July 26, 2009

What Planet Do Politicians Live On?

CNN reports that a Border Patrol agent was killed near the border in the San Diego area:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano vowed to "find and bring to justice" those responsible for the killing.

"This act of violence will not stand -- nor will any act of violence against the Border Patrol," she said in a written statement.
What do you mean it will not stand, you dumb (*expletive*)? He's dead.

Condolences to Agent Robert Rosas's family.

To the Slammer with You, Tom Edison!

An inventor working on fuel cells was criminally prosecuted for not putting a sticker on an otherwise legal UPS package. When he was acquitted, another pretext to jail him was fabricated. See here, here, here, and here.

Before you try to do something for the body politic, you have to get permission from each of multiple parasites.

Addendum 20091007. The Washington Times has taken notice. Apparently there will be follow-up to the Congressional hearings cited by the original post.

July 20, 2009

It Was Forty Years Ago Today...

A small step and a giant leap.

Many more small steps there, please. Economically sustainable ones.

July 18, 2009

Cracks in Mitt Romney's Healthcare Plan

Noted by an LGF commenter. See also this and especially this.

I've wondered why Mitt Romney didn't run for a second term in 2006. My best guess was that he didn't want to risk failure. I'd like to see more boldness than that in a President.

Now I also wonder if he didn't want to be in office when the flaws in his healthcare program became obvious.

"Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others"

Amazon sold a couple of Orwell novels on its Kindle device. When the electronic editions turned out to be unauthorized, Amazon removed the books from customers' Kindles without their knowledge or permission. Electronic refunds were provided.

in a piece whose title I have used, New York Times technology columnist David Pogue quotes a reader:
As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.
When the Kindle came out, I said:
Not mentioned in the pitch is that the buyer pays $399 for the privilege of being subjected to Amazon's digital rights management.
This event might be the kind of glitch that is likely during a new product's shakeout period, but imagine what malicious gifted hackers could do.

Addenda 20090719. 1. For that matter, why--rhetorical question--is Orwell still under copyright?

2. Interesting thought here: what if DRM is not used to delete books, but to modify them?

It's my impression that the Victorians bowdlerized Shakespeare and other writers who offended their delicate sensibilities. Why not do the same today? For example, rewrite American classics to harmonize with Dominionism, multiculturalism, environmentalism, Afro- or Eurocentrism, etc. The Clinton administration has already insinuated propaganda into prime time programming: see here, here, and here, for example. Recall the Bellesiles case.

July 16, 2009

Hanson on Palin

Victor Davis Hanson sticks up for Palin (another copy is here), but says she needs a learning period before she can operate on the national stage.

Hanson is much more favorably disposed toward Palin than I have become, but I agree with him.

Somebody else who might be quietly loading up on gravitas is Mike Huckabee. If the country is in trouble in 2012 and Huckabee can handle a hostile interview with an MSM heavyweight, he will have a legitimate chance.

The above is meant as an assessment, not an endorsement. Huckabee, like Hillary, reminds me of Nixon.

July 10, 2009

A Site Worth Seeing

The Discovery of Global Warming.

To date I've only glanced at it, but I had no idea that the path of research was so laborious and counterintuitive. I guess a toy model simply cannot capture what is going on. Afaic the track record to date implies the surprises are not over.

The Russians Play Obama Like a Balalaika

It was all progress and breakthroughs and smiles for the cameras during his Russian visit. Right afterwards:
Medvedev warns US against missile shield
Charles Krauthammer:
The signing ceremony in Moscow was a grand affair. For Barack Obama, foreign policy neophyte and "reset" man, the arms reduction agreement had a Kissingerian air. A fine feather in his cap. And our president likes his plumage.
(HT: LGF) In other words, the Russians let Obama preen on ceremonial occasions. Then they resume pressure.

Most astute of them, unfortunately.

July 7, 2009

Obama and Palin Speak

In Moscow:
The future does not belong to those who gather armies on a field of battle or bury missiles in the ground.
Really dumb thing to say.

Speaking of dumb, that's what Palin thinks her supporters are.
Time: Why July 3? Because I think that date more than anything set people off — right before the three day weekend. People assume scandal.
Palin: Yeah, that's amazing to me. That hit me like a ton of bricks there, this assumption that there must be something more to it than the altruistic, sincere and articulated reasons why I know that this is best for Alaska, that there was speculation that there must be scandal.
Palin is so selfless and high-minded that it comes as a complete shock when somebody suggests she has ulterior motives.

This is interesting too:
Palin: ...It's that our administration is so stymied and paralyzed because of a political game that has been chosen to be played by critics who have discovered loopholes in the ethics reform that I championed that allows them to continually, continually bombard the state with frivolous ethics violation charges, with lawsuits, with these fishing expeditions.
So Palin is responsible for the bad law?

After reading that interview, I'm actually starting to think that Huckabee would be a less cataclysmic President than Palin. The only people who will support Palin are the people who think Bush belongs on Mount Rushmore.

July 6, 2009

Parasitical Complexity

Why do we suddenly need an academic whiz in charge of things? What changed?
Core principles are essential. Competence is essential. Ideas are essential. Pedigrees are not essential.

We don't need an academic whiz, but we need someone who understands that our society has been deliberately impaired by complexity that special interests have introduced for their own purposes. The metastasized system of laws and government regulations is the biggest example, but there are others.

Obviously, a technology-based civilization involves complexity. My point is that the parasitical complexity has been deliberately intermingled with constructive complexity so one can't be removed without disrupting the other. (Not to mention unintended consequences.) This threatens to bring the nation to stagnation or even collapse. We don't need academic whizzes as leaders, but we do need people who understand how a.w.'s operate: people who will undo the harm facilitated by a.w.'s and preserve & cultivate the benefits.

I'd love to see a leader who has an ordinary background and demonstrates a core understanding of the Founders, Hayek, Friedman, etc. A core understanding: this isn't 1960, let alone 1790.

July 4, 2009

The Divine Sarah

From Palin's Facebook page (HT: commenter Susan at The Secular Right):
The response in the main stream media has been most predictable, ironic, and as always, detached from the lives of ordinary Americans who are sick of the “politics of personal destruction”. How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it’s about country. And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make. But every American understands what it takes to make a decision because it’s right for all, including your family.

I shared with you yesterday my heartfelt and candid reasons for this change; I’ve never thought I needed a title before one’s name to forge progress in America. I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint. I hope you will join me. Now is the time to rebuild and help our nation achieve greatness!

God bless you! And I look forward to making a difference – with you!


What next?

She's keeping my attention, I'll give her that.

July 3, 2009

I Fear Heights, but This Is Impressive

All-glass exposed viewing decks on the Sears Tower. Even the images make me queasy.

I bet that this is just the beginning as materials get better. (Outside glass staircases, presumably covered but who know? Outside transparent slides between floors. High-altitude slides or walkways between buildings.)