Monthly Archives: January 2010

People Appear Surprised

THAT DEMOCRATS can be appallingly rude.

Really, people?

Belated Catur-birth-day

IN A HOUSEHOLD inhabited by adopted strays, pounders, and rescue kittehs, it’s unusual for us to know the exact birth date of one of our cats. Belle, for example, is something over two years old, but whether that’s three or five or ten, we don’t know. All we know for sure is that she was nearly full-grown when we took her in — but that could have been stunting due to starvation as easily as it could have been immaturity — and has grown to nearly twice that size since, in a little under two years. But these little darlings…

…L-R, Aqua, Sky, and Jazz…

… we have an exact date of birth — January 18, 2008. They are one year old this past Monday.

Happy belated birthday to “The Triplets.”

Here’s a Meme

THAT JUST STRUCK ME like — well — like a 6″ backsplice in the bitter end of a length of 7/8″ manila upside the haid.

George Soros: rope salesman.

Here’s Hoping This Leads

TO A BETTER BALANCE of power between business and government: Supreme Court Rejects Campaign Finance Limits. (The headline is misleading, as the limits shot down are those on corporate ad spending, but not on direct contributions, which remain in place.)

Of course, the possible downside is that this will lead to collusion between entities such as GE or DuPont and corrupt officeholders greedy for the support afforded by an ad campaign that is effectively off the books.

Interesting times…

Charles “Chuck-You” Schumer arrogantly promises to reverse the decision, though he doesn’t know how.

Considering the previous act was just declared unconstitutional, I’d wonder how, too.

Oh, the audacity of arrogance.

L’audace! Toujours l’audace!

Er, yeah. Sure, Dolly.

Awhile back, Kim du Toit posited that, because they seek to subvert the Constitution itself, the Left is in effect making war on America and on the Constitution, and that every single elected Democrat in national office is therefor a traitor and deserving of death. As a thought experiment, I think it has some merit.

Interesting Synchronicty

I JUST RECENTLY DISCOVERED The Mad Genius Club and Sarah Hoyt. (Where has she been?) Writes muscular women. Check. Space Opera. Check. A Heinlein fan. Check. What’s not to like. Shame I’m broke, or I’d order Dark Ship Thieves on the spot.

And then she gets Instalanched whilst guest-blogging at Classical Values. And links to an essay at YA blog: The Lensman’s Children. (Wasn’t there a book in the E.E. “Doc” Smith series called Children of the Lens?)

(OMG, yes! I was just goofing, but there really was.)

And about right now all I have to add is: Go. Read. Enjoy.

She seems worried about the loss of mindspace among left-leaning types. It might be a Good Thing for her to get wuffies from Folk In The Right.

Update: I just discovered that Sean also has had the pleasure of hosting a posting by Ms. Hoyt. Also, worth the read.

Make It Viral

When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.

Sold Their Souls

TO THE DEVIL a long time ago — pace Glenn Beck, who Tuesday said that the soul of the Democrat Party is up for grabs.

I don’t see the so-called Progressives yielding up their stranglehold on power within the party. I see them destroying it as a viable force in politics before they let that happen.

Seems the The Times

HAS FORGOTTEN THE key to success in the media business. It apparently thinks that the daily paper (or its web content) is its product and that the readers are its customers. As evidenced by Althouse‘s reaction, that ain’t so by half.

The newspapers customers are the advertisers. The readers — or, rather, their eyeballs — are the product which is sold to those advertisers. The content of the paper — or the website — is the bait, by which the paper attracts the readers, whose attention the paper then sells to the advertisers.

And, when the paper drives away its readers — either with bad content or with greedy grabby ways — it eventually drives away in turn the advertisers.

And it’s one, two, three, where’s your breakfast?

So, whether or not the leopard can change his spots, it’s probably not a good idea for him to try.

Something like that, Dolly.

Og Has Posted

A HEARTFELT essay on anti-theism.

A while ago, in about 2006, Our Curmudgeon, Francis W. Porretto (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, not the same person. I maintain the fiction that Dolly isn’t resident inside my skull, too. It’s rhetorical device. Get over it.) made a great post

Aren’t they all?

Well, yes. But we don’t always have something cogent to say in response. This time we did: a redux of our post of a couple now six-and-a-half years back, The Legacy of the Faithless. Herewith reposted. Enjoy.

To the Loyalty Oath post. I guess I should say right off, I didn’t compose that oath. In case I didn’t make it quite clear, that’s the official oath that naturalized citizens take at those ceremonies at the Federal Courthouse that the local news runs features about on Flag Day and the like.

Some readers seemed to have some objection to the wording of the oath inasmuch as it concludes with “So help me God.”

My mother used to conclude oaths with “So help me God,” though the only citizenship they had to do with was my poor example of the type. ::grin::

Not picking on Daniel [a commentor on the original thread — probably Daniel Day — ed.], but because he put it most succinctly, I think. He wrote, “Do we have to drag God into it? I would be sincere in saying every part of this oath except the final sentence.”

Personally, I can take it or leave it. But I would urge and argue against a kneejerk rejection of all mention of God. My rationale may itself be just as kneejerk, since it is primarily a reaction to what I see as the repugnant nature of High Socialist Atheism. Call it the legacy of the faithless. However, I have piled a whole host of rationalizations on top of that which, though it make a tropeheavy structure, it nevertheless might serve as a balm for a spirit weary of struggle against what it sees as theocracy.

Pace my atheist friends who are nevertheless not collectivists, I should at the outset differentiate between them and the enemy I seek to excoriate.

Atheism means literally away from the practice of theism, which most sources define as the belief in and acceptance of a divinity or divinities — of whatever nature. Thus an atheist is someone who does not believe in and accept the existence of divinity or divinities. It is a belief, just as is the belief in the divinity of Christ. As such, it is based on faith, since there can be no proof.

But it is not yet a system of beliefs. Some atheists might never come to a system of beliefs, preferring to deprecate all such and found their entire behavior on logic from proven principles. I’m not prepared to argue whether that is possible, but I suspect it is not. For my purpose here, I assume it is not and move on from there.

Anyone who does not wish to live in the eternal “now” of limbic drives experienced by most animals (so we presume from observation of animal behavior), must at some point at least attempt to generalize from experience and the species of desire we call principle. In order to save time and not have to reformulate every rule from “A is A” forward each time one is confronted with a moral dilemma, one must systematize ones conclusions as to appropriate behavior in various circumstances. Thus a system of belief. Regardless of whether one believes that this system is handed down from God or merely handy, it is nevertheless a faith.

Thus, even an atheist may be a member of the faithful.

On the other hand, there is a portion of humanity which seeks to control the lives of others and to force others to conform to some notional ideal. There are many stripes, though they all seem to have certain earmarks in common: They are elitist. They are cruel in that they assume the mass of humanity must be inveigled or forced into cooperation (recognizing that their prescriptions are unpalatable). They are arrogant in the hubristic assumption of their righteousness. They are willing to encompass great evil in the furtherance of their cause, yet blind to the fundamental, intrinsic evil of that cause.

Many of these profess to atheism. However, the difference is that the strain of atheism is not so much away from belief as it is against belief. It is not so much atheism as it is antitheism. It has not concluded on its own that God does not (or may not) exist, but rather admits the possibility of God’s existence and nevertheless demands that belief in Gods be rubbed out, like a blot on the excutcheon of humanity.

These are not members of the faithful, but rather are the faithless.

A slight sidetrack… May I commend for your consideration, Pascal’s Wager?

You may believe in God, and God exists, in which case you go to heaven.
You may believe in God, and God doesn’t exist, in which case you gain nothing.

You may not believe in God, and God doesn’t exist, in which you gain nothing again.

You may not believe in God, and God may exist, in which case you will be punished.

If one applies this to a personal system of principles not founded in a religion, one might come to the conclusion that, though a man might not believe in God, to behave as though God did exist would nevertheless be that man’s best bet.

If that man desires to be a moral man and live in the community of believers in God, he might take his cues from and behave as though he were one of the believers.

And, recognizing that his own liberty is incumbent on his defense of the liberty of others, and finding the actual existence or not of God to be a matter of some indifference, he might find it harmless — indeed, helpful — to… swear an oath by God.

After all, he does not intend to foreswear or deny the oath. His intent is honest. Since he does not believe that God exists (thought Pascal’s Wager, if taken seriously, might tend to obviate that belief), the words of the oath that refer to God are a null signal — useful to some and thus worthy of inclusion, but not to all. Not to our moral atheist.

And I think you can tell from my argument here that I do not accept the contention of some bigoted Christians that an atheist cannot ipso facto be a moral being.

As you can tell from the crickets, Dolly, your argument is being met about like a turd at a banquet. SO appropriate.

Now: back to those collectivist antitheists.

Individualism is the strongest possible system on which to build a society. Each productive member of society acts as a portion of the structure. The whole is strengthened by the power of voluntary bonds between individuals, in a skein of such bonds that is almost impossible to sunder at a stroke. (This is why America was so able to weather the blow of the 9/11 atrocities; individuals acting voluntarily in concert.)

Collectivists find individualism anathema. In order for their vision to be brought about, they must break down individualist societies. To do this, they have hit upon the tactic of striking at those bonds among individuals using a corrosive on the material of which those bonds are built — trust.

OK, Alger. I follow that part. But what does that have to do with oaths and God?

Dolly, you are a joy. I couldn’t have timed that better if I’d written in myself.

What indeed?

In a society based on individualism, how do you know you can trust a stranger? For that matter, how do you know you can trust someone you know — or think you know? After all, why is the wisest piece of advice ever to not go into business with family or friends?

The answer is contracts. Agreements. (And it is signally instructive that our homegrown collectivists seek to advance their agenda by attacking America’s fundamental social contract, the Constitution.) The simplest contract is probably a handshake deal, or the word, “Sold!” But the most primitive is the oath. “Swear it!” “By God, I will!” Oaths and contracts are connective tissue, binding society together.

To a moral person — to the faithful — I contend, the form of an oath is irrelevant. It is an external manifestation of an internal aspiration: to affirm one’s intent to perform. So long as the intent is pure, the precise words can be… “singing the Dublin telephone book in Gaelic” and still serve the purpose.

But to the faithless, seeking to attack the bonds of trust, harboring the intent to deceive, the precise, hairsplitting words — the form of the thing — are of greatest import. Thus you get attacks on the presence of the name of God as a grace note in the music of a society. Thus you get the spectre of a man whose entire being exemplifies the placing of style over substance, of form over function, arguing before a court of law that the truth of his words depends on one’s definition of the verb “to be.”

These are people who, by their actions, corrode the structure of society.

So — please, my friend — do not disparage those who swear in the name of God, for that is the legacy of the faithless.

With All The Damage Obama

HAS DONE THE Democrat party since he was elected to the Senate, you’d think the Left would finally get the lesson: judging people by the color of their skin, rather than the content of their character, or the substance of their deeds, is a chump’s move. The Democrats have long been enamored of hiring by pressure group, without regard to competence. Soberer individuals have warned it would spell the party’s doom. Did they listen? NOOOooooo.

Will they listen now? Doubt it.

No Cap and Trade

IS URGING A boycott of a passel of large corporate enterprises on the basis of their support for the odious cap-and-tax regime being put forth by the warmists and other fascists.

Fair enough. Live by the astroturf, die by the grassroots.

But, the inefficacy of boycotts aside, folks should be aware that probably very few of the managers of said companies — let alone their boards of directors or shareholders — actually believe all that strongly that mankind is dangerously warming the planet. Nor do I think that, like GE, they have nefarious commercial motives, such as GE’s desire to make hay while the sun shines on their compact fluorescent bulbs.

I mean, with incandescent bulbs so cheap (and essentially disposable), why would you chase the illusory savings (pennies over years) on your electric bill in favor of bulbs that deliver dim light of unpleasant color, and require the hazmat suits to come take them away if they break or once they’re exhausted? And the window of opportunity must be narrow, what with cheap, pleasing, bright, and environmentally friendly LED bulbs looming ever larger on the horizon.

Does Pepsi have a similar interest? Hardly. I think they’ve just been persuaded that this is a relatively harmless enthusiasm of their customers that they should be seen to be going along with. As their customers disabuse them of that notion, the smarter companies will back away from the position.

Somebody Stole the Sign

FROM OVER THE gates at Auschwitz, Arbeit Macht Frei. Which reminds me about a notion I’ve had for years.

The phrase Arbeit Macht Frei is generally translated into English as Work Makes [You] Free. Which, if you’re not a stickler, can allow you to shrug and say, “Close enough for government work.” Which, after all, it was.

But Arbeit doesn’t really translate 100% to the denotations and connotations of the English word “Work.” And, of course, there never is a 1:1 correspondence between two words in any pair of languages — even direct borrowings, like le cheeseburger, will inevitably drift apart form their source over time.

But Arbeit really translates more accurately to labor. At least, in this context. Fair enough. After all, Auschwitz really was a slave labor camp.

Which makes whoever comissioned that sign and had it put there a real cynical SOB.

I think that, if one were to really put forth an accurate statement of that concept, however, the original German should have read Taten Machen FreiDeeds Make You Free. For, while labor does confer benefits on the laborer beyond his wage, it is the accomplishment, the encompassing of deeds that truly make a man free, independent, capable of standing on his own two feet.

Yes, I am very much aware that Arbeit is the noun used in the description of Work in physics. Don’t bother to write. You’re missing my point if you do.

Not Holding Much of a Brief

FOR CLERGY QUA clergy, I find myself in a somewhat uncomfortable position of coming down on the side of that most turbulent of preachers, the Reverend Pat Robertson. Not praising him, mind. I don’t believe that he represents much that’s Christly in his condemnations of all and sundry at every cusp of events — especially the ones that turn downward. But folk in the Right should exercise caution surrendering to knee-jerk agreement with the legacy partisan press when they attack preachers of whatever stripe.

It is being pointed out in various locales — Flea’s and Blackiswhite’s to name but two — that Robertson has, first, only said about the Haitians and their Faustian bargain on government what the Haitians have said themselves, and that even those words have been substantially perverted by those reporting them.

Not able to say it happens every time with scientific precision, but certainly it happens with sufficient frequency to make it the safe bet: when the Left piles on, taking the diametrically opposite tack will rarely steer you onto the reef.

If, As Martha Coakley Seems

TO WANT IT “We have separation of church and state,” then is it not a violation of that separation for the state to compel religious folk to provide medical services they believe to be abominations before God? Or to deny them employment in a profession because of that belief?

As a matter of fact, the Establishment Clause is more about preventing the state to compel certain types of behavior against conscience, than it is about preventing citizens from freely expressing their beliefs. Which latter is the interpretation the Left is bent on forcing on the nation.

But doesn’t the Left’s own vaunted assertion of the so-called “separation of church and state” forbid it therefore the intermeddling in the practice of medicine?

Pugsley as Leading Light

(DERISIVE SNORT) Indeed. As Marko says, socialists don’t understand economics. They don’t get that economic law is not made up of a whole cloth from someone’s imagination, the way — say — Marxism is, but from observation of observable natural phenomena. The Left seems to think economics is optional. The way — say — gravity is.

As It So Often Does, It Occurs

TO ME THAT MOST of these organizations are in violation of some election law or other — and if they’re not, could be tied in knots defending themselves in court against charges they are.

If somebody were to get their hands on that database and parcel out bits of it to various and sundry folk in the Right for SLAPP-style action, the back of the Left could be broken.

Live by the astroturf, die by the grassroots.

It’s Like They Never Even Heard

THE WORD Hubris before…

Love this. In the classic Science Fiction novel, The Door Into Summer (a favorite among cats), Robert Heinlein, by way of explaining the discipline of engineering, argued that you don’t put a propeller on a bathtub just because one is handy. You’re supposed to limit yourself to things that are necessary to the design object’s core task.

Most of leftism strikes me that way; trying to hitch the propeller from a B-25 onto your garden variety claw-foot

So you might imagine what chuckles ensued when I caught the column-top illustration to this post about geo-engineering at Watts Up With That?

Anthoney calls the ideas wacky. I call them stupid and dangerous. Hubris. It’s like these people have never been told a single solitary cautionary tale. Or they think they’re too smart to need to pay attention to all those wheel-inventors who came before them.

Dunno which.

You may read the linked-to article and say, “Well, none of those is serious; nothing to worry about.” But I urge you to reconsider, because these are all serious ideas, floated by reputable scientists. Thirty years ago, it was crazy and wacky to propose that the world’s economy would be — even could be turned upside down on the thin contention that the planet was getting warmer. Yeah. Right.

GiggleBoxKickOver ( )

IN THE OLD POGO STRIP THERE WAS a story arc in which Porky Pine went around the swamp asking everybody to tell him the muskmelon joke, ’cause it made him laugh somethin’ fierce. That’s my version of Tam’s giggleboxkickover. Whenever something tickles my funnybone to helplessness, I think of the muskmelon joke.

Wednesday, on this thread at Tam’s, at 1:20 in the Pee-Em, Blast Hardcheese won the Innerwebz, with this quote (and bit of stage direction) from (I believe) Blazing Saddles:

“Send a wahr to the main office, tell ’em I said…”

“Send a wahr, main office, tell them you said ow. Got it!”

It’s the SHOVELWHONK that gets me started.

As Joanna observed a few comments later, we could use some of that good ol’ SHOVELWHONK in Washington.

I think it correctly should be spelled in all caps, it being onomatopoeia, an’ all…

A TEA* Party


Granted, it’s not a nominating convention, but…

*For you Johnnies-come-lately, the original TEA Party, started back in the early ’90s (to the best of my knowledge), had it that T.E.A. stood for Taxed Enough Already. So, pedantically enough, it ought to be capitalized — YA TLA.

Was Reading a PR Sheet

FOR THE TEMPS the other day, and I was struck how the Motown sound appears to have outlasted the city.

So Two Stories Monday

ONE ABOUT a wannabe mall ninja assaulting an OC-er and getting his just deserts for his trouble, the other about the Dutch film director who took down the Christmas Crotch Bomber — and good on ‘im. The one hired to keep the peace on private property, just doing his job as he saw it, the other minding someone else’s business on a public conveyance, committing at the very least assault and probably several kinds of civil rights violations.

And, yet, the first’s actions are stupid, hysterical, an overreaction, and nonsensical, the second’s actions are timely, brave, and praiseworthy.

I want you to think about the differences.


ABDULPULLTAB is still alive?

What the fuck is the MATTER with you people!!??

Happy New Year!