Star Wars is dead

Not that George Lucas hasn’t methodically gone about ruining his creation for decades, beginning with The Return of the Jedi and those damned Ewoks, but the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney pretty much guarantees that the franchise will never, ever, return to its erstwhile glory.  This take on the acquisition by a Slashdot commenter named Doctor Jest summed it up rather nicely:

Mark my words…. Episode 7 will be all goddamned Ewoks. And
Chewbacca will have a perm and PTSD from the final battle. Then we have
to have the token black guy/chick… forget Billy Dee Williams. We’re
getting Will Smith or his bratty little kid. C3P0 will finally come out
of the closet and admit he’s been taking it up the exhaust pipe from
IG-88 for years. R2D2 will be turned into a karaoke machine…. Luke
will become a homeless religious nut while Han Solo and Leia will have six
kids on galactic welfare… and the evil Ritt Momney will threaten to
close the youth center Han and Leia run unless the duo can field a
tiddlywinks team in time for the big tournament on Yaavin IV. Meanwhile,
the Emperor’s clones will become the universe’s ugliest choir.

I know the franchise is truly dead. Thank goodness I got it on Blu Ray
before Disney got their slimy dickskinners on the franchise. Disney
fucked the Muppets… (I believe they killed Henson because he was
having second thoughts on the sale… ok, so I made that up… but
Disney’s fucking evil!)

It’s sad, because Disney used to be a wonderful organization itself.  Now it is the evil vampire squid of the entertainment world, mindlessly devouring and excreting out the stinking remnants of one entertainment franchise after another.  It was never going to happen, but imagine how much creativity could have been unleashed if George Lucas had released Star Wars under the LGPL.  Instead, we’re going to get gay Ewoks singing musical numbers and Hispanic princesses wielding lightsabers and going on intergalactic voyages with sparkly alien vampires where they defeat the evil Ritt Momney and Pand Raul in the process of learning the important lesson that the ultimate truth in life is to be tolerant of others who are different… unless they are Republicans.


All right, now that we’ve seen the very entertaining justifications presented by the cognitively challenged Obama voters, let’s see if the Dread Ilk can do any better.  For whom are you voting next week and why?  Alternatively, if you are not voting, what is your justification for your decision.

Stow the reactions to anyone else’s endorsement or reasoning, limit your comments to your own intended actions.  I’ll highlight what I consider to be some of the best and worst of them in a post tomorrow, and present my own endorsement for the presidential election.

On a tangential note, I found this to be easily the most interesting out of the 150+ endorsements there:

I have been undecided for a very, very long time. But I think this
thread is what finally made up my mind – after reading how many people
want Obama because they believe he won’t try to prevent Iran from going
nuclear. I’m endorsing Romney even though I’m angered by a lot of the
nonsense that comes out of the Republican Party, and even though I agree
with Obama on most things, especially health care and immigration

Why? Because my grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, and the
slaughter of her entire family was enabled, in part, by a policy of
wishful-thinking appeasement that thought any sacrifice was acceptable
to avoid war, and that the leader talking publicly about killing all the
Jews couldn’t possibly mean it seriously.

After World War II, as a 16-year-old without a single living person
in the world who knew her name, my grandmother moved to Israel, the only
country that would take her. Israel is where most of my relatives live
now. And much as I would love to, I can’t vote for the candidate who
seems likely to follow a policy of wishful-thinking appeasement while
Iran works on its nuclear arsenal and talks publicly about wiping
Israel’s six million Jews off the map.

Translation: Obama has lost the Jews.  Their concern for Israel is trumping their domestic left-liberal concerns.  If those who “agree with Obama on most things” are now voting for Romney due to his tough talk on Iran, Obama is one and done.

Conspiracy theorists, you disappoint me

For literally years, I’ve been hearing rumors concerning how Obama was going to cancel the presidential election and rule over the subdued nation as a CommunIslamic dictator with an iron fist.  And now, with this so-called “hurricane” meme being pushed on a credulous nation by Obama’s lapdogs in the mainstream, complete with photoshopped pictures of wind, rain, and eroded beaches and cheap Dan Rather-style videos of fake weather-buffeted reporters, giving Obama the perfect excuse to cancel the election next week, absolutely no one has managed to put two and two together?  No one thinks this is the perfectly-timed storm to put an end American democracy?  No one has even suggested that the man of mysterious birth who could make the oceans stop rising, and has now reportedly summoned the ocean’s wrath in a suspiciously timely manner, is not the bastard son of Poseidon?

Conspiracy theorists, you make me sad.  A very poor showing all around, I’m sorry to say.

VDH describes Krugman and his kind

VDH on the naive and ignorant mindset of the left-liberal elite

In the elite liberal mind, there is instead a sort of progressive Big
Rock Candy Mountain. Gasoline comes right out of the ground through the
nozzle into the car. Redwood 2x4s sprout from the ground like trees.
Apples fall like hail from the sky; stainless steel refrigerator doors
are mined inches from the surface. Tap water comes from some enormous
cistern that traps rain water.  Finished granite counter tops
materialize on the show room floor. Why, then, would we need Neanderthal
things like federal gas and oil leases, icky dams and canals, yucky
power plants, and gross chain saws — and especially those who would dare
make and use them? 

For some, especially those who are well-educated and well-spoken, a
sort of irrational furor at “the system” governs their political
make-up. Why don’t degrees and vocabulary always translate into big
money? Why does sophisticated pontification at Starbucks earn less than
mindlessly doing accounting behind a desk? We saw this tension with
Michelle Obama who, prior to 2009, did not quite have enough capital to
get to Aspen or Costa del Sol, and thereby, despite the huge
power-couple salaries, Chicago mansion, and career titles, felt that
others had far too much more than the Obamas. “Never been proud,”
“downright mean country,” “raise the bar,” etc., followed, as
expressions of yuppie angst. The more one gets, the more one believes he
should get even more, and the angrier he gets that another — less
charismatic, less well-read, less well-spoken — always seems to get

So do not discount the envy of the sophisticated elite. The unread
coal plant manager, the crass car dealer, or the clueless mind who farms
1000 acres of almonds should not make more than the sociology
professor, the kindergarten teacher, the writer, the artist, or the
foundation officer. What sort of system would allow the dense and easily
fooled to become better compensated (and all for what — for superfluous
jet skis and snowmobiles?) than the anguished musician or tortured-soul
artist, who gives so much to us and receives so much less in return?
What a sick country — when someone who brings chain saws into the Sierra
would make more than a UC Berkeley professor who would stop them.

And lest you think he exaggerates about the inability of the left-liberal to understand concepts as basic as where things come from, consider this recent offering from Paul Krugman, among the most elite members of the left-liberal community.

Both Dean Baker and Josh Bivens weigh in Robert Samuelson’s outburst at the New York Times for saying that the government can too create jobs. (He went so far as to call it “flat-earth” thinking). Sadly, Samuelson’s attitude is widely shared — even, at least rhetorically, by Barack Obama.

So let me not focus on Samuelson’s piece so much as on the general proposition. What can it possibly mean to say that only the private sector can create jobs?

It could mean that government jobs aren’t “real” jobs — presumably that they don’t supply something of value to society. Samuelson disavows that position, I think — and rightly so. After all, the bulk of government workers are in education, protective services, and health. Do you really want to say that schoolteachers, firefighters, and nurses provide nothing of value?

What Samuelson is saying, what hundreds of economists have recognized for literally centuries, is that schoolteachers, firefighters and nurses PRODUCE nothing of value.  This should be obvious, because none of them PRODUCE anything at all.  Think about it.  Suppose that everyone was either a schoolteacher, a firefighter, or a nurse.  How much wealth would be collectively produced by them?  Absolutely nothing.

Schoolteachers, firefighters, and nurses are all societal luxury goods.  They are costs, at most they may allow for the leveraging and development of more efficient productive laborers, but in themselves, they produce absolutely nothing.  Their productive value is zero.  This is something that can be easily observed by anyone who has ever seen someone teaching, firefighting, or nursing.  And yet, the most elite of the elite left-liberals genuinely cannot grasp this.  Nor is he the only one, as Baker and Bivens demonstrate.  Samuelson is too kind when he mocks them as flat-earthers.  At least the flat earthers can reasonably observe that the earth looks flat from their vantage point.

And then they voted….

As most of you already know, I won’t be voting for either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.  They are both corrupt men who are owned by the financial interests and primarily seek political power due to their character flaws.  Obama is is a weak little man whose only saving grace is his laziness, while Romney’s greatest strength, his executive competence, only makes him the more dangerous candidate for the country.

But given that few of us tend to pay much attention to the mindless blatherings of the sort of dimwits and mid-wits who still genuinely support Obama after nearly four years of witnessing the man’s boundless incompetence, I thought it might be interesting to see what their justifications are for endorsing the man for a second term.  Keep in mind these are actual, original sentiments expressed by people who are declaring their public support for Obama in the full knowledge that others will be reading them.  Depending upon your psychological outlook, you may find these presidential endorsements to be either highly amusing or incredibly depressing:

Obama.  Cause Repubs scare me. All the anti-women and anti-science talk bothers me greatly as a fairly smart woman with a daughter.  I don’t want to see my future turn into A Handmaiden’s Tale.

Women should get paid as much as men. Gay people should be allowed to make legal life-long commitments to the person they love. Women should be in control of their own bodies. People who have the misfortune to get a disease shouldn’t be shut out from medical care for the rest of their lives. Kids shouldn’t starve because their parents are poor. We ought to send fewer of our boys and girls abroad, and do better for them when they come home. We should be a leader in science, instead of rejecting it.  OBAMA 2012.

I support Barack Obama because he is not a Republican, and because I do not want to see any more people suffering.

I’m endorsing Obama. Basically because my GOP relatives just completely baffle me with their lack of sense – as do most of the GOP that I have seen lately on news outlets.

I endorse Obama as he has done the best he could with the mess he was left with, he has dealt with the GOP whose goal above all including the needs of the country was to make Mr. Obama a single term president and he allows women to choose.

I’m voting for Obama because stimulus is the only way to get an economy out of a depression, because we need to have the rich pay their fair share of taxes and right now they’re paying some of the lowest taxes in the last hundred years, because if it hadn’t been for unemployment benefits being extended I would have lost my house, because we need health care reform, we need to put an end to insurance companies being able to drop paying customers once they get sick.

I endorse Barack Obama for a second term. He turned around the economy, killed Bin Laden, and has changed his mind on gay marriage.

I am Voting for President Obama because he is the leader of the anti-rape party. Seriously.

Given what he’s accomplished in the context in which he’s had to work, I’m satisfied with Obama as president so far. That alone would enough in most election years to allow him to keep my vote in his tally. Is this the glowing, ringing endorsement that Obamaites can shout to the hills? I suppose it’s not, but this should not be confused with a lukewarm or half-hearted endorsement. This is not “you’ll do.” It’s “you’ve done well. Keep going.”

These are just a few of the many reasons I do not believe in the legitimacy or efficacy of pseudo-democracy. In addition to underlining the basic fallacy of “representative” democracy, it should suffice to explode the oft-heard claim that Democrats are more intelligent. In fact, if one takes the trouble to examine the electoral demographics, it is quite clear that the average Republican is both more intelligent and better-educated than the average Democrat.  Of course, that is a very low bar to clear, as one need only examine the disastrous Republican performance in office over the last thirty years to see that having ever-so-slightly more intelligent voters hasn’t prevented Republicans from governing in a disastrous manner.

If you’re the sort with a macabre sense of humor who finds this sort of thing amusing, you’ll find plenty more at McRapey’s.  If, on the other hand, this makes you despair for the country, I would urge you to be sure to have a suicide hotline on speed dial before wading into the mire.

Nexus 10 $399 to $499

Google bags the launch and announces its new hardware anyhow:

Hurricane Sandy can’t hold Google (GOOG) down, as the company has just gone ahead and unveiled the Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet even though its press conference was canceled. Nexus 4 specs include a 4.7-inch True HD IPS Plus display with 1,280 x 768-pixel resolution, an 8-megapixel camera, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The phone starts at a shockingly affordable $299 without any contract or subsidies, and it will launch in the United States on November 3rd.

The Samsung (005930)-built Nexus 10 tablet sports a 2,560 x 1,600-pixel display with a pixel density of 300 PPI, a dual-core 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos chipset, 2GB of RAM, NFC and a 5-megapixel camera. Pricing starts at $399 with 16GB of storage and tops out at $499 for the 32GB model, and both will launch on November 3rd alongside the Nexus 4.

Not quite as aggressively competitive as I’d thought, but it doesn’t sound bad at all.  I’m just hoping that they got the fragile screen issue from the Nexus 7 resolved.

Mailvox: the logic of God II

In which Passerby attempts to poke holes in the logical argument demonstrating the irrationality of his position concerning the simultaneous existence of evil and the nonexistence of God.

Well! I wasn’t expecting an entire fresh post devoted to my challenge
in that other thread. I’m so honored. Pardon my late arrival.  Okay,
first off, VD, looks like you threw a gutter ball from your second
premise, as Riki-Tiki-Tavi already sensed. Let’s have a look at it:

The existent fact of wrongdoing necessarily requires that there is a
material universal standard of right and wrong by which actions can be

Incorrect. The existent fact of wrongdoing/evil
does not require a material universal standard of right and wrong. The
existent fact of wrongdoing is self-evident because the alternative is…
the nonexistence of wrongdoing. Good luck making a sound argument for
the nonexistence of wrongdoing. Think anyone can do it passably? I
don’t and I suspect you don’t either. So we should agree there. That’s
point number one.

Point number one is incorrect.  Notice here that Passerby is not only taking exception to my point, but to entire philosophies such as nihilism, existentialism, and, ironically enough, rational materialism.  His argument is surprisingly weak, based as it is on the self-evidence of wrongdoing.  Is it self-evident that stealing is wrong?  That not voting is wrong? 

Consider how little sense his argument makes if we substitute a non-existent fact for wrongdoing/evil.  The existent fact of unicorns
does not require a material universal standard of unicorns and not-unicorns. The
existent fact of unicorns is self-evident because the alternative is…
the nonexistence of unicorns.

If we cannot tell the difference between a unicorn and a not-unicorn, then we cannot possibly declare that unicorns do or do not exist.  But if we have established the fact that unicorns do exist, we have necessarily established a material and universal standard for what a unicorn is and what a unicorn is not.  Therefore, point number one fails and the second step in the logical argument remains standing.

Point number two. Another thing wrong
with this “necessary universal standard” claim of yours (I noticed you
used that word “standard” seventeen times in your post, so to continue
the bowling metaphor, it’s like your very bowling ball to bowl with,
without which… well, game over — but I’ll give you a dollar so you can
go play some Ms. PacMan) is that six billion people in the world could
have six billion different standards of wrongdoing, but everyone would
nonetheless agree that wrongdoing does exist in the world.

let’s imagine those six billion individuals’ six billion different
standards of wrongdoing can be each given a numerical value. I’m not
saying it can ever actually be done, but just go with me here. After
they’ve all been given a numerical value, they’re arranged in order on a
vertical meter with a red zone on the bottom and a green zone on the
top. Put the meter on the lowest setting of “1”. That setting belongs
to a guy who disagrees with all 5,999,999,999 people above him whom he
considers to be an increasing bunch of prissy Miss Manners types who see
wrongdoing in all kinds of ways he doesn’t. But he at least sees one
instance of wrongdoing in the world and everyone above him agrees that
he at least got one right. So it seems to me (I’m just now coming up
with this, but I’ll try to land this thing in one piece) that this
minimum setting of “1” is the standard, if anything, for the existence
of wrongdoing. Below that is “0” which represents nonexistence of

Point being, our subjectivity is flawed, but it’s far
from useless! There is, after all, communication and agreement. It’s
precisely because of our limitation as trapped individuals of
subjectivity that science is the best idea we’ve ever come up with (or
happened upon) to make gains on objectivity. To paraphrase Steven
Pinker, science is our highest, purest expression of reason.
Objectivity is perhaps an unattainable goal, but we’ve seemingly made
lots of progress toward it given our technological conquests, our
steadily decreasing rate of violence in ever larger, more complex
populations, etc. I say seemingly because a cosmic rug pulling could be
in store for us a la The Matrix at any time, but that caveat aside,
it’s our processes of communication, cooperation, record keeping,
rhetorical persuasion, experimentation, reason, science, etc. that we
arrive at standards of right and wrong be they amoral (e.g., math,
chemistry, physics) or moral. And we arrive at them, to the extent we
do, through our own shared reasoning, thank you very much. No divinity
needed or even evident. 

Point number two is not so much incorrect as irrelevant, bordering on a category error. In this section, Passerby fails to grasp that an objective standard is more than the sum of six billion subjective opinions, and in fact, no number of subjective opinions can produce an objective standard, by definition.  The more the standard is “influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice”, the less objective it can be, regardless of whether those competing feelings, interpretations, and prejudices are harmonious or not.  Existent evil/wrongdoing requires a material and universal standard, even if our subjective experience of the objective reality is different in six billion different ways.

If the readers don’t mind indulging me in following Passerby on one of his tangents, I will add that Stephen Pinker is wrong about science as he is wrong about so many things.  Science is most certainly not the highest and purest expression of reason.  Not only is it not reason at all, it was specifically conceived, developed, and utilized to replace pure reason.  This is why Science is so often at odds with Philosophy as well as Religion; Science is nothing more than the systematic codification of experience.

So evacuate already

Yes, all the storm warnings about ex-Hurricane Sandy are probably overhyped.  Overhype is one of the chief attributes of our increasingly idiocratic society.  But, even so, what’s the point in taking the risk?  Spacebunny and I used to live in a coastal area, and we figured that if a hurricane ever came our way, we’d just take advantage of it to have a week’s vacation somewhere inland.  So, if you’re in the storm’s path, get out of Dodge and take it easy.

That being said, this warning from the National Weather Service is weirdly sentimental:


Think of the poor children!  Think of the poor banks!  Wait, never mind, that’s the Obama and Romney campaigns, not the Weather Service.  The point is, you’re not going to score any points for hunkering down when you could be at a cheerful bed and breakfast waiting out the storm while enjoying the guilty pleasures of eating homemade chocolate chip cookies and watching the Obama campaign continue to immolate itself.

I do find it interesting, however, that we haven’t heard much about the storm being caused by global warming.  That meme is really dying out fast, because even three years ago, there is no way the media would have missed the chance to bang that drum.  I’m a bit bitter about the storm myself, as it seems to have delayed Google’s announcement of the Nexus 10.  I understand they had to cancel the event, but I would still like to know when it will be available and what it will cost.

Anyhow, if you’re one of the Dread Ilk in the path of the storm, stay safe out there and let us know you’re all right.

WND column

Is Obama unfit for command?

There were no American helicopters shot down at the CIA annex in
Benghazi. But those who have seen the movie, “Blackhawk Down,” will
surely recall the scene where the two Delta snipers, Randy Shugart and
Gary Gordon, are desperately fighting off the Somali attackers, who are
attempting to capture the crew of the downed Black Hawk. Shugart and
Gordon, valiant men who were both posthumously awarded the congressional
Medal of Honor, killed 25 Somalis while defending the crew before being
killed by the enemy militia.

As the details of the large-scale attacks on the American diplomatic
compound and the CIA annex gradually leak out into the press, it appears
that two of the four fallen Americans, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods
and Glen Doherty, died fighting in a manner no less valorous than Sgt.
1st Class Shugart and Master Sgt. Gordon.

John Scalzi squicked me out too

Sometimes, the world is a vastly amusing place.  It’s at times like these that I think perhaps Dr. Pangloss was right and this is the best of all possible worlds.  John appears to be having some belated regrets about google-bombing himself, but you know, that’s the risk you take when you write “satire”.  If our revered SFWA President doesn’t like to see “John Scalzi is a rapist” floating around the Internet, then perhaps Mr. Scalzi should refrain from writing articles on the Internet in which he rhapsodizes about the pleasure he takes in raping women.  It’s a difficult concept, I know, but I’m confident that our fearless leader will one day figure it out.

I find it particularly funny that he claims I’m flailing about and providing unintentional comedy gold:

Blogger Joé McKen catches one of my regular detractors making a spectacularly dumb move, and then watches him flail about, trying to rationalize his unintentional comedy gold. No, I’m not going to link to the detractor’s site directly, because among other things the site is full of racism, sexism and general ick; McKen’s got the links if you want them, and all the relevant details if you don’t.

Over on McKen’s site, one of the commenters there, who is also a frequent commenter here, wonders about whether my detractor could be on the hook for libel. Certainly the detractor’s headline for the particular blog entry in question (“John Scalzi is a rapist”) is factually inaccurate; the detractor is (now, at least) aware it’s so; presuming McKen’s account of event is accurate, which I have no reason to doubt, it wasn’t published with the intent to be satire or hyperbole nor has much chance of being considered so now; and obviously, being branded a rapist, and having it believed, would be detrimental to my public and private life. So if I had a mind to sue my detractor for libel, he might have to hope I am enough of a public figure that it would obviate all those other factors and he wouldn’t be squashed like a bug.

But why sue? I’m happy to have him leave it up as a testament to his both his credulity while he thought it was true, and his mendacity now that he knows that it’s not. It’s a cogent reminder of what both his opinion and credibility is worth.

Credulous, mendacious, and libelous.  There’s a combination one doesn’t often see.  I’m pleased to know that he’s happy I’m leaving it up, though, because the thought of taking it down had never even occurred to me.  The fact of the matter is that John Scalzi announced to the world that he is a rapist.  He is on record at his site declaring as much.  He can claim that his admission is “satire” until he turns blue if he likes, but the fact of the matter is that you cannot come out and say the sorts of things that he does and subsequently complain that your statements have been quoted at length and taken at face value.  It would certainly be interesting to see him attempt to see me “squashed like a bug”:

“He libeled me, your honor!”

“How so?”

“Well, um, he kind of quoted me….”

“He QUOTED you?”

“Yeah, but he KNEW what I was saying wasn’t true!”

“And how do you know he knew that?”

I most certainly do not know that John Scalzi is not a rapist.  I didn’t know it then and I don’t know it now.  He said he is, now he says his previous statement was factually inaccurate… for all I know, John spends his evenings raping his cats in between making calls on behalf of the Obama campaign in Ohio.

His argument becomes even more confusing since he’s also claiming a) I didn’t understand his satire, and, b) there is no reason to doubt my own post was not published with the intent to be satire or hyperbole.  So, apparently we’re to believe that I knowingly libeled him by quoting him about something I believed to be true.  At this point, I’m left to conclude that John’s best defense against having it generally believed that he is a rapist is that anyone reading his increasingly convoluted thoughts on the matter will assume he is a teenage girl.

Now here is the punchline.  John is amazed how deeply he got into the head of a rapist in writing the piece:

“I wrote it from the point of view of a rapist, I think obviously in
retrospect, because it would have a stronger impact if I did. A couple
of people have asked me (not entirely unwarily) how I could get into the
head of someone like that. The short answer is, folks, fiction is what I
do. I try to put myself in the heads of a lot of different people. I will note that in this case, I was very happy to get out of that particular head as quickly as possible. I don’t often squick myself out writing a piece, but this is one time I definitely did.”

He definitely squicked me out too!  I mean, John is such a good and talented writer that I truly believed he was an actual rapist when I read his piece.  It was a shockingly powerful piece.  It was one of the most hauntingly powerful pieces of writing on the subject I have ever seen.  It touched me in places I have never been touched before, without my consent.  He raped us all with his words and I feel hurt, violated, and confused.  I am still convinced that John Scalzi is a rapist, despite his unconvincing ex post facto denials, because obviously no fiction writer, even a best-selling, talented writer like John, could possibly have made up anything THAT convincing.