Sunday, July 31, 2011

Compromise

Et tu, der Speigel?

How many times do we have to say it?  America is not a Democracy.  It is a Republic.  It is a Democratic Republic, but that means that it uses Democracy as a tool, not an end, and the Democracy must operate within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic.

Now, I know you journalists went into journalism to avoid math.  I went to a college with one of the most prominent journalism schools in the country, and that is one of the most common reasons given by journalism students.  The other, of course, according to these bastions of impartiality, is to "make a difference". I knew a lot of "J" majors.

This is why "Change" worked so well on them

But let's do a little math lesson, shall we.   Let's suppose you are spending $n.   Suppose one party wants to spend $(n+m), and the other says, no, we are spending enough.

Straight compromise gets you

                      $(n+m)
                     ---------  >  $n   (if m is positive, this term will always evaluate to more.)
                           2
Thus "compromise" always means spending more.  In other words, the party that wants more spending always gets more spending.  And then you have Obama, over the budget issue -- asking:
a visibly annoyed Obama asked reporters: "Can they say yes to anything?" 
What do you call it when a Republican controlled house passes two (or is it three now?) separate bills which go to a Democratically controlled senate which then refuses to vote on any of them?

If party A wants more spending and proposes a giant increase in m, perhaps much larger than what they're really hoping for, and party B says, "we're spending too much as it is due to all these incremental $(n+m)/2 increases  --  party A still gets what it wants, and party B gets called "the party of no".  Annihilating Democracy!!!!

Now suppose that America's debt is 6.6 times its annual "salary" and climbing -- we're spending 167% of our income, and party A wants to make it 175%, while party B says not only "no", but "Hell No!"

Who is being unreasonable here?

If party A gets what it wants, even some of it, the country is in a worse position financially, and it's already very, very bad.  If party B gets what it wants, the country isn't in a much better position, but it has taken an important step in that direction, which might just buy a little goodwill from our creditors.

Who is being unreasonable here?

The Tea Party merely wants the Federal Government to take the debt and spending issue seriously.  The debt limit is not the problem, but the "need" to raise it is a symptom of the problem.

But we get oversimplified pablum like:
With its stubbornness, the Tea Party is betraying its own idols. They like to quote Ronald Reagan, famous for saying that "government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." But even he didn't shy away from governing. He raised taxes 11 times and upped the debt ceiling 18 times.
(Hmmm... "Governing" = "Raising Taxes" and "Upping the Debt Ceiling" ... revealing).

I would argue that 1) The situation in the 1980's was clearly much different from today's 2) just because we agree with a man's philosophy and general governing practices doesn't mean we'd agree with everything he might do, and 3) I don't believe for a minute that Reagan would be for what the Dems are doing today, and if he had forseen the "Charge It!" binge the Federal Government would go on, he would have fought harder against it.

I mean, LOOK at the chart.  Back in the Reagan days, we were talking about 1.5 to 2.3 trillion.  We're talking an order of magnitude above that, and our GDP has NOT kept pace with the spending (hence the debt).


When the Left saw the same thing on Al Gore's (fake!) "hockey stick" graph, we were to be alarmed.  This graph is real numbers, not statistically manufactured and manipulated.

If the country is headed for a cliff, and each compromise gets you closer to the cliff, not compromising becomes more and more urgent with each compromise.  The cliff's about here.  Somebody needs to dig their heels in.

Good governance means not driving the country into the ground with extra-constitutional spending and outrageous debt.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Maybe Fox News Does Lie After All


Now I don't say a news outlet is lying when one of their guest tells a whopper in an interview.  But the left does.  So, going by their rules ... I sure saw two bold faced ones by guest & "Democratic Strategist" Alexis McGill Johnson  this morning when she was asked if the big drop in Obama's approval ratings (on the economy) among African Americans.

She says the President will keep their support in the end - which ... going by history, she's probably right there ... but she says it's because 'the other side' is not going to provide any alternative to the African American community ... and Gretchen calls her on it.  "Why not?"

Note how she just stops, like "uh-oh", but she quickly catches herself and quickly goes to
"Because, I mean, you've got Michelle Bachmann signing slavery pledges, I mean, you know, come on.
Yeah.  Got that? She said Michele Bachmann signed a Slavery Pledge.  (More than one, apparently.) That's what Alexis comes up with for why she thinks the Republicans can't offer a viable alternative for them.  And it's a bold faced lie, and a campaign narrative. Yup, that's right folks, vote Democrat or Whitey McHatey Republican'll put you back in chains!  You know, I don't mind talking points if they're true.  But that one is a consciously malicious, libelous lie.
Then later in the video she says
"I think the history with the Republican Party has been so divisive with the African American community that it's not going to happen and if you think about the fact that in 33 states now, mostly led by Republican state legislators, there are 33 voter id laws.  That more than anything else is going to suppress the African American vote."
Do you really want to talk about the history of the Republican party with the African American community?  'Cause we can talk about that.  And when will the Democrats stop condescending to African Americans like they need to be hand-held and coddled through the reponsibilities of voting and nobody else does?  I'd be offended.

On Taxing the Rich for a Quick Fix

I was talking to a good friend an co-worker yesterday.  No liberal is she.  We go way back.  We've often commented we could've been siblings, we have that much in common.

Anyway, we were talking about this spending and debt problem in Washington, and she said something like she thought that the really rich should just get together and volunteer to fix it.  They have plenty of money.

Now if she, a sensible woman -- is under that impression ... yeah. We're in big trouble. I felt she needed to watch this. So I edited the beginning off of Bill's original so that it would skip the setup and get right to the meat. Bill's visuals make the size of the problem managable by the average brain.

And note that Iowahawk & Bill are doing nothing to address the debt here.  Just one year of budget.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

McCain and Mordor

"The idea seems to be if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue and the public will turn en masse against Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all the blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the Tea Party hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor," he said. "The reality is the debt limit will be raised one way or another. The only question now is how much fiscal reform and what political fallout."  - Sen. John McCain
Well, Mr. McCain ... Let me remind you of  something.   The Hobbits were the good guys.   Well, that's not quite correct.  They weren't the good guys.  The Hobbits were some of the good guys.

The Hobbits were chosen for their strength of character -- their unwillingness to abuse power - to perform a particular task for which they were best suited, and that was to bear the One Ring to its destruction.

Hobbits did not seek adventure.   They would rather be at home living their lives. The Hobbits also knew how to live life, work hard, play hard, love hard.   Still,  when some were called, they courageously went.

But they were not the only good guys.   There were Dwarves and Elves and Men -- not all of them, mind you, from any subset of the population, but some from each who knew evil when they saw it and answered the call, "if not us, who?"

14 Trillion in debt.  Spending 167% of our "income", borrowing that extra 67% on top of that debt.  We've reached our credit limit which we keep bumping up, up, up every time we get close to it, and we show no sign of changing our spending habits.  And by "we" I mean Washington DC.

What did I read today?  It's like a family making $50,000 a year spending $88,000 a year with $330,000 in debt. What would you advise them?  Have them beg for a higher credit limit?  They haven't put a budget forward in over 2 years, and the only one the President has ever suggested calls for spending even more.  But the ones trying to intervene and put a stop to this self-destructive behavior, the president says (through his press secretary) are "behaving like children."

Projection anyone?  Hell, it's what they do best.

So go ahead and belittle, or patronize, or whatever the hell it is you thought you were doing.   By doing so you show a part of your heart has been lost to Mordor, sad to say, even after courageously giving so much for Middle Earth earlier in your life.

Sauramon was once good, too.   Turn back, before it's too late.

Malkin: Obama - Blather, rinse, repeat

Malkin on Obama's speech.  The title is just too good not to bookmark.

Obama: Blather, rinse, repeat

"Default"

60% of our spending habits ARE covered by today's tax revenues, and the tax revenues continue to come in even if we "hit"  "Teh Debt Ceiling". Unless I missed a memo that until this is figured out we'll all be on Tax Holiday.  If the debt ceiling isn' raised would only "default" if the Obama Administration chooses to use incoming tax revenues on things other than our national debts.   If the Social Security checks don't go out, it will be because Obama chooses to have the payments withheld.

And on that subject, aren't we constantly assured that there's this Social Security "trust fund" where all our money is, and anyone who says it's not there is a "Fearmongering Extremist Right-Wing Nutbag Conspiracy Theorist?"

Read Morgan's post over here. Makes good fodder for conversation with your friends who think you are a "Fearmongering Extremist Right-Wing Nutbag Conspiracy Theorist"

Dang. I forgot "Racist". How could I?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There's a Plan, But There's No Plan, Even Though There's a Plan


I understand it's a GOP "talking point" that the president has no plan.  But that's crazy.  Of course he has a plan.  He keeps telling us he does, and talking about what it's gonna do.  Just no details on exactly what, and how the numbers will add up to cutting the deficit and not making the government bigger.  Sure he has one!  Just no actual paper or website or something he can hold up.  So shut up, you lying "talking point"-monger Faux News Liars!!!!!

The administration wants to not have a plan so that it can criticize and demonize anything the GOP does come up with (see Throw Grandma off the cliff commercial), while it hedges that it DOES have a plan scattered throughout papers in drawers of congressmens' offices, but yet if anybody finds one of those papers and says "hey, the President wants this. That's horrible" and tries any sort of PR campaign right back at them the administration can say "well that's not really a part of the plan". Yeah, must've grabbed the wrong piece of paper. I'm sure that's been revised on a piece of paper in ANOTHER congressman's drawer." Probably a Democrat. "Oh, look, here, see? It says 'scratch that'". So THERE! Stupid GOP.

It's the same thing they did with the Healthcare Bill. When it was criticized, there was no bill. When it was touted, why it was all layed out there but the GOP was holding the DEM supermajority back from passing it.

It's absolutely vexing, and they oughtta be called on it by the GOP and the media.

April, Come She Will

Or how she painted herself into a corner by re-defining "bigot".

Some of what the followoing is based on came after I cut off the conversation from a couple of posts ago, where April is played by "Joy Behar".  I had pointed out that Islam is not a race but an ideology, and that we must be allowed to take issue with ideologies, and ideologies can be shown by the data to be overwhelmingly disparate in the dangers they pose, and that it is rational to be leery with people who subscribe to such ideologies.   But, she chose to ignore all of that and go straight to the "bigot" card again ... because I think that's all she's got.  So here's my final analysis:

April goes around publicly disagreeing with people whose ideologies that disagrees with hers.

Publicly disagreeing with someone else's ideology, however, she has demonstrated to equate to intolerance which transitively equates to bigotry. Which of course would make her a ... yeah. Bigot.

But wait. She gets an exemption, presumably because HER ideology is "right".

Now when we go look Webster's definition of a bigot we see: 
big-ot: (n) a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance ; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.
Now since she has not demonstrated partiality pro or con to a specific race, one might assume she could duck out of the charge over the "especially" clause here, which leads the more traditional and widely used definition.

But of course, since there is no possibility that her ideology is wrong, one might say that this demonstrates " a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance".

Apparently based on this she has declared me a bigot because I have publicly disagreed with tenets of the Islamic faith -- which we all know does not equate to a racial or ethnic group. How could it? There are Arab Muslims, Black Muslims, Polynesian Muslims, and I work with a red-haired freckly faced one with a Scottish last name.

Unless, of course, April DOES equate religion, a non-racial trait, with an ethnic group. But she wouldn't reflexively equate a non racial trait with a race or ethnic group! Not her! Because that would be racist. Right? To presume because a person believes "A", he must be "B" ethnic group? Does that not fit the very definition of prejudice? Which is racist. Which is ... "hate".

Now there are certain ideologies outside of hers that her ideology clearly believes should not be criticized by people outside of her ideology, and one of them is apparently Islam. Which demonstrates that she thinks some ideologies, even other than her own, are more deserving of respect than other ideologies. Because she clearly has no problems criticizing other ideologies, such as Christianity. See as long as SHE'S the one doing the criticizing, it's all ok.

So April does this bit, going around publicly disagreeing with ideologies that disagree with hers, likely because ....

A) She doesn't believe these ideologies of others with whom she disagrees are dangerous, but feels said public disagreement will win her kudos from her peers and it feeds her sense of self-worth even if it comes at the expense of others

or

B) She actually believes that these ideologies of others with whom she disagrees ARE dangerous, and she is either warning people about this fact or trying to convert the disagreed to one of the agreed. Or both.

But of course, the first is a callous disparaging of ideologies she disagrees with just for self gratification, and the second, is -- from the sentence she has handed down to me, intolerance. Which is bigotry. Which is hatred. And she's totally against that.

So any way you slice it, April, according to April, is a bigot. Only she's not. Because she's April. Which makes her a ... no, you see you really can't get out of this logic trap she's built for herself.

April is one confused young lady.

I'm afraid I cannot help her.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From the 2009 Terrorism Report

From the National Counterterrorism Center.  Keep in mind, Obama administration, too.  So there's no "BushHalliburtonCheyneyHitler" fudging the numbers to make it "look bad".


But hey, there's no reason to believe there's any relationship between Sunni Islam and terrorism. No. Hmmm-mmm. And those Christians. The ones that are "just as dangerous" -- yeah.

Of Name Calling and Reason

I post this thread from facebook to illustrate the differences between how our side argues, and theirs.   Did Dennis resort to a little ridicule?  Oh yes.    I  he did.  ;-)

Here's a long argument.  The names were changed to protect privacy:

James Arness
This terrorist act, by a LONE individual, is the kind of thing liberals will use to try and paint a very broad brush with. The fact of the matter is NO ONE will stand up and in ANY WAY condone this guys actions. But, I don't think that won't stop the libs. I hope I am wrong....but, I doubt it....

Norway suspect deems killings atrocious but needed
news.yahoo.com
Read 'Norway suspect deems killings atrocious but needed' on Yahoo! News. SUNDVOLLEN, Norway (Reuters) - A suspected right-wing fanatic accused of killing at least 92 people deemed his acts "atrocious" yet "necessary" as Norway mourned victims of the nation's worst attacks since World War Two...

Sunday at 8:13am • Like • • Share.

2 people like this..


Snidely Snerd Um James he wasn't a lone individual...he is part of the Progress Party (a group that wants no taxes and smaller government. sound familiar?) in Norway. Oddly enough Tim Philips, one of the heads of the Tea Party, has spoken at several of the Progress Party events. This was a terrorist attack by the Progress Party in Norway...nothing more or nothing less!
Sunday at 9:28am • Like.


James Arness He may be a member of such a group. Did the group provide financial assistance to him to do this? Did they provide terrorist training to him with the goal of killing people I don't think so! I can always count on you to prove me right Snidely. Thanks!
Sunday at 2:37pm • Like.

Monday, July 25, 2011

And the world did not end

Ah, the predictible snide comment from a self-congratulating acolite of the left, and dutifly "liked" and "me too-ed" by others in the herd.
"By the way....gay couples began marrying in New York this weekend, and just as in other states where same sex marriage is allowed, heterosexual marriages did not crumble. Shocking I know."
Obama, I believe, made a similar statement after Obamacare was signed.
Hey, I thought it would be cool if I ran a razor blade across the sidewall of your tire.  Just a gash, not all the way through.   And you, the fear-monger who likes the status-quo and hates "Change™" said "No way! That would weaken the tire and lead to a possible blowout!" But I did it anyway. And you drove it to work and back yesterday, and it didn't blow out.

What were you worried about????  Don't you feel silly now?????

In other news, California Schools to teach Gay History, and Polygamy gets its own reality show.   But don't worry.  The world didn't end.

The Overton Window just moved.


Update: here's a better one...

Hey, I sprayed termite pheremones around your house and in the crawlspace underneath last week.   Several winged reproductives just showed up, and  and your house didn't crumble.  What were you worried about?  Don't you feel silly now?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Another Turn of a Phrase

"The inefficiency of government cannot be addressed through an elaboration of government." - David Mamet
Ok, this could get long. Here's another (remembering that Mamet himself is a reformed liberal).
"The struggle of the left to rationalize its positions is an intolerable, Sysiphean burden."
This after he relates the story of a friend who ran into an elder woman of the Left and asked her advice on some question of Liberal Doctrine, and the answer came back, "Contact MoveOn.org, and do whatever they say."

That, my friends, is religion.

As a matter of fact, the short six pages in "The Secret Knowledge", Chapter 21 -- "Rumpelstiltskin" may just be the most brilliant analysis of the culture of the left ever written.

Sorry, here's more.  This one elicited a whoooaaaahhhhh!!! of approval from me:
"Greed is a sin.  It is mentioned in the Ten Commandments, where it is called covetousness, which is to say the wish for that which another possesses.  As such it is allied to envy and resentment.

But there is a nonsinful wish for more, and it is called ambition."

---
"The purpose of religion and morality is to limit [these] corrosive influences on the mind and soul. The purpose of law is to control the destructive actions which spring therefrom."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Those Darned Kids! Tsk!

CNN Headline.

Say anything more, and you're a "hater".

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Narcissism Posing as Principle

Narcissism Posing as Principle

Really, that is all.  Just wanted to remember that turn of phrase I just read in Harry Stein's book.  It actually came from former Navy Psychologist Steve Rittenberg, speaking of Ivy League draft dodgers pulling Klingers in his office when he pointed out that if  they didn't go, some poor kids would go in their place.  You know, the poor they cared so much about.

Apparently this didn't bother them at all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Campus ....

This is bizzare.  

So, the organization (which I remember from when I was in school) "Campus Crusade for Christ" is dropping "Crusade" from the name ... which I sort of get, but still think it's dumb ...

But it turns out, they are also dropping "Christ" from the name.  Sooooooo .....

It's just the .... "Campus"????

Ok, really they are changing the name to "Cru" which apparently doesn't stand for anything, either literally or figuratively.

And it still smacks of the word "Crusade" ... so I'm not REALLY quite sure what they expect to gain from this.

Eh, my impression was that they were always pretty progressive anyway.
---------------
Update:  Apparently concerned with the effect this would have on fundrasing, they felt compelled to defend the decision on their site.   "It is true that we care more about effectively proclaiming the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ than we do about having the word “Christ” in our name".   Sounds just like the kind of denialistic rationalization that progressives use in their propaganda.

Yeah, we're all about Jesus.  We're just not going to mention him in our name anymore.  Yeah. We're that committed.

Just another symptom of cultural rot.
What’s worse than crawling under your beloved house and seeing the foundations rotten with decades of termite damage?

NOT crawling under your beloved house and seeing the foundations rotten with decades of termite damage."  
 -- Bill Whittle

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The notorious extreme right-wing, anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-woman fundamentalist Christian meme

A more accurate sign would read, "Guest Speaker Michele Bachmann - Come Let Us Help You Try to Cure Gay".  I imagine that "Pray the Gay Away" is also a construct of the Left  meant to ridicule the belief that homosexuality is unnatural and wrong. 

The way the "sign" reads intentionally implies a sense of power and self-importance that anyone who is or knows anyone like Michele knows isn't there. From what I can gather, the idea is that homosexuality is a result of psychological imbalance and can be addressed by restoring or bringing about a sense of self-worth and psychological balance. Through religion. I don't have a problem with this. Psychology is religion as well. At least as far as "therapy" goes, there's no real evidence to show that one is in fact superior to the other in matters of attaining balance.

Even if homosexuality is innate, and I have some sympathy for that point of view based on what I've seen in my life - the idea that it isn't -- is a valid belief. There are even people who claim to have been "cured" and I have no reason to doubt them. And if we're serious about respecting each others' religious beliefs, well you know that knife theoretically cuts both ways ... or better yet ... "any way you slice it".

I find Christians in general to be the most tolerant people in the world. (Remember, "tolerance" doesn't mean "I agree with you".  Tolerance means I will not subject you to coersion over our disagreement.)   I think most on the Left, at least when they start out, know this and it drives them crazy. It's a mantle they are trying to claim -- because leftism is ultimately about ego. The left can't stand the idea that people who disagree with them are more loving and tolerant than they are, and yet don't go around bragging about it for their religion also teaches them that they are imperfect and weak.  Humility is a virtue that the left does not recognize.   Well unless they want you to be humble.  It's really not for them.

Thus Christianity's image must be destroyed at every turn so that people will eventually never know it, and it will from that point forward be synonymous with "hate" to all. That's the plan.

What did I read somewhere today ... “the notorious extreme right-wing, anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-woman fundamentalist Christian group Focus on the Family.” Do a google search on anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-woman ... it is revealing. This is apparently a widely distributed catch-phrase.

Of course, it is lost on folks who buy in to this that being against the promotion of homosexuality and believing it is wrong (and even offering to help them overcome it) and "having it in" for gay people are not the same thing. These people want to help, not to harm.  It isn't anything even remotely like "hate".  As for the reflexive "anti-choice = anti-woman" ... this is of course, bunk. I know far too many women who are pro-life. This is the real reason they hate Bachmann and Palin. They don't fit the stereotype of the woman who is only pro-life because her husband has beat her into saying it. So they go with the "extreme fundamentalist Christian" tag -- you know, because anyone who disagrees with them over matters of right and wrong and stick to their beliefs is "extreme". But sticking to their own beliefs in the face of disagreement is not extreme. Christians are just "notorious" [hey, I thought you guys weren't into value judgements. "Notorious" is, like, so judgemental.]

Nobody's using the power of the government to round up gays and force them into places like the Bachmann clinic where they are chained to chairs and forced to pray, and there is no reason to believe that a President Bachmann would bring this about.  For one thing, Congress makes laws, not the president.  For another, Bachmann knows as well as anyone else that state coersion in these matters is generally counterproductive, and that it would be wrong.

Yes, some parents do force their kids to go, but some parents send their kids to psychologists, too, and as I said before, I don't see much difference.  It is their duty as parents to prepare them to be functioning, happy, moral adults, and it is their right as parents to do it according to what they believe (excessive physical coersion excepted).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Open Minded Liberals

I think I finally figured out the best way to put what I observe about certain staunch liberals in my circles that insist that they are open minded, and yet drop conversation-stopping bombs that have everything with their characterization of what I'm saying and nothing to do with the argument I am actually making.  They really can't think for themselves.  Or won't.  It's much easier to cite some alleged pedigreed opinion and never have to defend it with facts.  So here goes my assessment:
They're not open minded, they merely repeat and mimic the language and positions of people they think are open minded, right down to the recursive point of identifying those they should think are open minded -- hoping to pass themselves off as thoughtful people in the know.
How well do you think that fits?

Many of them actually believe that they are people in the know and that they actually came around to these opinions via their own through critical thinking.  All but the most ardent ones will back down with something like a Rodney King plea, change the subject, or just implode emotionally and sit there fuming.

The ardent ones, of course, will go right to the well-worn bag of "arguments".  Fascist, Nazi, racist, winger, homophobe, war-monger, hater and just all around bad person (with a sloped forehead) -- we all know the drill.

I recently picked up Harry Stein's "I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican".  Another former liberal journalist that had his eyes opened, and then opened even wider after that to the absolute orthodoxy of the Left and the complete ostracism and shunning of anyone found not to profess it.   A relatively short, easy read.  Worthwhile if only for its revelation that there are more of us out there than we think, and it's nice to revel in a little camaraderie every now and then.  And not the Red kind.

Severian, you, especially -- if you haven't read it.  Do.  Make sure to put a brown paper cover on it before you start.  Or maybe you can print up a cover for it.  "Hetero-normative Patriarchal Misogyny in Ant Colonies Living in Coconuts in the South Pacific (How Male Ants Enslave Queens and Their Androgynous Drones)"

Hey.  Just tryin' to help.  ;-)

Nah, better just keep it at home and make sure it's hidden if you invite any peers over for dinner.

On that note, I just "learned" today from a helpfully "knowledgeable" coworker that "Flatland" is misogynistic because women are always represented as lines.   What would you be willing to bet that no matter how Abbott represented women, some English grad student would rationalize a way to find misogyny as a running theme in the book?

Do you think he smoked a cigarette when he was done?

I would be embarrassed to have an Esquire magazine in my house.
And that was before I read this.
While Obama's story is ancient, it is also utterly contemporary, perfectly of the moment. His gift — and it is a gift that makes him emblematic — is that he inhabits all these roles without being limited by them. He has managed, miraculously, to remain something of an outsider while being the president of the United States of America, the most inside man in the world. He's African-American, but he's not African-American. He's from Chicago, but he's from Hawaii.
Yeah, yeah.  He's liquid, but he's solid.  He's tall while being short.  He's non-threateningly threatening.  He has balls of steel yet he's made of gold.  He's man, but he's woman, and gay while being perfectly straight.   I'm so effing deep.

A REAL Original
American
Beyond all of the self-pleasuring Stephen Marche must have done while writing this, I was quite surprised to hear that Walt Whitman was "the Original American".

Never cottoned to Whitman, no matter how hard my literature professors tried to cram him down my throat.  Bleah!

Original American my asterisk.

This is why we're screwed

Saw this ad this morning from the "Coalition to Protect America's Health Care"



An emotional outburst from people with an entitled mindset.  Like children throwing a tantrum with total disregard for their parents' finances.  Buncha whiney scolds.

Well, here's what Congress was thinking:

Spending is at roughly $3.4, $3.5 TRILLION dollars. We're spending 40 cents that we don't have out of every dollar.

We SHOULD, therefore, cut at least 40% out of our budget.   But let's say we just want to cut 20%, so we don't seem "radical" to the gimme bunch.  That would be $700 Billion.   Where are you going to get it?

Now consider that this is the budget for 2010.   Congress was planning on that $100 billion cut to be spread out over 10 years.   That's only $10 billion a year.   Not going to get us very far.

What was Congress thinking?  They were thinking we don't have the money! And frankly, they're being rather timid about it as it is.

If ads like this continue to work -- if Americans really remain in this mindset -- we're screwed. The MSM needs to tell the whole story.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yes, LZ. Michele Bachmann.

LZ Granderson at CNN has major problems with Michele Bachmann.   Apparently he thinks she wants us to return to enslaving blacks and establishing a theocracy -- while being inconsistent about wanting to reduce the government's footprint.
 Is the country's political system so upside down that a candidate can find followers by promising smaller government at the same time wanting government to expand to ban porn and slow down the divorce process? 
Well, first of all, the lessening of restrictions on porn is relatively recent. It's not like porn was perfectly legal in 1776 and now Michele Bachmann is trying to reverse that by signing a pledge.  I'm pretty sure you still have to be at least 18 to buy it or purchase a ticket to see it.  Secondly, the pledge says nothing of the sort.  Here's the wording:
Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy – our next generation of American children – from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.
Nothing in there about "banning porn". But this will become the meme. Bachmann signed a theologistic, racist pledge to ban porn, bring back slavery, and make divorce illegal. Because that's what the left wants you to hear, that's what you'll get in the media.
"For some reason, no matter how ridiculous some of her statements are, she keeps getting more popular."
Perhaps it's because they only sound "ridiculous" inside certain insulated circles and the ideas are actually quite popular outside of them. Just a guess.
"But when you refer to the Obama administration as a "gangster government," and a year or so later sign a document that suggested black Americans were better off when they were slaves; and contend that the forefathers worked tirelessly to end slavery -- despite the fact that they owned slaves -- I no longer characterize those moments as gaffes. "
Now look who is speaking in half-truths. Never mind document Bachmann actually signed didn't say that blacks were better off as slaves -- the point of that kind of language (that again, was removed before Bachmann signed it) was not that slavery was peachy but that there's something seriously wrong TODAY. It's all fine and good to bring up the plight of the black family when it means more handouts and special treatment, but somehow it's always "racist" to try to address the root of the problem, which is culture.

I assume LZ is insuinuating racism here (because that's where the left always goes) when Bachmann referred to Obama's administration as "gangster government", as "gangster" and "gang" are now largely celebrated in, and in large part as -- "black culture". But "gangs" and "gangster" started out with decidedly European immigrant roots ... largely, but not limited to Italians. They also had a very strong base and a sordid history in Chicago, from whence Obama and a lot of his administration hail, and which are widely recognized as having a strong influence in shaping Chicago politics.

It is sad that the language and tactics of "the mob" were adopted by poor blacks who were and are taught to be angry about racism and to see it everywhere whether it is there or not. It is still more sad that this imagery and narrative has been popularized throughout "black culture" and more and more into "white culture" who mimic and adopt the outward appearance and attitudes of this culture.  It is destructive.

Lastly, the left speaks as if slavery were invented in America. It was not. They also speak as if black africans were the only race ever enslaved.  It was not.  Though relatively rare, there were white slaves and free blacks even in the south in this country at its founding. Slavery was a fact of life in Europe and southern America at the time of America's founding, and the founders (some of whom owned slaves, and many of whom were ardent abolitionists) made some very specific moves aimed at ending slavery here. Two of them were the famous 3/5ths compromise, and the 20 year sunset clause. In the end, they weren't enough and we fought a bloody war over it.

Slavery was abolished in 9 states by 1804.  Slavery was abolished in England in 1833. This was much easier to do since the United States was no longer under English rule (the American Revolution made it easier to abolish it in England) and there was little to no economic pain for Brittain in doing so.  Rich Brits just had to start paying their domestic servants.  They could still buy their cheap slave-produced cotton from the U.S. South. A little over 30 years later slavery was abolished here thanks in very large part to the ideals of the founders including Jefferson, and Washington -- who were born into slave owning, and others who framed our founding documents. Just as smokers can work to stop smoking, slaveowners can work to end slavery.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Not Necessarily, Moe

The Left is really reaching.  This suggests it's time to Eject! Eject! Eject! as former liberal progressive Bill Whittle did when he realized his philosophy was "out of altitude, out of airspeed, and out of ideas."  

In a Slate article entitled "Did the Stimulus Really Fail? - Not Really", the central argument appears to be that it didn't fail because it did actually create jobs.   David Weiger knows this primarily because the Republicans are stressing the price tag of each job created, and crowing that this means the Republicans are contradicting themselves when they say that it didn't create jobs.
The analysis that the Weekly Standard tore apart found that the stimulus increased employment by about 400,000 jobs in the first quarter after it went into effect, and increased it by about 2.7 million at its peak. If you're deriding the price tag for those jobs, you're acknowledging that the jobs exist.
Of course, this presumes two things.  That the Republicans aren't using the Democrats' numbers for the sake of argument, which I would assume they are.   And the other presumes that a job which may have existed for a few months because there was temporarily government money for it -- that that job continues to exist when the money dries up.

So if by "work" you mean "created jobs" and we grant you for the sake of argument that you may have "created" some temporary jobs, then maybe it "worked".

If you mean it "primed the pump" and stimulated the economy to pull it out of a deep recession ... no.  It didn't.

Panic has set in.

Pipe Down Now, Keyensians.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Secret Knowledge

I'm finally back to reading David Mamet's "The Secret Knowledge".   This post is mostly to make note of a couple of passages for future reference.

In the chapter The Monty Hall Problem he talks about how people in business especially will try to make it seem like he's giving you a deal when in fact you do he really isn't.  Not to say that businesses do't give deals to undercut their competition and/or gain more of a customer base.  This is something my younger boy who runs a Security business was talking about the other day.  He saw an ad from a competitor that sounded like a sweet deal.  A low price to get a security system installed, and a health alerter "free".  Of course, it was something that  everyone gets anyway when they get this system.  He called and pretended to be a customer to check out the deal, and it turned out that the offer was limited like to two doors and a window, and that any others would cost .... basically twice what his company would charge, but they'd cut you a "deal" and charge what my son would've bid in the first place.

Or some companies advertise "free" installation .... with a three year contract where they charge you an extra $15 a month over what he would charge you .... so you end up paying for your "free" system over time.

I'm sure my buddy who oversees the advertising/production department at a big radio conglomerate knows all of this stuff all too well.

Anyway, David talks about how this stuff is as old as the hills -- this making the customer feel like he's getting a deal when in fact he is not.  It's all about perception.  And he brought up the book "Sharks Don't Get Cancer".  Basically you are therefore to buy and consume shark cartlidge to avoid getting cancer.  Huge supposed payoff for relatively little, but it adds up for the huskster.   David then points out that Buicks don't get cancer either, but nobody goes out and licks Buick bumpers.

Anyway, I found that amusing.

The other quote was when talking about his formal liberalism and his turning point to seeing the light --
"I thought 'the government' was good.  What case could I point to to support my feelings?  The Emancipation Proclamation and the Voting Rights Act.  Then I would have to stop and think. 
It was, of course, easier to worship my own capacity for 'good thinking' than actually to think, which is to say to compare my actions to my results."  (em. mine)
He goes on to say that he tired of it and found he preferred the company of those who are proud of their country and proud of their religion (Mamet is a Jew -- but he doesn't only hang out with Jews).

In other words, people who watch Fox News ;-)

Which is more people than those who watch all the others combined.

What did Beck say?   We Surround Them.

And they cower when confronted with their lack of depth.  Or they implode and then go supernova.  Which fortunately just makes it worse.  For them.

The Constitution: Does it Still Matter?

This is the question progressives everywhere are asking and nodding to each other in agreement ... on their intellectual superiority for even asking the question.

Of course, they would like to believe it does not, and that they can just replace it with whatever they want.   But nothing gives them any authority to do so except their nebulous reference to "Democracy".

Did you see the cover story of Time Magazine last week? Constitution in the background, and the words "Does it Still Matter?" over it?

Aaron Worthington at Patterico did a pretty good job taking the article to task.

But seriously, you gotta ask these people ... if it doesn't matter, then what are we basing our system on currently? Who decides what matters? How is that decided? Did we not come up with a document over 200 years ago that addressed these questions?

If it does not matter, are we just making it up as we go along? And if we are, who is "we"? Candidates talk a good game and then do whatever the hell they want once in office, because if it doesn't matter, what's to stop them? What if they just decide not to hold elections and have their successors apointed when they die? Why not? I mean, if the Constitution doesn't "still matter".

Hell yes it still matters! And it's high time We the People and the Politicians start paying real attention to it.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Answer to "This Is Great"

It's actually the answer to the College Democrats' "Why I'm a Democrat" ... but it makes a nice followup to my last post.   Via Morgan.

Friday, July 01, 2011

This is Great?

Got an email last night with a link to this video attached.  The subject line was "This Is Great".



It's a satire video, clearly aimed at the Tea Party.  Only satire works a whole lot better when it is making fun of real people, not a fictional fantasy group of people that you have projected onto another.

It starts out with people at the beach, who discover signs that say it is a Public Beach, and then they ask, "Isn't that -- SOCIALISM?"

No, it isn't, and this Tea Partier doesn't know anybody who would say it is.   So it pretty much misses the mark as far as real people, but I suppose it's spot on to the fictional group of people the media has made us out to be.

It goes on to ridicule these fictional people who don't believe in any environmental regulations or public property such as parks or beaches.   Ha ha. (it defends itself by noting that some Capital "L" Libertarians have talked basic anarchism up for quite some time. But the Tea Party and sympathizers Glenn Beck and Ted Nugent ... aren't such Libertarians and their images were used in the video.)

Now this guy is not a leftist.  He used to be a hard core Libertarian, and maybe he assumes I am because I use it with a lower "l" as an adjective to describe myself .... a libertarian conservative.   But he quit work many years back and went to college, only to never be gainfully employed again save a part-time job here and a part time job there, and has been hanging out with Intellectuals™ feeling awfully smart.   I think it's got something to do with compensating for low self-esteem, flailing around for something to be superior about.

He's latched on to Catholic Social doctrine that developed out of Leo XII's Rerum Novarum, and does not see our Founders' vision and the Constitution as compatible with it.  At one point he said he sees "nothing good" about what our Founders built.  

I fired back that this was a misrepresentation of most Tea Partiers position -- that it was ignorant or dishonest.  He replied that it must be true because it obviously "hit home" and irritated me.   Well, you know it "hit home" the way someone accusing an innocent person of, say, robbery -- would "hit home". 

The subject line on his reply was a tip-off.  It was simply, "Polemic".

People who use words like "polemic" in every-day conversations are trying to prove something to themselves and to those they are talking to.  Nobody uses "polemic" outside of academics speakin' the lingo.   And I do think he was way too impressed by the academics he's been hanging around.  It goes along with words like "heteronormative", "hegemony", and "reify". 

And as Severian put it, there's a certain hyper-specificity (ok, now am I being a hypocrite here? ;-)  Nah.  Everyone knows what "hyper" and "specific" mean) to his argument, in that he had to insert a definition of capitalism into the email so that it was clear what he was talking about.

Capitalism: an economic system that prioritizes property over persons, recognizes no limits on the accumulation of property, rewards accumulation of token wealth, presumes that the only criterion for judging the justice of a contract is the absence of fraud, presumes that every individual is free to reject any contract offered, and that the common good is advanced by this.
Well is that, down to the last dotted "i" what you mean when you talk about "capitalism"?  Because if it isn't, there's no point in arguing with him.  But it's a bit of a red herring anyway, because capitalism isn't a morals system or even a cultural blueprint.  Nobody "designed" capitalism and imposed it on us.   It is natural human behavior.  It was observed and described.   And if you're looking to it for moral guidance, you're looking in the wrong place.

In his email he also said that the Constitution is horribly incomplete.   Of course, when you design in an amendment process that is a de-facto recognition that it might be incomplete. But more importantly, it really wasn't designed to be a morals system, either.  If you are looking to the Federal Government for moral guidance, you're looking in the wrong place.  That's not what it's for.   If you're looking for your house to feed your kids, you're looking in the wrong place.  That's not what it's for.

It was written to unite the several states, to guarantee certain rights, put the power in the hands of The People, and to restrict the Federal Government so that it would be difficult to abuse, because the Founders' recognized the imperfection of humans, including and perhaps especially their own.

Capitalism is what it is.  It is not a belief system or a political system like socialism or communism or fascism.   It's just human nature.   The Founders put a few curbs on it to outlaw fraud, and otherwise treats us as big boys -- to be self-reliant and teach our children to be the same.

As a matter of fact, (and I should put this somewhere more prominent) I think that pretty much sums up my beliefs on what makes for a good person and thus good social rules for living.

Self-reliance, personal responsibility, empathy, charity, and a recognition of the weaknesses inherent in the human condition.   Christianity calls this "sin".  Christ himself said even the just man sins seven times daily.  

This last bit is important for several reasons.   If we don't expect people to be self-reliant and personally responsible, blanket charity becomes a crutch and a hinderance.   If we don't help people when they truly can't make it for whatever reason, it makes us a cold society.  But if we can't decide for ourselves, each and every individual one of us, when to give and when to stop -- when it has become counter-productive, we encourage this crutch and encourage larger swaths of society to be dependent on them -- and everyone is the poorer for it.

This is why government ideally has no place in the charity business.   But that does not mean that we don't have a place in it.    When you look to government for it, you're looking in the wrong place.