This post, by my friend Billy Beck, is best referenced without comment…other than to say read it.
Archives for January 2004
Alternately titled: Who the Hell Are These People?
I was interrupted from my evening review of favorite blogs to refresh my cocktail. In the briefest of passing, I noticed John Kerry on Fox News giving what I assume must have been a victory speech — but that’s not what I find disgusting.
What I find disgusting is the throngs who are gathered round him, looking up to him with the sort of adoring look that would be reserved for the Second Coming of the Messiah Himself.
Get a life, people. If you think for one second of your miserable lives that any politician is going to make any difference in your daily path, other than to perhaps influence it for the worst, then you suffer from the most pernicious form of self-delusion.
Furious and outraged doesn’t come close to describing my personal feelings over the story of Hale DeMar. In a letter to the Chicago Sun Times entitled Village Trustees … Stick to Parade Schedules & Planting our Parks, Mr. DeMar describes his experience of being prosecuted for violating handgun laws after shooting a burglar who broke into his house for the second consecutive night, and, after having already been arrested thirty times in the past by the "Village Trustees!"
I had made a commitment to myself to not go off the deep end with uncivil language in this Blog (rather, my wife gets to attend my verbal outbursts), but this particular injustice is so far beyond the pale that I am quite beside myself.
Here’s an excerpt:
"Fifteen minutes after bedtime, the alarm went off. Three minutes after the alarm was triggered, the alarm company alerted the police to the situation and 10 minutes later the first police car pulled up to my home, but only after another call was made to 911, by a trembling, half-naked father. I suppose some would have grabbed their children and cowered in their bedroom for 13 minutes, praying that the police would get there in time to stop the criminal from climbing the stairs and confronting the family in their bedroom, dreading the sound of a bedroom door being kicked in. That’s not the fear I wanted my children to experience, nor is it the cowardly act that I want my children to remember me by.
Until you are shocked by a piercing alarm in the middle of the night and met in your kitchen by a masked invader as your children shudder in their beds, until you confront that very real nightmare, please don’t suggest that some village trustee knows better and he/she can effectively task the police to protect your family from the miscreants that this society has produced.
This career criminal had been arrested thirty times…"
If you can stand to read this Blog regularly, then you probably already saw John Stossel’s 20/20 special last night. Lies, Myths, and Downright Stupidity. In what we have come to expect from Stossel, an excellent job.
Here are some highlights:
– Running contrary to the common hobgoblin who’s stealing all of our time and running us ragged, we actually have more free time now than ever, work less, and spend more time with the kids.
– The average family does not need two incomes. In fact, average income has trippled in the last 50 years, after adjusting for inflation. Most families have two incomes simply because there’s so many more things to do and stuff to buy, and Americans want them.
– Money does not buy happiness. Turns out that money only "buys happiness" if your income is under $30k, which makes sense, since under $30k, you’re probably going without a lot of basic stuff and are clearly living below "minimum standards" in America. However, above $50k, more money does not seem to matter.
– This one’s for all you well-meaning, value-cherishing Republicans out there who think you have principles. Well, I’ve got news for you. You have no principles, at least not when it comes to politics. Republicans do not shrink government, never have, never will. In the last 75 years, no Republican president has ever reduced the size of the FedGov one bit. Rather, they have all increased it, and usually, they increase it to larger proportions and more rapidly than do Democrats (that’s true since Nixon, at least). Spending is up 25% since G.W. Bush took office, and since the Republicans won the House and Senate majorities 10 years ago, in the 1994 "Republican Revolution," (don’t make me laugh) the size of the federal government has doubled.
– The rich pay far more than their fair share of taxes. The richest 1% (over $300k) pay 34% of all income taxes, according to the IRS. The top 5% (over $125k) pay about 55% of all income taxes. It was funny when Stossel asked Al "Tawana" Sharpton his thoughts and he said that the rich "pay much less than 10%, much less than 5%" and then added that they "should pay 15%." When Stossel told him they already pay 34%, he changed the subject.
– Chemicals are not killing us. Cancer death rates are declining. 2-3 million also die each year because of DDT. Not because of it’s use, but because of its non-use and the consequent rise of malaria. It’s the only really effective mosquito eradication method known. In spite of the way DDT used to be used indiscriminately, there are no documented instances of any problems caused to humans — only thinning egg shells in birds. Oh, and for all you "natural is better and man-made sucks" nutbars out there, both cerlery and brocolli contain known carcinogens (naturally). It’s the dose that’s important.
– Guns do not lead to more crime. CDC can find no evidence that background checks, waiting periods, and bans on certain guns have had any effect on crime. 36 States now allow anyone in good standing to get a concealed carry permit, and there is no detectable upsurge in crime.
– We’re not drowning in garbage. Landfill capacity is increasing, and there is stiff competition for garbage. Some communities put parks and golf courses on top of old trash sites. There’s adequate capacity with no adverse effects for the next 1000 years and more.
One of the very few Blogs I read in its entirety is Improved Clinch. John does me a great service by locating and posting lots of interesting tidbits from lots of other Blogs, and I thank him, here, in plain view, for that.
He’s recently discovered or re-discovered H.L. Mencken, one of the most quotables of all time. John has been posting daily notables that I’ve not read in many years. So, I had to go an get a larger dose myself. Alright, here, let me beat John to the punch just a little. :)
“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.”
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed–and hence clamorous to be led to safety–by menacing with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
–H. L. Mencken
“I have long been convinced that the idea of liberty is abhorrent to most human beings. What they want is security, not freedom. Thus it seldom causes any public indignation when an enterprising tyrant claps down on one of his enemies. To most men it seems a natural proceeding.”
–H. L. Mencken
“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.”
–H. L. Mencken
“It seems to me that society usually wins. There are, to be sure, free spirits in the world, but their freedom, in the last analysis, is not much greater than that of a canary in a cage. They may leap from perch to perch; they may bathe and guzzle at their will; they may flap their wings and sing. But they are still in the cage, and soon or late it conquers them.”
–H. L. Mencken
“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule–and both commonly succeed, and are right… The United States has never developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds.”
“Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”
–H. L. Mencken
I find it somewhat amazing that in my 40-something years of existence, I have yet to hear the story of Charlie, much less that he is still alive and chipper than ever.
So, go read the story of Churchill’s 104-year-old Parrott and crack a smile.
(Link via Two–Four and Improved Clinch)
I agonized (as I always do) about how to tile this post. I always like to come up with something that I, at least, consider to be a bit clever. Sometimes, I really please myself. But this time, I just can’t come up with something that quite crystallizes my whole view regarding this total piece of crap. Though not mentioned in the article, I leaned via a radio news report that the alleged father is himself a married man, but has not been charged.
I’ve recently been conducting an email exchange on how the world is setting aside "traditional values." Well, when I read the subject material here, and consider our own past, I can only hope that indeed we are–and revel in the fact.
So Bush wants us to put a man on the moon by 2015, eh? Such ambition. Perhaps by next year we can set our sites on curing Polio.
Alternately tiled: “The Law of Unitended Justice.”
So, how many times do you have to get rolled to understand the underlying motives of those who seek to control the rights of property owners under the guise of environmental protection?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m neither in favor or oppsed to “wind farms.” Hey, if that’s what you want to do with your acreage, go for it. And, being a hang-glider pilot who has on rare and spectacular occasion shared the same thermal with a hawk or an eagle, I’m saddened by the useless loss. I say “useless loss” because we don’t really need wind energy, paltry and insignificant as it is. Go nuclear!
Perhaps this sort of lesson, the environmentallly rabid biting the environmentally duped, will wake a few people up.
But I doubt it.
So, the Supremes will hear the Pledge of Allegiance case on March 24.
Time to roll out what I posted back then, when the shit hit the fan.
I Pledge Allegiance to Reason
In a callback to the prayer-in-school debates of years past, political opponents have swiftly framed their positions on the recent pledge-of-allegiance decision by the 9th circuit court.
And just as predictably, the news media is dowsing the whole affair with as much lighter fluid as it can muster. After all, controversy equals ratings. Ratings equal ad revenue.
When will we stop allowing ourselves to be so manipulated?
No sooner had the ink dried on the majority opinion than the news media began to characterize the decision of the court as having found the Pledge of Allegiance “unconstitutional.” In fact they did no such thing. Nor has any court ever found it “unconstitutional” for someone to pray in school. Moreover, the ruling applies only to the 9th circuit, not the country at large as very clearly portrayed by the media.
What the court did find unconstitutional (rightly, in my view) is that no one should be compelled to recite the pledge in a government institution, nor should they be compelled to pray. Neither should the Pledge or prayer be an officially sanctioned event in a government institution in which one is compelled to participate either actively or passively. So, both prayer and the Pledge have been affirmed to be what they really are and should be: personal affirmations and rituals that are up to each individual to practice or not practice on his own.
But that’s no fun, is it? It creates a much higher level of political attention and controversy to pretend as though the court has outlawed reciting the pledge, or outlawed prayer.
Now, all that aside, one might take a moment to consider what it means to “pledge allegiance” to a republic. As for me, I’m far less offended by the generic term “under God” than I am by the whole notion of pledging allegiance to the Leviathan. My allegiance is to reason, reality, good judgment, good will, honesty, and the endless pursuit of long-term happiness.
al·le·giance Pronunciation Key (-ljns)
Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, or cause. See Synonyms at fidelity.
The obligations of a vassal to a lord.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
\Al*le”giance\, n. [OE. alegeaunce; pref. a- + OF. lige, liege. The meaning was influenced by L. ligare to bind, and even by lex, legis, law. See Liege, Ligeance.] 1. The tie or obligation, implied or expressed, which a subject owes to his sovereign or government; the duty of fidelity to one’s king, government, or state.
2. Devotion; loyalty; as, allegiance to science.
Syn: Loyalty; fealty.
Usage: Allegiance, Loyalty. These words agree in expressing the general idea of fidelity and attachment to the “powers that be.” Allegiance is an obligation to a ruling power. Loyalty is a feeling or sentiment towards such power. Allegiance may exist under any form of government, and, in a republic, we generally speak of allegiance to the government, to the state, etc. In well conducted monarchies, loyalty is a warm-hearted feeling of fidelity and obedience to the sovereign. It is personal in its nature; and hence we speak of the loyalty of a wife to her husband, not of her allegiance. In cases where we personify, loyalty is more commonly the word used; as, loyalty to the constitution; loyalty to the cause of virtue; loyalty to truth and religion, etc.
Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.