Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Do They Really Think We're That Stupid?

A friend pointed out this story about Gorebal Warning:

Remember those nasty CFCs and how they were destroying the ozone layer, causing untold harm to the environment? Well, it now turns out - if these clowns are to be believed - that because the entire French nation stopped using aerosol deodorants a decade ago, the hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic is healing nicely.

Read the whole thing, including the now-boilerplate prediction of melting Antarctic ice:
Scientists warn that as the hole closes up in the next few decades, temperatures on the continent could rise by around 3C on average, with melting ice contributing to a global sea-level rise of up to 1.4m.
This is an interesting theory, which neglects a very important fact about Antarctica: With the exception of the areas near the coast (such as the Palmer Peninsula) and the sheets of ice over water (and have therefore already contributed to sea level by virtue of the fact that floating ice displaces exactly the volume of water as the same ice melted would occupy), the temperatures in Antarctica are substantially below freezing. A rise in temperatures from -12°C to -9°C would melt nothing. Only in the marginal areas on land where the temperature now goes above -3°C would any melting happen at all.

At this point, it should be obvious to the casual observer that the AGW advocates are flinging poop at random and hoping some of it sticks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Proclamation

It was appropriate then, it's appropriate now.

General Thanksgiving
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houſes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requeſted me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to eſtabliſh a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and aſſign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of theſe States to the ſervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our ſincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the ſignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpoſitions of His providence in the courſe and concluſion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have ſince enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eſtablish Conſtitutions of government for our vafety and happineſs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleſſed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffuſing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleaſed to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in moſt humbly offering our prayers and ſupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beſeech Him to pardon our national and other tranſgreſſions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private ſtations, to perform our ſeveral and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleſſing to all the people by conſtantly being a Government of wiſe, juſt, and conſtitutional laws, diſcreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all ſovereigns and nations (especially ſuch as have shewn kindneſs unto us); and to bleſs them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increaſe of ſcience among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind ſuch a degree of temporal proſperity as he alone knows to be beſt.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand ſeven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

[Ed note: Whoever digitized this into characters must have mistaken the "long s" form "ſ" ("ſ" above, where it is not italicized), common in English writing back then, for the lower-case "f" it so closely resembles. The ſ form was the norm, with "short s" reserved for the ends of words. Some writers would also use the latter form even in the middle of a word for the second letter of a double-s: "ſs". This has more than a passing resemblance to the ß in modern German that is rendered "ss" in Switzerland, or where the former ligature is unavailable. As a Language Martinet, I study such things, and have corrected the mistranscription accordingly. Happy Thankſgiving, everyone!]

I Want a Name!

In case you missed it.
Three Navy SEALs have requested courts-martial for apprehending one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq.
Yep. You read that right.

Ahmed Hashim Abed...(the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004)... whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

And someone...
somewhere in the chain of command...
Made the decision to proffer charges.

I want that person's name.

Update: BTW, that link is to (shudder) Fox News. Because a search at "The Newspaper of Record" (AKA, "All the News that's fit to Ignore") revealed...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gorebal Warming: Mmm, Fudge!

Eric Raymond is one of the main advocates for Open Source software. As such, he makes intellectual arguments in favor of open processes that allow anyone to examine how a system works, and point out errors. This was once the way that science worked, but for some reason, the "researchers" into Gorebal Warming have fought against releasing their primary data and the source code of the software they used to produce things like the infamous "hockey stick" graph.

Unless you've been living under a rock (or only getting your news from the MainScream Media), you're aware that someone either hacked or leaked megabytes of files from the Climate Research Unit. Eric has been perusing them, and found this interesting excerpt (emphasis mine):

; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor

if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’
Eric thinks calling it a mere "smoking gun" is a massive understatement: "it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot." Well, let me add that they didn't just cook the data; they marinated it for a week, put on a rub, laid it in the smoker for a day and a half, sliced it up, wrapped it in bacon, dipped it in batter, rolled it around in the flour, and deep fried it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I thought I'd to check out the Texas page on
Notice anything?

The difference between "Total" in the top section and "Total Funds Awarded" in the bottom section is five hundred forty-seven thousand seven hundred twenty-six dollars.

You know what they say, "A half a million here and a half a million there, and pretty soon you're talking about some REAL money."

If you hover over the "Total", you get this helpful message.

I'll re-type it here, for sheer incredulity's sake. "Sum of funds awarded to primes (less awards to their subs) and sub-recipient awards from primes at that location."
Well, hell. Isn't that obvious?
If you hover over "Total Funds Awarded", you get this helpful message.

"The sum of funds awarded by a Federal Agency to a prime recipient at that location."

If I'm a sub-prime I get 500K? Isn't that what got us into this current economic mess in the first place? Where do I sign up?

Happy Fact #1: $10,679,918,184(total funds awarded) divided by 19,572 (jobs created or "saved") = $545,673.00 per job. Where do I sign up?

Happy Fact #2: $1,826,235,380(total funds received) divided by 19,572 = $93,308 per job. Where do I sign up?

Happy fact #3: has just been awarded another Eighteen Million Dollars to fix a web site that has already spent 12-14 million dollars.

Can you imagine the web site we could create with 30 million dollars?

It might even be able to compute basic math! Or maybe, just maybe, be able to screen for congressional districts that don't exist.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Failed Presidency

A friend of mine sent this to me today in an email. You can, and should read the whole thing at American Thinker

Barack Obama is on track to have the most spectacularly failed presidency since Woodrow Wilson.
In the meantime, while we've been struggling to take a measurement of this man, he's dissed just about every one of us--financiers, energy producers, banks, insurance executives, police officers, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, post office workers, and anybody else who has a non-green job. Expect Obama to lament at his last press conference in 2012: "For those of you I offended, I apologize. For those of you who were not offended, you just didn't give me enough time; if only I'd had a second term, I could have offended you too."

Mercifully, the Founders at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 devised a useful remedy for such a desperate state--staggered terms for both houses of the legislature and the executive. An equally abominable Congress can get voted out next year. With a new Congress, there's always hope of legislative gridlock until we vote for president again two short years after that.

Yes, small presidents do fail, Barack Obama among them. The coyotes howl but the wagon train keeps rolling along.
[Ed. note]: Trimmed down to excerpts and linked back to original. The current version should fall well within fair use exemption to copyright law. Sorry about that, American Thinker.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This Cartoon seemed far fetched in 1948....

This cartoon is timeless and is just as true today as it was when made at Harding Colege in 1948!

After viewing this cartoon, it was shocking to notice how close it is to what is happening today. Its been over 60 years and that "ISM" problems are still with us today, much more so than in 1948. Remember too that in 1948, the ISM's didn't have as much influence with their mass mind control as they have gained since then, and ISM has been replaced with nice sounding names like "social justice", "going green" (not "red" as previously known), etc. Don't be fooled,... it is still the same old ISM from the same source.

By the way, does that snake oil salesman look familiar to you?

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Our Cuss-O-Meter is too low.
WARNING! Adult content below.

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, motherfucker, cocksucker, and tits.
[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]


""Obviously, we're all guessing, but it's reasonable to believe that he will be convicted and sentenced to death," said retired Navy lawyer Philip Cave, now a military crimes defense attorney.

Cave estimated that Hasan, 39, would spend between five and 15 years in the military's court martial system."

If he isn't insane, and he can't point to a lookalike that he took the hit for. There is NO reason this guy shouldn't be in front of a firing squad inside of 90 days.

Monday, November 2, 2009

This is the difference between us and them.

From an email going around the web:

TO MY CONSERVATIVE PALS and Liberal friends that are somewhat conservative

This pretty much describes our Country today.

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a black man or Hispanic are conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.
If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he's in labor and then sues.

If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended".

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cults of Personality: Romania, Lebanon,...

A Romanian who lived through the Ceauşescu cult of personality, and now lives in Lebanon, warns that Nasrallah's Hisb'allah party is pretty much the same thing:

I thought the danger is there, in the cult of personality, lingering in the secrecy, in the spying, in the songs indoctrinating people.... If it were a state, Hezbollah would operate a dictatorship.
Read the whole thing, and see if you can spot emerging examples in Western countries, too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This just in...

"Weekend Update" is not a real newscast.
Who knew?

via LabRat

ACORN:NOLA Embezzlement Total Grows

According to a story at the embezzlement covered up by ACORN was a lot more than previously reported:

Louisiana's attorney general has broadened the scope of an investigation of ACORN to include a possible embezzlement of $5 million a decade ago within the community organization, five times more than previously reported.

ACORN Chief Executive Officer Bertha Lewis said the new reported amount is "completely false."
Well, Bertha, we've established what you are; now we're just quibbling over the price.

And as long as we're quibbling, I'll put on my language martinet hat a moment. Can people stop using phrases like "five times more"? If $1,000,000 was previously reported, "five times more" would be "$5,000,000 more" than that $1,000,000 for a total of $6,000,000. Even if you don't read it that way, can we agree the "____ times more" construction is at best ambiguous? Just say "five times as much", OK. (And don't get me started on "____ times less"; suffice to say that times and less don't make much sense together).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Problem With "Experts"

Over at Watts Up With That, one of the comments was so good that Anthony decided it deserved to be an article in its own right. This is something I find the Dextrosphere and talk radio do very well: We don't just dispense the news ex cathedra as the MainScream Media does. They seem so protective of their lofty status as gatekeepers that they won't allow anyone else to steal the spotlight from them.

Although he puts on a show of being a bombastic egomaniac, Rush Limbaugh knows when to shut up and let a caller carry the show. So does Neal Boortz. Back in the old days of, Bill Whittle called one of my comments "profound", setting in motion a chain of events that ultimately led to the creation of this site. Neither Anthony, Rush, Neal, or Bill bothered to check the resumés of "Caleb Shaw", "Susan in Glendale", "Vick the Ranger", or "The Monster". It wasn't important who we were. What mattered was what we had to say.

Contrast this with the Gorebots who make the classic appeal to authority ("The science is in; the IPCC report says AGW is for real, and anyone who disagrees is a denier"); the technocrats who insisted that out of 300 million Americans, the only person who could fix our troubled financial markets was Timothy "Turbo Tax" Geithner; or the identity-politics crowd who insisted that "a wise Latina" would make a better Justice, or a Halfrican American who went to Indonesian madrassas could, simply by being who he is and assuming the office of POTUS, heal all our ills both foreign and domestic.

Over the course of my life I've learned from many people. Of course I've gained much from exposure to the writings and speeches of great intellects, but I've known people who were stoners of Jeff Spicoli's ilk, and people classified as mentally retarded, who have uttered nuggets of wisdom that have served me well. Smart people think that they are so much smarter than the common man that they are justified in ruling by force over them. Truly wise people recognize that no matter how smart they may be, they don't know everything, and that generally, everyone knows the most about his own life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

About that "Hockey Stick"....

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Steve McIntire at Climate Audit has peeled back the obfuscation of the infamous "Hockey Stick" graph. In the latest installment, McIntire lays out the evidence leading to the logical conclusion that the data sample, from which the Hockey Sick graph was produced, were cherry-picked to produce precisely that effect, and when the rest of the data are included, the Hockey Stick disappears entirely.

The "scientists" who produced the Hockey Stick have, in the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo "some 'splainin' to do".

Monday, September 28, 2009

RIP: William Safire

William Safire has died at the age of 79. In his long career as a columnist, he wrote two different kinds of columns, both of which influenced me greatly. Safire was both a small-l libertarian and a language maven (which is not quite the same thing as a martinet). He wasn't afraid to call out Republicans when he thought they deserved it, even if I didn't. And on those rare occasions when we disagreed, he forced me to dig deep and check my premises, for his arguments were always well thought out.

His "On Language" columns, in particular, may have helped fuel my appetite for understanding how words and their meanings have evolved. I have long believed that sloppy language breeds sloppy thinking. When we have a President who can, with a straight face, claim that a reporter looking up the definition of "tax" in Merriam-Webster's dictionary is doing so in order to stretch it, we will sorely miss a lover of language like Safire.

Godspeed, Bill.

Do not pass GO

The "Baucus Bill" mandates that all Americans must buy health insurance. If you choose (as a supposedly free citizen) not to buy health insurance, you will be levied a fine tax.
And what would happen if you (as a supposedly free citizen) refused to pay that fine tax?

We're gonna need bigger jails.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

United Breaks Guitars, part 2

Return with us to those thrilling days of ....... July 15th, 2009?

As you may recall when we last saw our hero, he was in the midst of a battle with United Airline over the mishandling of his Taylor guitar. Dave promised United that he would release 3 songs about the incident. We brought you the first song back on July 15th. Dave has now released song #2. So here it is for your listening pleasure...

[Ed. note] Added link to part 1 so you don't have to look it up

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Way it Ought to be Sung!

A friend sends this along with a comment:

"As football season approaches, there will be many variations, but this is the real deal."

"This is beautiful, as the anthem was written not like some pop singer trying to 'stylize' it."

"And we can add auto racing also."

The Battle Hymn of Obama

Picture of Jesus with a group of children, but Obama's face instead of Jesus' face, by Darleen Click of proteinwisdom.comBy now, if you haven't been hiking the Appalachian Trail or something, you've seen and heard the video of a bunch of grade-school kids chanting "Mmm, mmm, mmm! Barack Hussein Obama!", including a line virtually lifted from "Jesus Loves the Little Children".

(The magnificent graphic was created by Darleen Click of Protein Wisdom.)

You may have missed the part after the chanting, where the kids sing the praises of Obama to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Well, that deserves to be mocked, too:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the House's healthcare plan
Even though its countless pages make it really hard to scan
And anyone who disagrees might just as well be Klan!
Pelosi marches on!

  Glory, glory to Obama
  Glory, glory to Obama
  Tell your daddy and your Mama
  His plans are marching on!

He's apologized for everything the country's ever done
CO2's at fault for warming; please just disregard the Sun
You have no right to question him, for after all HE WON!
As ACORN Marches on!

(Repeat Chorus)

It's our duty as Americans to do just what he says
He looks so good on television; better in hi-rez
We will censure any congressmen who disrespect the Prez
Gleichsaltung marches on!

(Repeat Chorus)

Now let's listen to the Cactus Cuties do the real Battle Hymn of the Republic:

[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]

Well. There's your problem.

When I first read this quote, I was sure the reporter got it wrong. So I had to find out.
Yep, he actually said it.
"I'm not interested in victory."

Words fail me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mike Rowe: The War on Work

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs and countless other shows on Discovery Networks speaks about the War on Work. This should be mandatory viewing for all government employees.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Picture is Worth....

davidbugnon -- My latest creation: Hannah Giles carving up a giant #ACORN on Twitpic
UPDATE: ACORN Baltimore sues Giles, O'Keefe, and Breitbart.

Remember folks. Discovery isn't just a cable channel.

UPDATE 2: There is now a Legal Defense Fund

A Rock Star in the White House?

I was grabbing a bite of lunch yesterday in a little barbecue joint that has Fox News on the TV, so when they broke in to go live to Obama's comments on the economy I watched while I finished eating. Now the sound was turned down so I couldn't hear what was being said, but what I saw was amazing. Obama was bouncing around shaking hands. Then he bounced up on stage, went by the podium, hugged a woman and then stepped up to began.

"My God" I though. "I've finally figured it out. He thinks he's a blooming rock star!"

Now I don't know if Obama and his handlers didn't realize that the cameras were on....or they just don't care how he looks; but what I saw was in no way Presidential or dignified. The man has no clue what kind of image he is projecting. And I probably would not have caught it if the sound had been turned up because I would have tuned it out and not have been paying attention.

Interestingly a friend who I told about this went to the Fox News website and tried to find the clip.....and said that he couldn't. So I don't know if Fox didn't save it or just has not posted that portion of the clip. But I would like someone else to see this and tell me if I'm imagining things. Because for all his faults, and they were many, I never saw Bill Clinton behave that way. And certainly not W or Reagan.

Monday, September 21, 2009

RTC: Dog Whistles and Golf-Ball-Stealing Monkeys

Is this a racist story?

The story is told of a golf course in India. Apparently, once the English had colonized the country and established their businesses, they yearned for recreation and decided to build a golf course in Calcutta. Golf in Calcutta presented a unique obstacle. Monkeys would drop out of the trees, scurry across the course, and seize the golf balls. The monkeys would play with the balls, tossing them here and there.

At first, the golfers tried to control the monkeys. Their first strategy was to build high fences around the fairways and greens. This approach, which seemed initially to hold much promise, was abandoned when the golfers discovered that a fence is no challenge to an ambitious monkey. Next, the golfers tried luring the monkeys away from the course. But the monkeys found nothing as amusing as watching humans go wild whenever their little white balls were disturbed. In desperation, the British began trapping the monkeys. But for every monkey they carted off, another would appear. Finally, the golfers gave in to reality and developed a rather novel ground rule: Play the ball where the monkey drops it.

It appears to have originally been told in a book by an Episcopal minister, and used a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks in a sermon at Cincinnati's First Congregational Church (UCC):
Needless to say, on Tuesday, 9-11, the monkey dropped the ball in the worst possible place in all of our collective memories.
Now Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO7) has retold the tale to the Values Voters Summit over the weekend (Story starts at 1:13 if you want to skip the preamble):

Apparently, this story is an example of "dog whistle" racism. My ears aren't good enough to pick up on the racism. Maybe it's because I still remember eight years of George W. Bush being "Chimpler". Or maybe it's just because I'm not losing my fracking mind.

If there were any doubt that The Card is thoroughly played out, this should be it.
[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Charlie and the Constitution Factory

Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY15) saw fit to explain his vote against de-funding ACORN:

The Constitution impels Congress not to pass a bill of attainder that would punish a named individual or group without a judicial trial. The amendment would punish ACORN after allegations surfaced last week that two of the organization’s staff members, who have since been fired, counseled their clients to break the law − a role the Constitution explicitly leaves for the courts.
Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News wants us to know "This, some will recall, was the argument many Republicans made against taking back bonuses paid out by AIG.". Rangel and McAuliff fail to appreciate the differences between those two situations, and how the term "bill of attainder" does not apply to the ACORN situation.

When Hot Air's Ed Morrissey brought up Rangel's remarks in his "Week in Review" webcast on Friday, I enunciated a definition of the term in the show's chatroom, and briefly described how it didn't fit the situation. Ed responded, calling me a language "martinet", but he seemed to agree with my point that Rangel had abused the term. Well, most folks don't use the term "martinet" positively, but when the Left and the media (but I repeat myself) twist language to pervert its meaning, maybe it takes a martinet to untwist it (although a martini might help too, with or without a twist).

Let us begin with some history. The British government, from which our own legal traditions descended, centralizes effective power in the Parliament; the majority party/coalition in the House of Commons controls the executive branch, and until recently, the highest judicial body was the House of Lords. There is no Constitution in the sense we use the term. The only limitations on the power of Parliament are self-imposed. Those who rebelled against what they saw as an oppressive central government were determined, when they set up their own government, to put strict external limits on its power. The legitimacy of our government is based on the subjugation of all authority to the Constitution; any attempt to wield power that is not authorized by it is a violation of the contract we make with each other as citizens.

This distinctively American implementation of "Separation of Powers" enforced by a written constitution came from Enlightenment philosopher Baron de Montesquieu's idealization of the British system into truly separate entities. Our constitution explicitly forbids a member of Congress, the executive, or judiciary, to serve in either of the other two branches of government at the same time. It then sets about to forbid any of the three branches from doing the job of the other two, while giving each of them some ability to check the powers of the others. For good measure, the first batch of amendments take many matters out of the hands of the national government, reserving most power in the hands of the state governments and individual citizens (who serve on juries both grand and petit, elect state and local governments to enact laws, and directly make law in the fashion of the New England Town Hall or through initiative/referendum as their state constitutions and local government charters provide).

Representative Rangel appeals to one of the explicit prohibitions on the power of Congress to make law: Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 3, which states simply enough: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." But what do those phrases mean?

The English translation of ex post facto is simply "after the fact". The primary purpose of punishing criminal behavior is to deter it. We do this by making laws that codify behavior that is subject to punishment, and what that punishment can be. People who might be tempted to engage in such behavior will consider the consequences, and most will refrain from doing so. But once the behavior has occurred, it cannot be deterred by strengthening its punishment. Punishing someone for an act that was legal when they did it is tyranny, if not sadism.

The "bill of attainder" is a bit more complicated:
A legislative act pronouncing a person guilty of a crime, usually treason, without trial and subjecting that person to capital punishment and attainder. Such acts are prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.
The word "attainder" itself refers to the cancellation of civil rights. As part of a judgment against a convicted criminal, he could lose the right to own property, and therefore pass it to an heir upon his death. (In cases of treason, that death could be quite grisly.) The term of art for the government stripping the criminal's heirs of their inheritance is "escheatment" or "corruption of blood". It was common for the Crown to escheat the assets of those condemned to death after a judicial conviction, but occasionally one would be killed in the act of committing his crime, or tortured to death in an effort to gain a confession. Dead men can't be tried, so a bill of attainder would be proposed in Parliament to escheat those assets away from the heirs. After all, it wouldn't do to let the son of a traitor inherit the family estate, and any titles of nobility the old boy had.

This practice, especially when performed in distant Westminster (where Colonials would find it difficult to have their side heard), was one of the many grievances that led to the American Revolution.

In particular, what constituted "treason" tended to depend quite a bit on who happened to hold sway in Parliament at the time. Factions loyal to a recently-deposed monarch could find themselves declared traitors by those who deposed him. Thus, many British bills of attainder also criminalized behavior ex post facto, prompting the conjunction of the two in Art. I §9 ¶3. A separate prohibition against corruption of blood is in Art. III §3 ¶2, where "treason" is defined so as to minimize political prosecutions, and allow the Loyal Opposition to disagree without fear of reprisal. (Eric Holder should take note of this.)

Although the traditional meaning of "bills of attainder" included capital punishment, the Supreme Court has interpreted their prohibition to include lesser forms of punishment. In Cummings v. Missouri it defined the term thus:
A bill of attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without a judicial trial.

If the punishment be less than death, the act is termed a bill of pains and penalties. Within the meaning of the Constitution, bills of attainder include bills of pains and penalties. In these cases, the legislative body, in addition to its legitimate functions, exercises the powers and office of judge; it assumes, in the language of the textbooks, judicial magistracy; it pronounces upon the guilt of the party without any of the forms or safeguards of trial; it determines the sufficiency of the proofs produced, whether conformable to the rules of evidence or otherwise; and it fixes the degree of punishment in accordance with its own notions of the enormity of the offence.
In the case of the AIG bonuses, employees agreed to work for a lower base salary, with performance bonuses tied to objective measures of productivity. They did the work, hit the targets, and thereby earned the bonuses. To declare after the fact that the bonuses are too high, and seize the money earned by those workers would clearly violate both parts of Art. I §9 ¶3., and the Fifth Amendment "takings" clause as well.

The biggest problem with Representative Rangel's ridiculous reasoning is that it tacitly makes the ridiculous Leftist assumption that not giving public funds to a person or organization is the same thing as taking money or other property from them. We have become so accustomed to that assumption that even some conservatives seem to accept it, but it is untrue. Those funds are the property of the US taxpayer, not ACORN or any other government contractor, unless and until the contractor is lawfully engaged to perform work, and the contract faithfully executed.

The measure Rangel voted against does not call for incarceration of ACORN employees, the levying of monetary fines, or withholding of funding for any work that ACORN has already done in conformance with existing laws; It doesn't even call out ACORN by name. It only specifies restrictions on organizations' eligiblity to participate in any future funding based on certain activities. And ACORN is clearly covered by those stipulations.

If we must compare ACORN to AIG, the closest analogue would be for Congress to order that as a condition of the bailout, the bonus programs be cancelled for work done in the future, while allowing bonuses that had already been earned to be paid. Those employees have the right to be paid for the work they did under the terms in force when they did the work. They are not entitled to compel the continuation of those terms in perpetuity.

Rangel and his political allies embody just such an "entitlement" mentality; like the hereditary British nobleman, they believe our money belongs to them, year after year, in ever-increasing amounts. When tax rates are reduced, they call it "giving tax breaks to the wealthy". That is a corollary of the above. There is a difference between not taking private funds from a person or organization and giving it to them. The government does not give a taxpayer what is already his by not taking it from him.

No one has a "right" to get paid to administer government programs, and we don't have hereditary titles of nobility (the Kennedys notwithstanding) that treat power over others as if it were a personal right. Such titles are explicitly forbidden by the Constitution. On the contrary, we taxpayers have the right to a government run as cleanly and efficiently. We elect representatives to attend to that.

Congress is given great latitude in executive oversight. It has the authority to require Senate confirmation for any executive position, and can investigate how our money is spent. Congress is entirely within its legitimate power to direct the executive branch that funds it has authorized to run government programs only be awarded to individuals or groups that meet strict standards of conduct. In doing so, it is fulfilling its obligations under the original Contract With America. That's not something I can always say with a straight face.
[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another O'Keefe Undercover Video

Before he went undercover in person to expose what kind of people ACORN employs, James O'Keefe showed how willing Planned Parenthood was to accept racist contributions specifically for reducing the number of black babies:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Time to Revoke The Card

I'm done. The recent spate of people willing to play The Race Card against any and all opposition to The Won's policies have pushed me to the point where I just don't care anymore.

Jimmy Carter, Janeane Garofalo, and the Newsweek cover may be the most blatant, but there have been so many it's not worth listing them all. Once upon a time, the word "racist" meant something. I recently tried to clarify that definition. But now I'm not sure the word can ever again mean anything close to what it once meant.

There are two ways to examine what words mean. One is to look at the definition in the dictionary and see how it may apply. The other is to observe how the words are actually used. Based on the latter, I have come to the an inescapable conclusion.
The effective meaning of "racist" today is:
"You disagree with a leftist. Shut up!"

From now on, whenever someone says a person or behavior is "racist", I'm going to stop them, and insist that they make the case for it or retract it. No one gets to throw out an accusation of "racism" as if it were an established fact. If they refuse to back up the accusation, I will say "How dare you use that word without any proof that it applies!"

When someone is summarily accused, "convicted", and punished without a due process hearing in which they can defend themselves from the charge, there is a word often used to describe the process.

We call it a "lynching".

I'm not going to stand by and let it happen.

[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I agree 100% with President Obama

Kanye West is a jackass.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Critiquing the Speech: Mandates

I subjected myself to President Obama's health care speech, and some things really struck me about the illogic he tried to foist upon us. I'll zero in on a single issue here: Mandates

President Obama said this about mandates:

If there are affordable options and people still don't sign up for health insurance, it means we pay for those people's expensive emergency room visits.
There will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still cannot afford coverage, and 95% of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements. But we cannot have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees. Improving our health care system only works if everybody does their part.
This defies logic.

Those people who can afford coverage are the ones willing and able to pay for their health care out of their own pockets, reasoning that they'll pay less that way than if they buy insurance. Only if they're among the few people who have more paid out in benefits than they pay in as premiums will they come out ahead by buying the insurance. They're gambling that it won't happen to them if they go without any health insurance at all, and the odds are on their side.

Some people, (like Whole Foods employees) purchase low-premium, high-deductible policies that are unlikely to pay a dime for an individual employee in any given year. That way they're covered if they're in the group that actually runs up more bills than premiums over the long term, saving themselves from financial ruin if they're unlucky. But the President's proposal would take that choice away. It will force people to spend money on insurance they have rational reasons not to buy.

This is just the opposite of what insurance is supposed to be for. We buy insurance to cover events that are rare and very bad for our finances, like the untimely death of a parent with children to support. We know that insurance companies make profits, and their employees earn salaries, their suppliers need to be paid, etc. We buy insurance knowing that in the long run we're likely to lose a little money, to protect against the risk that we lose far, far, more.

It is stupid to purchase insurance for things that are relatively likely to happen, but not particularly expensive. For those things, we should budget our money, saving up so we can afford to pay for them. But managing our own finances wisely is too much like personal responsibility, anathema to community organizers who insist on "social responsibility".
[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Olbermann, Glenn Beck, and Joe the Plumber

By now everyone with an Internet connection is probably aware that Keith Olbermann wants dirt on Glenn Beck:

From the Washington Independent, linked below, after the jump:
Glenn Beck’s Twitter feed has become a must-read. In a message from last night, Beck told his followers to “FIND EVERYTHING YOU CAN ON CASS SUNSTEIN, MARK LLOYD AND CAROL BROWNER.”

I don't know why I've got this phrasing in my head, but: Find everything you can about Glenn Beck, Stu Burguiere, and Roger Ailes.
Olbermann is engaging in some common Leftist techniques here, which are in desperate need of deconstruction.

Like the war declared against Joe the Plumber after he dared commit lèse majesté against The One, Olbermann is attacking the messenger. Somehow, he thinks that he can invalidate what Beck has told us, if he is able to dig up some dirt on Beck. That shouldn't be too tough; Beck is a recovering alcoholic who admits to have been a real dirtbag when he was on the sauce.

It doesn't matter if we like Beck or not. I sometimes think he's melodramatic, but he performs a valuable service by bringing out indisputable facts (including video of the man's own words) that the MainScream Media refuses to notice. Olby thinks that proving Beck has committed some infraction in any way changes those facts. It doesn't. The facts stand on their own merits. Logicians refer to this particular fallacy as ad hominem (against the man), because it fails to address those facts.

But the way the quote was worded, it appears that another common Leftist trope is in play. It's called "moral equivalence". Olbermann deliberately words his call for dirt on Beck, his producer, and his TV boss, using similar language to Beck's call for evidence against Obama Administration officials. He is implicitly employing another fallacy, with its own Latin name (don't they all have one?): tu quoque (you too!). Can anyone object to Olbermann doing to Beck what Beck is doing to Sunstein et. al.?

Yes, we can! There is actually an exception to ad hominem being a fallacy: When the argument is about the judgement, temperment, or veracity of someone we are being asked to trust with power, or whose testimony is being considered to judge someone's guilt, then ad hominem attacks aren't fallacious at all. They go to the heart of how that person will wield that power, or whether we can justly convict someone based upon that testimony.

If Glenn Beck held, or were a candidate for office, so that his signature on some piece of paper or oral instruction to subordinates could coercively direct billions of dollars of money (either by government spending it outright, or forcing individuals and businesses to spend it), or he were a witness at a trial, then whatever dirt can be found on him could be quite relevant. Unlike those he's been exposing of late, (apparently soon to include Sunstein, Lloyd, and Browner) he is not any of those things. In fact, he has told his audience not to trust him:
So do I ask you to trust me? Nope. Instead, I ask you to do something that this whole broken system of government and media has taught you not to do: trust yourself. Empower yourself. Take charge of your own life. Don't take my or anyone else's word for anything. Read, question every angle and trust your gut.
On the contrary, it is President Obama who asks us to trust him personally, that his ability to lead, to surround himself with the right kind of people to follow his leadership, will make all the difference. Beck is showing us what kind of people they are, and by extension, what kind of person Obama is. By unleashing the Kossacks on Beck, Olbermann shows us what kind of person he is.

[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]
UPDATE: Olbermann has called off the Kossacks, at least for now:
I am talking about calling off the Baker Street Irregulars - while reserving the right to reactivate them.
It seems Olby read an NYT columnist express some reservations similar to my own, and decided he didn't want to "be Glenn Beck" by getting down in the gutter with him.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Climate Chains

Monday, August 31, 2009


A combination of events over the last few years has led me to think about "racism". Barack Obama's permanent campaign, to which virtually every criticism is labeled as "racist" is the most obvious. Janeane Garofalo asserts that the "tea-baggers" are "straight-up racist" because we oppose the radical agenda of a man who happens to have darker than average skin. (We don't know what she thinks about Ken Gladney, beaten by white union members who hurled the n-word at him in the process.) Even more bizarrely, Contessa Brewer and her posse use video of a black man armed with a semiautomatic rifle, carefully cropped to hide any of his exposed skin, while tut-tutting about the people who hate having a black POTUS, seeming downright giddy with the prospect that one of them will attempt a violent act.

But there were others.

  • Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant have been subjected to the ministrations of the Canadian Political Correctness Police.
  • A lifetime achievement award recognizing Bob Grant's trailblazing career in talk radio has been revoked, because of comments some have interpreted as racist.
  • Don Imus returned to radio after his proverbial 40 years in the wilderness for his racially-charged remarks.
  • People have been suspended from, and in some cases lost, jobs covering golf, because of a metaphor that evokes anger from the Black Community.
  • An elderly member of the Kansas City, Missouri Park Board was hounded out of office because of her membership in the Minuteman anti-illegal-immigration organization, described as "racist" by Hispanic activists.
  • Glenn Beck is the target of a boycott because he turned the "opposition to Obama is racist" charge on its head, and said that he thinks Obama himself is racist.

That last one cleverly exposed the double standard of what is defined "racism", and will be of great help in analyzing how the word is used. So, let's touch the Ultimate Third Rail: Racism.

First, we need to define our terms. The word "racist" has been operationally redefined to the point where it means "disagreeing with a leftist". It's tiresome. The danger is that by pretending that too many things are "racist", the word will lose its meaning, and we won't have a name by which to distinguish the real deal. I'm going to describe (if not precisely define) it briefly thus:
Racism is the belief that membership in an ethnic group determines individual behavioral characteristics, often to the point of deeming the entire group "superior" or "inferior" to others.
Even that is open to some misinterpretation, so I'll give a series of statements, and show where I think The Line is crossed:
  1. Ashkenazi Jews have an average IQ significantly higher than that of humans as a whole.
  2. People with higher IQ tend to be more successful in intellectually-demanding professions, leading to substantial financial reward.
  3. The average annual income of Ashkenazim is higher than the average of the population in general.
  4. Rita has to decide whether to hire Moshe or Malik for a job in which intelligence will be important.
  5. Since Moshe is Jewish, Rita assumes he's smarter, and chooses him.
The Line is literally drawn in above. I think it's time to make clear something with which I'm afraid many people will disagree: Factual statements about statistics cannot be "racist". That they are true trumps all -isms. I am certain that many people will say that any statement about ethnic groups is inherently racist, at least when made by a member of The Oppressor Class. (Since I am a White Heterosexual Anglophone Male [WHAM], I am consigned to that class, although economically I don't feel like I belong with The Boss Man. I personally find that characterization to be racist, but Leftists cleverly define it such that it can only be applied to The Oppressor Class!)

Those who say it's racist to even go to Step 1 may have noble intentions: Perhaps they're concerned that merely acknowledging these facts will cause people to think like Rita the Racist. But those facts won't stop being facts just because we pretend they aren't true, and not dealing with them won't help us deal with racism. Rita has committed a horrible logical error, which needs to be addressed head-on. Trying to sidestep it, by pretending that the statistical differences in various groups don't exist, is dishonest, and empowers the true racists by letting them attack that dishonesty. It cedes to the racist the moral high ground of having the truth on his side! If we lie (even to spare some people's feelings) in arguing against actual racism, it taints everything else we may say on the subject.

Others are concerned that these statistics will breed resentment among ethnic groups that aren't as blessed as the Ashkenazim. Perhaps that's true, but only to the extent that people insist on thinking of themselves first as members of tribal groups, instead of as individuals. The variation within each group is larger than it is between groups. Those with higher IQs in any group will tend to do better economically than those on the lower end. Statistical differences in ethnic/gender group economic or educational status are the basis of the "de facto" argument behind quotas, which have perverse effects that can actually worsen the economic position of those it overtly "helps". As we've seen in Ricci, the fact that an insufficient number of applicants from protected groups pass a test is often deemed sufficient to prove that the test is somehow biased.

Furthermore, the mere possession of an ability doesn't automatically translate into performance. Everyone can learn to improve performance; hard work and sheer determination can compensate for a lack of native talent. But we have to be honest with people, and let them know that they may very well have an uphill battle to fight, rather than pretending that things will come equally easy to all. We also should admit that the task will prove too difficult for many. No amount of hard work has broken the dominance in the Men's 100m sprint by people of West African descent, and in the 10K by Kenyans and Ethiopians.

On the other hand, that can't be an excuse for giving up. It's up to each of us to be the best we can at whatever it is we do, no matter what handicaps we may have. For instance, I am near-sighted to the point that the tests optometrists normally perform to measure near vision are affected by my problems with far vision. So I wear contact lenses. But I don't complain that it isn't fair and demand that it is my right to have LASIK provided at government expense. I don't insist that the speed limit on streets and highways be reduced to the point where it would be safe for me to operate an automobile without my contacts. I don't consider it discriminatory that Major League Baseball won't hire someone with my lack of visual acuity to work as an umpire.

Rita isn't just a racist; she's also intellectually lazy, and stupid. The difference in group statistics doesn't mean that all members of one group have higher IQs than all members of the other. Rita's greatest crime is that she hasn't examined Moshe and Malik as individuals. Malik may be brilliant, and Moshe functionally illiterate, but in her prejudice she will never bother to find out.

Not only has she hurt Malik's opportunity to earn a living; she's also hurt her company's chance to hire the best person for the job. If Malik gets a job with an intelligent competitor, turns out to be better at the job, and they gain market share at the expense of Rita's company, the owners/stockholders will lose money due to her stupidity. Rita and her co-workers may not get the raises they may have gotten with Malik on the team, and some may lose their jobs. As competitive as some fields are, the whole company could ultimately go out of business, all because of one bad managerial decision.

I've deliberately chosen Ashkenazim for these examples so as to deconstruct some ideas that are easily conflated: "Jewish" refers to religion, ethnicity, and culture. Comedian and actor Rowan Atkinson discusses this quite seriously in his speech to the UK House of Lords opposing new "Hate Crime" legislation:
. . . Jews and Sikhs are protected from religious hatred on the basis of their race and that this Bill seeks merely to extend that protection to others. The problem that that ignores is that race and religion are fundamentally different concepts – you cannot choose your race, you can choose your religion – and even if for many the line dividing their race from their religion is blurred in the eyes of the law. A sharp line can and should be drawn.

If Jews and Sikhs are protected from criticism of their religious beliefs or religious activities, then that is a wrong and the idea of extending that to other religions is also a wrong. To criticise people for their race is manifestly irrational but to criticise their religion, that is a right.
Disagreeing with or criticizing Judaism (or related ideas such as Zionism) isn't anti-semitism, but hatred of people of Jewish ethnicity (which may be based on envy of their economic success) simply because of that ethnicity is. So it isn't fair for Malik to invoke "Islamophobia" as a parallel to anti-semitism. There is no such thing as the "Muslim race".

It also isn't reasonable for for those who complain that other ethnic groups don't do as well economically to conclude that "de facto discrimination" or some vague Zionist Conspiracy must be the cause. As much as we may like ethnicity and intelligence to be statistically-independent variables, the fact is that they are not. If we want to help Malik's ethnic group, we have to start with an honest assessment of the facts as they are, not how we'd like them to be. What part does the culture to which Malik belongs play in these statistical differences? Are there elements of Jewish culture that could help them to do better, were Malik's community to adopt them? We know that Jewish culture places a high value on education; scholars have traditionally had high status in Jewish communities, allowing them a better chance to attract mates, and pass their genes along to the next generation. Even if there is a genetic component to this phenomenon, it can be shaped by culture. (But we must tread lightly here; we are perilously close to talking about eugenic effects, which fact if noticed tends to cause brains to short-circuit due to some sort of Godwin Governor.) By contrast, Malik may have been accused of "acting white" if he did well in school, and been physically menaced for it.

People have seriously described Bill Clinton as the "first black president", and questioned the "blackness" of Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Michael Steele, and even President Obama! In the last case, it's not his white mother that is of concern; most people identified as "black" in the US have some European ancestry. He's actually excluded from being "black" based on his African father! According to this definition, "black" isn't about ethnic origin, but about family experience; someone without ancestors enslaved in the United States doesn't qualify.
"Black," in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves. Voluntary immigrants of African descent (even those descended from West Indian slaves) are just that, voluntary immigrants of African descent with markedly different outlooks on the role of race in their lives and in politics.
I made similar points about the difference between voluntary and involuntary immigrants myself. That definition of "Black" excludes not only Obama, but also Powell, whose Jamaican parents came to the US long after their forebears were freed from slavery there.

While Rice and Steele don't share Obama's and Powell's pedigree problems, like Powell they belong to the "wrong" political party (although Powell's endorsement of Obama may have helped him to gain some cred). Perhaps the best-known epithet applied to such people is "Oreo" (black on the outside; white in the middle). Again, they "act white". "Black" and "white" in this context clearly refer to culture, as well as (instead of?) ethnicity. Dr. King's Dream of a day when his grandchildren would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, has become a nightmare, in which people who have a certain color of skin are told that they must behave in a certain way as a result thereof, lest they lose their "authenticity".

We expect Political Correctness from the entertainment, political, and educational elites. But there is also a civil war between Anti-Idiotarian factions involving charges of racism. As part of his effort to distance himself from "right-wing extremists" such as "Nirthers" and advocates of Intelligent Design, Charles Johnson has gone after various people as racist-by-association, for the sin of appearing at anti-jihadist conferences attended by representatives of organizations he has decided are "racist". In my opinion, many of those groups do indeed have racist members, (virtually every large group will have one sort or another) but also have many others who would more accurately be called "culturalist". But the "mainstream" is afraid of being labeled "racist" by the Johnsons, Garafolos, and Brewers of the world, so people must either choose to work with "racists" or with those who walk on eggshells lest they have that tag applied to them.

It doesn't help that some of the "racists" involved have used racially-loaded terminology. Some of them explicitly decry the assaults on "white culture" by immigrants that refuse to assimilate into it, or a President who hates it. But before we declare these people to be actual racists, we ought to try to understand what they mean. Then we might even helpfully suggest better ways of expressing themselves on the subject.

If "Jewish" and "Black" can refer to culture as well as ethnicity, isn't it possible that some of the "racists" who wish to defend "white culture" aren't racist after all? When we paint them with the same broad brush as the actual racists, we aren't helping out. We're abandoning the people who want to defend what they believe are positive cultural values, to be lumped in with the true racists. This may come back to haunt us. When the populace of a country finally tires of politically-correct multi-culturalism, perhaps due to widespread economic troubles that a politician can blame on the outsiders, they may react as the Germans did in the 1930s, by installing an actual fascist, racist, and ultimately murderous regime. That would be a huge step backward for us all.

Let us take care that when we identify specific individuals, who have made specific statements that are demonstrably racist, that we limit the criticism to those items. Let us be clear that we don't support judging people by their ethnicity, but we may find ourselves on the same side of some issues with those who do, when it comes to defending ourselves from another threat. That doesn't mean we endorse their entire platform.
If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons. -Winston Churchill
To attack an entire political faction by association is the same sort of intellectual laziness that Rita the Racist committed by ascribing to the individuals attributes of others in their groups. We can do better than that.

[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

DBD Nails It (Again)

If you are reading Day by Day already, you don't need me to tell you how well Chris Muir nailed the latest outrage brewing in Congress:

If you aren't, what in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is wrong with you?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


When South East England's MEP Daniel Hannan speaks, we should listen:

Here he talks about the Anglo-Saxon heritage of freedom and decentralized political power that was exported to America, then forgotten in the UK. He warns us against following that same road, and we ignore his advice at our peril.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Whittle vs. The Narrative

I don't normally bother to comment on just every "Afterburner" episode Bill does on PJTV. The link is over there in the sidebar, and I figure most people who come here go there. Insty links to most of them too.

But this one is a must see. Bill eviscerates MSNBC and the rest of the MainScream Media as the dishonest scum that they are. Set aside 15 minutes, pop yourself some popcorn, and enjoy a good old-fashioned ass-whoopin'. (Bill is the one doing the whoopin'.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So why are we here......again?

Got this from a friend. Don't know who sent it to him but I do know it's worthwhile...

OK, as we all know I'm not the big history buff type person, but... with the homeschool thing I have to learn this stuff, so... we're reading about the Declaration of Independence. We bought reproductions of the Declaration as well as some other historical documents when we were in DC last year. I went outside to smoke and brought the Declaration with me to read it. OMG folks! OK, I had a fairly decent education as a child but chose NOT to pay any attention to history, so I was essentially reading this for the first time...

As we all know, (even I knew this) it starts:
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Then the often quoted:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Then... the part that we have obviously forgotten all about in the past 233 years.
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

This is so true! We sit in our own shit because it's warm and soft even though it stinks... (I know that was kinda crude, but true)
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

So, what we have to do is....
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

The rest of the document goes on to detail the abuses by the King, then to declare the independence of the states as I'm sure everyone else knows about the document, but it was all news to me!!! So this is why we study history, so we're not doomed to repeat it, right?? Then WHY IN THE HELL ARE WE HERE AGAIN!!!!!!!

Am I insane, or is today a time in the course of human events that it is necessary for us to dissolve the political bonds that have connected us to another???

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why I voted Democrat...

I voted Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever
I want. I've decided to marry my boat.

I voted Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a
gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

I voted Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job
of spending the money I earn than I ever would.

I voted Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is
offended by it.

I voted Democrat because when we pull out of Iraq I trust that the bad
guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

I voted Democrat because I'm way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I
know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and

I voted Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it
will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in
ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I voted Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of
millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

I voted Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed
to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest
away to the government for redistribution as IT sees fit.

I voted Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite The
Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would
never get their agendas past the voters.

I voted Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my rear that it
is unlikely that I'll ever have another point of view.

A Liberal is a person who will give away everything they don't own.

And no, I did NOT really vote Democrat!

Of course you can keep your coverage...

Our old buddy Don tipped us off with this analysis of ObamaCare. I normally rely on Muscle Daddy to dig through lengthy legislation, because he can do that without reflexively grabbing an icepick to stab his eyes out. What's a mere Monster to do? Well, I can whip out my digital hi-lighter and see if I can connect some dots.
This particular provision grabbed my eye:


(a) Tax Imposed- In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of--

(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over

(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer.
This sounds troubling. If you don't have "acceptable health care coverage", you get stuck with an extra 2.5% marginal income tax. But what does "acceptable health care coverage" mean? Subsection (d) lists Medicare, Medicaid, Armed Forces, and VA, as well as these:
(A) QUALIFIED HEALTH BENEFITS PLAN COVERAGE- Coverage under a qualified health benefits plan (as defined in section 100(c) of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009).

(B) GRANDFATHERED HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE; COVERAGE UNDER GRANDFATHERED EMPLOYMENT-BASED HEALTH PLAN- Coverage under a grandfathered health insurance coverage (as defined in subsection (a) of section 102 of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009) or under a current employment-based health plan (within the meaning of subsection (b) of such section).
. . .
(G) OTHER COVERAGE- Such other health benefits coverage as the Secretary, in coordination with the Health Choices Commissioner, recognizes for purposes of this subsection.
So what's in 100(c)?
(1) ACCEPTABLE COVERAGE- The term ‘acceptable coverage’ has the meaning given such term in section 202(d)(2).
Good grief. So what does section 202(d)(2) say?
(A) QUALIFIED HEALTH BENEFITS PLAN COVERAGE- Coverage under a qualified health benefits plan.

(B) GRANDFATHERED HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE; COVERAGE UNDER CURRENT GROUP HEALTH PLAN- Coverage under a grandfathered health insurance coverage (as defined in subsection (a) of section 102) or under a current group health plan (described in subsection (b) of such section).
. . .
(G) OTHER COVERAGE- Such other health benefits coverage, such as a State health benefits risk pool, as the Commissioner, in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, recognizes for purposes of this paragraph.
It's déjà vu all over again! Nowhere does anything define "a qualified health benefits plan".

How about that "grandfathered" business in 102(a)? Check out the reassuring title, then the gory details:

(a) Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage Defined- Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term ‘grandfathered health insurance coverage’ means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:
. . .
Note that the only coverage "grandfathered" is individual coverage, which is explictly not group coverage (like most employer-based plans are) according to the prior 101(c)(2):

(2) INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE- The terms ‘individual health insurance coverage’ and ‘group health insurance coverage’ mean health insurance coverage offered in the individual market or large or small group market, respectively, as defined in section 2791 of the Public Health Service Act.
The way I read this definition, when President Obama says "you'll be able to keep your existing coverage", he's hiding the fact that for most Americans with health insurance today, the coverage they'll be allowed to keep won't prevent them from paying the 2.5% tax for "freeloaders" who don't have "adequate coverage".
[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]
I've barely begun to read this bill. I think the average person who manages to read the whole thing will be begging for a "death panel" to put him out of his misery. MuscleDaddy, I have no idea how you do it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Clunking Insanity

My parents grew up in the Great Depression, and told us kids stories about how they had to scrimp and save to get by. General Mills would print dress patterns on flour sacks, which Grandma sewed into clothing for the girls after the flour was used in making food. Grandpa would save tires that were beyond repair, and cut out new soles for shoes, because they couldn't afford to buy new shoes just because a sole was worn out. I saw firsthand how my mother had learned those lessons, raising eight children on Dad's paycheck. We marinated in the idea that you just don't throw away something that still has any use in it.

Just yesterday, The Bride of Monster and I dropped by a new thrift store in our area, picked up some bargains, and helped out some good causes. We've always shopped that way. I bought my first computer modem from a second-hand shop. I've bought a lot of books, as well as some computer software, from Half Price Books. Between the two of us, we've only bought one brand-new car (and that was a subcompact). The rest have been used. We're probably fairly normal in that respect.

Watching what might be the only automobiles that some folks can afford to buy, instead be taken off the market and destroyed, just offends my sensibilities. How can destroying things that still work be a good thing?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I turned Charles into a newt, or something.

Ever wonder what it takes to be purged by Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs? Well, wonder no more. I have demonstrated it.

You see, Charles doesn't like being lumped in with Rabid Reich Winger RethugliKKKans. So he's drawn some lines in the sand. He doesn't much like "Intelligent Design", nor "racists" (a term that includes as guilty by association anyone who ever attends any event at which anyone else he considers a "racist" attends, but we'll get to that one in more detail later), nor <dramatic music>"Nirthers".

He is so freaked out by the controversies over Barack Obama's birth, the possibility of his ever having citizenship of the UK, Kenya, and/or Indonesia, that he will not tolerate anything that faintly resembles advocacy of "Nirtherism". Well, the other day, Charles decided to take another shot at that particular punching bag:

Even among people who accept that Barack Obama is a US citizen, a sort of “spinoff” idea keeps coming up in our discussions of the Nirther craziness: that Barack Obama “won’t release” his original birth certificate (some people refer to it as a “long form” certificate) because there’s something on it he wants to hide.

The two most common explanations suggested by LGF commenters for this “hidden info” are that the birth certificate: 1) lists Obama’s religion as “Muslim,” or 2) lists his race as “black” or “white” (both possibilities have been argued).
Note that there is no space on the form for any kind of religion, and no space for either the religion or the race of the baby, although the race of both parents is listed.
Status: debunked.
Let's boil his argument down to its essentials:
  1. There is a meme floating about that Obama won't allow people to see his "long-form" birth certificate because "has something to hide"
  2. He might be trying to hide how his race or religion is listed. (Note that Charles' commenters helpfully supplied this nose and hat.)
  3. There is no place on a Hawaii "long-form" birth certificate to list a child's race or religion.
  4. ???
  5. Therefore there can't possibly be anything at all on his "long-form" birth certificate that he wants to hide, and anyone who thinks there might be is looney.
It seems to me that last step is a doozy. Let's try an equivalent argument:
  1. Alice thinks Bob has a book from the library.
  2. Carol wonders if it's is the eighth in the Harry Potter series, and Dave opined that it could be the ninth.
  3. J. K. Rowling has only written seven Harry Potter books.
  4. ???
  5. Therefore Bob doesn't have a book from the library, and Alice is cuckoo, at least according to Carol and Dave's friend.
Does that make any sense to you? Me either. But I've noticed LGF changing over the last few years. As Charles has excommunicated people for various heresies, the remaining lizards have become an echo chamber, unwilling to challenge such logical fallacies.

It's really a shame, because I remember the halcyon days when he stood up against the faked TxANG memo (aka "Rathergate". In fact, I find it ironic that the Left used similar logic to "debunk" the arguments we made. Yes, I contributed to those discussions:
I just heard a talk jock take ONE call on the forgery issue. He erected the straw man of 'proportional', found the reference that IBM was selling proportional typewriters in the '40s, and declared the issue closed.

The words 'Times New Roman' were never uttered.
The point I made then was eerily similar to what I make now: We in the Dextrosphere were saying that no typewriter in a TxANG office in 1973 would be able to do all of a list of things, and the Lefties thought they "debunked" our reasoning by pointing to a list of machines, each of which could do some of the things in the list, but none of which could done them all.

It's also the same kind of twisted logic as they use to oppose the Iraq War: The Bush administration outlined a list of reasons to go to war, one of which was that Saddam Hussein was trying to build WMDs. Because our troops never found huge stockpiles of WMDs armed and ready to fire at them, there was therefore no threat that there would be any WMDs, so not only does that reason fail, but all of the others with it. It doesn't make any sense when they say it, and it doesn't make any sense when "one of ours" says it either.

One of his pet lizards went so far as to make this bizarre statement:
The burden of proof is not on Obama- it is on the nirthers to provide reasonable evidence he was not born in the United States. What Obama is doing here is upholding the rule of law. He is innocent until proven guilty.
That final sentence is a particularly nasty bit of logical gymnastics. Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. the private person is not accused of a crime. No one has threatened to imprison him, confiscate his property, deny him the right to go about public places as he pleases, nor even to detain him temporarily and question him in connection with the investigation of suspicious behavior at his home. He is the one who claims to hold power over our lives, including the power to do those very things to us (or to order others to do them) should he or his subordinates deem any of them necessary.

If he has that power, it is because he has been given it by the Electors in conformance with the Constitution of the United States of America. Some people have raised various overlapping questions about whether he has done so. He is not entitled to the presumption that those questions are without merit. The burden of proof belongs on the person who wishes to exercise the power to limit another's freedom, whether that be the prosecution in a criminal proceeding, or the candidate for any office that carries such power.

Besides, it is logically fallacious to insist that someone produce evidence they have been legally forbidden to obtain. So, I responded, initially to the above comment, but also to the larger issue:
That makes no sense at all. His records are sealed, requiring him to release them. Since he controls access to the information that would prove his place of birth, it is impossible for anyone else to prove anything without his cooperation.

The new-style CertificatION Of Live Birth does not carry any signature, nor does specify which hospital, the name of the attending physician, or a great deal of information that the original "long-form" CertificATE Of Live Birth shows.

Nor does this view of someone else's long-form CoLB debunk the idea that there is something on it that Obama doesn't want us to see. It merely debunks the idea that the religion of the child is the particular thing in question.

The fact remains that Obama himself has refused to allow anyone to see his original birth certificate, his school records from Indonesia, Princeton, or Harvard, and the passport information that would show whether he used his US passport to travel to Pock-EE-stohn, or perhaps instead used an Indonesian passport.

Because if he travelled as an adult on a passport issued by some other country, he may legally have renounced his citizenship, and regained it later when he decided to enter into a political career. As a re-naturalized citizen, there is a reasonable argument that he therefore isn't a natural-born citizen. These are interesting legal questions, which have never been answered, because no court has allowed the questions to be decided. Instead, the courts that have had suits come before them have all insisted that the plaintiffs lacked standing to do so, as if a mere citizen has no right to challenge the qualifications of a candidate for office.

By wrapping up all of the questions being asked into the single package called "Birtherism" or "Nirtherism", it becomes possible to take the statement by a HI official that the records do in fact indicate that Obama was born there as a refutation of all of the other questions.

But that's not the worst rejection I've heard of the Nirthers. The most disgusting of all goes this way: "He won the election, and you can't just invalidate the election on a 'technicality'; there would be riots if that happened."

In January, Obama took (and later retook, to make sure the words were in the right order) an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution. The qualifications for his office clearly stated therein are not a "technicality"; they are the legal basis for the oaths taken by every other USGOV employee to follow his executive orders, including the military. If you have never taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, maybe you just don't understand how important it is to those who have.

And that's who filed the most recent suit; uniformed servicemen, who need to know that the orders they are following are lawful, no matter how popular the person giving them, may be.
I attracted a few non-sequitur responses, and 10 down-dings on my comment, which put me on Charles' radar screen for my auto-da-fé from the Lizard Kingdom:
I'm not going to tolerate idiots who promote Nirtherism at LGF.

"The Monster" is blocked.
Now, Charles is entirely within his rights to ban me from his site. And I am entirely within mine to respond. But even though I would be within my rights to ban him here in retaliation, I won't. I'll let him come over here and explain why my comment was so noxious that he simply couldn't tolerate my participation on his site any further. But if he does, I ask that he also explain why debunking one particular idea of what President Obama is trying to hide on his long-form birth certificate somehow invalidates the notion that he's hiding something else.

And by the way.... Is National Review Online's Andrew C. McCarthy a "Nirther" now?
The point has little to do with whether Obama was born in Hawaii. I’m quite confident that he was. The issue is: What is the true personal history of the man who has been sold to us based on nothing but his personal history? On that issue, Obama has demonstrated himself to be an unreliable source and, sadly, we can’t trust the media to get to the bottom of it. What’s wrong with saying, to a president who promised unprecedented “transparency”: Give us all the raw data and we’ll figure it out for ourselves?

UPDATE: Someone who still has posting privileges over there quoted McCarthy in another thread, (discussing a purported Kenyan birth certificate that is likely to be a fake) prompting Charles in Charge to call him a Nirther. Since he was responding to McCarthy's words, I think that means Charles has officially classified McCarthy as a Nirther too, despite the fact that McCarthy says he's "quite confident" that Obama was born in Hawaii. This stretching of "Nirther" to include anyone who asks why Obama refuses to disclose information proves my point that Charles has conveniently packaged together a diverse collection of questions and contentions under a single umbrella, and tars them all with the broadest brush imaginable. Argumentum ad stramentam.

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