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Date: Saturday, 20 Sep 2014 01:00

The title of this post is a byte-for-byte copy from a headline I found…well…I haven’t actually found that headline anywhere. Instead they all look like this

BBC News – Scottish referendum: Scotland votes ‘No’ to independence
Scotland votes to remain part of United Kingdom…
Scotland votes ‘No’ to independence
Scotland Votes to Stay the Same, and for Change
Opponents of Scottish independence hold lead
Scotland votes in independence referendum
Scotland Rejects Independence From United Kingdom
Scottish Independence: Scotland to Stay in U.K.

It interests me, although I’m an American — because “independence” is the natural state. Dependence is the exception. Just like “cold” is technically a nonsensical term since what is being measured is heat, cold being the absence of it. If you held a vote with your wife on turning down the thermostat, and she won…well of course she would win, she’s a female and it’s a vote…you wouldn’t say, the household voted to reject a proposal to turn the heat down. You’d say the household voted to keep the heat, and pay out the ass next time the electric bill shows up.

Seems to me that’s what Scotland did, they voted to remain dependent. It’s a bit strange that it’s not headlined that way…I mean, to the best I can research it, ever. It’s headlined as “rejecting independence” or “remaining part of the UK.”

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 10:42

severian breaks it all down.

How did Goverment come to be?

Not this or that particular government, like America or Mexico or the Babylonian Empire. I mean the whole shebang, capital-G Government. Great thinkers and college freshmen alike have pondered this over bong hits since humanity first came down from the trees, and their answers have always fallen into one of two groups:

Group A argues that it’s basically a contract. A group of individuals, each as sovereign as his physical power can make him, agree to cede some of their rights to a collective, in order to better secure their remaining rights. The key player here is the individual.

Group B argues that government comes from somewhere Out There. Maybe it’s God, maybe it’s Historical Necessity, maybe it’s the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but whatever it is, it imposed government on us. The key player here is Something Out There, whatever it may turn out to be.

With me so far? Now, apply them to basic history. Here’s where it gets tricky…

There follows a whole lot of well-structured and well-grounded observations of what all has gone down, and how it did, viewed through this lens of A and B. RTWT. Then he closes with:

Column A, Column B. We need catchier names than that — I look forward to your suggestions — but it’s really that easy.

I believe, or am at least tinkering with the possibility that, he’s discovering Architects and Medicators, the former of whom are going to be in Column A because there’s no place else for them to be. If the mystery-black-box breaks and nobody knows how it works, in their world you take it apart and figure that out. Watches have to have gears, the computer has to have a processor. Composites have atomics. These guys aren’t happy until the composites have been broken down, especially if the composite is busted; if there is all this importance placed on a “somewhere out there” then the first thing they’ll do is saddle up and go find out what that is.

That’s really been the distinction, at least what I had in mind, since I started writing about them. Medicators medicate. They may have responsibilities, and these responsibilities may load them up with stress that they need to bleed out or off-load somewhere; they’ll do that by means of something repetitive and non-edifying. Something like Barack Obama’s 15 games of Spades — something that does not intentionally change the state of any object, as furniture-building or quilt-making would, and something that does not bring new information to its instigator. They’re not big on the “go find out what it is” thing, so when they explain how a certain thing works their explanations tend to rely a great deal on these “somethings” and “somewheres.”

Which is not to say, I’ve noticed, that they are willing to let go of control and are accepting of fate. Heavens no. This is Robespierre in a nutshell, along with quite a few lefties who’ve been in the public eye lately. They’ve had ample opportunity to explain themselves and their explanations all follow the same theme: Something something something, somewhere somewhere somewhere, The American People Have Spoken, and so — it’s all going to happen My Way, and everybody agrees that’s the right way to go and if you don’t agree then you’re a hater or a something-IST.

And don’t dare ask that Thing That Shall Not Be Asked: How do we know this will go any better than the last time you guys said that? Or: What, specifically, have you changed in your plan to make sure it doesn’t suck as much as it did last time? Those questions, too, make you a hater or a something-IST. Just like the guys waiting in line to be guillotined, back in the day.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 13:01

It’s all too clear why this guy never was President…

We don’t need it because of Thing I Know #112:

112. Strong leadership is a dialog: That which is led, states the problem, the leader provides the solution. It’s a weak brand of leadership that addresses a problem by directing people to ignore the problem.

Needed or not, this type of “leadership” has been in demand for the past few years, has it not? People lusting after being-told-what-to-think?

Yeah, sure. You can’t watch the results of the 2008 and 2012 elections and come away thinking anything else. But at a certain point, I think people tire of the obfuscation. Conquest Rule #1: Everyone is conservative about what he knows best. I might flip that around to say something like: People feel a temptation to be liberal about matters most distant. When there is an insulating layer, or the perception of one. When they feel like they can afford to be.

It’s surreal that the Secretary of State makes this comment about a “tortured debate about terminology” and in the very next sentence relies on a term that apparently is in use by pretty much no one, save for himself and his boss. For reasons that aren’t clear at all. But this does clarify one thing: There’s a confusing and “tortured debate” going on, and John Kerry represents the people who are making it that way.

It’s not just with this issue, by the way, and not just this year. It isn’t even just John Kerry.

Clarity is anathema to modern liberals. Sometimes the American people like that; we’re often not in the mood for too much clarity. But, Kerry did lose the election when he ran, which shows now & then we can be fair-weather-friends with the idea of knowing what is being said. My thinking is that, since this stuff is cyclical, we’re heading into that realm again and the smokescreen-pundit is going to be losing popularity in the years ahead. Hope so. And that not too many people get hurt. There’s some pain involved in this part of the cycle, just as there is some unpleasantness when any hallucination reaches an end.

“Waste of time,” feh. Somewhere I made the observation that all persistent and profound human disagreement seems to be conflict between one side that craves details, and another side intent on avoiding them. Ever pay attention to what people do with their time, after telling other people not to “waste” it? It’s enlightening.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Saturday, 13 Sep 2014 01:56

With all this ‘Isis” talk, I keep thinking of her. Maybe I’m dating myself by making the connection.

From Isis, which I recall as the second half of something that had the name of “Shazam!/Isis Power Hour” or something.

Except for the white-bikini one on the left. That one is likely from Spider Man and the Deadly Dust.

See, the bad guy is extra extra bad, because 1) he’s old; 2) he wears a suit; 3) it isn’t just any suit, it’s a solid white suit with white necktie and everything; 4) he plans to incinerate a hundred thousand people with a nuclear bomb, including the President of the United States. But, worst of all, 5) he likes beautiful women in bikinis. Also, he compulsively numbers things. But that fifth one just cracks me up. Presidential assassination, mass murder, explosive devices, and appreciating the sight of a beautiful woman like Ms. Cameron in a bikini. How dastardly!

Maybe I can be a bad guy too.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 23:23

Today I successfully unfucked (that’s a U.S. Army term, just not an official one) an ASP .NET application and continued development on a couple of web services, during time which the huge office teevee was on mute, tuned to CNN. From the visual, I notice the top stories today were:

1. Rumor has it that “the Palin family was involved in a bar fight.”
2. Something something something Hillary Clinton. No wait, that’s not a headline, it’s missing a verb. Oh well, let’s just drop the pretense: The verb is “exist,” as in Hillary Clinton still exists. CNN wants to mention Hillary Clinton, the more, the better.
3. The research project continues into how the NFL’s behavior was not properly bludgeoned into shape by the forces of political correctness, and what further bludgeoning is needed. The “loud crowd,” somehow, still can’t come to grips with the fact that the NFL is run by businessmen, not angels, who are just going to handle everything that comes along in whatever way is good for the bottom line. That’s actually got a lot to do with why people go hiking and fishing during Super Bowl Sunday.
4. Solar storms due to hit Earth.

Observation: I can’t prove it, but I think if you replaced “solar storm” with “asteroid” in that bottom one, and made it an extinction event — the above list wouldn’t change, apart from that. Not even in the order.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 13:03

It’s embarrassing to watch your nation’s leader on the teevee set giving a speech, and see beneath his moving lips a caption informing the viewers something like “‘ISIL’ is also known as ‘ISIS’.”

There are, occasionally, some valid reasons for calling things something different from what “everybody else” is calling them. I do that quite often myself — always, to the best I can recall, explaining my purpose in doing so. I recall the George W. Bush White House did this too:

Q: At the same time that conservative Republicans are sharply criticizing this President for his Mideast policy, which they describe as being too tough on Israel, you, the President, others in this White House have adopted a term called homicide bombings instead of suicide bombings. Is that a coincidence, or is this an attempt to pacify his political base that’s criticizing him?

MR. FLEISCHER: David, I don’t think pacification comes from lexicon. I think people support the President –

Q: Then why change the term, why adopt this –

MR. FLEISCHER: I think people support the President because of the principles that he has so strongly stood for in the war against terrorism and in his actions here in the Middle East.

But the reason I started to use that term is because it’s a more accurate description. These are not suicide bombings. These are not people who just kill themselves. These are people who deliberately go to murder others, with no regard to the values of their own life. These are murderers…It’s not suicide, it’s murder.

Perhaps President Obama has a reason for using the term “ISIL.” He didn’t, and to my knowledge hasn’t, explained what that is; instead He’s been leaving it to others to speculate.

People who communicate, and in doing so invest a great deal of their concern in exuding competence, typically don’t adopt their own terminologies and then leave those aberrations entirely unexplained while they use them over & over again. It looks daffy. Communication, after all, is the one human endeavor in which excellence is inextricably linked to doing things the same way others are doing them. Also, if you want to make people think differently simply by bludgeoning them over & over again with the thoughts you want them to think, it’s a good first step to explain the rationale. It’s clear the Obama administration doesn’t see any value in so explaining.

Either that, or their boss is nuts. Mentally unstable. Unfit for the job. One’s mind goes into overdrive as one ponders how our press would treat a Republican president doing the same thing.

Yeah, you can take this as a shout-out. Anybody know of an incident or exchange in which the Obama administration has explained this unique nomenclature? I’m sure it’s got to do with them being much smarter and sophisticated than those who use the better-recognized name of “ISIS.” But it’s bothersome that they appear far more determined to proliferate the ISIL acronym, than to explain their reasoning in choosing it. It makes them look like a joke (H/T Instapundit):

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“ISIL.”

“ISIL who?”

“ISIL have no idea what to do about this $#!+.”

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Sunday, 07 Sep 2014 14:03

A statement so self-evidently obvious, one feels a bit bashful about taking the time & trouble to jot it down, let alone to communicate it with others: Liberals, today, enjoy a reputation for being more technologically savvy than their counterparts, the conservatives. There is some merit to this. One reads the critiques from six years ago about John McCain’s technological illiteracy, and while one has to admit the advice certainly has not aged well, right after that comes the thought, well, I can see the logic. Electing Obama seemed like a good idea at the time, at least to some people.

But, another statement so obvious one hesitates to take the time to write it down: This perception about liberals and technology, is grounded far less in reality, than it is in the success the liberal movement has had in dominating the media, academia, entertainment, even crony-capitalism — not all of the components to our society, but at least all the ones that have something to do with people telling other people what’s going on, and what to think about it. Isolated anecdotes aside, there isn’t much to support it. How do liberals use technology, really? They use Twitter to win elections. They build databases that monitor my contributions (and lack thereof) against the latest “fund raising deadline,” and they harass me if I haven’t “signed” Barack Obama’s birthday card. Does the list end there? Perhaps there’s more, but not much that’s altogether different from that: Doing things that may very well require some level of expertise, but have been done before, and are not new. That’s not technology. That’s the opposite. In short: They “succeed” at technology the same way they succeed at everything else, including “reform” of our country’s health care system — by seizing unilateral control over the bar that separates adequate performance from the unsatisfactory, and then pushing it down.

Often, when my experience produces perceptions starkly different from the common, I have to look at definitions of the words being used and perhaps that is where the discrepancy originates here. I work in technology, and have been doing so for a very long time now, certainly long enough to make my experiences unique. I sometimes frustrate others, I’ve noticed, especially those who also have been working with technology for as long as I have. This seems to happen most when “technology” has something to do with “doing things the same way some other guy would be doing them” — which, over on Planet Morgan, is outside of the definition. As I wrote above, that’s actually the opposite. If you’re not coming up with a brand new way of doing something, whatever you’re doing doesn’t fit the word. And this is a truth that I notice eludes a lot of people, including many among my peers in the industry. They do something the established way, using something that was invented 1 or 2 years ago instead of 10 or 20 years ago, and are convinced they’re doing “technology.” As is the case with voting for Barack Obama because John McCain doesn’t use e-mail: I can see the logic. It’s still wrong, and it leads to a lot of problems. Like many other evil things, it’s tempting.

I’m HTML-encoding this into a WordPress installation I put on my blog eight years ago. Is that “doing technology”? It’s got bells and whistles, it even involves coding! But, no. The processes and procedures are all established, it’s all been tested. Technology involves discovery. That’s the key difference; that’s where the tighter perimeter is drawn.

There needs to be some genuine wonder about what will happen, followed by some tests, real tests that are fully capable of turning out one way or the other. The boy with a towel around his neck jumping off the roof, wondering if he can fly, does a better job of practicing what I call “technology” than most of the people who seriously use that word. It involves not-yet-knowing. Which means, like the science upon which it is based, it involves an admission of ignorance. It relies on humility.

That’s just the first ingredient. The second is even more demanding in terms of delayed gratification: The “bleeding edge.” If you’re finding new ways of doing something, ways that haven’t been tried before, but the result of all of it is the production of something that’s already being produced, and your way doesn’t produce superior results or manage to get it done more economically, then what you have practiced could be called “creativity.” But, not technology. Yeah, that’s a bitter truth; a lot of it results in A For Effort. Frustration abounds. That’s why this distinction is so important. It isn’t just because of disagreement over the political objectives, that I exclude these boiler-room trolls sending me their mass-mailings about Obama’s birthday card from the pursuit of “technology.”

Point is, once that exclusion is done; and, I think I did a more than satisfactory job up there defining a purpose for it — it emerges liberals don’t do very much with real “technology” at all. They poke around with some things that weren’t available to us fifteen years ago, and in so doing they win elections. But when you get right down to it, that’s just using a new communications medium. They criticize their opposition, as I noted at the beginning with some legitimacy, for failing to match their agility as real-technology opens up new pipelines. But they aren’t the ones doing this. They don’t think the way you need to think, to do things like this. They’re not ready to run tests. They know too much, at the beginning, about how it’s all going to go up to the end. Whether it really does work out that way or not. “…October 1, 2013, a date which will live in infamy. The go-live date of the monstrosity; the take-off date of the albatross.” That is when we learned what happens, when liberals really try to do “technology.” Their open-ended tests aren’t sufficient, if they’re there at all, because the requisite humility is not there. They don’t believe in actual technology; they don’t see the need, and they don’t see the point.

What’s really missing is their concern about results. We’ve seen it with President Obama over and over again. Dismal results do not compel toward a different objective or an altered design; they are merely occasions to give yet one more greatest-speech-in-all-of-human-history, and then get back to the golf course.

Liberals do make use of technology provided by others, though. They use it to win elections, and, they use it as a scapegoat for their politically-motivated bitching so they can win elections. I’d put up on the Hello Kitty of Blogging a link to this article, by way of Instapundit, and one of my friends pointed out,

Here’s an idea – if they’d stop taxing and regulating the hell out of technology and engineering, they’d hire so many people with degrees that low skilled jobs would have to pay much higher than minimum wage to fill the demand.

Nahh, not enough opportunities to rabble rouse the base to suit limousine liberals.

It’s really just like everything else at the intersection of the economic and the political: Liberals promise their constituencies and end to, or at least a reduction in, economic discomfort. It follows that there has to be some economic discomfort for this message to find resonance, to generate momentum. Technology, as I have defined it, tightly, above, relies on recognizing such discomfort and then engaging a plan that will ultimately alleviate it. And, there will be a test, a real one, because there will have to be one. If that test at the end is failed, then what was done may be “technology” in effort but in effort alone, not in achievement.

So, liberals very rarely use technology, and when they do, it’s to help their movement and not to help people. And they never actually “do” technology, at least, not as liberals. It really isn’t hard to find examples of them opposing technology, nor should we be surprised when such examples emerge. Modern liberalism and real technology are mutually exclusive things.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Sunday, 07 Sep 2014 13:01

Well, like…duh.

Jeremy Frimer…noticed that socialists seemed unable to tolerate even mild questioning of Che Guevara’s eminently questionable legacy. Frimer is a researcher at the University of Winnipeg, and he decided to investigate. What he found is that liberals are actually very comfortable with authority and obedience — as long as the authorities are liberals. And that conservatives then became much less willing to go along with “the man in charge.”

Frimer argues that conservatives tend to support authority because they think authority is conservative; liberals tend to oppose it for the same reason. Liberal or conservative, it seems, we’re all still human under the skin.

Via Driscoll.

As Fred Siegel wrote in his recent book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, “The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. ‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class,’ Parrington insisted, referring to both democracy and capitalism, ‘and the artist and the scientist will erect in America a civilization that may become, what civilization was in earlier days, a thing to be respected.’”

That’s certainly been the president’s motto as well — he’s far more interested in waging war against the Tea Party, non-union businesses like Gibson Guitars, and the GOP in general, than dealing with any of those pesky headlines he keeps seeing in the newspapers from the Middle East and Eastern Europe:

By way of News Junkie at Maggie’s Farm.

Since the Progressive Era, what is termed “Liberal” has been increasingly illiberal.

Today, Conservatives are the Freedom people and Liberals are the statist-control people.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Saturday, 06 Sep 2014 10:33

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last month, you already know about this new low

President Barack Obama has ignited fresh conservative criticism by saying “we don’t have a strategy yet” for airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

Republicans immediately jumped on the President’s comment during a news conference Thursday by saying it proved their longstanding complaint that his foreign policy failed to seriously respond to the terrorist threat from Sunni jihadists in the Syrian civil war.

CNN is funny. It wasn’t just conservatives, it was just about anyone listening. Just as, it wouldn’t be just conservative passengers having second thoughts if the pilot came out of the cockpit and said “By the way, I have no idea how to land this thing.”

Our Secretary of State sprang into action almost immediately with some “What He Meant To Say Was” platitudes, and to subtly ridicule anybody who might think “no strategy” just might mean, literally, no strategy. Doesn’t it fill you with confidence when your “leaders” stand by ready to belittle anybody who thinks things mean what they actually say?

But that’s not new, or too interesting. What interests me is what James Taranto found:

In that 2002 speech, [President Obama] said: “Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.”

Last Friday, he struck the same theme, though without bad-mouthing our so-called allies: “We have seen, frankly, in this region, economies that don’t work. So you’ve got tons of young people who see no prospect and no hope for the future and are attracted to some of these ideologies.”

Compare these quotes with candidate Obama’s notorious 2008 remark: “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Reader Lavonne Kuykendall, who astutely spotted the similarity, observes:

It is crystal clear to any Christian that Obama is a nonbeliever, regardless of what he claims to be, and that is his business. But these comments make it clear that he sees all religious feeling to be essentially equivalent: an opiate for the masses to assuage their seething bitterness and anger.

Which, come to think of it, would also explain Jeremiah Wright.

It bears emphasis that the problem here is not Obama’s conjectural lack of faith or insincerity. It is, rather, his utter incomprehension of religious sentiment. How does one develop a strategy against an enemy one cannot understand?

Yes, I’ve made the acquaintance of some people like this. They seem to wake up each morning saying to themselves, “Oh joy it’s a new day, one in which all the haters are religious and all the religious people are haters.” Religion, they figure, is a bastard child of poverty and hopelessness, and in turn conceives hate, suffering, and nothing else. They’ve got it all mapped out. Bring them some evidence of a religious organization feeding the hungry or clothing the naked, or of a secular regime mistreating its subjects in any way, they blot it out. It’s all settled, religion is the cause of all the world’s problems and it is the only cause of all the world’s problems.

Most embarrassingly: They view the many acts of terrorism by Islamist radicals as just more problems caused by religion, absolutely refusing to see anything special about that faith. Any day now, the Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists and Jehovah’s Witnesses will start doing the same thing, or something. Cringe.

Well, I suppose it isn’t completely necessary to have a pious leader waging this battle against ISIS. If Obama doesn’t understand the threat, He could, hopefully, be advised by someone else who does. But it would be nice if we could see some attachment to reality up at those lofty heights. For that to be missing, is almost as discouraging for the rest of us as a missing strategy.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Saturday, 06 Sep 2014 09:33

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Saturday, 06 Sep 2014 09:32

Probably staged, but pretty funny.

From here.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 13:54

Prof. Thomas Sowell. Well said, as usual:

The latest Gallup poll indicates that 14 percent of the people “moderately disapprove” of Barack Obama’s performance as president and 39 percent “strongly disapprove.”

Since Obama won two presidential elections, chances are that some of those who now “strongly disapprove” of what he has done voted to put him in office. We all make mistakes, but the real question is whether we learn from them.

With many people now acting as if it is time for “a woman” to become president, apparently they have learned absolutely nothing from the disastrous results of the irresponsible self-indulgence of choosing a President of the United States on the basis of demographic characteristics, instead of individual qualifications.

It would not matter to me if the next five presidents in a row were all women, if these happened to be the best individuals available at the time. But to say that we should now elect “a woman” president in 2016 is to say that we are willfully blind to the dangers of putting life and death decisions in the hands of someone chosen for symbolic reasons.

If we were to choose just “a woman” as our next president, would that mean that any criticism of that president would be considered to be a sign of being against women?

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 13:04

Going to have to pay closer attention to this Jazz Shaw character. He writes more crisply and neatly than I do, but thinks the same way I do.

The Oxford Dictionaries comes out each winter and give an award to the Word of the Year. Others expand the WoTY concept to include a phrase of the year. Lately, however, I’ve been finding that there’s something missing from this system of honorifics. We need some sort of Deleted Phrase of the Year, letting everyone know that a phrase has simply been beaten to death, jumped the shark and reached the end of the line. And the first phrase we need to do away with is, we need to have a national conversation.

When Robin Williams took his own life, we needed a national conversation on depression. In the wake of the Ferguson riots we had to have a national conversation on race, not to mention the pressing need for a national conversation on police brutality. There are even calls for a national conversation on airline seats. And, of course, every tragic accident involving a weapon requires a national conversation on getting rid of guns.

The funny thing about this grossly overused and exhausted snippet of language is that it inevitably comes from politicians and televised talking heads… precisely the people who are not in a position to have a conversation with anyone. You see, the entire concept behind a “conversation” is the back and forth aspect of it, with multiple people contributing to the discussion. But the people barking at you from podiums and news set desks are broadcasting, not conversing. What they really mean is that they don’t like the way that far too many of the hoi polloi are thinking and they want to correct you.

I’ve got news for the high and mighty rulers in government and the chatterboxes on the national news. We already have national conversations. We have them every day around dinner tables and in bars and in the break room at work and with our neighbors when we’re out mowing our lawns and – yes – in the comments sections of blogs and discussion forums on the web. We offer solutions or point out the shortcomings in yours. We share our hopes and dreams We rant and we rave. Some of us troll. Some just lurk and take it all in. And it would probably benefit you to realize that we don’t always agree with whatever genius idea you’ve cooked up to solve the latest hysterical crisis of the day. If you really want to have a national conversation on anything, maybe a good starting point would be to begin listening to what we’re already saying.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Monday, 01 Sep 2014 19:09

“You shouldn’t play that kind of game. Shame on you.”

From here.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 20:08

Burt Folsom:

On taxes, President Woodrow Wilson gave us the first progressive income tax. He and his progressive friends said raising tax rates would not hinder investments. But the year President Woodrow Wilson left office, the U.S. had a top tax rate of 73% and unemployment had skyrocketed to 12%. Because of high taxes, entrepreneurs refused to invest, the national debt spiraled upward, and the number of Americans reporting $300,000 in income declined from almost 1,300 in 1916 to fewer than 250 in 1921.

If you want more of something, subsidize it, and if you want less of something, tax it.

The American Left has been supporting, for a very long time now, higher taxes on the things that would make a civilized society go, and subsidies for the things that would bring it to a stop.

Update: Apropos.

The thirteen states that saw minimum wage increases on January 1 have kept a combined 129,200 workers out of employment opportunities since the beginning of the year…

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 19:28

You get the government you deserve.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 18:33

I experienced a brain-pop during my morning commute, I think it was Thursday but it could’ve been Wednesday. What with moving all our stuff into the house and so forth, there’s been a lot of mental stimulation over this & that, seven days a week, and you know what Scott Adams said about how we require & crave boredom even though we maybe don’t realize it.

My moment of inspiration was with turning off the radio, and the inspiration itself was about bad ideas. I turned off the radio because the show had been interrupted by an advertisement, the advertisement was for some kind of new car dealership. And then the legal guy came on with the disclaimers, and you know how that goes. It sounds like a dachshund on crank chasing a cheeseburger across a sheet of thin plastic. Like they sped up the audio artificially, except legal-guy wasn’t talking like a chipmunk or anything. Makes me wonder if they recorded it in a very low but calculated pitch at normal speed, then sped up the playback so the narration is in a normal pitch but at 3x or 4x so they manage to cram all the words into that tiny space. But the other thing that was going on was that the consonants had an unusually high impact quality to them, an odd percussion suggesting strongly that hurting the listener was of paramount importance to the exercise.

Whether this is real or imagined, and it’s probably imagined, it always makes me indescribably angry. Here I am tuning in, being part of the audience, the reason for this all happening — and they try to give me a headache?

So off went the radio, and my creative lobe, like a man dying of thirst in the desert finally chancing upon an oasis, went nuts. Not very productively I must say. My self-tasking creative exercise was to imagine myself searching for the jackass who thought it was a good idea to air the legal disclaimers that way.

Well, this has been a busy summer for dealing with bureaucracies so this didn’t take a lot of imagination. The idea is as awful as an idea can be: Put all these syllables into the ad, nobody will be listening to them, nobody will make any decision any differently because of them, they might as well not be there, and it’s annoying. It probably has the opposite effect from what “advertising” is supposed to do; people will tune out. Some might even take note of the dealership’s name and say to themselves, I will never, ever, ever buy a car there no matter what. So I would be coming across people willing to defend the awful idea, and/or making a living according to some process that involves implementing the awful idea. And we know without experimenting exactly what I’d get told: It’s necessary. We have to do it. We’re required to. If we don’t, bad things will happen. That other guy, over there, he’s making us do it. Because of this, we know someone can point out over and over again “this is a bad idea” and it will never have any effect, the most attention he will ever attract is when people look at him and say something to the effect of, “Well, isn’t that adorable.”

At this point, we veer away from the subject of legal disclaimers in radio commercials. We veer into the realm of the generic. How many awful, rotten, terrible ideas have we been doing, that we will continue to do, no matter what, no matter how many times it’s pointed out to us that the idea is bad, and why; bad, awful, terrible, rotten ideas, that we know for a fact will continue to be applied tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.

Nobody actually defends them, because they aren’t defensible. When they’re defended, they’re defended in passive voice. I touched on this in the Candy Crowley rant:

…conclusions drawn, with the weight of authority thrust behind them, and within that weight of authority a busy patchwork of functionally anonymous busybodies, pointing to each other, nobody ever burdened with the chore of crisply explaining a justification or rationale. Candy Crowley’s great, because this guy says she’s great, because that other guy says so, because those people say so. No one explaining why, and meanwhile, she sucks.

A legal disclaimer during a car commercial giving me a morning-commute migraine, is not going to pose any threat to our society. But the phenomenon itself does. A society becoming more and more technologically advanced, and as a consequence busier, speedier, hyperactive, manic — more and more addicted to the passive voice statement, since the active voice takes too much time. And the ideas becoming systematically more and more execrable, the actions becoming systematically more and more indefensible.

The point is, we start to worship the ideas as being inevitable, and frown upon any attack upon them as examples of the very lowest depths of what our busy, sophisticated society can tolerate the least, wastes of time. I’d applaud that last one, if after we were done chastising each other for wasting time, we made a point of turning our own resources toward something constructive. But that is not what our sophisticated society has been doing lately. Instead, it has become our way to upload trollish comments like “Guess you must have WAY too much time on your hands,” then we go back to playing Angry Birds or whatever.

Or, record assaultive legal disclaimers for car commercials.

We check the direction in which we move, not by observing the landmarks we are passing, but by defining what the direction is — and, where it’s going. Without any change in course, it’s leading toward a more and more militant approach toward optimizing how we’re spending our time, for the benefit of less and less practical purpose. Accountability is the first, and arguably the only, casualty. We still have time for just about everything else we can imagine, except for the questioning of these bad ideas. Questioning bad ideas is often the first step toward forming a good idea, so this all but eliminates the possibility that we’re doing all this optimization of time management toward the objective of coming up with more good ideas. That isn’t what we’re doing, if we continue to tolerate bad ones.

I got a feeling our economic climate is going to improve mightily, if & when the time ever comes that we start to obsess over doing things that actually make life better for one another. Maybe I’m reading too much into a few inconvenient syllables I allowed to pound away at my eardrums during a morning commute, but it seems to me we’re not quite there yet.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 17:37

severian comments in the threads:

Discovering that things don’t mean what they plainly say is how liberals demonstrate they’re smart.

Divining the Will and Intent of the VoterIf you’re good at it, you can win debate tournaments in high school.

If you’re really good at it, you’ll get As in those college classes taught by cat ladies with PhDs.

If you’re really, really good at it, you can become one of those PhD-wielding cat ladies yourself.

If you’re really, really, really good at it, you can be President.

If you suck at it, but think you’re good at it, you’ve got a bright future in journalism.

It is a sub-genre of teevee “Drama”; in fact, it is drama. It is the basis of any good murder mystery. At first blush, it is emphatically and obviously true that this guy must be the killer — b-u-u-u-t, this obscure little piece of evidence came out, and now we see it’s that other guy we never would’ve suspected. Which makes the piece of evidence a MacGuffin of sorts, in the sense that it is a game-changer and it creates an implicit comment about the character of the person who finds it. As well as, the person who accepts it, and the many many people who reject it. It turns out to be true, and some people look like smarty pants and other people look like dumbasses.

Out here in real life, some people haven’t managed to extricate themselves from the drama to go about the business of living real life. They can’t grasp the notion that sometimes a cigar is a cigar and nothing more.

There are two things going on here, I think. Consider the case of a red-stater blue-collar guy who might be interviewed on Dirty Jobs. He’s not as likely to engage in this phony-snowglobe-reality as his counterpart taking a college class taught by a cat lady with a Ph.D.; he’s apt to recognize that a cigar is a cigar. Even though his income potential is probably far less, which will make the snowglobe-reality grad student guy feel very smart.

The dirt-clod-picking-guy from Dirty Jobs isn’t going to lunge for the pretend made-up MacGuffin until some evidence comes along that would compel him to do so; there are two reasons for this and they both have to do with this gratuitous drama offered by the MacGuffin. He can’t afford the drama — a lot of these jobs are genuinely dangerous. In his vocation, he needs to know that the snake really is too slow and stupid to bite him, or that the platform really is thick and strong enough to support him. The other reason has to do with need. He doesn’t need the drama. Crawling through a sewer pipe is an experience that packs plenty enough.

The grad student in the crazy-cat-lady class, on the other hand…

He’s still feeling really super-smart. His income potential is much higher than the dirt-clod picker guy’s, and as I said above that makes him feel smart. But that’s not enough. He has this psychological need for that game-changer MacGuffin nugget of evidence that turns everything around, that “pregnant chad” almost-undervote for Al Gore. Even after monologuing about that over and over again, though, he still isn’t going to feel complete, he’s going to have to join some protests to “spread awareness,” maybe log on to some conservative blogs and do some trolling. The hole is never filled in his life. We know this from watching those sad people who’ve been “hippies” for half a century non-stop.

Why is the hole never filled? Is it because they see the results and recognize that they leave something to be proven still? I know it can’t be that. They don’t think about the results. I say something like “So that’s why the healthcare.gov launch went the way it did,” and that’s a true paradigm shift for them; they weren’t thinking about it. So this seems to me to be a case of journey being more important than destination. They’re living out their lives this way, looking for their “Aha, but what about this” moment with every little subject that comes up.

But a majority of these situations don’t have one. Some ninety percent of them or so, I’d estimate, are like the original Bush v. Gore — looks the very first time the question comes up, that George W. Bush won Florida, and at the end of it it turns out that’s exactly what happened. This is something they simply can’t handle, and not just because Bill Clinton’s presidency was disgraced once & for all and a Republican ended up being President. They can’t handle it because when all’s said & done, the mini-drama is missing the drama, missing that 180-degree hairpin turn. They never could wrap their minds around it.

Things meaning what they plainly say, nothing more and nothing less? They can’t comprehend. It’s like explaining depth to a creature from a two-dimensional cartoon universe.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 07:51

From VDH, an unflattering summary that was just waiting to be written:

Everything that Barack Obama touches seems to turn to dross. Think of it for a minute. He inherited a quiet Iraq. Joe Biden bragged of the calm that it would be the administration’s “greatest achievement.” But by pulling out all U.S. peacekeepers — mostly for a 2012 reelection talking point — Obama ensured an ISIS wasteland. He put his promised eye on Afghanistan at last, and we have lost more soldiers there than during the Bush administration and a Taliban victory seems likely after more than a decade of lost American blood and treasure. The message seems to be that it is better for Obama to have his eye off something than on it.

Remember those threats to Syria? After the U.S. threatened and backed off, the violence only escalated and spilled into Iraq.

Libya was no paradise under Gadhafi, but it is now Mogadishu on the Mediterranean. Not even the president’s supporters believe that he told the truth about Benghazi. Reset with Russia green-lighted Putin, as he sized up Barack Obama as a lamb waiting to be eaten. The Bowe Bergdahl-for-five-terrorists swap is not headline news only because dozens of scandals since have eclipsed it, and the likely deserter is apparently still kept incommunicado, lest he speak in the fashion of his father at the earlier White House press conference. I don’t think Bergdahl is a model for future negotiations with the Taliban.

Israel? We never have been more estranged from the Jewish state. Open mic outbursts against Netanyahu define our true policies. The terrorist state run by Hamas is now a partner for peace – tunnels, missiles, syringes, handcuffs and all. Did outreach to Hamas lessen or spike violence?

Did the “special relationship” with the Islamist Recep Erdogan lead to regional calm, and does it still exist?

The war on terror? Obama has derided most anti-terrorism protocols, even as he kept some Bush-Cheney policies — to the incoherent point that no one has any idea what the U.S. is doing. Jihad a personal odyssey? Muslim Brotherhood largely secular? Major Hasan’s murdering mere workplace violence? Outreach to Islam NASA’s primary mission? Remember overseas contingency operations and man-caused disasters? In the Obama war on terror, waterboarding three architects of 9/11 is our “folks” torturing their “folks”; but judge/jury/executioner drone strikes that blow up 2,000-plus suspected (not confessed) terrorists — and anyone in the general vicinity when the missile hits — are far more moral. Out of sight, out of mind.

It is a problem that predates Barack Obama’s presidency, and even His presence in the public eye. Our friends the liberals, who claim to be for progress, and are weirdly fascinated with concepts overlapping with natural selection and evolution, ironically, don’t learn from failure. That would depend on their valuing the good results as much as they say they do, and the fact of the matter is they don’t. What they truly value is looking good to other liberals.

The rest of us aren’t supposed to notice, because that would be getting political or something. What exactly is it we’re supposed to get out of this not-being-political, someone please tell me? Is it worth a few more Iraqs and Afghanistans? How many more cities in America are supposed to look like Chicago and Detroit while we turn a blind eye to what liberals ruin?

The problem is not that liberals want to ruin things, or that they want to be reverse-Midas types, with everything they touch “turn[ing] to dross.” That is not the problem. The problem is that they don’t care. There’s no improvement to the policies over time because there’s no cycle of self-remedy. The concern that would be driving such a cycle, is altogether missing.

They care a lot more about renaming college campuses, football teams and fish.

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 12:07

From Sonic Charmer. A beautiful analogy:

Next time you buy an airplane ticket check the fine print. What you probably won’t find: language to the effect of, ‘the purchase of this ticket fully and without restraint entitles the ticketholder to the recline function of his seat for the duration of the flight’. That doesn’t mean one can’t recline. (It also doesn’t say you can breathe while on the flight…) It does mean however that claims like “I paid for the right to recline!” are made-up. No, you paid for an airplane ticket. There are some things explicit (we’ll take you from point A to point B, at such-and-such time, we kinda-sorta promise) and many things implicit. It didn’t specify a ‘right’ to recline just like it didn’t specify a ‘right’ to occupy such-and-such volumetric cylinder of space extending from the tip of your seat up to the ceiling, and along the bisecting midpoints of the armrests on either side of you. Not all things are ‘rights’ and not all of those are spelled out. When it comes to reclining, the simple fact is that reclining reduces the space available to the person behind you, touches them, involves their personal space and body. Whether that is ok involves at minimum you and that person, it’s not something you can just assert is ‘my right!’ and ignore the effect on others. “But if the airplanes don’t want us reclining why do the seats have that function.” Well maybe they shouldn’t but that’s beside the point. Some seats still have old ashtrays from the days before smoking was banned. Again, beside the point, if you want to ‘recline’ maybe that’s ok but you still need to confront & justify the fact that you’re affecting the person behind you, and how, and have good solid reasons for being ok with that effect. Do you? By the way I use the word ‘recline’ advisedly here because it is barely anything resembling ‘reclining’ that we are even talking about and continues to strike me as utterly bizarre that anyone from any walk of life would ever value that physically-imperceptible 4-degree difference so much they will defend their ‘right’ to it to the death. If no one were able to ‘recline’ starting tomorrow what would be lost, utility-wise? Nothing measurable. The supposed gigantic comfort gain you get from such a tiny ‘recline’ is all in your head, if you thought about this rationally you’d acknowledge I’m right, and you should let yourself be convinced to stop wanting it. Meanwhile the bruises on the knees of the person behind you is not in his head, I promise. Oh, but bruising some other person is ‘your right’ because you ‘paid for’ that right, right? Yeah no.

This used to not be a problem. It used to be, liberals would want society to work one way, conservatives would want it to work a different way, the liberals would lie their asses off to the little kids watching it go back & forth and to the centrists who hadn’t yet made up their minds, and say things like “we and conservatives want exactly the same things, we just have different ways of going about it.” Which, if you buy that line, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Oklahoma…

After Bush v. Gore, there has been a sea-change. Not that it hadn’t happened before that, but since 2000 it has become particularly popular for the liberals to speculate about why conservatives disagree with them — badly. Very badly. There are few aspects of life on which we would be ill-advised to listen to any particular group’s ideas, compared to listening to liberals opine about what motivates conservatives. What liberal, anywhere, cares? In fact, what liberal would miss out on an opportunity to announce to everyone within earshot, that they don’t care? It is the intersection of a group with a topic, at which we find a tall edifice of ignorance, coupled with a uniquely effervescent elixir of apathy. They don’t know, they don’t care, they’re manifestly proud of not knowing or caring, yet they opine anyway…

And their favorite explanation for the “rights” thing is the distinction between implicit and explicit. Conservatives simply do not understand, you see. Ah yes, everyone who disagrees with the liberals must be missing something. How else to explain the conservatives’ most ramshackle, tattered, threadbare, lopsided, teetering, fragile and untenable position of: “Uh, it doesn’t say that.”

When your ideology blinds you to the plainer motives of those who infer that things say what they say when those things do say them, and that things don’t say what they don’t say when those things don’t say them, you are very far gone. It’s an Occam’s Razor thing: Maybe, just maybe, the opposition understands the distinction between implicit and explicit just fine. Maybe, when you play your game of “It doesn’t say it but let’s pretend that it does,” they’re simply taking the position of “Yeah, gotcha, and you go down that road without me.”

Author: "mkfreeberg" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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