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Storytelling

Melania Speaks

How do you plagiarize a cliche?

Quoted from: Cobb

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Economic Engineering

Here’s a metaphor for how I see the economic debate in the current election:

Imagine the economy is a bridge. The bridge has begun to groan and sway. Two engineers have proposed plans to strengthen the bridge.

The first engineer believes that more traffic moving faster over the bridge is the best solution. The second engineer proposes cutting away some of the bridge’s supports.

Obviously, neither one will fix the bridge. And either one will almost certainly bring it closer to failure.

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Kickoff to the Apocalypse

The hometeam Vikings didn’t give me much to enjoy. Adrian Peterson is a strong magic and Jared Allen is a legendary beast. Otherwise, they were a 3-13 team.

That left me space to check out the Tebow phenomenon. I don’t know enough to assert that he can or cannot have an NFL career. He sure is fun to watch, though.

His faith pleases me, too. He never seems to put it anyone’s face, but people can’t stop taking about it. Contrary to barroom chatter, he does not think G-d influences games. He’s clean living, respectful, works overtime to improve himself and most refreshing for the NFL, humble. Tebow is trying to be a Virtuous Person, and he is doing it with integrity by doing it in public.

Tebow’s success seems to needle all the factions I love to see needled.

Vox writes about his first playoff win tonight (in overtime, of course):

I am resolved to take Trenton

Professor Gingrich puts the Second Amendment in narrative context:

It’s fifteen minutes you will not mind spending. He’s an excellent lecturer.

The Battle of Trenton, which anchors this talk, deserved its place in American mythology. Determined men with a flash of daring can overcome impossible odds.

Gingrich refers to Paine’s pamphlet, The American Crisis. Thomas Paine is one of the people I want to be when I grow up. His rhetoric was as essential as Jefferson’s brilliance, Franklin’s wisdom or Washington’s integrity. Many more are familiar with these words than they are with their place in history:

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Another Kind of Harassment

Imagine the hysteria if it turns out than Herman Cain was not guilty of sexual impropriety, but instead of unwelcome Evangelism? Particularly with the new “third woman”.

Say she was a bit unstable at the outset. She found a listening ear in Mr. Cain, a Baptist Minister. Turns out the third woman was pregnant, and on the outs with her inseminator. Cain offers her a place to stay for a night, away from a tense and deteriorating relationship. He talks of G-d and the purity of her unborn child.

Amidst her own dysfunctions and a world—perhaps family—inclined toward simply erasing the problem via abortion, she began to see Cain’s advice as an intrusion. And as a payday, an escape from a life gone off the rails.

Some would call this fairytale “blaming the victim”. And it may turn out that Cain is a philanderer. But that doesn’t square so well with his biography.

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Now He Owns the Bus

I am enjoying Herman Cain’s campaign. I think his “smoking man” ad is brilliant.

As discussed over at Chicago Boyz, it weaves together several messages to several audiences. If you’re in one the targeted groups, you’ll get it.

What un-targeted groups think about an ad really doesn’t matter. Except in this case, popular media’s indignance over seeing a real live tobacco smoker actually helped the message find more of its intended audience.

Adding to that, I have heard a couple versions of Cain telling this story (my retelling, not a direct quote):

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Forgetting Shanksville

It is the eleventh of September, time for the annual admonishment, “Never Forget.” But all we can do is whisper into the winds of history. We have not forgotten Pearl Harbor, but there are a diminishing few who can recall a visceral memory of a date that will live in infamy.

We will forget. Or, our descendants will. They will have their own tragedies and their own battles, as real and as urgent what we honor today.

We are called to remember courage, but it is courage inspired by a defeat. The United States lost the Battle of September 11th.

December 7th would be a national day of shame if that defeat was not avenged. How will we avenge 9/11? Ten years on, is it too late to redeem that loss through a complete victory over the enemy who still haunts us? If we could accept a surrender, would we?

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Moving Back to the Country

As someone who grew up in a city and ended up in a rural area, I can talk about what it’s like to make such a move. These days it is much easier to live in a rural area now that we have the Internet and email available to keep us connected. What initially seemed like a problem, the lack of good shopping, is less of a problem because even when I do get to the good stores I want to patronize, they don’t seem to have what I want. It’s much more convenient just to order on the Internet. The major problem of rural areas, then, is simply the lack of good restaurants, for which I have no solution other than an occasional trip to a big city.

Big-box shopping is often dismal. They stock everything, but only the thre most popular sizes or styles. I have friends who live a mile or few away from me in the big city, and I rarely see them, but stay in touch thanks to the intertracks.

I have some foodie pallys, and after a recent dinner, they agreed that the best measure of a city was its dining scene. Myself, I don’t go out much anymore.

Perhaps I should consider escaping the planners, the criminals and assorted leftoid nags that define urban living.

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Loyalty and Birth

Obama released a version of his birth certificate. It has flaws. Whether those defects are intentional and relevant are separate, but related problems. Sure, there will always be some who will not believe. But why did the White House have to meddle with the scan before they released it?

An fascinating point has arisen in the speculations about what happened between the Hawai’ian record book and the White House website. The document was released as a True Copy, a term which I am led to believe has some legal importance. Altering the contrast, or other entirely benign modificiations to a document disqualifies it as a legal true copy.

The contention is that someone in the Failed Obama Administration™ is guilty of a felony for falsifying or forging a legal document. It’s a technicality. But all law is technicalities. I am sure that almost nobody cares to press the issue and find out if this was, indeed, a felony. The ruling class is permitted such small indiscretions these days. It hung Nixon, but that was soo last century.

The point of law that matters, which may yet be pressed (Hilary needs a reason to be called), is the meaning of “Natural Born”. Taking the facts as presented, Obama Sr. was a British Citizen and Ms. Dunham was too young to confer citizenship. There are arguments to be made on both sides.

I propose a thought experiment.

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We Lost a Chopper

Another major event transpired during my experiment with avoiding primary news sources. OBL’s dirt nap is a big deal, even as I see no cause to celebrate.

Neither end of my radio dial, nor most of the blogs I follow made a point of this:

Once under way, four helicopters ferried the U.S. forces to the Abbottabad compound, lowered the SEALS behind the walls and began descending toward a landing. No shots were fired, but shortly after the team hit the ground, one of the helicopters came crashing down and rolled onto its side for reasons the government has yet to explain. None of the SEALs was injured, however, and the mission continued uninterrupted. The crippled aircraft was destroyed before the raiding party flew out in the three remaining helicopters.

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It’s Never Too Late to be Irrelevant

Last night, local public television aired an episode of what they think is relevant and even-handed science programming. It was really poltical propaganda and disaster porn for comfortable lefties:

Featuring environmental visionary Lester Brown, “Plan B: Mobilizing To Save Civilization” delivers a clear and unflinching message – either confront the realities of climate change or suffer the consequences of lost civilizations and failed political states.

What makes Plan B significant and timely is that it provides audiences with hopeful solutions — a road map that will help eradicate poverty, stabilize population, stabilize climate, and protect and restore the earth’s forests, soils and fisheries. It includes ways of protecting and restoring soils, forests, rangelands, and oceanic fisheries, plus conserving the earth’s biological diversity. It also features case studies that clearly show signs of a new energy economy emerging.

They’re still harping on global warming? And the short version of those solutions was, “Invest heavily in rainbows and unicorns!” Forced spending does not create an “energy economy”, it creates a rent-seeking subsidy economy. There’s no accounting among these types for what people value (by spending their own money).

Dilbert cartoon mocking green energy.

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Prometheus Responds to Lucifer Jones

My response to Cobb:

Those men in those edifices were wiser than I thought. I wanted to be Prometheus. But common men are fools, and fire is too much power for them.

By luck, guile, or self-delusion, I survived. I now understand that knowledge is amoral. And as men we are called to be moral. To choose is to be human.

The atheists, too, want to be Prometheus. But they have little guidance for the choices of a real life. It works in only abstract. Murder, for example, is wrong even to the godless. That conclusion requires no genius and comes with little risk.

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Imagine There’s No Airports

You’re on your first trans-Pacific flight as Captain of a jetliner. You’ve made it almost all the way to Japan. And then there’s an earthquake:

It wasn't long, maybe ten minutes, before the first pilots started requesting diversions to other airports. Air Canada, American, United, etc. all reporting minimal fuel situations. I still had enough fuel for 1.5 to 2.0 hours of holding. Needless to say, the diverts started complicating the situation.

Japan air traffic control then announced Narita was closed indefinitely due to damage. Planes immediately started requesting arrivals into Haneada, near Tokyo, a half dozen JAL and western planes got clearance in that direction but then ATC announced Haenada had just closed. Uh oh! Now instead of just holding, we all had to start looking at more distant alternatives like Osaka, or Nagoya.

How Many Chunks in a Gobble?

From a StarTribune report about a study on “who bears Minnesota’s biggest tax burden” and how that might inform State and local government budgets:

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman asked committee members to rethink the aid cuts.

The mayors said they'd need to look at reductions in every corner of their budgets, including public safety, which gobbles up a giant chunk of city revenue.

How does that qualify as reporting?

Did the Mayors use the language, “gobbles up a giant chunk”? It is not a direct quote, so we would assume the electeds used different words.

What we’re presented with is not fact or news, but a storyteller’s rhetoric. How many dollars are in a giant chunk? When a firefighter comes out to save a life, is he gobbling revenue?

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Seeing In Darkness

Traffic has been light here on NRR. As part of my personal experiments for the New Year, I decided to abstain from Big Media news. I still see most of the headlines, but I do not know the stories being told.

(Also, I have been blessed with a rush of real, billable work in the meat world, leaving little time for pithy observations and therapeutic snark.)

There have been big events which I would have been following closely. The political poker game in Wisconsin appears to confirm my view of an upcoming period of violent upheaval as those accustomed to political favors throw tantrums when confronted by economic reality.

The upheavals across the Arab world are exciting. The current President is showing incompetence in a new arena. Or, more generously, real politics are so much more complex than campaign politics.

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The Trinity of Evil

I’ve just previously quoted from Mencius Moldbug. His context was the rioting in Egypt. Moldbug’s whole post is worth reading. He winds up offering alternate responses to the official lines offered by Hillary and the current Administration.

Although not explicitly, Moldbug highlights that there are no solutions, only trade-offs. His lines fit well with both the anti-American-Imperialists in the lefty and Progressive factions, and with the isolationist libertarian factions.

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To Those Calling for Civility

Fuck off.

Fuck that
I’ll say what I want to say
the First Amendment made it that way


Sure
It would be nice to eliminate violence
but you can’t
so you must get it straight
and I hate
when people try to block it out
ignore a situation
you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout

Ironically, the video is set to a censored PG-13 version of the song. The real version does not hold back.

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2011 Looking Up. Or Down.

Local TV news has a story of economic optimism:

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, a trip to Mall of America showed empty stores and struggling businesses. This year, they’re packed with people ready to spend, even after the holidays.

The 2010 holiday season was the best since 2006. Shoppers spent $584 billion in the 50 days leading up to Christmas – up 5.5 percent from 2009. And economists believe the trend will continue into the new year.

Doing what Big Media does so well, the reporter interviews a handful of shoppers and store managers who say they’re seeing more traffic and more spending at the malls. But as I am so often reminded, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.

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Goodbye 2010

It’s time to start a new calendar. We look at that arbitrary event as a fresh beginning. But I have the same pile of dirty laundry as yesterday. The same aches, the same frustrations, and the same opportunities.

If there was a change to be made in how I lived, why wait to make myself or my world one step better?

But attitude matters. So to those who like to use the calendar as motivation, a new year does make a difference. A vital bit, then is to keep the fresh viewpoint alive long enough for whatever real changes we make to take hold.

Don’t let the someone else’s sour view of their world take your optimism away:

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Unicorn Care Really is a Fantasy

Thanks to the information pirates at WikiLeaks, lefty propaganda is exposed:

Cuba banned Michael Moore's 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a "mythically" favourable picture of Cuba's healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a "popular backlash", according to US diplomats in Havana.

The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks, is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.

…the only way a Cuban can get access to the hospital [shown in the movie] is through a bribe or contacts inside the hospital administration. "Cubans are reportedly very resentful that the best hospital in Havana is 'off-limits' to them," the memo reveals.

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