Occupy… Whatever.

I’m not sure why anyone is paying attention to this Occupy Wall Street “movement” and its franchisees like “Occupy Seattle.”  (Really? Anti-corporate hippies in Seattle’s West Lake Center? Isn’t that just a regular day?) What do I care about the opinions of people who place so little value on their time they loiter around all day under the guise of “doing something.”

The one thing they have accomplished is that they have increased my regard of anti-war protestors circa 2003.  At least if you asked those people what they wanted you got a straight, concise answer: No Iraq war and some kind of kangaroo court trial for the President of the United States.  And their demonstrations usually only lasted a day or two. But that was back in 2003 when the unemployment rate was at a very non-Obama like 6%, and even many filthy hippies had some kind of job.

Speaking of Obama, shouldn’t one of the “movement’s” goals be to remove Obama from office?  One of the vague demands I’ve heard a couple times is the “removal of Wall Street money from the political process.”  President Obama took significantly more money from Wall Street institutions  in 2008 than John McCain.  To be fair, I haven’t gotten the impression that the demonstrations are exactly pro-Obama rallies, but the POTUS does seem to be the white elephant in the patchouli oil-soaked crowd.

But again: Whatever.

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You bought cell phones? Allow me to emasculate you!

When a commercial features a cast playing a family most of the time the father is either stupid oaf or the wife is an insufferable bitch.

It occurred to me while watching the NLCS and seeing the “Shrill wife scolding husband for buying cell phones” commercial for the 97th time, that I have seen very little in the way of “husband is a moron” commercials.

I wonder if they make a conscious decision to make a certain amount of just “wife is a soul-draining bitch” commercials for use during sports and Die Hard movies, and a certain amount of  “husband would set himself on fire without wife” commercials to be shown during The View and Glee.

Either way they ARE making those commercials. Why? Doesn’t it seem like they are attempting to alienate half of all consumers every time one of those airs? That might not matter for tampons or ball itch powder, why do it for cell phones or breakfast cereal?

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Am I Thin Enough to Make “Michael Moore is Fat” Jokes Yet?

Back in ye olden days of W’s first term, a woman who was an open admirer of Michael Moore screeched at me when I said I was a Bruce Springsteen fan. Why? From what I gathered she thought it was terrible that The Boss was making money from his album “The Rising,” which was a response to 9-11. (I also think that, ironically, she was making the same mistake that Ronald Reagan made famous and thought that “Born in the USA” must be some kind of song of high patriotism.)

This story makes me want to look her up, go over to her house, ring her doorbell, and when she opens the door, kick her square  in the balls.

Though I suppose you could make the argument that “Fahrenheit 9/11″ had less to do with 9-11 than, say, “Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ,” but I don’t think the screecher would.

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Yeah, Aaron Rodgers is a real uncaring prick…

If you obsessively follow professional football bloggers, tweeters, and related riff-raff, you probably saw the manufactured, “Aaron Rodgers hates women who have survived cancer” story.  The manufacturer of the story later issued a hollow apology after cancer woman herself said she was cool that Rodgers, who had signed autographs for her before, spaced out and breezed by her as he was probably trying to get home and get some sleep after a Herculean effort against the Falcons.

The whole hoopla was based on this video:

I don’t know what anyone thinks she had to complain about anyway; she got Clay Matthews’ autograph. That’s much better.

But from what I hear, Rodgers is a pretty good guy, at least by NFL star quarterback standards. More often than not, I hear stories like this rather than “Rodgers hates cancer survivors.”

I even have a personal story.

As long time readers of this blog, if any, know, my son Theodore was born with spina bifida.  He often needs to spend time in the hospital, and 2010 was an especially rough year, with seven surgeries and twenty or so nights in the hospital.

The last time he was in the hospital was the weekend of Halloween.  Because Teddy is a member of the Green Bay Junior Power Pack, and has shown an interest in football this year, my wife thought she’d give the Packers front office a call to see if they could send something out for a sick fan. (Ironically, she was angling for a Clay Matthews autograph.) The front office lady said no.  But, since people in Green Bay, unlike most NFL cities,  generally aren’t uncaring dicks (unless they played varsity football for Green Bay East in 1991 or 1992), she asked about Teddy, and was a  little dismayed about all the brain surgeries in 2010.

A few weeks later I found a package on the door step with the Packer logo all over it.  It was addressed to Teddy.  We opened it up and found a Packers teddy bear, a Packers Christmas ornament, a bunch of pictures of players, a team picture, Packer stickers, and other Packer swag. There was also this card:

Cynical prick that I am, I closely examined the signature.  It was written by an ink pen, not printed on the card.  Obviously the “Dear Theodore” and date were written by a woman, but the signature is that of Aaron Rodgers. It is possible it could have been auto-penned, but somehow I doubt it.  I also expect that since it says  “Aaron Rodgers and The Green Bay Packers” that Rodgers kicked in some of the cash to make things like Teddy’s box happen.

So what? Big deal he signed a card for my kid and, as a millionaire,  maybe kicked in a few bucks to a sick kid fund. Well, yeah. Big deal. The five seconds it took him to grab and carefully sign the card is five seconds he could have signed a football for $100, gotten halfway into the pants of any woman in Green Bay, or just relaxed after a hard day at practice.

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Ha.

Where the hell have I been? Long story. Well, not really, I just have had a lot of things taking priority over my time blogging. I’ll get back to bloggin’ more after the first of the year.

In the meantime, I wanted to share the best paragraph I’ve read all year, from “10 Things That Christmas Would Be Better Off Without“:

If we get rid of the religious part of Christmas, then we don’t have to bother with the whole fucking PC semantics of it. You don’t have to worry about saying “Merry Christmas” to some tightass liberal dipshit who was tricked into believing Kwanzaa is a real holiday. They can’t get mad at you if they know there’s no explicit Jesus undertone to the whole thing. TAKE THAT, YOU FUCKING PINKOS. On the flipside, I don’t have to worry about every religious nutball ruining my good time opening gifts by constantly reminding me that the holiday is meant to commemorate the birth of the Son of God, who was then lashed to within an inch of his life and nailed to a cross, all because I jack off. You active Christians make me uncomfortable.

Removing Christ from Christmas in order to stick it to Pinkos. Fantastic. Not that I agree with the premise, but the logic is hilarious.

On a semi-related note, McDonald’s really didn’t need to add Holiday Pies to the Eggnog shake in the Christmas rotation. What, one menu item that comes from another dimension and is more addictive to heroine wasn’t enough?

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Obligatory election post.

So, summing up all the lefty take on the electorate that I’ve ever heard following the major elections in which I voted:

1994 – Gullible morons

1996 – Mostly brilliant, but didn’t undo 1994’s mistakes

1998 – Gullible morons for still not undoing 1994’s mistakes

2000 – Brilliant, at least as far as the popular vote was concerend

2002 – Gullible morons

2004 – Gullible morons

2006 – Brilliant

2008 – Brilliant

2010 – Gullible morons

Amazing how the electorate goes from moronic to brilliant, isn’t it?

I’ve also heard several people talking about the short memory the electorate has. I agree. Last night demonstrated that a lot of people can’t remember why the hell they voted for Obama.

And mad props to my homeland of Wisconsin for making a Kos Diarist lose his shit. (UPDATE: He took it down. It was called: “Hey Wisconsin, Go F**k Yourself!” Wimp. Stand by your crazy-ass rant if you’re going to post it.)

Though I will say, as much as I disagree with Feingold politically, I do have a grudging admiration for the man.  He said what he meant and never seemed to let the power of his office go to his head.  And he could correctly identify that Randy Moss is disliked in Wisconsin. I’m not sure Herb Kohl could do the same.

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I’m very “meh” about this whole election thing.

Apparently, as a conservative, I’m supposed to be excited about tomorrow. While it will be nice to see less of San Fran Gran Nan on TV (and on the succession list), and it would be nice to see a few blowhard air bags like Alan Grayson go down, I’m not excited.
Why? I’ve seen this movie before:

We’ll have an energized, young Republican House, a close Senate. Obama won’t be able to do anything, which should help him get reelected like Clinton in ‘96. Then by the time a Republican president rolls into DC, the Republican congress will be as bloated and corrupt as this one, concerned only with getting reelected.

I’m actually more excited about the possibility of getting rid of some of our crappy local politicians this year.

In other strange news, Dino Rossi is still advertising like he has a chance to win. Dude, King County has trucks full of ballots marked “Murray” on standby, ready to be “found”. You’d think he’d know that.

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No one ever expects the Poulsbo Half Marathon!

I ran the inaugural Poulsbo Half Marathon on Sunday. I found out about it on Tuesday, and ran it Sunday. Normally, I wouldn’t attempt to run a half marathon on five days notice, but, as it so happens, I am training for the Seattle Half Marathon, and was supposed to run 10 miles on Sunday anyway.  So I figured tacking on 3.1 miles wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I looked at the course, decided it was too hilly for a good time where I was in the training, and vowed to take it easy.

That vow didn’t last very long once I got running with the group. And once I hit mile 9, I calculated that I could make a PR with a reasonable pace in the last 4.1 miles. Problem is the last two miles are straight up a hill. But, forgetting my vows, I dug in anyway, and ended up breaking my old PR mark, set in August, by about 4 minutes, coming in at 2:15:12. This was my sixth half marathon and the first I have run weighing less than 300 pounds.

Here is the GPS data and map from the race:

I was plenty sore yesterday (but still managed to mow the lawn) and am still feeling it today, but, hey, new PR. The question is can I beat it on November 28? Frankly, I’d assume so. The course is a little friendlier. The Poulsbo course certainly had the feel of a first-try course. It seemed awfully slow in places, with problems like a slippery boardwalk, crisscrossing with runners on a hairpin, spots where the course was one runner wide, and some sections that were more trail running than road running. The Seattle Marathon course, on the other hand, throws a few hills at you, but there is always plenty of room and flat concrete under your feet.

Cross-posted at The Band Blog.

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Who the Hell Watches “The View” Anyway?

I like Bill O’ Reilly.  Sure he has his faults, I don’t always agree with him, and I see through his “stay tuned as we broadcast an  outrageous broadcast of titties” segment, but if it comes to having someone do a hard, no BS interview, I’ll take O’Reilly over anyone else today.  I accept that maybe that says more about the state of the media today than it does about O’Reilly. (Incidentally, I don’t care if you like him or not. O’Reilly will make more money for tonight’s “Factor” than I will in the next 10 months, so I’m not going to spend my time defending him.)

This, however, has got to be the pinnacle of his achievements: Getting loudmouth, know-nothings Joy Behar and Da Whoopi to walk out on him.

The funny part is, of all the problems luxury car lefties could have with O’Reilly, they walked out on him because he said something that is undeniably true: Muslims attacked the US on 9-11. I don’t understand why that is so un-PC to say. Apparently Da Whoopi and Joy insisted on the qualifier “extremist.” However, all Muslims are not Muslim extremists, but all Muslim extremist are Muslims; that is somewhat of an important thing to remember if you are going to understand why New Yorkers might be a little sore about having a mosque placed close to Ground Zero, which was the subject of the O’Reilly – View Hag exchange.

When Christian nuts go on the march, I rarely hear anyone stumbling over themselves to add qualifiers. Often they do, but hardly anyone gets worked up if they don’t. The HuffPo tags stories about George Tiller’s murder with “Christianity” (and “Christian extremism”). Look through news reports about Westboro Baptist Church. Rarely is it pointed out that they have a radical or extremist view of Christianity. Why? Because it is common freaking sense. These days, people don’t fly planes into buildings, murder abortion doctors, or cause pain to the family of recently deceased soldiers in the name of God unless they are radical or extremist.

It is the goal of people like Behar to make distinct entities of Muslims and Muslim extremists, but they are intertwined, and a problem for Muslims to deal with. (The way the majority Christian state of Kansas dealt with Tiller’s murderer, for example.)

My final point is that O’Reilly, as much as I like him, is a pussy. Those hags would walk out on me in about 15 seconds.

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Not Exactly Enemy Territory.

The President of the United States appeared at my alma mater yesterday. As usual, for the straight dope on what is going on at UW-Madison’s campus outside of the athletic department, I turn to UW Law School Professor, and Obama voter, Ann Althouse.

(And for the record, if I was a student now, I would have made an effort to go see the president. Because he’s, you know, the President of the United States and all.)

Instapundit’s observation of Ann Althouse’s photos of the attendees of the Obama rally at UW-Madison is golden.  Althouse’s commenters same observation is… er… goldener.  (If you don’t want to click-through, it’s observations about how much whiter the crowd is than a Tea Party crowd and someone wondering if UW-Madison would Photoshop in some diversity like they used to in the good ol’ days.)

I also enjoy the video Althouse posted:

What does it take for Obama to get booed at the overwhelmingly left-leaning humanities side of the UW-Madison campus? Why, talking shit about the Packers being beat by the Bears, of course. (Which faux-Chicago sports fan Obama thinks happens on Sunday, not Monday.)

Ever see the horror movie cliche where the protagonist’s best friend/mate/sibling has been turned into a zombie/vampire/some monster and is about to kill the protagonist, but just in time the monster’s last memory of humanity comes through and he hesitates just long enough for the protagonist to escape? That’s what’s happening there.

A bunch of white, liberal college Obama zombies sitting on a hill thinking: “Hope… Change… Hope… Change… Wait a minute… Did he just talk shit about the Packers? In Wisconsin?” The difference from the cliche being that the Obama Zombies momentary humanity didn’t do anyone any good.

And I also agree with Althouse that his line about swinging up from Chicago to party in Madison is bullshit. Mostly because he looks like too much of a lightweight to survive a party that revolves around beer, schnapps, and whiskey rather than blow. But, Althouse’s commenter has a good counterpoint on this:  “Eh, I believe it. It has the air of a guy driving all night to hook up with a girl.”

I encourage you to go look at the rest of Althouse’s coverage, it’s pretty enlightening.

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Delaware?

Apparently something happened in Delaware last week that was supposed to decide the future of conservatism and/or the Republican Party.

Seems like the kind of thing I’d normally have an opinion on. But I’ve never cared about Delaware before, at least outside of Delaware incorporation laws. I’m not going to start now.

Besides it sounds confusing. I hear Mark Levin saying conservatism won, I hear Charles Krauhthammer saying it was a setback for conservatives.  If those two can’t agree on whether something is a winner for “conservatism” it’s too confusing to tell.  If only there were some Hollywood people on the conservative side of politics, then they could tell me and I’d know.

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FOOTBALL!

On a more upbeat note, what a great weekend of football.

Packers win. Badgers win. Navy wins.

Vikings lose. Minnesota loses to a I-AA (or whatever it is called now) school. Notre Dame loses. Cowboys lose on a hilarious last play penalty. (People are blaming Barron for holding. What choice did he have other to hold and hope he wasn’t called? Romo would have gotten sacked and the pass wouldn’t have been thrown in the first place. People should be calling him out for getting beaten so bad that he had to hold.)

And, per tradition, the sad sack Lions got screwed out of a win by the rule book. That rule needs to change for endzone catches. There is no reason a catch with possession with two feet down and then one hip down should not count as a touchdown.

As much as a football fan as I am, I’m not one of those people that can’t wait for football to start beginning in May. To me football is the consolation prize for summer ending. But now that it is here I’m pretty excited for the season to be underway.

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The Terrorists Have Won.

That title is not what I want to be writing on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, but I can’t escape that feeling that at least in some quarters, it is accurate.

A few weeks ago a twitter post caught my attention after Governor Patterson said he could at least understand where some of the opposition to Cordoba House (the so called Ground Zero Mosque). It was something like “Sorry Gov. Patterson. Those ASSHOLES opposing have NO good reason.”

Frankly, I don’t care about the Ground Zero Mosque for three reasons:

First, it’s never going to be built. No contractors or union shops will build it with public sentiment in New York the way it is.

Second, the Island of Manhattan can sink at this point for all I care. It’d be nice if it doesn’t take that nice statute that the French gave us which is sitting on a New Jersey island nearby, but whatever. I’m not going to spend much time worrying about New York construction projects, no matter what they are.

Third, if it is ever built, it is exactly the kind of bending over backwards to show how enlightened and nuanced the good people of Manhattan are that I would expect. (I am shocked that about half of New York City residents actually oppose the mosque.)

But, I challenged the premise that there were no legitimate feelings for opposition. (The following tweets are paraphrased from memory. If you really care you can dig through my tweets and find the conversation.) “Really? You can’t think of one good reason?” A couple of exchanges followed, and no, there was absolutely no good reasons – it was all Islamaphobia. When I presented the tweeter with a story about some Islamic leaders who are opposed to Cordoba House the response was along the lines that “some people can be dug up to say anything.” I didn’t bother asking her if the Islamic leaders were unreasonable assholes as her original tweet supposed.  I presumed that if 50% of New Yorkers – the residents of the bluest, most diverse city in America – were against the mosque there had to be something more than bigotry at work. (Maybe some of them are sore about the place being named after a Mosque that was converted from a cathedral following a Muslim conquest. Someone in the Islamist ranks is laughing his balls off about that.)

I use that one conversation as an example, but you don’t need to be an expert in social media or Google to find plenty of other people with the same opinions, and their point is clear: In the world of certain politically correct young cosmopolitans, we’re not allowed to have any kind of feelings about September 11, anymore other than whatever we should have for a run-of-the-mill tragedy and the guilt we should feel about it ourselves, presumably.

In the days following 9-11 we were all urged not to blame all Islamic people  for the actions of a group of Islamist terrorists. And that was legitimate.  What I don’t understand was how that morphed into: You aren’t allowed to feel that one Islamic person is being insensitive to the sore spot of the people of a city by building an Islamic center a few blocks from where 3,000 people, almost all of whom were not Islamic, were murdered in the name of Islam. I don’t blame all Muslims for 9-11, but one does not need to be a rocket surgeon to figure out why that might stick in the craw of some people, even if those people only blame a small segment of Muslims, too.

But no! For some people there can be no legitimate bad feelings about the project. If you are against it, why, you must be some kind of bigot.

If the 19 hijackers knew that some people didn’t want a project questioned because it was being done in the name of Islam that they’d be pretty happy about it. Seems like that is on the road to where they wanted to go as pan-Islamists.

Contrast that with the jackass in Florida who threatened to burn some Korans. How this guy commanded so much attention, I’ll never understand. The President, Secretary of State, the Pope, several probable 2012 presidential candidates, congressman, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a radio show, blog, or twitter account couldn’t wait to talk about that guy’s insensitivity.  And for good reason. What he planned (or is still planning on?) would certainly not be helpful.

But he was threatening inanimate objects. Sure, Muslims would be insulted by their holy book being burned, but there was no pain of the memories of the death of a loved one or the trauma of an attack in their home city.

The Cordoba House and the Koran burners are two sides of the same coin. Where some people are drawing the line about what can be criticized and what may not be criticized is fairly obvious. But rather than requiring Islamic conquest to make us draw that line there by force, like at the sight of the real Cordoba Mosque, some of us are surrendering our rights to criticize anything that is related to Islam so that we can demonstrate how we are ever-so enlightened. And those people will try to drag the rest of us down the same path, mostly by yelling “Bigot!” until we give up from exhaustion.

Maybe I’m wrong, the 9-11 terrorists may not have won. But their hyper-PC, unwitting allies are trying to pull the win out for them.

And I’m sure the same people will line up below in the comment section to call me a bigot or equivalent for pointing that out. Do your worst.
Not only because your willing surrender on this issue precludes me from caring what you have to say about it, but because I know what’s in my heart and it’s not hate for anyone because of their religion, until such point where they set out to harm someone over in the name of it.

UPDATE: Also, what Frank J says.

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Vacation After-Action Report

Days Gone: 15.

Miles traveled: 4,880.

Miles traveled pulling Pearl, the 5×8 utility trailer: ~4500.

States visited: 7 – ID, MT, WY, ND, SD, MN*, WI.
National parks visited: 5 – Glacier, Theodore Roosevelt, Badlands, Grand Teton, Yellowstone.
National park-caliber state parks visited: One – Custer State Park, South Dakota.

Number of obnoxious National Park Rangers who insisted I “move along” despite the fact that the road in front of me was full of bison: One.

Number of complaints filed against obnoxious park rangers: One.

Number of mama grizzlies with two cubs that I got way too close to: One.

Emergency Rooms visited: Two. Dickinson, ND, and Sioux Falls, SD.

Regional beers retrieved: Great Northern Brewing’s Wild Huckleberry Wheat, Black Star, Wheatfish, , Madison River Brewing Company’s Irresistible Amber Ale and Salmon Fly Honey Rye, Grand Teton Brewing Company’s Big Hole Mythical White, Teton Ale, and of course many cases of Spotted Cow. I bought a New Glarus Brewing sampler pack, but I think I drank them all before I left Wisconsin.

Number of bottles broken in the trailer: Zero.

Number of  children of friends met for the first time: Ten. I think. There were so many of them.

Number of weddings attended: One.

Number of trips each to Parthenon Gyros and Mickey’s Dairy Bar: One.

Number of MacKenzie River Pizza Company pizzas consumed: Four.

Number of Wall Drug donuts consumed: 12.

Number of pounds gained: Negative 3. I don’t know how.

Number of “World’s Biggest” prairie animals visited: Two – buffalo and prairie dog.

Number of water slides slid down: Uhh… alot at Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells.

Number of audio books listened to: Four: A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Associate, and Collapse.

Pile of crap on my desk following vacation: Huge.

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Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon 2010

I killed my personal record in the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon on Saturday. My chip time was 2 hours 19 minutes 2 seconds. My aspirational goal was under 2:20, but I thought a more realistic goal was 2:24. My previous PR was 2:26:58, set at the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in June, so this was an improvement of almost eight minutes.

Halfway through, I didn’t think I had much of a shot of hitting 2:20, because it took me 69 minutes to hit half way. I figured with my pace falling off like it always did, there was no way I’d do it. However, I kept my pace up. In fact, when I hit mile 12, I saw that I could do it if I knocked the last mile out in about 10.5 minutes. Through the magic of being 65 pounds lighter, I was actually able to bust out the last mile in about 9.5 minutes. In my previous four half marathons, my focus had been on staying alive and dragging my ass across the finish line at a pace of 12 or 13 minutes per mile.

So, yeah, it felt good.

I had been thinking about giving the Seattle Half Marathon the year off, but now I don’t want to give up the momentum.

Here is a neat little feature of my Garmin Forerunner that I haven’t used before, maps and stats:


It’s a very surreal route, especially in the fog. Start at an airport, running right next to planes, then over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which was kind of spooky on Saturday because of the fog, through a minor league baseball stadium, and then to the “nice” area of Tacoma. Throw in an aid station where the volunteers were all dressed as the Blues Brothers and it took on a very dream-like quality.

By the way, if you switch to satellite view and zoom in on the baseball stadium, you can see the error of the GPS plus the error of Google maps. We ran on the warning track, the route has me about 5 feet or so on the grass. Not too bad for a little Forerunner GPS.

(Cross-posted at The Band Blog.)

UPDATE:
A few pictures illustrating my point about the course:
The start line:

The Narrows Bridge looking spooky and ominous in the fog:

Runners hanging out in the hanger away from the rain prior to the start:

UPDATE 2: I did get my traditional half marathon side ache at about mile 6.5, but this time pushing my liver up with my hand and deep breathing solved the problem without having to slow down.

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Reminder: Imperial Japan was an evil, belligerent, militant, racist society which was responsible for the greatest cataclysm in man’s history.

Today is the 65th anniversary of the United States dropping the Little Boy nuclear bomb on Hiroshima in an effort to finally end the most costly, horrible war in mankind’s history.  This anniversary always brings out the preening moralizers to talk about how horrible the bomb was. A bunch of doves are released at the Hiroshima Peace Park, and newspapers are full of pictures of the aftermath, which was no doubt horrible.

However, anyone who thinks that the US was anything other than totally right to use the bomb to try to end the war simply is too ignorant of history.  Today we think of Japan as Hello Kitty, Nintendo, and Priuses.  Even when World War II-era Imperial Japan is thought of we think about Pearl Harbor or Kamikazes (which are so cute we named a drink after them).  No one really talks about The Rape of Nanking. Everyone knows about the racism of the Nazis and even the American internment of people of Japanese decent in the west, but one rarely hears of the world class racism of the Imperial Japanese.

And I suppose I shouldn’t forget the fact that Japanese society at the time was militaristic from cradle to grave.  What does it say about Imperial Japan that it didn’t surrender after the first bomb? They knew how horrible it was. They knew they couldn’t counter it. But it was the citizen’s duty to make the US prove they had another one.  (For the record, I’ve always thought they should have given Japan more than three days before dropping the second bomb, but I can’t really blame them for not wanting to wait around, either.)

And, honestly, leaving all of that aside, put yourself in the shoes of Truman and his generals: You are at the end of a war where over 60 million people have been killed. You’ve defeated two of the three principle belligerents. The last one has been mostly pushed back to their home island. After seeing how poorly ending in a stalemate worked less than a generation earlier, the commitment is to total defeat of the enemy.  The enemy has proved very good at inflicting casualties upon invading forces on small islands, and now you face invading the home island.  Should you marshal the resources and the blood, let another half million Americans be killed or wounded and extend the war by another year or two, or do you drop the bomb that was developed with considerable resources in hopes of avoiding all of that? Any other decision by Truman would have been criminally irresponsible. (It’s also worth noting that the term “nuclear” had not yet become politically incorrect.)

So, have all the hand wringing, navel gazing ceremonies and remembrances you want, just don’t expect me to join in any regret whatsoever that Hiroshima was nuked. Imperial Japan made its bed over the decade prior to the bombing, Little Boy just made them lay in it.

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Bull Moose Answers the Advice Column Questions

This is one from Dear Abby:

My girlfriend, “Donna,” and I have shared a wonderful relationship for nearly three years. During her college days she had a sexual encounter with her best female friend. (They had been friends since high school.)Although they graduated from college five years ago, they continue to see each other. Donna tells me that nothing sexual goes on between them. Personally, I don’t trust her friend. Please help me get over this. — TONY IN WHITTIER

Abby gives some blather about trust. Here is the correct advice:

Dear Tony,

You are sitting on a freaking sexual goldmine. If you can’t figure out what to do with this situation, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to surrender your testicles. (HINT: It involves Everclear. The booze, not the band.)

Bull Moose

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Nice Timing, George.

George Steinbrenner had good timing. By dying on the day of the All Star game he got a final bit of attention from all of MLB. And by dying in 2010, he saved his estate a half billion dollars in taxes and likely kept the Yankees in his family.

Now Steinbrenner isn’t exactly a sympathetic figure. In fact, I’ve been joking that the Steinbrenner estate is one of the few that I wouldn’t mind see being hit with the estate tax. But of course, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and I think the estate tax – and the gift tax – should be permanently abolished.

The death tax has its roots, like many of our laws, in English law.  Because in England everything in the domain ultimately belonged to the King or Queen, it was only right that when someone died his property was split up between the King and the heirs. In fact, it was an act of generosity that the King left the heirs anything at all.

However, that’s exactly the kind of thinking that irritated people like George Washington and the Adams cousins in the first place. And indeed for most of America’s history, the estate tax did not exist except for in times of national crisis – a “will tax” to finance a new Navy in 1797,  a 5-6% tax for the Civil War, and a 15% tax for the Spanish-American War, all repealed after the crisis.  When World War I broke out, a 10% tax on estates over $5 million (about $100 million in 2009 dollars) and a 25% tax on the portion of estates worth over $10 million (about $200 million in 2009 dollars) was enacted. The top rate was lowered to 20% after the war.

Then FDR came along and decided that the rate of 20% – something that might be able to be argued as reasonable – was too low and jacked the rate up to 70%.  From then until G. W. Bush the rates bumped up and down, but was always around half.  Insidious things like generation skipping tax were introduced.  (More or less, a generation skipping tax means that if you leave money to your grandson in your will, it will be taxed as if it was left to your son and then he left it to your grandson.)

So back to Steinbrenner. Here’s a guy that turned a $10 million investment into the Yankees into a billion dollar net worth over the course of 35 years.  And while he was making that money he was paying taxes on it much of it, and he was certainly paying taxes on his income. (I understand that much of his wealth is in the form of unrealized capital gains, which have never been taxed. However, if there is no step up in basis upon generational transfer, the government will not ultimately lose that money once there is realization of the investment.) He was employing ball players and front office staff who paid plenty in taxes.  He built an empire while paying his share of taxes on the way.  I fail to see a justification for the government taking half of what he had built, likely meaning that the Yankees would have had to have been sold by his family, if he had died six months later.  The crowning achievement of Steinbrenner’s work would have been ripped away from his family because he was successful. That’s sick.

The estate tax is politically expedient because it only targets the rich. But it is un-American, contrary to the very principles that the country was founded on.  The estate tax rears its ugly head again on January 1, with a 55% rate on estates over $1 million. Long live the King.

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You mean there’s a number between 9 and 11?

Hey, look at that! A federal judge actually found the Tenth Amendment! And all it took was a search for a way for him to ignore DOMA. (Not “strike down DOMA”. Trial level judges to not “strike down” laws. Their rulings have no, or very little, precedential value.)

Of course gay marriage supporters see this as a victory. And it is something of a victory, I guess.  However, gay marriage supporter Jack Balkin recognizes the “danger” of federal judges dusting off and reading the Tenth Amendment:

As much as liberals might applaud the result, they should be aware that the logic of his arguments, taken seriously, would undermine the constitutionality of wide swaths of federal regulatory programs and seriously constrict federal regulatory power.

….

To be sure, there is something delightfully playful and perverse about the two opinions when you read them. Judge Tauro uses the Tenth Amendment– much beloved by conservatives– to strike down another law much beloved by conservatives–DOMA.

This particular conservative doesn’t think much of the substance of DOMA one way or another, and agrees that it likely runs afoul of the Tenth Amendment. So I’m all for this ruling being affirmed in the SCOTUS. Then we can get started on the work of cutting off all of the other obscene growths that have been festering on our federalist body using the Tenth as a scalpel.

However, I’m not holding my breath that this new found respect for the Tenth Amendment will last long.

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Greatest president of my lifetime? Is that a trick question or something?

Althouse has a poll on her post about the silly Sienea poll ranking the presidents historically.  Althouse’s poll asks “Who is the best president in your lifetime?”

First, an aside about the Sienea poll and why it is silly.  First, it ranks Barack Obama as the 15th best president ever. Any poll or study that tries to rank a sitting president historically should automatically be disqualified from being taken seriously.  Frankly, we can’t even rank G.W. Bush yet because his decisions are still playing out. Second, any poll that consistently has FDR as the #1 president is clearly a poll of political hacks. And this year Teddy Roosevelt is ranked #2. You all know my affection for TR, but who can make a serious argument that either Roosevelt was a better president than Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, or even John Adams? (OK, I’m sure there are some Confederate sympathizers that rank Lincoln low.)

Back to Althouse’s poll. Curiously she doesn’t include anyone before Carter. That works for me, since I was born under Ford.

Right away I would disqualify Ford and Carter for obvious reasons. I won’t consider Obama since he’s only 18 months in. I’d also get rid of George H.W. Bush for mishandling the end of the first Iraq War and for mishandling domestic priorities. So that leaves the two-termers: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan.

W. had some great moments, oversaw the response to an appalling attack on America, started to address the problems with the rouge states in the middle east, and cut taxes nicely. He also didn’t veto enough spending bills, didn’t lead Congress well enough when he had the majority,  didn’t change strategies in Iraq quickly enough, and presided over the disgusting bailout at the end of his term.  So I’ll put him aside.

Clinton presided over the nice, comforting lull we had between the Cold War and 9-11.  He ran a surplus and presided over a nice economy, but he had help from the ‘94 Contract with America congress and the economy on the surplus  and didn’t really have much to with the economy booming.  People forget that Clinton handed Bush a deflating bubble much like Bush handed Obama a deflating bubble.

Reagan took on the commies, changed fiscal policy which helped turn around an economy with a high misery index, took on the commies, bombed Gaddafi, and took on the commies.  His downsides were increased spending and an increased deficit a result of having to deal with the devils of Tip O’Neil and Ted Kennedy to get what he needed for his priorities. (And the deficit wasn’t that historically out of line).  People tend to poo-poo his change of policy regarding the Soviets, (or give the credit to Gorbachev) but that is usually due to either a misunderstanding or underestimation of the evil that was the Soviet empire.  Even the Reagan administration’s scandals were about fighting communism.

Frankly, it’s hard for me to understand how there can even be a discussion about which president from Ford through current was the best. Even if it becomes a partisan discussion the choices are Clinton or Reagan, and Clinton just didn’t have the foreign policy accomplishments of Reagan.

It is amusing to look at the difference between the results of the Althouse poll and the results of the New York Daily News poll with the same question.

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