Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Doofus Comments on "Socialism."

I just received this comment on that last post about Colonel Sanders, and I thought it would be nice to answer it here:

"I dont think you know what socialism is...You seem to be confused with a dictatorship that was labeled communism. It is not state directed lives but working for the betterment of the whole, not the individual like we find in capitalism. You cannot look at the system of such immense greed and tell me that the system which produces a poor working class (which needs welfare to survive) is working properly. Edison is proof of that, he did not make a majority of his patents, he relied on people like Telsa to create while he rolled in the money. He abused the real geniuses who never made a dime while he was able to make a huge profit off others work. And that is what capitalism promotes, corporate greed and sweatshops. I think what most people hope for is something closer to the Nordic model of modern scoialism. Where the larger welfare state guarentees a certain level of living with healthcare, education, nutrition." 

Whew!  Well, first of all, doofus, I do know what "socialism" is, and you clearly don't.  A quick google gets this definition:

A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Nope. Nothing about working for the betterment of all, which actually sounds more like populism or fascism.  Socialism is, then, state-directed lives, or at least the economic components of lives, which is a pretty big percentage.  So you're wrong about that.  This "poor working class" has been poor since we crossed out of Africa, and didn't become poor as a result of capitalism.  In fact, they were poor under feudalism and all the command economies of the past.  Under capitalism, they're for the most part only poor when compared with other people today, since in the capitalist West, the "poor working class" is of course outrageously wealthy compared to practically everybody else in history. And the only people who need welfare to survive are those unable to work, and they'd need welfare to survive in any economic system at all.  And free-market capitalism makes it possible for poor people, however defined, to stop being poor.  Under just about any other system, they're stuck right where they were born.

In fact, the Nordic economies you're talking about are mixed, and mostly free-market capitalism, and it's the capitalism that generates the wealth that makes the expanded welfare state possible.  Under actual socialism, the welfare state would be impossible, and the gvt would simply enslave anybody who didn't feel like working.  Check out some actual socialist countries and see how many people you can find on welfare. And see the conditions their working class lives in.  Hint:  It'll seem a lot poorer than our "poor working class."  Anyhow, Colonel Sanders' career would have been possible in Sweden or Norway or Denmark because they're capitalist countries.  You know, the kind of place where a communist like Stieg Larsson can get rich.

And I don't have a clue as to whether Edison was a jerk or not.  But in a free economy, he could only screw over people who worked for him.  But if he was, say, Soviet Minister of Technology, he could screw over the whole country!

So if you want a lot of social welfare and bennies for your working class, by all means agitate for it. (But try not to make them into dependent drones, as Bob Beckel warns.)  However, since you want it financed by other workers and by taxes on business, don't call it "socialism."  That's ownership and/or control of the means of production, etc., remember.  In short, that's what communist countries call their system.  They consider it a stage of development leading to communism.  But I'm sure you didn't know that.

KFC, Se Puede!

Don't mess with the Colonel!
In a free-market capitalist system, it's not so much the allocation of resources that's so efficient — It's the allocation of talent.  American history is full of stories of highly talented entrepreneurs — Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Wm Randolph Hearst — whose lives would have been considerably different in a socialist system.  Indeed, in a socialist system, the only way any of them could have exercised their genius would have been through politics.  Imagine that.  Every one of those guys would have been frustrated in every other field, because they'd need political sanction to do what they wanted to do, and most likely would never have gotten it.  They would all have had to go after political power and fought one another and others like themselves in a big zero-sum game.  In a free system, however, it's not a zero-sum, and everybody can accomplish up to his own capacity.

And here's one such guy:

A Rebel Yell for the Colonel

Trayvon. Bernanke. The Colonel. America is buffeted by blustery winds of change these days, yet who among us would have thought even they could disquiet the solemnity of the buffet table?

Recently it was announced that the venerable gentleman in the white suit and string tie would be phased out of our collective consciousness. KFC, formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken, is erasing the Colonel from its advertising and some establishments. Has there ever been a greater corporate betrayal? (Well, yes; but probably nothing similar where chicken breasts are concerned.)

Harland Sanders has always been something of a hero of mine. Not because he managed to hit on just the right blend of essential herbs and spices, but because as far as sheer tenacity and the grit of making it through life goes, he is a model for us all.

The Colonel was born not in 1790, as producers of Little House on the Prairie would have you believe, but in 1890 to a dirt-poor family in rural Indiana. During his infancy his father was severely injured, ending their farming life. The patriarch became a butcher for a few years but soon caught fever and died. Eldest child Harland became man of the house (at age 5) until his mother married a stepfather who beat him. By 12 he left school and subsequently left home.

At 15 he did what many patriotic boys have done—he lied about his age to join the military. Sanders became a mule-handler in Cuba until he completed his commitment. Incidentally, he was never a military colonel but received the meritorious distinction from the state of Kentucky, as has one of my own close relations (though mine has not yet grown a goatee).

Next came a series of odd jobs à la O. Henry that saw Harland as steamboat pilot, insurance agent, and railroad fireman. Getting married at 20 seemed to settle him down, but his wife cut out when Sanders was fired for insubordination while on a business trip. (Keep reading HERE.)

Everything goes by laws, even stupidity

Cartoon by BALOO!

Isaac Newton had the Three Laws of Motion, Isaac Asimov had the Three Laws of Robotics, and Bob Wallace has...

The Laws of Stupidity

The First Law of Stupidity is to blame all of your problems on someone else. This relieves you of any responsibility whatsoever for your life, and also makes the people you blame your problems on into permanent enemies. This is a highly intelligent thing to do!

The Second Law of Stupidity is to never learn from your mistakes. The smartest people learn from other people’s mistakes, the second smartest learn from their own, and the dumbest don’t even learn from their own mistakes.

The Third Law of Stupidity is to talk or act without thinking. That is, be impulsive! It’s the same thing as being ruled by your more childish, indeed infantile, feelings.

The Fourth Law of Stupidity is to think than what you feel is what is right. One of the things it’s based on is arrogance, or what the Greeks called Hubris. It is of course followed by Nemesis.

The Fifth Law of Stupidity is not to know you are impulsive and convinced that what feel is what is right. Instead, you believe you are rational and logical, even though you don’t know even one logical fallacy.

The Sixth Law of Stupidity is to not listen to good advice. This is related to the Second, Third and Fourth Law of Stupidity. In fact, all the Laws of Stupidity are related to each other, and it’s probable that all Stupid People show all of them in one degree or another.

The Seventh Law of Stupidity: you don’t know you’re stupid. In fact, you think you’re smart! Aristotle noticed this one, when he wrote about ignorant people who didn’t know they were ignorant. That was like 2500 years ago! Oh no! Stupidity is inherited! Someone get me one of those castration things that are used on sheep.

The Eighth Law of Stupidity: you can’t tell when someone is smarter than you and almost always think you’re smarter than them. This is related to what I call Scott’s Law, after a friend of mine who formulated it: “The smart understand the stupid a lot better than the stupid understand the smart.”

The Ninth Law of Stupidity is that you can have a high IQ and still be stupid. I’ve heard these people referred to as “high-IQ idiots.”

The Tenth Law of Stupidity is: “The stupid are always really surprised when they end up in prison or when someone kills them.”

It’s a bit frightening to realize there are Ten Laws of Stupidity, just as there are Ten Commandments (although “Commandments” is the wrong word – Utterances, or Words, is correct).

Let’s see if I can put all this into one sentence. Stupid people blame their problems on other people, they never learn from their mistakes, they think and act impulsively, they always think they’re right, they think they are logical and rational, they don’t know they’re stupid, they think they’re smarter than other people, they don’t listen to good advice, and they’re amazed when they get caught.

The Laws of Smartness, of course, are the exact opposite of the Laws of Stupidity 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gypsies in the news again!

Lots of Gypsy material on this blog.  Just look HERE.  And now some more news.  But first, a caveat:  We've all seen oodles of lovely "Gypsy girls" in movies and comic books and other scholarly sources, and they're just about all marvelously lovely, as in the illustration (This does not apply to the old Gypsy lady who turns up in such places, usually to tell the protagonist something astounding about his future.  They're ugly as a rule.) Well, I'm no expert, but I've seen a few Gypsy girls in my day, in person and in photos, and they don't look cute, like in the illustration.  They look like what you might expect of a race that came out of India several centuries ago — short, dark, and by European standards, not too attractive at all.  And besides that, they're never dressed this way or any revealing way. No bare midriffs or shoulders.  They're not quite in burkas, but they might as well be. They don't look like Esmeralda or even like a darkened Myrna Loy.  They look like Third-World dark Caucasians with a little Australoid thrown in, which is what they are, of course.

Anyhow, as I've said before, and a lot of other people have pointed out, too, Gypsies have been a culture of thieves and con men for hundreds of years.  That is not an exaggeration.  Read those links above.  The latest jolly tale isn't so much about the perfidiousness of Gypsies, which goes without saying, but the pusillanimous British authorities who are completely gutless about dealing with them.  Of course, if any cop in this situation did the right thing, he'd be promptly fired and maybe prosecuted by the Airstrip One version of Eric Holder.

So now, this from the Daily Mail via Daily Kenn:

Police let gypsy family stay in couple's £30,000 stolen caravan 'because moving them out will breach their human rights'

  • Kathleen McLelland and Michael Curry had their caravan stolen in 2011
  • They were delighted when it was found by police 18 months later
  • But officers are unable to move a traveller family now living there
  • A letter sent to the couple says the police have 'no lawful powers'

Furious: Police are unable to retrieve Kathleen McLelland and Michael Curry's stolen £30,000 caravan because officers have no legal powers to remove a traveller family now living in it
Furious: Police are unable to retrieve Kathleen McLelland and Michael Curry's stolen £30,000 caravan because officers have no legal powers to remove a traveller family now living in it

A couple whose £30,000 dream caravan was stolen have been told that police have no powers to remove a gypsy family now living in it because it would 'breach their human rights'.
Kathleen McLelland and her partner Michael Curry spent £20,000 of savings on a 26ft long Bailey Louisiana camper and a further £10,000 kitting it out before it was stolen by thieves from a Hampshire village in 2011.
The pair were delighted when police contacted them 18 months later to say that the caravan had been found with a traveller couple and their two children living in it less than ten miles away in Hook.
But their relief soon turned to despair when officers later told them that they have 'no lawful powers' to get the mobile home back.
Ms McLelland and Mr Curry say that their only option now is to launch civil proceedings against the family that now live there but fear that they may not be able to afford the fees.
Ms McLelland, 68, said: 'They've told us social services would have to be involved to get the family accomodation before they could seize it, otherwise they said it could breach their human rights.
'We're devastated - it was all we had.'
The couple, from Tongham, Surrey, were in between insurance policies at the time of the theft so were not covered for a payout.

Read more and see several photos:

One More Reason to Abolish the IRS

There are a lot of reasons to abolish the IRS.  It supplies way more money to the Government than it needs, thereby stimulating wasteful spending.  It forces us all, virtually, to waste millions of man-hours doing self-audits instead of doing something productive.  It urges us all to stop regarding it as "our" money and acknowledge that it simply belongs to the Government.  But the worst offense, and the best reason for abolishing it, is that it acts to vastly increase the power that the Government has over each and every citizen.  Paul Gottfried writes:

Paul Gottfried

As the IRS scandal works its way up toward the White House, certain things are becoming indisputable. First and foremost, both parties have been able to use the IRS to go after their opponents. I see no reason to doubt what I read in the leftist website Salon that the Bush II administration targeted its enemies through the IRS. The last Republican administration, we are told, “investigated “Greenpeace and various antiwar groups, including churches, which opposed its policies. That’s just how the system works. The IRS provides a system of raising revenue that gives largely unaccountable officials horrifying power over taxpayers.

That may be one of the reasons the Constitution’s framers prohibited a “capitation tax” on American citizens. That particular form of taxation was closely associated in the minds of America’s founders with tyranny. It took a special amendment, which was pushed through by a very activist and bellicose president Woodrow Wilson, to bring about the IRS. And even the Wilson administration could not envisage an income tax that was more than a fraction of the percentage that those Americans who now pay the tax are required to surrender to the federal government. By the way, over 50% of those who file don’t pay any income tax at all.)

In a recent interview with George W. Bush’s Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Mark W. Everson, this Republican officeholder lavished praise on those who had worked under him. Everson thought those examples of targeting that had been surfacing were based on well-meaning “errors.” He displayed as much faith in the Service as those who were leading it under Obama. It is not hard to imagine that Everson gave his Democratic subordinates some latitude for settling scores; perhaps he also gave himself the right to study the files of his own targets, like antiwar groups seeking tax exemptions.

Clearly the Democrats under Clinton and Obama have taken greater liberties with the IRS than has their opposition. In 1983 the IRS with media support forced the Reagan administration to accept the denial of a tax exempt status to the Fundamentalist school Bob Jones University. The reason we were given was that Bob Jones practiced racial discrimination in its admissions policy. But there was absolutely no evidence that the university denied admissions to blacks, who were then accepted as students, although the school may indeed have practiced racial segregation in the past. Moreover, until then the IRS had not tried to monitor the racial admissions policy of universities to which it granted tax exemptions. It changed this practice in the case of a Southern school that was already accepting black students. And it played up this denial of tax exempt status to smear Reagan, who had won the support of Bob Jones and other institutions of similar orientation. The intended impression was that Reagan’s supporters were bigoted religious fanatics. (Read the rest HERE.)

Race-Hustling Ghouls

The Death of Trayvon Martin Has Unleashed
A Wave of Demagoguery That Must Be Answered

by Allan Brownfeld
fitzgerald griffin foundation

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ALEXANDRIA, VA -- The death of Trayvon Martin is, of course, a devastating event for his family. That a 17-year-old boy returning from a visit to a nearby store for a snack should have his life taken is difficult to understand and accept. On many levels, the incident was, as President Obama has said, "tragic."

         Still, this event has provoked demagoguery that ignores the complex facts of the case itself and has provided an opportunity for provocateurs to proclaim that race relations in America are similar to those of the segregated Old South, as if the notable progress we have made in recent years had never happened.

The Deceptions
            Consider some of the things we have heard.

*     Jesse Jackson referred to the trial as "Old South Justice." NAACP President Benjamin Jealous declared, "This will confirm for many that the only problem with the New South is it occupies the same time and space as the Old South." He invoked the memory of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was killed in 1955 after supposedly whistling at a white woman "and whose murderers were acquitted." An article in The Washington Post drew parallels between this case and that of Emmett Till, as well as the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, and the 1933 case of the Scottsboro Boys, nine young black men accused of raping two white girls.

*       "Trayvon Benjamin Martin is dead because he and other black boys and men like him are seen not as a person but a problem," the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnick, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, told a congregation once led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*     In Sanford, Florida, the Rev. Valerie J. Houston drew shouts of support and outrage at Allen Chapel A.M.E. as she denounced, "the racism and the injustice that pollute the air in America. Lord, I thank you for sending Trayvon to reveal the injustice, God, that lives in Sanford."

*        One of those who organized demonstrations against the verdict and promoted the idea that our society is little better than it was in the years of segregation is the Rev. Al Sharpton, always ready to pour fuel on a fire, and now provided by MSNBC with a nationwide pulpit. How many today remember Sharpton's history of stirring racial strife?  In 1987, he created a media frenzy in the case of Tawana Brawley, a black teenager who claimed she was raped by a group of white police officers. A grand jury found that Brawley had lied about the event in Wappingers Falls, New York, and the case was dropped. The event that Sharpton used to indict our society for widespread racism never happened.
*       In 1991, Sharpton exacerbated tensions between blacks and Orthodox Jews in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. A three-day riot, fueled by Sharpton's inflammatory statements, erupted when a Guyanese boy died after being struck by a car driven by a Jewish man. At the boy's funeral, Sharpton complained about "diamond cutters" in the neighborhood in what a Brandeis University historian described as the most anti-Semitic incident in U.S. history. Two men died and three were critically injured before order was restored. Clearly, Al Sharpton does not come to a discussion of the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case with clean hands.

The Testimony and Evidence
Few of those urging demonstrations against the alleged "racism" in the jury verdict finding Mr. Zimmerman not guilty have spent very much time examining the law and the trial itself.

        Mr. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, claimed that he shot Mr. Martin only after the teenager knocked him to the ground, punched him, straddled him, and slammed his head into the concrete. The murder charge required a showing that Zimmerman was full of "ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent" when he shot Martin. But prosecutors had little evidence to back up that claim, according to most legal experts. They could point only to his words during his call to the police dispatcher the night he spotted Martin walking in the rain with his sweatshirt's hood up and grew suspicious. Zimmerman appeared calm during the call and did not describe Martin's race until he was asked.

          Lawyers point to what they said were errors by the prosecution. The testimony of Officer Chris Serino, the Sanford Police Department's chief investigator on the case, for example, told the jury he believed Zimmerman's account was truthful. Dr. Shiping Bao, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Martin, came across, legal experts report, befuddled, shuffling through his notes because he could remember very little. "It was horrific," said Richard Sharpstein, a prominent Miami criminal defense lawyer. "It was a deadly blow to this case because the case depended on forensic evidence to contradict or disprove George Zimmerman's story."

         The performance was the opposite of that by Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a nationally recognized forensic pathologist, who took the stand for the defense. Dr. Di Maio said the evidence and injuries to Zimmerman were consistent with the defense's account that Trayvon Martin was leaning over the defendant when he was shot. The evidence of Zimmerman's injuries may have helped his case, but it was not legally necessary. He needed to show only that he feared great bodily harm or death when he pulled out his gun, which he was carrying legally. "Classic self-defense," said his attorney.

Voices of Reason
It is quite different to have sympathy for the Martin family -- to regret the incident, or to be critical of Florida's laws about concealed weapons or its "Stand Your Ground" law, which never entered the legal proceeding -- than to argue that the law was not properly applied in this case. The prosecution failed to prove Zimmerman guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Hence, the not-guilty verdict.

          Many black commentators regret that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Ben Jealous, and others have made this case about race. Columnist Armstrong Williams declares, "... the Zimmerman case was not about race. Mr. Zimmerman is Hispanic, normally one of the protected minorities in America. In order to make the story about race, the New York Times and some other media outlets called him a 'white' Hispanic (his father is white and his mother is of Peruvian heritage).

"When was the last time anybody in America heard a Hispanic called a 'white Hispanic?' Calling Zimmerman a 'white Hispanic' is like calling Adam Clayton Powell or Barack Obama a 'white black.' But the media needed to create hysterics and so injected race into the equation to make it more salable to the American people as a political circus. After all, who cares about two white men or two black men in a fight that results in death."

          In Williams' view, "A young man was killed by another young man under circumstances where there is so much racial static in the background that it's difficult for many to be remotely objective.... Compare the reaction of the O.J. Simpson verdict by many American blacks to the reaction to the Zimmerman acquittal. In both cases, the prosecution did not make its case beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the defendant. Yet blacks generally cheered the result in the Simpson case, while viewing the Zimmerman verdict as a travesty of justice. In our court system of trial by jury, you can't have it both ways. There cannot be a different standard for a white man killing a black man than for a black man killing a white man and a white woman."

       Liberal columnist Richard Cohen writes, "I don't like what George Zimmerman did, and I hate that Trayvon Martin is dead. But I also can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize. I don't know whether Zimmerman is a racist. But I'm tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the U.S., I am a racist."

          Cohen argues that, "What Zimmerman did was wrong. It was not, by a verdict of his peers, a crime. Where is the politician who will own up to the painful complexity of the problem and acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males? This does not mean that racism has disappeared, and some judgments are not the product of individual stereotyping. It does mean, though, that the public knows young black males commit a disproportionate amount of crime. In New York City, blacks make up a quarter of the population, yet they represent 78 percent of the shooting suspects -- almost all of them young men. We know them from the nightly news."

New York City's Program         
Those statistics represent the justification for New York's controversial stop-and-frisk program, which amounts to a kind of racial profiling. "After all," writes Cohen, "if young black male are your shooters, then it ought to be young black males whom the police stop and frisk. Still, common sense and common decency, not to mention the law, insist on other variables, such as suspicious behavior. Even still, race is a factor without a doubt.  It would be senseless for the police to be stopping Danish tourists in Times Square just to make the statistics look good."

               Last year, the New York City Police Department recorded 419 homicides, nearly a 20 percent decrease from the year before and the lowest rate per 100,000 residents since the department began keeping statistics. If New York had the same homicide rate as Washington, D.C., it would be investigating 800 more murder cases for the year. If it had Detroit's statistics, nearly 4,000 more New Yorkers would be murdered every year.

                Editorially, The Washington Post states, "Without question, the Big Apple is doing something right." Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Chief Raymond Kelley say the stop-and-frisk policy has saved 5,000 lives in the past 10 years. "New York has never been safer in its modern era," the mayor says.

               The policy, of course, is controversial and is the subject of a federal action lawsuit because the vast majority of those stopped are young men of color. Mayor Bloomberg responds: "They keep saying, 'Oh, it's a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.' That may be, but it's not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder. In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little."

          Expressing the anguish of many who hate all forms of racism but are not prepared to turn a blind eye to the reality of urban crime, Richard Cohen concludes: "I wish I had a solution to this problem. If I were a young black male and were stopped just on account of my appearance, I would feel violated. If the police are abusing their authority and using race as the only reason, that has got to stop. But if they ignore race, then they are fools and ought to go into another line of work."

               Another liberal commentator, columnist Ruth Marcus, was particularly critical of those who compared Trayvon Martin with Emmett Till: "The comparison is unfair. No doubt race played a part in Martin's death.... But there is no evidence that race played a role in Zimmerman's acquittal. If anything, the racial undertones worked against Zimmerman, increasing public pressure on prosecutors to bring the most serious -- and, in hindsight the most difficult to support -- charges against him. Contrast the Zimmerman trial with that of Till's murderers. The courtroom was segregated. No hotel would rent rooms to black observers. The local sheriff welcomed black spectators to the courtroom with what was described as a cheerful use of the vilest racial epithets. The New South is not perfect, but it is not the Old."

The Greater Tragedy
            What is rarely noted is the fact that vast majority of the victims of young black men who kill are other young black men and women. Those engaged in calling for marches and vigils to express outrage over the verdict in the Zimmerman case say hardly a word about the black-on-black crime that plagues the nation's inner cities. In an interview with black journalist Juan Williams, comedian Bill Cosby noted that the NAACP's headquarters is in Baltimore, a city with one of the highest murder rates in the nation. "I've never once heard the NAACP say, 'Let's do something about this,'" said Cosby, adding "They never marched or organized or even criticized the criminals."

                 The over-heated declarations that our current society is similar to that in which Emmett Till was murdered in 1955 -- or in which the Scottsboro Boys were convicted in 1933 -- turns reality on its head. Al Sharpton doesn't really believe it. Jesse Jackson knows it is untrue. Ben Jealous is unwilling to give up the public spotlight he receives by portraying such a false picture.  

                 Those of us old enough to have lived through the years of segregation remember an era of segregated schools, segregated bus and train stations, "white" and "black" restrooms (visit the Pentagon and see the proliferation of rest rooms that were constructed in the years when it was illegal in Virginia for men and women of different races to use the same facilities), and water fountains reserved for "whites" and "colored." In many parts of the country, blacks could not vote or sit on juries. Black travelers never knew when they would be able to stop for meals. There was no pretense that racial equality of any kind existed.  

The Future Waits
           Today, we live in an imperfect society, but one in which all citizens, regardless of race, have equal rights. It is against the law to discriminate on the basis of race. Men and women can go as far as their individual abilities can take them. Black Americans hold every conceivable position in our society -- from CEO of major corporations to chief of police in major cities to university president to governor -- to President of the United States.

                None of this would be true if ours were indeed a "racist" society. This is not to say that in a society of more than 300 million people, examples of racism cannot sometimes be found. Using the trial of George Zimmerman to say that it is still 1933 or 1955, as some are now doing, is to paint a picture of contemporary society that cannot be recognized.
When it comes to the status of race relations in America today, who are we going to believe, shrill voices such as Al Sharpton, or our own eyes? The Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case has brought out the worst in some. The rest of us must move resolutely forward, continuing on the path of creating a genuinely color-blind society, which has long been the goal of men and women of good will of all races.

The Conservative Curmudgeon is copyright (c) 2013 by

Allan C. Brownfeld and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, All rights reserved. This column may be forwarded or re-posted if credit is given to the author and

In America, any little girl can grow up to be Homeland Security Secretary, evidently.

Well, the geniuses in the Congressional Black Caucus have outdone themselves this time. They have decided that Sheila Jackson Lee would make a peachy Secretary of Homeland Security. If I didn't know better, I'd think their advocacy is based on her race.  I found this over at DailyKenn:

Sheila Jackson Lee for Homeland Security Secretary?

The Congressional Black Caucus wants Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas to be the next Secretary of Homeland Security, now that former Sec. Janet Napolitano has resigned to become president of the University of California System.

The Houston Chronicle reported that CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge sent a letter to President Barack Obama last week to “encourage [him] to strongly consider” Jackson Lee for the Cabinet post.

“Representative Jackson Lee would serve as an effective DHS Secretary because she understands the importance of increasing border security and maintaining homeland safety,” the letter says.

(Read the rest HERE.)

It's hard to know where to start.  Well, HERE'S a compendium of some of her more idiotic statements and opinions, and below we have a cute YouTube video featuring some Sheila Jackson Lee highlights:

So, among other things, she thinks that North and South Vietnam are still two countries, that any and all opposition to President Obama is racism, and that Rush Limbaugh's political beliefs make him ineligible to be partial owner of a football team.  Whew!  But my favorite is this little incident:

“The Congressional bonehead award goes to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) who, on a visit to JPL, asked if Mars Pathfinder had taken an image of the flag planted there in 1969 by Neil Armstrong! Quipped Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) to the Washington Times: “We just don’t teach enough science.” Worse, Jackson Lee, who represents Houston, is a member of the House Science Committee’s space subcommittee. Perhaps some committee reassignments are in order…” (from HERE)

Do we want a Homeland Security Secretary who's fuzzy about the difference between the Moon and Mars?  Is it because they both begin with M? Is Mexico included in the confusion? Which way would she point drones?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Irish Savant on the Hideous Larry Summers

Did you ever notice? No matter which party is in office, the same people seem to retain great power and influence, whether they're actually in office or not.  Another thing:  The Democratic Party, the Party of the Common Man, seems to be run by bankers, oddly enough.  It's almost like it's changed somehow since Grover Cleveland kept a copy of the Constitution on his desk.  The Common Man, despite the rhetoric, is royally screwed by both parties these days, being supplanted in importance by the elite man and the non-working underclass man.  The Irish Savant keeps on top of these things.  Here's his latest report on Larry Summers.  Visit his blog HERE.

America: More like Mad Max every day

Well, here I'm at it again.  Bye Bye America.  The latest is occasioned by Larry Summers emerging as favourite for the position as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  Just to be clear, Summers is incompetent, corrupt, a notorious bully, personally loathsome and played a central role in just about everything that contributed to the catastrophic financial situation America finds itself in today.

Here's just a brief summary:

Lead the charge to gut the Glass-Steagall Act, thereby opening the floodgates of 'deregulation' and the catastrophes that ensued
Bullied and threatened CFTC Chairman Brooksley Born so that the derivatives time bomb, now hanging over the world like the Sword of Damocles, could explode in size, free of supervision.
Gave advice (and also harried and bullied to get his way) that directly lead to the housing crash and that subsequently landed the cost - $200 billion and climbing - onto the US taxpayer.
Suggested transferring dangerous industries to less developed countries, basically because the lives of the people there don't matter
Was a central figure in the looting of Russia in the Yeltsin years, which stripped that country of $400 billion worth of assets, established the oligarchs and the notorious Russian Mafia (a clever feint here in implying an Italian dimension when in fact most of the gangsters are Jewish)
Used his 'genius' to interfere in the Harvard Trust activities, ending up costing it $1.5 billion in losses.   (I've written about some of the other Wall Street 'geniuses' here)

There's plenty more if you want to check it out. But essentially this guy is a psychopathic financial terrorist, with a record of almost unrelieved failure, except when it comes to looking after his cronies in banking and academic circles. (Said cronies by the way are almost always Jewish. I'm starting to see them in my cornflakes now all the time).  In this he reminds me of Henry Kissinger, a political terrorist and war criminal.

We'll know America is on the way back when their likes are swinging from lamp-posts.

And now he's the leading candidate to run the organisation that runs America. And why, or is this a silly question, does the Chairman always seem to be Jewish?  You know, they make up only 2% of the population.

I have a good idea. Why not save all the messing and give it to Loyd Blankfein or Jamie Dimond?  After all, they'll be the ones making the real decisions for the Fed.

PS, if you do check up further on this degenerate psychopath, you'll frequently come across plaintive questions on the lines of 'why did Obama give him such a prestigious job?'    Just in case you're wonder, Obama did not give him a job.  The Real Government did, and duly informed Obama along the way.

The Joshiraku Girls Are Back! — Rejoice!

Hey!  The cutie-pies are back.  Some months back, Joshiraku was very clear that it was ending, with episode 13.  And we were all sad.  But, in typical Japanese ambiguity, it's sort of back in the form of an OVA (Original Video Animation), with no indication as to whether there'll be more in the future or not.  I've blogged about these girls before, but it's worth repeating here that this is all about the Japanese version of stand-up comedy, though it seems to be done in zazen position, and is more about long anecdotes than about the rapid-fire Henny Youngman type stuff.  Anyhow, this latest video is about the importance of comedic timing in particular, and about the importance of timing in all things.  Probably not nearly as profound as it sounds.  The other thirteen episodes are available HERE. Enjoy:

Joshiraku OVA 1 by dm_5133bf989863e

Ted Rall Rants!

Ted Rall's site is HERE.
Guest post by Baloo.

Ex-Army says I have to do all the cartoonist-related posts.  Fair enough.  You might expect that right-wingers like me wouldn't care for Ted Rall, but you'd be wrong.  Oh, I disagree with Ted about any number of things, but unlike the vast majority of left-wingers, he does his own thinking and apparently never checks with the authorities to see what liberals are supposed to think this week. In the interest of objectivity, a lot of so-called "conservatives" are pretty sparse with their thinking also, and tend to repeat the trendy "responsible conservative" party line, as lock-step as any liberal.

For the last few years, liberals have show their hypocrisy by ceasing any and all criticism of our many foreign interventions and wars.  The things, you know, that were hideously evil when Bush did them, but which are now either a really good idea or somehow invisible now that Obama is doing them.  As you can see from this cartoon, Ted Rall is not one of those lickspittle liberals.  In fact, Ted's attitude about such foreign adventuring is amazingly similar to mine, and here I am a right-winger.  Makes you think.  Or ought to, anyway.

Something else Ted is right about is the phenomenon of celebrity.  This essay is worth reading all the way through just for his remarks about the Clinton girls.  He writes:

Let's excise this celebrity cancer
Ted Rall

It's about time we stopped lauding the wrong people for all the wrong reasons.

I hate celebrities. Not in the particular. Many rich and famous people got that way by working hard, being talented and getting lucky.

Let me take that back. I do hate them in the particular.

Everywhere you look, celebrities cash in for being famous. I wish they would all die. I wish the idea of celebrity would die

Since two out of three of the required ingredients for success in our society, talent and luck, are beyond our control, it follows that no one deserves wealth or fame. But that's not how we treat celebrities.

We worship them. They're in a class above, like gods. We fawn over them and gossip about them.

We're even sad - really, truly grief-stricken - when they die!

Like a dysfunctional relationship, all the love flows unidirectionally, from us to them. Insulated in first class, consulting with their private bankers and safe behind the guard booths of their gated communities, they don't care about us; they don't know about us. They don't give a crap and are, therefore, the sane ones.

There's nothing inherently wrong with noticing achievements - when they result from moxie and grit. A person who, through effort and will (not luck or talent or some other accident of birth), transcends the norm to do something amazing is worthy of celebration. The average passer-by who runs into a burning building to save someone is a hero; a firefighter who draws a pay check, received training and consciously chose the job is not.
(Read the rest HERE.  You'll agree with some of what he says and disagree with some, but you can't argue with his evaluation of celebrity-ism.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Trayvon's Legacy

Much has been said about the concept of Trayvon as a small, immature child, unable to threaten anybody or to defend himself.  One correspondent assured me that it's impossible for any 17-year-old to overcome any 28-year-old because the latter would without exception be bigger, stronger, and more skillful at fighting.  I'd say you can't make that up, but the correspondent certainly did.  But nobody much has said what Trayvon's conception of himself might have been. We can't know, but we can definitely make a very educated guess, based on Trayvon's demographic peers. And one of my readers has done just that:

I think it's safe to say that Trayvon Martin would NOT want to be remembered as some sweet little helpless boy who ran for his life from some pudgy neighborhood watch asshole. He'd want to be remembered as the 'No Limit Nigga' who punched a 'creepy-ass cracka' for 'dissing' him and proceeded to thrash (off) whitey so badly that the guy had to pull a gun to save himself. According to the gangsta mindset he embraced, Trayvon died beautiful while 'Keepin' It Real'"— A Reader

I have nothing to add — Ex-Army

White Liberals: Self-Righteous Psychos

There is nothing on earth quite as egregiously perverse as White liberals.  The best of them are ineffectual wimps, and they scale from there all the way to unbelievably malignant sociopaths determined to destroy themselves and everybody else in the vicinity. Volunteer Judas goats.  This piece by Michael Enoch is very revealing of the White liberal character.  I first came across it over at Alternative Right, a site I visit every day (and you should do likewise) HERE.  But it originally appeared at a site new to me, the Right Stuff, which I'm slowly reading through as we speak.

Several thinkers, notably Steve Sailer, have pointed out that the problem isn't Blacks, or Hispanics, or indeed any minority group.  Racial minorities theoretically have agency, but in practice are merely pawns in a power struggle between normal White people and White liberals.  The latter, despite their self-destructive proclivities, are often clever devils, and are very good at convincing people that they have good intentions.  They don't.  They want to destroy everything worthwhile in the world.  That's just their mental state.  They are the sort of people who made a saint out of John Brown, a fanatic as bad as Pol Pot, determined to murder as many people as necessary to bring about his idea of a utopia.

Well.  Here it is. A view of the mentality of the White liberal.


I confess that the Zimmerman verdict was a pleasant surprise for me. It seems that despite everything some vestiges of actual justice and decency seem to remain to our society and, thankfully, the legal system did not sacrifice an innocent man on the altar of political correctness and expediency. I was actually worried there for a bit. After all, this is an America in the days of a looming liberal super-majority. This is an America where every child in government school is taught that men “marrying” other men is the most important and pressing social issue of the day. So who knows what kind of mainstream social consensus we are dealing with on these issues. My views tend to be so out far out of the mainstream that it is sometimes difficult for me to judge where exactly the mainstream is.

Nevertheless justice really was served in this instance. Not as surprisingly, the aftermath has been relatively quiet. There have been a few cases of spontaneous social justice cropping up here and there, but nothing too serious.

But now that it is all over, one glaring question remains. What are all the narcissistic, self-indulgent, guilt-ridden middle class white liberals going to do with all the feels they are collecting over the monstrous injustice of the outcome? Why, they will have to figure out a way to turn the narrative inward and make it all about themselves of course. Considering that there were no actual white people involved in the original incident, white liberals are going to have to find some way to make the aftermath focus on the narrative of white privilege and oppression.

To facilitate this project a new tumblr has cropped up with a unique take on the “We Are All Trayvon Martin” meme that has been ubiquitous on protest signs and hoodies at social justice rallies for the last year or so. Entitled “We Are Not Trayvon Martin” the idea behind this new site is to collect stories of people who are nothing like Trayvon Martin in an effort to raise awareness around issues of race and privilege in America.

The title is an interesting inversion of what has by now become a rather tiresome slogan and it draws attention to the fact that indeed most white anti-racist and social justice activists are nothing at all like Trayvon Martin. The problem is that in carrying the project forward the site actually has to collect and display the appallingly self-indulgent stories of actual middle class white liberals. As you would expect the whole thing has very quickly become rather maudlin and garish. Some samples:

I am disgusted and grieved by the privilege I experience everyday by no virtue of my own, but rather by simply being a white woman…

I’m a 25 year old, caucasian male, who is gay. I live in Tennessee. Although I have experienced some discrimination due to my sexual orientation I will never know what it’s like to be discriminated by the color of my skin…

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a 20 year old white woman living in America, and my future will never be abruptly stolen from me due to the color of my skin…

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a white, teenage female from a predominantly white small town. I will never know what it is like to be profiled by my skin color in the way Trayvon was. I come from a place of total privilege, a good education and an upper-middle class family…

Of course these are just the introductions. The average contributor continues for several paragraphs offering up more mundane details of their thoroughly banal existence. The following is typical of where this goes:

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a white woman with not one but two graduate degrees, a solid middle-class income, and relatively no fear of being shot on my way home from buying ice tea at a convenience store or anywhere else. Even though I’m a woman and make only 77 cents compared to my white male colleagues, and even though I grew up working class and owe $80,000 in student loans, I will never know the struggles of Black Americans. I have inconceivable privilege… blah blah blah…

Snore. Of course being a good social justice advocate she just had to drop in that little tidbit about the male/female pay gap lest we forget that women are also oppressed in our society (as if we ever could).

Once the posters have gotten through their personal biography of privilege (original sin) their next step is usually to seek some kind of redemption or absolution. This is done by either affirming their wholehearted belief in the beauty of human equality and multiculturalism (salvation through faith) or by listing off some kind of volunteer work they have done with the poor and downtrodden (salvation through works).

I grew up accepting and celebrating people’s differences, and I teach my daughter the same… My struggle comes from a lack of understanding of how someone can hate another person, or be afraid of another person, merely because they have a different skin color (or are a woman, or are gay, or are deaf, or are mentally disabled, or are foreign… the list can go on).

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a young white woman in Los Angeles, and I work as a social worker in a federal program for low-income, recently-homeless veterans who are looking for affordable housing…

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a 31 year old white guy from the suburbs… I work with autistic children and coach youth sports and, I dare say, am a pretty decent human being. I am so thankful the world was so forgiving of me…

After skimming through several such entries it becomes clear that what is going on here is a postmodern, secular version of confession. One thing none of the contributors mention is any sort of religious upbringing. I would wager that most of them have never even darkened the door of a church, let alone actually given a real confession. Hence their desire to indulge in this cleansing ritual despite themselves. Some posters even confess to petty crimes and violence in their submissions.

As we have seen before and as we shall no doubt see again, despite killing God the postmodern world insists on resurrecting him again and again. Only this time instead of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb it is a dead black teenager who — were he still alive — would probably call all of these people faggots before punching them in the face and slamming their heads on the sidewalk. And of course where the Christian confession is a deeply personal and private affair, here we have a bunch of conceited children seeking validation by play acting it on social media.

Darwin's Thumb Down

Girl scientist, probably a Darwinist
Some of my best friends are Christians, and some of them might be creationists, but me, I'm a Darwinist. I've been saying for years that there isn't really any necessary conflict between Christianity and Darwinism, and that most such conflict is contrived. That means that whatever may be true of supernatural things, "whatever gods may be," so to speak, I accept the near-tautology that living things that have characteristics that are optimal for survival and reproduction tend to survive and reproduce, while that is not the case for creatures who lack such characteristics.  They tend, to the contrary, to die out. And, of course, in different times different characteristics become the most advantageous.  That's why species that migrate to a different climate and landscape evolve over time to adapt to it. Like other species, human beings have done just that on many occasions. That's why human groups differ from one another. Add that to the pretty undeniable fact that the genes of living creatures mutate, bringing new characteristics into existence that may or may not be advantageous for survival and reproduction, and you have Darwinism.  Questions about the origin of life are for another debate. Darwinism by my understanding is about how living things change over time, which we call "evolution." So, if you accept this limited definition of Darwinism, which, remember, has nothing to say one way or the other about religious faith, you'll certainly understand Rich Matarese's point here, and you are reminded that science has something to say about just about everything.

Saint Trayvon and Niven's First Law
by Rich Matarese

Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I'm a science fiction fan. Most people are mundanes. They don't read SF much, they don't consider speculative fiction the cutting-edge genre in modern literature, and they're largely illiterate in the sciences and in scientific method.

See the "anthropogenic global warming" (also known as "man-made climate change") fraud.
Mundanes fall for that kind of crap. Science fiction fen? Not hardly.

Okay, for those mundanes reading here, there's a writer named Larry Niven well known in science fiction fandom. Like most SF writers, he's observant, intelligent, and very witty. When asked some decades ago to put together some rules of thumb for life, he came up with Niven's Laws. First among these is one that really, really ought to have been taught to Trayvon Martin back when his photographs showed a cute, endearing young kid instead of the six-foot-three MMA aficionado and burglar he became.

Larry Niven
Niven's First Law: "Never throw shit at an armed man."

Simple, logical, and you'd think that even a drug-raddled thug like Trayvon (Skittles + AriZona Watermelon-flavored beverage + dextromethorphan cough syrup = "lean" to cause hallucinations, stupefication, and psychotic behavior) might be able to understand that, right?
But Trayvon was a mundane. He didn't read science fiction, he'd never heard of Larry Niven, and none of the educrats running the daycare program masquerading as "public education" had thought to expose their victims to something as esoteric as Niven's First Law.
Let's repeat another bit of Larry Niven's wisdom. From one of the novels he co-wrote with Dr. Jerry Pournelle (Oath of Fealty) we get:

"Think of it as evolution in action."

Considering that Trayvon will never reproduce to pass his traits to another generation likely to grow up just as violently sociopathic as he had been, his attack on George Zimmerman—a "creepy-assed cracka" who happened to be an armed man—will happily keep some trash out of the gene pool.

See what you miss by refusing to read science fiction?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pedophiles want same rights as homosexuals

I couldn't find an illustration of an actual pedophile, so here's a picture of
Anthony Weiner exhibiting indignation at anti-pedophile discrimination.

You can call it the slippery slope, you can call it a ratcheting up, or you can call it defining deviancy down.  All are accurate. A reprint from the Greeley Gazette:

Pedophiles want same rights as homosexuals

Claim unfair to be stigmatized for sexual orientation

by Jack Minor –

Using the same tactics used by “gay” rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals.
Critics of the homosexual lifestyle have long claimed that once it became acceptable to identify homosexuality as simply an “alternative lifestyle” or sexual orientation, logically nothing would be off limits. “Gay” advocates have taken offense at such a position insisting this would never happen. However, psychiatrists are now beginning to advocate redefining pedophilia in the same way homosexuality was redefined several years ago.
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. A group of psychiatrists with B4U-Act recently held a symposium proposing a new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders of the APA.
B4U-Act  calls pedophiles “minor-attracted people.” The organization’s website states its purpose is to, “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma and fear.”
In 1998 The APA issued a report claiming “that the ‘negative potential’ of adult sex with children was ‘overstated’ and that ‘the vast majority of both men and women reported no negative sexual effects from  childhood sexual abuse experiences.”
Pedophilia has already been granted protected status by the Federal Government. The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act lists “sexual orientation” as a protected class; however, it does not define the term.
Republicans attempted to add an amendment specifying that “pedophilia is not covered as an orientation;” however, the amendment was defeated by Democrats. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fl) stated that all alternative sexual lifestyles should be protected under the law. “This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these ‘philias’ and fetishes and ‘isms’ that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule.”
The White House praised the bill saying, “At root, this isn’t just about our laws; this is about who we are as a people. This is about whether we value one another  – whether we embrace our differences rather than allowing them to become a source of animus.”
Earlier this year two psychologists in Canada declared that pedophilia is a sexual orientation just like homosexuality or heterosexuality.
Van Gijseghem, psychologist and retired professor of the University of Montreal, told members of Parliament, “Pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offense from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality.”
He went on to say, “True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation. He may, however, remain abstinent.”
When asked if he should be comparing pedophiles to homosexuals, Van Gijseghem replied, “If, for instance, you were living in a society where heterosexuality is proscribed or prohibited and you were told that you had to get therapy to change your sexual orientation, you would probably say that that is slightly crazy. In other words, you would not accept that at all. I use this analogy to say that, yes indeed, pedophiles do not change their sexual orientation.”
Dr. Quinsey, professor emeritus of psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, agreed with Van Gijseghem. Quinsey said pedophiles’ sexual interests prefer children and, “There is no evidence that this sort of preference can be changed through treatment or through anything else.”
In July, 2010 Harvard health Publications said, “Pedophilia is a sexual orientation and unlikely to change. Treatment aims to enable someone to resist acting on his sexual urges.”
Linda Harvey, of Mission America, said the push for pedophiles to have equal rights will become more and more common as LGBT groups continue to assert themselves. “It’s all part of a plan to introduce sex to children at younger and younger ages; to convince them that normal friendship is actually a sexual attraction.”
Milton Diamond, a University of Hawaii professor and director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society, stated that child pornography could be beneficial to society because, “Potential sex offenders use child pornography as a substitute for sex against children.”
Diamond is a distinguished lecturer for the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. The IASHS openly advocated for the repeal of the Revolutionary war ban on homosexuals serving in the military.
The IASHS lists, on its website, a list of “basic sexual rights” that includes “the right to engage in sexual acts or activities of any kind whatsoever, providing they do not involve nonconsensual acts, violence, constraint, coercion or fraud.” Another right is to, “be free of persecution, condemnation, discrimination, or societal intervention in private sexual behavior” and “the freedom of any sexual thought, fantasy or desire.” The organization also says that no one should be “disadvantaged because of  age.”
Sex offender laws protecting children have been challenged in several states including California, Georgia and Iowa. Sex offenders claim the laws prohibiting them from living near schools or parks are unfair because it penalizes them for life.

Alongside Night: The Motion Picture

L. Neil Smith reviews J. Neil Schulman's movie while, you guessed it, a cute girl dances.

Alongside Night: The Motion Picture 
Reviewed by L. Neil Smith 

Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Too many years ago to think about comfortably, I made a convention speech in Phoenix entitled "You Can't Fight a Culture War If You Ain't Got Any Culture" (and yes, I am aware that it should have been "No Culture").

Well here's the news, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, and everybody else in between: the libertarian movement has plenty of culture. Its latest manifestation has arrived in the form of a motion picture version of J. Neil Schulman's long-beloved novel, Alongside Night, a prophetic story of a revolution brought on by a monetary crisis, the sort of crisis seven billion people are living through today.

It's also about "Agorism", an anarcho-capitalistic alternative to organizing human civilizations around the brute initiated force of government.

I suppose a few disclaimers are in order here. The first is that I have known and been friends with "the other Neil" for 34 years, since 1979, when we met at the national Libertarian Party convention at the still-futuristic Los Angeles Bonaventure Hotel, somewhere close to the "there" that Dorothy Parker famously complained there wasn't any of, there.

His first novel, Alongside Night, had just been published; he was at the convention to promote it. I was there to serve on the national platform committee (little knowing it would be my last such appearance), but my own first novel, The Probability Broach, had been sold and was due to be published in December. We also met F. Paul Wilson (who came to accept the very first Prometheus Award) and Robert Anton Wilson, who was there because quantum entanglement had brought him.

We sat in the concrete-modern hotel lobby and talked for a very long time. In those days, he was skinny and I was fat. I think Schulman was already talking about a movie version of his novel even then. So when I heard, a couple of years ago, that he was doing the job himself, I didn't know quite what to expect. The next thing I heard was that Kevin Sorbo was starring in it, and I became extremely interested.

Overall, the cast includes a lot of names that are very familiar to most libertarians and TV science fiction fans. First, on my list, anyway, is Sam (Jenkins) Sorbo, Kevin Sorbo's wife, the lovely creature who played the Golden Hind on Hercules, the Legendary Journeys.

Next, in no particular order: Gary Graham, star of the TV series Alien Nation and the actor who played the Vulcan Ambassador Soval on Star Trek: Enterprise; Garrett Wang and Tim Russ, Ensign Kim and Commander Tuvok, respectively, of Star Trek: Voyager; and Jake Busey, as the President of the United States. We also get glimpses of Adam Kokesh, Ron Paul, Brad Linaweaver, and "King" David Friedman. Schulman himself plays a small but pivotal part.

Special mention to Christian Kramme, a relative newcomer who looks and sounds exactly as I always imagined Eliot Vreeland would look and sound. He also handles an autopistol like he knows what he's doing.

Naturally, everybody wants to know whether the movie's any good. I can't find a proper run-time on, but—keeping in mind that I'm not a real movie critic, and all aesthetics are subjective—it kept me thoroughly interested, and seemed much too short. I'm pretty sure that's usually a good sign. Mind you, Alongside Night is a relatively low-budget picture, but Schulman got excellent value out of every penny. The story is, by turns, touching, suspense-filled, violent when violence was called for, highly polemic, and altogether satisfying. It's also full of inside jokes, so carefully woven in that movement newcomers, or those who haven't read the book, won't notice them.

A great deal of Alongside Night's effect rests on Kevin Sorbo's Herculean shoulders. He brings to the work a look and feel of style and grace, of warmth and strength, of gravitas and dignity that it might otherwise have lacked. He's the real thing. Schulman receives full marks for getting him to sign on. I was a Sorbo fan before. I'm particularly fond of his little made-for-TV western, Avenging Angel.

Now I'm a big Sorbo fan.

With their hats on their heads and their boots on their feet—or is it with their hands in their pockets and their coat-collars high?—Schulman and his trusty sidekick, Associate Producer J. Kent Hastings have been touring the country offering free showings to selected audiences. We were fortunate in Fort Collins to host such an event at Nordy's BBQ restaurant, a favorite libertarian hangout, where Alongside Night was very enthusiastically received, and where an otherwise annoying technical delay allowed us all to make a party of it.

When it comes to theaters, I'll go see it again.

And absolutely without a doubt, enjoy it.