Monday, February 28, 2011

It Might Be Funny If It Had Any Truth To It At All

I mentioned a joke in the last post that was posted by a "liberal" friend.

I didn't realize it was "going around".  My buddy in KC was having a similar argument on FB at practically the same time and the same "joke" was brought up.  Here it is:

"A unionized public employee, a member of the Tea Party and a Big Corp CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table there is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the tea partier and says, "Look out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie."
I re-wrote the "joke".  It's a good illustration of why we conservatives have difficulty getting our message across.  Reality doesn't lend itself to short snarky quips.  And this one doesn't even really have much bearing on reality since in the real world ... the CEO brought the cookies in the first place.  Cookies don't just magically appear on tables.  But I digress.  Here's my long-winded version:

A public union employee, a Tea Partier, a CEO, and a progressive Democrat politician are sitting around a table. The CEO brought a dozen cookies his company made, and hands one to each person. The Tea Partier thanks the CEO for bringing the cookies. The public union employee complains that the CEO still has more cookies than he does, and protests the greediness of the CEO.

The Progressive Democrat says "I will take four of those cookies for the public good, thank you" (corporate tax rate) and hands one to the public union employee and one to the Tea Partier. The public union employee thanks the politician. The Tea Partier, while he probably keeps the second cookie, realizes that it really came from the CEO. He points this out, but is called a "hater" for siding with the CEO.

The public union employee and the Tea Partier now each have two cookies. The politician has three, and the CEO has 5. The public union employee decides that two cookies do not measure up to his "fair share" and protests for another, since the "greedy" CEO has more. The Politician steps in and says the union employee is right, he deserves another cookie. So the politician collects two more cookies from the CEO, keeps one for overhead and his campaign fund, and hands the other to the union member.

The Union member now has three cookies, the Tea Partier two cookies, the CEO has three cookies, and the politician has four cookies. The union member is happy, the Tea Partier is just grateful to have any cookies, but the CEO grumbles that the politician has more cookies than he ever intended to give plus the politician got credit for “generously” handing out the CEO's cookies while the CEO was viewed as "greedy". The politician thinks about this and breaks a cookie in half and hands one half back to the CEO. The Union member screams that the government is giving handouts to the rich. The politician says not to worry, he will take another cookie from the CEO next time they go to lunch if elected.  "Just vote for me."

Then the politician and the union member wonder why the CEO is subsequently reluctant to bring his cookies to lunch.
Yeah, see, it's not funny at all. A darned sight closer to reality, though.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Union Fields"?

Out in that alternate social network world in which I also participate, but try to keep it social for the most part, I have some "friends" who lean left. Some more than others.

One of them recently posted a video in which Reagan says that "being in a union is a basic right".

To which I responded that I think most people would agree -- but most of the problems arise when they don't extend the same courtesy to those who don't want to be in a union.

And I got a couple responses below, and my replies follow.
‎"In a free market, isn't someone free to seek employment in a non-union field?"
First, what is a "Union field", and who gets to define that?
"Is anyone really surprised that they have to join the teacher's union if they want to teach in a public school?"
And why should they have to? I call things like this the "But the BELL rang" defense.

The deal is, unions are fine so long as they are voluntary. They do give its members power, which can and has been used toward much good over the years.

However, like any other form of power, it is subject to, and in fact a magnet for -- abuse. Which has also occurred much over the years. It gets especially nasty when that manifestation of power gets into bed with the highest form of earthly power, that necessary evil called "government". Which has also happened much over the years.

The biggest gripe I see from the unions (they don't come out and say this, they just use the generic "union-busting" and "anti-union" rally cries) aimed at, in this case, the state itself, since it's public schools -- at least in Wisconsin -- is that the State wants union dues to be voluntary. By that they mean that the state will not take union dues out of the teachers' paychecks and give them to the union (which then turns around and forks a healthy helping over to Democratic coffers, which is why Democrats' hair is standing on end now) -- forcing the Union member himself to take that money and do with it as the Union member sees fit. Ah, liberty!

Now, if the member values the union, and wants to remain a member in good standing, he will pay his union dues to the union like any good club member does to the club to which he or she belongs.

But of course the unions are rightfully afraid that this won't happen.

And so they engage in their usual schtick of calling people Nazis and Fascists and making a lot of noise about their selfless dedication to "the children" (which is dangerous and incivil if their political opponents ever mimic it, but their Reagan-sanctioned right if they themselves do it.)

Government employee unions, while still perfectly valid to have -- have an additional danger, as a columnist I respect recently wrote:
"In the private sector, the capitalist knows that when he negotiates with the union, if he gives away the store, he loses his shirt. In the public sector, the politicians who approve any deal have none of their own money at stake. On the contrary, the more favorably they dispose of union demands, the more likely they are to be the beneficiary of union largess in the next election. It's the perfect cozy setup."
In this case, "the store" is the state coffer. And it's been going on for many years now.


It continues.  He posted a joke about evil, bad CEO's and idiot Tea Partier tools.

A unionized public employee, a member of the Tea Party and a Big Corp CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table there is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the tea partier and says, "Look out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie."
So I replied....

Well, in this case it isn't the CEO, it's the government itself that is grabbing the cookies. So I'm not sure why we're transferring the behavior back to big bad evil business .... except for the fact that the government not ...being all just and benevolent just doesn't fit into the progressive worldview. So it is projected on the evil enemy, CEOs.

The cookie analogy falls apart quickly, too, when you realize that cookies don't just appear in the middles of tables. Somebody puts up money to buy the equipment and the building and the resources for the cookie factory, and buys the ingredients, then hires people (otherwise known as "creating jobs") to bake those cookies.

Of course, some cookie CEO's take advantage of cookie baking employees, and those employees have every right to form a cookie baker's union and bargain collectively for better terms if they can get them.

But if some cookie bakers are happy working for less than the CBU 103 union is demanding (wouldn't that make the union "greedy", by the way?) -- why should CBU 103 be able to force the other cookie bakers to join them in their demands and follow their rules?
He changed the subject to Teddy Roosevelt.
A "Union Yes" friend of his chimed in:

We have union shops where everybody isn't forced to join the union. The APWU (postal workers) is one such union. But the union must still represent the employees who don't pay union dues. So those employees take a ride for free. What's fair about that? And typically, they're the biggest complainers (grievers). The union dues are not high and job and benefit protection is well worth it.

And yes, the unions use a lot of the dues to protect their rights in Washington. And there's a "trickle down effect" that really works in it. We all benefit - even those who have non-union jobs.

[and some other union propaganda about there would be no middle class if not for unions and the only reason our "Democracy" works is because of the middle class]
And I had a little to say about that, too...

So if I improve my property so that it increases the value of the surrounding property, do I get to charge my neighbors for the added value?

No, I don't. It was my choice to improve my position. If my neighbors sign an agreement that they ...will help me pay for it ahead of time, then yes. That would be like a neighborhood association.

If I went door to door with my clipboard and pen with Bubba and Guito standing menacingly behind me and, ahem, "asked everybody nicely" ... well that would be a union.

And if the government forced my vote (at the "request" of the unions) to be public so the union's thug would know whom to ... lean on ... if they didn't like my vote, why that would be "card check"

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rally In Support of Gov. Walker

Tea Partiers in Jefferson City.  Sorry about the bad stitch.
I headed down to Jefferson City late this morning to rendesvouz with other Tea Partiers who had organized a Counter Rally to MoveOn et. al.'s rally in support of the unions at our State Capitol.   Bit of a counter-rally to theirs on our part.  They're not the only people who have something to say on the subject.

I don't know ... maybe 150 people, total on our side by the time everyone showed up.  I think they may have had a little more on the other side.  200 or so.  They were packed in tighter by the war memorial.  We were kind of spread out and diffuse.

One of the more amusing things is that we had the "good" side of the Capitol, the south lawn, and a decent sound system.  So several of the union supporters came to our side first thinking it was their rally.  They quickly figured it out with the smattering of Gadsden flags and T.E.A. hats (made to look like D.E.A. hats).  "Tyranny Eradication Association", I think Diane said.

Infiltrators?  Or just a couple of nuts
there on their own?  Some of ours
went over to make it clear they weren't
with us.
 Another man from her Tea Party group had been around to the other side before I had and ran into some guys unfurilng a "9/11 Was an Inside Job" banner.   He said he didn't want to be anywhere near that sign and came back around to our side.  But after a while two guys came around the sidewalk with it, and several of our guys went over there with "Imposter", "Not with us" signs and blocked the sign from view as they made their way around the south sidewalk.   I assumed they were infiltrators sent from the union side at first, but I'm not so sure now.  I went to the union side to shoot a few photos and saw them making their way around the sidewalk on that side. 

They may have just been a couple of sincere idiots there on their own.

The speakers had some good things to say.  Kept it brief and interesting.  I got to meet James Hoft (The Gatweay Pundit  -- his post on the event is here) and RK Martin from St. Louis TEA Party.  Saw Diane, Sonia, Phil, and a couple of others from ours and the California Tea Party.

Good showing.  I think we made our point.

Union rally is below.

Union Supporters on the north side of the Capitol.

Friday, February 25, 2011

But The Bell Rang!

Last week I talked about the broad "birther" brush -- that even people who might wonder why, say, even when Democratic Hawaii Goveronor Abercrombie tried to get to Obama's original birth records to put the whole controversy to rest in Obama's favor ... a month later he threw up his hands and said it's impossible -- but in the small print ... without Obama's permission.

And the fact that anybody who dares to scratch his head over this and say, "Really???" would be reluctant to do so for fear of that big, broad brush sweeping over him and saying "Birther! Nut job!" just for wondering ... what's the big deal?  Why the reluctance for Obama to have them waved in front of the public to embarrass the birthers?

If this were a republican there would be a hoard of reporters camping out at the HDOH, sifting through garbage and going undercover, and it would be on the nightly news every night.  But it's their guy, and the liberals in the news media get curiously incurious when it's their guy's butt on the line.

It touched off one of the longest comment chains ever on this blog, mostly between myself and someone to whom it seemed at least as important that, in fact, its because the law has everyone's hands (including Obama's).  So you really shouldn't ask the question.  It's outta their hands.  Shut Up.

He so far has provided one bit of evidence ... but it doesn't stand up to cursory scrutiny.

I think this should be our new term for such arguments.  It's the, "But ... the Bell Rang!" argument.

Why I Read Krauthammer

Charles and I disagree on a few things.  A very few things.  But that's gonna happen.

Far more often than not, the man is a font of principled verbal clarity.
In the private sector, the capitalist knows that when he negotiates with the union, if he gives away the store, he loses his shirt. In the public sector, the politicians who approve any deal have none of their own money at stake. On the contrary, the more favorably they dispose of union demands, the more likely they are to be the beneficiary of union largess in the next election. It's the perfect cozy setup.
It's clarity we need to win this fight. And by "this fight" I don't mean Wisconsin alone. I mean the bigger one for the heart and soul of this country.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Worth a Read

Pop on over to Morgan's and read this, (the short version) and if you have time click his link to the original article.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Born Yesterday

The other night we caught the original "Born Yesterday" film with Judy Holliday and William Holden.  She really nailed that part.  The remake pales in comparison.  Remember this film was made in 1950, and it was based on a Broadway play ... so it's even a bit older than that.

It's funny, charming, and has a few things to say.  It says more than this, but this bit(which I've edited together) kinda stuck out at me.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Middle East

Mubarak is out, the Egyptian Military is in.  Something will happen in the next six months.

Khadafi has fled Lybia.

Yemen.  Bahrain.  Algeria.

Are we witnessing the blossoming of enlightenment-style democratic republicanism in the Middle East ... or ... will they end up like Iran and Gaza?  

Or a mixture?

Stay tuned, I sure as hell don't know.  Hope for the best.  Prepare for the worst.

Of Conservative Christians, Secular Conservatives, Christian Progressives, and Secular Progressives

As a significant number of my posts are, this one started out as a comment I left on someone else's blog or website.

First let me say that there are some confused conservative Christians who don't get what I am about to say. But by and large, I find that most would agree with what I am about to say, even if they have never thought about it before.

I was raised a Catholic.

I was taught by the nuns in Catholic school the principles and values and reasoning behind why our Founders designed what they designed the way they designed it, and I was taught to respect it.

You can't get a whole lot more religious conservative than "Catholic".

American Catholics (and most other American Christians) do understand the dangers of having an official state religion, and the flip side of that, state religious persecution. A lot of American Catholics came here to flee precisely that. And that bit from Matthew 22 comes to mind, "Render to Ceasar what is Ceasar's, and to God what is God's" There's your original "separation of Church and State." Most Christians understand it well. Catholics have seen their religion abused by states and they have been abused by states because of their beliefs.

The history throughout which Christians used Government to enforce Christianity occurred largely before this old New Idea was birthed at the founding of our nation. American conservatives are religious, and espouse Christian values, but they in general do not insist that the esoteric teachings of their denominations be enforced as law.

One of the beauties, I think, of the way this country was established is that it mirrored the Christian view of the relationship between God and Man ... that is, man has free will, and each is free to accept or reject God in his own way. The consequences for which, good or bad, were to be meeted out by God.

But nations are not theoretical vaccuums bereft of humans and culture.  If the Judeo/Christian religion family specifically has a commandment that says "thou shalt not kill", does that make it a religious law that should not be enforced? Stealing? Libel? Who gets to decide when a value is "religious" and when it is not? It's really not as cut and dried as secularists would have you believe.

There must be a line, somewhere, but how do we decide where that line is? (A: largely, at the ballott box - but don't tell the California Supreme Court.)

It turns out people do have values, and those values are reflected and enshrined in their religions. Since a country is inhabited by people and since, in a country that uses democracy to at least partially decide, especially on the local level -- what laws are going to be enforced and how -- and people have religious values -- religious values will necessarily make it into law. This is where at least I believe atheistic conservatives go wrong and have contradictory beliefs. Why do we agree on certain values? Why is murder bad? What is "bad"? Where does that come from? There is a certain amount of denial necessary to maintain that there is not a higher plane from whence these ideas eminate. If there is not, then values are truly arbitrary. So why are we even arguing over them? Everybody's right. If values are arbitrary, then we can just do whatever we can get away with until somebody physically restrains us or kills us.

Secular progressives do not distinguish between Church and State, they are working hard to make the State into everyone's Church. The State is the only entity with the authority to enforce its laws (outside of self-defense and defense of others' life and limb). This is the same moral hazard as having an entity that claims to speak for God endowed with the exclusive right to enforce laws. It is, in the end, no different.

It was largely Christians and some secularists acting in the Christian tradition (whether they went to a Church or not) that designed our system of government, drawing on a vast array of lessons learned throughout history from secular and religious governments alike. And this is why most American Conservatives are Christian. They are comfortable with the founders' model, because it is essentially the model of their own God the way they understand him. There is much difficulty in separating cultural values from religious values when the two have been naturally intertwined throughout history. I say it is impossible. Remove one, destroy the other.

Those Christians who are progressives have typically been led astray by calculating secular progressives who have used selections of Christian teaching and cleverly confused or obfuscated who it is that these commandments and teachings are aimed at -- the individual. "Society" does not have a soul. Each of us do. It is our job to care for it. Not to pass that job off to the government by voting that others must do as you have been commanded to lessen or even offload your moral burden on others, thus conveniently freeing you from your own responsibilities.

So ... as a non-church-going Christian sympathetic psuedo-Catholic theologian of the Transdimensional Disorder of the Friendly Sons & Daughters of the Cosmic Raccoons stripe ... I'm probably more in the Conservative Christian park.

In the Christian world, there can be Church and State.  This allows for common ground between Christian conservatives and secular conservatives.

In the Progressive world, there can be only One.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rick Santelli Day Reminder -- Tomorrow, Feb 19

In case you forgot:  Happy RIck Santelli Day (last year's post)

I'll likely be too busy playing trains with a three year old to post tomorrow :-)

Scott Walker ... Midwest Moussolini???

Saw this out at RCP -- a sign held up at one of these ... you know, "angry mobs" (that's what they called us, with derision over the last few years) in Wisconson.  Check it out.

"Midwest Moussolini"

Now ... correct me if I'm wrong, but ....  weren't progressives all full of love for Moussolini back in the day? His "Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state" -- not exactly bursting with paralells to "hey, you guys wanna pay a little more into your own retirement and health care?"

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Speaking of Morgan, congratulations are in order.  I would be remiss in not celebrating my "best friend I've never met"'s engagement to the woman who has gone out of her way to put up with him -- with a post. 

It is, in a word, "awesome".

Congratulations to the both of you, and I hope you have a truckload of happy anniversaries in the years to come!

Just so you know, Morgan, I have some rules for a happy marriage, not the least of which are these.

Regardless of the size or nature of the gift, a card is a requirement on her birthday.  A card and flowers on your anniversary.  A card and flowers on Valentine's Day.  No exceptions, not even over her verbal "oh, you don't have to."   Flowers are not limited to these days, nor are cards, but these are absolute requirements.

Christmas - there's no "we're not getting each other anything's".    It's perfectly fine if she gets you nothing upon that agreement, but you will get her something.  You will.  It's the law.  Sorry, it's wired in the Universe, and there's nothing you can do about it that you won't regret later. 

I know that sounds all materialistic and stuff.  It is the thought that counts, but there needs to be tangible evidence of that thought.  I always say, no, you shouldn't have to.  You should want to.

So there's my two wooden nickels.  That and $3.50 will get you a cuppa Joe at Starbucks ;-)

The Broad "Birther" Brush

Just to be clear - this graphic is a
joke.  It doesn't have O's name on it.
It also has a seal in the lower left
that says "Certified Fake".
Here’s my beef – it’s with all of the people who think asking a legitimate question are lumped in with those who wouldn’t buy it if the original were placed in their hands and certified by Karl Rove’s best expert. Or Ron Paul’s. Take your pick.

Me, I buy that he's a natural born citizen as I've said several times before.  Really, the newspaper articles lend the credibility to the Certificate of Live Birth for me.

The question is, why all the secrecy? If I want to apply for a driver’s license or a passport, I gotta dig up mine. Why not for the President of the United States? I mean, hey, I nominate Daniel Hannan for president. Prove he’s not a natural born citizen. Bring up the fact he’s British, and I’ll call you a racist. Ask for his birth records, and I’ll say “nope, sorry. Law’s got my hands tied. I really wish I could, but …”

Ok, it’s a little bit of a stretch, but you see the approximate parallel. So I buy Barack was born here, taking a little bit of it (as we all have to do eventually with just about everything) on faith. Yup. Natural born citizen, and even if he weren’t at this point, the moment he was sworn in -- in my book it’s pretty much a moot point – especially considering the obvious historical significance of his election. Too many wicki stickets the Constitution doesn’t address (but perhaps we should think about fixing that).

The question remains (and should especially for “investigative”, “whistle-blowing” journalists) … why all the secrecy?

Now ... call me crazy, but according to that article ... IN THE NEW YORK TIMES ... there ARE birth records that haven't been released (or if there aren’t, they’re not allowed to release information indicating that, either … think HIPPA or FERPA). In the story, it is emphasized that the Hawaii governor ... a DEMOCRAT who wanted badly to PUT THE QUESTION TO REST ... cannot release the document( s ) only because it would be illegal for him to do so. Sorry, I’d love to, but there’s nothing that can be done. The law is the law, and my hands are tied.

What is not emphasized, but is right there in the NEW YORK TIMES article -- is that there is one thing that would make it legal.

And that would be one Barack H. Obama's consent.

Which he apparently won't give.

Is "why not"? such an inappropriate question?

It wouldn't be if it were a Republican, I can guarantee you that. Not to the "protect Obama from any embarrassing questions at all costs" crowd.

Any responses consisting of name calling and derision that don't address the question as to why the question is inappropriate or it's "crazy" to ask it will be summarily tossed out.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More progressive logic

Heard on the News this morning.  Obama, on "tackling" the budget deficit:
“The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it — in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.”
Never mind the gross understatement of what the commission said, and the escape clause "I don't agree with all their proposals" ... technically speaking, the above statement could be interpreted as saying "I don't agree with all of this, but here's what they said: ...." so any one or more of those, perhaps he doesn't agree with, but he gets credit for saying them anyway. At least that's his hope.

But the thing that irks me above all else is that last bit ... "spending through tax breaks and loopholes".

Tax breaks are not spending. Tax breaks are refraining from taking. The money doesn't belong to the government for it to generously give back. But such is Progressive logic.  It is the logic of rationalization to obscene lengths.

"We will spend less by taxing more!"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Adam's Apple

Jews and Christians (and I think Muslims, too) know the story of Adam, God, the Snake, and the Apple.

Original sin.   Once Adam bit the apple, he suddenly "knew" that he was naked.
Self-awareness is one of the "singularities" in the evolution of the Universe -- specifically in humans ... that Godwin talks about in "One Cosmos, Under God".

Reminds me of a limerick Alan Watts introduced to me:
"There once was a man who said though,
It seems that I know that I know,
What I'd like to see,
Is the I that knows me,
When I know that I know that I know."
Don't mean to go all deep on y'all here.   Just readin' some stuff to help expand my de-mental-tion.

Dang, Bob.  Yer word plays 'r gettin' to me.

Stop The Book, I need to write something down

Still reading (sorry it's taking so long, Bob) Bob Godwin's book, "One Cosmos, Under God".

And I hit a sentence that I read 10 times in a row, it was so ... insightful ... and I had to stop the book to write it down.

Here it is.
The more educated one is, the more one tends to have a storehouse of concepts that are taken over as "finished products, without any encounter with the concrete reality from which the abstractions were taken".  
He was talking about religion and many theologians and blind adherents here, but it also applies to other knowledge especially in the soft "sciences" of the humanities, and it also affects the hard sciences.

This is not a slam on education in the true sense of the word (rather than the largely rote passing down of "finished product" concepts through educational institutions) ... it merely points out a big pitfall that all, especially those being educated ... should be aware of.   One can't avoid these things if one is not looking out for these things to avoid in the first place.

One of the main problems is, it takes a nominal amount of intellectual sophistication to even understand what the pitfall is.

Discuss amongst yourselves ;-)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hang on, folks

This bumpy ride is just getting started.

Mubarak vows to stay "until September".

There are no pretty, instant solutions to this one, and I can't say whether this will turn out better or worse than it would have otherwise.   It's down to the 7 levels of barnyard waste, I'm afraid.

It could be good if he's serious about a smooth transition to a constitutionally constrained democratic republic like ours.   But I'm afraid what it really is is that it's hard to give up the reins after 30 years, and he's just hoping everyone'll pipe down while he shores up his position and then coasts along until the next uprising.

If that's the case it's just going to piss a lot of people off even more.  And that could get ugly.

I could be wrong.  I hope I'm wrong.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

This just struck me funny

Detroit Daily News
by James Hoffa

James Hoffa.

Maybe it's just me :-)

Anyway, he's right.  At least the headline is.  There's nothning wrong with unions per se.  What's wrong is when unions and the government conspire and make policy that unfairly protects or rewards unions.

At the Democrat Table Again

So last night we hung out with our local Antlered Animal club of which we are members.  The people we usually sit with are big, long-time, staunch Democrats.   Funny thing is, the way they talked at first (years ago) I would have figured them for Republicans.  But they're probably best described as those Blue Dogs we always hear about.

At any rate, we hung out for a little while, and we got the usual good natured ribbing about being "Republicans" (we're not, but we let it slide because we're definitely NOT Democrats).  And then we went out to dinner afterwards, and after enduring the car stereo/assh*le joke with the punchline being "Limbaugh, Beck, or Palin", one of them said, "I share.  I'm a Democrat, I share."

Of course, it's always easier to share other peoples' stuff, which I suppose is why it's easier to be a Democrat.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Misunderstanding Beck

Truthfully, I don't think the Left or much of the Right, who are still trying to get the Left to "like" them ... really has much interest in understanding Glenn Beck.

The Left uses him to paint conservatives with a broad brush of "out there" craziness, largely drawing on soundbytes that probably do sound whacky to your average working Joe when presented, as I discuss below, almost necessarily out of context.

The people who want desperately to be known on the left as the "reasonable right", then, uses Beck as someone on their side to distance themselves from the painting the Left has garishly painted with their 12" paintbrush.

If the "reasonable" right actually paid attention to Mr. Beck over a period of time, they'd realize he's pointing out some things they ought to be looking at seriously.  But they don't, because it would take too much time and they'd be afraid of the Big Brush™ Off.

As an example, Fareed Zakeria, a good guy who writes some good articles wrote the other day about Egypt's "real" (his word) paralell to Iran's revolution sort of defends Glenn to some extent but still can't help doing it using the back of his hand.

"Fears of an Islamic takeover are not limited to Glenn Beck, with his predictions that the fall of Hosni Mubarak will lead to the rise of an Islamic caliphate bent on global domination. (Beck's policy recommendation to Americans was even more out there: "store food.") Serious conservative politicians such as Mitt Romney and John McCain...
After you've picked yourself up off the floor laughing about Romney and McCain being "serious" conservatives, recognize that he's not so much calling them "serious" as he is dismissing Glenn Beck as not being serious. Glenn is dead serious.  But you have to have an attention span longer than a 6 paragraph editorial to gather the whole picture as to where Beck is coming from.

Of course, the above is a gross overstatement of what Beck is saying. But Fareed probably doesn't know that, nor is he interested in finding out. Glenn's too convenient to use as an anti-yardstick for "serious" conservatives.

What Glenn has said is that that is the intent of groups like The Muslim Brotherhood, and increasing their power in Egypt is a step in that direction. (update: apparently Don Rumsfeld, Diane Feinstein, & General Abizaid agree with Glenn.  And of course, we already knew Al Zawahiri agreed.  HT: StuBlog)  There are lots of other groups in the middle east (and elsewhere) that share this goal, and we should pay attention to them.

Beck's "store food" meme goes more toward the possible (and "prediction" probably isn't an overstatement for his position on this one) that trying to print our way to prosperity might lead to a Weimarian bout of hyperinflation. It has nothing to do with Egypt or a possible Caliphate.

But it's not just crazy paranoia here, either. I don't hear people calling out Warren Buffett for suggesting every American should read "When Money Dies". He's not exactly considered a kook in most parts.

You can't just pop in on Beck now and then and get an idea of what he's talking about, because it's part of a much longer, broad conversation he's having with his audience that can't be reduced to soundbytes that are bound to be presented out of context.

On the "Racist" Charge

Many of us on the right are often left scratching our heads as to why every idea the right is for or against is regarded as "proof" of the alleged racist nature of the right.

Well, apparently there is a time to every purpose under heaven, for because Gagdad Bob caught the flu, he resorted to posting some older posts to which I hadn't been privvy and generally getting off-track on his forray through Dante's Inferno.  Gave him time to finish a book on the fall of the Third Reich, and in talking about that, I think he unearthed the root of the problem.
The concept is especially difficult for normal (non-leftist) Americans to comprehend, being that we are the first nation explicitly created around abstract and universal principles instead of more primitive modes of blood, soil, mythology, etc. But here again, we can see how the modern doctrine of multiculturalism is in reality a quite primitive reversion back to earlier ways of life. Multiculturalism is specifically a rejection of American principles, what with its obsession with blood and race instead of ideas. This is why when you criticize Obama's ideas, they accuse you of being a racist.
Go RTWT.  It is in the context of forrays into Social Darwinism and its offshoots, Progressivism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, and of course, Naziism.

For Americans -- and for Christians -- "essence" is in the individual. That is, we are created in the image of God, so that our deepest personal essence partakes of divinity. But for the volkists -- and for the multicultural left -- essence is in the group: "Volk is a much more comprehensive term than 'people,' for to German thinkers ever since the birth of German romanticism in the late eighteenth century, Volk signified the union of a group of people with a transcendental 'essence.' This 'essence' might be called 'nature,' or 'cosmos' or 'mythos,' but in each instance it was fused to man's innermost nature and represented the source of his creativity, his depth of feeling, his individuality and his unity with other members of the Volk. The essential element here is the linking of the human soul with its natural surroundings, with the 'essence' of nature."
Seriously, does that not open up a serendiptiously placed window of perspective on what we observe on the Left?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Paul Krugman joins the "Egypt was caused by Global Warming" bandwagon

Paul Krugman is alarmed.

There are floods and droughts and severe snowstorms, and hurricanes, to boot! The sun rises in the morning, and sets in the evening, causing blinding light and deep darkness.  Of course this causes sunburns and deadly automobile accidents.

And these are exactly the things we'd expect to see with rising greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere.

He has also tied American "right-wingers" in with the Chinese government in that they both blame rising prices on loose American monetary policies.

One would think that when Communists and their arch-enemies the right-wingers agree on something in the economic realm, one might take a closer look at what it is they agree on.  Good chance that's a significant intersection.

But no, it runs counter to the Progressive narrative.   Man is destroying the earth and Government MUST stop it, no matter how much we have to spend -- and that won't have any effect on prices.  It will SAVE us money, no doubt, just like covering 45 Million new people with health-insurance by crippling businesses with policies that make it too expensive to hire people will.

Why Have Ice Cream When You Can Have All Sprinkles?

I had this girlfriend back in college. Very briefly. Matter of fact, we should just change that to "we dated for a couple of weeks".

She was hot.  I'd seen her in the record store where I worked.  I'd ridden my bicycle past her many mornings on my way in to campus.  Always dressed nice.  Knee-length skirt suits (just above) and heels.   Every day.  Fine legs.  Very attractive face.  And one day in the record store she, much to my surprise, started acting interested.  Which was something that apparently happened a lot more often than I noticed, but I digress.  This just means she must have been being pretty obvious.

We went out a few times.  I was enthralled.  And the second weekend we headed to St. Louis to go spend the weekend there with my brother.

In the car, I guess we talked more than we ever had up to that point ... and her shallow nature became increasingly apparent to me.  And the phrase that stuck out at me the most was, "why have vanilla when you can have chocolate all the time?"

[here's where you insert the sound of a needle scratching across the vinyl record]

Modern pop singers.  The "Diva" sound, as my wife and I call it.  And it's not limited to female singers.  Was it Mariah Carey who started it?  I don't know.

Seasoning is used to flavor food -- to provide some depth to a dish.   To compliment the basic flavors in the food item being cooked, be it roast or green beans.  Or ice cream.

The national anthem, as sung at public events by celebrities over the last ... I can't even remember when it started -- has gotten out of hand.   The "Diva" sound, the way I see it, evolved when singers thought, "enough with this 'melody' claptrap, I'm going to turn the entire song into the variations that get all the applause."

At which point it becomes Pepper Steak with out the Steak.  All seasoning, no substance.  Big mouth full of black pepper, salt, and rosemary.

The national anthem, at these events, has become painful to listen to.

Now, to be "fair", it seems that most female sung pop-"music" has gone in this direction (with the exception of country, which I think has become the new "pop" precisely because of this diva trend in Top 40).  And one could say that the National Anthem has been stylized to fit current popular music trends over the years.  And one could argue that this is just an continuation of of that.

I'm pointing out something about where culture has gone here, not about Christina Aguilera or the other singers who do the same thing with it ... and the rest of their "music".  This is as much an endictment of where popular music has gone and what it says about our culture as it is anything else.  It's not about the music anymore.  It's about the attention you get while performing.  How loudly and how outrageously you can bend it and turn it into something ... "special" ... that's AAAAAAAAAAALLL about MEEEEE!!!!

When they do it in the studio and in concert and sell records that get played on the air ... ok, fine.  I don't have to buy the record, go to the concert, or listen to that station.  But when it comes to the national anthem ... drop the pose, and hit it like you mean it.

I'm sure Christina has a fine voice and would have gotten a standing ovation if she'd just sung it straight.  Hell, I would have stood up and cheered myself!

Here's an example of how pop singers should handle the National Anthem.  Huey Lewis and The News, from the 1985 All Star Game.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Update: I address the anthem warbling specifically and in greater depth here.

I'm really not into professional sports.  Used to be, big time.

I do like the game of football.  And baseball.   But professional sports lost me in the early to mid 80's.   I have a residual fondness for the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals ... but I really don't follow them closely.   College football, I'm slightly more interested in.  I enjoy watching a game.  But don't go out of my way to watch any except those of my alma mater, The Missouri Tigers. And if it's between that and spending time with my grandson ... he wins in a no-brainer.

However, we do tend to watch the World Series and the Superbowl.  Kind of a cultural event.  Thaaaaaat's increasingly leaving me "behind" ... (but not from my point of view -- that would imply it was progressing in a positive direction).

I have been for years, but once again I was completely turned off by the performance of our national anthem.  All the warbling and wavering and deviations from the melody for the sake of deviating from the melody... it's gone far beyond a little embellishment here and there. This was horrible, and these performances have been for a long time.

We muted it just one line in. I could tell what was coming. So I didn't even hear her botch the lyrics. My ears would have been bleeding by that time anyway. At least she dressed appropriately. Seriously, I thought her dress was nice.

Then there was the over-the-top Michael Douglas "The Journey" video.   I'm sory, it is just a %*#!ing football game, especially compared to what this short film or whatever you want to call it attempted to compare it to.

And finally, there was the halftime show. The Black Eyed Peas ... whom I've never really heard before (well, maybe I have but I didn't know it was the and I can't distinguish it from the other cr*p that passes for "music" today. Yeah, what of it? Get the %*#! off my lawn!) 

Now I'd heard of "Fergie", and I'd heard people say "I really like her".  And I've heard people speak approvingly of the Black Eyed Peas.  So I went into this with a relatively open mind, thinking maybe it'd be better than what I expected.

It was worse.  Ho, pump it up, party all night, ho, ho.  Over and over.   Not musical at all. Lots of chanting and posing. Glitz and flash and zero quality.  No substance, except for the last bit where they were trying to be all substantive and stuff without actually saying, you know --- anything.  Hey, they spelled out "Love" on the field.  Nah, actually that sucked, too. It reminded me of ... hey -- our president. Big show. Everybody for Hope and Change and Love, pump it up! Are you fired up? Ready to go?

The brief, lone bit that started to sound the least bit musical turned out to be the guitar lick from "Sweet Child of Mine" from Runs and Gozes ... whom I've never, ever liked.  They even brought "Slash" himself out on a flying manhole or something to play the bit, while Fergie butchered a song already ... didn't care for with her flat, uninspired vocals.  But hey, their costumes flashed leds to the "music", as did their creepy dancers on stage and on the field.

And is it just me? I absolutely HATE the recent trend of vocordorizing vocals, tweaking the processing with rhythmic discontinuities ... it sound so ... cold. (Ok, yes, I like Alan Parsons "The Raven" and some of the stuff Tangerine Dream did with vocorders ... that was different. This is doing it for the sake of doing it because it's the "in" sound with the teenie boppers.)

[guess the black eyed peas halftime video was removed. oh well. you know how to find it]

It was a good game. In the end, I didn't care who won. Some of the commercials were good.

But can we maybe have people sing the anthem with a little more respect to it rather than using it for a showboat platform for themselves?

Saturday, February 05, 2011


We get painted as radicals and "anti-government" extremists all the time.   Last night at our local Tea Party meeting, a few people brought up Social Security and what it would mean, especially to some of our older members, if it were just suddenly abolished and those who had been counting on it at retirement time would just suddenly be without.

Now these are Tea Party members raising these concerns.  People who are concerned with the size and scope of government -- many of whom have only recently woken up to the 800 lb gorilla in the living room.

And it brought to mind this post from brother jeffmon -- from which I read his indented quote on the right way to answer the question them aloud.  They liked it.  And wanted me to send it to them.

So I'm wrapper-izing it and re-posting it, and sending them the link.

When people who believe in our constitution are asked what programs we would cut, the asker is not interested in hearing our solution to excessive government spending. He is trying to create a sound bite to play to voters that will prevent you from winning office.Sharron Angle wants to kill Social Security! Sound familiar? Now she's "backing off", even though killing Social Security is the right thing to do.The right way to answer is to say something like the following:
"I want to gradually, methodically eliminate all government activity that enslaves citizens to the government. When money is taken by force from people who earn it and is given to those who don't (either by choice or circumstance), both groups are enslaved. While the enslavement of the first group is obvious, some people have difficulty understanding how the second group is enslaved. They are essentially forced to vote for representatives who will continue their payments, and must take whatever other distasteful policies that come with these representatives in order to maintain their livelihood. This perverts a republican government."

In no way do I want the truly unfortunate to be left to suffer. I want them to be helped, but the constitution does not allow that help to come from the federal government. Americans are the most generous and caring people in the world, and we do not need coercion to help those who need it."
Good luck getting that out before the questioner tries to change the subject.

Leather Bound Constitution

I get a lot of compliments on this puppy, and a lot of my Tea Partying friends seem interested in getting one for themselves.

I got mine through Amazon.   They typically run $17-$25 + shipping.

The paperback pocket constitutions are fine and dandy, but I wanted one that gave it a little more of the respect it deserves.

Since it's such a short document, it also has the Articles of Confederation and several other documents that preceded and influenced the eventual Constitution.

It's Their Constitution, Too

Ruth Marcus is indignant that we "conservatives" claim the Constitution, implying that they don't.

"Hey, it's my Constitution, too!" she complains.
"Well, me too. It's my constitution as much as it is Michele Bachmann's. She and I may disagree about its meaning, but I am just as committed to its enduring importance."
"Enduring importance?"  It is the ultimate law of the land!  It's not just a document whose importance we honor.   As I said in the comment I left (which follows), There aren't 310 million Constitutions.  There's one.

This whole bit about "we may disagree, but..." is bunk.  Agreement on this document is of utmost importance, or we've got nothing.  And there is plenty of context out there to discern its "meaning".    It's not just up to the interpreter.
What a fluffy little puff-piece of moral indignance, long on feeling, opinion and (being generous here) perhaps unintentional propaganda, short on substance.

Does the term "Constitutionally Limited Government" mean anything to you, Ruth? The Constitution is the domain of Small Government people. Today we call those people "conservatives" -- because they want to "conserve" that Constitutionally Limited Government.

We small-government conservatives don't mention the necessity of government because we know it goes without saying. We're not going to follow every call for the limitation of government with, "but of course, we all know government is necessary."

We are not anarchists. You don't see us out there calling for the downfall of the government. You see us trying to get it back within its proper boundaries.

Read what the founders were reading and writing back when they were working on this document. They agreed government was a necessary evil. Something that we have to have, but something that needs to be kept out of things it ought'n't be involved in.

It may be your Constitution, too -- if by that you don't mean to re-interpret it to mean what you want it to mean. There aren't 310,000,000 Constitutions. There's one. And if it doesn't have consistent meaning, then it means nothing.

You can have it back when you've learned to treat it properly and give it the respect it deserves.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Larry, Meet Richard. Richard? Larry.

Lawrence O'Donnell asks why Palin is silent on Egypt.

Richard Cohen suggests the White House should just shut up on Egypt.

I was going to write up a short post on why, especially with unfolding foriegn policy situations, sometimes the best thing to do is keep your pie-hole shut, publicly, anyway.

I think Richard has answered Larry's question quite nicely.