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The words of our President

Our first President, that is, not the person occupying the office at this moment. In a letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, dated April 28, 1788:
In answer to the observations you make on the probability of my election to the Presidency (knowing me as you do) I need only say, that it has no enticing charms, and no fascinating allurements for me. However, it might not be decent for me to say I would refuse to accept or even to speak much about an appointment, which may never take place: for in so doing, one might possibly incur the application of the moral resulting from that Fable, in which the Fox is represented as inveighing against the sourness of the grapes, because he could not reach them. All that it will be necessary to add, my dear Marquis, in order to show my decided predilection, is, that, (at my time of life and under my circumstances) the encreasing infirmities of nature and the growing love of retirement do not permit me to entertain a wish beyond that of living and dying an honest man on my own farm. Let those follow the pursuits of ambition and fame, who have a keener relish for them, or who may have more years, in store, for the enjoyment.


I have often said that the only person who can be trusted with the office of the President is somebody who manifestly, honestly, does not want it.

Sigh.
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Underpants Gnomes, or The Road to Hell

Those of us who watch this process--on climate change, health care, minimum wage, and a host of other issues, and despair of ever getting our fellows to think through the consequences of their good intentions now have a bit more scientific evidence behind us. From BBC comes a story titled The best way to win an argument. The article describes research led by University of Colorado researcher Philip Fernbach. I'll let the abstract of the paper written by Fernbach and his colleagues begin:

People often hold extreme political attitudes about complex policies. We hypothesized that people typically know less about such policies than they think they do (the illusion of explanatory depth) and that polarized attitudes are enabled by simplistic causal models. Asking people to explain policies in detail both undermined the illusion of explanatory depth and led to attitudes that were more moderate (Experiments 1 and 2). Although these effects occurred when people were asked to generate a mechanistic explanation, they did not occur when people were instead asked to enumerate reasons for their policy preferences (Experiment 2). Finally, generating mechanistic explanations reduced donations to relevant political advocacy groups (Experiment 3). The evidence suggests that people’s mistaken sense that they understand the causal processes underlying policies contributes to political polarization.

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ConHugeCo -- They CARE!




A parody (?) of every amorphous, vapid, feel-good multinational corporate advertisement you have ever seen in your life . . .
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"Let Them Eat Cake!"

I dunno why. That just kinda popped into my head tonight for some reason.
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Uncomfortable questions

Why exactly should voting be easier to do than buying a beer at a bar?

I mean, in theory, anyway, anybody who buys an alcoholic beverage at a bar has to show an ID to prove they're of age, right?
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What does the farmer say?

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North Dakota Weather Alert

Via Ace of Spades HQ. Language warning for the easily offended, although if you have to put up with this most recent manifestation of "global warming"/"climate change", swearing comes pretty naturally:
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How To Land In Your Boss's Doghouse For Christmas

Step 1: Have your Superstar Opinion Writer, who made his name with a ferocious defense of free speech when it was under attack in Canada (of all places!), pen a typically biting and satiric piece on Le Affair Robertson.
Look, I’m an effete foreigner who likes show tunes. My Broadway book was on a list of “Twelve Books Every Gay Man Should Read.” Andrew Sullivan said my beard was hot. Leonard Bernstein stuck his tongue in my mouth (long story). But I’m not interested in living in a world where we have to tiptoe around on ever thinner eggshells. If it’s a choice between having celebrity chefs who admit to having used the N-word in 1977 (or 1965, or 1948, or whenever the hell it was) and reality-show duck-hunters who quote Corinthians and Alec Baldwin bawling out some worthless paparazzo who’s doorstepping his family with a “homophobic” slur, or having all of them banished from public life and thousands upon millions more too cowed and craven to speak lest the same fate befall them, I’ll take the former any day.

Superstar Opinion Writer (you know, the ferocious defender of free speech) stooped to repeating two very old, very hoary vaudeville-style jokes as examples of speech that is simply no longer allowed in today's society. Well . . .

Step 2: Have the Editor for said Superstar Opinion Writer affect the vapours that Superstar Opinion Writer would stoop to such unseemly, uncivil, biting sarcasm, singling out, of course, those very jokes that Superstar Opinion Writer identified as using language which . . . er . . . causes the vapours among the vaporous. Horrors!
By way of criticizing speech, I’ll say that I found the derogatory language in this column, and especially the slur in its borrowed concluding joke, both puerile in its own right and disappointing coming from a writer of such talent.

Er, yeah. I'll take "missing the point" for 200, Alex? But wait! There's more!

Step 3: Superstar Opinion Writer replies, bluntly and directly, to his Editor:
It is a matter of some regret to me that my own editor at this publication does not regard this sort of thing as creepy and repellent rather than part of the vibrant tapestry of what he calls an “awakening to a greater civility”. I’m not inclined to euphemize intimidation and bullying as a lively exchange of ideas – “the use of speech to criticize other speech”, as Mr Steorts absurdly dignifies it. So do excuse me if I skip to the men’s room during his patronizing disquisition on the distinction between “state coercion” and “cultural coercion”. I’m well aware of that, thank you. In the early days of my free-speech battles in Canada, my friend Ezra Levant used a particular word to me: “de-normalize”. Our enemies didn’t particularly care whether they won in court. Whatever the verdict, they’d succeed in “de-normalizing” us — that’s to say, putting us beyond the pale of polite society and mainstream culture. “De-normalizing” is the business GLAAD and the other enforcers are in.

One of the greatest lines in Hollywood movie history was uttered by Clint Eastwood, in the movie Magnum Force.



"A Man's Got To Know His Limitations."

For Step 4, and to provide a counterexample to Dirty Harry's mordant observation, the Editor defensively doubles-down on his ill-considered rebuke of Superstar Opinion Writer:
The point is basic courtesy, Mark. It’s that you could mount your opposing argument without insulting people. Sure, you have the right to insult people, but I can’t sympathize much with someone who exercises that right just to prove it exists, which seems to have been part of your rhetorical strategy. What I would like to de-normalize is boorishness, whatever its content. I would do that by criticizing your manners, not by “indefinitely suspend[ing]” you, which would not be my decision anyway.

No, Mr. Editor, that is not the point at all. There's a term on the Internet for what you have just done: beclowning yourself.

Step 5, the denouement, in which we see that Bosses generally don't appreciate it when underlings beclown themselves on the Internet. True to this rock-solid principle, we see said Editor getting very publicly, directly, and thoroughly slapped down by his boss, the Publisher.
I believe Mark Steyn’s new column is a triumph, and wrote him on Friday to say that. The ensuing critical take on it by my colleague, Jason Steorts, left my head shaking.
. . .
The Left does not distinguish about the field of battle, culture, or state. Its goal is . . . the goal. If the desire is to shut you up, Duck Dynasty Commander or Mark Steyn or NR, they will find a way. This isn’t some academic exercise — it is a fight. So we must deal with reality, and not build artificial constructs.
. . .
Mark’s column referred to an old Bob Hope joke about whether a California gay-rights law would become compulsory, and the stink in the air is that — compulsion. For the left, the fight is about silencing critics and, even worse, forcing people and institutions to do those things — provide abortifacients, accept gay marriage — they find wrong, and sinful.
. . .
Fruits? Compulsory acceptance and even forced participation are the fruits the Left intends to harvest.

There's another old Internet saying for what just happened here: "That's gonna leave a mark."

Pun intended.
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"You are a sinner. We all are."

The ridiculousness of the alleged uproar over "Duck Dynasty" personality Phil Robertson hinges largely on the denial, among those who criticize Robertson for his remarks, of the very existence of a thing called "sin."

Of course, this is in itself contradictory, because the criticizers are compelled to purge Robertson from the community of right-thinking people for the sin of believing in a conception of sin which the criticizers do not wish to recognize.

If you're having trouble wrapping your head around that last sentence, don't worry too much about it--that just means that you're fundamentally a sensible person. That's because the position of Robertson's criticizers makes no logical sense, except as a naked appeal to a blatantly bigoted anti-Christian agenda. Which of course puts to the lie the criticizer's attempt to claim the moral high ground of anti-discrimination, since they're fully engaged in religious discrimination--against Christians in this case, and their beliefs--among which is the belief that homosexuality is a sin against God.

What Robertson's criticizers want to say, but don't dare to say quite yet anyway, is that the uncritical acceptance of deviant lifestyles is mandatory in order to participate in civil society--according to the criticizers, anyway. (And please, don't insult my intelligence by trying to claim that homosexuality is not a deviant lifestyle. Biology itself, let alone religion, argues against that. Saying that a behavior is deviant is not in itself a value judgment, by the way. it is simply a slightly more contentious way of stating what is and is not normal behavior--i.e. heterosexual behavior is normal behavior for any species--versus homosexual behavior which for any species, human or otherwise, is not normal behavior. If science bothers you, then that's your problem, not mine.)

Let's move on to some other things that Robertson said, that his criticizers are bound and determined to ignore. Let's have a look, shall we?
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

Now, most people will see what they want to see in that quote, but try very, very, very hard to focus on the first two sentences, and the first clause of the third sentence.

Yeah.

The words of a hater, obviously.

So forgive me if I don't join the lynch mob. One side is screaming for somebody's hide. The other side is saying "we'll just try to love people and let God sort things out." One side is for the worst sort of ideological purity tests, the other side is for tolerance and compassion. One side says "We're all sinners" and the other side seems hell-bent on proving them right.

Which side you really want to be on?
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Air Force Band goes flash-mob at Smithsonian



via IJReview

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