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Half Cocked

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The Judge, Jury, and Jailer Will be Back After This Commercial Message

I wonder if anyone in the Blogosphere is paying attention to the Trayvon Martin case. It’s a classic example of prosecution by media.

A kid named Trayvon Martin was visiting relatives in Sanford, Florida. He went out to get candy and a drink. On the walk home, he was spotted by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, who was armed. Zimmerman followed him, thinking he might be a criminal. There was a scuffle. Zimmerman shot and killed him.

Zimmerman is Hispanic. Martin is black.

Naturally, the press is crucifying Zimmerman. Because there is strong evidence that he committed a murder? No. Because he is now the face of a good law liberals hate.

Under Florida law, you don’t have to run away when you’re attacked. If it’s legal for you to be where you are, you don’t have to jump into the ocean or out in front of traffic. You don’t have to leave your own home or leap across train tracks while your assailant laughs and sees how far he can make you run. You’re allowed to kill him without running. It’s not your job to exert yourself and subject yourself to more danger in order to save the criminal’s life. That’s just common sense. If the law were otherwise, criminals would be permitted to chase you all day, and while the law would offer you some protection, it would be of no practical use. Few people are going to prosecute criminals for picking on them and chasing them around, when no physical harm is done.

Liberals hate this law because it puts teeth in the centuries-old right to self-defense. Liberals like punishing law-abiding victims, and they want to protect stupid, violent people.

Because of their bias against self-defense, liberals are all over Zimmerman, and they’re lying about him in order to stir up the public. I feel very sorry for him. It seems like no one is defending him.

Zimmerman may be a murderer, but the truth is, we don’t know that, and the facts so far suggest he is not. We should be allowing law enforcement to make a careful investigation instead of jumping to moronic, unfair conclusions. We are supposed to have courts in the United States. We are supposed to investigate shootings and use reason to determine the rights of those involved. Zimmerman is in danger of going to jail simply because talking heads don’t like the laws of the State of Florida. That’s a terrible situation to be in.

Here are the facts.

1. Martin was unarmed.

2. Martin was walking around Zimmerman’s neighborhood.

3. Zimmerman followed Martin, believing he might be casing the houses.

4. Martin approached Zimmerman.

5. There was a fight.

6. A witness saw Zimmerman on the ground under Martin.

7. After the fight, Zimmerman had grass stains on his back, and his face was bloody.

8. No one saw the shooting.

9. There is a recording of someone screaming for help, followed by a gunshot, but the recording is of very poor quality.

10. Zimmerman claims the person screaming was him.

That’s really all we have. The Miami Herald is adding in inflammatory garbage. They pointed out that Zimmerman called the police a lot. Hello? He’s a neighborhood watch captain. That’s what they do. Other media outlets are pointing out that Zimmerman was once arrested for battery on a LEO and resisting arrest, but he was not prosecuted, and no one has bothered digging up the facts.

People are also saying that a police dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow Martin, as if that has some relevance. First of all, it never happened. The dispatcher said, “Okay, we don’t need you doing that.” Second, the law doesn’t say police dispatchers have the authority to order you to avoid contact with people.

Why are we trying this case on TV and in the newspapers? What happened to due process? What is the point of having courts and investigators, if we’re going to let heartless media halfwits decide who goes to jail?

If there are facts that suffice to put this man in jail, presumably, the police will make an effort to uncover them. If not, he should be left alone.

It’s odd that “journalists” aren’t making more of Zimmerman’s ethnicity. He is clearly not white. Look at his photo some time. His father says he comes from a multi-racial family with many black members. He is part of a highly diverse social circle. He’s not a blue-eyed Aryan with swastikas tattooed on his forearms. It seems obvious that the press wants us to see this as a white-on-black execution, committed by a bigoted vigilante. So far, the only white people involved have been cops and journalists.

If someone knocks you down and starts beating you, you are allowed to shoot him. That would not change, even if Florida imposed a duty to retreat. You can’t retreat when you’re on your back. If Martin was beating Zimmerman, and Zimmerman feared severe INJURY (it doesn’t have to be death), then Zimmerman had the right to shoot. Believe it or not, even in 2012, you don’t have to allow criminals to beat you, just because you probably won’t be killed. We haven’t sunk that low yet. And if Martin was beating Zimmerman, he was a criminal.

If I had to guess–and that means GUESS, because unlike the other armchair detectives, I’m willing to admit I don’t know what happened–I would say Martin got mad because he was being followed. His race was probably one reason he was followed, and even if it wasn’t, it would be understandable for Martin to assume it was. He probably lost his temper and did something stupid. He probably attacked Zimmerman, not knowing he was armed. This is the most reasonable explanation.

Some people say Martin was screaming on the recording, begging for his life. If you listen to it, though, you can’t tell what the person is saying. It sounds like the word “help,” but it isn’t clear. And who is more likely to yell for help? A man lying on his back with a bloody face, like Zimmerman, or someone who is on top of him, inflicting damage?

If Martin is innocent, why is Zimmerman injured? Why were there grass stains on the back of his shirt? Did he beat himself up after he fired, in order to claim self-defense? His accusers have no explanation.

The only anti-Zimmerman explanation that makes any sense at all is this: Zimmerman attacked, Martin overcame him, and Zimmerman fired. That would not be self-defense, if Zimmerman’s attack was unprovoked. But why would he do that? What’s the point? Imagine yourself in his shoes. In thirty seconds, you can send the cops a cell phone photo and retreat to a safe distance to maintain observation. If you attack, you take a risk that your gun will be exposed to your attacker, and he’ll use it against you. There is no reason to do it, unless you’re an idiot.

Zimmerman might be an idiot. It could be that he made some kind of effort to restrain Martin, and Martin defended himself, and the fight escalated into an illegal shooting. And maybe Zimmerman somehow gave Martin time to scream for help repeatedly. But that’s a stretch.

Whatever the truth is, it should be uncovered through a professional investigation. It shouldn’t be buried under media hysteria and racist craziness. And we shouldn’t be ruining a man’s life in order to put our laws themselves on trial. If he’s guilty, he should pay. But I don’t trust ABC News to make that determination.

Breitbart’s Passing

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Internet Milestone

I just looked at The Drudge Report and learned that Andrew Breitbart has died. It’s a big shock.

I was never a fan of his, and he didn’t like me at all. He even referred to me as “evil” in a private conversation. In spite of that, or really, because of that, I am taking a minute to say that I am sorry to hear the bad news, and that I will pray for his wife and kids. This has to be a terrible blow for them.

I assume the usual graceless career trolls will be out in force today, trumpeting his demise as a victory for their side. Usually, people on the right behave better than those on the left, but I do remember the vile things some conservatives said when Ted Kennedy died, so I hope people will take the gloating in stride and not let it affect their own behavior or attitudes.

GAME OVER

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The Carter II Curse Continues

It’s funny sometimes. Obama can’t win for losing.

On Super Bowl Sunday, we saw one of the things Chrysler did with the billion-plus dollars they took from us. They created a self-serving ad featuring Clint Eastwood. The narration started with, “It’s halftime in America.” Clint went on to tell us how hard times were; how badly things were going. And he said we were going to get off the canvas, suck it up, walk it off, improvise, adapt, overcome, et cetera. We were going to WIN, and the reason is…uh…okay, here it is: we’re AMERICA. Like that’s a magical word that prevents failure.

It turns out two people involved in the ad (Michael Tabtabai and Jimm Lasser) have a history of working for Obama. Big shock there. Clint Eastwood seems to think the ad was politically neutral, but it was clearly an effort to rehabilitate a failed Presidency. Unfortunately, it works better as a condemnation of everything Obama stands for.

Let’s go back to 1984, to the ad Chrysler plagiarized. Ronald Reagan was running for reelection. He was extremely popular. His strategies were working. He had a good record to run on. Life had been miserable under Carter. Interest rates were over 20%. Inflation was out of control. We were the laughingstock of the globe. Under Reagan, that had turned around, and everyone knew it. So his team put out an ad surprisingly similar to the Obama halftime ad. The theme was “morning in America.” We had come out from the dark night of the Carter administration. Here is the ad.

I’m not going to embed the Obama ad for comparison. You can find it online. You’ve probably seen it already. What a contrast! Reagan’s message? “Things are WAY better than they were four years ago. Let’s keep moving in the right direction!” Obama’s message? “Things STINK, but I’m only halfway done! Give me more time, and my long-discredited policies of socialism, borrowing, and central planning are going to work out!” After all, they worked so well in East Germany, the USSR, North Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba…

The difference is obvious. In the morning, the night is over. Your problems are behind you. A bright new day awaits. At halftime, you’re still in the middle of the battle, and under Obama, you’re LOSING!

Not only did Obama’s surrogates steal from Reagan; they implicitly admit Obama’s record is inferior!

Maybe Obama had nothing to do with this. Doesn’t matter. His team was behind it, in one form or another.

It’s hard for me to imagine a funnier way to condemn your performance as President. You never ask people, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” when the answer is “NO.”

Eastwood shouldn’t have said it was halftime. He should have said, “GAME OVER.” Or “sudden death.” Although that would have annoyed the Secret Service.

The obvious self-incriminating nature of the ad will blow over most people’s heads. People aren’t bright enough to pick up on irony. It has to be pointed out to them.

If I were Obama, I think I’d want to run off and hide. Maybe that’s why he goes on vacation eight times a year.

Freedom for Student Loan Cosigners

Friday, January 20th, 2012

RELEASE, not SETTLEMENT

I have a wonderful tip for people who cosign student loans.

If you call and ask the loan people what they’ll settle for, they’ll offer a reduced principle payoff figure–around 10% off the number on the notices they send you–but they’ll tell you it goes on your credit report. That’s obviously a bad idea. Do not use the words “settle” or “settlement” when you contact the lender, because this is what they’ll try to foist off on you.

Here’s what you want: a cosigner RELEASE. Be sure you use that word.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. If you make them an offer they like–and this offer can be way lower than the settlement figure–they’ll execute a total release, and they won’t tell the credit bureaus. Try 50% of the principal and see what happens. You might save thousands. If you cosigned for a someone who has no character and no intention of paying, this may be the best way out.

Check it out, if you’re on the hook because you tried to do some fool a favor. It makes no sense whatsoever, but it works. You pay much less, your credit is unaffected, AND you can tell them to quit calling you and sending you letters. They’ll keep going after the debtor, but you’ll be in the clear.

Hope this helps somebody. It’s not legal advice; it’s just something I happened to learn.

Mitt Romney, AKA “McCain II”

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

We Are Caught in a FAIL Loop

I have to wonder why Republicans chose the elephant–the animal that never forgets–as their symbol. We are the party that ALWAYS forgets.

Last time around, we nominated the most “electable” candidate. We knew he was electable because the press told us so! If you can’t trust liberals to tell you which candidate the conservative party should choose, who CAN you trust? They had to be right.

So we chose McCain. For all his good points, he was an old man women find unattractive, and that matters a lot in an election. He was perceived as crabby and mean. He was so liberal, conservatives could not get excited about him and get out in sufficient numbers to push him over the top. Somehow, though, he was still conservative enough for liberals and the brain-dead centrists to hate.

It was amazing, how McCain was transformed. He got himself nominated, and suddenly, he was an evil arch-conservative who wanted to pollute our air and water, freeze old people to death, kill puppies and kittens, and send flying monkeys out to kidnap little girls from Kansas.

The press assassinated him, and the astounding EKG flatliners in the middle of the electorate refused to swallow him. We turned down a distinguished war hero with unassailable credentials as an effective legislator, and we hired a fungible Chicago bagman who had worked 143 days in the Senate, after defeating a conservative Senate candidate most people believed to be psychotic.

Here we are again, four years down the road, and what have we learned? We’ve learned we need to DO IT AGAIN. It worked so well last time. Don’t touch the Bible-thumpers! Avoid anyone who grew up between the coasts! We need someone liberals will cross the aisle to vote for! We need another RINO!

So now people are telling us it’s a done deal: Romney will be the candidate.

Did I say “Romney”? I meant to use his new name: MCCAIN II.

Reagan taught us you don’t have to believe what the people believe, in order to be elected. What they really want is a bold thinker who will TELL them what they believe. Convince them you’re competent and sure of yourself, and you’ll win their hearts, which matter much more than their minds. This is why even Jews voted for Reagan.

We have no guts and no brains, so we’re rejecting this proven wisdom. We’re going to give craven cowardice a try! We’re like socialists. Just because we’ve failed over and over doesn’t mean our ideas don’t work. It’s not that what we do is stupid; it’s that we do it wrong.

Romney will never be President. I can’t predict the future, but that’s what experience and common sense tell me. No Democrat will vote for him. Centrists will be too stupid to see how he differs from Obama, so they won’t come out for him, unless Obama rapes someone on the White House lawn in November. Many conservatives won’t care for him enough to go out and vote for him. And we’ll be saddled with four more years of the Accidental President; the Ted Williams of politics. Chauncey Gardiner meets Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Bachmann could have won. Palin could have won. Santorum could win, if conservatives would make some effort to support him. He’s no Reagan, but he’s no Romney, either.

If you don’t think any of these people could win, consider Ron Paul. The man has a screw loose. He has the common sense of a crackhead on Sunday, when the scrap metal dealers are closed. It’s amazing that he was ever elected to ANYTHING, and the fact that he polls on third place is absolutely frightening. This is what happens when you have supporters who won’t give up. Paul is, and always will be, a fringe nut, but he has hordes of supporters who queer every poll and keep his name in play. They’re like a spotlight that shines on an ant, casting a shadow the size of a whale. If the Paulbots were behind Sarah Palin, she’d be in first place.

Thanks to his supporters, whose common sense is right up there with that of their leader, Ron Paul is the President for Life of the Internet. Thank God, that’s the only thing he’ll ever be President of.

He’s anti-Israel. He’s pro-“Palestinian.” He wants to withdraw from international politics to the point where we have no influence anywhere, as though saving aid dollars were somehow the key to prosperity and security. That’s great, if your country is situated inside a bell jar. Here on earth, not so much.

Wait until the “race war” newsletter comes back. It’s festering under wraps right now, because the press doesn’t want to shoot its wad at the wrong time. If he somehow got nominated, it would be revived in mid-summer, and we would hear about it through November, because it’s a very sound story, and it has legs. Nobody who warns people of an impending “race war” is ever going to be President, even if he weasels and blames it on a subordinate.

I keep praying for God to wipe out the Obama, Paul, Romney, and Gingrich campaigns. It’s hard to think of anyone I would not accept over these characters. Even Biden looks good. At least he’d be ineffective. As it is, the RNC should be paying him. He has done things for us no Republican could have done.

Now I suppose Paulbots will show up and troll. Proves my point. Where are the Sarahbots? Where are the Rickbots and Michelebots?

The GOP has absolutely no guts, and we deserve to lose. I didn’t think it was possible, but my faith in our incompetence is surging.

Variations

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

I Need to Get Up and Do Something

I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. I felt pretty bad for him until we both met a guy who was just a head. Then all three of us met a guy who was just an eyeball. We decided to go to the mall and buy him a nice monocle.

I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. It worked out okay, though, because chicks dig guys who cry.

I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. He called me a pansy and tried to punch me for crying. But I outran him pretty easily.

I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. I’m glad I wasn’t crying about not having a hat.

I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. Suddenly I felt new gratitude for my vast collection of expensive boots.

I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. I stopped crying and asked if I could have his shoes. Hey, he wasn’t using them.

Blogs Deader Than Bin Laden

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Introducing a Fantastic New Blogger: Mr. N.Y. Times

Here’s an interesting fact. Real blogs have been driven out of Google News results.

I just Googled the bin Laden story, bringing up 100 “blog” results. My blog used to appear in these searches, as did the blogs of other people I knew. Guess what? Things have changed. In the current results, the closest things to blogs are Newsbusters and The American Thinker. I don’t even see Instapundit in there!

It’s so funny, being this right. Years ago, I complained that big businesses were going to take over blogging and drive the little guys out. Now look! ABC and NPR and The New York Times appear in “blog” searches, but we don’t! We are HISTORY! KAPUT! OVER!

I didn’t realize it had gotten this bad. There is really nothing left now.

It’s the craziest thing. For about seven years, a loophole opened up, and ordinary people were able to get their feet into it and hold it open and talk to the world. Then it snapped shut! What’s left? Is Youtube still doable? I don’t even know.

I underestimated the ruthlessness and selfishness of the big time press, which is saying a lot, given how much I talked about these things. I knew they resented us, and that they would try to kill us, but I didn’t know they would proactively push us out. They have to be using search engine experts and so on in order to do this, unless Google is doing it for them. This kind of thing doesn’t just happen. It has to be deliberate and premeditated.

I don’t know what to say, except for, “Thanks for all the fish!”

It doesn’t matter what I say. No one will read it!

Ted Beckster

Monday, April 18th, 2011

History Will Call Him Snidley Becklash

Glenn Beck is turning out to be an embarrassment to conservatives! It’s unimaginable! It’s inconceivable! WHAT KIND OF FREAKISH CLAIRVOYANT COULD HAVE FORESEEN THIS?

*cough*

On my tombstone, I should put a long list of stuff I predicted publicly, to responses of catcalls and sneers. I said Pajamas Media would amount to nothing, and it would divide the Blogosphere. I said Arnold Schwarzenegger would turn out to be a black eye for the GOP. And I said Glenn Beck would turn out to be a major embarrassment.

Everyone said I was an idiot. Maybe I was, but 1) that’s irrelevant, 2) I was still right, and 3) all the loyal, right-thinking, team-spirit-oozing sheep were wrong.

Beck is plagiarizing, on a grand scale, as policy. He is earning millions, partly off of other people’s work, and he is actually having his staff exert extra effort to CONCEAL sources.

What on earth is wrong with him? Who even thinks like that? How can a person be that petty? It’s like a cheap soap opera villain. It’s so venal, its hard to believe it’s not fiction. It’s like someone modified his genes using material from Erica on All my Children.

The story I linked says Beck took a video shot by a blogger and EDITED OUT THE WATERMARK. Geez. Isn’t life hard enough for bloggers without conservative pundits actively sabotaging their work? We struggle to succeed, and we do the media’s work for them, and we fully accept the fact that we will not get the fame and money we deserve. We know they won’t help us (unless we look good in tight sweaters and have no original thoughts). But we don’t expect them to make a special effort to keep us in the dirt! This is like LeBron James, holding ghetto kids at gunpoint and stealing their basketballs. Earth to the famous: “succeed” just means “to do well”; you are not also required to prevent others from making it.

Neglect used to be considered sufficient. Now they’re proactively cheating us. What’s next? Are Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes going to go house to house, shooting bloggers in their beds? “Here’s a hollowpoint to the sternum, and then I’ll give you the last word.”

I am reminded of the movie Coma, where they gave people brain damage and then hung them up in a big warehouse, on life support, while they whittled parts out of them and sold them on the black market. I’m not saying bloggers have brain damage (I prefer not to address the issue), but even without that, the parallel is pretty accurate.

Honest to God, what’s the use of trying? Twelve or thirteen years ago, the lamest writer imaginable could (and often did) become a recognized megahit Internet pundit. The gold rush was on; all you had to do was stake a claim. The little guy had a chance. Now corporations operate websites they pretend are blogs, and they suck up all the traffic, and Glenn Beck is bringing up the rear, making absolutely sure the media leaves crumbs much to small for the other Whos’ mouses.

I guess the Tea Partiers have replaced bloggers. We used to be the grassroots, but Fox and the conservative “haves” have blasted us with Roundup and replaced us with artificial turf, like Red Eye and Malkin. Much like Rachel Marsden, we have been escorted off the premises by security, and the locks have been changed behind us, and Glenn Beck is making sorties out of the Green Zone to steal what little eclat we have left. If you want attention now, you have to go stand at a rally holding an AR15 and carrying a stupid sign, and if you really want to be noticed, make sure it’s misspelled.

I hope I don’t sound angry. I’m cracking up as I write this. It’s a Giraudoux play brought to life. It’s like Ionesco having a waking dream on national TV. I left this nonsense behind a couple of years ago; even Tantalus eventually gets a clue. But I can’t help remarking on it.

One of the funny things about growing older is that you come to understand how base human nature is, and then you are sentenced to see your conclusions confirmed over and over and over and over. It’s unbelievable. People are so venal, you just can’t hold the understanding of it in your mind. It’s so incredible, your left hemisphere will try to explain it away. “He’s not going to do that. Real human beings aren’t that shallow and predictable. It’s like something a character from the Simpsons would do. It’s impossible. It’s two-dimensional. AND NOW HE’S DOING IT. OH YES, HE’S DOING IT. I SAW IT COMING, AND SMOKE IS STILL COMING OUT OF MY EARS.” I feel like one of those Star Trek characters who burst into flame when Spock whispered puzzles into their ears.

You know what George Santayana should have said? “Those who learn from history are doomed to watch a whole bunch of idiots repeat it.”

I do stupid things, too, but it’s still funny watching the true masters of idiocy. To paraphrase Ty Webb, I don’t want to shortchange myself. When it comes to idiocy, I’m no slouch. But Darth Maul stands up and salutes when the Emperor walks by.

I believe supernatural forces run the world, and when I look at inexplicable successes like Glenn Beck, Obama’s Nobel, and Cher and Marissa Tomei’s Oscars, I assume they’re in play. They can make you succeed when you should fail, and they can keep you on top when you should go down in flames. Look at Qaddafi. So I won’t predict that Beck will take a huge career hit. But he should. Ordinarily, this would put an end to any career in journalism or academia.

I’m sure–I don’t have to check–that the success-worshiping sheep of the right wing are already defending Beck. We love circling the wagons and going down with the ship. Anyone who has made it must be God’s anointed. Anyone who criticizes deserves the same kind of treatment the herd gave famous malcontents and critics of the past. People like Socrates and Jesus. Troublemakers.

Mindlessly defend prominent conservative. Press lever. Receive food pellet. That’s how it works.

Here’s a prediction. Beck will get in trouble, but not as much trouble as Don Imus. Conservatives will all look like idiots, but not enough of them will care, so there will be no massive “Becklash.” Beck will be damaged, and he will never be quite as prominent as he is now, but he will still be a big player, and people will call his show (if he takes calls) and tell him he got in trouble because he was just too wonderful for this world.

And if his career gets in real trouble, maybe he’ll make another video about how he was almost killed by his hemorrhoids. I still can’t get over that.

Huffington, Toasted

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Far-Left Whitewash Brigade Smells the Kapitalist Coffee

Pride is a terrible thing. But I will indulge.

The news says Arianna Huffington is being sued by the people who write for her website. Apparently, one of them finally realized the obvious truth: they’re providing a valuable product for nothing!

Where are the Real Men of Genius people when you need them? Someone call the Nobel committee.

I was saying this back in 2005. I compared Arianna to Tom Sawyer. Remember the story? Aunt Polly made Tom whitewash her fence. Tom hated the work, so as kids walked by, he told them it was an exclusive gig, and that it was a great privilege to be involved. After a while, he had a whole bunch of envious morons doing the whitewashing for him.

I could draw other obvious comparisons, to creatures like tapeworms, but I’ll pass.

I think one reason Arianna got away with this for so long is that she was working with writers. Everyone cheats writers. It’s accepted practice. After all, writing isn’t work. If you’re a writer or artist or musician, people will say unbelievably stupid things to you. They’ll come up to you and say, “Could you come to my house and wait for the cable guy for three straight days? It’s not like you have a job.”

Mind you, it doesn’t matter what great services these people are providing for humanity in THEIR lynchpin-of-the-universe careers. The most mediocre, fungible person on earth thinks his job is more valid than Ernest Hemingway’s. Crazy. They should ask themselves why there is no Nobel Prize in Project Management or Sales or Kitchen Remodeling.

It’s funny; if you have no education, and you literally dig ditches for a living, no one questions your right to a paycheck. But if you go to Juilliard and then play local gigs for ten years and THEN manage to sell a few songs, everyone thinks you’re a parasite when you complain about MP3 theft.

It’s insane. I’m a lawyer, and when I work on a case, what I do is writing. I look at statutes and cases, and then I write my conclusions. I can charge $400 per hour for this, and no one will blink. But if I write a 10,000-word short story, people will think it’s okay to republish it word-for-word on their blogs. And which skill is rarer and more valuable? Lawyers are a dime a dozen. Writing talent is comparatively rare.

Royalties are not charity. If you use a person’s work, you owe them money. I’m not making an argument here. I’m not stating an opinion. I’m pointing out a fact. The law backs me up. You can be sued for stealing artistic works. People are rotting in jail for it. Open a restaurant and play music without paying for it, and BMI and ASCAP will come to your door and threaten you with lawsuits. And if they sue, they’ll win.

Trying to tell this to reasonable people is like talking to people with severe brain damage. “Okay, but if I buy the CD, and I COPY it, then I can give the copy to anyone I want, because I PAID for the CD.” No, Justice Cardozo, that is not how it works. You don’t get eternal, unlimited rights when you buy a book or an album. You get the right to personal use, with all sorts of limitations. If you burn a CD for a pal, you’re a thief.

It’s amazing how greed and stinginess warp the mind. It’s like addiction. Rationalization kicks in, and rationalization is one of the strongest things in the universe. “I can admit the truth, OR I can have 100,000 free songs on my Ipod.” The truth loses.

The public’s ignorant view of royalties is what leads to problems like the one Arianna is having. Even content providers–the writers themselves–start thinking their work is worthless. That’s why Arianna was able to get her site going in the first place. People thought they were lucky to be asked to work for nothing!

I had this happen to me a few years back. I wrote a piece that was picked up by Real Clear Politics. When they asked about republishing it, I was offended that they didn’t want to pay me. In the end, I gave up and let them use it. That was stupid. It did me no good whatsoever, and I was entitled to payment. They never bothered me again. So what? Do I need nonpaying jobs? Is there some hidden blessing in donating your work to other capitalist enterprises? Of course not.

People who don’t pay for content love to talk about “exposure.” If Vanity Fair or Time Magazine prints your piece, you shouldn’t ask for money, because you’re getting EXPOSURE!

Go to the grocery, fill your cart up with steaks, and tell the cashier you deserve them because you got EXPOSURE. Tell her to make a withdrawal from your EXPOSURE account. Folks, you can’t eat exposure. It won’t buy medicine for your kids. It won’t keep you from sleeping on a park bench in February. It’s worthless, unless it’s so huge it leads to bigger things. Being republished on a blog is not that kind of exposure.

Let me use my magical translating skills. “You’ll be getting EXPOSURE” really means, “I am cheap and greedy, and I think you’re an idiot.”

Here’s what my exposure on Real Clear Politics (and websites that have stolen my material) got me: nothing. It was flattering, but you can’t put flattery on bread and make a peanut butter and flattery sandwich.

When I ran Huffington’s Toast, I wanted everyone who wrote for it to make money. I wanted everyone to be credited for their work, so they would benefit from the thousands of hits we got every day. We were going to sell stuff. We were going to have ads. Most of the other writers wanted no part of it! One of them actually called me a filthy name because I wanted to run the site correctly.

These were supposedly conservative capitalists, yet they thought I was nuts for trying to run a business like a business. They didn’t want the public to know who wrote what. I don’t know what they expected to live on while the site generated no income and no one knew the names of the writers. The friction that developed over the disagreement is what killed the website. People just quit writing. If conservative writers can be this wrong, what hope is there for the rest of humanity?

I will note that none of us went on to greatness. Allahpundit, for all his talent, is still an obscure blogger. I managed to publish three books, and only one was even moderately successful, although becoming a religious nut and interrupting my promotion campaign played a big role there. Moxie and Jeff are history. Noel…I have have no idea what he’s up to. Aaron doesn’t even have a blog. This is the great victory our socialist ideals bought us! Comrades, I salute you! The folks at The Daily Kos should get a good belly laugh if they read this. We face-planted so beautifully.

We should have been the conservative Onion (only funny). Instead, we decided our work had no value, and in the end, the free market agreed, and I deleted the website. The Onion is on TV now, and it’s still not funny, but people are getting paid, because someone, somewhere realized that writing is a product.

I should have become what I was lampooning. I should have become Arianna. I should have accepted free work and made no effort to promote or credit anyone other than myself. Maybe I’d be getting sued now, but I’d be rich. Arianna will still be rich when this is over. A lawsuit is a small price to pay.

Of course, I don’t mean that. Losing yourself and becoming what you contemn is worse than failing at an enterprise. And every bad thing that has happened to me happened for a reason. God has swept in and picked me up, and things are better now than I could ever have imagined. If I had become the anti-Arianna, I wouldn’t have God’s powerful presence in my life every day. And I would be surrounded by a lot of sour, unfulfilled, grasping, treacherous people. I’m not referring to the other HT writers. I’m referring to political media figures, generally.

It’s funny; when I look back on this stuff, I temporarily forget how I’ve changed and how much I love life. I feel like I’m the same bitter person I was six years ago. But I’m not. So many wonderful things are happening to me. I trust happiness now. In the past, it was always a rug I knew would be pulled out from under me. I’m on a positive trend that will still be unfolding ten thousand years from now. The things I wanted back then were worthless and even poisonous. Thank God I didn’t get them.

Funny coincidence: yesterday I got a notification that the registration for huffingtonstoast.com was up for expiration. I kept it in my name so no one would try to rip it off. Now the corpse is beyond hope of resurrection, so I guess I can let it lapse.

Somebody Wake up Gregor Mendel

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

It’s ALIVE

I could do this all day (click to DL big animated gif).

How did Arnold get in there?

Does Anyone Remember Blogging?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Seven Years is a Long Time to Put Off a Funeral

I see Dennis the Peasant has quit blogging.

He says political blogging has become boring, and:

Six years ago, the political blogosphere was not dominated by the money and resources of mainstream media and professional political advocacy groups. Now it is. The political blogosphere has now acquired all of the defects (and none of the virtues) of mainsteam and advocacy media. With money has come self-censorship and intellectual dishonesty.

Wow, wasn’t I here in 2007? I talked about this when Pajamas Media popped up. Let’s see. Wikipedia says that was 2004. I’m farther ahead of my time than I realized.

People like Dennis and me spelled out what would happen, and it all came true, and the lemmings and backslappers called us traitors.

Blogging is dead. Or maybe it has come back to life. Political blogs launched by genuine grassroots nobodies got big ten or eleven years ago, and they were great because they were not run by journalists, most of whom are lazy and stupid. Then Big Media noticed the blogosphere, and they started pumping money into it. We ended up with websites that were not really blogs. Chris Matthews pretends to blog. Jake Tapper. Greta Van Susteren. And they’re not the worst examples; at least they have things to say. You can probably find blog-style sites featuring Courtney Friel and and Soledad O’Brien, if you look. Cheesecake and cotton candy masquerade as entrees.

Corporations put up websites, and they force their TV meat puppets to do something meat puppets were never designed to do: write original material. Meat puppets read. They are not built to write. The circuitry is not present.

A few outsiders made it into the inner circle, and they generally became insiders. They were so excited about being recognized, and so afraid of being kicked out, they became what they originally arose to counter. Ho hum. Why read that crap? Turn on CNN, and you’ll get the same spin.

I say blogging may have come back to life, because now that we are insignificant again, blogs may become what they were intended to be: personal, truthful websites written by people who are beholden to no one.

The haves always keep the have-nots down. For a while, the have-nots did okay on the Internet. Now the haves are back in charge. The natural order of the universe has been restored.

Blogging is utterly unimportant now. Truthlaidbear should label us all microbes or maybe viruses or prions. From a global standpoint, what we do is completely worthless. It has no impact. Big Media is safe from us again. Their chosen Internet darlings (recognizable for their sheep-humbling team spirit and complete lack of talent) may get a foot in the door once in a while–they may get occasional chances to bask and kowtow in the glow of Greg Gutfeld’s stagnant, Sisyphean insignificance, or they may be mentioned very briefly on Fox–but they won’t make a living, and the rest of us are permanently locked out of the VIP room.

I don’t think we’ll see another outsider opportunity again, until bandwidth gets so cheap you can have your own hour-long Internet TV show, complete with callers and chat. Nowlive tried to do that, but it failed because there was no way to make the finances work.

Dennis made the right choice. These days, it’s all downside and no reward.

Why Socialism Always Fails

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Mommy Only Leaves so Many Twenties in her Purse

Conservatism is about building and growing and passing it on to future generations. Liberalism is just legalized looting.

More

Liberalism is what happens when covetousness becomes law.

Late Greeting

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas, everybody. I hope your holiday is safe and full of cheer.

Their Alpha Dog and Our Water Dog

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Look What Feminism Produces

I had to put this up. It’s not an original idea, but it’s driving me crazy.

Here is Barack Obama, trying to participate in sports. What heterosexual man over the age of four throws a ball overhand? One pitch didn’t make it to the plate. The other, they’re still looking for.

I love the right hand. For some reason, when I see Obama with that strange, feckless grin and that limp hand, I hear a teenage girl’s voice gasping, “There’s Johnny! I hope he asks me out!”

Here is world-class judo expert Vladimir Putin, trying his hand at sports. That bear is not drugged. Putin punched it in the mouth. The guy on the bottom in the judo photo has been dead for two minutes. Putin is using a hold he made up himself, to drag him to the taxidermist so he can be stuffed.

Here is Barack Obama’s “dog.” It was born neutered.

Here is Vladimir Putin’s actual dog. Notice that Putin is touching it. He ate it later that day. But still.

Here is Barack Obama’s wife.

Here is Vladimir Putin’s girlfriend. No joke. Look her up. This is how she greets him at the door. She maintains this pose throughout the day. Dissident slaves roll her around on a dolly. She uses her right hand to do the ironing.

The Russians elected Uncle Bill. We got Mr. French.

Al Gore, Don’t Read This

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Chilly!

It’s 57° outside, and it’s almost one p.m.! I LOVE IT!

I get so tired of sticking to things.