I feel more like I do now than when I first got here.

Tonight’s State of The Union address is an appropriate time to examine how POTUS and VPOTUS developed their elocutionary skills.

It’s fairly certain you’ve never wondered what it would be like listening to the legendary Roman orator Cicero after he’d had a hit of the brown acid. A) He died before the brown acid was circulating, and B) he spoke Latin.

But that does not mean the experience can’t be simulated. For most people Cicero’s imaginary acid laced oratory wouldn’t differ much in intelligible content from the off-teleprompter efforts of our President and Vice President.

They story of how they honed their natural abilities with diligent study is not well known. Their role models were not who you might think.

They had tried studying legendary orators and logicians, but this ceased when the President’s handler’s realized that he misunderstood the apocryphal example of Demosthenes learning to speak with marbles in his mouth; and when the Vice President’s staff realized she thought “Syllogism” was the name of Aristotle Onassis’s yacht.

Instead, Biden and Harris spent months studying the skills of two men whose Presidential campaigns are the stuff of legend: Irwin “The World’s Foremost Authority” Corey, and Pat “We Can Be Decisive… Probably” Paulsen.

Corey campaigned for President in 1960 on Hugh Hefner’s Playboy ticket. His campaign slogans included, “Vote for Irwin and get on the dole” and, “Corey will run for any party, with a bottle in his hand.” Notable quote: “I don’t believe Spiro Agnew is a crook. If he was a crook, he’d still be in office.”

Corey was a talented comedian and actor for over 50 years. He lived to be 102, which attracted the President’s attention.

In the persona of a dowdy, wild-haired professor, his schtick was non-stop streams of nonsense peppered with physical comedy. His routines sound like today’s soft “sciences” academic papers.

Corey was a nearly perfect model for Biden. Nearly, because while Corey was a master of sesquipedalian nonsense, he didn’t make up polysyllabic nonsense words. For example, he would have considered that last sentence insufficiently confusing. This deficiency will bring us to Paulsen in a moment.

Corey’s appeal to Harris was a little different. It is exemplified by this post’s title, “I feel more like I do now than when I first got here.” (the title of an LP he recorded). This convinced Kamala Harris he was a man to emulate, as demonstrated when she saidIt is time for us to do what we have been doing. And that time is every day.

Here is Corey when he was 79, Joe Biden’s age, talking about his album. For Corey, it’s an act.

But, something was missing for Biden. He needed a larger degree of freedom, outside the bounds of the English language, to exploit his propensity to create incomprehensible neologisms. Enter Pat Paulsen.

Paulsen’s Presidential campaigns spanned 40 years, starting in the 60s. Shut Up And Get Off Your Butt! was the theme of his 1988 campaign. He was famous for incisive analysis of our immigration problems early in his career: “All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.”

Paulsen was also a talented comedian. His stage presence combined studied affectlessness, mistimed gesturing, deliberate mispronunciation, and brief excursions into garbled strings of vaguely English sounding phonemes.

Harris and Biden both found these skills compelling, though they emphasize different aspects of Paulsen’s persona in their own rhetorical flourishes.

Here, Paulsen anticipates the message we may well hear tonight,

I predict that based on Biden’s recent assertion that Americans’ dissatisfaction with his regime can all be laid at the feet of the CCP virus:

“As Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General, points out, I think one of the significant things we are going to find ten years from now is a phenomenal negative psychological impact that CoViD has had on the public psyche.

And so you have an awful lot of people who are, notwithstanding the fact that things have gotten so much better for them economically, that they are thinking, but how do you get up in the morning feeling happy – happy that everything is alright?

Even though your job is better, even though you have more income.”

Joe Biden has not forgotten Demonsthenes’ marbles, but he has managed to learn to channel Paulsen with a touch of Corey. His intuitive grasp of Paulsen’s syllababble is a natural fit, and his attention span mimics Corey’s.

For example, Biden’s “trunalimunumaprzure” (sometimes rendered “true ninternuvidu presher”, or “true inder nah ma preh zer”) is pure Paulsen.

Corey’s primary contribution to the President’s affect was a standard bit where Corey appears to forget where he is.

Corey’s influence on Kamala Harris is made obvious at the Munich Security Conference, where she had been dispatched to deter Vlad Putin with sanctions…

“[W]e strongly believe – and remember also that the sanctions are a product not only of our perspective as the United States, but a shared perspective among our allies, and the allied relationship is such that we have agreed that the deterrence effect of these sanctions is still a meaningful one, especially because remember also, we still sincerely hope that there is a diplomatic path out of this moment. And within the context, then, of the fact that that window is still opening – open, although it is absolutely narrowing, but within the context of a diplomatic path still being open, the deterrence effect we believe has merit.”

Harris doesn’t have Professor Corey’s vocabulary, but she absolutely nails his concept.

It’s worth noting that we could do worse than electing a comedian as President. Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has been criticized because he was a successful comedian. He seems to have turned out alright.

Sadly, neither Biden nor Harris are funny. Well ‘funny peculiar’, perhaps, but not “funny Ha, Ha.”

Bonus clips:
Pat Paulsen Freedom to Censor

Presidential Announcement March 3, 1968

Corey on … Who knows?

Dissent, a shared idea

“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air — that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.”
— H.L. Mencken

Ukrainians and Freedom Convoy truckers share this principle. You may disagree with their interpretation. If so: Use your words. And don’t try changing the definition of freedom.

The immediate risk of asserting that they are freemen is higher for Ukrainians than for truckers. The long term consequences of failure to resist tyranny are the same.

Trudeaupia’s false choice is that 1984 is not different from Brave New World. Though Justin did resort to the former when his estimation of the completeness of the latter turned out to be overly optimistic.

The Catastrophe of Canada | Rex Murphy and Jordan B Peterson

This is an important conversation.

What is happening in Canada is dreadful, not least because should Justin Trudeau remain in power it will show Canadians are not who they thought they were, do not have the institutions they thought they did, and are uninterested in recovering either their culture or representative democracy.

Is there some flaw in the British parliamentary system that has been exposed by the pandemic and changes wrought by social media? I wonder because, while serious authoritarian overreach can be alleged in most neoliberal democracies, Australia and New Zealand seem more up front about it than most. This most certainly includes the United States.

An hour. If you need an incentive to watch the whole thing, Here is a 5 minute summary. What goes before explores why it’s true.

Seventy seven

The Other Club was first published February 19, 2005 on Google’s Blogspot.I have included a first day post below. It celebrated a display of American valor and courage that had taken place 60 years earlier.

In 2005 “valor and courage” would have been a nearly universal opinion. The memory would have invoked reverence and gratitude. Seventeen years later, I wonder…

As the post went up, Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world. The first ever Tweet was 13 months in the future. Facebook would not open to the general public for almost 18 months. YouTube had come online 4 days earlier. Ask Jeeves was still a thing. Google Maps had just been launched on February 8. Pandora was to be launched on August 25. Tumblr was 2 years in the future.

Surveillance capitalism was just booting up.

If you wanted to be notified of a new post at any given blog, you would subscribe to its RSS feed. If it supported one. To find other sites you might find interesting, you depended on blogrolls and word of mouth.

Content wasn’t targeted at you based on deep learning analysis of every search you conducted, every website you visited, every cell tower you passed, the content of your emails, every person you “followed”, every purchase you made, every app you used, or a comprehensive summary of the computer make and model, browser, OS, graphics processor, IP and MAC addresses… etc., you used while volunteering that information.

It was more likely than not you didn’t “google it” in 2005. Google processed a bit less than 37% of searches then. Ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively; Yahoo, MSN, and AOL handled 54%.

Now Google attracts more than 90% of internet queries. Reading more than Twitter’s 140 280 characters before concretizing your righteous outrage has become passé. Facebook has gobbled up the open discussion space by strategically monetizing polarization.

Add TikTok, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. etc., and you get a cultural petri dish where narcissistic moral-superiority contests flourish, and “mean girls” of both sexes actually make a living by practicing their sociopathy.

Signaling virtuous victimhood as indicators of Dark Triad personalities, from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, is a look into who powers the victimhood industrial complex.

“We show that individuals with Dark Triad traits-Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy-more frequently signal virtuous victimhood, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables that are commonly associated with victimization in Western societies.”

A popular way to monetize victimhood is complaining about cultural appropriation. Hoop earrings, for example. As if persons of ‘Latinx’ persuasion invented hoop earrings. And, in their cultural purity, refuse to use anything invented by, say, a dead white British male. Like vaccination.

An environmental impact study would find “the better angels of our nature” an endangered species in a shrinking habitat. Gossip, maliciousness, and reputation savaging, you see, scale and can be monetized. And it works just as well if you can appropriate victimhood.

Well, this turned into more of a rant than a ‘happy anniversary to me.’ Enough.

TOC documents some bits of the last 17 years. Of topical interest, there are 109 posts tagged ‘canada’ as I write. The first is from February 25, 2005. I just tagged it. There are certainly more. Blogspot didn’t have tagging for a long time and I have only partially updated them. Now I’ll have to complete ‘Canada.’

I have made TOC’s ~2,900 posts into a ~2,100 page PDF. About 1.1 million words. Electronically signed copies can be made available. ;)

I think I managed to meet the level of Theodore Sturgeon’s adage: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” ;)

Anyaway, here’s that first day post I mentioned above. Blogspot didn’t provide for images then, so I’m adding what I would have used.

Original inks have rotted and are replaced from web.archive.org.Saturday, February 19, 2005

Flags of our Fathers
John Bradley, Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon and Mike Strank are the Navy corpsman and Marines who, on 23-February-1945, raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi. It’s a famous picture.

Still, Suribachi’s island wasn’t declared secure until 26-March, and it was 7-April before American fighter planes took off from the refurbished runway so many had died to secure.

Describing the Americans who fought this battle, Admiral Nimitz uttered the words that appear on the Arlington Cemetery monument to that flag raising: “Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”.

Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal said that “the raising of that flag on Suribachi means there will be a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.”

Thank you Marines. Semper Fi. 440 years to go; though I expect you’ve extended that a bit in the interim.

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the death-struggle for Iwo Jima, in which over 2,000 Marines died in the first 18 hours of fighting.

In the next 36 days Marines had a casualty every 2 minutes. 6,821 Americans and over 20,000 Japanese died. Of 353 Medals of Honor awarded during WWII, 27 were given for heroism on Iwo Jima; 13 posthumously.

And this was not the end of the Pacific war. In fact, it was just the first battle on Japanese soil.

My appreciation of this battle, and my gratitude to those who fought it, grew immensely when I read a book given to me by a former Marine. That book is Flags of our Fathers, by James Bradley.

Bradley discovered that his father, a Navy corpsman who survived the battle of Iwo Jima, had not only been awarded a Navy Cross for his efforts there, but was one of the men in the famous picture of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi. He discovered this only after his father had died, as he sorted through his father’s papers.

Danielle Girdano is another person belatedly aware of her father’s contribution on Iwo Jima.

18 year old private first class Daniel Girdano, 4th Marine Division, 24th Regiment, 1st Battalion A Company, first saw Iwo Jima’s beaches on 19-February-1945. His daughter learned what really happened there almost by accident. She bought a vial of Iwo Jima ash for her father as a Christmas present in 2003, and he could not speak of his experiences still. “He saw this vial of ash, and this man who I’ve known my entire life as the Rock of Gibraltar, broke down,” she said.
https://web.archive.org/web/20051111155604/http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/trib/westmoreland/s_303180.html

What she learned from her small gift resulted in the Legend of Heroes Memorial. A monument in glass, metal and wood; it has the faces of 10 Iwo Jima vets engraved on it. Her father is one of them. It is beginning a 49 state tour this weekend.

It is inscribed, “Boys became men, men became heroes, heroes became legends.”

I am cowed by the modesty, even self-effacement, of men like Bradley’s and Girdano’s fathers; though it is typical of those WWII vets who saw soul-wrenching combat. Part of it is certainly the modesty becoming of a different era, but I think most of it arises from the pain their experiences brought. (Note to John Kerry – your eagerness, sustained for 30 years, to capitalize on your experiences of “atrocities” in Viet Nam is one of the reasons you were not credible.)

I recommend Flags of our Fathers, but for a brief tour you should read Arthur Herman’s piece at:
https://web.archive.org/web/20060207155223/http://opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006317

Herman also invokes contemporary issues via a perspective on the doubt and debate surrounding WWII strategies that most of us now think of as uncontroversial.
# posted by Hershblogger @ 2/19/2005 06:46:00 PM

Rabbit holes & curiosity

Loosely organized things that struck me.

Below is a simple comparison of English speaking volunteers who were asked if a particular string of letters was an English word they recognized. Knowing a definition was not required. Made up ‘words’ were included, and marking one of those as a real word was penalized.

These words showed the largest gap between male and female recognition.
Table 2 Words known better by males than by females (left), and vice versa (right)I sent that table to a friend and he replied: “A rebuttal to arguments that there are no differences between men and women.” Indeed.

You will quickly see an overall pattern. The blank slate crowd will argue that this pattern is entirely a symptom of social conditioning. This is a key tenet of identity politics. Any disparity between groups is solely a result of pernicious thinking which can be corrected by the State.

Totalitarian utopias (a redundancy) depend on the idea that human minds can be conditioned to think only State approved thoughts. Those who think human minds have no inherent structure, and can be inscribed at will by society, could benefit from a little research into the science. Two short suggestions. One. Two.

Anyway, I was curious about the chart and the study that produced it. The test is so simple that the only bias would be based on individual vocabulary. Which is what the test is measuring.

I’ve been looking at the M/F table a bit, rating my own knowledge and wondering about patterns and oddities. I could define all the male-side words and half the female-side ones. I knew 9 of those were fabrics, but I couldn’t have told you the difference. This proves females have been conditioned by the patriarchy to be more concerned about style than STEM.

There were 4 words I didn’t know were words: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen whipstitch, peplum, or boucle. I also didn’t know espadrille, but had to look twice to see it wasn’t escadrille, which is how I initially read it. On reflection, it seemed unlikely that women would be more knowledgable about French air force squadrons than men. Espadrille (is that also the plural?) are shoes. My mistake proves I am a programmed dupe of the patriarchy.

Of course, I then had to download the full spreadsheet to see if escadrille was in the 62,000 words. It was.

I found out that about 400 people of the 220,000 participants were exposed to each of the 62,000 words.

Gives you an idea about the magnitude of the research.

I noticed the highest recognition percentage for both sexes in the male column is for one word – “shemale.” “Taffeta” is that word on the female side, at very nearly the same ratio. It’s a curiosity that there’s one word on each list that has the highest recognition factor for both sexes. You see below that I would have expected that word to be jacquard on the female side.

Shemale (trans women with male genitalia) is associated with pornography. Is there some association between shemale and taffeta? I don’t know if it’s significant, but Duck Duck Go returns a lot of hits for ‘+taffeta porn’ and ‘shemale +taffeta’.

Turns out to be true for damask and jacquard, too. ;)

If they run this study again, they should ask about sexual orientation. We need a column of words known by men who think they are women.

Words with multiple definitions… or, at least, pathways to recognition. Jacquard, for example, could be recognized as a digital loom, or as the fabric it produces. That’s partly a STEM vs. fashion distinction. The male side of the table is mostly STEM, while the female side is preponderantly related to appearance (fashion/makeup). You might expect more men to recognize jacquard than chambray, taffeta, or damask, but they don’t.

I already mentioned confusing espadrille and escadrille. There’s also pessary and peccary.

If you are curious about the methods used in this experiment, it’s worth reading the short abstract here: Word prevalence norms for 62,000 English lemmas
A lemma is the word that appears as an entry in a dictionary, it stands for all forms of the word. “Build” is the lemma for “builds”, “building”, “built”, etc..
Here’s the intro:

We present word prevalence data for 61,858 English words. Word prevalence refers to the number of people who know the word. The measure was obtained on the basis of an online crowdsourcing study involving over 220,000 people. Word prevalence data are useful for gauging the difficulty of words and, as such, for matching stimulus materials in experimental conditions or selecting stimulus materials for vocabulary tests.

Other rabbit holes:
Discussion at ycombinator
Reddit thread
The 24 Words That Are Most Known To Only Men Or Women – 2014 results of the same study

Solyndrafication

Jennifer Granholm is highly experienced at gamifying green giveaways. She has acquired lots of badges, awards, stickers, and trophies – and now she’s leveled up.

Her latest accomplishment is the “If you fail, just do the same thing again. Only bigger,” badge, with “Fed cluster.” It grants the power to reuse your old speeches just by changing a few numbers.

Biden Administration Rolls Out $3 Billion EV Battery Program

“As electric cars and trucks continue to grow in popularity within the United States and around the world, we must seize the chance to make advanced batteries — the heart of this growing industry — right here at home,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “With funding from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re making it possible to establish a thriving battery supply chain in the United States…

But the White House acknowledged that China controls an “outsized share” of global mineral refining capacity in a supply chain report published in June. Mineral refining is a key component for renewable energy technology including battery manufacturing.”

Compare that announcement with this one from 2010:

Our first clue should have been that they didn’t name it ‘MichiganWatt’ – December 9, 2010.

Despite bad reviews of ethanol and an unrequited flirtation with windmills, the Governor thinks she has a clue about THE NEXT BIG THING:

“In Michigan, we are trying our own version of this race — focused on the lithium-ion advanced battery for electric cars, a high-tech product previously manufactured almost exclusively in Asia.

We offered irresistible state tax incentives for manufacturers of “advanced energy storage.” We pancaked our state incentives on top of the competitive federal Department of Energy grants to advanced-battery companies and suppliers. We also created robust public-private partnerships.”

Her reasoning was that if we gave A123 $100 million it would make them a success. What it did was encourage bad business decisions. “Irresistible tax incentives,” are so hard to resist you don’t worry about business plans.

That mention of ethanol? It was the previous BIG THING. Granholm had just watched the bankruptcy of her earlier irresistibly incentivized green boondoggle – $20 million for an ethanol plant that never got built.

That bright future for batteries in Michigan didn’t work out either.

One of the reasons China has an outsized share of battery manufacturing is because Jennifer Granholm hand picked winner went bankrupt. And then the Chinese bought it for pennies.

And the winner the statists picked is… China – August 13, 2012.

A123 has ripped off the American taxpayer for $249 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. It was one of former governor Granholm’s favorite picks, to the tune of $100 million. The Chinese are grateful, I suppose, for taxpayer assistance while A123’s stock dropped from $26.00 to $0.82. Without said assistance, A123 might have been gone before they could buy it. Worse yet, from Obama’s point of view, Bain Capital might have turned it around.

Keep on Truckin’

It was not enough that GoFundMe, at the direction of Canadian apparatchiks, attempted to redistribute 9 million dollars given to Canada’s Freedom Convoy.

No, somebody had to perpetrate a DDOS attack against GiveSendGo‘s replacement campaign. The new Freedom Convoy donation site GiveSendGo is working this morning. I was able to donate an hour ago.

This degree of cooperation between the state and corporations is a matter of some concern. In this case, it appears GoFundMe volunteered to act as an arm of the State, as evidenced by extra punishment GoFundMe planned to visit on the truckers and anyone supporting them:
1) Requiring application for a refund, counter to GoFundMe’s SOP.
2) Setting a short window in which to apply for the refund.
3) Their differential treatment of the 2020’s Seattle insurrectionists. More below.

Dr. Julie Ponesse* has a worthwhile interview with Jordan Peterson about the political and social aspects of the protest. I’ve queued it up to JBP’s contention that the Canadian State coercion of GoFundMe as an inflection point more dangerous “to our collective health than the pandemic”. I would frame that as “the health of our polity”, but you get the point.

GoFundMe started out with a hypocrisy problem since they had promoted participants in the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone occupation of Seattle, as Elon Musk pointed out.

The Seattle “summer of love,” to quote Seattle’s mayor, was, in fact, an insurrection. Police were besieged, government buildings were torched, looting was rampant, and murder was committed while GoFundMe promoted the occupation – in line with mayor Durkan’s gauzy ‘flowers in their hair’ puffery. The Antifa/BLM occupiers claimed sovereign control of part of Durkan’s city. It was an insurrection by any reasonable definition.

The Freedom Convoy has done none of that, but the Ottawa police and some faceless Morlocks in the Liberal government were able to convince GoFundMe to not only spike the Freedom Convoy donations, but also to force those who contributed to file forms to get their money back.

“We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity,” GoFundMe wrote in a statement.

Donors have until Feb. 19 to ask for a refund, and the rest of the money the group raised would be allocated to “credible and established charities” chosen by Freedom Convoy organizers, the site said.

Well, you certainly had the evidence of your own eyes in Seattle.

And, right. Define credible and established for me. Ottawa Police Benevolent Association?

GoFundMe would have ‘allowed’ (?!) the convoy organizers to send the money to support the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (Brian Peckford’s** lawsuit), the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Constitution Foundation, Canada Strong and Free Network? They are established. Will Justin Trudeau find them credible, or do they promote unacceptable ideas?

GoFundMe got shellacked for this attempted larceny, and are now following their standard practice: automatic refunds. But it’s far from over. You have to wonder how soon the name and address data GoFundMe collected will be forwarded to the Ottawa constabulary:

Ottawa Police have also warned that they will be collecting as much digital and financial information as they can from both the truckers and anybody who donates to support them. In a threatening statement, the police implied that supporters of the Freedom Convoy could face prosecution just for donating.

Enhanced intelligence operations and investigations: National, provincial and local intelligence agencies have increased efforts to identify and target protestors who are funding/supporting/enabling unlawful and harmful activity by protestors. /11
— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 4, 2022

Investigative evidence-gathering teams are collecting financial, digital, vehicle registration, driver identification, insurance status, and other related evidence that will be used in criminal prosecutions. /12
— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 4, 2022

Peterson has a point.

Footnote:
There’s a lot of raw video out there from Ottawa, but a good place to go for news on the Freedom Convoy is Rebel News’: Convoy Reports. The legacy media is doing all it can to vilify the protesters.

*Dr. Julie Ponesse is a professor of ethics who has taught at Ontario’s Huron University College for 20 years. She was placed on leave and banned from accessing her campus due to the vaccine mandate…

**The only surviving drafter and signatory 40 years after the 1982 Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted.