December 08, 2013
A long time ago I mailed Wonderduck a suggestion for a mystery ship and he didn't use it. (Which is fine; he isn't under any obligation.)
But I think it's noteworthy because of its history, so here goes:
As usual, no cheating.
December 05, 2013
The League of the Perpetually Aggrieved has been hunting for things to be offended by, and they're getting more and more petty. Who cares about the name of a football team in Washington DC?
And every year at Thanksgiving, LPA comes out of the woodwork to talk about how the standard story of Thanksgiving is a myth.
There's a huge target they've been missing. I've been waiting for them to get mad about the name "America" and to demand that North America and South America get renamed.
The name "America" is derived from Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian navigator who was the first to determine that Columbus was wrong, that the new lands he found were entirely new continents, and not in fact part of Asia. This was about 1502, and it seems that after he published his findings, people got into the habit of referring to the new lands as "America". I don't think anyone now knows how that happened.
But consider the injustice! The Euro-centrism! What a terrible thing! Let's get some demonstrations started! Clever banners! Giant paper-mache heads!
But first, we have to figure out what we want instead. That's kind of tough, isn't it?
UPDATE: Maybe we can find some obscure, unpronounceable, Aztec word for North America, and an equally unpronouneable Inca word for South America.
And while we're at it, why do the Europeans (Romans, it turns out) get to name "Africa"? What's with all these Italians planting names on things just because they happened to be the first Europeans to bother?
Bastards, the lot of 'em.
December 01, 2013
"I was for it before I was against it" has to go down in history as one of the stupidest thing a presidential candidate has ever said. It's been the butt of jokes ever since.
"If you like it, you can keep it" has now joined it as a major joke punchline. It isn't quite the same; the former was simply clueless. The latter is an outright and deliberate lie.
Still, now they've both become legendary.
November 24, 2013
I wanted to quote this because I think it's extremely important:
I would like to offer a little different theory, and that is that Obama subscribes to an ideology that aims to reduce America's influence in the world. He wants to cut America down to size. He doesn't want America to be number one. He would be perfectly happy if we were number 18 or number 37.
Why does Obama want to reduce America's footprint in the world? Because he believes we've been stepping on the world. This is his ideology. What Obama really wants to do is redistribute power globally. He would like to see many countries on the world stage – Brazil, India, China, Russia, all vying for power. No single superpower calling the shots.
November 22, 2013
"Beware of swooping Kookaburras"? Yikes!
November 21, 2013
- The government has issued regulations which require your insurance company to cancel your health insurance effective the end of December.
- In order to get new insurance beginning January 1, you must use a government-provided web site and you must get a new policy and start paying for it by December 15.
- The web site doesn't work and the earliest date it's expected to work is December 16.
- If you don't have insurance on January 1, you are subject to a penalty on your taxes.
Congratulations, you've been catched. Hope and change, baby, hope and change! Turn around, bend over, and grease up.
November 20, 2013
Four years ago, our chief executive was lionized, almost worshipped. Everywhere he went there were cheering crowds. The papers and television were full of fawning praise. For a man with the kind of ego that he has, it was fabulous.
It ain't true any more. The newspapers are full of words like "incompetent" and "liar". There have been public appearances where the organizers had to bribe people to get enough turnout so that it wouldn't be embarassing. Saturday Night Live is starting to make jokes about him. Leno has been doing so for quite some time. Newspaper editorial cartoonists have started lampooning him. (Ramirez at IBD is no longer a lonely voice in the wilderness.)
It must be hell for him. Which is what worries me. His ego being what it is, he won't react to this by beginning to doubt himself. The more likely reaction is resentment: Bunch of damned ingrates! Don't these people understand that I'm doing all this stuff for their own good? They're trying to prevent me from doing good deeds here! So to hell with them; I'll use my power to screw them over!
He might become vengeful. And if he does, he's got three more years to show that side of himself. Which would be a reinforcing pattern: as he becomes so, negative reactions to him by the public and press will continue to rise, leading to more resentment on his part. We could end up with a "The beatings will continue until morale improves" type situation.
A vengeful President can cause a whole lot of damage in three years, even worse than an incompetent one. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
November 19, 2013
Andrea Mitchell says that the assassination of JFK was "the most tragic day in American history at that point".
Yeah, right. I think the assassination of Lincoln was worse, but neither of them compares to things like the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest battle ever fought on US soil.
Let's keep a sense of proportion, shall we?
UPDATE: Or how about the attack on Pearl Harbor for tragedy? Not so many men died there, but the heart of the American Pacific Fleet was sunk.
I could list 50 events which were more tragic than JFK's assassination.
(Hey, did you know that JFK was murdered by a communist?)
November 18, 2013
The problem now with the ACA is that we're in too deep. There isn't any escape route that doesn't lead to catastrophe.
The ACA (aka Obamacare) tore down an old system and tried to erect a new system to replace it. The new system doesn't work (and indeed, it's looking increasingly like it cannot work) but the old system is already gone. If, for instance, Congress were to repeal the law and by some miracle get Obama to sign it, or override a veto, that wouldn't help.
I'm not just talking about the web site. It's looking increasingly like the entire concept doesn't work in actuarial terms.
Millions of people are going to lose their insurance starting January 1. At this time, it's impossible for them to get new insurance as a replacement. They have to sign new contracts and make payments by December 15, and the new system doesn't work yet well enough to permit that, and there isn't any alternative way for them to do it.
But the old policies they had can't magically be resurrected. The insurance companies, following the law as they understood it, have already torn that part of their own systems down and they can't turn it back on again.
So far the reaction has been a lot of people angry, and a lot of people afraid. But come January, it's going to be a lot of people dead, and a lot of people bankrupt.
And when the Employer Mandate turns on, it's going to go from millions affected to tens of millions affected. We're looking at a "man caused disaster" of unprecedented proportions.
And at this point I don't see how Obama can revive his reputation. Seems to me that there are only a few explanations:
- He's incompetent
- He's evil
- He's derelict in his duty
- He's a fool
- All of the above
And for someone with the kind of ego he's got, none of those are acceptable legacies.
If this administration has a theme song, seems to me it would have to be this one: "It's hard to be humble"
But they -- HE -- better learn some humility, fast! Because he's presiding over what may turn out to be the greatest trainwreck in domestic politics in the history of this nation. (It's looking like it may be even worse than Prohibition, the previous record holder.)
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