The Chapin Nation

In Praise of Older Women

I sympathize with much of what Fire wrote. In the interest of a third perspective, here’s some additional observations:

I know of many men who went out on dates with young ladies only to wind up wanting to take out the girl’s mother. This naturally isn’t a rule, but it isn’t uncommon. Many older women CAN offer something to men if they take good care of themselves, learn new sexual techniques, develop more realistic expectations of men (and themselves), and pick up other useful skills such as cooking and childrearing.

I don’t want to offend Fire, but I find it common for many Americans to draw broad (pardon the pun) conclusions about men and women based upon our own rather sick society. I’m happy to say that things are different outside of the U.S.. I just got back from Toronto and the women there were in no way 1/10th as shallow, nasty, or bitter as the American variety. Granted, I didn’t speak to a single woman who was born there.

Naturally, a woman who has little to offer a man BESIDES sex will generally not see her value grow as she ages. Cultures that indulge women as spoiled children are not going to see them mature well. I would like to ask Fire an honest question: If he met a 34 year old woman who was fertile, but had spent much of her years developing talents as I discussed above and dressed and acted in a supportive, feminine manner, would he really kick her out of his marriage bed?

Naturally, a woman shouldn’t be upset about a man rejecting an older woman of character in favor of a younger, more shallow woman but then again, it’s his loss isn’t it? Just as a woman may have rejected a man who was between jobs and only wound up wasting more of her precious biological fertile years waiting for the stars to align to give her the perfect man at the perfect time. Love is not about finding perfection. It’s settling. In fact, romance is about someone willing to accept reasonable flaws in their mate. If marriage was about always being happy, there would be no need for vows such as “for better or worse.”

I confronted an aging Gen-Xer about this and she told me “Well, women are shallow about money just as men are shallow about looks.” I responded that women also had requirements for looks including height and weight as well as general appearance. (In some ways, they are even more fussy. This woman in particular went on and on to me about one of her dates having dirty shoes and nails. Most men I know who met a woman with a pretty face and chest wouldn’t even know if she had FEET to begin with!) She naturally then totally weasled out by arguing she knew of a friend of a friend who dated a shorter, poorer man.

As I said, the U.S. woman isn’t a good prototype for developing generalities about the biological nature of women and men. Most men I have met here, I’m sad to say, are pathetic wimps and bullies who would fit right in on a 6th grade playground. The nasty, stereotypical American woman didn’t just spring out of the ground alone. Such men indulged or tolerated her. Gentlemen, in the finest sense, do not blame women for the foolishness of their own gender. What I’m suggesting is that these older harpies are right, but not necessarily for the reasons they cite. The older harpies that Fire finds so unattractive sprung up from a younger harpie that older guys chased after and she toyed around with. It’s laughable for the older harpie to suggest that she finds younger men attractive. If she did, she could have easily married one when she was younger.

And in many cultures (once again, outside the U.S.) it’s common for women to tell me they find unmarried men in their 30’s equally strange. Young girls typically excuse young men who are not wealthy or well-off in favor of reliability and willingness to start a family. They are also a lot more reasonable about the man being a bit fat or short and the men return the favor. Quite simply: Relations between the sexes here suck. Even I find myself having to remind myself when discussing these subjects with foreign women that they are not subject to the rules we have here.

The main problem we have here is that we really did have the resources to make “mainstream” feminism work: Women can and do earn as much as men (if they are willing to go through what men do) and there has been work available. This has led to a day of reckoning which other nations never encountered. In most other nations, including Western Europe, unemployment and materialistic poverty have been the norm. Also, feminism glommed onto “white guilt” to gain so-called anti-discrimination powers that were not present in western europe until recently.

Here’s a neat foreign perspective: In Poland, it’s not uncommon for feminists and the truly P.C. left try to dredge up white guilt to suit their purposes. “Look at how whites have enslaved blacks and women!!!” they cry to justify their position. The reaction from a majority of Poles is between increduity and laughter: HELLO!!!! Poles have just gone through most of the most difficult periods in human history. But back to the subject:

In conclusion, Fire is right that younger women (at least in the states) are a good bet because most of these younger women generally have not had the time to become bitter and strongly indoctrinated by feminist and leftist beliefs. Also, many of them are living through a post-feminist post-baby-boomer time when they are being seen as little more than slaves to pay for social security and drugs for the geezers and to apologize for being middle class. This is why so many anti-feminists are creeping up out of the grass.

Posted by PolishKnight @ 7:53 PM

The Quagmire of Older Women, Part II.

There certainly is no shortage of self-help and advice booklets for females, but I have found that many of the guide books for men are not much different from their feminine counterparts. This is not the way it should be if the authors who penned them truly wished to help men.

These publications are intentionally or inadvertently premised on the notion that male sexual desire is something for which an apology is owed or something that has to be prefaced with disclaimers. Within our popular culture, the unshakeable conclusion appears to be that men are the “shallow sex.”

I will not deviate from the oath that I made in the introduction stating that this work will be a “Straight Talk Express.” That is why, despite the convictions of the sisterhood and particularly its older members, it is clear to me that there is nothing superficial about male sexuality and nowhere is this more evident than in our preference for young, attractive mates.

Indeed, a man’s desire for feminine youth and beauty is thorough proof of depth. This preference is intrinsic to our biology and independently is the reason why our species has survived into twenty-first century.

In my own case, had my father, a man of forty in 1968, married a woman his own age rather than my 24 year old mother, the chances are very good that I would not be here to write this piece at all. For me to call into question my father’s selection bias is equivalent to me calling into question my own right to exist. I will not do so.

We know indisputably that youth correlates with fertility and that beauty correlates with health. Rather than attack men, women and the media should be grateful that ancient males coveted who they did.

Robert Wright, in his masterpiece, The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are, clearly identifies that a man’s concern for a female’s age is both essential and universal:

“Just as women have special reason to focus on a man’s ability to provide resources, men have special reason to focus on the ability to produce babies. That means, among other things, caring greatly about the age of a potential mate, since fertility declines until menopause, when it falls off abruptly. The last thing evolutionary psychologists would expect to find is that a plainly postmenopausal women is sexually attractive to the average . They don’t find it. (According to Bronislaw Malinowski, Trobriand Islanders considered sex with an old woman ‘indecorous, ludicrous, and unaesthetic.’) Even before menopause, age matters, especially in a long-term mate; the younger a woman, the more children she can bear. In every one of Buss’s thirty-seven cultures, males preferred younger mates (and females preferred older mates).” [p.65]

Every word in Wright’s paragraph resonates as truth, and that’s the basically why men became the first and most enduring targets of political correctness. Without PC mores it would be impossible to condemn the male members of our population as oppressors because logic and human nature alone would vindicate us from any guilt.

Inherent to PC ideology, people like me who wish to clear the names of ourselves and our brothers are branded as sexists or chauvinists seconds after we speak. This is done in the hopes of turning us into outcastes to whom no one will listen.

It’s a sad reality that many of those who use the word “chauvinist” know as little about its derivation as they do about the inner-workings of the automobiles they drive or the computers they use. Defending oneself is not an act of chauvinism; however, insisting that those who differ from you are morally inferior or superficial is chauvinistic, and this insistence is integral to those who publicly demean the sexuality of men.

Calling males who unabashedly stick up for themselves sexist is simply preposterous. The sexists are the ones who regard the female perspective as being the only legitimate one.

Yet, given how obvious and intuitive all of this is, why do men allow lies about us to proliferate? Part of the reason is that political correctness is now the law. Our stiff resistance to the notion that “men are shallow” creates the type of friction that could result in our professional dismissal (as in the case of those who work in universities) or cause women to avoid our company altogether.

The default position of our society is that, through our physical desires, we are the inferior gender. To combat this, many of us have to pretend that our attraction to women stems from characteristics which actually mean little to us.

Think of this the next time you, or a buddy of yours, goes to great lengths to compliment a girl on their confident personalities or their interesting careers or their independence. Who cares? Most of us do not, but we attempt to fill the needs of the markets we service. In this way, we are so deeply conditioned to express trivialities that we might even surprise ourselves if we examine the emptiness of many of our compliments.

Overall, the circumstances of having to refute the importance of our girlfriends being young or attractive is sick and profane but we won’t stop doing it. I recall a girl back in 2000 asking me if I would stay with her were she suddenly to gain 30 pounds. I told her I wouldn’t. At first she was shocked but laughed about it later. Sadly, had it been our second or third date as opposed to our thirtieth, I am sure that I would have avoided answering the question.

Another time, while entertaining two girls from Atlanta at a bar we used to call “Electric Oldladyland”, I had one of them suddenly turn against me and storm out after I took issue with her saying that Chicago, unlike the south, was devoid “of the double standard about men liking younger women and women not liking younger men.”

She then confided that she liked younger men (perhaps as a message to me or anybody else under forty listening in). At the time, I was high as three kites at a kite convention so, as I was very weary of their conversation, I decided to have some fun by telling her the truth about our feelings for older women.

I agreed with her that “older women definitely had their purpose” because they were often quite easy and even easier to blow off without conscience after relations finished. I said that this was an upside she should tell other southerners about. Of course, despite my laughter, she went ballistic and nearly battered me. Yet I was a good sport about it and, as a way to ease her pain, I told her that I would have never spoken to her in such a fashion had she not an older woman.

The irony about sexual preferences, is that the same women are every bit as deep– or every bit as shallow by their own standards– as men in their preferences for the opposite sex. While they publicly claim the importance of finding that perfect person or soul mate they are (oh, let’s go ahead and use the word) chauvinistically devoted to finding a man who has status and wealth.

I spoke to a former single female neighbor about this and, after initially denying that someone’s wealth or status meant anything to her, she eventually admitted that she’d never go out with an unemployed man. She related to me a story about once being asked out in an internet café by a “cute” guy sitting next to her. She said yes but after noticing his computer screen displaying the monster job board, she made inquiries and discovered that he was “between positions.” She never did return his call.

I will not judge these women unfavorably regarding their mating preferences but I can honestly state that most of them would never extend to me the same courtesy. Matt Ridley in his The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, found that the very same feminists who defame men at every turn for our biological lusts display innate wiring through their own romantic cravings:

“Even a survey of fifteen powerful leaders of the feminist movement revealed that they wanted still more powerful men. As Buss’s colleague Bruce Ellis put it, ‘Women’s sexual tastes become more, rather than less discriminatory as their wealth, power, and social status increase.” [Ridley, p.268]

One wonders what they would say when confronted with such evidence. My guess is that they would continue their own war on diversity by trying to encourage us to become attracted to older, nihilistic specimens like themselves. We should respond to this by asking out their daughters or younger sisters instead, but, humor aside, the fact that anyone would attempt to convince someone else of what they should be attracted too discounts their opinion altogether.

Yet, what feminists and others may admit to on questionnaires is far from what they profess in public. Ridley again:

“As Nancy Thornhill put it, ‘Surely no one has ever seriously doubted that men desire young, beautiful women and that women desire wealthy, high-status men.’ The answer to her question is that sociologists do doubt it. Judging by their reaction to a recent study, only the most rigorous evidence will convince them.” [p.267]

That no one in their right mind would believe most of the stuff passed off as conventional wisdom does not change the fact that it is still passed off as conventional wisdom.

In late October of 2003, I asked a group of teachers I was instructing whether male and female behavior was largely learned, largely innate or a balanced combination of learned and innate traits. They all answered that our behavior was largely learned. I asked them again eagerly hunting around the room for dissenters. I found none so I offered my own extremely diplomatic dissent. They argued with me and, although without saying it directly, thought my views unsophisticated and shallow.

Yet, that’s the whole point. Biology is not something one has to think about. Shortly I’ll be going to bed for some much needed sleep, and, even if fourteen unwashed French post-modernist masturbationalists deny that I have a physical need for it, my snoring will resoundingly refute their– oh so educated– opinions.

To be continued.

Posted by Fire @ 2:05 PM

Hitler Was a Leftist!
Here’s the last Ray piece I’ll cite

which offers magnificent rejoinder to that age old canard that Hitler was a right-winger. As another author said, “What exactly was it that Hitler wanted to conserve?” Nothing…and his 12 year acid-reich proved it. I read this on Christmas day and highly recommend it.

Posted by Fire @ 7:36 AM

The Motivations of the Political Left.
Ray calls this a monograph

and he kept adding to it and adding to it on Frontpagemag.com a couple years back. The 13 page version remains in my desk at work and I’ve read it about 15 times since 2001. This might be the best essay on the left ever written. I love the comparison to Procrustes which you’ll soon read about.

Posted by Fire @ 7:33 AM

Posted by Fire @ 7:28 AM

New Blog: Dissecting Leftism.
What could be a better name?

It’s from our old friend John Ray out of Austrailia and it’s motto is “leftists KNOW what’s good for us. Conservatives need evidence.” I know I do. The famous psychologist/sociologist has been a godsend to the conservative cause over the years. In fact, so much so, I will blog my favorite two articles from him separately.

Posted by Fire @ 7:28 AM

YAKOV LIVES!!!

Posted by Fire @ 12:25 AM

Common Sense, this is Our First Date–Put Down the Camera!

Posted by Fire @ 6:53 PM

Dylan vs. Atheists.

“The Dylan who inspired us to look beyond banal textbooks and accepted

ideologies now implores us to turn inwards to the pages of the Holy

Bible, a book filled with contradictions, inaccuracies, outrages, and

absurdities.”

— American Atheists press release, Tucson, Arizona, 1979

“Well, the Bible says, ‘The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no

God’.”

–Bob Dylan responding in kind, Tucson, Arizona, 1979

Posted by Fire @ 6:50 PM

Happy Kwanza Everybody!

Are those post holiday blues getting you down? Thinking of celebrating Orthadox Christmas this years just to brighten your day? Well, now there’s a holiday you can squeeze in while you wait! Kwanza, brought to you by black seperatists everywhere!

Just listen to what the people are saying about this exciting new holiday – Kwanza!

“According to the official Kwanzaa website, the celebration was created “to reaffirm the communitarian vision and values of African culture and to contribute to its restoration among African peoples in the Diaspora,” and “as an act of cultural self-determination, as a self-conscious statement of our own unique cultural truth as an African people.” In this one sees not only the primacy of the collective, but the erasure of the American in “African American.””

and

“Most African Americans, unfortunately, are not able to trace their roots. Kwanzaa, therefore, is an attempt not to retrieve the past, but to reinvent it.”

But if you don’t believe me, read all about Kwanza yourself.

Posted by CommonSense @ 6:11 PM

Those damn “my kid is an honor roll student” bumper stickers seem to be the 90s, or whatever the hell decade this is, version of the “Baby on Board” signs. “Whoa, watch out Nellie, you may want to drive a little bit more cautiously around that Chevette. There’s a baby on board!” Am I to excuse poor driving, or even better, a minivan taking up the entire right lane of the road as a bunch of snot nosed honor roll bratts are unloaded to their publicly funded day care center called elementary school? I think there should be a bumper sticker that reads “Your kid may be an honor roll student, but you’re an idiot!” I’m tired of crappy drivers who think we should be interested in the public praise that they think their children so richly deserve. I don’t care if your kid is on the honor roll. And you know what? Nobody else does either. What’s up with an elementary school honor roll anyway? How difficult is to get on that prestigious list? What, did Johnny correctly sing his ABCs? I want to meet the kid that didn’t make the elementary school honor roll. I’m sure he’s a work in progress. Sing Sing should probably prepare a room. Do you not make the honor roll if you have trouble with the extra big pencil and the paper with the dotted line that shows where the lower case letters are supposed to stop? Do you make the honor roll if you excel in the adolescent right of passage known as dodge ball? Maybe parents should have a bumper sticker that says “My kid didn’t make the honor roll.” When other drivers read that, they’ll be sure to back off and say “Hey now, they’ve got an “extra special” person in that car. Perhaps we should give them some more room.” Afterall, the sympathy vote goes a long way in America.

Posted by CommonSense @ 5:30 PM

Merry Boxing Day All.

It’s so nice to be back at the Dexter Lake Club, I’d like to do a song for you called Slam-alama-ding-dong so hit it…Okay, that’s a joke.

Great to be back as a babe in blogland. I see right hand goon, Yakov “I didn’t know she was only 17” Bok, has a great many entries below so I won’t stomp on them and wait until later to enter mine. I’ll intentionally skip his “letter” on Mexican food. Thanks to Gus, Polish Knight and Amber for doing entries the last two days. Merry Christ’s Mass.

Posted by Fire @ 2:10 PM

In case there are any anti-War folks out there saying that sanctions and diplomacy DO Work, just look at Libya,

read this article.

Posted by CommonSense @ 1:37 PM

Mad Cow Disease Sure is Crazy, part deux

The U.S. has the safest food supply in the world thanks to the U.S.D.A. and the U.S.D.A. is a fine example of government regulation that actually works.

However, as the nation is in the grips of our first ever Mad Cow Disease scare, there are clear signs that the system used to implement the regulations failed, not the regulations themselves. One calls for additional or new regulations, the other calls for the rules to be followed a bit more closely. I don’t want more regulations, I simple want the ones we already have to be followed.

For example, Mad Cow disease is most commonly spread through cows eating feed that is made in part by ground up cows or sheep. It is infected cows and sheep that are made into feed that spread Mad Cow disease. The U.S. has prohibited this type of feed since 1997. However, many people say compliance with this regulation has been uneven. In fact, a government review showed that of 10,000 companies in the cattle feed supply chain, 364 failed to comply with federal regulations. Whatsmore, the government failed to issue warning letters or take enforcement actions against companies that were not complying with federal rules.

I want to know why?

Critics of the meat industry would say this is due in a large part to budget cuts some ten years plus years ago. There just aren’t enough inspectors to go around. Therefore, the burden of inspection was shifted from the government to the manufacturers themselves. That’s sort of like letting the rooster watch over the hen house.

Meanwhile, advocates for the meat industry say the current system does work. After all, only one infected cow has been found and it never entered the food supply.

The operative word is “has.” We need to ask ourselves, is one case of Mad Cow Disease acceptable? What does it take to get the government to do it’s job? Or did the government do it’s job?

Read a longer article here.

Posted by CommonSense @ 1:35 PM

Could the State Be Taking on the P.C.?

It’s no secret that higher education is in a financial bind these days. Therefore, in an effort to pare costs and increase productivity, the Illinois Board of Higher Education has launched a program to examine just exactly what it is that university professors are doing with their research budgets.

“All-star” academics such as Stanley Fish, of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), are of course upset that the integrity of their research is being drawn into question. Fish was quoted as saying about the people doing the questioning “Either they don’t have the slightest idea how higher education works on the research level – or they do know what it does, and they have set out to destroy it.” It’s ironic that Fish would talk about others detroying higher education when that is exactly what he and his policitally correct cohorts have set out to do.

Fish of course is most famous for publishing a book that claims there is no such thing as free speech, and therefore, all speech should be censored. I don’t know if Fish wrote his ground breaking treatise on university time or not, but there certainly have been other multicultral gaffes that have been paid for with public dollars. From radical feminists saying that even consentual sex between a man and a woman is a form of rape, to the white mans plundering of the library in Alexandria, to whether urinals are part of the male hegmonic agenda, this type of research should be called into question.

I’m sure that scientific research, whether it be social or hard, that helps us to better understand the world will be allowed to continue. But research that serves to be divisive, the type built upon socialist rhetoric, the type that is more angry than productive, doesn’t deserve to be publicly funded. In fact, as children who have recieved a post-modernist education enter the work force, we can see the disservice that that type of education really does to society.

If the professors who may lose research dollars as a result of Illinois Board of Higher Ed’s program are serious about their first job, that is to teach critical thinking, then they should be more than happy to defend their work. If not, after all these years of biting the hand that feeds them, as I like to say, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Warm up the oven, we’re having a roast.

Posted by CommonSense @ 1:09 PM

UberBern called me this morning from his mobile phone as he ordered some Mexican food. Why he was eating Mexican food before noon is beyond me. Hell, why he was calling an unemployed bum before noon is beyond me! But that’s besides the point. After reading the

letters to the editor in today’s Chicago Tribune

, Uberbern’s behavior made me fear for his safety.

Posted by CommonSense @ 12:42 PM

Stories like this make me really love the Christmas season – and sports goons.

Two jumped after flashing Rangers jerseys

Posted by CommonSense @ 12:38 PM

Sugar costs give candy cane makers a bitter aftertaste

It’s all there in red and white: A Midwest plant shifts jobs to Mexico because a subsidy-free sweetener is available so much more cheaply

By Rachel Osterman

Tribune staff reporter

December 25, 2003

BRYAN, Ohio — Here in what could be called the candy cane capital of the world, residents like to boast that food doesn’t get more American than this old-fashioned, red-and-white striped confection.

That’s because more than 90 percent of those peppermint canes are consumed within the United States. And nearly all were made domestically as well.

But no more.

In the last three years, nearly half of all U.S. candy cane production has shifted to Mexico, industry experts say.

That’s true of the candy cane maker based in this northwest Ohio town, Spangler Candy Co., which recently opened a plant in Juarez that generates half of Spangler’s striped treats.

But the story of the Mexican candy cane isn’t your typical tale of American manufacturers chasing lower wages. It’s more about the cost of sugar than the cost of labor.

Because federal tariffs and subsidies push the price of U.S. sugar far above what it fetches on the world market, candy cane makers such as Spangler are opening factories overseas, where sugar can cost 6 cents a pound compared to 21 cents back home.

In Bryan–a town so tied to Spangler that residents couldn’t run into the former mayor without him pulling a locally made candy from his pocket for them–the move overseas was painful.

“People think you just very quickly decide to go to Mexico and make candy canes down there. It’s a very hard, horrible decision,” said Dean Spangler, the third generation of Spanglers to run the firm.

When Dean Spangler took over the company in 2000, he inherited a nearly 100-year-old firm struggling with the pressures imposed by mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart. Candy canes were selling for less than what they cost 25 years before.

Spangler, which also makes the Dum Dum lollipop, concluded that in order to remain competitive it would move production of its basic red and white canes to Mexico. But it also would maintain 150 candy cane jobs in Bryan with a new line of higher-priced, exotic flavors. The Ohio plant now produces, among others, strawberry-kiwi, raspberry, buttered popcorn, bubble gum and cinnamon canes.

Even so, many workers in Bryan were upset with the move.

Family ties

Take Sonya Hughes, 31, a cane spinner whose ties to Spangler run deep in the family. Hughes’ mother, Barb, first worked at the company before Hughes was born. Two cousins also have held jobs there. And it was on the candy cane line that Hughes met her husband, Terry, more than 12 years ago.

Hughes lives in a candy cane family. All three of her kids nag her to bring the treats home. Two of them hope to follow in her steps to work at Spangler.

“When they said they were opening a plant in Mexico, it was very hard,” Hughes said. “Spangler is such a family-oriented company and we always thought our jobs would be there for our kids. But when they started making candy canes in Mexico, the new jobs went there.”

The Mexico plant put Spangler in the company of other major manufacturers, including Spangler’s main competitor, Bob’s Candy, based in Albany, Ga., which produces half of its candy canes south of the border.

Other makers of hard candy have followed a similar pattern, at least in part because hard candy, unlike chocolates which can use corn syrup substitutes, are so sugar-intensive.

In Chicago, for example, Brach’s Confections plans to shut its plant in 2004, forcing about 1,000 workers out of their jobs. The Chicago area, the center of the U.S. confection business, has lost an estimated 3,000 candy-related jobs since 1998.

But during the holiday season, candy canes are in the spotlight.

No one can quite put a finger on why the striped treats are such a distinctly American tradition.

According to one legend, worshipers at a German cathedral first began handing out candy sticks–shaped in the form of the shepherds’ crook–in the 17th Century. But it wasn’t until the 1900s, in the United States, that the red and white striped candy, flavored with peppermint, became standard Christmas tree ornamentation.

Today, only half of the 1.8 billion canes made each year actually are eaten, people in the industry estimate. The rest go to purely decorative uses.

The central woe of the candy cane business came under scrutiny this month as the sugar industry found itself in the hot seat.

The Central American Free Trade Agreement, which was negotiated last week, allows Central American countries to double the amount of duty-free sugar they sell on the U.S. market. But the treaty first has to be ratified by Congress, an uncertain prospect because lawmakers from agricultural states sit on key committees.

Bright side for lobbyists

For the candy industry, the inclusion of sugar in the negotiations was a rare victory.

“We’re hopeful that trade negotiators are starting to realize how harmful it is to protect one agricultural lobby so heavily,” said Steve Lodge, vice president of legislative affairs for the National Confectioners Association.

But for backers of current policy, the talks represented a setback.

“We would welcome the opportunity to compete globally if there were a level playing field,” said Jack Roney, director of economics and policy at the American Sugar Alliance, which represents growers. “Sugar is dumped on the world market.”

Posted by CommonSense @ 12:57 PM

Court halts rules relaxing smog controls, `Irreparable harm’ possible, judges say

By Gary Polakovic

Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times

December 25, 2003

A federal appeals court Wednesday blocked new rules by the Bush administration that would exempt companies from installing state-of-the-art air pollution controls when they modify or expand their plants.

The changes, some of the most contentious modifications to the Clean Air Act in more than a decade, were scheduled to go into effect this week. But the ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington has temporarily blocked implementation of a key part of the regulatory plan.

Environmentalists praised the decision, calling it a necessary step to stop White House efforts that they contend will relax air pollution controls at thousands of power plants and factories nationwide.

“The administration’s rule change would allow industry to renovate facilities in ways that dramatically increase air pollution without installing up-to-date pollution controls or even notifying nearby residents,” said Keri Powell, an attorney for Oakland-based Earthjustice, a plaintiff in the case.

In their decision, the judges blocked changes to a key provision of the “new source review” program, an element of the Clean Air Act intended to achieve pollution reductions as businesses grow.

The Bush administration plan would make it easier for businesses to avoid installing new pollution controls by upgrading their plants during “routine maintenance.” The revision allows a utility, refinery or manufacturing plant to spend as much as 20 percent of what it would cost to replace a major component of its plant on repairs before the requirement for new smog controls is triggered.

Industry groups have long protested that the new source review program is too bureaucratic and creates uncertainty over emissions-control strategies. The EPA agreed, saying the program slows upgrades at manufacturing plants, oil refineries and electrical-generating stations, resulting in less efficiency and slower smog cleanup.

But the judges ruled Wednesday that plaintiffs who sued to stop the rules change have demonstrated that “irreparable harm” could arise if the proposal were to go into effect, and that there was a “likelihood of success on the merits” in the case.

While environmentalists said that bolsters their hope that the revised rules may ultimately be overturned, the matter won’t be decided until the court has tried the case, which could last months.

Several major environmental organizations joined a dozen states in filing the suits. The states: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

They contend that the rule changes drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency are not as protective as measures already on the books and would lead to more emissions linked to respiratory ailments and poor visibility.

Immediately upon taking office, Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy policy task force proposed changes to the new source review program. The Clinton administration previously had explored ways to overhaul the program.

EPA officials could not reached for comment Wednesday.

Posted by CommonSense @ 12:53 PM

Jesus “Really Dreading” This Next Birthday

JERUSALEM—Jesus Christ, son of God and savior of humanity, confided Monday that He is not looking forward to His 2003rd birthday, saying that He is “really dreading turning the big two-oh-oh-three.”

“Well, here’s another one,” said Christ, who will be 2003 Dec. 25. “I can’t believe I’m actually turning 2,003 soon. I am seriously getting up there.”

Though His associates have been keeping Him in good company as the milestone draws near, Christ said He is finding it increasingly difficult to keep His spirits up.

“They keep telling me I don’t look a day over 33, but you know how they are—especially Peter,” Christ said meekly. “He’ll be calling me an old fogy three times before the cock crows tomorrow morning. I just know it.”

Even members of Christ’s family have been giving Him a hard time about His age.

“Dad’s been ribbing Me pretty good,” said Christ, sipping Holy Water from an “Old Fart” mug recently given to Him by St. Michael. “He gives Me all kinds of grief, telling Me stuff like, ‘At the rate you’re going, people aren’t going to know if you’re the son of God or the brother.'”

“Two-thousand and three,” Christ said. “I swear, for the next few centuries, when people ask me how old I am, I’m going to tell them 1,999.”

Though Christ is aware that His birthday is one of Earth’s biggest holidays, He said it hasn’t been important to Him lately.

“I remember when I turned 1,000, I was really excited,” said Christ. “A bunch of the apostles threw a big surprise party for me at the Sea of Galilee, and it was such a great time—I don’t even want to tell you how much water we turned into wine that night. But once I turned 1,000, each birthday sort of became less and less of a big deal. It’s like, once you’re a thousandsomething, you don’t even get so excited about birthdays anymore. The past few hundred birthdays, I’ve generally celebrated by just going out to dinner with a good friend or something mellow like that.”

“I am so over the hill,” He said. “God, in another 497 years, I’m going to be 2,500. I can’t believe it.”

Despite Christ’s pleading with friends not to “make a whole big production” out of His birthday, some suspect He is secretly hoping for a surprise party.

“Every time I bring up the subject, He says, ‘Don’t do anything special for Me, don’t get me any presents, all I want is peace on Earth, I’m not some kid in his 840s anymore’—blah, blah, blah,” St. Matthew said. “That’s vintage Jesus for you. Well, I have news for Him: Nobody is going to ‘just forget.'”

Still, Christ insisted that He hopes no big celebrations are in the works.

“It’s bad enough getting old, but having your birthday on Christmas?” said Christ, shaking His head. “And Dad had better not make one of those delicious carrot cakes with the sour-cream frosting. I have to go to My Second Coming and judge the living and the dead right afterwards, and I want to be able to fit into My old raiment.”

Posted by CommonSense @ 12:49 PM

Christmas Spirit

This weekend, I moved into my new place here in D.C. (please feel free to drop by and stay guys! I now have a great spare bedroom!) I responded to an ad on Craigslist for a bed and couches that were being practically given away. I drove out to the suburbian boonies and met with “Al” Habib. He was paranoid because I wanted to give him a personal check. “What if it doesn’t clear?” he pointed out. “I would have to sue you in small claims court over a matter of a few dollars. It wouldn’t be worth it.”

I talked him into taking my check and on the way out to get my truck, I observed that he had a tree and Christmas decorations up. I asked him if he was Christian and if not, that it was neat that people celebrated the holiday. He was a bit sensitive and remarked that I was making a comment in poor taste. But very soon, he lightened up and realized that I was observing how the holiday was about bringing people together and the concept of giving was universal. He was just a little less uptight after I packed up my truck and a bit more open. He admitted that he wasn’t Christian but that his children loved the holiday. He had a bit more spring in his step.

After helping me pack, I gave him a Christmas gift of holiday chocolates and bid him farewell. I hope I made a difference in the world. I try to live this way everyday but in the spirit of the season, try to go out of your way to make someone smile.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Posted by PolishKnight @ 4:28 PM

Mad Cow Disease Sure is Crazy

The first case of Mad Cow disease has been discovered in the United States. Approximately 10% of the U.S. beef industry is sold for export. Now, thanks to one crazy cow, that will temporarily stop. For how long though, no one is really sure.

The crazy cow was discovered at the slaughterhouse when federal inspectors saw that it couldn’t walk.

The discovery of the crazy cow has raised alarm across the industry and country, and with good reason I might add. Skeptics are calling into question federal inspections and regulations that oversee the beef industry. After deregulaton, some ten plus years ago, slaughterhouses were left largely to police themselves.

Industry insiders on the other hand are saying the system works. Afterall, the caught the cow.

After it was discovered the cow couldn’t walk, it’s brain and spinal cord were tested for mad cow disease. Unfortunately, the rest of the cow was sent to the butcher and no one knows if beef cuts have entered the food supply.

I can picture it now – the cow collapses in the coral, it’s brain and spine removed, and then some sap earning $7.50 per hour has to drag the damn thing into the slaughterhouse with nothing more than a rope and a dolly.

If the system works, why was a cow suspected of mad cow disease still sent to the butcher? Shouldn’t it had been tested and then the whole carcass burned?

Posted by CommonSense @ 11:34 AM

U.S. Agricultural Policy Works Both Ways

Brachs, the candy manufacturer, officially left Chicago yesterday. 3,500 jobs were lost to Tennessee and Argentina where land, labor, and utilities are cheaper. Candy is still a major industry in Chicago. Local manufacturing employees 10,000 people and has revenues of $3.5 billion annually. Unfortunately, with the loss of Brachs, experts expect the losses to increase.

Brachs was a union shop. Employees averaged $15 per hour. Union leaders are blaming the loss on free trade, a common target for those trying to protect artificially inflated wages.

However, free trade is not to blame for the job loss. U.S. Agricultural policy is. While the U.S. is trying to promote free trade, in the candy world, free trade doesn’t exist. Because of sugar tariffs, U.S. candy manufacturers pay Three Times as much for sugar as foreign competitors. The result has been the manufacturing loss of over 20 million pounds of candy to foreign competition.

During the latest round of WTO talks, several African nations complained and protested that U.S. agricultural subsidies where not allowing their farmers to fairly compete. The sugar tariffs acts as a subsidy to domestic sugar sources, such as beets, causing sugar cane imports to be too costly. Just as African farmers are being crushed by U.S. protectionism in some agricultural fields, so are U.S. candy manufacturers when it comes to sugar.

We need to reexamine our agricultural policies. Free Trade is meant to be Free.

Posted by CommonSense @ 11:19 AM

Pigs Get Fat, Hogs Get Slaughtered, part Deux

Yesterday, former Illinois Governor George Ryan pleaded innocent to federal corruption charges.

Ryan’s attorney, former U.S. Atty. Dan Webb says Ryan will be acquitted for three reasons:

1) After a 5 1/2 year investigation, the prosecution doesn’t have one witness that has seen Ryan take a bribe.

2) The jury will be impressed that Ryan dedicated his life to public service. After all, he was the first governor to place a moratorium on the death penalty.

3) Ryan couldn’t have taken any bribes because he is broke. He as no assets. He lives off of Social Security and his state pension (which is about to increase to $185,727).

First, whether Ryan has or has not dedicated his life to public service, has nothing to do with any alleged corruption charges. And the fact that he placed a moratorium on the death penalty has nothing to do with the corruption charges either. As an aside, the State’s Attorney General is currently suing the State because 32 people were commuted from their death sentences with no legal standing. If Ryan is the public service angel he is portrayed to be, he would not have taken convicted killers off of death row under false pretenses.

Second, if Ryan is broke, how is he going to pay for all-star attorney Dan Webb? There’s speculation that because Webb’s law firm has received substantial government business over the years, that it is now payback time. Webb will work for free. After all, that’s politics. Butt Webb says Ryan, stressing the lack of assets, will hold a series of fund raisers to pay for his defense. It’s sort of ironic that Ryan will resort to fund raisers, after all, fund raising is what ultimately got him in trouble in the first place.

Most importantly though is that 58 people have been convicted in connection with Ryan’s corruption charges. Only three have been acquitted. The prosecution only needs to show that Ryan knew about one of the 58 to prove that he too is corrupt. Considering the level to which these charges have risen – all the way to the Governor, it is hard to believe that Ryan didn’t know, and didn’t ignore illegal activities in his office.

Ryan’s corruption charges stem from a license for bribe scandal. State employees effectively sold drivers licenses and the proceeds found their way into Ryan’s $21.4 million war chest. Ryan’s attorney, Dan Webb said the indictment against Ryan was based on a string of “innocent acts that are nothing more than the fabric of what goes on in Illinois politics and Illinois government.”

If a former U.S. Attorney can brush aside these charges with such ease, Illinois politics is worse off than I ever imagined. The fabric is ripe with dry rot.

Posted by CommonSense @ 11:04 AM

A Merry and a Happy

There is nothing more that I can say about this time of year that has not already been said and said better.

Therefore, I will just stick to the essentials:

Merry Christmas(with a special nod to the ACLU)

Happy Hannukah(with another nod in the same direction)

And Happy Holidays to all!

Posted by Gus @ 10:15 AM

Wictory Wednesdays for Bush.

Well, nearly Wednesday, I’ll be on the road tomorrow. Have you ever thought about donating time or money for old W? Here’s the rollcall of blogs who participate with us in this endeavor:

The Ole Miss Conservative

Brandon Speaks

Argghhh!

AlphaPatriot

Viking Pundit

Stars ‘n Stripes

BushBlog.us (unofficial blog)

A Rice Grad

Matt Margolis

Spot On

The Irish Lass

The Hedgehog Report

Boots and Sabers

eTalkingHead.com

Transcended.net

Eternal Rebels

Proud American Girl

ExPostFacto

Bush-Cheney 2004 (unofficial blog)

The Fighting Gamecock

Jarhead

Backcountry Conservative

Southern Conservatives

Miller’s Time

Blogs for Bush

The Wise Man Says

Pardon My English

Mark Kilmer

Slublog

PoliPundit

Freedom of Thought

The Deeper Thinker

Jeremy Kissel

Reagan Country

Bowling for Howard Dean

Between the Coasts

Ryne McClaren

Left Coast Conservative

Stephen Blythe

I have tried to cut and paste in their methodology for the links but tonight have been unsuccessful. I will look into it upon my return Friday.

Posted by Fire @ 9:40 PM

Common Sense In Charge Until Friday.

Look out, the monster of the midway, Yakov Bok, will be running things (and the table) until kindly Uncle Fire returns from Christmas in the city of plight. Read Yakov, love Yakov, hook Yakov up with your sisters and their friends!

Posted by Fire @ 9:35 PM

Charles Murray Interview.
I was extremely proud of this one

and, honestly, I was quite thrilled just to speak to a person as accomplished as he.

Posted by Fire @ 9:30 PM

Hunter Baker’s Christmas in Old Europe . . .

When my wife proposed a Christmas trip to Germany to see her sister give birth to her first child, I balked. “Surely they don’t expect us to make a 10-13 hour flight to Frankfurt, followed by a multi-hour train ride to Freiburg with a six month old in tow,” I suggested hopefully. Although I pinned my hopes on the inconvenience of traveling with an infant, I was also thinking about my own problems as a “big and tall” fellow strapped into an airline seat for far longer than the fifteen minutes I felt I could tolerate. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had brought up the issue of my own discomfort. She had obviously plotted the trip with her sister for some time now and was unimpressed by my reluctance.

Seeing that I stood little chance of preventing the journey, I set out conditions for my participation. If they could not be met, I would not go. In this way, I hoped to frustrate her project or at least make it tolerable for me. My conditions were these: we must have bulkhead seats, with an aisle seat for me, and a special bassinet that mounts on the bulkhead for our child. To my surprise, she called Lufthansa and arranged all of the above. Fate appeared to be on the side of the former Martin sisters, so I gave in.

The task before us was daunting. My wife was unmoved by my appeal to take as little clothing as possible. We did try to pack all of our wearables into “space bags” and then vacuum out all the air to cut down on the number of suitcases, but an experiment indicated our clothes would arrive in Germany more badly wrinkled than a chain-smoking, octogenarian sun-worshipper, so we abandoned the plan.

We would have to hustle far too much baggage, the baby, his car seat, his stroller, our winter coats, the diaper bag, approximately three hundred diapers, and our passports through airport and train terminals, not to mention somehow finding a way to load all of the above into my sister-in-law’s little Euro-car. Some of you may be wondering why we took 300 diapers to Germany. Why not buy them once we arrived? The answer is found in Europe’s green regime. Disposable diapers are hideously expensive in Deutschland. Residents are encouraged to use cloth. I had a different view. Scraping infant waste out of cloth diapers caused me to turn green in a way that made we want to leave the planet rather than save it, so the disposables had to come along.

Next stop, the airport. The Christmas rush at Atlanta-Hartsfield was daunting, but I felt secure knowing our seat reservations were solid and my conditions had been met. When we finally made our way to the front of the check-in line, I presented our tickets and passports, fully expecting to be sent on to the metal detectors without delay. We were quickly dispatched, but not before the desk clerk bluntly informed me that our seats would be in the middle of a row. No bulkhead. No bassinet attachment. No aisle seat to ease my big man’s claustrophobia. A silent scream began to build as I shot my wife a baleful glare. Perhaps sensing that our marriage was taking on water, she tried to argue with the desk clerk, but could not regain our promised seats.

Although I was extremely upset about the seat reassignment, I did obtain some relief from watching our luggage float down the conveyor belt behind the counter. Knowing I’d have to pick it up on the other side, part of me secretly hoped at least a few suitcases would be lost. While we waited at the gate, I decided to obtain some Euros for walking around money. After paying various surcharges and incurring the cost of an apparently unfortunate exchange rate, I think I got 70 euros for about 500 dollars. Being a philistine when it comes to travel, I hadn’t picked up on the admonition not to change money at the airport.

By the time we boarded the airplane, I had worked up a little enthusiasm. After all, this was my first foray to Europe. The positive feelings lasted until we took our seats next to a sweating young man with his hair plastered to his forehead. He appeared to be a refugee from somebody’s big fat Greek wedding. He also appeared to be quite ill. I had to hope he’d gotten hold of a bad gyro. Otherwise, my little family was going to be prime candidates for some vile Euro-flu. While I eyed him suspiciously out of the corner of my eye, the sadist in front of me leaned his seat all the way back and crushed my knees. The Greek with the Euro-flu let loose a nasty, wet-sounding cough. Only ten hours to go. I was in Hell.

I survived the flight somehow. We claimed our bags and rode an escalator down to the train depot. Although my wife’s sister assured us we would easily be able to determine which train to board and where to stand, the situation was completely unclear to us on the ground. I used my high school German to converse with a woman waiting on the train. She did tell me which train we should take and where to stand. Beyond that, I wasn’t good for much, but she was hungry for conversation and continued to engage me. I’m not sure what we talked about, but I agreed that birthdays are good and that people need jobs. Perhaps not trusting my information, my wife (who speaks no German at all) interrogated a porter and obtained a different answer. We moved to a different spot on the platform. The train came. We were standing in the wrong spot. We, our baby, the stroller, the car seat, the diaper bag, and several suitcases had to sprint down the platform to get on the train. With both hands full and several heavy bags hanging from my neck, I paused on the steps of the train as a family with young children blocked my path. My mercenary wife screamed for me to get on the damn train. I stepped on and over the people in my way. My wife and child got on as the doors closed. The Germans apparently allowed a generous nine seconds for boarding.

When we arrived in Freiburg, a very pregnant sister-in-law met us in a very small Mercedes. After packing our luggage, baby accessories, and children (born and unborn), there was very little room for me. I did my best impersonation of a folding chair and inhaled. It was just enough. We arrived at their apartment building and lugged our bags up FIVE flights of stairs. I felt the apartment was a bit nippy and began looking for a thermostat to adjust. In my search, I spied a series of radiators. Although I adjusted each radiator to the upper end of its range, I never detected a change in temperature. Having been admonished by my wife to stop complaining, I learned to enjoy the concept of relative warmth. For example, while the apartment bordered on frigid, compared to the bathroom with its open skylight designed to vent undesirable odors, it was relatively warm. It should come as no surprise that I completely abandoned my normal practice of taking reading material to the toilet.

Though I already knew the Germans were enviro-friendly, I had no idea how far the obsession had gone. Our family members explained that every piece of garbage had to be sorted and deposited in the correct garbage can, but I kept forgetting which crumb, pit, or piece of paper had to be taken to each of the 37 different receptacles in the apartment. After a couple of days, I just started throwing everything into the same trash can and counted on Big Brother to sort it out. By the time our trip was over, I was secretly pleased not to have been assessed a fine for failing to save my own solid waste products for recycling in the community’s compost heap.

It turned out that our sweating Greek seatmate was not reeling from bad yogurt on his gyro. He did have the Euro-flu and we caught it: Daddy, Mama, and baby. Not only did our little boy never adjust to the time change that comes with crossing nine time zones, but he also was miserably ill. I spent most nights from 1-5 a.m. pushing him around the little apartment in his stroller trying to help him sleep while I sipped peppermint tea to ease my own symptoms.

Peppermint tea became my drug of choice because of my unsuccessful dealings with the German pharmacies. It is essentially impossible to purchase over the counter remedies of your own choosing at the local apothecaries. The process worked like this: I approached the pharmacist and explained my symptoms and that I’d like some Nyquil or other similar cold medicine. The pharmacist looked at me skeptically, disappeared behind a curtain, and emerged with a small box. I paid the price quoted, walked outside, and examined the box. It contained Tylenol with vitamin C. Though highly annoyed, I didn’t go back for more. My previous trip had gotten me a container filled with sage (yes SAGE) throat lozenges. Try to imagine sucking on a hard candy flavored with sage. Then again, maybe you shouldn’t. The concoction could easily be sold to bulimics to help speed things along.

Despite dealing with a slightly less malignant version of the Bubonic Plague, I was determined not to miss out on Freiburg. During the days, I walked the streets for hours, amazed by the beautiful cobblestone roads and the little streams that run alongside the sidewalks. A few things struck me on my unguided tours.

First, there were plenty of homeless people hanging out on sidewalks and under bridges. Their presence came as a great surprise to me since I knew Germany funded an extensive welfare state. Oddly enough, they were much better looking than American homeless persons and all had large dogs. When I asked my brother in-law (or whatever you call your sister in-law’s husband) why the homeless had dogs, he earnestly assured me the dogs count as dependents for tax purposes. Because he is a liberal, I knew he wasn’t joking.

Second, Germans appear to be fashion-obsessed. Everyone wore cutting edge clothing and shoes, even while shopping for groceries. I walked around in a confrontationally un-chic ensemble consisting of a navy mock-turtleneck in poly-cotton blend, khaki pants, emerald green ski jacket, and gray New Balance running shoes. To complete the look, I added a cheap French beret that looked exactly like the one Charlie Brown wore to the international spelling bee. It pleased me to think I was a walking affront to the shallow aesthetic values of Old Europe.

Finally, and this part really isn’t funny at all, I was overwhelmed by the sight of some of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen. One was in Freiburg. I visited it every day. Another was in Strasbourg, France. Having grown up in the American South, I was more accustomed to simple buildings with wooden pews and basement fellowship halls. These glorious cathedrals reached into the heavens like antennae tuning into God’s personal frequency. And yet, both structures had become more like tourist attractions than churches.

The cathedral in Strasbourg had a monument in its sanctuary to the American soldiers who had given their lives in World War II to free the French people. I wondered how many similar stones marked American glory on French battlefields and what awful sickness of the spirit had befallen the citizens of France to bring them to their current shallow state. More broadly speaking, I wondered why Europe had so easily abandoned its once robust Christian faith and leadership of the civilization project in favor of a mediocre socialism and focus on mere leisure.

Our two weeks in Europe eventually came to an end. I began packing 48 hours before our train was scheduled to leave. The night before our departure, my sister in-law bitterly complained to my wife that I was now in a better mood than I had been for the entire duration of the visit. Regretfully, her accusation was true, but I’m an American optimistic about our ability to lead the world of the future and being in Old Europe during the new millennium was just too damn depressing.

Besides, it was Christmas and I was tired of seeing pornographic images in public sidewalk windows and listening to CNN International harp on American failures to apprehend global complexities. I needed to get my little boy back to the place of his birth, a nation still wrestling with history instead of hiding from it. And for that, I was willing to endure another lap-crushing, Euro-flu inducing flight through the friendly skies with Lufthansa . . . even if they did separate me from my wife and child on the way home.

Hunter Baker may be contacted at bakersemail@yahoo.com

Posted by Fire @ 2:29 PM

Tis the Season For Emotional Trauma, fa la la la – a la la la

In Denver, there’s a radio station that is playing nothing but Christmas Carols, 24/7 for the entire holiday season. I’m wondering how station employees are prevented from going on shooting sprees as a result. Well, apparently a union in the Czech Republican has the same worries about it’s members.

Union members, who are store clerks, are complaining about emotional trauma from listening to the same sappy songs piped in over the PA system. I can’t help but feel sympathy for the workers – despite their union memberships. Read the story here.

Posted by CommonSense @ 12:42 PM

Is Syria Opening Up?

It’s no suprise that with the Arab world’s population largely under the age of 25, there are a lot of pressures to reform their backwards, archiac societies. Syria is doing their best, it ain’t perfect, but at least they’re trying. Read the story here.

Posted by CommonSense @ 12:36 PM

Reducing Our Oil Dependency

If we’re going to be serious about reducing our dependency on foreign oil, one way to do it is to update the corporate average fuel economy guidelines, known as CAFE. For far too long SUVs and light trucks have been able to skirt the guidelines and in some occasions, receive tax breaks despite their gax guzzeling. Well, the administration is moving in the right direction. Read the story here.

Posted by CommonSense @ 12:33 PM

Ways of Knowing

I played Santa Claus today for the 25 kids at the day-care center where I volunteer.

I am powerfully tired of reading articles on fathering, parenting, etc, etc, that sound like they are straight out of Blackstone’s Commentaries on Law.

The connection between these two statements is this.

There are two kinds of knowledge: theoretical and practical.

The relationship between them is fragile.

There most certainly is a Theory of How to Play Right Field but if you are not blessed with some coordination and strength, it is not going to be of much help.

It is best to have both but if you have to pick one or the other, either in sports or parenting, take the practical every time.

That lesson was reinforced today when towards the end of the party, one of the 3 year olds I know quite well just climbed up on my lap and fell asleep.

Now here is the problem: practical knowledge tends to be non-verbal. It’s something you have to ” get the knack of”. Words are of little help.

I wish I could put into words what that little girl taught me today but I don’t have that ability.

But it certainly was important and unforgettable.

Posted by Gus @ 11:24 PM

Merry Christmas!!!

Posted by Fire @ 10:05 PM

Thomas Sowell–Nobody Does it Better.

As some teachers might exclaim: “Hey kids,

America Sucks!,

see there’s no reason why you should get a voucher. What more do you want out of school? I just shared with you the Chomskyian wonders of the world–now tell your parents to keep paying their property taxes and just shut up.”

Here’s Sowell’s take on anti-American educrats:

Nor is understanding history the purpose of such questions. The purpose is to score points against Western society. In short, propaganda has replaced education as the goal of too many “educators.”

Go tell it to the mountain!

Posted by Fire @ 10:04 PM

Free Daily Political Journal.

James Taranto is on vacation so the old WSJ is offering us

this report for free this week.

It’s a fun, easy, interesting read, but it is in no way worth paying for (even if it’s only 4 bucks a month). I say this because there is so much of a beautiful conservative nature available to us for free on the net so why on earth should we pay for this report?

Posted by Fire @ 10:00 PM

Taxing the Internet.

Man does this make me mad! What they’re talking about doing is adding a tax to Internet Service Providers who, of course, will pass on their burden to you and I. There was thought that the current moratorium on taxes would turn into a permanent ban but old

NRO sincerely doubts

it–as does anyone who knows these elected weasels. The government has never encountered a revenue source they didn’t want to snarf down whole. Write your Congressman!

Posted by Fire @ 9:56 PM

Tax and Spend Public Officials

Cook County, which encompasses Chicago and a few collar communites, has a $3 billion per year budget. The County President, John Stroger, is an old school Chicago politician that spreads his clout around through graft. He says the County needs $58 million additional dollars in 2004 and will need $140 million in 2005.

However, if the County were to become more efficient and lay off non-essential employees, institute a highering freeze, and elminate currently empty positions, the $58 million in 2004 would not be needed. Neither would the $140 million in 2005. But of course, John Stroger doesn’t want to do that because that will reduce the power he weilds.

Fortunatly, there is a group of reformers who also have had it with Stroger. The reformers are pushing for a realistic budget that doesn’t punish the tax payers. Read a Chicago Tribune editorial about them here.

Posted by CommonSense @ 5:41 PM

The Big Dig

Boston’s Big Dig, the engineering feat that reroutes traffic underneath the City is finally complete. While the $14.6 billion project cost the State 40% more than expected, the project should be a huge success in alleviating traffic congestion.

Perhaps cities across America experiencing the pains of urban sprawl can learn a lesson from Boston. Plan ahead and build smart roads or it is going to cost the taxpayers

billions

of dollars.

Posted by CommonSense @ 1:31 AM

Old Time Hockey

There’s no doubt the influx of European players to the National Hockey League has changed how the game is played in North America. The Europeans, accustomed to playing on a larger sheet of ice, have brought speed and passing to the game, thus taking the game away from the boards and removing much of the physical play.

Many old time hockey fans don’t like this. They miss the checking and they miss the occasional scrap between two enforcers, making sure the dirty play doesn’t get out of hand. Apparently, a Canadian promoter misses the fights as well.

Darryl Wolski is staging “

The Battle of the Hockey Gladiators

” someplace in Manitoba. As far as I know, Manitoba doesn’t have a population beyond the occasional moose hunter so finding a paying audience for such an event will be a feat unto itself.

But the event, which promises to be – entertaining as a car crash if nothing else – will be a toughman style competition featuring 64 ex or current hockey players. The players/fighers will be dressed in full hockey equipment and duke it out on the ice. The last man standing takes home $50,000. If this event proves successfull, maybe the NHL should consider bringing enforcers back into the game.

Posted by CommonSense @ 1:24 AM

Interracial Dating

I remember the days when “interracial marriage” was an Irish man marrying a French woman.

Think I’m kidding? I’m serious. When dating, I discovered that most people who were third generation American were totally out of touch with their ancestrial cultures and history. This wasn’t just due to U.S. cultural assimulation. It was also due to their lack of a strong genetic link. I would hear people rattle off their ancestries like a laundry list: 1/4 Dutch, 1/4 Irish, 1/8 Cherokee, etc.

Most of these people don’t know how to even say hello in any of their non-English ancestrial languages (I love a particular episode of The Sopranos where the mobster tells off a doctor claiming to be Italian-American that the guy couldn’t speak any Italian.)

Even if such a person did want to get in touch with their ancestrial heritage generations later (as I have done personally) they wouldn’t have a significant connection as much as someone who has a more direct blood link. Racist? Think of it this way: If someone is your first cousin and comes for a visit, are you much closer to that person than if they are 6th removed?

This lack of cultural identity makes such people plum pickins’ for the P.C. and Madison Avenue crowd to offer a substitute. Learning Polish language and customs made me realize that there was such a huge world to these cultures beyond what you see when you visit a restaurant. Customs and traditions can take years to learn. Also, there was a general closeness in European cultures that is lacking in the states. A German on a train will talk to another German on the train as two Germans together. Here in the states, it’s basically the New York City syndrome: Everyone is a stranger and possible racist/hostile force. The “melting pot” is also the frying pan. I’ll say something funny and offensive: I believe that most people who identify themselves as ethnic minorities like whites because they know that whites are unlikely to rip them off and justify it as a “victim” entitlement. (I think this is part of the Limosine Liberal mentality that Fire joked about: That the poor minorities will need their liberal elite to guide them like sheep.)

Anyway, back to “interracial” dating: Most people when they hear this think of Asian/African-American and whites. I tend to view most white women who chase after black men as either politically naive (At least in the past. Today, times have changed as white guilt appears to be subsiding) OR to meet a laundry list of traits that the (ironically) feminist dating school taught them: Man must be tall, “well-endowed”, earn good money, and have status. Interracial marriage is THE way to for such women to eat their cake and have it too: They don’t have to apologize for marrying the “Patriarchy” as a normal feminist must do when marrying a wealthy white man.

But let’s look at this logically: If many black men are turned on by white women with pedigrees more than the mulatto women in their own culture, what will these women’s daughter’s prospects be? And their sons will be mulatto in-between being white and black. If Darwin was examining these women’s choices from a perspective of the her children’s chances, he would say she was being very shortsighted.

Then again… shortsightedness is the world-view of the P.C. crowd isn’t it? There is no shortage of desperate 30-something white women looking to settle down in the states and the Y generation has produced a glut of attractive, young women. I have noticed that nearly every balding, X gener out there seems to be finding a younger wife to marry and have kids. It seems strange to see so many young families out there in this age bracket…

Posted by PolishKnight @ 11:32 PM

Posted by Fire @ 10:02 PM

That Interracial Thang.

Well, I’m going to write a column soon on interracial dating for my upcoming book on sex and conservatism which should be finished whenever I quit being a recalcitrant, lazy, football addict…so, perhaps next August. Anyway, to prepare myself I reread two of my favorite articles on this topic and thought I would share them with you. First,

one by Fred Reed

and, second,

Is Love Colorblind

by Steve Sailer.

Posted by Fire @ 9:54 PM

Butter, not Guns? A Fallacious Comparison.
Here’s a good article summing up the Democratic pathology.

I stand by any writer who references Cato documents:

By 1970, the Fed’s hoard of T-bills had more than doubled, reaching $62.1 billion. That’s all you need to know about why inflation accelerated in the late ’60s. Guns and butter had nothing to do with it. If you’re curious what went wrong again in the late ’70s, and what went right after 1981, feel free to download a paper of mine on the fiscal-monetary policy mix at www.cato.org/events/papers/reynolds.pdf.

Posted by Fire @ 9:34 PM

How the Left Stole Christmas.
This one’s from The American Conservative.

What else will they steal? There is little left unfortunately; they have relentlessly denigrated our culture. Oh well, that’s why we’re here. Onward, forward, to battle!

Posted by Fire @ 9:22 PM

The Anti-Feminist Army.

Ian’s back up online with his

Anti-Feminist Army.

It looks like he’s got a better host this time around. Ian’s also got

new t-shirts available that state “Stop the Male Bashing”

which would make fine belated Christmas presents.

Posted by Fire @ 7:53 PM

Left Wing Media Bias part Deux

I seldom watch TV. However, that doesn’t keep me from knowing what is going on with America’s favorite shows as the banal scripts keep millions of our fellow citizens entertained each week.

Last night, as I feverishly blogged away, a rerun of “The West Wing” was on in the background. While I had never seen the show, I know it has often been accused of being a “leftist propaganda tool.” After all, one of Hollywood’s original leftist activists, Martin Sheen, plays the President – surely a role that can only be dreamt up in dreamland. Well, last night I found out just how much propoganda the show is filled with.

I don’t know the greater context of the scene, but I can guess. Some way too hot for real world politicking blond had a job interview with an opposing “liberal” lobbying firm. Some monumental event happened that caused her to see the light. As she met her conservative coworkers for dinner, she was noticeably shell shocked. Her coworkers, instead of finding out how the interview went, sinisterly ranked on their kind and warm-hearted compatriots. They sinisterly laughed as they called the well-meaning liberals “wastes” and “useless” and other words to those affects.

After her apparent conversion, the way too hot blond simply couldn’t take this liberal bashing anymore. She chastised her implied soon to be former coworkers: “They are not “wastes” and “useless.” You may think so, but don’t use that language, at least not in front of me!”

The message: Republicans are evil, mean spirited people who dehumanize those who oppose them. On the other hand, Democrats are the Care Bears of leadership. If you have a euphoric vision of life, then they are the ones who should lead.

For the week of Dec. 1 through Dec. 7, The West Wing had 12.7 million viewers. In TV Land, that is significant. It is enough to put the show in “the Top 25” and command premium ad dollars.

What’s my point?

The “right” is who traditionally complains about media bias. However, that is not the case anymore. Largely because of Fox News’ success, the “left” is now saying corporate news media interests, i.e., conservatives, control our airwaves. It’s a modern propoganda war in the making.

So who’s winning?

Not the conservatives. For the week of Dec. 8, Fox News had 6.4 average viewers per night which made it only the third most watched news source in America. And still, Fox’s 6.4 million viewers are significantly less than the West Wing’s 12.7 million viewers.

But what’s more alarming to me, is how the two ideologies the shows represent are disseminated. We know who Fox is, we know the point of view the commentators are coming from. In fact, Fox has been criticized for having too many commentators and not enough unbiased news reporting. However, Fox stands naked in front of us and says “this is who we are.”

The West Wing on the other hand, is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. It is not simply trying to disseminate information, but it is attempting to ideologically win the hearts and minds of a much larger viewing audience. It is the best type of propaganda around. It is packaged as entertainment so the viewer isn’t even aware they are being fed that conservatives are evil and mean spirited. When watching Fox, the other side is at least given lip service at worst. The other side on the West Wing is taken to a commercial break so the viewer can absorb the evil conservatives he has just witnesses.

As America settles in for a long winter, and our middles bulge from an even higher rate of our sedentary television viewing pastime, we must be careful of what we watch. It could be like food, and say a little something about who we are.

Posted by CommonSense @ 11:17 AM

Posted by Fire @ 8:49 AM

The Quagmire of Older Women, Part One.

The term “quagmire” has been in the news much as of late and it has often been used incorrectly. However, it’s application to the dating of older women is quite appropriate as, both figuratively and literally, it is a classification that is difficult to out of once you’ve gotten in. I write this essay principally for men in their late twenties, thirties and forties. For men below twenty-five, it makes little sense to worry about whether or not a woman is older or younger.

Television and Hollywood glamorize the life of today’s older single women, but I have found that this glamorization is more outright lie than distortion. The women I have known and continue to know do not in any way evidence “having it all.” Like deposed queens living in exile, they face a future leagues away from the glories of their past, and even with hi-grade denial mechanisms, some begin to realize it.

I have three themes that I wish develop. First, single women in their thirties and forties are far different qualitatively from those in their twenties. This is due to their single years taking a tremendous toll on their personalities and outlook. I argue here that it is unlikely that after years of living the single life, these particular individuals are no longer suitable for marriage or serious relationships. Therefore, their company should be sought on a short-term basis alone.

My second point is that these older women offer unique advantages in casual relationships that younger women do not possess. I have found that their age allows one to enjoy them without the dangers of falling in love or becoming “whipped.” One always maintains a strong sense of control with older women. Relationships that have a set expiration date are a rare luxury on this earth, and women who have seen more moons than you are the easiest ones with whom to avoid emotional attachments. Their youth is like a wizard’s staff, and, without it, they can cast no spells.

Third, if one carefully maintains boundaries while interacting with them, it still remains possible to enjoy their company while keeping opportunities open for finding younger women. It is with these younger women that one can experience the full range of emotions and life.

I’ll begin with the first point about the qualitative difference of older women. It is undeniable that women who have been “on the market” for fifteen years or more are dissimilar from all others. Indeed, only one who has had no interactions with them would think otherwise. These women are not like the ones you find on “Sex in the City.” They lack the morale of those characters. Many have accumulated a century’s worth of Indianapolis 500’s on their chassis and have gas tanks brimming with vinegar instead of gasoline. They await an armistice which will never be delivered.

By the time they get into their thirties it is either time for caustic reflection or time to avoid reflection at all costs. They have seen two or three cycles of friends get married and now associate with women who have made exactly the same mistakes that they have made. Universally, these women can only come up with one culprit for their misfortune and it is the 49% of the world’s population known as men. Yes, just like popular culture and the American universities, they have decided that the monolithic block of “men” are responsible for all that is wrong with civilization including their own personal errors or choices.

When I was younger I thought that all the attractive women would be taken when I got older. That turned out to be wrong, but most of the smart ones did remove themselves from the auction at the point in which they had the most value. While obviously not true of every individual, the girls who remain have completely misjudged the game in which they play. Despite every piece of anthropological data in existence, they believed that they would age like Bordeaux but this has never been the case. The aging process has been more akin to Bordeaux with cork removed and left atop a Bunsen burner.

By the time one encounters these career single women, they have no patience for dating or meeting new people or making sacrifices of any kind, which automatically negates the possibilities of a long-term relationship with them.

In many ways, although I hate to use the word, older single women are the most conspicuous victims (just as every heterosexual is) of our the post-sixties politically correct culture. We have been taught to accept low-grade clichés about humanity rather to spend time examining the nature of man and the, not always parallel, nature of woman.

Older women reveal the fact that the unexamined life– even if Socrates was wrong and it is worth living– offers serious interpersonal consequences for those who chose to passively swallow social engineering as truth.

These women have been deluded into thinking that men and women look for the same things in respective mates. This is an incredibly damaging fabrication. Most men know such a concept is laughably inaccurate, but many single women believe it and that is the root of much strife among the sexes.

Only through personal initiative would they discover that what they read in the pages of the papers, magazines, television, or on huge internet sites like slate.com was wishful thinking at best, and political deception designed to alter behavior at worst. What self-help do these sources offer? It is that males and females Americans want the same things from members of the opposite sex. Poppycock!

I’ve heard continually that men and women are looking for “the best person” with whom to marry or have a long-term relationship with. This is ridiculous. If it were true, people would propose to their childhood best friends.

The dissemination of the radioactive idea that men and women are exactly the same exists for one purpose, to promote ideological equality of the sexes over any other goal including happiness or harmony. One either accepts equality as the highest criteria in life or you find out what human beings are really like.

As nearly anyone who’s known any men can attest to, men have a different agenda in mate selection than women have. Only radical feminists, who despise men and often are lesbians or bisexuals themselves, would dispute this state of affairs. Yet, these are often the same females writing books and advice columns on dating.

Radical lesbians don’t know any men and they’re happy not to. They’d also be grateful if a side effect of their advice was to poison all women against men. The whole reason hardcore feministas are obsessed with men in the first place is because they know that if they attempted to compete with us on an even playing field they would never win. That is why they broadcast “advice” and successfully embitter a generation of women against us. The last thing they want is for anyone to look at us as genuine human beings.

However, independent of lesbianism or radical political agendas, the error every advice columnist makes is that they never take male perspective into account. They don’t care what we think. Why should they? We’d probably tell the truth which would never fit into their theories anyway. When an ideologue encounters unpleasant truth they simply change the truth to match the pre-existing theory. That’s why they have no imperative to listen to non-metrosexual males.

My friend always jokes about going out to Borders on the weekends and trying to find women in the “Self-Help” section. My guess is that he would not like what he found there. In those aisles, wild assertions are passed off as universal psychological law. One of my favorites is the old, “women must learn to love themselves before men can love them.” What complete nonsense. This only compounds their readers’ difficulties as many of these single women already spend their days wrapped in pointless self-absorption and navel-gazing.

Danielle Crittenden in What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman summed it up well:

“My single male friends in their thirties complain about going on dates with women who spend that entire evening talking about themselves and analyzing themselves aloud. These women are no longer capable, it seems, of holding a general conversation or of even feigning interest in a general conversation.” [p.72]

When skimming self-help articles or book titles one has to resist the temptation not to condescend (my resistence failed). Without exception, nearly every single volume glosses over male desire. One, even stated as an aside, something to the effect of, “who has time for a boyfriend nowadays– with all the emails you have to return and lunches you attend.” Another was actually called Kiss My Tiara[!] with chapters entitled “Never Mind a Penis, We’ll Take a Bigger Paycheck” and “PMS is a Power Tool.” Why Men Love Bitches, would be best left in the warehouse if one a woman actually has not given up hope of finding a significant other.

To be continued…

Posted by Fire @ 8:13 AM

Media Concentration

There’s a been a lot of flap lately in the media about media consolidation. In this January’s print version of Reason Magazine, Den Compaine has even written an article on the subject entitled “Domination Fantasies: Does Rupert Murdoch control the Media? Does anyone?” The fact that I read about the topic in a non-corporate, viable independent magazine speaks to the lack of media consolidation.

Ironically, that doesn’t stop the purveyors of socialism from wanting to stifle competition by calling for increased government regulation in the “public” realm of communications.

Tonight, as I conducted internet research on Japan’s contribution to Gulf War II, I came across the Green Left Weekly , “Australia’s radical weekly newspaper.” The “About Us” section very first words are “In these days of growing media concentration. . .”

Isn’t the very fact that a guy in Chicago, IL is reading a leftist Australian newspaper, a sign that media concentration doesn’t exist?

The very premise of the socialist’s “media concentration” agenda is a fallacy. Yet, it is a growing notion held be people “on the left.” Now, the socialist in a democrats clothing, Howard Dean, himself has called for the break-up of the Fox Network because he doesn’t believe a competing message should be heard.

Howard Dean is now considered the leading Democratic Presidential Candidate. I don’t think Howard Dean will eventually win the prize. However, I am worried that so many people support him that he can be considered anything but a joke.

Posted by CommonSense @ 2:00 AM