Archive for December, 2016

Dave Barry’s Year in Review 2016

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

You knew this one would be a lot better than most…

After all that, the American people, looking for a leader, ended up with a choice between ointment and suppository. The fall campaign was an unending national nightmare, broadcast relentlessly on cable TV. CNN told us over and over that Donald Trump was a colossally ignorant, narcissistic, out-of-control sex-predator buffoon; Fox News countered that Hillary Clinton was a greedy, corrupt, coldly calculating liar of massive ambition and minimal accomplishment. And in our hearts we knew the awful truth: They were both right.

It wasn’t just bad. It was the Worst. Election. Ever.
And now, finally, it is time for 2016 to go away. But before it does, let’s narrow our eyes down to slits and take one last squinting look back at this hideous monstrosity of a year, starting with…


Seriously though. Now that we’re down to the final few hours of the year, I’m rather befuddled at the lack of humility on the part of those who were so sure Trump would lose. “Difficult to see, always in motion is the future,” Yoda said.

But most of the loudmouths have gone on to predicting — with zero uncertainty about it, it’s a sure thing, yo — all these high crimes & misdemeanors that will be committed by the new administration. Alright, sometimes predictions are not so far-fetched. Maybe. But wait…when did you guys EVER take a moment to admit “Alright, we were wrong about that other thing”? Just that. Nevermind engaging in some disciplined thought about how to channel this mistake into some learning, to make the next round of predictions moar-better.

Nope, nothing-doing. Just once more, into the breach my friends, and here come some more predictions. And the rest of us are bad people or something, if we don’t take it completely seriously, or harbor any doubts.

So many among us are wondering what we did to make the year go the way it did. Well, maybe it’s got something to do with that…this idea that the predictions of tomorrow are just so undeniable and to be taken just so seriously, but those predictions from yesterday that didn’t come to pass, we can just shrug those away. Silly way to behave, silly way to think…

Some New Year’s Resolutions for Liberals

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Kurt Schlicter says stay the course:

Remember, You Know Best for Us. You should do as much as you can to compel us to comply with your enlightened views. Force innocent bakers to bake cakes just because you can. People love that — especially when you simultaneously discover the moral necessity of allowing employees on a chorus line to opt out of entertaining those you deem unacceptable. Also, try to disarm us even as crime rates have entered a dizzying climb thanks to your cavorting with quasi-terrorist mobs and trashing the police — remember, it’s not the fear of being raped or murdered that inspired us to exercise that musty old Second Amendment, it’s racism!
Don’t Hide Your Feelings On Social Media. Social media allows you the opportunity to freely express what you really think to a vast audience — use it! Once, you could only say what you really think in little groups at Manhattan cocktail parties or cafés in Los Angeles, or publish it in obscure magazines no normals ever read. Well, now you can tweet your innermost thoughts and have those views go viral! It used to be a secret that you thought we are idiots for having religious beliefs, but not anymore! Your desire to confiscate guns had to be hidden with weasel words in public, but now you are no longer restrained. In fact, you can loudly and publicly wish us harm — we love being told you can’t wait for us to die off so you can take total control of the country.
Look, you hit a few unexpected bumps in the road in 2016 — I mean, who could have foreseen that nominating someone under FBI investigation might turn out badly? But there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing — the problem isn’t you. It’s everyone else, especially those stupid, racist, gun nut Jesus people who aren’t bright enough to understand that you are entitled to rule over them. So don’t ever change. Stay the course. Oh gosh, please, please, please, by all means, stay the course.

If This Doesn’t Convince You, Nothing Will

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

From time to time, I notice conflict that rises to the level of personal animosity, starts with a simple disagreement. Supposedly there’s some ratcheting up to do from the point of disagreement, one side or both has to mishandle something terribly. Disagreement, after all, shouldn’t lead to a fight. Should it? Look at these other people handling the same disagreement, who don’t end up in a fight like I do. That, surely, should seal the deal.

But, then I look closer. And I notice the conflict was avoided because discussion was avoided…

Then I listen, perhaps this is a mistake. to what the antagonist is actually saying. The “If you’re not convinced by now you never will be, and there’s no point discussing this with you” tactic upsets the whole applecart. People say stuff like that; over the years I’ve come to realize there’s no way they could mean it. If they’re presenting something that is so persuasive as to guarantee, iron-clad, an on-the-spot conversion of all who question or dissent save from those who are most emotionally entrenched in the opposing view — why then would they interrupt themselves while doing this? That doesn’t make sense at all. Could it really be an agitating experience having to explain your position, when logic and/or the facts are on your side? In what way? How? Why? I can’t relate to that. In fact, the only way I can begin to understand it, putting myself in that position, is maybe if I don’t understand the subject matter as well as I’m pretending to understand it…playing the “fake it ’til you make it” game, hoping not to get caught. Really, “I refuse to discuss this any further” looks like that; doesn’t look like anything else. I wonder if those who bandy it about so freely, would be surprised if they learned that. I suspect maybe not, at least not completely.

I’ve come up with some rules about this. The first is that, as much as we all like to win arguments, before that can happen you have to do some actual arguing. That, there, I think is the genesis of the actual problem. People running around all their lives, thinking they know how to argue, when all they’re doing is going through a ritual of of “me hammer, you nail.” So they wade into these disagreements with some bit of trivia they think empowers them with The Ultimate Weapon, puts them on a footing above everyone else. They’re gonna flip those other opinions like pancakes on a griddle. When it doesn’t happen instantly they get frustrated…maybe that’s a tipoff to the mindset. It isn’t happening instantly? T’heck? Aren’t all things worth doing, instant? Turns out…the other side is expecting (and, gulp, is more prepared for it than we are) an actual discussion! So they form this desire, not all that hard to understand, to play this game of leap-frog…to hop over the icky part, which would expose the gap in their understanding, therefore the possibility they might not have the right opinion. They’re essentially saying “When do we get to the fun part, where I tell everyone what to do & what to think, and they do it.”

Second rule is that you don’t get to play the “If this doesn’t convince you, nothing will” card unless there’s a “this.” Not until there’s a such time as you’ve presented something. A great deal of time, it turns out there isn’t any. What there is, is a focus-group track record. The “this” got presented to other people, and those other people, for whatever reason said “Alright, I’ll go along with that” and these earlier encounters convinced the presenter that he was using a superpower-argument, boy oh boy, this really is the Spear of Destiny, the magic spatula for the griddle. No understanding needed! So along you come to actually question how it all fits together…he’s unprepared to answer this, and that’s somehow all your fault.

I saw a fair amount of this in 2016. And I don’t think it’s me bringing it down on myself, pretty sure a lot of other people saw it too. With the elections over, we’re still seeing it…which is a bit odd. I’m suffering no delusions that 2017 will offer a reprieve from it. Maybe! But I doubt it.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Monday, December 26th, 2016

My wife sent this to me, with a perceptible undertone of concern. A classic Christmas song got an update earlier this month and the story has gone, as they say, “viral”…

A couple of snowflakes came up with some new lyrics to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

The ditzy types think this is oh so wonderful, so you can find mentions of these “new lyrics” all over the Internet. Over at Huffington Post, however, they made a dreadful mistake…of allowing comments…like these for example.

When sung properly (by a duo like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan), it’s clear that nobody’s doing anything to anybody against their will. It’s a young couple observing the niceties of what they obviously see as antiquated patriarchal norms.

She doesn’t want to go outside any more than he wants her to, but society is telling her she must.
This song ain’t about staying against her will. She wants to stay but in that time it was Taboo. So she’s making “excuses” to stay. Including the “what’s in this drink” line meaning liquor. Guys do your research first before judging[.]
It’s a song that is entirely about the inherent ambuguity of the human mating ritual and what people do with it, for better or worse. It should be learned from and contemplated, not “fixed”.

It’s also an old song that very few people hear anymore. Perhaps “fixers” like these should focus on the much larger and more culture-impacting array of objectifying, dehumanizing music that fills radio these days. There’s far more appalling to be found in the present day, and it would take more bravery to take it on.

It goes on and on like that. Seems people who are capable of participating in an actual dialog, overwhelmingly, are failing to see the necessity of the “new lyrics” exercise. This is something evident, overall, only to those with the luxury of throwing things to the Internet in monologue-form, without any ensuing discussion possible. Even the NPR article linked above was unexpectedly cool-headed and reserved about this new effort, devoting its final three paragraphs to explaining the other side:

When that song first came out in the 1940s, it was actually seen as empowering for women. Music historian Thomas Riis says the now-controversial lyric, “Say, what’s in this drink?” came across differently in its original context. “Nowadays we see that and we go, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is date rape! He’s putting something in the drink!’ ” he says. But Riis adds that at the time, the phrase was simply about having a drink.

In the 1940s, it could be seen as scandalous for an unmarried woman to be alone, drinking with a man — much less staying the night. So it’s not that the woman in the song doesn’t want to stay — it’s that she doesn’t want to be judged for it. Riis says the song shows a woman debating her options, wondering whether she should risk ruining her reputation by staying the night.

In the end, Riis says, the woman makes a strong statement by making the decision for herself. “In a sense, it’s, ‘I can do what I doggone please. I’m a modern woman,’ ” he says. So, as different as the old and new versions might seem, it might be that they were both about choice all along.

Well, if we’re going to be completely fair about it, we should acknowledge the new songwriters are 22 and 25 years old, and thus missed the point of this 1940’s classic about as much as they should’ve been expected to miss it. Which is all-the-way. But I see two more problems, each closely related to the other.

The first is a problem we see with political correctness often: It exists in a sheltered sphere, free of epistemology or any need of it. There was that incident in Washington, DC awhile ago about the aid who was fired for using the word “niggardly” in a meeting. I’m also reminded of the Fraggle Rock controversy in which a muppet character was thought to have used the word “Jigaboo” when the script says his line is “Gee Gobo, we’re sorry.” Which contains this priceless line from the offended Dad:

My reaction was to keep replaying to see if that’s what I really heard, and that’s what I heard, and that’s what I hear.

The arrogance-on-steroids…just mind-blowing. It doesn’t matter what the character said, it matters what the person heard. This is exactly what they say in sexual harassment classes, right? The intent of the accused is entirely irrelevant, what matters is the perception of the person offended. You know. Right after they say “These new rules are put in place to foster a work environment that is non-threatening and comfortable for everyone.”

This is wrong. The right way to do it is the exact opposite: The perception of the offended Dad rewinding & playing the clip over & over again, is immaterial. What the character said, determines everything, because that’s what was said. Ye gods, it makes me embarrassed even having to type that in someplace where others can read it. So fucking obvious. Well…the young airheads rewriting the lyrics are making the same mistake. The thinking is that the original lyrics could be construed as rapey or something…well…who gives a rat’s ass? Anything & everything can be construed to be anything & everything. Doesn’t mean the person construing is in the right.

The other problem is that granting the early-twenties songwriter lyric-reformers the benefit of any & all doubt about the song as it was originally written — after listening to all of the lyrics, there’s no issue with “consent.” None at all. The chick says “I really should go,” the dude starts plying her with reasons she should stick around, and after listening to him and evaluating it logically, she decides to stay. She decides. See, feminism has been getting away with something here, with this idea that any & all influence a man might have on a woman’s decision, is undue influence. Again: Wrong. Women are people, and people are more intelligent, more wise, make better decisions, when it’s easy to tell them things. Just because he’s saying something and she’s listening, doesn’t mean he’s making the decision for her.

But that’s granting them the benefit of every doubt. Which is wrong, because they misunderstood what the original lyrics meant.

My Hot New Idea

Monday, December 26th, 2016

“Women don’t want to hear what you think,” goes the quote by Bill Cosby. “Women want to hear what they think — in a deeper voice.” I’ve found through some painful professional experiences that it isn’t just women who have this problem, and from this I’ve learned I have to be very careful about where I work. “It works, but it isn’t the solution I envisioned when I posed the problem” is a complaint I’ve found I tend to arouse more often than other engineers. Maybe that means I’m really bad at my job. Then again, I notice I arouse this when it really does work…and the problem is one that’s gone unsolved, after others already took a crack at it. That’s not to say I’m exceptionally clever compared to my colleagues, in fact there’s days where I have to wonder. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong; I’m wrong a lot more often than I’m right. Arguing with liberals on the Internet, I’ve noticed over the years, one thing shuts ’em up quicker than anything else: “I likely make ten or more mistakes every day, before you even think about getting out of bed.” They don’t know what to do with it. They belong to the world of winning-arguments, and if you want to win arguments you’re supposed to avoid ever having made a mistake about anything. You’re supposed to play the game of “I must be infinitely wise and know everything, for look how hard it is to tell me anything.”

The big takeaway, in my mind, is not that I’m gifted or make no mistakes or am exceptionally clever, or anything like that. It’s that the solution to a problem that actually works, very, very often, is something different from what was envisioned by the person who posed the problem. Okay, not very often in general; let’s say, very often among the problems that have already been given a good-faith effort, and remained standing with all previous attempted solutions having failed. This is less a matter of learned experience, than a matter of logic. If all solutions that follow a general structure, let’s call it a general structure of A, have failed, we’re looking then at three possibilities: 1) the problem is unsolvable; 2) we have failed in our effort to implement all possible solutions that follow A; 3) there is a solution that is !A. It only requires a casual contemplation to realize the first two possibilities are exceptionally unlikely.

Telling ManagementSo, yes. The solution that works is not the solution that was envisioned…by the person who only conceived of it, didn’t actually run any tests. That’s why it works, it’s the product of validation. That’s also why it’s different.

But, if you’re working in the wrong place, management doesn’t want to see your solution. They want to see their solution, put together by someone who actually writes code…that actually solves the problem. This can create issues during implementation. It’s not a rare circumstance by any means, in which you’ll make the unpleasant discovery that “it can’t work that way,” and if a solution is to be found that’s actually effective, the paradigm will have to shift. This often heralds a similar issue during presentation to management, which is not always pleased to see the conundrum emerge. A lot of the time, given the choice between a solution that breaks the desired form, vs. leaving the problem unsolved, they’d prefer the latter. It’s become clear to me I’d go much further in being a good fit anywhere & everywhere, if I knew better how to anticipate this. I know I have a handicap there. Just coming up with solutions to the problems? By comparison, that’s a piece of cake.

Well, we’re all like these “I’d rather it stay busted” managers. We have good reason to be. A “Wankel Engine” idea that can solve an unsolvable problem, by operating outside of an established framework, might very well create a hundred new ones. So when you do come up with a new idea, you have to anticipate the resistance. It’s wrong, I think, to ascribe this to narrow-mindedness among the people providing the resistance. You can’t say they’re doing something completely illogical, understandable as it may be; nor can you say they’re doing something logical that defies understanding. What they’re doing is both understandable and logical, even when it rises to the seemingly absurd level of “We’d rather see the problem remain unsolved.” The problem is with the path-forward. Yes, the new idea might be successfully reconciled with the established framework, so the framework can remain standing, retain its integrity, and the problem can be solved. But such an effort requires time and other resources. Maybe, just maybe, the available solutions that follow the orthodox structure haven’t been exhaustively implemented. Maybe it’s not yet time for the dramatically-different new approach…yet.

Maybe “at least it works” is a false observation. Maybe it’s the new idea that hasn’t been tested adequately.

This all fits in to looking ahead to 2017, which I believe is going to be just as perplexing as 2016 was. I have little doubt, because I’m old enough to have lived through it before. We have a new incoming administration that is “conservative” and it’s going to be rolling back, or at least making motions toward rolling back, some of what was done by the outgoing “liberal” administration. The nation at large, whether or not it’s playing the game of “we’d rather it stay broken,” has opted out of the hot new idea. I personally know how that stings, to the people who had the hot new idea, or were making the motions of having a hot new idea. The key point here is that the liberals, while acting out the true meaning of “liberal” ideologically, are acting out the true meaning of “conservative” within our political process. They’re doing everything they can to thwart the mindset of tomorrow, to disrupt the changing of the guard, so they can hang on to the entrenched, orthodox power structure with bloody fingernails. It falls to the conservatives who are faithful to the legacy definition of conservatism — “no-thank-yew to your hot new idea, it’s a bust, let’s go back to the way things were” — to act like liberals within the process, essentially saying “tomorrow belongs to us, yesterday is yours, it’s a done deal, get over it.”

Shouldn't Be Able to Do ThatLiberals are having a tough time with this because they’re not learning what all purveyors of hot new ideas need to learn: To have a hot new idea is to endure resistance. You can’t do the one, without going through the experience of the other. It is logical and it is understandable. It’s also unavoidable. It is, you might say, physics. If a vessel on land, sea or in the air moves at any speed, it will encounter a headwind.

This stuff we lately call “liberalism,” in recent years, has been unfortunately coupled with a diseased sort of thinking we might think of as “snowflake-ism.” We could define this at a very high level as non-acceptance of non-acceptance. “How dare you attack my hot new idea with critical, scrutinizing questions about whether it really works and can be practically implemented. Someone should protect me from you.”

If anyone is entitled to this special status, it isn’t liberalism, it’s conservatism. Established methods, established ideas, established frameworks, are established for a reason. There must have been a point, at one time, involved in getting them established. This is why businesses say to other businesses, “give me a quote,” as opposed to “go right ahead and tell me how much to pay after it’s too late to reconsider anything.” Maybe, just maybe, when all’s said & done and all the tests have been applied, we’ll go with the hot new idea and even modify the existing framework so it can be brought into the fold. But when there are other things already working, that’s a big maybe, and there are many tests. For the hot new idea to fail at least one of them, and get pitched out to the landfill, is not at all unexpected. Purveyors of the hot new idea should be anticipating it, and they’re wrong to act abused when called to answer scrutinizing questions, or to subject the idea to an election they might actually lose. The more things that are already working, the more unreasonable that is, and in America there are still a great many things working. It’s a big country.

Every hot new idea should expect to meet up with disagreement. Oh yes, absolutely, that includes this one.

How Trump Beat the Media

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Thank God the election is over. We’ve spent plenty enough time & energy on it. Nevertheless, it is useful to ponder the path forward…the whole reason for us obsessing about it in the first place, after all, is because it matters.

At about the 50-minute mark Newt starts talking about the IYI, the Intellectual Yet Idiot. He should’ve found a way to put this at the beginning.

I was looking it up in my archives, and I came across this: “There’s nothing more frightening than rule by the smart.”

And of course, what geniuses like Rogoff know more than anything is that their great genius gives them the ability to envision a far more perfect world than this imperfect thing we’ve been suffering with so far. Naturally the visions of these geniuses are all variations of the same thing, namely some kind of government program to more closely monitor and/or control the people.

Yes, it’s been playing like a one-note samba since…well, forever really. It probably started playing a whole lot louder with FDR’s “brain trust” but it sure hasn’t subsided much since then. Washington’s got these really smart guys in it, who are going to fix everything, we know this to be true because they have very, very, very impressive resumes…

…that don’t actually have anything on them. Not, that is, anything that has to do with getting actual work done.

Be that as it may, I’m anxious to look past the election, although it’s a cinch that we’ll be arguing back & forth about the 45th President pretty much constantly for the next 48 months at least. After the New Year, I’m bracing for a never-ending drumbeat of “ZOMG!! Did you hear about what he’s done NOW??” Well, if President Trump does something wrong, by all means call him out on it. Just state the case, first, is all I ask.

It’s not reasonable to demand a specific defense, if the attack is not specific. Right?

Quite right. And if the tail end of 2016 has found me exhausted from & unable to tolerate more of anything, it’s the non-specific, incoherent, incongruous, nonsensical, wink-wink-nudge-nudge “let’s see you defend this” attack.

It isn’t just the election. From my Hello Kitty of Blogging account:

People, I notice, have a pronounced tendency to form “logical” conclusions by dismissing any other logical conclusion about the same thing that says something different. The dismissal usually involves mockery, but it can also rely on sarcasm, a bunch of logical fallacies, name-calling, “You’re on the wrong side of history,” et al….

Point is, dismissal is not reasoning. It can be persuasive in an argument. And so, as they win arguments, people get suckered into thinking they’ve reasoned. Then they see they weren’t correct. Actually, the winning of the arguments is a good example of this. “This oughtta convince him/her/them for sure!!” And it doesn’t happen.

“It doesn’t happen” is something we’ve watched take place ALL…YEAR…LONG. I’m not just talking about the election, pretty much done with that now. We would do well to dwell on the lesson. Especially with Christmas, and a new year, coming at us like a freight train with the throttle stuck…

You don’t make a logical argument that “My grandkids will just love this homemade sweater” by sarcastically dismissing the idea that they would prefer socks. It kinda feels like you did, but you didn’t. That’s exactly what’s been happening all year. EVERYBODY knew the election would go one way, and then it went a different way. That’s the way it’s been going down with everything. Think about it. We’ve spent the last year or two, solid, watching established narratives get kneed in the gut…and then the nose, and then the groin, and then in the teeth, and then in the groin again. There’s a quote from Men In Black about this, something about “500 years ago people knew the Earth was flat, fifteen minutes ago you knew there were no aliens, whaddya gonna know tomorrow?”

Almost like a lesson from on high. From someone who must be wistfully wondering…what’s it gonna take??

Found the clip:

What’s happened to us lately? That’s the real question.

I think we’ve collectively developed a real phobia against the future. I say “collectively.” Some of us can look at the future and say what is true about it, “Some parts of this are easy to predict, others not so much. I don’t know what will happen. Every speculation on it is a gamble.” In other words…Let’s See. Let’s-See takes balls, though, and a lot of people are missing this. That is not to say they couldn’t develop the ability if only they made a priority out of it.

Things the way they are, though…they know SO much that is not so. Much of it is about what’s going to happen. Any day now. For absolute sure.

When it doesn’t happen, they can’t say “I was wrong” — can’t even say “I’m surprised.” Surprise seems to have passed out of fashion, but it seems to be more than just fashion. Like I said, above, a genuine phobia.

A good resolution for the general population in 2017 would be to get the hell over it. The future is the future, and the only way to find out what’s going to happen in it, is to wait awhile until it isn’t the future anymore. There is no substitute. That’s not to counsel against trying to speculate, trying to predict, maybe even trying to bet. Nothing wrong with any of these. But a man who is absolutely sure about something that is not a matter of absolute certainty, is not being honest with himself, and when you aren’t honest with yourself it’s impossible to be honest with anyone else.

Lose the Whoopi and the Joy

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

There is no currency to this, it has six years of dust on it…but, Bill O’Reilly’s final appearance on The View is important…

At least, in the form of a 3-minute YouTube clip, it is informative. In the first third, it’s free-speech this, free-speech that…they have the right!! Eleventy!!

Liberals are huge fans of the dictum that defense of speech must be stalwart and it must be sustained, as an all-the-time thing. Defense of speech has nothing, NOTHING whatsoever, to do with approval of the speech content, supposedly. They may disagree with what you say, but they’ll defend to the death your right to say it, as the cliché goes. To the death! Big, powerful, tall words there…to the death. Yikes! Death smarts!

Okay, nobody dispensed the apocryphal Voltaire quote this time around. They just championed the sentiment. They have the right! Nothing else needs to be hashed out there, nothing else needs saying, because they have the right — case closed. But…defend free speech to the death? When it comes to something that really hasn’t got a chance of ever snagging their approval, the freedom to say it hasn’t got their approval either. They can barely make it past the two-minute mark.

This is one of the most dangerous parts of modern liberalism, and that’s really saying something. This cognitive dissonance. Defending a person’s right to say or do something has nothing whatsoever to do with approval of whatever it is…and then, suddenly, these things are inseparable, I can’t sit here and listen to you say that because that would be approval. The mixed message is dangerous.

To define how it’s dangerous it is first necessary to inspect how it’s dishonest, but fortunately that doesn’t take too long. Obviously if there is a connection between “I support your right to say it” and “I approve of what you’re saying,” but it is only to be put in line-of-sight of those interested some of the time, then the connection does exist all of the time whether it is seen or unseen. Just as a cup of wine is poisoned whether you saw the poison go in, or not, or a hole in a cattle fence remains there until it’s fixed, day & night.

What does honest disapproval look like? It looks like Joy and Whoopi storming off the stage at the end of the clip. And, we’re not seeing it in response to the Muslims wanting to build a victory temple right by Ground Zero in Manhattan. They don’t disapprove of that, and that’s the real issue. It isn’t a free speech issue.

This dishonesty makes it possible to reach a nimbleness and agility sliding around the Overton Window, that could not otherwise be reached. This stuff we today call “liberalism” distinguishes itself from all other political ideologies, through this desire to move the Overton Window, and achieve planned, conscious guidance in how & where the window is to be moved.

If the Overton Window is about what is accepted as mainstream thought, and the movement of that window is a change in what’s mainstream over time, then we could think of liberalism as a push to move the window and of conservatism as opposition to this. Perhaps we could tighten up the precision on that perception by saying: Liberalism is “Hey, why can’t this window be moved over here?” or “What might we do, to push this thing that’s not in the window, into it, or push this other thing that is currently in the window, out?” And conservatism would also involve some thought-provoking questions, such as: “What was the rationale for positioning the window where we find it today, and what might we be losing if we succeed in moving it someplace else?”

Usually, the answer to the conservative question is: Conscience.

There is a window of conscience that is loosely connected to this cultural mainstream-thinking Overton Window; and, it cannot move as quickly. So when liberals delight in their ability to surround us, their fellow countrymen, with their chatter and their ability to move the window around as if it’s a big chess piece on a board, they risk undocking it from the window of conscience. This is aptly demonstrated at the beginning of the clip, when O’Reilly talks about it being “inappropriate” to build this victory temple and obviously the concern is about the feelings of the family members of the victims of the 9/11 attack. This is a matter of conscience. It’s still just a matter of feelings, but still. Regard for the feelings of others is an important source of conscience. The lefty plank of the The View hostesses, will have none of it.

Oh okay. So what other matters of conscience will they not consider?

Once you undock the Overton Window from the window of conscience that lies underneath it, there can be difficulty involved in getting it docked again. For examples, look up any totalitarian regime from the twentieth century, in a country that was previously democratic, and there are many of those. Any nation that ran through Hayek’s Road to Serfdom is an adequate example. Pretty soon, you’re trampling on matters of conscience that are not limited to matters of feeling; pretty soon, you’re running roughshod over actual situations. This is where political dissidents get eliminated, where you have gulags and so forth, where relatives vanish in the middle of the night. Because after all, now we’ve moved the Overton Window, it’s important to do something to show the window’s been moved, and now this thing we want to do is within the mainstream thinking because of that recent movement.

As we see when Whoopi and Joy get up and leave the set — it can be a perilously short amount of time before truth is a casualty, before it is pushed out of the window. We’ll defend to the death your right to say it!!…unless what you’re saying is actually useful information, and verifiable as true, and then don’t count on us so much.

Dependent on Somebody Else

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

A great question we’ve been pondering lately; it’s one of those philosophical divisions nobody ever discusses, and yet acts as a primordial wedge that causes many other conflicts.

Are you in any position at all to help someone, when you yourself are dependent on somebody else?

I suggest that nobody anywhere is going to offer an answer anything like “mmmm yeah, maybe, I suppose so” — people who answer in the affirmative are going to go all the way, full-tilt. Many of them will offer the Elizabeth-Warren-like justification that independence is a myth, that we’re all dependent on somebody else whether we realize it or not. Some may go so far as to say we’re all better off when there are more functional handicaps being endured, reasoning that the weaknesses that force us to rely on each other will translate to a strength that comes from the greater community spirit.

And then there are the normal people. The ones who will take the time to actually translate this into a series of events that could play out in real life. You mean like…I lend this guy $100 to buy groceries so he can make it to payday, he turns around and gives $50 to someone else? Erm…no. Not okay. It’s not alright to go on welfare and then take in stray pets. You can’t put your family on food stamps, reasoning that it’s too hard to get work because your pickup truck is busted, and then when you get it running again loan it out to your brother-in-law.

In my opinion, the point to the question is not a yea or a nay. The question itself triggers a thought process. I think many who would take a moment or two to seriously entertain it, might come to a disturbing realization that they once had a vision to attain some level of material independence they haven’t managed to acquire, and somewhere along the line they let go of that vision. And at a simpler level, it could trigger another thought that maybe, as they contribute to this growing busy patchwork of dependent people helping other dependent people, whoever’s helping them should have something to say about it before they go taking in more stray cats.

Another thought about this increasingly complex busy patchwork of material need and pandering: Yes it does have its own system of protocol, but is it fair or accurate to refer to this as some sort of “community spirit”? I would venture to suggest no. The test I would apply would be toward the consensus sentiment toward the fellow at the top of the chain, the prime donor, whose alms help those who help all the others in turn, and is at the receiving end of no such system of transactions. Benefactor to all, beneficiary of none. How does this kaleidoscope of beggars view that individual, or that top layer? If this has anything to do with Christian behavior or community spirit, I would expect to see an attitude of gratitude, or something like it. And yet when I see this play out in real life it’s nothing of the sort. With these additional links inserted in the chain, there’s no personal relationship involved. The opting-in attribute has a tendency to become the first casualty; what would have been a voluntary action based on a rational conclusion reached, as in, “I see in you the drive and the willingness to get yourself out of this temporary hole,” becomes an obligation. This transforms the benefactor from an inspiring figure who is acting on his faith in the person on the receiving end, into a stranger who is merely performing the minimal function to meet the requirement he’s supposed to be meeting anyway. No thanks is given because none should be expected. And because these things are expected of him, that means similar expectations can be imposed on everybody else. Regardless of their situation, therefore regardless of their ability to meet it.

This is not civilization. This is the opposite. It is ducks circling a park bench, turning nasty and mean when the bread is all gone. It is sharks in a feeding frenzy. Zombies around a garden tool shed.

The lesson is: Get your own house in order — THEN help others. That’s my answer, anyway. Others will disagree, I’m sure. That’s a good thing. Let the discussions commence.

Liberals Are Going Nuts, and It’s Beautiful

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Kurt Schlichter, Town Hall:

The liberals are truly going nuts, and it’s beautiful. They recently resurrected Nancy Pelosi for another glorious term winnowing away the House Democrat caucus. Pretty soon it’s just going to be her and some guy representing Berkeley who they recruited while he was shouting “Workers of the world unite!” at bored coeds on Telegraph Avenue. You know, if you want to reach out to the kind of hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, normal Americans who voted for the black guy then allegedly refused to vote for the woman because they are racist, you totally want an ancient, rich, snooty, San Francisco leftist and Botox after-picture like the Nanster.
Did you know that the president-elect has to get China’s permission to take calls from the heads of other countries? Me neither, but the liberals seem to think so. I’m really confused. We’re supposed to hate the Russians – apparently not because they invaded Ukraine or Syria but because their hacking revealed Democrat corruption – yet we’re supposed to do the organ grinder monkey dance for the commie tyrants in Beijing?

I’m hearing we should put aside party differences and concentrate on the future of the country. That seems to make good sense, but it presumes the two parties share a common vision about this country-future. I’m not sure about this.

Maybe that is what we need to be discussing. Now and then I hear liberals and democrats express concern about the skill level of the next generation of Americans, but that’s usually in terms of calling for more immigration because, heck, native-born Americans aren’t up to the challenge of demanding, technical work…better give up on ’em.

They snort at the idea that they want America’s economy to be made more & more anemic…okay, that’s understandable I guess, if that was my vision I wouldn’t want anybody catching on to it either. Would both sides agree, then, that democrats have an interest in social services being put in greater demand? See, most people don’t want that. Most people want their fellow citizens to be filthy stinking rich. Easier to get jobs that way.

The democrats don’t want that. So why make peace with them? Kick ’em when they’re down, they got it coming.

Yeah, the liberals are going nuts everywhere. In Hollywood, they are continuing their bizarre and inexplicable campaign to foist left-leaning fuglies upon American audiences. The sexy supernova that was Lena Dunham has somehow petered out, American men apparently possessing eyes and, equally importantly, ears. I’m required to be shallow since I live in LA, but there really is this thing called “inner beauty.” One can mock the utter cluelessness that possesses this dumpy strumpet to flaunt her figure as if she was Cindy Crawford, Jr., but what actually makes her ugly is the fact that she is just a horrible person – entitled, abusive, dishonest, narcissistic, snobbish and amazingly dumb.

Ah, not nice. But then again, Ms. Dunham is repeatedly putting herself in the public eye. And she’s being approached to do this…by, someone. This is a big part of the reason why liberals eventually lost. When they want to make themselves stronger, they put things in front of us to show why they should be put back in power, and the things they put in front of us consistently show they should not be. They cannot tell beauty apart from ugliness. It’s as if they think these two are interchangeable.

Seventy-Five Years After Pearl Harbor

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

So What Are the democrats?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Working families!

From here. There is an old joke within conservative circles that when democrats say “working families” it is 100% untrue, since they’re not really talking about people who are working, and they are not talking about actual families; they mean non-working non-families. Even the staunchest democrat would concede that this class-designation can certainly include persons and groups who don’t qualify in the strictest semantic sense.

Which would have to mean, when House Minority Leader Pelosi says the party is maintaining its “values” and that is what the values are, she’s describing nothing. She says people don’t want a new direction, which is to be expected of an old-guard dignitary, but you would also expect a stronger statement of what the old direction is.

Or would you?

Liberals are, and have been, as I’ve pointed out — undefiners. And, unproducers. Their appeal has been to the young, and they know it. If there’s little new learning over the previous four to eight years, and lots of new young voters making it to the polls, they win. If there is a lot of learning and fewer new voters, it goes more like 2016. This is common knowledge and not difficult to explain. Eventually, as one lives life, the intelligent voter is exposed to enough government inefficiency that putting more aspects of life under public-sector control loses its appeal, but this life-lesson takes a lot of time. Until the lesson sinks in, “I ran out of ice cream last night, we need a Federal Department of Ice Cream” seems to make sense.

Obviously, the democrat party is about promoting leftism. Leftism is destructive by nature, because it isn’t about improving or reforming the existence system so that it “serves the interests of everyone” as they say. It’s about tearing existing civilization apart, and starting over again. Yes, the Federal Department of Ice Cream is part of that, even if some of its supporters don’t consciously realize it. It’s about destroying the present system by overloading it. It’s called Cloward-Piven and there are those who say that if you’re not up on what this is, how it came to be & what it means, you shouldn’t be voting. They may be right.

Another thing we do as we get older is we learn to create new things that weren’t there before; and we learn that in order to do this, we have to manage details. You don’t need to manage details when you wreck things. Creation — and preservation – require attention to detail, and a commitment to delayed gratification. Because of that, the “I want it now” mentality is always going to gravitate toward destructive efforts, because it has nowhere else to go. Breaking things is fun. And you get to see results right away.

We therefore should not have been too surprised to see Whoopi Goldberg refusing to allow anyone to infer that flag-burners hate the country. There’s nothing too remarkable about such a statement, it is merely the cresting of a mountain of un-definition that has been building up for awhile. We have seen, for decades, liberals lecturing us about other liberals — “Just because he [blank] don’t go jumping to the conclusion that he thinks [blank].”

WHOOPI: The military is not the flag. The flag represents a lot of different things to different people.


WHOOPI: And so you have to keep that in mind because, in fact, that’s what the first amendment is about.


WHOOPI: The flag does not always represent all of its people. All of its people were not taken care of under our flag, so folks know that —

FARIS: I get it.

WHOOPI: People are angry. They sometimes get angry and they burn the flag. Sometimes they burn the neighborhood, you know.

Goldberg seems entirely unaware that if this were to be taken seriously by someone with real influence, it would entirely defeat the “free speech” argument. Here you are burning a flag, and I’m not allowed to infer you hate the USA because “sometimes [people] get angry” and that’s what they do. What, then, is being said? There’s no longer any coherent answer. Whoopi Goldberg says it’s just something people do when they’re mad, like pounding the table I suppose…well then, what are we to think of a law, or ordinance, against pounding tables? Would that be null & void because it would intrude unconstitutionally on the right to free speech? I think we can all agree it would not. People would be compelled to keep their arms by their sides, or gesture with them but don’t touch anything, and state their position coherently. Free speech would survive just fine at the end of the day.

These are connections you can make only when you begin to think like an adult, after you understand the virtues of defining things, managing details, stating ideas coherently, making decisions by way of reason & not by emotion, and recognizing the most probable effects to emerge from prior cause. Also, of delayed gratification preferred over the immediate. The Left, through the democrat party, maintains an opposition to all these things and not merely because they make it harder to elect democrats. Although they certainly do. Within the Obama era, they successfully kept any sustained discussions about these differences from emerging into the mainstream, kept them confined to kooky right-wing blogs, like this one…which nobody reads anyway. “Obama wants it, so just give it to Him or else we’ll call you a racist” would have been the bumper-sticker slogan of the era. Also, with all meaningful discussions truncated, it was about putting unproductive people in charge of the producers, telling them when to produce, how, and how much.

…Will Never Be President

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

From PJ Media.

Nothing to add. Except one thing, the obvious thing…

…seems we have a lot of people walking around among us, expressing very emphatic opinions about what’s going on and/or what will happen, because being emphatic is about all they know how to do. Even people who have been in the public eye for years and decades. They want to argue, they want to be persuasive, they want to make their points persuasively, but they don’t know how. So they feign absolute, and beyond-absolute, certainty.

There’s got to be a way for me to make some big money off this. Until I figure that out, it’s back to the ol’ grind…

This Headline Sucks

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

Headlines are hard. Adequate headlines are hard enough, but excellent headlines are beyond my skill level. I’ve written, literally, thousands of them and occasionally one finds the mark, but that’s purely an achievement of good fortune and not method or skill on my part.

Headlines have rules. They have to accurately reflect the subject of what appears below. They have to grab and hold the audience’s attention. And they MUST be brief…or…must they? Brevity, while desirable, is merely a method. The actual objectives are confined to those other two things. You can break established rules and still achieve established objectives…sometimes, even, achieving results superior to what was achieved by those who followed the established rules.

A point which is aptly demonstrated by this:

Yes, Climate Change Is Real — and Skepticism about Its Magnitude is Good Science

Although there is much more to it, our argument can be summed up thus:

• On average, the computer climate models on which alarmists like [Paul] Douglas and [Mitch] Hescox rely predict 2 to 3 times the warming actually observed over the relevant period.
• Over 95% of the models predict more warming than observed, implying that their errors are not random but driven by some kind of bias written into all the models, whether honest mistake or dishonest.
• None of the models predicted the absence of statistically significant increase in global average temperature from early 1997 to late 2015.

This headline caught and held my attention, which is merely the mark of a good headline. Apart from accurately reflecting the subject matter, better than something like “this headline sucks.” What is remarkable is that it did it by breaking all the rules, and spelling out the entire argument, or at least the point where the argument achieves practical complexity by way of its apparent paradox.

Cavemen's FaultI’m biased toward this, of course, because this apparent paradox is something I’ve been pointing out for awhile. I don’t claim to know the tiniest details of climate science, but I can follow arguments, and it’s dishonest to frame the discussion the way the casual observer has become accustomed to seeing it framed. Which is something like: Is climate static, or is it changing? If it’s changing then it must be all our fault and we should tax the bejeezus out of ourselves and give extraordinary new regulatory power to strangers who sit on national and international commissions.

Much more accurate to say: Yes, the climate changes and yes, this change is an effect of…many, many things. Anything that comes in contact with the climate. That’s how physics works. Objects that come in contact with other objects have effects on those objects’ states. And, to what order of magnitude the climate is affected by human activity, is an open question — the whole question. What does the evidence say? Well…that’s where the charlatans start taking over the conversation.

As the article goes on to say,

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman famously said that the “key to science” is comparing predictions based on your theory with experimental and real-world observations. If the theory disagrees with observation, it’s wrong. The contradiction between observations and model predictions invalidates the models, which means they provide no rational basis for any predictions of future temperature or any policies predicated on them.

As we see with so many other non-disciplines of pop science, you have only to recall the most rudimentary and undemanding criteria of scientific work, to notice that the “science” enthusiasts demanding attention most urgently and obtrusively are operating entirely outside of the method.

The theory we really need to validate, or falsify, is something like this: Yes human activity has an effect on the climate, and the magnitude of this effect is somewhere around the proportion of a hamster fart in a hurricane. Therefore, insofar as shaping public policies to willfully direct what the climate is going to do (to us) over the near future, this is functionally meaningless. Okay, go test that.

A lot of people would like to falsify it. Okay. Construct an experiment that would falsify it, and falsify away.

Fake News

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

Libs better be careful with those witty invented-pejoratives…

From MrcTV.