Saturday, October 13, 2007

Around the World Wide Web 32

1. Virginia Postrel compares housing in Dallas and Los Angeles, two cities with completely different approaches.

2. If Nancy Pelosi gets any more mean-spirited, she'll have to switch parties:

But [Ms. Pelosi's] spirits soured instantly when somebody asked about the anger of the Democratic "base" over her failure to end the war in Iraq.

"Look," she said, the chicken breast on her plate untouched. "I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things -- Buddhas? I don't know what they were -- couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk."

Unsmilingly, she continued: "If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have 'Impeach Bush' across their chest, it's the First Amendment."

Man, I love that. All these Code Pink/ fruitcakes are demonstrating in San Francisco and what is Nancy Pelosi thinking? Goddamn bums -- they oughtta be thrown in the slammer.

I find it comforting that the woman who is two heartbeats from the Oval Office is contemptuous of the Democrat base.

(I forgot to put the link to this one and now I have forgotten where I found it.)

UPDATE: Here is the link.

3. Did you hear about Buddhist monk who walked into a pizza parlor and said, "Make me one with everything"?

4. Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize? As Mike's Eyes notes, the prize is now worthless. Robert Tracinski in TIA Daily says the prize, "now apparently has nothing to do with world peace and is simply an all-purpose vehicle for promoting leftist causes." Mr. Tracinski also points to a good piece by John Berlau on the award:

In direct contradiction of Alfred Nobel's last will and testament, the selection of Gore essentially means the Peace Prize can no longer be said to be an award for improving the condition of humankind. Looking at Gore's writing, it's far from clear that Gore even believes that humanity is his most important priority….

Rather, his stated desire is to stop human activity that he sees as ruining what he calls the "ecosystem." Awarding the prize to Gore in 2007 is the equivalent of honoring the Luddites who tried to stop the beneficial technologies of Alfred Nobels's day.

A common theme of selection for the Nobel Peace Prize and the other Nobel awards has been the use of science and technology to overcome problems afflicting humans such as starvation and disease…. In creating the annual prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and the promotion of world peace (roughly the same five fields for which Nobels are awarded today), Nobel stated the desire in his will to honor "those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind."

According to Alfred Nobel: A Biograpy by Kenne Fant, an earlier draft of Nobel's will stipulated that prizes in all categories should be "a reward for the most important pioneering discoveries or works in the field of knowledge and progress."

But for Albert Gore, Jr. the fields of knowledge and progress are suspect, and so are many types of technology with benefits to mankind.

The Nobel Peace Prize is now being given to enemies of civilization.

5. If anyone is interested, I wrote a piece of flash fiction a few years ago called "The Prophet."

6. The economist Gary Becker looks at the old but endlessly fascinating question of why intellectuals, academics and artists are more left-wing than the rest of the population. His answer is economic, which I believe is not deep enough, but he makes some interesting observations.


Anonymous said...

The Postrel column was interesting but as usual Postrel, a conservative, never mentions the moral issues involved (does she even know them?). Its like when I read a John Stossel column when he opposes socialized medicine, its never on principle. All these conservative's do is argue about details. They provide needed information but they also frustrate the hell out of me.

John Kim

Adrian Hester said...

"Did you hear about Buddhist monk who walked into a pizza parlor and said, 'Make me one with everything'?"

No, no, NO! It's "What did the Zen master tell the hot dog man?" Harumph, changing one of my favorite jokes on me.

Myrhaf said...

Pizzas, hot dogs -- they're all the same in this realm of illusion.

John, in a piece like Postrel's, it's the facts that are interesting, not what she makes of them. As a Californian it occurs to me that if I would move to some place like Smallville, Kansas, I could afford a much bigger house. But would I want to live in the middle of nowhere, even with the internet to keep my mind occupied?

Dismuke said...

Earlier today before you put up the link to the Pelosi quotes I was curious as to where you got it so I googled an excerpt and found that a number of sites picked it up. The most amusing one was the ultra Leftist Daily Kos:

They clearly don't like her either. Good thing I wasn't drinking tea or something as I probably would have spat it out all over the computer when I came across this little gem:

"Again, these [the protesters and her constituents] are the people who elected you to office, and whose taxes pay your salary. They are smart enough to make their own judgments about issues ranging from health care to the Iraq war to impeachment of Bush and Cheney. You are not smarter, or shrewder, than those whose votes you rely on to keep you sitting high on the hog. In fact, you're an idiot if you think so."

Huhhh? Since when do Leftists believe that people are smart enough to make their own judgments regarding HEALTH CARE? That's sure a new one for me. Translation: they are smart enough to make their own judgments only when if they judge that a government run by Leftists ought to make all such judgments.

Pelosi deserves to have people like this as her hard core base constituency. Cindy Sheehan is going to run against her in the primary - and these kooks are going to support Sheehan. That's funny too. Pelosi vs. Sheehan. May the sexiest candidate win!

Dismuke said...

"I find it comforting that the woman who is two heartbeats from the Oval Office is contemptuous of the Democrat base."

My experience is most Leftists of the "elite" variety - i.e. the highly educated, high income, trendy, upscale allegedly "cultured" white urban "beautiful people" who turn up their nose at the prospect of drinking the sort of coffee sold in truck stops and gas stations tend to be VERY contemptuous of the rank and file sort of voters that they count on and take for granted each and every election.

Just find some online forum where Leftists congregate and feel comfortable talking openly and honestly amongst each other whenever the topic of Wal-mart happens to come up. Observe the terms and tone and the utter CONTEMPT and snobish CONDESCENSION these people have for the sort of people who either shop at or work for Wal-mart. Ultimately, most of their terms boil down to: human debris and losers. If a conservative were to use the descriptions they use against the same people outside the context of Wal-mart - well, they would be loudly denounced as nasty, mean sprited racist, anti-poor bigots. There is something about Wal-mart that drives these people especially crazy and causes them to show their true colors. They will also become honest like that in cases where someone attempts to mix ordinary people in with the "beautiful people" crowd. If someone opens up a dollar store in a trendy, "upscale" neighborhood - the Leftists will FREAK OUT. Here in Fort Worth, a bunch of online Leftist advocates of "New Urbanism" supported the notion that chain restaurants such as Chili's and Bennigans ought to be outlawed in Fort Worth's very successful revitalized downtown because such restaurants tend to attract "rednecks." and other "ordinary" types of people that they have contempt for. And when a Payless Shoe Source (a low-end budget shoe store chain) opened up in a part of town they were demanding to be reserved for upscale "urban" type development - well, one of them became downright racist saying that the store would transform the neighborhood in to "Harlem." Prior to 9-11, one of them actually openly wished for an accidental bomb drop from the local naval air base over a working class neighborhood because he considered it to be an embarrassment and an obstacle to convincing a Fortune 500 company to relocate to that area of town. And a few years ago when a tornado hit a very poor neighborhood occupied mostly by perfectly honorable, hard working Hispanics located near a part of town that is rapidly becoming very trendy, there were quotes in the local paper from such types saying that it was a good thing because it would open the area up for something more "appropriate" and "desirable." This is how these people talk when they think they are among their own kind.

The Leftist elite HAS to have contempt for ordinary, everyday people. At heart, they are all a bunch of Peter Keatings and their pseudo self-esteem is entirely based on the notion that they are a member of the "beautiful people" crowd and, therefore, superior, more "noble" souls. THAT is the purpose of the rank and file Democratic party base in these people's eyes. They exist to be USED - both in terms of being manipulated and used politically and in terms of making them feel superior to everyone else by comparison.

Jim May said...

Dismuke is absolutely right about the elitism of the Left; it is one of their fundamental attributes which they share with conservatism. The differences between them are mere details of form that originate in the historical origins of each.

Dismuke said...

"Dismuke is absolutely right about the elitism of the Left; it is one of their fundamental attributes which they share with conservatism."

Jim - I am curious about the elitism on the conservative side that you refer to. Could you give an example of it? I am not sure what you are referring to.

Of the two main groups of conservatives these days - the "economic conservatives" and the Religious Right conservatives - well, neither of them is especially elitist as far as I can see. Economic conservatives generally have respect for people who work hard and live honest lives regardless of their background. The Religious Right mostly consists of middle class sorts of people and, whatever their faults, I don't know that they are especially elitist - at least as far as THIS world is concerned. Of course, after one is dead, I guess that is a different matter!

The only element of elitism I can think of is possibly the old Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party - which once dominated the party during its years of perpetual minority status but has been pretty much dying off. Those people most definitely could mostly have been described as coming from wealthy backgrounds that qualified them as members of the elite. But does the fact that they came from such a background necessarily make them elitists? If you are super duper rich or are rich from inherited wealth and you are an elitist - well, you would be downright unfashionable casting your lot with the Republicans who are just SO middle class.

The genuine xenophobes among conservatives might possibly be considered as being somewhat elitist on those grounds perhaps. But most of those I types, I think, tend to come from the more working class sorts of backgrounds - people who were once hard core Democratic "little guys" who fled to the Republican Party when their old party started being taken over by the New Left and embraced multiculturalism and the counterculture. The segregationists of the Jim Crow days were all Democrats. And while few people hold such views anymore, that particular demographic and part of the county has pretty much abandoned the Democratic party and thus came to the Republican party by default. Certainly any xenophobe is necessarily an elitist - but in this case, such elitism pretty much ends with their xenophobia.