Archive for July, 2006

We’ve Been Hoodwinked

Friday, July 21st, 2006

We’ve Been Hoodwinked

Continuing on the theme of the post previous, which is the positioning of conventional wisdom to be the polar opposite of logic and truth. Kevin McCollough is calling Sen. Barack Obama a liar, because the Senator implied the Republican party is the one with a history of racism and discrimination against blacks.

McCollough says the reverse is true, and he has facts on his side. Sen. Obama appears to be cruising on blind faith in supporting what he said…

[Sen. Obama] spoke with the typical charismatic demeanor he’s become known for when he let loose: “Don’t be bamboozled. Don’t buy into it. … It’s great if he (President Bush) commits to signing it (the extension of the Voting Rights Act), but what is critical is the follow-through. You don’t just talk the talk, but you also walk the walk.”

His lie by implication is that there is at least an outside chance that President Bush would not sign the legislation (passed without amendments) the very minute it hits his desk.
In my upcoming book, “Musclehead Revolution,” I spend considerable real estate delving into the history of the conservative and liberal parties and their association with race and equality…
In the chapter entitled “All Men Are Created Equal � Except to Liberals,” I spend several pages pointing out how it was the party of Barack Obama that took the rights of African-Americans away from them. It was Barack Obama’s party that, according to the Congressional Record, began the Ku Klux Klan, lynching of blacks and intimidation to keep them from voting. It was the party of Barack Obama that in fact sought to remove the black man’s right to vote following nearly a generation of freedom following the conclusion of the Civil War.

By contrast, it was the Republican Party that fought for the freedoms of blacks in Congress following the conclusion of the Civil War. State chapters of the Republican Party were started by blacks in most Southern states. The first black members of Congress, some of whom had been former slaves only months previous, were all Republican. Under Republican initiatives between 1875 and 1893, blacks had full and equal rights in every way.

But it was the Democrats who took these rights away in the early 1900s.

From 1896 to the early 1960s, nearly every party platform the Republicans voted in had specific language banning all forms of lynching and Klan violence. The Democrats have never mentioned the lynching started by their party in any party platform to this very day.

And, in 1965, it was the Democrats who fought to get a “sunset provision” added to the Voting Rights Act � meaning that Democrats only wanted blacks to have the right to vote for a certain period of time. If they had truly believed that blacks were equal � fully equal � they should have never included such a provision.

This is part of what makes Barack Obama’s willful misleading of the attendees to the NAACP so laughable, so sinister, so evil. President Bush campaigned on the guarantee of renewing the Voting Rights Act; he argued to make it a permanent extension. And when the Congress passes it, he has promised to sign it into law.

Instead of implying otherwise, Obama should be in the Senate helping for the completion of the legislation and pushing for final vote. And instead of lying to proud African- Americans, he should apologize for grotesque and unequal history his own party has exercised against people who have much darker skin than his mulatto hew.

And while he’s at it, would Sen. Obama be able to cough up an explanation for his willingness to assist in fund raising for former Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan Robert Byrd?

What McCollough has lifted from the pages of his own book, stands in stark contradiction to the prevailing viewpoint. But, pointedly, not in stark contradiction to the facts as they’ve been made available to me.

The Republican party was formed to abolish slavery. Once it came along, the Democrats fought to keep slavery going strong. A century later, Republicans favored civil rights and Democrats opposed civil rights. So far as I’ve been able to determine, there has been no role-reversal, no trading-of-places. For there to have been such a flip-floppery, wherein liberty-minded Republicans become benevolent Democrats and segregationist Democrats become racist Republicans, is unlikely because ideology always comes down to a question of how people do their thinking, not what they actually think. And like I said before, being a left-winger today means bypassing the formation of opinions from empirically observed facts, and instead forming opinions based on someone else’s opinions. That is a kind of “slavery” in and of itself. And, it turns out, the opinion that Republicans are more racist than Democrats, has little basis in fact. It appears to have been formed because someone somewhere wanted it to be formed.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form XII

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Imitation is the Sincerest Form XII

The name of this blog makes reference to an old dead white guy who lived a long time ago. Hundreds of years before the notion of the “flat earth” was toppled from the pedestal of orthodox science, indeed, hundreds of years before anyone anywhere had the balls to articulate any serious doubts about it, this fellow calculated the circumference of our spherical domain. He was a library administrator. We’ve named ourselves after him, not to capture the spirit of getting the answer right when everybody else is wrong — but as a reminder of what goes into doing that. Taking the initiative to figure out the facts for yourself. Coming up with solid opinions that are derived from those facts. Ignoring halfwits (like the guy who’s been popping in here all week even though he says we’re boring) who try to bully and intimidate you. People who attack your assertions not with logic, but by calling out the physical volume of those assertions, and the difference between those assertions and the egghead orthodoxy.

It turns out the egghead orthodoxy isn’t terribly useful. For thousands of years, when the egghead orthodoxy happens to be correct, it’s correct because it copied that which was proven to be correct, after it was advanced by some intellectual maverick somewhere. At which time, said maverick received a thorough beat-down from the egghead orthodoxy, up to & past the moment where reasonable doubt about the maverick’s idea, was permanently removed. Rather a craven, unoriginal, cowardly thing that egghead orthodoxy is. By definition, I would add.

We also name ourselves after this individual as a reminder of how much his kind of independent, critical thinking can accomplish. It’s a reminder that everything we have, we owe to him, and people who think the way he thought. Twenty-two centuries before man’s feet could leave the ground, the size of the globe was calculated by means of simple trigonometry. By a guy who looked down, into holes, not up into the sky. By a guy who wasn’t an astronomer, and as a philosopher, had no formal credentials, just an entirely informal education. By a library administrator. A guy whose nickname was “Beta” because he always came up second-best in everything he tried.

A lot of us don’t think on things the way this guy did just before he calculated the size of the earth. Instead, most of us think on things the way people do just before they achieve…nothing. This is a real problem. It impacts everything we do, and beyond everything we do, all those troublesome things that impact us, over which we have little or no control. This blog has said so on so many occasions, that were I to undertake to round up links, this would be a futile exercise in favoritism, tedium, overindulgence and redundancy. Suffice it to say the link-capture-exercise is, practically, useless. It would be more efficient to list the posts in my blog that do not make reference to this.

I do not know if Thomas Sowell reads my blog. I would suspect hardly anybody does. (Except, of course, for the forementioned halfwit who pops by every twelve hours to make sure we’re still boring.) But how, then, do you explain this gem which appeared this morning at Real Clear Politics.

One of the many failings of our educational system is that it sends out into the world people who cannot tell rhetoric from reality. They have learned no systematic way to analyze ideas, derive their implications and test those implications against hard facts.

“Peace” movements are among those who take advantage of this widespread inability to see beyond rhetoric to realities. Few people even seem interested in the actual track record of so-called “peace” movements — that is, whether such movements actually produce peace or war.

Take the Middle East. People are calling for a cease-fire in the interests of peace. But there have been more cease-fires in the Middle East than anywhere else. If cease-fires actually promoted peace, the Middle East would be the most peaceful region on the face of the earth instead of the most violent.

I’ve been robbed, but I’m not calling the police. I’m quite flattered.

Seriously, though, this is must-read stuff. Of course, columns by Dr. Sowell generally are. Go read.

This Is Good XVI

Friday, July 21st, 2006

This Is Good XVI

Via Boortz, we learn someone has taken one of his rants against radical Islam and posted it in video form on YouTube.

One in Ten

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

One in Ten

One in ten users of the “innernets” is a blogger, and half that blogger is under thirty years old. Forty percent of him blogs about his boring life. Interesting.

Bloggers are a predominantly young group of Internet users who are novice storytellers, enjoy describing their own experiences and have a growing audience in the online world.

A glimpse of this group was put together by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The survey found that almost one in 10 Internet users are bloggers and the audience for this group of online diarists is growing. Almost four in 10 of the approximately 147 million adult Internet users in this country say they read blogs.

The people they are reading on the online blogs are a young, ethnically diverse group. They are mostly newcomers to writing � often writing about their own experiences. More than half of bloggers are under age 30. They were most likely to list their life and events as the most popular topic, followed by politics and entertainment.

The poll findings are based on a sample of 4,573 Internet users with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points and a sample from a separate survey of 233 bloggers with a margin of error of plus or minus 7 percentage points.

I dunno about this blogger breakdown thing…233 is kind of a modest sample. I’d like to see more studies like this. It’d be fun to break the bloggers down by sex, and find out how many of the females use pink backgrounds.

Or how many among the bloggers professing a left-wing persuasion, use the expression “LOL” more than once a month, or begin their sentences with “I love how” more than twice a week.


Thursday, July 20th, 2006


Missed this when it came out on Monday.

Robert Brooks had a simple explanation for the success of his Hooters chain, known as much for the tight T-shirts of its waitresses as for its chicken wings.

“Good food, cold beer and pretty girls never go out of style,” he told Fortune magazine in 2003.

Brooks, chairman of the restaurant chain, was found dead at his home Sunday at 69. Coroner Robert Edge said an autopsy found Brooks died of natural causes, but he would not be more specific.
In 1984, he and a group of Atlanta investors bought expansion and franchise rights for the Hooters chain. He eventually bought majority control and became chairman.

Where would we be without Hooters? Probably nowhere good. It’s easy, nowadays, to forget what kind of a devastating assault manhood was under in the late eighties and early nineties. It started, near as I can figure, with failure to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982. There was a heavy propagandizing machinery put in place by the freshly-mobilized feminists, who groped for something to complain about in a society in which there were precious few grievances remaining to draw their enmity. In search of such grievances, the grasping, flailing protesters-in-search-of-a-cause, ended up warping society. This is easily demonstrated when you review the chronicling that can be examined most easily by lazy bloggers like me, which is the world of cinema. Hollywood noticed how women were banding together and mobilizing, and started taking advantage of it by pumping out Womyns’-Movie-after-Womyns’-Movie. The Big Chill (1983), Flashdance (1983), Terms of Endearment (1983), Footloose (1984), Romancing The Stone (1984), Out of Africa (1985), Moonstruck (1987) , Working Girl (1988), Steel Magnolias (1989)…and then the Dark Time began. James Bond went on a six-year hiatus.

Getting rid of Agent 007 wasn’t nearly as bad, as articulating the reason for doing so. We were told — instructed that we were supposed to believe — “everybody” was tired of the martini-swilling skirt-chasing gadget-toting secret agent. Well, empirical facts by their mere existence decimate that notion; Bond was resurrected in late 1995 and has been going strong ever since. So the real reason was something else. Movie marketing for women, like any other marketing for women, was robust, vibrant and profitable because it was easy. Women, as individuals, were quick to jump on whatever cultural knick-knacks had come to earn adoration from women, as groups. A movie producer was naturally inclined to make a woman’s movie. Just get a big-name star or two, a kicky, naturally-addictive soundtrack, some dance moves, and so long as there’s a scene where someone cries, the job is done. It was the path of least resistance. And with the movies made, from Los Angeles to New York and every mile in between, women would announce to their families “we’re out of, uh, … parsley. Yeah, we need parsley. I’m going to get some more, be back in three hours.” And the ticket sales, by the tens of millions of dollars, would roll right on in.

Men were afraid of patronizing markets built for their pleasure; women were afraid of not patronizing markets built for theirs. The gap between the sexes grew and grew.

Isn’t it interesting…a class of people will mobilize as a group, and get all kinds of power as a group, but people within that class lose their power as individuals. One woman would have thought a certain thing, nobody anywhere would have given a rat’s ass about it. But women were unstoppable. A quarter-century-old multi-million dollar franchise about a superspy, was put down before his time, so that our culture could become woman-friendly, all because women had become conditioned like never before to think with the herd mentality. The chick flicks weren’t even any good, most of ’em. Women wanted to see them because a bunch of other women wanted to see them.

So with that history of our nation and our culture, about the time Hooter’s was in it’s childhood — where would we be without Brooks’ restaurant chain? It’s such a silly product offering, you know. Waitresses in skimpy costumes. And yet, I have to doubt life would be the same without it, because we would not have healed the division. Oh, the non-Hooter’s events would still have taken place. We’d still have Bill Clinton, he and his wife would still have made asses out of themselves, and we’d still get thoroughly sick and tired of the blue-state mentality and we’d still elect Republicans for half-a-dozen years straight to make sure we can carry guns if we want and get school vouchers if we want and work for whoever we want on whatever terms we want.

But, I daresay, for simply being a straight, red-blooded, passionate man who likes to look at young ladies in bikinis, you’d still have to apologize. In 2006, just as you had to in, say, 1986. And, of course, you could never, ever feel guilty enough to please the intelligentsia.

It is a sad state of affairs when a man can ripple the political pond simply by doing what a man likes to do — chew on a hot wing, gulp a cold beer, leer at a good-looking young lady in short-shorts and smile. But that’s the reality of the situation.

It’s a nightmare, but one from which we awaken whenever we do things the way we, as individuals, naturally do them. I say, go to Hooter’s no more often than you would without this misguided, lately-arriving 1980’s feminist revolution — but no less often either. Just dwell on what’s positive. Ignore the hostility, and partake in the fun. We’ve come a long way, baby. Men and women, in 2006, actually kind of like each other now; in the past, they did not. We got here, because men lost their fear of being themselves, and stopped apologizing for liking manly things.

This is nothing new. Throughout history, a man who withdraws, pretends not to like things he does in fact like, and goes out of his way to avoid condemnation, is abhorrent, repulsive and frustrating to a woman — if he’s visible in her eyes at all. A man who just likes what he likes, and isn’t afraid to say so, to the same woman, is cute-n-cuddly, Godlike, or somewhere in between. And that’s my whole point. Men and women have had a deepening rift between them, an artificial rift torn by modern feminism. Not “We Want The Right To Vote” feminism or “Quit Slapping Us In The Ass” feminism, but the eighties-brand of “Uh, Let’s Find Something To Bitch About” feminism. The rift could never have been healed, until someone had the balls to come up with a product, and make that product appealing to men…so that men could enjoy it, and show off the working-class fearlessness and apathy toward snotty elite glitterati condemnation, that has made the country great.

So load up the van, and let’s go.

But first, a moment of silence for Robert Brooks. In his own way, he has made an entirely positive contribution to American culture, the likes of which we seldom see from anybody. Let the healing begin. Godspeed, sir.

Update: It would be a shame to let this distinguished American begin his journey onward without doing something a little more noteworthy to honor his passing. So I thought what I might do, is track down the origin of the picture you see below. It has gotten a lot of attention all across the “innernets,” here as well as elsewhere. Great picture. Says all that needs to be said, without a single word.

I had it pegged before. It is an incident in either 2002 or 2003, somewhere in eastern Washington state, I think Spokane. The Hooter’s girl with the cup in her hand, has been sent out by her manager to bring ice-water to the protesters, with the weather being a little bit on the balmy side. Hooter’s girl has a name, the other Hooter’s girl has a name, and you better believe the protester has a name. If I had any one of those three, I could “Google” it and find the story I found before, which I foolishly neglected to bookmark.

It is not a setup. It is a real news story, from a real-live protest, involving real-live holier-than-thou, sycophantic, self-righteous and butt-fugly protesters.

Anyway. Didn’t find the original story. I did find this page, which seems to be a good find. I have learned my lesson, and am saving this for posterity…and the sidebar.

And for now, that will have to be my tribute to Mr. Brooks.

On North Korea

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

On North Korea

Has the time come to do to Kim Jong-Il what we did to Saddam Hussein?

I belong in a sizable majority of us, who say absolutely not. Not yet. I suspect that majority includes nearly all of us, and since it includes me, with them I have no beef. Be that as it may, there is another sizable majority that says that time will never come. Those who say it is the job of the United States, to keep that option off the table, come what may, regardless of anything and everything Jong-Il may do — even they, I gather, are in the majority. Whether that is the case or not, the longer President Bush continues to represent them, the more trouble he’s going to get himself into.

Conservative Anger Grows Over Bush’s Foreign Policy
By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 19, 2006; Page A01

At a moment when his conservative coalition is already under strain over domestic policy, President Bush is facing a new and swiftly building backlash on the right over his handling of foreign affairs.

Conservative intellectuals and commentators who once lauded Bush for what they saw as a willingness to aggressively confront threats and advance U.S. interests said in interviews that they perceive timidity and confusion about long-standing problems including Iran and North Korea, as well as urgent new ones such as the latest crisis between Israel and Hezbollah.

“It is Topic A of every single conversation,” said Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank that has had strong influence in staffing the administration and shaping its ideas. “I don’t have a friend in the administration, on Capitol Hill or any part of the conservative foreign policy establishment who is not beside themselves with fury at the administration.”

Conservatives complain that the United States is hunkered down in Iraq without enough troops or a strategy to crush the insurgency. They see autocrats in Egypt and Russia cracking down on dissenters with scant comment from Washington, North Korea firing missiles without consequence, and Iran playing for time to develop nuclear weapons while the Bush administration engages in fruitless diplomacy with European allies. They believe that a perception that the administration is weak and without options is emboldening Syria and Iran and the Hezbollah radicals they help sponsor in Lebanon.

Most of the most scathing critiques of the administration from erstwhile supporters are being expressed within think tanks and in journals and op-ed pages followed by a foreign policy elite in Washington and New York.

But the Bush White House has always paid special attention to the conversation in these conservative circles. Many of the administration’s signature ideas — regime change in Iraq, and special emphasis on military “preemption” and democracy building around the globe — first percolated within this intellectual community. In addition, these voices can be a leading indicator of how other conservatives from talk radio to Congress will react to policies.

As the White House listens to what one official called the “chattering classes,” it hears a level of disdain from its own side of the ideological spectrum that would have been unthinkable a year ago. It is an odd irony for a president who has inflamed liberals and many allies around the world for what they see as an overly confrontational, go-it-alone approach. The discontent on the right could also color the 2008 presidential debate.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who is considering a bid for president, called the administration’s latest moves abroad a form of appeasement. “We have accepted the lawyer-diplomatic fantasy that talking while North Korea builds bombs and missiles and talking while the Iranians build bombs and missiles is progress,” he said in an interview. “Is the next stage for Condi to go dancing with Kim Jong Il?” he asked, referring to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the North Korean leader.

“I am utterly puzzled,” Gingrich added.

Of course, everybody knows what’s going on here, and not very many people are actually saying what it is. Diplomacy is always very appealing to those in charge, even when there’s no call for it, because politically it is costless. The invasion of Iraq, on the other hand, has been made artificially expensive politically. It has been made so expensive, that President Bush doesn’t want to even look like he’s doing the same thing anywhere else, even if another country like Iraq or North Korea indulges in more threatening shenanigans than Iraq ever did.

For three and a half years now, I’ve been told dissent equals patriotism. I’ve been told the anti-war protesters storming the streets with their events and their rallies and their demonstrations, smiling a mile wide at the “(two) thousandth casualty in the War on Terror” celebration-that-isn’t-supposed-to-be-a-celebration, are the “real patriots” and that they are “speaking truth to power.” And where have all these demonstrations gotten us. Unlimited liberty and freedom…for those who don’t believe in such things.

I’ve been trying to find a consensus within the “don’t invade Iraq” faction, that there are important reasons why the old Iraq regime should have been left in place. I haven’t seen a whole lot there. I doubt that this movement ever cared that much about Saddam Hussein at all, whatsoever. The “anti-war” movement that makes it’s appearances so frequently and so bumptiously, seems to be, if it’s anything at all, an “anti-law-and-order” movement. The gunslinger comes to Dodge City, and they aren’t half as scared as the big bad gunslinger as they are of Matt Dillon. Both men have guns, both are fast, both are experienced killers, but Marshall Dillon has all those rules and junk.

We don’t call the anti-war movement what it is; not nearly enough. Thy name is anarchy, anti-war movement. I haven’t seen one anti-war person — not one! — seek to assert that Saddam Hussein could have been safely left in charge of things, except to change the subject. I have to conclude that even taking stock of the residual danger involved in leaving dictators in charge like that, is simply out of scope for them. They don’t want to think about it, and they don’t want anybody else to think about it. With Marshall Dillon dead in front of the saloon, the gunslinger runs the show and — who the hell cares? Just stay out of his way. Stay on your farm, until it’s time to get something to eat, then go to the dry goods store when the gunslinger is drunk off his ass in the saloon.

That’s what this kind of diplomacy is all about. Gingrich is right. This is nothing more than a fantasy, and it’s based on no evidence at all. Where are the ingredients to a successful negotiation? Where is truth? Where is honor? Where is the history of abiding with past accords? What is Jong-Il to do to provide us with those? What pressures are being put on Jong-Il to make sure they’re forthcoming?

That’s the one thing that is wrong with American foreign policy today, and it doesn’t start with the President, it starts with the people. More talking, seems to always be the answer. We tend to forget there are certain things you need for that. There are things like good-faith, and both sides have to have the right temperament before the talks can be continued. In the American political scene, today, from out of nowhere materializes this phantom that says talks will solve everything — and we have this apparition appearing to us before we’ve had time to consider who is at the other end of the negotiating table. See, that’s what’s jacked up here. I’m watching and waiting to see if North Korea, as it exists today, has the makings of a functioning negotiating partner. That I remain unsatisfied in this study disturbs me a little bit, but not as much as the fact that I seem to be alone in making that study. There is at least the possibility that North Korea simply doesn’t have what’s needed, to participate in negotations — any kind of negotiations at all. The United States should be the last party to discount that as a possibility, so that North Korea is prevailing upon us, not the first one so that we’re the ones prevailing upon them. That is our real job.

Thing I Know #123. Diplomacy is an exchange that places a premium value on refined strategy and positive results. The diplomat with the least-refined strategy obtains the most positive results.

Memo For File XV

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Memo For File XV

Saw V for Vendetta (2005). Saw Ultraviolet (2006). Emmm…this is kind of weird. It’s the same movie.

Yeah they have different backstories and so forth. But the plotlines, event-by-event, character-by-character, it’s exactly the same thing happening. Only difference is, in V for Vendetta it’s up to the girl to be confused, worried, sad, mad, hopeful, angry, to cry, and most importantly to figure out what’s going on; it’s up to the guy to do all the ass kicking. In Ultraviolet, these two roles have been combined into one person.

Apart from that, somebody should have been litigating against somebody else for intellectual property theft. Which is which, I dunno. Let them work that out. I’m just glad I didn’t pay full price.

Crazy Old Aunt

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Crazy Old Aunt

So I’m exploring my trackbacks, which for those non-bloggers means I’m scanning for other blogs that link to me so I can give them proper credit. And I noticed that Cindermutha linked to the “What Is A Liberal” trilogy. Well, I hadn’t taken the time to look over Cindermutha’s stuff in awhile, she’s got a pretty cool blog over there. And off in the sidebar, right above the link to my stuff, there are two things worthy of mention which I had not, before today, taken the time to explore. There is Soy Como Soy, which has a hilarious photo montage of dickheads all around the world sticking their fingers in the air, for whatever reason. I hadn’t realized that before now, but there’s something about sticking that finger in the air. They must kick you out of the Fascist Dictator Asshole Club, FDAC, if you aren’t seen sticking your finger up in the air enough times per year. I copied the mosaic, below, but I got a feeling I’ll have to keep doing it as more Angel-Proctologists show their stuff in the months ahead.

And then there is This Blog Is Full Of Crap, which I had been meaning to put in the sidebar, and for whatever reason never quite got around to it. What’s the first piece of crap in the blog that is full of crap? Pretty priceless, actually. It’s a link to Outside The Beltway, which I also need to check out more often, in which Tony Snow completely freakin’ eviscerates Helen Thomas, leaving her ghastly old-lady entrails hanging from the light fixtures. Yyyyaaaaayyyyy, Snowman! You da man! Made the psycho old broad look like exactly what she is. Watch this if you don’t see another thing today.

Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot… II

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot… II

This blogger seems to be worthy of bookmarking, although in this post she’s just linking back to Hot Air. What does Hot Air have for us this time? It really needs no further comment.

Being a member of a terrorist organization won’t necessarily land someone on Canada’s no-fly list, The Canadian Press has learned.

Proposed criteria would limit inclusion on the roster to those who pose “an immediate threat to aviation security,” Transport Canada internal briefing notes say.
“You cannot be put on the list on the sole basis that you’re a member of a ‘terrorist group,'” the source said. “In addition, you have to be a demonstrable threat to aviation safety.”
The source said that under the proposed regulations, people involved in a terrorist group — either now or in the past — could be added to the list only if there were reason to suspect they may “compromise civil aviation, the security of any aircraft or aerodrome, or the safety of the public, passengers or crew.”

Oh, Gawd…whoever has the job of writing satire about this whole thing, I feel so bad for them sometimes. How do you get out in front of this stuff?

Not Much More To Be Said Here

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Not Much More To Be Said Here

…not even from me. So next subject, I guess. (Or click the pic if you want to stay on this one.)

Hat tip to FARK. Your FARK thread/forum link is here. Hoax? Real? I’m sure the party is more fun with your opinion, than without it.

Update: This blogger does a fairly job deconstructing what might have been going on here. See if you agree.

The Trouble With “Fisking”

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

The Trouble With “Fisking”

Quoth the Urban Dictionary on the verb “Fisk”:

The term refers to Robert Fisk, a journalist who wrote some rather foolish anti-war stuff, and who in particular wrote a story in which he (1) recounted how he was beaten by some anti-American Afghan refugees, and (2) thought they were morally right for doing so. Hence many pro-war blogs — most famously, InstaPundit — often use the term “Fisking” figuratively to mean a thorough and forceful verbal beating of an anti-war, possibly anti-American, commentator who has richly earned this figurative beating through his words. Good Fisking tends to be (or at least aim to be) quite logical, and often quotes the other article in detail, interspersing criticisms with the original article’s text.

This brand-new word shows some signs of dying as quickly as it was born, I’m afraid. After all, what is the point of giving someone a good fisking? I would say the point, if there is one, is to let the reader read the original author’s text word-for-word, and then clearly define the end of that author’s comments and the beginning of your own. It is to protect yourself from accusations from the original author, that you are critiquing not something that he wrote, but something that you made up. To protect yourself from accusations of the classic “strawman” argument, as it were.

Well, we here at The Blog That Nobody Reads aren’t real fans of “fisking.” It doesn’t seem to work. Here’s a great example. Our friend, His Royal Majesty at Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler got his robes in a knot over the finch beak thing last week. We, here, kept our silence on the issue. Well, Emperor Misha has been fisked by some kind of doctor-type guy.

The doctor-type guy, after his momentum gets going in about the sixth or seventh paragraph, says “His Majesty the Ann Coulter wannabe seems not to realize that he is constructing one massive strawman.” Mmkay, so the fisker is taking the fiskee to task for using the strawman argument.

Okay, kids. Click on the link above. How many times did the doctor-type guy use the strawman fallacy to attack Darth Misha? How many times did he say Misha said something, that Misha, in fact, didn’t actually say? a) 10 b) 15 c) 20 d) 50 e) More.

So, no, this new communications medium is rapidly becoming a futile one. Fiskers quote fiskees as a matter of ritual, and then they proceed to put words in the fiskees’ mouths. I guess you can refrain from doing that, and do a “good job” at fisking someone. If that’s the definition of a good fisking, then I’m having a little bit of trouble seeing how this could be one.

But if you liked that, you’re gonna love this. Politburo Pundit, applauding this suspect fisking-job, says…and this is a quote now, I’m not going to put any words in this guy’s mouth at all…

Orac does a good job, and since my corporate firewall blocks the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, I can�t add too much more at this point. [emphasis mine]

Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot. Yeah that’s right, you can’t add too much more at this point, and you also can’t do something else, dude. Like uh, you can’t figure out if Orac did a good job or not. Was that not obvious?

Well anyway. Like I’ve said before, I’m a believer in the whole kitten kaboodle. Macro-evolution, micro-evolution, ooze to slime to fish to crocodiles to chimps to people. And I believe in God too. I believe in an efficient God, who grows things, rather than sitting around on His ass putting every single one of thousands of species together one model at a time, like some bored second-grader with a room full of airplane- or dinosaur-models.

So Misha and I may disagree on that point, I dunno. From where I sit, Misha’s critique seemed to be against the study, and how people were interpreting it, and the good doctor didn’t even do a decent enough job of “fisking” to even get that part of it straight. What the doctor actually did, in fact, was give me a whole bunch of instructions about what I’m supposed to believe Misha was trying to say, and accuse Misha of doing exactly the same thing. Not my idea of a good fisking.

Of course others are free to disagree. But I think if they want to do so, they should be able to read both pieces instead of confessing to the whole “I’m blocked by my company’s firewall” excuse and punting on it.

This Is Good XV

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

This Is Good XV

Jack Kemp tells the Republicans how to win in November, or at least, how not to lose. I agree with him, but I see something worth bolting on to the end of what he said, so I will join him in telling Republicans how not to lose.

In many respects, the way Republicans position themselves on immigration will determine whether the party retains the mantle of majority leadership. Will we remain a party that governs – that offers practical solutions to the problems facing the country? Or will we revert to the harsh rhetoric of criminalizing illegals and even those who provide services, albeit unwittingly? Immigration – including the robust annual flow required to keep our economy growing and the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country — is a fact of life in the United States today. And the only practical way to deal with these stubborn realities is with a comprehensive solution, one that includes border security, interior enforcement, a guest-worker program and status for the illegal immigrants already here.

Some counsel that Congress should start with tougher enforcement and border security but wait to create a guest-worker program or address the illegal population. Only in that way, it is said, can we avoid the mistakes of the failed 1986 immigration reform.

In fact, the lesson of 1986 is that only a comprehensive solution will fix our broken immigration system. The 1986 legislation combined amnesty for 3 million illegal immigrants with a promise of tougher enforcement, particularly in the workplace. But the law did not recognize the need for future immigration to meet the demands of a growing economy, and the new enforcement never materialized. Twenty years later, illegal immigration is unabated. While immigrants continue to be drawn to the jobs created by our economy, they have no legal way to enter the country.
Of course…we must stand strong in favor of assimilation. New immigrants need to learn English, U.S. history and the historic principles that have made this country great.

President Reagan, who was in favor of strong borders, once remarked that “a nation without borders is not really a nation,” but he constantly reminded us that America must remain a “beacon” and a “shining city on a hill” for immigrants who continually renew our great country with their energy and add to the nation’s economic growth and prosperity. [emphasis mine]

The reason I think Kemp’s words have particularly urgent weight right now, is we’re being deluged with political leaders, political candidates, and bodies of thought that dare to question, or altogether repudiate, the notion that there are good things about this country.

I’m a big fan of freedom of speech, including unpopular speech. I think American people should be able to say, within reason, just about anything. And in debating “within reason” I’ll expand that scope to include more of the detritus at the carpet’s edge, than just about anyone you can find, on the left or on the right.

But that’s what I think American people ought to be able to say. People. Once those people want to run for office and actually start deciding things, I’m in favor of a litmus test. The notion that America is great and stands for good things, shouldn’t be as controversial among our politicians as it is. You simply shouldn’t be in line to be Captain, if you aren’t that fond of the ship.

Whether Americans should feel good about themselves for being Americans, or not, is such a phony issue. A whole host of much more worthwhile decisions waits for us, after we get that one settled, and it would be to everybody’s advantage to get it settled this year, for good. Enough with the phony liberal-white-guy’s guilt complex.

Kemp says we must stand strong on assimilation. Reagan said a nation without borders isn’t really a nation. These are controversial positions…and, may I ask, why is that? Why the controversy? We need to debate whether America is entitled to culture, and borders, when these are sovereign rights just taken-for-granted by just about every other country? We are the country most deserving of these sovereign rights that other countries have. Why should there even be any discussion about whether our country should have them?

Bumper sticker for Republicans. Free to download. I think this just about sums it up.

Thing I Know #50. The decisions we make out of a sense of fair play, an appreciation for fun, a sense of responsibility, a sense of concern, and even an sense of entitlement, we sometimes remember fondly. The decisions we make out of guilt, we never do.

Update 7/19/06: There’s a great example of what I’m talking about, over at The Cigar Intelligence Agency. Blogger’s response is worthy of more prominence than I have time to give it at the moment. It is extraordinarily well-said. To say it is kind of well-said, is like saying Howard Dean is kind of crazy, gas is a little on the pricey side right now, or that Erica Chevillar looks “all right” in a bikini. This is superlatively well-said. Go read it.

On The Microphones

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

On The Microphones

It seems this is the time of year for microphones to embarrass people. Democratic Committee Chairman Howard Dean, speaking at San Diego State University, said the following:

If you think what’s going on in the Middle East today would be going on if the Democrats were in control, it wouldn’t, because we would have worked day after day after day to make sure we didn’t get where we are today. We would have had the moral authority that Bill Clinton had when he brought together the Northern Irish and the IRA, when he brought together the Israelis and the Palestinians.

…and, a bunch of other silly stuff too, but I thought that one really took the cake. I mean, Howard Dean himself would agree with me, wouldn’t he? At the beginning of the first sentence, he’s complaining that Israel and the Palestinians are fighting, and at the end of the second one, he’s holding their pacifist relationship up as a shining, glittering example of the results of Bill Clinton and the Democrats and their wonderful “moral authority.”

President Bush likes to talk about Israelis and Palestinians in front of microphones, too. Chewing on a buttered roll during the G8 conference, he muttered to Tony Blair the following…

Well, it’s only if it’s — I mean, you know, if she’s gotta — or if she needs the ground prepared, as it were. Obviously, if she goes out, she’s got to succeed, as it were, whereas I can just go out and talk…See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over. Who, Syria? Right…I think this is all part of the same thing. What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way, he’s [inaudible]. That’s what this whole thing’s about. It’s the same with Iran…I felt like telling Kofi to get on the phone with Assad and make something happen. We’re not blaming Israel. We’re not blaming the Lebanese government.

It’s interesting the way the human mind works, I think. There is an effort underway in the blogosphere, which seems to be sputtering out in infancy, to persuade us to believe our current President’s remarks were embarrassing to him. It’s pretty easy to believe, after all, he didn’t know the microphone was on. To mutter away while a microphone is on that you don’t think is on, why, that’s almost the textbook definition of embarrassment isn’t it. One problem: There’s not an awful lot there. President Bush doesn’t seem to be awfully fond of the shit Hezbollah is doing, he uses cuss words in private conversations, he has a mild obsession with travel schedules. I knew all this already.

Dean, on the other hand, is thought to have turned in an okay performance, or at least not a very embarrassing one, simply because the conventional wisdom says he knew his microphone was working. But his comments could be handily confronted, devastatingly, by an open debate with — Howard Dean. Yeah, you could clone the guy and put him up against himself, and be entertained all day.

I thought we had a referendum on this “moral authority” business two years ago. Wasn’t Senator Kerry out there telling us, if he were to be elected President, he’d use his M.A. to persuade our “allies” to to help us in ways the incumbent could not? Well, we didn’t buy into it, did we. People understood, a President Kerry would decide the things that U.S. Presidents decide…Germany would do what Germany wants to do, France would do what France wants to do. “Moral Authority,” people came to figure out, was just a code word for charlatanism, and possibly some personal delusion. People came to see it as a dream that if only you could climb on the throne for a day, you could make the rivers flow with Cointreau and chocolate syrup, repeal the laws of gravity, and decide a zillion other things that the emperor himself doesn’t really get to decide. Like, for example, that Palestinians and Israelis should stop fighting.

People came to realize that if a challenger comes along who can solve a complicated problem, the first attribute he’s going to display is a working knowledge of what would be within his control as the problem-solver, and what would not be. People who babble on about M.A., are advertising that they lack the ability to make this distinction, and are apathetic about acquiring it. Bush is a two-term President because most people have figured this out.

The “moral authority” mantra is a focus-group tested catchphrase that doesn’t work. Not as a plan, and not as a way to convince thinking Americans that you have a plan.

I don’t understand why we’re still hearing it. I really don’t.

President Bush did not know his microphone was on.

What is Dean’s excuse?

Update: YouTube has video of President Bush’s unintentional address.

Waiting For Cletus

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Or, Why Should Superman Fight For America?

Saturday, at 11:02PDT, Carl who is the CEO and chief-cook and bottle-washer at Simply Left Behind made it clear to me that he has “a degree in finance and accounting” and “can probably argue rings around” me with regard to the effect of the minimum wage upon unemployment. Carl’s reading comprehension needs work. The point I made eleven days ago, which he wanted to challenge, had to do with how liberals argue versus how real people argue, citing the minimum wage as an example. Like an ostrich sticking its head in the ground, liberals will avoid the intellectual confrontation by turning to studies. Conservatives, overall, are undaunted by the prospect of examining human behavior and how it works. They’ll say “I buy something, you raise the price of that thing, I’ll either stop buying, buy fewer, or put work into finding an alternative,” thereby predicting the behavior of people-at-large, by examining their own. This is powerful. It “pulls rank” on a study. If a study somewhere says people will pay extra for something with no resistance at all, when it’s known that people will dig deeper to produce more money only as a solution of last resort, then it’s the study that’s placed into doubt, not the behavior of people.

So you can hardly fault Carl for, right after bragging about being able to argue circles around me, going to great lengths to avoid doing exactly that. One minute (assuming I’m converting the time zones correctly, which seems logical) after extolling the virtues of his accounting degree and his forensic prowess, he logged on to KEvron’s blog and announced,


I got a live one for you…

And one minute after that, the call went out once again at some place called “Poetic Justice”


Ah gots a laiv one fer yew…

Whereupon Cletus thought to himself “oh no it’s that jackass Carl again” and turned out the lights, drew the blinds and hid. Or something.

Distress?Well, I don’t know about that last part. Cletus is a no-show, KEvronius (upside-down American flag guy) is not. KEvron, springing forward, genie-like, from the magic lamp toted around by Carl, to show us the arguing skills Carl uses to run circles around people, has been highly entertaining. For example he took me on when I said…

A conservative says “you sell X many widgets at $4 a pop, and Y many at $5, Y is bound to be less than X.” This is a simple economic truism.

…and corrected me with this gem:

very simple, indeed. however, your analogy ius [sic] flawed: in raising the minimum wage, x is no longer a consideration.

as for your “11% versus 12%”, it’s only relevant in a presidential election. that anomolous [sic] 1% may decide all seats, some seats or only one seat, no way of knowing. but you should expect dem gains to excede [sic] losses this year. that’s for house, senate and governor seats.

I should expect something because KEvron says it’s what I should expect. Nothing to back it up. I should take his word for it and trust his judgment, even though he can’t spell “anomalous,” “exceed,” or even “is.”

On his mistake with the minimum wage, I’m inclined to cut him some slack. My original example had to do with an employer wanting to hire 4 recent high-school graduates at $6.75 an hour, being forced to hire only three of them and send the fourth one home, when the minimum wage was hiked to $8.50. This is a simple math problem. Old quantity, 4; old price, 6.75; new price, 8.50; new quantity, 3. That the minimum wage increase results in someone being unemployed, who otherwise would not be, was a secondary point. My primary point was, that the situation is solidly defined with simple arithmetic. The intellectual pursuits at play, are not sufficiently complicated to demand studies — benefits and payroll costs aside, those pursuits are multiplication and subtraction. Elementary-school math. This is the primary point: “Studies” are raised, not to cover arcane academic subjects with the refined scrutinizing power we can muster only from the highest echelons of our educational system…but instead, to muddy up a situation that isn’t that complicated to begin with. In my example, that is this: What exactly is 4 times $8.50?

KEvron says, when a price is raised from $4/widget to $5/widget, so that I buy Y at $5/ea. instead of X at $4/ea., “in raising the minimum wage, x is no longer a consideration.” X is the old quantity, so what he’s saying is that the new rule has rendered quantity irrelevant. Taking his words literally, and using them to resolve the minimum wage conundrum, what we’re eliminating from consideration is the 4. So the only way I can reconcile that, is that yes the 4th high school graduate is, indeed, being sent home to circle want ads, but KEvron is directing us not to think about that because the 4th job never existed to begin with.

Gee, real compassionate there KEv.

No seriously, I think what he meant to say is that it’s the old price, the $4 (or, to stick to a consistent example, the $6.75/hr) that “is no longer a consideration.” That is what is being outlawed when the minimum is raised. X, the higher quantity, is just something made impossible because of the higher unit price. So I guess in the final analysis he’s really agreeing with me, just doing it by getting his math factors confused and misspelling lots of things.

Now then, on to something meatier and worthy of being chewed-on. KEvronius has found something else he doesn’t like here, and that is my addition to a long and growing list of opinionated folks both within and outside of the blogosphere, who bristle at Superman’s brand-new crusade for “truth, justice, and all that other stuff.” KEvron does his intellectual battle on behalf of Carl and Carl’s accounting degree, with that most powerful of forensic tools, the Eighth Pillar of Persuasion, the rhetorical question: “and what, exactly, is this ‘american way’ that superman should fight for it?”

Wow, wow and double-wow. I know what’s being expected of me here, I’m supposed to go “homina homina homina” and backpedal, wishing I had never opined to begin with, for I have no answer to this question. In this enterprise, I’m afraid I must disappoint. The American Way is something well worth defending, and Superman’s latest storytellers did him a great disservice by withdrawing him from this noble crusade.

Let’s examine, first of all, one of America’s most significant embarrassments of late, the mistreatment of prisoners in connection to the War on Terror. In April of 2004, CBS’ 60 Minutes II broke the story of a prison scandal involving the mistreatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison at the hands of U.S. service members. Bad on the United States. What got considerably less press, was that the military was already investigating this internally. So the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, which is American, is compiling their findings-of-fact of the misdeeds performed at the hands of American servicemembers. And then CBS, an American network, also investigates the shenanigans. The Criminal Investigation Command acts as an independent arm, not beholden to anyone who shares in the fate of
those other Americans who might be guilty…and of course, CBS is completely independent of the whole thing. So what you have here, is Americans misbehaving, and then getting tattled on by other Americans, who, in turn, have absolutely no incentive to hold anything back.

It’s got to do with people in positions of power, being accountable. Now, contrast that with the system of government from which we declared our Independence in 1776. The King of Great Britain, and the Parliament…squabble. They argue about who has the power to do what, sometimes the monarch wins, most of the time Parliament wins. Everyone who isn’t in Parliament, and isn’t part of the Royal Family…just watches. Oh and you can vote for your MP when he comes up for election — but not if you’re in the American Colonies. And when the dust is settled, whoever ends up with all the power, well, they use it. They pass Ex Poste Facto laws, they pass Bills of Attainder including Corruption of Blood, they tax goods being traded in the Colonies, at whatever figure they want to pull out of their collective asses — while the Colonies watch. Power, without accountability.

Our left-wingers say President Bush is powerful without being accountable. This is poppycock. The man can’t choke on a potato chip without it being front-page news. The Supreme Court rules military tribunals to be illegal, and even though the decision stands common sense on its own head, it is beyond challenge. Love the decision or hate it, the Supreme Court is the final word, and they are completely unbeholden to the Executive Branch. We get to scrutinize every potential entanglement they have with one another. Dick Cheney goes duck hunting with Antonin Scalia, and it’s front-page news.

Some will protest that the Supreme Court actually isn’t all that independent, that the jurists on that bench actually go very far to ingratiate themselves with the liberal intelligentsia inside the beltway and inside the academic institutions. Hey, the system isn’t perfect. But the point is, no single pair of hands contains all the power. You achieve power through public trust, and the public purse, and swear an oath to the public, and suddenly you’re accountable to a gazillion different watchdogs, some of them inside the government, some working from the press…which, in turn, has complete protection from the First Amendment.

Powers are separated. Congress can’t outlaw Morgan Freeberg. Congress can outlaw, let’s say, chicken-smuggling across state lines…Morgan Freeberg can then smuggle chickens…and the Executive Branch can come after Morgan Freeberg. Even then, the Executive has to wait for the law to be passed, and then for Morgan Freeberg to break it. For Congress to observe me doing something Congress doesn’t like, and then to pass a law against it so that I can be busted for it, is unconstitutional. If the Executive sees me doing something that may run afoul of something passed by our legislature, but it’s a matter of opinion, then after I’m busted for it I can bring the matter before the judiciary, which answers to neither law enforcement nor to the legislature.

Congress cannot interpret its own laws. This protects other people who are not Morgan Freeberg, in the event Morgan Freeberg happens to be a really cool guy whose approval Congress craves for some reason. Congress cannot pass that law against chicken-smuggling, and then after I’m caught smuggling chickens, say “Uh…what we meant to say, when we passed that law, was you can’t smuggle chickens at night. Yeah, that’s what we meant, that’s the ticket. Morgan was smuggling chickens at three in the afternoon, and that’s not what we wanted to outlaw. Sorry if we were unclear. Case dismissed.”

No, Congress writes the laws…the Judiciary, in the event the laws need to be interpreted, does the interpreting. These powers are separated. All countries, even in the modern world, don’t necessarily operate that way. In other countries, officials who hold the police power of the state, exercise it in ways to ingratiate themselves with the powerful, at the expense of the oppressed. Now you might say some people in America get away with that…the system isn’t perfect…but we have a lot of machinery put in place to prevent that. A lot. And every little bit helps some.

A worthy battle for Superman?

Well, I would say so, although it’s a matter of opinion. But there is more.

I can do things that are stupid. I can do things that get people upset. If these things are not illegal, I have a perfect right to do them. But I have more than the law on my side. I have a uniquely American culture that says I have the right to do these things.

Oh sure, I like to go to Hooters, and there’s a whole bunch of loudmouthed advocacy groups that say the franchise exploits women and I shouldn’t be allowed to go. But they get no traction here. And deep down, even the people who agree with those noisy advocacy groups, understand the groups that have earned their sympathy, are trying to decide something that is out of their control and should be out of their control. It’s a deeply-rooted thing in America: Before you say someone should stop doing something, you need to be defining how it’s any skin off your nose if they keep on doing it. And even then, when you tell them to stop, you should be defining by what authority you’re telling them to stop.

From abolition to prohibition to don’t-eat-meat to don’t-attend-a-bikini-contest, an advocacy group in America is essentially a salesman; elsewhere, such an advocacy group is a lobbyist. The salesman may make whatever contacts he wishes to, but he still needs approval before the new rules he wants, are binding on anyone. Powers, in this land, are derived “from the consent of the governed.”

Contrast that with places like Andalusia, Spain, where the noisy advocacy groups get to tell the department stores, your mannequins are too tall and skinny and might be giving women eating disorders. Other countries are lacking in America’s “leave it alone if it’s none of your beeswax” culture…and said advocacy groups end up getting their way. Other noisy advocacy groups, in countries like, say, Sweden, can write a screeching manifesto or two, announcing that men must relinquish their privileges because those privileges are resulting in the subordination of women. Not to say you can’t write the same thing here. But again, because of the M.Y.O.B. culture, you aren’t going to get very far with it here. By and large, in America, everyone over whom you seek to exert power, is going to have something to say about whether or not you get that power. This isn’t true all the world over.

Should Superman fight for that? I think so.

If you invent something and make a lot of money off of it, and I think you made too much, and you should be forced to give some of it away, that’s just tough — if it happens in America.

If you say something I find offensive and I want you arrested as an example to others who might be inclined to say the same thing, I have got a real uphill battle ahead of me — if it happens in America.

If you’re a homeowner, and I’m an Army officer leading my men on patrol, and I want to quarter my men in your house, I am constitutionally prohibited from doing such a thing without your express consent — if we’re talking about America.

As far as helping the underdog, we’re on the honor system here. Our taxes are lower, and this helps to keep charity ingrained in American culture. By and large, if an American has the resources, and sees someone in genuine need of assistance, the assistance will be forthcoming. Americans have a well-deserved reputation for generosity there. In other countries, it’s pretty hard to avoid the “I gave at the office” attitude because…well, in other countries, the potential good Samaritan did give at the office. You can make a very modest livelihood, and still be called upon to kick in 55% or more. When government is out of money, the tax increase is just a matter of time, but of course if the people are left insolvent and the government treasury is bursting, don’t count on a tax cut. That only works in one direction. America’s government is just as greedy as any other government, but we have the inherent hostility to taxes built deeply into our culture. We don’t trust what government will do with the money. The notion that government is incorruptible, and private enterprise is up to a bunch of shenanigans and skulduggery, is embraced by some, sure…we call them what they are, a bunch of hard-core, left-leaning extreme pinko commie liberals. In other countries, what these hard-core left-leaning liberals believe, is called “centrist.” In America, you have to prove the government needs it before the government can have it — in other countries, you have to prove YOU need it before you can keep any of it.

Superman fighting for people to keep their property? Superman fighting for people to be free of an oppressive government? Natural a fit as chocolate chips on ice cream, as mustard on a hot dog.

Superman Doesn't Get His Ass KickedLastly, let’s not forget the value of hard work. Superman…is the man. He doesn’t get his ass kicked, for he cannot afford to have it kicked. When did you ever watch an episode of Superfriends, and observe Superman whipping out a cell phone or a walkie-talkie and say “Attention Aquaman, I need backup…this rock-mountain-monster is just too tough for me, I need you to fill in.” Not gonna happen. If Superman doesn’t have what it takes to save the day, we are ALL screwed. No other country on the face of the earth, satisfies this as a parallel, like America does. We form our coalitions, we let the United Nations mess around with passing paperwork to deplore this or condemn that or to regret some other damn silly thing…but when it comes down to a matter of force, we know it’s all up to us. For us to step out of something, and say “well we know this guy is right and that guy is wrong, but we’re just going to mind our own business and hope things work out” — that would be tantamount to letting evil carry the day. It would be equivalent to letting bad things happen, through the sin of inaction. We can be guilty of that sin. No other country can. Other countries, like Aquaman, can sit back and say “it’s not our fault, we were hoping Superman/America would handle it.” We don’t have that option. The buck stops with us.

I could go on and on and on. But I think I already have, to the extent anybody in their right mind would want me to. Superman is an American icon…he is America.

But as an afterthought, let me add one other thing.

One endangers one’s own grasp on sanity, if one attempts to argue both sides of the “truth justice all that other stuff” controversy are posed as matters of principle. Bollocks on that. This new Superman movie made a show out of internationalizing the hero who has always been an American icon, for one reason and one reason alone. They did it for the money. Anybody who examines the situation honestly, and thinks on it for so much as a minute or a fraction thereof, knows it to be true. They didn’t want anything to get in the way of those overseas ticket sales.

Cletus, we’re still waiting. Hope you do a better job putting me in my place than this other guy…

The Real Reagan

Monday, July 17th, 2006

The Real Reagan

The Wall Street Journal, through a column by Fred Barnes, makes a good point: The legacy of Ronald Reagan is being subtly morphed from the shape in which it was cast by real history, for the entirely political ambition of making President Bush look bad. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I’ve found the ones that actually have some merit are the ones that keep their silence on whether said conspiracy involves conscious thought. This theory qualifies for that. Now that I have four decades on the planet, those decades tell me things, things that have weight now if they didn’t before. One of those things is, when we do things that hurt ourselves and others, our capacity for doing so is measured not by temptation but by ignorance. You might say we aren’t struggling with evil, we’re struggling with foolishness.

Not that I mean, in my agreement with Mr. Barnes, to call Patrick Buchanan a fool. But Barnes has him dead-to-rights here.

It’s on foreign policy that liberals and conservatives find common cause. Patrick Buchanan, rehearsing the pieties of the political left, argues that Mr. Bush has turned the world against America. The “endless bellicosity” of Mr. Bush and his neoconservative advisers, he recently argued, “has produced nothing but ill will against us. This was surely not the way of the tough but gracious and genial Ronald Reagan.”

Of all people, Mr. Buchanan ought to know better, having served as Reagan’s communications director from 1984 to 1986. Reagan generated massive antiwar and anti-American demonstrations around the world, far larger and more numerous protests than those Mr. Bush has occasioned. He famously denounced the Soviet “evil empire” headed for “the ash-heap of history.” He was treated by the press as a cowboy warmonger, just as Mr. Bush has been. Ill will? Reagan produced plenty–all in a noble cause.

I’m still coming out of my shock over what I saw two years ago, as President Reagan shucked his mortal coil. Okay, that’s theatrical and silly. But if I do not remain shocked, I definitely remain impressed. All the wonderful, flowery things said about our 40th President as his casket wound ’round the endless funeral procession, by people of both parties. Someone, let’s say, half my age would have found it all terribly confusing I should think. They would have to think — and who can blame them? — that Reagan was some kind of a consensus-builder, someone intent on finding the common-ground, the magic half-way point that will send everyone out of the conference room with an abundance of goodwill and gigantic smiles and dinner party invitations from everybody else rising from the same conference table.

Hey look. I’m not a Washington insider and never have been that. Maybe he did a lot of stuff, in negotiating with people, about which I do not know. Maybe, even, Buchanan knows a few things I don’t. But as someone who was alive at the time, I do know some things, and one of those things is I didn’t hear about donkeys and elephants cavorting in the streets, playing hopscotch together, throwing rose petals before the President’s limousine and singing hosannahs to the glorious leader when President Reagan came in to town. That didn’t happen. The liberal line was that our President Reagan was an evil dunce; a likable klutz with his finger on the button, a lunatic destined to preside over our nation just as the planet blinked out of existence forever. Liberals, today, maintain their cognitive dissonance about our current President by insisting that while he’s bereft of any capacity for intellectual achievement, at the same time he’s an evil genius who fooled us all by stealing our elections. Carping about our Republican President two decades ago, they left out the evil-genius part, opting instead to comment wryly about the boss nodding off in cabinet meetings. Darkly affectionate wishes for the worst outcome possible, were muttered coast to coast when Reagan was diagnosed with water on the brain. Snarky, prickly, and just-plain-mean speculation about those cabinet-meeting naptime sessions, came pouring forth in droves when it was revealed that Reagan had Alzheimer’s. After The Gipper had breathed his last, our left-wingers were kind enough to keep their silence on wishing him a speedy trip to hell, and a memorable stay there. Only the ones with high profile, names worth defending, motivated toward political expediency, though. The “bloggers” held back little or nothing.

“I’m sipping some excellent German white wine now,” one poster over at the Democratic Underground blog wrote. “To Ronald Reagan, may you rot in hell you sorry evil creep! Clink glasses.” A fellow blogger agreed, writing, “R.I.P–In Hell,” with a third adding, “On a Slowly Turning Spit.”

“I thought Reagan died in 1982, and the GOP inserted electrodes into his corpse to make it twitch for the cameras while his cabinet sold missiles to Iran and illegally funded terrorists in Central America,” another, one of hundreds, snickered.

“I thought, as liberals, we were supposed to be benevolent, kind people?” one poster lamented, attempting to appeal to the bloggers’ better instincts. “Yes, Reagan was a terrible President, who’s cannonized by the right-wing. But he was a human being, and to be honest, I doubt he would wish death upon ANY of us Americans. Can you imagine how you would feel if the right-wing would say some of this about Paul Wellstone?”

But any call for restraint or class was immediately shot down as an attempt to curb “first amendment rights” or “free and open discussion.” Apparently free speech extends to everyone in the liberal blogosphere except those who dare to call something tasteless.

Shockingly, some of the most virulent rage was prominently posted on the blog section of the official John Kerry for President website.

Isolated cases? The lately-arriving blogosphere giving a twilight voice to acridity and meanness, which lay solidly buried beneath a veneer of respectful silence during the eighties? Not from where I sit, sorry.

Bellicosity, eh Mr. Buchanan. Pfft. We have no way today of even comprehending the meaning of the word. Reagan forgot more, every day, about how to be bellicose and get people pissed off, than President Bush will ever learn.

Thing I Know #52. When angry people make demands, the ensuing fulfillment never seems to bring a stop to their anger.
Thing I Know #62. Throughout history, very little of note has been accomplished by people who made a paramount of concern out of what others thought.
Thing I Know #106. Making sure no one is offended, virtuous as it is, seems to be antithetical to real achievement.

Truth, Justice and the Complacent Way

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

Truth, Justice and the Complacent Way

There is a meme out there about the last one-third of Superman’s never-ending battle for “Truth, Justice and the American Way” being sliced off and replaced with “that other stuff,” and the meme is gathering mass and momentum, or at least trying to. It goes like this: The debate is stupid. Another one says this is not a departure from Superman’s roots, but a return to them. It would appear these are distant cousins, growing from a common ancestor which would be a column Erik Lundegaard wrote that appeared in the New York Times on June 30: Truth, Justice and (Fill in the Blank) (link requires registration). According to this, and I see nothing that factually disputes it with any credibility, fighting for the American Way was just an add-on in the Superman stew that was tossed in after he was started cookin’. However, the notion has taken hold that this was bolted on after Superman had matured and had gathered all the momentum he needed to grow out of relative infancy, a Johnny-Come-Lately, a complete afterthought. And you can’t blame busy and distracted New York Times readers for thinking so…

It wasn’t until Superman came to television in the 1950’s that the phrase became codified in the form most of us remember it: “a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.”

This is the Lundegaard column, paragraph 3. To come to what seems to be the entirely reasonable conclusion that the phrase never appeared until then is to starkly contradict the fact in paragraph 7, that Superman was fighting his battle as early as 1942. American Way…and all that other stuff.

…in fall 1942, fans of the radio show became the first to hear about Superman’s battle for “truth, justice and the American way.”

At that time the war in Europe was not going well. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was sweeping across Africa, and the German Army was driving toward Stalingrad. The Japanese had been turned back at Midway but they were still invading Pacific islands. We were all fighting for the American way. Why shouldn’t Superman?

As the war turned in our favor, though, the additional phrase didn’t seem as necessary. By 1944 it was gone, and for the remainder of the radio show, Superman devoted himself to the fight for tolerance � as in the 1946 episode, “Unity House,” in which Superman battles the Ku Klux Klan.

It took the paranoia and patriotism of the cold war era to bring back “the American way” � this time in the “Adventures of Superman” television series, which ran from 1952 to 1958. Every week, young, impressionable baby boomers were greeted with the phrase as they sat down to watch the Man of Steel combat crooks and communist spies.

Like I said, the facts of Lundegaard’s column do not seem to be in dispute, and there is no need for them to be. What he’s saying is that fighting for the American Way is something that Superman’s picked up, and put down, and picked up and put down again…as real-life threats to his homeland came and went.

This is a story as old as mankind itself. We, here, at The Blog That Nobody Reads, talk about it a lot. A threat comes up, we embrace certain ideals and think in certain ways. Once the threat is removed, we indulge in the luxury of expurgating those ideals and ways of thinking; we shift our allegiance to new ideals, new ways of thinking, that only work for us when we are comfortable. And once the danger becomes an even tinier speck in our collective rear-view mirror, living on only in stories told by wrinkly old people with brown spots on their hands, sometimes we further indulge in the fantasy that said ideals & ways of thinking were unnecessary at any time. Deep down, we all know this to be untrue. We all know that you can’t afford to behave, during a crisis, the same way you’d behave in security and comfort, and survive very long. That is part of the appeal of a Life of Leisure. We’re drawn to it, like a moth to a flame, knowing that it doesn’t always work for us.

I suspect we also know, deep down in the recesses that are exposed to consciousness and articulation only with some amongst us, that there’s nothing wrong with staying vigilant when a crisis is no longer imminent, and that there’s a lot wrong with remaining complacent once a crisis starts to threateningly emerge. Our very instincts block us from doing the latter of those two. Nobody’s interested in staying in the water when a fin breaks the surface. Nobody wants to throw more gas on the bonfire when the flames get close to the house.

Lundegaard concludes, “Superman is right back where he began: fighting a never-ending battle for truth and justice. That should be enough to occupy any man. Even a Superman.” And yet, the facts of his column solidly establish that Superman consistently fought for 50% more than that, in the toughest of times during America’s darkest hours. They further establish that not far into his fifth year, Superman came to realize that extra 50% was vital. Vigilance, it seems, has a lot to do with fighting for The American Way, and complacency has a lot to do with dropping that part of the fight.

I think people of all ideologies would agree that right now, America needs all the friends she can get. It seems extravagant to the point of surreal, to me, to suppose that Superman is all about kicking a friend when that friend is down, especially a friend so critically important to his history, inextricably intertwined with same, indeed, a friend to whom he owes his very existence. And it seems even less Superman-like, to me, to indulge in such a snub just because the current political climate determines that it can be afforded cheaply.

Come to think of it, it strikes me as the kind of behavior we’d see in the Man of Steel only in some complicated storyline concerning Red Kryptonite, or perhaps Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Thing I Know #113. A crisis precedes logical thinking. Logical thinking precedes a solution to the crisis. Too long a time without a crisis, precedes indulgence and sloppy thinking. Indulgence and sloppy thinking precede the next crisis.
Thing I Know #130. The noble savage gives us life. Then we outlaw his very existence. We call this process “civilization.” I don’t know why.

Update: Just a round-up of the earlier mentions of this “and all that stuff” stuff. Malkin; Jeanne Wolf’s Hollywood; The American Thinker; What Would Tyler Durden Do. The last is the best of the bunch, I think.

As I’ve noted in the comment section, this will be revisted in yet-greater detail later. I’m looking forward to it; it’s a debate for our times, and not a silly one at all.

This Is Good XIV

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

This Is Good XIV

Lingerie gas attendant
(Some ads may be NSFW)

Thing I Know #18. A pretty woman notices men noticing her long before the men notice themselves noticing her, even if the men honestly don’t know if she noticed them noticing her.

This Is Good XIII

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

This Is Good XIII

From FARK. Run, don’t walk, to see this. Darth Vader has a nervous breakdown.


Saturday, July 15th, 2006


Two subjects, completely unrelated to each other, are in need of a good revisiting. The need is substantially greater than what would be served by simply adding material to the posts themselves, which would then never be read by anyone. But for each of the updates to receive a brand-new post would be too…well, let’s call it “bloaty.” So they shall share one.

One. The AP/Ipsos poll saying people are tired of a Republican Congress and ready for a change by a ratio of 3:1. Duffy of Pencader Days made the point (made elsewhere) that the voters sampled were registered voters, not likely voters. This is an important distinction during Presidential elections, and during midterms it’s an even more important distinction. There are many other things in the “pie” of what’s wrong with this poll, of which my comments have only captured a tiny “slice.” Many other things. Via Crush Liberalism, our attention is drawn to the post at Sweetness & Light which fairly demolishes the one weighty pronouncement to be made from the poll results:

That�s a 12% advantage to the Democrats.

So a group of people comprised of 12% more Democrats than Republicans was asked who should run Congress. And they answered Democrats by a 11% advantage.

That actually sounds like a 1% win for the GOP.

A pointless quibble, or not? Well…whoever decided the 11% was worth crowing about, already settled that question. Twelve is more than eleven. That’s just simple mathematics. Crush Liberalism has put some more elbow grease into trying to capture everything that’s bollywonkers with this crazy poll than we have, and thus achieved greater results. Head on over.

Two. About liberals and their studies…

…the conservatives use their noggins as crystal balls. Raise taxes, and people will turn into cheapasses. Take guns away, burglars and rapists will break into whatever house they want to, knowing there’s no guns in there. Make a bunch of rules about not being able to fire teachers, and you’ll be left with a bunch of incompetent teachers. It’s all cause and effect. Liberals get hold of “studies,” and if the study is something they like, they promote it, otherwise they’ll sit on it.
You can’t crack this study open, you can’t find out why it took place over fifty years, you can’t find out how it was affected during those fifty years, you can’t even find out who did it. Oh sure you can, maybe, with difficulty. But rest assured of this: The liberal who wants you to “read” the study — in other words, simply adopt the conclusion of the study, as interpreted by the liberal, as your own opinion — won’t be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you if you choose to do this. And he damn sure won’t volunteer anything making it easier for ya.

Thus speaketh me, in the third installment of my exploration of how liberals think differently from real people. Well, Carl read the first installment, which just touched on the “study” issue in a couple places, not making a primary focus out of it, and I guess even there he must have skimmed over those parts. Clearly, in whatever material he managed to swim through, he didn’t like what he saw.


19 states have minimum wages that are higher than the Federal minimum. All 19 raised wages since the Federal minimum was set where it is now.

All 19 have employment statistics better than the national average.

Not one study shows that raising the minimum wage creates job loss. In fact, MOST studies show raising the minimum wage creates jobs by creating a bigger middle class.

Your class warfare has to stop.

Now perhaps Carl is being sarcastic in some way, or maybe his reading comprehension is way down and he doesn’t understand the nature of a financial transaction, or perhaps he doesn’t believe that’s what a job is. It doesn’t matter, he’s made the point beautifully. A conservative says “you sell X many widgets at $4 a pop, and Y many at $5, Y is bound to be less than X.” This is a simple economic truism. If you inundate it with more complicated economic truisms, the simple one doesn’t change. Charge more for something, and the activity involved in distributing that thing, will slow or stop.

I was going to start debating Carl about this. Then I thought, what is the point? To pose the obvious rhetorical question, is a futile exercise. He can’t walk me through what happens when a higher price is artificially imposed on a commodity, over and above what the market would naturally support, and the higher price results in increased activity just because a class gets “bigger.” I doubt Carl can even tell me what “bigger” is. What’s “bigger”? A higher nose-count? Increased wages? Both? Neither? It’s an extravagant notion to suppose I’m even expected to figure it out. The intent, clearly, is — as I said in the passage Carl chose not to read — to outsource my thinking to a study.

Sorry Carl. This is the House of Eratosthenes. A guy who peeked into holes in the ground and figured out how big the earth is, notwithstanding the fact that his “day job” was caretaking a library. The “House of some guy who believed the earth is flat because a study told him to think so” is…I dunno…out there somewhere. Not here.

But anyway, this is a harbinger of fun conversations ahead. Your blog, Simply Left Behind, has been sent to the sidebar with the liberal hippy turquoise icon next to it. Yeah, we sidebar left-wing blogs here if we think they’re worth reading.

Update: Some of the Technorati trackbacks are scrolling, disappearing & coming back again (maybe), or leading to other pages that scroll…

What Is a Liberal? is linked from, among other places, Pittsburgh Bloggers and at The Heat Is On.

Update 7/17/06: Common Sense Junction makes a good point about this post and the doublet of topics addressed herein. Topic 1 is about a survey of voters being given a heavy liberal spin, and Topic 2 is about liberals depending irrationally on “studies” when they can’t make a persuasive argument about how things are going to work. There’s a lot of overlap between the two. To say “those are the same subject,” is to assert something logically incorrect…to say nothing of grammatically incorrect as well. But I said “completely unrelated” which doesn’t bear up under any more durably under scrutiny. Point taken.


Saturday, July 15th, 2006


Having just become an old person today, I confess to being slightly turned off when I heard Megan Basham was in the eighth grade during the early days of Rush Limbaugh. As a fan of Roger Ebert, I haven’t gotten a lot of use out of conservative movie critics anyway. This one is not only junior to me, but very junior. In the classic vernacular of the geriatric set, what the hell does she know? And get off my lawn. I was similarly turned off toward the Superman movie, when I heard they ditched “the American way.” Well, it occurred to me this is the situation that calls for a conservative movie critic. And not some stuffy old fart old enough to be my dad, either. A blond former cheerleader would be perfect…so long as she’s formed a decent respect for the concerns that naturally arise when a golden-age slice of Americana is de-Americanized.

So I gave her a read. I didn’t find that much earth-shattering about the writing style, but I’m highly impressed with the way she has handled the concepts of the movie, philosophically. This is heavyweight stuff. As to whether or not the producers have handled the comic-book hero in a way I’m going to like, at least enough to find enjoyment in the movie, that’s a determination to be made after I’ve seen it. Which, now, maybe I will. But my mind’s made up that I didn’t give Megan a fair shake at first, and I’m going to make a habit of checking out her product from here on.

The idea that the Pulitzer Prize committee would award a point of view that disparages something so fundamentally good and (previously) American as Superman is laughable, but also all too possible. It may do so only for humor�s sake, but conservative audiences won�t be able to resist a plot that introduces the argument that Superman imposes his do-gooding on the world, with Superman coming out the victor.

Similarly, rather than sidestepping the Superman/Christ connection, Singer plays it for everything its worth. As Superman tells Lois: “You wrote that the world doesn’t need a savior. But every day I hear people crying for one.”

Ever notice when old people make a decision, they spend more time talking about how they made it than what the decision was?

Thing I Know #85. As the standard of living improves, people slowly lose their need for a Supreme Being, while their need for a spiritual leader remains.

Update: Debbie Schlussel thought very highly of the film on June 20, and not-so-highly of it a week later. I don’t know what happened in the meantime, I assume she actually went and saw it during that pivotal week. Not intending that as a slight against her, I just can’t find anything in either of her columns to explain the hairpin-turn. She would have done well for herself to at least touch on what happened, on how & why her perspective changed.

As for my own opinion, although I’m somewhat more hyped about the movie than I was six hours ago, I remain in agreement with Schlussel about the single-mom thing and the “American Way” thing. They’re disturbing, and not just a little bit.

Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… III

Friday, July 14th, 2006

LogoI remember it like it was yesterday. I was just about to turn thirteen, and had just become seasoned enough to go on my Boy Scout troop’s fifty-mile hike. First night at camp we built our fire, said our dirty words when the grown-ups weren’t looking, toasted our shmores, and began to talk about what we wanted to do with our lives. When my turn came, I said “by the time I’m forty, I want to have a blog that gets hit 750 or more times in a single day.” Which drew a few strange looks from around the campfire, what with it being 1979 and all.

Yeah, well, maybe it didn’t quite happen like that. But it makes the story cool, so what the hell.

“Well, let�s change that, shall we?” Thus sayeth Misha, the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, whom we were just discussing here yesterday morning when he came under a so-called attack by that limp-wristed lightweight, lefty blogger Glenn Greenwald. His Imperial Majesty Darth Misha was referring to the semi-official moniker of the blog you’re reading now, The Blog That Nobody Reads, and as the 43rd-most-referenced blog anywhere Misha is certainly in a position to change that wherever he wants.

And change it he did. This morning, the day before my fortieth birthday, The Rottweiler issued the following imperial edict at 9:09 a.m. PDT:

The Blog Nobody Reads?

Well, let�s change that, shall we?

LC & IB Morgan Freeberg has been digging into the differences between conservatives and liberals or, more correctly, “liberals”, since what currently passes under that label has precious little, if anything at all, to do with the actual meaning of the word.

We were following a trackback and thinking ‘hmmm� this is a bloody excellent post!’, and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three.

Here they are, and they�re all good. Very good. And funny too.

What is a Liberal?
What is a Liberal? II
What is a Liberal? III

Damn. I wish I�d written those.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, about half an hour later I was checking out the Sitemeter stats.

Attention Whore!Now we’ve discussed this before…you’re not supposed to want to know about Sitemeter stats when you’re serving up fare at The Blog That Nobody Reads, but we do anyway. Well hey, you get a blog started sometime and try not looking at your Sitemeter stats. It’s pretty addictive…anyway, I just did my idle, mindless clicking to the monthly-graph page and was about to click off to something else. In fact, I think I did and then I did that cartoonish “what was that I just saw?” thing. So I went back and looked. From midnight to that time, the traffic just barely matched all of yesterday’s traffic. I’d seen that before, and my experience was that it meant I’d been linked by something big. So I went to the “referrals” page to see where everyone had been arriving from, and sure enough it was all coming from the same place.

Just a week before, I had carved out some notes about how Pajamas Media had sent our traffic sky-high. One could say, then, that the Rottweiler’s purpose was self-serving on two levels: First, because the Pajamas Media spike on July 1 broke an old traffic record for us that had been previously set in early June — by — The Rottweiler. The puppy is known for a lot of things, but a modest ego is not one of those things. Second, because Installment Three of “What Is a Liberal?” has to do with defending — The Rottweiler.

But it really doesn’t matter. The Rottweiler can send enough traffic to whoever he wants, to break whatever record he wishes to. And defending the likes of him from the likes of Greenwald, well, that’s kind of like defending King Kong from Bambi. For the last nineteen and a half hours, we’re looking at about 700 hits, with just on the light side of 1,800 page views. A record? The “page-views” metric broke the old record at 1:17 p.m., and the “hits” metric made history at 2:06. That’s since midnight, measured against historical twenty-four hour windows. I’ll make another screen scrape this weekend, I think, after the slot has been closed out.

The words of the Common Sense Junction emcee are worth considering here. I’d like to think they’re representative of all the kind folks I’ve met today:

I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its “The Blog That Nobody Reads” but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.

Now then, why does The Blog That Nobody Reads care about becoming the blog that everybody reads? Why does it go to this kind of trouble to figure out who’s watching, when, according to the FAQ (Question #10) it isn’t supposed to care about such a thing? It’s all got to do with the allies. Because the things I have to say make sense, it logically follows that the people who like the things I have to say, are a touch smarter than the average bear. Even the punky-ass liberals who like to argue with me, by daring to engage me in debate, show themselves to be smart enough to cook up some arguments worthy of my time, or at least fooling themselves into thinking so. It’s about peer review, and it’s also about meeting some just-plain-nice folks.

I’m forty tomorrow. That makes me an old man. And old people understand the value of such things. This is why, if you’ve been paying attention, which is unlikely, you’ll notice the sidebar is much longer now than it was a few hours ago. Who was added in? Which among the recent additions came to be included as a result of this amazing record-smashing event? Well, I didn’t keep track…they know who they are. I even included the whiny-ass crybaby liberals.

Now, how many of the new visitors will be around tomorrow, and the day after? That is a question they, themselves, will have to answer. The Blog That Nobody Reads, will continue to pump out exactly the same content if they all show up to read, as it would if none of them came to read. That’s what we do here.

Cheers, Rottweiler et al. See you in the ‘sphere…

Click To View

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Click To View

Now, what do you suppose this is? Click the picture, read the article, and see if your jaw doesn’t hit the floor once you get the gist of what is happening. Hat tip: Boortz.

Dating Amy

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Dating Amy

This blog calls itself “The Blog That Nobody Reads” because, by design, we kind of don’t really care who’s paying attention…kind of. But occasionally, we do react to it, to extend gracious notes of gratitude to some of the huge fish in the blogosphere pond, and actually to the miniscule guppies as well, who link to us. And, we do keep an eye on how people get here, and what interests them. When we turn up in a Google search, we pay attention to that which was searched.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. A lot of you aren’t here for the windy political manifesto. Sheri Doub and Erica Chevillar with their teeny-weeny bathing suits, are more your speed. Hey, you have more in common with us than you think.

Well, while you keep that ear out for the boss’ footsteps so you can wiggle your mouse around and look busy, you can read Amy’s Diary over at Dating Amy, the website reporting on the adventures of a lovely unemployed LA-to-Seattle transplant serial-dater, as she talks about her fifty dates. Click on the pic of Amy’s friend, Chad, to go there. You remember the dating world, don’t you? Sure you do. Well, here is Amy’s intro, word for word:

Hi. My name is Amy. Since I became a writer, whether I’ve worked for a dot-com funded by billionaires or an established business presence, you can often find me with tears in my eyes and a cardboard box in my arms. I’ve been laid off several times, of course through no fault of my own, and it’s the lucky city of Seattle that gets to swagger around boasting to its locker-room pals that it has me every day and every night.

One year ago today I balanced my checkbook and realized that I hadn’t had a nice income in quite a long time. I was an entertainment reviewer and before that a music journalist, but really, how many ways can you describe the interior of a fish restaurant? How many bands can you critique before you want to pull your hair out strand by strand? (My personal answer to that is 1,000, by the way.) When I was laid off by the gargantuan media corporation I was writing for, I thought it would be the perfect time to switch to writing about one of my favorite causes: dating. In addition to noticing my own unemployment, I also observed that there was no answer when I shared the news of my new career tack with my boyfriend, as I didn’t have one.

Then I got what seemed like a good idea at the time: Why don’t I look for a boyfriend and document it on the Internet! Stories about a person’s descent into madness are always popular and people will probably want to send me money. is the result — my literal labor of love. I’m going on 50 dates and I’m taking you with me� but only if you promise not to whine “Are we there yet?”

Oh, one more thing. Dating Amy isn’t supposed to be my name. It’s supposed to be like: “Hmmm. I wonder how great and/or awful it would be to be dating Amy. It’s especially disturbing because people from my real life have started calling me Dating Amy like I’m a superhero or a cartoon or something.

Fair disclosure, I’m not dating anyone. I did date, serially, and one of those dates just happened to work out. Since then, I get to laugh my ass off at dating stories that I probably wouldn’t think were that funny if I were still available.

I was dating for ten months from February to December 2004. At the beginning of it, I came out of a committed relationship that lasted a decade, and at the end of it I went into another relationship that happens to be the one I’m in now, and will last an eternity. Relatively speaking, my most recent exposure to “the scene” was like the blink of an eye. But I know how to notice stuff…maybe I’ll write about that stuff someday. For now, you’ll just have to burn that company-time on Amy, who is much prettier than I am, and better at that whole “brevity” thing anyway. See that picture to the left? That’s Amy. Not me. I’m an ugly dude. I’m not dating, and if I was, you’d have to wait a long, long time for me to go on fifty of ’em.

Three to One

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Three to One

So how are the elections going to shake out?

I admit I’ve been a little bit of a Kerry-style flip-flopper on this thing. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I noted how bad things looked and I reverberated this sentiment two months later. And of course yesterday morning, my optimism rebounded, not so much because of Republican competence but because of Democrat incompetence in the one thing Democrats are known to do really well: public relations. I would defend myself by saying, Kerry-style again, that my message has Always Been Consistent Back To Day One. 1) Democrats have a decent, but still remote, shot at taking over the House; 2) they can’t even think about the Senate; 3) the House will be decided based not on the answers the two parties bring to the table, but by the questions voters feel like asking.

Well, an Associated Press/Ipsos poll says that the elections are all locked up, and the Donks are going to take over both houses of Congress. Americans are going to vote for Democrats three to one. Three to one! At least, that is how the story is being promoted. Is there anything to that? Why, yes there is! Quoth the first paragraph of the story

Republicans are in jeopardy of losing their grip on Congress in November. With less than four months to the midterm elections, the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that Americans by an almost 3-to-1 margin hold the GOP-controlled Congress in low regard and profess a desire to see Democrats wrest control after a dozen years of Republican rule.

Oooohhh…kay…now then, to the meat of the poll results:

The AP-Ipsos survey asked 789 registered voters if the election for the House were held today, would they vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in their district. Democrats were favored 51 percent to 40 percent.

Not surprisingly, 81 percent of self-described liberals said they would vote for the Democrat. Among moderates, though, 56 percent backed a Democrat in their district and almost a quarter of conservatives 24 percent said they will vote Democratic.

Democrats also held the advantage among persuadable voters those who are undecided or wouldn’t say whom they prefer. A total of 51 percent said they were leaning Democrat, while 41 percent were leaning Republican.

Er, wait a minute. That’s a ten-point lead. That’s not three-to-one. Where’s my three to one thingy?

I see, it’s in the fourth paragraph from the end.

Overall, only 27 percent approved of the way Congress is doing its job. Lawmakers get favorable marks from 36 percent of conservatives, 28 percent of moderates and 17 percent of liberals.


There’s your three-to-one. See, you round up a hundred of us at random, 27 of us are going to like the job Congress is doing and therefore vote for the incumbent who is a Republican, and 73 of us are going to detest the job Congress is doing and therefore vote for the challenger who is a Democrat. A third of 73 is 24+1/3, which is just shy of 27, so that’s your three-to-one.

The deception factor is obvious. The poll specifically asks respondents who they are planning to vote for, a Republican or a Democrat. For anyone wanting an answer to that question, the answer is that Democrats lead by eleven points right now. “Democrats were favored 51 percent to 40 percent.” That right there is your answer. Everything else is a red herring. Question answered.

There is no need to apply fanciful and misleading conjecture to the only-partially-related question of congressional approval. The story that is worth reporting, here, is that 27 is something of a nadir compared to historical trends involving congressional approval ratings. And that could mean something…it could. But to say three out of every four of us want Nancy Pelosi to be the new House Speaker, which is the way this story is being spun today…well, it’s just a notch or two shy of outright fraud.

You know what the real story is here? That Republicans are definitely in trouble compared to where they should be. At least, according to “On Your Left Nut” kind of thinking. No sane and knowledgeable man is going to throw his left testicle on a block, and assert, with a forty-pound sledgehammer held menacingly over his ‘nard, that we have a more important issue to worry about compared to the threat of Islamo-terrorism. He certainly isn’t going to say he’s more worried about old people on Social Security, getting their benefits cut, than he is about another terrorist attack (the latter has precedent, the former does not). He’s never going to say he’s genuinely concerned about the Religious Right turning the United States into a theocracy, or about having the police barge into his bedroom to arrest him because he’s having sex with his wife in the wrong position.

Now will he try to persuade anyone, with his family jewels depending on the verity of his statements, that another terrorist attack would be just fine with him as long as rich old people with summer homes and Winnebagos can find another way to rob thirty-something apartment rats of their federal payroll withholdings, so that said wealthy old people can get more Viagra for free. In fact, as of today, there is not one single Democrat talking point with a suitably strong relationship to The Truth, to merit a Democrat vote when & where something critically important is at stake. The Donks can only motivate voters to support them, by saying a whole lot of cock-and-bull stuff that sounds good. None of it anything on which you’d bet a body part.

The poll says the American landscape is experiencing — I would say suffering, since this phenomenon never leads to anything good — a paucity in “On Your Left Nut” thinking. Fifty-one percent of us, give answers to pollsters that we wouldn’t give in situations where our actions have a direct relationship to ensuing events, and ensuing events have a direct relationship to the personal well-being of ourselves and those we love.

It all comes down to that old saying: “A Republican is a Democrat who got mugged.”

Thing I Know #16. A man’s determination to punish the guilty tends to wax and wane with his prospects for living amongst them.
Thing I Know #127. The measure of a person’s happiness and success is proportional not to his ability to form opinions, or to his tenacity in sticking to them, or his outspokenness in arguing them or to the number of people who agree with him, but to the sense of personal responsibility he places in having them.

Trees In Antarctica

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Trees In Antarctica

From Don’t Go Into The Light

SYDNEY (AFP) – Trees could be growing in the Antarctic within a century because of global warming, an international scientific conference heard.

With carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere set to double in the next 100 years, the icy continent could revert to how it looked about 40 million years ago, said Professor Robert Dunbar of Stanford University.

“It was warm and there were bushes and there were trees,” he told some 850 delegates in the Tasmanian capital Hobart, the national AAP news agency reported.

Here’s a thought. Suppose, for a moment, that climate change includes both warming and cooling. And it’s man-made. Temperature goes up and down, post-industrial-revolution, like a whore’s drawers. Global warming, fifty years later global cooling, fifty years later global warming again.

Antarctica has ice, then trees, then ice again. Ocean levels rise, then sink, then rise again. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down.

Earth adapts. Animals adapt. People adapt. Through it all, on the advent of every new cycle, the international press and the United Nations go absolutely bollywonkers apeshit. It becomes routine after about a century or two, but they still keep going apeshit.

Wouldn’t this be completely consistent with the behavior of the human race up until now? To be confronted with fairly mundane challenges, and act, theatrically, as if the world is coming to an end? Food for thought.

On The Plame Lawsuit

Friday, July 14th, 2006

On The Plame Lawsuit

We learn via the Good Lieutenant at Mein Blogovault, of the rather thorough new-asshole-ripping taking place in Valerie Plame’s lawsuit against Rove, etc. Said ripping commences at Captain’s Quarters and is repeated at Flopping Aces.

A complete copy of the complaint can be viewed (PDF) here.

I should point out, in one of my shameless attempts at self-aggrandizement, that all of this has been predictable for nearly a month now.

I’m still waiting to find out what the whole thing that started it all, “What I Didn’t Find In Africa,” commentary in The New York Times by Joseph C. Wilson IV, July 6, 2003, has to do with anything. Ambassador Wilson writes “It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place.” The President said in the State of The Union address, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Sought. Africa. Ambassador Wilson comes to doubt such a transaction ever took place in Nigeria. Transaction. Nigeria. Wilson “spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people” and he thinks he proved a negative with regard to a transaction out of Nigeria…that is a leap of faith, by itself. How do you prove Saddam didn’t seek anything from the Continent?

The meat of the complaint, of course, is the “conspiracy” of administration officials to retaliate against Wilson by outing his wife. The complaint makes mention of several people who think that’s exactly what happened…verbal statements, written statements, published articles. It seems to contain no evidence that this took place, either direct or circumstantial, although Section 2, and the 5th and 8th Causes of Action, are based on this.

So those are my two things: How is the Wilson/Plame couple related to anything, and does the lawsuit have merit. The sheer quantity of bunny-trails and red herrings, side issues, so to speak, is most impressive. The Wikipedia entry on the “Yellowcake Forgery” is this long. The entry on the “Plame Affair” is this long.

You know, I’m thinking that in itself is a conspiracy of sorts. This whole thing is supposed to be propping up the neo-religion of “Bush LIED!!!” I’ve noticed when you ask one of President Bush’s critics what the lie is he is supposed to have told, it’s got to do with this statement in the State of the Union, and it doesn’t involve quite so much an intent to deceive, so much as President Bush doing something different from what the Bush critic would have done, if the Bush critic were the President.

The whole story has surpassed, in complexity, what the public-at-large could reasonably be expected to follow. Once again, I’ll just say what I think everybody’s come to conclude on their own: This artificial “complexifying,” if you will, is by design. Simple deliberation would lead to simple conclusions: Saddam Hussein was a thoroughly unacceptable pre-cancerous boil in the ass of world affairs and needed to be taken down, he had “sought” ingredients for weapons of mass destruction from all kinds of places, Joe Wilson is a shameless attention whore and it looks like his wife is too. The controversy is being made much more complicated, not for the sake of gleaning more relevant facts, but because someone somewhere doesn’t like those conclusions.


Thursday, July 13th, 2006


Don’t forget, all you pet lovers. Curb him when taking him out for a walk. Make sure he’s up on his innoculations. Also that he’s properly neutered, or spayed, as the case may be. And don’t ever leave him at home when you travel, without freezing him in the Cryo-Kennel from Eureka.

I mean, do I have to tell you everything? Three easy payments of $49.99, small price to pay for your animal’s peace of mind when you’re off who-knows-where, or blowing things up on the Fourth of July.

What Is A Liberal? III

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Oh Gawd, this is just too funny. A week ago, I had put up a post called What Is A Liberal? in which I defined three rough scenarios which have a distinct liberal solution and a distinct non-liberal solution. I then explored the principles that the liberal solutions had in common with each other. One of my scenarios had to do with the owner of a business, with a limited amount of capital for hiring, being able to take on only three entry-level laborers instead of four, with a minimum wage being recently hiked. I said…

Liberals have an answer for that, too. They “do studies,” and then come out and say things like “our study found no measurable negative impact on employment.”…This is not an isolated situation; with issue after issue, liberalism upholds a disturbing pattern of insisting that I stop thinking for myself, even in matters of simple multiplication and subtraction, and outsource my thinking to other people.

People who do studies. People who promote studies. People who are not in the office with me, sweating over the figures with me, helping me to figure out how to pay the bills with the money I have. People who, so far as I know, have never transferred money from a personal savings account to meet a payroll. Those are the people telling me to forget about math, put the calculator down, it will all work out.


Guns: Get rid of them. Think you need them for your personal protection? Don’t think about it. Living out in the sticks? Wife pregnant? “911” has a thirty-minute response time? Hakuna Matada. Our “studies” say you don’t need the piece. Ditch it.

It’s all got to do with things mattering less. Less thinking going on. People shutting up and doing what they’re told. What they’re told by…oh, what does it matter who. Stop asking questions.

So…the conservatives use their noggins as crystal balls. Raise taxes, and people will turn into cheapasses. Take guns away, burglars and rapists will break into whatever house they want to, knowing there’s no guns in there. Make a bunch of rules about not being able to fire teachers, and you’ll be left with a bunch of incompetent teachers. It’s all cause and effect. Liberals get hold of “studies,” and if the study is something they like, they promote it, otherwise they’ll sit on it.

And as if some divine cosmic entity said to itself “Hey, that Morgan guy needs some help proving his point,” look what happens here.

Our friend Misha, the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, has been getting into it with some lawyer asshole named Glenn Greenwald. The Rottweiler has been enjoying himself thoroughly, by the way. All this stuff makes for a great read…a little off-topic from where I want to go with it.

Anyway, Greenwald goes off, in his own blog, on the Rottweiler. And his point is…well, it is as follows…

Prominent right-wing blogger today calls for the murder of Supreme Court Justices – the Right fails to condemn it

If your only source for news was reading right-wing blogs, you would have thought that the most significant world event in the last few days was that some crazy woman who nobody ever heard of before (someone by the name of “Deb Frisch”) left some vile comments on Jeff Goldstein’s blog, a venue which itself is devoted to some of the most vile, deranged and psychosexually disturbed commentary that can be found on the Internet. Virtually every right-wing blogger spent the weekend focused on this solemn and grave matter, milking it for all it was worth. Many implied that this unknown commenter was some sort of towering figure of great significance among liberals, and exploited the drama to argue that the “Left” must approve of these comments because they didn’t denounce the comments enough times or with enough vigor.

The blogger Misha of the blog Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is one of the most linked-to and popular bloggers in the right-wing blogosphere. He’s the 42nd most linked-to blogger on the Internet, and he is in the blogroll of scores of right-wing bloggers, such as Michelle Malkin and Captian’s Quarters Blog. He wrote a post today discussing the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan and here is what he said:

Of course, this is the same Supreme Court that earlier decided in Kelo that private property rights only matter as long as a private company doesn�t offer a better deal, above or below the table, to local authorities, so one shouldn�t really be surprised. The unelected, black-robed tyrants have a long history of not giving a fig about the Constitution if they don�t like what it says, not to mention a long tradition of usurping the powers of the legislative and executive branch by ruling by judicial fiat. . . .

Try doing anything to those mutilating darlings of the Supremes in order to extract life-saving intel from them, and then wait for the Supreme Whores to decide that you were �humiliating� them in doing so.

Five ropes, five robes, five trees.

Some assembly required.

He’s advocating that the five Supreme Court Justices in the Hamdan majority be hanged from the neck until they’re dead. His homicidal formulation is a play on the more standard call of the Right for American journalists to be hanged — “Journalists. Rope. Tree. Some assembly required” — another death call which, it just so happens, Misha also issued just a few days ago.

Okay. Before we go further, I’d just like to point out another thing about liberals. Greenwald is making a point, here, that is made by conservatives all the time. “Hey, this guy on our side got treated such-and-such a way, that guy over there got treated so-and-so a way, it’s not fair.” Both sides do this a lot. But the style is substantially different. Greenwald, if you go over to his column, does not leave this as an open-ended question, the way conservatives do when they use the same technique. He doesn’t say, “Can anyone give me a rational reason why the example I’m playing up, should be played down, and the example I’m playing down, should be played up?” Actually, there are only two questions in this whole post: “What happened?” and “Why not?” His premise, that Misha is as threatening or is more threatening than that psycho twit-burger Dr. Frisch, is something he will not open to question and cannot open to question. You aren’t supposed to be noodlin’ that one out. Should you choose to do so, and should you come to a conclusion different than his, you are simply outside of Greenwald’s intended audience. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one.

Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Continuity of thought is important here. Think about the studies. Liberals and studies. So anyhoo, five days after my comments about liberals and their stupid studies, this comment section is open under Greenwald’s post, and all these Greenwald friendly left-wing half-wits start posting. In total, 253 last I checked. ++guffaw snort++ check out #10.

This is bad enough, but couple your report with this headline from Raw Story:

50 year study says conservatives ‘followers’

In an interview with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, former Nixon counsel John Dean explained a largely unknown 50 year academic study. The data shows that conservatives are much more likely to follow authoritarian leaders.


This is so rich. Liberals are independent thinkers and conservatives are followers. And yet, the liberals are the ones who can’t form an opinion about how to burp, fart, sneeze, take a crap, or hang the new roll of toilet paper afterward, without a “study” telling them what’s what and how high to jump and when to come back down again.

ZERO THOUGHT. I would say it’s so bad, that all they’re doing is getting together and saying “hey, here’s some fresh meat you can use in case a conservative corners you…” without chewing on any of the fresh meat. But it isn’t even meat! You can’t crack this study open, you can’t find out why it took place over fifty years, you can’t find out how it was affected during those fifty years, you can’t even find out who did it. Oh sure you can, maybe, with difficulty. But rest assured of this: The liberal who wants you to “read” the study — in other words, simply adopt the conclusion of the study, as interpreted by the liberal, as your own opinion — won’t be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you if you choose to do this. And he damn sure won’t volunteer anything making it easier for ya.

Liberal ideas simply aren’t built to be challenged. It’s a twentieth-century, techno-industrial ideology built for a world in which mass-production and mass-communication were the leading edge, brand-new novelties. As such, the points within that ideology are built to be fanned out, broadcast, disseminated, in a single direction: Outward. It’s not a dialog. You’re just supposed to take this huge picnic basket full of poo sandwiches, grab an armload, and start distributing them without peeking between the bread slices to see what’s in there.

Update 7/15/06: This is Installment 3 of 3. The first installment is here and the second installment is here.

Selectively Equal

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Selectively Equal

U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy has ruled that Georgia’s new voting law violates the Equal Protection guarantees of that state’s citizens.

Let’s go into a ilttle background. In October, Murphy sat in judgment of the constitutionality of a state law requiring voters to prove their identities. He struck this down because, hey, not everybody has a driver’s license, not everybody has a National ID card, and among the people who lack both, there are a lot of poor people. If you charge money for an ID and require the ID to vote, this effectively becomes a “poll tax” and is unconstitutional.

So the Georgia legislature went back and made a new law with a whole bunch of free stuff in it. If you can’t get a driver’s license, you can have a ID card. If you can’t afford one, we’ll pay for it.

Not good enough, says Murphy. It still violates equal-protection laws. How it does, now that everything’s free…I’m not sure.

Courts block Georgia’s voter photo ID law
Rulings mean voters won’t have to show them, at least this year
Wednesday, July 12, 2006; Posted: 6:49 p.m. EDT (22:49 GMT)

ROME, Georgia (AP) — The same federal judge who threw out Georgia’s voter ID law last year blocked the state Wednesday from enforcing its revised law during this year’s elections.

The ruling came less than two hours after the Georgia Supreme Court denied the state’s emergency request to overrule a state court order that blocked enforcement of the new photo ID law during next week’s primary elections and any runoffs.

U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy’s ruling, which he delivered verbally from the bench, was much broader, also including the November 7 general elections and any runoffs.

If the rulings stand, Georgia voters will not have to show a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot this year. The state’s primary election — which would have been the first election for which the IDs were required — is scheduled for Tuesday.

Murphy said the state’s latest attempt at requiring voter photo IDs discriminated against people who don’t have driver’s licenses, passports or other government-issued IDs.

“That is the failure of this legislation as it stands,” he said.

In October, the judge rejected a more-stringent voter ID requirement, saying it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax because of the fees associated with getting the required ID. This year, the Legislature passed a law that made the IDs free and available in all counties.

Murphy commended lawmakers for addressing problems with the previous version but said more work is needed. The latest version still denies citizens equal protection under the law, he said.

But, “The court never said there cannot be a proper voter ID law,” he said.

The state can still appeal the ruling.

Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue and other supporters of requiring IDs had argued they were needed to prevent election fraud. Civil rights groups challenged the law in both federal and state court, arguing that it discriminated against poor, elderly and rural voters.

During a day of testimony before Murphy issued his decision, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Neil Bradley argued that making voters go to county registrar’s offices to get a required ID was an inconvenience that did nothing to address fraud at the ballot box.

I have a question. And a theory. Actually the question is based on another theory, so I have two theories, one of which is in support of a question.

First, the theory that does not support a question. I don’t think the civil rights groups give a fig about the poor, elderly and rural voters. Don’t these people need to go somewhere sometimes? Don’t they need to go see doctors? If so, don’t they have a civil right to get that done? Where’s the lawsuit to force the doctor to make a house call?

Second theory, the one that does support a question. Theory: If I’m a Georgia voter, and there is fraud taking place — nobody’s sticking their neck out, here, and saying there isn’t — a vote cast in opposition to my own votes, fraudulently so, violates my own Equal Protection guarantees. Effectively, I’m not being allowed to vote. My vote is being cancelled out by someone else’s. That’s what is supposed to happen in a democratic society, but in this case, that someone-else isn’t a real person. Equal Protection is supposed to have something to do with voting, and my votes are being systematically nullified.

So the question is obvious. What about the civil rights of legitimate Georgia voters? It seems Judge Murphy, here, has forgotten how the voting process works. Somehow, if your vote is nullified because you weren’t able to get your voter ID, your equal-protection guarantee has gone unfulfilled, but if your vote is nullified because it was countered by some dead guy, or a doppleganger, or an illegal alien or a little-green-man, that’s all okay. For now. So we’re selective about which defeated vote represents an equal-protection violation. If we aren’t going to be selective, then you know what? This year’s election will have to be cancelled. After all, equal protection is equal protection…we’re deserving of protection for our constitional guarantees, all of us, or else none of us are.

Why This Won’t Work

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Why This Won’t Work

Democrats have an attack ad out. Hat tip, Another Rovian Conspiracy.

They’re going to get their asses kicked elsewhere for using images of our war dead to make political attack ads. So I will leave that to others. I would just like to make mention of what impresses me, and why I think this is so incredibly misguided, as well as what I would change if I were a Democratic image consultant.

I do this because I know there aren’t that many Democrats who read my blog.

First up, we have the “mass murder and overtime parking” problem. You attack someone, and you indict them for a big transgression as well as a little one, you end up looking like exactly what you are: Some guy making a list, and laying his sense of perspective at the altar of making the list as long as possible. If President Bush is getting troops killed needlessly, I really don’t give a rat’s ass if plants are closing. And if he’s hurting the environment to the extent that our continuing existence is placed in jeopardy, I don’t give a rat’s ass if he’s getting troops killed. To include all this stuff, and to make a priority out of cramming it all in there, is to demonstrate that whoever has made a priority of including the lesser offenses, must have intellectual doubt about the validity of the greater ones.

Secondly, this country has a rich history of challengers attacking incumbents over the status quo, and ultimately winning the subsequent election. What do those episodes have in common? In January, I conducted a quick review of Bill Clinton’s State of the Union messages to capture his best public-relations ideas. Clinton has the distinguishing historical characteristic of having used his SOTU messages to campaign against himself during the entire eight years he was in office. The only speaking line in the commercial linked above, which goes to Clinton, nods toward his old SOTU habits but does not go far enough. What’s missing?

He always found two things about the status quo: One of which was good, and another of which showed room for improvement. Both of those things were vital. The second of the two, which shows the benefit of the action proposed, is universally indispensible and has been kept in the commercial that I’m bashing now. The first of the two, has been pitched overboard. There’s no sugar in the status quo. There can’t be. Thou Shalt Not Say Anything Good About President Bush.

Someone who makes commercials for Democrats, has determined this is a harmless concession to make to the Michael Moore and Move-On-Dot-Org crowd. They’re simply wrong.

You see, when you refuse to say anything good about your enemy, this does so much more than present your position as being irreconcilably opposed to him. It betrays a singlemindedness, a lack of perspective, a kind of two-dimensional thinking. As it happens, in 2006 the “mainstream” Americans who don’t give a crap about Democrats or Republicans, and actually decide our elections, are terrified of that. Of this concern, you might say the litmus-test question would be “If President Bush had a program that kept anyone from getting cancer anywhere and made everybody’s farts smell like chocolate and made hundred dollar bills fall out of the sky, and Democrats were elected to Congress, would they vote to end the program?” And from this commercial, it’s looking like the answer is yes. If Bush’s name is on it, it goes.

This is not a trivial concern. Our nation’s Treasury is bursting with unanticipated revenues, cutting this year’s deficit by $130 billion dollars and proving that tax cuts can generate more revenue. Proving it. Heads swivel toward the Democrats to explain how this can be so, and so far all they’ve come up with is “uh…well, $296 billion is still a lot of money.” So we put these yokels back in charge and then what? They roll back the tax cuts, and the revenues fall again, so that the yokels can put on some ads in time for ’08 that say we have to hike taxes even more?

How much more effective it would be to put on an ad saying “President Bush deserves credit for bringing down the deficit with his tax cuts but we’ll never see a surplus again unless we cut spending.” Democrats want to be the fiscal-responsibility party…why not go that route? Ah well, we know why, it’s because they’re beholden to the “Bush LIED!!!” crowd.

That’s the issue in the campaign this year. People are more worried about Democrats having sold out to the far-left, than about President Bush selling out to the far-right. A lot more. Democrats have so much to gain, if they could simply reassure the public that they are, truly, a party of loyal dissent. If the reassurance is factually there to be made, they will eventually provide it. But I don’t think it is. And I must say, in support of my own feeling on the subject, it’s intesting how much mileage they’ve chosen to gobble up while leaving this question in place.