Archive for July, 2007

The Democrat Borg

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

If all the Democrat Senators, Congressmen, Presidential Candidates and KosKids sound alike, here’s a clue: They are alike. Exactly. How much alike?

Well, let’s see. For an example, Democrat Senators vote together this much:

97.8% – Dick Durbin (D-IL)
97.1% – Ben Cardin (D-MD)
97.1% – Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
97.1% – Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
97.0% – Joe Biden (D-DE)
97.0% – Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
96.7% – Jack Reed (D-RI)
96.7% – Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
96.6% – Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
96.6% – Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

My, my! Ms. Clinton votes with her buddies 96.6% of the time. She’s that partisan. A reformer. An independent-minded outsider. Snort.

Well. Another woman in Congress wins the award for most partisan: Nancy Pelosi, who voted an astounding 100% of the time Democrat.

Here’s the thing, though. Looking at Democrats generally–from the blogosphere to Congress to the MSM (82% partisan)–you know what the opinion on any given subject will be on any given day. They are that predictable.

Democrats remind me of the “rebels” at high school. They all wore black and punked out their hair and they all looked the….same.

Don’t expect any Democrat to come up with an innovative take, idea or solution. For all their talk about being progressive, I do believe they are the true conservatives–that is they want to conserve the vision they’ve had for America and do the same thing they’ve always done.

Voters should expect the same results we have always got should a Democrat end up in charge.

H/T Gina Cobb
More at The Anchoress

Cross-posted at RightWingNews

You Are What You Eat

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

A new breed of vegans has sprouted: Those who will only have sexual intercourse with others as pure as themselves:

Vegansexuals are people who do not eat any meat or animal products, and who choose not to be sexually intimate with non-vegan partners whose bodies, they say, are made up of dead animals.

Interesting. As if Vegans don’t occupy a strange enough corner of the world. Here come Vegansexuals:

One vegan respondent from Christchurch said: “I believe we are what we consume, so I really struggle with bodily fluids, especially sexually.”

As an aside, this woman does not look especially feminine. While the man looks, well, soft. Perhaps a little protein would put the hormones aright. Also, do either of these people look vibrant and healthy?

Gingrich on Detroit

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

As far as I’m concerned, Newt didn’t go far enough when criticizing Michigan. For anyone who left for a length of time and then comes back, visiting the state is like receiving a punch in the stomach. It’s distressing on a visceral level.

Once vibrant towns are dead. Even Lansing, where I spent the majority of my growing up years is “sad” as my High School chum said on the phone Sunday. “I don’t think it’s just me, either,” he said. “Lansing hasn’t been the same since Oldsmobile left.”

It is difficult to describe to teachers or anyone outside of Michigan the vice grip the teachers union has in Michigan. The union has one purpose: protect teachers. It is not interested in educational outcomes. It is not interested in the quality of the product. It is interested in self-preservation. Like the UAW, it is shooting itself in the foot but by different means. By so failing at the mission of teaching, citizens can’t work and innovate and contribute to society. As the labor force constricts and moves elsewhere, the teachers are going to lose jobs–there will be no one to teach.

The unions have lived in denial. They have been immoral. You simply cannot get paid to not work for years, as union friends of mine did, and survive. The unions have outlived their usefulness. They committed suicide.

So Detroit, the black hole of Michigan, sucks down resources and gives back little. It’s no wonder people seek greener pastures down south.

Speaking of greener pastures, Michigan has some of the most breathtakingly beautiful geography in the 50 united states. Crystal white sand dunes, lakes, forests, and gorgeous parks are everywhere you turn. Michigan also has some amazing architecture and astonishing neighborhoods that harken back to the auto industry’s glory days.

My heart aches for Michigan. Without changing the hearts and minds of the people there, it will continue to diminish. It’s great that Gingrich is noticing Detroit and citing her as a bad example. Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone had given a toot about New Orleans before the hurricane washed up the sludge for all to see? New Orleans seems determined to stay corrupt and base. It is my great hope that Detroit will choose a different path.

New Look…….Again

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Sorry, if this is confusing. After living with the new look, the lack of a left margin bugged me. I didn’t like the fonts, either. Since blogger makes making changes so easy, I changed it. Again.

Nashi: Russia’s Version of Hitler Youth–UPDATED

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Fascism is in fashion. A nice sum-up of the Russian mind:

For the east European countries with first-hand experience of Stalinist terror, the Kremlin’s rewriting of history could hardly be more scary. Not only does Russia see no reason to apologise for their suffering under Kremlin rule, it now sees the collapse of communism not as a time of liberation, but as an era of pitiable weakness.

It ALWAYS saw the collapse of communism as weakness. This is not a new development. What is new is the economic strength to organize and retrench. Drunk on oil revenue, the Kremlin rises again.

And history is rewritten:

Russia barely commemorates even the damage it did to itself, let alone the appalling suffering inflicted on other people. Nashi is both a symptom of the way Russia is going – and a means of entrenching the drift to fascism.

Terrifyingly, the revived Soviet view of history is now widely held in Russia. A poll this week of Russian teenagers showed that a majority believe that Stalin did more good things than bad.

If tens of thousands of uniformed German youngsters were marching across Germany in support of an authoritarian Fuhrer, baiting foreigners and praising Hitler, alarm bells would be jangling all across Europe. So why aren’t they ringing about Nashi?

Because the left engages in the same kind of moral equivalence as Vladamir Putin and his cronies. They have a crush on communism.

Britain banishes Churchill from history books. Russia brings Stalin back. Japan finds neonationalism. This bodes ill.

UPDATE: I missed this on Friday, but Gary Kasparov explains Putin perfectly:

The web of betrayals, the secrecy, the blurred lines between what is business, what is government, and what is criminal–it’s all there in Mr. Puzo’s books. A historian looks at the Kremlin today and sees elements of Mussolini’s “corporate state,” Latin American juntas and Mexico’s pseudo-democratic PRI machine. A Puzo fan sees the Putin government more accurately: the strict hierarchy, the extortion, the intimidation, the code of secrecy and, above all, the mandate to keep the revenue flowing. In other words, a mafia.

The question Kasparov doesn’t answer: Why does the populace submit and actually facilitate the mafia? One answer is fear. Yes, fear is a motivation. But this is Russia not Italy. The Russian ego is driven by pride and strength. They enjoy intimidation. The general population relates to and lives vicariously through Putin and his mafioso government’s strength.

Perhaps the great majority of thinking Russians were expunged during Stalin. Perhaps the thinking man fled Russia during the ensuing communistic years. But Russia thrives on brute force. The average Russian respects it. Who wants choices when one can have power?

H/T Gina Cobb

It’s The End of the World As We Know It

Monday, July 30th, 2007

I’ve noticed a change in how Western Civilization is described recently. It’s almost like some are gleeful that it’s almost over. Why wait for tomorrow? Some write the glowing post-mortem today:

There is no reason a nation with a shrinking population cannot maintain steady rates of GDP per capita growth if mechanization and labour productivity gains keep up a good pace. Indeed, George Mason economist Robin Hanson argues that soon enough robots will be doing almost all the jobs [pdf] anyway. So it is easy enough to imagine a country that maintains a high standard of living as the population eventually shrinks to … nothing. People differ rather vehemently on this issue, but I see nothing wrong with a population dwindling away entirely, as long as living conditions remain high. All individual lives come to an end, but they are not therefore worthless. Societies don’t last forever either, and neither do nation-states. A society that fades away in high style might count as a spectacular human triumph, not a failure. Where’s the underprovided public good in steady-growth population decline?

Who cares about the Western world? Societies eventually die. If it dies in this generation, but dies in style, fantastic. The article was written by an economist calling into question the notion that children are a public good. Some aren’t a public good, I’ll grant him that. Neither are some economists.

I would like to suggest that the chances of Western Civilization going out in style are slim to none without military to protect it. Forget about breeding workers to feed the pensions. The wealthy and childless don’t need a pension anyway. They have their money. Who cares about the dull-witted and poor? Tough bananas. They’re going to die one way or another.

Actually, with a dwindling population, the rich and poor will likely die in the same way: at the point of a sword.

The Western world may be run by a world of robots, but someone has to run the robots. And a wealthy society, as fat and old as Europe, is ripe for the picking by a younger, hungrier bunch.

I think the save the earth, one-child types might want to consider how they want to meet their Maker. It is unlikely they will go out while communing with nature. It is more likely they’ll go out communing with human nature.

H/T Glenn Reynolds

Words & Deeds

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Gordon Brown: The Maverick. This man will change the nature of the relationship between the U.S. and Britain. He will change the language of war. He will be partner not a “lap dog” like Blair. And the British press, both left and right, want out of Iraq. Up until today, Brown gave signals that he felt the same way. Here is what Brown said:

But in an article today in the Washington Post, Mr Brown quoted the former US president Franklin Roosevelt when he said that the “arsenal of democracy” – schools, museums, newspapers and the arts – was just as important as weapons in defeating terrorists.

And Mr Brown again avoided using the term “war on terror”, in favour of calling terrorism “a war against humanity”.

Gordon Brown says flowery words, but as of today, will keep troops in Southern Iraq, much to the fury of the left in Britain. Will Gordon Brown’s words save him at home?

A theory has been put forward that the left won’t take terrorism seriously until they have the power. Only then would they act like adults and honestly engage the problem. Nancy Pelosi has yet to grow up. She looked rather silly sitting with the Syrian tyrant Assad. Senator Obama says he’ll engage all the rogue states if he’s president. Would Clinton and Obama keep the flowery rhetoric while seriously dealing with the War on Terror? I’m not so sure–they have a lot of anti-war promises to keep.

More optimistically, is there a tough Republican who could continue the fight and encourage citizens with articulate, reasoned and inspiring arguments? Before the Bush presidency I thought deeds were enough; and they are still the most important indicator of a man’s character. In our next president, though, it would be nice if he could be a master of words, too.

Cross posted at Right Wing News.

Finding Justice in America

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Ever since high school, I noticed the justice system was more than a little out of whack. The kids without hall passes on their way to blow their nose would get detention, while the hardened criminal drug dealers who were finishing their senior year at age 25, were given a wide berth. The teachers didn’t want those guys in detention or in-school suspension. They were scary.

There is a tendency in the justice system to terrify and ruin the guys and girls without hall passes and avoid the real trouble. Mark Steyn gives some recommendations for fixing the system.

To me, the biggest solution: get rid of plea bargains. They are like antibiotic overuse. The bugs become resistant and the system gets overrun. Our justice system is sick. It could use a hygienic make-over.

What’s So Bad About Communism?

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

What’s so bad about communism asks a John Hawkin’s reader? Johns answer:

Communism is a system that forces human beings to behave in a method that runs contrary to human nature and as such, is always destined to fail, impoverish the people living under it, and crush the human spirit. Communism is all about forcing people to work for the state, stealing the fruit of their labor, and giving faceless bureaucrats unlimited power and control over every aspect of the human existence.

My short answer: Your lazy brother-in-law makes as much money as you do and then reports you to the collective if you don’t keep up the hard work and enthusiasm that keeps his lazy ass in the crappy manner he’s accustomed.

Communism comes into vogue because a fundamental flaw in the economic system frustrates the people (oligarchies, rampant poverty and corruption, no middle class, no rule of law) and the underclass believe that “evening the playing field” would save them their despair. The citizens of Venezuela and many countries before them quickly learn that they get more than they bargained for: oppression, loss of property rights, loss of any rights.

The Left likes communism for many reasons:

  1. They believe everyone is stupid and could use their intelligent guidance
  2. They believe life isn’t fair and want to make it fair
  3. They deny their own human nature and urge to dominate, and communism fulfills authoritarian fantasies.

The same rich celebrities who blithely wear Ché shirts, are the same people living in 20,000 s.f mansions and demanding that you and I wipe our butt with one piece of toilet paper. In a communistic society, they’d actually get to enforce their pet ideologies on everyone while living their hypocritical, privileged life–if they didn’t tangle with the collective first and end up before a firing squad. Who would the poor and their reps go after first? I’d say the toilet paper police would be the ones meeting the business end of a military device, first, much to their shock and dismay. But in the Left’s never ending stupidity, they think they would be immune from the rules because they already follow all the really important ones. Their denial makes them dangerous.

And watch out for “socialism”. It’s just another version of the same failed ideology.

Rich People Buy Hardback Books: Do They Read Them?

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

Rich people read hard back books Arnold Kling asserts. He bases it on the correlation between hard back book ownership and wealthy zip codes. Do rich people read more? I say yes. Ann Althouse says no. She has a list of reasons here.

We’re talking correlation, not causation. It’s not like the research says that the books make people smarter and richer, only that richer people have lots of hardback books. I think that they read at least some of them. Ann’s skepticism seems misplaced. Although, Harold Bloom thinks business execs don’t read enough so maybe she’s right.

What I don’t buy is that people of moderate means are borrowing books from the library and reading the classics and doing more heavy reading that their wealthy counterparts. Everyone is reading the best-seller list–that’s what makes the best sellers. I was alarmed to find the local library selling classic works because no one was checking them out. My daughter has Steinbeck’s book Red Pony right now (she went with the hubby to the library and when I asked him “are there any happy Steinbeck books?”–none that I’m are of, but I digress) and it’s very old and gently used. My point is that the kinds of books people check out of the library are probably the exact same kind of books they buy at the store. Likewise, what a person of moderate means buys at the store probably reflects what he borrows from the library.

Bill Gates is known for being surrounded by piles of books and has a world map in his garage so he can always have new information to learn. Rich? Check. Hardback books? Check. Smart? Check. Anecdotal and he could be a big fat faker? Maybe.

Here’s my defense of rich people reading:

  1. Specialties that require the rich person to stay up on the latest in his/her industry. If they’re in business they can cheat by subscribing to something like this. But that’s still better than not reading. And I’m guessing that once a person reads the summary and likes it, the person of means might go out and buy the hardback and read the whole thing.
  2. Book clubs. People who live in rich zip codes belong to them. Sure, most of the ladies (and some gentlemen) spend most of the time gossiping and drinking Chardonnay, but they buy the hardback and one or two actually read the book and the others ostensibly absorb some knowledge.
  3. Self-betterment vs. survival. It is arguably worthless to read self-help books when the extra time could be spent working an extra job. So the best sellers are self-help books. Sure they are. Why so snarly, Ann? People want to make their lives better. Some people spend good money to read self-help books and don’t do much with the knowledge. Others actually use a hint here or there and live longer, get richer and stay happier by following a recommendation. One of my favorite books in the world is self-help in nature. In fact, I have a couple favorites (see below).

Most Americans don’t read much anyway, or go to bookstores, it seems:

Only 32% of the U.S. population has ever been in a bookstore.

42% of U.S. college graduates never read another book.

58% of the U.S. adult population never reads another book after high school.

70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.

81% of the U.S. population feels “they have a book inside them.”

But I’m guessing the ones that do read or go to a bookstore, can afford to buy books in the first place. I also feel safe in betting that those who might actually make the effort to go to a bookstore or hit Amazon, might actually be one of the few who read, too.