Archive for November, 2004

none dare call it

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

If Abraham Lincoln were president today, there’s a good chance that the doors would be shut at the New York Times and CBS, and Michael Moore, Terry McCauliffe, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, and even John Kerry would be rotting in jail. I’m not saying that would be a good thing. I’m just saying that the line between what is and is not treason in the U.S. has moved a considerable distance in the last 200 years. Tom Hayden has a recent article in which he outlines how to organize an effort to ensure that the United States loses the war in Iraq. Michael Moore has compared the jihadists to the Minute Men and has predicted their victory in Iraq.

David Horowitz, the former editor of Ramparts, now an agressive conservative, has been demonized as a racist, fascist, sell-out, but I have always found him to be not only a very good writer, but someone who consistently backs up his well-reasoned arguments with fact, and who readily and graciously concedes to liberal opponents when they are right. In a speech at Georgetown University, Horowitz lays out his indictment of the “‘unholy alliance’ between radical Islam and the American left”. Here is a quote from that speech:

Before proceeding further, there are certain issues I need to discuss that float beneath the surface of our political conversation and are rarely directly addressed, thus having a powerful effect. I am speaking of the issues embedded in terms like “patriotism,” and “treason,” as well as the matter of what constitutes legitimate criticism of American foreign policy, particularly in a time of war.

To listen to the left, you would think that conservatives are just waiting to charge anyone who criticizes the President’s war policy with borderline treason and worse. Liberal complaints would lead one to suspect that John Ashcroft’s agents can’t wait for an opportunity to indict any leftist who steps verbally out of line. Let’s introduce a grain of reality here. In the first place, if the charge of “treason” is really an issue, Democrats are clearly the preemptive aggressors. Al Gore has already called the President a traitor, while President Bush hasn’t even mentioned Gore’s name. So far, the Democrats’ attacks on Bush are that he lied to the American people and misled them into war; and that he is sacrificing American youth to line the pockets of his cronies at Halliburton. These are accusations of treason. And there is almost nobody on the left, high or low, who hasn’t made them in some fashion or another.

The whole speech is worth reading. It is a very clear analysis of what is and is not legitimate criticism of the government in a time of war.

my brother, Jeff, disagrees

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

I don’t think IQ is the key, and I agree that certain qualities of character and doggedness and judgment and boldness and also a certain kind of flexibility are probably more important (after a certain minimum of intelligence, of course). There is a kind of analytical intelligence, though, that allows a decision-maker to understand quickly the essential issues that are dividing his advisors and separate the clear bullshit from something that makes sense. I have the sense that Lincoln had that and FDR and Eisenhower and Kennedy and Nixon. I think Clinton has it, too (but in his case this asset is overwhelmed by his character deficiencies). I don’t think Reagan or Bush have this. They both are willing to be bold, and they both have a bull-headedness that can be a real strength if your instincts and intelligence are carrying you in the right direction. But both of them were capable of being led off into la-la land because they weren’t able to detect the bullshit spewed out by key advisors in their administrations. I breathed a tremendous sigh of relief when George Bush the Elder took over from Reagan. Reagan scared me; George reassured me. I will be very relieved when somebody takes over from George the Younger. I could live with a very hawkish guy like Giuliani, for example, because I think he is very smart in the ways that count and could be the master of his own staff in a way I don’t think George ever will be. I don’t think history will be all that kind to either Reagan or Bush.

As for you and me, I think our IQs are about even (I have this on good authority from Mom), and I think we would both be disastrous Presidents. You would get suckered into buying in whole hog to some crackpot ideology, and I would crumble and resign if a crisis ever required me to sustain my resolve for more than about six months. I think we would both make terrific advisors to a President, though, as long as we weren’t given any actual operational responsibilities for anything.

IQ and the presidency

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Much has been made of late of the probablity, which I am willing to accept, that the average IQ of Kerry voters is higher than that of Bush voters. The dumb states went to Bush for the most part, and the smart states went for Kerry, as defined by the Education State Rankings Annual Survey. But then, crafting your campaign to appeal to those with an above average IQ and ceding the rest to the opposition, and then calling everyone who you wished had voted for you, dumb, is not a very “smart” strategy, is it?

Apparently, as best as can be determined from more or less comparable military tests, Bush’s IQ is slightly higher than Kerry’s. This doesn’t surprise me. Kerry doesn’t seem all that bright to me, and Bush’s dyslexia makes him appear dumber than he really is.

It would be interesting, though not possible of course, to correlate all of the U.S. presidents’ IQs with their success in office. My favorite president, and homosexual, is Abraham Lincoln, and I’m sure his was monstrously large, his IQ that is. Bill Clinton may have had the biggest one of all, IQ that is, and reasonable people may disagree, but I would not consider him to be a great president. Reagan, low IQ, great president. FDR, probably not all that high of an IQ, great president. Truman likewise. Jefferson, very smart, great expander of American hegemony. Nixon, high IQ, pretty good president before his psychosis prevailed. I don’t think there is a high correlation. Qualities like courage and integrity count for much more. And likewise for voters. In other words, “moral qualities”, which I put in quotes so as not to offend any highly intelligent, liberal sensibilities.

Of course IQ and all standardized testing have always been portrayed, by liberals, as racist and irrelevant, until now.

violence, commies, and poetry

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Posted by Harcamone

Here’s an extraordinary example of cultural violence committed by people claiming to be dedicated to non-violence. You might not know the original song — Tramp on the Street —  but Candance almost surely does. And if you don’t, google the Blue Sky Boys’ version.

There are so many detestable things about the wackoid left, one hardly knows where to begin. This polemical variation of a great old gospel song (not that old, actually) shows how the wackos hate poetry. They have to fill in all the blanks left open by the metaphor — homeless people, pimps, interest rates, higher prices in ghetto supermarkets, whatever etcetera, etc. It is sooooo boring. I am dumbfounded as to why beautiful artists get seduced by their own preachy egos to commit such acts of poetic absurdity and stupidity.

Warren Zevon never did shit like this Alas, he died. Nor did Townes van Zandt. He died, too.

Warren Zevon describes a terrible situation without blaming anybody. That’s poetry.  Motherfukkin commies can shove their songs. I grew up on that BS. (Exception, Woody Guthrie — e.g., Deportees, and such)

Original Tramp on the Street (Hank), being a Christian song, asks everybody who is listening to reckon with their own response to the tramp, and the meaning of it. But Commie versions assume that the commies are Jesus’s friend. This is why I hate Liberation Theology. It sounds great on the surface, but it is as arrogant as any Jerry Falwell.

Anyway, Warren Zevon:

I hear Mariachi static on my radio
And the tubes they glow in the dark
And I’m there with her in Ensenada
And I’m here in Echo Park

Carmelita hold me tighter
I think I’m sinking down
And I’m all strung out on heroin
On the outskirts of town

Well, I’m sittin’ here playing solitaire
With my pearl-handled deck
The county won’t give me no more methadone
And they cut off your welfare check

Carmelita hold me tighter
I think I’m sinking down
And I’m all strung out on heroin
On the outskirts of town

Well, I pawned my Smith Corona
And I went to meet my man
He hangs out down on Alvarado Street
By the Pioneer chicken stand

Carmelita hold me tighter
I think I’m sinking down
And I’m all strung out on heroin
On the outskirts of town

Carmelita hold me tighter
I think I’m sinking down
And I’m all strung out on heroin
On the outskirts of town

multiple causes of error

Monday, November 15th, 2004

In my 35+ years of programming computers of all kinds, using many different computer languages, and developing many different kinds of applications, I have noticed a recurring phenomenon that, I believe, is a universal principle of the human psyche, which is to say, of reality.

When I’ve finished the code for a particular feature in a program, I always run the program to test it and make sure it works like it should. But something is wrong. Some error occurs. So I go back and pore over the code until I discover the error in logic that is obviously causing the problem. Then I run it again, and, lo and behold, the exact same error occurs. How can this be? I know for a certainty that the thing I fixed would cause this error, and I have fixed it, and the error continues to happen. Same error, different source of error. So I perform the same process over again. This happens so frequently, I have come to expect it. There is almost always another, completely unrelated, glitch in the logic of the program, that causes the exact same error. Often there will even be one or two more such completely unrelated bugs, all causing the same result.

This same circumstance arises in our lives. We have some recurring problem that keeps coming up. So, we get therapy or read a self-help book, or just engage in self examination, and Eureka! We discover what it is we are doing that is making this happen over and over. We change, we fix it, and we feel better. And it doesn’t make any difference. The problem, whatever it is, doesn’t go away. It continues to plague us. When this happens, it means there is some other, completely unrelated, twist in our soul that must also be untangled.

The universe is constructed of bits that can be either zero or one. At least that’s what Marvin Minsky believes. But it is an idea as old as the hills, that runs through all science and religion. Positive and negative, good and evil, male and female, yin and yang. The universe is composed of a duality of opposites, no matter what you call them. This means that the process of programming a computer, which is ultimately a manipulation of bits of information that can be either 1 or 0, is a mini version of the process of Creation itself. That’s why geeks find it so addictive. There is a God-like feeling to it.

Unfortunately, the lessons learned from programming computers don’t seem to make computer programmers any better at solving their own problems than anyone else. This is either because they don’t apply their skills to other aspects of their life, or because they do, but that only fixes one cause. There is something else being overlooked.

echoes of laughter

Sunday, November 14th, 2004

Posted by Harcamone

A few days ago in a Goodwill store I saw an old LP, in good condition, of “The First Family,” the perfect-pitch satire of JFK & Co. by a comic named Vaughn Meader. Meader’s act was good; he was hugely popular and successful, and made a great living. And then Kennedy was shot, and that was it for Vaughn Meader. His career was over, and he went into obscurity, never to emerge again into the public light. I almost bought that LP. It was only a buck or so.

When I got home I googled, and found the entire album on streaming audio. It had me laughing out loud. I was not expecting that; I thought its funniness might have faded over so many years. But what moved me even more than Meader’s excellent humor and perfect delivery was the belly-laughing audience, who were in stiches, having such a good time, laughing about a president they loved!!!!

This was the sound of the laughter of our people at one time.

corruption of our youth

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

This is very funny: Blue State Blues as Coastal Parents Battle Invasion of Dollywood Values

too cool for words

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

Posted by Harcamone

This site is so cool that it contains no information.
If you need to know what it’s about, you are not cool.

understanding

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

Posted by Harcamone

Arianna Huffington doesn’t delude herself that Bush won on homo-hating. She has very interesting things to say about the election.

And take a look at her blog-page, where she lays out some useful stepping stones to guide people on reasoned, critical, introspective conversations … instead of becoming hysterical.

****

Le Monde Diplomatique’s man on the ground in West Virginia tries to understand America …. and succeeds rather well, I think. Better than Jane Smiley, Ted Rall, Michael Moore, Barbara Streisand, Frank Rich, Tom Friedman, John le Carre, Madonna, Greg Palast, Katrina van den Heuvel, David Corn, Pauls Krugman and Begala, Maureen Dowd … and a lot of the other raging, hateful flapping assholes making fucking fools of themselves.

The Le Monde piece demonstrates the difference between serious, mature, respectful political observation and the kind of theatrics, bullshit and venting the American Left has been permitting itself to be satisfied with.

more on secular democracy

Friday, November 12th, 2004

I can’t stop thinking about the issues raised by the Archbishop of Australia in his article. I have always been of the opinion, that, yes, we do have to put up with having a billion dollar porn industry and an abortion rate in the tens of millions, etc., etc., as the price of freedom and democracy. When real freedom is granted to a species that has been without it for millenia, for, in fact, its entire recorded history, with minor, criminal exceptions, then one must expect a lot of unfortunate choices. My hope has been that, as Miles Davis once said about kicking his heroin habit, you can get tired of anything. And, I have believed, there is no real alternative to letting free people work through their bad choices.

At the same time, as the father of four children (now grown, thank the Lord), two boys and two girls, I am not at all sanguine about having my kids raised by gansta rap, video games, internet porn, and other nefarious influences which are more or less completely beyond my control. I don’t think one has to be a crazed, fanatic, religious fundamentalist to be uncomfortable with the modern American environment in which one is forced to live and raise one’s children. So it doesn’t surprise or alarm me that perhaps many voters were influenced by “moral values” in their election choices. Good luck to them, although I doubt that there will be any perceptible changes in our society just because George Bush is president.

Unfortunately, the good Archbishop does not really go into detail about how we are to achieve “democratic personalism”. He calls it “a work of persuasion and evangelisation, more than political activism.” Fine, but that’s what we have now.

I can easily blame Osama Bin Laden, Al Quaeda, and their ilk for their tyrannical death cult, but I can not easily blame the many Muslims who are reluctant to adopt Western-style value-neutral democracy. Is there some middle way that I am missing?