Archive for March, 2012

BEING DUMB

March 30, 2012

“I’m still more laid back than I used to be though, and have more patience with people.”
Full Retard

I’m fairly smart, as are my friends and family. I’ve grown up around people I had to struggle to keep up with mentally and its sharpened my wits considerably over the years. Its just been my life and I’m used to it.

It can be a curse sometimes, as it makes some entertainment not nearly as entertaining for me as it probably ought to be. I tend to mentally (if not verbally) demolish shows and movies I watch, and I’ll end up tossing a lot of (especially fantasy) fiction aside after a few chapters, unable to put up with the plots and mistakes. I think I annoy people around me with my commentary watching television shows, so I try to keep quiet. An otherwise enjoyable film can be ruined for my by putting too many “what the hell?” moments in it (events that defy logic and plausibility).

The story Flowers for Algernon was devastating for me the first time I read it, and it still is pretty brutal to think of. If you’re unfamiliar, its the story of a mentally retarded man who is given an experimental drug which makes him smarter and smarter until he’s a genius and falls in love with his doctor (who loves him)… then it starts to wear off and he gets dumber and dumber. Its just heartbreaking to consider.

I honestly fear a future when my mind slows and dulls, where I start calcifying in my opinions and thoughts. I fear getting dumber and slower in short. I don’t have a lot to offer as a human being other than my mind, and losing that would be difficult to face.

There’s a story on the site Caveman Circus where a man tells what it was like to be a reverse Algernon due to an unusual vascular condition:

Even though I knew I had a worrying illness, I was happy as a pig in mud. I no longer had the arrogance of being frustrated with slow people, I abandoned many projects which reduced a lot of stress, I could enjoy films without knowing what would happen (my nickname before this used to be ‘comic book guy’ if you get the reference), and I became amazingly laid back and happy go lucky. I got on with people much better. I developed much more respect for one of my friends in particular who I always considered slow – it turned out he is much deeper than I thought, I just never had the patience to notice before. You could say I had more time to look around. The world just made more sense. The only negative, apart from struggling to perform at work, and having to write everything down, was that I no longer found sci-fi interesting – it just didn’t seem important. (I’m not joking, although it sounds like a cliché.)

Thankfully the condition was reversible and he’s getting back to normal, but he learned some lessons about patience, social interaction, and dealing with stress which is good. The truth is, being less intelligent isn’t a horrendous evil or wrong. It can be a benefit, where you just don’t worry about things that upset others.

It would be a blessing to be able to watch, say, X-Men First Class without pointing out the glaring plot holes and inconsistencies (such as Shaw telling his people “we don’t hurt our kind” then trying to murder the only black mutant in the cast). It would be nice to be able to not see contradictions and quandaries that bother me now.

And for those of us somewhat smarter, the most important thing to remember is humility: being a little smarter doesn’t make you any better. You’re no more a human being than the fellow who isn’t as bright. He may be a far better person. And being dumb doesn’t make you less a human, it just makes you human. We all have strengths and weaknesses and we should work together whatever they may be.

I tend to be pretty patient with people who are a bit less mentally acute, because most of the time they are that way not out of innate stupidity but just lack of learning to think carefully. You can be a lot “smarter” by simply exercising your brain, just like you can be stronger by exercising your body. Most don’t. Most don’t have the time or inclination, and its not easy – any more than losing weight or building muscle.

The folks I have no patience with are people who are willfully, deliberately stupid or irrational. People who will cling to something they know is wrong simply because they prefer it, or argue nonsense and illogic. That just drives me nuts. And I really should be more calm with that kind of thing. After all I’m not completely rational either, and I cling to stupid stuff out of a desire for it to be true, I’m sure.

And really does it matter that much? Not in the end. Charity and politeness really are virtues to be embraced. And it doesn’t hurt me to be more pleasant and forgiving, even with people that frustrate me so.

WE TOLD YOU SO

March 30, 2012

“You can read the rest of her reasoning, but, honestly, why bother?”
Ditzy

I know this is all over the place, and I’m just piling on but… it has to be said.

Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter, was a big Obama booster, she loved the guy and attacked her fellow republicans for not supporting him. She tried really hard for years to defend him but has finally reached a point she can’t any longer. Noonan tries to spin this as a rising tide, something she’s been swept along by because things have changed:

Something’s happening to President Obama’s relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies. They are now inclined not to like him. His supporters would say, “Nothing new there,” but actually I think there is. I’m referring to the broad, stable, nonradical, non-birther right. Among them the level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.

What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who’s not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it’s his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it’s a big fault.

I guess I understand that reversing yourself publicly and in a humiliating manner sort of compels you to find some trigger, some tangible thing that you claim others have joined you in with rising accord but… people aren’t any more opposed to Obama now than they have been for years on the right.

And toots, he hasn’t suddenly become more disingenuous and untrustworthy. He’s always been like that. You just lost your infatuation and are starting to notice that fact, perhaps. But really, we told you so, over and over. And you just didn’t want to listen.

We were rubes, racists, bigots, radicals, mean spirited, bitter clingers who wouldn’t face the hope and change for the future. We were entrenched and behind the times, according to folks like you. Well guess what: we were way ahead of the curve on you and most other Obama voters. You just didn’t want to see, or hear. You were blinded by the smooth speeches and the idea of voting for a black guy and wanting it all to be true. You were swept along by the media and entertainment community, the cocktail parties you go to, and the mood of your co workers.

Maybe next time you can step back and show a little discernment.

I know its wrong to mock someone for wising up. I know its often counterproductive because it can make people dig in. I know its mean to say “I told you so” but… seriously? Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter couldn’t work this out? Some people deserve a smack upside the head.

WORD AROUND THE NET

March 30, 2012

“The problem for the left is that they do not have a lot of interaction with conservatives, whose intellects are often disparaged, ideas are openly mocked, and intentions regularly questioned.”
1 new message from teacher

Harry Potter books are available in E-book form, on Amazon.com. Unlike many publishers, they seem to have a better grip on the pricing model, and each book can be downloaded for $7.99 which is still a bit high, but more more realistic than the usual 12-20 many publishers expect. J.L. Rowling has made them hundreds of millions of dollars, I guess they figure that will continue in ebook.

Rent-a-mob is becoming more and more common in the news these days, and perhaps its always been true, but didn’t get reported in the past. This time the SEIU had to hire protesters to stand outside the Supreme Court building and protest judges who seem likely to find the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act unconstitutional.

Meanwhile leftist commentators seem astounded to find that the bill might be unconstitutional.

“I’m pretty surprised to learn that the mandate might be unconstitutional.”
-Chris Matthews

“I can’t believe this might be overturned. How can this law not be constitutional?”
-Gail Collins, NYT columnist

They were so certain it was perfectly fine and so full of mockery directed at anyone who said so they didn’t even bother to stop and listen to the arguments, as John Podhoretz explains. Karl in the Green Room runs down example after example of leftists absolutely certain the bill was so obviously constitutional and the court would have no problem with it. After a few days of arguments, they’re stunned by how weak their case was and how easily its being ripped apart by the judges, sometimes even the more left-leaning ones.

Its so bad for the Obama team that Justice Kagan (who wrote the administration’s defense of the case yet somehow is not ethically required to sit this one out over conflict of interest) and Justice Breyer have been coaching and trying to assist the solicitor, sometimes with very unexpected results.

Antisemitism in France continues, as it does in most of Europe. A combination of old grudges and notions temporarily held back after WW2 and Muslim immigrants flooding the continent is bringing more and more of this to light. Walter Russel Mead in Via Meadia lists several, such as Five bullet-holes were found in a window of the Yitzhak-Rabin music school in Sarcelles, Paris, apparently aimed at a poster advertising a rally outside a synagogue.

Wesley A. Phillips taught middle school in Washington State and he texted several 12 year old girls who were his students with sexual messages. He’s been busted and is trying to plead the charges down to a misdemeanor. But its priests you have to worry about, right?

Egypt continues down the path of tyranny and radical Islam. Muslim radicals are in control of the new legislature and are writing the constitution to remove liberties once held even under the dictator Mubarak. Its getting so bad there that more freedom-loving legislators are just quitting for lack of any input (and likely fear of retaliation). Just because you have voting and democracy doesn’t mean you have freedom. An estimated two million people have fled the hardline Muslim governments taking over the middle east and north Africa.

Drugshortages continue. When you put price controls and heavily regulate the production of something, you tend to get less of it, of poorer quality. These businesses are in their chosen field to make a profit, and research takes years of very costly work; they have to make that money back or shut down.

Rush Limbaugh hasn’t suffered from the boycott attempts. Despite the money, time, and effort spent by Media Matters and George Soros, his ratings are up, the advertisers are still there, and even some who left are coming back – and some have been refused return. It was obvious from the beginning this was never about Sandra Fluke or the “slut” comments, and turning down an audience of 20+ million a day is not good business. Carbonite is running ads on television now, trying to make up the ground they lost by dumping Limbaugh.

Even as the Democrats block any attempt to pass a budget for the third straight year, the second Obama budget submitted in a row has been skunked with nobody voting for it in the House, the Ryan budget has passed in the House of Representatives. A few facts to help straighten up critics:

  • Both Obama’s budget and the Ryan budget cap Medicare growth to GDP+.5%
  • The Ryan budget does not affect anyone over the age of 55, unlike “Obamacare” which imposes price controls on current seniors.
  • Future seniors will be able to choose among multiple plans, including the traditional Medicare model
  • Wealthier and healthier seniors will receive lower subsidies.
  • Less fortunate and sicker seniors will receive much more generous premium support.
  • Ryan’s reforms save Medicare from collapse, which is expected to occur in 2024 at the moment. Treasury Secretary Geithner admitted last month that Obama’s budget does nothing to deal with this problem.
Soldiers in Afghanistan cannot put a cross on the tent used for worship services out of respect for the beliefs of locals and to avoid offending them. But a gay pride rainbow flag was raised over a US Military base without event or condemnation. I guess the difference is they figure Afghanis won’t know what that flag means other than “I have no taste” and “this doesn’t look remotely military.” I’m pretty sure its not allowed by military code to fly any non-regulation flag like that, but there’s no word anything was done about it.

Recently, two students were shot to death by a robber, despite begging for their lives. This crime involve a black and white racial groups, but has not been given much media attention. The problem? Unlike Trayvon Miller, the victims were white British tourists, and the killer is a black kid. President Obama didn’t feel any need to comment on this event despite its international character, and no groups rose up screaming about racist crime.

Over time, I’ve been less and less impressed with ESPN as a channel. It used to be focused on hard sports and games, with good analysis, coverage, and features. As they’ve gotten more wealthy and bigger, ESPN has become more focused on the spectacle and the excitement than the sports. So they fixate on home runs in baseball instead of good fundamental play and the intricacies of defense and base running. They gave idiot spaz Jim Rome a show of his own to mangle the language and act like a jerk. I just don’t care for it much these days. So Fox News is supposedly going to start a sports channel to rival ESPN (based on their local Fox Sports channels), sensing a market. The problem? Given their treatment of news, I doubt they’ll be any more serious. If you want good baseball coverage, watch the MLB channel.

Not long ago I wrote a pair of pieces on what I expected a second Obama administration to be like vs what a Republican one would be like, and why I figured the GOP one would be (slightly) preferable. In the Obama Wins piece, I noted that he’d be completely unrestrained by the need to be reelected and free to do anything he wanted without fear of repercussion knowing no one would lift a finger to stop him. In case you thought I was being hysterical, a couple things have come out this week to support that notion. The first is from congress, proposing a 40% tax increase, including on the middle class. With President Obama in office, that would be signed without any delay. Without him, it would almost certainly be vetoed. Then there’s the Russian comments. President Obama basically told Dmitri Medvedev that he’ll give up missile defense – expecting nothing in return from Russia – if reelected, but he has to pretend otherwise to get there. Like Secretary of State Clinton said, don’t believe a thing Obama says while campaigning – unless he doesn’t know the mic is on.

Candidate Obama promised he’d shut down coal plants and skyrocket energy prices, and that’s what we’re getting. He hasn’t been so great on most of his promises like bringing hope, bipartisanship, shutting down Guantanamo Bay, and ending the strife, but he’s been all over this one. Recently the EPA’s emissions policies on Carbon Dioxide killed plans to build new power plants. Because in the last 12 years we’ve added 11 million people to the US but we somehow don’t need more power.

According to NASA, the Bering Sea is “teeming with ice.” This in direct contradiction to repeated predictions that the area would be completely ice-free by now, by men such as Al Gore and James Hanson (who works at NASA). But any day now, that wolf will… I’m sorry, melt will be real.

Blacks are preyed on by racists, but by the overwhelming majority, they’re preyed on by other blacks and not just due to concentration of racial groups in cities. And its not just whites or hispanic neighborhood watch captains who see a hoodie-wearing black guy with sagging pants as a potential problem:

Allow me to expose a very open secret. The one of the reasons why most Blacks like you and me have made the decision to move away from the city and to the suburbs (Where the White people are) is for the safety of our family. Although we love our people very much, we also know that in some environments, we can be our worse enemy. White women aren’t the only ones that fear our Black men. Black women will walk just as fast as any White women if they find themselves in a parking lot at night with an unknown Black male.

As a strong Black male who can handle myself, I must admit that I also will take a double look if I deem the person ‘suspicious’. And because I live in a place with a large Black population, that person is oftentimes Black. And guess what? I am not the only Black male that unfortunately has to think this way.

These guys are sometimes just wearing the costume to show they’re “street” and sometimes a genuine threat, but nobody can tell by just looking. Chris Rock never does his bit on Niggas any more but its just as true today as it was when he did it. And like I said, before, there are white trash that make us all nervous, too, even though they may be perfectly decent people. Geraldo Rivera wasn’t completely wrong: don’t dress like trouble if you don’t want to be perceived as trouble.

Just in case you thought people are being paranoid or stupid when they don’t like reporters and don’t want to be interviewed by them, consider this story of Ossie Sheddy, president of the board of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association in Poynter:

“I don’t give quotes for fear of being misquoted,” he said. When pressed by The Telegram about why the president of the association wouldn’t say if it plans to investigate — and whether his refusal to be interviewed suggests a lack of confidence in newspaper reporting — Sheddy, the editor and publisher of the Drumheller Mail, said, “I’m not saying anything more because of what I had just told you. I can’t say anything about newspaper reporting or confidence in it. I can only say I have confidence in my newspaper reporting, not about anybody else’s.”

Yeah, most of us feel that way, too buddy. When the head of a business group’s association has a problem with how they do their job, maybe its time for some changes.

Pesticides are poison, they are designed to kill pests such as bugs that prey on crops. They are a big part of why we’re able to produce so much food with so little land these days, but there’s always the fear that these poisons will get into our food and water and kill us too. However, the produce we get in stores is safe, according to a new study:

Now, however, two courageous researchers at the University of California/Davis say they’ve also tested the fruits and vegetables—and found the pesticide residues on these produce items are essentially a million times below the “No Effect” levels found in the animal toxicity tests. That’s how much safety factor is built into the government’s reference doses and Acceptable Daily Intake recommendations.

If you want to look at the complete study you can look up C. Winter and J. Katz, “Dietary Exposure to Pesticide Residues from Commodities Alleged to Contain the Highest Contamination Levels” in the Journal of Toxicology, vol. 2011, Article ID 589674.

Although any country that’s predominantly Christian these days has no problem with other faiths building their worship centers, Islam is a bit less flexible. The top Saudi cleric issued a Fatwa recently, ordering all Christian churches destroyed a no new ones built. Until this kind of thing ends and is reversed, Islam will always be the enemy of civilization.

Michael “piltdown” Mann’s hockey stick graph is a discredited piece of junk, but its adherents cling to it like Roseanne Barr to a Ho-Ho©. When its pointed out that it deliberately leaves out previous warming periods, they always have claimed that the warming was localized in Europe. Well previous tree ring studies as far away as New Zealand (pdf file) have demonstrated the Medieval Warm Period was global, but another recent study showed it was impacting Antarctica. This doesn’t prove humans are not causing any recent warming, it just shows that Michael Mann is a disreputable hack.

You know there’s a serious problem for print magazine sales when Variety Magazine goes on sale. Variety is probably the most read magazine on earth, and yet they’re still struggling to stay in print because most people are reading it online these days.

The Metropolitan Weather Service for England has for a long time been troubled by its hilariously failed weather predictions and promotion of global warming alarmism, but they really went above and beyond the call recently with a statement about warming in the southern hemisphere. They boldly stated that temperature in that part of earth had warmed, calculating it within .001 degrees, using one weather station.

Weather StationsAnd that’s the Word Around the Net for March 30, 2012.

That’s right, there’s one active weather station in the southern hemisphere. That’s why the “global” warming cries are difficult to support. There’s just not enough data for gigantic portions of the earth.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

March 30, 2012

Any lap will do

Just in case you thought your cat sat in your lap because it loves you…

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