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An Unfriending

A Facebook friend, KL, posted the following status update:

KL is so tired of hearing about atheists molesting children, blowing people up, forming malitias in order to kill cops attending a funeral, etc. Er wait...

I commented:

The atheists spent most of the previous century murdering millions of peasants and eradicating Jews. It’s about time the religious types got in on the evil.

KL:

Stalin took the place of the deity and Hitler was a Catholic.

Conductor:

Don’t forget Mao and Pol Pot. Atheists win the body count by tens of millions.

KL:

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Best of Luck, Chester

Minnesota Vikings running back Chester Taylor has signed a four-year deal with the Chicago Bears. Taylor struck me as an ideal all-around back. He may not have any single superstar skill, but he can run, catch and block effectively in any situation. As I’ve said hundreds of times as everyone else seemed obsessed with Adrian Peterson, there’s nothing wrong with Chester Taylor.

I wish him the best, and hope he earns the starting job with the Bears. From the StarTribune story, the Vikings wanted to keep him, but the Bears were willing to pay millions more. There is apparently no ill will on either side.

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The Hippies Became Conservatives

Assistant Village Idiot considers himself to have a skeptical nature:

Progressives, freethinkers, 60's liberals, granolas, and alternative medicine adherents think they agree with me on this skeptical approach, seeing themselves as the ones willing to challenge received wisdom. (There is overlap among those groups, but folks usually tend to specialise in one skepticism.)

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The Empire Hauls Freight

The opening sequence of the Star Wars movie (the original 1977 one, now known as Episode IV) is most famous for its crawling text that sets the scene for the film. I was always more moved by the Imperial Star Destroyer as it hunts a hapless freighter.

The freighter must be huge. It has ten eleven engines!

But the Destroyer dwarfs it. When you think you’re seeing the tail of it, there’s more. And then there’s more again.

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Some People Need to Stay In More

With the absurdly huge quantity of cat photos posted to the interweb, how can anyone still think some cat is weird?

My cousin's cat Munchkin is a weirdo. He can regularly be found in this pose on the living room rug.

A cat on its back

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Some Black History You May Have Missed

February is Black History Month. Following our mission of pointing out the unseen, NRR takes this opportunity to note that freed men of color were vastly more likely to own black slaves than white men:

According to federal census reports, on June 1, 1860 there were nearly 4.5 million Negroes in the United States, with fewer than four million of them living in the southern slaveholding states. Of the blacks residing in the South, 261,988 were not slaves. Of this number, 10,689 lived in New Orleans. The country's leading African American historian, Duke University professor John Hope Franklin, records that in New Orleans over 3,000 free Negroes owned slaves, or 28 percent of the free Negroes in that city.

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Today is All About the New Orleans Saints

When the New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl appearance, I declared it the end of Hurricane Katrina. In evidence to support my assertion about the importance of that team to that city, last night New Orleans elected a new Mayor. Mitch Landrieu will replace Ray “Chocolate City” Nagin:

When he takes office May 6, Landrieu will become the city's first white chief executive since his father, Moon Landrieu, left the job in 1978. Early analysis shows that Mitch Landrieu's victory owed to widespread crossover voting by African-Americans, who make up two-thirds of the city's residents.

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Tune In for This Exclusive Report

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Haiku FAIL

Café Hayek has a post where commenters are asked to compose “Hayeku”:

A haiku is a three line poem. The first line has five syllables. The second line has seven. The third line has five.

A hayeku (HT: Ike Pigott for the name and the encouragement) is a haiku from an Hayekian perspective. Here’s one to get you started:

Why do we pretend

That “mandatory” spending

Is mandatory?

The idea (and the pun) tickles me. But people seem to think that any seventeen-syllable sentence qualifies as poetry if broken into three proper chunks. Nope. Like the example offered, it’s just a choppy sentence, not a haiku.

Football Special

As a service to local sports fans, the NRR offers an excursion analyzing the Minnesota Vikings loss to the New Orleans Saints:

The fumbles were infuriating, but they weren't the reason the Vikes lost. They were the reason the Vikes didn't win by 17.

The Saints played on a short field all game, and the Vikings fumbled away points. Favre played tough, and his last INT was set up by mistakes not made by him:

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A Thought Regarding Haiti

Whatever the reports from mainstream media, remember that at best they are telling only part of the truth. My intimate knowledge around Hurricane Katrina, the collapse of the I-35W bridge, and countless minor events revealed that reporters get confused, lazy and often just make things up.

This maxim should be applied to the coverage coming out of Haiti: The news is not what is happening, it is just what the media is telling you.

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Bathroom Scales Get a Break

Americans have stopped getting fatter:

The numbers indicate that obesity rates have remained constant for at least five years among men and for closer to 10 years among women and children — long enough for experts to say the percentage of very overweight people has leveled off.

The article points out that, by the national average, we’re still obese. But applying the same rhetoric used for economic conditions, we have “turned the corner” and “stabilized our national caloric imbalance”. There is “still a long way to go”. And although “the road to healthier living may be bumpy”, we must “forge ahead” because our eating habits “will bankrupt the country through increased costs of caring for the fatties”.

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Charitable Narcissus

If you want to help someone, then just shut up, do it, and spare the press release.

Quoted from: Vox Day

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You Are What Your Outfit Says You Are

Cobb remarks on fashion:

T Shirts have been making statements since way back to I'm With Stupid. But before that it was a smiley face or a peace sign. I mean after you burned your draft card or your bra, you had to wear something besides your long hair to signify the seriousness of your rebellion from the standards of beauty and propriety of your racist pig parents, right?

I have long thought that shirts with slogans are mild arrogance. Why would you think I care about your opinion of, well, anything? But I respect the argument that holds such fashion—or almost all intentional fashion—is social signaling.

It’s not about the cause so much as about showing that the wearer cares about something. Or that the wearer has bought—and sometimes even earned—a worldview that is branded with alligators or polo players.

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The Scrooge Fallacy

My latest hero, Ebenezer Scrooge, is an example of a pervasive fallacy:

The widespread notion that free markets are corrupting is rooted at least in part in the innocent truism that for the market to work people must act according to self-interest. Without the motivation of self-interest, there would be no profit seeking, no price competition, no production and exchange. True enough, the market requires self-interested behavior.

But many make an illogical leap from this truism to a falsehood: that if one is self-interested, one cannot be other-interested. Many see an either/or choice. Scrooge can care about Scrooge, or he can care about others: the poor, his clerk Bob Cratchit, Cratchit’s family, including lame Tiny Tim, and so on. He cannot do both.

A Genuine Phony

A significant part of the public, perhaps a majority, has made diversity a fetish. The differences observed and celebrated are superficial. This example lifted from Facebook:

I was assisted in un-sticking my car from a lake of slush by: the guy from Hershfield's with the old-tymey mustache, a whisper-thin Somalian woman, and a Mexican couple. I love my neighborhood!!!

Why is it better that aid was rendered by a rainbow of faces? If this person had been helped by a trio of Nuns as wan and pasty as the writer, would the charity and neighborliness be tainted?

One might legitimately presume from skin, grooming and garb that these Samaritans operated in different subcultures. Their cooperation might be valuable as a study of how those of different traditions found means to work together. I doubt this is what happened. The event was pushing a car out of snow, not a philosophical roundtable, or even a small matter of local politics.

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Find Your Inner Scrooge

Thanks to a recommendation at Maggie’s Farm, and to a pally who knows how to work a Netflix queue, I watched a 1951 version of A Christmas Carol. (The film’s credits actually show the title as “Scrooge”.)

I’ve never read the Dickens. I’m really not that familiar with all the details of the story. But watching the film led me to think we’re not fair to Mr. Scrooge.

We think he’s a bad guy. A humbug. And for most of the film, it is hard to imagine a more heartless jerk. But that ignores the moral of the story.

Scrooge finds the Spirit inside himself. And once he did, we are told there was not a more generous or loving man in all of London.

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Life in the Pasture

Cobb on golf:

The game? A splendid waste of time and space, if not energy. An exercise in frustration with few rivals in any organized activity.

Actually, Cobb was writing about Tiger Woods and the small sphere of celebrity that shepherds our culture.

And thus the entire consciousness of average Americans are almost never more than a car bomb away from total destruction.

Which seems a variation the The Revolver Law. Destruction or salvation, dependent on who the car bomb eliminates.

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Changing Paradigms

The result of frivolous web surfing…

We all know who Bugs Bunny is. He is the definitive “Bugs” in my inherited culture. Yes, I know of Bugsy Siegel and Bugsy Malone.

If I hear of someone with a nickname of “Bugs” or “Bugsy”, I think rabbit.

Turns out, I should think of bugs. Insects:

Arthur “Bugs” Raymond: The owner of a wicked spitball, Bugs (who got his nickname from his weird windup and generally twitchy mound antics) was a manager’s nightmare.

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OO-RAH!

November 10th is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

As I’ve walked around the blocks in my neighborhood, the houses with proudest flagpoles out front are almost always the homes of Marines. There seems to be something truly special about the USMC culture.

Maybe the best tribute I’ve come across was this comment on a blog (I’ve forgotten which one):

On June 2nd, 2008 at 1:25 am, ChePibe said:

I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say it again:

I’ve never been in the military. The closest I’ve come is working as an intern at a U.S. embassy.

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