Posts tagged ‘LOVE’

The Bloggess's Rules of Social Media

Her rules for social media seem about dead on, at least in actual practice.  Here are a few:

2. Be shocked and outraged at least once a day. If you can’t start a tweet or Facebook status with “HOW DARE YOU” then it’s probably not worth saying.

3. If strangers online disagree with you, devote your day to yelling at them and getting everyone you know to yell at them as well. Don’t just unfollow them. Track them down and destroy them. Put your entire life on hold to focus on all-caps fights with them. It’s pretty much the written equivalent of public scream-crying and people fucking LOVE that.


7. Intentionally misread satire. Get really pissed about it. Share it online and demand that everyone else share it too.  Then get more pissed when others clarify that it’s clearly sarcasm. Block those people. Block them as loudly and as hard as you can.


Pimsleur Italian Update, 55 Lessons In

I discussed a while back by decision to try the Pimsleur course over other brands.  So far I have been happy and I feel like I have retained a lot.  However, it is NOT for everyone.  It did not work for my wife, for example.  Here are what I think are two key considerations in committing time to this course / approach:

  1. You have to be able to learn from hearing and speaking.  There is only a little reading and no writing.  This is perfect for me -- taking notes actually interrupts my memory retention process.  But my wife likes to write, take notes, make lists.  She is a memorizer, I am an experiencer, if that makes sense.  By the time she gave up she had this huge long list of words and definitions she kept referring to.  If this is your learning style, it is not going to work well for you.
  2. You have to be a bit of a detective.   This did NOT fit my wife but did fit me (I was someone who would never memorize an equation if I knew I could derive it on the fly if I needed it).   The tapes almost never, ever explain any grammar.  You learn by example, and then are expected to construct the rules yourself in your head from the examples.  For example, never are the rules of verb conjugations given.  You just start noticing that all the first person present tense conjugations tend to end in "o".  I had little trouble with verb conjugations because I learned them in Spanish in a rigorous way and they are fairly similar in Italian. But Italian article and preposition rules are unlike both Spanish and English.  They have a lot of "a vs. an" type rules that can be a bit non-intuitive, and the preposition choices between "a" and "in" and "di" and "da" and "per" can drive English speakers up the wall (for example, you use a different proposition for going to a city vs. going to a country).  Now, most of us learned the "a vs. an" rules just through usage long before we had a grammar class, and a lot does sink in this way just speaking and listening, but I finally had to buy an Italian grammar book to make sure I had the full set of rules.

The other thing I have trouble with is that my hearing is not great and Italian is all about running your words together.  They LOVE contractions and blending ending vowels into beginning vowels of the next word.  I keep a Google translate window open on my desk so I can actually see new words they are using to make sure I am learning them correctly.

Postscript:  I have decided that Italian articles are Fate's revenge on me for years of fake Russian Boris Badanov accents where one makes fun of the tendency to drop articles (e.g. "Ve must get moose and squirrel").  Italians use articles in many circumstances where we typically do not in English.

Climate Bait and Switch

Cross posted from Climate Skeptic

This quote from Michael Mann [of Hockey Stick fame] is a great example of two common rhetorical tactics of climate alarmists:

And so I think we have to get away from this idea that in matters of science, it's, you know, that we should treat discussions of climate change as if there are two equal sides, like we often do in the political discourse. In matters of science, there is an equal merit to those who are denying the reality of climate change who area few marginal individuals largely affiliated with special interests versus the, you know, thousands of scientists around the world. U.S. National Academy of Sciences founded by Abraham Lincoln back in the 19th century, all the national academies of all of the major industrial nations around the world have all gone on record as stating clearly that humans are warming the planet and changing the climate through our continued burning of fossil fuels.

Here are the two tactics at play here:

  1. He is attempting to marginalize skeptics so that debating their criticisms is not necessary.  He argues that skeptics are not people of goodwill; or that they say what they say because they are paid by nefarious interests to do so; or that they are vastly outnumbered by real scientists ("real" being defined as those who agree with Dr. Mann).  This is an oddly self-defeating argument, though the media never calls folks like Mann on it.  If skeptics' arguments are indeed so threadbare, then one would imagine that throwing as much sunlight on them as possible would reveal their bankruptcy to everyone, but instead most alarmists are begging the media, as in this quote, to bury and hide skeptics' arguments.  I LOVE to debate people when I know I am right, and have pre-debate trepidation only when I know my position to be weak.
  2. There is an enormous bait and switch going on in the last sentence.  Note the proposition is stated as "humans are warming the planet and changing the climate through our continued burning of fossil fuels."  I, and many other skeptics, don't doubt the first part and would quibble with the second only because so much poor science occurs in attributing specific instances of climate change to human action.  What most skeptics disagree with is an entirely different proposition, that humans are warming the planet to catastrophic levels that justify immensely expensive and coercive government actions to correct.  Skeptics generally accept a degree or so of warming from each doubling of CO2 concentrations but reject the separate theory that the climate is dominated by positive feedback effects that multiple this warming 3x or more.   Mann would never be caught dead in public trying to debate this second theory of positive feedback, despite the fact that most of the warming in IPCC forecasts is from this second theory, because it is FAR from settled.  Again, the media is either uninterested or intellectually unable to call him on this.
I explained the latter points in much more detail at

Progressives in Their Own Words

From Kevin Drum, it's good when progressives make it clear to everyone what they want:  Control!

[emphasis added]  It's just that, left to their own devices, both humans and corporations
tend to act solely in their own self-interest. That's why we have laws
to control human behavior
, and it's why we need laws and regulations to
control corporate behavior. I prefer a society in which people don't
gun each other down in the streets, and I also prefer a society in
which middle class workers prosper when the economy grows. I support
laws that encourage both.

Woah!  Can't let all those damn individuals do whatever they please of
their own voluntary self-interest.  Don't they know they are supposed
to do what we intellectuals think best for them?  I want to repeat
this line:

That's why we have laws
to control human behavior

Actually, in governments with a strong grounding in individual rights,
we have laws to prevent people from acting using force or fraud on
other individuals.  So yes, we do have laws to stop people from
shooting each other, but these laws are philosophically a long step away from
laws that tell people what wage they can and cannot legally accept.   Preventing someone from using force against another is waaaaaaay different than using government force to prevent one or more individuals from acting voluntarily in their own self-interest.  The whole point of government in a free society is to prevent people
from trying to control each other by force, not, as Drum wants, for the
government to be the very agent of this control and coersion. 

People who root for more government control need to learn their lesson.  Both parties tend to set up mechanisms of control as if their own guys are going to run this machinery forever, only to freak out when the opposition party takes over and uses this machinery of control for its own purposes.  Thus Democrats lament that the machinery they built to control the drug market gets taken over by Republicans to ban the morning after pill, and that the public education system Democrats so love is co-opted by ID curriculum.  As I wrote here:

Again we hear the lament that the game was great until these
conservative yahoos took over.  No, it wasn't.  It was unjust to scheme
to control other people's lives, and just plain stupid to expect that
the machinery of control you created would never fall into your
political enemy's hands.

Drum makes these statements in the context of arguing that moderate Democrats should be irate about Wal-Mart and should be seeking to have the government sit on Wal-Mart in some way:

And one of the things that's changed is that Wal-Mart has gotten a lot
bigger, unions have continued shrinking, working class wages have
stagnated, and corporate power has grown tremendously. It's perfectly
rational for even moderate, pro-business Dems to look at the record of
the past couple of decades and conclude that things have gotten pretty
far out of whack and that Wal-Mart is a good symbol of this imbalance

One problem with this meme beyond the others I have pointed out in the past is that Wal-Mart is generally not supplanting (with one exception) unionized retailers.  In fact, the implication that Wal-Mart is somehow setting back unionization is actually a complete reversal of how Wal-Mart used to be hammered by critics.  Traditionally, Wal-Mart has been blamed for replacing small stores and family businesses which certainly aren't unionized, usually don't have health plans, and often pay lower wage scales than Wal-Mart does.  Now they are trying to reverse history, and claim instead that Wal-Mart has somehow been supplanting high-paid union jobs.  The only place where this could be argued to occur is in the supermarket business, where strong unions have dominated.  But these old-line unionized supermarkets were falling to competition from other supermarkets even before Wal-Mart came along.  And as to all those Chinese imports, well, I would LOVE to see a liberal try to twist themselves into a pretzel to make a progressive argument for why an impoverished person in China counts for less than a middle class person in the US.

The only real change in employee's fortunes is that employees who work for Wal-Mart are now more visible than they were when they worked for thousands of tiny local retailers, but are they really worse off and more powerless, or just a better target for populist rhetoric?  In fact, even if pay and benefits are the same as in a small store (and I think Wal-marts are probably better), Wal-Mart also offers opportunities for advancement and training far, far beyond the ma and pa store.

By the way, you know its election time when you hear this:

The American economy has changed for the worse over the past couple of decades if you're part of the working or middle class

Ahh, it reminds me of those heady days when Clinton was able to portray a modestly growing economy under Bush 1 the "worst economy since the great Depression."   Election rule to remember:  Republicans try to get elected by running down the morality of Americans, Democrats do so by running down their economic success.

Postscript:  I will admit there is one group who sometimes must accept wages that are not the result of pure voluntary agreement with an employer: Illegal immigrants.  Those who read this blog a lot will know I am very pro-immigration, and would like to see full, open immigration and there be no such thing as an "illegal" immigrant, except in narrow cases of convicted criminals, etc.  Illegal immigrants in many ways have the same problem as prostitutes, in that they have only limited legal redress when they are victims of force or fraud in their work.  Making currently illegal immigrants legal would do more to help disenfranchised workers than any slate of goofy government legislation to try to reinvigorate unions.

Update:  My past response to charges of widening income distribution was:  So what?  Also alot more links here.


Conservatives and the Oscars

I really didn't want to go here again, but after some thought, I am really amazed at all the disdain for the Oscars coming out of the conservative blogs(CQ,Powerline,LaShawn Barber,LGF).  As I posted here, I thought Rock did an OK job, and for once all the awardees kept their speeches focused on movies rather than their own lame political views. 

However, conservative blogs have pointed out that most conservatives probably got turned off during Rock's monologue, particularly his jabs at GWB, and tuned out.  I am confused just what Rock said that was so horrible.  First, it is expected that monologues like this take some shots at whoever is in the White House.  And Rock certainly did so, but he also took shots at prominent liberals and Hollywood luminaries as well.

Second, just what did he make fun of?  He made fun of going to war and not finding WMD.  Now, I am certainly bright enough to know that the argument for war was more nuanced (heh heh) than just WMD's, but if I was a conservative, I would LOVE it if someone made fun of GWB every day for our WMD intelligence.  If such jokes at his expense occur frequently enough, maybe he will get mad enough to do the real thorough house cleaning of the CIA which is desperately overdue.

The other thing Rock poked fun at Bush for was the growing deficit.  Hey, conservatives out there, what's wrong with that?  Again, I am smart enough to understand there are valid reasons for deficits - wars and recessions are two of them.  Also, I understand that if you want to cut spending, you usually have to cut taxes first, drive the budget into deficit, and use that as a lever for getting spending cuts.  However, Bush has done NOTHING in four years to try to reign in domestic spending, and has done several things (e.g. prescription drug benefit) that greatly increase spending.  Reagan ended up with large deficits but only after putting up a valiant fight with a Democratic-controlled Congress to cut spending.  GWB has a Republican Congress and hasn't even tried.  So what's wrong, even for conservatives, with taking a poke at GWB on deficits?

Oh yes, the blogs have one other complaint - that he said "ass".  You know, whenever I hear this kind of complaint, it just reminds me of Beavis and Butthead going "heh, heh heh, heh -- he said ass -- heh, heh"