Archive for the 'Synova's Page' Category

The Warrior Song

I think this rocks, so here it is in honor of Veteran’s Day.  

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Not evil, just wrong.

This woman is remarkable.

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Brain-dead Conservatism?

Ann Althouse linked this commentary from the Washington Post yesterday.

“During the glory days of the conservative movement, from its ascent in the 1960s and ’70s to its success in Ronald Reagan’s era, there was a balance between the intellectuals, such as Buckley and Milton Friedman, and the activists, such as Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Weyrich, the leader of the New Right. The conservative political movement, for all its infighting, has always drawn deeply from the conservative intellectual movement, and this mix of populism and elitism troubled neither side.”

Reading it I thought that the likely reason for an apparent lack of intellectual leadership in the conservative movement was because everyone was too busy trying to shut up the populists and remake the Republican Party or redefine conservative as something smarter by insisting that it shed the unwashed masses.

Which is what I was reminded of when I saw this about McCain. (And “compared to what?” was a laugh out loud moment, Bruce.)


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Uncommon insight

The Saddest Lede on the Internet Today.
Says Ric Locke on his new blog.   And what was the lede?     “Americans believe that the normal state of things is not-violence.”

Do you suppose that’s true? That that’s why we have such absurdities as people climbing in zoo cages to cuddle the animals? It would explain a lot of things.

The blog article he links goes on to make some sort of argument that the normal state of capitalism is violence and that people should think about why we put up with it…. or something like that.

It’s shocking to me, even though I’m used to the notion, that people do not realize that violence and war are the normal state of things and that civilization is what we impose upon the natural state. (And yes, there are people who seem not to realize that the cuddly animals really will not act all loving and peaceful because they have an uncorrupted ability to tell that you don’t mean harm.)

I think that sometimes libertarians are too convinced that they aren’t talking about imposing order and miss the truth of it, (or at least those opposed to libertarian ideas are convinced that libertarians oppose the imposing of order.)     That’s not the difference between libertarian ideas and those ideologies that consider themselves more caring.    The difference with libertarian ideas and with capitalism is that those things work as much as possible with the reality of human nature while recognizing what human nature is.    Which is violent… just like the rest of nature is violent and unforgiving.

Viewing capitalism as the source of unfairness, vice and violence ignores the truth.    Failing to understand the truth of nature and human nature, to face it squarely, means that the proposed cure for social ills will invariably make them far worse.     As Ric says:

It would explain, for instance, why the writer of that article is able to regurgitate a century and a half of Socialist propaganda and get commenters calling it “insightful”. Two centuries of modern capitalism have resulted in such ease, such comfort, such near-total safety and security, that Americans (at least, some Americans) don’t just take it for granted but consider it the normal state of affairs, so much so that they are ready and willing to smash the structures that created it, in the confident “knowledge” that the safety and prosperity will remain because they are “normal”.

He’s a smart guy. Check out his blog.

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Bogus Civility

Finally someone said what I’ve been thinking about this constant call to civility:

Have we transformed into so brittle a citizenry that we are unable to handle a raucous debate over the future of the country? If things were quiet, subdued and “civil” in America today, as Pelosi surely wishes, it would only be proof that democracy wasn’t working. (Please read the whole article.)

Sure, Pelosi wishes that everyone would behave already, but it is also often conservatives and others arguing over the proper way of dissenting rather than just dissenting already. There seems to be a practical meltdown in areas of the conservative blogosphere over comportment… the theory seeming to be that passion is off-putting to the all-important center. In order to win, therefore, we need to be bland.

Frankly, I think that other than those in power who would rather not be bothered by opposition, it’s only people without ideas who are arguing over civility.


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Do the poor have a “right” to free health care?

The “right” to free health care  is the right to own the labor of other people without their consent.

Any time you’ve got a right TO something like that you take the rights of other people to their own selves and their own freedom away.

The libertarian idea, as I understand it,  is that your rights end where they intersect another person. I have a right to “pursue happiness” to make my way in the world, to worship my own God, to feed myself, to supply my physical and other needs, rights to my own body and self-determination, rights to my own property, rights to employ violence to defend my rights (which is pretty much a good way to define what is a right and what is *not*)… just up *until* I intersect another human being. I may not take someone else’s food nor compel their labor nor sacrifice them to my God nor otherwise violate *their* rights in the pursuit of my own.


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Sarah and Todd sizzle

From The Other McCain at Hot Air:

“Now, here’s my idea: I told my source to give my phone number to . . . uh, two sources in Wasilla, Alaska, if you get my drift. Because I’ve made my living as a professional journalist since 1986, I’m not really so good at this newfangled making-stuff-up business, but I’d be willing to give it a try:”

What follows is definitely worth the time, the effort and the link.

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What passes for moral clarity

Creating a human embryo for the purpose of experimentation and destruction = Good.

Creating a  human embryo for the purpose of creating a born human person = Bad.

How does it work that way?

Also, some argue that Obama’s statements opposing human cloning are misleading. Derrick Jones, spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee, said the administration has left the door open to create, and then destroy, embryos through cloning for the sole purpose of harvesting stem cells.

And he’s right. If a person believes that we ought to worry about it or not, this is what happens. An embryo, quite often a clone, is created and then destroyed. The difference is that we don’t value that bit of cells, not that we don’t agree with cloning.    Nothing at all wrong with cloning if the clone is destroyed.

So what is it that makes anyone who approves of the clone and destroy method, disapprove of the clone and birth method?    Obama seems to think that the difference is crystal.

“We cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse. And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction,” Obama said. “It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.”

Wow. No place in any society. Bad, bad, bad.

Why? What does he think a “clone” is? Why is it so clearly wrong to create an embryo and let it live?

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Gitmo Hunger Strike

According to Talk Left, anyhow.

It seems that conditions have deteriorated so badly that a large number of inmates have begun a hunger strike.   They are dragged forcefully from their cells, strapped to chairs for hours to be force fed, and then beaten.

The comments are sort of a fun read.

Because you’ll notice what I said up there…  the hunger strike is a response to the deteriorating conditions?

I don’t think I’m particularly brilliant.   I don’t think that I have particular insight.   But it seems obvious to me that the reason for a mass hunger strike *now* is that the inmates at Gitmo sense weakness… or at least they are testing for it.    A hunger strike just about guarentees that anyone who doesn’t respond with “let them die” is going to assume (like the commentators at Talk Left) that there are legitimate grievences… that the hunger strikers are in the right.

But that isn’t so.    They are doing it *now* because they think it possible that our new president can be manipulated by the public opinion that will follow.

The only question is… are they right?

h/t Instapundit

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Torture: Let’s just *say* we don’t.

I’d heard this opinion often enough from liberals when they discussed torture but have to thank Matt Damon for giving me a nice quote:

”Look, the best line about torture I’ve heard came from [retired CIA officer turned war-on-terrorism critic] Milt Beardon,” Damon says. “He said, `If a guy knows where a dirty bomb is hidden that’s going to go off in a Marriott, put me in a room with him and I’ll find out. But don’t codify that. Just let me break the law.’

“Which I think is right. You can’t legalize torture. But anybody would do it in that situation. You’d do it to me in that situation; you’d pull out my fingernails if you thought I knew something like that.”

How lovely!

They aren’t anti-torture. They just want to pretend, to lie, to have some fig leaf to hide behind.

I’ve got a better idea, Matt… Let’s *not* but say we do.

h/t to Big Hollywood.

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Ugly Turkey

All our turkey leftovers are eaten and gone. Since I just threw away three year old zip-lock bags of Christmas ham, this is significant. We generally don’t do well with left overs. This time was different.

This year I made an ugly turkey and it was wonderful. I baked it breast side down and even after turning it, left the tin foil cover on. No browned and beautiful breast. No dried inedible white meat.

I should have taken a picture. That’s what people do, right?

I’m looking forward to an ugly Christmas turkey.

Perhaps I’ll take a picture.

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Where have the strong women gone?

I’ve now read my first real “vampire” book.

Okay, so it’s a werewolf book with vampires, but I’m told this is *the* genre these days. Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn. Not bad, not bad in a lot of ways, but past annoying in others and I was thinking of ranting a bit and putting the rant on my blog. You see, I bought the book to get it signed by Ms. Vaughn at Bubonicon this fall despite the fact that I’m not much into the werewolf or vampire craze, and despite the fact that she stated on one of the panels that she really didn’t like people like me, specifically, women who say they aren’t feminists.

Not that I take that personally.


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Going John Galt… quietly.

The idea of “Going John Galt” makes me a little bit uncomfortable, to tell the truth.    John Galt essentially said screw them all, and shut down knowing that a whole lot of people would be hurt.    It was about the only way he could make his point and make it stick.

Maybe we could do this without shutting down the economy?

But, as I think about it, a protest citing John Galt and out and out telling people what is going on might be a good idea, because people are going to go John Galt… quietly.

And I have no faith at all that anyone who now thinks that it’s a good thing to make the rich pay are going to understand what happened any more than Chavez or Mugabe understand what happened (or is happening) to their economies.

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Obama at work…

Thanks Ymar, hat tip to Bookworm Room… I hadn’t seen this.

Barack Obama would let Shoaib Choudhury Die

I doubt that if it came right down to it, but the description of Richard Benkin’s interaction with the man is troubling.


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8 year old suspended for sniffing marker

The story.

Eathan shyly shook his head “no” when a reporter asked if he knew about “huffing.”

He does now.

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Ill chosen words… and digging deeper

As at least one person has said, there’s the type of slip of the tongue where one accidentally says what one really thinks.Has everyone seen by now Obama’s take on why small town Midwestern sorts cling to religion, guns, racism, and anti-illegal immigrant notions? They’re bitter.

“It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

So now he’s conceded that his remarks were ill chosen and that of course religion and the second amendment are good things. He attempts to say the same thing but with better chosen words. He also seems to have left out the “antipathy to people who aren’t like them” part. (Which, frankly, I hadn’t seen anyone make much of a deal about but there is a lot I don’t see so…)

“Lately there has been a little typical sort of political flare up because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois who are bitter,”

My “home town” is between 200 and 300 people. I had to go to the next town for school and my graduating class numbered Forty-one. Anywhere that I have gone in my 20+ years of adult life no one has had the first clue of what “depressed local economy” actually means. They just don’t know.


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giving it away

As much as I tend these days toward international interventionism, I see a real danger in the simple acceptance of the idea of international law. That, itself, is more of a threat to sovereignty than armies could ever be. It gives it up without a fight and without a thought. Opens the door to tyrants and invites them in.

The UN is a fabulous example but look at how many people just love it.

They LOVE the idea of being ruled by some genocidal despot from the third world who’s been appointed to sit judgment over them.

How messed up is that?

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Potential interpretations…

This is the standard. (h/t Blackfive)

And considering the pins-and-needles environment that is the current political landscape, the comment has the potential of being interpreted as racially divisive.

What comment?

“Rest assured,” he told the crowd, “that men like Senator McCain will be the goal and the men that my two young boys will emulate and admire. You can have your Tiger Woods, we’ve got Senator McCain.”

The interpretation?

Sen. John McCain’s introductory speaker took a sharp and potentially sensitive swipe at Sen. Barack Obama,

Because it’s not possible that while talking about heroes that someone would contrast a war hero with a sports hero.

But considering the rate at which Tiger Woods is winning golf tournaments these days,

But Bellavia couldn’t have been talking about Tiger Woods because Woods is who he thinks of when he thinks of sports heroes. Oh, no. It’s CODE. Tiger Woods actually doesn’t mean Tiger Woods at all. Tiger Woods means OBAMA.

Thank you Huffington Post. Without your help I’d have never considered those “potential interpretations.”

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Let’s NOT talk about race

So I’m going down the page at Instapundit and find a link to this story about an Obama delegate that was asked to quit. Why?

On Saturday, two neighbor children were playing in the tree next-door to her house.

Ramirez-Sliwinski “came outside and told the children to quit playing in the tree like monkeys. The tree was not on Ramirez-Sliwinski’s property,”

The only problem with this demonstration of “it takes a village” is that the neighbor children were black.

These are the rules and don’t forget them. MY children can be called monkeys. YOUR children can be called monkeys. But black children must never be called monkeys. It does not matter that children scramble around and play and climb like monkeys. It does not matter if they are climbing like monkeys in a tree. If you or I are accustomed to calling small monkey-like children monkeys we must be on guard to avoid forgetting that children are not all children together but they are different colors and there are different rules.

Told of the incident Monday by the Sun-Times, Obama’s campaign called Ramirez-Sliwinski and persuaded her to step aside as a delegate because the campaign felt her remarks were “divisive and unacceptable.”

Mrs. Ramirez-Sliwinski is also a neighborhood trustee (I’m not entirely certain what sort) and does not plan to run for that office again although she’s the only Hispanic trustee (married Polish??) in a community 40% Hispanic.

I thought this put it in perspective.

“Frankly, I don’t see a law that was broken here,” Sarto said. “I think this entire thing has been blown out of proportion. She’s a good neighor. She went over to caution the children to be careful not to fall out of a tree.

She has never indicated to me any prejudice whatsoever. We have a trustee who has been convicted on four counts of domestic battery and refuses to resign from the board. He beat his wife with a baseball bat. This seems far less egregious to me.”

Update: Jeff at Protein Wisdom covers this, too, and rightly highlights the fact that this woman had to pay a fine for speech. Which pretty much makes speech not *free* doesn’t it.

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Mugging for the Camera

h/t Instapundit

I’m not convinced that the two incidents contrasted in this video from Ed Driscoll are similar enough to be compared to each other but he does say something that I said about the Aguilar report at the time.   Someone edited, prepared, and made the decision to air the segment of her badgering the old man who’d defended himself.    It was a team effort.

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What’s wrong with Iraq War Movies?

I’m often guilty of seeing connections between things that others seem to think make no sense at all. So bear with me and then tell me what you think.

The New York Times review of “Stop-Loss” explains the failure of Iraq themed movies in this way, “The commercial failure of last autumn’s crop of high-profile Iraq-themed movies — Paul Haggis’s “In the Valley of Elah” and Brian De Palma’s “Redacted” among them — has hardened into conventional wisdom about the moviegoing public’s reluctance to engage the war on screen.”

We’re tired of the war. We don’t want to hear about it. But does that even make sense?


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Teaching violence…

Last night I was wiping blood off my 15 year old daughter’s face.    It ran from her nose down over her mouth and chin and I hoped that I wasn’t too rough and hurting her while I did it, but I had to hurry.

I had to get back down the steps and be ready to grab the stool out of the ring and sit on it when the bell rang.    You have to sit, her coach told me.   You have to sit on the stool, you can’t get up until the round is over if you’re going to work the corner.

It was my daughter’s first amateur boxing match.    Her first entry in her “book.”

We were at a middle school in Albuquerque… a part of town where most of the students are Hispanic and most of the business signs are in Vietnamese.    I suppose there are worse neighborhoods but this was far from the best.    South of Central and tucked up against the Air Force base in a “you can’t get there from here” sort of way.

When the fights began the announcer said something rather interesting.   The principal of the school had had to fight to keep boxing going, and this particular event on, against disapproval from APS.   They gave her an award and everyone clapped and cheered.

It seems that someone decided that boxing is violent.

It is.

It’s sort of shocking, actually, everyone cheering on two kids beating the snot out of each other.   The blood.   The hugging.

Oh, wait.   Yeah, the hugging.    The “here, let me help you with your ribbon”-”no no, let me hand you your trophy” expectation of good sportsmanship.   The respect for any kid who steps in the ring, just for the bravery of stepping in the ring.

The higher up mucky-mucks at APS (one of those urban mega-districts that are, quite frankly, an offense against nature itself) might not think teaching violence is appropriate.   The principal of this middle school in a not-so-good part of town knows it is.    Her club is going gang-busters.

At least, judging by the number of people last night wearing club t-shirts.

I don’t know what all is going on with the politics.   I’m not sure I even want to.    But it’s a sad thing that so many don’t seem to recognize that *violence* isn’t bad.    Viewing violence itself as the problem is simplistic and wrong.   Fixing the problem of violence isn’t going to fix much when violence isn’t the problem.

The announcer last night often talked of warriors.

Warriors are as far as possible from criminals.   And it doesn’t really matter that the call to be warriors is symbolic and not actual.    The difference is… do you learn violence to be a protector or do you learn violence to be a predator?   A warrior learns violence to be a protector.

Being able to fight is a good thing.   Being able to face it, to step up to it and do it, is a good thing.    Boxing may appeal to the same young people who might find other blood-sport appealing… particularly those macho young men, but girls too.    I don’t think that I’ll ever watch boxing for fun.    I don’t find it entertaining.   Watching.    Maybe when I know more I’ll enjoy watching for the technical aspects.   I’ve trained in karate long enough to go “oh, look what he just did” when watching certain types of fights.    But I don’t think I’ll ever find this sort of sport entertaining.

So what.

I can say that it won’t bother me at all to work the corner for my daughter if I’m asked to do it again.    I’ll wash the blood out of her mouth guard and the blood and snot off her face, give her water and hold the spit bucket.    Then I’ll wisk the stool out of the ring and sit.

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Am I anti-Intellectual or…

…am I just not impressed by YOU?

Jules Crittenden responds to a column by Susan Jacoby The Dumbing of America. She concludes…

It is past time for a serious national discussion about whether, as a nation, we truly value intellect and rationality.

The short answer is… yes, we truly value intellect and rationality.

It just doesn’t look like what you want it to look like. In fact, I’m tempted to start quoting The Princess Bride… “This word? I do not think it means what you think it means.”


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Freedom can’t exist without trusting the untrustworthy

This is an extension of the commentary from this post from MichaelW.

Have you heard the truism that a person is smart, but people are dumb?

On the one hand it’s profoundly true. On the other hand we fail to understand that the opposite is also profoundly true. A person is dumb, but people are smart.

Dumb people, making sub-optimal individual decisions, somehow manage to combine in aggregate into communities that most often are remarkably robust and remarkably effective.

It works with a market, where individuals make poor decisions about what to produce and what to buy. Somehow, with all those individual mistakes the result is highly effective and highly responsive. Compare that flawed mish-mash of poor decisions to what happens when there is directed organization and decision making, usually by experts, and the unwashed masses directing their own lives come out on top. Waaaay on top.

It would also work in education, given a chance.

Do I trust my fundie neighbor to do the best possible job teaching her children? Do I trust the secular unschooler down the street? Do I trust the Muslim who recently immigrated and would rather not have his child in public school? Do I trust the Amish who don’t (I’m told) educate past 8th grade? Do I trust the polyamorist wiccan coven who wants to start a day school?

Not only no, but hell no.

But do I trust them in aggregate? Do I trust the robust nature of the way all of our various choices work together to optimize the end result? Do I trust the flexibility and diversity of knowledge and ideas to mesh into a whole that is by far the most desirable and effective totality of education to advance our country and perhaps our world into an unknowable future?

Yes, I do.

I trust people.

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Perhaps we’re turning into Victorians

Or: What I Learned About the World from Reading Historical Romances.

I learned that sometimes people get *more* uptight over time rather than less.

Victorians, according to custom and any number of novels, were concerned with propriety above all. Certain things were not spoken of and certainly the rougher aspects of life were hidden from young ladies. They were prudes.

Read enough novels and eventually a consumer of these delightful escapes will come across one that isn’t Victorian at all, but set in the Georgian era or earlier, or at the very least has a foul mouthed old grandmother who insists on wearing her wig and powder and scandalizing her adult children with accounts of her wild youth.

What brought this to mind (in a rather random fashion, which is typical for my brain) was this post of mine and what Joshua said about History. (more…)

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Better off Dead

Kim at Wizbang links to this story about eugenic thinking in Brittan.

The comments came as the Lords debated an amendment, [...] that would have protected unborn disabled children from abortion after the 24 week gestational time limit. The amendment was defeated by 89 votes to 22.

Under Britain’s abortion law, children judged to have some form of disability, including such comparatively minor disabilities as club foot or cleft palate, can be aborted up to the time of natural birth.

The comments are amazing.


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About Synova

This is me.

And yes, those are comic books in the background.

I’m very glad to be here. I’m just now beginning to adjust to the idea of being invited. As I told Lance, the whole thing was surreal.

I never know what to write for a bio.    I yam who I yam.  You get what you get.   I don’t have any impressive degrees or credentials so my opinions and what I write have to stand on their own.

I was born in Minnesota and grew up on a farm there.    I attended the Association Free Lutheran Bible School after high school and then attended NDSU in Fargo.   I was in AFROTC for two years, got married, got distracted, and dropped out.   A few years later I enlisted and was stationed in the Philippines and can put truth to the statement “adventure is what happens to someone else far away.”   When it’s you, it’s just life… unless it’s a volcano.   I served three years and then decided to stay home with babies.

I have four children ages 10-16 whom I’ve homeschooled (this is the first year I have one child in school) and am still married to my husband of 20 years.   We presently live in New Mexico.

I write (but haven’t yet published) science fiction.    I enjoy gardening.   And I’ve finally been able to get some chickens, which I’ve wanted to do my whole adult life.

Oh, and in the category of “weird thing almost no one knows about me”… I drove a powder blue and white ‘57 Chevy in a car race on a frozen lake when I was 16 and got second place.   I beat the hearse by a nose.

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This is a test of the Mantis Broadcasting System

Because baby bugs are just so cute. They even have cute names, like nymph. You can see the size of this one next to my daughter’s finger tip. To feed these little guys I had to buy fruit flies off the internet. This is the sort of thing that my father finds infinitely funny… like buying dirt.

I do that too.

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