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State Of The Union

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been debating his choices of television viewing tonight. Does he watch the President’s State of the Union address? Or does he put on Tombstone and try to figure out if Doc Holliday really is Johnny Ringo’s hucklberry?

The State of the Union doesn’t look to promising. As we all know our President is not a orator of Churchillian quality. (And he was speaking of Jack Churchill, Winston’s brother, who was sort of shy and didn’t care for public speaking.) But beyond that, the President will likely lay out an agenda that, as much as your Maximum Leader hates to say it, is going no where.

Did any of you minions read George Will today in the WAPO? You should. Here is the link. After reading Will today your Maximum Leader became less likely to watch the State of the Union than he was. He is tired of craven wish lists meant to appease the unthinking masses with promises of nanny-statism from Republicans (or Democrats).

He thinks he’d rather follow Wyatt Earp’s escapades tonight.

Carry on.

Burgess-Jackson Abuses Strawman

Here.

Analphilosopher has been calling attention to the obnoxious debating tactics of Brian Lieter. While Analphilosopher’s critique of Lieter’s abusive style is dead on, one wonders whether Analphilosopher ever pauses for self-reflection, as he is also want to fling ad hominem attacks. If the ad hominem attacks were confined to Leiter posts, one would think the overwrought snide comments were intended a parody. But criticizing opponents intelligence and motives rather than intellectual engagement seems to be endemic over at Analphilosopher’s shop.

The format of this post is both a tribute to Burgess-Jackson’s pursuit of Lieter and rueful disappointment with what could be a better blog.

At any rate, Burgess-Jackson sets up a straw-man in his post, titled “Leftist Stupidity“:

Burgess-Jackson summarizes the “leftist” view on charity:

“Charity will never replace government. The problem with charity is that it??s unfocused, uncoordinated, and inefficient. Those who have resources to contribute to the needy don??t know who the needy are or where they??re located. If they end up giving at all, they??re as likely to give to those who don??t need the resources as to those who do. Governmental agencies, by contrast, specialize in distributing resources to the needy. They do it efficiently and effectively.”

Actually, the leftists critique of the nightwatchman state is that private individuals will never give enough to alleviate the ills of society. It’s not an argument about the focus of the charity, is an argument about the amount. “Leftists” take a dim view of human nature and assume that most people’s innate greed will stop them from voluntarily contributing to the general weal in adequate amount*. Taxation, by making contributions toward the general weal mandatory, assures that society will be able to meet its obligations to the less fortunate. One can make reasoned arguments for and against this proposition, but one ought to actually deal with the actual “leftist” position. I doubt many people would argue, straightfaced, that government allocation of funds is rational and approriately targeted - witness the profligate, whorish earmarking of this Cogress.

* Leftists, particularly Communists’ dim view of innate human greed always struck me as hypocritical, since they assume that man is infinitely malleable. If we do away with private property, hold up a few Stakhonvite models, then people will suddenly work hard for the common good without anyone material reward. Once the New Soviet Man emerges, the state will wither away and we’ll all live in the People’s Worker’s Utopia. Um, I thought man was so greedy that he had to be purged, exiled, and re-educated.

Science Question

Why do things hurt more when it is cold?

Best Movies of 2005, MoP Edition

Minions across the political spectrum, this post is politics-free! Because no one should dare refuse our Maximum Leader: these are the Oscar-nominated movies that I’ve seen, in personal order of preference from best to worst.

Note: I’m not judging them necessarily by the categories within which they were nominated; nor will I be using my preferences to predict winners (although hoping for my favorites to be recognized usually means that I lose my shirt when making selections in my oscar pool).

After the jump:
(more…)

Don’t You Oppress Me!

REG: Furthermore, it is the birthright of every man–

STAN: Or woman.

REG: Why don’t you shut up about women, Stan. You’re putting us off.

STAN: Women have a perfect right to play a part in our movement, Reg.

FRANCIS: Why are you always on about women, Stan?

STAN: I want to be one.

REG: hat?

STAN: want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me ‘Loretta’.
REG: What?!

LORETTA: It’s my right as a man.

JUDITH: Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?

LORETTA: I want to have babies.

REG: You want to have babies?!

LORETTA: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.

REG: But… you can’t have babies.

LORETTA: Don’t you oppress me.

REG: I’m not oppressing you, Stan. You haven’t got a womb! Where’s the foetus going to gestate?! You going to keep it in a box?!

LORETTA: [crying]

JUDITH: Here! I– I’ve got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can’t actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody’s fault, not even the Romans’, but that he can have the right to have babies.

FRANCIS: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister. Sorry.

REG: What’s the point?

FRANCIS: What?

REG: What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can’t have babies?!

FRANCIS: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.

REG: Symbolic of his struggle against reality.

My “Squishy Smallholder and the Rights of Man” has generated some discussion. Go read the comments.

Seriously, go read the comments.

I’m serious you manky Scotch gits!

Read the comments.

I’m warning you…

There, that wasn’t hard was it?

So anyway,

With all due respect, Kevin, Brian and Ally miss the point.

It might be nice if men had a say. But the moral calculus means they get nothing.

Sorry.

If the fetus is human, no one can morally do it in, whtether that is what the man wants or not.

If the fetus is not human, a man has no claim over a woman’s body.

A man being forced to become a father and pay child support against his will isn’t the best situation in the world. But the harsness of this consequence is irrelevent in the face of the moral imperative.

This is an especially odd position for Ally or Brian to take since they believe that life does begin at conception. I suspect that both are arguing for a man’s moral right to intervene not because they want to help fathers dodge their fiduciary obligations, but because they hope to establish a precedent in which a man’s right to involvement allows him to veto a woman’s choice to have an abortion.

This is a tactical rather than a moral position and I doubt it will be very effective.

If abortion is murder, the father’s consent or lack of consent is irrelevent. ALL abortions should be banned, not just ones where the man wants to be a father.

Kevin is right when he concludes that my analysis deny men any voice in the discussion at all. He’s right. But by not dealing with the fetus’ “ontological or moral status,” he hasn’t addressed the most crucial piece of the equation.

Or at least I think so. I don’t really know what ontological means.

What? I’m a farmer. I never claimed to be literate.

I’ll conclude with a challenge to Kevin, Brian, and Ally. Aside from “Life of Brian” style symbolic resistance to univeral imperialist oppression, how does a man’s opinion fit into the moral equation?

Congrats Sam Alito

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Judge Samuel Alito has just been confirmed to a seat on the United States Supreme Court.

Congratulations Justice Alito. Now go and make your Maximum Leader proud.

Carry on.

Oscar Nominations

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will make a public bleg of the Minister of Propaganda… Which films that are part of the Oscar buzz should your Maximum Leader try to see with Mrs. Villain. Since Oscar nominations were announced today your Maximum Leader thought he’d ask for some recommendations. You see… For the first time in many years your Maximum Leader has not seen ANY of the films nominated for anything. Not a one. (Unless you count “Batman Begins” in the category of Best Cinematography… A minor category… And he’s just talking about the big categories. Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Director, Best Picture.)

Pretty sad isn’t it? Your Maximum Leader just doesn’t get out of the Villainschloss and to the cinema very frequently. That is price one pays for being Maximum Leader - and having three young offspring - very few trips to the movies.

Last night your Maximum Leader and Mrs Villain discussed going to the movies. Your Maximum Leader is open to seeing “Brokeback Mountain.” But Mrs. Villain isn’t interested. Your Maximum Leader is also interested in seeing “Capote.” Mrs. Villain seemed more open to “Capote” but not thrilled by it. By default the choice would appear to be the not-nominated-for-best-picture-but-still-getting-good-nods-for-acting “Walk the Line.” Your Maximum Leader will hold out for “Capote” first and “Walk the Line” second.

“Walk the Line” doesn’t have as much appeal to your Maximum Leader as “Capote.” He supposes that this is because he’s seen the interviews with Johnny and June Carter Cash. He’s more familiar with that story because of his love of Johnny Cash’s music. Other than reading “In Cold Blood” he doesn’t know that story very well. Not like he plans on viewing “Capote” as a documentary… He wouldn’t. Neither would he view “Walk the Line” as a documentary. They are, he knows, entertainment. Fictionalized accounts of events. (Sort of like Oliver Stone’s JFK - only more true.) But the “Capote” story intrigues your Maximum Leader more…

Anyho…

If anyone would like to recommend films to your Maximum Leader he is open to suggestions.

Carry on.

UPDATE: Buckethead has finds himself in almost the same boat as your Maximum Leader.

Carry on.

Coretta Scott King, RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees on the new wires that Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., has died; aged 78. There are so many things one could say about Mrs. King. She certainly was woman of strong character to endure all she did. Certainly she was fighting for a cause in which she believed, but there are many points at which she could have taken her life in other courses. Courses less in the limelight and less frought with danger for herself and her children. Mrs. King didn’t waiver in her convictions even when her life and the lives of her children were threatened. She kept fighting even after her husband was murdered. In many respects it was Coretta Scott King more than Rosa Parks who should be considered the mother of the Civil Rights Movement. To suffer the outrages of bigots, and to quietly accept your husband’s adultery, all the while maintaining your composure and dignity takes great inner strength. We should all mourn her passing.

Carry on.

Cindy Sheehan Makes My Eyes Bleed

Loyal readers of Naked Villainy know that this is not a hot bed of Bush apologists - even the Maximum Leader decided to stop drinking the kool-aid once he realized the profligacy of the Bush administration and Republican Congress.

You humble Smallholder, as you will recall, is a big fan of making terrorists dead dead dead.

He is a big fan of giving anti-American extremists lead poisioning (preferably with 50 caliber delivery systems).

But your humble Smallholder is also a harsh critic of the Bush administration’s blithe disregard of the lessons of history (gee, have we tried Iraqification before? How did that work out?).

My criticisms of the war have been directed at fighting the war more effectively, and/or minimizing the cost to America. I’ll confess that the mismanagement of the war effort is starting to make me wonder if a “win” is possible anymore, no matter how much we redefine victory conditions, but I’m still hopeful that my doubts will be proven to be premature.

Folks like Sheehan piss me off. She is on a narcissistic tour-de-force that does nothing to improve the world. Her historical ignorance is legendary in scope. If Bush is the worst dictator she can think of, I have to conclude that public education failed this particular trollop. It is not criticism of the war that annoys me - it is stupid criticism.

The Volokh Conspiracy reports that Cindy Sheehan is now claiming that she has paid “the ultimate” price for the consitutional democracy that Alito will destroy.

Um, Cindy?

The ultimate price? It refers to laying down your life. Your son knew about that.

What price have you actually paid? I imagine that you have made, or will make, serious moolah with your book deal. You have fawning sychophants massaging your massive messiah/martyr complex. You have prolonged your fifteen minutes of fame beyond all human decency. How exactly have you paid any price?

Actually, that is a serious question. If America is really as repressive and intolerant as you and Mr. Chomsky and Mr. Zinn think, why are you walking around free? Should you have paid the ultimate price for your courageous opposition to the forces of darkness. Seriously, malevolent dictators like Bush, Cheney, and the Haliburton gang ought to have sent the death squads after you.

The fact that you are not mouldering in an unmarked grave gives the lie to yur claims.

The fact that you are not in jail gives the lie to your claims.

Why, oh why, does unreasoning, monomaniacal faith have to replace reasoned discourse in our public life? Why can’t we civilly disagree and ideologically compete in the real world?

I’m not saying that there aren’t monomaniacal idiots on the left. Today is just Cindy’s turn. I’m sure my condemnation just proves that there is a government-fueled conspiracy to hurt Ms. Sheehan.

Bwahahahahaha.

More Smallholder Haiku

Chevrolet Corvette
William Overcompensates
Ain’t foolin’ no one

Skippy on Hewitt:
Humungous head Mongoloid
Ha ha ha ha ha.

Hot chick arbitration
Pressly or Moss or Hewitt
Let Skippy decide

Sonnet for Ally
Creepy is my middle name
Poetry pending

More on JLH

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, in the few days since this post, has been thinking about the dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt. Apparently so has loyal minion, and - ahem - “MILF,” sooper seekrit agent Dead Sexy Sadie.

Of course, to start thinking about the dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt is to lose oneself in an endless loop of disturbed fantasy. It is of course all fantasy now because certain naughty bits of imagination ar just that. Imagination. For as of yet something like this is the closest we’ve come to seeing the dreamy Miss Hewitt in the all-together.

Sadie has also pointed out the failed attempts to “jump-start” one’s career via use of the Playboy spread. Sadie is so good to help your Maximum Leader in his work. What work you say? The work of convincing his one true platonic “Love” that Playboy just isn’t right for her. It is just too obvious. It just screams “I’m afraid I’m a has-been before I really ever was.”

Your Maximum Leader has some advice for the object of his faraway affections… Forget Gwyneth Paltrow and think repeat after him. Ready? Here are the words to repeat like a mantra. “Blueberry, Strawberry, Halle Berry.” Yes. Halle Berry. She should be your guide. Not some wacky blonde who professes to love England more than the US and names her kids after fruits.

Halle Berry is the way. Look at her career. It was doing fine but not great. Then she reads for an action picture. The producers want her to show her breasts in a non-love scene. She says sure, but makes them pay through the nose. Next thing you know… Billions of men around the world are buying Swordfish DVDs to practice their freeze frame prowess.

Now Halle has established she can do action films (which you can too Jennifer Love Hewitt - we’ve all seen The Tuxedo). So you have killed two birds with one stone. First off, you are in the lucrative action-film genre. A favourite of young hormonally charged men. And you’ve established that you can show your absolutely heavenly assets for the right role and price.

Look where it took Halle. X-Men, X-Men 2, and Monster’s Ball. As your Maximum Leader recalls… Halle won an Oscar for Monster’s Ball. Your Maximum Leader bets that looking at the Oscar and saying “Make me feel beautiful.” causes her to forget that she had to do that sex scene with Billy Bob Thornton.

So do you see the plan? No Playboy. Action film with topless scene. Then small-budget drama with Oscar potential.

If all that fails just await the MWO. You’ll be very well taken care of then.

Carry on.

Squishy Smallholder, Abortions, And “The Rights Of Man”

(With all due apology to Charles Sumner)

The Lovely Ally, newly promoted to loyal minion of the Mike World Order, has directed our attention to an abortion essay by Darren of “Right on the Left Coast.”

Ally also purports to be shocked, just shocked, that a man can write unequivacably on abortion. Well, as someone who has written equivacably about abortion - you must remember that squishy and Smallholder begin with the same letter - I’ll stick in my two cents.

As an aside, people on both sides of the abortion issue have very strong feelings on the topic. There feelings are not based on empircal evidence. As I discussed in my previous post, there is no factual basis on which to base a conclusion about when life/humanity/the soul begin(s). The decision about when life begins is the crux of the whole matter. Without recoruse to science and evidence, perhaps everyone should be a bit more tenative about their conclusion. One could argue, as I will whenever I get the gumption to continue my abortion series, that one ought to err on the side of caution is not a particularly satisfying middle ground.

If we accept that the humanity of the fetus is the moral center of the abortion issue, Darren’s ruminations about a man’s role are irrelevent.

I’d like to be able to make that last statement softer, but lack the vocabulary. Losing a child is the most unspeakably unimaginable thing that can happen to a person. Darren, believing that life does indeed begin at conception, believes that he has lost a child to abortion. I sympathize with the pain he feels. As a parent, I can even muster empathy by contemplating how I would feel if my lovely wee ones were gone. So I want to tread carefully here. Darren is fully entitled to his feelings of grief.

But:

Wherever you come down on the “when life begins” issue, a man’s feelings about the procedure are morally irrelevant.

Possibility One: The fetus is human.
If the fetus is human, ALL abortion is murder. Period. Abortion wil always be wrong, no matter what the father feels or thinks. Some pro-lifers reveal their moral incoherance when they want to carve out exceptions for rape and incest. If the fetus is human, you can’t murder her just because her dad is a criminal. And you can’t murder her just because her gestation is a daily reminder to the mother of the rape - her life has more moral standing than the admittedly horrible mental state of the mother.

Possibility Two: The fetus is not human.
If the fetus is simply part of the woman’s body, the man has no moral claim at all. A man has no moral claim to stop a woman from popping a pimple. If one concludes that the fetus is not human, than the nonhuman fetus is directly analogous to a pimple.

Darren does raise an interesting point when he discusses child support. Since Darren believes life begins at conception, he ought to simply think about possibility one:

Possibility One: The fetus is human.
The child, not the mother, has a moral claim on support. One is morally required to support your child, whether or not you wanted a child.

Things get messy if you can contemplate the flip side.

Possibility Two: The fetus is not human.
Life does not begin at conception, a conception that took place due to a mutual decsion between the man and wman. If the woman decides to carry the child to term, thus bestowing it humanity at birth, she has made the decision to create human life, not the man. If one believes that the fetus is not a human, than the man has never consented to parenthood. However - we also have to weigh the interests of the child against the invoiluntary nature of fatherhood. Society does have a stake in making sure that children are provided for. So one could make a claim that the man does have a monetary obligation to his unwanted offspring. This claim can’t attain the same moral absolutism that possibility one envisions. Perhaps the man could claim tort damages against the woman since her choices placed him in the position of having to pay child support.

I’ll readily grant that this solution is unsatisfactory. One way a man can avoid the situation is by not having sex. Having sex, whether or not the conception creates a human instantaneously, leaves one open to the possibility that the woman’s choices will force you to become a father. Some folks would object to this, but it is an interesting flip on the morally hollow position of some pro-lifers that some girls ought to be forced to be mothers as punishment for their sexual depravity (which doesn’t address the issue of the fetus’ humanity and is generally stupid as social policy: let’s force motherhood on someone too stupid to use a condom. Excellent plan. Either a fetus is a human or not, and that is not affected by the sluttiness of the mother). Posit a person who stupidly lends his car to a drunk. The drunk is the one who kills an innocent pedestrian. The lender did acted irresponsibly, and certainly didn’t intend for the pedestrian to die. The drunk did the deed, but the lender is still likely to be held responsible in a civil court. So sexual irresonsibility may put one in a situation in which another person lays a financial burden on you through their own actions.

Risking eigteen years of financial support for a fling seems rampantly irresponsible (and also very, very human). Even more irresponsible would be someone who believes that life begins in conception engaging in intercourse. If one believes in the humanity of the fetus, lives in a society in which legal recognition of that that human status is not forthcoming, and knows that a woman could choose to end the pregnancy in complete autonomy, he is risking being a party to negligent homicide - allowing a life to be lost through irresponsibility.

While we are talking about the man’s roll in abortion, I’ll give you a window into my marriage. Mrs. Smallholder is a bit to my left. When I was defending Alito’s ruling in Casey, I argued that he had fairly applied the O’Connor reasonableness standard. It is not an onerous restriction to require that a woman notify her husband if she is having an abortion. If one is pro-choice, one does not believe that the fetus has moral standing, but the decision to end even a non-morally significant pregnancy is one that has implications within the marriage contract.

One element of a marriage contract is that two people decide, together, whether or not to become parents. If a man wants to have children, he may be willing to forgo the joys of fatherhood if his wife is infertile. He may be willing to forgo the joys of fatherhood if his wife is opposed to being a mother. But he ought to be able to make that choice. Imagine a man, believing that he and his wife are trying to have a family, is blissfully unaware that his wife is terminating pregnancies. He is no longer able to make an informed judgment about his life. If the wife chooses to abort a fetus, he ought to be informed. He can now make a decsion about whether he wants to remain married without kids, remain married to a murdered (if he believes abortion is murder), or, even if he does not believe the fetus has moral weight, whether he wants to dissolve the marriage and find another woman with more compatible life goals.

My wife thinks this is ridiculous. She believes that the Pennsylvania law’s exceptions in te case of feared abuse are not enough. She want absoulte female sovereigjnty. I did not argue against sovereignty - just allowing the husband to know whether a pregnancy was being ended, not that he should be able to prevent the abortion. I would take the same position if the roles were reversed. A man ought to be required to inform his wife if he has a vasectomy so that she can make an informed decision about the marriage.

Happy Birthday Chay Baron

Here’s a new song for Daddy to sing you:

Tom Lehrer’s “The Irish Ballad”

About a maid I’ll sing a song
Sing rickety tickety tin
About a maid I’ll sing a song
Who didn’t have her family long
Not only did she do them wrong
She did every one of them in, them in
She did every one of them in.

One morning in a fit of pique
Sing rickety tickety tin
One morning in a fit of pique
She drowned her father in the creek
The water tasted bad for a week
And we had to make do with gin, with gin
We had to make do with gin

Her mother she could never stand
Sing rickety tickety tin
Her mother she could never stand
And so a cyanide soup she planned
The mother died with the spoon in her hand
And her face in a hideous grin, a grin
He face in a hideous grin.

She weighted her brother down with stones
Sing rickety tickety tin
She weighted her brother down with stones
And sent him off to Davey Jones
All they ever found were some bones
And occasional pieces of skin, of skin
Occasional pieces of skin.

She set her sister’s hair on fire
Sing rickety tickety tin
She set her sister’s hair on fire
And as the smoke and flame rose higher
Danced around the funeral pyre
Playing a violin, olin
Playing a violin.

One day she had nothing to do
Sing rickety tickety tin
One day she had nothing to do
She cut her baby brother in two
And served him up as an Irish stew
And invited the neighbors in, bors in
Invited the neighbors in.

And when at last the police came by
Sing rickety tickety tin
And when at last the police came by
Her little pranks she did not deny
To do so she would have had to lie
And lying she knew was a sin, a sin
And lying she knew was a sin.

And just one thing before I go
Sing rickety tickety tin
And just one thing before I go
There’s something I think that you ought to know
They had no proof, so they let her go
And they say that she’s tall and thin, and thin
They say that she’s tall and thin.

My tragic tale I won’t prolong
Sing rickety tickety tin
My tragic tale I won’t prolong
I hope you like my little song
You’ve yourself to blame if it’s too long
You should never have let me begin, begin
You should never have let me begin.

Beer Goggles

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, in a seemingly never ending quest to fill space on his blog, will refer you to a recent question asked of the people at “Ask Yahoo.”

Do beer goggles really exist?

Clicky here for the answer.

Carry on.

Another Quiz - SciFi related

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, other than the foray into Episcopal sainthood, still has nothing. So back to quizzes…

It seems that your Maximum Leader would fit in on the Firefly crew:

You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don??t enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)

81%

Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)

75%

Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)

75%

Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)

69%

Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)

63%

SG-1 (Stargate)

63%

Enterprise D (Star Trek)

56%

Moya (Farscape)

56%

Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)

56%

Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)

50%

Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)

44%

FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)

13%

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Although he still hasn’t watched the show… He’s thinking of renting some episodes soon…

Thanks to the CalTechGirl for the link.

Carry on.

    About Naked Villainy

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