Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thought For The Day

The worst thing about the internet is that it convinces me almost weekly that huge swaths of my fellow Americans are blithering morons who lack the capacity to read or think. On the other hand, they are fantastic at being moralizing prigs.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Progressive Equivalencies I

From your ongoing guide to progressive political "discourse":

Rejection of Democratic policy preference in any context for any reason = Threat to the very existence of democracy.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Intellectual Bankruptcy Of (Portions Of) The Left

Go read this long (and long-winded) piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates, but only if you have a half-hour of your life you don't mind throwing away.  And why is that exactly? Well, in this piece Coates basically argues that neither whites nor blacks in America are capable of exercising moral autonomy. For Coates no negative consequence ever faced by a black person in any context can be justified because of the existence of white hegemony, the perpetual existence of which is taken to be axiomatic. Consequently, blacks are assumed to never have free meaningful choices to make which means, of course, that they lack a prerequisite of moral autonomy.

Whites, on the other hand, are denied moral autonomy simply of the basis of needing to fulfill the role as hegemonic oppressors. Whites being "wrong" has nothing to do with decisions they do or do not make, it has to do with the color of their skin. In such a view there is no difference between a white person choosing action A and another white person choosing ~A. By definition each decision is a "product of white hegemonic society" and therefore equally "wrong." So, just as in the case for blacks, whites also lack the ability to make free meaningful choices, and thus are denied a prerequisite of moral autonomy.

This is exactly the sort of situation elites like Coates want, because by denying the existence of moral autonomy in these types of questions they can claim that these issues should be above the ken of normal democratic public policy decision making. There is no room for differing opinion or disparate value judgements, there is only the role of oppressor (or oppressed) to enact.

Of course it is a dream come true to live in a world where one's preferences are impossible to gainsay, and Mr. Coates would probably be quite reluctant to leave the very same world he has constructed for himself, but there is no reason why we need to go and live there with him.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It May Be Time For A Rethink Here

I've never taken a hiatus from blogging that has felt more permanent than this one. The truth is a lot of the things that I always wanted to say on this blog I did over the years I was active, and at some point there isn't all that much that is "new" about the news.

That isn't to say I've completely run out of things to discuss. Actually, its quite the opposite. The trouble is the things I want to say don't really fit into blogging, at least the way I had been doing it. For some time I have been flirting with the idea of publishing far fewer but far more in-depth essays. A longer format is needed to get to where I want to go, at least from the standpoint of intellect.

I suppose that is the good thing about writing one of these one man dog and pony shows. At the end of the day this blog doesn't need to be all things to all people. It only needs to be something to me.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Have fun out there.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Let's Go Cardinals

It's now or never time.

Reason #5634 Why Politfact is Useless

So, we now all know that when President Obama said "If you like your insurance you can keep it," he was lying through his teeth. This made me wonder how those brave souls at PolitFact had graded the issue when it came up in the past.

Well, according to them the President spoke the truth! Yes, they claimed what Obama said was only half true, but that was only because, according to PolitFact, the dastardly insurance companies could change the plans, or, in a completely unrelated aside, people might voluntarily change plans. However, THAT wasn't the point. The claim was "If you like you current insurance you can keep it." . Obamacare, PolitFact insisted, wouldn't alter anything.

PolitFact was, obviously, wrong. But, of course, they had to be wrong. After all, their only source for the veracity of the statement in the first place was the Obama administration itself, which is par for the course as far as I can tell. They obfuscate that fact by prattling on about off-topic issues; a bit of misdirection which is also, sadly, par for the course.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

An Unmitigated Disaster

I know it's early, but its not too early to decide that NBC's takeover of EPL coverage in the United States is nothing but a disaster for actual FANS of the game.

I was open to the switch until today when I realized NBC Sports had zero intention of covering the deadline as news.

My disgust knows no bounds. Being a fan sucks because you perpetually get screwed over with impunity.  What am I, or any other real fan of the English game, gonna do? Stop watching the games?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Take Your Nap Now

Sky watching fun tonight: 

The best hours to watch the Perseid meteor shower – in some ways the most viewer-friendly show of shooting stars in the northern hemisphere – will begin just before midnight Sunday and persist through Monday night. 
It is one of the annual can't-miss events for stargazers – promising abundant shooting star-sightings and coming during the height of vacation season, when late-night temperatures are pleasant and folks have more time to dawdle under the night sky. 
This year, it might be more of a can't-miss event than normal. Next year, the moon will be in a waning gibbous phase (a three-quarter moon on the way from full to half) during the the best time for viewing meteor showers – after midnight. That means the light of the moon will wash out much of the night sky right when viewing should be peak.
In days of distant past my favorite meteor shower was the Quadrantids in early January. The winter sky always seemed clearer and the Quads always seemed to offer more slow long track meteors, which are always the most spectacular. However, since I moved I've been way too far north to make being outside in the early morning hours anything but miserable.

That being the case, the Perseids have moved to the top of the list. The nice thing is there isn't too much summer haze to worry about up here (most of the time), so the viewing is generally above average. I keep thinking I should find a venue even further out to eliminate even more light pollution, but that will have to wait.

As does my bed.  I'll need a nap if I'm gonna be up to all hours. I'm not as young as I used to be.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ryan Braun, Cheater, Scumbag

The details:

Former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason Monday, the first penalty from baseball's investigation of players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.

The Milwaukee Brewers star accepted the 65-game penalty, 15 games more than the one he avoided last year when an arbitrator overturned his positive test for elevated testosterone because the urine sample had been improperly handled.

"I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions," he said in a statement.
I must say I find this situation more exasperating than I would have originally thought. After all, I am a Cardinals fan and I lived through the Mark McGwire years. However, when that whole era was going down there already was the sense that something wasn't exactly right. When it exploded as a drug fueled myth no knowledgeable fan could be exactly surprised.

But that was all in the past, right?

When Ryan Braun signed his huge contract extension, choosing to stay with the small market club that established his name rather than chasing big money in a bigger market, I bought into the "feel good" storyline of it all. As a result I feel like nothing but a sucker today.

But really it is worse than that. Braun, in attempting to cover his ass nearly two years ago when he failed a drug test, absolutely trashed the reputation of the poor technician who handled that test. Basically Braun accused the tech of tampering with his urine sample. We now know Braun had a wider history of attempting to skirt baseball's drug policies. In the light of today's admission of guilt by Braun, the sumbag quality of that earlier denial has become unavoidable.

Braun should apologize to everyone whose integrity he so cynically attacked.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Brand New Intelligence Test

After considerable (and painful) research I have come to the unavoidable conclusion that there is no other publication in this entire world as intellectually insipid as the London Review of Books. I just finished a twenty something paragraph long piece arguing that the recent protests in Turkey was the rising of the proletariat against their capitalist oppressors. (LRB "explains" that capitalism and Islamism are synonymous terms, or something.)

I nearly passed out from laughing so long and derisively.

The test? Oh, if you find the premise of the Turkish protest as precursor to communist revolution silly, congratulations you are smarter than everyone affiliated with the London Review of Books. (Yes, I know I just damned you with faint praise. Sorry about that.)

If you don't find the LRB premise silly, you need to get out more.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Oh My, I'm Hi-Fi

As you may or may not know, I love music and am something of an accumulator. Back in the day I boasted over 600 vinyl albums, of which I still can lay hold of about 300 or so. I've lost count of the CD's I own, though it is somewhere north of 1500. There is nothing record breaking about those numbers, but it is fair to say I'm ankle deep in music at the best (or worst, depending upon your point of view) of times. 

However, like a lot of people, I drifted away from my stereo. My first set up I got as a Christmas present in 1982 and was comprised of a receiver (35w per channel), a turntable, a cassette deck, and two 3-way speakers. I played the ever living crap put of it. In 1987 I added a $99 Sharp CD player (the DX-600) with money earned from my first real job. 

Over time the cassette player died, was replaced by a newer model which also died, and was replaced by a CD burning deck which took over full time CD playing duties after the DX-600 finally spun its last. (The player drawer on the old Sharp broke down, but I got around that by drilling a hole in the top of the unit which allowed me to use a pen or pencil to pop open the drawer. That's just what you do when you are a broke-ass grad student.) Oh, at some point there was a 5-disc CD player that held sway briefly until I decided I really didn't like it very much and sold it. While all this was going on my original turntable finally succumbed sometime in the late 1990's. As I wasn't playing much vinyl I didn't attempt to replace it.

Next to go was the venerable MCS receiver which died in 2002 after twenty years of loyal service. Luckily I was able to inherit a different model MCS receiver (an MCS 3246 @ 45w per channel) that my parents had stopped using sometime in the early 1990's and was just collecting dust in their basement, so that was a bit of a wash. Shortly after this the CD burner unceremoniously died on me, leaving me to play my CDs on whatever DVD player I happened to be using. 

Eventually, I even had to retire the 3-way MCS speakers, which was a bit of a shame as they were actually pretty nice sounding, but years of wear and tear had taken a toll. Anyway, they didn't really work in the space I had once the wife and I bought our current town home in 2006. They now reside in a closet waiting for the day I have more room to work with and the money to invest in refurbishing them.

The net effect of these changes has been to slowly degrade my ability to even claim to have a dedicated stereo system. 

That is going to change. Actually, it already has begun to change. It really started with the speakers I chose to replace the large 3-ways back in 2011. I invested in a pair of Bose 201 Series V bookshelf speakers and they now reside on top of the armoire that presently houses our A/V equipment. In one sense the Bose really cannot reproduce the sound of the larger speakers, but they work great in my space. I'm sure I could have spent twice the amount for true audiophile level speakers, but I gotta believe the improvement wouldn't have been worth the extra cash to my ears.  

Yesterday, I added the newest member of my newly revitalized stereo system as the Onkyo C-7030 arrived. This is a single disc dedicated CD player and it is light years better than the various DVD players I'd been using for years now. It is also the first dedicated single disc player I've purchased since 1987. (I just say that to make myself feel old.)

Did I mention it looks awesome?

From here my path forward seems pretty clear. Sometime in the next year I will purchase a new turntable and a piece of furniture to house my entire honest-to-goodness stereo system

Of course, that won't be the end of it. The 80's vintage MCS receiver is fine for what it is, but I may decide to upgrade from the old hand-me-down. But that is all the future. For the present I'm enjoying the sounds again.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Your Musical Interlude XXXII

This is not just an interlude but a "Get Well soon" to Mr. Curry.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Gallows Humor

I've lost track of the number of Obama administration scandals boiling over at the moment. (I think its four: IRS, Sebelius' shakedown of the health industry, Benghazi, and wiretapping the Associated Press.) So, these are embroiling the Treasury Department, Health and Human Services, the State Department, and the Justice Department.

Why do I get the feeling someone should be checking Energy and Education to make sure they aren't stealing booze from the White House liquor cabinet?

It would be funny if we weren't all so very screwed.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Benghazi: No Heavy Analysis Necessary

So Benghazi. What have we learned?

A) The political people around Obama are a profoundly insecure bunch. Their judgement in the wake of the attacks was just plain dumb. There was no way this could have turned the election. It was a terror attack against the US. When have the American people turned against their leaders in the aftermath of such an attack? (The answer is never.) How out to lunch do you have to be not to know this?

B) Those early mistakes were compounded by the refusal to admit there had been any mistakes. As a controversy this should have been over months ago. They can blame Republicans all they want, if anyone is still talking about this it is the fault of the Obama administration and no one else.

C) The capacity for the unofficial/official propaganda arm of the Democratic party, i.e. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, etc, to run obfuscating disinformation campaigns for the administration is truly remarkable. And disgraceful.