Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Do, Be, Do, Be, Dobeedoobeedoo

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Many years ago The Anchoress invited from myself & anybody else reading, a rambling screed about what’s wrong with the world. Actually she didn’t; she (perhaps wisely) imposed a word limit of a hundred, and I blew it up. Maybe I should’ve just agreed with Chesterton.

Before I get to that, a confession: For a short time, long ago, I found it worthwhile to subscribe to TotalFARK. That isn’t the confession. It’s like a magazine subscription, there’s some information in there and it could be argued everyone should do it at least once. My confession is that, since there’s a distinct “my side’s better than your side” overtone to the culture in FARK, along with a perceptible leftward tilt, I must have seen this image a hundred times or more…

…I’ve never understood what that’s all about. What’s the point being made? What’s the argument? Many’s the time I got the idea the person posting it, didn’t know what he was trying to say either.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. The treatise meanders, lurching along deliberately if awkwardly, inspecting causes and effects, mapping out a sort of “fishing net” of our recent, bad habits. The first thing it looks at is all our worries about global warming, carbon emissions, price of gas, all that stuff…while, if you look around at what people drive, you can’t help noticing something: Cars are enormous. Now all these years later, I still have to say there’s a possibility that the people who drive these big behemoths are different from the people complaining about gas prices and global warming. But I’m just not sure about that. The fretting and hand-wringing is in vogue, still, now as well as five years ago, and before then. So is the driving around in a tank, as Mrs. Freeberg and I saw as I drove her home from jury duty yesterday. Fashionable people tend to do fashionable things. I think people aren’t trying to be hypocrites, they’re just not quite making the connection. Or, maybe they like to talk about living leaner without actually doing it. Either way, I’m still driving a four-banger, built low to the ground, and I end up wondering who’s the traffic hazard here, them or me. It doesn’t seem like we should be sharing a common road.

Every now & then I pull up to a drive-through window, and then I’m sure we shouldn’t be driving the same byways.

The thing I’m trying to point out here, has to do with confusion. People are confused. They’re confused because of the subject of my complaints that followed right after the gas-truck-screed: Being versus doing. The being has taken emphasis. That is not to say that nobody is doing anything. It would perhaps be more precise to say they don’t feel pride in what they do, the way they used to. I’m old enough to remember that when the whole household got excited about adding a new wing to the house, or a vacation, that meant…work. We’re going to plan for it and hope for it, and then Daddy’s going to have to work extra hard. Then after a few years, it wasn’t Daddy, it was Mommy+Daddy. Or something. Maybe everyone would find ways to pitch in. But what do people say now? “I hope I win the lottery.” See, that’s a change. It’s important. People used to make the decision that a material acquisition was worth sacrifice — and then, mixed in with that, was a little bit of lust. But with some healthy dreams too, and a resolve to do good hard work. Now, the lusting has taken center stage: I just want it. And people intertwine their sense of identity with the wanting.

Back in the day, they might have done that with the thing itself, after they got hold of it. If they were more old-school than that, they paid cash. And then the new car or boat would be a sort of movable emblem of their talents, their service to others. Even that was considered, by some others who were even more old-school than that, a bit sinful. But since then there’s been a huge flip-flop; I can’t nail down exactly when it happened, whether it was slow and gradual, or whether there was some kind of detonation that somehow didn’t appear on our radar. But there certainly has been a shift. What was a sin back then, if it were to be brought back today, would be an enormous improvement. People had the sin of pride, but at least they were proud of what they did. And they were lustful, but at least they were lustful about a purchase, someday, not about a gift. They wanted to work for the bauble. To do something. Now, the identity is attached to the wanting. Or the liking. Or the preferring. The ultimate effect is that people see themselves as people who are something…that’s their survival instinct kicking in, they want to be part of the crowd so that they won’t be shut out of the village gates and left to starve. They don’t see themselves as doing something.

I prefer to believe this is not laziness. I don’t think it is. More likely, the sense of opportunity just isn’t there. We get up, we do what we’re supposed to do, we eat, watch teevee, go to sleep. And we “tweet” about what we like and what we don’t like. How many among us, very often envision our actions as significantly altering the outcome of something? How many among us can form such a vision once or twice within a year, let alone within a week? That’s where the change has been.

It affects everything we do because it affects how we envision solutions to problems. Like: Health care is too expensive. Do we figure out how we broke it, or how we can afford it? No. We declare it to be a “right“; and, feel extra, extra, extra self-righteous as we so declare. That, arguably, is not a solution to the problem because it doesn’t define in clear terms where the money is to come from. Also, my Dad always said about the definition of “rights,” that a right is not a right if it costs someone else something, and I’ve learned in the years since there’s a certain wisdom to that. It therefore seems to me that the health-care-is-a-right argument is a grasping at straws, a sort of tacit admission: I know I’ll need it, but I’m not doing anything to pay for it and I don’t see any opportunities to do things to pay for it, so I’ll just sort of leverage my self-righteousness to get it, and make up some “rights” that will be violated if someone doesn’t give it to me. That’s being-over-doing. One too many “Christmas” gifts, from loving grandparents to a little ogre who probably doesn’t believe in Christ or God anyway…just for begging the right way. And then the little ogre grew up.

So I was interested, all these years later, when Severian jotted down some of his observations about “The Rule of Cool”:

I’m not a shrink and I don’t play one on tv, but has anyone else picked up on a certain immaturity going around lately? You might have noticed, for instance, that President Sort-of-God is now being extravagantly praised for backing off voting present on the unilateral cowboy warmongering he was once so eloquently against. You know, back before he opened his big stupid mouth about “red lines” and whatnot…. and was extravagantly praised for that.
:
The most insidious thing about “cool” is that it’s not something you do, it’s something you are.

There follows an ingenious interweaving between the list from John Hawkins, about the twelve rules of being a proper modern liberal, and this weird thing Kobe Bryant has about being a rapper. That, in turn, gets back to what I was talking about earlier: Lusting after material acquisitions, back in the day, might have been thought a sin by some but at least it was lust for a cycle that was healthy in its own ways. You would do something. DO. And then the trinket would be a trophy. Just like Kobe Bryant’s trophies from doing athletic stuff. What we’re seeing is a guy with a hole in his life he can’t quite fill, and the hole is there because he’s trying to be and not trying to do. I, too, am not a shrink and don’t play one on teevee; but this is kind of an easy call. Kobe Bryant doesn’t want to “rap”; he wants to be a rapper, and it’s an important difference. And it is not too far out to speculate that while, to the rest of us, Kobe Bryant was playing basketball, in his own mind he was being a basketball player. Again, it’s an important difference. The guy who does stuff, like play basketball, and thinks rap music is pretty cool, would feel fulfilled. He’d just keep playing, and listening to rap. Maybe do some rap-karaoke, if there is such a thing, I dunno…but…not define himself that way.

Oh sure, he might think about becoming a rapper, if he gets it in his head he could be a bigger success doing that than from playing basketball. Or get more enjoyment out of it or something. If that’s what is motivating Kobe, then my remarks wouldn’t apply to him. But I think they do. And…since, if I’m correct about that, Kobe is very far from being alone here…that’s a big part of what’s wrong with the world.

All of this is prologue against my hopes for the Syria mess. Obviously, first and foremost my hopes are that nobody else gets killed, and that America is not embroiled in yet another senseless debacle because of unwise decisions. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide for himself whether the Iraq thing is in our historical list of unwise decisions. But — one thing about Syria is, as we hope not to be mired in a quagmire because of dumb decisions, I think deep down, everyone with a brain knows we have no reason to sustain such a hope. No justification for it. Some may say that applies to Iraq too, but they can only conclude that by entirely ignoring the bits of history that led up to that, or cherry-picking from that history only the things they happen to like. Syria, contrasted with that, is a complete debacle…

…brought about by way too much energy being spent by people trying to be something, as opposed to trying to do something.

I still don’t have a good explanation from Obama-loving liberals what, exactly, is so mega-awesome-wonderful about Emperor Barack The First. Still. It’s become embarrassing to watch.

If there is a bright side to Syria, I am hoping what we’re seeing now is the detonation of personality-politics, or at least, a nice deep concrete-covered internment of the personality-politics zombie that will keep it underground and out of sight for…dunno…fifty years or more, can I hope for that? Or let’s shoot for ten. And it’s still just a hope. The zombie grave has just barely started to be dug out, and the concrete truck has not yet pulled up. I’m still picking up on the vibe that President Obama has a fan base, and the fan base wants Him to be something in particular, not to do anything in particular — although they cannot coherently articulate either one of those. But there is this permeating dream wafting through the air, still, like a stench from a rotting whale carcass or something, that our lives will all get better if & when the President delivers one more speech. Or, when He and His lovely bride go on a few more vacations; their pampering and creature comforts, on a Monday, are connected to an elevated standard of living, and new hopes, for the rest of us, that Thursday or Friday. The stench has been hanging in the air since about 2007 or so. We’re all just supposed to sit around, being and not doing, waiting for Michelle to go on vacation and for Barack to play some more golf and give some more speeches, and while we’re all in “pep rally” mode, if we cheer loud enough and long enough we’ll start to see something blossom.

Nobody actually describes it in those terms, of course, but that does seem to be the vision. We’re supposed to be, and not do; and what we’re supposed to be, is a fawning fainting cheering audience for our Magical Mystic guy, who in turn is also supposed to be and not do. I’m hoping we’re seeing a slow car crash, as that bus collides with a cement wall head-on. I hope, the whole notion that yet one more speech from President Obama, is somehow going to make things better, is dying. Quick death, slow death, I don’t care which, I just want it to last awhile.

Because another thing everyone with a brain knows, even though they don’t say it out loud, is this: While there may be no elegant solution to Syria right now, there was a great way to prevent it. And the prevention had nothing to do, at all, with yet one more super-mega-awesome-wonderful speech by He Who Argues With The Dictionaries.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

Is there any busted thing anywhere, that duct tape can’t fix?

Agnotology

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Wow, what a great word.

The study of culturally-induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.

Learned it just today, because of a new post over at Steve Milloy’s “Junk Science” site. In which he discusses a new study, the abstract of which reads…

Agnotology is the study of how ignorance arises via circulation of misinformation calculated to mislead. Legates et al. had questioned the applicability of agnotology to politically-charged debates. In their reply, Bedford and Cook, seeking to apply agnotology to climate science, asserted that fossil-fuel interests had promoted doubt about a climate consensus. Their definition of climate ‘misinformation’ was contingent upon the post-modernist assumptions that scientific truth is discernible by measuring a consensus among experts, and that a near unanimous consensus exists. However, inspection of a claim by Cook et al. of 97.1% consensus, heavily relied upon by Bedford and Cook, shows just 0.3 % endorsement of the standard definition of consensus: that most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic. Agnotology, then, is a two-edged sword since either side in a debate may claim that general ignorance arises from misinformation allegedly circulated by the other.

Must say, I’m ashamed it’s taken me this long to figure it out, in view of how much of it I’ve been seeing for the last twenty years, along with everybody else. There really ought to be some serious discussion about agnotology whenever & wherever the alwarmists are opining away about “climate change skeptics in league with the oil companies” and the like….which would make it a household word in no time, probably even wear it out. But that’s an education we could all use.

Update 9/7/13: Related: “Consensus Shmensus.”

Anti-War Movements

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

This went on the Hello Kitty of Blogging first. Not sure that that’s the best choice, it really belongs here, but it went there in the spirit of “Jesus said to go where the sinners are”:

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, I have an observation to make about anti-war movements:

In all cases, I can certainly get behind the goal. Who can’t? So since we all agree that wars shouldn’t happen unless they’re absolutely necessary, before the shooting starts the goal of anti-war movements should be something that can be clearly expressed in two words: Find alternatives.

I’ve now had the opportunity to see lots of anti-war movements. And in real life, I’ve noticed their goals, instead, are consistently something that can be expressed in THREE words: “demonize our opposition.”

I like the two-word goal much better. I think, if it holds sway over shaping the debate & discussion that ensue, it has a much, much better likelihood of success. And as noted above: Who t’heck can’t get behind that??

“Foxes Shouldn’t Guard Hen Houses…”

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Michael Moore kicked off the Academy Award’s documentary board.

The producer of Schindler’s List, Rain Man, and other prominent films, was so grateful for Moore’s ousting that he felt compelled to write a personal letter to the president of the Academy, saying:

On behalf of my fellow filmmakers and the vast American Heartland which, on occasion, has felt disenfranchised by the Academy, I want to personally thank you and the Academy for removing Mr. Moore and restoring a fair and impartial voting process to the documentary category of the Oscars. . . .

Foxes shouldn’t guard hen houses and Michael Moore shouldn’t have been in charge of the documentary nominating process at the Academy.”

Again, how was this EVER a thing? It’s making a lot more sense now why Dinesh D’Souza’s Obama’s America was so completely disregarded by the Academy even though it was the 2nd highest grossing political documentary in history.

Gerald Molen wrote in a previous letter, back in May, on the same subject:

“We’ve already experienced a time in Hollywood where an atmosphere of oppression and fear was prevalent and people were punished for their political views. Let us make sure that never happens again”…

Meanwhile, I’m sitting here thinking: Huh. Michael Moore was put in a position where he got to decide what “documentaries” could & could not be nominated…

…it’s one of those things where, even if you like the biases being put in place, you should still be able to rustle up a little bit of self-respect and rationality and say, uh no, that’s not what should be happening here.

There seems to be a Quickening going on here lately, not all of it happening within politics. Agenda-driven people being put in positions of great authority, out of an implied belief, or as part of an implied statement, that they are not motivated by such an agenda when everyone paying attention knows damn good & well that they are.

The time might have come — and gone, maybe — to get properly, seriously worried about this. Seems to be one of those things where yesterday’s extraordinary exception has become today’s ordinary rule…Michael Moore as governor on the documentary board? The more you repeat it, the sillier it sounds.

This Is Good CX

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Wow. This is a better Bingo card than some of the “Obama Speech Bingo” cards…which is really saying something…

Let ’em go on for more than a hundred words or so, and you can play a game of “blackout.”

Related: Twelve unspoken rules for being a liberal. Number ten, in particular, resonated with me…

One of the key reasons liberals spend so much time vilifying people they don’t like and questioning their motivations is to protect themselves from having to consider their arguments. This helps create a completely closed system for liberals. Conservative arguments are considered wrong by default since they’re conservative and not worth hearing. On the other hand, liberals aren’t going to make conservative arguments. So, a liberal goes to a liberal school, watches liberal news, listens to liberal politicians, has liberal friends, and then convinces himself that conservatives are all hateful, evil, racist Nazis so that any stray conservatism he hears should be ignored. It makes liberal minds into perfectly closed loops that are impervious to anything other than liberal doctrine.

President Obama’s Speeches

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Things fixed: Zero.

Things messed up: One.

Things messed up if you count that other thing: Two.

Thing I Know #401. People who refuse to work with details don’t fix things.

Related: “So we’re bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria? And I’m the idiot?”

Banishing Themselves

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Banishing other people is fun! It feels good!

And you have much more control over how ideas are shaping up, when you destroy whatever information is not compatible with what you want, compared to discovering/exploring/creating more of whatever might be compatible…

They start to eliminate ideas, under the guise of entertaining them. They mock, they interrupt, they distract by way of loaded phrases like “let’s move on,” they engage in all sorts of logical fallacies, they “debunk” myths that aren’t really mythical. They ostracize, or threaten to ostracize. What all these things have in common is: They seek to shape the emerging consensus by eliminating information rather than by gathering it, which is a tip-off that this consensus is being shaped by way of ignorance, rather than by learning.

How do you make a pencil pointy? You don’t add on a point, you silly goose; the right way to do it of course, is to remove everything from the end of the pencil that is not a point.

And they do that with people, too. “He isn’t getting on board, he can’t be in our club.”

Time after time, the banishers find themselves banished — by themselves. Time after time, they find all these people they’ve been kicking out of the club, went & started another club.

In times past, it has made such a deep impression on me, as to affect my dreams.

A left-handed blacksmith was caught pounding on a new horseshoe with his left hand instead of with his right hand. He was banished from the kingdom.

A farmer’s wife was caught harvesting eggs from the chicken coop, grabbing them by the pointy end instead of by the big end. She was banished from the kingdom.

A boy was caught cleaning the horse stables with gloves on his hands. He was banished from the kingdom.
:
A one-legged man was banished for limping wrong. A farmer harvesting corn was banished for wearing his harvesting bag over his right shoulder instead of over his left one. Another farmer was caught milking his cow by pulling on the teats in the wrong order, and he was banished.

Food became more and more scarce.

In desperation, someone finally decided to go hunting; and so, for the first time in a century or more, the villagers stepped outside the high walls of the great kingdom.

What did they find?

Our recent blindness is a bit worse than that, I’m afraid. It has become popular to sharpen these ideas, by way of banishing people who do not support them — even while babbling away with some nonsense about being more tolerant, and diversity being the source of our progress.

The inhabitants of my micro-kingdom banished themselves. They blinded themselves to what was going on outside the high walls, and in so doing, made it their daily effort to preserve suffering, poverty, blight and death, and in the end they discovered they were doing this while prosperity was all around them. But at least they understood their own methods, if not the ultimate effect. At least they knew that their vision was confined to the village within the high walls, and whatever was outside those walls was something they didn’t know, and didn’t care to learn. And at least they admitted that “diversity” had nothing to do with what they were trying to do.

When they ostracized somebody, they meant it. They didn’t make that guy do the long-walk and lock him out of the gates, in the name of “tolerance.”

These opposite-people absolutely fascinate me. There is much suffering going on with them actually running things, and I’m still not sure why that’s necessary. But at least, that way, it’s easier for me to study them.

Syria Makes it Tough to be an Obama Supporter

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Barracuda Brigade brings us wisdom from former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton:

That’s quite a tough row to hoe.

My Facebook comment drew an inordinate number of “likes” as I expressed some marginal sympathy for the opposition — on an issue in which I can certainly see the logic to both sides:

It’s gotta be tough to be an Obama supporter right now. Even if you have that “history began this morning” thing going on…which they always do, of course, and it would be as important to them as ever… the whole rationale for backing action in Syria would be “You just can’t look weak and feckless in the Middle East, you can’t!!!”

Which is true. But the minute you make that argument, you’ve made an argument that President Obama said something not only foolish, not only contrary to his endless campaign rhetoric about smart diplomacy and responsible exits and not acting stupidly…but also, illustrative of why we don’t want Him, or any other democrat, in an office of real power like this.

How did I put it before? Putting democrats in charge of the economy is like putting Col. Sanders in charge of your pet chicken; putting them in charge of the military is like hiring the chicken to cut the lawn.

Two issues here, that may appear to be the same but are actually different. First issue is that Our First Holy Majesty said something stupid, and the second issue is that in doing so, He has defined Himself as being the polar opposite of what He presented Himself to be — since these kinds of intemperate utterances of His have gradually shaped up more as instances of a rule, than of its exceptions.

It’s embarrassing to watch anymore. You don’t even have to wonder “gosh I wonder if He’s sorry he said that?” We don’t need to mull it over, we don’t need to eavesdrop. It’s a given.

But Mister Wonderful continues to hide behind the facade, with “uh” inserted before every other syllable, being the thoughtful scholarly guy He isn’t. It’s annoying, at this point, since we know He could save about thirty or forty percent of the time everyone’s investing in listening to Him, by just dropping it.

Have you tried reading one of these courtesy-transcription jobs that drop all the “ums” and “ers” and “ahs” and seriously asking yourself at the end of each sentence: Waitaminnit, was there really any kind of deep thought involved in saying something like that? Quite an enlightening experience.

ObamaCare! Cool!

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

From Chicks on the Right.

“How Did Hard Work Become a Conservative Value, Rather Than a Human One?”

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Via Mediaite, via Ace, by way of Bird Dog:

“I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than” Kutcher said during the Teen Choice Awards on August 11. “Opportunities look a lot like work.”

“Amen, brother,” Lemon said to CNN host Jake Tapper. “I think he’s right on, but when did working hard or having a solid work ethic become only a conservative value?”

Ace has an answer:

Because leftists are too cowardly to transmit such wholesome, old-fashioned values. They often have those values, but feel that to tell people “You should work hard if you want to achieve anything” somehow betrays the Leftist Coalition, which is premised on the notion that All Rewards Are Unfair and Anyone Who Doesn’t Have All That He Wants is a Victim of Exploitation By White Capitalists.
:
Liberals who have achieved success know that success is almost impossible without a lot of hard work. But they don’t typically say so, because, I think, they believe the average person is incapable of such and will just feel burdened by expectations they can’t meet if hard work and achievement are talked up as having some kind of link between them.

S.T.A.C.I. is five pillars of liberal wrong-ness, five reasons why liberal solutions can be relied upon to be the wrong ones. The A in S.T.A.C.I. is Abundance — the idea that if you are going to support something, it logically follows that you must be working to make it more plentiful. This is, as I said, “a guaranteed fail because no person or thing has ever become more highly prized or cherished as a result of being more frequently seen. Natural laws of economics and human nature dictate that the opposite must be true.”

I noticed this when lefties starting being chummy with me (us, actually, not really me as an individual) after I got someone knocked up and we didn’t get married. Look how tolerant we are being toward you! And they didn’t seem to notice their teeth weren’t quite meshing with the cogs. It was entirely lost on them that we both wanted to make the very best of the situation that we could, but at the same time, we knew we did things in the wrong order, and would never want the next generations to follow in our footsteps and do the same thing.

I see this with the drugs issue. This weird illogical fastening: “Oh no, you did it when you were his age, so you can’t tell him not to do it.” The waitress is trapped in a starving-single-mom lifestyle, because she has a kid and an eighth-grade education. If you support her in her plight — and you should — then you have to do what you can to increase her numbers. Sure, the liberals are often said to support education. But they don’t want that for her, they want that for the next generation who can grab some government grants. They want more money in the system. But the waitress who can’t get a better job, is an important part of their constituency, so they don’t want anybody moving out of the cycle of dependency. And they’ll absolutely, positively rip you apart if you support marriage. They’ve certainly ripped me a new one a few times. Right back to the drug thing; I didn’t marry that one, so I should not be supporting marriage, how dare I, what a hypocrite I am.

They’re rather consistently anti-learning. How’s that saying go; good judgment is the product of experience, experience is the product of bad judgment. If you go through that cycle, and talk about what you learned & why & how, some liberal’s going to be in your face about it calling you a hypocrite. If you try to communicate what you’ve learned, to others, especially others who are about to make the same mistake — you’ll have many liberals in your face about it.

The one-liner from Ace that summarizes the whole divide:

The average man has it within him to be anything but average.

Today’s liberals think Obama has exactly that. Before Obama, they thought Clinton had that. Mister Average-Man, though, no…he is exceptional only in the sense that he has the good fortune to be alive when Our First Holy President takes the oath, other than that he’s just an ordinary, helpless schmuck who needs government programs.

Saw a great graphic somewhere I didn’t take the trouble to capture, and now I’m kicking myself about it. It’s divided in two, has “How Obama sees people” on the left side and “How Jefferson saw people” on the right. The left picture is of an ant farm, busy with little insect activity. The right picture is a herd of wild stallions, out running across the desert plain, as fast as their hooves can carry ’em.

Miss Philippines USA and the Gaffe…

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Oh, God bless the Internet, YouTube, and Armstrong & Getty…

And here’s the one from six years ago, since I know if your interest is piqued, you’d probably already be searching for it anyway…

And…the legendary Alamo Draft House phone answering machine rant (not-safe-for-work language):

Nothing further to add.

Neil Armstrong, R.I.P.

Monday, August 26th, 2013

ABC News:

Neil Armstrong, the astronaut who became first to walk on the moon as commander of Apollo 11, has died at the age of 82, his family said today.

Armstrong had heart surgery several weeks ago, and a statement from his family said he died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

“Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job,” his family said. “He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. … He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.”

On July 20, 1969, half a billion people — a sixth of the world’s population at the time — watched a ghostly black-and-white television image as Armstrong backed down the ladder of the lunar landing ship Eagle, planted his left foot on the moon’s surface, and said, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Some may question the propriety, but I think the urban legend deserves some kind of mention, as it passes permanently into memory.

Casting Error

Monday, August 26th, 2013

From IMAO.

Ann Landers’ Best Advice

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The rule is that the burden of conflict should rest on the shoulders of whoever creates it

Do not concern yourself about who is speaking to whom…If Aunt Tillie says, “I won’t come if you invite Ida,” tell her, “Sorry, we will miss you.”

Two Cultures, Two Videos, Two Examples for Children…Zero Comment

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The juxtaposition says all that has to be said.

Delta Honor Guard video is from here.

In it Together

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

All of us, we’re in it together. The President said so five years ago…does it still work that way?

You might remember this from the 2008 campaign:

At first it seems like an unusual sight: Barack Obama, a black United States senator from the South Side of Chicago, trying to market himself to white, rural farming communities like this one nestled ObamaInIowaTranscendingRacebetween Des Moines and Omaha.

And yet there he was Thursday, perched on a wooden platform in an open-air pavilion that smelled like livestock, seeking a common denominator with voters as they ate bratwurst, grilled corn, and watermelon.

“The basic idea is that we’re all in it together — we rise and fall together,” Obama told them. “People here understand that. That’s part of the values that have been so important in Iowa and part of the values that are so important in Illinois. Those are the values we grew up on, especially in rural communities — you couldn’t survive if people weren’t looking out for one another.”

Drawing on his white mother’s Kansan heritage and his success in rural Illinois during his Senate race, Obama casts himself as a unifying force capable of seeing the country’s woes from the vantage points of cornfields and ghettos alike.

By now you’ve heard of yet another white person being killed by black men. That on top of the white Australian baseball player killed in Oklahoma a week ago today. And let’s not forget the black Department of Homeland Security employee advocating for the mass murder of “whites” and the “ethnic cleansing” of “Uncle Tom race traitors.” And the myriad of other black on white crimes that have taken place in the last year or so.

This President has been quick to comment on events where blacks were alleged to have been victimized by whites. Think Trayvon Martin and Henry Louis Gates Jr.
:
Unity isn’t this President’s goal. You’d have to be a fool to believe anything else.

There are two problems here, actually. One is that the office of an authoritarian arbitrator in a dispute between two sides, is being filled by a person who is an advocate for one side. The other problem, of course, is the dispute itself, the notion that there are “sides.” It’s funny how everyone running for any high office, it seems, at one time or another presents this image of the Great Healer: Put me in, and I’ll fulfill the reality that we are one, bring these two halves together. Henry of Tudor will marry Elizabeth of York, and the terrible tumult will end.

But not all of them fulfill the intent, let alone the ultimate objective. With the pattern left unchanged, history will recall Obama as a President of Anger, just like most other presidents from the democrat party. Just another liberal-lefty president of Gettin’-Even-With-Em-Ism.

I think history will also recall Obama’s efforts to get involved, with only one half of the local issues, to be unwise. And I’m selecting that final word most charitably, I could think of many other adjectives less kind but perhaps more accurate. “Idiotic” comes to mind as one, although there are others. History will counsel that perhaps the most prudent thing for Him to have done, would have been to continue the tradition of presidents and comment only in useless, ambiguous tones or else not at all.

History already recalls the “Beer Summit” and the events leading up to it, that way; does it not?

Obama’s just a walking insult for the nation over which He presides. Even His “at-least” flattery falls short of the promise, as in, “at least He’s passionate about His beliefs” and “at least He is very talented at giving speeches” and “at least He is very talented and polished in the public image He presents.” He’s more like an embarrassing, babbling moron. The more I experience His leadership, the more He impresses me as a champion whose strengths and assets are most definable and palpable in the moment. In that sense, if in none other, He represents us abroad poorly; we must end up looking like a somewhat empty-headed and ditzy people, divided amongst ourselves while we babble away with meaningless bromides about “coming together” when we don’t really want to, and cursed with all the liabilities of a snapshot-memory, missing all long-term recall faculties.

Hope not. But I’m afraid so.

…and the Learning Disabilities Skyrocket…and Nobody Knows Why…

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

…derp derp derp derp derp derp.

From here. Thanks to a Facebook post from blogger friend Rick.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts and Right Wing News.

Enjoying the Culture of Poverty

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Via Gerard. Christopher Orlet writes in the American Spectator:

If you move to a new rental every six months, yanking your kids out of school after school, and if you do drugs in front of your children, and sell your food stamps for cash, then chances are you are part of that culture. If you are 20 years old, living with your grandmother, with no interest in ever getting a job, or getting married, or doing much of anything, chances are you are part of that culture. If you do not have a kitchen table, but you do have a big flat screen TV, and when the social worker comes to visit someone yells, “The social worker is here, go get the light bulb,” then chances are you are part of that culture.

When I moved into the inner-city, I hoped to gain some insight and understanding of the poor and their situation. Two years later I left feeling the situation is intractable. Everything the professional uplifters do for the poor is but pruning the branches, instead of hacking at the roots of the problem. For the underclass to escape the culture of poverty they would have to cease doing most if not all of the above, and I don’t see that happening.

Besides, as I have written before, too many of the underclass enjoy the culture of poverty. They would feel horribly out of place in a tony subdivision where they would have to work to make a house and car payment, instead of drinking beer all day on the stoop ― they don’t even have stoops in the suburbs. They would have to cut their lawns and keep the trash and noise to a minimum. What fun is that? In the inner-city you can do whatever the hell you want. You can even shoot somebody, and chances are no one will rat you out, because that is the code of the inner-city streets, and people there hate the cops more than they hate the drug dealers.

My broken-record recurring chorus about Architects and Medicators grew out of an understanding that when the miscreant appears in front of the magistrate to determine guilt vs. innocence, and to receive his sentence, what we are seeing is not an instance of the errant appearing before the validating mechanism and then getting properly straightened out. What we are seeing is a collision between two different and contrary value systems — neither of which runs into any real trouble prior to impact. Just like planets, you might say. And this is why the meeting will likely be repeated not too far off into the future. The meeting is the real cause of the trouble. And the value systems have to do with feeling versus thinking — therefore, with instant gratification versus delayed.

In the land from which the convict comes, it is “right” not to pay your child support. Not, I hasten to add, a right — that is not the point. The point is, it is the desire that makes behavior proper. Wants before needs. You get a job if you want to. Make your car payment if you want to. Or act drunken and disorderly in public if you want to. Such a community ultimately becomes blighted, because mankind’s achievements are mostly connected to delayed gratification. But people adapt. They become entrenched further and further into the Architect-thinker-delayed-gratification way of living life, once they’ve made that initial choice, or they become entrenched further and further to the Medicator-feeler do-what-everyone-else-is-doing want-it-now-now-now way of living life if they’ve made the other.

Each community works according to an economic system. One of those economic systems has to do with helping other people do, or get, things before you can do, or get, what you want. The other economic system has to do with just demanding stuff; therefore, not very often building or fixing anything. Can you guess which is which.

“Drinking beer all day long on the stoop,” by the way, is literally medicating. Such people are, ironically, fastidious and perfectionist custodians of their own emotional state, if of nothing else in life. In the moment.

I would add many more bullet points to Mr. Orlet’s list. Softer ones, since I think those are the important ones; people who haven’t given it much thought, just starting to be seduced into the Medicator lifestyle. I would invade suburbia with my own list. If you voted Obama/Biden in 2012, or if you have a bumper sticker on your car saying so. If you had your school-age son “diagnosed” and strung him out on medication so he can “succeed in school.” If your kids send text messages at the dinner table, or if you don’t have any kind of dinner table, and don’t see anything wrong with not having one. If your spouse, and your kids, are essentially just bored and boring roommates.

Or if you are one of the kids — if you can score straight A’s on the latest test by “studying,” but know you possess little to nothing of the actual conceptual command, and wouldn’t be able to earn a passing grade 48 hours afterward…and don’t care. You’re part of it. If your first impulse, finding out something exists that you want, is to go clamoring to momma or someone else to get it for you. Pondering, not what you can do to earn it, but the who & where & when & how to do your begging, how sweetly to bat your eyelashes. Those are the signs. That’s enjoying the culture of poverty.

Not building things, not fixing things. Harassing your fellow citizens about their “carbon emissions” or what not, as opposed to helping them, servicing them, soothing them, becoming a part of their efforts.

Neither “planet” runs into real trouble before the collision. But there is a difference: Only one, in perfect isolation from the other, exists in a self-sustaining cycle. Ultimately, it’s a choice between the symbiotic and the parasitic.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts and Right Wing News.

Men Aren’t Pigs

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

The science is settled.

From William Teach at Pirate’s Cove:

A lovely pair of peepers is the first thing about a woman to draw a man’s attention, research claims – contrary to popular belief that his attention is likely to be fixed somewhat further down.
:
A spokesman for Murine eye drops, which carried out the poll, said: “This study almost crushes the common stereotype that the first thing men look at is a woman’s chest.

“However, it came third on the list – so it’s not quite a changed habit.”

Hat tip to Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.

I’m reminded of the joke about the very rustic-looking but very plain-speaking hayseed kid in the park, who perhaps leered a bit too long at the “cheek” of the young lady walking by in her “denim diapers,” or something…The story goes that she spun around indignantly and demanded to know what he was looking at, and the reply came back “what yer showin’ me.”

To the most important thing, about noticing-eyes-first, Teach adds the caveat “at least when meeting a woman close up.” I think that’s important. Seeing her from a distance, it’s often not physically possible to notice the eyes first. But I’m wondering if the next scientific research can be on, the nice young ladies who dress up to be noticed, and then get all peeved when it happens?

Might want to start here.

The Affleck-as-Batman Meme

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Some of these are hilarious.

Sorry Rush, I’m on their side. What t’heck are the chestless millennal kids doing to the Caped Crusader? This is just yet another one of those bad, bad, ultra-bad “Who’s for this, anyway?” ideas.

Oh. Mr. Whedon is for it (video auto-plays). I knew there was something about that guy I didn’t like.

Not Familiar With

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Nothing to add.

From Kate at Small Dead Animals.

“The Vital Faculty of Faith”

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Oh, my. Someone decided they’d just leave this out there

Let’s dispense with the crude metric of IQ and look at the actual lives led by atheists, and believers, and see how they measure up. In other words: let’s see who is living more intelligently.

And guess what: it’s the believers. A vast body of research, amassed over recent decades, shows that religious belief is physically and psychologically beneficial – to a remarkable degree.

In 2004, scholars at UCLA revealed that college students involved in religious activities are likely to have better mental health. In 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live. In the same year researchers at Duke University in America discovered that religious people have stronger immune systems than the irreligious. They also established that churchgoers have lower blood pressure.

Meanwhile in 2009 a team of Harvard psychologists discovered that believers who checked into hospital with broken hips reported less depression, had shorter hospital stays, and could hobble further when they left hospital – as compared to their similarly crippled but heathen fellow-sufferers.
:
Obviously, it’s the believers who are smarter. Anyone who thinks otherwise is mentally ill.

And I mean that literally: the evidence today implies that atheism is a form of mental illness…
:
Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands.

Dunno if it’s fair to lump everyone in the same group like that. There may be many reasons for not having faith. Someone might have lost theirs, for example, like Mel Gibson’s character in Signs.

But of course on the Internet, in the is-not-is-too debates, the atheist is — for the most part — one of those kids who “still knows everything.” They have yet to learn how much they still have to learn, and they’ve “figured out” that the God stuff is a bunch of nonsense. Based on what? That’s the point where the conversations get really awkward.

I believe in the spurious relationship, myself. The lack of belief is, in some ways, a cause; but in most ways, it is an effect of a lurker variable, the many other effects of which show up in the form of what the article rattles off. The decreased health, the higher blood pressure, the weaker immune system, the shorter lifespan. The lurker variable is passive narcissism, the kind called out in one of those Things I Know:

174. Being an atheist; maintaining a distinction between right and wrong; respecting the viewpoints of others. You may have two of those. Max.

The problem is, of course, for you to maintain a distinction between right and wrong, you have to get one from somewhere. That much is just obvious. How can you “maintain” what is not there? And you have to maintain it, in order to stand up for it. What do you do when you see slavery? What do you do when you see someone mugging someone else? It’s all “nature,” so are you to intervene? And if so, then on what grounds? Protesting “it’s wrong” is easy; but why? What makes it different from a cheetah going after a gazelle, or a spider going after a fly? You may find some who will protest that those are wrong too, somehow, but I’m pretty sure nobody outside the looney bin is going to counsel toward intervening in all of them.

Well with atheism, if you want to produce this right-wrong contrast so you can act on it, you pretty much have to make it up. How else could it be done? And there, we come to the thorny part: What happens if another atheist disagrees? Can you simply agree-to-disagree? No, you can’t. It’s right/wrong stuff. Action is obligatory. So if the line is to be drawn, then how do we get our straightedge?

We must necessarily…and the irony is, atheists relish using the phrase that immediately follows, to put down their believer brethren…shove our morals down someone else’s throat. That is the only option left available. You can change your mind and believe in a Higher Power, you can refuse to intervene and thus become an accessory to crime through lack of action, or you can let the law be your guide and just follow instructions. None of those is as popular among atheists as the personal invention of right-and-wrong, followed by the thundering away about “that’s wrong”…usually along the lines of the abortion issue, sometimes with capital punishment and euthanasia. And, the intervening. It makes me sad, and embarrassed by proxy, to see it happen. They work themselves into such a righteously indignant, frothy rage about the faithful shoving morals down throats — and, in the very next syllable, they do that very thing.

The Scandal Game

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

By way of Instapundit.

Related: We saw earlier that the slime that is Harry Reid, was sliming Republicans in Congress, stating without stating that the reason they were opposing Our Nation’s First Holy President had to do with “the fact that he’s African-American.” Well…not sure the color of Obama’s skin is the reason for Republican opposition, but I’m pretty sure it’s the reason for…stuff like this

Well, the skin color and being an adorable, charismatic democrat. The skin color is just a means to an end. As we saw with the Nixon/Obama scandal game, He Who Argues With The Dictionaries possesses an almost mystical power to escape deserved blame.

In fact it seems, to me, like when democrats pick out their champions over the last twenty to forty years or so, and you start to wonder things like “Well wait, this Mondale or Dukakis guy seems so unremarkable in every way possible, why exactly is it that they’re trying to sell him?” — that is the exceptional characteristic they’re really seeking, and they do much better in the general elections when they keep that in mind. The ability to escape blame. By whatever means: Bill Clinton’s affable nature, his mean nasty wife’s legitimate feelings of hurt and betrayal, Obama’s skin color and knack for making speeches about nothing, Jimmy Carter’s…uh, not being connected to Watergate.

Hillary and Obama had a real knock-down drag-out in the summer of ’08 about who would lead the party ticket. To those who don’t understand the democrats’ obsession with “Who is most likely to get away with shit?” this was inexplicable and surreal, since Hillary and Obama’s positions on the issues were practically indistinguishable. The argument inside the democrat party machinery was: Who holds the trump card? The “my turn” betrayed wife? Or, in Joe Biden’s words, the “clean and articulate” guy?

They chose Obama, and they were correct to do so. With Obama’s tactics unleashed, the population remains ignorant, which is the whole point after all. Outreach to the low-information voter, who knows nothing, is proud to know nothing, and just wants to feel good all the time.

Memo For File CLXXXIII

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

I’ve talked of the evils of group-think many times in the blog, for which my friend in New Mexico insists I need the services of an editor; and he’s right. But the following was written for an off-line document. It needs an editor too, but not as badly I think, as the stuff I write for the blog.

Just wanted to add it to the database.

Aristotle once said something that defined a state of being “educated,” as having the ability to “entertain a thought without accepting it.” There would be no point to calling this out if everyone could do this. I suppose it’s never been too common of a human talent, in any setting. And so for those participants who wish to display themselves as cosmetically smart, but lack this particular skill Aristotle was describing, there is another desire that takes shape right after the fidelity is pledged to this emerging consensus — to shed from the discourse any contrary thought that might rival for the position as an emerging consensus. They start to eliminate ideas, under the guise of entertaining them. They mock, they interrupt, they distract by way of loaded phrases like “let’s move on,” they engage in all sorts of logical fallacies, they “debunk” myths that aren’t really mythical. They ostracize, or threaten to ostracize. What all these things have in common is: They seek to shape the emerging consensus by eliminating information rather than by gathering it, which is a tip-off that this consensus is being shaped by way of ignorance, rather than by learning.

Update: This is entirely OT, other than as a reminder that I need to hit Buck’s site a bit more often:

How to Treat Children

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The first thing to keep in mind is that human life expectancy is always growing. When you see someone between the ages of 1 and 10, you’re looking at someone who is very likely to still be around a century from now, along with the hopes and dreams and fond memories that person will have. You, on the other hand, almost certainly won’t be. And whether you were annoyed on this particular morning, afternoon or evening, won’t matter one bit.

Here is the wrong way to deal with kids. I’ve gone ahead & transcribed the “letter”:

To the lady living at this address:

I also live in this neighborhood and have a problem!!!! You have a kid that is mentally handicapped and you consciously decided that it would be a good idea to live in a close proximity neighborhood like this???? You selfishly put your kid outside everyday and let him be a nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else with that noise polluting whaling he constantly makes!!! That noise he makes when he is outside is DREADFUL!!!!!!!!! It scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!!! When you feel your idiot kid needs fresh air, take him to our park you dope!!! We have a nature trail!! Let him run around those places and make noise!!!!!! Crying babies, music and even barking dogs are normal sounds in a residential neighborhood!!!!! He is NOT!!! [Okay, I’m fed up with counting exclamation marks, not going to try anymore…] !!!!!

He is a hindrance to everyone and will always be that way!!!!! Who the hell is going to care for him????? No employer will hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him and you are not going to live forever!! Personally, they should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science. What the hell else good is he to anyone!!! You had a retarded kid, deal with it…properly!!!!! What right do you have to do this to hard working people!!!!!!! I HATE people like you who believe, just because you have a special needs kid, you are entitled to special treatment!!! GOD!!!!!!

Do everyone in our community huge a favor and MOVE!!!! VAMOSE!!! SCRAM!!!! Move away and get out of this type of neighborhood setting!!! go live in a trailer in the woods or something with your wild animal kid!!! nobody wants you living here and they don’t have the guts to tell you!!!!!

Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!!! Either way, we are ALL better off!!!

Sincerely,

One pissed off mother!!!!

Other than the foregoing, she hasn’t much of an opinion about it.

Now then, that’s one way to deal with “noise polluting whaling” kids who get in your way.

Here — different context — is another.

Dear Section 113, Row 17, Seat 22:

Forgive me for not getting your name yesterday. I really should have because I wanted to pray for you by name. My husband’s company gets several sets of tickets to Milwaukee Brewers games every year that come available for the employee’s use via a lottery system and we just happen to get four free tickets to see the Brew Crew play the Washington Nationals on Sunday, August 4th.

The weather was absolutely perfect for a day at Miller Park, but my anxiety level was still high because – let’s face it – I was bringing THE CHILDREN. Not just the big kids, not just one of them, but all three boys. Together. At the same time.

Isaiah was jacked up for his trip to the ballpark and his behavior reflected that. Every thirty seconds came pleas for cotton candy, sunflower seeds, popcorn, ice cream, balloon animals, face paint, and other such nonsense. Micah behaved like, well…..Micah and Thomas didn’t have a seat so he was basically crawling all over the place for the entirety of the game.

To put it bluntly, I was grateful for my cold beer. All three of them.

But you were not annoyed by the number of times you were jabbed in the back as Thomas crawled like a monkey from seat to seat. Instead, you turned around and frequently engaged in conversation with my children, proclaiming that Thomas would be stealing his big brothers’ girlfriends in about 15 years so I had better be ready.

You couldn’t have been older than 24 or 25 and you were clearly at the ballpark yesterday to spend some time with the lovely young woman you had your arm around. Still, you made it a point to chat with Isaiah and encourage him to try to catch a foul ball and even took it upon yourself to race him down to the Brewers dugout three times in the middle of innings in the hope of getting a game ball tossed his way. You promised my son, “We will get you a ball, kiddo.” (For the record, Daddy also brought Isaiah down there and struck out as well.)

In the ninth inning, the Brewers were actually up by a couple runs (miracle of miracles!) and were three outs away from a victory. You told Isaiah to be ready, that as soon as that third out was achieved, you would bring him down to that dugout and wait for a ball. This was the time. This time, for sure, a game ball would be his.

But luck was not on his side, it would seem. In the crowd of fans all competing for attention, you two came up short. You walked Isaiah back up to our seats, giving him a reassuring pat on the back, but the disappointment on his face was evident.

Mystery Man at Miller ParkThat’s when you knelt down and gave him a Milwaukee Brewers baseball. His eyes lit up, he took it from you slowly and you told him, “Hey, I promised you a ball.”

I’m not sure when you got that ball. Maybe it was a side thought on a run up to the concession stands for a beer or soft pretzel. Perhaps you left your seat and went to the stores specifically to get Isaiah a ball. All I know is that you still tried like crazy to get him a game ball, knowing that you had a secret backup plan in place to make my son, a complete stranger to you, feel like a million bucks.

Thank you for what you did for my son at Miller Park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. As we were preparing to leave the stadium, I reached out my hand to offer my sincere thanks for your act of kindness. To my surprise, you pulled me in for a hug.

As we shuffled out of the stadium, Isaiah wouldn’t stop talking about his very own Brewers baseball and how it was one of his “special treasures.” It can be so easy to forget sometimes how small acts of kindness can have such a huge impact on our fellow humans. Holding open a door, offering a seat on a bus or subway, paying for a stranger’s coffee. All teeny little choices that can become a bright spot in an otherwise difficult day.

But you did more than that, sir. You made my boy feel like a rockstar. You didn’t have to. You chose to. And I am sincerely grateful to you for it. When my wiped-out children were tucked into bed last night, I took a few minutes to thank God for you. I asked that He bless you and draw near to you wherever you were. I prayed that the Lord would encourage you and honor your kindness by bringing joy to your heart.

But I would still love to find out your name so I can send you a proper thank you note. 🙂

Sincerely,

The Grateful Mother in Row 18

My idea: Print out the second letter, track down the author of the first letter, leave the print-out on her doorstep, turn around and walk away.

Let her feel like the shit that she is. Perhaps, from such an exercise, we can all learn a little something.

Autistic or not, little kids are greatly impressed by things that seem small to the rest of us. And those impressions last a lifetime. It’s important, and it matters.

North Carolina Registers Over 583 Democrat Votes Over the Age of 112

Monday, August 19th, 2013

I’m sure this is all above-board and there’s nothing out-of-place here.

“Slime” is Both a Noun and a Verb

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Your current Senate Majority Leader, at “work,” and giving Nevada a reputation:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Friday said he hoped GOP opposition to President Obama was not based on his race.

Reid made the comments in response to a question during a radio interview.

He said Republicans spent all of Obama’s first term opposing his legislative agenda, and they seem to be doing the same in the president’s second term.

“It’s been obvious that they’re doing everything they can to make him fail,” Reid said in response to a caller’s question during a radio interview on Nevada radio station KNPR. “And I hope, I hope, and I say this seriously — I hope that’s based on substance and not the fact that he’s African-American.”

The slime is sliming, because sliming is what slime does.

What a cool poem the slime inspired (hat tip to Gerard again):

The reset button didn’t work.
The Arab Street’s aflame.
ObamaCare is off its rails.
The jobless rate’s the same.

The Peeping Toms of government
Are snooping through our mail.
Michelle is pushing little kids
To feed on sprouts and kale.

The IRS and FEC
Are playing off the sheet.
Our consulates and embassies
Are forced into retreat.

But if you deign to criticize,
The mammoth mess we’re in,
Your motive must be based upon
The color of his skin.

For only willful prejudice
And bigotry of mind,
Prevents embrace of presidents
Who lead us from behind.

Remember having a president who was held to standards?

To be able to respond in the affirmative, is becoming a characteristic of age, now. You must be over 45 if the word “diskette” ever meant anything to you, and you must be over 25 if you can remember people arguing, in the mainstream and out in the limelight, about whether the current president’s policies were having good effect.

I remember when the air was thick with it. “My Dad says if Ford is re-elected, he’s going to fly a jet fighter over Russia and bomb it.” Then later, “My Dad says if Carter is re-elected, gas will cost a buck and a half a gallon.” I detect the greatest damage done by this recent change, by way of recollection that the two dads in the Ford/Carter era were, and behaved like, friends. They came to the same house parties, shook hands and smiled at each other. When they “got into it,” their wives quickly got bored, and made some effort to change the subject…which was futile, and the wives abandoned the effort in a good-natured way. Meanwhile, each of the husbands, who could not agree on anything, would gladly lend money to the other if the necessity arose. Friendship came first.

This slime is corrosive slime. It isn’t just disgusting, gelatinous goo. It eats away at what it covers. It is toxic. It hurts us.

Someday, we should make a point of treating it that way.

Gerard’s UFO

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Yup, I remember that.

American Digest.

No One Knows How Airplanes Work

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Some language not safe for the workplace.

Rules are rules.

The Med Link

Friday, August 16th, 2013

As Rush Limbaugh says, it’s not often a caller comes up with a point he entirely missed. “Open Line Friday” worked out well that way for him, when “Robin” called in about an hour ago and brought up something about the millennial kids. They’re being sold a bill of goods, and sold down the river; what they’re being sold, is a sense of futility and despair. The medication of this entire generation is a part of that.

I recall when I was in public school, we had these kids who were very bright and consistently brought home the grades to prove it, along with very high scores on the exams, but I was completely baffled when I asked one of them something about the subject matter and what he knew was next to nothing. These kids know how to “study” but their studying only works for 24 to 48 hours. More troubling than that, they possess all sorts of intellect and gifts for noodling out ambiguities in the exams, even though their command of the concepts is lacking. I recall one example, in my own son’s homework, that he had to bring to me because it required a correct interpretation of “one hundred and one over fifty-eight”; does that mean 100+1/58, or 101/58? The ambiguity was not the point of the exercise — it seems the test-maker simply hadn’t considered it. Nor was there any guidance for resolving this against the notations, in the material covered so far in the class, to the best I could determine. Unfortunately, I’m no sharper in this area than my kid. In fact, I’m very sure his class was filled, as mine would’ve been back in the day, with these “bright” kids who would have reliably sorted out the equation in the correct way without even comprehending how there could have been a question or misunderstanding. There’s a process of soft empathy here, between test maker and test taker, and I’m not tuning in on the right frequency.

Anyway, my observation over the last several years, is that if you’re a millennial and you’re male — it seems you are in this class of empathizing, super-bright super-charismatic but not-forming-command-of-the-concepts kids…the high score on the exam, but only within 24 hours kids…either that, or you’re medicated.

What this “Robin” caller managed to link together, was this epidemic of medication of manly boys who think in a manly way, and liberalism. The thread that connects these two bodies of thought together, meanders through what I was noticing half a year ago during my bike ride through Silicon Valley: Everywhere you look, systems. Systems with kiosks in them. Systems, with kiosks, that do the things individuals are usually expected to do. The individual, therefore, is this empty shell who approaches the system, self-assimilates, and then relies on the system and all of the systemic resources, as an alternative to “packing” supplies, tools and knowledge. The “user” then tumbles on through, waiting for the next kiosk to dispense drinking water, sunscreen, doggy poop bags, lip balm, hand sanitizer or whatever. And of course if trouble comes along, he dials 911 and hopes for the best.

Liberalism is despair. It is a message that you can’t do anything for yourself. You need to take the medication you’re told to take, so you can do your homework.

I’m glad to see my “reference manual” about the difference between liberals and conservatives, inspiring additional comments. Like Nightfly’s:

It would probably be more precise to say that conservatives love individuals and liberals love groups. This is a problem, because only one of those loves works in both directions: a conservative can love a group made up of individuals, but a liberal can’t love an individual in the same fashion. To be individual is to be distinct in some way, and inasmuch as you are distinct, you differ from the beloved group. That’s why all such movements keep growing more and more monomaniacal, purging members to keep themselves ever pure.

It also explains the phenomenon noted before at Morgan’s place, that movements of the left inevitably flow only one way, more leftward into extremism. You start by losing diversity of opinion about the topic at hand, continue by losing diversity of topic, and by the time you start to shed diversity of personality, hobbies, and outside interests, the brakes have snapped and you’re barreling down the mountainside in a runaway rail cart.

Right. Helpless people want everyone else to be helpless. And it could be said that conservatives aspire to be what people tend to think an iPhone is — a cool, smart gadget loaded up with software applications and all kinds of wonderful capabilities — whereas liberals aspire to be what the gadget really is, which is merely a token engaging the network, which is the real product being sold. The network has the capabilities, and all that money paid for the fancy phone is actually a subscription to the services that maintain the network. The smartphone actually does very little. In fact maybe, for that analogy to work, I should say the conservatives aspire to be the Leatherman. Liberals are more like a GPS receiver.

The trouble with minimizing the expectations made against the individual is, by its very nature, it minimizes the individual’s responsibilities; and when you minimize the individual’s responsibilities, you minimize the individual’s sense of responsibility. This encourages the “Occupy” mindset. It works like this: The system is supposed to sell me a light rail ticket, or the system is supposed to give me lip balm, or the system is supposed to give me a doggy poop bag. What if, one day, it doesn’t? When that happens, you have the situation most guaranteed in all of the human condition, to create discord and strife: A need, unmet, with no immediately-recognizable vision for getting it fulfilled, along with a consciousness that lacks the experience required for forming and realizing challenging visions.

That consciousness, then, is boxed into a corner. There is no next-step for it to take, other than throwing some sort of temper-tantrum. It must strike, it must protest, it must vandalize, it must obstruct someone else, because the resources for achieving the goal are all externalized. It has to seek out someone more capable who might be able to solve the problem, and torment that other person, who will then be frustrated into making the delivery. Whether that works or whether it does not — chaos ensues. Individual capability is conducive to order, individual weakness is conducive to chaos. So when you climb in your car and turn the ignition key and nothing happens, you do something constructive to solve the problem. But a ticket dispensing machine at the light rail station that doesn’t dispense tickets, is soon vandalized. Because boy oh boy, that’ll really show “them.”

This medication fad…like liberalism itself, the link to which Robin managed to point out…is a fucking time bomb. They should both be treated as such. It is unconscionable what we are doing to the next generation. And inexcusable.