Democrats are blaming Republicans (specifically George Bush). It's all because of Republicans that the Democrats are unpopular and Obama's vaunted policies are failing. But it's not the GOP and it's not George Bush.
Reason one: soaring national debt. The deficit for last year was as much as the previous three years combined, and the projected deficit for this year will be about the same as last year's.
Most people with sense expect this torrent of spending to be highly inflationary at best.
Reason two: impending taxes. Democrats want to increase taxes to pay for all their spending, rather than reducing spending to fit what the government is taking in. For one thing, the Democrats will have socialized medicine, and even the biggest socialist in Congress knows the government can't forever run huge deficits.
Taxation always provides negative pressure on employment. As it stands right now, the federal government consumes 20% of the GDP, and overall taxes siphon away about 50% of the average family's income.
Reason three: unemployment. U6 is sitting at 17.5%. Right now about 33% of the manufacturing capacity of the United States is simply sitting idle. The last time we saw unemployment like this was in the 1930s.
Reason four: arrogance. The Democrats have been governing as if they were already assured of never losing another election, and this does not sit well with the American people.
Given a chance to enact their policies, the Democrats can get there; and that is why ObamaCare will be enacted: it's vital to the Democrats. They need it, because it ensures they will never, never, ever face being voted out of office ever again.
If Congress can order you to buy insurance, why stop there? The precedent will be set; Congress will be able to order you to do anything.
It's not like auto insurance; driving a car is a privelege, and you don't have to drive a car to live in the US--and if you don't drive a car, you don't need the insurance. But what ObamaCare proposes is that everyone in the United States must purchase health insurance, no ifs, ands, or buts: you must buy insurance or go to jail. Unless you happen to be part of a select group (the Amish, or Congresscritters) you must buy health insurance from a federally-approved insurer.
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I'm guessing that the salutation of the quoted letter in this post has been changed to protect the name of the recipient, but that the text is genuine.
I don't think Scott Brown is going to win the election. Oh, he'd win if only the valid votes, cast by the real and living residents of Massachusetts, were counted; but those are not the only votes which will be counted.
The Anchoress: "...[E]xpect this election to be 'Franken-ized' until they 'find' or 'recount' the number of votes they need."
Scott Brown can't win; if he does, it threatens the entire Democrat plan. They lose the crucial 60th vote, and with it they lose the veneer of legitimacy.
But what if--through some miracle--Scott Brown wins a decisive victory tonight? Where the Democrats are right now--with the bill in conference--the Democrats have a handful of things they can do.
I've said before that the Democrats don't care about the actuality of how their victories are accomplished as long as they appear to conform to the letter of the law. Having ObamaCare pass the Senate with 60 votes is vastly preferable to using procedural tricks--it looks better--else they would have long since used those procedural tricks. In order of how "legitimate" the measures appear:
First: they can have the House of Representatives pass the Senate version. Enough votes should be available to do this if enough arms are twisted properly.
Second: there are parliamentary tricks they can use to pass the post-conference version of ObamaCare though the Senate on a simple majority.
Third: they can take their own sweet time seating Scott Brown--delaying the event as much as possible--and hurry ObamaCare through in a marathon session.
At this point, it's outside the law for the Democrats to allow the emergency appointee--what is his name, the guy whom the Massachusetts state government did an end-run around their own laws to seat?--to vote.
According to the law, as soon as an election is held, the appointee is no longer the Senator. Pretty much up to the point that the polls close tonight is all the longer that guy has as the junior Senator from Massachusetts.
...of course the law won't stop the Democrats, but I'm sure some conservatives are warming up their lawyers and preparing to sue in the event that the Democrats try to have that guy be the deciding vote on anything.
I think the Anchoress has it right: if Brown wins tonight, the election won't be certified until Democrats manufacture enough votes to change that. And if he wins by a majority which makes such vote fraud impossible, then Brown will wait weeks to be allowed to take his seat.
I don't think the Democrats will refuse to seat him, but they will delay seating him as long as is feasible. If they refuse to seat him at all, then things could get ugly.
But all of that assumes that Brown wins tonight. I just don't see it: Massachusetts is communist.
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Signs that I'm moving up in the world: the Fungus has a troll.
...how pathetic do you have to be in order to gain self-gratification from heckling someone whose readership can be enumerated with one person's fingers?
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This post is WTF! long. And it's tiny text.
But it contains the most useful description of why the institution of marriage exists that I have ever read. It's in the context of a much larger (much, much larger) piece about "the battle of the sexes". Lots of the stuff in that piece sounds crazy; some of it is crazy--but the bit on why marriage exists is dead solid perfect.
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Well: last night saw the end of the first Haruhi series, the end of Spice and Wolf 2, and the end of Mission E.
Mission E, like Code E before it, left the fate of Mils Brinberg in limbo. It was a good story with a good ending, but there should be more.
Spice and Wolf 2 left us in a decent spot, though the entirety of the story arc of the last half of the series was not completed. At least we know Horo and Lawrence stay together for a while longer. There should be more.
...The series ends where the book ends, which is fine. The series tells the story a little more clearly than the book does--for one thing, it's not obfuscated by lousy writing!--and there are things which are more obvious in the anime than they are in the book.
So here I'm going to deal with some of the theories that are out there, and give my take on what it all meant:
"Haruhi is god": I don't think Haruhi is "god" or any variant thereof. I think Haruhi has special powers; I also think the people in the series are misinterpreting what they're seeing--and that's fine, because no one knows what is actually going on.
Koizumi is the primary source for information on what Haruhi is, and everything he says is couched in terms of "we believe" or "we think". The people in Koizumi's organization don't know what's going on. But while they know about the "closed spaces" and how to deal with them, they don't know why they happen. They think they know, but--again--Koizumi presents that information as theoretical and not proven.
"Kyon is god": I don't think so. Kyon is phlegmatic; he reacts appropriately to personal danger, but doesn't wig out at things which are merely strange. When he first falls into Haruhi's sphere of influence he is shocked and dismayed at her actions, but eventually gets used to it; it raises the bar for weirdness in his life.
"Asahina is Kyon's sister": Again, I don't think so. The older version of Asahina tells Kyon "don't get too close to my younger self" because she knows that Haruhi is jealous, and that bad/strange things happen when Haruhi sees Kyon too close to any other women. This is most obvious in the last episode of the series.
Okay: so why is all this happening if Haruhi isn't god? (or "a god"?) Ditto for Kyon?
Regardless of interpretation, Haruhi's power is not explained, nor is it explicable given the information we have. It is, however, obvious that the closed spaces which appear when she's unhappy are expressions of her subconscious.
Koizumi'a assertion that doing nothing would allow the closed space to cover the world is borne up by the events of ep 14: at first the closed space containing Kyon and Haruhi is limited to the school grounds, but it expands, and soon they can leave the school grounds while fleeing the blue giants.
We're told that Haruhi subconsciously brought time travelers, aliens, and espers into being, because she wanted them--why do the espers have the ability to thwart Haruhi's subconscious, which presumably created them in the first place? Why do they have the ability to thwart Haruhi's desire to remake the world? It doesn't make any sense.
However, if Haruhi is simply very powerful the espers could have come from somewhere (or -one) else, and they are there to keep her powers from damaging the world. She has the ability to destroy the world, not the universe, but that's bad enough.
Haruhi didn't create the world three years ago; three years ago was when her power switched on. That, again, was bad enough; it disrupted the time planes such that Asahina et al can't travel past that time. It drew the attention of the Overmind. And of course, Koizumi's organization was created (by someone) to keep Haruhi from destroying the world.
It all begs the question: why?
What is Haruhi Suzumiya? I think Haruhi is the first step in the next stage of human evolution; the clues are there in what Yuki says about "autoevolution". Haruhi is the first step past "ape" on the road to "energy being". The Overmind is interested because it's never seen a life form evolve from tangible to intangible, and Haruhi is evidence that the human race is going to do it.
But it also makes her dangerous, because as the first member of a new species--one with indescribable power over matter and energy!--she has no idea what's going on nor how to control it. She's still got a subconscious, and "monsters from the Id" is not just an expression when you can create alternate realities at will. Haruhi herself doesn't know she's different.
That pretty much only leaves us with Kyon: what's special about him? Why is he in the SOS Brigade, when its other members consist of an alien, an esper, and a time traveler?
What makes Kyon interesting to Haruhi? Part of it must be that he doesn't react to her weirdness; when she says or does something outrageous he doesn't react to it. Example: she gets up in front of the auditorium in her bunny girl outfit and sings for the k-on club.
She says matter-of-factly, "I only had an hour to learn the chords" after turning in a perfect performance...and Kyon doesn't even twitch. Most people would explode: "You didn't know how to play the guitar? And you learned two songs by rote in an hour?" Kyon did none of that. That's what makes him interesting: the man is unflappable.
When class rep Ryoko Asakura tries to kill him, he's frightened; when he and Haruhi are trapped in an closed space with blue giants smashing everything in sight he's fleeing for his life...but when Haruhi tells him about helping the k-on club, he registers no surprise. (He may feel it; he doesn't show it.)
I don't need to hyper-analyze a series in order to enjoy it; so I was perfectly fine with just watching and enjoying Haruhi. But I had these thoughts about things I'd read elsewhere, and decided I might as well add my lone voice to the wilderness.
I still don't know if I like Haruhi Suzumiya. She's got a lot to learn about boundaries (such as, I don't know, the whole thing with blackmailing the computer club, or ripping Asahina's clothes off so she can dress her up) but she's not as stupid as I thought she was.
She gets excellent grades, she's musically talented, she's attractive; but she doesn't give a rat's ass what other people want or think about anything, and that's not a good character trait.
Still--like her or not, the series is fun, and I'm going to be seeing the second one. I guess that'll do.