Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chopra and the Green-eyed Monster

Hugh Hewitt pegs Deepak Chopra as a typical leftist without very much to offer except sneers of hatred directed toward Christianity.

Chopra’s rage against mainstream Christianity may have its roots in nothing more complicated than a simple though vast jealousy at Warren’s enormous success, and not just success in selling books but in attracting tens of thousands of pastors and their congregations to a revitalized Christian faith in the new millennium.

Warren’s call, heeded by millions of American Christians, to lead faith-filled lives, to give sacrificially and to work for the alleviation of suffering across the planet has been the focus of astonished applause by intelligent observers across the political spectrum.

Warren’s church and the millions of American Christians who hold similar beliefs and practice similar disciplines model authentic and traditional Christian belief. There isn’t much to hate there, but Chopra and others on the Left want to try to transform mainstream Christian belief in traditional marriage into a postmodern scarlet letter, and they will use the tactics of extremist hate if they have to.

We are not “long past irony” here, just face to face with the unpleasant reality of the Left’s genuine agenda of silencing its opponents.

I'm an Occam's Razor kind of guy, so I agree with Hewitt that most likely it's Rick Warren's success that irks Chopra more than anything. So why doesn't he become a Christian? Then he can make lots more money selling books to American Christians and go to Heaven someday. Oops, that was probably really insensitive of me to say. Sorry.

Look at me: I'm self employed

This is my 5-year-old's favorite song.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The WTF Hat

Here is a hat for the mentally challenged to purchase and wear. I'm sure it's overpriced. The person in the picture has an eyebrow piercing, so she's already down 40 or so IQ points.

A new white knit cap from designer Lauren McCarthy promises to give wearers a happy face - by poking them in the skull with a metal spike.

It has a bendable sensor that attaches to your cheek and measures your smile size. A hidden motor then jabs you in the head "inversely proportional to the degree of your smile," the hat's description proclaims.

"Through repeated use of this conditioning device you can train your brain to smile all the time," it says.

"It definitely works, and it actually does kind of hurt you. It doesn't draw blood, but it's pretty uncomfortable," McCarthy, 22, told the Daily News.

"It's a call to think about the ways we interact and how a simple smile will make you and other people feel better," she said.

What a stupid idea. And I'm sure it violates the Geneva Convention's stipulations about torture. At least Dick Cheney didn't make people smile. How about a hat that waterboards you whenever you swear at a homeless person?

Karl Rove's "Straw Man Watch" page

Karl Rove is one of the smartest political guys out there. So it's a good idea to take note of what he says, whether or not you agree with him on a majority of issues or whether or not you like him. I found this great page on his web site. It's a collection of President Obama's attacks on "straw men". It's worth reading through to become accustomed to just how often he constructs these non-existent enemies and bases a large portion of the support for his policies on the necessity of toppling them.

Now I'll admit that showing your opponents views is the most negative light possible is a time-tried and well accepted rhetorical device. And I would never claim that Obama is alone as a user of the straw man fallacy in American politics. But I do think it's worthy of noting the quantity of uses and how their use has a way of giving a confrontational color to his speech. Check out this one from a press conference on 2/9/09:

As I said, the one concern I've got on the stimulus package in terms of the debate and listening to some of what's been said in Congress is that there seems to be a set of folks who—I don't doubt their sincerity—who just believe that we should do nothing. Now, if that's their opening position or their closing position in negotiations, then we're probably not going to make much progress, because I don't think that's economically sound and I don't think that's what the American people expect, is for us to stand by and do nothing.

This kind of thing is maddening to conservatives. Every conservative pundit I was listening to at the time was suggesting that making the Bush taxes permanent would strengthen the economy. And that's just one example. Up higher on the page there's a link to a good post on Newsbusters exposing the myth that the GOP has no plans for health care.

But people miss the fallacious nature of the argument; many of them obviously agree with the caricature of conservatives which he draws. Besides, this sort of fighting against an imaginary opponent seems to be working pretty good for the President. It's much easier to attack FOX news and Rush Limbaugh than confront, say, House Minority Leader John Boehner as an entity with opposing views. People rightly point out that Obama "inflates" FOX and Rush when he attacks them, but who cares? From his point of view, it's much better than inflating Boehner or Mitch McConnell or Joe Lieberman—elected officials who can and do oppose the President on some or all of his policies.

So the best thing to do is to take note on how many times and to what degree Barack Obama relies on the straw man fallacy in his rhetoric to get his points across. Rove's collection is a good starting point.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I agree with Will Feltus

John Harwood writes a piece about "partisan fragmentation" in the media outlets. Excerpt:

Press critics worry that the rise of media polarization threatens the foundation of credible, common information that American politics needs to thrive. Will Feltus, a Republican specialist in voter targeting, does not.

If it complicates the choices facing leaders in Washington, Mr. Feltus argues, it also decentralizes political communication in a way that is both inevitable and healthy in the information age. “I feel no hand-wringing about it,” Mr. Feltus said. “People are smart enough to understand what color filter is over the lens.”

I say good to this "fragmentation" so-called. News programs other than FOX news are bleeding and they will continue to do so until they get with it and cover all the news. If they don't want to cover anything which will make Obama look bad, then FOX will be the place to get the real story. If people cannot figure this out, they need to have their diapers changed.

My Next Car

I've been a Saturn fan for nigh on 12 years now, but since GM decided to kill the deal with Penske I'll be moving on from that brand. If I buy another American car it will be a Henry Ford. They're doing pretty well.

The company reported net income of $997 million, or 29 cents per share, a $1.2 billion improvement compared with the same period last year. Wall Street had been expecting the Dearborn automaker to lose 12 cents a share, according to a survey of 11 analysts by Thomson Reuters. Ford lost $129 million during the same three-month period a year ago.

"Our third quarter results clearly show that Ford is making tremendous progress despite the prolonged slump in the global economy," said Ford CEO Alan Mulally. "Our solid product lineup is leading the way in all markets. While we still face a challenging road ahead, our 'One Ford' transformation plan is working and our underlying business continues to grow stronger."

...and they haven't drunk the Obama koolaid like GM and Chrysler.