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Category: Culture

The best that has been thought and written and why these ideals are difficult to meet.

December 24, 2009 | 11 Comments

Christmas Eve Party Game: Spot the Logical Fallacy!

What better way to celebrate Christmas Eve than with a game the whole family can play? So gather round the tree, load up the eggnog with some Barbancourt 5 star, and stand by for fun!

Rules: Each question begins with an illustrative scenario, after which follows one or more puzzlers. Points are awarded based on difficulty.

  1. Shauna Wilton, a female professor of political sciences at the University of Alberta has it in for Thomas the Tank Engine, which is England’s version of Barney, but on wheels. Wilton has academically analyzed 23—count ’em!—Thomas episodes and doesn’t like the way they portray women! She wants it changed! Now! Here’s what she says:

    The female characters weren’t necessarily portrayed any more negatively than the male characters or the male trains, but they did tend to play more secondary roles and they’re often portrayed as being bossy or know-it-alls.

    Bossy. Hmmm. More from the story:

    [Wilton] also objected to the way the show portrays Thomas, Percy and James slaving away for wealthy bosses like the Fat Controller.

    Turns out that that darn Thomas is a…a…a conservative! And the children that watch him “will [someday] attain full political citizenship, and the opinions and world outlook they develop now, partially influenced by shows like Thomas, are part of that process.”

    10 points Now for the question, in the form of a statement: The University of Alberta charges its students tuition. Criticize.

    Hat tip to reader and contributer Ari Schwartz.

  2. Paul Kotta, a Livermore, California resident, in a letter to the New York Times (D) called people who do not subscribe, as he religiously does, to the Anthropogenic Greenhouse Warming theory of climate, “deniers.” He argues that “[o]ver the years, various industries have launched coordinated propaganda efforts to deny now accepted facts like the cancer-causing effects of tobacco or that seat belts save lives.” He adds that some industries now deny “the role of pollution in climate change.” Therefore, AGW is true.

    20 points Question: has Kotta soaked up too much California sun, or has he hit upon a brand new logical proof of AGW?

  3. Houston Baker, now a “distinguished” professor of English at Vanderbilt, was a professor at Duke, and was one of the 88 professors who published an open letter condemning the Lacrosse team players falsely accused of rape.

    In June 2006, Baker falsely suggested that Duke lacrosse players had raped other women. In a pervasively ugly response to a polite e-mail from the mother of a Duke lacrosse player, he called the team “a scummy bunch of white males” and the woman the “mother of a ‘farm animal.’ “

    What fun! And what a beautiful use of the English language from a “distinguished” professor of the same. (Nobody has ever discovered whether he apologized—-but your intrepid reporter has emailed him: hold your breath until we receive a response.)

    Vanderbilt loved Baker’s prose, even if you didn’t, and they hired him away from Duke. (Diversity! Diversity!) There, he wrote the book Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era, which accuses many black intellectuals of, among other crimes, “centrism”, which are activities conducted at the expense of the “black majority.”

    One of his arguments is that the prison population is rising (it has since fallen), and that some prisoners are black (they are). Baker suspects the “prison-industrial complex”, whereby some private companies build and run prisons, of making profits (they do). His implication is that the new prisons that are built must be filled else the companies involved won’t profit (true). Therefore, the “complex”, through nefarious means, generates incarcerations.

    10 points Question 1 (non-logical): Define distinguished.

    30 points Question 2: What came first, the criminal or his cage?

  4. Congressman Alan Grayson (D – Florida), who hobbies include chasing ambulances and soliciting for his own personal “money bomb“, was irked, irritated, and downright incensed that citizen Angie Langley created the voodoo website MyCongressmanIsNuts.com. So peeved was Grayson that he wrote our illustrious Attorney General (the same gentleman who wants to bring the 9/11 murderers to New York City because, uh, well, just because) and demanded that the United States government “imprison [Angie Langley] for 5 years” for speaking poorly of him.

    Part of the United States’s Constitution—the supreme law of the land, trumping, for now, even “progressive” politicians—says, and I quote:

    Congress shall make no law..abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

    To repeat: Congressman Alan Grayson (D – Florida) is a congressman, a guardian of our Constitution.

    10 points Question 1 (non-logical): How much money could an energetic trial lawyer hope to pull down in a year if he charges a contingency fee of thirty-three percent?

    40 points Question 2: How many people can you arrest for political dissent before you violate the Constitution.?

That’s it for now. Have a ball and be sure to check back for our New Year’s game: What Kind of a Dumb Idea Was That?

December 21, 2009 | 9 Comments

My beloved Detroit

Presented: A vision of Socialism Lite. Won’t it be fun when we get to the real thing? When the elites—who are wiser than us—relieve us of the awful burden of making our own decisions. All will, by force of law, be equally dismal—but equal!

Watch the video.

Oh, and before you mention poor management of the car companies, pay attention to that 0% figure—the amount the unions gave of their political contributions to non-Democrats.

Maybe I’m just depressed because of Harry Reid’s Christmas present—yet another mandated government program that will require—by force of law!—that I hand over more of my money for something else that I do not want.

December 6, 2009 | 11 Comments

Gotta fear them crazy GIs

An AP article claims “Militia movement resurfaces across U.S.” (link here; though this story differs from the one I read in the San Jose Mercury News).

How did they come to this frightening view? They were told it was so via a press release (devices which save reporting time) generated by Political Research Associates, a group whose tag line is “Researching the Right for Progressive Changemakers.”

Presumably, “Changemakers” are those graduates of left-wing gender or ethnic “studies” programs that you see working at, inter alia, Taco Bell.

Anyway, the PRA publishes a journal called Public Eye, in which you can find such revelatory articles about how the Catholic Church is getting “meaner”, or how American Christians are influencing African preachers who then go on to protest “LGBT equality.” Another study argues that public anti-union sentiment is due to “corporate repression of workers.” Or something. Ho hum; just what you’d expect from a “progressive” organization.

I was unable to discover on their site the report that claimed that militias are growing in frighteningness, and so must rely on the AP version of the story.

To be clear: many militia members are nutty and over the edge, and support paranoid and loony conspiracy theories—a little like the PRA, perhaps, except that militias are armed and potentially dangerous. To be clearer: I do not support these militias.

What bothers me is the implication in the AP story that the “growth” in the number of militias (they could only point to one a two-man team in Alaksa; but never mind) is because of (1) racism, (2) a Democrat president, and (3) like in the 1990s “Veterans were returning from the Persian Gulf War.”

PRA claims that Obama’s election (which combines points 1 and 2) has been “harnessed” as a “recruiting tool.” Maybe that’s so for a few men especially close to the limits of sanity, but I would guess that the rotten economy has more to do with any actual increase in militia numbers. That is, if that increase is genuine.

Few numbers are provided to support the theory that there is an actual growth in militias. We hear that one “civil rights organization” tallied a few new groups in the USA. But they never told us how many old militias disbanded, an occurrence that must be commonplace. Nor do we ever learn the absolute number of people involved. All we are left with the vague nervousness of PRA’s connect-the-dots guesses.

But stuff them (I’d use more colorful language if this weren’t a family blog) for hauling out the discredited leftist party line that all veterans are ready-to-snap time bombs. “Stay away from him, Joey! He’s a veteran and will almost certainly join a militia!”

We’re all supposed to have terrible nightmares from which we wake shaking and sweaty. We smile at our neighbors during daylight, but in the dark we start at loud noises which bring on our “flashbacks”. These, in turn, generate our popular murderous rages. Just see any non-John-Wayne-starring-post-1960 Hollywood movie and you’ll get the idea.

When I see this kind of thing, it makes me so mad that I am ready to take up arms and act like I am expected to.

Which, when you contemplate it, is not a bad idea. The “progressives” would get the pleasure of confirming that all those who served their country are renegades, and I get the pleasure of slapping them silly.

It’s a win-win situation.