George W. Bush had an SAT score of 1206. Bill Clinton had a score of 1032.
One of the more popular stories this week is of 18-year-old Rachel Canning. She is a New Jersey high school senior who is not living with her parents, but wants the state to see her as a dependent. Her family is financially capable of paying for college tuition and expenses, not to mention the unpaid balance of her Catholic School tuition. She sued to block the automatic emancipation possible by these actions and get her parents to bankroll her next 4 years.
In a number of news stories she is referred to as an Honor student. She has also been in trouble at school recently. Her parents claim that Rachel refuses to stop seeing her bad influence of a boyfriend. She claims that she was merely kicked out because she was 18 and they didn’t like her behavior. All of this is complicated by a school that arranged for her to be put up with another family and is letting her slide on the tuition bill.
Enabling is when a person acts out in bad ways, often related to drugs, and their friends and family help them to cope and get by. In an intervention, the person is encouraged to break that cycle of behavior. If not, their loved ones are encouraged to cut any contact that enables them to continue in their ways. One of the questions in this case is how much letting Rachel back in the house would be enabling her bad behavior.
This is also important in a larger sense. How much has the government enabled people to exist, but not progress under the idea of helping them? How much should good men stand back and do nothing for evil to triumph? Does caring mean paying people off or trying to help them better themselves? Money is easy. Caring is hard.
One of the things that makes socialism seductive is that it claims to harness the power of humanity to make everyone’s life better. What makes it completely worthless is that it ignores human nature. In practice, people under socialism do less and take more. The leaders of socialist movements either lose control of their government, bribe citizens until they run out of money or enforce their philosophy at the point of a gun. In reality, it makes no sense.
This is the case with the Obama foreign policy of not doing anything. Part of the strategy is to stop trying to prevent bad situations and wait for the rest of the world to get fed up enough to do something. This has only been marginally effective. This is the Democrats’ domestic policy. They are willing to take down the economy when the Republicans put up any resistance. Republicans usually fold because they fear the short-term damage may affect their long-term election chances.
The problem is Putin. Some have touted Obama’s “success” with the Iranian nuclear program. That amounted to paying them off for the promise of not testing a nuclear weapon until after Obama is out of office. Putin does not want a temporary bribe from the United States. He wants a permanent realignment of Russian influence. He knows that Obama will not cowboy up as George W. Bush might have.
For his part, Obama cannot understand why Putin is unwilling to play ball the same way so many others in his experience have. This goes to the concept of “understanding” dictators and other autocrats. Much like the architects of socialism, the White House has some idea that a deep enough understanding of human nature would allow them to manipulate it. To paraphrase Lincoln, you can manipulate some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time. The only way to manipulate Putin is with force.
The movie “12 Years a Slave” cleaned up at the Oscars last night. It performed mediocre at best and made most of its money overseas. From what I understand, it was a good enough movie. It’s excellence was that it wallowed in the kind of slavery porn meant to remind Americans that their country sucks.
It was the Obama of movies. When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, we knew two things about him. He went to Harvard and had an exotic back story. I also knew that he was praised at the 2004 convention because he was a winner among losers that year in an election where private family information was revealed about both Republicans running against him.Much more important and revealing details would be unearthed about Obama. Most of them would not make it into the media.
Being Black may have been Obama’s greatest strength. He was a mediocre human being. You can throw a rock in the DC Capitol and hit someone with a Harvard degree. Obama was also an unremarkable Senator. But charges of racism were mumbled and shouted through the campaign. Obama even got a pointless and undeserved award.
Conservatives had a lot of fun throwing back liberal mockery about possible Russian aggression in their faces. While Barack Obama was telling Russian representatives to cool off until the election was over, Mitt Romney in 2012 was warning about the possibility of an energized Putin threat. Sarah Palin even suggested that under an Obama administration, Russia would be emboldened to invade the Ukraine. Sarah Palin’s Facebook “I told you so” was met, predictably, with mocking insults. Obama is right when he’s wrong and Palin is wrong even when she’s right.
When stories are told about the press under a totalitarian regime, it is usually of a highly moral group who is threatened or replaced by puppets at the slightest sign of disagreement. The truth may be less heroic. The media are made up of people. Those people are a community of sorts and often have similar views. There have been times in history where those who report the news of the day see themselves as champions of something other than the truth.
I never really went in for the meme that the media hated Clinton and love Obama. I am starting to think, however that the media liked Clinton as a personality. They seem to revere Barack Obama as a sort of prophet. Fox News may criticize Obama, but he really is the only game in town. The Democrats in the Senate do nothing to challenge him. The Republicans rarely fight him. Whether Obama gets something done is really the only political metric.
At the same time, the media has decided that Obama is right. He is right about everything. His only errors are in not adequately dealing with the voters whom the media consider stupid and bigoted. When he does nothing, like in Ukraine, it is somehow the prudent strategy. When he does everything, like changing every part of the way people can get health insurance, it was an impending doom.
Does the media follow the dictator or does a compliant media create one? Sadly, we get to see a live demonstration of the latter.
This is the second anniversary of Andrew Breitbart’s untimely death. In what was the apex of his career, he succumbed to a serious heart condition. I don’t believe those who think nebulous dark forces “got to him” because Andrew has become even more powerful as a symbol. What he did is eclipsed by what others have done after being brought together by Andrew.
Breitbart was an innovator and we can always use more of them. Still, the social media of conservatives is very strong now. While the non-Fox media is about 96% prObama, they make up only about half of the source material for the average person these days. In a way, that’s what disturbs me. The American public may have reached a point where they will consciously choose the candidate with the biggest promises of free money until the money runs out. Then they will blame whoever is left with any money. I hate to bring up Hitler, but he’s the only 20th century history schools seem to teach anymore.
Breitbart would have lived through another terrible Republican campaign season with the most predictable candidate getting the nomination and not having the fire necessary to beat Barack Obama in anything but the first debate. Andrew would have loved 2013 however, getting back into the fight and revealing the house of cards that is the Obama second term. We may even make it into 2017 with a shattered global warming movement.
Rest in Peace Andrew, your work lives on as we live on.
Snow, high winds and below zero temperatures have kind of sucked out my interest in the events of the day this week. My mailbox being broken cut me off from the world of letters. There won’t be a break from the winter any time soon, so I’ll just take a break from blogging for the night.
If you want an electric car, you can get a Honda Prius (or some of the other models that come in hybrid). It is a partially electric vehicle, where the power is generated from any leftover by the gasoline powered engine. The gas engine also helps power it, since it would run dry fairly quickly. At one time, GM wanted to build a car that had a fully electric drive train, but had a small gas-powered generator to charge the battery and sell it for under $30,000. They ended up with the Volt, which uses the gas engine to move the car and costs over $40,000. It’s basically an expensive Prius.
For the fully electric experience, there is the Nissan Leaf. Just make sure to charge it every night and don’t keep it out in the cold too much. Then there’s Tesla. Tesla Motors decided to cater to the wealthy liberal market by selling an all-electric sports car with 7,000 lithium cells that probably won’t explode for $100,000. They now want to get into the battery building business with a $5 billion manufacturing facility.
President Obama recently put down a market to increase fuel economy for vehicles over the next 10 years. To do this, people will either need to drive electrics or plastic cars that have no acceleration to speak of. It is potentially a new Obamacare. The average citizen would have to pay thousands of dollars more for something that used to be good enough and now may not work in all the same circumstances. Heck, this is like the compact fluorescent light bulb.
“Green” energy is based on the premise that we need to use it. It’s sold as an alternative that’s superior to the original. The latter half of that is provably false, but supporters are so convinced of the first part, that they cling to that belief. The snow job has had little effect on buying habits and now environmentalists want to use the force of law to exert their will. Next, we’ll all have to be on buses or walk and we’ll wish we had an electric car.
People like to be led. Of course, your mileage may vary, but people have to have some kind of order of leadership to work as a social species. Not doing what you are told makes you anti-social. Some see it as a badge of honor, but they would also be incapable of any human interaction if they can’t defer to someone else once in a while. Then there’s social compliance, where people follow instructions by rote and fail to apply a larger context to what they’re doing.
Social compliance is neither good nor bad. Some people have authority and other people need direction. Most of the problems come when people abuse that social construct. Some people do it by mimicking behavior that makes people more likely to comply. Others impersonate the people who have authority. This was the theme of a 2012 movie called “Compliance.”
One thing the Tea Party movement did was bring blind obedience to an all-time low. Those following the president into Hell these days have to be doing so with the awareness that the story has to literally change from week to week. There are videos on YouTube of people telling police they won’t pull over at a traffic stop because they don’t have to. Police have relied on compliance by putting an order in the form of a question. “Would you pull over?”
Just be careful. The Daily Caller website is accumulating stories of police punching, tasering, shooting and killing innocent citizens who don’t comply fast enough. This weekend, the murder of a just married firefighter by a security guard who happened to be an off-duty police officer made the news. The security guard / cop was found not guilty. A preference cascade can be a powerful thing, look at the Ukraine. Unfortunately, when the preference and compliance are gone, the guns are still there.
Gun ownership is the cornerstone of non-compliance.