Saturday, August 30, 2008


I have my disgareements with Ms Palin.

But I freakin' LUV watching Obama supporters in panic mode.

By the way, didn't Mr Obama make some kind of big speech a couple of days ago? Not much mention of it on the news ;-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This article is almost too stoopid for words...

If Everyone's Talking, Who Will Listen? (Washington Post)

The article starts off talking about how there's just so much freaking information out there...
But the implications for our democracy are troubling. To achieve their goals, political movements need to reach and influence tens of millions of citizens. Despite conventional thinking that the Internet helps spread information, such reach is actually impossible online...

The opportunity to educate [read: propagandize--ed.] millions of citizens, so essential to significant movements of the past, has dwindled. In the early New Deal era, the Roman Catholic "radio priest" Father Charles Coughlin promoted ideas for economic reform to a weekly audience estimated at 40 million, which helped pressure President Franklin D. Roosevelt to enact Social Security, the Works Progress Administration and other programs...
Plain english translation: "If there isn't any rationing of the media, of information, people might/will stop acting like sheeple. It'll be harder for us folks who know better than most people to manipulate them.

The madness doesn't stop:
Rather than call for government regulation of technology itself...
Yeah, let's not take away people's computers. Folks might not stand for that.
perhaps the best way to limit the avalanche is to make the technologies that overproduce information more expensive and less widespread. It could be done via a progressive energy tax designed to keep energy prices at a consistently high level (while providing assistance to lower- and middle-income Americans)...
Make the price so high they just stop using 'em.
It's possible that over time, an energy tax, by making some computers, Web sites, blogs and perhaps cable TV channels too costly to maintain, could reduce the supply of information. If Americans are finally giving up SUVs because of high oil prices, might we not eventually do the same with some information technologies that only seem to fragment our society, not unite it? A reduced supply of information technology might at least gradually cause us to gravitate toward community-centered media such as local newspapers instead of the hyper-individualistic outlets we have now.
Plain english translation: tax stuff until people can only go to the few places the zombie who wrote this drivel likes for their information ration.

But why be surprised? Take a look at what this pompus airhead thinks is good news, and why:
This solution may sound radical and unlikely, but as an environmental analyst, I've spent long hours studying energy consumption. Two years ago, I wrote an article speculating that the real problem behind America's loss of manufacturing jobs was low energy costs that made shipping so cheap that employers had overwhelming incentive to send jobs overseas. My argument that higher energy prices could reverse 50 years of outsourcing was met with skepticism. Yet that's exactly what has begun to happen this year as the high cost of oil has brought some manufacturing jobs back to such cities as Bowling Green, Ky., and Danville, Va.
That's a "socially concious" way of saying that "high energy prices" is good news and "low energy prices" is bad.

Tell that to your wallet. Watch your wallet belly-laugh.
Dusty Horwitt is a lawyer who works for a nonprofit environmental group in Washington.
Really? There's a shocker.

What a fukkin dolt. As my brother says: "Gawd save me from people with a plan."

All of which ties in nicely with this.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mr. Biden

Mr. Biden might be the purest proof recently of the idea that political ambition is about obtaining power, not about principles.

Now the Vice-Presidential candidate with Mr. Obama, Mr Biden had this to say a short while ago:

On Mr. McCain: "I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off."

On Mr. Obama: "Is he ready? Right now I don’t believe he is, the presidency is not something that lends itself to on the job training."

Obviously, he just wants the job. He'll work for anybody.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

People are going to find out what "suspended" means...

...because Der Rodham didn't quit her campaign. She suspended it.

Billy might be wrong and, if so, I'm wrong too.

There is nothing I trust about that woman. Except her ambition.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rules are not a substitute for thought...

Over at Billy Beck's Two-Four:
'Til tomorrow, ponder this item, ladies and gentlemen, linked at Say Uncle.
I have no idea what Billy will have to say about it, but I'm going to concentrate on this, from an online commenter named "Steve":
I witness crimes and call 911 on a weekly basis and there is nothing I can do but watch the crime take place and relay the information to 911. If I had known that I was able to intervene I could have stopped a violent sexual assault in front of the YMCA on Tuesday evening. So what's the law? Are we intervening on our own now or what? [emphasis mine]
Note that Steve is not asking whether or not he "should" intervene; he's asking something different. Steve wants to know if he is "able" to intervene on his own and asks, looking for an answer: "what's the law?".

That's pathetic. What is this "we" garbage? I'm able to decide that sort of thing for myself.



A bus doesn't plunge: "One dead and 44 hurt in bus fall" (BBC).

Will wonders never cease?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pro-censorship mental gymnastics...

Lea Anderson writes in The Calgary Herald:
Demanding the elimination of human rights laws to allow a journalist to be offensive or contemptible to a fellow Albertan is not the longstanding western tradition I know.
Actually, Lea, (other than the quickly overturned Alberta Press Act) allowing a journalist to be offensive or contemptible to anyone, Albertans included, is *exactly* the longstanding western tradition I know.

But let me ask you, Lea: what mental contortions could lead you to actually propose censorship while stating:
Milke demands we gut our human rights laws, the very week George Bush requested China allow more basic rights and freedoms, and the week Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died. He was famous for chronicling the abuses and terror of the Russian gulags, one of the biggest human rights catastrophies ever.
??? I just don't get that. Solzhenitsyn was punished because he was a journalist who offended someone.

Perhaps you aren't familiar, Lea...China and The Soviet Union aren't exactly known for...uh...freedom of expression. In fact, and to be specific, Soviet bureaucrats found Solzhenitsyn very offensive; that's why they put him in the Gulag.

I understand you might find this complicated, Lea, but it might help you to read the next bit and pay special attention to the bolded, underlined parts.

From Wikipedia:
During World War II, he [Solzhenitsyn] served as the commander of an acoustic recognizance unit in the Red Army, was involved in major action at the front, and twice decorated. In February 1945, while serving in East Prussia, he was arrested for writing a derogatory comment in a letter to a friend, N. D. Utkevich, about the conduct of the war by Joseph Stalin, whom he called "the whiskered one," "Khozyain" ("the master") and "Balabos", (Odessa Yiddish for "the master"). He was accused of anti-Soviet propaganda under Article 58 paragraph 10 of the Soviet criminal code, and of "founding a hostile organisation" under paragraph 11.[12] Solzhenitsyn was taken to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, where he was beaten and interrogated. On 7 July 1945, he was sentenced in his absence by a three-man tribunal of the Soviet security police (NKGB) to an eight-year term in a labour camp, to be followed by permanent internal exile. This was the normal sentence for most crimes under Article 58 at the time. [emphasis mine]
In other words, Lea, I think your position on this subject is kinda contemptible; the sheer lack of logic you display is offensive to me, especially every time I think of you voting.

I admit though, I was especially entertained by this word salad of yours:
Milke's attempt to defend free speech abuses by eliminating human rights is an assault on our dignity.
You toss those terms together ("free speech", "abuses", "rights", "assault", "dignity") with such careless, delicious abandon; it reads almost like you understand them.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oh, of course I trust the government...

...and the folks who work for 'em.

Words fail me. This just just horrible.

...and par for the course these days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

He's (she's ???) got a point.

I think we need to change the name of our country to Kafkada... (batb at SDA)

I don't know batb at all, but still that's straight up dead on the money.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Update on Mandatory Voting...

Readers may remember a discussion I had with Werner Patels over at his blog on the subject of mandatory voting (details here).

As I described in the post at the link I just referenced, Werner found me difficult and asked me not to post at his place. I comply: king/castle and all that, as I noted.

However, I revisited the thread to see what had gone on in my requested absence, and I noticed a few things, and I'm still free to comment here.

First: Werner's statement that:
Australia has implemented mandatory voting -- an entire country like that (especially Australia) isn't wrong when it goes down that path.
Sorry, Werner, "another country did what I think is a good idea" isn't a rebuttal; it's just a variation on the old logical fallacy known as "the appeal to authority". In other words, nice as Australia might otherwise be, so what?

Second, this paragraph from Werner:
Sorry, but unless you [ed.--meaning me, Ron] can show me that you are at least somewhat a decent person who is not only concerned with his own beer-drinking or hockey-watching time, and how going to the polls would cut into that "precious" me-time for you, I refuse to waste my time with someone who leaves his dirty boot imprints on our democracy.
Do me a favour, Werner, don't trot out "unless you can show me..." after telling me I'm not welcome to speak at your place to what you're writing. That's just bad manners.

In any case, dealing with your pre-emptive (and, as it happens, wrong-headed) smear, I hardly drink ever (a six-pack would be a very heavy year of drinking for me), and I don't watch more than a couple of hockey games every few years. Also and in any case, your valuation of the usefulness of what I do with my time is worthless when it comes to being a good argument for how I owe some of it to accomplish what you want.

My time is *my* time, and I use it for *my* purposes. I have enough respect for you to allow you the same, in spite of your very evident lack of regard for me or the time or differing values of others. And you have the gall to question if I'm decent all the while you trot out that authoritarian, clearly coercive "force 'em to vote" nonsense.

Third: commenter "Ben" followed with this:
Interesting how Ron Good claims that he doesn't have time to vote, but he DOES have time to write long posts explaining why he doesn't have time to vote!

I agree with you, Werner that non-voters give up all rights to the benefits of democracy. It disgusts me when people say give excuses for not voting, and then complain about the outcome. If you don't vote, then as far as I am concerned, you forfeit your voice.
Again, Ben, for starters, my time is *my* time, just like yours is properly yours. Also, I think posting my opinion in detail and perhaps affecting the viewpoint of others is a hell of a lot more civilized (and, I think, more effective) than pushing people around either with my vote, or by forcing people to vote. So: I didn't *ever* say I didn't have time to vote; I said my time is my time and I have other things to do with it.

And these two quotes coming up aptly explain why I don't--and won't--agree that my rights are contingent on your approval or the approval of some democratic vote:
"Neither one person, nor any number of persons, is warranted in saying to another human creature of ripe years that he shall not do with his life for his own benefit what he chooses to do with it. All errors he is likely to commit against advice and warning are far outweighed by the evil of allowing others to constrain him to do what they deem his good." John Stuart Mill

"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." from The Law - Frédéric Bastiat
(And no, that's not an appeal to authority: the relevant thing is what they said, not who said it,)

But then, Ben, you take the "forcing folks to do what you want" stuff to a brand new level:
Well, after some thought, I have the following proposal. Make voting mandatory, but in addition, force voters to write a simple test before voting. This doesn't need to be a long test -- maybe just 3-5 short-answer questions, asking them to specify the main issues of the campaign, and each party's view on each issue. For simplicity, the parties could be limited to the Liberals, PCs, NDPs, and Greens, but the voter could address other parties' views if they want. The test would also be designed to ensure that he voter is not forced to divulge their preferences, i.e., it would be non-partisan.

If the voter gets a minimum 60% grade on the test, then they can vote who whomever they want. Otherwise, they are not allowed to vote, and they are fined some pre-fixed amount.
Ah, so "after some thought" your genius proposal is to force folks to vote except they have to also write a test first to see if they're qualified, and if their test answers don't meet your suggested bureaucratic approval, you fine 'em and disenfranchise 'em.

Fourth: Ben closes his post with:
And if all parties agree to the new rule (which they should, if they really are worried about low voter turnout), then voters will not have the option of voting for the party that would repeal the law.
Ah, I understand. If Ben has his way, in the name of freedom, voters forced to vote would also be prevented from voting for what they might vote for.

Man, and you think those statements somehow display a logical and deeply considered commitment to freedom and individual rights, Ben?

Fifth: Werner ends the thread with:
at least people will have to participate in the democratic process, which would make the eventual outcome at least halfway legit (unlike the current government in Alberta, which claims majority status but has the support of less than 22% of the entire electorate).
Uh, yeah...a democratic vote is somehow more legit if people are forced to vote than if they choose to vote. That's just weird.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I don't think *I* will play along.

On Language (New York Times)

So what effect has capitalizing “I” but not “you” — or any other pronoun — had on English speakers? It’s impossible to know, but perhaps our individualistic, workaholic society would be more rooted in community and quality and less focused on money and success if we each thought of ourselves as a small “i” with a sweet little dot. There have, of course, been plenty of rich and dominant cultures throughout history that have gotten by just fine without capitalizing the first-person pronoun or ever writing it down at all. There have also been cultures that committed atrocities even while capitalizing “you.”

Still, there seems to be something to it all. Modern e-mail culture has shown that many English speakers feel perfectly comfortable dismissing all uses of capitalization — and even correct spelling, for that matter. But take this a step further: i suggest that You try, as an experiment, to capitalize those whom You address while leaving yourselves in the lowercase. It may be a humbling experience. It was for me.