Pathetic

Alternately titled: Who the Hell Are These People? I was interrupted from my evening review of favorite blogs to refresh my cocktail. In the briefest of passing, I noticed John Kerry on Fox News giving what I assume must have been a victory speech — but that’s not what I find disgusting. What I find disgusting is the throngs who are gathered round him, looking up to him with the sort of adoring look that would be reserved for the Second Coming of the Messiah Himself. Get a life, people. If you think for one second of your miserable lives that any politician is going to make any difference in your daily path, other than to perhaps influence it for the worst, then you suffer from the most pernicious form of self-delusion.

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Here, Let Me Just Ruin Your Whole Goddamned Day

Furious and outraged doesn’t come close to describing my personal feelings over the story of Hale DeMar. In a letter to the Chicago Sun Times entitled Village Trustees … Stick to Parade Schedules & Planting our Parks, Mr. DeMar describes his experience of being prosecuted for violating handgun laws after shooting a burglar who broke into his house for the second consecutive night, and, after having already been arrested thirty times in the past by the “Village Trustees!” I had made a commitment to myself to not go off the deep end with uncivil language in this Blog (rather, my wife gets to attend my verbal outbursts), but this particular injustice is so far beyond the pale that I am quite beside myself. Here’s an excerpt: “Fifteen minutes after bedtime, the alarm went off. Three minutes after the alarm was triggered, the alarm company alerted the police to the situation and 10 minutes later the first police car pulled up to my home, but only after another call was made to 911, by a trembling, half-naked father. I suppose some would have grabbed their children and cowered in their bedroom for 13 minutes, praying that the police would get there…

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Mostly Just Stupidity

If you can stand to read this Blog regularly, then you probably already saw John Stossel’s 20/20 special last night. Lies, Myths, and Downright Stupidity. In what we have come to expect from Stossel, an excellent job. Here are some highlights: – Running contrary to the common hobgoblin who’s stealing all of our time and running us ragged, we actually have more free time now than ever, work less, and spend more time with the kids. – The average family does not need two incomes. In fact, average income has trippled in the last 50 years, after adjusting for inflation. Most families have two incomes simply because there’s so many more things to do and stuff to buy, and Americans want them. – Money does not buy happiness. Turns out that money only “buys happiness” if your income is under $30k, which makes sense, since under $30k, you’re probably going without a lot of basic stuff and are clearly living below “minimum standards” in America. However, above $50k, more money does not seem to matter. – This one’s for all you well-meaning, value-cherishing Republicans out there who think you have principles. Well, I’ve got news for you. You have no…

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H.L. Mencken

One of the very few Blogs I read in its entirety is Improved Clinch. John does me a great service by locating and posting lots of interesting tidbits from lots of other Blogs, and I thank him, here, in plain view, for that. He’s recently discovered or re-discovered H.L. Mencken, one of the most quotables of all time. John has been posting daily notables that I’ve not read in many years. So, I had to go an get a larger dose myself. Alright, here, let me beat John to the punch just a little. :) “I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any…

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Flipping Hitler the Bird

I find it somewhat amazing that in my 40-something years of existence, I have yet to hear the story of Charlie, much less that he is still alive and chipper than ever. So, go read the story of Churchill’s 104-year-old Parrott and crack a smile. (Link via Two–Four and Improved Clinch)

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Looking Glass to the Past

I agonized (as I always do) about how to tile this post. I always like to come up with something that I, at least, consider to be a bit clever. Sometimes, I really please myself. But this time, I just can’t come up with something that quite crystallizes my whole view regarding this total piece of crap. Though not mentioned in the article, I leaned via a radio news report that the alleged father is himself a married man, but has not been charged. I’ve recently been conducting an email exchange on how the world is setting aside “traditional values.” Well, when I read the subject material here, and consider our own past, I can only hope that indeed we are–and revel in the fact.

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Poetic Consequences

Alternately tiled: “The Law of Unitended Justice.” So, how many times do you have to get rolled to understand the underlying motives of those who seek to control the rights of property owners under the guise of environmental protection? Don’t get me wrong. I’m neither in favor or oppsed to “wind farms.” Hey, if that’s what you want to do with your acreage, go for it. And, being a hang-glider pilot who has on rare and spectacular occasion shared the same thermal with a hawk or an eagle, I’m saddened by the useless loss. I say “useless loss” because we don’t really need wind energy, paltry and insignificant as it is. Go nuclear! Perhaps this sort of lesson, the environmentallly rabid biting the environmentally duped, will wake a few people up. But I doubt it.

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Supreme Allegiance

So, the Supremes will hear the Pledge of Allegiance case on March 24. Time to roll out what I posted back then, when the shit hit the fan. I Pledge Allegiance to Reason In a callback to the prayer-in-school debates of years past, political opponents have swiftly framed their positions on the recent pledge-of-allegiance decision by the 9th circuit court. And just as predictably, the news media is dowsing the whole affair with as much lighter fluid as it can muster. After all, controversy equals ratings. Ratings equal ad revenue. When will we stop allowing ourselves to be so manipulated? No sooner had the ink dried on the majority opinion than the news media began to characterize the decision of the court as having found the Pledge of Allegiance “unconstitutional.” In fact they did no such thing. Nor has any court ever found it “unconstitutional” for someone to pray in school. Moreover, the ruling applies only to the 9th circuit, not the country at large as very clearly portrayed by the media. What the court did find unconstitutional (rightly, in my view) is that no one should be compelled to recite the pledge in a government institution, nor should they…

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The Market vs. God

Is the market (in the broad sense of the term) influencing us for the worse? Making us dishonest? Making us materialistic? Making us fat and lazy? Making us shallow? And all in the process, is it displacing God? Bad Market Among the most common arguments in criticism of the market with intent to give us pause is the one that points out all the so-called business or corporate “scandals.” This argument is typically given in justification for increased governmental or bureaucratic regulation in one form or another. But ought it not first be determined which institution, government or corporate, is more steeped in scandal and corruption than the other? Which institution is more prone to promise more and deliver less? Which institution’s directors are less accountable to its constituency? In which institution is it easier to get rid of dead weight, or worse, corruptive or destructive weight? In which institution does inefficiency and mediocrity become more entrenched? In which institution are we most likely to find cost cutting while increasing service levels? Which side of the bribe is worse, the side where you promise favorable legislation (or lack of unfavorable legislation) in exchange for “contributions,” or the side where you…

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It’s the Culture, Stupid!

Billy Beck’s post about the true justification for Iraq gets it just right. It made me recall what I posted to several forums on the morning of September 11, 2001 in response to the immediate and prevalent drivel about “bringing those responsible to justice.” And so I’ll play it once again, below: > Please help our Leaders find the ones responsible for this attack. Of course, this is not the time for heated debate, but it may be time to rethink the standard doctrine for dealing with terrorism–a doctrine that has focused upon primarily prosecuting individuals for crimes involving several hundred deaths at most. As we see today, there is no more way to defend against massive, coordinated terrorism than there is the impact of a nuclear bomb. The nuclear doctrine that has proven to work thus far is mutually assured destruction (MAD). That is, the guarantee that costs equal to or greater than those imposed upon us will be imposed upon the aggressors in terms of property and civilian casualties. Recall the sort of religious-like fervor that permeated the Japanese mind during WWII and what it eventually took to break that spirit and establish a secular, democratic government. Make…

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A Better Tool for the Job

Someone recently wrote to me: It seems that you have tried to elevate business to a religion to fill the hole left when you dumped Christianity. And then: Perhaps your hatred of religion… At any rate, business and the market are not my “religion” and I don’t “hate” religion. The whole thing–all things really–come down to what values individuals adopt and hold. I use the term “value” broadly. That is, anything that a person seeks to gain, hold, adopt, or keep, including ideas (not just material things). In this sense, values can be good or bad for people, i.e., they can enhance or diminish a person in various ways depending upon what sort of values they are and how a person interacts with the values he upholds. In me personally, there was a tremendous value shift fourteen years ago. I began to realize that what happens to me in life is a direct result of what I value or disvalue. If I value a certain set of religious beliefs to the exclusion of other competing ideas, either just different or in contradiction, then my life tends in one direction. But what if this direction is one where I may not…

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