Friday, November 30, 2012

Epic Sex

In line at Albertsons yesterday, I saw Cosmo had this headline. I think it has something to do with Beowulf, but the truth of the matter is that I always find Cosmo a bit confusing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is Censorship Really A Bad Thing?

Living things respond to conditioning. What happens to a society conditioned on a popular culture filled with things like this?

It used to be that you couldn't show a murder in a movie unless the murderer was apprehended and punished. That was a long, long time ago. Now our murderers are heroes and played by top notch stars.

CHICAGO—Violence over the weekend resulted in Chicago's 400th homicide this year -- that's up 25 percent from the same time last year.  
On Sunday, Jose Escobar, 25, was shot and killed after a fight near a fast food stand at 35th and Morgan in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. His friend was left paralyzed. Escobar's family says he was a gang member, but was trying to change his life.  
“In Chicago, the epidemic of violence is spreading all over the place,” said Ceasefire Illinois director, Tio Hardiman.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

If I Ran Through Compton, Wearing A Klan Outfit, Would You Feel Sorry For Me When I Got Shot?

Would you?

Der Spiegel has the standard article and photo essay today of crying grandmas from Gaza and, for me, it was the last straw. One of the grandmas has this caption:
The mother of Zaki Qadada, who was killed in an Israeli air strike, weeps during an interviw with SPIEGEL in Gaza City on Nov. 21. "We hope that God will take revenge on these people," she said.
Seriously? How about if you hope that God grants you a tiny portion of a brain instead? Maybe having your national leaders in Hamas swear to commit genocide against a militarily superior nation, founded after their people survived the Holocaust wasn't the best idea in the world. Did you think that was going to end well?

What's the disconnect here? I just finished listening to Judaism and one of the primary themes is how the Holocaust redefined what it meant to be Jewish. Survival trumps all differences. After living next to a Jewish state for a few decades, shouldn't you be able to figure that out? If they've got the Bomb, do you think they're going to let you overwhelm them and exterminate them, assuming you can somehow manage to get past their top-notch army?

If it comes to a real, live war of extermination, do you think they're still going to be using smart bombs and targeting leaders, or are they just going to kill every last one of you with indiscriminate, superior firepower?

Even assuming there was some amount of moral justice in their cause, is screaming genocidal threats at the Israelis and launching rockets on them endlessly anything other than stupid?

For crying out loud, this was perfectly predictable. How much sympathy can you work up for people who continually bring this on themselves?

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Can't Believe That He Believes

Right now, I'm listening to Paul Johnson's Intellectuals. It's a glorious polemic of anecdotes, character analyses and flat-out ad hominem attacks on a variety of wacky braniacs including Marx, Sartre and Chomsky. I haven't gotten to Chomsky yet, but both Sartre and Marx reminded me of Robert Reich.

In the last Reich piece that I read, he scribbled this nonsense:
Europe offers the same lesson in reverse: Their deficits are ballooning because their austerity policies have caused their economies to sink.

The best way to generate jobs and growth is for the government to spend more, not less.
That bugged me at the time because it was so transparently false. Spain and Greece are undergoing austerity because no one will lend to them and interest rates have shot up. It's not like they had a choice. They had a choice five years ago and chose to do what Robert suggested. The result has been riots and financial chaos.

He certainly must see that, right? So what's the angle here?

Marx and Sartre wrote gibberish. Marx never bothered to actually meet the proles and his partner, Engels, doctored the facts to help Marx continue spouting trash. Sartre was a self-promoting egoist, blathering about "action" while he himself did whatever got him money and attention. It wasn't about the truth or developing a better understanding of the world, it was all about them.

So that's where I am with Robert Reich. His work is so transparently deceitful that the only thing I can think is that he doesn't actually believe it himself. He just loves to get his speaking fees and to appear on talk shows. He loves it when his books make the best seller lists. He loves it when he is quoted. I grant that he could be a little deeper than that. Like Marx and Sartre who talked themselves into believing at least some of their own idiocy, the little man might really be a Peronist fascist at heart.

If that's the case, is he really an economist after all, or is he a particularly data-driven propaganda minister?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cheezburger of the Day

Is Aristocracy / Peasantry The Nature Of Things?

In the middle ages, noblemen rode around on horses, eating good food. Peasants rolled in the mud*.

Here, a noblewoman rides along with a full silver service and fresh Turbot Eugenie in her saddlebags.
There was this really huge gap between the rich and the poor. It happened because the noblemen oppressed the peasants with the help of the Catholic Church, which heated their massive cathedrals by burning heretics - mostly scientists.

This is the world to which the Rethuglican Theocons long to return. It's a world where the rich oppress and exploit the poor.

In modern California, progressives hold sway. They now control every aspect of the government and can implement everything they've ever dreamed up, whether that's putting an end to the tides or making sure kids eat enough organic endives.

In California, there is this really huge gap between the rich and the poor. It's happened because the super-rich coastal elite oppressed the peasants with the help of the government and Planned Parenthood, one striving to eliminate self-reliance, the other trying to make responsibility-free orgasms a universal right.

This is the world which the Demoncrat Communists long to spread to the four corners of the globe. It's a world where the intellectual elite oppress and exploit the poor.

His Mac has a wood-grain finish. He doesn't know what wood grain is.
So after about 1500 years, the West has come full circle. We've gone from the Theocon paradise where the underclass is trampled by the nobility to a progressive paradise where the underclass is trampled by government social programs.

Doesn't that make you think this is the way things were meant to be?

* - Well, that's what they teach in my daughter's public high school history classes. To be honest, there's not much time to get into it as they have 3 months of diversity studies to get through.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Written History Would Probably Make A Difference

Clicking around the Wampanoag site yesterday, I came across the history of their tribe, which starts with the standard Indian self-pity party.
1616 Traders from Europe bring yellow fever to Wampanoag territory. The geographical area affected was all of the 69 tribes of the Wampanoag Nation from present day Provincetown, MA to Narragansett Bay; the boundary of the Wampanoag and Narragansett Nations. Fully two thirds of the entire Wampanoag Nation (estimated at 45,000) die.
The truth of the matter is that their history didn't start in 1616, it's just that they have no idea what happened before then because they couldn't write. As I pondered that, I wondered how big of a difference that made in their perception of their interactions with the Europeans. For all they knew, they'd spent the last several hundred years engaged in sporadic, vicious, genocidal warfare with neighboring tribes. Given the inter-tribal conflicts the settlers found all across the land, that's a really good bet. Maybe not the genocidal part, but who knows? They may have survived a plague like the Black Death that swept Europe, but you don't know that, either.

In Europe, written history goes back 2000 years or more. Because of that, it's pretty hard to get worked up about the Siege of Constantinople when you consider what happened to Carthage and the Sack of Rome, just to pick three brutal events off the top of my head. Because the written history shows how each group was a pack of scurvy knaves in turn, there's no mantle of innocence to drape about anyone's shoulders as they whine about this event or that.

For all anyone knows, this was the fifth such forced migration in 2000 years, the first four happening long before the Europeans arrived.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Getting In Touch With My Inner Wampanoag For Thanksgiving

The Wampanpoags were the Indians that shared noms with the Pilgrims on that very first Thanksgiving. You can find their website here and a screen cap below.

They've melded the Old Ways with the New Ways pretty nicely.
On the occasion of Thanksgiving, and in concert with the Wampanoags on that website, here are some of the things I'm thankful for:

  • Web servers
  • HTML
  • Digital cameras
  • Photoshop
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Siding for houses
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Cars
  • Machine-woven cloth
  • Machine-washable garments
  • Smartly-tailored suits
  • Casinos
  • Baseball caps
  • Hoodies
  • Foldable nylon / aluminum chairs with coverings
  • Chain link fences
  • Home Depot / Lowe's garden department where they sell flowering shrubs
On this day, I thank God for old traditions and new technologies, whether they came from "my people" or yours.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How Very French

A friend turned me on to a different video in this series, but as it was tied to Halloween, this seemed more appropriate to post now.

It's worth noting that, in contrast to Henri in the video, here in the Catican Compound, relations between all parties have never been more cordial. Our Maximum Leader can be grumpy sometimes because of her arthritic knee, but she has grown affectionate* with everyone, even attempting to touch noses with the smaller of the two Catican Guards. Being a wiggly nincompoop, our little dog didn't understand the gesture and ran off, afraid of receiving another full-claw swatting.

* - Well, affectionate in her own way. She's never been a lap cat and takes petting only when the time is right. Her way of showing affection is to simply be with you. She likes to be in the same room as the rest of us, with everyone relaxed and laying around quietly. Movement is an anathema to her and our family times work best while watching TV.

Slouching Towards Single Payer

Over at Ricochet, Pejman Yousefzadeh notes how a New York community college is cutting hours for teachers to get them under the 30 hour limit wherein the college would have to meet Obamacare health insurance requirements.
Community College Of Allegheny County will cut the hours some instructors to avoid paying for their health insurance coverage under new Affordable Care Act rules.

CCAC President Alex Johnson announced in an email to employees last week that the school would cut course loads and hours for some 200 adjunct faculty members and 200 additional employees.

The Affordable Care Act — nicknamed Obamacare — classifies employees who work 30 hours or more per week as full-time, and CCAC would be required under the new law to provide employer-assisted health insurance to those employees.
This isn't a bug, but a feature. As more people get cut below 30 hours, more will find themselves on a government health care plan. That plan, subsidized by the taxpayers, will grow and displace commercial insurers. Good luck competing with that.

Patria Socialista!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cheezburger of the Day

Benito Mussolini, Tim Geithner And Robert Reich

Il Duce was the father of fascism. He defined it in his lovely little book, Fascism. You can find it at that link. Benito's intellectual heirs, the Democrats, are bringing Mussolini-style fascism to fruition here in the US. Don't believe me? Well, here's Benny on fascism.
The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative. Individuals and groups are admissible in so far as they come within the State. Instead of directing the game and guiding the material and moral progress of the community, the liberal State restricts its activities to recording results. The Fascist State is wide awake and has a will of its own. For this reason it can be described as " ethical ".

At the first quinquennial assembly of the regime, in 1929, I said “The Fascist State is not a night watchman, solicitous only of the personal safety of the citizens; not is it organized exclusively for the purpose of guarantying a certain degree of material prosperity and relatively peaceful conditions of life, a board of directors would do as much. Neither is it exclusively political, divorced from practical realities and holding itself aloof from the multifarious activities of the citizens and the nation. The State, as conceived and realized by Fascism, is a spiritual and ethical entity for securing the political, juridical, and economic organization of the nation, an organization which in its origin and growth is a manifestation of the spirit. The State guarantees the internal and external safety of the country, but it also safeguards and transmits the spirit of the people, elaborated down the ages in its language, its customs, its faith.
Here's Tim Geithner telling us we shouldn't have any restrictions at all on how much the government can borrow. Here's Robert Reich letting us know that government spending needs to grow, grow, grow!

Remove the militarism from Mussolini and replace it with "social justice" as Juan Peron did in Argentina and you end up with the State defined through economic activity. Instead of impressing young men into an army and invading other nations, you spend, tax and regulate without limit. Both Geithner and Reich advocate just that. Endless expansion of government powers with everything else secondary to the growth of the State. In fact, in Reich's essay, I'm not sure anything other than the State is even mentioned.

And the spiritual part? That one is easy.

I am the State thy god and thou shalt have no other gods before me.

To Infinity And Even Farther Beyond!

Our favorite little fascist intellectual, Robert Reich has penned lovely piece on why we should stop worrying about the deficit and simply spend our way to propserity. Here's a few tidbits.
Europe offers the same lesson in reverse: Their deficits are ballooning because their austerity policies have caused their economies to sink.

The best way to generate jobs and growth is for the government to spend more, not less. And for taxes to stay low -- or become even lower -- on the middle class.
And where should we spend it? I don't want to keep seeing the same hands, class!
In fact, if there was ever a time for America to borrow more in order to put our people back to work repairing our crumbling infrastructure and rebuilding our schools, it's now.
Here's the best part of all.
Public investments that spur future job-growth and productivity shouldn't even be included in measures of government spending to begin with. They're justifiable as long as the return on those investments -- a more educated and productive workforce, and a more efficient infrastructure, both generating more and better goods and services with fewer scarce resources -- is higher than the cost of those investments.
Fantastic! We should spend whatever we want with no concern about where the money comes from and for Holy Infrastructure, we shouldn't even count it among the money spent!

Patria Socialista!

Meanwhile, in totally and I mean TOTALLY unrelated news, France's credit rating has been cut.

Monday, November 19, 2012


... otherwise known as War of the Robots.

Yesterday afternoon, we went out to our local multiplex and took in the new Bond move, Skyfall. It's received great reviews and has been hailed as the best Bond movie ever.

I was willing to walk out before the end.

No one enjoys themselves in this movie except the villain. Everyone else is grim and emotionless. The movie starts with Judi Dench's* M character backseat driving Bond and a fellow agent during a dramatic chase and fight sequence. Bond is little more than an appendage, and a pretty small one at that as we learn throughout the movie how M has watched this or that agent die or rot in prison.

There are plenty of opportunities for the characters to let their guards down and let us get to know them, but they never do. Instead of being human, they are simply more efficient models of ourselves, running, fighting and mating with greater speed and determination than we normal humans. At no time do they display any passion.

The lack of passion made me think of Huxley's Brave New World where the rebellious characters long for a time when their bodily hungers weren't sated immediately and they felt some longing for something, anything to make them feel more alive**. As I watched Skyfall, I couldn't help thinking that was the problem with not just the movie, but the whole production crew.

Like the normal people in Brave New World, they can't comprehend anything other than sating bodily pleasures. Real passion, real longing for something or someone is alien to them because it comes from self-denial. Hollywood is the land of do-what-feels-good and the result is emotionally barren rubbish like Skyfall.

At 0:11, you can see Judi Dench, thousands of miles away, directing things by phone, telling agents when to shoot. The result is disastrous. Symbolic of our modern political system, perhaps?

There's a secondary recurring theme throughout the movie of older people who still have what it takes being shoved off the scene by young whippersnappers. It's supposed to make you sympathize with Dench and Daniel Craig, but as they are both nothing more than robotic killing, calculating and mating machines, you don't. Instead, I found myself thinking back to Sean Connery and Roger Moore who looked like they were having fun throughout their movies. In Skyfall, no one has any fun at all.

* - Love Judi Dench. Hate her as M. I know it was done for shock value - a woman controlling Bond! - but the shock has more than worn off as women are taking traditionally male roles throughout society while men take seats on couches in front of porn and video games.

** - Here's the chapter. Search on passion to find the dialog. Context: Bernard is a rebel who wants to experience life, not live it through endless sated desires. He wants to love Lenina, not simply mate with her. She's no rebel and can't see what he's on about.

Update: One of my favorite YouTube creators, Father Robert Barron, liked the movie.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


So one of my relentlessly political lefty friends on Facebook posted something about the demise of Hostess. Apparently, the CEO (or was it the departing CEO?) took a pay raise while the company was going through bankruptcy and ended up with $2.5M. That's chicken scratch compared to the company's real problems.

Hostess, IBCIQ on the market, was delisted a while back so the financials are a bit old, but here they are going up to 2008. The place was grossing $2.5B a year, so the CEO was bringing in 0.1% of gross. I dunno, that doesn't seem like a death blow to me and I'm sure the guy had other opportunities. It seems stupid to expect someone to go through the trauma of trying to work a turnaround for free.

That's not quite the point of this post, but it's illustrative. My friend and his lefty buddies couldn't read a financial statement if you held guns to their heads, but they all think they should be able to get the government to force corporations to do what they want. There's lots more of that kind of thug thinking at AMERICAblog, the source of the guy's rage.

Screencap from AMERICAblog. Race and envy, 24/7.

It's all pretty much the same kind of thing and a good read if you want to get a line on the intellectual foundations of such thought. As Jeff Burton said in a comment on this blog, "This is not an exercise in math or accounting. It's the satisfaction of envy." They're not even trying to understand things, they're just drunk on power - the power to elect goon squads of politicians who will go out and punish the people they hate.

Something for a future blog post: There's a serious risk deliberately cultivating racial tribalism in a time of an impending, massive fiscal crisis. When the checks start to bounce or the prices are being raised on a weekly / daily basis, people will fall back to the way they've been taught to think. If you've culturally carved up the country on the basis of skin color, don't expect a financial collapse to bring people together in racial harmony. See also: Yugoslavia, breakup of.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

To Infinity! And Beyond!

Oh yeah, baby. Now we're really talking.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says he believes the U.S. debt ceiling should be eliminated in a new interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt.

“Do you agree with Alan Greenspan that we ought to just eliminate the debt ceiling?” Hunt asks Geitner.

“Oh, absolutely,” he replies.
Print money endlessly. There's no reason not to! Just hand out money to the poor morning, noon and night! That's what real compassion is.

Restraints are only OK if you're talking about sadomasochism. And in that case, they should be Federally funded!

A Statistic

While noodling a post looking back on 2012 as a year of ignorance and denial, I Googled "single mother poverty" and found this site wherein was this statistic.
Income: Half of single mother families have an annual income less than $25,000. Median income for single mother families ($24,487) is only one third the median for married couple families ($77,749).
Under the hypothesis that we theocratic prudes don't have enemies, just future converts who need to be educated, that might be a decent stat to throw around the next time someone brings up the issue of income inequality. It's simple and to the point.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cheezburger of the Day

Looking at this one, I can't recall the last time I gave our Maximum Leader a bath. That's probably a good thing all around.

Five Things You Can Do To Help Resolve The Hamas - Israeli Conflict In Gaza

Well, the missiles are flying again and bombs are being dropped. That's icky! It needs to stop because war is not the answer. After the success of the social media revolution in Egypt and Leading from Behind in Libya, we thought we'd make some suggestions for things you can do to bring peace to Gaza.

  1. "Like" both sides on Facebook.
  2. Create some funny captioned images and share them with people from both sides online.
  3. Eat less red meat.
  4. March and chant while carrying signs.
  5. Listen to Pete Seeger songs while reading what Bono has to say about the conflict and nodding your head.

Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. If we all work together, there's nothing we can't do!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Some Thoughts On Texas Secession

So Texans are getting semi-serious about secession. I've started wondering what would happen if they got really serious and began voting on it. How far would the Federals go this time to prevent a breakup of the Union?

In Chechnya, they wanted to secede, but the Russians didn't want to let that happen. The Russians went in and flattened the place. Can you imagine Barack Obama ordering that under any circumstances? Can you imagine any president ordering it? Wouldn't it be more likely that the rest of us would want to get back to our bongs and gay pride parades and let them leave?

I'm guessing we wouldn't be willing to go this far.
Second, if things got out of hand and there were some accidental massacres of innocents, imagine what Texan secessionists might be able to do to Federal infrastructure outside of Texas. Aqueducts, train tracks, SAM attacks on jetliners, freeway bridges over canyons, there's a lot of indefensible stuff out there and weapons favor insurgencies now much more than they did in the 1860s.

Third, how would you move your troops and how many of them would fight? The states surrounding Texas are pretty sympathetic to the cause and the military is disproportionately Southern in demographics. There aren't many Berkeley socialists' kids picking up rifles and shovels these days.

The red-blue county map from the election. That's a lot of hostile red territory right there. Supply lines would be threatened at all points.
Finally, what would be the Federals' rallying cry? Here are some options:
  • Save Dodd-Frank!
  • Gay marriage or death!
  • Make them pay their fair share!
  • Keep Church and State perfectly separate everywhere!
Therein lies the biggest problem for the Federals. When the rebellion is against shapeless, all-enveloping statism, there's not much to rally public opinion behind what would be a very nasty war. There would be no simplifying cause like slavery this time. It would just be an attempt to save a ginormous, sightless, all-consuming grub of Federal regulations and taxes.

Would you be willing to let your child die for that?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

For Dean

In reference to this.

That's It?

Not surprisingly, the math doesn't work.
President Barack Obama will begin budget negotiations with congressional leaders Friday by calling for $1.6 trillion in additional tax revenue over the next decade, far more than Republicans are likely to accept and double the $800 billion discussed in talks with GOP leaders during the summer of 2011.
$1.6T over 10 years is $160B per year or about 15% of our current deficit. So much for coming even close to a balanced budget by soaking the rich. $160B will be absorbed instantly by even the most modest increase in interest rates.

Time to print more money. Lots more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Politics Uber Alles

Harold Meyerson, writing in the LA Times, has a take on the Democrats becoming a super majority in California. It's all the standard race and gender stuff, with plenty of hard numbers to prove the point. For me, this is the payoff paragraph.
More sentient Republicans now say the party needs to modify its position on immigration. But a deeper look into the politics of the increasingly young and multicolored electorate suggests that the GOP is estranged from this new America on more issues than just immigration. The exit polling on Proposition 30, the tax hike on the wealthy promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown to keep the state's schools and universities from further disastrous budget cuts, shows key elements of the Democrats' new majority consigning the old Howard-Jarvis-no-tax-hike California to history's dustbin. Voters under 30 supported Proposition 30 at a 67% rate, and Asian Americans gave it 61% support.
The entire article is about politics. Winning, losing, success, failure, it's all about the politics. There's no connection at all to real life where California is at the bottom of most non-political statistics - education performance, debt loads, credit ratings, shrinking tax base, etc. Reality doesn't enter into the equation at all. "More sentient Republicans" would focus on winning elections and stop worrying about all of this performance nonsense.

In the near future, probably before the next election, reality will have its say.

Warm And Happy

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Is The Most Dangerous High School Sport?

I would argue that the sport that results in the most injuries is cross country. My daughter tried it this season and didn't run more than 30% of the time, what with knee problems and shin splints. Most of her teammates ended up with similar injuries. She's played club soccer for five years and while we've seen some injuries, it's been nothing like the total carnage of cross country.

A typical cross country meet

When You're Less Attractive Than Somalia, You've Got Big Problems

In answer to my rhetorical question in a previous post, yes indeed, Greeks are leaving Greece. And where are they going? Well, anywhere but Greece. Dig this.
Ryssdal: Why are you leaving Greece?
Oikonomides: I'm leaving Greece because I've been unemployed for a year and a half and I haven't had paid employment for two years. So I don't really have a choice, I need to have a job.
Ryssdal: And where are you going to go?
Oikonomides: I work in education and emergencies, so I will be going back to my old job, which is education programs for refugees and displaced people. That's going to be in Kenya and the three areas of Somalia.
Well OK then. Somalia it is!

I spent a little time clicking around the Interweb Tubes, reading stories like this. The theme is that if they just spend a little time away from Greece, things will sort themselves out and they'll be able to move back home.


If skilled and ambitious people leave, how are Greece's problems going to get solved?

Who is John Galt?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

If You Were Greek

... and you saw the rioting over the latest round of budget cuts, wouldn't you leave the country?

Watching this, you would think that anyone with marketable skills and the ability to pack up and go is leaving the country to get to somewhere more hospitable. That would leave Greece with government employees, the rich in guarded compounds and the dependent class.

The financial flight is just the beginning. It's the flight of human capital that really dooms you. Even if the country manages to get itself under control, is there going to be anyone left who can make a go of it?

Someone should write a book about this.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Does Compassion Require Sacrifice?

The day before the election, a dear friend of mine posted how she was a proud liberal, full of compassion for the less fortunate. But was she? She was voting to have the Federal Reserve print trillions of dollars that her favored politicians would then hand out to the poor. She didn't have to do anything. Nothing was expected of her - no fasting, no sacrifices, nothing. The goodies all appeared magically so the government could give them away.

Is that compassion or is that self-delusion? Is she just being compassionate within the rules of the game? After all, since we have a fiat monetary system - our money is not tied to any commodity - is compassion handing out money no matter where it comes from?

In the end, she felt compassionate today. Tomorrow she'll feel the stagflation and respond to it with either a fiscal awakening or more "compassion."

Friday, November 09, 2012

Blue On Blue Fighting

In Athens, pro-government forces are rioting against other pro-government forces as one side attempts to force its will on the other through political violence.

Oddly enough, that sentence works equally well no matter which side you're on.

The Greek government voted to cut more money from the its budget so it could get its hands on another bailout. That triggered a lower level of beggars to fight a higher level of beggars. That's nested awesomeness right there, boys and girls!

Party on, dudes!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

It's The iPad Mini!

Seen On Facebook

Holy Toledo.
Sorry progressives, but if you're going to embrace fascist economics, fascist regulatory strictures and now fascist iconography, you might as well change your name to fit. A new slogan might be a good idea, too.

Patria Socialista, baby.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Prediction For The 2014 and 2016 Elections

In 2 years and 4 years, the world will be wildly different than it is today. The issues more dramatic, the choices starker. Conclusions drawn from last night will be almost meaningless. Talking politics for the time being will be a waste of time.

This is happening all over the world and when it stops, everything is going to change.
Elsewhere: WC Varones has the best post-election analysis I've seen yet.

That Was One Of The Worst Nights Of My Life

Instead of watching the election returns, I decided to watch some English Premier League soccer on Hoping to enjoy some schadenfreude at the expense of Queens Park Rangers, I chose the Reading-QPR game. Horrible. Just horrible.

The moral of the story: If you have a chance to watch two terrible teams play soccer, DON'T!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Why I'm Voting For Mitt Romney Today

... because when Sister Clare and her fellow nuns minister to the poor, the sick and the needy they do so regardless of the faith of the people they're helping. They do it in imitation of Jesus. They have chosen a difficult life, a life of service and self-denial for the sake of their faith. To say that they are not a religious organization or that their actions are not that of a religious organization because they, like Christ, serve all, is an injustice. Worse than that, it marks a watershed moment in American governance where we turn away from a free, constitutional republic to fascism. There is no practical societal value in redefining them and their work, it is only to enforce the government's moral orthodoxy upon independent people.

I have no desire to live under fascist tyranny.

For the protection of the Sisters and other religious organizations from governmental intrusions and attacks, I'm voting for religious freedom. I'm voting for Mitt Romney.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Zebrafish Larva Heartbeat

I was clicking around, looking at sample Drupal sites for a project at work when I came across this video. I thought it was pretty cool. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Boredom And Self-Denial

After listening (again) to Matthew Kelly on fasting, I did some more reading about self-denial (to be blogged about later) and some noodling (I don't have a parenthetical comment here, I've apparently just gotten into the lazy, stylistically crude habit of adding them) and came to the same conclusion that lots of people came to long before me. Being a blogger, I consider my insights to be so enlightening, unique and revolutionary that I have to share them with you.

Self-denial is incredibly hard when you're bored.

You can stop reading now. I'm done. The rest of this post is repetitive and trite. I put that part in a bold, underlined font so you could see the key takeaway and, well, take it away.

For those of you bored enough to keep going, here's the vignette from my memory that triggered this thought. I've always loved the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series from the 1980s and in A Scandal in Bohemia, Holmes describes why he uses drugs.

Recalling that scene, I realized that my recent ennui at work and laziness here at home has weakened my ability to practice self-denial. The solution, as Tony Alicea says, is big dreams and bold thoughts.
If you’re bored, you aren’t dreaming big enough. Or maybe you have dreamed big, but you’ve filled your time with so many other things that your dreams are forgotten. You become discouraged at the course your life has taken and you feel like those dreams are now just irresponsible.

Boredom is a dream killer. It is toxic to someone that wants to live a life of purpose and intentionality. It will lull you into believing that life is just about getting by.
I highly recommend reading Tony's entire post. It's filled with good stuff. Elsewhere, Matt Maher talks about boredom and prison gossips.
(T)oday I watched an inmate go from one area to the next spreading gossip from another unit. Most of the idle words are just prison non-sense, but occasionally there is information that can really get somebody hurt. In an already hostile and vulnerable atmosphere, busy-bodies are the worst type of inmates and it is evident that their behavior is prompted by boredom and low self-esteem...

Boredom leads to idleness which creates busy-bodies, who cause trouble and divide. All inmates alike still have a choice: the choice to take part in idle living or the choice to strive for ideal living. I believe that either direction starts with an idea. The idea or imagination to see yourself being productive and with purpose, which in return boosts one’s esteem. It is the major difference between “being idle bored” or having an “idea being born.”
Rick James discusses boredom and porn with an excellent summation.
Remember the old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? It came from a period of time when people recognized the sin of sloth and the spiritual liability of boredom. If we seek to stop the passive late night web surfing, we must cultivate new, creative, active habits to replace the old. Christianity is never simply the negation of a bad habit, but the concurrent cultivation of Spirit and virtue—nature abhors a vacuum.

Here’s the takeaway from all this: See sloth and passivity as a moral weakness. Begin to confess it, and make choices to break its hold on you. Cultivate creative alternatives. Choose action over inactivity and people over isolation. You are a new creature in Christ, so pursue and cooperate with God’s transformation of your character in the realm of boredom, laziness, and passivity.
For me, boredom makes self-denial impossible. Why not flip on the TV or crack open another Newcastle or surf the web for political snarling or play another game of Age of Empires? It's not like I've got something better to do and besides, it won't take long. I can get back to my humdrum existence later.

It's the "humdrum" that kills you. Without self-denial, you can't accomplish anything of value. Boredom must be recognized as the enemy of life that it is. (If you don't fight it, you'll find yourself developing awful habits, like using parenthetical expressions in your prose.)

Fred Barnes On The Importance Of Politics

I loved how Fred finished up his latest column and thought I would share.
What’s worrisome, perhaps only to me, is that too many people take politics too seriously. More than a few folks I’ve run into in recent years are obsessed. They’re political junkies in the nonmetaphorical sense. They’re addicted. It’s fine to be concerned about this year’s presidential race. It’s enormously important. And it’s smart to keep up with the news. But there’s a limit.

Politics isn’t life. Like baseball, it’s a pastime. There are surefire ways to keep politics in perspective, especially for sports fans. Always boo politicians who show up for some ceremony before a game, at halftime, or between periods. And be prepared to rebuke politicians who pretend to be enthusiastic fans but don’t know the names of players. Sports buffs know intuitively that this works. If you’re not one, give it a try, and politics might just find its proper place in your life.
There's one caveat: As the government grows, politics becomes a greater and greater portion of life. If you don't like the growing political discord in the country, vote for a smaller government. We'll never be able to do away with disagreement, but we can at least minimize the number of things we disagree about.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Link of the Day


The Scratching Post 2012 Voters' Guide

With the goal of helping you do your civic duty on Tuesday, we highly recommend you print this out and take it into the voting booth with you. It encapsulates our positions on the issues quite nicely.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Dog The Wag

We're Not At War With The Nazis

... the budget deficit just looks like it.

The Weekly Standard recently published a comparison between US deficit today and during WW II. Looking at tables of data supplied by the government, here is the relevant tidbit.

Fiscal Year 2005 $ % GDP
1943 -531.7 -30.3
1944 -501.1 -22.7
1945 -525.4 -21.5
2009 -1,274.4 -10.1
2010 -1,153.0 -9.0
2011 -1,127.6 -8.7

It looks like the data goes both ways. In real dollars, we're borrowing more, but in terms of GDP we're borrowing less. I say "it looks like" because when you think about it, the data really doesn't go both ways.

First, it tells you that we are a much wealthier country. Wealthier by a factor of 6, in fact. Comparing '43 with '09, the deficit is twice as high, yet only 1/3 the portion of GDP.

Second, we're not fighting a war, we're paying bills. A case could be made for the deficit in '09 being caused by a banking collapse, but after that, it's just making payroll. Payroll is anyone getting a check from the government, working or not and that's the vast majority of the money we spend. Borrowing to make payroll is usually a very, very bad sign.

At first glance, this suggests that we are completely out of control as a society. The people of a wealthier country should require less government assistance and a nation at peace should not have to borrow money to make payroll.

I'm open to other interpretations.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The First Rule Of Blogging

If a post you published seems like it might have been a bad idea, it probably is. Take it down and move on.