Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Saturday, 2020.06.06
I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. There's a knob
called "brightness", but it doesn't seem to work.



A World Without America

Well, golly gee wilickers! I’m sold! What’s not to like about this:


Marcotte, McEwan, Darwin And The Blogosphere

Since the Marcotte-McEwan-Edwards ménage à trois, there has been a lot of comment from both the left and the right in favor of Edwards retaining his two miscreant bloggers. The argument generally went along the lines of how firing them would make it difficult for bloggers in the future to find similar work. Somehow, the entire pool of bloggers would be discredited. There is merit to the argument. But I believe it takes the short view.

To be sure, placing such inept writers in such a prominent position has splashed a measure of slime on all bloggers. But taking the long view, I believe the disgraced departure of Marcotte and McEwan from the Edwards campaign will be a good thing. Blogging is a relatively young medium for expression and has yet to be exposed to the kind of fire which can temper it into a quality medium of expression. The flames fed by the manure cakes packed by the likes of Marcotte and McEwan can help the rest of us forge blogs of substance. The offensive wet noodles with which Marcotte and McEwan charge into battle serve to accentuate the power inherent in well crafted and persuasive argument. The wreckage they leave is our call to craft such arguments which hold an edge in battle.

Marcotte and McEwan swam in relatively small and protected pools. By jumping into the much larger pool of a presidential campaign, they exposed themselves to an entirely different set of rules, a different set of dangers and fish much bigger and hungrier then they are. In short, they became subject to the Darwinian rules of survival applied to a political context.

Humorously, they attempted to adapt, to change their stripes, by offering non-apology apologies and changing the character of their usual writing style. They made a pathetic attempt to become hyenas in lamb’s clothing. Fortunately, they failed.

Marcotte, McEwan and, particularly, Edwards, have made it more difficult for bloggers to establish credibility. But I believe that is a good thing. They have helped set the stage for the fittest bloggers to survive, and even thrive, while the bottom feeding bloggers will be forced to recede further into the blogosphere muck.


Amanda Marcotte: Near-Earth Object From Deep Left Space


Amanda Marcotte: Near-Earth Object From Deep Left Space

A lot has been said about presidential candidate John Edwards’ selection of Amanda Marcotte as his campaign blogmaster. As contentious and divisive as her “writing” is, I’m surprised she hasn’t been dropped by now like a wad of cash from Jack Abramoff. Alas, Captain Marcotte is still at the helm of Spaceship Edwards. Edwards’ sluggish response is a clear indication he is short on change. So here’s my 2¢…

Ms. Marcotte’s writing is bad. So bad, it’s worse than mine. Nice to know I’m no longer at the absolute bottom of the heap. I read 4 or 5 things she wrote and stopped after suffering through a piece she wrote for the Earth Island Journal in June, 2006: “You want guys with that?

The article begins with a laborious recitation of a storyline for some fast food commercial (I don’t watch TV and haven’t seen the commercial, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of her plot summary.) She then springs to:

What I find interesting about this is that the consumption of meat as a way of homosocial bonding through the disdain of women fits really neatly into other media portrayals of how men are supposed to bond – generally by a shared loathing and/or objectification of women.

Kierkegaard would be amused to see such a divine leap in a secular context. Relax, kid. It’s a commercial. Perhaps it would be helpful for Ms. Marcotte to reacquaint herself with the concept of “shallow.” But perhaps that’s a bit like explaining water to a fish. She continues…

It’s a nasty trick to play on men, trying to persuade them that the path to manhood requires consuming great quantities of artery-clogging beef, especially since men are more prone to heart disease than women in the first place.

Yes, save us easily duped guys from our own choices. Rescue us from those tricksy Madison Avenue evil doers. Ah, but there are those pesky facts in the way of her arguement.

Both men and women have heart attacks, but more women who have heart attacks die from them.The National Women’s Health Information Center

This is only half the story. Consider:

Women are 16 per cent more likely to die within 30 days of a heart attack than men, after accounting for age and other health issues. Their risk of dying after a stroke is 11 per cent higher than the risk for males.

For reasons that are not clear, Dr. [Beth] Abramson says men in every age group are more likely than women to be sent to a cardiologist after a heart attack, which raises their chance of survival by almost 50 per cent. They are also more likely to be transferred to a larger hospital and receive bypass and angioplasty treatments.

If Ms. Marcotte were interested in addressing an issue of gender bias of substance, she would be working, for example, to change the complex issues involved with how our medical professionals are trained and the outdated “traditional” attitudes prevalent in the medical industry. Such attitudes are receding, but a glacial speeds. They require a dedicated, persistent and sustained effort to change. Attacking transient 30 second commercials is easier and well suited to equally transient rants which amount to little more than spitting on the problem. Changing deep seated memes require strategy and tact – attributes I find entirely lacking in Ms. Marcotte’s writing. By extension, the same attributes are lacking from Edwards’ presidential campaign blog presence.

Back to the “commercial as science” analysis:

It’s also a terrible message about the qualities of American men, who are portrayed as stupid, destructive, greedy, and childish. If I were a man, I’d be deeply insulted. My gut feeling is that there are plenty of men who are insulted.

Hmmmmm. I’ve been slapped and praised in the same article. How persuasively polar. If you were a man? Why, I’m deeply offended that Ms. Marcotte, a woman, would presuppose to know the mind of a man. Shocked, I am. Shocked and hurt!

Ack. Ms. Marcotte’s guts are wrong. Try reading tea leaves instead. There are plenty of men who were amused. The humor pitch, something that also appeals to guys, was completely left out of Ms. Marcotte’s analysis. We like to laugh, even at ourselves. Studies suggest taking one’s self so seriously also leads to problems of the heart.

What spatters the rest of Ms. Marcotte’s article is an unconnected litany of perceived global and social problems caused by “fast food companies” – disdain of women, environmental consequences of having cows on the planet, polluted rivers and streams, depletion of the rain forests, depletion of grain resources, soil erosion and, of course, greenhouse gas emissions (gotta get the global warming in there somewhere.) This scaffolding magically collapses to her conclusion:

This commercial demonstrates [the fast food companies] are willing to resort to childish taunts about how to be a man in order to do it. So what men watching this commercial are left with is not just the message that they have to oppose women to be Real Men, but also the implication that Real Men destroy the environment.

Which leads me to conclude that Ms. Marcotte really isn’t walking on the same planet as I am. I’m not so sure she would recognize a Real Man if he opened a door for her in front of her face.

Michelle Malkin has the clearest warning for John Edwards: “Lesson for Democrat politicians: If you lay down with nutroots, it will be hard to get back up.”

How long before Edwards wakes up and sees who is in his bed? The clock is ticking…

[Edit History]


11:15 – Signs that Edwards may be stirring from his slumbers: “Mr. Edwards’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, said Tuesday night that the campaign was weighing the fate of the two bloggers.” The second blogger, one Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare’s Sister, under scrutiny for expressing anti-Catholic opinions.

14:50 – “John Edwards has fired the two controversial bloggers he recently hired to do liberal blogger outreach, Salon has learned.” Those would be Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan.


06:45 – Bryan at Hot Air shines the light nicely: “IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT: Stop taking yourselves so seriously” It echoes what I wrote above about Ms. Marcotte taking herself so seriously.

There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them. – Heisenberg

The kind of behavior described by Bryan is more prevalent among the left than the right and such behavior does more to explain why I am not a liberal than why I am a conservative/libertarian.

And it appears the firing of Marcotte and McEwan isn’t a done deal as yet. Seems Edwards has hit the snooze button. (Was tempted to type that as “schmooze” button.)

11:15 – Looks like it was the schmooze button after all: “Edwards Stands By His Bloggers


Fixed several minor grammatical errors.


The Hands of God…

…and the power of a sacrificial embrace borne from love. Nothing short of stunning.

The closer a counterfeit comes to the genuine article, the more obvious the deceit. As the murderer dressed in women’s clothes walked purposefully toward his target, there was a village man ahead. But under the guise of a simple villager was a true Martyr, and he, too, had his target in sight. The Martyr had seen through the disguise, but he had no gun. No bomb. No rocket. No stone. No time.

The Martyr walked up to the murderer and lunged into a bear hug, on the spot where we were now standing.

The blast ripped the Martyr to pieces which fell along with pieces of the enemy. Ball-bearings shot through the alley and wounded two children, but the people in the mosque were saved. The man lay in pieces on the ground, his own children having seen how his last embrace saved the people of the village.

I am continually impressed by Michael Yon’s work. He is what the MSM can only dream of becoming. And I continue to support his work. Will you?



Michael Yon Still Fighting HFM, et al.

[Edit History]


A similar story. (H/T Bruce Schneier)


William Arkin – Just Biden His Time

From William Arkin’s damage control:

I said I was bothered by the notion that “the troops” were somehow becoming hallowed beings above society, that they had an attitude that only they had the means – or the right – to judge the worthiness of the Iraq endeavor.

Invoking the Moral Equivalence Clause from the MSM Big Book of Behavior, we can restate this to say:

I said I was bothered by the notion that Cindy Sheehan is somehow becoming a hallowed being above society, that she had an attitude that only she had the means – or the right – to judge the worthiness of the Iraq endeavor.

To continue…

I was dead wrong in using the word mercenary to describe the American soldier today.

These men and women are not fighting for money with little regard for the nation. The situation might be much worse than that: Evidently, far too many in uniform believe that they are the one true nation.

Evidently? How does he “know” this? Al-Qaeda tells him so, silly.

See here for what I mean by “Biden.”


The Culture Of Pure Fantasy

Bad enough we have Senator Ted Stevens (Republican, Alaska) exposing his profound ignorance by claiming the Internet is “a series of tubes“. Now we are blessed with Representative David Wu (Democrat, Oregon) spelling out the difference between “real” and “fake” Klingons for us:

Fantasy, my friends. Scary, scary fantasy. These guys wouldn’t know a terrorist if it blew up in their face.

[Edit History]


Something about this video really bugged me, but didn’t put my finger on it until last night. Rep. Wu is reading from a prepared statement. He actually thought this through, if you could call it that. When you put your ideas to paper, actually write them down, you give them their first audience and from there you begin to think about a wider audience. Good writers consider how their ideas may be perceived and what the audience reaction might be. Good writers seek to provoke the reaction they originally intended – outrage, humor, debate, edification, etc. So Rep. Wu is either a brilliant orator and knew his congressional audience will enough to craft his SiFi message or he is an idiot.


Ding, Dong The…What Ever It Was Is Dead

Not sure I can say I’m glad Saddam Hussein is dead (executed by hanging) and yet be against death penalties, but I don’t see any other way this could have played out. Perhaps “glad” isn’t the word. It’s not what I feel. It’s more like a resolved sense of relief. Executing him puts him in a position to be martyred by the zealots who still follow him. Yet, allowing him to live would have allowed him to continue spewing his twisted beliefs about leadership. Given how life seems to be so cheap in that part of the world, had he been allowed to live, I could see a path to a day where Saddam Hussein might be released either because the fragile Iraqi democracy failed or he was “rescued” in some fashion. Ringing the bastard’s neck has certainly erased that possibility.

In a perfect world, he would be incarcerated at Supermax under 24/7, 8 X 8 isolation – no fresh air, no blue sky, nothing but concrete walls and a toilet. Just see that he has air and three square meals a day and leave him to his thoughts. No interviews, no letters, no access to the prison library, no knowledge of the outside world. In such a place, he wouldn’t have been a martyr and he wouldn’t ever be free to work his malice unless the very roots of democracy were dead. If that were to happen, it wouldn’t really matter whether Saddam Hussein was alive or dead.

All this is speculation and what-if’s. He’s dead. The little minds will clutch onto the speculation, what-if’s and what was. Those of true greatness will learn the lessons and move forward. Time has yet to show us what is in the Iraqi national heart.

[Edit History]


More reactions which echo my sentiments from See-Dubya (guest blogging on Hot Air) and Andy McCarthy (The Corner on National Review Online).

Also, edited grammar for clarity.

Geesh. Judging by the reaction from the unhinged Left and MSM, Saddam Hussein’s sentence should have followed these guidelines.


The UN – United Nematodes

What a bunch of spineless consumers of rot the UN has become.

With beverage spewing clarity, the dolts at the UN have attempted to argue issues of self defense from a legal frame. Folks, self defense is much more than the ultimate human right. It’s an instinct. None of us, absolutely none of us would be here today if our ancestors over the past several million years didn’t practice and perfect skills necessary for self preservation. This included pounding the crap out of any other life form that attempted to end their existence.

This is true of individuals. It is true of families, communities and nations. Without adapting to threats and practicing self-defense in the interest of self-preservation the end can only be extinction. The kind of spineless world view argued by the worms at the UN is precisely what the Islamofasists are counting on to win their religious war. Worms are easy to crush and hose off the streets. It’s those Freedom loving, Liberty saturated individuals with pointy teeth and claws they fear.

As Atticus noted in the comments to Dr. Helen’s blog post “Crime Strike TV“:

The word “pantywaist” is an odd choice to decribe the United Nations. The UN is a collection of folks who want to protect despots, not a collection of passivists [sic]. They don’t discourage self defense because they don’t have the stomach for violence; they just don’t have the stomach for violence that would encourage freedom.


A Clear View From The Bay

To read Austin Bay is to be informed.



Allahpundit has a point: “‘Fess up, righty bloggers: as bummed as you are about last night’s washout, you’re kind of enjoying the thought of how much easier your job’s about to get.”

I’ll ‘fess up (Twice in as many days! Must be those Catholic roots stirring.) and say that with the spotlight now on the Democrats the cringe factor for those of us who lean to the right will likely be less. And, MSM propaganda efforts notwithstanding, I suspect this just may be the shortest political honeymoon in recorded history. My faith in the Democrats is that strong.

And, via Instapundit reader Bill Whittle:

Over in Tim Blair’s comment section, a guy named Dave S. said this:

“The Republicans lost and the Democrats won for the same reason — they distanced themselves from their base. “


New Dogs

WhoooHooo! WhoooHooo! The Democrats won! The Democrats won! New dogs to kick around! WhoooHooo!

Geeesh. I don’t know if I’ve ever ‘fessed up on this blog before about my party registration, but I’ll do it now. I’m a registered Independent. Readers could accurately infer from my opinions that I tend to vote Republican/Libertarian and if pressed I express an affinity for Libertarian principals. But I don’t fit in any one place. How I voted in this election was consistent with my usually inconsistency in observing party lines (I voted for Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, who won, because of his position on immigration and voted for establish legal domestic partnerships in Colorado, which lost.)

With very few exceptions, all the choices stunk. Watching how various races across the country were run, the nauseating tactics, the propensity for candidates to open big box shoe stores in their mouthes, the flat out frightening positions taken by the far-edge candidates (some of whom actually won a seat in Congress) made me negative on the outcome of this election regardless of who “won”. Given it has become acceptable, even expected, to run poo flinging campaigns with tactics that border on the illegal, I’m not surprised egregious ethical and moral transgressions are unabashedly committed by our elected representatives. They act that way in office because that’s the behavior that got them into office.

What I do know is that we, the people, lost. Regardless your party affiliation, how could you deny that the best and brightest from any point on the political compass are not interested in serving in public office? I have to say even the race winners are, for the most part, losers.

Ah, well. As before, my strategy is to hunker down and weather the same storm with a different wind.

By the way, I noticed Britney Spears filed for divorce from Kevin Federline just the day before election day. I question the timing.


Irrational Order In Response To Saddam Hussein Verdict

Iraq reacts to Saddam Hussein’s guilty verdict and death sentence by taking to their couches and playing violent video games*:

“It’s just like a comedy play,” said a 23-year old named Ali in western Baghdad who was playing with a PlayStation video game to take his mind off the day’s events. “We’re not surprised.”

* I assume it was a violent video game because, after all, aren’t they all violent? I mean, Big Corporations sell them and Big Corporations are all evil so all their video games must be evil and evil is always violent, yes?


Kerry’s Non-Apology Apology

To quote Sen. Kerry:

I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended. (Emphasis added)

Stop right there. “Misinterpreted” means we got it wrong, not you. A sincere apology would have gone along the line of:

I sincerely regret that my poor choice of words and weak attempt at a joke wrongly implied anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended.

Try again Sen. Kerry. With enough practice, even you might get good at this. You’ve certainly had plenty of opportunities to practice.

More reactions here, here and here.

[Edit History]


Well, duh! Looks like Sen. John Kares-not-about-the-soldiers-in-the-military swiped a page from this meaty bean’s play book. His words weren’t his fault either. Entitlement. Ack.

Halpin’ Out Wear I Can

They say humor is a sign of higher cognitive ability – both in the authoring and the understanding of humor. John Kerry’s “botched joke”, something Sen. Starch-n-Stiff has done repeatedly, implies a diminished cognitive ability. Our troops, on the other hand, the very troops Kerry so much as called losers, slackers, morons and idiots…well…what can I say but “Cheers” to our military, higher cognitive ability and all:

Troop Message to Kerry

[Edit History]


Ooooops. Left out the credit for the picture. The furtherest upstream I could track the picture’s origin is Charlie Sykes. Don’t know who the troops are or where they are from, but I would surely like to give them the final credit.


The Source! (H/T Michelle Malkin) They’re soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard.


Being Rosie O’Donnell

Not an easy task, I’m sure. Being John Malkovich looks easier. A scary peek into how the gears inside Rosie O’Donnell’s brain work. And just in time for Halloween. Short answer: There are no gears, just cartoons. From yesterday’s “The View”:

Rosie O’Donnell: “I don’t think she [Condoleeza Rice] could win, because I think she’s like that person on Scooby Doo who unzips themself and then it’s Dick Cheney’s evil twin brother is inside of her. That’s what I think.”

Behar: “I’m not sure about that, because I think she has her own opinions. And I don’t know if that’s a hundred percent that she’s not following orders right now, but if she was in the position, she would change.”

O’Donnell: “Ooh, Scooby, I think that scary man with the ring is actually the ghost!”



The View’s All Rosy From Rosie’s Rose Colored Glasses

All content copyright © 1994 - Gregory Paul Engel, All Rights Reserved. The content or any portion thereof from this web site may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written consent of Gregory Paul Engel. Queries may be sent to greg dot engel at javazen dot com.

No posts for this category or search criteria.