Monday, August 31, 2009

Good Thing We Have the Holy Ghost

Sunday's sermon had a theme that each of us "belongs to the ages". On the one hand, the preacher wanted us to recall that we were made for eternity, while on the other he stressed the importance of "the dash" on your tombstone between your birth and death dates. He was kind of all over the place if you ask me. He preached about King David whose deeds served the purposes of the Lord in his generation and who then died. He also spoke of several parishioners who had recently died and whose lives of service and faith had been so meaningful and whose legacy lived on in the church.

That's the problem with the whole eternal life thing. What's the point of the here and now really if it's just a minor blip? We probably won't even remember ever having been alive after a couple of thousand years in the afterlife.

Since we have the Holy Ghost now, we are already living in eternity to the extent that He/She/It dwells in us. The Holy Ghost makes us love our neighbors and attend to the suffering in this world even though we have the hope of eternal life. Without the Holy Ghost, the promise of eternal life would blind us to the troubles of the world.

Taking Woodstock

Mrs Vache Folle and I went to see "Taking Woodstock" on Saturday. We found it sufficiently diverting to recommend it to people we like. We like Demetri Martin, and he was good in it as Elliot Tiber, the son of down on their luck Catskill moteliers who helped bring the Woodstock Festival to his town. I don't have any idea how accurate the movie was, but I don't really care. I was eleven years old at the time and read a little about it in LIFE magazine a few months later. It didn't signify for me since the sexual and cultural revolution, just as Sherman's army had a century earlier, bypassed my hometown altogether. I didn't find out about the revolution until I was in college.

Anyway, I don't have any special attachment to the idea of Woodstock as anything other than a music festival that was well attended. So I had no expectations for the movie and was content with a story that hung on the fringes of the event. The story treats the concert goers as pretty nice people, and I suppose they were since there weren't very many casualties.

God Will Increase and His Fancy Coat

God Will Increase was Strives With God's favorite of his twelve sons. He was a tattler and he was tactless enough to lord it over his brothers when he had dreams that he would rule over them. So they conspired to murder him. Behold a Son convinced the other brothers to spare God Will Increase, so they sold him into slavery instead and told their old man that he had been eaten by a wild beast. They bloodied up God Will Increase's many hued coat that Strives With God had given him as evidence.

Everybody knows the story of how God Will Increase, on the strength of his dream interpretation skills but an otherwise pretty sketchy resume, rose from obscure slavery and imprisonment to become the steward of all Egypt during seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.

God Will Increase's brothers end up in Egypt during the famine to buy food, and God Will Increase messes with them big time. He doesn't reveal his identity to them and frames them for theft. He demands that they go home and bring their youngest brother Son of My Right Arm and holds some hostages. Hilarity ensues with the big reveal, and God Will Increase forgives his brothers. He moves the whole family to Egypt. This sets up the book of Exodus.

The moral of the story is that it's ok to sell your kid brother into slavery as long as it ends well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What the Government Does For Me

Mrs Vache Folle and I "own" our home. That is to say that as long as we keep paying the banks who hold the mortgages and the taxing authorities at whose sufferance we are permitted to occupy "our" home, we can live in it and fix it up more or less as we please (subject to permit requirements and zoning restrictions and what have you). We have a yard and garden and several acres of woods, and we have the right to the exclusive use of these (until they're condemned by the government and taken away). We are perfectly within our rights to exclude others from our property, and I suppose that having the backing of the state and the police in this is something of a deterrent to those who might otherwise squat on our property or invade our home.
We don't really have to do much to exercise our rights to exclusive use. In fact, as far as I know, nobody has ever trespassed. We take sensible precautions such as locking the doors when we leave and keeping a scary looking dog or two. Moreover, we maintain good relations with our stay at home neighbors who keep an eye on the place. We all keep an eye out for suspicious doings and look our for our neighbors (except for the antisocial nutty ones).
Much of the security we enjoy derives from the good fortune of having amiable and honest neighbors who respect one another's privacy and boundaries and who care for one another. I also suspect that a lot of the security we enjoy comes from the concept of state sanctioned property rights and other machinations of the government. I like the convenience of not having to guard everything all the time and not having to be prepared to defend the possession of our estate from all comers. There are just a few comers, the state and the banks, that we have to contend with. With the banks, we volunteered to have them in the title records. With the government, we didn't volunteer, but it's probably worth a good deal of what we pay to have the potential protection afforded by the police and the courts. In a shittier neighborhood, this protection probably wouldn't be worth much, and property values and tax rates reflect this.
Beyond the police and courts and having the force of the law behind us, local government works to mantain the quality of the inhabitants of our neighborhood by taxing for schools at such a high rate that high income families are attracted by the promise of good (i.e. having relatively few low income students) schools and are willing to pay higher prices for homes in the community. This elevates home values and taxes on them and drives low income families out of the neighborhood by taxing them beyond what they can afford or making selling their homes too lucrative to pass up. This in turn decreases the probability that our property rights will be trampled on by anyone other than the government itself.
Finally, the government enforces significant restrictions on development which prevent us and our neighbors from subdividing our property and putting up denser housing. This likewise serves to keep the level of riff raff manageable.
I hate to admit it, but a lot of what makes my neighborhood desirable may very well be a product of government. Did I mention that about half of the neighborhood is owned by NYC as a preserve for its water supply? That keeps development down and our quality of life up.
If only we could achieve all this without the threat of violence.

Reflections on Genesis

In rereading Genesis, I have been amazed to notice, for the first time in many readings, that quite a few important concepts are missing. There's no Satan, for a huge example. There's also no concept of the immortal soul. Accordingly, there's also no heaven, no hell and no afterlife. Rewards and punishments, such as they are, come in the present life, and the most important promises are corporate. Father of Multitudes is promised seed beyond number, and I suppose that was a comfort to him, but he himself was destined to return to the dust from whence he came. His immortality consists in his descendants, in the nation that would arise from him.

We'll have to keep a lookout for the appearance and subsequent evolution of the missing concepts as we continue our Bible study.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


One of the leading ideas about the origin of the state is the "hydraulic theory". In a nutshell and doing it no service, the theory states that societies dependent on irrigation for agriculture were vulnerable to someone's taking control of the water and exerting power over others. Some warlord and his goons could seize the waterworks or provide protection of the waterworks from other warlords and their goons in exchange for taxes and obedience. I suppose any necessary infrastructure would do as a basis for enslavement.

It seems to me that sedentism is the first requirement. It would be hard, although not impossible, to lord it over foragers. I suppose you could stake out a claim to a hunting ground and demand tribute, but the effort involved in that would exceed the effort involved in being a collaborative forager or the leader of a foraging band. Nomads would be easier to extort from since they need grazing lands and water that you could, in principle, control. This would probably not be very profitable as the sole basis of a protection racket but it might be a good sideline for an already established protostate. Agriculture with its concomitant supluses and the greater division of labor is a prerequisite to a truly profitable racket.

It's possible that some of the early racketeeers may have actually added value by protecting their victims, er subjects, from the ravages of worse racketeers and by extracting less than they might have. Some early racketeers may have hit upon the idea that there was an optimum level of extraction that would generate the most revenue while encouraging industry and the convenient acquiesence of the subjects in the rule of the racketeers. Eventually, some of the racketeers would have discovered the idea of the republic wherein the racketeers would rule under the fiction that they did so with the affirmative consent of the ruled.

The lesson of history, I suppose, is that there is always some asshole who is ready to to serve as your warlord. If you have anyting you care about, that's the source of their power. Freedom, it has bee famously said, is just another word for nothing left to lose.

Monday, August 24, 2009

If I Didn't Self Identify as an Anarchist, How Would Anyone Know I was one?

If I really think about it and am honest with myself, Vache Folle the anarchist isn't very different from Vache Folle the deluded dupe of the state. Sure, I'm disllusioned and have learned as a mental exercise to problematize the concept of the state, but my personal actions aren't much different on account of it. I was never active politically in any event, and I wasn't one to collaborate with the government even when I accepted its legitimacy and necessity without question.

I suppose my attitude is different. Nowadays, I acquiesce in the actions and extractions of the government. I sometimes have to work to avoid feeling bitter and resentful, but by and large I pay my taxes and obey the law (mostly) with indifference. I don't want to be locked up or murdered, so I just go along with it. I like my house, so I pay my property taxes quietly in order to keep it.

If I never expressed an opinion about the state's being problematic, you'd never know my views were anything outside the mainstream. I don't know that my lifestyle is informed in any way by my political views.

Of course, my political views stem from my religious beliefs and these do, albeit not to the extent that one might hope, inform my life choices and the way I treat others.

Friday, August 21, 2009

More Genesis

When we last looked in on Supplanter, he was annoyed at his sons for their mass murder of the males of the city of Shechem and their pillaging. God tells him to move to Bethel. Oddly, since God supposedly already did this three chapters ago, God renames Supplanter Strives With God and promises to multiply his seed just as had been promised to Supplanter's father and grandfather.

In Bethel, Ewe goes into labor and dies in childbirth. As she is dying, she names her new son Son of My Sorrow. Strives With God renames him Son of My Right Hand.

Then Strives With God goes to see his old man He Laughs who, at the age of 180, dies and is buried by Strives With God and He Finishes.

In Genesis 36, just as Father of Multitudes and his nephew had to split up to avoid exceeding the carrying capacity of the land, He Finishes moves away from Strives With God to the hill country of Seir. He has descendants who became known as the Edomites. Some genealogical details are provided but these are neither entertaining or instructive.


Jesse Lou Bagget, our superannuated Carpathian Shepherd, hates thunderstorms. This has not been his year. We have had more and more violent thunderstorms this year than I have ever experienced (except in the Tampa area). Consequently, I have had to endure Jesse's pitiable but unremediable discomfort. If it's overnight, I get little sleep because he keeps trying to hide in ridiculously small spaces and makes a mess of things and a huge racket to boot. Jasper the Salopian Terrier is oblivious to the storms.

I would like to get some doggie downers, but I'm afraid that Jesse might be too frail for them. Maybe I'll just lock him out of the bedroom. It's not as if I can console him or anything. Poor old guy. He'd probably piss on stuff if I lock him out. That's how he rolls.

Lately, and I suspect his loss of balance is the cause, Jesse has been pooping while he walks instead of stopping and depositing a pile. Seriously, turds just fly out of his ass, and you have to be careful if you're walking behind him. Sometimes, I think he doesn't even know he's pooping. I find small turds here and there around the house. Fortunately, Jesse's poop is almost always well formed and in small quantities. Jasper, on the other hand, lays cable. It looks as if a dinosaur has taken a crap.

When you live with dogs, you get used to the occasional bodily excretion on the floor. When you get up in the night to pee, you pray that what you stepped in is vomit. Vomit is the least objectional of the canine ejecta. Jesse likes to vomit on the shelves of book cases for some reason, but he rarely vomits. Jasper vomits when his pancreatitits to which he is prone flares up. I had some beagles who seemed to vomit just for the hell of it.

It's hard to see the dogs get old.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I'm not especially apathetic, but I have learned to acquiesce in a lot of bad things because I recognize that I can't do a damned thing about them.

The state, for instance, is only going to get stronger in my lifetime. I'll never see it whither away, mainly because my conspecifics just aren't ready to govern themselves. Their hearts and minds want serious transforming, and I'll never see it until that great gettin' up mornin' bye and bye.

Right wing yahoos are here to stay, too. All I can do is keep my eyes open and be ready to take appropriate action to defend myself from them when I have to.

Bad journalism will always be with us. I just have to work around it and look for alternative sources of information.

Corporatism isn't going away any time soon. I can try to use my power as a consumer to undermine it, and that makes me feel better. Also, I can be a really shitty corporate bureaucrat and undermine the system from within.

As long as I'm married to Mrs Vache Folle, there will be an Idiot Brother in Law. Every precious jewel comes with a curse.

Biting insects will be here as long as there is blood to suck. I'll just have to use OFF.

Despite all these bad things and more, I take pleasure in cultivating my garden and living as mindfully as I am able. Also, there's alcohol and Xanax.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Days are Almost Here Again

The recession may be ending, or so I am told by folks on the radio and the TeeVee. I figured this was the case, because my consumer spending has been way up, and I'm one of the leading economic indicators. As I go, so goes the economy. When I got laid off a couple of years ago, we went into retrenchment mode, then our home equity disappeared almost overnight and our 401(k)s shriveled up. Now, we're thinking prospects are looking up, and we're buying stuff. And we didn't need a government stimulus to get us going, although the fact that GOP bozos aren't in charge has had a lot to do with our rising confidence levels. The stimulus package probably helped even if by way of an economic placebo affect.

My home equity is still not going back up, and I've stopped looking at my 401(k), so I don't yet feel as wealthy as I once did. Houses still aren't moving quickly, and there's a glut of McMansions in the area where we live. But values aren't falling like they were, and it looks as if home values may have been corrected and are now stable. We're lucky in that our house is still worth more than what we paid for it almost 6 years ago.

Let's just hope neither of us gets sick.

Public and Private Coexist

The American University, mine and Mrs Vache Folle's alma mater, is doing very well in competition with the University of the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland, two nearby public options. TAU is a private entity that competes head to head with public entities for students and faculty, and I haven't heard anyone argue that public colleges will drive private colleges out of business.

FedEx and UPS don't seem to be much put out by the existence of the United States Postal Service.

Public and private hospitals coexist in many communities as do public and private golf courses and other recreational facilities.

Public housing exists right alongside private apartments.

The MTA runs trains and buses in competition with private cabs and limos.

Why couldn't a public health insurance option coexist with private health insurance? Is it because we don't want people to have too many choices?

Monday, August 17, 2009

The End of the Wire

We watched the last episode of The Wire last night. I feel a lot like the way I felt when I finished the last Patrick O'Brian novel. I'm devastated that it's over. The Wire was one of the best series ever. I don't usually care for cop shows, but that's because they're so incredibly unlike what it's like in real police departments and prosecutors' offices. The Wire, on the other hand, captured all the politics and bureaucracy and diverse agendas of the players through well developed characters who lived them.

I didn't catch The Wire when it first came out. I saw it on HBO on Demand when it became available. I learned about it from Barack Obama who cited it as a show he liked. Mr Obama, you are a man of taste, and I thank you for the recommendation.

I hear that the creator of The Wire has a new series to come out next year about New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. I will be watching.

HBO has it going on when it comes to original series.

Nephews Visit Again

Mrs Vache Folle's nephews visited again this weekend, this time without their paternal ancestors. It was fun. We had our traditional seafood feast on Friday evening with clams, jumbo shrimp on skewers, oysters and swordfish, all on the grill. The boys made salads from the garden. A good time was had by all.

On Saturday, I got to take the boys to Splashdown Beach, a small water park ten minutes away over in Wappingers. It was a perfect day, hot and sunny, for splashing around in the wave pool and floating on the lazy river. I avoided the scary water slides as beneath my dignity, but the kids did them all plus the arcade and the boardwalk games. That night we went to Tokaharu in Hopewell Junction and ate sushi and sashimi (two boats plus two orders of udon) until we were in pain.

On Sunday, their mother came to get them, and we all had salmon and garden salads for lunch.

Those kids can eat. Fortunately, they can also help with the cooking. Their mother is a chef, and she has taught them a lot. They're also very adventurous eaters.

I also put them to work on Friday with mowing and weed whacking and hunting for dog poop so they'd have some spending money at the water park.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Good Thing Bush Built those FEMA Camps

My conspecifics at the office told me over lunch that they had heard that a bunch of right wing militias were forming to overthrow the government. That's all we need.

This would be treason, right? Wouldn't the use of violence or threats of violence by non-state actors for political purposes constitute domestic terrorism? Those FEMA camps are going to come in real handy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


A couple of years ago, I decided to do all my own mowing and weed whacking to get exercise and save money. Usually, mowing and weed whacking are pretty manageable since most of the summer is dry and the yard wants mowing only every other week or so. I have over an acre and a half in mowable area. Not so in 2009. It has rained almost every day, and the yard has wanted mowing twice a week at times. Given that the grass hs been wet much of the time or that it has been raining, the opportunities to mow have been restricted. I have had to become an obsessive mower in such dribs and drabs as nature has offered me. I have been beating the shit out of my mowers as they were not made for cutting wet grass. If I had a mowing service, though, I'd be broke since it runs about $75 a pop to cut the grass.

Nevertheless, I still like to mow. I always have. I know not why. Maybe it's a Zen thing. When I'm mowing, I'm just mowing and nothing else.

I've been following the rules of organic lawn care in that I don't care if there are weeds in the yard. I'm not interested in monoculture. I just want some greenish ground cover. Also, I cut the grass and weeds at about three inches and mulch the clippings back into the yard. See, I'm being organic, not lazy or anything. Anyway, it saves money and effort, and I'm not polluting the environment with herbicides or chemical fertilizers.

I started a compost heap. I'm pretty good at throwing crap on it but not so great at turning it. Hell, I'm going to turn it right now while I'm thinking about it. Or not.

Death Panels?

What the hell is up with the wingnuts and their "death panels"? Project much? They fear "death panels" because that's what they'd do if they had the power.

As for the provision in the health care bill about end of life services, I say BFT. Hospice has been a great comfort to some of my kin and acquaintances, and we could all use some help with dealing with the issues surrounding the end of our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Return of IBIL

Idiot Brother in Law visited over the weekend with his kids and stepfather. The kids and stepfather were ok, but IBIL was insufferable. He's an unmitigated douchenozzle, even when sober(which to his credit he appears to have been for over two years now). He makes claims to being libertarian of the vulgar subspecies but he's actually an authoritarian. His primary outward expression is resentment and bitterness, but underneath it all is fear. I'd hate to be him and sober.

It's a wonder how his sister, born of the same parents and raised in the same household, could be so different. His kids don't manifest any of his deficiencies, either. At least not yet. His incredible laziness keeps him from expending much effort in transmitting them.

I wish there was some way to describe this person. Perhaps some examples of his utterances would suffice. "I want to teach my sons to kill and gut a deer." How many times has IBIL done either of these things? Never and never. "I prefer minor league baseball." How many minor league games had IBIL attended or listened to on the radio at the time of the utterance? None. "I'm a tax payer, not a tax parasite." This utterance was made when IBIL had a sinecure with the county government and when he paid zero federal taxes due to exemptions for his children.

Anyway, it was exhausting to be around such a toxic individual.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Globalization Killed the Dinosaurs

I caught an interesting program on one of the science channels about what killed the dinosaurs. Apparently, the asteroid that smashed into the earth at the end of the Cretaceous came at the tail end of on an already full on mass extinction. The theory is that continental drift brought the formerly separate continents together, that critters (especially large dinosaurs) migrated into new continents, that this messed with the ecosystems, and that contact between animals from different continents spread diseases to which the animals lacked immunity.

This sounds like a pretty good argument against unchecked globalization.

Wherein I Spin My Ineptitude as Virtue

My lack of handiness is abundantly manifest this week and the last.

The sump pump pretty much gave up after continuous operation for months on end, so I had to get some pump guys in to replace it. "Did you install this yourself? they asked. Were they kidding?

One of the wind gusts we've been having torqued the crap out of a big branch on the weeping willow tree out front. It's about 20 feet up, so I'd have to get pretty liquored up to get up on a ladder with a chain saw and take the branch off myself. I called an "arborist" instead, and he'll be by on Friday.

Tomorrow, the septic tank gets pumped. That's just routine maintenance as there's nothing wrong with the tank. I don't feel too bad about not having septic tank pumping know how and equipment.

Yesterday, I had an electrician over because I can't get the kitchen light to work. I was so embarrassed about it being such a small job that I thought up a few other things for the guy to do. Turns out the fixture is defective, so it wasn't my ignorance and ineptitude at work. I asked him to get me a new light as part of the job.

The Culligan man is also coming tomorrow to fix the leaking water purifier.

I engaged a handyman to do a bunch of jobs around the place, but he never came back after replacing the mailbox.

I reckon I'm doing my part for the economy by leaving stuff to the pros. It's the duty of every American who can afford it to hire as many tradesmen and service people as they can. We pay our neighbors to babysit our dogs and clean our house, and I would have a lawn guy if I didn't depend on mowing to get exercise.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Miracle Whip Will Not Tone it Down. I Mean, How Could It?

Hat tip to brand freak ( for this image. Also, he has interesting commentary on this jaw dropping ad campaign.
Apparently, Miracle Whip is hip now, or that's the way it's being marketed. We ate Miracle Whip when I was a kid because it was cheaper than mayo and we were poor. Now I can afford mayo. End of story.
What's next? "This is not your father's SPAM!" or We're Velveeta! What are you looking at!?!"

Keep Brown Shirts Under Surveillance

When the Brown Shirts show up to disrupt town hall meetings (, progressives shouldn't just take it on the chin. They should assign security personnel to take pictures of the Brown Shirts and record them and figure out who they are. Each Brown Shirt so identified could be assigned to a handler who would follow the individual's activities on the web, etc and post about them so it would be clear that the Brown Shirt Movement is orchestrated by right wing interest groups. The network of Brown Shirts and their leadership could then be exposed. This would help to nip things in the bud if the Brown Shirts decide to escalate matters into outright domestic terrorism, which they very well might.

The FBI ought to be doing this if it is going to be worthy of the name of secret police, but until they do progressives can take steps to protect themselves and the country from these crazies.

Monday, August 03, 2009

FAQs or Life's Too Short to Read This Blog

Why should anyone read this blog? I can't think of a good reason.

Why would anyone read this blog? They (1) are married to me and are monitoring my mental health; (2) take pity on me; (3) know I read their blog and feel obliged to check in; (4) realize I am awesome and that I will one day come forth with a nugget of wisdom that will change their lives; (5) secretly agree with me and want validation for our beliefs; (6) are government spies.

Why do you keep blogging when it is obvious that your readership hovers between zero and three? It's not about my readership. It's all about me. My blog is not "monetized", because it would not bring me money. My blog is a means of self expression that I don't have in the real world. Nobody cares about my opinions in the real world (except professional ones, if that). In the blogosphere, I get to put my views out there whether anybody reads them or not. It's therapeutic.

Why don't you comment more on other blogs that you read all the time? If you are a reader of this blog, you will know that I rarely have anything intelligent to say and that words of encouragement from me mean next to nothing.

Why don't you find a schtick and run with it? That smacks of effort.

Why don't you have more pictures? I don't know. Maybe it's the effort thing again.

Why don't you have a picture of yourself in your profile? I am so full of self loathing that I rarely permit my picture to be taken. When I do, I am disappointed that they look like me instead of my image of me as an attractive person.

Why are you so inconsistent in your opinions? Am I? Could I be evolving?

Since most of your posts are inane, why don't you make them shorter? Good point.

Have you ever held back on a blog post for fear of retribution? Yes. Crazy, huh?

Have you ever blogged drunk? Does now count?

Working Without Empathy

Sometimes, when you have enough information about a situation and a person, and if you are reasonably empathetic, you can usually get a pretty good idea about other people's motivations and the needs and concerns that inform their positions. That's how it works for me, at least. If, on the other hand, you are empathically challenged or have insufficient data on which to decide or just can't be bothered to find stuff out, there are some shortcuts.

1. Use defaults such as the one I employ: "Never attribute to evil anything that can be adequately explained by stupidity." This does not apply to GOP pundits or politicians, of course, or to anyone else who has repeatedly overriden the default. Or you might assume ignorance rather than deceitfulness until it becomes apparent that facts don't matter. These defaults work because people are, in fact, more likley to be stupid or ignorant or both than to be outright evil or deceitful. Also, if you are wrong, the error probably won't hurt you as mush as if you assumed evil and deceitfulness when in fact you were dealing with stupidity and ignorance. It's hard to back down from attributions of evil and deceitfulness. "I'm sorry I thought you were evil and deceitful when all along you were just stupid or ignorant."

2. If you are a social retard, do what all social retards do and project your own motives onto others. This won't help you figure anyone else out, but it will let the rest of us know where you're coming from.

3. Pretend that the other person is completely rational and assume that he or she desires all the consequences of their positions or ideas or actions. If Donald Rumsfeld went into Iraq with inadequate forces, it must have been because he intended for there to be security problems after the invasion. That way, the war could be extended indefinitely so as to bolster the administration's use of a war footing to justify all kinds of shit. There was never any intention to end the war and to leave Iraq secure. See what an interesting result you get? That's way more interesting than figuring that Rumsfeld was a big dummy. We all know he wasn't, but that's how he had to play it when folks started to figure out what was going on. What could he say? "I'm not incompetent; I'm evil!"

4. Pretend that the other person is a zombie without self awareness. This works for the religious right, birther types, and Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity/other wingnut viewers/listeners. There's really no point in trying to fathom their motives. Why does a sheep go ths way or that way? Ask the shepherd. Just go to their leaders' motives.

5. In the case of journalists (real ones, not FOX, in which case see #4), assume that you are dealing with someone really lazy with a cheap boss. Why is he reporting on this mindless drivel? Why is he regurgitating press releases? He's lazy, and he isn't supposed to spend time and money digging into stories.

These can be real time savers.

Cops Suck

I had an interesting conversation with some of my conspecifics the other day about police misconduct and my view that policing has become increasingly militaristic and hostile. To my surprise, my ally in the discussion was the right wing gun nut. On the other side were several white women 40-60 years of age who reckoned that there were a few bad cops here and there but all and all the police are our friends. I asked one of them "What's the difference between three policemen and three armed muggers?" "I don't know, what?" she replied. "I don't know, either" was the punchline. Ha, ha, ha. Pretty good for an extemporaneous joke, if I say so myself.

I don't reckon any of these ladies has ever had a run in with the police. One of them allowed as how she had seen policemen who were lazy or indifferent or cowardly in the face of a crime, but she had never experienced police oppression. I hope she doesn't get tased.

The best cops are the lazy and indifferent ones, as far as I am concerned. I refer to these as the "good" cops". The active ones are troublemakers who are most likely to get someone killed or maimed. I can't stand those guys.

There are very few cops who follow the model of community policing, who know their beat and the people who live there and who deter crime through their awareness and presence. These guys have lots of informants and helpers in the community because they are trusted. These guys can't get ahead in police departments because they don't put up the numbers. The kind of people recruited by police departments nowadays couldn't follow this model if they tried. They don't have the brainpower or people skills.