Date ►►► February 26, 2013

Quick Point on the Big-Lizards Immigration Position (Prior to Consequential Post That Will Be Sure to Annoy Most of You If You Don't Read This Post First!)

Hatched by Dafydd

And maybe it will still vex you; but at least with this set-up, I'll have a fighting chance!

I want to make clear from the outset, before I post an abrasive immigration thingie in the next few days, that I do not under any circumstances support "comprehensive" immigration reform.

Rather, I prefer a piecemeal packet of distinct bills, one for each element of immigration reform -- but starting with reform of the legal immigration system, before anything else is done, including anything to give a path to residency for illegals already here. And yes, even before securing the border, since even border security itself requires first that we get our legal immigration system in shape.

What do I mean by "reform?" It's a very astute question; I'm glad you asked. We start with this basic premise: No person should ever be admitted to permanent residency in the United States unless he is willing and able to assimilate to our shared American heritage of Capitalism, individual liberty, fundamental rights and civil liberties, being responsible for earning one's own living, and American exceptionalism.

Then we create, as from scratch, a legal immigration system, operating within the context of the above imperative, that is rational, predictable, just, and open to everyone willing and able to assimilate, without regard to race, sex, religion, country of origin, previous condition of servitude, and without regard to family members already in residence in the United States.

That is, the only criterion should be assimilability -- not where you came from or how many cousins you have living here already.

All else is dicta; and I will not presume to dicta-tate exactly how we define those terms and how we should enforce them.

There are many possible ways to enforce, to the extent possible, such an imperative with those characteristics; some kind of point system for example. But clearly no such thing will happen while Barack "Skeets" Obama or any other Democrat of his mold is president, or while the Democratic Party controls either house of Congress.

Still and all, nothing that we do anent immigration will have the slightest positive effect unless we first bias legal immigration in the direction of assimilability. A melting pot, not a dad blamed salad bowl!

All right, got it? So when you read the controversial later post, please do so with this position in mind. Maybe folks won't get so het up that way!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 26, 2013, at the time of 1:38 AM | Comments (6)

Date ►►► February 25, 2013

Oscar the Grouch

Hatched by Korso

Full disclosure: I didn't watch the Academy Awards. Who needs the hassle when you can just catch up with Nikki Finke's live snarking of the event on Monday morning? And from what I've read, the snark was far more entertaining (not to mention funnier) than the four-hour cringefest that the Academy cobbled together. Forget waterboarding -- just get Seth McFarlane down to Gitmo, stat. Fifteen minutes of that shtick will have those orange-suited jihadis spilling their guts begging for mercy.

Every year I'm amazed at how it is that entertainment professionals -- you know, the people who do this kind of thing for a living -- can't seem to find a way to put on a show that isn't reminiscent of the aversion therapy scene in A Clockwork Orange. With all the writing and directing talent on tap, not to mention the sheer star power packed into that room, you'd figure that something interesting would be going on. But alas, the show always seems to spiral into a parody of itself, what with the lame jokes and the canned musical numbers (they even found a way to make James Bond seem boring). If all this seems like a mystery, though, it isn't. In fact, the Oscars provide for us a perfect microcosm of why it is that Hollywood -- by and large, at least -- sucks.

Like any megabudget floperoo cranked out by the studios, the Academy Awards are usually doomed from the start. From the producers without a creative bone in their bodies making creative "suggestions" to the abject terror of giving offense to anyone who might be an A-Lister, it's damn near impossible to do anything that a reasonably intelligent and partly sober person might actually want to watch. That's why directing the show is a thankless job -- and why the Academy has such a tough time getting people to do it. After all, it's not like you have any actual control over anything, and when the show bombs you get to wear the stench of failure for the rest of your career. Who wants that burden?

So you end up with the same old same-old, time and time again. If that sounds like a common complaint about the movies that fill the metroplex, bingo! You just figured out the modern studio system.

Of course, there is a way to fix the Oscars (not that the Academy would ever do it). What they should do is make the awards part of it the way it was back in the old days -- just an open bar and dinner followed by rattling off the list of winners -- and then turn some hidden cameras loose in the crowd to listen in on what the stars really have to say. The downside is that you could only get away with it once -- but what a show it would be!

Hatched by Korso on this day, February 25, 2013, at the time of 7:41 AM | Comments (0)

Date ►►► February 19, 2013

I Apologize In the Unlikely Event That My Extremist, Wackadoodle Ravings and Callous Disregard for Your Liberty and Basic Humanity Offended Any of You Hysterical, Brainless, Uppity Babes

Hatched by Dafydd

Before leaping into the greater point of this post, first take a gander at a prime example of the "non-apology" apology -- the one that typically goes, "I'm sorry if I offended any idiots out there." Meet Mr. Democratic Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar:

"I’m sorry if I offended anyone," Salazar said in the statement. "That was absolutely not my intention. We were having a public policy debate on whether or not guns makes people safer on campus. I don’t believe they do. That was the point I was trying to make. If anyone thinks I’m not sensitive to the dangers women face, they’re wrong. I am a husband and father of two beautiful girls, and I’ve spent the last decade defending women’s rights as a civil rights attorney. Again, I’m deeply sorry if I offended anyone with my comments."

Crikey, I can almost see his eyes roll as he said that! Anyone want to make book on whether he made air quotes as he said "offended?" (Only the first time, though; he didn't want to offend.)

So now, what exactly did Mr. Democratic Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar actually say to require such a facile, face-saving non-apology?

His original statement argued against allowing women to carry firearms for protection on Colorado college campuses. Bear in mind that Colorado currently enjoys a "shall-issue" CCW permit law, whereby any law-abiding adult -- even a woman! -- can obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. But Mr. Democratic Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar, whose relationship (if any) to former Democratic Gov. Ken Salazar I cannot ascertain, wants to remove that right from college students... or at least from the flighty, bubble-headed college co-eds:

Salazar, arguing in favor of disarming college students, said Friday on the Colorado House floor that women fearing rape may suddenly and haphazardly "pop a round at somebody."

"It’s why we have call boxes; it’s why we have safe zones; it’s why we have the whistles -- because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody," Salazar said.

Women are so emotional and illogical, how can we trust one with a gun?

As condescending as was Mr. Democratic Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar's apology, his initial statement is much worse. Check out those pronouns! We gave you all these things to keep you safe and coddled, because you simply are not competent to know when you're in deadly peril. If you think you're in danger, girlie, just call for help, blow your whistle, and hope some man comes to the rescue.

Nobody has ever accused me of being a Feminazi (everything else, though); but if I were a woman, I think I would want to kick Mr. Democratic Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar right in the huevos. (I would not, however, feel any inclination to "pop a round" at anybody. Even if I were one of those hysterical females.)

I'm sure I've said this before, but it bears repeating: So-called "Progressivists" project their own prejudice, panic, corruption, and deviousness on everyone else. As should be obvious in this case, Mr. Democratic Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar projects his own male chauvinist, patriarchal, anachronistic prejudices onto the women at Colorado colleges and universities. He's another one of those who believes that women simply haven't the mental or emotional stability to know when they are in danger or how to defend and protect themselves and others; they're the weaker sex, the flibbertigibbets, the honeys.

(And don't get too smug, conservatives; the "arguments" against allowing women to serve in combat are just as belittling, paternalistic, and paralogical.)

How does he reconcile that with all the female cops, state troopers, firefighters, and servicewomen serving successfully in Colorado and the other 56 states (plus D.C.)? And for that matter, what about the female surgeons, lawyers, airline pilots, EMTs, teachers, and even "fellow" politicians -- such as state Rep. Polly Lawrence, who found it outrageous that Mr. Democratic Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar is utterly certain "that women don’t know when we’re going to be raped, that [women] can’t recognize when there’s an inherent danger."

But I'm sure he would chuckle, pat Rep. Lawrence on the head, and say, "Tut-tut, now, little lady... father knows best!"

These women hold our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor in trust; but does Mr. Democratic Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar trust them? His chauvinism bespeaks him as a true liberal Progressivist and heir to the traditions of Woodrow Wilson (the Constitution is obsolete), Franklin Roosevelt (imprison all Americans of Japanese descent), Jimmy Carter (America is the worst nation in the world), and as one with the One, Barack H. "Skeets" Obama (L'état, c'est moi).

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 19, 2013, at the time of 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

Dum De Dum DUMB

Hatched by Korso

As the homicide rate in Chicago has climbed to levels that make it a top-tier candidate for the next edition of "Grand Theft Auto," I've often wondered why it is that violent crime is so much worse there than in other big cities -- say, for instance, New York. Today, courtesy of Fox News, I found my answer: The police commissioner of Chicago, Garry McCarthy, is a moron:

Appearing on a local Windy City Sunday morning talk show on the radio station WLSAM, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said special interests that lobby politicians to influence their opinion on gun control are the real problem.

"If there was a special interest influencing police work, I believe that would be called corruption," McCarthy said. "So, if it has to do with donating money, versus a popular vote, I think we have a bigger problem in this country and someone has to wake up to that."

Now, one expects this sort of thing from McCarthy, who in the past has blamed his city's gun woes on Sarah Palin; but in this case, the commish has reached a level of absurdity so profound that I actually had to stop for a moment to wash the stupidity off. If I am to understand this correctly, the gun lobby is to blame for standing in the way of meaningful gun control measures (in a state that already has some of the most restrictive laws in the country) -- but the politicians that slurp up all that lobbyist money bear no responsibility at all? In what sort of bizarro world does that make even a lick of sense?

Even assuming that McCarthy is correct (a stretch that would test the limits of Reed Richards himself), wouldn't the obvious solution be to replace the corrupt politicians? Alas, that sort of logic never figures into the equation. McCarthy would rather bash a convenient boogeyman (those greeeedy lobbyists) than tackle the actual problem.

Apropos Dafydd's post below, this is all just a symbolic hustle to turn people's attention away from the source of Chicago's mayhem, while pushing a "cure" that makes it appear as if the state is doing something about the violence when in fact nothing has changed. Never mind the efficacy of stricter laws -- so long as we all feel good about ourselves, that's what counts.

And just in case you were worried about those pesky Constitutional implications:

McCarthy told FoxNews.com he never advocated “getting rid of the Second Amendment.”

Nah, he'd rather just ignore it.

The real tragedy in all this is that people like Garry McCarthy know damn well what it will take to clean up Chicago's streets, but that would require doing what New York did when Rudy Giuliani was mayor and Ray Kelly ran the police department. It would mean tough and rigorous enforcement of the law and yes, hitting the gangs where they live (i.e. the drug trade) -- but between the head busting that would be required and the endemic corruption of the Chicago political machine, they don't have the will to do it. Too many people profit from the status quo. Until that problem gets cleaned up, it'll always be business as usual.

Hatched by Korso on this day, February 19, 2013, at the time of 6:19 AM | Comments (0)

Date ►►► February 15, 2013

The Symbol Life

Hatched by Dafydd

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!

This is too late for a current event; it's more of an haute courant event, or a living legend, like the unicorn. The date is unimportant, as this specific example repeats endlessly, world without end.

A couple of weeks ago, a high-school kid was suspended from school for possesing a picture of a gun:

A high school student in Florence said he has been suspended because of a picture of a gun.

Daniel McClaine Jr., a freshman at Poston Butte High School, said he saved the picture as his desktop background on his school-issued computer.

A teacher noticed it and turned him in.

The picture shows an AK-47 on top of a flag.

It appears that in today's PoMo/Progresso couture, a picture is exactly the same as the subject pictured, the signifier is the signified, and "Ceci est une pipe" après tout! Rene Magritte, please phone home.

I'm not surprised; I have expected exactly such confusions ever since we entered the era of the symbolic president -- inaugurated posing in front of faux Roman columns, smirking and winking to those "in the know" about his predilections and inclinations, laughing at having fooled enough of the people enough of the time.

But it's not just Barack H. "You didn't build that" Obama; the entire ironical, metrosexual, sensation-seeking, Progressivist world has devolved into a surreality of signifiers without signifieds, arrows pointing towards nothing; words without meaning, but treated as if the word was itself the meaning. An era where we're expected to sit down in a restaurant and eat the menu.

We have symbolic regulations, like Mayor Bloomberg's "ban" on 32 ounce sodas -- which doesn't apply to grocery stores or 7-11s, not to mention that there's no ban on buying two 16 ounce sodas; symbolic laws, like the "military-style" assault weapon ban, in which the distinction between banned and therefore dangerous guns and authorized and presumably harmless guns is whether it has a carrying handle, a pistol grip, or is painted in camouflage colors; and symbolic policy, where it matters not a whit whether the policy works or fails, only that it "sends the right message." The signpost for America's future perpetually points to "Reply hazy, try again."

The creepy Left demands a life not of the mind, nor of phenomena, nor even of reality, but a life of pure symbolism -- messaging, imagery, false front, bravado, bluster, and bluff. Image isn't just everything, it's the only thing.

Obama is the perfect pawn. He lives the symbol life, existing only for the princely pronouncement, the cadence of his own catechism. He speaks, and lo! it is done. Or at least he is done; implementation must fall to others, if at all.

Perfect example: Diplomacy used to mean a working amalgam of sound foreign policy, tough but honest negotiation, military might, allies, and nerve; think of Reagan, Churchill, Lincoln, Franklin, Cardinal Mazarin. This was the operating definition for both Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal; the differences were in the goals of our diplomacy, not an argument about what the word itself meant.

But in the Obamunist nightmare (will we ever awaken?), Diplomacy consists entirely of being photographed with the "right people." It doesn't matter whether it's conducted by Commissar Hillary or Jean le Kerry, le Marquis de Bostonia, because the driving definitional force is the symbolic president himself, "Skeets" Obama, and the powers and thrones that guide his every waking moment.

But why bother to travel, other than perfecting his backswing on every golf course in the eastern hemisphere? He could save time and trouble simply by hiring a central-casting "Indian" from Brooklyn and PhotoShopping a picture of him, Kim Jong-un, and President B.O. literally burying a hatchet. Word crisis solved; take that, Bibi Nut'n'Honey!

It's no less serious (or more hilarious) than Susan Rice announcing that "We'll do the usual drill" anent NoKo's most recent nuku blast. Why not Rice? She is the perfect symbolic spokeschick for the symbolic Sir Galahad, his counterfeit cabinet, and its Potemkin politics.

When all is merely sign and signifier, map and menu, indicator and imagery, then there is no difference between reality and wishful make-believe. Saying it is so is the same as actually making it so; apparently, Obama's words are self-actualizing:

  • "I'm a skeet shooter," quoth he just the other day; then he made it retroactively true by posing for a picture shooting a shotgun. (Straight forward, not skywards; who the heck is he shooting at, the poor slob trying to throw the clay pigeons while simultaneously ducking and covering?)
  • "Our businesses have gone back to basics and created over 4 million jobs in the last 27 months -- more private sector jobs than were created during the entire seven years before this crisis -- in a little over two years." This statement is completely true! And completely meaningless! Because, dig, he mounted the Petal Throne not twenty-seven but forty-nine months ago; and it's only fair to judge his job creation from the beginning of his reign, not from the nadir to the apex.

    Thus, we turn to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics tables (scroll down to the historical tables. There we discover (from the A tables, household survey) that when Obama was inaugurated for his first term, labor force participation was 65.7%; last month, at the beginning of his second term, it stood at 63.6%. Total employment is slightly up (142.2 million to 143.3 million); but the population grew in the meantime, so the employment-to-population ratio dropped from 60.6 to 58.6. Unemployment ended up just about where it was when Obama inherited a recession -- starting at 7.8% in January 2009 and ending last month at 7.9%. And those who don't have a job but want one rose from 5.7 million to 6.6 million.

    In theory, we're no longer in recession; but we've still got that four-year hangover.

    From the B tables (establishment survey) that total non-farm payroll rose from 133 million to 135 million; but the population rose nearly nine million during that same period. He's not even keeping up, let alone catching up.

    In short, there has been no net recovery whatsoever from the "horrible" economy that Obama inherited; after four years of Obamunism, we're no better off than we were in 2009; in fact, we're significantly worse off, though not as badly as we were two years into Obama's painful plan for promoting patriotic poverty.

  • On border security: "We can build on the progress my [Obama's] administration has already made -- putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years." But he must know that he only increased Border Patrol by about a thousand agents; by contrast, George W. Bush increased them by ten thousand, doubling the size he inherited from Bill Clinton. And Obama surely understands that the main reason border arrests are down is that border crossings are down, and every agency that has studied this agrees that crossings are down primarily because Obama's stagnation economy is not as attractive as Bush's robust growth economy was.

    But at least we can deduce this much: His claim that the borders are so much more secure now sends the signal that he has no intention of pushing (or signing) any further border-security laws, and likely won't faithfully to execute those border-security laws already in place. Also sprach Obamathustra.

  • "So if you have insurance you like, you’ll be able to keep that insurance. If you have a doctor you like, you can keep that doctor. You’ll just pay less for the care that you receive." Did he even know whether that was true? Did he care? He knew passage required such a soothing, reassuring, symbolical claim... so he made it. But he couldn't possibly have known what was in the bill, because Dame Nancy Pelosi hadn't yet passed it.
  • "We must ban military-style assault weapons," defined as guns that look really scary to hoplophobic Progressivists. Identical weapons without the cosmetic differences -- i.e., same car, different plastic -- are still allowed. For now. (Which should tell you something about Obama's belief, or lack of, in his own initiatives.
  • "I'm a uniter, not a divider!" (Commentary omitted; Big Lizards is a family-friendly blog!)

An admirable list of magic words, like "open sesame" (or more appropriately, "Avada Kedavra") that lefties use in place of actually, you know, doing anything. Fiat obscurum! Thus what we on the Right see as braggadocio (before the fact bragging and braying) or lying in one's teeth (after the fact pretense that all went well) is not so seen by Progressivists; for they have a different metric for truth and falsity, the neologistic oxymoron of "socialist truth."

Socialist truth can be defined operationally as "that which advances world socialism," while socialist falsity is that which retards it, prevents it, or ridicules it (like this post); the literal truth -- lefties would say infantile truth or unraised consciousness -- never enters into the equation.

Literal truth, which those on the Right demand, is probably a minor virtue to the Progressivist Left; all things being equal, most of them would rather not make up a new fib: It's tough to keep their stories straight, and it's a strain for a Progressivist to be creative anyway. But rarely are all things equal; and even the slightest chance of advancing world socialism is enough to tip the scales in favor of socialist truth.

But the Jedi masters of Progressivism, like our symbolic president, are in such a zen state that they no longer even care whether they keep straight their improvised fantasies; they have absorbed the teachings of the Sufis of Socialism that nobody keeps track of conflicting stories, so long as they comfort -- "foma," as Kurt Vonnegut dubbed such ostensibly harmless or useful lies.

But foma are not always harmless, useful though they may be. And a symbolic presidency can cause a brutal, blunt-force impact upon very real aspects of life, from jobs to wealth to health to safety. Kids sent into Obama's symbolic "universal pre-K" fabrication will gain no lasting improvement in learning and education. But the children will come away with the belief that they're better than everybody else... hence have little reason to learn or even tolerate opposing points of view. They will become little Obamlets. We shall have many more low-information voters than in the previous administration, because the current one incubates and encourages the citizen's complete disengagement from government and its policy. Party like it's 1999 -- again! But on the plus side, the Left will pick off a few more votes from the low-information voters who think, "Free universal kiddie care, yippee ki yay!"

And every act of gun control has the effect of removing the best means of self defense from those most likely to need it and least likely to be able to replace it. Career criminals prey upon the weak and defenseless; they're not interested in a shoot out, they just want to rob you. Gang bangers and serial assaulters also pick out the weak, because they enjoy inflicting pain, terror, and death; it makes them feel powerful.

Without ready access to guns, the weak become prey for the thuggish strong; but with firearms, even Granny can fight off an intruder, as proved virtually every issue of American Rifleman. There is good reason why the Colt .45 revolver was called the "great equalizer," as anyone will eventually discover who accepts Obama's symbolic message and turns in all his guns to the government. (Even quicker if he proudly displays a "Gun-free zone!" placard.)

Sidebar: What's the real reason the symbolic president wants a ban on "military-style" assault weapons du jour? Because they symbolize independence, liberty, and government of, by, and for the people. With a "military-style" weapon, you are daily reminded that the foremost reason for the Second Amendment was to have an unorganized but well-regulated (that is, trained) militia to keep the peace and restore order if necessary, suppress insurrection and insurgency, repel foreign invaders, and to keep our own federal and state governments in check.

But without regularly reminding Americans that they are all Minutemen (male or female), the sense of personal responsibility for defending the homeland dissipates and can evaporate entirely. Hunting, sport shooting, and even home defense, the "lesser included" rights, become the whole; and the primary right (and duty!) to defend liberty, both individual and societal is tossed into the dustbin of history. What a boon to any would-be tyrant!

Thus to a cunning gun-banner, the difference between ordinary guns and "military-style" is not "cosmetic," it is cosmic.

The world of symbol is simple, even simplistic: To say is to make true; so mote it be. It is magical thinking: Forget the hard work of actual governance, all that matters is sending the politically correct message. It reassures and confirms membership of the "ins" and frightens the "outs" into joining. It's impossible for things to go wrong, because error has been abolished by order of the Dear Leader.

Foma is soma, the mind-dulling narcotic of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World; the poisonous purpose of "harmless lies" is to suppress thought itself. The dictator always prefers docile sheep to wily foxes, because they are easier to control; pure selflessness of his loyal subjects is his great desire, for only the selfless will give themselves over, body and soul, to the One, the Lightbringer, the benevolent dictator.

Thus the real danger of a presidency of sentiment, statement, superficial scholarship, and substandard statesmanship: It establishes a symbolic citizenry to worship a symbolizing presidency.

Liberty can survive and surmount much but probably not that. Baa! Baa! Baa!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 15, 2013, at the time of 10:15 PM | Comments (2)

Date ►►► February 13, 2013

Drill, Baby, Drill

Hatched by Korso

Apparently channeling her former boss Hillary "What Difference Does It Make?" Clinton, Susan Rice -- our erstwhile ambassador to the United Nations, most recently seen last September peddling the Video Did It excuse for the Benghazi attacks -- had this to say about the anticipated UN response to North Korea's test of its new and improved nuclear boom-boom device:

We’ll do the usual drill.

II take it by that Rice means a parade of furrowed brows and condemnations from the international "community," followed by calls for those kinda-sorta sanctions that don't really work and get vetoed by China anyway. Sound about right? Right.

Rather than viewing this as a blatant rip-off of Dame Hillary's moves, I'm choosing to look at Rice's statement as more of an homage. In fact, I think the rest of the White House playahs should get in in the action while it's still hot. Perhaps a naming contest for the official second term catch phrase?

Secretary of State John Effin' Kerry: "Well, it's not like Israel is a close friend."

Defense Secretary Wanna Be Chuck Hagel: "I've always found carrier battle groups to be a bit overrated."

Press Secretary "Carny Barker" Jim: "If the Second Amendment was so damn important, it would've come first."

His Highness Barack Hussein Obama the First: "I never said that."

Let the good times roll! Oh, and guys -- if you do happen to use any of the stuff you see here, I'm more than happy to take PayPal.

Hatched by Korso on this day, February 13, 2013, at the time of 2:23 PM | Comments (0)

Date ►►► February 11, 2013

Chicken Little Revisited

Hatched by Korso

Yes, it's true. CNN anchor Deb Feyerick actually thinks that global warming extends its malign influence even into space, the final frontier. While chatting with Bill Nye the Science Guy about the recent wild weather in the northeast corridor, she postulated the question:

Talk about something else that’s falling from the sky and that is an asteroid. What’s coming our way? Is this an effect of, perhaps, of global warming or is this just some meteoric occasion?

Sounds to me as if Deb did most of her research by watching Armageddon on TBS late night. Remember that these are the people informing the public about environmental issues, folks.

Hatched by Korso on this day, February 11, 2013, at the time of 12:08 PM | Comments (2)

Date ►►► February 6, 2013

Indeliverance

Hatched by Dafydd

So the U.S. Postal Disservice now plans to cease delivering mail on Saturdays. But wait, don't be too harsh: Sure, they're curtailing service; but don't forget, they're raising rates! Current price of first-class (hah) mail is 47¢, up another penny. One presumes that by the end of the year, we'll be forking over half a buck per letter.

This will save (wait for it) two whole billion samolians per year! This is about (wait for it) sixteen minutes and thirty-four seconds of government spending.

Of course, the annual Post Office shortfall is more like $16 billion per annum, most of it driven by (wait for it) an overly generous, defined-benefit pension plan. The Post Office was supposed to put $5.5 billion per year into an account until it reached $55 billion, which would then be used to capitalize the pensions; but of course, they can't even do that. So the problem is getting worse, not better.

The aptly-acronymed PO is supposed to be self-funding; ergo, Congress does not directly fund operating costs. Instead, they indirectly fund them by waiting until the PO goes bankrupt -- about three or four times a year -- then bailing them out. Who does the Postmaster Generalissimo think he is... the commissar of Government Motors?

Maybe I'm just a naive, running-dog Capitalist, but I have a modest and perhaps Swiftian proposal: Instead of the current postal model of "failing and bailing," or the fallback position of adding another few tens of billions of dollars spending on the PO, let's try my four-point plan for saving Saturday mail delivery, and perhaps even adding Sunday:

  1. Repeal the law the forbids private companies from delivering first-class mail.
  2. Let FedEx, UPS, and any other private company set its own prices and delivery schedules for first-class mail and be legally responsible for its own services, just as they are now for packages. Let them compete with the Post Office where they can, reducing the size of the federal workforce. Wherever mail delivery is fully covered by private companies, drop federal delivery.
  3. On an interim basis, maintain a remnant of the USPS for the sole purpose of delivering to rural and hard-to-reach areas that private companies refuse to service, assuming there are any such. But make the remnant a normal (and much smaller) government agency, funded by Congress to whatever extent it should be subsidized... and only until private companies take up the slack and start delivering to all addresses -- whether directly or by contract. (Remember, they can set their own prices, including a higher rate for more expensive deliveries.)
  4. Reduce costs on the government side: Change from a defined-benefit to a defined-contribution plan to reduce the biggest driver of insolvency. Then fire as many unneeded postal employees as necessary to bring the USPS into balance.

Of course, it's very likely that private enterprise can do what the federal dictocrats cannot: make rural delivery profitable! If so, we can eliminate the USPS in its entirety, neatly eliminating the problem of funding it at all.

I know, I know; it will never happen because of Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

(He has sometimes formulated this as (paraphrase) "The main purpose of government is to create more government.")

However, the solution to the problem is readily available: Privatize every aspect of the federal government as humanly possible. We lack only the will.

Dream on...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 6, 2013, at the time of 2:14 PM | Comments (1)

Miserables, Indeed

Hatched by Korso

Anybody remember ol' "Baghdad" Jim McDermott, the Democrat representative from Washington? Well, just in case you forgot about him, he recently dropped by C-SPAN and had this rather amusing exchange with a caller:

We’re in a very difficult period right now because we have a lot of people who suddenly think it’s all about "me." And it isn’t about "me." It’s about "we." If we don’t take care of one another and we say everybody’s on their own, then it will simply fall apart as a society, become a mob scene as it was in Paris. If you go see Les Misérables, you can see what the country can become if you don’t have equity in the society.

Now contrast that with another eyebrow raiser I came across whilst perusing Twitter, which perfectly encapsulates the modern leftist mindset:

My husband and I just ended our debate about having children. To breed or not to breed, this was the question — and it had been ticking like an egg timer in the back of my head for 15 years...

I wanted it to be a decision we made, not one made for us by chance or time. I turned to friends with kids for advice. “Feel free to convince me to your side,” I told them. Leaving a legacy and crazy joy, they said. I bow down to their personal sacrifice. It is an enormous gift for society to raise an educated, productive, ethical, moral child...

We have decided we have other things to give to the world. We won’t be having kids. We choose to be childless in Seattle.

Anybody else see the contradiction here?

I'm sure there will be any number of feminists and environmentalists lining up to praise Sharon Chan for not burdening herself and the world with a child, and Jim McDermott would probably be one of them. But how exactly does that attitude square with the collectivist notion of "taking care of one another," lest we all end up on the barricade singing a chorus of "Upon These Stones"?

Note how even Chan acknowledges that raising a child to be a productive citizen would be a huge gift to society -- and yet she refuses to do so. Seeing how it's awfully hard to produce a society of people who take care of each other without actual people around to do the work, isn't Chan -- an exemplar of liberalism -- shirking her duty to her fellow citizens by not pitching in?

And therein lies the problem: After years of cultivating a "me first" culture that elevates selfish needs and desires to a kind of virtue, now McDermott and his ilk turn around and expect a generation of perpetual adolescents that he has helped create to suddenly cowboy up and put their fellow man ahead of themselves. Sorry to tinkle in your Wheaties, Jim, but that just might be expecting too much of folks who can't even be bothered to go about the business of begettin'.

Welcome to the world of unintended consequences.

Hatched by Korso on this day, February 6, 2013, at the time of 6:20 AM | Comments (1)

Date ►►► February 3, 2013

Let's Ban Hot Rods!

Hatched by Dafydd

Every year, more than 2,700 teens die in car accidents, and almost 300,000 teenaged car-crash victims are treated in emergency rooms. Crashes are the number-one killer of teenagers... more than all teenaged firearms deaths combined!

Be honest, now: How many of you, when you were teenagers just recently licensed to drive -- or maybe not even that yet! -- drove too fast, raced with your friends, drove under the influence of distractions (chatting with friends, fiddling with the radio, texting, sexting), or obliviously drove through red lights and stop signs?

Why did you do that? What "drove" you to commit such infractions? Here are some answers that many teens might offer:

  • I'm just kind of irresponsible in everything, why not driving as well?
  • I was distracted by a hot chick on the sidewalk.
  • I was distracted because I was fighting with my best friend in the front seat.
  • I was distracted by thinking about a hot chick I once saw on the sidewalk a couple of years ago.
  • I was playing Halo.
  • It seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • I was drunk.
  • I was stoned.
  • I was wasted.
  • I was stoned. Wait, what was the question?
  • I was hung over from being drunk, stoned, and wasted.
  • My girlfriend/boyfriend was doing something naughty to me while I was driving.
  • He revved his engine; what else could I do but drag race?

But amazingly, scientific evidence fails to disprove the possibility that all of these answers are wrong. Recent studies conducted by Prius and the United States Department of Energy Depletion have scientifically shown that it is barely possible that the real reason for so many teenagers crashing is the existence of high-velocity engines in cars that have race-style characteristics.

To be shirtless and sweaty -- sorry, I was distracted by thinking about a hot chick I once saw on the sidewalk a couple of years ago; I meant, to be short and sweet, teenagers drive too fast because of the existence of hot rods (and the existence of teenagers).

Put the two together and you get an explosive mixture of high-test fuel and high testosterone that will lure even the most sedate (if not sedated), moderate, lovable, goofy, teenaged "Dr. Walker" into a raging, gear-jamming, pedal-to-the-metal, nitro-infusing, slavering beast of a "Mr. Racer."

Can anybody give me one good reason why we should allow on the streets any car capable of exceeding the slowest posted speed limit? Or indeed any car that has race-like features that entice teens and other subhumans into racing, making "donuts," or playing "chicken?"

I'll take your silence as head-nodding affirmation. Since nobody can prove, legally, why he or she would need a "hot rod," the obvious solution is simply to remove them from the social compact.

Let's ban hot rods!

Recently, the Department of Transporters commissioned a commission, called the Commission of Committing to Preventing the Commission of Infractionary Commissions; that bipartisan federal body has recommended that we need to ban hot rods. Let me be clear: We have no wish to ban or restrict safe and acceptable vehicles; we only want to put the kibosh on vehicles built to exceed some speed limits, or that have race-like features such as tail fins and so-called "spoke" wheels.

The report is titled Let's Ban Hot Rods!, and it will shortly be published by Porka-DoT Press, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bicycle Recreations Unlimited, Ltd, chartered by Americans for Progress Towards an Automobile-Free, Carbon-Free Future, a division of the New York Times (for sale -- cheap!)

For purposes of upcoming regulation by the Environmental Prevention Agency, a Hot Rod will be described thus:

The term ‘hot rod race like vehicle’ means any of the following, regardless of country of manufacture or type of fuel accepted:

(A) A motor vehicle that has the capacity to drive faster than [thirty-five amended] twenty-five miles in an hour and has at least one of the following:

(i) A stick shift

(ii) A hood scoop, operable or merely decorative

(iii) A single row of seats

(iv) A roll bar

(v) An automotive frame taken from any vehicle produced prior to 1980

(vi) A body similar to any motor vehicle depicted in a film or television production that starred any of the following:

(a) Burt Reynolds

(b) Steve McQueen

(c) Elvis Presley

(d) James Dean

(e) That guy who played Rockford, whatever his name is.

(f) Any automobile named after a Confederate Civil-War general.

(g) A wicked paint job, especially any depiction of flames or fast things such as falcons and bumblebees

(h) A racing stripe

(i) A spoiler in front or in back, along the sides, or inside the passenger cab

(B) An automobile that cannot drive faster than [thirty-five amended] twenty-five miles in an hour but sure looks like it ought to do so.

(C) Any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, dingle-dangle, doo-dad, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of speed of an automobile but not convert the automobile into a Formula racing automobile, or is designed or functions to give the outward appearance of high velocity (over [thirty-five amended] twenty-five miles in an hour) travel.

(D) A motorcycle that has the capacity to drive faster than [thirty-three amended] twenty-three and a third miles in an hour and any 1 of the following:

(i) A so-called "sissy bar" extending from the rear of the seat

(ii) An extended set of forks

(iii) A "floating" rear wheel

(iv) Any emblem, knob, badge, or other decoration that falls into any of the following categories:

(a) Nazi memorabilia

(b) Shaped like or depicting any full or partial bone of human or animal

(c) Extended middle finger of either hand

(d) Depiction of any copyrighted or trademarked logo

(e) Depiction of any motorcycle club logo

(f) Depiction indended to degrade or devalue, or having the effect of degrading and devaluing, no matter how cockamamie such an inference may be, persons who fall into the following categories:

(I) Gay

(II) Lesbian

(III) Bisexual

(IV) Bestialisexual

(V) Asexual

(VI) Metrosexual

(VII) Omnisexual

(VIII) Female

(IX) Shemale

(X) Transgendered

(XI) Transmogrified

(XII) Transluminous

(XIII) Other

(v) A so-called "suicide" gearshift

(vi) The capacity to accept a detachable sidecar at some location outside of the motorcycle frame

(vii) Slick tires

(viii) A racing stripe

(ix) Fat tires

(x) Flat tires

(H) All of the following automobiles and motorcycles, copies, duplicates, variants, or altered facsimiles with the capability of any such vehicle thereof:

(i) Twenty-three pages of banned Hot Rod Automobiles and Motorcycles omitted due to space constraint; please visit our website at "http://LetsBanAllHotRods.gov//public/index.cfm/files/serve/?File_id=ChildTeenagerAutomotiveRegulationRestrictionProtectionDetectionChildDevelopmentDecencyPromotionSafety.pdf" for a complete listing of vehicles banned in this section of the regulatory definition.

Anybody who is against killing babies and supports truth, justice, and social justice must sign onto this social movement, and get these deadly killing machines out of the hands of children! Anything less would be unpatriotic and a crime against all history.

Anything more would be greatly appreciated: Please send donations, preferably cash or Krugerrands, to Save the Beasts and the Children, c/o Open Society Houndnation, George Soreass Productions, Davos, Switzerland.

Or just address the envelope to "Hillary" and burn it; it will still get there. We have our ways.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 3, 2013, at the time of 5:02 PM | Comments (0)

© 2005-2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh - All Rights Reserved