September 27, 2009

"For the Children"

When budgets and bureaucratic turf are involved, it can be necessary to endanger children in order to protect them. Instapundit reports (boldface mine):
AND DON’T LET US CATCH YOU BEING NEIGHBORLY AGAIN: State bureaucrats threaten to fine, jail a Michigan woman for watching her neighbors’ kids. If people are neighborly, they need the state less. This cannot be permitted.
Glenn has unwittingly provided every "social-service" bureaucracy with a slogan to be posted prominently in parts of the building where the public is not allowed.

This is how Michigan spends taxpayer money while the state is undergoing an economic cataclysm.

Addendum. After I emailed him, Reynolds added the slogan above to his post.


The Swiss arrested Roman Polanski in order to extradite him to the US for being convicted 31 years ago of having sex with a minor. The (former) minor has settled with Polanski and wants prosecutors to drop the matter. Will the prosecutor try to get her jailed if she refuses to testify?

Obviously a lot of resources and high-level negotiation went into setting this up. Who are the malefactors who are pushing this forward? What are their motives? (Wild unsupported speculation: was Polanski's invitation to Switzerland a sting that was arranged as part of the tax-evasion deal the US cut with Switzerland?)

The French are furious:
In America, Polanski is largely seen a child rapist who fled justice, but he is a cultural icon in France, where many feel he was persecuted for having sex with a girl who admitted it was not her first time.

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said he was "stunned" by the arrest, adding that he "profoundly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already known so many during his life."
The NY Daily News comments feature the usual online lynch mob, but there are sensible people there too. Skycap:
He had to live a life of exile most of his life over this. The gov’ts in Europe are demanding he be freed. This is just a feeding frenzy for the lawyers and legal workers. Nothing good will come about by torturing this person now. Set him free. We have better things to spend our tax money on wityhout making the USA look like a horde of pitchfork and torch carrying fools.
skycap you got a point, we make the worst porno movies in America but want to play puritans by not showing t i t s on regular tv where in Europe they are laughing their arses off...and saying murder movies cutting people to pieces is an American specialty ...this is so funny its unreal
Maybe if Polanski appealed to Hugo Chavez for mediation or converted to a murderous version of Islam, Obama would personally quash the proceedings.

All this is being allowed to happen while we're trying to establish a united front with the Europeans regarding the Iranian bomb.

(Btw, the foregoing is irrespective of the low regard in which I hold Polanski.)

Addendum 20090928. Polanski's lawyers may have provoked the arrest by, in effect, taunting the authorities that they had not done so.

Did I Do a Good Deed?

Victor Davis Hanson claims that the Japanese decision to attack the US was a rational risk. I suggested:
VDH, maybe you should make that course & others available via Internet or DVD. I wouldn’t purchase it at the moment, but I would when I stop living off capital.

Would there be a demand? That your overseas tour is filling up so quickly suggests there might.
I respect Hanson and wouldn't want him to lose money--but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

September 26, 2009

When the French Call You a Surrender Monkey... might have a problem[1].

The French embassy posted Sarkozy's speech to the Security Council:
We say: reductions must be made. And President Obama has even said, “I dream of a world without [nuclear weapons].” Yet before our very eyes, two countries are currently doing the exact opposite. Since 2005, Iran has violated five Security Council resolutions. Since 2005, Secretary-General, the international community has called on Iran to engage in dialogue. An offer of dialogue was made in 2005, an offer of dialogue was made in 2006, an offer of dialogue was made in 2007, an offer of dialogue was made in 2008, and another one was made in 2009. President Obama, I support the Americans’ outstretched hand. But what did the international community gain from these offers of dialogue? Nothing. More enriched uranium, more centrifuges, and on top of that, a statement by Iranian leaders proposing to wipe a UN member State off the map.

What are we doing? What conclusions are we drawing? There comes a time when facts are stubborn and decisions must be made.
How can we accept this? What conclusions can we draw from it? I say that at some point, all of us – regardless of our positions in other respects – will have to work together to adopt sanctions and to ensure that the UN Security Council’s decisions are effective.
Maybe France's historical scars give her credibility on this issue.
[1] I can't resist the surrender-monkey cheap shot, but acknowledge that every government, including mine, has made calamitous policies and decisions.

September 21, 2009

Mary Travers 1936-2009

This moved me to mark her passing.

Our lives are all too short, but beloved art lives long.
A singer's rarest encore is to be outlived by her song.
One fall day it happened, Mary's voice sang nothing more...
...For she flew with magic dragons to some Honaleean shore!


September 18, 2009

Hurricane Ike: Aftermath and One Year Later

These photos are worth seeing. These too, although they're smaller. (HT: Weather Underground.)

September 17, 2009

How to Fix NASA

Rand Simberg has been blogging about a commission chaired by the eminent Norman Augustine. Unfortunately, vested interests are determined to preserve the status quo.

I'm guessing that the next meaningful step will be taken by private industry or the Chinese.

Ever minded to civic helpfulness, I have a modest proposal to improve NASA: merge it into the Department of Agriculture.

September 16, 2009

September 14, 2009


On 14 September 2009, in Charles Johnson's post Tea Party Logo: Lifted From Communist Designs, commenter 'Koedo' asked, "Could you please answer these two questions if you feel inclined to? How would you describe yourself politically now? What political organizations do you support or align with now?"

No response from Johnson.

Save Those Good Union Jobs

If Daniel Drezner is worried about Obama's tariffs against Chinese tires, I'm worried too.

Is this an attempt to stir up a foreign controversy to deflect attention from Obama's dropping domestic popularity? Maybe, maybe not.

The Chinese are prickly about their national honor. Historically, Western nations have been too.

Today's "enlightened" Westerners, not really.

"See Baby Discriminate"

The Newsweek piece with the above title is so stupid, irresponsible and evil that I'll probably fume about it for some time. In contrast to my usual practice of attaching addenda, I may make ongoing changes to the body of this post.

At first reading, this paragraph has more stupidity crammed into it than any other in the article:
That leads to the question that everyone wonders but rarely dares to ask. If "black pride" is good for African-American children, where does that leave white children? It's horrifying to imagine kids being "proud to be white." Yet many scholars argue that's exactly what children's brains are already computing. Just as minority children are aware that they belong to an ethnic group with less status and wealth, most white children naturally decipher that they belong to the race that has more power, wealth, and control in society; this provides security, if not confidence. So a pride message would not just be abhorrent—it'd be redundant.
It's Western civilization, not the so-called white race, you smug numbskulls!

In their hearts of hearts, do the authors conflate pride in Western civilization with white racism? I'm guessing that they do.

I called the article evil. Here's why:
Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.
(Btw, I'm an agnostic.)

I'm in Love, but, Alas, Unworthy

Interviewed at Yahoo's Tech Ticker, Liz Ann Sonders suggests that, as in the past, "innovation and creativity" might make the economic recovery stronger than most people think. She says that the business sector is in relatively healthy financial shape.

I hope she's correct. Honoring her cautious optimism, I won't go into the reasons that come to mind why she might not be.

September 13, 2009

Norman Borlaug 1914-2009


He didn't wring his hands about the future. He got dirt and callouses on them and changed it.

September 11, 2009

September 6, 2009


The Associated Press ran a photo of a dying Marine in Afghanistan.

September 5, 2009

Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Spoils System

Charles Johnson quotes Hawthorne:
I do detest all offices — all, at least, that are held on a political tenure. And I want nothing to do with politicians. Their hearts wither away, and die out of their bodies. Their consciences are turned to india-rubber, or to some substance as black as that, and which will stretch as much.
Nathaniel Hawthorne lost a couple of jobs to the spoils system; today those positions would be protected by civil-service protocols. Otoh, he was not above accepting a cushy consular appointment from his friend Franklin Pierce after campaign services rendered.

A Good Question

XP suffered from a similar problem, but in my opinion it is worse in Vista.

All these years of development, and we still have to put up with this.

Why is it that third party file managers can handle different views and columns and remember them, but Microsoft can't seem to manage it?