February 26, 2011

Leading Sexual Indicator: Gadaffy's Voluptuous Ukrainian "Nurse" Getting Out of Town
— Ace

Losing major cities? Bad.

Losing oil-rich coasts? Worse.

Losing your paid big-breasted "nurse"? It's over.

And I'm not just being silly -- Gadaffy presumably has much more control over this prostitute than the average man in the street of Tripoli. She's close to him, she's important to him, and as he says, "I either rule you or I kill you."

So now she's splitting. Possibly with his approval, but if that's the case, he knows he's done. And if he's not insisting she go down, Eva Braun style, with him, maybe he's thinking about sparing Tripoli his last bloodbath, too.

Posted by: Ace at 09:37 AM | Comments (99)
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The Sexual Marketplace and How The Firesale-Prices Cost of Sex Hurts Women
— Ace

Very interesting (and conservative-in-implication) article at the amateur webzine Slate about the plummeting social costs of sex, which then engenders (ahem) a loss of sexual power in women. Worth a read in full, but here's the gist:

The idea that sex ratios alter sexual behavior is well-established. Analysis of demographic data from 117 countries has shown that when men outnumber women, women have the upper hand: Marriage rates rise and fewer children are born outside marriage. An oversupply of women, however, tends to lead to a more sexually permissive culture. The same holds true on college campuses. In the course of researching our book Premarital Sex in America, my co-author and I assessed the effects of campus sex ratios on women's sexual attitudes and behavior. We found that virginity is more common on those campuses where women comprise a smaller share of the student body, suggesting that they have the upper hand. By contrast, on campuses where women outnumber men, they are more negative about campus men, hold more negative views of their relationships, go on fewer dates, are less likely to have a boyfriend, and receive less commitment in exchange for sex.

A related thought I've had concerns feminists' religious doctrine that social restraints on sexual behavior is all caused by grubby, oppressive, vagina-shackling men. This doesn't make sense at all, and never has made sense, and is an unchallenged meme in the Grrls Rule, Boys Drool leftist feminist culture not because it makes a lick of sense but only because it hangs all the evils of the world on the Designated Sexual Villains in the feminist morality play. Men, of course.

If one accepts the hard-to-dispute premise that, between the sexes, women prefer a higher-sexual-cost regime in which men are supposed to "work for it," as it were, and men prefer a lower-sexual-cost regime in which their sexual needs can be gratified with almost no work whatsoever (compare and contrast female wish-fulfillment romcoms with male wish-fulfillment pornos, or even James Bond movies, actually), then of course it makes sense that women, rather than men, have a sound motive for increasing the sexual penalties for promiscuous sex whereas men have stronger motive for decreasing them.

Any feminist (from the leftist POV, I mean) examination of prostitution -- oh, I'm sorry, "sex worker labor-trade" or whatever we're supposed to call it -- begins (and usually ends, frankly) with the unexamined and unchallenged premise that it is men who wish to criminalize prostitution, dirty men who make prostitutes social pariahs, filthy men who make the term "whore" a hateful one used to keep sex-working labor-traders in their despised place at the bottom of the social heirarchy.

But men, of course, are the primary consumers of sex-work labor-trade. Whether straight or gay, the overwhelming rule is then men pay sex-workers for genital-labor. There is a niche market of prostitution for women, but it is such a tiny market it seizes the public imagination precisely because it is so rare.

The prominent male equivalent of a sex-working genital-trader for women is not in fact a paid prostitute -- that exists, but in vanishingly small numbers -- but a gigolo, who is primarily a consort, a romantic-type companion who doesn't get paid cash-on-the-barrelhead for sexual favors but rather receives gifts and upkeep for maintaining the illusion he's romantically interested in his sugar-momma. Only secondarily, if at all, is a gigolo a stud for hire.

Given this situation, which of the two sexes has a stronger interest in criminalizing prostitution? Which of the two sexes uses the services of prostitution -- is "helped" by the service, in their own minds -- and which of the two sexes is harmed by prostitution?

It seems to me that, rather obviously, it is women who have the strongest motivation to criminalize prostitution, to drive it away and underground, and to make the trade as socially-penalized as possible. It is women who are harmed by their men inflicting emotional distress on them by employing the services of a genital-trader, it is women who suffer second-hand venereal disease, it is women who see a share of the couple's collected wealth being diverted away, outside the couple, to pay for the upkeep of a prostitute.

That's not nothing, is it?

It is worth noting, I think, that the criminalization of prostitution occurred with the rise of women's rights and women's sufferage. Prostitution was famously legal in Victorian England, for example. (A libertarian English writer at NRO liked to quip that he was all in favor of re-imposing Victorian morality on society, given that prostitution, drugs, and guns were not only legal but barely restricted at all.)

This is not to make women the Bad Guys in new morality play -- women have perfectly reasonable and perfectly valid reasons for wishing to make prostitution (and, more importantly, soliciting the services of a prostitute) as rare and as socially unacceptable as possible.

But it is to suggest that left-leaning feminists are rather, what's the word?, silly in their determination to pin this alleged wrong on men.

Leftist feminists of the younger, sillier generation similarly attempt to claim that it is evil, controlling men who use the word whore to not merely brand actual prostitutes but to control the sexual expressions of everyday women. That is, they assert (and these extremely silly third-generation feminists seem to write about little else but this) feel that social disapproval of female promiscuity is almost entirely a male invention, because men, you see, want to keep women from having sex with other men, so we invent the usage of the word "whore" to describe a sexually-liberated woman and by infecting the culture with this disease of whore-branding, make sexually-promiscuous women feel badly about their sexual choices and force them to conform to a male, Christian-fundamentalist (of course) regime of female chastity.

To the extent that women participate in this oppressive regime of whore-deeming, it's only because a false conscience has been imposed upon them by male-dominated media. Women call other women "whores" not because women wish to wound other women (their sexual competition) but because men have hypnotized them to think this way.

To control their scary vaginas.

Once again, I ask: Does this postulate make a lick of sense? Again I ask: Between the two sexes, which of them sexually profits from a regime of low-cost, easily-obtained sex, and which of them is harmed by this regime?

Which of the two sexes would prefer (as a rule) a slower-evolving sexual relationship in the context of courtship, and therefore would have a good reason to brand their sexual competition "whores" for essentially breaking the rules and cheating and therefore attracting and keeping men (for a time, at least) by behaving promiscuously?

Women, I submit, are hurt by what can be thought of a Sexual Arms Race in which other women are willing to overlook the normal rules of courtship in order to rush to gratify a man's sexual urges. This leads to increased pressure on other women to behave, sexually, in a way they would prefer not to. And this, I submit, once again suggests that it is women, not men, have a stronger interest in propagating a social norm of sexual chastity and enforcing it by the tools of social disapproval -- calling women who seem to be gaming the system to their advantage "whores."

Again, there is nothing I think is wrong with this, and I don't think women are bad at all for this -- every social group evolves norms and methods of enforcement. Every guild attempts to hedge out the competition and promote guild-members.

But I do find it extraordinary silly that lefty feminists continue to insist that it is men, of all people, who workin' as hard as they can to keep women chaste. To keep women from having sex with them, in other words. To make women feel bad about the occasional one night stand so that men can't have the occasional one night stand.

Does this sound like men to you? Or does it sound like a fantasy farce of cartoon men, wearing the Black Hats of Insanely-Counterproductive Sexual Prohibition, concocted by a blame-shifting villain-needing sexual cult?

As has been noted many, many times (not that lefty feminists ever notice), we did in fact have a Sexual Revolution, and men won. And the strangest thing about this is that lefty feminists, while claiming (and falsely believing) themselves to be liberating women, have in fact been eagerly liberating men, liberating men from the need of offering any kind of satisfactory trade-in-kind to women for sexual favors.

In their strange inversion of reality, it's men who have the means, motive, and opportunity to increase the costs of obtaining sex and it's women, on the other hand, who have the strong interest in a promiscuity and commitment-free (or even dinner-date free) sex.

And men, who, in this role-reversed alternate reality feminists have concocted, desperately want women to keep their vaginas chaste, can only be "beaten" by giving it all away for free.

And of course keeping abortion not only legal but socially praiseworthy because, again in this comic-book "What If?" issue of reality feminists have concocted, men only want to have sex to produce children and women, of course, are far less game for procreation, viewing sex as primarily a vehicle for erotic gratification. But that's a dementia for another day.

Somewhat Related Note: I never really watched Melrose Place, but I was forced to witness it by proxy (it was a craze when I was younger, all but inescapable if you were dating a woman or, for that matter, a gay guy dating another gay guy).

But I was always struck by soap opera's go-to "What If?" comic-book premise. The clear pattern on Melrose Place was that most of the women, particularly the pro-active, heroic, popular characters, were all sexually liberated and very nearly sexually predatory, whereas men all pined for commitment and courtship and white picket fences and moped about when they couldn't have that.

This is wish-fulfillment; and there's nothing wrong with that. Popular entertainment is built of wish-fulfillment. And when each gender dreams of sex, it dreams that the other gender would behave as they would or they wish. Thus, in female wish-fulfillment, all the men are devoted and can only think of family and courtship and commitment, while in male wish-fulfillment (James Bond, any action movie, any porno) women are just as willing as the guys to have a bit of boning amidst the explosions.

Silly third-generation feminists watched Melrose Place and didn't realize it was fantasy inverted-world wish-fulfillment, but in fact was describing actual reality, or at least the way the world could be and should be, if dirty men weren't screwing everything up by insisting that Heather Loclear settle down and marry someone.

Posted by: Ace at 09:04 AM | Comments (292)
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Saturday Filler Video
— LauraW

Training adorable children to go all Honey Badger on gravity and obstacles.

Posted by: LauraW at 09:00 AM | Comments (31)
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Call Off the Shutdown . . . For Now
— Gabriel Malor

Thanks to some quick re-branding by congressional Republicans, there's a new normal in the budget fight: let's cut $2 billion per week. After years of out-of-control spending $2 billion doesn't sound like very much. But, as the old saying goes, a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon we're talking about everything Republicans wanted for the rest of the fiscal year.

Threats of a government shutdown next week had all but disappeared by late Friday as Democrats reacted favorably to a Republican plan that would keep agencies operating past Mar. 4 while making a first down payment toward a larger budget deal.


A first installment of $4 billion in savings would be part of the deal now and Republicans have said they will insist on $2 billion more in cuts for each additional week the talks continue past the new deadline. The novel approach is one devised by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), trying to keep pace with his large freshman class while avoiding the same sort of shutdown that so hurt Republicans in the 1990’s when they confronted then President Bill Clinton.

Senate Democrats bitterly resent Boehner’s approach, saying he is holding the government hostage, nibbling away with weekly ransom demands to placate his tea party supporters. But the speaker carefully confined his first demands to the least painful cuts, and in an amusing turnabout, Democrats rushed to take credit for an idea they had seemed ready to go to war over days before.

Whereas Democrats can piss and moan about $60+ billion in cuts as if it were an outrageously unreasonable sum of money, $2 billion per week sounds absolutely reasonable, even though it comes to the exact same amount when you multiply it over the rest of the fiscal year. Boehner's reaction to Reid's proposal to cut nothing: "You're telling me you think there is no excessive government spending at all." Of course, that's exactly what Reid thinks, he just can't say it out loud.

With the public in a spending cut kind of mood, $2 billion a week is an easy sell. All Boehner has to do is contrast it with the Spendulus to point out just how reasonable he's being. And Democrats have no choice but to go along with it or be seen as the cause of the Government Shutdown of 2011, the horrors of which the President himself has been talking up.

The Democrats thought they were maneuvering Republicans into the hot seat. Instead, they were making their own position harder to maintain. If a shutdown really is as awful as they were making it sound, then they have an even greater responsibility to see that it is avoided. Along comes Speaker Boehner with a reasonable offer and, as Poltico noted, the threats of shutdown disappeared.

And finally, this sets an excellent precedent going forward. If they approved $2 billion in cuts last week, why not another $2 billion this week? And next week? It gets harder to say, "well, the last $2 billion was reasonable, but this next $2 billion is just impossible." Democrats just lost the budget fight.

Nice job, Speaker.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 04:58 AM | Comments (247)
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February 25, 2011

Unbelievable: Wisconsin Protestin Hippies Desecrate War Memorial In the Capitol To Make A "Statement"
— Dave in Texas

Apparently because we need to be somewhere that is visible (4:32). And therefore fair game.

Althouse and her companion* try (kindly, in my opinion) to tell them "this makes you look like assholes, do you really want to look like assholes?" (words to that effect).

Well, yeah, they do. They don't get it. And I really think that's the deal, they are that f'n stupid. At this point the opposition is so into it, they imagine this rallies America to their cause.

Enjoy how it works out boys. Thanks for the soft underbelly.

via Allahpundit on Twitter

* I see from the comments this is her husband, I didn't know his name. My bad. more...

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 06:05 PM | Comments (216)
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Overnight Open Thread
— Genghis

It mostly comes at night. Mostly.

Things that Pablo Picasso Was Never Called:

Not like you...

More "dialing it in" below the fold. more...

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Interesting: Anti-American Movies Flop In America, But Make Some Money Overseas
— Ace

Thus, these movies aren't as money-losing as it seems.

Several questions enter my mind. Given that Hollywood is playing for the anti-American foreign crowd, pandering to them, and calling itself brave for doing so, why can it not also pander to (get this) the American crowd at home? They always tell us they have to make G.I. Joe multinational and Captain America "not a flag-waver" because that would be bad for business overseas.

Isn't it strange they don't mind awful US business if they can recoup costs from an anti-American foreign audience? Huh. Why doesn't that work in reverse?

By the way, "The Kingdom" is used there as a "control" because the analyst says it's "politically neutral."

Let me just say that while this movie was rejected by conservatives when it came out, because it does in fact feature a few lines suggesting "we're just like they are" and "we're part of the cycle of violence," it is otherwise pretty... well, maybe it's not pro-American but it's definitely anti-Al Qaeda. The terrorists are depicted accurately -- by which I mean, monstrously -- and there is a shoot-out in the end, in an Al Qaeda dominated neighborhood of Ridyah (I'm guessing), which is just dynamite, and maybe the movie is trying to avoid easy rah-rah moments but damn if every time one of those bastards got his head ventilated if I didn't feel a rah-rah moment.

The analyst is right, I guess, to call it "politically neutral." And maybe conservatives reject it because they don't like neutrality when it comes to terrorists. (I agree.) But actually mere neutrality, rather than active jihadi-supporting anti-American terrorist-sucking, actually makes it more conservative that just about any movie I can think of in dealing with this topic since 9/11.

All I can say is edit out, in your head, those two or three "cycle of violence" moments and what you're left with is a brutal depiction of how vicious and backwards and ugly terrorists are (and, also, really not very good "warriors," either, so much as barely-competent murderers with make-pretend military-style ranks) and Americans killing the shit out of them.

Thanks to geoff, who had this in the sidebar.

Posted by: Ace at 02:03 PM | Comments (432)
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Allen West Not Rulling Out VP Bid
— Ace

And I'd be more jazzed about the prospect of Allen West as VP if he hadn't sell us out to vote with the establishment in stopping our cutting of the budget.

When asked about Gingrich's comments [that West could be an effective VP], West asked, "He said that?"

"I have to pray about it and I have to clear it with my wife and two daughters," he added. "I never thought that seven years ago when I retired here I'd be a United States congressman, and that I'd be standing in front of your news camera. So we don't know what the future holds, but I'm always willing to serve my country."

Posted by: Ace at 12:43 PM | Comments (234)
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Obama Considering Plan Palin? Seeking Advice on No-Fly Zone For Libya
— Ace

As I said, my main problem with actually doing it is the Arab desire for scapegoats and blame-shifting. "It's my nature," said the scorpion.

One thing I just do not understand: When did the US decide, collectively but silently and all at once, that we could no longer arm indigenous fighters? That's what we did for decades. We didn't join the fighting in a lot of places, but we did fly in guns and ammo.

Why is that off the table now?

I suppose it is because of 9/11. When we arm indigenies, we're on the hook for everything they do with the weapons, and they will almost certainly blow up civilians in what is either an actual terrorist attack or a vicious guerrilla attack which is hard to differentiate from a terror attack. We've got a lot of moral stock in the idea that we're different, so we don't do that.

But it has to be confessed that that is a really, really, really good solution we keep ignoring for that one reason.

So Stupid! CNN's commenters thought Palin's suggestion was so stupid it should not have even have been reported.

I suppose now they will add nuance to their claim -- three days ago it was stupid, but the situation has changed so dramatically that only now is the suggestion humane and brilliant.

Posted by: Ace at 12:17 PM | Comments (112)
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Gingrich: Obama Has Created Constitutional Crisis With DOMA Posture, And Could Face Impeachment
— Ace

Eh. It's all kind of play-for-the-base-ish.

“Imagine that Governor Palin had become president. Imagine that she had announced that Roe versus Wade in her view was unconstitutional and therefore the United States government would no longer protect anyone’s right to have an abortion because she personally had decided it should be changed. The news media would have gone crazy. The New York Times would have demanded her impeachment.”

Gingrich’s comments mark the first time a significant Republican leader has raised the specter of impeachment against Obama.

“First of all, he campaigned in favor of [the law]. He is breaking his word to the American people,” Gingrich says.

“Second, he swore an oath on the Bible to become president that he would uphold the Constitution and enforce the laws of the United States. He is not a one-person Supreme Court. The idea that we now have the rule of Obama instead of the rule of law should frighten everybody.

“The fact that the left likes the policy is allowing them to ignore the fact that this is a very unconstitutional act,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich said it is too early to call for Obama’s impeachment, but did not rule it out if he fails to comply with Congress and the constitutional process.

“I believe the House Republicans next week should pass a resolution instructing the president to enforce the law and to obey his own constitutional oath, and they should say if he fails to do so that they will zero out [defund] the office of attorney general and take other steps as necessary until the president agrees to do his job.

“His job is to enforce the rule of law and for us to start replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama is a very dangerous precedent."

To me this just seems to be attention-grabbing for the sake of political posture. To overcome Obama's position, vote Obama out of office -- but I don't think that cause is particularly advanced here.

My Problem... is that this misreads the electorate, I think. It's not 1995.

I think the public wants tangible, realistic solutions. I feel that Gingrich here is talking like he's a blogger, offering up a whole raft of tough-guy posturings we know to a moral certainty will never actually happen.

This to me makes him seem like a politician to me, playing for applause, looking for advantage, and not at all like what I'm imagining a successful challenger to Obama will look like.

I think a successful candidate will be a politician adept enough to know he has to pretend to not be a politician and is ready to have a "grown up" talk with the public. Not someone who seems to be offering partisan-pleasing bluster.

Posted by: Ace at 11:48 AM | Comments (96)
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Glowing Story About The Next Great Communicator Chris Christie, From... The New York Times
— Ace

Reading this, I get annoyed that he's not running in 2012 (he can't -- New Jersey's problems would not nearly be solved by then, so he be abandoning the state to someone just not up to the task).

But even so: what an asset to have give the keynote speech at the convention.

I'll just quote some of his funny stuff (and this really is top level comedy from a politician) and some personal stuff.

“The argument you heard most vociferously from the teachers’ union,” Christie says, “was that this was the greatest assault on public education in the history of New Jersey.” Here the fleshy governor lumbers a few steps toward the audience and lowers his voice for effect. “Now, do you really think that your child is now stressed out and unable to learn because they know that their poor teacher has to pay 1½ percent of their salary for their health care benefits? Have any of your children come home — any of them — and said, ‘Mom.’ ” Pause. “ ‘Dad.’ ” Another pause. “ ‘Please. Stop the madness.’ ”

By this point the audience is starting to titter, but Christie remains steadfastly somber in his role as the beseeching student. “ ‘Just pay for my teacher’s health benefits,’ ” he pleads, “ ‘and I’ll get A’s, I swear. But I just cannot take the stress that’s being presented by a 1½ percent contribution to health benefits.’ ” As the crowd breaks into appreciative guffaws, Christie waits a theatrical moment, then slams his point home. “Now, you’re all laughing, right?” he says. “But this is the crap I have to hear.”

I'm just imagining that rendered in Glenn Beck's fetus-writing-to-the-NYT voice. I don't think he does that. Would be funny if he did.

Christie's political instincts:

There was little in Christie’s uninspiring campaign to make anyone think he would address these issues with more tenacity than the governors who preceded him. A U.S. attorney whose only overtly political experience entailed serving on the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders (seriously, they still call it that), Christie had only a fraction of Corzine’s public exposure or personal fortune. About the only thing he had going for him was that Corzine was pervasively unpopular. And so rather than come up with a lot of actual ideas, which Corzine would then be free to oversimplify and distort in a barrage of television ads, Christie simply offered up a bunch of conservative platitudes and tried to make the campaign a referendum on the Democratic governor. (When we talked during the campaign, Christie could articulate little by way of an agenda, except to say that he would “get in there and make it work.”) Even a lot of Republicans thought Christie was underwhelming as a campaigner.

Small target.


Leaders of the teachers’ union, meanwhile, are apoplectic about Christie’s proposed changes to their pension plan, which they say will penalize educators for the irresponsibility of politicians. After all, they point out, it wasn’t the unions who chose not to fund the pension year in and year out, and yet it’s their members who will have to recalibrate their retirements if the benefits are cut.

When I made this same point to Christie, he simply shook his head. What’s done is done, he told me, and it’s time for someone to tell these workers the truth, which is that the state is simply never going to have the money to make good on its commitments. “Listen, if they want to travel in the Michael J. Fox time machine and change time, I guess we could try that,” he said. “We could get the DeLorean out and try to go back there. But I think realistically that that was just a movie and make-believe. So we’ve got to live with what we’ve got.”


Posted by: Ace at 11:03 AM | Comments (212)
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My Goodness: There Is No Shutdown In a Government Shutdown
— Ace

By law, virtually nothing gets shut down -- only one in four federal workers are furloughed. The courts, the military, Social Security, the Post Office -- all essential services keep running. (Which makes one wonder -- what are the other services, and why do we have them?)

It's a big nothing, really.

Honestly, the GOP has to be willing to risk this big nothing. If nothing else, it saves money during the non-shutdown shutdown.

Thanks to momma.

We need to think like Honey Badger.


Posted by: Ace at 08:59 AM | Comments (362)
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Democrats Begin Preparing For Government Shutdown; GOP Buys the Bluff
Update: Rush Holds Out Hope The GOP Is Playing A New-School Game

— Ace

Breaking out the barricades, which I'll explain after the excerpt:

Agencies throughout the government are scrambling to figure out how to handle a government shutdown, with a potential closure as soon as March 5 prompting a review of which activities are essential and which aren't.

Editorial Board Member Steve Moore on the prospects of a government shutdown.

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said federal departments have been exploring issues raised by a possible shutdown, including which operations are crucial and how employee furloughs would work.

"It would be irresponsible not to have that, and so we do," Mr. Goolsbee said. "That's not in any sense like we're planning for a shutdown in a strategic way. I don't think there's going to be a shutdown."

A survey of DC GOP insiders find they are all scared by this prospect.

I know little of labor negotiations, but I do know something. I was working in a law firm when a labor lawyer (generally representing management) explained to me what his job was: His job was to negotiate while ratcheting up threats, and what he said always stuck with me. Because he was the kind of guy who sounded in control when he explained his tactics:

"We tell them of course we don't want a lock-out; that would be horrible. At the same time we start putting up barricades around the plant. When they ask 'why are you putting up barricades, are you planning a lock-out?' we say no, of course we're not planning that, that would be awful; then we start putting heavy chains around the plant doors. When they say 'why are you chaining the doors, are you planning a lock-out?,' we say no, don't worry about that, we're absolutely not planning a lock-out, that would be just awful, and then we inform our clients that supplies will be disrupted for six months. When they say 'why are you telling clients supplies will be disrupted, are you planning a lock-out?,' we say absolutely not, that is the most horrible thing we can imagine, no one wants that, and then issue a shareholder alert that profits will be down but also the cost of labor is about to fall to near-zero."

Anyway, this guy really sounded like a Hollywood negotiator tough-guy explaining this tactic. As far as I can tell, the idea is to keep saying there will be no lock-out while taking every conceivable action to bring about a lock-out; this convinces the opposition you're verbally lying but telling the truth with your actions, which scares them, and fixes their mind on six months without a paycheck, and brings them to the table in a more conciliatory mood.

Now, this guy was like 30 at the most so I doubt very much he's the only guy in the world who knows about this tactic. I'd say he's probably one of one hundred thousand, and I'm pretty sure that all of Obama's labor negotiation buddies have hipped him to the tactic.

I can't help noticing that that's exactly what Obama is doing. And that the GOP is falling for it.

I say falling for it because the party that wins this showdown is the party which convinces the other party that they're less afraid of a shut-down. Now, that doesn't actually have to be true -- the guy who explained this to me was using this tactic to conceal how very afraid of a lock-out he was -- but the winner will be the party that can convince the other that they are willing to bring things to a standstill.

The GOP isn't even showing up for this showdown. Obama's running a textbook, if old, game on them and meanwhile they are confessing, "Yes, we're really afraid of a shutdown and think it will destroy the party." They are taking no efforts at public education or positioning; they are doing nothing to place blame for the shutdown on Obama.

Ergo, they plan to fold, and ergo, they of course have no negotiating position whatsoever and will wind up caving in to whatever Obama wants. Oh, Obama will toss them $5 billion in cuts to make it "look good." And also to make Obama look a little better; he wants credit for cutting spending, even if it's a trivial amount; by doing this, he will enlist the whole GOP in defending the ridiculously trivial $5 billion in cuts as "substantial" which will help him with moderates while utterly alienating the base.

Cute, huh? Obama's about to force an awful deal on the GOP and have them sell it to the independents and base as not a cave-in but a "good start."

I don't get the Stupid Party sometimes. I know about this and my only experience with labor negotiations was spending 20 minutes with a young lawyer who just felt like showing off a little to an even younger one.

We're deathly afraid of the lock-out and we have no plan whatsoever to even conceal this fact.


Now, maybe that's not fair, because Boehner says he does have a plan:

Once the House passes this short-term CR near the beginning of next week, House Republicans will be able to say they’ve passed a seven-month CR, and a two-week CR, either of which would keep government open. The pressure should be on Senate Democrats and the administration to accept the short-term CR or come up with a reasonable alternative to avert a government shutdown. Even liberal media are going to have a hard time blaming Republicans if Senate Democrats and/or the Obama administration drop the ball.

That's all well and good but it does not work unless you convince your opposite number you are willing to actually pull the trigger on a shut-down. Boehner hasn't convinced anyone of that. Even his plan, bragged on to William Kristol, is all about avoiding the horror of a shutdown.

Show your cards much?

Is It Possible The GOP Is Being Smart? Buzzion reports that Rush has a different take:

Rush was just talking about this. And how during the 1994 shutdown it was the Republicans that were basically agitating for a government shutdown. This time around its pretty much the democrats pushing for one.

So maybe that is the tactic the Republicans are taking, though maybe not perfectly. "We don't want to shut down the government, we're trying to keep it open, but Obama and the Democrats are stonewalling our efforts."

Okay there's some truth in that kind of positioning -- but I still don't see how you can win on the point unless you convince the other side you are willing to play the brinksmanship game.

Goolsbee's playing it. He's preparing, more in sorrow than anger, for the shutdown.

It's possible that the game Goolsbee is playing is old (Hell, it was old when I heard it), and the GOP is playing a new-style game which is better.

But I still do not see how you prevail in a negotiation without, in the end, being able to walk away from the table with no deal in place.

The party in a negotiation willing to do that (or at least which has convinced the other party they're willing to do that) always winds up winning the negotiation.

It seems to me that convincing the other side you are weak when in fact you actually are willing to walk away from the table substantially increases the chances of a shutdown, as the other party will misread its own strength and assume they can walk away themselves. And I don't believe the GOP is actually trying to shut down the government; so why would they send confusing signals like that?

Gingrich: If Stopping Obama From Spending Us Into Our Fiscal Graves Requires A Shut-Down, So Be It: This, on the other hand, is more what I'm sayzzin'.

It was President Bill Clinton's veto of our budget in December 1995 that closed the government. The White House knew that it could use the power of the presidency and the support of liberal media to blame us.

So, we faced a choice. We could cave in and be accepted by the Washington establishment, or we could stand firm for a balanced budget for the American people.

We decided to stick to our principles through a very contentious and difficult period. Our attempt to balance the federal budget was distorted in the news media as an effort to ruin family vacations, frustrate visitors to the nation's capital and prevent government employees from going to work. For the Republican leadership, the effort to hold together the House and Senate caucuses while negotiating with the White House became extraordinarily exhausting.

Nonetheless, the ultimate result was the first four consecutive balanced budgets since the 1920s, paying off more than $450 billion in federal debt.....

Those who claim that the shutdown was politically disastrous for Republicans ignore the fact that our House seat losses in 1996 were in the single digits....

Neither these historic achievements nor this historic win would have been possible had Republicans not stood firm and showed the country that we were serious about keeping our commitments.

The lesson for today's House Republicans is simple: Work to keep the government open, unless it requires breaking your word to the American people and giving up your principles. Becoming one more promise-breaking, Washington-dominated, sellout group is a much worse fate - politically and ethically - than having the government close for a few days.

Commenters have pointed out that our losses in the House in 1996 were tiny. I rebutted that that is largely because the GOP actually caved; that is, the political damage that was done to them during the shut-down was mostly healed up (by the act of caving) by election time.

But that makes no matter: Gingrich's statement, while perhaps misleading, is very useful. We must certainly act as if we believe losses from a shutdown will be trivial and acceptable. We cannot act as if we're a bunch of chickenshits afraid to lose even a few seats from our supermajority.

Maybe we talk about how awful this will be for us behind closed doors. Fine, if it stays behind closed doors. Publicly, this is a matter of principle and we're willing to take the hit to the save the Republic.

Posted by: Ace at 08:11 AM | Comments (208)
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WI Assembly Passes Budget Bill, Most Assembly Democrats Didn't Notice
— DrewM

After 60 hours of debate, the state Assembly passed Governor Walker's Budget Repair bill, which among other things limits the bargaining rights of Wisconsin's public sector employees.

The vote ended three straight days of punishing debate in the Assembly. But the political standoff over the bill — and the monumental protests at the state Capitol against it — appear far from over.

The Assembly's vote sent the bill on to the Senate, but minority Democrats in that house have fled to Illinois to prevent a vote and say they won't return unless Republican Gov. Scott Walker agrees to discuss a compromise. Republicans who control the Senate sent state troopers out looking for them at their homes on Thursday, but they turned up nothing.

...Democrats launched a filibuster, throwing out dozens of amendments and delivering rambling speeches. Each time Republicans tried to speed up the proceedings, Democrats rose from their seats and wailed that the GOP was stifling them.

Debate had gone on for 60 hours and 15 Democrats were still waiting to speak when the vote started around 1 a.m. Friday. Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, opened the roll and closed it within seconds.

Democrats looked around, bewildered. Only 13 of the 38 Democratic members managed to vote in time.

Republicans immediately marched out of the chamber in single file. The Democrats rushed at them, pumping their fists and shouting "Shame!" and "Cowards!"

The Republicans walked past them without responding.

I love the idea that any Democrat can call a Republican a coward while praising state Senate Democrats who ran away and hid rather than exercise their sworn duties.

While this is the first hurdle for the plan, the Senate still can't act on major portions of the bill so the focus remains on forcing Democrats to do their constitutional duty and actually to the jobs they were elected to do.

Meanwhile for practical and possibly political reasons, Walker is still opposed to splitting the the collective bargaining measures (which doesn't require the presence of Senate Democrats) from the budget cuts (which does).

I still think it’s important to keep it intact. Because one [part of the bill] goes with the other. If you fail to get one, it makes it hard to balance the rest of the budget. So our hope, our focus is still on trying to figure out a way to make it possible for those state senate Democrats to get back.

Meanwhile, our new Golden Age of Civility continues. The networks simply refuse to report on Democratic Congressman who called for union violence, as if they need someone to tell them to do that. .

Posted by: DrewM at 06:50 AM | Comments (210)
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FiAF: Ancient Whore Edition
— LauraW

Meet Millie.

A woman who has worked as an escort since the end of the Second World War is still earning £50,000 pounds a year from her sex services - at the age of 96.

Artist's Rendering

Millie works two days a week and claims to have clients far younger than she.
And like most elderly women, she has a critical word for today's young ladies.

She told a magazine: 'Nowadays, the girls have vast boobs and skinny bodies and parade around half-naked.

'In my day, we would call those girls trollops. The industry's become mucky.

'At least I am maintaining standards. I always dress elegantly and my clients are gentlemen.'

No, they're not, Millie. But you tell 'em anyway.

Slushop thanks to Slushop Industries, Ltd. Hong Kong/ New York/ Bangor

Posted by: LauraW at 05:21 AM | Comments (207)
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Top Headline Comments 2-25-11
— Gabriel Malor


Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 01:39 AM | Comments (398)
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February 24, 2011

The KP hits the fan [Fritzworth]
— Open Blogger


Sorry to step on the overnight threads, but I suspect you'll be seeing lots of slides and quotes from this document in the days to come. Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers -- one the best known and most successful venture capital firms in the country -- has issued a report, "USA, Inc.", that analyzes the US Federal Government as if it were a business.

The results are not pretty, as the diagram above shows. And the report goes on like this for 266 pages (most of which are PPT slides with either charts, tables, or bullet-point summaries).

Now, to the extent that the Kleiner Perkins partners have political leanings, they are decidedly moderate to liberal; Al Gore is one of the partners there, and John Doerr, the best-known partner at KPCB, was in the group that met with President Obama last week. Which is what makes this documents so fascinating, since it makes it very clear that the US cannot sustain its current economic path, particularly with regards to entitlements:


You can download the PDF version of the report or read it online at the link given earlier. You'll find lots of fodder to whack your Keynesian friends over the head with. ..fritz..

P.S. I have to wonder if Doerr gave a copy to Obama at that meeting -- and, if so, whether Obama ever bothered to look at it.

P.P.S. Hat tip to Jordan Dea-Mattson, a friend who posted the link over on FB, which is where I first saw it.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 08:28 PM | Comments (74)
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Overnight Open Thread
— Maetenloch

So What Is This 'Internet' Thing?

In between smart military stuff and pr0n links we do try and occasionally be educational. So sit back and watch this video and then you'll understand why all the kids are into the 'Internet' these days.

And in unrelated news here are the Top 10 Reasons We Should Revive the Dark Ages.

Sure it sounds a lot better than you'd expect and might even be a step up for some. But I'm still not convinced it's time for a Dark Ages 2.0. Mostly because of the hygiene thing along with plague and witchcraftery.


Posted by: Maetenloch at 04:28 PM | Comments (751)
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Last One
— Dave in Texas

rdbrewer noted it already, and STS-133 Discovery made it's successful launch today.


Well and good. But bittersweet, at least for me.

I'm the old man around here, but I also have ties to NASA that go back to my childhood.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 04:28 PM | Comments (40)
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CBS Discontinues Two And A Half Men For Rest of Season
— Ace

Based on the fact that Charlie Sheen is insane. And more coked up than a Columbian soft drink machine.

Hollywood Reporter claims he made an "anti-semitic attack" on the show's creator but the extent of that seems to be calling him "Chaim Levine" instead of his real name, Charles Levine, or his stage name, Charles Lorre. I suppose there's some kind of Jew-baiting there, a little, but I don't really think you can call that an "anti-semitic attack."

It is odd that a family/kid's show stars this out of control lunatic Dead Pool draft-choice.

I prayed earlier that they'd take his show away so he'd be forced to do what he was born for -- embarrassing basic-cable celebrity reality shows. I hope that we'll finally get to see his talent in that venue, before he dies, I mean.

If You're Wondering... why I'm posting about Charlie Sheen, it's because he's a Truther. more...

Posted by: Ace at 03:44 PM | Comments (239)
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