February 28, 2010

Dude, Here's Your Flying Car Home

Here, here and here.

Roving residential communities? Could they be scaled down to single-unit mobile homes? The air traffic control would be tricky and safety considerations would probably dictate automated and remote pilot override capabilities. But why not?

Addendum 20103013. Variations on the theme are here, here, and here. In addition to a race, I'd like to see a contest for airborned longevity (including weight classes). Resupply allowed.

Miss Me Yet? Yes!

Before I forget, I want to post this:

The other images and links here are worth a look too.

February 27, 2010

The Sanfords are Divorced

See here.

With reservations, my sympathies are with Jenny Stanford. They were unconditionally hers until I learned that fiancé Mark told her he might not be a faithful spouse--and she married him anyway.

Smart woman, stupid choice?

I Like This Hopeless Cause

Jim McGovern is my Congressman. Though I strongly disagree with his leftist orientation, his responses to my constituent inquiries have been courteous and to the point. He is a competent professional politician: I still remember how skillfully he ejected his hapless predecessor, the stupid incumbent Republican Peter Blute. I expect McGovern to survive even if the GOP makes historic gains in November. He is no Martha Coakley.

Nevertheless, I have to salute Mike Stopa's quixotic effort, in particular this:
I am calling for an immediate reduction in the civilian federal workforce of 10 %. While businesses big and small across America have to tighten their belts in order to adjust to hard economic times, the federal government has become more bloated than ever, topping 2 million (including military personel) for the first time in ten years. Upon election, I will propose legislation that will immediately reduce the civilian workforce from 1.25 to 1.1 million and will freeze the workforce at those levels until the unemployment rate overall drops below 6 %.
This is so gloriously anti-political I have to love the guy. I wish the GOP and Tea Partiers would find a way to make this point in an electorally palatable way. Perhaps a federal hiring freeze would fly?

If the government is the employer of last resort in a recession but there's no need to restrain government growth during economic expansion, when exactly do we stop government from growing faster than the economy?

If American voters reduced government workforces during a recession, that would be a major step toward delegitimizing the impacted governments. (I mean delegitimizing government's claim to be public's master and/or nanny rather than creature and servant.)

Hopefully Wrong, but Maybe Not

I've seen a few posts claiming the Democratic Party is controlled by doctrinaire leftists who view losing elections as an acceptable price for forcing irreversible changes on American society. Here's one.

Meanwhile, Instapundit links to WSJ's John Fund's Speaker Pelosi’s Treasure Hunt for Votes Isn’t Going Well...and the Intrade odds for Obamacare have climbed steadily to 2:1.

Blue-Sky Conjecture

The Obama Administraton's decision to refocus NASA on commercial applications will be as important fifty years from now as today is the decision, about fifty years ago, to begin work on what became the Intenet.

February 21, 2010

Medical Marijuana: Entrapment and Worse

Radley Balko reports:
Last Friday, the DEA raided a medical marijuana producer in Colorado. The story needs some fleshing out, but at the moment it appears that Chris Bartkowicz wasn't violating any state law. Medical marijuana is legal in Colorado. His offense appears to have been boasting about how much money he makes growing the drug for patients...The DEA is not only unapologetic, they appear to be blatantly ignoring last year's directive from the Obama Justice Department instructing U.S. attorneys to allow medical marijuana growers and distributors to operate so long as they're complying with state law.
From the Balko link:
Along with the raid, Jeffrey Sweetin, the Drug Enforcement Administration's special agent in charge of the Denver office, sent a message to anyone involved in Colorado's increasingly profitable medical-marijuana industry. (p)"It's still a violation of federal law," Sweetin said. "It's not medicine. We're still going to continue to investigate and arrest people."
A memo in October from Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden said federal agents should not target people in "clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." The memo led many in Colorado's medical-marijuana community to believe that federal agents would no longer raid medical-marijuana dispensaries or growers.

Guidelines included in the memo to distinguish between lawful medical-marijuana operations and unlawful ones include whether the operations produce more plants or generate more money than state laws intend. Sweetin said those guidelines put much of Colorado's medical-marijuana industry in the crosshairs and that he has been gathering information on dispensary owners and their operations for months.

"Technically, every dispensary in the state is in blatant violation of federal law," he said. "The time is coming when we go into a dispensary, we find out what their profit is, we seize the building and we arrest everybody. They're violating federal law; they're at risk of arrest and imprisonment."
Reason notes:
The really galling aspect of this case is that Jeffrey Sweetin, who runs the DEA's Denver office, does not even pretend to be interpreting state law, as the Justice Department memo ostensibly requires.
Wrt another raid, I commented:
The government has engaged in entrapment.

"We're going to be restrained, sensible and decent about medical marijuana," sez the Prez.

So the providers come into the open, and...wham!

A jury might accept an entrapment defense--I would--, so I look for non-drug offenses to be included in the indictments.
Note to Obama: you can confiscate a lot of money by pulling the same trick with delinquent taxes.
Another note to Obama: when federal police ignore the President's policy directives and pursue their own agenda, they have begun acting like a Praetorian Guard.
Doubtless many growers of medical marijuana do not have compassionate motives, but that's not the point.

February 19, 2010


1. A Microsoft executive calls for Internet "driver's licenses". A Time Warner columnist chimes in with an "opinion" piece.

2. War game reveals U.S. lacks cyber-crisis skills, thunders the Washington Post. The Bipartisan Policy Center, which sponsored the war game, has no blatant ties to the IP monopolies, but it was founded by the kinds of 'centrists'--Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Daschle, George Mitchell, Gephardt--who did not get where they are by bucking special interests.

I'm not questioning the threat. I'm questioning the government's capability to deal with it. I'm saying the government's first instinct is not to address the threat, but to use it as a pretext to expand its power. (Per Instapundit, it sounds like "they’re after powers more than skills, which is typical.")

3. Law enforcement special interests want to automate the process of searching a suspect's Web history. Note that they refer to 'legal process requests', not warrants. The whole system would be encrypted and access would be restricted to law enforcement.

Hey, what could go wrong? The policeman is my friend...
Ben Franklin must be rolling in his grave.

Stopped Clocks or Straws in the Wind?

Obama has sent reinforcements to Afghanistan. He has invited Republicans to negotiate on health care. He wants to support the role of the private sector in space. When Congress did not join in, he created a panel to study deficit reduction. He met with the Dalai Lama despite Chinese objections.

Could he finally be learning the job? Too soon to tell.

February 18, 2010

Dhimmitude to Grizzly Bears

I am delighted to share my property with wildlife--as long as they fully understand who belongs to the dominant species.

This Forest Service page has many interesting links related to the government's efforts to restore grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. Clicking through, I came to these Tips for Residents in Grizzly Country.

Unfortunately, the term 'grizzly country' is all too literal: the document discusses how humans, at their own effort and expense, should make themselves and their property unattractive to the bears (without harming the dears, of course).

My suggestion: enlist Charles Darwin to teach the bears that bothering humans has excruciating or fatal consequences.

Addendum 20100227. Oh, and by all means kill the orca that drowned his trainer, and was involved in two previous human deaths to boot.

I don't know if the brute is being kept alive because of squeamishness or greed. Maybe both.

In a society that, apparently, can never have too many counterproductive safety measures, why did SeaWorld make no provision for intervention? Squeamishness, stupidity, or greed? If the orca had been killed to save the trainer, would they have gotten worse publicity than they have after the trainer died?

In principle I agree that Dawn Brancheau (RIP) knew the risks and should not have been prevented from accepting them. In practice, I question whether that's the ethical foundation on which SeaWorld's operating policies rest.

February 16, 2010

Diana Moon-Glampers is a SoCal Educrat

See here and here. Berkeley High School is on the verge of eliminating after-school science labs because of the racial disproportion in their use. Apparently a performance gap between races is a no-no that jeopardizes funding, so the local educrats are reacting by penalizing the motivated high achievers. Harrison Bergeron High, Instapundit aptly names it. (The first link says 'too many white kids', but what about Asians?)

Then there's the vice-principal of a technology magnet school who locked down the place and called the bomb squad when a kid brought in a homemade motion detector.

Why Bye Bye Bayh?

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh's decision not to seek re-election was apparently coordinated with the state's Democratic establishment. Possibly the White House was in the loop.

Is Bayh being positioned for SCOTUS, a major Cabinet post, or the 2012 VP nomination?

February 15, 2010

When Pain and Anguish Wring the Brow,
A Ministering Angel Thou. Not.

It is a sad fact of life that women send Dear John letters to deployed military. I'm not censuring their human frailty: it's the smugness that gets me.

Writing self-centered columns about dumping your significant other is something new.

Callously dumping a vulnerable life partnet is not confined to one gender or one branch of the political spectrum: ask Newt Gingrich or John Edwards.

Maybe there should be annual awards like the Emmies. Anyone for the Amies?

February 9, 2010

Comments: February 2010

On the progression of irresponsibility about the deficit.

On the Administration's space policy and Bill Richardson. On skepticism in the House.

On Obama's call for bipartisan healthcare negotiations. Maybe the GOP won't fall for the ploy.

On discrimination in college admissions. (Scroll down to 'gs said...' or '7:50 PM'.)

On removing NH Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (scroll down to 'gs said' or to '9:36 PM, February 08, 2010'.) Here too.

On the Iran resistance. On Iran in Iraq.

On the late Howard Zinn's A People’s History of the United States.

sigh Palin, Palin (scroll down to 'gs' or look among 'Feb 7, 2010'), Palin (scroll down to 'gs writes' or to 'February 7th, 2010 10:31 am' for Palin isn’t an alternative to Obama. She is the Right’s version of Obama.).

On learning Asian and Hispanic languages, and the clash of civilizations. (Scroll down to 'gs said...' or '10:24 AM'.)

On responding to potential climate threats sensibly and reversibly.

On Michelle Obama's obesity initiative. Here too.

On Orin Hatch at a Tea Party.

On the surveillance state's beachhead in Philadelphia's public schools.

On the Google trial in Italy. If Google has declined to abet the Italian government's desire to control Internet speech, might the conviction be a reprisal?

On an unintentionally hilarious defense of rampant SWAT tactics. See this too.

February 7, 2010

Palin is the Obama of the Right

I've been groping for some time to express my reaction, and have finally found something that rings true. It's in the title.

Addendum 20100208. Like this gal says.

February 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, RWR

Wherever you are, if you are.

the birthday is becoming a Republican holiday, joining Lincoln's birthday.

No offense to Dwight Eisenhower, who was a successful President but not a transformational one. Theodore Roosevelt probably was a transformational President (trust busting and projecting America onto the world stage), but too erratic to warrant veneration.

February 1, 2010

Is Obama Finished? GOP Blowout in November?

Maybe not.

Intrade has the odds of Obamacare by summer at 40%.

ITG's Chief Economist Robert Barbera has been saying that jobs are on the way.

Obama's meeting with the House Republican caucus is a Clintonian move to the center--or so it appears to the voters, even if it turns out to be cosmetic[1].

The Republicans should make gains like the minority party historically does during an off-year election. However, much of the right blogosphere is behaving as though a blowout is in the bag. A nasty surprise could be in store. Just ask Congressman Doug Hoffman.
[1] Addendum 20100208. And cosmetic it may be.

If, indeed, Obama chooses Carteresque intransigence to Clintonian adaptation, who is the Reagan who will unseat him?


Give. Me. A. Break.

Addendum 20100215. The Tea Party is running an independent candidate against Harry Reid. Instapundit, sensibly, is not pleased:
Two words: “Ross Perot.” Two more: “Ralph Nader.”
As above, two more: "Doug Hoffman".