Quick Tyranny Summary

So let’s sum up the Obama Administration’s scandals so far:

Of course, there are a number of liberals who are trying to defend the president and his administration (such as Jeffrey Toobin from the New Yorker), but for once it seems that the cloak has come off and the emperor has no clothes. Everywhere people are outraged over this.

What will happen? I don’t know. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is a fairly tyrannical administration. I wasn’t alive during Nixon so I can’t compare. But it seems awful. And it’s about the same as George W. Bush.

I hope this finally leads to some improvement. The dark times we’re facing now may be a forge through which we will tempered into something much greater. I can hope, at any rate. Even if all it does is make the American public more skeptical of the government, more distrustful of it, that will be a fantastic first step.

Sorority Girl Email: How We Laud & Coddle Bullies And Forget The Bullied

Last week, an email from a sorority girl in Maryland went viral, thanks to Gawker, and–to use the vocabulary of its author–it’s fucking horrible. I was going to write about this last week, but I didn’t; however, the issue has recently “concluded.” Let’s go over the letter itself, then focus on the reactions, which I find to be more important.

It is 882 words long. 41 of those words are the F-bomb. (According to one comment, that is. I’m not going to waste my time counting the figures myself.) It is full of ENTIRELY CAPITALIZED SENTENCES. It is a brazen, unmitigated attack at sorority members, an attack that has no decency and even threatens violence in the form of “cunt punts” against other members.

What shocks me more than this, though, are the comments from the Gawker article. Here are a few:

“This girl will be the president of a company some day. We are kidding ourselves if we think this letter didn’t bring RESULTS.”

“Me too–she’s a great writer.”

“Mistake? That email is going to launch her career.”

Really? If she is seriously going to become the CEO of a major corporation because of this email, then I don’t want to be on this planet anymore.

I do not–repeat, DO NOT–understand people who think that being an asshole to others is somehow worthy of praise, emulation, or promotion. To me, anyone who thinks that way is a psychopath or a politician–but I repeat myself. And maybe that’s where the problem is with our current culture: we have psychopaths running both our major corporations and the federal/state government.

But I digress. The thing is, if you would “laugh” at this, I think really think you need your head examined. Being downright mean to other people like this is acceptable in an emergency situation, when time is of the essence and no one can be coddled, but not otherwise. You can make your point without entirely relying upon vulgarity, attacks, and threats of violence. And I would like to think that such writing would be utterly unacceptable in a business situation, as it would be completely and totally unprofessional.

Not sure about that, though. Some places might do that. They might even find it fine. In which case, those places are hellholes.

I also wonder why this comment is buried so low. Maybe the truth stings?

Nice they are talking about my old shitty frat. Honestly after reading it I can’t blame those girls, in all seriousness they should want to hang out with other better frats. Sigma Nu sucks. I remember the social would always plan evens with the worst sororities because nobody else wanted to. DG, Zeta, and sig kap…. it was like a rotation. most people dropped out after they could get into the bars. It was mostly full of rapists, dealers, or social ackward vigins. I was neither just a frisbee playing hippie:) I dropped out after the exec bored wouldn’t investigate the rape of an unconcius girl in the house, even tho it was video taped. It makes that stubenville ohio rape case look not so bad. There is literally or atleast was a rape room set up in the basement of that frat house. I know of 3 or 4 rapes that were swept under the rug. I really can’t fault those girls for not wanted to talk to that frat definately safer to hang out with other frats. Anyhow man I love social media

 

And when you read the email, especially about the part about the other sorority girls being “FUCKING boring,” it seems to me the whole thing is a complaint about sorority girls not putting out for a bunch of guys. And to me, that is just gross and even barbaric.

Fortunately, the sorority took the right action and recently accepted the young woman’s resignation. That was the smart, professional thing to do. Already, though, some are wondering “I hope this woman’s life isn’t ruined because of this email.”

Oh, FFS, this woman got kicked out of a sorority. As @stressnstrain noted, “Have some perspective.” It is hardly the end of the world. Many productive people are not members of a fraternity or a sorority, and you know what? That’s a good thing. Everything I saw from my college career was that frats & sororities were nothing more than extended exercises in binge drinking, sex, and following utterly ridiculous rules meant to destroy your life and your individuality. In fact, leaving the sorority may be a good thing.

Another commenter on the FB page says:

I understand that this young lady made a mistake and did not uphold the ideals that we all expect as a Delta Gamma. But I also feel compassion for her and would have hoped that Delta Gamma could have reached out to her with some sort of guidance and counseling rather than just accepting her resignation. I’m sure she feels alone and humiliated at this moment. I hope that she has others to turn to because it appears Delta Gamma has abandoned her and I don’t believe that was the correct course of action.

Sorority girl feels alone & humiliated? GOOD
PLEASE. She “feels alone and humiliated”? That’s the point. She should feel humiliated over this. Boohoo–this sort of whining is the same sort of thing as when adults start “feeling bad” for the bully on the playground when he’s told off for being a bully. It’s sick and makes me want to throw up all over my shoes. That commenter should be utterly ashamed of herself.

The basic thing to take away from this is that all these people are horribly, horribly sick. They’re messed up. And while I previously laid the blame for most of our problems on the baby boomer generation, I think it might just be all these folks who somehow want to coddle bullies and jerks. Maybe they’re the problem. I don’t know. But what they’re saying goes against all norms of behavior and is completely unnatural.

I will say one thing, though, and that is I kind of agree with this PolicyMic article posted by Laura Donovan. Donovan writes:

I’m the first to admit the email was horrendous, not to mention further confirmation that I made the right move to opt out of Greek life in college despite the fact that practically everyone in my immediate family was in a frat or sorority, but it’s my hope that Martinson’s whole life isn’t destroyed by this single email.

For those of you who are out of college, think about this: did you ever do anything stupid during your undergrad days? Something shameful that you’re not proud of? At the beginning of my junior year, I found myself in a grouchy mood and wrote an article for my college publication that offended so many people, some called for my resignation. I received email threats and was harassed and publicly shamed even by fellow staff members. It was tough, worst of all because I didn’t feel everything I said I felt in my column. I remember thinking I was going to be punished forever for an article I wasn’t particularly proud of, and that no one wanted to see me other than the girl who’d upset some folks with my 600-word article. None of the good work or highly lauded columns I’d produced mattered to anyone. A single article made them want to demonize me forever and be their punching bag anytime they needed someone to direct their anger at.

That was almost five years ago, but earlier this month, a colleague brought up the article I spent my final years of college trying to forget, as he’d heard about it from a mutual friend who’d been joking that I’ve been a huge firebrand since college. My demeanor immediately changed. I reacted with hostility and began to cry. Why did this single thing I did as a 20-year-old continue to follow me? I’d worked so hard to put it behind me, and others were still mocking me for it.

Part of that is, unfortunately, the price for writing stupid stuff in the Internet age. To deal with it, you grow a thick skin and get over it. You may also say, “Yes, what I wrote back then was wrong, and I know it.” Admitting it is the first step to fixing your problem, and I think once you do that, it should be like a reputational bankruptcy case–you lose a lot of credibility for the original stupidity, but you wipe your slate clean and start over again. It should not be allowed to dog her life forever. A year or two, maybe, but people do need to recognize that people change and must drop the subject sooner or later–preferably sooner. If I was hiring her 10-15 years from now, we might joke about it, but I wouldn’t let it guide my actions. Nobody is defined by a single moment, no matter how hard authors and politicians try to make it so. That isn’t fair or just.

However, Donovan also writes (emphasis added):

What I wrote was nothing like Martinson’s email, which is most certainly unacceptable to send to anyone, let alone sorority sisters you supposedly love like family. Martinson should have known better than to talk like that and use slurs, but I don’t think it was right of the internet to shame her in the way that it did, and I don’t want her to think the rest of her life has to be defined by this single email. If anything, she knows to be more careful with the way she presents herself on social media and online, and hopefully she realizes there’s more to life than a poorly executed Greek event.

She left the sorority, and she’s doing the right thing by going dark. Once the dust settles, she should release a statement of apology, and hopefully she will be able to rebuild from there. You may not like her (she doesn’t sound like someone I’d want to hang out with, and I’m certain I’m too “f-cking AWKWARD and boring” for her), but I don’t think she should be punished forever for this, at least if she shows some remorse once the interwebs is finished chucking stones at her.

Au contraire.

It is absolutely right for the Internet to mock her and shame her for what she did. And contra commenter Michelle Adams, we should condemn her for her actions. Again, how else does one learn what is right and what is wrong? It’s a corrective mechanism, and it works pretty damn well. Sure, not all mocking and shaming and condemnation is right–I mean, if a Nazi guy tried to “mock” me for being friends with Jews, for example–but for the most part, when someone goes really out of line, it is absolutely correct for other individuals to mock them for it. Would you not punish your children if they did something wrong? (If you genuinely say “I wouldn’t” to that question, then tell me how are they going to become good, upstanding adults instead of degenerate assholes who use everyone else as tools to meet their own inner desires?)

This lauding and coddling of bullies makes me want to vomit, as I’ve said before. And as I’ve said before, this is unnatural. This is not how things are supposed to work. Or at least, not in the past. I guess the new standard now is for people who are mean assholes who use others will be praised and supported, while those who are nice, hard-working people will be denigrated and left in the cold.

If that’s the vision of the world these people want, then I want no part of it.

In Which I Blame Everything On The Baby Boomers

When you look around today, you see mountains after mountains of problems. We have the US government debt, whose numbers have left the realm of sane discourse long ago and trended into the land of absurdity, at $16.7 trillion dollars. We have the incredible unfunded liabilities gap for our entitlement programs, which blew past the land of absurdity on an express train to Lovecraftian insanity like Spaceball One going at ludicrous speed with a total shortfall of $119.5 trillion dollars. We’re embroiled in wars across the globe, so fearful of attacks from Islamic terrorists we’re willing to let government employees molest us in airports, or allow our president to kill us with robot death kites without any restraint or oversight whatsoever. We’re still fighting a pointless “War on Drugs” that the government lost decades ago, but they still wage in order to kill more innocents every year. We’re panicking over guns in schools, pastries that look like guns, and all the myriad ways teenagers get drunk. We have an unemployment rate that is still chilling out at almost 8% (and that’s just the bland figure; the real unemployment rate is closer to 15%) and a labor participation rate that has dropped three points since 2007–which equals hundreds of thousands of Americans who have just given up looking for work. And just this past week, we had an epic meltdown over a $44 billion cut to the federal budget, a federal budget that’s over $3.6 trillion and suffers a $1.3 trillion deficit.

We can’t seem to get anywhere with our many modern crises. Everywhere we turn there is fear, danger, and financial ruin. Many have stepped up to lay the blame of these catastrophes on the feet of many different things. Some blame capitalism. Others blame government intervention and crony socialism. Still more blame the media for distorting the facts of incidents. Others blame foreigners, particularly the Chinese and the Russians (and Mexicans, and Middle Easterners, and Greeks, and Europeans, and the Japanese, and the Koreans, and the Indians….) In the spirit of blaming and finger-pointing, I would like to offer my idea of who is to blame for all of our problems today.

I blame the Baby Boomers.

Continue reading In Which I Blame Everything On The Baby Boomers

Boston

I’m an igtheist, or an ignostic atheist. I can’t pray. I just can’t. For once, I envy the religious for their prayer. Because there is nothing else I can do. I can’t pray for the victims. They are definitely in my thoughts, but what will that do?

All I can do is say the following: we don’t really know what happened, so be careful what you see and retweet. Be very skeptical of what you hear or read.

Secondly, no politics. Do not politicize this. Not today. Maybe tomorrow.

Third, if you even THINK about declaring this a “false flag” operation, you should be ashamed of yourself. As terrible as our government is, as bad as Obama and his administration are, they would not bomb American citizens. Nobody in our government is that depraved. While things have been getting worse, we are nowhere near the Middle East or third world countries.

So stop. Just effing STOP.

That’s all I got for today.

Accuracy In Media Attacks Gays, Reason Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Today, Cliff Kincaid of “Accuracy In Media” penned a truly vile piece attacking gay conservatives and imploring CPAC to hold panels on how homosexuals were dangerous, dangerous people who were bad for American and all communists.

It’s absolutely idiotic. Here’s why.

Kincaid begins with:

The term “gay conservative” is being used by some news outlets in connection with the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and whether certain homosexual groups should be invited to appear. There is no such thing as a “gay conservative,” unless the term “conservative” has lost all meaning.

Really, Cliff? You mean the word “conservative” didn’t lose its meaning after eight straight years of budget deficits and ever increasing government spending under George W. Bush? You mean it didn’t lose all meaning when Republicans had a chance to cut spending this past year but complained about it? You mean it didn’t lose all meaning when they decided the holy grail of conservatism, the Constitution, was trampled upon in their mad dash to sign the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA? It took the acts of GOProud, a group formed for the express purpose of spreading the message of limited government and free markets throughout the LGBT community, to make the word “conservative” lose all meaning?

WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN THE PAST DECADE?

But there is a homosexual movement that has its roots in Marxism and is characterized by anti-Americanism and hatred of Christian values.

Yes, GOProud is Marxist. Except…if I ever heard Chris R Barron utter anything about Marxism, it was always deprecating. Cliff, you haven’t talked to any gay conservatives, have you?

Two of this movement’s members, Bradley Manning and Floyd Corkins, have recently been in the news. Manning betrayed his country in the WikiLeaks scandal, while Corkins has pleaded guilty to trying to kill conservative officials of the Christian Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.

Rather than debate whether “gay conservatives” exist or ought to have prominent speaking roles, CPAC should be sponsoring a panel on the dangers of the homosexual movement and why some of its members seem prone to violence, terror, and treason.

Let’s get some things straight. First, two people does not serve as a representative sample of gays across America. You darn well shouldn’t be using this argument, since AIM has complained loudly about the media smearing the Tea Party movement as “racist.” Glass house rules, and all. Second, they are not part of the “homosexual movement.” Manning was a soldier who disagreed with what his country and his army was doing, and took matters into his own hands. Corkins was a crazy guy with a gun. It would be indicative of the “movement” if there were armies of gay people marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, shooting up the place while rainbow APCs disgorge bear troopers into the FRC’s headquarters. But…there aren’t. So your “argument” is without merit.

Gay people make up around 2-5% of the populace. If we’re going to talk about sexual orientations being “prone to violence, terror, and treason,” we could more easily talk about straights. Or are you going to invent the fiction that Benedict Arnold was gay, too?

But the fate of a political party is not only what is in jeopardy. Historian Paul Johnson knows something about why nations fail, and he says one reason is the acceptance of homosexuality.

Johnson’s book, The Quest for God, laments that Western society made a huge mistake by decriminalizing homosexuality and thinking that acceptance of the lifestyle on a basic level would satisfy its practitioners. He wrote, “Decriminalization made it possible for homosexuals to organize openly into a powerful lobby, and it thus became a mere platform from which further demands were launched.” It became, he says, a “monster in our midst, powerful and clamoring, flexing its muscles, threatening, vengeful and vindictive towards anyone who challenges its outrageous claims, and bent on making fundamental—and to most of us horrifying—changes to civilized patterns of sexual behavior.”

Today, this monster wants to impose itself on our children in the schools and even the Boy Scouts of America.

Right, gay people are a monster who want to…..get married.

OH NOES! THE SKY IS FALLING!

Newsflash: Gay marriage has never brought down a civilization. It was not the cause of the fall of either ancient Greece or Rome, nor Byzantium, nor the Mongol hordes, nor any civilization. Grow up and deal with the facts.

I know something about this as well, since I spent several years in Scouting, became an Eagle Scout, and received merit badges in various skills. My wife and I became Scout leaders. Now, the homosexual movement is determined to overturn the ban on homosexual Scoutmasters and wants to teach young men in the Boy Scouts that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.

Such a campaign is objectionable on its face because the Boy Scout oath commits a young man to being “morally straight.” That “morally straight” can be considered compatible with homosexuality is a complete perversion of the English language.

This is where I blew a gasket. Cliff, I served with Eagle Scouts. I am an Eagle Scout. Eagle Scouts were my friends. You, Cliff, are no Eagle Scout. And that you bizarrely conflate “morally straight” with heterosexuality just shows that you have learned nothing from either your English classes in school. “Morally straight” means the “straight and narrow,” not “morally heterosexual.” How can one be “morally heterosexual”? It’s absurd on it’s face.

You are not only a disgrace to the Eagle Scouts, by preaching hate and intolerance for others*, but you are also a colossal disgrace to the English language and English writers everywhere. You sir, should not be blogging, period.

The rest of the column is a long and confusing rant about how homosexuals are all Marxist communists in disguise. It’s really pathetic, seeking to pin everything on Harry Hay as the “founder” of the modern homosexual movement, as if someone just stepped up and said, “Hey, let’s be gay today.” Heck, Hay even had to resign from one of the original LGBT organizations because he was a communist. But Cliff won’t tell you about that, will he? No.

Cliff, just stop. You realize the reason why nobody votes for Republicans or free market conservatives anymore? Because of people like you. You don’t have an “argument,” you just have unveiled bigotry and hatred. And 21st century Americans are not fans of hatred or bigotry. They’re not going to vote for a party that embraces the free market if it simultaneously embraces bigotry, even bigotry against a small slice of the population.

Just come out and say it, Cliff. Just come out and say that you find gays “icky.” Fine. You find them icky. At least that’s valid, as it’s merely personal preference. Well, you know what, Cliff? Not a single gay person is going to come up and get gay with you. They’re not even going to want to be in the same room with you. So they can be gay, you can be lilly-white straight, and just not cross paths, and everyone will be happy.

Homosexuality is not an “unacceptable lifestyle.” It’s a sexual orientation. That’s it. I know libertarians and conservatives must work together to limit government, rebuild a free market economy, and promote individual liberty, but I am supremely frustrated with “conservatives” like Cliff who turn to us at every step and the liberty movement in the foot with a twelve-gauge shotgun. We don’t need this. What we need is to be expanding the movement and reaching out to people from all walks of life, to show them that free markets and limited government is the best thing they could possibly want. But people like Cliff cling to their old traditions, and abjectly refuse to build any bridges to new islands. At the same time, people are leaving the island he’s on in rafts made from whatever they can find.

You’re why we can’t have nice things, Cliff. You’re why Obama is president, the Democrats control the Senate, the government is spending at record levels, and we can’t even reduce the rate of increase in spending by 2% without everyone going ballistic. Just stop.

*I realize that the official position of the BSA is still no to gays, but since that is not courteous nor kind, it really goes against the Scout Law. Eagle Scouts should be speaking out against this, even though, as a private organization, the BSA does have the right to exclude gays. But just because it has the right to do so, doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

Dude, we live in space!

And space is dangerous:

That’s the sound of a meteorite coming down from outer space and blowing up in the atmosphere just over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia. Yeah.

I’m not entirely sure what’s happened, as I just heard about this when I came into work, but it appears that 500 people are injured and there has been a lot of damage.

The Soviet Russian fanblog “Russian Machine Never Breaks” has a roundup of videos and tweets on the meteorite. Obviously I am not going to compete with them, so I’ll just link to more roundups.

Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society has a good roundup of videos.

And Phill Plait, who is probably the best astronomer out there today, of course is watching it and has been blogging on it for Slate. (No, this is not part of the asteroid near-miss that’s expected to come later today.)

The moral of the story is…we live in space. We’re affected by it. And while events like these are astonishingly rare, we should still sorta prepare for them. And by the way, though I’m a libertarian, I absolutely believe in a publicly-funded global SPACEGUARD program. It’s a simple public good, which is actually within the realm of government (as Adam Smith, who is practically the godfather of capitalism and free markets, actually said.)

But…crikey. 500 1000 people injured in Russia from a meterorite. Good thing this didn’t happen 30 years ago during the height of the Cold War. There might not be any humans left.

UPDATE: The Guardian’s video is a good compilation, including what happened to folks inside buildings:


They also have a live update blog going on. It looks like injuries may have risen to 1000.

Finally, they also have a column up about the “meaning” of meteor strikes, including this gem:

Like all random events and misfortunes, we want these things to mean something. The Russian fringe politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, rushed to the microphones to claim that the shower of stones that broke windows with their sonic boom, injuring 400 people, was a dastardly test of a new American weapon. Advocates of a renewed space programme have instantly told us that the asteroid pass proves that we need to be in space so that anything that comes closer can be, somehow, shoved out of Earth’s way. More generally, all over Twitter, people are calling on passing rocks to land on, for example, the Sun offices (over publication of photographs of the late Reeva Steenkamp) as once they would have called for the thunderbolts of Zeus, the wrath of Jehovah or Betjeman’s friendly bombs.

The trouble with wanting random events to acquire significance by afflicting unpleasant, otherwise untouchable powerful figures is that everyone does it. The religious right, Christian and Islamic, are fond of regarding tsunamis and hurricanes as instruments of wrath – Pat Robertson came up with a particularly unpleasant version of this when he attributed Haiti’s problems to divine punishment for an alleged satanic pact made by that country’s successful slave revolution. Nor is this confined to the religious right; rightwing sci-fi writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, in their 1977 novel of a comet’s impending collision with Earth, have a character who survives the impact say that the good thing about the calamity was that women’s lib was over. Heavenly vengeance is really an idea that has no place on the left.

Naturally the Guardian is more left-wing, but you can’t help but nod your head and agree with the author. The only thing this meant was that a rock fell out of the sky.

How you know politics is beyond stupid

From some random reading on Wikipedia:

2009 – Dale Swenson, Kansas State Representative from Wichita switched January 12, 2009 moments after being sworn into office as Republican for eighth term [48] In 2010, Swenson’s Democratic opponent in 2008, Leslie Osterman, switched to Republican and defeated Swenson.[49]

 

That’s right. Candidate A switches from Republican to Democrat. Candidate B, his opponent, then switches from Democrat to Republican.

And you think the two parties are actually different.

Emperor’s Black Heart – Director of New Star Wars Sequel Announced

Oh, sithspit.

J.J. Abrams To Direct New Star Wars Movie.

Star Trek director J.J. Abrams will be helming the next Star Wars movie. “It’s done deal with J.J.,” a source with knowledge of the situation told Deadline today. Argo director Ben Affleck was also up for the gig, the source says. Despite saying publicly that he didn’t want to direct a new Star Wars, Abrams was courted heavily by producer Kathleen Kennedy to take the job. Expected in 2015, Episode VII will be the first new Star Wars movie since 2005?s Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. Michael Arndt is writing the script for the first installment of the relaunch of George Lucas’ franchise by Disney. The company bought Lucasfilm in October for $4 billion, with the Star Wars franchise the jewel in the crown. At the time, CEO Bob Iger said three more Star Wars films were in the pipeline. Abrams’ other space-based franchise sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, comes out May 17. This weekend, the PGA will honor the Lost creator and Revolution producer with its 2013 Norman Lear Award For Television. Abrams is repped by CAA and Oasis Media Group.

I never wrote my feelings up about the Star Trek reboot, but basically summed up, I gave it a 5/10–and all five points came from the soundtrack and the visual techniques. The story was an absolute train wreck, a senseless mishmash of one testosterone-fueled fantasy after another, completely lacking any of the logic or intelligence that was the original series of Star Trek had. The original series, from the 1960s, had serious science fiction writers writing the scripts, exploring topics of racism, sexism, collectivism vs. individualism, the rising might of technology, and what it meant to be human. Abrams’ movie was about kicking ass and scoring ass. I mean, the instant promotion from cadet to captain (oh, sure, that makes sense), the bar fight idiocy, even the very part about not going back and resetting the timeline, because they’ve always done that–there were a great many things about the plot that were just dumb.

It wasn’t all dumb–the characters were kinda enjoyable, in their own way, and there were some funny lines. But by and large, it was pretty bad.

I’m not going to all of a sudden write off Star Wars now that J.J. Abrams is directing it. He has done good stuff. Lots of people liked Lost. I’m a big fan of his show Fringe (except the last season). But, to paraphrase one rebel…

I have a bad feeling about this.