RFNPR: CANOLA OIL

Posted in Random Facts on March 11th, 2010 by Ed

(Random Facts of No Particular Relevance are exactly what the name implies. If the reader relies upon one of these facts to win money on a game show I am entitled to 10% off the top. That's pre-tax. On the other hand, you may use these to achieve mastery of bar trivia free of charge.)

"Canola", as in canola oil, is an acronym for "Canadian oil, low acid." The plant from which the oil is produced is called rapeseed. For some strange reason they must have doubted that consumers would want to buy or eat something called "rapeseed."

You're welcome.

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STANDARD DEVIATIONS

Posted in Rants on March 11th, 2010 by Ed

Black conservatives amaze me. Seeing black commentators parroting Trent Lott's talking points causes the same reaction I had the first time I attended a live Rocky Horror screening. I stare in slack-jawed wonder and ask myself, "Who in the hell are these people, and what could have gone so wrong in their lives to make them like this?" Staring at a freakshow is usually entertaining, but this is…this is too many standard deviations away from normal. A student writing a doctoral dissertation on personality disorders could have a field day with Larry Elder, Armstrong "On the White House Payroll to Pimp NCLB" Williams, Star "Abortion should be illegal now that I've had four of them" Parker, Thomas Sowell, Fox News pinup girl Angela McGlowan, or La Shawn Barber. That could fill several hundred pages before we even got to Alan Keyes.

When I read something like Walter Williams' latest – and I'm convinced that Intellectual Chernobyl syndicates WW for the sole purpose of making Star Parker look smart in comparison – I end up conflicted over the motives and mindset of the average black conservative pundit/politico. Try crawling inside the head of a black person who would write the following:

Most politicians, and probably most Americans, see health care as a right. Thus, whether a person has the means to pay for medical services or not, he is nonetheless entitled to them. Let's ask ourselves a few questions about this vision.

Say a person, let's call him Harry, suffers from diabetes and he has no means to pay a laboratory for blood work, a doctor for treatment and a pharmacy for medication. Does Harry have a right to XYZ lab's and Dr. Jones' services and a prescription from a pharmacist? And, if those services are not provided without charge, should Harry be able to call for criminal sanctions against those persons for violating his rights to health care?

You say, "Williams, that would come very close to slavery if one person had the right to force someone to serve him without pay." You're right.

There can be but a small number of explanations for such fatuousness.

1. An African-American version of the "self-hating Jew" phenomenon. Society scapegoats and marginalizes them to the point that they snap and turn on not only their own people but themselves. Their self-flagellation happens to be a valuable commodity in the marketplace of ideas.

2. They are extremely savvy businesspeople who don't really believe what they say but realize that one can make a handsome living as The Black Guytm in a monochromatic conservative movement desperate for diversity. Race provides them a competitive advantage in the marketplace because they can say all kinds of phenomenally racist shit, including comparing lots of things to slavery, but it can't be racist if a Black Guytm says it! Can it? Sure can't!

3. This is some sort of Dadaist performance art, a minstrel show for the 21st Century. Bill Kristol pounds out ragtime tunes on an old piano while Larry Elder and the rest of the crew shuffle around on stage for our sick amusement.

4. They are either not smart enough or not reflective enough to realize that, you know, it's a little weird for a black columnist to be so ideologically aligned with people who are closet, or in Limbaugh's case explicit, racists. I'm sure there are lots of black people who believe in things like smaller government or outlawing abortion, but it's hard to imagine anyone believing them strongly enough to overlook the entire southern wing of the party and the attitudes of its white media figureheads.

Is it bad that I often consider #3 the most plausible?

It's no secret that 95%-plus of African Americans run from the GOP like it is an incontinent, fire-spewing dragon with a thousand heads. The party grasps at non-stories like the Kenneth Gladney thing "like a rope ladder over a stream of crocodiles" simply because they know the movement has absolutely nothing to offer black voters except a bunch of white people with pre-1960 attitudes toward them. Those who don't run leave us to ask the same question that comes to mind every time Michael Steele steps in front of a camera – is he a dupe, a self-loathing basketcase, or a particularly shrewd and amoral person who sleeps well at night as long as he's raking in the cash?