Archive for June, 2013

“What Would Happen If You Gave a Gun to a Slave?”

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

…they’d stop being a slave, of course. From the video here (which auto-plays when I try to embed it).

Huh, so that must be what they were trying to say in Django Unchained. Hmmmm…maybe not

I don’t own a gun. But if gun control were to happen in America, I would have no problem with it whatsoever. Gun control would probably do wonders here.

Wonder if Tarantino’s had a chance to re-think that one. He’s certainly been given the inspiration to do so.

As for the woman in the video, her opening proposition is an interesting one. “I’m not one of those people who admonishes any American for bringing up the issue of gun bans and the second amendment in the wake of a tragedy like this, I think it’s natural and normal.” Since I’m opposed to gun control, will I be the reasonable guy and at least concede that much?

Actually…no. I won’t concede even that much. It is not natural and not normal, when you look on a problem that is obviously hurtful and urgently demanding a solution of some kind, and your first reaction is “What can we ban to make this go away?” Or “What can we make it harder for everyone to do?” Or cutting through all the bull: “What freedoms can we take away?” When the expansion or preservation of freedom is viewed as the problem, and the curtailment of that freedom must be a prerequisite for any effective solution…or, in some cases, is the solution. That’s not normal and that’s not natural.

Other than that, though, she’s got it. The Second Amendment is not about hunting, and it isn’t about muskets. It’s about freedom.

Think Apocalyptically and Act Locally

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Sultan Knish, hat tip to Maggie’s Farm:

For all the talk of apocalypse and melting poles, the environmentalists really only care about your economic activity. Buy or don’t buy. But preferably buy, so long as you’re buying green, or buying carbon credits along with whatever you’re buying.

The sinner fills up on paper towels, but the righteous man buys paper towels with a green stamp on the box. The man of little faith may drive an SUV, and the faithful may also drive an SUV, but the faithful man’s SUV has a bumper sticker warning everyone to conserve something or other. Such hypocrisies are constant, pervasive and little commented on.

What began as a movement for the responsible stewardship of the earth has been corrupted from the ethical to the fanatical. Conservationism kept humanity in the picture. Environmentalism rages at humanity. Behind its colorful drawings and its dolphin key chains is the vision of a world in which humanity and its fire sticks are the original sin.

That primal rage has been channeled and diluted into a million businesses, into countless regulations and profitable ventures. The new environmentalists are regulatory robber barons like Al Gore, green rent seeking tycoons looking to use cap and trade, and a thousand mandatory revenue streams to fleece both the faithful and the unfaithful. [emphasis mine]

Nobody ever actually says buying a different kind of light bulb and unplugging your cell phone will make the difference between the planet’s continuing survival and its imminent doom. They just use these generalized topic-label terms — “global warming,” “climate change,” “green energy” and others — to link the extinction-level-event concern, with the meaningless but profitable things we’re supposed to be doing about it.

In doing so, they exploit a dry rot that has been setting in to our thinking, for decades: We have been losing, and are continuing to lose, our ability to form effective solutions to defined problems. We’ve lost the instinct to circle back around after a solution has been proposed, and ask that annoying but purposeful question: “Okay, and this changes the likely outcome toward something more appealing to our preferences and more fitting to our vision…how?

We’ve stopped doing this. And someone has seen a way to make big piles of money from that. It’s pretty smart of them.

The Sopranos in Seven Minutes

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

…all of it. So far as I know.

Hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.

The Bible’s in the Middle

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Very astute observations, offering great potential benefit to anyone who hasn’t seen the new Superman movie, along with anyone who’d like a better introduction to Plato, Nietzsche, Popper, et al.

And for those who have seen the movie, it is, as Arsenio Hall said many a time, a thing “that makes you go hmmmm…”

Hat tip to blogger friend Rick.

“No Care Policy?”

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Aw, man…

Yeah, that’s good advice. Pack it well, it may not be treated well…

From here.

No Obvious Answer

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

George Leef at National Review Online notices something interesting at New York Times. Hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.

This interview with Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
Q. Other insights from the data you’ve gathered about Google employees?

A. One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation. Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore, unless you’re just a few years out of school. We found that they don’t predict anything.

What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well. So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.

Q. Can you elaborate a bit more on the lack of correlation?

A. After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different. You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.

Another reason is that I think academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment. One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer. You could figure that out, but it’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.

Interesting way of phrasing it, with the “artificial environment.” I’ve often noticed that this special intelligence that is involved in anticipating expectations in other people, is quite different from that other special intelligence leveraged when puzzles are being solved and there is “no obvious answer.” I see it in my own experiences. I tend to achieve my greatest sense of confidence and comfort when I’m solving puzzles, but through the years my efforts have been almost entirely derailed by the artificiality. Just knowing someone is “back there,” expecting a certain response or a certain type of resolution, is enough to break my concentration entirely.

It seems like these two intelligences are more or less diametrically opposed. People who are head-and-shoulders above me in this special group activity of sitting in a room, figuring out what “everyone” is thinking or wants to see — they’re first to anticipate it, I’m the last — team up with me to solve a problem, a no-obvious-answer problem. I invariably find that after I’ve solved the problem on my own, I have to back up and explain to them the basic concepts. And there, more often than not, I fail; they can’t quite grasp what I’m talking about. But the solution works, and a sense of “let Morgan handle this whatever-it-is from now on” sets in. And then we have a meeting about it, and I go back to being lost. Out in front of the crowd, or else falling way behind, but never shoulder-to-shoulder. I suspect I’m far from alone in these experiences.

“Conservatives Are the Mainstream”

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

I’ve said it again and again and again and again

The moderates stand with the conservatives. People who don’t give a rip about democrats and Republicans, will say — emphatically — no, you can’t do that. If bullies are picking on kids and they get some blowback from it, leave it alone, the situation handled itself. Save your interference for when the bullies are doing their thing and not suffering natural consequences from it, that’s what discipline is for.

The liberals stand alone in saying: Oh, no. Law and order? Can’t have that. Better to have chaos than law and order, if the law and order arrives by means of vigilantism. Better to let the hooligans win. Better to let Gotham City burn all the way to the ground than to have Batman running around doing his thing.

Liberals stand alone here. And yet, we end up doing things their way, time after time.

Lloyd Marcus, writing in American Thinker, notices it too.

The left, assisted by their buddies in the MSM, use a very effective tactic to render conservatives politically impotent. They accuse us of being haters and aggressors, all the while forcing every item on their socialist/progressive list down America’s throats. Conservatives who were simply minding their own business are branded the bad guys.

Conservatives are swiftly becoming an ever-increasingly “silenced majority” — persecuted, intimidated, and bullied into shutting up. Rush Limbaugh says our country is in the midst of a peaceful takeover. America as founded is slipping away daily.
Conservatism wins every time it is confidently and passionately articulated. Ronald Reagan proved that. Suggesting that the GOP has surrendered the New Jersey Senate seat is yet another MSM attempt to dispirit and discourage conservative voters.

Time to dust off this favorite image, and put it up once again…

“Why I Am a Republican”

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Bikini Snowboarding

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

She’s attracting quite the crowd…I suppose they’re making careful mental notes about proper snowboarding technique.

From here.

The Teacher Fantasy

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Fifty pics here. Hat tip to Linkiest. Some would be called questionable before a general audience and might not be suitable for the workplace.

Have to agree with the author of the comment noting the lack of teacher-ish-ness about them, maybe it should be called “girls in glasses.” The one I embedded is the most teacherly-looking one, I think…

“Extraordinary Scientific Delusion”

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

It’s important, because it could be just one out of many. And likely is.

Gerard pointed to one of the best articles I’ve ever seen, a few days ago…

Everyone knows that stereotypes are inaccurate, especially psychologists…
[Many examples, cited by page number]
Except stereotypes are not inaccurate. There are many different ways to test for the accuracy of stereotypes, because there are many different types or aspects of accuracy. However, one type is quite simple — the correspondence of stereotype beliefs with criteria…One can do this sort of thing for many different types of groups.

And lots of scientists have. And you know what they found? That stereotype accuracy — the correspondence of stereotype beliefs with criteria — is one of the largest relationships in all of social psychology. The correlations of stereotypes with criteria range from .4 to over .9, and average almost .8 for cultural stereotypes. The average effect in social psychology is about .20. Stereotypes are more valid than most social psychological hypotheses.

Of course they have to be. If stereotypes were no more accurate than most psychological hypotheses, they’d never make their way into our evolutionary hard-wiring in the first place. “Stereotypes are not accurate,” as a statement, suffers from the same problem as “Torture doesn’t extract truthful information”; the minute you take it seriously, the question naturally emerges “Well then, how is it that either one ever came into common use?”

So just a little bit of diligent thinking about how things work tells us something is wrong with the stereotypes-not-accurate chorus, and the measurements tell us something is wrong with it too. The chorus fails to find the right pitch, oh-for-two. The article proceeds from there, straight to the point:

Which raises a question: Why do so many psychologists emphasize stereotype inaccuracy when the evidence so clearly provides evidence of such high accuracy? Why is there this Extraordinary Scientific Delusion?

The article then blames the “leftward lean of most psychologists.” Hmmmm, this inspires a lot of thought. Let’s take a look at what might be happening here — I think the problem is widespread, not limited to discussions about stereotypes and not even limited to psychology. So let’s entirely abandon the stereotype issue and look at what’s going on with the institution.

I’m inclined to blame the lefties last, here, and poke around looking for some other causes. Not quite so much because I think they’re blameless, or that I doubt the statement about political leaning within the psychological field. I’m thinking the problem through like an engineer, and I can’t help noticing something: If we could somehow press a magic button, and convert every social science practitioner into a conservative libertarian, there is much of the original problem left unaddressed. We’re told, for generations, that “science” says wet; throughout all that time the correct, measurable and reproducible answer is dry. Am I then to believe the scientists did all their science-ing, found out their cherished beliefs were wrong, and simply chucked the data out the window so they could continue to pursue their impassioned political objective of spreading liberalism throughout the world?

Never blame on malice, that which can be attributed to incompetence. Or, in this case, laziness.

We had on here a certain dissenting voice who sought to prove the existence of anthropogenic global warming by citing the overwhelming “consensus” among “scientists.” This argument was effectively deflated when it emerged there was an inconsistency in defining what exactly a scientist is; at one point, the definition swiveled away from something concerning possession of the proper credentials and affiliations, to “one who does science,” in this case the Eratosthenes after whom this blog is named, with the water-well experiment. These are two different definitions. To argue that they’re not, would be an insistence that the credentialing process seeks to provide an accurate report on who is & isn’t doing-science, which is an idea I don’t think anyone is seriously going to advance or pursue. So it follows that we have a lot of people, at any given time, who qualify for “scientist” under the first definition without qualifying under the second, and vice-versa. This is obviously hazardous to any argument taking the form “97 percent of scientists agree [with assertion] [therefore we know it to be true, since “science” says so].”

My point about social scientists coming up with the demonstrably wrong answer, connects here, through this: I like the one-who-does-science definition better. When we argue about whether or not to believe the science, we seem to be arguing here back & forth about what exactly science is. This all seems strange and surreal to me, since when I was growing up it didn’t seem like there was much ambiguity about it: Science is a process. Because it is a process, we say things to each other like “let’s fix this through the scientific method” or “I don’t think you’re doing this scientifically enough.” It seems the argument that really needed to happen, that never quite happened, has to do with replacing this definition with something about class membership: “All the scientists say” doesn’t have anything to do with a process, unless the speaker is endeavoring to make a point of “Everyone who pursues the scientific process comes to this same conclusion.” That doesn’t seem, to me, to be what they’re trying to say at all. So the question that confronts us is one of: Is science still a process? Or is it a peerage of elites, privileged with membership in some exclusive community, and because of that presumed to be more enlightened than those left outside.

This relates to another concern I see emerging: I was always taught that scientists work differently than normal people, because it is in their job description to toil away tirelessly in efforts destructive to their own theories. This new peerage-science, I’ve noted before, seems more interested in keeping the theories propped up, even punishing those individuals within its membership who challenge the ones that shouldn’t be challenged. The former, classical model of science, would rain down on its own cherished theories with the destructive energy of experimentation, by cumulatively gathering more data; if that data were to be discarded for some reason, the disposal was done because of concerns over the input, and in pursuit of an objective of keeping the experiments clean and therefore reliable. This new science, rather than cumulatively gathering more data, seems intent on a more subtractive model, coming up with newer and progressively more creative reasons for disposing of data because of output concerns — the data do not support the conclusion that is desired, so they have to go. And whoever came up with the data should probably hit the road too; don’t let the doorknob hit ya where the Good Lord split ya. And please hand over your credentials on the way out.

Screwing Around and ScienceSo we have two things here, being described with one word, leading to confusion. One thing is an effort to measure things, validate those measurements, and logically infer from all that the nature of the world in which we live. The other thing is a bureaucratic thing, an effort to build a consensus. In the first of those two things, measurement is the point, and apart from that, the inference process; in the second, it is the consensus itself that is the point. We should not be mixing up these two definitions of “science” because they are not adequately similar, their differences are meaningful — hence the confusion. As anyone who works in statistics knows, a statement of the form “everyone within set X does Y” is only as good as the definition of the set X. Blogger friend Phil has raised this point many a time, that in this case if the set is being culled according to a proper orthodox belief in something, then the statement being made about its consistency in that belief, is reduced to nothing more than an exercise in redundancy. “Everyone who agrees with us, agrees with us.” And that is how, I think, psychology sunk its century of desultory thinking into the statement “stereotypes don’t work,” which is found to be demonstrably untrue the first time someone decides to objectively test it. “Science,” as we know it, hasn’t failed us here. What failed us is something else, masquerading under the label.

How do we tell the two apart? After all, the good, solid, classical, process-driven science has every reason in the world to say: “All the scientists agree such-and-such,” just like this modern, phony, consensus-driven elite-group science. That’s what makes a disguise effective, the disguise emulates something that has a reason to be — that is how a disguise evades detection. But if I make a such a statement about all-scientists-agree, and I’m earnestly discussing the solid, utilitarian, classical science, I should be talking more about the process than about the persons involved. My statement should be one of, “everybody who’s made this measurement has come to the same conclusion.” Your waist size is 36 and your inseam is 34. You parked less than twelve inches from the curb. Your expense report adds up to $1,202.34. In implementation, such a test becomes tricky: The fraudster consensus-scientists are trying to make it look like that. And they can make it look like that. And they do. “Everyone within our distinguished peerage agrees X” may mean…they all measured it. Or, it may mean the matter was put to a vote, and the vote was unanimous. There may be nothing untoward about that, but the scientific value is certainly questionable. Or, it may mean there is an effort in place to expel anyone who says not-X, and if you find a “scientist” who says not-X, or who questions X, rest assured he won’t still be a scientist by this time next year, because we’ll get right on that.

The best way to tell the difference, I think, is: Classical science is a positive process. The cumulative collection of information is unending. Therefore, it is “hungry,” always trying to find ways to get hold of more. This new phony consensus science works according to a negative process; its sustained effort is toward pruning. Sooner or later, someone launches into a dialogue about who must be booted out.

Also, real science writes in pencil, and lightly. It’s always trying to find ways to topple its preconceptions. Everything is tentative.

The phony science writes with ink. Its narrative is unchanging, and easily distinguished: They got their anointed experts into a room somewhere, had a symposium with presentations and workshops and committee assignments and papers, and when it was all over they put out a “bible” of some kind. This is to be taken as the final, definitive word. Oh sure, it’s subject to revisions, but only occasionally, and only by the experts — apart from that, the bible is to be revered as the sacred scripture that it is. If it isn’t revision-time, or if you’re not one of the anointed, then shut your mouth and do as your told, don’t question the bible.

That’s not how science works. That’s how religion works…because religion is supposed to work that way. It’s faith-based. Outside of church, there are other things that work like that; bureaucracies work that way. Right before they are properly ridiculed.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts and Right Wing News.

Just Another Spoiled, Rich Girl With Daddy Issues

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Yeah, can’t imagine why Han Solo would fly off without taking her along.

From GeeksAreSexy.

Forty Ladies Doing Cosplay Right

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

From eBaum’s World.

No More Docu-Dramas About Henry VIII

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

…because I don’t like ’em. And that includes the most recent one with all the pretty people. The one where the piano-case-sized King with a bad case of Gout is played by that short-haired skinny dude.

Although it must be said, I certainly appreciated the pulchritude of the Anne Boleyn actress very, very much. No question about it: That is a babe. Hey, it’s a cable-network produced show chock full of historical inaccuracies, and hot young pretty people. There are definitely advantages to be found.

Natalie DormerThe problem is that the King’s Great Matter, as a significant event in the history of Western civilization, exists not as an origin of something that came later, quite so much as a consequence of other things that came earlier. History’s like that, you know: Things happen because other things happened earlier. Another thing about history is that we are very often left with a big plate of mess, along with historians arguing endlessly about what was real, what wasn’t, what’s provable, what’s questionable. We just don’t know.

But the point to a Henry VIII docu-drama is always the same: Eww, these sexist pig men were a bunch of selfish jerks.

It’s like watching The Daily Show. You’re supposed to take it seriously while it’s motivating you to get angry at, or hate, or act smug and morally superior to, somebody. But then when there is a provable mistake in the record or in the logic, all of a sudden the whole “docu-” part of it pops, like a birthday balloon, and you’re the one with all of the problem because you’re taking it seriously. It’s fiction loosely based on history, you big dummy.

Had a discussion with this with one of my Facebook peeps, who is not part of the problem, because she absolutely does know what she’s talking about. But, you know, my point stands:

…[W]hen the audience watches it and decides King Henry isn’t behaving according to acceptable ethics in our modern day & age, and neither is Cardinal Wolsey, or Thomas Boleyn, or any of those other disreputable characters, they’re not thinking of it as fiction, they’re getting all twisted off at REAL people.

And I don’t care about real dead people too much, but the “fans” end up laboring under the mis-impression that they’re learning something about history….I see people getting actually upset about certain things happening, that actually didn’t happen, or didn’t happen the way they were presented. They don’t know what’s certain and what’s questionable, and don’t care.

There’s also probably a gender divide taking place here. See, to a man, what we see happening is “You’re supposed to get all upset at these guys because they got married for purely materialistic reasons” and our reaction is something like…uh, don’t understand the concept of getting married for materialistic reasons. These days, guys marry into obligation and debt. Also — it has always been socially acceptable for ladies to get married for materialistic reasons, right up into the moments in which I am typing this sentence. See: Clinton, Hillary and Obama, Michelle, along with many others.

So I think the chicks get a lot of enjoyment out of this when the dudes…well, as always, we’d prefer something with tits, guns and car explosions.

If you want to watch a story that is a work of fiction loosely based on real historical events, ya know, this guy named Bill Shakespeare actually put a lot of time and effort into that stuff. There’s just no call for watching this bit about the fat slob with the six wives over & over again.

The way I see it, there are centuries and centuries of things going on, all related — they go on, they culminate in this one little drama about the fat pig who was lucky enough to be born into all this power and wealth, and who wants to get a divorce and still be a good Catholic. Kind of like any old Kennedy asshole. This causes a split with the Catholic Church, which drives many events that came afterward…but what came afterward isn’t explored in equivalent detail, and neither is the antecedent. The conclusion I have to reach is that this isn’t really about history, it’s about getting all ticked off at men who got married for practical reasons.

Which was acceptable then, and isn’t now. But then again, it’s rather silly to scowl on the practice with supercilious disapproval now. Kids and wives are liabilities, not assets. Liberals made them that way. So men don’t get married for security and prosperity. From the financial side of things, they get married for expense and risk.

But as I pointed out, above: It has always been okay, and is now, for women to be married for pragmatic reasons. It has also always been a pretty solid plan for them to do so, one very likely to achieve success, with little to no risk. And for the most part, is now, although that last part may be on something of a downslide, since I’m not sure how appealing a financial prospect is the average bachelor during Obama’s man-cession.

That all having been said, and I think what follows speaks for most thinking human males: I find it difficult to condemn fictional constructs of men who’ve been dead for half a millennium, when that’s just the way things worked all over the place, with the upper crust types anyway, since Roman times and before. As a modern man, I don’t understand “get married for power and wealth” — that whole concept predates me. And I can’t join in on the “two minutes hate,” which seems to be where all the passion is invested.

And I really don’t understand the types who gather around, cluck their tongues in disdain at King Henry and Thomas Boleyn, and turn around and say “Hillary for President in 2016.” T’heck??

“…While Calling Themselves ‘Progressives'”

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Zo is calling-out the modern, “acceptable” racism.

To think of your own racism as somehow okay, or even “progressive” or tolerant, just because the hostility is going in the opposite direction, is kind of like saying you’re not beating your wife because you’re using your left hand or something.

At 6:39: “But to those who say that I wanna be white, and say that I’m a sell-out for liking rock music — you want racism. You’re addicted to being angry about it. You don’t want racism to end. You validate your existence by convincing yourself and others that you’re a victim. And you get your rocks off by lashing out at other people, wanting to drag others into your misery. And you attack people who refuse to be shackled to misery with you.”

Most Excellent Tweet

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Good things coming out of 140-character-land, I see. Should start a running-search for Tweet Of The Year, or TOTY.

This one would go in the funnel to be sorted out later with all the other contenders, I think…

NSA Slow Jam

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

To coin a phrase, “make no mistake.” And while we’re at it, “let me be clear.” The author of the wonderful bullet points in the previous is not me, but The Virginian…I didn’t do anything but trip across it, and I only managed to get that done because American Digest got to it first.

Anyway, The Virginian is a place you should add to your regular reading if you haven’t done so already. Good stuff there…some of it is links, some of it is thinks.

Thought this one showed some decent quality.

“If Palin Had Become President”

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

How’s that for flame-bait? From The Virginian.

Hat tip to Gerard.

  • Palin would not have dismissed the Black Panther intimidation lawsuit that the government had already won.
  • Palin would not have seized two auto companies and give them to her cronies in and out of the UAW.
  • Palin and her supporters would not be claiming that her opponents were racists for disagreeing with her policies.
  • Palin would not have tried to block Boeing from building a factory in South Carolina as a gift to her union buddies in Washington state.
  • Palin would not have toured the world apologizing for America.
  • If Palin Were President

  • Palin’s Homeland Security Department would not have classified patriots as security threats.
  • Palin would have expanded oil and gas exploration on federal lands instead of reducing it, make the US even less dependent on foreign oil.
  • Palin would not have allowed the Pigford suit to be settled that gives billions of dollars to “farmers” that never farmed.
  • Palin would not have shipped thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels so that they could be found next to the bodies of murdered Mexicans and American agents.
  • Palin would not have encouraged the IRS to harass Tea Party groups.
  • Palin would not have encouraged the IRS to illegally reveal the names of contributors to conservative groups to Liberal organizations so that contributors could be harassed.
  • Palin’s IRS would not ask groups seeking 501(c)4 status about their prayer life.
  • Palin would not have passed a national health care bill that is a 2000 page “train wreck” and that threatens to destroy America’s health care system.
  • Palin would have focused on reducing unemployment as it skyrocketed instead of wasting a trillion dollars on green boondoggles.
  • Palin would have known that in today’s regulatory state there is not such thing as a “shovel ready jobs” program.
  • Palin would not have spent a trillion dollars to prop up state and local government employees when private sector employees were losing millions of jobs.
  • Palin would not have handed out “Palin phones” to welfare recipients.
  • Palin would not have attacked Libya, without congressional approval, turning it into a rogue state.
  • Palin would not have allowed her ambassador to Libya to be slaughtered, along with three US service members, and told would-be rescuers to stand down.
  • Palin would not have blamed a demonstration that did not occur caused by a video that no one saw for the attack by terrorist in Benghazi.
  • Palin’s UN ambassador would not have gone on national TV to lie about the terrorist attacks in Benghazi because she would not have broken Libya in the first place.
  • Palin would not have been stupid enough – or naive enough – to support the Islamist take-over of the Egyptian government.
  • Palin would have given encouragement to demonstrators in Iran when they went to the streets to protest a fraudulent election.
  • Palin would not be giving the Islamist regime in Egypt billions of dollars to keep it in power.
  • Palin would not have told Putin to wait till after she was re-elected because then she would have more flexibility.
  • Palin’s appointed officials would not be lying to congress and the American people when they are not invoking the Fifth Amendment against incrimination.
  • Palin would not be sending Secret Service agent to her critics’ homes demanding to do a search, go through his medical records, his computer, his cell phone and pretty much anything else, and then threaten to come back and confiscate his guns if he “stepped over the line.”
  • Finally, Palin would have taken responsibility for the things that happened while she was President instead of telling us that she only read about it in this morning’s newspaper.

The toughest question that never got answered is, “Just what are these ‘extreme policies’ of Sarah Palin?” Her critics, be they Obama fans or be they something else, can’t field that one.

But more important than that, I see a lot of people are missing the point: Many potential presidents right about now, would not have done these things. Much of the problem is partisan, in that it is in the nature of democrats to obsess much about what’s being said when it’s all over, how loud each voice is, and who has the last word. It’s worked well for them, so why should they stop. But the real issue is this “transparency” thing. We can’t really have any with a democrat in charge. Implicit in all of these bullets is the unstated extra, “If President Palin ever made any movement in any of these directions, the media would light her up like a fucking Christmas tree.”

But, Obama gets to do what Obama wants to do. For now…

Update: Welcome Instapundit readers. Writing credit for the bullet points goes to The Virginian.

“Child Saves Society From mom’s Bad Choices”

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Perfect headline from Comment #3, handbanana, 6/11/13 23:09.

Suffolk County police say the ex-boyfriend entered the Selden Road home of the teenager’s mother and confronted her and her new boyfriend around 4 a.m. Monday.

When the intruder threatened the woman with a handgun, her teenage son intervened and stabbed the man, police said. The intruder was pronounced dead at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital.

Comment #1 from bagger1 isn’t a bad summation either.

Male Nihilism

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Wow, that Brother-in-law is really on a roll. Look what else he found:

Of course, this inspires shudders, winces and face-palms. But what else? Speaking for myself, it inspires thought…in no small part because, for many others, I know it inspires positive reactions, squeals of delight even, or at least smiles. Those skeletal-looking, “anger just beneath the surface” bitter smiles from the moonbat types.

Show me a thousand Hillary Clinton supporters, I’ll show you a thousand people who are pissed about something. That holds doubly true for supporters of a ticket like this. No, really. Put Hillary Clinton in charge of a job you want to get done with success? There may be a lot of people who want to go through the motions of it, and act it out. But that isn’t something you’d really want to do. What would you have her run? Where’s her track record of success? Anywhere? No, there’s only one reason to back Hillary. You’re angry about something.

And you want something or someone destroyed. Taken down a peg or two, at least.

That’s true of Michelle, and it’s true of a lot of people who’ve accumulated significant and meaningful power over the last six years or so. In fact, I identify that as the epicenter of all our problems: We treat, as creative and constructive geniuses, or soothing healers, people who are nasty and destructive — never created, or constructed, or soothed, or healed a damn thing. And never will. We lie to ourselves about who is building, or is inclined to build, something great and grand.

Our elected leaders have not been elected to lead. They’ve been elected to be mean and nasty. To bring injury to the “right” people, and to conceal things.

In the case of Hillary and Michelle, they have something else in common: The irony of standing as an icon for womens’ strength, capability, sense of independence — and nastiness — after having achieved everything in life by way of marrying the right fella. If feminism means the same thing that it meant back in my childhood, it must have become awfully imprecise about things, awfully sloppy about things. But I don’t think it means the same thing it used to mean. I think it has come to sustain a prolonged war against men and manhood, to keep fresh that lust for revenge within it, keep the adrenaline flowing there. To stop the sense of reason from settling in, as it typically does in human conflict. To keep the irrationality preserved. To keep that “new car smell” in a deteriorating, fifty-year-old hulk that never had it, and always stunk.

Which brings me to this (hat tip to Linkiest):

There was once a time when men used to be real men. When they dressed with style, when they had a certain honor code they followed that involved treating not only their elders and each other with respect, but women alike. Unfortunately, those days are far-gone — a thing of the past. What we have now is…to be quite honest, I’m not sure.

There are of course certain men out there who still have their affairs in order, but we are few in number. What people are most often subject to is the company of boys who are refusing to grow up and man up — boys who prefer to play with their toys than to do their part in bettering society, the human race and the world as a whole. These poor excuses for men have the bodies of adults and the mentalities, as well as the social outlook of toddlers. Horny toddlers, but toddlers nonetheless.

It’s all about character — or in this case, the lack of character. Something has been happening during this era dubbed the “information age.” Social media platforms have taken away the need to interact face to face, taking away the need for actual interaction. This is great in many regards: you can now keep in touch with friends and family all over the world from a handheld device.

Men WTF HappenedHowever, much of the interpersonal confrontations are now also taking place online. People no longer feel that they have a need to meet in person to discuss their differences; they can now troll each other online. People are using the Internet as a shield, hiding behind IP addresses in order to speak their minds. The Internet acts like beer-muscles. It makes you believe that you are stronger than you actually are, making you more aggressive. There is nothing wrong with being aggressive when circumstances require it.

Personally, when my fight or flight response mechanism kicks in, I always go with fight. It’s not by choice; it’s just the way that I am wired. Online, people have no need to run away because they are already in hiding — so they always choose to “fight.” Although the fighting they do is just about as significant as the fighting I do when I play Call of Duty.

The same interaction from beneath cover can be seen when we look at the intercommunication between men and women. It is no secret that both men and women alike have sexual urges. Men, however, feel the need to get off more often than most women. So instead of having to spend the time to meet a real woman and have actual sexual intercourse, they watch porn.

Instead of going out into the real world and meeting women, they stalk women on Instagram. People now date online as well. It’s much easier to talk to a woman online than it is in person—or rather, it’s not that it’s easier. Both are just as easy, but for some reason, men now prefer to hide their faces behind their monitors. (Every time I use the term ‘men’ in such context I quiver) It’s out of fear and laziness. Men have become lazy pussies. I don’t even want to use the word pussy because it brings to mind women, who nowadays have much more character than men.

There are many reasons for this. We have to start by recognizing presences and absences, just as there technically is no such thing as “cold,” only the absence of heat. We are not seeing the presence of something new. What we are seeing is the absence of something old.

What’s missing? The men and the boys have lost their sense of vision, because there is no vision to be formed. Think about all the ways a man can make a positive difference, in reality as well as in fiction. It has been done; it has been done recently; but, wherever it has been done, it has been loathed. It’s either been eliminated, or targeted for such elimination.

How does a boy distinguish himself in school? Well let’s see now: Apart from the negative variety which is easy, the getting into trouble, he do the positive by raising his hand and nailing the correct answer that has eluded everyone else. He can walk up to the front of the class and write the correct answer on a blackboard. He can achieve the highest score in the class on a test. He can do spectacularly well in some athletic pursuit. It is my understanding that the first two of those four have been entirely eliminated, and I’m not optimistic about the third because it’s been awhile since I’ve heard of such a thing — seems everyone with bragging rights about “first in the class” is either female, over thirty-five years old, or both. Have our schools lost the willingness and ability to brag about a male student achieving the highest score? I don’t know. Doesn’t seem like we have too many opportunities to test that. Now what about the athletic achievements? Those still happen. And, yes, people are fighting that. Ask anyone with an opinion about Title IX, and you’ll get back an earful. Wherever a male has an opportunity to achieve something positive, that must have cost a female something, somewhere, so we have to get rid of it.

In case you haven’t been keeping track, I’ve just covered everything. Didn’t take long. Anyplace a male might have an opportunity to make a positive difference, and achieve recognition as a result, our advanced and lately-evolving society has recognized this as a “cleanup chore” of sorts…an unfinished one…with the cleanup effort following inevitably, and quickly, and enthusiastically. It’s a mess — clean it up.

This gets into the one complaint I’ve had about the James Bond reboot. On the whole, I like the reboot project. I like it a lot. It’s more realistic than the “classic” James Bond, more creative, more energetic, more fun to watch, and Daniel Craig is a natural fit for the role. One problem though: In seven years, all that James Bond has managed to do in terms of “saving the world” is stop one terrorist from blowing up one plane. That’s it.

In context of James Bond, I don’t have too much of a problem with that. In context of our evolving culture and how James Bond is changing, and what it says about men, there is a problem. It’s a huge problem. The problem is this: Daniel CraigThat hackneyed cornball plot about James Bond discovering an orbiting laser satellite that will destroy all life on Earth, shrugging off his continual vodka-martini stupor and rousing up some momentary concern about his fellow human beings, to disable the radar jamming device so our brave military men can find it, and get in a huge “Thunderball” good-against-evil brawl, and a final mano-a-mano confrontation with the bad guy…that’s the one thing missing not only from the movie franchise, but from the male vision within our culture. For that reason, although I do like the Daniel Craig movies, I’d rather see James Bond shooting down poison globes with a laser in a space shuttle, than playing “Home Alone” with the bad guys at his old family estate.

At its most glamorous, on-screen, it means stopping a nuclear bomb before the timer reaches zero, or blowing up nuclear submarines before they have a chance to launch missiles at Washington and Moscow so that the superpowers would be fooled into starting World War III. At its most common, it means simply having a beneficial effect on something. Not as part of an “Occutard” movement, or yammering away about one’s support for gay marriage. But more nobly, as an individual. Just a dude who recognizes an approaching disaster, or merely an injustice, and thinks independently and capably to do something about it.

That’s exactly what we want our girls and women to be doing. Somewhere along the way, though, encouraging them to do this has somehow come to mean discouraging men from doing the same thing. Or, looking at any opportunity for the males to be so encouraged, and treating that opportunity as if it’s some sort of a problem.

The mind of a child, be it male or female, is a practical device. It works according to visions. When it detects that there’s a vision for it to screw up at something, commit some transgression, violate protocol, and as a result be singled out for scolding and ostracism — the natural response is for it to withdraw. That effect is counteracted if it can detect a vision for its success…which, in the case of the males, is missing because we’ve been getting rid of it. Systematically, meticulously, and with a vigor that is renewed with each rising sun, for generations now. And that’s my explanation for what this author has been seeing lately. He’s not imagining it. Our boys have been pushed into collective thinking, because they’ve received the message loud and clear that if they pursue any effort as creative, independently-thinking individuals, there’s no opportunity to self-distinguish except by screwing up. Blending into the crowd is the very highest prospect for them. The absolute zenith of potential male achievement is being completely ineffectual.

In fact, it’s worse than that. When our popular culture does hold aloft some stellar example, one that happens to be male, all the sense of definition falls away like feathers off a molting bird. Let’s try it: Bill Clinton! What’s his achievement. Well…he survived that impeachment business, and under him the economy was not a complete disaster. Okay. But what did he do? Here, the Bill Clinton fan has to start homina-homina stammering, maybe groping and flailing about, rather predictably, for a change of subject. Clinton lied his ass off, cleverly, like a lawyer, in such a way that he couldn’t be caught. Started debating the meaning of “is” and so forth. Regarding the strong economy, we haven’t got a clue what he actually did, and one quickly suspects that neither does Bill Clinton. Is any of this the kind of thing you want to teach your male child how to do?

In the case of Barack Obama, there’s nothing to talk about. He’s just Mister Wonderful and you’re not allowed to question it or else you’re some kind of racist. From one democrat administration to the next, we’ve gone from weak supporting arguments, to no supporting arguments at all.

And the guy in between is hated and loathed, of course — because he actually did something about Saddam Hussein besides make a bunch of speeches. He acted. You see, that’s exactly what I’m talking about: A male figure made a decision, acted to achieve a beneficial result. That’s a toxic poison, somehow, and we’re all supposed to want to get rid of that. You do know the real reason, don’t you? Because the definitions are too stark and clear; they make too much sense. A male, seeing a problem, making a decision that isn’t consensus-driven — and fixing it.

Somehow, a feeling has set in that we just can’t have that. Well, the boys are paying attention as they grow up and enter adulthood. And as a result, we end up with some adults that aren’t really adults. They’ve learned that a neutral effect is the best thing a man can have on something.

Why did they learn that? Because we’ve been teaching it to them. We, as a society, have been working very hard at it.

Related: Blog-sister Cassy managed to find a portfolio of pregnancy portraits that is absolutely cringe-worthy. I see a connection between that, and what I’m talking about here. Look at the “dads.” The super-creative photographers, or someone, managed to find something for the dads to do in the pregnancy process. Yay for them, but they seem to be completely unaware that the father figure already has a role here. It isn’t a trivial one. Patriarch of the household is an all-important role. But since we can’t acknowledge that, the result of this ignorance is, ultimately…awkwardness, at best. And I do mean at best. Look at the very worst of the pictures. What they all have in common is that the dude is doing something in the picture, and what he’s doing doesn’t have very much in common with what he’s supposed to be doing at this time.

How to Open a Beer

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

From here, thanks to the Brother-in-law for the find.

Fifty-Six Percent Says No Problem

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

…with the NSA tracking the phone records thing.

Why such outrage going on in the Bush era, with things that pale in comparison to what’s being done in the Obama era that meet with majority-approval?

Part of it could be illusionary. The Bush-hating people have always been a loud bunch, eager to make their numbers look more formidable than they really are. And it doesn’t seem to me like the questions on this survey are good ones. I myself think of this privacy-versus-security balance to be a delicate and finely parsed thing; it should be settled by the language in the U.S. Constitution; that language is hard to apply to modern situations, although it is well established in our system of laws that there’s a certain sequence to elevated investigative and prosecutorial privileges based on suspicions formed and then validated by some independent judicial authority. The questions do not parse things that finely so it’s difficult to determine how I myself would answer, therefore I’m not sure what 56% means exactly.

But it’s a cinch that anything that sounded like “wiretapping,” up to January 20, 2009, wouldn’t net a 56% approval.

And so we have people who approve of Obama doing exactly what they think makes George W. Bush some kind of a “war criminal” or some such — and much worse. They do not self-identify as liberals, I don’t think.

And there is a problem. Our nation’s “centrists” are not centrist, although they think they are. Furthermore, they seem to be sincerely frustrated that other people start “labeling” them as “left-wing” or “liberals” or “Obama fans.” They hate the labeling…but they can’t seem to understand how they’re bringing it down on themselves.

Somehow, the “truth” has set in that if you want to maintain your indie status and don’t want to lean one way or the other, but the situation requires just such a leaning…leaning left is safer. Now, why is that? Perhaps my perspective is skewed, but it seems to me it has to do with our social understanding of “moderation.” I can think of some ways to measure this. I’m still hearing Sarah Palin criticized for “her extreme positions,” and when I ask for specific examples of this I never get any back. This provides additional foundation for the idea that people are forming opinions about certain identifiable names, and they’d like to pass off this surface appearance that they’re forming the opinions based on something substantial but they’re really just doing it to impress others. Putting it more simply: They just don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re clueless.

If we’re really looking to stay “sensibly” centrist, approving of moderate positions and excoriating extreme ones, it occurs to me that you can’t get much more extreme than: “It’s alright to have our agencies spy on American citizens only when our guys are running things.” That would seem to me to be about as extreme as they come. And it isn’t the right-wingers pushing that, it’s the left-wingers pushing that.

And the so-called “centrists” backing them up. Which would mean our centrists aren’t really centrist; they’ve become extreme. What’s tragic is, they’ve been fooled into being that way.

Why I’m Against Gay Marriage

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

This should have been a blog post instead of a remark on my “wall,” over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging…things just go that way sometimes…

If gay marriage were all about providing equal rights, I’d be all for it. But it isn’t about that. Just like “raising the minimum wage” isn’t about raising anybody’s wage, when you really think about it you see it’s all about outlawing jobs that pay below a certain amount — “gay marriage” is a proposal to muck up a definition. That’s what it is, it’s an attack on definitions of things.

Do we need to muck up, or remove, definitions of things. Well let’s see now:

“Health care” is not health care, and “access to health care” now means making it harder to get hold of health care, right?

“Immigration reform,” often thought by many to have something to do with some kind of “fence” somewhere, increasingly seems more and more synonymous with “amnesty.”

“Global warming” isn’t happening. It’s rather silly to say we should be getting all excited over something called “climate change,” although that isn’t stopping anyone, it seems…

“Working families” aren’t. And don’t.

“National Security Agency” isn’t providing much by way of security, and actually we’re not even allowed to know what exactly it is they’re trying to do.

“Internal Revenue Service” isn’t providing the kind of “service” you’d actually want.

“Reality television” isn’t, and everybody knows it.

Nobody seems to even know what “green energy” is. Nobody seems to care. They sure like to tell other people what not to do, though.

I notice the definitions deteriorate most quickly and most surely in those parts of our shared life & culture that receive the greatest attention/activity. Starting with “coffee.” Is anybody actually drinking REAL coffee anymore? You can pay $5 a cup for something, but I’m not paying that for coffee…

Speaking of paying for things. Do we even know what an “economy” is at this point? What about an “economic recovery”? In this Age of Obama, I’ve seen a lot of things called “economic recovery” that I don’t think are that. When I do see some economic metrics reported they’re almost always accompanied by the word “unexpected,” and I don’t think we’re all in agreement about what that word means either…

And I’ve been saying for a long time, we’re doing a bang-up job coming up with “disorders” that aren’t. And failing to label & diagnose things as “disorders” which, I would argue, really are.

Which brings me to the word “bullying.” It’s being stretched completely out of shape, applied to things that aren’t bullying. Those who seem to be most often excited about the whole concept of “bullying,” very often forget that it is a long-standing tactic of bullies to convince others that the people they’re bullying are the ones doing the bullying to them. The bullying I remember from my youth had a lot to do with deception. Either that’s changed, or it’s working very well…I think it hasn’t changed, and it’s just working a lot better.

And that’s why I want the definition of marriage to stay as it is. Something should. Until the day comes that we can communicate with each other again and achieve real confidence in what we’re talking about, we need a break from re-defining things. We’ve changed enough, and done enough damage, for now.

Progressives: I’m Taking Your Ball and Going Home

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Maybe I should put that headline in quotes, since I didn’t write the title or what follows.

Submitted from Soozcat, wife of Captain Midnight, in an off-line. Enjoy!

When our niece was still in grade school, we decided it was time to teach her about money and budgeting. Captain Midnight planned ahead, cashed out an entire paycheck, and brought home the money in bills and coins. We spread it out on the kitchen table in front of our wide-eyed niece and asked her, “So what could we do with this money?”

“Disneyland!” was the first word out of her mouth.

We agreed that, yes, we could take this money and go to Disneyland with it. But there were things we needed to take care of first. We put 10% of the money aside for tithing. Then we removed our monthly rent payment. Next came the costs of various utilities: electricity, gas, water, Internet access. We set aside money for groceries, money for gasoline, money for clothes. And we made a little pile of money to pay for things we liked to do: eat out once in a while, go to the movies, visit the beach. There was hardly anything left over to pay for a Disneyland trip.

Fortunately, our niece was old enough to understand what we were trying to demonstrate. She already knew that things cost money. She had deduced, from our frequent mentions that we needed to pay the bills first, that responsible people pay what they owe. And she realized that, as fun as visiting Disneyland was, it was even more important to have a warm, secure, well-stocked home to come back to afterward.

Of course, we needed to wait for our niece to be old enough. Had we tried teaching her about money when she was less mentally mature and more prone to expecting instant gratification, she might have seen all that cash on the table, thrown a fit and demanded that we use the money to go to Disneyland RIGHT. NOW. It wouldn’t have mattered that none of it was her money, nor that we needed it to pay for crucial services — Disneyland was calling to her, and she wasn’t getting any younger.

It occurred to me recently that, when it comes to tax money, progressives never grow out of this rapacious mental stage. Tax monies are there primarily for their personal gratification — to fund untested pet projects, to dole out more pork products than a salumeria to the usual suspects, and presumably these days to wiretap every man, woman and child in America. And if any’s left over, it gets laundered and finds its way into their bank accounts. The idea that these monies are not inherently theirs never seems to cross their minds, nor does the concern that they should first take care of their constitutionally mandated responsibilities. They want Disneyland and they want it now!

And if you dare try to curb their spending, they’ll threaten to shut off the water, power and telephone so they can keep paying for Disneyland. In fact, they do this so consistently that it’s become something of a cliché.

To illustrate, let’s take an example from a decade ago. In Washington state, licensing fees for car tabs were alarmingly high. Local citizen and political gadfly Tim Eyman proposed an initiative, I-776, to lower the car tab license fees to a more reasonable $30 and gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot. It passed, and a King County Superior Court judge promptly tossed out the initiative, claiming it was unconstitutional, so it went to the State Supreme Court, who ended up overruling the lower court and upholding the people’s vote. At the time of the ruling in I-776’s favor, King County Executive Ron Sims — presumably furious about losing *his* tax monies to this upstart — sourly stated that the people had voted in favor of less police and fire protection.

Catch that last bit? Sims, a consummate career politician, was not-so-subtly threatening to hurt the voters for choosing to rein in public spending of their taxes. You might not know this if you don’t live in Washington, but the tax monies gathered by car tab fees were earmarked specifically for road improvement, public transportation, and the billion-dollar boondoggle known as Sound Transit, the light-rail system that seems to shrink ever smaller and cost ever more. NONE of those taxes were ever earmarked for vital services such as police and fire — that was just Sims being a bully, saying to the voters, “If you don’t play this game by my rules, I’m taking your ball and going home.” He was threatening to cut off the utilities so he could keep going to Disneyland.

This nonsense is still going on. Late on May 23, an 18-wheeler on southbound I-5 clipped the edge of a bridge over the Skagit River in Washington; a section of the bridge collapsed, sending cars into the water. Fortunately no one was seriously injured, but as of this writing the bridge is still out of commission. It’s caused major traffic problems along this stretch of I-5, as the downed bridge was the only major river crossing in the area. It will need replacing, and soon. There are many such “problem” bridges in Washington that need to be repaired, and when the media came calling to ask questions, most politicians blamed the go-to scapegoat, President Bush, for not investing in vital infrastructure. For some reason no one — not politicians, not the media, not even Joe Sixpack — seems to be asking the obvious questions: If the U.S. government spent SIX TRILLION DOLLARS in 2012 alone, how is it that none of that money went to fix structurally outdated bridges? Was it really crucial to invest in Obamaphones and food stamps instead?

But hey, Disneyland first! So says King Toddler, Owner of All He Surveys, and King Toddler must be appeased at all costs. That’s just how it is for progressives. They want what they want, when they want it, and if you dare to protest their use of your money — then they’ll really make you pay.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts and Right Wing News.

Morgan Finally ‘Fesses Up: White Straight Males Have an Advantage

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Via Captain Capitalism, a fascinating exchange between Vox Populi and a ticked-off female student of environmental engineering who has “read some of the posts you’ve written in your blog and [feels] very insulted by them.”

I’ll start off by saying I can’t blame her. There are two ways to go about the business of maintaining technical correctness & political incorrectness: You can appeal to those who think as well as to those who feel, or you can appeal only to those who think. The former is a better way than the latter, which aligns all the “those who feel” folks on one side of the divide, which is already yawning, broad and deep. So my preference is to try to avoid cheesing people off even further, and say thing that not only can’t arouse argument, but also can’t arouse ancillary anger. I notice Vox doesn’t opt for that approach, and even seems to delight in churning things up further than has been done already. Then again, I have never realized much success at healing any divide; none at all, really. That is what is difficult about communicating with the those-who-feel types; they tend to figure out they’re enraged first & foremost, and then stay enraged no matter what.

So I can’t really criticize Vox for his more blunt approach. Besides, it brings out this interesting morsel which is worthy of further contemplation:

Now I’m going to teach you a hard, but very important lesson. You see, I don’t care you how feel. I really don’t. More importantly, neither does anyone else. Only about 200 people on a planet of 7 billion actually care about your feelings, and that’s if you’re lucky. The sooner you grasp this lesson, the better off you will be. And since almost no one gives a damn what you do, say, think, or feel, appealing to your feelings when you encounter differences of opinion is not only illogical, but useless.

I disagree with this, only insofar as 200 is a wildly inflated number and the “that’s if your lucky” disclaimer does little to bring it in to reality. I say a dozen if you’re laughably lucky. Your extended family should probably care how you feel; your immediate family should probably care how you feel; your spouse certainly should. But the extended family, for the most part, won’t. Most of your immediate family probably doesn’t. And there are quite a few spouses out there who don’t, because when the marriage has become sour for the one, it has no doubt become equally so for the other, in which case he or she has bigger fish to fry. The two hundred might be an exuberantly optimistic high-end estimate of the number of people who will pretend to care what you feel, if you’re lucky. But people who pretend to care are much, much more plentiful than the people who really care.

How’s that bumper sticker go? “Jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you’re an asshole.” That fits most of the time. Now, if we try to live with each other in harmony, and Christian brotherly love and all the rest of it, since we’re mortal about the best we’re going to achieve there is situational concern. The old guy trapped in the wreck of a car that’s about to burst into flames, the little boy dying of cancer who needs a donation for his bone marrow transplant, the woman in line ahead of you whose arms are full of packages and can’t open the door for herself. We’re a better society when we take the time and effort to help those people, obviously, and we’re an even better one when we nurture an instinct to help those people.

But the point is, even this saintly level of concern…

…is situational. We don’t have the Christian/brotherly-love chops to care about each other’s feelings all of the time…as in, drop what we’re doing and start worrying when we find out someone’s “offended”…and here’s the magical epiphany-thought about it all…

…we shouldn’t try to change this. It wouldn’t make us better Christians. That way does not lead to the Kingdom of Heaven, or any kind of Utopia here on earth. It doesn’t lead to anything but confusion and misery. It doesn’t lead to order, it leads to chaos. I mean, think seriously about it for a minute or two. How in the world would that work?

Especially in the age of the Internet. Let’s say your feeling of offense instantly becomes someone else’s job. Imagine it: First thing to happen is, the Internet would immediately explode into a vast virtual tumbleweed of perpetual…uh…hey, wait a minute…

Okay, so strike that. We’re already there.

This is how white straight males have it easier than identified victim classes. There is great value in learning, during the childhood years, that nobody gives a damn what you feel. Now granted, there are white straight males who never pick up on that lesson, just as there are perpetually-offended students of environmental-engineering or femininely-oppressed “studies” or hemp-sweater-making. A lot of them are hipsters. Some of them are the “rich kids from the other end of town” who got pickup trucks loaded with all the options for their sixteenth birthdays, while my folks were dreaming up excuses to avoid adding me to the family insurance policy because it would’ve cost a goddamn fortune and we had yet to work out the details of how my seasonal lawn-care business would defray those costs…nevertheless, we do kids and young-adults of all sexual preferences and genders and races an enormous disservice, allowing them to enter into adulthood as we further nurture this “Occupy Mentality” that says, if you want something, just yell how offended you are and you’ll get it.

Starting with that most coveted intangible asset: The apology. Apologies all around! Always start by demanding apologies. How in the world did this get started? Who’s the rocket scientist who sat down and decided, “Hey you know what we really need, are entire generations of new adults demanding apologies for dumb and inconsequential things at the drop of a hat.” That decision is so stupid, it must have been a committee settling on it.

And while I know nothing about this “young female engineer” at all, it goes without saying that when your letter starts off with “I feel very insulted” and ends with “I’ve lost enough of my time on you already, I would wish you a nice day, but it would be a lie” — you’ve lost out on this very important lesson. Which white straight males, generally, learn during the teenage years during the growth spurt. When we stop being cute. When the world starts asking “So, what have you done for me/them/us lately?”

I say generally. I’m excluding the ones who’ve managed to generate The Aura — that hazy glow that suggests to those in proximity that they have something to gain from your immediate gratification. I’ll not deny those white males are out there. The clique-makers. The ones who might approach that 200 number…200 of the people who act like they give a damn. The Bill Clintons.

My wife and I are in the thick of struggling with some bureaucratic nonsense. I have lately begun to turn the telephone work over to her, and you know what? It works. We get a “yes” that way when, if I’m the one making the phone call, not only do we get a “no” but it becomes such a predictable no that the feeling of time-wasting sets in, is thick and pungent, effervescent, depressing…it’s simply become the smart way to do it. Part of that is, she’s more diplomatic than I am and smarter in a lot of ways. But let’s not kid ourselves here: Nobody wants to hear a male voice on a telephone. That inspires predictable — and, frankly, exquisitely boring — speeches about “unfortunately, our policy here says such and such.”

Our ultra-civilized and ultra-pasteurized society seems to have settled into a bureaucratic comfort-zone meme that says, you can always rely on beneficial results when you tell a man no. Save that never-say-die attitude, that extra umpshun in the gumpshun, for when you’re talking to a female. And the truth of the matter is, our females have become used to it. Guys are accustomed to rejection. It’s still our job to approach the woman, and “no” is the default answer we get back unless we give her a darn good reason to offer a different one.

But when a woman calls in with a request, “no” is not the default answer. When they get that back, and there isn’t a darn good reason, they get really, really pissed, every time. You know what? That is actually the correct attitude. You’re not supposed to get back “no” as a default answer. We’re all supposed to be helping each other out.

But we’re not supposed to all care about how everybody else feels all the time. Nor should a “yes” answer rely on that; you aren’t supposed to say “yes” only to the people whose feelings are of concern to you, who you feel are sharing some kind of a kinship or peerage with you. That’s what the IRS scandal is really all about, right?

I’m pretty sure the young female engineering student is going to be extra pissed when she reads the reply…if she does…which I think she will. If the message sinks in — and I have doubts about that — it will help her enormously in life. It’s a good message. But we have a lot of people who aren’t receiving it, in childhood or in adulthood, because they aren’t being set up to. They think their outrage becomes somebody else’s obligation. That’s unhealthy.

Psychology Exam Question

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Funny how we use these phony “disorders” to describe things that are essentially nothing more than culture-conflict.

From Dr. Joy Bliss at Maggie’s Farm.

Memo For File CLXXXI

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Can we find common ground between conservatives and liberals? Perhaps I’m looking at it through rose colored glasses, but I believe it is possible. I believe, if you can push past all the cloudy rhetoric and achieve clarity of understanding of all the ideas, inflammatory and otherwise, you’d eventually be able to define them, therefore to plot them out. If you can define and plot out the ideas, you can define and plot out the strands of association among them; these strands of association, now and then, would straddle the ideological divide. At least, that’s my hope. I’m just not too sure about it. Sometimes I have more doubts about it than other times.

The root of the unified common ancestry among all these hierarchically related ideas, in my mind (in its most optimistic state), would be one of:

The struggle between good and evil is never-ending; nevertheless, I wish to be a force for good.

This is not as simple a thought as you might expect in the case of the root node of an idea-tree. In fact, it is measurably complex: The word “nevertheless,” which manifests something of a hairpin-turn. And in this case it is a painful one, loaded up with angst. You might restate it as “I am defining the purpose of my entire existence here, and in doing so I have voluntarily subjected myself to a struggle, the end of which I will not see.” It takes maturity to think such a thing. And humility. So there is hope, if this is indeed a universal statement…

Uhura DistractsSo let’s test that. Is it universal? Let’s examine who we might have left out. Well — nobody, really. We’ve left out The Joker from The Dark Knight, and people like that. “Some men just want to watch the world burn,” Alfred the Butler said. And we’ve left out the people who just don’t give a hang. So we’ve excluded those who wish to do harm, and those who have no opinion; we’ve captured everyone else. You know what? I’ll accept that, I think that’s alright. We have effectively limited our scope to those who are capable of possessing an ideology. Those who have it within them to achieve passion one way or another, and are sane.

The struggle between good and evil is eternal, but I wish to be a force for good.

Somewhere underneath that on our idea-pedigree, which we can imagine duct-tape to one wall of a room on a giant sheet of butcher paper or something, there must be a fissure that divides the conservatives from the liberals. Is it God? No, I don’t think so; at least, His involvement must be complex. There are faithful people who end up being liberals, somehow, and there are atheists who end up being conservative. These are outliers, in the minority, but they are significant and worthy of examination. What do the conservative atheists have in common with the conservative faithful? What do the liberal faithful have in common with the liberal atheists/secularists?

God keeps trickling back into it, it seems to me. To me, it’s real simple: God put us here, as part of some Grand Design, which means God must want some things to happen and other things not to happen. “Good” would therefore be whatever God wants to happen, and we have a clue what that might be provided we accept the premise. If it’s something that makes Creation an entirely futile exercise, it must not be good.

The few conservative atheists there are out there, have the maturity to work with the hypothetical: If God were real, which of course He is not, what would He want? And they end up agreeing with us where it matters.

Here is your fork-in-the-road according to which liberalism may be defined: Good and evil may be distinguished by way of revulsion. Pious or not, they lack humility. “That’s wrong!” They say this; they have no question about it, no reservation. “This is on (your/some guy’s) hands!” Absolute certainty. Not a doubt in the world. Must be nice.

Morally, they make all the mistakes that might be expected of a “draftsman” who draws lines by free-hand, where a straightedge is required. This is an apt metaphor; this is precisely what they are doing. Now here’s a great example of a liberal freehand-drawing draftsman flubbing it up, scribbling where a straightedge is needed: Let us say I make, or some other white straight western protestant male makes, a rape joke. Oh, how awful! How terrible! No condemnation too severe! No punishment can exceed the crime! But outside of the West, Muslims force fifteen schoolgirls to burn to death in a burning school, because the schoolgirl’s faces were not covered. Where is the condemnation? By now, it’s been over a decade. We know how conservatives respond to this and we know how liberals respond to it. You’ve got a long wait before a liberal has much to say against it. Better tune into right-wing “hate” talk radio if you even want to find out about it.

In fact, writing broadly about it, that is by far liberalism’s biggest embarrassment in this modern age: It cannot lower itself to condemn as evil, acts that clearly are. Not if those acts happen to be politically correct, or committed by those who are members of protected classes…or merely outside the unprotected class of western-straight-white-American-male. It all comes back to that definition of where good ends, and evil begins. The Movement always has to win out, so if it’s helped along by something recognized by conservatives — and centrists — as something terrible, well you know…there’s always a more open-minded, complex, “nuanced” way to look at it that changes everything. So don’t be too quick to attack evil, because you might be attacking The Movement. Ask lots of questions first. And try to change the subject. Liberalism is great for acting superior and scolding people for the little things, but it sucks when evil has to be attacked. That isn’t its bag, baby.

So complex is this exotic way of looking at the situation, that lets evil off the hook, that even they who claim to understand it can’t explain it. Not to us slope-headed knuckle-dragging retro-sexual morons anyway. But I think everyone understands what’s really going on here: It’s The Movement. It must always win. To denounce things that help The Movement, or share common enemies with The Movement, would be anathema. Anyone caught on record doing so, would be kicked out of the club.

Looking past the disagreements about how to define good and evil; back to this unified-common-ancestry humility, of saying “I wish to press the attack for good, even though I shall not see the end of the struggle between good and evil.” A strange thing happens here. Our friends the liberals seem to understand that the struggle between good and evil is enduring, it was here long before they were here, and will still be raging after all our bones have turned to dust. I think they get that on some level. But they can’t consciously admit it. The timeless battle will always be settled once and for all, today or early tomorrow. We’re always right on the brink, always in the throes of some Glorious Revolution that’s going to settle it forever. There is no antecedent action. No failed experiments engaged in times past, from which lessons might be learned. Ever.

That part’s just creepy. History always began this morning. But the “evil” has been dragging on, forever. How can we be concerned about problems that are this much older than all of recorded time? I do not know; they do not say. And how does some guy, alive now, become entitled to “reparations” earned while slaves were being oppressed two hundred years ago — slaves who share only his skin color, but not his actual ancestry? I don’t know that either. They won’t explain that either.

The whole formulation has some pretty obvious problems. The kind of problems you have when you scribble with freehand, on a blueprint, the kind of line that is supposed to be drawn with a straightedge.

Update 6/8/13: Not my best work here. There arose a great confluence of events to keep me from writing competently — network packet download slowed down to near non-functionality, mysteriously, and the wife walked in with pizza and wings for dinner, and I noticed two of my three laptop batteries died all of a sudden — and my attention to detail was tested rather viciously, along with my ability to find Internet links. I ended up not quite taking this through the entire range of topics I had mentally chosen for it.

There exists in our country’s recent history a certain Supreme Court justice who I think may have been handed a raw deal in the remembrance of his name, which I have endeavored not to use for this purpose, but I’ve been repeatedly taught that this concept is an important one and if his name could not be used to describe it, we’d have to go flailing about for a different name. Potter Stewart, concurring with the majority opinion in Jacobelis v. Ohio (1964), made an unfortunate comment:

I have reached the conclusion, which I think is confirmed at least by negative implication in the Court’s decisions since Roth and Alberts, that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments criminal laws in this area are constitutionally limited to hard-core pornography. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

You could make a compelling case, with much solid evidence to supply to fortify your argument, that this was not quite so much a tip-off about the insulated and aristocratic ignorance of Justice Stewart, or of the Supreme Court during the Earl Warren years, but merely a record of the turning-point of our national discourse about obscenity laws, and of criminal and civil law as a whole. Should our laws be objective and definable?

This is where liberalism becomes most destructive toward society’s objective of running right and running well: The “Potter Stewart” way of deciding right versus wrong, the “I know it when I see it.” With God The Creator and Giver of Laws entirely removed from the situation, not even allowed in as a hypothetical exercise the way the conservative atheists will allow Him in, and the freehand-scribbling where a straightedge is required — everything is reduced to this Potter-Stewart, know-it-when-I-see-it thinking.

It leads to nitwits like Bill Maher, asserting unilateral and autocratic influence over what the rest of us are to think about things like the Benghazi scandal, while simultaneously confessing they know nothing about it. It leads to the Attorney General’s apparently lying to Congress, saying things like “…that is not something that I’ve ever been involved with, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy.” It leads to our current president showing, at times, dangerous indecision about important things which even His disciples and fans cannot defend.

The President, no doubt enjoying once again escaping the homeland for his Asian visit, bristled when asked questions with regard to his Afghan policy. Or is better stated his lack of an Afghan policy.

When the Associated Press’s Jenifer Loven asked the President ‘Can you explain to the people watching and criticizing your deliberations what piece of information you’re still lacking to make that call’, the President showed his obvious displeasure. Could it be that the President lacks the “cool” to deal with anything but softball questions?

The Presidents non response, ‘Which respect to Afghanistan Jennifer, I don’t think this is a matter of some datum point of information I am waiting on. … Critics of the process … tend not to be folks who … are directly involved in what’s happening in Afghanistan. Those who are, recognize the gravity of the situation and recognize the unimportance of getting it right’.

The Presidents response begs the questions; 1) You don’t think, (this a matter of some datum point), Mr. President, shouldn’t you know by now? 2) The folks on the ground have given you their recommendations Mr. President. You and your political cronies have had more than ample time to make a decision. 3) All of America, (not just those directly involved in the situation), knows the gravity of the situation and we also know your Administrations dithering is costing American lives as well as your credibility.

This was an exchange that took place in mid-November, 2009; President Obama had spent the preceding ten months deciding the matter, and if His comments can be taken seriously, with all of the data He needed to get the matter decided.

And it leads to presidents unable to govern, as they are stuck in campaign mode. It leads to the absurd rationale that if you take a month to decide something, taking yet another month or two must mean you’re deciding it even better, even if there is no particular “datum” emerging during the extra time to actually make the decision any better.

John Galt LineThere is a long boring passage in the first part of Atlas Shrugged, in which a train is taken out over the first length of railway made with Rearden Metal. A passage which, perhaps against their better judgment, the producers of the movie labored to bring to the screen in its entirety rather than trying to abbreviate it, or expunge it altogether. In both forms, book and visual, it’s very difficult to figure out where the author is intending to take this since all that’s being shown, or written about, is a bunch of people riding on a train. The movie form is fun to watch, somehow; the book form of this scene is exquisitely boring. The explanation of what was intended, I think, ties into the problem with these “Potter Stewart” thinkers who attempt to decide things while elegantly leaving the undefinable undefined:

There are practical reasons why deciding things, particularly very important things, must involve definitions. The whole point to the Rearden-Metal-train-track passage is that if there was a flaw in the metal itself, or in the way it was joined together, or in the spread or in the span or in the pouring of the heat or in the driving of the spikes or in the wheels of the locomotive — all those aboard would be killed and there wouldn’t be a moment of warning. These were the people who were responsible for getting the railroad built. That was the point of the scene. It was about how to think about things, how to build a building knowing you’ll be the first guy to walk on the top floor of it. How to build a car, knowing you’ll be the first guy to drive it. How to build an elevator car, knowing you’ll be the first sucker to ride in it.

These Potter-Stewart-thinkers understand, on some level, that this is the type of challenge that awaits them and they have been grossly unprepared, throughout their entire adult lives, for such a challenge. They don’t know how to decide things that really matter, and they know they don’t know. They don’t really know how to decide things, where defining is a prerequisite to deciding — so all they can do is dawdle. If you ask them about it, they get peevish and churlish about it. And then you become the problem, since you asked the question they didn’t want asked.

They know what they want everyone to think. They know what decisions they want the other guy to make. When it comes to matters of “What do you do here, in order to create the result you want,” they haven’t got a clue. This is not so much an aptitude as it is a lifelong discipline. You have to learn this stuff in childhood, or at least, before you become too vocationally enamored of a more artistic, freehand, right-brain kind of thinking. You have to learn to stop playing to the crowd, long enough to work with apparatus and machinery — working in an environment in which stimulus A produces response B, and the skilled operator learns how to understand all that, and then figures out how to manipulate it toward his intentions, objectives and desires.

These are the people who have all of the influence over us, and are craving more — but “influence” is a verb as well as a noun, and they haven’t learned to do it. And yet the lust for the intangible noun, in ever greater intensity and in ever greater coverage, remains. How our guns are to be built, what kind of tax we have to pay on our ammunition, how our health care should work, how many hoops we have to jump through to get our tax-exempt status for our advocacy groups, what kind of cell phone chatter makes us potential terrorists, how much carbon we should be allowed to put in the atmosphere — and we should be afraid, very afraid. Because these are people drawing up fancy blueprints for how we are to live our lives. But they don’t know how to use a straightedge. They’re thoroughly accustomed to drawing freehand, and they don’t know any other way to do it. They can’t, or won’t, learn any other way.

What’s even worse is, they’ve been told every doodle they’ve made, going all the way back to finger paintings in Kindergarten, is a work of art on par with Picasso, Rafael or Rembrandt. Their desire to do “good” is, I think, sincere. But it doesn’t really matter, because they’ve never ridden a locomotive on a track they designed or laid themselves, and they don’t understand failure is possible.

Real Leaders Admit Mistakes and Work to Correct Errors

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Anita Folsom:

As the top Allied commander, U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower was ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the invasion. He knew that if D-Day proved to be a disaster for the Allies, he would be blamed. On the afternoon before the landings, he sat in an Army tent in southern England, and composed the message he would send if the worst happened on June 6th:

Our landings. . . have failed. . . and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.

Eisenhower put the note in his wallet, where he could find it quickly if necessary.
General Eisenhower didn’t have to read the announcement he carried in his wallet. The D-Day landings proved to be successful, but Eisenhower’s example of a leader who was ready to shoulder responsibility still inspires us today. He didn’t intend to blame his subordinates, bad weather, or lack of information. He knew that real leaders can’t hide behind flimsy excuses when problems arise. Instead, they admit mistakes and work to correct errors. Their character helps to give them the wisdom to command others.

Conservative Women and Feminism

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Sam Janney:

Liberals have ruined feminism. What started out as a strong movement for equality has turned into a depressing and empty message of vaginas, abortion and the government strong-arming employers to pay a woman a certain amount based solely on the fact that she is a woman, regardless of her merit or ability. In my mind this takes women backwards, minimizing us to a few choice body parts and reinforcing the idea that for whatever reason we need the government to take care of us.

Conservative women really are the epitome of what feminism should be. We are independent, strong, determined and believe in ourselves; you will not find a conservative woman whining that her boss pays her less because “she’s a woman.” That’s a cop-out in our world because we are responsible for what we make and what we accomplish, not our employer, not our husbands and definitely not big daddy government.

Phony Science in Eight Steps

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

The word “science” packs a powerful appeal of attraction for those who wouldn’t know science if it kicked ’em square in the nuts. The appeal is that you can’t argue with it — it’s science. But the way it achieves that exalted status, is by way of methods that are oppositional to the life-view and wiring of those who lust after that status, for their own ideas, most feverishly. Real science doesn’t want to “win.” It constantly questions itself, looks for ways to demolish itself.

The “phony science bullies,” of course, don’t do that

Step 1: Develop a quasi-religious belief in a particular point of view (e.g. that human-caused emissions are causing dangerous climate change);

Step 2: Convince yourself that you are morally and intellectually superior to those who hold a different view, since your view is naturally “right” and “good”, and the other is “evil” and “bad”;

Step 3: Look for ways to caricature, demean, ostracise and ridicule your ideological opponents whilst at all times avoiding any rational discussion of the subject matter in dispute; …

Hat tip to Robert at Small Dead Animals.

One of the best ways, I’ve found, to figure out if you’re looking at classical, real science or modern, phony science is to figure out how it values the concept of the Anathema. Is the information refined in a positive way, with each new scrap examined with an honest desire to learn whatever can be learned — or negatively, with only the definition fortified by way of rejecting whatever doesn’t fit into it? Real science starts with the raw data, proceeding toward the conclusion; therefore, whatever starts with the conclusion and sluices out the information based on that stencil-template, is not real science. People have a perfect right to call it that, but it doesn’t make it so.

Another way to differentiate between the real and the phony is to look at the product, and see how it is treated from within the process that made it. Is it a Bible of some kind? Real science doesn’t have “bibles.” It certainly does write down a lot of stuff; but always, always, always in pencil. Conclusions are tentative by their very nature. This calls out the modern phony stuff most effectively against the backdrop of politics, in which people naturally seek to assert the finality of their conclusions, and as a consequence constantly state things as emphatically as they possibly can. This catchphrase of “science,” with little to no actual scientific reasoning behind it, has unfortunately been wielded often lately as a sort of cudgel in support of that effort.

Politics is politics; science is science. Them two are different things.