Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Bad-Ass

For those of you who don’t spend enough time at the Onion.

Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Is ‘Totally Badass’

Green Roofs

One of my favorite pet-peeves wanna-see-happenings, is finally getting off the ground in NYC.  Now, if we can only bring that to Texas, where it’s desperately needed…

The Inexperience Factor

I’m not normally a big fan of Hot Air.  But when they referred to a devastating McCain ad, I had to check it out.

Here’s their post, containing said ad.  And here’s my problem with said post:  it’s historically ignorant.

Woodrow Wilson came into office self-admittedly profoundly naive about foreign policy.  In fact, in many ways, from his scandalous and self-contradictory interventions in Mexico, his obviously totalitarian Committee on Public Information, which pulled us into WWI and thereby directly ruined any chances that the belligerent parties might realize their own foolishness and negotiate their own peace, to his refusal to leave office after he’d been almost completely incapacitated by a stroke, to his bulletheaded Andrew-Jackson-like certainty that his opinion was the correct one, merely because he possessed it… Woodrow Wilson was a TERRIBLE president.

And yet, his insistence on the Principle of Self-Determination of Peoples, generated directly from his foreign-policy naivete, is why the world is so upset with Russia right now.  Because before Wilson stumbled into office (nominated by people who wanted to eject him from his home state, and tried their damndest to get him to lose, and thus be out of US politics forever), the right of the strong to build empires on the backs of the weak was simply taken for granted as the order of the day.

Wilson, ignorant, hypocritical, dishonest jerk that he was — the only US President to never keep a single campaign promise (and a good thing, too, since he campaigned openly against women’s suffrage!) — also set forth a brand of foreign-policy thinking that dominates the world today.  When Republicans do it, the Democrats call it “neoconservatism.”  When Democrats do it, Republicans call it “interventionism.”

But they both do it, and only the most retrograde of tyrants and wannabe-totalitarian fellow-travelers now dare to openly oppose Wilson’s general-purpose gut-feeling vision for a better world.

I won’t be voting for Obama: as a libertarian hawk, I’m often forced to hold my nose and vote Republican (given that the libertarians are finally coming out of their hallucinatory, Viet-Cong-like insistence on ideological purity, that’s likely to change), because I strongly disagree with what an administration dominated by 4-8 more years of Madeleine Not-So-Bright would do in the world.  But “inexperience” itself is by no means the slam-dunk that many of my fellow hawkish types believe it to be.

The Nanny State: Blame it on Women

That’s the conclusion of John Lott, who put out an article earlier this year (which, sadly, I missed).

Essentially, he posits that women voters tend to vote for anything that increases personal security, as they have different interests and are fundamentally more risk-averse than men are.

Over the course of women’s lives, their political views on average vary more than those of men. Young single women start out being much more liberal than their male counterparts and are about 50 percent more likely to vote Democratic. As previously noted, these women also support a higher, more progressive income tax as well as more educational and welfare spending.

But for married women this gap is only one-third as large. And married women with children become more conservative still. Women with children who are divorced, however, are suddenly about 75 percent more likely to vote for Democrats than single men. So as divorce rates have increased, due in large part to changing divorce laws, voters have become more liberal.

Maureen Dowd may not simply be a hopeless harridan: it’s possible that she’s actually more representative than some of us would like to think. Even more involved, this is precisely one of the biggest arguments that anti-suffrage women raised when debating with their suffragist peers: that women were likely to vote for their self-interest rather than according to political principle, and at the expense of the rest of the body politic.

If the data which backs these assertions is valid, the political ramifications get real interesting, real fast.

Slackerism versus Purpose

Woodlief has a nice editorial in the WSJ Online:  he moved to the woods with his kids in order to teach them a work ethic.  Pretty cool… I’d give my eyeteeth for 20 acres, myself, even though I know it would involve significantly less laziness on my part.

He also hits on something important, though.  Work is important, but it has to be meaningful work, in order to be anything other than drudgery.  As he points out, it’s not working in general that even slackers object to, but pointless, mousewheel, busywork.

  • The “Greatest Generation” said “tell me what to do.”
  • “Generation X” says “show me how to do it.”
  • “Generation Y” and the “Milennials” say “why should I bother?”

But the other side of that is… guess which of these generations does at least twice as much volunteer work?  I see this at work all the time — if you can convince this latest generation that something is worth doing, they will not only do what’s required on their own, but they’ll figure out what has to be done to make it happen, too.

Thoughts on Political Liberalism

Political liberalism is effectively a creature of industrialism, and writ large, a creature of 20th-century corporate industrialism. Without the corporation’s innovation, that a secular, physically-productive institution can outlast the individuals who comprise it, the “mass movements” of the political 20th century would not be possible. (more…)

The Algebraist

Ouch.

This is one damned fine read, folks.  And unlike Use of Weapons, it’s uncompromising, deadly serious stuff…. without making you want to go take a flensation-bath afterwards.

NATO to Russia: Suck This

NATO has reversed course on Georgian membership, acting immediately.

Labour in Britain, is predictably enough aligning with the rest of the general leftist community in taking Russia’s side.

REAL global warming fears

have nothing to do with methane bubbling out of that Mexico-with-nukes we call Russian permafrost… but rather, William Briggs, suggests, a more horrifying problem would be a 32.78% increase in zombie attacks.

Terrible!  Avoid this terrible future!  Plant moss now!

Our Science Fiction Times

During orientation for my new teaching position last week, I got a 1gig keychain drive as a “party favor,” along with other essentials of the trade such as staplers, rubber bands, etc.

In fact, I think the stapler might have been the more expensive item.

Terra Preta do Indio is ON

I have a college president who has extended me the, metaphorical at least, blank check.

Now I just have to coordinate with the relevant parties, develop the program, coordinate the effort, and exercise the leadership.

Argh.

But, of course, argh.  Nothing with a payoff that high comes for free.

Solipsism at the San Francisco Gate on Georgian War

From the “I can’t imagine a world I’m not the center of” department…

It’s the San Francisco Chronicle/Gate, with with Robert Scheer’s “Georgia War is a Neo-con election ploy.”

First off, let’s get some terminology straight.  As any competent foreign-policy observer will tell you, “neocons” are nothing but Wilsonian Liberals.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Wow.  Now there’s hubris, the historical descendents of the dumbasses in Massachusetts who declared that the cause of King Philip’s War was that men wore wigs, women styled their hair, and people left church early, thus greatly provoking the lord to use those pagans like little Indian-shaped marionettes…

War in Georgia

The murdering bastards are at it again.  After years of putting up with Russians attempting to all but annex a third of their territory — territory which was respected even under the Soviet Empire — the Georgians are trying to get rid of their rebellion, and the Russians have dutifully weighed in and abandoned all pretenses to anything but empire, by sending in the tanks.

This is important: if the world community stands by and gives Russia carte-blanche to openly assert Empire, it WILL continue to do so until it is violently stopped.  Hope the Georgians make the bastards pay now: if not, sooner or later, NATO and Russia are going to dance for real.

Conspicuous Consumption and Teetering Arguments

On conspicuous consumption:

The same is true for whites. Controlling for differences in housing costs, an increase of $10,000 in the mean income for white households—about like going from South Carolina to California—leads to a 13 percent decrease in spending on visible goods. “Take a $100,000-a-year person in Alabama and a $100,000 person in Boston,” says Hurst. “The $100,000 person in Alabama does more visible consumption than the $100,000 person in Massachusetts.” That’s why a diamond-crusted Rolex screams “nouveau riche.” It signals that the owner came from a poor group and has something to prove.

Generally speaking, this makes sense, but their examples give me pause… might it not be that 100k simply goes nearly three times as far in Alabama as it does in Boston?

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