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  • Archive for September, 2010

    Is Pride the Worst Thing You Can Have?

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 22nd September 2010 (All posts by )

    Of all the faults I see in people, I think that pride is the most damaging.

    I am a small business owner and am pretty close with all of my employees. I have had many employees for decades, and a few for just a short while. It seems that whenever there is a major problem with an employee it all boils down to pride. They can call it other things and make excuses, but the main issue tends to be an utter lack of humility.

    Just this morning a new employee who had only been on the job for a few months raised his voice at me. I told him that I don’t yell and scream but would be glad to have an adult like discussion. He continued with the loud voice and I was forced to fire him. He had been looking for a job for close to a year when I hired him and just like that he is gone. I am sure it will take a long time for him to find another job. What in blazes was he thinking?

    Only a few hours after his departure word spread and I have been deluged with phone calls and emails of people looking for work. I have never seen anything like it. Nuclear engineers to kids right out of high school. But I digress.

    This particular individual showed traits that, it seems, more people are showing. Instead of shutting up this morning and saying “yes, sir” or simply being quiet as I asked, my ex-employee had to keep mouthing off. Of course, my evidence of an increase of pride and lack of humility is completely anecdotal to my little world.

    I have seen this in many business acquaintances as well as vendors and customers. I have learned that in my world, to shut up and take it is the best prescription, unless you really want to burn your bridge.

    To our commenters – do people of this generation or people in general seem to show more pride in today’s era than in past eras? Or do you think I am noticing something that isn’t there?

    Posted in Business, Personal Narrative, That's NOT Funny | 59 Comments »

    This Guy Never Dabbled in Witchcraft

    Posted by Lexington Green on 22nd September 2010 (All posts by )


     
    This is the kind of bloodless, antiseptic, dead-eyed smiling, Mr. Perfect Senate candidate that we want to represent us.

    We can be sure that this man will not let us down by using the wrong fork at the very expensive luncheons where the lobbyists will giving out their instructions about what is good for America. There is no danger that he will suddenly wax enthusiastic about Battlestar Galatica, or the Lord of the Rings. He did not grope the girl at the frat party, that one time, even though he really thought she wanted him to, because his career might have been jeopardized if she had, you know, not wanted him to. He goes to a church, sure, but it is a nice normal one with a Rainbow flag out front and not too much Jesus-talk or hand-clapping. He does not have a Metallica tattoo on his left pectoral.

    He is not OUR Witch, and he never will be.

    You betcha.

    Posted in Conservatism, Elections, Humor, Politics, USA, Video | 8 Comments »

    D’oh! Do you write-in Murkowski, or Murkwski?

    Posted by Lexington Green on 21st September 2010 (All posts by )

    That Queen of sound, sane, sensible, boring government by well-connected heiresses, Sen. Lisa Murkowski employs staff who cannot spell her name.

    D’oh!

    I screeched and hooted in mean-spirited derision when this egregious faux pas was brought to my attention. Some enterprising and right-thinking fellow seized upon this error: comedic hijinks ensued.

    The Force is strong in Murkwski’s implacable nemesis Gov. Sarah Palin. Inexplicable forces come to her aid. Her foes are confounded at every turn. Sand smites their eyes, stones stub their toes.

    Gov. Palin will make her enemies her footstool. Cross her at your peril.

    Or maybe Christine O’Donnell put a magical curse on Sen Murkwski, as a way of thanking Gov. Palin for her support?

    Posted in Elections, Politics | 23 Comments »

    THe White House “Insider” Series

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 21st September 2010 (All posts by )

    Roger Simon has links to a series running on another blog that is alleged to consist of interviews of a White House insider in the Obama administration who has become disenchanted. The interviewee is, of course, anonymous and there are doubts about the authenticity but it rings true to me. I will make comments about some of the statements.

    The first installment is here.

    White House Insider on Obama: “the President is Losing It.”

    Quite a title.

    When I asked this insider if the media gave candidate Obama an assist throughout his campaign, it elicits a sly smile. Sure – we definitely had people in the media on our side. Absolutely. We went so far as to give them specific ideas for coverage. The ones who took that advice from the campaign were granted better access, and Obama was the biggest story in 2008, so yeah, that gave us a lot of leverage.

    Could Obama have succeeded without the media’s help? Yeah, I think so. As I said, on the campaign trail he is very-very good. The opposition didn’t have near the energy, or the celebrity attraction that Obama brings. Plus, the country was burned out after eight years of Bush. We knew that going in. We knew that if we won the Democrat nomination, we were likely going to cruise our way to the White House – and that is exactly what we did.”

    This sounds authentic to me. I’m not sure Obama could have won without both the press and the flow of anonymous money that has yet to be explained but he was good with a teleprompter and Bush was unpopular. McCain was a weak candidate although he certainly would have been a better president.

    But after Obama was sworn in, things began to change? Almost immediately. Obama loved to campaign. He clearly didn’t like the work of being President though, and that attitude was felt by the entire White House staff within weeks after the inauguration. Obama the tireless, hard working candidate became a very tepid personality to us. And the few news stories that did come out against him were the only things he seemed to care about. He absolutely obsesses over Fox News. For being so successful, Barack Obama is incredibly thin-skinned. He takes everything very personally.

    And you state he despises Joe Biden? Oh yeah. That is very well known in the White House. Obama chose Biden for one reason – to have an older white guy with some international policy credentials. Period. If Biden has all of this international experience that Obama found so valuable, why has he buried him under the pile of crap that became the stimulus bill? What does Joe Biden know about budgets and economics? Not much – but Obama didn’t care. Give Joe a job and get him the hell out of my hair – that pretty much sums up the president’s feelings toward Joe Biden.

    Read the rest. This is only the first segment.

    What about Hillary Clinton? Obama is scared to death of Hillary. He doesn’t trust her – obsesses over her almost as much as he does Fox News. He respects her though, which might be why he fears her so much as well. He talks the game, but when it comes down to it, she has played the game on a far tougher level than he has, and Obama knows that.

    I include this only because I think the anonymous interviewee is a Hillary staffer or former staffer. Watch his comments on the Clintons. For example:

    How about Bill Clinton? I never heard Obama say anything about Bill Clinton personally, though I was told he has cracked a few jokes about the former president since getting into the White House. I have heard that Bill Clinton does not like Barack Obama. That really started when Obama played the race card against him during the primary campaign. Apparently Clinton was apoplectic over that and still hasn’t gotten over it. If there is one thing I have learned in this town – don’t make an enemy of Bill Clinton.

    So if Obama doesn’t appear interested in the job of president, what does he do day after day? Well, he takes his meetings just like any other president would, though even then, he seems to lack a certain focus and on a few occasions, actually leaves with the directive that be given a summary of the meeting at a later date. I hear he plays a lot of golf, and watches a lot of television – ESPN mainly. I’ll tell you this – if you want to see President Obama get excited about a conversation, turn it to sports. That gets him interested. You start talking about Congress, or some policy, and he just kinda turns off. It’s really very strange. I mean, we were all led to believe that this guy was some kind of intellectual giant, right? Ivy League and all that. Well, that is not what I saw. Barack Obama doesn’t have a whole lot of intellectual curiosity. When he is off script, he is what I call a real “slow talker”. Lots of ummms, and lots of time in between answers where you can almost see the little wheel in his head turning very slowly. I am not going to say the president is a dumb man, because he is not, but yeah, there was a definite letdown when you actually hear him talking without the script.

    That sounds like you are calling Obama stupid to me. No – I am not going to call him stupid. He just doesn’t strike me as particularly smart. Bill Clinton is a smart guy – he would run intellectual circles around Barack Obama. And Bill Clinton loved the politics of being president. Obama seems to think he shouldn’t have to be bothered, which has created a considerable amount of conflict among his staff.

    The second installment is here and just as interesting.

    So you still wish to keep your name hidden from the public? Why? I intend to remain working in this town for a bit longer. A public disclosure might complicate that just a bit given who is in power right now. But I won’t be the last one from the current administration coming forward. After the midterms, there will be a number of us speaking about what is really going on in the Democrat Party, if for nothing else because it’s such a damn mess right now.

    What do you mean “it’s a damn mess”? I mean just what I said. The Democrat Party is the most chaotic I have ever seen it – and that goes back almost 30 years.

    So who is to blame? We all are. By we I mean those of us who were working within the party power structure the last ten years or so. We got so caught up in the hate Bush mentality, we let the party get hijacked by our own far left. That was disaster the moment it happened. The disaster that will be the midterm election in 2010 started in November of 2006 when Pelosi and Reid took over the Democrat Party. Those two have only brought trouble to the Democrat Party since day one of that time.

    This again rings true to me. And this next is a revelation to me.

    What scares you more as president – Sarah Palin or Barack Obama? (Hands to head) Oh boy. What a choice! People would kill me for saying this – actually you know what, there are more and more of us Democrats saying what I am going to say in one form or another… Sarah Palin understands America more than Barack Obama. Yes, she has a minority of our far left who hates her, and some in our media are part of that group, but overall, she seems to get America. Americans aren’t a complicated people, and neither is Sarah Palin, so that probably works in her favor. But President Obama is just out of touch. He really doesn’t understand what America is. What it’s about. Or who it is. And that is a real problem for him – and the Democrat Party at this moment in its history.

    Are you saying you would vote for Sarah Palin over Barack Obama? No, I don’t think I could do that. As much as I admire Palin’s ability to connect with the American people, I just can’t stand her politics. I am a pro-choice Democrat. I support unions. I support welfare programs. Sarah Palin understands America, but that doesn’t mean she understands the best parts of America. That being said, I think President Obama understands hardly any of America. That is probably a big reason he appears so lost these days.

    That is quite an interesting admission if the interview is legitimate. The third segment is here.

    Why is he doing this ?

    I am doing it for me, for my party, and for my country. In my own small way – maybe it’s insignificant, maybe not, I want to see Democrats move ahead of this mess that we are in right now. It is a mess of our own making, so we need to be the ones to clean it up. If we don’t, this country is going to continue hurting, and too many people out there are really hurting these days.

    Ok…but how does giving me some apparent insider information going to help the country, or help your political party? Simple – it lets others know it’s time to start talking. It’s time to get the word out. It’s time to challenge the inept status quo that is currently running things. People are scared – hell, I’m a bit scared myself. But enough is enough – this political train has got to get back on its tracks. And I’ll tell you this, my talking to you, and your little blog stories, is already helping. More people are ready to talk. It’s already happening. And more is coming. The media won’t be able to ignore it anymore. This administration, the leadership in Congress, they need to account for how they have totally mishandled the responsibilities given to them. That accounting is coming soon enough in November – we are going to get what we deserve. But I am still hopeful it is not too late to save 2012.

    He is talking about Congress and I agree that somebody has to. The Democrats have lost whatever credibility they had by following Pelosi and company to the cliff.

    We are literally killing our political futures out of some need to keep supporting an administration that has in no way, shape, or form shown itself to be worthy of that support.

    Those are strong words – but what exactly to do you mean by that? What do I mean!? (Voice rising) What I mean is exactly this – we got Congressmen and Senators running for re-election right now whose political careers are about to be ended because they supported a president and a Democratic Party leadership that told them to do so. They trusted they would be politically protected, that the American people would agree with the agenda. Well guess what? That hasn’t happened. Good people, good Democrats, are being tossed aside like so much trash – and this White House DOES NOT GIVE A DAMN. In my eyes that is absolutely unforgivable. You just don’t do that to your own people. And some of these politicians are talking. They are – but for the most part the media is ignoring them because they don’t want to hurt the administration. To that I say enough! Do your damn job. Report what is going on within the Democratic Party. We need to clean up this mess, and it starts by getting the truth out there. That is my motivation.

    The shift of independents to the Republicans is evidence that he is correct. Hell, I don’t even trust the Republican party after the past ten years. The 1994 revolution petered out in politics as usual. Tea party people are cringing in anticipation of the new “Contract” that the Republican leadership is preparing to release tomorrow. The tea parties, I believe, are mostly libertarian and that will win the next series of elections until we get out of this economic crisis.

    This White House doesn’t give a damn for the concept of loyalty, dedication, sincerity. This White House is the most self-centered, arrogant, and ignorant…they just don’t care to know what they are doing. And when they do it – consequences mean nothing to them. NOTHING. And that is not to say it’s all bad at the White House. There are some very bright people working there. But you know what, those people have been marginalized, pushed aside, and are now leaving. You watch – the exodus from this White House will prove to be of historical proportions.

    The exodus is already starting. It will be interesting to see how large it gets. Even the interviewee is frightened of what Obama could do to the country.

    For most of the last year, you want to know what question keeps playing in my head?
    What question was that? WHAT THE HELL HAVE WE DONE? Now that may come off terribly disrespectful to the president, but so be it. What have we done? We were led to believe this man was one thing, but everything I have seen, heard, and understand, points to the indisputable fact he is not what we hoped for. Not what we were promised. Maybe he might have been. Maybe a full term or two in the Senate and he would have had the experience and maturity to handle the job of President of the United States. But right now – the man is simply not up to the task, and yet it is loyal Democrats who are paying the price for his incompetence and incoherence. The health care bill? Do you know I was told he has never read the bill? Not one part of it? NOT ONE. Sounds like something you would hear on one of the talk radio shows, right? And I wouldn’t normally consider such a possibility, but this came directly from one of those good Democrats who might now see their political careers ended because they supported that bill and now its being used against them like some political sledgehammer. How is that supposed to make someone who put their career on the line feel? Betrayed. A whole lot of us are feeling betrayed these days and it just pisses me off.

    As for all the accusations that the Congress hadn’t read the health care bill ?

    they pushed it a bit further – suggested the president could do some town meetings and answer questions about the bill, alleviate all the concerns and fight back against the conservative chatter that was being put out there. Guess what they were told regarding that? They were asked one question – did they read the bill? This Congressperson admitted they hadn’t. Like a lot of them, they had voted for it, but hadn’t read it. That was a mistake, sure, but the thing is over 2000 pages, right? Well, after admitting they didn’t read the bill they are told in a laughing way mind you, “That’s ok – neither has the president, so you can’t expect him to take on a bunch of town meetings on it, right?” So that was it. Nice, huh? Bye-bye, thanks for playing, and good luck with the -explitive- storm coming your way this summer.

    Anybody who has been around legislatures knows that bills are written by staff and lobbyists but you could at least expect them to read it before voting. Why health care ?

    Was everyone on his staff on board with the president pushing so hard for healthcare? Absolutely not. There were some who voiced concerns. Some who pushed for a more clear economic agenda. Apparently Obama wanted none of it – he was obsessed, absolutely obsessed with getting some kind of healthcare legislation. And the ones who did voice concerns…they are, or will be, among the first to go. And it’s coming sooner rather than later.

    And now, what may be the motive for this interview.

    Any ideas as to an acceptable alternative? Hillary Clinton perhaps? (Smiles) The Clinton angle was not missed in your last two articles, was it? I make no attempt to hide my admiration for President Clinton. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton cannot run for another term as this country’s president. As for Hillary, I do not know her as well, but I do admire her – a lot, and now regret not having been a part of her own run for president. My ties to the2008 Obama campaign feel more and more these days like a dishonorable victory.
    But would you like to see her run in 2012 if President Obama, as you put it, fails to improve? Yes. I would support Hillary Clinton over Obama in 2012 if the need was still there to help ensure President Obama was given only one term. But Hillary Clinton is not the only possibility for the Democrats. We are a party with many fine leaders – many, many potential candidates for president who I would gladly support.

    Personally, I think Hillary is no more competent than Obama to be president and I think she is just as far left but it is interesting to see the developing split between the progressives and what is left of the Democratic Party.

    Read all three installments. I have only posted the sections that most interested me. There is a lot more, including some about Michelle that is interesting.

    Posted in Media, Obama, Politics, The Press | 17 Comments »

    Andromeda Klein, Frank Portman (2009)

    Posted by Lexington Green on 20th September 2010 (All posts by )


     
    Christine O’Donnell’s youthful dabbling in witchcraft, not that there is anything wrong that, reminded me of the best book ever ever ever about a teenage girl witch in contemporary America: Andromeda Klein, by Frank Portman. I could not put the book down, and I laughed out loud many times.

    Dr. Frank, as he is known in entertainment circles, used to lead the pop-punk band The Mr. T Experience. MTX had many beloved favorites, including the timeless Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend (Why Can’t I?).

    In his dual role as author / musician, Frank created a “theme song” for the book, a snappy tune I have found myself singing on many occasions. (“Andromeda Klein, Andromeda Klein, Born under a cryptic sign … .”) It is always good to hear “Cthulhu” rhymed with “woo hoo hoo.” The song is featured above. Some devotee, in a true labor of love, made a video which actually depicts the main character, Andromeda Klein herself, with her Tarot deck and her black hoodie, and her wig and sword and candles … .

    Dr. Frank has a very cool blog, Dr. Frank’s What’s-It. Obscure and wonderful music videos appear on it. I heartily commend it to your attention.

    Posted in Book Notes, Diversions, Music, USA, Video | 2 Comments »

    Remembering a Roman soldier who went hunting…

    Posted by Charles Cameron on 20th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Today, September 20, Catholics would be celebrating the feast of St Eustace according to the liturgical calendar had the legend of his conversion not been found “completely fabulous” by the Church – and fabulous indeed it is. As the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine recounts the story of the Emperor Trajan’s general Placidus, known after his conversion as Eustachius / Eustace:

    on a day, as he was on hunting, he found an herd of harts, among whom he saw one more fair and greater than the other, which departed from the company and sprang into the thickest of the forest. And the other knights ran after the other harts, but Placidus siewed him with all his might, and enforced to take him. And when the hart saw that he followed with all his power, at the last he went up on a high rock, and Placidus approaching nigh, thought in his mind how he might take him. And as he beheld and considered the hart diligently, he saw between his horns the form of the holy cross shining more clear than the sun, and the image of Christ, which by the mouth of the hart … spake to him, saying: Placidus, wherefore followest me hither? I am appeared to thee in this beast for the grace of thee. I am Jesu Christ … I come hither so that by this hart that thou huntest I may hunt thee. And some other say that this image of Jesu Christ which appeared between the horns of the hart said these words. And when Placidus heard that, he had great dread, and descended from his horse to the ground.

    *

    Pisanello’s “The Vision of Saint Eustace” in the National Gallery in London captures the fabled scene wonderfully:

    Pisanello St Eustace

    There is also a Durer engraving of the scene.

    *

    Catholic doctrine requires that the commemorations of saints should remain faithful to historical fact and not legend, and accordingly the commemoration of St. Eustace passes into the hands of those for whom dreams can carry as rich a freight of meaning as waking life.

    John Fowles, in his journal for 1 August 1963, writes of Pisanello:

    Over all his paintings hangs ‘the strangest poetry of situation’… I see in his paintings all I have tried so many years to do in certain poems – that is, to rise above the mere gimmickry of ambiguity of metaphor and image and to achieve a kind of meta-allegorical, the strange moment caught, as he perfectly catches the haunting and multiple mystery of the man riding through the magical forest and coming on the stag with the crucifix.

    His painterly alter-ego, Breasley, in Fowles’ magnificent novella The Ebony Tower, speaks of Pisanello as his “central source”:

    Breasley himself had partly confirmed this, when someone had had the successful temerity to ask him for a central source and for once received a partly honest answer: Pisanello and Diaz de la Pefla. The reference to Diaz and the Barbizon School was a self-sarcasm, needless to say. But pressed on Pisanello, Breasley had cited a painting in the National Gallery in London, The Vision of St Eustace; and confessed it had haunted him all his life.

    The St Eustace turns up again in Fowles’ novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman and in his essay The Tree — where he admits that Breasley’s “central source” is among his own:

    We all have our favourite pictures, or ikons, and one of mine has long been a painting by Pisanello in the National Gallery in London, The Vision of St. Eustace: the saint-to-be sits on his horse in a forested wilderness – he is out hunting – arrested before his vision of a stag bearing Christ crucified between its antlers. Other animals, birds and flowers crowd the background of the small picture… What is truly being hounded, harried and crucified in this ambiguous little masterpiece is not Christ, but nature itself.

    Fowles is not alone in his appreciation for the legend: another of the greatest writers of the recently-ended century also found inspiration in St. Eustace.

    Russell Hoban’s masterwork Riddley Walker carries us into a post-apocalyptic world with its own transfigured English language. Hoban wrote his novel under the inspiration of a mural he saw in Canterbury Cathedral, here described by Charles Eveleigh Woodruff in his 1912 Memorials of the Cathedral & Priory of Christ in Canterbury.

    In the recess of the blocked window nearest to the transept in the same aisle a faded representation of the legend of St Eustace may still be traced. … That this picture is meant to illustrate the life and martyrdom of St Eustace is clear from the crucifix between the antlers of a large white stag, which is in accordance with the legend of his conversion; and the brazen bull, with a fire burning beneath, into which an executioner is forcing the martyr.

    In Hoban’s telling, St Eustace becomes Eusa, and his legend as depicted in that mural at Canterbury Cathedral the center of what memory survives the holocaust. Here is the Cathedral as Hoban’s post-apocalyptic narrator finds it:

    The wood be come stoan in the woom of her what has her woom in Cambry. That place unner the groun where I wer it wer a wood of stoan it wer stoan trees growing unner the groun. Parbly that stoan ben cut and carvit by them as made them jynt music pipes I never seen. Roun trunks of stoan and each 1 had 4 stoan branches curving up and over Norf Eas Souf and Wes all them curving branches they connectit 1 tree to a nother. Stoan branches holding up the over head and growt in to it. Stoan branches unner a stoan sky. A stoan wood unner the groun the hart of the wood in the hart of the stoan in the woom of her what has her woom in Cambry.

    In Hoban’s own Glossary on p. 235 of Riddley Walker: Expanded Edition, the entry for “wud” reads:

    Means wood as in forest; also ‘would,’ intention, volition or desire. The hart of the wud is where Eusa saw the stag who was the hart of the wud. The heart of the would is also the essence of one’s wanting, the heart of one’s deepest desire. The crypt in Canterbury Cathedral with its stone trees is the spiritual hart of the wud.

    *

    Jacobus de Voragine, an anonymous mural painter of Canterbury, Pisanello, Albrecht Durer, John Fowles, Russell Hoban…

    The church of the arts does not fail to commemorate and celebrate the sanctities of the imagination.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

    Best Headline of the Day

    Posted by David Foster on 20th September 2010 (All posts by )

    We Want a Warranty for Our Czars

    WSJ headline for a letter to the editor regarding a story on the auto-industry bailout:

    What was most striking about Steven Rattner’s account of White House deliberations regarding the auto industry (“The White House Car Czar,” Weekend Journal, Sept. 11) was the sheer arrogance and egotism of the parties involved. Mr. Rattner’s description of the bailout decision makers reads like a group that managed to meld the worst personality characteristics of Wall Street masters of the universe with the vanity and narcissism of Hollywood divas.

    I believe this content is available without subscription–read the whole letter, here.

    See also ruler of the auto industree, a little song I wrote (with some help from Gilbert & Sullivan) in honor of on of Obama’s junior czars.

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Politics | 2 Comments »

    Witchcraft as a Class Signifier

    Posted by Lexington Green on 20th September 2010 (All posts by )

    shes-our-witch.gif

    The people in the media who are trying to disqualify Christine O’Donnell for her witchcraft comments show as usual the insularity of their lives. They don’t know anything about millions of their fellow citizens except their own class-based bigotries.

    Lots of people from a more blue collar or lower middle class persuasion are fans of heavy metal and various sub-genres which have all kinds of witchcraft and Satanic symbolism and lyrics. There has been black magic and witchcraft on the edge of the stoner scene and various parts of the music scene since the 1960s, and probably a lot farther back. A trippy girl with black fingernails and black lacy gloves at a party might tell you she was a witch. Wow. Cool.

    Yeah, it’s weird. But it is not unheard of.

    The smug people who run the mainstream media have lived their lives in a cocoon. I imagine them all spending their squeaky clean, college-focused, uptight, upper-middle-class teenage lives worrying about their SAT scores and living in terror of hurting their chances of getting into an Ivy.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Christianity, Elections, Politics, USA | 41 Comments »

    Murkowski’s OK, but O’Donnell is a Villainess?

    Posted by Lexington Green on 19th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Let’s get this straight. Christine O’Donnell actually won her primary. But Karl Rove began actively campaigning for the Democrat in Delaware the day after O’Donnell won, when there was no other GOP candidate to back, when the voters had already decided, and blaming her for supposedly squandering a GOP Senate majority.

    Lisa Murkowski lost her primary. Yet she is running as a write-in candidate, for no reason she can publicly justify. She is a spoiler who is likely to cause the loss of a GOP Senate seat.

    Yet where is the full-throated assault on Lisa Murkowski by the GOP leadership?

    You will never hear it. She has since then been reaching out to lobbyists and telling Alaskans that she will keep her committee positions, which means she is colluding with the GOP Senate leadership. They would prefer Murkowski, but they would rather have a Democrat than have Joe Miller.

    The Combine wants to stop anyone who threatens the game.

    UPDATE: A very knowledgeable friend admonished me, saying I was unfair to Karl Rove, and that he had not yet spoken about Murkowski, and would probably oppose her write-in campaign. This turned out to be correct. Even more, Rove has indeed spoken on it, and has called the Murkowski effort “sad and sorry,” and opposed it forcefully. OK. Credit where it is due on this one. Subotai, whose comment I previously quoted, and I both got it wrong about Rove re: Murkowski.

    Let’s see how the GOP leadership handles the next few weeks. They do not have the trust of many people who should be their base. George Bush lost me with his second inaugural speech, in January 2005, which was totally detached from reality. But I did not project that onto the entire GOP. For all its (serious) defects, it was my party, if push came to shove. But in the last few months I have lost 47 years of thinking of the GOP as “us” and started thinking of it as “them.”

    I hope that changes.

    UPDATE II: Karl Rove should have said, “well, the voters have spoken, and the Republicans have a candidate and I support that candidate. This is an unusual election year, and people are very energized, and they decided to bet on a long shot, and do things the hard way. We’ll see how it works out. Ms. O’Donnell has a steep hill to climb, but I wish her well. I have worked on a few campaigns myself, and I would be happy to chat with her.”

    How the Hell hard would that have been?

    Posted in Elections, Politics | 25 Comments »

    Arrrr!

    Posted by Lexington Green on 19th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Jim the Pirate

    Jim the Pirate’s favorite musician is Captain Ronzo

    (Jim the Pirate is the official Talk Like a Pirate Day wooden sculpture of the ChicagoBoyz blog. Captain Ronzo is the official pirate-themed singer-songwriter of the ChicagoBoyz blog.)

    Posted in Humor, Obama | 4 Comments »

    “Stop For A Minute,” Keane, K’NAAN

    Posted by onparkstreet on 19th September 2010 (All posts by )


     
    What do you think of the “Google Earth” vibe of this video?

    I like it.

    (Lyrics): And if I stop for a minute
    I think about things I really don’t wanna know….

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Music, Video | 2 Comments »

    Free Speech Under Attack

    Posted by David Foster on 18th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Molly Norris is–or was–a Seattle cartoonist, best-known for coming up with the idea of “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” as a way of asserting American First Amendment rights. She has been threatened with murder for having violated Sharia law, and the threats against her have now reached such a level that–on the advice of the FBI–she is changing her identity and going into hiding. Her cartoons, at least for now, have stopped. The terrorists have silenced an American citizen.

    This is not the first time that American individuals and institutions have been subject to intimidation by radical Islamic zealots, but it is one of the most blatant and serious.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Islam, Terrorism, USA | 16 Comments »

    Palin as the Leftwing Anti-Christ

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th September 2010 (All posts by )

    I started this post as a followup to my previous post on Palin hatred, and then I noticed this Instapundit post on the cluelessness of reporters who cover religion. I think it’s pretty safe to say that most reporters don’t know much about religion and neither do most academics or leftists in general.

    That would certainly explain the following bizarre claim which I have seen more than once.

    Palin is not bright, amoral, and divorced from reality. She is also a devotee of an apocalyptic toxic fundie xian cult, Assembly of god. I’d be afraid that President Palin would decide to help jesus bring about the End Times by launching our 5,000 nuclear weapons. Jesus is 2,000 years late and the Rapturists are getting more and more frantic about his nonappearance as time goes on.

    WTF? The Assemblies of God is an apocalyptic cult? Since when? Isn’t like half of Kansas Assemblies of God? What, are they sneaking up on the missile silos?

    I’d like to say that this is a rare comment but it isn’t.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Human Behavior, Leftism, Morality and Philosphy, Political Philosophy | 23 Comments »

    Murkowski = The Face of the Combine

    Posted by Lexington Green on 18th September 2010 (All posts by )

    I have seen a lot of people writing about Lisa Murkowski’s decision to wage a spoiler write-in campaign, to try to prevent a Tea Party-backed GOP candidate from winning the general election.

    Most of the writers look at it, incorrectly, in terms of Sen. Murkowski’s personal psychology. For example, they say she feels miffed about losing a seat that is supposed to be hers by right of inheritance. This motive may exist, but it is trivial.

    In Illinois, there has long been an expression which describes the relationship between the two political parties: The Combine. Chicago Tribune writer John Kass seems to have originated this expression. See, for example, this article: In Combine, cash is king, corruption is bipartisan. Kass quoted former Illinois Senator Peter Fitzgerald: “In the final analysis, The Combine’s allegiance is not to a party, but to their pocketbooks. They’re about making money off the taxpayers,” Fitzgerald said. Kass went on: “He should know. He fought The Combine and lost, and the empty suits running the Republican Party encourage their friendly scribes to blame the social conservatives for the disaster of the state GOP.”

    Sound familiar?

    America, welcome to Illinois.

    The way it works is this. The Democrat party is the senior member of the Combine. The GOP is the junior member of the Combine. The game is exactly the same, and whoever is up, or whoever is down, based on the random behavior of those rubes, the voters, does not matter. The game is always exactly the same, and the people who are in on the game, from either party, have a shared stake in defending the game.

    The Combine is a term that should be more widely used in Illinois. It is also a word that should be more widely used in the USA in general.

    Lisa Murkowski’s family, and her career, exist because of the Combine. Her interest is in preserving the existing game. She is preserving her stake and her family’s stake in a game they have benefitted from. There is no mystery about this at all. There is no need for psychiatry to understand why she is trying to stop Joe Miller. He threatens the game. It has nothing to do with the label “Republican.”

    UPDATE: The GOP Senate leadership is respecting the primary result. Good. Mitch McConnell is reported as saying: “I informed her that by choosing to run a campaign against the Republican nominee, she no longer has my support for serving in any leadership roles, and I have accepted her letter of resignation from Senate leadership.” CORRECTION: I had previously, incorrectly said Murkowski was being from her committee positions. Big difference. My error.

    Posted in Conservatism, Elections, Politics | 63 Comments »

    Palin Wars Part V: The Leftists Strike Back

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Sometimes the Internet gives you a present.

    While writing my previous post on Palin and the Left’s Status-Anxiety, I worried that I wouldn’t make my case sufficiently because I didn’t have room to add in any examples of the kind of leftist comments on Palin I thought supported my hypothesis.

    Thankfully, Google’s inbound link service alerted me to a link from a leftwing blog in which virtually every comment provides a very good example of the kind of emotion-driven reasoning that I have written about in the Palin post and elsewhere.

    I think there is fodder for several posts in some of the comments, but for now let’s just follow the main theme.

    The parent post is hosted at Science Blogs and was written by Ed Brayton who describes himself as

    … a journalist, commentator and speaker. He is the co-founder and president of Michigan Citizens for Science and co-founder of The Panda’s Thumb

    He’s apparently some kind of professional atheist and science journalist.

    (Let me just say, that I always get a little shiver of fear when I read someone like Brayton. I can’t help thinking, “that could have been me.”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Human Behavior, Leftism, Political Philosophy | 7 Comments »

    Cardinal John Henry Newman

    Posted by Lexington Green on 18th September 2010 (All posts by )

    My friend Fr. C.J. McCloskey had a good piece on Newman. Newman’s vision of the laity at the center of a revival of religion may yet prove to be prophetic.

    The Economist notes that the Pope’s visit to Britain is possible only because of the “amnesia” of the people there. The beatification of Newman on English soil, even a generation ago, would have been “intensely provocative.” Britain is now a post-Christian society. The conflicts that agitated people in the past simply make no sense to their grandchildren. Watching the magnates of the Anglican Church greeting Benedict and intoning solemn-sounding phrases in ancient cathedrals was odd, the regalia and pomp completely out of step with the emptiness of their churches on any given Sunday, by all reliable accounts. The Anglicans do sing nicely, though.

    The recognition of Newman’s greatness in his own country is only possible because the people there no longer care about religion one way or the other, except, decreasingly, as a matter of custom and tradition. Newman’s message will take root in foreign locales, where the church is growing, not in the dead soil of Europe, the browning husk of Christendom.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Religion | 4 Comments »

    The Coming of the Quantum Economy

    Posted by Zenpundit on 18th September 2010 (All posts by )

    From FT.com:

    Computers set for quantum leap

    A new photonic chip that works on light rather than electricity has been built by an international research team, paving the way for the production of ultra-fast quantum computers with capabilities far beyond today’s devices.
     
    Future quantum computers will, for example, be able to pull important information out of the biggest databases almost instantaneously. As the amount of electronic data stored worldwide grows exponentially, the technology will make it easier for people to search with precision for what they want.
     
    An early application will be to investigate and design complex molecules, such as new drugs and other materials, that cannot be simulated with ordinary computers. More general consumer applications should follow.

    I bet.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, National Security, Politics, Science, Society, Tech, USA | 13 Comments »

    Games of War and Peace

    Posted by Charles Cameron on 17th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Okay, this is my first post since I joined up as a member of Chicago Boyz, and I’m delighted to be here — thanks to Zen and Lex for the introduction and invitation!

    I’ve had a couple of guest-posts here already, one for the Afghanistan 2050 roundtable and one on the topic of religion and violence — a perennial interest of mine — and I’d like to take the opportunity now to address another of my passions.

    *

    I’m deeply interested in games and play.

    It’s my contention that play is the mode in which children learn and masters create and express themselves. And with the coming of modeling, simulations and scenario-planning I think we’re deep in a movement away from the binary opposition of theory and practice and into a zone where play occupies an intermediary position between the two — with simulation and modeling giving us the opportunity to practice our theories in a “safe” zone which allows us to learn positive lessons from both positive and negative decisions, without suffering from the negative consequences of poor decision-making in the “real world”.

    I try to keep tabs on games of war — and peace — because of this, and would like to offer you one of my “DoubleQuotes” based on a couple of things I read recently. The idea behind these DoubleQuotes is to drop two quotes into the mind simultaneously, like two pebbles dropped into a pond, and see how the ripples intersect and interact.

    Here’s today’s example:

    QUOplayTaliban

    I’m not arguing for or against anything here, just inviting you to consider the implications of two related but different news items: one one of them, the US army is thinking of banning a game because it allows players to play an insurgent role, in the other the army is using insurgent role-playing as part of training.

    Josh at Al-Sahwa has an interesting recent post on the same conundrum, and links to this CNN video, which shows some of the training in action.

    What do you think? It’s your thoughts I’d like to get at here, my own contribution is mostly intended as an opening salvo to get a conversation going.

    *

    So: should Paul van Riper have been allowed to play Red in a game like Millennium Challenge 2002?

    I know, my own bias is beginning to show … I favor modeling, scenario-planning and gaming with as much intelligence and creativity as possible.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments »

    Jim Bennett Article on Cover of National Review

    Posted by Lexington Green on 17th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Bennett NR cover

    The current issue of National Review features an article by my future co-author Jim Bennett:

    For decades, America had been on a course toward a more centralized society. But 1980 — with the arrival of Reagan and the departure of Carter — marked the point at which the nation reversed course. Thenceforth it would be headed in the opposite direction, toward a new vision of individualism and decentralism.

    I have read Jim’s piece in draft, and I strongly suggest you read it.

    Posted in Announcements, Arts & Letters, History, Political Philosophy, Politics, USA | 7 Comments »

    Good Morning

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Morning

    (Click image to expand.)

     

    Posted in Photos | 3 Comments »

    Simple cheer

    Posted by Ginny on 16th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Student’s t-shirt: Respect Everyone; Fear None

    Faculty bumper: Where are we going & why am I in this basket?

    Posted in Humor | 5 Comments »

    Bad Law Writing and Keeping You Cool

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 16th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Beginning on January 1, 2010, manufacturers in the US were not allowed to make any new refrigeration or air conditioning equipment that was pre-charged with R-22. Originally, the EPA had written in that not only would no new equipment be allowed to be manufactured with R-22 in it, but no replacement parts would be allowed to be sold for the existing systems.

    This gave everyone in my industry (HVAC) a huge gasp – there are literally tens (hundreds?) of millions of systems installed across the United States that have R-22 in them – everything from your household window air, to a central air conditioner, to the reach in coolers at a convenience store, to a beer tap cooler, to industrial chilling processors. The industry had to (at much time and expense) heavily lobby EPA to get this part of the law written out. It was a huge sigh of relief for everyone when this part of the laws was written out. What were we (I run an HVAC wholesaler) to do for warranty if an R-22 unit took a dump? Replace the whole thing instead of a tiny component?

    The major manufacturers all knew of the impending January 1, 2010 deadline and had fully converted their manufacturing processes to making units that were pre-charged with the new environmentally friendly refrigerant, R-410a (R-410a is used primarily for air conditioning purposes and I will limit this discussion to that to keep it simpler). This includes all manufacturers of hotel units, window air conditioners, and central air conditioners (I am certainly leaving out some).

    Since R-410a involves higher operating pressures than R-22 (significantly higher), technicians were forced to have training to use the new chemical, and buy all new tools to handle the higher pressures. Many were also forced to buy new torch sets. With the old R-22 you could soft solder the joints – with R-410a and the higher pressures that it brings, everyone that wasn’t brazing with 15% silver was forced to do that. Distributors such as myself had to invest a lot of time, energy and money into training our customers so they would use the correct lubricants (those changed from mineral to ester oil), techniques and methods to selling and installing the new R-410a units. Part of the training was to show our customers (hvac contractors) how to educate homeowners about the new refrigerant, and why their broken down air conditioner would require a complete system change out since the old components were not compatible with the new R-410a components.

    BUT…

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Environment, Science | 21 Comments »

    Oman the Honest Broker

    Posted by Lexington Green on 16th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Our friend Curzon, at Coming Anarchy has a post up about the little-discussed role of Oman as a trusted middle man in the Persian Gulf, with the recent hostage release being only one example of this role. An earlier post on the personal life of the Sultan provoked an interesting discussion.

    You don’t see much written about Oman. One book I would like to read is Ian Gardiner, In the Service of the Sultan: A First Hand Account of the Dhofar Insurgency. The Dhofar conflict was a rare example of a successful counterinsurgency campaign, yet you don’t hear much about it. Jan Morris’ book about the current Sultan’s father is also on my heartbreakingly, impossibly long “list” of books I’d like to read.

    I will mention here that Coming Anarchy is a favorite of mine, which I commend to your attention. Curzon’s recent move to Dubai has led to many good posts about the region.

    Posted in Blogging, Middle East | 3 Comments »

    “Tax Cuts for the Rich”

    Posted by Jonathan on 15th September 2010 (All posts by )

    That’s the term the Left and the media use. Even conservative media people and some Republicans use it. It’s wrong.

    It’s not the rich. It’s people who want to be rich. It’s people with high incomes. It’s people running small businesses as LLCs and Sub-S corps that get funneled into the same tax category with people making high salaries. These people are working like hell to use their limited capital as efficiently as possible, to get the highest possible return. The successful high-earners among them are some of the most creative and productive people in our society. They create the jobs. The best of their small companies eventually become large companies and create tremendous wealth for their founders, shareholders, employees, contractors, suppliers and customers — all of us.

    The higher we set the rates at which we tax these highly productive people on their incomes and capital gains, the lower will be the returns they earn on their capital and therefore the less they will invest. The less they invest, the less they will create. The less they create, the less wealth there will be for all of us. Scrooge McDuck, sitting on piles of idle money, isn’t affected by high income- or cap-gains tax rates. Nor is he creating much by keeping his money idle. But a guy who has most of his net worth tied up in a successful business has a lot to lose and will be trying to earn the highest possible return on his capital and effort. Make him a target, reduce his returns by singling out high earners for tax-rate increases, and he will invest less and work less, and therefore will create less and hire less.

    We should be encouraging such people, not looting their capital to buy votes.

    UPDATE: Robert Schwartz adds many good points in the comments.

    Posted in Big Government, Economics & Finance, Leftism, Obama, Political Philosophy, Politics | 12 Comments »

    NPR: “Who Is The Tea Party? There’s No Short Answer”

    Posted by onparkstreet on 15th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Mr. RAUCH: Yes, that was what turned out to me to be most interesting and to be hardest to get my mind around. The most important thing that they will tell you they’re trying to do is a cultural movement, not a political movement. They’re tiring to reeducate the whole country, change the way Americans think about their relationship to government. Move us back to a more self-reliant, independent sort of watch dog against government mentality.

    They will tell you if you just try to change an election result, you have to come back every two years and do it again. If you can change the hearts and minds of the people, make them more skeptical of big government, then you do that forever.

    I enjoyed listening to this NPR interview with Jonathan Rauch of the National Journal.

    The interviewer seemed to have a hard time understanding the Tea Party as a largely leaderless movement which is sort of amusing. Jonathan Rauch says it is like a “hive or a network.” Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz….buzz away, friendly libertarian-ish hive. People are intrigued.

    Update: Reihan Salam at NRO’s The Agenda blog:

    Rather surprisingly, Jonathan Rauch, one of my favorite writers, has emerged as the most keenly observant chronicler of the Tea Party movement. I say surprisingly because I’ve never thought of Rauch as a political reporter per se, yet it’s clear that he has a knack for it. As much as I admire National Journal, I think his essay on “The Tea Party Paradox” deserved a much wider audience.

    John Robb of Global Guerillas is mentioned too. Paging zenpundit….

    Update II: Thanks for the link Instapundit! An Army of Davids is a perfect description of the phenomenon, isn’t it?

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Politics | 20 Comments »