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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, March 30, 2012

BEING DUMB

"I’m still more laid back than I used to be though, and have more patience with people."

Full Retard
I'm fairly smart, as are my friends and family. I've grown up around people I had to struggle to keep up with mentally and its sharpened my wits considerably over the years. Its just been my life and I'm used to it.

It can be a curse sometimes, as it makes some entertainment not nearly as entertaining for me as it probably ought to be. I tend to mentally (if not verbally) demolish shows and movies I watch, and I'll end up tossing a lot of (especially fantasy) fiction aside after a few chapters, unable to put up with the plots and mistakes. I think I annoy people around me with my commentary watching television shows, so I try to keep quiet. An otherwise enjoyable film can be ruined for my by putting too many "what the hell?" moments in it (events that defy logic and plausibility).

The story Flowers for Algernon was devastating for me the first time I read it, and it still is pretty brutal to think of. If you're unfamiliar, its the story of a mentally retarded man who is given an experimental drug which makes him smarter and smarter until he's a genius and falls in love with his doctor (who loves him)... then it starts to wear off and he gets dumber and dumber. Its just heartbreaking to consider.

I honestly fear a future when my mind slows and dulls, where I start calcifying in my opinions and thoughts. I fear getting dumber and slower in short. I don't have a lot to offer as a human being other than my mind, and losing that would be difficult to face.

There's a story on the site Caveman Circus where a man tells what it was like to be a reverse Algernon due to an unusual vascular condition:
Even though I knew I had a worrying illness, I was happy as a pig in mud. I no longer had the arrogance of being frustrated with slow people, I abandoned many projects which reduced a lot of stress, I could enjoy films without knowing what would happen (my nickname before this used to be ‘comic book guy’ if you get the reference), and I became amazingly laid back and happy go lucky. I got on with people much better. I developed much more respect for one of my friends in particular who I always considered slow – it turned out he is much deeper than I thought, I just never had the patience to notice before. You could say I had more time to look around. The world just made more sense. The only negative, apart from struggling to perform at work, and having to write everything down, was that I no longer found sci-fi interesting – it just didn’t seem important. (I’m not joking, although it sounds like a cliché.)
Thankfully the condition was reversible and he's getting back to normal, but he learned some lessons about patience, social interaction, and dealing with stress which is good. The truth is, being less intelligent isn't a horrendous evil or wrong. It can be a benefit, where you just don't worry about things that upset others.

It would be a blessing to be able to watch, say, X-Men First Class without pointing out the glaring plot holes and inconsistencies (such as Shaw telling his people "we don't hurt our kind" then trying to murder the only black mutant in the cast). It would be nice to be able to not see contradictions and quandaries that bother me now.

And for those of us somewhat smarter, the most important thing to remember is humility: being a little smarter doesn't make you any better. You're no more a human being than the fellow who isn't as bright. He may be a far better person. And being dumb doesn't make you less a human, it just makes you human. We all have strengths and weaknesses and we should work together whatever they may be.

I tend to be pretty patient with people who are a bit less mentally acute, because most of the time they are that way not out of innate stupidity but just lack of learning to think carefully. You can be a lot "smarter" by simply exercising your brain, just like you can be stronger by exercising your body. Most don't. Most don't have the time or inclination, and its not easy - any more than losing weight or building muscle.

The folks I have no patience with are people who are willfully, deliberately stupid or irrational. People who will cling to something they know is wrong simply because they prefer it, or argue nonsense and illogic. That just drives me nuts. And I really should be more calm with that kind of thing. After all I'm not completely rational either, and I cling to stupid stuff out of a desire for it to be true, I'm sure.

And really does it matter that much? Not in the end. Charity and politeness really are virtues to be embraced. And it doesn't hurt me to be more pleasant and forgiving, even with people that frustrate me so.

WE TOLD YOU SO

"You can read the rest of her reasoning, but, honestly, why bother?"

Ditzy
I know this is all over the place, and I'm just piling on but... it has to be said.

Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter, was a big Obama booster, she loved the guy and attacked her fellow republicans for not supporting him. She tried really hard for years to defend him but has finally reached a point she can't any longer. Noonan tries to spin this as a rising tide, something she's been swept along by because things have changed:
Something's happening to President Obama's relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies. They are now inclined not to like him. His supporters would say, "Nothing new there," but actually I think there is. I'm referring to the broad, stable, nonradical, non-birther right. Among them the level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.
...
What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who's not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it's his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it's a big fault.
I guess I understand that reversing yourself publicly and in a humiliating manner sort of compels you to find some trigger, some tangible thing that you claim others have joined you in with rising accord but... people aren't any more opposed to Obama now than they have been for years on the right.

And toots, he hasn't suddenly become more disingenuous and untrustworthy. He's always been like that. You just lost your infatuation and are starting to notice that fact, perhaps. But really, we told you so, over and over. And you just didn't want to listen.

We were rubes, racists, bigots, radicals, mean spirited, bitter clingers who wouldn't face the hope and change for the future. We were entrenched and behind the times, according to folks like you. Well guess what: we were way ahead of the curve on you and most other Obama voters. You just didn't want to see, or hear. You were blinded by the smooth speeches and the idea of voting for a black guy and wanting it all to be true. You were swept along by the media and entertainment community, the cocktail parties you go to, and the mood of your co workers.

Maybe next time you can step back and show a little discernment.

I know its wrong to mock someone for wising up. I know its often counterproductive because it can make people dig in. I know its mean to say "I told you so" but... seriously? Ronald Reagan's speechwriter couldn't work this out? Some people deserve a smack upside the head.

WORD AROUND THE NET

"The problem for the left is that they do not have a lot of interaction with conservatives, whose intellects are often disparaged, ideas are openly mocked, and intentions regularly questioned."

1 new message from teacher
Harry Potter books are available in E-book form, on Amazon.com. Unlike many publishers, they seem to have a better grip on the pricing model, and each book can be downloaded for $7.99 which is still a bit high, but more more realistic than the usual 12-20 many publishers expect. J.L. Rowling has made them hundreds of millions of dollars, I guess they figure that will continue in ebook.

Rent-a-mob is becoming more and more common in the news these days, and perhaps its always been true, but didn't get reported in the past. This time the SEIU had to hire protesters to stand outside the Supreme Court building and protest judges who seem likely to find the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act unconstitutional.

Meanwhile leftist commentators seem astounded to find that the bill might be unconstitutional.
"I’m pretty surprised to learn that the mandate might be unconstitutional."
-Chris Matthews

"I can’t believe this might be overturned. How can this law not be constitutional?"
-Gail Collins, NYT columnist
They were so certain it was perfectly fine and so full of mockery directed at anyone who said so they didn't even bother to stop and listen to the arguments, as John Podhoretz explains. Karl in the Green Room runs down example after example of leftists absolutely certain the bill was so obviously constitutional and the court would have no problem with it. After a few days of arguments, they're stunned by how weak their case was and how easily its being ripped apart by the judges, sometimes even the more left-leaning ones.

Its so bad for the Obama team that Justice Kagan (who wrote the administration's defense of the case yet somehow is not ethically required to sit this one out over conflict of interest) and Justice Breyer have been coaching and trying to assist the solicitor, sometimes with very unexpected results.

Antisemitism in France continues, as it does in most of Europe. A combination of old grudges and notions temporarily held back after WW2 and Muslim immigrants flooding the continent is bringing more and more of this to light. Walter Russel Mead in Via Meadia lists several, such as Five bullet-holes were found in a window of the Yitzhak-Rabin music school in Sarcelles, Paris, apparently aimed at a poster advertising a rally outside a synagogue.

Wesley A. Phillips taught middle school in Washington State and he texted several 12 year old girls who were his students with sexual messages. He's been busted and is trying to plead the charges down to a misdemeanor. But its priests you have to worry about, right?

Egypt continues down the path of tyranny and radical Islam. Muslim radicals are in control of the new legislature and are writing the constitution to remove liberties once held even under the dictator Mubarak. Its getting so bad there that more freedom-loving legislators are just quitting for lack of any input (and likely fear of retaliation). Just because you have voting and democracy doesn't mean you have freedom. An estimated two million people have fled the hardline Muslim governments taking over the middle east and north Africa.

Drugshortages continue. When you put price controls and heavily regulate the production of something, you tend to get less of it, of poorer quality. These businesses are in their chosen field to make a profit, and research takes years of very costly work; they have to make that money back or shut down.

Rush Limbaugh hasn't suffered from the boycott attempts. Despite the money, time, and effort spent by Media Matters and George Soros, his ratings are up, the advertisers are still there, and even some who left are coming back - and some have been refused return. It was obvious from the beginning this was never about Sandra Fluke or the "slut" comments, and turning down an audience of 20+ million a day is not good business. Carbonite is running ads on television now, trying to make up the ground they lost by dumping Limbaugh.

Even as the Democrats block any attempt to pass a budget for the third straight year, the second Obama budget submitted in a row has been skunked with nobody voting for it in the House, the Ryan budget has passed in the House of Representatives. A few facts to help straighten up critics:
  • Both Obama's budget and the Ryan budget cap Medicare growth to GDP+.5%
  • The Ryan budget does not affect anyone over the age of 55, unlike "Obamacare" which imposes price controls on current seniors.
  • Future seniors will be able to choose among multiple plans, including the traditional Medicare model
  • Wealthier and healthier seniors will receive lower subsidies.
  • Less fortunate and sicker seniors will receive much more generous premium support.
  • Ryan's reforms save Medicare from collapse, which is expected to occur in 2024 at the moment. Treasury Secretary Geithner admitted last month that Obama's budget does nothing to deal with this problem.
Soldiers in Afghanistan cannot put a cross on the tent used for worship services out of respect for the beliefs of locals and to avoid offending them. But a gay pride rainbow flag was raised over a US Military base without event or condemnation. I guess the difference is they figure Afghanis won't know what that flag means other than "I have no taste" and "this doesn't look remotely military." I'm pretty sure its not allowed by military code to fly any non-regulation flag like that, but there's no word anything was done about it.

Recently, two students were shot to death by a robber, despite begging for their lives. This crime involve a black and white racial groups, but has not been given much media attention. The problem? Unlike Trayvon Miller, the victims were white British tourists, and the killer is a black kid. President Obama didn't feel any need to comment on this event despite its international character, and no groups rose up screaming about racist crime.

Over time, I've been less and less impressed with ESPN as a channel. It used to be focused on hard sports and games, with good analysis, coverage, and features. As they've gotten more wealthy and bigger, ESPN has become more focused on the spectacle and the excitement than the sports. So they fixate on home runs in baseball instead of good fundamental play and the intricacies of defense and base running. They gave idiot spaz Jim Rome a show of his own to mangle the language and act like a jerk. I just don't care for it much these days. So Fox News is supposedly going to start a sports channel to rival ESPN (based on their local Fox Sports channels), sensing a market. The problem? Given their treatment of news, I doubt they'll be any more serious. If you want good baseball coverage, watch the MLB channel.

Not long ago I wrote a pair of pieces on what I expected a second Obama administration to be like vs what a Republican one would be like, and why I figured the GOP one would be (slightly) preferable. In the Obama Wins piece, I noted that he'd be completely unrestrained by the need to be reelected and free to do anything he wanted without fear of repercussion knowing no one would lift a finger to stop him. In case you thought I was being hysterical, a couple things have come out this week to support that notion. The first is from congress, proposing a 40% tax increase, including on the middle class. With President Obama in office, that would be signed without any delay. Without him, it would almost certainly be vetoed. Then there's the Russian comments. President Obama basically told Dmitri Medvedev that he'll give up missile defense - expecting nothing in return from Russia - if reelected, but he has to pretend otherwise to get there. Like Secretary of State Clinton said, don't believe a thing Obama says while campaigning - unless he doesn't know the mic is on.

Candidate Obama promised he'd shut down coal plants and skyrocket energy prices, and that's what we're getting. He hasn't been so great on most of his promises like bringing hope, bipartisanship, shutting down Guantanamo Bay, and ending the strife, but he's been all over this one. Recently the EPA's emissions policies on Carbon Dioxide killed plans to build new power plants. Because in the last 12 years we've added 11 million people to the US but we somehow don't need more power.

According to NASA, the Bering Sea is "teeming with ice." This in direct contradiction to repeated predictions that the area would be completely ice-free by now, by men such as Al Gore and James Hanson (who works at NASA). But any day now, that wolf will... I'm sorry, melt will be real.

Blacks are preyed on by racists, but by the overwhelming majority, they're preyed on by other blacks and not just due to concentration of racial groups in cities. And its not just whites or hispanic neighborhood watch captains who see a hoodie-wearing black guy with sagging pants as a potential problem:
Allow me to expose a very open secret. The one of the reasons why most Blacks like you and me have made the decision to move away from the city and to the suburbs (Where the White people are) is for the safety of our family. Although we love our people very much, we also know that in some environments, we can be our worse enemy. White women aren’t the only ones that fear our Black men. Black women will walk just as fast as any White women if they find themselves in a parking lot at night with an unknown Black male.

As a strong Black male who can handle myself, I must admit that I also will take a double look if I deem the person ‘suspicious'. And because I live in a place with a large Black population, that person is oftentimes Black. And guess what? I am not the only Black male that unfortunately has to think this way.
These guys are sometimes just wearing the costume to show they're "street" and sometimes a genuine threat, but nobody can tell by just looking. Chris Rock never does his bit on Niggas any more but its just as true today as it was when he did it. And like I said, before, there are white trash that make us all nervous, too, even though they may be perfectly decent people. Geraldo Rivera wasn't completely wrong: don't dress like trouble if you don't want to be perceived as trouble.

Just in case you thought people are being paranoid or stupid when they don't like reporters and don't want to be interviewed by them, consider this story of Ossie Sheddy, president of the board of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association in Poynter:
“I don’t give quotes for fear of being misquoted,” he said. When pressed by The Telegram about why the president of the association wouldn’t say if it plans to investigate — and whether his refusal to be interviewed suggests a lack of confidence in newspaper reporting — Sheddy, the editor and publisher of the Drumheller Mail, said, “I’m not saying anything more because of what I had just told you. I can’t say anything about newspaper reporting or confidence in it. I can only say I have confidence in my newspaper reporting, not about anybody else’s.”
Yeah, most of us feel that way, too buddy. When the head of a business group's association has a problem with how they do their job, maybe its time for some changes.

Pesticides are poison, they are designed to kill pests such as bugs that prey on crops. They are a big part of why we're able to produce so much food with so little land these days, but there's always the fear that these poisons will get into our food and water and kill us too. However, the produce we get in stores is safe, according to a new study:
Now, however, two courageous researchers at the University of California/Davis say they’ve also tested the fruits and vegetables—and found the pesticide residues on these produce items are essentially a million times below the “No Effect” levels found in the animal toxicity tests. That’s how much safety factor is built into the government’s reference doses and Acceptable Daily Intake recommendations.
If you want to look at the complete study you can look up C. Winter and J. Katz, “Dietary Exposure to Pesticide Residues from Commodities Alleged to Contain the Highest Contamination Levels” in the Journal of Toxicology, vol. 2011, Article ID 589674.

Although any country that's predominantly Christian these days has no problem with other faiths building their worship centers, Islam is a bit less flexible. The top Saudi cleric issued a Fatwa recently, ordering all Christian churches destroyed a no new ones built. Until this kind of thing ends and is reversed, Islam will always be the enemy of civilization.

Michael "piltdown" Mann's hockey stick graph is a discredited piece of junk, but its adherents cling to it like Roseanne Barr to a Ho-Ho©. When its pointed out that it deliberately leaves out previous warming periods, they always have claimed that the warming was localized in Europe. Well previous tree ring studies as far away as New Zealand (pdf file) have demonstrated the Medieval Warm Period was global, but another recent study showed it was impacting Antarctica. This doesn't prove humans are not causing any recent warming, it just shows that Michael Mann is a disreputable hack.

You know there's a serious problem for print magazine sales when Variety Magazine goes on sale. Variety is probably the most read magazine on earth, and yet they're still struggling to stay in print because most people are reading it online these days.

The Metropolitan Weather Service for England has for a long time been troubled by its hilariously failed weather predictions and promotion of global warming alarmism, but they really went above and beyond the call recently with a statement about warming in the southern hemisphere. They boldly stated that temperature in that part of earth had warmed, calculating it within .001 degrees, using one weather station.

Weather StationsAnd that's the Word Around the Net for March 30, 2012.

That's right, there's one active weather station in the southern hemisphere. That's why the "global" warming cries are difficult to support. There's just not enough data for gigantic portions of the earth.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Any lap will do
Just in case you thought your cat sat in your lap because it loves you...

Quote of the Day

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
-Arthur C. Clarke (Clarke's First Law)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

RIP EARL SCRUGGS

"I don't think you'll ever get enough picking."
-Earl Scruggs

I am so very sad to pass this news on. Earl Scruggs, bluegrass picker and superstar, has passed on at the age of 88. He was a legend, having personally written most of the great banjo songs from the genre such as Foggy Mountain Breakdown and many others you've probably heard but don't know by name.

Earl and his Foggy Mountain Boys partner Lester Flatt along with Bill Monroe and legends such as Chubby Anthony and Howard Watts all worked together from time to time, solidifiying and popularizing music that defines Americana. Scruggs was a genius and an innovator, so great with his instrument he almost single handedly returned it to popular use. His skill and ability with the banjo turned it from a comical has been to a serious instrument:
In an article in the New Yorker in January, Martin wrote, "A grand part of American music owes a debt to Earl Scruggs. Few players have changed the way we hear an instrument the way Earl has, putting him in a category with Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins, and Jimi Hendrix."
Earl Scruggs was a genius and a perfectionist, and from all accounts was a genuinely quiet, decent man. He will be missed, but his music will live on as a powerful legacy amazing and entertaining generation after generation. If you want to see him perform, Netflix has episodes of the Flatt & Scruggs Grand Ole Opry Show on their on demand portion.

If you don't have any of this stuff on your MP3 mix, go get some, now. Its wonderful, talented and genuine folk music, not that breathy, whiny crap from the late 60s.

Rest in peace, Earl Scruggs. God be with your family.

COMMON KNOWLEDGE: Science Bits

"Science teaches us..."

False Taste Bud Map
Science has, for modern man, often replaced the voice of the prophet. Instead of a bearded man in a robe giving up the words of God, the man in a lab coat gives us the voice of science, and people presume it isn't just accurate but normative for their lives: the recommendation of 4 out of 5 dentists is what we ought to do, not just their opinion.

And typically, scientists tend to get things pretty right, when they focus on their job at hand. When they begin to speculate, predict, and guess, well they're no better than you or I on most topics. And when they pontificate on something wholly unrelated to their field of expertise, they're often worse.

The problem with science as the voice of God is that it keeps changing. Scientists once were certain that health problems were caused by imbalances of "humors" in the body, carried through the blood, and by bringing these humors back into proper balance, one would be healthy once more. Scientists once thought that the sky was a dome with stars affixed to it. Science can be wrong, and usually is a little bit wrong even at its best, and later work reveals this.

Its not that you cannot effectively rely on most things scientists say, its that you should take what they say for what it is: the best conclusion based on the best information we have, but subject to later change and clarification.

Here are a few examples of "settled" science people took as the word of God that ended up not being exactly true.

Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. Yes, this seems like it has some validity and it sounds scientific, but it isn't true. A medical study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics examined 300 knuckle crackers and found no increased risk of arthritis. they did find some correlation between cracking knuckles and weaker grip but nothing
certain.

Your tongue has four different zones for taste - sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Except, it doesn't. First off, there's a fifth taste type (savory, sort of the flavor of meat), which the Japanese identified. And it turns out your tongue doesn't have special zones. It has some zones that react more strongly to some tastes (sour, for example) but the top of your entire tongue can pick up any kind of flavor or taste. The problem is a Harvard professor named Boring mistranslated a German study called Zur Psychophysik des Geschmackssinnes and came up with the now-famous tongue chart (pictured above). Its pretty easy to test, with any food you have handy.

You have (insert number) pounds of undigested meat in your intestines, which stays for years. This one is pretty easy to debunk: your stomach isn't a refrigerator. This one was promoted by one of those activist labs trying to get people to not eat red meat. Every so often these food myths show up, backed by some questionable science, and always promoted by a vegetarian operation. Or a "high colonic" business.

Greasy food and chocolate causes acne. No study shows that this is true, but lack of proper skin care and eating a lousy diet will cause your body to react poorly. Acne is primarily caused by hormones and not cleaning your pores properly. Soap and water will do fine for most people, and a good healthy diet will do you wonders, but these items aren't the cause.

Swallowed gum stays in your stomach for years. Stomach acid can dissolve metal let alone some cellolostic material like gum. And in any case, your body flushes materials out, so even though some parts of the gum are indigestible, they don't stick around.

We only use 10% of our brains. MRI scans show that we use all of our brains, just not all at once. We have lots of muscles on our body, but never once do we use all of them at the same time. Its the same way with your brain, and a lot of it is used for backup. Incidentally, recent studies show that your brain isn't the only part of your body used for thought and neural activity, its just one of the primary ones. Sorry, I know this sounds like a shortcut to superhero powers and its the basis of a lot of stories, but its just false.

Inoculations cause children to develop autism. This one is a horrible, evil myth created by a shoddy study done by one lab. it is not just false, but perniciously so, because it is causing once-obliterated diseases like smallpox and polio to creep back up on us. I cannot believe anyone would be so wicked as to promote this. Don't be ignorant and help spread the evil.

Women are born with all the eggs they'll ever have, in their ovaries. Not true; as it turns out the female body produces more eggs as time goes on. A study found out that the ovaries of a healthy adult woman have the stem cells needed to produce more eggs and can continue to do so until menopause shuts the system down.

Your fingernails and hair grow after death. This one is just not true. Once you die, your metabolic processes come to a halt. It can take a day or so for the very tiny cellular level things to die, but you stop growing. What does happen, however, is that your scalp and skin recede, causing the appearance of growth.

Reading in dim light hurts your eyes. Aside from some temporary eye strain, no study has shown any damage from low light reading. As you get older, however, you'll find that you need more and more light to properly read because your eyes get poorer (and most people start developing cataracts at some point).

Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker. I'll let Robert Roy Britt at Live Science handle this one:
A 1928 clinical trial compared hair growth in shaved patches to growth in non-shaved patches. The hair which replaced the shaved hair was no darker or thicker, and did not grow in faster. More recent studies have confirmed that one. Here's the deal: When hair first comes in after being shaved, it grows with a blunt edge on top, Carroll and Vreeman explain. Over time, the blunt edge gets worn so it may seem thicker than it actually is. Hair that's just emerging can be darker too, because it hasn't been bleached by the sun.

Next time you hear someone say "settled science" or act as if a scientist's declaration is the voice of God on high, remember this kind of thing. Science is a discipline or a job like any other. It has good people working in it and bad. Politics, agendas, and personal biases take place in science just like any other field. A scientist doesn't know any more about reality than a logger or a jeweler.

*This is part of the Common Knowledge series.

THE LESSONS OF TRAYVON

"Who killed his life, though?"

You may have noticed that the hot topic of earlier this week (Zimmerman and Martin) has basically disappeared. You wouldn't be alone. As early as Tuesday someone wrote about how the New York Times only had one small story on the front page about this topic.

Why did it fade away like this? Well it wasn't what the race-baiters hoped for. Zimmerman inconveniently turned out to be hispanic, and a Democrat to boot. Trayvon Martin turned out to be not such a likeable kid and the pushback on his pictures actually made a difference. And as the facts have come out, its not such a cut and dried case of bigotry and injustice as the left kept screaming.

Now that the hype has died down and people aren't yelling at each other any more, maybe we can come away with this having learned a few lessons.

Such as this one: every right-leaning blog I saw posted line after line about how Trayvon Martin jumped on Zimmerman and beat him up, how he was dressed like a thug, how his tweets were rude and crude and thuggish. Well yeah they are but they don't seem any more so than your average white suburbanite teen. His writing is largely illiterate and stupid, but not uniquely or even remarkably so given his age of 17. He doesn't seem like some kind of OG thug, he just seems like the all-too-common teenager who likes to smoke weed, get laid, and talk smack.

So the lesson from that is that the right was too willing to try to show this guy off as a horrible person to lessen how bad his shooting was, and that's just terrible not just to the kid but his mom. Yes, his mother either has bad judgment or is being advised by some really terrible people, but she's going through greif and you do stupid, painful stuff when that happens. She lost her son. Give her some respect and space okay?

The second lesson was from the left, who leapt on this with both feet screaming racism and trying to turn it into some vast statement on America and leverage for political power. This whole episode was one of the most hideous displays of crass manipulation and exploitation I've seen in a long time. As Ann Coulter said,
Like Captain Ahab searching for the Great White Whale, the media is constantly on the hunt for proof of America as “Mississippi Burning.”
Now, she's mixing her metaphors a bit, but the point is valid. This was such a transparent, cringe-inducingly obvious attempt to fill a narrative and promote a political agenda even the left seemed embarrassed by trotting it out. And that doesn't show any respect or sympathy for the boy and his mom either.

Next time, step back a bit before you start screaming bigotry and injustice. Maybe keep that machine from rolling before you have much information, huh? Tell Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to keep the muzzle on until they have the facts. Tell President Obama not to jump on the issue and try to exploit it out of respect for the family, how about? White hispanic? Are you serious? The guy looks like Nancy Pelosi's gardener.

The third lesson is that we're all casualties of the internet news culture. Nobody had but a tiny shred of the facts, and yet so many were pontificating, preaching, and shouting as if they had it all figured out. People were declaring police injustice because of a black kid's death for not charging Zimmerman and hauling him in. People were declaring Zimmerman's actions completely justified without even having a clue what happened. People were calling Trayvon a thug and a gangbanger without knowing a thing about him. People were calling Trayvon an innocent kid, a victim of racism without having a clue about his life.

I understand that for many blogs and all news outlets getting the story first is a major priority. And while the internet is wonderful for getting bits of information as they happen, its also bad for giving us incorrect bits (the picture of Trayvon I posted, for example) or incomplete bits which people then run with despite having so little. The truth, they say, is the first casualty of war, but its also one of the first casualties of haste and ignorance. Next time, go with what you know and no further. Bad enough the news media is desperately trying to force this into some huge racial war without everyone else piling on.

The problem is that now its almost impossible for justice to be done in this environment. What happened here is just shameful. Its one thing to speculate - for instance I suspect Zimmerman used excessive force in self defense, but not to the point of murder. I think he probably was in fear for his life and used force to protect himself in the heat of the moment, but went too far.

But I don't know and the facts may prove he was just a brutal power hungry thug who shot some poor kid defending himself, or that he was genuinely in serious danger for his life and the shoot was totally reasonable. It may prove someone else shot Trayvon from around a corner like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance for all we know.

So next time: no more race war crap from the left, no more disrespect for human life and the grieving family from the right, no more trying to "win" another cultural war, and lets all just back off and learn the facts before going on okay? No more tweeting addresses (good luck with that lawsuit and the Twitter account violation, Spike Lee), no more bounties on people, no more "here's what a horrible person the victim was" posts until we get the facts. Is that fine with everyone?

THE CONFUSION OF JOHN CLEESE

"Political Correctness is 'like a maiden aunt – you’re all having fun at Christmas, and she walks into the room and it all goes quiet.'"

Not Arabic, honest
John Cleese is one of the more successful of the Monty Python alum, still getting regular work nearly forty years after the show ran. He's funny and charming; able to play completely unlikeable characters and yet still be likeable.

Recently he stated that he had a problem with how England has turned out in recent years:
'I'm not sure what's going on in Britain. Or, let me say this – I don't know what's going on in London, because London is no longer an English city.

'That's how we got the Olympics.

'They said we were the most cosmopolitan city on Earth. But it doesn't feel English.

'I had a Californian friend come over two months ago, walk down the King's Road and say, "Where are all the English people?"

'I mean, I love having different cultures around. But when the parent culture kind of dissipates, you're left thinking, "Well, what's going on?"'
And folks like me said "well that's what you've been trying to accomplish for half a century, and you won. Eat it." Because his political viewpoint, his arguments, his ideals, his worldview are what has resulted in England no longer seeming English; or at least London not seeming so. His positions of multiculturalism and diversity are what cause this to happen. The shame of English pride and tradition so often mocked on Monty Python and any project he tends to be involved with has consequences.

Recently Cleese was interviewed by the Manchester Evening News about his recent turn to stand up comedy, something he's never done before. He had some biting things to say about political correctness, but the man seems blissfully unaware of his contradictions:
"By mouthing what some racist would say and making the context and background ridiculous, you discredit it," he says. "There will always be some people who take it seriously. But as Bernard Levin once said, just because there are foot fetishists, it doesn’t mean you should stop issuing shoe catalogues."

Political correctness is, says Cleese, "like a maiden aunt – you’re all having fun at Christmas, and she walks into the room and it all goes quiet".

"What is so funny is that it’s all right to tell Jewish jokes if you’re Jewish. You can use the ‘n’ word if you’re black. It’s a very complicated area.

"One of the things I do, I tell a number of jokes, a joke against Australians, one against Americans, one against English, one against the Swiss, one against the Germans, and then I start telling a joke: ‘There were these two Mexicans..’. And in America, the whole audience freezes. I point out that it’s kind of patronising. If you make jokes about Germans and Australians and English, why can’t you make jokes about Mexicans? Because they can’t take care of themselves? Because they are a feeble species that has to be specially protected?"
Now, I love me some Monty Python and its hard not to like John Cleese but... John, John, John. Political Correctness isn't some alien imposition upon your life, your side invented and enforces it This is like a Roman Catholic saying "well I like the faith fine but this Mass thing, why can't it just go away?" Its part of your ideology, Mr Cleese. You guys invented and pushed it onto culture.

Now, Cleese is not a very PC guy and if you've seen his work you know he's not one to avoid topics for fear of insulting or offending, but the truth is, his political movement, all the things he pushed for and fought against resulted in the very PC he rails against now. Political Correctness is the leftist replacement for Judeo-Christian ethics, its what they came up with instead of the 10 commandments because a culture cannot exist without rules and boundaries.

He's right, Political Correctness sucks, it eats up humor, it is dour and unhappy and crushes spirits. PC is an awful thing, a blight on creativity, liberty, and happiness everywhere it goes. In the name of avoiding offense, it simply crushes all joy until everyone is equally miserable. And its on your hands, Mr Cleese. Your efforts helped create and establish it. Your side, when given sufficient power, began to enforce it.

Then Mr Cleese goes on and wraps is inconsistency up in a nice little bow. After complaining about the evils of Political Correctness, after being dismayed with how multiculturalism has destroyed English London and the parent culture of his land he's made a career of mocking, he says:
"I wouldn’t hesitate to say rude things about Rupert Murdoch because I think he’s done more damage to the culture of my country than anyone since the Luftwaffe. But I’d try to say something that was accurate, and I don’t think I’d bring up any bathroom habits that he had."
Now, I'm not a big Rupert Murdoch fan because he tends toward the tabloid and the sensationalistic. He's found great success by emphasizing the lurid, the celebrity trash, the rumor, and the sensation. That just makes for bad news and unpleasant viewing, for me at least. But he's made billions off it, so he must know something about his market.

John Cleese is not a big fan of Murdoch because he dares to be not politically correct. I don't mean the "don't offend, how dare you say that" kind, but the original "holding the proper political viewpoints" meaning of the term. Murdoch isn't a leftist. He dares to have his news outfits focus on the stories the left leaning media won't cover, he shows right leaning people in a more positive light and gives them a popular voice.

In short, Rupert Murdoch works to create an outlet for opinions and ideas which would have prevented London from 'losing its parent culture' and blocked political correctness which is exactly what John Cleese claims he wants.

Now my guess is that Cleese doesn't really think this sort of thing through much - in fact, I doubt he sits and thinks long and seriously about much of anything, being more an instinctive, responsive sort of fellow, which isn't in its self a bad thing. I figure Cleese has heard all the Right Sort of People© say Murdoch is a horrible person, and assumes they know what they're talking about.

If he considered things a bit more closely he'd probably notice that he's doing exactly what he mercilessly mocked in English tradition on Monty Python. That he's clinging to a sort of person and tradition for its own sake rather than because after careful self examination and rational consideration its superior and better than the alternative. I say this because he clearly dislikes what his tradition is resulting in, but attacks the alternative.

And after all, he is becoming a bit of a curmudgeon at his age, and he's allowed that. Its just too bad so many people seem to do just that. There's a reason PC-rejecting comedy tends to do very well and find a popular voice. Not only does it appeal to more than the usual leftist suspects, it actually does appeal to people fed up with prudish, humorless wretches telling everyone they can't laugh or have fun lest someone be offended. Nobody likes that sort.

But that's what your side has come up with, its all on you, lefties. So if you don't care for it, you should be working to root it out, not complain then go on with the usual leftist cant. At the very least you might want to consider giving the other side a listen once in a while on the areas you happen to agree upon.

PICTURE OF THE DAY


Kitty is aghast!

Quote of the Day

"A little abuse is a reasonable price to pay for being unpopular, and unpopularity with fashionable people is seldom a bad sign."
-Peter Hitchens

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

THE SEARCH GOES ON

"Say, you reckon these guys like the government a bit better now they’ve spent two years in jail without bond for Felony Runnin’ Yer Dang Fool Mouth?"
-S Weasel

In March of 2010, the Obama justice department rushed to arrest members of the Hutaree Militia in Michigan. They were charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government and put on trial. Now, looking at these guys, they seem like extras from Justified and you wonder just how diverse their genetic pool really is:


People talk about hoodies and thugs, but guys like this make me move to the other side of the street and I'm a 6'2 white guy. But that doesn't make them guilty of anything. Sure, they are daffy, sure they belong to a militia that thinks Jews took over the government and they have to be ready for a huge race war. Sure they probably have a collective IQ of less than the numbers on your license plate. Sure, they hate authority and local law enforcement. Sure they probably have fewer teeth combined than you do alone.

That doesn't make them criminals or guilty of trying to overthrow the government. And aside from some charges involving pipe bombs and guns, the court threw out everything against them and gently chastised the government prosecutors. After watching video of their rants, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts (a Clinton appointee) said:
The court is aware that protected speech and mere words can be sufficient to show a conspiracy. In this case, however, they do not rise to that level.
In short: they were daffy, but not illegal.

And all kidding aside, they probably aren't as dumb, crazy, inbred, and toothless as the stereotype says. If you've seen the show Justified, you've seen a more realistic portrayal of these kind of folks. They aren't any dumber than anyone else, just from a different sort of society and with a different sort of education. Put suits and a 500 dollar hair cut on them and they'd fit in to Manhattan quite well.

But when it comes down to this event, you have to wonder what on earth the Justice Department was thinking by arresting these folks. Yes, they had them on some weapons crimes, but they wanted to bust these guys on trying to overthrow the federal government which is like accusing an ant of trying to overthrow humanity because she bit you.

They didn't try any kind of sting operation, they didn't catch them in the act of planning anything, the militia yelled a lot but never tried to carry anything out. And yet the Obama administration arrested them and tried to convict them on this absurd charge. Why?

Well remember Janet Neopolitano's absurd "white right wingers are the most dangerous domestic terrorist" release in 2009? How this report on domestic terrorism barely mentioned the most common form by "animal rights" and eco nuts, but focused with paragraph after paragraph on white right wingers who dare question the size of government?

That report wasn't so much based on evidence and FBI compiled data as it was presuppositions by the Obama administration. They just knew there were hundreds of these groups out there, and they were booming because they hated a black president. That they were the real threat, and Islamic terror was overblown - if even real - when they wrote this thing.

And they needed an exhibit, they needed proof to support this. So they found some group of hapless militia types and ran them in, jailed them for two years of "speedy" trial. They splashed this on the front pages as proof of the report, they gathered their case and... failed.

They need to find that evil Tea Party terrorist, that white right winger killer. They keep searching and searching, desperate to find the villain they just know is out there, but never quite seem to find. Its not like there aren't any guys like that out there, its just that they are poor, weak, and usually pretty worthless. Even the Klan is pretty much a joke these days. So they struck hoping they had gold but without any real competence or reason. And again, the federal government looks stupid.

And again, they showed these militia types that all the fear they have of tyrannical government out to crush rights without hope of recourse is valid. I think the guys at Ruby Ridge were nuts, but they weren't wrong enough to gun down a mother holding her child. I think the Branch Davidians were idiotic cultists, but they didn't deserve to be firebombed and driven over by tanks.

These militia guys have valid concerns, there are serious problems with a lot of things in the federal government and horrible evils that its gotten away with, particularly when dealing with someone who bucks their power. Its just that their solutions and analysis of why it happens are so wrong and stupid. And they'd be just as bad - or far worse - if put in power.

*UPDATE: This, courtesy Brian Doherty at Reason magazine, is a quote from Tim F at Balloon Juice in 2010 in defense of the arrest of the militia:
The indictment sounds pretty clear: we captured a bunch of religious fundamentalist extremists planning mass casualty attacks against America. Unlike, say, Jose Padilla or any of the clown car gangs whom Bush rounded up this team had the gear and the training to go operational (and kill a lot of people) within a month.

Rightwing antiterror doctrine clearly states that we must strip these “terrorists” (no such thing as alleged in the war on terror) naked and hang them in cold cages by the wrists with their arms tied behind their backs so that the tendons tear and the shoulder joint dislocates. We should waterboard them until they confess and give up their co-conspirators (the Inquisition found waterboarding almost 100% effective!). Without question these people should be held without any trial or access to habeas corpus petitions until the “war” against violent fundamentalist groups is over. At the very least we should shunt these guys into military tribunals where the rules have been rigged to ensure a conviction.

Of course Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Reynolds and Crittenden and Erickson and any other credentialed rightblogger will agree with what I just said. They have to.

Tim was still riding high on Bush dementia at the time, but not the presumption of guilt and the assurance that this was far worse than anything anyone the Bush administration ever arrested someone for, so you have to be a hypocrite unless you call for at least the same treatment. I wonder what he thinks now or if we'll ever find out.

And where do I get my right blogging credentials?

PICTURE OF THE DAY


Western civilization's burden.

Quote of the Day

"You cannot go on 'explaining away' for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on 'seeing through' things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it."
-C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WARLORD OF MARS TRAILER

"John who?"

The movie John Carter has been a big disappointment for Disney. If they were hoping for a new big franchise, it doesn't look good for that happening. Which is really too bad because these books were great fun, and the film has gotten some good reviews and word of mouth.

The big problem is that Disney did a horrible job of marketing the film. I don't know exactly what they were hoping, perhaps they figured just buzz about a Warlord of Mars film finally being made was enough, that the internet would spread like wildfire or something. Maybe they just couldn't figure out what to do with the product once they had it. Whatever it was, they were utter failures at their job.

I haven't seen the film, it will have to wait until I can get it on netflix or cable because I have to save my money for other things, but I'm looking forward to it. Not because of reviews, not due to the tepid trailers that were put out, and especially not the cheesy kidsy trailer showed in morning TV.

Its because of this fan-made trailer right here, which makes the case better than the millions Disney spent:



The music is "Mars" by Nick Ingram and the footage is from previously released trailers and the sizzle reel cut by Eric Jessen of the John Carter editorial team. And it makes me want to see the movie as opposed to feel dismayed that they made a mess of it like previous trailers. More of the story would have been good, too but another trailer showing mostly parts of the intro in England talking to Edgar Rice Burroughs could have done that, ending with Carter looking around Mars in confusion when he first shows up.

Disney sold the thing as just plain John Carter, a lousy title. That kind of thing only works if you know who John Carter really is. Even Princess of Mars (the original Burroughs title) would have been far better to pull in curious viewers and generate interest. The trailers had confusing disjointed stuff happening without any narrative or concept to tie them together. They didn't make the slightest effort to inform people who or what this story was.

So yeah, they deserve to take a bath but it means nobody will touch this product for another 100 years probably and that's a real shame, given the stories.

VIOLATING CHILDHOOD MEMORIES?

"My childhood has been raped!!"

TMNT
When the Lord of the Rings movies came out I was somewhat upset at changes in the first, incredibly annoyed at changes in the third, and unhappy with changes in the third. Its inevitable that when you go from one media to another, you'll have to change things to make it work, so I could put up with many of the changes in Fellowship of the Rings, but after that Jackson was just making changes to fit his vision of the movie rather than the best-selling legendary literature that the books contain.

I didn't care for some of the huge changes to the X-Men universe done in the First Class movie, and only was able to slightly enjoy it by treating the film as just a generic superhero flick rather than about a very well-established comics franchise.

However, there is a level of nerd rage I can't understand and probably never will. When Transformers came out, my complaints were that the action was so close in I couldn't figure out what was going on, and the robots all looked basically the same so I couldn't recognize who was who, or care. Still it was a blast to watch and I liked most of it.

Transformers fans from the TV show hated it. Hate all the films. Hate Michael Bay for directing them. Hate their reflection in the mirror for watching the movie, probably. They really are upset. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is being put out by Michael Bay now, and he announced that instead of being, you know, mutants, they are aliens in his film. Again, the nerd rage built up and people are howling for his blood.

I don't get that. In the first instance, the Transformers show sucked. I don't mean it was childish, I mean it was crap, from start to finish. The only great thing about the transformers was how they could turn into a vehicle with clever engineering as a real toy. That was pretty nifty. But the show was just terrible. The animation was lousy, the stories were lousy, the treatment of the characters was lousy. Sure, when you are 11 and watching it they were cool as all get out but looking back they were just terrible.

So changing this childhood memory isn't so much a violation as a salvation: Bay turned this cheesy crap into a marketable product. Now, I was high school and college when this show came out, so I was more interested in Miami Vice than Transformers, so probably I lack that nostalgia thing but people, get a grip.

And the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) thing... you guys are way off base on this. Yes, they were mutants but the show and the comics you remember, the movie? Was already a brutal violation of the original concept.

When it was originally done (in great black and white art, with cool grayscale work) TMNT was a spoof, a parody of Daredevil and the X-Men. It was meant to poke fun at the tropes and the themes of these comics, taken so very seriously. The title its self was meant to be a joke, packing together different hot topics and putting "turtles" on it to make it more absurd. Its like Teenage Zombie Vampire Turtles today. The comic ran 4 issues and wrapped up, and went ballistic. People loved it. So they put out a few more then it turned into something serious.

What kids then remember as adults to day was the kiddie cartoonification of TMNT. Not the original concept, which was quite clever and well done. They remember the lousy exploitative toy-selling TV executives version of the product.

And that's what they are upset about being "violated" by Michael Bay?

Look I'm an older generation, I grew up with crap like Happy Days, Godzookie, CHIPS, and Dukes of Hazzard. And I knew it was crap back then. We used to mock the wrecks and the reuse of stock character actors in CHIPS, we knew Dukes of Hazzard was idiotic and knew why they always cut away from the General Lee after one of those huge jumps.

If they made a movie about Happy Days where Fonzie was an alien or gay (as Henry Winkler is), we wouldn't care. Because we knew the shows were crappy to begin with. Masters of the Universe was awful, a movie remake that fixes those awful bits and makes it more saleable today is smart, not a terrible thing to do to your memories.

There seems to be this divide that came between when we enjoyed shows and went on with our lives, and when kids began to idolize their shows and hold their past memories in reverence and awe. Maybe that was the line kids stopped playing outdoors and all their good memories of childhood are television and computer games.

Just get over it, they were lousy TV shows to begin with.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Shipping a Cat

Quote of the Day

"What we call 'progress' is often merely an exchange of one nuisance for a different one"
-Anonymous

Monday, March 26, 2012

THE OPEN SECRET

"They got a 24 hour homo watch waitin' for me at the airport"
-Eddie Murphy

Hispanics and Blacks don't like homosexuals. I can't understand Spanish, but I understand from people who do that spanish-language radio is full of DJ's making jokes about homosexuals. As Josh Kraushaar writes in The Atlantic, President Obama isn't openly backing homosexual "marriage" not out of any principled position or "evolving" ideas but:
Obama can't afford to even risk losing the deep enthusiasm black voters have towards him. They gave Obama a whopping 95 percent of the vote against John McCain last year and turned out at historic levels. He should get similar levels of support this year, but with the down economy disproportionately affecting the black community, he's not at all assured that they'll turn out at the same level as 2008. Backing gay marriage would virtually guarantee that some would stay home -- perhaps enough to tip the balance in states like Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio.
Blacks do not care for homosexual "marriage," as they've made abundantly clear at the ballot box over and over again.
California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage passed in 2008 thanks to overwhelming black support; 70 percent backed it, according to exit polls. Recent gay marriage legislation in Maryland drew opposition from leading Democratic African-American legislators in the state. The same ministers organizing get-out-the-vote efforts in black churches for Obama are also railing against gay marriage.
These groups - the biggest "minority" groups in America which President Obama is hoping against hope will push him over the line into victory in November - simply don't share the left's social viewpoint on nearly any topic. In fact, the only explanation for why the wildly leftist and socially extreme Democratic Party keeps getting heavy support from these and other minority groups are successful pandering and successful distortion and lies about their opponents.

Socially at least, minorities really should lean more heavily toward Republicans, who tend to house more conservatives, especially in the social arena. Which is probably why the media and the Democrats have done everything they can to try to discourage any remotest mention of social issues by Republican candidates: it reminds the guys they rely on to win whose side they are on.

OBLIGATORY TRAYVON COMMENTS

I supposed I'd be remiss in my duties as a blogger if I didn't comment at least a little on the Trayvon Martin case. So here are a few thoughts:
  • I can't stand these made up names like 'Trayvon.' It sounds like a brand name.
  • If you're wondering how someone named George Zimmerman could be hispanic, well his family came from an area where a lot of, er, German immigrants went in the mid 1940's.
  • I can't help shake the sense that all this outrage and instant outcry was prepared and packaged waiting for just such a case and was launched based on the guy's name without seeing him.
  • Where was this outcry when gangs of black youths over and over again have attacked white people specifically crying racial slurs in places like Philadelphia?
  • Zimmerman is apparently a Democrat with blacks in his family. I guess the "he's a filthy klansman" attack is easier with the Democrat connection.
  • I bet you all the money in my pocket (which is empty of all but lint) that in three months, people will say "Trayvon who?"
  • My sympathies go out to Trayvon's family, especially his mother. This must be awful for her in particular.
There's just something so very artificial and desperate about the left's response to this, you can almost see their eyes shifting and a slight blush forming when they talk about it.

*UPDATE: you can't tell me this is not deliberate


Courtesy American Digest. Trayvon was ten in that top picture they're using. He's 17 now.

*UPDATE: Apparently the bottom picture of Trayvon is of another fellow named Trayvon, but the point stays the same: the legacy media is using the top picture almost exclusively, even though they know its dated and unrepresentative of young Mr Martin.

WHO IS TO BLAME

"We are a drug-habit Nation and alcohol is only one of the many kinds that are being used to excess."
-Dr. Harvey Wiley

Drug Addict
When I wrote about the war on drugs last, it was to try to destroy a false argument against outlawing drug use, the "its not working" law, which is irrelevant to legal structure. It sounds impressive until you look at this objection more closely, and then it falls apart as mere sophistry: emotionally appealing but without logical merit.

Peter Hitchens, the brother of Christopher Hitchens, is a journalist and a writer, although less acerbic than his brother was. Like his brother, he's very intelligent and was raised under what was probably the finest education system on earth in the English Public School system. While he's not as frighteningly brilliant as his brother, he's still quite intelligent, learned, and well-traveled for many of the same reasons.

However, a few years back, Peter Hitchens had a change of heart and moved away from the far left his brother flirted with his entire life, and today has a much more conservative perspective. He's written a book The Rage Against God about his life and why he changed and I recommend it highly.

On his blog, Peter Hitchens wrote about various subjects touching on a debate he attended, but one thing he brought up which I'd not considered enough before is this idea:
First I blamed drug-takers for their own actions, and also blamed them, and their hedonistic selfishness, for the disasters which have befallen the narco-states, disasters about which that very good man Ed Vulliamy is rightly incensed, though I don’t share his solutions.
All that violence, all those evil regimes propped up by drug money, all those drug cartels, and all the bad things we associate with drug trafficking and drug use come about because people use drugs. Everyone is swift to condemn the mistakes and cost of fighting the drug trade, everyone points to the war on drugs as a failure and the violence as a result of outlawing drugs but nobody wants to look at the root cause.

Were people not inclined to take drugs there would be none of these negative effects. Do you know why there's no violence, theft, brutality, and no regimes propped up on the Brussels Sprouts trade? Because they taste awful and almost nobody wants to eat them. There's no profit in selling them.

If people didn't use drugs - self destructive and foolish at best - then there'd be no demand, no profit, no drug crime, no drug cartels, no drug violence, and no drug-based narco regimes. The core cause of all of this is people using drugs. Blaming cops for costing a lot trying to stop crime is like blaming the garbage man for how bad your trash can smells because he opens it up. The drug laws aren't the problem. The war on drugs isn't the problem. The law enforcement aren't the problem (although they do have problems in the war on drugs). The drug gangs are a serious problem but they aren't the cause, they are a response to the problem.

Its people using drugs. Don't blame everyone else, junkie. Blame yourself. This is entirely voluntary, nobody is forcing you to use this crap and ruin your life. Nobody needs to start taking cocaine or smoking pot. Nobody has to feed the drug trade, they do so because they choose to.

I know life is hard. I know heroin can make you feel neato for a while. I know you want to escape. Read a book, take a walk, play with your kids, focus on doing your job well. Go to church, whatever. That's what most people do, they don't hide in a crack pipe like a baby and whine at the world. Stop feeding this trade and it goes away. Its all your fault.

PICTURE OF THE DAY


Hater.

Quote of the Day

"Rarely has one law so exemplified the worst of the Leviathan state — grotesque cost, questionable constitutionality and arbitrary bureaucratic coerciveness. "
-Charles Krauthammer

Friday, March 23, 2012

SHAKESPEAREAN INSULTS

"Go forth, thou mendicant!"

There are a few shakespearean insult generators out there, but if you want to do it the old fashioned way and create your own, here's a three-part list you can use. For the record I don't know what a lot of these words even mean, and there's a non trivial chance that some are a bit bawdy as Shakespeare commonly was. Technically, some of these can only apply to men (coxcomb, varlet) and some to women (harpy, strumpet), but often you can work those out.

For best results, begin with "thou" then pick one from each column:
Column 1Column 2Column 2
artlessbase-courtapple-john
bawdybat-fowlingbaggage
beslubberingbeef-wittedbarnacle
bootlessbeetle-headedbladder
churlishboil-brainedboar-pig
cockeredclapper-clawedbugbear
cloutedclay-brainedbum-bailey
cravencommon-kissingcanker-blossom
currishcrook-patedclack-dish
dankishdismal-dreamingclotpole
dissemblingdizzy-eyedcoxcomb
droningdogheartedcodpiece
errantdread-bolteddeath-token
fawningearth-vexingdewberry
fobbingelf-skinnedflap-dragon
frowardfat-kidneyedflax-wench
frothyfen-suckedflirt-gill
gleekingflap-mouthedfoot-licker
goatishfly-bittenfustilarian
gorbelliedfolly-fallengiglet
impertinentfool-borngudgeon
infectiousfull-gorgedhaggard
jarringguts-gripingharpy
loggerheadedhalf-facedhedge-pig

lumpishhasty-wittedhorn-beast
mammeringhedge-bornhugger-mugger
mangledhell-hatedjoithead
mewlingidle-headedlewdster
paunchyill-breedinglout
pribblingill-nurturedmaggot-pie
pukingknotty-patedmalt-worm
punymilk-liveredmammet
quallingmotley-mindedmeasel
rankonion-eyedminnow
reekyplume-pluckedmiscreant
roguishpottle-deepmoldwarp
ruttishpox-markedmumble-news
saucyreeling-ripenut-hook
spleenyrough-hewnpigeon-egg
spongyrude-growingpignut
surlyrump-fedputtock
totteringshard-bornepumpion
unmuzzledsheep-bitingratsbane
vainspur-galledscut
venomedswag-belliedskainsmate
villainoustardy-gaitedstrumpet
warpedticle-brainedvarlot

And for extra fun, Celebrity Jeopardy, where the guy playing Sean Connery uses a couple of these insults:

WORD AROUND THE NET

"This assignment was just creepy beyond belief — like something out of East Germany during the Cold War"

Boomless Supersonic
Sonic booms. They are kind of fun, and I remember as a kid once in a while you'd hear them. It was an interesting sound and seemed high tech and space age to me back then. A federal law was passed to stop planes from flying that fast low enough to cause problems for people, so its extremely rare you hear one these days. Well someone believes they've come up with a method of flying past the speed of sound without creating that effect. The solution is a throwback to the first planes built: a biplane. Apparently the concept isn't new:
Back in the 1950s, German engineer Adolf Busemann was the first to come up with a biplane design that thwarts shockwaves at supersonic speeds. The problem with a regular single-wing aeroplane is that as the jet nears the speed of sound, air compresses in front of and behind it, and when the plane goes past Mach 1, the sudden increase in air pressure sends two shockwaves radiating out.

Busemann showed that with a biplane, the configuration of the top and bottom wings would cancel out the shockwaves of each other. But because the wings create a small space for air to go through, when the biplane is still going below the speed of sound but getting faster, the wings could "choke", creating huge drag.
But only recently is technology really to the point it can work feasibly. The wings would adjust in flight based on speed and need, and although it hasn't been built and tested yet, the plane seems workable.

Sheriff Joe Biden is such an awful choice for Vice President it really ought to have been a signal during the 2008 campaign that Obama wasn't all he was cracked up to be, but voters didn't want to pay attention. Recently, trying to hype up the no-brainer call to send troops after Osama Bin Laden, he said that this was a "gusty call," the "most audacious plan in 500 years." Any military historian could list dozens of military plans far more audacious (such as Matt Holtzman's list), but honestly I think most would simply be confused why anyone would think the plan was audacious at any level to begin with.

Unexpected! That word just keeps showing up. This time its in description of a decline in new home sales. Just imagine how easy the copy will be to write for right-leaning sites if a Republican president is elected in November: what would they have said about Obama here? Where's the 'unexpected' lede?

Curiously, anti-gun groups have nothing negative whatsoever to say about the Fast&Furious scandal. Even if you mistakenly believe this was some kind of private op by a single attorney general in Arizona, you'd still think they would be crying foul about handing guns to murdering thugs and then not tracking them at all. Its almost as if they knew what it was all about: creating an atmosphere in which and an excuse for gun control laws.

While we're on the subject of the Fast & Furious scandal, not only did the Obama administration deliberately send guns to brutal, murderous Mexican drug cartels, but they caught one of the main figures in one... and let him go. The ATF caught Manuel Acosta and held him until he promised to help them out in exchange for being released. Then, shockingly, he just left and didn't give any assistance.

Personally I'm opposed to all of this kind of funding, but you have to admit the inconsistency and contradiction is strong in this story. President Obama has blocked federal funding for a program in Texas for single mothers in poverty. Why? Because the Texas law it would match in federal funds specifically says the money cannot go to Planned Parenthood. And helping a fellow leftist organization trumps helping poor women, apparently.

Rick Santorum was a useful force in the GOP election because he clung to not being negative about other candidates, he focused on social issues which the others desperately were trying to ignore, and he brought a completely different group of peoples' interest to the election. Like Ron Paul I thought he had no real shot at winning but was useful because he forced attention of candidates and the press on issues that weren't being covered. Now he has to go. Why? This line:
"If you're going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch-A-Sketch candidate of the future."
No, Rick. President Obama for 4 more years would not be better than President Romney. I agree that Romney isn't enough different from Obama, but he is different and would be less destructive to the country, which is the best we can really hope for at this point. You've started going negative, which abandons your biggest strength, and your negative is stupid and self destructive. Drop out before you shove that foot even further down your throat.

What's that Etch-a-Sketch line about? Well Romney's campaign manager said that the general election is like an etch-a-sketch, you can just shake it up and start from scratch, negating what you said before in the primary election. I know what he was trying to say - that its like in sports where the postseason playoffs are basically starting over, a new season (especially for sports like Basketball and Hockey were most of the teams make it and it lasts ages). But in the context it sounded like Romney was only making conservative sounds to win and it reinforced the "Romney has no principles and only says what he figures people want to hear" vibe people get off the guy. Just dumb.

Perhaps you saw this story, but I missed it entirely. Apparently a series of news reports ran about Apple computers and their manufacturing in China, telling how awful it is and so on. Well Apple is beloved by the left and those in news and entertainment, so its no surprise that someone scrambled on that to find a refutation. And lo and behold here it is, apparently the guy who did the story for NPR's This American Life manufactured a great deal of the story.

Apparently someone at the Obama team thought this was an appealing picture, a great idea:

Its on the official Obama Tumblr account. Stoaty Weasel thinks this image is more appropriate.

Ronald Reagan won in part in 1980 by highlighting the waste and fraud in the welfare system of the United States. One famous line was about a "welfare queen" who drove a cadillac and lived in style off the government. A Chicago Newspaper put a reporter on the detail and swore he couldn't find anyone like that, but it doesn't take long to find plenty of examples of welfare fraud and waste. Recently, Nancy Pelosi's daughter did an expose on just such waste and fraud. HBO didn't want to carry it, probably because it doesn't help the leftist cause.

What is al`Qaeda's least favorite news channel in America? Fox News, according to a report by David Ignatius on Bin Laden at the Washington Post.
“It should be sent for example to ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN and maybe PBS and VOA. As for Fox News let her die in her anger,” Gadahn wrote. At another point, he said of the networks: “From a professional point of view, they are all on one level — except [Fox News] channel, which falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks objectivity, too.”
The report also detailed a plan to kill President Obama.

Leftists were excited when they thought they had a rapist in the Tea Party movement, after all the examples in the occupy movement have tarnished that effort to mimic and oppose the Tea Party. He was supposedly the spokesman for the San Diego Tea Party movement but... it turns out he was tossed out months before the incident and wasn't involved with them at all.

Russia's government not long ago announced that it wouldn't get involved in Syria, but recently news has come out that they are. Russia is sending "anti-terror" troops (aka advisers and support) to help the Assad regime cling to power. There really is no evil that the Putin administration won't get involved in, is there?

Under President Bush, the debt skyrocketed far beyond what it had under all presidents before him. Under President Obama it has gone up even more in far shorter time. In 3 1/2 years, Barack Hussein Obama has presided over more debt increase than President Bush saw in 8 years of office. Bush was bad enough. Obama is far worse. And while President Bush kept sending budgets to congress that cut in various places to reduce the debt, President Obama keeps sending budgets that bloat it even more every year. And the Democrats in congress have failed to create a budget his entire time in office.

JPMorgan Chase has decided to close their investment account with the Vatican Bank. Why? Well a while back some allegations of money laundering and tax fraud were raised concerning the Vatican Bank, and they weren't holding their financial transactions to the same level of transparency that many modern investors and governments insist upon. The Vatican Bank began to clean house and change its policies such as formally adopting newer transparency rules, but recently the Obama administration placed the Vatican Bank on its list of money laundering outfits, and JPMorgan followed suit.

Now while I wouldn't put it past the Vatican to be involved in any of these things, the timing of all this does seem a bit curious, to say the least.

Media Matters is doing everything it can to silence Rush Limbaugh after believing it managed to force Glenn Beck off the air by boycotting advertising. Although both organizations claim there's no connection, MMFA has donated a hundred thousand dollars and been coordinating with the Stop Rush Project in trying to get advertisers to leave the show. Supposedly one such advertiser tells the story of how this works out on RightScoop:
He describes emails from people telling him that his company is now under constant surveillance, that they are watching every move he makes. His employees, even female employees, are getting emails calling them woman haters.

When asked why he doesn’t think it’s just a bunch of unhappy people, he said “The comments are all the damn same. ‘You hate women! You hate women! You hate women!’”
This whole advertiser boycott/silence guys I disagree with plot isn't working out as planned for the left.

Here in Oregon, there's a scandal involving the state's biggest newspaper. Oregonian editor Bob Caldwell, heavy anti-prostitution advocate at the paper, died while at a hooker's place. His friend and fellow editor Kathleen Glanville rushed over, moved his car to another location, and lied about how he died in her story written for the newspaper. Why she did it is some matter of speculation (probably to protect the newspaper from embarrassment and help her fellow worker) but she has been fired. The Oregonian isn't much of a paper anyway.

When he was Chairman of the Federal Reserve under President Bush, Ben Bernake oversaw and pushed for the TARP bailouts. However, before that he had some things to say about how the fed and fiscal policy should work:
"Letting future generations bear the burden of population aging is appropriate"

"At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency."

"It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve – nor would it be appropriate – to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions"
There are more such quotes at MoneyTalks. Best of hands, and all that.

Ronald Bailey at Reason Magazine wrote a long piece on the origins of morality in human nature, trying to figure out where morality comes from biologically or physically. Included was some entirely invented speculation on the morality of prehistoric man, and basically it was a naturalists' effort to figure out why we have a spiritual nature when nothing exists but what we can see, touch, measure, and scientifically examine. Shakespeare had it best:
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
-Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5
Or to put it another way, you're never going to find the answer to that question if you categorically reject an entire section of possibilities without even bothering to consider them.

Not too long ago, the last time gas prices were heading up under Obama, MSNBC ran a piece on how rising gas prices are good! When Bush was president, the media ran man on the street interviews of how high gas prices hurt them and showed sob stories of people who are being ruined by gas as high as $3.50 a gallon! Now? CNN Money thinks its good news the prices keep going up.

Israel has cleared out its embassy in Egypt. There are two reasons a country does this. Either because they are at war with the nation in question, or because the nation has become so chaotic and dangerous that the basic principles of diplomacy and civilization are decaying to the point that an embassy is not just pointless but dangerous for the people involved. In this case, it could be both.

Virginia is fairly right leaning, but only in the rural areas. Liberty Middle School in Fairfax County assigned a project to its 8th grade students: do opposition research on presidential candidates. Now in theory this is decent social studies and civics, but... they were told to only look at Republican candidates, and then the teachers sent what the students dug up to the Democratic National Committee. Students were uncomfortable and unhappy with this project, and around the country parents are scratching their heads wondering why a school would specifically and deliberately try to help one party win the presidency.

Former London Mayor "Red" Ken Livingstone is an open communist. He also is running for Mayor again, and he recently gave a sermon of sorts at a big mosque in the city. In it he said these lines, according to Andrew Gilligan at the Telegraph:
Mr Livingstone, Labour’s candidate for mayor of London, pledged to “educate the mass of Londoners” in Islam, saying: “That will help to cement our city as a beacon that demonstrates the meaning of the words of the Prophet.” Mr Livingstone described Mohammed’s words in his last sermon as “an agenda for all humanity.”

He praised the Prophet’s last sermon, telling his audience: “I want to spend the next four years making sure that every non-Muslim in London knows and understands [its] words and message.” He also promised to “make your life a bit easier financially.”
Why on earth would he say such a thing? Well one reason is probably because he's lagging by 8% in polls behind slightly less leftist candidate and present mayor Boris Johnson. Plus, he's one of the guys who thought that massive immigration from places like Pakistan would help the leftists win and retain power by giveaways to immigrants.

Also in England, a playground has been torn apart. The original playground was built as a memorial to 116 children killed by Luftwaffe raids on Aberfan, and was dedicated by the queen. Why was it shut down? Many of the older playground pieces like monkeybars and teeter totters were deemed dangerous to children and removed. Here are some images of the instruments of death:

DangerousDeadly

The horror.

While we're picking on England, one last story. Apparently some schools are telling children to not form friendships and make best friends. They are being told to make groups of friends but not one special friend. Why? Because if you have a fight its painful and makes kids feel bad, and that has to be avoided. Children must not learn that life is hard an painful, they must not ever develop the skills to deal with disappointment, hurt, and betrayal before they reach adulthood. Meanwhile, the children continue to make friends as normal.

And finally, a few weeks ago in a WATN I wrote about how the EPA was trying to force a family of farmers in Washington State to submit to their authority without having access to a court. The EPA literally said their decisions could not be appealed. Well the family took the EPA to court and won, they can appeal, and the EPA cannot ram them through the system without recourse. Why did the EPA lose? They went up against Sacketts (that is the name of the farming family). They should have known better.

Seriously though, the EPA has power over waterways and "wetlands" under the 1972 Clean Water Act to fight water pollution. However the bill has been expanded and the EPA given ever greater powers over the years, so now it also covers environmental concerns, creatures, water rights, and so on. And at no point has the federal definition of what "waters" means been ever decided, leaving it entirely up to the whim of regulators and individual agents. Its well-meaning federal power gone wild, and is likely unconstitutional to boot.

Apartheid and Jim Crow are alive and well, in Melbourne Australia. The far left city council has determined that aboriginal children need different, separate attention than whites, so they have two entrances to the city "playgroups." One for whites and one labeled "non-whites." Andrew Bolt has the image and details. Wonder if he'll get sued and forced to shut up about this one, too?

And that's the Word Around the Net for March 23, 2012.