Sunday, November 09, 2014

The "Us vs. Them" Pope

There are good reasons why someone like Cardinal Raymond Burke would have made a terrible pope. At the crux of the matter there is the marked tendency he has shown to treat issues like ideological footballs which he would try to pick up and power down the field down his opponents throats. Now, that might make some sense when dealing with forces like a highly partisan and unfriendly to hostile to Catholicism press corps, like the one we suffer from here in the United States. Where it makes little to no sense is in the pastoral work of the church, where to do so is to divide the Church into issue groups, some labelled "friends," others labelled "enemies."

Unfortunately, if such is true of a Cardinal, it's is more true of a sitting pope and Pope Francis seems to have forgotten that fact, if he was ever aware of it at all. It has been the policy of many traditionalists to give Francis the benefit of the doubt, but it is becoming increasingly clear that he sees the world, and as a result the Church, as being filled with combating ideological camps. He's President Bush standing in front of us all and saying "you are either with us or against us." That Francis is being lionized by people who love neither the Church, nor the real flesh and blood human beings that make it up, and seems to be actively seeking their approval, makes me sad beyond words.

It's not that I didn't know it was coming. It's sort of like your own demise. It's one thing to acknowledge one's inevitable end. It's another to see it looming up before you.

Friday, November 07, 2014

A New Venture

And now for something completely different...

I've actually been contemplating putting together a philosophy tinged podcast which would kind of be like an audio version of James Burke's Connections, only infinitely more trivial.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

I'm Tired Of Dishonest Bullshit

This is the straw that broke my back.

I'm sorry but it is impossible for any thinking person to be against people having government issued ID.  To be against it you must be either A) some sort of neo-nazi white supremacist type, or B) committed to perpetuating a permanent helpless underclass for your own, and you privileged class's own, political benefit.

Without a valid government ID one cannot get a job, buy alcohol, drive a car, write a check, travel outside the country, travel on an airplane, travel on Amtrak, travel on a Greyhound bus, buy medications that contain pseudoephedrine, or even purchase prescription medication. I'm sorry but what kind of person wants to keep people from having such personal agency in their lives?

I'll tell you who. Evil sons of bitches. That's who.

If people like Lewis Black spent HALF the time they do bitching about Republicans helping people enter the 20th Century already none of this would be an issue. The truth is they don't want poor Americans to enter the 20th (or 21st) century. They want them helpless and dependent.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sleepless In America: 2014 Edition

God only knows how anyone in this country can sleep when we don't know if the redhead from the Wendy's commercials has the correct beliefs.

And what about the GEICO gecko?

Insomnia here we come.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Unwanted Thoughts Of A Rank Outsider

The long awaited vote is on in Scotland. I have absolutely no dog in the question of an independent Scotland. Not a one. Oh, I think there is some Scots blood in me somewhere, but I'm pretty sure it is awash in a sea of Irish and English red that it amounts to not a lot. I certainly have never been one of those Americans that searches back through his genealogy in order to know what tartan to order. I look terrible in plaid anyway.

Indeed, the going on in Scotland lately have been about a form of nationalism that has very little to do with the American experience. In many ways the Union that forms the UK is a little more in keeping with our national experience in the US than the clarion call of the monoculture that is good old fashioned nationalism. Its particularly strange as those most loudly proclaiming the need for Scottish independence seem to have no idea how conservative such a call really is. As well, the romance of it all can be a bit intoxicating, especially for us American observers. The United States has very little that smacks of the "ancestral" about it. When we use the term it is almost always used metaphorically. To live in a place where it actually applies.... well, that is the stuff of fiction for us.

Which may explain why part of me hopes Scotland says "no" today. The ancestry is real all right, but I wonder if the romance of it all isn't just as fictional for them as it would be for us. Think of the fantasies of those who romanticize the antebellum South. In these flights from the real world difficulties are never faced and the drawbacks and dark sides are ignored or completely forgotten. In the debates on Scottish independence I've seen on CSPAN there was a disturbing amount of faith put into slogans by the "Yes" proponents, as if translating them into reality would be the easy part. No. Spouting slogans is the easy part. All the rest of it is very hard.

Whatever happens all I can say is good luck to the people of Scotland, and the UK as a whole.

Wait? This won't affect the price of Scotch...
will it?  

Sunday, September 07, 2014

If You Ever Wonder Why I Don't Blog Much Anymore.... is exhibit #7688:

That link takes you to a website called "The Moderate Voice" [sic], which these days apparently believes the KKK style hate ravings of one Hart Williams qualifies as "moderate."


Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Ignorant Intolerant and Narrow Minded Left

I used to think that description only accounted for 10-15% of the political left in this country, and the vast majority of it confined to the far (loony) left. Even that was forgivable, in a sense, because the far left has been dominated by varieties of Marxism for over a century and they, as a group, are too ideologically stupid to be anything other than ignorant, intolerant and narrow minded. However, of late ignorant, intolerant and narrow minded has gone mainstream in the Democratic party. For example, you have these morons claiming in the name of tolerance you cannot have pluralism. And for another, more distressing, example you have the main streaming of anti-Semitism called BDS:


What is particularly scary about this state of affairs is there seems to be no dissent from these positions in the entire Democratic party. In fact the Democratic party seems more monolithic about, well, everything than it has been since the 1860's. To be left of center in America increasingly means living in a monoculture where different ideas and ways of life are viewed as being anathema to every tenet of common human decency. Indeed you would be hard pressed to find an example of a mainstream Democratic writer who even pays lip service to the idea that one can disagree with a Democratic party policy and NOT be morally bankrupt. However, in the increasingly Orwellian newspeak of the Democratic hegemony intolerance is branded tolerance, moral zealotry is called open mindedness, and intellectual chicanery is called scholarship. I call myself frightened.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The New York Dumb Times

I have often lamented that we live in an era of degraded journalism. Journalists of today are less independent, less articulate, less well read, and less intelligent than journalists of decades past. The depth of their deficiencies comes to the forefront when you read, frankly, garbage like the following from the editorial board of the New York Times:

The Supreme Court’s deeply dismaying decision on Monday in the Hobby Lobby case swept aside accepted principles of corporate law and religious liberty to grant owners of closely held, for-profit companies an unprecedented right to impose their religious views on employees. It was the first time the court has allowed commercial business owners to deny employees a federal benefit to which they are entitled by law based on the owners’ religious beliefs, and it was a radical departure from the court’s history of resisting claims for religious exemptions from neutral laws of general applicability when the exemptions would hurt other people.
For starters, in what way does Hobby Lobby not paying for abortifacients "impose their religious beliefs" on anyone? Here is the answer: it doesn't. Hobby Lobby employees are free to spend all their spare time taking abortifacients if that is what floats their boat. They just have to pay for them. Secondly, a mandate is NOT a "federal benefit." If the federal government wants to provide cheap abortifacients to people they can fund a program to do so, if they can get the votes. The moment you require a private party to provide something via a mandate you automatically have the possibility of running against other rights. The idea that the you can make Hobby Lobby or any other private company or organization a de facto arm of the government that is forced to give up ANY constitutional protections by issuing of governmental mandates is simple nonsense. (It wouldn't be in a fascist or communist system, but we don't live in either of those... unless Justice Ginsburg has her way of course.) "The full implications of the decision, which ruled in favor of employers who do not want to include contraceptive care in their company health plans, as required by the Affordable Care Act, will not be known for some time." Of course this isn't what this case was about. None of the three companies involved claimed a right to not cover all contraceptives, nor did the Supreme Court assert any such thing. This is a product of the over-heated imaginations of the chronically stupid and insipid. And, indeed, if you are unfortunate enough to read the rest of the Times' editorial, and you have a functioning brain, you will be left saying three things: 1) What the hell are they blathering on about? 2) I wonder what color the sky is in their world? And 3) When did real journalism die?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Your Domestic Terror Update

In case you were wondering, yes, all of the suspects on the FBI's Domestic Terrorism list are still of the ideological left.

Move along. Nothing to see here.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Federal Judge Declares Voting "Unconstitutional"

"In any voting situation," stated the judge Ty Rant, "there is inherently the chance voters might vote for something our elites do not favor. As our elites must be catered to in every particular, being that they are better than the hoi polloi, voting must be considered outmoded and something we have progressed beyond."

Judge Sonia Sotomayor immediately signaled her acceptance of judge Rant's opinion.

Monday, June 02, 2014

It's Garbage Like This That Gives Social Science A Bad Name

From the WaPo: Female-named hurricanes kill more than male hurricanes because people don’t respect them, study finds

People don’t take hurricanes as seriously if they have a feminine name and the consequences are deadly, finds a new groundbreaking study.
Female-named storms have historically killed more because people neither consider them as risky nor take the same precautions, the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes.
Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University examined six decades of hurricane death rates according to gender, spanning  1950 and 2012.  Of the 47 most damaging hurricanes, the female-named hurricanes produced an average of 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named storms, or almost double the number of fatalities.
The lack of even rudimentary scientific methodology is staggering. For starters, comparing the effects of pre-1970 storms with post-1970 storms is difficult because of an important historical change, namely the introduction of satellites to accurately track hurricanes. This "study" blindly treats these two era the same. Well, they are not the same. Pre-1970 storms (oh, and all of this data was collected from their supporting data) averaged 35.4 deaths per storm. Post-1970 storms averaged 16.8 deaths per storm.

They cannot even make the Prima Facia case for their paper. Male names have only been in use since 1979. Since 1979 male named storms have produced an average of 17.9 deaths. Females storms have produced on average 15.8 deaths per storm.

Honestly, this paper took 15 minutes to completely destroy. How it could be published by the National Academy of Science is beyond me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Juliet Lapidos Is A New York Times Fascist

Just got to call them as they are. Fascist is the only appropriate label for someone who believes they have the moral right to remove people from the political process because they deem them "inferior" in some manner, be it because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or because they fail a preferred ideological litmus test.

Anyone who engages in such behavior is anti-democratic, pro-authoritarian, and 100% all scum-bag all the time.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thought For The Day

The worst thing about the internet is that it convinces me almost weekly that huge swaths of my fellow Americans are blithering morons who lack the capacity to read or think. On the other hand, they are fantastic at being moralizing prigs.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Progressive Equivalencies I

From your ongoing guide to progressive political "discourse":

Rejection of Democratic policy preference in any context for any reason = Threat to the very existence of democracy.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Intellectual Bankruptcy Of (Portions Of) The Left

Go read this long (and long-winded) piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates, but only if you have a half-hour of your life you don't mind throwing away.  And why is that exactly? Well, in this piece Coates basically argues that neither whites nor blacks in America are capable of exercising moral autonomy. For Coates no negative consequence ever faced by a black person in any context can be justified because of the existence of white hegemony, the perpetual existence of which is taken to be axiomatic. Consequently, blacks are assumed to never have free meaningful choices to make which means, of course, that they lack a prerequisite of moral autonomy.

Whites, on the other hand, are denied moral autonomy simply of the basis of needing to fulfill the role as hegemonic oppressors. Whites being "wrong" has nothing to do with decisions they do or do not make, it has to do with the color of their skin. In such a view there is no difference between a white person choosing action A and another white person choosing ~A. By definition each decision is a "product of white hegemonic society" and therefore equally "wrong." So, just as in the case for blacks, whites also lack the ability to make free meaningful choices, and thus are denied a prerequisite of moral autonomy.

This is exactly the sort of situation elites like Coates want, because by denying the existence of moral autonomy in these types of questions they can claim that these issues should be above the ken of normal democratic public policy decision making. There is no room for differing opinion or disparate value judgements, there is only the role of oppressor (or oppressed) to enact.

Of course it is a dream come true to live in a world where one's preferences are impossible to gainsay, and Mr. Coates would probably be quite reluctant to leave the very same world he has constructed for himself, but there is no reason why we need to go and live there with him.