Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hey folks, want to see the urban heat island effect in action? Check this 'un out. Once they moved that station next to a *BARBECUE*, the station records show an obvious and distinct upward bias which "continues to this day".

NOAA's response to this sort of cheap mockery? Hiding the evidence.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Woo-hoo! Let's hear it for the Indian Navy's INS Tabar, which did what the rest of the swarm of warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden *should* be doing - blow a Somali pirate 'mothership' right out of the water!

Whenever I get particularly down and Mark-Steynish about the future of humanity, I remember that while Brazil is the country of the future (and always will be!), India *is* that future. And I remember that alongside that leftist-socialist fatalistic failure which is the Gandhian nightmare, walks the ghost of Rudyard Kipling's India, pugnacious, imperial, forth-right and British in a fashion that the pygmies inhabiting the United Kingdom have not pretended to since the Suez Crisis.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Amazing. I just got an email from GM trying to get me to pester my senators and congressman to bail their improvident, incompetent, inept corporation out with my tax money. I don't remember giving them my email address when I bought my Aveo, but apparently I did.

I'm thinking "no". I'm thinking of pestering Specter to *not* give them a thin red cent, since NPR was gassing on about him being friendly to the idea. In fact, I just sent this to Specter and Casey:

I am contacting you as a citizen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and as a voter to vehemently and emphatically demand that you *NOT* support or vote for any scheme which extends one more dime's worth of public credit underwritten by our hard-earned taxes to those incompetent, improvident, hopelessly inept clowns who run the Detroit automakers.

I cannot think of a greater waste of public resources and a more shameless appeal to the squalid self-interest of a pack of over-paid, over-compensated, over-indulged UAW retirees and "employees" than these repeated and utterly futile 'bailouts' of a company which is not so much dedicated to the production of quality automobiles, as to the ongoing support and subsidy of bloated union pensioners and their dependents.

What justice is there in the extraction of payroll taxes from unpensioned, impoverished convenience store clerks, grocery-store stockboys, shoe salesmen, and other losers in life's lottery - all of them either going without health care or scrambling and scrimping and saving to afford sky-high premiums - in order to subsidize the obscene "Cadillac" health plans and bloated, underfunded pensions of these Princes of the Union?

Let GM die. Let the monster go bankrupt, and complete the process of capital-destruction which has brought that once-great company to the brink upon which it now totters. Do not throw good money after bad, do not piss away the public's wealth in an attempt to salvage long-lost private wealth.

The pensioners of the UAW can rely on Social Security and Medicare and their own personal savings like the rest of retired America. They were paid and over-paid throughout their working lifetimes. If the end result of all those wages is nothing but empty bank-accounts and the broken promises of a defaulted pension - well, those self-same excessive wages, fairly bargained by an over-enthusiastic pack of union jackals in defiance of the interests of now-destroyed investor capital, came with their own eventual price-tag, did they not?
Wow. I seem to be to the left of The Artist Currently Known As Prince on gay marriage. What a strange world - and it's getting stranger by the day.
An interesting and rather infuriating reminder that ideas have consequences, and that there are vandals at large in academia. An important explanation for that link: Mark Grimsley is a leftist whom I am almost positive is an enthusiastic Obama supporter, and with whose contemporary politics I almost certainly will have massive disagreements on any number of questions. But he is an honest historian, and his description of Royster and Stout's Gramscian assault upon the necessary political myths which underpin American democratic consensus is pretty vein-popping.

Look, if you spend time explaining how vital a particular intellectual tradition is in making modern politics operational, and then proceed to plant rhetorical dynamite under that tradition and start waving a lit taper around the fuse, I can't help but think that you don't mean your country well.
Welcome to the New Misogyny. I believe a quote from A Man For All Seasons seems apropos:

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast - man's laws, not God's - and if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

Tradition may be unfair, and confining, and absolutely Not Fun. Cultural norms may be arbitrary and unpleasant and unobliging to your own person sense of necessities and right conduct. But both are grown by the organic operation of societies in motion, laid down by the steady beat of ancestral heels, such that those paths which eroded away were abandoned, and those paths which cut impassable bogs were let to go to wrack and weed. Culture and tradition tends to keep to the passable routes, and proper tradition-drawn law then laid down down macadam over those least worst social by-ways.

When our uncles and aunts threw down all the fences and hedge-rows and went counter-culturally off-roading, they left a trackless maze of muddy ripped-up lawns, ruined fields, eroded hill-sides. The current generation is getting ready to lay down gravel on some of those wayward new folk-ways, and the feminist press is whinging about just how roundabout, unpleasant, and ill-directed a New Social Road-Map their cartographers are being presented by the gravellers.

Well congratulations, sunshine. The old roads were hard, coarse, and indirect, but at least they got where we were going: marriage, family, children, continuity. I'll be damned if I know where these new roads are going, but it certainly looks like no-where I want to be.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Yeah, Steve Schmidt is scum, and McCain's advisers were apparently a pack of complete and total defeatists. McCain's at fault for having hired the lot of them, but really, discussing whether to concede the election during preparations for the final debate is just absolutely worthless. Every single one of them should never have another job in politics or anything to do with government. The ground-level people were doing their best to keep up morale while these cheese-eating surrender monkeys were apparently mentally updating their resumes during strategy meetings.

And the Obama people apparently believe their own bullcrap about criticism being hate speech, to judge from the cowflops in that article indirectly blaming Palin for death threats.

As far as this Houdini stuff is concerned, if they were actually using this magic new system, they weren't bothering with it in my local area that I've seen or heard of. The other side's pollwatchers were taking records longhand, and drifting in and out of my precinct, not even pretending to really care about whether their people were making it to the polls. Admittedly, Bellefonte West trends somewhat conservative...
Wow. I've never really paid much attention to Rahm Emanuel before. The son of an Irgun member and namesake of a member of the Stern Gang, known for violent outbursts and a savage temper, as Obama's Chief of Staff? The anti-Semites will have a collective aneurysm.

Maybe Israel will survive the next four years after all.
While I'm on the subject of hopes for the mirror: Social Security.

Please, please, please raise the retirement-age kick-in threshold. Do it now so that the boomers don't blow out the budget. Social Security was supposed to support the incapacitated elderly, not a horde of physically-fit aging gentlefolk-of-leisure.

Sorry, Mom, Dad. I appreciate all the money you lavished on my raising and education, and I don't begrudge the last five years or so in which you were able to spend your time playing golf and gardening in central Florida, but if only on grounds of social utility, the economy could have used your labor and productivity.

It always was a lie that Social Security was any sort of retirement plan, and it's becoming increasingly clear that most legacy pension plans are likewise funded with air and bureaucratic bullcrap.

Mirror, mirror, please don't let McDermott kill the 401k system & force everyone into a parallel government-regulated and partially-operated "savings" system. In the short term, that would shatter the stock market, and in the long term, it would impoverish the working classes, pauperizing them and accustoming them to null or negative real interest-rate returns on investment, like the Japanese and their postal savings incubus. Please, prove me a liar when I campaigned on the dark suggestion that you'd let the McDermotts in Congress do something that disastrous.

I want to be wrong.
Well, looks like we might be going back to the old Sixties-style New Frontier Big Science pork buffets. Expect lots and lots of resources poured down dry holes. Meanwhile, of the two institutions which actually produced significant technological advances, Bell Labs is gone, gone, gone with the wind, and I fear DARPA is about to get six inches of bodkin through the thorax.

Prove me wrong, mirrorball man.

Huh. If Obama picks Holbrooke, that's a definite upside. McCain certainly wouldn't have had the leverage to name a complete and utter bastard like Richard Holbrooke as Secretary of State. I happen to approve of complete and utter bastards when it comes to diplomacy. "Softly-softly" is excessively overrated in a diplomat, and Foggy Bottom could use a cleaning-out with bactine and a blow-torch.

And the cannibals are already gathering in the clearings, scenting weakness. The more pugnacity a prospective Obama administration shows towards our national enemies, the better the chances we'll survive Biden's Global Test with limbs and dignity intact.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Well, life goes on.