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User Journal

Journal: Thanks, Obama! 28 28

Talking to a Caribbean-based business acquaintance this week reminded me that, no matter my feelings for the Obama administration, I will be eternally grateful that he's taken Cuba off the table. Because in the pantheon of stupid american wedge issues, the Cuban embargo is near-lock for the title IMO.

Bonus conspiracy fun: The lifting of the embargo, and its timing could be seen as a nice little spoiler for the only 2 GOP candidates who have any shot at beating Hillary next year, Bush and Rubio. Most of the other candidates can choose a wide range of answers when presented with questions on the topic, whereas the Floridians actually have serious history and ties on this, making finessing the issue that much harder.

Oh, and before someone thinks they're clever by telling me that President Perry or whoever would just go back to the status quo faster than you can say "fuck you liberals!", good luck with that. The GOP only cared that it reliably delivered Florida's electoral votes, and it stopped doing that a good couple of cycles ago. It's dead, Jim.

User Journal

Journal: Catholics have jumped the shark 16 16

I'm not Catholic, but even if I was:

1) I do not recognize this ball of mud in space as "our Sister, Mother Earth". How long before Catholics, who already come dangerously close to or cross the line into worshipping false idols, refer to it as "the Blessed Holy Mother Earth"? Water is blessed to make "holy water", so when will dirt be? Say three Hail Gaia's and you're absolved of your sins against "her"? I'm envisioning a creepy earth cult a la the movie Avatar. Stop the madness. Stop making little godlets out of other people and mere things.

2) This "sister" is not now crying out to us nor never has, because it doesn't have vocal chords and it's not alive. It's a giant dirtclod that has living things on it, most of them soulless/not made in God's image and therefore as valuable as the rock they live on.

3) I will not say a prayer for "our Earth". I don't pray for inanimate objects. Nor do I deify them.

These are based on an article I read at lunch about it this week on ArsLeftica. I ignored what the author said about the Pope's writing, and refer only to the quotes. Which appalled me enough; I don't care to read the original source on this one. (I don't want to know fully how bad it is.)

p.s. Note that I consider Catholics to be my fellow brothers in Christ. Same with Mormons. I trust that our acceptance of Jesus will enable us to go to the place that's the best. (Where I guess it'll all be straightened out.)

User Journal

Journal: solidarity vs. feeling like you need a shower 32 32

My dad made an interesting point in the car on the way to lunch today. He wondered how my bro-in-law's folks, who are dedicated Liberals, could buy Toyotas, when they don't use union labor.

It's a bit of a conundrum. If you're a Leftie, you have disdain for anything American. Yet the Japanese automakers dodge unions like Wal*mart.

While it's still a capitalist system, how's a socially conscious person supposed to support the labor movement without also indirectly supporting their (private) employers.

User Journal

Journal: you dirty girl 8 8

Driving home from work Thu night I was at a stoplight behind a minivan with a PBS supporter license plate frame. The minivan had a large rear window, and I could see part of the taller SUV in front of it, with a Ron Paul for president sticker! I'll bet the minivan driver was road-raging in there!

The week before I was behind an SUV with a/an "If you're gonna ride my ass, at least pull my hair" license plate frame. I had to pull up next to the driver at the next light to see the person standing behind this statement. It looked like the lady from that pitbull rescue TV series.

That same afternoon another lady had a license plate frame of "Look out, Mary's driving". I wonder if that was self-bought, or if it was a "gift". She seemed to be driving just fine.

User Journal

Journal: Winduhs

I think the whole mobile operating system thing has screwed up GUI design to a certain degree. Microsoft, Ubuntu, and GNOME have both been brave and tried something new, but what they ended up with ended up being highly unpopular on the desktop. And to be honest, I think only Microsoft ended up with something truly good on a touch interface, though I admit to not using Ubuntu or GNOME in those contexts, just being aware that they've not really encouraged an ecosystem for applications to work well in a tablet environment, leaving users with only the main shell being friendly. So the loss of optimization for the desktop lead to no significant gains elsewhere.

The way I'm seeing it, Windows 10 seems to be genuinely exciting, and a decent modern desktop, that also encourages cross interface design. Microsoft has learned from the mistakes it made with Windows 8, kept the good parts, and put together something truly great and modern.

I don't really want to be stuck with Windows though as my primary OS. I'm hoping Ubuntu et al actually learn from it.

This is something you'll never normally hear from me, but perhaps they need a Miguel type figure to take a lead in either GNOME or Ubuntu. At this point, at least to me, it looks like Microsoft is the one with the good ideas about how a UI should work and the relationship of an application to the UI frameworks of the underlying OS. I don't want anyone to clone Windows, but it would be nice to learn from it, at least.

Back in the 1990s, nerds like me put together our own "desktops", running random window managers, app launchers, and file managers (if that) that seemed to go together. I'm feeling like the FOSS "desktop" is heading back to that era, of stuff that doesn't really go together, being shoehorned to fit, with no real philosophy binding the system together.

User Journal

Journal: sacrilegious bumper stickers seen today 11 11

From my afternoon drive home today:

  • Not clever or funny:

    Dog is my co-pilot

  • Clever and funny:

    JESUS IS COMING!
    Look Busy!

p.s. About another bumper sticker I saw recently, being something like:

Don't tailgate me or I'll flick a booger on your windshield

Funny, sure, except it was on a PT Cruiser that was painted with images of food. I.e. it was a delivery vehicle for a food preparation service! Ew!

What will these marketing geniuses think of next? Coming to a pizza box near you:

Driver carries less than $20 in change.
Driver picks his nose.
Enjoy your pizza!

(Fine print: Not responsible for unordered, extra toppings.)

User Journal

Journal: When did Net Neutrality change? 26 26

As late as last year, I remember Net Neutrality being a libertarian free market concept- preventing a crony corporate takeover of the Internet. Now that it is being implemented by the FCC, it has suddenly become a crony corporate (Democrat Brand) takeover of the Internet, that all good libertarians should oppose.

I haven't had political whiplash like this since the Catholic Church went from those nice monks doing AIDS research and running hospice care centers to those bigots who want to keep THOSE people from marrying.

User Journal

Journal: step 1, count your money, step 2, send it in

From the they-would've-never-made-this-song-later-in-their-career dept:

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet

Don't ask me what I want it for
Taxman, Mister Moonbeam (CA-540)
If you don't want to pay some more
Taxman, Mister O (1040)

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the Taxman
Yeah, I'm the Taxman
And you're working for no-one but me

Happy Tax Day! :)

User Journal

Journal: Found at a Catholic site 39 39

The legal impossibility of a Christian polity in America is formally declared in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The so-called 'free speech' and 'free exercise' clauses of the First Amendment are purely secular mandates. They are a rejection of the Catholic notion of the common good, mandating that there be no restraint whatsoever on things that damage souls and ultimately destroy the State itself. They grant as lawful precisely what many popes have called unlawful: unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, of writing, and of worship -- as if these were so many rights given by nature to man. The language of the First Amendment reflects the Protestant-borne, Enlightenment-bred faith of the deistic Framers in the ability of unaided human reason to define and sustain liberty apart from Trinitarian Truth; that is, without a cooperative effort by the Church and the State. Thus, all manner of violations of natural and divine law, including the "right" to murder children in the womb, and the coming "right" to "marry" someone of the same sex, are found lurking in the secular mandates of the First Amendment. The true Church foresees these errors. Oddly enough, the Secular State itself will not be able to endure its own mandates.

User Journal

Journal: Gleichschaltung [LONG] 10 10

Gleichschaltung [LONG]

This started as a response to smitty's latest JE, but got too long. From TFA he sites:

In the old days, the left railed against the eeeevils of Big Business, whether it was Upton Sinclair versus the meatpackers, or demonizing the men who built Americaâ(TM)s network of railroads with the folk Marxist twang of âoeRobber Barons.â But these days, as weâ(TM)ve seen in the past few weeks with Starbucksâ(TM) Howard Schultz and Appleâ(TM)s Tim Cook, American business is almost totally onboard with the leftâ(TM)s social agenda. Comcastâ(TM)s MSNBC channel and Viacomâ(TM)s Daily Show and all three of the broadcast networkâ(TM)s news programs are effectively daily in-kind contributions to the Democrat Party.

But individual small businesses are a lot more random in their thinking, which is why the left hates them, unless they obediently conform to the Gleichschaltung.

And, as a parenthetical, from the linked article for that German word:

Donâ(TM)t miss the rest of Billâ(TM)s essay [on Progressivism], which moves from the Bridge of the Titanic, to the classrooms of the Frankfurt School, the birthplace of âoePolitical Correctnessâ And speaking of which, as Jonah Golberg asks, âoeWhat is political correctness other than the gears of the liberal Gleichschaltung?â

Gleichschaltung is a German word (in case you couldnâ(TM)t have guessed) borrowed from electrical engineering. It means âoecoordination.â The German National Socialists (Nazis) used the concept to get every institution to sing from the same hymnal. If a fraternity or business embraced Nazism, it could stay âoeindependent.â If it rejected Nazism, it was crushed or bent to the stateâ(TM)s ideology. Meanwhile, every branch of government was charged with not merely doing its job but advancing the official state ideology.

This what is looking to be an era of attacks on small business sheds more light on the overall strategy the Left has migrated to.

The "from" of course was the vilification of "big business", and in general (economic) success in America. So for example Slashdotters used to rail against successful, heavy-handed tech company Microsoft. Making a political movement out of the idea of cost-free software with source code included, and inventing the notion of "copyleft" to invert and subvert protection of the individual from the collective as far as software IP, was nerdy Leftists' little microcosm version of what had been the larger plan of the Left, to try to get the people to rise up against and throw out private industry. ("Big business" being just a proxy term for the actual target, capitalism.)

But that wasn't working. Capitalism, along with America's other values and traditions that the Left absolutely hates, would not be defeated in one glorious moment of destruction (and rebirth). The Left realized that our institutions would have to be corrupted and weakened from the inside, and converted to an overall system of what I'll call CINO, or Capitalism In Name Only, rather than explicitly collapsed and rebuilt. (Hence things like Obama's talk about "fundamentally transforming" America. Because the classical Lefty approach and dream was not going to pan out here, because our foundations were at the same time too far from the goal and too deep-rooted, legally and in the peoples' consciousnesses.)

The main information dissemination institutions in America were part of the first phase, and were easily compromised; K-12 and higher education, the entertainment industries (TV, movies, music), and journalism. These strategic captures were instrumental in winning the culture war in America, that, as TFA points out, they've been sore winners about since. Included in this phase was the takeover of science as thought about and practiced in this country, and the installment of policies in public sector employment to transition the bulk of government employees, and even more importantly the powerful leadership of regulating/pseudo law-making government departments, to being their people.

So unwanted turns of events as far as the consequences of democracy -- legislation -- could be undermined via the courts and ignoring by bureacrats. But then what to do about businesses. Well, Microsoft was evil to Leftie nerds because Gates (before he retired to pursue squandering millions of dollars on dumb ways of trying to save the world, and thereby becoming a Leftist himself, only differing in that the squandered millions are his own) and Balmer wanted to make money and crush the competition. Microsoft was evil for being this, until Google came along, that is. Despite being near as successful and heavy-handed, their founders were otherwise on board with Leftism. So it was entirely acceptable, in the new strategy.

Capitalism probably can't be defeated in this county, by vote. At least not until the more recent strategic component of diluting the votership with millions of immigrants from countries south of us where all they've really known and have come to accept is a low standard of living and continuing belief in and constant re-tries of the promises of socialism. So convert it to crony capitalism. Expand government's role from "hands-off until a rule is broken" to "get in bed with us and we'll help you with a leg up on your competitors" (meaning any of them not also in bed with government). Blur the public sector/private sector division with "public/private partnerships", and (sort of) NGO's/quasi-government organizations like Fannie and Freddie. Afterall, "you didn't build that". Tell the banks who they're going to buy and what they're going to do, or government will crush them. "Too big to fail", and also too useful as instruments of government policy to pass up utilizing.

The giant companies of Silicon Valley have already been on board with the Left, in its leadership positions. I'm not sure there's any large companies left that haven't liberalized employment benefits by extending them to employees' same-sex live-in lovers (can I as a man shack up with a lady and get her on my company health plan?) or who aren't regularly talking about diversity as one of the business objectives. So really the largest problem remaining in the business world is the SMB's. Big businesses have already shown good progress on and are on track toward becoming directable tools of the state. But SMB's, like still a large part of white male America (and maybe tiny parts of other groupings of Americans), still feel a sense of being independent.

We're all supposed to be in this (pursuit of a centrally planned, based on Leftist values and principles, society and economy) together, so really the biggest problem in America to the Left, as far as not quite yet having a real plan in place to deal with that is already on the path to success, is the existence of people like Tea Partiers and small business owners. The former seems to have pretty much fizzled out on its own, thanks to traditional Americans' tendency towards apathy and the inability to sustain feelings of outrage. So what's left is converting the small business landscape in America. That's where things like raids, high taxation, lawsuits, extortion measures by Left-wing groups, and government-enhanced high barriers to entry come in. Crony capitalism is the new socialism, and these are the hold-outs.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.

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