Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Isn't This Group For That? Isn't This Tuesday?

The recent flip-flop of Giuliani and Romney on the gun issues (along with most politicians on just about any issue) recalls this old Bloom County gem from my youth:

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wir Müssen Frau-McCarthy Bestrafen.

From Wiki:
Strafing (adaptation of German strafen, to punish, specifically from the World War I humorous adaptation of the German catchphrase "Gott strafe England"), is the practice of firing on a static target from a moving platform. The term is usually applied to machine gun fire from a low flying aircraft, and sometimes attack runs by light bomber aircraft.
Who knew? And people say Wiki isn't good for anything.

Sad But True

When things don't go well in Iraq, we see the endless B-roll of chaos and carnage. When things are on the upswing, we tend to hear more about Anna Nicole Smith. The media will never acknowledge victories in Iraq, so we'll have to settle for an absence of bad coverage. But even in this relative lull in Iraq, it's important to understand and appreciate the short-term victories so we can create more of them. And finish the job.
From Patrick Ruffini. A pitiful situation. We should democratically elect our news reporters. Not a good idea exactly, but it couldn't be any worse than it is.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


We just found out yesterday that a family friend has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has only months to live. He is one of the few people connected to our family who has no spirituality in his life whatsoever (staunch atheist), and the poor man is terrified of oblivion. I don't understand how atheists face death, either that of loved ones or their own. Do they put off thinking about it until the inevitableness and finalness of death is around the corner? Gordon watched helplessly as his wife died a horrible, agonizing death last year. She, too, thought she was facing oblivion, and died terrified and alone. Their grown children, raised with no spirituality, had no time for their suffering parents. In their words, they "had their own lives to live." (That chilled me to the bone. And don't they realize that their own children will follow this example?)

Contrast this with the other extreme. My step-mother is Jamaican -- Jamaicans are deeply, unshakeably, spiritual. My step-mother has lost a lot of relatives lately, mostly elderly, and most died the same way. Surrounded by loving family, each one of them passed with a smile and a sigh, "I'm going home."

I don't understand how atheists face death.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Objectivism Continues Its Plunge Off the Deep End

Objectivist writer Scott Holleran writes at Box Office Mojo that religious groups are the reason child-rape movie Hounddog hasn't been picked up for distribution.
The furor over 12-year-old child actress Dakota Fanning’s festival-screened movie, Hounddog, has so far stalled gaining a distributor for the picture. Whether her parents made an error by allowing her to play in a rape scene, the movie’s status signals spreading religious influence in Hollywood.

Citing child pornography laws, the Catholic League, outraged that a rape scene uses shots of Fanning, called for government intervention, though there is no evidence that a law was violated. Also objecting to Hounddog is a religious group known as the Christian Film and Television Commission that runs a Web site ( dedicated to promoting what it calls “biblical principles.” The site’s mission statement asserts an intention to influence entertainment executives. If controlling Hollywood content is the group’s purpose, as far as Hounddog is concerned, the Christian commission may consider its mission accomplished. …

Maybe studios passed on Hounddog, which also stars David Morse and Piper Laurie, because it’s a dud, or perhaps they have been spooked by the faith-based bunch. Time will tell if the picture’s demise means Hollywood kneels to fundamentalists, but a studio pipeline being choked by religious groups is ominous for movies and box office.
By most accounts, the movie is a dud. But this illustrates the main reason I gave up on Objectivism — these people have gone completely nuts. What are we to infer from Holleran’s grim prognosticating? That we’re on the verge of an artistic dark age when child-rape movies are no longer being made and we’re getting more stuff like Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments?

We have the term ‘Bush Derangement Syndrome’ (or BDS) to describe the bizarre, irrational reaction leftists often have to Bush. I think it’s time for a new term for people who react similarly phobic toward religion (most often Christianity) — I'm going to call it Christian Derangement Syndrome (or CDS).

(Previous example of CDS: Leonard Peikoff says vote Democrat and stop the theocracy now!)

[h/t: Libertas]

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Modern Life

I'm having a turbulent email discussion with one of my lab buddies involving the recent flap over global warming. The especially funny thing is that our desks are at most about six feet apart with no dividers of any kind, and we have not spoken a single word on the subject the entire time. Heh.

Gun Guy Hypocrisy

Got a new email update from "The Gun Guys," and it's a howler (they're all howlers, but this one is especially good):
We've talked about the NRA's preemption laws before-- they're in the habit of passing concealed weapons laws that the majority of Americans simply don't agree with. But when that opposition comes to them in the form of local towns and cities passing their own rules on firearms, the NRA responds with more state legislation. It happened in Ohio, and now it's happening in Utah and Nebraska-- when small communities try to set their own rules on gun violence, the NRA outlaws doing just that.

That's right, they actually pass a law that says local communities can't govern themselves. They pass a law that says local towns and cities aren't allowed to set their own rules on firearms.

To anyone else, such an idea is insane. When an Idaho town proposed mandatory gun ownership earlier this year, sure, we got riled up against it. We said it was a dumb idea, a dangerous idea, and it certainly is both of those. But we didn't once suggest a piece of legislation barring that small town from making their own decision. Mandatory gun ownership, but those citizens of that town have the right to make that choice, just as we, as citizens of our own town, have the right to make ours, about that issue or any other.

Not so under the NRA's policies. You don't have the right to set your own rules on firearms, and they're prepared to pass a law to take that away from you. Feel that firearms are too prevalent in your town and want to pass a law to do something about it on your local city council? If your state has a preemption law, no dice.

That's unAmerican if anything is. For a group that supposed to be "promoting freedoms," they sure are working hard to take away that one.
Bwa ha ha! Right! So if Idaho "banned" "assault weapons" you'd have no problem with that little town passing their own law to circumvent the ban? Ha ha ha! If you believe that, then I have several bridges to sell you.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Amendment 28

In light of recent jack-booted thuggery indulged in by officials of the government of the United States, I propose the following amendment to the Constitution of such:

Amendment 28: A peaceful and restful nights sleep, being necessary for the pursuit of happiness of a free nation, the right of the people to jam a two-by-four under their front doorknob, shall not be infringed.

As worded, I wonder if in the future at some point they'll argue that this amendment somehow only applies to a "collective right"? I suppose that depends on whether at that time the Second Amendment is worth the paper it's written on.

Abortion and Feminism

Libertas is commenting on a flap over a "balanced" documentary about both sides of the abortion debate. (You can judge for yourself how balanced it is likely to be, but that is beside the point.) As a Christian, I am personally opposed to, and horrified by, abortion; but I have difficulty reconciling my devotion to freedom with the idea that abortion must be outlawed. As with the fruitless War on Drugs, it is an issue the political/religious right will eventually have to concede. What conservatives have failed to understand with issues like abortion and the War on Drugs is that you cannot defeat something by attacking it directly, i.e. banning and criminalization are ineffective. In fact, they are counterproductive. The problem is not availability, which, oddly enough, conservatives understand when it comes to gun control. Naive gun-banners look at crime in America and decry the number of guns in private hands. But conservatives intrinsically understand that the real problem is not availability, but why so many people are willing to pull the trigger on their fellow human beings. It is a little mystifying as to why these same people fail to understand that the same principle applies to other societal ills. The problem with abortion is not that it is available on demand, but why we have vast numbers of women -- the traditional caregivers and nurturers of our species -- willing to kill their own children.

I believe the role of feminism in Western society is squarely to blame. It also serves as an example of this great irony of existence: when you try to achieve something directly, you almost always end up with the opposite (cf. the French Revolution, modern psychiatry, the War on Drugs, and gun control). I think feminism started off with noble intentions. It was supposed to promote appreciation of feminine qualities, for the betterment of everyone. I am a paleo-feminist in the sense that I believe in the virtues and necessity of positive feminine qualities. But could modern feminism ever be described this way? Now we have a movement that inspires hatred of positive feminine and masculine qualities, and brings out the worst in both sexes. In Dr. Laura's new book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage, a listener to Dr. Laura's radio program comments:
Feminists abandoned all the virtues of womanhood (modesty, tact, subtlety, civility) and adopted all the vices of men (promiscuity, vulgarity, aggressiveness). Perhaps this would be less appalling if the feminists adopted at least some of the male virtues (logical thought, adherence to principles, stoicism, reticence), but they have not. Paradoxically, feminism today is about hating men, but at the same time encouraging detestable behavior in men: how exactly has abortion on demand improved male/female relationships?
It hasn't. Women have turned themselves into little more than life-support systems for vaginas, and in the process have completely demeaned a once-honored role in society as civilizers of men. Now, by unleashing the worst qualities in ourselves, we have unleashed the worst in men. It is probably the worst tragedy of the modern age. If you disagree, read the comments of 'Howard432' in the Libertas post. Through all this, women have demeaned the sanctity of life. Ironically, it is the traditionally less-nurturing members of our society who often find themselves reconsidering modern sexual relations when faced with the ultimate consequences of their lifestyles. Again, read Howard432's comments, and, if you can find it, watch the original version of the film Alfie.

If conservative/religious Americans want an end to widespread abortion, forget banning, and instead aggressively oppose modern feminism. Expose it for the ugly, hateful lie it is, and push for a return to more traditional gender roles in this country. (Which, ironically, will solve many other societal problems in the process.)

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Friday, February 02, 2007

How to Present an "Assault Weapons" "Ban"?


How exactly do you refer to this nonsense? The weapons in question are "Assault Weapons." This is complicated by the fact that the ban is really a "ban" in name only, but not in outcome. The problem, then, is that writing "assault weapons" "ban" is ungainly, but the simplification "assault weapons ban" doesn't capture the full and independent phoniness of the two terms.

So how are we to proceed? To improve matters, I suggest we keep "assault weapons" in quotes, and then modify "ban" with something like "phony," or maybe "pretend." So that leaves us with "assault weapons" phony ban. Yuck.

New approach. We replace the word "ban" with something better. From, we have the following synonyms: boycott, censorship, embargo, injunction, interdiction, limitation, no-no*, prohibition, proscription, refusal, restriction, stoppage, suppression, taboo.

And there you have it. The "assault weapons" no-no.

Or if we take it a step farther, we can use the phrase, I think coined by the Uncle, and call it the "no-no on weapons that look like assault weapons". I think that captures the nany-state feel of the legislation perfectly.