Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Monday, June 30, 2008

Bonus Megan

Q: Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come?

A:(McArdle): Mathematically, it is likely that we are near the peak of human
population. On the other hand, I'm encouraged by the incredibly rapid economic
change going on now. I think that getting richer has made us more moral - more
careful about human life and suffering. So if we keep getting richer, I expect
that we will also get better, with more morality, more art and culture, and more
of almost every other good thing.

Well, that explains a lot. Namely why McArdle thinks rich people are better than poor people. And why we, the richest country on earth, are so very, very good to everyone else on the planet.

What's Wrong With Megan.

Megan's nose is out of joint because the feminists dissed her. She excludes other people, they don't exclude her! But we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, Megan tells us people are born with mean impulses.

Lots of behaviors are natural, like rape and murdering strangers, that we
struggle mightily to overcome--and mostly succeed.

Do I have to say rape and murder aren't natural? Do I? And do I have to add that this rapacious, murderous impulse isn't what we usually have to overcome? Most of us struggle with laziness, greed, lust, and impatience, to name some common vices. If we have to struggle to overcome our murderous impulses, we have bigger problems than some feminists calling us non-feminist. Priorities, Megan, priorities.

Even if my gender has a preprogrammed tendency to self-define through the
people we can exclude from the group, we can rise above that.

That's not pre-programming, Megan, it's nastiness based on anger and pain. If you get your jollies excluding people, if you define yourself by whom you won't let in your world (which of course you do), then you have a serious problem with self-hatred.

Feminists who use the phrase "anti-feminist" to describe anyone who
disagrees with them are choosing to view the world as composed of two mutually
exclusive groups: feminists, us; and the bad people who have not joined the
group and are therefore our sworn enemies. They are choosing, too, the nastiness
that tends to result from giving into our baser primate instincts.

Didn't you just say excluding others was innate? Didn't you just say your socialization skills consist of identifying those who don't fit in your group and then loudly, prominently, ostracizing them?
I expect this also explains the visceral pleasure that most women get from
gossip, which most men really don't seem to enjoy nearly so much--the perhaps
sad truth is that I feel closer to my female friends when we have gotten through
a really good round of "what's wrong with everyone else"

Why, yes, you did. I'm sorry, Megan, but you can't hang out with the smart girls smoking cigarettes behind the library, discussing existentialism, Buffy, and abs of the guys in gym. Not after you spent all year talking about them behind their backs and calling them dykes.

P.S. Prep school ended a long time ago. Get over it.

Megan likes pie!

I never buy pie crust--if you really don't want to fuss with it, I vote for
making an impromptu strudel out of frozen puff pastry sheets or phyllo, which
are really quite decent. Sadly, the same cannot be said of store bought pie
crust. If you're afraid to make one, the important thing to remember is this:
your first pie crust is going to be awful. It will fail to hold together, be too
thick or too thin, and almost certainly not resemble anything like the perfect
circle so lovingly pictured in your cookbook. That's all right. It will still
taste better than your store bought pie crust. And four or five crusts later,
you'll have gotten the knack of it, and friends will be swooning over your
homemade pies.

This is a little thing, but I don't understand why she doesn't explain pie crust, if she goes to so much trouble to say how hard it is. It's a recipe, give instructions dammit. If you want pie crust that holds together and is easy to roll, use cold shortening and enough ice water to hold it together to make the dough. Then let it rest for at least half an hour in the refrigerator so the flour can absorb the liquid. Rolling out isn't difficult, just use even pressure, start in the middle, and work your way outwards in a circle. Sprinkle with flour as needed to keep the surfaces from sticking.

Was that so hard?/crabby

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Alice Miller, and Conservatism

Arthur Silber has another post up that quotes Alice Miller, one of the most important psychologists of our time. I have read all of her books that I can find, repeatedly, because for me, nobody else even comes close to explaining human dynamics as well as she does. She states that parents' behavior greatly affects their children, a statement so obvious that I can't believe it's under debate. Children raised with kindness, respect and tolerance will grow to be kind, respectful and tolerant. Children raised to be blindly obedient will grow to be thwarted, cold, obedient adults. It's not rocket science, yet their implications are so important that Miller's theories terrify people.

The most conservative people are often, by definition, the most obedient and authoritative. The theory is little more than authoritarianism wrapped in a flag. Obedience to family, God and country are utterly central, and disobedience to one is seen as disobedience to all. The child is told to obey without question, with the implicit or even overt threat of withholding love from the child as punishment. And of course the the threat of corporal punishment hangs over all disagreements with the parents. Worse of all, the child is expected to feel grateful and loving towards the parents who have no regard for and often belittle his opinions, wants and needs.

The result is depressingly predictable, and disastrous. The child squashes his feelings of resentment and anger, and soon all feelings, since they cannot be turned on and off. This makes him cold and indifferent to others' needs and suffering. He is always needy, since he has never received the love and respect from his parents that everyone craves. He is also dangerously, mindlessly obedient, to whomever orders him around, makes him feel safe, and strokes and praises him. He can mask the neediness with arrogance, but it's there under the surface. And because his reactions are so ingrained and so predictable, he is easy to sway and manipulate. You might say it's child's play.

I suspect that the gender roles that are maintained so rigorously by conservative people are merely the codifying of abuse into sex as well. The qualities that are held up to such high esteem by conservatives are those of abused children and their parents, their perpetrators. Boys are to be strong and endure pain silently, especially emotional pain. They are violent, eager to kill and ready to be sacrificed on another's order. They demand obedience from those in their power, and give obedience to those who have power over them.

Girl victims are to be silent sufferers also, obedient also, never active and always passive. It is especially disturbing to think about what is required of child sex victims--always be sexually available to a man, always dressed in accessible clothing, her decisions regarding her own body made by a man. Any conservative woman worth her salt has written endless columns on how women should dress--in skirts, with make-up--and act--subservient and obedient to men.

Conservatism is a sickness of the mind. It needs to eradicated, because it is a symptom of the lack of moral compass in America.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The world's laziest econoblogger speaks again.

The Case-Shiller housing index has dropped like a rock. Contrarians are calling
a bottom
. I am still of the opinion that as long as there is a sizeable minority saying that the market has capitulated, the market has not capitulated.

That's it. That's the entire post. A statement and a flip, intellectually vapid response. Which would be just fine if this were a Live Journal or Facebook page, but Megan blogs on economics. She gives no new information, no analysis, nothing. Why is this woman paid so much money to do so little?

If you read Mish's Global Economic Trends, or Calculated Risk, or The Big Picture you get understandable explanations, charts, facts, and analysis. With Megan you get nothing.

Last night I watched a television cook-off. The woman judge looked amazingly like Megan. She had the same accent, the same hair, the same way of holding herself, the same lack of substance. She was a New Yorker writing for New Yorkers, and probably perfect for it, but why should I care?

Megan speaks.

Given that I do have the luxury of finding delicious vegan food and
non-leather shoes, I believe I have an obligation to do so. If that should
change, I will go back to eating and wearing animal products without moral
regret--though with a fair amount of digestive distress.

Too bad nobody eats the poor. Then maybe she'd feel a moral obligation to care about them too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Atlantic Monthly, on its illustrious history: (Cullen Murphy)

The Atlantic Monthly saw the first stories into print of Mark Twain, Henry James, Louise Erdrich, Sue Miller, and Bobbie Ann Mason. It was to The Atlantic Monthly that a little-known writer named James Dickey came when he had something called Deliverance that he wanted to publish. There is distinction, too, in the realm of politics. The Atlantic Monthly was the publisher of important essays by Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, by W.E.B. DuBois and Martin Luther King. King sent a handwritten draft to us, written behind bars, of what would come to be known as his "Letter From Birmingham Jail," which we published in 1963. The Atlantic Monthly is where Felix Frankfurter, in 1927, spoke out in behalf of Sacco and Vanzetti. It was the platform chosen by Al Smith, that same year, to assert the competence of a Catholic to run for national office. It was where William Greider's 1981 interviews with David Stockman were published, interviews that rattled the federal government to the doors of the White House, and prompted President Reagan, in Stockman's words, to take the budget director to the woodshed.

The Atlantic Monthly is where war-reporting in the American press was made into an art, with dispatches from Civil War battlefields by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is where, in the 1870s, Anna Leonowens published the remarkable chronicle of her life as tutor to the son of the King of Siam. It is where John Muir published "The American Forest," which led to passage of the Yosemite National Park Bill, and where Jacob Riis published his first searching portrayals of the American slum. It is where Vannevar Bush and I. I. Rabi and Albert Einstein wrote prophetically about atomic technology in the postwar era; where George F. Kennan serialized his memoirs, and, more recently, his diaries; where Frances FitzGerald probed the agony of Vietnam in an important series of articles beginning in 1966; where Tracy Kidder unraveled the electronic mind of a computer in his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Soul of a New Machine.

The Atlantic Monthly, now: (Megan McArdle)

Note to Readers: Thanks to the readers who wanted to know who the least attractive celebrity is that I'd be willing to hook up with. This is a fascinating question, one I had not previously considered. It is not, however, a question that I will answer for public delectation.

McCain is weak.

Via Sadly, No!, we see Richard Cohen is writing again, and the world gets a little stupider.

But here is the difference between McCain and Obama — and Obama had better
pay attention. McCain is a known commodity. It’s not just that he’s been around
a long time and staked out positions antithetical to those of his Republican
base. It’s also — and more important — that we know his bottom line. As his
North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then
his pride or his sense of honor takes over. This — not just his candor and
nonstop verbosity on the Straight Talk Express — is what commends him to so many journalists.

Didn't McCain fold, and make traitorous broadcasts for the enemy? What took over was his pain and suffering, and desire to make it stop. And his pride and sense of honor didn't stop him from embracing Bush after Bush and Rove's campaign to tell voters McCain had an illegitimate black child. The only thing we know is that McCain will talk tough but fold like a cheap suit if pressured too much.

The First Law of Thermodynamics

From Juan Cole:

A city council member
in Mada'in
(Salman Pak) abruptly opened fire on Americans who had been in a
meeting with him. He killed 2 US troops and wounded 4 other Americans. He had
been in India recently because Sunni-Shiite tensions made it too difficult for
him in Mada'in. He had only been back one week as councilman. Although there is
speculation that he was unstable, my own suspicion is that the continued US
military occupation was just too hard for him to take. India has an
anti-colonial atmosphere, after all.

If you take everything away from a man, leave him with nothing left to lose, watch out. Whether he was unstable or driven unstable, his actions were a consequence of his situation. Expect more...consequences.

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's hard to be superior.

Am I too moral and good?

I dunno, my mother, who is much better than your mothers and descends from a superior type of monkey with extra shiny tails, taught me how to behave to the lower classes.

But I am always fair, as my diverse group of upper class Manhattan careerist white friends always tell me. Life is complicated, I am often groped in the dark, and who is to say what is right or wrong except the moral relativist lefties?

Blog sisters and brothers, don't be haters. That's so hippy. Be nice like me.

Anger makes me giggle inappropriately. I don't know why.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Then and Now

Obama on FISA, 1/28/08

"I strongly oppose retroactive immunity in the FISA bill. Ever since 9/11, this Administration has put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.

The FISA court works. The separation of power works. We can trace, track down and take out terrorists while ensuring that our actions are subject to vigorous oversight, and do not undermine the very laws and freedom that we are fighting to defend.

No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people - not the President of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies that fell in line with his warrantless surveillance program. We have to make clear the lines that cannot be crossed.
That is why I am co-sponsoring Senator Dodd's amendment to remove the immunity provision. Secrecy must not trump accountability. We must show our citizens – and set an example to the world – that laws cannot be ignored when it is inconvenient.

A grassroots movement of Americans has pushed this issue to the forefront. You have come together across this country. You have called upon our leaders to adhere to the Constitution. You have sent a message to the halls of power that the American people will not permit the abuse of power – and demanded that we reclaim our core values by restoring the rule of law.
It's time for Washington to hear your voices, and to act. I share your commitment to this cause, and will stand with you in the fights to come. And when I am President, the American people will once again be able to trust that their government will stand for justice, and will defend the liberties that we hold so dear as vigorously as we defend our security."

Obama on FISA, 6/20/08

"Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.

"That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.
"After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's Protect America Act.

"Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

"It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people."

Added: I think we have to assume Obama didn't want to keep the bill off the floor. He said he supports the bill, after all. He said twice that the bill was needed because we face grave and legitimate threats. Then he said he will use the program wisely as president.

Then there's what Reid said--immunity will end up staying. And we'll never know why the government was so eager to get immunity, after they simply blew off outrage over the spying. Lawsuits mean discovery and discovery means phone and e-mail records. They've gone to an awful lot of trouble to ensure one thing remains hidden--who they were spying on. Who Rove was spying on.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

All we need to do is put Democrats in office...

Just in case you thought electing a Democratic Congress (or president) will change anything:

In the U.S. now, thanks to the Democratic Congress, we'll have a new law
based on the premise that the President has the power to order private actors to
break the law, and when he issues such an order, the private actors will be
protected from liability of any kind on the ground that the Leader told them to
do it -- the very theory that the Nuremberg Trial rejected.

The leaders of a country are not your friends. They want power, to use it to get everything else they want. They do not want to help you. They do not want you to prosper and be free. They want you to pay your taxes, die when ordered to, and bend over whenever they want something else. If they betray you it's not because they "have to." It's because they want to.

People who want power over the entire world (the US, its military and money that is) are dangerous. No matter what their reason is, good or bad, they are dangerous. But since we feel the need to follow the leader, remember one thing; it's us versus them. They are the enemy, and they will have to be forced to do the right thing, every single time. The purpose of political involvement is to watch the powerful, not find a candidate that makes us feel good. The only person who can make you feel good is you.

By the way, the Democratic Congress also just funded the war they were elected to end.

K-Lo is stupid

Kathryn Jean Lopez believes demons roam the earth, looking for people to possess. (The article is about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's participation in an exorcism when in college.) They take over the person and make them do evil things. I understand the Catholic Church is on a first-name basis with demons. The Vatican even teaches a class on demon fighting, something that I would love to take, as a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. But I'm very curious, which demon possessed "Susan"? As a fellow Susan (more or less), I want to know what is circling the globe, looking for people to seduce.

[...T]he Catholic Church unequivocally teaches that angels and demons are real personal beings, not just symbolic devices of literature and myth (see Fr. John Corapi's article). The Catholic Church has a cadre of exorcists, who teach that demons attack humans and that Christ came to deliver us from Satan's evil rule by power in this fashion. According to the Catholic Church, demonically afflicted persons can be effectively healed and protected either by the formal rite of exorcism, authorized to be performed only by bishops and those they designate, or by prayers of deliverance which any Christian can offer for themselves or others.

Was it Agares, who teaches people to cuss? Vapula, a female demon who teaches philosophy? Yeter'el, who is half human? Furfur, who can be forced to tell the truth if in a magic triangle? Since we're on a first name basis with so many demons, it would be nice to know his or her name. Maybe Jindal can order the public schools to start teaching demonology along with intelligent design.

Although Lopez thinks Jindal needs more seasoning and time to clean up Louisiana from its demon onslaught, she does favor him for a high political office some day. I look forward to the establishment of a Cabinet post in Demon Fighting and Exorcism. If we have an enemy we won't have to go to war, we can just exorcise his demons instead, and he'll be Godly once again, even if he doesn't believe in God. Problems with La Nina? Pray to God and the angels for salvation. Crime? Nation-wide exorcism! In fact, there is no problem that can't be solved without God's help and prayer. Which is why the Christian nations have no problems--or they wouldn't, if it weren't for those meddling demons.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's all about the money.

Don't rightwing pundits ever get embarrassed? Is no idea too stupid or obvious to state? If I went to the Korean Rev. Moon's Washington Times or Australian Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, could I get them to pay me for articles decrying the menace of godless communism or evil Baltic anarchists? I can be shrill and stupid too if I'm paid for it.

Mary Maggie Gallagher complains that gay marriage will mean infidelity will invade marriage and force the separation of church and state. This situation already exists with straight marriage, but reality doesn't pay cash for wingnut stupidity. The Post does. And, horrors, if they want to destroy gay marriage, they'll have to pay to try. In fact, most of her complaints are simply about money. Churches might lose money if they want to be bigots and bigots will have to pay (to sue) to keep their bigotry.

The funny part--there's always a funny part, that's why I'm here--is that Gallagher's nemesis is also her salvation.

National Public Radio reported this week, "Two titanic legal principles are
crashing on the steps of the church, synagogue and mosque: equal treatment for
same-sex couples on the one hand, and the freedom to exercise religious beliefs
on the other."

If you tear down the laws separating church and state, you are also tearing down the laws separating mosque and state. In your hurry to impose your superstitions on others, you might make your greatest nightmare come true--letting Islam form the laws for the US. Of course that won't happen, but we're talking wingnut, not reality.

Irony of ironies: the Post's pop-up advertisement was for a "dumb test." Very convenient!

Added: Dammit, Roy beat me to it, and is funnier to boot.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Corner is stupid.

At the Corner:

Re: Ah, Fr. Greeley [Jim Manzi]


It's kind of hard to be asked:

How many of the male readers of this column who are habitues of bars, locker rooms, commuter train bull sessions, pool rooms and men's clubs have not heard the indigenous racial slurs of such environments applied to Obama?

without bursting out laughing. Pool rooms? And Men's clubs? I almost dropped my fedora. Who's reading his column?

Maybe him, from the post immediately preceding Manzi's?

Dog Lovers' Corner [John Derbyshire]

... I had dinner last night at the Leash Club in midtown Manhattan.
Never been in there before. Lovely place, quiet & inconspicuous, with liquor
lockers for members' bottles, a private-club custom left over from
Prohibition. The Leash is so classy they have no website — that's as classy as you can get nowadays. A google turned up only this.

I think I've been inside most of the New York private clubs at one time or
other, but the Leash is now top of my favorites list.

I say, Derbyshire, it must be a tip-top club, wot?

One of the funniest parts of the Corner is watching everyone pretend to be minor characters in a P. G. Wodehouse novel. Alas, there is no Jeeves to make things work out in the end.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

Barack Obama gave a lovely speech on Father's Day. He exhorted fathers to set a good example of achievement and hope, and society to help fathers achieve this goal.

It’s up to us – as fathers and parents – to instill this ethic of excellence
in our children. It’s up to us to say to our daughters, don’t ever let images on
TV tell you what you are worth, because I expect you to dream without limit and
reach for those goals. It’s up to us to tell our sons, those songs on the radio
may glorify violence, but in my house we live [give?S/T] glory to achievement,
self respect, and hard work. It’s up to us to set these high expectations. And
that means meeting those expectations ourselves. That means setting examples of
excellence in our own lives. The second thing we need to do as fathers is
pass along the value of empathy to our children. Not sympathy, but empathy – the
ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes; to look at the world through their
eyes. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in “us,” that we forget about our
obligations to one another. There’s a culture in our society that says
remembering these obligations is somehow soft – that we can’t show weakness, and
so therefore we can’t show kindness.

But our young boys and girls see that. They see when you are ignoring or mistreating your wife. They see when you are inconsiderate at home; or when you are distant; or when you are thinking only of yourself. And so it’s no surprise when we see that behavior in our schools or on our streets. That’s why we pass on the values of empathy and kindness to our children by living them. We need to show our kids that you’re not strong by putting other people down –you’re strong by lifting them up.
That’s our responsibility as fathers.

We should be making it easier for fathers who make responsible choices andharder for those who avoid them. We should get rid of the financial penalties we impose on married couples right now, and start making sure that every dime of child support goes directly to helping children instead of some bureaucrat. We should reward fathers who pay that child support with job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit that can help them pay the bills. We should expand programs where registered nurses visit expectant and new mothers and help them learn how to care for themselves before the baby is born and what to do after – programs that have helped increase father involvement, women’s employment, and children’s readiness for school. We should help these new families care for their children by expanding maternity and paternity leave, and we should guarantee every worker more paid sick leave so they can stay home to take care of their child without losing their income.

It's a wonderful speech that puts the responsibility of raising black children directly on their fathers, while acknowledging that society doesn't do enough to help them.

They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And
the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.

It's not the institutional racism of America, or its economic system set up to gouge the poor and middle class. It's a matter of personal responsibility, just like with Obama's father. You see, Obama knows the difficulty of growing up without a father.

I know what it means to have an absent father, although my circumstances weren’t as tough as they are for many young people today. Even though my father left us when I was two years old, and I only knew him from the letters he wrote and the
stories that my family told, I was luckier than most.
He knows the pain of feeling rejected by one of the two people a child loves, needs and wants the most in the entire world. Raised by whites yet black himself, American yet foreign, poor but successful, it left Obama with a fierce need to prove himself.

Still, I know the toll that being a single parent took on my mother – how she struggled at times to the pay bills; to give us the things that other kids had; to play all the roles that both parents are supposed to play. And I know the
toll it took on me. So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to
break the cycle – that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father
to my girls; that if I could give them anything, I would give them that rock –
that foundation – on which to build their lives. And that would be the greatest
gift I could offer.
See, it's incredibly important to Obama to be a steady rock for his family, to give them continuity and security. He praises the pastor of the church in which he's speaking.

Here at Apostolic, you are blessed to worship in a house that has been founded on the rock of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. But it is also built on
another rock, another foundation – and that rock is Bishop Arthur Brazier. In
forty-eight years, he has built this congregation from just a few hundred to
more than 20,000 strong – a congregation that, because of his leadership, has
braved the fierce winds and heavy rains of violence and poverty; joblessness and
hopelessness. Because of his work and his ministry, there are more graduates and
fewer gang members in the neighborhoods surrounding this church. There are more
homes and fewer homeless. There is more community and less chaos because Bishop
Brazier continued the march for justice that he began by Dr. King’s side all
those years ago. He is the reason this house has stood tall for half a century.
And on this Father’s Day, it must make him proud to know that the man now
charged with keeping its foundation strong is his son and your new pastor,
Reverend Byron Brazier.

It's too bad Obama can't stay in the church he raised his kids in, the familiar community that is so important to both black and white church congregations. But that church was hurting his election chances and he had to abandon it, to achieve his continued success. It must have hurt a great deal, but he had to be an example to his children. If someone is holding you back, leave them behind and look for something better. The point is to be a good example through achievement, after all.

Another example of Obama's fine character is his religious devotion. Like a human father, Obama looks to his Heavenly Father for guidance, help, and protection. Faith in God's love, both for us and our country above all others, shows that Obama is a true American, certain that we are uniquely favored by God and Jesus over other people, and other nations.

That is our ultimate responsibility as fathers and parents. We try. We hope. We do what we can to build our house upon the sturdiest rock. And when the winds come, and the rains fall, and they beat upon that house, we keep faith that our
Father will be there to guide us, and watch over us, and protect us, and lead
His children through the darkest of storms into light of a better day. That is
my prayer for all of us on this Father’s Day, and that is my hope for this
country in the years ahead. May God Bless you and your children. Thank you.

It's such a relief to know that if Obama is elected, the nation will change and improve. He believes so strongly in challenging society's assumptions of class, race and religion.

Friday, June 13, 2008


TIm Russert has died of a heart attack, or something. He was the go-to guy for the Bush Administration's propaganda campaign. He was a friend to those in power, trading power and presteige for honor and responsibility. He will be easy to replace.

He will not go to a Catholic heaven to be with his father. He will go to his grave and be forgotten except by those who loved him. Few people will discuss him in the years to come, because to remember him will be to remember his complicity. The evil that he did will live on long after him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

K-Lo Goes to Confession

V Dearly Beloved

K-Lo: Blee-e-e-. Bless m-e-e--. (Breaks down in uncontrolled sobbing.)

Father: Kathryn Jean, thank The Lord you're back. I was so worried, young lady, when I received your wedding invitation.

K-Lo: (wailing) Fah-fa-faaatheeeer!

Father: There, there dear. Let it out. I know it hurts.

K-Lo: Father, he didn't want me! "Mittens" didn't want me!

Father: Dear child, he's a married man. I'm sure if he knew you he'd grow to appreciate your Godliness, but you can't marry him. It's against the law.

K-Lo: But his grandfather had multiple wives! And in the Bible--

Father: Kathryn Jean, I never thought you would be a cafeteria Catholic.

K-Lo: (Gasps.)

Father: Yes, I said it and I meant it. Marriage is only permitted between one man and one woman, and Mittens--I mean Mr. Romney--is already married. I'm sorry, Kathryn Jean, but you will have to obey me in this matter.

K-Lo: If Mr. John McCain is elected he could choose Mittens for vice president, and when McCain leaves office Mittens could become president. The president can make any laws he wants because it's God's will that he's the commander-in-chief.

Father: Kathryn Jean, do you remember taking Civics with Sister Paul of Tarsus?

K-Lo: Of course, Father. Sister Paul taught me that prayer is always appropriate, no matter what the circumstances. She prayed under her breath every time she talked to me.

Father: (coughs) Yes, praying. Sister Paul told you that the president doesn't make the laws, Congress does. And Mr. Romney couldn't change this law anyway because it comes from God. Now be a good girl and go home to your mother. She's worried sick and, frankly, a little angry. She has fifty pounds of shrimp and one hundred chicken kievs stored in the church cafeteria's refrigerators, and she wants to have a word with you.

K-Lo: It was so awful, Father. Mittens wouldn't even talk to me and Tagg laughed in my face. Then the boys played keep-away with my bouquet. My dress got all wrinkled and dirty when I gassed up the car. And there was the incident with the police which totally wasn't my fault. I just needed to a little something to steady my nerves on the drive home, but those meanies called the police and I almost got arrested.

Father: Kathryn Jean, you didn't drive home inebriated, did you?

K-Lo: Of course not, Father! Everyone knows ladies don't go to bars alone. It was just a little misunderstanding at the Keebler factory. They don't let people into factory for hygiene purposes, and they really don't like it when you climb on the conveyor belt to reach the fudge stripes. But they let me go. I think they felt sorry for me because I was still wearing my wedding dress and crying a lot. By the way, Father, who's Miss Haversham?

Father: Never mind, dear. Just run on home and don't give up hope. You'll have the husband and children you want, one day.

K-Lo: Thanks Father. I feel much better now. I'll never give up or lose faith. After all, there's still a chance I can wear him down on the cruise!

Father: Bless you, you poor child.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

American dead babies--bad. Iraqi dead babies--good.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is flogging dead babies again, this time using Father's Day as her excuse. She even quotes Shakespeare.

Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war

How dare she. Lopez routinely cheers on war and death, including the death of Iraq babies. Kathryn Jean Lopez is so intellectually bankrupt and slavishly beholden to authority that she can't recognize irony when it slaps her across the face and calls her stupid. So I'll do it instead. Kathryn Jean Lopez is far too stupid to be paid to advise and comment on society. She's an idiot, and anyone who has hired her for her tireless devotion to Bush and the pope is deliberately condescending to the conservative masses, thinking they're too stupid and obedient themselves to notice.

Lopez whimpers and moans about the poor, poor daddies-who-might-have-been, and castigates society for being "hostile to fatherhood." She quotes Kathleen Parker, who has added to the list of conservative tomes littering the landscape that declare our society is decadent and corrupt, while saying that any liberal who criticizes our country is a traitor.

Men legally have no voice when it comes to abortion, even though the child
is theirs to either love or disown. They can neither force a woman to carry a
baby to term — Hallelujah! — nor force her to have an abortion. Ibid., chorus.
Yet by law, men can be forced to become fathers against their will and held
financially responsible until the child reaches adulthood. Is that fair, or is
fairness mandated only when women are the beneficiaries?

Men legally have no voice when it comes to what a woman does with her body. Just as women legally have no voice when it comes to what a man does with his body. If a man doesn't want his partner to have an abortion, he can practice abstinence, like Lopez is always saying people should. If he decides to have intercourse without protection, he can't complain that he doesn't like his partner deciding what to do next. He already made his decision to have sex without protection; the next decision is hers. If he doesn't like it, he can make damn sure he never gets a woman pregnant.

Remember abstinence, Kathryn Jean? That biologically improbable plan you're always pushing? It's not just for women.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.

Arthur Silber is back, thank heavens, telling the truth to people who don't want to hear it. As is Chris Floyd.

There is always hope of America becoming better, there is always hope for
positive change. But that hope does not reside -- and has never resided -- in a
single politician, or party, or faction. It resides in every individual citizen:
in what they think and believe, in what they will accept and countenance, in
what they will not stand for, in what they will work for. Hope resides in the
amount of knowledge and truth and insight that we can all produce and
disseminate and act upon. And hope depends on our ability -- and our willingness
-- to confront reality as it is, to deal with our leaders and would-be leaders
as they are, not as we wish them to be. For how can you change anything if you
cannot see it clearly?
Why can't we see this clearly? Because we lie to ourselves. We say that we need someone to save us, we need a hero, a strong leader to tell us what to do, how to think. Why on earth would we want someone to make decisions for us? Because we don't know what to do. We don't know who to trust, to believe. We don't know what we want or how to get it. We don't know how we feel, or why we feel the things that do affect us, such as fear and anger. How can we be such strangers to ourselves?

We lie. We say our nation is the greatest in the world, the most kind and helpful. We say we are helpless without an authority to tell us what to do. We say our parents were all good and kind and selfless, our children better than average, our way of life the only way to live. Our god is real, and the one true god, while all the others are false. We lie. Over and over and over. And then we lie some more. We go to our graves buried in our lies.

Obviously, we do this so we can survive, feel good enough about ourselves to get out of bed in the morning, face the world of pain and grief and uncertainty. But everyone doesn't do this. Silber and Floyd don't. They accept the pain, accept the uncertainty, accept the truth. And because of this, they can look at the world with honest, seeing eyes, while the rest of the nation sees through a glass darkly.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Poor Jonah

Poor Jonah Goldberg keeps searching bookstores for his book, but can't find it. I would wonder if it were because they were all bought up, but Jonah, being conservative, thinks it's because someone is being mean to him. Or maybe just ignoring him, which is worse. Being a victim is fine because you can whine and cry to make people sorry for you, but being ignored means no teevee appearances, no by-line, and no money.

When you go on a college campus tour you can hit up Young Republicans for beer money, but otherwise you have to go to your wealthy wife, and while that's fine for John McCain, Jonah's just not in the same league, bank balance-wise. You can call your wife "fair Jessica" all you want, but it doesn't make it any less embarrassing to have to go to her for help paying the bills. If I'm wrong and Jonah makes enough money to afford to live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on his pay from National Review On-line, I deeply apologize for saying Jonah Goldberg is kept by his wife and can't support his family on his own brains and talent.

Maybe Jonah would feel better if he went to the same Borders I visited recently, only a few miles from the home of former President Bush. There were five copies of his book there, and anyone could have picked one up at once, if they wanted one.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Jonah Goldberg is not a plagiarist.

I was wondering how long this would take. We know Jonah researched his learned tome extensively, but there was always the chance that some of his sources might jump to erroneous conclusions.
Goldberg is certainly right when he says that most academics have willfully ignored modern liberalism's progressive-fascist roots, although scholars such as James Ceaser, John Marini, and others (including me) have in fact been calling attention to the progressive origins of modern liberalism for the past 20 years. Liberal Fascism clearly draws from these works but makes surprisingly little reference to them, even in a few instances when the book's observations sound awfully familiar.

Jonah would never plagiarize someone else. Sometimes it might seem that way, such as when he reviewed the movie "Cloverleaf," saying "It’s “Godzilla” for the MySpace generation and nothing more" after a Boston Globe critic said '"Cloverfield" captures the chronic self-absorption of the Facebook generation with breathless, cleverly recycled media savvy, and then it stomps that self-absorption to death.' But that doesn't mean Jonah copied anything, just that he's not very original.

So what if some critics who have been discussing "liberal fascism" did the work first? Did they put a Hitler smiley face on the cover? I think not! Jonah promises to review the review soon, maybe after lunch or dinner, so I'm sure he'll just say he doesn't understand why anyone would make such a claim, after he's written his book with such care and attention to detail. There's just no way he'd not attribute something properly, and if he did it must have been the research assistant who did it.

"It's all good."

Kathryn Jean Lopez says if you are a "normal American," that is, from a conservative state, it's okay to make incest jokes. Little Miss Panty Sniffer, professional moral scold, thinks it's okay to make incest jokes if you're Dick Cheney. An e-mailer tells her that calling him and his neighbors pedophiles and incest victims doesn't go over too well. Lopez is a non-entity in the blogworld, but she's a tireless pusher of Republican talking points. She floods the Corner with red meat for the other, more clever, writers to chew over. She's a gossip-column reading, church-going person of limited intelligence and endless busyness. No nook or cranny is too small for her to search for a sinner, and no leader is ever wrong. In other words, she's their base, and if the propaganda works on Kathryn Jean, it'll probably work on everyone else.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Oh, so that's what the black helicopters were for.

Merciful goodness, look what's going on while nobody's looking. Mrs. Rendition and Mrs. Man Without A Country, Jr. were here in mah little ole' home town.

First Book and HarperCollins Children’s Books are giving away a million
dollars’ worth of brand-new books to students across the nation this year, and
to celebrate, First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna came to HISD’s Kate
Bell Elementary School.
The Bushes visited Bell on May 1, where they read aloud from their new book, Read All About It!, to about 60 second-grade students in the school’s library.
Each second-grader received a free copy of the Bushes’ book, and every student at the school received a new book to take home as part of First Book’s national distribution, made possible by their longtime publishing partner, HarperCollins Children’s Books.

I wonder if they visited the in-laws Grammy Bitca and Gramps? That would be like, I dunno, torture or something. At the very least they were inflating sales numbers while getting good press.

God, that girl can't get pregnant and fat and off the national press soon enough for me. And that medicated zombie she calls a mother either. They make my heart and soul ache.

Poor Megan

Poor Megan blogs a complaint about Empire-waisted dresses, and only one commenter discusses what Megan would look good wearing. They're letting her down. Here it is summer and obviously Megan's cruising the catalogues to see what will look good on her while walking down Fifth Avenue. She takes time out of her day to observe that J. Crew is tormenting her with its fashion designs, and hardly gets any feedback. Now what is Megan to do? How will she know what to wear? Everyone else is wearing Empire waist dresses but she'll look like a fashionable scarecrow if she parades around in one.

The worries of a Libertarian blogger are many. No sooner is she back from the beach than she has to face yet more difficulties. The economy is suffering, and she has anti-union posts to write. Here's another post that--

Sweet Chocolate Jesus! She didn't!

::rubs eyes::

Megan McArdle said Ann Althouse was old and ripping off her readers. First, Megan says:

Ann Althouse doesn't like the Kindle because the gray-on-gray print is too hard
for her to read....But I know a lot of older readers complained about contrast
during my previous website's brief foray into dark-gray text.... I would be
surprised if this troubles anyone under forty who isn't legally blind. But it's
a good point.

Athouse was quite pretty once, as she likes to remind her readers. She's still attractive. On the outside, at least. Megan continues:

Most bloggers have Amazon Associates accounts that generate a fairly trivial
amount of revenue. Perhaps Instapundit makes a fortune off of his, but the rest
of us--and I've had one for years--get enough money to buy a nice electronic
gadget once a year, maybe. This is hardly worth jeopardizing my relationship
with my readers, my reputation, and my salary in order to push worthless crap.
And that was the end of it.

Ha, gotcha, didn't I! From Megan's comments:

Hi, Megan. I know you can enlarge the text, but I care a lot about the
aesthetics. It just doesn't look good enough to me. I didn't say it was "too
hard" for me to read. I said I want a crisp, clear, high-contrast page because
it's easier to read. Given a choice between a Kindle and a book or my computer
screen, I never pick up the Kindle.
Posted by Ann Althouse June 1, 2008 5:26 PM
Stay turned for more. Both women don't like criticism very much, and both tend to be obsessive about it.

Kristol Goes To Lunch

William Kristol chastises Barak Obama for not calling the youth of America to fight in his personal penis-extender war. The response is so obvious that it's not necessary to state it.

Say, I wonder if McCain encourages men and women to sign up for war?

The most important weapons in the U.S. arsenal are the men and women of
American armed forces. John McCain believes we must enlarge the size of our
armed forces to meet new challenges to our security. For too long, we have asked
too much of too few - with the result that many service personnel are on their
second, third and even fourth tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. There can
be no higher defense priority than the proper compensation, training, and
equipping of our troops.

Good for you. So, where's the call for service? I'd better look again.

John McCain thinks it is especially important to increase the size of the Army
and Marine Corps to defend against the threats we face today.
Yes, yes, yes. And his call for people to join the military?

John McCain believes it is essential to be honest with the American people about
the opportunities and risks that lie ahead. The American people deserve the
truth from their leaders. They deserve a candid assessment of the progress made
in the last year, of the serious difficulties that remain, and of the grave
consequences of a reckless and irresponsible withdrawal. Many Americans have
given their lives so that America does not suffer the worst consequences of
failure in Iraq. Doing the right thing in the heat of a political campaign is
not always easy. But it is necessary.
Honesty is lovely. Now, the call to arms? Oh, this must be it.

Support a cause that is greater than your own self interest.
Yes! I'll click here.

If you take an active part in giving back with these organizations, please
submit a report of your activities so you can be rewarded through the McCain
Online Action Center.

Woops, that's just an excuse to get an e-mail address. I"ll keep looking. "Suggested causes"? No, that's charities, not military. I'm so confused.

Ah, Think Progress has the answer. McCain changed his web page. "The new page does not call for more troops and makes no mention of the “critical prerequisite” of disarming Sunni and Shiite militias. "

Hypocrisy is the neo-cons' favorite sin, and Kristol's shit-eating grin is getting really old.