Archive for March, 2012

Hollywood Hypocrites

March 29, 2012

Hollywood Hypocrites is a sequel of sorts to Jason Mattera’s first book Obama Zombies. In Obama Zombies, Mattera demonstrated how legions of young brain-dead zombies elected the most unqualified candidate to the presidency in living memory.

In Hollywood Hypocrites, Mattera attacks the industry most responsible for creating those legions of zombies, the entertainment industry. He attacks those politically active actors, directors, musicians, and even politicians who wag their fingers at us and preach how we should change our lives and become more socially conscious while refusing to practice what they preach.

Mattera is witty, illuminating and entertaining is this book and it is a quick and fun read. I cannot help, however, feeling a certain sense of disappointment after finishing it. For one thing, this book is not long enough. Hollywood Hypocrites is only 256 pages long, which is not nearly long enough. To fully catalogue the whole spectrum of hypocrisy found in Hollywood and elsewhere among the Left would require a work as long as the Encyclopedia Britannica in print. Mattera barely scratches the surface.

I also can’t help but feel that Mattera doesn’t really have anything new to say. While some of the stories he relates are new, anyone who has paid attention to the entertainment industry should already know that the great majority of its members are morally depraved, intellectually vapid, hypocrites. One has only to pick up a supermarket tabloid to realize that the stars are no role models, either in their personal lives, or in politics, or morals, or anything else imaginable. Mattera is only covering ground others have covered and while I enjoyed this work, I hope he will blaze a new trail in his next book.

100% Tax Rate

March 29, 2012

I’ve been paying attention to American politics but they are having an election over in France too. French President Nicholas Sarkozy is facing a tough fight for reelection against Socialist Francois Hollande. Rising in the polls in the more radical leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has some interesting ideas.I should let The Guardian explain.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the hard left, anti-capitalist firebrand who is rising in the presidential election polls, is all over the French papers – billed as the great surprise, main event and key revelation of the campaign.

With crowds spilling into the street at his packed rally in Lille this week, and tens of thousands recently flocking to the Bastille to hear him call for a “civic insurrection”, Mélenchon has been credited with 14% in the polls by BVA.

His numbers have catapulted him into the realms of becoming a possible “third man” in the first round vote on 22 April.

His ideas include capping maximum fat cat salaries at €360,000 (£300,000), after which income tax would be set at 100%.

I almost wish he would win. It would be very interesting to see what happens to the French economy if he did manage to set the highest income tax rate at 100% and I think it would be a lesson for anyone else who thinks high taxes are a good idea. I don’t imagine even the French are foolish enough to support that.

 

Computer Down

March 28, 2012

My computer crashed last Friday. I took it in to be fixed Saturday and by Tuesday, they told me the hard drive was completely dead so I had to buy a new computer. Luckily, I happened to back almost everything up about a week before this happened. Right now I am busy reinstalling all of my software and trying to find all of my bookmarks, etc.

Waiting for the Call

March 23, 2012

Bristol Palin is waiting for President Obama to call her after Bill Maher made some derogatory remarks about her. After all, he called Sandra Fluke when Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, and he, unlike  Bill Maher, actually apologized.

Dear President Obama,

You don’t know my telephone number, but I hope your staff is busy trying to find it. Ever since you called Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, I figured I might be next.  You explained to reporters you called her because you were thinking of your two daughters, Malia and Sasha.  After all, you didn’t want them to think it was okay for men to treat them that way:

“One of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on,” you said.  “I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

And I totally agree your kids should be able to speak their minds and engage the culture.  I look forward to seeing what good things Malia and Sasha end up doing with their lives.

But here’s why I’m a little surprised my phone hasn’t rung.  Your $1,000,000 donor Bill Maher has said reprehensible things about my family.  He’s made fun of my brother because of his Down’s Syndrome. He’s said I was “f—-d so hard a baby fell out.”  (In a classy move, he did this while his producers put up the cover of my book, which tells about the forgiveness and redemption I’ve found in God after my past – very public — mistakes.)

Silly girl. Only liberal women are offended by such remarks and only conservative men get in trouble for saying them.

She goes on.

If Maher talked about Malia and Sasha that way, you’d return his dirty money and the Secret Service would probably have to restrain you.  After all, I’ve always felt you understood my plight more than most because your mom was a teenager.  That’s why you stood up for me when you were campaigning against Sen. McCain and my mom — you said vicious attacks on me should be off limits.

I don’t think he would. I think Obama would put up with a lot for a campaign contribution of $1,000,000. Of course Bristol gets it, that is the whole point of this blog post.

Yet I wonder if the Presidency has changed you.  Now that you’re in office, it seems you’re only willing to defend certain women.  You’re only willing to take a moral stand when you know your liberal supporters will stand behind you.

But…

What if you did something radical and wildly unpopular with your base and took a stand against the denigration of all women… even if they’re just single moms? Even if they’re Republicans?

I’m not expecting your SuperPAC to return the money.  You’re going to need every dime to hang on to your presidency.  I’m not even really expecting a call.  But would it be too much to expect a little consistency?  After all, you’re President of all Americans, not just the liberals.

That, of course, is just the problem. Obama really is the President of just the Liberals. That is why he is the most polarizing president in recent memory.

Isn’t it odd, though, that the ones would lecture us all about civility are the ones who are the least civil?

Never Allow a Crisis to go to Waste

March 22, 2012

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book since I felt a little down on politics when I began reading it.  I quickly became interested, almost in spite of myself and by the time I was halfway through it I couldn’t put it down, (or couldn’t turn off my kindle). Never Allow a Crisis to go to Waste is not just another Obama-bashing book, nor does Bart DePalma attempt to psychoanalyze Barak Obama, as others have tried to do. Rather, he shows the connections between Obama’s politics and policies are related to the history of Socialism in America. This last he describes in some detail but the book doesn’t become tedious or uninteresting.

 Put simply, classical socialism has never been very popular in the United States. For a variety of historical reasons, calls for government ownership of businesses or massive wealth redistribution have generally failed to resonate with the great majority of Americans. To get around this obstacle and to implement their policies of social justice, socialists have been obliged to use indirect methods, much as an army facing a superior opponent might resort to guerrilla warfare. The guerrilla warfare or “asymmetric socialism” most often consists of non-reform reforms. Policies ostensibly for the purpose of correcting defects in a capitalist system but really meant to overwhelm and ultimately to collapse the system, by which time people will be forced to turn to socialism.

DePalma shows that by his inclinations, education and past associations, Barak Obama works firmly in the tradition of asymmetric socialism. Where possible he has increase government ownership of business, in the automobile industry. Where not possible, he has used regulation to increase government control of the economy, which provides the benefits of ownership without the troubles, or unpopularity.

This would be a depressing book indeed, if DePalma ended it on that note, but in the final two chapters, he chronicles the rise of citizen resistance to Obama’s policies in the form of the TEA Party protests and the Republican victories in the 2010 elections. I somewhat  regret that this book was published before the Occupy protests as it might have been interesting to read an analysis of them in the context of asymmetric socialism, but perhaps DePalma can be persuaded to write another book.

 

Illinois

March 22, 2012

Romney won big in Illinois, Obama’s home state. Second place Santorum didn’t come close. Romney now has 560 delegates compared to Santorum’s 246, Gingrich with 141 and Paul with 66. I wouldn’t declare Romney the nominee just yet but since he has more delegates than the rest combined, it is beginning to look that way.

Global Warming and Global Government

March 20, 2012

I have long contended that the global warming/climate change/climate catastrophe/ whatever they’re calling it this week had less to do with the environment than with political power. It is nice to see myself vindicated straight from the Warmists’ mouths. Here in Scientific American is a piece by Gary Stix called “Effective World Government Will be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe“. I am sure Mr. Stix did not intend it, but this is a truly horrifying post. Since the post is short, I will quote the whole thing.

Almost six years ago, I was the editor of a single-topic issue on energy for Scientific American that included an article by Princeton University’s Robert Socolow that set out a well-reasoned plan for how to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below a planet-livable threshold of 560 ppm. The issue came replete with technical solutions that ranged from a hydrogen economy to space-based solar.

If I had it to do over, I’d approach the issue planning differently, my fellow editors permitting. I would scale back on the nuclear fusion and clean coal, instead devoting at least half of the available space for feature articles on psychology, sociology, economics and political science. Since doing that issue, I’ve come to the conclusion that the technical details are the easy part. It’s the social engineering that’s the killer. Moon shots and Manhattan Projects are child’s play compared to needed changes in the way we behave.

A policy article authored by several dozen scientists appeared online March 15 in Science to acknowledge this point: “Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change. This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.”

The report summarized 10 years of research evaluating the capability of international institutions to deal with climate and other environmental issues, an assessment that found existing capabilities to effect change sorely lacking. The authors called for a “constitutional moment” at the upcoming 2012 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio in June to reform world politics and government. Among the proposals: a call to replace the largely ineffective U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development with a council that reports to the U.N. General Assembly, at attempt to better handle emerging issues related to water, climate, energy and food security. The report advocates a similar revamping of other international environmental institutions.

Unfortunately, far more is needed. To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers. There would have to be consideration of some way of embracing head-in-the-cloud answers to social problems that are usually dismissed by policymakers as academic naivete. In principle, species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors would be a sine qua non, but that kind of pronouncement also profoundly strains credibility in the chaos of the political sphere. Some of the things that would need to be contemplated: How do we overcome our hard-wired tendency to “discount” the future: valuing what we have today more than what we might receive tomorrow? Would any institution be capable of instilling a permanent crisis mentality lasting decades, if not centuries? How do we create new institutions with enforcement powers way beyond the current mandate of the U.N.? Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?

Behavioral economics and other forward-looking disciplines in the social sciences try to grapple with weighty questions. But they have never taken on a challenge of this scale, recruiting all seven billion of us to act in unison. The ability to sustain change globally across the entire human population over periods far beyond anything ever attempted would appear to push the relevant objectives well beyond the realm of the attainable. If we are ever to cope with climate change in any fundamental way, radical solutions on the social side are where we must focus, though. The relative efficiency of the next generation of solar cells is trivial by comparison.

There is a lot that can be said about such folly, but I will say just this. A government that has the power to make “species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors”, that has “the ability to sustain change globally across the entire human population” would have to be totalitarian on a scale that would surpass Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China. Since sociopaths and power seekers are drawn to such power like flies to honey, there is simply no way to ensure against a malevolent dictator, no matter how benevolent the founders might be. No doubt Gary Stix envisions an ecotopian paradise ruled by people of like mind, but it is far more probable that the world government he desires would be a totalitarian hell and people like him would be among the first to be sent to the Antarctian gulags.

Life Under the One World Government

Rutherford B. Hayes

March 18, 2012

Since President Obama made a fool of himself for disparaging his predecessor Rutherford B. Hayes as a technophobe who didn’t believe the telephone would ever be of any use, it might be worthwhile to take a look at the nineteenth President of the United States.

Hayes is one of those presidents between Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt that you never hear much of. Until Obama brought him up it would be safe to say that many Americans had never heard of him. (Of course it might also be safe to say that many Americans have never heard of Lincoln or Roosevelt.) This obscurity is unfortunate because he was a good man.

 

English: Rutherford B. Hayes (October 4, 1822—...

Image via Wikipedia

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born in Deleware, Ohio on October 4, 1822. His father died three months before he was born but managed to leave behind an estate large enough to allow young Rutherford to get a good education. Hayes had an uneventful childhood and was regarded as rather stuffy. He never got into any trouble. He attended Kenyon College and Harvard Law School and practiced law in Ohio. He was an abolitionist and joined the newly formed Republican party.

Hayes began to enter politics in 1858 when the city council of Cincinnati selected him to become city solicitor when that post was vacant. His political career had to be put on hold when the Civil War broke out. Hayes was commissioned major of the 23rd Ohio Volunteers, a regiment he helped form, and was soon promoted to lieutenant colonel. He was a brave and dedicated officer, being wounded in action six times, and by 1865 he had been promoted to major general.

The Confederates were terrified of his beard

While still fighting in the war, Hayes was nominated for Congress in 1864. He refused to campaign saying, “Thanks. I have other business just now. Any man who would leave the army at this time to electioneer for Congress ought to be scalped”. He won anyway, but didn’t take his seat until the war was over. I wonder how many people in Washington these days would do that.Hayes was elected governor of Ohio in 1867 and reelected in 1869. He ran for Congress again in 1872 but didn’t win. He did win election for a third term as governor in 1875.

In 1876, Hayes was nominated as the Republican candidate for president, largely because of his solid reputation as an honest man who had no part in the corruption that was so endemic at the time. His opponent was Samuel J. Tilden, a Democratic Governor of New York with a history of battling against corruption in government and who had defeated the Tweed ring. The platforms of the two men were much the same and there really wasn’t much to distinguish the two men except that Hayes had as awesome beard. That didn’t stop the campaign from being very, very nasty.

Tilden.
He lost because he didn't have an awesome beard.

The Democrats ran against the corruption of the Grant years. Grant himself was honest, but he turned out to be a poor judge of character and many of his friends weren’t. The Republicans retaliated by blaming the Democrats for the Civil War and casting them as the party of treason. (Much like they are nowadays). At first it looked as if Tilden had won with 184 electoral votes to Hayes’s 165. 185 votes were needed to win and 20 votes from the states of Oregon, Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina were disputed. I won’t go into the details here but after a lot of discussion, Congress appointed a fifteen man board to arbitrate. Since eight men were Republicans and seven Democrats, the board decided in favor of Hayes by a 8-7 vote and Hayes became the nineteenth President. As part of the deal, Republicans agreed to end reconstruction and remove federal troops from the South. Without the federal government to guarantee their rights, the Black former slaves were quickly disenfranchised.

Hayes tried to be a good president but the irregular election left a taint. He was known to be honest but there was a feeling that the election 1876 had been stolen. He tried to reform the civil service and end the spoils system, but was not entirely successful. He worked to return the country to the gold standard to prevent inflation. He vetoed a bill excluding Chinese from immigration on the grounds that the bill violated a treaty with China. This was unpopular in the west and some Democrats even tried to begin impeachment proceedings. The greatest crisis of the Hayes administration was the Great Railroad Strike, caused by the railroad companies cutting employees wages. Hayes used federal troops to suppress the riots and end the strikes. His decisive action gained Hayes praise, especially from business leaders, but he himself was more ambivalent and believed the strikers’ grievances were legitimate. There was also trouble with the Indians. Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce rebelled rather than be forced to live in a reservation and the Nez Perce tried to flee to Canada. They were stopped only forty miles from the border.

Contrary to President Obama’s assertion, Hayes was a technophile who actually installed the first telephone in the White House. He also had Thomas Edison demonstrate the phonograph.

Hayes’s first lady was Lucy Ware Webb. She had attended Cincinnati Wesleyan Female College, making her one of the few women of the time to have a college education. She was active in social organizations, including the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Both Rutherford and Lucy were teetotalers and she refused to serve alcohol at White House functions, earning her the nickname “Lemonade Lucy.

Hayes decided not to run in 1880. He had proposed a constitutional amendment changing the president’s term to six years without reelection, but he had little support. He and Lucy returned to Ohio and he died on January 17, 1893.

St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2012

Today is St. Patrick‘s day and I thought it might be appropriate to write about St. Patrick. So, who is St. Patrick and why does he get a day? Not very much is known for certain about his life. It is possible that his story has been confused with one Palladius, a missionary who became the first bishop of Ireland. Still, Patrick wrote a short autobiography called “The Declaration” or “The Confession” as part of a letter which seems to be genuine.

Get out snakes!

Patrick, or Patricius was a Roman who lived in Britain. He may have been born around 387 and lived until 460 or possibly 493, so he lived during the twilight of the Roman Empire in the West. At the age of 16 he was captured by raiders and enslaved. He worked as a shepherd in Ireland for about six years. He managed to escape and return to his home, but then he became a priest and returned to the land where he was a slave and worked to convert the pagans to Christianity. He seems to have been very successful during his lifetime, though there were many other missionaries in Ireland. He helped to organize the Church in Ireland and is supposed to have traveled to Rome to seek the Pope’s assistance in this endeavor.

According to legend, Patrick died on March 17, so that date has become his feast day. He has never been officially canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. He became known as a saint long before the modern procedure for canonization was developed. He is, obviously, the patron saint of Ireland, and also Nigeria, Montserrat, engineers, paralegals, and the dioceses of New York, Boston, and Melbourne.

There are many legends about St. Patrick. The most widely known is that he chased all the snakes out of Ireland, thus ruining the local ecology. Another is that he used the example of the three-leaved shamrock to illustrate the trinity.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all the Irish, and Irish at heart, out there!

Sorry about the green text. I couldn’t resist.

Encyclopedia Britannica No Longer Printed

March 16, 2012

I read the story by USA Today a couple of days ago. The Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer be available in printed form but they will be continuing their online version. To be honest, I’m surprised they have been printing them this long.

After 244 years and more than 7 million printed sets, the company is announcing today that it will no longer publish a print edition. The last, 32-volume print version, published in 2010, weighs 129 pounds and sells for $1,395.

Only 12,000 sets of the final edition were printed, company President Jorge Cauz says, and 4,000 remain in its inventory.

In an increasingly digital world where the online Encyclopaedia Britannica — which is much larger than the printed version — is updated every 20 minutes, Cauz says, publishing on paper no longer makes sense.

This is the end of an era. When I was a child, the local library allow people to check out older editions of encyclopedias. I used to check out a volume of The World Book Encyclopedia, take it home and skim through the articles. You can pick up a lot of trivia that way. Looking up random articles in Wikipedia is just not the same.

I suppose that within a century the printed book will be a obsolete as the clay tablets the Babylonians used.

The Encyclopedia Babylonica


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