Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fixing the Nacelles

Hopefully the load times on this page are better, I've eliminated some scripting and the Google Ads to try and speed things up. 
Not like those ads pay any money as it is, or at least not with intelligent clientele such as yourself that has no interest in clicking such decoy links. 

Also, be sure and check out the new Sidebar view for this outpost. 

Ahead Warp Three, Mr. Scotty.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Not Out in Search of Hoops to Cut Down

""We're sympathetic to these parents and what they want to do for the young people, but we've got to operate by the statute," said Geoff Sundstrom, spokesman for DelDOT. "We're not out in search of basketball hoops to cut down.""

Two instances of unabashed Orwellian Newspeak, saying one thing while completely doing another. On site, the promise that the basketball pole would be left as it was being hauled away. Then the hypocrisy of promising that the DelDOT is not on the hunt for those rascally basketball poles in peoples yards, while they clearly are. 

This is how rocks begin to roll down hills:
"Tom Blythe, 86, said he was among several people on the street who complained to the state about the basketball hoops. The children don't watch for traffic, he said, and the number of kids coming from outside the neighborhood to play on the hoops has gotten out of hand."You see kids from all over the place down here," Blythe said. "They're down here making all kinds of noise and disturbing the peace.""

Understand, this is how property rights are lost. The power of a few amplified by the strength of the state leads to tyranny, abuse of the governed and a malignant stench of injustice predicated upon a foundation of the 'general welfare'. Property rights are fundamental to a republican form of government, critical to prosperity and the stabilizers of a turbulent world.
The law under which this charade of justice was performed is intended to keep the sides of roadways clear, so in the event of loss of control a vehicle would be less likely to find itself impaled upon steel pillars. The reality is quite different, as the petty complaints of foolish neighbors alone led to this event, which fortunately enough is on tape.
We will never know how many of these alienations of morality happen daily, of which we have no record because of the lack of video or photographic evidence.

To wit, laws are abused to the detriment of the governed. Fewer laws regulating that which does no harm is the solution. To wit, unless the government is willing to kill someone to enforce a law, it should not be a law.

'I Don't Want to Arrest You or Your Wife'

An infuriating tale of perfectly legal actions by a city against homeowners. This is really happening. 

Lesson? Keep the power out of the hands of the government. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Palinbots, Take Note

The Tax Foundation: "In case you missed it, small government crusader and Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin's TLC reality show "Sarah Palin's Alaska" received a $1.2 million subsidy from the state of Alaska. The show spent $3.6 million on production in the state, meaning that Alaskan taxpayers covered a third of the cost of the show. The show will apparently not have a second season."

Hold on, a politician would be self serving? Sarah Palin, the champion of small town American values and moral integrity would put a law in place to subsidize her television programming? 

Perhaps she did put this law in place, ran the tables in the 2008 election, then was approached only later for a TV production that could take advantage of the subsidy. I suspect this is the case, but it is closer to the hog farms then the arboreal sanctums of executive power. 

Yes, I am sure there are democrats who do far worse things with their executive pen strokes. I also am aware of the varied and vapid underhand dealings done by other Republicans. This is merely a preemptive strike at the claims of Palin's marvelous moral conservatism we are sure to hear in the days to come.

Time to Read

Last night I watched Slumdog Millionare for the first time. 100% recommended for the over 13 crowd. There is a scene where all the women are washing the clothes, by hand, in back breaking and clothes destroying fashion. Soaking, beating, wringing, beating, and drying each and every particle of clothing in water without any chemical detergents or heated water has to be exhausting and enormously time consuming.

There are not any alternatives, and it reminded me of this presentation by Hans Rosling (of the fame)

Keynote: "Thank you industrialization. Thank you steel mill. Thank you power station. And thank you chemical processing industry that gave us time to read books."

From all of this the best is yet to come. As the time saving energies of machines are applied to an increasing number of households, an increasing number of children will be better educated. Their drive to succeed will be fueled with ability. This world's pace of development will only accelerate as a result, making a better world for us all.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Firefox 4

Firefox 4 just stole my heart away from Google Chrome. It's stupendous. If you're using IE, please change. It can help save your life, or at least some of it's time. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

These are Consequences

What is remarkable about this story is how rare such events are. Either the cover up operations are outstanding in every aspect, or there is really just a deficit of such barbaric actions in our combat theaters. Or, perhaps, the difference is that we do not often have pictures such as these to accompany news stories such as this:

The Guardian:
"The lengthy Spiegel article that accompanies the photographs contains new details about the sadistic behaviour of the men.
In one incident in May last year, the article says, during a patrol, the team apprehended a mullah who was standing by the road and took him into a ditch where they made him kneel down.
The group's leader, Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, then allegedly threw a grenade at the man while an order was given for him to be shot.
Afterwards, Gibbs is described cutting off one of the man's little fingers and removing a tooth.
The patrol team later claimed to their superiors that the mullah had tried to threaten them with a grenade and that they had no choice but to shoot."

Anyone who has taken the time to read, or watch the excellent HBO series named Generation Kill will not be surprised by this. American forces are held to high expectations, but any time there is going to be an extended period of combat operations with direct interactions with a foreign people, problems are going to develop. 

It is not acceptable, but it should be expected that a malignant remnant of evil awaits to rear its head in the pursuit of a power rush. It is a credit to the US Army that this is already under trial, and not blithely ignored. As Solomon scribed, 'One dead fly makes the perfumer’s ointment give off a rancid stench, so a little folly can outweigh much wisdom.'

There is a lesson to be learned here, the winning of the hearts and minds of a nation cannot be done at the point of a gun. The past 80 years of US foreign policy should have hammered this lesson home, but we as a nation seem relentlessly opposed to understanding. Next time our objectives involve military force, unintended and likely consequences such as this need to be accounted for. 
What remains true is that the purpose of Armies is to kill people and break things. In the US, we are good at it. Very good. It is not the objective of the Military that these events happen, and such actions are sure to be universally deplored by service personal (rightly so).  But to expect public relations expertise and constant humanitarian actions from the front line is an unrealistic and untenable pillar of our foreign policy, and needs to cease. 

When we stop using our 'defense' spending for invasions, this variety of nightmare will evaporate. Actions have consequences, and these (alleged) barbarians are in process. Whatever their intent, the choices of our leadership to put us in a state of perceptual yet undeclared war bring with it these consequences. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2012 Presidental Predictions

I'm making these now, so its on the record.

Hilary will be quitting the State Department and running for President on the Democratic Ticket. 
She can distance herself from Obama by resigning, and come into the DNC primary as the rider upon the white horse of political salvation, and take the nomination from a dismally approved Obama. 
Hilary will keep Biden around for continuity's sake.

On the Republican side, it is almost assuredly and unfortunately going to be Sarah Palin coming out victorious. Also in the running will be Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Christ Christi, and Jim DeMint. 
After the dismal showing by this GOP house, Ron Paul is likely going to pack up his tent and try for a 3rd party run. 
Christi will get the VP nomination, as an attempt to alter the Yankee votes. 

If Ron Paul can make his way into the debates, it could be interesting. With the way the presidential debates are rigged this will not happen, so we are left to a Clinton/Biden vs. Palin/Christi election, and there is no way to have a good outcome from that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bright Idea

"We will make electric light so cheap that only the rich will be able to burn candles."

-Thomas Edison, announcing his electric light bulb, 1879.

Just saw this today and it made me grin, and remember this passage from The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley: (Excellent read & Audiobook despite a hackneyed and false description of earlt human development)
"The real cause of these improvements is that most of the things people need or want have been getting steadily cheaper. For example, in monetary terms, the same amount of artificial lighting cost 20,000 times as much in England in the year 1300 as it does today, and in labour terms the change is even more dramatic and the improvement is even more recent. To earn an hour of reading light on the average wage will have cost you less than half a second of work. In 1950, with a conventional filament lamp and the then wage, you would have had to work for eight seconds to get the same amount of light. Had you been using a kerosene lamp in the 1880s, you would have had to work for about 15 minutes to get the same amount of light. A tallow candle in the 1800s: over six hours’ work."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wisdom to be Found on Facebook 3

"HOME. Sweet. HOME. Side item: Lesson of the day - don't be the only brown-skinned person in an airport security line, unless you want to experience a body scanner and a pat-down....

Oh, and so during the pat down, Mr. TSA says "empty your pockets", so I did - 2 gum wrappers, a wadded napkin, pocket fuzz, a receipt from Starbucks... yes, I feel so secure now!"

-Apollo Silva

Friday, March 04, 2011

Chicago Teachers

This is why the Senators from Wisconsin ran to Illinois. It takes 27 steps and nearly 5 years to dispose of a teacher in Chicago town. 

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Your TSA: Now Protecting Trains from Disembarking Passengers

AOL Travel: "[Brian] Gamble...was bringing a small group that included other firefighters and policemen to Savannah for a Valentine's Day getaway. They were among 30 or 40 people getting off the train when he says TSA officers ordered everyone into the terminal.
"They sent us all into a roped-off holding area and said 'Y'all are going to be searched,'" Gamble says. "We were getting off the train. This didn't make sense."
Once in the area, the group was guarded while TSA officers began doing what Gamble says were "intrusive"pat-downs.
When he saw a family with young kids in the lineup, he took out his camera and started filming. He does not know the identity of the family....
Nearing the front of the line for his own search, Gamble complained to a TSA supervisor but says he was told to calm down. "They wouldn't give us an explanation for the search."....
H/t Hit and Run

In the event we've forgotten, this has to stop. 

Video of Agents doing pat down searches on boys who have just left the train with their parents. 


Jack Daniels on the Budget


An indictment not only of Reid, but also of the Republicans. 

Alternately put, this budget is a indictment of the political sphere that charges gleefully into the deficits of tomorrow, having been thrust ever onwards by congresses and presidents who care not for ideologies of reason.


I don't know where this comes from, but I agree with the sentiments.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

StratFor on Declaration of War

As usual, a stellar piece by George Friedman of StratFor.
"World War II was the last war the United States fought with a formal declaration of war. The wars fought since have had congressional approval, both in the sense that resolutions were passed and that Congress appropriated funds, but the Constitution is explicit in requiring a formal declaration. It does so for two reasons, I think. The first is to prevent the president from taking the country to war without the consent of the governed, as represented by Congress. Second, by providing for a specific path to war, it provides the president power and legitimacy he would not have without that declaration; it both restrains the president and empowers him. Not only does it make his position as commander in chief unassailable by authorizing military action, it creates shared responsibility for war. A declaration of war informs the public of the burdens they will have to bear by leaving no doubt that Congress has decided on a new order — war — with how each member of Congress voted made known to the public."

Read the article, you will not regret it.
(I should have known this was a good read when both FACIA and Joel brought it to my attention within 2 hours of each other, only for it to appear soon after on ZeroHedge)