Monday, February 28, 2011
No SWAT team this time. But youthful scofflaws, take note!
While I probably should have been shocked by this news report from the front lines in the War on Foods and Drugs, nothing shocks me anymore.
Nor should it surprise anyone that pushers are recruiting young children to sell their unhealthy products on streetcorners, without permits:
Of course the police did nothing wrong! It's typical for racketeers and other operators of criminal enterprises to enlist young children in their constant search for loopholes. But fortunately, the law is the law. And now the White House has declared war on fattening foods (which Girl Scout Cookies are!), it is high time for all patriotic citizens to remember that traitors in the Food War can be of any age, and anywhere.
Even in uniform!
Messing up veterans' monuments saves democracy! But taking pictures is rude!
Even though I know that free speech carries a price, I tend towards First Amendment fanaticism, and I do not believe in restricting anyone's free speech rights, no matter how obnoxious it is or how much I disagree with the views expressed.
Still, I'm fascinated by the idea that a prolonged and raucous occupation of a building and indoor campout for the purpose of forcing compliance with political demands (with all the inevitable wear and tear and increased police costs that entails) constitutes "free speech" in the ordinary sense of the word. In Berkeley I saw many similar exercises in occupation over the years, the idea always being to wear down the opposition by a process of intimidation and attrition. This strikes me more as action than speech, and while it may be legal, I think it borders on extortion.
If a group of people want me to do something, and they ask me to do it, that is free speech. But if they surround my house and chant in order to wear me down, and physically block my driveway so that I cannot go about my business, that is not quite the same thing.
What's even more annoying is the way the yellers and screamers carry on about how what they are doing constitutes "democracy." A perfect example was provided by Ann Althouse, who was scolded as "rude" for taking pictures of demonstrators in front of the Veterans' Monument that had been disrespected previously. As one protester (with a pronounced non-Wisconsin accent) explained, "the protesters are 'trying to save' democracy."
This country is not a democracy in the technical sense or the word. But even if we assume for the sake of argument that it is, democracy means majority rule. A majority elected Governor Walker, and a majority can vote him out of office if they don't like the way he has stood up to the unions. That's the democratic way of doing things.
How do tactics such as occupying a building, messing up a veterans' monument and behaving like obnoxious thugs "save" the principle of majority rule?
I don't think the people who make such a claim understand what democracy is. Nor do they understand what free speech is. For not only does what they're doing go beyond mere speech, but they have zero tolerance for free speech when it disagrees with them.
Unless they think democracy means a loud and shrill minority getting their way by tyrannizing the majority, I'm not getting how they're saving it.
Like, my yelling and screaming and occupying a building until I get my way saves democracy, but your taking a picture of me is rude?
And if you disagree with me, you're against democracy?
I suspect that if the very issue they're steamed up about -- collective bargaining by state employees -- were put to a majority vote, if the majority went against them they'd be doing exactly what they're doing right now, and claiming to be saving democracy.
Triangle Of Greed
Tim Pawlenty has coined a phrase. I like it.
...growing government, powerful unions and bailed-out businesses make up "a royal triangle of greed" in America.Define the enemy. And in most libertarian terms too.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Eventually You Run Out Of Other People's Money
Walter Russell Mead is discussing the fact that anti-public union fever is not just for Wisconsin anymore. He comes up with a quote which is the perfect explanation for why the SIHTF.
From a state that is bluer than blue, ultraviolet Vermont, comes the news that Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democratic governor with solid Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature, will not solve his state's fiscal problems with a tax increase. Why? As Politico reports, "We've already got a progressive income tax in Vermont, and we can't get more progressive because we'll lose the few payers that we have," Shumlin said in between sessions at the National Governors Association meeting. "We don't have any more tax capacity."As Dame Margaret Thacher (a grocers daughter) is reputed to have said,
The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.It looks like eventually has arrived.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Perchance to Dream
In the last day, I noticed a lot of postings on Facebook about the shuttle. And this made me realize something about space, and what space means.
I haven't been exactly paying attention. Whenever a novel is done - let alone a novel that was delayed due to my stupid body, once more, reminding me that these things come without warranty - there's a lot of things I've been putting off that have to be dealt with. Particularly when I'm plunging straight into another couple of books that need to be finished, both of which are ready to enter 'final phase' (the phase when things are coming together and I work in a sort of white-hot haze.)
So, in the last couple of days I verified that my kitchen does, indeed, still have a floor by removing all the fur and grime that had accumulated over it; reduced the waiting Everest of laundry to a mere Pikes Peak; did grocery shopping; made sure the kids are still alive (you never know, and zombie children are such pains); cleaned the cats water fountain; removed approximately three Haveys from every surface in the house, including the floor (a Havey is a measurement of fuzziness. It equals about an inch of fuzz on everything.)
As has been obvious from this blog, I've logged on to the net maybe twice/three times a day, if that, and I haven't exactly been thinking about the internet.
Even so, I couldn't avoid postings on the shuttle.Continue reading "Perchance to Dream"
Wisconsin Teachers Mafia - Follow the Money
When you want to know what a fight is all about - it is often helpful to follow the money. So where is the money in Wisconsin's fight with the Teachers Union?
We recently issued a report titled, " A Crucial Challenge for Wisconsin Schools: Escaping the Shackles of WEA Trust Insurance." After hours of investigation and research, we were able to demonstrate that WEA Trust is the most expensive form of school employee insurance in the state, and schools could save hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars, by switching to different insurance carriers.Well what do you know? It is not about teachers pay at all. It is about union profits.
The Chicago Boyz have more details.
Would someone please note that Unions make the great lion's share of their $ from negotiating "benefits", not salaries... or collection of dues.A commenter at the Boyz puts it in clear dollars and cents terms.
Mike Says:So in this one case each union member is worth $10,000 a year to the union. Over and above union dues and any other money the union gets from the teachers. Talk about your sweetheart deals.
Here is some more information on what honest deals might do to the union.
[Waukesha, Wisc...] Wisconsin school districts are saving millions of dollars by switching health insurance providers away from WEA Trust, but the teachers union is not making it easy.There are more details on how the union fought a change in insurance plans at the link. Hmmmmmm. I think I smell MONEY.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air goes even deeper into the money. Good material. But I think you get the general idea. The Union is skimming from the members Health Care Plan. They seem to do that sort of thing on pension plans when they control them. This is starting to look like a pattern of practices and behavior.
This book might be a good guide to those patterns and practices:
Wisconsin is the epicenter. It began with economic issues. When Gov. Scott Walker proposed that state workers contribute more to their pension and health-care benefits, he started a revolution. Teachers called in sick. Schools closed. Demonstrators massed at the capitol. Democratic senators fled the state to paralyze the Legislature.Wretchard at the Belmont Club (who quotes an article I recently wrote) thinks if America can right the ship it will be an example for the rest of the world.
...what's important to remember is that the United States is the fulcrum of fate. Unlike other world crises, in which there were rival centers of hard power, the suddenness of this storm happens while the US remains, and will remain for the short run, the center of hard power.And that is the key. Rationality. Which is why I'm a TEA Partier.
1. Fiscal Responsibility
H/T Linearthinker for the Wretchard link.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Sunday, February 27, 2011
There is nothing gay about a sin condemned by Jesus! Yet.
While the term "gay marriage" has become a euphemism for same sex marriage, it is a bit misleading. Because, just as as no proof of heterosexuality is required for opposite sex couples who seek to marry, none of the jurisdictions I know of which allow same sex couples to marry require any proof of homosexuality. So just as opposite sex marriage is not necessarily heterosexual, same sex marriage would not necessarily be homosexual.
However, according to some religions, marriages are in theory supposed to be consummated to be valid, and they can be annulled if they are not. But there is no legal consummation requirement. A sexless marriage may be odd, but unless there is a divorce, it remains a legal marriage. I suppose it might supply grounds for divorce, but as most divorce is now no-fault, any failure of consummation would be largely irrelevant.
It has long annoyed me that the gay marriage debate almost always frames itself as a civil rights issue, and this focus on rights ignores a rather large elephant in the room, which is precisely the opposite of rights -- the power of the state to enter people's lives and tell them what to do.
Because of its nature, marriage puts government into citizens' lives, big time. Anyone who doubts this for a moment should consider something that the debate over gay marriage ignores, which is that 50% of marriages end in divorce, and that most of these divorces entail the state entering the lives and dictating the property rights and obligations of the parties at gunpoint. I find it mind-boggling that so many people are thoughtlessly framing a massive scheme of government involvement in people's lives solely in terms of "rights" and that the only people who object are libertarians and a few fringe religious types.
People talk of the "institution of marriage" but I hardly ever hear talk of the "institution of divorce." Yet if half of marriages end up in divorce, I don't see how it is possible to talk about one "institution" without the other. Many people complain about how gay marriage would ruin the "institution of marriage," but the only talk about the gay threat to the "institution of divorce" seems to be snark from gay comedians.
Is that because divorce is an institution that cannot be ruined?
At this point, my inner paranoid conspiracy theorist must ask a question.
What if divorce is the number one threat to marriage, and the gay marriage issue is being used as an emotional rhetorical diversion to avoid looking at that?
A number of conservative thinkers (Kay Hymowitz being a recent example) have bewailed the reluctance of men to marry, and argue that they should, because it makes men more manly. Common sense suggests to me that much of this reluctance to marry is not grounded in immaturity or "unmanliness," but in a legitimate fear of divorce.
Indeed, many of the complaints about Kay Hymowitz's argument are such ringing indictments of the divorce system that they resemble a call to revolution (hardly "unmanly" behavior). Here's an example:
It is probably worth adding that divorce is considered by most psychologists to be one of the major life traumas like death or financial catastrophe.
And of course, not only is divorce usually a financial catastrophe, but it can lead to death:
Add to the above list the mental health aspects:
1. Divorced men have 9 times the rate of psychiatric outpatient visits compared to married men and 21 times the rate of psychiatric hospital admissions.
Additionally, because divorce records are public, and therefore accessible to the entire world, unless the records are sealed, all financial privacy is lost. Many judges balk at requests to seal records:
Hmmm.... It doesn't take much imagination to conclude that divorce is a fiendish enterprise, calculated to wreck men's lives and break their spirits in every way imaginable. Perhaps marriage ought to carry a warning. In light of all the above, the ringing indictment I quoted earlier sounds almost reasonable.
So, considering the devastating mental, physical, and financial damage divorce inflicts on men, it strikes me as dishonest to conflate an entirely legitimate fear of divorce (and desire to avoid the possibility of it at all costs) into an "unmanly" fear of marriage.
But what's even more disturbing is the way it is being systematically left out of the big moral debates we're supposedly having about marriage.
Now that's interesting. What's even more interesting is that not only was fear of divorce not mentioned in the original article, but Professor Finley's argument seems to have been scrubbed from the USA Today blog. (The listed link goes nowhere.)
Many libertarians scholars have argued that marriage should be privatized. Jeffrey Miron says that the government needs to divorce the marriage business:
If marriage is privatized (reprivatized, really, as the government only got into the marriage licensing business in the 19th century), then what about privatizing divorce?
Wouldn't that make the process less fearsome and less ruinous to men, and thereby help solve the problem of which Hymowitz and others complain?
But how would we privatize something that has become an integral feature of state control over (and micromanagement of) a large part of the populace? How much money and how many many jobs would be at stake? And other than in rants like this, why have so few people discussed it?
Privatized divorce is probably just another utopian idea for only libertarian cranks to kick around. Might as well talk about legalizing drugs or taking the Constitution literally.
Hell, it's almost easier to fall back on the largely abandoned religious view that divorce is bad because Jesus condemned it as sinful. I can certainly understand why religious people have abandoned that argument. If you think about it, if Jesus was right about divorce being a sin, then the no-fault divorce system would mean the state is compelling millions of people to sin.
Wouldn't that give people who follow the teachings of Jesus a special right not to divorce?
No, because there is no right not to have the government in your life, so there can be no right not to divorce. If there were, another precious "institution" would crumble.
Anyway, if there's no right not to divorce, gays might want to think carefully about whether they want to lose the right not to marry before Barack Obama takes it away and they have their lives ruined by the divorce courts.
MORE: It is probably worth stressing again what I have said in countless posts -- that gay (same sex) marriage would intrude into the lives of gays who are not interested in and did not choose to be married. Notice the scrambling by gay couples in California who do not want the state in their lives:
So how would such people opt out? Draft a pre-nup for the no-nup? Why should that be necessary in a free country?
From where does the idea derive that someone who moves in with someone else and has sex with that person should be entitled to force an accounting, and demand a share of that person's earnings? Is it a form of government-sanctioned prostitution?
Cohabitating couples may not be interested in marriage. But marriage law is interested in them.
I am tired of this issue (and tired of being misunderstood). But once again I will say that I think gays who want to live their lives without government scrutiny should beware.
Attack On Coptic Monastary In Egypt
Don't watch this if you have a weak stomach. Even if you have a strong stomach it is hard to watch.
Here is a report from Coptic Solidarity (which has a shorter version of the video).
For the second time in as many days, Egyptian armed force stormed the 5th century old St. Bishoy monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, 110 kilometers from Cairo. Live ammunition was fired, wounding two monks and six Coptic monastery workers. Several sources confirmed the army's use of RPG ammunition. Four people have been arrested including three monks and a Coptic lawyer who was at the monastery investigating yesterday's army attack.Asia News says:
The confrontation was sparked by the construction of fences around the convents to protect them from marauding criminals who escaped prison in the wake of the 25 January uprising. After issuing a 48-hour demolition order, the army moved in. Some 7,000 Copts protest in Tahrir Square.There are more details at how the "situation" arose at the Asia News link.
This seems to be a rather excessive reaction to what amounts to a building code violation.
And don't forget: always take your camera to the action. Evidence is always good to counter the "narrative".
Here are a few pages of books on the Copts and Egypt.
H/T Judith Weiss (Yehudit) on Facebook
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Extending An Olive Branch To Regulators
WalMart's "Great Value" store brand olive oil is -- not surprisingly -- pretty inexpensive compared to alternatives, and since I consume so much olive oil I make a point of buying theirs (I usually keep 3-4 gallons around at any given time, which also gives me a nice healthy calorie-dense hedge against disaster). But surely at such a great price they must be one of those aforementioned scammers, right?
Well, that's a relief. While I'm not in California, I expect that holds true across all of WalMart's distribution chain. It's ironic, though, that the big bad box stores are in fact the most honest.
Of course, not all the players are self-regulating here, and this is one of those cases where libertarians welcome proper regulation of the marketplace. Oftentimes such regulation amounts to ridiculous rentseeking (such as the 80-year-old barber forced to get a license), but effective regulation is valuable to a free market -- all that intangible capital we Americans enjoy is largely in the form of trust, such as trusting that labels really tell us what's in a product.
"Auto" eroticism -- a problem of elephantine and nonsexical proportions
I can't remember where I found the link, but this article about an elephant raping a car got me to thinking about morality.
Sorry if I misstated the facts a bit. Perhaps what happened should not have been called "rape." This is not to say that the car consented, for cars are incapable of consent. So are mannequins.
Morally as well as legally, animals cannot and do not commit rape. While we humans can commit rape against humans, human on animal sex is not considered rape because only humans can commit rape or be raped. Obviously, that means that it is not possible for a human being to "rape" an inanimate object.
But would it be correct even to call such behavior sex?
There are all sorts of variations (or "perversions" for those who are into the term) in the world of humans, and it is certainly feasible for a human to become sexually aroused by a car. Many people have described cars as sexy, and a lot of people think the bulbous streamlined cars of the 1950s were voluptuous. So it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that the right car might be capable of making the right man achieve an orgasm.
How perverted would that be, though? Is arousal by car the sort of thing normally associated with sexual immorality? And suppose we broke that down into its component parts. I think a lot of people might think the idea of a guy actually mounting a car would be perverted, but suppose he was riding inside the car, and got turned on by the vibrations? Vibration eroticism is quite common; even women have been known to get turned on by vibrations, and not just by devices intended to cause sexual stimulation. Some are known to be turned on by riding on a motorcyle. Now, why is that less perverted that actually being attracted to the machine itself? How about getting sexually turned on by pictures of cars? Auto pornography, anyone? (I didn't spend much time researching this, although I did find a disappointing piece with the exciting title of The Automobile as Erotic Bride.)
Who decides where these lines are drawn? The People Who Care The Most? Who would they be? Why should people who care more have a monopoly over people who don't care as much? That sounds like environmentalism, animal rights, or any host of isms. The people who care the most have the most power and the people who care the least and want to be left alone have little or no say in the matter. Environmentalists are a tiny minority of the population, yet their word is law where it comes to the environment (and the environment is almost anything they want it to be). Why? Because they are said to be the most protective of it? So why not put people who are most "protective" of cars in charge of protecting them? So where does that leave the people who are turned on by cars?
But this is a very bad example of sexual immorality, for it may not be sexual immorality at all. I'm also thinking that very few people would be annoyed enough by sex with cars to care about protecting cars from guys with car fetishes (or guys with car fetishes from their own proclivities). It might be considered very odd or eccentric, but it simply isn't shocking, and it would never be made illegal.
Why? Because it isn't sexual? Car sex doesn't touch on humans, so we don't see it as threatening in the moral sense? How about sex with robots, then? I think people would get a lot more exercised about that, because like fetishes involving human items of clothing (or even a bicycle seat fetish) sex with robots comes a lot closer to human sex, as the robots resemble humans. However, if the "robot" were simply a booth like the Orgasmatron, it would not be likely to trigger the same "that's immoral!" reaction. Let's face it; screwing a woman's shoe is immoral and perverted in a way that screwing an inner tube or hub cap is not. This touches on the objection many people have to pornography. If a man is turned on by a magazine, people are offended because of the human image the magazine contains. It's tough to imagine a physical attraction to non-pornographic printed material (like finding erotic sensation in a magazine with no pictures), but if that did happen, few if any moralists would be screaming.
Likewise, few worried about cultural decay when a man was alleged to have been found screwing a pumpkin. Yes, it turned out to be an urban legend, but I did find simulated pumpkin sex on YouTube as well as a written account by a man who claims to have sexually penetrated a pumpkin. So it might as well have happened. I am not counting Boulder's Naked Pumpkin Run, though because even though the kids put pumpkins on their heads and ran around naked, there's no indication they did so for purposes of sexual gratification.
However, I suspect that there's a slippery slope in there somewhere.
Perhaps I'm looking for immorality in all the wrong places.
Maybe the rule is that for a sex act to be immoral, it has to be in, er, the right place.
Breaking the narratives that enslave us
The video of the black gay Tea Partyer getting harassed by angry leftists has been widely circulated and commented upon, and the reason I can't stop thinking about it is not only because it demonstrates in a microcosm the nastiness of the left (I should probably say "the Jim Crow left" -- more on that later), but because it is the most perfect example I have seen of pure non-narrativism. I don't know whether that's a word, but maybe it should be. Not only is the black gay Tea Partyer himself a triple narrative violation, but people on the left hate to be caught in a multiple violations of their own narrative, which is they are never racist, and never homophobic. (For an especially jaw-dropping example of leftist homophobia, see Michelle Malkin's post, and check out the video.)
Gateway Pundit was the first to link the video of the harassment of the black gay Tea Partyer (there are at least three of them). The whole thing is pretty chaotic, but thanks to Glenn's link to a post by Looking at the Left I found a thorough breakdown of the scene with pictures and dialogue, along with an interview with the man himself, Leland Robinson:
Um, excuse me for interrupting with a rhetorical question, but can anyone even begin to imagine the outcry if a white conservative had told a black person to "go back with your own kind"?
I am reminded of an incident from childhood, and it's pretty ugly, but I think it belongs here. In the early 1960s (when segregation and Jim Crow were very much alive) my parents took me on a road trip from up North in Philadelphia to stay at a lovely resort down South. There was a beautiful lake there and I wandered to the side of the lake to watch some ducks swim. An old white lady was also watching the ducks, and she engaged me in conversation. I don't know why, but eventually she turned to the topic of race, by suddenly asking me point blank what I thought of President Johnson (who had only recently taken office, after JFK's assassination). I thought it was unusual for an adult to be asking a kid such a question, so I sort of ducked and said "I don't know" the way a kid will when confronted.
The woman scowled, and asked me loudly and angrily, "DID YOU KNOW HE'S PUTTING N****RS IN THE WHITE HOUSE?" I knew I was in "The South," and I had heard my parents talking about "the race issue" down there, but I was shocked, as nothing had prepared me to be asked a question like that. Fortunately, she had not asked the question to hear my answer, but only by way of making her pronouncement. While she carried on, a well-dressed black couple also happened to be walking along nearby (this was a Sunday afternoon, so I assume they might have been to church earlier), and the woman then looked at me and exclaimed, "I HATE SEEING N****RS DRESSED UP!" Again, nothing had prepared me to hear a statement like that by an old lady. Later I told my parents, and my father explained patiently that there were a number of bigoted and ignorant people down there and it would take time for things to get better.
The white woman who harassed Mr. Robinson might not have used the N-word, but it her sentiment was eerily similar to the bigoted old woman who got in my face and whom I have never forgotten.
But racism does not exist on the left! Nor does homophobia! Hear hear!
I'm glad to see someone standing up to left wing Jim Crow racism and the homophobia that does not exist. In addition to not accepting the degrading and subordinate role which the left assigns to him for his race, Robinson also refuses the degrading and subordinate role the left assigns him for his sexuality:
I won't quote it in its entirety, but read it all.
The guy is a hero.
I have rarely seen a more perfect illustration of how the left is hopelessly stuck in its bigoted narratives than their treatment of the black gay Tea Partyer.
Nor have I seen a more ringing indictment of identity politics, which of course is all about narrative politics. Whatever category they put you in comes with a scripted narrative, to which you must conform.
Those on the right who say that sexuality should not be treated like race have it half right. Race should not be treated like race! Why would any gay person who wants to be treated as a full citizen want to be subjected to the same condescending treatment to which blacks are routinely subjected? Why would any free citizen want to be assigned to a special category when that means having to think in a certain way and vote in a certain way?
So, I agree that it is wrong to treat gays like blacks. By his heroic example, Leland Robinson is an indictment of the concept.
In terms of the right to be free citizens, though, gays are like blacks are like Asians are like Jews are like Hispanics.
A few people on the right disagree, and one of the mistakes they make is by asserting that cultural views and attitudes from the past should be controlling on the present. As I have talked to Tea Partyers who think this way (and commenters here have made the same point repeatedly), I think it's worth examining the idea that the views toward homosexuality from centuries ago are somehow binding on present day America.
I found a typical example of this view expressed at the website of a local conservative organization which supports the Tea Party movement.
Well, that's undeniably true. And so what? If we are going to resort to prevailing opinions from certain eras, and if we are going to take the views of individual founders as authoritative, why stop with sexuality? What about slavery? What about the view that black people were inherently inferior to white people? That women were to be subordinate and should not vote? That the whipping post or ducking stool were appropriate punishments for various offenses? Why should the view of a founder on sodomy be any more controlling than his views on slavery, or for that matter his view of the age of the earth? I think it's obvious that none of these views should be controlling on people today, and I doubt very much the founders would have wanted them to. After all, they were founding a country, and they wanted it to be based on the Constitution, not a bunch of petty narratives.
Not that my views are controlling either, but let me say for the umpteenth time that I think things like race and sexuality should not matter.
The people who think they should remind of that mean old white lady by the side of the beautiful southern lake.
UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all.
Comments appreciated -- agree or disagree.
What Kind Of Utopia Do You Want?
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Miscarriages Will Need To Be Investigated
Back in December of 2009 a commenter at The Other McCain said:
The Indentured Servant Girl said...Of course I had a response in my post Abortion Is Murder. My central question was this:
The question for me is enforcement. How intrusive will the government have to get to make it work? Weekly pregnancy tests? (the Drug War precedent) And of course with new technology coming on line - maybe electronic sniffers to look for changes in the body? Then every miscarriage becomes a murder investigationI was pretty far out on a limb on that one. So far out that it was not taken seriously.
Well I 'm not on a limb any longer. According to Bridget Casey we have a state legislator proposing just such a law.
Georgia State Representative Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) just introduced a new bill to the legislature called HB 1. This bill is basically an anti-abortion bill. It is extremely rigid with almost no wiggle room and it's causing the lefty loons to go berserk. His bill defines the beginning of life as the moment of conception and any person who ends that life shall be guilty of murder....period. Now...I am a very devout Catholic pro-life gal and I think abortions are wrong but I think this bill goes too far.I warned of this very thing in my November 2005 post It Is All About Enforcement.
And of course every miscarriage will need a murder investigation.There is much more there about how an anti-abortion law will need to be enforced. None of it is good. Murder investigations are expensive and the number of them required if this law was a nationwide law would go from about 20,000 to on the order of 200,000. The effort on regular murder cases would decline or vast sums of money would be required to put this into effect.
Neil Boortz has some thoughts on this.
We are sure that Franklin believes women who suffer miscarriages should be put in a position where they might have to prove they did nothing to cause that miscarriage or face charges for murder and possible execution.One of the commenters at Hill Buzz
dginga Says:The problem is a political one. As a commenter points out.
rikc Says:Lefty site Mother Jones has this to say:
Holding women criminally liable for a totally natural, common biological process is cruel and non-sensical. Even more ridiculous, the bill holds women responsible for protecting their fetuses from "the moment of conception," despite the fact that pregnancy tests aren't accurate until at least 3 weeks after conception. Unless Franklin (who is not a health professional) invents a revolutionary intrauterine conception alarm system, it's unclear how exactly the state of Georgia would enforce that rule other than holding all possibly-pregnant women under lock and key.I have written a few other posts on the abortion question.
I'm against abortion and I'm also against government involvement in the question. It is a political, medical, and legal minefield. Which is why I support Rockford Pro Life which is against abortion and against government involvement in the question.
Which reminds me of another question. Can anyone point me to a secular anti-abortion group? I have never heard of one.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Friday, February 25, 2011
The Problem With Socialists And Socialist Conservatives
Bill Whittle explains "The Problem With Socialists And Socialist Conservatives" in his review of the movie Forbidden Planet.
This book is a further exposition on the subject:
And if that isn't enough for you I have a C.S. Lewis quote:
"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - Clive Staples "CS" Lewis
Me? I'd rather not live under any form of socialism. As a wag once said of the "problem": "If you tell people what to do they will do the opposite. If you leave them alone they will do as they damn well please."
Short version: leaving people alone causes fewer problems.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Wisconsin Teachers Mafia
Wisconsin Teachers Mafia: Give us the money or the kid gets it.
Parent: Gets what?
Wisconsin Teachers Mafia: Educated by us.
Parent: But you don't educate the kids.
Wisconsin Teachers Mafia: OK. How much will you pay us to leave the kids alone?
Parent: You are going to need a doctor's excuse for that.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Conflated confabulations of frenzied and fulminating Fonziephobia
Anti-libertarian snark fascinates me, and it seems to get louder and louder, and ever more insulting. I've complained about it before, and my recent worries have tended to focus on the tension between libertarians and social conservatives in the Tea Party context.
But I don't mean to neglect anti-libertarian snark on the left! It's just that sometimes there are more important issues to focus on, and it is easy for me to overlook things I don't see.
Right now, a huge target of the left is the Koch family. For a hard core leftie (whether a union hack, a socialist or a commie), the Koch brothers are seen in much the same way people on the right see George Soros. A pair of Great Satans.
But oh, how the left hates it when their narratives fail!
Yesterday, Reason's Nick Gillespie ridiculed the demonization of the Koch brothers in a piece titled "Why the Evil Koch Bros. Must be Stopped: They Support Drug Legalization, Gay Marriage, Reduced Defense Spending."
John Cole and his commenters are not happy with the piece. Nor do they seem happy over Nick Gillespie's penchant for leather jackets. For this offense (and probably for his casual demeanor), he has been dubbed "The Fonz."
You know, Fonzie, from Happy Days? I see it now! How clever!
And because Fonzie was a moron, Nick Gillespie must be too. And in exactly the same way Fonzie would if he knew how to write, Gillespie cites "gibberish":
Aw, come on! It's easy to seriously spoof this guy. Simply make fun of his attire and everything he says and everything he cites somehow becomes wrong. Gibberish! No further proof is required.
Hmmm... I'm wondering about something. If Nick decided to ditch the biker garb and switch to a pinstripe suit and a more conservative haircut*, would that earn him new respect on the left?
I don't know. But if the comments are any indication I somehow doubt it. I selected a few.
First, a fantastically ingenious penis insult:
Hey, there's an old San Francisco expression about bigoted sexual narrowmindedness. "Don't knock it until you've tried it!"
Somehow, Gillespie's observations are also being seen as a teaching moment to instruct us about a chilling major goal I had never heard about before, but which is shared by both Republicans and Libertarians -- the destruction of epistemology:
How come I have to go to a leftist blog to find that out? Why is there nothing in the GOP platform about destruction of epistemology? And why have I not heard so much as a word about this at any Tea Party event?
Am I being deliberately kept in the dark?
Deeply worried, I read on, and another commenter amplified on the meme:
All I can say to that is Who Knew? Why, just last month Sarah's son wrote a great post about Post Modernism, and he didn't say a word about the GOP or Tea Party PoMos. How much did the Koch brothers pay him to keep it out?
I am beginning to suspect a plot. Perhaps I should read leftist blogs more often!
After struggling with the deconstruction of epistemology idea till my dimwitted little libertarian head began to hurt, I found succor in a much more traditional insult:
What a relief! All I can say to that is "Hey dude, meet the Fonz out back if you have any cajones!" Maybe he can finally knock some sense into their epistemology. (Just kidding, folks. I know the left would never engage in violence.....)
Another commenter had actually gone over to Reason to read comments, and was shocked to see that someone had actually questioned child labor laws. Yes, they actually debated such a thing. Heaven forefend!
I'd wish they would read Sarah's "Marx is dead" post for additional enlightenment on child labor laws. Might send the snarkmeter off the charts.
I should read leftie blogs more often.
Seeing how upset they become over support for things like drug legalization, and gay marriage on the right makes me wonder if they aren't natural allies for some of the social conservatives who are upset over the same things and who want to kick libertarians out of the tent.
As I've said before, the conservative "traditional values" crowd can't do it alone.
Sometimes the left provides a lift.
* In the interest of full disclosure, I feel obligated to point out that when I met Nick Gillespie at an event in DC, I was in full capitalist pig attire, and Nick was wearing his leather jacket! I admit, for a moment I might have been inclined to feel overdressed. But being a libertarian, I failed to succumb to Fonziephobia.
Besides, according to Dave, Nick takes his leather jacket off occasionally.
MORE: More on the sinister pair who refuse to conform to the left's narrative. Benito's Boy Wonder Glenn Reynolds (who says the brothers have been "EXPOSED AT LAST") links a Radley Balko piece titled "The Koch Brothers' Right-Wing Conspiracy to Undermine the PATRIOT Act."
Balko has lots of dirt, including this:
What kind of shameless America-haters would help to undermine the Patriot Act?
And it gets worse. One of the brothers has Libertarian bona fides:
Isn't it about time for real conservatives to join forces with the left and take their party back so they can rid the GOP of subversive libertarian infiltrators before they ruin every last narrative that's left?
Thursday, February 24, 2011
"in order for democracy to work"
While it was shocking enough to read that a man described as a lawyer has requested a presidential pardon for Charles Manson, what is also shocking is that any attorney would be so incapable of understanding what several of Glenn's readers do -- that Charles Manson was convicted only of state offenses.
Yes, Manson was convicted in a California court of murders that occurred in California, and was sentenced by a California court.
Glenn says Manson's purported attorney is "barking up the wrong tree, as the President can only issue pardons for federal offenses."
That is so true that I long thought it was beyond dispute, and said so in two posts. Federalism (separation of state and federal jurisdiction) is so basic a concept that it shouldn't be worth another post pointing it out.
Except this is the second time in the past year that I've seen such a misdirected pardon request, the first being a Saudi man convicted in a Colorado court of a rape occurring in Colorado. I pointed out that the Saudi lobbyists should have petitioned the Colorado governor, but snarked that not only might the Saudis think Obama has kingly powers, so might the people who attend trendy leftist cocktail parties:
Looking more closely into the Manson pardon request, I saw that the "lawyer" (in quotes because I am not sure what he is) who wrote to the president (PDF) is not an American, but an Italian, one Giovanni Di Stefano.
To call Di Stefano a piece of work does not quite do the man justice. The "clients" (for lack of a better term) listed on his Wiki page (and he has complained that Wiki defamed him, naturally) read like a Who's Who of World Crooks and Swindlers. He's a friend of all sorts of awful people (like Slobadan Milosevic), and has tried to intervene on behalf os Saddam Hussein and others:
I am unable to determine whether the man is a lawyer, but it does seem that he is a businessman who acts as a sort of lawyer:
Whether he understands federalism or the Constitution is probably a silly question, as I doubt Di Stefano could care less anyway.
From his letter to President Obama:
Whether you like Barack Obama or not, does any American president really need a lecture from an Italian crackpot about how Charles Manson needs to be pardoned "in order for democracy to work"? (And why does CNN consider this man a legal expert?)
Needless to say, the presidential pardons Di Stefano mentions all involved federal crimes. If the man is serious (which I seriously doubt), he should be asking California Governor Jerry Brown to pardon Charles Manson. And good luck with that; I doubt even Governor Moonbeam is that crazy.
What worries me is to see this happening twice.
I'd hate to see the idea that President Obama possesses (or should possess) extraconstitutional, kingly powers become an international habit.
A government tax on "consumption" that isn't there?
Much as I hate being distracted from important issues of the day, it so happens that today is my bill-paying day, which means I have to devote a moderate amount of time to opening bills, tearing off the payment slips, writing checks for the amounts on the slips (with account numbers written on all the checks), then put all that in envelopes, stamp them, and put them in the mail.
This almost never takes more than a half an hour, except this morning I happened to notice that my AT&T phone bill seemed higher than it should have been. Looking more closely, I saw a charge in the amount of 12.95 for "ID LIFE GUARDS-CREDIT PROTECT/REPAIR" listed on an enclosed bill from a company called "ILD Teleservices." I never did, and never would, order such a "service," so I was very suspicious, and promptly Googled the company.
It turns out to be a huge scam -- called "Cramming," and countless people are complaining about it.
If a scam like that has been around that long, why isn't anything being done to stop the scammers? And why is AT&T enabling them, then telling people that they have no choice?
Etc. There are so many consumer complaints (and websites screaming about this rampant corporate fraud) that I got tired of reading them. Here are a couple of good posts on the subject, and a helpful site with tips on how best to avoid the problem. There's even a pissed-off-ILD-Services-consumer website.
It's analogous to automated credit card billing (and I suspect that AT&T wanted to get a piece of the automated turf action and charges fees to companies like ILD), but the difference is that it's much harder for a scammer to get hold of credit card numbers than phone numbers. And as is explained here, any scammer can have anyone just call in and say your number is theirs. No verification is done.
But wait. If I am a victim of such absolute fraud based on a false claim I ordered something I never did, how can I be said to be a "consumer"? Doesn't being a consumer require, like, actually buying or wanting to buy something? I have no consumer relationship with this scamming company other than the fact that they managed to sneak an unauthorized item onto my phone bill. It's no diffferent than if some thief got hold of my credit card numbers and generated charges for things I never ordered or received. How could I be called a "consumer" when I neither consumed nor expressed an interest in consuming?
The first thing that went through my mind when I saw my bill was that while it's relatively easy for me to spot fraud, there are a lot of less sophisticated people (or elderly people who tend to do as they are told) who might see an itemized charge for "ILD Services" and assume that it's just "part of the phone company bill" and they should simply pay it.
While it galls me to see a big company like AT&T working in connivance with scam artists and then hiding behind the government by saying they have no choice, seeing such blatant ducking of responsibilities by government officials from the Public Utilities Commission -- which is charged with policing large utilities and headquarted in the very left-wing city of San Francisco -- had me puzzled at first. So did the bafflement expressed by the investigative reporters.
Why indeed would the government drag its feet?
A closer look at my bill revealed a possible reason.
Just below the fraudulent $12.95 charge is an item called "Government Fees and Taxes." The amount the government receives is .97. Now, I know that ninety seven cents isn't enough to upset most people. After all, it is conveniently less than a dollar and most people wouldn't begrudge the government such a piddling sum. But still, I'm thinking that if the government gets a dollar a month from every one of these automated corporate scams, a dollar here and a dollar there spread out over millions of consumers might add up to real money. Might that account for government foot dragging?
Bad as it is to have AT&T enable fraud, I think there is something even worse about the government benefiting from from what amounts to a fraud tax.
And because this fraud is a crime, this amounts to a crime victim tax. Sorry, but even though it's only ninety seven cents, the idea that the government is taxing people for being victims of crime simply adds insult to injury. Imagine if the government taxed people on the value of items stolen from them by burglars.
People really ought to be howling over this. Trouble is, they already are, yet the practice is "mysteriously" allowed to continue.
So, while I can't prove it, I strongly suspect the fact that this fraud is generating tax revenues might help explain the "mystery."
Take The Bastards Down
I think they have the wrong bastards in mind. But if they want smashing this 66 year old is up for it. Let them fire the first shot. Then give them some serious counter battery fire. Two for range and then fire for effect.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
The Old Order Is Breaking Down
Commenter Frank asked me to elaborate on my point about the start of the next world war at Palin: Libyans Should Be Protected By Nato. I replied in a comment. I think that comment deserves more eyeballs.
The world system is breaking down. In America:
1. The lower education/union bubble
Europe - similar to the above without oil resources plus a Muslim problem.
In the Middle East:
1. Islam is breaking down due to the Internet/cell phones
India - I'm going to have to study more. Probably much of the above plus an Islam problem going back at least 500 years only partially resolved with the India/Pakistan partition.
No doubt much more.
The world system is breaking down. Much of the old system that we have been carrying is unsupportable. It will be a better system once the old order is gone. The old order will not go without a fight.
Texas is designing a degree system that will cost the student $10,000. I don't see why the cost shouldn't be more on the order of $2,000. We have the Internet.
The US is well positioned with its TEA Parties to come out on top of this upheaval. But it will not be pretty here either.
Some good places to start for further reading are:
From a review:
The fateful quarter-century leading up to the World War I was a time when the world of Privilege still existed in Olympian luxury and the world of Protest was heaving in its pain, its power, and its hate. The age was the climax of a century of the most accelerated rate of change in history, a cataclysmic shaping of destiny.
May I also suggest Sara Hoyt's blog post Marx Is Dead
Batten the hatches, General Quarters, Incoming! This is not going to be pretty. At all.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Welcome Instapundit readers.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Palin: Libyans Should Be Protected By Nato
Sarah Palin says Libya should be declared a no-fly zone.
...Gaddafi is a brutal killer and Libya - not to mention the world - would be better off if he were out of power. Now is the time to speak out. Speak out for the long-suffering Libyan people. Speak out for the victims of Gaddafi's terror. NATO and our allies should look at establishing a no-fly zone so Libyan air forces cannot continue slaughtering the Libyan people.You know what the Peacemongers will say:
Damn Warmongers interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. Every nation has the right to kill its own citizens in mass quantities. The Warmongers should stay out and let the slaughter proceed.I believe that we are witnessing the start of the next world war.
Welcome Instapundit readers. This one is a little off topic (it concerns the need for better drugs for PTSD - our military is going to need it) but you might like Opiates for PTSD. Another good one prompted by this post is The Old Order Is Breaking Down.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
all croaked up
I could not possibly have less to say today. No, not even if I tried. So I won't.
Won't try to say less, of course. Besides, Sarah's "Marx is dead" post yesterday was so thoroughly brilliant that anything that follows it is bound to be a letdown.
However, I did stumble onto a very interesting frog, which is so puffed up that when I first saw the picture I thought maybe someone had exaggerated his features with PhotoShop:
The Wiki picture is good too!
When it rains, they come out.
And if you think they're weird, some critters are even weirder. For a couple of days, Drudge linked this picture -- of a man who looks like he would burrow in the underground desert and lay eggs, if he could get away with it!
Speaking of burrowing, there's a very strange female critter in Pennsylvania who for reasons known only to her, went into a store's freezer room and refused to come out. Police were called, and they arrested her for having peed on $500.00 worth of baked goods.
No explanation why, which means unless we "blame the culture," we have little choice but to conclude she's crazy or trashy.
Discussing the Pennsylvania peeer (in conjunction with a YouTube rampage at Denny's that Drudge had linked -- which brought thousands of astonishingly angry commenters who blame everything from "Cultural Marxism" to "Tea Baggers"), an interesting question arose.
"What is wrong with these people?"
Plenty is wrong, and clearly they have to be either mentally ill or just complete trash or both. Yet there have always been trashy and mentally ill people. The problem is that now they are being regularly and constantly immortalized on line, and it has a cumulative effect, so it appears that their numbers are much larger than they are.
Repetition makes questionable premises seem more and more true:
It reminds me of gruesome pit bull attacks. Every year a few people in our nation of 300 million are maimed and/or killed by dogs described as "pit bulls." (As far as whether fact checkers have examined the pedigrees to determine how true the descriptions are, I don't know.) But because of the Internet and vindictive web sites, it is made to look like huge. The stories and pictures never go away and are repeated and recycled endlessly. More and more people start to think that there is a "growing" and "urgent" "crisis" and something must be done. Every time I read about another one, I cringe in fear of "the people," (few of whom see dogs as arms) and I worry that they might get all stirred up and get that "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH" going in such a way as to incite grandstanding local politicians to pass laws which would kill Coco. When people are in hysteria mode, they don't take kindly to rational arguments.
There are advantages to living in burrows.
Opiates For PTSD
As those of you who read me regularly know I have frequently been inflicting on you a link to my article Heroin in discussions of both the Drug War and PTSD. And some of you with an irrational hatred of Heroin have derided me and told me I'm full of it. The evidence in the article was circumstantial and not extremely strong. Well I have some extremely strong evidence now and it first surfaced in my article Underground In Las Vegas. And where did the evidence come from? Probably the most conservative sector of our society. The US Military.
And what is the military prescribing for PTSD? The article refers to them as narcotics. Really they are opiate analogs. Here is part of the story:
By some estimates, well over 300,000 troops have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan with P.T.S.D., depression, traumatic brain injury or some combination of those. The Pentagon has looked to pharmacology to treat those complex problems, following the lead of civilian medicine. As a result, psychiatric drugs have been used more widely across the military than in any previous war.Obviously the military doctors are having no more luck with PTSD than their civilian counterparts. Which is to say - there is no cure.
But the civilian doctors in some states have an option the military doesn't have. Medical Marijuana.
Chronic pain conditions change peoples lives. The discomfort and pain is consuming. Many patients fail to truly weigh the pros and cons of the medications they are given for pain, especially those who have chronic conditions. Constipating opiates are almost always an option, but medical marijuana is rarely discussed. But, it should be an option for those facing hard treatment decisions regarding long term medication use. There are blood tests that doctors run to check for long term kidney and liver damage by medications, although they fail to mention all of the reasons for testing. The very idea that it is routine for some doctors to check to the amount of damage a medication can do to the kidneys and liver is indicative of its inherent damage. Medical marijuana presents none of those problems.
Yep. Marijuana is safer. DEA Judge Young in a legal opinion about marijuana as medicine said:
Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.What else can marijuana do when combined with opiates?
Marijuana is safer than a very common psychoactive over the counter drug. Alcohol. In fact some one has written a book about it.
In fact alcohol was considered a kind of folk remedy for PTSD before the condition had an official name. Back in the day it was called "shell shock" or similar. And as you might have guessed I have written something on the subject. See: The Soldiers Disease.
Our understanding of the use of marijuana for PTSD is rather advanced. See: PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System.
Now my questions are a simple ones. Why don't those who have so much compassion for our military men work for the repeal of Federal Marijuana Prohibition so those in desperate need can get better help than they are now receiving? And why aren't we looking at the vast untreated population in America with PTSD who are now self medicating with illegal drugs? Why are we punishing the traumatized in this country? Or at least those the government can catch and of course their suppliers. I do not consider the drug dealers evil. I think of them as heroes. They are helping people (for profit - just like the pharma companies) that our government in its infinite wisdom does not count as worthy of treatment. Unless their condition was acquired on the battlefield. Why are victims of sexual assault or child abuse any less worthy than the folks in the military?
Cross Posted at Power and Control. May I also suggest you visit here for some more corroborating links in the comments. This article about the US Civil War and opiates is suggestive. But there were no good statistics from the period to differentiate between residual pain from war wounds and PTSD type problems.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Marx Is dead
And I don't feel so good myself.
When I was in highschool in the seventies (well, it couldn't be helped. It's not like I chose my date of birth. But in my defense, I delayed coming of age till 1980) in Portugal, I studied Marxism and Marxist theory in four classes a year: off the top of my head, the line up I remember is History; Economics; Portuguese; Sociology. (And if you ask why I was taking Sociology in Highschool, it's because the Portuguese system has no electives. They tell you what you're going to study. And Sociology gave them one more chance to teach Marx.)
Of course, we used "Marxist Techniques" in other courses too - anthropology; literary analysis. I seem - vaguely - to remember we used Marxist analysis in biology but I hope to all that's good and holy that I'm wrong about that. (It was a long time ago.) It would be roughly the equivalent of using the rhythm method in literary production. Or perhaps grammatical analysis in music. I mean, you can bend anything in any way, but it makes no sense.
I read somewhere, written by a more literate person - I believe an economist - that the weakest point of the Marxist theories was that Marx, as an economist, was such a bizarre failure he never understood the role of resellers.Continue reading "Marx Is dead"
Don't Try To Blow Sunshine Up My Butt
Col Allen West confronts a Muslim from CAIR. The sound is a little indistinct at the beginning. Keep replaying until you get it. BTW the "Don't blow sunshine..." quote is unmistakable.
From West's wiki.
"If it's about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can."My kinda guy.
H/T Hill Buzz
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Not Feeling Too Good Myself
Have you had too much? Naturally!
After the publication of an allegedly "secret formula" which listed alcohol as an ingredient in Coca Cola, a Muslim man in Israel has filed a huge class action lawsuit against the company:
Aside from the fact that it's loony, I see several problems with the lawsuit. First, Coca Cola denies that the drink contains any alcohol at all, and denies that the secret recipe is in fact the one which was published. Second, even if it had minute traces of alcohol, many sodas use minute amounts of alcohol as a fixative in the flavoring process, but they are classified as non-alcoholic because it is simply not possible to consume them and have the alcohol cause any effect at all. Trace amounts of alcohol are present in many flavorings and they cannot cause intoxication. Accordingly, they are not required to list alcohol as an ingredient on the label.
Non-alcoholic beer contains small amounts of alcohol (less than .05%) and is sold legally in Saudi Arabia, because it is not possible to get drunk from it. Whatever trace amounts of alcohol a soft drink might contain would be considerably less than that.
Coca Cola has been subject of a huge rumor-mongering campaign in the Mideast, with ridiculous paranoid conspiracy claims. As The Economist points out, there are implications beyond Coca Cola:
This image went viral in the Mideast a few years ago:
The travails of Coca Cola aside, I don't like the idea of Muslims suing any company over trace amounts of alcohol in products. Especially if the ban on alcohol is intended to prohibit intoxication, it seems specious, and I hope the Israeli court slam-dunks it on its face, because all that should matter is the simple fact that Cokes will not get a person drunk, no matter how many are consumed.
What's really intriguing about alcohol is that because it occurs in nature as a result of the breakdown of sugar by yeast, trace amounts of it are in all sorts of things, and not just bottles of juice that sit too long in the refrigerator.
Because our bodies contain sugar and yeast, we humans are also subject to having trace amounts of alcohol in our systems without any control over it. Not only may it not be possible to avoid alcohol, but under certain conditions, some people manufacture enough alcohol in their bodies that they become legally intoxicated, and would be subject to prosecution under the DUI laws! I am absolutely not making this up:
The post includes a technical explanation, and notes that while endogenous alcohol is normal, the "wide inter-individual variation in healthy abstaining individuals is hard to explain."
But because of the law, even if your alcohol is your own natural internal brew, you are still liable for prosecution:
So, while some of us are legally "guiltier" than others, that the human body makes endogenous alcohol seems to be a little reported fact:
As to why this isn't better known, I have a funny feeling that it might be unwelcome, and above all destructive to the narrative in certain quarters. And I don't mean just fatwa-issuing Muslims, but fatwa-issuing MADD activists and assorted fatuous "zero tolerance" Neo-prohibitionist types.
Think about it. If endogenous alcohol means there is no such thing as a natural born teetotaler, then zero tolerance means one hundred percent intolerance!
What Madison Is All About
Chuck Sweeny - a Rockford Register Star reporter that I know from his days of covering the local Libertarian Party - gets to the heart of the goings on in Madison and explains why it is so critical for the unions to win against Governor Walker and the Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature.
But Democrats can't compromise on ending collective bargaining rights, because that would weaken their party's key political bloc. Democrats know that Walker's gambit to break the unions is part of the national Republican strategy in the run up to the 2012 elections.Chuck thinks that the Republicans, who only need one Democrat to show up to pass their agenda, will fold in the face of union pressure. I don't think so. It costs real money to bus in all those protesters and keep them fed and housed. Every day Walker can keep the protesters on the street further weakens the Democrats for the next election.
What Chuck also leaves out is that recall elections can be called by petition in Wisconsin one year after a person is elected. All the Republicans have to do is collect about 25,000 signatures from a Senate District, get them verified, and six weeks later there will be an election. In a district that was barely won by a Democrat and with sentiment favoring the Governor there is a good chance that in 12 or 16 weeks Walker will have enough Senators to make a quorum and the unions will lose a LOT. Can he hold out that long? Walker has been in politics for a while and he has a reputation for not backing down. Time will tell.
As Chuck points out the Democrats depend on that union money to elect Democrats who will do the unions more favors so they can get their cut. But the marks are staring to wise up. My take is that the longer he holds out the stronger he will get. And he doesn't have to get everything to win. A couple of things would do it: yearly union elections and no automatic deduction of union dues. The last point alone would mean a raise of a few percent for those who didn't want to pay. In these hard times who wouldn't like a raise or even a smaller cut in pay?
Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the nation's largest public-sector union, said the moves in various state capitals to target state employees were an explicit effort to undermine a key source of Democratic funds.That is quite a war chest. I think the Republicans would like to flatten it. I think they can.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Monday, February 21, 2011
Who needs words you can't say when you can use the words you can say?
In a piece Glenn linked titled "Words you can't say at the Pentagon,"Stewart Baker makes it clear that top Army bureaucrats (along with a large number of politically correct people in the ruling classes) only want Islam referred to with stultifyingly propagandistic terms such as "the religion of peace."
It's easy to yell about free speech, but if you're in an environment where you don't have it (such as the military, the government, schools, academia, many large corporations, etc.) you might just have to adapt to the lingo using whatever magic words are demanded, no matter what.
So what happens if a member of the Religion of Peace goes postal and opens up on a crowd of people, and makes clear his belief that he is doing it in the name of his religion? It's like, if you can't call someone like Major Nidal Hasan an Islamist, an Islamic terrorist or a Jihadist, then how is he to be described in discussions? A religious peace shooter? A religious shooter for peace? A shooter of the religion of peace? A religious peacenik?
Regardless of what they were supposed to say, it is clear that the Army personnel who dealt with Hasan knew what was going on:
I can't help noticing the quotation marks, and I guess putting words in quotes is bureaucratically permitted. So when referring to Major Hasan, would it be acceptable to just call him a follower of the "religion of peace" -- with the latter in quotes?
In the same manner, just keep the quotation marks around the rave reviews he drew:
"extraordinary potential to inform national policy and military strategy."
"His unique interests have captured the interest and attention of peers and mentors alike."
Who could argue with that?
And his "keen interest in Islamic culture and faith and his shown capacity to contribute to our psychological understanding of Islamic nationalism and how it may relate to events of national security and Army interest."
Yes! Double plus absolutely!
I'm being a little sarcastic, but I'm sure some would say that no sarcasm is needed.
It's all so... so religion of peace!
See? I didn't even need to put that in quotes!
Libya Is Collapsing
Qaddafi has fled to Venezuela.
Libyan air force bombing civilians; two pilots refuse and fly to Malta.
Clerics endorse rebellion.
This follows on yesterday's chaos.
True and hard proof of "hard right" Trutherism
Ann Arbor officially got 9.6 inches of snow last night, but it looks like a foot, and it is the heavy wet kind, so I am sick of shoveling. Besides, what's the point of shoveling out my driveway when the street in front of the house has not been plowed? I can't go anywhere, as my car is not snow-worthy.
So I am snowed in, but I can still read blog posts, and what I have been reading lately gives me the creepy feeling of being increasingly cornered by hyperbole which borders on outright lunacy.
Like, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker's attempts to cut back on the high cost of unionized state employees are seen -- seriously -- as Nazism, and he is portrayed repeatedly as Hitler. It would be one thing if this were just overwrought hysteria, but Ann Althouse went to the trouble of interviewing one of the sign carriers, who really does believe that Scott Walker is just like Hitler. Yeah? I would like to see her explain to elderly concentration camp survivors and people whose parents were gassed and burned by the Nazis how the horror of what happened to them was the moral equivalent of ending the automatic deduction from state workers' paychecks and making the unions collect the dues themselves.
The other night a friend (heretofore always reasonable) started spouting Noam Chomsky at me. I began to wonder whether no one feels obligated to be reasonable any more because there is so much unreasonable nonsense being spouted. Birthers, truthers, religious loons, atheist loons, enivronmentalist loons -- all these and more just vent freely, and there is no consensus on what constitutes reason, sanity, or even civility. I want to think that most people are nice, because most of them are. (Even radical Muslims are nice on an individual basis. Just don't go near them when they gather on a Friday by the million....)
Andrew Sullivan (whom I am not supposed to link lest I upset commenters who claim that when I link him I am allowing him to take over this blog) characterized Glenn Reynolds as "hard right"-- apparently because he linked this post from Prof. Jacobson lamenting the fact that a million Egyptians poured out into the streets to listen to (and cheer for) radical Islamist nutjob Yusuf al-Qaradawi:
Great. So it's now "hard right" to object to (or even link objections to) a million anti-Semites rabidly yelling in the street.
If objecting to mob anti-Semitism is "hard right," then what, pray tell, would "hard left" be? Breaking into chants of "DEATH TO THE JEWS"?
How am I supposed to make sense of this? Should I just get with Andy's plan, and stop calling Glenn a libertarian?
I mean, rather than complain about the nuttiness, perhaps I should just join with the flow. Fortunately, as it happens, for years I have been methodically documenting Glenn's "hard rightness," especially his well-known historical ties to Benito Mussolini.
And just last week I unearthed a new picture, showing the two of them late in the regime. As is the case with any research into The Truth, there is no stopping the True Truth from continuing to surface. And while Glenn admits that he has tried to get his minions to bury the truth and sanitize the Internet, even Glenn must concede that there are always telltale traces and fragments that indelibly remain. Such was the case with a very old, quite blurry photograph -- the original of which is probably long suppressed. It shows Mussolini listening very carefully to a man who is speaking:
Even though the quality is poor, if you look carefully you will see that the man bears a striking resemblance to Glenn Reynolds.
What truer proof of hard rightness could there be than that?
UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking my explanation of "the true meaning of 'hard right.'" A warm welcome to all, and I especially appreciate the valuable insights and speculations.
I'm taking Glenn's comment to mean that my true meaning is open to interpretation.
His silence on the incriminating picture speaks volumes, though!
Adam Carrola Rants On The Schools
Adam Carolla has a beautiful rant on the school systems. Don't Miss It. If you only do the first five minutes it is worth it.
Not Safe For Work
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Rights And Wrongs
The unions in Wisconsin are making one argument that I agree with -- that their struggle is about human rights.
Hell yes, this is about human rights. This is about the property rights of taxpayers being violated. There is absolutely no reason why unions should be allowed to organize against people whose income is being seized by force in order to demand more of their income be seized.
Collective bargaining has its place -- in a system of voluntary exchange. Taxes aren't voluntary, they're compulsory. A worker paid with seized money should have the same zero ability to negotiate that an individual taxpayer has.
And unions and Democrats are in bed together -- massive amounts of money are being spent on Dems' behalf by the unions, and the quid pro quo is beyond obvious. That isn't collective bargaining, it's armed robbery.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Is Libya Toppling?
Reports are that much of the east may already be under the control of protesters, with the armed forces joining the revolution.
Meanwhile, tribal leaders are now openly challenging Qaddafi:
Destroying manhood in order to save it?
Kay Hymowitz has a new book -- Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys -- and Dr. Helen is questioning some of its premises at her blog, where she asks a question that made me chuckle:
I'd rather not answer that right now, because this is Sunday and I am trying to keep this post "family friendly."
But I will go on the record as saying (for now, at least) that I am not inclined to order a pair of the new Levi's "Ex girlfriend's jeans" that Glenn utterly failed to recommend when he had the opportunity earlier.
No seriously. The pants are far too queeny for me, and I am just not into that look -- no matter how hip they're supposed to be. I'm not saying that they might not look attractive on some people, but a man my age just shouldn't run around in public wearing what look for the world like ballet tights.
But for those who are interested, here's the new look!
Not that new, really. I'm old enough to remember the skin-tight pants from the 1960s, although they weren't quite that severe. Whether they are "better" than the baggy pants that couldn't possibly have gotten any baggier, who knows? I do see some young men at the University of Michigan running around who have that look, and it is my carefully considered opinion that a lecture from Kay Hymowitz about how they need to "man up" would not sway them to ditch the tights and opt for conventional manly slacks.
Scoldings tend to not work that way. (It goes without saying that a "manliness backlash" might work in either direction, and unmanly fashions worn by some could very well encourage manlier fashions in others.)
But I digress. This post is not about the merits of manly versus unmanly fashion, but the premise of the "man up and get married!" argument.
In Dr. Helen's latest PJM column from 2008, she argues that Hymowitz is missing a central point:
As to what Hymowitz deems "unmanly," it ain't the ex-girlfriend's ballet tights jeans:
Funny thing, but I don't consider the above to be unmanly or even especially adolescent. But her premise seems to be that things adolescent men like are unmanly.
Why? What is unmanly about liking sexy lingerie or football, or blowing stuff up?
Dr. Helen thinks that what's happening is that men are on strike:
I couldn't agree more.
And at Dr. Helen's blog, I left this comment:
Reading the other comments, I saw similar sentiments repeated over and over, which made my comment superfluous. But what the hell -- a superfluous comment left at another blog can certainly be the subject of a blog post here.
When you tell people what to do, you are simply adding to the list of disincentives. I like what Barry Goldwater said years ago about Americans being a people who naturally resent being told what to do, and if you tell them not to do something, their impulse is to figure out a way to do it.
I would say that real men don't like being told what to do, and it goes to the essence of manliness. Which is what I meant by the "hall of mirrors." If you tell men to "man up" and be "manly," some of them might just decide to do the opposite out of spite. Perhaps in extreme cases, wearing ridiculously tight pants as a symbol of manhood! That's the way it worked back in the 60s. Tight pants were one of the symbols of rebellion, and schools used to struggle with dress codes accordingly. (More recently, schools have had to fight super baggy pants, which may by now be a vintage retro look.)
Kay Hymowitz's insistence on manning up reminded me of an excellent YouTube video series which caused me to laugh myself sick on several occasions. I don't have time to watch them all, but they take the form of a show called "Is It A Good Idea to Microwave This?" There are countless episodes, but the theme is the same -- host Jory Caron (who looks for the world like an engineering student) and his sidekick will put a new thing into a microwave oven as an "experiment" and then cook it to see what happens. Naturally, they have exploded countless microwave ovens, and have probably violated more nanny state bureaucrat consumer product safety and environmental protection laws than almost anyone in the country, but they do it in a hilariously, deliberately irresponsible "scientific" manner, and I think it's great.
"Is It A Good Idea To Microwave A Bottle Of Beer?" is as good an example as any.
After the bottle bursts, they comment:
That the whole thing is adolescent is not merely beside the point, it is the point. The argument could be made that what the glum sourpusses who deem it their duty to scold the world call adolescence in fact lies at the heart of manliness.
It strikes me that there is a fine line between an indictment of adolescence and an indictment of manhood, and that Kay Hymowitz just isn't quite getting it.
Scolding men into being manly is self canceling.
Manhood has been in the microwave long enough.
UPDATE: When I wrote this post, the PJM column Dr. Helen referred to as upcoming had not yet been written, and I mistakenly called her previous PJM piece "current," which it is not. My mistake has been corrected above.
Drugs Corrupt Cops
Alcohol prohibition corrupted the law enforcement apparatus of the United States.
4. Prohibition permanently corrupted law enforcement, the court system, and politics. During Prohibition, organized crime had on its payroll police, judges, prosecutors, and politicians. If mobsters couldn't buy or successfully threaten someone in a powerful position, they either "wiped him out" or, following more democratic principles, ran a candidate against the incumbent in the next election. They put money behind their candidate, stuffed the ballot box, or leaked some scandal about the incumbent just before the election (or all three). The important thing was winning, and more often than not, someone beholden to organized crime rose to the position of power. After more than twelve years of purchases, threats, and elections, organized crime had "in its pocket" the political and governmental power structure of most medium-to-large cities, and several states.National drug prohibition has been in effect since 1914. In 1937, after the repeal of alcohol prohibition, marijuana was added to the list.
So what has been the result of drug prohibition according to a former head of the CIA?
"The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It's possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government." - William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995Thanks to Instapundit I have come across a more local example of police corruption.
MARTINEZ -- Public defenders on Thursday quickly moved to re-examine cases against their clients after the arrests of a Contra Costa County drug task force chief and a private investigator accused of running a narcotics-selling scheme, possibly with confiscated drugs.Public defenders are asking for what the investigators have turned up so far in order to find out what cases may have been tainted by these public servants. And you have to wonder who else in the department was doing dirty deeds if the guy at the top was dirty.
Plus you have to wonder where else stuff like this was going on? We do know that this is not the first time such malfeasance has been discovered. There was the Rampart Scandal that broke in 2000. There were cover ups and gang ties found in the Rampart Division of the LAPD.
The Rampart scandal refers to widespread corruption in the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (or CRASH) anti-gang unit of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Rampart Division in the late 1990s. More than 70 police officers in the CRASH unit were implicated in misconduct, making it one of the most widespread cases of documented police misconduct in United States history. The convicted offenses include unprovoked shootings, unprovoked beatings, planting of evidence, framing of suspects, stealing and dealing narcotics, bank robbery, perjury, and covering up evidence of these activitiesSo are the police with their never ending drug war preventing anarchy or fomenting it? Hard call.
Take my town Rockford, Illinois. Around 1986 or '87 the FBI and DEA took out a whole gang of drug dealers. The local murder rate spiked and citizens were irate over the increase in street violence. They haven't done a whole gang raid like that since. I guess the ensuing anarchy was too much for the community. My guess is that the police are working with the gangs (or working with their favored gangs) to prevent a return of anarchy.
Well what about free speech? If you are tasked with fighting the drug war it is not allowed lest the public find out what is actually going on.
Well that backfired on them. Now instead of a conversation between a few officers it is now a conversation with the public.
And how about the latest national news on drug gangs?
Mexican and US security experts, some with inside information, suspect the Zetas in the killing of an American special agent this week, a prospect that could complicate investigations due to the Mexican drug gang's brutal yet sophisticated tactics.And for those of you who think it is the drugs. Please explain why alcohol distribution gangs melted away after 1933. Did some one find a cheap way to instantly turn water into wine?
Well the above catalogs a whole host of things that are going wrong with the drug war. So how about some more? Like raiding the wrong house.
When narcotics officers appeared at a Castro home shortly after 7 a.m. on Jan. 11, they had permission from a judge to search for "proceeds" from an illegal marijuana grow.Thanks to Instapundit for that one too. I'm not going to go into the marijuana as medicine issue here. If it interests you you can start your reading here: Cannabis is the Best Medicine. I'll just say that it seems rather evil to slap a man with a felony for growing his own medicine.
The first quote in this article was taken from:
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Saturday, February 19, 2011
A great point from M Simon here at Classical Values: the one country notably absent from the recent massive pro-democracy protests across the Mideast is... Iraq. Hmmm, why might that be? Oh right, they already have democracy. The protests in Iraq, by contrast, are Tea Party-like demonstrations against corruption, bad economic policies, and lack of transparency.
In fact, one can reasonably point to Iraq as the animating force for the pro-democracy movement. The violence in Iraq died down around 2008 and by 2009, we started seeing protests in Iran against the rigged elections there (they must have expecially galled Iranians, since millions of them travel to Najaf every year on Shia prilgrimage to a country that actually holds real elections).
As the years went on and Iraq continued having elections, protests, free press, and free speech and it became increasingly clear that the Iraqi democratic experiment was working, the natural empirical response of the people of the Mideast was to demand democracies of their own.
And so (much as happened in Iraq itself) when most had given up hope of success, the neocon dream of an Iraqi Model that would foster a wave of democratic reform across the Mideast has suddenly, dramatically taken wing.
Should this pro-democracy movement continue gaining strength and transforming the Mideast, it will become increasingly undeniable that our actions in Iraq constituted not just a strategic masterstroke but also a humanitarian boon of historic proportions.
Isn't This Conspiracy To Commit Fraud?
Let's say the Milwaukee Brewers put together a promotion in which they encouraged attendees to call in sick and provided doctors to give them notes excusing their absence. Does anyone think that wouldn't be massively illegal and lead to forfeiture of medical licenses if not jail time? The mind boggles.
Also note the goalposts for left-wing protests are, shall we say, a bit lower than for Tea Partiers.
I don't recall a lot of articles covering Tea Party protests that focused on the lack of arrests as an indication of their peacefulness.
A combination more dangerous than Four Loko!
As regular readers know, I get sick of the gay issue. Especially the "TEH GAY" issue. But what the hell. I seem to be stuck with it and no matter what I do, there exists a demand for gay related posts. What I find a little disturbing is that the demand is not created only by gay readers. Far from it. According to recent statistics demand at this blog for gay content in recent months has been heavily driven by anti-gay readers.
As I am not anti-gay, I find myself in a bit of a conflict of interest here, but the important thing in blogging is to be entertaining and generate traffic, right? If that is the goal, then should I not be pandering to the anti-gay readers too? Or would that be dishonest of me? I am always open to ideas, and advice on my tired, brokeback ethics is always appreciated lest I become too.... what's the word? Overcompromised?
Anyway, a very helpful regular reader whose name should probably be kept out of this noticed a remark I probably should not have made about trying to put more gay stuff in my posts, and while that was not a promise, the helpful emailer sent me a link to an amusing post by Ed Driscoll about gay beer:
"Mexican brewery unveils first gay beer," according to the Telegraph:
And if you think that's bad, Ed really rubs it in, with a SNL video many anti-gay conservatives would deem unsuitable for The Children! The subject?
Schmitt's Gay beer.
WARNING THAT ED DRISCOLL DID NOT GIVE:
THE FOLLOWING VIDEO IS NEITHER SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN NOR FAMILY FRIENDLY!
But that's comedy, and like it or not, my serious readers demand serious attention to serious issues. Plus, I should be paying close attention if I want to pander to the wants and needs of readers who believe gay beer is bad, or that even gay-friendly beer is bad. After all, Coors and Miller have had to face anti-gay boycotts for making their beer too friendly to gays, by running ads targeting disgusting sodomite events!
But I like to dig deeper for insights into the thought processes of the boycotters, and I thought an assertion expressed here might merit scientific exploration:
If we look at beer that way, the issue becomes much larger than a boycott of any particiular beer, and it may even touch on a key sentiment which fueled the prohibition movement.
I feel duty bound to put the question bluntly.
If beer causes a lowering of moral standards, could it in fact make people gay?
Laugh if you want, but I have some very bad news in the form of scientific proof of a claim often made in humor.
No, I am absolutely not going to provide all the details of the experiment or I'd have to wash my mouth out with suds. Pandering can be carried too far. Suffice it to say that it is not what Anti-Gay Inc. would call "family friendly."
The combination of gay and beer is clearly a deadly threat. And to think we imagined that combining caffeine and alcohol was bad!
So where's the FDA when we need them?
Friday, February 18, 2011
The Country That Isn't Barking
There is large scale unrest all across the Middle East. Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Iran, Kuwait, Algeria, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and probably others. Which country (besides Israel) is not on the list? Iraq.
And yet we were told by our anti-war and lefty friends that Iraq was the biggest military/foreign policy mistake the US had made since Vietnam.
I know we have lefty/anti-war readers. Would any of them care to explain the Iraq anomaly? Comments are open.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Kill the Kill Switch!
While I have long worried about the possibility of the government shutting down the Internet, recent events in Egypt show that what I have been told is technically impossible in this country has become possible -- at least in other countries.
The most ominous development to date is an actual proposal to have an Internet "Kill Switch" (in the form of a bill titled "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset") -- presumably with Barack Obama's finger on the button:
Good! I'm glad it has that label, for it would kill free speech at a time when it is most needed, shut down small businesses, and ironically, prevent the sort of patriotic countermeasures that cyber-savvy Americans could be depended upon to mount in the event of a real online emergency.
In a very real sense, the Kill Switch is analogous to giving the government power to disarm all citizens in the event of national emergency.
What irritated me the most was to read the logic behind the thinking of those who want the government to have this capacity:
The piece cites examples of how hackers have hacked into this or that system, including "a company that runs the Nasdaq stock exchange," a "computerized sewage system" in Australia, along with denial-of-service attacks at Amazon, Yahoo and eBay. OK, I agree that hackers suck, as do virus-spreaders and spammers. But the idea that because some big government bureaucrats or corporate entities are not careful enough to wipe their cyber asses in an efficient manner (which of course they can be depended upon not to be!), all of us who are online should pay the penalty of having our communications shut down -- that to me is simply an outrage.
"The Internet thing is all messed up, kids! So we'll have to shut it down!"
A more perfect example of the National Kindergarten mentality I have rarely seen.
I hope this God-awful bill is fought tooth and nail, and I hope that every Republican who supports or votes for it is held accountable.
For starters, every one of them should be forced to read the 197 page monstrosity (PDF here) in its incomprehensible entirety out loud, while being covered with virtual tar and feathers.
HT Glenn Reynolds.
UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all.
Comments invited, agree or disagree.
(I promise not to tar and feather those in the latter category.)
The title of this post is an ironic reference to a song by The Zombies. But the question has come up in reference to the Obama birth certificate question (not that again). And there are some strange alliances at work here. Gay run site Hill Buzz is quoting gay haters WND.
Drudge has linked this story from World Net Daily that notes the odd decision by the Supreme Court to hold a new "conference" on Obama's eligibility to hold the presidency.I know next to NOTHING about the laws in this area. Can you sign an alias to official documents? Probably. Especially if you have an alias notification filed at some courthouse. But what if you don't have such a document on file? I suppose if you are notorious like Obama it may be OK. In any case (in this case?) the Supreme Court seems to have taken an interest despite being previously disinterested.
There is way more at Hill Buzz and if this sort of speculation and the ensuing discussion interests you may I suggest a visit there.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Rick Santorum Has An Anal Problem
Rick Santorum may be making a run for President.
Back in September, I wrote a story about former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who was jetting around to Iowa and New Hampshire laying the obvious groundwork for a presidential run in 2012.But Google Santorum and some very ugly crap comes up. Similar results come up for Rick Santorum.
Santorum advisers told Roll Call that burying Savage's site on Google was virtually impossible. The reporter suggested that Santorum might consider getting his supporters to fight back with blog posts and Internet traffic directed at his own sites. But his advisers wrote this effort off as too expensive. Of course, what they didn't say is that the homophobes Santorum panders to--he's a frequent fundraiser for the anti-gay marriage group National Organization for Marriage--aren't nearly as many or as motivated as the pissed off gay people and their friends, relatives, and sympathizers who were outraged by the comments he made equating homosexuality with bestiality. The fact that Santorum can't generate enough web traffic to bury the Savage's seven-year-old site in the Google rankings suggests that winning the bigot vote won't be enough to put him in the White House. But of course, we knew that. After all, it wasn't even enough to keep him in the Senate.That is not my issue with Rick. My issue with Rick is the Drug War. He is a total Drug Warrior.
And Sarah Palin doesn't like him for her own reasons. She says she will not call him "A Knuckle Dragging Neanderthal" though. In any case I'm willing to help him with his anal problems. By making them worse.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
The Wisconsin Legislators Are Gone
As you may or may not know 14 Wisconsin Senators were camped out in Rockford. The first mate and I had gone out today for a late Valentines Day lunch (we often celebrate holidays early or late depending) at Aunt Mary's on State Street which is owned by Sam from Albania. We had the best Reuben sandwiches in Rockford plus a really decadent chocolate fudge cake for desert. When we got back home we were really full and decided that a Valentines Day snuggle was in order. Yummy. We stared the snuggle at about 3:30 PM local time and I didn't get up until a little after 9 PM. And I look at my e-mail and all heck has broken loose. Tall Dave (who blogs at Classical Values among other places) sent me an e-mail with the Gateway Pundit link above. And there were others like these:
Plus my favorite link resource:
I was planning to make it to their hide out at the Clock Tower tomorrow and take some pictures so I decided to watch the local news for an update - something I rarely do - and found out that the Wisconsin guys had left town. Dang. But you know a man has got to know his priorities. My personal coverage of the event would have meant lots of blog hits. Snuggles (naked) with the first mate? Priceless.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Day of Rage 2: This Time It's Personal!
[This was not written by me but by I friend who wishes to remain anonymous. I realize it falls under taking a sledgehammer to an ant, but sometimes ants deserve to be crushed with excessive force. This one certainly does.]
You know, there's a certain kind of political radical that, observed from a safe distance, is actually funny. In particular, I'm referring to political radicals who evidently believe that the best stimulant of coherent thought is drugs, preferably consumed in quantities that would be life-threatening to a horse. I was reminded of such radicals when I first started hearing about a certain Facebook group, even now being very correctly mocked by dozens of other people online. That said, I can never pass up the opportunity to do a nice line-by-line dismantling, and this group is just begging for it. So, with my comments in bold italics, I humbly present to you:
About: We believe that Egypt is just the start.
Chickens just won't stop coming home to roost!
On Valentine's Day of last year, I wrote a post about the long tradition of political ridicule, in which I featured an unflattering political cartoon of Thomas Jefferson:
It's not very nice. Disrespectful, even. But presidents have been subjected to innumerable comparisons with animals. George Bush was so routinely likened to a chimpanzee that it ceased to shock anyone.
Yet with this president, any and all ridicule is seen as racist, simply because he is black. Bush as chimpanzee was standard operating fare, but in the case of Obama, when a bookstore inadvertently had a book about chimpanzees for sale near books about Obama, there was an uproar.
Ever the vicious troublemaker, I PhotoShopped the chimp book out and substituted an evil book about gay sex!
To my utter astonishment, there was no uproar. Not even in my comments -- although one did opine that the chimp I removed had been a Bonobo.
(Sorry to digress, but I am feeling under pressure lately to put gay stuff into posts lest certain commenters feel neglected. I know it's irrational, but I try to satisfy.)
It showed her with a plate of hamburgers:
The authors describe the hysteria that resulted:
Predictably, diet-related ridicule led to death threats.
Who the hell do they think Michelle Obama is, anyway? Muhammad?
I can remember Hillary Clinton being routinely mocked for her "piano legs" and more.
Anyone remember the Hillary Clinton fried chicken special?
They even came up with a picture of a KFC with a sign, which I managed to find:
I don't feel like PhotoShopping, but suppose I changed "HILLARY" TO "MICHELLE."
Would that be racist? Why?
How about this picture of Barack Obama?
Have things have reached the point where we can't even joke about or make cartoons of our leaders in the way we have always?
Forgive the rhetorical question. There is nothing new about this malevolent nonsense.
It evokes vintage Ann Althouse:
And even earlier (pre-election) vintage Glenn Reynolds:
While there are a lot more reasons now, that still remains a leading reason.
It's a sorry state of affairs that the White House has become a racist food fight.
Still, at least it's ridiculous.
There's a certain small comfort in that.
MORE: While it's tedious to have to point it out again, recent events demonstrate that in politics today, the real racism is on the left -- and it includes advocacy of lynching and vicious racial slurs.
Political criticism coming from the right is racism. But genuine racism coming from the left is political criticism.
It probably would make sense to a post modernist multiculturalist.
UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all.
Comments appreciated, agree or disagree.
MORE: Commenter Dave M. (now in S. Korea) reminded me of the double standard involving Sarah Palin:
This is a basic law of Identity Politics:
The Diet Of Champions
There is a lot of craziness going around about healthy eating. Last night I saw a TV news clip showing that poor eating habits (mostly in the South) have led to poor medical outcomes. I think I have a solution. "The Pink Taco Diet"
I'm waiting for the "The Pink Taco Diet Book - Illustrated". One way to get most men and some women eating healthy. And if you eat slow - say two hours per meal - well the benefits are obvious. Preparation time is minimal and the wife and husband (or mate) can both be involved in the meal.
You have to wonder why no one has though of it yet?
I can just see it:
The husband gets home and asks the wife, "What's for supper dear?"
The wife points to the appropriate spot and says, "Healthy choice."
And for the ladies and guys who prefer something different: "The Raw Hot Dog Diet - With Protein Sauce."
In fact it is possible for both partners to enjoy their healthy choices simultaneously. With a diet like that much less hectoring will be required to get folks to stick to their diets. I can't wait.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Defending Borders is a natural impulse
In a down economy, it's easy to understand the socialist impulse. After all, if businesses are failing everywhere, and "The Government" has "All That Money," why, it seems almost a no-brainer to use that money to "keep everything going." At least until things "get back to normal."
What is normal? Stasis? Should the government have intervened to protect the buggy whip industry? Why? To "preserve jobs"?
Such thoughts have been on my mind because Ann Arbor (considered by many to be Michigan's most affluent city) is home to yet another failing business -- the great Borders bookstore chain. Aside from the loss of Borders and the loss of jobs, this means more large vacant storefronts in Ann Arbor.
More local links:
Sarah is very worried about short term and long term implications, and I don't blame her. Since I have moved to Ann Arbor (and I have only been here two years), I have witnessed a mind-boggling pattern of downsizing, closures, layoffs, and more and more vacancies. The great Pfizer plant closed not long before I moved here, and then the facility in St. Louis where the Ann Arbor employees had relocated closed. The Hollywood Video chain closed (that's two more stores), a longtime nearby supermarket closed, a huge sporting goods store closed, the Circuit City closed -- and two years later the latter is still vacant at one of Ann Arbor's largest shopping centers, which is now to lose Borders! Giant vacant storefronts have simply become part of life. Former shopping centers now look like the modern equivalent of ghost towns. Here's the "Georgetown Mall":
And remember, Ann Arbor is an affluent place.
As to banks, some close and others close and then reopen under new names, and it all happens so quickly that I can't keep track of where they are or what their names are.
Well, at least Ann Arbor is not raiding the marijuana clinics that have been springing up. Too bad the 174-acre, 2-million square-foot Pfizer plant couldn't have been transformed into a giant manufacturing center of legalized drugs. Imagine the jobs and revenue that would have brought! (An added plus would be the loss of criminal opportunities. Maybe even the failure of the Mexican drug cartels at the other "Borders" in the news lately!) Instead, the University of Michigan took over the site, as it has been acquiring a number of properties. So many that it has now become a commercial landlord. In a way it's good, but long term it means a loss of property tax revenue as the University is tax exempt.
So I understand the temptation to have the government "do something." What I can't figure out is why the auto industry is so much more worthy of a bailout than the book industry.
If I were more of a leftist, I'd be screaming about discrimination.
Underground In Las Vegas
There are people living in the flood tunnel system under Las Vegas.
Further into the maze are Amy and Junior who married in the Shalimar Chapel - one of Vegas's most popular venues - before returning to the tunnels for their honeymoon.It is really shameful the way we treat people with personal problems in the US. If they take drugs for relief we hound them into jail if we can find them. But that is not the only problem.
PTSD treatment for returned soldiers is haphazard at best.
It breaks my heart to see this. But that is not the only such story.
...the military came under criticism a decade ago for not prescribing enough medications, particularly for pain. In its willingness to prescribe more readily, the Pentagon was trying to meet standards similar to civilian medicine, General Chiarelli said.They are all flying blind - civilian and military doctors alike.
Worse - our government actively hampers the use of one of the safest drugs known to man for relief of PTSD symptoms. I have written about it at length. Here are some of the articles:
PTSD is not just a problem for combat vets: Heroin.
And where opiate use is necessary marijuana can reduce the required dose.
Medical marijuana can help pain patients in many ways. Using cannabis as an adjunct medicine can help opiate pain meds work better. Medical marijuana can successfully treat pain and help lower the overall dose of narcotics, something that is healthy for the patient.It would be very useful if military doctors could use marijuana to reduce the required opiate dose. Unfortunately military doctors are not allowed to have anything to do with medical marijuana. There are Federal Laws against pot dontcha know.
I would love it if the Government wised up about all this. But first the people are going to have to demand it. We are not quite there yet. And that is very sad.
Here are a few books on the subject:
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Hunger Coming To Korea
There has been an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in South Korea.
The severe foot and mouth epidemic that started in South Korea at the end of November could have even more serious repercussions for public health. Some 3m head of livestock have already been slaughtered but now the environment ministry is concerned about burial of the carcasses. Under the pressure of events some cattle were buried alive and the authorities sometimes failed to take the necessary precautions: digging pits four or five metres deep and lining them with two layers of plastic sheeting. Farm animals were buried at more than 4,000 sites, often in easily accessible spots, for instance beside rivers. As spring temperatures rise the corpses will start to rot. Rainfall leaching through the pits, above all during the June monsoon, could contaminate rivers and aquifers. This could be a hazard for drinking water with the risk of another outbreak of foot and mouth disease. To prevent "an unprecedented environmental disaster" the environment minister Lee Maanee last week called for "a full, detailed study of all the [burial] sites before spring". According to a survey carried out in the eastern province of North Gyeongsang, where the epidemic started, more than one in 10 burial sites needs to be reinforced. New pits may be dug and lined with concrete. The new problem comes on top of those posed by the epidemic itself, which has already cost South Korea 2,000bn won ($1.75bn) and pushed up food prices. The price of pork rose by nearly 12% in January alone. With about 5% of beef and dairy cattle having been destroyed the authorities are afraid there may be milk shortages, production having dropped by as much as one-fifth in some places.Could it infect humans? Yes but it is rare.
Because FMD rarely infects humans, but spreads rapidly among animals, it is a much greater threat to the agriculture industry than to human health. Farmers around the world can lose huge amounts of money during a foot-and-mouth epizootic, when large numbers of animals are destroyed and revenues from milk and meat production go down.And there are animal vaccines. It is looking bad for South Korea. But at least they have resources to buy their way out of the problem. North Korea is in worse shape although the infection has not spread so far there.
SEOUL--A swiftly moving disease that has decimated South Korean livestock and damaged the country's food production now appears to be out of control in North Korea. It is unclear where or when the latest outbreak of the airborne, easily transported illness known as foot-and-mouth disease began on the Korean peninsula. But in a sign of the pressure North Korea is facing over the issue, its state media on Tuesday reported that the outbreak originated in the South and that other countries, including Malaysia and Mongolia, have been hit with outbreaks in the past. North Korea, which faces chronic food shortages and whose authoritarian government resists interaction with outsiders, hasn't taken any apparent steps to cull animals infected with the disease, as South Korea did. Visitors to North Korea reported as far back as December they suspected the country was battling foot-and-mouth disease, but North Korea's state news agency didn't officially confirm the outbreak until Thursday when it said "more than 10,000 head of draft oxen, milk cows and pigs have been infected" and "thousands of them died." In addition to reducing the North's already-constrained food supply, the disease's spread to oxen, widely used in place of tractors there, will limit the ability of North Korean farmers to carry out planting and other tasks.And of course China, which borders North Korea is at risk. This is going to cause a spike in food prices world wide. The rich countries will be stressed. Many of the poor countries of the world will be broken. Add in the recent freezes in in the US and Mexico and the world food supply is going to be strained severely. And yet the Delta Smelt has shut down a lot of food production in California (brilliant that) and we are using vast acreage to turn corn into alcohol. You have to wonder if the people running the show in America were born stupid or did they have to take classes?
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
When the center can't hold, is revolution imminent?
As Sarah was having trouble opening the blog software earlier, she asked me to post something about the Border's Books closure.
The links Sarah mentioned are these:
On Valentine's Day of all days, Glenn Reynolds linked a fascinating article (by fellow University of Tennessee law professor Michael J. Higdon) titled "Fatherhood by Conscription: Nonconsensual Insemination and the Duty of Child Support." Quipped Glenn,
As most lawyers know, "Ultrahazardous Activity" equals "Strict Liability." Depending on the consequences of ejaculation it certainly can be ultrahazardous.
From the abstract:
If we follow out current legal reasoning, the age of the father is utterly irrelevant; even if a woman managed to seduce and become pregnant from the sperm of a fertile 11 year old boy, the kid would still be stuck having to pay child support! Laugh if you want, but that's the law.
The author proposes treating involuntary underage fathers in a manner similar to the way sperm donors are treated, and I thoroughly agree.
But when I read the above, I was reminded me of a man I knew who fathered a child when he was under eighteen, and reached his majority as a "deadbeat dad" and a bureaucratically hunted man. He was a homeless drifter who would often live in tents, and I put him up for awhile, hearing his drunken tale of woe over and over again. While I felt sorry for him, whether he deserves sympathy is not the point here. What I have noticed is that for whatever reason, society has an obsession with holding men responsible for fathering children, whereas the mother tends to be considered a "victim" whose children have a right to be cared for by the state. Fathers are expected to work and contribute money to support their children, while mothers are not. Instead, they are seen as automatically entitled to child support from the state.
The state pays, and demands that the father contribute. But no similar demands are placed upon the mother.
Another thing which strikes me as manifestly unfair is that the mother at all times has the right to opt out of motherhood -- whether by aborting her fetus while pregnant or placing her child for adoption after it is born. The father has no such option. He is simply stuck with fatherhood.
This is in a country which enshrines the right to "equal protection under the law."
You'd almost think they want to make being male an ultrahazardous activity.
UPDATE: Notwithstanding the strict liability doctrine, I just found what appears to be a loophole in the law. Fathers who are undocumented aliens appear to be able to escape legal scrutiny entirely, at least according to the laws of one state:
So, the mom gets child support but because the father is not a citizen, he escapes liability for having to contribute, and won't have to worry about being a deadbeat dad.
So maybe it's not so much maleness that's risky, so much as American maleness.
Legalizing To Help The Black Community
The first speaker in the video, John McWhorter, makes points similar to those made in the article Demographics.
Here is a book with a rather ironic title given the subject of the video:
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Is the cradle safe?
Sorry to be posing what sounds like another rhetorical question, but the other day I wrote a post in which I worried about the security of the Sphinx and the Pyramids.
I was somewhat cheered by a comment from Kathy Kinsley:
Indeed, it's not funny. However, I don't think the people of Egypt would allow it. What we need to do is keep reminding them that they are Egyptians, the cradle of civilization, and not the camel-riding nomads that conquered them...
Indeed, it's not funny. However, I don't think the people of Egypt would allow it.
What we need to do is keep reminding them that they are Egyptians, the cradle of civilization, and not the camel-riding nomads that conquered them...
How I would love to remind them of that! But right now, my concerns over ancient monuments seem almost beside the point. Events have confirmed my fears that Egypt is so unstable that anything could happen. The vicious mob attack -- a "brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating" -- of CBS reporter Lara Logan would be bad enough in itself, but several additional features stand out which ought to concern everyone.
One is that the protesters have so outdone themselves in pure viciousness that they have lost whatever support they once had here:
Another thing that stands out is that even with the military in charge of government, there is nothing resembling rule of law or security of any kind:
They cannot protect anyone or anything.
On top of that, there's the appallingly obscene response by certain people on the left. One Nir Rosen -- a "fellow at the NYU Center for Law and Security" who "regularly contributes to leading periodicals, such as Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Review, and Harper's" -- which means he probably considers himself a "journalist" -- actually found humor in the attack:
If they think that a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating of a female American journalist is funny, how could anyone expect such vicious post modernists (or their Sharia Law-supporting cohorts in academia) to object to the permanent destruction of the most hallowed monuments in the history of Western civilization?
I'm tempted to say "there went Egypt," but I guess it's still there in the physical sense. At least so far.
To say that I am disappointed would be understatement. Right now I am unable consider the attackers or their supporters to be even people, much less representatives of the cradle of Western Civilization.
And what's left of Western Civilization cowers in fear....
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Humankind's Dominance In Jeopardy
Another step forward for AI, as IBM's supercomputer tramples the organic competition. Perhaps what's most interesting about Watson is that it included a copy of Wikipedia -- which came into existence only ten years ago but is now an incredible compendium of human knowledge, the equivalent of thousands of Libraries at Alexandria and far more accessible -- and built almost entirely by voluntary labor. Yesterday the branching scenarios of chess, today the detail and nuance of Jeopardy, tomorrow... consciousness?
No, almost certainly not. First computers will have to beat us at Go, which is probably a better measure of raw computing power. Humans, not surprisingly given the challenges posed by prehistoric life, are tuned by evolution for general-purpose problemsolving and social cognition. Even a pocket calculator can beat 99.9% of us at certain tasks, but we're still a few iterations of Moore's Law from having the horsepower for an analogue of a human brain.
Perhaps a bigger problem is the programming effort. Outside of sci-fi, consciousness is not going to just spontaneously emerge from complexity; creating a human analogue personality in silicon will be an extremely challenging and precise effort to replicate aspects of human intelligence. As impressive as they are, assemblages of hardware and software like Deep Blue and Watson are barely comparable to severely autistic humans. What we think of as human consciousness arises not just from the interplay of our ten trillion synaptic connections and the ten thousand chemical triggers that tell us we're hungry, horny, harried, or hung over, but also something much more difficult than chess or Jeopardy or Go: social modelling.
Modelling other humans is generally the most complex task our grey matter is asked to do (this probably explains why the brains of social animals seem to grow faster than those of nonsocial animals). Clumps of recently evolved brain matter called mirror neurons help mammals understand what other animals are thinking/emoting so we can predict their behavior and optimize our responses for success. This faculty has to be exquisitely tuned in modern humans because we must navigate exceedingly complex and subtle social variations on a daily basis.
Of course, at some point in the next couple decades, after a lot of hard work and some luck, we probably will see a human-personality-capable machine... and from there, they will proceed to exceed human capabilities in the social cognition realm while still enjoying the additional specialized advantages we're already built for them today (try to imagine the wittiest, most socially successful person you know, able to motivate like Tony Robbins and innovate like Steve Jobs, and then imagine he's also the world's greatest chess player and has a Wikipedic knowledge of... well, almost everything). And what happens after that, my friends, is beyond the veil of the Singularity...
From Glenn Reynolds, a quickie project:
OK, I'll try.
Protecting the monkeys from developing bad tastes
In a discussion of CPAC, Greg Gutfeld argues that religion alone seems to be the basis for some people's distastes:
I have long argued that sexual tastes are just that. Some people like some things, while others don't. My opinion is that unless someone else's taste involves the use of unwanted force or fraud against others, it is a bad idea for the government to get into the business of regulating it.
And speaking of regulating human tastes, it wasn't enough to ban Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks. There is now a growing movement to crack down on certain beverages containing caffeine:
And as in many cases involving the taste wars, caffeinated beverages are a threat to.... The Children!
The problem with reductio ad absurdum arguments is that while they might make sense to rational people, to the regulators they are seen as pointing to loopholes that must be closed. Thus, when alcoholic drinks containing caffeine were banned, libertarians like me analogized it to banning Rum and Coke. Sure enough, the regulators of human tastes turned right around and tried to regulate that too! (What's absurd to me is a moral issue to them!)
So, while the argument that the canned energy drinks have less caffeine than Starbucks coffee might cause guffawing and snickering among libertarians, the taste regulators would see that as little more than an argument in favor of mandatory ID checks at Starbucks, at grocery stores, and anywhere coffee, tea, or "normal" soft drinks are sold. The logic is simple enough. Pepsi and Mountain Dew contain 55 mg. of caffeine to a Red Bull's 80 mg., which means drinking two cans is like drinking one and a half Red Bulls! And drinking coffee is even more dangerous than drinking two Red Bulls!
All have to be regulated, lest our children overdose!
Sometimes I wonder whether the desire to regulate the tastes of other people is built into the genes.
Of some people.
Just as there are people who believe that exposure to open homosexual behavior will induce people to become gay, there are also people who believe that the presence of energy drinks on store shelves -- or for that matter junk food outlets on public streets -- will induce people to consume them. This is why cigarettes are treated the way pornography was once treated, kept behind the counter out of reach of children and sold only to adults. The regulators on the left want caffeinated beverages and junk food treated like cigarettes and alcohol, if not banned completely.
The inducement argument cannot be dismissed out of hand, for it is undeniable that there are always going to be some people who will want to do something that they see others doing. Behaviorally, it's called "monkey see, monkey do." In the context of homosexuality, I think it has to be admitted that there are some people who might have a tendency to develop that taste, and who, but for gay visibility, might not, or might not have. The idea that people who might have gay tendencies should be protected by society from their own tendencies is considered a little ridiculous by most people, but it has an undeniable appeal to others.
A well-known religious cartoon from many decades ago epitomizes this mindset:
The mom is afraid to let her boy see the gay genderbenders, and it reflects the fear in the minds of parents that a heretofore normal boy might be induced to become one of them.
As to how often that happens, I don't know. If the "gay disease" were that infectious, the percentage of homosexuals would have increased dramatically. (As I said to Simon in an email, if exposure to homosexuals induced homosexuality, everyone would be gay by now.) I think a good argument could just as easily be made that the boy in the cartoon would repulsed by the men in dresses, and if he had gay tendencies the sight of them might drive him straight into the closet, because for every "monkey see, monkey do" inducement, I think there are also "monkey see, monkey don't" inducements.
Which is why forbidding things and screaming about how awful they are can actually encourage them. As I have observed, Anita Bryant unwittingly did more for the early gay movement than they ever could have done for themselves.
But that's just human psychology. Whether or how parents discourage tastes they don't like in their kids is their business, but when they seek to have the government regulate the tastes of adults, then they're regulating my business.
If we are monkeys, then I am my own monkey. I am not responsible for the behavior of the other monkeys, nor do I blame other monkeys if I decide to do what they do. That is called personal responsibility, right?
Maybe it's not a normal monkey trait.
Niall Ferguson schools some lefties on the amateurism of the Obama foreign policy team.
Update: If the above video wasn't enough you can watch the whole thing (11 minutes) at No Quarter.
Niall Ferguson has written books. This one looks interesting:
H/T Hill Buzz
Cross Posted at Power and Control
An analysis I can't refuse
(Hey what's with that Valentine's Day rose? Coincidence?)
Quite incidentally (and quite fascinatingly, from a historical perspective),when I first read about the design, it was in Glenn's post last night about a mobster who started a blog:
After which Glenn quipped,
Damned right about that. But what really blew me away was that the linked piece mentioned a guy I remembered from long, long ago. I'm no spring chicken and it blew me away to learn the guy -- one Sonny Franzese -- is still alive:
Stereotypes are one thing, and Holder is in no position to judge anyone. Still, I am not at all impressed by the attempt to impart to Gioeli (a Johnny-come-lately blogger if ever there was one) the title of "Blogfather" -- and I cannot imagine a more supreme act of lese majeste.
An act of disrespect.
To Glenn Reynolds, who in the Blogosphere is, simply, a man of respect!
Nevertheless, there's no denying an amazing fact: that Sonny Franzese (who has a Wiki page) is out there in the real world drawing eight years in prison for shaking down strip joints -- AT AGE NINETY FOUR!
Say what you will, but wouldn't most of us like to have such vim and vigor?
Franzese rang a bell because as a kid, I read about how he beat a rap when he was accused of (and acquitted of) killing Ernie "The Hawk" Rupolo. Rupolo himself was quite a piece of work, who not only had to be killed several times over, but had spent most of his life working as a hit man with only one eye and a .45 caliber bullet lodged in his head:
Check out the pictures. If you enjoy reading true life mob stories, read the whole tale of Ernie the Hawk.
Not that this has much to do with Glenn, but there is a certain commonality which might have implications for life extension.
If you think about it, how many guys run around working a stressful occupation for 40 years with only one eye and a bullet in their head?
And how many are shaking down strip joints and serving time in the joint at 94?
But if you think that sounds fantastic, ask yourself how many law professors who also write gazillions of blog posts -- with hundreds of millions of hits* -- were well-connected enough to have been proteges of Benito Mussolini [allegedly, of course] back before most of us were born?
Sure, the facts might be based on hearsay, but as we all know, none of these guys will admit their true connections anyway.
It's enough to make me think long and hard about this life extension stuff.
* The number of hits must be stressed. There is only one BlogFather who can make such a claim!
UPDATE: The mystery of the Mussolini-Reynolds connection deepens. Readers may remember this photo showing the BlogFather -- way back in his early days with Il Duce:
Well, a later photo has turned up, which I have decided to share only out of a grim sense of public duty. Probably taken in the final stages of the regime, it shows a rather glum-looking pair, obviously contemplating defeat together:
Mussolini was killed, but eerily, Glenn has hardly aged at all since those dark days.
He reemerged, as The BlogFather!
Why is such amazing life extension technology only available to a select few?
UPDATE: Thanks to a fiendish form of blog censorship known by the euphemism of "Instalanche," the BlogFather has sent so many of his minions to this blog that it has been overloaded, thus preventing the dark facts from his past from being fully known!
I will endeavor to assure that the evidence will not be destroyed, and that the truth will prevail!
By the way, these photos are not crude PhotoShops! Not only have they been thoroughly vetted, and subject to rigorous content-verification, but Glenn himself has verified their accuracy by admitting that his minions have failed to destroy them!
And note carefully the comfy chairs!
(Another recurrent theme in the endlessly-extended life of this dark titan of technology.)
Monday, February 14, 2011
Putting Coco's Squirrel Derangement Syndrome in perspective
Delightful as it was to read, Sarah's recent post about squirrels reminded me that there is no end in sight to the war between Coco and the Rodentine Occupation Army, which oppresses her on a daily basis and causes her extreme mental consternation. (Seriously, she is obsessed with them, and the fact that they cannot be caught is fueling a Canine Inferiority Complex.)
Notwithstanding her lack of success in this unwinnable war, Coco has a long history as a tireless anti-squirrel activist. She may not be able to catch these awful critters, but as I said before, she does keep me safe from being attacked as others have been:
At the time I wrote that, a squirrel had recently annoyed Coco with aggressive tail-flicking behavior of which I managed to get video
Nothing has changed. In many ways, things have only gotten worse. Over the weekend, there was quite a commotion directed at the kitchen window, and when went to investigate, I saw a fat, mangy-looking squirrel on top of the outdoor aquarium (now filled with snow), staring me and Coco right in the face and defiantly flicking its tail.
They are the enemy.
In England the humans know how to handle them. They do what Coco would do if she could catch them:
Upsetting Coco is one thing, but messing with Beatrix Potter is too much!
The damned Eastern gray squirrels are, it seems, simply too successful:
The EU is concerned, but seems powerless to stop them. And if you think that's bad, read about the commotion (if not outright mental instability) these awful beasts are causing in Colorado, an area they have invaded and which they are now terrorizing.
Make sense of this one if you can:
If people get that mentally tweaked by the squirrels, who can blame Coco?
MORE: And what more proof do we need of Squirrel Derangement Syndrome than the Godwin Law violation above?
At least Coco has not brought up Hitler in the context of squirrels.
Nuclear Material Found Entering The Port Of San Diego?
Frank in the comments to ARMZ Buys Wyoming Uranium Mines said that there are nuclear weapons found entering the port of San Diego. Well to say the least I was sceptical (love the Brit spelling). So I started checking for a reputable source. And it depresses me to no end to say I found one.
San Diego Channel 10 News - Interview Raises Questions Over Weapons Of Mass Effect In SD. Excerpted from the report:
In San Diego, every cargo container is driven through a radiation detector before leaving San Diego's seaport.So nothing in San Diego but maybe elsewhere. And not necessarily a bomb. It may have been a conventional explosive device surrounded by radioactive material. The purpose may not have been to spread destruction but rather to spread panic. For that purpose ordinary mined uranium or even depleted uranium would do. The general population is scared of anything radioactive even if the level of radioactivity is small.
We have video of the interview and follow-up:
If this don't get your heebies jeeben I don't know what will. I wish McCain had won the last election. We could sure use a guy with military experience at the helm in times like these.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Political Social Conservatism Is An Offshoot Of Progressivism
While perusing a link provided by Eric in his post Did the homos crash the economy? I came across this comment by our very own Tall Dave which echoes something I have been saying for a long time. And Dave. Forgive me if you were planning to post this but I just couldn't resist.
Since Libertarians occupy the fiscal conservatism circle, they're getting more attention and validation than they've had in years.My sentiments exactly, Dave.
Where Were They?
We have been going at the idea that "only social conservatives can be fiscal conservatives" here at Classical Values rather hot and heavy. You can read about it here: Only Social Conservatives and here: Did the homos crash the economy?
So let me ask my Social Conservative friends why a Republican Congress spent part of 2005 dealing with Terri Schiavo instead of (in addition to) getting and keeping our fiscal house in order? The fiscal disorder was part of what led to a Democrat takeover of Congress in 2006 and the Presidency in 2008.
The Schiavo case proved there were a LOT of social conservatives in Congress and that they had the upper hand when setting the agenda. So if only social conservatives can be fiscal conservatives wha hoppened? Is it as Cynthia Yockey says:
Fiscal conservative, social conservative (when OUT of power, fiscal promises dominate; when IN power, social vendettas dominate and the majority of fiscal promises are scheduled for the indefinite future, aka, in your dreams)You know what I think happened? The social conservatives were/are lying. Or maybe to use a kinder gentler term: they are terribly mistaken about the connection between social conservatives in government and a fiscally conservative government.
Of course the Democrats are worse. But that is not the point. Or maybe it is: social conservatism is just (or can justify) socialism lite. Because they really are not at heart fiscally conservative when it comes to their pet projects. Which is to say that despite all their discipline when it comes to social matters such discipline does not translate into conservatism in government economic matters.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Predators Infected With Teh Gay At CPAC
You can read about it here. But I really liked this part:
"...the next TSA official that gives you an 'enhanced pat down' could be a practicing homosexual secretly getting pleasure from your submission."I guess if I have to be patted down by a guy I'd prefer some one who is experienced and likes his job. My top preference would be some one who is experienced and likes her job. But you can't always get what you want.
H/T Radley Balko
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Did the homos crash the economy?
What better place to start than with an admission like that?
There is an argument going around, which is being widely repeated and embellished upon by ever more articulate proponents of it, that it is impossible to be an economic conservative without being a social conservative. I've been frustrated trying to understand it, and here's what I said last night:
only social conservatives can be fiscal conservatives I keep reading this too, yet the proponents do not explain how it works; they just keep repeating it. I might as well try to figure it out. The logic seems to be that if you have immoral or unapproved sex, you lose the ability to save money or live within your means. Perhaps it's a sort of Neo-Freudian view that sex is akin to money, and that looseness with one equals looseness with the other. Moral bankruptcy (sexual spending) means economic bankruptcy (wasting money). Years ago, masturbation was thought of as akin to asset wasting, so in a way I can understand the argument. Looseness with sex = looseness with money! Depletion of sperm = depletion of the money supply! Is it that simple? Who knew?
only social conservatives can be fiscal conservatives
I keep reading this too, yet the proponents do not explain how it works; they just keep repeating it.
I might as well try to figure it out.
The logic seems to be that if you have immoral or unapproved sex, you lose the ability to save money or live within your means. Perhaps it's a sort of Neo-Freudian view that sex is akin to money, and that looseness with one equals looseness with the other.
Moral bankruptcy (sexual spending) means economic bankruptcy (wasting money).
Years ago, masturbation was thought of as akin to asset wasting, so in a way I can understand the argument. Looseness with sex = looseness with money! Depletion of sperm = depletion of the money supply!
Is it that simple?
I admit, I was being a little silly, especially with the sperm depletion analogy.
Nick Gillespie does a better job of trying to take the argument seriously, and he even addresses the idea that promoting gay tolerance in the GOP is part of a Communist plot:
The more I think about this, the more I wonder whether the argument that you can't be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative contains within it an unstated premise -- that the economic conservatism they're talking about involves something less than the full embrace of free markets. That's because freedom by its nature allows the taking of risks, and economic freedom by definition means allowing what many would call economic hedonism. Is the argument an attempt to rhetorically link economic hedonism with social, or sexual hedonism?
Did society's tolerance for such things as homosexuality lead to the wild economic risk-taking that caused the economic crash?
I don't think it did, mind you. But I am trying to get to the bottom of the unstated premises in this argument so that I can better understand it.
While thinking this over, I remembered something I wrote a couple of years ago on the road, while still in shock over Obama's recent victory:
In a post a few days later, I asked whether Barack Obama might have been perceived as more economically "conservative" than McCain, by voters who saw him as more opposed to economic hedonism:
I am still an advocate of tolerance for economic hedonism and social hedonism, even though in my personal life I am a penny pincher and a square.
But what, then, is "economic conservatism"? Does it mean belt-tightening, crackdowns on irresponsibility, living within one's means, and neither a borrower nor a lender be? Does economic conservatism countenance allowing risk-taking behavior and even irresponsibility? Was Milton Friedman an economic conservative?
One thing stands out among the arguments which insist on linking sexual and economic hedonism.
Not much use is made of the term "free markets," and that worries me.
In any case, if it can be shown that the gays crashed the economy, then they're a far more powerful force than anyone realized.
Perhaps they could be utilized against our enemies.
Especially if "economic conservatism" means vast cuts in military spending....
Food - Force Majeure
The weather has dealt a blow to food prices and not in a good way. Prices are going up.
Food inflation driven by freezing weather in Florida during December and in Mexico during February, is hitting the US supermarkets in the coming day's. Sysco sent out an alert that announced an "Act of God", to address their contracted supply issues.That global warming we hear so much about really is a killer. Naturally Watts Up With That has more.
May I suggest you get this book and read it before spring:
Then pick some seeds and start a garden.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Update Welcome Instapundit Readers! Thank you to Glenn Reynolds for the link. You might also want to have a look at Nuclear Material Found Entering The Port Of San Diego?. No actual bombs or anything else radioactive was found in San Diego. But the report indicates that they may have been found elsewhere. The report itself did come from San Diego from a reputable source.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
ARMZ Buys Wyoming Uranium Mines
That is correct. A Russian company named ARMZ has bought two uranium mines in Wyoming.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the license transfer of two Wyoming mines to a Russian company, despite concerns over national security raised by local and national government officials including senior House Republicans.Clever name ARMZ. Those Russians sure do have a sense of humor. The whole deal kind of makes me think of the scrap iron deal with Japan pre-WW2.
Of course once the war started we sent Japan more scrap iron.
I wonder if we should start collecting scrap uranium. Just in case.
H/T Bunkerville who also discusses the sale of two BP refineries.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Getting Drugs Off The Street And Cash Out Of Wallets
There appears to be a thriving medical marijuana industry in Michigan and the police are real unhappy about it.
Earlier this month, police in Oakland County, Michigan raided a medical marijuana dispensary in the town of Oak Park. The deputies came in with guns drawn and bulletproof vests, with at least one wearing a mask.Armed robbery by the police? Not exactly. The police only get 4/5ths of the cash. They have to share the rest with the big boss who keeps the crime organized.
Under Michigan's asset forfeiture law, 80 percent of the cash the deputies seized will go directly to the Oakland County Sheriff's Department. The other 20 percent goes to the local prosecutor. Medical marijuana is legal under Michigan law but is of course still illegal under federal law. And apparently there's some debate about the legality of dispensaries. All of which means this particular dispensary will have a hard time proving it earned the seized cash legitimately. I doubt the patients and employees will get their cash back, either.But a former prosecutor explains what asset forfeiture is all about. Now that he is out of office he can tell the truth (better than those who get out of office and don't).
"It's a money grab, pure and simple; a sneaky way of getting a penalty on something prosecutors can't prove. It's like shooting fish in a barrel."Armed robbery by our government? It is the thing revolutions are made of.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.You can always get away with doing this to disfavored minorities for a while but eventually the bill will become due. I do hope this gets fixed before there are people in the streets and politicians hanging from the lamp posts. It would be unfortunate for all concerned. And bad for business besides.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Day of The Squirrel
*I put this up at According To Hoyt, but was going to spare the CV readership. Only... Eric went to racoons, sooo.... This is the incident that caused me to have a running gag about the RLF (Rodent Liberation Front) in my Shifter books. Oh, and I can no longer spell French. Sad, but it's been twenty some years since I had to.*
It started innocently. At the time we were living in the small mountain town of Manitou Springs. There were the two of us, (of course) our two sons and four cats. So the logical thing for my younger son to ask for, for his fourth birthday, was... two hamsters.
In a sign our lunacy was too far gone, we then named them Butterscotch and Fudge. And then - such our folly - we put them in an aquarium on the back porch. An aquarium covered only by fine mesh net.
Oh, yeah, one more thing - these hamsters were both female.Continue reading "Day of The Squirrel"
Only Social Conservatives
In the last hour or so (see update) I have gotten some evidence to support my position so I thought a cross post was in order.
I see a lot of this phrase (or similar) "only social conservatives can be fiscal conservatives" in comments on various posts around the 'net. Cynthia Yockey has an answer to that:
When I view the conservative movement I see it as being comprised of four ideological groups gathered in a tent so large that two of the groups have mutually exclusive goals:I think that #1 and #3 are identical philosophically.1. Fiscal conservative, social liberalI have a sneaking suspicion it is the dominance of groups 2 and 4 in the conservative movement that is responsible for government growing even when conservatives are in power.
And of course libertarians and Libertarians are staunch fiscal conservatives. Not real conservatives so I'm told. Which makes my point.
I'd also like to know what is fiscally conservative about supporting the Drug War which makes it easier for kids to get an illegal drug than a legal beer and costs (Federally) $25 billion a year. Wouldn't it be wise to save the $25 billion a year ($70 billion Federal, State, and local) AND make those drugs as hard to get as a beer? We can do that with a legalization regime modeled after beer distribution.
Update: 12 Feb 2011 2348z
Charles Blow of the New York times (yeah, I know) catalogs recent legislative events supporting Cynthia's point #2.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Defending the Sphinx against the enemies of civilization
Not far from where I live, some local University of Michigan students have created a large Sphinx out of snow, and I took a few pictures earlier.
A view from the front:
A side view:
And a view from the rear:
Aside from having fun with the show, I suspect the goal of the students here was to express a little solidarity with their counterparts in Egypt, but I thought I would take advantage of the pictures to express a little solidarity with the Sphinx itself.
I am glad the military is in charge right now and I hope they guard the Sphinx well, because it would be an unspeakable crime against the ages if Egypt's national monuments were to befall the same fate as Afghanistan's Bamiyan Buddhas, which were destroyed by the Taliban.
There has already been damage done to Egyptian antiquities as a result of the unrest:
What especially worries me is that this wasn't simply a question of looting for profit (which at least allows for the possibility of recovery of the items upon their later rediscovery). Two mummies were beheaded (for religious reasons?), but fortunately a human chain formed around the museum to prevent further damage.
Naturally, this should raise questions about the longterm safety of Egypt's national treasures, because according to the damnable Wahhabi (meaning paid for by our petrodollars) interpretation of Islam, both the Pyramids and the Sphinx are "un-Islamic" and even blasphemous.
Although it wasn't as widely reported as it should have been, a religious fatwa was issued against them.
Let's hope the bastards never capture power, because if they do, they are just small-minded and spiteful enough to destroy what are arguably the greatest cultural treasures in history.
National Geographic reported a very important fatwa from Egypt's top cleric in 2006:
As one important Islamic website explains, "Allah knows best":
Rarely have I seen a more perfect example of religious delusion than the above. Fortunately, many (and hopefully most) Egyptians disagree with such hallucinatory authoritarianism. Some have formed a Facebook group attacking the fatwa:
Good for him. Scholars now seem to agree that the disfiguring of the Sphinx was not done by Napoleon, but by earlier Muslim fanatics.
In a discussion of the museum rampage, Freepers make it clear that they are on the side of the Egyptians who want to preserve their ancient monuments
We can only hope that the above is wrong and that the Muslim Brotherhood has not vowed to destroy the ancient monuments. Because if they have, then I think serious measures to save them would be called for.
Some things are worth fighting for.
People who are insane enough even to contemplate such crimes against civilization should never, ever be allowed to have power.
The destruction of the Sphinx and the Pyramids is horrifying to contemplate -- so much so that I can't believe I would ever have to write a post about such a thing.
Cynical as I am (and much as I enjoyed the "blasphemous" snow sculpture), this is not funny.
Does Liking Rap Music Make You Stupid?
Does liking rap music dull your intelligence? No. But it may indicate that your intelligence is already dull.
Like the Americans, the British teens who scored high marks for intelligence were more likely than their peers to prefer instrumental music, but no more likely to enjoy vocal selections.So what is the point of this post? I'm hoping that brain power snobbery will kill off rap. I hate that crap.
And for you gospel music lovers? What can I say? Anyway here is some brain music.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Friday, February 11, 2011
Sexual Excesses And Drug Induced Stupors
I'll take a gang of outlaw bikers who will fight (guaranteed) over the effetes in Washington.
The above is a response to the author and commenters at: A Letter from a Fearfully Concerned Muslim.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Some nonsense I cannot ignore!
I get a ton of spam, and it's a very annoying process to have to scroll through the comments labeled as spam in order to save and then publish the "good" ones. The spams outnumber the goods by a ratio of 20 to 1, and it's easy to make a mistake. My apologies to all of the people who take the time to leave a comment, whether you agree with me or not. One important difference between real comments and spam is that I delete the latter, and out of respect for my quirky view of free speech never delete the former.
Normally I would say that spam is always annoying, but there is the occasional exception that proves the rule.
Once in a great while, a spam comment will get my attention, and I thought one I saw this morning (originating from a site described as a "dedicated spam server") was not only better than some non-spam comments I get, but actually merited a response from yours truly!
He misspelled the word, but I like the image of raccoons fighting over a blog! And it doesn't have to be this blog. Any blog'll do!
So I scoured the Internet, and while I couldn't find any pictures of raccoons fighting over an identified blog, I confirmed that they are capable of messing with computers, and since computers are where blogs come from, to the extent that raccoons fight over a computer, it is fair to say that they are also fighting over the fruits of that computer -- which is often a blog.
This one shows a raccoon breaking and entering into a computer belonging to one "Sarah"!
And it is important to note that that raccoon was not alone.
He had an accomplice, and here they are together!
And as we all know, accomplices in crime frequently fight over the loot.
So it isn't too much of a stretch to say that under the right circumstances, raccoons might fight over a blog.
Moreover, raccoons are intelligent animals, and if another picture I found is any indication, they might be capable of blogging.
I realize that to us, any text that raccoon might generate would most likely not make sense. But in fairness, couldn't raccoons say the same thing about the text we humans generate?
If generating nonsense is an attribute some humans have, then raccoons who generate nonsense can honestly be said to have something in common with the people who generate nonsense.
I would hesitate to say that all nonsense is created equal, but I do think some nonsense is more worth fighting over than other nonsense.
People who want to be left alone want it to be cool to be a Republican
Andrew Breitbart threw a party at CPAC for GOProud, and Roger L. Simon was there. He called it as close to a game changer as things get:
Were I on the left, I would tremble. And I would try to ascertain the identity of the most influential organizer(s) of the GOP's anti-gay wing, and send a check. It would be helpful from a left-wing standpoint if they made it easier to do that by forming a specific, dedicated anti-gay PAC. They could even call it "ANTI-GAY Inc." (Last time I checked, the name was available!)
Roger points out that Breitbart has taken a lot of flak for this, but he is reaching people who would otherwise be unreachable:
I agree. I realize that gay conservatives are small in number, but how many gay conservatives there are (or how many gays there are) is not the issue. The dynamic reduces itself to a very basic one, which touches on the common sense of ordinary people. As I pointed out in a comment to an earlier post, a lot of non-homosexuals see the gay issue as a general litmus test of freedom. They think that the kind of people who care about other people's homosexuality are quite likely to butt into our lives on other issues.
Those who are turned off by that mindset are by no means limited to homosexuals, but they tend to see them as a sort of canary in the mineshaft. To the extent gays are tolerated, they feel safer about their own privacy. A lot of people have something to hide, and they're not about to tell you what it is.
There are a lot of people in this country who want to be left alone, and who also want it be cool to be a Republican.
And they get to say so from the privacy of the voting booth.
UPDATE: Via Glenn Reynolds, the Reason video of the GOProud party.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
The dumbest -- and the most honest!
The video is titled "The Dumbest Thing Ever Said!...by Hillary Clinton, about the Drug War," and I agree that it was an incredibly dumb for her to say, but not quite for the same reasons. I mean sure, we all know that the reason there's so much money in illegal drugs is because they are illegal. If wine were made illegal, there would be a lot of money to be made in illegal wine, and the same economic reality applies to the prohibition of any product that people want.
However, on another level, it is absolutely true that the United States can't legalize drugs because there is just too much money in it. There is! Drug enforcement is a huge industry, and so is illegal drug trafficking. These people -- the federal, state and local governments, the DEA, the police,the SWAT Team industry, the courts, the prison industry, probation and social workers, the drug testing industry, the coerced-drug-treatment industry, the corrupt narcotraficantes and assorted millionaire drug dealers and their corrupt allies all over the world -- all of them need it to be illegal, and it is in their own interests to keep it illegal.
They can't legalize it because there is too much money in it.
So yes, it was dumb -- damningly dumb -- for the Secretary of State of the country which takes the commanding role in the unending and unwinnable Worldwide War on Drugs to make such an admission.
"The bitch dissed me, man!"
Was my title eye-catching enough?
Remember when not long ago journalists were supposed to stop using violent metaphorical language to characterize political occurrences?
Well, over at Memeorandum this morning, I saw a link to an delightfully irresistible headline:
I know Rumsfeld is one of those mean and vicious Neo-Cons, but did he really do that? If so, it would be bigger news than Dick Cheney's hunting accident.
I just had to know. So I clicked the link. (Probably exactly what the inflammatory headline-composer wanted!)
Was I ever in for a disappointment! It turned out that the "knifing" incident was merely Rumsfeld's recollection of an alleged discreet finger-pointing incident and an allegedly disapproving stare.
Rumsfeld's pants were worn out, and Condi let him know.
Hardly a knifing. Actually, what Condi did strikes me as the sort of maternal thing my mom would have done had I shown up to an important public event wearing worn out pants or unshined shoes. (Which I'm sure I did and I'm sure she did!) Not a big deal. She might have even thought she was being helpful. Of course, at the time, he out-ranked her, because she was the National Security Advisor and he was the Secretary of Defense. Later, though, she became Secretary of State, whereupon she out-ranked him. Rumsfeld may be one of those people who thinks you have to out-rank someone in order to criticize his personal attire. I could see his point if she had been trying to throw her weight around, but she might have thought she was being helpful.
I don't see Rumsfeld's complaint as amounting to a knifing, though.
It's not as if he accused her of being uppity.
MORE: Via Glenn Reynolds, another violent headline:
Which is a lot worse than Dick Cheney's hunting accident.
Ever since Obama said, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," we have been subjected to endless cycles of violent metaphorical language!
We have rules. Traditional rules.
From Leviticus 10:6
Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.
From Leviticus 11:7-8
And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
From Leviticus 11:10-11
And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
From Leviticus 16:29
And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:
From Leviticus 19:16
Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.
From Leviticus 19:18
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
From Leviticus 19:18
Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
From Leviticus 19:31
Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
From Leviticus 20:9
For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
From Leviticus 20:10
And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
From Leviticus 20:13
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
From Leviticus 20:27
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
From Leviticus 24:16
And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death.
From Leviticus 26:1
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it
From Deuteronomy 22:5
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment:
From Deuteronomy 22:11
Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.
From Deuteronomy 22:22
If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
From Deuteronomy 22:28-29
If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
Can anyone tell me on what rational basis Traditional Values folk pick and choose among those laws and many others? Let me add that the Jewish Religion has evolved since those days so long ago. There is currently no effective murder penalty in Jewish law except for genocide.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Irrational traditionalism (we have always done it this way) can be a fetish. An excuse for lack of study and thought. We used to laugh at South Sea Islanders for their Taboos when I was a kid. The idea was so popular they named a perfume after it. And yet we have in politics a very powerful Traditional Values crowd. Let me say that I have nothing intrinsically against those values. But they all ought to be evaluated in terms of current conditions. Is slavery profitable? Only if it doesn't have to compete with machines. Altered conditions change the morality of traditional practices. For better or worse the birth control pill and modern contraception in general plus antibiotics and other STD treatments has changed the effective morality in male/female sexual relations. And let us not leave out warm summer nights and automobiles.
Altered knowledge can also change how we treat others. We are not sure if "gayness" is genetic, eipigenetic, a cultural affectation or a combination of those and other factors. What ever the cause we no longer condemn to death homosexuals. It just doesn't seem right to kill people because of who they have consensual sex with. Prison might be OK though. Kinder and gentler. And burning witches has gone out of favor. Both popular religious practices at various times and places. And you know death for witches is sill in the most popular traditional values book of all time. Who is rewriting these laws without notice?
So the test of any religious/traditional practice should be a rational basis test. And in America I would add a Liberty test. You know Leviticus 25:10:
"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" a traditional value that has stood the test of time.
We place no reliance on virgin or pigeon, our method is science our aim is religion. Obviously a not so traditional value that might serve us better than fetishising tradition.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
It's not a good sign when your project deadline is looming and your to-do list is still growing rather than shrinking. In lieu of time-consuming commentary grasping desperately at some sort of insight, here's some hopefully-interesting links.
Note to Krugman: this is what structural unemployment looks like.
Vouchers buy more than an education.
And on a lighter note: damn you autocorrect! Hat tip to... well, you know who you are, and I'm not sure you want your name broadcasted, but apologies that we didn't get to talk more, and I'd still like that sci-fi recommendation list if you get some free time.
And then there's this, which is probably much more attention that my thrown-together post deserves. Thanks Matt! (I should at least have mentioned the fellow who used forged papers to escape from Czechoslovakia at the height of the Cold War and more recently toured North Korea, Ben Rast who founded the Bastiat Society and helped put together the indescribably awesome Keynes vs. Hayek rap...)
When political "principles" are sexualized, perversions have a political price!
One of the more ridiculous side effects of the debate over gay marriage is the way it has tended to sexualize politics on both sides. To the majority of liberal activists and to an ever-increasing number of social conservative activists, a consensus has emerged that human sexuality should be part of a political litmus test.
Thus, when leading social conservative activist Ken Blackwell says "homosexuality is not conservative," that is considered completely reasonable by his followers on the right, and it is music to the ears of the left.
I think people need to carefully consider the implications of such an idea. Regardless of why people become gay, whether they are born gay, whether they developed that way during childhood, or whether they just one day decided to be gay as adults, to decree that a person's sexual desires constitute "leftism" is a major logical error, and one which I think will result in much mischief.
Especially if we consider that objections to homosexuality are grounded largely in religion.
I realize that to many religious people, homosexuality is sinful. But there are other sins, including those listed in the Ten Commandments, which does not list the sin of homosexuality, but does list adultery. Many Christians also consider fornication to be sinful, and Jesus condemned divorce. So if we apply the political litmus test to homosexuality and proclaim it to be a left-wing behavior which belongs in the Democratic Party only, then why not apply it to adultery, fornication, and divorce?
Resolved, all sexual sinners belong on the left.
How well is that going to work? Many sexual sinners hate socialism, many of them believe in a strong defense, oppose big government, and hate higher taxation. Many of them are young, and many of them have friends. If they are all consigned to the left, might that not be expected to have an effect at election time?
Or is homosexuality to be consigned to leftism simply because it is perverted as well as sinful sex, whereas normal sexual sins are not leftist because they are not "perverted"? OK, so how about heterosexual bondage, S&M, fetishes, cross-dressing, etc.? Why aren't they leftist practices forever preventing the practitioner from being conservative? I'm all ears.
Sarah Palin was recently taken to task by angry conservatives for her perceived willingness to allow a group of gay conservatives at CPAC. The objection was grounded in the belief that "traditional marriage" is "conservative":
MORE: Out of curiosity earlier, I clicked on a link I probably should have left alone, but which discussed "10 Crazy Sexual Practices We Were Totally Unaware Of" and I saw some interesting preferences I hadn't known about.
But as these things are political, the important thing is to determine where they fit on the political spectrum.
I'll just list a few, and let you decide!
Liberal? Or Conservative? (I'm thinking a robot fetish might be a libertarian practice...)
Liberal? Or Conservative? (Because this fetishizes the disabled, might that violate the ADA?)
Liberal? Or conservative?
Liberal? Or conservative?
And the last one is the dirtiest of them all:
Liberal? Or conservative? Either way, it sounds like dirty politics.
UPDATE: Sarah Palin has responded to the demand that she clarify her remarks, and Glenn Reynolds links the story:
(Her gay-friendly record comes as no surprise here.)
Of course (as I just told a friend in an email) the left will still call her a bigot, while the anti-gay right will probably accuse her of "betrayal."
Victory Will Bring Defeat
The kind of victory that brings defeat is a Pyrrhic Victory. I'm going to discuss a few things before I show you why that idea is important to the general flow of American politics. This thought train was inspired by a discussion at What If They Gave A Revolution And You Didn't Show Up?
A classic military principle is to go after the weakest member of a coalition. The reason for this is that relative military strength is a non-linear function. Doubling the size of your army more than doubles your relative power. However, if you can isolate and defeat a segment of an enemy's support you subtract considerably from their total power. We see this in politics all the time. It doesn't matter if your guy got a million votes if the other guy wound up with a million and one. It might as well have been a million and one to zero. Quite a reduction in power from just one vote. In close situations you don't have to peel off much support to cause a change in outcomes.
So how are things divided up (more or less) in the American political space? Generally accepted values for the current major political divisions are 20% liberals and 40% conservatives. With the remaining 40% split among several other idea constellations including a significant libertarian contingent. In my anything but humble opinion (every day I get told how arrogant I am - thanks for the compliments) the 20% tend for the most part to be Economic Socialists and the 40% tend towards Moral Socialism. Nanny staters all. Don't believe me? It is discussed in detail in the comments at Why Did Social Conservatives Ally With Progressives? You can also check out a similar exposition at On Marijuana, Social Conservatives Trend Statist with a commenter suggesting this book:
Since the end of Alcohol Prohibition the two groups have divided their functions in seeming opposition to each other. The liberal/Progressive side handles the Economic Socialism and the Social Conservatives handle the Moral Socialism. Very convenient.
What does the Conservative Coalition look like? It consists of social conservatives and fiscal conservatives. If the fiscal conservatives win the day (that looks very likely) and the Democrats go (are forced) in that direction then the only thing left to fight over will be the nanny state addictions of the Right. Consider: When the Progressives get defeated they are going to be pissed. Economics and size of government are now off the table (when it comes to increases). So what will be on the table? The social improvement projects of the right. And the defeated will go after them with a vengeance and they can get the fiscal conservatives (smaller government) types on their side without too much effort - no Drug War means smaller government after all.
Once you destroy the economic underpinning of the nanny state the moral underpinnings will not hold up well at all. Moral improvement (the support of black markets, gangs, and criminals) is not cheap. Once economic socialism is gone the people will turn on the nanny staters of the right. The death of Economic Socialism will lead to the death of Moral Socialism. I don't think the reverse order would work. For sure not as well.
The new rule should be: No victim no crime. Ah what about society as a victim? Did you say society? Isn't concern for the welfare of society (rather than the liberty of individuals) socialism? Interesting thought that. See how long you can hold it.
And while you are holding that thought think of this: the defeat of the Economic Socialists will then lead to the defeat of the Moral Socialists with libertarians being the ultimate victors. In other words a victory over the Economic Socialists will be a Pyrrhic Victory for the Moral Socialists. Which I suppose why the Moral Socialists don't trust me. They know that ultimately I am no friend despite our current alliance. Ultimately I'm a friend of Liberty. The more the better. Within the limits of the other guy's nose of course.
My motto: First Hitler then Stalin. And to get Hitler I will ally with Stalin. How much more Machiavellian can you get?
Balance of power politics played for the long game. I'm all in.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
"I'm totally for small government except when it conflicts with my pet projects."
I got so angry when I saw Glenn's link to a Reason piece about the FCC's latest attempt to regulate the Internet that I had to calm down before I could write a post. That's because the jurisdictional power grab may already be a done deal:
Sickening. The FCC has no congressional authority or jurisdiction over the Internet.
In a very odd coincidence, I was having nightmares about the FCC just last night. There is no better example of an agency which needs to be abolished, yet that does not happen, no matter who is in charge or what the circumstances.
Even when the Republicans have a majority, it seems that THE FCC WILL NOT GO AWAY.
Back in December (when the FCC's threat to Internet freedom was much under discussion) a number of prominent bloggers and journalists were calling for the abolition of the FCC. Ed Morrisey put it well:
That was nearly two months ago, and there's no perceptible movement I can see towards that goal. Instead, the FCC has now deliberately thumbed its nose at the Internet, at bloggers and at libertarians.
With Obama as president, the FCC is in the hands of the left. You'd think that would make it a perfect time for a major push by Republicans to do something about this unconstitutional agency that's now threatening the Internet, right? What could possibly be going on?
Forgive my flight of paranoia, but I think it takes two to work in collusion, and my worry is that support for the FCC is not be limited to the left. As M. Simon pointed out earlier, there are people on the right who think along the following lines:
One of these pet project is a pro-censorship outfit called the Parents Television Council. Founded by prominent social conservative Brent Bozell (a leader of the the CPAC boycott), the organization is literally obsessed with the FCC and jurisdiction, and constantly harangues its members to contact them about this or that show.
Where the PTC stands on Internet censorship, I don't know. However, they do not limit their efforts to broadcast television; they have a major effort devoted to fighting programming they don't like on cable TV. This they disguise as "consumer choice" protectionism. Your cable TV dollars are subsidizing bestiality! And something must be done!
In a manner uncannily reminiscent of the way the left clamors for the FCC to enforce "net neutrality" when they really want the government's foot in the door, the PTC argues that the government should intervene in the market and force cable companies (and DIRECTV) to allow subscribers to pick and pay for only one channel (at a dollar a month). That's about as logical as saying that I shouldn't be "forced" to "subsidize" filthy radio like Howard Stern if I subscribe to, say, XM Satellite Radio, and that I should only have to pay for the programs I actually want to listen to. Access to a medium doesn't come packaged that way.
But if you think that kind of meddling is the government's business, you'll love the FCC and the PTC. And of course the PTC activists would love nothing more than to be in charge of the FCC.
That's how things work.
Some "small government conservatives" like big government.
Especially when it's their big government.
There are plenty of people who would love to make it happen here.
And they are not all on the left.
Tingly Tribadism And Other Twisted Tales
*I meant to publish this last night, but being slap-happy completely forgot it.*
I figure I've lived a blameless life these last few weeks. The death threats and exclamations about my moral depravity and lack of social caring (read ability to toe the line) have slowed down to an almost imperceptible trickle. In other words - I iz doing it wrong.
The start of this post was something Dave put up. It's not that far away, it's not that inconceivable, and it's not at all unlikely one way or another that at some point humans will find a way to do the reproduction thing without one of the genders. I grant you this is more likely to occur with women first since babies need a leasehold in a human body while growing. However, that too might not be insurmountable with a bit more biological research. Bio-wombs of some sort might do the trick.
So, we come to... Planets where the entire population is one gender. Yes, Bujold did it, and she did it, arguably, in the difficult way. But she was published by Baen.
Unless I missed something, the flood of these stories is mostly one way - mostly we're in some idyllic future where men have been disposed of. All is peace, love and harmony. And that figure retching while reading is me.Continue reading "Tingly Tribadism And Other Twisted Tales"
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
In a discussion of the GOP Presidential field (with a chart) commenter Ken Mitchell has this to say:
OK, this graph is CLEARLY bogus. Huckabee is a religious populist, and isn't ANY kind of a conservative. He's a big spending big government guy, and the only difference between Huckabee and Obama is what they plan to do with the power.I think that fits a lot of "Conservatives" out there. Their attitude is: "I'm totally for small government except when it conflicts with my pet projects." Any one got a cite for the Drug Prohibition Amendment? Anyone? Anyone at all? Bueller?
Cross Posted at Power and Control
How "Superbowl Excitement Syndrome" affects us all!
As regular readers know, I am anything but a sports fan. However, in the two years I've been in Ann Arbor, I have developed quite a taste for college football, at least when the Wolverines are playing.
That taste, however, did not translate into excitement for Sunday's Superbowl. I tried to watch it, but I my lack of interest was aggravated by the most aggressive sequencing of annoying commercials that I can ever remember enduring. (To my amazement, I am told people like them!) What I had thought would be the "opening kicked off" seemed to drag on for nearly a half an hour, and instead of seeing local Michigan team players who actually look something like athletes, I found myself contemplating a motley collection of older, long-haired, bearded tattooed slobs who would probably be signed on by a Hollywood casting director if they sought acting roles as criminal psychopath types. And they seemed to be sneering during the National Anthem in a way that no politician would be caught dead doing. Not that they're politicians or role models, but I think their appearance may be a direct result of unsubtle pressure brought to bear to make them be celebrities and role models whether they like it or not. Perhaps if no one cared, they wouldn't have the need to look defiant. I'm glad no one wants me to be a role model. Being a professional athlete would suck in a way that being a doctor or even a rock star wouldn't.
So by the time the actual game started, my lack of any enthusiasm for the players was compounded by being exhausted by the commercials, so I changed the channel. Not that there was anything else on; as Ann Althouse (who has the advantage of being from the same state as one of the teams) noted, these were the alternative choices:
So the much-touted "Superbowl Sunday" (and there was mania at the local supermarket) would have been a big yawn had I stayed in front of the damned tube, which I didn't.
Again, I have no problem caring about and rooting for the Wolverines. I don't know whether I identify with them (certainly they are not role models for me) so much as I join in the local spirit. But there is something about the Superbowl that seems like deliberately contrived, deliberately ginned-up excitement. Like, you're just supposed to get excited over one team or the other. Is getting excited a learned taste? Or is it a human need? Would I have been able to enjoy it more had I simply picked a team and decided to root for it simply to trigger that "get excited and care" impulse? Which team? I moved to Michigan from Pennsylvania, but I never spent much time in Pittsburgh and never identified with that team. OTOH, Michigan is next to Wisconsin, and both are sort of "Midwestern" states, so maybe my loyalties should lie there. Plus, Green Bay is close to the Michigan's Upper Peninsula border. However, distance-wise Pittsburgh is closer; to drive to Green Bay would take me 7 hours and 44 minutes while a drive to Pittsburgh would take only 4 hours and 51 minutes.
It would be a tough pick, and I'd probably do better to flip a coin and then get excited over my choice.
Hmmm.... I'm not liking that word "choice." Perhaps it would have been destiny?
Forgive me for not finding that exciting.
I find the debate over "human trafficking" at the Superbowl more exciting, perhaps even annoying. Manufactured outrage has a way of annoying me, because I sometimes worry that I have to manufacture my own outrage to combat the phenomenon. Which is bad, because that can only lead to cycles of manufactured outrage.
The outraged writer continues at length. While I agree that actual child prostitution is a bad thing, there is something about the phrase "human trafficking" which looks like an emergent form of weasel wording which lends itself perfectly to conflate adult prostitution with child prostitution, and voluntary sex for money with sexual slavery. This is reflected in the Wiki entry on the subject:
I don't like seeing anyone forced to do anything. But I think it is dishonest to equate "work in the sex industry" with "involuntary servitude."
It should surprise no one that a major event like the Superbowl would draw prostitutes and that some of them would be underage. But a local news report says that the claims are unsupported:
That has not stopped the hysteria, although some of the activists seem to be backing off from previous claims:
The Toronto Star also reports that tales of prostitution at major athletic events have been systematically hyped up over the years.
I remember when feminists used to complain about allegedly Superbowl-fueled domestic violence, and they called it the "day of dread" for women. It was a major source of Superbowl hysteria until the claims were finally debunked.
I think it may be that there is a human need for something to get excited about, and I expect more lurid tales of "human trafficking" at the Superbowl.
Wow. I actually wrote a post about the Superbowl!
If someone told me on Sunday that I would end up doing that I'd have laughed.
(I guess it can be fun to get excited -- even though it can sometimes be a bit of a ritualized process resembling work.)
What Happened to Global Warming?
For more details on the above image see Watts Up With That? - Widget
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Monday, February 7, 2011
Some Brief Impressions From the Reason Cruise
I should really be working, but I thought I'd share a few thoughts before returning to my 70-hour workweek.
Nick Gillespie was very impressive in person, witty and well-read. A better ambassador for libertarianism we couldn't hope for. Contrary to rumor, he does take off the leather jacket when swimming and dining.
Ron Bailey was tall, craggy, and extremely intelligent. There was always an interesting intellectual conversation circling around him at any free moment. On the first night at the hotel we had a very small reception, and I took the opportunity to rant to him a bit about Polywell fusion and the Cathodixx guy (Ron's take on the latter was to the effect of "if he can't get published he should forget the theory and just make money" which is pretty much what we've been telling him at TalkPolywell).
Shikha Dalmia was very attractive and gave a persuasive presentation on the underrated liberalizing "soft power" of culture, with a lovely sort of Hindi trill to her speaking voice. I'm surprised we don't see her on TV more, as telegenic and well-spoken as she is.
The Seasteading guys (Patri Friedman, James Hogan, etc) were considerably more serious than we in the audience expected -- they clearly have put a lot of work into their project and while it may not take off they certainly have their ducks in a row in terms of defining a legal and philosophical framework for the notion of independent floating city-states (which, it turns out, actually has some modern precedents). Their next challenge is to attract industry.
Matt Ridley also gave an excellent presentation on The Rational Optimist, which is on my list of the top 5 books everyone should read.
Those were the people that stuck out, though all the Reason staff were interesting -- had a great dinner conversation with Jacob Sullum, whose presentation on the insanity of liquor laws I unfortunately missed. Oh, and Matt Welch immediately brings to mind Noah Bennett from "Heroes."
Met some very interesting people besides. It's not everywhere you run into someone who can talk about Anathem, the Singularity, the multifarious intricacies of Japanese language, and Drake's equation while flipping between pictures of their scuba dive of Antarctica (including an underwater iceberg pic) and the bright orange mohawk they had a while back.
There was also a trip to the Puerto Rican governor's mansion on the cruise -- he is apparently setting about deregulating, privatizing and generally freeing the island's economy. I took pity on my wife and did not make the trip, but the consensus seemed to be he was very impressive, assuming he wasn't blowing smoke for their benefit.
An unexpected treat: pianist Hyperion Knight, apparently also a libertarian leaner, graced our informal evening receptions with his art and attended seminars when not performing professionally for the ship's passengers.
All in all, the Reason cruise was a great experience, aside from the more mundane pleasures of parasailing and undersea scooters. I definitely recommend trying to make a future Reason cruise if at all possible.
doin' the anti-gay camp routine
Of course, I hasten to point out that many on the left -- especially the gay left -- would agree. That's because they believe in precisely the same faulty narrative as the anti-gay right: that Ronald Reagan was "virulently anti-gay."
The truth is that the man was a product of his times, and even though he pandered to anti-gay conservatives, he had gay friends and was personally tolerant:
Read it all.
This nuanced view of Reagan is also confirmed by the scholarly Warren Throckmorton.
I think it's unlikely that Reagan would support gay marriage. But as Throckmorton notes, he was passionately pro-life, and "there is nothing comparable from Reagan on gay issues." (Biographer Lou Cannon describes him as being "repelled by the aggressive public crusades against homosexual life styles which became a staple of right wing politics in the late 1970s.") And even though he was pro-life, he worked with innumerable pro-choice conservatives and failed to kick them out of his administration. The man was legendary for his belief in coalitions. One of his most famous sayings on the subject was this:
Hey, I never considered myself a Reaganite, but I agree with Reagan on 80 percent of the issues, so I'm thinking maybe he wouldn't kick me out of CPAC were he alive today.
That sounds like vintage Reagan to me, all wishful thinking in the anti-gay camp notwithstanding.
Did I just say that?
Damned if it doesn't sound like a drag routine....
Hey why not?
MORE: Hot Air has a poll -- "Should conservatives welcome GOProud, or should they skip CPAC if GOProud participates?" -- and the results so far indicate overwhelming agreement with this:
Looks like the Reagan coalition has the advantage.
TEA for Tech-savvy youths?
People who think the Muslim Brotherhood is the driving force behind the protests in Egypt should read this USA Today report that the initial protests -- and much of the enthusiasm -- were generated by tech-savvy youths:
Fascinating to contemplate that the major unrest which threatens to topple a longstanding US ally might have been triggered by the War On Drugs.
The drug of choice in Egpyt is hashish, which Anwar Sadat was said to enjoy. But earlier this year a major hashish shortage occurred, with most users blaming the government:
As to who is behind the sudden unprecedented crackdown this year (which is being called the "Egypt's Great Hash Crisis of 2010"), conspiracy theories abound, but the autocratic Mubarak has been getting most of the blame. Ironically for a country in which hashish is so popular, drug trafficking can be punished by death.
Whether the crackdown earlier this year has anything to do with the current discontent, who knows? But it strikes me that if the initial protests were triggered over the death of a Muslim activist in custody, that would get a lot more media play than the death of a drug suspect.
Fascinatingly, right in the midst of the uproar an American citizen faces the death penalty on "drug" smuggling charges, for importing hemp oil:
Again, I do not know to what extent to which the war on drugs might be implicated in the current crisis, but "Egypt's Great Hash Crisis of 2010" certainly doesn't seem to fit any of the popular narratives. (Were I a conspiracy theorist, I might even opine that this is being suppressed.)
Hash crisis aside, I do think it is vitally important to respect the fact that these demonstrations originated with tech-savvy, mostly secular young people, and that everything that can be done to offer them assistance and enncouragement should be done. In that respect, Richard Fernandez has a very thoughtful post, with concrete suggestions, irresistibly titled "The Egyptian Tea Party":
Read it all. Especially the bottom line:
There are real freedom fighters over there and they need help.
Parenthetically, I do think it's fair to point out that I've met a number of respectfully discreet pot smokers in the Tea Party movement around here, and it is not unreasonable to imagine that that might they have Egyptian counterparts. (BTW, I found repeated confirmation that the amiable Anwar Sadat was known as a "hashshash.")
Freedom lovers here should support freedom lovers there.
Freedom is a precious thing, and its enemies are always trying to stamp it out.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Drugs Make Obama Smile
The President says we need to treat drugs as a medical problem. Gee I didn't know they were sick. Is there a plant pathologist in the room?
Today, in response to a video question from a former deputy sheriff about whether it is time to discuss legalizing and regulating drugs in light of the failure of the "war on drugs," President Barack Obama said that it is "an entirely legitimate topic for debate" but that he is not in favor of legalization.That is what he talks about. What is he actually doing?
"The president talks a good game about shifting resources and having a balanced, public health-oriented approach, but it doesn't square with the budgets he's submitted to Congress," said Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of cops, judges and prosecutors who support legalizing and regulating drugs. "The Obama administration has maintained the Bush-era two-to-one budget ratio in favor of prisons and prosecution over treatment and prevention. It doesn't add up.Is this another WTF? moment for the President? As S. Palin says: "...a lot of WTF moments throughout that speech". And it was such a short one too.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Naturally, things don't work!
Insane as it may sound, it does seem that America is at war with Things That Work. Or at least, that the bureaucrats who run America are. The example of toilets is a classic, but a more recent example is detergent.
That's a very simple concept, right? So why is our government at war with it?
I kid you not. The latest is the attack on dishwasher detergent. Within the past year I noticed that the dishes just aren't getting as clean as they used to. It's because last summer, Michigan joined the anti-phosphate bandwagon:
No doubt the legislatures followed the orders issued to them by the Public Policy People, whose job is to tell everyone what to do regardless of their ostensible titles or power.
Naturally (!), the new dishwashing soap fails to get the dishes clean, so people are resorting to self-help, and taking advantage of a loophole. From the furious comments:
No, they can't. Leaving things alone is not in their nature.
Ordinary people are forced to cross state lines to evade the ban (which is probably another federal felony along with almost everything else). Freepers are also exchanging information about the new black market, and they point out that the TSP loophole won't last long.
In a recent post titled "Your dishes are dirty because of the Greens," Moe Lane notes how quickly this happened, and mentions another loophole:
Intriguingly, he opines that this was done out of spite:
And in a PS, he notes that the dangers were overhyped. (Surprise!)
It would not surprise me if many of the manufacturers see this and other bans in the same way the drug companies saw the Sudafed restrictions: as money-making opportunities. After all, when the government forces stores to clear the shelves, they need more inventory. And if the replacement doesn't work as well, many ordinary housewives will simply use more and buy more. Their loss is the manufacturer's gain!
Why more people aren't more outraged by these things, I don't know. But the government war on Things That Work is a major motivation behind many a Tea Partyer. I know because I am one of them and I hear them talk.
In New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation sees the detergent ban as only a small step in a greater war:
Hey, mosquitos, lice and bedbugs are part of the environment, and children have to be taught at an early age to live in harmony with nature.
I can remember back in Berkeley when people used to think rats were bad, and they would trap and poison them. Now, they are feeding them:
They even have a nice picture of the happy Telegraph Avenue rats:
But that's just Berkeley. In many parts of backward America, people still use poison. It works. Naturally, the more progressive Europeans are a step ahead, and they want to ban it. A few pesky Scottish conservatives are not happy:
He means catastrophic for humans. Fro the standpoint of the environment what is catastrophic to humans is good for nature!
The idea seems to be that we should all get used to being more natural. Perhaps that explains the war on Things That Work. If you think about it, the more things don't work, the more natural we become.
Moe Lane was right to say that these things are done out of spite.
But it's out of natural spite.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
How's Egpyt doing with that human rights thing?
Cynical as I am, I have to say that I was a bit taken aback to read that in this day and age, nine out of ten Egyption girls are made to endure female genital mutilation (FGM).
The 90% figure is shocking by any standard. In fact, it seemed as if it might be too high, so I checked it.
As best as I can determine, it does appear that senior Islamic clerics are opposed to FGM and maintain it is not sanctioned by the Koran, although some religious leaders still favor the practice:
That there does not appear to be any religious justification for this barbaric practice obviously does not stop it from being popular.
Seeing is believing.
I agree with Glenn that what is happening in Egypt is not analogous the fall of the Berlin Wall.
People who routinely do such a savage thing to their children may be a lot of things, but I'm having trouble seeing them as narrative material for the triumph of democracy. They're in need of liberation, all right. From themselves.
They don't even seem to have a backward and oppressive theocratic regime to offer as an excuse for Cripe's sake. They're just mindlessly reenacting a gruesome cultural tradition.
It's been a real disappointment for me, just learning about it.
Much as I'd like to go gaga over democracy, I think the country could use an improvement in its human rights department.
Starting with their own homes.
Protected to death by the FDA
Speaking of government regulation of drugs, Paul Hsieh, M.D. has a great PJM piece ("America's Other Drug Problem") in which he points out that the maniacal bureacrats at the FDA are preventing Americans from getting the life-saving drugs, and thwarting their ability to get the health care they need.
As happens with giant bureacracies, the FDA has gotten more and more unreasonable over time, and if its current standards were applied to wonder drugs from the past, they would never be allowed:
While aware of this problem, the Obama administration is proposing to add another level of bureaucracy.
Is anyone surprised by their skepticism?
I like the approach John Stossel has proposed: simply abolish the damned FDA.
Not that it matters to anyone in the government (or to the more powerful people with degrees in Telling Everyone What To Do Public Policy), but exactly where did the founders grant the federal government power to determine what medicines we should be allowed to buy?
Get the government out of the pharmaceutical business and leave it up to doctors and patients what drugs they want. Doctors and patients should be allowed to mutually agree upon whatever course of treatment they want, and absent force or fraud, their transactions are no more the government's business than what two adults do in their bedroom.
Supply And Demand
Eric in his post An "effective" war on drugs means war on drugs that are effective! directed me to this Megan McArdle post The Goals and Means of Meth Control where I found the following exchange most amusing:
RobM1981Another commenter has an answer:
Rob Lyman in reply to RobM1981And then a wag shows up:
barryd in reply to Rob LymanAin't it the truth. And it shouldn't be.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Coming Soon From Naked Reader Press
Here is an excerpt from Death of a Musketeer, coming out later this month from Naked Reader Press. This will be the first time the novel has been available in digital format. If it does well enough for NRP, I will resume the series with number six, The Musketeer's Confessor, probably early next year. Enjoy!
***Continue reading "Coming Soon From Naked Reader Press"
Friday, February 4, 2011
What If They Gave A Revolution And You Didn't Show Up?
Eric e-mailed me a link to a rant by Matthew Jarzen discussing the social conservative (socon) pull out from CPAC. I have discussed it before at The Real Enemy and Is It Religion?. Matthew, who is evidently going to college at the present time makes some points that I would like to follow up on.
One of the hardest things about being a conservative on a college campus has been trying to explain away the ridiculous positions and statements of social conservatives and how they don't represent the GOP or conservatism as a whole. For anyone who really knows me, I despise social conservatives -- who in my and many others' mind are not conservative. Why?I've been calling them "moral socialists" but "moral liberals" is close enough.
So what do I agree on with the social conservatives/moral socialists?
Fiscal responsibility, Constitutional Government (missed the Drug Prohibition Amendment), and Free Markets about covers it. You know the generally accepted TEA Party Manifesto.
...the moral liberals seem to think that some 20 percents are more important than others.Many in the TEA Party movement feel that getting involved in social issues will drive away some libertarians, Democrats, moderates, independents, etc.
But suppose the socially liberal, fiscally conservative guys like Rand and Ron Paul take over the GOP and win elections without the hard core socons? Suppose enough socons defect (or are already libertarian in sentiment) to make a winning coalition?
IMO those leaving CPAC over GOProud have made an unwise move. Let me put it simply: those who leave the table will lose their seat.
That dogma often leads to unwisdom is nothing new. It is a constant in history. And yet there are some who would prefer dogma to union despite the lessons of history. Isn't there a lot in the Torah about internal conflict among the tribes leading to defeat at the hands of an external enemy? Hmmmm.
Or to put it in more modern terms: sometimes you have to join with Stalin to defeat Hitler. Try to put in a good word for Uncle Joe when you can. Say until we have defeated the Socialists and the Islamic nutters.
My good word about socons: Socons "get" economics... And my criticism: "except when it comes to their pet projects."
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his world view depends on not understanding it." - with apologies to Upton Sinclair.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
They Still Have To Eat
Spengler at Asia Times makes a very good point about how Asian prosperity is hurting Muslim countries lacking exportable resources.
It wasn't the financial crisis that undermined dysfunctional Arab states, but Asian prosperity. The Arab poor have been priced out of world markets. There is no solution to Egypt's problems within the horizon of popular expectations. Whether the regime survives or a new one replaces it, the outcome will be a disaster of, well, biblical proportions.It all depends on what proportion of the total family budget is devoted to food. In the US it runs under 10% (in 1900 in the US it was around 30%). If food prices double in the US it is an inconvenience - especially since so much of the food dollar goes into transport and processing. If food prices double in Egypt the number of calories consumed pretty much has to decline by 50% - at least among the poor. Which are quite numerous in Egypt.
When the oil runs out (or some technology replaces it) the Middle East is going to be a very sorry place.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
A 100% unapproved statement of 100% approval
Having just complained about cold remedies that don't work, I thought I should praise one of the best remedies I have encountered to date. While I mentioned it in a previous post, this stuff is so effective that I thought it merited a post all its own. I refer to "African Sea Coconut" brand cough syrup. Yes, that's quite a name, and it sounds downright kooky. I was a bit skeptical when I bought it the other day, because I had never heard of it, and I am a victim of chronic cough, so when I get an additional cough from a cold it becomes unendurable, and nothing really works except codeine.
Anyway, I was in a jam on Tuesday, because I knew the big storm was coming, and my cough had become disabling. So I thought I would drive to the local Chinese market and just ask the guy behind the medicine counter for whatever cough syrup was popular with customers and I would give that a try. I bought a bottle, took it home, and swallowed 2/3 of a Tablespoon full. I expected it to taste awful, and I was surprised how mild and good tasting it was. But what I really didn't expect was that it would stop my cough dead in its tracks! It was at least as effective as codeine that I had to get for last year's coughing fits, but without the side effects. Moreover, it seems to eliminate whatever that mysterious inflammation is at the junction of the bronchi and esophagous that triggers the irresistible impulse to cough.
[A commenter takes issue with my saying "junction of the bronchi and esophagus." I meant to refer to the area where the trachea, larynx, pharynx, are separated from the esophagus by the epiglottal flap. It gets inflamed and triggers the cough reflex. The important point is that coughing is not solely or necessarily caused by bronchial tract inflammation.]
I have been taking it every four hours during the day, and before going to bed. Not only is the cough from the cold history, but I am not having my "normal" and usual late night and early morning coughing fits. It is no exaggeration to say that this amazing stuff has not only stopped my acute cough, it also seems to have stopped my chronic cough.
As to what it is, the label lists four active ingredients:
1. Tolu Balsam
2. Squill bulb (contains "scillaren" and other substances I've never heard of)
3. Ipecacuanha (aka Ipecac), which contains emetidine and cepaeline:
4. Licorice root
If this writeup is any indication, it is a powerful and very complicated substance.
The entry goes on and on. Much of it is confirmed in the Wiki licorice entry. Frankly, I'm surprised there isn't more medical interest in licorice root alone.
I was reminded of this infuriatingly amusing dialogue from my favorite W.C. Fields film "It's a Gift" -- in which a mother and her daughter torment poor Harold Bisonette (the Fields character, who is trying to sleep off his usual hangover) as they discuss whether to buy Ipecac or Syrup of Squill:
Ipecac or Syrup of Squill? I don't know; is it both, or either? Or is it the Licorice root, or the Tolu Balsam. Or maybe the combination effect. But something in that little bottle works. Better than any cough remedy I have ever tried.
As he had a picture of his bottle; I thought I would share mine:
Notice the look of skepticism and concern on Coco's face. Skepticism because she doesn't know whether it would work for kennel cough. And concern because the name of the product, obviously. She is worried that it might be some sort of personal insult against her, and she also fears the brand name might cause confusion, and possibly even dilute the name recognition of the one and only Coco. I told her she's just being paranoid.
Anyway, I'm very impressed by this product. It's nice to find something that works that the federal government hasn't messed with.
And I am proud to say that my "statements have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA."
(Hell, what good is the First Amendment if it doesn't apply to opinions about the efficacy of cough syrup?)
An "effective" war on drugs means war on drugs that are effective!
The situation is ridiculous, and it involves more than just the ability to buy Sudafed. You can buy Sudafed after going through the humiliating process of showing ID and signing the stupid form, but in the pharmacies I have been to, what you can buy is limited to Sudafed, and only Sudafed. Gone completely are the many different effective cold remedies which used to contain Sudafed. As Veeshir complained in a comment the other day,
Lucky for me that I have a stockpile of the old, good Theraflu, for the new Sudafed substitutes do not work. Doubtless the drug companies have spent a lot of money adjusting their manufacturing processes to eliminate Sudafed, because a couple of years ago there were posts like "Where to find real TheraFlu" and now they're as dead as the old Theraflu, for there is no way to find the REAL thing anymore. (However, I have read that some companies were delighted to have a new, government-created opportunity to "clear the shelves" simply to market a useless new drug-- which may be another underreported scandal.)
The bottom line is that in virtually every cold remedy that once worked, Sudafed has been replaced by a worthless shlocky drug called Phenylephrine:
As far as I'm concerned, phenyephrine is useless.
Moral lesson? The War on Drugs is ineffective against illegal and dangerous drugs, but highly effective against formerly safe, legal and effective drugs.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
All anarchy should be local
In a post about "middle class anarchy" the other day, Glenn Reynolds made the following observation:
Over the weekend I spoke with a Tea Party activist from a Michigan town who told me about a discussion he had with the mayor over budget constraints. One of the reasons there won't be money for things the town needs like basic road repair is that the federal government is requiring the town to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on something that no one in the town either wants or needs. New street signs that are in Mixed Case instead of ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!
It is not only a complete waste of money, it's the craziest thing I've seen in a long time. A lesson in the arbitrary nature of government power. Back in October, Nick Gillespie wrote a piece about this ("ALL-CAP Street Signs MUST DIE!") and he linked a USA Today piece that said the new sign mandate was a nod to the fading eyesight of aging Baby Boomers:
And maybe after that they can have another session of group hugs and issue a new rule that the signs have to be pastel green.
Anyway, these cash-strapped towns have until 2015 to do it.
Or else what? The Tea Party guy I talked suggested that the mayor simply tell the feds to blow it out their ass.
This is tyranny, plain and simple. I'll skip the rhetorical questions about where in the Constitution does the federal government have the right to tell a town what kind of signs it has to have. I just want to know what would happen if the angry municipalities just started refusing to obey.
Let's hear it for middle class anarchy!
Bankrupt big cities like Detroit don't have to comply with no steenking rules, so why should small towns? Fair is fair.
And if you think redoing all the signs is bad, another expensive issue facing virtually every cash-strapped municipality in this country involves new federal stormwater rules:
Read it all. It's a nightmare.
The Tea Party activist told me that the new stormwater rules means that ordinary road repair is a thing of the past. It is no longer a simple matter of repaving the roads. Instead, they have to tear off the road and excavate the whole bed, all to install expensive and unnecessary new stormwater systems. Inconvenience everyone with road closures, bankrupt local businesses and force cities to spend money they don't have.
After all, we can't have the water that falls from the sky going where the EPA doesn't want it to go, can we?
And if this helps bankrupt cities, perhaps that's the plan.
Screw the feds.
I'm for middle class "anarchy" at the local level.
If all politics is local, then shouldn't anarchy be local too?
AFTERTHOUGHT: I should probably add that the federal government has become so malignantly totalitarian that even Alexander Hamilton would be an "anarchist" by today's standards.
(If people knew American history, that would be considered ironic.)
Rebelling against the rebels just keeps getting harder
Sarah's post about rebellion made me feel sorry for the children of the Baby Boomers. The rebels of the 60s and 70s had it easy in so many ways, not the least of which was how easy it was for them to rebel:
It's hard for me to see myself as "THE MAN," as I never had kids. So it startled me the other night to find myself regarded as a sort of adult authority figure.
Which isn't fair because Generation X (1964 to no later than 1982); Generation Y, (1982 to sometime in the 1990s) and now Z (sometime in the 90s to the early 2000s) all get to have shorter time intervals. Why should the Baby Boomers have to drag on and on in a way that other generations don't? It would be one thing if it were just because of the demographic blip (the "pig in the python"), but there are huge differences between people born in the real post WWII period (who grew up in the 50s and became adults in the 60s), and those like me who grew up in the 60s and reached adulthood in the 70s. Or those like Barack Obama and Sarah Hoyt, who grew up in the 70s and reached adulthood in the 80s. These are vastly different periods in which to grow up, and this is reflected in the major differences in the people who grew up in them.
Commentators have taken note of these differences, and proposed adding a sub-group within the Baby Boom generation called "Generation Jones."
While I would agree on 1954 as the dividing birth year, I think there is a much more important issue than the Jones term countenances. The biggest single divide in the Baby Boom generation revolves around the end of the Vietnam War and the related end of the draft. Those born before 1954 had to deal with it, and those born later did not. This is not to say that one generation is "better" than the other, but there was an emotional component to the rebellion of the earlier Boomer generation which faded dramatically -- to the point of near absence -- among later Boomers. Long hair went from being a protest statement to a meaningless fashion statement. Pot smoking went from being daring and defiant to being mundane and even boring. Denims and tie-dyes eventually became as conformist as the grey-flannel suits they had rebelled against.
So I would call the pre-1954 Boomers the Draft Boomers (er, perhaps the Draft Dodger Generation), and I don't know what I would call the later ones (maybe the No-Drafters), but I am one. I well remember the sanctimonious attitude the older Boomers had about everything, how it was always how We Were There First! We braved the barricades, we burned our draft cards, we had long hair when it meant something, and we, we. we. They seemed to take themselves so much more seriously than the post-drafters, who tended towards irreverence, self-deprecating humor, punk rock, and even rebellion towards the culture of their slightly older brethren. (Hippies, meet yuppies! Har har.)
Even now I try not to care about these things. But then odd little things happen that I can't easily explain, like kids being afraid of me at a party. And because of her experience as a mom, Sarah understands dynamics that tend to be invisible to me.
Nothing like moving to a college town to make you realize you're getting old.
FWIW, I felt more comfortable with Generation X than with the Baby Boom Generation. (In this town, they're equally old.)
Surrender In The Sex Wars
Eric has written a post on how bad sex is leading to rape charges. I'm reminded of the old Albert King song "If It Wasn't For Bad Sex I Wouldn't Have No Sex At All". Truly a sad tale put to music. Don't listen to it. No one else does (you can't look it up). Too depressing.
I saw other men treating their girlfriends and wives chivalrously and I envied those women. It looked to me like their men really cared about them, so much so that they were doing something supernumerary. As time went on, I occasionally dated men who behaved chivalrously, though usually I felt like it was just a front --"I'm trying to make a good impression" behavior. Then I had one boyfriend who was an Upper East Side prep school-type and treating women chivalrously seems to have been bred into him. There were times I liked his chivalry, but there were times I pushed up against it, too, because it still made me feel uncomfortable. It wasn't until I started dating Mr. Jessica that I consciously decided to ignore my discomfort--to push my natural fuss-making instincts to the side--and let the poor guy treat me how he felt. In Mr. Jessica's case, was chivalrously.Which brings me to a point I have been trying to write about for a month. Are women naturally submissive? Ask the question to Google and you get 658,000 answers. Not quite up there with SEX (3,530,000,000 - that is over 3 1/2 billion), but still important if you want to go deeper. Even Amazon has over 190,000 results for sex. Which proves the old adage: sex sells. It all depends on supply and demand and marginal utility (and a couple other things) to set the price.
A little looking (at the first page Google turned up) produced this gem: Submissive Women are the Rule NOT the Exception - they just don't know it.
Those of you who've read the The Girls section of this blog will see that I've identified myself as a submissive woman, in fact, I say I'm not ashamed to say it. The reason I say I'm not ashamed is primarily because there is shame attached to the idea of being submissive to anyone in our present age. I also mention I'm girly - to me the two go hand in hand. Let me explain.Well the lady gets all Biblical on us (it is part of the culture). And then goes on to say:
I believe the desire for a woman to be submissive to her man is innate, plus I believe women are wired to be submissive to proper authority in general. Submissive, as I see it, is described as agreement, respect, duty, or deference. I don't personally view it as meek, passive or tameness. I believe submissiveness is a feminine trait and I believe women have lost touch with this inborn need.Some one Asks Yahoo if feminists are cool with submissive women and the answer they pick is from some guy who has theories. Amusing. In a perverted sort of way.
So how did all this happen? How did female surrender become taboo (at least in a large part of the culture)? I have a theory - women who had been raped and man hating lesbians took over the feminist movement. But there were always exceptions. I knew a guy back in the 70s who had a six month relationship with a strong feminist lesbian and her girlfriend. Boy did I get some stories. True? False? Who knows? But I did see them together around town a lot while it was going hot and heavy. Eventually the guy married the girlfriend and the lesbian got her own husband and started a family. Weird. If you are sure human nature is fixed rather than channeled. There is always some water outside the channel and no given drop of water can be guaranteed to stay with the flow all the way to the sea (Of Love).
My take on the whole question: only the strong can surrender.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
Another day, another inexplicably imbalanced inequality
I'm fascinated by the idea that bad sex can be considered rape. But after watching the video Glenn Reynolds linked in which Ann Althouse discusses the subject, I find myself worrying not so much about whether bad sex is rape (I don't think it ever is), but whether there is a double bad-sex-as-rape standard.
It seems that in every case I've read about where there was bad sex, only women are heard to complain of being victims of the bad sex "rape!" This makes no sense, because as we all know, it takes two people (at least) to have sex, and bad sex can happen to anyone.
Think I'm being facetious?
Anyone who thinks men are not bad sex victims should think again. How many men have been heard to say "She was a lousy lay?" Sure, lots of women have said the same thing about men, but we are all human beings, and all of us who have sex -- men, women, straight, gay, whatever -- must face up to the possibility that a given sexual encounter might turn out not to be as enjoyable as we might have liked.
I don't know what the official statistics are (as I don't have Kinsey's Satanic Sex Bible on hand), but I thought to use the next best scientific tool available, which is Google.
If those figures are correct, then bad sex can strike anyone, without regard to sex! (I guess I might mean gender with the latter sex.)
Now, you might argue that men are more likely to complain about bad sex on the Internet (I should say "complain on the Internet about bad sex"), but I don't think any reasonable person would argue that men are not regularly subjected to bad sex.
So where are the cases in which male bad sex victims have lodged rape charges? Before we reach the question of whether bad sex victims can make a rape complaint, I think it might be worth looking into why the men aren't coming forward. Simple logic dictates that if both sexes are equally likely to become bad sex victims, then if bad sex is rape, male bad sex victims are just as likely to have been raped as female bad sex victims.
Something has to explain what looks like a systematic issue of underreporting.
I suspect that there is some sort of sexist double standard at work.
In the art museum, in Denver, in the portrait section, there is a painting of a Spanish grandee, ambassador to some court or other, Lord High This and That, Keeper Of The Royal Watchmacallit. (Give me a break, I barely remember names for people who are alive!)
I like to linger in front of that portrait - very well executed as far as that goes, with a sort of photo-realism that's more real than mere photographs - because it is an example of rebellion; of speaking truth to power, to repeat a very old phrase.
Because I'm that sort of mother and they're that sort of kids, I asked my sons why this portrait is highly subversive. It took them a while. Well, it would. I mean, there's the miles and miles of satin, the lace, the sparkly noblesse-oblige bling.
But the shocking part of the portrait is in the face of the gentleman painted. It's nothing overt, of course. True rocking of social conventions rarely is - think about it. But if you look in the man's eyes, you catch a glimpse of fear, a suggestion of cringing, the certainty that the man trapped within the satin, the lace and the diamonds feels less than equal to his positions, and perhaps dwarfed by his resounding titles. You expect his tongue to come out and lick his lips. You expect him to duck his head.Continue reading "It's Revolting"
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
wussier moral grounds than my coffee
Via Glenn Reynolds, I found a classic reminder of the left's fondness for accusing the right of doing what it does.
First, here's what sainted leftist icon Frances Fox Piven considers worthy of praise and emulation:
Lovely. And Frances Fox Piven is not only cheering them on, she's calling on Americans to emulate them, as she has been for years:
It is clear that this woman (described as a "committed revolutionary" and "honorary chairman of the Trotskyist-founded Democratic Socialists of America") has a long history of advocating violence when that benefits her side, and she is smart enough to know how many millions of people her side has murdered.
Yet after calling for more left-wing violence, she and her supporters are the ones who complain -- about violence being threatened against Piven, ostensibly by "the right."
The basis for the complaint? Why anonymous comments allegedly left at a Glenn Beck web site.
Sorry, but because of its nature, an anonymous comment is not an authority for anything -- least of all for the identity of or alleged perspective of the anonymous person. Anyone can leave a comment saying anything or calling for anything.
Yet without a single verification of any commenter being the person he claims (much less anyone whose ideology or loyalty to Beck has been verified), anonymous and deleted commenters become "Beck fans rhetorically brandishing their weapons at Piven!"
But even that's not enough. "They" also become all "economically hard-pressed Americans":
This brings to mind an observation Sean Kinsell made earlier about wussdom:
They have no more moral grounds than my coffee grounds. But a little thing won't stop them from stirring up and goading on those at the bottom they claim to be for, and encouraging them to do more while at the same time accusing their critics of doing what they do.
If Glenn Beck behaved as they did, we should expect him to be endorsing the demands of "his" commenters and holding them out as exemplars for his listeners to follow.
Actually, I'm thinking I was wrong to say they have no more moral grounds than my coffee grounds.
Coffee grounds are not wussy. They reflect utilitarian value.
it's not for you decide who you hate!
An idiotic comment to M. Simon's earlier post (that "libertarians hate Christians") reminded me of an incident over a decade ago. The president of a socially conservative think tank had voiced a similar sentiment, and I politely reminded him that there is not only is there no contradiction between libertarianism and Christianity, but that there had been at least one book devoted to the subject of libertarian theology.* He was an honest man, but he had made an assumption along the following lines:
The above is bad logic, and to his credit, the guy who made this assumption was enough of a gentleman to realize it was wrong, but I could tell by the look on his face that it was back-to-the-drawing-board time.
I suspect that most promoters of heavy-handed "conservative" ideology who consider libertarians their sworn enemies would like to define Christians and libertarians their own way, so that no "real" Christian can be a libertarian, and no "real" libertarian can be a Christian. (When means those calling themselves "libertarian Christians" are self hating oxymorons.)
Nice to have someone else define you for you, isn't it?
The way things are going, I won't be allowed to get away with saying I am anything.
* It's probably fair to point out that the libertarian philosophy would be very unwelcome in the majority of mainstream Protestant churches because they adhere to a doctrine called the "Social Gospel" -- which is quite left wing. While I would never say that all Christians hate libertarians based on that, I doubt libertarians would be especially welcome in Social Gospel churches.
Teaching and Learning
Lately I've been thinking a lot about education, something that is eventually going to find its way to my blog, though probably not at Mad Genius.
I was thinking how for the first time I disagreed with Terry Pratchett's "overt nudge" at the end of I Shall Wear Midnight. Oh, not on the idea that the formation of schools is a good thing - in general, assuming schools that actually function - but the idea that the important thing is to "teach people to think."
Over the last few years I've become convinced this doesn't work. I don't know if it's possible to teach people to think. It is an unpleasant activity that most humans would prefer not to engage. In fact, most humans are far more willing to die than to engage their brains. (Examples would stray into demagoguery, because to support all of them would take months of posts. But if you look around you, you'll find examples aplenty.) Because no one knows how to teach it, it quickly becomes "teaching how to think" which we do know how to do. It's called indoctrination.
Continue reading "Teaching and Learning"
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
The Real Enemy
Don't they know that the real enemy is the Andromeda Galaxy? They are sending viruses to destroy us. I saw it in a movieonce. We need to unite behind the real enemy. Andromeda. And if not Andromeda, at least can the Republicans unite against the Democrats? Far too much to hope for I guess.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
I love the way Alec Baldwin flubs his lines. The male chorus though is just outstanding. Carnagie Hall 2005.
The movie is good too.
And to get you in the proper mood may I suggest this history.
In need of meds
Forgive my lack of enthusiasm the past couple of days. I am running a terrible cold which started last week and instead of resolving, has only gotten steadily worse each day.
By yesterday it was much too late to abort the cold, but I did remember the trusty old Yin Chiao I've had lying about for over a year, and this inspiring commercial:
Would have been interesting to have started it last Friday. But what the hell. I'm combining it with GanMaoLing, Theraflu at night, plus sage tea. And of course, the usual acetaminophen, and Vitamin C. I dread having to step up to Sudafed as it has unpleasant psychoactive properties.
I hate the inconvenience, but I should consider myself lucky that I have not had a full-blown cold in a over a year.
Also on the bright side, this is a blog, so I don't have to worry about spreading my rhinoviruses online. No amount of coughing, sputtering, or nose-blowing will harm a single reader!
There's plenty of serious news out there, but I am not in the mood right now. However, Glenn linked an article that reminded me of something I would like to take medication to forget. I attended a party of strangers more than thirty-five years younger than I was, and the moment I walked in they all looked up in fear. Seriously, they seemed genuinely afraid of an older person being at their party, which I found frustrating, as I am unaccustomed to being regarded with fear simply because of my age.
My guess is that they asssociate age with authority, and I might have been perceived as some sort of professor authority figure (which sucks as I am anything but an authority figure). Either that or they were raised by paranoid parents to fear and run from older strangers, and I certainly was that.
Things weren't quite the same when I was in college. People in the early 70s were more daring. (If we wanted to go somewhere and didn't have a car, we would hitch-hike.) Had someone 35 years older shown up at a party in those days, it would have added interest, not fear. An older person would have been greeted with perhaps curiosity, and maybe a little natural suspicion, but certainly not fear. He would have been engaged in discussion. Funny thing is, I'm a Baby Boomer but I really loved the Generation Xers, and worked with them for years. The Xers were also fearless and outgoing, as is supposed to be normal for young people -- but that just doesn't the same as the current crop of kids who are coming of age. I'm damned if these kids don't look as if they'd run away if you so much as said Boo! Perhaps that reflects the fact that they've been sheltered from actual reality, distracted by innumerable artificial realities, and then forced to take medication to cope with their inability to pay attention to things that aren't worth paying attention to.
Anyway, I shouldn't be generalizing based on a single incident, but the kids seem harder to reach, and I'm glad it isn't my job to reach them.
I don't mean to be judgmental. Seriously, if I'd been raised on Ritalin, I'd probably be fearful too. That stuff would make anyone paranoid.
UPDATE: As I tend to suffer from chronic cough, when I get a cold, the coughing becomes horrific. I have just tried out a new remedy: African Sea Coconut brand cough syrup. It's an old fashioned mixture that includes Ipecac and Squill, and while I can't say how, I can say that it really works. I'm quite surprised.
Eat Your Vegetables
And what was the point of all this? The girls eating vergtables and saying bad things about men are part of a PETA Super Bowl Commercial.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
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No SWAT team this time. But youthful scofflaws, take note!
Messing up veterans' monuments saves democracy! But taking pictures is rude!
Triangle Of Greed
Eventually You Run Out Of Other People's Money
Perchance to Dream
Wisconsin Teachers Mafia - Follow the Money
There is nothing gay about a sin condemned by Jesus! Yet.
Attack On Coptic Monastary In Egypt
Extending An Olive Branch To Regulators
"Auto" eroticism -- a problem of elephantine and nonsexical proportions