Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“Left Wing Problem Solving”

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Stephen Goddard at Real Science:

Lefties believe that they can stop bad weather, by accusing climate skeptics of taking money from Exxon.

They also believe that gangs in Chicago will stop killing each other, if Obama tries to disarm everyone in Wyoming.

Well, if they could exercise the discipline required to actually solve a problem, they wouldn’t be lefties, would they?

Endpoint

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Around Christmastime, after the wife & I watched a biopic from 25 years ago about our nation’s 36th president, I described an important split:

Liberals aren’t liberals. Their class is necessarily divided into two hemispheres, both equally important, one enjoying the much larger share of influence and the other enjoying the much larger share of mass. The elites who possess the influence also possess a far superior understanding of the ultimate disastrous effect of liberal policy. In other words, they know that taking guns off the street does not make innocent people safer, and they know that offering special privileges to minority groups in hiring, contracting and college enrollment does not have a healing effect on racial, gender, and sex-preference divisions. They understand these policies do not do what they are supposed to do, and they even understand the entirely legitimate claims that the policies may in fact be achieving the reverse.

They don’t give a fig. They couldn’t care less.

The commoners, on the other hand, not only think that passage of the latest “landmark legislation” is all that is needed to achieve perfection and finally ascend to that plateau of Nirvana, but that if you argue or question the idea then you must be the stupid one. They are therefore constantly arguing for policies sure to produce disaster, deluding themselves into thinking the opposite, and in doing so making fools of themselves — again deluding themselves into thinking the opposite, that the subtle “nuanced” sense of irony makes them look like little smarty-pants or something. So they’re headed 180 degrees opposite from where they think, twice in a row, and all of the time. It isn’t that they really are that dumb; if they were, they wouldn’t be able to get dressed in the morning and go walking around. The problem is that they just don’t pay attention. They want to go in to the voting booth, poke the right chad, and have everything come out alright. They think the process is just like watching teevee, except the screen is a bit bigger and there are a bunch of other people fighting over the remote. Therefore, if it doesn’t go their way, or if it doesn’t go well, it is of no more consequence than last night’s round of channel-surfing failing to yield the proper satisfaction.

And that doesn’t bother them, they’d admit, if they were honest about it. What does a bad Tuesday night of surfing matter on Wednesday morning? Next to nothing, right? You need to have a few hundred of them, perhaps years’ worth, stacked up on top of each other before you even reconsider your cable subscription.

And so there are the apathetic, who know the policies are bad and don’t care, and the ignorant, who might care that the policies are bad if only they could be bothered to pay attention, but they can’t be, so they don’t know any better.

The apathetic elites, I named “strategists” in my Art of War Against Liberals post, dividing the ignorant commoners into ten other classes:

He has skin in the game. He is materially entangled in the liberal vision, being rewarded either out in the open or in secret, by way of cash, discounts, perks, votes or career advancement. He has a “job,” of sorts, to make himself and other liberals more powerful.

He therefore cannot be dissuaded.

The rift between this type, and the other ten, is the most precious asset we have. Do not engage this sort of poser in any direct way.

Accentuate, for the benefit of any bystanders, the differences between his interests and everybody else’s.

The rift between the apathetic elites, and the ignorant commoners, is “the most precious asset we have.” And therein lies the key. This is what was not emphasized to the public, before the democrats successfully retained the White House and the Senate. The democrats have their interests; the poor and middle class have theirs; who cares what’s what, if both sets of interests might be served by a common course of action? So re-electing democrats looks like a good idea. It didn’t work out that way, people saw, once they were issued their first paychecks of the year. But by then it was too late.

What’s the answer?

I got my idea when I caught wind of House Joint Resolution 15, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President”. Okay, it has zero chance of getting past committee. And it isn’t clear that Congress has the authority to unilaterally repeal an amendment such as the 22nd, which is supposed to be an agreement between the feds, the states and the people. Nevertheless…

This defines the one question that might end the silliness, the question for which the apathetic elite strategists will have one answer, and the low-information commoner independent centrists will have the opposite one. Three words: What’s the endpoint?

The partisan democrat strategists simply don’t have one. They will resist the imposition of any limit. The term limit for the President is to be repealed and replaced with…nothing. Barack Obama is to serve as President forever and ever and ever, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Hallelujah. Is that sacrilegious? Tough, deal with it, we’re talking Obama the Replacement Jesus here. And knock off with this absurd ritual of putting Him up for re-election. He is our Emperor after all.

High CapacityI know this is all silly talk. But the questions should be asked. The elites have one answer for them, the commoners have the opposite answer, and the commoners deserve to know all about that even if the elites do not want them to. Besides, in all seriousness, from what I can tell so far the unstated answer is always to-infinity-and-beyond. Sultan Soetoro gets everything He wants, if the Constitution is in the way then it has to be nudged aside, if the situation all turns to crap then it’s some Republican’s fault. Lather, rinse, repeat. Good for Obama and democrats, bad for everybody else. And if we’re tired of talking about effects & outcomes, we then have to confront a wholly separate issue about this whole thing: It has long ago become tedious and boring. Round and round we go. Barack Obama wins all the arguments, it turns out badly, the talking heads on the teevee blame Republicans, and let’s all line up to do it again.

What’s the daily routine at 1600 Pennsylvania? President Obama should roll out of bed whenever He darn well feels like it, like a spoiled little kid…decide what the favorite color of the day is going to be for the whole country…if He feels like it. And then a round of golf while the rest of of us trudge off to the salt mines. Again, if He feels like it. It should be like a real-life re-enactment of the Good Life episode of the Twilight Zone.

Right?

Republicans should do this with every fight they’ve lost. ObamaCare, Fiscal Cliff, Cash for Clunkers, Stimulus. The House Speaker can’t negotiate with the President, so everyone should stop expecting him to. Give the President what He wants. But — always insist on an answer to the question: Is this the end of it, or is more needed? I heard a few months back there’s a movement afoot to get another stimulus going. So, question, again: How about it? How big is the second one going to be? How about a third one?

That’s probably the best way to kick off some visible discussion about endpoints; make that the default response to everything, that President Obama has asked for action on exactly the right thing, in the right direction, but maybe not enough of it. Raise the federal minimum wage to twelve bucks an hour? Right you are, Mister President, but shouldn’t it be more like twenty? Raise the highest marginal income tax rate to thirty-nine point six? Maybe sixty percent is the better rate, why did you stop where Clinton did? You’re better than he was, aren’t You? Outlaw high capacity magazines? Why not outlaw low capacity magazines as well?

Speaking of guns, I see the President is “facing criticism” on the executive orders thing. That does not mean it is political suicide; Barack is a big boy, He’s handled hot potatoes before. But it is obvious that this situation is tolerable to the nation only because its citizens, apart from those interested in buying guns or ammunition, remain unaffected. Nobody else is experiencing the frustration of waiting for Barry to pace around in a room somewhere, mull it over in His Holy Noggin, and figure out who He wants to wish out to the cornfield. It’s a whole different kettle of fish if everyone has to wait and wonder. People don’t see how risible the whole arrangement is, if it doesn’t affect them personally. When it does, that’s when “separation of powers” starts to look like a swell idea. Hey, someone should write that down on a piece of parchment or something…

You ever argue with one of these libs? These “strategists”? I say not to engage them; I don’t always follow my own advice here. When I don’t, it ends up being a waste of energy and time. I’ll tell you where it all goes: They don’t know anything about anything, except one thing, and that is who among us is leveraging influence, and should not be able to. That’s all they’re willing to define, for all the blustering they do about having the answer to all our problems: Who should be ostracized, who should be defrocked of power or position. Who should be exiled. Who should be stopped. Stop the religious people from obstructing abortion. Stop the gun nuts from buying their guns. Stop the conservatives from doing…whatever it is they do…which is what? Voting? I think the answer is voting. Whoever disagrees with liberals shouldn’t be able to vote. They don’t say so because they don’t have to say so. The question never gets asked. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. So ask the question. If it isn’t asked, the ignorant commoners are left with the impression that the apathetic elites agree with them about everything when this is not the case. This serves the interest of nobody save for the apathetic elites.

To coin a phrase, we need a national dialogue on the endpoint. We need an open discussion on how far the democrat-party loyalists want to take…well…everything. It is the proper and fair thing to do. And it’s relevant, because lately they’ve won a lot more than they’ve lost. Well, there’s a burden that goes along with that. If the locomotive is charging onward, full steam ahead, then it is good for the nation to know where the tracks are laid down — and how far.

Matters of Parallax, and Process Over Outcome

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

In comments under a previous post, rhjunior puts it all together, it’s one of my Mother’s favorite stories about the three blind men and the elephant (although, behind the link, I see it has become six blind men).

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right…

The poster of the comment seems to wonder why I rambled on instead of linking to the story, then adds this pithy summation: “…[T]he liberal thinks that the only one that was wrong — was the elephant.”

There’s a simple reason why I chose not to link to the story. As we relate the situation to real life, we here in reality are lacking the luxury of a wise, sighted guru happening along and filling us in on what an elephant looks like. Everyone mortal is effectively “blind.” Which matters to us, since this is the House of Eratosthenes, who is some guy who lived thousands of years ago and figured out the size of the Earth by following clues. Not, House of some guy who was getting in nerd-fights with other guys before some wise sage or deity made the time to tell him the whole story so the fighting would stop.

In fact, while I was writing it, I was questioning my own judgment call as I moved on from something. The thing with the barn in the painting…

This is why liberals like art, I think. The barn in the painting, the direction from which the artist chose to paint it, the colors, the lighting, the flowers in the field in front of the barn, the time of day — even the frame in which the canvas is mounted — they all coincide together to make a unique experience, and that experience is the reality. You paint the same barn from a different angle, and to them that’s an entirely different thing. To people who actually have to build things that go, there is a linkage between the two, and we use this to figure out what the barn is really like. Therefore there is a reasoning process going on.

They don’t engage in any such reasoning process because they don’t see the linkage; therefore they don’t see the point. The sunflowers in front of the barn are just as important as the barn itself. Contradictions that arise, present them with no pressing reconciliation chore whereas the rest of us have to stop everything to figure out what’s happening with that damn barn, like: Why does the color appear different at midday from at twilight?

There is more inspection due here, because the “liberals” — in this context meaning, people who think reality is invested in the images perceived by the observer rather than in the object itself, which is generally true — are not exclusively ignorant, and neither are their counterparts, who see the images as merely manifestations of a reality that is too complex to be entirely encompassed in any one single image. Each side of this split is paying attention to something that its opposite is ignoring entirely.

I mentioned a pair of paintings of a single barn, taken from two different angles and two different times of day. I also mentioned sunflowers in a field, in the foreground of one of these. (Presumably, the sunflowers would be out of frame in the other painting, or perhaps off to the side, or in the background.) In the context here we think of “conservative” as an observer who envisions the barn in the painting as a three-dimensional object, with the painting simply a partial representation of it.

Four disparities in these world-views arise.

Beauty: The liberals appreciate the “art” as a complete story unto itself, in ways the conservatives do not. Each painting is a package deal and it may or may not involve a positive emotional experience. If it does, all the elements of the story are pertinent. The brushes, the oil, the matte, the frame, the barn, the flowers, the fence posts, the birds, the sky, the clouds. This is why Citizen Kane is the greatest movie ever made…if you ask a liberal. If a conservative is dragged into the conversation, the conversation falls apart as the conservative asks all these unwelcome questions like: Uh, there have been a whole lot of movies made about a character falling from grace, what makes this any different? And then the liberal becomes exasperated and tired of this conversation because it is a communication with someone outside of the emotional experience, so typically will say something like “You just have to watch it! I can’t explain it! Watch Citizen Kane, you’ll ‘get it!'” They aren’t being insincere. There’s a lot of tangential stuff that goes into the experience, like how a stained-glass window pane is photographed, which to the conservative is just so much noise — which brings me to —

TMI: The sunflowers in front of the barn. To the liberal, they’re every bit as important as the barn itself. To the conservative they’re just in the way, especially after the conservative has managed a gander at the second painting, and figured out that the barn is the common object, and that these two paintings are of the same barn. To him, this is a matter of interest and all sorts of fascinating chores emerge from this simple acknowledgement of the obvious, that the barn has three dimensions and is (probably) a real thing that stands, or once stood, somewhere. One can therefore figure out the barn’s size and shape, where the two painters stood relative to one another, how big the barn is, what doors and other openings it has. The liberal is not captivated by this because the liberal doesn’t acknowledge the link between the two paintings. He may favorably appreciate both of them. But if that’s the case, it is important to understand that the liberal mind finds these to be positive, pleasing, unique and independent experiences. And the sunflowers are part of it. To the conservative, trying to figure out the size and shape of the barn, the goddamn things are just in the way.

Plurality of PerspectivesContradictions:Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” So says Professor Hugh Axton in the first third of Atlas Shrugged, winding up Part I which is called “Non-Contradiction.” The fact that a genuine contradiction cannot exist, makes apparent contradictions quite useful. For example, this is how parallax works. If two stars are 45 angular minutes apart in March, and 15 angular minutes apart in September, and one of the stars is much further away so that our distance to it is functionally infinite, this tells us a great deal about our distance to the closer one. In pursuing this trajectory of reasoning we are making use of a duality of perspectives. Confined to only a single perspective, we would be deprived of this evidence and would not be able to arrive at this conclusion until we came across some other way to gather the information. For a much simpler example, we can ponder the visual chores done within the brain of anybody who enjoys the advantage of two working eyes as this person experiences visual depth. It’s all about reconciling apparent contradictions between two images, known to be associated with each other. Liberals, by and large, don’t do this. And that’s why the conflict persists. They don’t seem to appreciate the value of it. Many among their number have two working eyes apiece, I think. How is it they can ponder weighty subjects, like what to do about our indigent, whether there is such a thing as human effect on the climate, and in so doing fall short of the thinking capacity they engage whenever they look down the street? I don’t know the answer to this. You will have to ask them.

Distortion: For all the noise liberals make about the value of nuance, you would think they’d be able to appreciate that different stories can be told about the same reality, there may be different observations made, and yet both stories might be true. And yet, time after time we see conflict arise around them, which they then blame on others, because they perceive that the other story must be a “lie.” Like William F. Buckley used to say, “…liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, [but] it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.” This very often causes them to confuse “do you agree” with “do you know”: The “true” story is somehow established as being one and the same with somebody’s telling of it, much like, again, that barn in the painting. Somehow it is established that a certain painting is the “Original Van Gogh.” It would therefore follow that anything else purporting to be the same thing, with detectable differences, must be a replica and therefore fake, worthless, even a blight. This makes sense with paintings, doesn’t make quite so much sense with the perception of reality. Because, again, with paintings the value is linked to the painting itself — it is the object of value. Problems arise when they carry this mindset into the real world. A great example is climate change. I have no problem “admitting” that humans might possibly have an effect on it, in the sense that all organisms within an environment affect each other, along with the environment itself, and the environment affects them right back. That much is just how nature works. Even when you jump off the ground into the air, in the purest technical sense you are engaging in an interaction with the Earth as the force from your legs repels the two of you momentarily apart. And yet, have you been in a climate change dispute that failed to degenerate, as they so often do, into something like “What qualifications do you have to question the science that says global warming is caused by humans?” Think of it from their mindset: The “theory” is a painting, it doesn’t reflect anything else, it is its own reality. Any statement about the same thing, deviating from this prototype in any detectable way, is a demonstrable fake. Anything done about a certain thing, must adhere to an orthodox process, or else it is invalid — nevermind the outcome.

The take-away from all this is, our friends the liberals are at the center of a great deal of conflict, and they’re probably to be blamed for it, but we shouldn’t be too hard on them before we make an effort to understand things…from their point of view. In a lot of ways, they’re simply children who have made a mistake about how to perceive the world around them, and then unfortunately went through the ensuing years of maturation with this mistake left uncorrected. They just haven’t gone through the experience that would compel them to make the correction. They think images are reality, and that explains most of it. Probably watched too much television or something.

Why are they so nasty sometimes? People who are hoodwinked by something, and secretly suspect this is the case, tend to want everybody else to be hoodwinked by the same thing. Peers who have not been hoodwinked the same way, offend them, because it shows that they haven’t had to be hoodwinked and somewhere they must have made the decision that this should happen. Inferiors who have not been hoodwinked, offend them the same way, because it reminds them that they have the intellectual fortitude to solve their own problems and they haven’t seen fit to marshal this fortitude. Superiors who have not been so hoodwinked, offend them, because it poses a problem for their dogmatic “truth” that all good things come from communicating and investing belief in a common set of “good” messages, read that as, genuine, truthy images. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush believing in un-liberal things, and rising to the office of President of the United States, offends the dickens out of them. But as soon as Barack Obama is sworn in, the Reagan and Bush things are effectively scrubbed from history; not never happened (until the time comes to blame something on them). Welcome to the age of “We know we’re right because Obama is President.”

And that gets into a fifth perception-discrepancy that arouses conflict, the perception of time. Liberals do not view time the same way normal people do. But that is truly a post for some other day.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Rotten Chestnuts.

The Wal Mart Thing

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Sunday at the gun range a lot of guys were complaining about Wal Mart. Yesterday I heard on the radio someone got a Wal Mart manager to order .223 right on the spot, and the manager found out on the phone that the order was being suspended at corporate.

Can’t find any corroboration for this online except at here. Interesting. Wait for more anecdotes to flow in, I guess. But our Vice President says the nineteen executive orders should be in, or at least announced, by the end of the week. It’s clear they’re having some kind of an effect already though.

Reminds me of a murder mystery I’d read once, a long time ago, about a guy stabbing his victim to death with an icicle. It was the perfect crime because the murder weapon melted. That’s what it’s like when large manufacturers and retailers are bullied and intimidated, there’s no “weapon,” no fingerprints. There’s no law against selling or buying the ammo. Nobody to be blamed. Not legally.

People who like having it work this way, like it because it’s someone else being deprived or inconvenienced. Perhaps it’s too much to ask that they evaluate the situation based on more abstract concepts, rather than on specifics. How un-American is this? You can’t have X until Barry goes off in a room all by Himself, mulls it over, and figures out what kind of executive order He wants to write. Entire industries grinding to a halt while a nation breathlessly waits to see what sparks jumped what synapses in the President’s brain. Like the opening scene of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Not the taxi scene, I mean the very first one…where they’re all waiting for the boss to finish looking at the samples. Like that.

When such a situation involved a King of Great Britain, it was worth a revolution and a war to get it changed, right? Huh. I guess sensibilities change across time…

Help Amusing Bunni

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

If you can. And however you can.

This Is Good CV

Monday, January 14th, 2013

I cannot find the post and so I shall have to paraphrase. And I have no link to offer, either to the statement itself, or to something that would suitably represent its author.

Facebook friend John Rambo said, at one time or another, somewhere…

Anybody else notice that whenever Barack Obama gets His way, the country ends up worse off?

As is the case with most “this is good” things, it’s hard to think of anything else to add, and so I’ll stop here.

Update 1/15/13: There we go, he was good enough to link to his “tweet”:

Cockiness

Monday, January 14th, 2013

I see Rush Limbaugh has a column up about his New Years’ resolution, to not be so cocky and sure of himself:

Maybe I could be a little bit more mellow, less expressive, with not as many wild gesticulations while speaking. Not monotone but clearly not as energetic. You people may not be aware but I tried being more mellow the first week I was back. …I wanted to be less threatening, because I was told that 24-year-old women are threatened by me and my passion.

So I try to dial it [back]. I figure maybe what it boils down to is I just don’t know how to be boring. I was trying to be boring, and I don’t know how to be. I even tried to be less confident. See, I am convinced — and I’ve been convinced for a while — that most people are not… Well, this I know. This is not something I’ve recently become convinced of. It’s something I know. Most people are not confident of what they believe. Most people have a lot of self-doubt, or just doubt.

If they don’t doubt themselves, they have doubt about things. They’re not very confident and not sure, and they’ve also seen what happens to people who are confident and who are sure. They are the ones who get hit. So I thought, “Okay.” I’ve known for a long time that when people talk about me being braggadocios or bombastic, what they’re really saying is that I’m too sure of myself. Nobody’s that sure of themselves, and it rubs them the wrong way. So I tried to dial that back. I tried to sound less confident. I tried to sound boring.

I don’t know how to do that.

This makes precious little sense to me, but I can identify with it anyway. I especially identify with the part about the chicks being threatened, although I know I shouldn’t identify with that. I don’t like the gender stereotyping. It creates conflict that serves no purpose, and as the years roll by and men become generally more and more effeminate, I understand that wherever the gender identity might have made for some accuracy up to some point of time, such accuracy is becoming eroded as men behave more and more like women.

But then, I’ve had my relationships, during which I’ve been midcourse-corrected for being over-confident and cocky, just like Limbaugh. Of course this has come from women, since I’m a dude and I’m straight. But I’m sure there is some resentment toward the talk show host for his swagger, and his “talent on loan from God” thing, and “thirty-five undeniable truths of life” which do not apply to humble li’l ol’ me. I don’t have “undeniable truths,” I have Things I Know, which is a bit of a different situation you see. I have no beef with anyone who wants to “deny” the things I know. If they want to challenge any one among them, I’m all ears. But, for now, no one successfully has, and so know them I do.

Now here is where the remarkable thing arises: This ground I’ve just covered, that very spot, seems to be the epicenter of where the conflict arises. Me knowing things. Going beyond merely penciling them into my mental notebook; filling them in with ink. Having some measure of good, rugged, old-fashioned confidence. Yes, this does rub some chicks the wrong way, along with not a few self-loathing chestless chick-wanna-be beta-male “men.”

This overlaps somewhat with the post previous, along with the one previous to that, along with the one I uploaded after shopping for Christmas trees. It’s the liberal Gumby universe, no point established that doesn’t move, no line between any two points that is truly straight, no arc drawn through any three points adhering to any constant direction or radius. Everything is squishy and pliable, everything’s negotiable, there are no absolutes anywhere.

And so I’ve come up with my own way not to be so cocky. Following the advice directly, I’m afraid, fails on a lot of levels. Their objection is to me knowing things, and in a lot of cases I know things because I’ve actually tested them. Uh, what am I to do about that? I see no progress in that direction, other than feigning false things, like pretending I didn’t conduct the test, pretending I don’t know how to construct the tests, or how to evaluate them, or that the tests indicated something other than what they indicated. Seems phony, to me — because it is. Also, I can’t help noticing that the women who react churlishly toward men like me who are “too confident” about things, fail to reject this, in fact are drawn to the confidence. I mean — we were having the argument, were we not? Which means we had the encounter so that we could have the argument, so there must have been some kind of a coupling. Some people go through life constantly wanting something other than what they have, something different from what they wanted yesterday. Must be a terrible way to live. And what’s it like to be one of those guys who they say they want, who aren’t so confident? Oh, I know the answer to that from my younger days: I-N-V-I-S-I-B-L-E. Yes, I can see why some women don’t like men who “know” things, those are the women who don’t know what they know. Starting with what they really want.

Rush is going to try to stop ticking off these women and American Castrati men, by looking into ways to be more boring. Okay…that probably is not my problem though. I think I’m plenty boring enough. I need to come up with my own list of things.

1. Don’t browbeat people with information. Seriously question the value involved in starting any kind of list. Consider not doing it…

Oops! Right off the bat, I violated my own rule.

Well, in for a penny in for a pound. Onward we go.

2. If you must start any kind of silly list to make your point, seriously question the value involved in reaching the end of it. Opt instead for “et al,” “et cetera” or “ad infinitum.”

That’s tough to do sometimes. You come up with a rule, make a couple of exceptions to it, it can come off as looking like you think the rule should hold for anything outside of those two things, so it becomes obligatory to tack on a third and then a fourth…your audience’s attention span has faded, understandably, somewhere between items #5 and #8. After a dozen, you’re just verbally abusing them — and of course you can’t stop yet.

And so…

3. Etc.

There. Now I’m taking my own medicine.

The Christmas tree shopping post linked above, is an interesting blogging exercise in that I became unusually concerned with computer software and how it’s put together, studying it from a philosophical perspective. I expected it to gather dust without anyone ever looking at it, or without drawing any comments from anybody who did look. That is not what happened. Those who read it, immediately understood where I was going with it, and had similar experiences. This came as a great surprise to me.

I’ve often made the observation that with computer software, the products that are most useful and take on a life of their own, have a few things in common: An input, an output, and most importantly a difference in those two perspectives — the output has to capture the object that was input, verbatim, then it has to present it by way of a perspective that, with the product no longer accessible, would be difficult to achieve. Think of CAD, think of spreadsheets making pie charts out of data, think of databases sorting things. One object; a plurality of views of the object, that is the common theme to it all.

Then…

There is a detectable pattern in which, if the presentation of an object makes it more difficult and awkward for us to determine any absolutes about the object, liberals are going to not only love that presentation all to pieces, but spend massive amounts of energy pushing for a requirement that everyone perceive the object in that fuzzy, cloudy, definition-less way.

Then…

The error of the liberal mind is in perceiving reality to be wrapped up in the multitude of views rather than in the singular object being so represented.

You can see why I was surprised this achieved any sort of currency. It is very heavy. If it was food, it would be one of those military-surplus C-rat brownies in the green cans, that sit in your gut for a week. It goes right down to: What is reality? To the conservatives and the responsibly-thinking moderates, it is the object itself, with the view of the object being nothing more than a manifestation. To our friends the liberals, living in their squishy stretchy special universe, the view itself is the reality. That’s why they say reality lacks absolutes and one culture’s reality is just as legitimate as another’s; when you define reality the way they do, there is some legitimacy to this viewpoint. They aren’t talking “reality” in terms of the object, they’re talking reality in terms of the view of it.

So when I meet someone from that side of the fence, of course they see me as uncompromising and maybe arrogant. I see the reality as a three-dimensional thing, whereas they see it in only two dimensions. I mentioned CAD. Let’s use a simple analogy then. You see a house, ten feet high by twenty feet wide by thirty feet deep. A very simple CAD program scales this to a quarter inch per foot, and projects front, top and side elevations just like they taught you in mechanical drawing class. Your top elevation, therefore, is five inches wide and seven-and-a-half inches tall; the front elevation is five inches by two-and-a-half inches; the side elevation is seven-and-a-half by two-and-a-half. Got it?

The way the liberal sees reality, there are three realities there. For us, this doesn’t work because it creates contradictions. To a liberal, though, contradictions are inconsequential. The squishy pliable Gumby universe, remember? That property is necessary in order to isolate all these “realities.”

They perceive an assault against their plastic universe, of course, any time they receive some information that must come from the three dimensions. Like for example, that the house has a volume of six thousand cubic feet. This could only have been gathered through an experience, be it real or be it only a mental exercise, that they cannot share. So of course they feel abused about it. Hence the conflict. Also: Their brand of “negotiating,” where they’re sincere about it — read that as, Barack Obama is not involved in it — involves shifting reality from time to time, by shifting the views. We, living in the three-dimensional universe, will not accommodate this because we can’t. You shift from the side view to the top view, the elevation doubles in size, but this has no bearing on the “real” object that has been represented. That object, we insist, stays the same as it always has, you’re just looking at it differently. Well to them, this comes off as uncharitable and unkind.

You see? It’s all about…perspective. Theirs is different, because they define reality differently. They live in a flat world, because they don’t have to make anything that actually works.

This is why liberals like art, I think. The barn in the painting, the direction from which the artist chose to paint it, the colors, the lighting, the flowers in the field in front of the barn, the time of day — even the frame in which the canvas is mounted — they all coincide together to make a unique experience, and that experience is the reality. You paint the same barn from a different angle, and to them that’s an entirely different thing. To people who actually have to build things that go, there is a linkage between the two, and we use this to figure out what the barn is really like. Therefore there is a reasoning process going on.

They don’t engage in any such reasoning process because they don’t see the linkage; therefore they don’t see the point. The sunflowers in front of the barn are just as important as the barn itself. Contradictions that arise, present them with no pressing reconciliation chore whereas the rest of us have to stop everything to figure out what’s happening with that damn barn, like: Why does the color appear different at midday from at twilight?

I have also detected conflict from my apparent intransigence about these things I know; I won’t stop knowing them on command, even though the milquetoasts and the Castrati and the lefties are willing to meet me halfway on this, or so they think. What they are discovering, or would discover if they could stop blaming the conflict on me for just a minute or so, is the problem involved with falsifiability. They are discovering that inductive reasoning is porous, while deductive reasoning is not. The classic textbook example involves a theory that all swans are white, and the asymmetry is that no matter how many white swans are observed, such a theory can never be proven, but the presentation of a single black swan entirely debunks it. And so they end up in conflict with people like me, who might have seen the black swan. They think I’m generating all the conflict, and I’m certain that to them it feels that way.

But there’s my reality to be considered, as well. If I saw the black swan, I can’t un-see it, just for sake of getting along with people who haven’t seen it. So I suppose I should be grateful I’m not a radio talk show host, because the option remains open to me to simply non-associate. The view-is-reality people, the barn-perspective people, don’t seem to want me around anyway. And I have no desire to stress them out needlessly.

Repetitive

Monday, January 14th, 2013

They’re thinking of continually raising the debt ceiling every three months or so, and House Speaker Boehner evidently doesn’t know how to handle these negotiations. We have a looming crisis, about the same thing that was the subject of the looming crisis two weeks ago.

It’s like a Quincy episode. Lots of drama, lots of yelling, with the cookie-cutter formula definable even though the solution is not. (Neither is the problem, now that I think on that a bit further.) We even have a reading on the rhythm: Two weeks. Do your “landmark negotiations” or whatever on Day N, and on Day N+14 tell the sheeple there’s another crisis about exactly the same thing. Same stinkin’ thing. Don’t even bother to change the wording much.

Still & all, the people who want things to work this way, or insist that we have the right people in charge, have such confidence in what they say. How do they manage it, I wonder. Maybe they’ve never, ever had jobs, or at least, never had jobs in which they had to convince someone “it’s alright, it’s handled, I/we/they have this thing.” Because, in that environment, this is the very picture of a complete non-starter. It’s the picture of career suicide. If this was what you had to bring to the project stakeholders about how things are going — another two weeks, another crisis, not distinguishably different from the previous one — oh, how do I put this…it doesn’t get lower than this. You would be required to send out meeting invitations to your next round-table, at which you can look forward to being asked absolutely unanswerable questions, look forward to being soundly disgraced. You would be chairing your own indictment hearing. It would be the equivalent of buying the bullets for your own firing squad.

But I guess in DC things don’t work like that.

Our last magic wonderful solution didn’t work, we’re a failure, now give us more money.

And from what I’m seeing here, it works great, because fourteen days is okay. People don’t remember the previous crisis. I guess fourteen days is long enough for them to forget. I’m anticipating that this frequency will gradually quicken over time, because how could it not? Every time these beltway types figure out they can get away with something, they up the ante. So they’ll try ten days next, then seven. How tiny will these cycles get?

What if it’s every twenty-four hours? “We’re still to be congratulated for that last round of negotiations YESTERDAY, but it didn’t work so give us more money.” Would that still work? Every day at three Eastern, noon Pacific, the same silly announcement, same stage, same people talking. Need more money. Would people around the country then start to wake up and say, hey, maybe this is a model of government that doesn’t work so well?

I have to wonder because I’ve been living in the Sacramento area for twenty years. And so, I think…maybe yeah, that’ll still work great, pondering this is a little bit like wondering when the dead horse will get up and say “Hey, quit beating me.” But, hope springs eternal. A lot of people are like that, but a lot aren’t, and elections are just games of reaching fifty-one percent (or 270 electoral votes). Maybe the pendulum will swing back.

But not unless people realize that any configuration of government is a test, not an answer; you have to have in mind some way of determining that the test passed, or that it failed. This one is failing according to my criteria, but as I’ve been reminded from living in the capital of California, my criteria are not what matters…

He Was Talking About You

Monday, January 14th, 2013

…when President Obama said we need to ask the wealthy to pay some more to make it come out right. You didn’t realize you were wealthy? Surprise, surprise.

From Daily Caller, hat tip to Boortz.

Yeah, that last guy let Him off the hook entirely. Politicians say what they have to say, do what they have to do, whatever…ditto for the “Obama all the way” guy.

Here we come to the cognitive dissonance within liberals, that absolutely fascinates me, the “shouldn’t be surprised” angle of it. The plan has been explained and now it has been put in play. The resources are tapped — as planned, plus a whole lot more, a lot of people are getting tapped who didn’t think they would be. But they shouldn’t be surprised. The problem that was supposed to be addressed, is not getting solved, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that either. Politicians, just doing what they gotta do…

The “Obama all the way” guy said something about “get the ball rollin’.” What’s that mean?

More and more, it seems to me that all things liberal, have to do with avoiding the definitions of things. Problems to be solved. Solutions. Objectives. Visions. Resources. Costs. It’s clear to me they all have some goal in mind, but they aren’t being forthcoming about what it is, maybe even to themselves. When the rubber meets the road they all consider it some sort of success, although they can’t point to anything that was supposed to have been done that actually got done.

I think, Barack Obama is just supposed to win more arguments, is all. Barack and Michelle should get to go on more vacations and they should look all winning & smart. Then the Obama fans live vicariously through the Obamas. Is it really that simple? Maybe so. Everything to do with forming alliances and allegiances, nothing to do with getting anything done.

Weather Girls

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

It pains me to say this, but if ever there is a world competition for “Best Weather Girl,” the adjudicating panel could save a whole lot of time by simply eliminating the United States from the running and proceeding with all the other nations assembled.

I do not mean by this to say the United States has ugly weather girls. You can see from this lineup that some of them are drop-dead gorgeous. But, with the list items about evenly divided between USA and not-USA, something else becomes clear: All those smarmy libs who have been bellyaching for years and years about “America has hang-ups about sex,” they’re correct. Oh, maybe not in the way they think. I know they really just want to compare us to France, and find France superior because of topless beaches or something dumb like that.

You don’t have to look over the pictures long to find the rule: In the United States, a weather girl M-U-S-T be dressed in such a way that would be acceptable, in an office building, at a large conservative firm. Law firm. Banking institution. We don’t notice it after awhile because we have become acclimated to it. But, this is a hang-up. We’ve been conditioned to think, okay, there is work and then there is not-work; being a weather girl is work, so that should look like work. And work means: Straight men do not find anything appealing, or rather, they find appealing what they are damn well told to find appealing.

Gaal NoemiBecause men are danger. Not sexy danger, but intolerable danger — unless they are absolutely, positively, completely controlled in every possible way.

“Mighty Mayte” Carranco, on the other hand, doesn’t need an elaborate culture-protocol setup in order for male viewers to find her appealing. She just is. I’m sure some in our fair country, especially the loud opinionated types, will find that tacky. Maybe that is the case…I have no objection to people pointing out things that are simply true, even if they’re matters of subjective taste, and maybe more than a few trace amounts of plain old-fashioned jealousy. My question is, since when do matters of tack and taste get in the way of marketing? It’s a bit odd that such a circuit breaker is tripped only here, isn’t it? Think about cases in the United States where “give the people what they want” emerges victorious over matters of propriety and decorum. It’s practically become our national symbol, seems pointless to even get the list started. Been a national embarrassment for quite some time. When it comes to men looking at beautiful women on television, somehow it has to work the other way.

Once again, men are intolerably dangerous unless completely controlled in every way they possibly can be. If we’ve gone so far down this road that men can be ordered to find a pantsuit-harridan as attractive as Sugey Abrego, I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t matter anymore if this is a good road or a bad road, we’ve passed a point of something, beyond which further travel isn’t going to do us any good. We should turn back. Telling men what they’re supposed to want to watch? How can that be a good idea?

This is a bigger thing than boobs sticking out, or skirts being shorter. I believe, with people and institutions, the natural shape of trajectories over time is the parabola; what goes up, must come down. The United States of America is great, as few things in world history have ever been, because it has defied this for so long. And my optimism here is boundless, I think America has what it takes to defy this “gravity” forever and ever. But it’s not happening, that’s the real problem being called out here. Organizations have a certain “feel” to them when they’ve lost that edge, when they’ve reached the apex and start plummeting earthward again. And this is what it looks like, that notion of “the customer is always wrong.” That sentence I typed in up top, that a world competition would run more efficiently and quickly with the results unaltered, if the U. S. of A. was simply cut from the running — that should never be true. Of anything. Ever.

And it’s true twice, with weather girls and beer.

Like I said, my optimism knows no limits. The downward trajectory can be reversed. We’re still way up there, after all. We can stay head and shoulders above the rest. Across the board.

But not the way things are going. We are a mighty mansion with a proud history, whose best days are still ahead of her. But not if we ignore the termite infestation and dry rot that have set in. Men aren’t watching weather reports here like they do in other countries, because they have no reason to.

Edge Cases

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Had a rather interesting conversation over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging yesterday, which I started after experiencing some everyday-life frustration.

I played a video game, which of course essentially means goofing off — using technology. Then I attended to some businessin’, again using technology. My irritation detonated while in the second of those two activities, during which time not only did seemingly everything in the world go wrong, but I experienced a pretty-much-constant confusion about states of things. States of sessions, states of pages, states of widgets. Seems I never was quite clear on what was doing/expecting what. And I’m talking specifically about web portal stuff. There is a question about whether I’m really logged in when I think I am…whether such-and-such a field has been properly filled in…oh, you need to read our terms of service before clicking that button, and now that you’ve clicked to read our TOS we’ve helpfully wiped out some fields that you have to fill in again.

Your response to CAPTCHA is not an accurate interpretation of the letters and numbers displayed on your screen, please try again. Oops, please try again. Please try again please try again please try again…

I find this aggravating because, having mucked about somewhat with the intricacies of 3D rendering, I have an understanding of what’s going on at the “bleeding edge” and what an organization has to do to meet with these arcane concepts, for just the visual experience of playing the game. It involves considerable effort just to get everything coordinated. And yet this common pattern holds up, that if your effort has to do with goofing off, then everything works great. And if it doesn’t, there is hell to pay even though the situation under which things hiccup just a tiny bit, could fairly be called an “edge case.” Like: Lara Croft can navigate through the lava level properly on PS2, PS3, and XBox, but on the PC download her foot gets stuck in the crack in the floor and you have to re-load…or the camera angle is causing a bit of frustration. Given a set of circumstances like those, the game will be ripped up one side and down another in the reviews, even if everything else is working perfectly. That’s goofing off. When you do things that actually make the household go, nobody gives a rip about edge cases. Even when you’re not trying to do anything exotic at all, everything goes wrong, and what’s worse is, the things that are busted with the system that cause these things to go wrong, stay busted. For months. Years. Years and years and years.

But have you ever tried to give money to your phone company…over the phone? Yes, I’d like to pay my bill. I’d like to pay my bill. Pay my bill. Pay bill. PAY. BILL!

I’m fond of an anecdote from many years ago during my server engineer days. That company was a sprawling health insurance leviathan, and miles away from us at company headquarters, the CEO popped in to work one morning to find the security guard in the lobby playing Solitaire. The Information Technology department got a thumpin’, because the boss wasn’t quite hip to the idea of Windows 95 being all intricately hooked up to its core parts…which included the silly games Microsoft had been throwing in there. Which didn’t stop him from sounding off and demanding action immediately. Yeah, that was one of the ones that came to me, I’m such a lucky stiff…but I certainly understand the frustration. What ticked the old man off was, all these other applications that had to do with work, there were problems galore but — I remember these words vividly — “Lord knows, we can make these games go without a hitch.” Yes there’s a lot of ignorance in there. But I see a valid complaint there as well, or valid feelings at the very least.

Lara CroftGoofing off goes “without a hitch.” Getting money moved around for purposes of staying alive & fed, or keeping the lights turned on…I’m afraid I just don’t understand. The algorithms for session key exchange, authentication, block cipher encryption and hash, those are very mature and capable, we have a pretty good idea of how we want them to work. That’s a different chapter of my work history, but I’ve had to get my hands dirty with all that stuff as well. There is some good, sound technology here. But the layers on top of it, where the web pages are put together and the users are prompted to fill things out, that’s just the worst godawful mess, and you don’t need to understand how things fit together to realize this. Just go through the user experience. Nobody’s doing it right anywhere, it seems. If, that is, the object of the exercise has something to do with “real” work.

For goofing off, everything is hammered together and “built so that it stays built.” The user is free to concentrate on his own shortcomings, and it is implicitly understood that the silly smarmy back-talking bitch Lara Croft did leap in the direction you told her to, and her dead body lies in a sloppy heap at the bottom of the valley because you told her to leap in the wrong direction. Oh, we say things to the contrary all the time. But we know the guy holding the controller is the real problem. Or he’d better be; one little flaw with camera angles in one platform port, even a platform “nobody” is actually using — there’s hell to pay.

It’s not because the experience is inherently frustrating, or the game players lack the maturity to deal with it. That’s one of the few enriching qualities that the games bring. They teach kids, if it seems to be impossible, just try and try again and you’ll get it. There is some value in this. But it has not escaped my notice that if the experience for the user is frustrating, but properly so, with the game doing everything correctly none of this frustration is held against the game. Even when the users sound off with their most base passions in a forum somewhere, nobody was rooked by the game — it’s just a “tough level.” I’m sure the players sometimes do lack maturity. Or, at least, I do on occasion. But it doesn’t affect anything in the interaction.

It’s not because of the competition angle. When I first heard that, I thought it made a lot of sense. If the game is all cocked up, people will learn all about that before they even buy it, whereas the phone company and the power company and the cable company each have a monopoly. The problem with that idea is with the cell phones. Competition among the carriers, and among the hardware platforms, is fierce. Even within that environment the pattern persists, on both sides. Ever have a problem playing Angry Birds? I haven’t heard of anyone saying they have. But, for the utilitarian stuff suddenly it all falls apart. My wife has to go to the retail outlet today, to yell at them about her lack of ability to check messages on our home answering system. Once again, it’s a completely stupid problem: She dials in the pass code, and after three seconds the keypad on her own phone dims out. It makes for a lively performance from the passenger seat while I’m driving, I can tell you. Crap like that. It doesn’t happen with games.

Ever. Like the boss said, Lord knows we can make ‘em go without a hitch.

It isn’t because of complexity. The games are doing amazing things. Just the technology that is involved in rendering a triangle is a science unto itself. And then there are all these methods for storing and retrieving and properly distorting textures when viewed with the light source behind it, or through vapor or water. That automated idiot who takes my credit card number for the phone company doesn’t have to deal with any of that.

I believe, since this tends to always be the case, the things that we build reflect our character; the watch is the image of the watchmaker. And maybe it is just frustration being channeled here, like the frustration of that CEO thundering away in the e-mail. But it seems to me that for the present time, goofing off is where the priority is. When I see people tackle problems that have something to do with accepting my money, or with giving me some, time after time when the problems are being “solved” in some way they’re being solved by way of chopping at the leafy part of the weed. Problem A is brought about by Problem B, without Problem B taking place Problem A would never have happened — nevertheless, all of the few resources marshaled to address this, are directed toward Problem A, with little to no concern about making sure it never happens again. And thirty days later, it does happen. It isn’t long before the consumer figures out that success is mainly involved with avoiding being an edge-case. And, I think this has to do with the long-standing complaint about our societal hostility toward masculinity, our subconscious desire to destroy it: I’ve lately started to think the incapable robot who can’t understand my voice, at the phone company, can’t understand me because I’m a bass-to-baritone. Men these days don’t talk that way. Much more common to hear the “manly” voice confining itself, having been properly chastened like a well-behaved dog staying off the furniture, to about an octave above Middle C. The system carries no burden to handle edge cases, the burden is on the user to avoid being one. I’m thinking the wife should be taking care of this bill payment, and perhaps the end of our frustration lies in that direction.

While the games keep right on working. Edge cases and all. “Without a hitch.”

The Root Cause of Much Evil in Our Culture, Summed Up in One Awesome Pic

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Process elevated as a concern over outcome…

…feeling given priority over ultimate effect.

Thanks again to Gerard for finding this.

“You Get All the Good-Looking Women”

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Okay, notice the headline of this piece: “Musburger Criticized for Remarks About Star’s Girlfriend During Title Game.” It is passive-voice, not active-voice. You locate the primary verb of the sentence, “criticized,” look for the noun that is connected to it as the subject, and you’re left flailing around, like a fish knocked out of its bowl, gasping, because the subject is outside of the sentence which addresses only the object. Brett Musburger, sportscaster.

Other sentences about this contain a constant adjective: “Creepy.” Those sentences, also, are passive-voice.

WebbAnd I’m seeing there’s a good reason for that. Musburger’s comment, which inspired a subsequent apology from ESPN, went like this:

“You quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women,” Musburger, 73, said. “What a beautiful woman.”

“Wow!” his partner, Kirk Herbstreit, said.

“Whoa!” Musburger added.

“A.J’.s doing some things right down in Tuscaloosa,” Herbstreit said.

“If you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pop,” Musburger said.

I don’t think “What a beautiful woman” is what set off the firestorm. Although it certainly didn’t help to taper it off any. No, the real hitch in the giddy-up was “You quarterbacks get all the good looking women.”

Here’s the truth some people evidently cannot handle: Men and women couple-up according to proximate levels of trading currency. It is a financial transaction just like any other. Seeking each other out, men and women will trade down if, and only if, there is a pressing need to trade down. If they don’t have to, then they don’t.

I see a lot of this at Hooters, where it must not bother me even one little bit, because there I am starkly reminded that I’m not at the high end of this spectrum of trading currency. The dirty little secret about Hooters is, as I have noted a few times before, that women actually have fun there; so the waitresses often clock out of their shift, drive home, go grab their boyfriends, and come back to have fun. They probably get a discount, so I’m sure this makes sense financially in some way. But, of course, these are young, knockout, gorgeous young ladies, and the boyfriends they bring back do not look like me even a tiny little bit. They don’t look like GQ models either. They’re not even handsome. They look larger than average, not very disciplined physically, lots of muscle but lots of fat as well. They stoop and they look like they’re not fully evolved. Silly baggy shorts and oversized tee shirts, shaved heads, no necks.

The truth here that some people do not want to confront is: At this high end of the “trading” spectrum, there is a pointy pinnacle. “Pointy” as in, focused, whittled down to a pinpoint, with everyone at that envied level looking more or less the same. Everyone beneath that high pinnacle, man and woman alike, must trade down. The people up at this high end don’t have to trade down. So they don’t. That’s why it’s “pointy” — everyone looks alike, because they resemble some most-sought-after ideal. If you’re not part of that pointy pinnacle, it will only bother you as much as you allow it to.

Me, I don’t allow it to bother me at all. Because the males at this pointy pinnacle look, to me, rather stupid. I don’t care if they’re bagging all the hot babes. I like the hot babe I’ve got, I’ve had her and liked her for years and years, and I also like the guy I see in the mirror. I don’t want to look like the Michelin Man come to life, just to get myself a Hooters babe. But this is a product of that culture: It’s a red-state place, at least, has been, kinda-sorta. They don’t make a point of hiring 20% transgender, 30% male, 40% obese waitresses, they don’t make a point of centralizing matters of taste and preference. It’s all about free trade. It ends up looking very different from most other things in the Peoples’ Republic of California, where everything has to be unsettled for the sake of artificial equality, all the time, and all the kids in a soccer game have to receive trophies just for showing up, and nobody keeps score…

So there is a rift here, between the red and blue states, and the rift has to do with pointing out excellence. The comment about beautiful women is simply a tiny facet within that much larger conflict: How dare Musburger notice that Ms. Wells is a ravishing, gorgeous woman. In this blue state culture, you aren’t allowed to distinguish excellence from mediocrity. They are to be blended together, intermixed and emulsified, all of the time, into one sloppy, gooey mess, lest those who are mediocre be made to feel bad. That’s why Musburger’s remarks “were thought to have gone too far” (passive voice again), why ESPN was compelled to apologize: Women who are not good-looking, got all catty about it.

There is something else going on here though, and unfortunately it is off in female-land. I just made reference to the simple economics of coupling-up, of heterosexual dating. What makes this such a delicate subject is, off on Planet Woman, there is a sharp whiplashing about-face going on with it. When a young lady has matured to the age of coupling-up, and shopping for a beau, and evaluating her prospects, this is everything. Once she’s picked out the stud and made plans to go through life with him, it is strictly verboten and she becomes accustomed to friends and welcome acquaintances compliantly avoiding any discussion of it. Except, I suppose, maybe for her Mom; no man was ever good enough for her little girl. But really, this part of it doesn’t even have to do with men, women, romance or sex. It’s economic and psychological: Buyers like to know about what other options are available, right up until they’ve done the buying, and then they’d rather not know about it thankyewverymuch.

A lot of these things about women that men can’t figure out, become crystal-clear when you simply think of them as buyers, in a market looking for something, that have only one coin they can trade and only one time. Put yourself in their shoes. After you’ve closed on a three-bedroom house, do you like knowing about the five-bedroom model in a better neighborhood, closer to your job, that you couldd’ve had for the same price? So now you know who’s complaining. Women, who are wives or girlfriends of guys who are not football players. They heard Musburger say, their husbands traded down, and they, of necessity, also traded down. That is where he went and that is why the comments were not well received.

But that part of it is still their problem and not Musburger’s. Mate selection is all about economics, it is what it is. There are people running around, believe it or not, who are better looking than I am…and you are…as well as, young ladies who are much more beautiful than the females who have a problem with Musburger’s comments, and there are guys better looking than their husbands. The question that comes up is: Why would such a realization be so untenable, that the messenger must be shot? In a country of 320 million people on a planet of over six billion, is this not just something to be expected?

I said before that the guys who can reel in those hot young women at Hooters, do not look anything like me, and this doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bring me any pleasure either, for sure…I’m not going there for that, and truth be told, I don’t go there to stare at the lovely women either. I like going because it is a vacation from these stupid rules. Seriously, think about it: You can’t point out a woman is beautiful. The not so subtle implication is, ugly women and beautiful women must be thought of as the same…and we must have such a silly rule in place somewhere, must we not, if there’s all this clamoring for some kind of reprimand, or dismissal, to be brought against a sportscaster who dared notice such a thing, even when the object of his adoration herself said “It was kind of nice…I didn’t look at it as creepy at all. For a woman to be called beautiful, I don’t see how that’s an issue.”

Those who continue to complain, therefore, must essentially be saying: Shut your pretty mouth Katherine Webb, we will decide if it’s okay for others to comment on your looks. But who’s “we”? Overall and generally, we do not know…the passive voice thing…and this says a lot about the nature, and the quality, of the complaint. It has managed to achieve much more momentum than it ever should’ve.

When we locate someone who is actually willing to put her name next to the complaint, and say yes-I-have-a-problem-with-this, things only get sillier and sillier. Just give it a read.

“It’s extraordinarily inappropriate to focus on an individual’s looks,” said Sue Carter, a professor of journalism at Michigan State. “In this instance, the appearance of the quarterback’s girlfriend had no bearing on the outcome of the game. It’s a major personal violation, and it’s so retrograde that it’s embarrassing. I think there’s a generational issue, but it’s incumbent on people practicing in these eras to keep up and this is not a norm.”

Holy cats! I’ll bet you’re just the life of every party, Sue Carter professor of journalism.

If I live to be a hundred and fifty, I’ll never figure out why people allow complete strangers like Sue Carter professor of journalism, all this traffic-cop-go-and-stop authority over whether they’re allowed to notice a woman is beautiful. Why would you do that? Why would you surrender that kind of power? It almost suggests a fear of making personal decisions, even for matters of style and taste. And heck, I dunno, maybe that’s exactly what’s going on here. It’s like a total stranger telling you not to smell flowers, or to drink a root beer float, or go watch a fun movie.

Women Are Not For DecorationI know this part may strike some as silly…but if you think it through, you see this is a vital ground in the culture wars, and a major battle has to be pitched right here. A defensive battle. The enemy cannot be allowed to take this hill. Noticing a woman is more beautiful than the average, is like noticing that it’s raining or snowing out and the chains have to go on the truck tires, or noticing that a comic book is inappropriate for children and should not be sold where they have access to it. In other words, it is one of the realizations that makes a society go. Sure, it may seem merely ornamental, and it’s tempting to make that argument of “you do not need her to be pretty, you should be just as happy with that waitress or flight attendant or movie starlet being dowdy and frumpy looking.” But — how dowdy and frumpy looking, is the question that has to come up later if not sooner. Who decides?!? And by what right, what authority? What else do we not need to have to our liking. These are the same people who want to decide, for us, how many cartridges we need to be able to put in our gun magazines without reloading. How much money we need to keep for ourselves when we’re done paying our taxes. How big or how small we need our cars to be. How many television sets we need to have in our homes. How many carbon tons do we need to emit.

This doesn’t have to do with whether pretty women are better than ugly women. There can be no sensible answer to a question such as that anyway, other than maybe “it depends on what job you’re talking about.” This is about where matters of taste are to be decided, at the individual level or in some centralized place. Me, I’m all for matters of decorum, and leaving some things unsaid. But Sue Carter professor of journalism, and those who agree with her, are using that as a sort of camel’s nose in the tent — you defer to the prevailing notions of decency in a culture on just that one thing, and they want to stretch it all around to nothing less than veto power upon one of the most ancient and primal of all human pleasures, the gazing on the visage of a gorgeous woman. And then, of course, they want unilateral control over what those prevailing notions are going to be.

Read the comments of Sue Carter professor of journalism one more time. She is not ready to reconcile with or negotiate with someone else’s ideas. She’s got it all figured out, and she wants it all done her way.

Trust me, that stuff really wears on you after awhile. We have more than our share of it in California, where everything is regulated. It’s pretty much ruined everything it can. I go to Hooters to get away from it. Come to think of it, it’s been awhile since we’ve gone…

The Art of War Against Liberals

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Santa Claus came, and brought me an audio disc of The Art of War by Sun-Tzu. I’d already read some of the transcriptions and various interpretations, but wanted a CD with yet another run-through because when I go to pick up my son & drop him off, it’s several hundreds of miles through the most godawful boring Northern Nevada landscape you ever did see. And I had such a jaunt coming up, because we needed to drop the lad off after his service as ring-bearer at our wedding.

No, didn’t want it to practice as I made the trek. Just wanted to listen to it. Well…that turned out to be perfectly adequate for a bachelor driving solo, but it makes for dry “reading” with the wife in the passenger seat and the easily-bored teen sitting in back. So we quit halfway through disc three.

But by this point I made note of something. I’m always impressed by the style with which the essay is written. It is rhythmic, it is concise, it is structured. It is almost like iambic pentameter. This is the style of “in it to win it.” And something else impresses me about it: It is altogether different from that useless maelstrom of dodecaphonic rhetoric I’ve been hearing since November, about “Republicans shoulda done this” and “Republicans shouldn’t-a done that” and “Republicans ought to do some other damn silly fool thing.” Sun-Tzu isn’t like that. He’s a gifted writer, in his own way, that Sun-Tzu dude.

The Art of War is outrage-free. And it is absolutely, completely situational. It plays to win. There is no wrath; in fact, Sun-Tzu specifically counsels against wrath, and condemns the unwise decisions made by generals who wage war wrathfully. The introduction says it all: “The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat — let [him] be dismissed!” Pretty heady stuff, eh? It would be nice to hear of such a study guide in preparation for the “war” against liberals.

Perhaps it has been done, already, and not been brought to my attention. If so, I presume it has been engaged before my effort, and better. I am prepared to defer to the wiser counsel.

In the meantime, consider this as a prototype, upon which others may improve, or bring things to my attention so I may improve upon it. Something — something situational — better than nothing.

Overview and General Points

Firstly, it must be noted how it is that conservatives continue to lose arguments when the arguments are about arguing, meaning, when the arguments are all about “who’s a-gonna win.” This childlike sentiment of “I’m smart, you’re stupid, I’m right, you’re wrong, that makes me better than you” is a better fit with liberalism than with conservatism. Conservatism, as a general rule, is really all about finding the best solution to a problem. It is about enabling transactional exchanges. You heard what they said about “the customer is always right,” right? And so conservatives, who tend to be stakeholders and partners in businesses, are naturally inclined to say “Okay whatever, if you have some rules that I don’t like, we’ll take that into account and now let us get to business.” And so, time after time, wage increase after wage increase, tax after tax, the new expenses are built into the system and then the system continues to function. That is the “compromise”; let the machinery run, the way the liberals say it should, but let it run. You’ll note this is a tacit admission of what everyone knows, deep down, to be true: If the liberals got everything they wanted, the machinery would no longer run. That is their concession. They are anti-machinery-running, anti-human-progress, anti-go pro-stop. That we are not permitted to point it out in polite company, doesn’t make it any less true.

Well, just as Art of War is not necessarily about war, what appears below is not necessarily about winning arguments. The “general” who heeds my counsel should be prepared to lose, to acquiesce, to re-think a thing now & then, and acknowledge that his opponent might very well have had a good point to make. His sites have to be trained not on winning arguments, but on comparing proposed courses of action for an outcome most beneficial to all concerned. Let the childish liberals concern themselves with being “right” all the time.

The objective, here, is to wage effective discourse. Our target is the friend, relative, co-worker, or guy in the grocery checkout line who wants to “talk politics.” He does not identify himself as a liberal, he attaches to himself deceptive adjectives and nouns, such as “common sense” or “moderate.” But he is overly receptive to the words of the enemy and therefore, should it be possible, must be converted. The benefit we are to derive from following Sun-Tzu’s structure, is an intelligent adaptation to different situations, and the situations to which we are adapting have to do with the classification of this target. We have identified eleven of these. They are to be handled thusly:

The Strategist

There is a hidden rift between this type and all the other types. All the other types would be concerned about the deleterious effect of wretched liberal policy changes, if they could only be made aware of it, but they lack this awareness. This kind might or might not be aware, but doesn’t give a rat’s ass. He is a Trojan horse, an enfranchised liberal in centrist clothing. He has skin in the game. He is materially entangled in the liberal vision, being rewarded either out in the open or in secret, by way of cash, discounts, perks, votes or career advancement. He has a “job,” of sorts, to make himself and other liberals more powerful.

He therefore cannot be dissuaded.

The rift between this type, and the other ten, is the most precious asset we have. Do not engage this sort of poser in any direct way.

Accentuate, for the benefit of any bystanders, the differences between his interests and everybody else’s.

Example: The smaller paychecks that came out the first of this year, as a result of ObamaCare and the “fiscal cliff” deal. Our friends the democrats think that’s what a victory looks like. And they’re not afraid to say so. So that’s perfect.

The Compassionate

He self-identifies as a “moderate,” “centrist,” or “nothing at all, fed up with both parties.”

He is concerned about the plight of the less fortunate and wants to do right by them.

However, he has no problem with raising the taxes of strangers to achieve this. Often, the lodestar to his journey is “it won’t have any effect on me” and he is not the least bit shy about admitting this. He is not prepared to make a personal sacrifice. He wants others to do the sacrificing. He sees nothing out of kilter with this at all.

Examine, with him, the long-term effects of these programs. Example: Inspect the situation of “families” that have been raised within multi-generational “dynasties” of poverty and government dependence.

If kids require positive role models for living in a legal way — which is to say, if their statutory transgressions are to be excused, in whole or in part, because they lack a background by which they could’ve known any better — they must require a positive role model so they can live in a productive way, as well, yes?

Contemplate, with him, the ramifications of diminishing benefits for a family when a man lives in the home. Can you get him to acknowledge the obvious, that people respond to incentives? How, therefore, can a benefit differential not exert a force toward greater occurrences of single-parent homes, with all the burdens attendant to such a tragic situation?

The Pleaser

He has friends, or relatives, or both, who are registered democrats.

He wants to go along to get along. He is invested in the benefits of group membership, and this motivates him more powerfully than any ideological leaning. He is chasing a bandwagon. He wants to get on and stay on. Association is his primary motive.

You are dealing with a disadvantage because this person will “hook” into whichever argument he has heard first, and your points are not the ones he has heard first.

You cannot win this person over at one sitting. But you can get him started on the right path.

Give him an offering of the relevant information they have been missing.

Offer a few examples of liberal policy changes, accomplishing something remarkably different from what they were supposed to.

Include in these examples, anecdotes of goods and services becoming more expensive and harder to obtain as a result. This person, although he will not admit it, is motivated by self-interest. Connect some dots. Concentrate on extreme examples, like Jimmy Carter screwing up the economy. Show how bad things can get, how bad they have already been.

The Idol Worshipper

He is in love, not so much with the ideology of liberalism, but with its imperialistic vision.

His optimistic exuberance is recharged, inexplicably, by stories about a noted celebrity receiving greater authority, and perks of power. He celebrates Barack and Michelle Obama’s latest vacation, even though he does not know them personally and this does nothing for his situation, or to ease the suffering of anyone he personally knows. It is as if we are all better off when the sovereign can put another concubine in his harem.

He thinks, if only we can find the most wonderful individual within our midst and elevate him to the loftiest position of uncontested authority, it’ll all work out.

Has no appetite for details, let alone the working strategy to use against the stated problem, that would rely on such details.

This person is a fucking whackjob.

Do not engage.

Avoid.

The Pie Person

He is convinced — somehow — that every time one man makes a dollar, it becomes an unavoidable consequence that another man somewhere must lose a dollar.

Some fall short of being deceived in this way, but nurture a powerful hatred against financially successful people.

Educate him about some examples of businesses being started that helped everybody.

Remind him that businesses, as a general rule, must offer a good or service that will be consumed only with the full consent and intent of the buyer. Businesses therefore work according to voluntary transactions, as contrasted with governments, which work according to coerced ones.

Ponder, with him, how things might be if the businesses had never been formed.

If he rejects this, prepare to re-classify as Classist (see below).

The Treasury Raider

Many among their number think work is for suckers.

However, many others believe in hard work, and show it. Give due credit.

Their argument often is that you are the ignorant one, since you are failing to “vote your interest.”

They tend to see issues as one-sided, concerned only with what they will get out of the deal.

He thinks an election is a poll, by which you’re supposed to tell the government what kind of help you need.

Ask him what he thinks is the source of the money that pays for all of this.

From his answer, you need to arrive at a decision point.

If he says it comes from rich people and that’s how things should be, consider reclassifying him as a Pie Person (see above).

If he ignores it or brushes it off, try reminding him “there’s free cheese in a mouse trap.”

Rationale being, people who lust after free gifts, generally lust after power as well.

Perhaps he has not put much thought into the power he will be asked to relinquish, in exchange for these free gifts.

The Newsletter Subscriber

He is buried under an enormous printed mess of liberal propaganda, and he does not realize it.

He is often heard quoting some bogus study that says The Daily Show viewers are the best-informed, and Fox News viewers are the least-informed.

Educate him with some facts that he does not yet have.

Point out that when the Strategist (see above) has “debunked” an “urban myth”…no such debunking actually took place.

Do not tell him that he needs to find more diverse sources of his information. Allow him to conclude this on his own.

Watch for signs of anger or negative feeling. Help him to change the subject if he starts to show embarrassment.

Your own information can benefit from sending him some of your own sources, through the e-mail. If he comes up with poor excuses for ignoring this new information, such as “that’s from Fox News” for example, then you know that he is very far gone. In this case, be ready to re-classify him as a Pleaser (see above), and handle accordingly.

Try to inspire him to think, on his own, how they might end up embarrassed if they don’t take in more information. But do this without actually embarrassing him, or by directly pointing this out.

Wonder Palin!The DS Sufferer

He is emotionally invested in personality-hate-campaigns, ready to cast a vote to manifest loathing against some notable individual.

S/He suffers from RDS (Reagan Derangement Syndrome), GDS (Gingrich Derangement Syndrome), BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome), PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome), or the like.

Seems to think, if the person in question would just shut up and go away, and perhaps meet with an unfortunate accident as well, life will become wonderful for everybody.

Make pointed inquiries about the overall strategy; the target of hatred is banished, or injured, now how do things get better for others? Specifically?

Challenge the idea that the identified personality has “extreme” ideas. You might start by asking the Palinophobe exactly what the most extreme policy position of Sarah Palin has ever been, for example.

Point out that, as a practical matter, you don’t have anything against this person, because that person hasn’t done anything to hurt you. Use the phrase, “I don’t wanna be a hater.”

This has the effect of bringing shame on the Palinophobe as the more negative participant in the discourse — which is quite accurate, actually.

The Smug

He is eager to show off his superior intellect, his loftier altitude of thinking. He does this by pursuing exotic, impractical ideas, in such a way that he can be easily observed by those he seeks to impress.

He wants to be thought-of as capable of appreciating fine “nuanced” details of pressing situations, and of objects within them.

He places a disproportionate amount of thought energy into identifying these hidden facets, visible to him but unnoticed by others.

Since his argument often ends there, make inquiries about their long-term plans, objectives and visions.

For example: What is the objective of holding up construction on a dam, for sake of some dumb fish that’s in the way?

How will we know when or if this objective has been realized?

Also, what benchmarks can we use along the way, to make sure the plan is on the right track.

The Classist

He views our society as a vertical arrangement of impermeable classes layered on upon the other.

He looks forward to some revolutionary event, upon which “social justice” will somehow be done.

He labors under the misconception, or seems to labor under it anyway, that people are born “rich,” “poor” or something in between, and toil from cradle to grave confined within that particular layer.

Point out that in America, classes exist but they are fluid.

Offer some examples of people who started out with very little and made lots of money.

It also helps to offer examples of the reverse, people who started out rich and lost everything.

Also, use statistics to show that on average, as people go through life their financial situations change.

You are likely to find that you are dealing with something entirely emotion-based, in which case you will have to re-classify.

The Regulator

He describes a lot of problems in terms of industries/activities not being adequately “regulated.”

He seems to think that a few more laws in the books will fix everything, with no ill side-effects.

Nobody ever says “I want more government,” but it comes easy to these people to say things like “there ought to be a law.”

Seriously question what force there is that makes a regulator wiser or more benevolent than those he regulates. (Be sure and shoot me an e-mail if you EVER get a decent answer to this, I haven’t.)

Point out some anecdotal evidence about regulatory efforts gone wrong.

Ponder, with him, the true ramifications of the idea being proposed.

Example: A minimum wage of ten dollars an hour doesn’t “raise wages”; what it does, is outlaw any jobs that fall outside the parameter specified (greater than or equal to $10 per hour), leaving the person who would otherwise be hired, unemployed.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Rotten Chestnuts.

Action vs. Desire

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Here in California, the state legislature is re-elected with something close to 100 percent every two years, even though they’re about as popular as Chlamydia. So I am accustomed to what follows.

Obamacare sucks. I do not say that as a person who dislikes the program and the philosophy behind it, although I do and I do. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do, and it doesn’t even come close to that. But, it passed both houses, the Supreme Court upheld it, President Obama was re-elected and hey, we’re keeping it. Even though it has never been very popular.

The “fiscal cliff deal” stinks on ice. Again, I do not say that as a person who can see through it or who is opposed to it, although I can and I am. It doesn’t help anyone, practically or politically, except for the crony capitalists I suppose. Someone somewhere said it was a big ol’ argument about our tax policy dressed up as a big ol’ argument about our debt…and I’m picking up that a lot of people are aware of this. But what was the popular viewpoint when our legislators were getting ready to hoodwink us on this? “They need to find ways to work together” or some rot like that.

Obama, as noted above, was re-elected.

Harry Reid remains in charge of the Senate.

Today, John Boehner was re-elected as Speaker of the House.

There is no significant change anywhere, even though the public at large is about as disenchanted with the way things are going, as they have been for quite some time. It’s like a bigger version of California. The electorate isn’t firing anyone, anywhere, and it isn’t because they’re pleased with the state of things. It’s because they’re tired. They’re not fixing anything because they don’t see how; and they refuse to admit that they don’t know what to do.

When people get that way, they generally decide to maintain the status quo. Even though they hate it. Their actions become antithetical to their desires. Because while they’re frustrated, they’re also confused and they’re also bored.

I think that’s what’s happening right now. It’s been happening for awhile.

Camel Sex

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

From Brother-in-Law…who has just been upgraded, he used to be called GBIL for “girlfriend’s brother-in-law.” Congratulations on the promotion Bruce!

A new Marine Captain was assigned to an outfit in a remote post in the Afghanistan Desert . During his first inspection of the outfit, he noticed a Camel hitched up behind the mess tent.

He asks the Sergeant why the camel is kept there.

The nervous sergeant said, ‘Well sir, as you know, there are 250 men here on the post and no women. And sir, sometimes the men have ‘urges’. That’s why we have Molly The Camel.’

The Captain says, ‘I can’t say that I condone this, but I understand about ‘urges’, so the camel can stay.’

About a month later, the Captain starts having his own ‘urges’. Crazy with passion, he asks the Sergeant to bring the camel to his tent. Putting a ladder behind the camel, the Captain stands on the ladder, pulls his pants down and has wild, insane sex with the camel. When he’s done, he asks the Sergeant,’Is that how the men do it?’

‘Not really, sir..They usually just ride the camel into town…… where the girls are.’

The Specialty

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Since 2012 was pretty much one big repeated litany of democrats kicking ass, I expect 2013 will be more of the same. I conclude this from a report I heard that a “deal on the fiscal cliff” is close to being reached, in which YES the police power of the government is going to be used to make sure no selfish individuals can get too big…yeah, I remember reading that in the Constitution somewhere, Article I Section something…but President Obama’s concession for sake of compromise is going to be, the definition of “rich” is going to be upticked somewhere, closer to the Republicans liking. Golly! What a swell compromise!

So we’re going to go ahead and pull out the lawmower but the wheels will lift the blades up a couple of clicks. The idea I heard was around $450k a year annual income.

I personally hope that is the compromise. Let’s face it, the battle is lost. But at least this would be a great illustration of how, when institutions seek to find the middle ground, they end up leaning left. How t’heck did we get here? The nation’s in recession still, government is supposed to fix it, and it’s going to fix the problem by keeping people from being rich?

I’ve observed before that the democrats seem to be in this holding pattern of offering up as candidates for elected office certain individuals from within their ranks, bullying us by bumptious repetition to absorb and reverberate the idea that there is something extraordinary about them without calling out which particular individual attribute makes them extraordinary. They’re all supposed to be soooper smart, of course. But then they turn around and “prove” the Republican counterparts are clueless dimwit dolts, by way of these sound clips of clueless dimwit things the Republicans have said, often relying on the “Could Be Construed As” point of perspective to make them a little bit extra clueless-dimwit sounding. In doing so, they rely on biased storytelling, and lying-by-omission, in order to make their fellas look any smarter. President Obama did say He’d traveled to fifty-seven states, but you have to read a right-wing crazy-eye blog somewhere in order to find out about it, so it didn’t really happen. Got that?

My point is, since The Specialty has become so important to our country’s future in 2013 and beyond, we should identify what exactly it is. I can respect the plain fact that we are demanding something of all our elected officials regardless of their political allegiances, and this demand is sufficiently vigorous that it precludes any sort of genuine dummy ever becoming a congressman, senator or president. But still & all, at the same time I think we can admit that pure-smarts is not it. President Obama is plenty smarter than quite a few people who’ll never be president; but, there are other people smarter than He is, and they’re not ever gonna become president either. It’s plain to see there’s something remarkable about Him, in a “You’re not likely to ever meet another” kind of a way. But it isn’t any functional kind of intelligence that does that.

Mustering up my (unreliable and lackadaisical) skills in the realm of making things concise and readable; imagining my blog re-written so it could be submitted to a publishing house, without a rejection letter or avalanche of re-write requests bouncing back my way; envisioning such a definition in release-candidate form, so that people will actually read it, pay money to get it on their shelves, have a tough time putting it down once they’ve cracked open the pages…if I can ever approach such an achievement…I would envision such a definition of the democrat-party cherished Specialty as something similar to —

Demonstrated ability to reliably win arguments, through dialogue as well as monologue, that common sense shows should not be won.

President Obama certainly does possess that in great abundance. And He is, in fact, a final culmination of “win” at this game, tournament-style, for twenty years or so, with escalating prowess shown by the tournament players as the brackets have been closed out. Ever since Bill Clinton hit the stage. Governor Dukakis obviously did not have much or of this particular skill set than, for example, I might have of it, or any homeless guy you find might have of it. President Clinton really stole the show, because in him people could see such a show of this force was born and not made.

Clinton and Obama have both been hawking the same message, although the current President is much more hard-core about it: The first step toward our nation’s renewed prosperity is, we have to make it wrong for anyone to make too much money. Common sense shows, without too much difficulty at all, that this is an argument that should not prevail. Because frankly nobody could proffer it or believe in it, save a charlatan or an imbecile. But that’s the product being sold, and all the democrat candidates have been pushing it — and post-Clinton, they have been chosen for their demonstrated ability selling dumb, nonsensical things like this. We don’t know if they would show as much ability to sell us on good, sturdy, functional ideas; we don’t see them trying to do it. They don’t appear to have much enthusiasm for saying things like “Hey, America is being attacked by terrorists and she is fighting an enemy, we’d all better act like it.” I believe the challenge isn’t there. They don’t know they’re keeping their skills sharp, when it comes to selling nonsense, unless nonsense is the thing they’re selling. So they have to sell it all of the time.

The Specialty always comes with a gimmick, I’ve noticed. Obviously, President Obama’s is that He’s black. Take issue with anything President Obama did or said, and you must be some kind of racist. That’s the gimmick. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s gimmick is that she’s a frumpy middle-aged woman, who looks like she’d have trouble holding on to her husband, and the nation knows that she does have such trouble. You aren’t even allowed to discuss this in mixed company — but the fact remains, nevertheless, that that’s her gimmick. She gives bullying speeches and does a lot of hollering, but when she runs things the results turn to crap, a lot more often than the average. Two decades in the public eye and she hasn’t produced a single success aside from winning elections. Which, it’s only obvious, if she looked like a Barbie doll she never would have won ‘em, because her constituency consists of voters who are trying to make some kind of statement about frumpy women. I’m sure the bluntness of such an analysis would offend many, but it stands up against a test of logic because — well give it a try. List some of the reasons we’ve had for appointing or electing or re-electing Hillary Clinton. There aren’t any. Not a single one. She’s a figurehead, a symbol of a nationwide, festering resentment, and she doesn’t have any other appeal. She’s a walking lesson in why people shouldn’t make decisions about things when they’re angry about something, because the only reason she’s gotten anywhere is that millions of people are angry about something.

John Kerry’s shown a lot of The Specialty; his gimmick is to act snooty and smug, like he knows something you don’t. He doesn’t give me this impression, but I’m not very important in this scenario because hey, obviously it works. Not good enough for him to become President Kerry, thank God, but plenty good enough for him to serve in the Senate. And he’ll be our next Secretary of State, they say. Good for him! Qualifications? Specifically? His fans can’t say. But I can.

Joe Biden’s gimmick, we now know, is to be a boorish asshole. And once again, it must work because if it did not, we would not be seeing it. There are those who even say he “won” that debate with Paul Ryan. In so observing, I’m sad to say, they pass much greater comment on themselves, than they do on debates, Paul Ryan, or Joe Biden. Oh so you’re impressed favorably by that, are you? How interesting.

I hope, if democrats continue to win at everything throughout the coming year, that they somehow are given incentive to start discussing ideas. That would be refreshing. Veer off a little bit from the “Barack Obama is just so amazing, He’s right again!!” and go more toward the “Love Barack Obama or hate Him, He’s still right in what He said here and the reason He’s right is because…” Because the constant merry-go-round of rationalizing the thoughts of Obama as some kind of Holy Man or Guru or whatever, is wearing on me in ways that suggest to me it’s becoming a bit monotonous for others who might be agreeing with Him a bit more often than I would. Even if you like His policies, it certainly can’t be a refreshing or mind-expanding experience, going into the sixth year after hearing about Him, still sticking to the tired old “He’s still wonderful godlike figure and this is the best speech He’s ever given…again.”

I remember that phrase “stuck on stupid” went viral, explosively viral, after a General said it during a television interview a few years back. Since then, it is heard only rarely even though it seems to apply to something, and apply well, on almost a daily basis. Now that 2012 is done, can we all admit that the “He’s still wonderful” thing has become an exercise in self-parody, and probably was that going back to the very first day we heard the name Barack Obama? Can we all agree on that? Or did the election results mean we have to keep pretending that Obama is some kind of extra-special-sooooper smart person, being all slobbered over by other extra-special-sooooper smart people who are showing how sooooper smart they are when they slobber all over Him? Can we retire that now? Even though the Republicans lost, just declare it done anyway? Too much to ask?

This Is Good CIV

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Evidently Iowahawk came up with it:

Normal people get drunk, then get a concussion, then complain about the YouTube video. Hillary Clinton does this in reverse.

Badmouthing Barack

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Oh noes! You can hear the reaction at about 1:16. Morgan, speaking after his own wedding…went there. Producing a gasp, and it seems to me more like two or three such gasps, of genuine shock and maybe horror!

I have extremely modest ad-libbing skills. You can probably tell that for yourself. I’m probably just one or two notches further along than having no experience or natural talent at all, and that’s probably being charitable to myself. I know my way around this stuff just enough to be dangerous. But, if I get the impression my prepared remarks make this into a Barack-Obama-like speech, then yes, I see that as a problem and ad-libbing will be used to find an answer. I don’t care what kind of success this guy has had addressing crowds, if that’s success then I’d rather fail.

It comes under the category of “If I ever agreed with His politics or was ever on His bandwagon, this is where I’d be thinking about hopping off.” This is just plain unhealthy. I would hope, perhaps too optimistically, that I could get one or two die-hard Obama fans to admit at least that much. I recognize He’s a politician and giving the same speech over and over again is what politicians sometimes do…part of the job description…just because you said it in San Francisco on Wednesday doesn’t mean you can let it pass by in Philadelphia on Thursday. I get all that.

The issue has to do with being loquacious. Apart from the fact that it’s unnatural and crass to, for example, mention yourself thirty times or more during a funeral speech, Obama’s wonderful speeches — this is an “Emperor has no clothes moment” if ever there was one — are just plain boring. Truly, He is a dreadful bore. It is intellectually unhealthy to keep just saying the same things over and over again. Even in written form, I try to stay away from that. I get people writing in now and then, “Christ on a cracker, it’s been almost a whole week aren’t you going to blog anything?” And often, the answer is no. If it’s worth saying, it’s worth keeping some sort of structure on it, and if there’s structure to it and you’ve already said it, well then the only reason to say it again is because there was something unacceptably wrong with the way you said it before. After some seven thousand posts, you reach the point where most of it’s already been said.

This does not, you’ll notice, stop President Obama. Structure is not valued there. He may even see it as a liability. His rules are different; if He said it on Day N, it’s every bit as much worth saying on Day N+1 and N+2 and on and on and on and on. Look at Me! I’m saying it again, isn’t it wonderful! Millionairesandbillionairesontheircorporatejets, and you didn’t build that. Ugh. No. I do not want to talk that way. If He’s not wrong then I don’t want to be right.

And, as I explained in the video — those chairs are hard. Republicans, democrats, libertarians and don’t-cares, they’re all good friends who took the time to show up at our event, and they deserved consideration. No, my two decades wandering around in the wilderness are not that big a deal. I’m not that important. The groom is pretty much the #2 celebrity in these things. The point is that I married a wonderful, wonderful woman and it wasn’t necessary to go into some tedious rendition of my life’s story in order to say so, especially when the people in the room could see it with their own eyes. Brevity is a virtue, even moreso in the verbal forum, than it is on a blog…because in the verbal forum, the audience is captive.

It would be nice to have a president who understands such things. I’m looking forward to it someday. Meantime, I’m truly sorry if I actually upset anyone. But I suspect the shock-n-outrage wasn’t very genuine…hope not, anyway.

Update: Looks like someone else has formed a different, more positive opinion about the President’s unique speech-giving style. If, uh, I’m reading this right.

A Wife, Because Beer is Heavy

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Memo For File CLXXVI

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

We’re down to just a few absolutely-must-do things today, one of which is to memorize the wedding vows. Uh, the ones I wrote myself. Yeah. Probably better get that done.

There’s a phrase in there about my bride-to-be’s “positive energy.” This may perhaps get into things that ought not be part of a wedding ceremony, since it’s nit-picky and overly-philosophical. But eventually I decided, if everyone else gets to talk about life and how to live it, and the way it all works, then so do I. Besides, that’s the whole point. “Life and how it works” is the primary skeletal structure of a wedding. We are accustomed to the tears and the rice and the flowers and the satins and the bow ties taking center stage, because their whole purpose is to grab attention and that is their nature, but I’ve noticed we forget that these things are just fleshy tendril bits of the organism, little more than mere decoration. The whole point to attending the wedding is to commemorate an event, and the event has to do with life and the way it works.

And if the bride didn’t have bundles and bundles of positive energy, we wouldn’t be there. The groom still has to say yes for it to take place. This one’s been saying no for a long, long time.

Now, about that. I’ve written in many places over the years, on my way to making some other point, that our efforts may be concerned with creation, preservation or destruction, and it is important to know which one’s being done when one contributes to the design, or the effort, of an idea. When a person exerts effort to further some ambition while maintaining a confusion about whether that ambition is destructive or creative, that person is saddled with a special kind of wrong-ness. This is one of those points about the nature of truth, and our living of life within it, that seems so self-evident that it’s a bit silly to go taking the time to point it out, but point it out we must, for it is forgotten quickly and frequently. I’m sure if you were to go looking for examples of this point I’ve been making, catalog and classify all these instances, you’d find most of the time I’m talking about our friends the modern liberals for this is their perpetual state: Engage some long-running, self-energizing effort to destroy some certain thing, and pretend they’re building something.

As He Really IsHow does one become confused about such a thing? The answer is that human effort is, or at least can often be, inherently confusing. There are entirely legitimate pursuits that consist of an effort to do something to one thing in order to bring about some situation which is necessary for some entirely different thing to be done to some other thing. Think, for example, about destroying one thing so that some other thing can be preserved. Our military does that all day and every day. They destroy for a living, but they are not, by nature, a destructive force. There is a complexity to their mission. The liberals with their simplistic revulsion against icky guns may deny it, but this layer of complexity is key to the defense mission and it is present in all sorts of other human pursuits. We preserve things to destroy other things, we destroy things so that other things may be created, we create things so something can be preserved, we destroy one thing to create another, we create to destroy, et al. Destructive tasks are begun and finished so that something else can be created or preserved, pretty much all the time, so simply acting to destroy something does not necessarily make one into a primarily destructive agent.

But it does create a temptation to go down that path. “In order to build X, we are going to have to destroy Y.” It isn’t long before X is entirely out of the picture. “Bob keeps me from doing my job so I can’t do my job unless Bob is fired.” Pretty soon, you’re not driving off to work every day to do your job, you’re going there every day to get Bob fired. This is sleek, sexy, seductive…stultifying. It warps the human imagination, drive and enthusiasm, darkens our souls, and it is easy to forget how quickly and effectively the anesthetic works.

Conservatives dance on the edge of such a precipice when they talk about getting rid of Barack Obama: “In order for America to succeed, we have to get Obama out of there.” Now that this isn’t very likely, people need to come to grips with their own true nature. The positive-force types have said to themselves “We are going to have to find a way for America to succeed, in spite of Obama.” Whereas the negative-force types will have to reshape their ambition to be one of “We are going to have to find a way to get rid of Obama, without an election” and begun talk of impeachment. The left-wing counterpart to this, of course, is the climate change “movement” which is supposed to have something to do with “science,” although nobody who pays attention to it really thinks so. (A “movement” within science? Is that allowed?) Global warming…climate change…what is it all about? It is about this in-order-to complexity of mission: “In order for the environment/planet to thrive or endure” — preservation — “American business has to be destroyed” — or diminished, which involves destruction. There. I have enumerated the primary colors of this global warming “movement” and described exactly how they blend together.

And, the people pushing it have ascended to their own special plateau of wrong-ness, for they mistake their own endeavor. They think they are trying to preserve something, when the destructive energies have completely taken them over. How many of these global-warming people drive vehicles big enough to tow a boat up to Folsom Lake, and launch it there, in order to scoot off to work in an office cubicle somewhere? They don’t give a tinker’s damn about carbon emissions. Oh, I know they’re not all like that, there’s that Ed Begley Jr. looking hippie-dude I met down at the recycling machine when I took the beer bottles in for proper, earth-friendly disposal. But overall, the climate change “movement” is heavily populated with a bunch of hypocrites who fail to live the humble lifestyle, and what’s much worse I think, is that those non-hypocritical enthusiasts who do live the proper lifestyle, are apparently entirely unconcerned with their compatriots who are hypocritical and do not. This effort is not about that. It isn’t preservative, it is destructive. Its whole point is one of destruction.

So on this day when I’m getting married, my thoughts naturally turn to alliances. I’m seeing one of the most enduring classifications of human tragedy, is this type of story that begins with an alliance between the destructive and the ignorant. And that’s what my divorced-guy’s-vow has become over the years. Oh yes, divorced guys have vows, you didn’t know that? Yup, show me a thousand divorced guys, I can show you a thousand vows. The vows all begin the same way, as the ink is drying on the dissolution order: “I”m never getting married again.” Some of those don’t change, most gradually reshape into “I’m never getting married again until…” Or “The next woman I marry, if there is one, will…”

And my divorced-guy vow reshaped into “I’m never getting married again until the institution of marriage pulls its head out of its ass.” Which, truth be told, against all odds could be said to have happened. Last time I was married, marriages were about “The man worries about the bills being paid and the checking account not being overdrawn, and the woman worries about being maintained in the lifestyle and manner to which she has become accustomed.” The people who (somehow) made their marriages happy and long-lasting, in a cruel irony, were blissfully unaware of all this, with the divorced-dudes being the only ones who were keenly aware of it. But those were the rules. “She bounces checks, so your finances will always be a disaster, and when you married her you said that was perfectly alright so shut up.” Now that Bill Clinton has entirely obliterated whatever credibility the third-wave feminist movement had, this has softened somewhat and womens-equality has come to embrace, or at least tolerate, a sincerity and a realism that were missing from it before. We can go ahead and push for women to have equal responsibilities to go with their equal rights. As a package deal. This is somewhat new.

My divorced-guy vow then morphed into a more humble turn, to “I’m never getting married until I stop being foolish and ignorant.” Well, that’s probably not going to happen. I’m no different from any other mortal, therefore I know barely one percent about anything. But this has softened into “I’m never getting married until I find a way to let go of that special ignorance.” And see above. The special ignorance of forgetting about one’s own efforts: What am I trying to do? Create something? Preserve something? Destroy something? I made reference to the “type of story that begins with an alliance between the destructive and the ignorant” — my earlier marriage, along with many of my more foolish pursuits in years gone by, these are all part of that. I imagine I’ll be snookered again in some other things I’ll be doing, since we are not perfect and unfortunately, neither am I. But the vow was that should there ever be a second marriage, then it, at the very least, would not be part of that. That is the final shape and form of this divorced-guy’s-vow, and it’s been met. That is why there will be a wedding tonight.

Destructive and IgnorantYou ever stop to think about how life would change, if these destructive types…these lost souls, these fallen angels, the “I’m destroying something to build something else, but I can’t quite recall at the moment what it is I’m trying to build” types…could somehow be kept from entering into these unholy alliances with the people who are like I was all those years ago, the foolish types, the stupid types, the ones lacking the wisdom and experience to perceive things as they are? What if we could somehow drive a wedge between the destructive and the ignorant. Drive them apart and keep them from ever unifying again, maybe cloak them in some chemical or hormone, like a birth control that keeps the sperm from ever meeting with the egg. Imagine such a thing. There would be no liberals, not as we know them now. Marriages like my first one would cease to exist, and with that change, I suppose the bulk of all dysfunctional marriages would cease to exist on the spot, and never exist in the first place. We’d still have feminism I suppose. There is a need for it, or at least, there was. But the feminists would look a lot more like my Mom: Eye on the prize, on equal opportunity and equal treatment, but always ready to study what was being put before her with a scrutinizing eye, ready to say “This is looking more and more like a man-bashing party, and I’m outta here.” Oh, I’m sure we’d still have women who blame men for all their problems in life, but they wouldn’t be able to sucker in new, ignorant, recruits. There, as in other places, that’s where the problem starts. The destructive unify with the ignorant.

No global warming “movement.” No Occupy movement. The cable ratings for The Daily Show would drop off. President Obama’s political existence would have ended the moment He said “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” No United Nations. No socialized medicine. If organized labor could continue onward, it would look very different from the kind we have come to know. The college curricula would be shedding classes left and right, most of the ones whose names end with the word “studies.” We wouldn’t have atheists filing lawsuits to take down Christmas trees and crosses, or at least those lawsuits wouldn’t get very far. No “community organizing.” No “social justice.” Alternative fuels would be developed like any other technology: Tinker with it until you have something practical, but until that day comes, don’t obstruct anything. There would be no ADA abuse, no small businesses being sued or fined into oblivion because the recycling bin was put in the wrong place.

I’m not sure how we do that. I suppose if we want to avoid becoming the self-delusional destructive types, we have to be ready to admit “We can’t find a way to change that, so we’ll have to work at surviving and prospering with the situation as it presently exists,” to adapt to realities. But if so, I think it is still worth acknowledging that this is the source of a disproportionate number of our most vexing problems. The ignorant, “marrying” or at least forming alliances with, the destructive. This seems to be where much of the trouble starts. If we cannot take action upon that, then we should make a note of it at least.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Rotten Chestnuts.

Lawmakers, Tremble Before the Wrath of Our Cups

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Starbucks coffee shops in the Washington, DC area are getting tough:

Chief Executive Howard Schultz is urging workers in Starbucks’ roughly 120 Washington-area shops to write “come together” on customers’ cups on Thursday and Friday, as President Barack Obama and lawmakers return to work and attempt to revive fiscal cliff negotiations that collapsed before the Christmas holiday.

Whether members of Congress actually drink in the message is another matter. While the concentration of Starbucks cafes is high in the vicinity of the White House, it’s relatively low near the U.S. Capitol. Members of the House and Senate enjoy private dining facilities and many of their offices have coffee machines.

Come Together!Starbucks’ cup campaign aims to send a message to sharply divided politicians and serve as a rallying cry for the public in the days leading up to the January 1 deadline to avert harsh across-the-board government spending reductions and tax increases that could send the United States back into recession.

With all due respect to CEO Schultz, this is a boneheaded move on many levels. I can only conclude, most charitably, that the intent is to offer a message to the public and not to Congress. Apart from the “private dining facilities in the capitol” thing, there is the matter of — come together, how, exactly? And then: Don’t we have a problem, in the first place, due to these past successes they’ve enjoyed in coming together? Why would we want more of that?

“Our political system is not functioning in a way that is representative of what the country needs,” [Schultz] said. “This is the one time where politics should be put aside and what we’re witness to is the exact opposite.”
:
“We are facing such dysfunction, irresponsibility and lack of leadership” less than two years after the debt ceiling crisis, Schultz said.

Yes…exactly. Could it not be argued that the central question to all this is one of, are we better off with money being funneled through the government, or kept out of it? And here is all this discontentment with the way Congress handles money, and let’s face facts here, there is nothing new about this at all.

Well, let’s chalk it up as an advertising gimmick. Schultz had ample opportunity to lower himself into the layer of helpful details, and start exploring how these lawmakers should do their coming-together…so did the comment authors under the article. There’s an awful lot of avoidance there, the details being limited to “do their damn jobs” or some such, and I’m assuming this is representative of many of the opinions around the country as a whole. Stop fighting, Congress! Do your jobs! You’re such a disappointment to us and we hate you…now go out there and steal some more money or something.

I can’t help but wonder at the level of cognitive dissonance we’re seeing on display here, of which Schultz is acting either as slick salesman or visible manifestation. How many of my fellow countrymen are so thoroughly disgusted with the way the public sector handles financial debacles like this, and yet see nothing virtuous in any effort to reduce their involvement and influence in our own financial affairs. How many want coffee in their “come together” cups…but, for some reason, have no interest in tea.

Yeah. Got a feeling that Congress is indeed failing to give us what we want or need…but might be succeeding in giving us what we deserve.

Update: Where I find this to be either conceived by, or prepared for the notice of, morons — and my interest of figuring out which of those it is, is at low tide and receding still further — Mickey Kaus thinks it’s creepy (hat tip to Instapundit).

Teh Smugg

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Six more days until we sail off the fiscal cliff. You might be resting assured that the politicians in Washington are paying attention to the problem, negotiating, doing stuff, et al. But you won’t be very assured after you pay attention to the negotiating, at which time you’ll understand why the problem exists. Everything the guys-in-charge are doing, is a perfect step-by-step guide on how to do things the wrong way.

Here’s a hint: President Obama used His speech at Sen. Daniel Inouye’s funeral, to talk about Himself. Go ahead and give a listen. Holy crap, this is unreal.

It is more than a politician acting like a politician. It might be, as I noted before, an actual mental illness. But beyond even that, it’s easy to forget that what we’re seeing here is an established process for making decisions. We see it in the wake of the Newtown massacre, multiple times a week…

See what I see there? Three things.

1. Absolutely nonsensical conclusion with regard to the right thing to do;
2. Total misunderstanding of the values & motives of those who might have a different opinion (“feel like a real man”);
3. That smile.

And where, pray tell, did I see that smile before. It seems so familiar. Oh yes, now I remember. On Season 10 of South Park…except you’re supposed to have some closed eyes while you’re doing it, as you smell your own farts.

On a related subject, we were wondering over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging what was going on with women nowadays, that it has become unthinkable within a fairly narrow span of time to have the word “obey” in her wedding vows. The answer is, of course, the following: As is the case with all other things, it seems the people who make the most noise have the greatest influence on our evolving customs, even when the things they say are silly and make no sense. Which applies here, because those people take the word “obey” rather literally, and in their zaniness seem to have blundered into a realization way off in the weeds, with the rest of us in tow, that this is something women should never, ever, under any circumstances, ever, do. Unless I suppose it’s someone telling Sarah Palin to shut her mouth and then she “obeys,” that would be perfectly alright, but the rest of the time this should not be happening. No woman should ever do any of that obeying stuff.

Which is, of course, quite different from what the verb would mean, in that context. So these people aren’t even aiming their thoughts in the right direction. They want to do some smugging, by resisting the idea that a woman should ever be subservient…I’m gathering most of the time, that is the intent. But as any man knows who’s ever been unhappily married lately, this all too often translates (with nobody bothering too much to correct course) into an idea that the woman should never agree. If the smug people were still paying attention, it would be pretty easy to show how this doesn’t lead to very good results. After all, hasn’t the pattern become rather well-worn by now? The woman shouldn’t be subservient…therefore she should be showing her independence all of the time, in a lot of cases this translates to disagreeing, about everything, constantly. One day, she wakes up and realizes she is “unfulfilled” and this somehow becomes the husband’s problem, and he has to lose half his stuff. So this doesn’t produce good results.

But keeping your eyes closed is an important part of being smug.

Anyway, I said something in that thread that is probably better situated over here…

Trouble with women is that women are people, and as you go through the list of what’s wrong with the modern woman, a lot of it has to do with what’s wrong with modern people. Prof. Sowell put together a comment over the holiday which fortunately went viral, and it deserved to: He said that today’s so-called “intellectuals” were generally deteriorating everything, by incrementally replacing “what works with what sounds good.”

That’s exactly what’s wrong with liberals…AND women. And no small number of men. They come up with half-baked, silly answers to things, that once put into effect do *not* make anything better, but enable the person spewing them to sit, smile, and act smug. Lately that’s where all-to-most of the energy is going, for some reason.

Yeah, we just got done linking to the Professor’s remarks yesterday. His exact words are:

The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good.

Yeah, this is how we’re saying goodbye to 2012. We’re enshrouded in a thick layer of Smug, people are running around adding to the gaseous covering everywhere you turn, but the atmospheric pollution is only the beginning of the problem. There are still the effects of unwise decision-making, waiting to confront us at the least opportune time. Global warming, climate change, whatever, that political movement is merely a subset of this. It is the golden age of the intellectual, defined by Tom Wolfe as “a person knowledgeable in one field who speaks out only in others.”

In that sense, anybody can be an intellectual. Just know something about one thing, which really isn’t a challenging bar to surpass at all; be loud and opinionated about one-to-several other things; and, lack the common sense and good judgment necessary to realize you’ve strayed outside the periphery of your knowledge domain. And a built-in bias toward nonsensical statements helps too. Presto, we all can be intellectuals. And this is our time.

We suffer and suffer some more, because the decisions we make are bad ones. So don’t forget to smile and close your eyes when you talk, and take some time to smell your own farts.

LBJ

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

The biography of our 36th president hasn’t got a lot to do with Christmas, but I suppose the coincidence does. We were just watching the biopic on Sunday night because it had been sitting in our Netflix Instant queue for, oh, the better part of the year maybe. It was enjoyable and we ended up wishing we’d clicked the button a lot earlier. However, it got a little vomit-inducing some two-thirds of the way through when, after having spent all that footage and all that shared audience adrenaline carefully piecing together a character who was a perfect bully, using his 6’4″ height and his posturing and grandstanding to win every argument that came along, screwing around on his wife as if philandering was some kind of a spectator sport, suddenly when the time came to push the Civil Rights Act through this character had a sense of right-and-wrong. Once again, we find ourselves trying to make sense of, not quite so much the primary subject matter which is Lyndon Baines Johnson’s thoughts and conscience, but how liberals think.

This isn’t Han Solo spending most of the movie thinking about his reward, and then suddenly seeing the bigger picture after Luke Skywalker yells at him and, as a result of this high-drama epiphany, looping the Millennium Falcon around and helping to attack the Death Star. It is as if the guy who was producing the 81st minute of the movie simply didn’t talk to the guy who had produced minutes #1 through #80. There is no meaningful event taking place that could have reformed the character. It’s like the movie is about two different people. And so, again, we see it is inference formed by fiat as opposed to rational thinking and common sense: You SHALL not think that LBJ was acting out of self-interest, you SHALL not think that LBJ was acting out of self-interest, you SHALL not think that LBJ was acting out of self-interest…

Anyway. It was made in 1987. Randy Quaid did a terrific job, and it’s a bit unfair that today he’s mostly known for National Lampoon Vacation movies. You should see it.

Christmas Morning, a mere 36 hours later, I’m given cause to think back on this because of Thomas Sowell’s latest Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene.

The first two, specifically…

When I was growing up, an older member of the family used to say, “What you don’t know would make a big book.” Now that I am an older member of the family, I would say to anyone, “What you don’t know would fill more books than the Encyclopedia Britannica.” At least half of our society’s troubles come from know-it-alls, in a world where nobody knows even 10 percent of all.

Some people seem to think that, if life is not fair, then the answer is to turn more of the nation’s resources over to politicians — who will, of course, then spend these resources in ways that increase the politicians’ chances of getting reelected.

The next two are good, as well.

The annual outbursts of intolerance toward any display of traditional Christmas scenes, or even daring to call a Christmas tree by its name, show that today’s liberals are by no means liberal. Behind the mist of their lofty words, the totalitarian mindset shows through.

If you don’t want to have a gun in your home or in your school, that’s your choice. But don’t be such a damn fool as to advertise to the whole world that you are in “a gun-free environment” where you are a helpless target for any homicidal fiend who is armed. Is it worth a human life to be a politically correct moral exhibitionist?

To all the time and effort I’ve spent over the years trying to figure out liberals, I have to add the time and effort and frustration I wasted in the years prior, entirely failing to realize how they were changing the world in which we’ve all been trying to function while, outside of autumns in even-numbered years, they remained essentially unwatched. Someday I should put together at least some master outline of what I’ve managed to learn, even if it is, to recall Prof. Sowell’s first Random Thought, less than ten percent of it all. And my intuition tells me such an outline should be vaporous and pliable enough so that it could serve as the beginning of either a book manuscript or a college class syllabus.

But either way, up near the top of it would be the split. Liberals aren’t liberals. Their class is necessarily divided into two hemispheres, both equally important, one enjoying the much larger share of influence and the other enjoying the much larger share of mass. The elites who possess the influence also possess a far superior understanding of the ultimate disastrous effect of liberal policy. In other words, they know that taking guns off the street does not make innocent people safer, and they know that offering special privileges to minority groups in hiring, contracting and college enrollment does not have a healing effect on racial, gender, and sex-preference divisions. They understand these policies do not do what they are supposed to do, and they even understand the entirely legitimate claims that the policies may in fact be achieving the reverse.

They don’t give a fig. They couldn’t care less.

The commoners, on the other hand, not only think that passage of the latest “landmark legislation” is all that is needed to achieve perfection and finally ascend to that plateau of Nirvana, but that if you argue or question the idea then you must be the stupid one. They are therefore constantly arguing for policies sure to produce disaster, deluding themselves into thinking the opposite, and in doing so making fools of themselves — again deluding themselves into thinking the opposite, that the subtle “nuanced” sense of irony makes them look like little smarty-pants or something. So they’re headed 180 degrees opposite from where they think, twice in a row, and all of the time. It isn’t that they really are that dumb; if they were, they wouldn’t be able to get dressed in the morning and go walking around. The problem is that they just don’t pay attention. They want to go in to the voting booth, poke the right chad, and have everything come out alright. They think the process is just like watching teevee, except the screen is a bit bigger and there are a bunch of other people fighting over the remote. Therefore, if it doesn’t go their way, or if it doesn’t go well, it is of no more consequence than last night’s round of channel-surfing failing to yield the proper satisfaction.

And that doesn’t bother them, they’d admit, if they were honest about it. What does a bad Tuesday night of surfing matter on Wednesday morning? Next to nothing, right? You need to have a few hundred of them, perhaps years’ worth, stacked up on top of each other before you even reconsider your cable subscription.

And so there are the apathetic, who know the policies are bad and don’t care, and the ignorant, who might care that the policies are bad if only they could be bothered to pay attention, but they can’t be, so they don’t know any better.

Perhaps it’s not fair for me to judge LBJ when I was just being born at the time. But I’ve managed to read a fair bit about him, and meet more than my share of people who are woven out of the same cloth. Not a very complicated story here at all, by my reckoning. These are the apathetic types; they end up running everything because the people around them want to give them whatever it is they desire. And they desire the feeling of running everything. They are doing what comes naturally to them — it is really the rest of us who are behaving strangely. The LBJ personality would be just as happy in some virtual reality, greedy fingers dancing over buttons and levers that are actually connected to nothing, slamming that “Aren’t I doing wonderful things” drug into the main vein 24 hours a day. With no actual effect outside of that VR playsuit-and-bubble, none at all. That would suit them just fine, because they live in a world in which “effect” is a non-concept, as relevant as sound in the vacuum of outer space. There is only intent. Effect equals intent. Wouldn’t know an unintended consequence if it bit ‘em in the nose. And probably wouldn’t be able to find more than fifteen of the United States on a map, with the labels covered up…but wanting to run everything, anyway, because they like that feeling.

We don’t have too many presidents like this before 1932. Throughout much of the nineteenth century, apart from Lincoln, it’s hard for most people to even remember any of the names let alone dates and/or major accomplishments. There’s a reason for that. Presidents back in those days just didn’t have a lot of power compared to today. Mass communication has brought us to an era in which we just want to channel-surf the one most impressive guy into the one loftiest office, leave it to him to manage all the details, and the rest of us will just go about our lives confident that it’ll all work out right. But of course, in President Obama we see that this Most Impressive Guy doesn’t concern Himself with details any more than any of the silly twits who voted for Him, so it all turns to muck, and then He just uses His impressive talents to blame the opposition…

The way it used to work, had something to do with this little thing called Separation of Powers. It worked reasonably well back in the day. And not because any one guy was managing all of the details. Recall what the Professor said, about knowing less than ten percent. That’s never changed, across the generations. Our misguided faith is what has changed.

King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Hallelujah

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Why Notable Liberal Women Wear Awkward Looking Pantsuits ALL the Time

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Gosh, just look at ‘er move. I can see why Prof. Jacobson made this the video of the year.

Of course, that isn’t the entire reason all the famous liberal women are fond of awkward ugly pantsuits. An important part of it, separate and distinct from the much-desired hasty getaway, has to do with this “role modeling” of which now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren evidently has little or no desire to discuss in any meaningful detail: An intentional diminution of femininity.

Zounds. What a fascinating research subject this is — liberals wish to erode femininity, through their ugly looking pantsuits and by various other means, and apparently this objective is merely sub-topical to a much larger objective to erode the gender divide. And that, in turn, would be merely sub-topical to another objective of doing away with definitions altogether, of any kind. There can be no more masculine-feminine just as there can be no more husband-wife, or child-adult, or rich-poor, or ambitious-lazy. From all I’ve been able to observe, left to their own devices and spared any resistance, they would eventually make casualties out of measurable fundamentals, be they relative or be they absolute, like wet-dry, up-down, hot-cold and clean-dirty. This is all just collateral damage, of course, since what they really want to target is just right-wrong.

That, in turn, would meld into another goal they seem to have, which for lack of a better term I suppose I could call the Sheriff Joe Biden Effect: To merely ask yourself “What, exactly, makes Joe Biden a better-than-average prospect for this new national post of chief gun-grabber?” is to alienate yourself from modern liberal thinking, since it makes a pointed inquiry about exceptional attributes manifested at the individual level, just like “What specifically is extraordinary about Hillary Clinton’s qualifications to be Secretary of State?” or “Eric Holder’s qualifications to be Attorney General?” or “Tim Geithner’s qualifications to be Secretary of the Treasury?” or “Elizabeth Warren’s qualifications to be a Senator?” You’ll notice, even though the propaganda is being pushed long and hard that we should think of all these recognizable names as belonging to soooper geniuses who are uniquely qualified to hold those correlating occupations, there has been nothing provided to define them as such.

No, not provided. Not even suggested. This is why I find it so interesting. It’s almost like some instructor in college or in high school — maybe this was part of the school debate team activities? — chose a name out of a big thick phone book at random, a phone book filled only with names of liberals, and then made a task out of presenting this randomly-chosen, decidedly ordinary individual as the best fit for the job. In other words, tasked the class to tell a convincing lie, making the ordinary look exceptional. But it’s like this with everything, you’ll notice.

This is not reflected on the conservative side. That is not the same as saying the definitions never fail over there. A great example of what I’m talking about is: John McCain is a “great American” who is uniquely qualified to be president. Of this, many among us are rightfully suspicious. His conservative credentials, outside of the abortion issue, are wavering and ripe for challenge. But — at least the argument can be presented: John McCain served, was present at the Forrestal fire, got captured by the Viet Cong, was held for five years, it had such-and-such an effect on him, so-and-so has such-and-such a thing to say about it…these are conclusions to be drawn from hard facts. They are definable reasons why a rational person might think of McCain as an exceptional person. Lots of conservatives disagree, but that’s a different issue. At least it’s definable. And the same is true of Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan, all of whom have failed to capture the enthusiasm of lots of self-identifying conservatives. But, in each of those cases, what makes these people unique and exceptional can at least be defined. Love Mitt Romney, hate Mitt Romney, anywhere in between — you would be very hard-pressed to find someone, anywhere, who is more like Mitt than Mitt himself.

Liberals are consistently missing this. They could all be interchanged with each other, with minimal disruption to the existing pattern, or no disruption at all. Hillary is just…oh, so blandly, so generally wonderful, in some undistinguished unexceptional way. And they’re all like that. They’re so conditioned to giving orders to each other about what to think about such-and-such a thing, that they have this strong tendency to skirt around the whole “What makes this guy unique?” thing.

If I were ever on that side of the net, I would find it tiring. To the point of migraine-inducing. Oh, lordy lordy, some other glib schmuck in a pantsuit I’m supposed to pretend is the Last Son of Krypton, or is Heir to the Dynasty of Uther Pendragon, or loaded with midi-chlorians or whatever…HERE WE GO AGAIN.

RE the evasiveness about answering such an innocent, non-threatening, softball question. I think John Hawkins scored a bulls-eye on this when he said:

Jacob M’s First Law

Monday, December 24th, 2012

On the one hand, Christmas is a time to forsake politics. We should concentrate on our spirituality.

On the other hand — what is spirituality? What is spiritual health? What is spiritual sickness? Based on all I’ve seen over the last twenty years or so, I see only one valid way left to us to define it: You are spiritually sick if you habitually confuse destructive endeavors with creative/preservative ones, or vice-versa. If you can keep all that stuff straight, you’re healthy, and if you can’t then you’re not. Period.

Necessarily, this viewpoint defeats any effort to separate the spiritual from the political. They are intertwined and inseparable.

So this is worth blogging, even on Christmas Eve Day. It deserves to go viral…which is not something we can do here, but we can certainly do our part to show proper support:

[T]he more liberal our society becomes, the more its problems caused by liberalism are blamed on society’s remaining conservatism.

Hat tip once again to Gerard Van der Leun.

Keep Them Not-Dead

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Movie rule: If you invest a certain share of suspense in a plot-line which concludes with a certain character not getting killed, or turning out not to be dead, you have to keep that character not-dead.

This was broken in the case of R.E.D., in which (spoilers, highlight to read) Morgan Freeman is ambushed and seemingly cornered, but manages to surprise his assassin and come out on top of things. But later on sacrifices himself so Bruce Willis can escape another impossible cornering situation. And also in Skyfall, when James Bond makes it is personal mission to stop the bad guy from killing his boss, M, who in turn is mortally wounded during the climax, making Bond’s efforts, along with much of the storyline of the movie overall, absolutely pointless.

Does Vito Corleone violate this rule? I would argue not. He survives this assassination attempt fairly early on in the movie, and it’s almost a good two hours later when he really does drop dead. The two events are spaced several years apart, during which time the character does much to alter the cause-and-effect of the story. This one comes down to: People get old, they die, that’s natural.

But a character turning out to be surprisingly not-dead, I would say, ought to have some eventual point to it. If that is not the case, then all the stuff that takes place during the evident death, and the real one, ends up being just a bunch of mind-candy. Guns blazing away and cars blowing up, and of course some tits…these things do have some cultural value. But the story should have real events to it, events that drive a real plot, during which time, situations meaningfully change.

To Confront an Enemy, You Must First Define the Enemy

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

And there is a power-shift taking place here, one which was chiefly responsible for the dismal election results we saw a month and a half ago. Issue after issue after issue, we see those who are progressive in their prejudices, enjoy a certain cultural latitude in defining their enemies, and eschewing those enemies, a latitude that is not equivalently enjoyed by their conservative opposites. Nor by anybody else.

I see it in Piers Morgan’s idiotic comments about the petition to get his smarmy English ass deported…over his other idiotic comments.

I see it in Ed Darrell’s tireless campaign to marginalize everyone who doesn’t agree with him about everything. Yes, you have the “facts” if & only if you agree with Ed. Otherwise you’re ignorant, “anti-intellectual,” and we need not examine what facts you do & do not have, to pronounce you so. Well-informed means agreeing with Mr. Darrell, about all of it, period.

As I’ve observed before about liberalism: The irony of it is, they want to make an egalitarian world, one in which every cog is in place and spinning smoothly, producing effects that are equally beneficial for everybody concerned, in which everybody has a voice. But on the way to that plane of perfection, they are curiously obsessed, at the perceptible expense of the attention they can pay to all other things, with figuring out who should not have a say in how it all works. Show me ten pages written by liberals and I can show you eight or more pages that are nothing more than “so-and-so needs to be shown the door so us smarty-pants types can finish drawing up our plans.” For egalitarians, they are curiously captivated with the idea of the few unilaterally dictating the tastes and obligations of the many.

I think, whenever we discuss public policy — especially public policy that impacts everyone, and especially public policy that is designed to impact everyone — gathering more information about the concerns and sentiments of that “everyone” is a worthy goal. Certainly, it should lose priority on our meeting agenda, trying to figure out what bits of “everyone” should be excluded from the group taking part in making the decisions. I’m hip to the idea that, as various people peel off with their opinions, some of those emerging opinions might be so odious that they might provide an incentive to revisit that. As the saying goes, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter,” sure I get all that.

But liberal arguments…and the timeframe I have in mind for this observation is right now, when they are generally victorious…seem drawn to this like arcs to a lightning rod. We have these elites, who agree with us because they’re smart like us, and then we have commoners who you can tell are too stupid to know what’s good for them, because they fail to agree with us. Or, we have those commoners who are actually elites, because they do know what’s good for them, and they have the nerve to vote against our tax increases. Either way, I notice that in the last few years when liberals have really managed to take the place over, after their long post-Clinton years wandering in the wilderness…they have enjoyed this deciding success while they have been laboring long and hard defining the enemy. No matter what your battle, that is always a first step toward victory. You can’t confront the enemy you do not define.

Also, like gun-hater Mr. Morgan, they have managed to deny this right/privilege/obligation of defining enemies, to their opposition. First amendment! When I piddle on your shoe and tell you it is raining, you are required to believe me. That is the key to their recent success, I think. We get to treat you as an enemy, and work toward your diminished influence, diminished prosperity, diminished prospects for survival. You, on the other hand, can not do the same to us…in fact, you are not even sufficiently privileged to take note of us in any audible way as an inimical force against you, which we most assuredly are.

Out of all the destructive statements we are somehow obliged to avoid viewing in any way as destructive statements, one of my favorites has long been: “These rules are put into effect in order to foster/create a work environment that is safe and non-threatening to everyone…it is also important to keep in mind that in evaluating a gesture or statement as potential sexual harassment, the intent of the person making the gesture is entirely irrelevant, the perception of the offended person decides everything.” Holy shit. Perhaps there is some other written statement, equally concise, that would be more effective in making the work environment threatening. But I honestly cannot think of what that might be. And the double-speak involved in here is something that could only be produced by lawyers looking for ways to produce new revenue. It completely blows my mind, and it’s not just me, all men can see what’s wrong with this, along with not too few common-sense women as well. And yet, the ritual endures…because, and only because, some among us toil under an obligation to avoid acknowledging, let alone defending ourselves from, enemies.

But here is my point: How is it that liberals enjoy this advantage — where they can not only define and confront their political enemies, but make an entire debating science out of it, make that their primary focus in just about everything they say or do. And their enemies, in turn, cannot? In which their political enemies are obliged to engage in this daily passive slow-suicide, obliged to treat their enemies as friends?

Simple. Our “friends” the liberals simply asked for this lopsided and unnatural advantage. And we gave it to them. Now, it’s simply expected. They can define and confront their enemies. They can do it every minute of every day. Even to such an extent that their tired promises of an egalitarian society, not only make zero sense, but are entirely self-contradictory and self-defeating. But nobody else can do this; the rest of us are obliged to pretend our enemies are friends. We are obliged to embrace, to bring closer to the bosom, all sorts of different species and breeds of venomous vipers. That’s just how it works. Piers Morgan certainly thinks so. First Amendment.

Girl, Mirror, Camera

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Pulchritude.

Click the pic for more. Some may not be considered work safe.

Hat tip to Linkiest.