Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Dopiest

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Burt Prelutsky sounds off:

Quite honestly, the only people I ever hear from who are dopier than liberals are those who identify themselves as conservatives and insist that Republicans and Democrats are identical.

Anyone who would suggest that there is no difference between Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner or Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, is one very dumb bunny. No difference between the likes of Henry Waxman, Al Franken and Charles Rangel and Darrel Issa, Peter King and Paul Ryan? No difference between Joe Biden and Dick Cheney? No difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? You have to wonder what madcap pharmacist is supplying these alleged conservatives with their stupidity pills.

How can anyone who takes the Second Amendment seriously insist there’s no difference between the two parties when gun sales are booming, all thanks to such flame-throwing racists as Eric Holder, Al Sharpton and the Black Panthers? The good news is that income taxes on the gun industry have jumped 66% since Obama’s election, and it’s mainly due to increased sales, not Obama’s counterproductive tax policies. It’s ironic that the man who is most opposed to law-abiding citizens owning weapons not only selected Eric (“Operation Fast & Furious”) Holder to be his attorney general, but has personally done more to hype American gun sales than any prior president.
:
For those of you who continue to insist that it makes absolutely no difference if the president is a Democrat or a member of the GOP, please keep in mind that if John Kerry had won the 2004 election, he would not have named John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Instead, he would have seated a couple left-wingers in the mold of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Now, by a show of hands, is there anyone out there who doubts that with six left-wingers on the Court, there would be the slightest chance they’d decide that ObamaCare is unconstitutional?

I would imagine Mr. Prelutsky has been provoked into this latest by the many reactions to Mitt Romney coming closer to securing the Republican nomination. The not-a-dimes-worth-of-difference people do have their reasons for so opining, it should be noted. Romney does have problems with his conservative credentials, and one has cause for concern when one notes the contest has come down to this. The system does have more than a whiff of riggishness about it.

I’m often fond of summarizing these situations with complex and emotionally charged outlooks on the world and life, in terms of very simple math problems. See, Barack Obama and people like Him, are celebrated as special people and have been celebrated as that for so long, that they can’t deal with losing the identity. Oh, you thought I meant black people? No…there are tons and tons of privileged, pampered whites in this crowd I’m describing. They say jump, the crowd says how high…it’s worked this way since third grade, or earlier, and nobody envisions it ever going any other way, because they don’t, and they don’t because nobody else does. So they go through life frustrated because they know there’s something different about them — but that something is never really defined. Something to do with speaking well, being confident, but they’re actually apprehensive deep down inside. They can’t shake the feeling that maybe, whatever is special about them, might be something external to them. And this fills them with fear. Because that would mean everything inside, is just humdrum and ordinary.

So the question comes up: What is one plus one? Barack Obama will immediately rule out “two” as a possible answer because, hey, that’s what an ordinary person would say. Thus we see, with this simple math exercise, someone like President Obama “enjoys” a greater likelihood of getting it wrong, than an answer-producing method that relies purely on random chance. You’re better off rolling the dice to answer the one-plus-one problem than asking President Obama. And, because it works that way with the simple problems, it works that way with the more complicated ones as well. People like Obama have this natural phobia, a natural revulsion, against the common-sense answer. They’re more likely to get it wrong than a decision-making method that works by chance.

The trouble with Mitt Romney is — he will say “two,” but if someone else says “one,” “three” or “five” he’ll reply with “yes, that’s just fine” or “yeah, that’s perfectly alright.” This is why he’s having trouble appealing to conservatives, who understand that we live in a mathematical world…therefore, there is little value in choosing the right answer, if you don’t recognize that all the other answers must therefore be wrong.

So I understand both sides of this.

What I do not understand, are the people who somehow insist that now, these last two or three weeks, as April morphs into May in twenty-twelve — this is the time when Mitt Romney has to be taken down by any means necessary. The opposite is the truth. To the extent that the Romney ascension represents a problem…and I believe that it does…the time to attack that problem is all the other times. For now, if the one-plus-one-is-three guy is to be sent back to Illinois next January, there is going to have to be a coming-together of all the people who recognize that this is what has to happen. There’s going to have to be some emulsification. Can’t build a castle with bone-dry sand.

Who Would Use the Phrase, “Julia Decides to Have a Child”?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Weekly Standard investigates, hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.

One aspect of President Obama’s philosophically revealing — and mock-worthy“Julia” web ad doesn’t seem to have garnered as much attention as one might have expected…When Julia, who never entirely seems to grow out of childhood in her own right, hits the age of 31, we are told that she “decides to have a child.”

This is peculiar phrasing. There’s no mention of Julia having first decided to get married, and no mention of Julia’s husband — or even of her dating anyone — in any of the snippets shown from any of the stages of her life. Perhaps the ad simply doesn’t mention Julia having gotten married because it was one of the few noteworthy events in her life that didn’t involve the active assistance of the federal government.
:
Aside from the total lack of romantic spirit on display in this stage of Julia’s life, one wonders what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the longtime Democratic senator from New York, would have thought of this ad. Moynihan famously highlighted the decline of the American family — particular of black Americans’ families. He highlighted that, as of 1963, the out-of-wedlock birthrate had risen to an alarming 24 percent among black Americans (from 17 percent in 1940), compared to 3 percent among white Americans (from 2 percent in 1940). He noted that this “breakdown” in the family structure “led to a startling increase in welfare dependency.”

Yep. Back in those exciting days when Bill Clinton was finishing up his first term, not that long ago by any means…the conservative/liberal conflict was pretty clear-cut. The conservative position represented in the new Gingrich Congress was, our social-services safety net had become something of a vicious cycle, as the largess of the state had created a dependency class, which in turn reproduced without the mainstream concerns about where the college fund comes from, how does Sugarlump get hold of a car & how does he get insured…and then each new generational wave threw itself upon the over-extended safety net. A caused B and B caused A, with no end in sight, so something had to be done. The liberal response was twofold: 1) Nuh-huh, that doesn’t happen, and 2) Well, it does happen and you tighty-righties need to just get used to it, it’s a necessary evil.

Fast-forward to Anno Julia, and the debate has shifted quite aways without our consciously noticing it. And the direction in which it is shifted is not a good one. The debate has not come closer to being resolved, it’s drifted further away, as we now disagree on what the goals are. As anyone who’s watched “Life of Julia” can recognize right away, when President Obama campaigns for re-election this year, He will be doing so on behalf of a constituency that, from His explanation of it, thinks things are supposed to be this way — and who’s to say they are not.

The verb “decides” is a powerful one that also shows a new direction for the national discourse about these social services. Conservatives used to be rightfully piqued about having to subsidize someone else’s lifestyle choices, and classically, the liberal rejoinder has been that these are not lifestyle choices. Again, with the faceless cartoon-figure of Julia, we see President Obama has subtly — or not so subtly? — given up on that. The message that comes across, which is already familiar to us through the many, many other things Obama has had to tell us, is: Yeah, it’s a choice, and what of it? This is the new “greatness” of America, that everybody does whatever they feel like doing, and because we’re going to fleece those selfish rich people, stupid isn’t gonna hurt.

That does seem to be the goal. Hakuna Matada, means no worries for the rest of your days…we’ll just tax the rich people.

The peculiar thing is, the Obama brand of liberal thinks the country has “grown” into this childlike mindset. They think this is the culmination of stage after stage after stage of our national development…or maturity…or evolution. And this is where their viewpoint sputters out and just stops working entirely. How do you aspire toward the next stage of development, when the next stage of development is analogous to one of a helpless newborn infant suckling at a tit? Well, that’s the situation, isn’t it? Gimme, gimme, gimme, if I want it and have to wait for it, I’m gonna cry.

How can anyone of sane mind evaluate this as a way of living, and not come to the conclusion that it’s a process of regression rather than one of maturity? This is the real sea change with the “Life of Julia” slideshow. I can understand some people are just lazy and ignorant, don’t want to spend any time learning about what’s going on, just wanting their stuff…even maybe excuse it. But something new is happening when the President’s slideshow asks us to pretend up is down and in is out.

Come to think of it, “Julia” was the name of the female lead in 1984, wasn’t it?

Adventures in Dentistry

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

On another occasion Mother accompanied me to the dentist, where I was to have an aching tooth removed and replaced with a bridge. After my work was accomplished the dentist, a kindly, sensitive man, offered to examine Mother and promptly informed her that she was overdue for dentures. She was not hard to convince, and asked him to proceed at once. using me as interpreter, he explained that five badly infected teeth needed to be extracted at once, and if she was ready he would anesthetize her and proceed. She scoffed at the anesthetic, saying, “I don’t need that.” Thinking that she didn’t understand, the dentist explained that novocaine would lessen the pain, but she waved his explanation aside impatiently. The poor dentist was shaken at the thought of what he was asked to do and looked at me questioningly. Upon receiving my confirming nod, he applied himself to his arduous task. The first tooth had a huge root and required all his strength to extract. Certain that Mother would be unable to bear another such ordeal, he again offered anesthetic, but again she refused. After each extraction he repeated this offer, and each time she refused. When the dreadful job was finished without a word of protest from Mother, the exhausted dentist wiped his brow and turned to me. “Could you have done that?” he asked wonderingly. “I wouldn’t even try,” I assured him.

Mother stayed on with us while her gums healed and her dentures were fitted. She and the dentist became the best of friends. I frequently wonder how often he recounted this story to his colleagues for I doubt he ever had another patient to match her fortitude. (Immigrant Girl: A Memoir, pp. 67-68.)

That was jotted down by Sigfrid Eidsness Ohrt, in the early 1980′s as she approached her ninetieth birthday; it recounts the long hard winter of 1917 in Saskatchewan when her mother, Ragnhild Fjelde Eidsness, showed ‘em how it’s done back in the old country. Norwegians don’t need no stinkin’ novocaine.

Her grandson just repeated the exercise an hour or two ago. Last dental exam for me was probably sometime about the time she wrote those words, a little over thirty years ago. Not sure how it compares to having five dead infected teeth pulled. But I, too, took the “Braveheart” approach and hey, I think I outdid you because my teeth are all alive, Granny.

That having been said, I would have to encourage the next generation not to follow my example. I was joking last night that my dentist might not have been born yet the last time I saw a dentist; the hygeinist tonight, at least in her case, confirmed it. That’s probably a good baseline threshold. If the person cleaning your teeth wasn’t born yet the last time you had your teeth cleaned, your maintenance schedule is in need of revising.

Anyway, yeah, the gums need some tender lovin’ care, they’re getting it. The bones are holding up pretty well. Miraculously well, really. I credit my own brushing, the minerals in the water in Arizona, and a good diet. Anyway…I’ve been “invited” back in another four weeks.

Obama Supporters Want Romney to be More Like McCain

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Ann Althouse is glad he’s not taking them up on it.

Isn’t it funny, this “treason” incident? Obama supporters everywhere are chastising Romney and holding up McCain as the exemplar of how to respond to overstatements about Obama:

A backer introduced Romney by slamming President Obama for taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, comparing Obama to Ronald McDonald. And when a woman said Obama should be tried for treason, Romney didn’t disagree and asked the woman to follow up her question.

Later, when asked by reporters about the treason comment, Romney said he did not believe the president should be tried.

But by then, the moment was already being compared unfavorably to Sen. John McCain’s handling of a similar situation during his 2008 run against Obama.

When a woman said she couldn’t trust Obama because “he’s an Arab,” McCain responded immediately and forcefully: “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”

That was awfully nice of McCain, but let’s remember he lost. And I think I remember him having a rather exaggerated fear of criticizing Obama. Now, I think McCain had some reason to worry that people in the audience would say something racist or arguably racist or somewhat racial and that anything like that would be exploited by the Obama campaign. But at this point in American history, 4 years later, we are free to criticize Obama. Romney doesn’t need to go all beta when an audience member states her antagonism to Obama in a strong way. He doesn’t need to scold and discipline Obama’s antagonists. Romney’s approach to answering the question asked was just fine, though it perfectly understandable why the Obama campaign would like Romney to get sidetracked into defending Obama.

I wasn’t aware there was anyone still taking the whole “new tone / civil discourse” thing seriously anymore. Only the grossly misinformed, I suppose…maybe the people who read L.A. Times?

“Ninth Circle of Business Hell”

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Troglopundit, by way of Ed Driscoll at Instapundit:

This is a bit of a leftover from this couple-days-old post, about Wisconsin launching up the lists of “business friendly” states since Gov. Walker took over:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Texas remains the top state for business and California still holds the title for the worst, according to an annual ranking of states by Chief Executive magazine released on Wednesday.

Chief Executive each year surveys CEOs and asks them to grade states in which they do business. This year 650 responded, giving Texas high marks “foremost for its business-friendly tax and regulatory environment,” a report on the survey and ranking said on the magazine’s website.

“Texas easily clinched the No. 1 rank, the eighth successive time it has done so,” the report said. “California earns the dubious honor of being ranked dead last for the eighth consecutive year.”

California “appears to slip deeper into the ninth circle of business hell,” the report said. “Each year, the evidence that businesses are leaving California or avoid locating there because of the high cost of doing business due to excessive state taxes and stringent regulations, grows.”

I believe what I’m feeling right now is called “Schadenfreude.”

Yeah…which I don’t share, and can’t share, since I’m sitting right here.

This does have the look and feel of repetition of an experiment that has been tried many times before and found futile. The question posed by the experiment would be: Once you put an organized and governed region — a state — under the tutelage of the unproductive, thereby placing unproductive people in charge of determining how productive people are to produce…and, as a direct consequence things start to go to hell…can the trolley ever be knocked far enough off the rails that the unproductive people eventually are forced to pull their heads out of their asses whether they want to or not? Can that happen? Does the machinery have a fuse that pops at some point?

And the answer science provides based on the experimentation that’s been conducted thus far, is rather unmistakable. Every time the coffers run dry, as I’ve noted before many times — and they do — the policies need no change, because the policies are not to blame. Those darn taxpayers didn’t pay enough, that’s the problem. In other words, there’s a reason that unproductive people are unproductive, even if they’ve been elected to California’s Assembly and Senate. If they had what it took to say “Hey, this whiz-bang idea I had is not netting the results I wanted it to, I shall have to try something else” — for the most part, they wouldn’t be there. They are where they are, because of what they are and how they do things. They lack this ability. And they’re making the decisions.

So…no fuse. It’s been tossed away and replaced by a paper clip. The machinery will just juice up and juice up some more, until the whole thing melts down.

“Taking a Good Joke To[o] Far”

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Neal Boortz is in a state of alarm, and I myself in one of extreme discomfort, to see an unelected Obama administration sub-czar using Marxist rhetoric to justify the current policies on his personal blog. That isn’t hyperbole, the bureaucrat really is quoting Karl Marx from Das Kapital, and in a laudatory way, to show us what direction we need to go.

But what really floored me, was this sign-off in which he critiques the use of the term “class warfare.” How dare you peons notice what we’re doing and start describing it in accurate terms! Stop it!

To warn against class warfare only makes sense if there are classes, and more than that, if there might be a reason to be answered for one of the classes to do battle. There is only so much to go around, and the efforts of one group or the other to assert a claim to a larger share can be called class warfare. It can be a war waged through changes in the taxes, in a restructuring of incentives and pay scales, an increase in the benefits given to the poor, or revolt. The first three are legitimate means in our society, and it is really taking a good joke to [sic] far to suggest it is damaging to the body politic for members of society to look at the differences in income and take action to redistribute in their direction. [bold emphasis mine]

So I guess we’re all done arguing over whether these people are followers of Marx or not. There’s no disagreement.

Now, if you’re tasked to maintain or build something that is actually supposed to work, interestingly, you’re going to be seeing the entire situation differently than a Marxist. Think about a pressure plate absorbing pressure inequitably, so that a force is dispersed throughout four square inches rather than a hundred and forty-four square inches. Think about one bearing out of six absorbing a disproportionate share of the stress, load and heat as the shaft spins. There, too, out in the real world will be a problem of inequality that must be solved…and soon, for a mechanical breakdown is imminent. What’s the first step? Anybody? Bueller…?

You aren’t going to think like a Marxist, because the first question you’ll need to have settled is why? Specifically…what is it that is special about these four square inches, or about this one bearing, that divides up the load in this way. Look into that, and you’ll find something crooked. Maybe the part that is absorbing all the stress, is the part that has to be replaced. Or maybe it’s something else. Maybe the shaft is out of alignment. Maybe there is a rule of adjacency going on here, like, one generator picks up a load because the generator next to it on the circuit, isn’t putting out the way it should, and you’re dealing with a rolling blackout.

In either case, the first step is to get inquisitive. Right here. Things should be uniform and they’re not — why? What’s special about this one thing?

Marxists, I’ve noticed, never seem to do that…ever. Of course, we know why. It’s obvious. They cannot afford to.

A has far more money than B, and this causes all of these problems that need to be fixed toot-sweet…”there is only so much to go around”…”take action to redistribute”…to take the mechanic’s attitude and start asking, why is there more loot in the orbital space of A, than around B, is to take the conversation in a place where the Marxist cannot afford for it to go.

After all, when you’re the guy who doesn’t have very much, it doesn’t matter what you need to do to get hold of more. Some poor people do have their principles of course, and can see the pitch coming from a mile away; they say, no, I’m not going to vote myself someone else’s property, I’m going to see what I can do about my own situation. Such a feeling can dissipate as one’s plight becomes more desperate. The thing of it is, though, by then you’re willing to do anything else, just as well. Like — put some serious thought into the possibility you’ve been raised the wrong way, maybe consider that hard work and dedication might be the keys to prosperity, find yourself an internship, become an old-fashioned apprentice-type, go to a night school, bust your ass…maybe that’ll lead somewhere just as well?

The constituents of the Marxist are not dedicated to Marxism. They just want their circumstances to get better…or, to not get any worse. That’s all. Point is, the Marxist cannot spend too much rhetoric examining causes of things. None at all, really.

He wants to reach not just any ol’ poor-person, but a special kind of poor-person. The kind who is poor, and destined to remain poor, because he or she can’t or won’t accept the idea that circumstances might have causes, that maybe what’s being endured is nothing more than a consequence to a prior action…or lack of action. Of course, middle-class types are just as suitable, provided they don’t know they’re middle-class, and think they’re being oppressed just because they’re missing something someone else has.

Because hey, who’s going to join up with a “redistribution” effort if he expects to be on the wrong end of the redistribution? I know I know, Warren Buffett and Stephen King talk about it a lot, but I still don’t see them taking the time to sit down and write “extra tax” checks to the U.S. Treasury. No, people support property redistribution schemes when they expect to profit from them. Period.

And most people who support such schemes, simply haven’t thought on it enough to see it another way. Either they’re unskilled, or old, or both, or else they’re concerned about someone else in whom they see little or no potential for achievement. That’s what Marxism is; it is the nemesis of human achievement, in all available aspects. Meaning, it doesn’t see human achievement as a possibility, has already invested its entire existence against it, and it will not permit it to happen.

Food Stamps in Georgia Cut Off

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

“Something went wrong.”

“My babies don’t deserve that.” Quite right. I hate what’s being done to these kids, even more than I hate what’s being done to the grown-ups.

The “glitch,” and the mystery aspect to it, are all inventions of course. What’s gone wrong is completely obvious: They have a non-self-sustaining economic model here, one in which the coin that acquires goods and services, is nothing more involved or helpful than simple cosmetic anger. One simply wanders into the “marketplace,” whelps in hand, and rants to get stuff.

Damn straight, something went wrong. The well ran dry. Now everyone’s in a crazy mad-dash Musical Chairs contest to not be someone; the “Julias” and their whelps are trying not to be the poor dumb schmuck left without the foodstuffs (and skills), and the bureaucrats, in turn, are trying not to be the poor dumb schmuck who’s blamed for the mess.

Thus ends the experiment.

Best Sentence CXXVII

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Tim Nerenz, Ph.D., takes the 127th award for BSIHORL (Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately).

Examining the beneficial and purifying force of competition, he comes up with this gem:

It’s neither the sheriff nor the priest that keeps the first auto mechanic honest in a small town; it’s the second mechanic.

Then, BSIHORL in hand, he goes in for the kill:

That European socialist model of corporatist protectionism has produced 40 years of job and wage stagnation over there; and we are in year number four of proving it was no fluke. In 2009 – the most recent year of U.S. government data on business mortality – there were 171,000 fewer new businesses formed in the United States than the number that failed.

In Wisconsin, over 12,000 firms went out of business in 2009. With them went 103,000 jobs that are never coming back. No amount of seasonal adjustment to monthly BLS job estimates will change that. It is the formation and growth of new businesses that will lift this state and this nation out of the mire.

The fact that 2009 is the most recent data our government has compiled on business formation tells us how little the government monopoly understands about the American economy it has taken upon itself to regulate.

How can a government that still doesn’t know the number of business starts, stops, expansions, and contractions from 2010 expect to regulate the economy in 2012, or enact policies that promote economic growth in 2013? Can any candidate for any office from either party cite a single business formation statistic while he/she is bloviating about jobs and employment?

The government monopoly can’t possibly do a good job of centrally managing a real-time global economy using information that is three years old. And yet, they are about to add health care, energy, and our banking system to the scope of their direct control – how could that possibly turn out well for us?

France…

Monday, May 7th, 2012

…is headed in the wrong direction, and so are we.

“If All You See” #398

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Need to link to these things William Teach puts up, a bit more often than I do. “If all you see is an evil burger and an evil beer, you just might be a Warmist.

A Single Word, Begins with “E”, Means Lower Standards

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

More weekend wisdom from my Hello Kitty of Blogging account:

Thought for the day:

If an alien from another planet, fully capable of understanding our language, competent in logic and common sense but entirely unfamiliar with our modern culture, were forced to live with us for about a week or so…I’m sure he’d come to the conclusion that this word we use, “environment,” has something to do with diminished expectations and/or lowered standards.

Companies who talk about protecting the environment, charge a goddamn fortune and their products & services don’t do anything.

Politicians who talk about the environment, just raise our taxes and make everything more expensive.

Scientists who talk about the environment, don’t even practice science.

And the everyday-everywhere-everyman who talks about the environment, is just a smug foppish snot who likes to feel superior to everybody else, doesn’t do shit, knows even less.

Yes, the pattern is becoming clearer by the year…in fact, by the week. You hear the word “environment” and the next thing you see is going to be someone wriggling out of being held to any standard. For anything.

To which I subsequently added, to bolster the case:

If a car is good for the environment, it won’t take you where you want to or need to go (this is the primary function of the thing we call a “car”). If you drive it and get in any kind of accident at all, you’ll be deader than Princess Di before you can say “Princess of Wales.”

See? Environmentally friendly. Doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do…and you’re expected to know this, because of the “E” word. It’s just expected now.

If a shampoo is good for the environment, you may as well wash your hair with the wastewater from your dishwasher.

If a baby’s diaper is good for the environment, you may as well shove cotton balls up the baby’s ass.

If a light bulb is good for the environment, it won’t light the room.

If you stay in the hotel and the hotel is trying to protect the environment, it means the maid doesn’t do anything.

And…toilets that are good for the environment. Let’s not even inspect that in any kind of sordid detail.

If beer is good for the environment, it won’t get you drunk.

If drain cleaner is good for the environment, it won’t clear the clog in your drain.

If paint thinner is good for the environment it won’t thin the paint.

If you have friends & family who invite you to an environmentally-conscientious Thanksgiving dinner, there’s no turkey involved.

If swimming pool shock treatment is good for the environment, you’re wasting your time using it.

An environmentally considerate vacuum cleaner — it won’t even start to clean your carpet. And forget about sucking up that bowling ball.

Switched out my girlfriend’s closet light bulb with a good old-fashioned hundred-watter. She can tell the difference between her black clothes and her dark blue clothes now. She likes that. Yep…a little bit more damage to Gaea because of our high expectations of being able to get dressed in the morning, competently. We’re selfish that way.

“…Allows Women to Stand Up For Their Right to Equal Pay for Equal Work…”

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

So just in case I missed it, the Barack Obama campaign sent me an e-mail letting me know of the instantly notorious “Life of Julia” slideshow/presentation. One thing immediately jumped out at me: Twenty-four hours previous, when I viewed the images myself, I noticed all these Obama policies affecting the life of the fictional/composite/faceless/cartoon-figure Julia, had something to do with eliminating options for somebody else. Julia benefits from a service, because money was taken forcibly from taxpayers — or borrowed from her son Zachary in the form of a swelling public debt — to provide it. Julia is given coverage or contraceptives, because her health insurance provider has no choice but to offer it, thanks to Obama.

Who is President, it seems, throughout all of the 64 years of the show. But let’s ignore that for now.

So after the slide show presentation about force force force force force, I couldn’t help noticing this e-mail blurb telling me all about it, was full of allow allow allow allow allow. Either someone’s lost track of what they’re doing here, or the packaging is strikingly different from the contents. I think it’s the latter. To be clear, no, I’m not thinking Obama’s team rolls out of bed in the morning and asks “How can we force people to do things, today, that they don’t want to do?” Rather, I think that is a natural consequence of looking for new ways for people to sue people.

This Lilly Ledbetter act is a perfect example. What a public relations win that is. People get all squeamish with feminism when it starts insisting on free contraceptives, abortion-on-demand, airlines should be forced to hire fat flight attendants…but…first and foremost, Americans are fair. We don’t think it’s right that someone should be paid for the same job at a lower scale, just because she’s a woman, or has a different skin color or sexual preference. The very thought of such a thing offends us deeply. Nationally. And so this part of feminism has never become unpopular. It won’t, and it shouldn’t.

But one has to wonder — how come in 2012 it’s still part of the fight? And the truth is, it’s not. The Lilly Ledbetter law doesn’t equalize pay. It changes the parameters under which lawsuits may be filed. I said democrats are constantly looking for new ways for people to sue people, and that’s what Ledbetter is all about. It changes the rules under which such a lawsuit may be filed; not altogether doing away with the statute of limitations, but certainly weakening it. Essentially, making it legally very dangerous to hire women.

For all the noise made about it, I’m not sure why it was needed. I asked Wikipedia about it, and the article on Ms. Ledbetter pointed to this guy over here who said

Ledbetter admitted in her sworn deposition that “different people that I worked for along the way had always told me that my pay was extremely low” compared to her peers. She testified specifically that a superior had told her in 1992 that her pay was lower than that of other area managers, and that she had learned the amount of the difference by 1994 or 1995. She added that she had told her supervisor in 1995 that “I needed to earn an increase in pay” because “I wanted to get in line with where my peers were, because… at that time I knew definitely that they were all making a thousand [dollars] at least more per month than I was.”

Yet…she waited to sue until 1998, when her retirement was imminent. This was well over five years after she had learned of the pay disparities. It was also after a supervisor whom she blamed for much of the alleged discrimination had died, making it impossible for the employer to refute those allegations.

Indeed, Ledbetter’s lawyer didn’t even argue that the Supreme Court should extend to her claim, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, its rule in some other contexts that time limits should not begin to run until the employee discovers the alleged discrimination. “Because Ledbetter does not argue that such a rule would change the outcome in her case,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, “we have no occasion to address this issue.”

As Alito explained, the logic underlying the relatively strict congressional time limit was that lawsuits filed years after the alleged discrimination — and after key witnesses have moved on or died, memories have faded, and records such as performance evaluations have been discarded — make it difficult or impossible for defendants to disprove false or misleading discrimination claims.

It’s less than clear, by the way, that Ledbetter was a victim of discrimination at all. Her years of poor performance evaluations, plus repeated layoffs affecting her eligibility for raises, convinced a federal magistrate judge that her relatively low pay did not prove sex discrimination. The jury disagreed and awarded Ledbetter back pay and punitive damages. Maybe the jury was right; maybe the magistrate judge was.

So in truth, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 does not allow women to stand up for their right to equal pay. The first thing to be realized when you read a sentence like that is, in progressive language, “stand up for” always means destroying something. It’s either protesters interfering with the lives of perfect strangers by smashing storefront windows, or stalling a commute on a bridge somewhere, or else it’s litigation.

Next to the bin Laden kill, the Ledbetter Act may be Obama’s most promising path to a second term. It’s got everything. It works from the fair-pay attribute of feminism, which is by far its most appealing one; and it does what left-wingers like most, which is to make it easier for lawsuits to happen. Also, it confers special super-rights on females without singling the females out by name. Wage discrimination lawsuit — that’s a chick, right? Everybody knows that’s a chick. Okay, you don’t need to worry about statutory time limitations when you file these lawsuits. Takes chicks extra time to make up their minds, ya know.

Upton Sinclair, looking back on his experiences in political life as a socialist, said,

The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label.

I think he was right. But it needs an update: The American people will always love freedom, but they have a blind spot recognizing attacks upon it. It speaks volumes, to me, that the focus group that Obama’s people used to test the Life of Julia fanfare, seems to think so highly of this concept of allowing things. I’m doubting like the dickens that the Tea Party or the right-wing radio talk show hosts were aptly represented in such a group; I think it was a moderate to left-leaning focus group. Even there, Americans are nuts for possibilities and opportunities.

There is hope there. Obama had to lie about what He did.

Hey Republicans, this is how you win. You following along, here? The election is about allow-allow-allow versus force-force-force…if you do a good job making sure your policies are different from the incumbent President’s, then you’re on the right side of this thing. Americans want to be able to do things, but they’re not wild about a feeding-frenzy of lawsuits to make that happen. Just tell the truth about who’s doing what.

I’m upping my previous fee for this valuable political consultancy, from $0.00 for the last time I helped you out, by thirty percent…times are tough, and hey, I’m a dude, I figure I’m worth it.

What is a Woman?

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Well let’s see…President Obama is particularly interested in telling us all the things His wonderful initiatives do for women throughout their lives, and so He’d like to tell us how they benefit from His wise tutelage womb to tomb. From this, since America’s First Holy Emperor is infinitely wise, of course, we get a good solid definition of women. We get a fairly complete picture of who they are, what they do, their contributions to society…although I can’t shake the feeling that this last item was not the primary focus of the presentation…but that could be because they’re more about taking than giving, or something?

They design web pages. That seems to be the big take-away insofar as why we bother to keep chicks around. Mothering isn’t a big deal, since it consists of standing in front of the house while the school bus picks us up and takes us to Kindergarten. They design web pages their whole lives — twenty-first-century version of embroidering and sewing, if you will — and somewhere along the line they have kids. No need to mention any dad anywhere. So they soak up these really nice pricey educations, and use those educations to design web pages, get knocked up, drop little aspiring web page designers, get old and collect Social Security.

And vote for the right party, we can safely presume that is part of the vision as well.

Ed Morrissey (hat tip to Terri):

At least they picked the right name for their fantasy woman trapped in an all-encompassing government; Julia was the name of the lead female character in George Orwell’s 1984, after all.

One point jumps out at me from Obama’s “Julia.” Not once in this timeline does Team Obama mention anything about a second Obama term. There isn’t one new policy or proposal in it. For a campaign with the slogan “Forward,” that seems a little odd. Just when does Obama plan on discussing his vision of a second term…December?

Morrissey links to David Harsanyi, from whom he excerpts capably, and so I shall not repeat the exercise. But I’m just lovin’ Harsanyi’s headline:

Who the hell is “Julia,” and why am I paying for her whole life?

Quite right. Politician gets voted in — usually, but by no means always, a left-winger — and politician pushes for some new program that confiscates money from people who probably won’t vote for the politician, to provide benefits to people who are more likely to. Politician runs for re-election and says “look at all the wonderful programs that I provided…” Which is a deception, oh let’s call it what it is, a lie. Nobody who is acquainted with what’s going on, is suffering from any delusions that anything was provided. Except by the taxpayers, against their will.

Some people vote for the politician based on this lie, others do not fall for it. Note that this is an objective measurement, it is not right-wing spin, it just happens to come to the same conclusion as right-wing spin because the spin happens to be correct. There is the suckered, there is the un-suckered, and it’s no more complicated than that. Somehow, the ones who are suckered…by this very, very plain and very, very unsophisticated slight-of-hand…are supposed to be smarter than the people who aren’t fooled.

I mean, very much smarter. Just complete rocket scientist geniuses. Ever argue with one of them? But here’s the paradox: According to their own vision, the most productive among them are going to leave this plane of existence at a prosperous and wrinkly old age…probably with a green burial involved so their rotting carcasses don’t pollute Mother Gaia too much…with absolutely nothing left in their wake to say that they were here, save for oodles of web pages. And an adorable little fatherless consumer the government helped them raise. That, according to the progressive narrative, is the cream of the crop. Meh. With all due respect to the web page design industry, that doesn’t look like a genius to me. And the static nature of the technology, I have to say, leaves me concerned. How old is Julia when she kicks it? A hundred? A hundred and ten? Nobody comes up with anything innovative or new in all that time, we all just sit around reading web pages Julia built?

Well, of course not. If someone invented something, Obama would have to share the credit. We saw well He does that, when Seal Team 6 made bin Laden into fish food.

Terri sez…

I am, as a woman, offended. But worse than that…creeped out.

T-Rex’s “Life of Julianne” is a work of art because it illustrates the cultural divide in the country, something Obama’s slide show seeks to avoid. One thing that immediately sticks out is that this life has more a sense of purpose…through community, and family. Some parts of it, minus the web page designing, look like this other life over here.

Which I suppose some people find off-putting, it must be said. Well, hey…things that recall one of George Orwell’s most tragic and sinister novels, can be a little off-putting as well.

We do have a cultural divide in this country. Half of us read things like 1984, Logan’s Run, Atlas Shrugged, Brave New World, Anthem and We…and we see warnings. The other half seems to think of these as instructions manuals.

Question: If this is the Obama vision of a woman’s place in society…what is there for the men to do with their lives?

Update: Oh, well here’s one answer to that question: Cease to exist?

Thanks to Dean Esmay for linking this.

Lessons From Star Wars

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

1. All Annoying Things Come to an End. Think about it: Darth Vader is really Anakin Skywalker. Anakin is a whiny annoying little shit; Darth Vader is not. Darth Vader is a business executive who practices the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He rates his subordinates according to results, period. If they don’t deliver, he crushes their larynxes with The Force, with cool lines like “You have failed me for the last time, Admiral” or “Apology accepted, Captain Needa.” His helmet looks like a skull. He has a cool cape. He does not say silly irritating whiny things “From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!” No list of scary movie villains is complete without Lord Vader, which says something, what with that monster-fest that took place a few decades back with Frankenstein and Dracula and all those other guys…so what happens…Anakin becomes Darth Vader. Jar Jar meets his fate, as does Queen Padme who’s almost as annoying as Israeli-born American actress Natalie Portman. Even the Ewoks suffer an Endor Holocaust. Every single Star Wars character that is annoying…save for Luke and Threepio…ceases to exist. And Luke and Threepio stop talking. The moral is unmistakable: Just wait it out. Whine not about those who annoy you, lest you become them. They will be gone, in time.

Jar Jar be que2. Don’t Let the Women Make Decisions. Think about this one, too. What happened right before Chewbacca, Luke, Han, and Leia were trapped in the garbage pit? Next to a long fall down a garbage chute, what was the very most recent thing that happened? The chick took charge of her own rescue, snatched a rifle away from somebody, blasted open the grating and decreed that everyone should follow her down the chute…which they then did, obediently enough. And then, in Attack of the Clones, what was the last thing that happened before Padme and Anakin were captured in the droid factory? Same thing, right? The girl takes charge. Anakin says “Oh don’t worry, I’ve given up trying to argue with you.” Yeah, that was a win, wasn’t it. There’s only one other female in the whole Star Wars movie universe, and it’s Mon Mothma, who orders an attack on Death Star II…which turns out to be a “twap,” right? Thirty-six years earlier, Padme instigates a vote against Chancellor Valorum, and gee, now that we think back on it, that’s exactly where all the trouble gets started. And then, back on Naboo, she barks orders at her bodyguards and her royal servants and so forth at Theed Palace on Naboo…the six or seven or eight of them scale the walls, like they’re all Batman or something — how does that turn out. They get captured, right? Padme, Leia, Padme, Leia…captured, captured, captured, captured, captured. And then rescued. Sometimes. Yes they’re very tough and strong-willed and bull-headed, but their judgment just isn’t very good.

3. Your Grammar Mangle if the Good Lines You Want. Hey c’mon…face facts here. Yoda’s got a lock on all the memorable lines, and it isn’t because he’s old, short, wise or green. Even “Around the survivors a perimeter create” is a cool line, and they go up from there. The verbs in the sentences, last, you put, you must…or…something. Yes, practice it takes. Like they’re going out of style, your commas you must use, or forget it you should.

4. Lightsabers. What a stupid idea. They don’t even work. But still it must be said: Star Wars revolutionized movie-making…the franchise is, without a doubt, the single biggest event in the movie industry in all of the twentieth century, and the movie industry is nothing without the twentieth century. It couldn’t have happened without lightsabers. And lightsabers wouldn’t be lightsabers without lightsaber sounds. Vvvvv-vvvvvvvv….vvvvv..vvvvvv….wksssshhhh!!!! VVVVVVVVVPPPPPP!!!!!!

5. Good vs. Evil. This is the only serious thing on my list. It takes a little bit of deep thinking, so bear with me here…there are two types of drama, high-contrast and low-contrast. With high-contrast, good is good and evil is evil, and they’re both pure. Low-contrast is more of an Occupy Wall Street sparkly-vampire kind of hipster/trenchcoat drama…that means, the good guys have something slimy and unscrupulous about them, and the bad guys have a streak of good in them. Think about the kinda-sorta-bad-guy who’s forced to rob a bank, or assassinate someone, because the really-super-duper-rotten-bad-guy has kidnapped his daughter. So he’s doing bad things but he has a good excuse for doing them. My point is — this shit goes in cycles. We have the classic westerns in the fifties and early sixties, in which the guys in white hats have these “showdowns” with guys in black hats. Pure good versus pure evil. And then we have the seventies, with the hard-boiled cop movies, where the bad guys are all-bad, the cops want to take them down, but the cops are like Dirty Harry…you might want them saving your wife or mother from being raped, but you wouldn’t want your kid to turn out like them. And then you have Star Wars which is a reboot, where we have pure good against pure evil. And then, we entered the grunge age, where it becomes more about the noble anarchy opposing the imperialistic thuggish authority…continuing on forward into the twenty-first century with the Marvel Comic book characters coming to the movie screen. Every single “good guy” has ridden on a stolen motorcycle, without a helmet, at least once. Well…I think humans are genetically programmed to have a greater appreciation for the higher contrast, the stories of pure good against pure evil. Which doesn’t make a lick of sense at all, if you believe in evolution as a way of explaining away God. But if you think we were put here by a Higher Power, it makes perfect sense. And, in either case, it is undeniable. We, as a species, can watch Matt Dillon face off against pure-evil bad guys in Dodge City, all day long. But we tire quickly of the grunge/hipster/trenchcoat/sparkly-vampire/bad-guy-kidnapped-my-terminally-ill-daughter-and-I-have-to-rob-this-bank stuff. The latter does not work for us, in the long run, we tire of it quickly and we have no attraction toward it unless it’s forced on us and there isn’t anything else available for us to watch. When the rubber hits the road, we’d much rather watch Marshal Will Kane shoot Frank Miller dead, and then ride off triumphantly into the sunset. That’s where our hearts really live. We want to see good triumph over evil.

Governor Rick Scott…

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

We need you. Well DONE, sir!

Mayor Bob Buckhorn, you stay put.

Cherokee Liz…

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

…is, I think, in a process of meltdown.

Native-American or not, she is quickly becoming an amalgamation of everything about politicians that annoys me. She’s talked up everywhere in progressive circles as if there’s something remarkable about her, as if she’s accomplished amazing feats that only she can do, and I can’t find anything about any aspect of her that is outside the mediocre. She just got caught in a lie and her reaction is to accuse-the-accuser of discrimination against women…a Saul Alinsky tactic, perhaps chosen with competence, but executed badly.

She doesn’t strike me as particularly knowledgeable. She doesn’t impress me as an above-average, or even an adequate, public speaker. Just another middle-age butter-faced progressive white chick in a pantsuit, doing a lot of whining.

Yeah, I know, I have acquaintances and accomplices who chastise me for noticing these women are ugly. It’s not a critique against them, as individuals; I agree, that would be wrong. But the trend is unmistakable, and I maintain there’s nothing at all wrong with noticing the trend. Senate election after Senate election, Supreme Court nomination after Supreme Court nomination, nothing ever changes…because it’s part of the left-wing sense & sensibility that there’s something wrong with women being appealing to men. You have to wonder who got passed up. It is, after all, supposed to be about equal opportunity. Well, females, by & large, are nice-looking. Three quarters of them look better than these witches.

That quote of hers that was trumpeted up by MoveOnDotOrg, is just dumb. If I agreed with it, and I don’t, I’d see nothing special about it. It isn’t well-said, it isn’t thought-out, if I scribbled out something like that and someone came by and said “Freeberg, you need an editor” I wouldn’t take issue with it; I’d just dish out my stock answer of “Yeah, I know, can’t put one on the payroll yet.” No, it’s not a magnificent piece of prose by any means.

None of which means much, since I don’t live in Massachusetts. But she is a very annoying woman and I have to wonder how she got chosen. I grew up in a college town myself; I’ve had occasion to meet the middle-aged-hippy-woman who’s on the faculty at the campus, who doesn’t believe in eating meat and burns incense at home and droning on about patriarchy and nobody-made-it-on-their-own and what-not. A little bit of them goes a long way. I don’t know why anyone thought the voters would flock to her. And that’s before she got caught lying to advance her career.

Hopefully, some of the immolation happens to affirmative action, as well. I suppose it’s already detonating, the way progressive causes do, by first going through a name change. Been awhile since you’ve heard it called AA, right? “Diversity in hiring/contracting” or some such, you’re supposed to call it now. Hope it suffers a huge black eye because of this. We’ve got these greedy white girls gaming the system. Something must be done!

“The Nutty Things Liberals Say”

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Prelutsky is bringin’ it again.

I know that those on the Left pride themselves not only on their compassion and on holding the deed to the moral high ground, but also to having brains so enormous that they can barely make it through doorways. Well, it ain’t necessarily so.

For instance, while speaking at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention in Washington, D.C., Attorney General Eric Holder said this to his host: “Thank you for your partnership, your friendship and your tireless efforts to speak out for the voiceless, to stand up for the powerless, and to shine a light on the problems we must solve, and the promises we must fulfill.”

You would have thought he was praising some great humanitarian. Instead, he was paying homage to the man who got his start as a publicity whore back in 1987, when he accused white cops of having raped a black teenager, who had only made the accusation as a way to conceal from her mother the fact that she had spent the weekend shacked up with her boyfriend. Sharpton followed that up by singling out a couple of New York Jews for street justice. Predictably, they were subsequently killed by black mobs.

More recently, Rev. Sharpton, who now hosts a show on MSNBC, was down in Sanford, Florida, and once again, in concert with the Black Panthers, he was inciting racial violence.

As Bernard Goldberg put it in a recent article devoted to Sharpton’s litany of sins, “This kind of nonsense gives cynicism a bad name.”

Yes. Myself and others have been noticing, it seems to be this sense of extreme-goodperson-who-knows-it-all, with side helpings of “my side’s always right and those other guys never are,” and “Look what I’m saying, this ought to make my homies happy and keep me in the club’s good graces for another three minutes”…moves them to say exceptionally silly things.

Also, there is an anesthetizing effect, or rather, a dampening effect. They’re used to telling the rest of us what to think, what to remember, and what to forget. And let’s face it, they’ve been doing it awhile, so the rest of us are accustomed to being told. Barack Obama says on January 20, 2009, future generations will look back and say this was the moment the oceans receded…by January 21 nobody knew about it except for some right-wingers on the radio, and the situation persists today.

Joe Biden, who is busy serving as Obama’s consigliore, admitted, “I never had an interest in being a mayor because that’s a real job. You have to produce. That’s why I was able to be a Senator for 36 years.” So, as a reward for being lazy as well as stupid, he winds up being the man a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Still, while he’s right about his own deficiencies, he still manages to be wrong when it comes to mayors, as proven on a daily basis by the likes of Michael Bloomberg, Antonio Villaraigosa and Rahm Emanuel.

Recently, while delivering a speech at Alabama A&M, Louis Farrakhan told an adoring crowd that Jesus Christ had been a black Muslim. He also took the time to refer to Jews as “a synagogue of Satan” and accused white Republicans of praying for Obama’s death. I wasn’t too surprised that the predominantly black student audience cheered his words, but I was a bit taken aback to learn that he’d been invited down by the A&M Poetry Club and the A&M Democrats. Frankly, I would have expected better from the poets.

My head came close to exploding when Hilary Rosen took Ann Romney to task for never having been a member of the work force. For one thing, anyone who thinks that raising five boys is easier than being a liberal flack clearly has straw for brains. For another, Ms. Rosen is a lesbian. I have no bone to pick with lesbians, but I can’t deny that I find it ludicrous when the likes of Hilary Rosen and Rosie O’Donnell take it upon themselves to lecture American women on how they should live their lives.
:
Speaking of women, we should never forget that it wasn’t too long ago that Hillary Clinton, whose engraved business cards read: “The Smartest Woman in the World,” announced that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad was a reformer. But, as I recall, she also had very complimentary things to say along the way about her husband and Barack Obama, so perhaps she just has a soft spot for tall liars.

Finally, it should be acknowledged that almost as noteworthy as the things that left-wingers say are the things they don’t. For instance, while constantly railing against the way that Republicans treat their womenfolk, when have you ever heard Obama utter a negative word about the vile manner in which women are dealt with in Islamic societies?

It’s all about appealing to the constituency and staying in the good graces of the club. A good litmus test to apply to a liberal who wants to “discuss” something, and I dunno, it seems gauche and rude to actually go applying it, but maybe I should start: Ask the lefty to acknowledge Thomas Sowell, Sarah Palin and Charles Krauthammer might have a better lock on reality than Peggy Joseph, the notorious “Obama gonna put gas in my car and pay my mortgage” fan-lady on Barack Obama’s campaign trail.

Seems silly to even think about applying such a test. Perhaps it is. But too many left-wingers would not pass it, and yet, they want to discuss things. Which leads to endless micro-circular round-robins like this.

Well, that’s on them. Watching it happen on a Wednesday, and then forgetting all about it by Thursday morning, is our fault. Hillary Clinton claimed to have been named after Sir Edmund Hillary. She’s said many other dumb things…and that’s just her.

Of course people who are left of leaning, will respond with some cute clips of George W. Bush, maybe Dan Quayle as well, stumbling through something — entirely failing to consider the causes. Some left-wing volunteers sifting through endless volumes of speeches, interviews, et al, looking for “oopsies”; a bit too much No-Doz, or maybe, not enough. That is not what I’m complaining about here with the liberals. All caught up on their sleep cycles, their bloodstream perfectly well balanced in gluten, protein, iron, and I don’t even want to think about what else they’re accustomed to having in there…pulse and blood pressure normal, not a care in the world, no pounding headache, nuthin’ — they strive to show how smart they are, and reliable as rain, they peel off. It’s a doozy, you don’t have to sit through anything to find it, you can listen randombly and here it is…here comes another gem, and you’ll have to listen to a right-wing radio talk show if you ever want to hear about it again. Oh, really Joe? Clean and articulate, you say…and this is a big fucking deal? Hey, that’s great. Just great.

“Forward”

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

First impressions: I’m probably not that good at stepping into the shoes of the squishy, moderate, “casually-informed” voter, but this strikes me as very well done.

Were I advising them about it, I’d say take those few moments at 3:05+ or so, about how awful and evil those Republicans are, and strip them out. The rest of the video makes for a powerful, compelling, positive message, and these 30 seconds don’t fit in with it. The “and still, He persevered” is particularly silly; can’t stick to ideas being sold, they have to keep veering off into talking up the personality who is selling them to us. So it’s back to the Holy Healer nonsense from four years ago.

I’m convinced this would be even more saleable if that were left on the cutting room floor. Along with the bin Laden thing, too, probably. Surely someone has suggested it. But those who put the clip together — who clearly know what they’re doing — chose to leave that all in. Possible explanations: Their talents come from keeping the right-brain engaged in their work, essentially gratifying themselves almost on a hormonal level, with every second of footage produced. And, darn it, it felt so good to take a few swipes at the Republicans. Or…they have research that says the electorate, at least the squishy middle of the electorate that these kinds of media are intended to reach, will tolerate some messaging of the form “Our side is so much better than that other side.” At least, from the liberals they will.

Medicators medicate. It’s what they do. That’s why their situation is ever-constant: We’ve all been living through some interminable period of darkness, with the greedy selfish one percent dominating and oppressing everybody, at least, everybody who ought to matter. But the clock is stuck at almost-dawn, with the sun just about to peak over the hills in the East, and when it’s daylight the locks on the treasury will be shattered and the stolen fortunes will spill out in the streets and our champion will tell everyone to grab all they can, and the widows will be sustained and the babies will be fed and the awful oppressive meanie people will have big frowns on their faces as they realize how much they suck, and…and…and…we’re always right there, at the very last moments of the long dark night. Keep watching the hills in the East.

So they don’t deal with time very well because, as we’ve seen, they haven’t got an answer for “Okay now it’s daylight and you’re in charge, what ya gonna do?” That is where this video breaks down. Of necessity, and by design, it is tailor-made for people who do not make use of their long-term memory faculties, at least, not with comprehending the phenomena of American politics. On November 5, 2008, the Medicator class got their dawn. And on 1/20/09 their Replacement Jesus was ensconced onto the throne. Therefore, to those who pay attention to history even at just a cursory level, it’s a bit silly to be playing the “last few minutes of the long cold dark night” thing in 2012.

Now, how would a Republican sway a squishy-moderate who’s all ready to re-elect America’s First Holy President as a result of watching this powerful video? If the job were left up to me, I would jump to 2:09 and make the case there. Reform…reform…reform…cheaper…can’t deny…guaranteed…more affordable…all sounds good, but you know what’s really being talked about? Force, force, force, force, force, force, force. The government big enough to give you everything you want, as they say, is big enough to take away all you have. And this government makes nothing cheaper. It subsidizes and pays for absolutely nothing. It acquires things, often on behalf of others whose votes are being sought, by confiscating money from other people…forcibly…and, when that is not sufficient to pay the tab, it borrows in the name of those who are not yet born, but will be, with thousands of dollars of debt over each newborn head. More force.

That’s why the video is effective. It succeeds in appealing to the right half of the brain, reaching out to the Medicators on their primitive-instinct pleasure-center level, and deftly sidesteps the darker ruminations about a fiat economy.

The one-word mantra of “Forward,” on the other hand, is a complete disaster (hat tip to The Other McCain).

The Obama campaign apparently didn’t look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan, “Forward” — a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism.

Many Communist and radical publications and entities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries had the name “Forward!” or its foreign cognates. Wikipedia has an entire section called “Forward (generic name of socialist publications).”

“The name Forward carries a special meaning in socialist political terminology. It has been frequently used as a name for socialist, communist and other left-wing newspapers and publications,” the online encyclopedia explains.

The slogan “Forward!” reflected the conviction of European Marxists and radicals that their movements reflected the march of history, which would move forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism.

The Obama campaign released its new campaign slogan Monday in a 7-minute video. The title card has simply the word “Forward” with the “O” having the familiar Obama logo from 2008. It will be played at rallies this weekend that mark the Obama re-election campaign’s official beginning.

There have been at least two radical-left publications named “Vorwaerts” (the German word for “Forward”). One was the daily newspaper of the Social Democratic Party of Germany whose writers included Friedrich Engels and Leon Trotsky. It still publishes as the organ of Germany’s SDP, though that party has changed considerably since World War II. Another was the 1844 biweekly reader of the Communist League. Karl Marx, Engels and Mikhail Bakunin are among the names associated with that publication.

East Germany named its Army soccer club ASK Vorwaerts Berlin (later FC Vorwaerts Frankfort).

Vladimir Lenin founded the publication “Vpered” (the Russian word for “forward”) in 1905. Soviet propaganda film-maker Dziga Vertov made a documentary whose title is sometimes translated as “Forward, Soviet” (though also and more literally as “Stride, Soviet”).

Conservative critics of the Obama administration have noted numerous ties to radicalism and socialists throughout Mr. Obama’s history, from his first political campaign being launched from the living room of two former Weather Underground members, to appointing as green jobs czar Van Jones, a self-described communist.

The European Marxists like the word because it lives within those last-few-moments-of-the-long-dark-night. You don’t motivate people to join your cause with “Yay, we’re already there.” So the carrot is constantly two or three inches in front of the donkey’s nose. Forward!

This is awful for the Obama team, because every propaganda poster from Europe’s many disastrous twentieth-century experiments, is a free iconic campaign gift to the Republicans, and imagery is powerful. Now, whether they’re smart enough to use it, is another thing. But the fact remains, the word has some very dark connections and they’re not coincidental. It’s a package deal: The state plays a game of “Robin Hood and the Sherrif of Nottingham are one and the same,” keeping the ignorant masses in a state of perpetual bloodthirsty euphoria by pretending to loot itself. More laws, more taxes, more social programs, more force, less freedom, a fiat economy, and, interestingly, everlasting hostility against the Jews always seems to be inextricably woven into the design, either by intent or by consequence, but it’s always there.

On a philosophical level, where the conservatives can go from here — and there is a lot of time to do this — is to attack this lock-busting sunrise moment, when the walls of the coffers are shattered and the treasure spills out in the streets and the starving widows and orphans scoop it up. That seems like “economic justice” until you think on it awhile; right off the bat, there are two big problems with it. One, the starving widows and orphans who are even worse off, and don’t happen to be anywhere near the place where the coins are hitting the pavement, so their plight persists; two, the people who happen to be close by and are in a position to grab what they can when the bolshevik champion yells “Go!,” who were already doing rather well. These two problems point to the plain fact that this isn’t an equalization of living standard at all, and has nothing to do with any kind of justice, it’s just theft.

The sunrise moment ends up being nothing more than an exchange of a free-trade, merit-based system that produces inequalities, for another one that is corrupt, decree-driven, essentially random, and still produces inequalities. And, of course, there’s no plan for what happens after the sunrise. Somewhere an enemy has to be defined to keep the masses all riled up, so the people in charge start purifying their own ranks. Revolutionaries do have a habit of executing their own for not being revolutionary enough.

In fact, that inspires a rather interesting and poignant question. What happened to the 2008 theme of unifying us and bringing us all together? Did that just turn out to be too self-satirical, too awkward, too unworkable, invited too much ridicule maybe? Just not going to try to pretend anymore?

Update: Via Gerard: Once again, you knew it was coming…

“A Fact of Life”

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Bill Daley, who used to be the White House Chief of Staff, explains:

“Most of the public today believes the president has been too light on the financial service sector. Nobody’s gone to jail. He didn’t nationalize the banks. The president has a very difficult time with the business community. Most people in business and most people who are successful are Republican that’s just a fact of life.”

Perhaps it has something to do with, figuring out how things work before making all these imperialistic decrees about what should happen next, or what should’ve happened with some other situation somewhere. The “president has been too light” because “nobody’s gone to jail.” Sensible sentiment, if we’re talking about those Black Panther thugs who got busted intimidating voters at a polling place; not only is it definable what their actions were, that were illegal, but their case went to court and they lost. And then the incoming Obama Justice Department moved to dismiss the case.

Not so with the business executives. But it feels so good to say, someone shoulda gone to jail…the President shoulda made it happen. Off with their heads! Well, last I checked, that’s not the way it works. Also, that is a trait shared by nearly all of the more successful people I’ve met: They figure out how things work, and manage to restrain their impulses of “but it should work some other way.” They deal with reality as it is. If they want to open a business, and the city or county or state takes a tax, or a fee, that is “unjust” — read that as, unworkably expensive — they form a new plan, opting for some different location, and then they put all their energy into it.

You might say they “occupy” life.

The Government’s College Money Pit

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Jeff Jacoby writes at Townhall:

Year in, year out, Washington bestows tuition aid on students and their families. Year in, year out, the cost of tuition surges, galloping well ahead of inflation. And year in, year out, politicians vie to outdo each other in promising still more public subsidies that will keep higher education within reach of all. Does it never occur to them that there might be a cause-and-effect relationship between the skyrocketing aid and the skyrocketing price of a college education? That all those grants and loans and tax credits aren’t containing the fire, but fanning it?

Apparently not.

“We’ve got to make college more affordable for more young people,” President Obama declaimed during campaign appearances at the universities of Iowa, North Carolina, and Colorado last week. “We can’t price the middle class out of a college education.” Like George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him, Obama argued for keeping the aid spigot open. He hit all the usual notes (“extend the tuition tax credit … cap student loan payments … make sure the Pell grants are there”), and for good measure used the federal student-loan interest rate — which will double in July unless Congress acts — to paint Republicans as clueless Grinches. Yet Mitt Romney also wants to extend the current rate. The myth that government can control the price of higher education by driving up the demand for it commands broad and bipartisan belief.

“It’s not enough just to increase student aid. We’ve also got to stop subsidizing skyrocketing tuition,” Obama said to applause in Iowa City. He might as well have declared that it’s not enough to keep flooring the accelerator; we’ve also got to stop the car from going faster. Reality doesn’t work that way. Rising government aid underwrites rising demand for higher education, and when demand is forced up, prices follow suit.

There is something else happening here.

Our institutions of higher learning have captured for themselves a rather messy and unattractive, but well-deserved, reputation as little Che Guevara factories. They are not generally fond of the advantages offered by a free-market economy, and why should they be? Their revenue stream has been shifting, over the years, toward government largesse — which in turn is liberated from the taxpayer, against his will. No genuine “trade” involved. Which, in turn, feeds into the problem defined above. There’s little or no incentive to keep tuition costs under control.

Feeling Unclean

Monday, April 30th, 2012

John Hinderaker writes in PowerLine:

Events like last night’s always leave me feeling in need of a shower. Partly it is because there some truth to Kimmel’s joke, after noting that the room was full of politicians, members of the media and celebrities, that “Everything that is wrong with America is here in this room.” Partly is is due to the sense that everyone involved in the event is pretending. The politicians pretend to engage in self-deprecation that shows they don’t take themselves too seriously. The comics pretend that they are just trying to be funny, lampooning politicians impartially in search of laughs. But, even though some of the lines are indeed funny, the premise of the event is fundamentally false. In fact, politicians, comedians and even the celebrities present are pursuing an agenda that is both self-aggrandizing and political. That is why, I think, such events always leave me feeling unclean.

Me, I felt unclean, in part, because my President opened the festivities with toilet humor.

Also, for whatever it’s worth, I don’t recall hearing a hand-washing sound effect following the toilet-flushing sound effect.

But the whole thing is classless and idiotic. Were such a “correspondents’ dinner” possible during the Washington administration, the Father Of Our Country would’ve nixed it in about half a second.

I’m sure to the progressive types it looks like a cool idea, and for them maybe it is, because their side is always going to have a lock on humor. Humor is a way to persuade people who don’t pay much attention; and, unfortunately, as unhappy as people are with the direction things are headed, it is a highly prized political commodity to be able to reach people who aren’t paying attention. There are so many of them.

It’s a funny thing about political commodities: Whatever is exploited, is encouraged to grow. The country doesn’t need more people paying attention only casually. That, really, is the only thing broken. Previously in our history, if people were unhappy with the situation and the way it was shaping up, they’d pay more attention. Our problem today is an attitude of “this sucks, so i’m going to go look at something else.”

This springtime dinner is, I think, our stupidest tradition. I don’t want to see humor used to sell Americans a bunch of progressive toxic stew yet one more way, when they’ve already said not-buyin’-today fifty different times. I don’t want to see my President making jokes about Kim Kardashian.

And frankly, I worry about the concept of humor itself. I grow quite weary of watching it drifting away from its classic purpose, being used as a shield; liberals say these dumb, false, un-funny things, and there seems to be this rule in place that they have to have that “last word” they’re always trying to have…if anyone says anything against it at all, back they come with What’s the matter with you, don’t you have a sense of humor. Well gee, yeah, humor, there’s that too: What you said wasn’t funny. Wasn’t there some other rule in place, that if I have to get blasted or stoned before I find your joke funny, it’s not really funny and you shouldn’t tell it? Guess that got repealed, huh?

“Their Carefully Worded Protest Signs”

Monday, April 30th, 2012

I imagine more than a few of my friends will identify with this:

From Terrierman.

“Wild Bill’s Tax Plan”

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

You’re speaking my language, Wild Bill…

I predict, though, that those who are left-of-wing would find a problem in this. If noplace else, then toward the end, where he talks about votes being cast by the taxpayers. It seems to be a liberal position that taxpayers are the very last people who should have any say in anything…

Trust and Retractions

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Now here is a picture that’s worth a zillion words…

Look what’s going on there now. Green line is retraction incidents, measured in “notices” per 100,000 publications in scientific journals. Now, you could argue there may be problems with measuring it this way…but nevertheless, if the plotting is shaped like this, it’s gotta mean something. And the line more or less gels with public perception of the problems with science across time, if it doesn’t define an even greater issue with this thing we call “science” in actuality, compared to what is perceived.

Conservatives and moderates are losing faith in the institution, whereas liberals continue to pledge fealty.

The situation might very well be — it must be stated — much more complicated than this. Bu-u-u-u-t…I don’t think so. Liberals like feeling all scientifical & stuff, they mock conservatives for not sharing in the passion, it assuages their egos to wallow in the mental stew that they’re being all science-y and the conservatives aren’t cool or nuanced or sophisticated or hip enough to follow along…but what’s really going on is that conservatives, as is usually the case, do a better job of factoring in the history of the way things turned out, prior to figuring out what’s going on & what to do about it.

From Bad Data, Bad!, hat tip to Terri by way of Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.

I see Primer Caps and Heavy Pendulums is now up to 252 comments, which is sure to be a record for The Blog That Nobody Reads. I’m not quite so impressed by the number, as I am by the subject of this record-breaker…climate change. This genuinely surprises me, as I thought it would have something to do with legalizing pot, or Sarah Palin. What was I just saying about factoring in the history of the way things turned out…it would seem, now & then, that doesn’t work. Sarah Palin & pot have always been way out in front, as ways of stirrin’ the puddin’. What changed?

This thread got up there exactly the same way your car reaches a destination — by means of something going around very quickly in a circle. We have a gadfly, who is evidently not a single person, who is busy citing lots of scientific research and even demonstrating an understanding of some of the more involved parts of it, while showcasing a rather dazzling ignorance of the elementary aspects. His/her/its/their objection to my point looks like: Do you accept that the Earth is warming? and I say, no, I don’t…my objections have to do with the many problems involved in measuring things, and the total, or near-total, silence about the nature of these problems & what is done to overcome them. Whereupon, the mysterious entity chastises me for being skeptical to the wrong things, and commands me to go through the data, withholding any further commentary until such time as I find a problem. Uh, the data that were acquired through these means of measurement that I’m questioning. In varying levels of detail, depending on which cycle we’re on in the stupid-go-round, I define the nature of one of many points in the inference pipeline of “Um, you don’t really know that”…and my partner in discourse continues to chastise me without even showing an understanding of what I’m talking about. Like I said. Showcasing a dazzling ignorance of the elementary aspects. The climate-alarmist has data, he has a method for capturing the data…poopy head skeptic comes along and criticizes the way the data were captured, the alarmist’s way of shutting him up is to task him on a snipe hunt, endlessly combing through the data. This person knows what kind of footnotes to put up, and is familiar with the terminology, but cannot reliably locate where the point of dispute is in a disagreement. ++sniff++ ++snif++ Smells like…college kid.

From the New York Times column linked in a prior post at Bad Data

In the fall of 2010, Dr. Ferric C. Fang made an unsettling discovery. Dr. Fang, who is editor in chief of the journal Infection and Immunity, found that one of his authors had doctored several papers.

It was a new experience for him. “Prior to that time,” he said in an interview, “Infection and Immunity had only retracted nine articles over a 40-year period.”

The journal wound up retracting six of the papers from the author, Naoki Mori of the University of the Ryukyus in Japan. And it soon became clear that Infection and Immunity was hardly the only victim of Dr. Mori’s misconduct. Since then, other scientific journals have retracted two dozen of his papers, according to the watchdog blog Retraction Watch.

“Nobody had noticed the whole thing was rotten,” said Dr. Fang, who is a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Dr. Fang became curious how far the rot extended. To find out, he teamed up with a fellow editor at the journal, Dr. Arturo Casadevall of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. And before long they reached a troubling conclusion: not only that retractions were rising at an alarming rate, but that retractions were just a manifestation of a much more profound problem — “a symptom of a dysfunctional scientific climate,” as Dr. Fang put it.

Dr. Casadevall, now editor in chief of the journal mBio, said he feared that science had turned into a winner-take-all game with perverse incentives that lead scientists to cut corners and, in some cases, commit acts of misconduct.

“This is a tremendous threat,” he said.
:
Several factors are at play here, scientists say. One may be that because journals are now online, bad papers are simply reaching a wider audience, making it more likely that errors will be spotted. “You can sit at your laptop and pull a lot of different papers together,” Dr. Fang said.

But other forces are more pernicious. To survive professionally, scientists feel the need to publish as many papers as possible, and to get them into high-profile journals. And sometimes they cut corners or even commit misconduct to get there.

There is something of a vacuum-cleaner-sucking-itself-out-of-existence thing going on here, since we now have reason to distrust and doubt the things the scientists say, especially when they trot out these scary graphs, so to find out how bad the problem is, we’re going to listen to what the scientists have to say about it and look at some scary graphs.

But there is an important concept being illustrated here, which is well worthy of exploration because it has escaped the notice of many among us, particularly, those among us who have the most to say. The concept is one of simple uncertainty. Don’t Star Trek androids and Vulcans talk this way all the time? “Captain, there is a seventy-three percent probability that…” et cetera.

A funny thing happened in the big long monster-thread. The gadfly posted a chart from the NOAA that was very difficult to read. It turned out, neither the gadfly nor the geniuses at NOAA responsible for putting it together, had ever viewed it against anything but a white background. It was a .GIF file with a transparency layer that didn’t belong there, you see…so, I used an image processing tool to fix their own artifact for them, stripping out the transparency.

This is, coincidentally, a perfect metaphor for what is happening. SCIENCE SEZ…such-and-such a thing. The liberals and other laymen who like to feel all scientifical & junk before they really have a handle on the concepts involved, take note of the findings without also taking note, Vulcan-like, of what the potential is that this is a true & accurate reading of the thing being measured. Just like a different image file format that only supports the luminence and chroma of the pixel, but with no alpha/transparency channel present, presumes 1.0 for the transparency (meaning, all of the pixels are absolutely opaque). From the merry-go-round arguing with our resident gadfly, we’ve seen this is exactly what is happening. They understand “findings” and they want to debate it with people who say it might not necessarily be so, but they refuse to understand, let alone have a discourse about, the simple human-knowledge concept of uncertainty about things. They live in a 24-bit RGB world, you might say. There is reality, there are measurements…these are functionally synonymous. Question the measurements? How dare you!

Monica Novoa Wants to Get Rid of the “I” Word…

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

…but apart from that, she’s not completely sure what she wants done.

“Goodbye”

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Surber throws it in. Time/energy demands can’t be sustained, just-plain-tired.

Not a cheery event. This actually unhappys me much. But best wishes to him, may the road rise up to greet him and the wind always be at his back.

This Is Good C

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Hawkins comes up with another good one.

Mmmm, hmmmmm…Zimmerman shot someone, so he’s “white” — it is a fait accompli that if he was in the news because he came up with a cure for AIDS or Cancer, there’s no way under the sun that his description in electronic media would include the word “white.” Our media thinks in terms of narratives and not in terms of facts, because the commodity they sell is the narrative. Occasionally this creates problems, and this looks like one of those problems. Someone did not succeed in thinking things all the way through.

Seriously, Why?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Permit me an unhinged rant about the young family at the next table over. Last night was my sweetheart’s birthday, and I was delighted to see we had a seat with no waiting even though we didn’t have a reservation. Cool! And it was right up front. Just after ordering the appetizer, we were graced with the company of a young couple, about thirty, with the loudest entourage of of little tax deductions you ever did see. Right across the aisle. Why does this keep happening? If it is truly a random occurrence, the odds against it happening the way it’s been happening…must be staggering. But somehow they always know where to seat us, who to put next to us, and when.

To be clear, “loud” only applies to the 67% youngest amongst the junior lineup. The oldest, around five or six, mentally checked out with the able assistance of his tablet. And I do mean checked out…completely…no chiding at all from the parental units about speaking properly to the waiter when ordering, nothing like that at all. Could’ve replaced the oldest kid with a leather dummy, or a big pillow. The middle was a girl who was, like most girls that age, allowed to laugh and sing and yell and make whatever sounds she liked, as loud as she liked and as long as she liked, without so much as a hint that this is out of place, inappropriate, or even uncherished. Boys that age are admonished to use their “library voices,” I think, still, but she proceeded to cheerfully dominate the sound space the entire time. The two year old had discovered the joys of being self-mobile and proceeded to run up and down the aisle. Three times, the family patriarch excused himself to go collect. Momma did not so much as flinch. Yeah, that told the story…husband is in business clothes, wife is in the “You don’t expect me to keep this house together and look pretty too, do you?” uniform. Going out to a nice restaurant to give momma a break. Mercifully, they finished the meal lickety-split. But they spent more time picking up their stuff on the way out, than they did actually eating. Interestingly, all three whelps had to be hounded about where their iPads were. That’s worth a lifted eyebrow at the very least. All three have iPads? I see. How many will require medication before they can pay attention to their teachers?

Talk with your eyes closed, smell your own fartsThe service we got from the wait staff was off-the-charts excellent, which is why we keep going back. It seems to be getting just better and better all the time. And, with dessert, and the check, we get a survey card. Oh, no…

It’s not even a dilemma. I have to mention it. There seems to be a feeling in the air, from where it comes I do not know — families with kids can be put anywhere, it’s a universal fit. This cannot continue uncorrected. Yes, I’m serious. I feel awful about it.

But my real puzzlement is with the family. Lobster ravioli, parmesan-crusted steak, grilled cheese sandwich, kids don’t give a shit. They’ll prefer a box of animal crackers for $1.89 or whatever. After a hearty meal of fish sticks. We opted to keep things pleasant. That means, we showed no balls at all. No need, nothing was really ruined — this time. We got a chuckle out of it. And delighted in entertaining a fantasy: I pick up their check, and when they ask why, we say if you can’t afford a sitter you must need every nickel.

Tempting. But it’s wrong to spend real money to feel smug. There’s a reason we don’t have a Prius…

What has happened? Has babysitting become yet another job real Americans won’t do? We have so many retail establishments that exist solely for the purpose of giving kids a wonderful time, places completely unlike anything that existed in my youth — and yet I continue to see these whelps hauled off to other places, places that have nothing whatsoever to do with whelps. It is an enigma and, I think, perhaps a foretelling of something that is about to turn out in a way we won’t like.

Green Activists Trash Park on Earth Day

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

*sigh*. SFist, via Gateway Pundit, by way of Fox News.

Not to get all hippie-preachy or anything, but this is kind of an offensive amount of trash, right? Do normal and reasonable human beings not look at that mess and say, “…maybe we ought to like, I don’t know? Take some of this trash with us? To a trash can?” or “Maybe we should bring that coffee table back home?” We’ve seen our share of litter-y days in Dolores Park and some embarrassing trash pileups in Golden Gate Park, but leaving actual pieces of living room furniture is a whole new level of prickish park use.

“Those trash picker guys are going to be stoked about this!” was one justification we heard for the mess. We tried to get someone from the neighborhood recycling center on the phone to settle that bet, but they are unfortunately not open on Sundays, so we’ll have to follow up on that later.

Looks like the SF online resource is none to pleased with people blaming this on “activists.” Mmmm…yeah, after mulling it over, I think I’m going to go out on a limb and call that one. There is drawing reasonable conclusions about things and then there is “fabricating.” Those are two different things, ya know.

Feminism 6/1/97

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

It was a Sunday. The sun was not up yet, and I hoofed it around the block where we lived, at Folsom Ranch on Greenback Lane.

I had a lot on my mind, because I was about to become a father. To a healthy baby girl. Her mother informed me, nearly two months previous, that I wasn’t going to work that morning because the water would break that day…which didn’t happen, and didn’t happen the day after that, and the day after that. That’s where the previous two months went. What a long two months those were. If I live to be a hundred and fifty, I won’t forget it.

I remember it like it was an hour ago: The sun just started to peak up over the mountains and I approached American River Canyon Dr. The thought in my head rings clear as a bell even today: “Jesus fucking Christ, I don’t know how to raise a girl, because the world doesn’t know either!” Seriously, what are they supposed to do? Marry? Have kids? Clean house? Bake pies? Every little thing you have them do, someone somewhere is ready to criticize you for it — and her too. Which means something. What is an expectant father to do?

The map says my route was 3.86 miles. I don’t remember too much of it after that; nothing at all, really. Not a single footstep. Thankfully, “Savannah” or “Mikhaila” or whatever-ya-call-her, was born 11 pounds, fourteen ounces, with extra equipment, that Wednesday afternoon. I was spared those interminable trips to the barbie doll shops and the Twilight movies, instead I get to be preoccupied with camping, archery, knot-tying and gunfire. Good. To this day I see it as The Lord’s infinite wisdom, confining a man’s temporal challenges to fit the finite talents he can bring. The same is true of all Freeberg men. We don’t have daughters, because we’re not up to it.

But I don’t think anyone else is, either.

And that ends my experience with being a father of a daughter. Just a hypothetical; several weeks of dull and thoughtless apprehension, followed by a few terrifying minutes of real clarity on a Sunday morning, once liberated of the anesthetizing distractions. Followed by a permanent terminus. Now it’s someone else’s problem. That makes it easy; had it actually happened, I would have eventually found a way to deal with it, just like I deal with it when my liquor store doesn’t stock my favorite beer in the cold case. That makes it easy, too. But, it’s a challenge I’ve not had to face down, since my Sunday-morning sweaty-hiking deep-thinking…at which time, I came up empty with all my man-against-nature fine-mind-against-whatever-challenges-the-world-has-to-offer ruminations. That makes it hard. Very, very hard; I’m not used to coming up empty, as in, all-out-of-ideas. In fifteen years, since then, I don’t think it’s really happened to me quite like that. On that Sunday morning, as the sun peeked over the mountains, I was fresh out of ideas as I’ve never been before or since.

Would I have, once again, found a way to deal? I’m certain the answer is yes. But honestly, I have no idea what that way would’ve been. I haven’t even a glimmer.

Take this however you will. As a salute to parents of girls? That probably works, and it probably fits. They have a special challenge. Maybe, had I been forced to adapt to it, I could’ve and would’ve. It’s more than likely. But the same could be said of serving in Iraq, maybe getting a limb blown off. Odds are, I’d have adapted to that too. But that’s all just a useless hypothetical. Here I sit with all four limbs, all twenty-one digits, and a wonderful, wise, capable, conscientious and scrupulous son. Who’s four hundred miles away, but oh well.

The point is, I can’t criticize the feminists too much. They are coping with the problem that, fifteen years ago, I had declared — and found — to be unsolvable. Then again, you could argue that through the thirty years previous, they had made it that way. But meanwhile, the plain and simple fact of the matter is there are still pregnancies going on, and some 52% of those end in the birth of a female baby. Then what happens? As she grows up, she acquires skills? Sounds good! Then what? She meets someone? And her life turns into something that is not a complete vegan-radical-fem-henna-Earth-goddess mess?

My son is coming over to visit this summer. Before the school year begins and he has to go back, we’ll have probably, oh, twenty or more conversations about my future daughter-in-law. Is he going to be an ambitious and capable manly-man, and introduce me to a lean, strong, capable young girl with straight teeth who will fortify my family line with strong, robust grandchildren, and maybe make the old man more than a litle bit jealous; or is he going to wimp out and bring home some cleb-foot freckle-faced inbred hillbilly girl with fifteen kids by four previous marriages and who knows how many informal couplings…

I reckon that’s politically incorrect, putting the same pressure on boys that’s been put on girls since the days of Shakespeare. What’re ya good for? Who ya bringing home?

Well — whatever. If you’re going to do something, do it right. That’s an easy rule to follow, until you apply it to the raising of a girl. Then things get complicated fast. And boys are not too much easier. I’m now over twenty years divorced, with a fifteen-year-old son. Yes, the math doesn’t add up. It’s the first question St. Peter will have for me, and whatever questions come after that will be nothing more than an afterthought. Well, it is what it is; I can only apologize so many times.

But that’s my complication. Women, nowadays, have their own. I had to put some serious thought into this, before sunrise on a Sunday morning in the summer of ’97. I’ve not had to think about it too much since then, but I have have the feeling I’ll need to be thinking about this, again, before too much longer.