Archive for October, 2010


October 31, 2010


Nothing is more terrifying than being in the hands of an angry God.


October 29, 2010

Oooh I wanna be there in my city…

As an artist and a writer, I live in the hopes that my creations will find a wider audience and be appreciated. I don’t hope this out of some ego or desire for personal attention but because my work is kind of like my children and I want them to be appreciated and loved for themselves.

Here’s the San Francisco audience last night at the World Series, singing Journey’s song “Lights”. Steve Perry, lead singer for Journey was there and is on the jumbotron:

When 43,000 strangers sing along to your song totally without prompting and easily remembering the words… that’s probably the finest tribute a songwriter can have.

Not watching the World Series? You should be. Its our passtime in America, and its a great show.


October 29, 2010

“Join the party!”

Its one of those “two types of people” trusisms: there are introspective people and extroverted people. Humanity isn’t so simple as to be easily divided into two groups like that, and everyone is more one way or another at different times and circumstances in their lives. Yet it is true that most people tend to be more one or the other.

Extroverts are characterized by being gregarious, friendly, dynamic personalities who make a lot of friends, are easily noticed and tend to be liked. They are influential, prefer company and a busy lifestyle, and are often the more visibly successful folks in modern culture.

Introverts are more quiet and inwardly directed. They tend to seem shy and awkward in public, and in fact can be very uncomfortable and even grow ill if they are too bombarded with crowds, noise, and activity. Introverts are more thoughtful and less social, having fewer friends but tending to be significantly more loyal to that smaller group.

Recent studies show that introverts make up as much as 50% of the population of the world, yet in modern culture you’d hardly know that. So much emphasis is put on being socially dynamic and capable and so much shame and dislike is put on being shy, withdrawn, or private that you just don’t see much mention of the introvert, or attention shown to them, unless its negative. Some call these sorts psychologically damaged and seem to think that they need to be “fixed” so they fit in better to consumer, party culture.

Introverts contribute at least as greatly to society as extroverts, but in their private, quiet way so that it isn’t as well known and obvious. Introverts tend to be more thoughtful and the more intelligent a person is, the more likely they are to be introverted: a gifted person with high IQ is 60% likely to be introverted as opposed to extroverted. Introverted people tend not to reach out to others and social gatherings because they find their minds so busy with internal conversations, stories, ideas, and debates that they are less needy of others to fill that need for interaction. It’s noisy inside their heads, even if they are very quiet.

Its important to understand the difference between shyness and introversion. Shy people are socially uncomfortable and dislike attention from others. Introverts are merely inwardly focused, thinking and analyzing rather than talking. Shy people will avoid contact out of discomfort and embarrassment, introverts avoid contact out of disinterest and focusing on thoughts and ideas. Introverts aren’t shy, they’re just busy even if they don’t look it.

Another thing to understand is that neither shy people nor introverts are necessarily arrogant or look down on people. They might seem that way, but they are just not as interested in small talk and usually aren’t any good at it. Introverts are short with people not out of any dislike or annoyance but because they are trying to get to the point. Introverts aren’t very smooth in social situations not out of dislike but out of distraction, and a need to think about whats going on and what they are doing.

Introverts also need time alone. Their minds tend to be perpetually busy and in a whirl of thoughts and ideas, and they can’t deal with both that and lots of interaction and noise very well. Some get headaches or sick, some just get really crabby and upset, others just leave. The time alone and in quiet gives introverts a chance to relax a little and rest. They just don’t deal well with crowds, it isn’t fear or contempt, its nerves and only having so much focus and energy available.

The trick is to realize what someone is (even yourself) and not try to “fix” them by making them one way or another. You’re who you are, and that’s your personality – and perhaps even your physiology. Both extroverts and introverts are needed, each contributing their own abilities and specialty to society. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and we need to make sure we don’t demean one or the other, or worse yet demand everyone be like one or the other.

Personally I’m introverted, so I see things from this perspective, like an outsider to the party. I don’t like big gatherings, cities make me nervous and uncomfortable, parties are annoying and I get ill if things get too busy or I’m around people too long. That’s just part of life. Blogs and online give me a chance to interact quietly and effectively without tiring myself out too much, I can give as much as I have energy and need to without going too far, and its always easy to back away.

The danger for introverts is that we’ll become too inwardly focused and literally self-centered. Introversion is very easy to feed by drawing away from everyone else and focusing on yourself and your ideas. Introverts very much need people to disagree with them, challenge them, and force them to see things another way. Introverts also need to continually challenge themselves with new ideas, input, and thoughts through arts, literature, debate, and science. Without that continual feed, introverts can easily become entrenched and lose their insightful edge, and thus use to anyone else.

If you know an introvert, we need love too – at least as much as extroverts. We just don’t show it the same way.


October 29, 2010

“You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Needs of the many

In one of the stranger citations of any court, the Texas Supreme Court mentioned Spock from Star Trek in a concurrence.

Appropriately weighty principles guide our course. First, we recognize that police power draws from the credo that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Second, while this maxim rings utilitarian and Dickensian (not to mention Vulcan21), it is cabined by something contrarian and Texan: distrust of intrusive government and a belief that police power is justified only by urgency, not expediency.

At Patterico where I saw this, Aaron Worthing noticed something about Star Trek and popular culture:

See if you follow this. In the most recent movie, a young James Kirk steals a car and as he drives, he puts the song “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys on the radio. So the Beastie Boys existed in the Star Trek universe. But the Beastie Boys made another song called “Intergalactic” where they say, “Your knees’ll start shaking and your fingers pop/Like a pinch on the neck by Mr. Spock.” That is a reference obviously to the TV show, Star Trek. Which means necessarily that all the Star Trek TV shows and movies exist, which means that according to their universe every action they have taken—including the changed timeline that debuted in the most recent movie—was predicted by a string television shows and a series of movies that appeared in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Also: where’s this thousand-foot chasm in Iowa?

David Thompson enjoys finding particularly loony academics, because what they say ends up on the lips of more mainstream people a few years later, or presumed by the left without question. Recently he discovered a crank who thinks that women lying about who the father of their child is was empowering and a good thing. Her name is Melanie McDonagh and she thinks:

For the entire course of human history, men have nursed profound, troubling doubts about the fundamental question of whether or not they were fathers to their own children; women, by contrast, usually enjoyed a reasonable level of certainty about the matter. Now, a cotton-wool swab with a bit of saliva, plus a small fee, less than £200, can settle the matter. At a stroke, the one thing that women had going for them has been taken away, the one respect in which they had the last laugh over their husbands and lovers.

She goes on to decry DNA tests as anti-feminist oppression by a phallocracy, and that the ability to choose the father of a child instead of being forced by genetics to take the real one is a cruel tyranny by men. I think she’s one of the most horrible women to walk the earth.

Just about everyone has a phone with a camera in it these days. And as Glenn Reynolds wants to remind us all at Instapundit: take them with you when you go voting. If you see evidence of intimidation, fraud, or malfeasance at your polling place, document it. Take pictures, video and text visibly and clearly so they know what you’re doing. Just don’t intimidate other voters, violate voting privacy, or cause problems while you do it. Oh, and there’s an app for voter fraud documentation too.

Ever since Climaquiddick blew the lid off alarmist faux science, Al Gore has been a lot more subdued. He’s still active, Gore’s just not getting as much fawning media attention. Lately he’s been to Sweden where they had a special meeting on climate change. Guests were asked to take public transportation, but Gore rode a rental car from the airport. He left it idling while he gave a speech on how everyone else should change their lifestyles, in violation of a Swedish law prohibiting cars idling for more than sixty seconds, then left after his speech.

But that’s not all Gore did for the environment. Marc Mareno goes on at Climate Depot:

After the ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo, it is customary that the laureate is invited to the Swedish capital Stockholm, for a cordial visit. The train ride, supposedly the environmental choice according to Mr. Gore, is approximately four hours. However, he opted for the cosier ride with one of the Swedish government aircrafts. As these can, according to the rules, only be used when a cabinet member is on board – and as the Swedish government after a short ceremonial visit – offered to fly him to Frankfurt (Germany) for his flight to the US, you can calculate both the manpower and the fuel used for this grand tour against man’s destruction of the planet.

Environmental consciousness is for we, not he.

Not content to be merely a hypocrite, Gore then demonstrated his allegiance to China (likely due to the generous campaign donations he and President Clinton got in the 90s). James Fallows writes at The Atlantic:

Fifteen past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have issued a letter to Chinese president Hu Jintao, asking that the newest winner, Liu Xiaobo, be released from his 11-year prison sentence, and that his wife, Liu Xia, be freed from de-facto house arrest. Announcement of the appeal, from the Freedom Now organization, here; PDF of the letter here.

Notably missing from the list of signatories, Al Gore. How they expect a letter to change the mind of a tyrannical communist government is beyond me, but Gore didn’t even want to make that simple gesture. Al Gore is revered by the left, but he’s just a reprehensible person.

Candy that kills, that’s the urban legend around Halloween. Razor blades in apples, poisoned Skittles©, oh the humanity. Except as Leonore Seknazy writes at the Wall Street Journal, there’s never been a single recorded case of poison candy killing one child. She appeals to a simpler day when kids were freer and parents less insanely paranoid, when they trusted neighbors on Halloween just as much as any other day. Certainly we’ve swung too far on the pendulum toward radical distrust.

Muhammad, Mohammed, Muammad, take your pick. They all are variations of the same name, the name of the man who created Islam and is considered its greatest prophet. Its also the name which now has become the most popular name for boys in England and Wales, in all its variations. The most popular female name? Olivia.

Although leftists like to claim the TARP bailout brought a 2.8% return, the fact is we don’t have all the data and not all the money has been spent yet. Recently the Inspector General of the Treasury Department noted that the Obama administration failed to report at least $40,000,000 of losses. Steve Gilbert at Sweetness & Light quotes the New York Times:

“In our view, this is a significant failure in their transparency,” said Neil M. Barofsky, the inspector general, in an interview on Monday.

In early October, the Treasury issued a report predicting that the taxpayers would ultimately lose just $5 billion on their investment in A.I.G., a remarkable outcome, since the insurance company was extended $182 billion in taxpayer money in the early months of its rescue. The prediction of a modest loss, widely reported as A.I.G., the Federal Reserve and the Treasury rushed to complete an exit plan, contrasted with an earlier prediction by the Treasury that the taxpayers would lose $45 billion.

Small wonder Obama seems to hate these Insepectors General, they keep raining on his carefully crafted narratives and cronyism.

Across most of America, the infrastructure such as roads, power grid, sewers, water lines, and so on aren’t being very carefully maintained. Why? Because they’re expensive and not very impressive. Keeping roads in good shape isn’t as visible and impressive as the new Robert C Byrd memorial interchange or the Jack Murtha memorial airport. Take Washington, where 40% of the roads in King County alone are in need of repair. This was one area I thought the “stimulus” package wasn’t such a horrible idea – just not for stimulating the economy. Of course a lot of the money went to climate change research and dog parks, but some actually is going into roads. The problem is the focus for the federal government is on bike paths and jogging trails, not roads. They want crappy roads because they don’t want people driving.

Yet another White House panel is examining how to find money to pay for government schemes. The panel is discussing various ways to deal with the gargantuan deficit the Democrats have created. Not on the table: reversing the idiotic overspending or cutting government programs. On the table: deleting tax breaks like mortgage deductions, child care tax credit, and military cuts. Because if your choice is between dialing back the radical leftist Obama/Reid/Pelosi agenda and cutting constitutional spending and raising taxes, well you know where Obama is going to look.

Idaho bureaucrats have all the heart and common sense of a shard of flint. Like previous Oregon drones who tried to shut down a kid’s lemonade stand, this time the Idaho guys want to shut down a pumpkin stand run by a couple of kids. Jonathon Seidl writes at The Blaze:

The Lewiston Tribune reports the Idaho State Tax Commission has called for the closure of a family’s pumpkin stand in Lewiston, a mill city along the Snake and Clearwater rivers.

Dan and Kami Charais told the newspaper that a Tax Commission employee informed them the stand was in violation of laws and had to shut its doors.

The couple says their 4- and 6-year-old children had been carving out a niche for themselves in the local jack-o-lantern market — to raise money for school sports, they say.

Well yes, obviously you cannot let anyone do without paying their taxes, especially children barely old enough to attend school. Yes, the family probably set this up and benefits from it but really… how could you be so dense a bureaucrat as to not see how bad this is going to make you look?

President Obama continues his effort to reach out, to heal, and to bring bipartisan unity in America. It was with Hispanics he recently said these words:

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

Why, yes, Republicans are the enemies of Hispanics, even the Hispanic ones! President Obama then compared illegal immigrants flooding the US and breaking federal law to the black struggles for civil rights in the 1960s. Yes, you read that right, the top law enforcement official in the nation just said enforcing the law is a brutal violation of civil rights.

Meanwhile, banks and other institutions which received the lion’s share of TARP funds are heavily donating to politicians. Why? Because they want to get more of the same. I’d like to beleive that a lot of these Tea Party movement guys are going to say “thanks but you don’t own me” but we’ll see in the coming months. The Contract With America congress started out strong too, and ended up voting in the Medicare Pharmacy bill and TARP.

The US Treasury has secrets it wants to keep, even if people ask for information through the Freedom of Information Act. To this end, its specifically hiring people to stop anyone from learning those secrets. J P Freire writes at the Washington Examiner:

...the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability contracted with a small consulting firm that has given nearly $25,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005 (and no money to Republicans) to hire “Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Analysts to support the Disclosure Services, Privacy and Treasury Records.” The firm is currently advertising a job opening for a FOIA analyst with experience in the “Use of FOIA/PA exemptions to withhold information from release to the public”

They’ve changed the job description slightly since that was written, but as Freire points out, there’s still another job with the same sort of language in its description. Transparency, catch the fever.

President Obama has several times in speeches used a line that goes something like this:

“But in the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, I also believe that government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves.”

What he’s trying to do here is make it seem like recent Republicans are radical freaks for wanting small government, and fight a straw man who supposedly thinks government is totally evil and worthless without exception. The problem is, President Lincoln’s actual words are not what he thinks. Travis Griffin at Hands Off Texas writes:

I assume he was paraphrasing this actual quote from President Lincoln, but unfortunately he left out the most important part:

“The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.”

Obama doesn’t get it. And he clearly doesn’t get Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln wasn’t for government doing things for people, he was for government doing things that people couldn’t or shouldn’t do for themselves.

For the record, I think it is very inappropriate and disrespectful to call the president “dude” even if you’re the leftist court jester. But that’s where we’ve gotten as a culture.

Not paying your taxes appears to be just part of Democratic Party culture. From the Secretary of Treasury down through the ranks, they just don’t seem to want to pay their taxes. As Glenn Reynolds quips: They don’t pay taxes. They spend taxes. Because its about what they do with your money, not their own.

And that’s the Word Around the Net, October 29, 2010.

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