Friday, July 28, 2006

Before I forget to mention it, the Mariners have gone without mention at this weblog for a couple of years because basically they have either stunk or shown a propensity for boneheaded decision making that borders on the serial. However, some of the trades from the offseason of 2004 were good ones and those players (Beltre and Sexton) who started off this year so horribly have gotten back on track and the results in the past couple of months has been winning more games.

I was expecting (based on their history of ineptitude here) that the Mariners would either stand pat at the midseason trade deadline, make a useless trade, or make one or more trades that shot their team in the head under the pretext of "rebuilding" or whatever. However, this year, they actually pulled their head out of their rectum and made a solid midseason acquisition during a year where they are contenders: something that has not been done since 1995.{1} But this season, they got a solid acquisition in Ben Broussard from Cleveland to accompany Eduardo Perez whom they got from the Indians last month for minor league talent.

Designated for assignment was Carl Everett{2} whose offense had been as invisible in the past month as logic and reason in an antiwar.com position paper. In Everett's place, we now have a platooned DH which should supply a significant bump in offense compared to what that position had been getting us before.

So for the first time in years, I am sensing that the Mariners are on the right track. Now if they can only pick up a quality starter on waivers in September and make the playoffs...

Notes:

{1} Even 1995 technically should not be counted here cause I say it in retrospect: the trades were made when the team was pretty much dead in the standings and they just happened to launch one of the greatest comebacks to make the playoffs in baseball history as a result.

{2} Referred to as "C. Everett Kook" by some for his weird scientific theories (including that dinosaurs never existed).

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Points to Ponder:

When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that the old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had one before. [H. L. Mencken]

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Briefly Dispatching With A Standard Pseudo-"Peacemaker" War "Argument" Yet Again:

Based on an email received earlier today, it seems that one of the readers wants to revisit the so-called "chickenhawk" subject to some extent. Frankly, I have shot that dog dead already. Twice. (Once on my birthday last year and once again on Mayday this year.) For that reason, I see no need to waste any more ammunition on that illogical excuse for an "argument." Nonetheless, to show for the umpteenth time in the past four odd years that I do to some extent take reader emails into account with what is blogged at this humble weblog, I will briefly recount one of those threads at this time -starting with the preface of the thread from May 1, 2006:

The material in this posting was originally blogged back in October as a birthday fisking under the title Another Flawed Argument From Pseudo "Peacemakers" Bites the Dust. Without wanting to reconstitute the entire post at this time, I nonetheless want to remind readers of why this kind of argumentation is so flawed. For that reason, a truncated version of the earlier posting will suffice to avoid reinventing the wheel innecessarily. Without further ado, here goes...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 1, 2006)]

To read the rest, click on the link above.

The readers are advised to not expect anything in the way of a substantive argument against what is outlined in the above thread by the more rabid of the self-styled "peacemakers."{1} Instead, any attempted responses by those sorts will consist of illogical and irrational rants based not on reason and logic but instead on said party's solipsistic view of the war in Iraq and war in general -be it actual arguments they attempt to advance, links to similarly flawed articles by other parties they consider to be "allies", etc.

Note:

{1} I remind you readers that this does not involve the issue of the war in general, only one particularly stupid and easily confutable argument that is a stock talking point amongst the self-styled "progressivists" and pseudo-"peacemakers."

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"All The News That We Think Fits Or Can Be Made To Fit" Dept.

Who wants yesterdays papers
Who wants yesterdays girl
Who wants yesterdays papers
Nobody in the world


Apparently, the New York Times is in trouble and they are taking actions to try and regain viability. After fourteen years of obvious decline, here are some of my suggestions{1} for improving the paper overnight -starting with what they should really do:

---Have "Pinchy" Sulzberger arrested, tried for sedition{2} (if not downright treason), and then promptly executed.

But since that is not likely, lets consider some other approaches they can take. Before doing that however, it would help to recall some of what your host wrote last year on the problems with the journalistic profession in the aftermath of the whole Deep Throat subject:

The journalistic profession has become one where you "make it" by finding someone whose reputation you can destroy. Ethics are often not a factor, indeed morals and ethics often get the screw from journalists who are trying to "make it" and then (for those who "make it") the same tactics are utilized to try and stay "on top." The same is the case with the legal profession and the political profession: oftentimes those who "make it" do so by screwing other people. So the parallel to prostitution is an apt one. The only difference of course is that prostitutes are somewhat honest about it. But enough on that subject for now.

To summarize these musings, Woodward and Bernstein by their approach to "Deep Throat" ushered in a new era of journalism which is rotten to the core. It is comprised of people who seek to create news and who are interested in spinning the facts to advance an agenda rather than report on what is happening and letting the readers draw their own conclusions. The ethics in this field are abysmal and a strong reason why the MSM is slowly becoming more and more irrelevant in this new age of alternative media is because they are no longer a monopoly.

Unlike in the days of the Watergate scandal and even in the days of the so-called "Iran Contra scandal", the MSM does not have their former capabilities to propagandize the public discourse. Instead, today they must peddle their wares in the marketplace with a variety of viewpoints now and do not have the luxury of monopolizing the media as they once did. This has made many of them take an approach from being wary to being skeptical (if not downright hostile) towards alternative media. And they will find out in the coming weeks that the conventional wisdom about W. Mark Felt being a "hero" in the early 1970's will not play with the public in quite the sameway they think it will. And when that happens, the MSM's disconnect with the populace will again be set forth in bold relief. The present writer would not bet on them figuring it out at that point though for those who are wondering. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa June 1, 2005)]

Having diagnosed the core problems with modern day "journalism", a real remedy could be suggested for their predicament but it is not as if the New York Times sorts would accept it. Therefore, lets consider some of the more absurd possibilities since it seems with these sorts the propensity for them to accept an idea is in direct proportion to its absurdity, illogic, etc. With that in mind, here are this writer's suggestions for them to consider:

--Changing the paper to resemble the Weekly World News format except on a slightly larger scale of course.

--Changing "All the News that is Fit to Print" to "All the News We Can Find or Create That We Think You Should Accept Blindly and Uncritically Like the Moronic Sheeple That You Are." A bit windier to read but nonetheless it would be quite forthright of them to admit to their agenda up front like that.

--Inaugurating a special position called Al Jazeera Quality Control Inspector to review all stories and insure that they conform to the proper groupthink view of events.

--Create two different posts within the aforementioned position: one for national affairs and one for international affairs.

--Give the above posts to Jayson Blair for national affairs and Noam Chomsky for international affairs.

Since a working definition of insanity is doing exactly the same things over and over again while expecting a different result each time, this writer recommends that the NYT do more of the same but somewhat differently. Meaning: do more of the same but be more open and honest with your viewpoints and what you think of your readers and the public at large.

Notes:

{1} In accordance with the suggested "assignment" at this link.

{2} Much as I hate to remind people, we are at war and no amount of closing one's eyes and wishing it was not so will change that. There have been a lot of actions taken by the MSM which in a time of war should not be tolerated by a logical and sane people. The extent to which "political correctness" has been involved in these occurrences taking place is obvious; nonetheless, whatever idiocies are tolerated outside of a time of war should not be tolerated when at war. And that is the bottom line really.

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Miscellaneous Musings on Grocery Store Etiquette

this is an audio post - click to play

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Points to Ponder:
(On The Proper Way to Make and Present Arguments)

Mike Mentzer was the man who refined and developed further Arthur Jones' theories on exercise science. He also was one who was an even larger influence in a subsequent refining of my intellectual approach than Arthur Jones was. (Indeed it was through Mike that I learned about Jones to begin with.) Mike used to often dissuade people from accepting what he had to say on subjects of exercise science simply on the basis of him possessing one of the hallmark "credentials" in the particular field he was involved in. (In this case, being one of the greatest physical specimens of all time.) Indeed, rather than base any of his arguments on this factor, Mike would instead often make statements akin to the following:

I've always reasoned that if the material I presented was valid in and of itself, was offered in a logical manner, and designed to appeal to one's reason and common sense, then the likelihood of it being accepted for its intrinsic worth was greater.

That is a direct quote taken from his last written work (published shortly after he passed on) but he often made statements in that vein of thought throughout his lifetime. And that is how I have throughout my life approached discussing any subject matter as a rule. It should go without saying that I therefore recommend the same approach to anyone who wants to make a contribution of value to the arena of ideas: focus only on the intrinsic validity or lack thereof of any argument proposed. For that is what really matters in the legitimate advancement of ideas if we take it down to brass tacks. [I. Shawn McElhinney: Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa August 27, 2004)]

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