December 30, 2012
Althouse: Finally, after all these years, not since the 90s, we will have a name for our decade!
I just realized that with the arrival of 2013, a great void will be filled. There will be an end to the lack of a name for the decade. With '13, will be in The Teens!
Don't tell me we had a name for the first decade of the new millennium. We talked a lot about what it would be called, and then it came and instead of calling it something, we just worked around the lack of a name. Don't tell me we called it the "ohs" or the "aughts." We did not. And we entered the second decade of the new millennium with the same problem. 2010, 2011, 2012... Don't tell me we called that the "tens." Obviously, we didn't.
Relief from the torment of namelessness arrives on Tuesday. Don't worry about 13 being unlucky. That's superstition. I am talking about real life. We need a name for a decade. I have fond memories tied with the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, the 80s, and the 90s. There's pizzazz and warmth and eclat and resonance in those terms. We've been empty and hungry for 13 years. The gnawing craving for meaning is over.
It's the Teens!.
This is written in a tongue-in-cheek style, but the problem is a real one. It is hard to think about things, and communicate them, if they don't have clear and simple names.
December 23, 2012
He shoulda stuck to what he knows about...
Pastor Rick Warren was a guest this morning on FOX News Sunday. The popular evangelical weighed in on the Obama presidency:“I don’t know what his (Obama) biggest accomplishment would be. I really don’t know that. My biggest disappointment is the disunity. President Obama ran saying “I’m going to be a unifier” and our nation is more divided than ever before. I think our nation is more divided than any time since the Civil War. That’s disheartening.”
I'm a big fan of Rick Warren in his own field, as a planter of churches. His book The Purpose Driven Church is the book to start with. But like so many clergy, he has this idea that Christianity means being a soft-headed liberal. Any number of us conservatives could have told him Obama was a phony, and was neck-deep in the corruption of Chicago politics.
Look, Rick. Here's a tip for you. People don't change much when they are 46 years old. They are pretty much exactly what they are going to be for the rest of their lives. So if a fast-talker tells you he's "going to be a unifier,” all you need to check is whether he's done any "unifying" in the past. If, like Barry Obama, he never has in his whole life, then, guess what...... he ain't gonna change now. You got conned big time. And you should have known better.
"Colonel Sanders in the sky"
The late Christopher Hitchens was a fascinating guy. Brilliant. But one of his peculiarities was that he lost about 50 IQ points whenever he attacked Christianity...
Fr. Dwight, Hitting on Hitchens:
...He goes on revealing his total misunderstanding of what religion is all about: "It (religion) comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance and other infantile needs)."
His chronological snobbery is incredible. Why does he suppose that modern man is not in need of comfort, reassurance and knowledge and that there were not people in primitive times who got along quite nicely without any extra comfort, reassurance and knowledge? Had he met a tribal warrior in the primeval jungle who was about to spear him and eat him for dinner I doubt whether Mr Hitchens would have recognized someone who was suffering from an infantile need for reassurance and comfort. In fact people then and people now are pretty much the same deep down. Some need knowledge, reassurance and comfort. Some do not.
The point is, these needs (or the lack of them) are not the reason for the development of religion. Instead human beings-both ancient and modern-sense that there is something else "out there." They see the beautiful, ordered world around them and deduce that there is a mind behind the order and beauty. Within the human heart (whether it is in need of reassurance and comfort or not) there is a religious instinct.
Human beings are not so much homo sapiens as homo orans. Finally, Hitchens makes the common sophomoric mistake of thinking that the primitive religious quest was about knowledge, reassurance and comfort. This is because modern Christianity is mostly about knowledge, reassurance and comfort. Has Hitchens actually studied the primitive religions he pontificates about?...
...The idea that religion could provide knowledge, reassurance and comfort was a much, much later development. Even the earliest teachings of the Christian church did not offer much in the way of knowledge, reassurance and comfort. Jesus Christ was not your buddy who walks with you the beach and has golden hair and cuddles little lambkins. He was, instead, the fearsome judge of all-the King of the Universe and the Almighty Son of the Father. Neither was God the Father the warm and cozy, kindly sort of Colonel Sanders in the sky we modern soft Christians have imagined. He too was the Lord God-the Creator-to whom one day you would have to give account....
"Colonel Sanders in the sky." I like that!
December 19, 2012
...I am republishing my three-part series about the LA Riots of 1992 in which Karen and I and the children were trapped for several frightening hours. We were unarmed, helpless save for our wits. The police were conspicuously absent and the bad guys, frequently armed with heavy weapons, owned the streets. It was a defining moment in my life.
I'm reposting this series as a cautionary tale because the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre has sharpened the claws of the statist utopians, whose ultimate aim is to disarm law-abiding American citizens.
Just as Obamacare has nothing to do with health, and cap and trade has nothing to do with so-called global warming, anti-gun laws have nothing to do with saving children's lives.
It's just another opportunity for the left to centralize power.
Hollywood is Burning
Hollywood is on fire.
Karen and I lock every door in the house, shut tight the windows, we move through the house switching off all the lights.
Gazing from our bedroom window we watch orange flames lick at the darkness, pillars of black smoke climb into the sky. We can actually smell the acrid odor of burning rubber.
"Look how close they are," says Karen.
"Just past La Cienega. Maybe eight blocks away."
Karen gives me a long penetrating gaze:
"What do we do if they come here?"
My mind is racing away. The truth is we are defenseless. Unless I get crazy inventive like Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs.
"After this is all over," I vow, "I'm going to buy a pistol."
Karen says: "How about a shotgun?"
Two Hours Earlier:...
December 18, 2012
Mass shootings occur where guns are banned...
It's that last paragraph that's the killer.. Remember it....
...Economists John Lott and William Landes conducted a groundbreaking study in 1999, and found that a common theme of mass shootings is that they occur in places where guns are banned and killers know everyone will be unarmed, such as shopping malls and schools.
I spoke with Lott after the Newtown shooting, and he confirmed that nothing has changed to alter his findings. He noted that the Aurora shooter, who killed twelve people earlier this year, had a choice of seven movie theaters that were showing the Batman movie he was obsessed with. All were within a 20-minute drive of his home. The Cinemark Theater the killer ultimately chose wasn't the closest, but it was the only one that posted signs saying it banned concealed handguns carried by law-abiding individuals. All of the other theaters allowed the approximately 4 percent of Colorado adults who have a concealed-handgun permit to enter with their weapons.
"Disarming law-abiding citizens leaves them as sitting ducks," Lott told me. "A couple hundred people were in the Cinemark Theater when the killer arrived. There is an extremely high probability that one or more of them would have had a legal concealed handgun with him if they had not been banned."
Lott offers a final damning statistic: "With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns."...
December 16, 2012
Speaks for itself...
December 10, 2012
The worst piece of design I've ever seen...
For your viewing pleasure, the old and new University of California logos...
On the plus side, two of my main blogging-points are perfectly encapsulated in this. One is nihilism; the way meaning and belief have drained away from many people's lives. The new logo probably deserves a prize for having the absolute lowest amount of meaning a logo can have--a plain blue rectangle would have more profundity than this.. In fact it may possess negative meaning. That is, if you have still in your mind or soul any high and noble purpose, anything greater then yourself, staring at this graphic will tend to destroy that. If Fiat Lux--Let There Be Light--still has meaning for you, the new logo can cure you of this mental aberration. It can help make you a well-adjusted citizen of the Obama Welfare State.
The other theme is the Information Age. Specifically, that those institutions which have failed to make the transition to the new age we are in are, all of them, delusional. Crazy, in fact. What we call a university is actually an Industrial Age invention. The UC System used to be at the cutting edge of new things. Now it has become profoundly dysfunctional. It needs to be destroyed, to free up human and financial resources for the university-to-come.
UPDATE: My son says they should title it: "Fading into nothingness..."
A news story on this...
...After 144 years with the same old Victorian seal, the University of California has decided to go mod.
The university's original logo -- with its open book, 1868 date stamp and "Let there be light" script -- will still be in circulation, appearing on president's letters and official university documents. But marketing materials and websites will feature a radically simple and more contemporary symbol: a little "C" nesting inside a shield-shaped "U."
"They wanted something that would reflect the innovation, the character of California -- just more modern, user-friendly," said Dianne Klein of UC's Office of the President. "That's not to take away from the gravitas of the original seal."...