March 31, 2013
Happy Easter All!
Please set your laziness levels to: Indolentmore...
— Open Blogger Fresh, clean, new, now with 50% more lilac smell.
I don't know who torched the oil wells in Syria, but that's usually a sign of desperation. Somebody is on the ropes...
Apple denied trademark for iPad Mini. Might be a kindness...this is a product searching for a market. Too big to be conveniently pocketable, like a phone, but with all the well known usability issues of normal sized tablets magnified by its diminutive stature. Why would anyone buy one, unless... ah... ummm... because its Apple and will impress my friends?
April 01, 2013
— LauraW Which is the better way to cover the subject of guns with children?
1) Teach them that it is best to be utterly ignorant and terrified of firearms, to the point where merely chewing a poptart into a vague gun-shape seems like reasonable cause for punishment; or
2) This other method, called 'actual education,' right here.
Yep, that's SobekPundit's little 10 year-old crocodile sprout. And please do check out his 'ten things to teach boys,' a few items down in the comments section.
Liberals say about themselves that they value education, and broad-mindedness in general. But it seems to me that this depends on the subject matter, doesn't it? When it comes to firearms they are hysterically pro-ignorance.
March 31, 2013
— Dave in Texas Back in 2010 I sent in an email naming James Madison an honorary Moron, which you kindly posted here and attributed to a semi-anonymous retired blogger:
Today I would like to nominate another Great Moron of History: J.S. Bach.
Oh, sure, everyone thinks he was a frumpy old Lutheran who wrote motets, but I would direct the Moron Horde's attention to possibly one of the greatest pieces of Moron music until Paul Anka gave the cutoffs on My Way: Bach's Peasant Cantata, BWV 212.
— andy Happy Easter.
— Open Blogger
Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to the Sunday Morning Book Thread here at the award-winning AoSHQ.
First, An Apology
For all of you who are reading this but are unable to post comments due to the aggressive anti-spam rules that have been put in place, my sincere apologies, and I hope it will be changed soon. For what it's worth, I (still) can't post comments, either. I've e-mailed Pixy several times over the past month about this, and he assured me he was going to fix it, but it hasn't happened, yet, and I don't know when it will.
But, a few days ago, Pixy showed up in a comment thread and posted the mu.nu "help-line" e-mail address:
So, for those of us who are unable to post comments on this blog, I would encourage you to send a quick note to Pixy. And please keep it civil, Pixy's a good guy.
This should give him an idea of the extent of the problem, if he doesn't know already.
And now down to business...
A few weeks ago when I did a thread about noted ex-slave merchant and Christian author John Newton, someone posted a comment late in the thread complaining about me posting about religious views he didn't agree with. This caught me a bit by surprise, because I had always figured that if people don't like the book thread, they would just skip it and go on to the next thread, no big deal. I'm not going to apologize for posting on spiritual topics, although I do keep in mind that the AoSHQ readership includes people of many faiths, or no faith. So even though this won't turn into some sort of religion round-up, I will post on such topics as the occasion warrants.
So with that in mind, fair warning, here comes another spiritually-oriented thread.
March 30, 2013
— Open Blogger See, we're not really robbing you per se, we're giving you a "share" in the enterprise!
...Under conditions expected to be announced on Saturday, depositors in Bank of Cyprus will get shares in the bank worth 37.5 percent of their deposits over 100,000 euros, the source told Reuters, while the rest of their deposits may never be paid back...The bad news is that 37.5% of zero is still zero, and the plane is crashing. The worser news is your parachute was stolen and your share doesn't have a rip cord.
— CDR M
Next to last day of March. Hopefully it feels like Spring in April. I'm told the above image is early concept work done for Prometheus 2.
The election is over, now feel the pain of an EPA plan that has been ready for 15 months. New EPA rules to add 9 cents a gallon to cost of gas. Of course, these same idiots will keep voting the way they do no matter how painful the party they support makes it for them.
— andy This "blame whitey" piece is unintentionally (I think) hilarious.
Imagine if African American men and boys were committing mass shootings month after month, year after year. Articles and interviews would flood the media, and wed have political debates demanding that African Americans be held accountable. Then, if an atrocity such as the Newtown, Conn., shootings took place and African American male leaders held a news conference to offer solutions, their credibility would be questionable. The public would tell these leaders that they need to focus on problems in their own culture and communities.
But when the criminals and leaders are white men, race and gender become the elephant in the room.
That first paragraph is very nearly self-refuting. A couple of Newtowns worth of people, almost exclusively African American people, die on the streets of gun control-loving Chicago every month, yet the media flood the authors suggest would happen simply hasn't. I wonder why that is ... ?
But if they want to go there, then, by all means, let's go there.
Looks to me like (a) the black homicide rate dwarfs the white homicide rate and (b) the gap is greatest where gun control is most strict.
In addition to being unconstitutional and impractical, gun control also has a disparate impact on minorities. Next time you hear some lefty going on about it, ask him why he's such a racist.
— andy OK, we've heard you.
And by "we", I mean John E. and me, as I'm pretty sure Ace's thoughts on this topic range from indifferent to downright hostile after the Great T-Shirt Debacle of Aught Six (or whenever that was ... I didn't look, but 7 years feels about right) [Update: It was Aught Five. Thanks 'brak'].
So we've done some investigating and plan on standing up a web storefront for you and will use third-party fulfillment to make everything run nice and smooth.
We'll come back to you with detailed designs later, but please take a second to vote in the poll below and indicate what kind of AoSHQ-logo'd products you'd be interested in ordering. Also, throw out any design ideas in the comments.
And by logo, I don't mean that crayon drawing up at the top of the blog ...
— Dave in Texas I've often mentioned it's a waste of time to argue with leftists. I think ace's expression for this is "you can't reason a person out of a position that they weren't reasoned into in the first place." Something like that, I still don't get the dental plan here so I don't get to sit in on the meetings.
That said, here's Greg Gutfeld doing the proper thing to Jim Carrey and Jason Biggs. Mockery and insults.
"Washed up comics have the right to suck." is pretty good, but the better line is "That's why Charlton Heston has a brighter future in films than Jim Carrey."
— andy I'll be back later with a poll for you morons.
Let's just say, "The guys get shirts."
March 29, 2013
...using your own web cams or security cameras! [Purp]
— Open Blogger Google, now with 50% more evil. You're welcome. No extra charge.
...finds Wireless Security / Webcams that are accessible from the web. The interesting part is that for some reason these cameras do not generally allow users to remove/change the default administrative username and pass. So in most cases you can view any camera that shows up in the Google search.
In the Google, you don't search web, web searches YOU!
— Ace So it appears, unless something extremely risky was done here (retroactively creating a video to prove his alibi).
There was previously doubt -- which I expressed my own self -- about why Mark Kelly was buying a .45 and a dreaded assault weapon, and whether his claim about doing it to "raise awareness" was just a sham excuse to avoid the charge of gun-control hypocrisy.
I got this wrong, and I'm sorry for that. I thought he was lying because I couldn't see what he'd be trying to prove-- that he got cleared by the background check too quickly? What sense would that make? He's an astronaut and a Navy officer; of course the background check would be quick, and of course he'd get his gun.
But that's actually the point he's trying to demonstrate-- that Universal Background checks are okay because look how fast they are. That purpose didn't occur to me.
Again, sorry about this one. And, note, I'm not endorsing his political point -- I'm simply saying that this claim about why he bought the guns appears genuine.
— JohnE. How great is this story? Florida Gulf Coast University became the first 15 seed to ever make it past the opening weekend of the tournament into the Sweet Sixteen, knocking off powerhouse Georgetown in the process.
The little-known Eagles made NCAA tournament history Sunday night, becoming the first 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16 and they did it in style with a convincing 81-71 win over No. 7 San Diego State that had the Wells Fargo Center partying.Just incredible. These are the types of Cinderella stories that cross all political lines and inspire people to root for underdogs. It's practically an American tradition. We love it. Can't get enough. There's no "Red America" or "Blue America" when something like this happens. If you're not a University of Florida fan (who they play tonight), you've just got to be pulling for this good group of guys, rocketed out of small school obscurity and thrust upon the national stage. I mean, you'd really be hard-pressed to find some joyless, perpetually bitter clods eager to tear apart this joyride.
Think Progress: A Cinderella Story? How The Koch Brothers Use Florida Gulf Coast University To Promote Their AgendaOh, for fuck's sake. Well listen, it's just Think Progress. Let's not paint the entire left with this same broad brush, right?
But theres something you might not know about FGCU: its economics department is, as a consequence of grants from Randian businessman John Allison and the Charles G. Koch Foundation, a haven for Ayn-Rand Style thinking.
Mother Jones: The Dark Side of Florida Gulf Coast University, March Madness SweetheartScrew it, I'm out.
The university trampled over Florida panther habitat at the behest of a Big Ag benefactor. Cinderella who?
The less inspiring story, however, is how FGCU rose up out of the swamp. To put it bluntly: The school paved over it, using government connections to pressure the US Fish and Wildlife Service into green-lighting the development and in the process wiping out one of the last vital habitat areas of the severely endangered Florida panther. FGCU's is a particularly extreme version of a familiar story. For a century, South Florida developers have stared down all comersand methodically reshaped the environment in the process.
The game starts at 9:57 ET tonight. Progressive humorless bitchiness started long ago and will last until the sun cools.
March 31, 2013
— Gang of Gaming Morons! White Knighting in videogaming strikes once again.
(btw, White Knight Chronicles was a fun game as long as you bought the second game which also came with a remake of the first game which is interesting considering there was only a two year gap between the first game and second game's release. And the first game bombed and they did all that work for the second game to bomb even harder even if it was an enjoyable for the most part single player MMORPG while borrowing stuff from one of the only two good Final Fantasy games since VI, FFXII)
Anyways gaming below.... more...
March 29, 2013
— Ace That's an example of a Fox Butterfield headline, a NYT reporter who used to (maybe still does) specialize in clueless headlines, like "Crime Continues Falling and Yet Prisons Keep Filling Up." (And yet?! What? No seriously that is as close as I can remember to real Fox Butterfield headline. He used to write that sort of thing, about this claimed logical disconnect between falling crime rates and soaring prison populations, once a month.)
So, anyway, despite the Federal government taking more and more money from citizens, somehow their incomes are falling.
The New York Times delivers some news so grim that it had to cook the headline to hide it: Median Household Income Down 7.3% Since Start of Recession.
Well, yes, but as the Times reluctantly admits in the very last paragraph of the story, 5.6 percent of that decline has occurred since the Obama recovery began. And median annual household income just fell by 1.1 percent in a single month February 2013 after the Obama recovery has supposedly been in progress for years. Thats after $6 trillion in deficit spending to stimulate the economy, supposedly for the benefit of the average household.
And yet he got reelected. Which is the take-off point for a Jon Podhoretz column arguing that the right needs to take Obama more seriously. Because a truly inept politician would have been sunk by so much failure.
It takes a truly great politician to preside over such failures and still cling to power.
To paraphrase Sun Tzu, you need to know your political antagonist if you are to prevail against himand you need to know yourself. The truth is that Barack Obama and his liberal followers have been doing very serious work over the past four years, and the same cannot be said, alas, of far too many people who oppose them.
Its not just the comforting delusion that hes a golf-mad dilettante, but also the reverse-negative image of that delusionthat Obama is a not-so-secret Marxist Kenyan with dictatorial ambitions and a nearly limitless appetite for power. That caricature makes it far too easy for Obama to laugh off the legitimate criticisms of the kind of political leader he really is: a conventional post-1960s left-liberal with limited interest in the private sector and the gut sense that government must and should do more, whatever more might mean at any given moment.
The notion that Obama is a dangerous extremist helps him, because it makes him seem reasonable and his critics foolish. It also helps those who peddle it, because it makes them notorious and helps them sell their wares. But it has done perhaps irreparable harm to the central conservative cause of the present momentmaking the case that Obamas social-democratic statism is setting the United States on a course for disaster and that his anti-exceptionalist foreign policy is setting the world on a course for nihilistic chaos. Those are serious arguments, befitting a serious antagonist. They may not sell gold coins as quickly and as well as excessive alarmism, but they have the inestimable advantage of being true.
Barack Obama is a serious man. The professional and political right needs to be as serious as he is to make sure the Age of Obama ends with him.
I'm going to partly disagree with that. Or rather, note that Podhoretz disagrees with himself. Note the conflict between these three sentences, which follow one another.
The notion that Obama is a dangerous extremist helps him, because it makes him seem reasonable and his critics foolish. It also helps those who peddle it, because it makes them notorious and helps them sell their wares.
Okay, so we're overselling the threat Obama poses. Well what kind of threat does he pose, then?
But it has done perhaps irreparable harm to the central conservative cause of the present momentmaking the case that Obamas social-democratic statism is setting the United States on a course for disaster and that his anti-exceptionalist foreign policy is setting the world on a course for nihilistic chaos.
Oh... so the threat he merely poses is one of "disaster" and "nihilistic chaos"? Well then, I'm glad I didn't call him an extremist!
No but really I think Podhoretz is trying to say something but not saying it quite right.
First of all, if I can say this without alienating someone who is generally "on my side:" Podhoretz is more concerned than most about the Stupid Shit some conservatives say. We're all concerned with that; he's on the More Concerned end. (I'm right in the Consensus Middle, where everyone should be.)
I think he's complaining about is a sort of Mouth-Breathing Screaming that kind of alienates people.
What he doesn't concede is that that sort of thing also attracts people. Oh, it doesn't attract people like Podhoretz or the people he knows (and, it also doesn't attract me or the people I know), but to pretend that every voter is attracted by the same sort of Elevated, Moderated Tone of Approved Political Rhetoric is just a solipsism. It's just not true.
Let me tell Podhoretz something that I think either Warden or Empire of Jeff told me long ago, when I kept having meltdowns over the Stupid Shit Some Dumb People Said in a Random Rally in 2008. Paraphrased:
Dude, calm down. You can't control what everyone says and it's foolish to try. And it's silly to even think you have that kind of power. And it's absurd to think wishing will make it so. People are people. Some are bright, some are... Democrats. Some are skeptics and empiricists. Some are Born to Believe anything anyone says to them. Calm down and stop carrying on like such Nervous Nellie about what every Tom, Dick, and Harry in a nation of 300 million says or believes.
Good advice.* I try to take it. But I am arrogant and foolish, so I have lapses.
I have no doubt that the "Obama is a Socialist" line offends the sensibilities of some of the people in Podhoretz's cohort. But I also know it appeals to many other people.
Here's the other thing: I happen to know it's true. Obviously he's a socialist. He is only restrained by the political structure of the United States. There is hardly any doubt about what he'd impose if he had the power to impose it.
Now, the truthfulness of the Obama is a Socialist (or, perhaps, the kissing cousin, the Corporatist, who doesn't wish to own businesses but instead seeks to partner government with them to control their operations without explicitly owning them) doesn't mean it's a politically effective thing to say. I rather think it's not. Romney sure seemed to think it polled badly and Romney may be a lot of things, but I trust his ability to read a poll.
What's going on is that we're sort of living in the Matrix, where we sort of know some things the Public Just Isn't Ready to Hear.
And we should temper our statements with that knowledge, perhaps: That some people, like the ones I suppose Podhoretz is worried about losing, believe that The Obvious Truth is just crazypants!
And I suppose there's never really a bad time to say, "Be smart about how you politic." Message does matter. Not as much as the political establishment thinks (when all you have is a hammer...) but plainly message does matter.
But overall, while there's some truth in here, it does seem a little Concern-y.
End of the day, America is simply not an intellectual nation. It may be somewhat smart, but it's decidedly anti-intellectual, by choice, rejecting the affectations of the intellectual.
And end of the day, populism -- as boorish and as rude as it often seems to some -- has always been a powerful current of American politics.**
I do think there is some danger of a party embracing one class (and much of this is class preference, isn't it?) to the extent of alienating others. End of the day, our goal should not be to vindicate one class/cultural cohort over any others; end of the day, our goal is to get the right sort of Constitution-respecting government-limiting freedom-advancing people into positions of power and get the exact opposite people out of those positions.
* As has been frequently pointed out to me by commenters: Dwelling on such things as if they're Newsworthy and Important stories -- really? it's important that some dumb old lady at a McCain rally thinks Obama's an "Arab"? Do we really care what each individual dummy in America thinks? Since when? -- concedes the false narrative of the liberal media that such things are worth discussing.
Or, if conservative stupidities and conspiracy theories are worth discussing, then so too must be liberal stupidities and conspiracy theories. Without insisting on that point -- by simply taking the media's line that only conservative inanities are newsworthy, or only conservative conspiracy theories are uniquely An Menace to Teh Republic -- we're simply conceding the main line of the media's manner of dishonest persuasion (which is to not confront conservative thinking head on, but to mount a relentless collateral attack by pointing out how every single conservative person is weird, dumb, or malicious in some fashion).
I'll be more than happy to discuss Birtherism with my esteemed colleagues in the media. I'll be more than happy to explain my structural-anthropology explanation of the persistence of conspiracy thinking.
So long as I'm sitting in front of Andrew Sullivan and Toure and Rosie O'Donnell and can also have a little chat about Trutherism of both the 9/11 and Trig types.
** In fact, if we're talking about the political skill of Obama, we have to notice that he's keeping his coalition together by putting a thin veneer of "elevated" tone on to demagogic populist appeals.
"Shame on us" for forgetting Newtown, indeed.
— Ace I assure you the timing is purely coincidental.
I had wanted to link this when it posted, but I didn't want to give Time the concern-trolling hit-whoring traffic. So here's Newsbusters.
[I]f your child is immersed in scripture after school and prays regularly throughout the day, you may breathe a sigh of relief. Shes such a good girl. My boy is okay.
Or maybe not. Your childs devotion may be a great thing, but there are some kids whose religious observances require a deeper look. For these children, an overzealous practice of their family faith or even another faith may be a sign of an underlying mental health issue or a coping mechanism for dealing with unaddressed trauma or stress.
Therapists in private practice report that they are seeing children and teens across a range of faiths whose religious practice can be problematic. The amount of time they spend praying, or in other acts of spiritual practice, is not as important, they say, as the quality of this devotion, and whether it helps the children or instead isolates them and undermines their schoolwork and relationships. Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for example, may rigidly repeat holy verses, say Hail Marys or focus on other rituals less out of a deeper sense of faith but more as an expression of their disorder. It looks positive but could be negative, says Stephanie Mihalas, a UCLA professor and licensed clinical psychologist.
Obviously this is a story that could have been published at any time. They chose to publish it right before Easter just to garner some hits. Interest in Christian-related stories spikes twice a year, Easter and Christmas.
But the publicization of these stories, and these books, and these plays based on books, during Holy Week is purely coincidental.
— Ace I've said this before and I'll say it again:
I have no problem with the idea that gays are equal to any other American. I have no personal problem with accepting that I'm not better than thy are -- I don't even concede that grudgingly. I concede it happily.
My problems begin with the faction that is so pro-gay they believe homosexuals are naturally superior to the straight, and that simply by being gay, they are cleansed of all sins.
As this article (link to Althouse, who calls it embarrassing) strongly suggests. The article is headlined something about Jim McGreevey's "redemption" -- he is Redeemed through being gay -- which is a furtherance of the line taken in a documentary about him mentioned in the article, called "Fall to Grace."
See, he didn't fall from Grace by betraying his wife. Who, even though she is just a lowly breeder, is, last time I checked, still a human being, whose feelings, while not gay feelings, still, get this, matter.
And he didn't fall from Grace in putting his boyfriend on the state payroll - a major political scandal, of course, for any heterosexual.
No, see, he's fallen to grace by accepting himself for what he is.
Embarrassing. And, in its own goofy way, rather hateful when you think about it.
Is there no common-sense middle position here on how we treat and write about minorities of any stripe? Is proof of Tolerance only achieved by imagining them to be Earthbound Angels sent to redeem us?
Is it possible to treat a minority as a human being, flaws and all? Or are they all Secular Saints?
Can one merely like minorities without degenerating into this bathetic game of "I Love Them More Than You!!!"?
A Bit Unfair: Although the piece is gushy and fawn-y, it's not true, as I said, that it asserts that McGreevey's redemption comes from being gay.
His redemption, the article claims, comes from actual redemption:
After he stepped down in Trenton, the shock sent him for a month to the Meadows, a rehabilitation center in Arizona. Relentlessly excavating his heart and soul, he later went into psychotherapy and resurrected the calling he said he had felt since he was an altar boy in Carteret, N.J.
Now an Episcopalian with a degree in divinity from the General Theological Seminary, hes embracing the Lords work with the same fervor with which he once pursued politics. Though the Newark diocese denied his bid for the priesthood last year, inciting another painful round of headlines about his past, he says he is at peace.
As a recovery specialist who preaches the Gospel, Mr. McGreevey spends much of his time in the Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearny, N.J., working with women fighting addiction through the nonprofit organization Integrity House. His message: No matter how far youve fallen, redemption is within reach.
Still, look: For God's sakes, we've seen this Rinse Lather Repeat cycle with fallen politicians seventeen bazillion times. And yet not a dollop of skepticism from the NYT.
Because he's not Southern or Republican, we know his conversion is Genuine.
This is not doing the Gay Cause any good. Because it gets very hard to argue that there is no reason not to accept gays as equal members of society when the more florid proponents of that notion do in fact seem to want to "actively promote the gay lifestyle," just as its critics charge.
I think a lot of traditionalists actually don't mind gays all that much. What they really fear is a concerted push by the media to actively champion homosexuality as preferable to heterosexuality. And the media's unrelentingly "Yo go, gay!" boosterism makes this a tough thing to refute.
How about -- let's treat like people. Okay? Because I swear to God, the pro-gay-zealots at the NYT might be surprised to discover this, but gays are in fact human beings. Nothing less, but also nothing more.
Two More Thoughts: Maybe this article just represents an irresistible one-two combination for the NYT, a liberal and gay newspaper: a liberal politician and a gay one.
It also occurs to me that the NYT will only discuss Christianity in a halfway favorable light if a fallen liberal Democrat is embracing it.
Normal people who haven't had to quit office due to scandal? Well, they're monsters for practicing a 2000 year old religion.
But McGreevey? Well, he's allowed.
Minorities and fallen Democratic politicians are the only people the NYT will accept saying the words "Jesus Christ" or be photographed toting a Bible to Photo Op Mass.
— Ace At Hot Air, of course.
Although former President Bill Clinton was publicly neutral, his decision to meet with and counsel a Judd rival, 34-year-old Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, in Owensboro earlier this month had an impact. The assumption, at first disputed by Clinton allies, was that he was backing Grimes. News of the meeting, first reported by HuffPost, together with the lack of support for Judd from current and past Kentucky leaders including incumbent Gov. Steve Beshear showed that Judd would have had to attempt a hostile takeover of the party
Although Judd had the backing of Louisville-based supporters of Barack Obama, led by former Obama finance chief Matthew Barzun, the presidents advisers in Washington were openly hostile to the idea of her candidacy. That circle, including former Obama top adviser David Plouffe, worried not only that Judd was too liberal and inexperienced for Kentucky, but that Republicans would use her candidacy and Hollywood background to attack Democratic Senate candidates running in other red states
Ann Coulter talked about this at CPAC -- or rather how the GOP isn't dong this. Beginning at 6:54, she discusses not having the Senate do to "narcissism" and "showing off" for other conservatives -- that is, people trying to out-conservative each other until they do such a terrific job of winning that contest that they lose elections.
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