Friday, September 17, 2010


The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
Here are the winners:
1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido : All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.
The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.
And the winners are:
1. Coffee, n.. The person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. esplanade, v. To attempt an explan- ation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.
6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.
7. Lymph, v.. To walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15.& nbsp; Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anarcho-capitalist FAQ

  1. What is anarcho-capitalism?
  2. Why should one consider anarcho-capitalism?
  3. Do anarcho-capitalists favor chaos?
  4. Isn't anarcho-capitalism utopian?
  5. Isn't laissez-faire capitalism exploitative?
  6. What justifications are there for anarcho-capitalism?
  7. Are anarcho-capitalists anti-war?
  8. What are the myths of statism?
  9. What are the myths of socialism?
  10. Why don't you just leave?
  11. Are there different types of anarcho-capitalism?
  12. How do anarcho-capitalists compare with other anarchists?
  13. Is anarcho-capitalism the same thing as libertarianism?
  14. Who are the major anarcho-capitalist thinkers?
  15. How would anarcho-capitalism work?
  16. How would anarcho-capitalists handle the "public goods" problem?
  17. Have there been any anarcho-capitalist societies?
  18. How might an anarcho-capitalist society be achieved?
  19. What are some major anarcho-capitalist writings?
  20. Where can I find anarcho-capitalist web sites?

For info about anarchism in general (not restricted to anarcho-capitalism), see Bryan Caplan's Anarchist Theory FAQ. Here are some general anarchism links and libertarian/minarchism links.

Radical: A Portrait of Saul Alinsky, Nicholas von Hoffman, Nation Books, 256 pages.

Alinsky wanted little platoons like the Back of the Yards Council to form “countervailing power” against “the gigantism of government, corporation and even labor union.” In Reveille for Radicals, Alinsky attacked union leaders for trying to block new technologies, for accommodating themselves to corrupt political machines, for restrictionist rules that make it harder for outsiders to get jobs, for racial discrimination, and, in general, for being “the bride of big monopoly business.”

If the Tea Partiers are serious about building a real alternative to the Bush/Obama megastate, as opposed to merely being used by the Republicans and discarded as soon as the GOP is in a position to relaunch the K Street Project, the activists need to build countervailing power of their own, rooted not merely in talk radio and the Internet but in the indigenous institutions that shape people’s everyday lives.

In some areas
  • bank bailouts,
  • eminent domain,
  • the crackdown on civil liberties,
  • America’s imperial foreign policy —

they might even reach across the invisible lines that separate their favorite segments of civil society from the churches and councils that mobilize people on the grassroots left, to work together on issues of shared concern even when they aren’t about to back the same candidates.

The error here is that Alinsky and decentralized progressives were challenging BOTH the nature of statist power AND the power of massive corporations.

I can handle government small enough to drown in the bath tub if corporations are prohibited from growing big enough to drown average folks in the bath tub.

Otherwise, this entire project is little more than one of corporate dominance over government with average folks being ground beneath the dancing elephants.

There is no such thing as “government small enough to drown in the bath tub.” Any government worthy of being called a government is able to “drown average folks” and any internal rivals “in the bath tub.” Government is, after all, merely the best organized criminal gang in any particular locale. If it can be drowned in the bath tub, it’s really not a government — and, whatever it is, it’s likely to be pushed aside by a better organized criminal gang as history seems to show. (Of course, there are cases of stable statelessness and those afraid of rampant governments would do well, in my opinion, to study them.)

Corporations, when there are oppressors, usually either act as governments — in other words, become best organized criminal gang in a particular locale — or partner with governments to “drown average folks” and work against their rivals.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Are You Smarter Than a Fish?

Fish don’t see the water that they swim in. It is an invisible part of their world. Likewise, we do not see our see-ing, the lenses or meaning-making systems through which we perceive, interpret and act on the world around us. Unlike fish, however, occasionally we have an opportunity to see and change our lens.

Friday, September 03, 2010


A frequent feature of Update during this time was "Point/Counterpoint", a send-up of the then-current 60 Minutes segment of the same name with James J. Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander. SNL's version of "Point/Counterpoint" featured Curtin and Aykroyd making ad hominem attacks on each other's positions on a variety of topics. Aykroyd regularly began his reply with "Jane, you ignorant slut", which became another of the many SNL catch phrases (Curtin frequently began her reply with "Dan, you pompous ass").

"Point/Counterpoint" segment

In 1971, the "Point/Counterpoint" segment was introduced, featuring James J. Kilpatrick and Nicholas von Hoffman (later Shana Alexander), a three-minute debate between spokespeople for the political right and left, respectively. This segment pioneered a format that would later be adapted by CNN for its Crossfire show. This ran until 1979, when Andy Rooney, whose commentaries were already alternating with the debate segment since the fall of 1978, remains with the program today.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010