Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

People are talking about "that idiot in the White House"

Life these days in our United States....

(Graphic via Maggie's Farm.)

Story 1: My 81-year-old mother went to see her opthamalogist recently for a checkup. Usually they are pleasant enough with each other, but don't have any extended interaction. This time they got to chatting and the doctor asked my mother what she thought about "all these pronouncements coming out of Washington lately" and my ladylike mother piped up:

"You mean that IDIOT in the White House, Barack Obama?"
They had a very surprising and satisfying chat together about what an alarming prospect the government health care takeover is, and how ordinary, individual Americans need to become activists doing everything possible to stop it.

The amazing moral of this story is that my mother in ordinary times would never speak up about politics in a doctor's office or a social or non-family setting. She has never before felt the need to. And neither, I gather, would her doctor have injected political discussion into a medical consultation. This shows how far we are from ordinary times. But an equally amazing reward for my mother and her doctor was the discovery that they agreed with each other, and that something needs to be done, and can be done, by ordinary people speaking out and speaking up.

(Graphic via Instapundit)

Story 2: I received a wonderful gift last week from the 18-year-old friend of my son (and my longtime friend, too): a copy of Mark R. Levin's huge bestseller, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. He didn't know it, but I had been waiting quite a while (in vain) for my local public library to buy its first copy of this book so I could borrow it from them and read it. Now I don't have to wait. But more inspiring than even this gift is the fact that young people like my son and his friends are conservatives and libertarians informed about current political events and active and persuasive in making their own reasoned views known. They are alarmed by Obama and the Democrats because they know exactly where such tax-and-spend, statist liberal policies lead--and why the politicians want to lead them there. There is hope for the future thanks to these younger Americans who are learning and not afraid to talk among themselves and across generations.

Story 3: Due to health concerns, I work out with a exercise trainer once a week. Over time as we chatted, we eventually realized we (and his Russian-emigre wife and partner) were long-time admirers of Ayn Rand and opponents of big-government statism. We have commiserated with and encouraged each other as we've seen the Obama administration reveal its philosophical bankruptcy and its corrupt grabbing for power to the intense detriment of our beloved country. Of course, we are no fans of similar trends among the Republicans in Washington, either. What seems unusual to me is that every week we exchange info on new developments, new resources, and new ways we can make a difference by being active and speaking out. As the situation in Washington grows more alarming and more ridiculous, I find my own activism growing too--fueled by the same inspiration in ordinary folks around me. The outspokenness is not just on the internet and the blogs, but in "real life" too, in a way I've never known before.

When there is this much at stake, people are talking, and that will be our salvation, I think.

Sign the Free Our Health Care Now petition.

UPDATE: "Our Parade of Idiots" at The Return of Scipio (via Bookworm, who says yet again, that Obama lies).

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Acting like a jerk

This post at Power Line sums up my reaction to the Gates-Crowley confrontation in Cambridge, Massachusetts last week. The only thing racist about the incident was Professor Gates' over-the-top response to the police. If President Obama wants to act as peacemaker (to moderate the bad effect of his having stupidly put his foot into it) and invite the two men to the White House for a beer and "a teaching moment" "to diminish racial profiling and to enhance fairness and equity in the criminal justice system for poor people and for people of color," then I think it should also be a teaching moment for Professor Gates to reconsider how ordinary citizens of all races should support and respond to local law enforcement officers--with common sense and respect.

Related: Video by Chris Rock: how not to get your ass kicked by the police (language warning, but funny--and true).

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Sunday laughs/ Economics: what is it good for?

Here's a video of a cute California girl who has figured out how economics works and wants to share her passion with the Santa Cruz City Council for the greater good.

We used to know some such creatures like that as "Valley Girls" back in the days of Frank & Moon Unit Zappa. Gee, will California ever tire of or retire this famous brand of female airhead? This Miss Santa Cruz belongs in a museum as an archetype (next to the Appalachian hillbilly, perhaps), along with standing as an embodied indictment of some of California's most blatant failures (drug culture? public education?). I'll bet her parents are proud of her, too. Didn't anybody in this girl's entire life ever tell her to shut up and study until she knew what the hell she was talking about? Kinda sad, really, when you think about her on a personal, individual level. But when she takes the podium in a public forum, she becomes (yet another) icon for stupidity in community activism.

And in another vein, here's a video with a more caffeinated and academic thrust (and actually it's even funnier) from the Standup Economist: "Principles of Economics, Translated."

Actually, I'm dee-lighted (as Teddy Roosevelt used to say) to see more attention these days focused and more brains put to work on the subject of economics. It's time everybody was better educated on economics in general and put to work studying and considering the problems that may or may not be solved by the intervention of politicians into markets and economic systems.

Me, I still like the proposed Constitutional Amendment that Ayn Rand fantasized about at the end of her book, Atlas Shrugged:

"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade ..."

In facing all the tradeoffs inherent in human life, society, and self-government, I think that's one more critically-needed Amendment that would improve our lives and turn out for the best in the long run.

Hap tip to Two Guys I Live With.


Friday, July 24, 2009

"Catcalls from the peanut gallery"

I love that phrase from the New York Post, and I love that they are being heard:

These catcalls from the peanut gallery show that Americans just aren't buying the idea that a major expansion of government power over our health system can possibly save money.

"Alert citizens aren't buying the sales pitch." Yessss! Read the whole thing.

I think people are finally starting to figure out that what comes out of Obama's mouth is mostly hot air and fairy tales. The bloom is off the rose, as my Grandma used to say.

Via Power Line's great post, "Obama's Ethics" - and the "overwhelming fictional quality" of his last press conference pushing his socialized health care takeover. "The fictional quality of Obama's talking points is akin to that of a fairy tale for children."

Alert citizens are starting to get it. A bumpersticker for our times.

UPDATE: "Why do politicians with no business experience think they can run 15 percent of the economy?" by John Stossel at Reason.

And at Maggie's Farm:

I am following this story closely because I think these folks are freaking insane. They are in over their heads with no clue of what they are doing, no clue about what hospitals and my Doc friends do or how they do it to produce the treatment that the entire world envies. Some of the Dems seem to know it. And the rush makes no sense at all.

UPDATE from the acerbic Neal Boortz, on Obama's "promises" of "security"--

I just love how the AP describes it: "President Barack Obama sought Wednesday to cast the intensifying health care debate in terms that matter to ordinary people, promising to offer more savings, security and treatment to millions." Oh there you go ... using the word "security." We'll give Obama credit for that. He knows that the word "security" is much more important to the majority of Americans than the word "freedom." That would be why Hillary's attempted takeover of health care in 1993 was called the "Health Security Act." Much of governance today revolves around finding the right trigger word that resonates with the government-educated dumb masses. Get the right trigger word; like "change" for instance, and you can sell crap in a bag to most people.

If you're a bit more advanced in your ability to engage in rational thought - a disappearing trait - you will understand that Obama really gives a flying Krispy Kreme about the healthcare of "ordinary people." What Barack Obama wants to do is promise people "security" so that they will buy his takeover of almost 20% of our econmy and, thereby, become even more dependent on government. That's what this debate is about .. not about healthcare!

UPDATE: More fairy dust in the House. Ha ha!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How to get a college education without going to college

I think it would be possible to do that as an autodidact, if you took the four years and the money you'd spend going to college and spent it on a challenging, disciplined soak in the internet, lectures, and books.

My father always regretted not finishing his college degree. He told me not doing so hurt his ability to advance in his career. I am sure his self-consciousness about it with his bosses and coworkers must've affected him. That nagging little voice of his in the back of my mind certainly helped drive me through college to achieve my own BA. Even while I venerated more than the diploma his own lifelong habit of self-education.

Now almost every day I am amazed and impressed by what is available on the internet, often for free, to all interested parties who want to learn anything and everything. Of course there are actual college lectures available for free, which would be a great place to start.

Then there are nuggets like this introduction to psychiatric diagnostics. Or this introduction to the Koran. And this introduction to political philosophy. I wish I had encountered Harry Jaffa in college, instead of the mumbo jumbo I had to take as a philosophy major--and my one dip into Poli Sci that thrust me into Garrett Hardin's and his contemporaries' pronunciations about the incoming overpopulation bomb--that drove me out of those fields. I had no idea how or where to find the subjects and courses that would interest me in those fields while I was a callow youth attending an actual college. I still don't believe they were taught there at that time (nor now).

It takes awhile as a young person to find out how to get to what you really love. It is out there and there is a way, whether you will find it in college or not. Colleges used to be adept at helping young people find the path to their passion; now they say that, but they are more often indoctrination centers, serving the faculty and administration more than the students, I guess. But you can get a broader picture, if you're smart, by teaching yourself. Preferably throughout your entire life. Thinking that going to college will educate you is a fallacy; it will provide some education, but never enough. And it may provide some anti-education and some false views.

I have long noticed that many of the historians and other thinkers working outside the framework of academia, working in popular culture (or its fringes), have done excellent, accessible work available to all for the cost of their books. With the internet making connectivity and expression more ubiquitous, like minds with and without credentials can gather together, study, and learn more easily than ever. It is scary to think of foregoing a sheepskin and embarking on a self-education program, but it's just so crazy that in America these days, with the aid of the internet, it just might work.

Certainly there is no excuse for any adult to remain uneducated in this country except by choice. There is nothing stopping any youth or adult from walking into a public library and ranging through the books and accessing the free internet service. Anyone who wants to work for an education can get it, more so here and now than ever before in the history of mankind.

It is truly a wonderful time to be an American and a nerd!


Thoughtful analysis of cable news coverage

I just added a new commentary blog to my blogroll: NewsReal Blog (via Power Line). It's entertaining and offers a good, fair discussions of how political events are covered on the various cable news networks. I especially liked the essay by the gay conservative explaining Barbara Boxer's reflexive racism, and the review of Bill Maher's criticisms of America's reaction to Michael Jackson's death.

The explanation of why Massachusetts' Romneycare is a good dead-canary-in-the-mine for Obamacare should be required reading for every cable news talking head.

In other blog news, Maggie's Farm is going to be on vacation and blogging less for a few weeks. I'll miss their daily links, but they've been doing yeoman's work on explaining the true costs of the Democrats' hoped-for "universal health coverage." Thanks guys. Take ten.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More tea party protestors make their point

Here's the roundup (via Instapundit) on Friday's protests against Obamacare.

The next action planned is the march on Washington D.C. on September 12th.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Senator Sessions said a mouthful

at the opening of the hearing on the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor yesterday. This is what I believe, too (and a lot of other Americans with me):

[T]his hearing is important, because I believe our legal system is at a dangerous crossroads. Down one path is the traditional American system, so admired around the world, where judges impartially apply the law to the facts without regard to personal views. This is the compassionate system, because it's the fair system.

In the American legal system, courts do not make law or set policy, because allowing unelected officials to make law would strike at the heart of our democracy. Here, judges take an oath to administer justice impartially. That oath reads, "I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and to equal right to the rich and the poor, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God."

These principles give the traditional system its moral authority, which is why Americans respect and accept the ruling of courts, even when they disagree. Indeed, our legal system is based on a firm belief in an ordered universe and objective truth. The trial is a process by which the impartial and wise judge guides us to truth.

Down the other path lies a brave new world, where words have no true meaning, and judges are free to decide what facts they choose to see. In this world, a judge is free to push his or her own political or social agenda. I reject that view, and Americans reject that view....

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

What some people do for entertainment

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them". - Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

After reading a few (and a few are too many) tweets and texts created by too many drugged and drunken people, including, sadly, too many clueless self-destructive teenagers, it is clear that some are born retarded, some have retardation thrust upon them, and some choose to actively retard themselves as rapidly as possible.

Yechh. For culture, entertainment, and inspiration I'll stick with Shakespeare.

UPDATE: "Youth" and those attentuated youth in their twenties and older who persist in leading a lifestyle of indolence, drunken or drugged revelry, and dissipation instead of choosing to work hard and take advantage of their advantages have no right later in life to complain about the quality of the public housing, food stamps, or health care coverage--or lack of same--they may or may not be granted from a government funded by those taxpayers who made better use of their time and made better choices.

So there.

I told you I was a curmudgeon.


American Our Heritage

The words of this song kept running through my mind as we were driving across the farmlands of the heart of America on our way to our Great-Lakeside holiday destination. My sisters and I learned this song in fifth and sixth grade chorus, way back in the 1960's, to sing in one of the public concerts our school performed. How odd to realize it is a hymn and speaks frankly of God. I'll bet elementary schoolchildren aren't learning this song anymore to perform in public. Yet, the words seem appropriate for the 4th of July:

America, Our Heritage

High towering mountains, fields gold with grain,
Rich, fertile farmlands, flocks on the plain,
Homes blessed with peace, with love, without fears;
This is the heritage we’ve kept through the years.

Wide rolling prairies, lakes deep and broad,
Canyons majestic, fashioned by God,
Life lived in peace, contented and free:
This is the heritage forever to be.

Stout hearts and true hold fast what is ours
God give us courage through darkest hours.
God give us strength and guide with thy hand
America, our heritage, our homeland.

I can still remember not only the words, but the harmonies.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

How would U.S. socialized health care be different from these?

I have not seen any government response (beyond rhetorical fallacies, distraction, and sidestepping) to questions about how the proposed Obamacare would have different results from the unexpected results obtained in Britain and France. Will we get any honest answers from our government before we are railroaded into socialized medicine?

Personally, I do not want my medical decisions and choices, nor access to new drugs and medical procedures taken over by politicians and bureaucrats. And I am not alone. For all the problems with our current health care system which should be addressed, I do not see the Obama administration's solutions as being at all effective or beneficial. I see them only as being tragically, needlessly destructive. My questions in the face of this steamroller are not being honestly addressed.

Sign the petition now.

UPDATE: In Canada under socialized medicine, the animals get CT scans faster than the humans. Canadians' backstop for quality health care is--you guessed it:

Ava Isabella Stinson was born last Thursday at St. Joseph's hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Weighing only two pounds, she was born 13 weeks premature and needed some very special care. Unfortunately, there were no open neonatal intensive care beds for her at St. Joseph's — or anywhere else in the entire province of Ontario, it seems.

Canada's perfectly planned and cost-effective system had no room at the inn for Ava, who of necessity had to be sent across the border to a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital to suffer under our chaotic and costly system. She had no time to be put on a Canadian waiting list. She got the care she needed at an American hospital under a system President Obama has labeled "unsustainable."

Jim Hoft over at Gateway Pundit reports Ava's case is not unusual. He reports that Hamilton's neonatal intensive care unit is closed to new admissions half the time. Special-needs infants are sent elsewhere and usually to the U.S.

In 2007, a Canadian woman gave birth to extremely rare identical quadruplets — Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia Jepps. They were born in the United States to Canadian parents because there was again no space available at any Canadian neonatal care unit. All they had was a wing and a prayer.

The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician flew from Calgary, a city of a million people, 325 miles to Benefit Hospital in Great Falls, Mont., a city of 56,000. The girls are doing fine, thanks to our system where care still trumps cost and where being without insurance does not mean being without care....


Separation of economy and state

An important goal, as advocated by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged, and as taken up by many rallying at "tea parties" this 4th of July:

The government has no Constitutional, moral, or economic basis for controlling the economy. We seek to revoke its power to manipulate interest rates, debase the currency, manage the practice of medicine, restrict practical sources of energy, or rob Peter to pay for Paul’s house, financial institution, or automaker.

Via Instapundit.

You can purchase your copy of the Pocket Constitution here.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Summer vacation


Blockbuster summary on Obama's healthcare proposal and its Progressive roots

Paul Rahe puts it into masterful words (read the whole thing):

Why, we might ask, should one have to wait months or even years for a hip-replacement operation? Why should one be denied a cataract operation if one is over a certain age? What business is it of Barack Obama's whether I choose to spend my own hard-earned money on procedures thought to have only a limited chance of success? What gives him--or, for that matter, anyone else--the right to make decisions that are for me a matter of life and death?

Defenders of Obama's proposal will reply that I am misrepresenting his proposal. No one, they will say, will be forced to give up the health insurance they have. Technically, of course, this is true. But what President Obama calls the "incentives" will be structured in such a way that employers will no longer have to offer coverage, and to save themselves the expense (which is considerable), they will seize the opportunity to opt out, and then we will have no choice.

Perhaps we will then be left free to spend as we see fit the money left to us after we have paid for the government-run insurance program. Perhaps we will be able to go into the private market and pay for a hip-replacement operation, a cataract operation, or for tests and procedures that our doctor recommends but that the government-run insurance program refuses to pay for.

Here is where Obama's "incentives" reappear. The government-run insurance program will, for all practical purposes, be a monopsony--the sole purchaser. It will be in a bargaining position enabling it to dictate the price that it will pay, and, of course, it will pay very little. You, as an individual purchaser, will have no leverage at all; and, like those not covered by employer-sponsored insurance plans today, you will have to pay through the nose. Unless you are filthy rich, you may well have to wait your turn for that hip-replacement operation, forego that cataract operation, or do without those expensive tests and procedures. In sum, you will not be in the driver's seat....

Then Paul Rahe writes about how the Progressive movement, starting with Woodrow Wilson, began changing the way government was to be viewed in America:

What Wilson and his heirs have accomplished is a surreptitious substitution of Hegel for Locke and of the modern adminstrative state with its vast array of administrative agencies (each combining the legislative, executive, and judicial powers) for the regime of self-government imagined by Montesquieu and brought into being by the American Founding Fathers. What our masters aim at--whether they be Republicans, like Teddy Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Thomas E. Dewey, and Richard Nixon, or Democrats, such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and Barack Obama--is what FDR termed "rational administration"; and over the years, in pursuit of this, they have adopted Wilson's convenient notion that ours is a "living constitution" subject to reshaping by the courts, and they have been willing not only to abandon federalism, the separation of powers, and checks and balances, but to run roughshod over the rights of individuals.

When "scientific racism" was the rage, Woodrow Wilson segregated the civil service, gave "The Birth of a Nation" his imprimatur, and thereby promoted Jim Crow in the North. He campaigned on behalf of the sterilization of criminals and insane asylum inmates, and the progressive jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes conferred judicial sanction on this gross violation of individual rights. All of this was done in the name of the public good. The rights of individuals were made to give way to a utilitarian calculus....

This essay succinctly sums up what is going on and why it must be stopped in the case of nationalizing health care.

UPDATE: And this expose of how the White House is actively "managing" its campaign of lies and deception in order to nationalize health care shows how they will stop at nothing to get their policies steamrolled over U.S. citizens. UPDATE: Obama only calls on supporters at his staged Townhall meetings. Kabuki theater for the dumb masses.

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