I don’t pretend to know the ‘right decision’ in this mess, since it’s likely that any decision will end up screwing hard working Detroit families. However, the long-term ramifications of installing a governmental ‘Car Czar,’ as many are suggesting – should not be underestimated.
Personally, if it were my business, I would be extremely wary of accepting government money. Strings have a way of…appearing….down the road…
This was an extremely close eight-way tie with The Beach Boys’ Little Saint Nick, John Lennon’s Happy Christmas, Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmas Time, Joe Beal & Jim Boothe’s Jingle Bell Rock, Johnny Marks’ Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, the Jackson Fives’ version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause, and Wham’s Last Christmas (notably, the creepy way they sing: “someone speeeeecccccial…”).
What bothers me about Grown-Up Christmas List is just how Un-Grown-Up the song really is. Early in the song the lyrics mention “I wrote to you with childhood fantasies,” referring to when the singer was a child writing to Santa. The song goes on to describe what are supposed to be “grown-up” Christmas wishes, which turn out to be monumentally trite, idealistic, and even more fantastic than what you would imagine a child wishing.
I was at the mall two days before Christmas, and it was strangely quiet. So quiet that, sadly, I was able to hear every word of Kelly Clarkson bellowing over the sound system “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” Don’t get me wrong — I love seasonal songs. “Winter Wonderland” — I dig it. “Rudolph” — man, he’s cool, albeit not as literally as Frosty. But “Grown-Up Christmas List” is one of those overwrought ballads of melismatic bombast made for the American Idol crowd. It’s all about how the singer now eschews asking Santa for materialist goodies — beribboned trinkets and gaudy novelties — in favor of selfless grown-up stuff like world peace.
Which is an odd sentiment to hear at a shopping mall.
…To return to Kelly Clarkson — and Barbra Streisand and Michael Buble and Amy Grant — the striking thing about their “Grown-Up Christmas List” is how childish it is. The concerned vocalist tells Santa that what she wants for Christmas is:
“No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start…”
Whether wars start depends on the intended target’s ability to deter. As to “lives torn apart,” that, too, is a matter of being on the receiving end. If you’re in an African dictatorship, your life can be torn apart. If you’re in a society that values individual liberty, you’ll at least get a shot at tearing your own life apart — you’ll make bad choices, marry a ne’er-do-well, blow your savings, lose your job — but these are ultimately within your power to correct. The passivity of the lyric — the “lives” that get “torn apart” is very revealing. A state in which lives aren’t torn apart will be, by definition, totalitarian: As in The Stepford Wives or The Invasion Of the Body Snatchers, we’ll all be wandering around in glassy-eyed conformity. “Lives” will no longer be “torn apart” because they’re no longer lives, but simply the husks of a centrally controlled tyranny. To live is messy but liberating: Free societies enable the citizenry to fulfill their potential — to innovate, to create, to accumulate — while recognizing that some of their number will fail. But to attempt to insulate free peoples from moral hazard is debilitating and ultimately fatal. To Martin Wolf’s list of a Europe “too inert, too complacent, too weak,” we might add “too old”: Healthy societies recharge their batteries by the aged and wealthy lending their savings to the young and eager. But Germany is a population of prosperous seniors with no grandchildren to lend to. Japan is a society of great invention with insufficient youth to provide a domestic market. That’s why if you’re Sony or Ikea or any other great global brand, you want access to America for your product. That’s why economic recovery will be driven by the U.S., and not by Euro-Japanese entities long marinated in Obamanomics.
One final thought on “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” The first two lines always give me a chuckle:
“Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee…”
When was the last time you saw a child sit upon a Santa’s knee? Rod Liddle in the British Spectator reports that at a top London department store Santa sits at one end of the bench while a large “X” directs the moppet to a place down the other end, well out of arm’s reach. For even Santa Claus is just another pedophile in waiting. Naughty or nice? Who really knows? Best not to take any chances. That’s another way societies seize up — by obsessing on phantom threats rather than real ones.
Are free peoples now merely vulnerable infants in need of protection from the pedophile Santa of global capitalism? This is the issue that will determine the future: Euro-style state-directed protectionist sclerosis vs. individual liberty in all its messiness. I know what I want on my “Grown-Up Christmas List.”
The other day I linked to this rather absurd pants-crapper of a story from the Associated Press. I didn’t quote this bit however:
Scientists fear that what’s happening with Arctic ice melt will be amplified so that ominous sea level rise will occur sooner than they expected. They predict Arctic waters could be ice-free in summers, perhaps by 2013, decades earlier than they thought only a few years ago.
Wow, that sounds really terrible…
…Except that water is more dense as a liquid than it is as ice. I guess the AP’s science writer kind of failed to mention this rather important point. See here I’ve filled a glass with ice and water:
Note how the ice has floated to the top. This is what is known as the Archimedes Principle (No, not a link to Wikipedia, though you can look it up yourself there if you wish).
I then proceeded to fill the glass to the absolute maximum, even so the water was actually slightly higher than the rim of the glass:
Next, I simply waited till the ice melted.
Huh…no rise whatsoever…
Of course, this is because the ice floating in the water was already displacing it’s own volume. Don’t count on the AP’s “science” writer to state this fact, especially when a melting ice story sounds so totally scary.
Now, Al Gore is in hysterics about glacial ice melting on land and adding to the ocean – thus causing the seas to rise. In fact, he is so worried about it happening, that in his film – An Inconvenient Truth, he used scary looking footage of ice caps to make his point. Well…actually they were Computer Generated icecaps from the intro to the movie The Day After Tomorrow:
The point is – this huge impending fear of melting ice causing the seas to rise is not settled science – though there is no way you would even imagine that reading the APs article (let alone Archimedes Principle).
And I feel like I have to point this out in every post about environmental issues: It’s not that I don’t care about our planet. I do however value truth, (especially when an issue effects liberty).
I am adamantly opposed to governments gaining the power to enact onerous tyrannical legislation based on phony-bologna junk-science from the hysterical propagandists (GE and NBC’s Green Week.) who have directfinancial stakes in the legislation being passed. This is a coercive tactic using the strong-arm of government to force people into investing in “green” tech, carbon credits, and other things.
The worst part is that the media is content reporting Jedi Mind Tricks. Any data critical of anthropomorphic global warming: “This isn’t the scientific data you’re looking for, move along.” You won’t read a critical thought from the A.P. cause they aren’t concerned with truth. Whatever happened to investigative journalism? What…Now we just report whatever some government organization (read IPCC) says, and don’t ask questions?
In my opinion, you extremists do nothing to help your cause. Your only efforts have been drowning out opposing viewpoints, and slandering critics in morally reprehensible terms (aka ‘Deniers’). In the words of the once great Oliver Cromwell before the Long Parliament:
“You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”
I’ve argued before that coercion works both ways with Card Check. Obviously, unions can coerce workers into signing cards, but employers can coerce workers to keep them from signing cards as well, and take retributive action if they do. The secret ballot protects workers, and it’s worth noting that employers are the ones wanting that protection to stay in place, while unions want workers exposed to this kind of exploitation and abuse. That speaks volumes about which side wants to use coercive tactics.
The civil-rights aspect of this shouldn’t get minimized, either. The movement fought to get black citizens the right to vote through casting secret ballots. Can anyone imagine what would have happened to the civil-rights movement if states had gone to a Card Check system instead?
Earlier, even George McGovern came out against Card Check:
In my view, unions were created to benefit workers – not the unions themselves. If workers wish to organize – they should be able to do so freely, and likewise they should be free not to organize without coercion either way.
There has apparently been a groundswell of support among Arabs after Muntazer al-Zaidi, a 29-year-old Iraqi TV journalist for the Cairo-based satellite channel Al-Baghdadia, threw his shoes at President Bush on Sunday during the press conference for his trip to Iraq.
Yelling that it was the “farewell kiss” of Iraqis, and calling the president a dog, al-Zaidi committed an act considered to be the supreme insult in Arab culture.
Al-Zaidi reportedly got a good roughing up for his deed from Iraqi police and remains in custody, facing up to seven years if convicted of attacking a foreign leader.
But while the Iraqi government called on his employers to apologize for the act, apparently planned for months, the Al-Baghdadia news agency responded with a statement demanding al-Zaidi’s release “in line with the democracy and freedom of expression that the American authorities promised the Iraqi people.”
It added: “Any measures against Muntazer will be considered the acts of a dictatorial regime.”
What an indication of how little Arabs understand the connection between freedom and the rule of law. Jailing someone for an act of physical violence against a visiting head of state makes the Baghdad government a dictatorship?
So Al-Zaidi is essentially invoking “free speech” rights – provided to them by America … so they can assault the American President.
Decent thoughts here:
Pretty certain the late Saddam Hussein, and/or his sons would have first raped and tortured Al-Zaidi’s family, and then sent them one-by-one through an industrial paper shredder. But that’s neither here nor there…
I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, wait a second — Wasn’t that the plot of the first movie, and didn’t it turn out to be a rather crappy and expensive flop?”
Yes, but the new movie is guaranteed to be a hit. Firstly, its budget is at least ten thousand times the first Waterworld, (and we all know that huge budgets make for great films).
“But where are they getting that kind of money?”, you might ask? From everyone of course! Gore and his fellow producers came up with the great idea that, since the first movie was so totally crappy and unsuccessful, everyone should be required to have a personal investment in the sequel. This way, even if some people don’t really care about the film, they will be obligated to see it because they will have a financial stake in its success.
The film is currently funded through a voluntary program where people can purchase “Sequel Credits.” Currently, those who don’t wish to contribute are being ignored, marginalized, or brow-beaten into guilt-laden compliance. The national media has been playing their part, only referring to the sequel in glowing and positive terms. Those who have voiced criticism of the film, such as its lack of convincing dialog, or concern over its rather ludicrous plot line, have been immediately silenced and shunned.
Gore is currently working closely with President-Elect Barack Obama to make this financing process non-voluntary, in a government initiative he calls, “The People’s Waterworld 2 Sequel Success Lock-Box.” Waterworld 2 will be starring Al Gore as a rather portly and desperate character, who is struggling for relevance during a time of planetary chaos. The film is slated for a 2013 release, pending sentient life on earth still exists.
WASHINGTON (AP) – When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, global warming was a slow-moving environmental problem that was easy to ignore. Now it is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can’t avoid.
Since Clinton’s inauguration, summer Arctic sea ice has lost the equivalent of Alaska, California and Texas. The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton’s second inauguration. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it.
“The time for delay is over; the time for denial is over,” he said on Tuesday after meeting with former Vice President Al Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on hysterical propaganda global warming. “We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now that this is a matter of urgency and national security and it has to be dealt with in a serious way.”
But there are powerful political and economic realities that must be quickly overcome for Obama to succeed. Despite the urgency he expresses, it’s not at all clear that he and Congress will agree on an approach during a worldwide financial crisis in time to meet some of the more crucial deadlines.
Obama is pushing changes in the way Americans use energy, and produce greenhouse gases, as part of what will be a massive economic stimulus. He called it an opportunity “to re-power America.”
After years of inaction on global warming, 2009 might be different. Obama replaces a president who opposed mandatory cuts of greenhouse gas pollution and it appears he will have a willing Congress. Also, next year, diplomats will try to agree on a major new international treaty to curb the gases that promote global warming.
“We need to start in January making significant changes,” Gore said in a recent telephone interview with The Associated Press. “This year coming up is the most important opportunity the world has ever had to make progress in really solving the climate crisis.”
Scientists are increasingly anxious, talking more often and more urgently about exceeding “tipping points.”
“We’re out of time,” Stanford University biologist Terry Root said. “Things are going extinct. I need to go change my pants.”
I added the last bit.
Now, I’m not trying to say that we should just do nothing about the environment. I think it’s great that we are looking into new technologies and trying to move away from oil and such. However, I do not think it is wise to mix government and rather hysterical knee-jerk environmental policies.
Here is another fairly thought out perspective on the current climate situation that illuminates the idea that the science isn’t quite as ‘closed’ or ‘unanimous’ as Al Gore, Pres-Elect Obama, and Co. are attempting to portray it: