Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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    Wednesday, November 24, 2004

    Lest the others get a little too self-righteous...

    It's not just the USA that has Abu Ghraib-type problems. It turns out the United Nations -- you know, the higher moral authority for the Democratic Party -- has a fair number of sexual misconduct problems amongst its rank and file:

    In the case of Congo, the accusations seem as bad as anything the United Nations has ever seen. Women and children have reportedly been raped, and there is said to be video and photographic evidence of crimes.

    Similar allegations have been directed at U.N. peacekeepers and officials in East Timor. And, in Cambodia and Kosovo, local officials and human rights group charge that the presence of U.N. forces has been linked to an increase in trafficking of women and a sharp rise in prostitution.

    In a new embarrassment, the United Nations confirmed Tuesday that a U.N. auditor in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, had been accused of hiring a prostitute. He comes from the agency that is investigating the latest claims, but isn't taking part in the probe.

    So let's not have any more talk about how we need these people to oversee America. This of course does not excuse America's wrongdoers, but it should put to rest any notion that the UN or its member states are any better.

    Posted by Tom, 11/24/2004 11:01:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, November 19, 2004

    Racists against racism

    I hate reading crap like this. I wish more minorities would flee the Democrat plantation to any other party, just to slap the Dems upside the head for harboring racists like this guy:

    A radio talk show host drew criticism Thursday after calling Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) an "Aunt Jemima"


    Sylvester, who is white, also referred to Powell as an "Uncle Tom" — a contemptuous term for a black whose behavior toward whites is regarded as fawning or servile.

    And the left wants us to think they've cornered the market on respecting people as individuals.

    Posted by Tom, 11/19/2004 5:49:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, November 17, 2004

    Hot Diggity

    Here's some more on the "Big Dig" and the mess it's become. The funniest is this bit:

    "Let's keep the focus on the real culprit in this matter — and that is Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff," state Assistant Inspector General Jack McCarthy said Tuesday.

    Yes, let's make sure everyone knows that the holy sacred government could not possibly be at fault for any of this. CYA, Mr. McCarthy -- it's OK, the voters aren't paying attention anyway.

    Posted by Tom, 11/17/2004 5:31:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, November 10, 2004

    Here comes the new boss...

    ... same as the old boss. Ashcroft's replacement will likely not be signalling a change in tone for the administration:

    For instance, Gonzales publicly defended the administration's policy — essentially repudiated by the Supreme Court and now being fought out in the lower courts — of detaining certain terrorism suspects for extended periods without access to lawyers or courts.

    He also wrote a controversial February 2002 memo in which Bush claimed the right to waive anti-torture law and international treaties providing protections to prisoners of war. That position drew fire from human rights groups, which said it helped led to the type of abuses uncovered in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

    Posted by Tom, 11/10/2004 5:48:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Big Boondiggle

    So now one of the most expensive "public works" projects of the modern age, Boston's "Big Dig" project to bury Interstate 93, is leaking like a sieve, bleeding in water almost as fast as it's been bleeding out cash. As usual there are calls for more "oversight", which is liberalspeak for "government". Nobody's reaching for the free market stick, nor is anyone likely to in Taxachussetts. I'm just glad I don't live there. Of course if I did, I'd move.

    Posted by Tom, 11/10/2004 5:38:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Reach across the aisle

    This article makes some great points under the heading "useful things the Democrats could be doing other than whining and screaming."

    The liberal puritans, by contrast, are riding high in the media and in the courts. For many Americans, the Democrats are the party that hates their guns, cigarettes, and fatty foods (which is worse: to rename a french fry or to take it away?); that wants to impose low speed limits on near-abandoned highways; that wants to tell local schools what they can or can't teach. There is no party of tolerance in Washington -- just a party that wages its crusades in the name of Christ and a party that wages its crusades in the name of Four Out Of Five Experts Agree. Sometimes they manage to work together. I say fie on both.

    Since Election Day, a series of satiric proposals for blue-state secession have been floating around the Internet. Here's an idea for liberals looking for a more realistic political project: Team up with some hard-core conservatives and make a push for states' rights and local autonomy. If you have to get the government involved in everything under the sun, do it on a level where you'll have more of a popular consensus. Aim for a world where it won't matter what Washington has to say about who can marry who and whether they can smoke after sodomy.

    Posted by Tom, 11/10/2004 7:47:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Check the Map

    Denny Wilson (as opposed to Denny Crane) has a great map up at his site, and while he is shamelessly biased in favor of the GOP, the map clearly illustrates the rural/urban conflict in this country. This is the major reason I believe that politics needs to be de-centralized. Rural values do not work for urban people, and vice versa. I believe the main reason the Democrats are so upset is not due to the overstated "religious oppression" or homophobia in rural America, but simply because the entire rural lifestyle is different from their urban lifestyle, and it will now be driving the country's agenda instead of the other way around. I am happy with this turn of events insofar as I am pro-rural (and I am unabashedly so). I am not pro-Republican, there just happens to be some overlap. I don't desire to oppress the urban folks, but I'm glad to be free of their agenda for a while.

    Posted by Tom, 11/10/2004 7:46:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Macro = Micro

    I have long maintained that what we do as individuals is reflected at the collective level, even when the link may not be particularly obvious. Take government spending. How many people complain on a daily basis about how far in debt the USA is as a nation, gripe about the budget deficits and so forth, then grumble about having to write another check for their car payment, student loan, credit card, mortgage, boat loan, and so forth?

    Case in point: Social(ist) (in)Security. The worst idea we've ever tried in America is about to get even worse than that, due to the baby boom generation. And whose fault is it? Here's a hint: it's not the Republican or Democratic parties, as Dave Duffy demonstrates:

    Of course we all know Bush didn’t bring about this staggering fiscal calamity for our children all by himself. The Democrats, judging from their election year rhetoric, want to spend even more than Bush. In fact, it is remarkable in this presidential election that neither candidate talks about the imminent insolvency of programs like Social Security and Medicare, because the candidates know that to talk about the “third rail of American politics” is tantamount to committing political suicide. Which leads to the obvious conclusion that it is we, the voting public, who for years have been encouraging both political parties to spend without regard for tomorrow, who is ultimately to blame for this financial crisis.

    I recently had a long conversation with my mother about this very issue. I have posted here before my suggested "solution", which is that the children of the baby boomers (people like me) clean up the baby boomer's mess for them by tightening our belts, putting our noses to the grindstone, pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, and (insert hackneyed cliche here). Granted, it's not much of a solution in that we have to pay twice for retirement -- once for our parents and once for ourselves -- but it's the only thing that will keep our children from having to deal with it as well.

    Start saving now, folks under 40. Social Security will be a bad joke when we retire. Just make sure you're not part of the punchline.

    Posted by Tom, 11/10/2004 7:20:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, November 9, 2004

    Another Fine Myth

    It turns out that once you take a look at the numbers, George Bush's victory cannot be explained away on the basis of homophobia. Check it out:

    Few reporters or commentators appear to have gone back to examine the 2000 exit polls, which would seem to be necessary if one wishes to assert a trend.

    I did. I found that the percentage of voters sampled who said they attended church at least weekly was the same—42 percent—in both 2000 and 2004. The percentage never attending church was also the same, at 15 percent. The middle group, those attending occasionally, was, you guessed it, 42 percent each time. Interestingly, while Bush slightly improved his standing among frequent churchgoers, by about a point in 2004, his support grew by 3 to 4 points among those attending seldom or never.

    Yep, it was the atheist vote that really put Bush over the top in 2004.

    Posted by Tom, 11/9/2004 7:25:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, November 8, 2004

    Wake up and smell the toast burning

    Clayton Cramer has an excellent post about the unreality of the leftist worldview these days. It's especially appropriate, given the aforementioned suicide.

    Posted by Tom, 11/8/2004 7:31:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Going a bit far

    So now Democrats are killing themselves over Bush's re-election. How asinine.

    Posted by Tom, 11/8/2004 7:25:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Really Worth Watching

    Last night's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was just beyond good. They had a family where both parents were deaf, one child was normal, and one child was blind and autistic. The family was having trouble with the autistic child always wandering off, and the normal son basically served the family as interpreter to and from the outside world, apparently having given up his hopes of going to college to stay home and take care of them. The house was redone in so many ways it was difficult to keep track of it all. There was room-to-room videoconferencing so the deaf parents could sign to each other, a complete autistic-friendly learning center in the basement, security systems to keep the autistic child out of places that were dangerous for him, closed-circuit TV so the parents could monitor him, and a special room for every member of the household. Marlee Matlin showed up along with the caretaker of a foundation for the disabled, to present the eldest son with a $50,000 college scholarship. The entire crew was crying at the end of this one. I really hope this series winds up on DVD, because it truly is the only worthwhile thing on TV these days.

    Posted by Tom, 11/8/2004 7:12:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Thursday, November 4, 2004

    Dream President

    Pardon me while I fantasize with Russmo a bit...

    Posted by Tom, 11/4/2004 6:19:00 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...


    Oh, the rage is white-hot today. Check out this drivel from Germany:

    Most underestimated how idiosyncratic Americans really are. What was it that concealed those differences from Europeans (or the editorialists at America's East Coast newspapers, for that matter)? Was it the decades-long united front in the Cold War? Was it Paul Auster or Hollywood? America is a strange country with its own values -- and that can't be changed by the fact that you can have a great conversation in a bar with people in New York, San Francisco or Washington.


    And, yet again, they underestimated the Midwest. Hardly any European (and, indeed, only some of the people in US metropolises) can imagine the tedious, wasteland that exists between Florida and the Dakotas. In this region, the horizon is always straight-ahead, the heavens are like a high ceiling and God is never far away.

    This guy is a complete moron, not to mention an insufferable snob. You want to know why a lot of people in America don't like Europeans? Because Europeans act like this. For all their protestations of "cultural diversity" and "free thinking" and "tolerance", all that really matters to them is that everyone else think exactly the way they do. Anyone who doesn't is labelled a "redneck" or a "hick" or worse. Get over yourself, Europe. Conceit is not a virtue.

    The Midwest is my HOME, dammit. It is NOT a tedious wasteland, it is a beautiful countryside where the people are friendly, helpful, and generous. I've been to tedious wastelands, and they were called New York, San Francisco, and Washington. They're full of pushy, violent, arrogant people, and the fact that Euros seem to enjoy their company just adds to my conviction that Europe is similarly full of pushy, violent, and arrogant people. It begs the question of why anyone in their right mind would want to maintain alliances with nations full of such miscreants, especially when this is the sort of treatment we can expect in return?

    Posted by Tom, 11/4/2004 7:06:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, November 2, 2004

    Free the Market, Free the People

    Lew Rockwell has a great article over at about the respective roles of markets and governments in building up and tearing down society. He addresses the recent hurricanes in Florida, comparing state-monopolized electricity recovery with all of the free market recovery in other areas. Guess who comes up short.

    I especially love his hard-hitting indictment towards the middle:

    Government is not productive. It is not creative. It does not bring blessings. Government spending drains resources from society, taking from those in whose hands it has the highest value and putting into the hands of people who serve the state. Regulation forestalls choice. Taxation loots from people the reward of work and productive endeavor.

    Ultimately he makes the golden point that markets succeed and survive not only in spite of government attempts to shut them down or pervert them, but also to stay ahead of the damage done by government itself. He cites the internet and wireless technology industries as prime examples of government's ham-fisted (but ultimately ignorant and useless) attempts to do something about these dangerous new ills, and recalls Hillary Clinton's thuggish assertion that we need "gatekeepers" to technology, presumably to keep it accessible only to the right people. In the end, markets have proven to be self-repairing, and push us to greater heights despite government's best efforts to keep us wallowing in our own crapulence. Long live the market!

    Posted by Tom, 11/2/2004 7:29:00 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...