ROSS DOUTHAT GETS A BIG GAY FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on March 3rd, 2014 by Ed

It's hard being the New York Times. The modern media paradigm necessitates Fairness to Both Sides and the inclusion of Conservative Voices. The Times' target audience, though, will not tolerate the level of stupidity and factual inaccuracy (remember the brief NYT-Bill Kristol marriage?) from the average right wing columnist. The paper is forced to find someone with that magical Will / Brooks / Buckley skill set that solders a layer of expensive boarding school erudition over the same old lowest common denominator conservative arguments. They need a conservative who looks and sounds like the readers expect, like someone who might be an associate professor at an expensive liberal arts college and not the usual Limbaugh-esque gas bag. They need Ross Douthat.

Ross's leather blazer and manicured facial hair ensure that he looks the part, but it's the Brooksian intellectual dishonesty inherent in trying to make right wing arguments sound palatable to smart people that make him a star. He showcases all of his skills in "Terms of Our Surrender," a rambling, mealy-mouthed defense of homophobia. Don't worry, he doesn't call it "homophobia." That would be off-putting to Times readers. Hmm, what would be a better name?

That's what we call a teaser. Buckle up!

It now seems certain that before too many years elapse, the Supreme Court will be forced to acknowledge the logic of its own jurisprudence on same-sex marriage and redefine marriage to include gay couples in all 50 states.

Here Ross uses the time-honored tactic of approaching the reader hat-in-hand, head hung low, inviting your pity from the word go. Look, he's already beaten! Shouldn't you take it easy on him? Cut him a little slack, intellectually speaking? Of course, unless you're history's greatest monster.

Once this happens, the national debate essentially will be finished, but the country will remain divided, with a substantial minority of Americans, most of them religious, still committed to the older view of marriage.

If people can get used to lady police officers and male flight attendants, we can accept anything!

So what then? One possibility is that this division will recede into the cultural background, with marriage joining the long list of topics on which Americans disagree without making a political issue out of it.

Sounds good. This has been a Ross Douthat Column. Good night and god bless. We'll see you next week with some foreign policy concern trolling about Russia!

In this scenario, religious conservatives would essentially be left to promote their view of wedlock within their own institutions, as a kind of dissenting subculture emphasizing gender differences and procreation, while the wider culture declares that love and commitment are enough to make a marriage. And where conflicts arise – in a case where, say, a Mormon caterer or a Catholic photographer objected to working at a same-sex wedding –

Find me a pair of gay dudes or lesbians anywhere – ANYWHERE – who would hire a Mormon caterer for their wedding. Unless he happens to have the only artisanal craft lilac cocktails in the city, something tells me that isn't happening. And if he does, then he's probably down with the gays.

And that Catholic photographer, does he pass moral judgment on every potential client or just the gay ones? If he's anything like most professional photographers he's probably on his knees thanking a sampling of deities every time a client makes the phone ring, signifying one more week before the photography "business" dream dies and he heads back to working the night maintenance shift at PetSmart.

gay rights supporters would heed the advice of gay marriage's intellectual progenitor, Andrew Sullivan, and let the dissenters opt out "in the name of their freedom — and ours."

Gay marriage: invented by Andrew Sullivan. Funny, I thought the Spartans invented it.

But there’s another possibility, in which the oft-invoked analogy between opposition to gay marriage and support for segregation in the 1960s South is pushed to its logical public-policy conclusion. In this scenario, the unwilling photographer or caterer would be treated like the proprietor of a segregated lunch counter, and face fines or lose his business — which is the intent of recent legal actions against a wedding photographer in New Mexico, a florist in Washington State, and a baker in Colorado.

Florists, bakers, wedding photographers – you know, gay shit.

Perhaps the reason people keep using that analogy is that it's a pretty good analogy, like how people use the term "racist" to describe people who say, believe, and do racist things.

Meanwhile, pressure would be brought to bear wherever the religious subculture brushed up against state power.

Ahh, the re-branding begins. It's not homophobia or discrimination, it's "dissent". It's not a bunch of assholes hung up on The Gays, it's a "subculture."

Until someone can show me the part of the Bible that says you don't have to serve someone in a restaurant or other place of business if you think they are a sinner, it's not a subculture. True, Jesus did say, "If someone sins, fuck 'em" but I think religious scholars have found some ambiguity over time.

These people don't need a law to protect them, they need a therapist. They need to find out exactly what it is about someone else having the gay sexes that drives them so insane.

Religious-affiliated adoption agencies would be closed if they declined to place children with same-sex couples. (This has happened in Massachusetts and Illinois.) Organizations and businesses that promoted the older definition of marriage would face constant procedural harassment, along the lines suggested by the mayors who battled with Chick-fil-A.

Well, when a company's attitudes are out of line with the beliefs of their customer base, that tends to happen. Maybe the better solution would be to avoid mixing the sale of greasy chicken sandwiches with morally indignant politicking. The president of Chipotle might be a Level IX Klansman for all I know, but he doesn't tell me about it while I'm in the middle of the only six-to-eight enjoyable minutes in my life in any given week with one of his burritos.

And, eventually, religious schools and colleges would receive the same treatment as racist holdouts like Bob Jones University, losing access to public funds and seeing their tax-exempt status revoked.

This sounds awesome! Wait, is he trying to sell this or turn us against it?

In the past, this constant-pressure scenario has seemed the less-likely one, since Americans are better at agreeing to disagree than the culture war would suggest. But it feels a little bit more likely after last week’s "debate" in Arizona, over a bill that was designed to clarify whether existing religious freedom protections can be invoked by defendants like the florist or the photographer.

Hmm. Is that what it was?

If you don’t recognize my description of the bill, then you probably followed the press coverage, which was mendacious and hysterical – evincing no familiarity with the legal issues, and endlessly parroting the line that the bill would institute “Jim Crow” for gays. (Never mind that in Arizona it’s currently legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation — and mass discrimination isn't exactly breaking out.)

So why did they need another law? And, absent either law, the status quo in Arizona is that "mass discrimination isn't exactly breaking out"? Well, it sounds like our society is about as perfect as it can be. As long as "mass discrimination" is not taking place in the streets of Arizona, we're good. Ross Douthat, you understand the concept of laws and rights.

Allegedly sensible centrists compared the bill’s supporters to segregationist politicians, liberals invoked the Bob Jones precedent to dismiss religious-liberty concerns, and Republican politicians behaved as though the law had been written by David Duke.

Hmm, when all three of those groups are opposed to a bill, is it likely that they are all wrong or that maybe the bill isn't exactly the Sistine Chapel of abortive legislation?

What makes this response particularly instructive is that such bills have been seen, in the past, as a way for religious conservatives to negotiate surrender — to accept same-sex marriage’s inevitability while carving out protections for dissent. But now, apparently, the official line is that you bigots don’t get to negotiate anymore.

No, legislating permission to discriminate (er, "dissent" – see, doesn't it sound like a noble act of disobedience? Instead of what it is, which is some gay-bashing shitwad trying to throw someone out of his restaurant?) is neither negotiating nor carving out protections. Again, show me the part of any Christian doctrine that suggests that a Christian is morally incapable of providing a professional service for someone who exhibits what he or she considers Un-Christian behavior.

I'll wait.

See, you don't have to paint yourself up in rainbow colors and deep throat a 9-incher in the alley behind a bar called "Rumors," you just have to serve them food. You don't have to follow them home and spot them in the bedroom, you just have to hand them a cake. You don't have to play tambourine in their band, "Ophelia: A Loving Tribute to the Indigo Girls", you just have to take their money in exchange for goods or services. You don't have to condone, endorse, love, or like anything. You are not Supporting Gayness by serving them any more than you are Supporting Eating In Bed and Masturbating by serving single men in their thirties.

If you're interested in passing moral judgment on everyone who walks through the door, maybe the restaurant industry isn't for you. Maybe that man and his wholesome looking wife are on their way to a slavery-themed BDSM orgy at the Airport Radisson. Maybe that couple with the adorable kids is raising them to be atheists. Maybe my friends and I just came from a strip club and are on our way to another, raunchier strip club that won't necessarily throw us out if we try to tip with a money order. The point is, you don't know and it doesn't matter because your opinion of the decisions made by your customers is not relevant.

Asshole.

Which has a certain bracing logic. If your only goal is ensuring that support for traditional marriage diminishes as rapidly as possible, applying constant pressure to religious individuals and institutions will probably do the job. Already, my fellow Christians are divided over these issues, and we’ll be more divided the more pressure we face. The conjugal, male-female view of marriage is too theologically rooted to disappear, but its remaining adherents can be marginalized, set against one other, and encouraged to conform.

Ah, the Christians-as-oppressed-minority canard. Even if that were realistic – which, it is worth noting, it isn't – I guess that would be an admission that being marginalized and encouraged to conform (at "Project Exodus: Summer Camp for Troubled Christian Youth") is not pleasant.

I am being descriptive here, rather than self-pitying.

I've seen crying freshmen girls who need a C or else Dad will kill them who are less self-pitying than you were in this essay, Ross. Try reading the opening paragraph again.

Christians had plenty of opportunities – thousands of years' worth – to treat gay people with real charity, and far too often chose intolerance. (And still do, in many instances and places.) So being marginalized, being sued, losing tax-exempt status – this will be uncomfortable, but we should keep perspective and remember our sins, and nobody should call it persecution.

Just strongly imply it! Wink! Or, like most non-New York Times Christians, just go ahead and complain about it explicitly and often.

But it's still important for the winning side to recognize its power. We are not really having an argument about same-sex marriage anymore, and on the evidence of Arizona, we’re not having a negotiation. Instead, all that's left is the timing of the final victory – and for the defeated to find out what settlement the victors will impose.

Subarus for everyone! Miniature versions of everything! All formal events of state will now be in drag! Everyone apply to Wellesley but also Mount Holyoke or Agnes Scott as safety schools! Ours will be a terrible victory!

Nice try, Ross Douthat. Prettier words, same lame-ass argument.

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THOMAS SOWELL GETS A SPORTING FJM TREATMENT

Posted in No Politics Friday on October 25th, 2013 by Ed

Is this strictly "No Politics" for NPF? No. But since it is ostensibly about football and you were deprived of a real post on Thursday I feel it is appropriate to bring you the great philosopher of race Thomas Sowell, currently serving a lifetime appointment as the Token Black Guy of the C- and D-list right-wing columnists who populate Intellectual Chernobyl, as he takes on the hubbub over the name "Washington Redskins." Remember the key right wing rule: If we pay a black person to say it, it can't be racist! Without further delay…here we go.

Bob Costas is one of the premier sportscasters and a very smart guy, so it was somewhat surprising to see him join the chorus of those decrying the fact that the owner of the Washington Redskins is resisting the pressures to change the name of his football team.

If he is a very smart guy then it is the opposite of surprising that he would conclude that the name "Redskins" – you know, an actual explicit reference to labeling a group of people by skin color – is offensive. It fits in well with some of the other major sports franchises like the Arizona Wetbacks, New York Heebs, Chicago Darkies, and Boston Impotent Drunks, except that none of those are real and Washington Redskins is.

The argument is that American Indians are offended by the name, though there is no compelling evidence that most American Indians are worked up about it. Nor is there any evidence that anyone intended the name to be insulting, either by this team or any number of other sports teams that have called themselves some variation of the name "Indians."

You guys know Thomas Sowell, right? The coon who writes for Town Hall?

Oh come on, I had no intention of insulting anyone there. I was just using a neutral, descriptive adjective. There's no evidence that this was offensive.

After all, neither individuals nor teams give themselves names that they consider insulting, whether they are calling themselves Indians, Vikings or The Fighting Irish.

Well, Notre Dame was a bunch of Irish priests deciding to call themselves the Fighting Irish. "Vikings" is the actual name of a group of people. So as long as there is an Indian tribe called "Redskins" or the team is owned by Indians, this analogy makes sense.

Oh.

Nevertheless, Dartmouth, Stanford and other colleges that once called their teams Indians succumbed to the politically correct pressures and changed their names. But that is no reason why the Washington Redskins should succumb to those pressures.

Well colleges are a bit different, as many are full of people who like to think about things.

Among the reasons why they should not is the fact that being offended is one of the tactics of a race hustling industry that is doing more harm to Indians and other minorities than any name is likely to do. Some people are in the business of being offended, just as Campbell is in the business of making soup.

That kind of analogy is what separates the real Pro Writers from the rank amateurs. I will overlook the grammatical error and bask in the delicious irony of someone who makes a living writing right-wing opinion columns accusing someone else of making a career out of being offended. This is on Town Hall for chrissakes, the website that raised phony histrionics to an art form. Is there an example of any of these hack ass-clowns doing anything other than working themselves into a disingenuous lather over something that isn't even true?

No. No there is not. That's why Town Hall uses the overly-literal motto, "Hack Ass-Clowns Working Ourselves into a Lather Over Shit We Fabricate." Clunky, but it gets the point across.

Shelby Steele's best-selling book "White Guilt" provides sharp insights into the many counterproductive consequences of white guilt that can be exploited by race hustlers, to the detriment of blacks and whites alike. The sports team gambit is just one of many.

So…someone who writes a book called "White Guilt" and sells a million copies to angry white people is…not?…a "race hustler"?

So long as the race industry — the Al Sharptons, Jesse Jacksons, and their counterparts in various minorities — can get political or financial mileage out of being offended, they are going to be offended.

Don't forget the Shelby Steeles and Thomas Sowells! Unless I'm misunderstanding the definition of "race hustler", which would seem to encompass someone who writes a book for right-wing America about how "various minorities" are engaged in a devious plot to manufacture racism.

The only thing that will put a stop to this racket is refusing to be taken in by it or intimidated by it.

How brave! How noble!

I've got an idea, Thomas. Go up to an Indian and say "Hey, redskin!" To his face. Try it with several different people, or maybe even shout it at a group of people. Report back.

Looked at in isolation, Bob Costas' opinion about the names of sports teams is one that reasonable people might agree or disagree with.

And as soon as we can find some "reasonable people" in the Right Wing Media Daisy Chain for Satantm I bet we'll have one hell of a productive conversation. Until then it's just more THE COLORED PEOPLE ARE TAKING OVER AND THE WORLD YOU'VE KNOWN FOR 75 YEARS IS CHANGING!!!111!! nonsense. Same flimsy product, same audience.

But, unfortunately, this issue is not something that exists in isolation.

No, Thomas, it sure doesn't. Taken in isolation, this single sentence could be interpreted as evidence that you understand things. But let's take that sliver of hope out behind the barn and put a bullet in its brain, shall we?

It is part of a whole grievance-generating campaign that poisons race relations. That campaign is conducted not only by the race industry but also by all too many in the media and in the education system, from elementary schools to the universities.

Minorities poison race relations, not the Town Hall audience. Not Michelle Malkin. Not Trent Lott. Not Rush Limbaugh.

Got it. Makes perfect sense. Let's applaud the group of people who are upset that they can't paint their faces and dress like "indians" or shout "fag" and "nigger" in public anymore without getting dirty looks. They're the reasonable people here. Not those nasty minorities.

Young blacks are especially susceptible to the message that all their problems are caused by white people — and that white society is never going to give them a chance. In short, they are primed to resent and hate individuals they have never seen before and who have never done a thing to them.

Well let's go ahead and redact this since it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at all. Thomas Sowell, professional journalist.

Social dynamite can accumulate among whites as well as among blacks. White extremist hate groups already exist, though they are a fringe, as the Nazis were once a disdained fringe in Germany. It was the people's loss of confidence in the respectable institutions of society that gave the Nazis their chance for power.

We're back. He's about to compare "political correctness" to Nazism. As all good writers know, nothing shouts CREDIBLE quite like comparing people to the Nazis. Especially when comparing racial minorities to Nazis.

The blind and dishonest political correctness of our media and educational institutions on racial issues today can eventually forfeit the confidence of Americans and give similar extremist groups their chance to ignite a race war in the United States. And once a race war starts, it can be virtually impossible to stop.

Shorter Thomas Sowell: If we change the name of the Washington Redskins, it will start a race war. Because there's this race hustler industry of minorities so I guess they would be the ones starting it? Not the spitting-mad, elderly white shut-ins that form the Other Side of this issue?

Well, I sure don't like race wars, so…we'd better continue to allow white football fans and NFL owners to call themselves "Redskins." The logic is pretty flawless. Will that be enough to avert the race war, or do I also have to lobby Liberal Academia to let students go on White Power rants in class and claim academic freedom?

I wish there were an easier way. But so be it, Thomas. So be it.

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JOHN STOSSEL GETS A SPECIAL ROMAN FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on August 21st, 2013 by Ed

Full disclosure: I'm doing sloppy seconds on John Stossel's stupidity. Jim Wright has already taken a whack at this column (structured around a reference to my favorite book to boot) but he made what I believe is the fatal mistake of attempting to take it seriously. Mr. Wright appears to be what is known as a "mature adult" who addressed the fundamental flaws with Stossel's woefully inaccurate rant. As I am not similarly encumbered, let's man the Pants Shitting Joke cannon and fire at will!

There's not much I need to say to introduce John Stossel. He is a stupid person who writes stupid things for a stupid audience that pays well to be told the stupid things it wants to hear. He also has a stupid mustache. He looks an awful lot like Geraldo, but wingers seem to like him a bit more because he isn't Messican. He also went to Princeton. Keep that in mind when you're reading his take on Roman history. He has written a book with the hi-larious title, No We Can't and recently wrote this piece "Are We Rome Yet?" The council of 12 year old boys that workshops titles for him might be in line for a raise!

Unfortunately, the fall of Rome is a pattern repeated by empires throughout history … including ours?

Oh, hello! I didn't expect to see you there.

That's John Stossel beginning his piece, seemingly in the middle of a thought. I'm just going to get all the Serious Things out of the way up front, if that's alright.

The Roman Republic and the Roman Empire are two very different historical entities that failed for very different reasons. Further, the Empire was divided into halves that were essentially autonomous by 100 AD. I'm no expert on ancient Rome so I'll leave deeper criticisms of this point to more capable hands, but I did want to acknowledge the bleedingly obvious: that John Stossel, Princetonian and journalist regularly featured in major media outlets, obliterates all of these distinctions.

A group of libertarians gathered in Las Vegas recently for an event called "FreedomFest." We debated whether America will soon fall, as Rome did.

In other news, NORML met to discuss whether America needs stricter laws against marijuana.

I wonder if Nevada's prostitutes get hazard pay for working during "FreedomFest." The mind reels at what they must get asked to do once the donors from FreedomWorks and Glenn Reynolds' comment section get shitty drunk on Crème de Menthe and hit the Strip on their travel expense accounts.

For any of Stossel's readers, I recommend the Cat House in Ely, NV. They're realty accommodating, so they'll write up a receipt for your four-way Albuquerque Wagon Wheel in the Latex Room as a deluxe breakfast buffet. The accounting department will never know your secret!

Historian Carl Richard said that today's America resembles Rome.

Someone found similarities between two governments? How hard is it to cherry-pick some things that make any two societies or states "resemble" one another?

But I don't know Dr. Richard, and I'll assume that his analysis goes deep enough to make some valid points. I'm certain you'll treat his academic argument with all the complexity and nuance that the subject deserves, John.

The Roman Republic had a constitution, but Roman leaders often ignored it. "Marius was elected consul six years in a row, even though under the constitution (he) was term-limited to one year."

False. The Roman Senate voided that law because the city was in imminent danger of being sacked by loosely organized tribes of vandals. John Stossel, you are a very stupid person. And can we get a fucking Pulitzer for his editors on this one, too? There's more than enough glory in this sentence for everyone to share!

Sounds like New York City's Mayor Bloomberg.

No. It does not sound like that at all, not even a tiny little bit. The only similarity is that Stossel is wrong about both of them being re-elected "illegally". Marius was a quasi-dictator, a Missing Link that connected the Republic to the Empire that it would become. Michael Bloomberg is a mayor. A mayor of a city that isn't even the capital of its state. New York City is an exceptionally important city, sure. But Michael Bloomberg has about as much political power, in the grand scheme, as Eric Garcetti. That's the mayor of LA. You have never heard of him because the mayor of some big city in which you do not live is not politically relevant.

"We have presidents of both parties legislating by executive order, saying I'm not going to enforce certain laws because I don't like them. … That open flouting of the law is dangerous because law ceases to have meaning. … I see that today. … Congress passes huge laws they haven't even read (as well as) overspending, overtaxing and devaluing the currency."

Hmm. I wonder how Dr. Richard and his quote-sampler felt back in 2002 when Congress was passing laws it didn't read. This is one of those hare-brained conservative talking points (for their harelipped voting base, appropriately enough) that turns something that has been political reality forever (i.e., teleprompters, presidents going on vacation) into a partisan crisis. Congress doesn't read the 10,000-page bills it passes? I wonder when that began? Must have been 2009, right?

The Romans were worse. I object to President Obama's $100 million dollar trip, but Nero traveled with 1,000 carriages.

It's non-sequitur time!!!!!one!!!!11!!!

I remember when George Bush made foreign visits. He went without the Secret Service on an old steamship – the SS Torpedo Magnet – because he was too austere to fly Air Force One. In fact he sold the plane and replaced it with a DC-3. He also acted as his own secretary and conserved water by never changing or washing his clothes. He shit nickels into a special cleaning tank at the U.S. Mint but truth be told, they came out so clean that you could pretty much put a warm, fresh one right in your mouth without suffering any ill effects.

Those were the days. Then this uppity negro came along and started flying everywhere First Class and probably bringing along a whole team of chefs so he could have fried chicken in every country.

Tiberius established an "office of imperial pleasures," which gathered "beautiful boys and girls from all corners of the world" so, as Tacitus put it, the emperor "could defile them."

Oh, I see where he's gonna go with this. He's going to compare this to the huge harem of kids that Obama keeps in the Rose Garden for raping. And he'll probably bring up Michelle Obama's "Open Wide, Kids!" initiative, to limber the kids up for all the raping. You know, Stossel might be right. I really see the parallels here.

Emperor Commodus held a show in the Colosseum at which he personally killed five hippos, two elephants, a rhinoceros and a giraffe.

You guys remember when Obama appeared at the Super Bowl to toss the coin and to kill five hippos, two elephants, a rhinoceros, and a giraffe? I was like, come on. Even by American standards this is a bit much.

We're so much like Rome, it's eerie.

To pay for their excesses, emperors devalued the currency. (Doesn't our Fed do that by buying $2 trillion of government debt?)

AND LIKE THAT, IT ALL COMES TOGETHER. STOSSEL LEADS YOU OVER THE RAINBOW, AND THEN SHOWERS YOU IN GOLD AT THE END.

Nero reduced the silver content of coins to 95 percent. Then Trajan reduced it to 85 percent and so on. By the year 300, wheat that once cost eight Roman dollars cost 120,000 Roman dollars.

The Stossel Proof of Inflation, ladies and gentlemen. Years from now you will remember where you are and what you were wearing when John Stossel proved that inflation is a thing.

Side note: Isn't it great to watch libertarians struggle to write anything without it turning into some sort of rant about fiat currency? Enough about the president I was talking about in the last sentence, kids. Let's get to my pet obsession.

The president of the Foundation for Economic Education, Lawrence Reed, warned that Rome, like America, had an expanding welfare state. It started with "subsidized grain. The government gave it away at half price. But the problem was that they couldn't stop there … a man named Claudius ran for Tribune on a platform of free wheat for the masses. And won. It was downhill from there."

First of all, yes. Please tell us what a hack from an obscure right-wing think tank has to say about this.

Second, this is so ahistorical that I can barely wrap my mind around how fucking stupid it is. Let's include the next part before I elaborate…

Soon, to appease angry voters, emperors gave away or subsidized olive oil, salt and pork. People lined up to get free stuff.'

OK.

The Roman government was giving this stuff away because the city and the society were on the brink of complete collapse. The supply chain through which people would ordinarily get these things – presumably in exchange for money, which is worth something before societies are beseiged by barbarian tribes and nearly destroyed – ceased to exist.

This is like complaining that the government gave free food to people in Oklahoma City after tornadoes destroyed their community, or to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Rome was an extremely advanced society for its time, but it was not exactly a modern industrial one. If the harvest failed, everyone fucking starved. If invading tribes burned the crops, ditto. It's not like Romans had the option of going to Costco and were simply too lazy to do it.

Oh why in the hell am I wasting my time trying to explain this to John Stossel. Look, this entire comparison is ludicrous. Just ludicrous. Trying to compare two governments that existed 1800 years apart, and a modern and pre-modern society, is the kind of thing that only very stupid people do to try to prove some tired, hacky ideological point.

Sure, John. Rome fell because of the nanny state creating dependency and entitlement. Maybe it was the Moors, amirite? *WINK*

As inflation increased, Rome, much like the U.S. under President Nixon, imposed wage and price controls. When people objected, Emperor Diocletian denounced their "greed," saying, "Shared humanity urges us to set a limit."

Just randomly leaping from point to point here, aren't we.

So, to be clear, he doesn't want the government to give them food. He also doesn't want the government to cap prices on food so that PEOPLE CAN BUY IT THEMSELVES. He wants a pure, libertarian market to exist. 1700 years ago. While an ancient civilization is disintegrating. Clearly that dominated the thoughts of political leaders like Diocletian. "Yes, but what about markets?"

Doesn't that sound like today's anti-capitalist politicians?

No. Not in the least little bit. Name one of Today's Policians who has proposed price controls. Name one who has proposed giving away free food to whoever gets in line for it. Name one thing Congress or this president have done that even remotely resembles or approaches either of these things.

Diocletian was worse than Nixon. Rome enforced controls with the death penalty – and forbid people to change professions. Emperor Constantine decreed that those who broke such rules "be bound with chains and reduced to servile condition."

*presses palms to mouth*

*FART NOISE AT TREMENDOUS VOLUME*

Eventually, Rome's empire was so large – and people so resentful of centralized control – that generals in outlying regions began declaring independence from Rome.

We see what you did here, John. Just don't you dare try to leave without taking Mississippi and South Carolina. That aside, don't let the door hit you in the ass. Build a great big fence on the border. We don't want your kind coming up here to go to hospitals.

At FreedomFest, Matt Kibbe, president of the tea party group FreedomWorks, also argued that America could soon collapse like Rome did.

Yes, let's hear from the president of the fucking Tea Party.

Why are we even paying attention to the Tea Party anymore? How have they been relevant in the last three years? Covering the Tea Party is like covering Tiger Woods at this point – there's no longer any reason to do it and no one in the media is entirely sure why they do it, but it's a habit at this point so they just go with it. The Tea Party's greatest contribution to American politics has been to cost the Republicans a number of winnable Senate seats. Keep up the good work, assrockets.

"The parallels are quite ominous — the debt, the expansionist foreign policy, the arrogance of executive power taking over our country," says Kibbe. "But I do think we have a chance to stop it."

LOCK AND LOAD! WOOOOOOOOOOO!

Also, please visit FreedomWorks.org and have your credit card ready to donate. The Tea Party has a plan to stop this, but they need your help! The first 500 donors will receive a tote bag with the FreedomWorks logo (two elderly people beating a Hispanic man with walkers).

That's a big difference between today's America and yesterday's Rome. We have movements like the tea party and libertarianism and events like FreedomFest that alert people to the danger in imperial Washington and try to fight it. If they can wake the public, we have hope.

Yeah, the Tea Party and this circular pud-pull of libertarian bag men in Las Vegas is a real honest-to-god freedom fighters' movement. What bold, heroic souls. The history books will tell tales of how Francis Marion crawled through the swamp on his belly to thwart the hated British Army during the American Revolution, and how John Stossel and a bunch of interns from FreedomWorks got the special Convention Rate at Circus Circus – they just love the retirment home-meets-FEMA Camp atmosphere – and watched the D-List stars of the right wing media give canned lectures to a room full of like-minded white guys.

The triumph of liberty is not inevitable, though. And empires do crumble.

And rain does make things wet. And eating too much cake gives you a stomach ache. And cutting your hair makes it shorter. And reading what John Stossel writes when he's 20 minutes out from his deadline and he clearly doesn't give a shit anymore because he knows his editor won't care and that his audience will pretty much lap up anything and applaud him by slapping their diabetic, Twizzler-sticky hands together and shouting "YOU TELL'UM, JAWN!" makes you dumber.

Rome's lasted the longest. The Ottoman Empire lasted 623 years. China's Song, Qing and Ming dynasties each lasted about 300 years. We've lasted just 237 years so far — sometimes behaving like a republic and sometimes an empire. In that time, we've accomplished amazing things, but we shouldn't take our continued success for granted.

If the Tea Party is our only hope to keep the republic together, then fuck the republic. Grab a sledgehammer and follow me to the dam. It's time to wash this all away. A republic that could only be saved by reverting to theocracy, oligarchy, and militarism is not worth saving. Sane people look at the medicine these people want to administer and think, "I'll take my chances with the disease."

Freedom and prosperity are not natural. In human history, they're rare.

Thinking of an ending is hard, isn't it, John?

Just the other day, I had a really nice apple.

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SUZANNE VENKER GETS DESPERATELY NEEDED ATTENTION AND THE FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on July 17th, 2013 by Ed

There is ample money to be made Uncle Tomming in the conservative media; there's no quicker way to a book deal, columnist gig, or TV appearances than to be something other than a white male. Flap-jowled white guys are 90% of the intended audience, and they love nothing more than being able to feel like they are totally not sexist/racist because, look, a woman/black person just said it! Thomas Sowell says there's nothing racist about George Zimmerman! Ann Coulter says women are responsible for getting raped! See? It's totally OK for us to say it if they can say it.

The market is highly competitive, though. The number of female writers, for example, willing to whine on behalf of men that it's really, really hard to be a white male in America is not small. They struggle to stand out by tripping over themselves to declare just how oppressed men really are. They can all stop now. We have found the winner, the writer with absolutely no dignity, willing to say anything, and with no limit to how wide her unhinged jaw opens. I have no idea who Suzanne Venker is (her tagline identifies her as the author of the hit book How to Choose a Husband and Make Peace with Marriage, which I honestly didn't make up) but oh my god does she take the cake. We're about to examine her FoxNews.com opus "Men – The New Second Class Citizens." If this is liberal trolling, it's almost too obvious. If this is a real person writing a real thing intended to be taken seriously, there is no god.

Are you ready? You say yes, but just wait.

In November of last year, I wrote an article for Fox News called The War on Men (which I subsequently expanded to an eBook). To keep it pithy, in the piece I focused on one effect of this war: the lack of marriageable men.

Pithy:
1. adj. Concise and forcefully expressive
2. adj. Containing much pith (of fruit or plant)

By the end of this piece you will agree that she is likely referring to the second definition here.

But there’s so much more to it. The truth is, men have become second-class citizens.

"Hey guys did you like my last exercise in pandering? Well you have seen nothing yet, absolutely nothing. I can pander even harder! It felt pretty good when I told you that you're not married because women are bitches or society won't let you hit them or whatever insipid red meat I threw at you, but there's more! You're an actual second-class citizen, not unlike pre-Civil Rights African-Americans! Look, you even have separate bathrooms, just like they did!"

The most obvious proof is male bashing in the media. It is rampant and irrefutable. From sit-coms and commercials that portray dad as an idiot to biased news reports about the state of American men, males are pounced on left and right. And that’s just the beginning.

Well, that's settled. Are you convinced? I'm convinced too. It's irrefutable, after all. Sitcom dads are dolts, whereas the other characters on sitcoms are really complex, intelligent, mature, and multidimensional. Also, biased news reports. Always biased news reports. Bias bias bias. People probably think fire burns things because of bias.

This is the laziest shit I have ever read. She is not even trying. She just throws out, like, three keywords in one paragraph without even the usual feeble attempts to justify them. Since EVERYONE KNOWS these things we can just throw them out there and move on.

The war on men actually begins in grade school, where boys are at a distinct disadvantage. Not only are curriculums centered on girls, rather than boys, interests, the emphasis in these grades is on sitting still at a desk.

So let's just get this straight: The argument, if we can be generous and call it that, is that boys are at a disadvantage in school. That's what we're gonna go with? I feel like a sympathetic blackjack dealer watching a nice customer try to hit on a hard 17. I'm looking over my shoulder to make sure the pit boss isn't looking, then I whisper "Nah, you don't wanna do that."

He tries to hit again. Once again, I give him the little "Dude, seriously…stand" face. Still trying to hit. OK, fine, here's your Jack of Clubs. Nice job, Stu Ungar.

Plus, many schools have eliminated recess. Such an environment is unhealthy for boys, for they are active by nature and need to run around. And when they can’t sit still teachers and administrators often wrongly attribute their restlessness to ADD or ADHD. The message is clear: boys are just unruly girls.

Boys are "active by nature". Straight from this 1913 Madison Grant textbook on Human Nature. Boys also have a preponderance of concentrativeness according to these skull measurements!

Actually, Dr. Venkman, schools are cancelling recess because of shortages of non-academic staff (THAT MEANS BUDGET CUTS) and constant funding-dependent pressure to perform on standardized tests. You're in favor of bigger education budgets and less emphasis on testing, right?

Oh, and Ritalin makes boys girls. When I was 8 the Rialto Theatre in Joliet, IL had a show on its marquee called "Boys Will Be Girls" and my dad had to explain the idea of a drag show, which in hindsight I bet was pretty funny. But now I wonder if it wasn't a show about boys on Ritalin. Which makes them girls.

This gets worse, folks. These are, comparatively speaking, the good arguments.

Things are no better in college. There, young men face the perils of Title IX, the 1972 law designed to ban sex discrimination in all educational programs.

This has turned into a journalistic Sharknado at this point. Come on. Is this even serious? THE PERILS OF TITLE IX. Male readers, do you remember THE PERILS OF TITLE IX during college? It was basically all I thought about for four years.

Boy it sure would be funny if she had no goddamn idea how Title IX even works. But that can't happen, what with this being a professional writer for a major media outlet.

Under Title IX, the ratio of female athletes is supposed to match the ratio of female students. So if not enough women sign up for, say, wrestling and ice hockey, well then: no more wrestling and ice hockey.

That is not even a tiny little bit how it works. Not even close. This is like writing, "One of the big disadvantages to being female is sexual harassment" and then continuing to explain that sexual harassment is when a woman is catapulted into a barn.

The total number of athletic scholarships must equalize under Title IX, so ice hockey for men could be offset by women's gymnastics, for example. Or the teams could operate without scholarship athletes. But according to Venkelmeyer, schools that have 50 male football players on scholarship can only have a football team by giving 50 football scholarships to women and WHAT AM I EVEN DOING HERE, PEOPLE? AM I ALIVE ANYMORE? WHY? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? HELLO? IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, SEND LIQUOR. SEND ME LIQUOR.

What was once viewed equal opportunity for women has become something else altogether: a demand for equal outcomes. Those are not the same thing at all.

*scratches ass with keys*

Yeah, that follows logically. Just do whatever you want from this point on. I'll just amuse myself with these jacks.

Title IX is also abused when it comes to sex. In 1977, a group of women at Yale used Title IX to claim sexual harassment and violence constitute discrimination against women.

Where did they get the idea that things like rape and domestic violence constitute a discriminatory environment for women? Boys are active by nature! They need to rape! After all, look at how these college girls dress.

I don't even know who's writing this response anymore, I shot myself a few paragraphs ago. Now I'm reading a BuzzFeed piece called 17 SIGNS YOU'VE BEEN SHOT IN THE HEAD OR TORSO. It's really funny. Lots of movie stills from The Sandlot and 1990s Nickelodeon shows.

Genuine harassment and violence should be punishable offenses, obviously.

Well that's big of you!

But the college campus is a breeding ground for sexual activity, which makes determining wrongdoing (and using Title IX to prove it) extremely difficult. Sexual misconduct does not necessarily constitute harassment—and women have as much of a role to play as men do.

You all knew we would get here, right? I mean, you saw this coming. You read the first paragraph or two and you were like, Jesus tittybanging Christ, this isn't going to end without her explaining how men are victims in sex crimes. You just knew. You shall not be disappointed. In a certain sense of the term.

Here again men are in an impossible situation, for there’s an unspoken commandment when it comes to sex in America: thou shalt never blame the woman. If you’re a man who’s sexually involved with a woman and something goes wrong, it’s your fault. Simple as that.

"and something goes wrong"

Don't you hate it when you're dating a woman and "something goes wrong," guys? You think the relationship is going well and then you slap her around a little and suddenly everything is all like BUT OFFICER… and everyone's making YOU the bad guy? How's that for fair.

Note the passive construction: the male doesn't do something. Something happens. You're a victim of external forces. When things, uh, "go wrong."

Judith E. Grossman shed light on this phenomenon in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. A former feminist, Grossman concedes that in the past she would have expressed "unqualified support" for policies such as Title IX. But that was before her son was charged with "nonconsensual sex" by a former girlfriend.

Oh cool, so she was a "feminist" until her son raped someone. She sounds credible. When parents change their tune to excuse and defend the behavior of their Precious Snowflake children, that's usually a sign that they have the intellectual and moral high ground. LET'S LISTEN TO HER, EVERYONE.

"Title IX has obliterated the presumption of innocence that is so foundational to our traditions of justice. On today’s college campuses, neither "beyond a reasonable doubt," nor even the lesser "by clear and convincing evidence" standard of proof, is required to establish guilt of sexual misconduct," she writes.

Those would be really relevant points in a courtroom. Isn't it a shame how some universities don't follow the standard sexual assault trial script of putting the victim on the stand and talking about how she dresses like a whore and is a giant whore and whores all whore-y like? Oh, the horror of an environment in which there are fewer (BUT STILL PLENTY OF) loopholes to escape trouble when you bang someone who isn't conscious.

Being a man is hard.

When men become husbands and fathers, things get really bad.

They get…ATTACKED by SPIDERS!!

In family courts throughout America, men are routinely stripped of their rights and due process. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is easily used against them since its definition of violence is so broad that virtually any conflict between partners can be considered abuse.

Well technically that's after a divorce, not "when men become husbands and fathers."

And come on, anyone who knows anything about our legal system knows that it's really, really easy to get a man charged with and convicted of domestic violence and my god, I read all of Going Rogue and Atlas Shrugged and an essay by Stephen Baldwin and yet this takes the cake as the absolute dumbest goddamn thing I have ever read. This is like trolling the "Men's Rights" forum on Reddit, but worse. It's as if a council of 15 year old boys, convicted rapists, and apes with serious head injuries wrote this by committee.

"If a woman gets angry for any reason, she can simply accuse a man and men are just assumed guilty in our society," notes Dr. Helen Smith, author of the new book, "Men on Strike." This is particularly heinous since, as Smith adds, violence in domestic relations "is almost 50% from men and 50% from women."

Yep. I have nothing to add – that's how enforcement of domestic violence laws works. This is correct in every way.

Shocked?

Not really, given that none of this is true, cubby!

If so, that’s in part because the media don't believe men can be victims of domestic violence—so they don't report it.

TO THINK THAT THE MEDIA AND SOCIETY AT LARGE COULD PLAY SOME SORT OF ROLE IN THE UNDER-REPORTING OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

They would rather feed off stories that paint women as victims. And in so doing, they've convinced America there's a war on women.

Well then I guess the best solution is for the media to report less about domestic violence, amirite?

What kind of recent events in various state legislatures could lead people to the crazy notion that there's some sort of "war on women"? Must be all that reporting about domestic violence.

Yet it is males who suffer in our society. From boyhood through adulthood, the White American Male must fight his way through a litany of taunts, assumptions and grievances about his very existence. His oppression is unlike anything American women have faced. Unlike women, however, men don't organize and form groups when they've been persecuted. They just bow out of the game.

OK, this is fake. This cannot possibly be real. It was fun and you had me going for a while, but you got greedy with "His oppression is unlike anything American women have faced." You blew your cover. Fun while it lasted, though.

"His oppression is unlike anything American women have faced."

I yield. This has broken me.

America needs to wake up. We have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction – from a man's world to a woman's world.

Yes, which is why America is controlled, top to bottom, by women.

Friends, one criticism I receive often is that I ignore the substance of an argument in favor of mocking the person making it. And my defense is that some arguments are so goddamn stupid that it would be excruciatingly boring to waste time refuting it. This is a perfect example. Can you imagine anything less interesting than explaining in a serious tone that this is not correct?

That's not equality. That's revenge.

Fuck you.

No, wait, let's do the Scooby-Doo ending.

*pulls off mask*

WAIT A SECOND! Suzanne Venker is actually…Marcel Duchamp!

Do your best, Coulter and Malkin wannabes – you will never, ever top this. This is the Sistene Chapel, the Led Zeppelin IV, the Citizen Kane of pandering to an audience of angry white men. I'd be in awe of it if I didn't have such a splitting headache from stupid right now.

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MEGAN McARDLE HAS A COMPLETE MENTAL BREAKDOWN AND RECEIVES LIFE-SAVING FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on March 28th, 2013 by Ed

At some point Megan McArdle has to get fired. We're accustomed to reading her arguments and thinking, gee, that makes no sense whatsoever – "no sense" as in, her logic is faulty. Apparently she has moved on to writing things that make no sense in the most literal meaning of the term. She is stringing together words that do not belong together to construct confusing sentences that appear to be arranged in no particular order. With "Why Gay Marriage Will Win, and Sexual Freedom Will Lose", we get the rare opportunity to watch a human being completely disintegrate into incomprehensible gibberish right before our eyes. It is not pretty, my friends.

Here but for the grace of god go we all.

In some sense, it doesn't really matter how the Supreme Court rules on the gay marriage case it's hearing today. The culture war is over on this front, and gay marriage has won. Even if it loses at the Supreme Court this term, it will win in the legislatures . . . because it is already winning in popular opinion. Few people much under the age of sixty see a compelling reason that straights should marry and gays should not. For that matter, my Republican grandfather is rumored to have said, at the age of 86, "I think gays should marry! We'll see how much they like it, though."

Hmm. This is remarkably sane. It's what we would expect from someone who calls herself a "libertarian conservative" and it appears to grasp reality – namely that the tide has turned and the legalization of SSM is imminent.

At this point, it's just a matter of time. In some sense, the sexual revolution is over . . . and the forces of bourgeois repression have won.

….buh?

That's right, I said it: this is a landmark victory for the forces of staid, bourgeois sexual morality. Once gays can marry, they'll be expected to marry. And to buy sensible, boring cars that are good for car seats.

Welp, given that this is only "expected" of straight people who think it's 1950 – not a huge share of the population – I hardly see why it would be expected of The Gays.

I believe we're witnessing the high water mark for "People should be able to do whatever they want, and it's none of my business." You thought the fifties were conformist? Wait until all those fabulous "confirmed bachelors" and maiden schoolteachers are expected to ditch their cute little one-bedrooms and join the rest of America in whining about crab grass, HOA restrictions, and the outrageous fees that schools want to charge for overnight soccer trips.

I believe we're witnessing a bad writer vomiting words and writing a column in one take before submitting it without proofreading.

Three questions. 1) What in the hell are you talking about? 2) "Expected" by whom? 3) No seriously I will give you one American dollar to tell me what you're talking about.

Is this, like, a cry for help? McMegan is trapped in this nightmarishly banal life and she thought everyone else must be too, but then she realized that a lot of us don't do any of that and now she wants us to rescue her?

I know, it feels like we're riding an exciting wave away from the moral dark ages and into the bright, judgement free future. But moral history is not a long road down which we're all marching; it's more like a track. Maybe you change lanes a bit, but you generally end up back where you started. Sometimes you're on the licentious, "anything goes" portion near the bleachers, and sometimes you're on the straight-and-narrow prudish bit in front of the press box. Most of the time you're in between. But you're still going in circles. Victorian morality was an overreaction to the rather freewheeling period which proceeded it, which was itself an overreaction to Oliver Cromwell's puritanism. (Cromwell actually did declare a War on Christmas, which he deemed to be sensuous paganism.)

That track metaphor is stretched so awkwardly that it may be walking funny for the rest of its life. This is the essence of McMegan's shtick; her expensive upbringing taught her how to make the Right highbrow references, which make her appear intelligent (particularly to dumb people or anyone easily impressed by modestly arcane historical references). This is intended to disguise the fact that what she is saying is incredibly stupid. It doesn't work.

We've been moving away from the Victorian view of marriage for a long time, which means that we're probably due to circle back around the prudish front that drove Charles Dickens to lie when he left his wife for another woman.

Nope. It does not mean that at all. Not even a little.

The 1970s were an open revolt against the idea of the dutiful pair bond, in favor of a life of perpetual infatuation. The elites led the way–and now they're leading it back. Compare Newt Gingrich or John McCain to the new generation of Republican hopefuls. Jindal, Ryan, Christie, Rubio . . . all of them are married to their first wives. Jindal met his wife in high school, Christie in college. By their age, McCain was preparing for his first divorce, and Gingrich was just a few years from his second.

Oh, give the younger guys some time before we start applauding their commitment to dutiful betrothal. I'm sure more than a few of them will be trading up for Calista Gingrich types before too long.

Meanwhile, it's becoming increasingly impossible to ignore the disastrous collapse of marriage outside the elite.

Wait.

I thought gays were going to be expected/pressured to marry. But…now…you're saying that marriage is less popular as an institution than ever before? So…why exactly…will they be pressured to re-enact Leave it To Beaver like the article just stated, like, three paragraphs ago?

If any readers out there can concoct an answer to that question please share it in the comments and be sure to let Megan know as well.

It turns out that there aren't a diverse array of good ways to raise a child, as the progressive academics of the 1970s had suggested. Or at least, if there are, they don't include having children with an array of men you're not willing to marry, and who will subsequently drift in and out of your life. And that, in post-sexual revolution America, is increasingly the norm in many areas.

mmhmm. mmhmm.

*DISCREETLY MOVES TOWARD EXIT*

Yes, I see.

*POSITIONS FURNITURE BETWEEN McARDLE AND SELF*

So…this would be an argument in favor of marriage as opposed to other ways to raise a child, yes?

Even as we're understanding it, we're losing the reasons to be suspicious of the old marital norms. When traditional marriage, with its expectations of monogamy and longevity, no longer means excluding gays, expect it to get more popular among affluent urbanites.

Seriously, is any of this making sense to anyone out there? This is like a rudderless ship careening from one unrelated idea to another. Is she in favor of gay marriage? Is she against it? Does she think marriage is a positive thing? A negative one? Irrelevant? Does she think anything at all, or is she just barfing out her contractually obligated word count for the week?

To be sure, it's already popular–affluent urbanites are now quite conservative in their personal marital habits. They've just been reluctant to shame those who don't follow suit. But with marriage freed from the culture-war baggage, we now have an opening for change. Think it can't happen? Consider the cigarette. It was shocking for a woman to smoke on in public in 1880, nearly mandatory in 1940, and increasingly shocking in 2013 (for either gender). I wouldn't be surprised to see out-of-wedlock childbearing follow a similar course.

The neo-Victorian morality will protect who you want to marry–male or female, or maybe even something in between. But the wider open marriage is, the less necessary it becomes to defend the right to carefree sex–or children–outside of marriage. One can imagine a Republican politician fifty years hence ruining his career when he throws over his husband and children for a younger man.

Ah, yes. Affluent urbanites are good examples of people who respect the institution of marriage. They're quite conservative about it, as evidenced by the analysis and survey data published in recent issues of Science and the American Journal of Sociology.

HAHAHAHAHAHA NOT REALLY. I'M KIDDING. MEGAN JUST MAKES SHIT UP.

If I had to guess, I'd also put late marriage on the endangered list. I married at 37 myself, so I'm not judging, here. But if we want childbearing to take place inside marriage (and I think we do), then the average age of first marriage can't get higher; it probably shouldn't even stay so high. As that average age rises, you get two unwanted phenomenon on the tails of the distribution: babies born to unmarried parents at the low end, and couples who want children but can't have them on the high side. So the current upper-middle-class tendency to push marriage later and later while people finish their educations and get settled doesn't seem very stable to me–even before we consider the difficulty of finding a mate to match your settled life, which Keith Humphreys has dubbed The Problem of Grandma's Lamp.

About ten years ago I was on the phone with an older gentleman – a client of my then-employer – as he began to suffer a stroke. He began to slur words and say things that were comprehensible but made no sense. Immediately I knew something was wrong. I was glad to be on the phone with him so I could contact an ambulance. Luckily, he would go on to recover.

It rattled me. It was a scary moment.

This paragraph is a pretty good representation of what he sounded like.

Of course, predictions are hard, especially about the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, Megan McArdle: Professional Writer. She gets paid to write this, people. She makes more money than you or I, too. Most of us would recognize her job and her lifestyle as something out of our dreams – get paid a lot to work very little and hobnob with famous and important people.

To write things like this.

Predictions are hard. Especially about the future.

There is no god.

Nonetheless, here is mine: whatever the Supreme Court decides, gay marriage will soon be legal throughout the land. But this will not mean that we drive ever onwards towards greater sexual freedom–rather, it will mean quite the reverse. The sexual revolution is over. And the revolutionaries lost.

The way this sounds, I imagine her hitting "send" to her editor, turning slowly away from the desk in the well-appointed office of her opulent Georgetown home, and looking wistfully out a window for a moment before jamming a Cato Institute letter opener into her abdomen to begin the ritual of seppuku.

She seems like a terrible person, but I'm worried about her well-being nonetheless. Someone should give her a call. Check on her. Otherwise we might have to wait a week until the neighbors notice a funny smell coming from the ol' Suderman mansion.

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K-LO CONDENSES STUPID AND ENDS UP WITH THE FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on February 5th, 2013 by Ed

Kathryn Jean Lopez (aka K-Lo) over at America's Shittiest Websitetm was flabbergasted – just flabbergasted, I tell you – to see Beyonce's scandalous outfit during the Super Bowl halftime show. She rushed to her keyboard as soon as she finished her Reagan prayers on Monday morning to voice her displeasure while letting us all know that she's totally not a prude or a wet blanket – she just doesn't understand why everyone is such a whore all the time.

I don't want to linger on this,

Of course you don't. And we won't. In fact, we'll probably never hear of this as long as what you say about it isn't incredibly stup…

Oh.

but last night's Super Bowl halftime show was ridiculous

Really? A halftime show? At the Super Bowl? At an event known around the globe for its taste, restraint, and understated appeal to the better angels of mankind's nature?

I can't believe it was ridiculous, after we entrusted it to continue the tradition of previous halftime performers like Prince and the Black Eyed Peas.

— and gratuitously so.

Oh, I get it now. By "ridiculous" you meant it enraged the 1940s schoolmarm that you try to pretend you aren't. That's why you always have to tell us that you're Hip, right before launching into one of Granddad's favorite lectures about hemlines or the rock music or Paul Harvey or whatever.

Watching Twitter, it was really no surprise that men made comments about stripper poles and putting dollar bills through their TV sets, was it?

When men say sexist shit, it's women's fault. Also, Twitter is a good place to go to see intelligent commentary. Like the former director of the South Carolina GOP, who used the occasion to tweet "This Super Bowl sucks more dick than adult Trayvon Martin would have for drug money." followed by "I agree that Trayvon Martin was a dangerous thug who needed to be put down like a rabid dog."

Why can't we have a national entertainment moment that does not include a mother gyrating in a black teddy?

Let me get this straight…the NFL and CBS conspired to make one of the sexiest women in the history of the universe wear something revealing in the interest of ratings? To keep people from turning to Puppy Bowl IX? To hold viewers' interest during halftime when they might ordinarily retreat to the kitchen, expel urine from their bodies, or step outside to smoke? To appeal to a wide range of non-traditional football viewers?

This is all just staggering. To someone who was frozen in 1951 and reanimated minutes before this game began.

The priceless moment was Destiny's Child reuniting to ask that someone "put a ring on it." As I mentioned on Twitter last night, perhaps that case might be best made in another outfit, perhaps without the crotch grabbing.

Yes, if you're ever going to sing about marriage or discuss the subject with a man, you can't be wearing anything sexy. You need a good, respectable Muslim Chastity Cloak or something along those lines.

It seems quite disappointing that Michelle Obama would feel the need to tweet about how "proud" she is of Beyonce.

Bill Kristol: "Did you manage to work in a dig on the Obamas?
K-Lo: "Yes, master."
Bill Kristol: "Good. Good." (hands her a Pupperoni)

The woman is talented, has a beautiful voice, and could be a role model. And she is on some levels — on others she is an example of cultural surrender, rather than leadership.

This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Seriously, the second sentence is just an amalgam of words, and if she's not a role model then who cares what she does, ever.

Here's the outfit, by the way.

beyonce

Essentially a one-piece bathing suit, plus a little extra fabric. Would one wear it to church? No. But I've seen more "scandalous" things at the average Halloween party. Not exactly NC-17 material here.

When I saw the first lady's tweet, I couldn't help but think of the president talking about abortion in terms of his daughters' freedom.

"I couldn't help but engage in this complete non-sequitur to make some sort of pro-life statement, as I am contractually obligated to do in every single thing I write, in a column about a woman showing some titty during a football game. What were we even talking about?"

I so want the Obamas to be leaders on building a culture of marriage and fatherhood and human dignity.

Why can't Obama be more like Rick Santorum? I'm ever so disappointed. I totes thought he would be, and I am not at all concern trolling.

Their actions seem to be telling me to get over my delusion.

I wholeheartedly agree that you should get over your delusions, but maybe start with the real ones instead of the one you're faking so you can pretend to be outraged and disappointed.

We need to raise our standards. Is it crazy to think we can, even at the Super Bowl?

This is what drives me the craziest about right-wing opinion columnists and K-Lo in particular – they're just such bad writers. Ignore the content and ideology, and you are basically reading a high school sophomore's writing assignment with these people. Look at that again. That's what she closed with. In fairness, I suppose just about anything will do as a closer – the purpose of which is to wrap up and put an exclamation point on your argument – when you write a mess of half-baked ideas that have nothing to do with one another.

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ERIC DONDERO GETS THE FJM TREATMENT BUT IS PROBABLY TOO BUSY HOARDING AMMONIUM NITRATE TO CARE

Posted in Rants on November 12th, 2012 by Ed

It did not take a team of psychics and supercomputers to predict that we would see some epic right-wing pant shittings on the internets in response to Tuesday's election, but I could only dream of finding one as, uh, layered with gems as the spectacularly (run-on) titled and subtitled, "The end of liberty in America: Only course of action now is to fight back, electoral politics not working: Time to tell any Democrats you know to fuck off and die" by "Libertarian Republican" Eric Dondero. I do not know who Eric Dondero is – nor do you, I assume – because as you are about to see he is a very bad writer, not-so-bright, and possibly mentally ill. If you relish the chance to see a pudgy middle-aged white guy lose his shit in the feeblest way imaginable, boy do I have a treat for you. Let's go!

This may be my last post here at Libertarian Republican for quite some time, possibly forever. I had a long discussion with my friend Jim "Right Guy" Lagnese last night. He has agreed, tentatively to take over this website. (prattle about blog contributors redacted)

Try to tell me with a straight face that this does not begin exactly as a suicide note, martyrdom video, or anonymous credit-claiming letter to the FBI would.

Now, that said. Firstly, I was wrong (Ed: about Romney winning). I was fantastically wrong. We were crushed last night at all levels, most especially in the Senate races.

Maybe stop nominating candidates from the I Have Some Ideas About Rape Caucus.

There is virtually no good news from last night's results for the libertarian wing of the GOP. I apologize Tom. I hope you can see fit to accept my apology.

Suicide notes are often filled with apologies when not lashing out at perceived enemies. "But Ed," you say, "he hasn't done the latter." This is what we call foreshadowing.

Secondly, today starts a new course for my life. I've soured on electoral politics given what happened last night. I believe now the best course of action is outright revolt.

Of course you do, Eric. You believe that revolt is the best course of action like the Hamburglar believes that hamburgers are the best course of action.

What do I mean by that?

We read it as a hollow threat / cry for help from a person who is slowly starting to realize how little he and his beliefs matter.

Well, to each his own. Some may choose to push secession in their state legislatures.

That sounds likely to succeed.

Others may choose to leave the U.S. for good (Costa Rica, Switzerland, Italy, Argentina, Hong Kong, Israel).

Nothing says "I hate taxes and socialized medicine" quite like Costa Rica, Switzerland, Italy, and Israel. Or Hong Kong. You know, the one in China.

Still others may want to personally separate themselves from the United States here in North America while still living under communist rule the Glenn Beck, grab your guns, food storage, build bunkers, survivalist route. I heartily endorse all these efforts.

Ah, "separating" oneself from the U.S. while staying in it and enjoying its benefits. I think there's a word for what that makes you.

I'm choosing another rather unique path;

Of course you are, Eric. I would have asked for my money back if you didn't.

a personal boycott, if you will. Starting early this morning, I am going to un-friend every single individual on Facebook who voted for Obama, or I even suspect may have Democrat leanings.

So apparently this guy is 14, since the first step in what he describes as a revolt is to un-friend people on Facebook. I also hear you can save children if you change your profile pic to a comic book character, and Kony 2012 or something. And Connor says that bitch Amanda called me fat during homeroom, I'm totes gonna un-friend her.

I will do the same in person. All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them.

I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted 'O'. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste.

Are you in a happy relationship? Clearly you should get a divorce on the advice of this brooding, socially maladjusted bedwetter. Trust him. If anyone knows the key to long term happiness, it's Eric. He's the guy I turn to for relationship advice, assuming that literally every other person on Earth and most trained circus animals are unavailable.

Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.

Anyone get the sneaking feeling that the Dondero family long ago vowed – or perhaps secured a court order to this effect – to avoid family functions at which Eric would be in attendance?

Do you work for someone who voted for Obama? Quit your job.

Have clients who voted Democrat? Call them up this morning and tell them to take their business elsewhere.

I am starting to think Eric Dondero might not be the world's best businessman. Maybe he opened a frozen yogurt stand with Susan Brown's brother.

Have a neighbor who votes for Obama? You could take a crap on their lawn.

Look, I don't claim to be a genius and no reader should blindly accept everything I say as the truth. The following, however, is the inerrant truth and should be accepted without question: If someone gives you advice that involves shitting in public, do not listen to anything that person has to say.

Then again, probably not a good idea since it would be technically illegal to do this.

"Technically"?

But you could have your dog take care of business. Not your fault if he just happens to choose that particular spot.

So far we have 1) Facebook de-friending, 2) cutting off contact with relatives who probably can't stand you because you're the kind of ranting, spittle-spraying lunatic who reads with great interest the website of Eric Dondero, and 3) a dog pooping on your neighbor's lawn. WOLVERINES!!!!!!!!

Thirdly, I believe we all need to express disgust with Obama and Democrats in public places. To some extent I already do this.

Oh boy! This is the part where he tells us how he acts like a crazy person in public.

Example: When I'm at the Wal-mart or grocery story I typically pay with my debit card. On the pad it comes up, "EBT, Debit, Credit, Cash." I make it a point to say loudly to the check-out clerk, "EBT, what is that for?" She inevitably says, "it's government assistance." I respond, "Oh, you mean welfare? Great. I work for a living. I'm paying for my food with my own hard-earned dollars. And other people get their food for free." And I look around with disgust, making sure others in line have heard me.

OK, so are you getting a mental image of who we're dealing with here? Yep, he's That Guy.

"Making sure others in line have heard me," as though random strangers will be inspired by his puerile "wisdom." Just imagine the amount of eye-rolling and laughing that is going to ensue when he does this…while waiting in line at Wal-Mart, where paying by EBT and/or being an old person dependent on the government is practically a prerequisite for admission.

I am going to step this up. I am going to do far more of this in my life. It's going to be my personal crusade. I hope other libertarians and conservatives will eventually join me.

This sounds less like a revolt and more like a sad, lonely man no one can stand throwing a hissy fit. My eight year-old niece is capable of more frightening behavior than this. And she's a good kid. We read this article together and concurred that Eric Dondero is a stupid person who would not succeed in 4th grade.

What I plan to do this week, is to get yard signs made up, at my own expense, that read, "EBT is for Welfare Moochers." I will put the signs out on public property off of the right-of-way so it's entirely legal, in front of every convenience store or grocery store that has a sign out saying "EBT Accepted Here."

That'll show 'em!

I may even do some sign waving in front of these stores, holding up my "EBT is for Welfare Moochers," sign, and waving to passers-by.

It sounds suspiciously like you have a lot of free time, Eric. It is almost as though you do not have a job.

If I meet a Democrat in my life from here on out, I will shun them immediately.

Unshun.

Re-shun.

I will spit on the ground in front of them, being careful not to spit in their general direction so that they can't charge me with some stupid little nuisance law. Then I'll tell them in no un-certain terms: "I do not associate with Democrats. You all are communist pigs, and I have nothing but utter disgust for you. Sir/Madam, you are scum of the earth." Then I'll turn and walk the other way.

And they will think, without exception, "Thank god I never have to talk to that asswad again." They'll high five one another so excitedly they'll need reconstructive shoulder surgery. They'll be like promising young starting pitchers after a few years under Dusty Baker.

Buttons. Boy, you can have a lot of fun with this. I plan to make up a bunch of buttons, and wear them around town, sayings like "Democrats are Communist Pigs," or "Welfare moochers steal from hard-working Americans," "Only Nazis support Seat Belt laws" or "No Smoking Ban: Nanny-Staters go Fuck Yourselves."

The Troika of Revolution: Facebook De-Friending, Shunning, and Buttons. So basically this he wants to look like this:

At least he is smart enough to realize that the more one looks, sounds, and acts like a crazy person, the more likely it is that the public will be persuaded by the message.

There are so many other nasty little things I plan to do against the communists and those who support them. Perhaps I'll keep Jim informed and he can report on my activities here at LR.

Yes, so many pointless, stupid, insignificant things, as befits a stupid and insignificant man. Please do keep us updated; it sounds like this is going to be fucking riveting. "Today I went to the Piggly Wiggly and waved around a sign reading, 'DEMOCRAT PARTY = MOOCHERS AND POO-POO HEADS' for a while, then I went inside and turned all the magazines with Obama on the cover upside down! After that it was pretty much the usual day: quiet sobbing, then back to my tar-paper shack where I enjoyed an uncooked can of generic corn for dinner."

It'll be like reading V for Vendetta.

For now, off to my first assignment: Telling all my friends and family who voted for Obama to "fuck off, don't ever speak to me again you slimeball mother fuckers." Wish me luck!

Yeah, good luck clicking "remove from Friends." I'm on the edge of my goddamn seat over here.

Here's my Facebook Page. Watch me as I get started on my new lifetime crusade.

This is the saddest idea labeled a "crusade" since my great-grandfather Stanislaw died in a hail of gunfire charging toward the White House to demand that the U.S. be moved from the Gregorian Calendar to his own homemade calendar based on the cooking times of various kielbasas. Oh, and notice how Eric hasn't disappeared at all, but is in fact regularly checking his Facebook to bask in the attention his insanity has netted him. Not exactly exiled to Saint Helena, I guess.

This is perhaps the widest range of emotions I've gone through in an FJM, as we transition seamlessly from terror to bemusement to confusion before finally settling on pity. It takes a special kind of defective personality to concoct a personal revenge fantasy in response to impersonal events, and an especially pathetic and ineffectual person to come up with such a pitiable one. Calling people juvenile names and threatening to get some ridiculous signs and buttons made up is the best you can do? Jeez, America doesn't even make right-wing lunatics like it used to.

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A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WHO NEED TO BE SEVERELY BEATEN GET THE FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on March 1st, 2012 by Ed

Throughout the Great Recession, I think we can all agree that the suffering of people on Wall Street has been overlooked. Max Abelson of Bloomberg tries to address that problem with, "Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen for Coupons." This is one case in which it's best for me to say as little as possible by way of introduction, saving my comments for the text per the FJM format.

Andrew Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity.

"I'm not Zen at all, and when I'm freaking out about the situation, where I'm stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,' Schiff, director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., said in an interview.

Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country’s top 1 percent by income, doesn’t cover his family's private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square foot Brooklyn duplex.

"I feel stuck," Schiff said. "The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach."

The smaller bonus checks that hit accounts across the financial-services industry this month are making it difficult to maintain the lifestyles that Wall Street workers expect, according to interviews with bankers and their accountants, therapists, advisers and headhunters.

"People who don't have money don't understand the stress," said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. "Could you imagine what it's like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?"

Facing a slump in revenue from investment banking and trading, Wall Street firms have trimmed 2011 discretionary pay. At Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Barclays Capital, the cuts were at least 25 percent. Morgan Stanley (MS) capped cash bonuses at $125,000, and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) increased the percentage of deferred pay.

Wall Street's cash bonus pool fell by 14 percent last year to $19.7 billion, the lowest since 2008, according to projections by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

"It’s a disaster," said Ilana Weinstein, chief executive officer of New York-based search firm IDW Group LLC. "The entire construct of compensation has changed."

Most people can only dream of Wall Street's shrinking paychecks. Median household income in 2010 was $49,445, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, lower than the previous year and less than 1 percent of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's $7 million restricted-stock bonus for 2011. The percentage of Americans living in poverty climbed to 15.1 percent, the highest in almost two decades.

Wall Street headhunter Daniel Arbeeny said his "income has gone down tremendously." On a recent Sunday, he drove to Fairway Market in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn to buy discounted salmon for $5.99 a pound.

"They have a circular that they leave in front of the buildings in our neighborhood," said Arbeeny, 49, who lives in nearby Cobble Hill, namesake for a line of pebbled-leather Kate Spade handbags. "We sit there, and I look through all of them to find out where it’s worth going."

Executive-search veterans who work with hedge funds and banks make about $500,000 in good years, said Arbeeny, managing principal at New York-based CMF Partners LLC, declining to discuss specifics about his own income. He said he no longer goes on annual ski trips to Whistler, Tahoe or Aspen.

He reads other supermarket circulars to find good prices for his favorite cereal, Wheat Chex.

"Wow, did I waste a lot of money," Arbeeny said.

Richard Scheiner, 58, a real-estate investor and hedge-fund manager, said most people on Wall Street don't save.

"When their means are cut, they're stuck," said Scheiner, whose New York-based hedge fund, Lane Gate Partners LLC, was down about 15 percent last year. "Not so much an issue for me and my wife because we’ve always saved."

Scheiner said he spends about $500 a month to park one of his two Audis in a garage and at least $7,500 a year each for memberships at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester and a gun club in upstate New York. A labradoodle named Zelda and a rescued bichon frise, Duke, cost $17,000 a year, including food, health care, boarding and a daily dog-walker who charges $17 each per outing, he said.

Still, he sold two motorcycles he didn’t use and called his Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet "the Volkswagen of supercars." He and his wife have given more than $100,000 to a nonprofit she founded that promotes employment for people with Asperger syndrome, he said.

Scheiner pays $30,000 a year to be part of a New York-based peer-learning group for investors called Tiger 21. Founder Michael Sonnenfeldt said members, most with a net worth of at least $10 million, have been forced to "re-examine lots of assumptions about how grand their life would be."

While they aren't asking for sympathy, "at their level, in a different way but in the same way, the rug got pulled out," said Sonnenfeldt, 56. "For many people of wealth, they've had a crushing setback as well."

He described a feeling of "malaise" and a "paralysis that does not allow one to believe that generally things are going to get better," listing geopolitical hot spots such as Iran and low interest rates that have been "artificially manipulated" by the Federal Reserve.

The malaise is shared by Schiff, the New York-based marketing director for Euro Pacific Capital, where his brother is CEO. His family rents the lower duplex of a brownstone in Cobble Hill, where his two children share a room. His 10-year- old daughter is a student at $32,000-a-year Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. His son, 7, will apply in a few years.

"I can't imagine what I’m going to do," Schiff said. "I'm crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don’t have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand."

He wants 1,800 square feet; "a room for each kid, three bedrooms, maybe four," he said. "Imagine four bedrooms. You have the luxury of a guest room, how crazy is that?"

The family rents a three-bedroom summer house in Connecticut and will go there again this year for one month instead of four. Schiff said he brings home less than $200,000 after taxes, health-insurance and 401(k) contributions. The closing costs, renovation and down payment on one of the $1.5 million 17-foot-wide row houses nearby, what he called "the low rung on the brownstone ladder," would consume "every dime" of the family's savings, he said.

"I wouldn't want to whine," Schiff said. "All I want is the stuff that I always thought, growing up, that successful parents had."

Hans Kullberg, 27, a trader at Wyckoff, New Jersey-based hedge fund Falcon Management Corp. who said he earns about $150,000 a year, is adjusting his sights, too.

After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, he spent a $10,000 signing bonus from Citigroup Inc. (C) on a six-week trip to South America. He worked on an emerging-markets team at the bank that traded and marketed synthetic collateralized debt obligations.

His tastes for travel got "a little bit more lavish," he said. Kullberg, a triathlete, went to a bachelor party in Las Vegas in January after renting a four-bedroom ski cabin at Bear Mountain in California as a Christmas gift to his parents. He went to Ibiza for another bachelor party in August, spending $3,000 on a three-day trip, including a 15-minute ride from the airport that cost $100. In May he spent 10 days in India.

Earlier this month, a friend invited him on a trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The friend was going to be a judge in a wet T-shirt contest, Kullberg said. He turned down the offer.

It wouldn’t have been "the most financially prudent thing to do," he said. "I'm not totally sure about what I'm going to get paid this year, how I'm going to be doing."

He thinks more about the long term, he said, and plans to buy a foreclosed two-bedroom house in Charlotte, North Carolina, for $50,000 next month.

M. Todd Henderson, a University of Chicago law professor who’s teaching a seminar on executive compensation, said the suffering is relative and real. He wrote two years ago that his family was "just getting by" on more than $250,000 a year, setting off what he called a firestorm of criticism.

"Yes, terminal diseases are worse than getting the flu," he said. "But you suffer when you get the flu."

Dlugash, the accountant, said he’s spending more time talking with Wall Street clients about their expenses.

"You don't necessarily have to cut that, but if you don't cut that, then you've got to cut this," he said. "They say, 'But I can't.' And I say, 'But you must.'"

One banker who owes Dlugash $20,000 gained the accountant's sympathy despite his six-figure pay.

"If you're making $50,000 and your salary gets down to $40,000 and you have to cut, it's very severe to you," Dlugash said. "But it's no less severe to these other people with these big numbers."

A Wall Street executive who made 10 times that amount and now has declining income along with a divorce, private school tuitions and elderly parents also suffers, he said.

"These people never dreamed they'd be making $500,000 a year," he said, "and dreamed even less that they'd be broke."

*cough*

………..

I'm not going to say that anyone should track down the people quoted here and beat them until they wish for the sweet release of death, but…someone should probably track down the people quoted here and beat them until they wish for the sweet release of death.

I should probably say something more constructive, perhaps a detailed rebuttal of the arguments made here. I just can't.

I've got nothing.

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SUSAN BROWN GETS THE FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on January 18th, 2012 by Ed

I've been at this for almost a decade, and over that time my Spider Sense for terrible editorializing has gotten pretty good. It's impossible to explain, but sometimes you look at a headline and author and you just know. So when I saw "Over-Regulation is Choking the Life Out of Business" by someone named Susan Brown ("op-ed columnist, motivational speaker, military family advocate and grief counselor") I had a powerful revelation. The Giant from Twin Peaks appeared to me in a vision and said "Ed, this is going to be based on an anecdote about her own failed business or that of an immediate family member." And when he talks, you listen.

So I honestly began this column by betting myself that I was about to read about Susan Brown's failed business (or that of a close relative) or I'd donate $5 to Santorum 2012. I don't want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that no financial transactions between Ed and Rick have occurred. Alright kids, I hope you're all ready to watch a no-name advice columnist fist logic. Let's roll!

I guess we were supposed to be encouraged last week when the regulator-in-chief pulled out his plastic preschool scissors while promising to cut the government down to size. "The government we have is not the government we need," Obama announced to a group of business owners at the White House on January 13, 2011. Obama promised he'd snip off a scant $3 billion over the next ten years — in exchange for just a little more power.

Meh. This generic tripe portends little more than Norquist-style "drown it in the bathtub" prattle about Big Government. I feel like this story needs some color, a personal touch to offset what I'm sure will be a vast amount of supporting data and research.

Given the increase in the size of government since Obama took office, he'll need an earth mover to make any real difference.

Well, it's no SDI or Medicare Part D, but I guess he did what he could. Lay off the guy for trying.

Next week he'll be selling snake oil in the Rose Garden to reduce the deficit.

Boy, Susan's writing skills are certainly leaping off the page, aren't they? Motivational, but also hilarious.

There are many areas in government to cut, chief among them are excessive regulations,

"Excessive regulations" isn't really a thing. When one talks about the size of government the reader naturally thinks about offices, agencies, departments, branches, or expenditures that might be proposed for elimination. What Susan has done instead is to leap from the size of government to a function of government. That's a poor idea in general, but certainly not aided by the total absence of specifics or examples.

Wait.

Well this is embarrassing. I just googled it and it turns out that the Department of Excessive Regulations is a real thing. This is its main office building, located in Reston, VA:

regulations, which are choking the life out of small businesses in this country.

Uh, is it possible that small businesses could fail in this alternate reality for any reason other than Big Gub'mint? According to the Small Business Administration, more than 50% of small business startups fail in their first five years. Presumably for many reasons, the foremost of which is not Excessive Regulations.

Awhile back, my brother Pete decided to chase his version of the American dream.

*Runs victory lap*

God this is gonna be good.

He did his homework; purchased quality used equipment via the internet, and signed a lease – in hopes of opening a small mom and pop style yogurt shop near Charleston, SC. He's a smart businessman, who tries to calculate his decisions carefully.

Well, there you have it: according to this objective analysis, the author's brother is a business wizard. He is a Warren Buffet clone. If his brilliant idea – hopping on the trendy Frozen Yogurt shop fad – fails, it certainly could not be his fault. No mention of his previous business experience, which I'm sure is ample and littered with successes.

Nonetheless, it wasn't long before he found himself tangled in a web of regulatory red tape.

Then I guess he didn't do his homework, did he? For opening a small business, such homework would include things like figuring out what local regulations would have to be followed, what equipment/infrastructure would be required, and what licenses and permits are necessary. That's, like, the first thing you would do. If you weren't an idiot.

He was told he needed to purchase environmentally friendly grease trap equipment, although no frying is involved in serving non-fat yogurt.

Does this requirement by any chance apply to, uh, every single food service establishment in Charleston? I'm not familiar with the travails of the FroYo racket in Charleston, but I find it hard to believe that any of this was a surprise revealed only after he opened the business. Good research, bro!

It didn't stop there. Additional environmental requirements like the installation of specialized wastewater drains, and tens of thousands of dollars for more unessential equipment left him watching his hopes of the American dream go down the drain, along with any hopes of hiring new people should his business succeed.

OK. Couple things here. First, let's note that there are currently four dedicated frozen yogurt establishments in Charleston: FreshBerry, YoBe, Yogurt Mountain (!!!) and TCBY in addition to dozens of ice cream parlors that also serve frozen yogurt. This suggests that either the market is completely saturated or somehow these other restaurants manage to survive under the oppressive regulatory reign of terror. Maybe it's easier to succeed when the owner isn't a moron who doesn't figure out the overhead and startup costs in advance.

Upon further research, it doesn't look like the playing field is entirely fair. The author's brother was required to install "specialized wastewater drains" not required of any other business in Charleston. FreshBerry has no drains at all, YoBe funnels its liquid waste into a giant roof cistern clogged with dead pigeons, and Yogurt Mountain simply heaves its wastewater on the street one bucket at a time. My, he should sue.

My brother is not alone;

Time to generalize the living shit out of that ridiculous, unrepresentative anecdote! The plural of "anecdote" is "data" in the conservative mind. Although in fairness we don't even have multiple anecdotes here. Throw me a bone, Brownie.

his experience has become all too common in the Obama administration's new regulatory normal.

So the requirements of operating a restaurant in a given location are set…by…the…White House? Based on my limited contact with the bar and restaurant industry, the regulations are almost entirely city and county. Occasionally state.

South Carolina's Nikki Haley said it best when she recently told Fox News' Sean Hannity, "I need a partner in the White House." Haley claimed the hardest thing about her job had been the federal government intrusion into South Carolina's business. Though she was a Tea Party favorite, Haley endorsed presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

Well this sure is irrelevant. Also, Haley is campaigning for the VP slot. That might be worth noting.

She said Romney promised to keep the federal government out of South Carolina's way, so it can create jobs.

You know that acquaintance who is a complete loser and blames all of his failures in life on "affirmative action", like he'd be a runaway success except that only women and minorities can succeed in this country? That's South Carolina. "We'd have super-low unemployment if only The Gub'mint would get out of our way!" Sure you would, Cletus. Sure you would. First in secession, last in everything else. Must be DC's fault.

My brother's experience, along with the Department of Labor's January 7, 2012 unemployment report showing an increase in unemployment by 24,000 over the last week makes it quite clear increased regulation is making matters worse.

An anecdote and a single week's unemployment numbers "makes it quite clear" that…there are too many regulations? I see better logic from freshmen. Not much better, granted, but better than this.

Over-regulation has turned the country once hailed as the Land of Opportunity into a place where opportunity only happens in your dreams.

Conclusion well justified by evidence presented. A+++

According to a July 25, 2011 Heritage Foundation article titled "Red Tape Rising: A 2011 Mid-Year Report," the Obama administration has enacted "75 new major regulations from January 2009 to mid-FY 2011, with annual costs of $38 billion." Between October 1, 2010 and March 21, 2011, the administration completed 1827 "rulemaking proceedings," environmental and otherwise, some of which will directly affect private sector start-ups.

The Heritage report found that Obama has outdone his predecessors in that "no other president has burdened businesses and individuals with a higher number and larger cost of regulations in a comparable time period."

A few examples wouldn't hurt, or we could just take the Heritage Foundation's word for it. I mean, they're at LEAST as credible as the tale of Goober Brown's failed FroYo stand. I don't know why I assumed that her brother's name is Goober, but run with it.

And the worst is yet to come when you look at the job-killing, business-quelling regulations under Obamacare's 159 new government offices and programs, the EPA's seven new environmental regulations that will cost businesses $38 billion annually,

1. "Business-quelling"? Is "quelling" the word we want here, guys? This makes sense? OK, according to the editors of TownHall – a 19 year old summer intern from Patrick Henry University and one of Bill Kristol's unemployable kids – this great writing.

2. That same $38 billion figure appears in consecutive harangues. That's one hell of a coincidence, no?

3. Ooooh, scary numbers! Big Gub'mint! These are certainly hard times for the would-be owner of a novelty food service establishment. Hopefully Mitt can lead us back to the frozen yogurt boom years.

in addition to compliance costs of $100 billion, and the 2400-page Dodd-Frank bill the Harvard Business Law Review cites as "the most significant regulatory overhaul since the New Deal."

Yeah, I think the banking and financial industries have suffered from over-regulation for too long.

The cost of overregulation is compounding exponentially, and in the process, is destroying the Land of Opportunity, dream by dream.

Your brother has stupid dreams. Maybe he should be less of a retard and do some research next time he decides that his dream in life is to run a faddish, not to mention seasonal, business.

But don't just take my word for it, ask my brother.

His singular experience recounted in a burst of AM talk show quality anti-government invective would surely persuade all doubters. He sounds like a smart, reasonable person who could objectively evaluate his experience and come to a measured understanding of what went wrong.

This is my all time favorite right-wing logic. If your business fails, it's because there were too many regulations. If you can't afford the lifestyle to which you feel entitled, it's because your taxes are too high. It's never, ever your fault. Party of Personal Responsibility!tm Except when you fail; then it's not merely someone else's fault, but inevitably the government's fault.

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TWO WELL PAID HOOKERS GET THE FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on September 6th, 2011 by Ed

In the age of media saturation and shorter-than-ever attention spans, ideas are marketed no differently than products. And much like the release of a new product is carefully timed to coincide with the circadian rhythms of its particular market niche, ideas must be proposed only when they have the best chance to succeed. For example, an idea for a new banking regulation would best be proposed in the wake of a bank failure or market meltdown. Another example of impeccable timing would be proposing the abolition of the National Weather Service immediately in the wake of a major hurricane.

Is "impeccable" the word I want there?

Ranting about abolishing the Departments of Energy and Education is so 1998. I don't think it's too much to ask of our free market worshiping think tank hacks to come up with a new department to abolish every now and again. Get creative! Iain Murray and David Bier certainly did with "Do We Really Need a National Weather Service?" If you ever find yourself looking at a weather forecast and thinking "Gee, I wish there was someone I could pay for this information," keep reading. Santa has the perfect gift for you. Murray and Bier work under the label of something called the Competitive Enterprise Institute – best known for their climate change "skepticism" and a website called, I shit you not, enjoybottledwater.org. By now it should be clear that you are about to hear some serious weapons-grade free market masturbation here. Ready?

As Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast, news stations bombard our televisions with constant updates from the National Hurricane Center.

Boy I can't wait to hear why this is a bad thing. It's clearly bad, right?

While Americans ought to prepare for the coming storm, federal dollars need not subsidize their preparations. Although it might sound outrageous, the truth is that the National Hurricane Center and its parent agency, the National Weather Service, are relics from America’s past that have actually outlived their usefulness.

I…I've got nothing. I'm speechless.

It certainly has outlived its usefulness to the for-profit weather industry and companies like Accu Weather! But more on that in a moment.

The National Weather Service (NWS) was founded in 1870. Originally, the NWS was not a public information agency. It was a national security agency and placed under the Department of War.

Cool story, brah!

The Service’s national security function has long since disappeared, but as agencies often do, however, it stuck around and managed to increase its budget.

Yes, at some point the government got the bright idea that it might be economically and socially useful for people to, I don't know, have some information about the weather.

Today the NWS justifies itself on public interest grounds. It issues severe weather advisories and hijacks local radio and television stations to get the message out.

"Hijacks." It "hijacks" local radio and TV stations to spread "its message," which in this case is…a severe weather advisory.

It presumes that citizens do not pay attention to the weather and so it must force important, perhaps lifesaving, information upon them. A few seconds’ thought reveals how silly this is. The weather might be the subject people care most about on a daily basis.

If anyone can figure out what these sentences mean, please submit your answer in writing along with two color photographs of a shirtless Murray Rothbard to:

Competitive Enterprise Institute
Wacky Word Puzzle Contest
c/o Koch Industries
Abandoned Utility Shed 2-C
Wichita, KS 67202

There is a very successful private TV channel dedicated to it, 24 hours a day, as well as any number of phone and PC apps.

And they get 99% of their data from…wait for it…The National Something Something. Help me out here.

Americans need not be forced to turn over part of their earnings to support weather reporting.

Right. Let's chop the NWS and get all of our info from the Weather Channel, which will get its information from…

The NWS claims that it supports industries like aviation and shipping, but if they provide a valuable contribution to business, it stands to reason business would willingly support their services.

Logic (~1000 BC – Sept. 1, 2011)
It Died of a Broken Heart

If that is the case, the Service is just corporate welfare. If they would not, it is just a waste.

Note how they throw in a pejorative like "corporate welfare" to emphasize that these Koch-chugging corporate whores are actually On Your Side. Fighting for the little guy. Just lookin' out for you.

As for hurricanes, the insurance industry has a compelling interest in understanding them. In a world without a National Weather Service, the insurance industry would probably have sponsored something very like the National Hurricane Center at one or more universities.

"would probably have sponsored something very like the National Hurricane Center". Well, that's good enough for me.

Those replacements would also not be exploited for political purposes.

Sometimes movies remove scenes without realizing that other scenes make reference to the deleted material – like when Han Solo glances at the door of the room where the Wampas are detained in Echo Base as everyone evacuates, knowing that Stormtroopers will eventually blunder into it and be torn apart. Everyone remembers that, right? This is totally like that. I have no f-ing idea what this sentence is supposed to refer to. None.

As it stands today, the public is forced to pay more than $1 billion per year for the NWS. With the federal deficit exceeding a trillion dollars, the NWS is easily overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. It may actually be dangerous.

Oh my god, $1 billion? The amount we spend in Iraq and Afghanistan every 3 days? UNCONSCIONABLE.

Note the ominous teaser…let's learn how the NWS can actually murder you in your sleep.

Relying on inaccurate government reports can endanger lives. Last year the Service failed to predict major flooding in Nashville because it miscalculated the rate at which water was releasing from dams there. The NWS continued to rely on bad information, even after forecasters knew the data were inaccurate. The flooding resulted in 22 deaths.

1. Oh my god…someone got a forecast wrong? A weather forecast?
2. But why did all those people die? Accu Weather, the sponsor of this column, surely issued the correct forecast. Oh wait…

Private weather services do exist, and unsurprisingly, they are better than the NWS.

I'll tell you what IS surprising though – that CEI hacks getting underwritten by the Private Weather Services would come to such a conclusion. As surprising as when Rick Santorum took big campaign donations from the founder of Accu Weather in 2005 and then introduced a bill (which failed to attract a single co-sponsor) to prevent the NWS from issuing any weather forecasts. Coincidence is the lifeblood of free market worship.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, the National Weather Service was twelve hours behind AccuWeather in predicting that New Orleans would be affected. Unlike the NWS, AccuWeather provides precise hour-by-hour storm predictions, one of the reasons private industry supports them.

Come on, guys. This is just ad copy from Accu Weather's PR department. I expect better of you.

It is not just random mistakes in crises either. Forecast Watch has found that

We can't trust big government bureaucrats, but I know who we can trust: objective sources of information like a website run by the lobbying arm of the for-profit weather industry.

Forecast Watch has found that the National Weather Service predictions of snow and rain have an error rate 20 percent higher than their private alternatives. “All private forecasting companies did much better than the National Weather Service,” their report concludes. In 2008, they found that the NWS’s temperature predictions were worse than every private-sector competitor including the Weather Channel, Intellicast, and Weather Underground.

This is the most shocking report I have read since the Corn Refiners Association concluded that corn-based sweeteners are nutritious, delicious, and have the ability to cure cancer.

NWS claims to spread information, but when the topic of budget cuts came up earlier this year, all they spread was fear. “There is a very heightened risk for loss of life if these cuts go through,” NWS forecasters said, “The inability for warnings to be disseminated to the public, whether due to staffing inadequacies, radar maintenance problems or weather radio transmitter difficulties, would be disastrous.” Disastrous? The $126 million in cuts would still have left the Service with a larger budget than it had a decade ago.

A federal agency's budget grew? Stunning. It's pretty stunning that the NWS budget has grown $125 million in that time, compared to the $400 billion growth in defense spending in that same timespan.

The massive bloat in government should not get a pass just because it’s wrapped in good-of-the-community clothing.

*slurp slurp slurp*

How does it taste, guys? Remember to breathe through your nose. Wouldn't want you to choke. And for christ's sake, give your jaw a rest now and then.

NWS services can and are better provided by the private sector. Americans will invest in weather forecasting because if there is one thing we can be certain of, people will want to protect their property and their lives.

I've been trying to clean up the language around here, but I must paraphrase a line from one of my favorite films: WE DO INVEST IN WEATHER FORECASTING, YOU FUCKING FUCK-WIT. WE ALL CONTRIBUTE A TINY PITTANCE ANNUALLY TO SOMETHING CALLED THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE, WHICH PROVIDES US WITH WEATHER FORECASTS. YOUR ONLY OBJECTION TO THIS PRACTICE IS THAT THE WEATHER INFORMATION IS NOT HIDDEN BEHIND A PAYWALL WHERE YOUR UNDERWRITERS WILL RE-PACKAGE N.W.S. DATA AND PROFIT FROM IT.

I'm sorry, I don't know what happened there. The key must have gotten stuck.

Reading this gives our pampered, first-world butts a small taste of what it must be like to read North Korean newspapers and history books. Not being quite so used to it, reading this much propaganda gives me a headache.

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