Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Link Love Miscellany

It’s time to clear out some of the “Starred items” from Google Reader:

For those of you who missed it, VoxDay has started a new blog, Alpha Game, a family-safe (relatively speaking) alternative to the more soft-porn oriented Roissy or the often-embittered Spearhead.  I want to call special attention to a post by Susan Walsh, “Why We Shit Test”, a bit of wisdom I wish had been imparted to me 30 years ago.

Not to knock The Spearhead, a guest post tells how Dilbert creator Scott Adams narrowly avoided getting Watsoned.  Also, AfOR explains why technological invasions of privacy might work to your advantage.

The Social Pathologist rounds up some academic papers regarding female sexuality.

Whiskey draws on a Financial Times article to explain how female economic advancement hurts female happiness.  Whiskey also gives the immigration backstory behind the events in Wisconsin.

Chris Petersen (H.T.: Ferdinand Keoni Galt) explains how Wall Street Goldman Sachs manipulates commodities markets to its own profit and the world’s misery.

Robin Hanson asks why we laugh at Nerds:

Nerds essentially have “Autism light,” i.e., high intelligence and low social skills. … Nerds cooperate pretty effectively all the time on large software and other engineering projects. … [But are] worse at judging which coalition to join when, which associates may betray them or have done so, when and how to betray associates, what lies to tell, what threats will be credible and appropriate, and so on. … [Nerds are] preyed upon by those with better social skills.

Homo hypocritus pretends to mainly value overtly useful skills, while really greatly valuing covert conniving skills. Nerds tend to be much better at the former than the later, and are often unaware that the later skills exist.

Like, for instance, nerds are prone to take at face value female assertions that they only want “nice guys” since we can’t think of a reason why someone would lie about something like that.

Also from Hanson, an insight into why SWPL types romanticize third-world cultures, and even American NAMs, but hate and fear rural whites:

A colleague’s wife confessed to me that she was so horrified and repulsed by the world depicted [in the movie Winter’s Bone] as to make her reluctant to venture out of the city. While most folks in our society pride themselves on their respect for other cultures and ethnicities, such folk have little reason to fear being mistaken for someone from most such cultures. Their respect extends the least to “white trash,” who they have the most reason to fear being confused with.

Finally, Hanson and Katja debate swimsuits.

Elusive Wapiti, among many others, takes down Kay Hymowitz.

Vanishing American writes about astroturfing the internet at taxpayer expense.

Looks matter more to young women than any other consideration:  Agnostic has the data.

Mangan gives us another reason to shut down the refugee program:  ethnic cleansing of whites in New Hampshire schools.

Megan, in a lengthy yet gripping post, discusses the liberal lockout of conservatives from academia.  It certainly rings true personally:  my own career took a severe hit when, as a university (and really, who hasn’t figured out what university I mean) instructor, I openly challenged the “diversity” clichés.

That takes me back to mid-February.  More to follow.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Overplayed

The Chive (H.T.: Ace) shows a photo album of Ukrainian mail-order brides:

mail-order-14

Um . . .

Trumwill and I had a discussion a while back about whether or not the women that appear in these kind of photographs are paid models, marquee clients, or a representative sample of the women that are really looking to marry and settle down with a representative sample of the men who patronize Ukrainian MOB websites.

But that’s a discussion for another day.  The point I want to make now is that, when I look at these pictures, the word “accessible” is not the one that comes to mind.  What does come to mind is “swimsuit model” followed by “has swimsuit model mating opportunities.”  Neither thought is likely to induce me to part with my hard-earned money for an illusory shot at wooing her.

So I’m thinking that the MOB outfits are overplaying the lingerie model / porn star angle at the expense of the girl-next-door angle.  If male patrons are anything like me, they would be put off by photographs that portray the women as either out-of-reach or of low character.*  In fact, my first choice would be this girl:

mail-order-10

Note the differences:  first, she’s modestly clothed.  Second, her pose is subtle; only the gentle hair tug looks coached.  Finally, while she is certainly beautiful, she isn’t glamorous in the way that so many of the other girls are portrayed.

On the other hand . . . maybe I’m not the target audience for these websites.  Maybe the point of the tarted-up pics is to attract guys with low skepticism.  In other words, maybe this site is putting the mob in MOB.

* The first picture is actually much more tame than most of the ones on offer, which were either blatantly NSFW or so badly contrived that I would be embarrassed to display them here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It’s not like we have any problems . . .

1st Annual [Steve] Southerland for Congress Golf Invitational

Please join us Friday April, 29, 2011

9am Shot Gun Start

120 Coyote Pass

Panama City Beach, Fl 32407

$125 per person ----- $500 Per Team-------$1,000 per PAC

___________________________________________

$5,000 Hole Sponsor = 4 Golfers, Autographed Picture with Congressman Southerland and your team

sit at head table during awards event.

___________________________________________

Also looking for sponsors for Food, Prizes, & Raffles

Please Email me and let me know if you are interested in being part of this event

jennifer@southerlandforcongress.com

Honestly, I wasn’t much bothered by all the stories about how Obama golfed his way through, say, the Libyan crisis, seeing as how I wouldn’t approve of anything he could do that he was likely to do.*  But . . . considering all the things that his district elected him to do, like cut spending and immigration, or even answer his constituents’ mail, I think throwing a fundraiser 19 months before his next election and before any of these tasks are completed is kinda tawdry.

Say what you want about Allen Boyd, but at least he returned emails.

* UPDATE: Obviously, this post was written before Obama confirmed my expectation that I wouldn't like how he handled it. OTOH, this update is being written before we have concluded our involvement.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Last Five Girlfriends

My Last Five Girlfriends reminded me of nothing so much as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  There are differences to be sure.  Scott Pilgrim was about a man facing his girlfriend’s exes; MLFG, rather, concerned a man coming to trips with his own exes.  Scott Pilgrim made heavy use of metaphor to make its point, whereas MLFG, as narrated by its central character, more directly analyzes the subtle traps relationships fall into.  Yet both make use of paranormal interludes.

[Spoilers follow]

Here, for instance is Duncan explaining how fate was surely responsible for putting him together with GF #1:

My Last Five Girlfriends–Heavenly Dating

The joke is, of course, that Duncan’s statistics here are pretty weak.  As it happens, GF #1 had insufficient closure with her own ex boyfriend.

With GF #2 (Jane March in a rare movie appearance), Duncan tries too hard to mold himself into somebody that would please a way too mercurial woman.

And on it goes, each relationship falling to different stresses and incompatibilities.

Of course, no relationship post of mine would be complete without an obligatory mention that Duncan’s sex-and-shackup approach to dating is highly likely to lead to a string of bad outcomes.  I’m not sure if the movie itself is fully aware of this.  It does bring up the interesting question as to whether “relationship experience”, while undoubtedly vital to success in attracting women (as I learned myself by not having it), is much conducive to making the relationships work in the long run.

But on other issues, the movie shows a surprising degree of perspicacity.  Here, for instance, it explains the rules of sulking at the downside of GF #5:

My Last Five Girlfriends–Successful Sulking

Well played.

I enjoyed this movie more than Scott Pilgrim, whose extended martial arts scenes I found tedious.  But they nonetheless should be companion pieces, the first dealing with one’s partner’s relationship history, and the second dealing with one’s own.

The Race That Must Not Be Named

From FoxNews.com:

DALLAS – Three Texas men were indicted on federal gun and conspiracy charges Wednesday after officials linked them to a gun used in the shooting death of a U.S. agent in Mexico.

The grand jury in Dallas returned a six-count indictment against Ranferi Osorio, 27, a veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars; his 22-year-old brother, Otilio Osorio; and their 25-year-old neighbor, Kelvin Leon Morrison, all residents of the southern Dallas suburb of Lancaster.

“Texas men”?

The Fox story doesn’t give us a photograph, but here is one taken from World News:

osorio_gang

Um . . . yeah.  “Texas men” is exactly what jumps to mind as I look at this picture.

And for this we have Fox News?

New topic:  watching Sarah Palin perform on television is . . . painful.  But also necessary.

Personally, I like Palin.  I’m sure she’s a wonderful next-door neighbor.  And I can forgive her for her babbly, disjointed speaking style.  But in this fifteen minute interview, she can’t manage to say anything that she couldn’t have read in just about anybody’s newspaper editorial on the Libyan situation.  She didn’t articulate a coherent policy, she didn’t explain why or why not the conflict is in America’s interest, and she certainly didn’t say anything distinctively conservative.

When are we going to wake up to the fact that Palin is the new Richard Nixon:  a politician we like only for having obnoxious enemies, not for any articulated policies.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Freaks & Geeks: Carded and Discarded

I’m working my way through Freaks & Geeks, which aired back in 1999 – 2000, before I watched much television.  It is, of course, excellent, and I hope to write a post about the series eventually, but I want to comment on episode 7 while it is yet fresh in my mind.

The series takes a break from reality with the introduction of Maureen, a “transfer student from Florida” who befriends Sam and the gang.  Come on:  a pretty girl who, when you’re nice to her, is nice back?  Who could dream up such a fantastical creature?

Why do I find this so painful to watch?

Because I hate being teased, even by a teevee show? 

Because I know it will end badly?

It’s not just that it’s unrealistic, although that’s part of it.  I really enjoyed The Girl Next Door, but that was more obviously a fantasy,whereas F & G’s niche is to present the gritty hyper-reality of high school.  But it’s also the reaction Maureen provokes, or rather, doesn’t provoke:  fear.  In TGND, Matthew is afraid of Danielle, who must work hard initially to, if not put him at ease exactly, then coax him to discover his inner alpha.  But while Sam and his friends seem to understand at some level that Maureen is too good to last, they seem oblivious to the danger she poses, in at least two salient ways:

1.  she ritually humiliates them for their effrontery and general geekiness; and/or

2  a jock AMOGs them.

And before you start, I’ve seen Mystery’s discussion of  how “approach anxiety” is our evolved response to hunter-gatherer social dynamics and whatever; so what?  This sh!t still happens!  Where is their little voice that yells “DANGER WILL ROBINSON!”?  I’m 42, and I’m still afraid of beautiful women, even or especially when they seem sociable.  Yet these kids just wade right in.

Maybe there was a time that I waded right in and got the crap kicked out of me.  Mercifully, I’ve suppressed the memory but not the lesson.

In this case, nothing bad happens.  Nobody challenges them, and Maureen seems constitutionally incapable of recognizing the status differential between cheerleading and model rocketry.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Waiting for Superman

Don't Piss On The Wall

We here in Stability gathered around the televisions late into last evening to watch the boss’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Or at least, most people did.  I bailed after the first four senators “questioned” the general – too much fellatio for my taste, and I am assured that the last 3 hours were as boring and non-confrontational as the first one was.  I had lunch with a staffer to the CNO a couple of months ago.  He gave the impression that he was privy to Sen. Levin’s deliberations on the war, and that he (the Senator) was prepared to ask some tough questions about the objective of our mission here in Afghanistan.  But I despaired when he said that the Senator was going to ask for “a drawdown”, thinking to myself, “Debating troop levels is playing in P4’s back yard, and he will mop the floor with you.”  I needn’t have worried:  Levin was a French poodle last night, when a pit bull was clearly called for.

But something occurred to me as I watched what passed for congressional oversight:  our discussion of the war is paralyzed by an unspoken, baseline assumption that governs our approach to just about every public policy question:  America can do anything.

Pervasive corruption among “our” side of Afghan’s civil war?  “We’ve got a tough road ahead,” etc., but we’ve “got the inputs right.”  Educability of blacks and Hispanics lags that of whites?  More money and/or charter schools and/or union busting will save us.  Deindustrialization leaving us in hock to the Chinese?  “Job training programs” will teach us all to be financiers.  And on and on.

Petraeus, no doubt, wants more time and money.  Where is the Senator that will tell him flat out:  we’re short on time, and out of money.  Petraeus (when it occurs to anyone to ask) will insist on the importance of denying the Al Qaeda a safe haven.  But Al Qaeda is now quite comfortable in Pakistan, and there will always be another failed state in which they can thrive.  The end he seeks is beyond the means required (global war), and is not the most effective means anyway, compared to sealing the border against Muslims.

But nobody – not Republicans, and certainly not Democrats – are willing to say these things, because to do so would challenge the first principle of our political discourse:  America can do anything.  All we need is more time and money.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Movie Potpourri IV: Recycle Bin Edition

Movies I hated:

Basic Instinct 2:  If you want to see Sharon Stone at the top of her game, watch the original.  Nothing about this sequel held my attention.  The plot (assuming there was one) was too complex for me to follow.  I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters or their fates.  And the sex . . . was there sex?  Maybe I’m just getting old, but I couldn’t be bothered to finish.

Legend of the Guardians:  What could be cooler than animated owls, right?  Unfortunately, the writers’ creativity pretty much ground to a halt after "animated owls!”  I didn’t finish this one either.

The Virginity Hit:  Shaky-cam faux home movie about a couple of high school students who decide to lose their virginity to each other.  When he finds out she cheated, he and his friends contrive to embarrass the young woman in some gross fashion I couldn’t stomach to watch long enough to learn.

A Complete History of My Sexual Failures: Looserish fellow sets out to document why his romantic relationships end badly (not explaining how fortunate he was to have had romantic relationships).  He spends the first half of the movie being told by ex-girlfriends what a creep he is for even asking the question.  I didn’t watch the second half.

Zombie Strippers:  Some things, like socialism, work better in theory than in practice.  Didn’t finish.

The Last Airbender:  I had read in any number of places that M. Night’s powers were fading, but I hadn’t quite believed it until this dog of a fantasy film.

Salt:  Okay, this wasn’t a half-bad action movie (except for the shamelessly patched-up ending), but the increasingly Matrix-level stunts conducted in complete earnestness strained my credulity past the breaking point.  And sure, the action in Knight and Day wasn’t realistic either; the difference was that K&D didn’t take itself seriously.

Body of Lies:  This movie about counter-terrorism covert operations was ruined by the filmmakers reach for moral ambiguity.  Bull.  The protagonist  braves great personal danger to catch a murderous Muslim thug, and good for him.  The fact that his boss is incompetent even by CIA standards (in contrast to the “good Muslim” chief of Jordanian intelligence) is a thin reed on which to hang his resignation.

Red, Skyline:  I can’t think of a single interesting thing to say about these two.  They are neither especially good nor especially bad.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Diversity in Action

From FoxNews:

A Brooklyn, N.Y., teen admitted to police that she poured acid on a classmate’s head in hopes to burn the victim’s eyes out, reported the New York Post.

Zhanna Smsarian, 16, allegedly sat behind the victim, Albina Eshimbaeva, 15, in chemistry class at Fort Hamilton High School on Wednesday and allegedly poured a bottle of diluted hydrochloric acid over Eshimbaeva’s head, the Post reported. Classmates said the girls have a history of bad blood.

Here are the stats on Hamilton High.  But while the perp appears white (and average cute when she’s not scowling), where do these names come from?  The Baltics?  Armenia?

What kind of generalizations can we make about the kind of whites left behind in a school that’s two-thirds “minority”?  That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way; looking at those stats, nothing jumps out.  The school isn’t rated, but its test scores aren’t especially bad, nor are the students especially poor.  It’s male graduation rate seems low at 58% though.

Zhanna appears to be wearing a JROTC uniform.  Which of course proves nothing.

UPDATE:  Novaseeker says it’s an Armenian surname.  So the question becomes:  what vital, irreplaceable quality do Armenians bring to American life that makes this kind of thing an acceptable price to pay for it?

Φ’s Dirtiest Post Ever

From PsychCentral (H.T.:  Ace):

“Does Semen Make Women Happy?”

Woohoo!

Could it be that the biochemical makeup of semen is such that when absorbed through the vagina it affects a woman’s hormones?

Oh.  Damn, we were so close.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Celebrate International Women’s Day (or else).

Classification: NATO/ISAF UNCLASSIFIED

***This message was forwarded by RDC for any questions please get in contact with the undersigned****

Fellow ISAFians,

In honor of International Women’s Day it is a pleasure for me to announce the “inaugural” Women’s bazaar here at HQ ISAF on the 8th of March. This day is celebrated globally and what better way to recognize the vital contribution of women in Afghanistan than the opportunity for them to showcase their talents. It is a profound statement of courage, resilience and perseverance for women all over the world that they will be here. Most, if not all have overcome staggering challenges. It is a core value in our mission and I am honored that these talented, brave women have chosen HQ ISAF as their venue on this important day. Remember, most of the vendors are the artists, as well as professional business women.

The Bazaar will be held in the Destille Gardens from 1000 to 1600. Please join me in welcoming them warmly and showing them the generosity so often unseen in our day to day mission.

Respectfully Submitted,

[Redacted]
Colonel USAF, Commander
Base Support Group, HQ ISAF
NCN 686-XXXX

Sunday, March 06, 2011

A Surfeit of Stoopid

I finally got to see the big guy in person the other day.  I was helping to prepare the conference room for an infrastructure briefing:  AID and ACE were there to tell him about all the wonderful things they are doing.  I was given the names of seven people who would be there.

So the preparations went like this:

Quick, there are more people coming.  You forgot generals X, Y, and Z!  Go make more name tents to put around the table.

YOU FOOL!  You didn’t sufficiently trim the paper around the name tents!  Go get some scissors stat!

OMIGOD, the name tents are in the wrong order!  You put general X closer to P4 than general Y!  We’ve got to move them around!!!

At least 40 people showed up to the briefing.

In the end P4 showed up 15 minutes late.  He had in tow this guy*, whom he cryptically suggested was looking for investment opportunities.  Better his money than mine, I suppose, although pity the poor Afghanis who wind up working for him.

I was surprised how frail P4 looked, hunched over like an old man.  I remembered that he had had surgery for something.  Was it prostrate cancer?

Of course, there is no shortage of AID money flowing into the country.  But I surprised when, after reading the assessment of Kajaki Dam and googling the hardware, all the spec sheets turned out to be in Chinese.

Do you have any translations?  I asked the AID guy.

Nope, sorry.  But don’t worry, the prime contractor will hire Chinese speakers.

So let’s review:

  • No jobs for American manufacturers.
  • No jobs for American technicians.
  • Lots of U.S. tax dollars headed for China, with a nice rake-off for BV shareholders.

Stoopid war!

Stoopid name tents!

I want to go home.

* Sorry for being so oblique, but I really don’t want people googling around for these people to come here, especially people doing vanity searches, IYKWIMAITYD.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

A Visit to FoxNews

I happened to drop in on FoxNews.com today.

1.  ABC to air at television show called Good Christian Bitches.  Need I even quote from this article?

The dramedy, based on Kim Gatlin’s novel of the same name, will be brought to life by famed “Sex and the City” and “90210” executive producer Darren Star. The plot centers on the life of reformed “mean girl” Amanda, played by “Talladega Nights” actress Leslie Bibb, who returns to her hometown of Dallas to find herself fodder for malicious gossip from the women in the Christian community.

. . .

“ABC’s core viewership is Christian, so the goal of the show won’t be to attack Christianity. Just like the book, this is a show by Christians, for (mostly) Christians, to enjoy a little prime-time self-deprecation,” Los Angeles-based entertainment expert, Jenn Hoffman said.

Uh huh.  Here’s an interview with creator Darren Star in – wait for it – Haaretz:

"Writers, directors, producers, we're all Jewish," Star said. "It's a few years in a row by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, conceived by David Lonner, who is a very important agent at William Morris, wants to share his love and passion of Israel."

2.  Police Investigate California Girl's Claim She Was Forced Into Arranged Marriage in Pakistan

Jesse Bender, who was found unharmed and in the company of her biological uncle, told police she ran away to avoid being forced into an arranged marriage in Pakistan.

Roxanne Walker, a spokeswoman with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office, told FoxNews.com that the teen lived in Hesperia, Calif., with her biological mother and stepfather, Mohammad Khan, a Pakistani native, but Walker said there were conflicting reports on whether Melissa Bender and Khan were legally married.

Walker said the girl was first reported as a juvenile runaway. She said the girl's mother told police that her daughter was upset about having to go on a two-month vacation to Pakistan. Melissa Bender then changed her story, Walker said, when she told authorities that Jesse may have been taken by a man she met on Facebook.

Remember when parents’ standing advice was “stick to your own kind”?

3.  Border Agents Forced to Face Down Bullets With Bean Bags, Critics Say

The U.S. Border Patrol is under fire for allegedly ordering its elite, SWAT-style units to use non-lethal bean bag ammunition before responding with deadly force – even against suspects armed with high-powered semi-automatic and automatic weapons like AK-47s.

The controversy over the agency’s “bean bag” policy began in the days following the Dec. 14 killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and has escalated recently as more information is uncovered in the investigation of the fatal shooting.

A wise man once said:  “A smile, a kind word, and 5.56 NATO FMJ go a lot further than just the smile and kind word.

I’m not sure that keeping up with current events back in the States is good for my mental health.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Some values are more equal than others.

From NATO’s Civil-Military Fusion Center’s Afghanistan Review:

The proposed takeover of women‟s shelters by the Afghan government garnered further media coverage this week with women‟s advocacy groups such as the Afghan Women‟s Network requesting a consultation process for the proposed changes (see 16 February CFC Afghanistan Re-view, Socio-Cultural Development section). The Afghan Women‟s Network explained to Tolo News that the new regulations create restrictions on who can access the shelters. Furthermore, shelter providers cautioned that there were “reports of violence and discrimination against women in protection centres controlled by the government”. In an official statement, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, urged Afghan officials to allow civil society to continue operating women‟s shelters in the country, while also establishing a joint mechanism for implementing protection guidelines and monitoring. Refuting claims made in the media, Afghan President Hamid Karzai explained that the proposed takeover of women‟s shelters would not affect all existing centres, according to Agence France-Presse. He indicated that only those shelters found to be in violation of government policies and/or accused of corruption would be affected by the new legislation, suggesting that only one or two shelters are still under investigation.

A couple of things about this.

In the U.S., and, I presume, the other Western democracies, feminists agitate for more government involvement in things like women’s shelters, whereas their Afghan sistren are fighting to keep their government’s hands off of such shelters.  Which tells you most of what you need to know about America’s and Afghanistan’s relative points on the axis between women’s liberation and family stability.

Unsurprisingly, I believe the United States lies too far toward the wrong end of that axis.  And while it’s not my country to worry about, one could fairly say that Afghanistan lies too far toward the opposite end.  But at least the Afghanis are asking the right questions.

But that’s not really my point.

The point I want to make here is this passage makes clear that at various levels – media, NGO’s, UN and NATO pressure, etc. – the Afghan government is being held to a standard of Western liberalism that is not organic to the country.  The international community has chosen to impose its values.

Yet where is the corresponding pressure to require of Afghanistan religious tolerance?  Where is the pressure to allow Afghan’s to choose to follow Christ?  Where is the expectation that Afghanistan’s Christians be allowed to open churches without fear of arrest, let alone terrorism?

The answer is nowhere.  And that was a policy decision made by the coalition forces – that’s our government – that, again, tells you most of what you need to know about the people making these kinds of decisions on our behalf.