Saturday, April 29, 2006

"One From the Vault" Dept.
(With Albert Cipriani)

This is actually something I dug up in the Internet Archive from nearly five and a half years ago. The subject at the time was abortion and in true illustrating absurdity by being absurd fashion, here was my proposed "fair solution" on the matter (followed by my friend Albert's "fair" rejoinders)...

A 'fair' solution on abortion
[ Jan-2001 Archive ]


Posted by Shawn on January 17, 2001 at 13:46:16:

I do not support the moral angle of the solution I am about to propose but consider the absurdity of the current law:

A woman who chooses to not kill her child sticks the father of the baby with child support for 18 years.

Meanwhile if she chose to kill her child, the father has no say whatsoever in the matter.

How ridiculously unfair can this be???

To even things out the father should not be required to pay child support as long as abortion is legal and utilized.

That is the only way to be 'fair' about it. The woman 'chooses' abortion; well the father should be able to be 'pro choice' when it comes to supporting their children.

Follow Ups:


Posted by Albert Cipriani on January 17, 2001 at 14:28:41:

In Reply to: A 'fair' solution on abortion posted by Shawn on January 17, 2001 at 13:46:16:

1) Suicidal children who were not aborted ought to have the “right” to sue their pro-choice mothers for not making the wrong choice in the first place.

2) A father who wants to abort his child ought to be able to over the objections of the mother because we already allow children to abort their children over the objections of both father and mother.

3) Any mother who squanders her constitutional pro-choice rights is constitutionally unfit to be a mother and so ought to be forced to wear a scarlet “B” for breeder and have her child become a ward of the state.

The list could go on and on. Cheers, Albert 1/17/00

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Points to Ponder:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. [H. L. Mencken]

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Miscellaneous Threads Worth Noting:

Our comments where applicable will be interspersed...

[Update: The first thread (with its accompanying footnote) was added earlier today to this list while the second one with its accompanying footnote) was added a few minutes ago. - ISM 4/27/06 2:25pm]

Immigrant Boycott Aims To "Close" US Cities (Texas Fred)

Of course the date for this attempted "closure" could not be more of a giveaway to your host: May 1st. For those who have forgotten, "May Day" was a day appropriated for parades and protests by communists. But then again, it should not surprise anyone that these latest rounds of "protests" have settled on May Day for their movement. Or as We have written in the past on these matters:

There is a parallel not often recognized in the modern attempts to manufacture (i) racial strife, (ii) class envy (iii) a war between the genders, (iv) so-called "multiculturalism", (v) certain forms of so-called "sexual orientation" elevated to a so-called "civil right", (vi) so-called "environmentalism", (vii) the attempts to abolish God from the public square under the rubric of a perverted understanding of the first amendment, and (viii) not a few varieties of so-called "social justice" and so-called "peacemaking." The aforementioned parallel is that these are all movements where post-communists have sought to find ways of continuing the marxist weltanschauung under different banners to hide their true intentions. And frankly, anyone who does not realize these facts remains blind to reality.

The marxist in reality does not concern themselves with such "causes" and their feigned "compassion" only fools those who are naive. The only purpose that those "causes" have for the marxist is as tools to subvert the social order of society without concern for just public order or the true common good of society. Indeed, if you strip down any of the above advocacy movements beyond the surface self-platitudes and the incendiary rhetoric of so-called "activists", you will find the beating heart of marxism.[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 3, 2005)]

That is what is present in the aforementioned "immigration boycott"{1} in a nutshell and it should not be forgotten. Moving on...

Goodnight and Good Riddance (Kevin Tierney)

A solid defense of the theory that Tom DeLay -despite being the receipent of a major screwjob by Ronnie Earle and others{2}- nonetheless was not as clean as partisan Republicans would like to (in the interest of putting ideology over principles) claim. Furthermore, his advancement of the very kind of unconstitutional programs under the mantle of so-called "conservatism" is something that needs to be stopped asap.

Society That Thinks Pope Pius XII Rules

This is an interesting weblog from "Piusites" or those who are sick of seeing this "Righteous Gentile" (as he was called by Golda Meir, Pinchas Lapide, Ronald J. Rychlak, and Rabbi David Dalin) get libeled by the MSM. Indeed, the most recent article on the above weblog deals with this subject and is worth reading for those who are interested in actual history and not the stuff revised for the purpose of advancing an ideology in opposition ot the truth.

Sheehan Lies Out Of Habit (Bryan Preston)

The unsavoury character of Cindy Sheehan is documented in part by Bryan Preston in the thread above.{3}

"Smart Fence" (Bryan Preston)

Bryan outlines the obvious inconsistency of those who would favour a wall on the US-Mexican border yet who would oppose the Israeli wall. As far as her motivations, We suspect with the same degree of cynicism her reasons for favouring a "smart wall" on the southern border is because of the unlikeliness that it would be built: thus she can take all sides on this issue in the true tradition of the gutless-politician. As Peter Brown noted in an old Cream song titled Politician:

I support the left, though I’m leaning, leaning to the right.
I support the left, though I’m leaning to the right.
But I’m just not there when it’s coming to a fight.

And do not bank on Mrs. Clinton fighting for this "smart wall" idea...unless you want to make a friendly wager. If the latter is the case, contact Us for the address to mail your money to in advance because you will lose and lose bigtime. Moving on...

Of Pulitzers and Treason (Patrick J. Buchanan)

Pat Buchanan is on target with the above article -and this is said not just because he mirrors a lot of what has been said by Us on the MSM and sedition about three years ago. Whatever one thinks of some of the half-baked geopolitical stances that Mr. Buchanan has taken, he is at the very least a patriot in the proper sense of the term.

Minimum Wage, Maximum Folly (Walter E. Williams)

Once again, Dr. Williams provides an important lesson in economics.

Law or Lynch Law? (Thomas Sowell)

A fine article by Thomas Sowell on the rape allegations of the Duke lacrosse team. The gist of what he wrote can be summed up in a pithy phrase from early in the article that reads as follows:

Apparently we dare not question accusations of rape when it involves the new sacred trinity of race, class, and gender.


Why No Special Prosecutor for the Latest CIA Leak Case? (Christopher Hitchens)

Of course Mr. Hitchens knows the answer to this question and it will be supplied it here for those who do not know: because there is a double standard in how these matters are handled when the one so accused takes the "politically correct" approach as Mary McCarthy has done. In the words of that great western philosopher James Hetfield "sad but true."

WH Press Secretary–Tony Snow? (Beth Cleaver)

Beth asked at the time if this was true and we know now that it is. Our views on this appointment can be read HERE for those who have not seen them yet.

Update on Andrea Clarke (Beth Cleaver)

For Our part, We at Rerum Novarum concur with Beth's assessment on the above subject matter.

The Check Is Not In The Mail (Captain Ed)

For Our part, We at Rerum Novarum concur with Captain Ed's assessment on the above subject matter.

President James Madison's Veto

Those who think that the approach to constitutional matters taken at this humble weblog{4} is too restrictive should consider what the "Father of the Constitution" thought on these matters and see that We are in very good company indeed viz. how these matters are properly understood.


{1} There is also the issue of President Bush trying to have it both ways in how this issue is dealt with. And for those who place principles above party loyalty (ala Texas Fred and a growing number of people who are generally sympathetic to Republicans), it could have serious repercussions for The Stupid Party (Republicans) in the elections of 2006 and 2008 without The Evil Party (Democrats) having to do anything at all.

{2} On the DeLay "Indictment" (circa October 1, 2005)

{3} Your host may have to reassess his previous comments on Cindy Sheehan in light of this new information.

{4} Here is a sampling of threads where the unconstitutionality of a lot of what the federal government has done has been discussed at Rerum Novarum (listed from newest to oldest):

Briefly on Claude Frederic Bastiat, the US Constitution, and Socialism (circa December 29, 2005)

Miscellaneous Threads for Reviewing (circa September 29, 2005)

On the High Gas Prices and the Economics Involved Therein (circa September 10, 2005)

A Review of Senator Barry Goldwater's Book The Conscience of a Conservative (circa March 8, 2005)

"My Kingdom For a Viable Third Party" Dept. (circa November 11, 2004)

On Marriage, the Supreme Court, Law in General, Etc. -Dialogue With Charles de Nunzio (circa June 2, 2004)

A Brief Digression on the "Scylla/Charybdis" Conundrum of American Political Parties, Etc. (circa May 24, 2004)

A Rider Reform Proposal (circa January 22, 2004)

Miscellaneous Mutterings (circa October 31, 2003)

"Us and Them" Dept. (circa June 27, 2003)

Weighing in on Sen. Trent Lott's Comments (circa December 12, 2002)

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If I criticize President Bush when he has done badly (and I certainly do that) then when he does something right, fairness dictates that I note the good things too and appointing Tony Snow as his new press secretary is a shrewd move. Parting note to McClellen: hope the door hitting you on the arse on the way out does not leave too much of a bruise...

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Points to Ponder:
(On Illegal Immigration and Government Regulation)

Your points are well taken Jen but you are undoubtedly aware that a lot of things that stick small businesses and those who are not of the upper income bracket are brought into being by mantras of "tax the rich", etc.

Most people have no idea that the idea behind the Sixteenth Amendment of the Constitution was sold as a way of collecting from only the top tier incomes. Adjusted for inflation, everyone making $80,000 and less today would be exempt under the formula as put into place in 1913.

The problem is what happens once a program is in place and how it is fiddled with...Ronaldus Magnus' once said that the closest thing to eternity on earth is a government program and history has shown the truth in that dictum over and over again. [I. Shawn McElhinney: Posted to Fetching Jen's Weblog (circa April 18, 2006)]

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Monday, April 24, 2006

On Public vs. Private Standards:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

The following article was sent to your host by Kevin Tierney:

Lie Down With Strippers, Wake Up With Pleas (Ann Coulter)

Certainly Ann's piece is on target and I recall noting after receiving it the problem we have in society today. And while I could write a post of decent length the matter (or record a five minute audioblog posting on it), sometimes I actually have pithy thoughts in writing and (when I do) it is best to go with them as they are.

Ann's article outlines a core problem that seems to be more prevalent viz. how victims of tragedies are dealt with. They both revolve around an argumentation fallacy I defined last month{1} and are essentially two forms of this kind of problem. I call the fallacy involved argumentum ad eventus. Depending on the approach taken, this could involve asserting that either (i) someone who has not experienced something cannot talk credibly about it{2} or (ii) someone who has done something cannot later on criticize others for doing the same thing.{3}

I am not about to try and make the argument that people are at all perfectly consistent in the views they espouse and those that they follow because we all know that is not the case with any of us. But should the fact that we all fall short of the mark in some form or another mean that we move the mark itself??? Or would it not be better for society as a whole if the mark stays where it is as a rule and we strive to conform ourselves to the mark???

I noted in responding to that mailing was that there seems to be a problem with people recognizing that public standards are important even if individuals do not meet them. As Ann noted, we have no problem recognizing by logical extension this application to non-moral matters. Therefore, consistency would require that we recognize this with moral issues too.

If instead of being recognized for what they are, violations of a recognized standard are ipso facto seen as calling into account the standard{5} rather than trying to conform themselves to the aforesaid standard, then we are in serious trouble as a society. We risk in a situation such as that becoming a civilization of the least common denominator: hardly anything that could be logically viewed as either "progressive" or "enlightened" whatsoever the promoters of such a society would label it as. And that is the bottom line really.


{1} Defining Some Argumentation Fallacies--A Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG Post (circa March 7, 2006)

{2} See footnote one.

{3} In no area except morality would a sane person believe he can't criticize something stupid because he's done it. How about: If you've ever forgotten to fill up your car and run out of gas, you must forevermore defend a person's right to ignore the gas gauge. Or if you've ever forgotten to wear a coat in cold weather and caught a cold, henceforth you are obliged to encourage others not to dress appropriately in the winter.

This deep-seated societal fear of being accused of "hypocrisy" applies only to behavior touching on morals. [Ann Coulter: Excerpt from Lie Down With Strippers, Wake Up With Pleas (circa April 19, 2006)]

{4} See footnote three.

{5} And it cannot be credibly argued that this approach has become more and more frequent for some time now.

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On the History of Beer:

As I close in on my pre-summer weight loss goal, I find myself again thinking of beer...something I have not consumed any of since my trip to California back in mid-January. Anyway, with that in mind, the following is a history written by someone else. And though I obviously take issue with some of what they say{1}; nonetheless, this chronicling is hilarious and I felt like blogging it so here goes...

---- For centuries humans existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in winter.

The two most important events in all of history were the invention of the wheel and the invention of beer. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups: Liberals and Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain, and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to BBQ at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as "the Conservative movement." Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly BBQs and doing the sewing, fetching and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as 'girliemen.'

Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy and the concept of democratic voting to
decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass. Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish, but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu and French food are standard liberal fare.

Another interesting revolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't "fair" to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, Marines, Air Force pilots, athletes and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to "govern" the producers and decide how to redistribute the production. Liberals believe Europeans
are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America. They crept in later, after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get MORE for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history and anthropology:

It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to respond to the above before simply laughing and forwarding it. A Conservative will be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately.


{1} Particularly the notion that conservatives drink domestic beer and that beer should be drunk out of a can. I explain the correct understanding of these notions (and other beer-related ones) HERE and am not about to reiterate them anew at this time.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

"I'll Play the Blues for You" Dept. -A Tribute to Albert King:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

[Prefatory Note: Much of the material in this posting was taken from the archives of Rerum Novarum circa October 7, 2002 and reworked a bit to accommodate the present circumstance. -ISM]

If your down and out
And you feel real hurt
Come on oooover....
To the place where I work
And allll your loneliness
I'll try to soothe...
I'll play the blues for you..

True fans of the blues know that the essence of blues is human emotion. They can be happy, sad, funny, seductive, or any other emotion though it is the feeling down element that is most commonly known. When this element is in effect it serves as a catharsis if you will - particularly the soulful wailing of a vocal-like instrument such as the electric guitar.

There are a lot of guitar players out there but far too many of them simply play fast but do not focus on the little things which separate a good player from a master. Albert King was a master of the first rank in blues -arguably the master of electric blues. I say this not because he developed his own unique style as that is hardly unique to him: all true stylists do this. No, I say that because not only did he develop his own style of playing but his influence stretched across musical genres (i.e. blues, funk, country, rock, jazz). It would take too long to note the countless players who were influenced by him but I will make a short list here which will be far from complete but here goes:

Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page (Lez Zeppelin), Paul Kossoff (Free), Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy), Leslie West (Mountain), Rory Gallagher, Robben Ford, Robert Cray, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimmy Vaughan (to a lessor extent). I could also mention Lynyrd Skynyrd's Gary Rossington and Allen Collins who were influenced via Paul Kossoff and Eric Clapton respectively -particularly Rossington's "less is more style".

Pink Floyd's David Gilmour epitomized Albert King's economy of prose approach with the emphasis on vibrato though he did not (from what I can detect) cop too many of King's licks into his repertoire. I mentioned Eric Clapton earlier and in doing that I refer to his earlier stuff such as the lead guitar work on the Beatles song While My Guitar Gently Weeps and his work with Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominoes. Also, Robbie Robertson (the Band), Joe Walsh (James Gang, the Eagles), and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) could be mentioned too. At some point a list like this needs to be ended so I will do that now even though it is far from complete.

Not only did Albert influence those who were descended from him in the guitar family but he also influenced some of his contemporaries who were already distinctive stylists in their own right (i.e. the bluesmen Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, and Otis Rush -particularly Collins and Rush). And that Albert King was one of the most imitated players in history despite the fact that no one could completely duplicate his deceptively simple style of play (Stevie Ray Vaughan probably came the closest) is also interesting.

In truth, probably every player I noted above could play faster than Albert could but he could intimidate any of them on the stage -probably due as much to his physical size (6'4", 250 lbs) as the depth of his torrid tone, incisive phrasing, precision string bends, and spine-chilling vibrato. And it is quite ironic that we speak here of a former sharecropper/bulldozer operator who had to teach himself to play guitar in a very unorthodox manner{1} as one who would be the object of such adoration amongst his peers.

Today, not a few who study the instrument marvel over what this illiterate{2} former sharecropper could do and no guitar instructional is complete without discussing his contributions to how the instrument is played. Today would have been the eighty-third birthday of the one man whom Jimi Hendrix was (by his own admission) intimidated by{3} and the favourite blues player of the grandfather of the blues himself{4}: the blues master Albert King who passed away on December 21, 1992 at the age of 69.{5} God rest his soul.

I ain't got no big name
Ooooo Lord and I ain't no big star
But I'll play the bluuues for you
On my gui-tar
Allll your lone-li-ness
I'll try to soothe
I'll play the blues for you

Related image

(Scuse me)


{1} As a left handed person, Albert King learned to play a right handed guitar with the strings reversed. Thus, he would pull the strings down instead of pushing them up as is the common way of playing lead. He also tended to play less vertically and more horizontally across the strings which explains in part the smoothness of his solos. He also did not use a pick (his hands were too big) and this is a key part of the tonality he achieved because picks on strings are more hollow sounding than picking the strings with a thumb or other fingers. (In Albert's case, his main picking digit was his thumb.)

{2} Musically as well as literally: he did not learn to read and write until very late in his life and he did not know music theory except what he learned through some time as a drummer early in his career and also from some degree of intuition. (His solos were never off the groove which is something that can be said of very few guitarists.)

{3} Jimi was also so fascinated by Albert that when they were together, Jimi would at times offer to play bass behind him just so he could watch Albert's technique more closely.

{4} I refer here to the Delta bluesmaster John Lee Hooker (RIP).

{5} He continued to perform for audiences all the way to the end of his life.

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