Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Perfect Environment For Apathy

... is one where you can't draw distinctions between behavioral choices or ideas.

It hit me when I saw this tweet from a Catholic priest I follow.
This makes sense only when you can't differentiate between Catholicism and Islam. St. George, were he alive today, would remind you that he was a Christian and that means something. Or at least it did. What means something now are no longer ideas, philosophies, behaviors or faiths, but a squishy commonality between all humans. Thus you end up with St. George being used as an example of "immigration."

Operation Sea Lion, the proposed Nazi invasion of England, would have been "immigration," too.

So if we can't differentiate between married couples and people shagging, if we can't differentiate between men and women for military service, if we can't differentiate between Islam and the West, then what's the point of it all? Why not simply satisfy your limbic system and digestive tract and be done with all that thinking and arguing?

What difference does it all make?

An earlier plan for immigration.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Why Move To Canada?

... when you can move to Costa Rica? Dig this house on 2 acres with ocean views for $350K.

Did I mention the ocean views?
Freak out about the American election if you must, but there are still plenty of attractive places to live in the world.

Meanwhile, IBM is laying off Americans and hiring Costa Ricans.
Last Wednesday, in IBM offices around the United States, managers called in a large but as yet unknown number of employees and told them they’d just been RA’d—that’s IBM shorthand for lost their jobs as part of a “Resource Action.” ...

Many of those commentors are not buying the “workforce rebalancing” spin, or at least, think only a small number of the layoffs are motivated by the need to adjust the company’s skill sets. Instead, they believe the majority of the layoffs are a matter of “workforce relocating,” specifically, out of the U.S. to India, Brazil, Costa Rica, and other countries with cheaper labor costs.
Reality Check

Here are a few quotes from Costa Rica Expat Forum, from a Canadian perspective.

  • With the Canadian dollar being what it is, unfortunately, it WILL affect you. Many food items are more expensive than "home' I was in Playas del Coco last weekend, and found that many Canadians are trying to sell their properties there, and return to Canada. Cars cost twice as much.
  • Yes, the $450 premium would cover all of you, but know that the healthcare system has very little money, and I recently read that they are presently setting up appointments with some specialists for many also purchase private insurance or pay cash for treatment. Unfortunately, investing as an Inversionista, the premiums may be even higher, as they are based on a percentage of the 'investment'....and you won't know what that will be until the end of the application process....Some towns have great markets but not all towns offer them, and they may only be open 1 or maybe 2 days a week...Canadians are finding it much more expensive with the low dollar. We have a friend who moved here at the same time as we did, over 16 years ago and she is moving back and going into a retirement home, next week as her funds don't go very far now.
Another bit from a PBS site.
So, they (an American expat couple) spent nearly $100,000 to move from the states and build their dream house in the Lake Arenal region. Once the thrill of the move had faded, the culture and bureaucracy of this developing country quickly took over.

Thieves stole their electricity, tapping into Dungan’s electrical service. When the Dungans finally discovered what had happened, they couldn’t get help from either the power company or the police.

When the ATM they used regularly to retrieve money from the states to pay their bills stole their money, the bank did nothing.
Well, OK then. The American Gulf Coast is looking better and better all the time! With any luck, Hillary will be elected president and the South will secede again. :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Rite Of Passage For Parents

Yesterday, one of our sons received a good job offer from an excellent company. He had graduated in December with a technical degree chosen to give him a solid career, but the employment environment in Southern California right now is pretty poor and for 4 months, he knocked on every door and applied for every opportunity to no avail.

We were overjoyed at the news, but that's not what struck me the most. I was surprised at the pride I felt. I have always been proud of him, but this was very different. It was the culmination of over 2 decades of dedicating my life to being a good father. All of the years spent coaching Little League, helping with his science fair projects, reading to him in bed and just being there to play with him came at me, not in melancholy or fond nostalgia, but as steps towards this one goal.

What I felt more than anything was that we had succeeded as parents. He's a good lad, he goes to church, he's got a fine degree and now he's started on his career.

Now would it kill him to find a nice, Catholic girl, get married and give us some grandchildren already?


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Better Way To Deal With The Criminalization Of Speech

So all kinds of words, phrases and concepts are offensive to the point of banning them these days. I won't list the worst here, but I'll note that some allegedly serious people are even suggesting that climate deniers be muzzled by the law.

That's fine, but why stop there?

Looking at the lyrics from the Hip Hop Billboard Top 40, it took me all of 2 songs to find one full of offensive words. I'm sure that with a tiny amount of effort, you'll find words there that offend you or someone you know. Let's ban those. After all, if anyone is offended, the words must be banned and offense is in the ear of the person hearing them.

Is the expression of ideas such as arguing about global warming climate change a criminal offense because it's anti-science? Maybe so. That's fine, but why stop there?

Men and women are biologically quite different. With just the slightest amount of effort, we ought to be able to dig up all kinds of feminist twaddle that is anti-science. Let's ban that, too.

Transgendered people are normal? If that's the case, then we need to start banning the label "mentally ill" from all manner of behaviors. After all, if amputating some body parts, deforming others and loading up on drugs is normal, then almost anything is.

If this is how the game is to be played, then by all means, let's start playing it. He who edits the dictionary controls the conversation.

Monday, April 25, 2016

About That Peaceful Majority

This video made a point that shocked me for it's insight.

The genius starts at 1:50. "The peaceful majority were irrelevant."

Wow. I hadn't thought of it that way.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Very Little Bit On Negative Interest Rates

Busy with other things today, so this will be terse.

I've been reading up on what negative interest rates in Europe and Japan are doing to distort their economies and markets. Here's a tiny summary of one problem.

When a country goes into negative rates, it starts to eliminate ultra-safe investments that will provide a return. The farther you go negative, the more of these investments disappear. This is important for insurers and banks who rely on bonds to provide both a return and a source of capital for accounting and regulatory purposes.

Instead of bonds, then, the insurers and banks, who must find a return in order to maintain a margin between their investments and obligations, begin to invest in riskier and riskier assets. An economic downturn which would otherwise not touch their most secure holdings, bonds, can now cause them real problems.

There's much more, since negative interest rates turn part of the investment world upside down, but that's a start.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Unfortunately, Iran Was Out Of Magic Beans

This almost needs no commentary.
The US is buying 32 tonnes of heavy water, which is used in some nuclear reactors, from Iran.

The US State Department said the $8.6m (£6m) purchase was designed to help Iran meet its obligations under the nuclear deal signed last year.
Honest to God, what are these people thinking? Did we need heavy water? This is like buying your kid's squirt gun to keep him from squirting the dog. Or it would be if Iran was to be treated like a child.

How delusionally patronizing can you be? The mullahs must think they've hit the biggest jackpot ever in Obama.

Friday, April 22, 2016

And If You Believed A Cassandra, Then What?

Going back into the old, horrible film vault, we come across Catastrofe, a Japanese film from 1974 that goes something like this.
Plot: Professor Nishiyama, after studying and interpreting the prophecies of Nostradamus, realizes that the end of the world is at hand. Unfortunately, nobody listens to him until it is too late. As the effects of mankind's tampering of the earth - radioactive smog clouds, hideously mutated animals, destruction of the ozone layer - rage out of control, the world leaders hurtle blindly toward the final confrontation.
If the end of the world is at hand because of Mankind tampering with nature, aren't things already too far along to be stopped? I can see a slight alteration of the script ...
Professor Nishiyama: We're all doomed! Radiation and mutated animals and the Cubs winning the World Series!
Bystander 1: Hmm. Sounds dreadful. What's this all about?
Professor Nishiyama: We're doomed! The world is going to end!
Bystander 2: Good heavens! Is there anything we can do to stop it?
Professor Nishiyama: Err, well, no, not really.
Bystander 1: Nothing?
Professor Nishiyama: Um, no. It's too late. We really are doomed.
Bystander 2: Well, OK then. I think I'll go on to Starbucks then. Might as well get my last cappuccino. (walks off)
Professor Nishiyama: Hmm. I had pictured this going a bit differently.
Bystander 1: Well, better luck next time, old boy.
Professor Nishiyama: Uh, there won't be a "next time." That's the whole point.
Bystander 1: Oh, right. Rough luck, that. (awkward pause) Have a nice day, whatever there is left of it. (walks off)
Professor Nishiyama: (mumbling) Thanks. Bye.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gaseous, Robotic Zombies

While blowing some time scoping out old British movies, I came across The Earth Dies Screaming whose synopsis goes like this.
After a mysterious gas attack which kills off most of the Earth's population, a few survivors gather at a country inn to figure out a plan for survival. However, the gas attack is only the first step in an alien invasion, in which groups of killer robots stalk the streets, able to kill anyone with the a mere touch of their hands. The group's members find additional weaponry in a nearby drill hall, but the robots continue their campaign of terror, which only increases when their victims rise from the dead as zombies, eager to kill anyone who might try to stop them.
So we've got poison gas followed by killer robots followed by zombies? Please. Why not add some triffids and a handful of sharknados to go along with it? I mean, if you're going to go over the top, why stop with only three Armageddon events?

Extra-credit question: OK, you zombie apocalypse survival types, survive that! Leave your plan to cope with the gaseous, robotic zombies or whatever the things are in the comments.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A TV Ad Explains Why Primitive Tribesmen Adopted Western Culture

I love the "Settlers" ad series for DirecTV. This one is particularly illustrative of our recent conversation about primitive people embracing Western technologies like cars, tools, agriculture and domesticated animals.

If you're an American Indian mom or dad, how long could you hold out against your kids constant begging for video games and cars?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hitler Is To Religion As Kumquats Are To Trigonometry

Completely orthogonal.

I'm trudging through Mein Kampf right now. I doubt I'll make it to the end. It's utter sludge, obsessed with race and politics*. Uncle Adolph has some sharp observations about houses of parliament and congresses - that the elected representatives, for the most part, are weathervanes who change their opinions to match the majority so they can keep their jobs - but outside of those, it's pretty torpid stuff.

I just finished a long oration on religion.

Mein Kampf, if you didn't know, was dictated to Rupolph Hess while Hitler was in Landsberg prison for agitating or protesting or maybe just being a frightful bore at parties.

Anywho, this particular spate of blather expressed clearly Hitler's belief that church and state should be separate and any intersection between the two should be punished. That is, a political movement was stupid to try to co-opt a religion and priests and ministers should keep their mouths shut about politics, unless, of course, they supported the German people, Then they could go at it.

I've not done research into the topic, but my bet is that any priests or ministers who backed the Nazis did so for the same reasons some priests and ministers back Hillary and Bernie - it just happens to align with their political views. If they gained prominence, it was likely because the local party hacks used them to validate the party, despite what Hitler said.

Whatever those unfortunates did, Adolph in no way shows any comprehension of Christianity. He not only doesn't write about it outside the prism of race and politics, it's obvious that it doesn't inform his worldview at all. He is all Germans all the time and everything else is in service of this monomania.

Special bonus tidbit: He goes off on the Jews with crazy rants pretty early in the book and it's obvious that he's a complete nut. Those worldly leaders and businessmen who thought they could work with Herr Hitler had clearly never cracked open a copy of Mein Kampf, or if they had, they didn't bother taking him seriously. Pathetic. Der Fuhrer told you exactly what he thought and what he wanted to do and, like the modern ostriches ignore Islamic radicals' manifestos, the German businessmen and pusillanimous creeps like Neville Chamberlain just blew it off.

The Nevster would have waived the Iranian nuke deal paperwork around, too, dismissing all those "Death to America" daily vocal warm up exercises with ease.
* - Obsessed with race and politics? Who does that remind you of?**

** - I just noticed that this classic question ends with a preposition. That's nothing write home about.***

*** - Another one!****

**** - OK, I'll stop now.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Politics Is Downstream Of Culture, Jungle Book Edition

I hate Disney's new Jungle Book movie and I haven't seen it or even a trailer for it. All I know of it is from this review in the Wall Street Journal. It's pieces of art like this and Avatar and a million other bits of horrible, anti-Western propaganda that has given us the election we have today. Think I'm exaggerating? Dig this snippet from the review where the '67 movie is compared to the current one.
One striking example concerns the elephants. In the 1967 Disney feature elephants were clowns; a long sequence was devoted to the Jungle Patrol, an elephant troop of British colonial soldiers led by a sort of Colonel Blimp. In the new film it’s the elephants who have created the jungle, and Mowgli is taught to bow down before them in reverence. That reverence doesn’t extend to humanity. We’re the bad guys, wielding fire—the “Red Flower”—with a recklessness that devastates the jungle
Pray to the nature gods, children. Beg forgiveness for the sins of your white, patriarchal ancestors who are destroying the Earth. Repent and discard the evil, rapacious ways of the past or face the desert hell of Global Warming Climate Change Species Extinction whatever we can throw at you to show you images of damnation created by the encroachment of Western Man onto the primitive Eden of nature.

Can anyone think of a recent popular movie, book or TV show where primitive tribesmen embraced civilization and the opportunities it created to crawl out of squalor? I can't. This is the marinade in which our children are immersed every day. It's no wonder that they want to throw Western Civilization classes out of college.

Two comments from that YouTube video. First, one from a person whose mind has been warped and corrupted by movies like The Jungle Book.
  • How do you know their life is miserable? Sure it's harder than ours but it doesn't mean they are automaticaly unhappy and don't have small joys in life. There are wealthy people who suffer from depression and commit suicide even though by material standards they should be happiest people on the planet.
And now, one from someone who understands reality.
  • quote: "says Kim Hill, an anthropologist at Arizona State University who has worked with several recently contacted tribes" ... "Still, he says, when he interviews such people years later, "I don't find anyone, pretty much, who would want to go back to the old situation.""
Anyone want to bet on when we'll see a blockbuster movie about primitive tribesmen welcoming Western civilization for the godsend it is?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Experiment On Your Family

... not on your guests.

Short post. I've still got some weekend chores to finish. Yes, it's been that kind of weekend.

Last night's dude bash for my Cursillo mates was a big success, but it came at a price. I shopped much of Friday and cooked all day Saturday. When I throw these soirees, I like to make several dishes so my guests have choices. I do a few old standards and a couple of experimental things. That sounds good in theory and it's a lot of fun when it comes out well like it did last night, but by 9 PM, I was about ready to pass out from exhaustion.

Experimentation is a good thing for a cook. Throwing a nice party is a good thing, too. Combining the two is just too much. I'm sure I've blogged this before, but I don't have time to go check. Next time, I promise* I'll make one entree, one side and one starch and all three will be known winners.

I'm going to leave the experimentation to family meals. After all, if it turns out badly, we can always order pizza.

* - I'm promising myself as much as anyone.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

And This Is Why You Blog

I'm throwing a guys' party for my Cursillo mates tonight while our wives are off working the women's Cursillo weekend. I do this every 6 months when we have our retreats. I blogged about my last one to record my disappointment in not having started early enough with the cooking and being overly ambitious with my plans.

That blog post recorded my menu. Today's menu was nearly identical.

I happened to read that because I was searching for my fried cheese grits recipe and it came up on my search for "shrimp grits." As soon as I saw that, I found something else to cook instead of repeating the Sticky Sweet Pork Shanks. The social faux pas of the season has been avoided, thanks to blogging.

Social media. Is there nothing it can't do?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Martin Van Buren Dog Saves The Day!

This really was a "Bark! Bark! Timmy fell down the well! Bark! Bark!" moment here in the Catican Compound.

Our front gate has a habit of not closing completely. Today, I went out to get something from my car and came back, apparently not closing the gate properly.

Artist's conception of our front gate, open*.
Adventure Dog, our name for the larger of the two new recruits, must have bolted when she saw the gate ajar and the Captain of the Guards no doubt took off after her to make sure she didn't break any of the Guards' rules. Martin Van Buren Dog, the smallest of the Guards, saw this happen and sounded the alarm, She ran around the front yard, barking, following her training to a "T."

I was in a back room when I heard the commotion. I came out and immediately saw what had happened. Grabbing my car keys and some dog treats, I jumped in the CaticanMobile** and sped off to look for the two Guards who were on unauthorized maneuvers.

I found them in a cul-de-sac nearby and thankfully, when they saw me, they ran to the car and jumped in willingly. Everything ended happily, all Guards safe and sound.

Had Martin Van Buren Dog not sounded the alarm, however, it could have ended very badly indeed. She's been put in for a commendation, a tummy rub and extra treats.

Our hero is closest to the camera. Adventure Dog stands behind her and the Captain of the Guards is lying down in the back.
*  - Actually, this is a photo of the gate itself. The artist we hired drew something that looked like the portcullis of a 14th Century castle. Since he only spoke Urdu, we weren't able to properly convey what we wanted.

** - We really need a better name for this car.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I Love Capitalism

My wife's dresser has a drawer where the tiny ball bearings fell out of its slides. The drawer now lays in its slot and has to be roughly pulled to open because the slides are useless. Replacement slides are impossible to find because the dresser is so old. I could repair it, but it would be a big job involving a router and fitting new, different-sized slides.

We're having a bathroom remodeled right now and last night the cabinet guy was over to make some final changes. I showed him the drawer and the slides and we discussed how to fix it. He ended up taking it back to his shop. He has the right tools and the expertise, so with my money and his work, we'll have a perfectly working dresser in no time at all.

Isn't capitalism wonderful?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Danny Kaye Solves All Problems

... or maybe he just makes you smile and the problems seem smaller.

I had a couple of long posts in my head, but for a variety of reasons I listened to some Danny Kaye and decided to share one of my favorites instead. Here you go, Danny singing Not Since Nineveh. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Campus Jihadis, Part 2

This kind of news item is too easy to blog about as the outrage is almost unnecessary. Here's the only part of it you really need to read unless you feel like you've not met your minimum daily requirement of arm-waving, exasperated rage.
Students at Portland State University (PSU) shut down a Board of Trustees meeting with accusations that the school perpetuates a “corrupt decadent white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy hetero-patriarchy.”
It's all gibberish, of course, and a gibberish that seems to be widespread across American universities. What jumped out at me was that it sounded like the ravings of a lunatic. When I see this kind of thing, I always wonder about the high schools and middle schools these nuts attended. They must be like Pakistani fundamentalist madrassas where the students memorize Noam Chomsky instead of the Koran.

The blame for this mania lies at the feet of the education industry. I feel like we've hired a bunch of crazed, progressive imams to teach in our schools. Which we have, if my daughter's public high school was anything to go by. The end result are groups of mentally ill college students who are given plenty of space* to grow and spread their insanity. Yay.

"Students must everywhere resist the corrupt decadent white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy hetero-patriarchy with all their strength." - American public high school teachers.
* - Another thing that occurred to me was that a normal and necessary bureaucratic meeting was stopped by a pack of madmen. It's like your local water district meeting coming to a halt to respectfully listen to some escaped psychotics bark like dogs for half an hour.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Bee For Tim

... because he's a nice guy. (Check out his blog!) I left it original size so if you click you can see as many details as possible on the tiny beast. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Campus Jihadis

While listening to The Looming Tower where crazy Jihadis exercise violent judgments against those they feel are insufficiently Muslim, I came across this video. The first thing that jumped out at me was the religious nature of the encounter. The young lady is exercising violent judgment against a young man she feels is insufficiently, err, ethnic.

Friday, April 08, 2016


A rose from my mom's garden. I left the photo quite large, so it's worth a click. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

About That Change In Tone, Part 2

A while back, I justified a rant that had followed a peace, love and forgiveness post causing a wild change in tone on the blog. Here's a tidbit.
Detroit went bankrupt while I worked there. Elderly pensioners ended up with smaller pensions. Permanently. I wondered what it would be like to work in their Catholic Charities food resource center. They must have been utterly overwhelmed. They probably still are.

The Detroit bankruptcy was deliberate. Bankruptcy is simple mathematics and everyone involved in the budgeting process could see it coming a mile away. There was time to make changes and they chose not to do so. It was an act of intentional cruelty by people who had the personal resources to avoid the consequences of their decisions.
Here we go again, this time in Connecticut. A thoroughly progressive state following Bernie Sanders / Hillary Clinton / Robert Reich prescriptions is going bankrupt with predictable results.
(M)ost of these unilateral cuts traditionally fall on social services, public colleges and universities, and some primary and secondary education programs.

That was the case again on Wednesday.

The Department on Developmental Disabilities lost $17.2 million, while $19.5 million in further cuts were imposed on five other agencies that provide social services.

Some specific program reductions within those agencies include:
  • $9.7 million for community residential services for people with developmental disabilities and $4.6 million for employment and day services for people with developmental disabilities.
  • $1.9 million in grants for mental health and substance abuse treatment providers.
  • $829,415 from general assistance managed care, which covers behavioral health services for state residents. The Malloy administration excluded this account from across-the-board cuts in its proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • $234,949 from school-based health clinics, which provide primary care, mental health and dental services to students.
The coming Connecticut bankruptcy is deliberate. The politicians bought votes with unsustainable spending and got themselves 6-figure jobs. I have no doubt that anyone who expressed a pro-business, anti-tax, low-spending sentiment was excoriated as greedy and selfish.

I'm sure that Catholic Charities across Connecticut will be looking for volunteers if you're at loose ends a couple days a week.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

If I Was A Really Crazy Catholic Zealot

I'd be praying the Liturgy of the Hours every day. I'd go to daily Mass. I'd go to Adoration at least once a week. I'd work with my buddies in the prison ministry or make mission trips to impoverished countries with the Sisters of Mercy. I'd work at Casa de los Pobres. I'd read theology books even more than I do now, although I'm not sure that's really possible.

I wouldn't build a car bomb,

Continuing to listen to The Looming Tower about bin Laden and the lads, to say that they weren't Islamic is simply ignorant and delusional. They're Islamic 24/7. Yes, they may be out of the mainstream or perhaps not in the majority of Muslim thought, but there's no question they are full-on, wild-eyed, Mohammed-all-the-time Muslims.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Nation Building In Europe

Since we all agree that George W Bush was a dingledork for invading Iraq because you can't do nation building in a nation that doesn't want it and Middle Eastern Muslims are a proud and noble tribe of warriors who lived in harmony with nature until the rapacious white man came along* and weren't interested in our infidel ways because they had their own, perfectly valid culture ...

Hmm. Where was I going with that enormous sentence? Let's try this again, simplified.

If you can't do nation-building in a majority-Muslim country in the Middle East and produce a liberal democracy, what makes you think you'll be able to do it when a European country becomes majority-Muslim?

Come to think of it, we've got a perfect chance to try it out right now in England.
An Islamic judge "laughed" at a domestic violence victim who had gone to him seeking help and asked her "Why did you marry such a man?", it has been claimed.

The shocking allegations have been revealed in a report into the use of sharia councils in the UK which also claims men only need to say "I divorce you" three times to separate from their wives while women need the sanction of clerics.

Dutch scholar Machteld Zee managed to get unparalleled access to a number of the religious courts currently operating in the UK - thought to number around 30.
I wonder if this has any implications for nations on the Continent who are importing more and more of these chaps.

You don't always need bombs and guns to conquer, you know. Sometimes all you need are enough votes in a given locality.

On the plus side, the Euro men won't have to wait for their wives to pick out what they're going to wear.
* - I may have this a bit muddled. Not sure if that's the approved description for Arabs, American Indians, Filipinos, Mexicans or some randomly selected group of indigenous peoples.

Monday, April 04, 2016

The National Harmony Argument For Federalism

I am a big fan of the 10th Ammendment.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Perhaps the best possible outcome of this sorry election season would be for the Republicans to nominate Trump and then split into two parties, one the old Republican Party, now forever soiled and doomed and the other the Federalist Party, whose principles are simple: The Federal government should do only those things that must be done at a national level and everything else would be left to each state individually.

Under a Federalist government, whole swaths of the national government would be dismantled. Volumes of the Federal Register of laws and regulations would be thrown into paper shredders and forgotten. Any state that wished could enact it's favorite chunks of Federal regulations locally, word-for-word if it wanted.

I think a Federalist Party would appeal across the aisle. If California and Illinois want to go full socialist, why should the people of Nebraska and Alabama stop them? If Oklahoma and Mississippi want traditional marriage, who are the people of Oregon to tell them no?

The divisiveness and bitter partisanship we see today comes from the power we've given to national politics. When the Federal government has its hands in every aspect of our lives, then control of Congress and the White House becomes of paramount importance.

That really hit me today when I glanced through the day's set of linked diatribes on Real Clear Politics. They pick a topic and then post one link pro and one link con. The labels they give the essays are usually pretty blunt.

  • Why the Democrats are the spawn of demons
  • Why Republicans want to cook and eat blacks after enslaving them

It's emotionally exhausting just to read the titles.

I live in San Diego. Assuming you lived outside of California, wouldn't it be nice if your political opinions were interesting conversation topics instead of critical to most of my life? If you and I had almost no political power over the other, why would we argue? It would be like having a political argument with a Canadian. Intellectually stimulating, perhaps, but with almost no emotional investment.

Anyway, that's the thought for today. National harmony through Federalism!

Wouldn't national harmony like fans at a concert singing together be nice?
Off topic: We saw these guys on their most recent tour. This song,
Oceans, was positively electric. I get chills watching this video. Try it in full screen mode.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

On Building

I saw this on Twitter and loved it. Sadly, the "waiting until I feel like it" part is me. Happily, I've discovered that if you can just get over that initial hump of apathy, a natural desire to accomplish a goal will kick in and things get easier.

You may have to click on the image to make the text legible.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Why They Cheer The Terrorist Attacks

I'm listening to The Looming Tower right now by Lawrence Wright. Awesome book. I can't recommend it highly enough. It details the creation and rise of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular and the Islamist movement in general. Wright is no neocon and as a matter of fact, I think he's a bit of a lefty. In any case, the book is brilliant, following the lives of several key players as if it were a spy novel.

The one thing that has jumped out at me so far is the explanation of why Muslim civilians cheer successful terrorist attacks. In Islam, things happen because Allah wills them. When the Israelis beat the tar out of the Arabs in the 6 Day War, for example, the conclusion from the devout Muslims was that the Islamic world hadn't been sufficiently Islamic and Allah had turned against them. The solution was to be more Islamic than ever. The imposition of Sharia on everyone they can get their hands on is an effort to please Allah that he might will more good things on them.

When Islamists fly planes into buildings and kill thousands, when they shoot up Paris or blow up Brussels, the infidels have been killed because Allah willed it. Allah willed it because the Muslims have been sufficiently devout. In a way, the civilians are cheering their own piety as much as the military victories. The success of the Islamist attackers is a reflection of the relationship between Allah and the Muslim world.

It's like a student cheering when they get a good report card.

Wait until I show my Imam! He's going to be so proud of me!

Friday, April 01, 2016

There's Nothing Behind The Trump Curtain

Sometimes when I'm in line at the grocery store and I'm looking over the magazine covers, I want to pull out my phone and take a photo of one because it's got headlines that are so over-the-top. Yesterday, it was this one from People.

Honestly, what on Earth could this article say? The guy has a short-circuit between his brain and his mouth and his brain isn't all that active. The "real" Donald Trump is exactly what you see in his interviews and debates - an ignorant, ill-disciplined, crude, misogynistic slob. He'd be pounding PBRs at the local dive bar if daddy hadn't left him $200M and sent him to the finest schools.

I've got a pair of educated friends who are Trumpkins. One even has a PhD in physics. They both think he's playing 3-dimensional chess while the rest of us are playing checkers. They think Trump is thinking 5 moves ahead of us and are in awe of what they see as craft and guile and "negotiating" acumen.

What a laugh! The guy doesn't think 5 steps ahead of us, he doesn't really think at all. There's one moronic comment after another coming out of his mouth. When he gets stung by something he said, he does exactly what you'd expect a spoiled, ultra-rich brat to do - he makes wild excuses. Hey, they always worked when he was a kid! They still work with the Trumpkins, who have chosen to live in TrumpWorld. For the rest of us, it's as tiresome as watching and out-of-control kid at a department store.

With his latest gaffe, the one about punishing women for abortions, he's now claiming his interview was edited. The network knows for a fact it wasn't and has evidence to prove it. The "real" Donald Trump is so vacuous that he threw that excuse out there without thinking that the network could back up its story with irrefutable proof.

That's the "real" Donald Trump. A spoiled 8-year-old who has gotten his way all his life. There. I saved you the cost of the magazine. You're welcome.