Archive for April, 2014

The Development Triangle

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Another tortured metaphor I invented yesterday…It’s just like the fire triangle they taught you when the fireman came to visit your fourth-grade class. And if you were in Boy Scouts, you got to hear it all over again. Heat, oxygen, fuel. If you have all three, you have a fire, but if you have two and are missing the one, then you don’t. In both cases, like-it-or-not.

Fire TriangleTo get anything built, you have to have the skills to build it, or at the very least the aptitude to learn and efficiently acquire them.

You need to have the hours to sink into completing the project milestones.

You have to know what the fuck you’re doing.

There is a lot of confusion about this, unfortunately most of it concentrated into the layers of management, and others who can make authoritative and influential decisions about where the resources go, about this third leg of the stool. In fact, a lot of this confusion is shared by their organizational opposites, the geeks with the candy wrappers on their desks and the McDonald’s-remnant stains on their shirts. It is not the skills. It is a separate, distinct and vital thing. This is why we have project managers. Although they, by themselves, don’t bring all of it. All they can deliver by themselves is the methodology, and some detail-work that hopefully meshes with reality. That stuff is just garbage if it doesn’t mesh with reality. In fact, if it meshes with reality most of the way, but mixes the good stuff with a little bit of fiction, then it’s worse than useless.

The third leg is the hardest one because it requires cooperation, across the board. That means recognition all the way up & down the organizational chart, that it’s needed. I’ve noticed that organizations proven to show talent and strength achieving their more mundane but challenging deliverables, quickly melt down into chaos trying to address this simple task, because they need to quickly and effectively “un-specialize.” People who have found their niche building, and found their niche managing, have to figure out how to talk to each other. Like a football athlete or ballerina presented with some new exercise, they discover muscles they didn’t know they had, but have never used.

Can’t find that classic old cartoon, all that’s available to me now is this cheesy new one:

Yeah, that about captures it.

Skills…time…know what the fuck you’re doing, and the last is the hardest. Project charter document, work breakdown structure, explicit requirements, implicit requirements, validation checklist. But, it’s more than those. A shared, or properly disseminated, understanding of the organizational deficiencies being addressed if the intended use is internal, and of the market demand if it’s external. Many methodologies have been developed on defining how to achieve this, perhaps literally tons of books published, hours invested into teaching & learning in classes, which perhaps can never be entirely counted. Without the buy-in, it’s all for nothing, and without the third point of the triangle, the “fireplace” stays cold.

Doing Away With the Electoral College

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

From Chicks on the Right.

Seems pretty reasonable at first, but most of the cunning plan has to do with abbreviating discourse. It is an overwhelming and complete lack of respect for the dissenting opinion, made ascendant by recent generations of college kids educated beyond their hat size, using the word “most” when & where it doesn’t apply, and when they don’t have the facts to back it up; using hackneyed phrases like “the vast majority” the way an alcoholic uses liquor.

Only the bit about doing away with “battleground states” has anything to do with shedding more light and honesty on the electoral process. And even there, I think if the idea is implemented, we’d end up disappointed with the results. Let’s see, Hollywood doesn’t use an Electoral College to figure out where action movies should take place, does it, and what sort of distribution do we get there? New York, LA, New York, LA, New York, New York, New York, LA, LA, New York, Chicago, LA, LA, LA, New York, LA, New York, New York, LA. The campaign events, I think, would look something like that.

People with good arguments to make, don’t look for ways to truncate the argument process. That’s what tyrants and dictators do.

Bloggiversary #4 for Professor Mondo

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Hope it’s a happy one. Cheers!

“Liberals Understand The Constitution Like Justin Bieber Understands Particle Physics”

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Great content, not too sure about the title though. What exactly are the limits on Mr. Bieber’s knowledge of particle physics? If he knows anything — or even if he knows nothing, but is at least willing to learn — it’s not a fair comparison.

Try educating a liberal about this sometime. You’ll quickly discover ignorance is not the root of the problem; you’ll discover there was something else putting the ignorance there, and keeping it there. They just don’t give a damn.

The whole point of listing a right within our Constitution’s Bill of Rights is that it’s beyond discussion, meaning some bureaucrat cannot infringe upon it because his pea-brain has decided that it makes sense to do so. What’s a “reasonable” exercise of religion or “reasonable” speech? Constitutionally, the question makes no sense. Liberals hate that they can’t “reason” our rights down to a tiny nub that’s too small to interfere with their dreams of power and control.

Rights aren’t a favor the government extends to us in its wise benevolence. Our rights existed in us from the moment of our creation, and they are inalienable. The Bill of Rights is not there to list for us what rights we have been granted. It’s to provide the government with a partial list of our fundamental rights and to warn it to keep its grubby mitts off them.

The only thing worse than seeing things within the Constitution which aren’t there is refusing to see things that manifestly are. Only liberals can look at an amendment reading “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” and see blank parchment.

From Linkiest.

Brutally Honest Things Men Think About “Feminism”

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

From Misfit Politics.

We think it’s stupid when feminists think it’s cool to not know how to cook. We don’t give more respect to a woman who thinks keeping her home organized and tidy is weakness. We find a woman who hates babies and children kind of off-putting, even if we don’t currently want a child. We don’t think it’s edgy. We think it’s silly that they think this somehow makes women strong and independent. Our mothers did all the above and more, and we recognize her as super strong.

Lefty movements do tend to have that in common, they confuse strength, robustness, wherewithal with weaknesses, deficiencies and handicaps. A good time for people to abandon them would be when they’re asked to aspire toward not being able to do something.

I think #10, the last one, is a decent summary for the previous items, and it’s pretty decent constructive-criticism for all the other social-equality movements we’ve been seeing through the years too:

Ladies, let me crush a silly idea that feminists have made popular: You don’t need to “elevate” yourself to where men are. You don’t need to be “just as good.” Men are not on a platform above you where the sun shines richer and we reap a bountiful supply of deserved ego. We’re not better or worse than you, we’re just not the same. Our needs diverge and intersect with yours because we’re tied to each other, but this doesn’t mean we need to be equal on every ground.

I’m particularly fond of the “platform above you where the sun shines richer and we reap a pountiful supply.” Stories of Eloi and Morlocks capture the natural human vice of jealousy, and all the passions that go with it. As many a liberated woman has discovered from trying to live the life of a man, men don’t really live an Eloi existence after all, and we certainly don’t hold a monopoly on sunshine.

Good ideas and good intentions. But, for the last half century, out of all the strides made by what we call “feminism,” few of them have been forward.

Animal Farm is About Capitalist Greed?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Huh. Well, that’s a new one on me (video behind the link).

And she seems so sure of herself, too. Threatening to banish me to the crazy-uncle-table and such. The irony.

The Left’s Version of History

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Steve Deace makes some astute observations, in his book excerpted at

If the Leftists want to make the case what they believe is in line with the founding vision of these United States, then by all means go back into the historical record and make that case. Except they won’t and they can’t. There’s a simple reason why the Left doesn’t pay as much homage to the founding of this country as we do, and it’s because most of what they believe is contrary to it, which is why they’ve had to take over the schools and scrub that history from the textbooks. Even one of the Left’s favorite Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, was so opposed to what most Leftists believe they’d peg him with their favorite word for conservatives—“extreme.”

Proving those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, not once but twice during the 2012 presidential debates Mitt Romney failed to confront President Obama on his version of the events that led to four dead Americans at the Benghazi terror attacks. Romney allowed Obama’s false premise to be asserted on the biggest stage of the campaign, thus allowing what should’ve been an issue that toppled the Obama presidency to become a strength prior to voters heading to the polls. It wasn’t until after the election in Congressional hearings featuring several Benghazi whistle-blowers — all of whom who worked for Obama — that the president’s account proved to be false. By then it was too late, and those four dead Americans and their families still haven’t received justice.

One of the reasons we see so many Republicans accepting the premise of the Left’s argument is because they don’t possess a solid worldview. Thus, most Republicans end up being defined by what they’re against and not what they’re for. Without a premise they’re just playing defense.

Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.

“Man Up” is Offensive

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Well of course it is (hat tip to Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm).

A new word-discouragement campaign at Duke University has labeled phrases such as “Man Up,” “That’s So Gay,” and “Don’t Be a Pussy” offensive language that “delegitimizes” homosexuality and oppresses and insults people.

But as the campaign has gained national popularity, its detractors have bristled at the effort, calling it a politically correct war on words that will stifle free speech and suggesting its true aim is to redefine terms to control public opinion and – ultimately – public policy.

In fact, the “You Don’t Say” campaign creators have admitted as much.

“Language is a reflection of how we think about others and view the world,” Jay Sullivan, a student leader of the campaign, tells Duke Today. “My goal is to…help facilitate discussion about how language affects many social issues, from race to gender and sexuality.”

I don’t understand why the PC-police keep saying things like “the goal is to facilitate discussion” or “foster dialogue.” I doubly-don’t-understand how they get away with it. Their goal is the opposite of that. Their goal is to intimidate and muzzle and silence people.

The democrats are sending me e-mails, asking for $3 donations, bragging about 26-year-olds putting themselves on their parents’ insurance. At Christmastime, their recommendation for these 26-year-olds is to put on footsie-pajamas, drink hot chocolate and talk about insurance. Now, if you tell someone to man up and stop being a pussy, you’re committing word-crimes — supposedly, it’s about the offensive words, not about the pattern of what’s being encouraged vs. discouraged.

Does anyone really think so?

Why do we continue to pretend such campaigns are all about one thing, when we know they’re really all about something else?

A little honesty would be refreshing. If you wanna say something, don’t get lost in the weeds tut-tutting and gagging other people who are saying something different. Say what you mean: “Man down. Be a pussy.” Too much to ask, I suppose.

“All You Need to Know About Barack Obama”

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Matt Walsh.

All you need to know about Barack Obama the man, and Barack Obama the President, can be summed up by the fact that he immediately and forcefully commented when a black Harvard professor was arrested by a white cop; he immediately and forcefully commented when a black teenager was killed by a Hispanic neighborhood watchman; and he immediately and forcefully commented when a white NBA owner allegedly made some insulting comments about black people — but when an abortionist was allowed to murder black infants for thirty years in the middle of an American city, he said nothing.

In all three of the cases where he did comment, the facts weren’t yet fully known, and the incident had no relevance outside of the area where it occurred. In Gosnell’s case, the facts were established, and the incident encompassed a wide range of local, state, and federal authorities. Yet on the first three he pounced, while on the last case he ran for the hills.

That’s all you need to know about Barack Obama.

Finally, criticism aimed where it will do the most good. Some things are above Obama’s pay grade, others are not; it’s rather telling, what things are and what things aren’t.

I’m loving the opening:

It’s really a fascinating thing, when you think about it.

Even a culture like ours — a culture dedicated to hedonism and relativism — has to put on a show every once in a while and pretend it has some semblance of a moral standard. It shows you that those philosophers and theologians were actually onto something when they wrote about Natural Law.

Deep down, in the pit of our being, there exists a need to be good and virtuous; but if being good and virtuous is too hard, then at least we need to find a halfway convincing substitute. Only demons and psychotics would stand and openly proclaim their own evil — the rest of us can act the part, but we still feel the urge to get up and play Morality Charades on occasion.

That’s what comes to mind when I see the reaction to the story about Donald Sterling. If you don’t watch the news, I’ll fill you in…

Sterling is an old, crazy, rich, (alleged) racist who happens to own the LA Clippers. Being old, crazy, and rich, and living in California, he also has a pretty progressive love life. He left his wife a while back and started shacking up with his young west coast mistress. Now, his wife has quite unfairly accused the mistress of gold-digging, all because she just so happened to fall madly in love with a rich married man who showered her with Bentleys, diamonds, and cash.

(It happens to the best of us. Stop judging.)

The wife filed a lawsuit against the mistress, and the mistress allegedly swore to ‘get even.’ Getting even, in this case, evidently involved coaxing her lover into making some very inane and very racist comments, while secretly recording the exchange. To give you an idea of just how inane and racist: Sterling allegedly tells his *minority* mistress that he doesn’t mind if she has sex with minorities, but he doesn’t want her to be seen in public with them.

Well, this audio tape SOMEHOW made its way to that bastion of journalistic integrity known as TMZ — although the girlfriend totally had nothing to do with that, she says.

In a normal and sane society, this sordid soap opera would never be discussed outside of gossip magazines and entertainment shows, because there’s nothing very newsworthy about it. A wealthy, morally bankrupt adulterer in Los Angeles professed some unsavory views, behind closed doors, to his manipulative morally bankrupt girlfriend.

I don’t see anyone worth defending, from anything, here at all. It reminds me of an essay I saw put together from someone who invested some amount of time researching the dark and unseemly personal life of Ian Flemming, whose marriage left a few things desired and might in some ways have necessitated the escapist invention of James Bond. After grinding through the ugly details, he signed off with something like “Well, I’m done, don’t want to read or write any more about these people, fuck these people.” Yeah, that. There are some movies made in which very few of the characters are even close to being likable, and none of them are even close to normal; the best of those tend to be really, really short. The “fuck these people” instinct sets in.

The scandal makes Mr. Sterling look really bad; should make some other people look bad; and that is all it is. But unfortunately, we have political figures and we have mediocre people down in the streets with the rest of us, all of whom are powerfully motivated to dress this thing up as some dark movement or relic of racism cloaking our whole society, so that some of us can strap on some polished shining armor, brandish our flaming swords, and do battle. It’s a popular thing now. But really fighting evil things, somehow, is not popular. That is frowned-upon. The image of fighting evil is in style, the reality of fighting evil is out-of-style. Interesting times.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Monday, April 28th, 2014

We’ve got some liberal dipshits commenting on this blog, protesting that George Washington could not have said something commonly attributed to George Washington, based almost entirely on the opinions of some unnamed “experts.”

The liberal dipshits, also, are unnamed.

While I’m reading all about that, Mrs. Freeberg and I are watching this. Holy cats. Yes, do see it…once, and once only. It’s on Netflix instant. You’ll get the point straight-a-way:

This unlimited weight of faith in “experts” is not only wrong-headed, but dangerous. And, it could be reasonably conjectured — evil.

But, it certainly is popular. People are just afraid to think for themselves nowadays, I suppose.

Update: More expert opinion, from yesteryear.

These days, a lot of what passes for “debate” and “argument” is really just a bunch of excuses for not considering new ideas. Science-is-settled, debate-is-over, and all that.

“Opposite of America”

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

…is “full of lies”.

Gee, really?

Taxing corporations is much more appealing to people than taxing individuals, but this doesn’t mean that individuals aren’t paying for corporate taxes.

Economist Walter Williams did a great job of illustrating this point when he asks “Virginia has a car tax. Does the car pay the tax? In most political jurisdictions, there’s a property tax. Does property pay the tax?” Point being: all taxes are ultimately paid for by people.

If a corporation’s tax rate goes up, they can simply pass the cost onto their consumers by raising their prices to counteract losses from the tax. Norway is a prime example of this. Despite being oil rich, the price of gas in Norway tops $10 a gallon.

The Liberal Equivalent of Climate Change Denial

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

From here.

In response to Ezra Klein’s question.


Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Heh. Yeah, that’s me…at times (via Instapundit).

The mansplainers don’t take into account what the person they’re speaking to might already know, especially since they’re often talking to students who may not in fact know all that much. Mansplainers often start with first principles. They take the conversational podium with ease and entitlement and stay there for as long as they please. They don’t notice when their listeners are nodding off, or trying to say something, or picking their cuticles until they bleed. On and on they go, merrily enchanted with the sound of their own voices, and the thoughts issuing from their overstuffed heads.

We’re all like that. Aren’t we? I know in the midst of my own misadventures in mansplaining, if someone accused me of failing to assess the knowledge level of my audience accurately, or of not bothering to assess it at all, I wouldn’t offer a defense because I usually wouldn’t disagree. Like many among us, I find it thoroughly baffling. Like letting an arrow loose from a bow, trying to hit another arrow someone else let loose from a bow, in mid-flight. Heck I can try, but that’s all I can do.

I have noticed, watching others interact with me, and others, that hitting the arrow seems to be a matter of perception: “I feel like he knows me.” And on the few occasions when we get to go back and compare that perception with reality, in love, war, diplomacy, salesmanship, it is seldom correct. It’s just a feeling. This leaves me to doubt anyone, anywhere, truly has the ability.

I think we’re all mansplainers. To some degree, to some extent, every now and then. It’s provable with mass-communication, isn’t it? The speaker can’t lift and then respond to some emotional vibe coming from the listeners; it’s strictly a one-way forum. All he can do is utter throaty magical incantations that arouse the mendacious feeling that he’s in sync. But the reality is that he’s just guessing about what questions the audience wants answered, and what they want to hear next. Guessing, and subtly guiding.

We’re wanting and lusting after something in our dialogues, something that never has been and never can be. Perhaps the trend we need to be noticing should be called “femlistening” or some such?


Saturday, April 26th, 2014

One of these days, I do have to improve my skills at spelling that word. It is an important word, and one that is becoming more and more important with each passing year.

Its meaning is not limited to “someone who does a lot of talking.” It means a great deal more than that. There has to be a certain meaninglessness to the chatter. And, a certain bossiness too. Flibbertigibbets are radios without off buttons; they care not that the commodity they’re supplying, is in negligible and dwindling demand, or in no demand at all.

If you know a flibbertigibbet or two, it may not have escaped your notice — or maybe it did — that they prattle on with their excess verbiage in an attempt to convince themselves. That is the common content, and that is the common purpose. They repeat most bumptiously and most frequently the things that, according to their own systems of belief, are so emphatically true that they ought to be able to stand on their own. In so doing, they confess to that which is never to be considered: There actually are some doubts. About “The science is settled on global warming!” or “There is no god, now relax and enjoy your life” or “ObamaCare is a spectacular success.”

Or, they would be confessing to these doubts, if anyone with some ability to follow a coherent thought, was actually listening. This tends not to be the case. People who can do this, usually have some occupation, or obligation, to get something done that relies on this. And they don’t have the time.

We live in an age in which the flibbertigibbets insist on making all of the heavy decisions. And, a great deal of the time, end up doing so. Woe is us. There may not be any way to fix this, but we should keep a sharp eye out, each and every day, for ways we might initiate the needed repairs. Flibbertigibbets, from all I’ve been able to observe about them, get their thrills out of talking, babbling, whining, and winning arguments. They really aren’t at all into what motivates the rest of us, “this thing happened because I did such-and-such a thing.” They don’t want that. They haven’t got the capacity for details to handle it, and they’re not at all enthused about assuming the responsibility.

Somewhere, down that road, an answer lies waiting for us. If there is an answer at all, anyway — it’s that-a-way. We’re suffering because the flibbertigibbets possess a unique weight of authority, which they never actually sought. They just wanted to do a lot of talking, that’s all.

Cliven Bundy

Friday, April 25th, 2014

If his “racist” comments, once played out in full and heard in context (below), are still awful and execrable but he’s in the right in his dispute with the Bureau of Land Management, then he’s still in the right.

On the other hand, if this full context reveals the racism accusations to be nothing more than a complete sham, but he’s in the wrong in his dispute, then he’s still in the wrong.

Conclusion: Those who side against him in the dispute, and invest their energy in masticating over these controversial remarks, must not have much faith in the actual argument. And I have to wonder why not. Bundy doesn’t own the land, and it seems he’s had his day in court over this matter. A stupid law is still a law. So why are racist comments even part of the discussion?

The answer is pretty scary when you think about it: We’re having a Constitutional Convention, an informal and improper one, without the state legislatures or Congress voting it into session. We’re using electronic messaging, selectively edited, to decide what rights are to be enjoyed by the citizens, based on the perceived character flaws of those who value the rights in question.

No, nobody calls it a “constitutional convention.” But that is the effect. Everything’s on the table, everything’s up for grabs. Feds, states, people, all their rights depend on who’s a racist and who isn’t.

In fact, it’s really quite a bit worse than that. The critics of Cliven Bundy do not care about Cliven Bundy. They seek to embarrass everyone who’s come to his defense, or merely hesitated to take sides against him. It’s message-politics; message, as in “that’ll show you.”

Which can mean only one thing: Whether the statists are right or wrong in this particular dispute — and my understanding of the details compels me to believe they are, initially, in the right and Bundy is wrong — they have no intention of stopping here. They want absolute and uncontested control. Even when a rational discussion of the facts of the dispute might conclude in their favor, they don’t want it. The forum isn’t right for them, for what they want to do. For that, they require scandal and character assassination. They’ve got something in mind they can’t achieve without those things.

“An Active Participant in Massive Consumer Fraud”

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Best of the Web, via Instapundit:

…the absence of [health care] alternatives in New Hampshire means that some policyholders in some parts of the state have to drive long distances to get to a hospital that is on the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield coverage network.

Not surprisingly, [Sen. Jeanne Shaheen] is facing hard questions from constituents suffering under the new health-care regime. Her approach to answering them seems an unpromising one. It is to suggest that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Blogger Jason Pye seems to have been the first to pick up on a Shaheen appearance last Friday “Good Morning With Dan Mitchell,” a radio talk show that airs on WKBR in Keene. His post includes audio of Shaheen’s exchange with an unidentified caller, which Pye says he obtained from America Rising, a conservative opposition-research group:

The caller told Shaheen that “President Obama’s health care is not affordable.”

“It’s cost me more, my deductible has more than tripled and my monthly premium has doubled, so it’s not affordable,” he said. “And so, I’d rather have my old healthcare, my old system back.”

Shaheen dismissed his concerns out of hand, telling him to leave his name with the host so her office could call him back “because that doesn’t sound right to me.” She chalked the caller’s complaints up to “misinformation.”

“It sounds, and there’s a lot of misinformation about what’s happening with the health care law,” Shaheen told the caller, “so we’ll get back in touch with you, we’ll find out what’s going on with your plan, and we’ll help you sort that out because you shouldn’t be paying that much more.”

Now perhaps this was a Republican prank call, or maybe the guy actually is misinformed. Offering to help sort the matter out is obviously the wise political response, noncommittal in substance while demonstrating (or at least asserting) a commitment to constituent service.

But it was awfully impolitic for the senator to preface her promise with the prejudicial statement “there’s a lot of misinformation.” The customer may not always be right, but a smart salesman doesn’t begin a transaction by saying he’s probably wrong.

The complaint is about more than bad salesmanship. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there” turns out to be a recycled hackneyed catchphrase, burbled up by programmed democrats who’ve been coached on what to say & do when cornered about this bad legislation. I’ve often theorized that democrats are just kids with complacent, weak or just plain dim mothers who, when the confrontation came about because of cookies missing from the jar, failed to call out the lie. The kids grew up, the lies got bigger…and, the liar’s expectation of getting away with it, interestingly, began to act as a powerful force to ensure that they would, at the end of each episode, get away with it after all. Natural confidence-men. And confidence-persons.

Well hold on a second Ma…there are a lot of cookies missing from this jar. Well YEAH. Who took them? Who put all this misinformation out there?

It is true that there’s been a lot of deliberate misinformation about ObamaCare. Example: “If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you’ve got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor.” That was Barack Obama in July 2009.

Here’s another example:

My understanding…is that — and I know this is true of the bill that has come out of the committee in the Senate–if you have health coverage that you like you can keep it. As I said, you may have missed my remarks at the beginning of the call, but one of the things I that I [sic] said as a requirement that I have for supporting a bill is that if you have health coverage that you like you should be able to keep that. . . . Under ever [sic] scenario that I’ve seen, if you have health coverage that you like, you get to keep it.

A lot of misinformation indeed. That was Jeanne Shaheen in August 2009, responding to a constituent named Emil in another telephone town hall. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York noted it (along with similar comments from 26 other then or future Senate Democrats) in November, and via a Google search we found it on Shaheen’s official Senate website.

So Shaheen was an active participant, if perhaps an unwitting one, in a massive consumer fraud at the expense of many of her own constituents. No wonder she’s so defensive.

“You Didn’t Build That, and We Want More”

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Most excellent essay by Bulldog over at Maggie’s Farm.

Even if you make the assumption that I got there with the help of others and/or the government, there is an implicit understanding that I did things, or provided payment and services, in return for that help. I must have paid some fees, taxes, or bartered something for these benefits I received. Very few things in life are truly free. Perhaps these benefits were subsidized, let’s call that a ‘gift’ from the government. Even so, what then allows the government to make further claims on me once I’ve become successful? As Professor Boudreaux points out, Amazon’s success is almost entirely reliant on the infrastructure of FedEx. Even if FedEx provided discounts and subsidies to Amazon early on to help them become successful, out of the goodness of their heart, unless a contract exists that stipulates further remuneration would occur upon this ‘success’ of Amazon, the relationship is based on a pecuniary exchange for goods and services, not a promise to pay more later.

Warren and Obama’s issue with this is, most likely, that the ‘social contract’ demands this future payment. Warren more or less demands it, saying that successful people should ‘pay it forward’. But who is she to say this? Who is anyone?
It remains a truth, as Hayek pointed out, that you can treat all people equally. But it is something else entirely to try and make them equal. Warren and Obama are on the wrong side of history but are so convinced of their moral superiority they are incapable of seeing the truth, because the only truth they see is their own power and how they can use it to force people to do what they believe is ‘just’.

From working in technology for…oh, about as long as anyone else I know — I’ve been often befuddled by the presence of those who obsess to excess over making sure everyone does everything the way it’s always been done. It starts out innocently enough, often with a respectable understanding of the problems and pitfalls involved in doing things in strange, unorthodox ways, and how the recommended and accepted process provides a countermeasure or remedy. It looks like good, vigilant, responsible technology stewardship. It often is.

But, the Morgan Rule of Technology eventually emerges: A definition more than a rule, really, since the rule is nothing more than a statement of what technology really is. It’s the opposite of doing everything the same way the other guy’s doing it. You can use other words, you can dress it up so it’s more appealing, like “learn to do more with less.” But that’s just semantics. At the end of it all, if you’re acting out a dedication to keep doing things the same way — or, if the process ever does change down the road, making sure it’s someone else’s idea so you don’t have to take responsibility — you’re not doing technology. Tack on another year or two to that timeline, and you end up being just another frazzled bureaucrat scrambling for ways to dodge the next layoff. Who deserves, on some level, not to be able to.

The common theme permeating throughout all of this, like a bad stink? Fear of the extraordinary. Fear of perceiving it, fear of association with it, fear of becoming it, fear of aspiring toward it. That is what Obama and Warren are acting-out with the “You Didn’t Build That” mania. That is them, and that is their constituency: Villagers who never want to leave the village, determined to lock the mighty gates behind whoever dares to venture outside of them, to ostracize whoever wanders afield. They think they’re building something great and grand, but can’t say what it is they’re trying to build, not nearly as easily or as clearly as they can say what they’re trying to destroy. There’s a reason for that. They’re destroyers, and they’re not builders.

Update: This, too, is most excellent. Take heart, nerds!


Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Kate at Small Dead Animals captured it as

Regular readers of my blog know that I have never seen CONservatives as anything other as subhumans who will willingly slave away to enrich their real exploiters. Rarely does a day go by when I do not come across one more example of why people of the CONservative mindset are subhuman tools. The remainder of this post is based upon one recent, and very clear instance, of why CONservatives are extermination-worthy subhumans.

But it’s evidently been edited

The remainder of this post is based upon one recent, and very clear instance, of why CONservatives are subhumans.

Perhaps it was the greater attention that made the blogger think again, or it could’ve been comments like this one:

I’m curious, as a conservative myself, what you propose as the method of extermination for me. I’m sure along with your fellow travellers, the possibilities you’ve imagined must be endless. Since you feel my progeny should be exterminated as well, how will you carry out this sentence on my young sons and daughter? Do we all get to enjoy a final train ride in a boxcar before our deaths? Please indicate your intentions as we’d like to make some final arrangements first.

This “Waterworld mentality” keeps coming up in liberal commentary, whenever they think no one’s listening, or that only “good” people are listening.

Liberalism being a bad sales job, from true-believers, to decent but ignorant people who don’t understand what they’re buying, it trades on deceit and therefore it’s difficult to extract a coherent overarching theme from it all. Except we know it isn’t about equality; that one we can safely rule out straight-away. Just walk up to a liberal, any liberal, and offer a serious proposal that gays should be treated like straights, black should be treated the same as whites, men and women should be on equal footing before justice and the law. See how that flies.

Across their true-believers and their recruits, it seems to be an inevitability that some statement surfaces about a coming storm, or at least, a belief in present or future scarcity. In advance of this scarcity, some individuals and/or classes are to be “voted off the island,” if you will; there will be some townhall assembly, during which the pariahs are to be singled out and banished.

It’s as if they’re advocating for a democratic method of selection of these inevitable casualties, as an alternative to a natural one. Meanwhile, they forget to question whether the coming famine is really a certainty. Reminds me of the South Park episode where a bunch of characters flying in a plane crash in the mountains, and someone announces they need to cannibalize Eric Roberts because otherwise they’ll starve to death — even though nobody’s really that hungry just yet.

Scalia on Schuette vs. Coalition

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

He got it exactly right:

It has come to this. Called upon to explore the jurisprudential twilight zone between two errant lines of precedent, we confront a frighteningly bizarre question: Does the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbid what its text plainly requires? Needless to say (except that this case obliges us to say it), the question answers itself. “The Constitution proscribes government discrimination on the basis of race, and state-provided education is no exception.” Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 306, 349 (2003) (SCALIA, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). It is precisely this understanding — the correct understanding — of the federal Equal Protection Clause that the people of the State of Michigan have adopted for their own fundamental law. By adopting it, they did not simultaneously offend it.

Even taking this Court’s sorry line of race-based admissions cases as a given, I find the question presented only slightly less strange: Does the Equal Protection Clause forbid a State from banning a practice that the Clause barely — and only provisionally — permits?

As is so often the case with such hotly contested arguments, there are really two issues here; a specific one and a broader one. The specific issue is: Could a state be constitutionally prohibited from passing statutes, or amendments to their own constitutions, against race-based preferences? Or do they have the authority to do such a thing?

And the broader issue is: What has happened to our national wherewithal for logically noodling out such things, if this is even open to question? This is the curse of the information age; we seem to have a “neural net,” of sorts, spanning the entire nation, which has been lately invaded and torn-up by a busy flock of “Yeah But” people. Like moths attacking fine and cherished garments in a neglected closet, they’ve been chewing cavernous holes in our logical fabric, insisting that important and fundamental building-block definitions don’t mean what they mean, and in fact, mean the exact opposite of what they really were intended to mean.

They think they’re getting there, to Planet Opposite, by arguing cleverly, but they’re not even making the trip by arguing honestly. Their arguments and rebuttals, in many instances, don’t even make sense. Much of it seems to be based on nothing more than “Well this has been working for us for quite awhile, and we shall feel peeved if it does not continue to.” It is the shrill whine of people who have never been saddled with the burden of making anything actually work; in fact, much of the time when they prevail, they prevail because someone else simply ran out of patience, and opted to go get something productive done rather than continue to be annoyed.

Those who have other things they need to go do, then, are treble preoccupied — with standing up for reason and common sense; with trying to get something useful done; and, with wrestling the seemingly never-ending question of whether ignoring the one of those, and concentrating all of one’s energies on the other, might or might not be the right way to go.

Who loses? The country. The one thing that cannot be reasonably denied about where our energies and attention should be going, is that we ought not be wasting such resources arguing about whether two and two make five, or whether X equals not-X. We live in an age in which we have machines that can sort those out, millions of times in a fraction of a second. It’s a tragedy that the humans whose lives are supposed to be made easier by such machines, are compelled by warped internal desire, and external circumstances, to burn off such vast, great portions of their lives trying to settle the same silly things.

Why Do These People Even Exist?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

I don’t know.

“‘The Debate is Over’ Syndrome”

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Joel Kotkin:

Let’s call it “the debate is over” syndrome, referring to a term used most often in relationship with climate change but also by President Barack Obama last week in reference to what remains his contentious, and theoretically reformable, health care plan. Ironically, this shift to certainty now comes increasingly from what passes for the Left in America.

These are the same people who historically have identified themselves with open-mindedness and the defense of free speech, while conservatives, with some justification, were associated more often with such traits as criminalizing unpopular views – as seen in the 1950s McCarthy era – and embracing canonical bans on all sorts of personal behavior, a tendency still more evident than necessary among some socially minded conservatives.

But when it comes to authoritarian expression of “true” beliefs, it’s the progressive Left that increasingly seeks to impose orthodoxy. In this rising intellectual order, those who dissent on everything from climate change, the causes of poverty and the definition of marriage, to opposition to abortion are increasingly marginalized and, in some cases, as in the Steyn trial, legally attacked.

A few days ago, Brendan Eich, CEO of the web browser company Mozilla, resigned under pressure from gay rights groups. Why? Because it was revealed he donated $1,000 to the campaign to pass Proposition 8, California’s since-overturned ballot measure defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

In many cases, I might agree with some leftist views, say, on gay marriage or the critical nature of income inequality, but liberals should find these intolerant tendencies terrifying and dangerous in a democracy dependent on the free interchange of ideas.

This shift has been building for decades and follows the increasingly uniform capture of key institutions – universities, the mass media and the bureaucracy – by people holding a set of “acceptable” viewpoints.

Gets back to the Arguments About Definitions thing. “Acceptable” viewpoints and “reasonable” viewpoints are not measured to be that way. They are pronounced as such, by those who want to “win” arguments, but are dead-set against assessing or discussing details, something that is necessary to the process of winning an argument honestly.

So, they simply pronounce. They say silly, empty things like “everybody knows” or “most people say.”

High Cost of Liberalism

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Thomas Sowell discusses many cases of inflated pricing for houses in the Palo Alto area, then comes to the point…

Even a vacant lot in Palo Alto costs more than a spacious middle-class home costs in most of the rest of the country.

How does this tie in with liberalism?

In this part of California, liberalism reigns supreme and “open space” is virtually a religion. What that lovely phrase means is that there are vast amounts of empty land where the law forbids anybody from building anything.

Just Because They're IgnoredAnyone who has taken Economics 1 knows that preventing the supply from rising to meet the demand means that prices are going to rise. Housing is no exception.

Yet when my wife wrote in a local Palo Alto newspaper, many years ago, that preventing the building of housing would cause existing housing to become far too expensive for most people to afford it, she was deluged with more outraged letters than I get from readers of a nationally syndicated column.

What she said was treated as blasphemy against the religion of “open space” — and open space is just one of the wonderful things about the world envisioned by liberals that is ruinously expensive in the mundane world where the rest of us live.

Much as many liberals like to put guilt trips on other people, they seldom seek out, much less acknowledge and take responsibility for, the bad consequences of their own actions.

One minor quibble with this though: To true-believing liberals, these aren’t “bad consequences.” As hard as it is to nail down workable generalizations of their beliefs — being a bad sales job, it follows that deception is involved, and the interests of the buyers & sellers of liberalism must be different — there is one attribute more consistent than most others: Certain segments of the population should wake up one day to find out the world has no room for them. Margaret Sanger certainly wanted that. Today’s liberals want that. The only disagreement in their ranks is the sequence in which these demographic groups are to be shoved over the brink into the abyss.

But whether the lib realizes it or not, it’s a distinction without a difference. The central-umbrella-message that covers it all is that people are a toxin upon the planet. People are bad. In the wake of the implementation of their policies, things are bad for the people. Well, duh.

Update 4/23/14: The High Cost, Part II:

Liberals almost never talk about disarmament in terms of evidence of its consequences, whether they are discussing gun control at home or international disarmament agreements.

International disarmament agreements flourished between the two World Wars. Just a few years after the end of the First World War there were the Washington Naval Agreements of 1921-1922 that led to the United States actually sinking some of its own warships. Then there was the celebrated Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, in which nations renounced war, with France’s Foreign Minister Aristide Briand declaring, “Away with rifles, machine guns, and cannon!” The “international community” loved it.

In Britain, the Labour Party repeatedly voted against military armaments during most of the decade of the 1930s. A popular argument of the time was that Britain should disarm “as an example to others.”

Unfortunately, Hitler did not follow that example. He was busy building the most powerful military machine on the continent of Europe.

Update 4/24/14: Part III:

Income inequality has long been one of the liberals’ favorite issues. So there is nothing surprising about its being pushed hard this election year.

If nothing else, it is a much-needed distraction from the disasters of ObamaCare and the various IRS, Benghazi and other Obama administration scandals.

Like so many other favorite liberal issues, income inequality is seldom discussed in terms of the actual consequences of liberal policies. When you turn from eloquent rhetoric to hard facts, the hardest of those facts is that income inequality has actually increased during five years of Barack Obama’s leftist policies.

This is not as surprising as some might think. When you make it unnecessary for many people to work, fewer people work. Unprecedented numbers of Americans are on the food stamp program. Unprecedented numbers are also living off government “disability” payments.
Most Americans living in “poverty” have air conditioning, a motor vehicle and other amenities, including more living space than the average person in Europe — not the average poor person in Europe, the average person.

“Poverty” is in the eye of the statisticians — more specifically, the government statisticians who define what constitutes “poverty,” and who are unlikely to define it in ways that might jeopardize the massive welfare state that they are part of.

In terms of income statistics that produce liberal outcries about “disparities” and “inequities,” millions of people who don’t have to earn incomes typically don’t.

“Just Deal With That!”

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

NewsBusters, via Twitchy:

On the Sunday, April 20, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, as host Harris-Perry chastised Democrats for not bragging about ObamaCare for the year’s midterm elections, she at one point mocked Americans angry about having their health insurance plans cancelled, which she referred to as “crappy plans,” as she lamented that Democrats are not boasting about ObamaCare or declaring, “Yeah, you can’t keep your crappy plans. Just deal with that!”

Her mockery of the ObamaCare-induced insurance cancellations came as she compared Republicans to people who flip houses and brag about doing only a little work, as she characterized Democrats, by contrast, as people who do substantial work on houses but fail to boast about it adequately to potential buyers. Harris-Perry:

You can have some people — let’s call them Republicans — who will go into a fallen down blighted house, slap on some granite counter tops, while ignoring real problems, and declare their work is the best thing ever.

After boasting about Democrats passing ObamaCare, she lamented:

And they’re not even owning it. No confidence, no swagger. No, “Yeah, you can’t keep your crappy plans. Just deal with that!”

Video at the link. Twitchy adds: “From ‘it’s going to be the best thing ever’ to ‘just deal with it’? Perfect…”

At Home With the Old Folks

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Los Angeles Times, via Instapundit:

At a time when the still sluggish economy has sent a flood of jobless young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.

For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.

Parents' Garage“The numbers are pretty amazing,” Wallace said. “It’s an age group that you normally think of as pretty financially stable. They’re mid-career. They may be thinking ahead toward retirement. They’ve got a nest egg going. And then all of a sudden you see this huge push back into their parents’ homes.”

Many more young adults live with their parents than those in their 50s and early 60s live with theirs. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 1.6 million Californians have taken up residence in their childhood bedrooms, according to the data.

Though that’s a 33% jump from 2006, the pace is half that of the 50 to 64 age group.

The surge in middle-aged people moving in with parents reflects the grim economic reality that has taken hold in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

Obama fans say this is what success looks like…wonder if they’d insist, what we need here is to make labor even more expensive, and business expansion even more difficult.

Watching loud, self-righteous people indulge in consistent policy changes, with the expectation of inconsistent results, is depressing. Greatly depressing. Not recessing.

Props to LA Times for making it to the end, without mentioning “Obama” or “ObamaCare” even one time. That must have taken something.

Stoffel Escapes…Again

Monday, April 21st, 2014

From here.

Mentally Deficient…You Might as Well be Arguing With a Tree

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Captain Capitalism takes on the “Government is not a family” canard.

As long as the electricity stays on, they think the deficits are sustainable.

And, Republicans are continuing the legacy of the KKK, ObamaCare rocks, and rot like that.

I don’t generally approve of pronouncing the other side to be unworthy-of-debating. That’s their tactic. That’s what losers do. You debate if you can, and if you can’t, you come up with these rationalizations about why the debate is not possible — what they do. All the time. I just don’t think it’s productive for both sides to stoop to that level.

But, I can’t say it’s any more productive to do what I’ve been doing, either. I like the idea of imposing a litmus test. “I live in the other world, where people actually build things that have to work, that other people can use…as such, my time is valuable. So before we go further, a litmus-test question: What is better, a Mom and Dad married to each other, neither of whom has ever had sex with anybody else, with two virgin teenage children, living in the 1950’s…or a single-mom, now, with four kids by four different guys, depending on a dizzying kaleidoscope of government programs? In which household do the kids have a better shot spending their formative years?”

That does effectively separate out the slightly-lefty-leaning types, the fresh recruits, who still might be saved — from the crazies.

Movies So Bad They’re Funny

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

There are many lists like this out there, but this one appeals to me.

Lots of wire work appearing in the list…excessive CGI…a large number of superhero movies which, although not constituting proof of the list’s verity all by themselves, nevertheless strongly suggest the list is on the mark because, hey, there have been some real stinkers out there.

But the single factor I’m seeing emerge throughout all of it is: Actors just kinda phoning-it-in. That, and lack of sensibility and coherence in the plot. Those little things, that make you care about whether a movie character is going to live or die. Or succeed or fail.

Oh yeah, and the other way the list resonates with me? Through experience. Yes, Mrs. Freeberg and I have seen all of them, each and every single one…except maybe Catwoman which we haven’t watched together. I’m pretty sure we’ve both seen it. The subject just hasn’t come up, ya know?

Also, thought it was a bit harsh to go including Green Lantern on this kind of a list. That one wasn’t exactly great, or anything, but I wouldn’t call it bad either. Certainly not on par with Batman and Robin, good heavens no. A little perspective, folks.

“Liberalism Works on People Who Don’t Think”

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Zo saw something…and said something.

The New Style Achieves Mainstream Acceptance

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

The Atlantic:

On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities.

In the final round, Ruffin and Johnson squared off against Rashid Campbell and George Lee from the University of Oklahoma, two highly accomplished African-American debaters with distinctive dreadlocks and dashikis. Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!” he yelled. His partner Campbell, who won the top speaker award at the National Debate Tournament two weeks later, had been unfairly targeted by the police at the debate venue just days before, and cited this personal trauma as evidence for his case against the government’s treatment of poor African-Americans.

This year wasn’t the first time this had happened. In the 2013 championship, two men from Emporia State University, Ryan Walsh and Elijah Smith, employed a similar style and became the first African-Americans to win two national debate tournaments. Many of their arguments, based on personal memoir and rap music, completely ignored the stated resolution, and instead asserted that the framework of collegiate debate has historically privileged straight, white, middle-class students.

Tournament participants from all backgrounds say they have found some of these debate strategies offensive. Even so, the new style has received mainstream acceptance, sympathy, and awards.

The beginning of the end of western civilization? Dunno. Depends on what sort of impact is had on civilization, by these debate teams. Not sure that that’s there. If it is, then this can’t be good.

I’ve now & then imposed a hypothetical of an alien from another planet renting space in our laundry room, experienced and competent in the realm of logic, reason, common sense, and maybe the English language, but entirely new to our culture, recent history and social customs. Like Mork From Ork or something — what sort of questions would such a visitor ask about this-or-that. In this situation, the curious alien would be transformed into a racist, and of the worst sort. But, this would be a reflection on us and not on him: He’d want to know, how come it is that debating a pressing issue coherently and rationally, has become a white thing?

I have also criticized the modern liberal movement for, among many other things, maintaining an ignorance of the concept of time. “They’re very often caught neglecting the refinement of the message that would be handed off to history, opting to focus their attentions on the emotional rapture of the moment. The Occupy Wall Street movement…is a perfect example of this.” The fuck-the-clock outburst is an even better example of it. The real tragedy is that entire lives are burned away, a year at a time, inside the hairpin turn of some glorious revolution. The time never seems to come to evaluate how it all went down, whether things have been made better. It requires less discipline, mentally at least, to endure the centripetal force of the turn. Everything is an outburst. Everything’s hyperbole. No cause-and-effect; no this, therefore that. “Fuck the time!” Outrage is always easier.

So the higher-ed institutions are cranking out more liberals. Well, that’s nothing new, is it. But this certainly can’t be good. And it isn’t fair to the students, not by a damn sight.

“I’m My Own Boss…Sick and Tired of My Party Treating Me Like a Victim”

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Salina Zito at TribLive (via Instapundit):

She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week.

A Democrat herself, she said she has carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant.

“I am in many ways my own boss,” she explained. “It is up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages.”

And she is “sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it’s insulting.”
The president, she said, “is trying to create a wedge issue when there isn’t one. Why can’t he focus on things people are really concerned about, like bringing back lost jobs, a tangible thing that has affected housing, communities, tax bases and schools?”

Last Tuesday, President Obama signed an executive order encouraging federal contractors to pay men and women the same amount of money for the same amount of work.

He claimed that women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men — a very broad statement and, in many ways, false, according to a Labor Department analysis showing that when you factor in job experience, education and hours worked, the difference in median wages between men and women shrinks to 5 to 7 cents on the dollar.

Christina Hoff Sommers has more to say about that (from Chicks On The Right):

Even the Washington Post Fact-Checker is boosting the rating on this chestnut, from one to two Pinocchios.