Wednesday, November 30, 2016

California to regulate cow farts

I would mock this, but it comes pre-mocked from the California Legislature:
GALT, Calif. (AP) — California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm.
The nation's leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock.
Despite strong opposition from farmers, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that for the first time regulates heat-trapping gases from livestock operations and landfills.
Not sure what you could add to that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Watching Media Bias in action

Unfolding before our eyes:
If "alt-right" could have been tied tightly to Spencer and overt racists, then it would seem as though Bannon is an admitted racist and is toxic. That plan seems to have failed because the intermediate step — equating "alt-right" with racist — outraged readers. Making racists seem okay and kind of cool was an unintended consequence.

So now we're seeing the media back off.
Shilling for the Left.  It's what they do.

Detente with Russia?

Boy, there sure are a lot of people who don't like the idea of Trump de-escalating tensions with Russia.  Quite frankly, it sure looks like some folks (*cough* EU *cough*) sure have pushed Russia to the edge:
So from a Russian perspective, they are entirely surrounded by historically or currently hostile actors with a history of invasion by them and a recent history of “Color Revolutions” instigated by Soros and his fellow travelers in the EU having taken down a series of Slavic Countries to the west. (Czech Republic, Slovakia, the various parts of the old Yugoslavia, Ukraine, etc. etc.) with Russia as “on the menu”. Thus Putin tossing Soros out and banning his “Non-governmental” Organizations… 
Now, one more little item to remember: When Eastern Germany was allowed to merge with West Germany, Gorbachev was given an iron clad guarantee that NATO would not extend “one thumbs width” further East. Now Nato borders Russia in several areas.
From the Russian POV, NATO has violated all agreements, expanded into Slavic lands, often via politically manipulative “color revolutions” and then insists on imposing “European Values” by which is usually meant the Soros Selected set of anti-Nation and anti-tradition and anti-Church and anti-European Culture destructive ideologies. Then we go and put anti-missile missiles in Poland (that shares a border with the part of Russia named Kaliningrad) where NATO was promised not to be.
When you figure that NATO (*cough* US Military *cough*) is their muscle, it seems entirely reasonable for President Trump to ask what the USA is getting from all this.

Monday, November 28, 2016

One of these things is not like the other

I was driving back to Castle Borepatch, listening to the rush hour traffic/news/talk.  The news, as you would imagine, was about the attack at Ohio State.  While the story did not include the words "radical" "islam", "jihad", or "terror", it did tell us that some Somali immigrant drove a truck into a crowd of students and then stabbed a bunch of them before finding himself on the naughty end of a police officer's gun.

The story was very careful to say that we don't know the attacker's motivation, and so speculation is presumably double plus ungood.

Then the story launched into a discussion of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Wait, what?

The story did not talk about the attack in Nice, France a few months back.  You know, the one where some dude drove a truck into a crowd and then stabbed some of them before getting shot.  That seemingly is not at all similar to the OSU attack.  But the Virgina Tech incident seemingly is similar, at least similar enough to be included as a "hey, doesn't this remind you" comparison.

Never mind that the Virginia Tech incident did not have an immigrant as the perpetrator, did not include a truck running people down, or a finale of shabby-stabby.

If you were as nasty and cynical about the Press as I am, you might think this was used to distract people from "dangerous jihadi immigrants are killing people" to "guns are bad, mkay?"

But since you're obviously not as nasty and cynical about the Press as I, this sort of Thought Crime clearly would never cross your mind.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What will not be seen at Castle Borepatch


Franz Krommer - Quintet in G Major op. 101

Image via Der Wik
Mozart, Haydn, Kromer - these were the leading composers in Vienna in the late 18th Century through the first third of the 19th.  It may be that Beethoven was never Court Composer because that post was already filled by Franz Krommer, born František Kramář.  Virtually unknown today, he was famous in his day (famous enough to come to the attention of the Emperor).  Wildly prolific, he wrote 9 symphonies and hundreds of other works, especially those for woodwinds (like today's piece).

Likely his popularity did not outlive the Imperial Court, which was famously conservative in its tastes.  To our ears - schooled by the romantic intensity of Beethoven and the Romantics - his music is a throwback to a classical form that reminds us of Mozart.  However, our music libraries are filled with Mozart, and so there's precious little room left for Krommer.

Still, weep not for Franz Krommer.  He was, after all, Court Composer for the Emperor of Austria for 18 years.  Happy birthday, Franz - born on this day in 1759.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Joe Bonamassa - Just Got Paid

Not just a bluesman.

Good advice for the Left

Advice that no doubt will not be taken:
A few years back, in fact, a bunch of Klansmen came to the town where I live to hold a recruitment rally, and the churches in town—white as well as black—held a counter-rally, stood on the other side of the street, and drowned the Klansmen out, singing hymns at the top of their lungs until the guys in the white robes got back in their cars and drove away.  Surprising? Not at all; in a great deal of middle America, that’s par for the course these days.

To understand why a town that ran off the Klan was a forest of Trump signs in the recent election, it’s necessary to get past the stereotypes and ask a simple question: why did people vote for Trump? 


When I’ve pointed this out to people on the leftward side of the political spectrum, the usual response has been to insist that, well, yes, maybe Trump did address the issues that matter to people in flyover country, but even so, it was utterly wrong of them to vote for a racist, sexist homophobe! We’ll set aside for the moment the question of how far these labels actually apply to Trump, and how much they’re the product of demonizing rhetoric on the part of his political enemies on both sides of the partisan divide. Even accepting the truth of these accusations, what the line of argument just cited claims is that people in the flyover states should have ignored the issues that affect their own lives, and should have voted instead for the issues that liberals think are important.

In some idyllic Utopian world, maybe. In the real world, that’s not going to happen. People are not going to embrace the current agenda of the American Left if doing so means that they can expect their medical insurance to double in price every couple of years, their wages to continue lurching downward, their communities to sink further in a death spiral of economic collapse, and their kids to come home in body bags from yet another pointless war in the Middle East.

Thus there’s a straightforward answer to both of Ferrett Steinmetz’ baffled questions. Do the people who voted for Trump hate Steinmetz, his readers, or the various groups—women, people of color, sexual minorities—whose concerns are central to the politics of today’s American Left? In many cases, not at all, and in most others, not to any degree that matters politically. They simply don’t care that much about the concerns that the Left considers central—especially when those are weighed against the issues that directly affect their own lives.
This seems spot on to me.  The Archdruid lays out four specific reasons that Middle America abandoned the Democratic Party.  The Democrats, as usual, are stuck in a Groundhog Day loop of What's The Matter With Kansas fail that has landed them firmly in the wilderness, and looks to keep them there for the foreseeable future.

Might America stop being the World's policeman?

We can hope.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember that the feast does not just feed the body, but the soul as well.  And since it's Thanksgiving, this is obligatory:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy 90th birthday to the original Gerber Baby

Happy birthday to Anne Turner Cooke who turned 90 today.  She was 4 months old when her portrait was made.

Thoughts on the Media freakout

I don't have any idea what Trump will do as President, at least concerning specific policy details.  Build a wall?  Maybe.  Maybe a big wall, may be a little one.  May not build one at all.  I just don't know.

Same for the other policies.  I guess we'll all see soon enough.

But one thing has become crystal clear in the last week: Trump will make two BIG changes that are entirely beneficial to this Republic:

1. He will (continue to) cut the legs out of the professional Political Correctness crowd.

2. He will (continue) to expose the Media as the liars and idiots that they are.

Both of these are a breath of fresh air.

Hey teacher!  Up with your rules!  'Cause everybody knows that smoking ain't allowed in school ...

Malware uses headphones as microphones

Oh, great:
CAUTIOUS COMPUTER USERS put a piece of tape over their webcam. Truly paranoid ones worry about their devices’ microphones—some even crack open their computers and phones to disable or remove those audio components so they can’t be hijacked by hackers. Now one group of Israeli researchers has taken that game of spy-versus-spy paranoia a step further, with malware that converts your headphones into makeshift microphones that can slyly record your conversations.
It seems that the hardware has a "feature" that allows software to turn an output channel into an input channel.  Thanks, programmer-droid.  Hope you die screaming in a crotch fire.

Bottom line, you can get spied on this way even if you plug your headset into an audio-out jack.

The longer I'm in this business, the more I feel like that guy in The Omen who locked himself in a room and wall papered it with bible verses.  Didn't help him, either ...


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The blindness of the educated class

Via Isegoria (you do read him every day, don't you?  Thought so), there's this must-read by Giovanni Dannato on the blindness of the educated class:
... they never have reason to question what they were taught.  Their whole life is a progression from one sheltered safe zone to the next: grade school(in a “good” district) => college => job echo chamber full of others like them while living in an isolated suburb with people at the same income they make.  They can easily live their whole lives without having to interact with anyone from another caste so that’s what they assume the whole world is like even if it’s actually a very narrow slice.  They can never depart from their group consensus or they get exiled by the only group they’ve ever known. 
This sounds right - for example, it entirely explains the view of the Upper West Side towards "Flyover Country".  But there's an implication to this:
Almost invariably, those who are most in favor of ethnic minority interests are those who interact with them least.  Or at best, if they are activist/charity types they visit the ghettoes as virtue tourists, not as residents just trying to live.  They meet token minorities at work and at school and they model what other races are like based on these outliers.  More importantly, they never interact with other races when they are in the majority.  You don’t know anything about race until you’re the only white guy in the room.  It should be a civic requirement, actually, that everyone have that experience at least once to be in the ethnic minority in a situation like a job, where power matters and you’re not in charge.   The moment whites are in the minority, all the rules instantly change.  The token ethnic coworkers you thought were buddies change their personality like the flick of a switch once they can smell they rule the roost and only ever promote their own kind.  It’s one of the most eye-opening innocence-destroying experiences a sheltered educated person can have.  Once you’re along for the ride in an environment controlled by another people, all the fundamental differences between peoples are revealed.  As it happens, a deep sense of fair play, altruism, and sympathy for outgroups are almost uniquely Western European traits that more insular tribes can easily take advantage of.  4 years of college opened my eyes to the incredible entitlement of women and the evils of feminism but it wasn’t until I was out in the world on my own that I learned what race and ethnicity means in real life.  What any man who has worked jobs in mixed neighborhoods or been to prison knows well, those supposedly the best and brightest of us who make the big decisions are totally clueless about.
The one modification I would make to this is that it isn't really about race - it's about culture:
The quote for this [2008 - Borepatch] election season, if we're smart enough to listen, is about the post-Cold War economies:
Among the heaviest losers in this period of record-breaking economic growth and technological advance were the countries of the Communist Socialist bloc: the Soviet Union at the bottom of the barrel, Romania and North Korea almost as bad, and a range of satellite victims and emulators struggling to rise above the mess. Best off were probably Czechoslovkia and Hungary, with East Germany (the DDR) and Poland trailing behind. The striking feature of these command economies was the contradiction between system and pretensions on the one hand, performance on the other. The logic was impeccable: experts would plan, zealots would compete in zeal, technology would tame nature, labor would make free, the benefits would accrue to all. From each according to their ability; to each according to his deserts; and eventually, to each according to his needs.

The dream appealed to the victims and critics of capitalism, admittedly a most imperfect system - but as it turned out, far better than the alternatives. Hence the Marxist economies long enjoyed a willful credulous favor among radicals, liberals, and progressives in the advanced industrial nations;
The USSR and East Germany were run by whites, and their economy (and society) were terrible. It's not about race.  But history tells us that culture matters:
As a public service, here's something that you should read if you really want to make a liberal's head explode like the fembots in Austin Powers. Or understand why the world's economy is the way it is.  The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, by David Landes. The title is intentionally taken from Adam Smith, but Landes focuses less on describing economics per se, and more on the constraints that a society puts on their economy.

It traces the history of economic development over the last 1000 years, and asks some very politically incorrect questions:
  • Why did China, the world's richest and most powerful country in 1000 AD not only lose her lead, but lose it so badly that it was dismembered by the European (and later resurgent Japanese) powers?
  • Why did India, fabulously wealthy and populous, not conquor the west, rather than vice-versa?
  • Why did England, an undeveloped backwater as late as 1500 AD, ultimately lead the Industrial Revolution and become the world's most powerful country?
  • What explains the vast differences in economic development between the USA and Canada, and other New World countries? After all, in 1700, Mexico's GDP per capita was $450, not far short of the colonies' $490 (1985 dollars). In 1989, Mexico's GDP per capita was $3,500, vs. $18,300 for the USA.
These days, to ask these questions is to be accused by Upper West Side types of being racist.  That's a (likely intentional) mischaracterization: it's about the culture, stupid.

There's a wealth of challenges to the left's ideology in these posts: their comforting assumption that their opponents are uneducated, their comforting assumption that their opponents are racist (and so can be safely ignored), their comforting assumption that since opposition is about race not culture that there can be no principled opposition to unrestricted immigration from other cultures.

And most of all, their comforting assumption that their opponents should be discriminated against, whether by getting them fired from their jobs or by affirmative action giving jobs to someone else.

These are comfortable assumptions because they all allow the Upper West Side types to remain in their cocoon, avoid feeling bad about themselves for the economic distress they cause to much of society, and indeed indulge in an entirely undeserved feeling of smug superiority.  That, I suspect, is their true motivator: it's all Rich People's Leftism:
With this new approach in mind, let me contrast Rich People’s Leftism (RPL) with Poor People’s Leftism (PPL).

RPL thinks that its goal is to help poor people, while PPL thinks that RPL’s primary goal is to ensure that wealthy leftists dominate and get great jobs.

RPL favors equality and so rejects upward mobility. PPL favors upward mobility via capitalism, since it sees that “egalitarian” schemes never work and are really disguised hierarchies with wealthy leftists at the top.

RPL respects wealthy liberals for wanting to help the poor. PPL observes that these wealthy liberals ensure that they are well paid for what they do and prefers to support wealthy conservatives, who at least are honest about where they are coming from.
And this is where I depart from agreement with Mr. Dannato - his conclusion seems a bit utopian:
If the educated classes were no longer removed from reality, we would see a re-emergence of noblesse oblige, a sense of duty to society as a whole.  They would be aware of their superior intellect in a world defined by inequality but also understand how this entails their responsibility to guide the rest rather than throw all the biggest decisions to the ravening crowds.  They would understand themselves as the elites of a people rather than worker cog individuals.  Armed with this core concept, they would no longer form unholy alliances with foreign tribes against their own kin as they do now.  Their false pride and smug virtue posing would evaporate if only they had to test their beliefs against the world.
I don't see this - I see them not wanting to give up their bubble world because they are self-interested.  They want to continue with cheap inflated self-esteem, and they like the thrill of looking down on the "wrong sort" of people.  And so unfortunately I can't really agree that their intellect is superior - after all, the first duty of a proper intellectual is to challenge one's own assumptions.  I don't see any appetite for that, so there's no reason to expect the emergence of an enlightened sense of duty to society.

Still, this is an important read, so get on over and read it.

So it seems that antivirus is good for something

Fattening corporate bottom lines:
Office Depot has suspended PC Health Check – its malware-scanning service – after it was accused of lying about infections to push antivirus software. 
Former Office Depot technician Shane Barnett told Seattle TV station KIRO 7 that the PC Health Check service would lie to customers that their otherwise-clean PCs were infected with malware, and that this was used to flog expensive disinfection tools. He claimed he was let go from his job because he refused to run the allegedly dodgy scanner on people's machines.
Nice.  Note to self: shop somewhere else in the future.  Not because I don't know how to deal with malware, but because I don't like doing business with crooks.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Good advice for lots of things, really

How pathetic are the University "Safe Spaces"?

So pathetic that Piers Morgan is slamming them:
To the winner of a US presidential election goes all the spoils of being the most powerful person on earth...

To the loser, no gold stars for effort.

Winners like Trump don’t believe in ‘participation prizes.’ They believe you either win or lose.

Winners like Trump don’t weep and wail when they lose. They vow to win next time.

Winners like Trump don’t take days off to ‘process’ their loss. They dust themselves down and get on with life.
I didn't expect someone like him to pen this, but it is outstanding.  I expect that it is because he is (like me) of a certain age and this is how he was raised.
Hillary Clinton was their anointed one, their heroine, their pick for first female president.

No matter that she was a dull, humourless, uninspiring candidate mired in Wall Street greed, Washington dogma, and dodgy email servers.

Trump won because he didn’t even bother trying to conform to this new world order of eggshell-hopping me-me-me millennials who infest places like New York and California.

Instead, he invested his time and effort in America’s rust belt states where such idealistic, sugar-coated nonsense is complete anathema.
Sing it, brother ...
So suck it up you squealing softies, get back to work or college, and if you want to win next time, get a candidate who’s a winner not a loser.
Translation: Buck up, Sissy Pants.

So to the young Special Snowflake crowd, just let me add that when you are derided and mocked by Piers Morgan, it's time to make some changes in your outlook.  Just sayin'.  You could start here.

Percy Grainger - Harvest Hymn, "Harvest Time in Sweden"

This week is Thanksgiving, perhaps the most renown harvest festival.  Most of us are far removed from the farms that grow our sustenance, and so it's easy to forget that Thanksgiving was a celebration of a good harvest.

Grainger is Australia's most famous composer.  Moving to London at a young age, his talent as a pianist led to a career of composition.  He became friends with Edvard Grieg, and his friendship led to a fascination with Scandinavian  music that inspired this piece.  He also "collected" folk songs, traveling over England with one of the new fangled phonographs.  He ended up recording over 200 songs on wax cylinders.

Interestingly, he never returned to Australia, although while touring in America he enlisted in the U.S. Army and played in a band during World War I.  He had a long and successful career in the United States.

This short piece is pretty representative of his "folk music" approach, taking a traditional Swedish hymn of thanksgiving and dressing it up for orchestra.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Brigid's new book is out

Brigid is not only my friend and sister-from-another-mister, she's the best writer that I know.  She has a way of crafting sentences that quite frankly makes me quite envious.  There's no doubt that my writing has improved under her influence, but more importantly I've gotten many, many hours of pleasure from reading her blog and her books.

Now she has a new book out.

Head on over there and get you some of that.



Shamelessly stolen from Chris Lynch.

Leon Russell with Ray Charles and Willie Nelson - A Song For You

Leon Russell was a prolific songwriter in the course of his 60 year career.  This is probably his most famous song, recorded by over 100 artists including the Carpenters, Willie Nelson, and Ray Charles.  Ray won a Grammy for his recording in 1993.    He recorded 33 albums and playedFrank Sinatra to  with basically everybody, from Jan & Dean to George Harrison and Elton John.

He passed away at the beginning of this week.

Rest in peace, Leon.

A Song For You (Songwriter: Leon Russell)
I've been so many places in my life and time
I've sung a lot of songs I've made some bad rhyme
I've acted out my love in stages
With ten thousand people watching
But we're alone now and I'm singing this song for you 
I know your image of me is what I hope to be
I've treated you unkindly but darlin' can't you see
There's no one more important to me
Darlin' can't you please see through me
Cause we're alone now and I'm singing this song for you 
You taught me precious secrets of the truth witholding nothing
You came out in front and I was hiding
But now I'm so much better and if my words don't come together
Listen to the melody cause my love is in there hiding 
I love you in a place where there's no space or time
I love you for in my life you are a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song for you 
You taught me precious secrets of the truth witholding nothing
You came out in front and I was hiding
But now I'm so much better and if my words don't come together
Listen to the melody cause my love is in there hiding
I love you in a place where there's no space or time
I love you for in my life you are a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song for you
We were alone and I was singing this song for you

Friday, November 18, 2016

George Carlin on why "It's important not to give a shit"

There's a lot in this about Donald Trump, if you listen with ears that will hear.

He walked his own path, as has Trump.  He started as more of a punk, but he became a success by becoming himself, and remaining himself.


Unbiased.  Yup.


Software Development as child's play

One of the blogs that I most miss is Aretae - that dude really made me think.  He hasn't been blogging for a couple years now, for a reason.

Agile programming is the new software development hotness, but my experience is that a lot of organizations do it wrong.  When done right, it keeps teams focused like a laser on what's important and lets them crank code out crazy fast.  When done wrong, it frustrates everyone, wastes a huge about of everyone's time, and results in the same bloated code as before, taking as long to write as before.

Aretae's book gives a narrative on what the deal is with Agile, which may be the best way to avoid the pitfalls of sloppy implementation.  If you do Agile, you should probably check this out.  Like I said, he's one scary smart dude.

Slow Joe Biden meme

It seems like it's a thing:

A hilarious thing.  You can see a bunch here.

Of course, you can see co-blogger ASM826's version here.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Fabulous Thunderbirds - What I Say

With Stevie Ray Vaughan.  You're welcome.

The Left needs to stop crying "Wolf"

This is so smart that it no doubt will be ignored by those who most need to read it:
There is no evidence that Donald Trump is more racist than any past Republican candidate (or any other 70 year old white guy, for that matter). All this stuff about how he’s “the candidate of the KKK” and “the vanguard of a new white supremacist movement” is made up. It’s a catastrophic distraction from the dozens of other undeniable problems with Trump that could have convinced voters to abandon him. That it came to dominate the election cycle should be considered a horrifying indictment of our political discourse, in the same way that it would be a horrifying indictment of our political discourse if the entire Republican campaign had been based around the theory that Hillary Clinton was a secret Satanist. Yes, calling Romney a racist was crying wolf. But you are still crying wolf.
This is a long read that is heavy on evidence and logic, so (again) no doubt will be ignored by those who most need to read it.  I can't recommend it more highly, especially the ending:
Stop making people suicidal. Stop telling people they’re going to be killed. Stop terrifying children. Stop giving racism free advertising. Stop trying to convince Americans that all the other Americans hate them. Stop. Stop. Stop.
Send this to your leftist family and friends.  There's plenty to be skeptical about with Mr. Trump.  I've been saying for a year that I don't know whether he will make a good President or not, but we're fixin' to find out.  But I've had these doubts for reasons more, well, reasonable than ZOMG teh racis!!!eleventy!!!

They will have doubts as well, and that's A Very Good Thing Indeed.  We need to avoid the Savior On The White Horse syndrome.  A healthy skepticism of the government and its leaders is, well, healthy - not to mention American as Apple Pie.  But that skepticism should be founded in reality, rather than bug-eyed insanity.  If you like your lefty family and friends (I do), then you'll do them a favor by sending this to them.

Why the Left loses

Offered for your consideration:

Nice, huh?  Two things jump out:

1. Manners cost you nothing, but does @ElleBee really think that calling 50% of the country names will bring them around to voting for her side?  Srlsy?

2. Note that the inhabitants of the red regions are "Dumb", per Ms. ElleBee.  Also note that Ms. ElleBee seems not to know that Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin both voted for Trump, and should be red, not blue.  She has also insulted the voters of Virginia, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, who voted for Ms. Clinton.  All in all, a quite impressive display of her, err, intellectual ability.

We shall leave it as an exercise for the open minded progressive to ponder the twin attractions of "smart uber alles" when combined with a demonstrated below average IQ, and a propensity to insult your opponent, rather than offering reasoned argument.  Also left as an exercise is whether in four years their preferred strategy of "do it again, only harder!" will offer a more congenial outcome.

Congratulations to DiveMedic

On his recent marriage.  Go leave him some comment congratulations.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It's what's for dinner

Seen on Twitter (yes, I went there.  Strange place).

You'll never take me alive, Copper!

Europe stirs


One of the gentlest rants I've ever put up on this blog was from quite some time ago:
But the Revolution was indeed a revolution, and blood was spilled.  People were killed, killed dead.  The Declaration explains - offers facts to a candid world - why the founders felt obligated to spill blut onto the boden

I've wondered what it might take to make me feel willing to do this - to declare that I and my fellows are, and of Right ought to be, free of the political bands that connected us with the old order.  It might be something very like this:
The Belgians have ramped up their organ harvesting campaign from euthanasia cases in Applied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology (15: 38-48, 2011) to discuss the harvesting of lungs.  I reported on this before, but there is more to add.

Note that one of the four killed and harvested had a mental illness, described in the paper as self mutilation.
When I read this, my first thought was this cannot be true.  But the magic of blogosphere linkage led me to the source, an article by Dr. D. Van Raemdonck et al. in the journal Applied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology:

The highlighted line is the epitaph for a mentally ill woman who was killed by the Belgian Government for her organs.  Like an animal put to death so that her body parts could sustain some other creature, she was disturbed enough to hurt herself and so was condemned to death.  She was just about exactly my age.

And Belgium, that historical exemplar of humanity, sent doctors to dissect her.  All for the greater good of society, don't you know.
There's quite a lot more, so click through if you want a rant without a lot of, well, ranting.  But this story is back in the news, as a basic human decency may be stirring in Europe:
Once prohibited — indeed, unthinkable — the euthanasia of people with mental illnesses or cognitive disorders, including dementia, is now a common occurrence in Belgium and the Netherlands. 

This profoundly troubling fact of modern European life is confirmed by the latest biennial report from Belgium’s Federal Commission on the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia, presented to Parliament on Oct. 7.

Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for patients suffering “unbearably” from any “untreatable” medical condition, terminal or non-terminal, including psychiatric ones.  In the 2014-2015 period, the report says, 124 of the 3,950 euthanasia cases in Belgium involved persons diagnosed with a “mental and behavioral disorder,” four more than in the previous two years. Tiny Belgium’s population is 11.4 million; 124 euthanasias over two years there is the equivalent of about 3,500 in the United States. 


Recent newspaper articles and documentaries focused on cases in which psychiatrists euthanized or offered to euthanize people with mental illnesses, some still in their 20s or 30s, under dubious circumstances. 

In December, 65 Belgian mental-health professionals, ethicists and physicians published a call to ban euthanasia of the mentally ill.
Sigh.  Europe may be having an outbreak of basic human decency.  Or maybe not.  Perhaps the rant is still current, although if there's only a single lesson from this recent election it is a rejection of the guiding hand by an isolated and insular intellectual ruling class.  As I wrote then:
And so maybe the people who will say that this sort of atrocity could never, never, never, ever happen here actually know what they're talking about.  Maybe they're not just a bunch of Statist Pricks drunk on their ideology of control.  Maybe they are, as they tell us, nicer than we are.

But here's the sticking point for me:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Life.  My credo tells me that it's an unalienable right.  That means that any contract I might make that would terminate that is null and void, just like any contract I might make to sell myself into slavery is null and void.  Unenforceable, by the terms of our credo.

And so I watch with nauseated fascination as the Europeans once again tread on forbidden soil.  Blut-soaked boden, you might say, but that would describe the better part of that unhappy continent.  So much for Belgium, and for a Europe that would not look twice at this.
Maybe they are looking at it twice, but maybe not.  The Post article is full of quotes from the Powers That Be justifying everything.  All is for the best, in the best of all possible worlds.

And so the lesson remains that America has little of substance to learn from Europe, morally speaking.  At least for now.

The Democrats don't read Kipling

He's been out of fashion for decades with the "smart set", which is too bad - he could have given Obama some advice that would have helped stave off the last disastrous elections:
"My son," said the Norman Baron, "I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for my share
When we conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:--

"The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, 'This isn't fair dealing,' my son, leave the Saxon alone.
Norman and Saxon, written in 1911, ostensibly about the period in England around 1100 A.D. when the French Normans had conquered the Anglo-Saxons, but seemingly evergreen.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Get 'em while they're hot

Seen on eBay.  Lots for sale, running between $100 and $225 ...

For those of you who haven't been following along at home, it seems that Newsweek was a little over eager, suffering from (ahem) premature publication.  Not all of the issues were recalled and pulped.

Donald Trump and the self-destruction of the News Media

This seems right:
Trump took his “messaging” directly to the people. He bypassed “the media” by having huge rallies and by “tweets”. He indirectly leveraged an alternative path through the media by “guest appearances” and frankly, by “earned media”. He would say something that was able to gather ears and eyes on him, then deliver his message directly to the cameras. No editor need apply…
OTOH, the extraordinarily group think Journalism Majors who make up “news” and “media reporting” today, with 90%+ of them Democrats and all of them surrounded by a sea of reverberating group think “progressive” talking points; they see their job as to “frame” ideas and statements and to “message” (as a verb) to the unwashed masses. To “mold public opinion” by “creating a narrative”. I.e. to be an intermediary filter that shapes and changes the story to be what they think it ought to be.
The Public, having lots of direct access to the source material, saw this “framing” and “messaging” and “creating the narrative” as just what it was: Distortion to outright lying for effect.
The Public, having lots of direct access to the source material email of Hillary and Podesta and the DNC, saw their cozy relationship with “the media” as what it was: Collusion, fraud, and deception.
The result was massive disintermediation of information flow as folks flocked to ‘direct from the manufacturer’ delivery. Trump Rallies.  Rightside Broadcasting Network. Trump tweets.
And they know that they did it to themselves.  The New York Times seems to be in panic mode, publishing an editorial asking their readers to pretty please not cancel their subscriptions:
We cannot deliver the independent, original journalism for which we are known without the loyalty of our readers. We want to take this opportunity, on behalf of all Times journalists, to thank you for that loyalty.
Please, don't go. I get that they're saying that. But I don't get the argument why we should stay. I see a promise to keep doing something they haven't been doing. Or... a dishonest claim about what has been done and a promise to continue dishonestly.
Trump made it trivial to fact-check the news media.  That's one smart hombre.

Seems legit

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lost Theme Song Lyrics - theme to The Tonight Show

If you remember Johnny Carson, you'll remember this song.

It's shadenfreudalistic!

Paul Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice from Fantasia

On this day in 1940, Walt Disney released the film Fantasia.  It's a statement about how much more sophisticated those times were than ours, as the assumption behind the film was that the mass audience was up to an entire film about classical music.

The film, of course, is well known to everyone and has been a long running success - adjusted for inflation, it is the 22nd top grossing picture of all time.

Happy birthday, Fantasia!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Lost Theme Song Lyrics - I Love Lucy

Probably some of y'all have heard this one.

Caturday with the dog

Why no, I don't know where the cat is.  Why do you ask?

Toby Keith - American Ride

Lots of liberals are puzzled about why Donald Trump won the election.  They should listen to this.

American Ride (Songwriters: Dave Pahanish, Joe West)
Winter gettin' colder, summer gettin' warmer
Tidal wave comin' cross the Mexican border
Why buy a gallon, it's cheaper by the barrel
Just don't get busted singin' christmas carols

That's us, that's right
Gotta love this American ride
Both ends of the ozone burnin'
Funny how the world keeps turning
Look ma, no hands
I love...This American Ride
Gotta love this American ride

Momma gets her rocks off watchin' Desperate Housewives
Daddy works his ass off payin' for the good life
Kids on the youtube learnin' how to be cool
Livin' in a cruel world, it pays to be a mean girl

That's us, that's right
Gotta love this American ride
Both ends of the ozone burnin'
Funny how the world keeps turning
Look ma, no hands
I love...This American Ride
Gotta love this American ride

Poor little infa-Miss America's down
She gained five pounds and lost her crown
Quick fix plastic surgical antidote
Got herself a record deal, can't even sing a note

Plasma gettin' bigger, Jesus gettin' smaller
Spill a cup of coffee make a million dollars
Customs got a thug with an aerosol can
If the shoe don't fit...the fits gonna hit the shan

That's us
That's right
Gotta love this American Ride
Both ends of the ozone burnin'
Funny how the world keeps turning
Hot damn
I love...this American ride
Make America great again ...

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lost Theme Song Lyrics - I Dream Of Jeannie

Perhaps Trump didn't win, Clinton lost

Interesting analysis, although it's still early for having data to crunch:
Trump had roughly the same vote totals as Romney and McCain, and did relatively better with non-whites and Hispanics.   The difference in the election was not any particular enthusiasm for Trump, and certainly not any unique white enthusiasm, but a total lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton.   Look at the numbers in Drum's post -- Hillary did worse with every group.  For god sakes, she did 5 points worse than Obama with unmarried women, the Lena Dunham crowd that theoretically should have been her core constituency.  She did 8 points worse than Obama with Latino women!

This is not a story of a Trump revolution.  This is a story of a loss by a really weak Clinton.  Obama would have dusted the floor with Trump.
As I said, I expect we'll see better data over the next couple months, but this is worth keeping in mind.

Internet Of Things - the biggest risk to the Internet?

Oh, goody:
Researchers from Dalhousie University (Canada) and the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) have published a working paper detailing a proof-of-concept attack on smart lightbulbs that allows them to wirelessly take over the bulbs from up to 400m, write a new operating system to them, and then cause the infected bulbs to spread the attack to all the vulnerable bulbs in reach, until an entire city is infected.
Note that the attack doesn't spread via the Internet.  Rather, it spreads by built-in wifi that bypasses your home firewall.  This is bad, bad juju:
First, the facts. Those websites went down because their domain name provider — a company named Dyn —­ was forced offline. We don't know who perpetrated that attack, but it could have easily been a lone hacker. Whoever it was launched a distributed denial-of-service attack against Dyn by exploiting a vulnerability in large numbers ­— possibly millions — of Internet-of-Things devices like webcams and digital video recorders, then recruiting them all into a single botnet. The botnet bombarded Dyn with traffic, so much that it went down. And when it went down, so did dozens of websites.

Your security on the Internet depends on the security of millions of Internet-enabled devices, designed and sold by companies you've never heard of to consumers who don't care about your security.

The technical reason these devices are insecure is complicated, but there is a market failure at work. The Internet of Things is bringing computerization and connectivity to many tens of millions of devices worldwide. These devices will affect every aspect of our lives, because they're things like cars, home appliances, thermostats, lightbulbs, fitness trackers, medical devices, smart streetlights and sidewalk squares. Many of these devices are low-cost, designed and built offshore, then rebranded and resold. The teams building these devices don't have the security expertise we've come to expect from the major computer and smartphone manufacturers, simply because the market won't stand for the additional costs that would require. These devices don't get security updates like our more expensive computers, and many don't even have a way to be patched. And, unlike our computers and phones, they stay around for years and decades.

An additional market failure illustrated by the Dyn attack is that neither the seller nor the buyer of those devices cares about fixing the vulnerability. The owners of those devices don't care. They wanted a webcam —­ or thermostat, or refrigerator ­— with nice features at a good price. Even after they were recruited into this botnet, they still work fine ­— you can't even tell they were used in the attack. The sellers of those devices don't care: They've already moved on to selling newer and better models. There is no market solution because the insecurity primarily affects other people. It's a form of invisible pollution.
Bruce Schneier says that we need government regulation to address this. I think that's a bad idea - any regulation seems unlikely to have enough security technical requirements to make much difference.  A better approach is to address the market failure - if the ISP were required to drop customers who had devices that were used in these attacks, the end customer would very quickly care rather a lot about whether their light bulbs were secure.

Veteran's Day

We honor veterans because of the sacrifices they make.  Shakespeare puts words to this as few can.

To all veterans, please accept this pale shadow of the Bard of Avon, thanking you for the sacrifices you have made for all of us.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lost Theme Song Lyrics - Bonanza

Sung by Lorne Green hisself.

I'm so old ...

... that I remember how Chris Christie was the Worst Person Ever because a bridge got shut down and traffic was terrible:
In New York, crowds converged at Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue at 56th Street in Midtown Manhattan, where the president-elect lives.

They chanted “Not our president” and “New York hates Trump” and carried signs that said, among other things, “Dump Trump.” Restaurant workers in their uniforms briefly left their posts to cheer on the demonstrators.

The demonstrations forced streets to be closed, snarled traffic and drew a large police presence. They started in separate waves from Union Square and Columbus Circle and snaked their way through Midtown.
Hat tip: The Queen Of The World.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The World turned upside down

I spoke and emailed with several people yesterday, people who were very worried that Clinton would win.  My argument to them was this: We live surrounded by countless lies.  Most of what we are told is a lie.  Instead of listening to that noise, believe what you see with your own two eyes.

That can be tricky, too.  Here's a picture of a city in the clouds.

We're surrounded by countless lies.  We're used to photoshop - smart people always question whether what they see in a picture is legit.  To paraphrase the old commercial: is it real, or is it photoshop?

This is real.  It's from NASA's Astronomy Picture Of The Day, and it shows the shadows from the Chicago skyline cast onto Lake Michigan.  When you see something unusual, it's very often that you can figure out what is going on.

Like this election: the polls almost all showed her ahead, but the eyes reported something different.  Trump got more GOP primary votes than anyone in history.  Clinton had to rig the primaries to beat a dottering old socialist that nobody had heard of, and who had no accomplishments during a lifetime in office.  Trump rallies were like rock concerts, full of people, noise, and energy.  Clinton's gatherings were small, and often stuffed with paid campaign workers.

And most of all, the Queen Of The World and I went to Ohio and back several times during her Dad's final illness.  No Clinton signs anywhere, Trump signs everywhere.  And we went through Columbus each time - the true blue heart of Democrat Ohio.

The eyes don't lie, but you just need to connect the dots to make the picture make sense sometimes.  I've been saying for months that Trump would win - this is why.

I don't know what Trump will do as President, or whether he will be a good one or not.  But if there's just one thing that comes from his time in office, let it be an end to the lies we hear from the Press, from the Universities, from our "betters".  That would be refreshing, and the outcome of last night's contest would hopefully provide a moment for them to reflect.

But if not, remember to trust your eyes, even if it sometimes seems upside down.