"I already belong to a health club, a church, and the Kiwanis Club,"
Tammy Golden of Los Angeles wrote. "I’m a member of the Von’s Grocery
Super Savers, which gets me a discount on certain groceries. These are
all well-managed organizations with real benefits. None of them send me
a confusing bill once a year and make me work it out myself, then throw
me in jail if I get it wrong."
Archives for March 2006
Just sitting here in the America West boarding lounge at SJC waiting to get on a [probably] Airbus 319 or 320 to haul my ass to Vegas. My business partner is leaving almost simultaneously from SFO. We’re scheduled to arrive within a minute or so of each other.
Got my $50 upgrade to first class. Best-kept secret in the civilized world.
Alright then. Let the race begin.
I had occasion to employ this metaphor earlier today in connection with another matter altogether; and just as quickly realized that it possessed application to recent discussions here.
You know the Biblical story: King Solomon, in his legendary infinite wisdom, faced with a dispute between two women over the true motherhood of a baby, proposes a resolution: since the dispute can’t be objectively decided on the facts (the testimony of the claimants), the baby should be split in two–divided into equal shares for each woman. One of the women immediately folds. She dismisses her claim and offers the other woman the whole baby. So, who’s the real mother? (aside: Christians, and particularly fundamentalists, ought to pause to reflect that the true power of this metaphor lies not in the perceptual issue of its literal truth–i.e., did it really happen?–but in the conceptual issue of its meaning.)
Applied to the current Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dispute over whether one may contradictorily "condemn the war" but "support the troops," I propose that we "split that baby." Any takers? Anyone wish to be a "friend to a troop," while morally condemning his mission? Not me, and not a lot of others. So who’s the real patriot, which means: who is most acting in accordance with the nature and moral duties of humanity within the context of American ideals?
Here’s what I think it boils down to, as concretely as I can envision it: the left wishes the military to become unionized. Think about it. How did we go, for example, from cops who filled a valid and valuable role in domestic violence (I mean: a wider concept that "wife-beating") to a situation where very often, they are preying upon non-violent people–often with deadly force? We could argue about it, but I suspect it will come down very close to some point where they realized a significant say in things that went far beyond simply quitting if they didn’t like the way things were, i.e., to the point where they had a collective voice and power: in the form of a labor union.
What we have is a bunch of cops who want the pay, the medical care, the bullet-proof retirement plan, but who don’t what to do the fundamental job of a cop, i.e., risk life and limb against violent people. Only the force of absolute shame–and the availability of cool G.I Joe SWAT gear–keeps them in that game at all, anymore. What do you think the driving force is with The War on Drugs and other such preying upon non-violent people? It’s a low-risk proposition. I’ve smoked pot. Makes me happy, introspective, and annoyingly talkative. Essentially, cops nowadays want all the benefits, but want to criminalize non-violent behavior so they can fake the notion that they’re "doin’ their job" and "servin’ the people."
(Don’t even get me started on the revenue-generating missions.)
What The Left wants, in parallel, is a military of similar "servant-victims." You can see it in their every posture. It irks them to no end that the military is largely conservative, politically, cheers and respects their Commander-in-Chief–when he’s someone worthy of military respect–and is gung-ho towards go-get-’em things that very literally threaten their very lives. It just kills them.
Never be fooled. The "support the troops" mantra is an idiotic deception. They really believe–the morons–that they can make of military guys the same sorts of victims they cultivate and nurture in "the projects" and grow to maturity in the various industrial factories. Except, that doesn’t work anymore. Nowadays, such vegetation must be fertilized and cultivated for "public service." They believe that the military, as true servats of the publik, are ripe. Just you watch.
If it’s good enough to get you your Birkenstocks and 100% organic hemp t-shirts, then just maybe it’s good enough to defend your life…
Now and then, someone posts a comment to one of my previous entries that just simply screams out for its own separate posting. In this case, the winner is: Kyle Bennett. The post in question deals with the biggest lie you’ve ever heard in connection with the war: that those who condemn it can play Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hide by supporting the troops.
There are other lies, too. For instance, there’s the lie that it’s hypocritical to support the war if you’re not personally over there prosecuting it. Tom Harper comments:
It was a few years ago that my paternal grandmother was dying at a ripe old age, right around the Thanksgiving holiday, bringing the family together–for that extra-special event. We sat ’round the table and decided to go around and say something nice and good about the family-member sitting to our respective right.
Cathy, The Queen of Class, my aunt by marriage to my dad’s younger brother, Ingo, lost a battle last night to pancreatic cancer. She was young; in her mid-50s. Yes–The Queen of Class–that’s what I said about Cathy that night, sitting to my right, with her hand in mine. I say "battle" because she fought such a valiant war her entire adult life to life-threatening ailments. She only surrendered, last night, because my loving uncle–who has fought by her side for all these year–told her that it was OK.
Had you the pleasure of knowing her, you would never have known she was sick a day in her life. From the time they owned a small townhouse when they were first married, to their 3000 square foot home on a hill overlooking the City of Reno, it was ready for a Home & Gardens photo shoot 24 x 7. Cathy conducted her personal appearance in exactly the same way. She looked great in a bathrobe.
She was always entertaining, and engaging in conversation, and as such, was always someone I looked forward to seeing. You don’t know how much of a compliment that is, for me.
I will truly miss her.
When actors fake…
Writer, lawyer, actor, and economist Ben Stein notes that–with regard to the Oscar show the other night–"there was not one word of tribute, not one breath, to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan or to their families or their widows or orphans.
I guess that since he’s an actor himself, he was uniquely perched to identify the narcissistic charade put on by Hollywood:
The idea that it is brave to stand up for gays in Hollywood, to stand up against Joe McCarthy in Hollywood (fifty years after his death), to say that rich white people are bad, that oil companies are evil — this is nonsense. All of these are mainstream ideas in Hollywood, always have been, always will be. For the people who made movies denouncing Big Oil, worshiping gays, mocking the rich to think of themselves as brave — this is pathetic, childish narcissism.
The brave guy in Hollywood will be the one who says that this is a fabulously great country where we treat gays, blacks, and everyone else as equal. The courageous writer in Hollywood will be the one who says the oil companies do their best in a very hostile world to bring us energy cheaply and efficiently and with a minimum of corruption. The producer who really has guts will be the one who says that Wall Street, despite its flaws, has done the best job of democratizing wealth ever in the history of mankind.
I advise everyone to not go holding their breath.
My good friend Kyle Bennett has generously agreed to bestow upon us invaluable tips in the area of General Safety.
This just out in email to a group of business colleagues and associates.
Why do we keep talking about fee caps? TASC should be taking the position that free enterprise, for-profit companies don’t have to have price controls. Do collection agencies have fee caps? COMPETITION will keep fees down IF SETTLEMENT COMPANIES ARE GIVEN THE FREEDOM TO TAKE ROOT AND GROW without price controls.
Bill is absolutely right, of course. And he’s right on two levels, the first of which can be summed up in the phrase "this is America," and all it used to imply. Unfortunately, one is sooner going to hear an argument for freedom on the basis of individual rights and private property in the parliaments of Russia and India than in the legislative halls of "enlightened" America–or Europe for that matter–anymore.
So no one wants to hear about that, anymore. It’s a dead, DEAD horse. We have come to accept that literally anything and everything is perfectly subject to regulation, legislation, ‘governation,’ ‘bureaucraticization’ … and instead of a battle of ideas–individualism vs. collectivism–we have the battle of the slide rules: which side can calculate "the greatest good for the greatest number."
And, so, if we must break out the slide rules, let’s do so; even if it means trampling down a few for the "greater good" of the many. After all, making that luscious social omelet shall require cracking a few skulls; but we oughtn’t be too worried about that.
Price controls don’t work on a practical level, which is to say: they have always failed to achieve the desired ends; since the dawn of human civilization. Where they are intended to do "good for many" at the "expense of a few" (well, that is the intention) they have never achieved it. Instead, they do worse for the many at the expense of the few. Of course, they keep getting tried time and time again because of the one constant: the expense of the few. That’s always a hands-down ‘good’ political move, dontcha know.
In fact, it’s very difficult to find any scholarly work that argues for price controls.
Alright, then. There you have it.
Richard Nikoley, CEO
For some reason–I’ve no idea why–I’ve neglected to stop in and check out Trials Pub, which is not 2 minutes from the front door of the new place we moved into last November. Here’s a bit about the place.
Well, Bea had heard that the curry was good and the list of things that I love more than a good spicy curry is a very short list indeed. So, we went last night, we both had the curry (along with a Guinness on tap to wash it down) and were quite pleased. I’m half tempted to go over and try the fish & chips tonight, along with perhaps a Bass or a Harp to get it down with.
Did I mention that it’s 2 minutes from my door?