Saturday, October 10, 2009

Good definition of a "Truther"

I liked this definition from UD of 9/11 truther:

A crazy person who believes the US government committed 9/11. Truthers get their inspiration from a moronic documentary called "Loose Change" which provides no facts whatsoever and has been thoroughly debunked. People who disagree with the truthers are repeatedly called government shills since truthers have no logical argument to counter the evidence.

Truther: 9/11 was an inside job!
Sane person: Prove it.
Truther: There was no plane at the Pentagon, only a missile!
Sane person: There's dozens of witnesses and plane debris was found all over the place.
Truther: ...Well the WTC was a controlled demolition!
Sane person: Why did both buildings collapse from the point of impact then? Pretty crazy the explosives were in the exact spot the plane hit and didn't explode upon impact.
Truther: ...You're just a government shill! Enjoy your FEMA camp when the NWO rolls around!

It's by a dude styling himself troofers be nuts. And guess what? Troofers do be nuts. I know a guy who is a religious Catholic, very active, and was only a little bit looney before about 2 years ago. Then he "saw the light" and now he sends me 9/11 Truther stuff from Alex Jones et al at least twice a week. I'm on his list; he sends this stuff to everyone with a BCC, so at least it's semi-professionally done. As a bonus, I also get the standard fear mongering about H1N1... don't ask. The few times I've responded I get an all caps response back about how I should be asking the Lord to open my eyes to the truth and other meaningless platitudes worthy of question beggars.

To make his emails even easier for me to discount, he uses 20 point Calibri font on all his emails as a baseline. Recently he has obviously desired to urgently increase the urgency of his urgent message, so he has cranked it up to 24 point URGENT CALIBRI BOLD. I remember thinking "Hey, here's a new phenomenon: bitmap inflation." I felt like replying to tell him that using these large fonts is sort of like the Federal Reserve devaluing our currency by the endless printing of fiat greenbacks, but as usual I chickened out. I tell myself it's out of politeness and respect. But I really think he is full-blown bonkers to be broadcasting all these inanities.

One time he included an exclamatory AMEN! inflated to 100 points of inch-high black caps. Believing my light-fingered toddlers had attacked my precious notebook again, I instinctively checked my stash of Sharpies. But momentarily I realized the pious graffito was emanating from my liquid crystal matrix, so it was only the electronic equivalent of Black Crayola on Post-it―or possibly a mixed media collage using cardboard, Elmer's glue and headline typeface incised from the Akron Beacon Journal.

I'm probably overreacting to this poor old chap—he's getting up there in years—but it's on my mind because he just sent me more links to Infowars and Prison Planet and ended with a strained segue to The Chastisement™ and a call to conversion. All of this with zero percent insincerity, I'm fairly sure. I've learned that it's no use telegraphing that I'm not interested in this stuff because I know he feels called by God to blast his message to the ends of the earth via SMTP. How would he answer the Lord on Judgement Day if he took the name of a "lost sheep" off his email list? Still the conspiracy stuff just makes my head itch and I can't help reacting to some degree.

Friday, October 9, 2009

SMDS re: Detroit

Here's a follow-up commentary on my Detroit news from the inimitable Sh*t My Dad Says:

I wanted to see Detroit win. I've been there. It's like God took a sh*t on a parking lot. They deserve some good news.


I still don't know what he's talking about

Rod Dreher replied to a comment I made to a recent post where he continues his perpetual theme of good conservatism (his) versus bad (mainstream) conservatism. But before I get to the comment, check out this line.

The thing that seems most cult-like to me about this degenerate form of conservatism is the irrepressible urge to denounce anyone who criticizes them, or even questions them, as being the Heretical Other, not just wrong, but despicable.

This seems to be projection par excellence on Rod's part. If you are not sure what I mean, please review Kathleen's excellent points here.

But my comment referenced Rod's discussion of the words elite, elitist, elitism. His first defense of a narrow use of the word is weak. I think every conservative would agree that the great literary works of dead white guys are far better than Maya Angelou's dreck, but this has nothing to do with the pejorative use of the word elitist when used by a conservative to describe, say, the leftist faculty of large universities or the 95% of mainstream network reporters and anchors who were in the tank for Barack Obama during the Presidential election.

To make his argument sound even more ridiculous, Rod then tries to equate being elite to being morally good, which is an extremely uncommon, if not practically non-existent, use of the word. He says:

We should all seek to be elitist in morality, in the sense that we should live up to high standards of truth, justice, charity and so forth.

To which I responded:

Rod, who in the world uses the term 'elitism' to mean moral seriousness and aspiring to perfection in the virtues? This is an example of why people like you and Joe (who?) Carter find yourself talking past mainstream conservatives frequently.

Rod, to his credit, sees my point, but then tilts once more toward the same strawmen.

I see your point, Pauli, but I think mine still stands. By rejecting arguments and criticism they disagree with as "elitist" on their face, without even trying to counter them rationally, these folks send the strong message that thinking is what snobs do, and to prove that you're One Of Us, you have to suspend your critical thinking and join the herd. This is the kind of thing that can both infuriate conservatives and break their hearts when they see black conservatives (for example) having to go through it, being called traitors to the group for questioning the consensus view. Note well that I'm talking about black conservatives whose arguments are not taken seriously enough to question by other blacks. They are prima facie traitors because they don't agree.

That's the kind of thing I'm talking about in intra-conservative disputes. It plays to some of the worst elements of human nature: the "my tribe, right or wrong" impulse, which covers a lot of wrongdoing and sheer stupidity.

I'm not even going to deal with the first paragraph. This continuation of his post is rambling and devoid of examples which actually back up his assertions.

In a sense I agree entirely with his second paragraph, but I see Rod Dreher—author of Crunchy Conservatives—as the primary example of one trying to stir things up vis-à-vis "intra-conservative disputes". As I've mused aloud often to my readers and friends, these disputes are all pretty much a waste of time at this point. Let's put away the fiddles; Rome is on fire.

To sum up my targeted point: words mean something. We can say that America's founders were liberals, but we mean that in a different sense then when we say Senator John Kerry is a liberal. If I want to talk about a brain surgeon or a F-15 pilot being a member of an elite class, I mean something different than when I call Katie Couric an elite, and not just because her salary is twice that of a brain surgeon plus a few fighter pilots.

To the mainstream conservatives I'd only offer the suggestion that they should work on their communication skills with a focus on their vocabulary. Don't overuse a word lest they give liberals and picky people like Mr. Dreher and Mr. Carter a stick with which to swat you. Get a Thesaurus out and look up the word elite. You'll find a lot of the kind of synonyms you want—patrician, aristocrat, privileged class... snob. And my favorite, of course: haut monde. But at the same time be comforted that your argument is obviously sound since pointing out your lack of verbal skills appears to comprise most of their attack plan.

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

Yes. That's what I'm talking about.

Pastor Lawrence Adams leads Westside Bible Church. The retired police lieutenant has taken to wearing a gun under his robe.

Recently, Adams responded to a break-in at his church and surprised a burglar carrying out a bag of money. The pastor shot the man in the stomach after the man swung the bag at him. The burglar survived -- and while Adams says he's thankful for that, he points out that he could have been hurt or killed if he had not been armed.

Adams is one of several area clergymen who are carrying weapons. Minister William Revely also carries a gun at church. He says when he's armed, he has peace in more ways than one.

"I feel more comfortable now going out, and I can move with a lot more security," Revely shares. "I don't always have it on me. I have a holster that I use, but I don't always wear that when I'm preaching."

The story ends with the understatement of the year.

Detroit has seen a rise in crime over the past few years.

I recently heard that the median home sale price in Detroit is around $7,500.00. Yes, you read that correctly. But then I checked and found out that that number was from December of 2008. The number from June 2009 is $6,000.00. Makes Cleveland look like an economic boom-town by comparison.

BTW, I just picked me up a Glock 27 and it rocketh mightily.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Favorite Crunchy Conservative

"Cookie tastes so good."

Swedish Imam Suggests Drowning Jews in the Spit of Muslims

Here's another for the insanity file..

Here's the transcript, interspersed with my commentary.

We Muslims number one billion. In every continent, there are Muslims. There are Muslims everywhere in the world. The most popular name in the world is Muhammad. One billion Muslims. The prophet Muhammad likened our nation to a body – if one part is injured, the others are affected. If you get a headache, your foot will ache too.

"If you get a headache, your foot will ache too." I must admit that I've never noticed that before, even though I have had headaches and I also possess two feet. We westerners obviously have so much to learn from Muslims about physiology. Compared to them we are woefully lagging in this field.

Despite this, our blood is the cheapest in the world. Many of you have not heard about the catastrophes, about the crimes, the rapes, the robbery, the homes being destroyed, about children being killed in front of their mothers, about a father blowing himself up with his children, because he cannot bear the shame of his wife being raped in front of him. Such things occur in Palestine, in Kashmir, in Afghanistan, in Chechnya, and in Iraq.

"Many of you have not heard..." Right, because we non-Muslims never hear all these pity party stories. But whose fault is it anyway? Whose? Wait for it....

The catastrophes of Islam are numerous. Islam is the most humiliated [religion] in the world. Nobody listens to us, and nobody cares. There are one billion of us. How many Jews are there? Does anyone know? About 15 million. 15 million humiliate 1,000 million. This is a farce. If we were to line the Jews up in one row and spit on them, they would drown. But because we don’t do this, and we remain the way we are, they call us terrorists.

The Jews! Of course. And if I've read the last two lines correctly, the way for Muslims to lose the label of terrorists is to drown the Jews. The religion of unmitigable anger has never been overly strong on logic.

Michael Medved has a somewhat regular feature on his show detailing the outrageous actions and rhetoric such as the preceding. He calls it Islamic Looney Tunes, incorporating the classic Warner Brothers theme song complete with Porky Pig's stuttering trademark "That's all folks!" It's funny, of course, but at times I've thought the characterization to be a bit unfair to Porky et al. Ol' Bugs Bunny never threatened to team up with his bunny brethern and drown Elmer Fudd and Wile E. Coyote in lagomorphic saliva.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"In this day and age..."

This is so funny and so good.

LOL to "fellowshipped at the welfare office."

Goldberg Defends Beck

In a really good USA Today piece, Jonah Goldberg points out why conservatives might appreciate Glen Beck rather than excoriate him.

Still, much of the anti-Beck backlash (He's an extremist! He's paranoid! He's hate-filled!) from the left is hard to take seriously. First, this is a crowd that lets Michael Moore and Janeane Garofalo speak for them, and that celebrated the election of unfunny man Al Franken to the Senate. If you think it's racist to oppose Obama's health care reform efforts, it goes without saying that you'll think Beck is an extremist. This is what liberals always say about popular right-wingers, including Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley. For over 20 years liberals, including Presidents Clinton and Obama, have insisted that Rush Limbaugh is everything from an unpatriotic hatemonger to an enabler of domestic terrorism. It makes sense that they'd give Beck the same business.

Goldberg shows the contrast in media treatment between Beck and Jon Stewart...

Stewart's M.O. is to launch lightning attacks as a left-wing pundit and then quickly retreat to his haven across the border in Comedystan, but Beck must be pelted from the public stage for blurring the line between theater and punditry? Really?

...then continues by pointed out the strangeness of the "serious" punditry who get even more of a pass for their own outlandishness.

Over at MSNBC, which until recently floated no end of paranoid theories about neoconservative plots, Beck is boogeyman for his sometimes bombastic rhetoric about fascism and whatnot. Some complaints have merit, but this is the same network whose favorite conservative pundit is the populist Pat Buchanan, not even a Republican, who has written a book explaining why World War II was a mistake and how Hitler craved peace. Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann's shtick is far more dishonest: He pretends he's Edward R. Murrow reincarnated when he's really Al Franken with more important hair.

My theory? Beck is richer, more talented, more successful and more popular than his detractors. But jealousy and envy are popular, too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Obama's Olympic Loss: Big Deal Or Not?

The media and the administration are trying to spin this major Olympics fail, and the more they dig the "not a big deal" hole, the more laugh-worthy they become. Here's Jeremy Haddock in American Thinker with some brilliant points:

But, unbelievably, it turned out that 2016 was not in the bag! Obama set off on a "take no prisoners" campaign with nothing more than his unexampled hubris, apparently believing that his persona and magnificence would win over a few starstruck IOC cheerleaders. Obama gambled the prestige of the United States on an opportunity to enhance his personal glory if he won. He lost. He can pretend that it is nothing, but unfortunately it is not nothing. Michelle is furious, and for once, I agree with her.

Only the Olympics? Obama does not have the connections, force of will, rhetoric or naked power to browbeat even the Olympic Committee, nor the intelligence capability to uncover its intentions. Now he has to face the Iranians and North Koreans, and the Grand Master, Putin, without getting his lunch money stolen. This is why this mis-step is such a disaster.

World leaders now know, with certainty, that Obama is satisfied to conduct affairs of state by the seat of his pants. He is looking only to cover himself in glory, for which he is willing to expose the prestige of the United States to hooting derision. This is a telegraphed weakness that foreign ministries around the world will carefully study. Now that Obama has, in such a short time, already provided an extensive catalog of bad judgment, weakness, and willingness to abandon allies, he will be tested far, far beyond that which a strong leader and confident nation would be expected to endure.

Michael Medved pointed out that it probably cost $1,000,000.00 worth of taxpayer money to fly Dear Leader over to Denmark—that's personally why I can't swallow the "no big deal" argument.

And of course, here's the formidable insight of George Will on the narcissistic quality of the Obamas' speeches, which everyone noticed save those still blinded by what will calls the "sunshine of Obama's charm":

Vain. Yes, let's use a word everyone can understand. Mmm, mmmm, mmmmm!

Wake up, Ohio, and let's save some freakin' money

Marc Kilmer from the Buckeye Institute has a better answer than Uncle Ted Strickland seems to have to the budget problems of our Buckeye State. Here's Kilmer's first "for instance":

For instance, state employee salaries have risen faster than salaries for other Ohio workers. From 2001 to 2007, Ohioans' per capita income rose 21%. State employee income, however, rose 27%. If state employees' income would have risen at the rate of the rest of Ohioans, the state government would have spent $413 million less this year. And if the number of state employees remained at its 2001 level, the state would have spent $648 million less this year.

Here's his second:

Take state employee health insurance, for instance. Government workers receive good health insurance coverage and they only pay an average of 15% of their premiums. In the private sector, employees pay closer to 30% of their premiums. If state employees were more like private sector employees, that would save taxpayers around $150 million this year.

So his advice isn't to slash government jobs, which is next to impossible anyway, but merely to bring their compensation more in line with comparable positions in the private sector. Conclusion:

Government employees should certainly be compensated for their services. But there is no reason why they should have better pay and benefits than they would receive in the private sector. When there is such a large gap between the state government's spending and revenue, state policymakers need to review the generous compensation and benefits received by state employees and look for ways to rein it in. A hiring freeze, reducing the rate of salary increases, and paring back benefits to private sector levels are not radical propositions. In fact, it's just common sense.

In this article, Kilmer is going out of his way to be gracious and adulatory toward state and local government employees. But let me just add that it seems to me that these compensation premiums for government jobs for would basically encourage people to aggressively go after these positions which usually constitute patronage fiefdoms. I'm pretty sure that's not an outcome desired by Ohio's taxpayers.

That last blog post

That last post was number 1,111. Just thought you should know.

Ralph Peters: "It isn't you, Barack. It's just business"

Here's a devastating bit by Ralph Peters on the naive lack of strategy on the part of the Obama Administration vis-à-vis the soon-to-be-nuclear-if-it-isn't-already Iran and a Russia which can only benefit from non-interference. Conclusion:

It's no accident that a strategic triangle has emerged between Moscow, Tehran and Caracas -- home of the great Latin mischief-lover, Hugo Chavez, who thrives on his own nation's petro-wealth.

For us, the Iran crisis is about peace. For Putin, it's about power. Yet the self-deluding Obama administration really believes that Moscow's going to support us. After our president gave away our only serious bargaining chip, the missile-defense system promised to our European allies.

Putin thinks in 10-year-plans. We can't think past the next congressional roll-call vote.

The Obama administration's primary legacy to the world is going to be a nuclear-armed Iran.

Abortion Support Drops

Reuter's reports on the dip in support for abortion rights. Excerpt:

The findings by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center come as the polarizing issue has been injected in the debate around reforming health care, which is Obama's top domestic priority.

In polls in 2007 and 2008, supporters of legal abortion clearly outnumbered opponents. "Now ... there have been modest increases in the numbers who favor reducing abortions or making them harder to obtain," the organization said.

In 2007 and 2008 Pew found that supporters of abortion rights outnumbered those saying it should be illegal in most or all cases by 54 to 40 percent.

This year, two surveys of 5,500 adults found 47 percent supporting legal abortion with 44 percent opposed.

I chuckled at the earlier point the Obama's election "has reassured Democrats that abortion rights are secure." It's worth noting that everybody from Ponnuru to Reuter's assumes that the Democrats are the abortion people.

Of course, I wish we could for once properly identify the group who benefits from "abortion rights" the most, i.e., dudes who bang chicks, knock 'em up, then obtain legal abortions for them. ("Whew... that was a close one, dude!") Whenever you hear people spouting nonsense like "Oh, all you want to do is criminalize women who get abortions," point out that the much celebrated liberated women are not the only ones who would be "criminalized" were abortion illegal in certain states. So would the men pressuring the confused women to obtain an illegal procedure. Say "I want to criminalize the men responsible," and watch their jaws shut, at least momentarily. Yes, a man is required to make a baby, Mr. Know-it-all.