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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Thursday, December 23, 2010

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob"

Better than you
WATN is early this week as it is Christmas Eve tomorrow, and that will have a different sort of post in place.

Media Matters is a tax-exempt organization which takes money from donors and uses it to ostensibly look for falsehoods and improper reporting in the news. However, since it pretty much exclusively is instead an organization which (often with hilarious incompetence) attacks the right, Mark Levin believes the IRS should look into its practices. See, any such organization is supposed to be politically neutral, which Media Matters absolutely is not. However, its run by such hard core partisan idealists, they probably think they are being neutral, and the only bad stuff ever comes from conservatives.

Haiti continues to be a ghastly hell hole despite billions of dollars being donated to and sent there in aid and assistance after the horrendous earthquake earlier this year. According to AFP, a horrible outbreak of Cholera is being met by angry and outraged public:
Angry Haitian mobs have lynched at least 45 people in recent weeks, accusing them of spreading a cholera outbreak that has killed over 2,500 people across the country, officials said Wednesday.
Most of the people being lynched are, in fact, Voodoo priests. The angry and frightened people seem to believe that Voodoo is responsible for the disease. This makes me think of people who hung witches (not very many were ever burned in the US at least) for having supernatural powers and pacts with Satan: if this really is someone with terrifying magical powers, do you really want to try to kill them, and if they really are that powerful could you?

Recently the Obama administration admitted that the Polar Bear population is not endangered, something I've written about several times on this site. In fact, there are five times as many polar bears now than when records first were kept, in the 1950s. Still, the Obama administration wants to set aside a vast area of the Polar regions to protect the Polar Bear because they say mythical human-caused climate disaster "endangers" the animal.

Ben Affleck is pushing his new movie about evil corporations and went on NPR's Morning Edition recently. On it, he complained about how much CEOs earn and said that this was a very bad thing.
That speaks so perfectly to people's feelings about our country. It's like it's just about getting by, or people can like let people go if they can get away with it, that there's no deeper sense of right or wrong. The banks shouldn't -- people shouldn't make such a giant profit off just moving money back and forth. And CEOs' pay shouldn't be 200 times the average worker. It used to be nine times.
Meanwhile, Ben Affleck makes tens of millions of dollars a year and was paid $250,000 just to show up at a casino's grand opening. Gee, Ben, how much more do you make than the lowest-paid person at a movie shoot? Whether or not CEO's make more than is reasonable, Affleck needs to keep his pie hole shut about it while he's being paid extravagant sums himself.

Recently CBS News flashed a picture of President Bush's new book Decision Points on its news program. However, the picture they showed was of a photoshopped cover mocking President Bush. Accident? CBS wants people to believe so, but just how incompetent do you have to be to accidentally pick the wrong cover to a best-selling book? They knew it was fake, this was just one more time to scream their five minute's hate.

Pat Robertson recently announced he thought it was time to legalize marijuana. I disagree, but I think its not a federal decision. There's nothing in the US Constitution authorizing the federal government the power to declare drugs illegal; that's an in-state decision, which each state can make for themselves. The best the federal government could do is regulate the trade of these drugs between states. If prohibition taught us anything, its that getting the genie back in the bottle once you figure its a bad thing is impossible.

Over at Real Clear Politics, David Harsanyi argues that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has outlived its usefulness and probably should be abolished. I disagree, but I do think the FCC has far, far outgrown its proper and reasonable power and use. There is still a reasonable need for a body to regulate and check radio and broadcast transmissions around the nation (so you don't have 9 radio stations trying to broadcast on 93.7 FM at the same time, or people using emergency bands to chat about cooking, for example). The FCC goes far, far beyond that in an attempt to regulate content which probably ought to be left alone. Certainly (as federal courts have plainly stated) the FCC has absolutely no power over the internet.

David Freddoso at the Washington Examiner took a look at the population of the US and the census data and then at how many representatives there are. He points out that the original plan for the House of Representatives was to have approximately 1 representative per 300,000 residents in the US, but over time that's grown to 1/700,000. To bring the representation down to its originally intended levels, that would require an additional 100 members of the house of representatives. You can look at how that would work out proportionally by states at the site, but at some point the body simply becomes too big (it might be already) and more of a mob than a congress.

California, Illinois, Michigan, and a few other states are teetering dangerously closer to total economic collapse. When that happens, its inevitable that they will beg for help from the federal government, who under the Obama administration seems perfectly fine with just printing more money even if its utterly valueless. However, a state did crash once before, and defaulted on all its bonds. That state was Arkansas and the year was 1933. Joe Mysak writes at Bloomberg about how it took place and how, eventually, the newly created Hoover agency called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) simply stepped in and took over the debt. Back then the idea that the federal government bail out a state was unthinkable, but now its pretty much inevitable.

Not feeling perky enough? Never fear, a new company called Bodyperks has the answer: prosthetic nipples. Useful for drag queens and sluts, this makes a lady (or man for that matter) seem erect at all times. No, this is not a joke, they sell for about 25 bucks including shipping and, er, handling.

Spain is rightly proud of its ham, it is one of the things the nation is famous for. Recently in the equivalent of a Middle School, a teacher in La Línea was telling the students about the Ham being produced in Spain as part of their civics lessons and he was informed that he had to stop. It seems a Muslim student was "offended" by the mention of pigs and ham, and denounced filed a complaint against his teacher. The court issued an injunction against the teacher for "psychological ill-treatment in the context of xenophobia and racism." The local and national government say they support the teacher and condemn the court's decision.

Students at Battlefield High School decided they wanted to make the Christmas season more fun for their peers, so they started dressing up in ugly, wierd sweaters, singing Christmas carols, and passing out candy canes. All ten of them were given detention and have to help clean the school as punishment. Why? Peggy Fox at WUSA9 reports:
"They said, 'maliciously maim students with the intent to injure.' And I don't think any of us here intentionally meant to injure anyone, or did," said Zakk Rhine, a junior at Battlefield High School.

The boys say they were just tossing small two-inch candy canes to fellow students as they entered school. The ones in plastic wrap that are so small they often break apart.

Skylar Torbett, also a junior, said administrators told him, "They said the candy canes are weapons because you can sharpen them with your mouth and stab people with them." He said neither he nor any of their friend did that.
They staged these cheer-spreading events before the start of school to minimize disruption. They did admit that the candy canes might result in litter, but they helped clean up the debris on their own time. Again: management over leadership, a focus on the fact of the zero tolerance policy rather than wisdom which examines why.

The Defense Department has ruled that straight soldiers not only may but must shower with openly gay soldiers. Terrence P Jeffery writes for CNS News:
A special Defense Department working group appointed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recommended that the military should “expressly prohibit” heterosexuals from using separate showers, bathrooms and bunking facilities from homosexuals when the repeal of the law banning homosexuals from the military goes into effect.
Why? Because it would be prohibitively expensive and problematic to set up separate facilities for gays and lesbians and it would hurt their feelings.
“And, even if it could be achieved and administered, separate facilities would, in our view, stigmatize gay and lesbian Service members in a manner reminiscent of ‘separate but equal' facilities for blacks prior to the 1960s,” said the report.
The report then went on to say that since gays have been around straights their whole life, they can handle the situation fine and nothing bad will ever happen. The fact that this could be argued with women and men was ignored, as was the idea of gays bunking with straight males. Basically their argument was "this will be too hard to fix, so we're gonna pretend its not a problem."

Trying to duplicate the wonderful success of the Macy's Hallelujah Chorus cultural event, a California choral flash mob invaded a food court in a mall. This time however, instead of wonder and joy, they spread panic and disaster. Ed Fletcher and Matt Kawahara write for the Sacramento Bee:
But with thousands of people crowding the second-floor food court, the "random act of musical kindness" never got off the ground.

"It was so jammed with people that you could not even move," said Connie Santos, who hoped to enjoy the music, then shop.

There were no reports of injuries as the mall was peacefully evacuated starting about 6:45 p.m. The mall was scheduled to close at 11 p.m.

"Somebody reported hearing two pops that sounded like the floor was giving way and another said the floor was shifting," said Tom Dodaro, a Roseville Fire Department spokesman.
Well, nobody said artsy types were good with logistics and planning.

John Nolte has been writing about well-produced leftist propaganda movies at Big Hollywood and one he wrote about was Moore's absurd agitprop Fahrenheit 9/11. The movie failed to deliver John Kerry the presidency, and despite making a lot of money, was overall a failure to shift culture against President Bush. However, Nolte had a bit of fun describing what the movie would be like today to have the same sort of attempted impact and mindset about the president:
[imagine a movie which] Puts forth the theory that President Obama is a Manchurian candidate — a foreign-born Muslim terrorist-sympathizer in league with the likes of Bill Ayers and Louis Farrakhan to bring down the United States from within.
That's pretty much the level of crazy that F 9/11 was. Thankfully for the Iraqi people, Moore failed to end the attempt to liberate them and failed to topple President Bush.

While the Chicago Tribune tries really hard to soften the blow by claiming Mayor Daley was wonderful for Chicago schools, the painful news is still painful. Here's the key sentence:
As recently as 2004, a Thomas B. Fordham Institute study found that 39 percent of CPS teachers sent their own kids to private schools.
Yeah. The teachers at Chicago schools would rather send their kids to any other school than the one they work for. These being the same schools which a younger Barack Obama was nominated by Bill Ayers to head up the Annenberg Challenge, a multi million dollar fund to help make the schools better. Guess he failed.

I haven't written about Pigford because other places have handled it much better, but basically the Obama administration used this old farming community to hand out reparations to people who were allegedly abused by rich farmers. There were whites abused, but only blacks got reparations. There were a small number of limited people who qualified, but as much as fifty times as many signed up. And the lawyer for the largest group recently admitted that his clients "got away with murder" in a recent video slip up. Don't expect any sort of whistleblowing or investigation into this incident despite the rampant fraud and misuse of funds in a questionable program to begin with. It would be racist to even consider it.

Syracuse Law school has had an anonymously penned satirical blog which has for the last school year been producing fake news like how a beer bong was elected class president. Its all in good fun, but one particularly prudish and bitter law professor didn't care for it. So he began investigating the site to shut it down and punish the proprietor. Adam Kissel write for the New York Post:
Law professor Gregory Germain (the "prosecutor" of this case in the school's judicial system) began investigating Len two months ago, and has kept Len completely in the dark for the whole two months. Who are the accusers? Which blog post was harassing? Len doesn't know. How could he even start to defend himself?

Knowing that universities can't defend in public what they try to do in private, Len sought to draw attention to these abuses. But Germain is now seeking a gag order that would severely hurt Len's efforts to publicize his situation. Germain wants to require any journalist reporting on the case to sign away the right to publish any case document unless the document is published whole. No excerpts, no quotations.

Germain knows full well that this would essentially prevent Audaer from appealing to the court of public opinion, leaving him no choice but to silently accept the findings of a campus judiciary that seems determined to get him.
Syracuse bylaws promise students "the right to express themselves freely on any subject" and "the right to fundamental fairness," but this student faces expulsion for being satirical about the school.

Apparently Cuba banned the Michael Moore movie Sicko despite its attempt to portray the Cuban medical care system as the best in the world and US health care as the worst. In typical Moore agitprop (read: lies to manipulate viewers) manner, Sicko shows Cuba in the most glowing possible terms. However Cuba was apparently worried that it would anger Cubans who have horrendous medical care when they are shown what visitors and heads of state enjoy. Note: Moore has sued to force the Guardian (where I got this story) to take it down.

Finally, if you're curious about literature and the frequency of word use, Google has an interesting tool you can use. Google has been putting as many books as it can get online for free reading, and you can search all these books for words. With the Ngram Viewer tool you can pick two words like "gay" and "happy" and see what their frequency of use was across any length of time they have records for (they're roughly equal, except a small spike in the use of the word "happy" after WW2 and a gigantic spike of the word "gay" once it became associated with homosexuality).

And that's the Word Around the Net, December 23, 2010.

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