Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
September 8, 2011 - September 1, 2011

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Role of
the Taser in Sports

PASTIMES. I had no idea this incident had created such a furor:

A police officer in Philadelphia exercised his so-called discretion this week when he Tasered an unarmed teenager who ran onto the baseball diamond during a Phillies game. He shot the 17-year-old prankster from behind, firing 12,000 volts that sent the boy tumbling into a heap.

The real shock is this was not a clear misuse of force. Officials defended the officer, saying he followed protocol, which allows police to Taser a fleeing suspect.

The case is an extreme but timely example of why poorly crafted Taser policies need to be changed. Regulations restricting use of the weapons need to be spelled out, so there is little room for such discretion in the absence of far more aggressive behaviour on behalf of a suspect.

So what. Some people are upset with what goes in the Philadelphia sports community. Nothing new. Philadelphia is the city they all love to hate. Then, over the weekend, I learned that two WIP SportsTalk hosts almost came to blows on air over the subject. Hugh Douglas, former Eagles defensive end, clashed with co-host Rob Charry over the issue of team safety. Douglas made the point that a nut on the field is a danger to athletes and to the people who are trying to catch him. Charry, on the other hand, is a stereotypical sports journalist lefty (we learn from facebook that Charry "likes" this), who sees a police state behind every potted palm except the ones statist Democrats are using for props at their news conferences.

Rob Charry: A face made for sports talk radio.

Charry, who is exactly my age, is, perhaps needless to say, an obnoxious halfwit I've grown to loathe for his canned diatribes -- whenever call traffic is slow -- about how neither golfers nor racecar drivers are athletes, as well as his not very well disguised bias against any athletes who admit to being conservatives. He can't quite explain, for example, why he dislikes ex-Phillie Curt Schilling, who never dissed Philly even after moving to Boston. He just doesn't like him. You know.

Which means in the current instance, I suppose, that the real culprit in the tasing at the Phillies ballpark was George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.

But I'm with Hugh Douglas. The tasing was justified. A teeneager running loose on a ballfield is no frail grandmother giving lip to a cop at a traffic stop. He's a random unknown obviously in good enough physical shape that tackling him could cause injury to the tacklers and clearly fit enough not to be grievously injured by a taser. A dog running wild on a baseball field is funny. A drunk jerk running wild on the same field is annoying and potentially dangerous. Also upsetting to one of the flightier star pitchers in baseball, Cole Hamels. Which is why I'm prepared to thank GWB and Cheney for tasing the dumb sonofabitch even if he meant no harm. Maybe he's learned not to do it again. That would be a good thing.

I mean, some tasings are good things. That's what got me to thinking about the role tasers might play in big-time sports. They're decisive, to be sure, but not necessarily official or even a penalty. The way the target hits the ground is more cancellation than sentence. It's just an abrupt way of saying "Stop it. This is unacceptable." It interrupts time when the time that is going on is bad behavior. It allows time to resume its normal course when the unacceptable has been removed from the field of action.

There are quite a few things in sports that should be stopped without making a big deal of them otherwise. Without fines, team punishments, stoppages of play, or other sanctions. Things that rules haven't been very good at preventing. Stop the offender cold in his tracks and resume play as if nothing had happened. Without remark, rules changes, or note of any kind. Others tempted to imitate the offender might take the lesson and refrain in future. I've compiled a few examples of where tasers could have a very positive impact on sports. See if you agree.

NFL Football. We've all grown used to silly touchdown celebrations. But who isn't irritated by losing teams whose defensive players make a tackle and then expend energy they obviously need to keep their team in the game stomping around in personal glory over a single second-down stop on their own 20 yard line?

Yeah, lots of these are TDs, but not all of them. Even so, tase'em.

NFL referees should just tase these idiots and have them dragged quietly off the field to the locker room. (Idiot owners should be treated the same way, regardless of income or age.)

Major League Baseball.  Fan interference can change a game, a series, a season. As it did with the Chicago Cubs in 2003. Fans like this shouldn't have fifteen minutes of fame. They should be absented from the moment and forgotten.

Raise your hands, everybody who thinks shock
treatment wouldn't improve this guy's personality.

There's another MLB example on my mind, but I'll save it for later.

Soccer (i.e., Third World Football). This is the most over-hyped, least intrinsically intriguing, most boring team sport in the world. Nothing could make it a good game, but one thing that could be improved by vigorous tasing is the pansy practice of pretending to be injured for the purpose of drawing the referee "yellow cards" that decide most contests.

Soccer refs? Put away the damn red and yellow cards. Tase these phony creeps and make them play their damn nil-nil game like men.

NHL Hockey. Speaking of men. There was a time when The Hockey was played by men. Now they have helmets, visors, and method acting degrees.

Hockey refs are tough. Remind the players of Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull by tasing them when they act like Sidney Cohen.

NBA Basketball. Or is this the WNBA?

No. Lesbians are tougher. But the NBA con is older.

Professional Boxing. It's been on a downhill path for a long time. Ring refs should know when to stop a fight suddenly "by accident" rather than perpetuate an official travesty.

Truthfully, I'm ready for boxing to be banned. Tasing is far more humane than what they do to each other for paychecks that are stolen from them by everyone. (Yes, I'm becoming Howard Cosell. Proudly.) Just tase both fighters when they enter the ring. Much better outcome all around.

Professional Golf. Just for Rob Charry. Because golfers aren't athletes. For example, PGA officials should tase golfers who don't have athletic bodies. Unlike offensive linemen in the NFL, who never look like Kate Smith, only with bigger boobs and a less pretty face. And golfers who don't know how to dress, unlike every NFL wide receiver and NBA star.

Though there is a syndrome related to professional golf that does require tasing. It's hinted at here. And here.

You see? Tasing would be much kinder. No one's seeking senseless bloodshed here. (Although I am rooting for the Hell's Angels to get the first crack at this particular problem, even before my own suggested solution.)

Finally. As a baseball fan, I really wanted to find some way to bring the taser solution into the problem of homeplate umpires who can't call balls and strikes better than a blind man staring in the opposite direction from the pitcher. I had ideas, struggled with the 'who' problem on taser control, and was innovating a fan-held remote taser option when I stumbled across this:

Okay. I admit it. Referee type jobs are difficult. Lots of instantaneous judgments required. Something like cops have to deal with in public safety situations. Maybe, just maybe, the decisions should be left to the professionals. And if and when we second guess those decisions, perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Unless we're Rob Charry. In which case we can be certain Tiger Woods was never an athlete and Richard Petty was just a redneck with a cowboy hat and a heavy throttle foot. You know. Expertise.

Bullet Heads

Napolitano, Sotomayor, and Kagan

. I wasn't going to touch this. I honestly don't care who's a Lesbian and who isn't. Until people who are trying to influence appointment decisions care. That's when I start to take notice. The only thing I have against Lesbians is their personal conversations. Which in my experience has always been, exclusively, about the most boring subject I've ever heard tell of, namely, uh, Lesbians.

I didn't bring this up today. Michael Smerconish did. The former Republican who discovered late last year that Hope and Change mattered more to him than a lifetime of conservative principles. God bless his little, little heart and smaller brain.

Since then I've pretty much avoided his early morning radio show. Correction. Since then I've avoided his radio show like the plague. But I had to get gas for the mower this morning and suddenly there he was on the car radio. He was working a poll he'd thought of about who we good Americans wanted as the next Supreme Court justice:

I'm not kidding. This is Smerconish's poll.

The only part I heard was an interview with his new liberal friend Alan Dershowitz, who testified to the fact that Elena Kagan was a moderate's moderate (which must have made Smerconish beam) and that she was a poker player who never bluffed. (He conspicuously didn't say she was a good poker player.)

Anyway, Smerconish subjected Dershowitz to his poll question, and Dershowitz to his credit ignored it completely in favor of clicheed attributes like learning, judgment, neutrality, objectivity, and fidelity to the law. With time out for an advertisement about how gay the Israeli army is, which should tell us backward Americans something because the Israeli army is the best in the world. (Excuse me. Isn't the Israeli army the one that got its pansy ass kicked by hamas and hizbollah a couple years ago and crawled back home with their tail between their legs while the U.S. Army was winning the surge in Iraq? uh, no? Okay. Smerconish didn't object either.)

Our moderate hero Smerconish, fixated on his post-Republican obsession with diversity, devoted himself to sucking up to Dershowitz and only at the last minute forced himself to pose the "L" question. Dershowitz denied it. Awwwww.

Where we are. Smerconish, of course, is a fool. As he ever was. When Dershowitz uses the word moderate he's not talking about the phantom zone of compromise between Barack Obama and Gerald Ford (a.k.a. Oz). He's talking about the Harvard Law School, where the left is busily engineering legal lightning to reanimate the mummy of Lenin and the right is standing on the U.S. Constitution to keep their feet off the pigshit while they write a brand new constitution on the barn wall, beginning with the part about how all animals are equal, only some animals are more equal than others.

I'm sick to death of fools. Especially sick of those who pretend to be humble while with every breath they proclaim their superiority in every sense they value. Look at Smerconish's last choice: A Great Heart. What the fuck does that mean? Is that the Smerconish seat? I suspect so.

But why do we need yet another bullet head telling us what to do, how we should feel, and why what we know is completely wrong?

What's a bullet head, you ask? I'm not smart enough to answer that. Ask Napolitano, Sotomayor, Kagan, or Smerconish.

Boring, mediocre, bovine, bossy devourers of freedom. They're cows. Lowing in the darkness.

When people talk about diversity, why don't they ever talk about the kind of diversity real people seek out rather than duck around the corner to avoid? At Big Hollywood today, Michael Moriarty called out a demographic I've never heard a liberal, or even a moderate, pursue for their big tent. And quite correctly, he called it out as an exclusively American demographic:

Beginning with Ms. [Marilyn] Monroe, there really are no classic, “dumb blondes” in Europe.

“Dumb blonde” is an exclusively American label.

However, no “dumb blonde” has ever or will ever receive so much attention from world renowned intellectuals, male and female, as Marilyn Monroe.

Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, Lee and Paula Strasberg and, of course, the Kennedys.

Liberals all. If they're so damned anxious for us to compromise, I'll compromise that way on this Supreme Court seat. I'd take the judgments of dumb blondes I've known over every liberal I've ever met.

They tend not to be arrogant, resentful little phonies. And they're never bullet heads. That's good enough for me. It's about the most we can hope for these days.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Leaks and things...

Who's getting hosed here?

CONTINUING DECLINING AND FALLING AND DISGRACING YOURSELF. Some provocations are as narrow and intense as a pinhole in a copper pipe. But the spray can take in a lot of territory. Here's an example from NRO's Andrew McCarthy:

Disgraceful Leaking

As I explained in this post last evening, there seems to have been no good reason to file the arrest complaint against Faisal Shahzad publicly, and to have done so in a way that showed he was cooperating. All that does is alert co-conspirators that they've been compromised and should think about fleeing and destroying evidence.

It turns out that I didn't know the half of it. This comes from an NPR report (and thanks to Greg McNeal for bringing it to my attention):

[W]hat hasn’t been apparent until now is how news coverage of this story fundamentally changed the investigation. Law enforcement officials usually say they can't talk to reporters about an ongoing investigation, but there were leaks in this case from the beginning — partly because of the dynamic between two powerful law enforcement forces in New York City....

Details about the Times Square investigation were all over the local newspapers, even as authorities were still trying to puzzle out who was responsible. Any element of surprise that law enforcement might have had was evaporating. To be fair, law enforcement was partly to blame. In many cases, it was the source of the information and leaks. But there seemed to be an extra level of frustration about the leaks in this case. As one law enforcement official told NPR, "Our operational plans were being driven by the media, instead of the other way around. And that's not good."

He said they watched in horror as news organizations started talking about the fact that the vehicle identification number on the Nissan Pathfinder used in the botched bombing had been taken off the windshield. Then another report said that wouldn't matter, as authorities could find the VIN on other parts of the car. A short time later, the fact that they had found the number was reported. The coverage was providing a lot of clues about the direction the case was going.

On Monday afternoon, basically a day-and-a-half after the attack, a news organization reported that law enforcement officials were looking for an American citizen of Pakistani descent from Shelton, Conn. (NPR also had the information but didn't report it out of concern that it would affect the investigation before Shahzad's arrest.) Shahzad mentioned that news report after he was in police custody, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the case. He told the arresting officers that the moment he read it was the moment he knew it was only a matter of time before authorities would close in on him. He also assumed from the report that he was under surveillance. That's an important detail, because surveillance is only effective if people don't know they are being watched. "It was like watching an episode of 24 in real time," a law enforcement official said. The only problem was that Shahzad was able to watch it, too.

Then it got worse: Reporters started showing up at Shahzad's house in Shelton, waiting for the arrest to happen. Shahzad was actually up the road at a ramshackle apartment he had rented in Bridgeport. That's where officers were watching him — but apparently that also was leaked. A TV reporter showed up there and waited.

For the arresting officers, there was another wrinkle. They knew from running Shahzad's name through databases that he had purchased a gun in March. If the suspect was following the media reports, he knew the noose was tightening and might try to shoot his way out. They had to fundamentally change how they were going to approach the house to prepare for that possibility. But Shahzad surprised them by leaving the apartment. He went to a local supermarket and they lost track of him. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told NPR on Wednesday that they lost him for about three hours. When they finally caught up with Shahzad just before midnight Monday on a plane bound for Dubai, he smiled at the officers and said, "I've been expecting you. Are you NYPD or FBI?" 

Tipping off reporters so they can show up at a police stake-out of an armed terrorist's home? Mind-boggling.

Given that somehow nobody died in the Times Square fiasco, it's impossible to miss a certain comic element in the behavior of the press (excepting NPR, which behaved properly and should be lauded for same). But my own first thought was of an SNL skit during Desert Storm. I couldn't locate the video but here's a transcript:

[ open on press conference discussing the Gulf War ]

Defense Secretary Richard Cheney: And so, to sum up, while this war is by no means over, it is certainly fair to say that we have inflicted heavy damage on the Iraqi war machine, and every day brings victory for the coalition that much colser. Now I'm going to hand the floor over to Lieutenant Colonel Pierson, who will field your questions.

Lt. Col. William Pierson: Thank you [Secretary] Cheney. I'm happy to take any questions you might have with the understanding that there are certain sensitive areas that I'm just not going to get into. Particularly, information that might be useful to the enemy. Yes?

Reporter #1: What date are we going to start the ground attack?

Lt. Col. William Pierson: Well, as I mentioned a moment ago, there are certain sensitive areas which we are just not going to go into, and that is certainly one of them. Yes?

Reporter #2: Sir, knowing what you know, where would you say our forces are most vulnerable to attack, and how could the Iraqis best exploit those weaknesses?

Lt. Col. William Pierson: Well, again, this falls into the area of information that might be useful to the enemy, and I just can't divulge it right now.

Reporter #3: Sir! Which method of hiding SCUD missiles is working best for the Iraqis?

Lt. Col. William Pierson: Now, this again is a good example of information that could help the enemy, and I just can't answer that.

Reporter #4: I have a two-part question. Are we planning an amphibious invasion of Kuwait, and if so, where exactly will that be?

Defense Secretary Richard Cheney: Excuse me. If I could interrupt here, I just want to underscore what Colonel Pierson said at the start of Q&A. There are two general categories of questions that we are simply not going to be able to address. On, those that would give our enemy advance warning of our actions, and two, those that would identify any points of weakness or vulnerabilities to the Iraqi forces. So let's reopen the floor to questions.

Reporter #5: I understand that there are passwords that our troops use on the front lines. Could you give us some examples of those?

Lt. Col. William Pierson: No, that is something I really cannot comment on.

Reporter #6: Yeah! Are we planning an amphibious invasion of Kuwait? And if so, where?

Lt. Col. William Pierson: I believe that question was asked and if you recall, I already answered it, or said I could not answer.

Reporter #7: Sir, what would be the one piece of information that would be most dangerous for the Iraqis to know?

Lt. Col. William Pierson: No can answer! I have time for two more questions. Yeah?

Reporter #8: Yes, Farud Hashami, Baghdad Times. Where are your troops, and can I go there and count them?

Lt. Col. William Pierson: Nope! Last question.

Reporter #9: Is there anything that you can tell us that would lower the morale of our fighting men?

Lt. Col. William Pierson: No. Really, the only thing we're at liberty to say at this time is, "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night!

Probably the only time SNL ever weighed in on the side of Dick Cheney. Maybe that's why the video is unavailable. But the question of where the press stands on matters that can directly affect the safety or peril of American citizens is no laughing matter. The skit highlighted what we can call the 'new ethics' of MSM journalism. Meaning their incredibly arrogant pose of neutrality as they occupy a cushy platform protected by American law, American arms, and American capitalism.

There is, in fact, a pretty repulsive underside of the SNL skit. Here's a glimpse from November 2001:

ABC News President David Westin caused a stir two weeks ago at Columbia University when he was asked whether he thought the Pentagon was a legitimate military target. Westin replied, "I actually don't have an opinion on that, and it's important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now. As a journalist, I feel strongly that's something that I should not be taking a position on."

Later, he was forced to apologize, and did, but we've learned that the apologies of the powerful are usually insincere and loaded with qualifications intended to demonstrate that they're not sorry, just inconvenienced or at risk in terms of their personal careers.

Here's a deeper look (courtesy of Winds of Change, June 2009) at the journalism world of today. As might be expected, it's emblematic of hypocrisy, moral relativism, and what one can only term institutional narcissism:

[A] courageous NY Times reporter [David Rohde] was kidnapped at the Pakistan/Afghanistan border last fall, was held hostage by the Taliban, and recently - with amazing pluck and luck - escaped into the welcome arms of some nearby US soldiers.

Now that's a great story; not only an amazing drama in the kidnapping, and adventure in captivity, and now one with the happiest of endings.

But we weren't told it until the story was over. Joe Strupp in E & P, explains that all of the professional US media kept a lid on the story...

Do a NY Times search for "kidnapped Afghanistan" and you'll find this January 2008 story about an American woman and her driver who'd just been kidnapped, this September 2008 story about an Afghan official who was kidnapped in Pakistan, a November 2008 story about a French aid worker who was kidnapped in Kabul.

Now that doesn't mean they cover every kidnapping -- just that they cover some.

And that's not to mention the national security stories they happily and proudly ran (the Swift program, a perfectly legal program for tracking international financial transactions which they uncovered, among others).

I've got two massive problems with this.

The first, and obvious one, is covered in the Fallows piece I cite above, after Mike Wallace has explained [in response to a hypothetical question] that he'd stand by and roll tape as a guerilla force ambushed and wiped out an American patrol, because -- in his exact words:

Didn't Jennings have some higher duty, either patriotic or human, to do something other than just roll film as soldiers from his own country were being shot? "No," Wallace said flatly and immediately. "You don't have a higher duty. No. No. You're a reporter!"

A member of the US military responded:

A few minutes later Ogletree turned to George M. Connell, a Marine colonel in full uniform, jaw muscles flexing in anger, with stress on each word, Connell looked at the TV stars and said, "I feel utter . . . contempt. " Two days after this hypothetical episode... Jennings or Wallace might be back with the American forces -- and could be wounded by stray fire, as combat journalists often had been before. The instant that happened, he said, they wouldn't be "just journalists" any more. Then they [the marines] would drag them back, rather than leaving them to bleed to death on the battlefield. "We'll do it!" Connell said. "And that is what makes me so contemptuous of them. Marines will die going to get ... a couple of journalists." The last few words dripped with disgust.

And I can imagine how, when Rohde saw the uniforms of the US troops and knew that meant he was now safe, his heart must have lifted. And what's wrong with that, of course, is that he wants -- as Col. Connell suggests -- to be able to claim sanctuary from his countrymen. Now I don't know Rohde's work, and I'm not going to claim that he's remotely where Wallace claimed to be while sitting in the comfort of a videotaped seminar. But his institution is. And that's a problem to me. Because it was US soldiers who gave Rohde sanctuary, not some mercenary force fighting in the name of the NY Times or international journalism.

The other problem is, if anything, more serious. And it is the simple fact that we are increasingly living in a society that plays by Ottoman rules; meaning that what the rules are depend -- of course -- on who you are. That's not something we will survive for long, and simply put, it needs to be exposed and stamped out anywhere we see it.

Well, I see it here, in the Times Square argle-bargle. We got lucky. If the bomb had been real, a lot of people would have died. As it happened, the bomb was a marginally dangerous photo-op. That doesn't mean the investigation should become a Broadway comedy.

Spanish subtitles are our belated tribute to cinqo de mayo. With onions.

Back then, of course, they knew journalists were opportunistic scum you'd never invite into your home. Maybe it's time we remembered that. And maybe that's why the MSM hates it when anyone talks about remembering. Narcissists always want to be in charge of the present, which means making sure there really isn't any past in which they can be held accountable. Good luck with that. Assholes.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Loose Ends

WEIRDNESS. I'm not trying to incite conspiracy theories with this. It's just that there are a couple of things going on right now I don't understand at all.

The first is being kicked around at NRO this morning. Here's the best summary of the riddle:

[T]he thing I can't wrap my head around is not the firecracker detonators (which the guy who sold them to Shahzad said "wouldn't damage a watermelon"); or the propane tanks with the unopened valves (safety features on propane tanks made within the last decade or so won't allow the flow of gas unless a receptacle is physically connected to them). No, what really gets me is the two clocks and wire leads attached to. . . absolutely nothing.

If we're operating under the assumption that the firecrackers were supposed to ignite the propane gas (not) leaking into the truck, which was in turn supposed to burn the gasoline and ignite the fertilizer, then there is absolutely no place in the circuit for a couple of digital alarm clocks with some Radio Shack wires hooked up (?) to them. Even if the bomb were rigged to a timing device, it would need an explosive detonator that could respond to an electrical signal (off the top of my head, a model rocket engine or something). This device had no such element.

No amount of stupid accounts for this, if you ask me. It's the kind of thing that only a few too many action movies and a big disconnect from reality can explain.

Does this mean that Shahzad was living in a fantasy world? Does it mean that — to use some psycho-babble — this wasn't terrorism so much as a "terroristic gesture"? Does it mean he wanted to get caught? (When he was arrested on the Emirates flight, Shahzad reportedly told authorities "I was expecting you. Are you NYPD or FBI?"). Or was he a sincere, true-blue jihadist who was just incompetent, perhaps the best the Tehrik-e-Taliban — harried on the ground by the Pakistani army and from above by the drones — could come up with?

It doesn't make sense. On the one hand he's supposed to be a trained terrorist in an international jihadi network. On the other hand he's planted a bomb that wasn't so much dysfunctional as a prop designed to look like a bomb. Feel free to explain it to me.

Here's the second item that has me scratching my head. It was forwarded to me by Lloyd Pye, who has no more idea what it means than I do. Obviously it has no provenance whatever. But it sure is curious. A pair of commenters on the oil rig explosion in the gulf:

There is something fishy with this disaster. Long ago I worked in oil refining. Safety devices are everywhere and yet on this rig none were set off. This rig is massive so whatever blew it had to be something other than oil. The fire is on the deck. The flotation legs don't burn. So the fire would have burned out leaving a floating wreck. So how did it blow up?

[Am] I missing something?

This just doesn’t make sense, if the well was just cased and cemented that would leave the well totally isolated from the down hole formation fluids. It might be possible that they did not control down hole pressure and some oil (and more importantly gas) was circulated up ahead of the cement slurry, but even that would give all sorts of obvious signs that would have set off alarms. There are panic buttons in several places on the platform that would have automatically shut in the well on the seabed, but none of them had been activated. The oil and gas was 18,000 feet deep, it does not blow out instantaneously. The well would have to displace thousands of gallons of fluid in the wellbore first.

So a highly unlikely and sudden explosion occurs on a state of the art drilling rig, on the eve of Earth Day, just a few weeks after an announcement of increased offshore drilling.

I think that the investigation of this disaster should also include a background check of everyone involved just to be prudent.

I don't know anything about this subject. If you do, let me know.


HIGHWAYS IN HELL. I've been there several times. Kind, hospitable people and a city that's a fascinating mix of old south and brand new entrepreneurial, uh, things made of concrete and amusement park accessories. It's wonderful and touching and awful all at the same time. Someone took me to a nightclub in the old part of town, and it was the first time I realized just how well those country rednecks can play. It's not screeching. It's music and when you're there with them it's the best and most vital music you've ever heard. Nothing beats that slide guitar when you're three feet away from it and feeling the smile. And, yeah, I've been in jazz clubs in Chicago, too, but virtuosity is virtuosity, whether it's wearing sunglasses and fedoras or snakeskin boots and cowboy hats.

It's all underwater now. Here's Michelle Malkin's roundup of problems and ways to chip in.

Do what you can. They may not be begging for our help, but they need it.

Why I 'Suspicion' the Obvious

Consciousness. And what it's NOT.

UNINTENDED OBVIOUSNESS. I hate fisking conservatives and deep-down political allies. But sometimes it's necessary. I have to fisk this post, which is hard to do because I don't want to and he uses every format trick from italics to boldface to bolster his arguments. I need to highlight certain parts of his post and differentiate my added fisking text. Here's how I'll do it. When I highlight his text, I'll jump up the font size. When it's me commenting, I'll go old school: Courier type. Fair enough? He read the conversation between me and Doc Zero about the obvious. He's pretty sure the Doc holds all the cards.

Arguing Against Attitudes

Arguments about arguments are being dissected in an Interesting debate between Instapunk, who submits this provocative list of things he believes to be obvious.  I wish, because it's a good list and I find nothing there with which I disagree.  The premise however, I can't abide.  I only wish they were that obvious.  They ARE that obvious.

Doc Zero weighs in on item the first: "Corporate taxes are paid by individual taxpayers".  His argument is not that this isn't true but that it isn't obvious.  
a snippet:’s important to realize the average voter just doesn’t think about politics or economics in precise terms.  Those who don’t study these matters as professionals, or enthusiasts, find them repellent and dull.  However, they don’t want to come off as uninformed in polite conversation, especially when elections draw near.  They construct a set of attitudes, instead of concrete arguments. 
And MY argument, made in response to DocZero's somewhat fey take is that it really is obvious. To wit (what I said in my UPDATE after reading the DOc's piece):

A company posts a profit for the year and pays taxes on that profit. They still have money left over after they pay their taxes, which is called net profit after taxes. The income out of which they paid their taxes came from sales of their products to consumers like you. Who paid their taxes? Consumers like you. Does that make sense? Or am I getting into Occam trouble again? uh, I don't think so. If corporate income taxes suddenly went away, what would happen to their prices, do you think? Someone in their market would seize the opportunity of lowering prices to increase demand and market share. Others would have to follow suit. How markets work. Who was paying their taxes before the income tax went away? Three guesses and the first two don't count.

DocZero, 1,000 words. Me, 136 words. Some simple truths are indeed simple.

From here the essay evolves into an argument about how and what to argue, which counters Instapunk's introductory assertion that belaboring basic concepts is not the best use of conservative's intellectual firepower.

Instapunk's introductory assertion was this: "I was persuaded by Doctor Zero's argument that there is merit in applying advanced firepower to prove the obvious." Huh? The exact opposite of what is being averred here. This will show its relevance later.

I side with Doc on that point, although I have a quibble with another point where he says:

Too many essential truths have become “obvious” enough to turn invisible, because nobody thinks about them any longer.

What I think he is saying here is that essential truths are so prevalent they are taken for granted.  I believe they have been taken for granted for so long that they are no longer either prevalent or obvious.  I also believe that too many essential truths have been, are being, sacrificed on the alters of political correctness under the guise of pseudo compassion, though I did not make that point in my comments there.

Speaking of which... my comment:

Not sure I would agree with Instapunks list as being all that obvious.Now if he were to quantify his assertion that the list "should" be obvious to "those who think" we might get somewhere.   If they were so obvious would we be in this mess?

If I reference this point in my opening paragraph, does it not suggest that I'm thinking about what this fellow is thinking about? Here's what I said in Paragraph One: "But I ask, in all humility, how many obvious things do we have to prove and is it possible, in the end, to prove them to people who no longer reason, read, or ruminate?" What is he saying that I haven't already said?

It seems so much of what was assumed to be obvious, that free enterprize and success based on merit is a morally superior economic system for example, no longer gets the institutional reinforcement it once enjoyed, and has been replaced by the counter argument.  Commenters here tend to substantiate that observation in mentioning the gaps in their public education.   Doc Zero's dedication to repopularizing first principles helps fill that gap and I applaud and share it.  The filling of those gaps is the role being filled by the alternative media and it is having a positive affect.  Notice I didn't say it was pretty, quite the contrary.

The success of the left came from a heretofore prolonged monopolistic control of the narrative.  Corporate taxes, aren't on the average voters radar precisely because the left has successfully posited, incorrectly, that corporate taxes do not affect the average consumer. (How they can justify taxing corporations to kingdom come while trying to limit their freedom of expression via political donations is one of myriad left/liberal incoherencies that somehow remain largely unchallenged in the public debate. But that is a whole different issue)  To me, because I think, the incoherency is obvious with a capital O.   

The debate therefore, should not be about getting liberals to think, as that labyrinth of aforementioned incoherencies has metastasized into a groupthink impenetrable by logic.  So I agree attempts at said penetration are indeed a waste of time and effort. 

I'm pretty sure I said THIS in my initial post: "People on the left do not think. They pose, they preen, they presume, they polemicize, they piss on their putative enemies, but they do not ponder anything of import anymore. Since the last new progressive idea occurred to them a long human lifetime ago, they are, as a procreative power, suffering peripatetically from an enlarged pseudo-populist prostate gland. Their peeing is urgent, precise as a petunia watering can, and it pulverizes their peace of mind by keeping their little pee-pees problematic all night. Not to mention impotent. Like every pompous popinjay at the Puffington Post."

That said, a strong consistent effort should be aimed at self proclaimed moderates, focusing primarily at getting them to think, period.   The effort spent there, I believe, would be much more fruitful than preaching to the hopelessly nonconvertible.  That effort will facilitate an open debate where truth and logic are allowed as opposed to the fringy lib/left screed where those elements, though never really explained, are foregone conclusions.  Instapunk's final "obviousness" captures it perfectly.  

So why didn't you understand it?

I've tried reasoning with a liberal.  I've tried reasoning with a brick wall.  The latter makes more sense every time.  You are on the right track Doc, no pun intended, arguing to assuage an attitude is very different than arguing against a set of attitudes.   The open re-examination of first principles, debateable on their own merits, has been an untapped product in the marketplace of ideas for far too long.  I'm not sure Al Gore was counting on this when he invented the internets, but bless his carbon trading billionaire heart for accidently providing the forum.

"Arguing to assuage an attitude is very different than arguing against a set of attitudes." What does that even mean? Nothing. None of this post means anything. The writer can't read. He doesn't understand what he presumes to analyze. He misunderstood my essay from its first sentence. I wrote a post about this not long ago. The syndrome is called "the purely prudential use of language":

...using words not because he knows what he means by them, but because he knows how they are ordinarily used, and does with them what he has heard other people do with them before. He strings them together in suitable sequences, maneuvers them aptly enough, produces with them pretty well the effects he intends, yet meanwhile he may have not much more inkling of what he is really (or should be) doing with them than a telephone girl need have of the inner wiring of the switchboard she operates so deftly.

It's the reason why laboring the obvious no longer works. People who are assumed to understand logic and rhetoric do not. They're just faking it. Their hearts may be in the right place, but they're idiots with big vocabularies and gnat-like attention spans.

Keep up the good work.


Sorry I had to do this. But I had to.

At heart InstaPunk is a nice guy. Well, no, not really.

So often, they make it impossible not to.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Valley Girl News

Isn't she a cutie? I feel sooooo bad for her. And she has
a much better figure than NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

MORE OBVIOUS. This one's about liberal media bias. I'll repeat what I said:

Lefty bias in the media is so prevalent that all its proofs have become too boring and repetitive to make, rendering them invisible, because tiresomely the same, in the public debate. One inevitably becomes more tiresome in the making of the argument than even the obvious evidence is.

Yeah. Boring. Fact is, you could go to work every day and ask yourself, "How would the MSM handle this story if the president were Bush?" and the answer would blow the top off your head. Every day. In the same way, you could measure every utterance of the Obama administration against NRO's Jim Geraghty, who said, "Every Obama statement comes with an expiration date" and NEVER be proven wrong. Not. Ever.

Which should be QED. So what do you do? You just laugh. You try to be entertaining, as if recognition were proof. It isn't, of course. This is the ULTIMATE definition of too obvious to be provable.

But it's still possible to be entertaining. And so I will be. Here's an excerpt from the MSNBC valley girl's bio.

Brewer, in the spring of 2005, served briefly as a news reader on the "Imus in the Morning" radio show, which was syndicated nationally. Her tenure was brief; she became embroiled in a public feud with Don Imus after the New York Post published a gossip item in which she was allegedly overheard disparaging the radio personality. Imus replied, on air, with his own disparaging remarks directed at Brewer. She later appeared as the news reader on Verdict with Dan Abrams before its cancellation in 2008...

She graduated from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She holds a bachelor of science degree in broadcast journalism.

Brewer has been criticized live on air by New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg for being "absurd," "dishonest," "fundamentally dishonest," "irresponsible," and for lacking "integrity" for her handling of interviews.

Have to admit, I never heard that a journalism degree could be a "Bachelor of Science." I guess we all have to listen, huh? Nice looking girl, though. Too bad she swallows her consonants. Makes her sound, uh, clueless.

And here's noted Canadian dimwit Donald Sutherland.

Are the programmers at MSNBC nuts? They give us refreshing afternoons with Chris and Ed, put us to bed with the clarifying sensibilities of Rachel and Keith and then, idiotically, wake us up with Mr. Small Mouth [Joe Scarborough].

Who is this idiot? Why is he there? He can't even listen. He doesn't conduct a decent conversation. He runs over everyone else's words with a landslide of diarrhea. I saw him on Friday, stomping around the stage like a posturing rooster, calling Paul Krugman a political hack. Paul Krugman's a political hack? Surely they put make-up on Mr. Small Mouth. Doesn't he look in the mirror? That's where he'd see what a political hack looks like.

For god's sake, MSNBC, get rid of him, he's beneath you.

Beneath MSNBC? Is that even possible? And slamming Joe Scarborough? Who's not even a conservative anymore but an MSNBC shill? Kewl. That's actually funny. (Something to remember. Actors are not intellects. They're throbbing emotional veins. Otherwise, they'd be writers.)

And here's Glenn Beck recounting his experience with Joe Klein at the Time 100 dinner.

But. lest we forget, liberal bias in the MSM has to remain unproven and unprovable.

P.S. Just to nail down that last sentence, be sure to read every word of this.

Anyshell Playoff Update

Da-dum, da-dum. Detroit need the bigger boat.

THE HOCKEY CONTINUE. Hello again! Are you watch the anyshell playoffs? I hope so, because we are having the most exciting time in the hockey right now. I can not believe! I still do not have TV in my apartment, but I find a bar of the sport down the road and make friends there. Except they like to watch the any-A baseketball and get anger when I speak about change a channel to the anyshell, but they let me watch on fuzzy TV in the corner next to bathroom.

First I need make l'apologie to the people in the Shark of San Jose. It look like maybe they do not chocke right now like I think. They come back to beat the Colorados and now must only win on the Detroits once more to kill them. A very good job.

The Punks ask me to make comment on the decision of the any-A Phoenix Suns to wear a jersey for their playoff that say "Los Lobos." This is to show that they have many anger about a new law in the Phoenix that makes the Mexican move to New York City, I think. Well in Canada we like to let everybody come, and it is always work fine with no problem. Mostly. So I think the anyshell should make a statement, too. Maybe not about the Mexican since Scott Gomez is only Mexican ever in history of the hockey (even to watch a game, I think). Instead I think the hockey can be use to show a light on the troubles of the discrimination that happen to us French Canadians. So I have an idea that the Washington Caps can change their jersey to say Les Miserables.

Maybe you do not hear, but the Caps have make the history by being the first #1 playoff team ever to have lead of 3 game to 1 on a #8 playoff team but still have a chocke of the throat and lose anyway. And they are lose to my Montreal Canadiens, or the Habs as they are call, even though nobody knows why about that. In the heart I am always have the love of my Quebec Nordiques, but the team is steal by the Colorado, so instead I cheer for the Habs.

My Nordiques! Sacré-cœur, I forget never!

The Phlyers also play the Bear of Boston, but they get in some trouble. I think it is because some of their player get the idea of the playoff beard backward and grow the playoff mullet instead. That brings a bad luck.

Uh-oh, I hear the knocking at the door again. If I am not deport back to Canada or put in jail, I will come back next time. Until then, please remember about calling the Dish Networks about me so I can get money for my loan and maybe bail, too.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Body Counts

The shoes of the Auschwitz dead. Harvesting confiscated property is a rational act.

PROVING THE OBVIOUS. Commenter Lake asked:

[O]ne clear truth for any student of history is, as you say, "In its whole history, religion has killed fewer people than the rationalist political philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Tell you anything?"

I have made this argument dozens of times in conversations with my bumper-sticker-philosophy wielding colleagues, and some students, all intent on destroying religion in favor of wonderfully rational Science. What I would love to hear is *you* (both or either of you) let loose on it... the facts speak for themselves, but I think the fact of how turned-around the argument has become is telling of our times and the state of the modern mind.

This, sadly, is a product of our education system, both at the university and my level. This is why this is my mission. But I digress. If you want to expand on any of these, I would love for you to start there.

This one, sorry to say at the outset, can't be proven. But it can be argued very effectively. The problem is not so much the numbers, which are numerous and highly debatable in many respects, but the layer upon layer of assumptions litigators of (so-called) fact bring to the table without ever acknowledging.

The best place to start is therefore with the kind of logic that indicts religion as a pernicious influence in human affairs. Oh. Wait. Let's look at this table, called "The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other," before we get started:

Rank Death Toll Cause Centuries
1 55 million Second World War 20C
2 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C
3 40 million Mongol Conquests 13C
4 36 million An Lushan Revolt 8C
5 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C
6 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C
7 20 million Annihilation of the American Indians 15C-19C
8 20 million Iosif Stalin 20C
9 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C
10 18 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C
11 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C
12 17 million British India (mostly famine) 19C
13 15 million First World War 20C
14 9 million Russian Civil War 20C
15 8 million Fall of Rome 3C-5C
16 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C
17 7 million Thirty Years War 17C
18 5 million Russia's Time of Troubles 16C-17C
19 4 million Napoleonic Wars 19C
20 3 million Chinese Civil War 20C
21 3 million French Wars of Religion 16C

I concede right up front that all these numbers are estimates, and disputed estimates at that, depending on how any individual scholar wants the numbers to look in service to his theory of history, whatever that is. At least two of the entries that don't seem to be religious in nature clearly are: the Mideast Slave Trade was an Islamic phenomenon; and the Thirty Years War was all about the Holy Roman Empire. The French Wars of Religion speak for themselves. Still, it doesn't take a genius to add up the numbers associated with Marxist-inspired states in the east and the 'national socialism' state model of Germany and arrive at a figure of 127 million casualties of rational utopian thinking in the twentieth century. (And that's not counting WWI's 10-65 million dead {if you count the flu too}, which more than a few people lay at Nietzsche's feet). All the other totals pale in comparison.

Against this, the rationalist argument has to be more or less this: the human race has always believed in a god or gods, at least until the 19th century arrived with its liberating skepticism, and men have always waged war against one another, usually under the banners or totems of their preferred gods. Therefore, all wars, genocides, pogroms, and other acts of incivility prior to the 20th century can be ascribed to the evils of religion, and we're better off without it.

The problem is, this is demonstrably poppycock. Only a fool would claim that the Napoleonic Wars had any religious basis. Napoleon was the proto-Hitler of Europe. Ditto the Mongols and the sackers of Christian Rome. Only a deliberate manipulator of fact would claim that the supposed "Native American Genocide" was caused by religion. The overwhelming majority of Native American deaths associated with European settlement of the New World were caused by diseases Europeans carried without knowing it. What no one ever asks: Why didn't Native American diseases kill Europeans? Answer: Civilization bestows its own kind of immunity. Was the Plague that ravaged European populations in the 14th through 16th centuries a 'genocide'? No. It was the unfortunate by-product of trade among civilized nations. Anybody want to claim that's part of the religion body count? I doubt it.

The truth is that religion, and specifically Christianity more than any other religion, has been a mitigating factor against death, a net positive for humankind. It was Christianity and its empowerment of individuals that produced Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, and ultimately Louis Pasteur and Watson and Crick. Science keeps acting as if it were some kind of Goddess Athena, self-born from the head of a digital Zeus. It isn't. Science was spawned, in fact, by Christianity. Yes, the Church may have suppressed Galileo and it killed as many as 3,600 (!) people in the Inquisition, but its record is far superior to that of Islam, which may, in a moment of atypical clarity, have given the world algebra but went on to ossify its peoples in a permanent state of devout semi-consciousness. It was left to Newton to give the world calculus and the Jew Einstein quantum physics and relativity theory. Who's ahead on points here?

Which raises another issue that is absolutely and completely germane to the current surge in atheist evangelism. Am I the only one who's noticed that the anti-religious rage of Richard Dawkins and even Christopher Hitchens is focused primarily on Christianity? Which is not a parochial debating point on my part but a sign of logical weakness on theirs. They inveigh fervently against religion, as if belief in a Supreme Being of any kind is ipso facto proof of mental weakness and assorted other (moral?) turpitudes. It never seems to occur to them that religion is not the monolith depicted in "2001: A Space Odyssey." There can be good religions. And there can be bad religions. How does hating the whole concept of God further the advancement of refined philosophical thought?

It doesn't. Christianity is not, and never really has been, the bad guy. It's the light that has -- very slowly to be sure -- illuminated the sacred identity of individual human beings the world over. Islam, on the other hand, is a darkness that covers vast regions of the earth like a storm cloud promising lightning, ravishing winds, and the kinds of sandstorms that strip women, children, and families to the bone. They are both religions. What if one of them is right and one of them is wrong? Has anyone ever heard Dawkins allow that possibility? No. Because he has his own religion in mind. It's called Dawkins. Which Christianity has been in the business of warning us against for its whole history. No wonder he hates it.

Back to math. This time I'll let you all do the arithmetic. I'll give you the sites and you can work your calculators and offer up 'the truth.' I'll simply frame your research with a few observations. Population figures don't start to take off until Christianity and its support for science kicks in. If you're alive and pushing social security age today, thank Christianity, not Dawkins. His evolution story begins 50,000 years ago and lasts till 8,000 BC with an infant mortality rate approaching 50 percent. What freed us from that? Civilization, Which was catalyzed and galvanized by, uh, religion.

Remember when you look at the ancient past that the religion which may have inspired human sacrifices and tribal wars was NOT a religion of ideas but of tribal identities and Gaia-esque affiliations with nature. Which bear an eerie resemblance to what the scientistic enviro-rationalists are spouting today. Wars, murder, and massacres motivated principally by religious ideas do not even begin until the late Roman era. And the totals attributable to those incidents don't even begin to approach the casualties associated with the usual human suspects: greed, territorial ambitions, monarchical ego, and barbarian cultures devoted entirely to war and conquest.

A few final notes. What libs never want to acknowledge is that there may have been some religious wars worth fighting (which the Dawkins and Hitchens of the world would never fight today, secular pragmatists that they are). The American Civil War killed 650,000 men. Would it have been better to forego the grapeshot, amputations, and burned-out cities rather than free the slaves because they were also the children of a Christian god. Or are we simply in the business of counting up numbers? Or, given that the United States carried no cross on its flag, is the American Civil War not a religious war at all but a typical human brouhaha? And if not ALL wars are religious wars, the rationalists have a lot to explain about the twentieth century: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, Castro, and (lately) Hugo Chavez. Whom we love. Just because.


All the people who have ever lived on earth (Note the 50 percent infant mortality rate that prevailed for 50,000 years.)

War casualties throughout human history.

Primitive War. (You know. Before civilization. As high as 50 percent casualties.)

Death Tolls of Humanity. (Lots of good stuff here. Details. Categories. Insights. Numbers galore. And doubts. Dig, dig, dig...)

Gotta say. In the grand scheme of things, Christianity looks good. Huguenots and Carolingians, and even Merovingians, aside. Proof? Maybe not. But truth? Maybe so.

God and Dogs

No comment.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Seat belts, child seats, etc

A 1959 Triumph TR-3 with state-of-the-art child seats

FOLLOWUP TO "FEDERAL SAFETY MAGIC." Just a point of clarification in response to part of Lake's comment:

I think about this issue every day now, from both sides, as a father with young kids. My father taught me to drive *well*, and I'm big on individual responsibility. Still, I'd never drive without a seat belt anymore...

I have always been a believer in seat belts, including shoulder belts. Everyone should wear them, always, as I insisted to my stepdaughter when she was getting her driver's license. They're called "passive" safety devices, which is a misnomer. They're passive as opposed to airbags in the event of a crash, but they're an active part of being a skilled driver. Why? They hold you in the optimum seat position behind the wheel and in relation to the other controls -- the clutch, the brake, the accelerator, the gearshift -- no matter how extreme the motion forces affecting the vehicle. Yes, the lives of racecar drivers are protected by their five-point belts in crashes, but it's equally the case that no driver could win a race without them. I started buckling up religiously as soon as I began aspiring to drive well at speed.

I cited the "interlock" controversy because it demonstrates the native human resistance to being told what to do within the boundaries of one's own personal property. My best friend in those days, who was able to afford a new car when I was not, told the dealer to disengage the interlock device before he took delivery or he wouldn't take delivery, then fastened his seat belt before he ever put the car in gear, every time. He also cherished the luxury of starting the car first, allowing the engine to warm up while he selected the right cassette or radio station, positioned his cigars for easy access, and secured his coffee cup in its (then) aftermarket holder before locking himself into the driver's seat. There's always that pre-launch moment:

Some of us just like to do it with the motor running already. It's, you know, satisfying. But seat belts are indispensable.

I feel much the same way about motorcycle helmets, even though they don't help you ride better because you just can't see as well with them on. But crashing is a more likely outcome on a two-wheeled vehicle. You don't see anyone racing motorcycles of any kind -- from dirtbikes to grand prix machines -- without a helmet. Under most circumstances, I wouldn't feel comfortable without one, although there are specific times and places when a pair of sunglasses really is sufficient in my personal risk-reward calculations. I detest the argument that helmets must be required by law because your body and its potential medical expenses are everyone else's business.

Individual responsibility also means that you're responsible for your own risk-reward assessments, including the ones you make on behalf of your children. Today, my father would probably be jailed for this opinion piece he posted at IP, circa June 1960 (which has been in the archives for a long time but is no longer listed there for some reason):

The new fad of station wagons is simply bad business and a wrong example. It's also damaging to fathers. It does them no good at all to begin perceiving themselves as chauffeurs for small, ignorant persons who have no appreciation of shifting through the gears, cornering, calculating precise apexes on twisty roads, heel-toeing, and the other finer points of driving. Children learn best by watching, not by nattering, and they learn nothing when they are insulated by mere capaciousness from the experience of piloting a high-powered motor vehicle to something approaching the limit of its capability.

In short, I believe it's imperative that more modern-day fathers of young children acquire the smallest, most powerful sports cars they can afford and accustom their children to the discipline of driving as skillfully as possible. I hasten to say that it would be wrong to buy sports cars lacking in child seats -- such as Jaguars and Austin Healey Sprites -- but a good parent can always make the sacrifice of purchasing an Austin Healey 3000 or a Triumph TR-3 instead. Both of them come equipped, standard, with excellent child seats located just behind the driver and front passenger seats. Their superb designs allow just sufficient room for two children under the age of twelve to sit quite comfortably with their knees slightly apart behind the front seats, and at a slight elevation over the front seats that permits close observation of the actions involved in driving...

I know that my seven-year-old son has paid such close attention on motor trips that he already thinks he knows how to drive. When we make the weekend jaunt to the general store, he basks in his special spot in the front passenger seat and urges me to "hit the redline" in third gear, which I'm usually happy to do because the TR-3 sings like an angel in third gear. Then I shift into fourth and we sometimes hit a hundred, which we've both agreed never to share with his mother.

I wouldn't trade those moments for anything because he taught me something about what it means to fly. Which too many of you will never know in the pure form only a child can experience. I understand and respect your caution. And I also regret some part of life not lived. But that's just me and I would never impose that view on another.

In the interest of fairness, I'm also reproducing Lake's video in support of seat belts.

I understand the sentiment. Believe me, I do. Can't help it, though, if I find it a little nanny-maternal-goddess culture creepy.

But, as I said, that's just me.

P.S. Antidote:

Don't want anybody embracing my
driving arms from behind at this point.


Too Obvious to be Provable?
C'mon, Doc. A challenge.

THINKING ABOUT THINGS IS A TWO-EDGED SWORD. Okay. I was persuaded by Doctor Zero's argument that there is merit in applying advanced firepower to prove the obvious. But I ask, in all humility, how many obvious things do we have to prove and is it possible, in the end, to prove them to people who no longer reason, read, or ruminate?

So I'm posing a challenge to the Doc and to my own readers. What follows is a series of obvious truths (er, propositions). Tell me which ones you'd like to see me and/or the Doc try to prove and why. Because you think we can, because you think we can't, or because you'd just enjoy watching us twist ourselves into semantic pretzels trying. You're also encouraged to add to the list. You're allowed, as always, to comment on the idea of this post itself.

Herewith a list of Obvious Propositions:

Corporate taxes are paid by individual taxpayers.

Rich capitalists do not take their riches from others. They create them. In the history of markets, their rising tide really does lift all boats. While their ebbing tide sinks all boats.

Profiling of various kinds is about seeking the people most likely to be breaking the law or planning harm; the argument should be about what constitutes an accurate profile, not whether it should be done. Opposing ALL profiling is a kind of death wish.

Lefty bias in the media is so prevalent that all its proofs have become too boring and repetitive to make, rendering them invisible, because tiresomely the same, in the public debate. One inevitably becomes more tiresome in the making of the argument than even the obvious evidence is.

Socialism suffocates individuals. Marxism kills them. Communism annihilates them, By the tens of millions.

In its whole history, religion has killed fewer people than the rationalist political philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Tell you anything?

Governments are always more inefficient and expensive than free enterprise. They succeed only when they can treat people like cannon fodder. Which they invariably do whenever they're in charge.

Governments do not care about people. Governments are made of politicians. Who care about maintaining and expanding their own wealth, power, and privilege. Period.

The greatest human injustices are always perpetrated by bureaucracies.

The founders did not see belief in God as a danger to freedom. They saw government as that. They separated government from religion so that governments could not make themselves into a religion and thereby eliminate freedom entirely.

Human language is the font of human consciousness. Political correctness is the destruction of language's ability to make fine distinctions because all distinctions offend somebody, usually the party that doesn't want to have to prove itself in equal competition. It therefore constitutes a reduction of consciousness, individuality, perception, reasoning, and good judgment.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. So what does continuously expanding government power do?

Morality is not relative, nor can its gradations be eliminated by a process of rough equivalencies or carefully crafted metaphorical slippery slopes. There's such a thing as right and such a thing as wrong. It's possible to be more defensibly right than wrong without equating your worst errors with the unconscionable crimes of your most despicably vicious foe.

What you subsidize (give resources to), you get more of. What you starve (withhold resources from) you get less of. When you bail out failure and levy more taxes on success, what's going to happen?

The health care market is not and has not been a free market since the federal government passed Medicare and Medicaid. Costs have risen precipitously and uncontrollably since then because of government involvement more than any other factor. So MORE government involvement is obviously going to control and reduce costs in future. Right?

The utopia promised by the left is always a dystopia of some kind. One that leaves most of us with less freedom and prosperity and the smart ones who thought of it with more power over us. How do they reoncile that with their adamant egalitarianism?

Life begins at conception. That's the Occam's Razor answer they're so fond of in their constant judgments of racism, sexism, and ethnic prejudice of various kinds. Any other answer is NOT the simplest and easiest answer. What did Occam have against fetuses?

People on the left do not think. They pose, they preen, they presume, they polemicize, they piss on their putative enemies, but they do not ponder anything of import anymore. Since the last new progressive idea occurred to them a long human lifetime ago, they are, as a procreative power, suffering peripatetically from an enlarged pseudo-populist prostate gland. Their peeing is urgent, precise as a petunia watering can, and it pulverizes their peace of mind by keeping their little pee-pees problematic all night. Not to mention impotent. Like every pompous popinjay at the Puffington Post.

Preliminary, is it? Then flesh it out. (I apologize for any question marks. They're all rhetorical. Because the answers are, uh, obvious.)

By the way, everyone, it's not enough that the Doc or I have seemed to prove any of these propositions by inference or en passant in prior posts. The challenge is to prove them particularly, as obvious propositions. Just so you know.

UPDATE. Why none of this is academic:

Government is our friend, right? Wrong. Now prove it. Logically and mathematically. See the problem?

Some people can see it. Some people can't. Can Doctor Zero save the day? I doubt it. I could, of course, but I'm pretty busy with other stuff. Movies, TV, sports, bobbleheads, bunnies, and hummingbirds.

You can quit after 03:00

Too bad for you. Maybe you should have put the bunny back in the box before things got to this state.

When I was younger anyway. I always had a
thing about the bunny staying put in the box.
Back before I was
Johnny Dodge in Punk City.

Something to think about anyway.

UPDATE 2. Doctor Zero plans to respond. To the first obvious proposition. Stay tuned. This could take a while.

UPDATE 3. Now the doc has posted on the first proposition ("Corporate taxes are paid by individual taxpayers.") Fine essay, which is par for him, but he's a mite too philosophical for me on this one. I'm thinking in terms of basic arithmetic. Try this:

A company posts a profit for the year and pays taxes on that profit. They still have money left over after they pay their taxes, which is called net profit after taxes. The income out of which they paid their taxes came from sales of their products to consumers like you. Who paid their taxes? Consumers like you. Does that make sense? Or am I getting into Occam trouble again? uh, I don't think so. If corporate income taxes suddenly went away, what would happen to their prices, do you think? Someone in their market would seize the opportunity of lowering prices to increase demand and market share. Others would have to follow suit. How markets work. Who was paying their taxes before the income tax went away? Three guesses and the first two don't count.

If you can't follow my logic, let me know. I've been called a simpleton before.

NOT Puck Punk:

Flyers-Bruins Game 2

Excitement reigned after the Flyers won the "Interview" competition.

APOLOGIES TO PP. I can't pretend to be that much of a hockey fan. I watch because the missus likes it. But I admit I was genuinely impressed by the Canadiens-Penguins game and the Red Wings-Sharks game last night. Very high speed, very hard hitting, very exciting action. Very suspenseful in fact.

Which is why I agreed to watch tonight's Bruins-Flyers game. Which was educational. The first time I could ever follow the action and understand all the rules of the game. It was so slow and calm that I found it kind of entrancing, although I'm not sure either team really wants to play the Sharks or the Penguins if it comes to that. Not that the Bruins and Flyers aren't really talented. They are. Of course. But they're not quite as, uh, fast as the other teams I've seen in the playoffs. Or as hard hitting. Or as, well, fast or hard hitting. If you know what I mean.

I think there was some action at some point. The Flyers' Sasha Cohen executed a very smooth if glacial charge at Bruins goalie Nancy Kerrigan, who winced and turned away when the puck approached. But the Bruins came right back with veteran Dorothy Hamill easing downwind a few hours later to score against Flyers goalie Tonya Harding, who was promptly ejected from the game for not liking it or something. I don't think they called it a power play. But it was like that. Only much much slower.

Then things got really intense. Oksana Baul got into it with Michelle Kwan, and they were just beautiful the way they glided back and forth, almost kissing, until Peggy Fleming eventually discovered a puck in her gym bag and threatened to upset everything by wanting to go home and have some ice cream. Which is when Bruin forward Johnny Weir took complete charge of the game and penalized everybody for having the wrong mascara. At the end only Janet Lynn was left to heave the puck into an empty net she had in her purse. The exertion sent her to Mass General. But the Bruin fans were so thrilled they had to go lie down for a while.

I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it. It was a great game. Really. But I'm thinking it doesn't matter much whether the Bruins or the Flyers win this series. From what I've seen of the other teams, slow, tender, and not much at knowing what a puck is isn't going to win the Stanley Cup.

But. As I said, I'm not much of an expert at hockey. Maybe Puck Punk will return to explain it all. Still. That Sasha Cohen sure is pretty. She looks almost exactly like that Penguin fellow who won the gold medal. What's his name? Sidney Cohen? Something like that. Couple of fine looking chicks. Twins, you think? But Sidney skates faster and hits harder. Maybe because he has a penis. Unlike the Bruins and the Flyers.

Best I can do. Until Puck Punk returns.

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