7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.11)

1. Two videos — both incredible, but in very different ways: One toke over the line. A flash of lightning.

2. Scot McKnight shares a story about how Justices Antonin Scalia and Elena Kagan have become “hunting buddies.” I’ve often thought it would be constructive to organize hunting trips like this, sending NRA-beholden lawmakers out for a long weekend with, say, police officials who favor gun-safety laws. That might provide a chance for the cops to convince them that common-sense gun legislation isn’t the threat to Second Amendment rights that they fearfully imagine it to be.

But in the case of Justice Kagan, I’d advise a bit of caution. She’s probably safe as long as there’s a Democratic president in the White House, but once there’s a president in office who would fill a Supreme Court vacancy with another member of the Federalist Society, then I’m not sure she should head into the woods with an armed hothead who might be dreaming of pulling a Cheney as a short-cut to a 6-3 majority.

3. I linked yesterday to Sarah Moon’s post on “Privilege, oppression, and being ‘nice.'” She was responding to an earnestly awful post elsewhere in the evangelical blogosphere titled “Are Christian Feminists Hurting Their Cause?” (You know, because they’re all pushy and angry and insufficiently grateful for all that men have begun to allow them to do.) Amy Mitchell also has a nice response to that post, titled “The tone policing needs to stop.” But I think my favorite response is from Dianna E. Anderson, who co-opts and wonderfully spoofs the faux-concern and condescension of the original in a post titled, “Are Christian Complementarians Hurting Their Cause?” Sauce for the gander indeed. That’s deserving of a Nina Turner Award for the Exposure of Duplicitous Hypocrisy.

4. Rent-seeking can be a tricky thing to explain or to grasp. It basically means making money without ever making anything else, or collecting wealth without creating value. Concurring Opinions points us to a new book from Geoff Mulgan which provides a helpful metaphor for this form of affluent parasitism. The book is called The Locust and the Bee: Predators and Creators in Capitalism’s Future. Here’s the nut of it:

If you want to make money, you can choose between two fundamentally different strategies. One is to create genuinely new value by bringing resources together in ways that serve people’s wants and needs. The other is to seize value through predation, taking resources, money, or time from others, whether they like it or not.

Hence locusts vs. bees. Or, as I usually think of it, Old Man Potter vs. George Bailey.

5. Andy Kessler was losing an argument with his 16-year-old son, so he made the disastrous decision to continue losing that argument even harder in a far more public forum. Kessler, a hedge fund manager (i.e., a rent-seeking locust), took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to repeat his belief that homelessness is caused by homeless shelters.

Scott Keyes performs the necessary chore of shredding Kessler’s factually ignorant and morally stunted argument, but what I find most interesting is the between-the-lines family drama this column inadvertently reveals. Kessler makes it clear that he had grown frustrated by his son’s failure to be instantaneously convinced and converted by this blinkered analysis of the “damage” done by shelters. He didn’t get the answer he was looking for — something like, “You’re so smart, Dad, and so very right, so I will now quit volunteering at the homeless shelter” — and so he has repeated it to his peers, to the other WSJ-reading locusts who are sure to supply the hearty agreement he was looking for. It doesn’t occur to him that his son has acquired real-world experience as a volunteer, and that he has thus encountered truths and learned things about reality that cannot be reconciled with his father’s elegantly self-serving theories.

As Doktor Zoom writes, the whole thing is “kind of sad, like Homer Simpson telling Lisa, ‘It’s OK honey, I used to believe in things too.”

But hang in there, kid. Your dad may be disgracing himself, but that’s not on you.

 6. “This argument has been made before, with equal self-satisfaction but without quite this level of obliviousness.” That’s from Eric C. Miller’s devastating Religion Dispatches essay “An Evangelical Intellectual Takes on Same-Sex Marriage, Grasps at Straw Men.”

7. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is in trouble and he deserves to be in trouble. Not just because he allegedly has taken tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from the owner of a dietary supplement company, and not even just because those gifts appear to be a transparent quid pro quo in exchange for the governor’s support for that company’s products. McDonnell’s bigger problem is the nature of some of those gifts and the cartoonish opulence of the luxuries he’s purchased with this ethically dubious money. The governor received a $6,500 Rolex watch — engraved with the inscription “71st Virginia Governor.” The business owner took McDonnell’s wife shopping — in Manhattan, at Bergdorf Goodman, for an Oscar de la Renta dress. The governor borrowed the business owner’s luxury car — a Ferrari. This is the Republican governor of a Southern state, but his spending habits read like the kind of hoity-toity East Coast liberal elite caricature you’d hear vilified by Rush Limbaugh or the speakers at a tea party rally. Mitt Romney had better populist instincts than this guy. Heck, Rafalca had better populist instincts.

An undisclosed $6,500 contribution or a dodgy gift of $15,000 to the first lady might be ethics violations, but McDonnell might have ridden out the scandal if those gifts had been simple cash transfers. But a $6,500 Rolex and a $15,000 haute coutore shopping spree at Bergdorf Goodman provide the kind of unforgettable, unforgivable details that will likely make it impossible for McDonnell to rally enough support from his base to survive this.

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  • walden

    And of course McDonnell got his masters degree from Pat Robertson’s fine institution….was it ethics he learned there?

  • The_L1985

    It reminds me of how at career colleges, the majority of students who get caught cheating on tests and plagiarizing papers are Criminal Justice majors.

  • Hth

    Far be it from me to speak in extremist absolutes, but anyone who owns a $6500 watch should be disqualified from everything everywhere. No one will ever convince me that it’s three times better than a $2000 watch (which is also far too expensive in my opinion, but whatever, I’ll let you go on two grand), so basically what you’re doing is just plain setting money on fire to prove that you can. It’s odiously selfish, both contemptuous and contemptible. I’d cut off contact with my own father if he paid $6500 for a fucking Rolex, let alone withdraw support from a governor. (Imagining that I had, in fact, ever supported McDonnell in the first place, or that my father would in a gazillion years ever do such a thing, both false.)

    Sorry. This kind of crap isn’t new, but it’s really getting under my skin today for some reason.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The only expensive watch I would ever purchase that’s more than $100 or so would be a radiation-detector watch.

  • reynard61

    And, heck, *that* watch sells for only $1500; so your karma’s *still* $500 in the clear.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    I’d just think they had more money than sense. They aren’t actually setting the money on fire–it’s going to pay the salaries and production costs, etc of a company that makes very high-quality, very sophisticated machines. Rolex actually makes things–they’re bees, not locusts.
    I do not begrudge the rich their right to spend money on luxuries; that money goes to the people who make luxuries, and those workers are not members of the idle rich.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That said, this kind of conspicuous consumption is hardly the stuff that actually turns the wheels of commerce well enough to drive an economy which can sustain anything but a wealthy few and a preponderance of the just-barely-dispossessed.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The average (annual) salary of a watchmaker in the US is $28,875.

    So yes, it is going to the idle rich. The watchmaker’s billionaire bosses.

  • JustoneK

    especially since clocks are everywhere else – they’re in phones, laptops, tablets, desktops, some electronic signage. I have serious trouble understanding owning a wristwatch at all except for fashion/nostalgia/super conspicuous consumption.

  • ReverendRef

    I have serious trouble understanding owning a wristwatch at all

    Except for the fact that it takes a simple glance at my watch which I can do while reading, writing, working on the computer, during services, etc. It takes much more effort for me to check the time on my phone because I have to actually stop what I’m doing, pull the phone out, touch it or open it or something to activate it from sleep mode, and then put it back.

    Am I lazy? Maybe. But it’s really a matter of convenience. And for me, it’s seriously NOT a fashion statement. Although, if I could, a watch would be the one thing I would use in that way — but probably never anything over $250.

  • JustoneK

    now that is a compelling argument. :)

  • ReverendRef

    Yeah, well …. I am nothing if not compelling. :)

  • atalex

    A rational choice that I can respect. I stopped wearing a wristwatch only after performing the personal cost-benefit analysis that weighed the utility of always knowing the correct time against (a) the time and effort it took to take off a watch at night and put it on again in the morning and (b) the fact that I find wristwatch tan-lines unsightly. Also, the fact that the clock on my phone is big and easy to read in the dark compensates for the inconvenience of having to reach into my pocket. YMMV.

  • Winter

    I’m pretty near-sighed and I wear my watch to bed. Glow-in-the-dark hands a few inches from my face are much easier to read then a glowing clock even a few feet away. It’s also easier for me to find my own wrist in the dark than grope for a phone or other clock. I think I’ve fallen out of bed trying to get close enough to the alarm clock to read it.

  • SisterCoyote

    Hee. I used to use the wristwatch tan on occasion to convince people that I really had been spending time in the sun. I’m fairly burn-resistant, and so pale that even with a week of soaking in Vitamin D, I look like I just stepped out of the basement. So I’d pull off my watch… and half my friends would recoil from the glare underneath.

  • Fusina

    “I’m fairly burn-resistant, and so pale that even with a week of soaking
    in Vitamin D, I look like I just stepped out of the basement.”

    Another one like me? People do not believe that I neither burn nor tan–actually, I can burn but it takes a long time (like, 8 to 10 hours). And I’ve given up on my legs ever being anything but pasty white. The worst I’ve ever felt about it was when an African American friend of mine and I were at the beach…and she got darker while I stayed my usual vampire queen pale.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Are salespeople allowed to carry cell phones these days? When I was in college, cell phones had just become ubiquitous and it was kind of a big deal that most professions that involved any sort of customer interaction considered it unthinkable to carry a cell phone where a customer might see.

    I mean, also I find the idea of using a cell phone to tell the time to be really stupid, but that’s just me.

  • ReverendRef

    I think it probably depends on what kind of salesperson you’re talking about. I can’t recall seeing a cell phone on in-store salespeople since they deal with walk-in customers and can call the store if needed.

    But I would think that outside salespeople would need to carry one since that’s probably how they stay in contact with the home office and their customers.

    That said, any salesperson who paid more attention to his/her phone than to me as a customer could be guaranteed a No Sale result.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I carried a cell phone when I worked the sales floor at a Walmart because I was usually all by myself. The rules state that if you find a spill, you should stay by the spill and get another associate to get paper towels (or granulated absorbant) to clean it up. Since I was by myself, that would mean that I would have to stand there by the spill for as many as 20 minutes until another associate happened by, and if I didn’t yell loudly enough to get his or her attention, I could stand there even longer.

    So I started carrying my phone. Then, when I found a spill, I would pull out the phone and call the store and ask for someone in one of the next two departments over, which both had both phones and cash registers, so someone had to be near the phone nearly constantly. When they would answer, I would ask them to bring towels. This meant that someone would come and help within about two or three minutes, rather than more than 20.

    Occasionally the spill was so bad that I had to call the store to ask for the Customer Service Manager to get someone from maintenance over to clean the spill.

  • Tempus Vernum

    It seems I subconsciously check my watch alot, when I broke it and had to get it fixed I was constantly having my conscious thoughts interrupted by a nagging “OMG I checked your wrist and there was nothing there!” from my hindbrain. It was a relief once I got it back.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    I have serious trouble understanding owning a wristwatch at all except for fashion/nostalgia/super conspicuous consumption.

    I’m on a business trip this week and I left my watch at home. Yes, I have a phone and two laptops with me that have clocks. But I really miss having my watch, since it’s actually something of a pain in the butt to pull out my phone to check the time and I was sitting in a meeting room that didn’t have a clock and checking my phone all the time was a faux pas.

  • FearlessSon

    I remember I had a physics teacher in high school who wore a pair of watches. One digital, one analogue, neither particularly expensive.

    I suspect he wore them more to get the students speculating than anything else.

  • JustoneK

    well shit, now I am.
    did he ever give any sort of explanation?

  • FearlessSon

    If he did, I never heard it.

    I got suspended from that school during that quarter and forcibly transferred into another. I was forbidden to go back to that campus, so I never got an answer.

    I remember him telling the class the first day that I was going to be an A student.

  • Boidster

    I got suspended from that school during that quarter and forcibly transferred into another. I was forbidden to go back to that campus, so I never got an answer.

    OK now cut that out. You can’t just start two interesting anecdotes and then leave us hanging on both of them. So, what did you set on fire? (I’ve got a buck on “set something on fire”.)

  • FearlessSon

    I yelled at someone.

    That was the catalyst, in any case. I was kind of angry back in high school. I felt that the upperclassmen were allowed to run too wild, that the school placed too much emphasis on “school spirit” and not enough on academics, and I made my opinion known during school rally events… by setting myself apart from the bleachers and ranting at the top of my lungs. This embarrassed the school administration, and they considered me a problem. They even forced me to drop a bunch of the supplemental classes I was taking, believing I must be too stressed from the workload I took on in an effort to get extra credits in so I could graduate early. They really ruined that scheme, damning me to another year I high school I was trying to avoid.

    Anyway, one day during a class I spoke with an upperclassmen, and told her my feelings about how I hated the hierarchical structure of the school social system. She managed to change my mind on the matter, got me to let it go a bit. I was grateful to her. A week later I was brought into the principal’s office, where the school police officer read me my Miranda Rights. The upperclassmen I spoke to had gone to the officer, saying that what I said to her frightened her. I got to see a copy of the report she made that the officer filed, starting with the words “Now I don’t want to get him in trouble, but…”

    The officer filed it, as per standard procedure, someone at the district attorney’s office saw it and decided that, since the Columbine High School shooting was in the news, they better play it safe rather than sorry and filed a felonious harassment charge against me. I yelled at the upperclassmen because I trusted her and she had changed my mind. The school administration saw this as their opportunity and suspended me, forbid me from returning to the campus, and had me mail in all my homework. After a month of “correspondence learning” I was transferred to another school in the district and put in a special program for juvenile delinquents.

    The program teacher put me to work tutoring the rest of her charges in math. I got a deferred deposition, with the record sealed and expunged, given a year’s probation and community service as a slap on the wrist (which was reduced because I had already been voluntarily doing community service even before that so that got to count against the total time.) I was told that if I shaped up my act, I would be let into my old school.

    So I sacrificed all my free time, put my nose to the grindstone, went on a bunch of medications to keep my mood perpetually even, and made every effort to communicate that my spirit of defiance was thoroughly broken. After a year, I met with the old principal who had kicked me out in the first place. He acknowledged that indeed I had made substantial improvement, met every demand they made of me, and I did deserve my second chance to back to my original school. Which was exactly why he was not letting me back. I was doing too well at the new school, and he did not want to mess that up by keeping up his end of the bargain.

    And that is the story of the worst year of my life.

  • AdrianTurtle

    Fashion is a meaningful reason to wear a watch, especially for a man. There are relatively few socially-acceptable ways for a man to wear jewelry these days.(Not none–wedding rings and little religious necklaces are generally seen as ok.)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    All I can think for that is “But this is like saying that Halloween serves a useful purpose by letting people crossdress once a year without repercussion.”

  • SisterCoyote

    A wristwatch is actually really useful. It is very, very handy to be able to glance down and see what time it is, if you’re in a place where you can’t dig for your cellphone, or your cellphone is out of batteries. I wore one every day for years, up until it stopped working, and I was the only person in the low brass section of marching band who could tell the rest of my classmates how long we had ’til the last bell. If you’re hiking, or swimming, a cellphone – even if it’s supposed to be waterproof – is not something I’d want to risk in my pocket, but a watch is a hell of a lot easier to waterproof, and a lot easier to replace than a phone if they do get damaged.

  • JustoneK

    I spend a _lot_ of time either on a computer or right next to one or next to someone else with one. Personal bias, yes.

    I went outside once without getting into a vehicle. It was awful.

  • Arresi

    To add to the other personal accounts – I started wearing one again recently, after a long period of loaning my cell phone to my dad and being faced away from the clock during lectures/speeches/meetings.

    (Incidentally, I wish someone would take a moment to remind speakers that when there is a set end-time, it is basic courtesy to end the actual presentation by that time.)

  • stardreamer42

    It’s very difficult to surreptitiously check your cellphone to see if you’ve let the tendentious idiot sitting with you run on long enough to gracefully make your escape.

    Also, you don’t have to turn your watch off in the airplane.

  • Wednesday

    I have serious trouble understanding owning a wristwatch at all except for fashion/nostalgia/super conspicuous consumption

    Students and teachers both have practical uses for watches. I’ve frequently taught in classrooms where the clocks were wrong, or not visible to the lecturer, or visible to the lecturer but not the students, which is a problem when you’re giving an exam.

    I opt to use a pocketwatch over a wristwatch partially as a matter of style, but also because I cannot stand wearing things on my wrists due to my wrist-focus RSI. :/

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I tend to not wear a watch, because I’ve been surrounded by clocks for so many years (srsly, my university has quite a few). It’s going to be an interesting adjustment when I find a postdoc position somewhere. :P

  • guest

    :) I’ve almost always lived within the sound range of bell towers, so I always know what time it is….

  • The_L1985

    If more of my stuff had pockets, and I had more money, I’d totally get one of those old-fashioned mechanical ones. They’re pretty cool.

  • reynard61

    Hey! I happen to carry a $60 pocket watch! (Yep, this kind.) I’ll admit that there’s a bit of vanity involved in my choice of this over a wristwatch, but I like the fact that I’ll never have to replace any batteries (just wind it up and “hack” it to my alarm clock and I’m all set!), and I like the feel of it’s weight in my pocket — kind of like the substantiality that Time has in our lives. Would I pay more for a better, more gadget-laden version? Probably not. But the collection of precision-made bits of metal and plastic that I have is useful to my particular needs in a way that a cellphone (which I don’t own anyway) or computer simply can’t match.

  • The_L1985

    I wear mine all the time because:

    – Sometimes a classroom clock breaks and I need to make sure I’m pacing things slow enough that all my students “get it” but still fast enough that I can get to everything in today’s lesson.

    – I can wear it while doing activities that are best NOT performed while using electronics. I’ve even gone snorkeling in a water-resistant watch!

    – To check the time on my watch, I merely need to glance at my wrist. To check the time on my cellphone, I have to reach into my purse, dig around til I find it, and then push a button to make the time display.

    – I always wear watches that also show the date. A lot of devices don’t show the date by default.

    That said, I’m also not the sort of person who spends more than about $25 on a watch, at least at initial-purchasing time. I also tend to replace watchbands and batteries, instead of buying a whole new watch, because watches with the date display are hard to find.

  • Daniel

    $6500 watches tell so much more time than $2000 watches.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    This reminds me of a Ancient Greek philosopher (Diogenes, IIRC), who asked why people used gold cups since wine drunk from a gold cup tastes just the same as wine drunk from a ceramic cup.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    ISTR that at one point, food was served on aluminum because it was so expensive to refine before advances in chemistry made it easier to obtain. :P

    The wealthy seem to almost be driven by some kind of deep-seated instinct to look, be and act different from the majority of people.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yeah. Aluminum is pretty common, but rendering it into a useful form is really hard, since bauxite would rather catch fire than melt. You had to melt it in a vacuum with elemental sodium, which was fairly expensive itself.

  • Daniel

    “bauxite would rather catch fire than melt.”
    Which is why it’s so bloody hard to seduce, but totally worth it if you manage.

  • reynard61

    The Wealthy practice a tribalism that is just as exclusionary as that of the poorest tribal clan in Afghanistan. The toys that they play with are just a bit newer and sparklier.

  • Turcano

    Specifically, industrial aluminum smelting requires vast amounts of electricity. Bauxite is dissolved in a flux of molten aluminum salt and electrolyzed to precipitate the pure aluminum. This means that aluminum takes 95% less power to recycle than to smelt, and that aluminum smelting is how Iceland exports its geothermal energy.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Ever heard of Thorstein Veblien and his Theory of the Leisure Class?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Indeed.

  • Winter

    Speaking of Diogenes, I think the world might be a better place if avarice could be treated by rubbing a wallet or a small lump of gold. I am pretty cynical, but definitely not in the way he was.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Which is crap. Drinking out of anything metal totally affects the taste of the beverage.

  • Jamoche

    When given a choice between gold cups and wood, choose wisely.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Testify to that. Also the heat-transfer properties of the container seem to play a role too. Drinking iced tea out of a can seems to taste subtly different from out of a glass.

  • GDwarf

    Diogenes was just generally awesome. He knocked Plato down a few pegs, and routinely mocked the rich and powerful. He clearly had no tolerance for what he saw as foolishness, but his criticisms all seem to have a sort of…playful sting to them. One gets the impression that he was in on a joke that no one else really got.

  • caryjamesbond

    I think if you said that to him, he’d agree and say it was called “life.”

  • Daniel

    He also used to wank in public and lived in a big pot, so pros and cons. My favorite story about him is the old chestnut about Alexander the Great asking if there was anything he could do for Diogenes- the reply “yes, you can get out of my light.”

  • GDwarf

    Actually, the living in a pot shows that he wasn’t just talk. His general mocking of social norms also included the (apparently unthinkable) act of eating food in the market, rather than taking it home. Given that that apparently was considered terrible enough that it gets many mentions, one rather wonders if our reaction to wanking in public won’t look as silly in a few thousand years.

    My favourite story about him is probably when he brought a “man” to Plato. Plato had, to great acclaim, published his definition of what a man was (something like “a featherless biped”) so Diogenes walked in on one of his lectures and threw a plucked chicken on the ground, exclaiming “Behold! I bring you a man!” The definition was quickly amended, though Plato clearly didn’t get the point, since he simply added: “Without scaly legs” or something like that.

  • Hexep

    If I have all this money, wouldn’t you prefer that I spend it on things and thus inject it into the economy, rather than just putting it in a big pile and hiring some Nibelungs to guard it?

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I’ve heard it’s hard for Nibelungs to find a good job these days.

  • Hexep

    The market for magical golden helmets has, unfortunately, bottomed out in the last few quarters.

  • reynard61

    What about the market in magic swords and spears? My broker says that I can get rich in Nothung flat! ;-D

  • Mark Z.

    It’s all been downhill since that Spanish guy discovered you could make one out of a shaving basin.

  • Daniel

    I am so pleased someone’s given me an opening to post this link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4pSztQk2_0
    A warrior stands ready- just like at the Olympics because G4S couldn’t make it and the army had to step in.

  • chgo_liz

    Kessler actually coins a new name for the current generation of teens and young adults, of which his son is a member: he calls them GenG, because he says they feel “guilty” about all the wealth and improvements their parents have made in the world.

    Yeah, doesn’t track for me, either. Seems someone is projecting….

  • AnonaMiss

    I see where he’s coming from, actually. I think people who have been vulturing too long have a hard time distinguishing between the feelings of guilt and empathy, for perhaps obvious reasons. And I do think there’s a good chance the newer generations have and will continue to have a more well-developed sense of empathy than was usual in the past, due to the great cultural mixing-bowl that is the internet.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Reminds me of this fictional book someone wrote which centered around derivatives, The Velocity of Money. In that book, with all apparent un-selfconscious lack of understanding of how distorted social priorities have become, a character says:

    “… Supercomputers will permit us to tap energy from the aurora borealis; create synthetic blood; resolve the ozone depletion problem, cure AIDS. But that’s tomorrow’s killer applications. Stock market prediction is the world of here and now.”

    Admittedly the book was written in 1997, but even so, the point remains that this character, who got into computing to solve a problem, sees nothing fundamentally distorted about the fact that someone thought it more important to pay him to figure out how to extract wealth from the paper economy than to create it in the real economy.

  • ReverendRef

    fictional book someone wrote

    I know you meant “book of fiction,” but when I read that I immediately thought of the fictional clothes being produced for the emperor.

    Not playing grammar police — it just made me smile and go, “Um … what … Oh, got it.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Heh! Now that I re-read it, it is rather an odd phrasing. :P

  • VMink

    That being said, there’s a long tradition of stories about books — and plays, and paintings, and other works of art — that don’t exist. So now I want to read/write a story about a fictional book that causes people to make the market go weird.

  • themunck

    “The day Mitt Romney read the Necronomicon”?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And there are some I wish existed:

    he cabin lights dimmed. The chairs faced a blank wall, and an image appeared on it. A man in a blue uniform walked down the center of a dark, rain-slick urban street. As words appeared on the screen–Missing Link 3: Vacation in Armageddon–a second uniformed man joined him. They had just greeted one another when gunfire erupted from one of the buildings. The two men jumped behind a wheeled vehicle and shouted at one another. “They’re trying to kill us, Link!”–“Yeah? They gotta try harder!” Their archaic accents made their words hard to understand.

    – From “Debtors’ Planet” :D

  • FearlessSon

    I read that one. Ralph Offenhouse (a guest minor character from one of the early season episodes) comes back as a Federation ambassador to the Ferengi, a position for which his fish-out-of-temporal-water status as a twentieth century businessman made him well suited.

    I believe the scene in question was where Riker, Data, and Worf were watching old cheesy action movies for a laugh.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It was indeed. :P

  • chgo_liz

    I’ll totally agree with you on that. Empathy is so foreign to this guy that he perceives it as guilt instead.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    This concept is so bizarre to me (as someone without natural empathy) that I have to stop and just stare at it a bit.

  • AnonaMiss

    That’s not exactly what I meant. When a predator sees a person in straits that would provoke sympathy, it’s often as a result of hir own predation, so it also provokes guilt. So the two emotions get tangled together. Kind of like how a person who feels ashamed of being turned on, may begin to be turned on by shame.

  • chgo_liz

    I hear you. But I don’t think the perpetrator consciously recognizes the feeling inside themselves as guilt, even though they project it onto the victim using the correct term.

    In saying this, I’m talking about the larger percentage of people who are not clinically sociopathic…people who are capable of feeling these emotions, just not wanting to. There are some people who do not feel guilt, or empathy, but they are relatively small in number.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    When I see things like discussions of how the rich feel about the poor I keep being reminded of this snippet of the short story “Mother Earth” by Asimov (which has fallen out of copyright finally, thank God):

    Ask yourself, Keilin-what was the attitude of the typical Auroran to a typical Earthman? A feeling of superiority? That’s the first thought, I suppose. But, tell me, Keilin, if he really felt superior, really superior, would it be so necessary for him to call such continuous attention to it? What kind of superiority is it that must be continuously bolstered by the constant repetition of phrases such as ‘apemen,’ ‘submen,’ ‘half-animals of Earth,’ and so on? That is not the calm internal assurance of superiority. Do you waste epithets on earthworms? No, there is something else there.

    The supermen are, so they say, too well adjusted. But here on Earth, as the proverb goes, there are more psychiatrists than plumbers, and they get lots of practice. So it is we, and not they, who know the truth about this Outer World superiority-complex, who know it to be simply a wild reaction against an overwhelming feeling of guilt.

    “Don’t you think that can be so? You shake your head as though you disagree. You don’t see that a handful of men who clutch a Galaxy while billions starve for lack of room must feel a subconscious guilt, no matter what? And, since they won’t share the loot, don’t you see that the only way they can justify themselves is to try to convince themselves that Earthmen, after all, are inferior, that they do not deserve the Galaxy, that a new race of men have been created out there and that we here are only the diseased remnants of an old race that should die out like the dinosaur, through the working of inexorable natural laws?

    For note, Asimov wrote this back in 1949.

  • DCFem

    He is not projecting, sociopaths do not feel guilt. What he is doing is condescending to his son and all of the other young people who try in whatever small way they can to ease the suffering of the homeless. I hope that kid inherits every dime of this jerks money because the son sounds like he might be willing to give a considerable portion of it to help those in need.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Assuming for the moment that the person is not a subcriminal psychopath, then I would say that the “projection” statement has a fair bit going for it.

    As has been discussed elsewhere on this blog, there are some people who seem bound and determined to see the world in mirror-images: that is, whatever injustices currently exist will only be replicated when social status changes. For example. I would not be surprised to find out that Kessler honestly believes that were he to become homeless, he would laze about all day and do nothing because that’s what he perceives the homeless to be from his lofty socioeconomic position.

    So in terms of “GenG”, Kessler probably assumes the standard narrative of the bleeding-heart liberal: that is, he assumes that advocates for the poor and homeless want him to feel bad about the money he has, rather than to feel compassion for those less fortunate – because in his view, if he were such an advocate, he would want everybody who is rich to feel bad about it, instead of grasping that he would want people to feel kinship and compassion.

  • Dash1

    More likely, I think, Kessler believes he and his ilk (the “makers”) are qualitatively different from the homeless (the “takers”), so that if he were homeless, he would get right up and get himself a job, no matter how lowly, and he would work so hard and be so good at it that he would quickly get himself promoted to manager, and before you know it, he’d have his own business and it would be doing well, and he’d be living in a fine home in a gated community. And I suspect he thinks any of the homeless could do exactly that, except that they’re lazy and prefer to be taken care of, i.e., very much not like him at a basic level.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I never quite tire of linking to this, which in the middle of mocking a lot of conservative ideology is a pretty nice riposte on the bootstraps ideology:

    Next time you are listening to a conservative do their usual harangue against Blacks, the homeless, Gays or some Other,
    when they pause long enough to wipe the spittle from their chins,
    politely inquire how they would feel if they happened to be Gay, Black
    or Other. Invariably comes the same answer, “I am not Gay! I
    am not Black! I am not homeless! And if I were, which I am not, I
    would overcome any and all obstacles in my path.” These statements are
    then followed by high decibel bootstrap speeches and Neanderthal Law
    of the Jungle platitudes.

  • guest

    One thing I’ve learned over the years is that every single ‘self made’ success story includes getting help from someone. Even Horatio Alger heroes become successful by catching the eye of the factory owner or whatever. That’s not exactly achieving by yourself. (I’ve appreciated knowing this, because I can realise, when I need to, that although I have all the attributes of someone who should have been a conventional ‘success’ I’ve never been in a position to secure that kind of help. It’s got nothing to do with me.)

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    One thing I’ve learned over the years is that every single ‘self made’ success story includes getting help from someone. Even Horatio Alger heroes become successful by catching the eye of the factory owner or whatever. That’s not exactly achieving by yourself.
    And what’s wrong with someone in authority pulling others less fortunate up to their level, giving them a break? Much better than those who enjoy their privileges for themselves and themselves alone, and actively crush anyone who tries to climb into their lifeboat. (That was the base dynamic of the Nouveau Riche Victorian commoners who’d just purchased their noble titles; nobody is as vicious about those threats trying to climb up to their level as someone who has just climbed up themselves.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The problem is the inherent capriciousness of a system like that.

    It helps keep alive the lie that people who didn’t catch the right lucky break have only themselves to blame for not living the success story that the American Dream “sells”.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There’s nothing wrong with it that you or I would see, but to certain schools of economic conservatism, the very idea is anathema, hence someone like Paul Ryan wanting to slash the financial aid budget to around a third of its present level.

  • reynard61

    The main problem with the Bootstraps ideology is that it tends to all-too-quickly evolve into a Jackboot ideology.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    The main problem with the Bootstraps ideology is that it tends to all-too-quickly evolve into a Jackboot ideology.
    “I GOT MINE,
    I GOT MINE,
    I DON’T WANT A THING TO CHANGE
    NOW THAT I GOT MINE…”
    — Glenn Frye

  • aunursa

    Conservatives love this movie.

  • Dash1

    The attitude is, I think, a bit Calvinistic. If you succeed, it’s evidence that you were the right sort of person to begin with; if you don’t, it’s evidence that you weren’t.

    The movie seems to be making the point that “it can be done,” which feeds into the belief that those not doing are just not putting forth the effort, which is accounted for by their personal failings.

  • Vermic

    Kessler:

    But obsessing over carbon footprints and LEED certifications and free-range strawberries and charging for plastic bags will not help the world nearly as much as good old-fashioned economic growth.

    Yes, if only today’s youth chose professions of real, concrete benefit to humanity, such as hedge fund managembwfffffhahahaha I’m sorry I can’t even finish that sentence with a straight face.

  • VMink

    Pity that infinite, endless economic growth is impossible. He might actually have a point, then.

  • Lori

    I have never been able to understand why some people so vigorously champion cancer, catfish and pigs as models for the economy.

  • GDwarf

    Well, catfish are pretty awesome. Perhaps hedge fund managers would be nicer if they all had moustaches that looked like barbels.

  • Alix

    There’s an art studio place right on the Potomac River, and if you go out back to the docks to feed the ducks, there’s a massive catfish that ominously patrols the waters right by the dock edge. I have a soft spot for catfish, especially ominous ones.

  • Lori

    Catfish are kind of awesome up to a point and then they’re just gross. Because they never stop growing if they evade the fishing pole long enough they get to a size that’s truly disturbing. I mean really, this is not right:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/photogalleries/giantcatfish/index.html

    And because they’re bottom feeders they aren’t really good to eat when they’re old (for a fish).

  • Alix

    … I … think that makes catfish even more awesome. >.>

    I thought indeterminate growth was something all fish were capable of, though? Growing to massive sizes is hardly unique to catfish.

  • Lori

    Yes, all fish keep growing until they day. Catfish live longer or something though because they seem to get weird huge more than most other fish. And like I said, they’re bottom feeders, so the longer they live the more toxic they tend to become.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    We’ve been watching River Monsters, and judging from that, gigantic catfish are responsible for a surprising number of human injuries and deaths.

  • Alix

    (River Monsters is so much fun. What, better than one of every three eps is on catfish? :P)

    The other thing to keep in mind with catfish, though, is how very many kinds there are – not just the super-huge ones, but even tiny parasitic species; some are actively predatory, some bottom-feeders, some scavengers, some strictly vegetarian. There’s a huge diversity there. And there are just so many catfish overall* that, well, I’m not really surprised we find a lot of huge ones or that they cause a lot of human injuries and fatalities.

    *Trying to get hard figures is fun. :/ Wikipedia, the font of reliability, throws up the interesting tidbit that apparently one in every 20 vertebrate species is a catfish, with over 3000 extant species. But, well, Wikipedia, and all other pages I find just talk in even more general terms. All agree that catfish account for a lot of the world’s overall fish population, though.

  • Alix

    Also, iirc, the Mekong Giant Catfish Lori linked to above is an herbivore that, apparently, eats mostly algae.

  • Jamoche

    Speaking of surprising human injuries from fish:

    In the 1970’s silver carp were accidentally introduced into the Illinois River after escaping from a fish farm. The fish mistake pressure waves from the propellors of the boat’s motors for the movements of predators and jump with fright. Each jumping fish scares its neighbour, causing a dangerous chain reaction. Narrated By David Tennant
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=tLmJjRqXDCo%20

  • Alix

    I’ve heard that alligators and snakes similarly just keep growing all through adulthood, but I’m not sure if that’s accurate either. :/ It seems from my limited understanding of biology that indeterminate growth would be a bit easier to have happen underwater where the effects of gravity are somewhat mitigated.

  • Lori

    Most reptiles keep growing, so it is probably true of alligators and snakes. The thing is that that growth slows way down over time, so after the main growth part of their life cycle the additional growth isn’t that big of a deal. AFAIK the one exception to that is the octopus. It not only continues to grow, it apparently grows faster the longer it lives.

    Nature. It’s freaky.

  • Alix

    Dude. The octopus was already my favorite animal, and that just makes it more awesome.

    Nature. It’s freaky.

    Word.

  • Alix

    …is Disqus suddenly not showing replies in the dashboard for anyone else? (Or am I the only person who uses the dashboard? >.<)

    If it's not one thing, it's something completely unexpected. Dammit, Disqus.

  • Lori

    I assume you’re familiar with WTF, Evolution?

    http://wtfevolution.tumblr.com/

  • Alix

    YES. I love that tumblr. It’s on my weekly reading circuit.

    If there’s one thing that site proves, it’s that nature is always weirder than you thought.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The mimic octopus is the greatest thing ever. If they get much more intelligent, they’ll pass for humans. More so than they do already.

  • Daniel

    It’s not a question of intelligence, we just don’t have much time on our (admittedly numerous) hands. I’ve only been able to contribute so much because I made a killing predicting results for the last World Cup so was able to retire early.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Paul_the_octopus

  • Daniel

    Cthulu’s head keeps growing, and growing faster, the long he lives while his body stays the same or shrinks?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    And that is how Captain Jack turned into the Face of Boe.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If you want to make money, you can choose between two fundamentally
    different strategies. One is to create genuinely new value by bringing
    resources together in ways that serve people’s wants and needs. The
    other is to seize value through predation, taking resources, money, or
    time from others, whether they like it or not.

    The saddest thing about the triumphal oompah-oompah-ing about the Greatness of American Capitalism (and you really do hear the capital letters when the cheerleaders and fans of it get going on about it), is that there’s just enough innovation still going on around the world to cover up the flaws that arise from the fact that the government tacitly (in most cases) and openly (in a few) adjusts the rules governing society to make rent-seeking a preferred and attractive economic behavior.

    How else to explain the ridiculous patent and copyright quagmire we find ourselves in, where the RIAA’s and MPAA’s sole raison d’etre has become lawsuits against people who can’t afford to fight a long case in court, and/or the near indiscriminate use of DMCA takedowns to stifle legitimate creative expression?

    How else to explain the way pharmaceutical companies play every trick in the book they can use to sideline the creation of safe and effective generic-drug alternatives to the medications they produce?

    How else to explain the ongoing wanton abuse of the corporate income tax system as a way to easily seek profits where none existed before, usually at taxpayer expense? (That said, some pro-free-market economists in particular often criticize this as a distortion of the proper cost-benefit analysis that should normally create or remove incentives to provide goods or services to people, so while the economics profession may be blind to some of the manifold ways in which the “free” market is not a free market, other parts of the “free” market are recognized as not fitting the definition)

    These, and more, illustrate all the ways in which the very policies propounded by the likes of Ronald Reagan and his successors have created a La Brea-like morass into which the US Government is sinking. Even Obama had to quietly step back on several of his ~bold initiatives~, such as soft-pedalling his firm insistence on closing the lobbyist revolving door problem, or really putting into practice his insistence on making laws more transparent. (Even the CATO Institute has a problem with that, and their complaints are legitimate)

    I fear that it may take more than the peaceful democratic process to rectify this serious problem. :(

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    One is to create genuinely new value by bringing
    resources together in ways that serve people’s wants and needs. The
    other is to seize value through predation, taking resources, money, or
    time from others, whether they like it or not.

    The first is actually expanding the size of the pie, allowing more and more people a chance at cashing in.
    The second is the Zero-Sum Game, where the only way to get more for me is to take it away from you. By force if necessary.
    I have often worried that all the Club of Rome/One Small Spaceship Earth hype of the earlier environmental movement unknowingly spread a Zero-Sum zeitgeist while singing “Kum-Ba-Yah”.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think part of the problem is that at some indefinable point in the future there truly will be no net gain for humanity as a whole if we remain on Planet Earth.

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics will see to that, if the sun’s life-cycle does not.

    The problem here is the doomthinkers on the left (“OMG WHY SHOULD WE LEAVE HERE WE’LL JUST POLLUTE THE UNIVERSE”) and the stuck-in-the-muds on the right (“SPACE? SPACE??? YOU ADDLE-HEADED MUSHY HIPPY-DIPPY.”) find common cause in refusing to embrace the radical notion that just maybe if we can get out into space, into the solar system, we can access such an embarrassing wealth of resources as to give all of humanity a lifestyle worthy of kings and queens.

    We’ve already reached the point of population stabilization. All that remains now is to stop insisting we have to exploit each other for the gain of a few.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Andy Kessler was losing an argument with his 16-year-old son, so he made
    the disastrous decision to continue losing that argument even harder in a far more public forum. Kessler, a hedge fund manager (i.e., a rent-seeking locust), took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to repeat his belief that homelessness is caused by homeless shelters.

    This reminds me of another totally out of touch dumbass who thought he could get sympathy whining about taxes when his combined family income is in the $400k a year range.

  • themunck

    Reminds me of a clip from the Daily Show. Wonder if I can find it…
    Meh, my google fu fails. It’s some guy who tries to convince us he’s not left with much after his taxes, because he apprently needs to pay tax on money he invests back into his buisness and because he needs $200.000 for his household budget.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • themunck

    *Hugs tightly* It indeed is. :) And here’s the daily show link, now that I have a date to filter by.
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-september-21-2011/moneybrawl—the-extinction-of-subway–bill-o-reilly—the-super-rich

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    If you watch closely, you’ll notice that when a rich person complains about how hard it is to get by, they’re always talking about how little money they have left.

    “Sure, you lot have it hard, but after maxing out my 401K contribution and private schools for both the kids and fully funding their college fund and mortgage payments on the house, and mortgage payments on the summer house, and paying the maid and the landscaper, and the car payments on the BMW, we never have enough to put into the savings account every month, so it’s not like we’ve got it easy.”

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Kessler, a hedge fund manager (i.e., a rent-seeking locust), took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to repeat his belief that homelessness is caused by homeless shelters.
    “Stupidity is like hydrogen; it’s the basic building block of the universe.”
    — Frank Zappa

  • aunursa

    Justice Kagan should watch her back, because her hunting buddy Tony Scalia might at any moment go all Pelican Brief on her. *

    [Geez — it’s all in jest! You conservatives don’t have any sense of humor.]

    And I’m the one who’s accused of acting like a jerk.

    [Yawn]

    * Bear in mind that many commenters here have openly joked about or wished for Scalia’s imminent death.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If it helps, I don’t necessarily think it’s that funny either, and it feels like a bit of a non-sequitur, anyway, in the context of two colleagues engaging in a sport where numerous safety precautions are routinely urged by gun trainers anyway.

    However, your overacted self-martyrdom is really annoying.

  • aunursa

    However, your overacted self-martyrdom is really annoying.

    I bow to the Master. ;-)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Your continued un-selfconscious lack of understanding of the life experiences of anyone who isn’t a straight white male would be awe-inspiring if it wasn’t also a testament to the fact that you have no idea why or how you can manage to deliver yourself of the most repellently offensive statements and viewpoints.

  • aunursa

    The Master speaks. His disciple gleans from his superior wisdom. If I am in a discussion about fictional characters with another commenter — let’s call him PT-IN … and the discussion goes like this…

    aunursa: That anti-Semitic scum is blackmailing her.
    PT-IN: You’re wrong. She’s misinterpreting his remarks.
    aunursa: Hello? If she believes that he’s threatening her because she’s Jewish, then it must be so.
    PT-IN: Nope. You’re reaching.

    … then my appropriate response is …

    aunursa: HOW DARE YOU, SIR! How DARE you question my judgment! You, who stand there with your privileged Gentile background– You, who lack the understanding of the life-experience of someone who is Jewish– You, who have never experienced what it’s like to suffer the humiliation of anti-Semitism– You have NO RIGHT to question my conclusion. You, who are not a victim, have no right to disagree with an actual victim. If a fictional character thinks that she is being threatened because she is Jewish, then it must be the case. I demand that you apologize immediately for your flippant dismissal of such a blatant example of Jew-hatred.

  • SisterCoyote

    There are only a few internet threads that I’ve ever passionately wished had never taken place. That thread is one of them. How long ago was it? A year, a year and a half? And we’re still dealing with the double-edged hurt feelings caused by it.

    Yes, Aunursa, in that case, if you responded with being upset that someone was not taking anti-semitism and blackmail seriously, you would be in the right. Much as PT/IN was in the right when he responded by being upset that you weren’t taking the blackmail of someone’s sexual orientation seriously.

    But I really wish we could just stop throwing around old drama and allegations against each other’s character. It’s getting old.

  • aunursa

    I certainly would be upset if someone were not taking actual bona-fide anti-Semitism and blackmail seriously. But I seriously doubt I would continue my self-martyrdom over subsequent threads.

    And we were not talking about an actual incident, here. If we are debating whether or not a statement that a fictional character perceives as a threat to reveal her Jewish identity constitutes actual blackmail, then NO, I would not be upset that someone who is not Jewish disagreed with me. That would be extremely petty of me if I were to get all bent out of shape because of such a disagreement over a work of fiction. (And it’s been two and half years — since January 2011.)

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    False equivalence, as always. Making a joke at the expense of a powerful, influential man is hardly the same as endorsing policies designed to harm millions of the poor and powerless.

    Anyway, Fred’s a piker compared to your ideological bedmates.

  • aunursa

    Making a joke at the expense of a powerful, influential man is hardly the same as endorsing policies designed to harm millions of the poor and powerless.

    No. I wasn’t labeled a jerk because of any policy endorsements, but rather in response to my comment suggesting a reason for The Lone Ranger‘s miserable box office figures.

  • SisterCoyote

    I’m sorry if it seemed that I was labeling you a jerk, especially for that single comment. What I meant to say was more “Your actions in the past few days have been kind of jerky.” Not “You are a jerk for saying this.”

  • AnonaMiss

    For what it’s worth, I too found the suggestion overwrought and inappropriate.

  • SisterCoyote

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t say you were a jerk, or that you’ve been acting like a jerk for ages – just the past few days, you’ve been more confrontational than usual, and it’s thrown me off.

    But no, that’s not particularly funny or clever either.

  • aunursa

    Any time I present or defend a conservative viewpoint here, I’m “being confrontational.”

  • Lori

    So what you’re saying is that the conservative viewpoint is, by it’s nature, confrontational, unfunny and sort of jerkish? Even I don’t think that’s true. IOW, it’s you.

  • aunursa

    No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m not calling my viewpoints confrontational.

    Consider a hypothetical liberal who frequents a conservative website. I’m sure many of the regular commenters would consider those of her comments that promote a political contrary to the consensus of the site “confrontational” — whereas her posts that support the general consensus or are non-political would not be considered confrontational or mean-spirited. It’s the nature of the internet.

  • Lori

    More than one person has now told you that your comments the last couple of days have been more confrontational than usual for you, here. It doesn’t matter what some hypothetical Liberal would do in Right wing world. You have a history here and people are telling you that, compared to that history you seem to have a bug up your ass right now. What is up with that?

  • aunursa

    The current criticism is quite mild compared to the invectives tossed at me during the health care debate. And I have an 8 1/2 year history on this site. I’ve been called much worse for daring to express and defend a dissenting viewpoint.

  • Lorehead

    That’s not how it works, and you know it.

  • aunursa

    No? I’m often praised on those occasions when my political views align with those of the rest of the readers. My LB comments are sometimes among the highest rated.

    I can’t recall a single of my hundreds of comments here expressing a conservative viewpoint in which I received the response: We all disagree with you, but I’m glad that you shared that … and I enjoyed our discussion. Thanks for giving me a different perspective, even though I still think you’re wrong.

  • Lori

    One more time, this is not about about your conservative perspective. We know what you think. We disagree with you. Whatever. The point of the current discussion is that the last few days you’ve been noticeably more jerky about your perspective than you normally are. Are you really so lacking in self-awareness that you can’t see it? What the hell is going on? If you’re having a crappy week or whatever then I’m sorry about that. If there’s something we can do, let us know. If you’re just feeling pissy well, it happens to us all, but maybe you should step away from the computer until it passes.

  • aunursa

    I regret that I fail to see how the tone of my comments this week differ in any significant way from my comments over the past several months or years.

  • Lori

    Well, they do.

  • cyllan

    Speaking as someone who generally finds your input interesting and useful, you have seemed somewhat more hair-trigger over the past few days. However, it’s also been pouring cats and dogs over here for FOREVER, so I was mostly counting it as my nerves being somewhat raw. It may be a combination of any number of factors — one of which could be that being one of the few sane right-trending voices is tiring.

  • Lorehead

    I mean, you don’t get to be as snippy as you feel anyone else has been to you in the past. That’s not how it works. Do people like comments they disagree with as much as those they agree with? Is their disagreement invariably civil and perceived as fair by the target? No, that doesn’t happen.

  • aunursa

    I mean, you don’t get to be as snippy as you feel anyone else has been to you in the past.

    Well, actually I do get to be as snippy as I see others are … and specifically, as much as our host allows. I see many, many, many mean-spirited and snippy comments posted on this site to which I don’t respond. Many such comments are praised. When I respond, I’m the one being snippy. I’m not complaining about it. But I’m not going to demand of myself a different standard than I see by other participants. If you want to see a change in my tone, first demand a change in the rest of the board.

    (I had this same discussion a couple of years ago, in which a particular commenter complained about the tone of my comments, but ignored or rationalized the same or more virulent tone from other commenters with whom she agreed.)

    If our host wishes me to change my comments, he can warn or discipline me. He can banish me with or without warning. He sets the rules that I follow.

  • dpolicar

    I’m not going to demand of myself a different standard than I see by other participants.

    Well, that’s your choice, naturally.

    For my own part, though, I would encourage both you and them to do so, and I try to do so myself.

  • aunursa

    I am courteous and respectful to those to who are courteous and respectful to me. I may not be a perfect angel to others.

  • dpolicar

    There are several different strategies that demonstrate this pattern, and I expect them to have different consequences.

    Some examples…
    1) By default I disrespect or am discourteous to others, but if they are respectful and courteous to me, I switch to match their behavior.
    2) By default I respect and am courteous to others, but if they are disrespectful or discourteous to me, I switch to match their behavior.
    3) By default I do not demonstrate disrespect, discourtesy, respect, or courtesy, but if I am offered any of these I switch to match it.
    4) I usually respect and am courteous to others, regardless of their behavior, but I am more likely to make an exception for people who are disrespectful or discourteous to me.

    (There are many other possibilities.)

    In this kind of environment, I endorse #4 far more than #1-#3.

    I recognize that many contributors here not only disagree with me, but disapprove of my saying this sort of thing out loud.

  • Lorehead

    Okay, fine, it’s possible for you to get away with anything here unless it gets you banned or arrested. That’s not the standard to which I, personally, try to hold myself.

  • aunursa

    Are you deliberately trying to misunderstand my point?

  • Lorehead

    No. I might be misunderstanding your point, but it isn’t deliberate.

  • guest

    ‘I’m often praised on those occasions when my political views align with those of the rest of the readers. And my LB comments are sometimes among the highest rated and discussed.’

    Is that important to you? Just curious.

  • Lori

    Are you missing the point on purpose or are you in some way impaired today?

  • Lorehead

    For the record, I wish him a happy retirement, as long as possible.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    To add: The sooner he discovers a sudden urge to go off and fish quietly at a lake for the rest of his born days, the better for us all and I wish him every success at his new adventure, safely away from any more Supreme Court decisions.

  • Lori

    This. I’m not going to lie and say that I would mourn him if he died, but that’s not the same thing as wishing him dead. I’d be thrilled for a non-fatal change that would take him off SCOTUS. It’s getting him off SCOTUS that’s important.

  • Lorehead

    I have, on the other hand, been known to point out how, according to the actuarial tables, Scalia and Kennedy can be expected to give Republicans two chances to appoint their replacements, whereas a woman their age would be expected to give them three. But then, the life choices the five conservative justices think women should make are totally incompatible with the kind of career that leads to an appointment to the Supreme Court.

  • aunursa

    You wouldn’t wish for a fatal heart attack per se, but a retirement forced by a sudden decline in his health would be just peachy?

  • Lori

    Honestly, I don’t care why he retires. I’d prefer that he experience a sharp decline in hatefulness and decide that he just doesn’t enjoy kissing up and kicking down the way he used to so he’d rather fish or spend time with the family. Honestly, I’d settle for old age catching up to him. It comes for all of us sooner or later. The fact that he’s lived his life in such a way as to make it impossible for decent people to view his decline and eventual passing with much regret is his fault, not mine.

    Also, don’t even try to be self-righteous about his on a Left/Right basis. I read enough of the comments at Right wing sights to know that the vast majority of us here can’t even begin to touch the hatefulness there. For example, I have never expressed a wish to murder Nino.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right, but massive hypocrisy is still the mark of an asshat.

  • Isabel C.

    I myself would be massively against anyone killing Scalia, if only because it sets a bad precedent.

    If a bear ate him, on the other hand, I can’t say I’d shed any tears.

    I also threw a damn party when Falwell died, and I’m not at all ashamed of that.

  • Lori

    Exactly. I don’t believe in killing people because I disagree with them, but if a bear ate him I’d feel worse for the bear than for him.

  • Isabel C.

    Right. (I mean, aren’t they endangered? And bears have never tried to restrict my voting rights, as far as I know.) You can think that the world would be better off without a certain person in it, but also acknowledge that a functioning society means we generally can’t act on those views.*

    *There’s a side argument about the death penalty to be had here, but: side argument.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I will not wish death on Scalia, because I don’t want to be the sort of person who wishes death on people.

    But as a patriot, I fully support the right of a bear to rip off Scalia’s arms.

  • themunck

    And thus, he would learn about the right to arm bears.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    This. Someone works for most of their career ensuring that other people will suffer, and we’re not allowed to wish any sort of discomfort on them, ’cause that would make us Just As Bad? Really?

    Besides, there’s a long tradition of joking about your rivals’ death without crossing the line into threats. (eg. “I am not invited [to his funeral], but I approve of it nevertheless.”)

  • Isabel C.

    Exactly! I think things get *much* shadier if you’re wishing for a human behind said discomfort, because it can get into a whole “will no one rid me of this turbulent priest” area, but I have no problem with, say, hoping a friend’s vile ex-boss finds a nest of spiders in his underwear. Possibly after he’s donned said underwear. Possibly brown recluses.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    The human agency thing is a good point, now that I think of it. There’s a difference between saying, “I wish that guy would get bitten by fire ants” and “That guy should get pushed into a nest of fire ants”.

    That business some years ago with Sarah Palin posting pictures of gun-sight targets on Democratic politicians counts as wishing for human agency, I’d say. We know perfectly well that such targets don’t appear spontaneously.

  • Isabel c.

    Yep. Wishing for human agency and also, given the number of actual gun crimes (which she and her fellows bear some responsibility for) also rather tasteless. I rather like using “ugh, die in a fire” myself, but if it was right after something like Waco? I’d find another phrasing.

    I’ve become rather fond of “eat a bee” (credit to Sarah Bunting of Tomato Nation) lately.

  • Daniel

    Will not make a joke about brown recluse in someone’s underwear…
    They would be literal arse spiders. Sorry.

  • stardreamer42

    It is within my ethical boundaries to wish that his karma should catch up with him all at once. And so I do.

  • MarkTemporis

    Scalia is a horrible human being who has said he would ban MASTURBATION if he had the chance. I don’t see anything in his alleged moral code that would prevent him from cold-bloodedly murdering one of his peers to get his way, and I’m not really making a joke here.

  • aunursa

    My mistake.

    [Geez — it’s all in jest! You conservatives don’t have any sense of humor.]

    And what kind of person is Justice Kagan, to so quickly become a trusting friend of and spend her leisure time with such a monster!
    /sarc

  • caryjamesbond

    ……you and I have very different understandings of the phrase “moral code.”

  • atalex

    I am consistently amazed at all the self-described capitalists who have devoted themselves to proving that Marx was right. Andy Kessler is a living argument in favor of Marxist revolution, a poster child for the guillotine.

  • smrnda

    They seem to argue a catch 22. The rich are ‘job creators’ who are responsible for the rest of our prosperity, BUT, when we’re poor and can’t find jobs, it’s not their fault.

    It’s like me boasting I keep a town supplied with widgets, and when the town has only a few rusty widgets, I demand not to be blamed.

  • Guest

    It is generally religion’s job to feed the delusion of living forever via passing one’s beliefs on to ones children isn’t it? Though I suppose that ‘the poor are lazy and deserve it’ is a belief that’s been held with religious ferver for some time now.

    In regards to Lawrence Welk; this is fake, but all the same…:)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i48BP1PUoFI

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Brad DeLong, a former Clinton Administration official, has “suggested that
    the world paid financial institutions roughly $800 billion every year
    for mergers and acquisitions that yielded about $170 billion of real
    economic value.”

    Jim Stanford, in Paper Boom, calculated that it now takes something like $1.40 circulated through the financial sector to generate $1 in assets in the non-financial sector, and that’s for Canada.

    According to DeLong, it seems like the equivalent figure for the Earth as a whole is a staggering $4.70 circulated through the financial sector to generate $1 in assets in the non-financial sector! :O

    The paper economy’s drag on the real economy is only getting worse with each passing year.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Based on ‘circulated’ is that $1.40/4.70 necessarily *lost*, or is it just a matter of opportunity cost?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Given that the way wealth and money tends to move in modern “Anglo-type” (UK, USA, to a lesser extent Canada, Australia, New Zealamd) Washington-Consensus dominated economies it’s clear that it’s basically taking more money pushed into the hands of the rich to get some of it down to the workers.

    Rather the opposite of “trickle down”!

  • Jessica_R

    I’m enough of a cynic that as long as McDonnell keeps banging the anti-gay and “Pro Life” drum loud enough he’ll get through this just fine. After all what’s a Rolex when he’s promised to punish those filthy, slutty baby killers with forced trans vaginal ultrasounds? The politics of spite will make you glad to get fleeced so long as Those People get theirs.

  • Jim Roberts

    See also the treatment of Benny Hinn, et all. Televangelists living in the lap of luxury are defended by the very people they fleeced.

  • FearlessSon

    Quoth Altemeyer, “Authoritarian followers are highly suspicious of their many out-groups; but they are credulous to the point of self delusion when it comes to their in-groups.”

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    That’s just fanboy dynamics; has nothing to do per se with “Authoritarian”, “Liberal”, “Conservative”, or anything else.

  • Alix

    I’m … not so sure. I mean, it’s possible, and I sure in hell can’t speak for how the rest of VA sees him (seeing as how the rest of VA thinks my part of the state isn’t “proper” VA), but around here, as the news is getting around, people are pissed.

    I have some hope, if only because VA’s trending slowly bluer, and the blue patches are slowly growing. (More counties going solidly blue, that sort of thing.) I keep telling myself that VA never used to be in play nationally, either, and now it’s a swing state, and we have at least some pride in the idea that we don’t tolerate this kind of shit. In theory. We’ll see how that plays out in reality. (We really really hate being embarrassed nationally, which is why I don’t think George Allen will ever make a real comeback, no matter how hard he tries.)

    I’m more worried that McDonnell will try to go national, and get traction that way. I also really, really wish that my state could just stop with the batshit Republicans, already.

    (And before anyone decides to jump on me for the batshit comment, check out some of the antics my state executives and legislature get up to. “Batshit” is being polite.)

    (And I need to stop with the parentheticals, already. XD)

  • LL

    I believe the average income of WSJ readers is about $90K a year. A subscription to the paper (print or online) is over $300 a year. So this guy is preaching to the choir. C’mon, you didn’t expect him to say his kid might have a good point, did you? The WSJ “editorial” section specializes in this kind of crap, rich people telling other rich people that poor people need to work harder/longer/whatever. And telling people who want to help the less-than-affluent that they’re keeping people poor. That’s the line now, that helping the “less fortunate” dooms them to dependency. Because of course, that’s what helping people does.

    I read the WSJ almost every day (we get it at the office, so I can read it for free), but long ago stopped wasting time on their editorials. They’re always ridiculous. Like what would happen if a guy were writing a biting satire of how some rich people think. Only it’s not satire.

  • Lori

    C’mon, you didn’t expect him to say his kid might have a good point, did you?

    Obviously that editorial would never get published in the WSJ. I think what people would have liked is for the guy to have had enough of a clue not to have written a WSJ editorial at all.

  • J_Enigma32

    I think, rather than writing opeds for a rag exclusive to the Judge Smails in the world, Mr. Kessler needs to be off his out there proving that rich people make jobs, thereby justifying his fantastic income and next to no taxes. Because clearly, he is not.

  • Michael Pullmann

    Honestly, I think they topped themselves last week when they said Egypt could use its own Pinochet.

  • Space Marine Becka

    *Reads the homeless one*

    ….

    *splutters*

    ….

    It… I… well…

    That is *exactly* the same argument Lord Freud made about foodbanks…

    What is wrong with these people?

    Seriously, no one has problems just to spite you.

    *facepalm*

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Unfortunately, this line of argument is extremely common. My parents make it all the time. I tried pointing out how crappy such a life really is and they didn’t want to hear any part of it. They’re quick to move the goalposts from “unreasonable” to “completely monstrous.”

    Sometimes it’s nice to know that sociopathy runs in families.

  • lawrence090469

    Ah, Dr. Craig. Watching Sam Harris use you for a punching bag in front of all those Notre Dame students always cheers me up.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    There’s a bit in The Fisher King in which a TV executive, played by John deLancie, is pitching a sitcom called Home Free. It’s about people who are homeless “…but they like it that way!”

  • Turcano

    So is John de Lancie typecast as a troll now?

  • themunck

    Nope. He’s also been a draconequus. ;)

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat
  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I’d observe & argue that point number four, about rent-seeking, in fact holds true for ownership, period.

  • Alix

    Sorry, I’m having another stupid moment, and I’m not following. Do you mean that ownership in general is predatory?

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Well, in so far as it relates to, for instance, the means of production. The worth of my labour is explicitly devalued by the company I work for so they can make a profit for the owners or shareholders. People complain about taxes but never seem to complain about the skimming right off the top.

  • Lori

    This is only true if your labor would be worth just as much without owners or shareholders, which in many cases it would not. The current focus on upper management pay and profit for shareholders is unreasonable far more often than not, but that doesn’t mean that all money that goes to management and capital is wrong.

    Capitalism is supposed to be a 3-legged stool, with labor, management and capital each getting a reasonable share. Trying to make it one of those barstools that’s basically a pipe bolted to the floor doesn’t work very well, no matter which one leg you emphasize at the expense of the others.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Well, in so far as it relates to, for instance, the means of production. The worth of my labour is explicitly devalued by the company I work for so they can make a profit for the owners or shareholders.

    Isn’t that Marx’s concept of “Surplus Value”?

    Note that I figure Marx as a systems analyst who (from a 19th Century knowledge base) wrote a systems analysis of capitalism as it was practiced in his time. Then he branched out into political/revolutionary philosophy and his More-Marxist-than-Marx fanboys turned that political/revolution philosophy into a “secular fundamentalist religion” that caused millions of deaths and much suffering through the 20th Century.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I’m not really into Marx as like, a totemic figure but I’m also not really into take downs of an argument based on attacking the author. I do work at my company; my company turns a profit on my work & that profit is distributed to the owners or shareholders. Seems pretty relevant to the discussion.

  • Japeth

    I would urge gun grabbers to do likewise, have a fun day shooting with an NRA member, and see that they aren’t the right wing nutjobs the media makes them out to be. Quite a few are dyed-in-the-wool liberals. And maybe, just maybe, you’d step off your high horse and quit your gun-grabby ways… We can always hope…

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, we can always hope that eventually ‘guns don’t kill people’ types will realize that guns have killed a lot more people since the Boston bombings than the Boston bombings themselves killed and maybe we should pay some attention to that fact.

  • SisterCoyote

    Man, my whole family is NRA members, with the exception of… actually, even my brother owns a gun, though I’m pretty sure it’s illegal. The only reason he’s not in the NRA is probably due to lack of steady cashflow.

    And, uh, yes. Plenty of them are skirting the line, at least, for ‘right-wing nutjobs.’ I’ve seen family members go on about how the government is only going to pry their guns from their cold, dead hands, and it’s time to rise up and fight back, and so on, and so forth. But they’re reasonable on any topic outside of politics, and I’d cheerfully go shoot on a range with my dad, uncles, or cousins any day of the week, had I the time, the money, or the geographical lack of distance.

    The only time I’ve seen “gun grabbers” as likely to engage in hyperbolic language as the NRA is immediately after shootings. Usually school shootings – though actually, the shooting down in Santa Rosa went unremarked.

    I think most of us don’t want to “take all the guns away.” But it would be nice if maybe we could keep a little bit better track of them, so they stopped winding up in the hands of those who would abuse them. I don’t see why that’s so objectionable.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    *Raises hand* I’m one of very few people I have ever met who genuinely wants firearms to be decommissioned en masse. The 99.99% majority of people in favor of gun restrictions I’ve ever seen do not share this perspective in the slightest, unless they come from other countries which have already enacted gun bans (which is very few of them).

    Suffice it to say, my views are not common. No, not even “secretly, as you know even if we’re not telling you.”

  • aunursa
  • Asha

    You have now met another.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’ve always wondered what would happen if someone proposed a law that imposed lots of harsh restrictions on who could own guns and what kind of guns and what they could do wit hthem, but included a clause to the tune of “But everyone who owns a gun is required to throw out all their guns every year and buy new ones, and it is illegal to resell a used gun, and you have to buy at least the same number of guns each year as you did last year.”

    Maybe we could wrap the NRA in copper wire and stick a magnet around them and solve the energy crisis as they try to reconcile their competing mandates to oppose any form of gun control and to maximize gunmaker profits.

  • picklefactory

    Someone who says “gun grabbers” is basically just telling me, in coded language, that I no longer have to take them seriously, rather like someone who says “white knight.”

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who wasn’t a shithead use “white knight” in earnest.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I’ve seen it used by a few female bloggers to refer to someone who’s heart is in the right place, but is perhaps a little too earnest — often to the point of complementarian behavior, just in a different way. “My lady, stay behind me while I thoroughly insult this lout to defend your honor so that you won’t have to be sullied with his presence!” “… Right. Thanks. I guess.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah. I’ve heard the term “white-knighting” to refer to someone who thunders on into a heated debate determined to defend one partcular person’s honor.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think I’ve only ever heard it used to dismiss someone as taking a position purely in order to get sex, as in “You’re just being a white knight, defending that uppity woman so she’ll fuck you.”

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Yeah. I, for one, have no interest in taking the guns away. But you’d think they could be at least as regulated as say, automobiles.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    When trying to assure someone of your good will, it’s best not to blow up their position to an absurd caricature of what it actually is.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What I can never wrap my head around is the constant apocalyptic-style fantasizing some gun owners seem to do about an undefinable Other (“The government”, “criminals”, etc) taking their guns away.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It’s an excuse to fantasize about murdering people.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Alas. (-_-)

  • MarkTemporis

    Isn’t that what the whole ‘zombie apocalypse’ fantasy is too? I don’t see people claiming that to be particularly harmful.

    I fantasize about murdering people all the damn time; as long as it stays in that part of the brain, I don’t see anything wrong with it.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    People don’t actually expect the zombie apocalypse to come true. Given the stockpiling of guns and ammunition (which has now reached such heights that stores are having difficulty keeping even a minimal stock on hand), I’d say this fantasy is being entertained with the expectation that it come true.

  • Mark Z.

    The zombie apocalypse fantasy is harmful, not because anyone thinks it’s going to happen, but because it provides mental exercise for thinking of ___________ as the implacable, irredeemable, subhuman savages who are coming to kill us all.

  • Alix

    That, and it feeds paranoia and conspiratorial thinking, both of which are the kind of habits one might not really want to get into.

    I’ve also known some people who are really into the zombie-apocalypse thing or other doomsday scenarios, and they are scary. Obsessively prepping for their scenario of choice, fortifying their homes, talking about who they’d kill first and having serious debates over whether or not they’d help their neighbors if the SHTF, that sort of thing. (Not to mention obsessively talking about the many, many ways to obliterate a person’s skull – only difference between the ZA obsessives I know and the NRA-type obsessives is that the ZA ones aren’t solely focused on guns.)

    And whenever I interject that maybe the zombie apocalypse isn’t actually going to happen, I’m told in a very arch tone that it’s just a fun way of prepping for real disasters, and that if you’re prepared to survive zombie hordes surviving a superstorm or epidemic or somesuch is a cakewalk. Which … well, they have a small point there. But the way they think about this stuff is … like I said, it’s kind of scary, and not really all “help out the neighbors.” It’s another very paranoiac “me and mine vs. the ravening hordes” fantasy. :/

    But I am reliably informed I’m a joykiller, so. :/

    People who understand the ZA or other doomsday scenarios are just fantasy are fine. But any fantasy taken too far is … problematic, and the ZA one seems to be gaining, at least in the circles I roam in, a scary sort of traction.

  • Mark Z.

    I’m told in a very arch tone that it’s just a fun way of prepping for real disasters, and that if you’re prepared to survive zombie hordes surviving a superstorm or epidemic or somesuch is a cakewalk.

    Right, except that the zombie apocalypse is the inverse of a real disaster. The usual scenario is that with almost everyone turned into zombies, cities are depopulated and there’s a very high ratio of available food, water, and shelter to survivors. The only problem is that there’s a zombie horde in the way, so you get your boomstick of choice and clear a path.

    So what you’re really preparing for is a disaster in which the solution is to kill your neighbors and take their stuff.

  • Alix

    Exactly.

    And, well, as a person with violent fantasies, indulging in them as fantasies is not only something I consider fine, but even necessary as a mental release. But I make damn sure I keep a bright, hard line between fantasy and reality, and I’m increasingly disturbed by the number of ZA folks who seem to be trying their level best to act like it’s real.

    …This is, incidentally, the problem I have with some people I know, who basically try to live out their fantasy life. (I’m talking things like the ZA or other fantastic fantasies, not mundane “my dream is to be a cook and live in the mountains!” kind of fantasies.) They seem to be purposely destroying the bounds between fantasy and reality … and frankly, that worries me about an awful lot of paranormal researchers, too, or folks who study conspiracy theories. These ways of thinking are habit patterns.

    (For anyone interested, The Trickster and the Paranormal by George Hansen has a number of terrifying sections on how that fantasy-reality line can break down in paranormal researchers. Even if you don’t buy the rest of his stuff, about the reality of paranormal phenomena, it’s worth finding somewhere just to read that – and his book’s structured so you don’t have to read the other parts for any one part to make sense.)

  • MarkTemporis

    kill your neighbors and take their stuff.

    How else does anyone earn xp?

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Zombie stuff can get tiresome even if you’re lucky enough to be around people who don’t use it as an excuse to fantasize about killing the neighbours.

    I’ve started saying, “If Gozer appears and says, ‘You shall choose the form of your destruction’, the zombie obsessives will have screwed us all.”

  • BaseDeltaZero

    And whenever I interject that maybe the zombie apocalypse
    isn’t actually going to happen, I’m told in a very arch tone that it’s just a fun way of prepping for real disasters, and that if you’re prepared to survive zombie hordes surviving a superstorm or epidemic or somesuch is a cakewalk.

    That *could* be an argument, except that usually ZA ‘strategies’ focus more on killing zombies, and, occasionally, looting, than anything that might actually be useful in a disaster scenario. Effectiveness of a shotgun vs a hurricane = approximately zero.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Which abruptly reminds me that the NRA was using targets of Zombie Obama recently…

  • Jenny Islander

    The NRA is in the business of selling a fantasy. It’s been observed that this strategy really took off around the mid-late ’90s. I noticed it myself: when people got together to talk guns, they didn’t talk about hitting targets or hunting deer anymore, they talked about mowing down people. Also the rifle ranges out the road turned from relatively tidy rows of targets to blasted-apart trees rising from a mess of wood shrapnel. I also noticed that the anti-marauding-tree brigade didn’t bother to clean up their fricking brass. Hooo-uh! Go Murica!

    I wish there was a rival organization to the NRA that emphasized hunting (real hunting, not drink’n’shoot) and target practice.

  • Isabel C.

    Wanting the unrestricted sale of deadly projectile weapons pretty much *makes* you a right-wing nutjob.

    And yes, I do want to take away your surrogate penis. I realize this makes me an awful enemy of Liberty and Tea, and I do not care.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I own several handguns. As a general rule, I avoid people who use terms like “gun grabbers,” because 9 times out of 10 they’re right wing nutjobs.

    Pro-tip: just because you can see people further to your right, doesn’t mean you’re in the middle.

    ETA: Also, for the love of god, can you nutjobs please stop buying up and hoarding all the .22 ammo? It’s the last thing in the world that’s going to get banned, and you’re making target shooting a really expensive hobby.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Don’t .22 bullets have little stopping power, comparatively, as well?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Yeah, they really don’t have any stopping power. I don’t want to underestimate their lethality – which people often do – but it’s more of a target, small game, or varmint round than something you’d buy to try to protect your home/overthrow your lawfully elected government.

    I asked one of the ammo guys at a gun show I was at* six months ago, and he said that people were buying up .22 because they were hoarding their larger caliber ammo rather than firing it. They’d stockpile the big stuff and go target shooting with the .22. Of course, now with the laws of supply and demand, .22 is almost as expensive as 9mm.

    *Few places have as many people openly advocating treason as gun shows.

  • Space Marine Becka

    Tonight the BBC showed another piece of *expetive deleted* TV that vilified poor people called “We All Pay Your Benefits”. *scowls at BBC*

    The response to this on twitter was pretty much heartwarming and hopeful https://twitter.com/search/realtime?q=%23HappyToPayYourBenefits&src=hash (though a handful of jerks also invaded to tell us we’re mad.)

    As I type the above linked hashtag is trending. :-)

  • Daniel

    BBC? That sounds more like ITV. I suppose they’re trying another cack-handed attempt to placate the government so the license fee can go up again.

  • J_Enigma32

    Of course he’s a hedge fund manager. Really, should I have expected him to be useful to society in any way, shape, or form? he’s probably got an MBA degree. At least a Liberal Arts degree in Basketweaving lets you make baskets, something you can sell and make money from. This fucking leech doesn’t make anything.

    And the fact that he’s a millionaire or talks like one shows just how far from true, Smithian capitalism we’ve come and just how dead on Lenin had been when he called all of this shit back in 1917.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    This comment I made pretty well echoes you, heh.

  • stardreamer42

    “As long as there’s someone who has something and someone else who wants it, there’s a way for me to get in between them and get a piece of it.” – John Barnes, in Mother of Storms

    This is the purest definition of rent-seeking I’ve ever encountered.

  • smrnda

    On 5 – assuming that economic growth necessarily benefits everybody is a rather unfounded assumption given that wealth can be obtained without creating any jobs – buying up more capital and squeezing workers generates profit while actually providing fewer, shittier jobs for more people.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I just realized this was 7@11 on 7/11.

  • aunursa

    Mrs aunursa remembered that 7-Eleven offers free Slurpees today. But they only offer them free from 11 AM – 7 PM, and she realized it at 7:11 PM — so it was too late.

  • The_L1985

    I didn’t know using marijuana was so spiritual. XD Someone remembered the “innocent as doves” part but forgot the “cunning as snakes” part.

  • arcseconds

    Kessler reminds me of this column of Krugman’s

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    In particular, his characterization of Prescott’s position as saying the Great Depression was really the Great Vacation (apparently an old Keynesian jab).

  • katz

    I owned Mike Duran with the power of statistics. (Spoiler: He’s more likely to call out women than men.)

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    An undisclosed $6,500 contribution or a dodgy gift of $15,000 to the first lady might be ethics violations, but McDonnell might have ridden out the scandal if those gifts had been simple cash transfers. But a $6,500 Rolex and a $15,000 haute coutore shopping spree at Bergdorf Goodman provide the kind of unforgettable, unforgivable details that will likely make it impossible for McDonnell to rally enough support from his base to survive this.
    Reminds me of Plunkett of Tammany Hall’s chapter on “Honest Graft vs Dishonest Graft”. Or the difference between being “honestly dishonest” and “stupidly dishonest”. And by the time he gets to the governor’s mansion, shouldn’t a crooked pol understand plausible deniability, laundering, and keeping a low profile?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I heard of a few politicians who had the mental rule that they’d accept a bottle of expensive alcohol, but not more than that, for the pragmatic reason that at least you can drink away the evidence.


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