Monday, October 31, 2011

Have a Happy and High Voltage Halloween

Well, at least a Low Voltage one ...

A Civilization Starter Kit on a DVD


The Global Village Construction Set is Open Source designs for the 50 industrial machines needed to make a civilization.  They have eight completed so far:

Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters building the Global Village Construction Set - a modular, DIY, low-cost, open source, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.

The aim of the GVCS is to lower the barriers to entry into farming, building, and manufacturing. Its a life-size lego set that can create entire economies, whether in rural Missouri, where the project was founded, or in the developing world.
While some of these machines are agricultural - Tractor, Hay Cutter, Bailer - others are industrial: Aluminum Extractor (from clay), Dimensional Sawmill, Metal Roller Mill.  I'm not sure that this is an exhaustive list of machinery you'd need for civilization (chemical processing and pharmaceuticals are notable in their absence), this seems a damned fine start.

Best of all, the machines are designed to meet industry specs while being inexpensive and locally built and maintained.

LifeTrac All Terrain Tracks - Fab and Assembly from Open Source Ecology on Vimeo.

If you believe that the problem facing the world today is too much centralization and not enough local autonomy and control, this is revolutionary.  And I mean "revolutionary" in a Jeffersonian sense.  Gunsmithing seems a natural addition.


Via Al Fin, so you know that it's wicked smart and entirely cool.

Smoking hasn't been this cool since "Casablanca"

This made me think about James Dean, and the Hollywood concept of "cool".  Cool isn't doing what people tell you that you should.  Never has been.

Now think on the fact that the Left has controlled the institutions that kids have grown up under.  The schools, of course, but also the media.  They've been increasingly hounded by intellectual harpies telling them that they must do this, and must not do that.

And now Cain's Chief of Staff smokes a fag*.  And the Usual Suspects are going out of their minds about it.  And so a musical tribute to the Cain Campaign, who know how to wage psychological warfare.


* I used the term deliberately.  I expect that the Usual Suspects will go out of their minds.  But if I did what I was told by them, that wouldn't be cool.

Rick Perry's presidential moment

Via PJMedia:
In South Carolina this afternoon, TX Gov. Rick Perry held a press conference to detail his economic plans. The very first reporter tried distracting him by bringing up the birther nonsense. Perry was having none of it; he cut the reporter off in mid sentence, said the issue is a “distraction” and put the focus right back on his plan.

And that’s how it’s done. The rest of the reporters stuck to asking about his plans. The first never got to finish his, and ended up not asking any relevant questions, at least while I was watching. Every reporter who brings this up from now on should be treated with equal or greater contempt.
Yup.  Not sure about Perry, but this is exactly how you grab the idiot Media by their noses and pull them back around.  More, please.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


It's considered a truism on the right and among libertarians that government services are (or rapidly become) more expensive than private services.  The left will typically rebut that it doesn't have to be so.  After all, they say, couldn't The Right Sort Of People™ run government services efficiently?


The problem is ideology.  Privately provided services have to deliver value for the customer's dollar.  While there are many possible "nice to have" enhancements to the core service, customers ultimately are purchasing the core service.  As long as there's competition, the core service is run efficiently - or the company goes out of business, is bough up by a more efficient competitor, or its assets are liquidated.

So what happens when the government runs services?  Particular groups lobby the government for their favorite "nice to have" enhancements, based on their ideological preferences.  If there is a critical mass of political power brought to bear on the government, those "nice to have" become "must haves".  Costs go up.

And at this point, it's worth pointing out that many of the "nice to have" enhancements are arguably nice to have.  But they're not doing anything to provide the ostensible core services; on the contrary, core services often get cut to fund the "nice to haves".  Case in point:
Facing a $12 million to $17 million budget shortfall next year, Portland’s TriMet transit agency is cutting bus service for lack of funds. But it has enough funds to spend $250,000 on a giant sculpture of a deer with a baby face.

The agency has already cut bus service by 13 percent and light-rail service by 10 percent in the last two years. Yet it is spending at least $3 million on “art” as part of its $200-million-per-mile light-rail line to Milwaukie, one of the most wasteful rail projects ever. As a matter of policy, TriMet spends 1.5 percent of its capital expenditures on art, even though it is not required to do so.
Ideology (driven by organized political lobbying) has captured the transit authority.  Actual transit is being cut to ensure the continued delivery of Correct ideologically-driven "nice to haves".  It's Rich People's Leftism.

For all the noise we hear form the Usual Suspects that we're a bunch of Baby-Eating Capitalists who don't have any compassion, you'd think they'd have some actual, you know, compassion for poor people who rely on mass transit.

But then they'd have to sacrifice their SWPL "art" for benefits aimed at poor people.  Got to have your (ideological) priorities, right?

Steampunking your Nerf pistol

Pretty cool step-by-step instructions.  You're basically just painting it steampunky colors.  And just in time for Halloween.

Modest Mussorgsky - Night On Bald Mountain

All Hallow's Eve is followed by All Saint's Day.  This juxtaposition of the diabolical and the blessed is only dimly remembered in today's Halloween festivities.  In earlier times, it was a much more serious affair.

By the 1860s it was less serious than olden times, but the great Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky used the device of a Witch's Sabbath to channel the anti-establishment bacchanalian rebellion of his artistic community.

Walt Disney took this, and paired it with Ave Maria in his 1940 Fantasia film.  It may be the musical pinnacle of All Hallow's Eve/All Saint's Day.

Mussorgsky's rebellion caused him to burn brightly, but also to burn out early.  By the agen of 42, he had drank himself to death.  Much of his music was arranged after his death by friends such as Rimsky-Korsakov or, as in this case, Leopold Stokowski.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Romney's position on the World Series

(Image source)
Also via Legal Insurrection, George Will's new article that skewers Romney as lack[ing] the courage of his absence of convictions

I keep saying that I'll vote for Obama before I vote for Mitt.  With Obama, at least I know what he is, and that divided government is needed to hobble his agenda.  With Mitt, there's simply no telling, and Congress likely won't be in the mood to hobble him.  Will points out just how damaging Mitt may be.  RTWT.

Compare and Contrast

OK, OK, I forgot.  The Team Party is racist.  Or something.

Via Theo.


We're constantly told that the public is stupid, especially about things scientific.  I'm not at all sure that I believe that.  After all, everyone lives in an actual, physical world, interacting with physical and chemical reactions every second of every day.

Sure, some are idiots, and win the Darwin Award lottery, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they don't know how gravity works, just that they ignored the implications.  Hey Bubba, hold mah beer ...

And so to the weeping, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments over the rapidly falling belief in the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) - the proposition that climate is changing dramatically, and catastrophically, and that it's our fault.

We're told that the public are scientific ignoramuses, who lack appreciation for the subtlety of the climate computer models, or the "gridding" and "adjusting" modifications performed on the historical temperature databases.  Why, they simply won't listen to the Very Smart Scientists who are telling them that they have to reduce their children's standard of living, and that it's an emergency and ZOMG WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!1!!eleventy!!!!

Now why might the public be skeptical about all this scienciness?

It's not even Halloween.

The public lives in a physical reality.  They see what is happening around them.  This actually helped the CAGW crowd in the 1990s, when a series of hot summers and 1998's super El Nino even convinced a lot of folks that it was getting hotter.  But since then, it's been getting cooler, and no amount of data fiddling is going to convince people that they aren't seeing record cold.

In a very practical sense, CAGW is being falsified for the entire Northeast seaboard this weekend.  Sure, sure - this is weather, not climate.  But riddle me this, CAGWman: if the Earth truly were warming, why wouldn't we be seeing records being set the other way - hotter records, late snowfalls, that sort of thing.

It's a cold dead fact that after a "century of warming" and the "hottest year in a millennium" that the highest recorded temperature in the USA happened in 1913.  You can look it up, even.

What a strange warming, that increases average temperature, but not record temperature.  And where we see record early snowfall.  You might almost wonder if the hypothesis was falsified.

Charlie Daniels Band - The Legend Of Wooley Swamp

(Image source)
The ghosts come out on Halloween.  Yeah, there's a country song for that.

Perhaps it's better to say "Southern Rock".  While this song didn't do very well on the country charts, it became a big crossover hit in 1980, taking the song well into the Top 40, and the album platinum.

The story is the sort you heard around the campfire when you were young: an old rich miser living in the woods, some young, foolish bad guys ("white trash" in the song) who kill him for his money, and the poetic justice that snares them.

Oh, and the ghosts of all involved who come out at night ...

The Legend of Wooley Swamp (Songwriters: Charlie Daniels, Tom Crain, "Taz" DiGregorio, Fred Edwards, James W. Marshall, Charles Hayward)
Well, if you ever go back into Wooley Swamp,
Well, you better not go at night.
There's things out there in the middle of them woods
That make a strong man die from fright.
Things that crawl and things that fly
And things that creep around on the ground.
And they say the ghost of Lucius Clay gets up and he walks around.

But I couldn't believe it.
I just had to find out for myself.
And I couldn't conceive it
'Cause I never would have listened to nobody else.
And I couldn't believe it.
I just had to find out for myself
There's somethings in this world you just
can't explain.

The old man lived in the Wooley Swamp way back in Booger Woods.
He never did do a lot of harm in the world,
But he never did do no good
People didn't think too much of him
They all thought he acted funny
The old man didn't care about people anyway
All he cared about was his money.
He'd stuff it all down in mason jars
And he'd bury it all around
And on certain nights
If the moon was right
He'd dig it up out of the ground.
He'd pour it all out on the floor of his shack
And run his fingers through it.
Yeah, Lucius Clay was a greedy old man
And that's all that there was to it.

Cable boys was white trash
They lived over on Carver's Creek.
They were mean as a snake
And sneaky as a cat
And belligerent when they'd speak.
One night the oldest brother said,
"Y'all meet me at the Wooley Swamp later
We'll take old Lucius's money
and we'll feed him to the alligators."

They found the old man out in the back
With a shovel in his hand,
Thirteen rusty mason jars
was just dug up out of the sand.
And they all went crazy
And they beat the old man,
And they picked him up off of the ground.
Threw him in the swamp
And stood there and laughed
As the black water sucked him down.

Then they turned around
And went back to the shack
And picked up the money and ran.
They hadn't gone nowhere
When they realized
They were running in quicksand.
And they struggled and they screamed
But they couldn't get away
And just before they went under
They could hear that old man laughing
In a voice as loud as thunder.

And that's been fifty years ago
And you can go by there yet.
There's a spot in the yard
In the back of that shack
Where the ground is always wet.
And on summer nights
If the moon is right
Down by the that dark footpath,
You can hear three young men screaming.
You can hear one old man laugh.
Have a fun Halloween.  Just stay out of the woods ...

Friday, October 28, 2011

You go, girl!

Drunk, topless woman leads police on 128 MPH chase.  I'll bet the arresting officer tells this story for years

Here's an earworm tip o' the chapeau to our, err, "heroine" ...


No 5 mph bumper for me

I was in the Wrangler, stopped at a light, when sumdood ran into me yesterday.  And not just a little "bump" - a big ol' crunch.  Enough to hit my hear hard on the headrest.  A little on the grumpy side, I got out to see the damage.

Sumdood was fine, and very apologetic (which was good).  I looked at my bumper, and then did a double take.  No damage.  At all.

Well, to the Wrangler.  His front end was all stove to heck and gone.  Crumpled hood, fluids leaking onto the road.  Not a good day for him.

I have to say that I was a bit impressed, although it makes sense.  If you're taking something out in the back woods, you don't want the bumper cover peeling off (to the tune of $700) the first time you kiss a tree.

Progressive's "support" for free speech

Interesting.  The OWS Exposed web site that documents all the crime that's been occurring at the OWS rallies has been under cyber attack.  Currently the DNS maps the URL to (the loopback address - this is the one that points you to your own computer).  Nice.

Interesting how we're always lectured on the necessity of being tolerant by these same sort of people.  As with "hate speech" (speech that Progressives don't like) and campus speech codes (rules to suppress same), we see the limits of tolerance.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
- C.S. Lewis

Stupid burglar is stupid

Man, you can't say that Atlanta's criminal population is looking to join Mensa anytime soon.  Offered for your consideration:

Idiot #1:
A burglar who ignored a warning blast from a shotgun was shot in the leg early Thursday after breaking into a mansion on West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead, police said.
The homeowner has the patience of a saint.  First blasting a 12 gauge warning hole into his high priced crib, and then (when the warning didn't take) shooting the perp in the leg.  Must be a cat burglar, because he obviously has more than one life.

Idiot #2:
According to Cobb police, a woman identified as Alexandrea Brooks infiltrated the Walgreens at 3033 Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta and made off with 26 boxes of condoms and a pregnancy test valued at $562.68. Walgreens workers saw Brooks enter the store on Sept. 11, fill a shopping basket with condoms and march out the front door. She got into a vehicle, and the driver took off, but not before workers wrote down a tag number. Police eventually tracked down the driver, who gave police Brooks’ name.
26 boxes of prophylactics and only one pregnancy test?  Someone must be feeling lucky.

I guess that it's a good thing that most criminals are idiots, but come on, Atlanta, step up your game.  You're making the area look like, well, idiots.  You want people to think we're California?
Firefighters and deputies said they are not sure why, but the man climbed into a narrow hole located near the base of the tree. The hole led inside the hollow tree trunk and about four or five feet underground, said Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion of the Orange County Fire Authority.

It took firefighters about 90 minutes to get the necessary equipment and safely cut through the branches of the tree to free the man from inside, he said. The only body parts visible outside the tree truck were the man's head and arms, he said. Part of the body was underground. "Why he's in a tree, I have no idea," Concepcion said.
I do.  He's an idiot.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Person Shooter: Some assembly required


Because it's been too long since I've posted stop action Lego® shooty goodness.  This is so good that it has 11 Million views and a commercial (!).  Yeah, it really is that good.

Lego guns, of course, are provided by the indispensable Brick Arms.

Food chain

Knowing your place on it is important.  The World reminds us, if we listen.

Item the first: Yesterday, a Chinook helicopter flew directly over Camp Borepatch at about 200 feet altitude.  The rotor noise literally shook the house. 

Item the second: Last night while sitting out on the porch, I listened to the coyotes singing.  At 7:45 PM.

Item the second reminds me that I have rifles that would do a dandy job on the coyotes, who have no idea that I could.  Item the first reminds me that the boomstick isn't helpful in every situation.

It was an oddly peaceful realization.

Recursive geekiness

This has it.  Watch it all the way to the end, but only if recursiveness gets your geek on.  Or something.

The metaphors for the Obama Campaign just write themselves.

Excess profits

The Correct™ view is that these are profits that exceed historical norms:
The first effective national excess profits tax was enacted in 1917, with rates graduated from 20 to 60 percent on the profits of all businesses in excess of prewar earnings but not less than 7 percent or more than 9 percent of invested capital. In 1918 a national law limited the tax to corporations and increased the rates. Concurrent with this 1918 tax, the federal government imposed, for the year 1918 only, an alternative tax, ranging up to 80 percent, with the taxpayer paying whichever was higher. In 1921 the excess profits tax was repealed despite powerful attempts to make it permanent. In 1933 and 1935 Congress enacted two mild excess profits taxes as supplements to a capital stock tax.
Sharp increases caused by external changes to the structure of an industry or nation-state's economy are the key metric, and Social Justice™ calls for remediation.  You see, these excess profits accumulate in the hands of a small set of lucky individuals.  Rather than earning profits (and their pay) honestly like the rest of us, they use their position to extract excess wealth from the masses who simply don't have any choice but to pay.  Well, Okay then, let's follow this idea down the logical rabbit hole.

A major change to the Republic's economy occurred with the New Deal.  A further major change occurred with Great Society, and a third may have just occurred during the last three years of bubble-popping, international financial crisis recession.  After all, never let a crisis go to waste, right?

Via Insty, we find this interesting intellectual bon-bon:
Holmes issued his famous quote back in 1904, during the 142 year period between 1789 and 1931 when peace time federal spending as a percentage of GDP never exceeded 4 percent. I note today that under policies Professor Sachs supports, federal spending as a percentage of GDP–at 24 percent– is now six times greater than it was during Justice Holmes’ prime.
The quote, of course, is from Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famous dictum that "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization".  Let's think about prices for a second.  A price has two components: cost and profit.  While profit may actually be negative, it's a simple mathematical relationship between the three.

Holmes identified the cost of civilization (using his framework, which is likely a crock, but work with me here).  And so to The Question: What's the price of civilization, and what's the profit?  And to whom does the profit accrue?

The Price used to be 4% of GDP.  Now it's 24% and rising thanks to the New Deal, Great Society, and Obamanomics.  Some think that this is value for money, admittedly.  But some is profit, and quite frankly you can lay almost all of the current contempt in which the population holds the Government at the feet of that sad door.

Are the profits excessive?  Application of Excess Profit Theory (a six-fold increase over prior periods) would suggest that they are.  And qui bono - who comes out ahead?  Well, who do you think?
Still, a critic might suggest that my solution for helping the poor is one of growing the pie rather than dividing it equitably. They might ask, would it always be the case that the pie could be grown? What if it couldn’t be? Would I then favor a redistribution? Yes, I would, but I’d favor doing it in a very different way from the way that those who favor current leftism (which I call RPL, Rich People’s Leftism) would favor. They would want a big federal agency handling the redistribution, and they would want a certain type of person to be the head of that agency and to get certain things for being head. That is, the following four things can be said about the head of their redistribution agency:

1. They would come from a wealthy background.
2. They would have gone to an elite school like Harvard or Yale.
3. They would have a big, fat salary.
4. They would have the job permanently.
Excess Profit Theory (backed up by accepted notions of Social Justice) demand an excess profit tax on Ivy League graduates employed the Federal Government.  They are, after all, the 1% (in Intellectual terms at least, by definition).  They need to pay their Fair Share to slobs like me who went to State U.

And while this is certainly fun snark, there would actually be considerable real social justice in such a scheme.  It would devalue the elite credential, meaning that more Ivy Leaguers would go to those schools for actual learning rather than merely as a launch pad into a career of lording it over the masses.  It would open up job opportunities to a much more diverse set of folks - and while they might not do a better job, Lord knows they couldn't do any worse.

And it would expose actual rent seeking for what it is.  A permanent upward ratchet of great paying jobs for insiders at the expense of increasingly immiserated masses.

And best of all, this whole argument is framed in the terms currently in vogue by our Intellectual Betters!  I'll just wait quietly over here for my Nobel Prize ...

Of course, classical economics says that excess profits lead to entry by new competitors, who increase supply and bid down prices.  You could always just introduce choice into, oh I don't know, public education or retirement savings, or healthcare or all sorts of things.  Competition would drive the price down (and the quality up), and the poor especially would benefit.

Sure, a bunch of Ivy League grads would lose their great, high-paying jobs, but what is it that we're always being told about those at the top?  Eggs, omlettes.  And they have some stuff and we want to take it.  We are, after all, the 99% (who didn't go to Harvard and Yale).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I raise a "woof" of approval

Puppy saved from the top of a Norfolk Southern train:
Tina Parker, of Pickens, said she and her family were driving home on Sunday night when they stopped at a red light by the Walmart store in Easley, S.C., as the train passed by. Parker said she spotted what she at first thought was trash on top of the train. But she said the "trash" started moving and she realized it was a puppy. Parker called 911 and then followed the train on to Liberty.
The 3 month old puppy seems to be doing well.

I'd like to think that there's a special place in Hell for someone who would put a puppy up on the top of a train.  Well done to Ms. Parker.

Best wishes to Gerard Van der Leun

Recovering from a heart attack.

We've found a witch! Can we burn shoot her?

What caliber for witches?

Holy cow

Another reason to be glad I don't live in Massachusetts anymore.

Yikes.  It's not even November.

But European Ruling Elites would never be that ruthless


Firstly, it is becoming increasingly recognised – most notably by the French and the IMF – that, in order for the Eurozone financial system to regain a modicum of stability, the ECB must step in and back the EFSF. In essence, the ECB must become a sort of unofficial ‘Lender of Last Resort’. If this situation comes about, the Eurocrats will have the ‘unlimited firepower’ – that is, the ECB’s ability to issue currency – with which they can essentially control the bond markets.

If the Eurocrats find themselves in this position they may well opt to keep the periphery bond markets on life support while continuing to insist on austerity… all the while, fully acknowledging – as laid out above in the secret document – what this austerity will mean in real terms: perpetual and unending suffering in the periphery.

Thus the Eurocrisis will be a financial crisis no more. Instead what we will have is the core countries tightening the vice of austerity on the imploding periphery.
Because European Elites would never have dreams of a a vice-grip control over a continental empire.

And while we're talking about power grabs by the financial elite, the extra credit assignment is a 500 word essay on the implications of a generation of young people collectively holding a trillion dollars in student debt that can't be discharged in bankruptcy.  The best essay gets an extra 4 inches added to the pelt of their wookie suit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We all have swords!

Duke posts a story about how TSA regulations even extend to troops deploying to the Sandbox:
As we were waiting to board the plane we were informed that because this was a commercial flight we could not bring knives, razors etc aboard the aircraft. On the surface this may sound reasonable seeing as we were making a layover in Bangor Maine and would be entering the terminal in the secure area where other passengers had been through security. What made it idiotic was we were carrying fully automatic weapons, every one of us had an M-16, We were boarding the plane with over 500 M-16's and 9 mm pistols and you want us to hand over knives?
Because knives are dangerous, mkay?  More specifically, because knives are against TSA regulations, and regs are regs.  Philosopher Kings, right there.

It reminds me of the scene in Aladdin where the monkey is being chased through the market by the city guards, and he grabs a sword to threaten them.  One guard says "Look out! He has a sword!"  The chief guard says "You idiot!  We all have swords!"

The science is settled junk! v2.0

I've posted before about the very serious problems with the temperature databases used in the climate debate.  The unexplained "adjustments" to the data are very problematic.  I go so far as to say that Climate Science is the only branch of science where it's considered "normal" to change the data after it's been recorded.  Gridding, smoothing, extrapolating - anything but looking at the raw data.

So what happens if you only look at the raw data?  Is the planet still warming?

In a word, no:
The GISS dataset includes more than 600 stations within the U.S. that have been in operation continuously throughout the 20th century. This brief report looks at the average temperatures reported by those stations. The unadjusted data of both rural and non-rural stations show a virtually flat trend across the century.
This isn't "cherry picking" the data.  It's picking the longest continuously reporting weather stations in the USA.  The record spans the 20th century.  It shows essentially no warming during the course of the entire 20th century.

And yet we're told that the last few years are the hottest ever.  How come? Because the Orthodox Scientists change the data.  Sorry, sorry: "adjust" the data.  It's ever so scientific, don't you know.

But the data record doesn't stand up to scrutiny, mkay?

Get Romney his helmet

The science is settled junk!

There's a new book out that details the shenanigans of the IPCC - keepers of the Sacred Flame of Global Warming.  Donna Laframboise brings the details about just how shoddy and, well, unscientific the Orthodox Science™ is.  Donna, like me, is one of those beastly Deniers™ that kick sand in the faces of the scientifically orthodox.  Whateves.

So what do actual, you know, Climate Scientists say about the book?  Nothing good:
The book is well written with ample documentation (numerous hyperlinks in the kindle version).  The target audience is the broader public, and the “spoiled child” metaphor provides a readable narrative for her arguments about the IPCC.  Most (not all) of this material I’ve seen before, but Laframboise’s narrative makes a clear and compelling case regarding problems with the IPCC.


My personal reaction as a scientist is to be very thankful that I am not involved in the IPCC.  I already feel duped by the IPCC (I’ve written about this previously), I am glad that I was not personally used by the IPCC.
Does the problems with the IPCC mean that WG1 science is incorrect?  Not necessarily, but I agree that a “new trial” is needed.  WG2 and WG3 reports pretty much belong in the dustbin, as far as I can tell.
I regret that so much of our intellectual horsepower and research funding has gone into supporting the IPCC assessments.  Donna’s book could provide some impetus for changing this.
Dr. Curry is the head of Georgia Tech's climate science department.  Unlike me, she thinks that the world is noticeably warming lately, and that human impact is substantial.  Unlike me, she knows much more about the science.

But like me, she thinks that the IPCC reports about the "science" (scare quotes used intentionally) of Global Warming aren't worth the Carbon Offsets you'd need if you burned them.

Check out Donna's book.  The "Science" isn't settled.  It's a scandal.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bubba Smith, R.I.P.

Rick emails to say that Bubba Smith is dead at 66.  Rest in peace, and thanks for the memories.

Well, it would have been a short movie ...


Reason digs into just what's happening in Massachusetts under RomneyCare.   It's a great success for Mitt as long as the Fed.Gov keeps paying two thirds of the cost.  I'm interested in Mitt's thoughts on how he'll scale that nation-wide.

The Westphalian System

On this date in 1648, the Treaty of Westphalia was signed, ending the brutal Thirty Years' War and establishing the age of the modern Nation State.  Rather than the "Might makes Right" of the older system, the new age set expectations that armies would be professional, and would fight other armies rather than civilian populations.

Obviously this has been honored more in the breach than in reality, but the idea that Nations with national identities were the unit of political organization - rather than principalities with feudal identities - is an idea that comes down to this very day.

In a strange coincidence, today also saw the founding of the United Nations in 1945, perhaps the high water mark of the Westphalian system.

The system is running down.  As governmental bureaucracies have gotten stronger, there has been a series of catastrophes to western populations.  The trenches of World War I, the death camps and bomber fleets of World War II, the Gulag, the financial collapses of 1986 through 2008* - and the impending collapse of the Euro Zone have drained the Westphalian System of the sense of legitimacy that has stood since 1648.  Indeed, today's Progressives push a trans-national, post Westphalian vision which is essentially today's system dialed up to 11.

Never mind that devolution of power has been the name of the game for a quarter century.  The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the breakup of Yugoslavia, the establishment of the Scottish Parliament as a serious political entity, the increasing willingness of state Governors to tell the Washington to drop dead: this is where the action has been.

Add to this the inability of our current elites to deal with non-Nation State actors like al Qaeda, or with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the system is clearly out of gas.  What comes next is anyone's guess.  The only thing that's clear is that it won't be more centralized, with more control from an unaccountable elite.  Just watch them as the wheels come off the Euro, perhaps starting this week.  These are not the folks who will lead us to the Post-Westphalian system.

* By another strange coincidence, the financial collapse of 2008 also occurred on October 24.

UPDATE 24 October 2011 10:27: Must read at Isegoria's on the inability of the Westphalian system to deal with piracy anymore:
When not even states’ elites believe in the state anymore, why should anyone else?  Piracy not suppressed represents history lifting its leg on the whole state system.
Nothing says that the Westphalian system can't be replaced with international chaos.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

HuffPo shocked - shocked - to find their Progressive Jesus can't raise the dead

Even the fever swamps are waking up to GunWalker:

Who in their right mind would think using criminals to smuggle thousands of guns in to Mexico was a good idea?

Our Justice Department refuses to reveal the creator or cost of Operation Fast & Furious. Why?

What the hell is going on in this country? And why don't our federal officials just man-up and admit when mistakes have been made?
[Uses quiet, patient voice reserved for talking to slow, small children] Because, Punkin, while we like to say that we're a nation of laws, not men, the Organs of the State are not staffed with Philosopher Kings.  Nor do the election ballots offer us a choice between Philosopher King A or Philosopher King B.

Because ideology kills, as the sad history of the last century (and previous centuries) shows.  That some people are so enamored of their ideology that they blind themselves to the possible - even likely - outcomes.

Because some people [*cough* HuffPo *cough*] seem to suffer from their own ideological blinders, able to expound at length about Weapons of Mass Destruction being used as an excuse for an ideology, while mystified why "our federal officials" don't just man up and admit a mistake.  I mean, the Right People were finally voted in!

Mark hits center mass:

It's not as though Obama was at all shy about his intent to destroy the American economy, eviscerate the Constitution, and in general vitiate his oath of office.

Did you think he was lying to you when he told you he was going to make coal-fired electrical power so expensive as to drive it off the market?

Did you think he was kidding when he (in the person of his harridan wife) told you he was going to put the lie to American history, to revise our national ideals, to, in short, redefine the American experiment to one in socialism, rather than freedom?

Did you think Obama was mistaken when he told you he would gladly accept being a one-term president, so long as he could wreak his havoc in that one term?
Progressives are invested in the idea that the Intellectual Class should rule, because of their intelligence and higher learning.  While conveniently ignoring the problem of the obvious lack of wisdom, they also (conveniently?) ignore Lord Acton's dictum.  No, not that power corrupts, although it does.  This one:
The problem is not that any particular class is not fit to rule.  The problem is that no class is fit to rule.
- Lord Acton

Wasting taxpayer money

The real problem with the trillion dollar "stimulus" and the multi-trillion dollar deficits is that is encourages a sense of "it's good to spend money" among the Organs of the State.

Case in point: The Center for Disease Control has funded a graphic novel describing how to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse:
CDC has a fun new way of teaching the importance of emergency preparedness. Our new graphic novel, "Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic" demonstrates the importance of being prepared in an entertaining way that people of all ages will enjoy.

Here we see the problem in action.  Money is spent on something "fun" that is plausibly (but unconvincingly) related to the organization's mission.  High-profile press events are staged.  Any metrics as to the effectiveness of the ostensible mission (teaching the importance of emergency preparedness) are nowhere to be seen.

But c'mon - it was probably only a few tens of thousands of dollars.  Don't you have a sense of humor?

Multiply by the 3 million public employees, and you see the impossibility of reform.  The elimination of entire agencies is one option.  Another option is to freeze all government salaries for ten years and let attrition take care of the overstaffing.  These options are not mutually exclusive.

P.D.Q. Bach - The Art Of The Ground Round

I'm home after being away too long, and enjoying the company of the family.  When you think classical music and family, you think of J.S. Bach and his many musical sons.  Like, err, P.D.Q. Bach.

In actuality, P.D.Q. Bach is a satirical creation of "Professor" Peter Schikile (not a real professor).  It is musically faithful to the period while at the same time skewering the pretentiousness that wraps the modern classical concert.  It is classical music inside baseball, but insanely clever - not to mention very funny - classical music inside baseball.  This is one of my favorites.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I simulate an infantryman

Ft. Benning is the location of Army infantry basic training, and also hosts the National Infantry Museum.  The intersection of these means that the museum has some seriously cool simulators:

The EST 2000 is an M4/16 electronic simulator used by recruits before they go to the live fire range.  It provides a very realistic rifle, with removable magazine, charging handles, select fire (Safe/Semi/"Get you some of that") with a projected display of a firing range.  Targets appear, and some of them move.  Laser designators score hits and misses.  You have to score 10 out of 20 to qualify as an infantryman.

Well, I qualified.  Barely.  #2 Son (of course) handily beat be.  He's almost 16 - they wanted his phone number for the recruiter.

I'd talk about how my mistake was bracing the M4 on a sand bag, and that what I gained in stability I lost in target acquisition time.  But I can already hear you giggling, so I'll just move along ...

There are even cooler simulators:

Assemble your team for a HMMWV mission.  Yeah, baby!  Sadly, one of the compressors went out, and we'll have to go back.  But think about that for a minute - you use a compressor to make something move via air pressure.  Something like a HMMVW.  Feedback!

The rest of the museum is nothing short of spectacular.  The exhibits are a great mix of artifacts (Saddam's double barrel Buffalo rifle!), interactive touch screen displays, videos, and immerse experiences - the Vietnam night patrol is a little hair raising.

The best part: it's free.  Donations are encouraged.  (You pay for the simulators)

It's 2 hours from Atlanta.  We'll be back, maybe with #1 Son.  There's a Blackhawk simulation mission I hear calling.

Plus, there are mil-surp stores everywhere.  I came back with one of these:

"Anything worth shooting is worth shooting a second time."  "Active ingredient: lead.  Typical side effects: death."

It was a good day.

Field Trip

I'm taking #2 Son to the National Infantry Museum at Ft. Benning.  It's getting back in the car after the trip from Texas, but it's good time together for just the two of us.

Back later.

Ronnie Dunn - Cost of Livin'

(Image source)
Stalin famously said that one death was a tragedy, but a million was a statistic.  What we hear on the news reports of the unemployed are statistics.  It's easy to miss that these events are millions of tragedies.

And so we look to artists to remind us of the human side of the cold, clinical numbers.  There's a Country Music song for that.

Ronnie Dunn is best known as half of the duo Brooks and Dunn.   Dunn is performing on his own now, with a timely song that reminds us that behind the statistics, are the tragedies.  In their millions.

Cost of Livin' (Songwriters: Ronnie Dunn, Phillip Coleman)
Everythin' to know about me
Is written on this page
A number you can reach me
My social and my age

Yes, I served in the army
It's where I learned to shoot
Eighteen months in the desert
Pourin' sand out of my boots

No, I've never been convicted of a crime
I could start this job at any time

I got a strong back, steel toes
I rarely call in sick, a good truck
What I don't know I catch on real quick
I work weekends, if I have to, nights and holidays

Give you forty and then some
Whatever it takes
Four dollars and change at the pump
The cost of livin's high and goin' up

I put Robber down as a reference
He's known me all my life
We attend the same church
He introduced me to my wife

I gave my last job everythin'
Before it headed south
Took the shoes off of my children's feet
Food out of their mouths

Yesterday my folks offered to help
But they're barely gettin' by themselves

I got a strong back, steel toes
I rarely call in sick, a good truck
What I don't know I catch on real quick
I work weekends, if I have to, nights and holidays

Give you forty and then some
Whatever it takes
Three dollars and change at the pump
The cost of livin's high and goin' up

I'm sure a hundred others have applied
But rumor has it you're only takin' five

I got a strong back, steel toes
I'm handy with a wrench
There's nothin' I can't drive
There's nothin' I can't fix

I work sunup to sundown
Ain't too proud to sweep the floors
The bank has started callin'
And the wolves are at my door

Four dollars and change at the pump
The cost of livin's high and goin' up
In this political season, remember that it's not all about scoring points.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Four Star sez: it's secure because it's teh cloud

Can't hack the cloud.  Wait, what?
Alan finds a Four Star who needs to wipe the drool from his chin.  Seems that the Brass thinks that moving crappy security from the physical realm into a set of Datacenter racks will magically sprinkle the security dust on everything.

Ooooooh kaaaaaay.

Because nobody would ever figure out how to hack the cloud.  I mean, that's just crazy talk.  Next thing, you'll tell me I can't play Playstation Network or something.  Or that Popular Science tells people how to hack the cloud.

I mean, the security of the Cloud is as solid as the Euro.  Srlsy.  You can take that to the bank.

Transparency in 9-9-9

A couple people have commented that one thing they don't like about Cain's 9-9-9 plan is that the national sales tax is new, and a camel's nose under the tent.  While it starts at 9%, what's to keep it from rising - to Europe's 17%, or more?

Cain has a good answer - transparency.  It would be obvious to everyone that the tax had just gone up.  That's in great contrast to today's tax code, where large changes are made every year to the tax code.  One sound bite I remember from yesterday's interview (I don't know if it's true, but it sounds plausible) was that the tax code contains ten million words.  That number changes every year, and the changes always result in more taxes being owed.  A lot of people only find out when they file their tax returns.

With Cain's plan, this sort of "back door" tax increase becomes much more painful for Congress.

Is increased transparency a panacea?  Of course not.  Is it an improvement?  Seems that way.

Herman Cain is a pretty impressive guy

On the drive back home yesterday, I was scanning the radio waves, and ran across a Cain interview at Sean Hannity.  I'm not much of a Hannity fan, but I stuck around to listen to Can.  He's very impressive.

The problem with the debate, he said, was not that the other candidates pig piled on him.  Rather, it's that the format only allowed 60 second answers.  He has a serious program with 9-9-9, and one minute doesn't give enough time to do more than sound bites.  Hannity told him OK, take as much time to explain it.

And Cain did, in depth.  He took probably 5 minutes on why the business depreciation tax implications of his plan will spur job growth.  As I listened, my thought was there's nobody else running who understands this.  Romney and Bachman would understand depreciation, but only from a financial model perspective.  They don't have the background to see how it could energize the jobs market.

I'm not necessarily convinced about Cain's plan - I think that it's a truism that corporations collect taxes, they don't pay them.

But I am utterly convinced that Cain is no dummy, and may in fact be the smartest guy running.  His vision is big, radical stuff.  It's aiming to fix something that is clearly broken. It convinced me to go download his plan and read the details.

This guy might have what it takes.

Seen on I-20

Nothing was left of the truck, as we rolled past it in Vicksburg:

VICKSBURG, Miss. — A Louisiana truck driver was hurt and Interstate 20 at Vicksburg was tied up for hours after an 18-wheeler rolled onto the median and caught fire.

The driver of the FedEx truck told Vicksburg police he was westbound when he heard a pop and lost control of the truck. The truck rolled across the median, almost reaching the eastbound lanes, and burst into flames.

The accident happened at about 4:30 a.m. The truck was still smoldering at 9.
The only thing left of the truck was metal, although it looked like someone had taken a can opener to it.  Traffic wasn't too bad at 2:00 when I went past.  It turns out that the driver is OK.  I thought for sure that something that bad would have killed someone.

Blog later.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Epic Win

... is epic.  Yeah, that's two in a day.  It's a travel day.  Besides, you don't want uberposts two days in a row ...

Blogroll update

I can't believe that I missed this, but SpeakerTweaker is blogging.  'Nuff said - get you hence.  Sorry it's taken me so long.

And Rock In A Sea Of Chaos has himself a sweet, sweet new gat.  Nice gun pr0n, there!

Welcome to the blogroll.  I keep saying - and people keep ignoring - that I have a reciprocal policy here.  If you've added me to your blogroll, let me know.

Dear Outdoor Marketing Company

If you're going to spam your target, and if one of them (despite his better judgment) replies to try to see if you're legit or just a clueless droid, it's considered Best Marketing Practice to actually, you know, reply.

You sent me this:
Kindest Editor:

This is Jeff Thruston from the Nevada based outdoor marketing company 
Bernard & Associates and we love your gun site! We have been in the outdoor industry for some thirty years. You may have seen our work with clients like Bass Pro Shops and Sporting Classics Magazine.
How very nice for you.
We want to reach out to you with a gift from the Boone and Crockett Club, made possible by our friends at Hornady -for you or your website's readers. In addition, we have some important news that affects all of us within the hunting and fishing industry.

We have identified your site as one we wish to partner with. We would like to invite you to participate in Boone and Crockett Club's Blogger Appreciation Program and receive a complimentary Associate Membership to the Boone and Crockett Club.
My reply (as I said, against my better judgment):
Jeff, thanks for the kind words and the offer.

I'm interested, though.  You say that you love my gun site.  What particularly do you like?

Manners cost you nothing, Jeff.  To anyone who thinks I'm being harsh, I replied a week ago.  All I hear are crickets.

So no thanks, Jeff.  Although it is a very kind offer indeed.


"Kindest Editor"

P.S. To the nice folks at Hornady's marketing department, you might consider a different spammer.  kthanxbai.

You made Baby Cucumber cry

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jesus wept

Fortunately, the Idiot Crossing is much easier to move.  You should be good to go, Scooter.

Gonna be a good day, Scooter

I'm headed home tomorrow.  Gonna be a long day, but it's always good when you're going home.

I must watch this film about Seventeenth Century musket and pike battle

It looks pretty realistic.  Viggo Mortensen's Spanish even sounds pretty good, at least to my untrained ear.

Or you could go hard core re-enactment.  I knew we Colonials liked to dress up in "Civil War" garb, but didn't know that they liked to do that in Her Britannic Majesty's  scepter'd isle:

TheOnesDay® No. 16

It's Wednesday, time to mock our Communist-In-Chief.  And who better to mock a commie that the biggest commie of all time?

Laugh, kulak.  Louder.

The Fifth American Republic

Barack Obama is a communist.  That's a low schoolyard insult, even though it's true, but it doesn't matter.  You see, Mitt Romney is also a commie.  No, this isn't yet another Mitt Romney rant.  All of our political establishment are commies, and have been for a long time.  Buckle up, because this is an uberpost.

I often hear the expression "we're not going to vote ourselves out of this."  The older I get it seems, the longer the pelt of my Wookie Suit becomes, and so I can sympathize with people who think we've lost something, something that we won't be getting back easily.

Some ideas which had been stewing in my subconscious since August (!) coalesced when I read a post by Kevin Baker, quoting a John Ringo novel:
(The party) leadership recognizes that in return for supporting a seemingly populist agenda, they can obtain all the votes they require to remain in power. Even the most cursory analysis of their actions and attitudes, however, indicates that they are not populists but, in fact, are strong antipopulists who actively despise their voting base. proven by their efforts to reduce public educational systems to a level most grade-school children (in other countries) have surpassed, with the excuse that this curriculum is all that the students can handle. They have made the inner-city population base totally dependent on the government, which they control.
Well yeah.  Our elites are contemptible - everyone agrees with this, and by "everyone" I mean everyone.  But the issue isn't whether we can restore a lost past of Ordered Liberty.  The question is whether, like Plato's mistaken idealization of Sparta, we yearn for a past that never really was:
Bertrand Russell wrote of this in his A History of Western Philosophy (Allen and Unwin, 1946, p. 114):
To understand Plato, and indeed many later philosophers, it is necessary to know something of Sparta.  Sparta had a double effect on Greek thought: through the reality, and through the myth.  Each is important.  The reality enabled the Spartans to defeat Athens in war; the myth influenced Plato's political theory, and that of countless writers.
And so to our Republic.  What is the reality, and what is the myth?  It's here we go down Moldbug's rabbit hole, but a marvelous rabbit hole it is:

A few things must be dispensed with. The more obvious is that the US is governed by the principles of the Scottish Enlightenment as encoded in the US Constitution. We are in fact governed by the Puritan concept of ordered liberty, and all the revolution, liberty, freedom, representation blah blah blah crap was only used to transfer power from the British aristocracy to the Puritan merchant and banker elite, and to keep it firmly there. They are assisted by various hunchbacked toadies, notably the Quaker/Methodist/other pacifist Christian bourgeoisie and the Jewish merchants and bankers, but these people should not be mistaken as having any executive function.


The PQJs [Puritans/Quakers/Jews - Borepatch] nonetheless thought communism was an excellent form of social organization for the rest of the world- Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America- and the preferred replacement for older authoritarian social systems. Representative democracy could too easily be hijacked by the old elites, as was the constant danger in the West.
And Moldbug suggests that it's not just Eastern Europe, either:
First, I believe anti-Americanism is best described as an epiphenomenon of Universalism. The single most significant fact about the world today is that sixty-two years ago it was conquered by a military alliance whose leader was the United States, and whose creed of battle was this nontheistic adaptation of New England mainline Protestantism. I don't think it's a coincidence that the European ruling class holds essentially the same perspectives that were held at Harvard in 1945. The US Army did not shoot all the professors in Europe and replace them with Yankee carpetbaggers, but the prestige of conquest is such that it might as well have.


In the 1940s, America invaded Europe, rather than the other way around. Therefore, we would expect to see more political diversity in America than in Europe, for much the same reason there are more dialects of English in Britain than in the US. The Englishmen who came to the US were by no means uniformly distributed across England, Scotland and Wales, and the randomizing process of migration tended to homogenize their speech and create a lingua franca. Just as the English of Appalachia retains Elizabethan tropes which have long since disappeared in the home country, the Universalism of Europe has a kind of New Deal purity which the fray of American politics has long since diluted.
The idea is that what we're seeing today with elitist government goes back very, very far.  The Cold War was not a Kabuki dance between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.  It was a Kabuki dance between Western traditions in the United States, the elitists vs. the Populists:
Recent American history is plagued by dishonesty. One of my guiding principles when thinking about recent American history is to assume that every prominent American from the mid-20s to the mid-50s found a way to make himself acceptable to the communists. If an American during this period was unable to find a way to make himself acceptable to the communists, he wouldn’t have been prominent. [Sarah Palin could not be reached for comment. - Borepatch]


I assumed – last week – that Eisenhower would have similar connections.

So, in response to Ike’s defenders, I planned to dig through Ike’s connections and see what turned up.

Fortunately, Moldbug chimed in to the comments to point out that Ike chose Joseph Fels Barnes to ghostwrite his memoirs. I guess he couldn’t find any non-CPUSA members to write his book. Moldbug also adds, "Eisenhower did not keep Acheson as Secretary of State, but he kept the Acheson-Hiss State Department – and indeed collaborated quite enthusiastically in purging its enemies. This was not an accident or a mistake." Indeed, what could be more complicit with communism than not purging the State Department post-Hiss?


The Birchers believe that Ike stopped short while the USA was defeating the Germans so that the Soviets could capture more territory. I have no idea if this is true. It probably doesn’t matter anyway, since the Acheson-Hiss State Department was going to make sure the Soviets got more than their fair share.
Moldbug amplifies this battle, and then we'll get to the meat of the argument here:
It is not that the American left was the tool of Moscow. In fact, it was the other way around. From day one, the Soviet Union was the pet experiment of the bien-pensants. It was Looking Backward in Cyrillic. It was the client state to end all client states.


The theory of Russia as a client state of the American left helps us understand the behavior of the great Communist spies of the 1940s, Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White. Essentially all significant institutions of today's transnational world community - the UN, the IMF, the World Bank - were designed by one of these gentlemen, whose role in passing American documents to Soviet military intelligence is now beyond dispute. John Stormer was right.

Or was he? The thing is that while, technically, Hiss and White were certainly Soviet agents, they hardly fit the profile of a traitor like Aldrich Ames. Hiss and White were at the top of their professions, respected and admired by everyone they knew. What motivation could they possibly have for treason? Why would men like these betray their country?

The obvious answer, in my opinion, is that they didn't see themselves as betraying their country. The idea that they were Russian tools would never have occurred to them. When you see a dog, a leash, and a man, your interpretation is that the man is walking the dog, even if the latter appears to be towing the former.

Hiss and White, in my opinion, believed - like many of their social and cultural background - that the US had nothing to fear from the Soviet Union. They saw themselves as using the Soviets, not the other way around, helping to induce the understandably paranoid Russian leadership to integrate themselves into the new global order.
So a Puritan drive towards the perfectibility of mankind drives the entire political establishment - including Presidents like Eisenhower and George H. W. Bush - to support what on the face would be far left wing policy positions.

They're all dirty commies, ever one of them.  Objectively speaking, of course.  Think I'm joking?

The Cold War continues, as Moldbug relates:
Anti-Americanism, in this interpretation, is the organizing ideology of an empire. Call it the Blue Empire. The Blue Empire is an American empire, and its headquarters are in Foggy Bottom and Cambridge and Times Square. Anti-Americanists have no idea that they are in fact serving the needs and wishes of the Blue Empire. But then again, why would they?

The Blue Empire's bitter enemy is the Red Empire, whose headquarters is in Arlington and (for the moment [Written in 2007 - Borepatch]) Pennsylvania Avenue. The Red Empire is currently defending itself in Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia - former clients such as Chile, Spain, Portugal, South Vietnam and South Africa having fallen to the Blue side. (The Red Empire still has strong clients in Asia, though, such as Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia.)

If we were going to vote ourselves out of this, we would have done it 60 years ago.  But even then, it wasn't really America.  Moldbug yet again:
By my count, Anglophone North America ex Canada is on its fifth legal regime. The First Republic was the Congressional regime, which illegally abolished the British colonial governments. The Second Republic was the Constitutional regime, which illegally abolished the Articles of Confederation. The Third Republic was the Unionist regime, which illegally abolished the principle of federalism. The Fourth Republic is the New Deal regime, which illegally abolished the principle of limited government.

Of course, all these coups are confirmed by the principle of adverse possession. Otherwise we would find ourselves looking for the rightful heirs of Metacom, or Edward the Confessor, or whoever. Nor is there any automatic reason to treat any of these five regimes as better or worse than any of the others. If, like me, you're tired of the Fourth Republic and would like to see it abolished, all we know about its successor is that it will be the Fifth Republic. It has no need to resemble the Third, the Second or the First.
We snicker at the French, always rewriting their Constitution.  We gloss over that our Constitution has been a "living document" at least since the time of James Polk.  At least the French had the decency to write their changes down in public.

Archaeologists unearth layers of detritus, reconstructing ancient living patterns from the cast off, scattered rubble.  Similarly, we can observe the layers of parasitic attachment to the Res Publica.  RTWT, all of the links.

And so Obama is a commie, as it Mitt Romney, George Bush major, and Eisenhower.  Non-commies (Sarah Palin) are fiercely excluded from the political Great Game.  What's different is that information flow now is possible outside of the political and intellectual elite.  The perceived legitimacy of this class is now at a historic low.  How will it end?

Who can tell?  But one thing is clear - it cannot continue as it is, with the Elite papering over the cracks with increasingly low caliber drivel.  The Republic waits, expectantly.  Maybe it will just be a higher caliber drivel.

The Fifth American Republic does not have to look at all like what has come before.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Observe your Philosopher Kings in action

Night operation of the windmills in the North Allegheny Windpower Project has been halted following discovery of a dead Indiana bat under one of the turbines, an official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday.

The finding marks only the second location where an Indiana bat has been found dead under a wind turbine. Two Indiana bats were found under turbines in the Mid-west, said Clint Riley, supervisor for Fish and Wildlife’s Pennsylvania field office.

“While finding the dead bat is not good news for any of us, it does show the monitoring works,” Riley said from his State College office.

The find is significant because the Indiana bat is an endangered species and is protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.
Why do Environmentalists hate endangered species?  It's a mystery.  And why do they think they're ever so much more clever than you or I?  Same mystery.

Will every Progressive who ever said the words "Republican war on science" just shut up and sit down in the back of the room?  Grownups are talking.

Oh, and if you're keeping score, shutting the windmills down at night drops their load factor (time when they actually generate usable electricity) from around 22% to about 14%.  So electricity from them doesn't cost 5 times as much, it costs 8 times as much.  Why do Environmentalists hate the poor?

Man, such a lot of mysteries ...


I need to watch this

It sounds like "Moon over Parador" meets "The Seven Samurai".

Awesome mashup

... is awesome.

These are not the steenkin' badges you're looking for ...

Tick. Tock.

Three days until I head home.  I'm in full bore count down mode.

Any folks in the Atlanta area want to rendezvous on the 28th (Friday after work) or 29th (maybe meet up to shoot)?

Why I will not vote for Mitt Romney, version 3.0

I've been roundly taken to task in the comments here when I say that we're better off with a Republican Congress and Obama as President than we are with a Republican Congress and Mitt Romney as President.  Well, once more into the breach, dear friends.

I lived in Massachusetts when Mitt was Governor.  I got to watch him for years.  I think I know how he thinks.  It's said that a firebrand must eat fire, even if he must kindle it himself (as we see with Obama encouraging anti-semitic Occupy Wall Street protesters saying things not considered fit for polite society since World War II).  Mitt isn't a firebrand, he's a policy wonk.

Well, how much Policy can a Policy Wonk wonk, if a Policy Wonk could wonk policy?  Quite a lot, actually:

December 7, 2005

Governor Mitt Romney today announced that Massachusetts will take another major step in meeting its commitment to protecting air quality when strict state limitations on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants take effect on January 1, 2006.


In the development of greenhouse gas policy, Romney Administration officials have elicited input from environmental and economic policy experts. These include John Holdren, professor of environmental policy at Harvard University and chair of the National Commission on Energy Policy ...
He looks for "problems" that a well-run Government can "solve" by judicious application of policy wonkery.  And who are the policy advisors he is pleased to help his team of expert wonkers winnow the policy wheat from the chaff?

The man who President Obama chose to run his Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Oh, but that's just a one-off, a "black swan" - I mean, it'd never happen again.  Right?  Oh, wait:
It’s no secret that Mitt Romney’s universal-health-care program in Massachusetts was the model for President Obama’s federal law, but the relationship was even tighter than previously known. White House visitor logs show that three Romney aides paid Obama’s team at least a dozen visits, and had at least one meeting with the president himself to help plan the health-care legislation.
The difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama is a matter of degree, not of kind.  They are both aggressively expansionist in their view of Government's proper role.  Obama admittedly goes further (some might say much further, but I'm not at all sure about that), but that just describes the length of the vector.  Both point in the same direction.

And so again, let me say that this Republic will be better off with a Republican Congress and Barack Obama putting his Italian loafers on the Oval Office desk for another four years.  The Republican Congress will aggressively resist Obama's every plan, being (rightly) suspicious of his every motive.  That same Republican Congress will not rein in a Romney Administration, feeling the need to "go along to get along".

Romney is likely to be at least moderately successful (at least initially), and so we can expect the sum of wonkish legislation to be formidable indeed.  Looking at Mitt's disastrous legacy in Massachusetts, we will be in a deep pit of fail indeed.

Romney doesn't get it, what we feel in our bones:
In the minds of likely voters, Washington, not Wall Street, is primarily to blame for the financial crisis and the subsequent recession.
He thinks that you can eat yourself thin.  Because a Wonk needs to wonk.  And so this Republic must be running short of really smart policy.

Sure, Obama will have the opportunity to appoint judges, and Justices to the Supreme Court.  That sucks.  But it's unlikely to shift the makeup of the court, as it's the liberal Justices who will retire first.  Would I rather have more Scalias and Thomases?  Sure.  But dig this:

Mitt won't appoint any.

He'll appoint another David Souter.  We don't win this, however it plays out.

We may be screwed either way, but I for one refuse to go gentile into that Dark Night of Statism.  A Stupid Party loss in what should be the easiest election of the last 50 years may shock them out of their complacency.  Maybe not.  But energized, divided government beats what Governor Vector will serve up.

Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, do not remove tag under penalty of law.  Especially this tag: