August 30, 2011

A few little things...

....That I don't have the time and energy to make whole posts about...

Art madness. Via my daughter, here's an art student who created an illuminated copy of Tolkien's Silmarillion. A huge amount of work, but he's won undying fame. Or at least notoriety. It looks great, maybe someone will print a facsimile...

Good reads! Charlene and I are enjoying I. J. Parker's series of mystery novels set in Heian Japan, about 1,000 years ago. It's the period of the famous novel Tale of Genji. We've spent twenty years or more wishing that there were more of van Gulik's splendid Chinese Judge Dee mysteries for us to read. Parker is almost at that level.

And if you've never read van Gulik, well, you have a treat you could indulge in. My favorites are perhaps The Chinese Bell Murders, and Poets and Murder.

Game recommendation. From ME? Absurd. I go for years without playing a computer game. But, I love the iPhone game Contra Jour. Playing it is sort of like falling into an odd spooky dream world. Silly, but charming. Contra jour, (literally "against the light") is the French term in photography equivalent to "back lit."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:59 PM

This makes me feel good about being a long-time Thomas fan...

Walter Russell Mead, New Blue Nightmare: Clarence Thomas and the Amendment of Doom:

....There are few articles of faith as firmly fixed in the liberal canon as the belief that Clarence Thomas is, to put it as bluntly as many liberals do, a dunce and a worm. Twenty years of married life have not erased the conventional liberal view of his character etched by Anita Hill's testimony at his confirmation hearings.�Not only does the liberal mind perceive him as a disgusting lump of ungoverned sexual impulse; he is seen as an intellectual cipher. Thomas' silence during oral argument before the Supreme Court is taken as obvious evidence that he has nothing to say and is perhaps a bit intimidated by the verbal fireworks exchanged by the high profile lawyers and his more, ahem, 'qualified' colleagues.

At most liberals have long seen Thomas as the Sancho Panza to Justice Antonin Scalia's Don Quixote, Tonto to his Lone Ranger. No, says Toobin: the intellectual influence runs the other way. Thomas is the consistently clear and purposeful theorist that history will remember as an intellectual pioneer; Scalia the less clear-minded colleague who is gradually following in Thomas' tracks.

If Toobin's revionist take is correct, (and I defer to his knowledge of the direction of modern constitutional thought) it means that liberal America has spent a generation mocking a Black man as an ignorant fool, even as constitutional scholars stand in growing amazement at the intellectual audacity, philosophical coherence and historical reflection embedded in his judicial work.

Toobin is less interested in exploring why liberal America has been so blind for so long to the force of Clarence Thomas' intellect than in understanding just what Thomas has achieved in his lonely trek across the wastes of Mordor. And what he finds is that Thomas has been pioneering the techniques and the ideas that could not only lead to the court rejecting all or part of President Obama's health legislation; the ideas and strategies Thomas has developed could conceivably topple the constitutionality of the post New Deal state...

Well, the parrot's dead; we might as well get on with burying it.

My question is, those "liberals" who have spent 20 years calling Clarence Thomas a dunce and a fool, and worse... Did they suspect, perhaps unconsciously, that he was their real opponent? I've always assumed that they just hated the idea of a black man escaping from servitude on the Lefty Plantation. But maybe they knew deep down...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:51 PM

August 28, 2011

Hot gospel...

This is a snippet from today's homily (sermon), by our pastor, Fr Xavier Lavagetto. This part grabbed me, because that's the way I've often tended to think of the phrase. And since it was my turn to do the podcast, I had the recording right here on my computer, ready to transcribe.

You can also, as they say, listen to the whole thing here. There's also a morsel of our excellent music, and the fine voice of Deacon Chuck reading the Gospel. Plus the intro is spoken by my daughter. (And, since these recordings only happened because I pushed long and persistently to get the podcast project going, if you like what you hear you can say, "Well done Mr Weidner!")

...We've tamed the wild Gospel. Now just consider how we use the phrase from today's Gospel about carrying ones cross. Most people use it as an exhortation to put up with life's difficulties or aches or pains. You know, "offer it up for the poor souls."

But hear that line gain, and you'll see that Jesus had a very different idea. "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." The three phrases describe what it means to come after. Putting up with illness, or a grouchy neighbor, or even a job loss is not "carrying ones cross."

The three phrases, to deny oneself, to take up ones cross, and to follow Jesus, do not describe passivity or resignation. But energetic action.

Paul expressed a similar idea in today's second reading. "Do not conform yourself to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." Both Jesus and Paul wanted a counter-cultural way of thinking, a radical way of acting. The cross was an instrument of most cruel capital punishment. Reserved for the worst of non-Roman criminals. For terrorists...

Jesus demands the unthinkable. "Be a criminal like me."....


(The Gospel reading for today...)

Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
"God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you."
He turned and said to Peter,
"Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

Then Jesus said to his disciples,
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life"
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory,
and then he will repay all according to his conduct."(Mt 16:21-27)
Posted by John Weidner at 4:21 PM | Comments (22)

August 26, 2011

Finally...Svensmark vindicated.



Nigel Calder, BREAKING NEWS -- CERN Experiment Confirms Cosmic Rays Influence Cloud Seeds:

...As knowledge accumulated behind their dam and threatened to overtop it, the warmists had one last course to lay. Paradoxically it was CLOUD. Long delays with this experiment to explore the microchemical mechanism of the Svensmark effect became the chief excuse for deferring any re-evaluation of the Sun's role in climate change. When the microchemical mechanism was revealed prematurely by the SKY experiment in Copenhagen and published in 2006, the warmists said, "No particle accelerator? That won't do! Wait for CLOUD."� When the experiment in Aarhus confirmed the mechanism using a particle accelerator they said, "Oh that's just the Danes again! Wait for CLOUD."

Well they've waited and their dam has failed them.....

If this doesn't mean anything to you, you are not tuned in. You are no doubt living in the realm of illusion created by the mainstream media. Wake up. Everything you know is wrong!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:17 AM

August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs story...

A sort of answer to those who imagine that Apple's success is just a matter of "marketing."

The wrong yellow gradient:

Steve Jobs called up Google's Vic Gundotra on a Sunday morning to get an urgent fix for something they were working on, and Gundotra was gracious enough to share the story on Google+.
"So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I've already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow" said Steve.

"I've been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I'm not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn't have the right yellow gradient. It's just wrong and I'm going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?"

Of course this was okay with me. A few minutes later on that Sunday I received an email from Steve with the subject "Icon Ambulance". The email directed me to work with Greg Christie to fix the icon....

You can see the offending icon at the link.

I can only think of a few comparable business leaders. Henry Ford was the same sort of obsessive perfectionist. And Walt Disney. (Terry recommended the book Walt Disney, by Neil Gabler, in a comment at my post on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Good book! I was astonished to discover that the ambitious 20,000 Leagues was the company's first live-action film made in the US. They had made a couple of films in Britain, including Treasure Island, to use money that was stuck there due to post-war currency controls.)

* Update: This also is an indicator of why Apple has always been lousy at anything network-ish. Networks of any kind are inherently messy and imperfect. They can never be gem-like objects. Apple's attempts with things like dot.mac and iDisk and Moblle.Me have been huge disappointments. I'm hoping that iCloud will break the jinx.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:21 AM

August 23, 2011

Sad day...

Scott Chaffin, aka "The Fat Guy," is an old friend of this blog. And I think of him as a personal friend, thought I've never met him. Odd how that can work on the Interwebs.

Alas, he's been diagnosed with lung cancer. You can read it here and here.

It's funny, I was very recently thinking of his recipe for Tejas Shredded Beef, and thinking I really ought to make it again. A "fistful" of this and a "palmful" of that--that's how to cook. None of your girly fussing with measuring spoons...

He can surely use our prayers, and tips in his tip-jar.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 PM

Lawfare by the good guys...

Meet the Legal Wonks Who Brought Down the Flotilla — Commentary Magazine:

...The "right-wing" law center that caused Benjamin so much grief is Shurat HaDin – the Israeli group that single-handedly took down the "Freedom Flotilla II" simply by filing creative lawsuits. In total, nine out of the 10 boats in the flotilla never touched Israeli waters, largely due to Shurat HaDin's work.

Led by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and her husband Avi Leitner, the legal center is pioneering a new strategy of Israeli-self defense: Pro-Israel Lawfare.

"There is a way of fighting back, we just have to start thinking like Jews again," Avi Leitner told me during the Leitners' recent visit to D.C. "And remember, the Jews invented lawfare, the Jews invented law. So you don't sit on your hands."

The first step the legal center took against the flotilla was to target private companies that may have been assisting it. "We thought, what do boats need in order to sail?" Darshan-Leitner told me. "And we realized that all boats must have insurance." Shurat HaDin began by contacting the major maritime insurance agencies, and informing them they might be criminally liable for "aiding and abetting" a terrorist organization if they provided insurance.

The response was very positive: some of the companies even said they were aware of the legal consequences, and had already made the decision not to work with the flotilla.

Shortly after, Shurat HaDin was contacted by the Israeli Prime Minister's office, which offered its assistance. "They said we had to do anything, anything possible to stop the flotilla," said Darshan-Leitner. "They asked if there was anything they could do. We said, 'you tell us, what else do ships need?'"

The prime minister's office said the boats would require satellite communication service to access GPS, contact the port, and – most importantly – to facilitate media coverage. Shurat HaDin immediately sent a letter to the major satellite provider for the area, warning it of the legal consequences if it worked with the flotilla.

And here's another plus for Governor Perry...

Next, Shurat HaDin lawyers discovered American flotilla activists were potentially in violation of the Neutrality Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from taking part in a hostile act against an allied country. "So we approached the Attorney General of the United States to fix it. And we also got Gov. Rick Perry to write a letter to Eric Holder," said Darshan-Leitner.

It may seem a little weird that the governor of Texas would be one of the first people Darshan-Leitner approached to help with the plan. But she explained that Perry was enthusiastically on-board with the cause ever since he met her on a trip to Israel.

"I once spoke at a mission that Perry took part in, in Israel," she said. "And he approached me and said, 'I love what you do. It's amazing what you do. If you ever need help combating Israel's enemies, I'm here to assist.'"...

If you like this kind of thing, here's the web site of Shurat HaDin.

It's important to keep in mind that "pro-Palestinian" is almost invariably a disguise for anti-Semitism. Our western fake-liberals never pay the slightest bit of attention when the Palestinians are abused by Arab countries, as the frequently have been. Nor do they care about other oppressed peoples of the Middle East. Their concern is fraudulent; they are Jew-haters.

And in fact the type of westerners who wear keffiyehs are Jew-killers. (See here for a good piece on the keffiyeh fashion.) That's the main industry of the Palestinians, to be proxy Jew-haters and Jew-killers for the rest of the world. We support them (the US gives 600 million a year) to do what many in the West want done while avoiding the need to be conscious of it.

That may all sound improbable, but I believe that much of what we all do is really decided unconsciously, and that the unconscious parts of us are often more intelligent and purposeful then the conscious. And I strongly suspect that many a ditzy keffiyeh-weasring young trendoid (COUGHMeganMcCainCOUGH) who could not coherently argue for anything is unconsciously symbolically rejecting God, by attacking His Chosen People.

Israel flag. 

Posted by John Weidner at 8:42 AM

August 22, 2011

I'd say this is a positive for Perry...

Trial lawyers prep for war on Perry - POLITICO:

America's trial lawyers are getting ready to make the case against one of their biggest targets in years: Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Among litigators, there is no presidential candidate who inspires the same level of hatred — and fear — as Perry, an avowed opponent of the plaintiffs' bar who has presided over several rounds of tort reform as governor.

And if Perry ends up as the Republican nominee for president, deep-pocketed trial lawyers intend to play a central role in the campaign to defeat him.

That's a potential financial boon to a president who has unsettled trial lawyers with his own rhetorical gestures in the direction of tort reform. A general election pitting Barack Obama and Perry could turn otherwise apathetic trial lawyers into a phalanx of pro-Obama bundlers and super PAC donors.

"If this guy emerges, if he's a serious candidate, if he doesn't blow up in the next couple weeks, it's going to motivate many in the plaintiffs' bar to dig deeper to support President Obama," said Sean Coffey, a former securities litigator who ran for attorney general of New York last year. "That will end up driving a lot of money to the Democratic side."...

Bloodsuckers. I know a lot about those creeps, because Charlene's on the other side, and does battle with them daily, and often fills me in on her current adventure. Or asks me to think as if I'm on a jury, and see how her arguments strike me.

Word Note logoWORD NOTE: You can't think about things unless they have names. And often in life an inaccurate name is used, and becomes part of the language, and we are stuck with it. Like calling the indigenous American peoples 'Indians."

The term "trial lawyers" is often used, as it is in this piece, as a name for the plaintiff's bar, that is, for the lawyers who specialize in the lawsuits of "victims." But the term really should be used for any lawyer who is equipped to take cases to trial. My wife is a trial lawyer; she tries cases... and usually wins them. The Brits make "trial lawyer" a separate group, called Barristers. They are the only ones who can actually try cases in court.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:39 PM

August 16, 2011

Palin/West 2012?

What do you think? Alan West seems to me like a guy with his feet on the ground and his head in the clouds... I like his style a lot. Common sense...

Here he is, speaking to some disappointed Tea Partiers after the debt deal...

Listen to this guy. He speaks pearls.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:01 AM

August 15, 2011

Pawlentyism...

James Poulos seems to hit the nail, The real reason Pawlenty failed:

...Pawlenty is out, and out first, for one reason and one reason only.

It's not Pawlenty. It's Pawlentyism.

Tim Pawlenty is the canary in the establishment coal mine. His message — that the Republican Party doesn't need to rethink any of its main policy propositions — no longer computes with a critical mass of Republican voters: not just in Ames, Iowa, but nationwide.

Paul and his (growing) army of faithful are no longer the lone data point. Michele Bachmann has built her campaign around a radical alternative to Republican spending orthodoxy. Sarah Palin fuels hopes of an even broader renunciation of the Republican establishment....

My preference for Palin is based on logic, by the way. I think our situation is worse than most people realize, and demands more radical changes than the CW admits. What he said above, "Sarah Palin fuels hopes of an even broader renunciation of the Republican establishment," well, them's my hopes too. I'd be happier if she were more explicitly on my wavelength. (I'm available as a consultant.) But she's a fighter, and not afraid to go against the establishment and "elite" groupthink.. I'll settle for that.

A little more of Mr Poulos' piece...

...It's not that Pawlenty's brand of mainstream, fusionist conservatism is wrong. It's that it misses the point. The principles are necessary, but the policies Pawlentyism derives from them are inadequate to the daunting task that Americans have — let's face it — set before themselves.

Given how grievously we've undercalculated the real debt burdens at the state, local, and federal levels, an "ambitious goal" of 5% economic growth is not just absurd but dangerously so. (Perhaps real growth is in reach with a massive and open-ended influx of immigrants who are ready to work cheap and stay off entitlements. Good luck with that.)

Given how weary America has become of its network of military actions, a bear-any-burden approach to muscular interventionism sweeps all our serious strategic questions under the rug. (Note: We Americans are fine with wars. It's the massive and open-ended imperial mission of garrisoning "restive tribal areas" that we rightly lose patience for.)

And given how deeply all economic classes have been penetrated by dependency on perpetual federal wealth transfers, the "Sam's Club Republicanism" that anointed Pawlenty its poster boy cannot be taken seriously when it proposes to "reform" the country and the GOP by replacing our system of targeted tax credits with one of out-and-out wage subsidies.
Posted by John Weidner at 5:46 PM

August 14, 2011

The spotlight shines on... Rick Perry

And I don't think he's looking quite so good as one was led to believe.

A couple of things...

Charles Dameron: Rick Perry's Crony Capitalism Problem - WSJ.com:

and Charlene recommends this...

Alex Jones' Infowars: 14 Reasons Why Rick Perry Would Be A Really, Really Bad President :

and...

Mark America, Desolate and Dry, Texas Awaits Relief From Obama and Perry:

Well, we'll see what develops. But it looks to me like Governor Palin has been one smart cookie in not declaring too soon. Once she's thrown her hat in the ring, the glare will be almost entirely on her, and those way-too-cute other candidates won't get the vetting and exposure that can show their weak points.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:01 PM

August 13, 2011

"...under the mask of a riotous life there would be death at the heart."

John Buchan, A Vista from Before:

...In my nightmare I would picture such a world. I assumed – no doubt an impossible assumption – that mankind was amply provided for as the inmates of a well-managed orphanage. New inventions and a perfecting of transport had caused the whole earth to huddle together. There was no corner of the globe left unexplored and unexploited, no geographical mysteries to fire the imagination. Broad highways crowded with automobiles threaded the remotest lands, and overhead great air-liners carried week-end tourists to the wilds of Africa and Asia. Everywhere there were guest-houses and luxury hotels and wayside camps and filling-stations. What once were the savage tribes of Equatoria and Polynesia were now in reserves as an attraction to trippers, who bought from them curios and holiday momentoes. The globe, too, was full of pleasure-cities where people could escape the rigour of their own climate and enjoy perpetual holiday.

In such a world everyone would have leisure. But everyone would be restless, for there would be no spiritual discipline in life. Some kind of mechanical philosophy of politics would have triumphed, and everybody would have this neat little part in the state machine. Everybody would be comfortable, but since there could be no great demand for intellectual exertion everybody would be also slightly idiotic. Their shallow minds would be easily bored, and therefore unstable. Their life would be largely a quest for amusement. The raffish existence led today by certain groups would have become the normal existence of large sections of society.

Some kind of intellectual life no doubt would remain, though the old political disputes would have cancelled each other out, and the world would not have the stimulus of a contest of ideals, which is, after all, a spiritual thing. Scientists and philosophers would still spin theories about the universe. Art would be in the hands of coteries, and literature dominated by petite chapelles. There would be religion, too, of a kind, in glossy upholstered churches with elaborate music. It would be a feverish, bustling world, self-satisfied and yet malcontent, and under the mask of a riotous life there would be death at the heart.

The soil of human nature, which in the Dark Ages lay fallow, would now be worked out. Men would go everywhere and live nowhere; know everything and understand nothing. In the perpetual hurry of life there would be no chance of quiet for the soul. In the tumult of a jazz existence what hope would there be for the small voices of the prophets and philosophers and poets? A world which claimed to be a triumph of the human personality would in truth have killed that personality. In such a bagman's paradise, where life would be rationalised and padded with every material comfort, there would be little satisfaction for the immortal part of man. It would be a new Vanity Fair with Mr. Talkative as the chief figure on the town council. The essence of civilisation lies in man's defiance of an impersonal universe. It makes no difference that a mechanised universe may be his own creation if he allows his handiwork to enslave him. Not for the first time in history have the idols that humanity has shaped for its own ends become its master."

By John Buchan from "Memory Hold-the-Door" (1940)...

"in glossy upholstered churches with elaborate music. " Gag me with a spoon, as the saints of old would say. That's where we are. I hate it utterly. Well, I hate glossy upholstered anything. It's all the same sickness.

WORD NOTE: In old English slang a bagman was a traveling salesman. That's probably the reference of "bagman's paradise," rather than the American meaning.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:52 PM

Frauds. But you knew that...

The press and the pacifists. Remember when the "press" was salivating over the one-thousandth American death in Iraq? And people like me said that it was phony partisan posturing? Toldja.

And remember the big "anti-war" protests of the Bush years? And how me and many others said they had nothing to do with "conscience," and everything to do with nihilism and hatred of America and President Bush? Ditto.

Obama Gets a Blank Check for Endless War - Reason Magazine:

...Include Iraq, and the comparison tells a similar story: about 1,300 Americans killed in operations related to Iraq and Afghanistan combined during the first two and a half or so years we've had of the Obama administration, versus less than 600 American casualties in the first full three years of the George W. Bush administration.

It all raises at least two related questions. First, where are the antiwar protests? And second, where is the press?

In a phone interview, the national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, which organized some of the largest antiwar protests during the Bush administration, Michael McPhearson, said part of the explanation is political partisanship. A lot of the antiwar protesters, he said, were Democrats. "Once Obama got into office, they kind of demobilized themselves," he said.

"Because he's a Democrat, they don't want to oppose him in the same way as they opposed Bush," said Mr. McPhearson, who is also a former executive director of Veterans for Peace, and who said he voted for President Obama in 2008. "The politics of it allows him more breathing room when it comes to the wars."...

"More breathing room..." Bullshit. Obama could kill millions, and the fake pacifists and fake Quakers would be ice-heartedly indifferent. Just as the were ice-heartedly indifferent to the hundreds-of-thousands killed by Saddam.

Smelly hippie lights cig on burning American flag


Posted by John Weidner at 10:59 AM

August 11, 2011

Verdict not yet rendered...

Krauthammer:

We're in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and reach of government, the future of the welfare state, indeed, the nature of the social contract between citizen and state. The distinctive visions of the two parties — social-democratic vs. limited-government — have underlain every debate on every issue since Barack Obama's inauguration: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health-care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending. Everything. The debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide.

The sausage-making may be unsightly, but the problem is not that Washington is broken, that ridiculous ubiquitous cliche. The problem is that these two visions are in competition, and the definitive popular verdict has not yet been rendered.

We're only at the midpoint. Obama won a great victory in 2008 that he took as a mandate to transform America toward European-style social democracy. The subsequent counterrevolution delivered to that project a staggering rebuke in November 2010. Under our incremental system, however, a rebuke delivered is not a mandate conferred. That awaits definitive resolution, the rubber match of November 2012.

I have every sympathy with the conservative counterrevolutionaries. Their containment of the Obama experiment has been remarkable. But reversal — rollback, in Cold War parlance — is simply not achievable until conservatives receive a mandate to govern from the White House....

Well, that's how our Constitution was written. The idea was that a temporary fad or frenzy could not result in hasty changes. You might reply that that's exactly what happened in 2008. But that was a very unusual situation. And even with Dems suddenly holding the White House and massive majorities in both houses, it's interesting how little they were actually able to pass. And Obamacare itself was only pushed through with legislative trickery. And they are still relying on back-door ways such as EPA regulations to create laws they can't pass.

Plus, 2008 was tied to the one big issue that our Constitution has never been quite able to deal with--slavery and its legacy. To put it in terms of the 70-Year Cycle, the first cycle started with ignoring the issue of slavery so as too contentious to touch during the founding, the second with the Civil War, the third with the battle to end segregation.

Now we are starting the fourth cycle with the first black president, and through him the exposure of the utter bankruptcy of third cycle ideas. That should clear the decks for the next big civil rights fight, which I suspect will be over education.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:47 AM

August 8, 2011

He shoulda gone to the University of Idaho, and actually learned something...

Governor Palin: Conquering the Storm:

. ...Back in December 2010, I wrote: "If the European debt crisis teaches us anything, it's that tomorrow always comes. Sooner or later, the markets will expect us to settle the bill for the enormous Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending binge. We've already been warned by the credit ratings agency Moody's that unless we get serious about reducing our deficit, we may face a downgrade of our credit rating." And again in January, in response to President Obama's State of the Union address I wrote: "With credit ratings agency Moody's warning us that the federal government must reverse the rapid growth of national debt or face losing our triple-A rating, keep in mind that a nation doesn't look so 'great' when its credit rating is in tatters."

One doesn't need a Harvard Law degree to figure this out! Just look across the pond at Europe. European nations with less debt and smaller deficits than ours and with real "austerity" plans in place to deal with them have had their ratings downgraded. By what magical thinking did we figure we could run up perpetual trillion dollar deficits and still somehow avoid the unforgiving mathematics of a downgrade? Nothing is ever "too big to fail." And there's no such thing as a free lunch. Didn't we all learn that in our micro and macro econ classes? I did at the University of Idaho. How could Obama skip through Columbia and Harvard without learning that?

Many commonsense Americans like myself saw this day coming. In fact, in June 2010, Rick Santelli articulated the view of independent Tea Party patriots everywhere when he shouted on CNBC, "I want the government to stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending! STOP SPENDING!"� So, how shamelessly cynical and dishonest must one be to blame this inevitable downgrade on the very people who have been shouting all along "stop spending"? Blaming the Tea Party for our credit downgrade is akin to Nero blaming the Christians for burning Rome. Tea Party Americans weren't the ones "fiddling" while our country's fiscal house was going up in smoke. In fact, we commonsense fiscal conservatives were the ones grabbing for the extinguishers while politically correct politicians and their cronies buried their heads in what soon became this bonfire.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:23 PM

August 6, 2011

"Sometimes we need to protect the poor from the programs."

From Timothy Dalrymple, Whom Would Jesus Indebt?:

...One of the great difficulties of this issue, for Christians, is that the morality of spending and debt has been so thoroughly demagogued that it's impossible to advocate cuts in government spending without being accused of hatred for the poor and needy. A group calling itself the "Circle of Protection" recently promoted a statement on "Why We Need to Protect Programs for the Poor." But we don't need to protect the programs. We need to protect the poor. Indeed, sometimes we need to protect the poor from the programs. Too many anti-poverty programs are beneficial for the politicians that pass them, and veritable boondoggles for the government bureaucracy that administers them, but they actually serve to rob the poor of their dignity and their initiative, they undermine the family structures that help the poor build prosperous lives, and ultimately mire the poor in poverty for generations. Does anyone actually believe that the welfare state has served the poor well?

It is immoral to ignore the needs of the least of these. But it's also immoral to 'serve' the poor in ways that only make more people poor, and trap them in poverty longer. And it's immoral to amass a mountain of debt that we will pass on to later generations. I even believe it's immoral to feed the government's spending addiction. Since our political elites have demonstrated such remarkably poor stewardship over our common resources, it would be foolish and wrong to give them more resources to waste. What we need our political leaders committed to prudence and thrift, to wise and far-sighted stewardship, and to spurring a free and thriving economy that will encourage the poor and all Americans to seize their human dignity as creatures made in the image of God, to be fruitful and take initiative and express their talents and creativity.

This is why I was a part of creating a group called Christians for a Sustainable Economy. We wrote a Letter to the President and Congressional Leaders. Here is a section:...
Posted by John Weidner at 3:17 PM

Waist deep in a certain river in Egypt...

I thought there was something rather peculiar about this piece from NBC, Is this man invincible? Perry eyes the GOP nomination:

...He's also been lucky, a trait that has continued with the development of the 2012 field. Perry's opening has been paved, in part, by the absence of other big names like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, as well as Newt Gingrich's campaign implosion (which allowed Carney, who had been working for Gingrich, to return to the Perry orbit). A recent Gallup poll of Republican voters indicated that Perry would debut in second place nationally if he decided to run, beating out Tea Party-beloved Rep. Michele Bachmann and barely trailing presumed front-runner Mitt Romney.

With his ability to mobilize the conservative base (like Bachmann can) and to tap into big business interests (like Romney can), Perry would likely shake loose supporters from each potential rival's base...

Seems like something is missing. That phrase, "Tea Party-beloved"... It kinda rings a distant bell... Almost as if there's a heffalump in the living room, but we can't see it...

It reminds me of Jennifer Rubin's oft-repeated phrase Tea-Party-favorite-Michelle-Bachman. SO, if you put a thousand randomly-selected Tea Partiers in the middle of a football field... And Ms Bachman at one goalpost... and She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named at the other goalpost... which magnet are the little iron-filings going to migrate towards? Hmm?



Posted by John Weidner at 1:06 PM

August 5, 2011

What might it mean? Ha ha.

I hear that Governor Palin just "re-tweeted" this exceedingly interrestin' little piece by Whitney Pitcher, Governor Palin--Leading the Fight on Debt and Liabilities.

Conspicuously, it highlights the tripling of debt in Texas under Gov. Perry. (Why am I not blinking in astonishment at that number? In fact I'm unsurprised. Did my little unconscious mind pick up some etheric vibrations?) And the piece contrasts that ugly lump with the frugality and far-sightedness of a certain far-northern governor, who cut spending in flush times, when all normal politicians are eager to fling money around. And left her state in rock-solid condition.

Gee, I guess that eliminates the fantasy that Palin will endorse Perry!

I'm expect establishment Republicans (*cough* JenniferRubin *cough*) to keep stating as an accepted fact that Palin is not running. Me, I'd say that if you haven't grasped that she's running right this very moment, you are.... slowwww.

I look forward to many an evil laugh. Oh how we will laugh.


* Update: (I actually like Jennifer Rubin's writing a lot. But the revolution's coming, and she SO doesn't get it. Me, I'm disguised as a mild-mannered blogger, but I'm a revolutionary at heart. Charlene deplores unceasingly the depredations of the Obama machine, and I nod in agreement. But inside I'm thinking, "The worse the better." My Christian morality would deprecate it, but aside from that little matter it wouldn't bother me a bit to stand by the guillotine and hold his bloody head up to the screaming crowd.

Actually that may be why I'm totally the enemy of all the revolutions, starting with the French one. It's because of the little Sans-Culotte inside me. I know the monster.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:38 PM

Postrel on Glamour...

Virginina Postrel, Obama Glamour Can't Fix Charisma Deficit - Bloomberg:

...What's the difference? Charisma moves the audience to share a leader's vision. Glamour, on the other hand, inspires the audience to project its own desires onto the leader (or movie star or tropical resort or new car): to see in the glamorous object a symbol of escape and transformation that makes the ideal feel attainable. The meaning of glamour, in other words, lies entirely in the audience's mind.

That was certainly true of Obama as a candidate. He attracted supporters who not only disagreed with his stated positions but, what is much rarer, believed that he did, too. On issues such as same-sex marriage and free trade, the supporters projected their own views onto him and assumed he was just saying what other, less discerning voters wanted to hear...

...He was the political equivalent of the seductive high heels described by Leora Tanenbaum in her book "Bad Shoes": "When you see a pair of stilettos on display in a department store or featured in a fashion magazine, you can imagine yourself wearing them and becoming the kind of person who lives a magical life, gliding around gracefully with no need for sensible, lace-up shoes. The fantasy just might become realizable by stepping into the shoes and inhabiting them." That's glamour...


....Glamour is a beautiful illusion -- the word "glamour" originally meant a literal magic spell -- that makes the ideal seem effortlessly attainable. Glamour hides difficulty and distractions, creating a false and enticing sense of grace. We see the dance, not the rehearsals; the beach resort, not the luggage and jet lag. There are no bills on the kitchen counter, no freckles on the pale-skinned star, no sacrifices in the promise of change.

This illusion is hard to maintain for more than an escapist moment. Even the most beautiful shoes are never as glamorous once you've worn them and discovered they give you blisters or, at best, didn't transform your life. The same is true of presidents. Familiarity breeds discontent...

I well remember trying to argue with people about Obama, using... logic. What a joke. I can see now that a lot of people were looking forward to the whole country being Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. When you are under the spell, then the whole point is that all those tedious dragging things are not going to matter. Gravity will hardly pull at all.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:05 AM

August 3, 2011

Nemo and company...

Divers from 20,000 Leagues re-enter submarine Nautilus

One of my favorite memories from my youth was the Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. It was a profound aesthetic treat, quite unforgettable. Today's "steampunk" fantasies are weak tea by comparison. And even better was the exhibit at Disneyland where one could walk through sets from the film. Everything in my life since then has been a bit anti-climactic. (The picture above shows divers re-entering the submarine Nautilus.)...

Divers from 20,000 Leagues

So it was very cool today to stumble on this web-site, THE DISNEY DIVERS:

...Filming the underwater scenes for Leagues was the greatest technical feat of its kind ever attempted. Nothing on this scale had ever been done before. The operation was so unparalleled, and the photographic methods were so revolutionary, that the United States Navy sent observers along to film the operation and see what they could learn about underwater photography from the Disney team...

...In 1954, SCUBA diving was still in its early years. The equipment seen in the movie was experimental. Conceived and perfected by people like Harper Goff, Fred Zendar, and Al Hansen, the Disney diving systems combined hard-hat and SCUBA gear with unique art-metalwork that was out-of-this-World...

...The rigs were tremendously heavy: well over two hundred pounds each. Because of this, safety protocols required that each individual diver had to have several assistants to help him in and out of the water. Once aboard the barge, the divers were guided to numbered seats on benches where tenders would remove and service their gear, and the air tanks could be recharged for the next dive...

Divers from 20,000 Leagues on tender

Here we see some of the Disney Divers all geared up and ready to go. That�s Ricou Browning in the #9 station. Ricou is also well known as the diver who played the monster in the underwater scenes for Creature from the Black Lagoon. Al Hansen is the seated diver on the left, and Canadian diver Leonard Mott is the diver on the right side of the picture.
Posted by John Weidner at 9:37 PM

August 2, 2011

They always let us know who they are afraid of...

Ms. Jedediah Bila, Manhattan Lefties Talk Palin:

Last week I attended a cocktail party on Manhattan's Upper East Side. It's an unfortunate part of life every now and then for this prefer-a-basketball-game-and-soft-pretzel New Yorker. With that being said, any opportunity to mingle with members of New York City's left-wing elite serves to provide both a wealth of amusement and—quite often—column-worthy entertainment.

This particular party happened to occur the same day it was revealed that Sarah Palin will be keynoting a tea party rally in Iowa on September 3. So, Palin came up quite a bit. What did some of Manhattan's finest lefties have to say about her?

Here are the top five sentiments that were expressed throughout the two hours I lasted (special thanks to the veggies and dip for keeping me there long enough to overhear this fun):...

Heh. Read on. Short version: they be afraid of Sarah. They know she's the real deal.

Word Note logoWORD NOTE: The name Jedediah, (or Jedidiah), was the name given to Solomon and means 'beloved by God.'

Then David comforted his wife, Bathshe'ba, and went in to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him, and sent a message by Nathan the prophet; so he called his name Jedidi'ah, because of the LORD. -- 2Sam.12: 24 to 25
Posted by John Weidner at 9:56 PM

As someone who has employed others in the past...

...this looks like just what one might expect to happen. And a good reason why tying health insurance to employment was always a bad idea.

Effect of Obamacare on employment

By the way, no one ever thought-through or voted on the idea that health insurance should go along with employment. It was an accident. During WWII employers were forbidden from raising wages to attract scarce workers. But they could offer health care plans, and that quickly became widespread. And it just "stuck."

The system was less destructive in the Industrial Age, when many people had lifetime work in large stable companies. It's an absurdity in the Information Age, when flexibility is king.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM