Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

2014 in photos

Jerry Stratton, May 4, 2014

January 22, 2015: First Sergeant Reginald Daniels provides a counter-argument for the flag

And, for an alternative view of the flag, here’s First Sergeant Reginald Daniels:

Even though it looks like this, it still means a lot to me… I love this country and what it stands for. I know everybody has their views, but… I take pride in the flag.

December 16, 2014: Koulikoro to Malaybalay

The American Peoples Encyclopedia has the best end words that I have seen on an encyclopedia. They are almost syllogisms.

Engraver Beetle is to Freiligrath as Mormons are to Optimism.

November 2, 2014: Charlotte Observer and WBTC 3 cover for Hagan?
Deleted Hagan articles on Google Search

Charlotte Observer and WBTV articles remain on Google.

I saw the tweet from @sistahtoldjah retweeted by the Instapundit this morning:

WBTV did the original reporting on the story. Observer republished. But both stories are gone now. #ncsen #ncpol

It included a screenshot of what looks like a Google news search with the headline and text:

Memo: Grant given to company run by Sen. Hagan’s…

Kay Hagan’s husband manages one of the companies in question, who… WBTC obtained a memo written by the Department of Energy and…

Both the Charlotte Observer and WBTC in Charlotte have the same headline in the search. Before retweeting the accusation myself, I went to Google and did a search myself. Sure enough, the same headlines and text came up. But clicking through to either article resulted in a “not found” page.

There’s a third link in the Google search, to the Charlotte City and Press, but that appears to be an automated news aggregation page with only a summary and a link to the WBTV 3 page that no longer exists.1

NCDENR says they have reviewed grant records and found conflict of issue claims warranted further legal review. Kay Hagan’s husband manages one of the companies in question, who received an energy efficiency grant money in 2010.

Details on WBTV 3.

There are a couple of other aggregation sites that have bits and pieces. This is from a site called “World News”:

Memo: Grant given to company run by Sen. Hagan’s husband needs ‘legal review’

State officials say a stimulus grant given to a company run by Kay Hagan’s husband needs “further legal review.” WBTV obtained a memo written by the Department of Energy and Natural Resources which includes a letter to the state’s auditor from last month. The memo states that NCDENR is looking into potential conflict of interest claims involving Senator Kay Hagan. NCDENR says they…

October 28, 2014: Liberty enlightening the world
    • Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    • With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    • Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    • A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    • Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    • Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    • Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    • The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    • “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    • With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    • Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
    • The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    • Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.
    • I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
September 29, 2014: I pledge a waffle to the flag
photo for Waffle of Allegiance

I promise to avoid responsibility through caviling and sophistry.

The bumper sticker reads, “I pledge allegiance, not thoughtless obedience.” I’m not really sure why this bumper sticker rubs me the wrong way. I’ve never particularly liked pledging to the flag; I’d rather pledge allegiance to the constitution, and to the Republic which it creates.

But this bumper sticker slogan is like saying, “I promised to obey you, not do what you ask of me.” I mean, yes, it shifts words, and it adds an adjective to the second word, unthinking being always wrong and obedience being one of those things Americans don’t do. That’s why “obey” is such a powerful horror in They Live and on telephone pole stickers. But putting any type of adjective on obedience is waffling. At that point it is no longer obedience. Semantically it’s the same as “I pledge allegiance, not obedience.”

I don’t even disagree with that. I’d probably react less viscerally if it didn’t play word games. But the word-play is holding your fingers crossed behind your back during your marriage vows.

Pledging allegiance is important, and should not be done lightly. You shouldn’t be pledging allegiance if you don’t actually mean allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance is not liking a business on FaceBook.

For that matter, nobody’s asking for unthinking allegiance to the flag. They’re asking for allegiance to the Republic For Which It Stands. The flag doesn’t require anything of you other than what stands behind it. Other people pledge their allegiance to kings and princes. We pledge ours to an idea. Kings and princes can command obedience. Allegiance to the flag is enforced only by yourself and your own honor.

And I suspect the reason that bumper sticker bugs me so is that their real problem isn’t with supporting the flag, it’s supporting a Republic, and all that this Republic’s constitution means in messy public discourse and lawmaking.

May 29, 2014: Progressives ruin a different kind of race in New Jersey
photo for Progressive gambling

Where the Taj Mahal once offered a racebook. (One of these things is not like the other.)

My girlfriend loves the horses. We went to Black-Eyed Susan Day1 to watch the pre-Preakness race on Friday, and watched the Preakness on TV. We just finished a trip to Atlantic City, and thought, since we don’t have a racetrack near us in Texas, we might place a bet on California Chrome from the gambling capital of the East Coast.

We stayed at the Trump Taj Mahal, and figured it would be easy enough when we walked down to the casino floor and saw their “racebook” sign. But we were told that they had shut down their racebook; the Taj Mahal casino no longer took bets on horse races.

So as we walked down the boardwalk the next few days, we also asked around at several of the casinos to see where we could place a bet on the Belmont. You can see my girlfriend’s take on this adventure at her blog Stride by Stride.

Showboat, next door, also doesn’t have horse racing.

The Revel, clearly the nicest property on the boardwalk, doesn’t take bets on thoroughbred racing but the security chief there was very friendly and helpful. He said they had a Kentucky Derby Party a few weeks ago, set up a screen for watching the races, had special drinks, went to great lengths to decorate the floor or ballroom2 and had lots of people asking to place bets, and they couldn’t do it.

A casino set up a special party for the Kentucky Derby, and couldn’t take bets on it.

He didn’t think that the Revel ever had a racebook, but told us that all the casinos that did have one were shutting them down. Slot machines make more money, and so make better use of the space. There just aren’t enough people betting on the races any more to make it worthwhile.

May 28, 2014: Bathroom paranoia

This is the most paranoid “employees must wash hands” sign I’ve seen so far. I’ve joked that the appropriate sign should add “and the rest of you pigs should consider it, too”. I never considered that people needed detailed instructions, including to turn off the water (even though turning the water on is not one of the steps).

I especially like that turning off the water happens after you dry. This may explain why I haven’t seen this sign in California or Texas. We can’t afford that level of paranoia.

There was one major problem with these detailed steps: the bathroom only had a hot air dryer. There were no paper towels anywhere, unless you count the toilet paper next to the toilet, which I suspect goes against the spirit of the instructions.

Perhaps that’s why the instructions don’t need to tell you to turn the water on. Since step 6 is impossible, the water is always on.

photo for Bathroom paranoia

Per step 6, guess what did not exist in this Starbucks bathroom.

May 26, 2014: Monday or Sunday?

Ran across this at a Starbucks.

photo for Monday or Sunday?

Why not just Sunday through Thursday?

May 19, 2014: The evolution of news to candy

Walking through a mall here in Atlantic City, I saw a large newsstand and reflexively veered into it to see what strange and arcane newspapers and magazines they had.

What they had was candy, soda, and snacks. Hidden in the corner of the corner behind the door were a handful of newspapers, I think. I didn’t see them while I was there, and only see the possibility of newspaper now while I’m examining the photo.

I did see the display of novels.

There is a similar newsstand in our hotel, but it’s smaller. It doesn’t have the fiction, or the newspapers. It has a handful of glossy entertainment magazines, and of course candy, soda, and snacks.

At some point in the future, if not now, people are going to start thinking that “news” means candy, soda, and snacks.

And they’ll be right.

photo 1 for News candy

Where is the news in this newsstand?

photo 2 for News candy

Is there a news display here, or just fiction?

May 15, 2014: Senator Marco Rubio and the National Press Club

Marco Rubio is still talking smart on immigration reform and yet still supporting the Senate’s “comprehensive” immigration reform bill. I honestly wonder if he knows how badly he was rolled by Senate Democrats.

I saw Rubio speak on Tuesday at the National Press Club in DC, where I attended as a representative of the blog culture, to borrow a phrase from Hunter Thompson. The actual subject was “retirement security” but the National Press Club being what it is—a club for the national press—they gave him the opportunity to alienate his base again. But he navigated those dangerous shoals as well as could be expected.

He said that “we have a legal immigration system that doesn’t work”, and that we need to shift from a system based on “family integration to one based on merit and skill”. But he acknowledged that people are afraid amnesty (not the term he used, of course) will happen but that enforcement will not, that twenty years down we’ll have twelve million illegal aliens again, as happened with the 1986 reforms. “In fact, much of the opposition was legitimate concerns and objections.”

The last was in response to an attempt to get him to either alienate the tea party or tie the tea party around his neck, and it was a good response. But if Rubio actually believed what he said about the opposition’s legitimate concerns, he should break his comprehensive bill into multiple focused bills: pass enforcement to show that this time, congress is taking enforcement seriously, and then once enforcement has been proven, pass non-amnesty, or whatever you want to call it.

At the end he said, “we need to have immigration laws we can enforce.”

The last part is critical. The system we have now harms people who follow the law and encourages people to break the law. It is the opposite of a good immigration system. We want to attract the law-abiding and discourage criminals. We should not have laws we are not willing to enforce.

  1. <- Texas 2014
  2. Speed wins ->