bookbanner
CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Sunday, October 31, 2010

CREEPIEST PIC OF ALL

God-defying
Nothing is more terrifying than being in the hands of an angry God.

Friday, October 29, 2010

THE CITY BY THE BAY

Oooh I wanna be there in my city...

As an artist and a writer, I live in the hopes that my creations will find a wider audience and be appreciated. I don't hope this out of some ego or desire for personal attention but because my work is kind of like my children and I want them to be appreciated and loved for themselves.

Here's the San Francisco audience last night at the World Series, singing Journey's song "Lights". Steve Perry, lead singer for Journey was there and is on the jumbotron:


When 43,000 strangers sing along to your song totally without prompting and easily remembering the words... that's probably the finest tribute a songwriter can have.

Not watching the World Series? You should be. Its our passtime in America, and its a great show.

INTROSPECTION

"Join the party!"

Its one of those "two types of people" trusisms: there are introspective people and extroverted people. Humanity isn't so simple as to be easily divided into two groups like that, and everyone is more one way or another at different times and circumstances in their lives. Yet it is true that most people tend to be more one or the other.

Extroverts are characterized by being gregarious, friendly, dynamic personalities who make a lot of friends, are easily noticed and tend to be liked. They are influential, prefer company and a busy lifestyle, and are often the more visibly successful folks in modern culture.

Introverts are more quiet and inwardly directed. They tend to seem shy and awkward in public, and in fact can be very uncomfortable and even grow ill if they are too bombarded with crowds, noise, and activity. Introverts are more thoughtful and less social, having fewer friends but tending to be significantly more loyal to that smaller group.

Recent studies show that introverts make up as much as 50% of the population of the world, yet in modern culture you'd hardly know that. So much emphasis is put on being socially dynamic and capable and so much shame and dislike is put on being shy, withdrawn, or private that you just don't see much mention of the introvert, or attention shown to them, unless its negative. Some call these sorts psychologically damaged and seem to think that they need to be "fixed" so they fit in better to consumer, party culture.

Introverts contribute at least as greatly to society as extroverts, but in their private, quiet way so that it isn't as well known and obvious. Introverts tend to be more thoughtful and the more intelligent a person is, the more likely they are to be introverted: a gifted person with high IQ is 60% likely to be introverted as opposed to extroverted. Introverted people tend not to reach out to others and social gatherings because they find their minds so busy with internal conversations, stories, ideas, and debates that they are less needy of others to fill that need for interaction. It's noisy inside their heads, even if they are very quiet.

Its important to understand the difference between shyness and introversion. Shy people are socially uncomfortable and dislike attention from others. Introverts are merely inwardly focused, thinking and analyzing rather than talking. Shy people will avoid contact out of discomfort and embarrassment, introverts avoid contact out of disinterest and focusing on thoughts and ideas. Introverts aren't shy, they're just busy even if they don't look it.

Another thing to understand is that neither shy people nor introverts are necessarily arrogant or look down on people. They might seem that way, but they are just not as interested in small talk and usually aren't any good at it. Introverts are short with people not out of any dislike or annoyance but because they are trying to get to the point. Introverts aren't very smooth in social situations not out of dislike but out of distraction, and a need to think about whats going on and what they are doing.

Introverts also need time alone. Their minds tend to be perpetually busy and in a whirl of thoughts and ideas, and they can't deal with both that and lots of interaction and noise very well. Some get headaches or sick, some just get really crabby and upset, others just leave. The time alone and in quiet gives introverts a chance to relax a little and rest. They just don't deal well with crowds, it isn't fear or contempt, its nerves and only having so much focus and energy available.

The trick is to realize what someone is (even yourself) and not try to "fix" them by making them one way or another. You're who you are, and that's your personality - and perhaps even your physiology. Both extroverts and introverts are needed, each contributing their own abilities and specialty to society. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and we need to make sure we don't demean one or the other, or worse yet demand everyone be like one or the other.

Personally I'm introverted, so I see things from this perspective, like an outsider to the party. I don't like big gatherings, cities make me nervous and uncomfortable, parties are annoying and I get ill if things get too busy or I'm around people too long. That's just part of life. Blogs and online give me a chance to interact quietly and effectively without tiring myself out too much, I can give as much as I have energy and need to without going too far, and its always easy to back away.

The danger for introverts is that we'll become too inwardly focused and literally self-centered. Introversion is very easy to feed by drawing away from everyone else and focusing on yourself and your ideas. Introverts very much need people to disagree with them, challenge them, and force them to see things another way. Introverts also need to continually challenge themselves with new ideas, input, and thoughts through arts, literature, debate, and science. Without that continual feed, introverts can easily become entrenched and lose their insightful edge, and thus use to anyone else.

If you know an introvert, we need love too - at least as much as extroverts. We just don't show it the same way.

WORD AROUND THE NET

“You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Needs of the many
In one of the stranger citations of any court, the Texas Supreme Court mentioned Spock from Star Trek in a concurrence.
Appropriately weighty principles guide our course. First, we recognize that police power draws from the credo that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Second, while this maxim rings utilitarian and Dickensian (not to mention Vulcan21), it is cabined by something contrarian and Texan: distrust of intrusive government and a belief that police power is justified only by urgency, not expediency.
At Patterico where I saw this, Aaron Worthing noticed something about Star Trek and popular culture:
See if you follow this. In the most recent movie, a young James Kirk steals a car and as he drives, he puts the song “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys on the radio. So the Beastie Boys existed in the Star Trek universe. But the Beastie Boys made another song called “Intergalactic” where they say, “Your knees’ll start shaking and your fingers pop/Like a pinch on the neck by Mr. Spock.” That is a reference obviously to the TV show, Star Trek. Which means necessarily that all the Star Trek TV shows and movies exist, which means that according to their universe every action they have taken—including the changed timeline that debuted in the most recent movie—was predicted by a string television shows and a series of movies that appeared in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Also: where's this thousand-foot chasm in Iowa?

David Thompson enjoys finding particularly loony academics, because what they say ends up on the lips of more mainstream people a few years later, or presumed by the left without question. Recently he discovered a crank who thinks that women lying about who the father of their child is was empowering and a good thing. Her name is Melanie McDonagh and she thinks:
For the entire course of human history, men have nursed profound, troubling doubts about the fundamental question of whether or not they were fathers to their own children; women, by contrast, usually enjoyed a reasonable level of certainty about the matter. Now, a cotton-wool swab with a bit of saliva, plus a small fee, less than £200, can settle the matter. At a stroke, the one thing that women had going for them has been taken away, the one respect in which they had the last laugh over their husbands and lovers.
She goes on to decry DNA tests as anti-feminist oppression by a phallocracy, and that the ability to choose the father of a child instead of being forced by genetics to take the real one is a cruel tyranny by men. I think she's one of the most horrible women to walk the earth.

Just about everyone has a phone with a camera in it these days. And as Glenn Reynolds wants to remind us all at Instapundit: take them with you when you go voting. If you see evidence of intimidation, fraud, or malfeasance at your polling place, document it. Take pictures, video and text visibly and clearly so they know what you're doing. Just don't intimidate other voters, violate voting privacy, or cause problems while you do it. Oh, and there's an app for voter fraud documentation too.

Ever since Climaquiddick blew the lid off alarmist faux science, Al Gore has been a lot more subdued. He's still active, Gore's just not getting as much fawning media attention. Lately he's been to Sweden where they had a special meeting on climate change. Guests were asked to take public transportation, but Gore rode a rental car from the airport. He left it idling while he gave a speech on how everyone else should change their lifestyles, in violation of a Swedish law prohibiting cars idling for more than sixty seconds, then left after his speech.

But that's not all Gore did for the environment. Marc Mareno goes on at Climate Depot:
After the ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo, it is customary that the laureate is invited to the Swedish capital Stockholm, for a cordial visit. The train ride, supposedly the environmental choice according to Mr. Gore, is approximately four hours. However, he opted for the cosier ride with one of the Swedish government aircrafts. As these can, according to the rules, only be used when a cabinet member is on board – and as the Swedish government after a short ceremonial visit – offered to fly him to Frankfurt (Germany) for his flight to the US, you can calculate both the manpower and the fuel used for this grand tour against man's destruction of the planet.
Environmental consciousness is for we, not he.

Not content to be merely a hypocrite, Gore then demonstrated his allegiance to China (likely due to the generous campaign donations he and President Clinton got in the 90s). James Fallows writes at The Atlantic:
Fifteen past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have issued a letter to Chinese president Hu Jintao, asking that the newest winner, Liu Xiaobo, be released from his 11-year prison sentence, and that his wife, Liu Xia, be freed from de-facto house arrest. Announcement of the appeal, from the Freedom Now organization, here; PDF of the letter here.
Notably missing from the list of signatories, Al Gore. How they expect a letter to change the mind of a tyrannical communist government is beyond me, but Gore didn't even want to make that simple gesture. Al Gore is revered by the left, but he's just a reprehensible person.

Candy that kills, that's the urban legend around Halloween. Razor blades in apples, poisoned Skittles©, oh the humanity. Except as Leonore Seknazy writes at the Wall Street Journal, there's never been a single recorded case of poison candy killing one child. She appeals to a simpler day when kids were freer and parents less insanely paranoid, when they trusted neighbors on Halloween just as much as any other day. Certainly we've swung too far on the pendulum toward radical distrust.

Muhammad, Mohammed, Muammad, take your pick. They all are variations of the same name, the name of the man who created Islam and is considered its greatest prophet. Its also the name which now has become the most popular name for boys in England and Wales, in all its variations. The most popular female name? Olivia.

Although leftists like to claim the TARP bailout brought a 2.8% return, the fact is we don't have all the data and not all the money has been spent yet. Recently the Inspector General of the Treasury Department noted that the Obama administration failed to report at least $40,000,000 of losses. Steve Gilbert at Sweetness & Light quotes the New York Times:
“In our view, this is a significant failure in their transparency,” said Neil M. Barofsky, the inspector general, in an interview on Monday.

In early October, the Treasury issued a report predicting that the taxpayers would ultimately lose just $5 billion on their investment in A.I.G., a remarkable outcome, since the insurance company was extended $182 billion in taxpayer money in the early months of its rescue. The prediction of a modest loss, widely reported as A.I.G., the Federal Reserve and the Treasury rushed to complete an exit plan, contrasted with an earlier prediction by the Treasury that the taxpayers would lose $45 billion.
Small wonder Obama seems to hate these Insepectors General, they keep raining on his carefully crafted narratives and cronyism.

Across most of America, the infrastructure such as roads, power grid, sewers, water lines, and so on aren't being very carefully maintained. Why? Because they're expensive and not very impressive. Keeping roads in good shape isn't as visible and impressive as the new Robert C Byrd memorial interchange or the Jack Murtha memorial airport. Take Washington, where 40% of the roads in King County alone are in need of repair. This was one area I thought the "stimulus" package wasn't such a horrible idea - just not for stimulating the economy. Of course a lot of the money went to climate change research and dog parks, but some actually is going into roads. The problem is the focus for the federal government is on bike paths and jogging trails, not roads. They want crappy roads because they don't want people driving.

Yet another White House panel is examining how to find money to pay for government schemes. The panel is discussing various ways to deal with the gargantuan deficit the Democrats have created. Not on the table: reversing the idiotic overspending or cutting government programs. On the table: deleting tax breaks like mortgage deductions, child care tax credit, and military cuts. Because if your choice is between dialing back the radical leftist Obama/Reid/Pelosi agenda and cutting constitutional spending and raising taxes, well you know where Obama is going to look.

Idaho bureaucrats have all the heart and common sense of a shard of flint. Like previous Oregon drones who tried to shut down a kid's lemonade stand, this time the Idaho guys want to shut down a pumpkin stand run by a couple of kids. Jonathon Seidl writes at The Blaze:
The Lewiston Tribune reports the Idaho State Tax Commission has called for the closure of a family’s pumpkin stand in Lewiston, a mill city along the Snake and Clearwater rivers.

Dan and Kami Charais told the newspaper that a Tax Commission employee informed them the stand was in violation of laws and had to shut its doors.

The couple says their 4- and 6-year-old children had been carving out a niche for themselves in the local jack-o-lantern market — to raise money for school sports, they say.
Well yes, obviously you cannot let anyone do without paying their taxes, especially children barely old enough to attend school. Yes, the family probably set this up and benefits from it but really... how could you be so dense a bureaucrat as to not see how bad this is going to make you look?

President Obama continues his effort to reach out, to heal, and to bring bipartisan unity in America. It was with Hispanics he recently said these words:
“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”
Why, yes, Republicans are the enemies of Hispanics, even the Hispanic ones! President Obama then compared illegal immigrants flooding the US and breaking federal law to the black struggles for civil rights in the 1960s. Yes, you read that right, the top law enforcement official in the nation just said enforcing the law is a brutal violation of civil rights.

Meanwhile, banks and other institutions which received the lion's share of TARP funds are heavily donating to politicians. Why? Because they want to get more of the same. I'd like to beleive that a lot of these Tea Party movement guys are going to say "thanks but you don't own me" but we'll see in the coming months. The Contract With America congress started out strong too, and ended up voting in the Medicare Pharmacy bill and TARP.

The US Treasury has secrets it wants to keep, even if people ask for information through the Freedom of Information Act. To this end, its specifically hiring people to stop anyone from learning those secrets. J P Freire writes at the Washington Examiner:
...the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability contracted with a small consulting firm that has given nearly $25,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005 (and no money to Republicans) to hire “Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Analysts to support the Disclosure Services, Privacy and Treasury Records.” The firm is currently advertising a job opening for a FOIA analyst with experience in the “Use of FOIA/PA exemptions to withhold information from release to the public”
They've changed the job description slightly since that was written, but as Freire points out, there's still another job with the same sort of language in its description. Transparency, catch the fever.

President Obama has several times in speeches used a line that goes something like this:
“But in the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, I also believe that government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves.”
What he's trying to do here is make it seem like recent Republicans are radical freaks for wanting small government, and fight a straw man who supposedly thinks government is totally evil and worthless without exception. The problem is, President Lincoln's actual words are not what he thinks. Travis Griffin at Hands Off Texas writes:
I assume he was paraphrasing this actual quote from President Lincoln, but unfortunately he left out the most important part:
“The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.”
Obama doesn’t get it. And he clearly doesn’t get Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln wasn't for government doing things for people, he was for government doing things that people couldn't or shouldn't do for themselves.

For the record, I think it is very inappropriate and disrespectful to call the president "dude" even if you're the leftist court jester. But that's where we've gotten as a culture.

Not paying your taxes appears to be just part of Democratic Party culture. From the Secretary of Treasury down through the ranks, they just don't seem to want to pay their taxes. As Glenn Reynolds quips: They don’t pay taxes. They spend taxes. Because its about what they do with your money, not their own.

And that's the Word Around the Net, October 29, 2010.

CREEPY PIC OF THE DAY


Why little Gretchen was told to stay out of the basement.

Quote of the Day

"We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."
-President Obama, who apparently thinks there are no middle class Republicans

Thursday, October 28, 2010

WHY THE FAKE REGISTRATIONS?

"Allegations of widespread fraud by malevolent voters are easy to make, but often prove to be inflated or inaccurate."

Something the left often brings up when voter fraud is brought up is this: most voter fraud being discovered is the fake registrations to vote by leftist organizations such as ACORN or SEIU offshoots. These organizations flood the secretary of state's office with thousands, even tens of thousands of fake registrations, often with absurd names such as Fruto Boy Crispola and Mickey Mouse.

So the left says "well that's bad but how does it hurt the election? What difference does it make?" In other words: well, that's naughty, but it doesn't matter. Well it does matter, and here's why.
1) When the voting offices are flooded with thousands of last-minute registrations, it cannot look through all of them or all the previous registrations, in enough time before the election. That means when you register and vote 3 times or register a corpse and vote for them, chances are they can't catch up with all those fraudulent votes. They can't catch all the felons who are supposed to be taken off the rolls, they can't get all the college students who get registered at two locations, they can't get all the people who changed parties and get two ballots, and so on. That means its that much easier to defraud the election.

2) Absentee ballots are what these names are typically used for. Every state across America has leftists pushing for all-mail voting like Oregon has (and Illinois is trying this election) which makes ten thousand fake registrations equal ten thousand extra ballots that can be filled out however you wish. Every time the left pulls of a fraudulent win like in Washington State in 2004 and Minnesota in 2008, they do it by suddenly finding ballots in boxes that were lying about - ballots which almost (or just plain) exclusively vote Democrat. its a lot easier to find those if you've got fake registrations to use for those ballots.

3) Fake registrations to vote are counted for other things in local funding, demographics, and zoning decisions. If a district has 10,000 extra voters who only exist in ACORN's mind, then that's 10,000 more residents for funding, for redistricting, and so on.
See, these community organizer groups wouldn't invent fake ballots for no reason other than fun. They aren't doing it just to "punk" the Secretary of State's office. They have reasons, and they all come down to an "the end justifies the means" approach toward doing what they believe is right.

That's why when you read stories like how Missouri has fifteen counties with more people registered to vote than actual voters... you know there's a problem here that must be dealt with.

BIDEN AND O'DONNELL

"Let me tell you what middle class is: Joe Biden"
-Joe Biden, who made $333,182 last year

I've posted a lot on this topic around the net on various blogs, but never on WATN. What's that topic? The comparison between Joe Biden and Christine O'Donnell. Now vice president, Joe Biden was first elected to the US Senate in 1972 and finally retired to run for president in 2008. Through his career, Biden has become infamous for saying insulting, contradictory, idiotic, and blatantly false things. Here are a few samples:
  • "His mom lived in Long Island for ten years or so. God rest her soul. And- although, she's- wait- your mom's still- your mom's still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul." -on the mother of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, who is very much alive
  • "Jill and I had the great honor of standing on that stage, looking across at one of the great justices, Justice Stewart." -mistakenly referring to Justice John Paul Stevens, who swore him in as vice president
  • "Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs."
  • "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened."
  • "Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya." –to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair
  • "A man I'm proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States — Barack America!" -at his first campaign rally with Barack Obama
  • "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."
  • "You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.... I'm not joking."
  • "I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack got tested for AIDS. There's no shame in being tested for AIDS. It's an important thing."
  • “My impression is [Obama] thinks that if we leave, somehow the Iraqis are going to have an epiphany of peaceful coexistence among warring sects. I’ve seen zero evidence of that.”
  • “The more people learn about them (Obama and Hillary) and how they handle the pressure, the more their support will evaporate.”
  • "Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran.” –to staff three weeks after September 11, 2001
  • "We're not supporting clean coal… no coal plants here in America"
  • “It’s a bad idea and should be shut down and dismantled.” – on the Alaskan pipeline in 1973
  • "I have a higher IQ than you"
  • "I don’t have an open mind."
And that's just a woeful sampler. His greatest hit lately? This gem about the government:
“Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive. In the middle of the Civil War you had a guy named Lincoln paying people $16,000 for every 40 miles of track they laid across the continental United States. … No private enterprise would have done that for another 35 years.”
Actually the US Government didn't actually pay people for their track, they gave land grants, donating money that the government owned to railroad companies for the track they laid. Lincoln was long dead and the civil war was long over before the transcontinental railroad was started, although it was his dream, and the president didn't control the money of the US government then any more than he does now.

Yet even if President Lincoln did pay to create the transcontinental railroad, that doesn't mean even a minority of the great ideas in the last 3 centuries have "required government vision and incentive." In fact almost none of the great ideas had anything to do with government. The space program is about it, I cannot think of another major great idea in the history of the United States which required government money and vision.

And this is what it comes down to for Delaware voters: you were willing to vote for this bozo for more than forty years in a row, despite his idiotic statements, stupid mistakes, contradictions and insulting utterings. Christine O'Donnell is said to be an idiot, and she says dumb stuff sometimes. She seems a bit unprepared for the job she's about to start - like a young Biden who was the sixth youngest Senator in US history when first elected after almost no political experience.

Seems to me the big difference between these two isn't intelligence, capability, or a flawless past for one and flaws for the other. Its between someone who thinks government is the greatest thing in human history and was responsible for all the great things that have happened in the United States... and someone who is suspicious of government, wants it limited, and wants to stop spending so much of your money.

Which will it be? Because all the rest is simply distraction.

CREEPY PIC OF THE DAY

Quote of the Day

"That somehow or other these are unconstitutional because they’re not enumerated within the powers of the constitution, that somehow or other we should just be eliminating these, I think that is out of the mainstream."
-Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

OUTRAISED

"there will certainly be a lot of money on both sides"

You can always tell when the election is going to go poorly for Democrats. The legacy media always focuses on one thing that they don't when things go well for their party: spending. In 2006 and 2008 they didn't care how much money was raised or how, so much so that they just ignored the fraud and irregularities with President Obama's fundraising. But now that Democrats are in trouble, here come the campaign finance stories again.

The big talking point on the left now is that corporations are raising money and outspending Democrats, those jerks. Except, according to Jeanne Cummings at Politico, that's not exactly true:
It’s true that conservative third-party groups are outspending their Democratic rivals. But the Democrats still have a sizable cash advantage in their party committees – making this year’s elections a lot more of a fair fight than Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi let on.

So far, the latest figures show that the Democratic Party machinery has outraised its Republican counterpart in this campaign cycle by almost $270 million.

And even when outside spending on television advertising and direct mail is added to the mix, Republicans still haven’t closed the gap.
So why do people say that the right is outspending the left? Because conservative groups (not political parties) have raised $169 million for attack ads, as opposed to $80 million by leftist groups. Yet even when you include that, the Democrats are still spending more:
The money race totals come to $856 million for the Democratic committees and their aligned outside groups, compared to $677 for their Republican adversaries, based on figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
See the problem is not the amount, its the type and who's spending it that upsets the left. They're mad because their money isn't winning not because they have less to spend. Its not the amount, its the failure to buy the public's vote that has them upset.

The other thing that has the left upset is that when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations had just as much right to donate money and have their say in elections as, say, the legacy media, they went nuts. It was a sector of the population that the left wanted shut down, leaving less competition for their mouthpieces in the entertainment and news sectors. The money being raised they are crying most about is this money: corporate funds.

Yet even with that flooding of cash from corporations, Democrats are still spending more so their big complain about corporations ruining the sanctity of the electoral process (translation: our lock on the narrative) is pretty hollow.

Personally my answer to the money in politics would be simple: cut the power of the federal government down to constitutional boundaries and size. Then there's less power and cash to tempt people to buy elections and flood the process with cash. You don't see huge donations to the mayor of Scio or councilmen for Bumtoss County, Arkansas. There's no power there to buy, so the money doesn't show up. Cut that government down and the motivation for spending decreases.

THE UNCHANGING

"This is about making sure the “newbies” do not rock the boat and get with the program"

Quick question: what never changes in Washington DC, no matter what party is in charge or what political winds sweep the lands? What's a fixture between administrations, regardless of who is in power?

The bureaucracy. The drones that do the busy work, the people who type things up and make day to day decisions about minor things. The people in agencies who make the small decisions and carry out the tasks based on their own ideas of how things should be. One of President Bush's biggest errors was to not clear out the heads of agencies and replace them with people who'd work with him rather than against him. He paid a pretty high price for that.

These guys work at Washington DC on and on, running things behind the scenes with no public accountability and their own agenda which they are able to apply regardless of leadership and political party. These Washington Insiders are the staffers for congressmen, the workers in agencies, the pencil pushers and the gofers who get the work done but bear none of the burden of failure or responsibility. Union workers, they're very difficult to get rid of and can weasel their way out of any restrictions to get things done their way regardless of the order they get.

Hogan at Redstate points out that the bureaucrats and drones are looking at the new flood of Tea Party Republicans and independents and shrugging. Why? Because they're the ones who actually get things done. Congressmen don't write bills, staffers do. Congressmen don't deal with the public, staffers do. Staffers even come up with the ideas and speeches many congressmen offer up. They are the ones who convinced John McCain and Russ Feingold to pass their campaign finance bill. They're the ones who came up with the Community Reinvestment Act. Staffers and drones who are eternal and simply shift around between positions.

And if you're an establishment politician, you like it that way. Its comfortable, it works, its easy. So how do you get the newcomers to toe the line? Hogan writes:
So, expecting to pick up a number of seats by “newbies,” what do GOP leaders in Washington want to ensure? They want “GOP insiders to staff outsiders,” according to Roll Call. Eric Cantor’s staff added, “There’s a lot of important work to get done right out of the gate, so it’s important that newly elected Republicans have access to experienced, competent staff so that they can hit the ground running.”

According to Roll Call, “[a] Republican aide confirmed leadership’s interest in having staff that works well with Boehner to move the agenda forward.” And even better, the lobbyists and strategists are in on the act, as well - one lobbyist saying, “[y]ou want to be sure that the newbies, when they hit town, do not necessarily bring their campaign staff to run their Congressional offices, because in some cases they are totally ill-equipped.”
That's right, you weigh them down with beltway insiders and bureaucrats. Sure, these guys are often neophytes at the work and some experience would help, but not much experience, because the experience that we've had in congress for decades quite frankly sucks. I'd rather people be hapless and incompetent than corrupt, entrenched, and the same as we've had before.

These guys stay in position doing their thing regardless of who is in power, and that's got to change too. There are plenty of people looking for work. There are plenty of overpaid people in Washington right now getting absurdly overvalued benefit and pension plans. Congress can fix this all with three moves:
  1. Repeal the bill that allowed public service unions
  2. Cashier out all the people under the present contracts and payment plans
  3. Hire new blood to come in and do the work, people who aren't beltway insiders
Sure things would be kind of a mess for a while but does anyone seriously think that it would be much worse than the incompetence, corruption, and sloth presently in place? If you really want change, this has to happen. The present government is too big, too expensive, and too entrenched to serve the people. It has to change bottom to top, not just with congressmen.

CREEPY PIC OF THE DAY


I've never bought into the whole "clowns are scary" bit. It strikes me more as one of those ironic hipster things that people say to seem cool more than any genuine fear. But this clown? Scary.

Quote of the Day

"Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art."
-Tom Stoppard

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

VOTER FRAUD UPDATE

“My primary objection is I don’t think it is right, I don’t think it is just, I don’t think it is fair"

Vote Twice
Here in Oregon we vote by mail, everyone, every election. I hate it, because I loved going to the polling place in person, it made me feel like a citizen doing his part in an election, not some guy at home filling out a survey. And I cannot help but suspect that my votes aren't being counted as scrupulously as they might be; certainly the potential for fraud and intimidation in voting is immense with the all-mail system.

The GOP is sending lawyers to watch the counting process, but can you trust lawyers? That kind of thing strikes me more as a stunt than anything else. Still, when you look around the country you have to wonder if there isn't something basically wrong with the election system based on the fraud stories that flood out this time of year.

For example, in Nevada, there are reports of half a dozen people complaining at a polling booth that when they went to fill out their ballot Harry Reid's name was already checked for Senatorial candidate. True or not? Its hard to say, but that's something that is troubling, to say the least.

In Pennsylvania, Robert Brady (D-PA) admitted that his party machine still has "walking around money" to pay people to vote. Maybe he misunderstood the question, maybe he meant something different but didn't express it well, or maybe its just another big city corrupt political machine.

In Colorado, an offshoot of the SEIU was caught with 6,000 fake voter registrations. In Arizona, 3000 questionable registrations were discovered in one district, handled by the office of one of the candidates for congress there. Within hours of this being announced in the news, Representative Grijalva's office (D-AZ) supposedly was mailed a package covered with swastikas and containing suspicious white powder. How this allegedly got through the mail system is something people are looking into.

Florida police seized a commissioner's office for having almost 100 fake absentee ballots filled out and ready to be "discovered" if the vote was close but the Democrat wasn't winning. Hey it worked in Washington State and Minnesota, why not Florida?

In New York, five Democrat councilmen have been checked for DNA to test it against absentee ballots and applications that were filled out and appear to be fake and done by the same group of people.

In Ohio, the school district took three van loads of high school students to a location and given ballots so they could vote. One problem: all the ballots were Democrat-only.

Not content to defraud the election through tricks, Portland Maine is considering letting non-citizens vote. They think its unfair that citizens can't vote; I consider it proper and an encouragement to become a citizen. This is the problem with considering voting a right. Its a privilege, in my opinion.

If people can't trust the vote, that's the death of democracy. Period. Winning isn't worth that.

NAUGHTY COSTUMES

"Sassy and sexy but not slutty Halloween costume ideas"

The calendar getting around time for Halloween parties again. This time Halloween is actually on the weekend, so people will be having plenty of party time to look forward to. Over the years, this has turned from a sort of masquerade ball into a trashy slutfest, though. Girls dress up in naughty versions of everything, like naughty pirate and naughty girl scout (!), naughty ninja, naughty referee, naughty ghost, you name it. The trashier and sluttier the costume, the more likely it is to find a girl wearing it.

And yes, it reaches down to young girls too, with naughty outfits for young and pre-teens. Disturbing as that is, I wanted to focus on something else here, though. I read (and cannot find again) an article that explained part of the reason for these sexy outfits. The girl complained that she wore a zombie outfit that wasn't "naughty" to a party last year and didn't meet anyone because she didn't look sexy.

Now, maybe I'm just old or out of touch or clueless, but I thought the purpose behind a party was to have fun. Apparently I'm wrong, the purpose is to hook up with someone for meaningless sex, my mistake. Apparently people don't go to parties to laugh and enjoy themselves after a long week of work, its to meet up with someone, and its a failure if you don't do so.

And in a way I guess I understand; most people spend as much time of every day as possible doing things fun and enjoyable, treating work as the horrible slavery you have to do as quickly as you can with as little effort as you can so you can get to the good part of the day. Since everything has become so convenient, fast, and easy in modern culture, people have a lot of free time and spend the bulk of it on entertainment.

So parties aren't so much a break from the drudgery and labor of the day as a way to try to find someone to do things you can't do by yourself. Involving physical pleasure, of course, since being happy, comfortable, and healthy are the highest goals of modern culture.

I just miss the idea of getting together to have some fun and laugh a bit. Maybe that never was the point of parties and I am just too innocent to realize that.

CREEPY PIC OF THE DAY


This actually comes from a company called Autopsy Babies who have many really disturbing dolls of this sort.

Quote of the Day

"This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order."
P.J. O'Rourke

Monday, October 25, 2010

CREEPY PIC OF THE DAY


Ooh, scary kids!

HOBBITS CAST

That's what Bilbo Baggins hates!

Bilbo
Some of the casting has been completed and announced for The Hobbit, which is still wallowing in legal struggles. Most of the main characters have been cast (and there's a lot of people to cast), and it looks like they're doing what I would have in their place: casting British TV and movie people. There's a lot of great actors and actresses in England and Australia and they tend to get ignored by Hollywood. That's a deep pool to pull from for the characters rather than teaching some American to fake an accent.

Martin Freeman from Shaun of the Dead and The Office (the British original) is Bilbo Baggins. Richard Armitage from British TV (MI-5, Guy of Gisbourne from the new woeful Robin Hood show) will be Thorin Oakenshield. Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving return as elven royalty Galadriel and Elrond, respectively; Ian McKellan returns as Gandalf, and Andy Serkis returns as the voice and physical inspiration for CGI Gollum. Sylvester McCoy is rumored to be cast as Radagast, a character mentioned briefly in the books but never shown (likely part of the second Hobbit movie which is "Peter Jackson invents Tolkien's story"). McCoy played the Doctor (Dr Who) in 1989 and has done a lot of BBC work but is not well known outside England.

The other Dwarves cast so far: Graham McTavish as Dwalin, Aidan Turner as Fili, Robert Kazinsky as Kili, Mark Hadlow as Dori, John Callen as Oin, Stephen Hunter as Bombur, and Peter Hambleton as Gloin (the father of Gimli the dwarf).

Quote of the Day

"I grew up basically on the left, I grew up here in New York City. And I always thought the right wing were the ones that were inflexible, intolerant.”
-Juan Williams

Friday, October 22, 2010

THINGS THAT WON'T GET YOU FIRED AT NPR

"Juan Williams fired from government-funded NPR for exercising his First Amendment rights. Government officials strangely silent."

Juan Williams was fired from NPR by admitting that conspicuously Arabic clothed men make him nervous on a plane, something likely all his coworkers agree with. What about some other statements which carried no repercussions whatsoever such as:
Just as long as you don't upset the protected religion of Islam, you can say pretty much anything you want on NPR, apparently.

Honestly I think the biggest problem is that he said what he did on Fox News; he gave aid and comfort to NPR's enemy: Americans who disagree with them politically.

WORD AROUND THE NET

"The thing is, it’s never really your party — especially when it’s 'in charge.'"
-Glenn Reynolds

Cracked has another great piece up recently about things people think are in the Bible but aren't. Like the holy grail and the devil as a horned red guy with a tail and goatee. Its a good primer for people not familiar with the Bible.

Don Surber passes on a story of a debate moderator who was horrified and felt violated because the crowd insisted on saying the US pledge of allegiance over her objections.
The woman from the LWV was upset. She said that the audience had disrespected her. She said she was “forced” to say the Pledge and that it had “obviously been planned”. As if we all decided in line to say the Pledge of Allegiance anyway if refused. I hadn’t even thought that the Pledge might not be said. This was a political candidate’s forum and the three candidates on stage were hoping to be elected to represent us in the Federal Government. Saying the Pledge of Allegiance at a political event in America should be a no-brainer.
Most cities will clean up streets as part of the cost paid for by taxes and fees, but Portland has a new money-making scheme. They want to charge every house in the city $15-60 annually for cleaning up leaves. Even if you have no trees or leaves in front of your place. This is being presented as a fee for the trouble of keeping streets clear, but its obviously just a way to make more money since residents rejected a property tax increase and the city can't stop spending money on every leftist scheme they find.

Patty Murray is one of the worst leftists in the US Congress, an idiot who never saw a leftist idea she had the slightest problem with and she's a corrupt pork earmark queen. She's in a really tough race in Washington State against Republican Dino Rossi (the guy who had the governor job stolen from him by voter fraud in 2004). To help get her word out, she's got illegal aliens canvassing - and they aren't shy about mentioning they're here illegally either. Why? Because Seattle is a "sanctuary" city, where illegals may live without fear of ICE and the police cannot by law ask about or investigate immigration status. Somehow I figure this can hurt her at least as much as it helps.

A recent issue of Seattle Weekly depicted Patty Murray wearing an outfit made entirely of pork (as a symbol of her absurd overspending and pork funding). While the Weekly usually is advertised on Seattle's Ferries, they refused to put that ad up. Why? Well, they claim it is because they thought it was demeaning to women, but even in uber-PC, feminist swarm Seattle area there were no complaints about the magazine cover. These days you have to wonder if a fear of upsetting Muslims didn't motivate it as well.

Wind farms filled with miles of whirring wind turbines are often touted as the salvation of the earth and an alternative to fossil fuels. Although these systems take up a huge amount of space, don't produce much energy and are quite variable in the amount they do provide, "greens" want there to be more of them around. Environmentalists think they are horrible bird munching monstrosities and want them to be banned, however, and then there's the opportunistic physicians. Scott Learn at the Oregonian recently reported on health concerns of wind turbines:
The growing number of wind farms has led to more complaints about their health effects, said Sujata Joshi, an epidemiologist in the environmental public health office. Health concerns raised to date focus on noise and vibration generated by the huge turbines.
...
Wind farm critics cite work done by New York physician Nina Pierpoint who coined the term "wind turbine syndrome" to describe effects -- such as headaches, dizziness and memory loss -- of living near the machines. Industry representatives say they haven't seen solid research linking wind turbines and negative health effects.
Every thing anyone does can always find an "expert" psychologist or doctor who'll claim its horribly bad for us all.

President Obama has mentioned the Declaration of Independence three times in speeches, and each time he's quoted the document, leaving out a conspicuous word: "creator." All he mentions is that people "are endowed" with certain rights, which begs the question: who does he thinks endows people with these rights? The most likely candidate is "the US government" based on his other statements and actions. A more cynical person might say he thinks its him.

Sitting Alaska Senator Murkowski lost her primary bid, and is running instead as a write-in candidate. She's convinced the people want her in power and that its some sinister conspiracy to get her out of the US Senate. Some have alleged cocaine use by the woman (and her actions and appearance seem to support this), and she recently said that "Republican senators are secretly hoping I win." Well, I wouldn't be surprised to find that more than a few moderate squishy "RINO" Senators are. Of course as Jim Hoft quotes in Gateway Pundit, she actually thinks the the GOP as a whole just loves her and wants her to win and would back her if only they weren't sticking by the system and pretending to support Joe Miller who won the election. She makes no mention - or seems to care the slightest - about the actual voters.

Leftist Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike stood in as a reporter at the Obama rally for the Bellingham Herald. Some would consider that a conflict of interest and an unlikely source for objective, balanced reporting, but since all he reported on was meaningless fluff it just shows how shallow and mindless the man apparently is.

Fayleen Frampton is eleven years old, and she was a cheerleader for her Nebraska Junior High School team. She was tossed off the team for refusing to do one of the team's more than 40 cheer routines. Meghan Baker and Joshua Rhett Milller report for Fox News:
"She had mentioned to the coach earlier in the year that she didn't like it," Sabrina Frampton said.

"Being the older girl on the squad this year, she felt a little more uncomfortable shaking her booty than the other girls."

Frampton said her daughter's fourth year on the Blue Jays team of girls -- ages five to 12 -- was cut unnecessarily short due to her concerns about one of the cheers that included the phrase: "Jump, shake your booty, jump, jump, shake your booty."

Frampton continued, "When she spoke up, the coach said that was not her decision to make."

The volunteer coach, Toni Harris, later told the girl on Oct. 11 that she was no longer welcome on the team for its remaining two games, Frampton said.

Look if you can't have pre-teens performing sexually suggestive moves, how can you have a football game?
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has never been particularly sympathetic toward that nation's Christian minority, but a recent report accuses him of specifically inciting persecution against them. A World Tribune story reports:
A leading Middle East analyst asserted that the Mubarak regime has facilitated what he termed "severe persecution" by Muslims of Egypt's Christian minority. Raymond Ibrahim, who lectures at the National Defense Intelligence College, said Egypt has transformed into the spearhead of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has intimidated the nation's estimated eight million Coptic Christians.

"Indeed, recent events indicate that the Mubarak regime is intentionally inciting Egypt's Muslims against the Copts," Ibrahim said.

Part of the problem is that Coptic Christians were actually starting to grow in numbers, and that simply could not be permitted by the Muslim government and majority. Guess what: Christianity thrives in persecution, guys.

Meanwhile, in Bhutan, a man traveled around the country showing movies for pay, as happens in a lot of third world nations. He'd show Christian movies sometimes, and when people complained he'd change to Nepali films instead. Now, according to Tashi Dema at Kuensel Online, he's been arrested:
Gelephu dungkhag court sentenced last week a 40-year old man to three years in prison for attempting to promote civil unrest.

Prem Singh Gurung from Tarithang was arrested on May 21, after villagers in Gonggaon and Simkharkha of Jigmecholing gewog complained that he was screening movies on Christianity in the two villages.
Showing movies that happen to involve Christian ideas = promoting unrest. At least, that's the convenient fiction the government used to silence him. The world is not worthy.

One of the tricks palestinians are trying to use to halt settlements being built on Israeli land is to seed them with fake graves. Elad Benari reports at Arutz Sheva:
The cemetery had been in a state of severe disrepair for more than a century, despite being under the supervision of the Waqf. Recently, however, trucks, tractors and other heavy machines were spotted in action as they dumped building materials which workers then shaped into Muslim-style tombstones with no one buried beneath them. Dozens of these faux-graves were being created on the eastern end of the park. A visit to the cemetery by an Arutz7 reporter found approximately 100 such tombstones.

Following Arutz7’s report, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Israel Lands Authority began removing the tombs. It was speculated that the false graves were part of a plan to have the Muslim Waqf submit a demand for the additional land to be placed under Muslim ownership.
They also tried the same trick in Jerusalem near the Eastern City Old Wall. Its probably worked in the past, so why not try again? Technically the Koran tells people not to lie, but then the Hadith later tells them its okay to lie to non Muslims in the cause of holy war.

Remember Chandra Levy? When it was revealed that Senator Gary Condit was having an affair with one of his attractive female staffers named Chandra Levy, she disappeared. Many people - including myself - couldn't shake the suspicion that she'd been offed by the Senator's staff or himself to keep the affair under wraps, but that's not what happened.

She was killed by an illegal Salvadorian immigrant named Ingmar Guandique, and dumped on the side of the road. You don't hear much about that or the heinous violence and crimes committed by illegals in the US very much, something Robin of Berkeley writes about at length at RightNetwork.

Last week I noted that the entire state of Illinois accidentally failed to mail out absentee ballots to soldiers by the federally mandated legal deadline. One thing they did manage to get delivered on time, and by hand, is ballots to people who are in jail. As Capitol Confidential notes at Big Government:
The Chicago Board of Elections hand delivers ballots to the jail. They don’t even wait for the inmates to apply – they bring the applications with the ballots! Over 2,600 inmates have cast ballots so far – strikingly similar to the 2,600 soldiers who will likely not receive a ballot for the Nov 2 election.
Don't expect the Obama administration to do anything about this though.

Diversity is promoted as if it is some kind of absolute, universal good by the left, so much so that quality and reason are abandoned in the name of having lots of different looking people. Because diversity of ideas is utterly rejected and not tolerated. However, as Mark J Perry points out, this actually is often racist and causes harm to young people... if they don't fit the leftist plan:
Consistent with other studies, though in much greater detail, Espenshade and Radford show the substantial admissions boost, particularly at the private colleges in their study, which Hispanic students get over whites, and the enormous advantage over whites given to blacks. They also show how Asians must do substantially better than whites in order to reap the same probabilities of acceptance to these same highly competitive private colleges. On an "other things equal basis," where adjustments are made for a variety of background factors, being Hispanic conferred an admissions boost over being white equivalent to 130 SAT points (out of 1600), while being black rather than white conferred a 310 SAT point advantage. Asians, however, suffered an admissions penalty compared to whites equivalent to 140 SAT points.
...
To have the same chances of gaining admission as a black student with an SAT score of 1100, an Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have a 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550.
Basically, no matter how worthy a student you are, if you're white or Asian, you aren't wanted. Or, to put it another way, if you're not white or Asian, well they just don't expect much out of you and lower the standards. But that's not racist racist, you see.

You've probably read it by now, but if you haven't go look at Ken Langone's open letter to President Obama. Langone is one of the men who created Home Depot (the one men like), and he lays out very clearly the reason businesses distrust, dislike, and fear the Obama administration, and why leftist schemes are so very bad for the economy.

Rich Lowry at National Review Online has an interesting bit of information up about Texas and the economy. Here's the main point:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 214,000 net new jobs were created in the United States from August 2009 to August 2010. Texas created 119,000 jobs during the same period. If every state in the country had performed as well, we’d have created about 1.5 million jobs nationally during the past year, and maybe “stimulus” wouldn’t be such a dirty word.
Without Texas' conservative economic model driving the state, we'd be in much, much worse shape. Meanwhile California's leftist economic model is a huge drain on the entire nation. Leftists care and talk about the poor; conservatives do things that help everyone, including the poor.

Last week I noted that the Veterans of Foreign War PAC backed several candidates for congress this year as they usually do, but for some reason they all happened to be hard left Democrats, some of which were running against actual veterans. Real vets were not amused, and now the VFW has taken action, according to a memo quoted by Mr Wolf at Blackfive:
It is now evident to most of the VFW leadership, both National and especially the
departments, that the VFW has been subjected to extreme negative publicity throughout
the nation, and the recent endorsement decisions have, in fact, harmed the VFW’ s
reputation and future ability to fulfill our mission.

I cannot let this erosion of public support for our great organization continue. The
apparent lack of the committee to address these concerns will lead to a proposal by me,
as Commander-in-Chief, to amend the by-laws at the 112th National Convention for
the purpose of dissolving the PAC.
The real killer: they were losing a lot of money and support, and that's how you nail this kind of group, in the pocket book.

One of the more persistent myths the left throws around is that conservatives want abstinence only sex education, leaving out all forms of birth control. The truth is, conservatives want abstinence to be encouraged and preferred in teaching, not exclusive. And as it turns out, its working well, according to Values Voter News:
Since Texas began promoting abstinence-based education, teen pregnancies are down 24%, teen abortions have dropped by 41%, and teen births are down 22%.
Of course, that may be due to cultural shifts, poor reporting, or other sources, but certainly its not hurting matters any.

Sadly, having a leftist anti-war radical as commander in chief has wide-ranging effects on the military. President Clinton stacked the pentagon with more idiots than normal, slashed the military, and killed programs. President Obama is apparently ordering his generals to avoid any tactics that might, you know, win the war on terror when he's not telling our enemies when we'll be leaving, win or lose. Sara Carter at the Washington Examiner reports on how the troops feel about this tactic:
"I don't think the military leaders, president or anybody really cares about what we're going through," said Spc. Matthew "Silver" Fuhrken, 25, from Watertown, N.Y. "I'm sick of people trying to cover up what's really going on over here. They won't let us do our job. I don't care if they try to kick me out for what I'm saying -- war is war and this is no war. I don't know what this is."

To the soldiers and Marines risking their lives in Afghanistan, restrictions on their ability to aggressively attack the Taliban have led to another enormous frustration stalking morale: the fear that the Karzai government, with the prodding of the administration of President Obama, will negotiate a peace with the Taliban that wastes all the sacrifices by the U.S. here. Those fears intensified when news reached the enlisted ranks that the Karzai government, with the backing of senior Obama officials, was entering a new round of negotiations with the Taliban.

"If we walk away, cut a deal with the Taliban, desert the people who needed us most, then this war was pointless," said Pvt. Jeffrey Ward, with 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, who is stationed at Forward Operating Base Bullard in southern Afghanistan.
These guys are fighting for their lives against enemies of liberty and civilization worldwide, and the Democrats seem to want to cut them off at the knees in the name of scoring points and what they think is peace.

And that's the Word Around the Net, October 22, 2010

AIRPORT SECURITY

"A suitcase full of cockroaches? Why?"

Songbird Smuggling
We've all read stories of the incompetence, oddity, and capricious nature of airport security folks. The TSA does no better job than previous airport security, but they are government-run now; whoever thought having the government run security would result in higher quality needs their head examined. We've read stories of a woman's GI Joe doll being confiscated because it had a plastic 2 inch M-16, anyone who has traveled has waited in line for hours as everything is checked carefully, and we've all heard stories of suspicious looking people get through while grannies are randomly checked.

But there's a funny side to the airport security detail as well. I remember flying home from college only to find my room mate had given me his shuriken collection... in my carry on luggage. I had to throw them all in the trash or not board, for a moment I was afraid I was about to be arrested. I would have been these days.

The New York Daily News ran a piece a while back about strange stuff confiscated at airport security. Here's what Lauren Johnston listed:
  • 7-pound chocolate coated heroin bars
  • a dead cat stuffed with cocaine
  • sword canes
  • shuriken (like me!)
  • a frozen monkey head
  • a suitcase full of cockroaches
  • a chainsaw
  • two live pigeons strapped to a man's ankles
  • a corpse in a wheelchair
  • rare songbirds (strapped to ankles, again)
At the TSA Blog, the readers chimed in with a few more things they had found while working security:
  • 30 lbs of Steak
  • a lawn mower
  • a literal kitchen sink
  • Weed eater
  • Human finger in a jar of formaldehyde
  • a purse full of 30 bic lighters
  • a leaf blower
  • kittens and puppies
  • 3 sea otter heads
  • a severed moose leg (partially decomposed)
  • ice saw
  • 2 gallons of milk
  • a huge quilt rack
  • a knife hidden in a large lotion bottle
  • decaying dead geese
  • gallon of deer urine
  • a hard drive, dismantled and stuffed with bullets
  • bowling ball-sized rocks
And for extra fun, one wrote about a package of live crabs, which fell off the conveyor belt and split open, sending crabs scurrying everywhere.

It isn't that most of these are a security issue, its that they aren't legal to carry on a plane regardless of safety. Some of it is chemical, some of it is convenience for other passengers and some of it is just to keep the plane clean and pleasant to fly in. At least it keeps their job from being too boring.

Quote of the Day

"Every man is guilty of the good he didn't do."
-Voltaire

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A LITTLE LESS WORD

You may have noticed that Word Around the Net isn't as big as it has been in the past. That's because as I work on writing novels, illustrating gaming manuals, writing for RightNetwork and the Washington Examiner, and the rest of life, I can't put as much time and effort into the blog as I used to. I hate to short change readers here, but the truth is, this doesn't pay me much and the other work does, and I have only so much time and energy in a day to devote to writing.

And since I'm writing for other sites you can read the stuff I put there, too. So WATN gets a couple posts a day and maybe a picture instead of three to four and sometimes a picture. Maybe if I had more energy I'd be able to post more, but then I doubt I'd have started writing at all; I'd probably be working 9-5 in some job.

FALSE TESTIMONY

“A good narrative trumps good history about nine times out of ten.”

Recently several people have written about a topic I've had on the back burner for a long time, waiting for enough information to do it myself. They did the research and found the data and saved me the trouble - and the scoop, unfortunately. Which is probably for the best, my reach and media attention is much less than others, so it wouldn't get as much notice.

So instead I'm going to pull together posts from several different people: Ed Driscoll, Kathy Shaidle, and Chicago Boyz, compiling their information. What is this about? Ed Driscoll's title says it well: Everything you know about the last 100 years is wrong. I started to notice about ten years ago that story after story I knew all about ended up being not exactly accurate; that things I grew up presuming or was taught or read about were inaccurate.

For example, the Kent State Massacre. I already have written about how the famous image was manipulated to remove a fence because it made the image seem more closed in and less broad and encompassing:

Kent State Photo Manipulation
Neat trick eh? But that's not the only myth. John Mangles writes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
A noisy, violent altercation and four pistol shots took place about 70 seconds before Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on antiwar protesters at Kent State University, according to a new analysis of a 40-year-old audiotape of the event.

The discovery adds new perspective to -- and raises new questions about -- one of the signature events of the 20th century, after four decades of spirited discussion and research.
That's right, the hippies shot first. Oh, but that's not all. The Chicago Boyz give a bit more detail:
...the shootings at Kent State were preceded by a month of increasing violence. The “peaceful sit-in” of the ROTC building was violent with doors kicked in, desks and filing cabinets destroyed, burned or tossed through windows. ROTC officers and students as well as school officials were physically attacked. All this culminated in a riot the night before the shootings in downtown Kent, that resulted in broken windows, arson, stonings and beatings that overwhelmed the Kent police force. That pattern of increasing violence and destruction, not the governor’s ideological opposition to the protesters’ support of communist goals, caused the governor to call out the National Guard. The violence continued the day of the shootings with rock throwing and shouts of “kill, kill, kill”. The Guardsmen were on edge because of the violence, not the ideology.
These weren't peace-loving, kindly hippies putting flowers in guns and preaching love and non violence. They were ripping Kent State to pieces, setting it on fire and shouting violence. They were hardcore leftist, some of the leaders total communists trying to incite national revolution. The National Guard shouldn't have opened fire, but they had a lot more reason than we've been told. That's the myth that we believed: peaceful, kindly hippie kids were shot for no reason by fascist monsters, which is absolutely false.

So here's the rest of the myths; things we need to have the real story about, things the left has lied about for decades creating a false narrative about the past, about the icons they adore, and about the hippie era especially.
W. Joseph Campbell called Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism, and Ed Driscoll interviewed him for Pajamas Media. Here's a few of the myths he uncovered:
  • William Randolph Hearst didn't start the Spanish-American war, despite Citizen Kane. There zero evidence, and Hearst always denied it.
  • Kennedy didn't win the race based on his performance at the televised debate with Nixon, he only got a 2% bump in the polls, which is within the margin of error.
  • Johnson probably never said "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America;" he wasn't even watching the news when Cronkite treacherously declared the Vietnam war lost despite all evidence to the contrary. Johnson continued to be upbeat about the war and condemned people who called for withdrawal.
  • For that matter, the Tet Offensive was a disastrous, ghastly defeat for the North Vietnamese Army. The US military totally obliterated them, reversing their temporary gains in a matter of days, and the VC all but ceased to exist from that point on.
  • The press didn't bring Nixon down. Even Bob Woodward calls that horse(bleep). It was the special prosecutor and the supreme court, not the press, but the "heroic journalist" narrative is too sweet for the media to pass up.
  • Following the Watergate scandal, there was supposedly a doubling of journalism students, making reporters hot for the first time in history... except that never happened. There was a very slight gain, but the doubling had already taken place.
  • And then there's the myth that started me doubting all the things I'd been told: McCarthy. The movie Good Night and Good Luck portrayed Murrow as a heroic, crusading reporter fighting the evil anti communists, but he was in fact an anti-communist himself who worked on a movie after McCarthy was already out of power to warn of communist infiltration. Murrow didn't take down McCarthy; he was actually late in the game piling on McCarthy and congress was investigating McCarthy already.
  • For more on McCarthy and what really happened - and the validity of his concerns, if not his methods, even left-leaning Slate has mythbusting on it.
Want more? Oh yes, I have a lot more.
  • Michael Moore's entire movie Roger And Me was based on his not being able to get into talk to the president of GM... but he did, and just didn't bother showing that in the film. Moore is a serial liar and hypocrite.
  • Canada's Montreal Massacre, painted by women's studies groups as an indictment of masculinity in general fails to mention that the killer was Muslim, and the men failed to come to the rescue of the women, even after the man left the room - hardly a sign of excess testosterone, as Mark Steyn notes.
  • Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty.
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were guilty.
  • Alger Hiss was guilty.
  • Rachel Carson was wrong, perhaps deliberately
Exposing Feminism has another great run down of myths, these being ones the leftist feminist movement tries to tell us, including:
  • One in Four women in college have not been the victim of attempted rape
  • Women do not earn merely 75 cents per 1 dollar men earn - in fact now, they are doing better in terms of employment than men
  • 30% of women's visits to emergency rooms do not come from domestic abuse
  • The "rule of thumb" does not refer to the size of a rod that can be used to beat women legally.
  • Girls have not in any way been short changed in school, are not called upon less in classrooms, and do not need government programs to help them achieve, as they were doing far better than boys academically even before all the schemes to help them.
  • Girls are not taught to put up with sexual harassment in schools, nor are they training grounds for mistreating girls.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. From Hurricane Katrina to Florida 2000, the myths are all around us. The big difference lately is that, unable to monopolize the news reporting and public discussion, the left can't keep their myths on top. AGW, the Iraq invasion, Bush AWOL, the list goes on and on just in the last 10 years of myths the left has tried to build and seen ripped to shreds by the truth that is so easy to find in the internet. Some of them have clung on despite the facts around them - Iraq is one good example - but most of the time they have to give way to the truth.

What about you, what things have you always believed to be true that you found out later wasn't exactly that way or was completely mythological? What stories have you read and learned later were false?

For me, I've learned to sit back and wait when something comes out, because like the old story about enemies, when you've got the internet, eventually the truth will come floating by.