Sunday, February 1, 2009

A good read about Bush hatred and Obama love; here's a funny and interesting quote:

Some will speculate that the outbreak of hatred and euphoria in our politics is
the result of the transformation of left-liberalism into a religion, its
promulgation as dogma by our universities, and students' absorption of their
professors' lesson of immoderation. This is unfair to religion.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'm still here...

Items of note:

Conformity's Seduction by Mark Steyn:
On Obama:
Susan Sarandon compared him to Jesus. “He is a community organizer like Jesus was,” she said, “and now we’re a community and he can organize us.” What sort of community should we be? Surveying the “rapt eyes” of the congregation, Ethan Baron, writing in the Vancouver Province, said he hadn’t seen anything like it “since a guy I used to work with brought me to visit his weird sex cult in California.” And he meant it as a compliment.
And Hollywood is on board:
To mark the inauguration, Ashton Kutcher released a video pledge-a-thon in which various bigtime celebrities, two or three of whom you might even recognize, “pledge to be a servant to our president and to all mankind because together we can, together we are, and together we will be the change that we seek.” No doubt it sounds better when Jessica Simpson, Céline Dion, and Whitney Houston are bellowing it as an all-star power ballad. It was when the celebrity O-bots start fleshing out the program that it all gets more problematic: One celeb pledges to buy a hybrid. Another pledges to flush the toilet only after a, er—well, let’s not get into that. And most of the rest just pledge to support programs to “emphasize the importance of raising the awareness of finding mentors to promote voices to speak out for arts education mentoring in our schools” (as the blogger Iowahawk paraphrased it). It’s all very back-to-the-Nineties, a time when Bill Clinton declared that the era of Big Government was over and we seemed on the brink of a golden era of a billion gazillion bits of tiny itsy-bitsy micro-government that cumulatively add up to the biggest government you’ve ever seen.
Victor Davis Hanson on "unreal expectations":
Candidate Obama once adopted a presidential-like seal. He held a mass rally at Berlin’s Victory Column (after his request for the more dramatic Brandenburg Gate was refused).

He adopted Greek temple sets at the Democratic convention. And like Zeus on Mt. Olympus, he talked about making the planet cool and the oceans recede.

And now he’s capped all that by warning us to lower our expectations!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Celebrity Honor Roll

My favorite: Mike Ditka, self-described "ultra-ultra-ultra conservative".

Celebs Who Lean To The Right

Who am I kidding; it's really Angie Harmon, the best "Law & Order" alumni ever. Fred's pretty good too though.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Some Provocative Nuggets

One of my favorite blogs, One Cosmos, especially when I can understand him. Today there's some good nuggets from On Surrendering the Mind to its Source. Here's a thought about the importance of academics:
Yesterday in a comment, I mentioned that our historical understanding and appreciation of liberty probably followed from actually living it in the form of free markets as opposed to thinking about it abstractly. In academia there is a huge bias toward the latter view, because the caste of the idle tenured can't help regarding itself as much less useless than it actually is.

You routinely read, for example, about how Descartes was responsible for our Western "body-mind dualism" because of his wisecrock, "I think, therefore I am" -- as if this abstract philosophical meme somehow trickled down to the masses, so that the farmers, artisans, and serfs all thought to themselves, "damn, the man may be French, but he's got a point. There's an extended substance. And a thinking substance. I guess the world is hopelessly fractured, since none of us are naive enough anymore to believe that God reconciles these two categories."

No, the reason the body-mind duality spread throughout the West is because that is what it feels like to have a mind! If you don't have much of a mind, then it's not going to be a problem, is it? Instead, you will likely resonate more to Popeye's ontology, i.e., "I am what I am."
Other good quotes, I could post his entire post, but I'll restrain myself to just one more:

The latest research in developmental neurology explains why adolescence can be so difficult. As it so happens, it doesn't just feel like your brain is being disassembled. Rather, that's actually what happens. The brain literally disassembles and reassembles during the teen years. A particular problem for boys is that the part of the brain that you might label "impulsivity" or "risk-taking" is temporarily unplugged (or at least attenuated) from the higher part of the neocortex where the thing called "judgment" resides. Like the infant, the adolescent goes through life at the same time his brain is being rewired together. Throw in the surge of hormones -- which is especially powerful in girls -- and you have a potential recipe for disaster...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Jimmy Carter's Charity Homes

Something to consider: the difference between a home received from charity vs. professional builders:

From The Sunday TimesJanuary 4, 2009

Charity homes built by Hollywood start to crumble by John Harlow, in Los Angeles

RESIDENTS of a model housing estate bankrolled by Hollywood celebrities and hand-built by Jimmy Carter, the former US president, are complaining that it is falling apart.

Fairway Oaks was built on northern Florida wasteland by 10,000 volunteers, including Carter, in a record 17-day “blitz” organised by the charity Habitat for Humanity.

Eight years later it is better known for cockroaches, mildew and mysterious skin rashes.

A forthcoming legal battle over Fairway Oaks threatens the reputation of a charity envied for the calibre of its celebrity supporters, who range from Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt to Colin Firth, Christian Bale and Helena Bonham Carter.

The case could challenge the bedrock philosophy behind Habitat for Humanity, claiming that using volunteers, rather than professional builders, is causing as many problems as it solves.

April Charney, a lawyer representing many of the 85 homeowners in Fairway Oaks, said she had no problems taking on Habitat for Humanity, despite its status as a “darling of liberal social activists”. She said the charity should have told people that part of the estate had been built on a rubbish dump.

One man pulled up his floorboards to find rubbish 5ft deep under his kitchen. Other complaints include cracking walls and rotting door frames that let in rats and ants. Many residents have complained of mildew and mysterious skin rashes.

One resident said her children were suffering from skin complaints. “The intentions are good, but when the politicians and big-shot stars have left we’re stuck with the consequences. This house looks pretty but inside it either stinks or sweats,” she said.

Judy Hall, the charity’s local development director, said recently that it had been dealing with about 30 complaints. She added that skilled work was carried out by professionals.

Some residents dismiss their neighbours’ worries. Diennal Fields, 51, said people did not know how to look after their homes: “It’s simple stuff: if there is mildew, don’t get a lawyer, get a bottle of bleach.”

So for relief, they can sue Jimmy or the Habitat people; good luck. If it was built by private industry, you'd have a better chance at relief. This puts me in mind of socialized medicine; where do you go to get restitution for medical malpractice?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Harvard Education

A lot of people are upset that Sarah Palin isn't from the Ivy League crowd. Here's Branford Marsalis talking about his experience with Harvard educatees:
(Thanks to a newly discovered Moonbattery weblog):
YouTube at

Transcript from Joey deVilla:

What I've learned from my students is that students today are completely full of sh*t.
That is what I've learned from my students. Much like the generation before them, the only thing they are really interested in is you telling them how right they are and how good they are.
That is the same mentality that basically forces Harvard to give out B's to people that don't deserve them out of the fear that they'll go to other school that will give them B's, and those schools will make the money.
We live in a country that seems to be in this massive state of delusion, where the idea of what you are is more important than you actually being that. And it actually works just as long as everybody's winking at the same time. If one person stops winking, you just beat the crap out of that person, and they either starting winking or go somewhere else.
My students — all they want to hear how good they are and how talented they are. Most of them aren't really willing to work to the degree to live up to that.

Trying to do better

Maybe it's not cool to copy something wholesale into my weblog, even with attribution. Maybe it's ok, but for now I'll select portions and give the link to go and see the whole thing.