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Friday Open Thread

114 comments to Friday Open Thread

  • Re: “Carnage and Culture” remember reading one big advantage the G.I. had against his German counterpart, during WWII, was the ability to change strategies without waiting for permission from “on high.” Not that a G.I. would fail to follow orders – he’d just find a different way to execute them, if the initial plan wasn’t working.

    • Daniel Crandall

      I attended a book signing event with Prof. Hanson some years ago, and he brought up exactly that point. It’s his theory that the German’s lost, in part, precisely because in-the-field innovation was ‘verboten’. If I recall correctly, he points out that D-Day was a success because Sergeants, Corporals and other enlisted personnel took charge and innovated on the beaches after their officers were killed.

      Bringing this forward, this, by in large, is has been bred out of the American spirit, and has led to a culture of narcissism and dependence. I work at a site controlled by the federal government’s Department of Energy. It is made clear, every day, that employees will face reprimands and threats to continued employment if they vary one iota outside of government approved procedures. Of course, this threat is presented entirely in the name of “safety”.

      What this created, naturally, is a workplace composed of Sheeple.

      • Stephen Ambrose made tha a big part of his book “Citizen Soldiers”. GIs could also fix their equipment in the field more readily because boys from Brooklyn to San Diego tinkered with cars, tractors, outboard motors, home appliances, etc.

      • Mighty Skip

        Interesting and sadly true. I remember one time working for a government client and coming up with some ideas on process improvement, crafting a short report. When I approached the department head he told me not to give it to him, because then he’d have to act on it. He said it was my job to come with points of data and that is all he wanted. So for the remainder of the project that was all he got.

      • Rufus

        Excellent point! This is one of the major downsides of a glut of federal regulation. As indicated in the article Eric posted about traffic signs in the UK, people pay more attention and communicate better in the absence of regulation.

    • Rufus

      Nowhere near as important or significant, but I recommend the book, “Nuts” about Southwest airlines. They empower all employees to make decisions and it is a big part of what has made them so much more successful than any other modern airline.

  • -fritz-

    Coffee, krullers, bacon and a good morning to all.

    Then there’s this:

    http://news.yahoo.com/f-16s-intercept-plane-near-obamas-helicopter-los-005044388.html

    I would guess the plane’s pilot was chastised for trying to deliver to the boss in such an obvious manner and told to pick a more obcsure location for all subsequent deliveries! :-)

    • Magnus Caseus Formatis

      Guess the poor sap thought he was still flying for the Clinton administration!

      • -fritz-

        LOL! Cookie for you when Tink ever wakes up!

        • Tink in Cali

          Puh-leeze, I’m not that late. Good morning, boys! And I’m happy to take a cup of coffee (or four) off your hands. :)

        • Stephanie

          Oh I am late. We were invited to attend a children’s ballet put on by the South Korean gov. So tonight we will be out with the VIPs. The children are adorable….Denny Hastert may be there..I am hoping. Thanks for the coffee Fritz!

          • Mighty Skip

            You do realize he is a Republican and endorsed Romney for this election right? I’m curious if you are going to use your world famous charm and subtly to switch him to Independent status? Do you plan on using the same arguments on him as you do on Threedonians? If so, please please please make a video of it. Or is Marie Antoinette more complacent among the haute monde?

            • Stephanie

              Uh yeah Skip that occurred t me. Did it occur to you that during my time in DC I had more than one interaction with the former speaker including sharing a past with him at the tree lighting Christmas party in 02? You can be a jackass all you want but I did like the guy and I still do. It also prove that you know diddly squat about me or what I have done in my life.

              • Stephanie

                A toast I mean…..sigh…..

              • Mighty Skip

                Of course, it just gives me extreme pleasure to watch you squirm.

              • Can’t speak for Mighty Skip, but I care not one diddle or squat for what you did in a former profession. My concerns are more for how you rudely ran ramshod over Kit — and most all here — yet have uttered not one word of apology since, seemingly not once realizing how fortunate you are to still free to comment here. Don’t mean the site owners pulling the plug, either (their thoughts are their own). Think more our community gunning after you like you were Frankenstein’s rampaging monster.

                Ignore me all ya want, too, Beansy. A) Please refer to prior diddle and squat comment in my caring department, and B) You’ve already proved what kind of character you don’t have, so the lack of contrition kinda understood.

          • Rufus

            I’m sure they are immensely talented. Enjoy the show.

  • David Marcoe

    Is Confucianism a Religion? Interesting article. Confucianism strikes me as being closer to Enlightenment political philosophy in attitude; theologically approaching something like Deism, but consciously setting aside questions of metaphysics. But is it a school of philosophy or a religion? First, it could’ve been/be both in the history of its development. In the West, Stoicism and neo-Platonism essentially became religions, especially in response to Christianity. Second, to try and make a solid separation between philosophy and religion is a fool’s game. If philosophy is theory, religion is just the application. And since no one lives without some theory of life and the world, everybody has their religion, so to speak.

    • Confucius himself was putting forth an ethic. Others can turn it into a religion regardless of original intent. Sort of like “right to privacy”. It’s not in the original document but it’s been read into it (and worshiped).

    • Rufus

      I like a lot of Confucius’ recommendations (I cited one on Wank’s million dollar post as a major rule I live by), however he was a really, really strange dude. We tend to retell the 20%, or so, of his stuff that was Poor Richardesque, but he had whole volumes of rules and mandatory behaviors that were completely absurd, bizarre and harmful.

    • Dr. Schplatt

      Considering people who follow Confucianism go to temples and pray. I’m going to say, “yes”

      But global warming is a religion too, so the bar is set pretty low.

  • Daniel Crandall

    In the spirit of posting interesting articles, here’s something I think will challenge the presuppositions of almost all Threedonians”.

    Religious Liberty?

    It’s a longish essay by Prof. Patrick J. Deneen posted at “Front Porch Republic [dot] com” that, I believe, has a lot of good food for thought. Here’s a couple of selections, but please read the whole thing.

    “Catholic as well as non-Catholic defenders have largely sought to hold at arms length any claims about the rightness or truth of the Church’s teachings on birth control: these are to be treated as belief within a “black box” that should be ignored by liberal society. As long as those crazy beliefs don’t harm individuals within or beyond the faith tradition, then they should be accorded respect and indifference by the State. The Church seeks the leave of the State on the only terms recognizable by the liberal state: we have a certain set of private beliefs that aren’t harming anyone. Leave us alone, and we’ll be quiet.”

    “The response of American Catholics to the HHS mandate has (perhaps necessarily) been framed in dominantly liberal terms that give it a chance of receiving a hearing in today’s public sphere and within its Courts. But it should be acknowledged (as the response to the “Compromise” reveals) that the Church will ultimately lose the argument simply due to the fact that the way it is framed already represents a capitulation to liberal premises. Doubtless, an argument that stated more explicitly the Church’s opposition to birth control would be even more quickly dismissed (but, first, caricatured and mocked) than the current invocation of “religious freedom.” But, the real debate is not over religious freedom, in fact: it is over the very nature of humanity and the way in which we order our polities and societies. Catholicism is one of the few remaining voices of principle and depth that can articulate an forceful and learned alternative to today’s dominant liberal worldview. That it truncates those arguments for the sake of prudential engagement in a contemporary skirmish should not shroud the nature of the deeper conflict. That conflict will continue apace, and Catholics do themselves no favors if they do not understand the true nature of the battle, and the fact that current arguments aid and abet their opponent.”

    • David Marcoe

      But couldn’t it be said that they’re just choosing they’re just choosing when and how to fight their battles? I could equally charge Prof. Deneen with the current conflation of many conservatives with politics and culture. The argument in the public sphere is over religious freedom. The argument in the cultural sphere is over sex, the family, and human relationships. These are two branches from the same trunk, but they have to be tended and pruned separately. The deeper cultural struggle will be dealt with through the heart; evangelism, missions, friendship, the creation of art. Everything has its season.

      • Daniel Crandall

        I understand your point, David, and, as you well know, sympathize with it, but I’ve been thinking a second time about this ‘separate spheres’ idea. How does “Everything has its season” play out when one compromises in one arena, which is my reading of what Deneen writes – “seeks the leave of the State on the only terms recognizable by the liberal state: we have a certain set of private beliefs that aren’t harming anyone. Leave us alone, and we’ll be quiet.” – and then turns around and in another arena argues that the very beliefs one referred to as private, are necessary for a healthy society?

        I think Deneen makes a convincing argument. As I read him, he is saying cultural “warriors” like Andrew Klavan and political “warriors” like Mitch Daniels, who willingly “call for a truce” on “the very nature of humanity and the way in which we order our polities and societies”, solely in order to win at the ballot box, will eventually lose both culturally and politically. It strikes me that once one has surrendered on these issues in one sphere there is no way that one is going to be able to reassert them in another and be taken seriously by those one is trying to convince.

      • David Marcoe

        But is it compromise? Is Deneen reading motivations into the RCC’s position that aren’t there? Is it ceding the field or simply equipping ourselves to fight that battle we face? I wouldn’t disagree with you, if things were as Deneen states. But to say that we are surrendering in a sphere is to presume that there was a battle to be fought there. I question that presumption. The Mandate issue, here and now, is about the government barging in on the free exercise of religion. That it is being fought on those terms doesn’t necessarily mean a wholesale surrender in the war. What Klavan or Daniels (and Daniels got into some hot water for his comment) says doesn’t seem to be the attitude of the average social conservative.

        As to the larger conflict, there’s only so much that can be done in politics. I think the main battle there is the freedom of religion to participate in the public square and have a voice. Next to that are the more specific issues of marriage, abortion, education (sex ed specifically), and the welfare state, but those are strategic points that are still hotly contested, which is where “the way in which we order our polities and societies” comes into play. But the “very nature of humanity” is conflict not won in politics, but in culture.

      • David Marcoe

        To add: Santorum’s surge, in part, may be seen as repudiation, or at least a discounting, of these calls for “truce,” especially since a significant segment of the Tea Party are self-identified “social conservatives.”

      • David Marcoe

        To add, Part II: I think something I said earlier dovetails into this.

    • Tracy,txmom2many

      I do think the Catholic Church understands the battle, they have been fighting for a really long time. Just one issue of their NFP magazine covers almost every argument there is against BC in a very clear and concise manner. It’s hard to have that fight in our current public arena though. I have a hell of time AT CHURCH talking to young women about their attitudes and views of family. Once, when a young lady asked me at a Bible study if she could talk to me after about BC issues, the leader talked to me first to make sure I wasn’t going to go Catholic on her (I’m Baptist). I wanted very much to ask why that would be a bad thing, but since my answer to the issue is strictly Biblical, I just told her what I believe and was “allowed” to have the conversation. Our society had gone so far over on this issue, it’s extremely hard, even among fellow believers, to have the necessary conversations.

      One thing I don’t understand is why more people fighting aren’t bringing up the risks of hormonal birth control. Last night I got into a thing on FB, this woman was claiming BC was essential and uniquely effective for several women’s health issues. That’s just a lie right there. All of the issues can be treated, sometimes more effectively, but definitely with less risk, by other means.

      Of course I also don’t understand why supporters of this don’t get that the Church will be paying for something they don’t believe. I have seen people saying they are just asking the church to allow it, not pay for it,in numerous places. Who do they think pays for the biggest chunk of company insurance? Good Lord, people are dumb.

    • Dr. Schplatt

      This morning I came to the conclusion that religious freedom is a bunch of bull-crap. Might have something to do with the Taoist parade walking up and down the street in front of my house shooting off firecrackers, banging drums, and blowing air horns from 5am – 7:30am on a Saturday.

      But then again…I’m kind of biased against religion at 5am on Saturday morning.

  • Daniel Crandall

    Y’all have got to check out the trailer for Leigh Scott’s “The Witches of Oz“. … And check out his piece about L. Frank Baum’s Oz books and the making of this film. I know it’s posted at that dreaded Breitbart site, but Leigh presents a summary of the Oz books that I’d never thought of before, and makes me want to actually sit down and read them.

    • Thanks for the heads-up on the movie, DC! Hopefully can track it down this weekend. Gotta give full support to glorious 2D when/where you can.

      • Daniel Crandall

        That last bit in the trailer, Eric, got a big smile from me.

        • The movie looks fantastic, but that interpretation of Wizard of Oz as allegory came decades after Baum’s death. Baum himself always argued that it was just a children’s story. A man named Henry Littlefield wrote the original article in 1964 and did a lot of eisegesis — reading into Baum’s text. And in any case… the last thing this country needs is William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold populism. OK — the next to last thing.

          Either way the film looks great and Leigh Scott — besides Christian Toto — is the best thing about Big Hollywood. His series on the Bond films is amazing.

          • Rufus

            I read one or two of the Baum books as a kid and they are very bizarre. My mom had a Raggedy Ann and Andy book written around the same time that is equally bizarre. I think children were used to a different form of story around the turn of the century.

            • Rufus

              As I think of it, those children books were more like Homeric epics, rambling stories with interesting characters and situations popping up every few pages, rather than being stories like “Huck Finn” that build to a specific point.

            • -fritz-

              Too much info on Lizzy Borden floating around those days, I presume.

            • Tink in Cali

              I think that it also goes along with the nursery rhyme/fairy tale warning type of story as most of the older ones were vs. the newer type of children’s story that is all about princesses, heroes and happily ever after, which are not necessarily bad things but not always very realistic either.

              • Rufus

                I don’t like the fairytale trend you accurately describe, but I mean something much more fundamental. Pick up one of Baum’s books sometime. My guess is you will literally have trouble relating. It’s just a completely different manner of story telling.

    • Rufus

      I can’t remember the last time I was on that site (only have time for one), but Leigh Scott was one of the post’ers who I thought “got it” better than almost anyone in the early days. He seems like a very smart man.

      • Tink in Cali

        I agree with you fellows about Leigh Scott, I always thought his writing and analysis were about the best they had to offer over there (including Toto and Klavan, of course).

        • Rufus

          Klavan is amazing! I also really liked the guy Gary Somethingorother, but, as I wrote, I haven’t been there for a long time. Klavan is so good he makes me just a twinge mad. As I’m watching him and enjoying his work I get just a mite jealous at how much better he is at expressing himself. Mark Steyn is the same way. Brilliant!

  • Scott M.

    This is a guy I really wish I could have seen play…Jim Brown,turns 76 today.

    http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PLAYER_ID=33

  • *runs in*
    Entertainment Weekly plans to liveblog Whitney Houston’s funeral! TF, TF, TF????!?!?!
    Was there ANYone at that meeting who went, “Eeeyyeeuuwww, are you kidding?!?” This is like a deleted scene from Sleeper.
    *runs out*

    • Tink in Cali

      I saw that over there and had pretty much the same reaction. Way to keep it classy, EW.

    • Mighty Skip

      Lowering the flag, televising the funeral… She was a talented singer but what the hell? Maybe this is just a natural step in the ‘everyone wins a trophy’ mentality. If we DIDN’T celebrate her life as if she had a massive effect on history then we have wronged her by not treating her equally (racism works in nicely here too).

      Of course, somehow it’s up to the extreme Left to decide who gets this treatment, in the form of the entertainment industry. And the criteria of who is worthy are a little fuzzy to me.

      • I think Texas lowered its flag for Stevie Ray Vaughan back in ’91 — I know there was a “Day” proclaimed by Gov. Richards back then… of course — it was SRV.

      • Scott M.

        Yeah,did Frank Sinatra get a half staff?

      • Rufus

        No one even lobbied for this for Etta James, who had as good a voice and who will have more songs live on longer than Ms. Houston (who was a great singer, by the way). I think it has more to do with how she died and how she lived her life. There is a segment of humanity that bends over backwards to show its compassion by exaggerating its acceptance of non-mainstream behavior. “I can’t be against the (poor/minorities/drug addicts/homeless/criminals/alcoholics…) because I treat them like heads of state.” I guess it’s kind of like the mentality of buying indulgences. Rather than doing something to help your fellow man you affect outward ostentation that attaches you to a group that “cares” about a cause, and by extension, help your fellow man?

        • Tink in Cali

          I like the “indulgences” line of thinking, Rufus – that is as good a way as any to look at it.
          And Etta James lived to a ripe old age and died of natural causes – where is the drama in that (from the sensational media point of view)?

          • Rufus

            Correct on Etta James, but I think what is even more important in the media’s eyes is she resolved the troubles in her life (the troubles we all have) and lived to be not only a great talent, but a good person. I don’t know much about Whitney except that she was gorgeous when I saw her on MTV in the ’80s and she was an amazing singer, but I don’t think she ever became a person who gave back a lot. I think that’s why the media is rallying more behind her than Etta.

            It’s kind of the “nice guys finish last” phenomenon. Hollywood mourned John Belushi’s death much more than it ever will Jeff Foxworthy’s.

  • Tink in Cali

    Who else has seen the Bing photo of the day? I thought is was a very pretty locale and was surprised to see it was in Vietnam. After seeing and reading so much about the horrible conditions for our soldiers there, I was surprised to see that it could be a place of beauty as well. I guess that is the earthly paradox for everyone and everything, there is always the good AND the bad and we would do well to remember it.

  • Mighty Skip

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=49621

    Tim Geithner is a baffoon. “When the hardcore Left hears Paul Ryan explain that current modeling shows the economy shutting down in 15 years, they think, ‘Good.’ They think he’s projecting the death of capitalism, which to them means the beginning of something much better.”

    Yup.

  • Mighty Skip

    Pat Buchanan is out on MSNBC. Not sure how you all feel about him, but it does not bode well that Media Matters and its left wing allies can be so successful.

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/17/media-matters-does-victory-lap-over-pat-buchanans-exit/

    Also, Atheist victory in NH. It has been a slow day for me.

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/17/aclu-atheist-teen-cheer-decision-to-remove-school-prayer-banner/

  • -fritz-

    I’m not sure what this means, or what language it is, but I passed a restaurant this afternoon named “Ta Ta’s Asian Bistro.” Is that Chinese for a “Hooters?”

  • -fritz-

    I saw a bumper sticker this afternoon as well. It said:

    If you want Food Stamps
    Vote Democrat

    If you want a Paycheck
    Vote Republican

  • When/if gas hits $5/Gal I’d like a bumper sticker that says:

    Like the gas prices?
    Thank a Democrat!

    Like to show up with THAT one in the gas line at Costco.

  • Magnus Caseus Formatis

    Yesterday, I saw it for $3.14 here. Shoulda filled up.

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