December 31, 2010

Comments: December 2010

On Kamala Harris: here and here.

On Sarah Palin, George Bush, and Sherlock Holmes: here and here.

On respecting the female blogosphere.

On whether or not to respond to provocation by a wielder of the Victim Card.

On Obama's recent "bipartisanship".

On China: here and here.

On Mark Madoff's suicide.

On Nikki Haley: here and here.

December 30, 2010

Deflated Trial Balloon

Palin's latest book came out a couple of weeks after Bushes. I suspect that's not a coincidence.

If Palin had outsold Bush, we'd never hear the end of it from the Palinistas. As it is, we don't hear a peep.

December 25, 2010

On Leaving a Comment at a Blog

With apologies to Bill S:

When to this session of a blogger's thought
I wished to add my comment first and fast,
I could not form the bon mot that I sought.
You snooze you lose, and so the moment passed.
To tell the truth, my comment seems too lame.
If not ignored, can it survive the tolls
Exacted by those quick to blame and flame,
By moby's, and by narcissistic trolls?
I'm worrying whether strangers love or hate it!?
If they don't like it, so what? Laissez faire.
Why wonder how my offhand thoughts are rated?
Add hyperlink. Reread once more. I'm there.
Less than I hoped, more than I feared: my wit
Is what it is. I smile, and click 'Submit'.

(To be submitted at neoneocon's place.)

December 12, 2010

Palin and the Ryan Roadmap

She endorsed it.

That's not enough to reinstate my support for her, but credit is due where credit is due.

Iirc I've commented somewhere that I'd like to see Ryan become governor of Wisconsin and if successful, ideally in two terms, run for President.

December 11, 2010

Was This Was Expected All Along, or
Is Sarah Testing Our Faith?

Checking the bestseller lists, Amazon's in particular, I noticed that the latest book published under Palin's name isn't doing exceptionally well.

Now her blogosphere has noticed and gone into spin mode.

Btw, Palin's cover portrait on her latest reminds me of a stereotypical beauty queen smile[1]. (Or a Playboy Bunny's. Confirmation here: Palin gives the logo while Glenn Beck stands in for Hef.)
[1] Come to think of it, the stereotypical beauty-contest smile may be designed to minimize the display of crow's feet around the eyes, and to minimize the disruption of pancake makeup--both of which are relevant to the image of a 46-year-old mother of five with a strenuous life.

December 8, 2010

Cultural Traps

During the European Age of Exploration, Westerners encountered many people who were capable individuals--but their societies were trapped into dysfunctional or corrupt political, religious and social structures.

Now, with the metastasis of the multicultural regulatory nanny state in the West, is the shoe on the other foot?

Encounter with an Entrepreneusse

While at the laundromat, I chatted with the Filipina who bought the place a few years ago and has been putting in eleven-hour days and seven-day weeks running it.

"What do you think about Palin?", I asked.

"Don't like her. Drama queen. Big mouth. Now, Hillary Clinton, she is smart. Educated. She is a lawyer."

I was not surprised at the direction of the response, but was surprised at its vehemence. This is the kind of person that Palin purports to speak for.

Maybe she is blowing a dog whistle to whites who are below the upper middle class.

Watch the Body Language

Here is an uncharacteristic photo of Vladimir Putin, looking overshadowed as he shakes hands with Wen Jiabao.

China and Russia have agreed to drop the dollar for bilateral trade and use their own currencies, whose relative values will be allowed to float.

This is a clever way for the Chinese to undermine the dollar. They are not attacking it overtly. Instead, they are setting up an arrangement which other economies, sooner or later, may request to join as a way to flee the dollar.

November 29, 2010

A Generalization about the Right

Most Palin supporters aren't aren't crazy, but most crazies are Palin supporters.

November 22, 2010


Last week was lousy: Bush, Obama, and Palin all in the news.

Afterthought 20101124. And now here's Barbara Bush dissing Palin, perhaps to help another of her idiot sons try to be President.

I have reversed my initial support of Palin; I do not want her to be President (giving Rush Limbaugh a run for his money is fine with me). I fully acknowledge that Jeb would have been the 2008 nominee if not for his last name, and would have had a better shot at winning than McCain did. I fully acknowledge that Jeb would be the obvious choice for the 2012 nomination if not for his last name.

But if it's Jeb vs Sarah, I will cross my fingers and toes and go with Palin.

November 16, 2010

It Finally Came to Me

The Palin persona and high voice have been rubbing on my memory, and it finally came to me.

Some enterprising cartoonist should start portraying Palin as Rocky the Flying Squirrel. With Todd as Bullwinkle.

Rockette the Flying Squirrel, I should say.

November 15, 2010

Full-Body Scanners at Airports

Glenn Reynolds has been pointing out their intrusiveness, and there is talk of a boycott.

Look at it from the ruling class's point of view.

If the public tolerates the scanners, they thereby become further conditioned to a surveillance society. If the public refuses to fly, the airlines will go bankrupt and the government will nationalize them. So what's not to like?

Addendum 20101116. This poll indicates strong public approval of the scanners, and strong disapproval of profiling. My impression is that the Israelis don't think much of our security and perform extensive profiling in their.

(I sent the poll link to Glenn Reynolds. Perhaps it doesn't fit his narrative.)

November 3, 2010

Assessment of Election

Palin: FAIL.

Afterthought 20101122. Actually, what's needed is an in-depth, race-by-race look at the difference her endorsement made.

November 2, 2010


Was she a plus or a minus for the GOP?

Palin endorsee O'Donnell lost. Intrade says Palin endorsee Angle will lose.

Expect some scorekeeping when the dust clears.

November 1, 2010

Comments: November 2010

On the SPLC, language, and gay marriage.

On the TSA's package-size restrictions, and reporting thereof.

Another Blasphemous Whimsy

Suppose the Exodus story is backwards. Suppose the Hebrews got kicked out of Egypt (and were escorted/chased to the Red Sea by Egyptian cavalry). Suppose the Exodus story is a product of wounded tribal self-esteem.

(What triggered this thought is a conjecture I read long ago regarding the Iliad. In the final version of the story, Achilles stops sulking and returns to battle after Hector kills his friend Patrocles. The conjecture was that in the original story, Hector was the predominant warrior and Patrocles died when he and Achilles attacked Hector together. That account might have been insufficiently heroic for the egos of the victors...)

October 31, 2010

Fair Is Fair

I have come to view Palin as a right-wing version of Obama, and to view her supporters as irrational as Obama's. The blind faith of her supporters resembles the blind faith of Obama's.

Having elected a manifestly unqualified (in hindsight) candidate to the Presidency, are we really talking about replacing him with another, similarly unqualified candidate?

But since I'm trying to base my preferences on objective facts, it's fair to ask what would change my mind and make me give Palin serious consideration again. Otherwise I am open to the same charge of close-mindedness that I make against others.

If she became governor again and had a successful term, obviously I'd reconsider.

If she made a few appearances on political/economic talking-head panels and held her own, I'd reconsider. I don't mean hostile gotcha situations like the and Gibson and Couric interviews: I mean environments with flexibility and give-and-take.

The Chinese are Toast

Just when they had a path to world hegemony, they ruined the whole thing for themselves. Xi Jinping is apparently the country's next leader:
...After the Cultural Revolution, Xi was permitted to resume his education, studying chemical engineering at Beijing's prestigious Qinghua University. He later received a law degree. [boldface mine--gs]
A lawyer in charge? What are they thinking? Not that I'm necessarily[1] complaining.
[1] Not necessarily complaining? The Chinese are the best bet for keeping civilization going if the West disintegrates.

Shadow of a Hanging Chad

Ten years after the Y2K election, will control of the Senate hang in the balance for days or weeks while squabbles continue about the handwriting on thousands of AK votes?

The scenario is unlikely--but not impossible--because the Democrat is currently third in the polls and Intrade odds

Afterthoughts. Speaking of unlikely but not impossible, what if the Democrat drops out and endorses Murkowski? (There was something in the intertubes to the effect that she wouldn't necessarily caucus with the GOP if reelected.) They already tried that in FL, so they might try again. Otoh, caucusing with the Democrats might trigger a recall if a mechanism exists for that in AK. (A long shot is for Murkowski, presumably in exchange for a position in Washington, to drop out and endorse the Democrat.)

Murkowski narrowly lost the primary while a substantial sum of campaign funds sat in her account unused. Maybe she intended to keep it for her own use?

October 30, 2010

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Obviously I withdraw my support for Joe Miller.

A RINO is better than a snake.

Addendum 20101031. Miller's actions were nixonian. At this point things are not so bad that electing Nixons is worth the risk.

October 28, 2010

Appropriate, Unfortunately

October, the last month of campaigning, is National Pork Month.

October 25, 2010

In Defense of Bigotry, Oppression, Cruelty, Treachery, Etc

These things exist because they have worked well enough for long enough to become embedded into our nature.

A valid system of ethics and politics will acknowledge these qualities and preempt them with better strategies. That criterion is easier said than done: observe the intolerance of activists for tolerance.

October 19, 2010

Demoralized Troops in Afghanistan

From the Washington Examiner:
"If we walk away, cut a deal with the Taliban, desert the people who needed us most, then this war was pointless," said Pvt. Jeffrey Ward, with 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, who is stationed at Forward Operating Base Bullard in southern Afghanistan.
I fear that the war would be far worse than pointless. I fear that letting the Taliban, who sheltered the 9/11 butchers, retake Afghanistan will open the door to attacks that will make 9/11 seem like a parking lot fender bender.

October 18, 2010

The Police at Columbine

I've been under the impression that the police at the Columbine massacre were unwilling to confront the gunman. That belief was incorrect: they were following their training for hostage situations.

Police doctrine has been revised.

October 14, 2010

A Remark by neo-neocon

I hope I never get so compromised that I decide to vote for something that furthers my personal interests even though I know it will be bad for the country.
This remark is not as open-and-shut as it seems at first reading.

According to the Declaration of independence, governments are created by individuals in order to to secure their divinely endowed rights. Therefore, only on rare occasions should (what I believe is) the collective interest be compelling enough for me to override my personal interests.

In fact one might argue that sovereign individuals should always vote their self-interest and leave it to their representatives to reconcile the inevitable and legitimate conflicts. I do not take this position, but IMHO it has consistency and merit.

October 11, 2010

Making Amends to Mexico, and Selling Leasing America to Pay Down Our Debt

I commented below on a proposal by 'Adakin Valorm':
On paying the national debt by leasing parts of the country, e.g. California, to e.g. China or Mexico. (Would the US be better off if Mexico ran California? At least the Mexican government wouldn't let the natural resources go unexploited.)
We owe Mexico favorable terms because of the carnage our idiotic Drug War has triggered there.

We have been ignoring the Mexican chaos for which we are responsible. If a Chavez clone takes power and allies with China--and Iran, if you get my drift--, we won't be able to ignore it. But suppose that Hispanics militate against intervention and are supported by the national death wish crowd.

Afterthought. I deny that the USA owes reparations to its blacks. I am cautious to skeptical about reparations to descendants of pre-European populations. Apologizing for use of the A-bomb? Fuhgeddaboudit.

But I wonder if we owe reparations to Mexico for the War on Drugs. Otoh, such an obligation is offset, or more than offset, by Mexico's cynical emigration practices.

A Blasphemous Whimsy

Assume that the Universe has a purpose to which the pain and suffering of living beings is indispensable.

The fact remains that such pain and suffering are often overwhelming to the afflicted being.

Is the Passion of Christ God's act of apology and solidarity?

Intellectual Property

Overreaching intellectual property legislation rips off future generations in a manner similar to excessive debt.

On Citizenship Requirements

Brainstorming suggestion: everybody applying for US citizenship or residency should be required to sign a commitment to human rights, including the right of adults to change their religion, to marry (or refuse to marry) a consenting counterparty of their choice, etc.

Among other things, such a requirement would support Muslim moderates who are currently intimidated by the Islamists--and it would provide grounds for revocation and deportation if naturalized extremists acted out.

Addendum. This proposal is timely given the Moslem Brotherhood's recent declaration against the USA (and Israel, of course).

October 6, 2010

Evading LGF Ads

As of this writing, Little Green Footballs' Charles Johnson has posted a banner stating that a $10/month subscriber can view an ad-free version of the site.

I have implemented an alternative method to not view those ads. It's working well.

The Civil Rights Movement Was No Scam

This dubious comment on this article regarding antiwhite racial bias in the Justice Department goes too far:
What’s going to happen, if White Americans determine that “Civil Rights” was just a scam to start race discrimination against Whites? Just a scam to tax Whites for the benefit of Blacks (better said their Black and White power brokers)? That Obama is the most racist President, since Woodrow Wilson, that other Progressive bookend?The charge of racism has already be neutered, it’s meaningless now. Which opens the way for true racists to be legitimized and come to the fore. Thank you “civil rights movement”, progressives, liberals and the criminal Democrat Party.
The commenter does not outright say that the civil rights movement was a scam, but he does not dismiss the proposition either.

The civil rights movement of the 1950s was not a scam! Americans were being lynched. Americans couldn't vote. Americans couldn't use public drinking fountains.

Afaic equal opportunity policies are not a scam, but today's grievance industry is a scam. Affirmative action is a scam. Political correctness is a scam. Multiculturalism is a scam.

October 2, 2010

Comments: October 2010

On one's political conversion.

On American stagnation: here and here.

On Mark Steyn's return: here and here.

On Valerie Jarrett.

On Joe Miller and reform campaigns.

On a mob mentality by some on the Right. See this too.

On the Reid-Angle debate.

On the Clinton Presidency and divided government.

On America's shortage of scientists.

On unready shovel-ready projects and the feminist lobby.

On a proposed boycott of illegal drugs.

On paying the national debt by leasing parts of the country, e.g. California, to e.g. China or Mexico. (Would the US be better off if Mexico ran California? At least the Mexican government wouldn't let the natural resources go unexploited.)

On leadership.

On midterm black turnout: here and here.

What Obama means by 'fixing education'.

On Arianna Huffington's recent pronouncements. Here too.

On a resignation from the American Physical Society: here and here.

On renaming Rhode Island, the smugness of progressives, and judicial overreaching.

On statist doubletalk.

On Leon Klinghoffer, the afterlife, and composer John Adams.

On politically mixed marriages, and arrogance therein: here, here, here, and here.

On Bush's rehabilitation via Obama's incompetence (with a digression on the McDonnell-Coons race): here, here, here, and here.

On a civil servant's disrespect for the law, and on the race card played against Lou Dobbs.

On use of the race card against Sharron Angle: here and here.

On a set of bumper stickers.

On the Blio EULA. (Scroll down to 'gs on October 1, 2010
at 10:38 pm').


According to a preliminary study, apparently carbon sequestration with genetically modified trees merits investigation.

I completely agree with the proposition that we shouldn't impose 20th-century technological limitations on a 21st-century issue. (Iirc part of Freeman Dyson's climate skepticism is that he does not think that climate models adequately characterize biospheric response.) Nor should we preclude the economic growth that will underwrite such technological progress.

Humanity should not be reckless about manipulating the planetary climate, but it should not have a conniption fit if and when unintended consequences occur.

Religious Nuts and the Tea Party

I have no doubt that the people who brought the country into stagnation and decline under Bush would like to take over the Tea Party over. According to NPR:
For their part, religious conservatives have benefited hugely from the rise of the Tea Party...evangelicals and conservative Catholics were dispirited after the 2008 election. They were disillusioned by what they saw as President Bush's unfulfilled promises and a disappointing Republican presidential candidate. At the same time, once-powerful organizations such as the Christian Coalition have petered out. Enter the Tea Party movement.
My concern is that the Rove/Robertson/Dobson/Reed Religious Right would like to co-opt the Tea Party in the same way that the GOP establishment would. The NPR link has quotes consistent with that concern (of course, NPR cannot be trusted to be unbiased).

Otoh, I read a Christian's online comment that perhaps Caesar's sword was not the right tool for doing God's work. I can ally with people of faith like that.

October 1, 2010

More Intellectual "Property" Insanity

Tax strategy patents:
A tax patent is a patent that discloses and claims a system or method for reducing or deferring taxes.
So if someone sets up a trust, foundation, or other mechanism for tax purposes, they can be sued.

This is a real intrusion of intellectual "property" on people's actual property.

How about landscaping patents, to be enforced via aerial or space-based imaging? How about interior decorating patents, to be enforced via bounties to deliverymen and the like? (Until, in their never-ending quest to protect creative people and grow the economy, Congress can mandate home monitoring.)

Hair style patents, to be enforced by accosting people in the street and requiring documentation that they have paid a licensing fee?

I try to stay optimistic as a matter of moral principle, but it is increasingly hard to avoid creating a label titled Let It Burn.

September 27, 2010

Three Words: Peaking Too Soon?

Some polls are moving the Democrats' way (HT: Instapundit).

Certainly the chest-beating triumphalism on some conservative/libertarian blogs has roused my concern.

Such echo-chamber chest-beating preceded the blowout victory of Congressman Doug Hoffman.

And they don't call the GOP the Stupid Party for no reason.

September 17, 2010

New Scapegoat: High-Frequency Trading

My reaction to a Yahoo/CNBC piece follows. It has been submitted as a comment but has not yet appeared.

A sensible individual investor, as I understand the term 'investor', will buy a stock and hold it for at least a year so as to get the tax savings on long-term gains.

I don't see how such an investor will be damaged by high-frequency trading that scalps a tenth of a cent or so off the price he pays at any given moment. As far as I can see, the long-term value of a stock remains determined by the company's economic performance.

Even a day trader, who is taxed at the short-term capital gains rate, should be able to adjust to high-frequency biases of a fraction of a cent. Anyway, if high-frequency traders have learned to do faster and better the kinds of things that day traders do manually, so what?

Like any innovation, high-frequency trading has benefits and disadvantages--and unintended consequences. It sounds like regulators are learning to get a handle on the unintended negative consequences. A transformational technology like high-frequency technology should continue to be scrutinized by regulators, but afaic regulators should only intervene if it is "reasonably" clear that more harm than good would come if they do not act. Flash crashes are a case in point. However, it sounds like high-frequency trading is being invoked as an all-purpose scapegoat. ("I don't understand how this stuff works and I can't afford the technology, so that must be why I lose money in the market." Whaaat?!)

Investing and trading are challenging and risky under the best of conditions. We do not have the best of conditions: the country has been misgoverned and the economy has been mismanaged for ten years. The people responsible (for) the misgoverning and mismanaging are happy to create scapegoats. It's taken (little) for ordinary citizens, who miss the prosperity we had back when the country was run competently, to be taken in.

September 16, 2010

Simply Put, and Well

'Langshorn', an American who had visited China, wrote:
It is difficult living in a nation in decline.
His entire comment is worth reading.

(A number of people in that thread correctly respond that one shouldn't get carried away. One who does get carried away rhapsodizes about life in Thailand: yes, life in the Thailand that is currently wracked by extreme political factionalism.

Economic downturns seem all but inevitable given the rapid rate of China's growth. They were part of US growth in the 19th century. A key test for China will be how they handle such downturns.)

But Langshorn's perception of the USA remains apposite.

September 12, 2010

Naive Question about the Bush Tax Cuts

If they were so wonderful, why did federal employment on Bush's watch rise more rapidly than private-sector employment? (See this and this too.)

September 11, 2010

September 4, 2010

Comments: September 2010

On the ambiguous gender of a spambot.

On the Russian invocation of intellectual property as a pretext to suppress political dissent. On Microsoft's response (waiving their IP claims in the relevant case).

sigh More reasons why Congressional budgets cannot circumvent potential Presidential vetos: here and here.

On the murder of West Pointer Erik Scott by Las Vegas police: here, here and here.

On the Obamas' dining on lobster: here, here, and here. Come to think of it, the Obamas got off to a good start with Michelle's vegetable garden and beehives. Power corrupts.

On a difference between November 1994 and November 2010: the Internet. (Scroll down to 'gs on 4 September 2010'.)

On Paul Krugman and the proper deference due to the so-called best and brightest: here and here.

On David Brooks.

On the difference between the two major parties.

September 1, 2010

Paul Ryan's Future

He should run for governor at an opportune time and then, if successful in office especially wrt his fiscal policies, run for President.

Its Name is Earl

There's a Category 4 hurricane off the Florida coast, due south of Central MA about where the Great Hurricane of 1938 was. There's a chance the storm will graze Cape Cod and/or strike northern Maine or Nova Scotia.

Nobody inland is especially worried for two reasons IMO: improvements in computational forecasting, and improvements in communications that allow information to be broadly & quickly disseminated, especially via the Internet.

Here's hoping that the technology is correct. Here's hoping that my area is spared. (Hopefully the 2008 ice storm filled our quota of generational disasters.) Here's hoping that nowhere is seriously damaged.

August 29, 2010

'Liberal Fascism':
If It's Evil, the Left is to Blame

I often see Jonah Goldberg's book cited as proof of the above.

Goldberg's trekkie acting out in The Corner gave me a bad impression of him, and the title of his book added to it. The Wikipedia link in the previous paragraph mentions a number of takedowns from the Right; David Gordon's is devastating.

However, I gather that Goldberg is responsible for launching National Review Online.

Who Benefits?

Submitted as a comment on this piece:
Keep in mind that the Clinton Justice Department refused to attack the South Carolina prison plan even though it was pressed to do so.

Who was/is doing the pressing, and why? Excellent piece, Mr. Adams, but I hope you have more to say about this key point.

Having worked in the Civil Rights Division, I cannot emphasize strongly enough how perfectly correct and completely justified DOJ bureaucrats consider policies like the threat to South Carolina to be. And having lived and worked in the private sector and in parts of America far from the Beltway, I also cannot overstate just how insane such policies sound to most Americans.

Are the bureaucrats suing SC just crazy & disconnected from common sense, or is something sinister going on? (Intellectual honesty requires me to add that there might be a legitimate reason for suing, but I can't imagine what it might be.)


If government wasn't so big, its blundering wouldn't be so serious.

August 27, 2010

Another Question

The theocratic Right keeps blabbing that 'America is a Christian nation' blah blah yadda yadda, yet Christianity is not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.

Yet Lincoln mentioned it in his First Inaugural Address:
Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.
So why don't the Hucksters highlight this speech as they seek to rewrite the Constitution to agree with God's law their prejudices?

Ah have no ahdee-uh, suh. None at all.

A Question

Richard Darman wrecked the first Bush administration. Karl Rove's implementation of the so-called Permanent Republican Majority gravely wounded the GOP and if not for Democratic incompetence the damage would be even worse.

Yet Rove's views are taken seriously both in the mainstream and in the GOP whereas Darman became a non-person. Why?

My guess is that Darman wrecked Bush 41 while telling the GOP "base" what they didn't want to hear whereas Rove did comparble (worse, if anything) damage--but did it in a way that catered to theocratic delusions.

August 23, 2010

Bedbugs, Transfats, and NYC

The city found time and resources to micromanage restaurant, deli, and street vendor menus but was oblivious to the spreading infestation of bedbugs.

This is not a government that does a few essential things well.

Will food shortages follow the FDA's expanding regulatory reach? (That would be a rationale for even greater regulatory authority.)

August 20, 2010

Not to Be a Prude, but...

...isn't this going too far to be healthy? "How To Be A Good Hookup":
Just like tasting ice cream flavors, sampling sex with a new guy is what being young and single is all about.
When marriage and children are deferred well past the teens or early twenties, one doesn't expect people to live celibate lives.

Still, sex is an extremely powerful drive. A libertarian attitude toward sex is compatible with a recognition that the power of the sex drive warrants respect.

Spending the night with someone and then deciding if a relationship is possible strikes me as a dubious lifestyle.

I might be wrong, of course. A strong indicator will be whether the hookup generation has stable marriages and a sustainable birthrate.

Is There More Beyond Codevilla?

He talked about the conflict between the ruling class and ordinary citizens. Well and good.

Another thing that's happened over the last few decades is the widening disparity between the incomes of top earners and the incomes of average workers. Some of this, no doubt, is legitmate: technology allows the skills of high performers to be leveraged more highly than they were in the past, and competition for top talent increases accordingly.

But some of it, IMO, is not. The high incomes at the top are partially due to connivance similar to that of the political ruling class (and to connivance with the political ruling class). Moreover, much of that wealth is due to so-called intellectual property, i.e. government-enforced monopolies. The purpose behind such monopolies is worthy and legitimate, but its implementation has been perverted to a point where both the public nor, IMHO, intellectual creators are shortchanged, at least relatively.

So when he talks about giving away half his wealth to charity, Bill Gates may be in the right ballpark.

August 18, 2010

Might It Come to This?

A bill to reduce spiking of CA state pensions has been so watered down by union forces that backers have withdrawn support. (Apparently CA pensions are based on the last year's compensation, and employees are allowed to include things like unused vacation, sick time, and uniform allowances in that amount.)

I fantasize that the public unions will be willing to sell CA to the Chinese if that will get their pensions paid. When it comes to that, the dollar might be worth so little that it would be a bargain for the Chinese. A bargain for everybody except the country the public employees are supposedly working for.

But you can't really blame government workers for driving the best bargain they could get. The real blame lies with the employters who acceded to the ruinous obligations.

In a future, fiscally ruined America, can we envision a series of drumhead courts for the legislators who voted for those benefits, the executive branchers who proposed them, and their heirs? If you proposed or supported a bill that contributed to the state's bankruptcy, your assets get confiscated even if you're dead.

August 17, 2010

Human Rights Advocates Hail Breakthrough in Price Fixing

The AP reports:
In what's being hailed as an unprecedented move...a global diamond trading network vowed Monday to expel any member who knowingly trades gems from two Zimbabwe mines where laborers have been killed and children enslaved.
Blah blah blah, the story continues, until:
Mining experts also have cautioned that...(i)n any case, Zimbabwe would not be allowed to flood the world market and bring down global prices...
Of course not. Diamond prices not set by an open market. They are controlled by a cartel. Via this image-enhancing human rights gesture, the cartel is reinforcing its control and profits.

Come to think of it, inefficient government-regulated cartels staffed with union labor may be just the kind of thing that people who write for the AP like. This is not to ignore that some human side-effects of capitalism can be bad, even horrific. It is also not to ignore the fact that big businesses do not like the vulnerability to competition that an open market brings and routinely collude among themselves and with government to impede it.

So I read with mixed feelings that the Zimbabwe government intends to route around the ban.

August 14, 2010

A Small Step

Today, for the first time in years, when I turned my computer on I went to the Yahoo home page instead of to Instapundit.

My comparison to Schlitz finally sunk in.

Why Hasn't the Stimulus Worked?

Because the money was spent on people who didn't need it? See here, here, here, and here. (Last two links found via Instapundit.)

According to the links, feminist pressure groups succeeded in getting TARP funding diverted to their "human infrastructure" white-collar constituencies even though males and laborers are disproportionately hit by the recession.

Given how the Democratic government is operating, I suspect that that's not the only way the money was misallocated.

They're so incompetent that you can't tell if they have the wrong policy, or if a correct policy is implemented so badly that it has no positive effect. (Which may well be an excuse that economic interventionists will use in future crises.)

August 8, 2010

A Misconstrued Platitude

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong. I've seen that attributed to Twain, Mencken and Einstein.

The saying does not claim that every simple and obvious solution is wrong, but it is often invoked to imply that--often by those who have a vested interest in complexity.

I have the size of the government in mind. The corruption and inefficiency would matter less if a smaller government had less power and demanded less money.

Comments: August 2010

On the trustworthiness of the GOP establishment.

The democratic process has been deliberately trivialized.

On German criticism of Gates/Buffett philanthropy.

On regulatory response to the flash crash.

On the Clemens indictment.

On parasitism, California, and Massachusetts.

On gender inconsistency of reported promiscuity (additional comments follow in the the thread).

On Dr. Sanity, post-Challenger NASA, and the post-2006 GOP: here and here.

On a VAT Pledge.

On Joe Miller.

Is Obama a technocrat?

Hurray for the green economy!

To the GOP re the Ground Zero Mosque: Zip your lip. Just. Shut. Up.

More on Obama's birth certificate.

On the NYC Islamic center, and disguising cowardice as tolerance.

On gay marriage and the Walker ruling: here and here.

On On Bullshit.

On the Right's Heavenly Cities: here and here. Lead-in: here.

August 2, 2010

The Breitbart Reward

Submitted as a comment on this:
Frank must be exceptionally well-paid as a Timesman, because there’s $100,000 on the table to verify this claim.

I clicked on the link in the '$100,000' original text. It brought me to another Driscoll column in which, in turn, clicking on '$100,000' brought me to a Breitbart column offering $10K.

Whether the reward in question is $10K or $100K, has Breitbart made a legally binding offer? Is the money in an escrow account? Who decides if it should be paid? Where are the ground rules written down? How are they enforceable?

Note that Driscoll is a PJM editor.
Ann Althouse rubs me the wrong way, but I have never doubted that there is a brain in her head. She was astute in staying away from PJM.

To give due credit, PJM (presumably Driscoll) printed the comment here.

July 31, 2010

Hitting the Nail on the Head

Scott Johnson at Power Line:
The economic "rights" asserted by Roosevelt in his second Bill of Rights differ and conflict with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are claims on the liberty of others. If I have a right to medical care, you must have a corresponding duty to supply it. If I have a right to a decent home, you must have a duty to provide it.
I have never accepted the notion of 'positive rights', but this is the best concise refutation I've seen.

My neighbor's claim to positive rights is actually a claim against my liberty: a claim that he wants the State to back with force.

Extend the NH Pledge Nationwide

NH gubernatorial candidates have no chance of getting elected unless they pledge to veto an income tax bill. (That may change as Democrats move into the state and its Republicans become dispirited with their national party.)

I'd like to see all candidates for Congress, especially the Republican ones, offered a similar pledge regarding a VAT[1]. In addition to voting against a VAT, Senate candidates should be asked to pledge to filibuster it.

The reaction would say a good deal about which Republicans are serious about limited government and which ones are paying lip service or lying outright. That's probably why the national GOP is not mentioning such an obvious tactic, but I'd like to see the Tea Parties take the issue up.
[1] I vehemently oppose Obama-Bush profligacy and I vehemently oppose major tax increases: I want spending cuts.

July 26, 2010

The Tea Party Caucus

Its formation in the House was announced by religious kook Michelle Bachmann.

I wonder if, the better to force its values on the country, the theocratic right has made common cause with the kleptocrat branch of the GOP instead of the small-government branch.

I might stay in the Big Tent with the religious right if they kept their agenda to the state and local levels, but I don't trust them. Have they decided to support small government or are they trying to co-opt the small-government movement?

Republican Congressional leader Mike Pence is joining the caucus. He also belongs to the so-called Anti-Piracy Caucus that supports using federal power to confiscate the public domain on behalf of the Right's implacable enemy, Big Media.

Where Was the Party of Limited Government?

After editorials in the Washington Post and USA Today, Congressman Edolphus Towns has introduced a resolution supporting citizens who videotape police performing their duties.

A Democrat acts to check the abusive State while Republicans are silent. Is it possible to be amazed but not surprised?

Via Instapundit, who belatedly notes the matter. Whereupon taxpayer-funded libertarian Reynolds calls for federal legislation. I am willing to talk about federal legislation if milder measures don't work.

July 23, 2010

Entrepreneurship in America

To Nathan Myhvold's name, add Steve Gibson's:
Borrowing a page from patent trolls, the CEO of fledgling Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post those articles without permission...“We perceive there to be millions, if not billions, of infringements out there,” he says.
Maybe this will finally bring the IP situation to a reductio ad absurdum.

A problem with today's USA is that when you think things have come to a reductio ad absurdum, they're just getting underway.

The intention of intellectual-property social contracts is constructive and in principle I endorse the concept, but they are metastasizing to the extent that society arguably would be better off without them altogether. Apparently it is necessary to end progress in science and the useful arts in order to save it.
Our wise and good Congress at work:
While many companies ask other publishers to take down potentially infringing material, the law doesn't require content owners to do so before filing suit. The federal copyright statute also provides for damages ranging from $750 to $150,000 per infringement.
To repeat, this issue is tailor-made of the Tea Party. Orrin Hatch is a scumbag. I would be delighted to see him dumped like Robert Bennett was.

July 20, 2010

Apollo 11 Anniversary

Despite opposition by the porkulous in Congress, commercial space seems to be sprouting: one of the few Obama initiatives I support. Hopefully it will also survive the inevitable accidents. At 62, I hope I will see nongovernmental humans visit the moon. It seems unrealistic to hope to go myself but[1]...

For the first time in many years, I have some optimism that Apollo was not a heroic fluke, but a precursor.
[1] On my birthday a friend asked about my plans for the second half of my life. IMO my future lifespan has a bimodal distribution: probably considerably less than 62 more years; possibly considerably more.

The WaPo Intelligence Investigation

The Post found that almost a million Americans have Top Secret security clearances: about 1 in 200 adults.

Amazing that, 35 years after publication, the lessons of The Mythical Man Month are so compeletely ignored.

Heckuva job, George. Again.

Leftists Worthy of Respect

Mickey Kaus, Christopher Hitchens, Camille Paglia, perhaps Susan Estrich.

This post is written because of the Palin thugs (or impostors) at Neo-neocon. In particular, this guy posted in good faith and was savaged for his efforts.

Gresham's Law applies to the blogosphere too.

Note to self: send Neo an email. It's her blog, but she seems reluctant to intervene. If she doesn't, the louts will drive away the people who are there for a civilized discussion.

Addendum 20070720. Never mind about the note to NNC. She's schmoozing with her commenters about how terrible the JournoList is and completely ignoring the Sherrod story.

PJM and Reynolds haven't spoken about Sherrod either. I'm guessing that Neo is waiting to see what the party line is.

It's not taking the new conservative media long to catch up with the old liberal media's way of doing things.

July 18, 2010

On the Blogetery Shutdown

I've created this post as a way of tracking the issue.

The domain had a lot of traffic from India, Pakistan and Indonesia (also the USA and Germany). 24% of the domain's pageviews go to; googling that domain brings up a number of pornish links. Next is with 20.4% of traffic; that site doesn't seem to have pornish associations.

While I haven't thought the issue through, my immediate reaction is that servers should be seized a la Blogetery only for overriding national security reasons. Theft, predacious imagery, even murder are not sufficient reasons to shut down legitimate users without giving them access to due process.

More here and here.

Addendum 20100730. Apparently the closure is terrorism-related. I don't have time to dig up a link right now.

July 17, 2010

An Intellectual Framework for the
Tea Party Movement

Angelo Codevilla has supplied it. (HT: Daily Pundit)

Especially important is that he is aware of the danger that one form of Big Government will be replaced by another. (Yes, I'm talking about the "compassionate conservatives" and the theocrats.) And he has no illusions about the Republican Party as a defender of individual sovereignty.

Conservative/libertarian candidates for major offices should invite Codevilla to their brain trusts immediately.

Codevilla's piece helps to structure and focus the anger and dissatisfaction of Tea Partiers and likeminded people. It is an important article.

Addendum 20100718. Codevilla on Palin vis a vis Quayle and Obama.

Incremental Advance, Breaththrough,
or Nothing Special?

Germany is developing a reusable rocket (HT: Slashdot).

The reentry vehicle has flat sides and is maneuverable to a landing area. Heating of the tip is reduced by pumping nitrogen into its porous material.

It took decades of painstaking patient work to bring us to the threshold of a commercial space era. Until recently none of the advances was dramatic. In fact, it seemed to me at the time that things were at a dead end.

Copyright Thuggery:
An Issue Tailor Made for the Tea Party

Since the Democratic party and key elements of the Republican leadership have been bought by Big Media, there is a big constituency without a political voice--a young constituency.

(The US has shut down a host with 73,000 blogs [HT: Instapundit and Slashdot]. It's possible, of course, that the shutdown involves something much more serious than copyright violations.)

Whatever the case may be wrt Blogetery, I agree with this:
Politicians are whores and the copyright industry is a wealthy John.
Maybe the USA can buy Web surveillance technology from Iran. Maybe the USA can hire the Chinese to build a Great Firewall.

But payment in dollars may not be acceptable for too much longer.

(Btw, note the government's priorities: enforcing copyright vs. securing the borders.)

Addendum 20100708. The US has a small Pirate Party; it should make common cause with the Tea Parties and libertarians.

July 13, 2010

On Civil Rights

From the late 1950s to the early 1970s it became acknowledged that minorities and women were second-class citizens.

The government's solution: grow government so everybody is a second-class citizen.

On American Decline

The unprecedented magnitude and speed of the decline are masked by the country's unprecedented standing as Y2K approached.

Unfortunately Americans, especially the elites, are behaving as though that unprecedented position was normal and to be taken for granted. (Remember Gore and Bush debating about how to utilize the surplus? It didn't occur to them to debate how to maintain the surplus. It's not surprising that Bush squandered it, and no doubt Gore would have done so too.)

Evil Crazies

Palin-Coulter 2012.


You betcha.

Here and here.

Death Threat to "Everybody Draw Mohammad" Wendy Norris

A New York Daily News exclusive:
Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki - the radical who has also been cited as inspiring the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre and the plot by two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers - singled out artist Molly Norris as a "prime target," saying her "proper abode is hellfire."
The surprising good news: our government has put Awlaki on an assassination list. The bad news: is the CIA competent to do the job?

I'm listening for moderate Muslims, at least in the USA, to declare en masse that, although they personally would not draw Mohammad, they defend Norris' freedom of expression.

Crickets chirping.

More news on the Religion of Peace here and here.

On one side, we have the enemy emboldened to threaten American civilians. On the other, we have demagogues like Ann Coulter willing to cede strategic objectives for personal attention and transient political advantage.

The situation continues to deteriorate toward an erosion of the West or an open clash of civilizations.

Note to self: post or link to an image of Mohammad.

July 5, 2010

China Tortures and Jails US Citizen

Naturalized American Xue Feng was arrested, tortured and sentenced to eight years in prison for researching information about the oil industry that China retroactively classified as a state secret.

The Chinese, like other amoral players, smell weakness. I guess they didn't get a reset button from Hillary.

What are you going to do about it, Obama? Send Hillary over with a reset button? (And thanks a lot, George Bush.)

The Chinese are showing the world who the weak horse is. Moreover, they have created a technique to intimidate foreigners who work in the country: spy for China or be charged with espionage.

Comments: July 2010

On Belmont Club and the Codevilla Spectator piece: here and here (and here).

On a proposed Grand Bargain regarding the VAT. "It’s a lot easier to discuss sweeping proposals about how to tax than to tackle the spending issue."

On illegal immigration. "Rhetorical question (I hope): Why doesn’t Obama go all in and apologize for winning the Mexican-American War?" Second and third thoughts.

On Instapundit and Schlitz. See #17 or "Comment by gs".

On US authorities' closure of of a domain with 73,000 blogs. (HT: Slashdot) See also "Politicians are whores and the copyright industry is a wealthy John".

On Eleanor Clift's apologetics for the Obamic welfare state: here, here, here, and here.

On a conjecture regarding Obama's birth certificate (scroll down to 'gs said'). (See also the preceding comment by 'james'.)

Building successful coalitions is hard.

Palin and the Oil Spill

I am disenchanted from my initial hopes and support for Palin, but I have to concede that she'd do a better job than Obama on the oil spill.

Unlike Obama, she has actually worked with her hands.

June 25, 2010

Left-Wing Religious Nuts

Left-wing religious kooks were prominent in the Vietnam war protests, but since then they have been eclipsed by the right-wing variety.

Eclipsed, but still around.

June 23, 2010

Intellectual Property

From boingboing: Canadian Heritage Minister smears DMCA opponents as "radical extremists". My reaction:

Re James Moore: the "radical extremists" are neither radical nor extreme.

Re Antinous / Moderator • #5: Biden's "piracy" is not piracy, and his "theft" is not theft. Btw, "intellectual property" is not property. And an "Internet driver's license" is not a driver's license.
Although in principle intellectual property can be a legitimate constructive social contract, in practice a corrupt political class is seizing more and more of the public domain on behalf of rent-seeking cartels.

Roll back copyright periods to five--ten at the outside--years. Then and only then talk to me about enforcement. And structure policy so that smaller entrepreneurial content creators, who presently are caught in the middle, can get more than crumbs.

The foregoing will be submitted to the linked boingboing piece as a comment. (Addendum: It's here.)

Solar Storm in a Year or Two

It's coming and it might be disastrous for electronics...or not. (HT: Instapundit.)

Will there be any warning, or do solar storms travel basically at the speed of light? Are inexpensive Faraday-cage-like mitigation measures available? If nothing else, maybe I should bargain hunt for DVDs and back up my archives to them. 200 DVDs will almost hold a TB: backing up would be onerous, but not prohibitively so. (Since DVDs are not magnetic storage, they presumably would not be affected by EMPlike events, but this bears explicitly checking in the spirit of due diligence.)

June 20, 2010

Einstein Was Wrong

God is subtle, but He is malicious too--and crazy.

Abstruse Goose explains here and here.

(Btw, having chanced upon A.G., I now check it before checking xkcd.)

A "Conservative" Republican Strikes Again

The more I learn about Orrin Hatch, the more I loathe him. In addition to the material in his Wikipedia bio, he supported weakening the First Amendment via the Flag Desecration Amendment.

His latest proposal:
People seeking unemployment benefits or welfare would have to first pass a drug test under a proposal Sen. Orrin Hatch will try to add to legislation extending the social safety net during this time of economic turmoil.
Unemployment insurance is deducted from workers' paychecks. Therefore, Hatch intends to impede people's access to benefits that they have already paid for.

As for welfare, in theory I can accept the proposition that those who want their fellow citizens to support them via the state can plausibly be required to forfeit some--not all--of their civil rights. Hatch's attitude illustrates how dangerous such a proposition is in practice.

June 19, 2010

Obama and the Spill

From Lightworker to Blightworker.

Alterman on McArdle: Direct Hit or Cheap Shot?

A guru (or gurette) speaks: Revere my teachings. Don't look at how I climbed up to this pedestal.

I occasionally raise an eyebrow at some of my fellow libertarians' relationships with government. NB: I don't claim to be a vestal virgin in that regard.

Still, my occasional reading of Megan McArdle has left me with the impression that she comes from a meritocratic family. Apparently, though, her father made his money by being a lobbyist for the construction industry after being an NYC regulator. Which hasn't much to do with his daughter: I'm not overly exercised that she moved back to her parents when her job disappeared together with the Internet Bubble.

However, if Daddy's lobbying connections got her her job at the post-9/11 cleanup, that bears notice. (Note that the link appears to make that accusation, but only insituates it: ...exactly the sort of job that those "personal contacts" can help you get in the "byzantine" world of construction in NYC.)

I did notice that "libertarian" McArdle moved to...Washington DC. And there met her husband, whose libertarian idealism is also questioned in the link. Whatever the facts of the case may be, this is pretty good rhetoric: ...the deeply hypocritical world of free-market shills who make their money playing the murky world where big government and big business overlap.

June 18, 2010

Self-Replicator in Conway's Game of Life

New Scientist reports. (HT: Slashdot.)

The "creature" replicates itself, but destroys itself in the process of producting a copy.

The Life community immediately realized that the next step is to produce something that creates multiple copies of itself. Two dimensions might be too constrictive for that to work: at least when interactions extend no farther than next-nearest-neighbor. Otoh, do present storage and CPU constraints permit simulation of complex structures in threeor more dimention?(Life on a Cayley tree (with stabilizing boundary conditions at the edge)? Can one increase the complexity of rules together with dimension so that the high-dimension limit does not approach a tree? Life on a fractal?)

1. Note the structural complexity and temporal duration for replication to take place.

2. If it's so hard to simulate reproduction, how hard is it to simulate duplicity in interpersonal and societal dynamics? Maybe history--and the future--are not computable.

Life sites here and here.

June 16, 2010

I Thought My Opinion of Palin Couldn't Get Lower

The British press reports that Palin is planning a photo op with Margaret Thatcher.

Using a person with dementia as a political prop is disgusting and vile. (Hey, she uses Trig.) Hopefully this will be news--but not in the way Palin intends.

What's next, posing with an exhumed Reagan? (If she asked for a photo op with Nancy Reagan, I hope she got turned down. But Nancy Reagan favors stem cell research, which means she isn't a real conservative...)

Shallow Speech about the Deepwater Spill

So, while the oil spews, Obama is going to tell BP to create an escrow fund?
...Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness. And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent third party.
What gives him that power? Also:
...just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge -- a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

As a result of these efforts, we’ve directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology.
What do a Nobel Laureate and the Powerpoint wizards in the national labs know about drilling technology? (Damn little, which is why I suspect the clean-up hasn't been federalized.) Telling BP to get more equipment: wow, what an idea!

Maureen Dowd (!) hit the nail on the head:
President Obama’s bloodless quality about people and events, the emotional detachment that his aides said allowed him to see things more clearly, has instead obscured his vision. It has made him unable to understand things quickly on a visceral level and put him on the defensive in this spring of our discontent...
There is a lot to disagree with in the column, but the surprise is that there is a lot I agree with.

The Dowd piece was linked by National Review. Obama is bringing us together...

June 15, 2010

Obama and the Spill and Bush

Mark Steyn has written something similar to my previous post.

I keep agreeing that Obama is Bush on steroids and I keep wondering why Bush failed. Can it be that Bush, being born an aristocrat and born again in middle age, could also have seen much of the job as beneath him?

Listen to "God", slap the backs of the Big Dogs, make a few speeches, and all is predestined to fall into place?

A fairly innocuous abortion post by neo-neocon turned into an flame war in the comments. People on the Right jumped all over Mitch Daniels when he suggested a truce in the Culture Wars to focus on out-of-control government growth.

I wonder if Bush's religious right has given us such bad government because fundamentally they think the nitty-gritty of governing are less important than their social agenda? That they want to use government to impose that agenda is pretty obvious, but it's quite another thing to wonder if the only use they have for government is its power to impose their agenda.

June 6, 2010

Obama and the Spill

I wonder if he believes it's below his pay grade: a trifle for mechanics to deal with while he is bringing hope and change and international justice.

(The anecdotes I've read about disputes between engineers and BP corporate suits remind me of the arguments before the launch of Challenger.)

Obama and Israel and China

Obama is annoyed because he has to shaft Israel in order to shaft America's national interests, and Israel is resisting.

Did I say he wants to shaft the USA? My bad. The Washington Post explains:
(Israel) poses a special challenge for President Obama, whose foreign policy emphasizes the importance of international rules and organizations that successive Israeli governments have clashed with and often ignored.
Kenneth Anderson points out what the Chinese may do:
The new strong horse signals its presence, not by conquest – but by the imposition of a rough public order on the high seas that the old strong horse used to enforce, but had become unable to impose by reason of its insistence on a purely utopian rule of law, suitable for Oxford or Marin County, even for open ocean two hundred miles off Somalia. The act that signals China’s hegemony, if it comes, will not be purely self-interested, because pure self-interest is not what hegemony is about – it will be the imposition of a rough but reasonably effective public order mostly beneficial to it – but just enough beneficial to others that they will follow. As they used to follow the United States.
In other words, the Chinese will brutally resolve some international problem which America is conspicuously too dainty to handle.

Not inevitable, but plausible.

Comments: June 2010

On the proposed bailout of "journalism". Also here.

On the Deficit Reduction Commission's deficit: scroll to Posted by: gs | Jun 5, 2010 6:01:45 PM.

On Palin and her similarity to Obama: here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Is there an indoctrination dimension to 'zero-tolerance' policies? Scroll down to 'The Powers That Be'...that's me.

Mitt Romney is the national politician best qualified to oversee the oil spill.

On a Canadian minister's remark that those who oppose the government-abetted corporate takeover of the intellectual commons are "radical extremists".

June 5, 2010

On the Proposed Journalism Bailout

To be submitted as a comment to Professor Bainbridge & accepted here):

1. ProfB, let me presume to clarify your headline: "And/or a Subsidy for the Left?" -> "And/or another subsidy for the Left, including Helen Thomas?"

2. From Jeff Jarvis: "Besides of all the issues this raises concerning government influencing the media, I find it hard to believe voters would be willing to subsidize a broken business model." Silly Jarvis! They have no intention of asking the voters. Did they ask the voters about bailing out GM? About Obamacare?

3. The FTC has been at this for some time: see .

4. Despite the fact that Big Media are mortal enemies of conservatism and the GOP, Republicans have collaborated in the perversion of copyright law to the disadvantage of the public. Orrin Hatch (R-RIAA) is the most conspicuous, but by no means the only, example. I don't rule out that enough key Republicans can be bought off to allow a "journalism" subsidy to pass.

Hollywood's Corrupt Sock Puppets

These crooks--thieves of the public domain--have labeled themselves The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus:
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse D-RI
Senator Orrin G. Hatch R-UT
Rep. Adam B. Schiff D-CA
Rep. Bob Goodlatte R-VA

Senator Lamar Alexander R-TN
Senator Barbara Boxer D-CA
Senator Thad Cochran R-MS
Senator John Cornyn R-TX
Senator John Ensign R-NV
Senator Dianne Feinstein D-CA
Senator Patrick J. Leahy D-VT
Senator Charles E. Schumer D-NY
Senator Olympia J. Snowe R-ME
Rep. Spencer Bachus R-AL
Rep. Shelley Berkley D-NV
Rep. Howard Berman D-CA
Rep. Mary Bono R-CA
Rep. John Boozman R-AR
Rep. Robert A. Brady D-PA
Rep. Ken Calvert R-CA
Rep. Eric Cantor R-VA
Rep. André Carson D-IN
Rep. John Carter R-TX
Rep. Judy Chu D-CA
Rep. Howard Coble R-NC
Rep. Steve Cohen D-TN
Rep. Tom Cole R-OK
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly D-VA
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. D-MI
Rep. Jim Cooper D-TN
Rep. Joseph Crowley D-NY
Rep. Diana DeGette D-CO
Rep. William Delahunt D-MA
Rep. Lloyd Doggett D-TX
Rep. David Dreier R-CA
Rep. Vernon Ehlers R-MI
Rep. Bob Filner D-CA
Rep. Randy Forbes R-VA
Rep. Bill Foster D-IL
Rep. Elton Gallegly R-CA
Rep. Bart Gordon D-TN
Rep. Jane Harman D-CA
Rep. Paul W. Hodes D-NH
Rep. Darrell Issa R-CA
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee D-TX
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy D-OH
Rep. Zoe Lofgren D-CA
Rep. Ben Ray Luján D-NM
Rep. Michael T. McCaul R-TX
Rep. Michael E. McMahon D-NY
Rep. Mike Pence R-IN
Rep. Adam H. Putnam R-FL
Rep. George Radanovich R-CA
Rep. Laura Richardson D-CA
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher R-CA
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger D-MD
Rep. Bobby Rush D-IL
Rep. Linda T. Sánchez D-CA
Rep. Pete Sessions R-TX
Rep. Brad Sherman D-CA
Rep. Michael K. Simpson R-ID
Rep. Lamar Smith R-TX
Rep. Lee Terry R-NE
Rep. Edolphus Towns D-NY
Rep. Chris Van Hollen D-MD
Rep. Diane Watson D-CA
Rep. Henry Waxman D-CA
Rep. Anthony Weiner D-NY
Rep. Joe Wilson R-SC
Rep. Frank R. Wolf R-VA
I looked their states and parties up. The caucus's Website does not list theses affiliations because, you know, the members risen above such narrow things to whore for Big Media work for the greater good.

I'll return to this post later, but notice immediately that 20 of the 70 members represent California. Notice also that some very senior House Republicans are on board.

June 4, 2010

A Moonbase for Japanese Robots by 2020?

Details here.

It's not a coincidence that they're talking about this soon after the evidence for lunar water has become strong.

What Israel Needs Is Ethnic Cleansing?

This Volokh commenter says Israeli Arabs should be expelled. Understandably, nobody wants to touch the remark. Another Volokh commenter approaches it from the other extreme, i.e. Israeli Jews should be offered US citizenship and land in Texas.

How coupled to cheap Arab labor is the Israeli economy? For that matter, could South African whites have created a defensible homeland (though not the size of South Africa) if they'd been willing to dispense with cheap labor by the black and colored?

Iirc the seeds of the current Muslim problem in Europe were planted back when the European economy was growing rapidly and immigration of cheap labor was encouraged. As for the USA...


For some time I've been thinking that reengineering the nightmarish legal immigration process should go hand in hand with securing the borders. For some time I've wondered if the toleration of illegal immigration is due, in part, to a tacit understanding that the government is no longer capable of implementing immigration competently.

Reason agrees.

Unfortunately, the high-skill people we need most will be disproportionately filtered out by our dysfunctional system.

(I've also read that the USA has the rudest border agents of any major country. Tourists said they enjoyed their visit but would not return because of how they were treated at the border.)

Great News

SpaceX's Falcon 9 commercial rocket has launched and achieved orbit. Bravo.

(I'm extremely disappointed in Obama, but he is on the correct side of this issue in contrast to "conservative" Republicans like Shelby and Hutchison who want to maintain human spaceflight as a pork barrel enterprise.)

May 29, 2010

Oh for Heaven's Sake

One thing the nomination of Rand Paul has definitely achieved — it’s showing Americans just how far out of mainstream thought libertarians are. Libertarians like Rand Paul and his father Ron are absolutists, and any form of political absolutism is profoundly anti-human. That’s why Rand Paul can say “accidents happen” about the BP disaster — because he has no empathy at all for the millions of people whose lives will be affected by it. It’s the same reason why he is an anti-abortion fanatic, despite his lip service to libertarianism — because he has no empathy for human beings. His ideology rules his world view, and human beings play a very small part in it.
(Boldface mine.) The cluelessness on autopilot that many libertarians have about human relations is no surprise to this small-el libertarian. See: Ayn Rand. See: the Libertarian Party (after Harry Browne, not one penny more, not ever!).

But here's what really takes the cake, from one of the most active commenters at LGF:
Except for the eminent domain part (it should be limited, of course, but society could never get by without it), those are all eminently liberal policies. Well, maybe not the tax part, either, but then taxes are a red herring issue.

A lot of them are up to the states, though.

So why the insistence on replacing the second "al" in "liberalism" with "tarian"?

Could it be a dogwhistle? Sounds kinda like "Aryan", after all.
Taxes are a red herring? Liberal policies favor limiting government? The standard suffix "-arian" is a racist dog whistle? (Note the affirmative votes in favor.)

The tone inoculates the writer against a rational response.

A rational position is here.

May 28, 2010

Celtics-Magic: I've Been Worried

In the 1985 NBA Finals the Celtics beat LA by 32 points in the first game and went on to lose 4-2 despite home court advantage. To their undoing, their characteristic brashness turned into overconfidence.

Now they've lost two games in a row--the second in blowout fashion--after upsetting Cleveland and leading Orlando 3-0.

Given this year's choke by the Bruins and the Patriots' history of choking (not to mention the pre-2004 Red Sox, and the closeness of the two Celtics wins in Orlando), I have declined to be confident about the Celtics' prospects. Good luck to them, but note that, in a sense, a--historic--sweep of their semifinal series remains possible.

Addendum 201006101947. Okay, false alarm.

Now I see that Paul Pierce, while working to win Game 2 and tie the series, gibed at a fan the Celtics wouldn't return to LA. Whereupon they lost the first of three consecutive games in Boston...

Addendum 201006171950. Okay, another false alarm.

An hour before the rubber game starts, I see that the sports press, which was talking up the Celtics when they took the lead in the series, is now talking up the Lakers after they won Game 6.

My pessimistic temperament is telling me that the Curse of the Bambino hasn't been broken: it's been transferred to the Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics. This kind of infantile swagger from, fittingly, the Celtics' 'Big Baby' Davis doesn't make me feel any better.

Addendum 201006180038. sigh Congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans.

I was definitely rooting for the Celtics but my feelings became mixed once I realized their reputation as braggarts and bullies.

The following has the ring of sour grapes, but I'm getting very repulsed by the steady stream of news about thuggishness by professional athletes. At this point I haven't withheld my attention. Maybe ultracompetitive sport, like war, brings out the best and worst in people; for sure, I've been noticing the bad.

May 25, 2010

Shaddup and Sign the Checks

Christina Agapakis is working on her PhD in biology at Harvard. She weighs in on the recent transplantation of a genome:
The reaction to the Venter Institute's synthetic genome transplantation has been decidedly mixed. Is this the beginning of something new and wonderful, the ability to really design organisms from scratch? Is it something more sinister, the beginning of a dark era where techno-corporate (or terrorist) interests can design something that will destroy the environment in catastrophic ways?...
Note the threat prioritization implicit in the phrasing 'techno-corporate (or terrorist) interests'.

Agapakis concludes:
Synthia is important for showing what big budgets and bigger patience can do, and for continuing and broadening the public discussion on synthetic biology....The possibilities are endless and it's up to all of us to make sure that it's good for everyone.'s up to all of us to make sure that it's good for everyone. Make sure that it's good for everyone.

More Agapakis:
Hey Senator, stay out of my research!!!

Senator Sam Brownback recently introduced a bill to congress to ban the creation of human-animal hybrids that blur the line between species. Clearly, this is a huge setback for synthetic biology.
Her research? Is Agapakis an heiress? No, she has an NSF fellowship and her research is funded by the US Army. (!)

You don't have to be a fan of Sam Brownback to grant that a US Senator has a legitimate interest in government-funded research. Or maybe he's not part of Agapakis's 'we'.
The foregoing is hardly worth mention as an individual case. I've tracked down the links because I suspect that Agapakis is an example of a mentality and a type that makes me uneasy about the future.