know what they’re doing.

The lesson we’re learning the hard way, at the expense of our youth and their future opportunities: Life occasionally assigns these knowledge-of-concepts-demanding extra-credit challenges. As homework. When there is no opportunity to do any emulating or collaborating. Peer interaction won’t get you anywhere and neither will memorization of a blessed script. And…we’re pulling down a long string of F’s here. By choice.

The “Omigaw Can You Believe What He Said” Argument, and Other Tiny Thoughts

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Every time I buy something at the pharmacy I feel my ears reddening with a whole new anger toward those who think “big business” has made health care resources harder to get hold of, and a new and heavier dose of government involvement will somehow fix this. How long does your memory need to work, in order for you to realize that government meddling isn’t making the meds any cheaper? Two years or so, right? Seems that’s how often the politicians promise to fix the problem once-and-for-all.

Thankful for what you have dept.: According to those blueprints for the 47,000 sq. ft. seven-building dream mansion, my 20-speed sixteen-pound carbon frame mountain bikes are gonna be stored on the second floor of the Southwest corner of the estate, with the approach on the opposite side, the Northeast corner…you know, I think I’ll miss the way I have it right now, where I just ride up, pop the garage door open, stash the bike and go have a beer. Of course, the butler will have a cold beer ready for me, along with taking my helmet and sweaty headband from me, so there’s that to consider…and then there’s that swirly slide leading straight down to the hot tub, complete with the costume-changer like Batman had. But there’s something to be said for simplicity. So everybody keeps telling me.

The democrats see it as a problem that so-many-millions of people lack “access to health care,” meaning they don’t have coverage. So their solution: Fine people for not buying some. Is this not the very picture of someone we don’t want making any decisions about anything?

Women in Wal Mart are toads. Women in Target are hot. Women in the ninety-nine-cent clearance superstore are a combination of both. Not a mix — rather, some-of-these and some-of-those. It’s rather fascinating there are so few in-between types, none at all really.

The people who want Mitt Romney to go away are relying a great deal lately on arguments that begin with “Omigaw, can you believe he said.” Reminds me of when Newt Gingrich said women shouldn’t fight in combat because they can get infections. I think this is a hand that can get overplayed, though. If memory serves, those who were knowledgeable were divided about whether Newt was right about the feminine inconveniences of trench warfare, but Mitt was completely correct about 47% not paying taxes. And I think people are starting to notice that our left-leaning friends have a sort of “Ostrich approach” to truth; which is to say, when it’s inconvenient, they can make it go away simply by being conspicuously offended by it.

So the Obamapologists are trying to get out the vote by pledging allegiance in pictures, writing things on their hands first? I thought they didn’t like it when people wrote things on their hands. Wasn’t it just yesterday they were saying Sarah Palin is stupid and unsophisticated for writing things on her hand?

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” — Winston Churchill

Rush Limbaugh said that if the average liberal had to choose between making deadly radical Islamist extremism go away, or American conservatism go away, he’d hit the button that would obliterate American conservatism and leave the Islamic radicals running around wild & free. I think he’s right.

When you think about it, a 2008 Obama/Biden voter making the decision to vote Obama/Biden again in 2012, is about the best argument possible against evolutionary theory. Damn dogmatic religious fundies.

Innit funny? “The Rockford Files” has a completely different tone from Dukes of Hazzard, Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk…but the bad guys are completely interchangeable. Three-piece suits, mutton-chop sideburns, flare-leg trousers, nice dress boots, .38 snub nose revolvers. And idiots. You could mix-n-match them from show to show, and nobody would ever notice.

We’ve got a lot of people walking around, as free as you and me, laboring under the impression that if they encounter a new idea and they have so much as the faintest flickering between their ears that the idea is a stupid one, then that must be the case, and they do not need to inspect it any further. This is a mistake. I’m sure if you thawed a caveman out from a block of ice or woke him up from suspended animation, and gave him a calculator, after a few moments of inspection he’d conclude the calculator is stupid. He’d probably be as sure of it as anything else in his caveman life. Ever. Calklater not heavy, I hit animal in head with calklater, animal not fall down so what good it??

Unholy Trinity

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

You want to know why Barack Obama’s neck-and-neck, or ahead, when He deserves to be going down in flames? I think at this point I’ve just about got it figured out, so I’ll tell you. It is a modern religion of three parts, and President Obama is its prophet.

First piece of it: Mitt’s 47 percent. There are people who are living like veal calves and are content to do so. You could define them, not so much in the mistaken way Mitt Romney did with a zero or negative income tax payment, but with their ideas about money. They don’t know how much they have, and they don’t care. They’ve given up on trying to save any. Like a pet dog or a cat, they have a routine built up around some food bowl that is being mysteriously filled. You-didn’t-build-that; nothing is ever really built. The Internet, along with everything else worthwhile, comes from government; not because government is wonderful, but because it is functionally anonymous. We are all the government, so “we” build things. No one person, no smaller pool of investors, ever builds anything. They just rip people off. And then when the government gets done regulating them and forcing them to be more ethical, it builds all the good stuff that we “need” while these other guys with corporate brand names just sit around counting their money and smoking cigars or something. Now when the “proles” in this religious sect need something, they have their own economic system. You don’t buy, you don’t sell, you don’t barter, as the Occupy Movement demonstrated you just demand things. You’re entitled. That’s how it’s done.

My Feewings Are HurtSecond: The Post-American world. America is like the wife that the husband never really wanted to marry in the first place. To the extent that she inspires any positive sentiment or any hope at all, it is only with regard to the vision of what she may one day become. There is nothing glorious about her in the present or in the past, and she is not worthy of a swift, terrible or deadly defense. To whatever extent she is an economic or military superpower today, she will not be tomorrow, and that is actually a good thing. Make the time to watch Dinesh D’Souza’s 2016 if you have not already done so. Anti-nationalism, anti-colonialism, the embassy was left unguarded in Benghazi, NASA’s new mission is Muslim outreach, America’s nuclear arsenal to be gutted. I know, it’s crazy talk to say Obama is some kind of Manchurian Candidate or something…but what would a Manchurian Candidate do, specifically, that is not being done? Well, some people like that. We know, now, that Obama’s measures do not make the country better liked around the world…so where is the thoughtful contemplation about whether or not this is the right way to go? After all, the objectives were stated before the effort began, and they have not been forthcoming. But, re-thinking? Instrospection? There isn’t any, and I think it’s generally understood on all sides that it would have been a mistake for anyone to expect any. Forward!

Third, and this ties in to the first two: There is no god. We were not put here, therefore we were not planned to be put here, therefore we were not deemed to be worthy of anything — therefore, we are not. We are an accident of evolution and we hurt the environment, of which we are not a part, but rather a pox. Note the glaring contradiction between first and third: We are not worthy, we are a blight and not a benefit, but whenever we need something we don’t have, it becomes a human rights violation until we get it. No gratitude will be forthcoming, of course, because Thing I Know #52: Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met. That would be acknowledging that a definable person or organization met a need, and this is untenable. We may not be worth anything, but we do not owe our existence to anything, because the reason for our being here is a billion screwy accidents in the saga of our evolution.

The thing that binds all this together is a question that my elder generations used to ask in the days gone by: “Is nothing sacred?” And the answer is NO. At least, nothing is sacred and definable, for this sect does elevate certain things to adoration but those things consistently defy objective definition: The “middle class,” the “oppressed,” “working families,” “loving couples,” vegetarians. If it is definable, then it is not sacred. Even President Obama The Holy Profit, Himself, is sacred only in the imaginary sense. Four long, bleak years, and still nobody has emerged to say exactly what it is about Obama that makes Him so remarkable. Wherever there is something held to a higher moral plane by this dark unholy sect, there is an ethereal mass that defies measurement of location, size and shape.

And what ties that all together? You have to measure things if you’re trying to build something; if you aren’t building something then you generally don’t need to.

Four letters: L-A-Z-Y. Oh, they might work up quite a sweat doing things for their families, working at their jobs. If they have one. But their minds are flabby. Not, I hasten to add, thick or dense or stupid. Some of them are quite bright. But addled, atrophied and apathetic. Their minds are full of these dark alleyways they have never taken the time to explore — and they must not. This dark religion is chock full of taboos. Their minds grow flabby with the passage of time, as they make a point of refusing to answer certain questions. So they want everybody else’s mind to be flabby the same way.

This scares me, to be candid about it. I’m still optimistic about Obama being a one-term President, since He fits the profile so well. He holds His appeal for the members of His “church” but has demonstrated no recruiting power, or very, very little, being effected upon those who are outside of it.

But we cannot count on these lazy parishioners practicing their laziness on Election Day. The one thing that is really worth some effort to them, it turns out, is to make sure that their religion is victorious in any conflict with any other religion. They believe in The Unholy Three.

Credit for finding the excellent cartoon goes to our friend in New Mexico. Kinda hurts my feelings that he saw it before I did.

Boortz Wants to Know What the Problem Is

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

…with what Mitt Romney said.

Now I’ll admit that these are not the most ideal words to come out of a candidates mouth, but not being ideal does not make the words untrue. Romney is saying what I’ve been saying for years. Romney hit the nail smack dab on the head. So do I. The difference is, he’s running for office and I’m not.
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Romney is right. We’re now at the point where over 47 percent of the people in this county — over 47 [percent] of people who are old enough to be in the U.S. workforce — pay no income taxes at all. Actually, it’s worse than that. Not only do they not pay taxes, they consume a good portion of the taxes paid by the other 52+ percent. These people are on the government teat .. and for all-too-many of them, that’s exactly where they want to stay.

What do you say about this “concerned friend” of yours who “is independent, neither Republican nor democrat” who is so disinterested in politics that he can’t wait to amble on over, with a big smile on his dumb face, to share with you how Romney “blew it”? How do you reply?

One good stock answer I’ve heard is: “Telling the truth is a scandal now? How far we’ve fallen!” That’s a pretty good one.

I like “You’re one of the multitudes who thinks there’s a scandal here? And here was me thinking you had a conscience.”

Or…”What, we shouldn’t be paying any attention to this stuff? For how long?” And “Did he get the number wrong?”

Every now and then I hear someone comment that hundreds of years from now, perhaps thousands, when experts in archeology and sociology try to figure out where the Great American Experiment failed, they will locate the precise jump-the-shark moment at…and I don’t like hearing this at all. I don’t like thinking the experiment will ever fail, and I certainly don’t like hearing that it is now on some final terminal decline.

But if we are indeed on one, I think they will locate the precise initiation of the final decline here: When “I’m going to prove those things they’re saying about me, are not true” became equal to “I’m going to prove that when they say those things about me, they’re not going to get away with it.” In any society that deserves to survive and thrive, those two are not the same things. Somewhere in the relatively recent past in America, they have become fused together.

I’m hearing from a lot of people who are part of Romney’s 47%, or apologists for others who are in the 47%, talking up the narrative that Gov. Romney will now never-ever-ever be President, ever — won’t get away with it. And, as to whether his remarks had any truth to them or not, they are resolutely silent.

What is that like, I wonder? To quicken the pumping of one’s own blood with the understanding that some loathed critic will-not-get-away-with-saying-it…and, simultaneously, to understand inwardly, being ready to admit it or not, that this bit of criticism is absolutely, positively, completely true? What’s that like?

Mom Arrested for Letting Kids Play Outside

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

I have memories of running around the suburb of Tempe, AZ and playing in the dirt field, an on-and-off construction site, in my bare feet. The satellite shows that’s some kind of bigass mall with a CVS pharmacy & some other stuff. It might have been a future extension for the parking lot of our neighborhood church. It’s a good piece of distance down the block, maybe a football field away, around the corner…assuming I’m calculating things right, it has been four decades. Anything could’ve happened to us. Oh yeah, and anytime; we had to be called home for supper. When it started getting dark. During the summer.

Well, this mom got hauled away in cuffs because her kids were playing outside in the cul de sac on those little razor scooters. Their ages are nine and six. Hmm…we left Tempe shortly after I turned six. How old were we when I was throwing dirt clods at my brother with the broken glass lying around, as the shadows got longer and dinnertime approached, well out of sight of my own mother? Five maybe?

As the video makes clear, this was treated as turn-round-hands-behind-yer-back stuff. And, there is the matter of seven thousand dollars or so in “legal bills.” You know, that sends all this “keeping an eye out for your kids like a good neighbor” stuff sailin’ out the window.

I have another memory, as a single dad, splitting up with the Mom years ago finding out a caseworker had been assigned to us. After a miserable week or two in which everyday life became a “What the F*ck?” the case was dismissed with the complaint found to be without merit, it had to do with my kid having orange teeth because he ate a bag of Cheeto’s or something. My bachelor-pad household was just coming to be acquainted with the new child support payment, and seven thousand dollars in legal bills would not have been exactly welcome. Then, gradually in the months thereafter, it became clear the real focus of the complaint was some kind of a grudge. Had nothing to do with me or the kid, someone picked a fight with the Mom.

Women-not-getting-along, again. Catfight. (Well I’m sure somewhere, a man has done this too…we’ll just make that assumption so we’re not picking on any particular sex, and in the strictest technical sense I don’t know if this was purely a girl-fight.)

You know, it’s awfully funny. We have all this rage for parents who yell a little bit too loudly and “spoil” the soccer game by pushing their kids to try harder. That’s a clash of cultures, some parents think winning matters, and others think it doesn’t. Well, this is a clash of cultures too. Some people think there should never be any possibility of anything going wrong, ever. Razor-scootering around the cul de sac is way too dangerous for them. Which is fine, they have a perfect right to that crazy idea.

But they want everyone else to live that way too, which is not fine.

Conflict amongst adults, coming to influence the everyday lives of the kids, during the soccer match is already viewed as not fine.

But here in the anonymous-tipster situation, it is perfectly okay. The kids’ lives can be turned completely upside down, they get to watch Mom get hauled down to the pokey in handcuffs, because Mabel across the street got a little bit bored or had an axe to grind.

Boy, that’s a double-standard I’d love to see smoothed out a little bit.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Forty-Seven Percent

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Althouse can’t find anything wrong with it and neither can I. In fact, I have been wondering for a long time now: When our modern liberals talk up the importance of “building a strong middle class,” and steadfastly refuse to define such keystone terms within that phrase like “middle class,” “building,” “strong” and, I suppose, “a”; could this be the “middle class” to which they are referring?

We already know that when they’re talking about “working families” they’re not talking about families and they’re not talking about people who work. And we already know that they know their prospects in any election are related to how many among us are in the dependency class, and as a direct consequence of this incentive they’ve been working to increase the ranks of the dependency class.

I’m truly puzzled as to why it seems no one within their support structure is asking the question. Consider what the democrat politician is saying to his democrat followers when he says these democrat things:

- You are middle class;
- “The rich” either make more than you, or have more than you, or both;
- They are not paying their fair share (more terms that evade an actual definition);
- That is a problem I am going to fix;
- BUT — in my vision, you are to remain middle class;
- However I am going to make this middle class stronger.

What kinds of people absorb such a message without asking: Waitaminnit waitaminnit, does that mean my financial situation improves? Does my income go up? Do I get to keep more of it? Save more? Does it mean my kids can be rich someday?

As near as I can figure it, “strong” means one of two things, and perhaps both of these things: The class has more people in it, and when the class says “jump” the politicians in Washington say, “how high?” So the people who support this 1) are not asking what any of this means; 2) disagree with me (somehow) in what it means; or 3) are overly concerned with silly things that don’t matter, like when they’re in an economic class that limits their options in life, are their lots of other people in the same class and are the beltway politicians invested in keeping them in that limited economic class, and if it’s yes to both then all is good.

Sonic Charmer, I thought, did a decent job of trying to figure out what has their panties in a wad.

The other juicy point to gnaw on here is that the lefty journalist corps is now busily writing up their pieces for people to read tomorrow whose premise is going to be that when Romney asserted such and such number of people receive more than they pay from Daddy Government, he was insulting those people. But where’s the insult? one is tempted to ask innocently. So what if some people make use of popular progressive programs? Isn’t that good?

Anytime one gets ‘progressives’ to unanimously (if backhandedly) acknowledge there is shame involved in government assistance, right-minded people have got to consider it a win.

Could it really be that simple? These people live in a world in which the shame is not in the dependency itself, but rather in who else discusses it?

Ed Darrell is pretty upset about it, and shows it in his customary way, by defining “rational person” according to who does & doesn’t agree with him about things…the trend remains consistent, it is absolutely, completely kept secret what is to be so flawed and off-kilter in what Romney said. They’re awfully fond of the rib-elbowing, wink wink nudge nudge over on that side of the aisle. One is tempted to suppose they darn well know, if ever their ideas were to be discussed in any kind of technical detail it would be revealed how little sense they make.

Well, I’ll just state the obvious and let it go at that: Forty-seven is very close to fifty, and when close to half of the voters are, as it has been said, “signing the back of the check instead of the front” — that means close to half of the nation couldn’t possibly care less what the financial picture is as long as the gravy train keeps coming in. And that, boys and girls, does not make a nation stronger.

Now I’m going to go take a shower, because I feel like I need to when I say just completely self-evident stuff like this that shouldn’t need to be said.

Update: Ah yes, I had not thought of this. It’s difficult to put too much disciplined thought into what is being said, when those saying it refuse to say what it is they’re saying:

These “gaffes” (scare quotes necessary because the term has lost a definite meaning beyond “controversial statement that gets a politician off message”) rarely seem as devastating as partisan opponents hope (though don’t tell that to Todd Akin). During the 2008 cycle, Barack Obama was recorded, also at a fundraiser, saying that Democrats in western Pennsylvania were too bigoted and religiously deluded to consider voting for him. Complaints about that far more offensive “bitter clinger” stuff remain staples of conservative rhetoric. But there’s still no evidence I know of that it hurt him much at all. I suspect Romney’s statement will have even less of a shelf life.

Not sure of that last part of it. But it’s a good point to be made that, if the “clinging to guns and religion” remark was not terminal to a political career, perhaps it is then an exaggeration to speak with such ominous foreboding about the ultimate effect of the 47% statement.

I’m taking it as another incremental re-writing of the rules. Elections have to function in a certain way for progressives to have a chance of winning. You can’t have voter ID, you have to have Black Panthers strutting around the polling place with billy clubs in hand, fairy tales have to be told about women becoming gestation slaves if things go the wrong way, the panhandlers have to be given free smokes and free hooch for taking the trouble to go in, and the conservative politicians should not be allowed to talk about the swelling ranks of the dependency class.

Time to bring the graphic out again:

Sampling

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Via Small Dead Animals.

Color Sensitive

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Dad’s wrong.

He was considerably younger than I am now, early forties or maybe approaching forty, when he woke up one morning and tried to bring the bedroom ceiling into focus, found he wasn’t able to. I remember Mom hollering at him whenever he got done using his new eyeglasses upon which he depended, and threw them down on the table in such a way that they’d immediately understand how much he “appreciated” them. KLUNK. Yes, I imagine that must have been frustrating.

I know it was frustrating, because ever since I’ve hit forty he brings this up every now and then. “Have you woken up and had trouble bringing the ceiling into focus? It won’t be long now!”

But it is not happening the same way for me.

Every now and then I’ll have trouble with bringing something into focus, and I’ll wonder “maybe it’s finally time to go in?” But I’m not sure if it’s the Grim Reaper getting ready on my softening eyeballs, or if it’s just a piece of dust or crud getting in the way. So I look across the room at something else. And the focus is razor-sharp, so I “know” there’s no problem. Then I think, well maybe I’m getting farsighted? So I’ll look at something much closer. Again, there’s no problem. Everything is crystal clear. If I’m in a restaurant, maybe I’ll pick up a bottle of steak sauce or ketchup and start reading the ingredients. NO. PROBLEM.

However, we should save the date on this one: That fucking breakfast menu. It’s got something to do with the black letters on the blue background. Kinda like Green Lantern’s power ring doesn’t work on the color yellow. I believe this is the beginning of the end. I looked away from it, to other things, the paintings on the wall, the sugar packets, the silverware, the road signs outside the window, everything was clear except the dishes and the prices on the menu. I got this sickening double-vision effect going on every time I looked back at it.

If that is how I’m entering the age of dependence on visual assistance devices, this has actually been in the works for a long time. Perhaps it can continue a few years more before I have to go in and get fitted for something. In fact, if I make it that long, that’s extremely likely. And I can’t complain about that. Age fifty before I need something? That’s a good run.

Black on white, good and sharp. White on purple, red on black, green on black, brown on white, I can see like some punk kid one-third my age. But black on blue…no can do.

Two Cultures

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Had another thought I was trying to address in my blanket blog-post recapping last week. I started down this road, but I didn’t quite take it all the way. I made reference to this mindset that says…

The enduring meme is best expressed as “Right or wrong, we are going to win this argument, because X. Right or wrong.” And then X has something to do with something being given excessive weight in this little melee, which everyone understands deserves no weight at all, but hey reality is reality right? And so it’s an eight hundred pound gorilla that decides everything…right or wrong. Barack Obama is a brilliant speaker and seems like such a nice guy. Seniors rely on Social Security and they vote. Black people, and women who use abortion as a contraceptive method, are angry. Bill Clinton is perceived by these angry women as (somehow) a sexy guy.

But there’s something missing. It’s been festering in the back of my brain all week, ever since the embassy was invaded this last Tuesday, but not quite fully teased out. Today, at the gun range while I was loading up a .40 cal, I managed to fill in the details.

It has to do with another diary entry from last year.

It impresses me that, as I pass through this big valley…the ones whose names show up in the newspaper where the murders happened, overlay with remarkable precision the places serviced by light rail and by bus lines. It’s true in Sacramento, in Seattle, in Detroit, and every other “big” place I’ve ever lived or visited.
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The dependency-class is dependent. It depends on a service, and because it is dependent, anybody who denies the service, by action or inaction, is infringing on a fundamental human right. And, should this take place, this imbues the dependency-class with new rights it would not otherwise have. And so The System, which denied the service by inaction and failing to keep the machines in good working order, has it comin’. The rail hoppers will enter, again, that surreal region in which a crime is to be committed, but not really, because it is a “gettin’ even” for another crime that was committed. A written law will be violated, as redress of grievances for the violation of some other unwritten law.

Now, here is my epiphany:

We have, down at the shooting range, a “community” of sorts in which each participant holds in his hands, or has immediate access to, a mechanism that can cause instant death or permanent disability in a fellow human being. Because each one of us is a potentially lethal force, we observe rules. Some of these rules could arguably be called “stupid” rules, but nobody ever says so, nobody ever challenges them. We don’t think of them that way. We become very script-driven and process-oriented, even while we keep our wits about us as best we can, and make a point out of thinking things through as abstractly, as diligently, as we know how. We stay awake and alert and keep all the brain lobes lit up — but, at the same time, we follow the rules unflinchingly and unquestioningly.

So for those who are up on American politics, there is irony here. We think things through like right-leaning libertarians, but follow the rules like good statist collectivist liberals.

On the other side of the fence, where the light rail ticket station is busted so people just take what’s “theirs” so they can stick it to the system — there is also some irony. Their motives are “pure” libertarian, with each citizen looking out for his own interests. It crosses the line into anarchy, since it is clear why the most fundamental rule exists which is “when you ride the rail you must have a ticket to show you paid for the service.” And yet an unwritten, ethereal “jungle” rule has emerged to override this, the jungle rule says “if the machine is busted then you’ve been slighted by The Man and you have to get even to show you won’t take this lying down.”

In the dependency-class society, not only is the transportation all blue-statey and kiosk-driven, but the personal defense method is as well. If the burglar is breaking into your house at one in the morning, you dial 911. You do not have a gun. Proles cannot have guns; guns are for cops. That’s one of the rules. Whether that’s followed is another story.

But California is an exciting and intriguing patchwork of blue-staters and red-staters. The friction develops when the blue-staters make laws restricting the access of guns from the red-staters. This is a case of psychological projection. The blue-staters do not trust themselves with guns; therefore, they do not want anybody else to have guns either.

Now, these guys at the shooting range do have an ability to recognize “dumb” rules. We talk about them constantly. First and foremost is the dumb rule that says an automatic weapon owned by a California resident can’t hold more than ten shots. I’m sure there’s some fine “nuance” I’m missing there, regarding who lives where and on what side of the state line the weapon is being bought or brandished or whatever…but the law is somewhere around there. If you’re in the Golden State, ten is the max. Why this is a “dumb” law is an easy thing to establish (ten is a meaningless number, since if the criteria is that something could go wrong, the number that should have been chosen is nine less than that). Just about all of us agree on this. And yet, we follow it too. Without hesitation and without question. We follow that dumb state law, all the other dumb state laws, the not-so-dumb state laws, and we do exactly what the range-master tells us to do when he tells us to do it.

Those other people follow rules too. As long as it is convenient and they “feel” that the “system” is treating them “fair.” As soon as the machine stops dispensing tickets, the feeling flips around, the magneto-relay switch trips into anarchy mode, and it is “okay” to hop the turnstyle to “get even.”

With those observations then in place, I can boil this observation down to near bumper-sticker size.

One culture is in possession of deadly force, and as a consequence, it rejects the option of rule-breaking.

The other culture has embraced rule-breaking, and as a consequence it abjures deadly force.

My epiphany is: I think on both sides of this line, it is subconsciously realized that these two epoxy agents cannot be blended together — ever. People who flout rules on a whim, cannot have access to deadly weaponry, and people with access to deadly weaponry cannot flout rules. If those two luxuries come into contact with each other, the result is an abomination that will have to be eliminated if any system of law and order is to be maintained. And so the “half anarchists” permit themselves to steal a ride on the light rail, or a newspaper out of the busted machine, but will not avail themselves the use of deadly force; they will cross the line into anarchy but they do not want to become a threat. Because they live in a collectivist utopia, in which their entitlement to the staples of life depends on their social status. Naturally, in the land they call home, guns are outlawed — they have to be.

Those who make their way through life’s challenges by being responsible and capable, insist on the privilege and the right to defend themselves and their loved ones, with the option of deadly force being available just in case, God forbid, it is ever needed. But, for reasons mentioned above, they will not consider the option of breaking a rule. They, too, are properly fearing and avoiding that deadly epoxy.

How this pertains to the embassy incident: These turnstyle-hopper gun-avoiding blue-staters are all about “Winning the argument right-or-wrong, because X.” X being something dumb and stupid. College kids identify with Obama, women who can’t get their husbands to pay attention to them identify with Hillary, moderate/independent/centrist voters “feel” that Mitt Romney isn’t very approachable. Here in America, we have been seeing this all over the place and we’ve been seeing it for a long time. Teachers get so-much-of-a-raise, and so-much-vacation-time, not because it makes sense for them to get it, but because…they’re striking. Before them it was the garbage collectors, and the actors and the pilots and the sheet metal workers. Here, there and everywhere, someone is holding something hostage. We’re just suckers for a reasonable and logical exchange of ideas, followed by a rational compromise — which is then to be cut short because someone is holding something hostage. Like the lawyers say: Real justice is expensive, how much justice can you afford?

What holds the key to a peaceful resolution is this: Each community can make the decision about how it is to function, whether it is to preserve individual liberty and its associated responsibilities & follow rules; or, go full-anarchy, stripping the individual of the obligation to follow rules but also of the benefits of individual liberty. Communities can go either way. And with sufficient insulation from each other, they can live alongside each other…at a distance. They can even fit one inside the other.

And an anarchist, we-take-what-we-want community, can fit inside a liberty-preserved, live-by-the-rules community.

But — here’s the rub — not the other way around. If a law-and-order community lives inside a might-makes-right, turnstyle-hopping community, then the smaller law-and-order community is living on borrowed time.

The radical Islamists, who want what they want when they want it, constantly demanding things because of their ANGERRR!!!!, are trying to take over the world. All this talk about what percentage of the overall Muslim world population it is, how old Muhammed’s wives were, what passage of the Quran says what, is missing the point. The might-makes-right lawless can live in smaller communities of their own making, inside larger communities that function according to personal liberty, personal responsibility, and law & order. The reverse is not possible.

Killing bin Laden

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

You have to grin at the elegant logic that is used here…

Now that the White House and State Department have made clear that they believe movies compel terrorists to terrorize, it’s time for them to get ahead of this problem. And one thing the White House can do immediately is to pressure Sony to stop the release of director Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” which celebrates the killing of Osama bin Laden.

I’m only saying this because, you know, the White House and the media told me movies inflame and cause terrorism.

Think about it: if the poorly produced and laughably bad trailer for “The Innocence of Muslims” results in chaos, murder, and the burning of foreign outposts all throughout the Middle East, how much rioting and mayhem is a big-budgeted, slickly produced, Oscar-bait blockbuster celebrating the death of the leader of al-Qaeda going to cause?

Yeah folks, you better get right on that.

And then that sister you have whose husband beat her within an inch of her life because the pasta was overcooked…take her in, let her spend a couple nights and while that’s going on, teach her how to cook pasta the right way because hey — the problem has to be there. It can’t have anything to do with a certain someone’s personality or alcoholism or impulse-control issues. Must be that damn pasta. And the beer wasn’t cold enough. But you see, therein lies the rub. If you’re going to prevent these spurts of violence by addressing all this penny-ante nonsense, ignoring the big problem, you’d better make sure that pasta is perfect from now until the end of time. And the remote can always be easily found. And the steak is cooked right. And the yolks aren’t popped in any of the eggs. And there are no spots on the glasses. And the dinner fork is to the right of the salad fork. And the napkins are properly folded. And, and, and…ya know what, it still isn’t gonna work.

Because you aren’t addressing the real problem.

Memo For File CLXVIII

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Thought exercise: Imagine John “The Duke” Wayne running a blog. I can see this. Now imagine the blog prominently features a personal note to the blog audience, from The Duke, thanking them for taking the time to stop by and read. I can see this too. Now imagine The Duke posting a SNUL, apologizing profusely for not having posted any updates lately…this last one poses some problems.

Sorry about that, pilgrim, I’ve been just so unbe-LEEV-ably busy lately…

Nope, John Wayne would not SNUL. But more important than that, I just don’t have it in me. Seems too much like excuse-making.

However, I do think I should post an explanation. There were just too many objects in the hopper and they went and clogged it up by banging up against each other. Three thousand good men and women died eleven years ago; to say something about any matter unrelated, without first taking note of the occasion in some way, would have been gauche. That’s Tuesday. Monday, this week, there was a massive GoDaddy outage that temporarily took this blog out of existence; the page-hit statistics before & after indicate that this absence might have been felt, by some, and to leave it entirely unremarked-upon while flitting off to other subjects, would have been crass. And now we have the matter of the embassy in Libya being attacked. Details are still coming out about that. That’s three things. Oh yeah, we have the polls that put Skinny Nero up over Mittens by seven points or some such.

Well, let’s take the last first. Severian made a great comment to which I was going to post a response, when the outage happened sometime between 1057 and 1110 PDT Monday. Trying to understand liberalism, he paraphrased…

Where's My Free Stuff?One of your commenters (Nightfly? Cylarz? Philmon?) came up with the best definition I’ve heard: Liberalism is the lifelong attempt to make high school come out right.

The only word lefties use more than shouldbeforcedto is “deserve.”

You didn’t build that, so you don’t deserve to keep the money you make from it.

You were born white and middle class and American, i.e. privileged; you certainly didn’t earn this; therefore you don’t deserve to keep the benefits of these inherited advantages while others, less privileged, go without.

And certainly the starting quarterback doesn’t deserve to be dating the head cheerleader.
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And the thought that all of their self-declared good qualities — intelligence, perception, exquisitely honed sensibilities to the sufferings of others — are also accidents of birth or products of society and therefore inherently unfair never even enters their heads, because to fifteen year olds it’s only other people who ever catch breaks; everything they have is theirs by divine right.

I could write volumes about this stuff. But much of it would be self-indulgent and tedious for others to try to read, since it would consist entirely of incomplete thoughts being pondered as I struggle to figure out something I don’t completely understand. Hmm, come to think of it that’s a good description of most of what I’ve scribbled here over the years.

So I’ve been continuing my struggles, in blogger-silence, while others have labored to answer the same question: Why is Barack Obama any more popular right now, than, say, a painful hemorrhoid? And I think there are three answers for this — three essential components to His bedrock support:

One, those who have calculated (and perhaps experienced) the notion that they will personally benefit from His governance — greed;
Two, those who habitually side with whatever interest in any conflict they perceive to merit “underdog” status — guilt;
Three, those who understand His administration has having a deleterious effect on the country and certain instituions within it — wrath;

One has many parts to it, since a voter doesn’t have to benefit in terms of actual dollars-income in order to perceive a present or prospective benefit overall. Job security will make a nice coin of the realm, sufficient for conjuring up a sturdy motivation. There are public-sector employees, for example the public school teachers and the unions that build their fortresses of power atop the jobs those teachers hold. There are those who make our various social safety nets into hammocks that don’t want the gravy train to end.

Two also has many parts to it, since siding with the underdog has a lot to do with establishing and maintaining a personal sense of identity: “I want my friends and neighbors to think of me as the guy who voted for Obama.” These people, unlike One, are resolutely unconcerned with outcome. They are like Chicago Cubs fans, with the exception that to a Cubs fan, when the Cubs lose a game it is a matter of undeniable fact and the dreamy rationalization that follows is obliged to recognize at least just this much. Obamapologists, as we have seen, are not similarly constrained. Reality itself is like warm putty in their hands. Such is the stately pleasure dome in which one must reside in order to adhere to the narrative in these troubled times.

Three is overlapped heavily with Two. It is almost, but not quite, a perfect subset. Most of the people who “want to be a part of this thing” are angry with, and longing for the destruction of, some designated target and they see Obama as a desirable agent in that destruction. I believe these are the people I notice spewing lots of lofty rhetoric that seems to be associated with building something, that they intend to be associated with building something, creative/constructive efforts, but I notice can’t specifically describe what it is they’re building, and their efforts remain consistently destructive. George W. Bush’s “swagger” makes them angry for some reason. A lot of people are in this camp without realizing it. Sandra Fluke, for example, along with her sympathizers; they are in Group One, but this is secondary to their overlapping membership in Group Three. They’re upset at some “traditional” and “patriarchal” system of values and want to obliterate it.

Now, what to make of this movement in the polls. Three possibilities:

One, the “bounce” is real and Mitt Romney is in some real trouble;
Two, the “bounce” is an illusion created by pollsters who are tinkering with the data to skew the results, to maintain security in their jobs and social statuses;
Three, the “bounce” is a psy-ops campaign against Republican-faithfuls, (mostly) unsupported by (reliable) data, to discourage them into staying home on Election Day.

My sense is that the bounce is more-or-less evenly divided among these three factors. However, Bounce Factor One, which is a genuine groundswell of post-convention support for the incumbent with no trickery involved, consists disproportionately of an engorgement of Obama Bedrock Support Group Two, those who simply want to be on the in-crowd, to sustain and nourish a sense of identity they have built up. They simply do not think things through. They pride themselves on having the right “facts,” but what good are verifiable facts if you don’t know how to use them? And these people do not. I’ve personally had conversations with them that look like this:

OBAMAFAN: (ThinkProgress talking points dealing with cherry-picked data about His Eminence rescuing the economy from “the guys who made this problem in the first place”)…
ME: So do I have this straight? The way the economy is going right now, Obama views that as a success and this is the way things should be.
OBAMAFAN: (Completely incomprehensible and meaningless gibberish)

They’re so fond of “nuance” that they can’t grasp Aristotle’s Law of the Excluded Middle. They come upon a situation in which gray area is nonexistent and is not possible; they cannot recognize it for what it is. And so their argument distills down into nonsense. It becomes “Now that we know what Obama is capable of doing, we must re-elect Him so that He can do something entirely different.”

Those are my thoughts about Obama’s bump in the polls; time will tell if they are correct. Proceeding now to the embassy attack. My goodness, what a delightful potpourri of crazy little thoughts this has stirred up for us, and this illustrates the true damage wrought by liberalism. Why are our most passionate thoughts taking off in a hundred different directions in our nation, here? Why now? Why with this particular incident? This should not be happening; the thinking should be solidified, unidirectional and unifying, crystal-clear. Four good Americans, innocents, diplomats, dragged from the embassy and killed on the anniversary of the most devastating and deadly attack on our nation’s soil. It’s clear that September eleven has been designated “Remind Americans how much they suck day.” Rattling sabers just to keep up some rep of badass-ish-ness, or to get it back again, is a disasteful business. But it becomes a legitimate national security objective when “Remind Americans they suck day” must necessarily involve death and destruction. We draw a line or else we don’t. The terrible truth is that someone has to die either way.

LibyaWell I suppose I shouldn’t say that. But we do have a bad habit in the post-World War II United States. We weigh the nationalist, militaristic approach according to death, weighing the deaths that result from the military aggression only but somehow the deaths that result from pacifism don’t register on the scale. We passively allow the pacifist dogma to emerge victorious in this false, one-sided cost-benefit analysis. The bad guys keep getting their way, and every time they do they become more and more emboldened.

This is a very simple argument to make and to understand. Our country continues to pay a terrible price for not hearing it and yet we fail to learn the lesson.

The problem, I think, is not with the composition of the argument, nor with its presentation, but rather with the contrast in argumentative styles. The militarist mindset says “Let us consider the long-term consequences of each approach, and when you ponder that awhile you will see our way is more desirable, for it diminishes the bullying by making the bullying unprofitable.” The pacificst mindset, on the other hand, makes a big show of hand-wringing over the death and destruction associated with the militarist policies; but its argument, boiled down its essentials, becomes one of “You militarist guys might as well convert over to our side, for we shall never, ever consider coming over toward yours.” It becomes exactly what it seeks to oppose: The bullying.

This circles back ’round to Severian’s point about what liberalism is. The definition he’s cited is clear, concise, bumper-sticker-sized, fundamental: A lifelong (and tragic) attempt to make high school come out right. And yet, it doesn’t quite cover all the necessities if it doesn’t make some mention of the argumentative style which has somehow come to be associated with the liberalism we know and observe today. I notice, everywhere I look where the liberals are engaged and trying to win an argument, they’re trying to win it through some clever maneuvering that is disconnected from the presentation of evidence and fact, and building logical observations and calculations on those facts.

Here, I have a great example in mind. There is the immediate question of what to do about this movie, the movie upon which these attacks are being blamed. What is to be done about that? The administration asked Google to take the movie down from YouTube and, from my most recent reading of it, Google has refused to do so but it will block viewings in selected countries. I think what we’re dealing here is a difference in mindsets: There is some trouble in the town, and it’s all going to be made more better if we obstruct the access to some piece of information.

About a month or two ago we managed to slip out and watch Dark Knight Rises, third and apparently final installment in the franchise. One of the things that made me pleasantly surprised with this is, they had this major plotline going on dealing with a decision made at the end of the second installment, said decision had to do with handling a certain bit of information the Obama way. The “wise village elders will conceal the inflammatory information from the unwashed masses” way. This has always bugged me. I thought “Dark Knight” was a good movie, an excellent movie, worthy of owning — yes, we bought it, it’s on the shelf — but I didn’t like that message. And yes, I do see this conclusion to the previous installment as a blemish, and the third installment’s treatment of it as a sort of redemption. In fact, with this addition of the third chapter, it reads like a sturdy fable, better than most of the others, worthy of Aesop. I’m looking at it as: If your statement makes sense, then present it. Argue it. It, along with all the information that pertains to it, warts-and-all. Conceal nothing and misrepresent nothing. For, when you engage in such obfuscation and lying-by-omission, the argument you’re really presenting is “My statement makes sense, if and only if you view it the way I view it, and the way I view it is necessarily incomplete because a complete picture would reveal that my statement doesn’t make sense.”

And who wants to present that kind of argument?

Well, I can answer that: Our modern liberals do. On the Sandra Fluke matter, on the “Warren Buffett rule,” on the raping and murdering of our ambassador in Libya, on ObamaCare, on the you-didn’t-build-that, the case against the Black Panters being dismissed, voter ID, “climate change” or whatever they want to call it today, Wisconsin and the public sector unions, welfare work rules, social security, Medicare, and over-regulating the businesses of those “millionaires and billionaires with their corporate jets” to let ‘em know how much they suck and how upset we are with them…on all these issues, the liberal approach is the same, and it reminds me of the sales and marketing folks who were, unwisely, placed in close proximity to me as a software developer so I could see how they work. I’ve never forgotten it, ever. The enduring meme is best expressed as “Right or wrong, we are going to win this argument, because X. Right or wrong.” And then X has something to do with something being given excessive weight in this little melee, which everyone understands deserves no weight at all, but hey reality is reality right? And so it’s an eight hundred pound gorilla that decides everything…right or wrong. Barack Obama is a brilliant speaker and seems like such a nice guy. Seniors rely on Social Security and they vote. Black people, and women who use abortion as a contraceptive method, are angry. Bill Clinton is perceived by these angry women as (somehow) a sexy guy.

So. Liberalism we see today, is a tragic lifelong attempt to make high school come out right — coupled up with, a cynical and delusive way of presenting arguments, involving the deliberate obstruction and obfuscation of information that is crucial to properly deciding issues, in a “Dark Knight” sort of way involving some elite crowd of wise, pure, foresightful village elders who make these brilliant decisions about what details are to be kept from the hoi polloi. It says “I’m going to win this argument, whether I’m right or wrong” about the small stuff, first…like, was our current economic crisis triggered by the banks who hold mortgages, or by regulations passed upon those banks by politicians like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barney Frank? The liberals say those bizarre regulations are to be held blameless for the catastrophe, which is to be laid at the feet of “those greedy corporations”…right or wrong, they win the argument. And then that trickles on up to the big stuff, which is: Is America done with capitalism? Because those big companies were “the guys who made the problem in the first place,” should they then be regulated to death just for the sake of regulating-to-death…by the politicians who, when one studies the matter, one sees really were “the guys who made the problem in the first place”?

The real problem is: On issue after issue after issue, common sense goes off in one direction, and then our effective public policies go in the precise opposite direction. The result is, of course, liberals winning, and then public policies becoming enacted that don’t do what they’re supposed to do. Achieving something that is, arguably, the exact opposite of what they were supposed to do.

Can’t blame our country for falling for it during one year, or another year, or for maybe a presidential election cycle — or two. Eight years. Thirty or forty years, on the other hand, seems like carelessness. Or negligence. Or maybe treason and sabotage.

“Show Me Another Picture of Your Dinner”

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

The Hello Kitty of Blogging is very surprising to me sometimes, in terms of what posts & pictures get repeatedly “liked” and “shared.”

Seems an awful lot of people managed to identify with this one:

And, you know, that is certainly an encouraging sign.

Obama-Era Speechmaking

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Had an epiphany while I was out driving & bike-riding around the seashore yesterday. My epiphany was…I’ve been hearing for the last four years about how this speech or that speech — from a certain person who is our President right now — is so wonderful that it is going to be studied in law schools for generations or whatever. This would imply, to someone who thinks about it lazily as I have been doing, that the text will be excerpted and then that will be put in a book somewhere. Is this not, after all, what “study a speech” has meant historically?

But no. You can’t “study” these speeches that way. True, if you could, you could then pick the speeches apart, identify sections, themes, tropes, passive/active voice statements, targets of praise/criticism being called out…and that would be healthy. But no. These are purely video speeches. You watch the speeches or you don’t absorb anything about ‘em at all, and you might as well not know about them.

“Wonderful speech” doesn’t even mean wonderful-speech anymore. It is a reference to the audience’s reaction.

For example, would a transcript of Jennifer Granholm’s speech (hat tip to Rick) capture the “wonderfulness”? I think not…

Frequent readers & lurkers of these parts know that about a month ago, we had a gadfly challenging us to come up with a definition for “left wing” and pronouncing as inadequate any response that failed to live up to encyclopedic standards. We ended up in an endless cyclonic “this exchange ain’t over until it’s over the way I say” badminton match, disagreeing over whether left-wing-ism, being so thoroughly grounded in deceit as it is, can be defined in such a way. And whether a series of “Jeff Foxworthy” type of you-might-be-one-if tests would be an acceptable alternative…or could be taken seriously…or if that’s about as good as it gets.

Granholm’s speech offers me another epiphany: Left-wing-ism, in this day and age, could be defined as a resentment. Let’s give it a try: Left-wing politics appeal to a target audience within a selected economic class, blaming everyday-life pains and sufferings and exigencies on the next-higher economic class. That works pretty well, in that it carries the bonus advantage that it was just as true during the storming of the Bastille as it is today. If it works any better today than it did back then, it is because all the other attributes of leftism have been in a relative recession. This core-attribute of it, regardless of whatever prominence it had or had not achieved at any given time relative to the other attributes, has been a constant. If it has not been eminent every single year, it might as well have been.

It does require some tweaking in isolated cases. Homosexuals, I’ve read, are statistically better educated on average, and therefore higher earners. I don’t know how you go about verifying that, but it seems provable that the left-wing appeal there, and in other situations, is non-economic. So let us broaden it: Left-wing politics feed on, and are driven by, feelings of resentment festering within one class toward another. The definition of left-wing politics would be a pursuit of action, vis a vis public policy, based on those resentments. We’ve seen this in Sandra Fluke, and other such “gifted speakers,” as they have molded and shaped ShouldBeForcedTo into a single, almost monosyllabic, word. My goodness, how easily they say “should be forced to.” It’s like they muttered it as the doctor whacked their little butts right after they were born…when mom’s contraceptives weren’t available, or didn’t work.

Right-wing politics would, therefore, be defined as a rebuke of “um, let’s not” when the time comes to propose the change in public policy.

Questions outstanding: Is it possible to look at your own political movement as “unifying,” or deny that it is divisive in nature, when about the only way it can be functionally defined is as a desire for action based on resentments? When it is inherently divisive? When the only workable way to identify your opposition is in terms of “um, let’s not” in response to the changes proposed based on these resentments?

And, am I the only one who’s sick of these “wonderful” speeches that are wonderful only in video form? I’m sure there are others who agree with my ideological leanings who are similarly fed up with it; it would make me feel a lot better if I could perceive some similar fatigue up & down the spectrum. How about the libs? I can truthfully say that if I caught up with a speech in Granholm format, delivered by a politician who thought my way about things, I wouldn’t be any happier with it.

Perhaps not.

Here we come to a second candidate for definition of left-wing-ism…or rather, definition of the weaknesses in thinking and in character that lead to sympathy for, and eventual recruitment into, left-wing visions and schemes. It seems to be a consistency that the greatness of people, speeches, ideas and things, are entirely validated by something external to those people, speeches, ideas and things. And that is something I find truly fascinating — it’s like we’re having an ideological disagreement about the classic timeless riddle, “If a tree falls down in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Granholm, or Clinton, or Obama, tells the crowd what the crowd is ready to hear and the crowd goes wild, that makes the “speech” a great speech even though, if you were to transcribe what was said, the result wouldn’t be all-that. The right-winger, on the other hand, looks at something accomplished that doesn’t exactly set the world on fire, thinks on it a little bit, and comes away with “imagine what it takes to be able to…” A perfect example of this is a soldier sent stateside because he lost his limb, or his face, in a roadside bomb, and the first thing he wants to do after his prosthetic is fitted is go back. Or, if he doesn’t make it stateside, his parents moving his wife and baby son in and helping to raise the child. To a lefty, as the video aptly demonstrates, it is the approving roar of the crowd that makes these things great, in fact it is the approval that is the greatness. They may appreciate the stuffing out of an abandoned single-mother raising her child alone, or even better, going back to school to get a better education. But the truth is that they like these stories because they associate them with crowd-approval and inter-class resentment. The proof? Try to get a lefty feminist excited about a single dad, in exactly the same situation doing exactly the same thing.

To a right-winger, the greatness lives in the deed itself, as well as in the internal gifts that made it possible. The capability and the will, as well as the ultimate effect, the greatness lives in all three, regardless of whether someone steps forward to express their approval of it. And regardless of the class membership of the person who does the deed.

Anyway, about the speeches. I’m at the Popeye Stage with the Clinton/Obama era of dazzling super-mega-awesome speeches. I’ve had all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more.

Summing Up the Convention in Charlotte

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Michelle Obama lectured us about love, Bill Clinton spoke to us about honor, Cherokee Liz talk to us about truth or something, I guess, and then President Obama said something about making everything equal for everybody. It’s too bad Ted Kennedy couldn’t give lessons on how to drive a car over a bridge, but glad to see they have designated experts on everything.

And then the jobs report for August came out, it stunk on ice and the democrats made it clear they think this is what success looks like.

Trick Question!Well…that is certainly impressive. Please do tell me more about these wonderful speeches and how engaging they were.

I have a theory: When democrats start to make noise about womens’ “reproductive choices” — when that wasn’t what people were already talking about — it means they are in trouble. I think this is their argument of last resort. I mean you have to admit, if there’s some imminent crisis with women teetering on the brink of gestational slavery, 45 years or whatever is a very long time to be doing this teetering. But for a cheep gimmick to be stored in a closet somewhere and then hauled out in time for elections, it’s just about average.

I have another theory: When democrats start talking this up because one of their own is in trouble, I believe a statistical sampling of history will reveal it is the men who are in trouble when this happens. Re-elect him, because he will keep abortion legal and shower you with free contraceptives and that’s all a girl really wants, right? So abortion-talk is drummed up when male democrat politicians are in trouble. I have two female democrat politicians as my senators, they are both considered rather safe now that they’ve been in for twenty years. But this was not always the case, and I cannot recall them flocking to the safe harbor of “I’ll keep abortion legal” the way the men do.

It really all just comes down to this: Barack Obama has entirely used up His term, and at the very end of it He is still blaming Bush.

How racist would you have been if, exactly four years ago, you ran around saying “I’ll bet if Barack Obama gets to be President, at the end of four years He’ll still be blaming George Bush?” Such a remark would not have been allowed…well…pretty much anywhere, right? And yet, here we are. Quite remarkable.

The Liberal-Cranium-Exploding Syllogism About the Environment

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

1. Human activity, and human activity in America in particular, is having a deleterious effect upon the environment.
2. The activity of the United States government, with all its planes and cars and meetings and shipping and photocopying and so forth, is human activity.
3. Therefore, for the good of the environment, the Tea Party types are completely correct and we need to reduce the size of government.

Where’ve I gone wrong? Ask a lib who’s still speaking to you…and then stand back, wait for the ++pop++…

“Obamanomics 101″

Friday, September 7th, 2012

By way of Instapundit.

Bill Clinton’s Speech

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The pundits think it was just wonderful, which just goes to show why I don’t listen to pundits.

Charles Krauthammer was not so impressed. Everybody was watching the same speech, so it is clear there are different criteria being applied.

Might I suggest — we inspect those criteria. We have “engaging,” we have length (48 minutes I’m told), “detailed rebuttals,” we have predictions of what is ultimately going to happen when Paul Ryan debates Joe Biden, and how much the whole thing is going to have an impact on the elections in two months. Things that were mentioned and things that were not.

I think there’s something not being acknowledged about this. I’ll not criticize the length, directly, for I am a garrulous blogger and I would have little ground upon which to stand. And I’m not terribly sensitive to this part of it. What interests me is why. Why does the speech go on and on and on…the answer is, of course, that Clinton loves giving speeches. He is a very charismatic and exciting speaker, because giving the speech is something he likes to do and it shows.

Now, to the thing everybody knows but few are willing to admit: We can safely exclude, as a possibility, any idea that such speakers have worthwhile things to say. We see this in President Obama Himself. Speakers who love giving speeches, have a tendency to fail to come to the point. Why would they?

Can we even view Bill Clinton’s remarks in that kind of a lighting, from that sort of a perspective. You know, I don’t think we can. His “point” was that we should vote for Barack Obama, which he stated several times…and he based this on what? “[I]f you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, a we’re-all-in-this-together society…” It doesn’t make sense because it isn’t what we’ve been seeing for the last three and a half years.

But also, if that is the point, then there’s no reason for the speech to take 48 minutes. Again, I do not criticize the length, I question the why. Just as I don’t question the length of the Lord of the Rings movies, I question the why. The ratio is off. Not that much story to be told.

And the answer is: To Bill Clinton, a speech is not a chore. It’s like a foot rub, or a massage, or a — oh, I’ll just let that go. He doesn’t want it to end. No, I’m not buying Krauthammer’s idea that it was some kind of revenge against President Obama. Or at least, I just don’t care about that. Obama is not the injured party here, it’s the audience that is injured, and the country.

I’ve had much to say to criticize our modern culture. One of the things I don’t believe I’ve mentioned is, we aren’t bored by the right things. We select badly when we figure out what bores us. It’s not particularly easy, or difficult, to get us bored, we’re just bored by the wrong things. A more mature society would find Bill Clinton the most boring speaker ever, because such a society would be listening to his speeches with the questions in mind that everyone understands are the right questions: What is the point he’s trying to make, and does he manage to provide quality support for it? And it would come away with, well, we-don’t-know and not-really, plus it took us the better part of an hour to take it all in and we’re kinda pissed about that.

But things the way they are, Clinton is graded on how much fun it is to listen to him, when you happen to agree with what he wanted to persuade you to do. How does it feel to listen to the former President give the speech. There it is again: feel, feel, feel, nothing else matters.

A speaker just wasting time, searching for a high, chasing the dragon, droning on to an audience that is doing the same.

Quite sickening.

How to Get Obama Re-Elected

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

President Obama’s big mistake up to this point, which I hope He continues to repeat right up until His ass gets kicked outta there, has been to spend all of His resources and His energy marketing Himself to the very, very hardcore Medicators who voted for Him in ’08. Those would be the people who feel, feel, feel their way around every challenge in life and never think, think, think their way through a problem. They don’t give a rat’s rear end about anything in the world other than how they feel at the moment, so cause-and-effect never actually enters the picture. They like to pretend that it does, now & then, and that they’re recognizing it and working with it — because it makes them feel good. But they don’t really do it.

Why this is hurting Him: He’s already got these people locked up. By marketing Himself to them, He isn’t actually changing the situation in any way other than to burn off resources…

…but…it makes Him feel good, so…that’s the rule. If it feels good, do it, and whatever troubles you have should somehow work themselves out.

Now, if Obama came by and read The Blog That Nobody Reads, or one of His campaign staff who is capable of making some decisions comes on by, they could take note of the following. Consider what Obama could do if He wanted to market Himself to people who, to date, would not be so inclined to support Him.

He could do what His predecessor did, and make a pledge not to play golf anymore. That would be a real, to coin a phrase, “change.” Might as well face it, throughout the last three-and-a-half years He’s been looking kind of like an un-manager. He makes a speech blaming Republicans, goes and plays golf, shows up at a democrat fund-raiser, plays some more golf, makes a speech taking credit for something, plays some more golf, produces commercials, plays golf, says “plug the damn hole!,” plays golf, holds a beer summit, plays golf…

…if I didn’t know better, I’d think He just plays golf all the time, waiting for something good to happen so He can hog all the credit for it, or something bad to happen so He can blame “the folks who got us into this mess in the first place”…then goes back to playing golf. He has been an exceptionally passive President. He can actually brag about exactly nothing save for the killing of bin Laden, which is a card He has overplayed so much that any more is going to cause Him serious damage. So: No bragging rights for the country on His watch, the criticism of “He actually hates the country” has started to stick, millions of people out of work and…He’s playing a lotta golf. To keep playing sends an unmistakable message that things are not likely to change.

And, He could at least look like there’s some project in the works, somewhere, that can be managed as a project with tasks and subtasks and objectives and due dates and percentages-done. Just put out a false impression of it — how hard would that be?? It wouldn’t take any effort at all. It would involve a lot of deceptive speech-making, which seems to be right up His alley. Just show up in a city at some time and say “So-and-so has the ball here, our hope is that X will be achieved” and then show up somewhere else two or three weeks later and say “As we hoped, X got done, now we can do Y which could not have been done without X.” Make it look like you’re doing something. That would go a long way toward making it look like smartness is being applied, plans being devised, carried out…there’s another unpleasant truth to be realized here, this shtick of “I am a healing balm and I make the oceans recede” has been played out. That card, like the “I killed bin Laden” card, has been overplayed to the point of becoming toxic, and will cause damage if it is played out any further.

Those are two things He could do to market Himself to new audiences. If they were done, they might all by themselves swing the results of the election to His favor.

They would involve very, very little effort.

Not only will He not do them, but His people won’t even consider them. They are, absolutely, non-starters in every single way. I’d never post them on the Internet if I thought otherwise.

This says a lot about Him and the way He manages things.

Barack & crew know how to do what they know how to do. They’re not interested in expanding the horizons, the world they know is already plenty big enough for them.

Michelle Obama’s Speech

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

From the few glimpses I caught last night, and reading I’ve done this morning, I’ve picked up the impression that they’re going full-bore with the tried-and-true “don’t be a meanie cow” approach. Which works like: Hey, it would really hurt Barack Obama’s feelings to replace Him with someone else so don’t do it. But I call this “tried and true” because it’s been tried a lot of times and it always fails. Aw c’mon, Bob Dole is a Great American, he’s waited so long and darn it, it’s his turn. John McCain is a Great American, it’s his turn gosh darn it, and it’s now or never.

The track record of failure here is most impressive. I’m glad they’ve gone this route.

If you really want to win: It isn’t about the candidate needing the office, it’s about the office needing the candidate. This is one of the few things Americans do right with their elections. It makes a lot of sense. What kind of a loser can’t face the day unless he’s been elevated to the highest office in the land? That’s your guy, really?

So Michelle’s speech, in summary: My parents sacrificed everything for my education, and I do mean everything. And if I’m married to some loser who can only win four years as POTUS, it will all have been for nothing. Is that what I was supposed to have gotten out of that?

It's bound to work this time!If you take her remarks seriously, what they tell you is that we’ve got to do whatever it takes to get Mitt Romney elected. Because, that way, Michelle will go back to the salt mines and she’ll use her ample talents to secure some other high-paying gig in the Chicago Machine or some other high bastion of egalitarian fairness, thereby making the most of the education for which her parents sacrificed so much. Which beats the stuffing out of the situation as it is now, with her wasting these abundant opportunities by way of her frequent shopping excursions in Barcelona or wherever. I mean, it’s no contest. Show some proper and decent respect to the sacrifices Michelle’s parents made, vote Romney in 2012.

The other thing that made an impression on me was when they started panning the crowd to show the audience reactions. Lots of smiles, lots of nods, lots of tears. A couple weeks ago we had a liberal gadfly buzzing around these parts making much about the “definition” of left-wing, seemingly unable to comprehend the simple concept of defining such human-experience situations by their peripheries. There is no other way to define left wing in this day & age, it’s a hot mess of irreconcilable contradictions and it can only be defined by the wall that surrounds it; it is a very, very high wall indeed. The road to being inducted into the fold, and converted out of it again, is long and hard because this wall is impenetrable and insurmountable. Consider the core message: People are good and people are deserving, all equally so. Therefore, we’ve got to get those dirty rotten bastards and make them pay, pay, pay. That is the bi-fold message that drives everything else, it is confused, self-contradictory and unworkable. That we’re all in this together but there’s this “us-we” and a “they-we,” and let’s-get-even-with-’em.

This all showed up — somehow — in those weird smiles. Liberals should not try to smile on camera. It’s creepy. How much anger can you manage to work into a smile? It reminds me of the Terminator Chronicles when they started belaboring the point that Terminator robots can’t really smile; like that. They have such joyless, pained, resentful smiles.

I saw a lot of good reasons last night to drum Barack Obama out of office, but perhaps the very most convincing one out of all of them was this: The people who surround Him, are all invested ears-deep in this culture of “If you do not fully support the solution we’ve developed, you must be in favor of allowing the identified problem to continue, for we recognize no middle ground between those two extremes.” There are those who will say this is insensitive of me, and perhaps they’re right, but it’s true nevertheless: In this country, that attitude is a bigger problem than any health insurance mess. In fact I would say that problem has a parental relationship to the health insurance problem. It got to be the way it is now, because of that. “Us magical and special uniquely-wise elite people, who have no names, have figured out this year’s answer to the problem in some smoke-filled room somewhere, now are you going to support it or not?” That’s what has created the health care access problem we see today, and that’s a fact.

Why anybody wants more of it, is beyond me. As I said, the walls surrounding this mystery play-doh-land are very tall and it’s as hard for me to see into it, as it must be for those within to see the light and find their way out. Both efforts are many years in the making with progress so slow that it seems, at times, to be at a complete standstill.

But I know the country’s best days are still ahead of her.

I also know, that particular “do it our way or not at all” attitude has to be buried good and deep, or at the very least toppled from power, before it happens.

Sexualized

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Margot’s bitching about girls in movies being outnumbered and sexualized. Again.

You know, there’s something interesting going on here. Feminism has been effectively split in half, for quite some time now, going all the way back to the beginning…of the current wave, anyway, in the 1960′s. Consider the two mindsets at work:

Mindset 1:

Stimulus: Girl being sexualized. Woman strutting around in skimpy clothes or something.

Response: Right on. Her father wouldn’t like it and her husband might not like it, but who cares. And if it fills any mens’ heads with lascivious thoughts, then that is their problem.

Mindset 2:

Lady RawhideStimulus: The same.

Response: She’s wrong and she should stop. She is setting the movement back <n> years. Why, this could fill mens’ heads with lascivious thoughts, and you know, they cannot be responsible for their actions.

Now, what’s interesting here is that you can’t split Mindset 1 and Mindset 2 along an axis of paleo- and neo-; both combine cultural sentiments both old and new. Since one says a person in a certain role is absolutely right and the other one says that same person is absolutely wrong, they are fundamentally incompatible with each other. And yet they are both feminism.

In fact, if anything it is Mindset 1 that came first. The miniskirts and the go-go boots and the big hair and the hot pants; sometime during the 1970′s things flipped around to, hey, men appreciate these fashion statements and the liberated woman should never do anything a man might appreciate. And ever since then, the hemlines have been going up and down like a yo-yo, all in the name of feminism.

Irony is, Mindset 2 these days seems dominant; any accentuation of the gender divide is ipso facto contrary to the feminist movement, which seems intent on making our society essentially gender-less. But Mindset 2 also bears a close resemblance to Sharia law.

Can a movement really be all about womens’ “liberation” when it would be perfectly cool with sticking them all in burkhas?

Dunno. But, to the subject at hand, which is women in movies and comic books acting like men…this is all rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, it seems to me. If it doesn’t sell tickets and issues, then it isn’t going to stick around — period. And no, no comic books are going to go flying off the shelves because the woman is doing manly things and manly stunts, with manly biceps and manly quads.

But it cuts both ways, too. Suppose the movie or the comic book has a time bomb that can only be dismantled by someone who knows something about computers. Very popular plot device. Well, it turns out you can be sexy & athletic, or you can be computer-literate — pick only one of those two — unless you’re a chick. Chicks can do both. It’s called a geek girl and yes, it can sell movie tickets like nobody’s business. Dudes can’t do this. So yes, the gender roles are different, they always will be, but you see it does balance out.