November 18, 2014
End of the Road
Guys, after thinking a lot about it, I'm just not willing to do this anymore.
There are things I care about in life passionately, and passionately believe are worth defending. But the Internet is entirely the wrong place for that. Wrong audience, wrong venue. The culture (not just liberal culture, but conservative culture too) is so far removed from the things I love and the values I hold that I no longer know how to bridge the gap or even communicate across it anymore.
You can chalk this up to the increasingly toxic culture wars, or to my personal failings as a human being (which are many), or to whatever you wish. Either way, I'm done.
Thank you for the gift of your friendship and your conversation all these years. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work out my ideas, for your patience as I have grappled with various issues, and for the sounding board you've provided.
November 17, 2014
LEAVE MATT TAYLOR ALONE! CAN'T YOU SEE HE'S A *HUMAN*???
The Editorial Staff slipped from betwixt the Marital Sheets just as rosy-finger'd Dawn began painting the horizon with emasculating shades of pink and coral and [sob!] even canary yellow. As we snidely sipped our morning coffee, we sensed a ginormous disturbance in the Force.
It was as though a million manly voices had cried out in agony, and were suddenly silenced.
It was like something from the show trials of Stalin, or from the sobbing testimony of the enemies of Kim Il-sung, before they were taken away and shot. It was like a scene from Mao's cultural revolution when weeping intellectuals were forced to confess their crimes against the people.
Why was he forced into this humiliation? Because he was subjected to an unrelenting tweetstorm of abuse. He was bombarded across the internet with a hurtling dustcloud of hate...
Life contains a finite number of "where were you?" moments: where were you when they shot JFK and Martin Luther King? Where were you when the Berlin Wall fell, or the Twin Towers came crashing down?
Where were you when The Great Tweetstorm of 2014 touched ground, devastating everything in its path?
Is there anyone still brave enough to defend that most sacred of prerogatives: the right of a man to wear a shirt depicting highly sexualized and scantily clad women on television?
It is with a great degree of sadness that the Blog Princess thinks back to a bygone era when America was the undisputed Colossus on the global stage. In that golden age, men were men: bold, unashamed, proudly masculine. And everywhere, as far as the eye could see, were men sporting Hawaiian-style shirts full of semi-nekkid women.
It was a manly right of passage; something like a Bar Mitzvah. Turn 13, don an eye-popping shirt, and wear it to your first job interview. Think of the manly role models of ages past. John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart - who can think of these proud, male icons without also remembering the buxom, barely-clothed babes emblazoned on their shirts? When did men lose this proud tradition, this glorious blaze of self-expression so inextricably linked with manhood that - clearly - it must be defended at all costs, else this once-common tradition forever vanish from the earth?
And how better to highlight the overwrought, hysterical bleating of female tweeters (much less the utter intellectual bankruptcy of their arguments) than with the cool, bracing rhetoric of dispassionate reason? The searing logic and pinpoint accuracy, for instance, of this point are indisputable:
I think we all understand that "but for" the absolute right to wear eye popping shirts on TV free from gender-oppressive Twitter commentary, mankind could never have placed a landing craft on a comet in outer space. The two phenomena are as inextricably linked as ... well, Soviet-style pogroms and disapproving Tweets! And who can object to calm, sensible, but above all rigorously non-shaming phrases like, "online feminist lynch mob", ""Mean girls" online mobbing", and "bullying"? Only the kind of person who doesn't want opposing voices to be heard at all. Free speech is only free when it is unopposed and uncriticized. Disapproval and disagreement are forms of silencing, meant to shut down opposing speech.
Or so we've been told :p
Who among us can contemplate such savagery without feeling the red mist of rage descend upon those harpies who "monstered" Dr. Taylor? After all, if an actress mostly known for making a sex tape and for appearing in public in various states of undress can strip off in an effete NY magazine without a single adverse comment or even a hint of ridicule on Twitter, then surely the absolute right of a scientist to appear on TV wearing a shirt full of scantily clad women with exaggerated... err... assets must be defended because.... EQUALITY!
After all, the two situations are exactly.the.same.in.every.respect.
The solution is obvious: the only way to fight outrage and hyperbole is with outrage and hyperbole. Clearly, whatever caused this heinous attempt to crush free speech - whether it be feminism or political correctness - must not go unchallenged, else we resign ourselves to living in a world where overwrought expressions of digital rage over completely trivial incidents become the accepted norm rather than the rare and disapproved-of exception.
And what a tragedy that would be.
November 14, 2014
November 12, 2014
Blast from the Past
Interesting retrospective on how Windows has changed over the years.
The Editorial Staff can still remember checking out a home PC (it was a metal box with a tiny, 4x4 screen) from the Naval Postgraduate School. When we got it home and turned it on, the software was so bare bones that both of us kind of shook our heads and thought, "This will never catch on with most people." :p
Caption Contest - Mid-term Edition
Alright, villains. Here is your next picture to snarkify.
Have at it.
And may the Farce be with you.
November 11, 2014
Let The Judgement Begin
Well, that was an excellent exercise in evisceration. The Dark Side loathes the Stones, and y'all's comments tickled tremendously. Even though it may not seem so given the length of time it's taken me to post this, I have had most of it written for quite some time, but then Life took over the steering wheel. (And, no, despite the Princess' assertions, it had very little to do with abundant quantities of beer. Although, that's not to say that beer hasn't been consumed....0>;~])
But, that's irrelevant right now when there is old business that is long past due it's proper attention.
Today, Veteran's Day, was originally called Armistice Day to commemorate the signing of the treaty that signalled the formal end to what was, at the time, the Great War - the war to end all wars. Having been signed at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, it therefore seems apropos to this Dark Lord that I should a Top 11 for the judgement today.
So with that and a look back...
Let the Judgement begin.
There are two sections to the Judgement today. The first of which belong to our own inimitable spd rdr. Obviously the man had been working entirely too hard during his absence. So, here in no particular order is the man, the myth, the anti vowel-movement in one cracked nutshell, spd rdr:
Mick Jagger says:
After fifty years of non-stop touring and rock and roll I've learned a few things about what it takes to stay at the top of your game. Sure, it's important to watch your diet, get plenty of exercise, and know how to resuscitate your guitarist backstage before the big show. But sometimes a hectic touring schedule can interfere with your personal routine, and when the lights go down and there's 20 thousand fans screaming in anticipation, the last thing that you want to worry about is irregularity.
That's why whenever the Rolling Stones go on tour, we pack Dulcolax medicated laxative suppositories. Dulcolax provides fast, reliable relief from the occasional constipation and irregularity caused by too much gourmet food and over-prescribed prescription medications. Just one Dulcolax suppository and Jumpin' Jack Flash is a blast blast blast!
Take it from Mick: When you can't get no satisfaction, try Dulcolax medicated laxative suppositories and rock on!
Keith Richards says:
Oy...Frigginslumerinit' wot? Hasimselfrigginknighted, wot. Then wot, wot? Figginsupositaries wot. Wot? Figging (unintelligible), wot?
Take it from Keith: When you need to git yer ya-yas out, try Dulcolax medicated laxative suppositories and wot.
Jumpin' Jack Flash
it's a gasp, gasp, gasp!
"Yo! Check out the sister rockin' the turnip!"
"Yo Keith! Check out the sister rockin' the parsnip!"
"No, Mick, turnip."
"All right then... Would you please parsnip me bloody amplifier!"
Kicking off the next five is George Pal for,
♪"Lucy in the ska-ay with diamonds."
Keith: "Right lick wrong song you senile drug slut BOOF"
Next up is htom with a hard turn at Albequerque away from the running theme, You! Yes, yellow shirt and Parrothead Fin on your head! You have to have a number to bid!
tweell breaks the brass ring as he tries to keep from having to say those infamous words,
I can't get no
MJL snatches the silver whilst steering us back onto the right path, "Keith, big hooters, 14 G through J."
And Allen grabs the gold this week with a timely reminder that time is definately not on their side (Thank goodness!0>;~]),
Start me up
Crash cart to stage center, clear! Kerthump.
Start me up and never stop.
Bringing us to number 1 (or 11, if you prefer), and who else should claim that spot than the Big Kahuna his own self, Mick Jagger (otherwise known as YAG during his more lucid moments) with the ultimate old geezer - and ya gotta admit, the Stones are ohhhllld geezers - caption, Hey, You!!! Get offa my lawn!
Congrats winners! Thank you everyone for playing and waiting so patiently. Happy Veteran's Day, commenters and lurkers alike (yes, we know you're there) and a deep, heartfelt "Thank You" from the Dark Side to those who have served, are serving and may one day decide to serve - as well as to your families - for the sacrifices you've all made to keep this country truly the Land of the Free and the home of the Brave.
As usual, the next picture is forthcoming....soon.
Veterans Day is a day of remembrance on which many of us - perhaps most of us - remember the dead rather than the living. That other holiday, Memorial Day, casts a long shadow. And so, rather than count our many blessings; rather than thank the men and women who served this nation and then returned home to raise families and work in our factories, businesses, schools, churches, and charities, we think only of those we have lost.
Or we focus solely on war, forgetting how many of our fellow Americans never saw combat. In times of peace and plenty, they stood lonely watches far from home, gave up holidays with family and friends, missed the births of their children, countless anniversaries, a son's first step or a daughter's high school graduation. They slogged through mud, slept outside under the stars, hiked for miles wearing heavy packs, braved icy winds on storm-tossed decks. They jumped out of perfectly good planes and years later endured painfully compressed spines and crushed bones in their feet. Their ears ring and many can't hear well after decades of noises from artillery or jet engines or fire from a battleship's 16 inch guns.
Because even practicing for war has its dangers. Even in peace time, they are prepared for war. They harden their hearts against hardships most of us can only imagine, and open themselves back up when a child or spouse needs a different kind of strength. But through it all, they can be depended upon. They are there when we want them, and even when we forget how very much we need them:
The weekend obituaries told the story. We lost three of you in Syracuse alone. It seems like we lose a few more every day. That makes it important to get two words on the table:
For once, we'll say it now, instead of waiting for your wake.
Veterans Day is Tuesday. Your day, really, although what it's become too often is a day off from school, a break from work, an extra afternoon to walk in circles at the mall.
Veterans Day. We have parades and ceremonies around Syracuse.
But many of you never went to the parades.
You held jobs, raised your families and put the war up in the attic, uniforms and clippings in a locked-up chest.
Thank you. They say Veterans Day is about remembering, but maybe it should be about appreciating. I see you around town, survivors of war and those who waited, white-haired couples walking arm in arm from church on Sunday, old men sitting in McDonald's drinking coffee in a booth, or, toughest of all, those of you left all alone.
Forty or fifty years or sixty years of marriage, a wife or husband who heard your secrets in the middle of the night, and now they are gone and you're alone with it. The things you saw, the things you buried, the things no one else could hear. Your kids moved away and you walk alone on Veterans Day.
To remember Okinawa or Normandy, Pearl Harbor or the Bulge, Korea or Vietnam, and now Kuwait, Iraq or Afghanistan. To us, they are names, places we can't envision. You went because of some cosmic lottery, because of the time and the place of your birth, because you were drafted or because you made a choice. It was your fate to go and then to come back and remember.
On this day, I am thankful for the veterans in my life. Some were ambivalent about their service and even their country, yet served anyway. Many don't particularly care for rules, but followed them anyway. They represent Navy surface line, Marine infantry, artillery, and aviation, Army infantry and artillery, the Navy nurse corps, and Air Force pilots and ground personnel.
Most are quietly proud of their service. They should be.
November 07, 2014
Quote of the Day
One of the strangest themes in the conservative blogosphere is that it's not a big deal that young men aren't getting married, having children, and generally living the "Father Knows Best" traditional lifestyle. We can't help wondering how anyone reconciles that position with observations like this?
...one of the biggest, but largely unheralded, factors associated with 2014 voting patterns was marriage. Indeed, marital status proved to be more important than gender and age in predicting voting. The marriage gap in House voting stood at 31 points, compared to a gender gap of 20 points and an age gap of 27 points (between 18- to 29-year-olds and those 65 or older).
Given that young women already vote in larger numbers than young men, shouldn't we be concerned about the impact of young men NOT voting? The concern seems somewhat lopsided - we agonize about young women getting college degrees and putting off marriage, but there seems to be little support for encouraging young men to do what we so badly want young women to do: put marriage and family first.
Weird. And very unbalanced.
November 06, 2014
The Perfect Candidate!
In Washington State, an unexpected problem with early voting emerges:
In August, the Federal Way Mirror in Washington State said of their close 30th District state house election, "this race may be the most interesting to watch. Two good, smart candidates who know the issues and will run a very clean race."
It was a race to watch, but not for the reason they predicted.
The incumbent Democratic state Rep. Roger Freeman — one of two black representatives in the state legislature — died at the end of October at the age of 48. Around 15 percent of the district's voters had already mailed in their ballots, and at the end of Election night he had a six-point-lead over his Republican opponent, Jack Dovey.
How often do voters elect dead people?
Voters elect people whose hearts no longer thump to the beat of democracy more than you'd think. Last year, Oregon voters elected a man to the Aberdeen City Council five months after he died. Missouri elected a dead man who was running unopposed to serve as county commissioner in 2010.
...Hackensack High School Principal Joseph DeFalco died after the polls had opened in 2005, and was elected to the city council for a four-year term he could not complete, or even start. In 1998, a dead woman, Jacquelyn Morrow Lewis Ledgerwood, made it to a run-off in the Oklahoma Senate's Democratic primary.
The New York Times reported at the time,''It's really baffling,'' Brent Wilcox, political director at the state Democratic Party, said today. ''I had a couple people tell me they voted for her because she had the longest name.''
Suddenly, lack of civic engagement begins to look like a good thing.
November 05, 2014
Do Not Try This At Home
Well, at least not until next year. Doing so now would be downright creepy.
Are Your Emoticons Racially Sensitive Enough?
Kristallnacht the Dread Reign of Negativity is past, Americans can finally get down to worrying about the problems that really matter.
Like our choices in emoticons/emoji, and whether they adequately reflect the beautiful and natural racial, ethnic, and plumbing-related diversity that drives so much of our national discourse:
Calls for more racially diverse emojis – cartoon-like pictograms used in text messages and apps - have been going on for over a year.
And now the Unicode Consortium, which sets the standards for emojis, is considering adding five new skin colours to its library of icons.
Users will be able to choose an emoji's skin colour that best reflects their own at the touch of a smartphone button, if the plans go ahead.
Good Lord. Why stop with skin color? WHERE ARE ALL THE FULLY-EQUAL, SELF-EMPOWERED FEMALE EMOJI????
Personally, the Blog Princess will not rest until all those little smiley faces she types can totes represent as self-loathing tiny, pink Easy Bake Ovens. Exuberant, relentlessly positive little ovens, with cupcakes inside.
Apres Le Deluge.....
...comes l'overreach journalistique and politique. Can the inevitable flood of "THIS IS THE DEATH OF...." articles be far behind?
Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, proclaimed Wednesday that Republicans may have built a “hundred-year majority” in the House.
“We’re as back to a majority as any of us have seen in our lifetimes. It may be a hundred-year majority,” he said.
House Republicans have swelled their majority to at least 243 and are on track for more pickups that would give them the biggest House majority since the Truman administration nearly a century ago.
Sacre bleu! We were told there would be no math! [whipping out handy pocket calculator]
Let's see... it's 2014. Truman's administration began in 1945, which would make that.... about 70 years ago. That doesn't seem like "nearly" a century, but perhaps there's more to this:
They could end up with as many as 249 seats, which would be the largest House Republican majority since 1930.
OK.... 2014 - 1930 = 85 years. That's closer to 100 years than 70 was, but what does 1930 have to do with the Truman administration?
But Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesman for the NRCC, said Walden was merely putting Tuesday’s resounding victory into historical context, not predicting decades of House GOP rule.
“His reference to a ‘hundred-year majority’ was that it’s been nearly 100 years since we’ve seen a majority this size," he said, noting a NRCC memo that pointed to those likely gains. “[He] wasn’t suggesting in any way that the majority is safe for 100 years.”
Well, that's certainly more like it. (whipping yesterday's handy chart from the WaPo and scribbling all over it):
This really *is* a big deal, after all.
It's Morning in America...
...and boy is the NY Times Editorial board bent out of shape:
Republicans would like the country to believe that they took control of the Senate on Tuesday by advocating a strong, appealing agenda of job creation, tax reform and spending cuts. But, in reality, they did nothing of the sort.
Even the voters who supported Republican candidates would have a hard time explaining what their choices are going to do. That’s because virtually every Republican candidate campaigned on only one thing: what they called the failure of President Obama. In speech after speech, ad after ad, they relentlessly linked their Democratic opponent to the president and vowed that they would put an end to everything they say the public hates about his administration. On Tuesday morning, the Republican National Committee released a series of get-out-the-vote images showing Mr. Obama and Democratic Senate candidates next to this message: “If you’re not a voter, you can’t stop Obama.”
The most important promises that winning Republicans made were negative in nature. They will repeal health care reform. They will roll back new regulations on banks and Wall Street. They will stop the Obama administration’s plans to curb coal emissions and reform immigration and invest in education.
Campaigning on pure negativity isn’t surprising for a party that has governed that way since Mr. Obama was first sworn in. By creating an environment where every initiative is opposed and nothing gets done, Republicans helped engineer the president’s image as weak and ineffectual.
Take THAT, Negative, Hating Haters who Hate. You are all clearly Bad, Stupid people who can't explain how anything you support will help anyone.
Republican businessman Larry Hogan pulled off a stunning upset in heavily Democratic Maryland on Tuesday, winning the governor’s race against Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown by relentlessly promising to roll back tax increases and chart a new direction for the state.
Shortly after midnight, Brown conceded a race that he lost despite the strong support of the state’s Democratic establishment and visits to Maryland in the closing weeks of the campaign by President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hogan’s victory — a repudiation of the eight-year tenure of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) — means that Annapolis will return to divided government for the first time since 2006. It remains to be seen how much Hogan and his running mate, Lt. Gov.-elect Boyd Rutherford, will be able to accomplish with a Democratic-controlled legislature. Their victory sent a strong message that Marylanders had grown weary of the tax increases enacted under O’Malley, which Hogan harped on throughout the campaign.
Wethink Reichsführer Hogan may also have vowed to singlehandedly reinstate slavery, repeal the 19th Amendment, and chain women to tiny pink Easy Bake Ovens but we may be mistaken there. Fortunately, all these totally unexpected goings on can be dismissed as the foolish hatemongering of The Deeply Negative/Stupid Other.
That is all.
November 04, 2014
The Pendulum Swings?
A fascinating chart in the WaPo shows trends in party dominance of Congress over time:
Barring some sort of systematic polling-collapse/miraculous-combination-of-luck-for-Democrats, Republicans will walk into 2015 controlling both the House and the Senate by reasonable margins. (As of writing, the Post's Election Lab figures that there will be 53 Republicans in the Senate and 243 in the House.) It will be the first time the GOP has controlled both chambers since the 109th Congress -- and, if the Election Lab numbers hold up, the widest margin of control since 1929.
One of the more remarkable aspects of the chart above is the reminder that single-party dominance was the norm for much of the 20th century, with Democrats holding both chambers for Congress after Congress even as the White House changed hands. The recent back-and-forth between the parties is the exception, not the norm.
Speaking of "systematic polling-collapses and miraculous-combinations-of-luck-for-Democrats", the People's Republic of Maryland is all over it!
Kerry August can debunk any excuse an election judge may have for why her votes switched from Republican to Democrat right before her eyes: Her hands are tiny, her nails aren’t long and she definitely didn’t vote with an elbow.
Still, while voting early last week in Montgomery County, Md., August watched as three votes she cast for Republicans changed to Democrats.
It’s a situation voters across Maryland found themselves in as they voted early in midterm elections formally held today.
“There’s been a boatload of problems in Maryland in various counties,” August told The Daily Signal, adding: “They say your fingers are too big, your nails are too long, you vote with your elbow or something. There’s people complaining down there.”
You've got to love Maryland - we're always in step with the latest trends:
States have abandoned electronic voting machines in droves, ensuring that most voters will be casting their ballots by hand on Election Day.
With many electronic voting machines more than a decade old, and states lacking the funding to repair or replace them, officials have opted to return to the pencil-and-paper voting that the new technology was supposed to replace.
Nearly 70 percent of voters will be casting ballots by hand on Tuesday, according to Pamela Smith, president of election watchdog Verified Voting.
"Paper, even though it sounds kind of old school, it actually has properties that serve the elections really well," Smith said.
Since today is election day, we decided to take a look at some old post-election day predictions from November 5th, 2008. It's always interesting to look back at how things seemed then, vs. now.
Not To Put Too Fine a Point on It, But WTF????
This, from Glenn Reynolds, has got to be one of the most bizarre reactions we've seen (admittedly a very high bar) to that viral catcalling video that has been making the rounds:
Second, and more troubling, the notion of going after minority males for inappropriate behavior toward white women raises unsettling memories of Jim Crow. Emmett Till, for example, a 14-year-old black youth who visited Mississippi from his home town of Chicago, broke the local behavioral code by flirting with a white cashier while buying some bubble gum. A few days later he was kidnapped, brutally beaten, and fatally shot in the head. An all-white jury, presumably viewing Till's behavior as culpable, refused to convict his killers.
I feel sure, of course, that the makers of today's catcalling video didn't think for a moment about the Emmett Till case, and I am positive that they would not endorse the fatal lynching of the men they pictured. Nonetheless, it's worth noting that the history of controlling minority men's intersexual behavior in this country is closely intertwined with the history of lynching. Those who choose to get involved in this field need to be aware of that history, lest they unintentionally make things worse.
After this, the Editorial Staff don't want to see any more complaining about accusations of coded language or RAAAAACISM hyperbole from the Left. Once you actively endorse behaviors and arguments you've complained about vehemently, why should anyone take you or your arguments seriously?
November 03, 2014
WHAT TIME IS IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTT????
The Matriarchy Strikes Back
Six of nine judges on the Washington State Supreme Court (5 of them female) rule that the State can't attempt to improve conviction rates for rape and sexual assault by eroding the due process rights of defendants:
Typically, the burden of proof lies with the accuser. Otherwise, anyone could accuse anyone else of anything and then say “prove me wrong.”
And that’s not how the legal system — or logic — works.
The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that those accused of rape are not responsible for proving they obtained consent. In a 6-3 ruling, the court said that requiring the accused to provide such proof to the preponderance of evidence standard violated constitutional rights.
"Requiring a defendant to do more than raise a reasonable doubt is inconsistent with due process principles," wrote Justice Debra Stephens. She added that doing so raised "a very real possibility of wrongful convictions."
Of course the decision pertains to criminal proceedings, not college disciplinary hearings. Still, it's not good news for our Constitutional Law Prof president and his attempts to negate due process rights for college students accused of sexual assault. It's hard to see the justification for treating college students more harshly than accused rapists:
"When a defense necessarily negates an element of the crime charged, the State may not shift the burden of proving that defense onto the defendant," the ruling said.
"Requiring a defendant to do more than raise a reasonable doubt is inconsistent with due process principles," Justice Debra Stephens wrote...
This doesn't bode well for what is rapidly becoming one of the President's favorite arguments ("We can't wait for the system/rule of law to work").
Wethinks someone's going to need a bigger pen and phone.