Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I think I've found what I've been Looking for.

Glaivester has an old post on something called White Privilege. He links to Sara Anderson who does not like it.

All I know is this is horribly unfair. I am a descendant of the most benighted peasantry in history. We have never been wealthy or powerful. Why have we been left out. We are so melanin challenged we burn but never tan. Why don't we qualify.

There is an injustice here that needs to be righted. I want some of that White Privilege and I want it now.

Che sera, sera.

So the Boston Teachers are planning a one day strike. For a group that is always proclaiming their devotion to the children, this is shocking. Well, no it is not. A union exists for the same reason any business does, to maximize value to its owners.

I grew up in a union family. My grandfather had a hand in starting one. As someone who at least has libertarian tendencies, I know I am supposed to hate the union. I vaguely remember hearing years ago on TV Milton Friedman speak about how unions were eventually irrelevant as automation and some other factors would end up causing workers to become superfluous. I guess he was right. My guess is that dad and his co workers did as well as they did more because their work demanded a good deal of intelligence and thus the pool of workers was not vast. At the very least, I suspect their union activity did them and the company little harm.

Teachers postal workers and all the vast panoply of paper shufflers employed at all levels of government are a different story. I forget where I read the words of C.S. Lewis wherein he said that under socialism, every strike was a civil war. Solidarity proved that in Poland and the socialists lost a civil war, at least temporarily. Our situation is different. Government and government employee unions are in a neverending civil war against That is, the rest of the population that is not civil service or connected in some way in say, think tank land.

One might posit that this cannot last forever. In theory, I might agree. It would appear that, as the day gets closer when almost all citizens and a good deal of the legal and even some illegal aliens are employed by Holy Mother State and there are only a few hundred people actually working and producing and paying astronomical taxes, something has to give. Certainly, there would be some justice in the spring finally snapping and sending the pieces flying everywhere. It would get ugly and I for one hope that something doesn't give.

Maybe the few geniuses the creeping idiocracy still produces will bring about Ray Kurzweil's singularity and pull our fat from the fire. Maybe Greg Cochran's coming abundance will happen. Maybe the smart guys who run the fed do know what they are doing. I hope so. I like myself enough that as much as the system might deserve to die, I do not wish it, The collapse will not be happy for moi, or, may I say, vous.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Why is it so hard to say au revoir?

I am tired of thinking about the ongoing debacle in Iraq. I really did not want to read Dennis Dale's The Spiel and the Damage Done. Unfortunately, I had some free time. Dennis highlights the National Interest Online's interview with Michael Scheuer concerning the recently released National Intelligence Estimate.

I don't think there is anything that Dennis writes that I disagree with. There is one point where he distills the argument down to the like duh point:

"That's why Sheuer (and he suggests the NIE, judging by that portion of it that's been declassified) says we are damned if we stay and damned if we go. I say, in that case, we go."

The thing speaks for itself.

Friday, February 09, 2007

You just slip out the back, Jack

"Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free"

Message to Republican Congress guys and gals-JUMP SHIP NOW

Okay some of you are not all that vulnerable as you were elected or returned to your senate seat last fall and have a period of time to distance yourself from any mistakes your party makes as the holder of executive office. The mistake that is contemplated could turn out to be the mother of all goofiness.

Reps and senators up at the next general election should be giving this some thought. Also, that not rare species, presidential hopefuls should be thinking about this too.

You do not want to be caught in anyway being associated with the president if there is going to be an Iran adventure. The Persians are not likely to look on this kindly and could close the Straits of Hormuz and that might send a barrel of petroleum to $250. Now that is roughly five times the current price. So if five times the barrel price is $250, the equivalent (caution, I am no econoist and am guesstimating) at the pump might be around a tenner.

Now, my Rpublican solon friends, if this comes to pass, let us guess how you will be perceived. I do not think the term "Skunk at a lawn party" is at all too harsh. So it wasn't your idea. Tell that to the voters!

Keep in mind, I do not consider you as any better or worse than the Dems, but they will not be tarred with the same brush. Information from Econbrowser. Hat tip Dennis Mangan.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

At least no one wears bell bottoms anymore

Russell Wardlow has posted the following on his blog,

Tattoo You

Standing outside a busy restaurant last night and idly watching the patrons go in and out, I was struck intensely by the hope that sometime in the near future, say five or ten years, tattoos will regain their once shady and disreputable status and the tens of millions of crudely inked fools will have to either slink around in embarrassment or spend thousands of dollars to have them removed (hopefully painfully).

I yield to no one in wishing les enfants would come to their senses. I would be happy if a non painful removal process were discovered if only people would quickly de decorate themselves.

Unfortunately, there is scant hope for optimism. The descent has been constant since my childhood. If our fellow citizens were going to suffer shame they would reverse the general trend of slobbinesss in attire that has pervaded the nation. I fear we are a nation that cannot be embarrassed.

So where is the trend going. I have never had the inclination for piercings or tattoos, so I don't know the level of discomfort associated with it. I did read, years ago on the net, where one fellow wrote about the pain being part of the process of piercing. If that is so, and things only get more extreme, look for something that looks worse and hurts more. Branding is the next thing. I expect to see outside of Fenway Park, vendors selling little B shaped irons so Sox fans can prove their devotion with even greater mindless fanaticism. Green Day fans can display that obsession. You name it, you can wear it.

At least Russell can take solace that if their will be no improvement, the decline will be accompanied with great pain. Of course, I would never find joy in that.

The Space Cadet Actually Was A Space Cadet.

Who knew?

All that testing and qualifying and nobody noticed a screw loose.

I've heard she will soon be requesting an assignment on the Space Shuttle Rehab.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Then again, I don't even know what I like.

I don't know if it still happens, but when I was starting my so called professional life in the big city, a small detachment of youngish folks would come into the office bearing some merchandise (usually leather goods, if I remember correctly) and tell us that their boss wanted to help us out by giving us a good deal or some such palaver. One Friday afternoon, it was always Friday afternoon, such a crew came into our offices bearing copies of paintings that you have probably seen prints of, but might not know the names or titles, though the term impressionist could cross your mind. No one bit and they headed toward the elevator to leave as I was going in the same direction to get to our other floor. I was cornered as the leader of the pack began a strong sales pitch on his one victim.

Now, I am ashamed to say, as a young man, I was a rude and obstreperous fellow. In one area of my life, however, I have always tried to be unfailingly polite. Telemarketers, salespeople and the like I have always done my best to indulge. Call me up at dinnertime and offer me a mortgage and I will apologize that mine is paid off and wish you every success. I know such people are not earning big bucks and for some reason unknown to myself, feel compassion for them.

Trapped as I was, I wanted to escape with manners intact. So when the pitch got to the point where I was actually asked if I wanted to buy, it would be important to not hurt their feelings while ending the sales pitch. My response, "Nah, I hate art."

Their first reaction was a look of shock. I am certain no one ever had said that to them before. We are a nation of philistines, but it is criminal to admit it. As I kept a wide grin on my face, they quickly realized I was having them on and each actually let out a small guffaw and I was able to exit the elevator on good terms.

so why am I prattling on about this. Well, Asia Times columnist, Spengler went on about it too and shallow fellow that I am, I take that as vindication. His January 30 article, Admit it - you really hate modern art, spoke truth to art.

When I was in junior high, Pablo Picasso donated a painting to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. On some school field trip, I got to see his great work. Wishing to appear sophisticated, well, not completely unsophisticated, I kept my mouth shut. I knew it was junk not because I know art, but because it looked like something I might have painted in the parochial school art class when they told you to do your best because your work might be picked to be exhibited and judged at the Diocesan school art fair. My efforts were never chosen.

Herr Spengler avers that people are okay with going to a museum and passing by the work of such heavy hitters as Pollock and Picasso and others as they don't have to stay all that long. Not so with modern atonal music. Spend a bundle to hear some atonal masterpiece and you are stuck. Get up to leave and you brand yourself as a yokel. Better to just stay at home and rearrange your sock drawer.

Of course, Spengler is talking about Arnold Schoenberg, pioneer and poster boy for atonality. Now all I had ever heard by Arnie, until a few years ago, was Verklärte Nacht as that is all that is ever played on the Boston commercial classical radio station. To be honest, though they play it periodically, I have no memory of it. Then again my knowledge of the arts would make a dilettante look serious.

A few years ago, a local NPR station, an outlet of our nation's ministry of information, played your man's opus magnus, Moses und Aron. There was, of course, no dearth of pretentious gushing. Again, I am no expert, but does Alberto Gonzalez know about this? Forget waterboarding, just expose the malefactors to this one opera. They will soon be singing their own arias.

Spengler ties the decline in Symphony attendance to the muted loathing of modern music. If that is so, James Levine, successor to Seiji Ozawa as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, must be a kamikaze as he has taken it as a mission to promote Schoenberg. Banzai.

Speaking of pretentious gushing, I would like to say, last week, the Ministry of Information, outdid itself, but, I can't. It is their practice to highlight some mediocrity as something special. You know, "cutting edge," "Ahead of his/her time." This time it was a poor, dead English guy named Nick Drake. There must be something culturally backward about me, as I never heard of him. Supposedly, he is enjoying a revival. Of course, If he is actually enjoying it, one cannot say. The term revival is wrong as well as he never had much of a vival to have a re of to begin with. They went on about his sad, depressed, druggie life and how it effected his art. I do tend to get hooked by these stories. Then, they play the music and the spell is broken.

It is not that NPR is completely horrible. The stations do have some great music and their treatment of news is better than the five seconds newsradio will give a story, though the bias is obvious a mile away. Most of my countrymen and women believe that classical music is on the oldies stations, but at least they are not snooty about it. Spotlighting a Nick Drake or, say, a Suzanne Vega as high culture is a joke. NPR is welfare for a section of the middle class that perceives itself an intelligentsia, and who am I to judge.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dog Bites Man

A member of the Hispanic Caucus has quit because of a name she was called. Certainly, one member of congress commenting on the morals of another is hardly gentlemanly (or ladylike), but is this news?

Only if it is not true.