Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's not my fault

It's no surprise that the economic devastation trickling down through my part of Florida is behind the rising violence levels. It's not just the home invasions, the bank robberies, the muggings, although their numbers are small enough when they occur in a large population that chances are I'll never witness anything like that. Domestic beatings, assault and abuse however are dramatically rising in the large population of people who have been living close to the edge; a paycheck or two from disaster. That's a lot of people. Real unemployment is in the double digits here.

Of course we're going to hear a lot more about banning "assault weapons" since assault is already "banned." It's much easier to talk about steak knives and baseball bats and hand guns than to address the real reasons -- and there are many -- for the fear and anger and the violence it engenders. Some of those reasons have to do with the freewheeling markets of the Bush years, the absence of oversight, regulation and basic prudence that were supposed to make the rich get richer so that they could patronize us more effectively. That sacred idea is under attack and must be defended by distracting arguments: by rants against immigrants, illegal aliens, weapons, atheism, work "ethics," Liberals and their desire to give money to people who are suffering and desperate.

So we will continue to tell ourselves that violence and irrational anger and domestic crime are a "lifestyle choice" having nothing to do with our righteous selves. It's a matter of personal responsibility after all, and so we're not going to spend a dime on shelters or counselling or, God forbid, letting the tax breaks for the 1 percenters expire. That would not only be heresy, it wouldn't only be farleftliberalextremist Marxism, but it would be an admission that all the loving support we gave Captain George the Pirate was the dumbest thing we ever did.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hesitate before you legislate

New rule:

People who have had tragic experiences shouldn't be allowed to have "closure" by giving us new, specifically targeted, laws. I'm thinking of the rash of laws given the names of lost children created in the vain hope that "this will never happen again." Passion makes bad law.

Take for instance "Megan's Law" that requires, among other things that people who exploit children sexually be registered for life as a sexual predator. Who could object? Why the very children the law exploits! There as been a rash, we're told, of 14 year old pubescents taking pictures of themselves with cell phone cameras, some times to show them to friends. Kids in their teens are drowning in hormones. Remember? They're curious about their bodies and new urges they're feeling. Hormones make for bad judgment.

Unfortunately, the rush to make sure "this will never happen again" Megan's avengers didn't think about such things when they wrote the law, and now a 14 year old girl for instance, who posted a nude picture of herself for her boyfriends delight on My Space is a sexual predator -- branded for life, if the courts obey the law, and unable to live near a community with children or a school. In Florida such people are forced by other laws of passion to live in the woods or under bridges along with schizophrenics, drug addicts and real sexual predators in their quest to serve justice.

Kids take pictures of themselves at slumber parties. Someone sends one by cell phone, a parent finds out and abracadabra, we have more "sexual predators" in possession of child pornography and distributing child pornography. Even the parents of Megan of the eponymous law are aghast, closure notwithstanding. Of course Law Enforcement is another matter. It seems that, blind to the absurdity, there is strong sentiment to prosecute anyway -- to "protect the children" of course.

There really out to be a law against stupid people passing stupid laws with terrible side effects in order to placate hysterical voters and win their votes -- but who would we name it for?

Friday, March 27, 2009

War with the Newt

"Prophets are always disappointed dear Nostradamus. That's why new ones are always in the wings updating the catastrophes."

-Andre Codrescu-

One of the reasons that I changed my major away from Psychology many years ago had to do with some films showing real mental patients, including schizophrenics, in the days of straight jackets and padded cells. The mental state of these poor people wasn't what I wanted to be immersed in for the rest of my life. Little did I know. I haven't thought about it for 45 years, but recently, listening to the barking of Newt, St. Rush, Ann, Michelle and Laura the wild-eyed ravings of hysterical madmen come to mind again.

The latest is from the would-be-relevant Newt Gingrich, who is seeking to fill the power vacuum caused by the collapse of the Bush administration by issuing vacuous proclamations with reckless disregard to what his words mean. Seeking the authority of amplitude, Newt squeals out that Barak Obama, currently disappointing his most liberal supporters by being a centrist and a pragmatist, is leading us toward a dictatorship and "Liberal Fascism."

Analyzing such speech is probably pointless, since only those in a true fugue state need to have the ironic irrationality explained. Of course Newt isn't really schizophrenic and so isn't deserving of sympathy. He's just a witch hunter and like all of them, he invents the witches he uses to elevate himself to the powers he attributes to them.

Of course he'd like to make you think it's all about those vaunted "conservative principles" he pays lip service to while supporting bloated authoritarian government in the pocket of industry, (fascism) but as I've said many times, "principles" are what we call our most unworkable ideas. In the case of Newt, they're not even ideas he believes in. What he does believe in is the Big Lie and the oft repeated lie, knowing that the more outrageous his claim, the more it will be believed and that nothing is too ridiculous, unfounded, impossible or meaningless to be claimed. Hence terms like "liberal fascist" that combine contradictory words, yet even more ridiculous coming from a source that has more successfully promoted incestuous collusion between a military industrial complex and news media using false data, fabricated scenarios, illegal surveillance and other infractions against liberty and the law to promote their goals.

We will most likely hear more sirens wailing and more Newts and Cheneys and Limbaughs pumping up the volume and trying to convince us to re-elect the party that has robbed and raped us and left us lying in the ditch. The longer doom eludes us, the more prophets thereof will howl.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fox and Hounds

The Impolitic, one of my favorite blogs, asks us why "conservative" humor isn't funny and little more than gleeful gloating at the misfortune of people we secretly feel inferior to: empty mockery based on ignorance or false information. I can't really answer that, but Red Eye, Fox's "Me Too" attempt at cashing in on the trenchant, cynical and wildly popular comedy of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, is a cornucopia of examples. Red Eye is little more than a Punch and Judy show for the kind of "conservatives" who at an earlier time attended public whippings and executions in order to enjoy the plight of others being more humiliated than themselves.

In the eyes of Fox Fans, the supply of whipping boys and scapegoats they desire can't fill a Colosseum as large as Fox's and so they have invented and exploited domestic "Liberals" and "elitists" and have tailored cardboard images of foreigners as liberal elitist fodder for wild beasts comedians to tear apart.

Fox, the primary cheerleader for every dubious battle and misbegotten military enterprise needs cardboard cowards and so we have the Fox French and the Fox Canadians to pillory along with any other "surrender Monkeys" who doubted the long disproved reasons for our Iraq war.

The Canadians are easy targets for Greg Gutfeld and his creepy chorus. They're almost French after all. To those who don't know that the Canadians are in fact fighting in Afghanistan, Gutfeld and his monkey house mob must be as funny as a chimpanzee ripping off someones face. But of course the Canadians are there and have lost well over a hundred soldiers. In fact on March 17th, as Gutfeld was calling Canada "a ridiculous country" and another of his "comedians" was saying
"I didn't even know they were in the war. I thought that's where you go when you don't want to fight. Go chill in Canada"
4 more of Canada's brave youth were being brought home in boxes. It's funny - so very funny.
As funny as a bunch of apes sitting on a comfortable couch pretending to be mighty warriors and mocking the brave and the dead.

Of course it caught up with Gutfeld as these things so often do. Of course he gave a sneering "apology" and said, as people like him usually do, that he'd been "misunderstood" which is no apology at all, but an attempt to tell us that the people who misunderstood him need more of his mockery.

Of course Red Eye is a failure in progress. It isn't funny as much as it is creepy, embarrassing and to those with some awareness of reality, infuriating. If there is any humor in it at all, it's only the low and inadvertent humor involved in watching people grasping and gasping and drowning in ignorance and failure and too damned stupid to realize it.

See for yourself:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Same old, same old Party

What's more disgusting than CNN giving copious air time to Florida Representative Connie Mack this morning so that he can continue to demand the firing or resignation of Tim Geithner for reasons of complicity in a no strings attached, unsupervised AIG bailout under Hank Paulson and the Bush administration? Why, it was natty, nasty and nefarious young Connie Mack himself. Representative Mack, in trying to pin the tail on the donkey, seems to have overlooked the fact that it's an elephant's tail and wants us to buy the notion that the AIG bonuses were not only Geithner's fault, but proof of the incompetance of President Obama in fixing the Republican train wreck. The spectacular smugfest of Republicans acting as though oversight of Wall Street was their idea is just that -- spectacular.

Asked pointedly and repeatedly on CNN this morning however, Mack refused to comment on whether Geithner or the Obama administration should attempt to recover the funds, repeating again and again that they never should have been given and asking what Geithner knew and when he knew it.
"Quite simply, the Timothy Geithner experience has been a disaster."
said Mack last Wednesday. Once again, CNN missed the opportunity to ask whether the huge disaster of the last 8 years was anyone outside the current administration's responsibility and whether the 8 years of mismanagement could reasonably be expected to have been rectified in a matter of weeks without the waste of a hundredth of a percent. Are we to have forgotten that the kind of oversight that would have prevented the mess was the devil himself to every Republican of the last several decades?

I have to recall however that the Republicans waited two months longer to declare the Obama Administration a failure and disaster than they did when Bill Clinton was elected. Some couldn't wait for him to actually take office to begin the disinformation, investigation and sabotage and what can we call this but sabotage as they offer no practical alternative other than to attack, attack and attack?

One can never hope for contrition from any Republican it seems, nor can anyone expect their cooperation in any attempt to deal with their failures and misdeeds. It's just hte Same Old Party and the Same Old Excuses.

Pirates, bandits and road agents, LLC

If you buy almost any product that needs an instruction manual these days, ( and many that don't) you'll have noticed that more space is taken up with listing all the creative ways you might do yourself harm with, for instance, a camera than is given over to how to take pictures with it. Apparently this format wasn't followed assiduously enough by Motorola for their Bluetooth headsets and the waters around them have begun to fill with sharks. Perhaps you've seen the magazine ads for www.BluetoothHeadsetLitigation.com. It doesn't appear as though anyone has been harmed by a Bluetooth Headset, although conventional wisdom is that wearing any kind of headphones can damage some people's hearing in time if you turn it up to high for too long. Thanks to many years of this odd approach to product safety, we have become a country where someone who sticks a pencil in his ear is considered a victim rather than an idiot.

Americans are used to being provided endless and often ridiculous warnings about everything and are used to ignoring them. The result of all these warnings seems to have more to do with litigation than with any increase of caution and it appears to me that this class action suit is a classic example.

No one who purchased the headsets will receive a dime and the manufacturers, if the suit is successful, will be handing over $100,000 to an unspecified charity and $850,000 will be awarded to -- the lawyers.

While the web site talks about "your rights" those who purchased the headset have no rights to share in the booty, they only have the right to write to the Settlement Administrator to opt out of a suit they really have no participation in! Although the manufacturers claim to have done nothing wrong and no harm can be demonstrated, to defend the case would cost more than a million and so it's cheaper to stand and deliver; to let the bandits perform their extortion and pass the cost on to us along with more unheeded verbiage about loud noises and hearing loss. It's another example of how our legal system works and for whom it works and unfortunately it's not a rare example.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mail order science

One might think that I would be on the side of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in opposing Texas House Bill 2800. It's effect would be to exempt any private non-profit institution from the need to be accredited by and receive a certificate of authority from the state. The entire idea is of course to establish "universities" that give science degrees without any requirement to study science. Normally attempts to Push the Christianist agenda by equating legend with science earn my contemptuous wrath and of course so does this one to a degree, but wait, there's more.

If, as would happen should this act of insanity be passed, one could simply dream up any curriculum and award degrees of any sort, the value of any Texas institution's degree program not funded by the State would be suspect. Of course the Libertarian in me might be inclined to ask why Acme Bible College shouldn't be able to confer a Doctor of Divinity on anyone they please according to their organized delusions, but not Bachelor, or Master or Doctor of Science. Thinking back to the mid 19th century however, when one could attend Acme Medical College with an unregulated, unexamined course of study and emerge with black bag and scalpel to treat the unsuspecting populace, I have to take pause.

What would the result really be if any charlatan could establish a school and anoint its graduates with advanced degrees in science with no other education but a literal interpretation of Bible Stories for Children? An extra headache for those institutions and companies hiring physicists, geologists and such perhaps. An opportunity for me.

Fogg University of Christian Knowledge. It has a certain acronymical appeal, you have to admit, although Fogg U would be shorter and easier to remember for the kind of students it might attract. Prerequisites? What are you, some kind of Commieliberal intrusive government type?

Let market forces determine the value of unaccredited education, but for you, if you call in the next ten minutes, you can call yourself a Master of Science for $49.95 plus shipping, handling and framing charges. But wait, there's more -- the first 50 callers get a free Sham-Wow with the logo of our sham university on it. You getting this, camera guy?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gas is not the measure of all things

What profiteth a man should he gain the fuel economy yet lose his soul?

Will we as President Obama promises, all be driving electric cars by 2015? I know I won't, unless it's a third car for doing grocery shopping or I take up golf. I simply don't drive enough miles to see an economic payback in my lifetime, but far, far more than that, the loss of an outlet for my passion for machines would be like the loss of a loved one. For a hundred years, cars have been an art form, expressing things that nothing else ever had or could have. Then came the American consumer and his disposable Japanese appliances and the passionate creations of an Ettori Bugatti or an Enzo Ferrari or a Zora Arkus-Duntov or a Larry Shinoda have begun to give way to whatever cheap piece of tin will get us and our bottles of water to places of further consumption.

To drive some soulless disposable transportation appliance isn't in me. I'd rather walk. To sell it as a technological advance is a bit like trying to convince me that moving to a Tokyo style beehive hotel would be more "modern" and efficient and thus more desireable. It would be if I were a bee. As a man, it would be a sentence.

Mr. Obama made a point of telling us this afternoon, that today's esyouvees don't get the mileage of a 1908 Model T and I want to be the first to tell you that he's wrong! The 1908 offering from Ford was the Model S. The T debuted as the 1909 model in October of 1908. There was no 1908 Model T. Of course his attempt to use the iconic automobile to show that we haven't advanced technologically is fallacious. My 1926 model T, admittedly a bit heavier than the 1909, got about 15-18mph at about 25 Mph. Top speed was about 35-40 if you didn't care to live very long (or about burning up the engine) since the brakes are horrifying and the high center of gravity made for easy rollovers -- much like today's esyouvees. The fallacy of distraction lies in the fact that fuel economy is a small part of what makes a good and safe automobile whether or not it is poetry in motion.

The real problem is not that we haven't developed more fuel efficient engines -- we have. There's almost as much difference between the engines of 100 years ago and today as there is between a 1909 telephone with a crank on it and the digital voice mail, caller ID phones you can buy cheaply today. The Model T made about 20 horsepower. With the same fuel consumption a modern engine may get as much as 600. The same degree of progress applies to tires, brakes, suspension systems and materials. They are all vastly improved. It's just that we do everything we can to induce people to feed childish fantasy with heavy iron trucks that weigh more than 7 times what a model T weighs and travel three times as fast but without much more stability. We do everything we can to make people get everywhere by car and take more and more stuff with them.

Do I really want a battery car that has to stop and pay someone to switch batteries every two hours or less if I drive with the air conditioning and lights on? No. Do I want a car that when it runs out of charge on some remote road at midnight or in the center lane in rush hour will need to be towed? No. Do I want to go back to the 1930's in terms of handling? No. Do I want a car that would force me to take non-existent public transportation should I want to drive to Orlando or Miami? Of course not. Give me the Model T! At least it had some soul, required some skill, could be customized in infinite ways and made the driver feel glad to be alive. There is far more to technology and to life than cheap, basic and Puritan transportation.

I can drive off the Chevrolet lot with a brand new 30+ mpg car made of Kevlar, carbon fiber, magnesium and aluminum that does 190, holds track records around the world and will take me to California in air conditioned comfort on a few tanks of gas -- which only take a few minutes to pump -- and sorry, I'm not giving up my red roadster and the topless joy it gives me on an open road to be enclosed in some grotesque, airless little Pokemon clone like something from a Disney Movie. Not so that some twit can make up for his feelings of insecurity by driving the Incredible Hulk's own Monster Truck.

The technology needed to slash fuel consumption is there already. the problem is a culture that separates people from their occupations by 20, 40, 60 or more miles without benefit of trains; that has women spending days chauffering children and driving between malls many miles apart. The Problem is a culture that promotes fear and phobia in order to sell "safe" vehicles that get into far more accidents and that offers tax breaks to people who lease essyouvees.

Yes, slippery slope arguments are inherently fallacious too, but I have nightmares about Americans of the future living in stainless steel beehives, wearing uniforms and living the lives of worker bees so that we can continue to procreate ourselves out of anything remotely like the kind of existence that is worth having.

The way to better transportation is through having far fewer cars and far more trains. the way to better cars is more likely through light weight alloys and composites, but also through fuel cell hybrids with batteries or supercapacitor storage far in advance of anything on the drawing boards today. The way to motivate and fund it is through taxing gross vehicle weight, since taxing only fuel is regressive.

Untill all these dreams come true, you'll have to pry the keys to my Chevy from my cold, dead fingers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Run Spot Run!

It's nice to know that in these days of turmoil and uncertainty about our future, Florida legislators are there to make things right -- and righteous. Never mind that you've lost your home, your job, your savings; your children are in foster care and the cardboard box you're sleeping in is starting to come apart in this morning's rain. Our crusaders in Tallahassee are about to give us what we needed all along and didn't have: a law forbidding obtaining "sexual gratification obtained from animals" or helping anyone else obtain it.

The Florida Senate has decided that exclusive of the requirements of animal husbandry, sex with animals should be a felony. Of course the meaning of animal husbandry had to be laboriously explained to one Miami Senator, Larcenia Bullard, who thought the proposal would allow bestiality if you married your animal. Yes, her name is Larcenia.

A House version of the bill was introduced by my own State Representative William Snyder. I'd like to make a cynical comment about his being, like that other crusader for chastity, Mark Foley, a Republican, but the Democrats are up to their knees in this barnyard too.

Every bit of legislation needs a scare story to justify it and this one demands our immediate attention because -- you guessed it -- someone says if you screw the pooch, you might become a pederast and sexual predator. Correlations are a dangerous thing, of course. Do remember that alcohol is correlated very heavily with most violent crimes and everyone who ever got drunk had milk as his "gateway" drink. Hitler was "very fond" of his dog too.

Of course this bill isn't meant to protect animals or children as much as it protects the righteous indignation of Bible addicts and do remember that Bible Belt fundamentalists have a much higher crime rate and that includes sexual crimes. Not that I'm suggesting anything.

“There’s a tremendous correlation between sexually deviant behavior and crimes against children and crimes against animals,” said Senator Nan Rich of Sunrise Florida. “This is long overdue. These are heinous crimes. And people belong in jail.”

Yes, Heinous indeed -- particularly the neighbor who thinks his crotch sniffing and leg humping dog is amusing. Now we can arrest him on felony gratification charges. Of course you'll have to be careful to shoo away the dog within the legally required number of seconds or you may be a felon yourself.

Of course the question of effectiveness hasn't been discussed -- remember this is a religious matter -- but without bugging the barns, interviewing the animals and the most intrusive and widespread surveillance ever instituted anywhere at any time, only an insignificant number of offenders will ever be caught. It doesn't matter however, this is about feeling moral and righteous. That animal most likely will be clubbed over the head, hung by its rear legs and have its throat slit so we can eat it and without making us flinch -- even if it had spent its short life nailed into a crate in a factory farm.

Perhaps the trigger for this crusade was a publicised case last year of a local man reported to have let his dog sodomize him. There was an outcry in the papers calling for him to be jailed and the animal euthanized without further ado. Truly we are a righteous people before the Lord.

So after all, there have been one or two cases of "animal abuse" in the last few years in this state of 11 million people and something needs to be done about this emergency right now. We've been wasting too much time on wars and economic debacles and it's time to make sure the stable boy isn't getting too hot and bothered watching the horses going at it. There are tremendous correlations, after all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Guillotine! Guillotine!

It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. They report, you decide.

One doesn't expect the spokesmen for conservative interests to be using the French Revolution as a model for future action. Of course I'm no kind of cynic and so all the calls for blood, all the evocations of victims carted off to some public square to be guillotined or of some Supreme Court Justice bleeding to death in his bathtub like Marat aren't at all hilarious to me when I watch Fox News.
"Whether it’s terrorism, international crises, domestic crime or, in this case, excessive corporate greed, some conservatives seem unable to see problems as anything other than a nail for which the only solution is a hammer."
says Think Progress. Fox's solution is a Krauthammer.

Charles Krauthammer, who like so many Fox denizens looks like he's overdone the Botox, told us all yesterday that we should hold public executions for AIG executives whose contracts include a bonus.
"Have it in Times Square, invite Madame DuFarge. You borrow a guillotine from the French and we could have a party. If that’s what it takes to maintain popular support, let’s do it."
Conservative Mort Kondrake just wants to boil them in oil.

Ok, so it's hyperbole although with paralyzed faces like these guys have, one has to make some guesses as to what they really mean. But inflammatory rhetoric in such times as these is like flicking your Bic with gasoline all over the floor. Put them together with Ann Coulter who has advocated poisoning judges and with Rush who would rather have the country collapse than accept any offense to his "principles" and we have not only an assemblage of rogues but a perfect example of people who are not conservatives any more than were the Parisian mobs cheering as heads rolled in the Place de la Concorde in 1793.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's a Doocy, all right

I think we'd all feel better if we stopped fretting about things and realized that the world we live in is no more than a huge, slowly revolving madhouse with no walls. It's the notion that things and people ought to make sense that drives us crazy -- because they don't. You only have to tune in the news for all the evidence you might need. Take Fox, for instance: any one of those shows with giggling night of the living dead zombies batting fallacies, conjectures, hypertrophied hyperbole and lies back and forth like a game of three-way badminton.

CNN is a communist organization says Steve Doocy on Fox and friends. Like "Liberal" It's a term without fixed meaning, used often enough on Fox that it really means little else than that the victim doesn't have rabies and doesn't preach abject obedience to Fox approved authority and doesn't exhibit a Pavlovian rage response on cue. That certainly describes CNN, who sometimes actually does indulge in honest reportage rather than to derive stories from the Ouija board used by Fox and Friends. But anyway they are all Commies - perhaps some of the few left in the real world and they don't need to tell you why or how. All the proof you need is that a former CNN employee, MauricioFunes , has been elected President of El Salvador. Elected, not installed by a military insurgency or people's revolution or quasi legal action by the courts. Elected by popular vote. Elected as in Democracy.

So anyway, by the law of sympathetic magic, or perhaps something even more arcane; because he isn't Augusto Pinochet or any of the other murderous, fascistic, peasant slaughtering, protester torturing, nun raping, drug money laundering anti-communist Generalissimos the US traditionally supports and supplies, he's a communist and CNN is the "Communist News Network." What's more, the liberal party he belongs to has, according to Mr. Doocy "allegedly ties to Caesar Chavez," a man that those without heads spinning from Fox Poisoning will remember is long dead. Of courseDoocy's duezy was not only to confuse Hugo with Caesar, but to confuse a baseless, irresponsible, malicious and speculative accusation with fact. That's Fox. That's what Fox is about: the voices from Neptune for a mad, mad, mad world.

I happened to be perusing an auction catalog over coffee, early this afternoon; thinking about the things I might have been bidding on if George Bush's irregulars hadn'tstolen everyone's money and there were a couple of lots of antique Chinese opium pipes and accessories. That's right, drug paraphernalia and legitimately so because you really can't smoke anything legal in an opium pipe.

Of course the water pipes Tommy Chong once manufactured worked quite well with tobacco, that highly addictive, highly toxic and legal drug, yet Tommy went to prison and lost nearly everything he had. What's the difference between selling legal drug paraphernalia and illegal drug paraphernalia? Nothing beyond the personality involved. We have all sorts of laws enforced only to advance the careers of law enforcement, because, just like the traditional, criminally repressive generalissimos we traditionally support in Latin America, our Justice Department Buccaneers can make an honest man into a criminal as easily as Fox News can make Thomas Jefferson into a Communist and Jesus into Attila the Hun.

If you care about this insanity, you can't expect to survive intact and so I try very hard not to. Sure, I lost almost 80% of my net worth and the people who made that possible are fighting against any attempt to restore order; screaming like demons about Commies and Liberals and Witches and welfare queens but although I can still pay my bills, I can't afford to care. I've still got my house and my boat and a big ocean to float it in and as of today, I can even blog while afloat, hiding in my escape capsule from the madness of the world.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A plan to ban.

Banning things in the hope that they will go away is a process that shares a lot with prayer. Mostly because neither works. Drugs, alcohol, pornography and dancing on Sunday have always outrun or outlasted the censors but the censors never stop of their own free will despite the evidence that what they try to stop won't bring on God's wrath, won't destroy the fabric of civilization or bring on chaos. That their ideas don't work never convinces the zealot and we are and always have been a country where zealots rule.

I thought it was inevitable that there would be shootings and stories of shootings, now that more people are out of work, out of hope and feel cheated by circumstances. Of course others think the same and still others see it as an opportunity to beat on the Gun Ban gong again and so when random acts of violence occur, they will be played up to be more significant than they are. We've always had random acts of violence, we probably always will, despite the cycles of calls for ever more irrelevant, ineffective and perhaps fraudulent gun control laws. I've been listening to this all my life and so far, they haven't "grabbed our guns" and violent crime rates don't seem to be much affected by gun control laws, stringent or relaxed. Indeed allowing people to carry concealed weapons in Florida and making it legal to use deadly force against an attacker seems to have coincided with a substantial reduction in robberies and home invasions and still, crimes perpetrated by licensed people are virtually non-existent.

The renewed hysterics at the NRA and in other groups have convinced many that the Obama administration is determined to pursue the reinstatement of the "assault weapon" ban and so sales of semi-automatic weapons designed to look like real assault weapons have soared. and continue to remain high. According to the Wall Street Journal, a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed on firearms sales -- for the month of November. I'm not great at arithmetic, but I think that rate translates to 18 million gun purchases a year and that doesn't include private sales or gun show sales that don't require background checks. There is fear on both sides and both sides are doing all they can to promote as much of it as possible.

Tuesday's Alabama shooting is seen in two ways by people in two camps. Neither will see the situation as arguing against their persuasion. Some point out that the victims were all unarmed and so were perfect and perfectly defenseless victims. Others will argue that if semi automatic rifles with stocks made to look like military weapons were again banned, such things would not happen. Both sides could do with a bit more honesty.

Alabama of course allows concealed weapons to be carried by permit holders, and though it's possible that the shooter might not have done what he did if he thought some of them might be "packing" this example makes it pretty hard to substantiate the principle and impossible to say for sure. Easier to illustrate is the pretense that the AK, or SKS or Mini-22 I can buy down the street and off the shelf is an "assault weapon" No military in the world uses them. They fire the same kind of ammunition at the same rate of fire as any semi automatic hunting rifle. Just like Grandpa's semi-auto shotgun, one round is fired for every pull of the trigger, yet over and over and over, college journalism graduates with no knowledge, pump out commentaries like the WSJ article that tells us:
"Gun sales have soared in the months since the presidential election, due in part to fears among gun owners that President Barack Obama intends to ban assault weapons, or guns that can fire rounds more quickly than standard weapons." [italics mine]
No they can't, unless standard means bolt action, like the antique used to shoot JFK. The items formerly banned as "assault weapons" weren't. They may be able to hold more ammunition, but it's the same ammunition and they are not automatic weapons or machine guns at all. Again Reuters assures us they were Military Assault Weapons and implied that since he was a quiet person, any quiet person is a danger if he's allowed to have a rifle stock with a pistol grip.

Right after Reuters tells us that the shooting was the result of " easy" gun access in America, they report that in Germany on Wednesday, a 17-year-old gunman went on a shooting spree at his former school, killing up to 15 people before dying in a shootout with police. Germany has very strict gun control laws. Perhaps Reuters controls irony as well.

Elsewhere in the world, knife murders are occurring more frequently - at least being reported more frequently. There are a lot of statistics that seem to link times and places where people are forced to be defenseless with increased crimes of armed aggression, but the statistics are either flaunted or ignored depending on which side you're on and that side seems to me to have little to do with reality. Again Reuters mentions that "some people" defend the right to self defense as though the abridgement of that right were not clearly forbidden in the constitution and without mentioning that the "Some people" seem to be a majority.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that the news is being used and being distorted to create a greater sense of outrage and sell more papers. The very word "assault" conjures up pathological aggression and is chosen to create just as much irrational and hysterical opinion as are the polemics of the "pro-gun" people.

Is there a sane middle ground between the NRA hysterics and the anti-second amendment hysterics? Of course, but sometimes I think we're the only ones there -- and I'm not too sure about you.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Twinkle, twinkle, evil Starr,

What an evil man you are.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Ken Starr, the man who thought you should go to jail for using the word "breast" on the internet even in conjunction with words like cancer and mammography, yet led the taxpayer funded multi-million dollar investigation into the President's sex life and published it on the internet in lurid and pornographic detail, is still alive. Yes, it's amazing, but some reptiles do live a long time.

Starr, the sex-obsessed fighter against dirty pictures and swear words, hasn't changed much, he's just picking on another obsession of his - homosexuals. Ken somehow obtained a law degree and was admitted into the bar somewhere, but really he's a preacher of a puritanical bent and of the sort our founding fathers loathed so much that they eloquently and passionately expressed that loathing in word and deed. One of those deeds and words was the the declaration of independence; that manifesto of the natural and inalienable nature of human rights.

Ken Starr will have none of it. We have no rights but what the government allows and what the government allows, the government can disallow. That may have been a bit much even for George III, but in any event it's at odds with the entire philosophy from which the United States grew and a worldwide quest for freedom from religious and secular tyranny emerged.

Kenn Starr will have none of it. Ken, whose resemblance to a circumcised penis is striking, has the ill nature to go along with his appearance and so is arguing to uphold California's outrageous proposition 8. A majority he says, can simply remove the rights of a minority and so there's no real reason we couldn't restore slavery, expulsion of Chinese citizens and remove the voting rights of women and non white males.

Did I mention that Ken is a Republican? When we put the puzzle piece that is Ken Starr together with other pieces from the Bush Justice Department, we start to see a picture of America that resembles the great tyrannies of the past and present; and America that has been tricked into going not only back to the nations under God we broke from, where the ruler's right came from God and yours, if you had any, were at the grace and whim of that ruler.

How close we are to the precipice -- it's no wonder that we hear such bellowing and howling from the greedy devils. We have come so close, they have made a tower of slime almost tall enough to reach our liberty. They can almost taste our soul.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.

Obama's bear market

"No thanks, that lifeboat has more equipment than I think it needs, Who could have expected the Liberals to put that iceberg there ( doesn't iceberg sound Jewish?) and besides there's no first class section where my Gucci shoes won't get wet . I think we should all go down with the ship."

Back When George W. Bush set in motion the auto-destruct cycle for our economy, it was customary for the professional blowhards to explain that he had inherited a recession and so it wasn't really fair or proper to call it Bush's recession and since the bubble began to inflate, perhaps we shouldn't call it a recession at all. ( Dow's up, don't bitch that your income isn't.)

Now of course Bush's Debacle is Obama's Bear according to Bloomberg and we can be sure the Republicans at Fox News will explain to us just how he caused it all with his socialist machinations. The recent losses are, says Fox, the market voting against Obama. Let's not dwell on the election they lost when the people voted against Bush.

Unfortunately the Republicans won't go down with this ship. They'll be trying to climb on our shoulders. screaming about "principles" while we drown.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mighty Oaks

From little acorns grow; some pretty tall tales too. It' s begun to taper off, but still I hear sotto voce advice from people revealing that ACORN got Obama elected and their efforts weren't exactly on the up and up. I hear it often.

Of course we remember John McCain's exercises in the fallacy of distraction, one of which had Obama tied to massive voter fraud and ACORN thereby negating his large lead in the polls. Nobody has a better motive for alleging voter fraud than someone with a documented history of cheating of course. There were indeed thousands of bad signatures in the million or so registrations the group submitted, but of course the idea that the folks who signed up as Mighty Mouse and Bugs Bunny ever actually tried to vote under that name is laughably devoid of evidence. Some of the dung flung at Obama still sticks however, even after demonstrations of how easy it has been to erase blocks of votes along with any evidence of the erasure from Diebold machines.

Obama won so handily that the question is now moot if not exactly forgotten. His alleged connections with the organization never really materialized and the pot and pan banging hoopla didn't survive the dip into the frigid water of defeat. But the snickerers and nudgers and whisperers still wink and raise their eyebrows, knowing We'd never have Obama without ACORN.

So what's that subversive, anti-American, Liberal crew of cheats and conspirators up to now? Why, nefarious attempts to help a disabled vet keep his house from being foreclosed and renegotiate his loan before he's tossed out, wheelchair and all. How typical! How Marxist! How hard to reconcile it with the Republican bullshit about supporting the troops and about how "liberals" don't. Those damned Liberals!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Trying to fix stupid

It's risky to talk about IQ or innate mental ability these days. People are so afraid of recognizing differences between people that we really can't talk about it and have to pretend that intelligence is free of any genetic cause, which is of course, utterly impossible. So anyway, I won't say much about it either, save to say that far beyond the silly bickering that some people do over two or three or even 10 point differences and about whether it's nature or nurture, the latter does not explain why some people score 150 and about an equal number score at 50. We also like to pretend that big differences mean little, which is an attitude that goes away fast when you have some experience with people over 3 standard deviations below the middle. It's easier to pretend that the really gifted are something other than smarter than us and that their ideas don't tend to be more insightful and yes, indeed, correct. It's easiest to just get all Republican and call them names.

But I'm not talking about or really interested in the gifted, I'm talking about idiots and even though we're not allowed to call people stupid except in the political arena, a large percentage of us are, statistically speaking, not so bright. What I'm here to talk about is my suspicion that the people most zealous about codifying behavior, making laws and protecting us from evil, fall into the category of just plain stupid.

Take for instance, the lawmakers of Iowa. I'm not going to tell you they're brighter than the lawmakers of Florida who force sexual offenders to sleep under bridges by forbidding them to live almost anywhere else. I am going to tell you they're stupid. In their zeal to ever widen the category of child abuse they're trying to make the parent whose 14 year old discovers the Playboy hidden under the mattress a "child abuser" which of course is a lifetime stigma that can force one to live under a bridge, have one's children taken away to be raised by the kind of stupid people who make such laws, and other life changing experiences.

Your son's friend comes over with his laptop to do homework and they discover Youporn? You're a sex criminal and branded for life, dude. Yes, it's hard to believe it, but the crusading idiots have found another way to ruin lives and break up families in the name of morality and protecting the children. Maybe it's not so hard to believe it. You see, by the logic of stupidity, since pornography plays a part in child abuse, you're a criminally negligent child abuser if your teen finds a naked picture or manages to sneak into the living room at night when you're watching HBO. At worst, since pornography plays a part in abuse, or so they say, and since pornography of any sort or degree is rape, you're a rapist!

Unless this proposed bill is an attempt at preventing people from reproducing for fear of living under bridges, I suggest it's just another way the idiots can make criminals out of innocent people and make up crimes for the sake of punishment.

“We have to have it.” said Kathy Lowenberg, director of Counseling for Growth & Healing in Iowa City. Lowenberg said she’s treated more than 100 children who have been sexually assaulted and that, in most cases, pornography played "a pivotal role" in the abuse. From there to blaming pederasty on Playboy or Showtime requires Logic Abuse - that's where the stupid part comes in, growth and healing notwithstanding.

State Representative Kurt Swaim, a Democrat no less, said he will do everything he can to get the bill passed this year and that it would only be used in the most serious cases, even though as written it's so broad it could almost be used in any case, depending on the mood or personality or prejudice or ambition or rank stupidity of the Iowa Department of Justice. I'm sure we can trust them with our children and our lives and our freedom though - they're politicians.

No, you can't fix stupid and that you can even vote it down is questionable at best. Perhaps voting against the bill will be deemed child molestation too, who knows? All I can hope for is that enough stupid people will put enough other stupid people in jail that the birth rate of idiots will plummet and allow the rest of us to evolve in time into creatures just a little bit smarter than we are now.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Out of touch, off base and irrelevant

Well of course I'm a demented, deranged, hair-on-fire, crazy Liberal Kike, personally responsible for the economic debacle -- at least that's what some Rush Limbaugh supporters tell me and who am I to argue? I'm obviously "out of touch, off base, and irrelevant" in my displeasure with the Republicans -- just like a two thirds majority of America.

The Democrat, liberal, immigrant loving, freedom hating big spenders are taking the country straight to hell now that my fringe element minority of 65% has removed the thrifty, honest and morally upright Republican majority from control -- that is if the "terrorists" don't take over DesMoines and kill us all with flouride first.

Yes, that's right, Republicans stand for limited government, but not just yet, and markets so free they're lawless. They're all for the unlimited freedom to obey, for massive military spending without oversight, for massive transfers of wealth to offshore corporations -- without oversight; and so much do they believe in it, they are happy to listen to your phone calls, read your mail, intercept your e-mails and faxes and peek in your windows to make sure you're happy about it.

What are we going to do, now that they're gone? And how sad it is just when they were about to turn the Democrat sabotaged economy around with even more borrowing, spending and tax cuts for billionaires.

So anyway, when you read John Yoo's memo to Bush in Newsweek asserting that "First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully," you can be sure it's only the Jew-bastard Liberals lying through their long noses. Even so, unlimited power for the President is only another way of looking at limited government. Ask Rush to explain it to you.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Don't Rush me

Thinking back to the dear dead days of Father Coughlin and the childhood of right wing hate radio, it seems like neither active opposition nor the deliberate ignoring of their brand of theater is as effective as allowing their own success to put them outside the pale of justification for or acceptance of their propaganda.Coughlin whose bigotry and anti-Semitism trapped him when Hitler became an enemy, had his network taken away after he became an embarrassment to the Church and indeed to the country.

Nobody outside of the lunatic fringe can really, if they are honest, think Rush Limbaugh's bombast has been anything other than full support for all that's torpedoed America, from his apparent acceptance of torture, to his steadfast denial of the growing sickness of our economy; from denying the dishonest origins of the Iraq war to the dishonest, scabrous, sleazy and relentless attacks on those who opposed the outrages of the George Bush presidency. He has become identified with the vicious kind of campaign that helped sink thePalin /McCain candidacy by making Obama seem all the more a man of integrity. I don't think I'm being fatuously optimistic to think he may go down with the ship he helped sink.
"I think a lot of people like to hear what he’s saying but I think it’s also a little bit polarizing and confrontational"
said Ron Paul in an uncharacteristic understatement during a telephone interview with CNN's John Roberts this morning.
" I guess the Democrats think its to their advantage if he’s leading the charge.”
I would add that it's to the world's advantage, but that's just my opinion. If I were a Republican, even a more characteristic Republican than Paul, like Michael Steele for instance, who said on CNN Saturday:
“Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. Yes it’s incendiary, yes it’s ugly.”
I would have to agree that it sure as hell is and yes, his dirty, nasty, mean spirited and unencumbered by honesty rhetoric is just the kind of thing to associate him with the party people rightly associate with bringing down a prosperous economy, putting our country in danger and protecting crooks and tyrants in their quest to make a mockery of liberty and the institutions that protect it.

"some of us would like to see an approach that would emphasize personal liberties, civil liberties, looking at the drug war… It’s really the old Republican Party because even Limbaugh was a big supporter of Bush so hedoesn’t have anything new either when it comes to bringing our troops home, not expanding the war in Afghanistan."
said Congressman Paul. Some of us of course have been saying that for a number of years -- Democrats to be specific -- and we do remember being called traitors for agreeing with what the "new" GOP now seems to be trying to be seen saying. We remember being called traitors, loonies, dementia sufferers, Marxists and a long list of epithets of unrestrained hyperbole by Limbaugh and his fellow polemicists.

Although as a habitual Democrat, I wouldn't mind seeing Limbaugh go down with his leaky, worm eaten ship of shame, it would be far better for us all if there really were a new Republican Party that really did believe a bit more along Libertarian lines and particularly if it were led by someone who is capable of maintaining a dialog rather than hiding larcenous demagoguery behind a smokescreen of war and pretended patriotism. So far no one but Mr. Paul comes to mind.

Cross posted from The Swash Zone

Remembrance of things past

I've been browsing around my early posts at random, partly in response to today's "holy shit" market reports. I wanted to see how much if any of my laments, prognostications hysterical warnings have been accurate. After about three and a half years of this, I don't remember writing much of what I wrote but of course I have been predicting a dire recession almost from the start, along with continued heartache in Iraq and several other things that got me in big trouble with some readers back in the Republican majority days.

Ok, so some of my tongue-in-cheek predictions: like an invasion of Venezuela and the bombing of Iran seem, fortunately, to have been gutter balls, but of course the recession has not been. Back in January of 2006, one young man chastised me severely for saying the economy was in trouble, the armed forces stretched too thin, the Iraq enterprise becoming mired in corruption and oil prices on the way up. What do you know? he asked. It became a heated exchange, bleeding over into his blog where I was called demented, a Marxist and the rest of the standard litany. He was in his 20's and shortly to go off to war and simply couldn't believe I was anything but a fool for hoping he came back in one piece.

I still don't know whether he did or not. His blog, A Soldier's Diary, was abandoned a long time ago and of course we were stretched too thin, the prosperity the Republicans were preaching turned to dust and rubbish, the corruption bled off billions. I would love to know what happened to him and whether he is still a believer.

Of course all those who laughed themselves sick about suggestions that massive borrow-and-spend policies would be a disaster, that massive tax cuts would drive us into irrecoverable circumstances and would produce no more of the prosperity than it ever had: those who insisted things were great, from Limbaugh to Fox News; those who talked about "victory" and the lack of patriotism of "liberals" who were somehow ruining the markets with negativity aren't going to remember what they wrote either. The condescending comments about my doubts concerning the Americanization of the Middle East and the sheer military genius of Bush and his "surge" are still there in the years of comments, written by people I don't hear from any more, or who have changed their names or found new things to snicker about or to attribute to "liberals."