Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Sometimes what happens spontaneously, by happenstance, in an unexpected twinkling of the eye - that changes everything.  Chris Lynch (all Red Sox fans read him every day, right?) reposts on the time that the Red Sox Captain Jason Varitek made the Yankees' A-Rod eat glove leather:
Being hit by a pitch is part of the game. That's why they keep a stat for it. When you are hit - you are supposed to go down to first and take your base. But I guess A-Rod is different. I guess A-Rod is special.

Instead of taking his base A-Rod starts swearing out at Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo (who was named after Charles Bronson we should be reminded - so I wouldn't doubt if Bronson could handle himself in a pinch).  Jason Varitek, as is his job, stays between A-Rod and the pitcher's mound.

A-Rod then changed his focus to Varitek. The TV cameras clearly show him saying, "Fuck you" over and over right in Varitek's face. It then showed A-Rod saying "Let's go" to Varitek. Should he be surprised that Varitek gave him a catcher's mitt in the mug for his troubles? 

July 24, 2004 is the game generally seen as the turning point in the to-that-point moribund Red Sox season.  By making the overbearing Yankee pretty boy ear leather, Veritek fired the team and sparked the most amazing come back in sports history.  Even with the spark, the Sox found themselves trailing the Yankees, down three games to none in the ALCS.  They struggled the whole game, and were trailing 4-3 in the 9th inning.

The rest is history.  They beat the Yankees, coming from behind.  Then they swept the remaining four games to take the pennant.  At this point, it would have taken an Act of God Himself* to change fate, and they Swept the Cardinals to win their first World Series in 86 years.

Two days later I was talking to a business colleague in New York.  He wished me the best enjoying the only Championship the Sox would win in the next 86 years.  I replied that his mouth was moving, and sound was coming out, but all I could hear was a huge choking sound.

He laughed.

Thanks for the memories, Captain Veritek.

* Of course the Lord roots for the Red Sox.  You have to have deep, deep faith to be a Sox fan.

What do you do when Leviathan comes for your child?

You fight.

And in a just world, Government functionaries who use a rubber stamp to affix a Judge's signature on documents sending a SWAT team to take a child from her parents - those functionaries would be tarred and feathered.

Obey?  I don't think so.  You want my children?  Come and get them.

This is infuriating.  The functionaries involved should be sued into destitution, and then thrown into the Poor House.

Nietzche Cat is Super

Yes, I'm an intellectual nerd.  Why do you ask?

Back story here.

Mom doesn't read my blog

Dad did, and would email me about the posts he particularly liked.  Dad was pretty forward leaning for an Old Guy Professor.  He said that when he wrote with a pen, he wrote a word at a time.  When he changed to a typewriter, he wrote a sentence at a time.  And when he switched to a word processor, he wrote a paragraph at a time.  His output of scholarly works showed this to be a true fact.

Mom doesn't spend much time online, and so she hadn't seen many of my posts (yeah, yeah, her and six Billion other people ...).  But we talked about Dad tonight, and I told her that writing about it had made it easier for me.  That all the comments that all y'all left had made it easier.

Show me, she said.  And so I did.  It was great - maybe we've  both been working past the most cutting part of the grief, each in our own way.  But joining these different ways gave us a new opportunity to talk about it, and explore his life.  At the end, we both felt better.

Joy shared is multiplied; grief shared is divided.

And a quick note to Bluesun, who left this comment to this post:
All I can say is

be glad of the times you had,


don't forget your mom.
Your advice wasn't needed, but it was exceptionally useful.  When she let inertia get in the way of coming to visit, I thought on your post, and insisted.  It's been a blessing.  Thank you, my friend.

Life is good, when you're with family.  Sometimes life is particularly good.  This is one of those times, made possible my the miracle if the blogosphere.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicks with Guns

Yankee Born Rebel Heart has a picture that's worth a thousand words.  It's God's own truth.

A grateful Intarwebz thanks you, YBRH.

Seems like a deal

.303 Brit, $13.95/20:
Manufacturer: PRVI
Stock Number: PP303SP1
Inventory Status: IN STOCK
1 to 24 - $13.95
25 and up - $13.50
Considering I saw it on sale at an unnamed Big Box store for $28/20 (!) today, it seems pretty good.


Mom has joined me here at FOB Borepatch, which is very nice indeed.  I'm not one who much likes living alone, with no family around, and I'm looking forward to having her for a while.  She's also not used to living alone, and is happy to be here - the fact that I'd scored some sweet, sweet Big Band CDs (Glen Miller, Bennie Goodman, Tommy Dorsey) was just the icing on the cake.

And so I really didn't much mind that her flight yesterday was delayed two hours.  Instead of fixing dinner here like I'd planned, we stopped on the way back from the airport at Chuy's Tex-Mex (who knew they had a Wikipedia entry?).  It didn't disappoint, and we had a lovely dinner talking of cabbages and Kings.

I hadn't realized that it was a year ago that day since the last time I saw Dad.  I'm sure that if she weren't here, you'd be reading another overly pensive post about the meaning of Life, the universe, and Everything.  Now I'll just agree with Thomas Jefferson: The best moments of my life have been those surrounded by my family.

Monday, February 27, 2012

John Nash, the NSA, mental illness, and Hollywood Beefcake

John Nash is the brilliant mathematician and Nobel Laureate who was depicted in the film A Beautiful Mind.

The film, of course, is a fictionalized account of his life, but he was undoubtedly one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th Century.  He made critical contributions to the field of Game Theory (modeling how people rationally make decisions), which explains a lot about why his Nobel was in Economics, not Mathematics.  He was also schizophrenic, and thinks that he got better without the aid of modern pharmaceuticals.

Well, it turns out that his work anticipated modern cryptography by decades, as shown in his recently declassified 1955 letter to the National Security Agency:
The National Security Agency (NSA) has recently declassified an amazing letter that John Nash sent to it in 1955.  It seems that around the year 1950 Nash tried to interest some US security organs (the NSA itself was only formally formed only in 1952) in an encryption machine of his design, but they did not seem to be interested.  It is not clear whether some of his material was lost, whether they ignored him as a theoretical professor, or — who knows — used some of his stuff but did not tell him.
Fittingly, the declassified letter was "discovered" (well, popularized on the Internet) by Ron Rivest, the "R" in the RSA encryption algorithm that your computer uses every day.

Even more interesting, he is active today in economics, working on ideas for sounder currency in this day of Quantitative Easing and hidden inflation.  Ron Paul should get him on the team.

But enough crypto-geekery.  He was played in the film by Russell Crowe.  As a service to my Lady Readers, here's some of Russell Crowe's beautiful, err, mind:

I can neither confirm no deny anything*

But I laughed and laughed.  What really goes on around the coffee mess in the Intelligence community?  I'll never tell.  But man, that's funny.

* Srlsy, I can't confirm or deny anything.  So don't ask.

Via Kahr40.

Modern Art isn't as clever as it thinks it is

Forgiveness Perfume:

Look, I know that the easiest game is town is épater les bourgeois, but this is just sort of phoning it in.  Yeah, yeah - horrible evil symbol combined with "Forgiveness".  I get it.


It's boring and lazy.  Why don't you try something more interesting, like George W. Bush and "Forgiveness"?  That would épater the hell out of your Gallery showing, now wouldn't it?  Oh, right - bad for business.  Don't want to be too fresh and original, do ya?

The Flag Salute

Doing some research into the recent fascism posts, I ran across the Flag Salute:

Image via Wikipedia

School children in 1942, saluting the flag as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  My first thought was Yikes!  However, it doesn't seem to be related to fascism, at least not directly.  The "Flag Salute" dates to 1892, a good 20 years before Mussolini's early work on fascism, and a good third of a century before Hitler's brown shirts.

It hearkens back to the salute from Roman times, which was a popular motif in the French Revolutionary era.  Here's Jacques-Louis David's Oath of the Horatii, from a century earlier:

Image via Wikipedia

That all said, Progressivism was in full flower in the 1890s, and Fascism is arguably a branch from that tree.  The Flag Salute was discontinued shortly after the top picture was taken, since the whole Nazi thing was pretty hard to spin once we were in a shooting war with them.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Misspent youth

I saw this recently here in Austin:

It reminded me of my misspent youth, when 2cents and I would hang out in the basement of Barstan's pub on Mill St. in Orono, Maine (right next to Pat's).  They'd get Irish music from Schooner Fare, and we'd do shots of Jameson's Irish Whiskey with a beer chaser.  After enough shots, we could sing this with them.  Or at least, it seemed that we could.

Good times, good times.  Except for the time that Bill fell face down on the table and we (meaning me, not 2cents) had to drag him up the back staircase so he could get sick in the parking lot, not on the table.

Matter of fact, I used to be able to play this song on the guitar from memory.  Sounded better after a few shots, if I recall correctly.  Man, that was a long time ago.

New Google technology protects your privacy

Well, her privacy, anyway.

I mean, emails about Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher are never a good idea.  Thanks, Google!

So what do you do about this Judge?

A bunch of folks are posting about the Judge who seems to think that using precedent from other countries that insulting Islam is a crime, some how isn't an establishment of Religion.  Everyone is pretty exercised with this guy, as they should be.

I left a comment at Old NFO's place saying that this is a Judge who shouldn't be drawing a paycheck from the taxpayers.  I didn't make up that line, I got it here:

The part directly applicable starts at about 5:20, but the whole thing is worth watching.  Newt is inconsistent, and seems undisciplined as often as not.  But when he's on his game - as he is here - he shows that he is the only one who can take the true battle to the opposition: to show not just that their policy is wrong, but that it is fundamentally immoral.

What is it that is best?  To crush your enemy's ideology, to see it driven from the airwaves, and to hear the lamentation of his Professors.

Romney won't do this.  Ron Paul tries, but can't make it understandable to the mass of the voters.  Santorum doesn't try.  There's your field: inconsistent, missing in action, incoherent, and hors de combat.  But make no mistake - this is a battle of ideologies, not personalities.

Edvard Grieg - A Mother's Grief

 Joy shared is increased; grief shared is lessened.

- Unknown

Mom comes to visit tomorrow.  We planned this trip so that she would be away from home on the anniversary of Dad's death.  This has been a hard year for her, and I'm glad she's coming - the company will be good for both of us.

Edvard Grieg wrote this piece for the piano, inspired by the tale of the Pied Piper (here paired with some cello music by Ernest Bloch).  While my mother  is grieving for a lost husband rather than a lost child, the mood seemed to capture the melancholy of the last months.

But I'm looking forward to her visit.  I think we've become even closer over the last year, which is a blessing.  Sharing that grief has made it easier; hopefully we'll have some joy to share over the next two weeks.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Good news, and bad, and good

Good: #2 Son has a new Class A uniform for the JROTC Ball.  He's been practicing tying a bow tie.

Bad: The photo he sent me shows me that he looks great.  This is only bad because I'm 900 miles away.

Good: I gave my 60 day notice to the apartment folks, and so will be winding down FOB Borepatch without doubt.  I may be missing this Military Ball, but won't miss another.

What should your Mom know about Global Warming?

The biggest problem talking about Global Warming to most people is that you get quite quickly into the science, and people's eyes glaze over in a fit of tl;drI'm guilty of this, myself.

And so, I'd like to offer a different approach, with a series of condensed videos that cover the key problem areas - which quite frankly concern the reliability of the science and in particular of the scientists involved.  This is intended for a non-scientific audience, to show them that relying on the say-so of a set of scientists (as reported in the Press) isn't such a good idea.  The whole series only takes a little over a quarter of an hour.  The reference to the "Hockey Stick" refers to the graph shown here.  Pretty much everyone has seen this, because it got so much publicity in 2001.

Notice that none of this says that the planet is not warming.  It doesn't say that our burning of fossil fuels isn't contributing to it.  What it does say is that the science is most definitely not settled.

Act I: The Hockey Stick as viewed over increasingly long time periods (2 minutes 50 sec).

Most people have seen the famous Hockey Stick graph of sudden, rapid warming, which implied that climate has been extremely stable over history until recently.  It only showed the last 1,000 years, but things look quite different if you take this back 2,000, 5,000, 50,000 years or more.  In particular, look at how tiny and insignificant the hockey stick recent warming looks.  Quite frankly, the recent warming looks entirely unremarkable.

The data is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Government's climate research agency.

Act II:  Well, what was the big deal about the Hockey Stick? (7 minutes 30 seconds)

It was a fake.  "Fake" is a very harsh term, one that is not used in this video with Ross McKitrick, a Professor who showed that the Hockey Stick was - scientifically - wrong and invalid.  Pay particular attention at 3:00 where he talks about the analysis done on the Hockey Stick paper by the National Academy of Scientists whose report was "scathing" - that the results didn't support the conclusions.  This is the longest of the videos, but is a great step-by-step history of the entire Hockey Stick controversy.

Act III: Hockey Stick?  What Hockey Stick? (2 minutes 46 seconds)

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues reports every 5 years or so on the state of our scientific understanding of the climate.  Their 2001 Third Assessment Report featured the Hockey Stick graph prominently.  By 2007, the Hockey Stick was pretty much discredited, and so the Fourth Assessment Report simply disappeared it.  Many scientists involved in the process (interviewed here) were simply horrified at how the IPCC had politicized the science.

Act IV: It's still a Hockey Stick if we hide the decline (4 minutes 59 seconds)

Despite the name changes ("Global Warming" becomes "Climate Change"), everything is still about warming.  We're still told that large temperature increases will be catastrophic, with oceans rising and flooding people out.  So the Climate Science community keeps looking for new hockey sticks to replace the old and busted one.  Scientists from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) released a paper showing a new hockey stick in 2007.  They refused to release their data, even when it was requested under a Freedom of Information Act request.  In late 2009, a set of emails was leaked to the Internet where the scientists were discussing how to "hide the decline" (in temperature).  This is a clear, accessible overview of what that means, presented by Dr. Richard Muller of the University of California at Berkeley, who was so outraged over this misuse of the scientific method that he has started an open, transparent climate database to be used by people who no longer trust the CRU.

Act V: Global Warming - is there anything it can't do? (9 minutes, 35 seconds)

So what does this all mean to the average person?  First, it means that "skeptic" should not be a curse word; there's very good reason indeed to be skeptical.  Second, it means that a scientific community that has exaggerated and fudged the data shouldn't expect uncritical acceptance of their ideas.  Third, since you now have a much firmer grounding in the issue than anyone in the Press, what you read in the newspaper (Science by Press Release) goes better with a huge grain of salt.  And mockery: Jon Stewart pillories the CRU crowd over "hide the decline" (no embedding allowed, so you'll have to click through).  And you don't often find mockery this delicious - almost ten minutes of news reports on how Global Warming causes basically everything.  Enjoy!

And so, in 18 minutes you can teach your friends and family the most important things about the whole Global Warming controversy (not counting the delicious but non-fattening 9 and a half minutes of desert at the end).  At this point, they'll be better educated on the topic than 95% of everyone.  Those that want to take a closer look at the science are welcome, but that's not really required.

Pass this along to those you know.  Knowledge is power, for them as well as for us.

Internet security: trees and forest

Having lived through the development of the industry, we can safely categorize most security technologies as following a similar path:

1. Initial idea by a smart sumdood leads to new product: antivirus, firewall, that sort of thing.  This is the I bet we could do something interesting phase.

2. The technology matures, as initial customers on the "bleeding edge" suffer for the rest of us, but the biggest problems get addressed or the technology dies. This is the I bet we could actually make this thing work phase.

3. Senescence sets in, as excessive focus on features, rather than on the overall system cause the creation of quite frankly bizarre capabilities that eventually kill the product.  This is the Hey, hold mah beer phase.  Srlsy.

Ever wonder why your antivirus agent suddenly consumes 100% of your CPU?  Hold mah beer.  Ever wonder why so many people turn off their Intrusion Detection?  Hold mah beer.

The focus on the trees, rather than the forest - on new features to the exclusion of how the system works - seems endemic.  The dynamic of having to compete on feature/functionality in a mature and stable market  seems to drive good products off a cliff more often than we'd like to think. 

The damn things become unusable, and so people turn them off.

I just turned off CAPTCHA codes for comments.  We'll see how that goes - I don't like turning security off, but the "improved" CAPTCHAs seem to be well into phase 3.  Google doesn't seem to realize that now they're blocking legitimate commenters who get frustrated and quit.  I think I've heard this song before.


A lesson from Canada.  Reader Dan emails this story of tyranny from north of the border:
KITCHENER — A Kitchener father is upset that police arrested him at his children’s’ school Wednesday, hauled him down to the station and strip-searched him, all because his four-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun at school.


The school principal, police and child welfare officials, however, all stand by their actions. They said they had to investigate to determine whether there was a gun in Sansone’s house that children had access to.

“From a public safety point of view, any child drawing a picture of guns and saying there’s guns in a home would warrant some further conversation with the parents and child,” said Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Children’s Services.
The punchline is that the guy doesn't even own a gun.  But because a four year old drew a picture, he gets the full treatment from his Canadian Overlords, who don't think they've done anything wrong.  On the contrary.

Compare and contrast with the anarchy part:
Police-reported data showed that among young people, the use of guns in violent crime is increasing. The rate of youth aged 12 to 17 accused of a firearm-related offence has risen in three of the past four years, increasing 32% since 2002. The overall firearm-related crime rates for youth were driven primarily by robberies.

In 2006, 1,287 young people were accused of a violent offence in which a gun was used. They accounted for 2.8% of all youth accused of violence; in contrast, 1.8% of adults accused of a violent offence had used a firearm.
So all the policing and gun laws that the Canadian Overlords implement don't seem to be working very well.  In short, the mix of these two toxic brews is what's called Anarcho-Tyranny, where lawlessness is seen at the same time as draconian punishment of the law abiding.  Unwilling to control the criminals, the Government controls the innocent.

I keep waiting for a Progressive to explain to me how this will produce his New Jerusalem, but they just keep saying mistakes were made or some such.  Yeah, that's my point.

Phil Vassar - Last Day Of My Life

Mom comes to visit on Monday, which is very nice indeed.  What's not nice is the reason - we're coming up on the anniversary of Dad's death, and I don't want her at home by herself, with nothing but the four walls and memories of loss to keep her company.

I don't want that for me either, come to think of it.

It's odd how human beings seem programed to look at anniversaries.  It's odd, since I don't need a reason to think on Dad - I think about him literally every day.  What this does make me think on is everyone else who's important to me, and how life can change in the blink of an eye.  Yeah, there's a Country song for that, although the music is very much the "new" Nashville.

It's worth a listen, even so.  It's worth a listen despite the video being filled with the most sappy and overly sentimental images imaginable.  It's because the song captures the feeling of a funeral - that life whispers to us: liveLove.  That if we are lucky, we're loved back.  That every day with this love is a fragile, precious gift that should be savored, like the finest of wines.  Live this day, like this is the last day of your life.

Last Day Of My Life (Songwriter: Tim Ryan, Phil Vassar)
I just left Bobby's house:
The service was today.
Got me thinkin' about how fragile life is,
As I drove away.
You know Amy was his only love,
In a moment she was gone, long gone:
It could have been me or you.
Oh, baby, there's no time to lose.

So I'm gonna bring home a dozen roses,
An' pour us a glass of wine.
An' I'm gonna put on a little music,
An' turn down the lights.
An' I'm gonna wrap my arms around you,
An' rock you all through the night,
An' I'm gonna love you,
Like it's the last day of my life.

I drive off when the sun comes up:
I get back when it's gone down.
There's so much I wanna do with you,
But I can't be around.
Whoa, time has been just like a theif,
It's stolen too much from us,
So once it's gone we can't make it up.
So tonight, let's get back in touch.

I'm gonna bring home a dozen roses,
An' pour us a glass of wine.
An' I'm gonna put on a little music,
An' turn down the lights.
An' I'm gonna wrap my arms around you,
An' rock you all through the night,
An' I'm gonna love you,
Like it's the last day of my...

Life is a rainbow, it's a spring snow,
It's the mornin' dew.
An' I don't wanna waste another minute,
Without you.

I'm gonna bring home a dozen roses,
An' pour us a glass of wine.
An' I'm gonna put on a little music,
An' turn down the lights.
An' I'm gonna wrap my arms around you,
An' rock you all through the night,
An' I'm gonna love you,
Like it's the last day of my,
I'm gonna love you
Like it's the last day of my life.
Yes, the video is filled with overly sentimental images.  See past them.  He does:

I posted this song once before, in the early days of this blog.  I think I did a better job this time.  I sure wish that Dad was here to read it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Groaning the Blues

Clapton, baby ...


This is the real deal.

Newt said a while back that there were ideas that are as clear as 2 + 2 = 4.  This is one of those, as simple and compelling as I've heard from a politician in a long, long time.  Legal Insurrection said that Newt filmed it in one take, with no notes or teleprompter - just a step-by-step assembly of logic that is basically irrefutable.

It's long - almost 30 minutes - but this is big, important stuff.

Save the Polar Bears!

Do it for teh Childrenz™.

From the Department of Lousy Statistics

Cemetery find some guys who claim that more Vietnam Vets have killed themselves than were KIA in-country.  I call B.S.

If you want to understand PTSD, you should read this.  It's terrible, beyond words (PTSD, not the book).

But making up statistics doesn't help your cause.  It makes you look like you're trolling for donations.

What's the difference between Philander and Philanderer?

Philander refers to Philander C. Knox, U.S. Attorney General under Teddy Roosevelt, Secretary of State under Taft, and then a Senator who sponsored the bill ending World War I.  You may have heard one of his quotes, said to Teddy Roosevelt concerning the legality of America's involvement in the construction of the Panama Canal: Mister President, do not let so great an achievement suffer from any taint of legality.

That got appropriated in the screen play for The Wind And The Lion (at around 2:15):

Philanderer, of course, refers to the 42nd President of the United States.  He didn't let his actions suffer from the taint of illegality either, but other than that, it's quite a difference that a syllable makes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Holy cow, the new Firefox blows chunks.  It's bloated, a memory hog, and needs to be killed and restarted every day - on both Windows and Linux.  Anyone tried out Opera on Linux?  I'm watching this appear character-by-character on my monitor.  Congratulations, Mozilla Foundation - you've recreated the 2400 baud modem on modern Internet technology!

Oh, well: at least I'm not ranty.  I'm "unreasonably civilized", it seems!

But speaking of ranty, on the drive home Michael Savage (I know, I know) went full-on Borepatchian on how he doesn't see a lick of difference between the two main parties.  Always trust content from Borepatch!

It was 87° on the drive home.  Austin sure isn't like Boston in February.  Or even Atlanta.  I don't remember the last time I had the air conditioning on in February.

Tactical Cupid

I'm guessing that he's not taking aim at Call Of Duty fanbois very often.

Compare and contrast blogging styles

A bit ago, I blogged about the TSA jerks who made pretty women go through the PervScan™ repeatedly to get their jollies.  My style goes to snark and sarcasm: Join the TSA! Meet hot chicks!

Dean Carder has a different style that gives, err, visual impact to the story.  Completely SFW, but, err, impactful nonetheless.  Blogbrother PISSED needs to watch his back ...


I've felt for a few months that I've been increasingly ranty.  Well going by the archives here, it seems that I'm not (well, if you trust the tag, anyway).

So my hypothesis is falsified by cold hard data.  Still Mr. Sweetness and Light, I guess.

I wonder why the gap between my perception and reality?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Via blog brother PISSED, we see just how expert the KGB was at this.  Very long, but worth watching in its entirety.

Intellectuals in this country are selectively blind.  They lack intellectual honesty.

Anyone who knows the Russian psyche understands just how contemptuous an insult this is.  But this entire dialog has vanished down the memory hole.  Soviet fascism, he says.  And yet it's as if he never spoke, if you only listened to the Professors ...

And interesting the bit about the KGB threatening him, and his view on gun control, starting around 20:30.

Deep sigh of despair.

I find myself in agreement with Bill O'Reilly.  Watch until around the 6 minute mark to see him absolutely put down Bill Maher.

Yes, Maher is a tool.  So's O'Reilly.  The fact that we see a debate on who's a bigger political shill is depressing.

Five years

You cannot blow a prediction as badly as Russ Feingold blew his.  Newt described the motivations to perfection - quite frankly, there's really nothing more to say about the left wing of the Democratic Party other than what Christopher Hitchen would have said: they are frivolous.

I must confess that I am a bit twisting in the wind on Newt.  I think that he gets it.  I'm not convinced that he can focus the country on where it needs to go, which is devolution at home and clarity abroad.  There is perhaps a Shakespearian Tragedy to be written about Newt.  Act the First is the 1990s; Act the Second is the 2010s.

Ten years

Predictions are hard, especially about the future.  Ten years from now, I'd be happy if my predictions had weathered the passing of a decade as well as these.  We still won't talk about Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Newt and Christopher Hitchens on the War on Terror, from July 2002.  Ron Paul should listen to this.  Twice.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Interlude, with heavens

This heaven has no other where than this:
the mind of God, in which are kindled both
the love that turns it and the force it rains.

As in a circle, light and love enclose it,
as it surrounds the rest and that enclosing,
only He who encloses understands.

No other heaven measures this sphere's motion,
but it serves as the measure for the rest,
even as half and fifth determine ten

- Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXVII
We're surrounded by miracles, if we stop to look.

Security ProTip: always lock your screen when you leave your computer

You never know when someone migh be carrying a grudge.

Or buy the good cat food.  I mean, your reputation is worth it, right?

Keeping women in their place

That would be Sabra, who unloads a righteous can of whoop-ass, culminating with this:
Shit like this is exactly why I so rarely pay attention to liberals these days.  Because they lie.  And then they lie some more.  And then they claim it's the truth, and if you point out that nothing of the sort was ever said, why, don't you know that what was said was just racist code words?
Clearly, Sabra is a Patriarchal Oppressor, whose goal is to keep women helpless and without options for, oh, I don't know, higher education and bettering themselves and stuff.  Oh, wait ...

Me, I just think she would like a higher caliber drivel from the Lefties.

This blog kills Fascists

Woodie Guthrie was a Red - he lived in the "Red Hill" district of Los Angeles in the 1930s (a neighborhood notorious for the concentration of radicals), and wrote a column for the Communist Party's Daily Worker newspaper.  He was a reliable Red, willing to be an apologist for the U.S.S.R.'s non-aggression pact with Hitler.

All that changed on June 1, 1941, as Operation Barbarossa saw the Nazi supermen storming across the border into Guthrie's Mother Russia.  He took some paint and wrote on his guitar: This machine kills fascists.

It's probably unfair to blame him for not recognizing that fascists fought on both sides of the Eastern Front.  Stalin paid lip service to the Socialist Dialectic, and the West's Useful Idiots (like Guthrie) let him get away with it, but the U.S.S.R. was fascist in all but name.  Non-Russians were second class citizens (as the population on Ukraine found out to their sorrow), the State controlled everything, and above all was the all-seeing, all-powerful fuhrer (well, General Secretary).

But Woodie knew how to get an idea popularized, and did.

We live today in a political world that people from Woodie's time simply wouldn't recognize.  The growth in the Leviathan State is steam rolling all before it - the War on (some) Drugs is crushing the Fourth Amendment, Kelo v. New London crushed the Fifth Amendment, Medicare is killing the Tenth Amendment.  Obamacare is killing the First Amendment.  The Second Amendment has - for now - fought off a series of restrictions from 1968 through 1994 that sought to kill it.  That battle is still raging.

On one side of those battles stand the People, trying to protect their rights as recognized in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  On the other side are the fascists*, seeking to establish the Leviathan State above all.  Everything within the State; nothing outside it.  Thankfully without all the boxcar and Concentration Camp drama, but fascists nonetheless.

Both Dinosaur political parties are allied in the fascist struggle.  With the exception of the lack of furherprinzip (the embodiment of the People's Will in the person of a strong leader) and the lack of nationalism as an organizing principle (the two parties are somewhat divergent here, but only somewhat), all the fascist principles are prominent:
  • Subordination of industry to political direction (Sarbanes-Oxley, Military Industrial Complex, Solyndra)
  • Subordination of the People to political direction (public education, TSA, NDAA, No Child Left Behind)
  • Subordination of independent organizations to political direction (McCain-Feingold, Obamacare)
The system is not Socialist - the Government does not own the means of production, nor does it want to.  What it wants is for industry to fall into line, doing what it's told in return for favors and avoidance of punishment.  What the Government wants is for us to fall into line, doing what we're told in return for favors and avoidance of punishment.  What the Government wants is for independent organizations to fall into line, doing what they're told in return for favors and avoidance of punishment.

That system is fascist.

I'm afraid that I'm not big on the "compliance" part of this, and so must respectfully** decline our Governmental Overlord's offer.  And so, I'm going Woodie Guthrie.  I'd like to invite all y'all to join me.

This blog kills fascists, by pointing out who they are, what they do, and who it hurts.  This Land is your land and my land - not their land.  We are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights, despite the best efforts of the fascists to take them away.  And so, here are the fascists:

(via Wikipedia)
Fascist.  Obamacare, gun running to Mexican Drug Lords (to blame American Gun Stores), nationalizing the auto industry, targeting Americans for execution without trial.  In 2008 he was looking like he had that furherprinzip swagger down pat; fortunately, that looks like it's a bit stale.

(via Wikipedia)
Fascist.  Romneycare, politics of personal destruction (negative campaigning), "saved" the Olympics by getting a huge Government bailout.  Buddies with Ted Kennedy.  Also more gay than Twilight, and so might be our first gay fascist President.

(Via Wikipedia)
Fascist.  Couch potato with Nancy Pelosi to get Cap 'n' Tax passed.  Talks a Freedom Agenda but is happy to "go along to get along".  Balanced the budget by cleverly causing the Internet bubble and convincing 50 year old Boomers not to retire.  Kind of too bad, because many of his ideas are strongly compelling from a personal libery perspective.  But actions speak louder than Youtube clips.

(Via Wikipedia)
Fascist.  What, you need it spelled out?  Seriously?  OK, big Government, big spender, wants to meddle in your personal business.  No friend of Fourth or Tenth Amendments, at the very least.

(Via Wikipedia)
Not a fascist.  He may be a Wookie, but he's the only non-fascist on offer here.  Of course that means that he doesn't have a chance as both political parties will unite to crush him.  He doesn't stand much chance, but is doing his part like Woodie Guthrie did, getting the message out.

The Tea Party?  Might be fascist, might not be.  Might get coopted by the fascists in the future.  There's a lot of money in fascist government, if you're the government.  Time will tell.

So what does all this mean?  It means that we need to get the message out, to sing the message from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream Water.  The chains may sit lightly upon you (for now), but chains they are.  It was Woodrow Wilson (perhaps the first fascist President) who laid it out, starkly:
Conformity will be the only virtue and any man who refuses to conform will have to pay the penalty.
Sorry, no thanks.  Keep your nose out of my business.  I'll keep singing the anti-fascist song, thank you very much.  I'll call them for what they are, as we all need to: Fascists.  Nice fascists (maybe), but fascists nonetheless.  Both  parties.

Feel free to use the image, and sing the song.  This land was made for you and me.

* Before anyone freaks out, I guess I need to point out (again) that you can be a fascist without gassing Jews and that sort of thing. Mussolini (the Father of Fascism) didn't.  Franco didn't.  Peron didn't.  Oh, yeah - FDR didn't, although he did put Japanese-Americans in Concentration Camps.  But they were nice Concentration Camps, and FDR was a God Among Men.  A fuhrer, you might say.  That's what they teach in school. 

** OK, that was sarcasm.  Nothing respectful at all there, actually.

Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day - Best and Worst Presidents

It's not a real President's birthday (Lincoln was the 12th, Washington is the 22nd), but everyone wants a day off, so sorry Abe and George, but we're taking it today.  But in the spirit intended for the holiday, let me offer up Borepatch's bestest and worstest lists for Presidents.

Top Five:

#5: Calvin Coolidge

Nothing To Report is a fine epitaph for a President, in this day of unbridled expansion of Leviathan.

#4. Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson is perhaps the last (and first) President who exercised extra-Constitutional power in a manner that was unambiguously beneficial for the Republic (the Louisiana Purchase).  He repealed Adam's noxious Alien and Sedition Acts and pardoned those convicted under them.

#3. Grover Cleveland. 

He didn't like the pomp and circumstance of the office, and he hated the payoffs so common then and now.  He continually vetoed pork spending (including for veterans of the War Between the States), so much so that he was defeated for re-election, but unusually won a second term later.  This quote is priceless (would that Latter Day Presidents rise so high), on vetoing a farm relief bill: "Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character."

#2. Ronald Reagan

He at least tried to slow down the growth of Leviathan, the first President to do so in over half a century (see entry #5, above).  He would have reduced it further, except that his opposition to the Soviet fascist state and determination to end it cost boatloads of cash.  It also caused outrage among the home grown fascists in the Media and Universities, but was wildly popular among the general population which was (and hopefully still remains) sane.

#1. George Washington

Could have been King.  Wasn't.  Q.E.D.

Bottom Five:

#5. John Adams.

There's no way to read the Alien and Sedition Acts as anything other than a blatant violation of the First Amendment.  It's a sad statement that the first violation of a Presidential Oath of Office was with President #2.

#4. Woodrow Wilson.

Not only did he revive the spirit of Adams' Sedition Acts, he caused a Presidential opponent to be imprisoned under the terms of his grotesque Sedition Act of 1918.  He was Progressivism incarnate: he lied us into war, he jailed the anti-war opposition, he instituted a draft, and he was entirely soft-headed when it came to foreign policy.  The fact that Progressives love him (and hate George W. Bush) says all you need to know about them.

#3 Lyndon Johnson.

An able legislator who was able to get bills passed without having any real idea what they would do once enacted, he is responsible for more Americans living in poverty and despair than any occupant of the White House, and that says a lot.

#2. Franklin Roosevelt.

America's Mussolini - ruling extra-Constitutionally fixing wages and prices, packing the Supreme Court, and transforming the country into a bunch of takers who would sell their votes for a trifle.  At least Mussolini met an honorable end.

#1. Abraham Lincoln.

There's no doubt that the Constitution never would have been ratified if the States hadn't thought they could leave if they needed to.  Lincoln saw to it that 10% of the military-age male population was killed or wounded preventing that in an extra-Constitutional debacle unequaled in the Republic's history.  Along the way, he suspended Habeas Corpus, instituted the first ever draft on these shores, and jailed political opponents as he saw fit.  Needless to say, Progressives adore him.

So happy President's Day.  Thankfully, the recent occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue haven't gotten this bad.  Yet.

Progressives have always been authoritarian

They just pretended to be a bit anti-establishment in the 1960s, but the authoritarian streak runs deep.  Progressives swooned over Mussolini in the 1930s, Progressives made a fetish of FDR (Google Franklin Roosevelt's looks give me a thrill), the Pulitzer Prize Committee famously refused to revoke Duranty's Pulitzer, and to this day the Academy sweeps the Gulag under the rug - preferring to focus their outrage on the crimes of America.

And so, the answer to Sonic Charmer's question is the Left has always loved Fascism, only with the Fuhrerprinzip and Nationalism played down.  But they've always loved all that "shoulder to shoulder" bit, and mobilizing society for the Big Push (War on Poverty, etc).  And if you don't fall in like, then you're in the way.  And so, they're not retarded:
One aspect of these debates that always seems to be in play here is a blurring (on the part of the left) of the difference between allowing something and mandating something, and/or between thinking something is good and thinking something should be government-subsidized. So (for example) if I don’t think the government should force insurance companies to cover contraception, in the eyes of the left I must be against contraception. This raises the question, is it just that a lot of these fascist lefties are dumb-ass retards intellectally incapable of proper reasoning?
Dude, you're in their way.  And so they're coming at you, shoulder to shoulder.  I'd do an uber post on why the Progressive Left is entirely fascist (with modifications to 1930s fascist model duly noted above), but it's already been done.

Both Parties are reliably fascist under this model.  Me, I'm voting Whig.  They're delightfully uncontaminated by late 19th Century Progressivism.

Well, I have been a bit ranty lately ...

The explanation is priceless.

You guys don't much like the Republican Party

Not sayin' that you're wrong.  Just sayin' that you don't much like the GOP.

Me neither. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

You're the reason we can't have a nice Internet*

Google Earth:

True dat.

* Well, not you.  All those other folks, though.

Valentines Day cards to make sure you go home alone

I missed this when it came out, but it's just as well.  I might have gone home alone.

Via #2 Son.

Ask not for whom the Bell tolls

Sometimes the Leviathan State even goes after the pro-Leviathan groups:
CSIS and the RCMP classify some animal rights, environmental and aboriginal activists alongside terrorists that pose a threat to national security, reveal documents obtained by two Canadian academics.
Welcome to the curb, lefties.  Feel free to use the Homeland Security Certified Terrorist logo here.  But before climbing aboard the Schadenfreude Express, remember that the bell on that locomotive rings for thee.

They see me rollin'

They (the family) hatin' (to see me go).  Off back to Austin again, for the penultimate time.  Should be hitting the road right about now (0600) because it's raining, which will slow things down.

But to keep things from being a complete downer, this is something that would be awesome to have sewn on your shirt when you meet the new (or old) neighbors.

Posts queued for today, but Sunday Classical will return next week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Seize the day

... be wise, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes
to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have already fled
Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.
- Horace, Odes 1.11
Today we went to the Bat Mitzvah for a friend's daughter.  It wasn't really a first for us - we'd been to their son's Bar Mitzvah a few years back, but it was interesting sitting there not really understanding what was going on.

Because it was obvious what was going on.  Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow, and this was one of those moments where a community stopped to step outside the flow of time.  Her father said something that pretty well summed up the whole experience, telling her to look around at where she was, and who she was with.  That she'll remember this moment for the rest of her life.

Maybe it's because I'm leaving for Austin tomorrow, but these moments of life - hanging out with your neighbors, laughing with your kids, walking the dogs - these moments are ones I cherish.  The danger is to live your life in the future, waiting for that last plan to fall into place to make everything perfect.  Or you can live your life in the past, dwelling on success or failure long past.

But today is here, right now.  It's real.  The boys and I took Ivan the Terrier on a walk down to the park at the Mill dam.  They climbed down the rocks to the stream, laughing and teasing each other as boys do.  I watched, and looked around at where I was.  I thought about who I was with. For a few blessed minutes, I stepped out of the flow of time.

Seize the day.  It's here, right now.  Envious time is fleeing, but I'll remember this for the rest of my life.

A brokered convention?

I might be able to get behind this guy:

Well, he's no worse than the rest of them.

In which I am a lazy busy blogger

I usually queue posts up the night before, but between dinner with the family and then hanging out with our neighbors, the whole evening got wasted on stupid stuff like hanging out with family and friends.  Since I'm heading out tomorrow for another rotation to FOB Borepatch, I won't let that happen again for a while.

In the mean time, we're off to a friend's daughter's Bat Mitzvah.  And I have to pack the Jeep for the trip.  It's a little busy, sorry.  Posting as I can.

Oh, and helpful Pro Tip to Google: your spell checker doesn't recognize "Mitzvah".  Seriously?  Cool display of cosmopolitan social awareness ...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Yup, that's about right

New! Shiny!

Stupid Blogspot up and changed the color scheme to something eyeball bleach-worthy, and so I picked a new (and not as attractive, at least to me) color scheme that at least is readable.

When things settle down in a couple of months, I plan on moving off Blogspot to my own domain, because of exactly this sort of wtf just happened thing.  Plus the fact that Blogger is starting to censor access from different countries, spying on everyone, and generally acting like a bunch of evil hypocrites. 

Little One-Eyed Dog was the 99%

She led #OccupyCampBorepatch, I think.

Via Theo.

So who does the GOP see as the real enemy?

Obama or the Tea Party?
The correct moment to tell Gingrich to leave the race, of course, was the moment he decided to enter it. No one was ever going to vote for the corrupt and thin-skinned little troll. The only purpose he served was to make Santorum and Romney look half-electable by comparison, and they both possess the electability of a Republican candidate in the classic Dole/McCain vein. They'll lose, but they'll lose respectably and make it look as if the Republican Establishment actually wanted to win the election.

Which, as is readily apparent, it doesn't. Obama is obediently bombing who he's told to bomb and defending the interests of the banks he's told to defend. So long as his handlers can sufficiently head off his self-destructive political instincts - seriously, he's picking a fight on healthcare now? - and keep him from quitting the race in a morose tantrum, the Republican Establishment will be perfectly satisfied with a loss to Obama it can blame on the Tea Party.

We have a very strange situation in 2012 where it is the Democratic Establishment that wants Obama out whereas the Republican Establishment is perfectly content with the idea of him serving a second term.
S who do you think that the Republican Establishment sees as a bigger threat?


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Geek is strong in that one

Bet the Borg have a bitchin' hockey team.

Huh. Taxes have a disincentive effect?

Who'd have thought?
Adding up the additional taxes (90k) and childcare costs (80k) you get $170k of income that goes away.

My wife would make more than that next year, but she has to work a lot to make that money. At a certain point, her hourly wage becomes ridiculous. Therefore, it looks like the answer to the question of whether or not she should work is ‘no’.
What to do, what to do?  I mean, you can't have individuals making their own decisions, especially when that costs the .GOV almost a hundred large.  How about some taxes on stay-at-home people?  I mean, look at all the value to the kids!  The kids need to pay their fair share on that value.

You raised your kids right?  Good for you!  But I want to be clear: you took them to the library.  The streets were safe for you because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.  You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and kidnap your kids, because of the work the rest of us did.

Look, you're raising your kids and turning them into terrific people.  God bless.  Keep a big chunk of that. But part of the underlying social contract is that to take part of that and pay it forward for the next kid who comes along.

I mean, if you belong to the State, so do your kids, right?  Now shut up and buy your health insurance, because we said so.

Is Santorum even worse than Romney?

Sure looks like it:
Doesn't sound very conservative to me. The GAS Act had all the hallmarks of the big government excess the Tea Party was trying to get away from in 2009 and 2010: new redundant federal criminal laws, federal commissions, picking winners and losers in the energy market, and, um, teleslacking federal employees.

Oh, did I mention Santorum voted for Sotomayor? Yeah, he did. At least he's not bragging about that anymore.
So he's a Big Government Conservative.  So what?  Well, he's a Nanny State Conservative, too:
[Reagan, in 1975] If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Santorum of course strongly disagrees and every time Libertarianism is brought up he mocks it and states he's always fought against this pernicious idea that the government should provide freedom to the maximum extent possible.
, "One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea."
, "I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement."
Conservatives complain that Romney cannot explain conservatism. He speaks it as a second language. If that.

That's true.

On the other hand, Santorum not only can't speak in terms of a Freedom Agenda, but he expressly repudiates the very concept every single time he's asked about it.
Holy cow, I didn't think it was possible to get a worse candidate than Romney.  Good grief.

Via Married To The Sea

My naughty little Angel

I never much cared for the Richard Scarry books when the kids were little, but that didn't matter.  The kids loved them - well, this one, anyway.

The bunny is simply a hellion, always getting into trouble and driving his poor mother to distraction.  Even when Dad takes him aside, he can't remember to change his ways.

But it's a children's book, and so all comes out well in the end.  So much so, that the bunny is a "naughty little angel".  In a sense, the book is a lesson on Grace.

Little One-Eyed Dog was a hellion, who drove us to distraction.  She was a rescue dog, grown when we got her.  By "we" I mean "everyone but me": I met her when I came home from work one day, and there was this little dog playing in our yard.  Did one of the neighbors' dogs get out I asked.  And suddenly nobody would make eye contact. I see how it is, I thought. And so I went to make friends with out new pet.

She bit me.

She was tough, which is what she'd needed to survive on the mean streets of San Juan.  Her eye had been infected when she was forwarded to the Shelter, and they couldn't save it.  It didn't slow her down.  A little dog, she was fast and quick, and loved to run for the joy of running - we called her "turbo dog" when she did that, and it was simply fun watching her have the fun of reaching Mach 2.

But she was a sweetheart, too - quite a lap dog who quickly took a shine to me above all others.  I've always taken to big dogs, but she knew how to let the Angel of her Better Nature shine.  Sometimes.

You see, she never entirely lost her old survival instincts.  She'd hoard food, hiding it from everyone.  She'd sneak off and pee in corners, marking her territory - even after bringing her in from a walk.  Sneaky.  It was a good thing that she was so cute.

But nothing lasts forever, especially pets.  The cancer came on quick, and hard: ten days after taking her to the vet, we were back to end her suffering.  Even two days before she'd pranced as I went to let her outside; the night later she was refusing water.

We buried her in the back yard where she so liked to go into Turbo Dog mode, and the boys impressed me by helping to dig her grave.  We covered it with a slab of marble that used to be a coffee table top, but had broken in two on the move to Camp Borepatch.  It's a nice marker.

We'll miss our Naughty Little Angel, Little One-Eyed Dog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Join the TSA! Meet Hot Chicks!

Who didn't see this coming?
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Women passengers complain that TSA agents are targeting them for extra screening.

The Transportation Security Administration has a policy to randomly select people for extra screening, but some female passengers are complaining. They believe there is nothing “random” about the way they were picked.

A Dallas woman says TSA agents repeatedly asked her to step back into a body scanning machine at DFW International Airport. “I feel like I was totally exposed,” said Ellen Terrell, who is a wife and mother. “They wanted a nice good look.”
Oh, come on, Sweet Cheeks - it's all for your own good, just like it was for the former Miss America that got sexually assaulted in a pat down:
Castillo said that an older woman who worked for the airport attempted to comfort her as she sat crying, saying, "Well honey, you know what, I'd rather go through the scanner or get a pat-down than, you know, be blown up." In the video Castillo recalls thinking, "Okay, I guess I'm supposed to find comfort in that, but I didn't."

TSA has since reviewed the incident and a representative reportedly told TMZ, "We have reviewed this passenger's screening experience and found that the officer followed proper procedures."
So lie back and think of England The War on Terror, ladies.  Just don't think about the radiation dose:
The results of tests on the radiation levels at x-ray body scanners that have been put in airports acorss America are flawed, the Transportation Security Administration admits.

The tests came back showing ten times more radiation than was expected.
Off by a factor of ten?  Whatevs.  At least the TSA is unionized now.

This is what bureaucracies do.  They gather power to themselves, power lost by the rest of us.  The more power they gather, the more budget and headcount they get.  The more power they gather, the more they attract those who are attracted to the arbitrary and petty exercise of power.

And to all the Progressives out there so proud of their education, just remember that Gogol's novels were filled with petty functionaries and how they acted.  What, did you sleep through literature class, or just think that could never happen here, or just never thought of it at all?  Impressive display of elite education, right there.

Via Uncle.

Dentists are like Security "Experts"

Dentists.  They're such jokers.  We are, too.

What's your Civic Literacy score?

Take the quiz.

I scored 100%, which is not to boast because 2 or 3 were educated guesses that turned out to be right.  What's not good is the very poor showing by by Elected Politicians, who don't look like they would even get the Gentleman's D-.

Now I lay me down to sleep ...

If I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

What happens if the Lord doesn't take your soul, but instead sends it back?
I had experienced the reality of the prayer. I had actually died before I could wake. I continued in death for some unknown minutes and then was revived and kept in a deathlike coma for 13 days; a time that I, gratefully, have no memory of whatsoever. And, it came to me, I had died in the bed I was currently lying down in and thinking of this old childhood prayer. I had, without realizing it, gotten used to sleeping in my deathbed.
Thoughts on living, and dieing, and living again.

Windows 7 touchpad

Has anyone seen a situation where a laptop's touchpad just stopped working with the driver being reported as corrupt?  Uninstalling and reinstalling just results in Windows saying that the latest driver is installed, but it then also says that the driver is corrupt.  Even doing a system restore doesn't fix anything.

Windows is more like Walls without a mouse/touchpad.  Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Paul Volcker gazes down on you and me, and is pleased with the view from the heights:
We care about all these thoughts and feelings and reactions of Paul Volcker not, as you might think, because they betray how he is showing the first signs of dementia and we want him to seek assisted living, but because Paul Volcker, and Paul Volcker alone, at some point was anointed the Finance Czar of Western Civilization, and we are all duty-bound to listen to and obey him every thought, whim, feeling, and hiccup when it comes to how we organize the rules and regulations that govern our financial system.

Do not be fooled by the fact that Paul Volcker has never been elected to any role in the United States Government. Do not be swayed by the fact that Paul Volcker currently holds no appointed let alone Congressionally-confirmed position in the United States Government. Do not get distracted by the fact that Paul Volcker holds no direct or indirect democratic or otherwise accountability to the populace over whose financial rules he deigns to preside. Just obey Paul Volcker as a god in all financial affairs. That’s all he asks. If Paul Volcker doesn’t want banks doing XYZ, banks shouldn’t do XYZ, and that’s what the regulations should say.
I'm very pleased that Paul Volcker is very pleased.  All is for the best, in the best of all possible (financial) worlds.

The "Precautionary Principle" is a tool for Luddites

Or Luddite Tools, as the case may be:

An Ontario teachers' union is calling for an end to new Wi-Fi setups in the province's 1,400-plus Catholic schools.

The Ontario English Catholic Teacher's Association says computers in all new schools should be hardwired instead of setting up wireless networks.

The OECTA, in its paper, said the "safety of this technology has not thoroughly been researched and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure should be practised."
The Ontario English Catholic Teacher's Association membership all need to go back for remedial biology and physics courses.  Pay particular attention to the bit about ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

Sheesh.  This is the point where anyone who ever uttered the words Republican War of Science can just shut up and sit down in the back of the room grownups are talking now.

And what's the over/under that this is just a negotiating position and that the Association will find that fatter paychecks block the harmful effect of WiFi rays?

Starbuck's blogging

Normally I'd be at work, but we put Little One-Eyed Dog down this morning. Her cancer was aggressive, and it would have been cruel to let her go on like this. And so I wanted to just stop for a minute.

It reminds me of being at the airport, really, only nicer and without luggage. Lots of SWPL types on iPads. And us. Oh, and their bacon, egg, and Gouda sandwich is pretty good.

Go, Starbuck's.

The unkempt garden

(Image source)
Tough weeds were what I saw in Spring,
and Winter's dreary damage:
dead stems and broken branches.
Clean up! Replace! Repair! I'd think.
- Edmund Spaeth
Angkor Wat is a World Heritage site, for good reason.  The ruins of a mighty civilization, long lost, now overgrown by the riotous growth of the jungle - this captured the imaginations of 19th Century European explorers raised on Shelly:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Or in the case of Angkor, trees and vines vying with each other to grow ever higher towards the sunlight.  Locked in fierce competition with other plan forms, the largest choke out their rivals while swallowing up the decay of a once glorious civilization.

That garden needs pruning, is all I can say.  As does the garden of government regulation and Agencies vying with each other for budget, headcount, and power:

The problem here is that in business, there’s a clear and measurable indication of success and failure: profit.

In government, there’s just as clear an indication of success and failure: power. In government, the more power you have, the more successful you are, by definition. The more lines of business you have, the better. The success of increasing power is not to be confused with efficiency – they are unrelated. Who cares about efficiency?
And vying with us, and our freedoms.  Perhaps a reorganization to increase efficiency?  Alas, no:
A government re-org is not a re-org in the private sense of the word. Instead of increasing efficiency, a government re-org will be co-opted to increase the power of certain people in government. It thus becomes a power struggle. In a government re-org, no one actual government employee would lose his job (at least not for long). Moving the deck chairs on the Titanic is not a re-org. Proposals like this will be co-opted by the bureaucracy and used to increase their power.
The only way to bring an overgrown garden back to usability is by heavy use of the pruning shears.  Ruthlessly loping branches that have smothered fairer flowers is the only remedy.  The blooms long forgot will find that they can blossom forth in the liberty of the new found sunlight.

There is no alternative but down sizing the Agencies.  The cost of the headcount is the minor annoyance - I'd even consider paying the taxes to support them if they promised not to every actually do anything.  No new regulations.  No notices to the public.  No Request for Proposal.

But that's not the imperative of growth and ambition.  And so they have to go.  Cut each agency by 40%, eliminate some outright, and let's see what flowers spring to life in Liberty's garden.

The saddest Valentine's Day ever

Teddy Roosevelt's diary, February 14, 1884:

His wife, Alice, died two days after giving birth to their daughter.  May you have a much nicer day, and remember those who don't.