Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In which a Nobel Peace Prize winner refuses to sign on to the landmine ban treaty
Written by: Beck

Yummy, yummy irony.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Written by: Beck

For shame.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Obama diplomacy
Written by: Beck

Neither East Germany nor Ronald Reagan was available for comment.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

House approves bill extending jobless benefits
Written by: Beck

But only to certain specific states.

The bill extends benefits for those living in states with jobless rates higher than 8.5%. Some 27 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, fall into this category. The national unemployment rate hit 9.7% in August, the highest in 26 years.
Now, guess how those states tend to vote...

Go on, take your time...

OK, here's the list, in highly unformatted form:
Ranking | State | Unemployment Rate | 2008 Presidential Election Result
23 MAINE 8.6 Obama
26 WISCONSIN 8.8 Obama
27 IDAHO 8.9 McCain
28 NEW YORK 9.0 Obama
30 ARIZONA 9.1 McCain
32 WASHINGTON 9.2 Obama
33 MISSOURI 9.5 McCain
35 NEW JERSEY 9.7 Obama
36 INDIANA 9.9 Obama
37 ILLINOIS 10.0 Obama
38 GEORGIA 10.2 McCain
39 ALABAMA 10.4 McCain
40 FLORIDA 10.7 Obama
41 NORTH CAROLINA 10.8 Obama
41 OHIO 10.8 Obama
41 TENNESSEE 10.8 McCain
44 KENTUCKY 11.1 McCain
47 CALIFORNIA 12.2 Obama
47 OREGON 12.2 Obama
49 RHODE ISLAND 12.8 Obama
50 NEVADA 13.2 Obama
51 MICHIGAN 15.2 Obama

Ten out of twenty-nine voted for McCain. The rest all went to Obama. Yeah, there's no quid pro quo there.

What's perhaps most galling, however, is the implication that some unemployed are less deserving of others--just because their state isn't suffering as dismally... which is generally a sign of a state under better fiscal management, which is, again, generally a sign of republican administration.

So sorry all you unemployed in Texas, you're just going to have to make do as best you can. Try not to think about the fact that some fraction of the taxes you paid last year are going to be redistributed to unemployed in other states because, well, they had the good sense to vote Democratic.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Eat the Rich
Written by: Beck

Headline: Tax Burden of Top 1% Now Exceeds That of Bottom 95%

Friday, July 03, 2009

Textual Analysis
Written by: Beck

Q: How can you tell when an opinion piece is nothing but hollow propaganda with little to no factual heft?

A: When it contains the following sentence.
The Russian people are probably not going to come away with a pronounced negative view of Obama -- he is acutely sensitive to cultural protocol wherever he goes and has yet to make a wrong step.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Your homework assignment
Written by: Beck

From an article on about a married couple who, during thirty years of employment with the State Department, spied for Cuba:
The official also said it was unclear whether Myers acted for financial reasons, but a law enforcement official said the couple's primary motive was not money. The couple were "true believers" in the Cuban system, the official said.

"The abuses of our system, the lack of decent medical system, the oil companies and their undisguised indifference to public needs, the complacency about the poor, the utter inability of those who are oppressed to recognize their own condition," Myers wrote in a diary quoted in the federal affidavit.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify four false conclusions from that excerpt and realize just what sort of world view is required to arrive at those conclusions. You may turn in your homework at Monday's class. Thank you, please drive through.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Today's edition of: "Are You Fucking Kidding Me?"
Written by: Beck

Diane Feinstein opposes solar plant licensing in order to protect a turtle:
The Bureau of Land Management may "protect" the environment by turning down permits to build solar power plants--in the desert.

Have liberals been out in the sun too long?

Solar energy plants in the desert are opposed by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others to protect the tiny pupfish, the desert tortoise.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In which I deliver a lengthy and thought provoking message to the federal government in commemoration of tax day:
Written by: Beck

Go fuck yourself.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Written by: Beck

From the inimitable Mark Steyn:
The characteristically moronic behavior of the braindead British coppers transformed it from a family tragedy to a national metaphor. I have written recently in Canada of the disturbing passivity of the "citizenry", but Britain's nudged it on a stage: Even if you understand the obligation to act in such a situation, the state will forcibly prevent you and (if recent form is anything to go by) ensure that if you disobey them you'll be prosecuted - pour encourager les autres to remain obedient sheep to the government shepherd.


New Hampshire's great motto, "Live free or die", is not just a bit of bloodcurdling stemwinding but a real choice that Britons, Canadians and, alas, Americans ought to ponder: You can live as free men, with all the rights and responsibilities and vicissitudes of fate that that entails. Or you can watch your society decay and die before your eyes - as England, once the crucible of freedom, dies a little with every day.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Yes, this was actually written in a California publication
Written by: Beck

Those in power in the Capitol--as well as many local politicians--make skillful use of those who rely on government services to advance their spending agenda. They use children, the disabled, the elderly and others who appear vulnerable to justify increasing taxes. When reasonable arguments are made that higher taxes in an already high-tax state could lead to fiscal ruin and less for everyone, politicians and bureaucrats use these dependent classes as human shields.
Granted, it was in the OC Register, which I hadn't actually heard of before today, but still.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Written by: Beck

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
-- Ernest Benn

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Danneskjold method
Written by: Beck

"If the 21st Century nation-state can’t even fight pirates, what’s it good for, exactly? Collecting taxes? What happens when taxpayers decide they’d rather be pirates?"

-- Glenn Reynolds

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Electioneering, reductio
Written by: Beck

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
- Douglas Adams

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
- Mark Twain

Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it.
- Jules Renard

Thursday, November 06, 2008

On Politicians
Written by: Beck

Imagine a conversation in November of 1976... imagine one person said to another, "A Deomcrat will not win a majority of the popular vote in a presidential race for another 32 years, but when one does, it will be a black man whose closest Democratic competitor was a woman, and also, the defeated Republican's running mate will be a woman." The speaker's grounding in reality--to say nothing of his sanity--would certainly have been called into question.

I think, as I'm sure will come as no surprise, that Obama's policies will be harmful to the nation. But I'm also very proud to live in a country where discrimination really is fading into the shadows of history. It's certainly not gone. But things have come a hell of a long way since November of 1976.

I even think this election will be good for the Republican party, and as a consequence, good for the country. The Republican dominated House and Senate, under the guidance of president Bush, enacted the greatest increases in government spending since FDR. That is not responsible government. Not by any definition of the word. If you look at the principles espoused in the Republican "Contract With American" from 1994, you'll find not one that the Republicans continued to embrace once Bush took office. I believe this reflects a deep flaw in the nature of politicians generally, and I despair at the type of person who is drawn to seek elected office.

In China, government officials have received the death penalty for corruption. In America, politicians typically get off lighter than civilians for their crimes. If I rob a liquor store, the impact is limited to myself, the store's employees and owners, perhaps anyone else nearby if I was waving a gun around... if you really want to stretch it, you could add all of the liquor store's customers to the list of those impacted, if distantly. When a senator is corrupt, the impact is on every citizen of his home state, and if you really want to stretch it, every person in the United States. Yet who does more jail time?

In a sense, a politician's character is far more important than a politician's politics. A person genuinely motivated out of a desire to give back to the community and serve the best interest of the citizenry is likely to make better decisions. And while individuals will certainly be wrong headed and mistaken at times, a congress of such men is likely to generally point in a positive direction. A politician motivated by the search for and retention of power cannot be trusted to make any decisions. They will be motivated by the fickle winds of public opinion and their pocket book. And yet public officialdom, from the smallest town council on up to the highest elected officials in the land, is entirely dominated by the latter type of person.

Such people--as been demonstrated countless times in the more overtly despotic variety of regimes--run nations, economies, and peoples into the ground. The things standing in the way of American public officialdom are a combination of tradition and the Constitution. Traditions weaken, change, and eb over time, but it is defense of those traditions for reason of recognition of their value to both societal stability and governmental restraint that motivates true conservatives (people who are philosophically conservative I should say, so as to distinguish from "religious conservatives" or "social conservatives" who might be quite liberal or radical in other regards).

The United States Constitution is an old document. It certainly shows its age, and its inflexibility certainly can be a hindrance in an era of high technology and rapid change the likes of which the Constitution's drafters could never have envisioned. Nonetheless, it's that very rigidity which makes it so valuable as a defense against the professional political class which I think most citizens would agree cannot be trusted with any more power than they already have. There are a great many people who seek to weaken the Constitution: to soften its provisions, to broaden its interpretation, to render it down into a list of malleable guidelines rather than fixed hard and fast rules which must be observed. To some, rigid adherence to the Constitution seems downright silly: a pointless worship of a piece of paper written in an era when bleeding sick patients still seemed like a good idea. But it is one of the few dams remaining holding back the flood tide of acquisition of power by politicians. Its continued defense by honest and idealistic people is essential to protection of our own individual rights.

I don't know what kind of politician Barack Obama is. The weirdly skewed news cycle prevented a truly clear picture from emerging. We will now find out though, whether we want to or not. Let us hope the surprise is a pleasant one. But let us prepare for the obverse.

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John Beck

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