Results tagged “Opinion” from Bill's Words

Ω #StopTheLabels


I think the biggest problem (OK, a biggest problem, because, why not?) is labels. I’m conservative. You’re Liberal. I’m black. You’re White. When labeling progresses from lower-case adjectives to upper-case adjectives, we lose our ability to be more complex in the minds of others. We lose the nuances associated with our character and get lumped in with all the Other People of That Group. As a result, the Politicians go nuts, the Media fan the flames, and We the People all get consumed by the Internet as if we were nothing but cookie cutter examples of People of That Group.

I’m a very complicated person, and you are, too.

So don’t hesitate to read a Liberal’s liberal opinion or a Conservative’s conservative opinion or a Hater’s racist opinion or a Hippie’s pot-enhanced opinion and give it some thought. It will hurt. It will offend. It will stretch your mind. It may reinforce your own position as a People of That Group. Or it may not. But you’ll never know if you don’t try.

As you encounter these diverse opinions, stop labeling the people whose opinions they are. They are no more a one-facet person of That Group than you are of This Group. Stop assuming that Christians all do this or that Athiests all do that. And even though I know you’ll all go to hell (do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to hell) and you’re all sure I’m a right-wing Bible-thumping Neanderthal, I will hear your position as a People of That Group and I will respect you for trying to change my mind, as you should respect me for trying to change yours. Don’t be offended when I express my opinion, and I’ll not be offended when you express yours. Or be offended. That’s OK, too.

Disagree. Argue. Discuss. Try to change my mind—proselytize. Let’s do this. Respect those who believe in their cause enough to do so, because in this day and age of Instanity (the craziness of instancy) having an opinion and being willing to express it, especially if it rows against the tide of Label-Fed Opinion, is suicidal, heretical, career-ending. It’s risky stuff.

But don’t cry and scream “Hater!” or “Christian!” or “Hippie!” or “Label!” because you don’t succeed in changing the mind of the hater, the zealot, the other human. The moment you label, you just lost the argument, just like turning the board over when the game’s not going your way, and you just lost the respect of the Person of the Other Group and pushed them further into the Other Group—right where you want them so you can yell and scream at them some more. Once you fall into this level of “discourse,” it’s a vicious circle, you see. It only gets worse from here. And your opinion, no matter how important in the cause of The Group, was instantly discounted and put out to the mental curb with yesterday’s grass clippings (though, really, shouldn’t you be composting?).

You’re just adding to the noise.

So much noise. Such little content.

I’m lookin’ straight at you, media talking heads, Internet celebrities, church leaders, loud-mouthed and quiet-mouthed, scripted and unscripted politicians alike, and even justices of the highest court of the land.

I’m lookin’ at you, Internet commenter.

And I’m lookin’ in the mirror, right back at me, too.

Stop it with the Labels. Enough is enough.


Arsalan Iftikhar is wrong, too.

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot, shall we?

Imagine if you are in a country which has been invaded by Americans wearing standard issue Battle Dress Uniforms. Think you might be nervous when you see someone in BDUs? Well, by everybody’s interpretation of this situation, you are a bigot if you say, “I get nervous when I see an American in BDUs.”

By the definition of the word bigot, however, “everybody” would be wrong.


bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

Where’s the hate or intolerance in what Mr. Williams said?

OK, another try. Princeton University:

bigoted - blindly and obstinately attached to some creed or opinion and intolerant toward others; “a bigoted person”; “an outrageously bigoted point of view”

Is Mr. Williams “blindly or obstinately attached” to his opinion—and being intolerant? I would guess that if he got up and said, “If I see a Muslim on the plane, I demand that he be kicked off the plane,” then, yes, I’d say he was being intolerant.

No, he’s just “nervous.” Shots make me nervous. Heck, doctors make me nervous. Lawyers… even more so. But I don’t hate doctors, I don’t hate lawyers, and I’m not intolerant of either. But if I say, “(X) makes me nervous?” Bigoted? Hardly.

But wait! “Bill,” you say, “that person has a reason to be nervous around Americans in BDUs. They attacked that person’s country!”

Ah, yes, “without reason.” Wiktionary:

bigoted - Being a bigot; biased; strongly prejudiced; forming opinions without just cause

Let’s review for a moment, shall we? Who was it, exactly, who attacked America on 9/11? Was it (a) evangelistic Christians (b) Jewish fundamentalists (c) Buddhist monks or (d) Muslim extremists?

Which of these aforementioned groups keeps up pressure on American interests with suicide bombers and the like? Oh, sure, the remaining groups have their share of extremists and nutjobs, too (except, perhaps, for the monks), but, really, which group has shown a tendency to give Americans pause for thought?

OK, then, let’s get past the question of bigotry. I think I’ve made my case: he wasn’t expressing a bigoted opinion.

But let’s assume that he did, in fact, express a bigoted opinion. Was NPR right to fire him? Let’s go to Mr. Iftikhar’s opinion and coverage of the subject:

Once Williams made that factually wrong statement, he then no longer continued being a “news analyst”; he had crossed over the line into simply voicing his paranoid and irrational fears to the general public.

“Juan Williams is a news analyst; he is not a commentator and he is not a columnist,” [National Public Radio CEO Vivian] Schiller told an Atlanta Press Club luncheon Thursday. “We have relied on him over the years to give us perspective on the news, not to talk about his opinions.”

She added, “NPR news analysts have a distinctive role and set of responsibilities. This is a very different role than that of a commentator or columnist. News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation. As you all well know, we offer views of all kinds on our air every day, but those views are expressed by those we interview — not our reporters and analysts.”

Problem: Mr. Williams was in no way, shape or form bound to not express his personal opinions in public on controversial issues. How do I know this? I read the source. From NPR’s Ethics Code:

V. Outside work, freelancing, speaking engagements

  1. The primary professional responsibility of NPR journalists is to NPR. They should never work in direct competition with NPR. An example of competing with NPR would be breaking a story or contributing a feature for another broadcast outlet or Web site before offering the work to NPR.

No problem here.

2. NPR journalists must get written permission for all outside freelance and journalistic work, including written articles. Requests should be submitted in writing to the employee’s immediate supervisor. Approval will not be unreasonably denied if the proposed work will not discredit NPR, conflict with NPR’s interests, create a conflict of interest for the employee or interfere with the employee’s ability to perform NPR duties. Supervisors must respond within seven days of receiving a request.

Not a problem here.

3. NPR journalists must get written permission for broadcast appearances or speaking engagements, whether or not compensated. Requests should be submitted in writing to the employee’s immediate supervisor, and copied to the Communications Division at Approval will not be unreasonably denied if the proposed work will not discredit NPR, conflict with NPR’s interests, create a conflict of interest for the employee or interfere with the employee’s ability to perform NPR duties. Supervisors must respond within seven days of receiving a request.

I have to assume that Mr. Williams followed procedure here. And, if that’s the case, then just what the heck was NPR management thinking he would do if he went onto Bill O’Reilly’s show? Would he not offer his opinion? Or just offer his opinion on non-controversial issues? Would he just offer stock facts? O’Reilly’s show is all about opinion on controversial issues. Would they have fired him if he had made a non-bigoted statement about, say, his favorite color? “The color blue makes me nervous, Bill.” Whammo, Mr. Williams! You’re outta’ here! You can’t objectively report on art anymore!

3. NPR journalists may not engage in public relations work, paid or unpaid. Exceptions may be made for certain volunteer nonprofit, nonpartisan activities, such as participating in the work of a church, synagogue or other institution of worship, or a charitable organization, so long as this would not conflict with the interests of NPR in reporting on activities related to that institution or organization. When in doubt, employees should consult their supervisor.

Not relevant.

4. In general, NPR journalists may not without prior permission from their supervisor do outside work for government or agencies principally funded by government, or for private organizations that are regularly covered by NPR. This includes work that would be done on leaves of absence.

Not relevant.

5. NPR journalists may not ghostwrite or co-author articles or books or write reports - such as annual reports - for government agencies, institutions or businesses that we cover or are likely to cover.

Not relevant.

6. NPR journalists must get approval from the Senior Vice President for the News Division, or that person’s designee, before speaking to groups that might have a relationship to a subject that NPR may cover. Generally, NPR journalists may not speak at corporation or industry functions. NPR journalists also may not speak in settings where their appearance is being used by an organization to market its services or products, unless it is marketing NPR or its member stations’ interests, and then only as permitted in Section IX, Item 5 (below). NPR journalists are permitted to engage in promotional activities for books they have written (such as a book tour), although they are expected to get approval from their supervisors on scheduling.

Not relevant.

7. NPR journalists may only accept speaking fees from educational or nonprofit groups not engaged in significant lobbying or political activity. Determining whether a group engages in significant lobbying or political activity is the responsibility of the NPR journalist seeking permission, and all information must be fully disclosed to the journalist’s supervisor.

Not relevant.

8. NPR journalists may not speak to groups where the appearance might put in question NPR’s impartiality. Such instances include situations where the employee’s appearance may appear to endorse the agenda of a group or organization. This would include participation in some political debates and forums where the sponsoring group(s) or other participants are identified with a particular perspective on an issue or issues and NPR journalist’s participation might put into question NPR’s impartiality.

Well, one might wonder if this is relevant. Bill O’Reilly and his gang are certainly not impartial. But, again, if it were a problem, why would NPR management have approved this engagement?

9. NPR journalists must get permission from the Senior Vice President for News, or their designee, to appear on TV or other media. Requests should be submitted in writing to the employee’s immediate supervisor and copied to . Approval will not be unreasonably denied if the proposed work will not discredit NPR, conflict with NPR’s interests, create a conflict of interest for the employee or interfere with the employee’s ability to perform NPR duties. The Senior Vice President or designee must respond within seven days of receiving a request. It is not necessary to get permission in each instance when the employee is a regular participant on an approved show. Permission for such appearances may be revoked if NPR determines such appearances are harmful to the reputation of NPR or the NPR participant.

Interesting as this is more specific to TV appearances. It doesn’t contradict section 3, certainly, but neither does it say, “You’ll be fired.” It just says that the permission will be revoked.

10. In appearing on TV or other media including electronic Web-based forums, NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist. They should not participate in shows electronic forums, or blogs that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.

I’m going to have to guess that Mr. Williams would have said what he said no matter the forum. If this isn’t the case, then, yeah, he was wrong. What are the consequences of violating Section 10, then? Firing? Disciplinary action? Indeterminate.

11. Any NPR journalist intending to write a non-fiction book or TV or movie script or other guiding documents for non-radio productions based in whole or substantial part on assignments they did for NPR must notify NPR in writing of such plans before entering into any agreement with respect to that work. NPR will respond within 14 days as to whether it has any objections to the project.


12. NPR journalists considering book projects or TV or movie productions based on stories that they have covered must be careful not to give any impression they might benefit financially from the outcome of news or program events. They should before taking any actions with respect to such matters seek guidance from the Senior Vice President for News, or their designee.


And that’s it. That’s the entire section of their Ethics Code which applies here. Nowhere does it mention that “news analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues.” Since Mr. Williams presumably has read and acknowledged receipt of this Code, perhaps a good, stern talking to is more appropriate than a firing. But his entire conversation with NPR was, in essence, “You’re fired.” “Why?” “Because we said so.”

NPR unfair? Never!

Mr. Iftikhar argues that he knows the difference between a commentator, of which he is one, and an analyst, of which Mr. Williams is one. The interesting thing is that the Ethics Code quoted above does not differentiate between the two, so presumably, Mr. Iftikhar is also under the same responsibilities as Mr. Williams.

So, Mr. Iftikhar, perhaps you’d better keep your opinions—outside NPR, that is—to yourself.

Entire article for your reference here.

Now, let’s deconstruct this thing, shall we?

Here’s what Mr. Williams said:

Look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.

This is what got him fired. He got fired for telling how he feels as a result of an attack by admittedly-extremist Muslims on American soil. There is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing how he feels.

But NPR disagrees.

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller says that NPR expects news analysts and reporters alike “to behave like journalists.”

OK, let’s assume for just a moment that a partially-publically-funded news outlet has the right to decide whether or not they want someone in their employ who agrees or disagrees with their opinions. If they fire everybody who disagrees, then it’s their loss—and ours. Certainly, things that Mr. Williams says in a public venue help them decide whether or not to keep him or not.

But… What about what he said was not journalistic in nature? In fact, he was documenting for posterity how he feels when he encounters Muslims in their religious garb. He could have said, “I feel worried when I encounter a teenager wearing a black trench coat.” Or even, “I feel threatened when I encounter a rancher toting a six-shooter by his side.” Whether or not he has reason to believe that he is or is not, should or shouldn’t be threatened, it is a simple statement of how he feels.

How much more journalistic can you get? Isn’t original/primary source OK? Or does Mr. Williams have to interview another person who expresses the same opinion as he does before he’s allowed to report how a person might feel around Muslims on an airplane in traditional garb?

Or… would it have been OK if it had been on NPR where he could he censored? No, NPR is fair and balanced; that would never happen.

So apparently, NPR thinks its reporters are not entitled to express their own feelings or opinions. Doing so is non-journalistic.

Anyway, the next time you’re listening to Daniel Schorr reruns, remember that he was on NPR, expressing his opinion, and therefore was not a journalist.

Something doesn’t make sense about this.

To summarize: Obama wants to give ultra-cheap loans to small banks so they can lend it out to small businesses which will create 500,000 jobs.

Hmm. Let’s start at the top. What’s “ultra-cheap?” Well, the Fed discount rate is 0.75%.

That’s pretty darned cheap already. So what Obama is telling us is that he’s going to loan money out at something under 0.75% and somehow banks are going to be encouraged to loan it out to small businesses. But 0.75% is so minuscule as it is, I’m not sure it will make much of a difference. If a small business didn’t take a loan at whatever the already-low-rate is (because it’s not 0.75%; it’s probably more like 3-4%), there’s not much that will get you to take a loan at all, and with so little room between 0.75% and 0.0%, there’s not much room to get much lower.

And here’s the kicker: banks are already trying desperately to give the money away even as I type this. One loan officer said that there are quotas in place to land loans, and those officers’ jobs depend on making those quotas. Did you hear that, Mr. Obama? The banks can’t originate enough loans as it is! And yet you think that a 0.5% rate cut will make the difference…

I doubt it.

Even if… let’s say small businesses do take these loans. How, I wonder, will this create jobs?

Let’s think about it for a minute. If a business hires a new worker, there’s an inherent assumption that that new person can do enough work to generate enough revenue to cover that person’s salary and overhead and generate a profit. Sure, there might be some lag as the person gets up to speed (and a very short-term loan or even… gasp!… savings can help with that), but essentially, if the demand for that person’s output isn’t there, then that person will never cover their own expenses, and hiring them wasn’t a smart move in the first place.

So a loan to hire somebody is, essentially, a waste of money unless the demand for that person’s output already exists, in which case you don’t need the loan to start with: Go hire the person already! Or, if you needed a loan, then you probably already took it because you know the demand is there. The mere availability of a loan isn’t going to make a difference in your hiring because your hiring is based on demand, not your ability to pay, because if that were the case, I’d just borrow a trillion dollars and hire everybody. But then I’d have to change my name to “U.S. Government.”

Sigh. What else might create that job from a loan? You could go out and buy capital equipment, certainly. That would allow you to create more product. And oftentimes, that’s the right way for a business to grow. But, again, you have to have (drumroll, please) demand. Just because I get a loan from Mr. Obama for $1,000,000 (at only 2% APR!) and buy a really nice printing press doesn’t mean that the demand for the output of my printing press is real and will support the press, much less a press operator.

OK, then, what about increasing demand? What do we have to do to increase demand? Why, Timmy, it’s as simple as making sure people have money in their pockets to spend. Sounds simple enough, except that Mr. Obama is dead set on ensuring that the people who can most afford to spend are afraid to spend and won’t.

Some more thought is required to see why this is the case. Well, who spends money at a small business? I racked my brain and thought of the different kinds of small businesses that a typical family might visit and didn’t come up with a whole lot of essential goods and services that people of all income levels might use. There are some notable exceptions, including health professions, repair and maintenance services, maybe home heating oil or propane distribution, that sort of thing. But where does the food come from? The GigantoMart. And the kids’ school supplies? StaplesMaxOfficeSupply. Gas? BP. Clothes? China—certainly not the local tailor’s shop.

Small businesses, on the other hand, seem to service a different clientele—either other small businesses (such as printing firms who make forms for other small businesses) or (wait for it…) people who can afford to buy their “stuff” from somewhere other than WalSuperDiscountTargetMart.

That pool you want put in? Small business-provided. The new home? Sold by a small-business real estate agent. The new car? That auto dealership is a small business. The hand-painted pot from the local pottery shop? Yup, small business again. Pavement for the driveway? Small business. The new wing on the conservatory? Your builder is probably a small business. Even splurging on pizza from Papa T’s Pizza is not an essential good or service… it’s a nice-to-have, though clearly more accessible (and more often accessed) than a new RV.

What am I saying? What I’m saying is that if you want to encourage spending, make sure the people who have disposable income are not afraid to spend it. The way the Obama administration is going about it, though, scares all of us supposed-haves into keeping our money and squirreling it away because we know the government is after it. We’re certain that letting the tax cuts expire is only the first step, that the definition of “rich” (however true or not) at $250,000 will soon become $200,000 and then $150,000 and then $100,000, that 39% will become 40%, that the AMT will hit damned-near all families, that the marriage penalty will become even more severe as Obama recognizes the boon that “domestic partnerships” could be.

No, these days we’re more likely to save than spend, although with the increases in tax rates on capital gains and potential takeover of 401(k)’s and all of that other hooey, even what little incentive to save that we have is going, going… and almost gone.

Which leaves me wondering: Why, as a small business owner, would you want to expand? Your income goes up while the amount you work goes up. (Payroll and insurance and taxes and withholdings and vacations and headaches for one more worker? Is it really worth it?) And yet your taxes go up disproportionately because you get richer… which is the point of expanding in the first place.

In other words, Why bother?

And so, Mr. Obama, that loan that you think you’ll get to me somehow to encourage me to hire more people to make more money? You can just keep that money. Instead, leave the “tax breaks” in place. Buy some more infrastructure. Do something better with it than pretend you’re creating jobs with it.

Or give it to the Chinese. We owe it to them anyway.

Article here.

Glad you’re finally catching on.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll say it again:

Change is running on the other guy’s weaknesses and not your strengths, and hope is awfully hard to legislate.

This is exactly the kind of double standard that our country seems to thrive on. On one of the MSM’s hands, it’s OK for Adobe to whine to the feds about Adobe’s perception of Apple’s practices. But on the other one of the MSM’s hands, it’s not OK for Apple to tell the DA and police that they’re going to press charges in a clear-cut case of stolen property.

Of course, everybody is entitled to his own opinions, and that’s mine.

Somehow, Frank Rich thinks that Republican “anxieties” are tied to a rapidly-changing America as if our “anxiety” is caused by race. He’s missing the freakin’ point, to paraphrase Joe Freakin’ Biden.

Frank Rich seems to think that taking back the country is all about taking it back from the people in it as opposed to the people who run it. No, it’s not about taking the country back from the majority of Americans who opposed the health care clusterfreak that just passed through our Congress. Most Americans agreed with us, for Pete’s sake! It’s not about taking the country back from the millions of hard-working Americans who oppose tax hikes. It’s not about taking the country back from millions of hard-working Americans who run their own small businesses. In fact, we’re not “anxious” about taking the country back from blacks, whites, Hispanics, dogs, cats, parakeets or salamanders, as if any of these groups are the ones running the country in the first place.

I’ll have you know that I, a staunch conservative, Conservative, republican and Republican am not anxious to take the country back from anybody except those who don’t represent my interests, namely this currently-seated Congress. I don’t give a damn about what color, race, creed, gender, political inclination, sexual orientation, or Starbucks Coffee preference you are so long as you represent my opinion. If you got elected and you don’t represent my opinion, I don’t want you in Congress. It’s that simple.

Think that’s selfish? Well, then, next time you step into a polling place, vote for somebody who doesn’t represent your point of view, who doesn’t represent your opinion. You can’t and you won’t do it. Because you realize that it’s all about having your opinion represented. That’s what our forefathers fought and died for. That’s what millions have died for over the intervening centuries. And it’s what we’re fighting for now.

Anyway, you may call me “anxious”—if you like that word—because I am anxious that Congress is running roughshod all over what I and many millions of other Americans view as our right to representation. We are seriously underrepresented. We are definitely disenfranchised. And having leadership which seems hell-bent on getting its way in spite of what we, the American people, clearly prefer is significant cause to be anxious.

Shoot. You want disenfranchised? Anxious?

I am a Republican. I live in Connecticut. Need I say more?

The words chosen by the Obama administration are not chosen lightly. So I was intrigued to hear the Obamessiah say in his speech in Copenhagen:

And we will be back having the same stale arguments month after month, year after year, perhaps decade after decade — all while the danger of climate change grows until it is irreversible.

(emphasis mine)

I seem to recall that climate change (whatever that is) was something more than a… oh, heck, let’s go to the source, shall we?

On his own website, the Obamessiah says that he will “fight global warming” and “address climate change.” Sounds less like a potential threat than a real and present danger, no? Kinda’ like weapons of mass destruction, right?

Not convinced?

Let’s start with an easy pitch. His teammate, Joe “Clueless” Biden, says:

I think it is manmade. I think it’s clearly manmade. If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That’s the cause. That’s why the polar icecap is melting. source

He swung and missed three times in that one statement. Batter up!

Now up to the plate, Barak!. Here are three pitches from the same speech:

All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.

(Steeeeerike one!)

Today we’re seeing that climate change is about more than a few unseasonably mild winters or hot summers. It’s about the chain of natural catastrophes and devastating weather patterns that global warming is beginning to set off around the world… the frequency and intensity of which are breaking records thousands of years old.

(Steeeeerike two!)

The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril. There may still be disputes about exactly how much we’re contributing to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and how much is naturally occurring, but what we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.

(Steeeeerike three! Yurrrrrrrr out!)

Now, I’m really sorry that he pulled a fast one on you “libruls” and has back peddled so much, but I’m also glad that (a) he’s waking up to reality and (b) there’s a chance, however small, that you “libruls” might wake up, too. I just wish you’d woken up before the damage was irreversibly done on some other things, too. Sigh…

Great. The President takes a vacation at taxpayer’s expense when most taxpayers can’t afford to take them this year.

For the rest of us who work for a living—especially my wife, who is working twenty hour days to afford his government and to save as much as possible before his health care and tax nightmares set in—this is insulting.

Joe Nocera thinks he knows something about privacy, and I think he’s full of crap.

In his blog entry today, he says:

There are certain people who simply don’t have the same privacy rights as others, whether they like it or not. Presidents. Celebrities. Sports figures.

No. That’s wrong. Completely and totally wrong. Everybody has a right to privacy, and unless you are undertaking an activity that requires you to breach your privacy in order to complete that activity, your privacy is your privacy.

Presidents, maybe. But celebrities? Sports figures?

Puh-leaze. Just because a bunch of ravenous fans elevate me to superstar status (maybe even against my will) doesn’t mean I have to let anybody perform a colonoscopy to see if I’m healthy enough to justify betting your life’s savings on my next game.

And the same goes for CEOs, too, no matter how cool they may be.

(Hat tip to Daring Fireball).

Article here.

How come this is being reported in England and not in the United States of America? Oh, wait, that’s right: the liberal mainstream media have their collective head so deeply embedded up President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama’s digestive tract that they can’t quite see the light of day. Want some evidence? Go ahead, Google it. I’ll wait here.

Yes, the article appears in the Daily Mail and The Guardian. And Fox mentions it. (Surprise.) But every other media outlet is doing their best to emphasize that most, if not all, of the cost is being picked up by private donations.

That’s great! $100 million of the $160 million (that’s $160,000,000) price tag will be covered by private donations (up to only $35 million as of this writing), but that leaves a huge chunk that every man, woman, boy and girl in the United States is expected to pay for, because the District of Columbia and surrounding states are submitting that bill to the Congress.

And that $50,000,000 is more than George Bush’s entire inauguration “effort,” as the Obama event is being called (sounds more palatable than “party,” doesn’t it?), cost four years ago. That event was called lavish, extravagant, and over-the-top in a then-good economy by news outlets of all kinds.

I weep and pray for this country which embraces double standards on so many levels and calls them acceptable.

Oh, and for those of you who are attending, be sure to drive across the country in your SUVs, spending as much as you can on the way. The rest of us need that economic stimulus to pay for your ticket.

(Hat tip to blonde sagacity.)

Article here.

I’m confused.

When Obama chooses a course of action that is in line with his followers’ beliefs, it’s called “embracing diversity.”

But when Obama chooses a course of action that is contrary to his followers’ beliefs, it’s called “a genuine blow.”

Isn’t that what defines diversity? A willingness to accept or, at least, not discriminate against someone or something—a viewpoint, perhaps?

Thought so.

I think Obama’s supporters are going to have to get used to the fact that they did not elect a leader. No, the GBLT community elected a self-serving follower, someone who will shift and bend with the winds of popular opinion. They should expect change—it was Obama’s entire platform, for goodness’ sake!—even if it’s not in line with their minority views.

And given that Proposition 8 passed in the most liberal state in the Union, it’s entirely likely that the GBLT community will get nothing but lip service throughout Obama’s presidency.

[via blonde sagacity]

Damn Cool Pics: Fun With Obama


The Machine is Unhappy


After watching some hours of the Olympics, it struck me: the machine is unhappy. And who or what is this machine? It’s China.

Yes, the Chinese are ahead in the number of gold medals, and it’s unlikely (impossible?) that anybody will catch up to them, but if you look at the individual competitors, they just plain don’t look happy. And when the cogs are unhappy, the machine is unhappy.

I have no idea what kind of stress they’re operating under, but whether it’s threats from the motherland or whether they are simply not prone to smile, they just don’t look like they’re enjoying what they’re doing.

They compete in stark contrast to many of the athletes of the rest of the world, most of whom look like they’re there to have a great time and party from start to finish line, doing their best along the way. These non-Chinese athletes look like they weren’t bred for this job but rather like they are delighted to have made it, not knowing, as I suspect some of China’s Olympians are, that they would get to be there in the first place.

As I watched the platform diving, these wisps of… can I even call them women, they’re so young?… girls, then… these girls don’t look happy, they don’t look sad, they don’t look serious, they just… look. It’s as if nobody’s home except The Diving Machine.


Article here.

Another take:

Note to normal-sounding smart kid Ryan Schallenberger:

We all hated the rich guys with the good-looking girlfriends. We hated how they seem to have everything handed to them on a silver platter. We hated how they wore their letter jackets around school and “their type” made fun of “our type.” We hated how their B’s in “regular” classes weren’t as hard for them to “earn” as our B’s in our AP classes. Hell, we even hated how C’s for them were acceptable. We hated everything about them.

But we didn’t blow them up.

Why not?


At your 20 year reunion, when you’ve used all that awesome grey matter between your ears to invent the “next big thing” or work for that Fortune 500 company or make a name for yourself in the journals or heck, even become just the best father you can be while watching your kids grow up and become smart and make you proud, you can look down your nose and realize that you made it to where you got, that you didn’t have Daddy’s Corvette to impress the girls (your beautiful wife, who happens to be a wonderful, caring and superb mother and, say, doctor, chose you based on your merits alone because you moved away from the shelter of Mommy and Daddy), and that you didn’t need to show them up in high school.

Wait for it.

Your revenge will come later, my friend. Much later. But, like many things in life, it’s really, really worth waiting for.

It’s so worth it to hear them say that they took over Daddy’s business and married the girl they’d always been dating since high-school. (Boooorrrring. Though some turn out to be very bright and smart, you’d be amazed at the number of “girl geeks” out there who are looking for their intellectual playmates and, while they may not look HAWT right now, they do grow out of the same teenagerhood that you will grow out of , and then they become SUPERNOVA HAWT.) Or got their real estate license and, my God! what color jacket is that they’re wearing? Is it really green? Sweet as it sounds, most of them don’t grow a whole lot between then and now, and, despite beliefs to the contrary, there really are greener pastures elsewhere. But you won’t find that pasture unless (a) you go looking and (b) you’re not in jail.

Oh, sure, some of them will “make it” big and it’ll really piss you off at the reunion. And some of them won’t make it so big and will do the whole real-estate/married the cute girl from class thing, and it’ll be just fine with them, and even with you. Others? Others will do the whole (insert crappy future thing here) and you and your brood will go back to your hotel or to Mom and Dad’s and laugh. And laugh. And laugh a little more. Because you thought that being rich and popular would mean guaranteed success in the world.

Friend, you’re in high school. The only thing that guarantees you anything in life is… well, there’s nothing except (pardon this faith-based bit of knowledge) believing in what you read in your Bible. There are some good guarantees in there, by the way. Some that apply to you for later (check out that Jesus Christ guy) and some that apply to you right now. Try this one: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord.” (Deuteronomy as loosely paraphrased by Paul). (I recommend using to find this stuff.) Let Him take care things for you. He’s a good God and He’ll do what He can.

And, oh, by the way, avoid getting on His bad side, you know, like by plotting to blow up things and killing people and stuff.

Don’t screw up your chances of getting “there” by doing something stupid like admiring some losers in Columbine and other places.

Trust me. It’s worth the wait.

I was driving over… oh, nevermind… I was listening to NPR’s All Things Considered this evening and heard the news at the top of the hour. Some senator, whose name I don’t remember, was blaming the “war” in Iraq for the shambles that is the US economy.

Aside from being untrue (see this answer to a reader’s question), he gave examples of Screwedupian Economics which included these gems loosely paraphrased: “If we weren’t spending money in Iraq, then we could spend money on education and roads” and “The whole Iraq war is corrupt and scandal-ridden.”

So… let’s review: the “war” in Iraq is responsible for an economic disaster in the US, so instead of spending money on troops (money in American pockets), contractors (money in American pockets), supplies (money in American pockets), and improvements to the Iraqi infrastructure (OK, I’ll grant you that one), we should be spending the money in America where… the money ends up in American pockets.

The worst part about it is that that bastion of liberal, left-leaning kvetching that is NPR fell for it, hook, line and sinker. Instead of reporting and using audio excerpts that indicate that this senator knows how our economy may or may not be related to the money we’re spending in Iraq, they used quotes that clearly don’t support his thesis.

It would be like my saying, “I think the sky is blue. The sky is blue because the wavelength of light which blah blah. By the way, my kids think horses like blue skies,” and having NPR report that I said that the sky is blue and that horses like blue skies.

Sometimes, they just make me so mad.

Update: This made me feel better. It’s all of the hosts’ breathing from one hour of NPR.

here. But perhaps we can forgive him as he’s just echoing James Fallows in So I’ve decided to call them on it.

Here are the cliché’s I’ve found in William Kristol’s piece:

  • “snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory”

And that’s it. I’m at a loss to explain where all the other supposed clichés are. And yet Fallows somehow thinks the entire piece is cliché after cliché. Perhaps I’m confused about the definition of cliché. So I looked it up, and you can, too.

Where are the trite or overused expressions? Can Fallows (or Gruber, who might give it a try) show me where Kristol’s expressions are used elsewhere? Is Kristol’s writing really that trite as to deserve condemnation?

OK, so he’s no Andy Rooney (thank goodness), but I’d have to say, Sorry, I just don’t see it. If I want more colorful writing, I’ll read the comic, thanks.

Guess I’d better get back to reading some real literature now.