Incivility is NOT to Blame for Jared Loughner’s Arizona Shooting Rampage. But the Left still Blames It.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 14th, 2011

The Uncivil Calling the Civil Uncivil

Civility.  Civility.  Civility.  That’s all we hear.  That we must be more civil.  Too much partisanship in the country.  We need to fight less.  And work together more.  Of course, the people saying this just took a shellacking at the 2010 midterm elections.  But they sure were singing a different song before that shellacking.

Civility?  Please.  Was wishing Rush Limbaugh dead civil?  Was wishing Sarah Palin dead civil?  Was making a movie based on a ‘what if’ assassination of George W. Bush civil?  Was wishing Dick Cheney dead civil?  Was wishing Sean Hannity dead civil?  Was throwing a pie at Ann Coulter civil?  Was saying you’d have sex with Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham and Elisabeth Hasselbeck because they’re hot even though you hate them civil?  Was dropping a crucifix in a glass of urine and calling it art civil?  I could go on.  But that should suffice to make the point.

Is this truly a cry for civility?  Or simply a way to neuter the opposition’s power?  By calling political dissent uncivil?  Now that they have lost their power?  My, how things change.  Once upon time it was patriotic to debate and disagree.  Of course, that’s only when the ‘wrong people’ were in power.  Apparently.

This Nutcase came from the Left

The shooting rampage in Arizona showed the consequences of the lack of civility (i.e., when conservatives debate and disagree).  At least, so thought those on the left.  Until some of the facts started coming out.  Turns out that the shooter was more of a leftist than a rightwing radical.  That’s right, this Nutcase came from the Left.

He didn’t listen to talk radio.  Didn’t follow Sarah Palin.  Rush Limbaugh.  Sean Hannity.  Glenn Beck.  Or anyone on the Right.  In fact, one of his favorite books was the Communist Manifesto.  Which is not a conservative manifesto.  And he was a conspiracy nut.  One of his favorite films was Zeitgeist: The Movie.  A film citing conspiracy theories about Christ (He was just a myth), the 9/11 attacks, bankers manipulating the international monetary system, etc.  And these are, of course, theories held by people on the Left.  It’s pretty clear that if anyone incited Jared Loughner with vitriolic rhetoric, it was those on the left.

Doesn’t matter.  Still the cry for civility rings out.  Even though a lack of civility clearly didn’t prompt Loughner to do anything.  It was his insanity that did.  Even so, we still need to be civil.  And not debate or disagree.  With the liberal left.  Because that incivility could create a Jared Loughner.  Even though it didn’t here.

Forget the Paranoid Schizophrenia.  Focus on the Vitriolic Political Debate.

The Arizona shooter was oblivious to all the incivility around him.  It was the paranoid schizophrenia rattling around his head driving him.  Not all that vitriolic political debate that is supposedly ruining our nation.  Still, it is a time to reflect.  To step back and take a look at ourselves and say, “Hey.  We can be better.”  Or so David Brooks writes about in the New York Times (see Tree of Failure posted 1/13/2011).

But over the past few decades, people have lost a sense of their own sinfulness. Children are raised amid a chorus of applause. Politics has become less about institutional restraint and more about giving voters whatever they want at that second. Joe DiMaggio didn’t ostentatiously admire his own home runs, but now athletes routinely celebrate themselves as part of the self-branding process.

So, of course, you get narcissists who believe they or members of their party possess direct access to the truth. Of course you get people who prefer monologue to dialogue. Of course you get people who detest politics because it frustrates their ability to get 100 percent of what they want. Of course you get people who gravitate toward the like-minded and loathe their political opponents. They feel no need for balance and correction.

Brooks makes some good points.  And the Left should listen to them.  Because he’s talking about them.  When George W. Bush was president Hillary Clinton said it was patriotic to debate and disagree.  Now she says that this leads to domestic terrorism.  No doubt she and her fellow Democrats believe they alone speak the truth.  And that they have no need for balance or correction.  Because they are always right and loathe their political opponents.  Especially when they get shellacked in the midterm elections.

They’re Civil in North Korea.  And Oppressed

Holding hands and singing kum bay ya isn’t going to change anything.  Because we don’t agree.  If everyone in the country agreed it wouldn’t be the United States.  It would be North Korea.  And they’re very civil there.  Especially when it comes to the government that’s oppressing them.  But I don’t think we want that kind of civility here.

Debate is good.  Dissent is good.  It prevents the rise of tyrants.  That’s why Americans can debate and disagree.  That process has prevented the rise of tyrants.  And we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss that process.

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Brandy is Eliminated from Dancing with the Stars and some Blame the Tea Party

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 19th, 2010

It’s not Just Your Dancing that Advances you on Dancing with the Stars

Yes, I watch Dancing with the Stars (DWTS).  This is my second season.  I watched the previous season because of Evan Lysacek.  He had just won the gold in men’s figure skating in Vancouver at the 2010 Winter Olympics.  There was some controversy because he didn’t include a quad jump like the favored Russian, Evgeni Plushenk, did.  Throughout the whole thing, though, Lysacek was a class act.  Even to the favored Russian.  Who wasn’t.  So I wanted to watch him on DWTS.

He finished 2nd.  That was no great surprise.  Most knew who the final two would be.  Lysacek.  And Nicole Sherizinger.  Who won.  But there were some earlier eliminations that were a bit surprising.  And disappointing.  Shannen Doherty was eliminated first.  Before Buzz Aldrin.  Doherty out-danced Aldrin.  Scored higher.  But more viewers voted for Buzz Aldrin.  So he danced another week.  Poorly.  And it was painful to watch such a great American stink up the dance floor.  It almost felt that they included him on the show for the laughs.

But that’s the way DWTS works.  You don’t have to be the best to advance.  Ability only counts for half of your score.  The half from the judges.  The other half comes from the laypeople in the viewing audience.  Who may vote for any number of reasons.  And some of those reasons may have nothing to with a person’s dancing ability. 

Conspiracy?  Or just a Bunch of Conservatives Voting?

This season’s semifinals were this past Monday.  And Bristol Palin advanced to the finals.  Brandy did not.  The people cried foul.  And floated conspiracy theories. 

I thought for sure Brandy and Jennifer Grey would make it to the finals.  They’ve had the highest scores.  They’re beautiful.   And are just gorgeous to watch on the dance floor.  Palin is pretty good, too.  Though she is consistently near the bottom of the leader board, there often aren’t a lot of points between the top and the bottom.  She has good technique.  But she doesn’t make the emotional connection Brandy and Grey do.

But Bristol Palin is a teen advocate for abstinence (a conservative cause).  Her mother is Sarah Palin.  A Tea Party favorite.  And the Republicans just took back the House of Representatives.  The center-right America just emphasized the ‘right’ in ‘center-right’ this past midterm election.  So is it any surprise that a ‘conservative’ contestant would do well with the viewing (and voting) public?

More Republicans than Democrats Watch Dancing with the Stars

Not when you consider who is watching DWTS.  According to Experian Simmons, leading media-research company, Republicans watch DWTS more so than Democrats (see The Reign of Right-Wing Primetime by James Hibberd, Hollywood Reporter via Reuters, posted 11/10/2010 on Yahoo! TV Blog). 

They have lists showing the top 15 shows watched by Republicans and Democrats.  DWTS comes in at number 9 on the Republican list.  It’s not even one of the top 15 shows Democrats watch. 

Ergo, it’s no surprise that Bristol Palin has made the finals.  She is no doubt the contestant the viewers most likely connect to.  And like Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Brandy’s professional partner) said (see ‘DWTS’ results: Brandy is out, Bristol Palin on to finals by The Associated Press posted 11/17/2010 on azcentral):

“People vote and their voices count,” he said. “I love the fact that the show represents that. It represents the people’s choice.” 

That’s the way the show was set up.  The viewers have a say in who wins.  Despite what the judges say.

Brandy is Classy and Gracious in Defeat

Brandy really wanted to win.  She cried when the viewers eliminated her.  And when everyone has been attacking Bristol Palin and crying foul, I haven’t heard Brandy make a disparaging remark.  She’s showing class (see Brandy Was ‘Very Sad’ About ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Elimination by Jocelyn Vena posted 11/18/2010 on MTV).

“Well, I think Bristol did a great job. She has improved [and] one of the great things about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is the fans can get behind you and vote,” she said when she stopped by “The View” on Thursday (November 18). “I was sad. I was very sad because we worked so hard and when you come into competition you want to go as far as you can.”

To be that gracious in defeat says a lot about this lady.  And I’m sure she’s being genuine.  That’s one of the things I like about DWTS.  It’s a competition.  But unlike competition on other reality television, there’s no trash talking.  No nasty barbs.  These contestants like each other.

May the Best and/or Most Popular Dancer Win

It’s like Kyle Massey said after making it to the finals.  You’re excited to move on.  But it sucks that someone has to go home.  We’re glad to see Grey, Palin and Massey move on to the finals.  But we miss those who didn’t make it.

Brandy was a thing of beauty to watch on the dance floor.  But seeing her go doesn’t hurt as much as it could.  Because with the way the voting works, anything can happen.  And the best dancer doesn’t necessarily win.  We know this going in.  So when something like this happens, we can at least take solace in knowing that the judging wasn’t rigged.

The finals are this Monday.  They’ll award the mirror ball trophy Tuesday.  And may the best and/or most popular dancer win.  All we ask for is that you tear up the dance floor one last time.

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There Were Planes and There Were People

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 12th, 2010

Yesterday was the anniversary of 9/11.  Today is the anniversary of the start of the conspiracy theories.

There were those who were adamant that it was an inside job.  That George W. Bush did it.  They said he was the brilliant mastermind behind the attacks.  When they weren’t calling him the incompetent in chief.  They pointed to the Pentagon attack.  An obvious missile attack.  There was no way a big plane like Boeing 757 could thread its way down to a streetlight-top altitude and hit the side of that building.  Maybe a cruise missile could, but not a commercial jet.  All right.  Let’s accept that theory.  Now answer me this.  Where is the plane?  Where are the passengers and crew?  Where are they today?

THE MIGHTY ARMS OF ATLAS

The engineers designed the Twin Towers to withstand the impact of an airplane.  To make it safe like the Empire State Building.  For when a plane struck the Empire State Building, it didn’t collapse.  But the Twin Towers did.  Proof that the Bush administration purposely blew up the Twin Towers.  And those commercial jetliners that hit the towers that day?  That was just a coincidence.  Or a clever ruse.  Perhaps military drones sent in to allay suspicion.  Or that Bush used unwitting terrorists as convenient patsies for his devilish schemes.  Just something that an evil genius would do.

The plane that crashed into the Empire State Building was a World War II medium bomber (B-25) with a cruising speed of about 230 mph.  The B-25 had a maximum speed of about 275 mph and had a range of about 1,300 miles.  It weighed just under 20,000 pounds empty.  It carried approximately 670 gallons of fuel when fully fueled.   The Boeing 767, on the other hand, has the following stats:  typical cruising speed: 530 mph; maximum takeoff weight: 450,000 pounds; maximum range: 5,625 nautical miles; maximum fuel capacity: 23,980 gallons.

The B-25 was a gorgeous, fast and lethal plane.  For its time.  But it pales in comparison to the 767.  The weight and speed of a 767 hitting a building could not be anything but cataclysmic.  But the Twin Towers withstood those impacts.  They absorbed tremendous amounts of kinetic energy.  Far more than the designers ever envisioned.  And yet the mighty arms of Atlas still reached skyward.  But that kinetic energy did its damage.  It compromised the fire proofing on the structural steel.  And there was all that fuel.  And fire.  A scenario no designer ever contemplated.

The Twin Towers had an ingenious open-floor plan.  Instead of having big columns in the office spaces, the sides of the building carried the load.  The floors were ‘hung’ from this structural steel.  The floors provided the rigidity of the towers while the exterior walls carried the weight.  With the fireproofing compromised, though, the steel spanning the floors heated up in that inferno.  It began to soften.  And sag.  This compromised the structural integrity.  The steel members could move.  Attachment points strained.  And failed.  A floor collapsed.  This increased instability.  More movement.  More stress.  More failures.  More floors collapsed.  One on top of another.  And then walls came tumbling down.

It was all that jet fuel.  It could sustain a fire to burn long enough and hot enough to soften structural steel (which is why structural steel is fireproofed).  That’s what brought the Twin Towers down.  Not George W. Bush.

THEY FOUGHT BACK

Of course, there’s not much the conspirators can say about the 4th plane.  Because of cell phones.  After the hijacking, passengers talked to family/others.  They learned that hijacked commercial jetliners attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.  The passengers and crew on this hijacked jetliner knew what was going to happen.  They were going to die.  So they became the first to go on the offensive in the War on Terror.  They won the first skirmish in this new war.  A battle they entered likely knowing they would not survive.  But they swallowed their fear.  And acted.  Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  God rest their souls.

There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there.  What you don’t hear a lot of is conspiracy motives.  I mean, if George W. Bush did this, why?  So he could have a successful war?  Like LBJ?  Did he also plan and execute the first World Trade Center bombing?  The Tanzanian Embassy bombing?  The Kenyan Embassy bombing?  The Khobar Towers bombing?  The USS Cole attack?  Did he create this anti-American sentiment as a clever ruse so one day he could become president and go to war?  This incompetent in chief? 

KNOW YOUR ENEMIES

Or can it be that America has real enemies?  People who resent and envy our life of plenty and freedom?  People in closed societies.  With an illiterate populace.  Who only know what their leaders tell them.  And their leaders lie.  The Soviet Union was such a society (well, a similar society, for they were literate.  But they only read propaganda so the end result was the same).  When a Soviet spy saw how it really was in the decadent West, he or she said screw this and defected.

If we’re speaking of motives, we should be asking what our enemies’ motives are.  For if we do, we don’t have to come up with any wild-ass conspiracy theories.  With them, if it walks, acts and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.  They hate us.  They want to kill us.  So they try to kill us.  Whenever they get the chance.  It’s pretty straightforward.  Why, even George W. Bush could see this.  And that’s why the bad guys feared him.  He not only dug in his heels, he fought back.  With grim determination.  Unlike his predecessor.  Or his successor.

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