Thursday, December 31, 2009

Paranoia Is the Thinking Man's Mental Illness

The more you think about it, the more you know they are out to get you.

Lately the paranoid rumbling is that the Progressive Elite wants to thin the herd -- That they are about killing off a large percentage of the world's population.

Maybe it is nothing but paranoia, but do they have to act like it is true?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Underwear Czar?

"In response to the Christmas day bombing attempt, President Obama will be appointing an Underwear Czar. He will be presenting his briefs on the new position in a television address later this week."
Mark Steyn

Monday, December 28, 2009

Some Things In Life Are Self-Punishing

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is not sitting too pretty tonight in Federal custody near Detroit. Umar, you might remember, tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.
Umar had the explosives sewn into the crotch of his pants. The explosive did not explode, but merely caught fire, presumably rendering him of little use to the 72 virgins when he finally gets to meet Allah.

Do you suppose all that celibacy might account for some of the Islamic anger?
Something new. I can post from my cell phone for those odd fleeting thoughts which I will lose while trying to typwle from the stupid touchscreen.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Uh Oh.

I thought I was done for the day. I thought that I would be able to leave the pretty little bit of poetry as the top story for a while. I did not count on the sneakiness of politicians doing things under cover of other events. While we were all watching the Senate play games, President Obama issued Executive Order 13524 amending President Reagan's recognition of Interpol by removing all the restrictions that made them different than diplomats. Ipso Ergo, they are no longer restricted by the niceties of observing United States Law. They are just like any Ambassador. They can not be detained or arrested for violation of any law. He has effectively waved all your Constitutional Rights and rules of American jurisprudence. No Miranda, No Habeas Corpus here. He even removed the semi-colon indicating where the exceptions to the Diplomatic rules were. They are not answerable to you or any of your elected officials in any way. There is a new sheriff in town, an international one who don't answer to your steenking law.

Bet you didn't hear that on CBS, NBC or ABC. You didn't even hear that one (yet) on FOX. One world government here we come. Read it and weep.

"Think as I think," said a man

"Think as I think," said a man,
"Or you are abominably wicked;
You are a toad."

And after I had thought of it,
I said, "I will, then, be a toad."
Stephen Crane

The ist I Am

Young Matthew asked me: "What do [I] think of race?"
Very simple I guess: I don't.
Unless the other person insists I do. And then somehow I cannot repair the damage done. As an individualist and libertarian I first look at each person as an individual until their own words or actions say "put me in this group" (not just race¹) or "my group identity is more important than our relationship". Then that is how they are filed in that great filing cabinet of my mind.

This segues into something that has bothered me for a few days. A young(?) man who was a regular contact on my Flickr account, who mutually traded comments about railroad photographs, his and mine, found a photograph that editorialized on my feelings about the upcoming changes in our medical system, and left me a rabid disagreeing comment. I responded with logic, gently compared to here, and he left me a scathing reply about why I was wrong about the lack of individual responsibility and malpractice suits as lottery being real problems that aren't even being addressed; and he then promptly blocked and banned me from any further contact. It is a shame, I liked his photographs, and he mine; but he could not tolerate someone having dissenting thought. How far we as a culture have strayed from Voltaire's words in his Essay on Tolerance: "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too."²

Now, having said that, What would you do? If you came into your child's classroom and found this posted? It is an extremely racist work of I believe student art, although there are no other student works posted in the classroom, at all. So far, I have done nothing, said nothing, probably will not, and this is the first I have publicly mentioned it. But one standard I have always considered is: "If you reverse the parties, would it be offensive? Then it is offensive both ways". But what if you came into your child's classroom and found this prominently posted, what would you do?

¹ I had a correspondent on the internet who was profoundly deaf (don't expect hearing impaired from me). I ultimately stopped writing because the sole focus of her existence was her deafness, like that really was an important attribute on a computer bulletin board.
² The phrase "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is widely attributed to Voltaire, but cannot be found in his writings. With good reason. The phrase was penned by a later author as a description of his attitude. It appeared in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the pseudonym S[tephen] G. Tallentyre.

Please Sir, May I Have Some More

From an article by L. Ian MacDonald in the (Montreal) Gazette. Sometimes you get more objective news from outside the US, where the newspapers are not dedicated to making President Obama look good at all costs.

There were 192 countries and 120 heads of government in the room at Copenhagen, but in the end there were only two at the table, the United States and China. Welcome to the new world order.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, there has been one superpower, the U.S. Now there are two, as became abundantly clear in the chaotic closing day of the climate- change conference.
At that, Barack Obama was snubbed by the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao. And then the U.S. was snookered by the Chinese.
As the New York Times reported Sunday in a riveting piece from the back corridor of the conference: "Twice during the day, Mr. Wen sent an underling to represent him at the meetings with Mr. Obama. To make things worse, each time it was a lower level official."
The first time, Wen sent his deputy foreign minister to a meeting of major heads of government, including most G8 countries (though not, apparently, Canada). Later on, the Times reported, "after a constructive one-on-one" between Obama and Wen, the Chinese premier sent his climate-change negotiator to another heads-of-government meeting that included the U.S. president.
There's more. The White House set up an evening meeting with the presidents of South Africa and Brazil, as well as the Indian prime minister and the Chinese premier, and when senior staff arrived, as the Times recounted it, they "were startled to find the Chinese premier already meeting with the leaders of the other three countries" - without the president of the United States, the guy who called the meeting in the first place. According to the Times, Obama rushed to the meeting and called out from the doorway: "Mr. Premier are you ready to see me? Are you ready?"
You don't see that in the newspaper every day, about the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth going cap in hand to his own meeting. It wouldn't have happened on Ronald Reagan's watch. His dignity, let alone his sense of the American president's role on the world stage, wouldn't have permitted it.
And what did Obama, and the world, get at the end of the day, after two intensive and chaotic weeks of negotiations under the aegis of the UN?
Not a treaty, not a binding agreement, although they called it the Copenhagen Accord, but a "take note" document, full of blank pages where targets for emissions reductions should have been.

When I was growing up, there was a newsclip from the old Movietone News that was shown of Neville Chamberlain coming back from the Munich Agreement summit just prior to World War II proudly proclaiming "Peace in our time". Why is it politicians never learn from the past?

The article goes on to state what we got for all the pomp ... no, not really pomp, just posturing.

As Obama explained it at his news conference, each country can set its own targets by filling in the blanks. It's quite a concept, running the climate-change issue like an open bar. Obama wants a 17-per-cent reduction of emissions below 2005 levels by 2020. Canada is looking for 20 per cent below 2006 levels. The Europeans would like at least 25 per cent, and they were understandably annoyed to be left out of the G5 meeting that finally came up with a shred of a deal.
Obama said his three bottom lines were transparency or verification of reductions, the actual mitigation of emissions levels, and the financing of developing countries' regimes by the developed nations.
And here's where Obama got snookered. On the second-last day of the conference, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States would do its part in creating a $100-billion-a-year fund for the emerging nations by 2020. This, in addition to the $30 billion on the table to 2012. This was a huge concession by the U.S. to meet an exorbitant demand by the developing countries. Clinton said it was "a deal breaker," and that the U.S. insisted on verification in return.
At the final meeting with Obama and the three other leaders, Wen deftly turned the tables saying that China wouldn't be accepting any financial aid, and therefore the question of verification was moot, and its sovereignty untouched. Clinton's deal breaker got flipped into China's deal maker.

It's probably just as well, because by their behavior, we know they aren't serious about the environment. They are serious about restricting the common man.

By the way, where are they going toget $100 billion to give away?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pax Vobiscum et Cum Spiritu Tuo

Chrismas Lights

Sretan Božić,

Crăciun Fericit,
Joyeux Noël,
Feliz Navidad,
Chúc Mừng Giáng Sinh,
and a Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

People Who Are Not Your Friend - Part 1

The Banker.

Among my earliest memories was going with my mother to the bank. I don't know exactly what she did there, this being the time before credit cards and when most transactions were done with cash. But this bank was different than today's banks. I even remember the big car the bank president had parked in the lot outside, unlike anyone else's I had ever seen. And there was even a magnificent cast iron box with a bell on the outside of the building. Even though New Hope was a town of less than a thousand people, the bank was ferocious. There was a dark mahogany wall separating the people from the bankers - and the money. It was a wall with thick glass, gun-ports, and revolving traps that would not allow anything to pass directly from one side to the other. It was about seven feet tall and topped with spikes and crowned with electrified wires. The gun-port fascinated me. I didn't really grasp the concept, but it was white marble in the mahogany with a shiny metal lining about two and a half inches deep with a plate on the inner end. It was a relic of the thirties when people before had despised their bankers. And through that gun-port, the nice lady or man on the other side would pass me a lollipop! Oh, it wasn't a very good lollipop, and I had long ago learned not to ask for the cherry that I really wanted and just take the green one I was given, but it was a lollipop. But even then it did not fool me for I observed with person after person they put in big money and got back small money. Something was wrong with this picture. The lollipop couldn't fool me.

But then came the sixties. The banker tried to clean up his image. It was lollipops gone wild. The fortress-like bank lobby became a more relaxed setting with a counter and face-to-face exchanges. The lollipops became ashtrays and toasters. And the banker became a salesman asking if I had a credit card yet,and wouldn't I please sign up for one. Like most everyone else, I had my experience with running it up to the limit, and minimum payments that will stretch a balance nearly ten years, but eventually, I got it paid down and learned to control myself. As, apparently so many responsible are doing lately. So many in fact that the bankers have a kind of dilemma. The responsible customers are not borrowing, and the irresponsible customers want more. So in order to keep up profitability, despite the banks being provided money at 0% or near zero interest rates, they are charging ever more usurious rates - 24%, 36% or even more. Which squeezes out even more desirable borrowers even while the exposure to the irresponsible becomes more tenuous.

Were it not for the Federal Government taking my money and just giving it to them, the bankers would have to live like the rest of us. But the taxman may finally have gone too far. The takings are getting smaller and smaller.

Mr.Banker, I hope you had a fun ride at my expense. My house is paid off. My car is paid off. My credit cards are paid off. And today I mail my last payment on the home renovation. That's it. I'm out. Initials on the door.

Just in time I might add.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Æsthetic or Anæsthetic ?

One doesn't normally pair these two words, one normally thought of in terms of art and the other in the world of medicine, but why not? They are after all from the same Greek roots.

Æsthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty.¹

An Anæsthetic is used to temporarily reduce or take away sensation, usually so that otherwise painful procedures or surgery can be performed.²

By the rules of semantics, those two words should be opposites. But like so much of what passes for art in the later half of the Twentieth Century, much music neither qualifies as beauty nor reducing sensation (at least not on the ears). Perhaps the real desensitization is that of compassion of some for their fellow man? And perhaps that goes hand-in-hand with cacaphony and antisocial lyrics and the general absence of beauty.

¹ Definition 1 of aesthetics from the "Merriam-Webster Dictionary" Online.
² Definition from the website.

Sneaky, Sneaky Senate

Well, they forced through the cloture vote - one o'clock AM on a Monday morning (or is that a Sunday night?) in a raging snowstorm.
The bribe that got the last Democrat holdout to yield his principles was an exemption from his constituents paying the Medicaid tax - in perpetuity! That's forever folks! A law that exempts the citizens of one state from a tax that effects all others was written into the bill. And if you want to search for it, the name Nebraska is hyphenated at the forced end of a line, so it is difficult to find if you don't know what you are looking for. Senator Nelson is not only unashamed of his sellout, but actually proud of it.
My first thought is that it cannot be constitutional to discriminate in favor of the citizens of one (There is another that effects only five - frontier states) state at the expense of those of another. According to Fox News Network, South Carolina's Lindsay Graham is already asking his state's Attorney General to investigate the Constitutionality with an eye towards suit.

One has to wonder, if this is so great why were the bribes, sneakiness, and hard ball attacks on Hadassah Leiberman necessary? And why does it still exempt Congressmen, Senators, and other high government employees?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A little self promotion

I just had an opportunity to impress my daughter (again). Back up on her hit parade. We were initially discussing body modifications and tattoos. She has several petite and hidden ones (including a so-called tramp stamp - someday, girls without one will be at a premium); how an old girlfriend increased the size of her breasts unnecessarily and her new boyfriend had a penile implant. And I have no tattoos or body implants (I am as I came, except for two pieces of plastic mesh inserted by a surgeon to keep my guts from spilling out from all that heavy lifting as a stagehand years ago)
We were speaking of "acceptable tattoos", when I mentioned the first time I saw Melvin van Peebles. (to my daughters friend's, that's Mario's dad) I was working on the movie Greased Lightning and he was walking around in flip flops and gym shorts (imdb credits him as writer - I had long thought he produced and directed it - I guess not. Then again he was just wandering around the set) . His skin was almost blue-grey and he had a barely visible tattoo around the base of his neck. Coupez sur la ligne and a string of little bead-like dots. "Cut on the dotted line" was the caption in French. No, dear, that is not subtle enough to be acceptable on you, and maybe some day, when I'm older, I will get my circle "UDSA inspected Prime" on my ass.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Luke 2:1

(King James Version)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed .

And then, as now, he had to do it at Christmas time.

When I was a child, I lived for the Christmas season. It meant Christmas lights and trees, the spectacular midnight church service, the Child's Christmas party, Christmas carols, playing in the snow, being off from school, presents, and most of all my birthday.

Now as an adult, Christmas is just a giant sucking sound as the world conspires to shear me like a lamb. Some things are not too bad, like Christmas cards and gifts given; some are merely overbearing by their quantity like every store having a Salvation Army kettle and bell ringer; but the Government in their quest to make sure that they get first pick of my carcass are unbearably depressing. This is the season that I must buy my license tag ¹, renew my driver's license, and get my emissions inspection. It is also the time when I have to start preparing for income tax time.

And that birthday? It's just an additional year towards old age and Social Security.

Good, the car passed ...

¹And also,in November I must pay the ad valorum tax on my home. The Christmas lights are turned on on the city streets, it counts too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December Eighth -what did we miss?

Yesterday was the 68th anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

But not once did I hear any mention of it. Not on any radio show, on any TV show or in any classroom in any school I was in.

Have we come to that point? A point where Pearl Harbor Day no longer merits even a passing mention.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Global Warming? Not here.

Our television networks in collusion with the politicians who try to manipulate and maneuver us into behaving in ways that they wish us to behave have perpetrated a fraud that they called "global winter" in the 1980s, and "global warming" in the 1990 and early twenty-first century, and now settled on "climate change". The premise has devolved into "We don't know what is happening to the climate really; but it is all your fault. Change your lifestyle to one of deprivation."
Deprivation? If Cap and Trade or the Copenhagen Treaty pass, as President Obama said in an interview in San Francisco in 2008, "Under my [energy] plan, prices would necessarily skyrocket".

Many years ago when I was in sixth grade, I had a teacher who taught me of the ice ages as part of an earth science course. It was particularly memorable to me because of where I lived. You see, there are lines of rocks that run across New Jersey, Pennsylvania (near where I lived), Ohio, Indiana, Northern Illinois (near where I went to college), Iowa, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin. Many of these rocks are so huge that the line is visible from the air. These lines are terminal moraines. They are the extent of the glaciers. For the last 18,000 years or so we have been having global warming . Obviously it wasn't caused by the behavior of man. Nor were its results what the professional gloom and doom people would have us believe. Without that warming, life as we know it would not exist.

But the real proof of the fraud is not the intercepted emails showing collusion to falsify results on the part of researchers. The real proof is the elitist behavior of the proponents of the theory. If it was the threat that Al Gore presents in his movie, he would not being enriching himself selling "Carbon Offsets". He would not be having Mexican workers plant an occasional tree to eat a little carbon. No he and the Hollywood elitists would ground their jets. Sting and the other rock-and-roll environmentalists would never do another concert with a fleet of trucks and buses. The First Lady would even fly in the same plane as the President when she goes shopping in Europe. They would lead by example, living a life as austere as a Benedictine monk.

No, these people consider themselves and their mission more important than the rest of us, the hoi polloi. Therefore, the rules don't apply to them. But if their beliefs are true and correct, these would not be rules, they would be laws - laws of physics. And unlike laws of man, laws of physics cannot be wantonly ignored by those who consider themselves special.

On Minority Rights

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities”
- Ayn Rand.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

K. I. S. S.

The more complicated you make any system, the more likely it is to fail.

Why then, do the experts always try to fix something complicated by making it more complicated?

This morning I went toe-to-toe with a principal who told me that she wanted my personal guarantee that the new "Super" automation system that turns the lights on and off based on whether a classroom is occupied will never fail again. Right.

Now, I have maintained from the first time I ever heard this idea suggested nearly 20 years ago that there will come a time (just one?) when the children will be sitting in a dark classroom with the adults pointing fingers at each other as to whose fault it was, and maybe how to fix it. Here it was for real ... again.

I didn't design it, buy it, or recommend it. I didn't even put it in. I just came to take the bad part out and put a spare part in. Somehow this woman demands lifetime responsibility for the equipment. Of course I deferred. She emphatically declared that to be "Unacceptable".

The excuse for this million-dollar waste of the taxpayers money is for our school system to be an Energy Star system. Yep, we are going green. We will save energy and money no matter what it costs.

But the real punch line is that it neither saves energy nor energy bills. The lights will all turn off automatically sometime between eight and ten at night when the custodians set the burglar alarn and go home, until the morning custodian comes in at six to open the building. Contrast that with the old solution - the teacher would turn the light off at four when she went home and turn them back on at eight in the morning when she came back in, all at a cost of a couple of bucks for the light switch which is there already. That's it, just turn off the lights when not in use.

Don't dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back for being "green". Use that hand to turn out the light switch the way my teachers did 50 years ago and my parent's teachers did a generation before that.