Archive for March, 2008

Evil Bunnies and Other Vile Creatures Destroying Your Garden

Monday, March 31st, 2008


A friend of my friend Lorne wrote an email describing his woes in the garden. Lorne, who wrote here last week, gardens and keeps chickens. He views himself as a renaissance man in the vein of Thomas Jefferson. He’s a dabbler. Lawyer, writer, gardener, hen-house owner, etc. His daily difficulties give me great mirth as I picture him sloshing through the mud and snow (it’s Michigan post-winter, pre-spring) defending the worthless birds from the neighbor’s dog and most of the times, themselves. Lorne’s friend, lawyer Michael Edmunds share’s his own difficulties with mother nature. I hope you laugh as much as I did.

***************

More importantly, I hate rabbits. I don’t believe god actually created them. I’m convinced they are Satan’s evil minions, born of the dark, and designed to make life so miserable that we give up our souls in exchange for relief from their torment.

They have destroyed both my apple trees, reaching further than I had imagined possible. They stripped every limb up to about 4 feet above the ground. At first I thought I had Barry Bonds’ pet rabbit in my yard, and I became afraid that if I tried to keep him out, he would fly into a roid rage and attack me. But Ben told me they can reach a lot higher in the winter bec of the snow. I have to do something, but not sure what.

I am becoming resigned to an ugly fence. I don’t have the time or money for a nice one, and I’m not convinced there is such a thing anyway. On the other hand, I can’t go another year without fencing or I will lose my 4 year old investment in time and money in grapes, blueberries, and apples. The little bastards have even been chewing on the lattice I put up last year, which was all nice and freshly stained, but now has big bite marks all over it. That was just mean. They didn’t even eat it–just chewed it up.

Everyone knows that squirrels are right behind rabbits on the hierarchy of demonic beings. Like socks, they can apparently reproduce a-sexually. Furthermore, unless you cut off their heads, they can’t be killed . Sometimes I hear this haunting voice at night, which says “there can be only one!”

I have shot them so many times with my pellet gun (which has a muzzle velocity greater than most .22s) that I would have expected them to be dead from lead poisoning by now, not to mention the gaping round hole through their furry little hides. Yet after falling many feet from the top of pine trees, telephone pole, and power lines, they inevitably jump up, scamper away. Then they reappear a couple of days later, even stronger than before, with no apparent effect except for the foresight to run away long before I can get within pellet gun range.

They raid my bird feeder daily, to the detriment of “wanted” guests like cardinals. I left a baited trap, which they tripped, but it can’t hold them. Like Houdini, the cage can’t hold them for longer than a few minutes. They make a horrible racket, tear up the ground under the cage, attack the cage with fierce determination and brute strength, and get away every time. Unlike Houdini, they also piss all over the place every time they get caught. Instead of a trapped squirrel, I end up with a bare spot of dirt or mud where the grass used to be, a bent cage, a stench of urine that seems to linger for days, but no squirrel.

I enclosed the feeder in metal, but they reinforced their teeth with addamantium, and promptly chewed through the metal. I moved the feeder from the tree, where they would hang upside down from pine needles, like Bulgarian acrobats. I bought a metal pole and anchored it in the ground, with the bird feeder on top. Defying gravity and other principles of physics including surface tension and friction, they climb straight up, not even slipping, where they sit and feast on my bird seed in plain sight of the kitchen table, to the delight of all but me. I greased the pole with Vaseline, enduring the shocked looks of the clerks at Walmart, who had never met someone who needed such a large vat of Vaseline for any purpose not associated with self gratification. They then proved that the evolutionary link between their winged, South American cousins, leaping from my deck to the top of the feeder without touching the pole. I didn’t even get the satisfaction of watching one try to climb the newly slathered pole.

I have decided to escalate the conflict, at the risk of achieving a Pyrrhic victory. For example, If I place a rat trap in the bird feeder, do I merely endanger the birds, or will the squirrels chew through my hose (again) and try to flood my basement? I might run leads from my circuit breaker to the metal pole that supports the feeder, and spread peanut butter on the feeder, but how many of my children will remain to help me celebrate when the first squirrel finally begins sending smoke signals to the others about the dangers of screwing with me? I considered lacing the bird feed with ball bearings, and buying a huge electromagnet from ACME, but it never seemed to work for Wile E. Coyote, so I became discouraged.

I only have one idea left, so I have to make it count: guerilla warfare. I plan to dig a deep hole all around the pole from which the bird feeder is hanging, and bury punjii sticks which have been dipped in feces. Then I will cover the hole with small sticks and spread mulch over the sticks to disguise the hole. If necessary, I will also spread walnuts all over the mulch. I’m sure it can’t fail.

Good luck. call when spring stops playing jokes on us and is actually here, so we can commiserate about our yards.



Dating 101–UPDATE

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Hi all, I was interviewed last week by John Hawkins of Right Wing News about dating. What the hell do I know about dating considering I’ve been with the same man for 20 years? Not much, currently, but back in the day…… Well, I’ve always loved men and getting to know different guys and being friends with them even if no relationship ensued. And so I waxed elephant about my opinions and shared some stories.

John also interviewed some fantastic people, some of whom I now count as friends. Cassy Fiano, Karol Sheinin of Alarming News, Sharon Soon of Conservatives with Attitude, Michelle Odis at Human Events, and author and blogger Dawn Eden.

UPDATE:

Well, Ace has some musings on dating women and blogging women, too:

Six female bloggers sound off about mistakes men make in dating, and three of them are put off by… overconfidence and braggin’ on what hot shit they are. (Not Karol, of course!)

So, basically, if more women were like female bloggers, Allah and I (and most of you) shouldn’t be able to leave the house without raincoat & rubbers for all the downpour of female attention and the splashing in puddles of adoring women.

Which leads me to believe 1) women bloggers are nothing like normal women or most likely 2) women bloggers are exactly like normal women in that they lie their pretty asses off.

Now wait just a minute, Ace. I just want to point out that I didn’t say I disliked bragging, although, it is annoying. More than that, I think you might have a point that women bloggers are nothing like normal women. We aren’t like normal women. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that we’re abnormal. Blogging is blood sport and the ladies who hang out and blog are made of tougher stuff than the average girl. I don’t think that’s the only difference, though. Blogging requires at least a cursory knowledge of things technical and I don’t want to make any gender generalizations here, but come on…. Not just that, women political bloggers like politics. Duh! Most women I know glaze over when politics are discussed–even the educated women. So yeah, female bloggers are weird. There’s hope for you, is all I’m saying. Keep the faith.

Michelle Malkin asks if you’d date a liberal. The consensus seems to be, “HELL NO!” You know, there are many philosophical differences or can be, but I’m open to all ideologies. I watch the numbers. (In basketball, you defend by watching the numbers not watching the head or listening to the trash talking. The body tells the truth.) What I mean is this: lots of people claim to be liberals because it makes them sound smarter, but in practice, they live conservative lives. So, if a person lives a conservative, traditional life and makes the mistake of voting Democrat, I can live with it. Thankfully, I don’t have to.

And then there’s the usual liberal b.s. proving the point. It’s funny though.

And then there’s Rusty Shackleford, who has John Hawkin’s number:

John Hawkins, once again, uses his cover as a top blogger to score phone numbers.

I feel so…..used.


Deviant Is The New Normal

Monday, March 31st, 2008

A friend and I were discussing furries. Do you know what they are? Well, if you don’t, read here about furries. It’s not that you need to know that weird freaks exist that get sexually excited by seeing people dressed up like Bugs Bunny or dressing like a giant panda, themselves. It’s that you need to know that no behavior is considered out of bounds any more.

Remember the dude from Seattle who got caught having sex with a dead deer next to the road? Yeah, well, he got caught doing it again. And you know the TV show basically extolling the virtues of polygamy? Well, I watched one episode. Polygamy is normal, don’t ya know?

In the article linked above, referring to the furries, the critic blames the internet. And while the internet provides fertile soil for every freak to grow his deviant idea, I believe it’s the psychology profession that has sanctioned every weird thing as normal. How can any limits to human behavior be imposed? Who is to say it’s wrong? And where do you draw the line?

Most people are repulsed by pedophilia. It’s as natural and instinctual to be disgusted at pedophilia as being disgusted at the smell of three day old fish in the sun. Most people find somebody who gets off on furry anything as freakish. It’s called deviance:

Deviance describes actions or behaviors that violate cultural norms including formally-enacted rules (e.g., crime) as well as informal violations of social norms (e.g., nose-picking).

Deviant behavior is practiced by those who are not knitted into the fabric of society. That is, the less interconnected they are, the more likely to adopt deviant behavior. This, of course, is chicken-egg reasoning. Does the deviant behavior isolate a person? Probably, and before the internet, probably did so even more. Now, a freak can find solace in a support group of sorts through the internet and their “society” becomes an association of freaks just like them. The social pressure to conform to norms no longer exists in the same way.

Couple this technological phenomena with the mental health profession’s unwillingness to label anything abnormal and there is a perfect cocktail of dysfunction becoming elevated to normative behavior. In addition to this, the church’s influence has sharply declined. The moral constraints of the church worked as a stop gap and shaming mechanism for those outside the societal mainstream. And this was to the good. Shame can be a powerful behavioral influence and a positive one for society at large.

In a more secular society, who will define normal? Will such a thing exist? And what will be the ramifications for society? I think we’re already seeing it. There is a balkanization amongst the populace. Women. Gays. Blacks. Furries. Even normal groups, isolated, become weird and calcified in their ideology.

People identify with their identity rather than a unifying idea.

The secular future will be a nihilistic, narcissistic place where all ideas are created equal and there is no abnormal. Behavior isn’t deviant, it’s individualistic. Essentially, the future will be like Germany is today, and the rest of Europe for that matter. Devoid of meaning because everything has meaning. Devoid of virtue because virtue exists in whatever you wish for it to exist in.

The elevating of the deviant has serious repercussions for society as a whole. Instead of a finely woven fabric, America will be like a unfinished patchwork quilt–all the pieces sitting next to one another but no unifying threads. Our lack of cohesion will be our definition. By elevating everything, we’ll be nothing.



Ferris Beuller, Smoot-Hawley, and Follow The Money When It Comes To Environmentalism and the Economy

Sunday, March 30th, 2008


Econ teacher in Ferris Bueller:

In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?… the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?… raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. “Voodoo” economics.

Maxed Out Mama explains the SmootHawley Act. I kid you not. But here’s what she’s really talking about and it’s very important students, so pay attention!

I believe that many politicians are being deeply dishonest about their “environmental” concerns. I also believe that instituting a carbon tariff will cause Asian growth to slow remarkably and further destabilize the world economy. The rise in food prices is very dangerous because it has an impact on the ability of emerging market countries to support consumption increases necessary to rebalance trade. If you add to the situation by doing something like this, you could recreate the conditions which caused the Great Depression.

WE SHOULD STOP THE RHETORIC AND THINK VERY SERIOUSLY while we still can.

We have no proof at all that CO2 is dramatically affecting global temperatures or will. We have a bunch of models that don’t predict previous temperature changes, so how can we believe that they are accurate in future predictions? We have a lot of hysteria on the subject, but it is mostly occurring in the political realm. Follow the money.

Are the world’s main powers continually in a power struggle? Yes. Are the world’s main powers subtly (and not so subtly) warring over ideologies and more significantly, right now, economies? I think so. The reliance and interconnectedness of the world economies causes significant vulnerability to states.

How so? Imagine having a billion people hungry because rice and corn and wheat are so expensive and in such a short supply that people and the government can’t afford them. Starvation on a massive scale, the disease that follows, tends to make people upset. There was a time when China couldn’t go out and take, by force, the resources needed for survival, but that has changed. By the way, I’m not writing as an economist since I’m clueless on that front. This opinion is just based on human nature and history. Oh, and China doesn’t need force to hurt America. Go read MoM’s full post to see why.

And this also relates to the ObamaClinton-McCain triumvirate of pandering to leftist dogma. All three seem moved by the environmental clap-trap that passes as truth. Should their economic policy be dictated by environmental policy, I fear for the world and for the United States.



Cults of Stupidity-UPDATED

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

It’s intoxicating to be one of the few lucky souls spared from the end of the world. At any given time, there have been those who are absolutely convinced the world will end soon, if not now, and that they have special, secret knowledge that will save them, but more importantly, fry you because you do not believe and you will be left behind. You’re an unbelieving stooge. Doomed.

Seven women left a cave in Russia today since the end of the world didn’t come at the allotted time. Or was it they didn’t have the patience to wait until the allotted time? Either way, the plan seemed to fail. It occurs to me that someone, eventually, is going to be right about the end of the world and have huge bragging rights.

Here’s my question: Will the Obama believers come out of the cave before or after the election? For example, the Wright affair seems to have taken the blush off the rose for some, but others are too excited about being saved from the apocalypse to note that the savior might just be the dude hiding behind the curtains and not like, you know, a super awesome savior born of a virgin.

Obama feels a whole lot like Jimmy Carter. And I’m getting the shivers thinking about it.

Update: I forgot to tell you yahoos about this, but you might have already heard. There are huge perks for cult leaders, in case you didn’t know. When not holed up in caves, they tend to have nicer digs–and their crazy uncles, too.



What’s Going On?

Friday, March 28th, 2008

I’m weary of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Kudos to Hillary for duking it out all the way to the end. You go girl! Your political instincts are spot on. Barack will implode, no doubt, before the big dance at the convention and then you, the solid, balanced one will ride in and save the Democratic party. Yep, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Brendan Loy says that Howard Dean wants the Super delegates to decide by July 1. Yeah, right:

Dean’s logic is not necessarily pristine here, alas. Even if every single one of the 794 supers were to “say who they’re for” prior to July 1, that doesn’t necessarily mean “we don’t have to take this into the convention.” Indeed, in a formal sense, we “have to take this into the convention” no matter what — there is, after all, going to be a roll call at the convention, and no other binding roll call will occur before then. The best the Democrats can do is have a nominee presumptive before the convention, not an actual nominee. And that only works if Hillary Clinton plays along.

Ha! As if! When has a Clinton ever played nice?

Now, to the really important stuff. I missed this little piece of Americana, but Gina Cobb, who is always all over it misses nothin’. You can all rest safe, the NAACP is fighting for the right of your boys to show their underwear. I’m serious. Let’s keep our priorities straight, here. That’s what Dr. King fought the long fight for–to keep us free to show men’s panties.

Criminals, are, by definition, dumb, but these guys take the cake. If you were a criminal, where would you go to rob someone for lots of money? Oh, come on! Guess! Wrong…..you’ll have to go look.

Are you an easily offended Christian? I find them annoying, actually. Satan is serious. His minions are serious–Hitler, Stalin, Castro. Do they laugh? I think not. A Christian should have perspective. Perspective helps a person see humor in things. It also helps a person see his own ridiculousness and so, it’s easier to laugh at self and therefore, others. Now, some things should be offensive to Christians, but not the things you think. The Anchoress explains.

Mitt Romney and John McCain are a cute couple? Um… I’m not sure how to respond to that.

As an aside, my son is watching a Playhouse Disney cartoon extolling the virtues of Melissa the Magnificent Moose. I shit you not. “Melissa, the magnificent moose. Brave and bold.” It’s a song. Nice.

Good news! Pamela Geller has that film that Network solutions wouldn’t support. Go watch it!

Ok, folks, I’ll add more cool stuff later. Thanks to you readers who are sending me interesting stuff. Oh, that reminds me, a dear reader sent me a link to this video and I think you should see it. This is what REALLY happened in Bosnia with Hillary. I know. It’s terrifying.



Is She Fat?–UPDATED & Bumped

Thursday, March 27th, 2008



This article caught my attention. A teenage girl in the UK named Chloe Marshall wears a size 16 and is competing in the Miss England beauty competition. She is beautiful. She is curvy. Is she fat? I mean, she obviously has fat on her, but is she what most people would consider fat? Go take a look and come back (there is a full body picture).

It seems that the culture has changed somewhat. The definition of thin seems to be anorexic skinny. The definition of fat seems to be….what?

Are you acceptable visually, as a woman, if you can wear ‘regular” clothes as opposed to shopping plus sized? Is it how the weight is distributed? I’m putting this up for a poll. You guys let me know what you think.

Chloe Marshall (the beauty contest contestent) is:
Fat
Average
pollcode.com free polls

Update: Rachel Lucas did what I was too lazy to do and put the full body size pictures next to each other for comparison and then she goes on a righteous rant about body image and Hollywood starlets:

But Paris Hilton is not a size 0.

Girls see sites like this one, which claims that Paris is 5′8″ and 105 pounds. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. I know what 105 pounds looks like, and it ain’t Paris Hilton.

No, Hilton is not a size 0. Now, Nicole Ritchie in her anorexic stage? Size 0. That’s what Size 0 looks like. Earnest Iconoclast commented over at Rachel’s site and links to this site that shows how a person looks at a certain height and weight. It’s not what you’d think. And, I’m kinda surprised actually. People look better at certain weights than you’d imagine.

Another commenter mentioned that a fit person looks better at the same weight as an unfit person. Well, fat takes up more room than muscle and it’s not as smooth either.

Still, a lean, strong person will weigh more than you think. An actress that comes to mind is Jessica Biel. She is very fit and strong, but that girl will never be a Size 0 or Size 6, probably, either. She is at least 5’7″ and she’s broad. She looks fantastic. But there is no way in hell that she is the 108 pounds I saw at one site or the 118 pounds I saw at another. She is at least 130 pounds, easily, probably more and it’s all muscle. I agree with Rachel. Women need to stop lying about this and the actresses themselves need to stop lying about it. It’s stupid.

Update again:
Oh, I forgot to link to this chart which is a BMI chart (BMI means Body Mass Indicator). Now, please note, that by this chart, Tom Cruise is considered fat. So is President Bush. Both men are extraordinarily fit for their age. Also note, that for Biel’s height, she should be between 117-159 pounds. I’m upping my estimate of her weight to 140. She has such amazing muscle density, that she weighs far more than she looks.

So, just FYI, do NOT rely on the BMI chart if you are very muscular. It will likely count you as obese. The BMI is for average people of average fitness.



Joss Whedon Misogynist? Zoe Boring? All Sex is Rape? Frodo and Sam?

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

I’m taking a major detour to Nerdsville and you guys are stuck for the ride. Over at Ace’s place he links to a discussion of the misogyny of Joss Whedon vis-a-vis the interaction between Mal and Zoe and Mal and Kaylee. Bat crap. But Ace is full of crap, too. He says that Zoe’s character is one-dimensional and boring. Whatever. I prefer to view her as battle-worn and stoic. Her comic lines are played straight. She is tough, uncompromising and a warrior. Even Jayne was scared of her. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, lets deal with stupid women writing stupid feminist shit about something they obviously doesn’t know shit about. The title of this piece of magnificence is called “A Rapist’s View of the World” and the writer says this:

I have to say that now that I have subjected myself to the horror that is Firefly, I really am beyond worried about how much men hate us, given that this was written by a man who calls himself a feminist.

I find much of Joss Whedon’s work to be heavily influenced by pornography, and pornographic humour. While I would argue that there are some aspects of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer that are feminist and progressive, there is much that isn’t and I find it highly problematic that there are many very woman-hating messages contained within a show that purports itself as feminism. But Firefly takes misogyny to a new level of terrifying. I am really, really worried that women can call the man who made this show a feminist.

For myself, I’m not sure that I will recover from the shock of watching the malicious way in which Joss stripped his female characters of their integrity, the pleasure he seemed to take from showing potentially powerful women bashed, the way he gleefully demonized female power and selfhood and smashed women into little bits, male fists in women’s faces, male voices drowning out our words.

Huh. Having watched Firefly from beginning to end and re-watched many episodes, all I can ask is,”Were you watching the same show I was watching?” The major problem this woman seems to have is understanding the context of this show. It’s a ship. It’s enclosed. People don’t get out or go anywhere for long stretches of time. There is sexual tension. The men are brash. You’re unlikely to find a soft, tree-hugging, bunny-affirming male on a ship–any ship. There’s a reason why there are lots of pregnant sailors on ships. People like sex. But here, according to the author, is the definition of rape:

I believe in the radical feminist definition of rape. That is that men who pressure women into sex are rapists. That women who are pressured are not freely consenting and are therefore being raped. There have been a few discussions recently in the rad fem blogosphere debating whether all male initiated sex is rape, given that women are politically, socially and economically subordinate to men. So, in my understanding of Joss Whedon as a rapist is hinges on my definition of rape. I would argue that most ‘sex’ between men and women, in the contemporary ‘sex-positive’, pornographic, male-supremacist culture, is rape.”

Oh, that’s just awesome! No wonder she’s a lesbian; it’s the only way she can have sex and not be raped. Although, I wonder if she would view consensual sex with a female superior in a strap-on as rape. Probably not. My take from Whedon’s elevation of prostitution is that he chose one of two intellectually honest opinions: 1) either prostitution is an accepted profession and should be honored as much as the men retain their honor when using a prostitute’s service or 2) everyone should be prosecuted and viewed equally vilely by society. He chose option one. And, actually, prostitutes and concubines were often the educated females–temple prostitutes and whatnot. So Whedon is pulling from history in his space-age adventure and fooling around with expectations for shock value. It worked.

The men in Whedon’s world are also interesting. Mal, the captain, is a veteran of war, barely survived and is rather cynical. He gives all his subordinates a hard time, including the women. In one case, the author failed to mention, Mal defends a whore house from an assault because one of the Johns fathered a child and believed it was his right to take the child because his wife was infertile. In one particularly hot scene during that episode, Mal beds one of the prostitutes and treats her with ….respect. Whedon portrays Mal as the reluctant hero, a man at war with society because society sucks–kinda like Robinhood. Read up on Robinhood. Robinhood was the good guy. So is Mal.

But Ace insists that Mal is a bad guy. In what ‘verse? He poses as the outsider, but when it comes down to it, he makes the moral choice every time. Well, almost every time. And this is where I’m going to travel deeper into the Nerd village. I see an analogy between Mal and Zoe’s relationship and another relationship from literature: Frodo and Sam from Lord of the Rings. Both are the classic military relationship–Mal is Captain, Zoe is XO. One major difference, besides gender, is that Sam isn’t torn between his wife and Captain until the end. For Zoe, the tension enters early. She is loyal in an entirely devoted way to Mal. She is also married. For me, the weakest character isn’t Zoe, it’s her husband Wash. I wasn’t surprised that he was killed off in the end, it was either him or Zoe. The tension couldn’t last. And besides being a good pilot, he was a problem in combat operations.

Zoe is sort of one-dimensional, I’ll grant Ace that much, but to say she’s mechanical seems excessive. She is the strong, silent type who has the ability to surprise. And after the loyalty inspired by Mal, she devotes her life to his mission–stealing stuff. Hey! It’s a TV show, it doesn’t have to make sense.

Okay, I think I’ve demonstrated more than enough evidence of not getting out enough. Bottom line, feminism is stupid and Firefly should still be on TV. Oh, and sex is good. And, yeah, The Lord of the Rings is awesome, too.



Spring in San Fran & The Crazies Are A-Bloomin’

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Stink! I hate being slow on the uptake and it totally escaped me that on the 5th Anniversary of the War (which I did note), I forgot about the fine citizens of the Golden Gate. They did, of course, come out in force. Dr. Seuss riseth again. Zombie captured the nonsense. Remember last time? The naked tree dwellers? This time, it’s just crazy hate. But they love the troops. They really, really love the troops. H/T Little Green Footballs



Charity Begins At Uncle Sam’s Home

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

At least if you’re a liberal, that is. The other day, I talked about my experiences receiving government versus church charity. Now, there is a book talking about the personal political and religious philosophies that drive giving. Betsy says this about the Obamas in her post Charitable Giving Through The State:

Of course, individual giving may vary quite widely from these averages. Yet I’d just been thinking of Brooks’ findings as Michelle and Barack Obama released their tax returns that showed that they had greatly increased their charitable giving once he had decided to run for president.

The Obamas’ returns are striking on a number of levels. They show that the couple made very few charitable contributions, sometimes less than 1 percent of taxable income, until Mr. Obama began his run for the White House.

In 2004, before Mr. Obama entered the Senate, he and his wife gave $2,500 to charity, 1.2 percent of the taxable income. The next year, the donations jumped, to $77,315, or nearly 5 percent of the taxable income.

The Obamas are just one example, and not typical. They are very well off, obviously, if 5% of their taxable income is nearly $80,000. But the idea behind the giving or lack thereof is philosophical. We pay taxes. Taxes are meant to help the poor. And that’s that. It’s absolution of sorts and a way to disconnect a person from the need that their money would help meet.