Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Modern Progressive Movement Summed Up Perfectly

This post at View From the Porch provides the perfect metaphor to sum up the modern progressive movement.

In sum total, what you people did was drive someplace where there wasn't a problem, complain about something you don't fully understand, get in the way of people who may actually be performing a function, and then do nothing, en masse, except hope that someone else notices your little snit and makes it all better.

Useless idiots.

This from the comments is great too:

"If not now, then when?"

Would the hippie cry if somebody told her she's quoting Ronald Reagan?
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blogger Has Taken to Eating My Posts

Blogger has developed a very annoying habit of eating my posts lately.  I'll spend a bunch of time posting and commenting on links and excerpts only to have large chunks of the post either be randomly rearranged or just disappear altogether when I hit the publish post button. It happens most often when I have already posted, then reopen it to fix paragraph spacing or fix a typo. I end up having to recreate large parts of my post. 

It happened again just this morning when I went back to fix a grammatical inconsistency in my June 23 post on Obama's narcissism. Everything after the "And:" between the blockquotes vanished. Happily, I remembered Google cache and sure enough the intact post was still there so I was able to copy the missing text back to the original post. I think I may just copy and paste the entire text of my posts to a Word document from now on before I publish, just to make sure that if I go back in to tweak aftwerwards, I don't find myself staring at a mostly blank composition window and have to start from scratch. It really is annoying and frustrating though. Has anyone else been having the same issue?

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The Gulf Oil Spill - An Avertible Catastrophe

This article at the Financial Post shows how the damage caused by the Deep Horizon well blow-out could have been far less than it is going to be due to the federal government's botched response. The question I'm trying to sort out in my mind is how much of this is sheer incompetence and how much is cynical political calculation (redundant?)? There's certainly a lot of the former, but I'm begining to think the latter may outweigh it by a considerable margin. Go and read the article and look at the offers of assistance from the Dutch and others and how our government has responded to them. You may draw your own conclusions from there.

"Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality."

(via Instapundit)
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Business Roundtable Chairman Finds Out Why It's a Bad Idea to Play Let's Make a Deal With the Devil Government

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who is also chairman of the Business Roundtable, is all surprised that the group's efforts to work with the current left-wing controlled government didn't have the results they had hoped.

It turns out that actively supporting a pro-tax, pro-regulation Democratic majority on issues like health care doesn't really get you anything save more taxes and more regulation.

Quelle surprise. With this guy in charge, maybe I should short Verizon stock.

Read the whole thing.
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Big Government, Bad Journalism and Manipulating the News

Glenn Reynolds linked to a post at Hot Air by Doctor Zero discussing the Dave Weigel/Journolist scandal that unfolded this week. If you missed it the short version is that Weigel was a columnist for the Washington Post whose beat was coverage of the conservative movement and the TEA Parties. In fact he was not the neutral observer he pretended to be but a virulent hater of conservatives, a fact he let slip on a listserv known as Journolist. Someone leaked some of his posts over there, rendering his job at the Washington Post untenable. 

That brings us to the second and probably more important  part of this story. Journolist (now taken down) was a liberals-only forum for journalists with some 400 members. It's purpose was to provied a formum where they could discuss and shape stories for the purpose of advancing a particular narrative. Here is Doctor Zero's summation of the Weigel affair:

"Weigel has spent the last few months working as an observer of the conservative movement for the Washington Post, whose readers must wonder about the identity of the vast Tea Party crowds occasionally blocking their view of the IRS building. As it turns out, Weigel really hates the people he’s been covering, and sees himself precisely the way conservatives see most dinosaur-media reporters: as a partisan operative of the Democrat Party. He expressed his hatred, and loyalties, in a series of communications posted to JournoList. These emails became an embarrassing burst of digital flatulence when they were made public. Weigel is out of a job at theWashington Post, and JournoList is gone."

And here is what the issue boils down to:

"Here we cross the line between editorial decisions and bias. Why would an unbiased newspaper be afraid to honestly report news that makes one side of a political debate look appealing, instead assigning a reporter to highlight fringe material to cast them in the most negative light possible? Of course, they are biased, but it’s even worse than that. They’re subjective. They pretend to be commentators, but they’re actually players in the game… just like everyone else. Our fates are all controlled by the immense central government worshipped by the Post. They have a vested interest in ensuring its sustained growth, so they can make their fortune writing epic tales of its heroic deeds."

This is the issue with the mainstream media, and you've heard me banging on about it before, but things really appear to be coming to a head lately as the conservative side gains strength in the polls and the left becomes ever more desparate to cling to power in November. I'll leave you with a few questions  one of Glenn's readers asks:

"Why is no one calling for the outing of the 400 JournoList members and an investigation of whether there were any other attempts to collude and to coordinate the media narrative? Is no else as disturbed by this as I am? We’re constantly told that the media are special, that they’re the Fourth Estate, and that their proper functioning is vital to the health of the Republic. Well, is no one else profoundly disturbed that no one is watching the watchers? Or that the watchers are actually colluding in a virtual smoke-filled back room to massage and frame the narrative?

Imagine if a conservative listserv were discovered, and that it included Rupert Murdoch and 400 conservative pundits and journalists. Imagine if it were disclosed that the participants actively discussed coordination in framing stories so as to benefit the Republican Party. Do you think there would be a ho hum “Oh, it was just a private list” response? Of course not, the liberals would be howling to the rafters about the existential threat to the Republic.

So why all the frivolity here? Even now, the Weigel story is breaking down into stupid distractions like whether Weigel actually wished death on Drudge, or whether people on a listserv have an expectation of privacy. Seriously, why is that even remotely important compared to the fact that 400 of this nation’s most prominent journalists and pundits were having discusions about killing or promoting stories based on whether they hurt the Democratic Party agenda? If there is any justice or sanity in this world, this should be bigger than ClimateGate. I want to see an archive of the JournoList postings and then compare them to any contemporaneous stories written by participants. Once that is done, we can tar and feather the bastards for betraying their profession and the people of this country."

All very good questions, ones I hope a lot of us will be demanding answers too. Go read both posts. There are lots of good links from the Hot Air post too.
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The Declaration of Independence - Updated for the Present Age

Chris Muir's Day by Day cartoon is one of my daily stops. Today he offers a slight rewrite of the Declaration of Independence to update it for current events. Go and read it. The language hasn't changed, just the names. 
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Thursday, June 17, 2010


No comment necessary. Kleenex? Maybe.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Obama's Radical Grandiose Narcissism - Mark Steyn

Anyone who has been to college in the United States has met one of these people; the smug, got-it-all-figured-out, 20 year old, self-professed Marxist "progressive", waving his copy of the Communist Manifesto an/or Mao's little red book at everyone. In other words, an insufferable punk. You give him a wide birth and you move on, hoping his collision with post-college reality won't be too traumatic, or come to think of it, you do. Mark Steyn has the type nailed in this article at NRO. He doesn't call the president a Marxist but his description of the mentality at work as a sort of "radical grandiose narcissm" reminds me very much of the kind of person I'm talking about. Read the whole thing of course (Come on, it's Steyn. Why wouldn't you?) but here's a taste:

Obama’s postmodern detachment is feeble and parochial. It’s true that he hadn’t seen much of America until he ran for president, but he hadn’t seen much of anywhere else, either. Like most multiculturalists, he’s passed his entire adulthood in a very narrow unicultural environment where your ideological worldview doesn’t depend on anything so tedious as actually viewing the world.


Thus, Barack Obama: He declared himself operational without such a declaration being based on any true capability. But, if it works for the EU, why not America? Like many of his background here and there, Obama is engaged mostly by abstractions and generalities. Indeed, he is the very model of a modern major generalist.

Finally, the best line of all:

As someone once said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” When you’ve spent that long waiting in line for yourself, it’s bound to be a disappointment.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Jeff Flake Tries to Shut Out His Competition

I learned from Seeing Red AZ that Congressman Jeff Flake is using his clout in his home legislative district, State Legislative District 22, to keep his constituents from having the opportunity to hear  from another candidate for the Arizona Congressional District 6 seat he now occupies, Jeff Smith, a man I have met and who I think would be an excellent representative. Flake has been in Washington too long. He originally ran on a promise to self term limit to three terms. He is now running for his sixth. He has also bought into the buncombe that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that needs to be regulated and is co-sponsoring legislation to tax emissions (HR 2380).

What's the matter, Mr. Flake? Are you feeling a bit insecure about your record lately? The voters in AZ6/State District 22 deserve an opprotunity to hear what Mr. Smith has to offer them. If you are confident of your record, what do you have to be afraid of?

LD 22 meets on the second Thursday of each month. The meeting location is undisclosed. The widely distributed GOP calendar of events lists District Chairman Chad Heywood at (480) 388-6149 or email him at for further information. This would be a good opportunity to ask about the restrictive policies and let him know you want to hear from all the candidates.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

The First Amendment to the Constitution is Under Attack, Again.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The above is the plain, unmistakable text of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Yet abridging the natural right of freedom of speech, to express one's opinions freely is exactly what the leftists in Congress are trying to do again.

Unhappy with the SCOTUS decision in the case of Citizens United vs. FEC (I wrote about it here in February) that overturned most of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, the Democrats are trying to end run the Constitution by introducing the DISCLOSE act  which could have the effect of banning books, or even blogs like this one based on whether the government thinks I am "spreading misinformation" or engaging in "hate speech" (which is anything that disagrees with the leftist narrative) . I, for one, am not going to accept a government muzzle because someone in the government disagrees with what I have to say.

Paul Hsieh has a very good post over at Pajamas Media on this subject, which of course you should go and read in its entirety, but he makes these important points about what the First Amendment means that I want to call out:

"For classical liberals, this means the right to express one’s ideas without government censorship. The government could not suppress speech, regulate its dissemination, require licensing before one could state opinions, or promote one form of speech over another.

This is just an application of the broader principle that the only proper function of government is to protect individual rights. Unless we violate others’ rights through force, fraud, or threat thereof, we should be left free to live according to our best rational judgment — including the freedom to express our ideas without government interference. (Speech that violates others’ rights, such as fraud or death threats should not and would not be protected.)

Equally important, the right to free speech does not mean the right to the means of speech, such as an alleged “right” to newspaper space or broadcast time. A private publisher has no obligation to allow you to express your views on his pages. There is no such thing as a “right” to an audience. Private parties who choose not to publish your ideas are not engaging in censorship; only the government can commit censorship."

If this legislation passes, then we have a Congress that doesn't even pay lip service to the Constitution any more and we need to vote them out of office while we still can, which may not be much longer.
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Whose Ass Needs to be Kicked?

Via Power Line we find that Michael Ramirez knows:

And click through to the Power Line post for some fine bumper sticker art too!
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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Road to Hell and the Goo-Goo Genocidaire

Last week I linked to an article by Theodore Dalrymple on how misguided compassion of some people hurts the poor. That misguided compassion has a far deadlier counterpart in well-meaning people who espouse peace without understanding that merely wishing for peace will not create the conditions necessary to keep and safeguard it. Walter Russell Mead calls these people "goo-goo genocidaires".

The people I have in mind are the ‘goo-goo genocidaires,’ the willfully blind reformers, civil society activists, clergy, students and others whose foolishness and ignorance was a necessary condition for tens of millions of deaths in the last hundred years. Unreflective, self-righteous ‘activists’ thought that to espouse peace was the same thing as to create or safeguard it. As a result, tens of millions died. Unless this kind of thinking is exposed and repudiated, it is likely to lead to as many or more deaths in the 21st.

We all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions; this turns out to be particularly true when it comes to the road to foreign policy hell. Over the years good people or at least people who wanted to be good or thought they were, motivated by what seemed to them to be the highest of motives, have taken political stands and made policy proposals that helped mass murderers gain power in their own countries and launch themselves on international careers of conquest and mayhem. At other times, fortunately, they’ve failed to change policy; still, they wasted a lot of people’s time and made life significantly more difficult for those whose plans to help the world ultimately worked.

Read it all.

(via Instapundit)
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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Wildly Impractical But Fun Alt-Fuel Vehicle....

Propelled by 108 2-litre bottles of Diet Coke an 642 Mentos.

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Sympathy Deformed - Theodore Dalrymple on How Misguided Compassion Hurts the Poor

We're constantly told how society must take care of "those less fortunate than we are" and to a point, that is right. But what happens when instead of giving someone temporarily down on his luck a leg up until he can become self-reliant, we cut off his legs completely and make him dependent on aid?  Theodore Dalrymple shows us how a society can be brought to ruin, armed only with the best intentions. Read the whole thing, but here is his introduction:

To sympathize with those who are less fortunate is honorable and decent. A man able to commiserate only with himself would surely be neither admirable nor attractive. But every virtue can become deformed by excess, insincerity, or loose thinking into an opposing vice. Sympathy, when excessive, moves toward sentimental condescension and eventually disdain; when insincere, it becomes unctuously hypocritical; and when associated with loose thinking, it is a bad guide to policy and frequently has disastrous results. It is possible, of course, to combine all three errors.

He goes on to give examples of how what seem to us like poor societies, as measured by GDP per capita, aren't really all that poor because people operate outside the "money economy". It is only when well-meaning wealthier nations start getting involved that they become truly impoverished.  This is where the welfare state could, actually will, take us all eventually.

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And Now Back to Our (Ir)Regularly Scheduled Programming

I just finished with my busiest time of the year at work so I haven't had time to blog, though there's been plenty to blog about. Now that I have some time to think about things other than making sure I continue to justify my paycheck, I'll try to post a bit more frequently.

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