Sunday, December 27, 2009

Carnival of the Liberals #100: Century of the Nihilist Edition Carnival

Woo doggie, 2009 is coming to an end and I am pleased to announce that, thanks to the courageous efforts of Supreme Leader Obama, as well as you tireless sycophants, liberal nihilism is on the precipice of absolute victory over our empirical arch-enemies, the American Christian.  Now that Obama has completed the trifecta of destruction against America's imperialist healthcare doctrines, as well as the epic success our fellow traveler Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's had with his recent terror action, which has helped instill fear in flying pants everywhere, I am delighted to announce the introduction to the First Centennial Carnival of the Liberals: Century of the Nihilist Edition Carnival

Unfortunately, I'm a bit sketchy on most current events as I took an unscheduled hiatus for the past three and a half months after I found myself at the Secret Nihiliterror Training Seminar and RapeSex Jamboree in beautiful downtown Kenya; which was everything you can imagine it would be.  I mean, really.

For the big finale, they brought the Holy Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who flagellated himself for three straight hours until the High Holy Mother, Michelle Hussein Obama, came in wearing her traditional Moslem headdress and nothing else and proceeded to make Abdulmutallab a woman while the rest of us took notes.  And it ended in a giant orgy of self-hatred and sinful pain led by Bill Ayers in a Biden mask and we all regretted it immediately afterwards and stalked away in fevered embarrassment for the next several weeks until we forgot why we were stalking.  Needless to say, I haven't had much time for blogging lately.

First Centennial Grand Prize Winner

So without further ado, I announce the Grand Prize winner of the First Centennial Carnival of the Liberals: Century of the Nihilist Edition Carnival, in which we praise The Great O as the One True Savior and place our faith in Him, eternal and always, until death takes away our spirit and returns it to the lands of Obama's fathers where we vow to be their devoted eunuch slaves for all of eternity and forever. 

And leading that eunuch procession for the first hundred years will be none other than our First Centennial Grand Prize Winner, Socratic Gadfly, for his Obamaliscious submission entitled Rahm Emanuel, meet Bill Daley.  It's a real humdinger of praise for the Great and Powerful Obama, and I can't thank Socratic enough for having shared these personal thoughts in honor of our greatest president.  Fortunately for me, the best submission for the carnival also happened to be the only submission for the carnival, as it was so obvious to everyone how immensely superior Dr. Gadfly's post was that no one else bothered submitting anything to me.

So thank you, Socratic Gadfly, for the only submission to the 100th Carnival.  You are truly an Obamafan for the ages.  Please expect two extra ObamaRation shipments later this year, Squire Gadfly, you've earned them.

War On X-Mas Operations

So now what?  That was the only submission I got, but I'm supposed to have nine more of these things.  So in the spirit of Christian Hatred and X-Mas bashing, we turn to Panda's Thumb for a perfect example of subjectivist postmodern lie techniques, in which he makes spurious accusations of hoaxastry against two learned biblical scholars who have uncovered the taxonomic level of the Biblical “kinds” on Noah’s Ark.  Needless to say, allowing scientific tools to aid religious discoveries would be a damning blow against our entire movement and so Panda is doing a thankless task in stifling the work of these intrepid scholars, and we all thank him for it.

And speaking of the use of science as a tool against humanity, we turn to our favorite anti-God Crusader, PZ Myers at Pharyngula, and his smear against the entire country of Italy for daring to sponsor a book which rightly exposes evolution as being the Leninist fad it always was.  PZ even goes so far as to defame the book's author by claiming that he has no expertise in any of the subjects he's discussing, simply because it's true.  Apparently, teaching History of Christianity in Rome isn't good enough to dismiss science anymore.  Good work Dr. Myers, for your use of science as a weapon against God.  For that, you can expect an extra gruel ration in next month's mail, which will be debited from your yearly annual stipend at the adjusted standard rate and applied against any future rents you might soon incur at any time throughout your initial occupancy period; subject to limitations.

And we'll wrap up the science portion of our War on X-Mas Special Feature with a shoutout to the EPA's Climate Change Kid Site, which coaxes children into reporting any environmental irregularities their parents may have committed, by giving them candy when they report violations and beating them when they lie.  While at this State-Approved kid site, you can learn about gay dinosaurs, fantasize about the destruction of the earth, and even face off with Ozone the dog in a game of Hangman!  It's a veritable cornucopia of fear-mongering and anti-capitalism for kids. 

BTW: We plan to make this website mandatory reading for everyone starting January 15, to coincide with the beginning of President Obama Week, so it wouldn't hurt to start brushing up on it now. And remember, the cattle prods have been newly refurbished with larger batteries, so please take good notes.

All Hail Obama!

This is the portion of the carnival in which we praise Obama and all the good things he has done for us, is doing for us, and will do to us.  This portion is now mandatory for all future carnivals and any carnival host who fails to include the All Hail Obama! segment in their respective carnival will be dealt with severely.  And because I truly believe that I'm the most loyal Obama supporter in the world, I am awarding myself with two slots in the carnival, to show my dedication to The One.

Here's a great Nihilist Action Alert I issued after Obama's true birth certificate was brought to a pro-America rally on September 12.  Thanks to my alert, the possessor of the certificate, as well as his immediate family, friends, and acquaintances were all rounded up for a wonderful fourteen week stay at one of Obama's many training facilities in Zimbabwe and never heard from again.  The call of the Mother Country truly is strong for certain people who were once Obama's enemies.  They quickly learn the importance of institutional adherence by the second month and begin to see things in a whole new light soon after.

And if that's not really your thing, then you should try my piece on Obama's Commandos of Love, which provides the true details of the assassination of the martyr Saleh Ali Nabhan last September.  You'll wish you were next on the terror list.

And finally, a large pot of praise from neo-conservative pro-patriot and Community College Associate Professor Donald Douglas and his righteously pro-American essay on Obama's Non-Christmas.  While Dr. Douglas is obviously on the empirical commonsense side of the political spectrum, and therefore doesn't really belong in a liberal carnival, he really nailed us with this one, as it relaly showcases how the Obamas are secretly subverting everything holy and good.  Barack Obama truly is intent on destroying Christmas, in order to replace it with Obamamas, which will be similar to Christmas, except all gifts will be presented to Obama, which will be used to determine the new profession schedules for the next two fiscal years.  Gifts under ten thousand Obamabucks will not be accepted unless accompanied with a letter of explanation, so please don't mess this up.

Obamatime

And lastly, we're giving the biggest and baddest Obama shoutout to the Big Bad Nihilist Himself: Barack Mohamad Hussein Akbar Obama.  That's right, and not just one but three entries directly from the soul of Our Savior, the Holy Oak of History, into your unworthy little brain.

You can visit Our Savior at his official site, Whitehouse.gov, get to be personal friends with Him on MySpace, or read his minute-by-minute thoughts on Twitter; all great ways of getting those demerits removed from your permanent record before they even appear!  But you've got to update often, or Obama won't know if you truly love him. 

And remember, by reading these words you have implicitly sworn allegiance to Obama's Official Privacy Policy and Healthcare Initiatives, which you will receive upon the successful completion of your twelve month training exercises in beautiful downtown Kenya.  Just be sure not to be wearing any underwear when they come to get you, as they find that extremely offensive in their culture and you are very likely to regret that decision almost immediately. 

Good luck, praise be to Obama, and remember, it's better to be watching your neighbors than to be watched by them; so don't let your guard down.  That's the Obama Way. 

All Hail Obama!  Obama for Life!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Political Apathy Strikes Again

I've got bad news for you people: I've gotten so busy lately that I really don't care about politics anymore.  That's right.  My whole CPA thing has kind of taken over my life and I not only don't have time to read political news, I really don't care anymore.  To be honest, I'm not sure why I bothered caring in the first place.  I guess it was just something to do. 

I mean, I've always insisted that politics is just a hobby, which is why political junkies who attack the non-politically minded for not paying attention to politics should get off their high horse and stop calling these people dummies; and now it appears I've joined the dummies.  The only blog I'm even skimming lately is Washington Monthly and I'm barely even doing that.  I just find it so...pointless.

After all, it's not like I ever really imagined that my blog would make some big difference.  I was just in it for the sport; mental exercises to give my brain a work-out.  And these days, I'm really into the work I'm doing for some new clients, which I find far more stimulating than politics (yes, I really do enjoy crunching numbers and no, I don't understand why everyone else doesn't).  Besides, this whole healthcare reform thing has gotten boring to the point of stupidity, while Republicans have gone so far past the point of self-parody that even self-parodies are getting embarrassed and going home.  Overall, I think Obama just made things too easy while driving his opponents so crazy that it really doesn't need any special blogger to point it out.  I could just skim the daily headlines and you could pretty much figure out what I was going to write about.

Does this mean I'm retiring from blogging?  Hell no.  Not only do I plan to keep this thing around for once my current work comes to an end (which it unfortunately will), but I find blog retirements to be totally gay (and not in the homosexual sense).  To announce my "retirement" or whatever would be an exercise in self-absorbed wankery, particularly once I pulled the obligatory comeback once I realized how much I missed the attention. 

No, it's nothing like that.  I'm just trying to explain why I'm not writing much anymore and thinking maybe you should start getting my blog on a news feed, just in case I can think of anything to write.  Hell, I haven't even been reading my comments lately and I see that my Facebook page has seventeen people wanting to be my friend.  Hell, I don't even like Facebook, and now I'm deluged with people trying to weigh me down with social obligations I never asked for.  Not that I have anything against them, it's just that I don't have anything for them either. 

Anyway, stick around and I'm sure I'll regret having written this.  I've often had it that when I write a post saying that I don't have anything to write about, I suddenly start thinking of all kinds of things to write about.  But lately, I just feel like I'm trying to force it and that's really not my style.  I'm a stream of consciousness kind of guy and don't really like the idea of forcing myself to write.  So I guess I'll just end this here and maybe something important will happen and I'll be writing my once-a-day stuff again.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bigots of the World, Unite!

Is it wrong that I get a certain sense of pride out of this sort of thing?
Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on minarets on Sunday, barring construction of the iconic mosque towers in a surprise vote that put Switzerland at the forefront of a European backlash against a growing Muslim population.
[....]
"The minaret is a sign of political power and demand, comparable with whole-body covering by the burqa, tolerance of forced marriage and genital mutilation of girls," the sponsors said.

[....]
Anxieties about growing Muslim minorities have rippled across Europe in recent years, leading to legal changes in some countries. There have been French moves to ban the full-length body covering known as the burqa. Some German states have introduced bans on head scarves for Muslim women teaching in public schools. Mosques and minaret construction projects in Sweden, France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Germany and Slovenia have been met by protests.
Ha!  For as much as some folks like to imagine America to have some monopoly on intolerance, it's nice to see the high and mighty Europeans practicing some good old fashioned hatred for a change.  Yes, a minaret is the same as genital mutilation.  Fricking morons. 

And yeah, while I'm completely ashamed that there are such intolerant bastards in the world, it's just nice to have a little reminder that they're not all limited to my own country.  And hell, maybe this sort of news might somehow permeate into the conservative mindset and they might actually become more tolerant of internationalism. 

First, they accept Swiss and French bigots, and before you know it, they'll start accepting bigots of all races, colors, and creeds.  And in the end, they'll long for the opprotunity of having a One World Congress which permits them to outright oppose the one true enemy: Liberals.  Baby steps, people.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gingrich Strikes Again

I now know someone who is being swindled by Newt Gingrich's American Business Defense and Advisory Council malarky.  He even bragged about how he'd be getting a replica of Newt's gavel.  I honestly wanted to tell him what a scam it was, and how they'll offer it to anyone who's willing to give them money, but the guy was so excited that I didn't have the heart to tell him.  The best I could do was muster a mild "wow, yeah" which didn't require me to lie.  Even hearing him tell the lady on the phone how evil Obama is wasn't enough for me to want to burst his bubble. 

I'm really much too kind of a person.  Or perhaps that's cowardice, I'm not sure.  Either way, I decided to let him have his fun and pray that he never decides to discuss politics with me.  He really is a nice guy and I'm quite certain that I'd destroy him in a debate.  That's a problem with life: The good guys don't want to rub it in, while the bad guys won't stop even when they're wrong. 

And besides, if giving Newt money makes this guy feel better and he thinks he can afford it, then who am I to burst his bubble?  Besides, that same money could have been used for evil, like giving it to an actual politician who might use it to hurt Democrats; rather than lining Newt's slimy pockets, so I guess that's a plus too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Party Like It's 1994

Via Atrios, we get more clueless political commentary, this time from CQ Politics:

A lack of competitive open-seat House races in 2010 could complicate Republican efforts to fully maximize a favorable national environment and make large seat gains after back-to-back elections where the political winds were blowing in the opposite direction.
So far, 18 members have announced they are not seeking re-election in 2010 and are running for other office — but only six of those races are currently considered competitive. No member has yet announced an outright retirement, which is unusual; at this point in the 2008 cycle, 14 members had announced their retirement and five others were running for Senate.
And first off, as Atrios asks, what current favorable national environment are they talking about?  Yes, the conservative base is in an anti-Obama frenzy, but seeing as how they're all scary freaks, I fail to see how this is a good thing for Republicans.

And another thing, the article is misleading in that they mean to say that only six of the eighteen are Democratic districts, while the other twelve are open seats for Republican districts.  In fact, based upon what it says elsewhere in the article, there are currently only three open seats in Democratic districts that are competitive for Republicans.  Three.  The basis for CQ's entire article rests upon three seats.  Meanwhile, it mentions three Republican seats that Dems might easily pick up.

In other words, twice as many Republicans are retiring as Democrats, and both sides look like they can easily poach three seats from the other.  And from this, we're to imagine that the political winds strongly favor Republicans and it's 1994 all over again; all evidence to the contrary.

Twelve is Bigger than Six

But even by the standards of the article, if only six of eighteen open election seats are competitive for Republicans, that would kind of indicate a bad thing for Republicans, as it would be an indicator that they're not very popular.  And seeing as how this follows up five special elections this year in which Democrats won open seats, including a traditionally Republican district in New York, there would seem to be some indication that things aren't doing so well for Republicans.  And when you throw in the long series of polls which show Republicans in the basement, it appears that Republicans are still relying on smoke & mirrors to appear strong and are set to lose their third straight election.

The article mentions the high number of retirements in 1994 and 2008, without understanding that the reason for the high number of retirements was because incumbents felt weak.  The political climate caused the retirements; it wasn't coincidental to them.  And conversely, if there are few retirements, it would indicate that incumbents feel strong.  Even in the section I quoted above it mentions that this is a much different retirement situation than in 2008, in which nineteen Congressional retirements had been officially announced by this point, while none have been announced this year.  And again, that would be a bad sign for Republicans and indicate that the political winds do not, in fact, favor them.

Yet the CQ article seems to see these as unrelated events, as if it's purely bad luck that Republicans aren't very competitive.  Of course they're popular, because they say they're popular; too bad voters don't seem to realize it yet.  And for as much as Republicans in the article insist that 2010 will be another 1994, anyone paying attention knows that these people always think it's 1994.

And of course, even the victory of '94 was vastly overrated.  Not only have Republicans not recovered from the excesses of their hubris, but they still haven't hit bottom yet.  As a reminder, they had losses in the two congressional elections following '94, despite Republican predictions to the contrary.  Perhaps after another defeat they'll finally enter a true "wilderness" phase and figure out what they're doing wrong.  But more likely, they'll just double-down on the crazy and insist that their luck is changing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Financing Education

Something is most definitely wrong with our education system.

AISD Superintendent Carstarphen:
If we simply reduced the number of absences by half across the district, excused and unexcused, I could generate $20 million.
This isn't how things should work.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Instant Expertise

My sister learned everything she needed to know about healthcare reform by reading an op/ed by the CEO of Whole Foods.  I swear to god, that was it.  She favors the removal of all government regulations from health insurance and health care because she's healthy and if everyone took care of themselves like she does, they wouldn't get sick or need insurance.  She just turned thirty, is childless, and hasn't gotten sick in years.  And so her preferred healthcare reform is built around the idea that everyone should be just like her, and if they're not, then it's Darwin time.  What could be easier?  And yes, this is pretty much exactly what she said.

And sure, I'm a bright guy who knows enough about healthcare to poke all kinds of holes into her theory, but no dice.  She just ain't having it.  She read one op/ed by a guy who got lambasted for the ignorance of his op/ed, and that's good enough for her.  Debating an expert like this is a sheer exercise in futility.

In other family news, my dad is still quite insistent that no one has seen Barack Obama's birth certificate and he probably shouldn't be president.  And sure, I offered to show him all the evidence he should need to prove that he's wrong, as we had a computer right next to us while we were talking, but this just angered him and put an end to the discussion.  He's been told by people he chooses to trust that Obama shouldn't be president and that's good enough for him.  People get the experts they deserve.

Terrorist Rampages

Was the shooting at Fort Hood a "terrorist act"?  Sure, I'll agree to that.  But of course, so was Columbine.  And the Virginia Tech killer.  And that guy who shot up the Aerobics class.  These are all terrorist acts.  It's all about powerless people trying to show that they're not as powerless as they seem; and of course, we're all supposed to not notice what it is that gives them their power (Hint: It's guns.).

But how to stop these things.  You can't.  This isn't something you can trace back to a terrorist training camp.  We can't wiretap their minds...yet.  And no number of invasions will make it possible for us to stop these events from occurring.  Rampages happen.  People flip out.  You can't stop the crazy.  I suppose one rational answer would be to limit their ability to obtain weapons of mass destruction, but short of that, there ain't much we can do.  There will always be crazies who kill people.

And this isn't a Muslim thing, or a school thing, and it might not even be a gender thing (though rampaging murderers tend to be male).  The primary issue is that we have an imperfect society that makes certain people feel less powerful than they imagine they deserve.  And they get roped into a warped way of looking at life, that blames everyone else for their own problems.  They are their own worst enemies and project that out upon the world; seeing hatred everywhere because they hate so much. 

And the question isn't why this keeps happening, but why this doesn't happen more often.  Killing people is easy.  And if someone feels pressured into thinking that violence is their only option, then they're going to use violence.  Our goal isn't to make it so that people can't rampage, but rather, to limit the number of these rampages.  And while I do think there are some good things that can be done in this regard, I seriously can't imagine how any of them would come from Joe Lieberman's committee.

The Movie

There is one other alternative to this: Aliens.  Shape-shifting aliens invaded Fort Hood and Hasan was the only one who figured it out and was trying to wipe out the alien menace before they took over.  He killed most of them, but the Colonel stopped him and had him arrested.  It turns out the Colonel is the head alien!  After the arrest, the aliens flood the media with negative news about Hasan, saying that he's an Islamic extremist who hates America; making him the most hated man in the country. 

At some point Hasan escapes and a giant manhunt ensues to capture him.  He's taken in by a group of Klansmen who have temporarily suspended their hatred of non-whites to focus instead on non-humans.  The final battle pits the alien-controlled Fort Hood against all the militias, separatists, neo-confederates, and anyone else with a shotgun.  They come charging in on their pickup trucks, guns blazing.  Hasan leads the charge.  It's a tough battle, interspersed with violence, mayhem, and zaniness. 

Finally, just as it looks as if Hasan is about to be killed by the Colonel, the hottie hillbilly girl kills the Colonel.  Hasan rushes up to her, they look at each other momentarily, then kiss.  Love conquers all.

Oh, and the sequel involves Hasan taking an alien ship back to the home planet, to wipe them out before they wipe us out.  And in the final movie, racial harmony ends after the defeat of the aliens, and race wars break out across the globe.  It turns out aliens are involved in this, and Hasan has to bring the ancient alien ruler to earth, in order to end the assault.  But is he in time...  And yes, I really am too good at this.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Obama: Making Shit Work

It's accepted as a matter of faith that Obama would be happy with any reform bill, so he can claim a victory no matter how shitty it is.  And the idea is that Obama would put politics ahead of policy and be happy to give us a shitty bill.  But that's absolute nonsense.  Because Obama has to live with this bill.  And the shittier it is, the worse the repercussions for him politically.  If he spends all this energy and healthcare gets worse, it's his neck on the line. 

Although many aspects of the reform still won't have started by 2012, we'll still have a good enough idea of how it's working.  And if the bill is considered a failure, they're going to hang it around his neck every chance they get.  And the only way to avoid that is to create a good bill that does what he said he wanted it to do.  And while that still might not be feasible, it's at least more feasible with Obama's technique than it's ever been with anyone else's. 

And so even if Obama is an empty political hack, it would be only natural for him to push as hard as he can for a bill he can live with.  After all, if he was a political coward, he wouldn't have offered to play with this hornet's nest at all.  But once he threw his hat in the ring, he was all-in.  That's the secret of the liberal platform: We have working magic.  We know how to use the government to truly fix problems.  And so the best thing a liberal can do politically is to provide great policies.  As long as we're making shit work, we're golden.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Punishing Children

The whole reason we treat kids differently from adults is because we don't think kids are as capable as adults at making the right decisions; and there is much science to back that up.  Yet, why is it that when kids commit heinous crimes, crimes which would indicate that the perpetrator really doesn't know what he's doing, we decide to treat them like adults?

Case in point:
With community outrage over the attacks swirling around the case, District Attorney Dolores Carr announced she would try the three juvenile defendants as adults,
[...]
Carr said her office chose to charge the juveniles as adults because of a combination of factors, including their gang membership and the fact it was "an unprovoked group attack" on the two trick-or-treaters. The defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

And frankly, I don't have any decent answers for this.  No, I don't think that violent people should have a Get Out of Jail Free card if they're underage.  And of course, I think our entire judicial system is in need of a major overhaul, as it generally seems to make people worse than they were before they were in it and the concept of rehabilitation is a complete joke.  As things are, our judicial system is solely designed to punish bad people while proving that they deserved to be punished.  And that's just not something I agree with.

But the main point is that the idea that teenagers are vastly different from adults is exposed as a total fraud in cases like this.  You're old enough to get a life sentence, but you're not old enough to vote.  Similarly, you're not old enough to have sex, but you're old enough to be forced into becoming a parent.  And if anything, our standards are backwards: The less capable a teen is of making a wise decision, the more we want to punish them. 

And if that's the standard, then fine, apply it evenly.  If we think teens are capable of making adult decisions, then when they make bad adult decisions (ie, killing someone), you don't get to punish them like an adult.  But instead, we give them the rights of a child, but the punishment of an adult.  And they can't complain because they're not old enough to know any better.  And worst of all, we train them to be obedient little robots who follow orders, and act surprised when they can't think for themselves and make their own decisions.  Well, duh!  If you punish someone every time they make a decision you don't agree with, you shouldn't be surprised if they stop making decisions.  Anyone who's ever had a micromanaging boss knows that it doesn't pay to act independently.

Overall, I just think it's a major mistake to treat anyone as if their age, gender, or whatever automatically defines who they are or what they can do.  Because I've definitely known small children who had their act together more than many adults.  And I've always found that if you treat people with respect, you get better results from them, even if they don't deserve it.  And yeah, the use of "children" in the title is a joke, as teenagers aren't children.  But as long as we have people who insist that sixteen year olds are still "children," then we might as well call these brutal gang members children too.  Kids.  They're trying to give life sentences to kids.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

How Not to Save the Children

Oh, yeah.  This will keep them away in droves:
On-air promos for a sexual threesome on an upcoming episode of "Gossip Girl" have spurred the Parents Television Council to ask affiliates of the CW network to pre-empt the show.
Airing the teen tryst, which is being teased in an ad as a "3SOME," is "reckless and irresponsible," said PTC president Tim Winter in a statement Wednesday. The threesome involves three main characters in the show but they are not identified in the promos.
Yeah, no chance of this getting more people to watch a show that I know nothing about besides the fact that they apparently have teenage threesomes.  And no, I can't imagine this backfiring either:
In a letter to the affiliates, Winter asked: "Will you now be complicit in establishing a precedent and expectation that teenagers should engage in behaviors heretofore associated primarily with adult films?"
But of course, that just depends upon how many people flock to the show due to this boycott.  Seriously, has there ever been a movie, program, book, etc that was actually hurt by a puritanical boycott?  I doubt it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Conservative Bites Republican

Conservatives chase moderate Republican out of race in Republican district and the Democrat wins.  Bwa ha ha ha haaaa!  Can there be a bigger rebuke to the insane belief that the chief electoral problem for Republicans in the last two elections is that they weren't conservative enough?  Boing!  But of course, extremists on both sides insist their party would win every election if only they'd become more extreme.

But my chief complaint is with this line in the article:
The race has been getting national attention, with some calling it a referendum on President Barack Obama and others saying it could help Republicans focus their message to attract more people to the party.
Oh, wow.  What a wide range of opinions; spanning from people who don't like Obama, all the way to people who think this could benefit Republicans.  And of course, "others" could also say that this is a referendum on the Republican Party's sanity, and they just lost big time.  And I don't even see how Obama was even tangently related to this race. 

No, this race was lost the moment conservatives decided to pull a coup against their Republican masters.  After that circus came to town, all the Dem needed was a pulse and a quick smile.  People might like a freakshow, but they don't want it running their town.

Oh, and let's not ignore the final line:
New York state now has only two Republican congressmen in its 29-seat delegation.
Booyah! 

And finally, let's just have a moment of silence for poor Doug Hoffman.  When this guy joined the race, he must have figured he had no chance in hell of winning.  I mean, who ever heard of the Conservative Party before now?  But before you know it, the crazies decide to take a stand and all this money starts flooding in while celebrity freaks like Fred Thompson and Sarah Palin are urging everyone to be your friend, and you really start to think you've got something. 

But now, Hoffman's a loser and even if conservatives really liked Hoffman's stances, there's really no way he's going to be able to turn his loss into some sort of Palinesque celebrity pol superstar.  That crazy gravy train has left the station and Hoffman is of no use to them.  And most likely, he'll be hanging out with Ned Lamont, talking about the heady days when the crazies decided that one election was the most important thing in the world.


P.S. I didn't vote in my local election.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Orrin Hatch is Right

Orrin Hatch on why Healthcare Reform must be stopped:
"And if they get there, of course, you're going to have a very rough time having a two-party system in this country, because almost everybody's going to say, 'All we ever were, all we ever are, all we ever hope to be depends on the Democratic Party,'" Hatch said during an interview with the conservative CNSNews.com.


"That's their goal," Hatch added. "That's what keeps Democrats in power."
And, well, yeah.  That is our plan.  We're going to pass good policies that make people like us, and they'll continue to vote for us because they know our opponents will try to take away the good policies that people like.  This diabolical plot is codenamed "democracy," because that's what this is.  Jesus, it's like conservatives imagine that good policies are a cheap campaign trick or something.

All we ever were, all we ever are, all we ever hope to be depends on the Democratic Party...unless you're rich.  Then any party will do.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Monster Party

Carpetbagger's got a post about how Scozzafava, a leading candidate for worst name ever, is dropping out as the Republican candidate in a Republican-leaning district in New York because Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, is stealing much of her support.  And one of the commenters there insists that Hoffman will get almost all of Scozzafava's supporters because there are no moderate Republicans left; as evidenced by their 25% party ID numbers.

Yet this clearly can't be the case, as Scozzafava is a moderate Republican, while all the hardcore righties already fled to Hoffman.  So it only makes sense that a good number of these people must be moderate Republicans, as they were supporting a pro-choice candidate who doesn't vilify gays.  And yes, there aren't many moderate Republicans left, but that's the reason why Scozzafava is dropping out.  And so it's anyone's guess where Scozzafava's supporters will go on election day.

And this is a recurring theory by many liberals, who believe that all of the remaining Republicans are the hardest of the diehards.  Yet that's clearly false.  Because the folks on the far ends of the political spectrum reject both major political parties, as they see them as being too compromising.  In fact, it's odd to hear this falsehood repeated by people who are so far to the left that they reject Obama and the Democratic Party, yet don't realize that their counter-parts on the right have done the same to the Republican Party. 

And that's a fairly odd mistake to make, seeing as how we're talking about an election in which the Republican Party candidate is dropping out because she's too moderate.  And on the other side, where could all the moderate Republicans have gone?  The reality is that there are moderate Republicans who now refuse to identify themselves as Republicans because the party is too radical for them, but they're still willing to vote for a moderate Republican.  And how else could this make any sense?  If only 25% of the population in this district was willing to vote Republican, none of this would be an issue as the Democrat would easily win.

And now the question remains whether these moderate Republicans will vote for a non-Republican conservative who drove out the moderate they supported, or the non-Republican moderate.  It's not whether or not they're hardcore conservatives, as they're obviously not, but whether they hate Democrats so much that they'd rather vote for the extremist.

One of These Races Is Not Like the Other

And as an add-on of something I read after I wrote this: The AP has their typical false equivalency with an article Third party challenges in NJ, NY are warning sign.  And while I figured they were talking about the Sazzafava-Hoffman challenge, I was wondering why the article was suggesting that Dems have a problem.  But they're wrong, as usual. 

While Hoffman's third-party challenge is knocking the Republican out of the race, the Dem problem is that a third-party candidate is hurting Governor Corzine's chances in New Jersey.  But that's just the typical spoiler role that is often seen in elections, of an outside candidate syphoning votes away from one of the two parties.  And that's not the same as in NY, where the Republican had to drop out of the race for being too moderate for her party.

Because the NY problem highlights a real flaw in the Republican strategy.  Nixon used the "Southern Strategy" to ice the cake by adding social conservatives to the Republican coalition; thus giving him major victories.  Reagan sealed the deal by placing a real emphasis on social conservatives, while also winning liberal and moderate Republicans.  By the 90's, Republicans decided to go Full Southern, which worked in exactly one election (1994).  And after that, Bush faced a backlash and was required to adopt "compassionate" conservativism, as Social Conservatism had offended too many people; and then they used 9/11 to barely win two elections which still avoided the Full Southern strategy of the 90's.

And now Frankenstein's monster has taken over the laboratory and is getting increasingly upset by all the open flames that offend him so much.  Nixon and Reagan were able to give coded messages which went directly to conservative hearts, which is now impossible in the days of YouTube and Macaca.  And here they are, with northern Republicans rejecting a moderate who was handpicked by the local party due to her ability to woo non-conservatives.  But the monster hated that most of all. 

As with progressives, conservatives would rather lose an election than allow an ideological "traitor" to win an election, and the icing that Nixon wanted for the party has now claimed the party as its own.  There will be no Republicans who aren't conservative Republicans, and only the most conservative shall survive.  Honestly, I can't think of a better situation for us.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

No Good News is Good News

The ability to criticize shouldn't be confused with the merit of those criticisms.  Just because you can find something to complain about doesn't mean that you should be complaining.  And I thought of this in dualing criticisms of Obama I saw at Carpetbagger's from folks on both sides of the spectrum. 

First I read a post about how the economy is improving, but because employment hasn't improved, the economy is apparently meaningless; at least according to Obama's liberal critics.  And so you read comments like these:
Neill: let's see...economy expands and unemployment expands. i'm not much of an economic thinker, but i'd say the thriving economy is eatin' people. that's good? i dont think so...

Bill H: When I see employment rising significantly and indebtedness decreasing and a major portion of the bad debt written off then I will believe that the economy is improving.

Paul: GDP is one of the worst measures we have of economic activity. Way too much of it is based on purely paper effects (so, for example, the rebound of the financial industry, with more people selling crap to each other once again, counts as positive for GDP even though it's likely a negative for the rest of us).
So since employment hasn't gone up, it's not enough to simply suggest that our economy hasn't improved enough.  Oh no, they insist it's all a fraud, so much so that we're to imagine that it'd be better if the GDP hadn't increased.  But I do agree with Neill about one thing: He's really not much of an economic thinker.

And oddly, Obama's critics from the right are at least a little more honest about this:
On MSNBC this morning, Joe Scarborough (conservative Republican) and Pat Buchanan (conservative Republican) were discussing the recent reports on economic growth. Scarborough conceded it may have been the result of "the federal money that's gotten in there." Buchanan was more dismissive, calling recent growth "steroids," adding, "[The president] pushed all of this money into the economy and pumped it up."
In other words, righties like Scarborough and Buchanan are taking the leftie argument, that Obama's stimulus boosted the economy; while lefties like Neill, Bill H, and Paul insist that it was evil Big Business that is to blame for this catastrophic economic boost.  And even the lefties who admit that this boost was due to Obama's stimulus bill, lament that the stimulus isn't permanent; as if it was meant to be.

And so all these people can see the exact things we saw: Obama pushed a stimulus plan which seems to have given a slight boost to an economy that needed it, yet insist that it's a bad thing which Obama should be blamed for.  Sure, it did exactly what it was supposed to do, against the theories conservatives pimped and in accordance with liberal theories; yet all the same, Obama is to blame.  And because these people can find a dim lining around this silver cloud, it's proof that they were right all along in criticizing Obama. 

For conservatives, Obama's big sin was in not allowing the economy to fix itself; in accordance with a theory which wouldn't make sense to a child.  While progressives complain that Obama hasn't done more to force a reluctant Congress to stimuluate the economy while forcing Big Business and their Republican allies to eat shit.  And because of that, there can be no good news.

Red Light Politics

Conservative policy is like removing all the stop lights and letting people decide for themselves when to go.  Republican policy is like arranging it so the lights are always green for privileged members.  Neither of these are particularly good policies, though it's easy to see why only the Republican policy ever gets implemented; particularly since they're so good at convincing conservatives that Democrats are to blame for all the red lights that keep stopping them.

As counter-productives as this may seem to conservatives, red lights improve traffic flow.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Belief Is Not Enough

You don't believe in magical dragons.  You'd seek professional help if voices in your head started telling you to exterminate all squirrels.  And if you had yourself mummified upon death like an Egyptian, it'd be as a joke.  I'm sure of it.  And if that's not the case, please don't leave a comment here suggesting otherwise or I might think lesser of you.

And the fact of the matter is that there are all kinds of crazy in this world that other people find as the only answer.  Like the Heaven's Gate cult who killed themselves as a way of saving their souls before the world was "recycled;" thus allowing them to go on to the "next level."  And that's just crazy.  I'm sorry, I'm not anti-religious or anything.  In fact, I think religion can definitely be a positive thing, whether it's real or not, but the Heaven's Gate thing was just crazy.

And the problem is that belief is just too easy.  It's just too low of a bar to attain.  It's the easy answer that's so easy all you have to do is want to have it and it's yours.  The Get Smart Quick scheme that anyone can adopt.  Rather than spending years and years of gaining your own wisdom while carefully self-analyzing yourself, it's all right there for you.  You read a few books, think the right thoughts, and voila!, instant knowledge.  No fuss, no muss.

Giving Up Yourself

Like with the Heaven's Gate people, for which I read this:
[O]ne summer, on the banks of the Rogue River in Oregon, among the wildflowers and sugar pines, Bonnie and Herff were struck by a “vibration like thunder,” a simultaneous disclosure that they were the two witnesses foretold in the Bible’s vision of Apocalypse.

This is what they told a group of 80 people assembled at Joan Culpepper’s house in Studio City in 1975. By then, they had abandoned their given names, instead calling themselves “The Two,” “Guinea and Pig” and “Bo and Peep.” After 30 minutes, they concluded by saying, “If you follow us, you must obey everything we say. That includes giving up your possessions, your family and yourself.” ... Nearly a third of the audience — people from all walks of life — left with their new leaders shortly thereafter, traveling the highways looking for more recruits.
 Really?  That was it?  I'm a smart fucking dude who knows an awful lot about this universe, but I sometimes struggle to get thirty people to read this blog, and it doesn't require people to obey anything I say or give up a damn thing.  Maybe that's my mistake.  Maybe I need to be a bigger dick to everyone.

And it's obvious that these people were looking for an authoritarian with easy answers, and Bo and Peep were the authoritarians they were needing, and a few decades later, they led their flock to their own deaths.  And while I'm definitely not suggesting that other believers are similar to these fools, these people should be an object lesson in the dangers of belief. 

And hell, I seriously doubt most Americans would ever take their religion this seriously.  It's more about a social circle than a belief system, and when you get down to it, most of us do whatever the hell we were going to do anyway; regardless of religion.  I'm definitely of the opinion that most Christians don't know very much about their own beliefs, beyond a few basic ideas which they really really like.

Trusting Belief

Yet all the same, it's quite obvious that belief can betray us, and the people who have the most belief are likely to do the craziest things.  So why do we trust it at all?  If belief can force loving parents to allow their children to die from preventable diseases or force their underage daughters to marry creepy old dudes, how do we know it's not betraying us too?  Is it that our experiences which form these beliefs are better than the experiences of these other people, or is it simply luck that we weren't stuck with the bad beliefs?

And the problem is that belief isn't enough.  Belief can fool you.  And if the hardest step you have to take to find your answers is to merely want to find them, you're probably doing it wrong.  Easy answers are easy.  Trying to figure out all this shit on your own is difficult.  And sure, at a certain level, we all have to accept what our lying eyes tell us, as well as the lying brains of our brainest people; but all the same, there is a method to that madness. 

Science and empiricism are tools which are only as good as the men who use them, but all the same, they're something.  I might not ever touch the sun, but I know enough about it to tell me that it wouldn't be a good idea if I did so.  And while I have to accept on faith that the sun is real, my belief in it is not entirely faith-based.  And until the All-Mighty submits himself to our tools, we know about as much about him as Heavens Gate knew about the Next Level. 

And until someone explains to me how a good god could possibly punish me, or allow me to be punished, simply for wanting empirical evidence, I don't see why I should bother making a decision on any of this.  I'm agnostic on dragons, squirrel extermination, and the necessity of mummification; as are the rest of you, I hope.  I fail to understand why I shouldn't expand my agnosticism to all these other unknowns.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Conservative Delusions of Grandeur

The self-importance of rightwingers against the epic struggle is getting a bit out of hand.  Surely there must be a cure for this:

Big government, high taxes, deficits, broken promises -- America is in trouble.  So when your grandchildren ask you why you didn't do something, be able to tell them that you voted for Doug Hoffman.
Right.  I can just imagine how well that will go over:
(Starring Grandpa Simpson as the Grandfather)

Grandfather: You kids today, I feel sorry for you.  With your cradle-to-grave Big Daddy Government taking care of you, you don't even know how bad things can be in the real world.  Back in the day, you could lose all your money if you got sick enough and your insurance company wouldn't care how much money you gave them.  They'd deny your policy simply for being alive.  Those were the days, back before they went ahead and ruined everything.

Grandson: Well why didn't you do something about it?

Grandfather: Ahh, but I DID do something.  I voted for Doug Hoffman.

Grandson: Who?

Grandfather: Hoffman.  Doug Hoffman.  He was the man Fred Thompson told me to vote for.

Grandson: Who's Fred Thompson?

Grandfather: Fred Thompson, once ran for president.  He was on the television show Law & Order.

Grandson: What's a television?

Grandfather: It's not important.  What's important is that when the forces of oppression were trying to oppress us, I voted for Doug Hoffman, who lost the election because our idiot neighbors preferred parochial issues that affected them personally rather than sending someone to Congress who would fight back against President Obama.

Grandson: Sasha Obama was president then, too?

Grandfather: Shut up!  Ok?  Just shut up!  You kids today don't know nothing!  (Storms off.)

Don't Blame Me, I Voted For the Loser

And I'm sure this applies to any of life's problems.  When anyone questions why you didn't do something to stop catastrophic events that continue to cause problems decades later, just point to your record of voting for candidates who didn't win and wash your hands of the whole thing.  For example, my vote for Nader in 2000 makes up for not having done anything to stop Global Warming.  It's that simple.

And just to clarify, Thompson's ad definitely assumes that Hoffman will lose.  After all, if voting for Hoffman was enough of an action to have stopped big government, high taxes, deficits, and broken promises; yet these issues are still affecting our grandkids, well, it's obvious that Hoffman didn't stop them.  So the only possibility is that Hoffman lost the election.  I guess there ain't no cause like a lost cause.

Confessions Are Overrated

Why do I keep reading stupid stuff?  I saw how Mark McGwire has accepted a job as a batting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, and read this from a sports blogger:
And, in a way, that sets him up perfectly for what he’s about to encounter: The necessity to finally talk about the past, put it into context, explain why he used performance-enhancing drugs and ask the public for forgiveness.
Yeah, because it's a complete mystery why he might have used performance-enhancing drugs.  No chance it had anything to do with their ability to enhance performance at all.  Must have been a peer pressure thing.  Jesus people, this is like asking why Hugh Hefner uses Viagra (Hint: He likes having sex with hot girls).

Look, we already know why McGwire used steroids, that Senator Craig enjoys gay bathroom sex, and Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party.  Hearing a confession about any of this is as anti-climatic as a grown man finally asking his dad if he's Santa Claus.  Jesus people, what is with the need for confessions?  Are you so insecure of your rational abilities that you might still have doubts about the basic facts you see before you? 

Scalia needs to actually admit that they gave the election to Bush? You're still unsure whether the gay marriage ban was about anti-gay bias?  Still waiting for Cheney to admit that he lied our way into Iraq?  Sorry folks, but it ain't going to happen.  These people will take this shit to their deathbeds, just like Nixon did.  For as much as people like to imagine that confession is good for the confessee, it's quite obvious that these people feel more comfortable with their cover stories.  The confession is for us; not them.

And that's just the way our system works.  The only time anyone should ever confess to anything is if they get some clear benefit from it, like a plea bargain or a book deal.  Hell, OJ actually tried threading the needle with a book on IF he did it.  He clearly wanted to profit from his confession, but we just wouldn't let him do it.  Confessions are a commodity in our society.  Never forget that.

There are some things in life we don't know, and we should ask questions about.  But if you know the answer and you're just trying to humiliate your opponent and your opponent understands this and refuses to confess, save your breath.  The fact that you're bothering to get a confession is perhaps the most embarrassing thing of all.  We eventually forced Pete Rose to confess to gambling, fifteen years after we knew he did it, and it didn't make the world a better place.  But he at least sold a few books thanks to that confession and I'm sure Rose thanked the suckers on his way to the bank.  Confessions are overrated. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

National Republican Candidates

Via TPM, I see that Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, who is running for a congressional seat in New York, doesn't really know much about the issues in the particular district he's trying to represent.

From the Watertown Daily, in regards to their Q&A with Mr. Hoffman:
Mr. Hoffman spoke only generally about the need to improve the country's economy and to create jobs but provided no details, which were also lacking as well in his broadly stated willingness to help our military personnel. Help in what way he could not say.

Regarding the proposed rooftop highway across the top of the district linking Watertown to Plattsburgh, Mr. Hoffman said only that he was open to studying the idea that has been around for years and will require federal financial assistance to complete.

Mr. Hoffman had no opinion about winter navigation and widening the St. Lawrence Seaway with their potential environmental damage. He was not familiar with the repercussions of a proposed federal energy marketing agency for the Great Lakes, which could pay for Seaway expansion contrary to district interests.
[....]
Coming to Mr. Hoffman's defense, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, who accompanied the candidate on a campaign swing, dismissed regional concerns as "parochial" issues that would not determine the outcome of the election.
Parochial.  Sure, these are the issues that he'll need to address if he wins the election, but the only concern to Dick Armey and Hoffman's other conservative supporters is how he'll oppose Obama's liberal agenda in Congress.  The rest of this is just stupid stuff of no interest.

Everything's National

But of course, this isn't new.  Republicans rose to power in 1994 by turning every political contest into a national debate.  We saw the same thing with Sarah Palin, when she ran for mayor as a "fiscal conservative" in 1996, by adopting the Republican Party platform; even though such considerations had never before been part of their local politics.

Two years after Representative Newt Gingrich helped draft the Contract With America to advance Republican positions, Ms. Palin and her passion for Republican ideology and religious faith overtook a town known for a wide libertarian streak and for helping start the Iditarod sled dog race.
“Sarah comes in with all this ideological stuff, and I was like, ‘Whoa,’ ” said Mr. Stein, who lost the election. “But that got her elected: abortion, gun rights, term limits and the religious born-again thing. I’m not a churchgoing guy, and that was another issue: ‘We will have our first Christian mayor.’ ” [....] “The point was that she was a born-again Christian.”

And we're seeing that same thing now with Hoffman. as well as most other conservative candidates since the mid-90's.  They're campaigning as national candidates, but in local elections.  Sure, unlike Palin's mayoral campaign, at least Hoffman is campaigning for a national position.  But still, a congressman is still supposed to be at least somewhat familiar with the issues which most directly impact his constituents.  Yet not only is Hoffman apparently unfamiliar with local issues, he doesn't even seem to have any solutions to our national problems either; and is merely relying on empty talking points to carry him to victory.

And for as much as this stuff works, as they're far sexier issues than local issues (I myself know very little of local issues), it's only really good at winning elections.  And then it's time to govern, and these people will fail miserably.  Because it works best if you're just repeating the talking points, which is why a chatbot like Palin found it so successful.  But people who are good at repeating other people's words generally aren't so good at creating their own, and are even worse at creating solutions to actual problems.

And so they can't govern.  Those people who got elected on the 1994 Conservative Talking Points were junkies who couldn't get off the stuff.  And here we are, fifteen years later and they're still repeating the same points; as if they hadn't been exposed as empty rhetoric devoid of any true principles or meaning beyond their ability to rally conservatives to a bankrupt ideology.

Breaking News: Anti-Gay Bigots Are Bigots

Well, duh!
A federal judge said sponsors of California's ban on same-sex marriage may not delay in handing over campaign strategy documents to gay-rights groups that are looking for evidence of anti-gay bias as they try to overturn the measure.
Oh, come on.  Are there people who truly believe in the fiction that opposition to gay marriage isn't based upon anti-gay bias?  What else could it be?  That's like suggesting that opposition to mixed-race marriages doesn't have anything to do with racism. 

And yeah, sure, there are people who will insist that this is about saving marriage or the children or whatever, but that's just a complete joke which even these folks laugh at when normal people aren't around.  I can't believe we live in such a world where people have to play games on issues on which they're clearly not playing around.  I mean, if you're going to screw with people's lives by denying them basic privileges that everyone else gets, you should at least be man enough to admit it. 

But oh no, they'll swear that marriage is the only way to protect children, and this couldn't happen if we allowed people to marry who couldn't have children...with the notable exception of all the straight people who get married and won't have children.  Sure, a straight couple in their 70's is far less likely to have kids than two lesbos, yet somehow they imagine this is a sensible argument which makes them unable to overcome the blatant discrimination they would otherwise oppose.  Right.  Similarly, they'd totally support abortion, if only the bible didn't forbid it.

This was pretty funny, though.
In a court filing a week later seeking a stay, Charles Cooper, a lawyer for Protect Marriage, said the order would "cause future initiative proponents to censor their speech with campaign volunteers, donors, supporters and agents" and would "silence initiative supporters who wish to remain anonymous."
Oh, no.  What a pity.  Fucking bigots will have trouble passing their bigoted laws if they can't write bigoted memos to their fellow bigots.  Cry me a river, assholes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Didn't Do It

WaMu's Lending Standards:
"Someone in Florida had made a second-mortgage loan to O.J. Simpson, and I just about blew my top, because there was this huge judgment against him from his wife's parents," she recalled. Simpson had been acquitted of killing his wife Nicole and her friend but was later found liable for their deaths in a civil lawsuit; that judgment took precedence over other debts, such as if Simpson defaulted on his WaMu loan.
"When I asked how we could possibly foreclose on it, they said there was a letter in the file from O.J. Simpson saying 'the judgment is no good, because I didn't do it.' "
Wow.  With assurances like that, I'm surprised they even made him sign the paperwork.

The Cherry Picking Blues

One thing to watch out for are people who insist that the basic principle of what they're saying is right, even if the specific situation they're describing doesn't support their case.  For example, when Michael Ledeen and Rush Limbaugh got caught attacking Obama for a thesis he didn't write, they blamed Obama, saying that "It worked because it's plausible" and "I know Obama thinks it."  Sure, their specific attack was wrong, but that's ok, because they were right anyway, and that's all that counts.

Similarly, war-hawks made this error when they decided that WMD's in Iraq would justify their war, even if we didn't have any real proof that they existed.  When forced to support their claims, they cherrypicked dubious intel which they themselves had strong-armed into creation, and felt sure that reality would eventually support their claims.  And once the piles of WMD's were found, their invasion would be justified, even if their real reason for wanting to invade had nothing to do with WMD's.  Needless to say, the lack of evidence proved correct, while their beliefs proved to be false; not that this hurt their career paths in the least.

But it's not that reality has to support your position every time a situation arises, just as long as it occurs enough to establish a reliable pattern.  So conservative claims that ACORN is corrupt merely because they found a few low-level employees who were bad are invalid, unless they can establish that this corrupt behavior is the norm.  Conversely, liberals don't need to prove that every ACORN employee is pure in order to defend the organization.

Belief-Based Facts

And the overall flaw here is that you might find yourself in a position in which no facts actually support your case.  Or if there are some, they're outliers, rather than examples which support a pattern.  And you'll find yourself in the lousy position of trying to find facts to support your beliefs, rather than basing your beliefs upon those facts.  And that's called cherry-picking. 

It's not enough to be able to find some examples to support your case.  You have to be able to show that almost all the examples support your case.  So if you suggest that Obama is spying on peace groups, it's not enough to find one guy who started spying before Obama took office; particularly not if there's no proof the guy was actually working for Obama.  Rather, you need to show many such people, throughout the country.  And their existence means nothing unless you can actually link this back to Obama in some way.

Yet this is an error seen far too often.  People want to find things that justify their beliefs.  And if they're convinced that something is true, then finding any sort of confirmation is a very tempting treat.  After all, if Obama started spying on peace groups, you might not find many such examples.  But that doesn't permit you to take the few examples you have and use them as absolute proof.  No, you're just stuck hoping that another example turns up. 

And it's not your opponent's job to prove your examples wrong.  It's your job to make sure you're not making this mistake.  And the more you want to find something to be true, the more you need to double-check to make sure that it's true.  Self-delusion is a horrible affliction which is almost never caught.

So if you have no proof whatsoever that Obama has ever actually expressed disdain for our Constitution or the aristocracy that established it, you really should do a tad bit of research first before denouncing him for saying these things.  But when people have a point to make, facts are little more than props used to support their case.  God forbid we actually try to learn anything from them.


Oh, and curioiusly, this Yahoo Buzz Log post actually describes Michael Ledeen as an "unknown blogger", while his Wikipedia page seems to know quite a bit about him and would seem to suggest that he's more than a mere blogger.  I'm not sure if this is an example of Yahoo Buzz trying to ridicule bloggers or if this simply shows that they don't know much about political people, but either way, it's a trend to keep an eye on.  Apparently, anyone who blogs these days automatically becomes an unknown.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pond Scum: The Movie

This sounds like the premise of a bad sci-fi movie:
Driven by fluctuations in oil prices, and seduced by the prospect of easing climate change, experts are ramping up efforts to squeeze fuel out of a promising new organism: pond scum.
As it turns out, algae -- slimy, fast-growing and full of fat -- is gaining ground as a potential renewable energy source.
[….]
University labs and start-up companies across the country are getting involved. Over the summer, the first mega-corporation joined in, when ExxonMobil said it would sink 600 million dollars into algae research in a partnership with a California biotechnology company.
Mimicking I Am Legend, this basic premise is explained in the first few minutes, while the rest of the movie revolves around the story of genetically engineered algae monsters who hate humans and, as it turns out at the end, work for an ExxonMobil subsidiary. 

The main character will be a Greenpeace activist from our time who went into a coma when the anti-whaling ship he was on rammed into a whaling ship, and he doesn't wake up until some time in the indeterminate future.  (And yes, this is the sort of coma in which you don't age, though he does wake up with a long beard, ala Rip Van Winkle.)  As he discovers, the world was depleted of carbon dioxide because of our efforts to stop Global Warming, which created global cooling and brought about another ice age. And that’s the reason why the algae monsters hate humans, because humans ruined the climate when they overreacted on the whole global warming thing.

In the final scene, they prove to him that global warming was a myth and how the effort to stop it doomed the planet. The hero eventually acknowledges man’s error and watches in sadness as all the algae monsters die from the cold and lack of carbon dioxide. He weeps and vows to return warmth and carbon emissions to the earth again in order to save the last algae monster, a young girl who he befriended and who saved his life several times, but who is now in a coma; thus setting up the sequel. The end.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Harnessing the Crazy

Politico's got a post about how increasingly crazy conservatives are becoming, and how Republicans might be able to tap this crazy energy in a positive way to woo moderates back into the party.  And yeah, this is about the same as my plan to harness California wildfires in order to produce usable ice from water in the Pacific Ocean.  All I've got to do is figure out how to efficiently remove the salt from the water and make it so fire creates ice instead of destroying it, and we'll have solved two problems at once: No more fires and ice for everyone!

That makes about as much sense as this:
“We need more voices,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, one of the party’s up-and-coming leaders. “Our party’s challenge has been that we need to be more inclusive — we need to attract the middle again. ... When one party controls all the levers of power in Washington, they’re going to try and villainize whoever they can on our side. It gives us an opportunity now to try and harness the energy and point it in a positive direction, so that we can attract the middle of the country to the common-sense conservative views that we have been about as a party.”
So Republicans need more voices, and they're going to do this by harnessing an "energy" that insists upon excluding anyone who doesn't agree with them completely, so they can attract non-conservatives by pushing an agenda that is entirely conservative.  Right.

The Surge That Wasn't

Yet somehow, Politico's Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen imagine that this can actually happen.  A movement which has "energy" created by attacking anyone who doesn't agree with it can somehow be used to attract people who are being attacked by this energy.  And in order to hide the impossibleness of this plan, they largely ignore the fact that the "energy" conservatives have is making them less popular.

For as much as the article posits a reality in which Republicans have a large base that they're trying to expand, our reality shows that they have a shrinking base which continues to get smaller.  Yet it's only towards the end of the article that they bother mentioning this.  And even worse, it's couched in this strange section:
On the one hand, the GOP seems to be surging a bit as it sharpens its attacks.
[....]
On the other hand, the party’s image more broadly remains in the dumps.
Seems to be surging?  Remains in the dumps?  No, all evidence suggests that they're going backwards.  Poll after poll show that Republicans are less popular than they were at the beginning of the year, with many polls showing them down 10-points from already horrible numbers.  And even the examples they gave show that Republicans might be doing slightly better than they were compared to Democrats, yet are doing worse over all.

And how do you surge a bit.  Either it's a surge, or it's not.  And seeing Dem numbers drop slightly while Republican numbers stay low or drop isn't a surge.  Somehow, our best political minds can't comprehend that Democratic numbers can go down without Republican numbers going up.  And since Obama and Democrats are slightly less popular than they were before, it's assumed that Republicans must be doing better.

And to make this fit Politico's thesis here, they have to call the slight dip for Dems as a "surge" for Republicans, while referring to the dropping Republican numbers as them staying steady.  But the truth is that Republicans set themselves up for a mudfight since the year started and are dragging down both sides in the process.  And because Dems started out in the better position, they remain in the better position now.  This really isn't difficult, people.

Squaring the Circle

And overall, the article is simply absurd.  There is no upside to conservative craziness, as any effort to woo less crazy people only infuriates the crazies, which only makes them more crazy.  Hell, I'm sure there are quite a few conservatives who will openly chaff at the idea that they're not in the middle of the political spectrum.  Remember, there are people who think Limbaugh is the voice of America and truly believe that Bill O'Reilly is an open-minded independent.

For them, there is no far-right.  Only a far-left, which begins at Dan Rather and moves down.  I wish that were a joke, but it's not.  Mainstream newspapers like the NY Times and Washington Post are considered far-lefties, Fox News is biased towards the truth, and Limbaugh is a moderate-conservative who represents a wide swath of America.  And in this world scheme, a "moderate" is someone with conservative beliefs who doesn't attack liberals enough.

So how can people who truly believe that Obama is an evil commie foreigner possibly be used to attract anyone who isn't already insane?  You can't.  And so the premise of this article posits an impossibility.  Not only can Republicans not harness crazy energy to woo non-crazies, but they're still actively purging the non-crazies from the party,  And put that way, Politico's entire article was a reality-free joke which is yet more proof that they're undeserving of the political platform they've been given.

Obama's Concrete Stamp Congress

Ever notice how many of the people who complained about Bush's "rubber stamp" Congress are the same people who insist that Obama is betraying us because he hasn't gotten Congress to rubber stamp our agenda?  It's like they were more interested in slowing Bush than in the whole checks/balances thing they kept talking about.

The president isn't the leader of Congress or the chief legislator.  He's the head of a separate branch of government which wasn't given power to write laws.  I wish more people would remember that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

But He Hit Me Back!

The other day, I walked up to an acquaintance of mine and punched him in the face.  Then I had my two friends hold him down while I ate his lunch.  And this guy, he had the temerity to threaten to hit us if we kept messing with him.  The nerve!  How does he expect us to all get along and be friends if he's going to insist upon being hostile to everyone who punches him in the face?  He really needs to learn that if he wants us all to be friends, he needs to stop threatening us and do exactly what we tell him to do.  Otherwise, he's just asking for trouble and the chance of friendship is zip.

And that reminds me of this article I just read:
Senator Lamar Alexander told Reuters he sees the Obama White House adopting an attitude similar to that of the Richard Nixon White House four decades ago, that "everybody is against us and we are going to get them."
[....]
"I'm suggesting to the president that he back up and start over," said Alexander, a member of the Senate Republican leadership. "Don't start an enemies list."

"We want to work with you," Alexander said.
[....]
But as a senior Republican aide put it, "This is going to tick them off. But they have to realize, you can't behave like this and expect bipartisan cooperation."
Oh, and another time when you can't expect bipartisan cooperation?  When your opponents insist that it's to their advantage to deny you bipartisan cooperation and attack everything you do.  But hey, Obama's decided to make enemies with people who proudly announce that they're his enemies, and this makes him as bad as Nixon.  And yes, the worst thing Nixon did was to publicly criticize his opponents.

And look, I realize that most folks aren't as politically literate as they should be, but nobody's stupid enough to believe this.  Perhaps some day Republicans will realize that if your arguments are only good enough that diehard supporters will repeat them, your arguments suck.  But hey, they won't be hearing that from me.  After all, with Obama at 57% approval and Republicans down to 19%, this is a confrontation I think we can win.  Apparently, a large majority of America still rejects assholes.  Go figure.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Boss, Same as Old Boss

When people complain about Obama being another Bush, I see stories like this and begin to think they might be right:
Federal drug agents won't pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, under new legal guidelines to be issued Monday by the Obama administration.
That fucking bastard!  How dare he pretend as if he's the first person ever to think we should allow states to decide if their sick people can smoke pot!  I was thinking that a good ten months before Obama issued this declaration, during a late night bull session at the dorm.  How dare he claim this policy for his own!  How dare he think he invented legalization!  I was ranting about this very issue when Bush was in office, and now that Obama is in office and is doing what I thought Bush should have done, well WOOP-TEE-DOO!  I was already thinking that WAY before Bush Obama said it now.

And that makes him a sell-out in my book.  A total and complete sell-out, worse than Bush.  Because at least Bush had the honesty to tell us he was screwing us over, while Obama keeps saying the words I've always thought I wanted my president to say, yet hasn't accomplished everything that I would have accomplished were anyone to elect me Emperor of the World.  And if you don't see how that makes him a sell-out, well tough!

And check out this media tonguebath they gave him:
The new policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which insisted it would continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes.
Yeah, they say this is a departure from Bush.  They say...  But they would wouldn't they?  The truth is that Bush would have done what Barack is doing if Bush thought that Barack should do what Bush failed to do when we had Bush to do what Barack should have done in the first place.  That's just common sense.

And so Barack isn't any better than Bush, if Bush was as good as Barack; and anyone would have been as good as another, if none of them had decided to run.  And that's why we need to force everyone to accept a third party system, because these same people keep winning in these same elections.  I wonder why that is?  Perhaps so that they can avoid finally announcing that I'm the Emperor of the World?  Probably so, because I have all the answers; if only somebody would bother to ask me.

Seriously, Though

And so, yeah, Barack is completely changing the Bush policy on pot legalization regarding the state's rights issue.  Because hey, if California wants to be stoned, let it be stone.  How does THAT hurt Nevada?    If anything, legalizing a crime in one state will make it less likely that people will commit that crime in a nearby state, as all the criminals would flow to the legal state.  And so if you want criminals out of your state, you should want to have a neighboring state who allows that crime to be committed in their state.

And thanks to Obama, all California has to do is to finally admit that they all want to smoke marijuana and the Feds have already agreed to allow them to do so.  And let's face it, that's what the whole "Medical Marijuana" thing was all about.  I mean, really, if sick people can smoke it, why can't the healthy people?  Or something along those lines.  And if California voters approve it, Obama has already promised that his people won't stop it.  That's what this new policy means.

Woohoo!  Who knew state's rights could be so fun?  Next thing you know, they'll lift prohibition and finally put an end to Al Capone's evil reign.  We can only hope...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Delusions of an Obama Hater

I like disagreement.  I honestly do.  I like to get feedback from people who don't agree with me, in order to get other perspectives on things, as well as to hone my own position by having to explain it to someone who doesn't already agree.  That's how I keep my brain nimble and sharp.  And whether you have too many people telling you what you want to hear, or you spend too much time by yourself and reject everyone else's opinions; you'll get insular thinking which makes your brain lazy and prone to self-deception.  Resistence exercises are necessary for both our mind and bodies if we want to stay in shape.

But all the same, I have yet to find an Obama hater who was capable of offering a good reason for why I shouldn't like him as I do.  That's not to say that I think all Obama lovers are brilliant.  In fact, I think they're about on-par with what you'd expect from the average person.  Some smart; some dumb; most average.  But when it comes to the Obama haters, they remain so blinded by their quest to find something to complain about that they keep bitching about the dumbest things.  And if these people are serious in trying to convince me that I'm wrong for liking Obama, they're sure doing a crappy job at hiding their good evidence, as all I keep getting is the stupid stuff.

And as I've written twice already, I found one such Obama hater in newbie blogger Josh Fulton, who fashions himself a liberal (I think) but is far more aligned with libertarians.  A perusal of his blog shows it to be a series of news stories with a libertarian, anti-capitalist emphasis; occasionally interspersed with his own snarky comments which vaguely allude to the point he imagines he's making.  It's as if he's assuming we already agree with everything he's saying, which sort of defeats the purpose of him saying it.  And just like my fiend Donald Douglas, it's almost as if their entire point of blogging is to test the limits of fair use doctrine.  Not much original thoughts coming from these guys.

And I definitely put this guy in the camp of people who spend so much time with themselves that they can't appreciate the intricities of normal debate; not the least because he instituted comment moderation on his blog because I wasn't respectful enough of him while demolishing his arguments.  I'm obviously one of the very few who reads his blog, yet my tepid insolance was too much for his fragile ego and he'd rather I go away then continue to assail his beautiful mind. 

And just so you know, he encouraged me to read his blog, knowing I was a fan of Obama.  Yet, my debate proved too heated for him and I've now been cut-off.

 The Immoral Lawyer

But enough of that.  You don't read this blog to hear me psychoanalyze people you've never heard of.  You're here to see me snark at people less clever than ourselves.  And thus, I present a greatest hits of hilarious comments which show why Obama haters are so damn crazy; all culled from one two-part comment at my blog and in no particular order.  And trust me, these don't sound better in context. 

In our debate, I had the temerity to suggest that Attorney General Holder's two decades of government service shouldn't be ignored merely because he had chosen to represent Chiquita in a legal dispute.   Just to be clear, I'm the one in quotes.
"Holder has worked for the DOJ for over two decades." And how long have Kissinger, Cheney and Rumsfeld worked for the government? You want them back in their old positions?
Yes, Holder is in the same league as Kissenger, Cheney, and Rumsfeld because they all worked for the government, and since I don't want them back in power, I should be wary of Holder, too.  And this guy can't understand why I mocked him.  And here's Josh's reasoning for why it was wrong for Holder to have once represented the company who brings me my bananas.
Law is not an amoral profession, because we don't live in an amoral world. Everything has moral consequences. It's inescapable. Everyone is definitely entitled to a defense, but that doesn't mean defending them is moral if you don't agree with them. We live in a free enough society that hopefully there will be someone who can take a job because they believe in the client. Otherwise, it's just doing it for the money. That's different from saying people don't deserve a defense attorney who will argue their case to the best of their ability if no one else will represent them.
In other words, if you represent a guilty person and that person could have gotten a different lawyer, you're an immoral person who is defending the immoral deeds that person committed.  And taking a job solely for money is immoral.  How quaint.  Somehow, this guy imagines that only evil lawyers take guilty clients, while the good lawyers wait to find the innocent ones.  Methinks someone's seen a bit too much Matlock.

Oh, and Holder's sin was so egregious that it makes Obama a bad person for having hired him as Attorney General.  And I'm a bad person for not seeing why this is a problem.  Apparently, Chiquita is so evil that they taint anyone even remotely involved with them; including people who defend people who hire people who represent them when they plead guilty for wrongdoing.  But their bananas are so delicious.

Eyewitnessing Lies

In regards to a story in which eyewitnesses claim security guards in military-style uniforms arrested a protester for vandalism at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Josh writes:
a.) You can make the argument they're not military. I don't know. They're wearing military uniforms. I don't know why someone would wear a military uniform if they're not military. They're clearly trying to pass themselves off as military if they're not.

b.) The "proof" that guy was released a few yards down is shoddy. I can't believe you would even consider that adequate. It's from some random blog of a girl who claims to be there, and puts up a picture that doesn't even show the guy's face! It barely shows anything of the person on the ground!
[....]
In the best case scenario, you have absurd security guards dressed in military fatigues abducting someone, handcuffing him 50 yards down the road, then releasing him a few days later, which is itself an example of the police state! How is that tolerable!? How is a peaceful protest allowed to be treated like that!? All these questions go unasked and unanswered by you.
And again, evidence says this guy was arrested for vandalism and I had already provided my sources.  Yet somehow, it's intolerable to have arrested him and I apparently didn't ask or answer why he was arrested, even though I already had.  And he attacks my sources as "shoddy" and "flimsy" yet provided exactly zero of his own.  How dare I try to use actual facts to combat the facts he imagined from a video that lacked context. 

Facts Are For Pussies

But that's nothing.  While denouncing Rahm Emanuel for wanting to use the no-fly list to ban people from buying guns (an idea I don't agree with), he insisted that this was horrible because it would deny the 2nd Amendment to "over a million Americans" on the list. 

And that sounded far-fetched to me.  I mean, I could understand how there could be one million names on the list.  But how could they all be Americans?  That would have to be the dumbest anti-terror list ever.  As if we'd make an enemies list that excluded the people most likely to be our enemies.  For as much as the Bushies were incompetent, this doesn't seem like the sort of thing they'd screw up.  After all, they hate foreigners.  At least the type they'd want to add to this list. 

So I naturally assumed there'd be more than a few foreigners on this list and had to call bull on him.  And being the fact-based kind of guy I am, I went ahead and violated blogger protocal by actually researching this claim.  And sure enough, it's wrong.  According to USA Today, there were one million entries on the list, many of which were variations of the same name, and 95% of which were foreigners.  According to the article, there were roughly 20,000 Americans on the list.

And while it's entirely possible that these numbers are incorrect, this appeared to be the same "one million" claim that Josh was referring to.  And so what does Josh do?  Does he admit the error?  Perhaps post a better source for his claim?  Maybe something to substantiate the idea that we'd only ban American citizens, while allowing foreigners to fly completely unaccosted?  I wish, because then I would have had something to go on.  No, instead I get the sort of "facts are for pussies" claim that Colbert so cleverly satrized.  Check this shit out:
"Over 1,000,000 entries on the no-fly this." Oh, I'm so sorry. This was such a deliberate deception on my part, when it's exactly how it was described in the story and other stories I had read. You're right that does say 400,000 people, but it was written over 2 years ago (over the two years prior the number had ballooned) and it doesn't account for all the people who have been harassed because their name is the same as someone on there. So, I don't feel a need to amend it since by now 1,000,000 is actually probably closer to the real number of people who have been bothered by it than 400,000. I might change it to entries. I don't know. I'm sure if I really wanted to dig I could bust balls on it just like you're busting balls, but it's not in my interest.
Indeed, had he wanted to provide facts to support his unsubstantiated claims, as I had done, he certainly could have.  After all, facts are easy to come by.  But that's just not his style.  Truth doesn't have time for facts.  It's better just to guess and move on.  God forbid we actually know what we're talking about.

And notice the rationalization at the beginning.  I was wrong to correct his numbers because he was just quoting what other people told him.  As if we're merely required to find any source for our claims and can't be held responsible for checking our sources.  But I checked his source, and it said there were "one million names" on the list.  Not American names or, as he assumed, individual citizens.  And so his insistence that these were all Americans was entirely in his mind.

And then he proceeds to justify his incorrect claim by guesstimating that the number probably increased in the two years since the article was written, and if you include the people who were "bothered" by the list, it'd "probably" equal one million.  So he's going to keep his claim of one million Americans, even though it has no factual basis beyond its ability to justify his incorrect claim, and the only source he had said it was 2% of that number.

Oh, and you know what else was in his head: The idea that the article was two years old.  It was written in March of this year. I honestly have no idea why anyone would bother to debate me who is this incapable of reading plain English.  But hey, I'm sure he could have proven that this article was written two years before it was written, but it's not in his interest to bust my balls.  You see, he's too cool for proof.

Debating Crackpots

So anyway, that counts as my post for the day.  Yeah, I know it's kind of weak, but you get what you pay for around here.  And the main point is that this is typical of the Obama bashing I've seen.  At best, you'll get the people who complain that he's not Superman, or that he's not doing enough to pressure Congress into doing things Congress would rather avoid doing.  But most of it is the real crackpot stuff, of people who feel facts rather than learn them, and don't mind paraphrasing the truth when the truth doesn't say what they want it to say.

So when this guy says that Obama will keep troops in Iraq after "military operations" end, while Obama said he's keeping them there after the "combat mission" ends, this guy refuses to make the correction, because he doesn't "particularly care" to know the difference between these phrases.  And sure, if there was no difference, he should be happy to post the phrase that was actually used instead of the phrase he invented.  Hell, if Obama's sin was so offensive, you'd think he'd go ahead and note that Obama says he'll remove ALL the troops by 2012, and this wouldn't hurt his case in the least.  Assuming he thinks this wouldn't make a difference.

But somehow, I think he does know the difference.  Just as he knows the difference between the one million citizens he insisted might have been denied rights by Rahm Emanuel, compared with the 20,000 citizens my link said was accurate.  And when he hears that guys in camos arrested someone for vandalism, he can't help but wonder if there's an untold story of the military kidnapping a random protester and holding him indefinitely for no reason at all.

And all this fits in exactly with what I've thought about the people who don't like Obama.  Because difference of opinion, I understand.  I want people to show me why I shouldn't trust Obama.  I really do.  But when it comes to these people, the facts are all in their heads, and until I can prove to their satisfaction that their imagined facts are wrong, they'll insist that I'm wrong for believing the actual facts I've seen.  And for as much as I enjoy a good challenge, I still haven't figured out how to defeat self-delusion.


And as a final note: Why do people who don't like Obama think the greatest attack they can make against me is to accuse me of liking him and supporting his position?  Do they imagine I didn't already know this?  Perhaps the Obama sign in my yard last year was too subtle for me to notice?  Yes, I like Obama.  Yes, I support him.  I fail to see how that's a character defect.  But I suppose, in their minds, liking Obama is the greatest offense of all.  The rest of their complaints are just icing.