Thursday, September 30, 2004

Todd Burri, excuse me, Mr. Pterodactyl

has a round up of articles on the UN's Oil for Food scandal. Including allegations of a connection between Saddam and Osama bin Laden.

Read it. Read the links.

BTW, GJ stands for Grandpa John. (It took me a while too, but I'm not a relative.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hey, look! John Nash is praising Switzerland's economy!

Mostly for the right reasons. Swissinfo has a Q&A:

swissinfo: What do you think the Swiss do right?

John Nash: Quite simply, I think they don't do "wrong" things that others do' which are supposed to enhance the strength of an economy, but fail to be beneficial in the longer term.

I think Switzerland has benefited enormously from having a currency of comparatively superior quality. This in turn has favoured the local climate for enterprises such as those in the insurance or investment banking sectors. It is no coincidence that the financial services sector is so important in the Swiss economy – it is not just cheese and chocolate that you export.

swissinfo: What are the "wrong" things that the Swiss avoid?

J.N.: Some people might suggest that economic policy should aim to decrease the value of the Swiss franc, to help stimulate exports. Of course, there is some truth in this, but it ignores a very important factor, which is the reputation of a currency.

For instance, the dollar is becoming gradually less respectable than it used to be, but it is still at about the same competitive level as the euro, the pound sterling or the yen. Below the dollar are currencies like those of Argentina and Brazil, where devaluation doesn't seem to have helped very much.

Arguably, the Swiss franc is at the best level of all, and that is very important. In Switzerland, people are probably not thinking all the time that they would do better by putting their money in dollars in a foreign account.

swissinfo: What do you think is at the root of the Swiss franc's reputation?

J.N.: Someone once got a Nobel Prize for developing the concept of rational expectations. This says that, while governments say they are doing this or that, this may be just propaganda. The private sector, however, may look at the situation in a more rational way - they may know what to really expect. So you could say the reputation is based more on what they think.

They might become my new favorite paper. Poke around there. Lot's of cool stuff. Like this special report on William Tell.

Listen to this killjoy:
[Fabrizio] Sabelli, who teaches [anthropology] at the University of Neuchatel, said the Swiss had a purely emotional attachment to the legendary character. [Ed. note: Italian is one of the national languages of Switzerland, so he's probably a native. I'd don't think the Swiss would take this from a non-native.]

swissinfo: How would you define William Tell?

F.S: It is a wonderful Swiss creation. And it works because everyone is agreed on what qualities the character of Tell embodied.

But William Tell is not a myth. He's nothing more than a product, and he doesn't really mean anything to the Swiss today.

swissinfo: What about freedom and courage? Can't the Swiss identify with these values?

F.S.: I don't think so. The Swiss were never great patriots. They have rarely fought wars against their enemies. And freedom is a vague term. It came into vogue during the French revolution. William Tell didn't invent it.

Patriotism requires attacking your enemies? From Switzerland's point of view, who would they attack? Just make one up and kill them to show your patriotism?

And the guy should check out this page for a history of freedom. Admittedly, the concept in the Tell story is vague, though it looks like individual independence and integrity to me. .Walter Williams has examples of Kessler's asking us all to bow to their hats. A little bolt in the bow would do 'em some good.
swissinfo: Don't the Swiss need a national hero?

F.S.: Of course they do. We tried to make a hero of the [wartime military commander] General Henri Guisan. It was only a partial success - and a fleeting one.

I don't see a Swiss hero on the horizon today, and I don't think history provides one.

The Swiss don't go for heroes so much. In other countries, a Roger Federer would be a star. Not here.

swissinfo: How do you explain that?

F.S.: There needs to be a collective feeling that someone deserves to be a national hero. But in Switzerland, there is no collective spirit; we're divided along the lines of language, cantons and communes.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Communes? I didn't know they had a kibbutz system there.

TOC on Rutan:

Report from the Front
September 29, 2004

Private Space Triumph
By Edward Hudgins
Washington Director
www.ObjectivistCenter.org
ehudgins@objectivistrcenter.org
Editor, "Space: The Free-Market Frontier" (Cato Institute book)

Private entrepreneurs again have triumphed! On September 29 SpaceShipOne, built
by Burt Rutan's company Scaled Composites and financed by Microsoft co-founder
Paul Allen, completed it's first flight in pursuit of the $10 million Ansari X
Prize. This money was secured by private individuals to be paid to the first
private party to put into space twice in a two-week period a craft capable of
carrying three individuals. Rutan's rocket had its first test flight over the
100-kilometer limit on June 21 and with the success of the latest launch the
clock is now running to see if his ship can do it again in a fortnight.

If Rutan's company wins the prize the public's view of space will be irrevocably
altered. Instead of thinking of space as a wasteful government program, more
people will see it as a place to which individuals can travel (and -- in the
future -- work, study, vacation and live) through the efforts of private
enterprise. But already changes are taking place.

As extraordinary as the flights has been the news coverage of those flights.
From Nightline to network news to cable the coverage has been positive and
reporters have played the story straight. To begin with the profit motive has
not been portrayed as something low and base that somehow "cheapens" any
achievement. Rather, most coverage mentions the $25,000 Orteig Prize that
Charles Lindbergh won when in 1927 he became the first individual to fly
non-stopped across the Atlantic and treats cash prizes as a sound way to create
competition and innovation. Reports mention that Rutan wants to expand his
pioneering efforts into a business to carry individuals into space and that
Richard Branson, the British pioneer who runs the successful Virgin Atlantic
airlines, plans to partner with Rutan and Allen and to provide flights into
space for some 3,000 individuals in the next five years.

Further, the private entrepreneurs are treated as true innovators, with a
special focus on their novel and cost-effective vehicle designs - products of
human reason. As important, similar treatment is accorded to Peter Diamandis,
the president of the X-Prize Foundation, whose vision is sparking a private
sector revolution.

There also seems to be a special appreciation for the fact that the competitors
for the prize are risking their own money and their own lives, with no guarantee
of success, because they so passionately want to achieve something great. And
here the reporters seem to share with their audience a thirst for the sight of
human achievement, something that they can simply celebrate rather than sneer
at.

Even if Rutan were to fail to win the X Prize, one of the two-dozen competitors
likely will triumph, with pride and rationality in pursuit of profits, and in
the process help make us a true space-faring civilization!

******************************
The Objectivist Center is a national not-for-profit think tank promoting the
values of reason, individualism, freedom and achievement in American culture.
For more information, please visit www.ObjectivistCenter.org.

Update: let me add some brilliant comments from Glen Reynolds' TCS column:
It's probably no coincidence that we made rapid progress in space back when the attitude was "win at all costs," and that our progress slowed down drastically once the attitude became "no mistakes allowed."

You don't want to risk people's lives, or expensive equipment, foolishly, of course. But we often learn the most from trying projects that stretch our knowledge and capabilities, not from playing it safe. And, at any rate, the urge to play it safe usually doesn't come from concerns about protecting people or equipment, but from concerns about protecting bureaucrats from criticism.
...
I expect that SpaceShipOne will be successful, whether or not it's on schedule. And I wouldn't be surprised if several of the X-Prize competitors manage to fly successfully, even though only one can win the prize. I also expect that even those who don't win will demonstrate technologies and approaches that someone else is likely to find useful.

It's hard to structure government programs so that they produce this kind of an effect, and even harder to maintain them in the face of a political and media environment when learning from failure is seen as indistinguishable from failure alone. But in all sorts of areas -- from space and jet aviation in the 1950s and 1960s, to computers in the 1970s and 1980s, to the X-Prize today -- it seems that we make faster progress when we have lots of parallel efforts, with freedom to experiment, and to fail. Sometimes we got that sort of thing within a government program; other times it happened outside. But it seems to be an important formula for success. That's something we might want to keep in mind.

Whoo - hoo!!

SpaceShipOne Succeeds in Trailblazing First Shot at $10 Million X Prize
Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET

MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA - In a mission that could herald a new era of space tourism, a privately built, three-person rocket ship flew to space and back today. The event was the first of two flights scheduled to capture the $10 million Ansari X Prize.

The mission had tense moments as the craft appeared to make an unscripted roll near the top of its flight.

The X Prize money goes to the first privately built vehicle that can haul a pilot and two passengers to the edge of space, then repeat the feat within two weeks, in this case by Oct. 13. SpaceShipOne's design team, Scaled Composites, based here at the Mojave Spaceport, said before the flight that they were ready to turn the vehicle around for reflight, perhaps making the second rocket run Oct. 4.


Monday, September 27, 2004

Excuse me, I'm going to go kiss my sleeping girls

after reading this.

A reminder to us to show our loved ones what they mean to us while we can.

It seems strange to speak of Shiites as moderates

but Shiite leaders in Iraq have bravely released this statement (via Hammorabi):
[Last line of Hammorabi's intro] The last statement was on the 25 Sep 2004 and below is the summary of the last statement.

By the Name of Allah the most Compassionate and the most Merciful

The kidnapping and killing of Iraqis, Arabs and Foreigners by organisations which considers all other than itself as infidels is not from Islam and its noble values and principles. One of the victims of these organisations are the Shia individuals, the university lectures and scientists, the intellectuals, the doctors, the officials, the innocent people in places of worship (Mosques, Churches, and others), the workers, the Shia drivers who were killed in Falluja, the Kurds, the Turkmans, and others.

The crimes of the above organisations also involved the foreigners who came to Iraq for work or as professionals in their speciality to help in the process of building or planning. Those victims are from Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, France, Italy, UK, USA, Nepal, Spain, Canada, Russia, Bulgaria and others.

We repeat what we have said before that these wrong and tyrannised acts do not belong to Islam by any way.

We call for the release of all those who were kidnapped immediately whatever their nationalities or believes.

The wrong organisations have nothing to do with Islam the religion of peace, love, forbearing, kindness, and good values.

We also look forward from the intellectuals to differentiate between Islam as a religion and these wrongful bands.

25 Sep 2004 Hawza, Najaf

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Cheezits Crackers! They couldn't win with this?!

Javon Walker had a career day for the Packers, setting career highs with 11 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Walker scored on TD passes of 36, 79, and 12 yards.

Brett Favre threw for 358 yards on the day, completing 30 of 44 passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Along with his TD strikes to Walker, Favre threw scoring pass of 27 yards to Donald Driver. Favre sat out the Packers' final series after taking a knee to the back of his leg earlier in the fourth quarter.

Oh! One more thing!

Stella
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rain drops

This fella here doesn't reveal much about himself, but ya gotta admire his posts.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

From the Ayn Rand Institute:

[They beat me to the punch on this letter on Dan Rather, so I'll get this one out now, while they still allow it.]

Dear Editor:

That Bill Clinton could get the emergency heart care his survival
required within 3 days underscores a life-and-death difference between
medicine under capitalism and under socialism.

Under the system of socialized medicine in Canada and Europe, people
die because waiting lists to see doctors are too long to permit them
to receive cardiac care in time to save their lives. In Canada,
for example, a patient typically must wait 24 days for an appointment
with a cardiologist--and 15 additional days for the type of emergency
bypass surgery that saved Bill Clinton's life. Similarly, a
Swedish government survey showed that Swedes can be forced to wait as
long as 11 months for a diagnostic heart X-ray and up to 8 months for
essential heart surgery. The upshot, according to one research
cardiologist, is that at least 1,000 Swedes die each year for lack of
heart treatment.

The moral belief in the right to health care beyond what an individual
can afford--health care at other people's expense--leads inevitably to
demand for unnecessary or superficial care that clogs doctors' offices, overfills hospitals and tasks the health care system beyond its capacities. The predictable result is the endless waiting lists of socialized medicine.

The choice facing Americans is stark: the rights-respecting free
market of capitalism, where goods and services are produced in
abundance, including health care--or the chronic disasters of
socialism, where thousands die because of continuous shortages.

Dr. Andrew Bernstein, Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway #250, Irvine CA, 92606
(949)222-6550 ext. 226

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Glittering Eye has a brilliant post

on the futility of bending the government to your will:

September 24, 2004
The best laid plans


Why do so many government programs fail? We've seen it time and time again. A need is identified, a program is formulated and put into place, everything starts out well enough, and then, perhaps over time, something happens. The program doesn't achieve its goals. Or the amount of resources needed for it to achieve its goals are vastly more than expected.
...
There are only two known organizing principles in modern societies^1: bureacracy and the unpredictable large scale group behaviors of complex systems known as emergent phenomena. Reliance on emergent phenomena to solve the great problems requires an enormous amount of faith and hope.

But if we rely on the grand solutions we'd better be prepared for a lot of failure and to spend more than we can really afford.

More brilliance at the linked post:
An emergent phenomenon in a complex system is a large scale, group behavior that cannot be predicted by an understanding of workings of the individual components of the system. There's a word used to describe the condition under which such phenomena emerge--synergy--and a description: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Quite a few of the things that are absolutely the most important to us are emergent phenomena: life, consciousness, history, the Market (Adam Smith's Invisible Hand), and the workings of a free and democratic society are all emergent phenomena and, as such, are highly distasteful to those who look for a simple, tidy, elegant, and orderly universe. And that group, in turn, includes a truly remarkable group of unlikely allies including both Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, Marxists, and bureaucrats of every religion, philosophy, and political party.

He's making a fair bid to replace the Clueless.

I had an attack of silliness last night.

I made up a song, to the tune of the Ford Truck 'jingle' - I do a good imitation of that guy. My daughter was begging me to stop by the third line. It starts out autobiographical and becomes fanciful:

I'm a snot-nosed man
That's what I am
I can't find no Kleenex
I won't compromise
I'll let it run to the ground
'Fore I'd wipe me nose on my sleeve
Honey!
The only thing worse 's when it's happ'nin' an' ya gotta sneeze.

I don't think it warrants further stanzas.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

This may well be

the damnedest thing.

Google works in mysterious ways. (The second page.)

I'm afraid!

A thing that causes obsessive anxiety is checking out of the Blogosphere. This is deeply disturbing.

Not only that, but he has to rub it in our faces by titling his last post Do! Do! Do The Selfish Monkey!

Recognize the tune?

I mean, first it's Selfish Monkey (I never knew ye!), then den Beste, then... Oh, sorry! I went over to the Probligo's to get the link to this guy, thinking that would be easier than finding it at my homepage, when I got lost in a reverie here.

Anyway, back to my list: The Sciolist... Wait a minute! What does this mean? Stay Tuned - Watch This Space ... Re-Opening Soon Under New Management.... That sounds like a trumpet! The Cavalry's just over the ridge!

What's that pain in my side? A gunshot?!! Oh, God!!

Will I wake up in the hospital to be greeted by the grinning mugs of... A selfish monkey? A bugbear? A garbage collector? And the stern visage of the master of the USS Clueless?

God help me!!

God HE-ELP MEE-eee!!!

A guy named Chrenkoff

has a thoughtful piece on the question, "Can there be a liberal democracy in the middle-east?"

The Post-Totalitarian Stress Disorder

Completely giving away the store, here is his description of the disorder:
Distrust of the state and the authorities - the state is the enemy and the oppressor; you collaborate to the extent it is necessary to survive, no more. You don't owe it any loyalty and are quite happy to try to sabotage it in every little way you can - by breaking minor laws, petty embezzlement, cheating, dishonesty, lies, passivity or indifference.

A prison mentality - you might hate the state, but you still have an expectation that the hand you cannot bite will provide for you; feed you, clothe you, give you shelter and a job. Since the state has crowded out most, if not all, of the private sphere, logically only the state is able to provide for one's needs - you're quite literally at the mercy of a monopoly.

Lack of initiative and abdication of personal responsibility - as the state is seemingly omnipresent and omnipotent and the area of your personal sovereignty heavily circumscribed, this state of affairs breeds resignation, fatalism and passivity. Why would you bother to try to do anything if you can't achieve much? How can you really take responsibility for your condition if you're just a powerless puppet at the mercy of the Leviathan? And so you wait for things happen to you, as they always do, instead of trying to make your own fate. The system simply doesn't provide any incentives to think and act otherwise - initiative is not rewarded and can even land you in trouble, working hard brings in no more benefits than working little; effort and imagination more often than not hit the wall of limited practical possibilities.

Distrust of others - it's not just the state; you don't trust your fellow citizens too - at worst they might be spying on you for the authorities, at best they are competing with you for scarce resources. Either way, they're out to screw you over. So you only look after your own.

You'll have to RTWT to see how he can speak with authority on this and how it affects "our" nation building in Iraq. Actually, I'd like to see him go deeper into that last.

WOD: Obscurantism

Meaning of OBSCURANTISM
Pronunciation: ub'sky├╗run`tizum

WordNet Dictionary

Definition: [n] a deliberate act intended to make something obscure
[n] a policy of opposition to enlightenment or the spread of knowledge


See Also: deceit, deception, dissembling, dissimulation, policy

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Definition: \Ob*scur"ant*ism\, n.
The system or the principles of the obscurants. --C.
Kingsley.

Oh, you mean like this supposed explanation of this. Actually, I think I'll now be better able to handle post-modernist jargon than I was before I read it. It's not complete gibberish.

This isn't news to me, but others seem unaware of it

From An Open Letter To Advocates of International Free Trade, by Richard C. B. Johnsson, Ph.D.
One of the most characteristic features of today's society is the division of labor and specialization. But although the merits of division of labor are widely acknowledged, with it follows a perceived implication of great importance; if the person who is best at extracting teeth becomes a dentist and the best woodworker a carpenter, the conclusion is that those who aren't best at anything will end up outside society. And it is, after all, a fact that the lives of many people in today's society have ended in poverty and misery, while others live well, and that many have lost out in the competition. We do live in a Darwinist society of the survival of the fittest, with advanced division of labor. From this, two common standpoints would seem to follow; either you end up believing that the division of labor is a moral outrage, despite its efficiency, or you end up believing that because the division of labor is so efficient, and because so many benefit so much from it, the idea of some people being pushed outside society is somehow acceptable - some kind of welfare system and taxation will supposedly take care of those problems. Despite the apparent popularity of these two views, there is nevertheless no need to hold either of them. Instead, it seems possible to defend the merits of division of labor while discarding the idea of a society where only the fittest survive. In fact, this is one of the main points the message tries to communicate to you. Please bear with me a little longer.

According to the famous Ricardian principle, the international division of labor is made according to comparative advantages. But this also holds for the division of labor at all other levels of society. In fact, all trade, international as well as domestic, stems from the same source - the comparative advantage of the individual. Almost all of us specialize in the area that we are best in relative to others. There will almost always be someone who could potentially perform a task better than you. Even if you are the very best in an absolute sense, you will have had to rely on your comparative advantage to get there. The dentist thus finds it worthwhile to cooperate with the carpenter even though he might potentially be a better carpenter, and so on. The comparative advantage of the individual then lends itself to groups of people, companies, regions and countries. The comparative advantages could thus be seen as the glue of society. It is these that make it worthwhile for people to cooperate on any larger scale at all. They guarantee that there will be room for everybody. The division of labor according to the principle of comparative advantages could hence be considered the ultimate form of cooperation among humans.

Diversity must be respected as a fact of nature. The moral imperitive is to develop one's gifts as fully as possible and trade them.

UN Screws the Pooch in Kosovo

From the Christian Science Monitor: Even in eager Kosovo, nation-building stalls

Five years after 'liberation,' UN officials this week are again working on a plan for the political status of the province.
Yet the greatest blame may lie with the UN itself, according to an internal UN report. Annan dispatched Norwegian UN Ambassador Kai Eide to Kosovo this summer to investigate what's gone wrong and recommend a way out. The report, delivered to Annan in July, was unusually scathing.

"The international community in Kosovo is today seen by Kosovo Albanians as having gone from opening the way to now standing in the way," Eide wrote. "It is seen by Kosovo Serbs as having gone from securing the return of so many to being unable to ensure the return of so few."

Annan has yet to act on the report. "It's still being absorbed," says a UN official.

Back in 1999, reluctance to discuss Kosovo's future was not surprising. After the wars in Bosnia and Croatia claimed more than 200,000 lives, Kosovo earned Milosevic a third strike. So the international community, spooked by a decade of Balkan warfare and potential for further splintering along ethnic lines, intervened on behalf of the Kosovars.

It was a major investment for NATO - an estimated $45 billion - and the West worried what message an independent Kosovo might send around the world: if you want independence, insurgency pays. Kosovo's fate rested in the hands of the UN Security Council. Russia and China are two of the Council's five veto-wielding permanent members, along with the US, Britain, and France. For the Russians, who had allied themselves with their Slavic brethren in Belgrade, an independent Kosovo bolsters the case for an independent Chechnya, not to mention Dagestan, Ingushetia, and so on; for Beijing, there's the specter of statehood for Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

So the UN opted for a familiar tack - kick-the-can diplomacy, as analysts describe it - putting off hard decisions until later. In his report, Eide often cites the world body's lack of clear goals when it comes to Kosovo's future.
...
The UN has adopted a process it calls "standards before status," requiring Kosovo to meet satisfactory levels of democratic governance, rule of law, and multiethnic tolerance before beginning discussion of permanent status. Review of Kosovo's standards-before-status progress is slated for mid-2005.

But the standards process is seen as an unreasonably high threshold for a war- ravaged region with little to no tradition of democracy and a generation of Kosovars who opted out of Serbia's repressive administration for underground, Albanian-run institutions. Moreover, the process is seen by Kosovars as demeaning. They note that no such standards-before-status formula was laid out for, say, Iraq, before it regained its sovereignty this summer. Or, in a closer parallel, when East Timor won independence from Indonesia in 2002. And if Israelis and Palestinians were to ever hammer out a peace deal, the United Nations would probably recognize an independent Palestine the next day - before any guarantee of a democratic, tolerant society.

These guys have a more hopeful assessment.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Here's a good taste of Murray Rothbard for you,

castigating Karl Polanyi, courtesy of The Mises Institute:

Capitalism did not, therefore, tragically disrupt, as Polanyi would have it, the warm, loving, "social" relations of pre-capitalist era. Capitalism took the outcasts of society: the beggars, the highwaymen, the rural over-populated, the Irish immigrants, and gave them the jobs and wages which moved them from destitution to a far higher standard of living and of work. It is easy enough to wring one's hands at the child labor in the new British factories; it is, apparently, even easier to forget what the child population of rural England was doing before the Industrial Revolution-and during the Revolution, in those numerous areas of England where the I.R. and the new capitalism had not yet penetrated: these children were dying like flies, and living in infinitely more miserable conditions. This is why we read nowadays, when it seems inexplicable to us, British and American writings of the period which praise the new factories for giving work to women and children! This praise was not due to their being inhuman monsters; it was due to the fact that, before such labor was available, and in those regions where such labor was not available, the women and children were living and suffering in infinitely worse conditions. Women, children, immigrants, after all, were not driven to the factories with whips; they went voluntarily and gladly, and that is the reason.

There are even broader aspects of the population problem which Polanyi ignores. For capitalism was responsible, in a sense, for the huge increase in population in the modern world. Capitalism's upsurge in living standards has enabled capitalism to free the world from the Malthusian checks, from the grim evils of over-population, and has permitted a rapid multiplication of population at even higher living standards than before. So when Polanyi, in effect, asks us to scrap the market and return to a caste or communal or even tribal society, he is not only asking us to abandon the luxuries of civilization and return to the sub­sistence level of the primitive tribe; he is also asking for the liquidation and eradication of the vast bulk of the world's population Because if a caste or tribal system will "work," even on the least subsistence level, it will work only for a small, tiny minority of the population; the rest of us will starve en masse. The fact noted above, of the small numbers of the primitive tribe, takes on, then, a new and more terrible significance.

Excuse me, this is an update, made after the first six comments: Ah, controversy! What fun! Here is the Mises Blog post and a couple of links gleaned from their comments section on this article: a fellow Misesian attacker of Karl Polanyi and The Polanyi Institute's defense. I have to criticise TMI's lack of a permalink connecting the post with the comments. It won't be long before the post is shuffled off to the archives along with the comments attached to it.

[Update: Oh, for God's sake! Here it is!]

I'm not sure that Sandall's final letter is devastating. I'll have to find the book and read it.

Oh, this site's gonna end up on my sidebar!

Vince Lombardi.com.

Thanks, CPF!

Sample quote:

"Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent's pressure, and the temporary failures."

Daniel J. Flynn on Intellectual Morons

"There is no baby universe branching off, as I once thought," Stephen Hawking told a group of shocked scientists this summer in Dublin. Hawking’s theory of parallel universes and energy-destroying black holes, the wheelchair-bound scientist concluded, was wrong.

When Stephen Hawking’s theories came under attack, he rethought rather than retrenched. Hawking’s goal, after all, is not the promotion of Stephen Hawking or the idea of parallel universes, but the pursuit of truth.

Maybe I'm not good at it, but I'm a stickler for intellectual honesty. Read the whole thing.

One thing I insist on is reading the arguments that my betters claim to be evil. That's why I have, for instance, linked to Herbert Spencer and Max Stirner. [Summaries respectively Spencer and Stirner.] In all honesty, I agree pretty much whole-heartedly with Spencer, and disagree a bit with Stirner. Specifics would require a rereading.

Monday, September 20, 2004

All righty, here're some pix. [Additional commentary added]

Here's me, looking piratical:

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All right, I'm pretending to be a Voyageur, not a pirate. A guy can dream can't he? All you'd have to do is shoot the guys in the next canoe after all....

Le Fort du Riviere aux Serpent:

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Rosie took this view from the tent flap:

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I want one of these:

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The flintlock reliability contest--about as good an action shot as I'm capable of with a camera with a 2-second delay after you press the button:

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That gal won. I don't have a flintlock, so no, I didn't compete. The contest is that you load and fire in order down the line; if your weapon misfires, you're out. No bullets or shot here, just powder and wads. The real shooting event was in Harris, MN, but that is as much info as the internet has. It's extremely private.

I failed to defend my title as the Snake River Stone Throwing Champion. Here's my excuse: Rosie and I were walking along taking pictures on the river trail--I was carrying the baby--when we happened upon the stone throwing contest, just as Mary, who runs everything, was saying, "is there anybody else for the Men's Stone Throwing Contest!" Well, as the reigning champ, I had to speak up and take a shot. I was absolutely cold, no psych and only one attempt allowed. I placed fourth. That big guy in the picture I mentioned, took second, and two Juriks took first and third.

Ah, well... It's all in good fun.

My budding young photographer--and model--
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won the girls Cat and Mouse Competition, for which she got three broaches (which I'd scan for you if I could find them). Cat and Mouse is a very interesting variation of Tug-of-War in which you and your opponent each stand on a log and try to either capture the flag tied in the middle of the rope or pull your opponent off of his or her log. And besides that Rosie also took third in the women's--yes I said women's--footrace. That was another case in which we ran across the competition while out on a walk. She wasn't up for the girl's race for some reason, but she jumped right in when the women were called. The kids' races were only about 150 yards, but both the adult races were about 3/4s of a mile. I was deeply impressed and proud, even though there were only 4 women (including 7-year-old Rosie) competing, and one, who wasn't actually qualified to run, because she was competing for best all around Voyageur, and had already run in the men's race. That gal's quite the competitive nut, but a very cute and lovable competitive nut.

Unfortunately I filmed all those things with the movie camera, and I don't know how to share those with you.

Sorry, I was a bit too busy and tired

to do any blogging when I got home last night. The tent is no sweat to deal with, but the food and the wrought iron are a major load.

Rather a lot going on here, I see. Cool.

Pix later.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

We will endeavor to add color to

this place this weekend. More images here. On the fourth image they must have meant the grand opening of the new visitor center. That girl on the far left isn't more that a year older. The guy throwing the stone still looks just like that. That guy there is pretty big and probably should have beat me, but he didn't.

I doubt that we'll be able to get out tonight, but we'll see.

If ya sign a dumb-ass piece of legislation

don't be surprised if it bites ya in the ass:
"A judge yesterday denied the Bush campaign's request to order Federal
Election Commission action on complaints about groups spending
millions on anti-Bush ads and voter mobilization. U.S. District Judge
James Robertson told attorneys for President Bush that he agreed the
FEC had moved at a 'glacial' pace in handling complaints but added,
'That's the way Congress has set it up, and apparently that's the way
Congress likes it.'"

Kudos to the judge who didn't see fit to "legislate from the bench."

Link thanks to RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS DIGEST.

I'm glad he's back.

I wish he wanted to stay.

Thanks for the heads-up from Catholic Packer Fan. THE source for all your Packer needs. If you're like me anyway.

I haveN'T been stung by the old "LOOK AT ME!" bug

that much in the past couple days.

Yesterday I was checking out this site. (And don't forget Easy Tips for Faster Reading.] I found it because it's hosted by the same bunch that hosts this guy, who came to our work-place yesterday. Everything he said in person is on the site, but the demonstrations are more informative and impressive when he's standing right in front of you.

The Qigong (or Chi Kung) exercises are essentially Tai Chi, in case you're wondering, but there are added elements of Chinese medicine, though Master Lin doesn't seem to favor acupuncture - he believes he (and we) can do the same without the needles - Taoism, of course, and Feng Shui.

I feel the irreverent, capricious urge to define Taoism as godless religiosity.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Probligo sent this response

to my post on his post, and probli also this post at the Sciolist [I post it here, because I don't see it there and it's too good to just lose it.]:

Al,

I was thinking of posting this as a comment to your item, but it grew like the proverbial and so it has become a full blooded e-mail instead.

With respect, I believe that you have missed the point that FitzGerald was making. This is how I hear what he is saying...
1. Do not recognize the terrorist groups. So doing gives them legitimacy as "enemies", and gives them the validation that they seek. It occurs to me that this idea could be supported by the example of AlQaeda and its progressively aggressive tactics from USS Cole through Kenya to the ultimate of 9/11 when they did finally get the response that they sought from the US. They were immediately "recognized as a force that even the US could not ignore". From that response they have gained their public legitimacy as the "fighters in the war against the Great Satan".
2. Do not recognize the conflict with terrorists as "war". That again legitimises the terrorist group's "war" against... It is not a war. They are very well organized, heavily armed criminals. They are groups of armed thugs. They have no validation other than as murderers and killers of the innocent. That makes them criminals, not an opponent in war. Look at last night's bombings in Iraq. Who was killed? Iraqi civilians. Who do the Iraqi people blame? The Americans. Why is this? As I read FitzGerald, it is the consequence of "war". The Iraqi people are persuaded (by the Islamic extremists) that America is there fighting ITS war in Iraq. It is NOT IRAQ's war. Therefore (by the terrorists' logic) America must be responsible for the killing. ...Note that FitzGerald REFUSED to speak with either IRA or Sinn Fein. In his mind "they did not exist".
3. Do not alienate the local populace... see 2.
4. Closely allied to 3. is being able to recognize the valid "freedom fighters", the "liberation army" trying to remove an illegitimate or oppressive government. Examples? Well, take your pick in Chechnya; I am not going to judge that one at present. The Taleban in Afghanistan against the Russians? Obviously they were freedom fighters because the US backed them (a slight note of sarcasm here?). If there were to be terrorist action in Burma, Islam against the Burmese government, would that be liberation army or terrorists? Take a look in Zimbabwe... how much effort should there be from the international community to support any effort to overthrow Mugabe? Would such a movement be terrorist or freedom fighters if they came out shooting? The same in Sudan; are the Junjaweed government troops or terrorists?

Al, I am trying hard here not to be judgmental about the actions taken by the US. My personal feelings on the whole matter over the past three years run something like -
1. The response in Afghanistan was well justified, based upon the reasons given for that action.

2. Since the commencement of that action, the US has not followed a particularly consistent path.

3. I have always believed, in the case of the wider Middle East and Iraq in particular, that there had to be "a better way". Not one that is easy to find, or easy to "justify".

Perhaps, just perhaps... no... maybe the FitzGerald interview expressed for me the shape that alternative may have had.

As it is, we the people of this earth, are faced with new history, history in creation, that has a very heavy momentum. For that reason, changing its course is going to take time and great effort. The effort being expended now? Is it in the right direction or the wrong? Personally, I have to go back to what I said above…

"Look at last nights" bombings in Iraq. Who was killed? Iraqi civilians. Who do the Iraqi people blame? The Americans. Why is this? As I read FitzGerald, it is the consequence of "war". The Iraqi people are persuaded (by the Islamic extremists) that America is there fighting ITS war in Iraq. It is NOT IRAQ's war. Therefore (by the terrorists' logic) America is responsible for the killings...."

Turning that just a little...

The terrorists argue "America 'is at war with terrorism'. There are no terrorists in Iraq. There are only Iraqis in Iraq. Why then did America invade Iraq? Because they are the Great Satan and it is every man’s duty and religious destiny to join in that great jihad against the Great Satan..."

Add on...

"America says that it brings freedom and democracy. Where is freedom while our country is occupied by the Great Satan?"

I have said before that I have no truck whatsoever with people who suppress and withhold the rights of others. Terrorism, IMO falls into that category. I say that because terrorists (generally) have the objective of their own and all is subservient to those ends. There is more often than not a desire to impose political, cultural and/or religious precepts on a generally unwilling populace.

Regards,

the probligo


Narr. [or is it Narre? A little German joke there.]: the comments I've made on this subject presume a high level of acceptance of the advice. I think everybody but the "neocons" would welcome this advice. The differences in implementation between the isolationists, Libertarians, Greens and Naderites would make an interesting debate, and they need to take it up.

What information do I think the Administration is acting on?

See if this doesn't sound to you like a textbook case

from Robert Higgs' Crisis and Leviathan.

Quotes from Putin, via the Washington Post:
"State authority must not only be adjusted to work in crisis situations...The mechanisms of its work must be radically reviewed in order to prevent crises."

He added that "the terrorists' long-term plans are aimed at disintegrating the country and shaking the state" and that "the country's unity is the main condition for resisting terrorists."

Fear of your neighbors leads to faith in the divine powers of Big Government.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

As usual, I've put my best thinking elsewhere

as a comment on a completely different matter. But don't worry, here it is:

I just read my daughter a bedtime story about the slash and burn farming and ranching techniques used in the Amazon rain forest. I told her that the economics were wrong. It's true that if people keep doing what they're doing, the rainforest will be gone in 50 years, but it will become uneconomical before that.

And I told her that there are many economist who would advise governments to subsidize such activities beyond what economics would warrant. [Too bad I can't remember my actual words as I explained all that to a seven-year-old, however precocious.] The biggest problem that I see is that environmentalists are sure of two things: one is that humanity is ruining the world (and will continue to do so) and the second is that lying and cheating are efficacious ways to persuade humanity to join their cause.

I told my daughter that it's true that slash-and-burn farming damages the environment, and it's important to do what we can to stop it, but we have to deal in The Truth. We have to take more factors into account. If people think we're liars and cheaters, they won't help us.

Lileks points out that Pat Tillman

is not Horst Wessel, nor even John Burch. Or rather, that we are not a people who would lionize militarism in the way the Nazi's did. (Burcher's aren't Nazis, quite.)
Of course, not every Guardsman who signed up expected this; of course, not every soldier is a Pat Tillman. (Side note: those who think we’re living in some incipient Fascist state should note the absence of Tillmanism in the culture today – no songs in his name, no movies played on 2000 screens at the state’s request, no statues, no grade-school drills where the kids are taught to recite his Exploits, no posters of the Fallen Hero in the bus shelters, no mentions in every other speech. Hitler would have gone to town with Pat Tillman. And renamed it Tillmansberg.)

Man! I was wondering why the NZ Herald was so

slow loading. Drudge is linking to this article. Kyoto is crap. The treaty, not the city. I'm sure it's wonderful there. Blair can go to hell on this one. Stinkin' watermelon.

The Probligo's right about this

Lessons from violence

"There are only two ways to handle terrorists. You don't negotiate with terrorists unless they want to settle. But at the same time you don't deal with them in a way that alienates the people they come from unnecessarily."

Well, actually, that's one way not to deal with them and a caveat to append to any other way, but it get's better from there.

The conclusion to this bit gets an "only in Ireland" from me:
The British did not take such a strong stance. "The British in the 1970s kept on talking to them, raising their hopes that if they went on murdering people they might get more out of the British."
...
In Ireland, the politicians have tended to take a tougher approach than the general population, FitzGerald says. In the south the population tends to be uninterested and rather fearful of the events in Northern Ireland.
...
Since 1972, Governments have worked doggedly with the British to convince them to modify their approach and swing support away from the IRA. In this respect, FitzGerald says, the politicians have been better than the people.

The Packers looked pretty good

in defeating the reigning NFC Champions last night, 24-14. That poor guy they had "miked" was continually getting burned by Ahman Green. I don't like to hear a guy talking like he was during the game. Glad he was on their side.

Much talk about how the Panthers offensive line is patched up with old geezers, but I'd say their much-vaunted Defensive line looked like they weren't ready to play for real yet. What? Did they spend their pre-game warmups watching an advance-screening of the [inspiring and tear-jerking] Favre video ABC showed at half-time?

I'm sorry to hear that Steve Smith's leg broke. That's a tough break for Carolina.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Someone, who shall remain nameless,

would like to see this be the Word of the Day: porcinodermatically.

So be it, but I think everybody can figure it out.

Education can neutralize

Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.
The Lefties have learned this, so should you:
According to Alinsky, the organizer — especially a paid organizer from outside — must first overcome suspicion and establish credibility. Next the organizer must begin the task of agitating: rubbing resentments, fanning hostilities, and searching out controversy. This is necessary to get people to participate. An organizer has to attack apathy and disturb the prevailing patterns of complacent community life where people have simply come to accept a bad situation. Alinsky would say, "The first step in community organization is community disorganization."

...
Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.

Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people.
The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. "You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity."

Rule 5: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It's hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. "If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic."

Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage."

Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. When Alinsky leaked word that large numbers of poor people were going to tie up the washrooms of O’Hare Airport, Chicago city authorities quickly agreed to act on a longstanding commitment to a ghetto organization. They imagined the mayhem as thousands of passengers poured off airplanes to discover every washroom occupied. Then they imagined the international embarrassment and the damage to the city's reputation.

Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, "Okay, what would you do?"

Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don't try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

These guy's have 13. Know your enemy.

I think Bock's got it right in this quote:

Perhaps the most important distinction between Reagan and the neoconservatives is in psychology or temperament. Reagan was an optimist, generally appealing to the best in people and confident that freedom would triumph eventually. The neoconservative impulse, by contrast, is deeply pessimistic, "centered around Hobbes's doomsday vision of man in his primitive state," and seeing dire threats wherever they turn, whether from Woodstock, multiculturalism, a nation under siege from jihadists, and American young people hopelessly lax and inclined toward being corrupted, all of which must be met with firm action by the powerful state they see as the only hope for preserving even a modest semblance of civilized life.

Once a month, at least, I take the time to read everything on Anti-war.com's frontpage. I may disagree, but at least I understand their premises.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Don't call me "Tory".

A comment I left at Grandpa John's:

I assure you that I've never said anything to support a hereditary aristocracy... nor a hereditary oligarchy nor even a hereditary meritocracy. "Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations" (meaning that: one person goes from rags to riches, his/her heir maintains a high economic positions and his/her grandchild blows it all and ends up back in rags) is my vision of how life should work. If you don't strive for greatness yourself, you don't deserve societal, let alone government, support.

And continuing my "linking, not thinking" trend

here's a politically-incorrect German blog (This links a particular post criticizing the German media that I was impressed by. BTW - he realizes that American conservatives are his biggest audience and gives the English version first).

Oh boy! Talk about

writers who make me despair of ever being really great! I popped in to see what The Probligo was up to and he showed me this guy.

I looked for an exerpt, but his stuff is too integrated to chop out a chunk. Go and read it and see if your jaw can stay off the floor.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Speaking of Hard-Boiled novels

here's a list of other great books to read.
I've read Dashiell Hamitt and a lot of Ian Fleming; I'll have to check out these other guys.

It is a deep insight into my soul

that I find this hilariously funny. [And the fact that I did indeed read it the day Lance posted it and that I'm just now posting a link to it.]

If you'd like more deep insights into my soul, see my recent comments at LibertyBob.com. Don't forget the Spy Message Board. Those of you who know and love me know that I love a good, hard-boiled spy novel.

Like he said...

I'm kind of speechless myself on this 9/11.

Friday, September 10, 2004

The Ayn Rand Institute keeps me awake a little longer

by reminding me that this is the 500-year [what's that in latin] celebration of the unveiling of Michelangelo's David:

The Meaning of Michelangelo's "David"
The Renaissance was the rebirth of man's life on earth. Freed from the shackles of authority, man's mind was viewed as able to understand the universe. Far from being a tortured soul trapped in a deformed bodily prison, man was regarded as rational, beautiful and heroic--worthy of happiness and capable of great achievement. Man, in the Renaissance view, need not bow down in passive resignation, praying for salvation. He can choose to undertake great challenges in the face of seemingly impossible odds; he can actively pursue success, fight for victory--even slay a giant.

Michelangelo's "David" is the best expression of this Renaissance sense of life. The sculpture was inspired by the story of the young shepherd boy who chose to fight a far stronger adversary in order to save his people from invasion. Wearing no armor, with a sling as his only weapon, David defeats Goliath using superior skill and courage.
...
Michelangelo chose to show David not in victory, but at that point in time that prefigured victory: in that instance between conscious choice and conscious action, that moment when an individual makes a choice--and commits to act on that choice.
...
The David projects man as neither a monster nor a hapless victim, but as an efficacious and noble being. The "David" is the ultimate projection of heroic choice and heroic action.

I'd like to hear their opinion of another great human achievement whose bi-centennial we celebrate this year - at least we fur-trade reenactors do - the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

My kind o' cat

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
This person does kitten pictures.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I took a h*ll of a hit on hits

when I discovered the truth about the tela.net person. I'm rather ashamed to admit that it was me. Somehow SiteCounter had stopped excluding me from the count. I was kinda freakin' out about the guy. I mean, he was checking out more pages than I was posting! Who is this nutburger who's so obsessed with me?

Well, the answer is obvious. I'm the nutburger who's obsessed with me.

What threw me off was that SiteCounter said something about his time-zone being from Russia or something. I still don't understand that, but then perhaps my habitual (almost zen-like) practice of Obtuseness may have rendered me impotent to see the obvious.

Other LP headlines:

Badnarik to appear on ballot in at least 48 states
[September 9] Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik is now certified on 43 state ballots and will appear on either 48 or 49 ballots on Election Day, according to editor Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, an independent publication that tracks ballot access for third parties.

Libertarians take a stand against $1.78 billion road in Indiana
[September 7] Indiana's Libertarian candidate for governor, Kenn Gividen, made a splash Sept. 5 in central Indiana by leading a caravan of more than 30 decorated vehicles through the state to protest the planned expansion of Interstate 69.

Libertarians argue against proposed $885 million in school bonds - in one California county
[September 3] Voters in Santa Clara County, Calif., will be asked on Nov. 2 to approve or deny $885 million in general obligation bonds to pay for school renovation, expansion and other projects, and Libertarians in the county are once again standing up for the taxpayers' rights.

New study: 170+ schools use World's Smallest Political Quiz
[September 2] Students in 39 states are learning that libertarians are an integral part of the American political spectrum, thanks to the increasing popularity of the World's Smallest Political Quiz. That's according to a new study by the Advocates for Self-Government, which found that more than 170 schools in the United States and around the world have started using the quiz in the classroom.

PTL on the first and last ones. For the others: good job sticking to economic issues guys. We have a good point on Medical Marijuana, but general drug-use freedom is a political loser. We, who have doper loved-ones don't know how to straighten them out without the help of tough treatment via the authorities, though, if the lesser drugs had lesser penalties we might be more willing to call them into play. Remember the lesson of the $50 penalty for killing "Chinemen": people - yes, white people - wouldn't turn their friends and loved ones in when the penalty was death, and the bastards got away scot-free with murder. When the penalty was placed at merely 2 months wages for the average cowboy, decent citizens were enlisted to stop the killing. The death penalty didn't work, a fifty dollar fine did. Evil-doers were deterred and lives were saved.

An enforceable law is one that goes along with human nature - including our weaknesses.

As promised, the Libertarians blast welfare for Republicans:

===============================
NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
===============================
For release: September 1, 2004
===============================
For additional information:
George Getz, Communications Director
(202) 333-0008
================================

Republicans should reimburse taxpayers $40 million
for cost of New York convention, Libertarians say

WASHINGTON -- If George Bush is really a compassionate conservative, as
the Republican Party claimed again on Tuesday night, he should prove it
by reimbursing taxpayers for the $40 million cost of the New York
convention, the Libertarian Party says.

"Shame on President Bush for forcing ordinary Americans to pay for this
weeklong infomercial masquerading as a political convention," said
Michael Dixon, national chair of the Libertarian Party. "We're
challenging the Bush-Cheney ticket to get off the welfare wagon, and
give the money back."

The organizers of the Republican National Convention received a $14.5
million check earlier this year from the Federal Election Commission to
finance the New York event. That subsidy, combined with an estimated
$25 million in security costs, means that taxpayers will foot the bill
for nearly $40 million.

The Libertarian convention, held over Memorial Day weekend in Atlanta,
was financed entirely with private funds.

"The Republicans and Democrats have every right to hold these non-
conventions for which the nominees are chosen in advance, but they
don't have the right to send taxpayers the bill," said Dixon, adding
that the Libertarians asked the Democratic Party in July to refund the
subsidy from its Boston convention.

Dixon cited a July 25 Rasmussen poll indicating that a majority of
Americans oppose taxpayer-financed conventions.

The survey of 1,000 adults, commissioned by the Michael Badnarik for
President campaign, asked: "Should tax money be spent to stage the
Democrat and Republican national presidential nominating conventions?"
A majority of 62 percent said no, 24 percent said yes and 14 percent
weren't sure.

Dixon suggested two common-sense alternatives to taxpayer-financed
conventions.

One: let corporate sponsors and other donors, who already gave a
record $103.5 million to the two major parties' host committees, pay
the entire tab.

"Unfortunately, the lobbyists and special interests have the most to
gain from these weeklong bribe-a-thons, so why shouldn't they pay for
them?" he asked.

Two: Let the Republican National Committee, and even some of the
wealthy politicians themselves, help pay for the event.

"Vice President Dick Cheney and dozens of Senators and Representatives
are millionaires many times over, thanks in part to their years of
government 'service,' " Dixon said. "It's both outrageous and arrogant
for these rich politicians to demand that ordinary Americans pay for a
convention whose only purpose is to get the Republican president re-
elected.

"The truth is that George Bush isn't really a compassionate
conservative; he just plays one on TV. In real life he's a political
welfare queen who's just shaken down taxpayers for $40 million."

Saturday at the lake was just beautiful

I didn't accomplish one single thing, except we celebrated all our birthdays. I gave my mother-in-law a Finnish-English dictionary and we gave them new baby pictures.
I practiced my shorthand by describing the endless thunderstorm on Sunday. Nothing worthy to transcribe here. Otherwise we watched a series of old movies Mother makes it her hobby to tape. They did things differently back in the old days. I didn't realize Flo Ziegfeld was Eugen Sandow's manager. I may just track down more information on Nat Pendelton, the actor who played Sandow.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I'm a dirty liar.

It's Siebert Field that the gophers practice baseball on. The Loons of the short-lived Prairie League used to practice there too. Siebert (punctuation?) Lambert, what's the difference? It still isn't Lambeau.

Well, I don't know what it was, but Praise Blogger

it's fixed.

The World needs more of this

For the most powerful healer, healing is the act of sharing love, forgiveness and kindness. If you want to be a good healer, you must really love people from the bottom of your heart. Spring Forest Qigong is energy healing. It is also called message healing, information healing, spiritual healing or signal healing. They are all the same.

When you pass energy to help others, you send out healing signals from your mind to others. These signals travel in your energy. Your energy contains considerable information, including the nature of your spirit, purity of your love, and sincerity of your forgiveness and kindness.

That is why we often emphasize that love, forgiveness, and kindness are fundamental for all types of energy healing. The level of your healing power depends on the level of love you have toward the person you want to help.

Only $125.00 for the one you really want.

Ah! Now the Library of Economics and Liberty has Das Kapital

with an introductory essay.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

After spending an hour or so

jackin' around with the Grandpa John's guys (if you go there, take Mr. Pt's advice and read it bottom up), I completely forgot whatever important thing I might have had to say. (Note to self: check history.) By the way, those guys lie about each other. Not like me an' Ron. Not only do we always tell the truth about each other, we never disagree.

Anyway, one more boring detail is that I've been studying shorthand so I can take notes well enough to actually report on things I witness. I'm not good yet, but I think this version will help me do that. I didn't like Pittman or Gregg because they required months of memorizing standard abbreviations, though, the evidence shows that they work very well, once you've done that. I like HandyWrite because it's like phonemic transcription [scroll down a page or two, if you don't want to read it all] which I learned in college Linguistics, only simpler and quicker. And it has the added advantage that you can recognize the dialect of the writer, which I think is fun.

Wisdom comes from mysterious sources.

One cannot even reject Lucifer's pronouncements out of hand.

Friday, September 03, 2004

John Burzinski [(*&%#@ it! It's Burzynski!] writes:

Whatever happened to the Hamm's dancing bear???? Loved that jingle.
John B.

Well, as the world's greatest expert on the particular Google search I did, I can connect you with an opportunity to own your own.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Well, this "confused centrist",

as Ayn Clouter used to call me [until I whined her out of it (should have used wine, come to think of it. Damn! Always a day late and, in her case, a couple Franklins short)], liked the speeches of Zell Miller and Dick Cheney.

I never seriously considered voting for anyone from the American Socialist Party... Oh, sorry, I have trouble distinguishing them from the Democrats. I left the Republicans when their leaders strayed too far from the American tradition of "personal freedom constrained only by personal responsibility," that is, you can do anything you want, but you and only you, must face the consequences; the taxpayers can't be held responsible for things that human society has known are stupid for hundreds of generations. That's not a Republican tradition you say? Somehow I thought it was. I was a Republican delegate in 1998 and 2000. In 2000, I started checking out the Libertarians and I discovered that they supported my philosophy a lot better.

But, I am pretty convinced - and some of that is chauvinism based purely on the luck of having been born here, I know - that America is one of the best countries on Earth, and I believe that American ideals must not be allowed to be extinguished. Not by Islamists from outside, nor by Marxists from within. I don't want the American Nationalists to win the debate within, but I don't think that libertarians will win if either the Islamists or the Marxists destroy the American nationalists. We were gaining ground before Sept. 11, 2001. We still see victories here and there and it is terribly important that we fight the Higgsian ratchet from clicking into place at the usual higher level of government interference in our personal lives once we get past our present crisis.

But, for a time, to preserve America, in order to get back to that debate later (though not much later), I think I must throw in with the Republicans. I am and have always been an independent first, and my studies may convince me that I've made a horrible mistake later, but I'm convinced that survival comes first before one can worry about philosophical perfection.

"A good plan now is better than a perfect plan next week," Gen. George Patton said.

By the way, if you think calling the American left Marxists is overblown rhetoric, you haven't read Marx. The Communist Manifesto is a short book. Read it all.
I already link the best translation of the Koran.

Something that disturbs my equilibrium

is the fact that the Hamm's Beer jingle is too short. When I get singin' I like to sing long, challenging songs like the National Anthem (all four verses) and American Pie.

Can anybody come up with a few verses for the Hamm's jingle?

I suppose the melody for the verses would have to be in keeping with the chorus, but different. Or maybe not.

No time to put in links now. I'll get it later.

Update: found one. Lileks had it, naturally.

Hey! Mr. Pterodactyl!

Check this out!