Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A definition

From the indispensable Devil's Dictionary:
POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.
If you've read the last post and haven't clicked through please do so. And then contact the Governor of Washington. Just remember that he's she's a politician. Unless he's she's quite a different sort than the usual, remember John Randolph's words:
He is a man of splendid abilities but utterly corrupt. He shines and stinks like rotten mackerel by moonlight.

God save this Honorable Republic.

UPDATE 30 June 2010 23:26: It seems the Governor is a lady. We'll see if it makes a damn bit of difference. And the obligatory Aerosmith for occasions like this:

Thanks to Goldwater's Ghost for pointing out the error.


There are nights when the wolves are silent, and only the moon howls.
- George Carlin
I've written repeatedly about how the mentally ill are terribly vulnerable to society. Go read.

And howl. This is your government.

Quote of the Day, McDonald v. Chicago edition

It's not the Supreme Court that guarantees our freedom:
Liberty is secured by free men who are willing to kill for it and who hold the means to accomplish that in their own hands.
Read the whole damned thing.

You're not so smart

OK, well you are, but most people aren't:

Based on the data I’ve collected from the comments, emails and other browsing information generated by this blog, I have a pretty good idea of who you are.

Here are my findings:

You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself.

While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them.

You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside.

At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing.

You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others.

At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved.

Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.

Does this sound accurate? Does it describe you?

It should. It describes everyone.

And then he explains why we have misconceptions that we don't know about. From the blog You Are Not So Smart.

Pretty smart, right there.

A word to the wise

When you see this:

... you should click through to some Adobe Reader security goodness. You'll be glad you did, especially when all the malware in the wild targeting it bounces off of you.

This one's nasty
, and well done to Adobe for pushing out an emergency patch, and for Firefox for so helpfully telling us. And we'll take a break from the Windows bashing, because this is a cross-platform security bug:
The fixes address a vulnerability in Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of the reader that allows hackers to remotely install malware on end-users' machines by tricking them into opening a booby-trapped document.
You can find out more from Adobe, and get the patch, by clicking here. Srlsy, you want this, whoever you are.

UPDATE 30 June 2010 09:24: Just to clarify the link to the patches:

Windows users.

Macintosh users.

Linux users

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Facebook showing up in Divorce Court

No, not the company, the information. Seems some folks are less than careful with their Information Assurance plan, putting unwarranted confidence in confidentiality and ignoring the problem of non-repudiation*:

Forgot to de-friend your wife on Facebook while posting vacation shots of your mistress? Her divorce lawyer will be thrilled.

Oversharing on social networks has led to an overabundance of evidence in divorce cases. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81 percent of its members have used or faced evidence plucked from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites, including YouTube and LinkedIn, over the last five years.


Neither Viken, in Rapid City, S.D., nor other divorce attorneys would besmirch the attorney-client privilege by revealing the identities of clients, but they spoke in broad terms about some of the goofs they've encountered:

— Husband goes on and declares his single, childless status while seeking primary custody of said nonexistent children.

— Husband denies anger management issues but posts on Facebook in his "write something about yourself" section: "If you have the balls to get in my face, I'll kick your ass into submission."

— Father seeks custody of the kids, claiming (among other things) that his ex-wife never attends the events of their young ones. Subpoenaed evidence from the gaming site World of Warcraft tracks her there with her boyfriend at the precise time she was supposed to be out with the children. Mom loves Facebook's Farmville, too, at all the wrong times.

— Mom denies in court that she smokes marijuana but posts partying, pot-smoking photos of herself on Facebook.

I'm told that Judges dig it when your testimony is contradicted by your own Facebook (or Myspace, or whatever) page. Look, Facebook has lousy privacy, and an even lousier privacy policy. Assume that anything you post there is seen by everyone on Al Gore's Information Superhighway. Not that you'd ever post anything like that.

* Security Inside Baseball.

Freeze in the Dark

One of the crackpot schemes hatched to "fight" the crackpot theory that carbon dioxide emissions are killing the planet is "Carbon Sequestration", basically capturing atmospheric CO2 and pumping it deep into the ocean or injecting it into oil wells to trap it far under ground. It's inconvenient and expensive, but now there's another reason to dislike it: it's said to be as bad as nuclear waste:
A Danish climate scientist has published a paper criticising carbon sequestration - the idea of dealing with CO2 emissions by stuffing the greenhouse gas away into underground or deep-sea storage where it can't affect the atmosphere.


“The dangers of carbon sequestration are real," insists Shaffer. "We should greatly limit CO2 emissions in our time to reduce the need for massive carbon sequestration and thus reduce unwanted consequences and burdens over many future generations from the leakage of sequestered CO2.”

The prof says that deep-ocean sequestration is a definite no-no, as it means "grave problems for deep sea life" right off and the carbon gets back into the atmosphere quite fast, too.

The more commonly advocated plan of pumping CO2 into disused oil or gas fields doesn't meet with Shaffer's approval either. He points out that these subterranean/subsea reservoirs are scarcely leak-proof.

So shut up and freeze in the dark. And all those poor people who will be hurt bu this - hey, there are too many people on the planet anyway! In any case, a place in the keep-the-lights-and-heat-on lifeboats has already been reserved for Prof. Gary Shaffer of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, so there's no room for them anyway.

What, don't you love Mother Gaia?

$5600 per family Carbon tax to meet Copenhagen emission goals

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is back in the news, with a study of the scope of the carbon tax needed to meet the goals of the late-and-unlamented Copenhagen accords:
According to a delusional study published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the price of carbon needs to be $59 per ton in order to cripple the economy to the point where carbon emissions drop to the goal of the Copenhagen accord. Given that the average family of four is responsible for 211,680 lbs or 96 metric tons of CO2 per year, at the "required" $59/ton, the carbon tax cost for the average family would have to be $5664/yr to avoid the fictitious problem of AGW. Note: carbon offsets are trading today at 10 cents per metric ton on the Chicago Climate Exchange.
So why ten cents a ton, rather than $59 a ton? Because the politicians don't care a bit about global warming, they care about power and money. Ten or fifteen cents is a good start for them. It'll take 20 or 30 years for the overhead of graft to build by a factor of 600.

But hey, anything to save the government power and control planet, right? Entirely unrelated, I'm sure, is this hysterical article from

Global Warming could make Humans EXTINCT within 50 years

Kill mechanisms list

Global Warming could make the human race EXTINCT. The #1 kill mechanism is famine. See “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. Shifting winds and warmer oceans have already created a weird moving checkerboard of drought and flood that has interfered with agriculture here and elsewhere.

Wow, extinct in 50 years! Quick, everybody, send in your $5600 today!

Monday, June 28, 2010


That's the count of states that will seemingly have to change their gun laws:

Two states (Illinois and Wisconsin) flat out prohibit carrying concealed weapons. It seems impossible to square this with what other states are doing, so "equal protection" looks like it will force a change.

Ten states (Hawaii, California, Mississippi Alabama, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island) are "May Issue" states - a CCW license might or might not be granted to the applicant, based on local law enforcement whim. The majority SCOTUS finding that it is the equal protection clause that applies to incorporation seems significant here.

I expect it will take some time for the details to get digested. There are a bunch of opinions, and a lot of pages in them.

UPDATE 27 June 2010 17:41: Alabama, not Mississippi is a "may issue" state. Fixed in the post. Thanks to Lweson in the comments for pointing out the error.

Thoughts on Sen. Byrd

Sen. Byrd has passed on, at the end of a long life. Many people are discussing his racist early years (into at least his fifties). Their dislike is clear, and is similar to my own.

And yet, this is a time to ponder the weighting of justice and mercy. The Volgi wrote some time ago of this, on the occasion of Sen. Kennedy's passing:
I’d instead ask for God’s mercy upon his soul, for if we ask only for justice, we may receive only justice, and even a saint would flinch at that.
Rest in peace, Senator, and may the grace of the Lord shine on even you.

Barack Husseinovitch Brezhnev

MikeH got me thinking about dead Soviet leaders, and none of them did "dead" like Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev. He was the first Soviet leader I remember (you never forget your first Commie Dictator), but he is suddenly au courant again. Consider:
  • He was famous for his vanity. This made him the butt of jokes, such as this one from the time poking fun at how he loved to get medals (Hero of the Soviet Union, on more than one birthday):
"Leonid Ilyich is in surgery."

"Heart again?"

"No, chest expansion surgery: to fit one more Gold Star medal."
  • He was not considered the sharpest tool in the shed, and his speeches were famous for the times he misread the words (off of paper, because the Teleprompter wasn't available for him). An apocryphal story from the time goes like this:
Brezhnev, a former ruler of Russia, was thought not to be too bright. He comes to address a big Communist party meeting, and starts:"Dear Comrade Imperialists,"

The whole hall perked up - "what did he say??" Brezhnev tried again..."Dear Comrade Imperialists,"

Well, by now the hall was in pandemonium - was he trying to call them Imperialists?

Then, an adviser walked over to the podium and pointed to the speech for Brezhnev. "Oh..." he muttered, and started again:"Dear Comrades, Imperialists are everywhere."
He was widely considered to be the embodiment of the Peter Principle, to have risen to a station well beyond his competence. Remind you of anyone?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blogroll addition

MikeH at Behind The Parapet is another history blogger. He has a pretty interesting post about Khrushchev's "We will bury you" statement:
Some six years later, 24 Aug. 1963, Khrushchev remarked during his speech in Yugoslavia, "I once said 'We will bury you,' and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you." This statement is understood to be a reference to the Marxist saying, "The proletariat is the undertaker of capitalism." (Proletariat: the social class who does unskilled manual labor)
He then segues into Nicholas vs. Lenin and Trotsky vs. Stalin and today's American proletariat.

Smart stuff that'll make you think.


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The Internet Anonymity "Kill Switch"

There's a lot of huffing and puffing about whether or not the Fed.Gov is trying to implement an Internet "Kill Switch" to be used to unplug parts of teh Intarwebz (but only if it's a really really really bad emergency, srlsy). I haven't jumped in on this because (a) the Fed.Gov can't even get its own cyber security house in order, so "unplugging" is likely pie-in-the-sky even if they tried, and (b) the Internet's design was to be massively robust in the face of multiple damage locations. Good luck unplugging from the routing algorithms, scooter.*

Instead, there's something going on under the radar that I think is much, much more serious. Kevin emailed to point this out:
The NSTIC, which is in response to one of the near term action items in the President’s Cyberspace Policy Review, calls for the creation of an online environment, or an Identity Ecosystem as we refer to it in the strategy, where individuals and organizations can complete online transactions with confidence, trusting the identities of each other and the identities of the infrastructure that the transaction runs on. For example, no longer should individuals have to remember an ever-expanding and potentially insecure list of usernames and passwords to login into various online services.
That's Obama's Cyber Security Czar, Howard Schmidt, in full frontal I'm-with-the-government-and-I'm-here-to-help mode. See, it's helpful - you won't have to fill your pretty little head with all those annoying user names and passwords.

Because the Fed.Gov will issue you one.

This is so bad, on so many different levels that it's difficult to know where to start, but let's try this (page 4):
Envision It!

An individual voluntarily requests a smart identity card from
her home state. The individual chooses to use the card to
authenticate herself for a variety of online services, including:
· Credit card purchases,
· Online banking,
· Accessing electronic health care records,
· Securely accessing her personal laptop computer,
· Anonymously posting blog entries, and
· Logging onto Internet email services using a
Emphasis mine. So the Fed.Gov is here to help me post on Borepatch?

Sorry, Charlie. Thanks for the kind offer and everything, but no thanks. Not only do I think that I'm smart enough to remember my user names and passwords (rolls eyes), and not only do I feel up to the task of policing my online reputation as Borepatch, I'm not sure I trust you not to abuse this. Exhibit A in this is the graphic posted in the upper right hand side of the blog. Not sure how to say this gently, Howard, but some of your Fed.Gov colleagues like to refer to folks like me as potential terrorists. Not only is this not nice, not only is it hurtful (rolls eyes), but it makes me mistrust the Fed.Gov's motives. And I'm not the only one:
1. I don't trust the government to be competent with this
2. I don't trust the government to not abuse this power
The government is perhaps the single most important entity to protect yourself from. If cashflows and internet security are under the government's thumb, then contaband and actions to protect yourself from the government are going to be much harder to come by. I don't want a government ID credit card, I want a closer equivalent to cash, so i can make online purchases with LESS of a paper trail.
He's not alone either:
I am sure this is going to be made a requirement for a site to operate at some point, add this to the 'Internet kill switch', add the Patriot Act to it, multiply by Home Land Security and don't forget to factor in the rendition, you are going to have an interesting situation.

The President will be able to shut down portions of the Internet, he will be able to identify who was saying what and when, this entire thing reeks of totalitarianism - complete control by the government over the dissemination of information and total knowledge of who was saying what on which topic plus ability to take action - shut down the dissenting portions of the web and then 'taking the necessary care' of those, who dare to oppose the government in any way, be it direct opposition to specific policies or be it simply providing information to the people that government wants to keep quiet and providing a forum to discuss this information.

Remember the Company execs who were just about dragged in front of Congress because they said that the Health Care "Reform" bill was going to cost them billions?

And this cuts to the heart of the matter:
If I trusted the government to stick to the first case [authenticating identity for financial transactions to reduce liability of the parties], and to make a competent execution of it, then I would not have much problem with limited use of such a system, revocable at any point by the user and completely optional. But I don't trust that execution would be competent, that the government would limit its intrusions, that the government would allow revocation of an identity once issued, or that the government would keep the system optional. So frankly, this strikes me as a very, very bad idea.
Never mind that the Fed.Gov identity uber database becomes the biggest target for black hat hackers on the planet, and its custodians are almost certain to be incompetent.

This proposal contains nothing that's not complete and utter FAIL, unless you're intent on extending the government's control over the citizens. Quite frankly, one of the reasons that I blog pseudonymously is because I work in a field where you can't professionally say things like "Howard Schmidt is a statist prick." Note that I'm not sure that I want to say that.

But I sure as heck want to be able to say it if I want to.

To all the lefties who still swoon over Obama and his "transformative vision", just imagine what George W. Bush (or President Palin) might do with this.

Intellectual FAIL.

* Yes, I know that it's technically possible if you apply the right controls at enough locations. I don't want to get into it other than to say that I seriously doubt whether the people who have the skill to do this have the will or desire to. Let's just leave it at that.

Quote of the Day: Non-thinking Environmentalists edition

From TJIC:

I saw a car the other day with the sticker

“real environmentalists don’t eat animals”

I guess they do, however, drive cars.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kohler faucet win

The Kohler faucet in the Chez Borepatch galley got itself wedged some time back. By "wedged", I mean "broken", where you couldn't swivel it right or left. This was a little annoying because it was the better part of $300 just five years ago.

But I liked the faucet, and so we set about replacing it. I could have just bought a new faucet, but instead called the folks at Kohler to find out if we could just get a replacement part to fix the current one.

"That's odd," said the nice man at Kohler, "it shouldn't have broken. It has a lifetime warranty. How about if I send you a new one?"

So let it be written, so let it be done.

And so it showed up at the Chez Borepatch perimeter. And I spent longer than I care to think about on my back under the sink, diking out the old faucet (yes, with the biggest danged cutters I have) and installing the new one. But it looks great, and works great, and cost us all of zero. Well done to Kohler for backing their products.

And now if you don't mind, I'm off to get an Ibuprofen cocktail

The Inside-The-Beltway "Smart" Set

They're all smart: High IQ, well educated, 99th percentile, well motivated and hard charging. They may be liberal (Brookings) or conservative (Cato), but they're from the same intellectual class. They have the same blind spot.

Fred has a very thought provoking essay on these people:
The tendency of the Beltway 99th to live in an imaginary world, of conservatives to think that everybody can be a Horatio Alger, of liberals to believe that inequality arises from discrimination, guarantees wretched policy. Those who can do almost anything need to recognize the existence of those who can do almost nothing. Few of the latter are parasites. The waitress has worked all her life, as has the truck driver. They ended up with nothing.

Which is easy to do. A girl marries her high-school sweetheart in Busted Hump, Tennessee and he goes to work for the local pickle-bottling plant, which switches to hiring people as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits. Neither of the pair is real bright, just ordinary Americans trying to make a living. They live paycheck to paycheck because they don’t know how not to. Neither is lazy. They just don’t know how to start the next Microsoft. He dies of a heart attack at 45, she can’t make the mortgage, and…she is well and truly screwed.

It's not a poverty of compassion. While the left sprains its shoulder patting itself on the back for their compassion, the right has no shortage of it. Yet both sides is entirely ignorant of what real people's lives are like. And so the wretched policy, from both sides.

I'm not sure I believe all of this, but it sure made me think.

Aretae to Isegoria to Fred. Nothing but 'net.


These people are idiots, for reasons lesser and greater. You may have heard that the Einsteins at the EPA are classifying milk as a pollutant, similar to oil. The result is that you will need the same sort of containment systems for milk storage as for oil storage:

GRAND RAPIDS -- Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.

Let's look at the idiocies. First, it's Idiocy The Lesser:

Dudes, it's milk. Like, it's biodegradable. Never seen a pelican die from a milk bath. Srlsy, you're idiots.

Bit that's not the big deal. Idiocy The Greater:

Ever wonder why just about every state has milk price supports (minimum prices)? The Milk Lobby is not to be trifled with. And we see it in action already: Michigan Senate demands EPA change rule reclassifying milk.

Not the Texas State Senate. Not the Utah State Senate. Not Red State reaction. Michigan is one of the bluest of Blue States. The EPA has them in revolt. In the lead up to what's already looking to be a disastrous November for Democrats.

We're told never to mistake malice for incompetence, but this level of incompetence - coming fresh on the EPA's gross failure to inspect the Deep Water Oil Rig - is simply unbelievable.

To steal Bill Clinton's line about Jessee Jackson and apply it to Obama: He don't know how to run anything but his mouth.

Kris Kristofferson - Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down

Rhodes Scholar. Rugby star. Ranger helicopter pilot. Janitor. Oil rig worker. Songwriter. Singer. Janis Joplin's boyfriend. Movie star. That's a lot of living to squeeze into a single life.

Kris Kristofferson is nothing if not a man of many talents. Talents that came in handy - like when he landed a helicopter on Johnny Cash's lawn so he could deliver a demo tape.

He wrote a lot of songs that became huge hits: Help Me Make It Through The Night and Me And Bobby McGee are perhaps his best known, but Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down won Johnny Cash song of the year from the Country Music Association in 1970.

Good thing he let Kristofferson park his chopper on the lawn that day; that was the song on the tape.

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down (songwriter: Kris Kristofferson)
Well I woke up Sunday morning,
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes,
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
An' I shaved my face and combed my hair,
An' stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

I'd smoked my brain the night before,
On cigarettes and songs I'd been pickin'.
But I lit my first and watched a small kid,
Cussin' at a can that he was kicking.
Then I crossed the empty street,
'n caught the Sunday smell of someone fryin' chicken.
And it took me back to somethin',
That I'd lost somehow, somewhere along the way.

On the Sunday morning sidewalk,
Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
'Cos there's something in a Sunday,
Makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothin' short of dyin',
Half as lonesome as the sound,
On the sleepin' city sidewalks:
Sunday mornin' comin' down.

In the park I saw a daddy,
With a laughin' little girl who he was swingin'.
And I stopped beside a Sunday school,
And listened to the song they were singin'.
Then I headed back for home,
And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringin'.
And it echoed through the canyons,
Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.

On the Sunday morning sidewalk,
Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
'Cos there's something in a Sunday,
Makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothin' short of dyin',
Half as lonesome as the sound,
On the sleepin' city sidewalks:
Sunday mornin' comin' down.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Follies: Don't taze Granny

Ah, the use of "less lethal" force against bedridden grandmothers:

Understandably alarmed — and probably more than a little disgusted — by the presence of uninvited armed strangers in her home, [grandmother] Lona [Vernon] ordered them to leave. This directive, issued by a fragile female octogenarian confined to a hospital-style bed and tethered to an oxygen tank, was interpreted as “aggressive” behavior by Officer Thomas Duran, who ordered one of his associates : “Taser her!”

“Don’t taze my granny!” exclaimed Tinsley. According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Tinsley’s “obstructive” behavior prompted the police to threaten him with their tasers. He was then was assaulted, removed from the room, thrown to the floor, handcuffed, and detained in a police car. At this point, the heroes in blue turned their attention to Lona.

The tactical situation was daunting; at this point, the police had only a 10-1 advantage over a subject who — according to Duran’s official report — had taken an “aggressive posture” in her hospital bed. The sacred imperative of “officer safety” dictated that the subject be thoroughly softened up in order to minimize resistance.

Accordingly, one of the officers approached Lona and “stepped on her oxygen hose until she began to suffer oxygen deprivation,” narrates the complaint, based on Lona’s account. One of the officers then shot her with a taser, but the connection wasn’t solid. A second fired his taser, “striking her to the left of the midline of her upper chest, and applied high voltage, causing burns to her chest, extreme pain,” and unconsciousness. Lona was then handcuffed with sufficient ruthlessness to tear the soft flesh of her forearms, causing her to bleed.

And had her thrown into a psychiatric ward for a week.

Any bets on whether, should the tazing have proven fatal to Mrs. Vernon, Mr. Tinsley would be facing Manslaughter charges?

Here's hoping that the lawsuit is successful in bankrupting the town of El Reno, OK. If the town is forced to shut down due to the extreme folly of its elected officials and their duly appointed employees, perhaps other communities will notice.
Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres. (In this country it is wise to kill an Admiral to encourage the others."
- Voltaire, Candide

Well, at least she didn't have a pistol, and nobody died.

Via Aretae.

Classified NSA documents

Get 'em while they're fresh(ly declassified)!

All sorts of them here. If you're a tech geek (especially if you're a crypto geek), wander on over.

Hat tip: El Reg.

Yum! That's some good Unicorn! (part the second)

Recipe here.

Another lap around the sun

This blog has now entered the Terrible Twos, having completed another year of free Internet blather.

I've noticed that the number of posts I make is pretty seriously lower than the first year, but the posts are getting longer. In mathematics jargon, the question is whether the posts converge on zero or on infinity*.

Two things are noticeable to me, looking back and comparing to the first year. First, a definite "Planet Borepatch" style has emerged, for example comparing President Obama to King Ethelred the Unready. These started as a nobody-is-going-to-go-for-this-sort-of-thing sort of thing, but the comments keep encouraging me to do more. So blame yourselves, my hands are clean ...

Second, it's become really clear that sometime the Muse comes and shacks up here for a while, and posts just pop from the keyboard. Sometimes she splits to Destin or Lauderdale or somewhere, and I got bupkis for all y'all. I guess you have to write some to get up close and personal with the concept of writer's block.

But it was kind of cool to have one of my posts go all Internet Viral-y (in a little way). And it was pretty cool when Steven den Beste dropped by to leave a comment (obligatory fanboi sqweee!).

Thanks to all who stop by regularly. I do this for me, but it's awfully nice to see that you guys think it's worth the click.

* The posts aren't infinitely long (yet), they only seem that way.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The reason for the Second Amendment

I doesn't have anything to do with hunting:
A New Orleans police officer who fired his gun at civilians on the Danziger Bridge a week after Hurricane Katrina pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday, offering a chilling account of what transpired on the bridge that early September day in 2005.


Hunter, 33, said a New Orleans police sergeant fired an assault rifle at wounded civilians at close range after other officers stopped shooting and after it was clear that the police were not taking fire. He also says he saw another officer in a car fire a shotgun at a fleeing man's back, although the man did nothing suggesting he was a threat to police. That man, 40-year-old Ronald Madison, who was severely mentally disabled, died of his wounds.


"I don't think you can listen to that account without being sickened by the raw brutality of the shooting and the craven lawlessness of the cover-up," said U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance after the factual basis was read aloud in the still courtroom by prosecutor Bobbi Bernstein, deputy chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.


Former Lt. Michael Lohman and former Detective Jeffrey Lehrmann -- officers who participated in the investigation of the shooting -- in recent weeks both pleaded guilty to helping orchestrate a cover-up.

Lohman and Lehrmann admitted the NOPD's internal investigation included imaginary civilian witnesses, a planted gun and false officer accounts to justify a shooting of unarmed people.
Note that this guilty plea is not for shooting an unarmed mentally ill man in the back with a shotgun. He's getting immunity for that. There's a whole herd of swine* from the NOLA PD awaiting their day in court for either the shooting or the cover-up.

So riddle me this: what's the difference between the NOLA PD, and you and me? Other than we wouldn't have the union running interference for us if we shot a fleeing man in the back. And you and I would be joining Cory Maye on death row, while this gentleman won't.

Yes, the Democratic Party wants to take everyone's guns. This case shows the "protection" they offer to provide instead. You want our guns? Come and get them.

* Yes, the word is justified:

Moments later, Hunter saw two men later identified as Lance Madison and his 40-year-old mentally disabled brother, Ronald, running away near the bottom of the bridge.

Hunter's statement said an unidentified officer shot Ronald Madison in the back with a shotgun.

"As Ronald Madison lay dying on the pavement, (the sergeant) ran down the bridge toward Ronald and asked an officer if Ronald was 'one of them.' When the officer replied in the affirmative, (the sergeant) began kicking or stomping Ronald Madison repeatedly with his foot," the filing states.

UPDATE 24 June 2010 20:41: Kahr40 hits center mass:
In just world those bastards would have died on the bridge from the return fire of the citizens.

Well, that clears up some long standing questions

It did seem like I spent my college years in the Lonely Mountain of Electrical Engineering, except when I was in the Barad-dûr of Economics.

And Climatology does indeed seem to be a far distant, foreign land these days ...

Unanticipated consequences of regulation

London in 1831 was rocked with scandal - body snatching scandal. The Murder Act of 1752 regulated the supply of cadavers available for medical school anatomy lessons. Specifically, only corpses of executed criminals could lawfully be used for these studious dissections.

The problem was that there were many new medical schools, and fewer executions, and so there was a pronounced shortage of lawful medical "supplies". Well, nature abhors a vacuum, and where there's a will, there's a way - especially when there weren't any questions asked when delivering the goods to the school.

Londoners began to wake up to find that their freshly buried loved ones had been dug up, and the body missing. Some wealthy families began construction of fortified mausoleums, with twenty-four hour security. Then the living began to disappear, too. After the second murder wave, enough was enough. Parliament passed the Anatomy Act of 1832, which (mostly) deregulated the cadaver market. Supply and demand equalized, and Londoners could sleep soundly in their beds once again.

History offers a lot of examples that our government could learn from, if our government were as smart and progressive as nineteenth century Parliament. Nobody in 1752 intended to incite murder, and nobody in 1832 thought that the government could be effective by adding more layers of regulation on top of the existing layers. Rather, they repealed old outdated laws and replaced them with something less restrictive, and more suited for the day.

From the War on (some) Drugs to Health Care "Reform", Washington should put down the remote control and pick up a book.

F4U Corsair takeoff

Dirtcrashr comments that his Dad was Navy in the Pacific theater, and wasn't feeling the propeller love. Got to fix that, with a Corsair fighter unfolding its wings and taking off.

The Corsair was manufactured for a longer time than any propeller driven naval airplane, from 1940 to 1953. Two design features were obvious even to a casual observer. British Aircraft Carriers were smaller than American ones, and the British hanger deck ceiling wasn't as high. To make sure that the planes fit with their wings folded, 8" was cut off the end of the wings, giving them a pronounced "clipped" effect. But the inverse gull wing design was its most obvious feature.

The Corsair used the same huge engine as the P-47, which needed a very large propeller to get maximum efficiency. This meant that the landing gear had to be longer than normal, but that meant that they were too long to retract to the rear - and that was needed because the wings had to fold for storage on the Carrier. The solution was the inverse gull wing design, where the portion of the wing closest to the fuselage was much lower; that meant shorter landing gear which could retract backwards.

The Navy liked its F6F Hellcats better, as their pilots said they were easier to land. But the Marines took to the Corsair like ducks to water. It was fast and tough, and could carry a lot of ground attack ordnance, and it continued in its ground attack role in the Korean War even when air superiority fighters had all been replaced with jets.

Ted Williams flew Corsairs in World War II, teaching new Marine pilots combat flying.

Corsairs continued in service in the French Navy until 1964, and last saw combat in 1969 (!) in the "Football War" between Honduras and El Salvador. That's 27 years of combat sorties, which has to be some sort of record for a propeller fighter.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From the place where Great Britain used to be

A grandmother is jailed for possession of a firearm - a family heirloom:

A grandmother has been jailed for five years for possessing a "family heirloom" World War II pistol.

Gail Cochrane, 53, had kept the gun for 29 years following the death of her father, who had been in the Royal Navy.

Police found the weapon, a Browning self-loading pistol, during a search of her home in Dundee while looking for her son.

She admitted illegal possession of the firearm, an offence with a minimum five-year jail term under Scots law.

Her dad brought it back from World War II. In the UK, the laws are strict accountability: if you have a handgun, that's all that matters. 5 year minimum sentence.
Defence solicitor advocate Jack Brown argued that the circumstances surrounding the case were exceptional and that it would be "draconian, unjust and disproportionate" to jail the grandmother-of-six.
Hey, at least the UK can breathe a sigh or relief that there's one fewer granny to terrorize the streets.


Google Citations? Ouch.

Backstory here.

P-47 Thunderbolt takeoff

It's easy to forget how many different cockpit controls those WWII birds had.

It's also pretty wild to see the S-turns on the taxiway, because the pilot couldn't see past the cowling. Since the "Jug" was the biggest and heaviest fighter ever powered by a single propeller engine, the engine had to be huge. And "heaviest" was no joke: fully gassed, and with each of its eight .50 cal M2s loaded for bear, the bird weighed eight tons. RAF pilots - used to the cramped cockpits of British fighters - joked that a P-47 pilot attacked by the Luftwaffe could save himself by running and hiding in a different part of the cockpit.

The current A-10 is popularly called the "Warthog", but officially it is the "Thunderbolt II" after the P-47's famous hard-hitting ground attack punch and amazing survivability. Not only the airframe but the engine could take a lot of punishment, and when armed with .50 cal armor piercing ammo, could shoot up all but Tiger tanks.

We built over 15,000, and they flew active duty in some Air Forces until 1966. Sweet bird.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yum! That's some good unicorn!

Welcome to the barbecue of your principles, lefties!

First up is the charmingly naive thought that the Fed.Gov would work if "we could just vote in the Right People." We've all heard about how the Coast Guard won't let oil skimming ships sail because they don't have enough life preservers. There are mutterings that we turned down the offer of Dutch skimmers because of Union protection rules.

I actually don't think that last one is right. Rather, word is coming out that the dutch ships used a skimming technique that's prohibited by the EPA. How come? Because the technique results in the discharge of oily water:
The Americans don’t have spill response vessels with skimmers because their environment regulations do not allow it. With the Dutch method seawater is sucked up with the oil by the skimmer. The oil is stored in the tanker and the superfluous water is pumped overboard. But the water does contain some oil residue, and that is too much according to US environment regulations.

US regulations contradictory
Wierd Koops thinks the US approach is nonsense, because otherwise you would have to store the surplus seawater in the tanks as well.

“We say no, you have to get as much oil as possible into the storage tanks and as little water as possible. So we pump the water, which contains drops of oil, back overboard.”

US regulations are contradictory, Mr Knoops stresses. Pumping water back into the sea with oil residue is not allowed. But you are allowed to combat the spill with chemicals so that the oil dissolves in the seawater. In both cases, the dissolved oil is naturally broken down quite quickly.

So we can't suck up oily seawater to remove the oil and save the fishing industry because the Fed.Gov won't allow a (much less) oily discharge. That's some righteous government regulation right there. The Environmental Protection Agency is causing the destruction of the environment.

If only we could vote The Right People into power ...

Offered next, rotisserie-style leftie principles:
Anyway, today House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that middle-class tax increases will eventually be necessary to address the nation's mounting debt. Really, Mr. Hoyer? I though Pr. Obama was promising he was going to bleed the rich. I thought he was going to lift my burdens. I thought the economy now ran on unicorn farts.


So it really a two-fer three-fer, I'll pay more taxes now, have to work longer, and get less benefits when I'm old because the government spent money it didn't have, and doesn't have any plan for paying it's bills except to steal it from me (and you and your children and grandchildren).
Of course, anyone who's been paying attention knows that the Progressive Agenda screws the little guy, but a lot of lefties have been so full of hopenchange that they've missed this. And so, here's the way I like my unicorn prepared, via Think Geek:

Savory Unicorn & Heirloom Tomato Bruchetta Recipe

  • 14 ounce can of Unicorn Meat
  • 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

    Chop the tomatoes and mix with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and basil leaves. Toss well. Slice baguettes on the diagonal about 1/2" thick. Brush each slice with olive oil and add a full rounded tablespoon of Unicorn Meat, spreading over each piece. Toast in a 450 degree directly on over rock for 5-6 minutes. Do a little funky dance by yourself until it's toasted. Serve with tomato mixture and some flaming Absinthe.

Just make sure you've bought some Carbon Offsets from Rep. Hoyer before you light the Absinthe ...

The Index

The Index Liborum Prohibitorum was the Catholic Church's list of banned books. Between 1559 and 1966, it contained the titles of every book that contained immoral or heretical ideas, which all Right Thinking Catholics were to shun. The list was influential in the sixteenth century, but mostly influenced the decline of science in southern Europe as the early scientific clubs of Rome and Florence were unable to read all the works available to the new clubs of Paris and London.

Southern Europe has never recovered, scientifically speaking. While the list was effective in enforcing social control by the existing power elites, as far as promoting the advancement of knowledge it was a self inflicted bullet in the foot.

Fortunately, we're so much wiser today ...

An astonishing paper has just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the premier journal of the premier American Science organization. It's a list. Of climate skeptics.

Of course, it's nothing so vulgar as a simple list of who to ignore. It's slightly - but only slightly - more subtle than that:
The analysis of climate scientists claims the "vast majority" of climate change researchers agree on the issue, and that those who oppose the consensus are "not actually climate researchers or not very productive researchers".
So skeptics are lousy scientists, right? Not so fast:

Opponents said that the paper divided scientists into artificial groups and did not consider a balanced spectrum of scientists.

They also pointed out that climate sceptics often struggled to get their papers accepted by journals, as they must first be reviewed and approved by climate change "believers".

Judith Curry, a climate expert at the Georgia Institute of Technology – who was not part of the analysis – called the study "completely unconvincing" while John Christy of University of Alabama claimed he and other climate sceptics included in the survey were simply "being blacklisted" by colleagues.

Most hilarious is the response from Roger Pielke, Jr, concerning the scientific credentials of his father, who was surprised to find himself on the list of skeptics:
Back to the world's most accomplished "climate skeptic." That would be my father who not only tops the black list but also would be near the top of the list of acceptable scientists based on his credentials, had he been placed there. What sort of views does my father hold that would qualify him to lead the "climate skeptics" list?

I was copied on his reply to a reporter today and can quote from that. He provides this rather ambiguous statement:
I am not a "climate skeptic".
Note to Dad, there is no better evidence of your denier credentials than denying that you are a denier.
So just how degenerate is the "Climate Science" community? So much so that the flagship publication of the premier American scientific organization is discussing not scientific arguments, but credentials and opinions. And offering guidance to keep the weak-minded safe from the temptations of heretical views.

The Index killed southern European science, by proscribing views dangerous to the Faith. The National Academy of Sciences is heading down the exact same path. Sic transit Gloria Mundi.

Belated Father's Day gift

It's sometimes a strange feeling when you get what you want.

#1 Son has been working at an internship. He's doing something that he really likes, and is learning some great technical things (in a field where he'll likely be able to get paying work someday, after he's been to College). But he isn't getting paid.

That's all part of the game - eyes on the prize, after all. I like it that he's excited about the work, and learning good things. I like it that the people he works with really like what he's doing there.

Last night he came back home from work and said that they'd found a project for him to do where they'll pay him. They didn't have to do this, but like what he does enough that they figured out how to make it happen.

This is the first time that I've seen my little boy as a man. It's really, really cool.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Regulatory Capture

A picture is worth a thousand words.
Source: Office of the Comptroller of Currency, as of 31 Dec 2009

The banking system melted down at late in 2008, because weird, opaque transactions like Credit Default Swaps made pricing risk pretty difficult. So what did the shiny new Statist Democratic administration do? Ensure that these risky transactions are all held by companies that are Too Big To Fail.

As homework and for extra credit, graph the campaign contributions of these same five organizations and their corporate officers by party donated to.

And just for that final frisson of terror, let me put that figure of $206 Trillion in perspective: it's fourteen times the size of the US GDP.

Dried food, water, and ammo, folks. The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight is running things right towards a cliff.

Via A Large Regular.

That's some "sustainable" power, right there

We all know that one of the problems with wind power is that sometimes the wind doesn't blow. No wind, no power, so you need to build roughly three times as many windmills as you think to cover the calm periods. Other than the obvious expense of a 3x overcapacity build-out, there's a fly in the ointment.

UK power companies are going to be paid not to generate power when the wind blows:

Energy firms will receive thousands of pounds a day per wind farm to turn off their turbines because the National Grid cannot use the power they are producing.


The National Grid fears that on breezy summer nights, wind farms could actually cause a surge in the electricity supply which is not met by demand from businesses and households.

The electricity cannot be stored, so one solution – known as the 'balancing mechanism' – is to switch off or reduce the power supplied.

Good grief. Will every "Green" energy booster who thinks that Sarah Palin is a ditz please just STFU right now? You're making actual ditzes embarrassed for you.

In other shocking news, Joe Lieberman says there aren't enough votes for Cap-and-Trade. Gosh, wonder why? Unreliable, intermittent power at three times the cost of the alternatives, that won't make one rat's behind of difference to the climate even if you accept the whole CO2 scaremongering, because China and India are running flat out building more coal plants.

Boy, it's a good thing we don't have an idiotic Texas cowboy in the White House anymore, but have enlightened and smart Ivy League types instead ...


That noise you hear ...

... is the sound of freedom.

Of course, freedom sounded pretty sweet behind a Merlin engine, too.

Via Theo Spark.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blogroll Additions

The Daily Bayonet is a regular read, and often linked to here. "Skewering the clueless since 2006" is no joke with his repeated evisceration of climate change stupidity. The latest example is the much publicized cost of the Cap and Trade bill:
  1. Why pay an extra $146 for programs that will do nothing at all about ‘climate’, and
  2. When exactly did any government ever accurately assess costs? Take that $146 estimate and double it. At least.
Other than wildly underestimated costs for a program that will do precisely bupkis for the environment, it's a model of good governance.

Newbius saw the brouhaha over the NRA and the idiotic and unconstitutional DISCLOSE act, and unlike me, he didn't gripe about it. He called them to ask whiskey tango foxtrot:
I sat through the talking points message, then held for a live person. After registering my view with them opposing their position (as self-serving and wrong), and urging them to score this vote like they would any gun legislation (regardless of their self-serving carve-out), I asked the rep if NRA would be changing their position. She said "yes" and that there would be an announcement. They are supposed to have a press release out shortly about it.
That right there is a nice bit of citizen journalism.

A Dixie Carpetbagger is an outstanding name for a blog by another history loving IT geek. He serves up an eclectic mix of shooty goodness, goofy stuff, and odd things from history. If he adds Internet Security, I may be out of a job here ...

Welcome to the blogroll, everyone. And the usual note: if anyone has blogrolled me and I haven't added you here, leave a comment or email me.

Acadia Mountain

Maine's Acadia National Park contains all sorts of natural wonders, not least of which is the only fjord on the east coast of this land. It's a proper fjord, carved by the ice sheets and partially flooded by the rising seas at the end of the last glaciation. Called Some's Sound, it's deep, and surrounded by steep mountains on each side. Acadia Mountain is perhaps the steepest of these.

Father's Day 1975 saw Dad, me, and my older brother climbing that mountain. It's only about 900 feet tall, but the climb is pretty vigorous. You go up the landward side, and there's not a lot to see other than trees, and the occasional glimpse of trees on neighboring mountains. Other than the exercise, there's not a lot of reason to make the ascent.

Until you get to the summit, when suddenly you see the Sound laid out before you, in all its glory.
It looks like that the other direction, too. If you have a camera that can take panorama pictures, this is the place to take one. The contrast from deep forest to best-view-in-the-world happens in about five minutes, and makes this a memorable hike.

Father's Day made it a memorable hike, too. The three of us went on that hike at least three Father's Days. The panorama of the memory is something to see, too, but you'll have to take my word on that.

We couldn't recreate this today; Older Brother and I are scattered to the four winds, Mom and Dad are in New Mexico, and he's not well. But in a sense it doesn't matter, because these memories of times together are still fresh.

Happy Father's Day to all dads, especially Dad and Older Brother. You're good men, and good fathers, and I'm glad to have these memories.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Abyss

If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
- Frederich Nietzsche

Gerard Vanderleun just celebrated his seventh (!) blogiversary at American Digest, so go leave him some commenty love. But while you're there, he writes about some people who buried their son. It will make you think:
The dark secret fear lurking inside you when you are a parent is that your children will die before you do. That fear came true for this family. All parents can imagine their grief, but all choose not to do so. But they did not choose, as so many do, to be utterly undone by grief. Instead they chose to balance grief with joy, "For Joy and sorrow are inseparable," and place upon this grave a bronze symbol of all that is best in this life and in this world.
All parents can imagine their grief, but all choose not to do so. They choose to not gaze into that Abyss.

Except some do. They do, because they have no choice.
Is it any consolation to remember her as she was? That bright, intrepid spirit, that keen, fine intellect, that lofty scorn for all that was mean, that social charm which made your house such a one as Washington never knew before and made hundreds of people love her as much as they admired her.
- John Hay, letter to Henry Adams on the suicide of Adams' wife Clover
Henry Adams was one of America's nineteenth century men of letters. Grandson and Great-Grandson of presidents, his house in Washington D.C. was high on the society list. Desperately in love with his wife, he built a new house for her, and shortly before its completion, she took cyanide. Adams gazed into the Abyss.

Two things stand out to me about his reaction: he burned all the letters she sent to him; he also had this sculpture created.

It's usually called "Grief", although Adams hated that name; you can see it in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C. If you go, pick a day with cold rain, like Dad and I did so many years ago. Not only will the weather keep the crowds away, but it adds to the sense of melancholy, and perhaps gives a glimpse into Adams' Abyss.

All parents can imagine their grief, but all choose not to do so. Some parents don't have this choice; they live on a front line, dug in at the very precipice. They gaze into the Abyss every day. The view is terrifying, and it becomes even more disturbing when you realize that Nietzsche was right: the Abyss gazes back at you. But in that returned stare you will find a lesson.

Pandora did well to keep Hope captured in her box. Even in the Abyss, you see life holding on.
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.
- Joseph Campbell

UPDATE 19 June 2010 22:34: Must-read comment by ASM826 shows why he's a daily read for me.

It's a small world

Even on the Internet. My odometer just rolled over 200,000 visits, and it was from my Mom's home town.

Thank you, whoever you are from St. Joseph, MO, for making my day. And thanks to everyone who comes around. It seems there's quite a market for free Internet blather, and I'm happy to do my part!

Conway Twitty - That's My Job

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
- Sigmund Freud

Mothers are known for nurturing; Fathers are expected to protect. Mothers get the better of that deal, but a real Father doesn't shrink from his task.

Fortunately, there's a country song about that.

Conway Twitty had more #1 songs than anyone until George Straight got his 56th #1 song in 2006. Conway's most notorious hit - You've never been this far before - wasn't exactly family friendly, and in fact was banned on some stations. But he was a father, and a songwriter, and knew that when the chips were down, the fathers were expected to step up.

And he was right. Harold Lloyd Jenkins (Conway Twitty) wasn't my favorite country singer when I was younger, but his sentiment is precisely right in this song. Yes, it's overly sentimental, but that's often how fathers are inspired to do what needs doing.

This Father's Day weekend, take a moment to think not just of your own father, but of the uncomplaining sacrifices that he made for you. Because it's what fathers do.

That's My Job
(Songwriters: Conway Twitty, Gary Burr)
I woke up cryin' late at night - when I was very young
I had dreamed my father - had passed away and gone
My world revolved around him - I couldn't lie there anymore
So I made my way down the mirrowed hall and tapped upon his door.

And I said, "Daddy, I'm so afraid!
How would I go on, with you gone that way?
Don't wanna cry anymore
So may I stay with you?"

And he said,
"That's my job, that's what I do
Everything I do is because of you
To keep you safe with me ...
That's my job, you see."

Later we barely got along - this teenage boy and he
Most of the fights it seems - were over different dreams
We each held for me ...
He wanted knowledge and learning - I wanted to fly out west
"Said I could make it out there - if I just had the fare
I got half, will you loan me the rest?"

And I said, "Daddy, I'm so afraid
Theres no guarentee in the plans I've made
And if I should fail, who will pay my way back home?"

And he said,
"That's my job, that's what I do
Ev'rything I do is because of you
To keep you safe with me ...
That's my job, you see."

Every person carves his spot - and fills the hole with life
And I pray someday I might - light as bright as he.

Woke up early one bright fall day - read the tragic news
After all my travels, I settled down - within a mile or two
I make my livin' with words and rhymes - and all the tragedies
Should go into my head and out instead - as bits of poetry.

But I say, "Daddy I'm so afraid
How will I go on - with you gone this way
How can I come up - with a song to say, "I love you."

"That's my job, that's what I do
Ev'rything I do is because of you
To keep you safe with me ...
That's my job, you see."

"Ev'rything I do is because of you
To keep you safe with me."
Dolly Parton had another take on the father's traditional protector role in Daddy Come And Get Me. And the last word this Father's Day weekend goes to an unknown author:
One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.

UPDATE 21 June 2010 12:02: Some me still answer this call. RIP Wes Michaels, and God speed.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I have a little crush on Chris Christie

Not in a gay way (not that there's anything wrong with that), but in a help-us-Obi-Wan-Kenobi-you're-our-only-hope way:

This is what a leader looks like. You don't wonder where he stands, and he's not afraid to face criticism head on. This guy can't be bullied by the media's old define-the-narrative trick. He simply destroys the questioner.

The media is losing it's gatekeeper power - letting favored politicians closer to power and keeping unfavored politicians away from power. But the new avenues of communication mean that the media can't jam the signal any more. Sarah Palin uses Facebook better than any politician alive, and Christie uses Youtube better than any pol alive.

Maybe Christie/Palin in 2012?


This scares the heck out of me

Fascism is always descending on America, but somehow always seems to land in Europe.
- Tom Wolfe

This post at Chicagoboyz is really interesting, and really disturbing. Especially this:
The idea of high debt levels and high levels of youth unemployment will also likely result in some philosophical soul-searching. This debt isn’t being invested in structural improvements and productivity enhancements; it is being used for social transfers today to other citizens and to employ a vast government bureaucracy of selected citizens who are generally immune to market discipline (getting fired, working hard) while the unemployed youth sit idle. When the infeasibility of this system becomes apparent, how can they explain it to the jobless that their prospects must continue to be stunted in order to pay for an overseer class of government employees? The act of finding “real” jobs for youth will also take us back to a more entrepreneurial view of the world; hiring citizens as bureaucrats in lieu of a productive economy doesn’t work and something else will ultimately need to take its place.
What's disturbing is the idea that some entepreneurial energy may go into inflaming Europe's youth. When European anti-government movements coalesce, blood runs in the street.

About that "Sustainable" Spanish Solar Power ...

It seems that the Spain.Gov was spending more on solar power subsidies than the total cost of energy production in the country:
"Sustainability" has been the magic word that extracted large sums of public subsidy that couldn't otherwise have been rationally justified using traditional cost/benefit measures. Spain paid 11 times more for "green" energy than it did for fossil fuels. The public makes up the difference.
But what, I hear you ask, about all those new "Green" jobs?

For sure, you can create a temporary jobs boom, but these are artificial, and the exercise is as useful as paying people to dig a hole in the ground, then fill it in. Spanish economist Professor Gabriel Calzada, at the University of Madrid estimated that each green job had cost the country $774,000.

Worse, a "green" job costs 2.2 jobs that might otherwise have been created - a figure Calzada derived by dividing the average subsidy per worker by the average productivity per worker. Industry, which can't afford to pay the higher fuel bills, simply moves elsewhere.

This is from a new analysis of the disaster that is the Spanish power program (PDF here). Remember, this is the program that was the model for Obama's renewable energy plan.

So what's the difference between the Spanish plan and Obama's? The Spain.Gov is ditching their's because it's bankrupting them. Obama's looks like it's coming at us. Good and hard.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Science and Propaganda

Nigel Calder (former editor of The New Scientist) has taken one of his speeches from a couple years back and turned it into a rather long blog post about the politicization of science that's occurred during the era of Global Warming hysteria. If you're at all interested in this topic, it's well worth a read. Excerpts:

During the 20th Century, the world’s average temperature rose by less than one degree Celsius. That’s not at all remarkable compared with other changes of climate over the previous centuries and millennia, and there are two explanations on offer. Despite anything you may hear to the contrary, the cosmic-ray story is fully supported by the evidence of observations and experiments.

The manmade global warming story has no such support. Quite the opposite. The very mechanism for the supposed greenhouse warming, reinforced by that extra CO2, requires tropical air temperatures to rise faster at high altitudes (6 miles above the ground) than they do lower down. Weather balloons routinely carry thermometers to those heights and beyond. They have shown no such trend over recent decades.


In 2008, after a careful study of all hurricanes since 1900, Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center in Miami declared: “There is nothing in the US hurricane damage record that indicates global warming has caused a significant increase in destruction along our coasts.” Taking account of the changing value of the dollar, Landsea and his colleagues found, for example, that the 1926 Miami hurricane was twice as costly as Katrina. Putting aside climate change, any impression that things are getting worse can be explained by better tracking of storms and more seaside real estate. Physically there’s been no increase in the frequency or violence of the storms. Although Landsea made his reassuring declaration in a press release from NOAA, the US weather bureau, and although Reuters picked up the story, it was reported in only one major newspaper (USA Today).


You’re not supposed to remember that in the 1960s and 1970s the top climate experts were predicting global cooling. A little ice age, or even a big ice age. They’ll try to tell you that this was just a scare got up by the media, but again that’s simply untrue. An advantage of old age is to have lived through various climate changes and the theories about them. For example, I was present in Rome in 1961 when UN agencies convened a conference of climate scientists, who discussed the dreadful effects that the all-too evident global cooling was going to have on world food supplies.


Some American journalists boast openly about their bias. Ross Gelbspan, former editor of The Boston Globe, said “Not only do journalists not have a responsibility to report what skeptical scientists have to say about global warming, they have a responsibility not to report what these scientists say.” Charles Alexander, science editor of Time magazine said, “I would freely admit that we have crossed the boundary from news reporting to advocacy.”

Calder is a very entertaining writer, and sharp as a tack. He also brings perspective to the subject, perspective developed over a 50 year career reporting about Science. Highly recommended.