“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday - Jan 12, 2011

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

I am going to ask Whit no to remove any comments above this post. I do this so it is clear to everyone the intolerable problem using blogger and how it has ruined the experience at the EB.

There simply are not the administrative tools available to monitor comments. There are over 200,000 comments at the EB and I already have a full time job.

That said, 90% of those that comment do so in a responsible and interesting way. (I fly a lot and  still enjoy it. It is regrettable that a few have made flying tortuous for the many.)

Any and all comments made by Bob should be removed after this comment. Bob simply is not welcome and not wanted here.

LT, WIO, and Allen have elected to support MS in his new blog. I  wish them well and encourage their independent action. From their initial posts, their focus will be different from the direction I always envisioned for the EB.

Whit and I have discussed methods to reconstitute the blog using the blogger format and our limited schedule to administer the blog. We can do this by granting limited administrative access to the blog. That only requires that you email us on a onetime basis your email address. You can establish one at yahoo or gmail exclusively for this contact. No one will have access to it and whit and I will certainly treat it with total confidence.

Doing this will allow you to comment and to post if you choose to do so. You can limit your participation to comments. Everyone will be able to read all the posts and comments, but only those registered can comment.

We will post a permanent box advising instructions to those interested in commenting at the EB. Commenters will be given great latitude and their comments will not be moderated. Their existence on the blog will be binary, they are in or out. 

Please state in the comments if you are interested in future active participation and are willing to send in an email address where we can send you permission. We will expand this group to perhaps 25-30 at the maximum so that it remains manageable. 

If we do not get at least 8 we will simply turn of the lights.

I do not limit anyone who wishes to participate but I specifically request these core members not actively starting another blog and  who have continued to comment to stay:

Brother D-Day
Cleaning Lady
Desert Rat
Gag Reflex

We will be guided by your comments and thoughts and consider all reccomendations.



  1. LT, you should have your invite, follow instructions. thanks.

  2. Under these circumstances I would be happy to continue to participate with you and whit, Deuce.

    Whit has my e-mail address.

  3. you may want to send it again DR

  4. I have rat's email. Also LT's. It will take a few days to incorporate the new "restricted access".

    In the meantime, I encourage everyone to display a little more civility and restraint.

  5. our fellow poster, allen, was upset that my indignation towards the political assassination of the Federal judge and the attempt on the Congresswoman's life, with the attendant collateral damage rose to a higher level than did the murders committed by Major Hasan, in Texas.

    There are a number of reasons for this difference in my view.

    First off goes to the core of the "War on Terror". Allen and others firmly believe that there is a "clash of Civilizations" and that Islam represents the enemy.

    The US government and the Army firmly reject that notion.

    If allen is correct, then the casualties at Fort Hood were combat losses. Combat losses are regrettable and a serious concern, but are part of war.

    If the Federal government and the Army are correct, then Major Hasan is a criminal, a soldier that went "Postal", one that slipped through their psychiatric screening process. Again, part of a regrettable and sad incident as it regards the victims, but one that is part of the risks of Federal and military service.

    The incident in Tucson bears no similarities, at all, with the attack on Fort Hood.
    The Tucson incident was purely a case of a domestic political terror attack.

    The victims, other than the Judge and the Congresswoman, civilians that were not part of the Federal establishment. Just innocent civilians, exercising their right to free assembly and political discourse.

    An attack upon domestic political tranquility that had no relationship to either a mismanaged "War" or workplace frustrations run amok.

    To compare the two incidents is analogous to apples and oranges.

  6. Okay, but I'm not getting rid of soul r us.

    Wait…Am I even on the list?

    Whit, I'm going to email you a different address. I'd rather you not use the one you have.

  7. Just in case the email is disclosed.

  8. Illinois lawmakers pass massive tax hikes
    CNNMoney -

    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn can avoid the massive spending cuts he feared after state lawmakers OK'd temporary hikes in personal and corporate income taxes.

    Illinois Legislators Approve 66 Percent Tax Hike -
    New York Times

    66%, that is gonna strike a nerve, amongst some folks, I'm sure.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I guess this means the clearance sale on the art work is out.


  11. Whit,
    Blogger won't recognize the invitation code.

    I know you're busy at present. I'll try over next few days and see if blogger has caught up with itself. If not I'll let you know.


  12. If doug's posts, as to the Pima County Sheriff shielding the shooter from complaints prior to the attack are accurate...

    Well, that'd truly be a shame.

    The political fallout should be aimed at ousting him, not on Mrs Palin's ill-conceived campaign graphic or her use of the word "target".

    Both do suggest she is not fit for higher office, especially the Presidency, but have no direct bearing on the Tucson incident.

  13. Oh hell, Rat, that's all you hear on tv all day long - "target this," "target that," etc.

    The guy was just an insane douchbag. It's just too bad the guy next to him wasn't "carrying," and could have put an end to that shit before it got started.

  14. It's a combination of things, rufus, where the total adds up to more than the um of the disparate parts.

    Mrs Palin's choice of vernacular is not Presidential.
    It lacks gravitas.

    It is indicative of her lack of qualification for that job. It confirms Mr McCain's lack of judgment, in choosing her as the VP nominee for the GOP in 2008.

    It has no real bearing upon the Tucson incident, except that it has been brought into the spotlight because of it.

    That the shooter may have been shielded by the Pima County Sheriff, because family members were part of the "County Team", that is chilling.

    That is where the spotlight should be shining. The lack of competency within the Sheriff Department, not Mrs Palin's shortcomings as a political leader.

  15. Well, we'll just disagree on Sarahbaby. Palin, and Jindal are about the only ones that would invoke a smile from me as I cast my ballot.

  16. Anything that would bring a smile to your face, rufus, is worthy of it's own time slot on the Comedy Channel.

    Or the Discovery Channel.

    Oh, wait, Mrs Palin is already there, which is fitting, for an entertainer.

    Enjoy the show.

  17. This gal is better than some of you are giving her credit for.

  18. Can she get the nomination? It's gonna be tough. She almost has to either beat Schmuckabee in Iowa, or Romney in New Hampshire. Pretty big longshot.

    W/O the momentum from a win in one of those places she probably loses to the Schmuckster in SC, and goes into Florida in "do or die" mode. It's at this stage that Rubio doublecrosses her, and the fat lady breaks into full-throated warble.

  19. Well, well.

    The Bar has been about a lot of things - could be said to have any number of purposes - but civility, respect and restraint? Benevolence or even mental soundness?

    Are you demented?

    What would Miss Manners say?

    I guess if I have to be called something today, smarmy is way better than cunt or whore.

    I voted to boot bob. Once. Before the shit hit the fan.

    And I wouldn't do it again, so howlingly absurd and pointless a gesture would it be.

    This is a very dark place and FFB would seem to me to be its very essence.

  20. rufus wrote:

    "The guy was just an insane douchbag. It's just too bad the guy next to him wasn't "carrying," and could have put an end to that shit before it got started."

    I find this meme...funny, not funny as in hah hah but as in pretty strange. Heck even well trained soldiers have trouble controlling their fire hence the term "friendly fire". I can just imagine the casualties that could occur as some nut with his right to a glock starts shooting in a mall and all those friendlies start popping off their glocks too. I'm sure they'd all be patient and wait for a clear shot -- riiiiiggght?

  21. This is a very dark place and FFB would seem to me to be its very essence.


  22. Deuce wrote:

    "not actively starting another blog "

    I'm not sure why you would want to limit those folks from commenting - it's not like you are worried about the competition are you? You aren't trying to 'copyright' the opinions expressed in the comments, right?

    I fell out with Bob long ago and came to the conclusion that while at times appearing congenial and rational he often wasn't. I simply stopped reading him for the most part. I understand why the management would want him gone though but I fear that the remedy may be more detrimental than the problem. By making it tough for new folk to comment it makes it less likely they will and thus limits the potential growth of new good commenters. On the other hand plowing through piles of nasty drivel also will discourage decent discussion. Trade offs, trade offs.

  23. Its very mind.

    Its very soul.

    If indeed it has one.

  24. Bob just can't be tolerated any longer. No decent person can overlook such attacks as he carried out against Victor. We're better than THAT.

    On the other hand, Deuce, I, also, am a bit confused about the "other blogs" part. I certainly wouldn't want to lose good comments just because the poster has his/her own blog. Maybe we're "misunderstanding?"

  25. it would be bad, fer instance, if allen chose not to comment. As much as I disagree with him on some issues and some of his manners of discussion he adds a fair bit.

    You need disagreement to spark good discussion!

  26. Trish, I think we've all come to understand in the last day, or so, that the "heart and soul" of the Elephant Bar are Deuce, and Whit.

    Surely you're not saying that Deuce, and Whit are Dark, and Evil of "Heart, and Soul?"

    Of course, it's true, we do have Q; but, what're ya gonna do? :)

  27. "Surely you're not saying that..."

    ...the Bar is a kind of insane grudge match or tug of war. Of biblical proportion.

    Or: An extravagant, earth-shattering, onion-peeling PSYOP.

    Why, yes.

    Yes I am.

    You can banish single a screen name. But it is what it is.

  28. Problem:

    I don't have Internet at home, and the Navy blocks web-based email, and I don't want to use my own Navy email address. So I can't send an email with my email addy. I have to use this post.

    So please give access to so I can continue to post here.

  29. DR: The Tucson incident was purely a case of a domestic political terror attack.

    Negative. The shooter's main beef was how the government controls grammar. It was the act of an insane person.

  30. "But I am tellin' you, there is life after..."

    Yeah, I just don't want to end up in the same place as you.

    Oh, but look.

    I already have.

  31. I was reading last night. Bob. About the difference between mysticism and the attraction toward the abyss.

    And whose name should come up but Underhill's?

  32. I'm tellin' ya, one of the better laughs I've had in the past couple of months was noticing the coffee mug I was drinking out of one morning:


    That is too, too good.

  33. We haven't talked?

    Send ME an email. Bob.

    And talk to me.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. "As you know, I have my nemesis here."

    It's a bar mystery. Who the nemesis is.

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. "It wouldn't hurt if the same solution was employed by others"

    Been there done that how many times now. It doesn't work. Verbal attacks and misleading accusations are not part of the game.

    It's not the same as disputing the topic at hand.

  38. : )

    I take it we'll be in touch.

  39. .


    I thought it a good solution.

    However, since two to of the muses seem to disagree with that thought, I will have to bow to your opinions.


  40. .

    Besides, I just stalling right now, trying to find an excuse to delay going outside in these blizzard conditions to sno-blow the drive.


  41. I don't feel like doing it right now.

    Would be the best excuse I can think of.

  42. There was a young boy in class scratching his crotch.

    Teacher asked, "What's wrong?"

    Embarrassed, he said, "Just been circumcised and was itchy."

    Teacher told him to go ring his mom for advice. He comes walking back in with his dick hanging out.

    Teacher asks, "What on earth are you doing?"

    "Well, mom said if I could just stick it out till lunch time she would come and get me."

  43. ...from an earlier thought, tardily...

    We grow accustomed to the Dark ___Emily Dickenson

    We grow accustomed to the Dark --
    When light is put away --
    As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
    To witness her Goodbye --

    A Moment -- We uncertain step
    For newness of the night --
    Then -- fit our Vision to the Dark --
    And meet the Road -- erect --

    And so of larger -- Darkness --
    Those Evenings of the Brain --
    When not a Moon disclose a sign --
    Or Star -- come out -- within --

    The Bravest -- grope a little --
    And sometimes hit a Tree
    Directly in the Forehead --
    But as they learn to see --

    Either the Darkness alters --
    Or something in the sight
    Adjusts itself to Midnight --
    And Life steps almost straight.