Friday, February 04, 2005

Best of the Web is quoting Nietzsche
and I kinda like it:
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
Saw this on The Corner,
and I just shake my head in dismay. Best line:
"The victory wasn't sweet," Young said Thursday afternoon. "I'm not gloating about it. I just hope the girls learned a lesson."
Yeah, I'm sure they did: Never, ever do anything nice for your neighbors or, more specifically, for Wanita Renea Young of Durango, CO.

UPDATE by David: Sheesh, we actually get a bunch of comments on a post and I had to delete about half of them because they were vile. If you want to use the c-word or share tips on how to track people down so you can scare them, get your own blog.
Sadly, now I see that
Ossie Davis has died.
I've never heard of
water intoxication. I suppose it's stories like this that lead some states (Massachusetts, for example) to criminalize hazing.
"No more fun of any kind!"
John Vernon, who played Dean Vernon Wormer in Animal House, has died. (From the Corner.)
My wife sent me this comic.
I think she's trying to tell me something:

Clearly the strip's author is a poser. Not only can a character not have a charisma score of 18(00), for that only applies to strength, but that's soooo 2nd edition. The current 3rd edition has eliminated the sub-divided levels for an 18 strength, so 18(00) no longer makes sense. Catch up, man!
This seems a little bizarre.
Why couldn't someone carry them? Or is that too easy? (Hat tip: Reason.)
Much to my wife's chagrin,
I'm a fan of Family Guy. I'm happy to see NRO likes it, too.
I know I'm literally judging a book by its cover
but the title of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies does not inspire confidence. If it's devoted to her personal history, then fine. But if it's supposed to be a journal about Objectivism and how it applies to us here and now, then that's a bad choice for a title. Objectivism, to be viable, has to be able to grow beyond it's founder's thoughts. Perhaps it's a perfectly fine publication, but I would have called it something else.
I understand why benevolence
wasn't considered a virtue by Rand. If you look at the seven virtues I mentioned previously, they're all self-referential. All of them, even justice, can be applied to life, even if you were stuck on an island alone (for clarificiation, Rand defined justice as neither seeking nor granting the unearned; hence, it is possible to be unjust with oneself, because you may grant yourself things you haven't earned, or deny yourself things you have). In Objectivist parlance, it would be a mistake to make benevolence a virtue, because it's considered an emotional state. It'd be like making happiness a virtue.

I agree, David, that charity wouldn't dissapate tomorrow if everyone suddenly became an Objectivist. My question, though, is more along the lines of how charity is applied, or how it exists. Like you say in your update to your post, Rand seems to be saying we need to engage in psycho-epistemological detection in order to determine if the recipient of our charity is worthy. How do you do that? How does that apply to institutional giving? I mean, how many people give direct aid to those in need, instead of giving to, say, The Salvation Army or American Red Cross? It'd be difficult for me to evaluate how much these charities give to the truly deserving.

And, remember that this discussion is being held under the shadow of ARI's infamous essay about foreign aid and tsunami victims (I see my link to the op-ed at my previous post is dead. Here's a new one, with ARI's clarification.)

Of course, David, we're forgetting The Simpsons episode where Maggie stays at the Ayn Rand School for Tots. One of the posters on the wall reads, "Helping is futile."

Also, I agree that Rand's lack of attention on family doesn't mean she didn't think it was valid. However, it's interesting, nonetheless, that the families that Rand does choose to portray are sick, soul-crushing relationships (epitomized by Peter Keating and his mother in The Fountainhead). Rand described no happy families. She might have a fleeting reference to children in Galt's Gulch. I don't remember. But none of her more-than-peripheral characters have good family experiences. Not that I want to engage in needless psychologizing, but I find it interesting. To me, it's like Rand's sexual psychology (women needing manly men to look up to). It's a projection of her personal views and experiences, and not a real philosophical position.

And far be it from me to think that Rand's work represents the totatlity of work on Objectivism. Hell, if there are any old Harvard Objectivist Club devotees out there, they can attest to the fact that I used to agitate for some original work from ARI. I'm still waiting. (And, no, I don't consider constantly issuing previously published material, with one or two additions, and then giving the book a new title, original work. That's laziness. See, for example, The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution and The Return of the Primitive. Same book, with an essay or two by Peter Schwartz added to the latter. Don't waste my time.)

As a side note, there is, apparently, a Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. I note without surprise that Ridpath, Binswanger, Bernstein, Peikoff, etc. are not on the masthead.
Peggy Noonan's op-ed
today focuses on Bush's SOTU address. She liked it far more than the inagural. My favorite line:
As for the Democratic response, Harry Reid looks and talks like a small-town undertaker whom you want to trust but wonder about, especially when he says the deceased would love the brass handles. Although Nancy Pelosi continues to look startled, even alarmed, her comments are predictable and pedestrian.
This seems a tempest in a teapot.
I'm not sure why I should be worked up about this, but I also saw this story on NBC Nightly News and my local NBC station at 10:00 last night. Who cares?

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is all over it, of course.
"We do not need generals who treat the grim business of war as a sporting event," said the council's executive director, Nihad Awad. "These disturbing remarks are indicative of an apparent indifference to the value of human life."
Horse puckey. They're indicative of his love for his job -- he likes ridding the world of terrorists and tyrants. Who wouldn't?

It makes me wonder how the modern media would deal with a general like Patton. That man was known for making really interesting comments to the press. My favorite:
No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
This seems apropos:
Magnificent! Compared to war all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance. Gold help me, I do love it so!
Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!
Or how about:
May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't.
And all this General Mattis said was that he likes to shoot guys who beat women.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Benevolence (or charity) could not be one of Rand's virtues
for it would be an opening for a person to make (unreasonable, immoral) demands on others. As it says in my handy-dandy Ayn Rand Lexicon (ellipsis in the original):
It is altruism that has corrupted and perverted human benevolence by regarding the giver as an object of immolation, and the receiver as a helplessly miserable object of pity who holds a mortgage on the lives of others - a doctrine which is extremely offensive to both parties, leaving men no choice but the roles of sacrificial victim or moral cannibal...
And as she said in her Playboy interview:
I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.
Take a look at the list of virtues: honesty, integrity, productivity, pride, justice, independence and rationality. Rand did write in For the New Intellectual that we are required to practice these virtues, which sounds like duty to me. We don't have a duty to be charitable, hence its absence from the list. You don't need to be charitable in order to live a happy life.

I suppose what bugs people about this is that, perhaps, no one would bother being charitable if it's no longer a moral duty. Everyone would choose to hoard their money and possessions, sharing nothing with no one, and those unable to care for themselves would be SOL. I don't believe this.

People tend to be nice to each other because they derive something beneficial from such behavior, whether it be for the warm fuzzy feeling or because they hope to be treated similarly in return or so they'll get into heaven or whatever. Point being, people have selfish reasons for being benevolent. Even if everyone woke up tomorrow as perfect Objectivists, we'd still have charity. We'd also all be thin, sharp-featured, smokers, have an attraction to funky architecture and a tendency to make long speeches. We'd also be super-productive workers, uber-rational thinkers, enact a minimalist government and the ultimate capitalist system, so we'd have a lot more money to give to charity. Yes, there's some sarcasm in those lost two sentences.

My Lexicon has nothing to say about family or children, and what it has to say about love is mostly about romantic love. Clearly Rand didn't find how her philosophy affects families to be worthy of much consideration, but I wouldn't take that as a sign that there's no place for family in Objectivism. Let's not make the mistake to which the folks at ARI often succumb in believing Objectivism is nothing more than what sprung from Rand's head.

UPDATE: I should say that I do have problems with Rand's standard of when charity is acceptable. From the Playboy interview (emphasis mine):
There is nothing wrong with helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them.
Rand rejects offering help solely to relieve the receiver's need. That's is the sort of attitude that would kill charity. If we have to put people through some sort of application process to verify their virtues, we're simply not going to bother. Yes, there are those that would abuse others' charity, but there are those who are simply in need, and if you feel like helping them then do so.
Over at Reason,
Cathy Young has an interesting article comemorating Ayn Rand's 100th birthday (which was yesterday). She seems to mirror my appreciation for The Fountainhead and my general dislike of Atlas Shrugged. If I had to read another description of some middle manager or bureaucrat as snivelling, or another reference to "at the point of a gun," I'd go crazy.

She also finds discomfort, as I did, with the scene in Atlas where Rand describes some of the people who died in the tunnel disaster. I'm sure Rand's metaphorical point was that philosophy has consequences. All of those people shared the same basic philosophy, and here's what happens when reality meets subjectivist silliness. The problem, though, is that the text also seems to indicate that these people deserved to die.

Some of the criticism she levels of Objectivism are themes I've noticed, as well. How does family function in Objectivism? The families that exist are all incredibly disfunctional (Hank Reardon, the Francons, the Taggarts, etc). No Objectivist hero (save for the lead in Anthem) has any children. Neither did Rand (I wonder if the Brandens do).

What about charity? As Young notes, Objectivists will talk about charity and benevolence, but Rand's words tend to denigrate chartible institutions and charitable giving. I've often wondered how charitable giving played into Objectivism. It was very frequently used as a response when someone would ask what the poor and infirmed would rely on in an Objectivist society ("How would the extremely disabled get along with Social Security or welfare?" "Charity.").

But I also recall a conversation a few of us had one night, discussing Harvard's need-blind admissions policy. Not coming from a wealthy family, I was the recipient of quite a bit of aid from the College, and I am forever grateful to Harvard for the financial assistance I was given. However, some of my comrades believed Harvard's policy of giving to someone purely because of their income level was some kind of mortal sin.
Them: "That money should be given out based on virtue, not need."

Me: "But we're at Harvard. We'd all qualify for scholarships, hence the reason they don't have academic scholarships."

Them: "That doesn't matter."

Me: "They're not eliminating their admissions standards, they're just making it easier for smart, middle class and poor people to go to the best college in the country."

Them: "It's still wrong."
That was the gist of the conversation.

It also calls to mind certain internal squabbles within Objectivism. Namely, what's the place of benevolence within the philosophy's moral framework. Rand spent little real time describing her view of benevolence. She mentions it, but I don't believe she fleshes it out. Some I've spoken with believe that David Kelley was kicked out of ARI in part because of his questions about the role of benevolence (he viewed it, as I understand, as a virtue; Rand did not).

A refresher: The seven virtues of Objectivism are honesty, integrity, productivity, pride, justice, independence and rationality (per The Virtue of Selfishness). Note the lack of benevolence or any other such concept.

Given the lack of independent scholarship regarding Objectivism from the folks down at ARI, I doubt we'll see ideas about charity and community expounded upon any time soon.
In the interests of equal time,
I will now live-blog the transcript for the Democrats' reponses to the SOTU.

Again, for those who care, I'm using MSNBC's transcript, which can be found here.

By the way, I missed seeing the response live (I also missed the SOTU; yeah, I'm a loser). Anyway, as I recall from last year's SOTU, the response was given by Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle. Tom sounded like Mr. Rogers and was so soft-spoken, he was almost a non-entity. Pelosi's skin looked so tight, if she blinked, she'd rip her scalp open. She's got a deer-in-the-headlights look like I've never seen before. It's fantastic.

Once again, into the fray.

First, from Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid.
I was born and raised in the high desert of Nevada in a tiny town called Searchlight. My dad was a hard rock miner. My mom took in wash. I grew up around people of strong values — even if they rarely talked about them.
As I was reading this, the following went through my head: "I was born in the wagon of a traveling show, my mama used to dance for the money they'd throw."

I love these opening statements: "Even though I make tons of money, and have a neat nest egg, I want you to know that I used to be dirt poor. Please don't hate me because I'm rich."
Searchlight is still the place I go back to and still the place I call home.
That's vapid. Politiicans need to stop saying crap like that. I mean, what's the alternative? I can't see him saying, "I'm glad I'm out of that jerk-water-burg."
Carrying a skateboard under his arm, he said, “Senator Reid, when I grow up I want to be just like you.”
Touching, but relevant?
Well, the truth is Devon could probably do a lot better.
If that was intended as humor, it doesn't read well (in contrast, Bush's joke about grey hair read very well). Instead, he's just admitted that he's a putz.
I believe we can make sure America lives up to its legacy as a land of opportunity if the President is willing to join hands and build from the center.
And dance and sing "Kumbuya." I'd be far more willing to listen to call of bipartisanship from Democrats if their leaders weren't so blindingly partisan. If Bush agrees to work with Democrats, will Ted Kennedy stop saying our troops are more trouble than their worth?
...we need to invest in our nation's future with a Marshall Plan for America...
Can we also bring back the lend-lease program, too? I want a tank.
And what we saw and heard tonight was a little like that movie, “Groundhog Day.” The same-old ideology that we've heard before — over and over again.
He's citing a Bill Murray movie? There is something of an irony, though, in a Democrat blasting a Republican for repeating himself. I mean, who's got the ideas these days? Certainly not the left.
That's an immoral burden to place on the backs of the next generation.
Interesting. Increasing the debt is immoral, but leaving Social Security to languish and die is okay?
these are questions that are about old-fashioned moral values that don't get talked about much in Washington...
I wonder if this the entry of the Democratic Party into more talk about moral values.
You can be sure that Democrats will continue to offer real answers in the months ahead.
I look forward to it. It'll be a change from the reactionary blather they've been offering as of late.

And now, for House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi.
Any discussion of our national security must begin with recognition and respect for our men and women in uniform.
Yes, and with due respect to Ms Pelosi, I credit her for this nice paragraph.
Iraq is now a magnet for international terrorists.
Good, that means that the U.S. is not a magnet for international terrorists.
Democrats believe a credible plan to bring our troops home and stabilize Iraq must include three key elements.
And her three elements aren't really ideas. They're just, "Do what we're already doing, but faster." That isn't helpful.
Democrats are calling for a G.I. Bill of Rights...
Am I the only person who's sick of all these "Bills of Rights" that get tossed around? What's next, the "Left-Handed Monkey-Shaver Bill of Rights?"

Whatever. This was a weak response from weak leadership. Maybe Howard Dean should become chairman of the DNC. At least he'd let out the occaisional "Yeargh."
As David mentioned,
I'm going to live-blog the transcript of President Bush's SOTU address. As far as I know, this is the first live-blogging of a printed text ever. Amazing.

In case anyone cares, the transcript I'm using is MSNBC's, which can be found here.

Anyway, on with the reading.

...with our Nation an active force for good in the world...
This sort of sentiment needs to be emphasized more often. Too mnay liberals are willing to castigate the U.S. as the world's harbinger of doom. This is crap. No country on this planet does as much good as we do.
America's economy is the fastest growing of any major industrialized nation. In the past four years, we have provided tax relief to every person who pays income taxes, overcome a recession, opened up new markets abroad, prosecuted corporate criminals, raised homeownership to its highest level in history, and in the last year alone, the United States has added 2.3 million new jobs. When action was needed, the Congress delivered - and the Nation is grateful.
Good, he's bringing out positive economic news. This sort of stuff doesn't get emphasized enough, either. Bush's economic record is strong, but you wouldn't know it by watching the news.
I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009.
Some bold words. I fear his deficit reduction goal may be too ambitious. I don't know. Bush has made ambitious goals before (elections in Iraq and Afghanistan, withdrawal from ABM, etc.) and they've worked out. We'll see.
Justice is distorted, and our economy is held back, by irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims — and I urge Congress to pass legal reforms this year.
Excellent. And let's also see legislation eliminating lawsuits against fast-food companies and gun manufacturers.
...renewable sources such as ethanol...
Ethanol is a sham foisted on the U.S. taxpayer by corn farmers and ADM. The U.S. needs to stop funding it.
It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists.
This one will be contentious with wide swaths of Republicans, and possibly some border state Democrats. I haven't made up my mind if I like it or not. I don't have a problem as such with having immigrants come in and do various jobs, but I also know that guest workers tend to become more than guests (see Germany's issue with its Turkish "guest workers").
Do not let anyone mislead you. For you, the Social Security system will not change in any way.
Good, and I'm glad this was written in such a clear and forceful way.
I recognize that 2018 and 2042 may seem like a long way off. But those dates are not so distant, as any parent will tell you...And it should not be a small matter to the United States Congress.
This paragraph reminds me how myopic that Democratic Party leadership has been on the issue of Social Security. I've seen many quotes and interviews over the past weeks where the Democrat has basically said, "Oh, the system's not going bankrupt for another 30 years. Why worry now?" What kind of leadership is that? Isn't the Democratic Party the one that harps on deficit spending by reminding us that we're creating debts our grand-children will be struggling to pay off? It would seem, and I'm no expert, but it would seem that fixing the problem now would make it less costly than trying to make massive repairs a decade or two down the road. You know, that whole "a stitch in time" thing.
In addition, you'll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children or grandchildren. And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away.
This is good. Remind the people that current SS benefits do not pass along to whomever you want. Also remind them that the rate of return on the so-called Social Security Trust is abysmal. Investment in AAA-rated corporate bonds would give you a far better return than what SS is getting now.
Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to federal employees...
I appreciate this. If personal accounts are good enough for federal employees, why can't the rest of us plebians have them?
I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.
Hmm, I thought he had said he didn't. Or at least, he had said it was unnecessary or wasn't viable.
I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought or sold as a commodity.
Yeah, that's always struck me as creepy. It'll be interesting to see how the medical ethics community resolves some of these issues.
Every judicial nominee deserves an up-or-down vote.
Take that, Tom Daschle.
...highest rates of new [HIV/AIDS] cases, African-American men and women.
Anyone know why that is?
...many of its [al-Qaeda's] top commanders have been removed.
Nice euphemism for "turned into a fine red paste."
In the long term, the peace we seek will only be achieved by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder.
Now, why is it that liberals don't think Bush wants to handle the root causes of terrorism? Oh, right. I remember -- it's because so many of them don't understand that free societies tend not to produce terrorists. They're so focused on poverty as the cause (even though none of the 9/11 hijackers came from poor families) that they can't recognize what freedom will mean.
America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
Take notice, North Korea, Iran, and Syria.
...shown by women voting in Afghanistan...
Take notice, NOW. This President has done more for the cause of women's freedom than any other.
And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.
Take notice, mullahs.
The whole world is seeing that the car bombers and assassins are not only fighting coalition forces, they are trying to destroy the hopes of Iraqis, expressed in free elections.
Take notice, Michael Moore. The terrorists, in spite of your contrary position, are not minutemen.
We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out.
This seems an obvious point, one that Ted Kennedy needs to tattoo on his arm. We need to be there as long as we need to be there. Setting some kind of deadline is foolish. The job's done when it's done, not when some bureaucratically mandated piece of paper says it's done.
The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable — yet we know where it leads: It leads to freedom.
Good, good, good. The speech is well-written, and I'm glad that it didn't include any odd references to steroid use.

We'll see what happens. He's got some ambitious stuff laid out, but, as I've mentioned before, Bush sets his goals high, and he tends to achieve them. I sincerely believe that he loves being "misunderestimated." Let the Democrats call him a moron and a wreckless cowboy, he still accomplishes what he sets out to do. He must be the most deviously clever moron in history. (That was a fun campaign contradiction, wasn't it? Bush is both mind-numbingly stupid and one of the most brilliant politicians ever. It must be nice having it both ways.)

The foreign policy section was my favorite part. Bush clearly believes what he's saying: Freedom means peace. And, the man knows it's going to be hard work and a long term effort. I just wish his colleagues to the left would figure that out.
Duane Freese says the Democrats were booing FDR last night.
See his piece over at TCS:
For two decades now, I have wondered what is wrong with the anti-reform Democrats. Why are they so opposed to giving poor and middle income workers a better deal? Why are they against poor and middle income workers accumulating wealth? The only answer I have found is that they think that putting money into people's hands will make more people Republicans. But sticking millions of young Americans with a bad deal won't win them many votes either -- not when those young people figure out that the supposed party of Roosevelt has turned its back on its own principles and on them.

They are the death of an old dream, while those Democrats who applauded Bush are the party's best hope for giving birth to a new one.
Like I said before, they're the new conservatives.
President Bush plagiarized David Hogberg last night
but David doesn't mind. Perhaps the Democrats "booed and hissed" because they recognized the copyright infringement. Yeah, that's the ticket.

PowerLine live-blogged it. To wit:
8:16--The first standing ovation, for some vague and incomprehensible comments about health care. I'd like to see a constitutional amendment prohibiting the federal government from having anything to do with medical care, and prohibiting all politicians from mentioning the subject.
I'll second that. Didn't Ayn Rand propose an amendment that would keep the government's nose out of commerce altogether?

Also from PowerLine:
8:37--The thing I always hate about these speeches is how they reveal the obsolescence of the concept of limited government. It's one damn program after another.
That's one of the reasons why I didn't bother watching. Heck, I tried to convince my wife to watch Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle instead and ended up on the phone with Joe the entire time. Joe said he might - might, mind you - live-blog the transcript.

And then this:
I will add this: I haven't seen Nancy Pelosi much, but does she always look like this? Her affect seems very strange--she looks frightened, almost panicked. For a moment she tried to smile, and it was a complete failure. Mrs. Rocket is speculating about plastic surgery and botox. I don't know, maybe so, but it struck me as a very odd performance.
Funny, Joe said the same thing last night, that she looks like she's incapable of blinking and over-botoxed. So Joe and Hindrocket think alike.

I probably shouldn't even bother mentioning that InstaPundit has a round-up, but it's too late.

UPDATE: Listening to Rush, and he just said Nancy Pelosi blinked twice. So there you go.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

This is a big time-waster
and I found it difficult, but here you go. Via the Corner.
Luskin-Krugman social security death match!
Or something like that, over atNRO.
Thomas Sowell is the man:
Senator John Kerry loudly proclaimed on "Meet the Press" that the Iraqi election represented President Bush's "last chance" to "get it right." Nothing is easier than to demand more from somebody else -- even when you yourself have been an obstacle to achieving what has already been achieved.
Via Power Line.
CNN has accused the U.S. military
of deliberately killing journalists. Seriously.

As said in the linked article, if this is true "it would make Abu Ghraib look like a walk in the park". Evidence?

UPDATE: InstaPundit has more.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Hee hee!
From the Corner.

UPDATE: InstaPundit has a good round-up.
"Social Security is a scam."
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
A system that fosters dependence on a government check is despicable. Worse, it sets up an expectation among older Americans that they are entitled to a retirement subsidized by younger workers. How dare any adult demand a living from another?
Hat tip to Social Security Choice.
I love 24,
but I've noticed the show's writers don't like black women very much. Of the major characters over the past four seasons that happened to be black and female:
  • One did everything she could to make life hell for one of her coworkers at CTU headquarters out of spite, putting her hatred ahead of national security.
  • One was a crooked, sneaky, scheming, conniving, manipulative, murderous liar driven by the lure of political power. Yeah, pure evil, the kind of character where, when she was finally killed at the end of the third season, you yell "It's about time!" at the TV.
  • One was a Nicole-Smith-ish hot-babe-marrying-an-old-cripple-for-his-money gold-digging type.
  • One was a mole, feeding the bad guys the goings-on at CTU headquarters.
On the other hand, the two major black male characters have been pinnacles of moral courage and principle, so it's not a black thing. It's weird.
My wife received an e-mail about evil atheists
that are trying to ban the word "God" from television, looking to kill shows like Touched by an Angel and Joan of Arcadia. Well, that's a hoax. As it should be.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Liberals are the new conservatives
according to John Zogby (hat tip to Social Security Choice):
Democrats are missing the boat on a number of issues that can be of appeal to their own base. On Social Security reform, you are looking at younger voters, union members and minorities that find this idea popular,” said pollster John Zogby, who has done numerous polls on private Social Security investment plans over the past several years.


"They are locked into being the party of old-fashioned interests," Mr. Zogby said.
This isn't the first time I've read something that made me think the traditional roles are reversed. It's the Republicans that are proposing new plans, looking for new ways to solve problems, and it's the Democrats that are insisting on the status quo. Not very progressive, but so it goes.
Quote of the Day:
From Best of the Web, who is quoting "80-year-old [Iraqi] Rashid Majid":
We have freedom now, we have human rights, we have democracy. We will invite the insurgents to take part in our system. If they do, we will welcome them. If they don't, we will kill them.
"Does it not insult the poor?"
Something I hadn't considered before, from Jay Nordlinger's notes on Tony Blair's speech at Davos:
One thing disappointed me about Blair: He seems to connect poverty and terrorism. The terrorists, however, tend to be wacked richies — and does it not insult the poor to say that, because of their material want, they are prone to maiming and burning and killing? Exactly which poor people has the prime minister known?
Sort of a perverted soft bigotry of low expectations, and it makes sense.

UPDATE: My parents' PC (which happens to be a Dell running Windows (of course!)) has a virus which they have been struggling to remedy for some time now. Perhaps they should have gone to Davos:
Bill Gates goes by, in sort of a little-boy sweater, surrounded by a minor entourage. Gates has kind of a goofy, but pleasant, look on his face. I notice someone watching this, sort of amused — wry little smile on his face. He's by himself. He's Michael Dell. (I think of telling him about my laptop problems, but I refrain.)
Surely, with both Gates and Dell in the same room, someone could find the solution to their delimma. If only What's-His-Name Norton (of Norton Anti-virus fame, though not too famous since I can't remember his full name) was there, anything would be possible!
Best URL ever: Oh, that makes me laugh.

I in no way endorse the site's content, I just thought the name was hilarious. From the 10 seconds I spent looking at the home page, it looks like the site if full of, um, bad feelings.
A few weeks ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read: "Lee surrendered, I didn't".
Yeah, that Robert E. Lee was such a wuss. This got me to thinking about free speech, for just a day or two before that I was listening to some radio show in which the host was proposing we implement a sedition act as of old, barring the criticism of our president and such (hurts the war effort, you see). The host also suggested that people who say this country is bad/evil/Satanic and deserves to be overthrown should be arrested. He was thinking of Muslim extremists, but I would think this would apply to the nuts at the Democratic Underground, to those who suggested that the blue states should secede from the Union, and to the fellow that's still fighting the War of Northern Aggression in Joplin, Missouri.

Free speech is sacrosanct. I image that night this nefarious host was visited by the ghost of John Adams, who counseled said host, "You know, I tried that, and it was dumb. Don't you know your history?" and then beat him about the face repeatedly with a copy of the Bill of Rights.

Sorry, I can't identify the book-smackingly ignorant host because I don't remember who it was. He was guest-hosting for Michael Savage, some guy I had never heard of.

I thought of this today because Instapundit is talking about the Civil War. Apparently there's some new history book out there that takes political incorrectness to a new level, being sympathetic with the Confederacy:
I have to say that while I understand, to a degree at least, people's fascination with the Civil War, I've never understood the romanticization of the Confederacy. It didn't last very long, it was horribly run and governed, it accomplished nothing but disaster and defeat, and it existed in the service of a horrible cause.
No Child Will Excel.
From last Friday's Best of the Web Today, which I just got around to reading:
The administrators decided to eliminate the spelling bee, because they feel it runs afoul of the mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"No Child Left Behind says all kids must reach high standards," [Assistant Superintendant Linda] Newman said. "It's our responsibility to find as many ways as possible to accomplish this."

The administrators agreed, Newman said, that a spelling bee doesn't meet the criteria of all children reaching high standards--because there can only be one winner, leaving all other students behind.

"It's about one kid winning, several making it to the top and leaving all others behind. That's contrary to No Child Left Behind," Newman said.

Not everyone is happy
about the Iraqi elections.

UPDATE: Not happy here, either.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The polls have closed in Iraq.
Workers estimate a 72% voter turn out. Particularly moving is this scene:
At one polling place in Baghdad, soldiers and voters joined hands in a dance, and in Baqouba, voters jumped and clapped to celebrate the historic day.
There was violence, yes. But it was more a whimper than the all out assault promised by the terrorists.
A couple of weeks ago,
David and I had a brief exchange (see here and here) about our recent crop of spam. Well, I'm still receiving Korean shopping messages. But, I got one from the best name ever: okifcgudodyp dxoooendmjruq. Amazing.