January 13th, 2010

#1889: Obama gets another "A"

For openness!

Laughable, isn't it? "The report — released by the nonprofit groups Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters and U.S. PIRG — gave the administration high marks across the board for its various initiatives to increase transparency...."

Those "nonprofit groups" are all hard left organizations. Don't believe me? Google 'em and read their web sites and judge for yourself.

So, this is what a "transparent" administration looks like? This is the "post-imperial Presidency"?

Do you still think that socializing medicine is anything other than a power grab by and for Democrats?

* * *

The race for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts has gone supercritical, and the Democrats are doing everything they possibly can to ensure they win.

Look: if Coakley loses, they can't seat Brown, because he'll vote against ObamaCare. Even if Brown wins in a landslide the Democrats will pull something to keep him out of the picture until ObamaCare can be passed. Perhaps the Massachusetts political machine would drag its feet confirming Brown as the winner until the Senate could hold its final vote on the ObamaCare bill that comes out of committee. Something which could be spun as "we're just making sure the peoples' voice is heard correctly" or some nonsense.

Just remember: Democrats don't give a rat's ass about how their people act, as long as they vote the right way. When was the last time you saw a Democrat--any Democrat--denounce perfidy and corruption within his own party?

Which is why this story won't be considered "news" by anyone in the mainstream media. Short form: a study which shows that Obama-nomics "saved or created" four million jobs was headlined by "...a longtime Democratic Party political operative and financial donor."
Harvard economics professor David Cutler also served on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council Clinton established during his tenure in office. And he was senior healthcare adviser for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, after working in previous election cycles on the presidential campaigns of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J.

Federal Election Commission records show that Cutler contributed to the Obama campaign and gave thousands of dollars to the failed Virginia congressional bids of former Clinton adviser and healthcare researcher Judy Feder.
A Democrat defending a Democrat with made-up bullshit: par for the course.

* * *

I was thinking about the liberal assault on the "tea party" web site--the one I mentioned in Fungus #1887--and my statement:
That really is all they've got; they can't dispute the facts or the statistics, so all they can manage is to act like a bunch of unruly children.

Well? I mean, if they did have the facts on their side, why would they do this? If they could point to verifiable information which hadn't been "spun" and which supported their facts, why resort to petty insults and childish pranks?
And I was thinking, Yeah, that's about right: the only statistics which support their position are statistics which have a caveat.

Example: the wiseacre who posted a comment to one of my posts in which I said that infant mortality was worse under the various socialized medical systems than it is the US. Mr. Commentor said that England's infant mortality rate is lower than that of the US.

...except what he did not say is that the statistics are reported differently in the two countries. I'll resort to a fictional example to elaborate.

We have two mothers. One is British; the other American. Both got pregnant at the same time on the same day, and both give birth prematurely at 21 weeks.

Ms. American's baby is taken to the NICU and the doctors and nurses do their utmost to keep the baby alive, but the baby dies. Its death adds to the infant mortality rate.

Ms. English's baby is allowed to expire: it's "too premature" (according to guidelines set by the National Health Service's death panel) and "cannot be saved". Its death is not counted as an infant mortality.

Sure the numbers for England look better...as long as you don't delve into what they mean and where they come from.

And thinking about this, I realized that the same is true regardless of where you look: the numbers cited by liberals are always wrong one way or another. The statistics for gun deaths, for example, are also counted differently in both countries, and because Britain's rate is lower--artificially lower--it's cited as a model for why gun control "works".

But the liberals are comparing apples and oranges. They're not reporting the same statistics; they are reporting similar statistics and relying on the ignorance of the listener. And they have to do this because a proper comparison of apples to apples does not support their positions nor help them advance their agenda.

I wish I'd realized it sooner: whenever a liberal cites a statistic or datum to support his position, there is always something wrong with it.

* * *

Well, I started with season 3 of Star Blazers last night, and...well, it was pretty bad.

The translation was pretty lousy. I'm not sure of the pedigree of this fansub, but it's clearly not from the group which did the first two.

To make matters worse the first ep tried to contain too much story. It wouldn't have been so bad if the translation hadn't been iffy, but it made it difficult to determine WTF, exactly, was going on. One of the new characters' parents are both killed by an off-course planet-busting missile from a far-off space battle, and the same missile falls into the sun and triggers a runaway fusion reaction which will make the sun go supernova in a year.

Uh?

...another similar missile drifts into the "small planet zone"--ASTEROID BELT for Christ's sake! Don't you morons know anything?--and blows up an asteroid, which cues Earth Defense in to why the sun's going to blow up.

The new character wants to be in the "canon" department but Kodai assigns him to Life Services--assistant cook or some such--and he's angry and upset about it, so he and Kodai have a fight on the deck of the Yamato.

And that leads me to something which has consistently bothered me about the entirety of the series: discipline is shit in that organization.

In the first series, Kodai continually just does stuff without orders from Captain Okita ("Avatar") and sometimes it's detrimental to the mission. Things work out in the end, but in any real military unit that kind of insubordination would be out of the question. They get a pass here because of the desperate situation Earth is in, but it's a near thing.

In the second series, the Yamato rescues a bunch of Space Marines from the 11th planet, and their leader--Saito--is a royal pain in the ass. He makes a ton of trouble, even to punching out a pilot and taking his fighter into battle, and nearly gets himself killed. He does all kinds of things without permission, some of which cause severe problems for the crew of the Yamato. Again, in a real military unit, that guy would have spent most of the series in the brig for his first infraction, and he does it multiple times.

So this new guy comes aboard the Yamato in the third series, and the first thing he does is bitch and moan (and kick the robot) over how he has to work for a woman. Kodai comes in and says, "He's actually angry at me," and then he and the new guy go to the deck to fight it out.

Well, in fact, that guy would have two choices about his assignment: a) like it; b) lump it. Being introduced to his commanding officer (Yuki Mori, "Nova") and throwing a hissy fit because his commanding officer is a woman would not be viewed with either tolerance or understanding. Him being upset because he didn't get the assignment he wanted would not be viewed that way, either.

In a military unit, you do what your superior officer tells you to do; you don't argue, refuse, or throw a temper tantrum. (There are certain very limited situations in which you may refuse an order. Being assigned to kitchen duty is not one of them.) Neither do you go haring off on your own to do whatever the hell you feel like unless you've been given leave to do so.

There has to be some respect for the chain of command, else the unit won't be effective. Okay: Saito and his marines were supernumeraries for most of the series, but that doesn't mean they were outside the chain of command. Kodai was the commanding officer of the ship ("acting captain"? WTF?) and his authority should have been absolute. Saito was in the wrong for not respecting that, the same way Kodai was in the wrong for rebelling against Captain Okita in the first series.

"Discipline" is the entire reason boot camp is the way it is: the organization has to get recruits used to doing what they are told, when they are told to do it, without wasting time on debate or whining. In a battle you haven't got time for that nonsense, not if you want to win the fight. Asking your superior, "Why should I have to do that?" is right out.

The correct response to the new guy's whining should have been: "I'm going to be really nice and give you a choice, pal. Your first alternative is to shut the fuck up and do the job you've been ordered to do. Your second alternative is to get your ass off this ship--and if you do, you're not going back to the academy; you're going back to civilian life with a dishonorable discharge."

Why is that "really nice"? Because the third alternative is "court martialed for refusing an order in a time of emergency", that's why. (At this point the Earth Defense Force [EDF] knows the sun's going to blow up in a year.)

Notice that the one thing I'm not criticizing is the guy's motivation for behaving like a 2-year-old. That's because he is among a group of "academy students" selected for early graduation based on performance in training. This guy's turned in good marks in training--he's one of the best--and the EDF needs people now. So his motivation makes sense; I can see how he would think he's the shit and shouldn't have to wash dishes or whatever an assistant cook does.

He can think that. Regardless he'd be put where he's needed--military organizations are good at that kind of thing--and a proper military unit wouldn't give a rat's ass what a brand-new academy graduate thought about it. And it would give a rat's ass about him screaming and yelling and kicking things because he doesn't like his assignment.

* * *

I'm really impressed with how quickly the second season of Haruhi came down the torrent pipe. I started the torrents before starting in with the anime last night, and by the time the anime was done, so were most of the torrents--all but two, in fact. I left the computer on, and when I got up this morning all the torrents were finished.

So once I'm done with the first season, I can roll right into the second without interruption.

Something not mentioned in the first book--and which is apparent in the anime--is Haruhi's jealous-like expressions whenever Kyon might be spending time with Asahina. In the ep where they "scour" the town in search of the paranormal, and Kyon spends time first with Asahina and then Koizumi--Haruhi looks annoyed at the outcome of the draws that determine the groups. And her repeated remonstrations (which are in the book) that Kyon is not on a date with Asahina might support this.

I'm sure I'm not breaking any new ground, here. But I think it's neat.