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Archive for July, 2012

I tried very hard to refrain from public comment on this matter. I really did. I figure when we taxpayers STILL own GM, whose bankruptcy did little to actually address the combination of stupid union tricks and stupid management tricks that cratered what was once a triumph of industry, and our chief executive who hasn’t managed to nudge even the phony unemployment numbers under 8% in three years, while failing to even pass a budget, and unleashing regulatory behemoths onto American businesses and individuals, we’d have more important things to talk about. And yet, the hand-wringing, crass opportunism, and contempt for the exercise of freedom on this matter has reached a sickening crescendo.  The enormity of this storm of stupid has been blotting out the sun, and distracting from issues that really do affect everyone, and not just the perpetually offended and their camp-followers.

When Dan Cathy, the President of Chick-fil-A,  a professed Christian running a company that still closes on Sunday, made a clear and unequivocal statement about the company supporting traditional marriage, the mechanism of OUTRAGE!!11!!! swept into motion, and immediately, condemnation resounded from the predictable quarters.  Certainly, the militant homosexuals were angry, and were soon joined by mayors of large cities and city aldermen eager to prove their committment to tolerance by announcing that they would use every machination at their disposal to make sure that this business could not and would not pollute their fair cities with their chicken sandwiches and unfashionable opinions.   These unwavering statements of support later wavered when they could no longer avoid the fact that doing so would be a gross abuse of power, and would, in time, lead to inevitable correction by both voters, who aren’t so stupid as to not be able to realize that such a trick is capable of repetition, and by the courts, who jealously reserve the power tyranny for themselves.  But, as with any cause celebre, those who are famous, some only for being famous, could not resist the opportunity to chime in for their own 15 seconds of almost-relevance.  The casual famous, the has-beens, and the never-weres all tweeted their tolerance-supporting hate for the man whose company sells chicken and supports the kind of families that served to build a nation for over 200 years.

Its been interesting to watch.  If by “interesting”, you mean “horrifying”.  I expect the chatterati and the famous to stand up on their hind legs and start offering vacuous opinions for the outraged and the easily led, like trained seals performing for fish.  When these mental giants start showing off their “deep thoughts”, you quickly realize that if you put galoshes on before wading through their publically-stated pontifications, you would be horribly overdressed.  But with the politicians casting their lots in with this same crowd, it starts to feel like a trip back to high school, complete with all the pressure to conform.

If there is a silver lining, it is that the Pink Swastikas and their conscripts are starting to overplay their hand.  It really became noticeable with the recent gay marriage ballot measure in North Carolina.  The opposition both before and after the election wasn’t just shrill, it was Mariah Carey shrill.  And the repeated theme that if you weren’t for gay marriage, then you were just an inbred, ignorant embarrassment to humanity started to make up people’s minds.  Of course, those were the people who generally didn’t care one way or the other, but who weren’t enamored of the characterization, and the general “thought police” nature of the condemnations, especially in light of the fact that with the vote, North Carolina joined more than 35 other states, who when were actually asked, rather than told by the their politicians (YES, I’m looking at YOU, Olympia), rejected the idea of gay marriage.  When more than half of the 57 states don’t support your heart’s desire, maybe calling them inbred and ignorant really isn’t a winning strategy.

But, despite the dubious nature of this particular approach, it has remained consistent.  A friend of mine recently had an encounter illustrating the failure of this approach when she went to order some Chick-fil-A for lunch at a food truck in our nation’s capital.  After being accosted by a “crazy man” for buying food from a company that “supports hate groups”, several bystanders expressed the opinion that they were no longer on the fence on this issue, and they would be joining her for lunch that day.  It’s a story I hear repeated over, and over again from friends and acquaintances who actually have Chick-fil-As near them, and their longer than normal waits for food because of the increased foot traffic. 

And yet the Forces of Outrage™ persist…and if they can’t have success, then they will at least pretend at it in their best peer pressure style, as exemplified with this story which proclaims that “Chick-Fil-A Experiences Massive Fallout Among Consumers After Anti-Gay Controversy“.  Except that this conclusion was reached through a “branding survey”, and not on actual sales data, which means that anyone who has ever taken a statistics course can ask some pointed questions about the sampling methods used that would cast this dubious assertion even further in doubt.

What has been revealing about this latest episode in the culture wars is just how little regard the “progressive” mindset has for anyone who doesn’t share their views, and just how much they are willing to abrogate the protection of law for those who subscribe to traditional values.  It is another schism in a field of cultural chasms that are slowly and surely separating society.  It gives me no pleasure to watch, but when one side makes it clear that they are willing to condemn thought, and no longer willing to tolerate formerly legitimate religious expression, while holding in contempt values that I share, I know which side I stand on.  And I suppose I should thank the usual suspects for no longer pretending that unity is a goal that they have any real interest in achieving.

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My wife and I were talking about the recent massacre in Aurora, Colorado, during the midnight premiere of the The Dark Knight Rises.  We were talking about the sadly predictable rush of some in the press to blame it on the Tea Party or other right-wing “extremists”, and some of the questions that reasonable people would ask like “Who takes a 3 month old baby to a midnight screening?” and why it is a mistake to call it a “tragedy” rather than what it is: a massacre…a premeditated act of evil.  At this point, the little pitcher with big ears, my 12 year-old chimed in.

“That’s why people shouldn’t have guns.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Did you know that the theatre was a “gun-free zone“?

“So.”

“So why did the guy who shot people get in with his gun?”

“Because he didn’t care?”

“Exactly.  And do you think that people who obey the law also obeyed that policy, and didn’t bring a gun with them?”

“Yes.”

“Exactly.  So did that “no guns” policy make anyone safer?”

*pause*
“No.”

“But only the police should have guns.”

“NO!  Think! Why do you think only the police should have guns?”

“So they can keep us safe.”

“Did they keep those people safe?”

“No…”

“Exactly.  Sometimes, you have to go to dangerous places.  And those places are dangerous because of the people who are there, not because some of them have guns.  But having a gun, and knowing how to use it is a way of taking responsibility for your own safety.”

“But that’s what the police are for.”

“Can you strap a police officer on your hip?”

“No.”

“Is there always a police officer around when you need one?”

“No.”

“Exactly.”

“You should respect police officers, son, but you should not rely on them for protection.  They have a very difficult job, and frequently, no matter what they do, they are going to make someone angry.  It is a tough, thankless job, and because they are people like you and me, you also need to understand that when things get tough, they feel the pressure too.  But you also need to understand, they cannot be everywhere, and when there is a problem, they may or may not be able to get there in time.  People who understand this have a few sayings that help make this clear:  “Call a cop, call an ambulance, and call for a pizza, and see who shows up first.” and “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

I could see the wheels working.

“So having a gun should be a right, because people should be able to defend themselves.”

“It IS a right.  That’s one of the reasons we have a Second Amendment.”

“Why would people not want this right?”

“Because they believe that if they give up those freedoms, and the responsibilities that go with them, then the people they give those rights to will make them safe.”

“But it doesn’t work.”

“Well, it might…if you give up everything.  But then it isn’t much of a life when someone else makes all your decisions for you.  And in the meantime, laws like the ones that people are calling for only make people who obey the laws less safe, because people who don’t care about the laws aren’t going to follow them.   Kind of like what happened there in Colorado the other day…the people who obeyed the law were disarmed, but the criminal…the guy who planned to do bad things and hurt and kill people didn’t care about the rules and the law.  And because of that, a lot of people were put in danger because they weren’t allowed to defend themselves.”

“I understand.  People have a responsibility to protect themselves.”

“FREE people have a responsibility to defend themselves…and their loved ones…and the innocent and defenseless.”

“Because in life, there are people who want to hurt others, and who don’t follow the rules.”

“Exactly.  And FREE people understand that you can’t be made safe from the consequences of life and be free. ” 

“I think I understand, Dad.”

“I think you’re closer than a lot of people, and I think you’ll continue to understand more as time goes on.”
—————————————————————————————————–

The saddest part about this is that a 12-year-old with Aspberger’s understands better than Roger Ebert that this didn’t show a failure of concealed carry laws, because law-abiding people with a concealed carry permit followed the rules, and the murderer did not.

“I sure am glad I obeyed laws that disarmed me, and allowed me to be killed.” said no massacre victim ever.

DPUD has some MOAR relentless fact and logic for the gun-fearing wussie crowd, and as always, its a good read.

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Now we’re seeing that the “body armor” wasn’t?

Holmes also bought an urban assault vest, two magazine holders and a knife for just over $300 on July 2 from an online supplier of tactical gear for police and military personnel, according to the company.

And the PJ Tatler has more on this “urban assault vest“.

In this case, Winter interviewed Chad Weinman, CEO of TacticalGear.com, who admitted the shooter’s vest came from their mail order company.

Winter used the term “urban assault vest.” Looking that up at TacticalGear.com displays this result. It’s made of “heavy-duty nylon” and has no Kevlar or other bullet-resistant materials. Granted, if you load it up with magazines you may derive some protection at the expense of your ammunition, but it’s not “body armor.”

You’re welcome to browse other offerings, like this Blackhawk vest made of “heavy-duty nylon mesh for maximum breathability.” Looks like body armor and could fool people into thinking it is,especially under low light conditions.

 

Nylon…NOT Kevlar…and look at the nice unprotected gaps.

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Since late in the last Presidential campaign, it has been in vogue for the chatterati and the self-appointed cognoscenti to tell us how any opposition or criticism of Candidate, then President Obama was racist, even in light of many rational and real reasons to dislike and oppose him. 

If anything, this chorus has gotten louder and more shrill, especially since it is getting increasingly difficult to pretend enormous debt incurred for little to no benefit was a good idea, or that the President’s grueling schedule of golf and fund-raisers in a stalled economy where the official (and fictional) unemployment numbers haven’t dipped below the 8% mark for his entire Presidency.  And having to whistle past the graveyard daily is clearly taking its toll on the most fervent water carriers, if Chrissy “Tingles” Matthews’ latest psychotic break from reality is any indication.  The situation has deteriorated to the point that the President either needs to plan a getaway for he and Tingles, so Chrissy can fulfill all of his fantasies for he and “the perfect President”, or the President needs to get a restraining order and authorize the Secret Service to shoot him on sight.

But when I saw this earlier this morning, it really drove home the projection and hypocrisy that has underscored the blatant racism of the people who have been screaming the loudest about the “racism” of Obama opponents.

I’m sorry that I had to waste 2:29 of your life that you’ll never get back.  But I think you probably get it now, too.  That nagging fact that we all witnessed, but people didn’t want to talk about: that hundreds of thousands of people voted for him not because of his great record (he has the thinnest resume of any President ever), not because of his comprehensive plans to fix the economy (paying of big donors and bundlers with taxpayer money and spendulous cash frittered away with pure undistilled bullshit about jobs “saved or created” is not a plan), but because he is BLACK, making his election somehow “historic” and “unprecedented”, two descriptions that history will also use, but not in a favorable way.

This has been observed before, in various places and forms that all essentially match this bumpersticker wisdom:

If you voted for Obama last time to prove that you aren’t a racist, vote for Romney this time to prove that you’re not an idiot.

I’ve gotten to the point where statements like this leave me torn between a laugh and a tear.  It might be truly funny if it wasn’t so damn tragic.  I don’t know who I blame more…racists like Charles “Sex Machine” Blow, Eugene Robinson, Juan Williams, or those white liberals who think that black Americans are so incapable of making it on their own that they have to step in, and make the way for them…like all of NBC news, PBS, and the Democratic Party.   You know the ones.  They are the ones who keep telling us how blacks can’t.  How they can’t find a job without government.  How they can’t keep a job without government.  How they can’t make it without government even if they have a job.  How they can’t ever have a business of their own without government.  How they can’t get into college without government lowering the standards and expectations for them.  And then set out to prove it. 

Increasingly, I find that my overall irritation factor is turned up to 11 as this campaign season progresses.  This is a condition made worse by the fact that these shrill carnival barkers are half-right, and refuse to be honest with themselves or the rest of us about it.  Race is a factor in this campaign, just as it was in the last one.  But it is the largest factor to the ones screaming loudest about it.  But we also have been chided about avoiding a frank discussion of this factor, by someone who himself has chosen to hide from difficult questions and scrutiny behind the specious and unprovable claim of “RACISM!”.

Contrary to the opinion so often on the lips of the President’s biggest cheerleaders, I do find it sad that the first black American President is such a failure, and that such a milestone has to be tainted in that fashion.  I also find it sad that instead of being a man of character who overcomes race, he so eagerly uses it as a tool to divide, rather than unite.  The wasted potential is a tragedy beyond measure.

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Back in college, I once had a Political Science professor who said that welfare was a way of buying peace.  Being a mushy-skulled liberal who felt more deeply than I thought, I really didn’t grok it at the time.

Sadly, the proverb about sorrow coming with wisdom is true.  It isn’t just about buying peace, its been about buying votes.  And while it has been wildly successful in empowering politicians, and making the recipients beholden to them, I’m afraid that the duration of peace has just about run its course. 

There has been much made of Mitt Romney’s appearance at the NAACP convention yesterday, and the part where the audience booed him when he said he would make repealing ObamaCare a priority.  Putting aside the predictable idiocy about him “disrespecting the President” and him not pandering to the audience by adjusting his cadence and going in to “Selma” mode, I found this moment telling for a reason no one is talking about, but one that makes sense in consideration of how he didn’t talk about ObamaCare. 

He didn’t talk about the new taxes that are part and parcel of ObamaCare.

Now the taxes are just another in the litany of reasons why many Americans are against it, largely because those who still have to pay taxes understand that there really is no such thing as a free lunch.  But in an economy where african-american unemployment is even higher than other ethnic groups in America, this audience bought into the President’s rhetoric, and sees ObamaCare as something that they and “their community” deserve as an entitlement.

This is the opinion being fostered as the Democrats rally to squelch even discussion of repeal, as they plan to put federal subsidies in place for “those who are unable to pay for the insurance coverage” that the rest of us will be forced to buy.  And predictably, the anger is building…on both sides.

When I pondered this on the drive home today, I thought about the peace that these entitlements no longer buy, and Serenity came to mind.  Our PAX has been the entitlements, but instead of recipients laying down and dying, the sense of entitlement is breeding restlessness…and if enough Americans still care about this country in this election, then I fear that we learn that our PAX has created our own reavers, eager to feast on the taxpayers.

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And in this case, his name is John Wolff, and he is a member of the “Freedom From Religion Foundation”, a/k/a those who deny history, which explains a lot.

John got a burr up his butt about a restaurant in community that offers a 10% to patrons who bring in a current church bulletin.  John didn’t like this.  In fact, John disliked this so much that he filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission.  Said John ““I bear them no ill will but they shouldn’t be pushing religion,”.

The restaurant’s owner correctly found this to be silly, as the 80 year old who is trying to shove his atheism down his neighbors’ throats has no objection to other discounts, such as senior discounts.  His rationale?

“A senior discount isn’t so bad. We’ll all get there eventually. But we won’t all become church-goers,” Wolff said.

The story didn’t say if Wolff has a similar aversion to military or veterans’ discounts, but it is worth noting that not everyone serves in the military.

However, even more irritating than the fact that the octogenarian trying to shove his atheism down the throats of others, he apparently has never actually dined at the restaurant, and by non-bizarro world legal standards, hasn’t actually been “harmed”, thereby raising the question of whether his complaint was legitimate.

He said came across Prudhomme’s bulletin promotion while doing an Internet search of the restaurant, which he had heard good things about. But, he said the restaurant’s discount for church-goers annoyed him. “My interest is in social justice and tolerance, and I get a little annoyed at all the religiosity,” he said.

Wolff said he was born a German Jew and was a devout Catholic from age 10 to 16. He said he became an atheist about 15 years ago when he became dismayed at the religious right.

He said the complaint against Prudhomme’s isn’t as much about the actual discount as it is the bigger picture of what is happening in this country. “I’d just be happy to bring this out in the open and get people to reflect a little bit,” Wolff said.

I’ve reflected upon it, Mr. Wolff, and it appears that the takeaway is that you’re a jackass.  “Tolerance” would be dealing with the fact that you exercised your freedom not to choose to avail yourself of a discount, and not forcing your atheism down everyone else’s throat because the word “church” makes you act like a vampire choking on a clove of garlic.  Tolerance is when the one doesn’t decide that everyone else must give up a right to make you comfortable, even when you don’t appear to have actually suffered any harm.

The Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission website states that discrimination based upon religion is illegal.  But that same list includes discrimination based on age, so arguably, if he is discriminated against because he choses not to go to church and bring a bulletin for a discount, then I am discriminated against because I’m not old enough for a senior discount.

Apparently, the PHRC needs to institute a penalty for frivolous complaints, since the only cure for stupid is a rather permanent one.

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I was reading the most recent AEES Bulletin this morning, and in the article on “Washington State and the Affordable Health Care Act”, I came across this gem:

Many reforms are currently in place, but key benefits and programs take effect in 2014, including Washington’s new Health Exchange, federal subsidies to help 477,000 people afford health insurance, an expansion of Medicaid for 328,000 poor childless adults and the ban on insurance companies denying people coverage if they are sick.

I guess we dodged a bullet there.  I mean, for a minute, I thought that whole “getting rid of the “free riders” B.S. the Demusocialists were paying lip service to was actually serious.

Just kidding.

Bonus question:  If it doesn’t take effect until 2014, how do they know 477,000 will need that “assistance”?  Why not 500,000?  Why not 100,000?  And the same goes for those poor childless adults.  I mean, with welfare that includes career training, and the improving economy fueled by the growth in government, how is it they can be so certain that these people will still need that assistance?

The War On Poverty™. The one war that government has absolutely no interest in winning, but plenty of interest in waging, as long as it is waged with other people’s money.

 

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As I enjoy this 4th of July and the terrific films TCM is showing today, I was thinking of the people who would make a better President then the current Duffer-In-Chief.  While this would be obvious to anyone paying attention, I realized that there are still some people who need help with these kind of comparisons.

5.  Mr. Rogers had the courtesy to tell us when he was taking us on a trip to the land of make-believe; Mr. Obama speaks of “Hope” and “Change” as if he were acquainted with both, and that he actually knows where they may be found.

4.  Mr. Rogers invited us to ride a trolley with him; Mr. Obama would force us to ride light rail by choking off as much domestic oil production and refining as possible.

3.  Mr. Rogers wanted to help us become better people with gentle instruction on manners and morals; Mr. Obama actively fostered jealousy and its idiot cousin, envy in the nation he presumes to lead.

2.  Mr. Rogers understood that goodness begins with ourselves; Mr. Obama believes that charity starts with government.

1. Mr. Rogers wanted to be our neighbor;  Mr. Obama wants to organize our communities and pit them against one another.

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