Thursday, February 28, 2008


Good Bob Parks quote on respect:
My father taught me that people, upon first meeting, deserved to be treated in a courteous manner. Respect was earned.
Most concise way to put what I've always known that I've seen.

Talking Stain

I've come up with a new term, thanks to this Supberbowl Commercial.

I've always been turned off by (and thus literally tend to turn off) supposed point/counterpoint shows on TV or radio where the guests and/or the hosts start talking and shouting over each other.

I like to hear both sides present their cases and then respond to each others' cases -- everybody should get to complete their argument. I realize there are time limits, so perhaps they should put a time limit on these segments that everybody knows ahead of time and is enforced by the host.

Of course this doesn't happen and often the host is one of the guilty parties.

We had the news on this morning and they had this guy on to talk about the drought of male teachers in our schools, why that might be, and what problems that might present to the rearing of boys.

Right or wrong, the guy started making his case, and the female host and her female analyst went all Talking Stain on the guy. Within a minute they were "talking staining" all over each other and it's just .... buh bye. It really has nothing to do with gender -- this happens on all such shows or show segments all the time. It's annoying and it serves no one.

I do think he kinda struck a nerve with these ladies, though -- in the opening part of his argument, he said that men probably don't want to be teachers because it doesn't pay well enough and it affects their social status significantly. If a guy walks up to a woman at a party and she asks what he does for a living and he says "I'm a doctor" -- she's thinking "house in Malibu!" If he says "I'm a teacher", she's thinking "Chevy Malibu."

The girls were having none of this. That's where it suddenly got ugly.

Methinks they protested too much.

McCain vs Obama

Hillary's nosedive looks to have reached the point of no return, and this morning I heard the first direct supposed "tit for tat" soundbyte skirmish between McCain & Obama.

McCain says he's not going to pull us out of Iraq until it's stable, that if we do this prematurely Al Queda will not only set up bases in Iraq, it will take over Iraq and all of its resources.

An assessment of the current situation, an articulation of what we might expect if we pick door #2 instead of door #1, and his reason for picking door #1.

Obama "fires" back that there was no Al Queda in Iraq before McCain & Bush (& Clinton & Kerry & Reid et al) took us in to Iraq. The crowd cheers.

Ok, so the Monday Morning Quarterback says it was a mistake, and a lot of people agree. Many of those who agreed didn't agree back in 2002/2003, but they do now. But where does that get us?

You and a passenger are travelling somewhere and your car goes off the road, falls, and is precariously balanced between a tree and a piece of rock. Your passenger had advised you to slow down, you didn't, now you're both hanging from a tree.

You assess the situation and decide on a plan of action to get you both out of this predicament alive.

Your passenger reminds you that he thought you should've slowed down.

How does that help you get out of the car and out to safety?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Now THIS is cool

Assuming, and it seems they are claiming this, that compressing the air is really that efficient -- I mean, the energy has to come from somewhere. Nothing's free.

For commuter purposes? Pretty cool. Wouldn't want to pack my camping equipment across the country on vacation. But to and from work and to the store? Over to the neighbors? Anywhere without much cargo? I could see it.

Obama Garb

What's this thing with the Obama garb? Hilly's campaign puts out a picture of him in Somalia in Somalian Tribal Elder garb. And there's yammering and yammering about it. He's an American official visiting a foriegn country. This kind of stuff is done all the time. No eyebrows raised here in the Batting Cage.

Bill O'Rielly et al are asking if it's racist.

No. Hell no.

What Hilly's campaign is trying to do is raise questions about Muslim influences in his past. And it should be obvious to everyone that "Muslim" is not a race.

Should we ask questions about his Muslim influences? Yes, we should, insofar as there's a possibility for anti-westernism in there somewhere, and we are heirs to western civilization. Most of us outside of academia would like to keep it that way, too. Anyway, on my list of worries about Obama, that one has to be near the bottom.

Should a picture of him in Somali garb raise those questions? No.

We really shouldn't be dissecting and analyzing every sneeze each candidates make ... "why did she sneeze just then? What did that mean?"

Nuts to all that.

Offing the Oscars

For the record, we did start to watch the Oscars the other night. The wife likes to look at the dresses. Hey, so do I for that matter.

I was working on the computer in the same room, glancing up every now and then, really. It was she doing most of the watching.

For the record, she got fed up with all of the snide political comments and tributes to leftist social engineering and turned it off herself.

I did not object.

Bob Parks hits one out of the .... Park

When Good Intentions Go Bad, Or Worse


Eco-saviors claim that biofuels will solve our oil dependence issues, yet Ethanol has sent the price of corn through the roof. Many in the world’s poorer nations starve because they can’t afford what use to be an affordable staple. But as long as we feel better about ourselves, screw the Third World (again, see DDT).

The eco-friendly Toyota Prius was supposed to be the end-all-be-all when it comes to green commuting. However, we now know that making a Prius causes more environmental damage than manufacturing a Hummer. But as long as we feel better about ourselves, screw the facts.

They now claim that the use of one of our greatest inventions, the light bulb, may kill us at some point down the road. When that too is proven wrong, don’t hold your breath for apologies from environmentalists.

It was all about good intentions. That’s all that matters.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Political Litmus Test

I was talking to a dear friend this morning who is having a rough go in her marriage right now.

She referred to his problem:
J: he just wants the needs to be met without thinking about what they are

Me: Ah. Sounds like a Democrat.

Thank you! I'll be here all week!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm Good With That

I was talking with someone this weekend. A friend I consider a confused conservative at heart, he said he was talking to a workmate and they were talking about programs to help homeless people, and the guy said to him something like:

"If they want to take money out of my paycheck to help those people, I'm good with that. Because there but for the Grace of God go I."
He agreed. I let it go for now.

The sentiment is noble, but flawed. I'd like to ask, OK... so suppose there were no taxes, but there was a form you could fill out that let you check a box to let "them" take out some amount that "they" determined a fair amount to "do that".

Would you really check it? Really?
Well I know this guy very well and I would believe him if he said he would.

But we don't have that option. We are saddled with such taxes, and there is no such box on our HR forms to opt in or out or adjust the amount.

Now he has told me in as many words that he is a Democrat. And I assume that is partly due to the narrative that Democrats believe in helping people, and he wants to help people. All good.

So what's the problem? What sticks in my craw?

Basically, by voting Democrat and voting for a chunk to be taken out of his paycheck, he is saying to his neighbor, "I will give to this cause whatever this man or woman says I will give. And so will you. It will be law. And if you don't and you refuse to cooperate, eventually men will show up at your door with guns and escort you to jail."

Of course, they don't realize they're saying all the rest of that beyond "I will give". But effectively, that is excactly what they are saying.

Charity outside the government existed long before the government got into the business. We are all free to give as much money to whatever causes we wish to give, and if no organization exists to address a particular issue some of us find relevant, we are free to start one.

Besides, the government has never been particularly efficient about doing ... well, anything.

Forcing our neighbors to pay compulsary fees is merely a way for us to soothe our consciences with minimal pain to ourselves.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Interruption, Snarkiness, & Rational Thought

Wondering why progressives more often than not are seen talking over people with whom they are supposedly having an argument, something occurred to me.

They aren't interested in listening to your argument. It is a priori, wrong, anyway.

They have no time for rational thought. The snarky soundbyte is their substitute. In their childish impatience, they can't wait to get to the part where they get to drop their snark-bomb soundbyte and imagine everyone looking at them in awe.

Friday, February 22, 2008


You may not have been following the whole lawsuit in Canada against McCleans and Mark Styen for him discussing what a book said a book in a book review.... which is -- I don' t know -- isn't it kind of hard to review a book without talking about what it's about? But anyway, here Steyn distills it:

I'm something of a phobiaphobe. I don't subscribe to the concepts of "homophobia" and "Islamophobia." They're a lame rhetorical sleight to end the argument by denying it's an argument at all: you don't have a political disagreement with me over gay marriage or sharia, you have a mental illness.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

McCain Hit Piece

This comment on a web news story sums it up:
McCain and a lobbyist hung out. Also, an unnamed source says he thinks something was totally going on. Yeah, that's journalism.

Meet the New Boss

Same as the old boss.

About what I figured when Fidel stepped down. But the place to check for all things Cuba is the Babalu Blog. So I did. There was a great cartoon on the subject.

But what really caught my eye was his post on Michelle Obama's being proud of her country "for the first time". The list. Go take a look.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Beliefs and Religion Politics

I'm often accused, by progressives, of believing things and wanting things that I don't because I identify myself as a conservative.

I've always thought that this was just simple predjudice, but it occurs to me that there's something more to it than that.

This thought process goes back to the "George Bush can just drop dead" BDS vomit that I experienced a few weeks ago. It also goes to the "that's the base" comment a relative made when he stated that the Republican base is the racist bigots who don't want Mexicans in their town because they have brown skin.

It gets to this: it's the idea that "if you identify yourself as a conservative, you must believe X or Y." And the progressive will insert some unflattering generalization in place of X or Y. Like you don't care about black people, or poor people, or you're a fundamentalist, intolerant bible-thumper who hates gays, or war monger, or anti-environment or any number of the usual littany of mischaracterizations of the motives behind conservative thought.

Obviously, this broad-brush treatment goes both ways, at times. But I think far less often coming from conservatives than from progressives, or at the very least to lesser extremes. And I got to thinking... why is this? And I started thinking about the people I know that identify themselves as liberals or progressives looking for a common thread. And the thread seems to be that they are looking for something outside of themselves to believe in (sound familiar?) that they think people will look up to and be impressed. In other words, they try to emulate the thoughts of people they think are thinkers. Cutting edge. Ahead of the curve. "Progressive," as another relative once proudly said with an affirmative head-bob. But scratch the surface on most of them and there's nothing underneath the parrotted opinions. They're used to spouting them off -- and other people around them who are like-"thinkers" give them the "oh, yes", "mmm-mmm".... and people like me are too polite to start an argument over it so they get the false impression that everyone's impressed or at the very least that nobody disagrees.

The deal is, a lot of people believe what they believe because that's what they think they're supposed to believe -- not because they've put any thought in to it. But because they heard it from someone they thought to be a guru or visionary. In other words, they believe what they believe because they identify themselves (cultural signification again) -- as progressives. They believe what they believe because that's what Progressives are supposed to believe. This isn't all of them, by any means. But it includes your progressive "swing" voters. And most of your progressive college kids and indoctrinated middle & high school kids.

And then there is some projection going on here. They figure you believe what you believe because you are a conservative. It's a natural extension of where they're coming from. But conservatives aren't typically conservative as a fashion statement.

Conservative is just the category I happen to best fit. I identify myself as a conservative because of what I believe, I don't believe what I believe because I'm a conservative.

In the end, we're all round pegs and these categories are square holes. But I think there are a lot of people who identify themselves as progressives that are actively trying to fit in that square hole, whereas most conservatives just congregate around the square hole of conservatism and say -- well, this would be the closest fit, but I ain't changin' to try to force myself in.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Economic Stimulus

Oh, I thought of something else that's been rolling about in my head this past week. This economic stimulus package....

Conservatives (which the Republican Party roughly proports to represent) believe that lower taxes lead to more productivity, a bigger economy, more jobs, and yes, actually more net tax revenue coming in.

Progressives (which the Democratic Party apparently represents) say pish-posh, it's all for the rich, we "stimulate" the economy by "creating jobs" (however they plan on doing that) for people.

* Government doesn't create jobs. Buisnesses do. The only jobs Government can create are government jobs, which are payed for by taxes, which put a further drag on the economy.

Basically two diametrically opposed ideas, they hold. And yet ... and yet... this economic stimulus package which included a "gift" of up to ~$600 to every tax payer -- which amounts to a tax cut -- was passed by an overwhelming margin by members of both parties.

Why? Why is not taking money from us so we have more to spend in the first place not going to help the economy, but "giving" us a "gift" of our own tax dollars so we have more money to spend ... will? Riddle me this, mmmmm?

It's simply this: the Democrats appeal to that part of the population that wants the government to "give us stuff". What do I get if I vote for this person? That's the standard. So they don't want to be seen as not being on board for giving us this "gift".

It's not a gift. It's a refund.

It's not that Republicans are immune to the whole "giving" thing, either (Bridge to Nowhere, anyone?) But in the conservative philosophy, this is, in fact, consistent with "lower taxes grow the economy".

Random Thoughts

With all due credit to Thomas Sowell (who often posts "Random Thoughts" posts)

It's been quiet around here lately in the Clue Batting Cage. It's not that the pitching machine has malfunctioned or run out of baseballs crying to be struck with the Bat of Clue™. It's just that the batter has been pre-occupied with other things and the bat has been leaning still and silent against the chain links, un-manned. Lonely.

Of course if you ever come here looking for the sound of solid contact and you find the cage empty and wanting for too long, I'd encourage you to visit one of my recommended links -- especially the House of Eratosthenes -- Morgan's relatively tireless in "The House™" with his own heavy-duty clue bat, and he's turned up a couple of gems lately, too (M4GW being a real winner!)

Let's see, first thing that comes to mind is the whole Democrats "Super Delegate" thing. This is from the party that screams "disenfranchisement" if there's a traffic jam on voting day and they want to count every vote and all -- and yet they have 800 people (which accounts for something like 17% of their delegates) whose votes count for way more than any other American ... no voter gets any input into which way they vote. And the scary "Hillary 4u&me" video/song says "... let's bring back our democracy".... yeeeeaaahhhhhhhhh. Or socialism. Whatever works, Mrs. Che. Any Means Necessary.

Not that Obama would be any better. Actually, sadly, I think he might be worse. Most liberal voting record in the senate, and Che-llary is in the senate.

A caller yesterday on the Dennis Miller show came up with a great theme song for Obama --

"Hey-bama, O-bama
Bama-bama hey-
Bama hey-bama O-ba-maaaaahh..."

Brilliant. Of course that's kind of lost on people not familiar with "Jesus Christ, Superstar". Kinda fits, though - with the whole "caught up in the adulation" thing.

Let's just say that his stirring but purposefully vague rhetoric allows people to pour their beliefs into his empty vessel. Look at his record. Judge the man based on his deeds, not the lilt of his words.

Ok, what else?

I was talking to ... a relative ... the other day about the immigration thing - specifically the illegal immigration thing, and he - I think he's been hanging around too many academics lately. He used to be more sane than this -- he said something to the effect that those of us who want to secure the borders, who are against letting breaking the law to get here pay off for people -- he said that "they just want to round up all the people with brown skin" ... yes, he used that term -- a key rhetorical clue ... and send them back home or whatever.

And I said, man, I've talked to many, many people who agree with me on this, and heard about many, many more and I have never heard anyone who even sounded the least bit "racist" about it. It is, in fact, about rule of law -- to a person. And he said something to the effect that I'm not getting a good cross-section because I talk to educated people on the web. And there's that whole elitist attitude again that bugs me. Yeah, there are some uneducated people who are racists. But it doesn't follow that uneducated people are racists. I don't know many racists. Oddly, the ones I do know are mostly Democrats - staunch and higly partisan ones. It's true. But that wouldn't surprise Bob Parks.

Anyway I said that we just want them to come through the front door, not sneak in through the cellar. He said that the front door is 2 feet wide and 2 feet high and 8 feet off the ground. That may be. But tell that to the guy living in Nigeria who's playing by the rules while these people just saunter across because they, as some one said, "live within walking distance."

I've been thinking about a lot of stuff lately, but unfortunately haven't had time to sit down and let the thoughts coalesce into a coherent theme.

Such as ... "Croc" shoes are ugly. I don't care how comfortable or durable they are. They look like you didn't really want to get dressed today.

And with that, my mind has gone completely, uninspiredly blank.

This is why I haven't posted lately. But for the sake of showing a pulse, I'll go ahead and post.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Morgan has some insightful things to say about where we are today. Morgan's usually full of insightful things to say, so this is really not a surprise to me. But yesterday he posted something that contained a substantial bit of what he does best -- and that would be seeing the absurd for what it is and pointing it out in straight, plain English.

I've not made my mind up about McCain -- I plan on looking seriously into the allegations against him and making up my own mind. Even if I decide to vote for him, and I likely will... it doesn't mean Morgan's wrong. I respect his position on that and -- the rest of the post really only backs up his position. The "Irony Is..." part of the post is what really sticks out. It's about halfway through, a bit up from the picture of the girl in the Hooters getup.

In order for the "Voting Outside The Lines" to work, a critical mass must be reached, so we need to keep the Convention vs Irony argument going.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Cultural Signifiers

The main reason I engage in this activity at all -- reading news on the innernets and blogging is that -- frankly, I'm really not that eloquent.

I look better in writing because I can edit what I say before anybody "hears" it. But I'm looking for words that communicate my ideas better than I can. Words that distill an idea I have that can come out of my mouth and "zing!" people get what I'm trying to convey. Well I found some today in an editorial by David Brooks in Pravda The New York Times. (Well they do have some "rebel" columnists these days, such as Mr. Brooks and I think Bill Kristol now? They're trying. Circulation is in a nose-dive, they had to try something.)

Educated people get all emotional when they shop and vote. They want an uplifting experience so they can persuade themselves that they’re not engaging in a grubby self-interested transaction. They fall for all that zero-carbon footprint, locally grown, community-enhancing Third Place hype. They want cultural signifiers that enrich their lives with meaning.
The whole quote there is pretty good, but it's that last sentence that has the gold in it.

They want cultural signifiers that enrich their lives with meaning.
Little symbols that others can see that on the surface tell others what the person wants them to see, want them to believe about them. "Cultural signifiers." That's a term I need to file away.

I read a funny story today (ht Morgan/Kate) that gives a little illustration of what I'm talking about. This girl got a tattoo -- some Chinese characters on her arm, thinking it means "Inner Peace." The tattoo itself is kind of a cultural signifier that is supposed to tell you "I'm outside the mainstream. I'm a non-conformist." Although that is less and less true these days as it's all the rage to be non-conformist. Still. I'd lay odds that that's one of the main reasons most people who get them -- get them. You're supposed to see the tattoo and think "that person's not a follower." That's what the wearer wants. And I've got nothing against tattoos, really. They're fine. Not the "my body is a canvas" type. But little symbols -- I've considered one myself. And my belief about the general motivation stands.

The second "cultural signifier" is that it's in Chinese. It says to people "I'm worldly". Not in the materialistic sense, but in the cultural awareness sense. It says "I know and respect things outside of my own culture." It suggests a bit of mystery. It also provides little moments of superiority when people have to ask you what it means and you know and they don't. Plus it's cool because it probably means something profound and the asker has to acknowledge your spiritual depth.

Someone looked up the characters on this girl's tattoo and found out it really means something more like "Strong Woman". This is another thing getting it in Chinese helps with. Our culture is an English-speaking culture. Many of us know some other relatively modern European languages. Getting the English words "Strong Woman" or "Strong Man" tattooed on our arms isn't nearly as cool -- as a matter of fact it would be kind of un-cool because it looks like we're bragging on ourselves. And outright bragging isn't cool in traditional western culture. So you get to subtly brag a bit, and you get the added fairy dust kudos from the additional cultural signifiers discussed above.

But the deal is, it's just symbols. You can go get a crucifix or a Buddha tattooed on your arm, but it doesn't make you a Christian or a Buddhist. It doesn't even really make you a rebel. It might make you feel like one, or make you feel like others will see you as one. But it's just some ink in your skin cells.

The most telling thing in that story about the bean curd girl is that she didn't even really know what it meant. It apparently didn't matter enough for her to ask. What was important was what other people could be persuaded to believe it meant, from having a tattoo in the first place to what the symbols actually meant and what it all said about her. Whether any of it was true or not. She was briefly persuaded that it did not, as the tattoo artist had told her, mean "inner peace", but that it meant "bean curd" instead. And of course ironically in the end it turns out that it doesn't mean either. At least it doesn't mean anything bad or stupid.

And so it goes with voting. One can get up in the morning in their 3,500 square-foot home with a hot-tub on the deck and electrical appliances everywhere and drive their 14 mpg SUV (but I bought it to protect my children!) with the Greenpeace bumper sticker to to the polling place, get out, and vote for the progressive candidate because he's "for the environment". He's "environmental". Then you can go to work and brag to your friends and co-workers about how you voted for this person and why. Or simply slap another bumpersticker proclaiming your support right next to the COEXIST sticker. But it's no different than the Chinese symbols on "bean curds'" shoulder.

Like I said, I've got nothing against tattooes.

And I've got nothing against energy conservation, wilderness preservation, and minimizing pollution as much as is reasonable. I'm for all those things. And I'm considered hard right. Which means according to progressives I'm against all those things no matter what I say. I'm a constitutionalist so I'm against "the environment"? Like I said in the last post, never let your opponents define you.

Brother jeffmon sent me a link to a Depleted Cranium article that people should read.

Here's another one talking about Human CO2 sources and what's plausible to do about them -- but before you read it, keep in mind that human-generated (anthropogenic) CO2 accounts for only a single-digit percentage of the earth's total carbon budget.

And think about that when you drive your hybrid with your "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Gore" bumpersticker past Walmart to Target, instead, to buy your compact flourescent light-bulbs -- your cultural signifier that you're environmental.

note: we've replaced most of our bulbs with CF's. It saves us about 10% on our energy bill. But ... I hope we come up with a good disposal plan in the next 5 years for all of the mercury-laden bulbs that will be wearing out over that time period. I'm more worried about mercury in my water than I am about CO2 in the air.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Enough rope to hang himself

Sorry, another caller on Dennis Miller's show...

Now I'm going to go ahead and say before this -- don't let your opponent define you. This is the right's biggest failing. We tend to let that happen. This guy was so whacked out, voice just barely under control, he just went on this tirade. Oh, you've heard it before, basically, but here it is.

I am so proud to be a Democrat now. You know, from Ann Coulter to Al in San Fransisco, the, the, you know, you talk about Kool Aid drinking, I mean just the idea that, you know, let's do the list. What does the hard right want to do? The hard right wants to take the country back 50 years with their laws, they want to go around the world and invade every country they can that doesn't agree with our way of life, and they want to ensure that the ruling class in this country is perpetually put on their throne.

And let's see what the left wants to do. The left wants to, uh, protect the environment and make sure everyone's got health care, and get us out of a war that we think that was misplanned in the first place. I"m so glad to be a Democrat today [... blurb about Sean Hannity being out of his mind]

What's your comment, Dennis?!


Well you know, Steve, I was more prone to be on the hard right before this phone call. But you've made so much sense... I'm changin'. Thanks, Steve!

Steve: (after a little pause, because he's not expecting that answer - not taking him seriously.) You're welcome, Dennis.

Is that what we want to do? Wow. I was unaware of that. But that's the Republican three-pronged platform, in the eyes of the Hill-O-Bama voters.
Back 50 years on the laws.
Invade every country that doesn't agree with us.
Keep the ruling class on their throne.
Did he just design the T-Shirt for us?

I guess the problem is that attempting to address where they're wrong on any of that requires an attention span longer than music video. And we don't get to play a cool music bed behind it, either.

There are a few telling things in that tirade, though. "Back" 50 years with their laws... this is the fatal flaw in progressive thinking. Progressive basically assumes that things evolve to be better over time. More laws = better. Repealing bad ones means "going back". But of course, there are no bad ones. Except the ones they don't like, of course. But they aren't talking about those when they say "going back".

Of course the "invading every country that doesn't agree with our way of life" is just ludicrous. But of course the whole tirade is pure hyperbolic invective. But it's hyperbolic invective that he believes whole heartedly. As a matter of fact there's a whole bunch of the hard right that would prefer more isolationist policy. We went to Afghanistan to root out the Taleban and Al Queda after the 9/11 attacks. We went to Iraq to enforce 17 (over 11 years) ignored U.N. resolutions and a violated cease-fire from the 1991 war.

And as far as the ruling class... who, again, is trying to elect Hillary Clinton?

I Made a New Word

Morgan's always making new words. Today I made one:
michaelmoore: (v) to systematically edit context from reality to make it appear as if reality is something very different from what actually occurred. This is not limited to editing context out but also includes editing false context in.

Declaration Controversy

I was listening to Monday's Dennis Miller show, and his studio sidekick Sal mentioned that he was put off by the reading of the Declaration of Independence before the Superbowl. He said he felt it was political, and that a football game was no place for it.

This is referring to an "ad" where various NFL players, officials, some soldiers, and former NFL player's Pat Tillman's (killed in Afghanistan) mother. This seemed particularly aggregious to Sal.

One caller observed:

"I'm a little upset that we've become so politically correct that it's considered a conservative propaganda move to read the Declaration of Independence on the air [...] I mean we, sort of, speaking as a country ..."
Sal interjected

"when did Fox become a country?"

First of all, the interjection made no sense because the caller was saying he was upset that "we" as a country were offended by what Fox did. Nobody was suggesting that "Fox" pretended it was speaking for the country. But we'll let that slide.

This, and at this time I have no idea what Sal's political orientation is, illustrates one of the apparent core tenets of progressive-American thought (whether Sal is progressive or not). And that is that no one can say anything in public that doesn't speak for all of us, and by us they mean them.

No, Fox is not a country. Nobody suggested Fox was a country or that Fox speaks for everbody. It is a private sector business. And if Fox wants to forego several million dollars in potential advertising revenue to read an historical document which provided the foundation of this country, the country that produced football, the country that enshrined Freedom of Speech in its Constitution -- on the air, on its dime, that is their business.

The Superbowl doesn't belong to America. The Superbowl belongs to the NFL. The rights to broadcast the Superbowl were bought from the NFL by Fox. The broadcast doesn't belong to America, and it certainly doesn't belong to progressive America by any sort of extension. The right to watch it, or not, so far, belongs to you and me by the good graces of Fox. Fox doesn't charge you for it because it charges advertisers to advertise during the broadcast. And sometimes, Fox broadcasts messages from Fox, which it has every right to do. There was nothing defamatory in it. Every word came straight out of history and had not been michaelmoored into something it wasn't. A reminder of how we started. What we believed. Who we were in the beginning.

Dennis observed (from an objecting viewpoint):
... America is supposed to be the ones who never, ever, ever have any catharsis, any pride, that we alway stay to ourselves, we're sort of embarrassed about our power...
Yes, every other culture in the world must be preserved, must be elevated and celebrated ... but never, ever, ever American culture. Unless we're talking, again, about 20th century American coutnter-culture. Counter-American is cool. American is not.

The fact that some apparently feel that reading the Declaration of Independence is somehow supportive of one political ideology over another says something very telling about the political ideology whose adherents would take offense to it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Brother Jeffmon has made his choice.

Who is Wayne Allyn Root? Well he's someone that true conservatives, as in constitutionalist conservatives -- who are planning on sitting this one out might well go vote for in November instead of "sitting it out" as many are saying they will do. That way you'll be there at the polls to, say, try to counterbalance the evenutal winner and stack Congress against him or her with your other votes. Hint, hint.

Jeffmon says:

I got to the polling place last night at ten before seven and asked for a libertarian ballot. There were plenty.

It didn't really matter, Mr. Root won handily. He has the most money, and the most support. Fortunately, he is the most agreeable choice on the ballot.

It is extremely likely I'll vote for him in the general. I still think that if I want one candidate to win and vote for someone else, my vote is wasted.

I'm going to go out on a limb here knowing jeffmon's sense of humor and figure that Root was the only one on the ballot.

No, really. If, as I hear as much as 30% of conservatives plan on sitting the election out if McCain wins the nomination.... this would be quite the statement. That would be quite a few votes. It couldn't possibly be misconstrued as you being complicit in a Hill-bama win. And this guy shares more of your values than any candidate on the eventual ballot for sure.

I won't count it out. I've got 7 months. It wouldn't be the first time I voted Libertarian.

This is not an outright endorsement. Just sayin's all.

Update: Jeffmon replies that there were actually several on the ballot. And it's not that we think he'd necessarily make a good president, or even a mediocre one. But if you go by what he says ... and isn't that what everyone else is supposed to be doing?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

And People Wonder

... why people have lost faith in "the system".

Apparently McCain had his delegates vote for Huckabee in West Virginia because McCain wasn't going to get them and he wanted to ensure Romney wouldn't.

So in effect, people who perhaps didn't want to vote for Huckabee ended up voting for ... Huckabee, so that Romney wouldn't come up with delegates.

I had to vote for Romney even though I wanted to vote for Thompson because I want to slow the McCain train. Thompson was de-selected by other states and the press before I got a chance to vote for him. I feel like McCain has been picked for me. This process is broken.

And I know how it could be much, much better. I likened it in an email to the AP coaches' polls.

I have my own idea for fixing this process. I wonder how I get it up to the powers that be. I'm sure some of the powers that be wouldn't like it, but this would probably get more people excited about the process and give all sides the candidates they are, as a group, the happiest with.

First: All primaries are to be held on the same day, just like election day. This forces the candidates to campaign to the entire country and not pander to special interest groups in key states. Or not spend so much time pandering, at least.

Second: When we vote, we rank the candidates. Points are assigned and weighted in accordance with the candidate's ranking.

Third: Same thing with the general election. Here's where the plan can go one of two ways.

A) The presidential and vice presidential candidate gaining the highest point total wins


B) There are no vice-presidential candidates. The candidate with the second highest point total becomes the vice president. I see good and bad aspects of this idea, not the least of which is an incentive to assasinate the top dog. Something tells me, though, that in the early days of the country this is how it was done anyway.

My original idea is A).
This gets rid of "wasting my vote" syndrome and gives people all across the country a real, non-binary voice. Now you get to vote for who you really want AND who you sorta want. It's no longer a stark choice between who-you-want-only-if-he-or-she-can-beat-who-you-don't-want. You get a much more detailed picture of what people are thinking. And it gets reflected in the results.

This also inhibits the ability of the press to steer the election by speculating on and spinning results from the early primaries.

I think people would flock to the polls AND be happier with the results.

On the way home I heard this type of election called a "run off" election. So be it.

Even if you couldn't get it established as the process for the general election right away, I'd sure be happy if at least the Republicans would decide that this is what they are going to do.

How do we get this started? It is still our country, right? Of the people, by the people, for the people?

The McCain Prospect

Long ago I said that I'd vote, in the general election, for whichever Republican candidate won the nomination. Not because I am a Republican -- I refuse to choose a party allegiance. But because any of the Republican candidates, based on the issues, are preferable to me over any of the Democrats.

I respect Morgan's point of view. But I have a different one. It's one of hope. Still, Morgan may be right in the end. My hope may be a desparate, false hope.

With McCain, I get support for the mission in Iraq and support for the second amendment, two of my top issues. He's not for a mandated Universal Health Care scheme, although he may be for some things that would effectively lay more groundwork for it. I don't like McCain's stance on illegal immigrants, and I don't like his embrace of the AGW fraud. Both are dangerous. McCain-Feingold is a stupid law which should be repealed, but it doesn't figure prominently in my thoughts. He wants to regulate nicotine. Don't like that infringement on liberty. Don't like it at all.

Since McCain, Obama, and Clinton are all senators, you can actually go get actual, factual info on them out here.

I'm thinking along the lines of a punt in football. I give "them" the ball, but I set them back a ways in the hope that I can keep them from getting very far with it before we can put our team back in.

(and "our team" needs a good locker-room chewin' out as it is)

Morgan is thinking of dropping to the knee and handing the ball to "them" for all to see how they operate and just how far they're willing to go to advance socialism and facist control over every aspect of our lives. Then the crowd will boo them off the field.

Either one might work. Is it time for the coin toss?


Just read this: Super Tuesday Snapshot, Missouri

Many voters here in St. Charles County, Missouri, tell NBC/NJ that they chose their presidential candidate within the past two weeks, and a few even say that they didn't know their pick for sure until the ballot was in their hand.

Yup. That was me. I had three choices. Thompson, because that's who I really wanted to vote for. Romney, because I don't want McCain, and ... believe it or not, Ron Paul. I basically agree with Paul on most things outside of the pulling out of Iraq immediately bit. But that ended up being too big a "bit" in the end.
The reason for the last-minute choice? For Republicans, it might be dissatisfaction with the current field. One woman said that this election has been "frustrating" because no GOP candidate has emerged - to her – as an unambiguous conservative. Another St. Louis area business owner said that she's disappointed with the ascendancy of John McCain, who she says is "not truly representative" of Republican values. And one young student still wasn't sure that his vote for a Republican who "isn't a frontrunner" would make a difference.

Might be dissatisfaction with the current field? I ended up pulling the lever for Romney as my most effective "not McCain" choice. Note that this election for conservatives, at least, seems to be about issues. Now check this:
On the Democratic side, precisely the opposite may be the case. One young voter said that she's so excited by the prospect of EITHER an African-American or a female president that she couldn't make up her mind until she walked in the door here. (She declined to say which of the two Democratic rivals got her vote.)

So on that side of the fence, it's about kudos for affirmative action voting, not about issues. It's about race and gender. Note that she didn't say who she voted for. 'Cause if she voted for Hillary she's racist. And if she voted for Obama she's buyin' in to the Patriarchy. Better to just cheer both on and let people wonder. That way you can claim your moral stamp of approval in either crowd.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Things I Know #17

This weekend we were discussing how it is decided which murders (Holloway, Peterson, Jon Bennett, etc) of the various murders and disappearances that happen across the country get picked for national exposure and the subsequent daily ad-nauseum over-analysis and re-analysis.

And someone [white, progressive] immediately blurted out:
Rich, White America decides.

It kind of reminds me of an observation my friend Lawrence of Academia made when he noted:
[it's] almost as if the condemnation is universal and as if expressing contempt is a mantra that shows one's intelligence and morality.

It is sort of like they expect the sentiment to be reassuringly echoed back to them. Speakin' truth to power and all.

Which got me to thinking about what I'm seeing right before my eyes here in America. There is a populist movement afoot that leverages moral preening and class warfare to catapult people like Hillary-McCain-Obama in to power.
It's all their fault. Let's get rid of them. I'll stick it to them. I'll save you. And you shall be the chosen. You shall be the agents of change.
Stalin. Castro. Hitler. Che. et. al.

Which leads us to Things I Know # 17.

17. In the last 200 years, at least, tyrants typically come to power via popular support from people who buy a "class warfare" world view. This view is marketed and sold by the tyrants who wish to be in power.

Biofuel Follies

A worthwhile column from George Will.

It's "food" for thought.

Republican Problem

Over the weekend a good friend and a life long Republican said she is voting for Obama in the primaries. Her reason was that "he seems like a decent guy and he's not Hillary".

So I've now seen first-hand that Republicans are so unhappy with the party's choices that some of them are going to a guy who looks nice and speaks well even though his voting record is definitely liberal-progressive.

Wake up, Elephants.

I've about made up my mind to do as Morgan suggests tomorrow.

I'm afraid it will amount to taking a vote away from Romney and effectively putting one in McCain's pocket. But he's probably going to win anyway. At least my voice might be heard if I let it be known who I really wanted. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be anyway?

Friday, February 01, 2008


Well, I'm torn. Super Tuesday is coming up in my state. My guy Fred is on the ballot but has dropped out of the race. I was having a rough time deciding among Giuliani, Romney, & McCain, as they all present different problems for me, philosophically.

I think I was actually trying to decide between Romney and Giuliani when Rudy dropped out. And then all the hoopla about McCain came up after Florida.

Can Romney beat Billary? This is an important question.

One of my biggest problems with McCain, though, is his apparent embrace of the AGW fraud. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I am an conservative and an environmentalist -- who also has a background in Meteorology (which includes a lot of physics). I've been trained in scientific method. And I know that the AGW critics would win the argument if the public forum (read: the press) would allow their argument to be made without a raft of disparaging disqualifiers. The facts are on their side. And I don't want someone going and signing some stupid treaty obliging us to meet some arbitrary goals that hurt our economy, won't make a discernible dent in CO2 emissions (even if they were causing a problem) and lay the groundwork for the ascendence of an Uber Global Government. It's nuts.

I'm all for low emissions, energy efficiency, energy independence, clean air, clean water, preserved open spaces, etc. But this AGW idea has gotten way out of hand.

If you've been reading along regularly, you know I have a lot of respect for Thomas Sowell. In his latest, he brings out a few things about McCain I have been unaware of and I find disturbing. From my experience reading him, Mr. Sowell is not prone to going off half cocked. So I'm inclined to take him seriously.

Via Morgan's blog the other day, I read an article that suggests Thompson supporters vote for Thompson anyway if he's on the ballot (and he is in my state) just to send a message to the RNC. I haven't completely discarded this idea. But I imagine a vote for Fred here is effectively going to be a vote for McCain in the final analysis. So I do need to take one more good, hard look at Romney, since he's the only other real viable choice.

Ahead of that, though, there is the prospect of a President Clinton II or a President Obama. And a chance to make that not happen with at least a president McCain who doesn't see the U.S. as the enemy in the war.

Not a pretty position to be in. I think this process is broken.

I think that every year there should be a "Super Tuesday" in each party where all 50 states vote on one day in the primaries. And intstead of "this is my choice", they should rank their candidates.

The one with the highest rank wins the nomination for that party. Or maybe the two with the highest ranks win and debate each other a little more and we follow up with another Super Tuesday to decide for sure. Or even #1 gets the Presidential nominaton and #2 gets the VP nomination.

Then we go to the polls. One of the things I hate most about this process is that the early states (and probably in at least equal part, the media) essentially thin out the candidates I get to chose from by the time it gets to my state. So the early states get pandered to individually instead of having national candidates having to appeal to everyone across the board at the same time. Then the press spins the results to have the meaning they think it should have -- whether it's just for a good story or because they want to, as most of them will say, "make a difference."

I don't know quite what I'm going to do yet. And I'm not used to being in this position. I don't like it at all.