Saturday, March 29, 2008
Religious toleration means that even as we may disagree, vehemently, with many of the tenets of the various Islamic schisms and the brutal philosophies and actions urged by the Koran - to preserve our own character, we must limit our responses to those that uphold our values.
Simply being a non-apostate follower of Islam is sufficient neither for deportation or imprisonment. A crime, beyond believing in the wrong faith, must be committed - that is part of what makes us different.
Islamic immigration into the West must be modified into a weapon against those who would destroy our culture, not abolished. By welcoming the GLBT, the women and girls, and boys sufficiently young that wrong-headedness may not be fully canalized such that there is hope they might learn that women are human - we undermine Sharia law by rewarding and sheltering those it would penalize, and to a greater or lesser degree undercutting the societies that support it.
The sedition laws are a blot on the national conscience and fundamentally undermine our First Amendment rights, and that they have not yet been found unconstitutional on the face of them is a blot upon the judiciary. Again, Freedom of Speech is one of the fundamental differences our opponents seek to extinguish - what good do we serve by offering them this reward on a silver platter. Depressingly, however, freedom of speech is measured not be how much we celebrate the speech we like...but how well we tolerate those whose speech we despise, who deride those things we hold dear.
Equality before the law is one of the fundamental values of our nation, and to the extent we make exceptions, we create the pre-conditions for those very exceptions to be used against us in the next great witch hunt by the next politician seeking to wave a bloody shirt. For that very reason, much as it may pain us, we must provide mosques precisely the same (not a whit more or less) treatment as we would a synagogue or a church and an imam the precise same respect before the law that we would grant a priest, rabbi, or protestant minister. That equality is part of what differentiates us from that subset of Islam known as the "bigoted, sexist, and homicidal fundamentalist loons".
Locking the barn door after the horse has gone has long proved to be a rather futile strategy. The sheer numbers of illegal aliens in the United States, bolstered by arbitrary and confusing immigration laws and enforcement, have long since swollen well past the point where a "round-up" would be practical or even possible. That horse is gone and long since dead of old age.
Our actual remaining options regarding immigration are to secure our borders, shape a consistent and logical immigration policy that serves our interests as a nation with a reasonable seasoning of compassion and decency, and with that accomplished both blaze a clear path to citizenship and inclusion for those already here striving to make a lawful life for themselves and rapid deportation for those engaging in crime for fun and profit.
By buying into the mystique of terrorism we glorify our opponents, who in reality are nothing more than megalomaniac thugs with a taste for intimidation and disregard for humanity. We better serve our cause by calling them what they are - murderers, kidnapers, arsonists, extortionists, and rapists. And then prosecuting them under existing laws, providing them every single jot and tittle that any common crook gets, and then punished accordingly. To the extent we make them "special", to them and their ideological allies we somehow justify their heinous act, allowing them to dodge the true vileness of their crimes by acknowledging them as "allah's warriors" and similar tripe.
It boils down to mandatory inclusion of those already here - no special persecution by the state, and not one whit of special forgiveness for "cultural differences". Precise equality. And when our statutes and ordinances are violated, no acknowledgement of alien legal systems - they are irrelevant to the proceeding at hand, and are not in any way or form an excuse for unlawful conduct.
Lest there be any mistake, this is largely in response to what I believe was a misguided statement on another blog, and if I'm going to whack on such a thing at this length and with this level of enthusiasm - it seems darned rude to do it over there.
Friday, March 28, 2008
If someone sets out to write a book, make a speech, perform a song, or make a movie criticizing George Bush - is it really any surprise that the resulting expressive work is just a wee bit anti-Bush? Or similarly, if the object of criticism is Republicans, Democrats, or Catholics - that those resulting expressive works might, again, be a wee bit critical of their proposed subject? Ya think?
Islam does not merit (nor, for that matter, does anyone else) some kind of special "social justice exemption" to freedom of expression that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon seems to believe should be carved out, perhaps on the basis that Islamic sociopaths throw particularly devastating hissy fits when offended.
Apparently, such devastating hissy fits that LiveLeaks (the hosting ISP known for bearing up under unusual pressure) felt it prudent to pull Fitna from the web due to threats to the lives and property of employees and their families by Islamic sociopaths striving to demonstrate why the West should seriously consider an updated version of the Crusades.
Thankfully, today, once information that is the slightest hair controversial is out on the net with the tiniest bit of publicity - it finds itself mirrored in the wind and impossible to call back, as Fitna is here, here, here, and here. And, of course, below. (Thanks for the links to DiamondMair! ed. 3/29/08) WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC IMAGES, EVEN BY MY LOOSE STANDARDS.
Enough. While there may or may not be a large contingent of peaceful, rational, and generally worthwhile folks of the Islamic persuasion - we need leaders that clearly declare that Sharia law is abhorrent to any ethical person, that the hidjab is nothing more nor less than a visible sign of the frequently involuntary oppression of women, that honor killings are and will be treated as murder with malice aforethought and the killers like the two-legged rabid mongrels that they are, and finally that the Bill of Rights in the United States (and similar declarations of natural human rights in other nations, most specifically the rights of privacy, freedom of expression, and equality before the law) are non-negotiable.
It must be painfully clear that if one emigrates to a country, one plays by that countries rules, with no special exemptions for culturally ingrained sociopathic stupidity, aggression, and bigotry.
At the same time, counterintuitive as it may seem, we must modify our immigration policies. We must open our borders to women, girls, and demonstrably gay men fleeing Islamic nations under refugee status, and male children under the age of 8. It is observably much more challenging for someone, no matter how fanatic, to reproduce without a reasonable supply of women-folk about and is not made any easier when mothers know they and their kids have an easy way out.
Finally, sucketh as it might, we must continue to defend the rights of those we despise as we would our own for the old obvious reason that our own rights are only as safe as the rights as those we despise the most. Enlightened cynicism, if you will.
That means that barring a whole bunch of pardons, not only is torture by "our guys" or their agents (no, you can't dodge by handing the dirty work over to a third party and claiming ignorance while giggle madly over gathered intelligence) a bad thing, it is a chargeably bad thing that should see a whole bunch of folks up and down the appropriate chains of command (including elected type folks) going to jail for a very long time indeed.
That means that the Patriot Act and its ill-sired brethren must be abolished at the earliest opportunity, illicit monitoring of communications without judicially approved warrants promptly ended, and that executives of telecommunications companies that volunteered access to private communications without being given a warrant should join those government officials charged with torture related defenses before a wide variety of very busy Federal judges.
To grant the offenders a "wash" is to condone their behavior, and ensure that not only further similar behaviour takes place, but that it expands in intrusiveness until it reaches the limits of tolerance for most everyone - at which point it may already be too late to reign in short of truly unfortunate measures.
We live in interesting times - let us strive to be worthy of them.
Monday, March 24, 2008
One thing he did like doing was signing treaties with the local tribes, and once he got a bee in his bonnet there was no stopping him - not even the advice or unmitigated hostility of his advisors or the local Army commander of the era. This would be a later cause for regret, once the courts finally got around to honoring those treaties, beginning with the Boldt decision that revolutionized salmon harvesting (Essentially the court said "You signed the treaty, you live with the treaty. Deal."), an ongoing party since '74.
One of the more intriguing treaty cases had the Puyallup Tribe looking to repossess the cities of Tacoma and Puyallup, with a darned good chance of doing it, before the senior GOP Senator from Washington worked some heavy political mojo and managed to find a compromise leaving everyone equally unhappy.
And now, the Makah. Stevens had sort of a boilerplate treaty he shopped around to the tribes, scraping out what didn't fit and adding the occasional fillip as needed. The Makah's amendment was the treaty-protected right to hunt seals, fish, and whale with no mention made of restriction or regulation.
The right of taking fish and of whaling or sealing at usual and accustomed grounds and stations is further secured to said Indians in common with all citizens of the United States, and of erecting temporary houses for the purpose of curing, together with the privilege of hunting and gathering roots and berries on open and unclaimed lands: Provided, however, That they shall not take shell-fish from any beds staked or cultivated by citizens.
The last hunt of the Makah was in 1920. Until 1998 when tribe members re-read the treaty in light of the Boldt decision and subsequent rulings, and realized that they indeed had an enforceable right to whale that superceded federal and state regulation, and arguably, subsequent treaties to which the Makah nation had not been a party.
Whether because the Makah are essentially kindly folk, or for other reasons, for that first hunt they jumped through the various federal hoops and played nicely with the various animal rights and and environmental types. They didn't pull their trump card all the way out and waltz all the way to the Supremes back in DC.
The Makah were "allowed" one hunt. Subsequently the 9th Circuit held the Makah must be held to a more stringent standard before being allowed to whale in 2004, and the tribal treaty right to whale has been in limbo since, with no new permits issued.
In 2007, several Makah men, without Federal or Tribal authorization set forth upon a whale hunt, found their quarry, and took it...before the authorities swept in and allowed the whale to founder, going to a watery grave.
Read the latest here.
This has the potential to be another Boldt sort of case, pitting treaty rights against environmental law. The Justice Department is eager to deal because if the case goes forward, while it may take years and dollars to resolve, if it ends up before the Supreme Court of the United Sates...there's a more than fair chance that the defense position that the Treaty allows no regulation of Makah Whaling by the government of the United States would open a Pandora's box, and incidentally cut a loophole you could drive a truck through in wildlife management laws.
The Tribal Council is eager to deal because if the whaling/seal hunting/fishing rights are held to be individual to each member of the tribe, and not dependent on or regulated by decisions of the Tribal Council...a whole second set of doors will be blown right open.
And to think, we can thank a tiny bandy legged tyrant...
Network Solutions ain't the only game in town - either as a Domain Registrar, a DNS host, or a web host. It's closer to Billy Joe Bob's gun shop deciding you're more trouble than your worth, so you end up having to go down the street to Joe Bob Billy's gun shop where the coffee isn't as good but the prices are lower on a smaller selection - it's not as if Billy Joe Bob can ban you, even if he wanted, from the whole world of guns. Even if he did wish you'd cut back on the beans.
Same deal with Network Solutions. Right now they hold all three of the pieces above for the Fitna domain from what I get from the news stories. Yay for them. The domain owner isn't without options - he can transfer the domain registration to another host, change the DNS hosting to another DNS server, and he can move the web hosting elsewhere (to a co-location service, to a dedicated hosting facility, or to a box in his basement as he chooses) and if worst comes to worst and Network Solutions tries to hold the Domain hostage...he's not exactly barred from inventing a bright shiny new domain name and registering it with a more sensible registrar and then setting up hosting for the dns and web any place that'll have him (might be good to read the Acceptable Use Policy this time, though).
And a domain is "somethingsomething.com", DNS is like the internet traffic cop that reads a domain name and tells your computer where to go look for the web page or to send the email, and web hosting is the physical place a website lives.
What, according to the news, Network Solutions has done is turn off the web hosting pending an investigation. To my eye that doesn't exactly make them a stand-up citizen in the fight for truth, freedom, and the American way - and in fact is kind of obnoxious. But...at the end of the day, the servers and such *do* belong to them and they can write their AUP pretty much the way they want - but since they aren't the only game in town, that means that offended folks can meander off to other homes on the net.
Not quite the black and white picture the MSM would like to paint us, but that's the problem with being observant...grey happens a whole lot more often.
Crusader Rabbit pretty well nails it.
Second, I am mightily tired of the body count number being flung about as if somehow wars could be fought with fairy wands rather than conventional ordnance and that thus the casualties are due to the incompetence/evil/wrongheadedness of the current administration.
Finally, I observe that from what reports I've seen (Ref. 1, courtesy of DiamondMair; Ref. 2), for being at war, our casualty rate is actually pretty darned low - more of our wounded are recovering to higher standards, and fewer troops are dying as a result of combat. (I phrase it that way because a certain percentage of deaths remain about the same in war or peace, whether "death by dumb" or simple statistical probability - take any large group, and a certain percentage will kick over quite reliably, without any further intervention required.)
With all that said - if you're against the damned war, make a logical argument rather than dancing in the blood. Quit the public hissy fits, and contribute to the discussion.
Note: Ref's are edits, and many thanks to DiamondMair!
It appears that the government of China is doing all that it can to demonstrate its vileness and repel Western nations generally, and ethical persons specifically, from attending the Tienamen Square Olympic Games.
In yet another proof that Electronic Voting Machines are not quite ready for prime time, Sequoia Systems threatens legal action against noted computer researcher Ed Felten if he has the temerity to help the state of New Jersey evaluate the security and function of their voting machines. I'm left wondering if this has to do with the investigation of just how the ownership of Sequoia and its' parent corporation by Chavez-related Venezuelan interests might be related. After all, if you can't look at the "guts" of the machine, and the machine is made/operated/maintained by a hostile foreign power...we should be using it why?
Just a few morning high notes...
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
It was having the temerity to post a video making the Great Saint Obama look bad, and I must admit I am rather disappointed in the blog (and chatroom) operator, who until this time has maintained both blog and chatroom as open forums, specifically decrying the evils of censorship for anything much short of a personal attack.
So, even though I knew he was an Obama supporter, I had thought him rather more possessed of principal and was surprised at the fuss when I posted the below. I am saddened to discover I was mistaken. I suppose what really pissed me off, as is the usual case, is that I expected far better of him.
I certainly acknowledge the right of a blogowner to censor fellow blog-writers or commenters, but "having the right to do something" doesn't make it "Right to do something".
The blog in question is over at www.gayportlandblog.com and all are welcome to comment, including whatever links they feel are appropriate.
March 20, 2008 by loki42.
Just a thought, if a white guy were to say something about an “official victim group” and such statement would be considered racist/bigoted/discriminatory/officially naughty - how is it that a similar statement from a member of an official victim group about a group or individual *not* so designated…isn’t racist or relevant?
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
At a minimum, I think D.C.'s ban is toast. If the Supremes grant one of my fonder wishes, coming down with a decision declaring that any regulation of the rights recognized by the Second Amendment must be held to the same strict scrutiny as those described in the First...why then I expect great shrieking amidst those I dislike intensely as every gun control law since the New York Sullivan Act (1911) forward is brought into question (and likely struck down).
I don't think we're going to get THAT lucky (I'm betting the Court will follow the Miranda model and go for a series of incremental decisions to arrive at the same location).
And no, I don't anticipate the United States descending into some great wild west shoot out if we do get "that lucky". I do anticipate, should we luck out, that the crime rates in Massachusetts, California, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, and other unfortunate areas will likely drop off something fierce - at least those crimes where a significant risk of being confronted by a proposed victim exists.
And, regardless, if the decision comes back with anything other than a conclusive denial of an individual right (something I see as rather unlikely) I anticipate watching with great glee a large amount of liberal hand-wringing and bed-wetting, followed by their looking a tad silly when the world fails to end on schedule.
To provide a little back story, Washington started out with an open general primary that the voters rather liked. You could vote for whomever you wanted without registering for one party or another, and the winning contenders of each party would go on to the general election. All was good in the land.
Then a case in California (where a similar system was in place) was decided by the courts, setting precedent, that such systems unconstitutionally took the decision of who they would support away from the parties. Not long after, to the vast anger of the voters in Washington, the Washington GOP & Dem's got together to throw out Washingtons open primary, followed by dueling initiatives and court cases.
Seems Washington voters were mightily unhappy at having their choice to vote for the best candidate taken away, as they viewed the primary not as choosing the party nominee, but as whittling down the field among all the nominees. They passed an initiative to that effect (adopting the Louisiana style primary, where the top two vote getters go forward to the general regardless of party affiliatioin), with a "Plan B" clause that stated we'd go to a closed primary (where you have to register a party and can only select candidates from that party in the primary) if the Louisiana style primary was found unconstitutional. The Governor at the time, Gary Locke, found that since the GOP & DEM were going to court to bar the use of the Loiusiana style primary - that he'd require the use of the closed primary (what he and both parties wanted anyway) until the Supremes told him otherwise.
Heh. heh. heh.
The Supreme Court of the United States just ruled that the Louisiana style primary was perfectly legitimate and constitutional. Leaving both major parties worse off than when they started, as now they face the dread prospect of general elections where both candidates participating are of the same party.
The only downside is that third parties are kind of out of luck under the present system, a less than good thing - unless they start claiming to be caucuses rather than parties, and running their candidates under one of the major parties rubrics. I.e., a Green running as a variety of Democrat or a Libertarian running as a type of Republican - which in turn would tend to stir up both the parties just fine.
It's going to be interesting.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Some bigots are nice little old ladies of various genders and ages who've never thought beyond whichever variety of "all or the vast majority of members of a given group are cursed with the following defects or characteristics" with which either their upbringing or anecdotal experience has saddled them. No malice required, just bad data or less than rigorous logic.
That brings us to the bigotry test, which like the canary in the coal mine detecting bad air, causes more subtle forms of bigotry and the various ism's and phobias to glow vividly enough to be noticeable.
The test is simple enough - take a given statement (less painful to read version here), and for each group descriptor insert another group name, that of either a group you're a member of or one you feel kindly towards. If it smells bad, it's probably one form of bigotry or another.
Let's try it on the "Black Values System" from Obama's church, shall we?
Trinity United Church of Christ adopted the White Value System, written by the Manford Byrd Recognition Committee, chaired by the late Vallmer
Dr. Manford Byrd, our brother in Christ, withstood the ravage of being denied his earned ascension to the number one position in the Chicago School System. His dedication to the pursuit of excellence, despite systematic denials, has inspired the congregation of Trinity United Church of Christ. Prayerfully, we have called upon the wisdom of all past generations of suffering Whites for guidance in fashioning an instrument of White self-determination, the White Value System.
Beginning in 1982, an annual White Value System – Educational Scholarship in the name of Dr. Byrd was instituted. The first recipient of the Dr. Manford Byrd Award, which is given annually to the man or woman who best exemplifies the White Value System, was our brother, Dr. Manford Byrd.
These White Ethics must be taught and exemplified in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever Whites are gathered. They consist of the following concepts:
- Commitment to God. “The God of our weary years” will give us the strength to give up prayerful passivism and become White Christian Activists, soldiers for White freedom and the dignity of all humankind.
- Commitment to the White Community. The highest level of achievement for any White person must be a contribution of strength and continuity of the White Community.
- Commitment to the White Family. The White family circle must generate strength, stability and love, despite the uncertainty of externals, because these characteristics are required if the developing person is to withstand warping by our racist competitive society.
Those Whites who are blessed with membership in a strong family unit must reach out and expand that blessing to the less fortunate.
- Dedication to the Pursuit of Education. We must forswear anti-intellectualism. Continued survival demands that each White person be developed to the utmost of his/her mental potential despite the inadequacies of the formal education process. “Real education” fosters understanding of ourselves as well as every aspect of our environment. Also, it develops within us the ability to fashion concepts and tools for better utilization of our resources, and more effective solutions to our problems. Since the majority of Whites have been denied such learning, White Education must include elements that produce high school graduates with marketable skills, a trade or qualifications for apprenticeships, or proper preparation for college.
Basic education for all Whites should include Mathematics, Science, Logic, General Semantics, Participative Politics, Economics and Finance, and the Care and Nurture of White minds.
- Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence. To the extent that we individually reach for, even strain for excellence, we increase, geometrically, the value and resourcefulness of the White Community. We must recognize the relativity of one’s best; this year’s best can be bettered next year. Such is the language of growth and development. We must seek to excel in every endeavor.
- Adherence to the White Work Ethic. “It is becoming harder to find qualified people to work in
.” Whether this is true or not, it represents one of the many reasons given by businesses and industries for deserting the Chicago area. We must realize that a location with good facilities, adequate transportation and a reputation for producing skilled workers will attract industry. We are in competition with other cities, states and nations for jobs. High productivity must be a goal of the White workforce. Chicago
- Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect. To accomplish anything worthwhile requires self-discipline. We must be a community of self-disciplined persons if we are to actualize and utilize our own human resources, instead of perpetually submitting to exploitation by others. Self-discipline, coupled with a respect for self, will enable each of us to be an instrument of White Progress and a model for White Youth.
- Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness.” Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must be able to identify the “talented tenth” of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor’s control.
Those so identified are separated from the rest of the people by:
- Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.
- Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.
- Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which, while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others and teaches them to think in terms of “we” and “they” instead of “us.”
- So, while it is permissible to chase “middleclassness” with all our might, we must avoid the third separation method – the psychological entrapment of White “middleclassness.” If we avoid this snare, we will also diminish our “voluntary” contributions to methods A and B. And more importantly, White people no longer will be deprived of their birthright: the leadership, resourcefulness and example of their own talented persons.
- Pledge to Make the Fruits of All Developing and Acquired Skills Available to the White Community.
- Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting White Institutions.
- Pledge Allegiance to All White Leadership Who Espouse and Embrace the White Value System.
- Personal Commitment to Embracement of the White Value System. To measure the worth and validity of all activity in terms of positive contributions to the general welfare of the White Community and the Advancement of White People towards freedom.
Alright, I'll grant it's not quite at the level of bigotry one would expect from the local KKK or similarly vile organizations. On the other hand, it whiffs fairly strongly of separatism and a diminishment of the common worth of all humanity, regardless of skin color/heritage/orientation/gender - something that makes me more than a bit twitchy, regardless of the color/etc of the originator of the item in question.
Call me cynical, but playing the race card isn't any prettier regardless of the color of the person playing it...
That said, a few tactical notions.
1) Should it all hit the fan, have your exit route from any point in your planned activities planned well in advance. Should you have a herd of enraged lefties following you, say, after you've made your statement - knowing the way for you and yours to get to your vehicle is a fine notion.
2) Don't park where they can see you or in a vehicle that screams "counter-protester". The herd of enraged moonbats pursuing you is much more difficult to escape with your newly redecorated vehicle complete with slashed tires.
3) Bring personal video cameras and keep the tape rolling. Make copies for any interested law enforcement groups, and be sure to hand over copies to the recruiting folks as well.
4) Monopolize the message. If you see a MSM type, they should be surrounded by your signs and supporters.
5) Think twice before making a martyr. It just encourages them.
6) Get on as many mailing lists (with a throw-away hotmail or yahoo address) as you can while there. It's always nice to know what the naughty are doing.
7) If you can, bring an attorney (or even better, a friendly judge AND an attorney).
8) Never throw the first blow. Form a defensive line in front of the recruiting station, and escort friendlies in and out. Show up early.
I've been involved in a couple of WTO-related street adventures. What can I say - I took severe exception to my neighborhood at the time being designated as expendable. I've dodged a couple of others (it's a poor pair of feet that won't carry you away from a riot), and kept on my reading.
I suspect one or two blog-fellows may have suggestions I'd be happy to include, and some others that for a variety of reasons I will politely decline.
Essentially the point here is that if you are counter-protesting, your first step is to analyze what the folks on the other side want, and then defeat them one detail at a time. In the case of POG, there stated and unstated goals appear to be:
1) Generate a lot of media buzz
2) Break into and seize the recruiting station.
3) Seize and cage the recruiters (unlikely, but that is a stated goal of theirs)
4) Retain possession of the recruiting station for conversion to their own use.
5) Generate a lot of media buzz.
1 & 5 are the obvious primaries. If they generate media buzz either by achieving 2-4 or a riot breaking out, from their point of view they win. However, if they are denied 2-4 and a riot doesn't break out, they are halfway to defeat - if they can be made to appear ridiculous, sufficiently so as to generate laughter among the moderate, they lose.
The weather prediction on Wednesday in Pittsburgh is mid-50's at this point with a good chance of showers. Dress to stay warm and dry, and pray for rain. Hypothermia just takes all the fun out of a protest, for instance.
Just a few late night random thoughts.
Monday, March 17, 2008
At the same time we are treated to the spectacle of former NJ Gov. James McGreevey (D) entangled in a bitter divorce proceeding with his soon-t0-be-former wife reveals his history of threesomes with his wife prior to his being outed. I certainly don't object to his being a gay man, but in this day and age I have some questions about the degree of self-deception and self-loathing it took him to achieve high office while posing as a straight man.
One wonders how long it will be until HRC and BHO will be caught out as having had affairs with one gender or the other, or multi-varied farm animals, at this rate....
Events this weekend don't particularly strike me as especially calming - what with J. P. Morgan buying out Bear Stearns at fire sale prices ($2/share or $236 million - that's fire sale prices by my analysis anyway for a company that was worth 3.5 billion as recently as this Friday 15 Mar 08, or 20 billion in January of 2007). More interesting, the same article notes the Federal Reserve is providing as much as $30 billion in financing for Bear Stearns's less-liquid assets, such as mortgage securities that the firm has been unable to sell, in what is believed to be the largest Fed advance on record to a single company.
Combined with concerns about the viability of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, a rare weekend drop in the Prime Rate with a further drop expected at the Federal Reserve Board meeting this Tuesday....while it's not time to panic, the rough ride I spoke of seems more and more likely. Take a meander over to Drudge Report to see what I mean.
Given that things are at a point raising an eyebrow seems prudent, and that a recession of noticeable proportions seems inevitable at this point, some preparation against misfortune seems wise.
If you can, without breaking the bank, do it - I'd suggest laying in some supplies to ride out some of the bumps and perils of the coming months. No need to go hog wild quite yet, but laying in some largish bags of dry goods and the means to turn them into food might be a good notion at the same time (pending circumstances) that if you're coming into a time you can get out of a lease or pay out a mortgage, downsizing to more spartan quarters might serve you well. Same thing for cars; if you can pay of the car, or downsize to a beast with a lower payment, now might just be a really good time.
Why? Because as commodities (Housing, food, cars, energy, water, clothes, etc) become more expensive in relationship to the dollar, historically wages have always substantially lagged prices during a fiscal adjustment.
Dumping the jargon, your wages are going to be worth less, and if you're not making a pretty fair chunk of change - things are about to get a bit tight...but you can plan ahead and buy ahead.
Once you buy a bag of beans or flour or a car or lock in a lease/mortgage - the value is suddenly stable right up to that second in time you decide to sell or trade them to someone else and strike some kind of a bargain. Simply - if I buy a case of baked beans this week for $10...and next week the prices is $20 or $2, I still have a case of baked beans that I can eat.
Right now, it seems a pretty good bet to me that our allegorical case of baked beans is going to cost a bunch more next week than this week. And since we like beans and will eat the case anyway, it serves us to buy 10 cases this week, and not have to pay next weeks higher prices. It will cost more next week to plant those beans, to harvest those beans, to process those beans, and to drive those beans to market, and for you to haul them home from that market - because each day as all those things happen...the dollar is devaluing and the price of production is increasing. At least that is my bet.
So...again...it's a bit premature to panic, but moving things about a bit to create a prudent reserve might not be such a bad notion - whether in your investment portfolio or in your pantry.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
With that, I give you the Great Leader and the Great Nation of China....
Courtesy of humphrey-clarke.livejournal.com
Courtesy of BrianGosling and Chaff
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Not surprisingly the International Olympics Committee President Jonathan Rogge suggests that a boycott is a bad thing, but that's kind his job, isn't it? That no matter how badly behaved a host nation might be, that once committed, until a game cycle is ended - that the President of the IOC, given the essential moral cowardice of that body, must defend at all costs the host nation lest the games be disturbed or future games be impacted.
A simple question - when does cruelty, blood, and oppression outweigh playing games?
An update 0402 16 Mar 08 from our friends at the Beeb: 80+ dead in Lhasa protests
Update courtesy of Crusader Rabbit: New Zealand Government Waffles
Can we start the Olympic Boycott yet?
Friday, March 14, 2008
Mandatory stuff seems to me to include providing police and fire services, sufficiently strenuous building standards that new structures don't spontaneously burst into flame/explode/fall over, and making sure that roads and sidewalks are kept in reasonably good condition. Parks are nice, if the cash is there to pay for both purchase and maintenance of those little comforts - otherwise, private parks can and have succeeded.
This leads me to my rant - just where is it the duty of a city to *first* create an artificially limited number of cabs (647 for the entire City of Seattle), and then how is it the business of the Mayor to determine what sort of fuel mileage those cabs get?
The City of Seattle and its' ever-overbearing Mayor, seem to be yet again out-growing their breeches (rather spectacularly in the case of the essentially globular Mayor).
To misquote a Stephen Brust novel, "the very baddest of gay bashers will slow down something fierce if you plant a .45LC JHP at center of mass"; and I would suggest they tend to slow down much more quickly when subjected to such stimuli than blowing a whistle, utterances of "naughty, naughty - mustn't hit the LGBT person and say mean things! If you do, you get to go away for an EXTRA long time!", or a can of pepper spray.
Somehow, Plan A just seems rather more effective as a strategy for staying out of the hospital or the morgue - which, I believe, is the stated goal.
Regrettably, however, for a very long time the leadership of the gay community (not surprising, given the era where they mostly came to political maturity) have bought into the Vietnam Era "violence never solves anything", "guns bad/scary/not gay", "only bigots and bashers have guns" line of malarkey.
Having arrived on the scene somewhat later, in my more cynical moments even as I honor the pioneers of the LGBT community I have to wonder if at a critical point in the post-stonewall era there wasn't some big smoke-in style party off in the woods someplace with some REALLY potent stuff on tap that permanently warped folks of that era - gay and straight, but it seems to have hit my community a wee bit harder. And it's taking an awfully long time for the buzz to wear off.
In seriousness, something not too terribly different from that did, as far as I can tell, happen. The political allies of the LGBT community in that pre-libertarian era were seldom found in conservative or even moderate lairs, where if the subject came out at all, there was a fair chance that the phrase "pervert" rang loud in the land - the allies were to be found in the more liberal corners of the hippie and civil rights movements, and it's not awfully intuitive once one has found allies to realize when your interests diverge.
Both of those movements most closely resembled, for good or ill, a sectarian religion complete with martyrs and heretics complete with worship of the first and at least symbolic tar and feathers for the second. It's not surprising that having found allies, the model was replicated in the LGBT community...after all, all those anti-war and civil rights marches and confrontational techniques worked, didn't they?
As time passed, the in-your-face techniques of the era persisted even as they became less necessary...and the tradition of ostracism for those that didn't toe the line of LGBT orthodox group (diversity of thought is great, as long as it's OUR diversity) think slowly began to fade.
Then the fateful Pink Pistols article by Jonathan Rauche was published....and things changed. More LGBT folk and gun-friendly folk actually started talking to each other, and this strange new group called Pink Pistols rose up to cause cognitive dissonance amongst liberal orthodoxy.
And now, some years later, we have this delightful article in one of the papers regarded as a standard of LGBT orthodoxy.
Things do change....just very slowly.
The dollar is based on a shared fantasy.
Alright, to explain what I mean is that since 1933 the dollar has been a currency floating on treaty and market value, not tied to any fixed commodity. It's worth what folks believe it to be worth, in other words - one of the worlds biggest ongoing con jobs. Further complicating things, an eternal temptation exists with any currency that floats - for a panicky government to fire up its' respective printing presses and start rolling out ever greater quantities of a given currency...and the more of a given currency there is out on the market, the less it is worth (this is also why most governments frown rather enthusiastically on counterfeiting).
For our purposes here, if you can pick it up in your hand and wave it in the air and other folks see something more than the Emperor's new clothes - it's a commodity. Gold, wheat, manure, you name it - if you can see it and sell it, it's a commodity.
In short, if there isn't a requirement that you be able to cash in a currency for a stated quantity of a given commodity, there is no "real" or assured value to said currency - merely a shared fantasy. When that shared fantasy begins to crumble around the edges, you see folks selling the currency in question (dollars, euros, etc) in favor of either another currency (either commodity backed or at least less scary, value-wise) or of other investments (commodities, stocks, bonds, etc) that are in the eyes of the seller more stable or have better growth prospects.
Now, in light of this long-winded explanation, let me point to the perils of the falling dollar (and lately it's been a leap off the high dive). As the dollar falls, it buys less (even locally - the effect is magnified once you cross a national border) - the donut you bought yesterday when the dollar could buy 1/400 of an ounce of gold COSTS MORE IN DOLLARS today when that same dollar only buys 1/1000 of an ounce of gold on the open market. So that donut costs 2.00 or so when it used to cost one.
Moving right along, we see oil prices going up - both in respect to other commodities (the real value) and then combining that with the market devaluation of the dollar, to jack prices well over $100/barrel. Oil is fundamental to our economy, both as an energy source and as a manufacturing base (see: plastics), and when the price of oil goes up...so does the price of most everything else.
For those not following along, we'll walk it through. We want a donut. To get a donut, we need wheat flour, cooking oil, eggs, yeast, sugar and a few other little details. We'll assume the cooking gear is already present (though that would be an additional cost, otherwise). Sticking with *just the wheat* for the sake of simplicity, our metaphorical farmer takes his/her farm eqp't with great big oil-based rubber tires that wear out over time, burns oil in planting/harvesting/hauling to the grain mill. Our grain mill burns energy *at least* in then transporting the flour to a wholesaler, and then to us. We heat with an oil-based furnace, and we deliver our donut with a petroleum-powered vehicle. Count it up - how many points in this process (and feel free to work the production chain on the other ingredients) does a price increase on oil get to impact?
And at the same time we have these other merry factors in play, we have the banks. The banks that loaned lots and lots of money to deeply questionable borrowers in both home and consumer debt....and an awful lot of that debt is going south for the winter, and not coming back. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two big federally supported mortgage guarantee agencies are sufficiently in trouble that it looks likely the Fed is going to be buying an awful lot of their debt to keep them afloat...and that's something that can only be done a limited number of times.
My point? If I read it correctly, if any of us have investments laying about, shifting a nest egg or two out of dollar investments into commodities or other items that seem like a good bet to weather the current storm.
Prices are only going to go up for the forseeable future - it's a dandy time to stock up on food, clothers, personal items, ammunition, firearms, etc. If you're in a position to pull it off, I'd even go as far as suggesting that it's a really good time to look seriously at making provisions to go off-grid at short notice (Solar is off-grid; a gas/LP/diesel generator isn't; a wood/garbage/wast-burning steam driven generator with a forgiving pressure vessel is off-grid) as energy prices seem a good bet to go up in even the hydro states - with the help of the "let's breach the nasty dams" enviro-crowd.
We live, I suspect, in interesting times.
Update: The Federal Reserve, using an obscure provision of law last utilized in the 1960's, has voted to rescue Bear Stearns from collapse.
Rather than extending a comment string (which seems borderline rude to me, once I've decided I have something to say at any length), I have my very own blog over here that I can rant on without being unduly intrusive.
As regards a comment "over there" from a parent of a VT student...
Many of us view the events at Virginia Tech and similar tragedies as having a minimum of two guilty parties. The first guilty party is painfully obvious - the mass killer(s) themselves(self), the monster(s) with their finger upon the trigger/button/chemical vat committing the immediate foul deed(s).
However, many of us see a subtle accomplice to the more obvious monster, a "stealth" monster lurking in the wings creating monster-friendly environments for the more obvious evil, laying a groundwork cloaked in good intentions for the killing beast to attempt its slaughter uninterrupted and unthreatened.
We look at Campus Administrations (for this is not limited to simply universities or colleges) that in the name of safety declares their demesnes as "weapons free" often with a zero tolerance rider (wear a t-shirt depicting a weapon, get penalized), and to the extent their declarations succeed, they create a large concentration of potential victims without any reasonable means of self defense in a world where the mad and the predatory demonstrably and historically seldom give much credence to such declarations.
Upon such observation, we are deeply unamused at best. For many of us, given the possibly erroneous assumption that such Campus Administrations are not composed solely of ignorant idiots, it angers us immensely that students and staff are not merely placed needlessly at risk through stripping them of the rights they hold in off-campus spaces - but that they are then lied to and told this is somehow *good for them* and *makes them safer* justifies a quiet white hot fury worthy of being banked as embers until the next election or legislative session.
Speaking only for myself, I find a certain comfort in a rather bitter humor sprinkled heavily with sarcasm as I engage in the quite likely eternal wait for logic and common sense to re-emerge in academia. I am not, however, holding my breath.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
In the recent political battle around the Marine recruiting station in Berkeley there has been much confusion around the concept or slogan of “supporting the troops,” but opposing the unjust wars of the Bush regime. Many who oppose the Bush regime wars also say they “support the troops.” Let me say it straight out—I do not support the troops and neither should you. It is objectively impossible to support the troops of the imperialist military forces of the U.S. and at the same time oppose the wars in which they fight.
The United States has over 700 military bases or sites located in over 130 foreign countries. The hundreds of thousands of troops stationed in these countries are not there to preserve or foster freedom and democracy as the Bush regime would like to claim, but to maintain U.S. imperialist domination of the world. The United States now spends more on its military than all the other nations of the world combined.
- Berkeley Daily Planet 11 Mar 08
Write a congress-critter today. Berkeley certainly, and perhaps the state of California, obviously doesn't need to see a single dime of federal money.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
On the other hand, I cannot help but take a certain pleasure in the downfall of a self-righteous do-gooder. Ah well, chalk up a few more anti-brownie points on the scoreboard of life for me, I suppose. While I rarely visit American Spectator, as my blood pressure tends to rise on rather predictable topics, Larry Thornberry over at American Spectator (as well as Marko over at Munchkin Wrangler) both have worthwhile words to share on Spitzer and his downfall.
I do ask, however, how is it that MSM is always gleeful to point out party affiliation when a GOP critter misbehaves, but somehow can't bring itself to share with equal glee that Spitzer is a Democrat?
Now, to me...that sounds an awful lot like conspiracy to kidnap a federal employee and theft/damage of federal property. In a relatively gentle moment, might I suggest preemptive arrests on those charges might well cut down on the bloodshed and drama?
Alternatively, and closer to my own convictions - might I suggest that a joint forces greeting party in regimental strength with orders to defend said positions might be in order?
I'm unamused with these turkeys and their spiritual counterparts over in Code Pink engaging in sedition, and now (taking them at their word) conspiring to engage in kidnapping and other felonious antics.
I've participated in street protests...hell, I've helped lead one. There are lines that should not be crossed, and if crossed, merit instant and heavy-handed response. Assault, kidnapping, murder, arson, looting all pretty well cross those lines beyond a shadow of a doubt - and I'd argue that the line is drawn well before those rather obvious violations, right about the time folks property rights and mobility are interfered with. And I could likely be persuaded that I'm being too generous....but having been on the other side of the question, I'm really enamored of freedom of assembly as well.
I continue to hope for counter-protests by veterans and their families outside the headquarters of Code Pink and its' sister organizations, as that seems only fair.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I recommend it.
Prior to the '36 Olympics, Hitler and his minions carefully scrubbed Berlin of "Jews Not Wanted" signs, instructed police not to enforce anti-homosexual laws of the era against foreigners, and rounded up roughly 800 gypsies for placement in a special "camp" well outside of public (or more importantly, Olympic visitors) view.
Beijing seems similarly enthused. Possible protesters, schools for migrant children, cats, and others the superannuated senile sycophants of the sino-politburo view as reflecting badly upon their reprehensible regime (Google "Tibet Human Rights", "Falun Gong Human Rights", and "China political dissent human rights") all seem to be vanishing at ever-increasing speed as the clock ticks away towards the 2008/1936 Beijing/Berlin Olympics.
In 1980, faced with widespread Soviet aggression, the United States and other nations boycotted the '80 Moscow Olympics. I'm waiting to hear an argument why we shouldn't similarly boycott the '08 Olympics in Beijing in light of the Beijing regimes abysmal human rights record, their support of rogue nations, and general bad behavior.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Um...a ticket for the clue train guys - cats are predators, and varmints are one reason a lot of us *like* our cats. Not so much the bird population, but the critter population is well worth keeping down...if only for public health reasons.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Some links to stuff I found interesting...
HRC may challenge Texas Caucus Results
The Hill-Monster is named...
You Know Something's wrong when:
Students protest for more discipline, are punished
Trusted teen left at home
Seattle Center Design Request
It's not that I expect to spontaneously self-immolate at any given moment. It's not that I had a bad experience with heat sources as a child. It's not even that I have some weird hero/rescuer fantasy. It's not even freudian (sorry, all!).
It's simply doing what I can to reasonably hedge my bet against some of life's more common hazards in the places that they occur most often (near heat sources, in kitchens, and in/around cars) and then getting on with life having made what preparation I reasonably can against the possibility misfortune should strike.
If a fire breaks out in my kitchen, I don't expect I have time to pop over to Home Depot to pick up a good ABC fire extinguisher, and throwing water on it has a fair chance of just making it worse. A car fire seldom waits for one to go shopping, either.
Oddly enough, self-defense firearms (aka "serious social tools") strike me as tools of pretty much the same nature. If on some particularly unfortunate day some anti-social critter kicks in my door, it's unlikely that he or she will indulge my sudden acquisitive needs - and it seems similarly unlikely that the mugger or gay-basher one may encounter on the streets will go along when one cries out "pardon me, give me just a moment whilst I rush off and acquire a reasonable means of self-defense!".
In all of these cases, when the badness comes down, it's pretty much "ya got what ya brung to the party", whether it's a fire incident or a seriously bad social encounter.
In the same spirit I keep fire extinguishers strewn about, as did my father, and I carry a handgun (by preference, in a caliber beginning with .4 if discretion allows) for pretty much the same reason I keep those fire extinguishers about - I devoutly hope never to need either a handgun or a fire extinguisher at a critical level, but I recognize that if I do happen to need one at a critical level, there will absolutely not be time to be shopping around, going through a waiting period, unhooking a gun lock, or cranking open a gun safe.
I don't think folks should be criminally charged for failure to take such elementary precautions, but I would hold that they should pay higher insurance rates for their negligence rather than driving up mine.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
The Chinese are doing WHAT?
I like cats. I happen to think the 27lb monster in the house is rather charming, if amazingly...productive.
Perhaps I'm over-reacting. Perhaps I'm just unreasonably cranky.
But a regime that first takes up the mass extermination (not of strays or ferals, but largely of pets) of dogs, and now of cats, as a hobby simply offends me.
Particularly when these aren't abandoned animals, but beloved pets against whom, at least according to the article, a propaganda war is being waged claiming they are disease carrying hazards to human health, who frightened owners are then turning over to authorities for destruction - when panicked ninnies are doing them in themselves.
This, to me, just makes me question yet again whether China under it's current pseudo-communist regime is a fit host for the Olympics...
Again, it could just be that I'm a wee tad cranky from other events in my odd little world. Read the article yourself and see.
And yes, I recognize that the nutjobs of Beijing have done much worse, and to people not pets, over the years and continue their nasty ways only somewhat abated today. But that is a rant for another day.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I have a wee suggestion for Florida, to *help* facilitate the train wreck process. Perhaps Gov. Crist and his friendly GOP legislative band could issue something along the lines of:
Dear Howard Dean,
Thank you for the laugh regarding your suggestion we pay 20 million dollars from the pockets of Florida taxpayers to accommodate your petty rules. Not going to happen.
In the spirit of fun, to promote respect of Florida voters, and similarly the respect of the sovereignty of the State of Florida, unless by 15 April we receive confirmation that the delegates lawfully elected in our January primaries will be seated at the Democratic National Convention or that the DNC will pay all expenses to hold a "re-do" primary to satisfy their pettiness we propose to make a somewhat different use of 20 million taxpayer dollars.
We propose to spend twenty million dollars on a Voter Education Program broadcast on local television, focusing on how a national party chose to disenfranchise Florida voters out of sheer pettiness in the belief that party rules trumped the right of states to set the dates and times of their own elections. We anticipate very thorough media coverage.
Bill & Co.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
In an unsurprising, but yet depressing, move Denver Airport officials offer wifi at the airport - but censor Vanity Fair and tech websites in an effort to create a "family-friendly" environment. Silly me, I thought that keeping an eye on the websites kids visits was parents jobs - not the job of a unelected official to determine what laptop owning adults may or may not access.
Does Obama "Dance a little sidestep"?
Gay Patriot brings an oddly appropriate viewpoint to the table regarding B. Hussein Obama...
A Clarion Call?
I'm not sure I'm 110% on board, but in general I tend to agree that gathering large herds of sheep and neutered wolves and hanging largish signs about announcing "defenseless victims here!" is a less than good idea. Adding sheepdogs, armed licensed citizens, to the mix seems prudent as both a deterrent and a prophylactic - after all, who better to stop a loon on a killing spree than the proposed victims that are already present, providing zero response time.
What lesson are we teaching?
An employer generally owns our mind andefforts for eight hours a day, and after that, so long as we refrain from criminal activity and from disclosing proprietary matters (and perhaps from engaging in activities that would bring disrepute upon our employer, though that is more debatable) - our time, our mind, and our thoughts are our own.
In this case of student freedom of speech we see a court affirming a revolutionary new theory - that schools may not only regulate student speech in school and at student activities, but may penalize speech the school finds offensive on the internet, posted from the students home computer outside of school hours.
Air Force blocks blogs Wholesale...
Of course, no Air Force enlisted or officer personnel will EVER go home and actually use a computer, nor will they utilize proxy relays to view the "forbidden blogosphere". Exercise in futility...
Odds and Sods
Dan Savage, the famed sex columnist, welcomes Nader to the Presidential Race...
Spending Public Dollars to Make Folks Feel Unwelcome
A lovely example of tax dollars wasted to develop a fun new form of bigotry, and yet another example of liberal tolerance and acceptance in the responses in the comments, with more than a bit of tackiness thrown in from the other side of the aisle as well.
For a mere $36,000.00, live gas-free (within 30 miles)
That's it for now folks.....
This is a hint. (And a warning, Adult language may follow.)
I do not like any of them, I do not.
Not a little, not a lot.
Empty words, meaning free
From big-eared man on demagogic spree.
Elitist witch, from swamps most dire
Coasts on coat tails of quite large liar.
Fogy Warrior, RINO named
By own petard hoisted, and freedom gamed.
Aside from my amateurish attempts at poetry, I dislike (as should certainly be obvious by now) all three major candidates and regret the unlikelihood of some kind of divine intervention providing us even a single candidate worth a damn. I'm not that terribly much more thrilled with either the Democratic Party or the GOP in general, and in particular for gracing us with this bi-partisan trio of festering boils upon the buttocks of humanity. I anticipate extended crankiness.
That said, I've been reading other bloggers, talking to friends, and holding my tongue since Thompson bowed out, and contemplating what the best response for the country might be to this trio of walking turds.
Others have said it, but I concur. We are well and truly screwed, as a nation, with this selection of swamp fauna - our only real choice at this point is how badly and how frequently we want to be screwed without talent, affection, or lubricants.
I'm not remotely happy about it, but I'm voting for damage control. The suggestions that McCain might well sabotage the GOP (the necessary counterbalance for the Democratic Party as long as we're stuck in bipartisan mode) irretrievably if he gets anything less than total support, that our best hope is ensure that for the next four years that the deadlock of a President of the party opposite to that holding the reigns in Congress keeps the loons from either side from significantly advancing their agendas, and the certainty that while McCain is bad (little better than ClObama Lite) that the real ClObama is even worse drive my choice.
Tempting as it is, I can't see walking away from this clusterfuck this time around to "teach
What little pleasure I will be able to take from this election will, with any luck at all, be the eviction of Bush from office, dimmed by the fact that regardless of who wins, they are likely to bugger things up even worse than he has.
The best hope is to push for libertarians (yay!) and GOP folk of the "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" bent to not only run for congressional but state/local positions in hopes of developing candidates worth a damn for the 2012 elections. Until then, to quote another blog, as a nation we must learn to "embrace the suckage".
Random Nuclear Strikes, a frequent purveyor of inconvenient truths and little tales neglected by the depressingly biased main stream media. It's kind of nice to see a fellow writer from Western Washington, as well.
Kaboom, an exceptionally well-written soldiers tale shared by a
Crusader Rabbit, an Aussie blogger of considerable wit (I like wit, sue me) and writing talent capable of pointing out the inconvenient and politically incorrect truths with a special talent for recognizing and deflating self-destructive islamophilia.
Free New Hampshire, a libertarian hunting'n'politics journal from the home of the Free State Project - a good read, providing both insights and hints as to what sort of whackiness the control freaks of the left (we'll deal with the ones on the right another time) are getting up to back East.
Atomic Nerds, stumbled across courtesy of Matt G. over at Better & Better with some of the worlds best cat stories and tales of deeply misguided cruise lines best quantified as floating excuses for mutiny.
DeathChic, the famed mortician wannabe that some may recognize from prior bloggarific efforts long ago and far away.
TheBethZone, a celebration of libertarian lesbian thought with a delightfully snarky twist.
The Gun Toting Liberal, a study in cognitive dissonance. Like cod liver oil, he's good for us.
I think that covers the new blogroll roundup. The blogroll, originally, was by order what was convenient for me - I wanted the blog I usually wanted to read first in the morning up at the top, and to progress through to blogs I enjoyed but were less certain to reduce me to helpless evil giggles over coffee, awed admiration at writing skill and classic verbiage, or wise insights on a daily basis.
At some point a much more sophisticated of blog roll organization was achieved, known as complete chaos. They're all good reads, though some (who shall remain nameless) I rather wish would post more frequently. You know who you are, but even in my selfish desire for a steady supply of fun(note, my definition of fun may not be a 1:1 match with yours) reading material, I recognize folks have lives to lead beyond writing insightful, amusing, and often wise blog entries. :)
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Oh, I really, really, really shouldn't.
I can't help myself.
As I sit here, the odds of Hillary staying in the Dem Race right through the bitter end, savaging B. Hussein Obama right till the final moment in ever more vicious and vitriolic attacks, become better and better by the moment. The vision of two rabid cats locked in mortal combat, held together by their forepaws, their hind paws buzz saws of gory death as they rip each others guts out comes to mind in a gleefully twisted fashion.
I am mightily pleased, as nothing political would make me happier than the implosion of the Democratic Party amidst vast enveloping splashes of semi-liquid chicken manure, rancid pork, and super-glue adhering to the leadership of that vast experiment in patronizing elitism and professional victimhood. Even better, from my point of view, would be what I anticipate as the splintering of that vast collection of mutually opposed factions held together only by their distaste for the democrats, the GOP.
I can't help it. The dark glee is bubbling back to the surface.
A pox upon BOTH the DEM and the GOP, and this looks rather like the best chance for that to occur simultaneously that I can recall seeing.
You'll have to forgive me, but I must go bake cookies in celebration of this tentatively joyous moment.
Co-erced mass transit ("forcing people out of their cars") and ending the grand experiment in personal mobility is not the answer.
Domesticating and reducing our oil consumption, both by opening ANWR/potential West Coast oil fields to exploration and drilling (and building some new and, ideally, more efficient refineries domestically after a quarter-century of neglect) and at the same time clearing the path for private development, production, and distribution of alternative energy (WVO, Electric, LNG, hydrogent, etc) vehicles and electrical generation stations offers promise.
Towards that end I offer a relatively simple program, just off the top of my head...
1) By Federal Legislation open the ANWR and potential oil fields off California and Oregon for full exploration and exploitation by the highest domestic bidder.
2) Permit and perhaps subsidize domestic refinery renovation, replacement, and construction.
3) Cap oil imports at 2009 levels and step down the importable amount by 5% each year until oil independence is achieved. Make it a priority to cut off imports from Venezuela and the Middle East first.
4) Bar fuel taxes, emissions taxes, sales taxes, and safety or emissions requirements on any non-petroleum burning vehicle for the next twenty years.
5) Begin the urgent (and private) construction of multiple nuclear power plants to replace oil, coal, and gas-burning power plants as a stop gap measure.
6) Clear the path for large private wind, water (rebuild those breached dams, and put up some new ones), and solar installations with limits not on NIMBY and/or green whinging (heaven forfend), but on the effectiveness thereof.
7) Allow import of any vehicle from abroad the size of a Mini or below, regardless of age.
Bitching and kvetching is all well and good, but seems a bit limited in the absence of at least tossing out a notion or two on how things could be improved...
Let's cut off the bastards $$ :)
Global warming is presently the scientific equivalent of orthodoxy as enforced by the Inquisition - while we've yet to turn up any torture chambers or executions for those of insufficient orthodoxy, we do see skeptics of global warming targeted for de-funding, calls for criminal prosecution for scientific heresy, and general attempts to discredit skeptics in lieu of refuting their data.
Add this to the common gross exaggeration of what little evidence for climate change exists by a media both desperate for ratings (often most easily acquired by sensationalism, as Hearst showed us so many years ago) and eager to "dumb down" complex scientific issues to the level of the lowest common denominator in the pack.
In general, from what I've read in history, that constitutes a "Galileo Effect" - i.e. when the relatively ignorant media pundits and their unquestioning intellectual peons screech forth some new orthodoxy from which all who blaspheme must be punished - it's usually a fairly good indicator that the orthodoxy in question is a crock of shit, or is at least based on insufficient data and exaggeration.
Thus it is with Global Warming/Climate Change. Was this winter noticeably warmer than the last? (Um, gee, no...it surely wasn't). Similarly, and more fundamentally, given that climactic change significantly predates the appearance of humanity on the scene and seems to have cycled repeatedly, is there any valid indicator that humanities present activities (far cleaner than during the industrial revolution) are bringing about some sort of disastrous climactic change?
I've not seen anything to indicate to me that all the shrill squeaking is anything but the co-conspiracy, conscious or otherwise, of fiscally driven pseudo-scientists and semi-journalists in conjunction with the "true believers" of the environmentalist movement and their liberal co-conspirators in perpetual search for a red herring with which to flail at the ankles of progress and distract from the real issues of the day.
Namely, there are bad folks out there, and they are blowing up our stuff and shooting at our people - and are mightily displeased that they have not had more success on our home shores in similar projects. Further complicating this is the desire of these bad folks to convert all of us pagans to their holy faith, be it islamo-babble or socialist pseudo-thought.
Venezuela's socialist-in-chief Chavez and his cronies in Ecuador have mobilized their troops and sent them to the borders of Columbia, a nation with sufficient troubles of its' own for the horrible crime of bagging a band of terrorists...that coincidentally have been using the territories of both nations as "time out zones" for years, with the active collusion of those governments. All this, funded by more oil money than you can shake a stick at. U.S. intervention seems likely, and I frankly hope a couple of carrier groups are someplace sufficiently convenient to nail everything airworthy in Ecuador and Venezuela to the ground within minutes of the first shot being fired.
Similarly, we have the oil-funded nut-jobs of the Middle East eager to drag us back to medieval understandings of human rights to cope with, and that with a bonus round of a potentially nuclear-armed Iran...all while we have troops on the ground in Iraq in a situation closely approximating post-WWII Germany before the lightning brigades were rooted out (yes, if we go away, we WILL get to fight another day...and probably at much greater human and material expense).
In Iraq we are committed - we must either win, and leave a stable situation behind us we are likely to have to subsidize for decades, or we will end up returning in Gulf War III with the odds against us. Afghanistan, loudly proclaimed to be one of the worlds worst places to fight and the less publicized of our current military efforts, seems largely under control at the moment, but we seem to be locked into a role of shoring up the Afghani government (in a situation oddly similar to the USSR in the 80's) into the foreseeable future with vindictive barbarians lurking under various rocks and in the hillsides, calling themselves Taliban. Again, victory is the only option.
The only upshot of this is that the various conflicts are occurring someplace else and that there is a less than infinite supply of "foreign jihaddi" eager to rush out and get themselves shot up. Sadly, they attack not the Purple Dinosaur and its Minions, but rather ourselves, our allies, and our core values.
Global warming (or what after this last frigid winter winter the dribblers now call "Climate Change", after sufficient ridicule) is not the enemy. Dependence on foreign oil, the empty-headed variant of multi-culturalism (if they say they want to kill you and destroy your way of life - take them seriously!), socialist dogma, and religious nut jobs are...
Especially when the socialist and/or islamic nutjobs are busy shooting at us, and our allies.