Search Box

Friday, November 30, 2012

Middle age wasted on the middle-aged

You occasionally hear the saying, youth is wasted on the young.

I know my youth was wasted. Not in the sense that I had a "misspent youth" hanging around pool parlors, getting drunk, partying, and otherwise generally being a wastrel.

It was wasted in the sense that I didn't do enough of that sort of thing. If I could live my life over again, I'd forget about competitive swimming, or at least be less neurotic about it. Or maybe instead I'd have wrestled, which I probably would have been better at.

But mostly I'd just chase girls more. I wouldn't worry about making a fool of myself, or looking bad, or even being offensive. I'd just be much more uninhibited about the whole thing.

Looking back, I realize I was so shy I didn't even realize I was shy.

If I could do it again, I'd act more like the people I generally looked down on. You know, the particularly un-shy ones.

I wouldn't worry about what people thought of me -- what a waste of time that was. And I'd tell people what I thought of them -- both good and bad.

But all this makes me wonder: do old people feel that middle age is wasted on the middle-aged?

I have a feeling I'll look back, think of the ruts I was in (am in), and think I wasted my middle age as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Why is it that the biggest man-haters are always women who are at least slightly masculine themselves? And why is it always the man-haters who accuse men of being women-haters? Might it possibly be projection?

Just an observation.

"The Myth of American Meritocracy"

An extremely interesting article by Ron Unz at The American Conservative, with the subtitle, "How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?"

Unz, who is Jewish, makes the case that Jews are way overrepresented at Ivy League universities relative to their academic performance in high school, while Asian-Americans and Anglos are underrepresented.

Unz himself got a BS in physics from Harvard. He then went to Stanford, but dropped out before getting his doctorate in theoretical physics. While at Stanford, he wrote software for mortgage securities, and eventually founded a company called Wall Street Analytics, which was eventually sold to Moody's in 2006.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Governor of California in 1994, getting 34.3% of the Republican vote to Pete Wilson's 61.4%. In 2007 he was named the publisher of The American Conservative. He is also a large financial contributor to Wikipedia.

Unz claims to have an IQ of 214. I can't ascertain that, but his resume is certainly that of a brainiac. And if you read the article linked above, you'll see his intelligence shining through on every page.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How exactly is Obama "hip"?

One of the things you constantly hear about Obama is that he is "hip." I've never been able to figure out exactly what that means.

Is it because he likes hip hop music? Because he can dance (as he showed on the Ellen Degeneres show)? Is it because he's young? Because he's black? Because he's a leftist? Is it because he's taken cocaine? Or because he likes basketball rather than, say, golf? (Oh, wait a sec, he likes golf a lot too.)

"Hip" is one of those hazily defined terms which everyone thinks he has a sense of. But the definition of that quality also seems to vary with each person.

In order to clear up the confusion I decided to look up what Wikipedia had to say on the matter:

Hipster refers to a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers that appeared in the 1990s. The subculture is associated with independent music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility, liberal or independent political views, alternative spirituality or atheism/agnosticism, and alternative lifestyles. Interests in media include independent film, magazines such as Clash, and websites like Pitchfork Media.

Well, for starters, Obama, a product of the Chicago political machine, is definitely urban. And until he was elected U.S. Senator -- and his wife got that big raise, and he wrote those best-selling books -- he was definitely middle class. 

His musical tastes when young ran to Grammy Award-winning artists from ten years before, which doesn't exactly sound "hip." On the other hand, it does connote a certain retro sensibility which is often associated with hipsters. And Obama has hosted Jay-Z and Beyonce and Herbie Hancock at the White House. So he passes on that score.

As far as his fashion sensibility, these days we mostly see him in a Presidential suit and tie. But when he was young and freer to just be himself, he did show "non-mainstream" taste in clothing, at least in hats:

As far as "liberal or independent political views," Obama, as a friend of Hugo and Fidel, gets an A+. 

When it comes to "alternative spirituality or atheism/ agnosticism," Obama also seems to qualify. As a youngster in Indonesia, he was listed on his school forms as a Muslim. While in Chicago, he attended the Trinity United Church, where the Reverend Jeremiah Wright preached black nationalism. These would both qualify as "alternative" to mainstream American religions. Since he has been in the White House, Obama has not attended regular services anywhere, which hints at a certain atheism/agnosticism as well. Another A+. 

When it comes to alternative lifestyles, well, being actively gay undoubtedly qualifies.

I have no idea what Obama's taste in movies, magazines, and websites runs to. But he's pretty much gotten straight A's on his Wikipedia-definition-report-card, so we must conclude that he is indeed hip. 

On the other hand, Wikipedia is obviously a mainstream website, so doesn't that fact -- by their own definition -- preclude them from being "hip?" And if you're not "hip" yourself, doesn't that at a certain level disqualify you from being qualified to define the term?

But let's ignore that for the moment. Wikipedia does mention that the term "hip" originated during the Jazz Age to connote aficionados of that scene. The term was later co-opted by beatniks during the 1950's. Later, in the 60's, the term morphed into "hippie."

The whole movement gives off the distinct air that white people who try to act black give off: the air of people trying desperately hard to be cool. You would think that as a black man, Obama would be exempt from that accusation. But even there, he sports unexpected credentials. Although he himself is half black, there was very little that was genuinely black in his upbringing. After his father deserted the family when Obama was two, Obama was brought up in Kansas, Hawaii, and Indonesia, with limited contact with black people. So when he got to college, and especially when he arrived in Chicago to organize the place, he had to make a conscious effort to become truly black.

Reading between the lines in the Wikipedia article, it seems that the entire history of hipness consists of various youth groups "inventing" a new culture in an attempt to appear different and modern and "with it" and, basically, better than everybody else. By doing this, of course, they prove only that they are the same as everyone else.

So, yes, Obama is definitely hip.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


 There seems to be a fair amount of talk in the media that after the "mandate" President Obama received with this election, the Republicans in the House ought to be willing to compromise more.

After the 2010 election, when the Republicans received their "mandate," was Obama more willing to compromise with them?

Of course not.

So why should the Republicans show more give now?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The most interesting things

The most interesting things are always those which are unexpected, or even taboo. Wow, Bill Clinton is a sociopath. Wow, Barack Obama is a homosexual. Wow, sasquatch might actually exist.

A lot of people are very uncomfortable going outside mainstream thought: they are afraid that others will think them foolish, and laugh at them. For some reason, I don't have that fear. (Maybe I should, but I don't.) So I don't mind stating my opinions like those cited in the first paragraph.

I've certainly been scoffed at, and I'm sure an even higher number scoff at me behind my back. But ever since I was told my IQ was high when I was a kid, it's just never occurred to me to worry about my intelligence. I may not be as smart as I think I am, and there are certainly plenty of people who are smarter, but I know I'm smarter than most. So I don't worry about others thinking I'm dumb. Or even crazy.

It's not that I don't have insecurities. I worry that I'm weak, or soft. (Probably because I am.) So I try to act macho. If anything, that sort of behavior probably makes me appear even weaker, and softer.

A lot of people are that way about their intelligence: they never express an original opinion for fear that people might laugh at them, or think them off in some way. They cleave to the middle of every road in an almost desperate attempt to seem "balanced" and avoid any sort of public censure.

They don't realize that this just betrays a second rate intelligence -- at best.

This is exactly what the enforcers of political correctness count on: peoples' intellectual timidity. They know that with enough intimidation, people won't stray to conclusions the facts lead them to, but rather will stay within the boundaries of what's deemed respectable to think.

When you have a population which is too insecure to believe the evidence of their own eyes and come to their own conclusions, and which is too intimidated to speak their minds, then you have a politically correct, easily manipulable society. It's what our media masters want -- and it is, for the most part, what they've gotten.

So go ahead and be as timid in your opinions as you like. You'll actually be making your life much less interesting by limiting your thinking to what's generally considered "acceptable."

And be aware that acting like a sheep doesn't make you look intelligent.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Today is the 49th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. This date often results in some mention of the event, but I didn't see anything in the media today.

Next year, however, will be the 50th anniversary, so it will be sure to get some special attention, as the 10th and 20th anniversaries did.

The problem is, as time goes on, there are fewer and fewer people who remember Camelot well enough to be nostalgic about it. Next year it will basically only be the over 60 crowd for whom it has any meaning.

Guarding against terrorists

It's said that the roundup and internment of Japanese-Americans who lived on the West Coast during WWII was one of the great injustices of the last century. There wasn't a single instance of one of them cooperating with Japan. And there were many instances of Japanese-Americans who lived in Hawaii (but anomalously, were not rounded up) fighting heroically for the US in Europe during that war.

So, yes, it was a great injustice.

In 1978, while living in California, I knew a Japanese-American woman whose parents had been interned at Tule Lake and had been forced to sell their large farm in what later became Brentwood for pennies on the dollar. (Had they been able to hang on to it, that family would obviously have ended up extraordinarily wealthy.)

But, speaking as a half-Japanese, I understand the reasoning behind rounding up the Nisei. You never have to look for for examples of people sticking up for their own ethnic group. It is, after all, what evolution has programmed us to do. And had the authorities merely watched the Nisei more closely, rather than rounding them up, they would have been justified.

Turn the clock forward 67 years. We have now been at war with various Muslims in the Middle East and Afghanistan for over a decade. And every single domestic terrorist incident that has either taken place or been foiled in that time -- including the plot for which four men were arrested a few days ago -- has been committed by a Muslim.

No one is suggesting that all Muslims be rounded up. But it would be incredibly stupid not to be a little more suspicious of Muslims than others, and not to infiltrate mosques which are known to be hotbeds of Islamic radicalism.

But the pendulum has swung the other way. Any excess attention paid to Muslims is regarded by some as insulting and discriminatory.

It's why Major Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter, was allowed to get that far without the authorities clamping down on him despite the evidence of emails between him and Anwar al-Awlaki, the terrorist leader in Yemen. After all, to have been suspicious of him would shown "prejudice" against his Muslim faith.

There are fourteen Ft. Hood families who bitterly regret the Army's reticence. But they don't have a voice on the New York Times editorial pages.

There have been plenty of times that I've flown in the past and the security people have waved me by while paying more attention to some little old white lady from Eau Claire or some place like that. Take a look at that little photo on the right: I have a swarthy, vaguely ethnic look to me. I could easily be a terrorist. (In fact, while flying, I was more terror-ized than terror-ist, but I do look the part.) I always wanted to scream out: search me, not her, you idiots! I certainly would have felt much safer had they looked more suspiciously at me than at the little old white ladies.

But political correctness always seemed to prevail.

And political correctness, as always, connotes a certain willful blindness.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The "bag man"

It looks as if the NYPD has caught the latest serial killer operating in the city, Salvatore Perrone --

-- yet another sociopath with those weirdly thin lips. (Can't explain it, can't think why it would be so, but I keep seeing it.)

Most likely outcome on fiscal cliff

The Republicans will agree to a tax rate rise for those making above $500,000 a year, a restriction on some loopholes, and raising the capital gains rates for those making above a million a year. This will allow them to say that they haven't hurt the mom and pop businesses and that they are not just for the extremely wealthy.

The Democrats will agree to cut back on some entitlements (whether they make an end run around these is another matter). This will allow them to appear as if they have won on the tax front and are serious about cutting the deficit as well.

Both sides get to save face, and the national debt will continue to increase.

That's why they call it politics.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dealing with rejection

How well someone takes rejection speaks volumes about who they are as a person.

There are few more impressive than the guy who, upon being rebuffed, can say that he still likes the girl, perhaps turns his rejection into a joke, and acts amused by the whole thing.

On the other hand, there's nothing less impressive than one who, upon being turned down by a girl, accuses her of being a dyke. (I seemed to know a lot of guys like this in college.)

Similarly, a woman who finds out that a guy is not interested in her sexually and takes it in stride is admirable.

But one who becomes filled with rage and then tells her friends that she thinks the guy must be gay, or suggests that he get therapy for sexual ambivalence, or somesuch, is one with a very fragile ego -- and such egos tend to come with a tenuous grip on reality. (I've known a few of these, too.)

Mr. Sensitive

One of the most ridiculous articles I've ever seen.

A Baltimore Raven, Jacoby Jones, was being interviewed on the sidelines by an attractive reporter, Michele Tafoya, and he answered her politely. At the end, when she congratulated him on his play, he replied "Thank you gorgeous," gave a quick wink, and ran off.

Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports saw an opportunity to burnish his pc credentials, so lambasted Jones for not having treated her with the "same respect and regard any man would in a similar circumstance."

One of the funny things about the article is that when you look at the picture of Doug Farrar, he looks exactly like the kind of fat slob who loves to guzzle beer and watch football games and yell at the screen, but never do any exercise himself. He doesn't exactly look like a, uh, feminist. (Perhaps he's aware of the image he presents, and thus felt obliged to present this paean to his own "sensitivity.")

Here is a picture of Doug:

It's worth taking a look at the interchange between Jones and Tafoya, which is embedded in the article. Jones doesn't linger over the word "gorgeous," nor does he make a leering wink. He actually struck me as quite polite.

How offended are you when someone calls you "gorgeous," or "sugar," or "hon"?

One of the problems with liberalism is that it results in these ever escalating wars of political correctness, where people fall all over themselves trying to outdo each other in showing how correct and easily "offended" they are.

Okay Doug, you win this round.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Connery vs. Craig

In comparing the two best Bonds, Connery and Craig, you have to say Craig is the better actor. He can express ennui, world-weariness, pathos, vulnerability, frustration, disgust, and sardonic humor. And he does it all without overacting.

Connery can express coolness, and toughness, and well, mostly just Connery-ness. He was the equivalent of a beautiful woman: a parade of sex appeal who doesn't really need to be anything else. (With a beautiful woman, you don't really expect a great personality, you just hope that her personality isn't too horrible.)

A better comparison might be Hulk Hogan, who couldn't really do much inside the ring. He had none of the acrobatic movies which the real athletes had: he couldn't do flips, or jump from the ropes, or even any of the standard wrestling moves. But he didn't really need to, because he was the Hulkster and looked the part and all his fans had Hulkamania. Hogan even looked a little like Connery, with the line under his cheekbone running backward rather than forward:

Daniel Craig just misses being really handsome, but he looks tough, which is enough for the role. His 3/4 angle looks good, and he has a great profile as well.

But Craig's straight on view isn't quite as good. (His close set eyes and wide nose aren't visible from the 3/4 or side view.) One weird thing about his face: his lips don't match. Usually a person either has two full lips or two thin lips; Craig has a thin upper lip combined with a full lower lip:

Craig looks as if he works out all day, as befits a modern action hero. Connery looked as if he hadn't done anything but drink martinis and smoke since the age of 23, which is probably pretty much what he had done. But Connery still exuded far more natural manliness than Craig.

One advantage Craig has is better writers. In Thunderball, after shooting a bad guy with a spear gun, Connery quipped, "He got the point." After shooting down an enemy helicopter in From Russia With Love, he said, "I'd say one of their aircraft is missing." Back in the 60's, these lines were actually considered witty.

In Skyfall, after seeing one of the bad guys dragged off by a Komodo dragon (in a casino), Craig says philosophically, "Ah, the circle of life." After exiting the Komodo pit he hands the girl a suitcase filled with four million dollars and says, nonchalantly, "Put it all on red" (i.e., bet it on roulette).

An actor is responsible for his own professionalism, but at a certain level, he can only be as good as his writers and script allow him to be.

I mean, the writing has to be sharp. Get the point?

"How Free Speech Died on Campus"

Thanks to Guy Davis for passing along this excellent WSJ article about liberal fascism.

(These WSJ links don't last for very long for some reason, don't know how long this one will be active.)

"Natural Republicans"

There's been a lot of breast-beating and soul-searching by the Republicans since the election. Much of this seems to have centered on the fact that Hispanics broke for Obama 71-29.

Many of the initial analyses seemed to express bewilderment that they would vote for Obama since they are "natural Republicans." After all, they believe in hard work, entrepreneurship, and family values, or so went the thinking.

Every time I heard this, I couldn't help but hear the unstated second part of the sentence: "you know, at least compared to that other group who will never vote for us."

Was it just me or did others hear the implied comparison as well? And can those Republican analysts be so tone deaf to political correctness not to realize what message they were sending?

All descriptions of people are relative. You wouldn't describe Joe as tall unless he was taller than most. And you wouldn't describe Julie as pretty unless she were more attractive than most. Likewise, you wouldn't describe one group as hard-working unless another was lazy by comparison.

The idea that Hispanics are "natural Republicans" was quickly debunked by many: of course a group which tends to occupy the lower rungs of the economic ladder will vote for the party favoring redistribution.

But that initial analysis must still be echoing fairly loudly in the ears of that other ethnic group.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weak argument

Had an acrimonious argument with a friend last weekend about my post on Obama being gay.

First, my friend, a rabid Obama supporter, had badgered me into making a bet on Romney (giving me 2 - 1 odds) and then, after the election, told me that the fact that I had bet on Romney betrayed my "extremism."

I told my friend that the race was considered a tossup by many, that two polls had Romney ahead the day before the race, and that while the electoral college margin wasn't close, the popular vote ended up 50 - 48, which is reasonably close. I reminded him that he had bet on Mondale vs. Reagan at the same 2 - 1 odds and the margin on that popular vote had turned out to be 59 - 41. I asked if that betrayed his extremism, or if that logic only applied to me.

He said that if Obama's gayness was an "open secret" in DC, as I had postulated, some reporter would out him. I said reporters don't do that kind of thing, as they have to worry about their careers and what their editors want. I pointed out that none of the mainstream newspapers breathed word of John Edwards' shenanigans until long after the National Enquirer had reported them, and then only after their noncoverage of the story became a story itself.

My friend suggested that I sounded "unhinged" by having come to the conclusion that Obama was gay. I reminded him that he had been willing to come to the same conclusion about another politician on far less evidence. I then asked if this made him unhinged.

My friend also said that I was wrong about the daughters (he correctly pointed out that I had gotten their names reversed), and that in fact the older one did look like Obama. I disagree: she is better-looking than either parent, and has none of the Alfred E. Neuman-ish cast to her face that Obama has. But I've thought about it, and am going to excise that argument from the post for another reason.

Even if Obama is gay, his children are still most likely going to be his. In most show business marriages (i.e., where the marriage is just for show) the couple will have children, and the couple has no real sexual relationship, the husband still contributes the sperm. I've always wondered with some of these couples if they actually manage to have sex in order to procreate, or if it's all done through artificial insemination.

Either way, my guess is that it's usually done using the husband's sperm, so I will delete that argument, which is weak. The rest of the case stands.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Real intellectual courage

Every now and then when I read an editorial by Thomas Sowell or Walter E. Williams, or hear Clarence Thomas's name on a Supreme Court vote, or read about Ward Connerly and his anti-affirmative action referendums, I think about the lonely lives these guys must lead.

It takes a lot of courage to speak honestly if you're a conservative black, because  you will inevitably be scorned by other blacks, and called an "Uncle Tom."

The NY Post runs editorials by Thomas Sowell occasionally, and these have a consistently conservative bent. One attack on him by Patricia Roberts Harris, an official in the Carter administration, was typical. According to Wkipedia:

[Harris] once said that Sowell and Walter E. Williams "don't know what poverty is." Sowell called her position "a pathetic sign of intellectual bankruptcy," saying that he "was almost 9 years old before [he] lived in a home with [hot] running water" and that she "was a campus social leader in an 'exclusive sorority' - meaning that it was for middle-class (light-skinned) women" while he worked full-time and went to [the same college] at night."

(Williams grew up in a housing project.)

Clarence Thomas is widely derided in the black community for his conservative views. His most famous critic was Anita Hill, who had worked for Thomas at the Department of Education and later at the EEOC, who accused him during his confirmation hearings of asking if someone had put a pubic hair on his Coca Cola can and talking about porn to her. We'll never know for sure who was telling the truth in that he said-she said controversy; what we do know is that after their professional association ended, Hill later talked with Thomas on the phone, met with him, and even dined with him.

Ward Connerly led anti-affirmative action referendums in several states (all successful, although several were partially overridden by the courts). In 1995, then California State Senator Diane Watson said about him, "He's married to a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black."

If you're black, and advocate what's best for the country as a whole rather than just what's best for blacks, you're looked upon as a traitor. You will be ostracized by the black community, made an outcast from your own tribe.

And then, you can't really take comfort hanging out with white people. Whites may befriend you, but most of them will still be strangely awkward around you, especially the liberal whites.

Most people can't take this, so they stay on the reservation. After all, who wants to be thought of as Benedict Arnold -- even if he's right?

Not that many people have the courage of their convictions. The fellows I've just mentioned do. I salute them. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shocked, I tell you, shocked!

Perhaps the most surprising thing to emerge from the Petraeus scandal is that people are so surprised about it. True, Petraeus looks like a straight arrow and his military bearing is not one that brings to mind  the image of a "lounge lizard." But he is a guy, and newsflash, guys to tend to act like guys when given the opportunity.

To the best of my knowledge, I've known two CIA guys (neither admitted it to me), and both were prolific womanizers. When your life is all about skullduggery, would you draw the line at an illicit affair? And why would it be any different at the top?

My guess, if everybody in the federal government who had some sort of illicit sex had to resign, we'd have to hold elections again, next week. And most of Congress, as well as the Executive branch, would be up for grabs.

"What pundits really mean when they say Mexicans are 'socially conservative'."

Clever post by Steve Sailer on the mentality of rich, white, Marin County residents. (Reminds me of Tom Wolfe.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I'd read about a half dozen reviews of Skyfall before going to see the movie yesterday evening, and fully expected to hate it. Much of what I read made it sound as if they had toyed with the Bond formula too much, to the point of sacrilege. But the changes were good.

Q is now being played by 31-year-old Ben Whishaw (he looks more like 21). I'd gotten used to Desmond Llewelyn, who'd played the role in 17 Bond movies, up until his death in 1999. And I don't go to a Bond movie to see characters who look like college students. But the movie cleverly works Whishaw's age into the script, and turns it into a plus.

I'd read that Javier Bardem makes the villain campy. Camp was the kiss of death for Never Say Never Again (all prints of which should be destroyed immediately; it needs to be eradicated like the smallpox virus). But Bardem is more gay than camp, and it works in the context of his character. He is evil, but evil for reasons we can sympathize with. He is also, as all archvillains should be, diabolically intelligent.

I'd read that the movie takes you back to Bond's childhood, and explains certain things about him. My initial thinking on that was, do we really need to know that much about his backstory? James Bond is supposed to wind up in bed with a beauty, not on the couch talking to a shrink. But the psychoanalysis is minimal, and the scenes which take place in his ancestral home work well.

There is an old Scottish gamekeeper who is played by Albert Finney. One of the reviewers pointed out that this was a role which must have been written for Sean Connery, who must have passed on the role. I had my doubts until I heard the gamekeeper call Bond as a "jacked-up little shit." Those words were definitely written for Connery.

M, played by Judi Dench, figures prominently in this movie, playing a central role in the plot. As one reviewer said, we now know that M stands for Mommy. (I'd like to claim that line as my own but can't.)

Naomie Harris, as the good Bond girl, looks breathtakingly beautiful from some angles, less so from others. But she is playful and flirtatious, as she is supposed to be. Berenice Marlohe, as the bad Bond girl, is actually a better actress than looker. (Aren't Bond girls supposed to be the reverse?)

Bond movies have traditionally been better in the first half, and tend to run out of imagination in the second. Both halves of Skyfall were great.

The action scenes were as good as ever. It helps that Craig is so athletic-looking. He looks less 'roided-up here than he did in Casino Royale, but his bone structure still makes him look like the former SAS type he is supposed to be. There seems to be a general consensus among the reviewers these days that Craig is the second best Bond ever. I agree.

But while Craig may only be the second best Bond, this may actually be the best Bond movie ever.

Electoral fraud

This article about electoral shenanigans is worth reading. Devvy Kidd has compiled a list of reports detailing different instances of reported fraudulent activity in the Presidential election.

A couple of the instances actually favor Romney; but most favor Obama. Follow the links in her article to get a sense of how easy it is to commit fraud at the local level.

Monday, November 12, 2012


A Brazilian woman has evidently auctioned off her virginity for $780,000.

Personally, I wouldn't have paid $78 for that privilege.

But it was a smart business move on her part. You have to wonder if news of that price will spawn imitators.

The military and "discrimination"

I got a number of interesting responses to the previous post. Yesterday I received this one, which I want to turn into another post:

"You should stop bending over backwards to be for the repeal of don't ask don't tell, it really comes across as stupid. First off, most soldiers don't live in open barracks when they are out of training, so the logic about two man rooming situations should apply here as well. Secondly, it's moronic to think that the military should have to be fair to everyone; the military gets to discriminate in all sorts of ways that other jobs dont because its needs to in order to function properly. Thousands and thousands of people with medical conditions get turned away every year, and women are not allowed to do certain jobs. Don't ask dont tell made for a better military, and if they are going to repeal that they might as well mandate that battlefields be wheelchair accessible."

This guy -- I assume it's a guy -- makes some good points. The military does get to discriminate, because it has to in order to function properly. And women are not allowed in combat positions. (Where are all the feminists who normally protest about things like that?)

When it comes to don't-ask-don't-tell, I still think gays ought to be allowed to serve. I'm for equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of results, which is what the liberals generally want. Equality of opportunity means everyone gets to try out, regardless of who they are; equality of results would mean that people with medical conditions are allowed through the screening process anyway even though they don't pass those tests.

As far as the two man rooming situations, I think the answer is that the military should allow soldiers to specify that they don't want a gay roommate, the same as I suggested for incoming college freshmen. In fact, it's even more important that the military allow that, as the military is probably more likely to attract a more intimidating, I'm-no-fairy kind of gay. (The comments on the previous post illustrate that point.) 

I disagree with the commenter on one key point however: I do think battlefields should be made wheelchair accessible.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Choosing roommates

I've recently been informed that at a lot of colleges, you're not allowed to say on your freshman rooming application that you don't want a homosexual roommate

But if, say, a guy isn't allowed to say that that he doesn't want a homosexual roommate (who might find him sexually attractive), then why should girls not be randomly paired with male roommates (who might find them sexually attractive)? 

This argument sounds silly, but really, the same logic applies. Some people feel uncomfortable dressing or taking a shower in front of someone who might pop a boner while watching them do so. And if you have to sleep in the same room with that person night after night, it's understandable that the atmosphere might feel a little oppressive.

Most women, of course, wouldn't feel comfortable if they were forced to change all the time in front of some random guy. But if they have the right not to room with some leering potential predator, shouldn't men have that same right? 

Now it's far less likely that the average football player is going to be raped by the average theater major than it is that any given female will be raped by a random male. But male on male rapes have been known to occur -- though mostly in prison. 

When you go to prison, by the way, they don't ask you to fill out a questionnaire detailing your likes and dislikes so that the warden can carefully match you up with a simpatico roomie. You're simply thrown in with someone randomly, and you may get raped as a result. (Should wardens ask for such forms?) 

I'm not being entirely serious by pointing out these parallels, of course. I'm generally for homosexual rights, and I certainly wouldn't have wanted my daughter (who's currently in college) paired with some random male roommate. And, the fact is, you never hear of male on male rapes on college campuses.

But awkwardness is a constant presence on every campus, and lessening it in any context -- particularly the context of a dorm room -- doesn't seem like that much of a crime to me. If you're against sexual harassment, you should be against all sexual harassment.

I realize that I've just made an argument against gays in the military. But the military is different: everybody is put in large barracks, and the presence of a few gays there is not going to make any one hetero feel particularly oppressed.  

And if it ever did get too awkward at the unit level, the military could allow for all-gay units and all straight units. The reason I've always been for allowing gays in the military because I'm for equal rights -- not because I favor forced fraternization.

It wouldn't bother me to have a gay roommate. But there are those it would, so why not allow incoming college freshmen to have straight roommates if they prefer? 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Yep, that must be the reason

David Petraeus just resigned as head of the CIA because he had an extramarital affair after 37 years of marriage.

I honestly cannot recall anybody else who resigned from public office this way. There have been people who have been caught in affairs, and have stopped running for public office as a result. But to -- as best I can tell -- volunteer that he had an affair, and then just quit?

Especially a guy who's in charge of the CIA, who runs all the top secret cloak and dagger black ops that this country engages in. He's really that straight-laced?

I mean, I've seen the James Bond movies, and, disappointing.

Looks to me as if Petraeus was just looking for an excuse to get out, and this was the best he could come up with.

He should have tried something a little more credible, like the classic "wanted to spend more time with his family" line.

Yep, an affair. I'm sure this had nothing to do with how the administration refused aid to those four men who were killed in Benghazi. And I'm sure the timing -- three days after the election -- was entirely a coincidence.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm not as smart as I thought

I sure called this one wrong: I had thought right up until yesterday evening that Romney would win. I figured that Obama had lost the swing voters, and that his base would be less motivated to get to the polls than in '08. I had thought that the polls were oversampling Democrats, and that the Bradley Effect was still in play. I thought that Romney (read: anti-Obama) voters would be more motivated, and would show up in full force. Now it all looks like wishful thinking.

I'm trying to console myself with the thought that Obama is less likely to get us into a land war than Romney would have been. And he is more likely to stick to the timetable of withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014, even if he has to lie about how his surge succeeded. (The country will obviously fall to the Taliban the minute we leave.)

I'm also mystified by the fact that Asian voters went for Obama by a margin of 75 - 25. Do they not realize how much they will be hurt by the disparate impact/redistributionist/affirmative action mentality of the Obama administration? (I hereby renounce my Japanese ancestry.)

There's been almost no talk of voting irregularities, but I wouldn't entirely discount the possibility of fraud. I did hear of one instance where a retarded 57-year-old who had never voted before was taken by the group home attendants where she lived to vote for Obama. When she told her parents about her vote, they were mystified, saying that she wouldn't even have known who the two candidates were. That was just one instance involving one vote, but it's not hard to believe that it might not have been repeated on a much larger scale. I'm not even sure that that was illegal, by the way: it's her Constitutional right to vote every bit as much as it's yours or mine. 

In any case, she is a fitting metaphor for Obama's electorate.

And, I must admit, for me, for having thought that Romney would win.

It's hard to escape the feeling that in the long run -- and now even in the short run -- this country is doomed.

This past year, for the first time, we fell off the list of the ten most prosperous nations. And with Obama in power for four more years, we will continue to fall.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A vote for Obama.....

If you're thinking about voting for Barack Obama tomorrow, please be reminded:

A vote for Obama is a vote for the guy who campaigned in 2008 as the post-racial, post-partisan candidate, then governed as the exact opposite.

It's a vote for the guy who said he would hire no lobbyists, and at last count has 43 lobbyists working for him.

It's a vote for Solyndra, and for indemnifying Obama's campaign contributors when the company failed -- at taxpayer expense. It's a vote for other green energy companies owned by other Obama contributors.

It's a vote for a President who thinks he can fire the CEO of GM, and ignore normal bankruptcy law to reassign the bondholders' rights to the unions, which contributed so heavily to his 2008 campaign.

It's a vote for a President who spent the first two years of his Presidency blaming the previous President for all his troubles.

It's a vote for a President who thought that by dint of his personal charm, and by apologizing for past misdeeds of the United Stated, he would turn our enemies into friends.

It's a vote for giving, as a state gift to Queen Elizabeth, an iPod crammed with videos of Obama speeches.

It's a vote for a guy who said he was going to appoint a Supreme Court Justice who was a strict Constitutionalist and who would not legislate from the bench, and then appointed Sonia Sotomayor.

It's a vote for Eric Holder as Attorney General.

It's a vote for Fast and Furious.

It's a vote for invoking Executive Privilege to protect Holder from his involvement in Fast and Furious.

It's a vote for Van Jones, the self-avowed communist.

It's a vote for reflexive criticism of the Cambridge cop who arrested a hysterical black Harvard Professor.

It's a vote for beer summits.

It's a vote for a President whose son would look like Trayvon.

It's a vote for a President who is praised for his "soaring" and "inspirational" oratory, all written for him by speechwriters and all read from Teleprompters.

It's a vote for a President who has "meetings" with businesspeople in the White House at which he reads to them from a Teleprompter, then leaves without taking any questions, leaving them shaking their heads.

It's a vote for a President who uses a Teleprompter to speak of elementary school students.

It's a vote for a President whose reelection campaign has consisted mostly of flinging mud and lying about his opponent. It's all been about "Romnesia" and Big Bird, and not about his own record at all.

It's also a vote for Joe Biden, who during the Vice Presidential debate claimed that he had voted against  both the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, when in fact he had voted for both of them.

It's a vote for Biden's comportment during that debate.

(In his own run for President, back in 1988, Biden not only plagiarized a speech by Neil Kinnock, the British Labor leader. He even claimed to have had a grandfather -- as Kinnock did -- who worked in the coal mines. Only problem was, he didn't.)

It's a vote to label as "millionaires and billionaires" those who make $250,000 and above.

It's a vote for ObamaCare, the Cornhusker Kickback, and the Louisiana Purchase.

It's a vote for the myriad of other backroom deals with less catchy names done to pass ObamaCare, such as the buyoff of the AMA, of the big pharmaceutical companies, and of AARP, each of whom got  goodies (read: bribes) to overcome their initial opposition.

It's a vote for a President who said that "Cadillac health plans" would be taxed, but then, when he found out that his union supporters had such plans, tried to exempt them.

It's a vote for a President who'd rather appear on Letterman and The View than meet with foreign leaders at the UN.

It's a vote for a President who refers to himself as "eye candy."

It's a vote for a man who married purely to have a beard.

It's a vote for a First Lady who loves living large, and doesn't seem to care who knows it.

It's a vote for a man who puts male underlings on the federal payroll so that he can have sex with them.

It's a vote for a President who had a three-day 50th birthday party.

It's a vote for a President who doesn't really like the business of governing, and doesn't like to meet with legislators.

It's a vote for withholding aid from Ambassador Chris Stevens and his three ex-Navy Seal bodyguards.

It's a vote for a liar who knew full well that the execution of Stevens was an al Qaeda attack, but for two weeks blamed it on a Youtube video anyway.

It's a vote for a man who as a U.S. Senator told a mostly black audience at Hampton University -- in a much heavier black accent than he normally uses -- that the federal government had suspended the Stafford Act (which requires that local communities put up 10% of the money required for disaster relief) for victims of 9/11, but not for the victims of Katrina, who were mostly black. Obama knew this not to be true, since he himself was at the Senate vote which suspended the Stafford Act just two weeks previously, by a vote of 84 -16. Not only that, Obama was one of the 16 Senators who voted against suspending the Act.

Just a reminder.