Sunday, November 30, 2014

Jimmy Buffett - Mele Kalikimaka

Welcome back to the Christmas music season! [evil laugh]

It's 70° here at Camp Borepatch - so warm that a buddy is riding his Harley over to store it in my garage until he moves next month.  I dare say it will be colder when he picks it up ...


I was leaving the dog park when I came up on a minivan mom and her two kids.  The boy was throwing rocks, and I watched him closely as I went to drive past.  Sure enough, he wound back and let fly.

Little 3 year old punk is all ready for Occupy Wall Street, it seems.  His sister broke into tears for some reason, and minivan mom tried to explain that while he had been throwing rocks, he wasn't throwing them at anything.

I'm afraid that I was a little cross with her, explaining how young Junior tracked the car's movements before he threw the damn thing.  I was watching his eyes the whole time.

Fortunately (I guess), Dad showed up to pick up the brood and gave me contact info.  We'll see if it was all made up or not.

Damn kids start early these days ...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Happy birthday, video games!

On this day in 1972, Atari announced the release of Pong.

Now video games make more money than Hollywood.

So 97% of scientists believe in Global Warming?

Sounds pretty settled to me.


Mmmmm, leftovers!

Nothing quite beats Thanksgiving leftovers for a quick feed when you get back from the dog park.  Of course, your Gormogons have some handy tips for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Most brain-dead PR team ever

That's one top-notch new media team, right there:
MALAYSIA airlines has been slammed for its latest tweet that promotes its end of year specials. The tweet was criticised for its poor choice of words, which read, “Want to go somewhere, but don’t know where?”

Critics say the tweet was insensitive, following a devastating year for the airline that saw them lose two planes resulting in the deaths of hundreds of passengers.

Flight MH370 disappeared between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on 8 March with 230 passengers on-board including 6 Australians. The plane is still missing.

Flight MH17 was shot down four months later by rebels over the Ukraine killing all 298 of its passengers. It was carrying 36 Australians.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln - how did you like the play.  Sheesh.

You can only rent beer

May as well cut out the middle man ...

Richard Scarry's 21st Century jobs

Heh.  I local the Climate CHange Denier and NSA collection van.  But no community organizer?


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ghosts of Thanksgivings past

Summoned from the depths of memory.

Me, I remember when I was in High School.  I was on the winter track team, and was thin as a rail despite going back for fourths.

I remember when we lived in England, and took the day off.  Everyone at the office knew what this was about, but only intellectually.  They had never really been to one of these celebrations.  I thought that was quite a loss - it would go quite a long way to counter the myth of the "Ugly American"* if they really thought on how this day is all about gratitude from sea to shining sea.

I remember Thanksgiving dinner with the family of #1 Son's best friend.  They were from China, but lived next door.  The idea of going around the table saying what they were thankful for was new to them, but was a wonderful experience.

Me, I'm grateful that my view today isn't this:

I hope that this day gives you something to be thankful for.  Gratitude is good for the soul after all, and the Feast is not just to nourish the body.

* My experience is that Americans are much nicer tourists than anyone from Europe, and that the "Ugly American" trope hasn't been true for 30 years, if it ever was.

Postscript to reader Renee: Your email made my day, and is something else that I am thankful for.  Thank you for sending it.

How about a "Reset Button" for relations with Australia?

I guess that this is more of that "Smart Diplomacy", or something:
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop criticises US president Barack Obama for a speech in Brisbane last weekend in which he claimed climate change threatened the Great Barrier Reef. It is highly unusual for an Australian foreign minister to openly criticise a US president. Ms Bishop also said Australia currently had no intention of committing extra forces or resources to the mission against Islamic State, even though the White House had discussed it with the Abbott Government. –Radio Australia, 20 November 2014
I can't remember the last time that a US President gave an address in another country that was immediately rebuked by that country's foreign minister.  Man, it sure is a good thing that we don't have a cowboy in the White House making the world hate us ...

A Thanksgiving prayer

May the blessings of this day shine most especially on those who stand a post far from home.  The food is the least of their sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

About those riots:
The unseen winners in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, and now of the refusal to indict his shooter, are those middle-class and upper-class people who approve of the riots but who of course are not affected adversely by them. It is not their neighborhoods that are being trashed. It is not their neighborhoods that will go into decline as businesses leave. No, but they believe that they are doing the right thing in supporting the rioters. Maybe they even have a nice job in the media or as a professor in which they can propound their views for all the world to hear while calling anyone who disagrees a racist.

But there’s a nasty little joke about stock brokers who lose their client’s money that can be adapted here: the broker made money, and the firm made money, and two out of three ain’t bad. So, how about this? The media representatives didn’t have their neighborhoods trashed, and the ivory-tower theorists didn’t have their neighborhoods trashed, and two out of three ain’t bad.
But remember - those people are smarter and nicer than you or I.  They keep telling us that.

I hadn't realized there was so much money to be made playing games

The computer gaming world is facing a cheating scandal:
Over the weekend, Valve had a little autumnal clearout of their suspected Counter-Strike: Global Offensive cheater list. In among the script kiddies and third accounts being handed Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) bans were some familiar names to those who follow pro CS:GO. None other than Titan’s Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian and Epsilon’s Gordon “SF” Giry were banned, just hours before their teams were set to fly out to DreamHack Winter in Sweden, forcing both the tournament to drop the teams and the teams to drop the players.
The tournament prize purse is something like $6M, so it's not really a surprise that some people are cheating.  Still, that's a lot of money, and it's only one tournament.  I guess this is where you insert a joke about a parent encouraging his kid to spend more time playing games ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Remember how Obama was a super smart, super cool technocrat?

You know, one who would set policy based on the smartest analysis, rather than the way it was done by Chimpy McHalliburton?  Yeah, me neither:
President Obama completely fumbles when George Stephanopolous asks him how he’d respond if a future president takes the same action on taxes that Obama has taken on immigration. Incredibly, Obama responds as if he’d never heard or thought of this argument before, stumbling blindly along immigration talking points without answering the actual question.

Stephanopolous asked: “How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in and wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it; so he says ‘I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.’”

“The truth of the matter is George,” said the President, haltingly, “The reason that we, have to do.. uhm prosecutorial discretion in immigration, is that we know, that we – are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time…” Obama then pivoted to immigration talking points, without addressing the original question.
Nice crease in the trouser leg, though.

The silence of the antivirus industry

A public autopsy of sophisticated intelligence-gathering spyware Regin is causing waves today in the computer security world.

But here's a question no one's answering: given this super-malware first popped up in 2008, why has everyone in the antivirus industry kept quiet about it until now? Has it really taken them years to reverse engineer it?


For one thing, it doesn't operate like conventional spyware: Regin doesn't form a remotely controlled botnet – suggesting its masters really didn't want it to be found – nor does it harvest personal financial information.

Instead it collects intelligence useful to state spies. Coupled with the fact that virtually no infections have been reported in the US, UK or other Five Eyes nations, some to suspect it's the work of the NSA, GCHQ or their contractors.
The NSA's fingerprints look to be all over this.  Of course, they've been all about intelligence gathering for, well, forever. 

It is interesting that it's taken 6 years for the antivirus industry to catch this, but it's plausible that the unusual behavior and small number of infected devices explain that.

Whether it's good politics to spy on our allies like this is another discussion.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's been a long time

... since I've made Mickey Mouse pancakes.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

I got back on a motorcycle today

Cowboy up.

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Breakfast of (Kentucky) Champions

Hot Brown and Ale 8. And a birthday party. Been quite a while since I've been around small kids. It's as fun now as it was then.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Name that rifle!

Tacitus sometimes puts up pictures of old grave stones.  This time he's found one with a lever action rifle on it.

Head on over and leave a comment on what you think it is.  I already emailed him my thoughts, but the more the merrier.

National Ammo Day

OK, I'm a little late for this, but I just ordered by Christmas Present.

Cheaper Than Dirt found some mil-surp .303 Brit.  Can't beat the price - 40 cents a round.  Actually, co-blogger ASM826 found it, and called me.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Eric Clapton & Friends - Call Me The Breeze

On Thursdays I like to post some blues, just because.  This one is a suggestion to those of you who like The Blues, because there's a CD which would make a great holiday present for a Blues lover.  Eric Clapton and a star-studded list of artists have created an album as a tribute to J.J. Cale, perhaps the most covered songwriter in history.

Yeah, Skynyrd made this a big hit, but Cale wrote it.  He also wrote "Cocaine" which Clapton took platinum.  And "After Midnight".  Waylon did "Clyde".  Widespread Panic, Kansas, Santana, and Poco all had hit songs penned by Cale.

He also recorded his own, and once turned down an appearance on American Bandstand because he couldn't bring his band and because they wanted him to lip sync.  Oh, and Neil Young said that Cale was in his opinion the best guitar player after Jimi Hendrix.  Even ahead of Clapton.  Here are Clapton and Cale playing together a few years ago.  "Laid back" is the phrase that comes to mind listening to Cale.

Appearing on The Breeze: An Appreciation Of J.J. Cale with Clapton are Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, and Willie Nelson (among others).  The song here is my least favorite one on the disc.

Highly, highly recommended.

The doors to Janus' temple

Via Wikipedia: the doors (briefly) closed
Numa, an early king (Rex) of Rome in the days long before the Republic, had built a temple to the god Janus.  Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one looking backwards, and so was revered as the god of boundaries and transitions.

There was a curious custom in ancient Rome: when Rome was at war, the doors to the temple were left open; when at peace, the doors were shut.  As you can imagine with as martial a people as the Romans, the doors were not oftn shut.  In fact, the chronicles tell us that Numa's successor Tulius Hostilius went to war with a neighboring city and the dors remained open for 400 years.  They were closed in 235 B.C. after the first war with Carthage, but were only shut for eight years.  They were then open until shut (twice) by the emperor Augustus.

So when was the last time that our American Republic shut its figurative doors of the temple?  We look a lot like Rome:
You probably know that one has to serve on active duty in the American military for twenty years in order to retire with a pension.

But do you know the last year that you could have joined the armed forces and had a career wholly in peacetime?

Very interesting analysis, including just how long (officially) we have been at war.  The gates swing wide, and stay that way.

"If you want me again look for me under your boot soles."

Walt Whitman's line from Leaves of Grass tells us what awaits all living things.  Ivan the Terrier - the Borepatch family dog for over 14 years - has taken a sudden decline.  We're talking over how long we can keep him in relative comfort.  There's a cruel responsibility that comes with owning a pet.


Here is a post from a couple years ago, before he started his decline.


During that summer which may never have been at all

I took Ivan the Terrier for a walk to the old Mill dam this morning.

Photo copyright Borepatch.  Click to enbiggify.

Afternoon would be too hot.  Most of June was delightfully not-at-all-like-June-in-Georgia, but now we're back to, well, about what you'd expect.  He's not a young dog, and a black dog in the hot Georgia sun is just not right.

This park, at the Roswell Mill didn't exist when we lived here the first time.  The town dropped some serious money into the trails, making this one of the nicest places to walk in the area.  The trails go up and down Vickery Creek, down almost all the way to the Chattahooche where there are more great trails along the river.

Photo copyright Borepatch

I've always liked to walk, and a dog is a good reason to get out.  In Maine Jack and I saw otters; there were beavers in a pond in Massachusetts.  We had a heron hang out in our back yard here in our first house, a decade ago (as we like to joke, at our "house in Georgia").  I'd terraced the backyard hill with dry stacked stone, and put in a waterfall and a pond.  The heron was helping himself to our fish.

#1 Son would get mad at this, and let Ivan the Terrier out to chase the heron off.  Ivan didn't chase this one - he's twelve years old now, and the bird was on the other side of the river.  Besides, he wasn't after our fish.

A quiet morning walk doesn't just carry you across the local landscape, it takes you across the landscape of memory, to places long past which we can only visit in our dreams.  Jack has been gone these twenty years now, but I still hear his deep throated bark, outraged at the swimming otter's insolence.  #1 Son hasn't been eight years old for ever and ever, but I still hear his child's voice rising with outrage that the bird is back at the pond.  I hear the frustration in the voice of young #2 Son, asking where the beaver is, knowing he is about to be delighted when he finally catches a glimpse of it.

Ivan the Terrier loves these walks.  The chance to sniff around, to catch new smells and sights from a place that's not his yard keeps him mentally sharp.  The walk through old but cherished memories is good for me, too.  Even if the path is crowded with Jack and some small children.

Photo copyright Borepatch
The past is never dead. It's not even past.
- William Faulkner

Rifle display stand bleg

I'm looking for a display stand that would be suitable for displaying Great Grandfather's rifle on the mantel over the fireplace here at Camp Borepatch.

I'd like something free standing, and be able to display the powder horn as well.  Any recommendations?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine

As someone who worked in the intelligence community a couple decades back (i.e. before it went feral), it's been quite dismaying to see the government's attacks on the privacy of regular citizens.  In particular, the repeated attempts to discourage the use of encryption is something that as a Security Guy I can only say is a Very Bad Thing.

I'm not the only one.  This announcement seems really, really important:
ital personal and business information flows over the Internet more frequently than ever, and we don’t always know when it’s happening. It’s clear at this point that encrypting is something all of us should be doing. Then why don’t we use TLS (the successor to SSL) everywhere? Every browser in every device supports it. Every server in every data center supports it. Why don’t we just flip the switch?

The challenge is server certificates. The anchor for any TLS-protected communication is a public-key certificate which demonstrates that the server you’re actually talking to is the server you intended to talk to. For many server operators, getting even a basic server certificate is just too much of a hassle. The application process can be confusing. It usually costs money. It’s tricky to install correctly. It’s a pain to update.

Let’s Encrypt is a new free certificate authority, built on a foundation of cooperation and openness, that lets everyone be up and running with basic server certificates for their domains through a simple one-click process.
Who are the subversive Black Hat traitors behind this?
Mozilla Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., Akamai Technologies, Electronic Frontier Foundation, IdenTrust, Inc., and researchers at the University of Michigan are working through the Internet Security Research Group (“ISRG”), a California public benefit corporation, to deliver this much-needed infrastructure in Q2 2015. The ISRG welcomes other organizations dedicated to the same ideal of ubiquitous, open Internet security.
Ah.  It's a bunch of techies who feel the same way as I do.  Good.  And the project seems to have the Internet Philosophy embedded in its DNA:
The key principles behind Let’s Encrypt are:
  • Free: Anyone who owns a domain can get a certificate validated for that domain at zero cost.
  • Automatic: The entire enrollment process for certificates occurs painlessly during the server’s native installation or configuration process, while renewal occurs automatically in the background.
  • Secure: Let’s Encrypt will serve as a platform for implementing modern security techniques and best practices.
  • Transparent: All records of certificate issuance and revocation will be available to anyone who wishes to inspect them.
  • Open: The automated issuance and renewal protocol will be an open standard and as much of the software as possible will be open source.
  • Cooperative: Much like the underlying Internet protocols themselves, Let’s Encrypt is a joint effort to benefit the entire community, beyond the control of any one organization.
If you have your own DNS domain, you should check this out.

Karma ran over the Global Warming dogma

Global Warming as a "crisis" really dates to 1998, when the very hot summer convinced many people that "Global Warming is real".  I mean, who are you going to trust, a bunch of "deniers" or your lying eyes?

Well, live by the heat wave, die by the cold snap:
All 50 states have low temperatures BELOW freezing tonight. (Monday night)

Yes, even Hawaii. Tall mountain peaks there regularly get below freezing, and even get snow.

Joe Everyman is reacting to this the way he reacted to the 1998 heat wave: who you going to trust, a bunch of Climate Scientists or his lying eyes?  There's a certain karmic balance in that, a poetic justice that is shadenfreudalistic.

Sure, sure, weather not climate and all that.  But 1998 was a politically useful "weather not climate" exercise, no?  I wonder if Jonathan Gruber is one of the lead authors on the IPCC Assessment Reports ...


I've weaned myself mostly off the meds, which is a Very Good Thing indeed.  Even ibuprofin is needed less and less.  What I'm doing is (slowly) testing my limits, and pain is the feedback mechanism that tells me to stop.

I drove the Jeep to the dog park once (4 on the floor), and that was OK.  I've gone from working in a wingback chair to working at my desk - I'm not sure that that's OK - the desk height is wrong and the chair doesn't support me like the wingback.  It's an exploration.

All in all, though, this Thanksgiving I will have something to be thankful for.  The accident could very well have been much worse.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Renewable energy will mess up the power grid

Great in-depth article that shows that an amp from solar is not at all the same as an amp from coal generation.  And that an amp from coal isn't the same as an amp from gas.
It can be very misleading to compare the energy costs for wind and solar to the energy costs for more conventional generation technology and assume the difference is the cost of providing for “clean” energy.

The power grid requires so much more support than the injection of energy. Unfortunately wind and solar do not provide support “services” as well as many other generation resources do. Accounting and providing for these extra “services” should be part of any comparison of resource types and inform any directives or plans impacting the provision of electric power.     To the degree that wind and solar resources make up a larger portion of the supply mix, significant costs will be incurred to maintain system functionality and reliability. This posting is focuses solely on how various resources impact just one of these “services”, the balancing of system loads and resources.
There are a bunch of comments that are really good, too.

I am Leonardo of Arc

Interesting personality quiz, and one that is a lot more insightful than most.  This isn't at all bad analysis of me, and it was done with only 12 questions.  Pretty impressive.

Hat tip: The Geek In Heels


Dang, it's cold, and fixin' to get a lot colder (down in the teens tonight). I moved down here from Yankeeland to get away from this nonsense.  And so here's a change of pace, from a couple days before the motorcycle hit the tarmac.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Environmentalist discovers science

He apologizes for his past activism:
I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologize for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.


So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.
It's quite a long and detailed apology.  Nicely done.

I'm not the only one who had a motorcycle accident

Last week the 91-year-old father of a friend of mine was out riding his Harley. (He's a tough old bird to be sure.) Sadly that day turned out to be one of those times where, when taking a curve, something went wrong and down he went on his motorcycle at speed.

There were, as you might imagine, multiple injuries from which he will spend some months recovering. The first thing that happened, however, was that 911 was called and an ambulance pulled up to the scene of the accident where the elderly biker was being held still and comforted by his son who was out riding with him.

Two paramedics jumped out and came up to the injured man and assessed his physical condition. That done they moved onto his mental condition.

"What year is it, sir?"

"It's 2014," he replied faintly.

"What month is it, sir?"

"It's... it's November."

"How many quarters are there in a dollar," they asked.

"Four," he replied.

"And who is president of the United States?"


Prognosis today for a full recovery? Excellent.

(shamelessly stolen from here)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Vortex

If you visit the ATL, a visit to The Vortex is required. They have rules that include "No Whiners" and "This is an Idiot Free Zone". I recommend Tuaca ...

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I, Labrat

Instead of a biopsy, I'm trying a new prostate cancer test from the University of Michigan. I'd found it and asked my doctor about it; he looked into it and was impressed. So we're getting our Science® on.

Basically the test looks for DNA markers that are only present when there's a tumor. It's non-invasive and claims to be as accurate (or more) than a biopsy.

We'll see, but I expect I'm feeling much better today than if I'd had a biopsy.

Friday, November 14, 2014

An interesting mapping of political philosophies

Jerry Pournelle came up with a quite interesting replacement for the old political "left" vs. "right", one that is both interesting and different:
The two I chose are "Attitude toward the State," and "Attitude toward planned social progress".

The first is easy to understand: what think you of government? Is it an object of idolatry, a positive good, necessary evil, or unmitigated evil? Obviously that forms a spectrum, with various anarchists at the left end and reactionary monarchists at the right. The American political parties tend to fall toward the middle.


"Attitude toward planned social progress" can be translated "rationalism"; it is the belief that society has "problems," and these can be "solved"; we can take arms against a sea of troubles.

Once again we can order the major political philosophies. Fascism is irrationalist; it says so in its theoretical treatises. It appeals to "the greatness of the nation" or to the volk, and also to the fuhrer-prinzip, i.e., hero worship.
It all works out like this:

The whole discussion is very interesting, as you'd expect.  And it dates to 1986 (!).  That's one smart dude.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wonder what that would be on a triple word score?

Of course, you could use climate science as well.  I'd love to get paleodendrochronology (the use of tree rings to establish old climate temperature series) on a triple word score. 

Global Warming approaches

Snow in 42 of the lower 48 States.

Sure, this is weather not climate.  However, I didn't set the rules, which is any heat wave or drought (weather) is proof of Global Warming (climate).  Rules are rules, and all that.  I really have no choice here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I gotcher "peer review" right here!

Heh.  From a pretty interesting science blog post that's worth your time:
Journals have a weird objection to publishing “negative” results. We call something a “negative” result when a hypothesis doesn’t turn out to be true. So therefore you have to come up with a positive, strong and exciting story from your research on a regular basis. I would argue that the negative results might be more useful as it would mean other scientists wouldn’t go barking up the wrong tree studying the same thing. But I don’t run the place.
This is probably the single biggest failure in science (as practiced) today.  One of the most important experiments of all time had a negative result.  Could that even be published in the scientific journals today?  This may be the major reason why the pace of scientific discovery is slowing down:

One difference is that all of the earlier discoveries mentioned, 1890-1900, were made in Europe, and 100 years later the honours were shared between Europe, the USA and Japan. That only emphasises the much wider pool of talent that exists, which now includes also many more outstanding women. Yet there is no obvious shortage of available Nobel prizes, 100 years after they were instituted.

Apologists accounting for the relatively poor performance in discoveries per million scientist-years, will tell you that all the easy research has been done. Nowadays, it is said, you need expensive apparatus and large teams of scientists to break new ground. That is the case in some branches of science, but it is offset by the fact that the fancy kit makes life easier, once you have it.

The basic reason why there is no hint of accelerated discovery, despite the explosive growth in the population of researchers, may be that the social system of science has become more skilled at resisting new knowledge and ideas. Indeed, that seems to have become its chief function. Science is no longer a vocation for the dedicated few, as it was in the days of Pasteur and Maxwell, but a career for the many.
It has been said that Religious institutions are a defense mechanisms against religious experiences, which are frequently disruptive to the Religious Establishment.  The analogy to science as practiced by today's Scientific Establishment is sharper than many will likely be comfortable with.  Certainly the Scientific Priesthood does not welcome heretical new ideas any more than the old Religious Priesthood did.

That's some righteous "Peer Review", right there

We're told that peer review is the quality control mechanism for scientific papers - Global Warming will be THERMAGEDDON because of Peer Review®.  Well, nazzo fast:
By now we all know, or ought to know, that just because something is published in a peer-reviewed academic journal doesn’t mean it’s true. But we can at least assume it's been proofread, right?

Apparently not. A priceless gaffe, which has been making the rounds of academic Twitter this week, is Exhibit A.
Click through the link for another equally funny peer reviewed slip up.

The answer, of course, is not better peer review.  The answer is experimental confirmation of results.  Without confirmation you might get weird results, like the climate models all missing out on a near 20 year lack of warming

But hey, they're Peer Reviewed®!

The public failure of the Intellectual Class

Jonathan Gruber was probably as close to the "Obamacare Architect" as you can find.  This was no accident - he was also the architect of the 2006 Massachusetts RomneyCare bill that was the blueprint for the National Monstrosity.  His resume punches all the boxes of the Intellectual Elite's view of a policy making technocrat: MIT undergrad, Harvard PhD, currently teaching economics at MIT.  While MIT isn't technically an Ivy League school, it's as close as America gets to L'Ecole Polytechnique: you don't get more geeky techno-cred than from there.

Dr. Gruber has been in the news lately for a moment of candor.  It was so, well, candoriffic that even La Wik can't ignore it:
In a panel discussion about the ACA at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber stated that the bill was deliberately written "in a tortured way" to disguise the fact that it created a system in which "healthy people pay in and sick people get money". He stated that this obfuscation was necessary, due to "the stupidity of the American voter or whatever", in order to get the bill passed and that a "lack of transparency is a huge political advantage."[16] His comments caused controversy after a video of them was placed on YouTube in November 2014.
"Controversy"?  Boy, howdy. [video of Gruber's comment at the link]

This is the view of the Intellectual Elite - they have proven by their Ivy League credentials that they are smarter than you or me - and in the Elite's world, smart is everything.  And so they repeatedly push unpopular laws and mandates: Obamacare, Immigration "reform", the centralization of power in Washington D.C. and the Brussels that sees itself as the capitol city of an EU Superstate.  And if the plebs vote the wrong way on the treaty, make 'em vote again, and again, until they get it right.

Because Smart uber alles.  The Intellectual Elite is fit to rule as Philosopher Kings because they are ever so clever.  That's precisely how they think.

The problem is that they're really not all that smart.  David Brooks is a member of that class, and is certainly very clever - New York Times columnist, and all that.  Brooks has been (quite appropriately) mocked for his admiration of then Senator Obama's "perfectly creased trousers".  In truth, the mockery misses the mark, because the entire quote (from an interview of Brooks in 2006 after he met the junior Senator from Illinois) is much more damning:
But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”

That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.”
Why would Brooks have thought that Obama would have been a very good president?  Because Obama passed himself off as being a card carrying member of Brooks' Intellectual Elite class.  He was able to talk about Burke, so clearly he would be an effective leader.  Or something.

This is the problem with the Intellectual Elite: they have far too high an opinion of their brains ("... they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me.").  They have no idea just how many things they have no idea about - things that millions of Americans do every day: start, run, and grow a business; lead soldiers in combat; accomplish something.

Instead, it's all symposia and friendly hail fellow well met back slapping with the other members of their club (which is not to say there isn't vicious office politics between them, just saying that we didn't win World War II with superior office politics skills).

And so the misplaced sense of superiority leads to Gruber's bald faced lies.  No wonder the Intellectual Class is held in such contempt by the population.  And the punch line?  Gruber and his pals don't get that.  They can't imagine that it would make a difference, and so they dance off to lie to the "stupid American voters" again.

Because they can't see a negative consequence from holding this sort of world view.  Smart, right there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's a fair, err, cop

I guess this makes sense to an Objectivist Anarchist Total-Isolationist Nationalist Moderate ...

See? I'm a moderate

Via Joel, an interesting quiz on your positions.  Glad it labeled be a "moderate", or the DHS Men In Black might have wanted to start sniffing around.

Hack the vote

Voting via email - what could possibly go wrong?  This:

I've been complaining about the lack of security in voting machines for a while, but this is perhaps the stupidest idea I've ever heard.  The paper is more detailed.

This is such a bad idea that you wonder what the motivation is behind it.  It certainly isn't any concern for the integrity of the voting process.

A Veteran's Day thought

It's the soldier, not the reporter who has given us
Freedom of the Press.
It's the soldier, not the poet, who has given us
Freedom of Speech.
It's the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the
Freedom to Demonstrate.
It's the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the
Right to a Fair Trial.
It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves under the flag and
whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who gives the protestor the right he abuses when he burns the flag.

- Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

Monday, November 10, 2014

Duke Ellington - Autumn Leaves

The greatest version of the greatest Jazz song for the season ever performed.

Other versions here, along with a typically wordy borepatchian soliloquy about Jazz, Hitler, the mongrel American race, and how interpretations change over time.

It only hurts when I laugh

Quote of the day - The true nature of Marxism

The Berlin Wall was a symbol of the depravity and viciousness of the Marxist idea. Karl Marx was a pure hate monger masquerading as a social philosopher. His ideas may, in the end, be summarized thus: wealth can be gained only by stealing from others, and thus successful people are evil, and thus it is okay to threaten or kill rich people (or even people who are just a bit better off than you are), to steal their belongings, and to threaten anyone who might in the future have more stuff than you do. If you somehow get more things than other people, it is okay for other people to take your stuff, and if you resist, it is okay to beat you up or kill you.

Even more succinctly, Marxism is the idea that jealousy is laudable, and should be turned into social policy with the use of pervasive violence.
The whole post is just as good, but I can't put it all here as a QOTD.  Go read it, and tell it to the next doofus you see wearing a Che T-Shirt.

Final salute

Stephen emails to point out this story of another hero's final muster:
Macpherson returned to England in September 1945 and was demobilised. He rejoined the TA and was attached to 21 SAS TA from 1947 to 1952. In 1956 he was staying at a hotel on Lake Bled, near the border between Yugoslavia and Italy, when he received a rather peremptory invitation from Marshal Tito to visit him at his summer residence.

In the aftermath of the war, Macpherson had played a part in foiling a plot to incorporate the Friuli-Venezia region of Italy into Yugoslavia and he had reservations about complying. “Ah, Macpherson,” said Tito as he was ushered in, “I have been looking forward to this meeting. We tried so hard to kill you.”
Sir Thomas Macpherson won three Military Crosses and three Croix de Guerre, among many other medals he received for his work in the commandos.  He was captured and escaped many times, in North Africa, Italy, and the Baltics, and parachuted repeatedly into occupied France to work with the Resistance. 

You can order his autobiography here.

Rest in Peace, Sir Tommy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The hero of the Berlin Wall

The problem with Communism (other than the mountain of skulls) is that it's essentially running a country by bureaucracy.  It's simply not possible for good decisions to be made, or implemented.

On November 9, 1989 the East German Politburo decided that the crossing between East Berlin and West Berlin was to be liberalized.  However, the communication of what this meant was entirely botched - the border guards were not told what to do, but the head of the East Berlin Communist party made a TV announcement that travel was now permitted.

Tens of thousands of people showed up at the Berlin Wall border gates.  Tension was enormous, because in the past this sort of thing led to mountains of skulls. Instead, Stasi Lt. Harald Jäger- commander of the crossings - told the guards to open them all.  What might have been a riot turned into a celebration televised world wide.

Life has not been kind to Herr Jäger - the reunited Germany had no need of Stasi border guards.  But there's no doubt that Jäger was responsible for preventing dozens or hundreds of deaths.  The world owes him thanks for that.

Who is that devilishly handsome fellow?

Wolfgang rocks the new fall fashions.

Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony no. 9, "Freiheit"

Image von der Wik
Twenty five years ago today the Berlin Wall fell.  Six weeks later, Leonard Bernstein conducted Beethoven's 9th Symphony in the reunited city, a performance where the lyrics of the fourth movement "Ode to Joy" were changed.  "Freude" ("Joy") was replaced with "Freiheit" ("Freedom").  It is perhaps the last time that a lion of the Western arts community unambiguously stood up for freedom.  This is the sound of freedom ringing, with Schiller rocking the house starting about 1:06 into this hymn to the Human Spirit.

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern lasst uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.
Oh friends, not these sounds!
Let us instead strike up more pleasing
and more joyful ones!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Why did they need a Berlin Wall

We are in the run up to the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, although the leftist Press will likely ignore this as much as they can.  As you hear or read these commemorations, keep in mind just why the German Democratic Republic felt the need to imprison  its entire population:
Via Reason, Brad DeLong has a damning chart up:

Material Well-Being in 1991: Matched Countries on Both Sides of the Iron Curtain
Socialism reduces living standards by 85% or more, via empirical measurement.  Click through to the post (and follow through to DeLong's) to get the non-economic, soul-crushing totality of the horror.

Prediction: any MSM notice of this anniversary will be larded with "at least they had good healthcare" nonsense, while entirely ignoring the economic and psychic disaster that was 50 years of the totalitarian boot grinding the faces of the population.
Socialism is the gradual and less violent form of communism, and socialist is the project of the European Union, which was born in Maastricht in 1992. The intent was to save socialism in Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the predictable bankruptcy of the welfare state in the West as well.

George Straight - The Chill Of An Early Fall

Image source
It seems that Global Warming™ has brought us an early Fall (heck, a foot of snow in South Carolina says maybe an early winter).  You bet there's a country music song for that.

It's not for nothing that George Straight is called King George.  In a World filled with the "New Nashville" sound of bubble gum pop with a banjo, he still brings an honest, unmistakeably country sound that is not ashamed to be what it is.  100 million of his albums albums sold world wide shows that there's quite a market for plain, honest country music.

I like the balance that the lyrics make here.  Country  music can slip into hit-you-in-the-face-maudlin sometimes*, and the analogy between the changing seasons and a dieing love is drawn with a suitably light touch.

The Chill Of An Early Fall (Songwriters: Green Daniel, Gretchen Peters)
Well her old friend, from her own end of town dropped by today,
And way down deep inside me something died
When he came 'round to see her that way.
Here it comes again, that same old chilly wind
Will blow like a cold winter squall.

And I'll begin to feel the chill of an early fall.
And I'll be drinking again and thinking whenever he calls,
There's a storm coming on, it won't be too long till the snow falls.
Oh I'll be sobersome,
But when October comes and goes and no time at all
I'll begin to feel the chill of an early fall.

Oh how quick they slip away, here today and gone tomorrow.
Love and seasons never stay, bitter winds are sure to follow.
Now there's no doubt, it's gonna be cold out tonight;
I've shivered all day, and when I look in her eyes
Needing to hold her so tight, she just looks away.
Oh she'll swear that it's true, he's just someone she knew
Long ago, and I'll know that's not all,

And I'll begin to feel the chill of an early fall.
Oh I'll begin to feel the chill of an early fall.

* "Christmas Shoes", I'm looking at you.

Friday, November 7, 2014

OK then

It seems like the collar bone is healing (and I'm starting to get good at interpreting X-Rays, not to mention glowing slightly in the dark).  The doc even said I could try driving the Jeep if I wanted to.  May take that a little slowly, though.

In the sling for another 3 weeks, though.  Bah.  Get a Motorcycle, they said.  It will be fun, they said ...

Thursday, November 6, 2014


It's been four weeks since the motorcycle accident, and this is the first week that I haven't felt better than the week before.  I'm beginning to wonder if the doc will want to put a plate in my collar bone after all.  I'll know tomorrow.

But my stamina is way down.  It's rather frustrating.

Oh well - mustn't grumble.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Riddle me this, Mr. Voter Fraud Man

Assuming that illegal aliens voted (almost certain, although to an unknown extent), how many voted Democrat and how many voted Republican?  The results from last night suggest there's not a huge illegal immigrant constituency for any party.

I could be wrong on this, but the results from last night were so lopsided that it's not at all clear.

I also wonder if the GOP will use this argument to push an amnesty program ("See? A lot of them must have voted for us!  They're natural Republicans!").  Stupid Party is stupid, but predictable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The margin of voter fraud

Sonic Charmer looks into it and says it's 1.2%.

I suspect that the number is bigger - certainly a lot of people would like it to be bigger.

Vote Elder God ticket

Get devoured first!
You think that we can vote ourselves out of this?  O RL'YEH?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Why I'm not voting

The hubris of the GOP Establishment knows no bounds:
For the Republican Party’s leadership, taking control of the U.S. Senate might not even be the sweetest part of a victory in 2014.

With growing confidence as Election Day approaches, Republican leaders are preparing to argue that broad GOP gains in the House and Senate would represent a top-to-bottom validation of their party’s mainline wing. Having taken a newly heavy-handed approach to the primary season this year, the top strategists of the Republican coalition say capturing the majority would set a powerful precedent for similar actions in the future — not just in Senate and congressional races, but in the presidential primary season as well.
So it's not that the people of the Republic think that the current Administration is driving the country off a cliff, it's because of a new found enthusiasm for the squishy GOP.  Funny, President McCain and President Romney could not be reached for comment.  Actually, Romney could be reached for comment but was too busy pushing immigration amnesty to answer questions about whether he was too squishy to be President.

But it seems that "no more Mr. Nice Guy" is a winning message:
The confrontational approach — by both party committees and outside super PACs — represented a sharp departure from the GOP’s cautious strategy in the 2010 and 2012 cycles, when cartoonishly inept nominees aligned with the tea party lost the party as many as five Senate seats.

If this fresh tack leads to victory, Republicans expect that aggressive posture will carry over into 2016. They learned the hard way, party insiders say, how direly even the establishment-minded Mitt Romney undermined himself by wooing the right during primary season.
I have written at length about why I won't vote for Romney, and it's not because he got too hard line conservative.  It's because the only source of energy in opposition to the Democratic Party that is destroying this land is the grass roots insurgency that the GOP is doing its damn best to stamp out. 

But sure, sure: the GOP is our only help. [ rolls eyes ]

My preference would be for things to keep going as they are, with the Progressive Agenda increasingly discredited every day, rather than having the GOP in a position to push Progressive-lite.  Screw 'em - better to die fast than slow.

P.S. I remain convinced that if Romney had won in 2012 we would today have a comprehensive new gun control act signed into law.

Climate Scientists suffer from "Pre-Traumatic Stress" disorder

It's not easy being a scientist Social Justice Warrior:
At Grist, Madeleine Thomas has penned an article Climate depression is real.  Just ask a scientist. Excerpts:

Two years ago, Camille Parmesan, a professor at Plymouth University and the University of Texas at Austin, became so “professionally depressed” that she questioned abandoning her research in climate change entirely.

“I felt like here was this huge signal I was finding and no one was paying attention to it,” Parmesan says. “I was really thinking, ‘Why am I doing this?’” She ultimately packed up her life here in the States and moved to her husband’s native United Kingdom.

“In the U.S., [climate change] isn’t well-supported by the funding system, and when I give public talks in the U.S., I have to devote the first half of the talk to [the topic] that climate change is really happening,” says Parmesan, now a professor at Plymouth University in England.
I'm crying actual tears here.  Tears of laughter, but tears nonetheless.  RTWT for the biggest laugh you'll get today.

Spot the sniper

Very cool pictures, although these are all clear Rule 4 violations.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Enjoy your ObamaHour

You've heard of the ObamaPhones they give away in a shameless attempt to buy votes. Now you just got an extra hour of sleep - an ObamaHour.

And it way right before an election. Coincidence? I think not.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

I blame Global Warming

Record early season snow hits the Southeast:
Snow to start November in South Carolina? Basically unheard of. Until today.

The snow is not just the mountains either. An extremely unusual cold pocket of air has brought record early-season snow to low-elevation spots like Columbia, South Carolina. 


Reports range from about 1″ in the area to as much as 4″ or so. Keep in mind, this area is around 200-300 feet elevation in South Carolina. At the start of November.


According to the National Weather Service office there, this is the earliest measurable snow has been recorded in Columbia.
A friend emailed me a picture of his back yard.  I like his palm trees ....

But don't worry - computer models tell us that this is impossible.

Bruce Hornsby - Look Out Any Window

Image from El Wik
There's an election coming next week, and I don't expect that I'm the only one who thinks that something is very, very wrong in this Republic.  The smooth talkers and back slappers have the system good and rigged, and it's not at all clear what a vote will do.  Bruce Hornsby captured this sort of class despair in his unique mix of rock/jazz/bluegrass, but his lyrics sign of the Working Man's plight in a way that would have made Woodie Guthrie jot down some notes.

Hornsby's big hit was "The Way It Is" in 1984 which went double platinum and won him the Grammy for best new artist.  However, my favorite was his 1988 album, Scenes From The South Side which had this song.  Along the way he's recorded with the Grateful Dead and Ricky Skaggs, and written songs that became hits for Huey Lews and the News.

Look Out Any Window (songwriter: Bruce Hornsby, John Hornsby)
There's a man workin' in a field
See's the rain and it's burning
He's saying this can't be real
Oh as he sees the color of the fields turning
Far away them too busy getting rich to care
Close their eyes, let it all out into the air
Hoping nobody else would care
Look out any window
Look out any open door
Look out any window
See what's going on in the world around you
There's a man working on a boat
Pulling lines from the water
Just trying to stay afloat
Oh filling the nets is getting harder
Far away they bend the rules so secretly
Close their eyes and let it all out into the sea
Hoping nobody else would see
Look out any window
Look out any open door
Look out any window
See what's going on in the air around you
Far away too many leaders let them get their way
Close their eyes and let it all out into the bay
Say they'll clear it up another day
Look out any window
Look out any open door
Look out any window
See what's going on in the air around you
Look out, look out for the big boys
Telling you everything they're gonna do
Look out, look out for the fat cat builder man
Turning this into a wasteland
Look out, look out for the back room boys
That say the smoke is gonna blow away
Look out, look out for the men who say it's okay
Sitting in a building far away