Thursday, June 23, 2016

NO, THAT'S NOT WHAT WE MEAN BY BOOBOISIE.

Yeah, so someone told me there was something at The Federalist that --
Men Did Greater Things When It Was Harder To See Boobs
[Blink. Blink.]
While some have made the case that Kim Kardashian and her friend Emily Ratajkowski have made boobs boring, breasts are in fact are so potent that they may be hastening our decline. Breasts and female nudity have always been eye-catching to positively distracting, depending on your sex. The sheer boobitude immediately available either through online porn, Kardashian’s Twitter feed, and Tinder (otherwise known as Uber for boobs) has rapidly accelerated to the point that men have stopped creating because there’s so few obstacles to seeing them.
I won't string you good people along: this really is Amy Otto's argument -- that men aren't sufficiently productive because they can see tits -- and it never gets any less stupid. She eventually gets around to saying people are also having too much actual sex -- naturally, it's basic wingnut theology -- but she sincerely seems to think that looking at internet porn and sex are, basically, the same thing. No, really -- look:
Men also used to marry younger and in larger numbers to lock down their very own real-life woman. Now, why bother doing the decent work of marrying and raising a family if you can swipe right and see a new pair every night?
Beating off is pretty good, Amy, but actual sex with a partner is an exponentially different and preferable experience. Trust me, I've done the research. Otto's proof points for the social ravages of sex aren't so hot either:
Further, take note that the prime age for invention used to be one’s early twenties; often, scientists and other folks were not as productive in later decades.
Yeah, back when life expectancy was 40, people tended to hurry up. Maybe what we should really be doing away with is antibiotics! (Actually we sort of are.)
Now, that is often not the case: “There’s a boom in inventions by people over 50,” John Calvert, executive director of the United Inventors Association, told the New York Times
The article she cites is from last year, so who knows, maybe since then a bunch of pre-teens have created snapchat plugins that have bent the curve.

I should leave this ridiculous thing alone, but here's a final mango for y'all:
This may sound a bit Trumpesque, but to Make America Great Again we may need to Make Seeing Boobs Rare Again. Men did great things often in pursuit of women. Eric Clapton, in desperate love with George Harrison’s wife Patti, wrote the famous rock anthem “Layla” in pursuit of her.
Because before 1970 Eric Clapton had never seen a woman naked. Well, at least not a grown woman.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

HOW YOU GONNA KEEP 'EM DOWN ON THE FARM AFTER THEY'VE SEEN THE FARM? PART 296.

"The New York Times Shows Why the Blue Model Is Doomed," says Walter Russell Mead. The Times ran a story, see, in which some guy left "hot, crowded Austin, Tex., and moved into an apartment on Munjoy Hill in Portland, Me., with a commanding view of Casco Bay only steps away." OK, good for him. So?
This is told as a fantastic story of human empowerment and social transformation, which it is. More and more of us are escaping the tyranny of location; thanks to the telecom revolution we can work where we want and when we want. 
The rise of telecommuting will lead to better, richer lives. Families will be stronger. The environment will benefit from less commuting. All good. 
But it also represents the death of the political philosophy and economic system that the Times is otherwise prepared to defend to the last: the blue social model. If this revolution continues—and it will—fewer and fewer people will be stuck in big, high tax, over-regulated cities. While some will still choose to live there, many, especially those raising children, will not.
Quite apart from the "three's a trend, unless you're on deadline in which case one will do" angle, I have to say I'm amazed that conservatives are still doing this. We live in an era of mass migration to the cities. It's not like New York, San Francisco, Philly, Minneapolis, et alia, are emptying out. In fact rents in most big cities are going up -- and surely conservatives know that when people pay more for something it's because they prefer it.

This is an old routine for the brethren. For years I've been following Joel Kotkin's crusade to make everyone hate urban life and move to the suburbs and exurbs like Real Americans, or to pretend this has already happened, all evidence to the contrary. And Mead's "rise of telecommuting" reminds me of Ole Perfesser Instapundit Glenn Reynolds himself pushing hard for telecommuting 11 years ago as an alternative to commie light rail. Reynolds actually proposed as a benefit of telecommuting that unions don't like it "because it's harder to organize workers who aren't all in one place."

Which, incidentally, reminds me of one big reason why people flock to the cities: Because that's where the jobs are. Some of you may remember a few years back when conservatives were trying to send poor people to North Dakota to soak up those big oil boom bucks (or to get a long-haul trucking job -- but that was always an obvious fraud). During that boom, capitalism did what capitalism does and drove housing prices in boom towns sky-high. Michael Warren at the Weekly Standard called these oil-boom immigrants "The New Pioneers" -- "The oil boom that began in 2007 has transformed this area of sleepy ranching communities into America’s new energy powerhouse," Warren gushed, and he said that whether you were young or old, whether you were an able-bodied pipe-fitter or "a receptionist at a man camp, those groupings of dorm-like lodgings for temporary workers that flank the highways of the Bakken," there was a place for you in this bright economic future-land.

Well, fast forward a few economic cycles and things ain't looking so great. Thanks, @jfxgillis, for pointing out this September 2015 Bloomberg story of what happened in the Bakken:
Fracking’s success has created another glut, and crude prices have fallen more than 50 percent in the past year. Now North Dakota’s white-hot economy is slowing. More than 4,000 workers lost their jobs in the first quarter, according to the state’s Labor Market Information Center. Taxable sales in counties at the center of the nation’s second-largest oil region dropped as much as 10 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, data from the Office of the State Tax Commissioner show... 
With the region’s drilling-rig count at a six-year low of 74 and roughnecks coping with cuts in overtime and per-diem pay, the vacancy rates in Williams County man camps are as high as 70 percent. Meanwhile the average occupancy rate of new units in Williston was 65 percent in August, even as 1,347 apartments are under construction or have been approved there.
It's all well and good for Mead to tell people that telecommuting's where the boom is now, sonny! But you actually have to provide the jobs to back that up, and unless I'm missing something there is no boom in internet jobs that pay a living wage.

So why do guys like Mead tell people -- people who probably trust him; they aren't reading his shit for the scintillating prose style -- that cities are over and they should avoid them? That's easy. Look how people in the cities vote. The only hope for wingnuts is to keep their dwindling pool of supporters in the outlands -- cut off from culture, from minorities and foreigners, from the experience of living among crowds without packing heat all the time, from anything that would show them that one could have a pretty good life without fear, isolation, and bigotry. (And if you can't guarantee that your peeps will stay in Fritters, Alabama, at least give them the idea that they can live the dream on the internet, so it doesn't matter whether they relocate by choice or necessity, they'll still be isolated, and you may yet keep them in the fold.)

Then you can keep dangling the Next Big Boom in front of them -- some Eden of free enterprise where they'll be able to shoot off guns and make a living with their hands and no goddamn unions or homos. And they won't know it's a con. How would they? 

Monday, June 20, 2016

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about Orlando, and the ways rightbloggers have been fucking it up. They're alway prone to self-pity, especially when guns are involved,  but what's making this worse is that the public is turning away from them, which is driving them nuts.

They have no one but themselves to blame. Take John Podhoretz's rant in the New York Post last week. Remember what President Obama said right after Orlando about the victims' families:
God give them the strength to bear the unbearable. And that He give us all the strength to be there for them, and the strength and courage to change. We need to demonstrate that we are defined more -- as a country -- by the way they lived their lives than by the hate of the man who took them from us.
Podhoretz's response: “That’s just disgusting. There’s no other word for it." Huh? Podhoretz was mad because Obama hadn’t said Radical Islamic Terrorism/Rumpelstiltskin, and furthermore, Obama had implied the attack had something to do with the furshlugginer gays. “The attack on the Pulse nightclub was an attack on us all, no less than the World Trade Center attack,” Podhoretz huffed. Because Mateen didn’t care those people were gay — except to the extent that he was Muslim, in which case of course he was a terrible bigot, because all those people are every bad thing you want them to be! As an American with an AR-15, though, anti-gay thoughts certainly never crossed his mind.

If you're wondering how we got to the point where that the NRA is actually declaring that the Republican Presidential candidate has gone too far for gun rights -- even though Trump's drink-and-draw proposal is endorsed by no less exalted a gun-rights enthusiast than John R. Lott -- this is why. Conservatives have been making themselves ridiculous for years, and it was inevitable that over time a majority of normal people would notice.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

LOCAL WOMAN WINS INTERNATIONAL CONCERN TROLLING COMPETITION.

There ought to be a political journalism equivalent of the Bulwer-Lytton Award, if only so Megan McArdle can at last have something to decorate her mantlepiece:
This past weekend, I found myself in the British borough of Luton, pondering a British exit from the European Union. “How did you find yourself in Luton?” you will ask, and I will reply, “That is a long story, and alas, a very dull one, so let’s just proceed upon the assumption that I was indeed in Luton for good and sufficient reasons.” And why was I pondering Brexit? Because the penultimate chapter of this dull story involved many hours spent in a horrible third-tier European airport with middle-class Britons heading home from their holidays.
Christ in heaven. The thinking's just as ugly as the writing: McArdle talked to these "middle-class Britons" (presumably all white, smoking Players, and 'aving a cuppa) and they weren't really racist at all, she assures us, just suffering from "what is often called compassion fatigue" over having to have their buildings cleaned and tea served by foreigners. Now, McArdle herself isn't bothered, you understand -- she's a woman of the world! -- but she understands why these poor white Britons might feel alienated by all those foreign voices and all that curry:
As an American, this did not strike me as odd; this is what our cities have been like for centuries, particularly on the coasts. One group of immigrants moves in, creates an enclave, then gets rich, assimilates and moves out, making way for the next group that will throw a little of their food, their language and their customs into our vast melting pot. But this is not normal in most of the world. Nor is it necessarily welcome...

So it’s not that my food was bad -- it was all quite good -- or that there was anything wrong with the immigrants serving and eating it. They all looked like quite nice people. But it was all very different from traditional British food, traditional British people. And no matter how hard we try to argue that it doesn’t matter, it does -- politically, if in no other way. Especially when things aren’t going all that well for the natives.
Son of a bitch -- she's found a way to outsource bigotry! Whatever the Koch Brothers are paying her, it's not enough.

Friday, June 17, 2016

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.




See, I like new music. Well, new-ish. 
Well, and it has to sound like Heaven 17 or something else I recognize from my youth. 
Fuck, don't listen to it then if that's how you feel.

• Anti-gun-control conservatives like to portray themselves as the rational, cool-headed ones: Look, I am not flustered by this mass shooting that has you libtards all worked up for some reason! (I think they roll right past the preliminary "of course this is a terrible tragedy" bit anymore because they think it weakens their argument.) But you read something like this, from Charles Two Middle Initials Cooke at National Review, where he tells his readers the Orlando massacre shows nightclubs would be safer if you let people bring loaded guns to them, and you have to wonder:
I must say, I find this way of thinking somewhat bizarre. Certainly, one could argue that there would be more accidents/shootings/suicides if more people carried in general (although this isn’t borne out by the data). Likewise, one could argue that nightclubs are bad venues for concealed- or open-carriers because they are dark and loud, and because people tend to drink a lot and/or take drugs while inside them. But those are aggregate, not specific arguments. When one gets to the specifics, can one really say with a straight face that the victims at Pulse wouldn’t have been better placed had one or more of them had been armed?
"One could argue" that loaded guns at the disco on a Saturday night is a bad idea! Motherfucker, talk to a bartender! Ask him or her if it's a bad idea. And "those are aggregate, not specific arguments" is the last act of a desperate man. I bet Cooke has a flowchart showing drunks in a bar turn into "polite society" if you give them loaded weapons. (Though, under a "Bring your guns, ladies drink free" policy I suppose the Mateen shooting might have been prevented by Pulse being shut down long beforehand, due to its frequent dance-floor gun battles.) While I am on the whole glad that our immigration laws are as yet sufficiently relaxed that we still allow even Thatcherite twats to become citizens of this country, I wish the authorities had first taught Cooke some of our folk wisdom.

• I keep saying on Twitter that I have a new funny thing at The Sherman Oaks Review of Books but Twitter obviously is over because my item has not blown up. So go have a look why don't you, and then stick around to look at the other stuff at the Review which is also funny. It's a humor site. We're humorists. And we mean that in the old-fashioned sense of producing laughter, if that's the sort of thing you go for.

• Remember when a couple of posters of Obama as The Joker in 2009 meant Obama was washed up? Well, they work this same routine every so often, and it currently is being worked with a clutch of rainbow-flag "Shoot Back" posters in West Hollywood. Gay folks in the neighborhood don't seem to appreciate the sentiment, per the L.A. Times, but the artist, Sabo, interviewed by PJ Media, tries strenuously to counteract that impression; "it's important that people know that this image came out of the gay community," he says, meaning out of him. This reminds me of the post-Orlando Red Alert Politics story (amplified by the ridiculous Washington Examiner), "Gays rally around Trump after Orlando attacks," based on the testimony of... four allegedly gay guys on Reddit, and two allegedly gay guys on Twitter ("'I am a gay man and this disgusting incident has persuaded me to join the Trump train!' Snowduckling wrote"). It's like they want to co-opt the gay vote but know it's useless and so aren't even putting the usual effort into their propaganda. Maybe they should get a high-ranking Trump surrogate to go on air and talk about how he loves cock.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

ROAD TO DUMBASS-KISS.

I know some of my readers who are over the age of 30 may be wondering when conservatives began agitating for the rights of people on the no-fly list? Answer: Very recently! Because back in the day no-fly lists were all the rage among the rageaholics -- in the Bush years, because it was saving us from Terrah, and in the early Obama years because Obama was keeping it from saving us from Terrah. But now that Democrats are craftily using the list against the NRA with their no-fly no-buy bill, conservatives have suddenly (and, I assure you, temporarily) turned into Clarence Darrow.

Let's look at some old National Review items on the no-fly subject for perspective. Here's Greg Polowitz asking, "If [shoe-bomber Faisal] Shahzad Was on the ‘No Fly’ List, How’d He Get on the Plane?" Here's Andrew C. McCarthy lamenting that "a lot of [terrorism-related] information gets exchanged – but a lot doesn’t – and none of it ever makes it to the no-fly list."

Here's Anne Morse complaining that the ACLU was suing because "the 'no-fly list' violates passengers’ right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure," at which she scoffed and said the ACLU was partly to blame for "security procedures that are lax, politically correct, and likely to lead to another 9/11." (Morse also promoted the Arabs-on-planes-make-me-nervous bullshit of Anne Jacobsen, then popular among wingnuts; Jacobsen later went on to promote an even more bizarre terror-in-the-skies scenario.)

Here's Jay Nordlinger fuming at the ACLU's suit because "The administration is trying to protect us from mass murder, and the ACLU is trying to thwart that effort."

And here's Skree Queen Michelle Malkin raging that the list was not complete enough: If we were truthful, she said, "the 'no fly' list would be known around the world by its right and proper name: the 'go fly' list... to this day, TSA still doesn’t check all domestic and international airline-passenger manifests against the no-fly/go-fly list," etc.

So the NR people were once upon a time mainly concerned that the no-fly list wasn't restrictive enough. But when, more recently, it became apparent that the ability of no-fly listees to purchase weapons could be used against them in the court of public gun opinion, they started to get nervous -- as was glaringly apparent from the very title of this 2015 post "The NRA Is Absolutely Right to Fear the ‘Terrorism Watch List,’" by Charles C.W. Cooke, who was then only recently imported by National Review and so did not have the paper trail of no-fly rah-rah that his colleagues had. The magazine's Cato Institute loaners have also been useful in this respect: Here's Michael Tanner, announcing "the no-fly list clearly violates the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty," to the chuckles of older readers.

This week NR has promoted an anti-no-fly-list article by an intern, which makes sense, because he's probably not only too young to have any embarrassing published opinions on Bush-era civil-liberties outrages to his credit, but also being indulged in the traditional youthful libertarian phase, the conservative equivalent of Rumspringa.

Better late than never, I guess. And who knows -- maybe associating civil rights they're not so hot about with guns will make conservatives more likely to support them. I know: Let's tell them that married gay people fuck each other with AR-15s!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO....

One of the many interesting fallouts from this horrible Orlando situation is the brethren demanding that the President perform a magic incantation -- in this case, "radical islamic terrorism" -- as if it would, like saying "Rumpelstiltskin," immediately destroy the enemy.

This ridiculous demand started with Donald Trump, whom Obama schooled on the issue. Wingnuts nonetheless have been backing Trump up:  For example, Jay Caruso at RedState cries "UNBELIEVABLE: Obama Is More Upset At Donald Trump Than He Is At ISIS!... When people are slaughtered by terrorists he's 'No Drama Obama.' When somebody gets under his skin, he's Stompy McStompfeet." (Yes, someone actually wrote that shit and signed his name to it. Apparently Chris Christie's not the only one who's sold his ass.) "No One’s Looking for ‘Magic Words,’" sputters Commentary legacy pledge John Podhoretz, dimly aware that he's being mocked and spinning defensively like a teased hog:
This is all an effort at misdirection. The problem with Obama’s conduct isn’t that naming radical Islam would solve the problem. Of course, it wouldn’t solve the problem. The issue is that the refusal to name radical Islam is part of the problem. Obama’s refusal speaks to the mindset at work in the White House about the threat we face.
We didn't say saying "Rumpelstiltskin" would fix everything! The real problem is Obama refusing to say "Rumpelstiltskin"!

Does any of this sound familiar? It did to me, so I went back to the alicublog archives and found this from ten years ago:
Oh, this is cute: the boys at The Corner are debating on what name we should give our adversaries in the War on Whatchamacallit. Slow propaganda day! 
[Jonah] Goldberg shows off some of the names he learned while researching his alleged book; he certainly can parrot catch-phrases, but alas, education gives Goldberg about as much real benefit as Cytosport Muscle Milk would give Stephen Hawking, and his proposed name for the dusky hordes is -- get this -- "Bin Ladenism." 
Bin Laden? Isn't he that guy we don't care about anymore? Also, what if we find Bin Laden? Does that mean Bin Ladenism is dead, and the war over? (Fools! Bin Laden is at this very moment enjoying the hospitality of our luxurious American psychiatric facilities!) 
Cliff May sums up:
We are struggling to come up with a term that (1) accurately describes the network of ideologies and movements that have risen up with the “Muslim world” (I hate that phrase) and which seek to defeat America and its allies, a term which also (2) clearly conveys to the average person in the West that this is an enemy who must be taken seriously.
Are you tempted to send in your own suggestions -- but painfully aware that The Corner, which keeps a large bin of prepared "reader responses" next to Goldberg's cooler of Snickers, will never publish them? Drop them in our comments box! Somebody will read them, as I plan to visit an internet cafe later and loudly announce, "Hey check out http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2006_08_27_alicublog_archive.html#115712390303821411 -- they got Shakira fucking a dog!" 
Just try and pick something that can complete phrases like "In our war against..." and "England, alas, is already a casualty of..." in a such way as to warm the willies of warbloggers. I'll start:
  • Ooga-Booga.
  • Islama-dama-ding-dong.
  • Homosexuality. 
Actually, I'll just stick to "Whatchamacallit." 
UPDATE. Thanks to commenter R.Porrofatto, who points out that winger nuthouse Gates of Vienna has just concluded a WOT Slogan Contest. Among the entrants: "Kill 'em All, and let Allah sort them out," "Eradicate or be Eradicated," and "Burn the Koran." The winner was "Allah Akbar -- It's the New Sieg Heil!" Oh, that'll get the crowds on their feet! I imagine half the Cletuses asking, "Whut's Ally Akbur?" and the other half asking "Who's Zig Heil?" 
If they'd only had the humility to ask, I could have told them that FREE BEER! or PARTY! would serve their purposes much better, assuming that the sound trucks from which they blared would also distribute weapons and Pantone chips indicating the darkest acceptable skin tone! 
My own slogan: Death to Dhummitude!
Aaaaaand... scene. Sometime this gift of prophecy [places back of wrist to forehead, swoons dramatically like Victor Davis Hanson]... actually feels like a curse!