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  • Archive for September, 2008

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 20th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Wretchard of Belmont Club in a comment on one of his own blog posts:

    One sign that Obama isn’t a real organizer, as he claims, is his ignorance of the “radicalization moment”. This the psychological moment every organizer against a totalitarianism aims for. It’s the exact second the mask comes off and the truncheon comes down.
    Back in the anti-Marcos days it was the instant when a leader who thought he’d be respected for his grey hairs was kicked in the groin; when people who were minding their own business were stopped at checkpoints and shaved, by grinning thugs, until they had the “New Society” haircut. For the Filipino upper class the radicalization moment came when Ninoy Aquino was shot dead on an airport apron. Then the scales fell from their eyes and they saw Ferdinand Marcos for the first time.
    The unbridled campaign of disinformation and bullying is creating tens of thousands of radicalization moments and Obama will pay for this. But he won’t pay for it until someone — probably not McCain — comes along and creates its dual: the Empowerment Moment. The Empowerment Moment is the instant when you realize you can strike back at your tormentors. People have glimpsed it before. When Buckhead took down Dan Rather, for example. But it doesn’t happen by accident. An Empowerment Moment is the result of thousands of radicalization moments parsed through discussion and reflection. That’s what the Anbar Awakening was. But where is the Petraeus of politics?

    Posted in Politics, Quotations | 8 Comments »

    Shannon’s Prodigality

    Posted by Ginny on 19th September 2008 (All posts by )

    I am thankful to Shannon for continuing his prodigal prodding (those words don’t work together very well, do they?) that leads us to define our own agreements with him – and sometimes disagreements.  Mine keep outgrowing the comments section, so here’s another long-winded response.  It has moved from elitism to the last discussions between Shannon & Sean.  If you want more of that, hit the key below.  If you don’t, don’t.  Reminder:  this is someone who makes her living in the nebulous (Shannon) or uncertain (Sean) realm of the liberal arts.

      Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Elections, Leftism, Media | Comments Off on Shannon’s Prodigality

    The Recent Financial Meltdown Explained

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 19th September 2008 (All posts by )

    You can find a very good FAQ on the subject here.

    TJIC wrote an even pithier explanation that is also worth your time.

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance | 10 Comments »

    A Dangerous Trend

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th September 2008 (All posts by )

    I am afraid that this is true:

     One interesting aspect of the recent government bailouts has been the complete irrelevance of Congress. The operation and decision-making seems to be run almost entirely by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Congress appears to lack the ability, the will, and the decisiveness to play any role except spectator, as a handful of senior executive branch officials have nationalized major portions of Wall Street.

    I think this is a dangerous trend. Much as we disdain it as a squabblers’ club, Congress is the representative body of the federal government. The weakening of Congress means the weakening of democracy itself.  

    The last forty years have seen an increasing irrelevance for Congress for several reasons. The emergence of the U.S. as a superpower in a cold war made the executive much more important than it had been in earlier and more peaceful times. The increasing scope of government to include almost every possible activity meant more and more legislation, and in turn that Congressmen could devote less time and study to each particular issue. 

    Congress itself shares a lot of the blame, however. Since the sixties the Congress has repeatedly shoved the tough issues off onto the courts and the executive. Congress increasingly passes high-minded but vague legislation that leaves the actual decision making to the other branches. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act’s notorious “reasonable accommodation standard” which left it to the courts to decide on a case-by-case basis how much a business had to spend to accommodate disabled customers and employees. 

    Congress is making itself irrelevant by progressively pushing the real responsibility for the government’s decisions onto the less representative branches. That means that you and I have less and less say in what goes on. 

    Posted in Politics | 11 Comments »

    Explaining Elitism to Leftists

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th September 2008 (All posts by )

    I’ve been thinking about this subject for sometime now. When recent events prompted me to write I spun out over a thousand words on the subject. (I’m rushed, please forgive any typos.) That’s a bit long for a blog post so I’ve split it into a short version here and then the long version in the “Read the Rest…”.

    Short version: Leftists believe that elitism arises from wealth and only from wealth. Non-leftists believe that elitism arises from the belief in an intellectually and morally superior of a minority. Elitists demonstrate their elitism by their lack of respect for the decision-making ability of others. 

    They confuse compassion for their “lessors” with respect for the decision-making ability of those same people. Leftists view themselves as superhuman with the same relationship between themselves and the rest of the population as the relationship between adults and children. Since they have no respect for the decision-making ability or ordinary people, they seek to elect fellow extraordinary people, i.e., supermen, to political office.

    Leftists hate Palin and non-leftists like her for the same reason: She represents a wide swath of Americans. She’s not a superman. Leftists can’t believe anyone would seriously elect an ordinary moron to the highest office in the land, instead of a superman. The same goes for McCain. Despite his wealth, people believe he would make the same decisions as an ordinary American.

    The election comes down to whether people think of themselves as electing a superior person, someone who will make different and better decisions than ordinary Americans, or whether they think of electing someone who would make the same decisions that an ordinary American would make. 

    [Update:(2008.9.18.13:51): Sometimes, it falls right into your lap. Read this before reading the long version]

    Long version…

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics | 34 Comments »

    They Just Can’t Stop Themselves

    Posted by David Foster on 18th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Joe Biden:

    The Republican party and some of the blogs and others on the far right, are trying very hard to paint a picture of this man, they’re trying the best as they can to mischaracterize who he is and what he stands for.

    All this stuff about how different Barack Obama is, they’re not just used to somebody really smart. They’re just not used to somebody who’s really well educated. They just don’t know quite how to handle it. Cause if he’s as smart as Barack is he must not be from my neighborhood.

    (via Rachel Lucas, whose post on this is worth reading)

    They just can’t stop themselves. The Democratic leadership, together with its core of “progressive” supporters, is so convinced of their own superior brilliance that they can’t stop talking about it, even though it should be obvious that the arrogance is turning people off.

    What is the evidence for the claimed superintelligence of Senator Obama? Where are the great scientific discoveries or the patents for vital new technology? Where are the deep analyses of the history of political thought? Where is the carefully-crafted legislation? Where is the brilliant reorganization of a government agency or a business that dramatically improved its effectiveness? Where are Obama’s books and articles dealing with any subject other than himself?

    Obama seems to be a pretty smart guy who can give a very nice talk, as long as he doesn’t have to do it impromptu and you don’t listen too carefully or too often, and who gives the impression, correctly or not, of being likeable. Biden himself can’t even offer those distinctions.

    I’d also note that when Biden spoke at a Democratic rally where he made the above comments, he was introduced by a woman who referred to Governor Pailin as “a bucket of fluff.” It’s part of the same pattern of arrogance. (And, anyhow, isn’t the phrase usually “a ball of fluff?”)

    Posted in Elections, Politics | 14 Comments »

    Got Girl Rock? Got Girlschool!!!

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 17th September 2008 (All posts by )

    The Girls doin’ T-Rex’s 20th Century Boy. Yow.

    (What’s up with the midget?)

    And dig Please Don’t Touch, live with Motorhead!

    Yeah right? Yeah Right!

    Posted in Music, Video | 6 Comments »

    We Don’t Know What’s Going On

    Posted by Shannon Love on 17th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Last November (2007) conventional wisdom held that the Democrats held a lock on the next presidential election and that Hillary Clinton held a lock on the Democratic nomination. However, by February (2008), a mere three months later, Obama came from out of nowhere and seized the lead. By July (2008) Obama had won the Democratic convention and most people seemed assured that he would easily win the general election. Then McCain picked Palin a month later and suddenly McCain stands either tied with Obama or slightly ahead. 

    Why didn’t all the thousands of professional political analysts in the media, think tanks, political groups and academia predict the impact someone like Palin would have on the election? Why do we keep paying these people or even listening to them?

    Face it, for all that we all, amateurs and professionals alike, pontificate on politics, none of us really understand what drives elections or can predict how they will turn out. We don’t know what’s going on. 

    [Thoughts inspired by this post via Instapundit]

    Posted in Politics, Predictions | 10 Comments »

    Last Night

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Miami skyline at dusk.

    (Click the photo to display a very large version in a new window.)

    Posted in Photos | 1 Comment »

    “The Palin Effect in the Intrade Presidential Election Futures Market”

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Arthur De Vany:

    At the Tools Page on, Dr. Bob Rimmer analyzes the price data in the elections futures market. It is very sophisticated modeling, using stable distributions to forecast the probability of winning for McCain and for Obama.
    The raw data show the Palin Effect in the dramatic turn around in the futures prices with McCain trailing for many months and Obama leading. In early September there is a sudden reversal. Politics, like life, is dominated by extreme events which only a heavy tailed distribution can capture. None of the other election models are capable of capturing these extreme events. They are far too static and tame. The polls only partly capture the Palin Effect. It is real and dramatic.

    (Via John Lott.)


    black swan

    Posted in Politics, Predictions | 10 Comments »

    A Parenthetical Point About The Wall Street Journal

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Shannon cites a Wall Street Journal article in one his recent posts.

    I’m not sure if everyone is aware of this but the WSJ functions as two separate newspapers, an editorial page and everything else. The editorial page has its own staff, publishes libertarian/conservative opinion pieces of generally high quality, and stands out amid the leftist mediocrity of so many American editorial pages. The news pages are written by people who are not much different from New York Times reporters. So it’s not surprising, and not significant, that a hit piece about Palin would appear in the Journal’s news section. That’s just how the Journal operates. (I’ve always been curious about the social dynamics between the editorial and news staffs, but that’s another issue.)

    Posted in Media, The Press | 10 Comments »

    Marriage and Models

    Posted by Ginny on 16th September 2008 (All posts by )

     “Mrs. Palin’s marriage actually makes her a terrific role model.  One of the best choices a woman can make if she wants a career and a family is to pick a partner who will be able to take on equal or primary responsibility for child-rearing.”   Cathy Young

     Re.:  Thanks to Jay Manifold’s argument below and link to Young.  Heinlein’s women seemed to me (and I wasn’t a fan and read them long, long ago) a bit how a man imagined a strong woman to be.  He is no Michelangelo but both capture energy.  David’s beauty is power & grace, the swirling power of God awesome.  Of course, his women, too, are muscular.  But, then,  I’ll take Manifold (and Heinlein’s) model – I’d like to be someone who pulls her weight.  Most women would.

    The attraction of Democratic largesse for a woman who wants the government as mate is countered by self-reliance (and family-reliance) when a woman takes a fallible & loving, flesh & blood partner.  Governor Palin values her husband, which is not submissive but mature.  Franklin’s belief that “God helps them that helps themselves” is seldom more true than in marriage.  This understanding eliminates the synthetic and sentimental drama of the Lifetime channel, “women’s issue” politics, and daily bitching sessions that resemble spinning car wheels deep in mud.  But that understanding, that engagement – not consciousness raising – liberates.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Elections, Human Behavior, Personal Narrative, Society | 12 Comments »

    The Left Embraces Its Extremists

    Posted by Shannon Love on 15th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Commenter greggriffith, commenting on this Hot Air Post [h/t Instapundit] makes a very good point:

    What’s happening now in the Democratic party is that the ideological liberals (Dean, MoveOn, Kos, et al) have succeeded in wresting control from the institutional liberals (Hillary, Lieberman, et al). Where the Republicans have largely been successful at shearing off and marginalizing the influence in their own party of people like David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and less conservative but equally nutty types like Ross Perot, the Democrats have not. They have gone from Mondale, to Dukakis, to Clinton, to Gore, to Kerry, to Obama – a nearly unbroken linear progression from garden-variety liberal to wackadoo liberal.

    I think this is a very good point. As I wrote before, the truly disturbing thing about the Obama-Ayers relationship is that nobody in the leftist community of Chicago seemed to find Ayers an unacceptable person. Ayers did not stand out as a whack job that people of good standing on the Left could refuse to deal with.  

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Political Philosophy, Politics | 17 Comments »

    Quoted Without Comment

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 15th September 2008 (All posts by )

    From Goleman’s Social Intelligence, pp 120-121:

    Unhealthy narcissists typically lack a feeling of self-worth; the result is an inner shakiness that in a leader, for example, means that even as he unfurls inspiring visions, he harbors a vulnerability that closes his ears to criticism. Such leaders avoid even constructive feedback, which they perceive as an attack. Their hypersensitivity to criticism in any form means that narcissistic leaders don’t seek out information widely; rather, they selectively seize on data that supports their views, ignoring disconfirming facts. They don’t listen but prefer to preach and indoctrinate.

    An entire organization can be narcissistic. When a critical mass of employees share a narcissistic outlook, the outfit itself takes on those traits, which become standard operating procedures.

    Organizational narcissism has clear perils. Pumping up grandiosity, whether it is the boss’s or some false collective self-image held throughout the company, becomes the operating norm. Healthy dissent dies out. And any organization that is cheated of a full grasp of truth loses the ability to respond nimbly to harsh realities.

    Posted in Human Behavior | 2 Comments »

    Why Feminists Hate Sarah Palin

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 15th September 2008 (All posts by )

    (UPDATE [h/t Alan Henderson]: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose)

    Via the usual source … well, if Cathy Young can diagnose it, so can I. Or rather, so can Spider Robinson:

    I think one could perhaps make an excellent case for Heinlein as a female chauvinist. He has repeatedly insisted that women average smarter, more practical and more courageous than men. He consistently underscores their biological and emotional superiority. He married a woman he proudly described to me as “smarter, better educated and more sensible than I am.” In his latest book, Expanded Universe—the immediate occasion for this article—he suggests without the slightest visible trace of irony that the franchise be taken away from men and given exclusively to women. He consistently created strong, intelligent, capable, independent, sexually aggressive women characters for a quarter of a century before it was made a requirement, right down to his supporting casts.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Human Behavior, Leftism, Libertarianism, Politics, USA | 57 Comments »

    Dual Standards

    Posted by Shannon Love on 15th September 2008 (All posts by )

    From National Review Online:

      But recall that the public cannot get access to paperwork related to grants to distributed by then-state-legislator Barack Obama (records from 1997 to 2000 aren’t available); his state legislative office records (which he says may have been thrown out); he refuses to release a specific list of law clients, instead giving a list of all of his firm’s clients, numbering several hundred each year; he won’t release his application to the state bar (where critics wonder if he lied in responding to questions about parking tickets and past drug use); he’s never released any legal or billing records to verify that he only did a few hours of work for a nonprofit tied to convicted donor Rezko; and he’s never released any medical records, just a one-page letter from his doctor. Then there was the effort against Stanley Kurtz for his effort to examine documents relating to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, where William Ayers hired Obama to be board chairman. Oh, and Biden has released his earmark requests for one year out of his 36 in the Senate.

    The double standard in the coverage of Republicans and Democrats on the part of mainstream media just boggles the mind. 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Media, Politics | 3 Comments »

    Governors Cannot Earmark

    Posted by Shannon Love on 15th September 2008 (All posts by )

    This Wall Street Journal article [h/t Instapundit] makes it seem like Sarah Palin is a hypocrite for criticizing earmarks even though she has requested earmark after earmark for Alaska. 

    Only one problem exists for this scenario: Governors cannot earmark. Indeed, governors may not make any formal input to federal legislation in the least. 

    The Wall Street Journal needs to reread the Constitution.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics | 28 Comments »

    Another Point About The Atlantic and its Photo of McCain

    Posted by Jonathan on 14th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Most discussion so far has centered on the photographer. The Atlantic‘s editor says she blindsided him by tacitly going out of her way to make McCain look bad.

    But The Atlantic nevertheless used one of Greenberg’s photos on its cover. It may be the least bad of the photos but it’s still, I think, an unflattering portrait. It is harshly lit and makes McCain look older and uglier than he is. The editor calls it respectful, but I don’t think that’s plausible unless you ignore the flattering portraits of Obama that are everywhere. Why not make McCain look better? They could have bought a better photo from Getty. They weren’t obliged to use Greenberg’s work. (If you are going to make a respectful portrait of an older man or a middle-aged woman, you don’t use harsh, direct light that casts shadows and accentuates skin flaws. Look at the diffuse light in the photo of Greenberg on this page. That’s the kind of light she should have used on McCain. The Atlantic‘s staff know this stuff.)

    It looks to me like the magazine wanted to denigrate McCain in a way that was subtle enough to be deniable.

    UPDATE: Neptunus Lex posts The Atlantic‘s Obama and McCain covers side by side.

    Posted in Media, Politics, The Press | 6 Comments »

    Re. Shannon’s Obama’s Misunderstanding

    Posted by Ginny on 14th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Some points:

    1.Democrats might begun to understand that looking straight into the camera is counterproductive.  We don’t like to feel gamed.  Clinton looks at us & says he didn’t have sex with “that” woman; Kerry tells us he’s reporting for duty; Obama says he’s putting country first.  We expect politicians to squirm and obfuscate.  But we are offended when they become earnest in their pretense; looking us straight in the eye implies a contract.  And we know they either don’t understand or don’t care that they aren’t holding up their side of the contract – that it is a lie.  (Shannon’s incredibly productive:  this reinforces the post he put up while I was writing.)

    2.  Re. his earlier post:  Obama speaks to people that don’t understand because much about our culture discourages what we long considered virtues:  integrity, loyalty, duty.  All these require putting something or someone’s good ahead of our own.  Our customers, our children, our spouse, our community – the point isn’t to game them for our advantage but to enter into an appropriate, sympathetic, productive, and reciprocal relationship.   Of course, in some, “appropriate” is hierarchical, in some it includes making a profit.  But appropriate still arises from respect.  The misunderstanding of this has led to a cynicism and disengagement that permeates our society.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Elections, Politics, USA | 2 Comments »

    What Jill Greenberg Tells Us About the Left

    Posted by Shannon Love on 14th September 2008 (All posts by )

    From the New York Post via Instapundit:

    “Controversial celebrity photographer Jill Greenberg, a self-professed ‘hard-core Dem,’ deliberately took a series of unflattering shots of Republican nominee John McCain for the current cover of The Atlantic – and then bragged about it on a blog.”

    As I wrote in the case of Obama’s relationship to Bill Ayers [here and here], the importance of this incident arises less from what it reveals about Greenberg as a person and more for what it reveals about the political subculture of the far Left.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics | 45 Comments »

    By Popular Demand – II

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 14th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Responding for Jonathan’s request for more sexy iguana photos… from Puerto Rico!

    Puerto Rico Iguana

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 8 Comments »

    Willie Brown On Sarah Palin

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 14th September 2008 (All posts by )

    As far as a partisan democrat, no one is more dyed-in-the-wool than the former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown.  I saw this article today in which Willie was whispering to the faithful (those in San Francisco, the most left-wing major city out there) about Palin and Obama.  He is telling dems that this is a big deal, despite what the high-profile media heads are saying.  From the article:

    “And notice how everyone is calling her Sarah Palin – not Gov. Palin. That’s not good for the Democrats. It shows a certain familiarity that goes beyond just issues”

    Another line

    “Then there is the question of how to boost the turnout in key states.  Palin has become an instant heroine with the Wal-Mart crowd in Ohio, Nevada, Pennsylvania and other critical states. And Wal-Marters are a lot more likely to volunteer or show up at the polls than the younger people Obama has attracted.

    Right now, the best shot Obama has of winning is to get out and register 12 million or so unregistered blacks, especially in the South. But he has got to do it without anyone noticing.

    Palin will have no problem signing up new voters in her group. She can go to the Mountain Dew 250 in Talladega, Ala., and pitch for votes, and no one will bat an eye.  But Obama can’t go to a meeting called by Al Sharpton to get out the black vote, because if he does there will be a backlash.  He’s got to do it under the radar.”

    I think Mr. Willie Brown is giving Palin a lot of credit as a democratic party elder of long standing.  He is telling them to watch out.  Also interesting is his note that the “Wal-Marters are a lot more likely to volunteer or show up at the polls than the younger people Obama has attracted”.  You don’t hear that kind of reality out in the media, either.

    Posted in Elections, Politics | 5 Comments »

    A Strange Conversation

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 14th September 2008 (All posts by )

    I received a confirming email from a hotel in Atlanta. I am staying there next week on business. It mentioned the amenities of the hotel, including “in-room workouts”. Being the fitness freak that I am I went to the hotel’s website to figure out what exactly that was – but no dice, nothing there on the subject.

    Why not workout in my room instead of the workout room, right? My other thought was that I could hire a personal trainer for a short period of time that may come right to the room for some strength training. I figured it would be good to get another person’s opinion of my workouts and to possibly show me some pointers. So lets call the hotel to see what it is about.

    Me: Good afternoon. I am calling to find out what the in-room workout is. I saw it mentioned on my confirmation and couldn’t find anything about it on your website.

    Hired Help: Oh, that means that you have a treadmill in your room.

    Me: Is it extra money?

    HH: Yes sir, and we have only two of these rooms in the entire hotel.

    Me: Doesn’t sound like it would be worth it, I guess I can walk down to the workout room.

    HH: Yea, most people do. Only extremely obese people usually request the treadmill in the room.

    Me: OK, thanks for the info.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

    Posted in Business, Personal Narrative | Comments Off on A Strange Conversation

    By Popular Demand

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th September 2008 (All posts by )

    In a recent survey* that asked Chicagoboyz readers what they want to see on the blog, 97% of you** said, “More sexy-iguana photos!”

    green iguana

    Hi, handsome.


    *  This is a lie.
    **  You should know better than to fall for this kind of bullshit.

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 4 Comments »

    Waste of Time – Time Spent Wisely

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 13th September 2008 (All posts by )

    I visited Portland, Oregon on business a few weeks ago.  I had a spare afternoon and after a workout I decided to give myself a walking tour of the area.  It was mostly nice, with a few seedy places in the downtown area.  As I was walking I came upon this bar, the Satyricon (Photo credit here).

    In and of itself it is not an impressive place, it is a rock club like so many others.  What made me stop in my tracks was the fact that by total chance I had happened upon a place that I partied at some 15 years ago.  I paused and stared at the outside of the club (it was the middle of the day) for five or ten minutes as many memories washed over me.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Music, Personal Narrative, Photos, Video | 5 Comments »