Saturday, February 22, 2014

So Assorted You Won't Believe It

You know, when I first ambled over here from Eternity Road, it was my intention to write shorter pieces than the thousand-word-plus essays that characterized that earlier site. Despite the intention, my natural inclinations have largely proved insuppressible, and the long-form stuff continued to pour out. However, these "Assorted" and "Miscellany" and "Junk Drawer" posts -- hmm, I don't think I've actually used that last one yet -- have had a tempering effect on my garrulity, which strikes me as a good thing. So here's one more to round out the week, in the hope that those of you who come here looking to be bored to sleep won't be too terribly put off.

1. "Perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction."

From J.P. Travis in Nevada comes this snort of well-earned derision for the Obama regime's revitalized emphasis on "global warming / climate change:"

At the turn of the millennium fourteen years ago, the scientific debate about Global Warming theory was already in full swing. Proponents of the notion did not want a debate, did what they could to stifle any appearance of debate—even to the point of skullduggery and censorship—and constantly announced to the world that scientific opinion was "unanimous." Trouble is, every time they claimed unanimity some skeptical scientist would scream, "How can opinion be unanimous when I am right here in your face announcing that I disagree?"

The Warmists needed some kind of evidence of the consensus they claimed, even if they had to invent it. That invention came in 2004, in the form of a peer-reviewed study of scientific abstracts by historian Naomi Oreskes (from the University of California–San Diego). Oreskes concluded—surprise, surprise—that scientific opinion was "nearly unanimous." Left-wing politicians were delighted. Al Gore trumpeted her "nearly unanimous" claim all the way to a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar. What few people outside the scientific community knew was that Ms. Oreskes was later forced to retract her conclusion in the same magazine where it was originally published.

In other words, her study was nonsense.

Granted that the emphasis on "consensus" is anti-scientific -- remember, damned near everyone once knew that the Sun revolves around the Earth -- J.P.'s citations are important ones to have in hand when a warmista starts spouting that "the science is settled." (A uniquely dishonest way of telling us to sit down and shut up.) Atop that, J.P. points out that the regime's choice of focus is maximally bizarre, given the number of actual conflagrations the world around, quite a few of which involve lead and missiles flying, cities burning, and nasty regimes slo-o-o-o-o-wly toppling. But then, those regimes are of the sort that warm the heart of an aspiring tyrant like Barack Hussein Obama.

Apropos of which: Watch the Keystone XL pipeline contretemps closely. Very closely.

2. FCC Shenanigans.

I wouldn't be too relieved about the news that the FCC has backed away from its announced newsroom-"research" plans. There are clouds on the horizon, most visible in the wording of the announcement, which suggests that a "redesigned" form of this obvious attempt to control the broadcast media might, like Tolkien's Shadow, "take another shape and grow again:"

“Your letter and the opportunity for public review surfaced a number of issues and modification of the Research Design may be necessary,” Wheeler wrote. “My staff has engaged in a careful and thorough review of the Research Design with the contractor to ensure that the inquiries closely hew to the mandate of Section 257. While the Research Design is a tool intended to help the Commission consider effective, pro-competitive policies that would encourage new entrants, its direction need not go beyond our responsibilities. We continue to work with the contractor to adapt the study in response to these concerns and expect to complete this work in the next few weeks.” [From FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's response to Congressman Fred Upton.]

And there's this as well: There are persons on the Right who would favor such a program, as long as they get to control it.

Jonah Goldberg once wrote that everyone is in favor of censoring something. I dislike to think that he could be right...but he could. For my part, I don't detect in myself a desire to censor anyone or anything. There are a goodly number of...persons I'd like to award one of my best right hooks to the mouth -- merely to improve their diction, of course -- but that's an entirely different subject.

3. "Pimping Your Own Work."

(Title shamelessly stolen from a felicitous turn of phrase by military-fiction writer Tom Kratman.)

The indie-writer community struggles with many things -- please, for the sake of the remnant of my sanity, don't spoil my Saturday morning by asking how the Warm Lands novel is coming along, thank you -- but at or near the top of the list is how best to promote one's works to a public that:

  • Remains a mite dubious about independently published fiction, and:
  • Doesn't yet have a reliable way to sort the grain from the chaff.

It's a tough problem. A Certified Galactic Intellect is good for many things, but certain simple challenges, such as how to promote one's own writing without looking desperate or vain, isn't among them. A promotional website appears to be necessary, but we mathematical types will tell you that "necessary" is not the same as "sufficient."

I continue to think that the most potent mechanism is good word-of-mouth, for which reason I exhort other indie writers of ability to engage in "mutually assured pimping." That does require the acquisition of partners in the effort, of course. You must have sincerely complimentary things to say about someone else's fiction to pull this off, and (of course) he must have such things to say about your dreck. It can be quite a challenge, given the state of indie fiction at this time. (Think of a square mile of landfill in which a handful of diamonds have been buried. That's close enough for jazz, anyway.)

Apropos of which, Mark Alger is accelerating his promotional efforts. I can't yet get to his promo website -- it's probably still under construction -- but those of you who are acquainted with his blogging might want to keep an eye peeled.

4. Media Fear.

One of the most important signals the Left provides to the Right about our choice of standard-bearers is in its selection of targets to slander, whether overtly or by imputation. Concerning who the Democrats most fear as the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, the Washington Post might just have given the game away:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has had his eye on a 2016 presidential run since his battles with labor unions made him a Republican star, is dealing with the fallout of two criminal investigations at home that could complicate his move to the national stage.

One is ongoing, and although the other is closed and found no wrongdoing by Walker, it has the potential to embarrass him.

Was Walker charged with anything? No, not at all. Moreover, he himself predicted the use of these emails as political embarrassments:

Prosecutors have said Walker was never a target, and he was not charged. Walker said Wednesday that the new disclosures revealed nothing beyond what authorities already had reviewed, and he predicted that Democrats would exaggerate their importance.

Of course the cry of "What did Walker know and when did he know it?" has already risen from the Left. Expect it to get louder as we approach the presidential primaries.

We fear the Main Stream Media because even in these years of their decline, they retain considerable power to sway popular convictions and opinions. The GOP nominated Mitt Romney in 2013 in large part because the media couldn't tag him in any way. That he would fail to inspire the conservative base was, if not perfectly predictable from his record as Governor of Massachusetts, at least understandable a posteriori. But remember how sedulously the media pilloried every other contender for the nod, in a year when just about any moderately conservative Republican would have been the favorite against the record of arrogance, profligacy, and failure compiled by Barack Hussein Obama.

But even greater than our fear of the media is the media's fear of us. Their slander campaigns are the best indication of whom they most fear -- and it comes with the most terrible of rationales:

Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful—horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember; Hatred has its pleasures. It is therefore often the compensation by which a frightened man reimburses himself for the miseries of Fear. The more he fears, the more he will hate. And Hatred is also a great anodyne for shame. To make a deep wound in his charity, you should therefore first defeat his courage. [C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters]

5. "Subhuman mongrel."

Ted Nugent, like anyone else, has his good days and his bad days:

Rocker Ted Nugent issued an apology of sorts Friday for referring to President Obama as a “subhuman mongrel” in a published interview with

The apology, however, wasn’t a full mea culpa.

“I do apologize — not necessarily to the president — but on behalf of much better men than myself,” he said during an interview with conservative radio host and a CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson. “[I apologize] for using the street fighter terminology of ‘subhuman mongrel,’ instead of just using more understandable language, such as ‘violator of his own — the Constitution.’”

This apology was misconceived and unnecessary, at least in the understanding of one who uses words according to their exact meanings.

One of the defining marks of humanity is conscience. One who possesses no conscience, whether because he's a natural-born sociopath or because he's labored to eliminate it from his psyche, is morally no better than an animal, and therefore subhuman. This is plainly the case with Barack Hussein Obama, who regards his oath of office as meaningless, lies without compunction, and will happily destroy any significant opponent when the means, however scurrilous, are available. So much for that part of the accusation.

A mongrel is the progeny of two distinct subspecies. This is also the case with Obama: his mother was white and his father was black. That makes him a mulatto: a mongrel of the races. Yet he has self-defined as black to the extent of slandering his own grandmother: because he's ashamed of his Caucasian ancestry, because it was politically advantageous to do so, or both. Compare that to the behavior of other, more respectable mongrels: Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, or (say what you will about his tomcatting): Tiger Woods, who harbors no racial animosities and is perfectly comfortable describing himself as a blend of several peoples ("Cablinasian"). So much for that part of the accusation.

There are insulting connotations to calling someone a mongrel, of course, but insult is a critical element in the American political dialogue as we currently endure it. Besides, one "mongrel" can hardly balance out the many millions of accusations of "racism" and other modern political sins the Left has showered upon us and our spokesmen. At any rate, as one of the Web's foremost "racists," it bothers me not at all. It bothers me far more when a speaker won't stand to his tack and defend his words fearlessly -- regardless of whether I agree with him or not.

Learn to stand your ground rhetorically as well as with a gun in your hand, Ted.


Linda Fox said...

Fran, I've been thinking about the problem of indie books for some time. Some of them have been great, others kind of "so-so".

I was thinking about setting up book reviews on my site - would you be interested in sending me e-review copies? I like reading a wide variety of fiction, sci-fi, mystery/thriller, even an occasional romance. That's in addition to non-fiction.

I'm thinking of offering other reviewers a place to post their reviews, in a searchable format. I know that Amazon does it, but too often, the indies get lost in the paid-for hype.

I'm nearing retirement, and would enjoy moving into this work as I transition.

If you've an interest, email me.

Linda Fox said...

The term "mongrel" is offensive because of the connotation that one's heritage was the result of random breeding. The term "mutt", on the other hand, is often used by the racially/ethnically mixed in a way that mocks racial-purity types.

I use it, myself, for my heritage is quite scattered.

Francis W. Porretto said...

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." -- some character in some movie or other.

At this point, I no longer care whom I offend. The Left has behaved so viciously toward us for so long, without any proper responses from our supposed standard-bearers, that it's time for a proper "return of service" of exactly the same sort, and let the chips fall where they may. If someone with Nugent's reputation for plain speaking will back away from his own, heartfelt sentiments and start kowtowing and tugging his forelock at the first sign of disapproval, then it's time for stouter hearts to take up cudgels.

Besides, what makes you think the coupling of Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. was anything but a random event? Daddy certainly didn't exhibit much concern for his blow-by once he was born, did he?

Francis W. Porretto said...

Review copies? I'll do you one better, dear: Smashwords Coupons, so you can replicate your reviews at Smashwords where they'll help even more to sell books! Keep an eye on your email.

Anonymous said...

It's been awhile, thank you for posting. I'll be back in the corner lurking,
Dennis in Iowa