Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Your moment of zen

There is no spoon bed.

Charlie Foxtrot

Of course, all the beds were on the same POD. Guess which of the four won't be here until tomorrow?

At least I have my table saw. That's a relief. [/sarcasm]

An insurmountable opportunity

Blue Sun writes about an interesting turn of events:
Yesterday, I was given about 30 pounds of meat, probably two-thirds of it home-grown bacon, and most of the rest in deer sausage. What am I going to do with 20 pounds of bacon?
I'm sure that you'll have some suggestions for him.

And the post title comes from an old joke about a junior officer who found himself in a real Go Getter's outfit.  When he told his commander that they had a problem, his commander replied: Mister, in this outfit we don't have problems, we have opportunities!  The junior officer considered this a moment and then replied that they had an insurmountable opportunity.

Of course, my post title lied.  With the Borepatch clan, 20 pounds of bacon lasts about three weeks ...

Monday, November 29, 2010

That's enough for one day

It's raining, and I don't want to bring electronics from the PODS to the house in the rain.  Plus, it's been a long day, and so we're knocking off.  Maybe I can even do a little blogging to get some posts queued for tomorrow, which will be another busy day.

Quite frankly, it's been hard to keep my end of Al Gore's Intarwebz up while we've been moving.  At least three weeks of November have been consumed with packing, or loading, or living like a refugee.  I've been pretty beat, and quality has not been up to the expected level here.

That said, traffic is booming - my best month so far, by more than 10%.  Strange.  Glad everyone's stopping by!

The PODS are here

The PODS are here, seen through the Camp Borepatch main gate.

As you can imagine, things are pretty busy. Back later.

UPDATE 29 November 2010 13:44: One POD is almost three quarters unloaded, and another is almost one quarter unloaded. Going pretty fast, although we'll no doubt be sorting out for weeks. Two dollies from Home Depot, combined with a layout that precludes carrying stuff up stairs makes for a fast job.

Backpackable microwave ray gun in test

The story, along with the top five new military guns.  The view from the UK, with added snark on the holiday habits of us colonials:
But what could be more American than a colossal slap-up feed and then buying a lot of stuff?

We'll tell you what could be: guns, and plenty of them.
Why, yes - that's just about exactly right.

This won't be news to folks who follow this sort of thing closely, but it's a decent year-end summing up of shooty goodness.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday links

We're going to see Camp Borepatch, so we're kind of busy.  But these are worth your click.

Foseti shows us what's wrong with policing in the UK, and how that (logically) leads to their current breakdown in law and order:

The cop has spent an entire shift dealing with two "crimes" that have both been "solved." The result is that a lot of paperwork has been completed. The important thing is that no one has been treated in a racist manner.

The reality that emerges from the pages of the book is that modern police are basically social workers for the underclass. If you want to know why crime is up, it’s because police aren’t on the streets anymore. Instead, they’re filling out paperwork or looking for a kid whose mother is too lazy to turn off the TV and be a parent (and why should she miss her stories, if she doesn’t know where her kid is, she can just call the police).

The police also spend an inordinate amount of time documenting the fact that they’re not racist. After all, increases in the level of crime won’t get any of them fired, but an accusation or two of racism that they can’t refute could result in someone losing their pension
Businesses know that incentive programs are very tricky, because employees respond to the letter, rather than the spirit of the incentive.  There's a lot more there, and I can't argue with any of it.  RTWT.

A couple days ago, ASM826 linked to the recipe for Whiskey Fried Porkchops he fixed us for dinner.  Let me just add my recommendation to his - these are absolutely delicious.  They also look like they're just about impossible to dry out, as is so often the case with porkchops.  The only change I'd suggest is call this a braise, rather than frying.  Or maybe call them a BBQ fricassee.  But you really should try these out.  Kudos to Eyes Never Closed for posting this - a grateful Intarwebz thanks you.

Speaking of ASM826, he offers a haiku for a pistol match.  It reminds me of a haiku I posted in the early days of this blog.  We had the New England blogshoot coming up, and I had prepared some reactive targets.  I reproduce it here, thanks to the magic of cut-and-paste:

Legion's silent ranks
meet ballistic projectile.
Kinetic sculpture.

I can haz NEA grant?

And yes, that is a Sun workstation in the rear ranks.

Turkey a la Thermite

It's what's for dinner.

Hat tip: Theo Spark.

Quote of the Day - Wicked Smaht Bahstid edition

That would be Wolfwalker, in a comment over at Rhymes With Cars And Girls:
The progressive/liberal movement arose in Old Europe 160 years ago as a reaction to the incompetence and corruption of the hereditary aristocracy. Its leaders argued (correctly) that blood was no guarantor of competence or leadership. But they didn’t want to overturn the old order; they just wanted to rearrange it so that they were in charge. So they created a New Aristocracy based on the one criterion that they could define to their advantage: level of intelligence, as demonstrated by level and type of education. Those who actually had to work for a living — businessmen, tradesmen, farmers, doctors — were excluded from the get-go. Only writers, artists, philosophers, and scientists were allowed, and even then only as long as they agreed with the New Aristocracy’s goals.
That right there is a display of smart, as opposed to "Smart".  Maybe Wolfwalker can start up a blog, so we can get a regular dose of this.  Like I said, one Wicked Smaht Bahstid, right there.  The other commenters agree, and amplify his statement in ways that are also smart (not "Smart").

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Musings about long distance driving

We're here, after a thousand miles of highway.  I'm glad we broke it up over three days - I drove it a lot in two days (and once in a single day) when I wore a younger man's shoes.  Probably I could again if I had to, but I'm glad I don't.

But long distance driving gives you time to reflect.  Here are some of those.

Driving is an entirely different experience from flying.  You see things that would be invisible from 30,000 feet, and have the time to ponder them.  You can even stop and look at them if you want.  There's a moral here for coastal elites who consider 80% of the land to be "Fly Over Country".

What is it with Maryland drivers?  Good grief.  The one who left his car at the gas pump after filling up, and then went to shop in the Pilot (two shopping bags), and then put a quart of oil in his engine while the line of folks waiting to gas up - that one gets double plus extra crazy style points.

I'd forgotten how the sun goes down bang in your eyes as you head south into Georgia on I-85.  And while we're talking about it, that highway desperately needs to be widened between the South Carolina border and exit 111.  Worst traffic of the whole trip, and we drove past NYFC and through Maryland.

The North Carolina rest areas on I-95 are the nicest I've seen.

Boy, howdy, gas is cheap in South Carolina.  Like 40 cents cheaper than in Massachusetts.  Wow.

North Carolina in many ways seems to be trying to turn itself into the Massachusetts of Dixie.  While the rest areas are very nice indeed, the rest of the rigmarole is less desirable.  Not the best role model for you, guys.

#1 Son did a man's work driving.  I guess it's hard to see him as a man, rather than a little boy, but this trip sure opened my eyes.  It's too bad that they needed to be opened.

The new Zed Veir looks pretty sweet.  We saw it right as we drove past the BMW plant in SC.  I didn't really consider one when I was shopping for a Mid-Life Crisis car because I needed a back seat to bring the kids.  Pretty pathetic for a Mid-Life Crisis ...

Thanks to ASM826

ASM826 made us dinner. . It was delicious, but made even better by great company and conversation.

So in addition to being an excellent blogger, rifle instructor, and outstanding photographer, we can add restaurant-grade chef to his list of super powers.

As I told him last evening, in many ways I think he's my identical twin, separated at birth.

Plus, the evening included a surprise that I'll share with you once we're settled.

Thanks, my friend, for making the evening memorable.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 26, 2010

GPS Catigation


Glad we have all these "Smart" people running the Fed.Gov.

Smart is as Smart does

They're ever so much smarter than we are.  You know who I'm talking about.  Sonic Charmer trains his formidable intellect on the situation, and confesses himself stumped:

It’s interesting to ponder just exactly why the smartophile Palin-phobes think it’s so important for a President to be “smart”. ...

This seems like a dumb question but look. Basically I’m faced with this weird spectacle wherein there’s a politician, who as far as I can tell is no more or less “smart” than any other politician, but all the Cool People decide he/she is “dumb”. So then Katie Couric asks her in an interview, like, who is the ambassador from Siam. And he/she doesn’t know or flubs it. What we’re all supposed to do after that (apparently) is to guffaw with laughter at how “dumb” she is, and then put him/her on permanent “disqualify” status in our minds.

Because how can a person be the President if they don’t know offhand who the Ambassador from Siam is? It’s not like you can wiki it! Also, what is the office of the Presidency if not a position wherein you are continually called on 24/7 to answer trivial-pursuit-style questions about current leaders and events off the top of your head? I think that’s like 99.99% of the role of President. At LEAST.

But seriously, call me dumb if you will, but I don’t get it. These criteria do not make sense to me. Objectively, I happen to think that someone like a Barack Obama or a Nancy Pelosi ushering in a giant mammoth health care bill that they haven’t read, arguing that we have to pass it to find it what’s in it, is not only (a) objectively dumb but (b) going to be highly damaging to our everyday lives.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin couldn’t answer that Katie Couric question (whatever the hell it was – and I’ve literally forgotten).
Yet I’m supposed to fear and hate the latter with a passion while craving the former. Because they’re so ‘brilliant’. Is that it?

I’m sorry. These rules make no sense to me.
He's kinder than I - I don't see the level of reasoning from these "smart" people as any advanced from, say, Middle School.  But don't forget, they're all smarter than you or me.  They tell us so all the time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In which I learn New Jovian Thunderbolt's secret power

T-Bolt very graciously suggested an excellent brew pub very close to where we're staying - Ellicott Mills Brewing Company in the heart of Ellicott City, MD.  They do mostly German style beers, and they were all outstanding.

As was the company.  It's always fun to meet other bloggers,, and T-Bolt was no exception.  It's pretty surprising just how much we have in common - tech background, love of fine beer, chafing under the weight of idiotic gun control laws in our respective states.

Good company is always a great find, even when it was - as in this case - entirely expected.  Thanks to T-Bolt for taking the time to meet up, and suggesting such an outstanding venue.

And his Secret Power?  That's classified.  I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you, or marry you.

Baking bread on the grill

You can't bake bread on the grill!

That's what they told me. Unfortunately, the oven was full of turkey and stuffing and other feasting fare.

And so I used the grill. I used my standard herb-garlic French Italian bread recipe:

- one packet of yeast, proofed with a tbsp of sugar in a cup of warm (not hot) water.

- 3 cups of bread flour, plus or minus (depends on humidity).

- 2 tbsp herbs such as oregano, thyme, or herbes de province. Dry is fine.

- Garlic powder to taste (1 tsp for me).

Kneed for 10 minutes. Yes it sound like a long te. You're developing the chewiness you want in the final loaf.

Let rise for 2 hours, covered with oiled plastic wrap. Punch it down and kneed for another 10 minutes. Shape into a loaf shape, coat with olive oil, and slice some very shallow diagonal slashes in the top. Let rose for another hour.

Now comes the grill part. Put 6 bricks on the grill, and turn on the burners to high. In 30 minutes, the bricks will be hot. Put a pie tin on the bricks and the loaf ( you formed it on a cookie sheet, right? Good.) on the tin.

Bake 9 minutes, then rotate the loaf 180° for another 9 minutes. All that's left then is to accept he stunned admiration of your lovely spouse.

UPDATE 25 November 2010 18:59: The texture was very nice, but it was soft (like Italian bread), not chewy (like French bread).

America brings the TSA to its knees

Notice all those headlines about how Opt-Out Day had fizzled?  How nobody was opting out, and lines were moving normally?  It seems the unreported side of the story is that the TSA turned the PervScanners off and said ix-nay on the ope-grae:
According to tweeting travelers, many backscatter and millimeter-wave AIT scanning machines at airports are not in use at all, making opting out impossible. We've asked DHS/TSA for comment, but you can help us confirm.
The TSA PR Flak has denied this, but of course he would.  There's a lot of chatter that the scanners were roped off, and in a credibility competition between unknown Tweeters and the TSA PR department, there's a clear winner (hint: not the TSA).

In fact, in a credibility competition between unknown Tweeters and the MSM, it's not at all clear that the MSM comes out on top.

So well done, America!


The company makes the feast.
- Anonymous
 The feast is a very ancient concept, almost certainly pre-historic.  Man is a social beast, and the social grouping requires regular glue to bond its members.  Nothing like an unusually large meal to bring family and friends closer together.

But this utilitarian, cultural anthropological view risks missing the most profound aspect of the feast.  It's not the feeding of the bodies that's important; it's the feeding of the soul.  That's where the glue is found, not in the extra calories.

And in pre-industrial societies, those extra calories were important, as most people lived only a harvest or two from starvation.  And the spiritual aspects were still more important.

The picture is from Peter Bruegel the elder, The Wedding Feast.  Whether because someone was getting married or buried, feasts were for a reason.  Every feast had an event to justify the expense.  Until that unique experiment in governance arose in America.

Thanksgiving is sui generis - unique.  It is the most American of holidays, a feast with no triggering event.  Be thankful, we're told.  Thankful for what? we ask.  For whatever you like.

It's a decentralized celebration - we each of us decide what that spiritual point is that makes this day a special feast.  Nobody tells us, we take care of it ourselves.  And the entire country shuts down, as each of us do just that.

It's not the calories, it's the psychological meaning that bonds us.  Many parts of America, born of the puritan tradition, have a problem with the excess.  Groaning tables seem to rebuke us: do you really need all this?

Yes, you really do.  This has been known since the ancient days; the Greeks had a saying: Moderation in all things, including moderation.  A feast short circuits the usual rules of restraint.  It has to.

Because it's not about the extra calories, which many of us perhaps could stand to avoid.  Don't.  The feast is about stepping outside of the normal flow.  A feast isn't about eating, it's about the glue that bonds us together.  See the glue, not the food - unless your gravy is a little too thick and sticky.  But even that is a meditation on the whole point of the thing.  Calorie guilt misses that point, which is spiritual, the feeding of the soul.

Today I'm thankful for many things, not least of which is all of you who stop by.  I hope that your feast today is a feast of the soul as well as of the body.
“The liturgy, like the feast, exists not to educate but to seduce people into participating in common activity of the highest order, where one is freed to learn things which cannot be taught.”
- Father Aidan Kavanagh

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quote of the Day - Cluture Wars edition

While I'm traveling, I'm finding it much easier to be linky, rather than thinky.  As they say, if you're falling, dive, and I Want A New Left brings the heavy artillery regarding the Left's lack of reaction to Theo van Gogh's murder six years ago:
I never heard of any Americans during the Cold War who worried about what they said in public about the communists.
It's long and thoughtful, and the only critique I can offer is that he could have mentioned the Danish Cartoons, or Salman Rushdie, or Aayan Hirsi Ali, or many others.  The Left's deafening silence on all of these - or worse, their pathetic attempts to explain them away because of "provocation" - are all you really need to dismiss the Left in general as morally bankrupt.

If the Left were like I Want A New Left, I'd be in their club.

Mythbusters busts the TSA

Does the TSA spend so much time looking at your junk that they miss 12" razor blades?  Confirmed!

Why does the public put up with the TSA?

They're the Insane Clown Posse, and the only question is whether there's ever been a governmental agency that spent more money ($40 Billion since 2002) for less result (zero terrorists caught).

The interesting question is why the public puts up with it.  ASM826 offers an elegant answer.  As the techies would say, it's np complete.

As they say up in New England, that guy is one wicked smaht bahstahd.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hey, y'all

Yeah, I know people don't think of Maryland as "the South", but it is south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

And #1 Son drove a full day's drive by himself. I still sometimes see him as a little kid (because I'm sentimental that way), but he did a man's work today.

And we have the dogs and the cat back from the kennel. We're back at full strength, so to speak.

But it will be good to have a couple day's rest. Boy, howdy.

Places not visited

By now, we're out of New England, our home for the last eight years.  Looking back, there are some cool places there that we didn't get to.  The Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont is one of those places.  It has headstones like you've never seen:

That's the grave of Mr. and Mrs. William Halvosa, depicted by the granite sculptor as sitting up in bed.  The inscription, from the Song of Solomon, reads:
Set me as a seal upon thine heart for love is strong as death.
The cemetery is unique.  Most of the country's granite stone came from quarries near here, and so the region attracted many talented stonemasons from Europe.  This combination of talent and a single type of stone to work which makes this burying ground sui generis:

Local cemeteries are models of memorial design, with custom figures, bas-reliefs and ornate crypts. The greatest concentration can be found in Barre, where many of the stone carvers and their families are buried.

Hope Cemetery, first opened in 1895, is 85-acres spread across a hillock of well-manicured grass. Despite the variety of memorial design, there is a uniformity not seen in other cemeteries. That's because every one of the 10,000+ monuments is made of Barre Gray granite.
Click through to see headstones shaped like cars, sofa chairs, and soccer balls.  I wish we'd gone, because we probably won't get the chance now.

Opt-Out Day: The TSA picked the wrong week ...

... to give up amphetamines start "aggressive" pat-downs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blogging from the future

Well, it feels that way. I installed BlogPress on my iPhone - it looked like JayG liked it, and I wanted to be untethered from the Asus during out trip south.

It's pretty neat, and beats the heck of blogging from iPhone Safari. And Sci-Fi inspired me to type with two fingers, not one. Go, me!

I'll queue up some scheduled posts for tomorrow, which will be a pretty full driving day. At 0730 we pick up Ivan the Terrier, Little One-Eyed Dog, and Crash the WonderCat. Then three cars roll south, hopefully to end the day out of YankeeLand (south of the Mason-Dixon Line).

You know, BlogPress is pretty cool. I need to figure out how to tag posts, but one step at a time.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Sudbury, MA, YankeeLand

This is the coolest thing you'll see all day

Random Acts of Culture.

Blogroll updates

We leave tomorrow AM, with the cars pointed south.  It will be harder for me to catch incoming links, but I'll do my best to keep posting (even if it's from the iPhone).

Mupedalpusher blogs on women and guns over at Defends Her Own.  She writes about family (son getting his CCW), hunting (good fences don't make good hunting neighbors), and CCW holsters for ladies.  Eclectic, interesting, and useful.

And frequent commenter Geek Warrior emails to mention that I've had a brain fart and hadn't added him to the blogroll here.  Fixed now.  And he has a quite interesting idea for getting more range practice.

Anyone else who's blogrolled me, I'm happy to add you here.  But please send an email, as I'll likely not be able to notice otherwise (at least for the next week or 10 days until we get settled in Camp Borepatch).


Go. Read. Now.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Think the Republicans will rein in the TSA?

Think again:

“Over the last 20 years, I have flown back and forth to my district on a commercial aircraft,” [Speaker-Of-The-House-To-Be] Boehner said at [a news conference after Election Day], “and I am going to continue to do that.”

And so on Friday, he did. But not without the perquisites of office, including avoiding those security pat-downs that many travelers are bracing for as holiday travel season approaches.
Just like you and me, only better.  What's his motivation to clean up the TSA?  But don't worry:

Michael Steel, a spokesman for the Republican leader, said in a statement that Mr. Boehner was not receiving special treatment. And a law enforcement official said that any member of Congress or administration official with a security detail is allowed to bypass security.
Well OK, then.  Glad there's nothing going on here.

So do Speaker Boehner's two daughters have to get groped, or do the special rules for members of Congress apply to them, too?  If not, there's no need to worry Mr. Speaker: the TSA has a new, child-friendly mascot.  Pedo-Bear:

Hat tip: Dad via email.

(Image source)

Linky, not thinky

Normally when I do this, I'm just being lazy.  But these are a couple of great roundups on current topics.

Bruce Schneier collects links on the TSA silliness.

Dr. Judith Curry collects links on the anniversary of ClimateGate.

The inevitability of TSA failure

No, this isn't about how their "security" measures are doomed to fail - I've discussed this at some length here.  This is about how their new PervScan™ and "Aggressive Pat Down" policy was guaranteed to fail, from its very inception.  Indeed, all we need to do is sit back and watch the wheels come off.  Monkeybrains explains it all.

Aretae has offered a theory of how human social interaction works, based on our (evolutionary-speaking) not so very long separation from monkeys.  Our brains are wired from millions of years of evolution, hammering simian thought patterns into the very fiber of our beings.  At a basic level, we think with Monkeybrains:
I claim that there's a simple, easy grand synthesis that explains human behavior in 3 words:

Status Matters Most.
For 80%+ of human behaviors, when asking why did they do that...trace the status effects.  Trace the status effects in-family, in-group, on the opposite gender, in the neighborhood/community/polis.
It's hard to argue that humans are not status seeking beings, and this is precisely what the TSA policymakers should have realized.  Their new policies could not have been designed to more offend Monkeybrains if they'd tried.

Consider a parent flying with a child.  The child will be groped.  The parent will be restrained from interfering, forceably if necessary.  How much of the parent's self image - and image to others - is based on keeping their child safe?  How does their Monkeybrains portion of their grey matter interpret the TSA's "love pat"?

Or consider a husband flying with his wife.  He too will be prevented from interfering with a sexual assault on his wife.  How will his Monkeybrains interpret the TSA?  Protecting the family is one of the basic instincts with which we're wired.  Failure to protect the family risks major status loss in the tribe.

The TSA is triggering a reaction that is primal, not cerebral.  Because it is primal, it can't be reasoned with.  Because it is primal, the story has "legs" - people are sitting up and paying attention.  Monkeybrains are becoming engaged, from sea to shining sea.

What is astonishing about this whole situation is that the TSA (and DHS) top leadership are politicians.  Good politicians understand Monkeybrains.  Clinton, Reagan, (Jack) Kennedy, all worked on that primal level.  So what's up with Janet Napolitano?
Pat-downs have long been one of the many security measures used by the U.S. and countries across the world to make air travel as secure as possible. They're conducted by same-gender officers, and all passengers have the right to request private screening and have a traveling companion present during the screening process.
Napolitano is a politician.  Doesn't she realize that when it's someone kid being groped that this is what Monkeybrains hears?
Blah blah blah blah you loser little man, you.
The fact that the Administration seems to be surprised by all this says that they're not just incompetent as administrators (there's no security benefit to all this), but incompetent as politicians.

And this won't go away.  Every day sees new stories - some well documented with video proof, some hearsay and potentially fabricated.  Is this story true or made up?
En route home through Charlotte, our 6 year old son was subjected to an aggressive pat down by a female TSA employee. He was pleading for me to help him and I was admonished for trying to comfort him. His genitals area was groped. He walked down to the plane in tears. When the stewardess asked why he was crying, I explained my frustration and I was further admonished for not being more compliant.
The answer is that it doesn't matter. Everyone's Monkeybrains has already seen credible examples of abuse, has heard incompetent government flunkies spout nonsense that further offends their Monkeybrains, and so is in a mood to believe everything.

It was inevitable, as if Napolitano had driven off with all the lug nuts removed from the wheels of her car.  The question was not whether the wheels would come off, but when they would come off.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanks to JayG and the New England gunbloggers

There aren't many gun-related things that I'll miss once we've moved away from Massachusetts, but the New England Gunbloggers - and especially JayG - will be something that I'll miss a lot.

Thanks to everyone who turned out tonight.  Good shooty company is not (yet) banned in Massachusetts.
The friendship that can cease has never been real.
- St. Jerome

Recommended Auto Repair shop in Metro West Boston

As we prepare to say our final farewells to the Boston suburbs, I'd like to recognize and recommend some businesses that we've come to appreciate over the last 8 years.  The one that I will miss the most is our mechanic, Pat at Sudbury Automotive in Sudbury, MA.

It's hard to find a mechanic that you trust - if you know enough about cars to make a truly informed decision, you might not need a mechanic at all.  Pat has consistently earned our trust by telling us that something doesn't need to be fixed, or might be fixed at a dealer under warranty.  Not just once or twice, but repeatedly, over almost a decade.  When something does needs fixing, what he fixes stays fixed.

If you're looking for a good, trustworthy auto repair shop in the western Boston 'burbs, you won't do better than pat.  We'll miss him when we're down in Atlanta, because I'll have to find someone else I trust as much.  I hope we do, but I fear that we won't.

Highly, highly recommended.

Sudbury Automotive
249 Boston Post Rd (Route 20)
Sudbury, MA 01776
(978) 443-7374

Full disclosure: I get no consideration of any kind for this recommendation; indeed, Pat doesn't have any idea that I'm doing it.  But he's done well by us, and if you need this sort of thing, he'll do well by you.  Tell him you saw this here, and that I appreciate how he took care of our red Volvo convertable.

ClimateGate after a year

A year ago I posted The Science Story Of The Century?  I made several points:

1. This almost certainly wasn't a "hack".  Rather, it was an information leak by someone on the inside.  The data does not fit the pattern of an external attacker - it's been far too carefully collected.  This took considerable time, and the data in fact looks like what would have been collected had CRU prepared to release the data requested under the FOIA request.

2. The emails were damning.  I reference Jone's request that his colleagues delete data.  I didn't reference the "hide the decline" email, which has sort of gone viral in the public's consciousness (well, it got on Jon Stewart's show, anyway).

3. Short term, I predicted a change in the public's view of climate science:
While the public has a very low appetite for esoteric scientific arguments, personal conflict is a very different matter. Given that more than a little of this looks dodgy (just why are they trying to get around FOIA requests), and since this is the first whiff of just how much money is floating around the Climate Research community, and you have the making of a story that the general public might be able to sink its teeth into.

Given that the general public doesn't believe the Anthropogenic Global Warming hype anyway, this seems like the most significant short term impact - the narrative becomes not "dodgy science", but rather "dodgy scientists".
4. Long term, I predicted that the scientific community would start to analyze the data and code.  This is the one prediction that is still up in the air.  A number of climate scientists have broken ranks with the establishment (Jones, Mann, Schmidt, et al.), but it remains to be seen whether climate science in general can right itself.  There is still a huge amount of government funding pushing a "green" control agenda, and which needs the threat of climate catastrophe to do it.

Overall, though, the biggest change in the last year is the shift in the public mood.  While the public in general doesn't follow this as closely as you or me, there has been a remarkable collapse in public support for Can And Trade, Carbon Markets, etc.  Last year's Copenhagen summit was a disaster for the establishment, and the upcoming Cancun summit is already being declared dead on arrival (well, at least coughing up blood).

While the public aren't paying a lot of attention to the details, they've definitely caught a whiff of something unpleasant.  Good.

Most surprising to me is that the Usual Suspects haven't figured out how to address any of this.  There have been three whitewash commissions that reported "Nothing to see here; move along".  It hasn't helped, either with people paying attention to the science or to the public in general.  The scientific community will have to come to grips with the fact that this simply cannot be swept under the rug.  To do that, they will need to jettison some of the scientists that have caused the biggest drop in public trust.  That's likely to be a long term effort.

Eddie Rabbitt - Driving My Life Away

Early next week, we drive south to our new home.  As with any change, you head towards something new, but you head away from what your life has been.  Driving away from your old life.

Eddie Rabbit died far too young, taken by lung cancer.  His career was brief, but burned brightly with twenty #1 hits between 1976 and 1988 - and this span was shortened by a hiatus after the death of his infant son in 1985.

Rabbitt was best known for his crossover sound, which included movie soundtracks (Every Which Way But Loose) and TV themes (Days of Our Lives, All My Children).  He aimed to pattern his music after Elvis - nothing too fancy, but straight up, upbeat songs.  It took this to #1 on the Country Chart and #5 on the Hot 100.

Driving My Life Away (Songwriters:  David Malloy, Eddie Rabbit, Even Stevens)

Steep grade up ahead slow me down making no time
gotta keep rolling
those windshield wipers slapping out a tempo
keeping perfect rhythm with the song on the radio
gotta keep rolling

Ooh I'm driving my life away, looking for a better way, for me
ooh I'm driving my life away, looking for a sunny day

Well the truck stop cutie comin' on to me
tried to talk me into a ride said I wouldn't be sorry
but she was just a baby
well waitress pour me another cup of coffee
pop me down jack me up shoot me out heading down the highway
looking for the morning<
Image source from here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Film review: RED

I'd say "Exceeds Expectations", but everyone is the known universe has already talked about how great this film is.  Everybody's right.

Red is a "CIA Romantic Comedy", like the earlier Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  Like that film, it's a fun romp with lots of 'splody things and shooty things; like it, the plot is fairly predictable; like it, the over-the-top nature of the scenes is part of the whole charm.  Seriously, shooting a RPG?  You have to check your disbelief at the door, but once you do, the film delivers full entertainment value for your $12 theater admission.

What stands out about Red is Bruce Willis' performance, which can actually be described as subtle and nuanced.  As the central character, the entire film would stand or fall on his performance - too overly dramatic and it all would have fallen apart.

As I said, everyone has already raved about the film, and about how good Bruce is in it.  Everyone's right.  I'm not sure that this is his greatest performance, but I'm not sure that it isn't.  His script was written with few words, and so his face had to do most of his "dialog".  It's pretty impressive how he handled that challenge.

The supporting cast is also outstanding.  Morgan Freeman is, well, Morgan Freeman.  In this role, he gets to play the definitive example of the saying that "Old men need to be dangerous".  John Maklovich is outstanding as the crazy ex-CIA agent whose brain was fried by covert LSD experiments.  And Helen Mirren adds a touch of class, particularly when firing Ma Deuce in an evening gown:

One thing that stood out, from both the film and the previews before it started, is how it seems that revolvers are making a comeback in Hollywood.  As someone who has a mini love affair with wheelguns, this is A Very Good Thing indeed.

This perhaps isn't great art, but it is great entertainment.

Speculation on TSA motives

The whole TSA situation makes no sense, and has gotten me wondering what's driving this.  After all, this looks to be disastrous to the Airlines, as people decide to drive, rather than fly.  The Airlines have been bleeding red ink for years, and the only way out is full flights - bums in seats.  Fewer bums means reduced marginal revenue per flight, which means Chapter 11.

So why would the TSA introduce abusive, humiliating new screening procedures just as we go into the heaviest travel season of the year?  If your mind is as nasty and suspicious as mine, there's a train of thought that suggests this isn't a bug, it's the intended feature.

The Obama administration has demonstrated an unprecedented appetite for power and control over the private sector.  Health care, banking, automotive - all have been in major ways nationalized by the government.  The government has then used its power to reward favored allies - compare the treatment of Chrysler bondholders (who possessed valid legal contracts) with the treatment of the UAW.

Now consider that the newly merged Delta-Northwest just fought off a unionization effort.

If you believe that the government desires to extend its tentacles into ever more control over the private sector, then causing the private sector bottom line pain isn't a bug, it's the primary tool for the bureaucrat.  The message is Obey.  When companies line up and do the bureaucrat's bidding, the screws will be loosened.

Is there a way to test this hypothesis?  Yes.  If this is true, we would expect to see other regulatory agencies applying onerous rules that devastate the bottom lines of other companies.  Case in point, the EPA regulating Carbon Dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.  Message to the Electric Power industry: Obey.

I'd like to be wrong about this.  I'm not at all sure that I am.

Abolish the TSA

Exhibit A in the case of the People v. the TSA:
Carteach0 brings the video.  Who are you going to believe, Janet Napolitano, or your lying eyes?
Exhibit B in the case of the People v. the TSA:
Popehat brings the case for the venal, corrupting influence of power on the employees of the TSA.  He has links.  Man, does he have links.
Exhibit C in the case of the People v. the TSA:
My own prior post shows the futility of the TSA's actions, from a theoretical security point of view.
Exhibit D in the case of the People v. the TSA:
They're not just a laughingstock, they're an easy target laughingstock:

(Image source)

I believe that there is so much material to be presented showing TSA abuses, and such a small demonstrable payoff by their efforts, that it's inevitable that we will see hostile Congressional hearings soon.  Given the mood of the electorate - keep your hands off my money and my freedom - our shyster politicians will be looking for something to throw to the wolves.  Good.  An aggressive cost/benefit analysis will do some good in focusing scarce security resources on, you now, security problems.

The assignment for the rest of us is to call out Senators and Representatives, asking if they would subject their wives and daughters to the TSA assault, and if the answer is "yes", to demand proof.  And then publish their response - and let them know that you intend to do that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Have I only done one post today?


All I can say is that we're closing on Camp Borepatch, and the lawyers are still having at it.  It looks like mine is beating theirs like a rented mule, but the battle isn't over until the shooting stops.

Back later.  Of course, you all can hang out with us in the chat room at B B & Guns, where the topic is the TSA and Security Kabuki.

New pistol sights

Via Isegoria, we find a new type of sights for pistols, one that is supposed to be more intuitive:

Timothy Kraft, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Vision Science Research Center, is also a competitive target shooter, and he decided to develop a new gunsight that improves marksmanship with intuitive aim:

Opti-sight is a precision-milled half-triangle shape that replaces the traditional pistol gunsight. The design relies on subjective contours, an optics principle that explains how the subconscious mind fills in the blanks when the eye sees half of a familiar shape like a circle, square or triangle, Kraft says.

It looks a lot like the sights on Marko's Steyr pistol, which he graciously let me shoot earlier this year.  I've never tried this one, and recall the old saw that fishing lures are designed to catch fishermen.  Still, it's an interesting idea.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Punch a TSA screener day

Forget "Opt Out" day; via The Big Guy, we see passengers already taking sterner measures:
A Connecticut man has been arrested after exchanging words and punching a TSA screener at a security checkpoint at Indianapolis International Airport.

According to a report from airport police, John A. Christina, 51, Simsbury, Conn., was charged with battery as a misdemeanor in connection with the incident about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday at the Concourse B checkpoint.
Mr. Christina, a grateful Republic thanks you.  And to TSA goons screeners who are "just following orders", it appears that the citizens of this Republic are still citizens, not subjects.  Some of them, at least.

Another week, another Adobe security patch

Head on over, because this fixes some nasty stuff.  Even worse, it's cross platform (Windows, Mac, and Linux - it's a trifecta!):
Critical vulnerabilities have been identified in Adobe Reader 9.4 (and earlier versions) for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX, and Adobe Acrobat 9.4 (and earlier 9.x versions) for Windows and Macintosh. These vulnerabilities could cause the application to crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.

In addition to addressing CVE-2010-3654 noted in Security Advisory APSA10-05 and CVE-2010-4091 referenced in the Adobe PSIRT blog ("Potential issue in Adobe Reader"), these updates also incorporate the Adobe Flash Player update as noted in Security Bulletin APSB10-26.

Adobe recommends users of Adobe Reader 9.4 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh update to Adobe Reader 9.4.1, available now. Adobe recommends users of Adobe Reader 9.4 and earlier versions for UNIX update to Adobe Reader 9.4.1, expected to be available on November 30, 2010. Adobe recommends users of Adobe Acrobat 9.4 and earlier 9.x versions for Windows and Macintosh update to Adobe Acrobat 9.4.1.
These code bases are pretty old, and the protocols (PDF, Flash) are even older.  That's where a ton of security bugs hide, in old code that contains a lot of complexity but which doesn't get executed very often.  Sadly, I don't expect to see a change soon, so stay tuned for updates in the future.

I have to say, though, that this is getting pretty confusing even for me - and that means that it's likely impossible for non security professionals.  This patch seems related to last week's, but different.  It would be nice if Adobe were able to take some of the confusion out of the process.

On the other hand, this is being exploited in the wild, so kudos to them for releasing a patch out of cycle.

Via The Register, where John Leyden adds some good background:

Updates to Adobe software are important because its software (particularly its PDF software) has been a number two target for hackers for some years. It only lags behind attacks on Microsoft applications and operating systems.

Adobe is applying a lot of effort to remedy this situation, but its efforts thus far have largely failed to impress. Part of its problem stems from the extravagantly open nature of the PDF specification, which supports all manner of scripting and embedded functionality that isn't needed in day-to-day use of the technologies, while offering opportunities for all manner of security exploits. Alternative PDF viewing applications, such as FoxIT, have also had problems on this score.
My take is that it was the 1990s tech bubble "Underpants Gnomes" software development strategy:
Step 1: Add crazy scripting capability to turn PDF into a mini Operating System.

Step 2: ???

Step 3: Profit!
 Of course, when you turn your document reader app into a mini OS, you now have OS-style security craziness.  Sigh.

Blogroll updates

With all the hustle and bustle lately, I haven't been doing proper blogroll maintenance.  Can't have that.

Lever Action is, well, about what you'd expect.  However, he maintains an eclectic topic selection, as this sweet post about his Garand shows.

Greasy Gears is about cars, and guns, and hunting, and whatever strikes his fancy.  What more do you need?

da_truth36 over at Sick Of The Status Quo describes himself as "Just a simple country boy with a few thoughts to share about life, liberty and beer."  My kind of guy.  With my kind of sense of humor ...

And Cybrus at Lost And Found is another IT guy who likes shooting.  With a warning that we all would do well to take to heart.

Welcome to the blogroll, folks!  And the usual reminder: if you've blogrolled me and I haven't reciprocated, leave a comment or email be at borepatch at gmail dot com.

TSA Security Theater is good for something after all ...

Clouds, silver linings.

Via the indefensible Theo Spark.  And this is pretty on-target, too:


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Looking back over the last 10 years, there are some phrases that so capture the moment that they enter the public's imagination.

"Let's Roll."

"Democracy.  Whiskey.  Sexy."

And now we can add:

"Don't touch my junk."

Simple.  Easy to understand.  These concepts crowd out "sophisticated" attempts to explain or justify the original situation.

Stick a fork in the TSA, it's finished.  As with any large organization, it will likely take a while to spin it down.  However, there's a Deficit Reduction Commission, and there are 65,000 TSA employees doing what could be done by the airlines.  The Fed.Gov can shift the spend from the Fed.Gov to the private sector and reduce the deficit by $7 B a year.  And more importantly (to Congress), eliminate pictures of government employees groping nuns and three year olds.

Quite frankly, I don't see anyone in Congress defending the TSA.  If the Stupid Republican Party wants to show seriousness - eliminating entire agencies - then they can likely roll the Democrats on this.  If they won't take even this on, then we'll know that they're simply not serious about the budget or our freedom.

Hey Congress!  Don't touch my junk!

The TSA forgot the First Rule of Security

It seems that everyone's talking about the TSA - not just the Perv Scanners and patting down nuns or making three year old girls scream, but the computer wallpaper and investigating the "Don't touch my junk" guy.  It's a train wreck, and it's all because the TSA ignored (most likely didn't know) the First Rule of Security (as coined by security guru Marcus Ranum):
In security, sometimes it's easier not to do something stupid than it is to do something smart.
Looks like the TSA not only wasn't smart enough to do something smart, they weren't smart enough to keep from doing something stupid.

The TSA Internet is for Porn

Since the TSA is running amok and is seemingly unaccountable to anyone, let me offer what I believe is a plan with real potential to get some actual security from the Transportation SECURITY Agency.

1. All members of Congress, as well as the Secretaries of Transportation and Homeland Security, and the President and Vice President shall have their images captured by the TSA's PervScan™ "security" scanner*.

2. All these images shall be stored, as we know that the PervScan™ allow this capability.

3. In the event of one of the following incidents, all these stored images will be made available on the Internet, labeled with the name of the person scanned:

(a) A successful terrorist attack on the USA made via commercial airlines.

(b) Ten (10) Youtube videos of children under the age on ten (10) being traumatized by TSA screening being posted within the space of twelve (12) consecutive calendar months.  "Traumatized" shall mean for the purpose of this plan to be the child screaming for ten (10) seconds or more.

(c)  Jon Stewart or Oprah call for the release of the images.

The reason to this is that the government will now have a stake in a smoothly functioning, unintrusive Airport Security Agency.  An added (but likely substantial) benefit is an economic stimulus.  Consider the market possibilities of this program:

1. A Vegas line on which male Congressman has the smallest junk.  I expect that the betting here will be (ahem) active.  Note to Borepatch readers: do not bet on Massachusetts Senator Hottie McAwesome Scott Brown for small junk.

2. The pictures of female Congresswomen could be sold via pay-per-view (at least for the hot ones (cough)Michelle Bachmann (cough) ...).

Offered as a proof point for the economic benefits of the plan, in song form (warning: song is NSFW):

The TSA Internet is for Porn.  This plan would make that explicit.  That would change things, quickly.

* Scare quotes used intentionally.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bristol Palin's Pasa Double

Was pretty dang good.  The judges liked it, and I quite liked it, too.

And Bruno (the Italian judge) kept things PG-13 in his assessment.  I expect because Sarah and Todd were in the audience.

Of course, the greatest Pasa Double scene ever was from Strictly Ballroom (highly recommended).

Alas, I could never do a credible Pasa Double.  I guess we need to hang out at Pasa Double clubs more ...

'Tis done

By strange coincidence, we sold our house on the 146th anniversary of Sherman's burning Atlanta.  Next stop: Atlanta.

We're homeless (actually, staying with friends and family) for the next two weeks, though.  And so, a musical interlude:

This looks like it would be insanely fun


I'd say that I'll miss skiing when we've moved to Georgia, but you don't get mountains like that in Massachusetts (or New Hampshire, or Vermont) either (it's the Swiss Alps).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bumbling Giant

The best argument against larger government is that government does nothing well, other than exercise force.  The reason is that the metrics are all wrong, and foster an institutional culture that guarantees not just a bad result, but the worst possible result.

Case in point, the TSA.  Consider their metrics.  How would you measure success?  Quite frankly, there's no plausible metric here - to my knowledge, TSA has never caught a terrorist in the act.  Sure, terrorists have been caught in the act (the shoe bomber, the Christmas bomber), but none of these were caught by TSA.  The Christmas bomber was caught by an alert airline checkin employee; the show bomber was caught by passengers on the plane.

But consider the metric for TSA failure - a plane goes down.  Not hard to understand that one.

The combination of these positive and negative metrics means that the TSA will inevitably gravitate to maximum visible intrusiveness.  This way they can justify their budget (lack of positive metrics) and deflect blame if something goes wrong (risk of negative metric).  The dialectic is inevitable.

Via US Citizen, we find video of the logical result of this process, where a TSA goon* terrorizes a 3 year old girl.

What's disturbing about this video is the "well, sacrifices must be made" explanations from the TV talking head.  It's doubly disturbing that the talking head is the little girl's father.

Security Guru Bruce Schneier was entirely correct when asked what he'd do with the TSA's budget were he its director.  He said he'd give it back.

Congratulations to MikeH

Over at Behind The Parapet, who welcomes his granddaughter to this world.  His prayer for her is worth your attention, and all I can add is "amen".

Saturday, November 13, 2010


The fourth POD came at 5:00 - dark, of course.  But #1 Son and I loaded the furniture that had been on the lawn (really getting our redneck on, albeit inadvertently).  All that's left is odds and ends, cleaning, and touch up paint for where we had picture hangers.

I thought it would be strange not sleeping there, but it's actually a bit of a relief to be out of the chaos.  It's times like this when you realize just how much of a blessing your friends are.  Not to mention your lovely bride and your strapping sons.

And a well deserved beer ...

Don't use PODS

Well, I've been posting on how much I like PODS - Portable On Demand Storage.  They're portable container units (8' x 8' x 16') that get dropped off at wherever you tell them; you load them full, and then they take them away to storage.  When you want them back, you tell them where to drop them off, and you unload them.  Then they haul away the empty PODS unit.

Cool, I thought.  Drop some off here at Chez Borepatch, I'll load them up, and deliver them down in Atlanta.

But (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) the experience has been (ahem) less than stellar.

The minor irritation was the driver who managed to crush my downspout when he dropped off the PODS unit.  Damage to the house right as we're doing the final close is super cool, but as I said, this is the minor irritation.

The major irritation is that the PODS guy who spec'ed the job told us we needed "two, maybe three" PODS units.  Having experience with project planning (everything takes longer and costs more than you expect), we went with three.

This morning, our crew of movers showed up to load the heavy furniture onto the PODS.  As it turns out, we need four units.  The crew cost $150/hr.

Oops, says the PODS guy, we'll have another unit out to your place "early afternoon".

Not hearing back (and having sent the crew home, with a bunch of my furniture out on my lawn), we called them to find out the estimated delivery time.  Six o'clock.

By 1800 hours, it's pitch dark here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.  Too bad, says the PODS escalation guy - hey, we got a unit slotted for delivery on the same day you called.  What do you want?

I want never to have called you guys in the first place, if what I want.  If I had had the slightest idea how "accurate" your estimates are, I'd have never done business with you.

I recommend that anyone reading this do likewise.  That company's made of FAIL.

Terri Clark - Empty

The movers come to Chez Borepatch today.  We've already packed up almost two PODS - what we want the crew for is to move the heavy furniture.  But we already have rooms that are empty.

It's strange what happens to a house when you start to drain away its contents.  It stops feeling like a home; it echoes when you walk, or talk.


Things will be looking up presently, once we take possession of Camp Borepatch, with its secure perimeter and Arms Room.  But until then, not only are we plumb wore out, there's a melancholy feel to our rapidly emptying house.  It's a feeling perfectly captured by Terri Clark in her 2000 song, Empty.

Clark is best known for her humorous songs (2004's Girls Lie Too gets consistent radio air play, and deservedly so), her melancholy streak is worth a listen.  If I Were You is my personal favorite in this genre, but Empty captures the fine balance of regret for what's past (and lost) and hope for what's yet to come.

Empty (Songwriters: Gary Butler, Terri Clark)
Maybe it's been a little to long
Holding it in, trying to be strong
Funny the things we bottle up
Come streaming out when you feel enough
There is a trust the cautious will lack
Now that we've touched there's no holding back

I want to call out for love 'til I can't breathe
I want to stare at the truth 'til I can't see
I want to pour out my soul 'til I'm empty

When only flesh and bone remain
I'll hold you close, then start again
Feeling nothing but a sweet release
When the ghosts are gone from inside of me
I've tried to fight it but what can I do
There's something deeper that surrenders to you

I want to call out for love 'til I can't breathe
I want to stare at the truth 'til I can't see
I want to pour out my soul 'till I'm empty

When I touch you, when I hear you
How can I doubt when every time I'm near you

I want to call out for love 'til I can't breathe
I want to stare at the truth 'til I can't see
I want to pour out my soul 'til i'm empty

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The calm before the storm

From a churning maelstrom of activity, a hush has descended over Chez Borepatch.  Almost everything is boxed up and loaded on the PODS, which is A Very Good Thing Indeed - the movers come tomorrow to the heavy furniture.

A pool table is a lot easier to take apart than it is to put together, especially when "putting it together" involves carrying the slate up two flights of stairs and lifting it onto the table frame.  Coming down, gravity is your friend.  But I'll still let the movers take it into the POD.

It's strange to see the place stripped to its bare frame.  It's been a lot of work, and I'm just about worn out.

The Romans worshiped the god Janus, the two-faced patron of gates, beginnings and endings.  "Two-Faced" is not meant in its modern usage, of or regarding a person who is untrustworthy; rather, it was the property of simultaneously looking backwards at a fondly remembered past and forwards at a hopeful future.  Remembering who you are, and who you want to be.  Tonight it seems that Janus watches down on our journey.

All journeys involve change.  Some journeys are obvious, as with our Drang Nach Suden strategy of displacing ourselves a thousand miles to the south.  Some are subtle, and indeed outwardly invisible, as the journey South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford has embarked upon.  It's truly been said that the longest journey a man will ever take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.

But all journeys include both the pleasant and the unpleasant.  It's the unpleasant that makes us grow.

At this rate, I'll soon be enormous ...
The great thing is, if one can, to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions in one's "own" or "real" life. The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one's life.
- C.S. Lewis

Global Warming Deniers at Mother Jones

Via Aretae, we find an outbreak of Denialism at Mother Jones, of all places:
The Climate Change Believer Religion, and it’s virtuous lack of holy evidence, was the sacred truth for those who bowed faithfully to a higher power. The doomers didn’t care, respect, or love the planet. They hated humanity as they so flippantly declared the end of time (“unstoppable warming”) and took self -satisfying glee in condemning their very own children to Death By CO2.
And what sort of know-nothing, anti-science, knuckle-dragging Rethuglican posted this comment?
I can’t do this anymore, this climate change hysteria. And I consider myself both progressive and a liberal too, so hear me out. I found out what “they” all agree on, they agree that the effects of CO2 are predicted to be anywhere from unstoppable warming, to no noticeable effects at all. No wonder they all agreed. And it’s been 24 years. We look like we WANT this climate hell to happen. We have been had folks. This is OUR Iraq War of lies and fear. I’m both embarrassed and ashamed for endorsing this CO2 mistake through two and a half decades of dire warnings of doom and Armageddon.
And the other commenters give him a hearty "Amen".  Like Aretae says, stick a fork in Global Warming.  They've lost not just haters like me, but the good Progressive flock as well. 

Will the last Global Warmer please turn out the lights?  We're trying to reduce our Carbon Emissions ...

Security prevents UK Anti-Terror chief from boarding plane

 Welcome to our world, Baroness Neville-Jones:

BRITAIN'S anti-terror chief launched an astonishing attack on airport security staff after they stopped her taking a banned amount of liquid onto a plane.

Home Office minister Baroness Neville-Jones, in charge of national security, was en route to a Washington summit when she was found to have an oversized aerosol can in her bag.

The rules are clearly for the Little People.  The only real question is whether this was only reported in the Press because (a) she's a Tory, (b) it's about security, or (both a and b).

But some people are talking sense about airline security:

The security boss of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is calling for an end to endless investment in new technology to improve airline security.
Marijn Ornstein said: "If you look at all the recent terrorist incidents, the bombs were detected because of human intelligence not because of screening ... If even a fraction of what is spent on screening was invested in the intelligence services we would take a real step toward making air travel safer and more pleasant."

She said authorities were in an arms race with terrorist organisations and were always a step behind.


The apple floats in the air.  Your argument new game is invalid.

Via #1 Son, who's bring you all the Black Ops goodness.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Congratulations are in store

To Sabra and Pistolero, on the birth of their daughter.

The older I get - as I watch my own two boys growing to honorable manhood - the more I am touched by the wisdom offered by Kalil Gibran, in On Children:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
So let it be written, so let it be done.  Amen.

A Veteran's Day musical interlude

If you don't understand just what they sacrifice for us, this will help.

To our servicemen and servicewomen far from home: come home safe, and soon, and victorious.  We're more grateful than you can possibly imagine.

An indulgent father

#2 Son is pretty bummed that we're moving.  While he's kept a very brave face on, we can tell that he'll miss his friends.  And so last night, I was an indulgent father.  I got him the Sly Cooper Collection, newly released for PS3.

I really enjoyed watching the boys play the Sly Cooper games, these many years ago.  After Pokemon Snap, it was probably the game that most frequently gathered the entire family in the family room.  It was age appropriate for ten year olds.

Sony has updated it with better graphics, but it's still the same old fun.  The kids aren't ten anymore, but I have to say that it sure was fun sitting with them like in the old days.


When we liven in England, everyone in the office wore one of these in November.  Everyone but me.  As the resident Yank, nobody expected me to know what was going on.

The sporting of plastic poppies on the lapel seems at first - to an uncivilized barbarian from the colonies - to be a breach of style (the British to this day are more formal than we).

Looking at it this way is looking at the surface, and missing the depths.  Everyone knows Col. McCrae's poem In Flanders Field:
In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
I prefer an older poem, one that dates back to Roman days and which was very popular in the years after the Civil War.  I reproduce my Veteran's Day post from two years ago, because it still says what I feel.


While in some ways I feel like I helped in the Cold War (my days at 3 Letter Intelligency Agency), in no way did I "serve":
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind
This is the opening to Wilfred Owen's World War I poem, Dulce et decorum est. The complete line is Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country.

While this poem has become a centerpiece of the anti-war movement, the title is very, very old. Originally, it seems that it was first written by the Roman poet Horace (Odes, iii 2.13), but it's almost certain that it was a popular expression then, and always in reference to veterans. Certainly the expression was in common usage in the 19th century.

The grave of Thomas A. Henderson in Pine Hill Cemetery in Dover, NH. The inscription reads:
Thomas A. Henderson
Lieut. Col.
of the 7th Regt.
N.H. Vol.
Son of Samuel H. & Delia
Born Dec. 1, 1833
Graduated at Bowdoin
College 1855 and at the
Harvard Law School 1861
Was admitted to the Suffolk
Bar Boston, the same year.
Died of a wound received
in action near James
River, Va. Aug. 16, 1864
Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori..
To serve, and possibly to die in that service is a distinction that separates men like me from veterans. Thank you all, especially Dad, Uncle Dick (Semper fi, and rest in peace), and nephew Dan (Semper fi, and we're glad that you're back).

And on this Veteran's Day, if you're lucky enough to buy a drink for a Veteran, here's a toast: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, sed dulcius pro patria vivere, et dulcissimum pro patria bibere. Ergo, bibamus pro salute patriae.

"It is sweet to die for the homeland, but it is sweeter to live for the homeland, and the sweetest to drink for it. Therefore, let us drink to the health of the homeland."


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Commuication problems

I Want A New Left looks at the signal that the Democrats are inadvertently modulating their message onto, and hits it out of the park:
Most people don’t pay any attention to academia, which is a shame since it is filled with inadvertent messages that liberals and leftists are sending. The unemployment situation, which they don’t care about, plus their sucking up to schools for the rich and their denigrating the schools that poor people typically attend, send messages that are diametrically opposed to the messages they usually send. And their staunch support of peer review in connection with global warming says that they don’t care about the opinions of those of us at the bottom.
And his last paragraph is industrial strength snark.  Heh.

Missing the boat

ASM826 emails to point out a simply gob-smacking article on Global Warming:
It is not hyperbole to suggest that the Republican mid-term victories spell doom for the Planet. As outlined below,  leading climate scientists say that major per capita GHG polluters like the US, Australia and Canada  must act urgently within the next decade in order to avoid disaster for Humanity and the Biosphere.


3. Rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that are currently roughly the same market price as coal burning-and gas burning-based power and much cheaper when environmental and human impacts are considered) and to energy efficiency, public transport, needs-based production, re-forestation and return of carbon as biochar to soils coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth.


Denial of the World War 2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million killed, 1 in 6 dying from imposed deprivation) is a criminal offence in various Western European countries. Similarly, denial of the looming Climate Holocaust and Climate Genocide (potentially 10 billion avoidable deaths this century due to unaddressed man-made climate change) must attract social disapprobation. Free speech and scholarly research considerations would contraindicate custodial punishment of climate change denialism and its inherent climate holocaust denial – and indeed other holocaust denial and genocide denial. However a fitting punishment of any holocaust deniers would be the ignominy of exposure by authoritative, transparent, expert and public judicial process. However where such denial is not through ignorance and stupidity but knowing, corporate deception for illegitimate profit then stronger action is required. Dr James Hansen (NASA) has suggested criminal prosecution of CEOs who knowingly lie about the potential damage by man-made climate change should be subject to criminal prosecution in relation to such harm: “In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature." I agree.
Emphasis mine.  It's all there: comparing skeptics to Holocaust deniers, the don't-worry-be-happy ignorance that alternative energy sources cost five times what coal does, the over-politicizing of the issue (including discussion of criminal prosecution).  If you read the rest, you'll find more: a wildly unrealistic CO2 goal that not even the Kyoto Protocols attempted, the complete ignoring of China's blatant refusal to participate in these limits, and an extensive list of scientific organizations supporting CO2 controls - but no discussion at all of those organization's refusal to discuss the uncertainty of the calculations.

What's most interesting is that the MSM seems to be taking the opposite approach.  While they, too used to be in full shrieking panic mode, now you are seeing a much more balanced presentation of the issues:

What the Green Movement Got Wrong: Greens come to see the error of their ways

For many years, [UK] Channel 4 would not have dared devote an hour to the errors of environmentalism, writes Charles Moore.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this programme is that it was made at all. It shows how the Green monolith has cracked. For many years, Channel 4 would not have dared devote an hour to the errors of environmentalism; or, if it had done so, it would have wrapped it in the cordon sanitaire always put round anything considered Right-wing, stating that this was a "provocative" and "personal" view.

This was no such programme. Instead, it was a platform for every sinner that repenteth. Former hippy Greens, directors of Greenpeace, the chairmen of the Copenhagen Climate Council and the like, queued up to admit error.
This is a very interesting article, which explicitly states that the green movement has come to recognize that they are seen as anti-human (promoting policies seen as causing widespread death and poverty), as continually engaged in wild exaggeration, and as making poor policy choices ("No Nukes" vs. "Lower CO2").

What a change a year makes.  12 months ago, the ClimateGate scandal had not yet broken, and the world seemed poised on a triumphant climate treaty at Copenhagen.  Then it all changed, and by January the dream was gone.  We still see that some Dinosaurs haven't gotten the memo yet, and think that they can stampede the public with ZOMG Thermageddon cranked up to 11.

But what's different now is that they're a laughing stock, and even their allies at Greenpeace are walking themselves back off the ledge as quickly as their Birkenstocks will let them.  The Greens see that they've squandered the public's trust.  The truly interesting question is how long it will take for them to get it back.  Or if they can at all.