August 31, 2009

Oh how I miss Laura...


Pay levels for First Lady Michelle Obama's staff which totals out near $1.3M/year. Puts the whole "Palin's fancy clothes" thing in perspective.

Lordy, I hate to think of the pardons that will have to be sold to keep this up post-White House. She's gonna make Hillary look good by comparison...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:30 PM

August 30, 2009


Newman Reader - Essays Critical & Historical I - Rationalism 1:

RATIONALISM is a certain abuse of Reason; that is, a use of it for purposes for which it never was intended, and is unfitted. To rationalize in matters of Revelation is to make our reason the standard and measure of the doctrines revealed; to stipulate that those doctrines should be such as to carry with them their own justification; to reject them, if they come in collision with our existing opinions or habits of thought, or are with difficulty harmonized with our existing stock of knowledge. And thus a rationalistic spirit is the antagonist of Faith; for Faith is, in its very nature, the acceptance of what our reason cannot reach, simply and absolutely upon testimony....


...Conduct such as this, on so momentous a matter, is, generally speaking, traceable to one obvious cause. The Rationalist makes himself his own centre, not his Maker; he does not go to God, but he implies that God must come to him. And this, it is to be feared, is the spirit in which multitudes of us act at the present day. Instead of looking out of ourselves, and trying to catch glimpses of God's workings, from any quarter,—throwing ourselves forward upon Him and waiting on Him, we sit at home bringing everything to ourselves, enthroning ourselves in our own views, and refusing to believe anything that does not force itself upon us as true. Our private judgment is made everything to us,—is contemplated, recognized, and consulted as the arbiter of all questions, and as independent of everything external to us. Nothing is considered to have an existence except so far forth as our minds discern it. The notion of half views and partial knowledge, of guesses, surmises, hopes and fears, of truths faintly apprehended and not understood, of isolated facts in the great scheme of Providence, in a word, the idea of Mystery, is discarded...

Like most of the Christian thoughts I post, this would still be true even if we knew that God did not exist. Rationalism would still be an abuse of reason. Because there would still be large realms of existence that our private judgement would not be adequate to understand.

And also because rationalism would still be psychologically wrong. Or perhaps one should say, anthropologically wrong. If our own selves are "contemplated, recognized, and consulted as the arbiter of all questions," as Newman puts it, we are in big trouble. One will be guiding oneself by imagining a compass, and then following where it leads.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:05 PM

August 29, 2009

9/11 was a "tragedy"

...and Chappaquiddick was an "accident."

...An interesting essay might be written on the possession of an atheistic literary style. There is such a thing. The mark of it is that wherever anything is named or described, such words are chosen as suggest that a thing has not got a soul in it. Thus they will not talk of love or passion, which imply a purpose or desire. They talk of the "relations" of the sexes, as if they were simply related to each other in a certain way, like a chair and a table. Thus they will not talk of the waging of war (which implies a will), but of the outbreak of war — as if it were a sort of boil.

Thus they will not talk of masters paying more or less wages, which faintly suggests some moral responsibility in the masters: they will talk of the rise and fall of wages, as if the thing were automatic, like the tides of the sea. Thus they will not call progress an attempt to improve, but a tendency to improve. And thus, above all, they will not call the sympathy between oppressed nations sympathy; they will call it solidarity. For that suggests brick and coke, and clay and mud, and all the things they are fond of...

      — GK Chesterton, in the The Illustrated London News, 7 December 1912.

(Thanks to The Hebdomadal Chesterton)

"An atheistic literary style." Boy, does that ever describe a lot of what we read and hear today! We should try to puncture such balloons whenever possible. Sarah's term "Death Panels" was a perfect puncturing, especially because of the way in large medical bureaucracies things just happen, with no clear responsibility. "Resources are allocated." "Costs are contained."

Of course there's always a certain double standard. "Bombs explode" in Jerusalem, as if they were as impersonal as volcanos. "Rockets fall" on Ashkelon. BUT, "Israeli troops open fire on Palestinians." That's never soul-less.

Same with America. If Americans do something that can be construed as bad, then suddenly the language gets intensely alive and pejorative. I remember a particularly muddle-headed person being filled with passionate indignation because some Americans in Iraq were apparently referring to Iraqis using "Hajis" as a nickname. Crocodile tears poured forth. Our nation had forfeited all honor and moral credibility, wahr wahr wahr! However, if al-Qaeda blows up a pet market in Baghdad, shredding children and little animals....that just... happens. Impersonally. "A bomb exploded." "Violence erupted."

Posted by John Weidner at 11:29 AM

Obama the post turtle...

(Thanks to a commenter at Fresh Bilge)

Obama the post turtle:

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old Texas rancher, whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man.

Eventually the topic got around to Obama and his bid to be our President.

The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Obama is a 'post turtle'.'

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was. The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle'.'

The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain.

'You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he is up there, and you just wonder what kind of a dumb ass put him up there!'
Posted by John Weidner at 10:30 AM

August 26, 2009

It's perhaps slightly interesting...

That I got a few comments on our   I  Miss  W.    bumper-stickers.....initially. (Here's one.)

But none recently.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:58 AM

"The essential incoherence of modern liberalism"

Orrin Judd on Ted Kennedy...

...but his own legislative legacy means that to some considerable extent we live in Ted Kennedy's America. Of course, his isolationism meant that the South Vietnamese live in Ted Kennedy's Vietnam and, had he had his way, Eastern Europe would still be to some extent Ted Kennedy's Iron Curtain and Iraq would be Ted Kennedy's Ba'athist regime, etc. Among the tragedies of his life is that where the older brothers became heroes fighting the Axis powers, he was only too willing to countenance equally vile evils. And even setting aside the personal damage he did to people, he can never be forgiven his betrayal of his own religion to embrace abortion. For all the talk of how much he cared for the weakest members of society, the fact is he helped kill tens of millions of the most vulnerable.

The great irony of his career was that he was at his very best when he helped to prevent government from limiting people--immigration reform, civil rights, deregulation—largely mistaken when he either helped or turned a blind eye to government interference in people's lives—all of the various mandates and regulations he helped pass—and a fellow traveler with evil when he collaborated with regimes that oppressed and killed people, from the legal regime of Roe to the foreign regimes of North Vietnam, Iraq, etc. His inconsistency on these questions made him a lesser man than a Ronald Reagan or a George W. Bush who applied their humanitarianism universally and illustrates the essential incoherence of modern liberalism, of which he was the last icon.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:50 AM

August 25, 2009

Old scores still needing to be settled...

Most of you will probably not be interested in this. I mean, five years ago? That's ancient history! Just skip it, OK?

Most people forget, but I don't forget. Or in this case, forgive. The campaign of intentional lies and smears in 2004 against the honorable and considerable military service of George W Bush would in itself justify the detestation I feel towards Lefty nihilists.

I knew this part of the story back then, but never made much mention of it, because I was not aware that there was any corroboration. What a treat to find that in, of all places, the report on the horrid fabrications of Dan Rather and Mary Mapes! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

...Until now, the controversy over the Rather/Mapes story has centered almost entirely on one issue: the legitimacy of the documents — a very important issue, indeed. But it turns out that there was another very important issue, one that goes to the very heart of what the story was about — and one that has gone virtually unnoticed. This is it: Mary Mapes knew before she put the story on the air that George W. Bush, the alleged slacker, had in fact volunteered to go to Vietnam.

Who says? The outside panel CBS brought into to get to the bottom of the so-called "Rathergate" mess says. I recently re-examined the panel's report after a source, Deep Throat style, told me to "Go to page 130." When I did, here's the startling piece of information I found:

Mapes had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush "did want to go to Vietnam but others went first." Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify....

George W Bush in the Texas Air National Guard

I myself would rank Bush's service as more honorable and probably more dangerous that Kerry's flaky maneuvers. Among other reasons, the F-102 was the most dangerous high-performance jet this country has ever put into production. Of the 875 F-102A production models that entered service, 259 were lost in accidents that killed 70 Air Force and ANG pilots.

Here are some of my old posts on the disgusting affair...


Posted by John Weidner at 10:34 PM

August 23, 2009

Apt for the moment...

Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.

This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be 'cured' against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we 'ought to have known better,' is to be treated as a human person made in God's image.
    --C.S. Lewis
Posted by John Weidner at 7:45 PM

The challenge is to educate...

Doctor Zero on Charles Krauthammer's absurd statement that Sarah should "leave the room" while the experts debate...

...Every political movement needs both academic intelligence, and vital charisma. The Left has always viewed the relationship between its intellectuals and politicians as something like the production and marketing departments in a business – and when it comes to accumulating power, socialists are all business. People like Saul Alinsky and Bill Ayers spent decades weaving the strings that control the Obama marionette. They openly wrote of their understanding that savvy merchandising would be needed to make the public accept their agenda, at least until the public no longer has a meaningful choice about accepting it. When was the last time you heard a leftist intellectual belittle a popular liberal politician, the way Charles Krauthammer treated Sarah Palin?

The challenge for conservatism is to educate the voters in its basic principles, since they received no such education in the public schools. Conservatism always triumphs on the elementary questions of freedom and capitalism. The ideas of the Left are diseased in root and branch — history has shown there is no need to allow them to blossom, in order to see they are poisonous. Conservatives who allow themselves to be dragged into bickering about page 945 of a 1200-page bill have already conceded far too much of the debate. Americans deserve better than being told to sit down and shut up, while Washington plays Jenga with Obama's obscene health-care proposals. They should be angry and insulted their time and money were ever wasted with this madness....
Posted by John Weidner at 2:12 PM

"Self-contradiction in the sceptical attack"

From Orthodoxy, by GK Chesterton. (1908)
...As I read and re-read all the non-Christian or anti-Christian accounts of the faith, from Huxley to Bradlaugh, a slow and awful impression grew gradually but graphically upon my mind—the impression that Christianity must be a most extraordinary thing. For not only (as I understood) had Christianity the most flaming vices, but it had apparently a mystical talent for combining vices which seemed inconsistent with each other. It was attacked on all sides and for all contradictory reasons. No sooner had one rationalist demonstrated that it was too far to the east than another demonstrated with equal clearness that it was much too far to the west. No sooner had my indignation died down at its angular and aggressive squareness than I was called up again to notice and condemn its enervating and sensual roundness. In case any reader has not come across the thing I mean, I will give such instances as I remember at random of this self-contradiction in the sceptical attack. I give four or five of them; there are fifty more.

Thus, for instance, I was much moved by the eloquent attack on Christianity as a thing of inhuman gloom; for I thought (and still think) sincere pessimism the unpardonable sin. Insincere pessimism is a social accomplishment, rather agreeable than otherwise; and fortunately nearly all pessimism is insincere. But if Christianity was, as these people said, a thing purely pessimistic and opposed to life, then I was quite prepared to blow up St. Paul's Cathedral. But the extraordinary thing is this. They did prove to me in Chapter I (to my complete satisfaction) that Christianity was too pessimistic; and then, in Chapter II, they began to prove to me that it was a great deal too optimistic. One accusation against Christianity was that it prevented men, by morbid tears and terrors, from seeking joy and liberty in the bosom of Nature. But another accusation was that it comforted men with a fictitious providence, and put them in a pink-and-white nursery.

One great agnostic asked why Nature was not beautiful enough, and why it was hard to be free. Another great agnostic objected that Christian optimism, "the garment of make-believe woven by pious hands," hid from us the fact that Nature was ugly, and that it was impossible to be free. One rationalist had hardly done calling Christianity a nightmare before another began to call it a fool's paradise. This puzzled me; the charges seemed inconsistent. Christianity could not at once be the black mask on a white world, and also the white mask on a black world. The state of the Christian could not be at once so comfortable that he was a coward to cling to it, and so uncomfortable that he was a fool to stand it. If it falsified human vision it must falsify it one way or another; it could not wear both green and rose-coloured spectacles. I rolled on my tongue with a terrible joy, as did all young men of that time, the taunts which Swinburne hurled at the dreariness of the creed—
"Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilaean, the world has grown gray with Thy breath."
But when I read the same poet's accounts of paganism (as in "Atalanta"), I gathered that the world was, if possible, more gray before the Galilean breathed on it than afterwards. The poet maintained, indeed, in the abstract, that life itself was pitch dark. And yet, somehow, Christianity had darkened it. The very man who denounced Christianity for pessimism was himself a pessimist. I thought there must be something wrong. And it did for one wild moment cross my mind that, perhaps, those might not be the very best judges of the relation of religion to happiness who, by their own account, had neither one nor the other.....

Posted by John Weidner at 9:24 AM

August 22, 2009

If your neighbors started shooting at you...

...It is as old as Robinson Crusoe; as old as man. Our race has not been strained for all these ages through that sieve of dangers that we call Natural Selection, to sit down with patience in the tedium of safety; the voices of its fathers call it forth. Already in our society as it exists, the bourgeois is too much cottoned about for any zest in living; he sits in his parlour out of reach of any danger, often out of reach of any vicissitude but one of health; and there he yawns.

If the people in the next villa took pot-shots at him, he might be killed indeed, but, so long as he escaped, he would find his blood oxygenated and his views of the world brighter. If Mr Mallock, on his way to the publishers, should have his skirts pinned to the wall by a javelin, it would not occur to him - at least for several hours - to ask if life were worth living; and if such peril were a daily matter, he would ask it never more; he would have other things to think about, he would be living indeed ...

--Robert Louis Stevenson, from the essay The Day After Tomorrow

Posted by John Weidner at 6:46 PM

Just another one of my imaginary conversations...

Pay it no mind. Just fisking some person named Eleanor Clift in some web-site called

The first duty of a political party in retreat is to find something its people can rally around, and saying no to Obamacare is working nicely for the Republicans. [Lots of independents and even Dems are not liking it either.] They've managed to hold together in the House and Senate with no real leadership and no real message except to block Obama. [Fairly true. We need Sarah!] Despite all the advantages Democrats enjoyed at the start of this year, the responsibility of being in the majority and actually legislating is causing fissures between the party's dominant wing of progressives and the much smaller group of conservative, self-described blue dogs from the swing districts that gave Democrats control of the House. [So you admit it's NOT the Republicans who are blocking Pelosi-Care.]

Republicans are united, but that shouldn't be confused with victory. Republicans stood together against Social Security and Medicare, [This is a flat-out LIE. Both those had large Republican support.] and when those programs proved popular, opposing them left a residue of distrust for the GOP. President Obama has pushed his bipartisan shtik about as far as it will go, [shtik is the word. It was never sincere.] and if Republican recalcitrance means the Democrats have to go it alone on health care, Obama should embrace the new reality and cry all the way to the signing ceremony. [So DO IT! Shut up and do it. I double-dog dare you.]

Getting Republicans to support health-care reform is a lost cause. [Well, duh. A far-Left massive expansion of government, and she's surprised Republicans aren't on board? How stupid is that?] Other than the two women senators from Maine, there aren't any moderates left for the president to partner with in the GOP. Obama campaigned on his fabled ability to bring people together. [Something he's never actually DONE in his political life. It's just gas.] Voters loved the idea of everybody getting along in Washington, but seven months into the Obama presidency, we know it's a mirage.

The White House needs to find ways to leverage the huge tactical and strategic advantages Democrats had coming out of the 2008 election to advance legislation in Congress. [Hey, I gotta wild and crazy idea. How about legislation that ordinary Americans would approve of? You know, those untermensch who shop at Walmart. I know that's not the Dem tradition, but why not give it a try?] Instead, Obama has played the same old inside game of currying favor with power brokers on Capitol Hill who for the most part, like Senate Finance chair Max Baucus of Montana, represent sparsely populated rural states and respond more to their corporate benefactors than to White House pressure.
Obama won the election because his campaign had a great ground game and they had him, a super communicator who made the media swoon. [How about: "Obama won the election because he made the media swoon."] In the White House, the once crack team was slow to organize while opponents of health-care reform ran roughshod over the message and dominated the debate. All the White House has to counter the opposition is Obama, ['cause the TRUTH is really ugly. You can't use that.] and he's not enough. The magic has waned. People don't line up for miles to see him the way they did in the campaign. And judging by the anxiety showing up in the polls, voters don't trust Obama enough on health-care reform to set aside their historic distrust of government. [This may be too advanced for a journalist to understand, but trust in Obama is irrelevant! He's not writing the legislation, and he's not going to be administering it. (Unless there's a secret cloning project we don't know about. Maybe 100,000 mini-Obamas will run things and sit on the Death Panels, and reproduce themselves forever. In that case "trust in Obama" would have some point here.)]

The '08 campaign was such a searing experience that Obama and his key aides tend to view everything through that prism. [Why was it more "searing" than any other Presidential campaign? It was a picnic compared to 2000, but Bush calmly started achieving real things from his first day in office. With no snivelling about being "seared."] There were the early days when Obama seemed bored and his interest in the campaign lagged, along with his standing in the polls. Then came his heady win in Iowa followed by a humbling loss in New Hampshire, then the period when it all could have slipped away, when Rev. Jeremiah Wright taunted white America and Obama was torn between defending his minister and recovering his candidacy. If there's a campaign analogy to where Obama is now, this is the Reverend Wright period, when the prize hangs in the balance. [This is a very odd analogy. Obama should cynically toss something under the bus? But what? Or who? Or does Wright = health care reform? What joy, we can not only get rid of useless people, we can be JUDENREIN!] Opponents of reform won the first part of summer. Now it's up to Obama to regain the momentum. He prides himself on being a good clutch player, someone who can perform when the pressure's on. [I haven't seen it.] "Just give me the ball," he said to David Axelrod as he stood waiting to go onstage for his first presidential debate with John McCain.

Republican strategist Karl Rove was known for zeroing in on an opponent's strength, destroying John Kerry, a war hero, by portraying him as weak. [He's a weakling and a cad. And only a "war hero" in the descriptions of the press. His fellow vets made it clear they know he's a total jerk.] ....
Posted by John Weidner at 3:52 PM

The challenge from my client...

Was to turn this triangular niche into a place to hang lots of clothes... (Girls need an amazin' amount of clothes. I've never received a good explanation for this.)

triangular closet space--before

Click below for my solution...

triangular closet space--before

This was harder than it looks. Especially since there were no studs in the right places. I'm relying a lot on construction adhesive!

Posted by John Weidner at 10:11 AM

August 21, 2009

Flaily flaily...

Rich Lowry:

The Obama team is saddled with a foundering health-care strategy. But it has a fallback plan — relying on the sheer dimwitted gullibility of the American public. How stupid do they think we are?

Stupid enough to think that a new $1 trillion health-care entitlement is just the thing to restore the country to fiscal health.

Stupid enough not to know that almost every entitlement known to man has cost more than originally estimated, with a congressional committee in 1967 underestimating by a factor of ten Medicare's cost by 1990. 

Stupid enough not to realize that it is through budget trickery — the taxes begin immediately, the spending is put off for a few years — that the program in the House shows "only" a $239 billion deficit over the first ten years.

Stupid enough not to focus on how the gap between the House plan's revenue and spending steadily grows after the first ten years, making it a long-term budget buster.

Stupid enough to think increased preventive care will save the government money, just because Pres. Barack Obama constantly repeats it, despite all the independent studies to the contrary.

Stupid enough to believe that a program with no cost controls that can be discerned by the Congressional Budget Office will control costs....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:59 AM

Semper Eadem

David Warren:

..."Semper fidelis" is an affirmation, a very personal commitment, and a constant reminder -- that we must never stoop to moral relativism, that we will never surrender that which makes us human in the highest sense, to that which would reduce us to the condition of grovelling animals.

But, "semper eadem" [always the same] belongs more suitably on the crest of a state, for in the world of government and law the aspiration should be to avoid any kind of surprise, fear or favour. As the guardian of our freedom, the state must remain "always the same;" and likewise, as the dispenser of public justice, it must strive to provide, quite blindly, "the same for everybody."

The state must therefore be minimal, too: its functionaries stripped whenever possible of their audacious hopes, and ability to change things. For the state should be the means of last resort and not, as it has become, a voracious beast, with an ever-increasing appetite to control the souls of men, by appropriating their possessions.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:45 AM

August 20, 2009

Made me proud...

I recommend this piece by Michael Yon, Do Americans Care about British Soldiers?

It's about an amazing effort to save a severely wounded British soldier in Afghanistan. It involved multiple airlifts, coordinated by the The Combined Air and Space Operations Center, which is an amazing place in itself.

...Officials at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center and Joint Patient Movement Requirements Center at an air base in Southwest Asia, and the Global Patient Movements Requirement Center and 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., immediately started working to find the aircraft, aircrews and medical crews to airlift the soldier to further care.

"We received the call on our operations floor to airlift the British soldier from Afghanistan to Germany and immediately did what we could to make it happen," said Col. John Martins, the 618th TACC director of operations who led coordination efforts for the mission. "It was a complex move. Not only did we have to find a plane and crew to fly the patient out of theater, but also we had to find another plane and aircrew to get the right medical personnel and equipment into Afghanistan because we needed specialized medical teams to care for the patient in-flight."

In less than six hours, a C-17 Globemaster III previously scheduled to fly a cargo mission was airborne with the required medical personnel and equipment from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to Afghanistan...

And, sorry to interject politics here, but the Brits themselves were capable of neither the medical nor the logistical miracles needed to save their own soldier. Why? Because that once-great nation has been destroyed by the very socialist policies that Obama and "Progressives" want to use to destroy the United States of America.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:40 PM

"All the mills of the world labour swiftly because..."

For there is nothing that is really cut off from man or really independent of him in the whole human world. All tools are, as it were, his extra limbs. The chair he sits on is only a system of wooden legs. When he lies on a bed he does not turn himself into a quadruped which (like the elephant) sleeps standing up. If any of these limbs or props of man were to fail him it would be a failure of man. When he invents the most fantastic monstrosities of mechanism, he is only turning himself, as it were, into a monstrosity, into a Briareus, or a centipede. The wooden railway signals are only the wild arms of man waving warnings to his children. The lamps of gas or electricity are only the innumerable eyes of man peering into every dark place and every corner of crime. His passionate pulse is throbbing in the pulse of every passionless machine; his nerves are tingling in the last faint filaments of thread or wire. All the mills of the world labour swiftly because the swiftest thing of all is the ancient desire of the heart. If ever man is to die, these things will die long before him. So long as man lives and has human faith and hope, these things will in innumerable forms continually go forth from him.

      -- GK Chesterton, The Illustrated London News, 4 August 1906

(Thanks to The Hebdomadol Chesterton)

Posted by John Weidner at 3:27 PM

Why "bi-partisan" doesn't work any more...

Post-Partisan Promise Fizzles -

WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama campaigned last year on a pledge to end the angry partisanship in Washington. He wasn't the first to promise a post-partisan presidency: Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton offered a similar change, only to see the mutual hostility between Republicans and Democrats increase while they were in the White House.

Now, just as his predecessors did, Mr. Obama is seeing that promise turn to ashes. Angry town-hall meetings, slumping presidential approval poll numbers and rising opposition to his signature health-care proposals suggest an early resumption of politics as usual....

But why? Only Random Jottings can explain!

If your read this blog, you will understand! (And it won't do you a speck of good; if you try to tell someone they will just consider you a weirdo.)

Mr Random Jottings knows, because his mind was formed first by reading Peter Drucker. And Drucker pointed out something that was true, back then, but which I don't think is true any longer.

He often told truths in the form of stories, and one of them—I don't remember where I read it—was about his receiving a European visitor, who complained about the numbing sameness of America. Of a lack of variety. Drucker pointed out, as a counter-example, the astonishing variety of institutions of higher learning within a twenty mile radius of where they sat. Public, private, religious, ethnic, technical, tiny, huge...scores of them, all wildly different.

But the visitor was not in the least impressed. And Drucker finally winkled out of him that what he called "sameness" was the lack of ideological variety. The visitor came from a world of intense and clear-cut political world-views ranging from fascists to Christian Democrats to Social Democrats to socialists to communists.

The thing was, we Americans (back then) shared a common ideology. 90% at least of Americans shared a belief in "the American Dream," American exceptionalism, limited government, free-market economics, and in a sort of generic Christianity as the "public religion." It was only a small fringe who disagreed with this. (Commies, basically. And most Americans saw nothing wrong with purging them from public life. Well, they deserved it, since they were either secret agents of a totalitarian enemy, or aiders and abetters.)

Drucker wryly pointed out that most Americans would deny they had any kind of ideology whatsoever!

And in that situation bi-partisanship was fairly common. Why? Because both parties were variations on the same themes. When I was growing up there were lots of conservative Dems and lots of liberal Republicans! And the very-Catholic Dems were the party of traditional morality!

But the situation Drucker described, and which I grew up with, has changed. Now we have maybe only 60 or 70% of Americans sharing that set of traditional social-political beliefs. And now we have 20% or 30% with a clearly different ideology. One that is hard to pin down, because its proponents are slippery and deceptious. "Progressive" is the current nom de guerre.

And people like me refer to this ideaology as "anti-American," which is not quite accurate. It is really "anti" that traditional American ideology, and the institutions that embody it. The "Progressive" loves American in those aspects that fit his ideology.... He or she loves Berkeley or Ann Arbor or Boston or Manhattan. And loves to see victms standing in line to be processed by government bureaucrats.

And while "Progressive" by no means describes all Democrats, it does describe the people who hold the levers of power in the party.

It is a very interesting thing that both George W Bush and Sarah Palin were very successfully bi-partisan in their roles as state governors. Both worked with Dems in their state legislatures in just getting practical things done. And in both cases their bi-partisanship became impossible the instant they stepped on to the national stage.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:29 AM

August 19, 2009

I'm feeling cranky. It's time to say "Toldja"

Michael Goodwin in the NY Daily News, Health care debate confirms this is not the Barack Obama we elected:

...Where have you gone, Barack Obama? Where is the sunny-side-up young man who promised to inspire and unite an unhappy nation? [It was just an ACT. If you want to know what people ARE, you fool, you look at what they've DONE. Obama never "inspired or united" ANY normal americans in his mini-career.]

Gone into the partisan sinkhole of Washington, that's where. [From the sweet concord of Chicago politics. Right.] Like some novice swimmer too confident of his own ability, Obama is suddenly finding himself in water over his head. [We TOLD YOU. But of course you can't listen to conservatives. That would be tacky.]

His flailing, including a foul habit of demonizing dissent, is not pretty. [Flaily flaily. Obama said OPENLY that he was an acolyte of Sol Alinsy--so what the hell did you THINK was coming? Fool.] And that brief foray into e-mail tracking of critics showed a win-at-any-cost side. [Toldja.]

Where is the appealing man we elected? Where is that Barack Obama? [He never existed! We TOLD you.]
Let's find him quick because the whole nation is paying the price for this impostor's irrational exuberance. Or hubris. [SO, Mr Goodwin, isn't it time you said "sorry" to us conservatives? Hmm? "Sorry, you were right, we were wrong, and now we have a dime-store Sol Alinsky for President?"]

Americans, more of them every day, are growing disenchanted with the expansion of government and the massive pile of debt. [YOU mush-brains elected a far-Leftist, and now you are...surprised? Disenchanted?] Yet the President, certain he can change their minds if only he talks to them again, keeps trying to sell bigger as better. [I bet you are STILL hoping he'll work the deception on you again.]

The public's not buying it. And as a measure of the nation's mood, a recent poll was practically cruel: Nearly half think the President is on television too much. Ouch.

Obama fatigue occasionally surfaced during the campaign, but this is different. [No, it's the SAME. We repeatedly pointed out during the campaign how overdoses of Obama made people queasy. YOU wouldn't listen.] He's the President, and if the country tunes him out, there is no Plan B. He's the rock star-turned-salesman, and everything in his administration depends on his stage act. [Trusting "rock stars" is STUPID.]

That the novelty is wearing thin is obvious. The danger is that the health care fiasco turns him into an unpopular and ineffective President... [He was ineffective from the git-go. For pity's sake, the guy has never run so much as a pop stand in his life! OF COURSE he's ineffective. We told you so. AND we told you the only candidate of the four who WAS qualified was Palin, who has actually run a city and a state successfully. I'm sure you are STILL too shit-stupid to acknowledge this obvious fact. ].
Posted by John Weidner at 3:23 PM

August 18, 2009

Surprise, surprise. The "anti-war" movement was a swindle...

Byron York is attending the Netroots Nation conference (formerly known as YearlyKos, a spinoff from the left-wing website DailyKos...

The netroots agenda: War? What war? | Washington Examiner:

...Then Greenberg asked which one of those issues "do you, personally, spend the most time advancing currently?" The winner was health care reform, with 23 percent, and second place was "working to elect progressive candidates in the 2010 elections," with 16 percent. In 11th place -- at the very bottom of the list -- was "working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan." Just one percent of Netroots Nations attendees listed that as their most important personal priority.

Many observers have remarked that Obama's decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and also to escalate the campaign of targeted assassinations using drone aircraft, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, will cause him trouble on the political left. Indeed, some members of Congress have suggested that the president has just a year to show significant results in Afghanistan before lawmakers begin to pressure him to pull back. But if the Netroots Nation results are any indication, Obama may have more room than previously thought on the war. Not too long ago, with a different president in the White House, the left was obsessed with America's wars. Now, they're not even watching....

Of course not. It was always just politics and anti-Americanism. Pacifists are frauds. "Anti-war" activists are frauds, "Progressives" are frauds. The US military could be cooking Afghan babies like shish-ka-bobs, and as long as there is a Dem in the White House they won't mind at all.

OBAMA himself could be eating Afghan babies for breakfast, and the Quakers would applaud him for being "green" and reducing the burdan on Gaia...

More from York here...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:01 PM

"If we cross this bridge, there's no going back"

Mark Steyn:

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Panels 
...but you can't have both. On the matter of McCarthy vs the Editors, I'm with Andy. I think Sarah Palin's "death panel" coinage clarified the stakes and resonated in a way that "rationing" and other lingo never quite did. She launched it, and she made it stick. So it was politically effective.

But I'm also with Mrs. Palin on the substance. NR's editorial defines "death panel" too narrowly. What matters is the concept of a government "panel." Right now, if I want a hip replacement, it's between me and my doctor; the government does not have a seat at the table. The minute it does, my hip's needs are subordinate to national hip policy, which in turn is subordinate to macro budgetary considerations. For example:
Health trusts in Suffolk were among the first to announce that obese people would be denied hip and knee replacements on the NHS. The ruling was part of an attempt to save money locally.
The operative word here is "ruling." You know, like judges. You're accepting that the state has jurisdiction over your hip, and your knee, and your prostate and everything else. And once you accept that proposition the fellows who get to make the "ruling" are, ultimately, a death panel. Usually, they call it something nicer — literally, like Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

And finally I don't think this is any time for NR to be joining the Frumsters and deploring the halfwit vulgarity of déclassé immoderates like Palin. This is a big-stakes battle: If we cross this bridge, there's no going back. Being "moderate" is not a good strategy. It risks delivering the nation to the usual reach-across-the-aisle compromise that will get Democrats far enough across the bridge that the Big Government ratchet effect will do the rest....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:33 AM

August 16, 2009

THIS is what Sarah was writing about...

There was some confusion about what Sarah Palin meant when she used the phrase "death panels," thereby causing guilty-conscience-convulsions on the Left. She wasn't writing about the end-of-life planning mandated in the bills; she was referring to rationing. The "death panel" she meant doesn't say "You must die," it says stuff like the following....

Fraser Health Authority confirms cutbacks to surgeries, services:

The Fraser [British Columbia] Health Authority confirmed Thursday it intends to cut surgeries, seniors' programs and services for the mentally ill to help deal with a budget shortfall of up to $160 million.

However, it said the emergency department at Mission Memorial Hospital will stay open.

Confirmation of the cuts, expected for some time, came as the authority's board of directors met in Mission Thursday. The board said 10 to 15 per cent of elective surgeries will be cut in the latter part of the 2009-10 fiscal year, with slowdowns already scheduled for the Olympic period.

MRIs will be limited to the same number done last year, and programs for seniors, the mentally ill and people suffering domestic violence will be cut....[Thanks to Mark Steyn]

...and then people die, or suffer unnecessarily, but IT'S NO ONES FAULT. Everyone is doing the best they can with scarce resources. We'll put you on a waiting list.

That's always how it is with government health care. Or government anything.... They cut back the number of crews fixing potholes, but no one decides that a certain pothole won't be fixed. It's just that fixing them takes longer and longer. (And government never cuts back on the number of supervisors and bosses.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 PM

This should deflate some Baby-Boomer egos...

You're Bob Dylan? NJ police want to see some ID:

...The incident began at 5 p.m. when a resident said a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.

The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:

"What is your name, sir?" the officer asked.

"Bob Dylan," Dylan said.

"OK, what are you doing here?" the officer asked.

"I'm on tour," the singer replied.

A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said. The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Blowin' in the Wind" said that he didn't have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night's show. The officers asked Dylan, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.

The officers thanked him for his cooperation.

"He couldn't have been any nicer to them," Woolley added...

Classy guy. Unlike a certain other person who was questioned by the police recently. But I just have to laugh at the way the young cops had never heard of him. There's an opinion floating around my generation that our youthful musical efforts had some sort of significance, or importance in history. Ha ha.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 AM

August 15, 2009

The distinction is between unhappy atheists and happy atheists...

I'm reading an excellent book containing the Pensées of Blaise Pascal, with interspersed commentary by Peter Kreeft. Here's a morsel from it...

(Pensées means "thoughts." They were a collection of notes written on odd scraps of vellum that Pascal wrote over many years, hoping to turn them into a book which would appeal to the young people of his time, who were almost as heedless about the important things of life as people are now. It is generally conceded that Pascal's early death was in one sense a good thing, since his book could probably never have had the intensity and vividness of his dashed-off thoughts. There are very few books written in the time of Louis XIV that can still excite people the way Pascal's "non-random jottings" do.)

...And that is why, amongst those who are not convinced, I make an absolute distinction between those who strive with all their might to learn and those who live without troubling themselves or thinking about it.

I can feel nothing but compassion for those for those who sincerely lament their doubt, who regard it as the ultimate misfortune, and who, sparing no effort to escape from it, make their search their principal and most serious business.

But as for those who spend their lives without a thought for this final end of life and who, solely because they do not find within themselves the light of conviction, neglect to look elsewhere, and to examine thoroughly whether this opinion is one of those which people accept out of credulous simplicity, or one of those which, though obscure in themselves, none the less have a most solid and unshakable foundation: I view them very differently.

This negligence in a matter where they themselves, their eternity, their all are at stake, fills me more with irritation than pity; it astounds and appals me; it seems quite monstrous to me. I do not say this prompted by the pious zeal of spiritual devotion. I mean on the contrary that we ought to have this feeling from principles of human interest and self-esteem....

Peter Kreeft comments on this section:

The absolute distinction, which will become the distinction between the Heavenly and the Hellish, is not between believers and unbelievers but between seekers and non-seekers; for all unbelievers who seek will eventually become believers who find , according to the very highest authority (Mt 7:7-8). The distinction between believers and seeking unbelievers is only temporary; but the distinction between seeking unbelievers and un-seeking unbelievers is eternal.

The absolute distinction is between unhappy atheists and happy atheists. Unbelievers who are content and happy now will be unhappy eternally, but those who are unhappy and seeking now will be happy eternally (Lk 6:21-26).

Pascal's judgement simply follows God's. God does not judge unbelievers by the supernatural standard of faith but by the natural standard of reason. As St Paul says in Romans 1, the truth they know by natural reason is what they hold down or suppress because of their unrighteousness (1:18), and this--natural reason, natural law, natural sanity is enough to condemn them.

The battle for eternal souls is largely decided here in the beginning, in the plain plains of natural reason, rather than later, in the mysterious mountains of faith. If we are honest with truth, reason will lead us to faith...

Here's a link to another post I wrote on Pascal, which is worth reading—because of the good stuff I quote, not because of my own thoughts.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:07 PM

"Nothing that described specifics." You are astounded, I'm sure.

Someone is actually trying to read the House health care bill. Perhaps he's the only one! (Surely this constitutes a hate crime?) ... The Gormogons: HR 3200, Pages 1-100:

Your Czar has completed reading pages 1-100 of all 1,017 pages, eager to learn how HR 3200, if passed, would make healthcare affordable to all Americans.

It’s a little hard to fathom that the entire country can be powered by the few words and amendments of the United States Constitution, but it takes 1,017 pages to discuss health insurance. Of course, as you shall read, most of these pages have little to do with health care reform, per se....

...43 pages in, the Czar muttered "Holy cow. Still nothing but definitions of terms and descriptions of people who will have Very Important and Necessary Jobs to do once this is enacted. This is reading more like an operations manual for an insurance company, not a bill." Take note of that. It becomes important later.

Sec 142 (e) "The Commissioner shall provide for the development of standards for the definitions of terms used in health insurance coverage, including insurance-related terms." Yikes. The Commissioner needs to develop standards for health insurance related terms? What's wrong with the ones we use today? Oh, that's right: they don't spend taxpayer money on frivolous jobs.

The Czar began to notice that a lot of the sections, like 2714 and 2754, purport to discuss ensuring lower premiums. But when he read it, he found nothing that described specifics. Instead, there were blanket statements that it will be someone's responsibility to find a way to lower premiums. The Czar cannot imagine this in the real, corporate world. "My proposal is to save to you money." How? "Hire me first, and then I'll come up with something."

Then the Czar gasped at Section 1173A, in which it discusses electronic administrative transactions, and then lovingly describes how databases will be established, down to optional fields, and to ensure the ability to "harmonize all common data elements." Holy crap, when do we discuss font options? HIPAA, godsend of libertarians everywhere, isn't even discussed until page 62....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:43 AM

More "Timiditas and Deditio"

Roger Kimball has more on the pre-emptive surrender of Yale to the possibility of Islamic terrorism, by removing all depictions of Mohammed from a book on the Mohammed cartoon controversy. It's apparently the University itself, not press, that's adopting some Sharia. But of course the decision is shrouded in secrecy and liberal cowardice...

Villain or Fall Guy? Yale and the Case of the Missing Cartoons:

...But here's the question — it is the British comic Pat Condell's question that I quoted yesterday:
"How much more of your freedom needs to be whittled away to defend this intolerant, misogynistic, homophobic, antisemitic ideology from the robust and frank and open criticism that it so richly deserves?"
If the Yale University Press — or perhaps I should say if Yale University itself — is any guide, the answer is "Take it all. We give up." Mark Steyn, writing about the Yale incident yesterday, is right:
What all these stories — from this disgusting act to the no-donuts-at-Ramadan "recommendations" now common at European businesses — have in common is acceptance of the same general principle: that the most extreme interpretation of Islamic "law" now applies to Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
The really appalling thing is that institutions like Yale — institutions, I mean, that exist to pursue the truth — should tacitly endorse this ethic of pre-emptive capitulation. By embracing this species of mendacious political correctness they forfeit the prerogatives of truth for the dubious satisfactions of multicultural self-righteousness. Steyn's word "disgusting" is the mot juste. The question is, when — if ever — will a critical mass of people rise up and vomit out this poison?...

Of course if the oleaginous lickspittles at Yale were publishing something that offended America, or Christianity, they would pompously declare that they require absolute freedom of speech to perform their "truth-seeking" academic function.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 AM

August 14, 2009

I thumb my nose at lefty Jew-haters...

Poll: 70% of Americans see Israel as U.S. friend - Haaretz:

...More than two-third of Americans regard Israel as an ally despite recent diplomatic tensions, a nationwide survey conducted by the U.S. polling firm Rasmussen Reports has revealed.

The 70 percent who view Israel as America's friend marks twice the number of respondents who view Egypt as an ally, though that Middle Eastern country has been polled as the most highly regarded Islamic country among Americans.

According to the poll, 81 percent of U.S. voters agree that Palestinian Authority leaders must recognize Israel's right to exist as part of any future Middle Eastern peace agreement...

Bad investment: Poor Obam, he spent twenty years listening to Jeremiah Wright spout anti-Semitic venom, and the result is that he's totally out of touch with actual Americans...

Friend of Israel emblem

Posted by John Weidner at 6:06 PM

August 13, 2009

I thought this was pretty funny...

Megyn Kelly of Fox tries to pin down White House spokesman Bill Burton on what's going to happen to those e-mails they've solicited reporting "fishy things." The poor goop desperately wants to avoid admitting that they are keeping the e-mail addresses of those who have been reported for having wrong thoughts... but in fact Federal law requires that they all be kept.

Squirm, squirm squirm...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 PM


Score One for Sarah Palin on the Healthcare Reform Death Panels - Peter Roff (

In what can fairly be described as an admission that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin knew what she was talking about, the Senate Finance Committee Thursday dropped language from its bipartisan healthcare reform package that Palin and others had suggested would eventually lead to mandated end-of-life counseling sessions for seniors...
Posted by John Weidner at 3:20 PM

August 12, 2009

"Death Panels." Gotcha!... Democrats Fixated on Private Citizen Palin:

After her resignation, many Democrats were certain that Sarah Palin was finished in politics. They rejoiced that she would no longer garner any significant attention, and that she would disappear from the public arena.

Thus far, the opposite has occurred. Governor Palin demonstrated that she can shake up the entire national health care debate with nothing more than a post on Facebook. Since she left the governor's office, she has become even more visible and influential in national policy debates. ...

She sure made the chomskys howl with this one! "The guilty flee when no man pursueth." I bet "death panels" sticks to Dems for, like, forever. Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:44 PM

The art of soliciting criticism...

From an interesting piece by Barbara Oakley, in Psychology Today:

...How can Drew Westen, a remarkably intelligent man, make the kinds of one-sided statements he made, and why did no one in the room question the sheer inanity of what was being presented?

My theory—call it the "Oakley effect"—is that really smart people often don't know how to accept and react constructively to criticism. (A neuroscientist might say they "have underdeveloped neurocircuitry for integrating negatively valenced stimuli.") This is because smart people are whizzes at problems that only need one person to figure out. Indeed, people are evaluated from kindergarten through college prep SATs on the basis of such "single solver" problems. If you are often or nearly always right with these kinds of problems, your increased confidence in your own abilities would be accompanied by an inadvertent decrease in your capacity to deal with criticism. After all, your experience would have shown that your critics were usually wrong.

But most large-scale societal issues are not single solver problems. They are so richly complex that no single person can faultlessly teach him or herself all the key concepts, which are often both contradictory and important. Yes, smart people have an advantage in dealing with such problems, because they've got natural brain-power that allows them to hold many factors in mind at once, bringing formidable problem-solving skills to bear. But smart people have a natural disadvantage, too: they're not used to changing their thinking in response to criticism when they get things wrong.

In fact, natural smarties—the intellectual elite—often don't seem to learn the art of soliciting the criticism necessary to grasp the core issues of a complex problem, and then making vital adaptations as a result. Instead, they fall in naturally with people who admire, rather than are critical, of their thinking. This further strengthens their conviction they are right even as it distances them from people of very different backgrounds who grasp very different, but no less crucial aspects of complex problems. That's why the intellectual elite is often branded by those from other groups as out of touch...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:33 PM

August 9, 2009

It's like being an anti-genocide activist and a Holocaust-denier at the same time...

I was inspired by this story to put certain things a bit more bluntly than I have in the past.

I love history. And I'm a real book&blog-devourer. As a result, I know a lot of stuff, especially in history and world affairs. (Don't rush to make me a job offer; my grab-bag of history seems to have no practical worth.)

Here's one simple fact. The regime of Saddam Hussein was to mass torture, as Hitler's regime was to mass killing, and Stalin's was to mass imprisonment. In all of history there has been no government that tortured people on the scale of Saddam's Iraq. None even comes close. I won't give you any stomach-turning examples, but they are out there if you want to look them up.

We are probably talking hundreds of thousands of people hideously tormented in a country about the size of California.

Any person who claims to make torture their big issue must be aware of this. To claim ignorance would be like someone (let's call him Mr X), in say the year 1947, whose big issue was genocide, or persecution of Jews—yet who seemed to be ignorant or indifferent to what had just happened in Europe! It is insane to even think about it. Right?

In truth, FDR and Winston Churchill are the two men who have prevented more persecution and murder of Jews than any other individuals in history. That's a simple fact, right?

If you care about Jews, or genocide, you must honor them, even if you hate everything else they stood for.

SO, gentle readers, suppose our "Mr X," in the year 1947, demands stridently that Franklin D Roosevelt (if he'd been still alive) and his men should be investigated and prosecuted because during its tenure American Jews were harassed by hate-groups like the KKK. What would you think, hmmm?

You would think Mr X was deranged with hatred of FDR. (You might say he has RDS, Roosevelt Derangement Syndrome.) Mr X is very sick, very twisted man.

"That's a preposterous hypothetical!" I hear you saying. NOT SO. A very similar thing is happening right now. It is a simple historical fact that former president George W. Bush, by inspiring and leading the coalition that overthrew the torture-obsessed fascist tyranny of Saddam Hussein, prevented more torture than any other human being who has ever lived upon the planet Earth.

And yet, farcical though it seems, we actually have our own "Mr X's." [Link] We really have people who claim to be anti-torture zealots, but are nonetheless ice-heartedly indifferent to the unprecedented sufferings of the Iraqi people. Who simply act as if that holocaust of agony never happened—they never mention it.. And at the same time they drool over the possibility of prosecuting the greatest "anti-torture activist" of all times.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 PM

Just some facts..

Sarah Palin has been getting a lot of criticism for suggesting that ObamaCare will include "death panels" to decide when people should die. Such as this "...Except, there is nothing in any proposal by any Democrat, Republican, Greenie, Communist, New Nazi, or a Flat Earther on health care that even hints about a "death panel." You're just making stuff up. In fact, it's hard to know just what the hell you're referring to..."

From Dr. Betsey McCaughey's rebuttal. (Link from a long post full of good info at Conservatives4palin.)

End of Life Counseling

There have been flawed criticisms of my reading of a section of H.R. 3200. The critics have hastily read page 425 of the HR 3200, rather than reading the full relevant text (425-443) or considering the reality of being a frail elderly patient. Here are four facts frequently overlooked:
1. The counseling includes not only living wills and durable powers of attorney, but specific methods to end life. On page 430, the bill prescribes counseling on whether or not to forego nutrition, hydration, and antibiotics, in states where such counseling is permitted.

2. There is an inherent conflict of interest in this counseling. Medicare funding is going to be cut 10% over the next decade ($500 billion in cuts) to pay for the health reform legislation, at the same ti e that Medicare enrollment is projected to increase 30%. More people to care for and fewer dollars will necessitate rationing. It is understandable that the government wants to curtail spending on end of life care. But the use of specific "patient decision aids" (p.443) discussed in the legislation such as scripts, videos, and brochures is problematic. If United Healthcare provided end of life counseling with a script prepared by the insurance company, there would be up uproar over the obvious conflict of interest.

The author of "Pants on Fire" should read on to pages 443 to see that patients will participate in "shared decision making." Shared with whom? The government certified counselors. No where is it stated that the patient unilaterally has the final say. The bill merely says the patient's views will be "incorporated" into the decision making...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 AM

August 8, 2009

Lost in the "house of looking-glasses"

From Heretics by Gilbert Keith Chesterton: Ch. 9: The Moods of Mr. George Moore:

...His [the writer and art historian George Moore] account of his reason for leaving the Roman Catholic Church is possibly the most admirable tribute to that communion which has been written of late years. For the fact of the matter is, that the weakness which has rendered barren the many brilliancies of Mr. Moore is actually that weakness which the Roman Catholic Church is at its best in combating. Mr. Moore hates Catholicism because it breaks up the house of looking-glasses in which he lives. Mr. Moore does not dislike so much being asked to believe in the spiritual existence of miracles or sacraments, but he does fundamentally dislike being asked to believe in the actual existence of other people. Like his master Pater and all the aesthetes, his real quarrel with life is that it is not a dream that can be moulded by the dreamer. It is not the dogma of the reality of the other world that troubles him, but the dogma of the reality of this world...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:35 PM

Interesting stats...

"Respice post te! Hominem te memento!" - Peter Wehner - The Corner on National Review Online:

...Over at the outstanding American Enterprise Institute blog, Karlyn Bowman reports that among the "millennial generation" (18- to 29-year-olds), President Obama's job approval rating has, according to the latest Gallup poll, fallen from 75 percent in January to 58 percent today — a staggering 17-percentage-point drop. Among those 65 and older, Obama's support has dropped by 12 points, from 61 percent in January to 49 percent today.

This is significant for several reasons. First, the huge numbers Obama amassed among young voters in November — he carried the millennial cohort by a margin of 66 percent to 32 percent — were among the most important signs of the GOP's difficulties. If young voters lock in on a particular party early on, they often form a (voting) habit that is difficult to undo. If Obama had maintained anything like the initial support he had among young voters, it would have made the GOP's challenge far more difficult. For the president to have lost so much support among young voters, so quickly, has to be unsettling to the White House and the Democratic party more broadly....

There may be hope. One can but pray that the Dems continue on the present course of folly and wickedness. It seems impossible—surely they will wake up at any moment and switch to a Clintonian style of triangulation and slipperyness! I'm biting my knuckles...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:28 AM

Remove old sticker from Prius...

Rand Simberg:

What A Difference An Administration Makes

Under the Bushitler, dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Under The One, it's the highest form of racism.

If somebody had time--I'm afraid I don't--they could have some graphics fun with a before and after picture of a Volvo or Prius with old and new bumperstickers. Maybe a rusty Volvo wagon, symbolic of the ongoing death of Euro-Socialism...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:11 AM

August 7, 2009

No new features! Yay!

Any of you Mac users can pre-order OS-X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) by clicking here. (I think the concept of this new version is majestic; there are no new features! All the changes are under the hood, to make OS-X run smoother and faster!) And I can offer you a special Random Jottings price of $29.00! How's that for cool? ;-)

And just to show I'm an even handed guy, You can pre-order Windows 7 here too...


If the above plethora of possibilities is, um, er.....confusin', there's a handy chart here to lead you through the jungle...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:22 PM

Old post re-posted...

People are mentioning the Gadsden Flag for some reason lately. I thought I'd re-post an old post from 2002... (That kinda makes me feel old. I've been blogging since November 2001! And they haven't even given me one of those "genius grants" yet!)

The inscription is Nemo me impune lacessit, which can be translated "None Shall Provoke Me With Impunity"

Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, 'What should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!
      --Samuel Adams

* Update: Mike Jackmin sent a link to the original of the rattlesnake image, from a twenty-dollar note of 1778.

I don't know what you call those widgets at the bottom of an e-mail, but Mike's reads:
I ain't givin' to any charity that calls it a "tragedy".
I'm only givin' to charities that call it an "attack".
Posted by John Weidner at 11:53 AM

Peggy Noonan gets a clue

Peggy Noonan: 'You Are Terrifying Us' -

...And so the shock on the faces of Congressmen who’ve faced the grillings back home. And really, their shock is the first thing you see in the videos. They had no idea how people were feeling. Their 2008 win left them thinking an election that had been shaped by anti-Bush, anti-Republican, and pro-change feeling was really a mandate without context; they thought that in the middle of a historic recession featuring horrific deficits, they could assume support for the invention of a huge new entitlement carrying huge new costs....

It's pretty funny to see Peggy playing the wise pundit explaining what's going on. She up to now has had no more idea what ordinary people are thinking than anyone else in Manhattan. The 2008 win left HER thinking that hopey-changey was the wave of the future, and the plebs could safely be sneered at.

So, how's about admitting that Rush Limbaugh was right? Hmmm?

* Update: I caught a few minutes of Rush today, and he answered some discouraged people with the point that we've already won the debate! If congressmen really believed they had a great health care bill that people just don't understand, then they would welcome "town hall meetings." The would welcome the chance to explain. Instead of packing halls with S.E.I.U. members so as to have a friendly audience

Rush Limbaugh: Better He Should Fail
Posted by John Weidner at 10:13 AM

August 6, 2009

Thank you (yet again) President Bush...

Editorial - The Battle for D.C.'s High Schools -

...Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington and his hard-charging chancellor of schools, Michelle Rhee, face great challenges in their attempt to turn around a school system that has long been known as one of the nation's worst. The climb will be especially steep with the city's 15 high schools, 10 of which are undergoing various forms of restructuring because they have failed to meet progress standards under the No Child Left Behind Act. (my emphasis)

The mayor and the chancellor are justified in taking radical steps, especially in schools that have failed for decades on end. Among other things, the city should bring in a select few of the nation's top charter school operators, but only the ones that have demonstrated clear success at the high school level.

Charter groups operate publicly funded schools, but often have great flexibility with curriculum and union contract arrangements. The first step should be to break the larger schools into smaller units and rewrite union contracts to allow for greater flexibility and progress.

Ms. Rhee has already hired two well-regarded outside groups to manage three of the high schools. She has also held preliminary discussions with a nationally known California concern, Green Dot Public Schools, one of the largest and most successful operators in that state....

The real civil rights struggle of our times is the freeing of inner city children from the hideous slavery and human destruction imposed by the corrupt teachers unions nd their lackeys in the Democrat Party. and the genius of NCLB was its ability to force change. Conservatives ought to have given President Bush strong support on this.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:51 AM

August 4, 2009

All your body are belong to us...

Serving as I am as an embedded journalist in Pelosiville, I have never had the slightest doubt that Obama intends to destroy private health care. Obama is just a golem. He doesn't exist except as a physical projection of the collective psyche of the far left.

And they want a "single-payer" system so badly they are drooling. Not because it would help the poor or provide better medicine, but for the power it will give them. Government bureaucrats are overwhelmingly leftish, and they are going to be in charge of us at our weakest and most vulnerable moments. Think about it.

This video is great! You want to know what they are thinking? Watch...

Think about a future where you scrape the Palin bumper-sticker off your car before you go beg for a CAT scan or MRI...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:22 AM

August 3, 2009

"Extreme meltdown" maybe next year...

Anthony Watts quotes a news article, "Ice pockets choking Northern Passage" :

...Ice pockets choking Northern Passage: officials By Randy Boswell, Canwest News ServiceAugust 1, 2009


Despite predictions from a top U.S. polar institute that the Arctic Ocean's overall ice cover is headed for another "extreme" meltdown by mid-September, the Environment Canada agency monitoring our northern waters says an unusual combination of factors is making navigation more difficult in the Northwest Passage this year after two straight summers of virtually clear sailing.


"In the southern route," Canadian Ice Service officials told Canwest News Service, the agency "has observed more ice coverage than normal. This is partly due to the fact that the ice in the Amundsen Gulf consolidated this past winter, which is something it didn't do in 2007 and 2008."

The result, the agency said, is that ice conditions "are delaying any potential navigability of the Northwest Passage this year. This is opposite to what Environment Canada observed in the last week of July in 2007 and 2008."...

Funny how many stories like this one encounters nowadays. Mostly not in the news of course, but passed around the Interweb... It may be time for a massive governmental and international effort to avert global cooling! Capitalism and individualism have had their day, but when the fate of the planet is at stake, then they are luxuries which must be put aside. Power must shift to those who put the planet first, instead of corporate greed!

Hey, maybe I could make a big thing of this, and cash in like Al Gore!

Posted by John Weidner at 4:49 PM

August 1, 2009

"But who does the Church think she is?"

...But the Church down through the centuries has understood herself to be the appointed vessel for God's working, in the ordinary run of things. Her authority is not her own. She arrogates nothing to herself. Her bishops are the merest custodians, the merest passers-on, we might say, of the Deposit of Faith. As a Roman Catholic now, I am acutely aware of this.

When someone objects to me, "But who does the Church think she is, taking this high and mighty line?" (about abortion say, or about sexual morality, or about who may or may not come to the Lord's Table), the answer is, "She doesn't think she is anyone in particular, if you mean that she has set herself up among the wares in the flea market as somehow the best. She has been given her task to do do— pass on the teaching given by the apostles—and she has no warrant to change that. She is not taking her cues from the Nielsen ratings, nor from a poll, nor even from a sociological survey as to what people feel comfortable with nowadays. She didn't start the Church, and it's not her Church...
    -- Thomas Howard, from Lead Kindly Light

There is really no way to explain the difference—you have to experience it—in belonging to an organization that is not created by or dependent human beings. The Church existed before time, and even if the human race became extinct she would still exist. Every other family or tribe or group or nation or empire is created by people, and if they ever slack off...that's the end of it. Poof, it's gone. But the Church will never let you down. The human part, the people who are members...can sometimes be just as horrid as any other humans. But if you fall asleep like Rip van Winckle, and wake up in a thousand years, She will still be here. Kinda takes the pressure off a person...


Posted by John Weidner at 9:46 PM