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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, January 29, 2010

BETTER PARENTING THROUGH STATEISM

"I would urge Kerry to use all the support that is being made available to her and her baby and to get appropriate help should she need it."

I think most of us can think of parents we've heard of or seen that we figured probably weren't equipped or inclined properly to be parents. People too dim or foolish to carry out the incredibly difficult, critical task of raising children. People you wish wouldn't breed, like most celebrities or politicians.

In England, they decided to make this policy. According to the Daily Mail, Kerry Robertson and Mark McDougall were told that they would have their child taken away if they had one by social services, upon whom they were depending for food and shelter. Ms Robertson is 17 and has some learning difficulties. Mr McDougall is 25 and likes dumb, young girls. They fled to Ireland and had their child, but the British government still came and got the kid.

I... I have to admit I'm conflicted. I really wish there was some way to stop really stupid or lousy parents from having kids. If someone could work up a test you had to pass, for instance. There are really some people who should never have kids, such as Courtney Love or Charlie Sheen.

On the other hand, I don't trust the government to be able to make that choice or enforce it properly. After all, there have been idiotic and awful parents as long as humans have been on this earth, and we still seem to be making it. And really almost all parents are pretty terrible at first at least - nobody can really prepare you for the job, and its a pretty unusual parent that will even consider advice from people who've been there before, especially their own folks.

And think about it. The more dependent you become upon the government, the more power they have over you until this kind of thing seems reasonable and logical. After all, that money has to be handled carefully, and you can't let just anyone have kids if its a burden on all of us, right? But by all means, lets keep expanding the government and give them greater power over all aspects of our life. It feels so much safer and more caring to let them handle everything. Don't think. Just obey. And vote, for more power.

Oh, and here we have another alleged man who watched the government come and take his child away without even putting up the slightest amount of fight. Apparently the British lion has been castrated.

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Indeed the two authors are not even scientists or specialists on the Amazon: one is an Australian policy analyst, the other a freelance journalist for the Guardian and a green activist."

You've probably seen this but I had to report on it anyway: Ford Motor Company, the one US Auto company smart enough to avoid the bailouts GM and Chrysler pathetically begged congress for has reported a $2.7 billion profit for 2009. Good for them, that means lots of people working and lots of input to the economy. Government run auto companies continue to struggle despite huge ad campaigns. People seem to not want to buy companies from a business so retarded they ran themselves into the ground then got taken over by the US government and unions.

Yet another scandal is rocking the alarmist world. Global warming hysterics have long claimed absurdities such as 1.78 acres of rainforest (jungle) being destroyed per second, and people like me have long been skeptical since we still seem to have hundreds of millions of acres of rain forest in the world despite this claim being repeated since the 1980s. Now we find that in the 2007 IPCC report - the same one with the deliberately fraudulent Himalayan Glacier report - it claims that 40% of the jungles of the world are in danger from global warming. Richard at EU Referendum reports that this claim was based on a journalist's statement in a World Wildlife Federation (a leftist organization with its own problems with facts). And the article quoted was not even about global warming:
The clue, perhaps, lies in the title of the article, which is, "Large-scale Impoverishment of Amazonian Forests by Logging and Fire" – i.e., it is not about climate change.
...
Thus, from an assertion (IPCC) that "up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation", we see this relying on a statement (Rowell & Moore) that "up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall." But that seems to rely solely on the assertion that: "Logging companies in Amazonia kill or damage 10-40% of the living biomass of forests through the harvest process."
The IPCC didn't even use the original paper, they used a Nature magazine report on the paper which altered the conclusions because that was closer to what they found useful. The truth marches on, even if alarmists scream at us to pay no attention to that fraud behind the curtain.

Scorpions fans, there's an important message on the band's website. I'll reproduce it here for you:
It was always our pleasure, our purpose in life, our passion and we were fortunate enough to make music for you - whether it was live on stage or in the studio, creating new songs.

While we were working on our album these past few months, we could literally feel how powerful and creative our work was – and how much fun we were still having, in the process. But there was also something else: We want to end the Scorpion’s extraordinary career on a high note. We are extremely grateful for the fact that we still have the same passion for music we’ve always had since the beginning. This is why, especially now, we agree we have reached the end of the road. We finish our career with an album we consider to be one of the best we have ever recorded and with a tour that will start in our home country Germany and take us to five different continents over the next few years.

We want you, our fans, to be the first to know about this. Thank you for your never-ending support throughout the years!

We uploaded the very first snippets from our new album for you.

And now… let’s get the party started and get ready for a “Sting in the Tail”!

See you on the world tour,

Yours

Scorpions
I have heard their most recent work, and while it is musically skillful the old Scorpions power from albums such as Blackout simply isn't there any longer. I guess there really only are so many good songs in any of us, and eventually you run out. Still, I want to hear their latest work. They have short parts of two of their new songs on the site Raised On Rock and The Good Die Young. Neither seems as great as their best work such as Can't Live Without You and Rock You Like a Hurricane or even The Zoo but the bits are so short its difficult to know for sure.

Another abortion clinic has killed a client. Of all the different medical procedures, its seems like this one ends up killing an awful lot of people for being "one of most common and safest surgical procedures performed in the United States," as abortion clinics assure their lucrative clients. Police are investigating the A1 Queens Clinic over the death of someone there. No one is investigating the thousands of previous deaths there because they were too young to afford a lawyer.

Often the most absurd things are done in the name of well meaning. For example, the board game Dad's Army, which allows you to play hapless British Home Guard troops which never got action in WW2 (based on a hit TV series), was banned from E-Bay. Why? Fay Schlesinger at the Daily Mail reports:
The auction website has banned from sale a board game based on the much loved comedy series, calling it 'offensive material' that could 'promote violence, hatred, racial or religious intolerance'.

The family game features on its lid the swastikas and Union Flag symbols instantly recognisable from the opening titles of the series.

The board itself shows Walmingtonon-on-Sea, which has been occupied by Nazi troops.

Players roll a dice to collect 'bombs' and 'landmines' before swiping swastika markers off the board and replacing them with British flags to reclaim territory.

The aim is to get members of the platoon, including Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson and Corporal Jones, to a 'safe' location while watching out for the enemy.
I understand not wanting to sell or advertise things that promote racism or even Nazism but the people who come up with these policies also have to allow for some intelligence and discernment as well.

Michael Ledeen, writing at Pajamas Media has such a great quote I wanted to pass it on here:
Banks are not lending, companies are not hiring, because they are afraid of what Obama will do next. Both are afraid of onerous taxes, including new health care burdens, and the banks fear new regulations and the consequences of the recently declared war on evil bankers by the president.
In essence, the specter of socialism and radical leftist ideas is crippling the US Economy which, if left alone and under wiser guidance, would have been recovering or recovered by now. The entire economy is acting like a hurricane may hit any day, hoarding food and boarding up windows instead of going out and getting things done. I don't think President Bush's State of the Union speech or House Speaker Pelosi's endless quest to pass the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act are helping any.

Related to the quote above is this warning by the Chairman of the National Policy Center for Analysis which I think congress would do well to heed:
The top personal income tax rate will rise next Jan. 1 to 39.6% from 35%, a hike of nearly one-eighth. The dividend tax rate will rise to 39.6%, more than 2½ times the current 15%. And the capital gains tax rate will rise by a third, to 20% from 15%. If the House health care bill had passed, all three of these rates would have risen to 45%.

The estate tax, which fell to zero this year under the Bush tax cuts, will return in 2011--or sooner, if Congress acts to restore it. Another likely tax increase will be on the income of private equity and hedge-fund managers, from the capital gains rate of 15% to the new higher income tax rates. It has already been passed by the House and is supported by the Obama administration, as is an additional 10-year, $90 billion tax on banks aimed at "rolling back bonuses for top earners." It would affect some 50 banks, insurance companies, and large broker-dealers.

Meanwhile a number of last year's tax deductions have disappeared due to the failure of Congress to extend them into this year. The tax deduction for state and local sales taxes is one; the deduction for college tuition and fees is another; and the 50% write-off for small businesses for capital purchases--equipment, machinery or building a new plant--has disappeared as well, which will have a negative effect upon the construction of new business operation facilities.
Lets say you have a business. The president keeps doing things which slow or harm the economy and keeps promising to do more (cap and trade, health insurance takeover, etc). You know that the tax cuts under President Bush are due to sunset this year and all congress has to do to let that huge tax increase take place is do nothing. How motivated are you to hire new people, expand your business, invest, or even hang on to people you do not absolutely 100% need to stay open? Mr Ledeen predicts economic damage of 3-4%, in inflation, contraction rather than growth, and unemployment. Lets hope that's all it is, because there's simply no chance they'll extend any of those tax policies.

Meanwhile, in Oregon, the government here isn't interested in cutting the bloat in its budget, and instead begged taxpayers to pass a tax increase on themselves. For the first time in 70 years - despite polls indicating few people claim to have voted for it - two tax increases passed. I can only hope that, once the nation digs out of this incredibly idiotic economic blunder, people will know better than to trust the left on fiscal and economic policy for at least a generation or two.

President Obama is calling for the space program to be slashed. After more than thirty years, NASA was finally planning to send more people to the moon, but now that program looks doomed. I hate seeing space funding killed, and I normally would loudly oppose such a cut but... after spending trillions of dollars on pork, leftist dreams, and "green investment" the US government simply cannot afford to do what it ought to and what will actually benefit us. However, having slashed the space program, the president wants NASA to spend that money instead on earth and climate monitoring programs so we can check for... you guessed it... global warming. In essence, Obama wants the entire Bush Vision for Space Exploration program gone.

President Obama is calling for a freeze on various spending. For example he wants to freeze executive department salaries on people making over a certain amount, for one year. He's calling for congress to freeze other spending as well. That's great - and certainly just stopping automatic increases on spending balanced the budget by the Republican congress during the Clinton administration, over his objections and 3 previous budget submissions. Its not enough, and after immensely bloated spending and calls for even more by the president it strikes me as more symbolic than real, its always good to see government talking about at least not spending more. Baby steps to cuts, maybe. And the salary freeze is at least something he can do as president. Congress has to do the rest.

Wisconsin set up a rule for its prisons: you cannot play Dungeons and Dragons. In one sense I have to laugh, do they think the prisoners will learn to cast Dimension Door and escape? Do they think the game leads to rampant LARPing and geek behavior? In another, however, I don't much care. The guy who was in the test case wanting to play D&D killed someone with a sledgehammer. I don't have much pity for guys like that. Take away all his privileges, as far as I'm concerned. Still its pretty silly, and the federal court decision (pdf file) that upheld this ruling is quizzical as well.

Union membership continues to collapse, down 10% last year from the previous year. Meanwhile the influence and power of especially public employee unions continues to climb. Well, what do you expect, a union made up of people who make and execute government policy which will help unions can only get more powerful. Too bad their head is such a loon, it seems like eventually that will catch up to them.

Rock the Vote is MTV's political department, and although it alleges to be non partisan (it has to, in order to qualify as a nonprofit organization) as Jeremy Boreing at Big Hollywood reports:
Rock the Vote is a nonpartisan organization. This means that we do not support or endorse candidates nor do we participate in any activities that could benefit one party over another. There are many laws governing our work as a nonpartisan organization and we take our non partisanship seriously.
It plainly is not, as it always and every time promotes Democrats and leftist ideals. In fact their missions statement plainly says that's their goal:
Rock the Vote’s mission is to engage and build the political power of young people in order to achieve progressive change in our country.
Their latest scheme is to push the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act, which at this point seems doomed. Somehow I'm not confident that the Obama justice department under Eric "black men cannot break the law" Holder will act against Rock the Vote despite its repeated violations of nonprofit status.

Speaking of Eric Holder, Justice Department bloggers continue to violate federal law by their work, although they claim their work is merely new media specialists. New Media sources have been following this story for a while now, but so far the legacy media is just not interested at all. If they can successfully ignore a story, large numbers of the voting public never hear about it, and that's all the power the legacy media has left. The work of these bloggers is said primarily to monitor sites adversarial to this administration and to send out talking points to those friendly to it - which shows up pretty obviously in sites like Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo.

"Stimulus" money has been sent in large sums to Planned Parenthood to help them build abortion clinics around the nation. Technically the money they got cannot be used to set up clinics for abortions, but it helps them build Planned Parenthood (which ironically actually means to help people avoid being parents) branches around the country, freeing up their other funds for abortion clinics. And given how fast and loose Planned Parenthood is with the truth when it comes to abortion, who knows how it will be spent. Its like giving money to a drug addict only to buy food with. Even if he obeys, that frees up his other money for drugs.

Amazingly, the Washington Post has surprised me with is blatant and excessive bias recently. Here's how they reported a huge public uprising to send the first Republican to congress from Massachusetts in almost half a century:
At 9:30 on Thursday morning, the Republican state senator arrived by US Airways shuttle at Reagan National Airport, though he rode a GMC-driving everyman image and a wave of Tea Party-stoked, establishment-financed frustration into the U.S. Senate seat of Jack and Teddy Kennedy.
Well, at least they didn't say teabaggers.

Something you should read, if you're curious why I keep talking about government waste and failed leftist ideas, is Andrew Coulson's article at Pajamas Media about the Head Start program Lyndon Johnson pushed for and got congress to pass. In essence, we learn of a test which revealed that the program has spent over 160 billion dollars and gotten virtually no results. Coulson writes:
Out of 44 separate cognitive tests given to former Head Start students at the end of the first grade, only two showed even marginally significant effects. The other 42 showed no statistically significant effect at all.
And once statisticians adjusted for random fluke results, even those two marginal successes vanished. $166,000,000,000 down the drain for nothing. Good thing Democrats in congress voted to increase funding for this program.

*This just in: Obama's Justice Department has ended the corruption investigation into New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson - once seemingly the only sane choice for Democrat voters as President. Richardson was being investigated for using his office to throw friends money and influence, but after four years the case was suddenly closed without comment or explanation. In a completely unrelated story, long time Clinton friend Bill Richardson suddenly changed from supporting Hillary for president to Obama during the tightly contested primary elections.

*Also breaking is news that the last quarter US economic growth was over 4%, some estimating as much as 5.7%! Given the last few numbers on the economy to come out of the federal government, its wisest to wait for the revised numbers in a few days or weeks to be sure.

And that's the Word Around the Net for January 29, 2010

THE 57 VARIETIES

"Beanz Meanz Heinz"

Did you ever wonder what the 57 varieties of Heinz ketchup were? How on earth could anyone come up with 57 types of ketchup to begin with? Well first off the varieties aren't of ketchup at all. They don't even claim that, if you look closer at the label. What they are advertising is the different condiments and products that the Heinz company offers.

James Lileks at his Bleat webpage gives us the whole list, courtesy an old Heinz ad:


I'm not sure they even offer all these, such as "India Relish" (presumably chutney) and "cooked macaroni." Still, the slogan lives on.

An anecdote about Heinz 57. Joe Dimaggio was one of the greatest Yankees of all time, indeed one of the greatest baseball players of all time. In the 1941 season, he started a hitting streak that shattered all previous records. Game after game, he hit and hit, and as he kept adding another game with at least one hit, the Heinz company came up with a great idea.

They offered Joe a $10,000 contract if he could hit safely in 57 straight games. Mind you back then that was a lot of cash, the biggest endorsement deal in the world at the time. Sadly, Joe's streak ended at 56 (although he started up right after that with another hitting streak). If I were the Heinz company I'd have still hired him and had him say as great as his streak was it still wasn't as great as 57 - Heinz 57.

At this time, Heinz has more like 57,000 products, as they own such brand names as Weight Watchers, Boston Market, and Ore-Ida. Oh, by the way, the company that owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster is Purina, the pet food company. Which might explain the quality if their food. They used to own Jack-In-The-Box as well.

Quote of the Day

"It isn't just that Reagan was a Great Communicator, though he was that, but that he is in communion with the American people."
-Francois Mitterand

Thursday, January 28, 2010

JUST WAIT A WHILE

"If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone."
-Phil Jones, Warmaquiddick Email

When the Warmaquiddick story first broke, one of the first questions many people asked was "how are they avoiding prosecution for failing to deliver information upon freedom of information requests?" Even though Michael "Piltdown" Mann is in Eastanglia, the UK has freedom of information laws as well, requiring people who receive public funds to deliver paperwork and materials upon proper request.

The men working at this alarmist study center (Hadley CRU) refused to comply with such requests and in the uncontested emails even told each other to stonewall and destroy data to prevent the "wrong" people from getting their hands on it. Now, when the whole thing has blown up, we find that they somehow managed to "lose" most of the data their most basic studies and pertinent findings are based upon.

So how is it that there have been no criminal charges? Because in England, all you have to do is stall long enough. Ben Webster and Jonathan Leake at the Times report:
The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.
...
A spokesman for the ICO said: “The legislation prevents us from taking any action but from looking at the emails it’s clear to us a breach has occurred.” Breaches of the act are punishable by an unlimited fine.
Basically, if you delay six months, then you can ignore the law. It can take longer than six months just to get the bureaucracy moving in some places, let alone to get a court case acted on. At present this law is utterly useless. As the man who initiated the Freedom of Information (FOI) request, an engineer named Holland, puts it:
The prosecution has to be initiated within six months but you have to exhaust the university’s complaints procedure before the commission will look at your complaint. That process can take longer than six months.”
There is work now in place to change the law so that you can still nail someone longer than six months after the request. Small wonder government lawyer types in the parliament would want to make it easy to blow off FOI requests, but the way the law is written, its utterly useless.

Still, you can't say Hadley CRU or the alarmist movement is getting away with anything. Their entire theory is melting away faster than Al Gore's version of arctic ice disappearance, and the head of the unit Phil Jones stepped down while the inquiries were taking place.

ZINNY NEWS

Howard Zinn, lying communist and history revisionist is dead at 87. Undaunted, the movie director Oliver Stone, hot off of a string of failures and awful movies is going to make a TV show based on Zinn's demented view of US history. Dozens anticipate watching.

AN OLD VASE

"Why can't I ever stumble across something like this in my place?"

There's a show on television I catch once in a while that seems like it will be amazingly dull and dry. The format is as dull as you can imagine, with no special graphics or exciting music. The presentation lacks the usual "reality show" hyped-up crises and conflict which mars other television programs I enjoy such as Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. Yet Antiques Road Show is just fun to watch. Sometimes the antiques are fascinating, sometimes the treasures that people had but were unaware of are shocking, and overall its just a surprisingly entertaining show.

Like the little stories of treasures in the attic sometimes featured on Antiques Road Show, a story ran in the Daily Mail today about an elderly couple. They had an old Chinese-style vase which they used as an umbrella stand in their Dorset home of England. Wanting to make a little money, they took it to an auctioneer to see what he could get for it. The auctioneer thought there was more to the vase than the elderly couple believed, so he took it to several appraisers. Then the story gets more interesting:
Further research showed the blue and white piece found in the Purbeck area of Dorset was an imperial vase and almost certainly made for the Emperor Qianlong in about 1740.

Although it is thought it could be worth as much as £500,000, its value could have been double that price had it not been damaged.
...
'In perfect condition it would be worth a great deal more. There is also a possibility that it once belonged to the family of Florence Nightingale.'
Sadly, the vase has a crack and it has been splashed with a bit of paint, which adds to its story (provenance) but detracts from the total value. An emperor's vase in the hallway with umbrellas in it is a pretty fun little tale - so fun that apparently a very similar story was used a few years ago in a British television show.

These people will have a nice bit of money to live in comfort with in their old age, which is great for them. Of course, you have to wonder, how did an emperor's vase get to Great Britain?

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Who is this?


Hint: He was a powerful leader
Hint: He always had bad hair
Hint: He wrote a best-seller

Answer after the break!

That's Hitler, as a baby.

Quote of the Day

"So where are we at twelve months? Obama showed the country his vision of where he wanted us to go; he had both houses of Congress, a toady media, and enormous personal popularity — and he is getting nowhere. Why? Because most Americans are vehemently opposed to taking their country in the direction that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid would prefer."
-Victor Davis Hanson

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CUTE CHUB

"I'd kill myself if I looked that fat."
-Elizabeth Hurley about Marilyn Monroe

HOT
The website Moxie has a letter from a girl who is a little overweight (by modern society's standards) and she has a concern. She asks:
Why do I have such awesome family and friends who love me deeply, and I can make friends at the drop of a hat and always could, but I cannot for the life of me attract anyone even long enough to flirt, let alone date or marry?
...
Why am I so undateable? Is weight really that important when I take care of myself, I am clean, I am thoughtful, I dress the best I can afford? I have a big heart and would really take care of a man. What gives? Why am I stood up so much and why am I left so quickly? I don't even get clingy because I know that it drives men away, so I'm even aware and steer clear of that! Honestly are looks THAT important that a simple girl can't date just because I don't look like a magazine model? Is weight so important that I am undateable until I reach my goal weight? Should I give up on dating altogether unless I can weigh 125 pounds???
Moxie responds with a few thoughts including this:
What I hear in your letter in sadness and hopelessness. I can only imagine what men see and feel when they meet you. And I'm not saying that to be cruel. I'm saying that so you can become more aware of how intuitive people can be. You don't want people to be able to see this fear in you. They'll prey on it or you'll attract others who secretly harbor fear and insecurity. Therapy, therapy, therapy. That's what you need. There's no doubt in my mind that your mental health and your physical health are absolutely connected. Meaning, you're eating your feelings. Food is something we can control and that gives us comfort. But food can't replace what it is that's truly missing - self-esteem.
Now I think she's got some good things to say here and I'll address those, but there's another possibility that she doesn't touch on first. This woman is having no luck finding a guy to date or even have a relationship with except some creeps who basically play on her insecurities and feed her lines. She doesn't give much information about where she's looking for men but we have a few clues.

First, she mentions a dating site. I strongly encourage everyone alive to avoid online dating, not just from personal experience, but from basic reason. What people say online in a dating site may have absolutely nothing to do with who they are or what they are like. You have no way of knowing. In person you can pick up clues, you can see them in context. If someone says they are 6'2 and built like a linebacker, or that they are making 6 figures a year and have ambition, you can tell whether that's true in person. Online its anybody's guess.

Further, what you learn online doesn't give you even a 10th of what you need to know about someone to form any sort of relationship. You can learn a lot of facts about someone, but you don't get to know them. It's like reading a book about the grand canyon versus visiting the place for real. It's like hearing someone describe a thunderstorm versus experiencing one. Its like someone explaining what love is like versus being in love. You learn more facts about someone online in a shorter time than in person, but you learn more of who someone really is in person much faster and more completely than online.

It isn't that people can't lie or be artificial in person, or that you cannot be dazzled by appearance or what you hope to be true in person. Its that it is so much easier online, and you learn so little about what you really need to know. Don't. Date. Online. It can work, sometimes, but much less often than real life and that works out so rarely as it is.

The other hint we get is that she slept with some guy shortly after meeting him. Then he went away and ignored her. Here's a clue: if all a guy is after is sex, once he gets it he's got what he wants and is after more exciting and newer scores. Its like a game for this kind of guy, once he hits the goal line, its time to move on. If you give it up, he wins, and you lose. Don't sleep with a guy after a date or two, because he gets a very clear message: easy to get, not worth much, and I am such a stud I can score with a hotter babe.

Again, that's not always necessarily the case, but chances are, that's what you'll get - if you're lucky that's all you'll get.

Now, as for the points Moxie made, I have a few things to add. She's right that this woman seems really unhappy with her weight. She claims to be "proportionate" and that she "carries herself with pride." I hope that's true, because its really attractive. A few stats:

Marilyn Monroe was about 5'5" tall. She weighed as much as 140 pounds, and wore a size 12 dress (which today is roughly size 8) at her heaviest, and she was as thin as 118 when she was young. Her weight fluctuated like most women. She looked hot, always. She's considered the sexiest movie star of all time, and men of all ages have seen her as absolutely beautiful.

Women: do you weight 140 pounds and wear a size 8 dress? Are you fat and hideous as a result? In a certain sense, it isn't fair to compare yourself with Miss Monroe, who was a genetic freak and uniquely sexy. She was astonishingly pretty and the way she approached life and walked simply oozed sexuality. Her every waking moment was to project sexiness and I fear there was a lot wrong with her mentally, but the fact remains: she was hot.

See, its not the pounds or the dress size or the measurements that work for a woman. You can be "too heavy" by anorexic Hollywood and modeling standards, yet still be amazingly attractive. Even in Hollywood women like Drew Barrymore or Kate Winslet who can be pretty chubby are really attractive. It has more with how you're built and how you approach life.

You know what's really unattractive? Women who order a lemon wedge and a leaf of lettuce when you get lunch. Women who seem terrified that walking by a vending machine put an inch on their hips. Women who work out neurotically because they're terrified of gaining a pound. If you are obsessed with being thin and how you look it shows up in your personality and while you might make a nice trophy to bed or have around for show, you're miserable company.

You know what's really attractive? A girl who has fun, isn't terrified to eat, is soft and warm to hold, and who is more interested in who they're with than how they look. There's grotesquely corpulent and unhealthy and then there's curvy and hot.

Kielbasa manRemember: just because a guy looks at a picture and suddenly acts like a Tex Avery cartoon wolf doesn't mean he wants you to look like that. He may, and its probably time to find another guy then, but he probably doesn't. You do the same thing, ladies. You look at a picture of some ripped muscle bound dude packing a Kielbasa in his shorts, and squeal. Does that mean you want to keep that guy? Not necessarily, at least not longer than a few days.

The packaging isn't nearly as important as who's inside. When the packaging matters is when you become unhealthy, not when you violate some ever-varying standard a few gay guys at cocktail parties invent for the latest fashion season. If the packaging is the supreme concern of a guy you're better off without him no matter how rich and charming he may seem to be.

Don't get nasty fat, but don't obsess over your weight either. Be happy, be comfortable, have fun, and be someone people would like to be around. That matters far more than a hot bod.

WHO IS ELLIE LIGHT?

"Do not go into the light!"
-Diane, Poltergeist

There's a story that's been moving around blogs lately I had to talk about. At first it wasn't very interesting to me; someone was writing newspapers and commenting on sites under the name Ellie Light, pretending to be from specific areas and posting exactly the same thing everywhere. It was a basic leftist propaganda piece about supporting Obama and how we need health care reform, etc. Some speculated the Axelrod astroturf machine was active again, certainly it was busy during the 2008 election season when dozens of these junk posts showed up all over the internet.

Yet as time went on, for some reason this time, the story became of interest to the legacy media, and they looked into it. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer got a call from "Ellie Light" and the story went like this:
...her real name is Barbara Brooks. Or so she told The Plain Dealer today after a series of phone interviews, e-mails and records checks involving Brooks/Light, a family member, licensing records and property information.

The 51-year-old woman provided her address on Monday night to The Plain Dealer, and what she says is her real name in conversations today that followed checks of public records.

As for the name: Brooks says she picked "Ellie Light" out of the blue. "It just sort of came to me," she said. "Apparently to everyone else on the Internet, it has much significance."
But the story doesn't end here. Later, the newspaper got another call, also from someone calling themselves Barbara Brooks:
But there's one problem: A woman in Texas named Barbara Brooks - who knows a lot about this whole scam, whose information turns up in some of the above-mentioned records, now says the person with the husky voice is actually a male acquaintance.

He sent letters to newspapers using the name "Ellie Light" - one of the pseudonyms he has used over several years - and now, is using Brooks' name, she said.
It turns out this man, posing as a woman, called up claiming to be another woman. Why did he use the Ellie Light psuedonym? Because he was afraid of right wing extremists, no doubt the domestic terrorists the Obama state department warned about, crazies who believe in small government and are often suspiciously in the military.

Here's the kicker: apparently Ellie Light is this guy's wife. So he's so terrified of the Fox News Militia that he's using a fake name, but apparently not afraid for his wife.

The more you hear about this tale, the crazier it gets - and the more it discredits the man's message and what he's trying to accomplish, whatever that was, by writing newspapers and other places.

Yet this is sort of comments related, so I had to include it on my blog.

*Hat Tip to the Ace of Spades Headquarters for this story.

AVATAR MOUNTAINS

"Just relax and let your mind go blank. That shouldn't be too hard for you."

In china there are some of the most stunning examples of what is called "karst topography" in the world. Geologists believe this topography typically forms by erosion, with softer stone eroded between harder sections or in channels, resulting in spires and patterns which can be gigantic. If you've seen the movie For Your Eyes Only, the end was atop a spire in Greece which is a great example of what can result from this kind of erosion.

China has an entire region called the Southern Sky Column Mountains which is made up of this kind of stunning geology. Here are a few pictures of the place:



According to Reuters news service, the Chinese government news website is reporting that a Hollywood photographer traveled to the region in 2008 and took pictures of the stunning scenery. Those pictures then became the basis for the floating mountains in the film Avatar by James Cameron.


Now, Ziangiajie province in which these mountains may be found is changing the name of the region to Avatar Mountains.
Chinese cinemas last week began taking the 2D version of Avatar off their screens to make way for domestic movies over the upcoming Chinese new year holiday, though the wildly popular 3D version is still available.

"Avatar" has so far made around $80 million in China, and has become the country's most popular film ever.

Zhangjiajie hopes to capitalize on that fame.

Tourists can now join a "Magical tour to Avatar-Pandora" or a "Miracle tour to
Avatar's floating mountain," the Zhangjiajie branch of China International Travel Service Corp said on its website.
Why this movie is so big continues to baffle me - were it not animated, it would be a pretty minor film (the story is pretty old and lame by even the accounts of its biggest fans). Its made more money than most of the Star Wars films and even adjusted for inflation Avatar is one of the biggest worldwide earners in history. The effects are said to be stunning and the animation quite amazing but is that really enough to justify this much interest and money? Apparently it is for many.

Small wonder an American-bashing movie with mystical nature-worshipping elements does well in China, and you have to tip your hat to Cameron for finally making an anti American military propaganda movie which made money.

Quote of the Day

"The big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me."
-President Obama reassuring congressmen about the 2010 elections

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A WHIPPING POST

"Satan sees women as half his soldiers."
-Sheikh Taj din al Hilali

Islam is not merely a religion but an entire way of life. It defines culture, law, politics, art, and every other aspect of one's life where other religions tend to focus more on the personal and ethical considerations of life which then influence and affect the rest. Islamic scripture (the Koran and the Hadith) does not simply teach salvation and right living, but how to run courts, governments, families, how to entertain, even things such as how to wipe after potty, to use childrens' language.

When you read the Koran and the history behind it you get a pretty good feel for why and how some of it was written. There are three basic stages in the Koran, in order in the book and in history. The first is when Muhammad first started out, writing what he said were revelations from an angel. This part is very peaceful and primarily calls for right living, warns of coming judgment, and condemns religious corruption in the world. This part is my favorite part, it is the most poetic and well-written section.

The second section is the more martial one. This is where Muhammad was trying to conquer various parts of the Arabic world and wrote to encourage and stir up his believers. As situations came up he had to have answers for, he wrote more on how to behave in war, what to do with prisoners, and why they were fighting to conquer these places to begin with. This is the part with most of the "kill the infidel" parts in it.

The third section is after Muhammad has defeated most of his enemies, although he never was able to conquer Jerusalem and set up his center of worship there, and he wrote about how to govern and live. By this time, Muhammad was very wealthy and had many wives - more than he allowed other Muslims to have, but he was The Prophet of course, so he had special dispensation. It is at this point which he starts, as he ages, to write more and more about women. The last sections of the Koran deal almost exclusively with women and are increasingly critical and restrictive.

I get the impression that while having dozens of wives is a big status symbol and seems fine in theory it was actually not as much fun as he thought. What a bitter and unhappy Muhammad wrote about wives and women in general became not just sacred scripture but canonic law.

And that is how this news story came about, courtesy Dean Nelson in the Telegraph:
A 16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault.

The girl's father was also fined and warned the family would be branded outcasts from their village if he did not pay.

According to human rights activists, the girl, who was quickly married after the attack, was divorced weeks later after medical tests revealed she was pregnant.
There is no justice for women in an Islamic nation. Women are not second-class citizens, they aren't citizens at all. They are property of the men, to be used however those men see fit.

When a woman is raped, the presumption is not that she was abused by a brutal attacker, but that she tempted the man into crazed sinful action and must be a wicked woman. Even if a woman manages to get a rape charge against a man, if five other men of good character testify that it was consensual - or that she tempted him into it - then he's found not guilty. In this case, he was considered guilty, but he was given a pardon and her father fined for not caring properly for the girl.

The girl is to be beaten for getting pregnant when raped. Why? Because women are presumed to be uncontrollably seductive, so powerfully sexual that they have to be kept out of the world, under wraps (literally) and under control lest some helpless and pious man be overwhelmed by her sexuality and forced to rape her. That's where the whole "cat meat" deal came from in Australia. The leading Islamic scholar in Australia, one Sheikh Taj din al Hilali declared:
“But when it comes to this disaster, who started it? In his literature, writer al-Rafee says, if I came across a rape crime, I would discipline the man and order that the woman be jailed for life. Why would you do this, Rafee? He said because if she had not left the meat uncovered, the cat wouldn’t have snatched it.”
See how it works? Her fault the man sinned. This case occurred in Pakistan, where the government of the country has officially told the local courts to stop doing this, but do nothing when it happens. The local police in many provinces of Pakistan are so radically Muslim themselves they don't help out and even encourage this sort of thing.

Islam doesn't have to be like this to women, witness places like Bosnia and even the US, where women are treated with significantly more respect. It just tends to be, not due to culture, but due to specific, overt statements in the Koran about how women are to be treated. Unless Islam can get some kind of reform, the religion is innately hostile toward women - and non Muslims.

UNSETTLED SCIENCE

"Once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend."
-Fraudulent IPCC report

One of the most-repeated and least-scientific refrains the alarmists repeated over the last decade was "the science is settled." Their argument was that people should shut up and stop questioning because they were done, the science was completed and now the only thing left to do is demolish civilization to stop a hypothetical doom.

Yet the very core of science is inquiry and question, it is a process, not a final conclusion. Science finds out more and studies and endeavors to understand; the discipline isn't about making absolute autocratic statements. What was believed to be true in the past sometimes is found to be not true, or at least incomplete as greater understanding develops. That's how science is supposed to work.

At times, you can get an alarmist to admit this. Tim Blair found one such example:
Professor Christopher Field, director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution in California, who is the new co-chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group overseeing the climate impacts report, said the 2007 report had been broadly accurate at the time it was written.

He said: “The 2007 study should be seen as “a snapshot of what was known then. Science is progressive. If something turns out to be wrong we can fix it next time around.”
The problem is, this was from the same body that claimed the science was settled, that peer-reviewed (read: alarmist buddies signed off on each others' work) science had made its final conclusion and we must act now! Where does professor Field's statement originate? Why, in a news story in the Times detailing yet another IPCC alarmist failure. Jonathan Leake writes about how they admit that their disaster mongering was, in fact, not true at all:
The new controversy also goes back to the IPCC's 2007 report in which a separate section warned that the world had "suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s".

It suggested a part of this increase was due to global warming and cited the unpublished report, saying: "One study has found that while the dominant signal remains that of the significant increases in the values of exposure at risk, once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend."

The Sunday Times has since found that the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, at the time the climate body issued its report.
Well, that's pretty bad, they insisted a single report was true without it being officially printed or even peer reviewed, the gold standard alarmists kept harping on about? Surely that changed later, right? Well, sort of:
When the paper was eventually published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses."

Despite this change the IPCC did not issue a clarification ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit last month. It has also emerged that at least two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts — but were ignored.
And you'll note that despite the 2008 clarification, Al Gore and the rest of the alarmists kept going on about the disasters which will soon be upon us all. And sure enough, every time there was some catastrophe, at least a few leading voices yelled "We told you so! Global warming!"

It gets worse. See, the man who did the study, a Mr Robert Muir-Wood, worked for a company called Risk Management Solutions and he wondered if the number of disasters, which seemed to be increasing, was linked to climate change. The actual study found that from 1950-2005 showed there was no actual increase in disasters. It just looked that way because the cost in lives and money was going up, but once you accounted for population growth and inflation, that increase went away. What he did find was that one time period (1970-2005) showed a 2% increase in disaster frequency, but he also noted that probably was explained by the unusually bad hurricane season from 2004-2005. The IPPC had seen enough, they noted only the 70-'05 period and didn't bother putting in his explanation.

In a way, Mr Field is right: what was presumed true once is sometimes learned to not be later, as the science develops. The problem is, alarmists refuse to believe that and refuse to heed anything that contradicts their presumptions. Further, they will grab things which are not even valid and pull pieces of it out to support their position while ignoring the rest. The Himalayan glacier debacle is just one more example of how this works.

We now know that the "himalayan glaciers will all be melted by 2035" claim was based on a guess by an unknown Indian scientist and simply repeated and treated as a fact by the IPCC and scientific journals. That scientist was not happy with how things turned out, and recently admitted something to the David Rose at the Daily Mail:
The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.
They knew it was false but put it in because it was politically helpful. Like the baldfaced, idiotic lie about polar bears being endangered, the himalayan glaciers was a convenient untruth that was put in reports for years just to juice them up and pressure political leaders to do what the alarmists wanted. There was no scientific foundation for this lie, it was just something that sounded good, it was too good to be not true, so they ran with it on the assumption that the IPCC was so respected and the momentum was so much on their side nobody would care or notice.

Why on earth do this? Well there are a couple reasons. The first and most noble are the alarmists who really believe what they're saying. These are the guys who have seen some of the data, reject the rest, and are convinced that human efforts are dooming the earth. For them, if they have to fudge the truth a little to get the point across, well that's okay because the ends justify the means. Over a decade ago one such scientist told Discover magazine:
To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.
Now Dr Schneider claims he was misquoted, or at least taken out of context, but even if that's true, his quote is what the IPCC and many alarmists have done.

Then there are the people for whom this is a business. One such man is the head of the IPCC, UN climate chief Rajendra Pachauri, who used the bogus Himalayan glacier claim, known at the time to be not just false but based on a non peer reviewed guess, to get rich:
Rajendra Pachauri's Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to £310,000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion's share of a £2.5m EU grant funded by European taxpayers.
...
The Carnegie money was specifically given to aid research into "the potential security and humanitarian impact on the region" as the glaciers began to disappear. Pachauri has since acknowledged that this threat, if it exists, will take centuries to have any serious effect.
The money was initially given to the Global Centre, an Icelandic Foundation which then channelled it, with Carnegie's involvement, to TERI.
This is just one example of the hundreds of millions of dollars being poured into alarmist pockets based on their claims, too many of which are now being revealed to be not just false or based on bad science, but knowingly fraudulent. There's good money in crying wolf, for a while.
I had a guarantee military sale with ED 209. Renovation program. Spare parts for 25 years. Who cares if it worked or not?
-Dick Jones, Robocop
And finally there are the ones for whom this is a political lever, a tool to achieve certain ends. These are the people for whom global warming was immediately accepted without even bothering to look into the science, because it fit what they figured - and perhaps even wanted - to be true. Mankind is bad, harmful to the world. Progress, civilization, and technology all hurt mother gaia and we need to band together to stop all of this! You can't hug your mother with nuclear arms! These are the people who consider you morally wrong for questioning the science, not just mistaken or misinformed. These are the ones who refuse to even consider the science which is demolishing alarmist claims at an astounding rate. Its too useful to their ideals for global warming to be true.

If the world can be convinced that incredible disaster looms on the horizon, then they can be forced into accepting things they normally wouldn't. Like a massive reduction in technology, advancement, and civilization. The destruction of much of the western world's infrastructure. The crippling of major economies. A socialist governing board to make sure the world acts a certain way. Why? Because its not fair that some countries are rich and others aren't. The US uses up too many resources, so it must suffer so that others can have some.

These are the people who are so foolish or ignorant that they beleive there's only so much money in the world and the US is taking too much, that poor people are only poor because others take from them and that the third world so often wallows in misery and tyranny not because of corruption and a worldview that leads to this, but because the western world oppresses and keeps them in that condition. So if the western world can be, through a convenient disaster scheme, be forced to give up huge sums of money and toss that at the third world, why, we can achieve a utopia of equality and at the same time stab a dagger into the heart of capitalism.

Of course, one alarmist can be one or all three of these at the same time. Al Gore may genuinely believe what he's saying, but he's clearly a con man trying to get rich, and it does promote a political agenda he strongly believes in as well.

Every week, sometimes every day that goes by, another major flaw is found in alarmist theory and the science behind global warming. Every time this happens, it is shown that these guys are wrong, and sadly all too often we see that they knew they were wrong and said it anyway.

Back in the 1980s and 90s, there was some reason to believe in the green house gas /human-caused global warming theories, because almost nothing was known about global climate or how atmospheric gasses truly contributed to climate. Over time more has been learned, and more is found out. Some of the data was shown to be flawed - the data from Michael "Piltdown" Mann deliberately so - and the more that's been learned, the less the global warming alarmist theories even make sense.

And that's what science is all about. Learning more, studying, questioning, and changing as the data changes. You cannot pick one theory or one system and declare it sacred and unquestionable no matter how useful it is to you or how much money you make off it. No matter what the theory is, it has to give way to the facts and the data which is found by careful, proper study and reality around us. Even if that theory is so very useful in explaining away that which we prefer not to believe or so useful in allegedly ushering in your personal utopia.

ORGANIZING OREGON

"Pledge to vote YES!"

So I got an email today. One of the dubious benefits of setting up a blog on Barack Obama's campaign website to mock him and post things that Obama voters wouldn't like about him (it was just ignored in the thousands of other blogs) is that from now on I'm on their mailing list. So every time President Obama sends out special emails to his pals, I get one.

Organizing America is President Obama's attempt to turn his success as a community organizer into success as a president. And by success as a community organizer I don't mean he helped the communities of Chicago in any tangible way, but instead that he moved his career along and was promoted to ever higher levels of political power. It is from Organizing America which I get emails and the latest is a bit of a curiosity. Here's the text:
Please make sure to drop off your ballot in Oregon's special election, which ends tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26th.

To find a list of local ballot drop sites, call or visit your county elections office.

And for information about the elections, please visit the Democratic Party of Oregon's website.

And don't forget -- you must drop off your ballots by 8:00 p.m. tomorrow for your vote to count.

Thank you,

Mitch

Mitch Stewart
Director
Organizing for America
Then there's a PS telling you to throw a party to watch the State of the Union speech. I'm 44 years old and I've watched 2 of these, they are uniformly dull, but I had to see the one President Bush gave after 9/11 and I sat and watched one with someone once, I don't even remember who the president was - it was that remarkable. Honestly I'm not sure why they even give these speeches.

Yet I do have to wonder why the president is trying to get people to vote in Oregon. And he doesn't just want people to exercise their civic duties, this isn't a general election of any sort. It is a special election for a couple of ballot measures, both of which are to raise taxes. See, in Oregon, the state constitution requires a majority vote of the public to pass a tax increase. It works well for us here, because it just never happens. The state gets by on raising other things, like property taxes (which were separate from the other taxes, and finally were stopped by a ballot measure when they were the highest in the nation by gross state product), fees, and fines. Things that once were free like a tag to park in front of your own house now cost money, for instance.

This time the push is on big time. They really, really want to raise taxes in the legislature because the alternative is to cut programs which help their buddies, promote leftist ideals, and assist the legislators in being reelected. When the choice is between cutting spending and raising taxes, every lawmaking body on earth simply ignores the former and lusts after the latter. Since Oregon's unemployment rate is higher than the national average, the state is having serious economic problems. Raising taxes would cause greater economic damage, but that doesn't stop the lying ads and the full court press with multi million dollar campaigns to pass the ballot measures.

So what is the president doing involved in this? His inclination is clear, he wants people to check the Democratic Party website for details on how to vote, and here's what they say:
We have just two short weeks to make sure that Oregonians get the facts, know what’s at stake, and Get Out The Vote! Right now, we’re winning, but winning on January 26 depends on getting all of our supporters to put their ballots in the mail right away.

A Yes vote protects the services we care about, including over $390 million for education and other services for children, funding for lifesaving prescription drugs and home care that helps low-income seniors remain independent. The Yes for Oregon campaign is running phone banks and neighborhood walks all across the state. Use this page to find volunteer opportunities in your county right now.
Vote yes on greater economic damage and fiscal irresponsibility! Its the Democrat way! When taxes are being raised, Democrats are winning. They'll allegedly count the ballots today, so we'll see how things turn out. I understand the President is the head of the party he belongs to, so I suppose there's something to his pushing the Oregon Democratic Party official position of higher taxes and greater spending, but is this really Organizing America?

PICTURE OF THE DAY



Who is this? Hint: he loves cowbell.
Another hint: he played an angel in a movie.
Another hint: he taught a young Bruce Willis about where his father kept a family heirloom during the war.
The answer after the break

This is a young Christopher Walken!

Quote of the Day

"America is becoming a bilingual society, divided between those who think a pickup is a rugged vehicle useful for transporting heavy-duty items from A to B and those who think a pickup is coded racism."
-Mark Steyn

Monday, January 25, 2010

THE MYTH OF THE GOLDEN TONGUE

"What we've got here is failure to communicate."
-The Captain, Cool Hand Luke

President Obama's team recently said that the reason Scott Brown won in Massachusetts is because he hadn't gotten his message out to the American people well enough:
"If there's one thing that I regret this year is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values."
See, the problem is he's been working so hard that he hasn't been speaking enough to the American people. Mark Steyn couldn't contain himself upon hearing this statement, and wrote recently in an article at National Review Online:
He only gave (according to CBS News’s Mark Knoller) 158 interviews and 411 speeches in his first year. That’s more than any previous president — and maybe more than all of them put together. But there may still be some show out there that didn’t get its exclusive Obama interview — I believe the top-rated Grain & Livestock Prices Report — 4 a.m. Update with Herb Torpormeister on WZZZ-AM Dead Buzzard Gulch Junction’s Newstalk Leader is still waiting to hear back from the White House.
All sarcasm aside, the last thing President Obama can rationally claim is that he hasn't been talking to the American people. Really, he has done more of that than anything else while in office. It's what he knows how to do: campaign, make speeches. Actual governing is a bit of a problem so he takes to the podium and the everpresent teleprompter to make another speech, another announcement, to give another interview. He preempted major television event after major television event to make another speech, and by now people start to roll their eyes when they hear the president is going to make another speech.

Yet the underlying assumption here is that everyone would just love what he was doing if only he would talk to them more. He's presuming that the natural inclination of America is to totally support vast debts, huge leftist schemes, and gigantic government takeovers, but they just are being misinformed and he's not getting his message out. That's pretty much the standard Democratic Party reason they aren't doing well. We aren't getting our message out.

Why is this their idea? Because one of the defining characteristics of the left - I know from the days when I was young and left leaning - is the belief that not only are people basically decent and waiting for the right person to reach out to them, but that being leftist means you have all the answers and are a brilliant, wonderful person who can easily persuade and convince anyone, if only given the chance. Those terrorists? Well, the little brown scamps, they're just angry because of what evil white Republicans have done to them, if you let me talk to then, why it would all be okay. My brilliant communicative abilities are so superior, if only given a chance I can change anyone's mind. Speak Truth to Power, brother and it will all be fine!

Nick Berg didn't find that to be the case. The truth is, some people will never, ever listen to you and are so evil and awful they do not care what the facts are or what you have to say. Most people will tend to reject arguments they haven't heard before about a topic they feel strongly because it challenges their presumptions and is often even frightening to them. If this which I felt so passionately about is untrue, what can I trust and believe in?

And the truth is, sometimes we're wrong. It happens to be regularly, I find more and more, the older I get, the more I have been mistaken about and the less I truly know. Even though I learn more and get a little wiser, that increasingly reveals all the other things I don't more and how foolish I still am. I cannot argue anyone into anything, the best I can do is to temporarily make them stop and think, and often it simply angers or intimidates them into shutting up just out of the hopes I'll go away.

Yet, let's assume somehow President Obama is right in this case, that he hasn't communicated enough with the American people. Sure he's been pretty much omnipresent, but for some reason that didn't connect and he needs to reconnect with the public. OK, if that's the case, mister President, why did people react so strongly against you and your policies?

Think about it. If it simply was a breakdown in communication, you wouldn't figure Massachusetts would go Republican, it just would be a tough election. You wouldn't see regular people getting out of the house with hand made signs and shouting at town meetings, you'd see apathy, or at most a few letters to the editor, like the past. In short, the opposition wouldn't be so strong, passionate, and so astounding in its results.

I agree that Senator Brown's election was a result of a lack of communication, Mr President. It was a lack of your listening or even hearing what the American people are saying. It was a lack of communication to the Democrats in congress. And from what I'm reading and hearing from you guys, that failure to communicate is still going on.

FREEDOM OF CORPORATE SPEECH

"This is judicial striking down of the law."

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that congress could not regulate the free speech of corporations any more than it can individual citizens. The right celebrated, the left screamed and demanded drastic action.

The right is cheering the elimination of restriction on free speech and relaxing of rules on campaign advertising. The left is horrified that corporations are not stopped from running political ads of their choice and are calling this "judicial activism."

Neither side seems to be thinking this through completely in my opinion. In one sense, everyone should be celebrating, because this means, as Senator McCain recently admitted, the lousy McCain-Feingold bill is dead. That means political speech may be engaged in no matter what time of a political campaign it may be - the bill made it illegal for anyone to advertise about a candidate within a certain time before the election, in a clear violation of the US constitution's protection of political speech.

At the same time, the right should be skeptical of this approach because it does mean that companies can now spend as much as they want to support or attack a political candidate without needing to show where their money comes from. In a nation where companies such as AIG already swing multi-billion dollar megaphones in congress this could get pretty ugly. Like the rulings which said it was unconstitutional to ban lawyers and pharmaceutical companies from advertising, the consequences may be something we'd rather do without.

WHY?
So why did the supreme court rule in this fashion? It was the way the case came to them. A film entitled Hillary: the Movie came out, and unlike conservative response to blatant leftist propaganda and political advertising disguised as a documentary such as Fahrenheit 9/11 (boycotts, mocker, and fisking), the left took the movie to court to silence it. The Supreme Court of the US realized that the present law would permit the federal government to censor movies or books, any media simply based on their political content.

In other words, media could be silenced by the government because it was political. And if freedom of expression means anything, it means that you cannot let the federal government silence political speech, even if a corporation funded it. The first amendment compelled the SCOTUS to rule in this manner, and the judges who ruled against it were ruling not based on law or logic, but on what they feared the results might be and on innate hostility to corporations.

EVIL CORPORATIONS
That doesn't stop me from being uncomfortable about the ruling, however. I agree that the McCain Feingold campaign finance "reform" attempt was wretched and ultimately illegal. I even agree that corporations should bet treated as individuals when it comes to political speech. Certainly the ban wasn't preventing billions from being spent on politics every year, even by corporations.

Bombastic fool Keith Olbermann complained that corporations weren't even a legal structure until decades after the constitution was written, so it plainly cannot apply to them. Like I said, he's a fool - this is the same person who'd argue that although strip clubs are not in the constitution, obviously free speech applies to them. And since corporations are routinely treated as legal individuals in law, then it is not only reasonable to treat them as such when it comes to free speech, but previous law repeatedly protects and prosecutes corporations as individuals with specific rights and responsibilities.

And the argument that something didn't exist when the constitution was written makes it unconstitutional means that free speech on television - where Keith Olbermann works - could be banned or regulated by congress by his vain attempt at logic.

The problem is now the spending in political campaigns, already gargantuan, are now going to explode into even larger festivals of vast cash. Corporations will be set up expressly to run political advertising, for and against specific issues and candidates. And the left is right when they express concern that lobbyists can threaten congressmen with the huge finances of a corporation if they don't go along with what that company wants. That's a valid concern.

EVIL REPUBLICANS
Yet the concern is a bit misguided in the end. The left's complaints about this tend to be the typical "conservatives love big business and hate people" boilerplate:
With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century.
-New York Times editorial
  • It reduces candidates and political parties to mere appendages in their own campaigns.
  • It will turn corporate boardrooms into political cockfighting pits, since that is where the key decisions will be made.
-Howard Fineman in Newsweek
JUDICIAL ACTIVISM
The left tends to not comprehend what the term "judicial activism" actually means. For example, here's Erwin Chemerinsky from the LA Times trying to define judicial activism:
But if judicial activism has any meaning, it surely refers to decisions that overturn laws and overrule precedents.
Others often seem to think it means "judges ruling in a way a person dislikes." Judicial Activism simply means "judges ruling in a manner contrary to or alien to the law in order to advance a personal political agenda." Since the US Constitution plainly states that free expression of the right to political speech is protected in the US, this cannot be a violation of or ignoring the constitution.

They also seem to think that the court has a "conservative majority," a line countless bloggers and pundits on the left kept using, when Anthony Kennedy has shown himself to be at best moderate, voting one way then the other seemingly at random. That means there are four more leftist judges, four more conservative ones, and one guy who can't be predicted.

OUR SIDE
Howard Fineman also let slip something he probably wasn't thinking about very carefully when he wrote. The previous status quo gave unlimited political speech to some corporations - media corporations - but not others. Those favored few were almost without exception left leaning and could be comfortably relied upon by the Democratic party to throw support their way by biased reporting, failing to report on certain topics, and editorials. Fineman's slip was this complaint:
It adds to Republican chances of pickups in red states with small, cheap media markets.
Which might be true, although the presumption that Republicans are not only richer, but more in control of companies is deeply questionable, to say the least. Yet Fineman is presuming it, and his presumption is stated as a horrendous concern. The GOP might benefit from this! That makes it bad! Congress must act immediately! And what is the assumption behind his statement? That Democrats benefited from the previous situation, now they do not enjoy this benefit, according to Howard Fineman.

And deep down, I suspect that's the biggest reason for celebration by Republicans and screams by Democrats. Not based on any legal consideration, not because of anything that will benefit or harm America, but because of whose team is hurt and whose is helped.

WHY REGULATE?
Why do people want restrictions on spending in political campaigns? Because money can buy a disproportionate voice in the process. Huge sums of cash can buy slick ads and promotions, can pay for appearances, clothing, and even coaching and speech writing. Big money helps people win - generally speaking (although not always) the biggest spender tends to win an election if for no other reason than name recognition and drowning out one's opponent. So huge spending can throw elections, or at least unduly sway them. Yet regulations always fail, and attempts to limit spending never stop the vast flood of cash which seems to grow every new election cycle to greater sums.

For example, technically its illegal for foreign donors to give money to US presidential campaigns. Yet the Obama campaign had no problem allowing these donors by simply removing some of the security features on their donation page. We know for a fact this happened because several were caught. How many got through? How many times were campaign finance laws violated by people donating more than they were legally allowed? We know that at least some people found their credit cards had been used to donate to the Obama campaign as well, without their consent or knowledge. And that's just Obama, who knows what was going on with Senator McCain's campaign.

THE REAL SOLUTION
See, the real way to address campaign finance corruption and overspending in politics is pretty simple. The only reason companies and donors find it so attractive to spend so much on political advertising and for or against candidates is that the investment can pay off so enormously. Lobbyists are a problem in Washington DC not because lobbying is innately problematic, but because the vast sea of money and incredible power of the federal government makes it worth corrupting and makes the money spent to do so a tiny investment for the returns. When the federal government spends trillions of dollars a year, a few million to help a candidate who'll then pat your back is absolutely worth it.

Cut the size and scope of the federal government down to constitutional levels, and the temptation and return on investment drops significantly. If the federal government can't throw you hundred million dollar contracts, then spending millions on a candidate becomes more a matter of personal zeal rather than cold investment. If the federal government was restrained within its constitutional boundaries, then much of the spending now pushed for by lobbyists and longed for by corporations to the point of corrupting congressmen ceases to be an issue.

Granted, I have absolutely no realistic hope of this happening. I see a nation which has fallen prey to the democracy-killer of voting in goodies for yourself in an unending, catastrophic spiral that can only end in the death of the republic. The people who control that money have incredible power, not just for themselves but for their friends, and theoretically to do what they believe is the common good. They aren't going to give that up, and they're the only ones who can make it happen. And voters who love a congressman who brings home goodies (for them, not others - its only pork when it goes to someone else, for most people) continue to vote for corrupt, oath-breaking men who violate the constitution from their first day in office. But that's your answer. Not laws, not regulations, not court decisions. Just do what the founding fathers said, and what the constitution demands.

Pretty simple, really.