Whores at every level

From the Washington Times: Monday’s vote by the Virginia House of Delegates to increase taxes by $500 million suggests that state politicians are moving toward some kind of consensus in favor of higher taxes. The legislation, passed by a 59-36 vote, was opposed by just six of the 61 Republicans in the 100-member House. The bill increases taxes by taking away sales-tax exemptions from a variety of industries, including airlines, railroads, telecommunications, utility companies and dry cleaners…. Although we would have preferred to have seen Republicans stand firm against tax increases, the reality is that there is no significant number of tax-increase opponents left in Richmond today. Thus, the main order of business for Republicans should be to try to mitigate the damage from tax increases by negotiating with the governor for some off-setting cuts in spending.

So, if they’re for bigger, sorry, STRONGER government and tax increases, what is it that separates Republicans from Democrats again? Note that Republicans have a 61-39 majority in the Virginia House, and that’s still not enough to cut government spending. Can you seriously argue that if only they had a 71-29 majority, or an 81-19 majority, Virginia Republicans would then be motivated to embrace the reality of small government for which they supposedly stand?

I think perhaps we need a 12-step program for Republicans. Step one: I admit that politicians do not always mean what they say….

On the arts martial

Tonya writes: now dern it, vox, you’re not keeping up with the comments. yesterday in one of the comment threads several people (myself included) were clamoring for your expertise on which types of martial arts to look into. and what do we get? total freakin’ silence!

Sorry, I’ve just been under the weather for about ten days now with a viral bug and the very thought of exercise – which the doctor is forbidding – is tremendously frustrating to me. First, don’t worry about the spiritual aspects, since there are almost none in the vast majority of American schools. I recommend very different sorts of schools for those under 13 and those who are older, however

Younger kids will do fine in the traditional belt factory, as all they’re learning is the techniques and any decent Tae Kwon Do school will do. Just visit it and be sure that the top instructors actually do the teaching, that the students are respectful and the purple and red belts appear to know their stuff. Children can learn the basics, but even a kid with a black belt is still just a kid with a black belt, not a fighter.

Adults and teenagers need to go to a fighting-oriented school. How do you know you’re at one? 1) Everyone, from white to black, is sparring. 2) They are actually making contact to the head. 3) At least one spectator will be there in his robes, watching with a pair of crutches or other visible signs of damage. If the answer to “what night do you spar” is anything but a specific day of the week, it isn’t a fight school. We were particularly harsh, as we sparred Wednesdays and often Saturdays as well. Also, don’t buy into the rubbish about how they teach control and if you can tap someone you can just as easily hit them hard blah blah blah. It isn’t true and I’ve beaten the smack out of enough touch-fighters to prove it. The knowledge that you won’t get hit creates a false situation from the start, and you can’t develop the necessary toughness without getting punched in the face a few times.

Also, ask around. Even the belt factories will know which schools are the serious fight schools. I once had a black belt correctly identify my instructor without my telling him after I hit the guy with a single uppercut. As for style, I’d lean more towards aikido or jujitsu and away from the tae kwon do and tang soo do. The latter tend to be very strong on feet and very weak on hands and grappling. The best, if you can find it, is a school that has masters in a variety of styles, which will provide decent knowledge of locks and throws as well as plenty of time throwing hard style punches and kicks.

I wish I knew more locks and throws, as that’s the area in which my training was weakest. But the main thing is to find a school that fights. There’s no substitute for rounds sparred, and sparred hard. My own training was a blend of Shorin Ryu karate with Wing Chun kung fu, mixed in with Philippino kali. I figure that I probably fought a mimimum of 3,000 two-minute rounds during the time I was actively training.

UPDATE – Shaolin Master Bob points out that belt factories where the belt tests are scheduled are definitely to be avoided. I concur completely. The time it takes to master a skill or a technique is wholly subjective; scheduled tests indicate a total lack of concern for individual development.

Space Bunny lights into modern man

She said, and I think reasonably, that she’s sick of men whining about women pushing them around. I totally agree. If a woman tries to shut you down, don’t just take it, shut her down instead. If she wants to play a game, don’t back down, play it to win. As is the case with most negative social developments, there is far more fear out there than is reasonably justified.

As Wendy Shalitt has pointed out, women can never win in a direct verbal confrontation with a man. The only way that they win is when men wave the white flag and run off the field crying that the girls aren’t playing fair. Women don’t like men who act like little girls. And no one, of either sex, respects someone who abandons their position at the first sign of opposition.

PS – I also have to mention that the concept of for whom women are dressing was developed by Space Bunny, not me. She’d be the one NOT wearing the cheerleader outfit.

Insulting NFL logos

Okay, these are pretty funny. You’d be able to tell it’s a Packer site even if it wasn’t in the URL, since so many of the insults are directed at the Mighty Vikings. I’m not sure which I liked better, CHOKE KINGS or DOMEQUEENS. The former is more appropriate, but the latter mocks the one thing I hate about the Vikes, namely, the Hump.

I think the two best logos are the Chicago Bear handicapped helmet and the Pontiac Pussies, although I also liked the old Buccaneer with the mouse ears. The best name has to be the Carolina Prancers.

Seeing all of them spread out across the page reminds me of my favorite old NFL bedsheets. I think I still have the pillowcase around somewhere.

Hey Mikey, he likes it!

Ian McLeod writes about Headcrash: Just finished the book yesterday. My initial reaction (after a long blackout from side-splitting laughter): “Good God, the Original Cyberpunk is a genius!” I immediately ordered copies for my closest friends… After the end of the week, I’ll get the review written and posted.

I told you it was good stuff. From the mouths of immortals…. And the Original Cyberpunk has been experimenting with ebook formats:

Later last night I had a great deal of fun playing around with the Palm Reader footnote and sidebar functionality. The infonuggets in Headcrash *very* readily convert to footnotes and pop up just the way I’d always imagined they would. I now believe that, ten years ago and utterly without knowing, I *created* that book to be a Palm file.

If anyone else said that, you’d take it with a grain of salt. But coming from a Dick-winner like the Original Cyberpunk, it’s entirely credible.

I don’t think she’s pretty at all!

Women judge the attractiveness other women more harshly when at their most fertile, suggests a new study. The phenomenon could be a strategy to devalue potential rivals, says the psychologist behind the work – being bitchy about others could help a woman win the attention of a desirable man.

I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I absolutely hate it when women say nasty things about their imaginary rivals. I don’t feel threatened by the fact that George Clooney or Brad Pitt are handsome – I fully expect that if we were pursuing the same girl, I would lose out. So be it. To paraphrase what someone here once commented, there is no one so hated as a pretty girl with a great body wearing a tight dress in a room full of plain Janes. She’s just as likely to be nice and intelligent as the most mutant-looking wallflower there, but she’ll almost always be dismissed as a walking bag of character flaws before she’s even opened her mouth.

And yet, it’s we men who are then condemned for being superficial. The reality is that everyone is more or less superficial, and superficiality is really the only place to start. The Internet is the only place where a meeting of the minds can possibly precede the superficialities, and yet I don’t see Internet dating being held up as a great advancement for mankind. Usually, it’s dismissed as the last resort of losers, from what little I’ve read about it.

The truth is that women are the dominant sex. Our opinions not only don’t drive day-to-day life, they barely factor in. Women don’t dress to please men, with the notable (and much-appreciated) exception of the Pam Andersons of the world, they dress to avoid the criticism of each other. Let’s face it, if it were up to me, every woman’s wardrobe would consist of nothing but slinky black dresses, slinky red dresses, hot pants, bustiers and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader outfits.

Hey, if we ever do get that one-world government, I think I just discovered my campaign platform for World President.

Classic government at work

This is just insane. The notion that you can’t kick someone out of the house you own violates hundreds of years of common law, not to mention the very notion of private property. I disagree with the article’s conclusion, though. If someone can’t get it together enough to find a place to live, they’re hardly going to support an expensive lawsuit because you put all their stuff in the yard and changed the locks. This law would never stand up in court, if anyone bothered to challenge it.