Archive for February, 2015

Verizon Protests FCC Net Neutrality Ruling

Friday, February 27th, 2015

…in Morse Code:

On Verizon’s policy blog Thursday, the company posted a statement it titled “FCC’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ move imposes 1930s rules on the Internet.”

Here’s the full statement in all its old-timey glory:

– — -.. .- -.– .—-. … -.. . -.-. .. … .. — -. -… -.– – …. . ..-. -.-. -.-. – — . -. -.-. ..- — -… . .-. -… .-. — .- -.. -… .- -. -.. .. -. – . .-. -. . – … . .-. …- .. -.-. . … .– .. – …. -… .- -.. .-.. -.– .- -. – .. –.- ..- .- – . -.. .-. . –. ..- .-.. .- – .. — -. … .. … .- .-. .- -.. .. -.-. .- .-.. … – . .–. – …. .- – .–. .-. . … .- –. . … .- – .. — . — ..-. ..- -. -.-. . .-. – .- .. -. – -.– ..-. — .-. -.-. — -. … ..- — . .-. … –..– .. -. -. — …- .- – — .-. … .- -. -.. .. -. …- . … – — .-. … .-.-.- — …- . .-. – …. . .–. .- … – – .– — -.. . -.-. .- -.. . … .- -… .. .–. .- .-. – .. … .- -. –..– .-.. .. –. …. – -….- – — ..- -.-. …. .–. — .-.. .. -.-. -.– .- .–. .–. .-. — .- -.-. …. ..- -. .-.. . .- … …. . -.. ..- -. .–. .-. . -.-. . -.. . -. – . -.. .. -. …- . … – — . -. – .- -. -.. . -. .- -… .-.. . -.. – …. . -… .-. — .- -.. -… .- -. -.. .. -. – . .-. -. . – .- –. . -.-. — -. … ..- — . .-. … -. — .– . -. .— — -.– .-.-.- – …. . ..-. -.-. -.-. – — -.. .- -.– -.-. …. — … . – — -.-. …. .- -. –. . – …. . .– .- -.– – …. . -.-. — — — . .-. -.-. .. .- .-.. .. -. – . .-. -. . – …. .- … — .–. . .-. .- – . -.. … .. -. -.-. . .. – … -.-. .-. . .- – .. — -. .-.-.- -.-. …. .- -. –. .. -. –. .- .–. .-.. .- – ..-. — .-. — – …. .- – …. .- … -… . . -. … — … ..- -.-. -.-. . … … ..-. ..- .-.. … …. — ..- .-.. -.. -… . -.. — -. . –..– .. ..-. .- – .- .-.. .-.. –..– — -. .-.. -.– .- ..-. – . .-. -.-. .- .-. . ..-. ..- .-.. .–. — .-.. .. -.-. -.– .- -. .- .-.. -.– … .. … –..– ..-. ..- .-.. .-.. – .-. .- -. … .–. .- .-. . -. -.-. -.– –..– .- -. -.. -… -.– – …. . .-.. . –. .. … .-.. .- – ..- .-. . –..– .– …. .. -.-. …. .. … -.-. — -. … – .. – ..- – .. — -. .- .-.. .-.. -.– -.-. …. .- .-. –. . -.. .– .. – …. -.. . – . .-. — .. -. .. -. –. .–. — .-.. .. -.-. -.– .-.-.- .- … .- .-. . … ..- .-.. – –..– .. – .. … .-.. .. -.- . .-.. -.– – …. .- – …. .. … – — .-. -.– .– .. .-.. .-.. .— ..- -.. –. . – — -.. .- -.– .—-. … .- -.-. – .. — -. … .- … — .. … –. ..- .. -.. . -.. .-.-.- – …. . ..-. -.-. -.-. .—-. … — — …- . .. … . … .–. . -.-. .. .- .-.. .-.. -.– .-. . –. .-. . – – .- -… .-.. . -… . -.-. .- ..- … . .. – .. … .– …. — .-.. .-.. -.– ..- -. -. . -.-. . … … .- .-. -.– .-.-.- – …. . ..-. -.-. -.-. …. .- -.. – .- .-. –. . – . -.. – — — .-.. … .- …- .- .. .-.. .- -… .-.. . – — .–. .-. . … . .-. …- . .- -. — .–. . -. .. -. – . .-. -. . – –..– -… ..- – .. -. … – . .- -.. -.-. …. — … . – — ..- … . – …. .. … — .-. -.. . .-. .- … .- -. . -..- -.-. ..- … . – — .- -.. — .–. – …– —– —– -….- .–. .-.. ..- … .–. .- –. . … — ..-. -… .-. — .- -.. .- -. -.. — .–. . -. -….- . -. -.. . -.. .-. . –. ..- .-.. .- – — .-. -.– .- .-. -.-. .- -. .- – …. .- – .– .. .-.. .-.. …. .- …- . ..- -. .. -. – . -. -.. . -.. -. . –. .- – .. …- . -.-. — -. … . –.- ..- . -. -.-. . … ..-. — .-. -.-. — -. … ..- — . .-. … .- -. -.. …- .- .-. .. — ..- … .–. .- .-. – … — ..-. – …. . .. -. – . .-. -. . – . -.-. — … -.– … – . — ..-. — .-. -.– . .- .-. … – — -.-. — — . .-.-.- .– …. .- – …. .- … -… . . -. .- -. -.. .– .. .-.. .-.. .-. . — .- .. -. -.-. — -. … – .- -. – -… . ..-. — .-. . –..– -.. ..- .-. .. -. –. .- -. -.. .- ..-. – . .-. – …. . . -..- .. … – . -. -.-. . — ..-. .- -. -.– .-. . –. ..- .-.. .- – .. — -. … .. … …- . .-. .. –.. — -. .—-. … -.-. — — — .. – — . -. – – — .- -. — .–. . -. .. -. – . .-. -. . – – …. .- – .–. .-. — …- .. -.. . … -.-. — -. … ..- — . .-. … .– .. – …. -.-. — — .–. . – .. – .. …- . -… .-. — .- -.. -… .- -. -.. -.-. …. — .. -.-. . … .- -. -.. .. -. – . .-. -. . – .- -.-. -.-. . … … .– …. . -. –..– .– …. . .-. . –..– .- -. -.. …. — .– – …. . -.– .– .- -. – .-.-.-

Verizon also translated for the non-Morse-code-reading public:

Aw, who needs that? C’mon, don’t make everyone else do your work for you. Put your back into it.

Alright, maybe that process would go on a bit slowly. So we’ll continue:

Regulating“Today’s decision by the FCC to encumber broadband Internet services with badly antiquated regulations is a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors. Over the past two decades a bipartisan, light- touch policy approach unleashed unprecedented investment and enabled the broadband Internet age consumers now enjoy.

“The FCC today chose to change the way the commercial Internet has operated since its creation. Changing a platform that has been so successful should be done, if at all, only after careful policy analysis, full transparency, and by the legislature, which is constitutionally charged with determining policy. As a result, it is likely that history will judge today’s actions as misguided.

“The FCC’s move is especially regrettable because it is wholly unnecessary. The FCC had targeted tools available to preserve an open Internet, but instead chose to use this order as an excuse to adopt 300- plus pages of broad and open- ended regulatory arcana that will have unintended negative consequences for consumers and various parts of the Internet ecosystem for years to come.

“What has been and will remain constant before, during and after the existence of any regulations is Verizon’s commitment to an open Internet that provides consumers with competitive broadband choices and Internet access when, where, and how they want.”

People who genuinely love freedom, don’t bundle up a great big bushel of power and drop it in the laps of their overlords to “prevent” future problems that might happen.

“Depriving Infants Of Peanut Products May Have Been A Colossal Mistake”

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Back in 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) told parents to stop feeding peanuts and peanut products to their children until they reached the age of three. Despite this, prevalency rates of peanut allergies continued to rise, and by 2008, the AAP had retracted its recommendation for lack of proof. At the same time, correlative studies were starting to show that allergy rates were higher among populations practicing early food-avoidance compared to those who were not. What’s more, some studies showed that early introduction of egg and milk could be associated with a decrease in related allergies.

The new study, which appears in The New England Journal of Medicine, is now providing some concrete evidence. In a controlled trial, a group of 530 infants aged 4 to 11 months at high risk of developing peanut allergies were randomly assigned either to be fed food with peanuts (consumption group) or peanut-free foods (avoidance group). The children were fed at least six grams of peanut protein each week, about 24 peanuts’ worth.

This went on until they reached the age of five. Around 10% of the children were eventually excluded from the study for fear of severe reactions.

The results were striking: By age five, the overall prevalence of peanut allergy in the avoidance group was 17.2%. In the consumption group, it was 3.2%…

Yeah, I remember reading about that 13-year-old girl a couple years ago (video clip behind link auto-plays). Ate a peanut snack at a summer camp, died in her father’s arms. Last I heard, they were suing. Maybe it’s insensitive to say, but I have to confess the suit wouldn’t have much chance if I was on the jury, because kids generally just aren’t built that way. They’re born to deal with things; they’re resilient creatures. The newer study seems to support this.

There is disagreement here that is generational in nature. Like many crusty old farts, I think back to kids with allergies back in my day. Maybe one or two in the whole damn school had an allergy. And if they ate something they shouldn’t, it was mild discomfort, maybe breaking out in the face. Don’t think we ever got to find out for sure.

Eat the wrong thing and drop dead? It was unfathomable. Now we have a lawsuit…

Something is different. Something’s different about kids and their allergies, and with the studies. And with neurotic, study-overloaded parenting. Also, with long-term memory. Some of the neurotic-parents are just as old as I am, and could recall generally the same memories about four decades ago that I can recall — but it doesn’t trigger any skepticism about the latest neurotic-study. History always began this morning, don’t feed your kids this, don’t feed your kids that.

Now we have some real health concerns, vulnerabilities, and a few actual deaths. All of which would appear to be entirely avoidable. How sad.

The Secular Religion of the Left

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Sultan Knish:

Kill off religion and what do you have left? The answer can be seen in China. You’re left with materialism and family interests.. Cast off the shackles of the family for individualistic consumerism and you’re left with nothing except materialism as can be seen in any major Western city.

Secular Religion of the LeftModern urban man is much too “smart” for religion. At least his own. He wants to add an ethical dimension to life without having to believe in anything except the sense of fairness that he already has, but which he does not realize is not nearly as valid objectively as it is subjectively in his inner emotional reality.

And that is what the left is. It strips away everything except that egotistical sense that things should be run more fairly with predictably unfair results.

Liberalism, and the milder flavors of the left, provide a permission slip for materialism by elevating it through political activism. This is the philosophical purpose of environmentalism’s green label. It tells you that you are a good person for buying something and soothes the moral anxieties of an urban class with no coherent moral system except the need to impose an ethical order on the consumerism that defined their childhood, their adolescence and their adult life.

It’s worth repeating, yet again: “Our ‘civilization’…is embroiled in a cold civil war…between people who refuse to define things, and people who MUST see to it that things are strongly defined before they can do what they do.”

The Cancer of Multiculturalism

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Prof. Thomas Sowell, writing in Town Hall:

College campus idiots — and that includes faculty members and administrators — call for the celebration of and respect for all cultures. In their eyes, it’s racist Eurocentrism to think that Western values and culture are superior to others. But that’s the height of stupidity. Ask your campus multiculturalist who believes in cultural equivalency: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Sudan and Niger; is that a cultural equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits on women — such as prohibitions on driving, employment, voting and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. Some multiculturalists are members of campus LGBT groups. Ask them to what extent the Muslim culture would tolerate their lifestyle.

At the very heart of multiculturalism is an attack on Christianity. Much of that attack has its roots among hypocrites in the intellectual elite. For example, Duke University sponsored Muslim calls to prayer in the name of promoting “religious pluralism,” until external pressures forced it to cancel the practice. Earlier, Duke administrators removed Chick-fil-A as a campus vendor because of CEO Dan Cathy’s comments regarding his religious opposition to homosexual marriage. So much for religious pluralism, tolerance and free speech.

Some public school boards have attempted to ban songs containing references to Santa Claus, Jesus or religious Christmas symbols. One school district banned a teacher from using excerpts from historical documents in his classroom because they contained references to God and Christianity. The documents in question were the Declaration of Independence and “The Rights of the Colonists,” by Samuel Adams.

Hat tip to Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.

It is a usurpation, one that is as successful as it is only because it exists outside of our conventional understanding of what usurpation can be. There is no one single radical-Islamic group that has elected or planted 51 percent of the membership of a board of regents or directors anywhere; no corporate takeover, no sale of stock made this happen, no transfer of debt. And yet, a switch has been flipped. Just a few years ago, in our most heated presidential elections it was the left-of-center candidate, ultimately victorious, who declared that marriage was the union between a man and a woman. That President has been evolving and if He had been doing this evolution in isolation, there wouldn’t be anything scary about it at all, that would be the basis of independent thinking. But of course that’s not what’s happening; we have one guy who wakes up in the morning, mulls over whatever is in His noggin, God only knows how, then communicates the latest “evolution” down through the layers of the organizational hierarchy like the Captain of a ship who’s received new orders from the Admiralty.

And that is not the basis of independent thinking. It is directly contrary to it.

We don’t understand this sort of usurpation, because there is no one individual, organization or faction that is making it happen. The usurpation is one of ideas, or to be even more precise about it, characteristics of ideas. Quoting myself yet again,

Our “civilization” at the moment…is embroiled in a cold civil war…between people who refuse to define things, and people who MUST see to it that things are strongly defined before they can do what they do.

“This and that culture are morally equivalent” is a statement that shuns, not embraces, definitions — nevermind whether it is true or false, we can’t even make it that far because the statement lacks the characteristic of testability. Morally equivalent in what way? How do we replicate the experiment? You can’t, because there wasn’t one. The whole thought process is backward.

Institutions have changed their thinking because people have changed their thinking. It is not a desire for the enhancement or expansion of freedom for others that has motivated this new kind of thinking; it is a desire for the self to get along with large groups of others. And, there’s a little bit of “and fuck everybody else” mixed in there too. We might as well face it, if the primary motivator is good-standing membership in a crowd, that’s going to be rather meaningless if someone else isn’t excluded from the crowd.

But we’re left with, what is this crowd if there is no puppet master, no one single kingmaker or cabal working the controls, buying up majority shares of stock, encroaching on the membership of a board somewhere? What then is changing? It is a shift that comes from changing incentives. The evil itself is within us, has always been within us, it’s the different climate that is bringing it out of too many of us. So it’s rather like asking “how did the maggots get in the coffin if it’s sealed so tightly?” They were brought in, of course, with the cadaver. Embalmed or not, before and after the moment of demise, “he” always had them.

But let’s go for a metaphor that involves a little less “eww.” We’re rather like the statue in the town square that changes appearance as the shadows shift with the passing of the day. This part of the face is not changing, nor that part, face, arms, legs, et al; the rays of light that are acting on the object, are what’s changing. That’s how the thing about definitions becomes relevant. Just a few decades ago, people had to make life and death decisions based on definitions of things. We made a point of knowing what those decisions were, before we decided. Now, we don’t. We may still make the decisions, but all too often if you try to get something defined, the details are kept hidden from you. The most common outcome now is for the consumer to decide it’s just not worth the effort, and after one or two attempts to educate himself much more casually, roll the dice and hope for the best.

“Educate himself more casually” is typically something to do with asking advice from someone who’s made a similar decision. But that only works as well as the honesty of the other person, combined with how similar the two situations may be. Either way though, we’re not thriving on definitions to do our thing anymore; too many among us, the most vocal among us, do absolutely nothing that relies on them. Passing an exam in college is the closest they ever come, and passing exams is, boiled down to its raw essentials, reaching “success” in agreeing with someone unseen about the answers. Or at least most of them.

And there’s your problem; consensus is displacing correctness. A agrees with B, that means whatever it is must be correct. It looks and feels so much like real validation. But what if we go beyond B, and there are more people in the room — what if everyone agrees except one guy? You may look at that as an opportunity for an exchange of ideas. Or, you may look at that as one ostracism away from consensus, and if consensus equals truth, then it’s only obvious what has to happen next.

So the multi-culti nonsense, like so many other cancers being left largely unchecked, is an offshoot of this new-age thinking. The culprit is technology. It’s done wonderful things for us and we owe it a great deal, but it’s created generations of people who don’t actually know how to think. There hasn’t been any reason to. They don’t face tests in life, other than the test of “getting along” with others, and so they say risible, damaging things that are already being said by others. When these things turn out to be wrong and there are consequences, the people who repeated after each other to make it look like the correct thing when it wasn’t, aren’t around anywhere to deal with or bear those consequences.

Che Clothes

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

From Chicks on the Right, which adds:

There’s no excuse. If you wear a Che shirt, you’re either ignorant or you’re an open supporter of evil. And neither of those is ok.

Weather and Climate

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

J.R. Dunn writes at American Thinker:

The country is enduring yet another bout of brutal cold courtesy of the North Pole Express, AKA the polar vortex.

Warmists dismiss this as “weather”, which only begs the question as to when “weather” becomes “climate”. There’s certainly no red line dividing one from the other, nor could there be, the two being so interrelated.

With this in mind, there’s one factor generally overlooked by warmists, and by skeptics as well: the fact that this arctic cold does have climatic effects, resulting directly from day after day of freezing temperatures across continental distances, and that these effects are well understood.

There follows a short description of this year’s greater coverage of ice and snow reflecting solar radiation back into the atmosphere, which causes a self-perpetuating cycle. Then this:

That’s one way that “weather” shifts into “climate”. And it’s happening right now. How long will this pattern continue? It’s impossible to say. But one thing for sure: whatever you want to call it, it ain’t warming. It does not fit into any warming model. Quite the contrary. And that’s something that the warmists — who happily broadcast every last element, no matter how trivial or doubtful, that supports their thesis — ought to be forced to explain repeatedly and often.

Don’t forget the comments. I found the thing about the flea and the locomotives to be entertaining.

And then there’s the thing about control:

Global warming is about redistribution and control. Government health care is about redistribution and control. Next is net neutrality for redistribution and control. Liberalism is about redistribution and control.

It never seems to truly matter what the problem is. The answer is always surrendering more money and more power to the betters in Washington, or else for Washington to surrender it to some internationalist cabal.

“To Confront an Enemy That is Even More Dangerous”

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Tea Party News Network:

On FOX News’ The Kelly File on Thursday, host Megyn Kelly played an eerily prophetic, timely, and applicable video from George W. Bush in 2007 warning about the consequences of pulling out of Iraq too early.

Bush was roundly criticized for the comments at the time, but considering the horrific events in the Middle East e[s]calating while Obama works on lowering his golf handicap, Bush’s words have even deeper impact.

“As we track these new terror concerns at home and overseas, we are reminded of warnings we heard back in 2007,” Kelly stated.

“America was fighting the Iraq War; President Bush had just ordered U.S. troops to surge in Iraq, and critics were demanding that the U.S. withdraw the troops, when President Bush issued this frighteningly accurate, as it turns out, assessment of what would happen if we did that,” Kelly said introducing the short video clip.

Anyone who’s played a game of Risk for any length of time at all, has been forced to understand what escapes the anemic knowledge domain of those who criticize the use of force in Iraq because “they never attacked us.” The issue President Bush was trying to describe back then, that we can see all too well now, is turf. Turf is linked to control. And relinquishing control is all fine & good, as long as it isn’t being relinquished to bad people.

It’s All About Them

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

It’s Mr. Clarey so you know already there has to be a language warning. Thought exercise: What if everybody who isn’t a liberal, caved in all at the same time and gave the liberals what they wanted, across the board? Would they leave us alone and vamoose?

FUCK no. Because that would eventually involve them working for a living.

“They’re zombies, they’re just gonna keep going and going and going, and they will not stop…it will not end, that’s the whole point.”

Kelly and Gutierrez

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Just curious, and I know this may not be the best place to ask, but is there anybody who thinks Congressman Squinty-Eyes did a great job presenting this point-of-view on the teevee?

Anybody? Anywhere?

The Scolding Ritual

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

I had earlier made the point about what is happening to our economy…

Today, we still have signaling. But the signaling is, too much of the time, from the suppliers to the those who demand, such that the demand ends up being nothing more than a reflection of whatever is in supply. The suppliers, in turn, then end up doing whatever they wanted to do. It’s then up to the consumer to find a way to make it fit.

The consumers have been losing their voice. We have quite a few transactions being closed, only for the benefit of the supplier, many of them without the consent of the consumer or only with consent from the consumer that has been somehow perverted. It’s either been regulated when the will is not there, or given freely but without due consideration, more as a conditioned response.

While that’s happening, we have a decline in masculinity, almost as if there was some orbiting radioactive source breaking down our stores of testosterone. Our culture is not what it was before. Too many women have a need to scold men, and because consumers are tailoring their orders around the whims of suppliers and learning to like it that way, too many men are manufacturing a need to be scolded.

Put it all together, and you have stuff like this:

As James Delingpole mentions as he writes at Brietbart, there is a contradiction here so obvious that you would have to expend good effort to avoid seeing it: Mother Nature doesn’t need us, we can’t do anything that has any effect on her, so send in your money right away. This is a hundred and eighty degrees reversed from the message you give to someone when you want their money, and they, whether gullible or not, can at least think rationally. In that situation it’s well-established what sort of story you want to tell: Here is the expected end-state if you do nothing, here is the more likely result if you do something, now see how far apart they are? You have influence, you can help.

Somehow, it made sense for someone to commission Julia Roberts to deliver the opposite message and tell us all how worthless we are.

The unavoidable conclusion one must reach is that, for one reason or another, this opens billfolds. I have to mull it over long & hard to consider it, let alone settle on it, even tentatively. But there it is. “Oh joy, I’m scum! Pretty-Woman-Mother-Nature says so! Where’s my checkbook?” If no one is ready to say that, there’d be no reason to put all this to video. Would there?

I guess that’s the big question. We certainly do have a lot of “producers” who act this way, putting together commodities that are built around this scolding ritual, usually involving aggressive females talking down to timid males. The commodities, once put together, do not seem to me to be languishing on shelves anywhere. Someone is buying them. Perhaps everyone buying is a female who wants to be more aggressive, who then tries to pass it off to the males she wants to dominate, with mixed success.

Or maybe we do have some masochist males lining up for slaughter. Exhibit A would be this story about Ray J and Princess Love:

Ray J’s girlfriend Princess Love was arrested in New Orleans after beating allegedly him up.
The singer told cops his girlfriend attacked him, which resulted in several cracked ribs, a busted lip and a torn ACL.

Someone allegedly heard her scream “I’m gonna kill you” at Ray J, but cops weren’t called until a hotel security guard saw the singer bleeding, according to TMZ.

Love was reportedly charged with domestic abuse and battery.

A source told TMZ that Ray J has since bailed his girlfriend out of jail and got her a lawyer.

Looks like the dude’s paying for his own hanging. Point made. Hat tip to Instapundit, who adds:

I blame today’s current climate of female privilege, which leads to a sense of entitlement and impunity. Also, note that despite hearing her say she was going to kill him, hotel security didn’t intervene until they saw him bleeding.

Over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging I made a comment about a guy at work who can’t drink at home because his wife is pregnant, and if she can’t drink he can’t drink. One of my former work associates from some twenty years ago said,

Check if he was raised by a single mom. I’m betting he had no ma[l]e role model.

Hmmm. Well there is certainly something that has changed in the last half-century or so, that could explain things. But, I doubt it in this case. It doesn’t fit with Ray J from what I can see. There’s something else going on here.

Brother-in-Law says,

What’s with these men growing vaginas ????

It could be just a simple lack of awareness that there is an issue. I wasn’t raised by a single mom, and by the time I understood there were some trolleys coming off the track here I was, if memory recalls, somewhere in my mid-twenties with one divorce behind me already. Even then though, you have to be much more well-informed and conscious of what’s happening, to start to take a stand against it, or even just to resist it if you’re into the think-globally-act-locally thing. By the time we get to actually choosing a woman who’s willing to do the driving so you can have a drink or two at the restaurant, showing sufficient maturity to turn away from this “get even for everything” tit-for-tat stuff? Well by then, I was nearly forty.

And in my case that was some good progress, good enough to make all the difference between failure and success. She’s puttering around in the bathroom as I write this and we’re about to bump into each other and have our daily race to see who gets the shower first. She’s a gem, but I found her relatively late in life.

That’s why I’m not in a big hurry to get snotty with the current work-colleague guy. We’re all susceptible to this. In fact I would say most of our present society, sorted by nose-count or by mass, is engaging in this ritual in some way. It’s as if we’ve figured out, or begun to labor under the delusion, that this is some sort of magic rocket-fuel that makes everything go: Tell some masculine figure he’s just a bunch of refuse and is not wanted. Somehow, all objectives worth achieving, are achieved through that, through the scolding ritual.

The Top Ten Percent Pay More Than Their Fair Share

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

I’ve got a current-friend-and-former-colleague who’s openly wondering on the Hello Kitty of Blogging how anyone can “in good conscience argue” against President Obama’s plans to get money out of politics. I went ahead and fielded it by giving the picture from my perspective, although I’m sure the conversation will become very confusing since he’s got so many friends and relatives who’ve blocked me in both directions.

See that’s what is confusing. He doesn’t block, and neither do I, because we’re, like, y’know, grown-ups & so forth.

On another front, I find myself embroiled yet again in conflict with someone regarding a personal matter, who believes very strongly in preserving poverty. There’s no advantage involved in going into details, but it has become clear she’s not alone in idolizing weakness, I’m not alone in aspiring toward strength, and I’m very far from alone in having this sort of conflict with people who treat weakness as if it’s strength. (And ya know, the way our social safety nets are set up these days, with handicaps fast becoming the preferred coin of the realm, people like that do kinda have a point.) Also, I can say it’s not my first time, and it really leaves a mark on you. Which may go a long way toward answering my friend’s question.

We do have an ideological split along those lines. And it isn’t too clear that there’s any redistribution of power necessary to give the “weakness is strength” people an adequate voice in our elections. We’re managing to get plenty enough politicians elected who haven’t built anything or done anything to actually help anybody, who believe in equalizing misery. In fact, come to think of it, they can somehow bring plenty enough “big money” of their own into politics, they show no signs of stopping, even with their repeated efforts to “keep big money out of politics.”

These days you really have to live in a cave, or something, in order not to see it. The conflict isn’t between right-wingers and left-wingers arguing about how they should sit in the French Parliament relative to King Louis XVI. The argument is, and has been for awhile, about who should have a greater influence on the direction in which the country is taken: Those who believe next year should yield more bountiful rewards than this year did, or those who don’t believe in that and want everything “equal,” which really means, miserable.

I guess my counter-question would have to be something like: How can anyone pay attention these days, and not see all this?

Jesse Watters’ Presidents Day Quiz

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

From here.

Speak softly and carry a big…heart?

Not a Serious Leader

Monday, February 16th, 2015

“Mister President, You need to get serious about what’s going on in the Middle East.”

From Fox News.

Happy Presidents Day!

Why Can’t Liberalism Survive on Talk Radio, and Conservatism Can’t Thrive in Humor?

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Very thought-provoking piece in The Atlantic, which takes awhile to point out the obvious:

The people who are most knowledgeable about politics — and therefore, the ones who understand the most political jokes — also tend to be the most ideologically extreme. So it makes sense that political satire shows, like conservative talk radio and its Fox News spinoffs, are ideologically skewed: Their viewers are the kinds of people who know the latest news stories and what their fellow ideologues are saying about them.

Before writer Oliver Morrison gets to that though, there is an interesting story:

Political humor, in particular, might have an inherently liberal bias. Alison Dagnes spent years looking into this question for her 2012 book A Conservative Walks Into a Bar. She spoke to dozens of working comedians who self-identified as liberals, and as many who identified as conservatives as she could find. One of the reasons she posits for a lack of conservative satire is that the genre has always been aimed at taking down the powerful, from the Revolutionary War through Vietnam and 9/11. “Conservatism supports institutions and satire aims to knock these institutions down a peg,” she wrote.
Peter McGraw, an associate professor at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business, has argued for what he calls the “benign-violation theory” of humor. McGraw believes that humor results from violating social norms or by violating a particular person or group. But it only becomes funny when it’s placed in a second context that clearly signals the violation is harmless or benign. In other words, if someone falls down the stairs, it will only be really funny if that person doesn’t get hurt.

Earlier this year the journalist Joel Warner published The Humor Code, describing his efforts to test McGraw’s theory. Accompanied by McGraw himself, he visited improv artists in New York and stand-up comics in L.A. The two men talked to the world’s foremost researchers on humor and explored the vast joke collections of humor anthropologists. They even traveled to Japan to see if the benign-violation theory held up in a culture renowned for its (by Western standards) weird sense of humor. In each case, Warner and McGraw were able to use their theory to explain the various kinds of humor they encountered. But when they tried to put the theory into practice, by having McGraw perform standup — first at a bar in Denver and then at the Just for Laughs Festival in Toronto — it didn’t work very well. McGraw did manage to get some laughs eventually, but only after months of immersion and practice.

This attempt to provide an overarching theory of humor suggests that academic explanations aren’t much help to the professionals who are trying to be funny. Humor is a creative art that responds to a specific culture at a particular moment in its history. This response can take many forms: TV sit-coms, internet parody, late-night variety shows, cartoons, stand-up, sketch, improv. But in each case, the jokes only work if they’re perfectly timed and aimed at the right audience. [bold emphasis mine]

That makes perfect sense to me. It’s like the tumblers behind the knob on a safe. If the delivery and the timing are right, if the forum is compatible with the message that is being delivered, and if the audience is ready to here it, you get a click. If you only have two out of those three then nothing happens…which I imagine to a stand-up comedian must be painfully embarrassing. That would be what in the industry they call “dyin’ up there.”

This struggle to thrive in a particular genre isn’t exclusive to conservatives and satire. At the end of the 1990s, when Jon Stewart took over The Daily Show, conservatives dominated one form of entertainment media: talk radio. Liberals have never managed to equal conservatives’ success in that arena. The Air America network — whose talent included Rachel Maddow, as well as Saturday Night Live alumnus and future Senator Al Franken — filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of 2010. Even MSNBC has never been able to attract as large an audience as Fox News, the televised version of conservative talk radio.

Could it be that American political satire is biased toward liberals in the same way that American political talk radio is biased toward conservatives? Dannagal Young, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Delaware, was looking into the lack of conservative comedians when she noticed studies that found liberals and conservatives seemed to have different aesthetic tastes. Conservatives seemed to prefer stories with clear-cut endings. Liberals, on the other hand, had more tolerance for a story like public radio’s Serial, which ends with some uncertainty and ambiguity.

Young began to wonder whether this might explain why liberals were attracted in greater numbers to TV shows that employ irony. Stephen Colbert, for example, may say that he’s looking forward to the sunny weather that global warming will bring, and the audience members know this isn’t what he really means. But they have to wonder: Is he making fun of the kind of conservative who would say something so egregious? Or is he making fun of arrogant liberals who think that conservatives hold such extreme views?

As Young noticed, this is a kind of ambiguity that liberals tend to find more satisfying and culturally familiar than conservatives do. In fact, a study out of Ohio State University found that a surprising number of conservatives who were shown Colbert clips were oblivious to the fact that he was joking.

In contrast, conservative talk radio humor tends to rely less on irony than straightforward indignation and hyperbole. When Rush Limbaugh took down Georgetown student and birth-control activist Sandra Fluke in 2012, he called her a “slut” in order to drive home his point about state-mandated birth control. After the liberal blogosphere erupted with derision, Limbaugh responded with more jokes, asking that Fluke post videos of her sex online so taxpayers could see what they were paying for.

These are excellent examples, made all the more relevant by a common theme reverberating in recent years from Planet Liberal, that there is something innately inferior about the conservative mind for this failure to pick up on irony. That’s an understatement, by the way. Try arguing with a liberal sometime, preferably in one of the faceless forums known for unleashing incendiary rage by loosening inhibitions, like a comment thread in a blog. “Don’t you understand irony?” will come the retort, a few exchanges after the conversation gets a bit heated. It’s one of their Go-To’s. And yeah, turns out, it is possible to snarl at someone on a web page, if you really want to do it.

Left unexplained is, exactly what crime is committed when one fails to get irony. Liberals, today, have a lot more rage for this than they have for robbing a liquor store in Ferguson, MO. And nobody anywhere can coherently explain why that is. There is a bit of hypocrisy in the snarling, too, as the Limbaugh/Fluke example reveals: Limbaugh was doing a lot of joking over that, and in the midst of their hyperventilating the outraged proggies failed to pick up on it.

These examples formed the kernel of Young’s theory that liberals and conservatives look for and see different kinds of humor. Connover, the producer of The Flipside, has already voiced skepticism about Young’s hypothesis. “That’s another way of saying that liberals are smarter,” Connover said. “And clearly that’s not the case. Liberals are some of the dumbest people to walk the earth.” Young insists that hypothesis is not about intelligence; it’s about a preferred structure of jokes. She maintains that there’s nothing inherently better about liking ironic jokes over exaggerated ones.

I would say they’re not quite so much dumb, but let us say, blithely unconcerned with clarity. The passage excerpted ends with a graphic of Stephen Colbert, underneath which an editor has seen fit to append a caption that reads in part, “Stephen Colbert’s humor can leave his audiences wondering whether he’s making fun of conservatives, [or] the way liberals see conservatives…” It goes without saying that this comedian in particular is popular among the left, so this provides additional support for the notion that conservatives and liberals see ambiguity differently. It goes back to my previous observation that

Our “civilization” at the moment…is embroiled in a cold civil war…between people who refuse to define things, and people who MUST see to it that things are strongly defined before they can do what they do.

It is the “do what they do” thing that is the deal-breaker. There are liberals, here & there, who actually do work for a living, in fact there are entire industries that have been fairly saturated with liberals, taken over by them. Just as there are industries that have been taken-over by conservatives. Could anyone with some decent knowledge of contemporary politics, credibly envision a near-future event in which one or more of these industries switches sides? Conservatives give up tobacco farming, truck engine manufacturing, roof inspection, bridge design, in exchange for the industries they’ll take from the liberals — Hollywood, psychiatry, tort law, social work.

It’s pretty safe to say that isn’t going to happen. There are characteristics involved in these professions. The biggest attribute I notice is change-of-states. The crop is not yet farmed, the job is done, and then the crop is farmed. Psychiatry doesn’t work that way, of course. You stretch out on the couch, you pay your money, after awhile the therapist says “Mmmm, okay that’s very interesting, but at this point I’m afraid we’re all out of time. See you next week. We’re making fantastic progress!” But there’s no way to assess any sort of progress without anything changing states. Just like with the social work and the tort law and the making A-list blockbuster movies. Twelve months on, money will have shifted hands here & there, but all the situations will be unchanged. So that’s the big difference I’ve noticed, and in my opinion it’s a difference that essentially locks all the industries into whichever half in which we find them ensconced today.

And I connect that back to the ambiguity-thing. Conservatives don’t look at ambiguity the same way. It’s not a punchline, it can potentially be a killer. If you’re going to go walking out on a bridge your company just designed and built, you’re going to look at the measurements that went into building that bridge, a whole lot differently. So this Colbert-confusion is not going to be that titillating to the conservative mind, because that’s an evening show, and the conservative is going to look at the brain-teaser as not quite so much a punchline, as a piece of unfinished work. And hey, he just clocked out of work. If there’s more work to do, then fine, we call that “overtime” and who’s writing the check for that?

Liberals may see that as greedy or selfish. But the truth is that it’s just one of many transformations involved in reaching adulthood.

Children in Charge

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

From Town Hall, by way of Right Wing News:

Earlier this week the United States and other western powers evacuated Yemen, citing concerns about security in the rapidly deteriorating country. On the way out of the country, U.S. Marines were instructed to destroy their weapons and U.S. vehicles were taken over by Houthi rebels.

Now, without a presence there, the State Department is arguing rebel Houthis can be trusted to keep their word and to respect the U.S. embassy until it can be reoccupied. Houthis have been seen on video calling for “death to America,” just brought down the U.S. backed Yemeni government and have ties to terrorism.

At Pat Dollard, a fascinating video clip of the press conference:

Asking for it back again, pretty-please. What a fascinating diplomatic maneuver.

But fear not, our head guy is on the job or something.

Skinny NeroSomeone somewhere…is going to isolate some part of this [new video] as perfectly encapsulating How Obama is Diminishing the Presidency…

But which is the Most Diminishing Moment? We have done our best to rank them, from least to most diminishing, below.

I’m in favor of #7 myself:

This is a controversial decision, but we can defend it: How many pundits know how deeply embarrassing selfie sticks are? We propose: Not many. This would however be the most damaging clip for an attack ad — if Obama could run again.

But my all-time favorite comment about this from the thread beneath:

This is an excellent example of how republicans and democrats see the presidency differently. Republicans expect the president to defend the country. Democrats expect the president to entertain them.

Yeah. Bulls-eye. Not your daddy’s democrat party, by a far stretch. No longer is it the “party of the working man,” more like the party of…party. Little boys wearing their fathers’ business suits. Babies who’ve been handed blowtorches. They don’t know what they’re doing, and are not sufficiently mature to develop the curiosity to go figuring it out. They mutter away in solemn tones about “everyone” being able to get “access” to “the health care they need,” but it isn’t sincere. Everything is just one big joke to them.

The Five Ridiculous Ways Comic Books Depict Female Superheroes

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

From Cracked:

Weird BoobsHere’s something we’ve been wondering: How do superheroes have babies? Thanks to hours upon hours of analyzing fan-made diagrams on the Internet, we fully understand the ins and outs of superheroes making babies, but the birthing part is a little unclear to us. Mainly because most superheroines have so comically narrow torsos, you could barely fit a foot of intestines in there, to say nothing of forming an entire tiny human.

We realize that times and beauty standards have changed significantly and that we probably won’t see a plus-size female hero in a mainstream comic anytime soon. But, we would be equally happy with regular-size female heroes — or pretty much anyone who isn’t capable of taking cover behind a stop sign.

Of course, it’s nothing new to point out the unrealistic proportions of comic book characters — most male superheroes are already so muscular you’d swear they were smuggling steroid-infused watermelons under their skin, so who cares if comics exaggerate a few feminine traits here and there? Well, see, the thing is that giant muscles are primarily a male fantasy, while waists barely wider than your ankle are primarily … a male fantasy.

Yeah…ya know? I actually don’t think so. I’ve met just a couple of guys, ever, who wanted girlfriends who could “see her own toes without bending over,” which to me means, if I’m interpreting it right, no tits. Most guys don’t want that and don’t like that. Guys like curves and tits. I realize it’s February and that’s “argue about the depiction/selection of the female body, everywhere and all-the-time” month, but do we really have to argue about that? Guys liking curves and tits?

I really don’t think straight-guys started this trend, or if they did, it wasn’t out of a lustful fantasy. I think superheroines who are “capable of taking cover behind a stop sign” are just easier to draw. It is the lazy cartoonist’s version of the lazy scriptwriter’s “I’m getting way too old for this” or “I’m coming with you!” or “You’ve got to stop blaming yourself for what happened.”

It’s a vicious cycle. Cartoonists draw all females the same way, feminists (who would never dream of buying the comic book anyway) get extra ticked off about it, especially in February, so they shriek. The shrieking leads to pressure, and the pressure leads, just like pressure on a lump of coal making it into a diamond, to a tighter viewing frustum in which the female form can be safely depicted. Which leads to all the females being drawn the same way. Some more.

It’s a transformation that takes place slowly over time, like water wearing away at a rock. You doubt me? A quick look through history:

That’s from the seventies, when feminism was flexing its muscle and it was still okay to call it “Women’s Lib.” At least I think. Sometime around there. Note, there is room in her torso for some intestines, liver, kidneys, and maybe a womb. Healthy looking, if simplistic.

By the eighties, cartoonists had started to veer away from drawing women and men as formless blobs and developed a healthy curiosity about actual appearances of human bodies: Where are those muscles, which direction do they go, which ones stick out, how, and when? And Wonder Woman looked like this:

Again, room for a stomach, liver, lungs, all that good stuff.

With a few more years of feminist caterwauling, and the arrival of a new generation of cartoonists who evidently haven’t seen too many women naked, look what we have. She can now take cover behind that stop sign like all the rest of them. She’s got it all, except the guts or the room for them:

So yeah, all the female superheroes are drawn pretty much the same way now. Big round boobs that don’t resemble the real-life ones, born or bought, and a mop handle for all the rest of it.

But it isn’t because of male fantasies. Males have had fantasies for a good long time, for as long as humans have been reproducing. Also, fantasies lead to more creativity, not less of it, and what we’re seeing now is the death of creative energies. Not because of fantasies, but because of fear.

But, there are other items on the list that bolster this point. Like #1: “Every Female Character Sharing One Face.”

Yeeeeaaaaahhhh…I’ve been noticing this as well. And the example they provided is excellent, even eerie.

Who is this bitch anyway? There must be someone, somewhere, inspiring this, like CMSgt William Candy. The cartoonist’s mom? An ex-wife maybe? Or a soon-to-be-ex-wife?

Again, the question is what’s happening to creativity. If there’s a narrower range of products being developed, that’s an obvious decline, and not any kind of rise. Lustful fantasies, or any sort of fantasies, do not diminish creativity; they inspire it. Healthy or not, they stoke the flame. That is not what we’re seeing here at all.

The Interviewer Was Merciless

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

From Chicks on the Right.

It really is true. Liberalism is a mental disorder.

This Is Good CXVII

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Brian Williams Didn’t Lie

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Brian Williams is taking a temporary leave because of the “misremembering” thing. His Wikipedia page has probably the fairest and most complete recap of what happened here, but there’s a note above it that says the page includes too much. So it might do to pull that in here before the revision hits…

In February 2015 Williams recanted a story he had told about being aboard a helicopter hit by RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) fire and forced to land on March 24, 2003, during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. His initial and subsequent reportings of the incident indicated that a helicopter in front of his was hit by the RPG. However, in a 2013 interview and during the NBC Nightly News broadcast on January 30, 2015 Williams inaccurately recounted the incident, stating that it was the helicopter he was on that was “hit and crippled by enemy fire”. His story was soon criticized by Lance Reynolds, a flight engineer who was on board one of the three helicopters that had been attacked. Reynolds and other crew members said they were forced to make an emergency landing, and that it was a half hour to an hour later that Williams’ Chinook helicopter arrived on the scene. Williams investigated the damage and interviewed crew members about the attack.

On the February 4 broadcast of Nightly News, Williams apologized, stating that he “made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” and extended his respect and apology to the “brave men and women in the air crews who were also in the desert.”

NBC News President Deborah Turness announced on February 6 that there would be an internal investigation into Williams’ Iraq reporting. On February 7 Williams announced that he would step away from the Nightly News broadcast for “the next several days.”

On the same day, a 2007 videotaped interview surfaced in which Williams described the helicopter incident in another way that contradicts the recollections of its crewmen. Williams said in the interview, “…I looked down the tube of an RPG that had been fired at us, and it hit the chopper in front of us.” Williams had already agreed in his February 4 apology that no RPG rounds had been fired at his aircraft, but the statement also collides with the recollection of military personnel that the helicopter that did sustain RPG damage was at least a half hour in front of Williams’ craft, making it impossible for Williams to “look down the tube” of the RPG that damaged the other helicopter.

I’m struggling to reconcile this with what I know about the lefty-leaning types, the left-wing cloth from which Williams is cut. I’m taking it as a given that this misremembering event is an effect, of which the leftiness is a cause. My reasoning should become clear after what follows. I haven’t got much new information about this because by now, most of the ones I know have unfriended me on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, either that or we’ve reached some accord in which we “agree to disagree” and all that rot. Most of the lefties I can see are on the news, like for example, President Platitude babbling His gibberish about “high horse” and the Crusades/Inquisition thing…

Christians Have Done Terrible ThingsIn [President Obama’s] speech on Thursday, he said:

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

Pharaoh Three-Putt then went on to explain exactly what “terrible deeds” He had in mind. Oh no wait — no He didn’t! We’re left to figure this out for ourselves.

Once again, it could be fair to accuse me of making the problem with such ambiguity, since a lot of people won’t see it. And that would at first appear reasonable, too. Obama is speaking in the context of a man being burned to death while a crowd watches, well, the Inquisition sometimes involved burning at the stake, so the point is made. Right?

And the answer is no. Ambiguity involves a plurality of interpretations; a disagreement about whether ambiguity is present, cannot be settled by people who believe it’s not there just because they lack the ability to see what causes the confusion. Obama mentioned the Crusades. The evidence, and common sense, compel us to regard all those as one big defensive war. They were a response to the Muslim hordes’ centuries-long attempt to take over the entire civilized world, and of course anytime you’re trying to control people, the very first thing you must do is to stigmatize as a “terrible deed” any act of resistance. We’ve seen Obama’s people do that repeatedly. ObamaCare alone is an adequate example, although there are others. So, sorry, I’m really not sure if He’s comparing immolation to immolation or not. He could very well be talking about something else. Why didn’t He take the time to clarify? He says “let Me be clear” an awful lot, why doesn’t He take the few extra words to, you know, actually do it?

But back to the main subject. How does the idiotic “high horse” remark connect to the Brian Williams debacle? What they have in common is this: Narratives coming undone. People of all ideological stripes love to talk about how they “wait for the evidence to come in before reaching any conclusions,” but in human existence, that is mostly mythical. We like to compose narratives first, then watch truth unfold to validate them. We all do this. It’s impossible not to. Against any example offered to thwart that generalization, the ultimate test would be to monitor human behavior in the presence of some event that is known to repeat, like a drumbeat, a sunrise, or a shrewish soon-to-be-ex-wife yelling about something. People start to form expectations around what has not happened yet, but that they expect to see happen.

People in positions of authority are especially likely to do this, because when unfolding reality fits into a stated expectation like a cog’s tooth into the gap of another cog, it looks like the right people are in charge of things. It’s a cheap and easy trick. Of course, it works the other way too; you have new questions emerging about whether the right people are in charge when reality doesn’t unfold that way. But that’s why we have spin. That’s why speechwriters make money.

Here we come to a key difference in the way lefties do their “thinking,” that distinguishes them from normal people, ultimately separating them from normal people: They are extraordinarily outspoken in their narratives, and yet when the unfolding reality confounds those narratives, the experience doesn’t even faze them. They are Medicators, and as such, they exercise a “process of adjusting one’s emotional response to reality as a first priority, with recognizing that reality as a distinctly second-place priority.”

MisrememberingAre you starting to see the picture now? Brian Williams didn’t lie. He honestly vocalized what was in his head, the problem is that what was in his head was whatever made Brian Williams happy, because Brian Williams leans left and that’s what people do when they lean left. President Obama thinks His patently juvenile rebuttal of “Christianity was doing it too” is somehow relevant, for the same reason Brian Williams thinks his chopper was hit by a rocket, for the same reason Obama’s fans think He is a gifted speaker or that the high-horse comment was some sort of brilliant point to be made. And this is why they unfriend you on social media, or at the Thanksgiving dinner table. This is why they do not revise anticipations of things after previous anticipations were thwarted.

It makes them happy to think this stuff. As Medicators, it is all about that; it is all about regulating the emotional state.

For the same reason I spread fertilizer around on my lawn, that is why they spread it around in their minds: There is a “lawn” of sorts in there, and they want it lush and green. You can prove that your rebuttals are meritorious and correct, all day long and until you’re blue in the face, it doesn’t matter.

Being Medicators, leftists don’t give two hoots about whether a perceived fact is correct, or if a stated opinion is worthy, or whether a recollection is accurate. They care about whether these things are pleasing to them — therefore, whether such things “belong” in their heads — nothing else. That is the real cause of the conflict. It’s whether reality is something you assess, measure, perceive and recall, or whether reality is something you choose.

Fact is, if they kept right on “thinking” that way but didn’t seek to control other people, there wouldn’t be any conflict at all.

Update: Thought it would be good to bookmark this as an example of those who think President Obama was somehow right in what He said. Yeah that’s right: The President said “lest we get on our high horse,” and in the subsequent words immediately climbed up onto a rhetorical high horse — and, there are some hardcore adherents who think that’s just fine, in fact that the message was overdue.

If the article itself underwhelms as an example, get a load of the comments.

There are few things in our modern world sadder than the spectacle of those among us who are secularly inclined, indulging in their legendary bromides about the evils of one thinking oneself better than others simply because of the thoughts in his head — and then, from there, proceeding to provide their own illustrious examples of exactly that. Seemingly without realizing they’re doing this.

No Moral Comparison at All

Friday, February 6th, 2015

From Top Right News, which you’ll note adds on Steven Crowder’s somewhat incredulous reaction to President Obama’s attempt to equivocate.

Let’s hear it for high horses.

As far as the cosmetics of it, the “Greatest Speech Evar”-ness of it…if I agreed with the sentiments of it I’d have to say Obama did not present the position very well. I grew up here and I’ve heard this from the snotty kollege kids already, “What about the Crusades?? What about the Inquisition??” It isn’t an intriguing argument to me, it’s more like 35 years out of date. I’m certainly not going to show the desired reaction and go something like “ZOMG What is President Obama talking about?? To the encyclopedia I go!! What are these ‘crusades’??”

Instead, it’s more like (0:52)

Obama: “Remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition…”

Me: Yawn…

Obama: “..People committed…”

Me: Is this the part where someone finally gets specific? Please expound. Can’t wait.

Obama: “…terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

Terrible deeds? So much for specifics.

I guess He’s talking about burning at the stake. That might compare to what we saw on the video that was released Tuesday. But, that’s still only a guess. What does He really have in mind? This is why it’s important to be specific.

Referring back to the first video, I have to wonder if “terrible deeds” refers to merely resisting a hostile takeover of the entire civilized world. Hey, stop resisting! That’s a terrible deed.

It’s like Ferguson all over again. President Obama consistently shows, along with a lot of other people, a disturbing fondness of portraying aggressors as victims. As anyone who’s been bullied in school knows fully well, this is what bullies do. They come up with false narratives, pass them off to people, and play-act like they’re the ones being bullied.

Related: William Teach writing at Pirate’s Cove: “I missed the part where Obama specifically said ‘horrible things in Mohammed’s name’.”

Nothing to Do With Islam

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

From Jihad Watch.

“The Terrorists Don’t Know Why?”

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

William Kilpatrick writes in the National Catholic Register (hat tip to blogger friend Rick).

A widely read Catholic news outlet recently carried a piece about the causes of Islamic terrorism. The conclusion? We don’t know what causes it, but it doesn’t seem to have much to do with Islam.

That has become a familiar refrain. When bad things are done in the name of Islam, we are told it has nothing to do with Islam. To be fair to the author, Susan Wills, she relies heavily on two books by academics who have studied terrorism.

One would think they should know the score, but they are hesitant to come to any conclusions, except to rule out the one that would jump to most people’s minds when an Allahu akbar-shouting individual starts shooting in their direction.
One of the academics Wills cites answers the question, “Why would anyone commit such acts?” with “We don’t know why. Even the terrorists don’t really know what their motivations are.”

The terrorists don’t know why? Then what’s the point of terrorizing?

Almost by definition, acts of terrorism are committed out of ideological motivations. The idea of terrorism is to spread an ideology by intimidating others either to accept it or else to cease resisting it. Drive-by shootings may have the effect of terrorizing a neighborhood, but since they are not motivated by an ideology, we don’t refer to gangs as terrorist outfits.

On the other hand, a suicide bomber who blows himself up in a crowded market is a terrorist. He does what he does out of an ideological or religious motive — not, as some terrorism experts would have us believe, for no particular reason at all.
More to the point, many Islamic terrorists do have a thorough knowledge of Islam.

Take Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood Texas, shooter. He once presented a well-informed PowerPoint lecture on Islam to his medical colleagues.

Or consider the case of Umar Abdulmutallab, the “underwear bomber,” who was president of the Islamic Society of University College, London. In high school, he was known as “the scholar” for his extensive knowledge of Islam.

Then there is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group. He holds a Ph.D. in Islamic studies.

Or take Ayatollah Khomeini and Osama bin Laden, two of the most influential exponents of global terrorism. Both were steeped in Islamic doctrine.

It’s beginning to look as though those with the wafer-thin knowledge of Islam are academics with an agenda and press secretaries without a clue. Catholics would do well to think twice before lending credence to their highly politicized points of view.

It’s not just the established narrative on terrorism that’s at issue. Influential Catholics continue to push a variety of ideas about Islam that, although widely accepted by politicians and pundits, don’t hold up to examination.

Thus, we have otherwise reliable Catholic thinkers who maintain, contrary to mounting evidence, that Islam is a religion of peace, that Muslims are our natural allies and that Islamophobia poses a greater threat than Islamists. Catholics need to undertake an agonizing reappraisal of their thinking on Islam.

The nothing-to-do-with-Islam narrative is fast becoming untenable — and that’s because it has nothing to do with reality.

When to Doubt a Scientific Consensus

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Blogger friend Phil came up with this during a discussion we were having at the Hello Kitty of Blogging.

Anyone who has studied the history of science knows that scientists are not immune to the non-rational dynamics of the herd. Many false ideas enjoyed consensus opinion at one time. Indeed, the “power of the paradigm” often shapes the thinking of scientists so strongly that they become unable to accurately summarize, let alone evaluate, radical alternatives. Question the paradigm, and some respond with dogmatic fanaticism.

We shouldn’t, of course, forget the other side of the coin. There are always cranks and conspiracy theorists. No matter how well founded a scientific consensus, there’s someone somewhere—easily accessible online—that thinks it’s all hokum. Sometimes these folks turn out to be right. But often, they’re just cranks whose counsel is best disregarded.

So what’s a non-scientist citizen, without the time to study the scientific details, to do?
Your best bet is to look at the process that produced, maintains, and communicates the ostensible consensus. I don’t know of any exhaustive list of signs of suspicion, but, using climate change as a test study, I propose this checklist as a rough-and-ready list of signs for when to consider doubting a scientific “consensus,” whatever the subject. One of these signs may be enough to give pause. If they start to pile up, then it’s wise to be suspicious.

(1) When different claims get bundled together.
(2) When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate.
(3) When scientists are pressured to toe the party line.
(4) When publishing and peer review in the discipline is cliquish.
(5) When dissenting opinions are excluded from the relevant peer-reviewed literature not because of weak evidence or bad arguments but as part of a strategy to marginalize dissent.

There are twelve items on the checklist. I think #9 might be my favorite.

So Good, It’s Mandatory

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Another National Review piece, by Kevin D. Williamson, by way of Gerard.

Progressivism, especially in its well-heeled coastal expressions, is not a philosophy — it’s a lifestyle. Specifically, it is a brand of conspicuous consumption, which in a land of plenty such as ours as often as not takes the form of conspicuous non-consumption: no gluten, no bleached flour, no Budweiser, no Walmart, no SUVs, no Toby Keith, etc. The people who set the cultural tone in places such as Berkeley, Seattle, or Austin would no more be caught vaping than they would slurping down a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s — and they conclude without thinking that, therefore, neither should anybody else. The wise man understands that there’s a reason that Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors; the lifestyle progressive in Park Slope shudders in horror at the refined sugar in all of them, and seeks to have them restricted.
They cannot say no to their own children, but they can say no to grown adults they’ve never met.
There are many conservatives who prefer organic food, who do yoga, who like trains, and who would prefer living in Brooklyn to living in Plano. De gustibus and all that. The difference is that progressives, blazing with self-righteousness, believe themselves entitled to make their preferences a matter of law.

And that’s the Left in short: A lifestyle so good, it’s mandatory.

The Biggest Lie

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Victor Davis Hanson, writing in the National Review:

Although we don’t hear much any more about “No blood for oil,” the lie about “Bush lied, thousands died” has never been put to rest.

What was odd about the untruth was not just that Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and the anti-war street crowd become popular icons through spreading such lies, but that the Democratic party — whose kingpins had all given fiery speeches in favor of invading Iraq — refined the slur into an effective 2006 talking point. That Democrats from Nancy Pelosi to Harry Reid had looked at the same intelligence from CIA Director George “slam-dunk” Tenet, and had agreed with Tenet’s assessments, at least until the insurgency destroyed public support for the war, was conveniently forgotten.
No one, of course, noted that the initial success in Iraq also helped shut down Moammar Qaddafi’s WMD program in Libya and pressured the Pakistanis to arrest (for a while) the father of their bomb, Dr. A. Q. Khan. The latter nations apparently feared that the U.S. was considering removing dictators who that they knew had stockpiled WMD.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A part of the anger directed toward George W. Bush over the Iraq thing, came from the beltway mentality — unspoken, but practiced — that when you make your move to confront some sort of pressing problem, you shouldn’t go so far as to actually solve it. Solving a problem is forbidden, in fact, merely changing the state in some permanent and beneficial way is frowned-upon. You’re supposed to make a lot of speeches and generate a lot of movement, like a hamster in a little wheel. Passively wait for something good to happen, hog all of the credit for it, and if anything bad happens then blame your predecessor. Solve the problem? No. Just give a wonderful speech, use the phrase “come a long way, but we’re not quite there yet,” and go back to playing golf. For decades.

That almost looks like an Obama rant, doesn’t it? I don’t mean for it to be. It isn’t just Him. It’s the Washington way.

Along comes George W. Bush, to identify a serpent in the grass, give his reasons for removing it, and then actually getting it done. It’s quite the paradigm shift, and some people can’t handle it. Even out here, away from the capitol where all the real people live. Voters have a way of getting used to ineffectual leaders who give the same speeches generation after generation about the same problems, without doing anything to solve the problems.

Those voters are like me, though. Something breaks, we fix it or replace it. The difference is, they are unnerved by the idea of our leaders doing the same thing. Budgets, way “up” there, are not supposed to be balanced like we try to do with our household budgets; problems “up” there are not supposed to actually be fixed, pests are not supposed to be removed. When the matter is too big, or perhaps too distant, they just want to see speeches and nothing else.