Happy New Year Too!

Since I keep GMT at Power and Control, I note that it is past the start of the New Year for those in the same time zone. Americans have a little over 4 hours to wait for midnight to come to the New York time zone.

So I'm a tad early. But let me wish you all:

Happy New Year

posted by Simon at 07:58 PM | Comments (1)


This will probably be my last post of the year, and I've been so busy that I barely found time to get online and write it. The house is so torn up that I've been basically camping out while working, although I only have about ten days of this to go.

The house has needed major redoing, inside and out. Cracks everywhere!


As well as the usual problems that come from deferred maintenance.


And putting nearly everything away in boxes...


Work or not, pretty soon it'll be party time.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the Obama Birth Certificate Truthers have taken to the tabloids!


I shudder to imagine the important news I'm missing, but at least it's the end of the year.


posted by Eric at 07:28 PM | Comments (3)

Science Toys - 1
Volcano Making Kit
I have been thinking lately about the abysmal state of science in America and have decided to do something about it. So I'm going to put up a post every week or so about science toys and the science books that go with them.

The first one I'm going to look at is a Volcano Making Kit The price is right at about $10 and it is powered by baking soda and vinegar. Read the comments at the link before going ahead with this project. It is not easy. It requires thinking about what you are doing and some advance planning. A lot is covered in the reviews. However, the reviews for the most part are good. And besides kids (and adults) love to see volcanoes blow their tops. And no toxic chemicals are required which is always a consideration for young kids.

A good book to go with the kit is Volcanoes (The Wonders of Our World). If you want a nice picture book on volcanoes the National Geographic is always a good choice: National Geographic - Volcano!.

A poster helps to remind kids of a subject. The Chemistry of Geology - 27.5 x 18.75

And lastly for now a little deeper look into the subject, a textbook. Earth Science: Geology, the Environment, and the Universe.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 06:24 PM | Comments (6)

An Agent For Change

Terry Nelson was a Federal agent for 30 years with the U.S. Border Patrol, the Customs Service and the Department of Homeland Security. Here is what he says about drug prohibition.

Busting top traffickers doesn't work, since others just do battle to replace them. Despite the obvious failure of our drug control strategy, the public discourse surrounding this issue has focused primarily on continuing to wage the "drug war."

Mandatory prison sentences and interdiction efforts have very little effect on drug use. This year the World Health Organization found that the U.S. has the highest marijuana and cocaine use rates on the planet, despite having some of the harshest sentences.

We won't be able to expand treatment and prevention efforts until we stop spending so much money enforcing ineffective penalties, building new prisons and buying fancy cars and helicopters for law enforcement agencies. As we begin to treat problematic drug use as a public health issue, it will become much easier to prevent the death, disease and addiction that have expanded under the criminal justice mentality of prohibition.

But even with the best public health efforts, there will always be some who want to use drugs, and, as long as drugs are illegal, many willing to risk imprisonment or death to make huge profits supplying them. My years of experience as a federal agent tell me that legalizing and effectively regulating drugs will stop drug market crime and violence by putting major cartels and gangs out of business.

The Department of Justice reported [this month] that Mexican cartels are America's "greatest organized crime threat" because they "control drug distribution in most U.S. cities." If what we've been doing worked at all, we wouldn't be battling Mexican drug dealers in our own cities or anywhere else. There's one surefire way to bankrupt them, but when will our leaders talk about it?

Probably never. Why? In my estimation they have already been bought off by the cartels.
"The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It's possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government." - William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995
Here is what the Most Corrupt President Elect Ever™ has to say about marijuana legalization:
"President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana."
End of story. For now.

I think the murder rate from the presence of the Mexican gangs in our cities will have to go a lot higher before even discussion of legalization by our elected officials is on the table. One of the things that will help is a wave of kidnapings that the Mexican gangs are also famous for. Coming soon to a city or town near you. I can hardly wait.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 07:22 AM | Comments (5)

Bent Burris For The Illinois Senate

Bent Rod Blagojevich plans to name Roland Burris to the US Senate seat vacated by Mr. Obama who plans to carry on as the Most Corrupt President Elect Ever™ although I might hasten to add that there is no proof, so far, that Mr. Obama who came up through Chicago politics and who was heavily involved with convicted Chicago fixer Tony Rezko has done anything for which he can be indicted. There are hints though. Like the deal Mr. Rezko was involved with for the purchase of Mr. Obama's house. And a very nice house it is.

Ignoring threats from the U.S. Senate Democratic leadership to block his pick, Gov. Blagojevich this afternoon said he's appointing Roland Burris to President-elect Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat.

"The people of Illinois are entitled to have two U.S. Senators," said Blagojevich, whose arrest on corruption charges earlier this month places Burris' appointment under a cloud. "If I don't make this appointment then the people of Illinois will be deprived."

He is quite right about the people of Illinois being deprived. Deprived of the chance to vote for the crook of their choice. A shame really.
During a downtown news conference, Blagojevich called Burris, 71, an individual with "unquestioned integrity" and a "senior statesman of Illinois."
That is Chicago speak for "more corrupt than most and possibly soon to be indicted".
"I have faith in the record I have accomplished in the past four decades," Burris said. "I am humbled to have this opportunity. I will uphold the integrity of this office."
Which is Chicago speak for "With Blago tainted by the scandal I had an opportunity to get the Senate Seat at a discount, which is an offer I just couldn't pass up."
Burris and his lobbying/consulting firm have donated about $15,000 to the governor's campaign fund. His firm has done work for the Illinois Department of Transportation under Blagojevich, and a law-firm to which he is "of counsel" has been a recipient of state bond business.

Burris, however, ridiculed reporters who asked questions about whether his relationship with the Blagojevich administration might have played a role in the governor appointing him. Burris said the two talked about the appointment Sunday night.

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) made a surprise appearance at the press conference to give Burris a vote of confidence and urge the U.S. Senate not to stand in Burris' way.

It is imperative the Senate have an African-American replace Obama, Rush said.

Bobby is an ex-Black Panther who has gone far in Illinois politics. Interesting that Mr. Obama's seat is now considered a wholly owned subsidiary of the Black folks from Chicago. Don't you think that a racial spoils system is a tad unseemly Mr. Rush?

And note the rather small campaign donation Mr. Burris gave Blago in the past. I told you he was getting the seat at a discount.

Well the Democrats in the US Senate are not happy. If Burris takes his seat it makes them look more corrupt than usual. And you know, that would not be good for their chances to hold on to power and pass out the goodies to their favored friends for more than the next two years.

Before the Blagojevich and Burris news conference, which was aired live on multiple national news channels, Democratic leaders in the Senate issued a statement saying any Blagojevich appointee would not be seated. And the leaders urged Blagojevich to resign.

"It is truly regrettable that despite warning from all 50 Democratic senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety," the statement read.

"We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris's ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov.

Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus."

The statement said the Senate is preparing to embark on "one of the most important debates of the year outlining an economic recovery plan to create jobs and invest in America" and Illinois needs two sitting senators "without delay."

Why yes. The Democrats are working on a Christmas Tree of a bill and it would taint the procedure of ratifying the thievery to have a man appointed by some one even Democrats consider an inept crook voting in favor of the theft.

Well the deal is the Democrats just want all this to go away. You know in the words of our Most Corrupt President Elect Ever™ "it is a distraction". So what is their proposed solution? Rather simple really. Some other Democrat needs to appoint the crook who will replace Mr. Obama. No reason Blago deserves any of the swag after all the embarrassment he has caused.

"We again urge Gov. Blagojevich to not make this appointment," the Democratic leadership said. "It is unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand. The governor must put the interests of the people of Illinois and all Americans first by stepping aside now and letting his successor appoint someone who we will seat.
And of course no election for the people of Illinois. They might do the unthinkable and elect a Republican crook. It has happened before.

So why would Blago want Burris? Maybe Burris owes him a few favors.

In 2002, Burris became a lobbyist and has had a portfolio that has included Commonwealth Edison, Comcast and the state's funeral home industry. His lobbying firm, Burris & Lebed Consulting, of Chicago, also has snared $294,545 in state contracts under Blagojevich since 2004, state records show.

He, his lobbying firm and his law firm, Burris Wright Slaughter & Tom, have contributed $20,296 in cash and services to Blagojevich's campaign fund since 2002. The most-recent contribution, $1,000, came last June. It was already widely known at the time that Blagojevich was a target of federal investigators.

It never hurts to have a Senator you can count on.

So what do the Illinois Republicans think about all the goings on?

Statement from Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna on Roland Burris Senate Appointment:

"Illinois Republicans were the first to demand Rod Blagojevich have nothing to do with appointing our next United States Senator.

"Because they went back on their word and refused to strip Blagojevich of his appointment power and pass a special election, Illinois Democrats have created yet another constitutional crisis for Illinois.

"Blagojevich Democrat Roland Burris is emblematic of the old-school, pay-to-play culture that has plagued Illinois for generations and this appointment is another embarrassment for the people of Illinois.

"Once again, Blagojevich Democrats have failed the people of Illinois by refusing to strip Rod Blagojevich of his senate appointment power and blocking a vote of the people."

In Illinois speak "The Democrats are blocking the Republican's chance to capture the seat two years early. And besides it would make one more Republican the Democrats would have to buy to get legislation passed in the US Senate. Which of course proves the whole undemocratic nature of the Democrat's move."

My hope is that they keep this whole farce going for at least two years and the legislature in Washington is forced to do nothing. Maybe the thievery can be slowed some, for a while. It couldn't hurt.

H/T Backyard Conservative who has even more dirt on Burris.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 05:29 PM | Comments (1)

Under The Influence

A study I just found, Behind Bars, has this to say about the connection between drug use and violence:

Contrary to conventional wisdom and popular myth, alcohol is more tightly linked with more violent crimes than crack, cocaine, heroin or any other illegal drug. In state prisons, 21 percent of inmates in prison for violent crimes were under the influence of alcohol--and no other substance--when they committed their crime; in contrast, at the time of their crimes, only three percent of violent offenders were under the influence of cocaine or crack alone, only one percent under the influence of heroin alone.
It looks to me like the way to solve this problem is obvious. Since drug prohibition is so effective in combating violence caused by drug use we need to bring back alcohol prohibition. And one other point. I don't know why they left out all the violent crimes committed by pot heads.

posted by Simon at 04:30 AM | Comments (10)

The Ruins Of Detroit

The Ruins of Detroit

I was reading a bit in The Weekly Standard about Detroit.
As the night wears on, Charlie grows defensive, and almost defiant, about Detroit. He recounts everything it's done for the country, insists the city still matters and won't disappear, speculates about the potential for it to become a major port since "water is the new oil," and insists that Henry Ford is more important to history than Jesus Christ since "even Muslims drive Toyotas." At this, Patterson, a good Catholic boy, leans into my tape recorder, "That was Charlie...... When I go home tonight, I will make the sign of the cross and pray to Henry Ford."

Charlie heads for the restroom, and Patterson grows philosophical: "Detroit's history has gone the way of Rome and Athens and Constantinople. It is what history does. History moves on. And history has moved away from the Babylonian Empire. It moved away from Egypt. It be what it be...... I think Detroit sees itself in its rearview mirror. But Detroit will never again be where those other cities were, including Detroit."

And then I got a heads up from a site I had posted at a couple of years ago which reminded me of a pictorial essay The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit.

Now all this is too fresh to be just an interesting ruin. It still hurts to see wealth turn into decay. Give it another 100 or 200 years and it will be an archaeological site and not the screaming pain of a city in its death throes. Civilization has moved on. Water ways are not so important for transporting industrial goods. The graft and political encrustations of Detroit are no longer supportable. Factories that were once state of the art are now too much overhead for changed technology. The layouts are wrong. The attitudes of the people are too hardened. Too much "this is the way it has always been done". So the last of the life is being sucked out of Detroit. It is sad. But we are too close. In a hundred years it will just be "interesting".

And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my works. Ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 06:01 PM | Comments (6)

Attorney General: Legalize Marijuana

The operation has so far led to the indictment of 59 people and the arrest so far of 39 of them, some in this country legally and others who were not.

Phoenix Police Lt. Vince Piano said the operation was very sophisticated, complete with specially designed heavy-duty trucks to actually let vehicles drive over the border fence.

They also had solar-powered radio towers and a network of lookouts who told the trucks, each carrying up to 2,500 pounds of marijuana, when to move and when to hide under camouflage. He said there even was a system of "food drops' to supply the drivers.

Piano said this operation was one of several under contract to Mexican drug lords to transport the marijuana from the border through the Tohono O'odham Reservation all the way to Phoenix.

Piano said busting this organization doesn't stop the flow of drugs, saying this is one of several "transportation groups' working with the cartel. But he said it does disrupt at least part of the flow. Imagine that. Solar powered drug gangs. Talk about going green.

And what does he mean by disrupting part of the flow? Simple. More profits for those who remain in the business.

At least he understands the basic point. The only way to defeat the cartels is to under price them which shouldn't be hard. Hydroponic marijuana should cost no more than 10X the cost of hydroponic tomatoes. With hydroponic tomatoes running about $2 to $3 a pound retail that would make hydroponic marijuana cost about $1 to $2 an ounce. Maybe as little as 10¢ to 20¢ an ounce. When you compare that with prices for the illegal stuff running at up to $500 an ounce is it any wonder that even a small town like mine (pop 150,000) has two hydroponic stores?

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 10:38 AM | Comments (1)

Politics Explained
The Right fears fun.

The Left fears money.

Between them, when they get done with us, we will be miserable and broke.

Cross Posted at Power and Control
posted by Simon at 10:17 AM | Comments (3)

More Malware Protection

I'm using Spybot - Search & Destroy 1.6 which seems to do a very good job. It was suggested by a friend. It is free, however you can make a donation.

As per usual may I suggest you install it before you need it.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 12:58 PM | Comments (2)

Saving Is Good

H/T Megan McArdle

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 12:56 PM

Carbon Transistor Advances

IBM is doing some great work in advancing carbon transistor technology.

IBM Researchers today announced that they have demonstrated the operation of graphene field-effect transistors at GHz frequencies, claiming the highest frequencies reported so far using the non-silicon electronic material.

IBM is a long-time proponent of graphene -- a special form of graphite, consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms packed in "honeycomb lattice" -- as a material for building nanoelectonic circuits smaller than those in today's silicon-based computer chips.

The company in March announced that it discovered a way to suppress unwanted interference of electrical signals that are created when shrinking graphene. That development was followed closely by research from the University of Maryland that found that electrons travel more than 100 times faster in graphene than in silicon.

Specifically, IBM said today that its scientists have fabricated nanoscale graphene field-effect transistors and demonstrated the operation of graphene transistors at the GHz frequency range, establishing scaling behavior for the first time.

Faster transistors are only part of the equation though. Today the wires in chips represent about one half the delay between circuits. So even if transistor delays went to zero chip speed would only double.

Still, this will help and it may lead to other discoveries that will change the way chips are made. For instance DNA might be designed that could grow chips out of carbon. But we are a ways off from that.

Here is what DARPA has to say about their graphene transistor program.

The Carbon Electronics for RF Applications (CERA) program will develop wafer-scale graphene synthesis approaches and ultra-high-speed, low-power graphene-channel field effect transistors for RF/mm-wave circuits. The many desirable material properties of the novel graphene films, including ultra-high mobility, high saturation velocity, high current carrying capability, excellent thermal conductivity, ultra-thin geometry and the potential to integrate with traditional CMOS processes, offer the potential for graphene-based transistors with high promise for high-performance, high-integration-density RF system-on-chip applications. For this reason, the CERA program focuses on developing innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in materials science, epitaxial growth, transistor development, and RF circuit design. Desirable properties of CERA transistors include high mobility, high cutoff frequencies (ft and fmax), high transconductance, low noise, and low voltage operation. In addition, graphene-channel devices also offer low parasitic resistances, excellent electrostatic scaling and high integration potential with silicon CMOS. The CERA program will culminate in a demonstration of high performance W-band (> 90 GHz) low noise amplifiers (NF < 1dB) making use of graphene transistors on wafers with diameters > 8 inches.
Low parasitic resistances could speed up the other half of the equation - the delay between transistors.

If the material can operate at higher temperatures than silicon it could also be the foundation of more compact high power electronics. High power MOSFETs are essentially hundreds of thousands of small transistors connected in parallel. If they can be made smaller, faster, and cheaper they could lower the cost of high power electronics such as those used in converting solar cell energy to AC line current or making hybrid, plug in hybrid, and battery powered auto electronics smaller, cheaper, and more efficient.

We do have quite a ways to go to turn lab experiments into a production process. However, there is a start here and a proof of concept so the rush will be on. We are quite a ways ahead of where we were in 1925 when Julius Edgar Lilienfeld invented the Field Effect Transistor, but no one knew how to reliably manufacture them. The kinks were not sufficiently ironed out in the manufacturing process until the early 60s although the bipolar junction transistor was made to work in the 50s.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 07:58 PM | Comments (1)

Obama Gets Some Questions

So what does Obama really think about marijuana legalization?
"President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana."
Well he was for it before he was against it.
To be fair to President-Elect Obama, he never pledged to legalize marijuana. Quite the contrary, during his Presidential campaign he backtracked from his previous comments supporting pot decriminalization, and he even went so far as to pick one of the chief architects of the modern drug war to be his Vice President. In short, to believe that the Obama team would have responded to the legalization question any other way was idealistic at best, and foolish at worst.
There is a video of Obama speaking on the issue in 2004.
The Washington Times has unearthed a video of a debate in Barack Obama's initial Illinois campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2004. The debate tape from Jan. 21, 2004, at Northwestern University shows Obama proclaiming the war on drugs an "utter failure."

"We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws," he said to scattered applause. "But I'm not somebody who believes in legalization of marijuana. What I do believe is that we need to rethink how we're operating in the drug war. Currently, we're not doing a good job."

That of course leaves a lot of what Obama the stoner thinks about the drug war open to interpretation.

My guess is that he will go with more police, harsher penalties, and more killer SWAT team raids. It is what Bill Clinton did. And no one complained (well except for the legalizers).

As those of you paying attention know - Obama was never about policy. He was about getting elected. His policies will be what ever he feels will give him the best chance for re-election. It is not like any great number of Americans think drug prohibition is working (well except for making illegal drugs easier to get than beer and financing criminal gangs and supporting the narco take over of Mexico) it is just that the prohibitionists are loud and they have a lot of government money behind them.

"The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It's possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government." - William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995

H/T Suzanne Wills via e-mail

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 03:01 PM

Attorney General: I Make Better Decisions With Morphine

This is pretty amazing stuff.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, in an entirely under-reported November interview, claimed that he makes the best decisions "when I have a lot of morphine in my system."
Perhaps some one needs to talk to Obama about this.

You can watch the 5 1/2 minute video of the interview at the above link.

H/T Suzanne Wills via e-mail

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 02:21 PM | Comments (2)

Steampunk Fusion Video

I got this video from Popular Science where you can read an interesting article on the subject. At Steampunk Fusion I have a look at whether this is a scam or could it really work. The short version: the engineering is very difficult but it could work.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 01:10 PM | Comments (5)


In his new book, What Would Keith Do?, due out in May, Keith Richards says:

I've never had a problem with drugs, only with policemen.

H/T Buford Terrell via e-mail.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 06:41 AM

The Secretary Is Into Commerce

Governor Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico), Obama's Commerce Secretary designate, is being investigated for a bit of commerce.

New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson, who is the newly named Secretary of Commerce in Obama's about-to-be Cabinet, is also being investigated by a federal grand jury in his home state for possibly steering state bond business from the New Mexico Financial Authority toward David Rubin, a significant campaign contributor, according to an NBC News report, among others. NBC's Lisa Myers reports that two former state officials say they've recently been questioned by a federal grand jury specifically about allegations that Richardson or aides pushed state business worth nearly $1.5 million in fees toward CDR Financial Products in 2004. The company is headquartered in Beverly Hills.

This was about the same time as CDR's founder, Rubin, donated $100,000 to two of Richardson's political action committees; mainly it appears to cover expenses of the governor and his staff at the Democratic Party's National Convention in Boston that summer.

Rubin also donated another $29,000 to Richardson's unsuccessful presidential campaign this year and last.

You know what I hope? I hope the Obama administration goes after Republicans in retaliation. Perhaps between the two parties some of the rot in the country will get cleaned up. One can only hope.

The only real way to bring all this under control though is smaller government. Because when politicians control what is bought and sold, the first thing bought and sold is politicians.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 03:06 AM

Hey Kids - What Time Is It?

It's Sarah Palin time. Every day for the next year. Especially if you buy the Sarah Palin 2009 Calendar. And this will come as a surprise: Instapundit says it is on the Amazon best seller list - for office products. I'm still trying to figure out what that means in terms of her political future.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 08:22 PM | Comments (11)

A Six Percenter

Obama's choice for Education Secretary, Arne Duncan who is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, is presiding over one of the worst school systems in America. Anne Leary of Backyard Pundit has the scoop.

Only 6 of 100 Chicago Public School students go on to get a bachelor's degree by age 25. Barack Obama chose Chicago's school chief Arne Duncan as the new Education Secretary. A product of private schools, University of Chicago's Lab School and Harvard, and hoops games with Barack, Duncan has been in Chicago for 7 years and has presided over a 94% failure rate. As Dan Proft just said on WLS, this is Barack's chummy choice, this is change we can believe in?
I wonder what you have to pay to be Secretary of Education? More or less than a Senate seat? I guess it depends on what the opportunities are.

You know when Obama gets done with the Federal government a scoop will not be sufficient. I'm guessing that a mere shovel will not be enough. A steam shovel will be required. Or maybe a dredge to clean out the muck.

Here is hoping America gets what it wanted. Good and hard.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 09:10 AM | Comments (3)

Brightey Whities

A new laboratory record in LED white light production has been reached.

December 3, 2008--In the ongoing efficiency battle going on between the research labs of the leading high-power white-light LED makers, Cree (Durham, NC) has gained the highest ground, at least for now. The company just announced that it achieved an industry-best reported R&D result of 161 lumens per watt for a white-light power LED.

Cree's tests confirmed that the 1 mm x 1 mm LED produced 173 lumens of light output and achieved its 161 lumens per watt efficacy at a color temperature of 4689 K. The tests were conducted under standard LED test conditions at a drive current of 350 mA, at room temperature. This level of performance is not yet available in production LEDs, says the company.

Such efficiency levels are about ten times that of a standard incandescent bulb, and at least twice that of compact fluorescent bulbs.

One of the things LED lights will give us as research turns into products is the ability to dial in color as well as intensity. Green light for the Christmas tree. Red light for the guy in the Santa suit. Blue light for those days when your mood needs calming.

Right now the prices for LED lights is rather high. About $70 to $120 for a 100 W (incandescent equivalent) light bulb. This is not too bad for places where changing light bulbs is expensive because LED lamps have lifetimes of 100,000 hours which is about 11 1/2 years of continuous use. By the time a lamp bought today needs changing they should cost a lot less.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 09:01 AM

The Solar Bail Out

Yes. Solar has a very bright future. A long as the subsidies keep coming.

If estimates hold up, by 2030, 2000-GW-scale power plants will be necessary to meet new electricity demand, and a potential need will arise to replace a large number of obsolete power plants. Demand on this scale, coupled with industrial and consumer demand and the desire to be free of foreign-fuel sources, has opened up significant opportunities for the PV market, Gartner says.
China alone is building a 1 GW coal plant every week and plans to keep doing it for decades. So let us see 21 years times 52 weeks a year equals over 1,000 GW scale power plants for China alone. That is a lot of electrical demand. Solar can surely help.
Paula Mints, principal analyst for Navigant Consulting's PV-services program and associate director of Navigant's energy practice, agrees that solar will continue to maintain the excitement it has garnered as of late. However, she says, the market is first going to soften, for the obvious reason: the economy. "People are drawing back on larger projects because credit is tight," she says.

Equal to that pressure, Mints says, is the cap Spain recently put on its feed-in tariff, a popular program in Europe. Given that Europe contains more than 70% of the global solar market, this blow was significant. "Spain has been growing enormously, a lot of product was shipped into Spain, and now it has nowhere to go," she notes.

Uh oh. Just one solar power consuming country ends its subsidy and the market backs up.

And here is the problem in a nut shell. Or perhaps a better name for the problem is the taxpayer's wallet.

According to Navigant's Mints, incentives are the only factors that drive demand in solar unless it is off-grid. "The Spanish market is a case in point," she explains. "[Spain] put a cap on [its] market, and now the whole world shrinks because of that [decision]. These are really expensive programs that are very difficult to design. They have to be designed to stimulate a market [but] also be controllable and economically viable because someone has to pay for it. Essentially, where there are incentives, there will tend to be a market. This [situation] is a little offset right now because of the economy, but I don't think anyone believes the recession will go on forever. ... Once there is a recovery, the proper incentives will be in place to drive demand."

Gartner's Hines agrees that government subsidies drive demand for this product. Therefore, growth depends on the ability of governments to support investments in solar projects through these subsidies in whatever form they take: feed-in tariffs, as in Germany and Spain, or other incentives that exist in the United States. It appears that the subsidies are intact for now, he says, but if the economic situation worsens or stays bad for a longer time, governments might have no choice but to pull them back.

Incentives are another word for bail out. Translation: bail out equals theft from taxpayers. So let me see if I get this: as long as solar electricity costs more than the alternatives it will be dependent on government thieves for survival. Or if you prefer - a bail out? Or better yet nationalization. Maybe we just hide what is going on and call it a Green jobs program.

Not to fear. Solar can depend on the dupes (oops - I mean taxpayers) to keep funding their life style.

But Applied officials remain optimistic. "We see a lot of opportunities in the solar market, and a couple of things drive that [opportunity]," says Boone. "First, government incentives still are quite strong for solar. The United States finally [passed] the extension of the ITC [incentive tax credit], and, for the first time, that tax credit is now available to residential homeowners without a cap--that means any size system." The $2000 cap limited who could take advantage of it, she explains. "And we certainly don't want to be in a position where ... only people at a higher-income category can afford to get solar."

Second, Boone adds, Applied sees the ability of utility companies to take advantage of the ITC for the first time as a groundbreaking opportunity. "When we look into the future, we see a very clear divide in the solar market: the residential-rooftop and small commercial-space-constrained installation, dominated by the wafer-based crystalline-silicon products that are very high in efficiency but a little bit more costly. That is a market that we see growing in both the United States and Europe."

The company is also seeing the rise of what it believes is going to be the "transformative heart of solar's answer to the energy equation," as Boone explains, which is utility-scale solar. "Allowing utilities to capture tax credits for solar-generation facilities is going to unleash a lot of demand here in the United States. We have a lot of sun in the United States. Germany, the largest solar market in the world, gets as much sun as Maine, and that's not a very sunny place. We see growth in places like California, the Southwest, and the Southeast," she notes, pointing to Florida as an example. Last year the state passed a new RPS (renewable portfolio standard) that essentially is going to require its utilities to get a certain amount of generation from renewable portfolios.

No caps? Well good. That means there is no limit to the theft. I mean bail out. This has got to be more fun than No income, no job, no assets mortgages.

So let me see if I have this right. Electric rates will tend to go up due to higher costs but the difference will be made up in part by stealing (oops again - I mean taxing) the same people who are paying higher prices for electricity. Who ever figured this scam out was a genius. Was it Chris Dodd or Barney Frank? Something like this would be right up their alley.

So what are the prospects for getting the costs down? Not bad.

It is currently about three times more expensive to generate electricity with PV (photovoltaic) technology than with fossil fuels. But strong efforts to reduce costs in crystalline PV and thin-film PV could allow grid parity to occur between 2012 and 2015.

However, the grid-parity argument is invalid to some experts, including Andrew Skumanich, PhD, founder of SolarVision Consulting. Grid parity is an artificial notion, he warns. "You're comparing solar panels to your wall plug for the toaster, and the problem is that, when you buy solar panels, you are buying hardware that is going to generate electricity," he says. "But you have to write a check for $20,000 or $30,000 for a typical house. ... Even if you lower the cost to ... maybe $15,000, you're still paying only 10 or 15 cents a kilowatt hour out of the plug."

Skumanich cautions against rationalizing that, over the life of the house, you're paying 10 cents per kilowatt hour, which is the same as the grid: "You can't lose sight of the fact that you said, 'over the life of the house.' That's pretty major. When you are writing the checks for the month, do you want to write a check for $15,000 for something that is not going to pay back for 10 or 15 years?"

Well yeah. There is that capital cost thing and the banks aren't loaning money right now. And BTW are you sure to be living in the house for 10 or 15 years so you can get your money back?

I have a swell idea. The government should force every home owner it bails out to buy a roof top full of solar cells. One thing though. I hope they don't do that in Alaska. For six months out of the year they hardly get any sunlight at all. Or for that matter Seattle which is dismal and dreary most of the year. Must be all those socialists and Greens. A more earnest dreary lot would be hard to find.

One thing is for sure, once the government starts stealing there is no limit to the number of people it can help. And if the government steals everything from everyone there will be almost enough money to help every one. And why almost? Well we will have government people helping with this project and as per usual they will help themselves to more than their share and some one is sure to get shorted.

I do know what to do though. Phase out the subsidies and just let people keep their own money. No matter what you have been told, government cannot help Paul by robbing from Paul and Peter will be leaving the country due to high rates of theft. I mean taxes.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

posted by Simon at 05:00 AM | Comments (6)

Born Free

Laurie Anderson

posted by Simon at 01:33 AM

Why I'll never be president...

As is probably obvious to most regular readers, I have had less than no time to blog lately. Major deferred-maintenance-style repairs plus Christmas issues in a very limited amount of time means that I can barely check email, much less write posts.

However, I am unable to resist certain things, and Justin directed me to something yesterday he knew I'd be unable to resist. In the wake of a very humorous look at the "now-famous 1970's party pics of our President-Elect," Iowahawk has taken the game a step further, by soliciting 1970s pictures from Bloggers Who Were There.

As a Blogger Who Was There, in addition to being a blogger who cannot resist a dare, I am wholly unable to resist a challenge like this:

Have any similarly mortifying, presidential-aspiration-killing pictures from your youth (preferably circa 1970-1990)? Send 'em in and I'll broadcast your shame to a waiting world.

Go ahead, I dare ya. I double dog dare ya.

Double dog dare? That did it. I'm on.

Have to say, for the picture of Darleen Click in the cheerleading outfit alone, Iowahawk's post is a must-read...

Cheerleader though I was not, I shamelessly present two pictures from that rather tacky period. Both were found during my sojourn here in Berkeley, but neither is dated.

However, this first one can be dated and geographically located by the headline in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin I am holding.


Harry S. Truman died on December 26, 1972, which means that the picture was taken 36 years ago when I was in Philadelphia for Christmas.

The next one was taken during one of my numerous drives across the country. I'm sitting on the hood of my first car (a 1941 Plymouth I rescued from doom), and I appear to be contemplating reality or something....


Driving across the country while contemplating reality was like, so 70s...

Now that I'm all grown up, I'd never do that again!

MORE: It was suggested that in order to better ensure my unelectability, I find a more embarrassing picture of myself from the 70s, and I remembered another one.

Here I am, cavorting with the devil!


Even Rudy Giuliani never did that!

posted by Eric at 01:08 PM | Comments (3)

Merry Christmas!

Here's how it looks here:


posted by Eric at 03:47 AM | Comments (6)

Merry Christmas To All 2008 Version

There seems to be a lot of angst about wishing people a Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays seems to be in vogue. And of course we have The Holiday Season.

I propose we put an end to this kind of non-sense once and for all. We should refer to the holiday by its original name. The name it had before the date was moved and the name was changed.

Happy Saturnalia To All

posted by Simon at 08:29 PM | Comments (2)

A Hearty Appetite

Suzanne Willis sent me this e-mail. She was responding to something she read in the Dallas Morning News.

If, as Mr. Schram says, drug violence is due to Americans' appetite for drugs, drug violence would have begun when Americans began using drugs. It didn't.

Americans have used cocaine, morphine and marijuana since the first Europeans arrived on the continent. For most of our country's history, distribution and use were quite peaceful.

In 1900 any man, woman or child could walk into a drug store and buy all of these drugs. Bayer Heroin cost the same as Bayer Aspirin. There are no records of "drug crimes" until after 1914 when the Harrison Narcotics Act, one of the first major laws restricting drug distribution, was passed.

The Harrison Narcotics Act was championed by the Temperance Movement and vigorously opposed by the medical community. Law enforcement was silent. Drug distribution had never been a law enforcement issue.

On May 15, 1915 , an editorial in the New York Medical Journal declared:

"The really serious results of this legislation...will only appear gradually.... These will be the failures of promising careers, the disrupting of happy families, the commission of crimes...and the influx into hospitals for the mentally disordered of many who would otherwise live socially competent lives."

I don't think cocaine and morphine came into existence until extracting them from plant material was possible. Morphine in 1803. Cocaine in 1855. But still, the general principle is right. And what do you know? Even in 1915 it was recognized that such plant extracts could help with mental disorders. Something I have only been saying for about 7 or 8 years. Boy, am I ever behind the times. Of course those were simpler times. People thought that they had a right to choose their own medicines. Now a days the medical cartel has taken away most personal choice in the matter. Fur da grater god do val.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 02:56 PM | Comments (5)

Stimu Lust Package

The speaker is Daniel J. Mitchell. He has written a book: Global Tax Revolution: The Rise of Tax Competition and the Battle to Defend It.

You can also learn more at freedomandprosperity.org

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 01:18 PM

Oil Has Not Reached Bottom

Yesterday I was looking at oil prices and found something interesting. The price of WTI oil was about $7 or $8 below the price of the other two contracts listed. I asked if any of my readers could explain such a big difference in prices and reader Bill came to the rescue.

Yes it is what is know as cantango. when the futures prices end up with a much higher spread level. It has been going on if you look not just the cash and feb contract but out 6 months it has been widening.

It is because there is no storage available and no real credit to buy the oil to store. In normal times the out prices are in line with what can be made after paying the cash price the interest charge and storage charge, Then you sell the out contract and lock in a profit. None of these are available, It has been common knowledge that many oil producing controuies have been leasing tankers to just float on the sea and hold the oil they have no market for.

This is a very bearish setup. Until it breaks oil with go lower.

Reader Frank had something else of interest to add.
Bill is correct about oil. The exact opposite is happening in gold futures, that is, backwardation. There are more buyers for physical gold than there are sellers.
So in order to buy gold coins for example, you must pay a good premium above the current spot price to get delivery now - and that's IF you can find a seller.
So what does it all mean?

Lower oil prices, probably much lower and higher inflation (in 2008 the official figure for inflation was about 6%), so much higher inflation is probably in store.

Well I'm no economist and I have no money to put into any market and this advice is worth exactly what you paid for it, but the thing to do in times of high inflation and low interest rates to protect your assets is to buy real property. In other words it is time to buy houses.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)

Hideous cuteness

Meanwhile in Deetroit, this baby Aardvark was born:



The Detroit Zoo welcomed a baby aardvark this month.

Zoo officials are awaiting DNA test results to determine the sex of its newborn aardvark, Amani (Swahili for "peace"), born at 1:05 a.m. Dec. 8 to mother Rachaael and father Mchimbaji.

The 23-inch infant arrived hairless, weighing 3 pounds, 10 ounces, with ears measuring 4 inches. "This baby can only be described as hideously cute," said Director of Conservation and Animal Welfare Scott Carter. "Rachaael is a first-time mother and is showing great maternal instincts."

Due to the aardvark's clumsy nature and poor eyesight, zoo officials are assisting Rachaael with raising the fragile baby to prevent the possibility of it being injured. Since the birth, Amani has more than doubled in size. Adult aardvarks can weigh from 90 to 145 pounds and grow 5 to 6 feet in length.

I like hideously cute things.

Here's a view of my front yard in Berkeley.


posted by Eric at 01:07 AM | Comments (3)

In the trenches

Locating breaks in buried water pipes is a major pain in the ass, but I spent a couple of days excavating a 20 foot trench three feet deep until I found the leak, then cut out and replaced the bad section (which was so clogged that I could see light through a tiny hold only an eighth of an inch in diameter -- in a 3/4 inch pipe).

Here's the result:


That's five feet of new pipe coupled together with a beautiful new union! This hasn't allowed much time for blogging, but the digging through hard clay soil and wallowing in cold muck sure is good exercise!

posted by Eric at 11:55 PM | Comments (5)

A Voter's Guide To Illinois Politics

There are two kinds of politicians in Illinois. Crooks and those who haven't been caught.

When voting in Illinois how do you know which candidate is the most honest? The most honest candidate is not on the ballot.

How can you tell which is the crookedest candidate? Easy: the crookedest candidate is the reform candidate.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 08:11 PM

Steampunk Fusion
Steam Punk Fusion

The picture you see above is a steam driven fusion reactor. I know what you are thinking. This is some kind of joke. It is no joke. General Fusion has a design that I think has an outside chance of working.

I was discussing it with some of the boys at Talk Polywell and I'd say it has no fundamental flaws.

Popular Science also gives some of the details of the machine and its inventors. The drawing at the top of the page shows a schematic of the machine that has 200 pistons. Now to give you some idea of the scale here is a picture of one of the pistons:

Steam Punk Fusion Piston

Huge sucker huh? Now imagine 200 of them all firing away at the rate of once a second. When the piston hits (and yes it will hit) the end of the cylinder it will be going about 250 mph and it will induce a shock wave into a sort of ball of liquid lithium and lead. But first two rings of counter rotating plasma will be shot into the middle of the rotating metal and then all the steam (yeah steam) driven pistons will fire and hit the molten metal with a timing of better than one microsecond.

Can it be done? My rough calculations at the above Talk Polywell link say yes. Not easy, but possible. So would I put money on it? Not me. But I'm an IEC Plasma Fusion type of guy. However, if the idea excites you (a steam driven fusion reactor) I'd say it has as much a chance of working as anything being done now. Definitely worth a shot. And besides how many of your friends can say they are investing in a steam driven fusion reactor? It has got to be worth some bucks just for the conversation starter value alone.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 05:04 PM | Comments (1)

Something Interesting In The Oil Market

I was just having a look at the oil market and came across something interesting.

Nymex Crude Future 38.74
Dated Brent Spot 37.43
WTI Cushing Spot 30.52
Now I have been following this market intermittently for the last few months and as I recall there was at most a few dollars difference between the different prices. And yet here we are with WTI priced way below the other two listings. There is something strange going on. Any oil guys care to explain? Or is the new bottom for oil going to be around $30 a bbl?

Maybe it will resolve itself by the end of the day. Or not.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 01:39 PM | Comments (2)

An Awful New Game

It seems like the kids at a high school in Maryland have invented an awful new game called Speed Camera Pimping.

As a prank, students from local high schools have been taking advantage of the county's Speed Camera Program in order to exact revenge on people who they believe have wronged them in the past, including other students and even teachers.

Students from Richard Montgomery High School dubbed the prank the Speed Camera "Pimping" game, according to a parent of a student enrolled at one of the high schools.

Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that "mimic" those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.

Students are even obtaining vehicles from their friends that are similar or identical to the make and model of the car owned by the targeted victim, according to the parent.

"This game is very disturbing," the parent said. "Especially since unsuspecting parents will also be victimized through receipt of unwarranted photo speed tickets.

The parent said that "our civil rights are exploited," and the entire premise behind the Speed Camera Program is called into question as a result of the growing this fad among students.

Calling such robo cops into question would be terrible. Think of all the misery it would cause. A municipality would be paying for one of these devices and then their ability to generate revenue would be in doubt. The consequences could be serious. For the city budget.
Montgomery County Council President Phil Andrews said that the issue is troubling in several respects. "I am concerned that someone could get hurt, first of all, because they are speeding in areas where they know speeding is a problem," he said.

Andrews also said that this could hurt the integrity of the Speed Camera Program. "It will cause potential problems for the Speed Camera Program in terms of the confidence in it," he said.

Robo cop integrity? Called into question? I hope so.

H/T National Review

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 06:13 AM | Comments (4)

More Power From Less Wind
Shrouded Wind
Wind power is currently limited by the fact that there is a minimum wind speed required for a wind turbine to begin operation. We could harvest a lot more energy from the wind if that minimum speed was lower. Plus it would help a lot if the wind passing the turbine was speeded up to make generation more effective. There is a new design for wind turbines which does exactly that.
FloDesign Wind Turbine, a spin-off from the aerospace company FloDesign based in Wilbraham, MA, has developed a wind turbine that could generate electricity at half the cost of conventional turbines. The company recently raised $6 million in its first round of venture financing and has announced partnerships with wind-farm developers.

The company's design, which draws on technology developed for jet engines, circumvents a fundamental limit to conventional wind turbines. Typically, as wind approaches a turbine, almost half of the air is forced around the blades rather than through them, and the energy in that deflected wind is lost. At best, traditional wind turbines capture only 59.3 percent of the energy in wind, a value called the Betz limit.

FloDesign surrounds its wind-turbine blades with a shroud that directs air through the blades and speeds it up, which increases power production. The new design generates as much power as a conventional wind turbine with blades twice as big in diameter. The smaller blade size and other factors allow the new turbines to be packed closer together than conventional turbines, increasing the amount of power that can be generated per acre of land.

The idea of enshrouding wind-turbine blades isn't new. But earlier designs were too big to be practical, or they didn't perform well, in part because the blades had to be very closely aligned to the direction of the wind--within three or four degrees, says Stanley Kowalski, FloDesign's CEO. The new blades are smaller and can work at angles of up to 15 to 20 degrees away from the direction of the wind.

One of the questions that will have to be answered is does the turbine wind up sounding like a jet engine? If so it will limit the places it can be deployed.

There are other problems as well. Like how will the rig stand up to 100 mph winds? Still it is a promising development.

H/T Helius at Talk Polywell.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 05:45 AM | Comments (6)

That Was Unexpected

I received a passage for Baxter from Uncle Neil today. I assumed it was a joke. Very inside joke involving a foreign film narrated by a dog and fifth floor library tennis dates. It turns out there actually are people who buy those things. You know what things. You know the guilty desire. There was one you always wanted, whether it was subconscious motivational tapes or rubber band powered treadmills. You wanted it. You know it. . . . You still want it.

But you're not afraid. Oh no. Intrepid! Like the momentarily fashionable salesman's vehicle of choice. Peeling paint was a feature, not a bug.

I see everything twice! See it and raise.

posted by Cosmic Drunk at 03:28 AM

Not by bread alone...

I've been doing a huge amount of labor and haven't been online for several days, but I'm still not completely out of touch.

Nor are my friends. An especially insightful friend thought I'd appreciate some bread during the festive season. Not just any bread, mind you, but a very special, cake-like bread.

So special that I thought it warranted a picture!


posted by Eric at 11:50 PM | Comments (2)

Politics In A Few Easy Lessons

H/T Dean Esmay

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 06:13 PM

The War

I don't agree with Roseanne Barr about much but she nails this one:

The War On Drugs is a war against poor people on street drugs, waged by rich people on prescription drugs. -- Roseanne Barr

I did a post on this very topic a while back but Roseanne nails in a sentence what it took me a few paragraphs to say:

Class War

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 04:53 PM | Comments (51)

Going Whole Hog On Alternative Energy Will Increase CO2 Emissions

Let us do a thought experiment. Alternative Energy is a Good Thing. But the energy it produces costs more than electrical energy from coal fired plants. Now we want to make our alternative energy equipment the lowest cost way possible - so we will have to burn coal to make the equipment - because if we used the alternative energy equipment to make alternative energy equipment it would raise the price. Which is bad for market penetration.

Now a certain amount of loss (How much? YMMV) is necessary for advancement. It is called research and development. But if we push alternative energy too far ahead of the learning curve we will actually worsen one of the problems it is purported to solve. Actually several of those problems. So maybe the push for change is not actually about solving problems. Maybe it is more about satisfying religious impulses. Where costs and profits hardly matter. Where doing the right thing has its own value and results don't count.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 10:38 AM | Comments (2)

I Was Misinformed

Tom, over at Talk Polywell, and I have been having a discussion about Global Warming and how the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) may be affecting trends. And what the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has to say about all this. Now shouldn't it be the Scientific Panel on Climate Change? Or some such? Of course not. Science is incidental because the IPCC is all about taxation and regulation. Science is in the back seat and will please keep quiet unless called on.

So here is what I had to say to Tom:


You are correct. The PDO - discovered in 1997 - has yet to make it in to an official IPCC report. I was misinformed.

If you follow this from 20 May 2008 it may explain why I got it wrong. I will give a few pertinent quotes.

You may have heard earlier this month that global warming is now likely to take break for a decade or more. There will be no more warming until 2015, perhaps later.

Climate scientist Noel Keenlyside, leading a team from Germany's Leibniz Institute of Marine Science and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology, for the first time entered verifiable data on ocean circulation cycles into one of the U. N.'s climate supercomputers, and the machine spit out a projection that there will be no more warming for the foreseeable future.

Of course, Mr. Keenlyside-- long a defender of the man-made global warming theory -- was quick to add that after 2015 (or perhaps 2020), warming would resume with a vengeance.

Climate alarmists the world over were quick to add that they had known all along there would be periods when the Earth's climate would cool even as the overall trend was toward dangerous climate change.

Sorry, but that is just so much backfill.

There may have been the odd global-warming scientist in the past decade who allowed that warming would pause periodically in its otherwise relentless upward march, but he or she was a rarity.

If anything, the opposite is true: Almost no climate scientist who backed the alarmism ever expected warming would take anything like a 10 or 15-year hiatus.

What they mean by "so much backfill" is that the Official Consensus Climate Folks were making shit up. Which - you know - is considered moderately unscientific.
Last year, in its oft-quoted report on global warming, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted a 0.3-degree C rise in temperature in the coming decade -- not a cooling or even just temperature stability.

In its previous report in 2001, the IPCC prominently displaced the so-called temperature "hockey stick" that purported to show temperature pretty much plateauing for the thousand years before 1900, then taking off in the 20th Century in a smooth upward line. No 10-year dips backwards were foreseen.

It is drummed into us, ad nauseum, that the IPCC represents 2,500 scientists who together embrace a "consensus" that man-made global warming is a "scientific fact;" and as recently as last year, they didn't see this cooling coming. So the alarmists can't weasel out of this by claiming they knew all along such anomalies would occur.

Every one knows their predictions are impeccable. And if they make a minor mistake in the future they will correct the past to show how really good they are. They have to. There are a lot of governments depending on them.
According to the U. S. National Climatic Data Center, the average temperature of the global land surface in January 2008 was below the 20th-Century mean for the first time since 1982.

Also in January, Southern Hemisphere sea ice coverage was at its greatest summer level (January is summer in the Southern Hemisphere) in the past 30 years.

Neither the 3,000 temperature buoys that float throughout the world's oceans nor the eight NASA satellites that float above our atmosphere have recorded appreciable warming in the past six to eight years.

Even Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, reluctantly admitted to Reuters in January that there has been no warming so far in the 21st Century.

Now it is that last bit which I bolded which may have confused me. What he said was not in any IPCC report. He was just speaking to some news agency which doesn't count. So officially the gravy train is still on the tracks. Whew. Close one. The IPCC needs to muzzle that guy before he emits further embarrassment.

So we have a notch in the hockey stick. The rise in temps is not as smooth as we have been led to believe. And you know even in a 30 year smoothed average an 8 year bump should be visible.

Now what do you call a model that leaves out known facts and has poor predictive value?


I like this bit from the UK Telegraph.

If the model could accurately forecast other variables besides temperature, such as rainfall, it would be increasingly useful, but climate predictions for a decade ahead would always be to some extent uncertain, he added.
But of course for a century ahead they will be right on the mark, because you can depend on the errors to average out. Lucky for them, huh?

Watts Up With That in April of 2008 had some nice graphs and comments on what the PDO stuff might mean.

From the PDO data itself, it is just too soon to be able to tell whether the current cool phase is just one of the shorter cycles, or whether it is the beginning of a longer term cycle like we saw back in the 1950's and 1960's. It is tempting, when looking at the warming rate cycles, to believe that we've just come out of a 60-66 year "Kerr" climate cycle, and are on the cusp of a cool phase like we see for the 1950's and 1960's.

But if you look closely at the end of the purple curve for our warming rate cycle, it seems to be about ready to turn back up. Now we do not want to put too much stock in the end values of a series that has been smoothed with HP filtering. So it could still be on a downward trend.

Then, to make it all the more interesting, we have solar cycle 23 lingering on. Considering that also, confidence is higher that we will continue to see a relative respite in the rate of warming and that we're not likely to see our warming rate cycle jump back to where it was during solar cycles 22-23. But whether we see a full blown interlude between two strong warming trends, like we saw during the 1950's and 1960's, remains to be seen.

In other words, as we saw with Easterbrook's analysis, we can be reasonably confident in projecting at least no further warming for a while. For that to happen, the purple warming rate curve must not only turn back upwards, it must rise into the region of positive values, and continue to rise for several years. If solar cycle 24 turns out to be a weak solar cycle, and there are historical precedents for cycle length suggesting it is likely to be weak, that probably isn't happening.

I'll have more on solar cycles 23 and 24 coming up in the next day or so.

So, in summary; probably no net warming for awhile, and maybe a period of extended cooling as in the mid 20th century. It all depends on whether this current PDO shift is a short term or longer term event such as we saw in the mid 20th century.

Things are so quiet on the solar front that a bulletin has been issued. Of course that was on 14 Dec 2008. No matter. A week later and things are still quiet. Today's sunspot number? Zero.

This is rather unusual since for the past few cycles (excepting this one) the sunspots from the previous cycle overlapped (although at different latitudes) the sunspots from the current cycle.

Now some of the solar boys - based on various theories predicted the strongest solar cycle ever in August of 2006. But you know there is always a contrarian in the bunch. A denier. Some one who just will not go along with the consensus. A renegade. An evil person who is to be despised and denigrated by all right thinking people who are in the majority and therefore unassailable. How can the majority be wrong?

But another group, led by Leif Svalgaard of ETK, a consulting firm in Houston, Texas, US, contends that the upcoming solar cycle will not be very strong because the magnetic fields at the poles are currently weak. That group is calling for the weakest solar cycle in 100 years.
Say isn't he from Texas? Don't they have a lot of oil there? Well obviously he is in cahoots with the oil companies in a plot to destroy the earth for profit. Don't you just hate that?

Unfortunately Leif appears to have a better handle on the subject than the consensus. How can that be? It goes against reason. It goes against belief. And worst of all it weakens the case for taxing the heat, the street, and your feet.

And what was I blogging about in May of 2007? Something called the solar conveyor belt.

"Normally, the conveyor belt moves about 1 meter per second--walking pace," says Hathaway. "That's how it has been since the late 19th century." In recent years, however, the belt has decelerated to 0.75 m/s in the north and 0.35 m/s in the south. "We've never seen speeds so low."

According to theory and observation, the speed of the belt foretells the intensity of sunspot activity ~20 years in the future. A slow belt means lower solar activity; a fast belt means stronger activity. The reasons for this are explained in the Science@NASA story Solar Storm Warning.

"The slowdown we see now means that Solar Cycle 25, peaking around the year 2022, could be one of the weakest in centuries," says Hathaway.

And cycle 24 aint doin so hot either.
...the Sporer, Maunder, and Dalton minima coincide with the colder periods of the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about 1450 to 1820. More recently it was discovered that the sunspot number during 1861-1989 shows a remarkable parallelism with the simultaneous variation in northern hemisphere mean temperatures (2). There is an even better correlation with the length of the solar cycle, between years of the highest numbers of sunspots. For example, the temperature anomaly was - 0.4 K in 1890 when the cycle was 11.7 years, but + 0.25 K in 1989 when the cycle was 9.8 years. Some critics of the theory of man-induced global warming have seized on this discovery to criticize the greenhouse gas theory.
You can read more of my thoughts on the solar slow down at the Power and Control link.

Of course the folks at Real Climate and Master NASA Scientist Hansen plus Climate Science Nobel Winner Al Gore - those bastions of the consensus - have dug out some heretofore missing epi-cycles to prove all this solar stuff is errant nonsense. And thankfully for all of us the Great Oz has spoken. And not just one Oz. A whole consensus of them. Which is a lot.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 08:36 AM | Comments (2)

Mr. Simon You're A Genius

posted by Simon at 03:58 PM

The Deniers List

"I think the deniers should put their names on a big list to be handed to future generations," writes Smiths. "These are the people that screwed the planet."

Very well, "Smiths". The big list begins.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 02:05 PM | Comments (2)

Can You Buy Happiness?

Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago discusses how money can buy happiness and also how money can cost you happiness. His bottom line is that only you can decide what you value but that it is the wise person who knows or at least has thought about (often with the help of others) the trade offs. He also makes an astute observation which I like very much:

The people consumed by envy are a small misanthropic set of the general population.

What he fails to emphasize sufficiently is that it is those people who are often bellowing the loudest, trying to influence others to employ theft (government) to bring things into the "proper" balance. To the detriment of all concerned.

It never works. Because there is always some one smarter, prettier, taller, more charming, more accomplished, more talented, etc. etc. etc. And there is nothing you can do about it even if you make every one's material condition identical.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 07:27 AM | Comments (4)

Going Green

The Green movement really has nothing to worry about.

If coal is shut down and electricity prices spike or the grid becomes unreliable the people who voted against coal will be out of office. For decades.

The only way to get off coal is to find a cheaper alternative.

Keep up with just say no and the reaction will be - no way.

The success of the Green movement will lead to its failure because instead of putting the money into research it has put the money into politics.

And worse - if we are headed into a little ice age because of PDO reversal and the 300 year solar cycle which is past its peak, it will take 50 to 75 years for any one to listen to Greens again.

Politics is about putting guns to people's heads. The tricky thing is the guns you once held can be turned on you.

The only sustainable Green movement is one that is profitable: go Green and get richer. No guns required.

Inspired by Coal Is My Worst Nightmare.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 06:36 AM | Comments (4)

Johnny Bunko - Or How To Find Real Happiness
Johnny Bunko Cover
Click on the image to read the whole thing.

And here is a two minute introduction:

You can buy it here: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need

Brought to you by The Online Investing AI Blog which is currently the best economics blog on the 'net. Funny. Readable. Sensible. Interesting. Good without being ponderous. Plus they cover stuff that you are unlikely to find in other places like Johnny Bunko.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 11:47 AM | Comments (5)

The Recycling Gris Gris

Not safe for work

The only recycling that makes sense economically is metals recycling. And you know what? It has been going on for at least several hundred years for common metals and for thousands of years for precious metals like gold and silver. Let me add that industrial recycling works in some situations. You have a factory that produces plastic scrap that is pretty pure and only one kind of plastic, it pays to re-use it. And quite often that re-use happens inside the factory that creates the scrap. The shipping costs are minimal.

So what is the best thing to do with the stuff (other than metals) that you used to recycle? Send it to the dump. Yep the dump. If it ever becomes economically useful we can mine the dumps.

And what about all that paper waste? Newspapers, Time Magazine, etc. Easy. Don't buy them. Because - other than technical magazines and newspapers - they are full of pollutants that will foul your mind.

H/T Jason Pye

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 07:40 PM | Comments (6)

Wind Is Not All It Is Cracked Up To Be

You can learn more about wind turbine noise by watching these videos. So what is the answer? I think offshore wind is the way to go for now until the issues brought up in these videos are sorted out.

An alternate view. Farm machinery is nosier. And from the look at the blade construction on the turbine in this video it seems different from that in most of the others I have watched.

Another contrarian view from England.

One thing for sure is that the subsidies for wind need to be phased out.

Thanks to Josh Cryer at Talk Polywell for the heads up.

posted by Simon at 12:54 PM | Comments (7)

Vanderleun Is On A Roll

Some very nice pictures in high style of Obama during his Occidental College days. You really have to take a look. Trust me.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 10:57 PM | Comments (5)

Investigating The Investigator

It seems like Obama's Attorney General nominee Eric Holder once had a job working for Illinois Governor Blagojevich as an investigator. And what was he investigating? The mobbed-up Rosemont, Illinois casino deal.

CHICAGO--Before Eric Holder was President-elect Barack Obama's choice to be attorney general, he was Gov. Blagojevich's pick to sort out a mess involving Illinois' long-dormant casino license.

Blagojevich and Holder appeared together at a March 24, 2004, news conference to announce Holder's role as "special investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board" -- a post that was to pay Holder and his Washington, D.C. law firm up to $300,000.

Holder, however, omitted that event from his 47-page response to a Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire made public this week -- an oversight he plans to correct after a Chicago Sun-Times inquiry, Obama's transition team indicated late Tuesday.

"Eric Holder has given hundreds of press interviews," Obama transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said in a statement. "He did his best to report them all to the committee, but as he noted in the questionnaire itself, some were undoubtedly missed in the effort to reconstruct a list of them."

Press interviews? I guess he could have a memory lapse on some of those. But this is not about a presser. It is about a fookin job. Doesn't the guy have a resume?
Holder signed the questionnaire on Sunday -- five days after Blagojevich's arrest for allegedly putting Obama's U.S. Senate seat up for sale. The Judiciary Committee asked him to provide lists and "copies of transcripts or tape recordings of all speeches or talks delivered by you" and "all interviews you have given to newspapers, magazines or other publications."

The March 2004 Chicago news conference where Holder and Blagojevich spoke was widely covered because of a controversial 4-1 Gaming Board vote earlier that month to allow a casino to be built in Rosemont. That vote defied the recommendation of the board's staff, which had raised concerns about alleged organized-crime links to the Rosemont casino's developer.

Besides that, the Gaming Board's staff had been concerned that the governor had named his close friend and fund-raiser, Christopher G. Kelly, as a "special government agent" to be involved in official state negotiations about the casino. Kelly, the Sun-Times later learned, was a business partner of Tony Rezko, another Blagojevich fund-raiser who had held an option to lease a hotel site next to the proposed casino site in Rosemont.

Rezko, also a former Obama fund-raiser, and Kelly both have denied any wrongdoing related to the casino, though both have been charged in separate, unrelated criminal cases since 2004.

The Sun-Times disclosed Rezko's interest in the Rosemont hotel site about three weeks before the news conference announcing Holder would be involved in the casino case. Holder was not aware of the story when he opted to get involved, a source said.

In an interview Tuesday, the Gaming Board's chief investigator in 2004 said the timing of Blagojevich's appointment of Holder raised the staff's suspicions.

"The concern was Holder had a bias to do whatever Blagojevich wanted, which was to give the casino to Rosemont," said Jim Wagner, who was a top Chicago FBI agent before he joined the Gaming Board, from which he retired in December 2005. "We all believed the only reason Holder was coming in was to fashion an investigation that would manipulate the casino into Rosemont."

And of course the Most Corrupt President Elect Ever™ knew nothing about this little event. He was just a State Senator running for the US Senate at the time. No doubt he was busy. Not even present. Fortunately for all concerned Holder knew nothing. Ignorance is bliss and much safer besides. And Rezko? Man that guy had his fingers in every pie it seems. And yet today he claims he is broke. Penniless. Without a dime. Except the one's he is dropping.

So where would be the best place in the Federal Government for a mobbed-up attorney to cover for his friends? Attorney General. Sounds like the height of chutzpah. Which is passing strange. I never once heard Obama claim to be Jewish. But I have heard that some of his best friends are. Rahm Emanuel rings a bell. And was Rahm close to Blago (as he is fondly called in Illinois)? Yes he was.

You have to wonder how Obama found so many bent nominees for his cabinet. Chicago? Oh yeah.

I should point out that Holder never got the job.

"Holder and his firm did some preliminary work in anticipation of the engagement, but did not undertake the investigation itself before it was canceled," said Cutter, the Obama transition team spokeswoman. "Holder and his firm received no compensation from the state for this preparatory work.

"The 2004 press conference," she said, "was not memorable because Holder's legal work for the State of Illinois never materialized."

Of course it wasn't memorable. When you talk with certain people it is best to have a very bad memory.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 08:19 PM | Comments (3)

Free newspapers that can't be stopped

Ann Arbor has a local daily newspaper that is supposed to be subscription-only. Because I get the Detroit Free Press, I decided not to subscribe to another local paper. However, for whatever reason, they decided to start delivering it, and now I don't want it (especially because I'm not there). So I called to stop delivery, I was told it would be stopped, and forgot all about it. Today (much to my horror), I learned that they're delivering it anyway. So I called again, and was given a total runaround about how "the carriers are independent contractors," and "we can't control them." Etc. Just infuriating.

While this paper is not supposed to be free, my guess is that sales are lagging, and they're trying to boost "circulation" by just dumping it anywhere they please.

While it's little more than a form of "legal" littering, I've been through this before and there is nothing harder to stop than a free newspaper.

However, I found some creative approaches here, and I especially liked this one from "ubugme":

I'm having my attorney (my wife) write a ceast and desist letter. If that doesn't work, I'll mail them a letter stating that by throwing their paper on my property, they agree to pay a $50 fee per issue. I'll send them a bill and sue them in small claims court if they refuse to pay.Re: How to stop free newspaper delivery?
To which "crymson7" added,
If the cease and desist doesn't work, make sure you put in writing that you will be charging them a $50 per issue fee for disposal. If you don't do it in a second letter, that is certified through the USPS, it wont stick. Keep all records and take them with you when you have to go to court, and I assure you that you will.
It would almost be worth the emotional reward of compiling all the documentation and taking them to court.

Here's a more practical, hands-on approach from "redsonsuperdave":

I had this same problem with the Dothan Marketplace, a similar free newspaper. Repeated calls to the circulation department had no effect whatsoever, they specifically told me that they did not keep a list of who wanted their paper and who didn't.

(WTF? What do they DO in the circulation department then?)

The one solution that finally worked was to be standing outside edging my driveway when the driver came by and threw her litter into my yard. I sprinted down the street and caught her at the end of the block. I told her in no uncertain terms that I had no interest in receiving her paper and that from now on she needed to skip my house, and I had taken down her license plate number, so the next time I found a Dothan Marketplace in my yard, I would call the cops and report her for littering.

This hasn't worked perfectly, about once a month or so I'll get one, but it has cut them way down. I happen to know that my next-door neighbor hates these things too, because he's trying to sell his house and no longer lives in town, and it doesn't help his house sell when his yard is immaculate except for a pile of decaying newspapers making a big ugly dead patch on his lawn.

It is littering, and while I'd never do this, if I took the silly newspaper I don't want and threw it in the neighbor's yard, I think it would be taken more seriously by the cops than if the same paper were thrown by the so-called "carrier."

I guess freedom of the press has its privileges.

posted by Eric at 03:50 PM | Comments (3)

The Canary Is Singing - The Dimes Are Dropping

This is better than pennies from heaven. Tony Rezko is trying to get a better deal. So Tony's sentencing has been delayed by the judge in the case.

A federal judge has indefinitely postponed the Jan. 6 sentencing for Tony Rezko, the prominent political fund-raiser and former adviser to Gov. Blagojevich.

The move this morning came after Rezko lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve last week to throw out the sentencing date.

Rezko's request comes as he restarts talks with federal prosecutors. Those talks hit a stumbling block as Rezko asked to be let out of solitary confinement at the downtown federal lockup. He asked for a rushed sentencing in January.

But last week's revelation that the government has recordings in the governor's case, appeared to change Rezko's mind about cooperating.

That can only mean one thing. Tony is dropping dimes like he had broken a five dollar roll of them.

And what would Rezko be singing about? Backyard Conservative quotes this from the Washington Post

The ongoing investigation is sure to present political complications for the Obama Justice Department, because advisers close to the president-elect are referenced in the criminal complaint and will be interviewed by federal prosecutors, legal analysts said. A lawyer for the Obama transition team did not return calls or e-mails yesterday. [snip]

Over Obama's political career, Rezko raised contributions for him and introduced him to powerful aldermen. Rezko even offered real estate advice when Obama bought an expensive house on Chicago's South Side.

So how about that house.
After he joined the U.S. Senate in 2005, Obama took Rezko on a tour of a six-bedroom house in an upscale Chicago neighborhood. Rezko recommended that Obama buy the home and, on the day Obama closed the deal, Rezko's wife closed on an adjoining lot. The Rezkos resold a portion of their lot to Obama to expand his yard.

Lawyers in the Blagojevich case said information provided by Rezko and others who testified at Rezko's trial could form the backbone of several additional charges against the governor. Blagojevich's wife, Patricia, had worked on real estate deals with Rezko.

I sure hope Blago's wife wasn't involved with that real estate deal on Obama's house. That could be a big embarrassment for the Smartest President Elect Ever™.

Ah. But that's not all.

Since arresting Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has renewed interest in convicted fundraiser Tony Rezko's part in the purchase of Barack Obama's Chicago mansion, according to a former real estate analyst who says he was interviewed by the federal prosecutor in the past 10 days.

Kenneth J. Conner told WND he was interviewed by investigators from Fitzgerald's office regarding the purchase of the Obama mansion and the adjacent vacant lot that Rezko's wife, Rita, purchased simultaneously. As WND reported last week, Conner filed a civil complaint in October with the Illinois Circuit Court in Cook County alleging he was fired by Mutual Bank of Harvey, Ill., because he objected to land appraisals submitted on behalf of the Rezkos and the Obamas, with the complicity of the bank.

Conner previously confirmed to WND that he told the FBI, months ago, when he initially was fired, that the bank and the Rezkos were engaged in "fraud, bribes or kickbacks, use whatever term you want," to benefit the Obamas.

There are more details on the scheme at the link.

This is the first time in my lifetime I can recall a President elect being under this kind of investigation. You know what? Maybe Obama isn't the Smartest President Elect Ever™. Maybe he is the Most Corrupt President Elect Ever™. And you know what else? A kid like that could go far in Chicago politics.

H/T Backyard Conservative

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 09:00 AM | Comments (7)

As seen on PJTV!

While I was having trouble sitting in my seat because of construction issues, I appeared on a very cool PJTV show with Stephen Green and Andrew Ian Dodge, and we discussed a variety of topics.


  • Dick Cheney and whether he's a changed man for being so surreally fond of Obama's National Security Team.
  • Nancy Pelosi, um, laying down the law.
  • Caroline Kennedy (or Chelsea Clinton) for Senate, and dynastic politics. ((After all these years of hearing about the Bush dynasty, it's nice to see the Democrats are going dynastic.) While I think Caroline and Chelsea are both inexperienced, look at Robert Byrd!
  • Obama clearing himself of wrongdoing.
  • So check it out!

    posted by Eric at 11:01 PM | Comments (2)

    Berkeley senior shoe-throwing solidarity

    Even though I am in the middle of a renovation project and don't have time, when I heard about a demonstration in support of the Iraqi shoe-throwing journalist in front of Berkeley's Marine Corps Recruiting Station, I decided to go a little out of my way to a hardware store in the area so I could take a look.

    Here's how the demonstration was reported:

    BERKELEY -- CodePINK anti-war activists marched in front of the U.S. Marine recruiting station in Berkeley on Wednesday to support an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush on Sunday.

    Members of the group held shoes in the air and hung them from an overhead line in solidarity with Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who hurled two size-10 loafers at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad.

    In many Arab countries, showing the sole of one's shoes, much less throwing shoes at another person, is considered extremely disrespectful.

    "We are here in solidarity with the Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at Bush in response to some of the outrageous statements Bush was making
    about (the journalists') country and about the terror and occupation the troops are reigning on his country," said CodePINK activist Zanne Joi. "We are here to say that we also do not accept our country's policies in Iraq."

    Organizers said their demonstration was also to show support for the Iraqi people who have been killed, tortured or maimed and U.S. soldiers who have died since the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq nearly six years ago.

    Not that Code Pink activists would care about what happened to the Iraqis under Saddam Hussein, but arguing with such people is a complete waste of time.

    Anyway, I went down there during the noon hour (supposed to be their peak moment) expecting to see something bordering on an angry demo, and instead I felt that my trip was wasted.

    Only two lousy demonstrators!


    And old ones, at that. They look all tuckered out. If you look closely, you can see that the man obviously didn't like my photographing him -- not while he wasn't holding his sign and his partner was holding pictures of shoes!


    So he got it and held it up:


    Then they both yelled "PEACE!" at me as I left in disgust to go to the hardware store.

    posted by Eric at 10:13 PM | Comments (1)

    We Know Nothing And We Are Not Interested

    H/T Backyard Conservative

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 10:05 PM | Comments (1)

    WB-6 Results Confirmed - Continuous Operation The Next Step

    Alan Boyle at Cosmic Log announces the results of the WB-7 Bussard Fusion Reactor (BFR) experiments. And the results? No show stoppers so far.

    An EMC2 team headed by Los Alamos researcher Richard Nebel (who's on leave from his federal lab job) picked up the baton from Bussard and tried to duplicate the results. The team has turned in its final report, and it's been double-checked by a peer-review panel, Nebel told me today. Although he couldn't go into the details, he said the verdict was positive.

    "There's nothing in there that suggests this will not work," Nebel said. "That's a very different statement from saying that it will work."

    By and large, the EMC2 results fit Bussard's theoretical predictions, Nebel said. That could mean Polywell fusion would actually lead to a power-generating reaction. But based on the 10-month, shoestring-budget experiment, the team can't rule out the possibility that a different phenomenon is causing the observed effects.

    "If you want to say something absolutely, you have to say there's no other explanation," Nebel said. The review board agreed with that conservative assessment, he said.

    The good news, from Nebel's standpoint, is that the WB-7 experiment hasn't ruled out the possibility that Polywell fusion could actually serve as a low-cost, long-term energy solution. "If this thing was absolutely dead in the water, we would have found out," he said.

    If Polywell pans out, nuclear fusion could be done more cheaply and more safely than it could ever be done in a tokamak or a laser blaster. The process might be able to produce power without throwing off loads of radioactive byproducts. It might even use helium-3 mined from the moon. "We don't want to oversell this," Nebel said, "but this is pretty interesting stuff, and if it works, it's huge."

    The next step in my opinion should be a continuously operating version about the size of WB-7. A device I used to call WB-7x and will probably be called WB-8.

    Here are some links to what I think a liquid nitrogen (LN2) cooled magnet coil WB-8 (WB-7x) should look like.

    Design Issues including laboratory equipment.
    Reactor Vessel Requirements.
    LN2 Storage
    Magnet Power Supplies
    Reactor Building And Reactor Controls
    Power Supplies Update #1
    Reactor Building Sketches
    Electron Guns
    Lab Tools
    Other Instrumentation - Mass Spectrometer
    Research Speed
    PID Loops And Leak Valves
    Orifice Sizing for leak valves.
    Thinking About Control
    Ionization Pressure Gauges
    Turbo Pump Ratings
    Gas Valve Design
    Data Collection
    Vacuum Pumping
    Transimpedance Amplifiers
    The First Wall Problem
    WB-6 Shopping List
    Standardizing Fusion Test Reactors
    Gauging With Intent
    CAN Bus And System Control
    Magnetic Field Measurement

    For those of you not up to speed on the basics may I suggest:
    Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion
    The World's Simplest Fusion Reactor Revisited

    And for those of you who would like to join in on the research at a very modest cost may I suggest Starting A Fusion Program In Your Home Town. There is a lot that can be learned from these very simple devices and some simple instrumentation. There is so much we don't know yet.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:09 AM | Comments (1)

    Secular Decline

    The semiconductor industry is about to report its first back to back years of declining sales based on projected sales for 2009.

    Gartner Inc this morning reported that for the first time in the semiconductor industry's history, 2008 and 2009 will show back-to-back revenue declines.

    The report follows on estimates from Gartner made late last week that 2008 would show a 4.4% decline in semiconductor revenue for sales of $261.9 billion. At the time Gartner said that "the worst was yet to come," but did not share projections for 2009.

    Today Gartner said it expects semiconductor sales in Q4 to show a record quarter-on-quarter decline of 24.4%, surpassing the 20% decline record set in Q2 2001. With the declines continuing into next year, the market research company estimated 2009 will show a 16.3% decline from 2008 revenue, with semiconductor sales forecast to total $219.2 billion.

    This points to the fact that although the semiconductor industry is very important to our prosperity it is no longer the driving engine of it. So far we have gone through four phases of applying microprocessors to our economy.

    1. Industry - machine control
    2. Office - computation and document production
    3. Homes - entertainment and home offices
    4. Communications - the internet, cell phones

    There is a fifth phase coming. The application of microprocessors to vehicle power. The hybrid, plug in hybrid, and battery vehicles. Not only will it absorb a lot of semiconductors, it will also absorb a lot of power transistors. However, this market is not yet absorbing significant amounts of semiconductors.

    What this points to is a secular decline. Easy profits from the application of microprocessors to the economy are no longer available. Productivity improvements in the range of 20% to 30% from a given project or general application are no longer possible. Another way of saying this is that the efficiency of capital is declining. This is one of the things that led to the housing bubble. Investment in real estate is the tail end of a secular advance.

    Here is another way of looking at what is going on.

    The share of employment in manufacturing as well as the relative price of manufactures has declined sharply over the postwar period, while the share of manufacturing output relative to GDP has remained roughly constant.
    There is now no market segment that can absorb significant capital or labor at an above average rate of profit.

    Here is a chart based on the Kondratieff Wave Theory of economic advance.

    click on image for large view

    If we look at the first wave starting around 1780 I think we can clarify a few things. At least in terms of that cycle. The first step in that wave happened a little earlier. It all started with the invention of the crucible steel process by Benjamin Huntsman in the 1740s. Before that steel was made by forging. You heated up the iron as hot as you could and then beat the impurities out of it. Black smithing it was called. And of course Smith was an honored name.

    Huntsman settled near Sheffield, England for the coal (coke actually) that made his process possible. So the steel industry builds up as does the coal mining industry. As the mines go deeper into the ground the water that accumulated in them had to be pumped out and this required more and more labor as the shafts get deeper. Thomas Savery had invented the first crude steam engine for pumping water out of the mines around 1700. Thomas Newcomen improved on the Savery engine in 1712. The real kick came in 1769 with the invention of the Watt steam engine. The Watt engine was efficient enough to make it possible to mechanize a lot of tasks that had required hand or horse labor. Watt wanted to make the power of his engines understandable to the people of the time so he coined the term horsepower. Still in use today. Because of the way the term was developed there were a number of different definitions. All close to each other. I like the electrical horsepower myself which is 746 watts. And Watts? Named after the inventor of the Watt engine.

    Oh. yeah. Where were we? Coal and the steam engine gave rise to all kinds of opportunities to increase the production of goods without having to keep a bunch of horses about. And horses have to eat whether they are producing or not. So these technological advances lead to increasing output. Increasing profits. And demand for more labor to install, maintain, and operate all this wonderful new stuff, not to mention invent more new stuff based on the change in economics made possible by the new inventions. A burst of capital is created which fuels the whole cycle. Then comes the bust. Because there are limits to what can be done with a new technology base, profits start to decline as more people get into the business of making stuff. Goods that were once scarce no longer command the scarcity premium they once did. The days of 20% and 30% profit are over and the general economy reverts to the more normal 3% to 5% profit range.

    And these cycles get repeated. It appears we are at the end of one now. Fortunately for us - with so many people doing research - the cycles come closer and closer together. We no longer need to wait 40 years for the next big thing. So what is the next big thing on the horizon? I have no idea and neither does any one else. Because if we did we would not be in a secular decline. All I can say is: what ever it is it has already been invented and just awaits mass implementation. What you want to look for is an area of the economy where profits are rising despite the general downturn and which looks like it can absorb a lot of capital and labor.

    Another way of looking at it is that our new President is screwed because unless he knows something we don't there is nothing he can do to get the next cycle moving. He is not profit minded nor does he get the need for fundamental research to serve as the foundation for the next advance. What he is in to is the redistribution of capital from the last advance. Which is basically a maintenance activity. Not very exciting. And in fact it delays the next advance by reducing the capital pools that will be required when we figure out where the money should go. Four years and out.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 05:44 AM | Comments (5)

    The Fighting Illini

    I was looking for some information on the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago and came across this interesting bit.

    When he first came to office, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich proposed selling the building to assuage the state budget. The proposal won many critics. Lawmakers at first agreed to the plan, but later a $200 million mortgage was agreed to instead, payable over 10 years. The plan was declared unconstitutional by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in June 2004. The plan was set aside, although it had already cost the state $532,000 in legal fees.
    Which brings up another piece today by John Kass. What is one of the things you need when you sell a piece of property? Title Insurance.
    In the Continuing Saga of Gov. Dead Meat, there's a new connection among friends along the Chicago Way.

    And one such fellow who will be involved in the governor's impeachment to come is the soon-to-be Illinois Senate president, John Cullerton (D-DeLeo).

    There is a trail to follow here so let us go to the next link in the chain. After a discussion of Cullrerton's position on the sale of Obama's Senate seat - "I'm shocked" - Kass goes on.
    It's nice to hear Cullerton's righteous views. But I'd like to know the feelings of Cullerton's buddy, the shadow governor of Illinois, a guy extremely close to Blagojevich who had time to install Cullerton in the Senate presidency but never got credit:

    State Sen. James DeLeo (D-How You Doin?).

    Sadly, Jimmy won't comment about anything these days, according to his lawyer, Lisa Damico. He's peeved about a line in the column last week, about Jimmy stopping suddenly, and the governor chipping his teeth on the back of Jimmy's head.

    Recently, Blagojevich has been meeting with high-profile defense attorney Edward Genson, the lawyer of choice for Chicago mob figures and politicians.

    Now what does this have to do with Title Insurance? We are getting close to an answer.
    Yet in all the stories about the governor's lawyer, there's one thing missing from the news reports.

    Lincoln Park Title Co.

    Lincoln Park Title, located in Chicago's Loop, is not your average, boring title company. It has a star-studded list of officers and directors. According to reports filed with the Illinois secretary of state's office, the president of Lincoln Park Title is Jimmy DeLeo.

    As if he didn't have enough to do, Jimmy is also the treasurer and assistant secretary. And the vice president is Pamela J. Cullerton, who is married to John Cullerton. She's also the secretary. The board of directors includes DeLeo and John and Pam Cullerton and another guy who knows Eddie Genson extremely well:

    Morton Genson. Eddie's son.

    There's nothing improper about connected politicians and the son of the governor's lawyer investing in a title company. It's not a conflict of interest, either, since Eddie Genson is the one representing the governor, not Morton.

    And Kass has another page and a half of innuendo like that. But it gives you a pretty good idea of how politics is done in Obama's Chicago. Which may I remind you the Smartest President Elect Ever™ had absolutely nothing to do with and he never talked to no one. He saw nothing. He heard nothing. Despite being married to the daughter of one of the most powerful men in Chicago politics. And what made him so powerful? He was a Democratic precinct captain. Don't laugh. It is true. Those are the guys ordinary citizens go to see when they want something. They are the interface between the Combine and the citizen. And what will they tell you if you want help? The University of Chicago Magazine explains it in reference to Abner Mikva's (who later became a US Congressman from Chicago) attempt to assist the Democrat Machine in Chicago.
    Regular Democratic headquarters, looking to volunteer for duty. This was suspect behavior.

    "Who sent you?" the ward committeeman asked him.

    "Nobody," Mikva answered.

    "We don't want nobody nobody sent. We ain't got no jobs," the committeeman told him.

    Mikva told him he wasn't looking for a job. This was even more suspect.

    "We don't want nobody that don't want a job. Where are you from, anyway?"

    "The University of Chicago," Mikva told him.

    "We don't want nobody from the University of Chicago in this organization."

    Thus ended Mikva's career as a cog in the Democratic machine.

    Evidently the Machine is no longer prejudiced against U Chicago guys.

    Well there is lots more and I could probably go on for days. But let me present one more bit and tie a bow on it. Here is a little something from December of 2007.

    An Oak Brook businessman who has extensive financial and personal ties to the former head of the Chicago mob has given more than $200,000 in contributions to Illinois politicians through personal and corporate donations -- with Gov. Blagojevich receiving the most money, $35,000, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

    Among other top recipients of donations from the businessman, Nicholas Vangel, a longtime friend of mob boss James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, were former Gov. George Ryan, House Speaker Michael Madigan and state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano, an analysis of the political contributions shows.

    Vangel has not been accused of any wrongdoing and did not return phone messages Friday. He has denied in court documents any connections to organized crime. Some politicians who received contributions from Vangel or his businesses told the Sun-Times they were either unaware of Vangel's relationship with Marcello or had no idea who he was.

    "We don't know much about the person in question and are still reviewing the contributions," said Doug Scofield, a spokesman for the governor's campaign.

    A spokesman for Madigan, who received more than $17,000 over 10 years, had no idea who Vangel was and noted the amount contributed was relatively small per year. Saviano, who got more than $20,000, did not return phone messages.

    See how convoluted all this is? It is probably a case where the game is so rigged that if you back both horses in a race you can't lose. Almost as good as being a bookie.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:27 PM

    Siemens Bribes Governments For Contracts

    Evidently it is not just Senate seats that are up for sale. Siemens AG apparently paid for contracts. The problem with such schemes is that the contracts go to the highest bidder. And now you know one of the reasons government costs so much and accomplishes so little.

    Siemens' scam ran like a suspense novel. "The SEC's complaint alleges that between March 12, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2007, Siemens created elaborate payment schemes to conceal the nature of its corrupt payments, and the company's inadequate internal controls allowed the conduct to flourish. Siemens made thousands of payments to third parties in ways that obscured the purpose for, and the ultimate recipients of, the money," the commission stated.

    "Employees obtained large amounts of cash from cash desks, which were sometimes transported in suitcases across international borders for bribery. The authorizations for payments were placed on post-it notes and later removed to eradicate any permanent record. Siemens used numerous slush funds, off-books accounts maintained at unconsolidated entities, and a system of business consultants and intermediaries to facilitate the corrupt payments."

    "Siemens made at least 4,283 payments, totaling approximately $1.4 billion, to bribe government officials in return for business to Siemens around the world. In addition, Siemens made approximately 1,185 separate payments to third parties totaling approximately $391 million, which were not properly controlled and were used, at least in part, for such illicit purposes as commercial bribery and embezzlement."

    I wonder how much business the state of Illinois did with those mopes?

    What is Siemens involved in?

    Osram Sylvania - That would be government mandated CFLs
    Financial Services - I'm sure that sector has been in the news lately
    Health Care - Obama is big on increasing government involvement in that

    Here is a more detailed look:

    Siemens AG (NYSE:SI) is one of the largest global electronics and engineering companies with reported worldwide sales of $91.5 billion in fiscal 2004. Founded more than 150 years ago, the company is a leader in the areas of Medical, Power, Automation and Control, Transportation, Information and Communications, Lighting, Building Technologies, Water Technologies and Services and Home Appliances. With its U.S. corporate headquarters in New York City, Siemens in the USA has sales of $16.6 billion and employs 70,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Thirteen of Siemens' worldwide businesses are based in the United States. With its global headquarters in Munich, Siemens AG and its subsidiaries employ 430,000 people in 192 countries.
    Interesting. However, even more interesting is what Siemens is doing in Illinois.
    Headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. is one of 14 Siemens operating companies in the United States and is a leading single-source provider of cost-effective facility performance solutions for the comfort, life safety and security of some of the most technically advanced buildings in the world. In North America, Siemens Building Technologies employs 8,000 people and provides local service from more than 100 locations coast-to-coast. Worldwide, the company has 33,000 employees and operates in 125 countries.
    I couldn't find anything on State of Illinois buildings that use Siemens building controls. If any one knows anything give me a heads up.

    EDN Magazine has a few more details.

    The charges were laid out by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), which alleges that Siemens paid bribes on such widespread transactions as the design and construction of metro transit lines in Venezuela, power plants in Israel, and refineries in Mexico. Siemens also used bribes to obtain business developing mobile phone networks in Bangladesh; national identity cards in Argentina; and medical devices in Vietnam, China, and Russia, according to the SEC's complaint. The commission further alleged that Siemens paid kickbacks to Iraqi ministries in connection with sales of power stations and equipment to Iraq under the United Nations Oil for Food Program.
    According to the list they ran a clean shop in the USA and did most of their dirty work elsewhere. Nice list of places where the business practices are particularly corrupt though.

    Wait a minute. Iraqi power stations and equipment? Wasn't Tony Rezko involved in that? Why yes he was.

    Federal authorities are investigating an Iraqi power plant deal involving Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a former top fund-raiser for Gov. Blagojevich charged with defrauding Illinois taxpayers.

    Investigators want to talk to Iraq's jailed former electricity minister, Aiham Alsammarae, about how Rezko landed the potentially lucrative contract, a source familiar with the probe told the Chicago Sun-Times.

    Alsammarae, who holds dual U.S.-Iraqi citizenship and has a house in Oak Brook, helped Rezko get the deal, another source said.

    Rezko and others in the venture were to own the plant and sell electricity back to the Iraqis, but the Iraqi government still was to pay a substantial portion of construction costs, that source added.

    The contract, negotiated in 2004, no longer is in effect. It is unknown how much money, if any, Rezko made.

    Alsammarae, 55, attended the Illinois Institute of Technology with Rezko in the late 1970s and early 1980s and went on to own an engineering firm in Downers Grove.

    In 2003, Alsammarae returned to his native Iraq to lead efforts to help rebuild its war-torn power grid. By January 2005, Rezko's Rezmar Corp. had secured its contract to build a 200- to 300-megawatt plant in the northern Iraqi city of Chamchamal.

    Since then, Alsammarae has been arrested and convicted of corruption by Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity.

    I wonder if they bought any Siemens equipment?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 05:14 PM | Comments (3)

    collective shoe throwing

    I'm sure someone else has made observations along these lines, but I think the "journalist" who threw the shoes at President Bush was, while acting out, expressing a largely unacknowledged collective rage on behalf of many of his fellow "journalists" -- and not just the ones in Iraq. Showing extreme and contemptuous disrespect for the President of the United States has come to be a tradition, and it's not going to stop with the exit of Bush.

    I was never especially enthusiastic about Bush (as I explained many times, I held my nose when I voted for him), and I'm even less enthusiastic about Barack Obama. But either Bush Derangement syndrome or Obama Derangement Sydrome (or Clinton Derangement Syndrome before them) strike me not only juvenile but ineffective. They just guarantee further such behavior.

    Throwing shoes of course, was merely an extreme form.

    Especially in the figurative sense, there will be many more. While Obama may get a temporary break (largely because most of his conservatives critics fear looking like racists), I think over-the-top political behavior feeds on itself. Each "side" makes the other feel justified in retaliatory shoe-throwing, and it will only get worse.

    Roger L. Simon is more optimistic than I am, and he sees hope in the shoe-throwing incident.

    more importantly and more apposite to today's event was that other, oft forgotten, reason Bush went to war in Iraq - that the only way to bring true peace to the Middle East would be through democracy. He wanted to spread the democratic system preemptively. A lot of people have sneered at that idea lately, but while they were sneering Iraq has inched forward toward a democracy. It's even turning into a (somewhat) decent place to live. That buffoon-like shoe chucker - his name is Muntazer al-Zaidi from Al-Baghdadia channel which broadcasts from Cairo - proved it. No matter what happens to al-Zaidi now (and it won't be much if anything), it will be nothing like what would have happened to him if he had hurled a shoe at the president during the previous Iraqi administration of Saddam Hussein. As we all know, in that case, he would either have had his tongue and scrotum cut out or both, if he would have survived at all.

    And that's the point - something good has happened. Something very good.

    What isn't so clear, yet, is how history will treat George Bush. I have a suspicion it's going to be better then a lot of people now suspect - or are willing to admit.

    I agree that Bush was a much better president than any of his critics are willing to admit, but it's going to take a long time for the current generation of shoe-throwers (especially the academicians who write the history) to die off. Maybe in 40 years people will start looking at Bush more objectively, but for now, I think the shoes will keep flying.

    posted by Eric at 11:54 AM | Comments (5)

    Amateur Nuclear Fusion - The Book
    Amateur Nuclear Fusion
    I just came across a book Amateur Nuclear Fusion that is the tale of one guy's efforts to make neutrons in his basement. Here is the blurb from the book:
    Here's a look inside an amateur lab that does nuclear fusion. I outline the basic principle of the Farnsworth fusor, and describe my fusor in detail, accompanied with tales of its construction.
    The book is not expensive at $12.50 but even better you can get it as a free down load. Both are available at the above link.

    H/T Open Source Fusor Consortium

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 09:37 AM

    Crooks R Us

    It looks like another Friend Of Obama (FOO) is having a little trouble with the law.

    Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- A federal grand jury is investigating how a company that advised Jefferson County, Alabama, on bond deals that threaten to cause the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, did similar work in New Mexico after making contributions to Governor Bill Richardson's political action committees.

    The grand jury in Albuquerque is looking into Beverly Hills, California-based CDR Financial Products Inc., which received almost $1.5 million in fees from the New Mexico Finance Authority in 2004 after donating $100,000 to Richardson's efforts to register Hispanic and American Indian voters and pay for expenses at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, people familiar with the matter said.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation asked current and former officials from the state agency if any staff members in the governor's office influenced CDR's hiring, said the people, who declined to be identified because the proceedings are secret. Richardson, who is President-elect Barack Obama's designate for Commerce Secretary, has a staff of at least 30 people.

    I like Obama's ideas about having a diverse administration. Get crooks who are not just from Crook (oops Cook) County. After all why should Chicago have a monopoly? That would be anti-competitive.

    Would it be too early to ask what a Cabinet position in the Obama Administration costs?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 06:14 AM

    We're Making A List

    I have been trying to decide if the introduction to the next story should be the Mikado's List Song or Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. So I've decided to do them both. Think of it as low culture and lower culture. Popular entertainments for the times. You will note the song from the Mikado has been updated for modern times. I'm looking forward to next year's version updated to include Chicago Politics. There is an opening for a writer there.

    Well now to the heart of the matter. A.J. Strata says the Obama team made a list for Illinois Governor Blagojevich to work from in choosing the replacement for former Senator Obama's Senate seat. And if you listened to the songs you would know that both the Mikado's Executioner and Santa Claus need lists. Nothing must be left to chance. Come to think of it Patrick Fitzgerald must be making his lists too.
    Here is the lie, which caught my eye because of the phrasing Obama was using during his press conference on Daschle's appointment:

    "I had no contact with the governor's office. I did not speak to the governor about these issues. That I know for certain."

    It is a lie because now we know Obama's Chief of Staff provided Blagojevich Obama's list of candidates he thought should fill his seat. The news broke last night:

    Another source said that contact between the Obama camp and the governor's administration regarding the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win.

    Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be "acceptable" to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.


    Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.

    Emphasis mine. Does Senator Obama really think the American people care about the parsing of 'talked' verses 'sent my list of candidates through my Chief of Staff'? Come on! Who gave the list to Emmanuel? Obama of course! It was Obama's list of candidates Blagojevich was working with. OMG - are these people morons?
    Well yes. It appears that the Smartest President Elect Ever™ is a moron. Luckily for America he is not as dumb as Bush. OTOH Bush only had a couple of shoes thrown at him. Bush ducked both shoes. Obama looks like he is going to get the book thrown at him. We will soon find out how good he is at ducking.

    A.J points out some things Obama may not be able to duck.

    And it may get worse. As I noted previously, when reviewing the infamous November 10, 2008 conference call, there were some counter offers from team Obama to team Blagojevich to try and tone down the quid pro quo, to make it less apparent to the public. The first one listed in the criminal complaint covers a two year 'quiet period' so that the connection of the quid pro quo to the senate seat would not be so damn obvious. The Team Obama proposal got a big response out of Blagojevich:
    [statement 6] ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to "suck it up" for two years and do nothing and give this "motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him."
    Note he is not saying 'get nothing' forever, he is complaining about getting nothing for two years. This delaying tactic comes up later in the conference call as well, when discussing what seems to be the final solution, a three-way deal with the SEIU and a golden parachute job for Blagojevich and/or his wife:
    [statement 8] HARRIS re-stated ROD BLAGOJEVICH's thoughts that they should ask the President-elect for something for ROD BLAGOJEVICH's financial security as well as maintain his political viability. HARRIS said they could work out a three-way deal with SEIU and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with ROD BLAGOJEVICH's appointment of Senate Candidate 1 to the vacant Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign, and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future.

    ...[Gap 5]...

    [statement 9] One of ROD BLAGOJEVICH's advisors said he likes the idea, it sounds like a good idea, but advised ROD BLAGOJEVICH to be leery of promises for something two years from now.

    ...[Gap 6]...

    [statement 10] ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife said they would take the job now.

    ...[Gap 7]...

    [statement 11] Thereafter, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others on the phone call discussed various ways ROD BLAGOJEVICH can "monetize" the relationships he is making as Governor to make money after ROD BLAGOJEVICH is no longer Governor.

    If Team Obama proposed a delaying tactic to make any payback more stealthy, they are in trouble. If, as the last statement appears to indicate, they agreed on an even more stealthy plan using the SEIU it would be worse. We don't know how deep Team Obama got into the muck, but we do know they were in it. And for Obama to claim the opposite was probably the biggest crime of all.
    Obama lied and his supporters cried. In fact judging by a comment or two here they are crying already. I think they should keep in mind the words of a very wise man on a somewhat similar subject. Most Unfortunate.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 01:40 PM | Comments (4)

    Palin's Church Torched

    There were about a dozen people in the church at the time. What is there about Palin that inspires such stupidity? Such hatred?

    Gateway Pundit has more plus links.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:31 AM

    Obama Never Close To Corrupt Blago

    He was close to corrupt Daley.

    President-elect Barack Obama has never been close to Mr. Blagojevich. He has aligned with the Daley division of the fractured Democratic machine, while Mr. Blagojevich, chiefly through the sponsorship of his father-in-law, a powerful Chicago alderman, has been from that faction that has always resented the mayor's good fortune for being born with the Daley name.
    In Chicago there is never enough corruption to go around. However, for safety's sake you want a guy on the take to be on the take from both sides. It keeps them honest. Up to a point.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:12 AM

    Look For The Union Label In Illinois

    So who owns the governor of Illinois?

    Earlier today, we reported on the developing pay-for-play scandal involving humiliated Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich which allegedly involved offer the SEIU the power to name Barack Obama's replacement as Senator in return for a cushy job with the SEIU's Change to Win coalition or a new SEIU-funded lobby group.

    One news source indicated the SEIU official mentioned in the indictment was none other than SEIU president Andrew Stern. But NPR reports that the official involved was one step down from Stern -- Tom Balanoff, the union's Illinois chief

    Our research today indicates that Andy Stern's SEIU has been Blagojevich's biggest financial backer for years. According go the Illinois Sunshine Database, the SEIU Illinois Council PAC was the governor's top contributor in his re-election effort, giving $908,382 in the 2005-2006 cycle. That same cycle, PACs for the Laborers and Teamsters unions, also Change to Win partners, were also among Blagojevich's top 15 contributors.

    The relationship between Blagojevich and the SEIU's political fundraising arms go back years. In his first gubernatorial election in 2002, the SEIU PEA International gave his campaign $821,294, making the PAC his second largest contributor that cycle (the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had contributed $900,000 to the then-Congressman).

    I guess organizing labor is no longer enough for the unions. It appears that they are organizing government as well.

    And the SEIU is not the only labor union trying to organize government. The auto unions are right in there. Except they have their sites set higher than a mere State. They are going after the Feds.

    DETROIT (AP) -- Festering animosity between the United Auto Workers and Southern senators who torpedoed the auto industry bailout bill erupted into full-fledged name calling Friday as union officials accused the lawmakers of trying to break the union on behalf of foreign automakers.

    The vitriol had been near the surface for weeks as senators from states that house the transplant automakers' factories criticized the Detroit Three for management miscues and bloated UAW labor costs that lawmakers said make them uncompetitive.

    But the UAW stopped biting its tongue after Republicans sank a House-passed bill Thursday night that would have loaned $14 billion to cash-poor General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC to keep them out of bankruptcy protection. The Bush administration later stepped in and said it was ready to make money available to the automakers, likely from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout program.

    Not so fast. Was it really the Republicans who torpedoed the bill? I don't think so.
    Nancy Pelosi says that Senate Republicans were "irresponsible" for opposing the auto bailout, which failed on a cloture vote last night 52 to 35.
    Senate Republicans' refusal to support the bipartisan legislation passed by the House and negotiated in good faith with the White House, the Senate and the automakers is irresponsible, especially at a time of economic hardship. The consequences of the Senate Republicans' failure to act could be devastating to our economy, detrimental to workers, and destructive to the American automobile industry
    The problem with Pelosi's statement is that 10 Republican Senators voted with the Democrats last night, which means the Democrats could have reached 60 votes if the entire Democratic caucus voted for the bill.

    But eight Democrats bailed on the bailout (Reid, it should be noted, voted against it for procedural reasons, in order to bring it up for a vote again).

    Four Democrats voted 'nay': Baucus, Tester, Lincoln, and Reid.

    Four Democrats did not vote: Biden, Kennedy, Kerry, and Wyden.

    (And, of course, the Democrats would have another member right now if Blagojevich had sold that Senate seat before he was busted.)

    Does Pelosi think that these Democrats, who had the ability to pass the bailout, are "irresponsible," too? And, for that matter, why didn't she simply call them "unpatriotic"? Isn't bailing out the auto industry a better indicator of your love of country than bailing out Wall Street?

    Me? I blame the unions. If they had only bought 8 more Senators they could have gotten the legislation they wanted.

    What is a matter with those unions? Don't they believe in investing in America?

    H/T Anthony Riedel Deputy Legal Information Director, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation via e-mail and Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 10:02 AM

    On the edge -- and over!

    On my chimney, the crab is always trying to catch the sun.


    What happens if it succeeds?

    (Any astrological meanings and interpretations are deliberately unintended, of course.)

    posted by Eric at 02:11 AM | Comments (2)

    Tradition is reassuring

    Via a link from Chocolatier, I'm glad to see that traditional, wholesome Stalinist values are still alive!

    What a relief!

    I know it sounds paranoid, but sometimes I worry that the old-time traditional Stalinism we once venerated might be over, and that kids have been infected with strange new values that aren't values at all, but mere economic hedonism, and even free market nihilism!

    Which would be awful, as I need to have something to believe in -- just like everyone else.

    No, seriously. Just look at my basement wall!


    (If you had a wall like that, you'd need reassurances too.)

    posted by Eric at 01:21 AM | Comments (3)

    The Good Old Days Of Peace And Corruption

    Mexico is hurting. The war on the northern border is devastating the country.

    Five thousand, three hundred, and seventy-six people have been killed in Mexico's drug war so far this year, double the number from last year and more than all the US troops killed in Iraq.

    Is this what victory looks like?

    That's the question Mexico is grappling with two years after President Felipe Calderón took office announcing a massive military effort to dismantle drug trafficking organizations.

    Thursday marks two years since Mr. Calderón announced "Operation Michoacán," the first of a sustained series of high-profile deployments of soldiers across the country.

    Since then, federal authorities have disarmed scores of police departments, boasted of bundles of cash and caches of weapons confiscated, and heralded arrests of some of the highest-profile traffickers as proof of success.

    But the effort's first year, 2007, also turned out to be the nation's deadliest in modern history; and the death toll for 2008 has, as of Dec. 2, far exceeded that, spiking by 117 percent, according to Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora. Authorities at the highest ranks have been arrested for colluding with traffickers, and a strategy that has been a political boon could turn into a liability for Calderón in next year's mid-term elections.

    I guess the Drug War is not popular in Mexico. Too much shooting. We are made of stronger stuff here in America. We just ignore it.
    Today's staggering violence, they say, is the result of Calderón's get-tough approach, which has caused drug trafficking groups to collapse and splinter.
    That is real good in the short term. However, what happens is those splintered groups will form the nucleus of new groups that will form. Multiplying the problem. Instead of vertical integration you get a distributed system.

    And how is this affecting the Americans? It seems it is creating a few problems.

    The US, which released a report earlier this year saying that Mexican drug organizations have infiltrated every region of the US and nearly 200 cities...
    That is just swell. There are already reports of murders and kidnappings by these imported gangs. You can never have too many criminals. Fortunately when we are short we can import them from Mexico. Laborers, criminals, drugs, and oil. When there are not enough in America we can import them. Such a deal.

    Elections are coming in Mexico. And what is the mood of the population?

    Polls indicate that the Institutional Revolutionary Party - which ruled the country for 71 years during a time when corruption, and trafficking, was more tolerated - is favored.

    The reasons are diverse, but analysts say that violence could be one factor for weary Mexicans who long for the "good old days" of "peace and corruption," says Chabat.

    You know, if they want more corruption I think we have the possibility of a counter trade. We could export politicians from Chicago and DC.

    Or we could make drugs legal and put an end to the charade. And the murders.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 12:01 AM

    The premature honeymoon is already over?

    Ann Althouse observes that Barack Obama isn't getting a honeymoon:

    Once, new Presidents got a "honeymoon" -- even after they took office. But there's no honeymoon for Obama, who's been plagued all along by one bad friend after another.
    Of course, not having been inaugurated, he hasn't even reached the honeymoon stage, yet he still isn't getting a honeymoon.

    I think the problem might be that he had his honeymoon during the election.

    That was the wrong time, and there's no going back.

    posted by Eric at 11:52 PM | Comments (4)

    Rezko Clears Obama And Blago

    Well you didn't hear it here first. That would have been a June story at Politico.

    In a letter to the U.S. District judge who presided over his trial, Rezko, who was convicted this month of 16 corruption-related counts, including fraud and money laundering, called prosecutors "overzealous." And he singled out what he said were their efforts to get him to turn on Obama, an Illinois senator and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    "They are pressuring me to tell them the 'wrong' things that I supposedly know about Gov. Blagojevich and Sen. Obama," Rezko wrote in an undated letter released by the court this week. "I have never been party to any wrongdoing that involved the governor or the senator. I will never fabricate lies about anyone else for selfish purposes. I will take what comes my way, but I will never hurt innocent people."

    Good for Rezko. Finally an honest crook. We could use more of them.

    Unfortunately for Blagojevich, Rezko seems to have dropped the dime on him.

    A footnote to the 76-page criminal complaint and affidavit charging Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, a Democrat, with soliciting bribes confirms what has long been rumored: that a former longtime friend of and fundraiser for President-elect Barack Obama is talking to federal prosecutors in hopes of a reduced sentence.

    Antoin "Tony" Rezko's offer to provide authorities with evidence of others' wrongdoing is "not complete," and prosecutors are working to corroborate the claims he has made so far, the footnote says.

    Rezko, a 53-year-old developer, was convicted in June on 16 criminal counts, including fraud, money laundering and abetting bribery. He is in custody awaiting sentencing.

    Prosecutors depicted Rezko at trial as a fixer for Blagojevich and the man to see to secure a high-level appointment with the governor's administration. Rezko had been a longtime fundraiser for Blagojevich and other Illinois politicians, including Obama.

    Well he sung like a canary on Blagojevich who Rezko claimed was innocent of any wrong doing in June. I wonder if he suddenly remembered a few things about Obama as well? I guess I should take back what I said about Rezko being an honest crook.

    So let me see. If we have a Republican Congress in January of 2011 how soon will it be before Obama is impeached? Any one care to give me an over/under?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 09:25 AM | Comments (7)

    British Losing Their Power

    It looks like Britain will be losing its electrical supply before too long.

    It was in July of this year that the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee - prop. Tim Yeo - told the government that it must set a deadline for coal-fired power stations to install technology massively to cut their emissions, or they must be shut down.

    In so doing, the committee sought to add to the burden on an industry which is already, for diverse reasons, failing to get to grips with the looming electricity shortage - offering a strategy which would make it near certain that the lights went out in 2012 or sooner.

    Now, from the same House of Commons which brought you this lunacy, we have the Business and Enterprise Committee, headed by another Conservative MP - this time Peter Luff. His committee is warning that Britain is threatened by an "energy crunch" with disastrous social and economic consequences.

    And we are going to be repeating the experiment here in the good old US of A. Because our President Elect, the Smartest President Elect Ever™, is planning to severely curtail coal fired electrical power plants.
    Included in President-elect Barack Obama's energy plan, "New Energy for America," is a requirement that utilities generate at least 25% of the country's electricity from renewable sources of energy like solar and wind power by 2025.

    Last year, CEI published a report, Gone with the Wind, explaining why such a requirement, known as a renewable portfolio standard, is unfair to states in the southeast, where electricity is cheap and the potential for renewables is low.

    Yesterday, the Cato Institute published a report that asks how policymakers could favor a policy so politically correct and so economically suspect.

    So how about this New Energy for America? What is the plan that will lead us to a glorious future?
    In a January 17, 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Senator Obamasaidthat "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket" under his plan to fight global warming. He also said that under his plan, "if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them."
    I think this is a great opportunity for Obama. He can have his bankruptcy plan for the coal fired electrical energy industry ready well in advance. He had better start now.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:22 AM

    Just Like A President Who Knows Nothing

    posted by Simon at 07:48 AM | Comments (2)

    Natural decay? Or artificially prolonged life?

    What happens when the government doesn't bail out failed companies that make cars?

    Believe it or not, it has actually been done!

    A friend emailed me a link to this article about the ruins of the Packard plant, closed five decades ago. Titled "When the Cars Go Away," the piece details the vastness of the decay:

    THIS week, as Washington has tried to decide whether to rescue the automobile industry, Americans have wondered what it looks like when a giant automobile company goes under. The answer can be found in Detroit.

    In the summer of 1956, the once-mighty Packard Motor Car Company closed its doors. Its headquarters and chief production complex still stand here, though, and their slowly decaying remains serve as a symbol for the fall of American manufacturing in general and the degradation of the auto industry in particular. The Packard plant sits on East Grand Boulevard on Detroit's east side. It is immense: 3.5 million square feet of space in 47 connected buildings. The campus stretches for almost a mile north to south.

    Since Packard's departure, there have been attempts to use the plant as an industrial mall, and at times dozens of small and medium-sized businesses operated within its walls. Today there is only one small firm remaining, a chemical processing concern. The City of Detroit and a private company have been fighting a long legal battle for ownership of the complex.

    So the property is virtually abandoned, and much of it has been empty for years. Almost all the windows in the four- and five-story buildings -- thousands of them -- are broken. The bricks and masonry are crumbling, and two large enclosed bridges that soar over streets are falling apart. Part of one of the large passageways recently collapsed onto Bellevue Avenue, and still sits there, blocking the street.

    Some floors have caved in because metal scrappers have cut out the I-beams. Vast rooms are filled with trash, from old shoes to unwanted pleasure boats.

    Nature has reasserted itself: Trees grow on the roof and moss has spread inside. Chalky stalactites hang from ceilings, apparently the result of rain coursing through the walls.

    Water from broken pipes collects into small lakes, freezes during the Michigan winters, then breaks up in spring and runs out of the plant onto neighboring streets. The plant is home to wild dogs, feral cats, homeless people. Arson is a regular event.


    Said my friend,

    Eric - I would love to visit this building. Maybe when you are back in MI I can fly out and we can make a photo tour of Detroit. We'll have to take your dogs with us for protection.
    Taking a gun along might not be a bad idea either.

    Whether I'll ever get around to it is doubtful, but I figured that others had probably been there, done that, and got the YouTube video!

    They have.

    This one is in three parts, and while Part 1 is the most watched, I kind of enjoyed watching Part 3 more, as the explorers have gotten into the rhythm of the gigantic place:

    I guess that's what happens when the governments don't bail out failed businesses in failed urban areas.

    But for those who like nostalgia, here's a vintage video of the plant in 1955, not so long before it closed -- showing happy workers on a happy assembly line:

    Just think! Had the government bailed out Packard back then (and taken a supervisory role the way so many think they should in today's better world), we could have gotten on the waiting list to buy 1955 Packards (Russians used to buy their way onto waiting lists for Zils and East Germans for Trabants), and by now we might have them! Except they probably wouldn't be as good as they were when the company had to sell them for a profit.

    And we could go right on underwriting the company's continued failure to make a profit, because it would no longer matter whether it made a profit, any more than it matters whether the government makes a profit. Nor would it matter how many cars it made, or what quality they were.

    If we work this right, we could have a corporate utopia.

    From each company according to its ability, to each company according to its need!

    NAGGING QUESTION: Hasn't the country (and the world) gotten along without Packards?

    Or does the question reflect callused advocacy of social Darwinism for corporations?

    posted by Eric at 11:22 PM | Comments (5)

    Cleaning Malware

    I got hit with some malware a couple of days ago specifically the virtumonde infection. I have Webroot Spy Sweeper which is supposedly top rated and it did not clean it out. Part of that may be because I have not had the funds to renew my subscription. So I went looking for something within my budget and found a product with a horrible name Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and you know what? It worked. It is supposed to be the best malware remover on the market at any price. And what is the price? Something everyone can afford. Free. If you want a copy just follow the link given and use the first link in the article to download it.

    If you are not currently infected may I suggest getting it in advance of trouble. Also go to the first link which has some free and low cost software that may help if Malwarebytes does not do the trick. So how do the Malwarebytes guys make money? They offer a life time subscription for $24.95 for their full version that keeps malware out before it gets in and it also has their cleaner software and in addition it does automatic updates of their files which you have to do manually with the free version.

    Let me add that the malware turned the automatic updates on my Windows Security Shield off and now it is back on. (I actually had to turn it on - but that was something I couldn't do with the infection in place).

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:49 PM | Comments (2)

    Magnetized Weather And The Lost Concensus

    It looks like the Sun's magnetic field may control climate (which is average weather)and can be used to predict rainfall.

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 3, 2008) -- The sun's magnetic field may have a significant impact on weather and climatic parameters in Australia and other countries in the northern and southern hemispheres. According to a study in Geographical Research, the droughts are related to the solar magnetic phases and not the greenhouse effect.

    The study uses data from 1876 to the present to examine the correlation between solar cycles and the extreme rainfall in Australia.

    It finds that the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) - the basic tool for forecasting variations in global and oceanic patterns - and rainfall fluctuations recorded over the last decade are similar to those in 1914 -1924.

    Author Professor Robert G. V. Baker from the School of Environmental Studies, University of New England, Australia, says, "The interaction between the directionality in the Sun's and Earth's magnetic fields, the incidence of ultraviolet radiation over the tropical Pacific, and changes in sea surface temperatures with cloud cover - could all contribute to an explanation of substantial changes in the SOI from solar cycle fluctuations. If solar cycles continue to show relational values to climate patterns, there is the potential for more accurate forecasting through to 2010 and possibly beyond."

    Well that will be good. Now if only we can get this new information included in the climate models and see how it affects their predictions we might begin to unravel the climate change controversy.

    And speaking of the climate change controversy (What should the optimum temperature of the Earth be? I have yet to find out.) what about Climate Change Blowback?

    POZNAN, Poland - The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.
    Jeeze that is better than 10 to 1 against. Perhaps the consensus is imaginary. You have to admit it is a good talking point though. In any case science is not about consensus. It is about testing a hypothesis against facts.

    It is true that things have been warming up. The question is just how much? Not much at all.

    Half of the globe has warmed at least one half of one degree Fahrenheit (0.3 C) in the past 30 years, while half of that - a full quarter of the globe - warmed at least one full degree Fahrenheit (0.6 C)...

    Globally, Earth's atmosphere warmed an average of about 0.4 C (or about 0.72 degrees Fahrenheit) in 30 years, according to data collected by sensors aboard NOAA and NASA satellites. More than 80 percent of the globe warmed by some amount.

    A map of Earth's climate changes since December 1, 1978, (when satellite sensors started tracking the climate) doesn't show a uniform global warming. It looks more like a thermometer: Hot at the top, cold at the bottom and varying degrees of warm in the middle.

    This is a pattern of warming not forecast by any of the major global climate models.

    The area of fastest warming is clustered around the Northern Atlantic and Arctic oceans, stretching from Arctic Canada across Greenland to Scandinavia. The greatest warming has been on opposite ends of Greenland, where temperatures have jumped as much as 2.5 C (about 4.6 degrees F) in 30 years.

    During the same time, however, much of the Antarctic has cooled, with parts of the continent cooling as much as Greenland has warmed. But areas of cooling were isolated: Only four percent of the globe cooled by at least half of one degree Fahrenheit.

    'If you look at the 30-year graph of month-to-month temperature anomalies, the most obvious feature is the series of warmer than normal months that followed the major El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event of 1997-1998,' said Christy. 'Right now we are coming out of one La Nina Pacific Ocean cooling event and we might be heading into another. It should be interesting over the next several years to see whether the post La Nina climate 're-sets' to the cooler seasonal norms we saw before 1997 or the warmer levels seen since then.'

    Interesting to see? I was under the impression that the science guys knew what was happening and could tell us well in advance of what to expect. Why would they have to wait and see if their predictions are any good?

    I gotta tell you this climate science stuff just bring more disillusionment every day. Wait until we start spending a trillion dollars a year on this stuff. I'm going to be really disillusioned then.

    And BTW could some one tell me what the global temperature ought to be and how to get it properly distributed?

    H/T LarryD in an e-mail

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 01:23 AM | Comments (4)

    I'm so confused that I need some brown acid right now!

    When I read today's admission by Glenn Reynolds that he was confused by an attack on his "hypermasculinity," I became more confused than I was before. And that's a lot, because few people are more confused than I am where it comes to masculinity, um, issues.

    Seriously, how's this for confusion?

    ...what I'm wondering right now is why I can't be a pre-post-operative female-to-male transsexual trapped in the body of a man, but who, because of pure luck, has no need to go through with the surgery, because I already have male anatomical features (i.e., a woman who wants to become a man but who is by accident of birth already trapped in the body of a man). It would be a terrible hardship (a cruel travesty, even) to make me surgically become a man trapped in the body of a woman who wants to become a man because the man is trapped in her body, if I can shortcircuit the entire process and merely accept the fact that I am already where I would be after surgery back and forth.

    I mean, if there can be such a thing as a "male lesbian," why stop there? If a woman can go from female to male (and can be called a man before the surgery) then why require the male lesbian (once s/he really reaches a deeper understanding of him/herself) to go through one surgery to become female and another to become male? Can't the process be an internal one?

    So I'm as confused as the next man. Er, woman. Er, whatever.

    But that's in the past. On to today's confusion. From what I can discern, Mark Kleiman claims that Glenn suffers from "hypermasculinity" of the "glibertarian" variety, and he is demanding that Glenn provide answers to legalistic questions about what to do over the fact that "the free market has been flooding the environment with de-masculinizing chemicals."

    Anyway I'd better be very careful what I say about it, because according to Kleiman, Glenn "deals with all criticism by questioning either the critic's patriotism or his sanity."

    Yes, I can just hear Glenn demanding in the most hypermasculine and aggressive voice imaginable, "OK, which will it be, your patriotism or your sanity? "

    To which poor confused me will do a Jack Benny and reply "I'm thinking it over!"

    So I'd better be like extra really careful about what I say here. Furthermore I'd better make damned sure all my links work or else Glenn will accuse me of taking bad brown acid.

    Damn, this glibertarian hypermasculinity is pretty scary stuff. Mess with glibertarian hypermasculinists, and you'll be an insane, unpatriotic, brown acid head in no time!

    At least I think that's the argument. What seems to have upset Kleiman the most is that Glenn had favorably reviewed The Dangerous Book for Boys -- which Kleiman castigated as "routine wingnut hand-wringing about not letting boys be boys."

    What on earth do these critics have against this book? Boys like it. What is wrong with that?

    I remember that Glenn Greenwald was also hot and bothered by the same book. So hot and bothered that he called Glenn Reynolds "the single most masculinity-obsessed and gender-insecure commentator in America." And -- get this -- "followed closely by his wife"!

    So the most masculinity-obsessed and gender-insecure commentator in America is married to the second most masculinity-obsessed and gender-insecure commentator in America? What's that about?

    Who is more obsessed competing over whose masculinity? I was confused when I read it then, and I'm still confused.

    Naturally, though, such confusion only made me like the book -- which I saw as a Tom Sawyer restoration -- all the more:

    "The Dangerous Book for Boys" strikes me as a Tom Saywer/Huck Finn sort of restoration project in the making, and an antidote to the growing neuter movement. How could anyone in their right mind could object to that? I Googled the book to look for objections, and found none. However, it didn't take long for an angry whiner to come crawling out of the woodwork in the form of Glenn Greenwald -- a genuine Sidney Sawyer if ever there was one. I was a bit taken aback, but I shouldn't have been, really. It was just so in character for Greenwald to object to this book. So, so, perfectly fitting. His attack on "The Dangerous Book for Boys" is a true testament to the perpetually recurring nature of the Sidney Sawyer eunuchoid personality that is unfortunately as much a traditional American character as his brother Tom. IMO, the ideal American spirit is Tom Sawyer, not Sidney. I don't think most parents would want to raise a Sid Sawyer (or a Glenn Greenwald) as a child. Nor should the schools be encouraging the development of such personalities. (Instead of banning Tom Sawyer, I think they ought to make it assigned reading.)
    I suspect this latest compaint is more Sidney Sawyerism.

    As I observed, liking the government and hating masculinity seem to go hand in hand for such types:

    I think what's important about Sidney is that he is, literarily and metaphorically speaking, a neutered boy -- the equivalent of a eunuch. Not gay, not a sissy, or anything like that, but a pliant, obedient, well-behaved lover of authority who does as he's told, runs to the authorities for protection, undermines the accomplishments of others, and thwarts those with free will and stubborn independence. (And who in all probability would think sex is icky.)
    And if you're for freedom and independence, and into not needing authority, you're now likely to be accused of hypermasculinism!

    [Ed. note -- Whether you're straight, gay, or even transgendered!]

    For the record, I think Glenn's problem is not hypermasculinism, but hyperhimboism.

    I blame Bill Whittle.

    Someone please gimme some of that brown acid quick, so I can help the free market flood the environment with more de-masculinizing chemicals.

    We have to stop this himboistic hypermasculinism by any means necessary!

    UPDATE: Glenn is now calling "hypo-masculinity" a "bummer."

    Considering that the piece he cited involves cheapskate men who haggle over the price of getting "pegged", I can't be sure whether that's a reference to the acid or the orifice.

    Well, it's not as if we weren't warned that the free market is evil!

    Seriously, hypomasculine men getting pegged by a girl with a strap on is bad enough, but refusing to pay the going rate? Disgusting!

    (I don't mind economic hedonism, but personal hedonism mixed with economic conservatism really does sound like a bummer.)

    UPDATE: My thanks to the hyper-himbo himself for the link, and a warm welcome to all!

    Your comments welcome, agree or disagree.

    I'm especially honored to be linked in the same post which has an InstaPoll on this important topic ("InstaPundit: Hypermasculine, or Not So Much?"), and I can't help notice that Kleiman's position is coming in at last place:

    Hypermasculine: A testosterone-oozing Rambo of the blogosphere.
    Even there, I suspect a lot of the answers were intended as humor.

    But why are Glenn's critics are so hell-bent on transforming him into a rigidly inflexibly hard-core, testosterone-poisoned libertarian fanatic with a moronic macho complex? Is that simply what the anti-Reynolds crowd wants to believe in order to avoid thinking?

    As to the androgenizing chemicals, all humor aside, like Glenn I'm not "opposed to all regulation, all the time" (nor do I want to put testosterone in the water supply) -- and frankly I resent the constant stereotyping of libertarians as racist social Darwinist crackpots.

    And I can't help wondering about this need to project macho obsessions onto people who clearly don't have them.

    Would they be singing a different tune if chemicals were making people more masculine instead of more feminine?

    All thoughts welcome, because I'm still confused!

    posted by Eric at 11:52 PM | Comments (8)

    Incoming Energy Secretary On Bussard Fusion

    In this Google Tech Talk from about 28 February 2007 you can see Incoming Energy Secretary Steven Chu discussing what he knows about Bussard Fusion about 1 hour 1 minute and 10 seconds into the video. The rest of the talk is about alternative energy, power sources for the future, and how to run a good development program. And what does he know about Bussard Fusion Reactors? Not much. He is looking into it.

    I got the heads up from cybrbeast at Talk Polywell.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Welcome Instapundit readers.

    Update: Dave Price at Dean Esmay has a few thoughts.

    posted by Simon at 08:06 AM | Comments (8)

    "a huge distraction at the worst possible moment"

    So says veteran Clinton troubleshooter Lanny Davis about Governor Blagojevich's Obama Senate Seat Deal.

    (Hmm... Is "Seatgate" taken or would that be confused with a hard drive company?)

    Obama said on Tuesday that he never spoke with the governor about the seat, and prosecutors said neither Obama nor his advisers have been implicated. At the same time, Obama's team has declined for two days to answer questions about what discussions they had about the seat and whether intermediaries had any contacts with Blagojevich's advisers.

    Republicans have raised questions about Obama's refusal to say more and about his past ties with the main characters. Even if Obama remains untouched by the investigation, it shines a light on the corrupt politics of the state he emerged from and takes attention away from the agenda of change he would rather emphasize.

    "This is a huge distraction at the worst possible moment," said Lanny Davis, a former White House special counsel who did damage control for President Bill Clinton.

    And it can grow if not handled properly. "It's like the whirlwind," said Chris Lehane, another veteran of the Clinton teams. "You get pulled into the vortex more and more."

    I'm fascinated by vortices and whirlwinds, and I can't remember a time when president had to handle a scandal like this before he took office. Sure, Clinton had his bimbo eruptions, but can anyone imagine the outcry had corrupt Texas politicians been caught trying to sell George Bush's former office to the highest bidder in 2000?


    However, I'm so swamped that Lanny Davis's characterization of the affair as "a huge distraction at the worst possible moment," might as well apply to me!

    My thanks to M. Simon for keeping readers abreast of these developments.

    Thinking out loud, if things were to get really bad in the near future (and I'm not saying they will), George Bush still has the power to issue pardons. (You know, for the good of country, and all...)

    Plus, I seriously doubt that Bush would see this as "a huge distraction at the worst possible moment" as he's the lamest of lame ducks, and he has right up until January 20 to do whatever he wants.

    Why, he could even clear any pardons with the incoming Attorney General Eric Holder, whose flexible pardon standards are a matter of public record.

    Anyway, I'm getting hugely distracted from thinking out loud like this, but that's OK because huge distractions at the worst possible moments call for hugely distracting solutions!

    MORE: Via Glenn Reynolds, Politico has a list of questions for Barack Obama along the lines of, "What did he know and when did he know it?"

    Glenn asks, "Will he hear any of these at his next press conference?" and links Ann Althouse, who focuses on Question 4:

    4 - "Did you or anyone close to you contact the FBI or U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald about Blagojevich's alleged efforts to sell your Senate seat to the highest bidder?"...

    [...] More at the link. The key question is #4. It presumes he knew there was a sale going on. Does the criminal complaint not imply that he did? And if the answer to #4 is "no," what are we to think?

    I don't know. I suppose we might think inappropriate historical thoughts about obstruction of justice, but again, that would be a huge distraction at the worst possible moment.

    MORE: Glenn Reynolds keeps linking things I can't ignore, despite my hugely distracted state.

    First, there's Michael Graham's characterization of the Blagojevich deal as Obama's Whitewater -- arising from a lifelong political realm of "open corruption, boundless greed and contempt for the law."

    Additionally, Tim Blair documents that this is yet another in a series of "unwelcome" distractions.

    Well, then, unwelcome to the club!

    (Of open corruption, boundless greed and contempt for the law huge unwelcome distractions from change -- at the worst possible moment!)

    MORE: Peter Wehner thinks Obama must be more forthcoming:

    The best thing President-elect Obama can do is to be fully forthcoming. He needs to collect all the facts related to contacts anyone in his orbit had with Blagojevich and his aides -- and then he needs to reveal them as soon as its humanly possible. For example, what were the circumstances around which Valerie Jarrett's name came up as a possible Obama replacement, why did she take herself out of the running, and how did Blagojevich learn about it? Did the Illinois governor have lines of communication to Team Obama, as Blagojevich's wiretapped conversations seem to imply? Was anyone in Obama's circle contacted about a quid pro quo offer - and if so and they turned it down, thereby infuriating Blagojevich, were those conversations then reported to law enforcement authorities? (Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel and Carrie Budoff Brown pose seven excellent questions Obama should be able to answer.)

    For a man like Obama, who ran and won on transparency, who said with him as President we would be entering an era when admitting mistakes is done without hesitation, and who made turning the page on the "old politics" and fixing "broken politics" the core of his campaign, to be fully forthcoming should be a fairly obvious and easy thing to do.

    Noting that Obama built his career in the most politically corrupt place in America, Wehner expresses the hope that he will nonetheless live up to his reformist promises:
    In this very early test, then, Obama can avoid the mistakes that so many politicians before him have committed -- succumbing to the temptation to reveal as little as possible, going into a protective shell, employing language that needs to be carefully parsed for clues (for example, shifting from "we" to "I" when indicating that no conversations with Blagojevich or his representatives took place), and all the rest.

    I hope he does, for his sake and for the country's sake. We have enough challenges to face as it is; we don't need a president or his administration burdened or distracted by scandal.


    Perhaps they could start by not censoring questions.

    UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all!

    Comments appreciated -- agree or disagree, and I like the discussion over what to call this.

    Years ago, I read Lanny Davis's book, Truth To Tell: Tell It Early, Tell It All, Tell It Yourself: Notes from My White House Education.

    I think Barack Obama should read it and heed it.

    (Interestingly, the advice offered in the Commentary piece I linked above is not that different from Lanny Davis's.)

    posted by Eric at 01:39 PM | Comments (21)

    Energy Czar

    A new energy czar has been picked by the incoming administration.

    Steven Chu, 60 years old, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, will be nominated as secretary of energy, Democratic officials said Wednesday.
    The Smartest President Elect Ever™ appears intent on further hobbling the economy with more command and control efforts.
    With the appointments and nominations, Mr. Obama is signaling his seriousness about combating climate change by curbing emissions of greenhouse gases and spending heavily to boost energy efficiency and promote renewable energy.

    He also appears to be moving to the left with some of his new choices -- at least on business issues -- after his early cabinet choices were widely seen as centrist and moderate. "What you've got are people who are committed to moving forward with regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, which we believe is a huge mistake," William Kovacs, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview. "If we're embarking on a new infrastructure program that's going to involve building a lot of roads and bridges, the last thing we want to do is hold it up with CO2 regulations."

    Well Obama is a lawyer. He thinks that with the proper enforcement you can make anything happen. Well he may be right. You can destroy an economy that way. The Soviet Union proved that.

    It will be interesting to see if Chu is a big fusion guy (ITER), a little fusion guy (projects like the Bussard Fusion Reactor), or if he wants to balance the efforts.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:17 AM

    Bail Out Boat Sinking

    It looks like the unpopular auto company bail out is going to have a tough time passing in the current Congress.

    Republicans were preparing a strong fight against the aid plan in the Senate, not only taking on the Democrats but standing in open revolt against their party's lame-duck president on the measure.

    The Republicans want to force the companies into bankruptcy or mandate hefty concessions from autoworkers and creditors as a condition of any federal aid. They also oppose an environmental mandate that House Democrats insisted on including in the measure.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House-passed bill represented "tough love" for U.S. auto companies and "giving a chance -- this one more chance -- to this great industry."

    Yep. Tough love all right.

    So tough that it will force the auto companies into a position of building cars they can't sell.

    The fuel-efficient "green" cars GM, Ford and Chrysler profess to be thrilled to be developing at Congress's behest will be unsellable unless gas prices are much higher than today's.

    "Very few people will want to change what has been their 'nationality-given' right to drive big and bigger if the price of gas is $1.50 or $2.00 or even $2.50," Mr. Lutz explained. "Those prices will put the CAFE-mandated manufacturers at war with their customers -- and no one will win in that battle."

    Translation: To become "viable," as Congress chooses crazily to understand the term, the Big Three are setting out to squander billions on products that will have to be dumped on consumers at a loss.

    I must admit that it is about the toughest love Congress could impose on the auto companies. Let me translate: in order to get the money stolen from the taxpayers the auto companies will have to increase their loss rate.

    This from the geniuses who brought us Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    And it gets better. The government will appoint a commisar of auto production to watch over the companies to make sure the money isn't wasted building cars the consumers want.

    Besides providing cash for the auto companies, it would create a government "car czar," to be named by President George W. Bush to dole out the loans, with the power to take back the money and force the carmakers into bankruptcy next spring if they didn't cut quick deals with labor unions, creditors and others to restructure their businesses and become viable.
    OK. We have a drug czar to fix our drug problems, and an energy czar to fix our energy problems. How is that working out?
    "To give up on the auto industry now would be to condemn the American economy at one of its most vulnerable periods in our economic history to a degree of further hurt," said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass, the Financial Services Committee chairman.
    And just to maintain the hilarity, it was Barney Frank, who once said, "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not facing any kind of financial crisis." I have an existential dilemma here. Should I laugh or should I cry?
    Opposition from Republicans reflected the tricky task of pushing yet another federal rescue through a bailout-weary Congress, with Bush's influence on the wane.

    "People realize that this bill is an incredibly weak bill (and) is the product of an administration that wants to kick the can down the road and let somebody else deal with it," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

    It all started with Saint FDR and the National Labor Relations Act or NLRB which got the government involved in labor/management relations. It is one of the prime reasons the auto unions have been able to suck the auto companies dry. It is a neat little trick they pull. They strike one auto company while letting the others operate. Thus the guys still working can support the guys still out on strike. What is an auto company to do? What do they do? Cave in to union demands or go out of business. Forty years of that and it looks like at least two of the big three will be going out of business anyway. Either that or they will become GSEs. That would be Government Sponsored Enterprises. Another way to put it is that they will become slush funds for Congress Critters.

    And it only gets better.

    In the Senate, opposition to the auto rescue wasn't limited to Republicans.

    Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana announced he was against the measure because of a provision to bail out transit agencies that were involved in transactions that are now considered unlawful tax shelters.

    Let me see here. If a little guy is engaged in an abusive tax shelter they can pay penalties and even go to jail. If city governments engage in such shenanigans Congress will pass a law making it all nice and legal like. Where can I buy a Congress Critter? Besides Illinois I mean. I wonder if they are selling in New York?

    And really. Congress is keeping an eagle eye on the the government purse.

    The carmakers initially asked Congress for $25 billion, then returned two weeks later to plead for as much as $34 billion. But with the White House refusing to dole out new spending for the Big Three, congressional Democrats agreed to use an existing program that was to help carmakers retool their factories to make more fuel-efficient cars.

    That fund yielded only $15 billion in emergency loans, and when negotiators agreed to leave some money in the environmental program, the amount fell to $14 billion.

    Democrats agreed to scrap language -- which the White House had called a deal-breaker -- that would have forced the carmakers to drop lawsuits challenging tough emissions limits in California and other states. But they kept a provision to force the automakers to abide by those states' limits -- a kind of consolation prize for environmentalists, who already were livid at the raid of the fuel-efficiency program.

    Senate Democrats unveiled a nearly identical measure that omitted the requirement, but that bill still faced long odds.

    At the White House, Deputy Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan said the Bush administration would work with President-elect Barack Obama's team on choosing industry czar.

    It looks like there are too many people working at cross purposes here. This has got to be a bonanza for the Congress critters who should be getting huge "donations" to their reelection funds.

    And what does our Smartest President Elect Ever™ have to say?

    "As messy as it may be, I think there's a sense of, 'Let's stabilize the patient,'" he said in an interview published in Wednesday's Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.

    The car czar would have say-so over any major business decisions by the automakers while they were taking advantage of federal aid, with veto power over any transaction of $100 million or more. The companies -- including the private equity firm Cerberus, which owns a majority stake in Chrysler -- would have to open their books to the government overseer.

    Stabilize the patient? I wonder what his cut is. Maybe his wife will get a seat on another company board.

    And the final kicker?

    Also included in the bill is an unrelated pay raise for federal judges.
    I don't think it is unrelated at all. It is how you keep the law from being declared null and void. Are the judges going to rule against their own interest? I think it is wise to keep in mind the near iron clad law of human nature - Honor dies where interest lies. Them Congress Critters are crafty in a low sort of way. Well. It is not their money.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Welcome Instapundit readers.

    posted by Simon at 07:43 AM | Comments (3)

    We Can't Sell The Damn Things

    Bob Lutz the operating head of General Motors says if Congress requires the car companies to build small ultra fuel efficient vehicles they will have to be sold at a loss. Now that is a truly brilliant way to help car companies that are losing money.

    Leave it to Bob Lutz, GM's voluble vice chairman, to puncture the unreality of the auto bailout he himself has been championing. In an email to Ward's Auto World, he notes an obvious flaw in Congress's rescue plan now taking shape: The fuel-efficient "green" cars GM, Ford and Chrysler profess to be thrilled to be developing at Congress's behest will be unsellable unless gas prices are much higher than today's.

    "Very few people will want to change what has been their 'nationality-given' right to drive big and bigger if the price of gas is $1.50 or $2.00 or even $2.50," Mr. Lutz explained. "Those prices will put the CAFE-mandated manufacturers at war with their customers -- and no one will win in that battle."

    Translation: To become "viable," as Congress chooses crazily to understand the term, the Big Three are setting out to squander billions on products that will have to be dumped on consumers at a loss.

    None of this was mentioned at four days of congressional bailout hearings, because Detroit knows better than to suggest Congress has a role in the industry's problem. Yet its own recently updated Corporate Average Fuel Economy regime, or CAFE, makes a mockery of the idea that government money will render the companies profitable, even as the same bailout bill demands that the Big Three drop their legal challenge to a California mileage mandate even more unsustainable than the federal government's.

    So will Congress raise gasoline taxes enough to price gasoline at $4 a gallon. In the middle of a recession? Are you nuts? Will they stiff arm the eco-nuts and lower CAFE requirements? Are you nuts? Will they allow the car companies to import high mileage vehicles from Europe and PO the American unions? Are you nuts?

    It looks to me like Congress has just bought some car companies.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:08 PM | Comments (9)

    Obama Lied, His Supporters Cried

    Television station KHQA reported that B. Obama met with Governor Blagojevich shortly after the election to discuss his replacement for the US Senate seat he was vacating.

    By Alexis Hunt - Saturday, November 08, 2008 at 9:48 p.m.

    QUINCY, IL -- Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

    Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss it. Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement. There's already been speculation about his selection...from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior to Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth.

    Duckworth made an appearance in Saturday's Veterans' parade in Quincy. We asked her about the possibility of filling Obama's seat.

    "The Governor's office confirmed yesterday that he is considering me and I am deeply honored jus to be considered. I hope whoever is selected is someone who is willing to travel around the state and gets to know this wonderful state. I'm just honored to be considered," Duckworth said.

    I guess Axelrod was telling the truth and Obama lied when he said he never talked with Blagojevich about the Senate seat. In fact you can listen to him lying if your interest is sufficiently prurient.

    That is so disappointing. The Smartest President Ever™ lied. And with Nobel Prize winner and former Next President of the United States Al Gore siting right next to him. Not to mention soon to be Vice President Joe Biden. And so many reporters witnessed it.

    He had better start doing a better job of covering his tracks or he will not last a year in office. And to think I thought he was telling the truth. I'll never make that mistake again.

    This seems to be unraveling much faster than the Second Rate Burglary did. I am so looking forward to the "I am not a crook" speech. I'm sure the Smartest President Ever™ will deliver it well. He is a graduate of Harvard you know. Not some podunk school in Idaho.

    Update: 11 Dec 008 0323z

    H/T to Instapundit for this update.

    It seems that station KHQA has deleted the story from their www site. JammieWearingFool has the details along with a screen shot and a link to Gateway Pundit. May I suggest you contact khqa@khqa.com and let them know what you think.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:41 PM | Comments (1)

    For Patrick Fitzgerald

    posted by Simon at 01:49 PM | Comments (1)

    Too bogged down to blog about a guy whose name I can't pronounce!

    I'm hoping readers will bear with me for the next few weeks. I'm in the middle of a big renovation project and time is of the essence, which leaves little time for blogging. However, just to show I care about what's going on in the real world, I actually took time out of my busy schedule to learn how to pronounce the name of the Illinois governor who was arrested for trying to sell Obama's Senate seat on ebay or something. (Regular commenter Chocolatier emailed me the link to the listing, but frankly, $99 million-plus is a bit steep!)

    The Illinois Governor's name looks unpronounceable, but it's pronounced "blog-GOY-a-vitch" -- which sounds like the son of a Gentile blogger... Plus, he's Serbian!

    Whether anyone has examined his birth certificate I don't know. However, it's worth noting that Hitler got bogged down in the Balkans too -- so perhaps I should give more thought to the notion that Obama is like Hitler.

    To be fair, it has been suggested that the Republicans' "culture of corruption" is responsible for this Democratic Serbian-American's seat-selling atrocities. You know things are really bad when Democrats are starting to sound like James Dobson. (I don't know much about this Blagojevich guy, but according to the traditional culture war analysis, the homos are probably to blame. Oh, yes....)

    All humor aside, I'm lucky to have a well-informed co-blogger from Illinois right now, as I simply cannot keep up with today's world.

    MORE: Speaking of keeping up with today's world, I was on PJTV's roundtable discussion about Blagojewich, Michael Steele, and the "call in gay for a day" nonsense.

    Don't miss it!

    posted by Eric at 11:35 AM | Comments (4)

    The Land Deal Explained

    The land deal between Tony Rezko and B. Obama for his house in Hyde Park is explained by GOP Mom. It is rather complicated but the bottom line is that Rezko subsidized Obama's purchase of the house and land giving Obama what amounted to at least a $130,000 discount.

    There are maps and pictures and lots of details. Read the whole thing if it interests you.

    The question is: what did Rezko (or who ever he was fronting for) get in return?

    And for amusement you can also read this 4 Nov 2008 piece claiming the FBI was asking questions about the land deal. I sure hope Barry knows some good lawyers. I am so looking forward to his "I am not a crook" speech.

    GOP Mom also has a nice bit on where Rezko got the money to buy the lot next to Obama's house.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 06:02 AM | Comments (4)

    Obama Has A Problem

    posted by Simon at 01:43 AM

    Listen To His Voice

    Watch CBS Videos Online

    Start the clip and then close your eyes while you listen to Obama's voice. Obama sounds shaky. In fact he sounds to me like a guy waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    Jake Tapper at his ABC News blog has a few words about Obama's relationship with "Hot Rod" Blagojevich.

    ...there are indications that Mr. Obama and his team refused to go along with the "pay to play" way Blagojevich is accused of operating, offering only "gratitude" if the governor appointed his friend Valerie Jarrett to take his U.S. Senate seat, much to the governor's chagrin.

    But there remain questions about how Blagojevich knew that Mr. Obama was not willing to give him anything in exchange for the Senate seat -- with whom was Blagojevich speaking? Did that person report the governor to the authorities?

    And, it should be pointed out, Mr. Obama has a relationship with Mr. Blagojevich, having not only endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and 2006, but having served as a top adviser to the Illinois governor in his first 2002 run for the state house.

    In the Democratic gubernatorial primary that year, then-state sen. Obama endorsed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris. But after Blagojevich won, Obama came around enthusiastically. At the same time, meanwhile, Axelrod had such serious concerns about whether Blagojevich was ready for governing he refused to work for his one-time client.

    According to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., Mr. Obama's incoming White House chief of staff, Emanuel, then-state senator Obama, a third Blagojevich aide, and Blagojevich's campaign co-chair, David Wilhelm, were the top strategists of Blagojevich's 2002 gubernatorial victory.

    Emanuel told the New Yorker earlier this year that he and Obama "participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod was running for governor. We basically laid out the general election, Barack and I and these two."

    But of course Obama was not in touch with Blagojevich about his vacated Senate seat. You know, I believe it. That is the kind of work handled by underlings and cut outs. Plausible deniability and all that. Got to keep the front man clean while underlings do the dirty work.

    Well it is early days yet. It took two years to bring Nixon down. Fortunately Obama has about a three month head start on Nixon's timetable. So will we see Obama resigning in March of 2010? Time will tell won't it?

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:19 PM | Comments (6)

    The Chicago Way

    posted by Simon at 04:36 PM

    Obama - No Contact With Blago On Senate Seat

    Obama said today that he had no contact with Democrat Governor Blagojevich of Illinois about the appointment to Obama's former Senate seat.

    CHICAGO (AP) - President-elect Barack Obama says he is saddened by allegations that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to trade favors for Obama's Senate seat--and says he had no contact with the governor or his office on the matter.
    Well that is a good thing. It would be bad if the Smartest President Ever™ was caught up in this whole Illinois corruption thing. I mean really bad.

    On Fox Chicago Sunday on the 23rd of November 2008 which was about 3 weeks after the election David Axelrod had a few interesting words on the subject.
    This morning, David Axelrod appeared on Fox Chicago Sunday and had some notable remarks on both the local and national fronts. He said that President-elect Barack Obama plans to stay out of Prairie State politics once in the White House and doesn't plan on being "a kingmaker or boss here in Illinois." When co-host Dane Placko asked him about the vacant U.S. Senate seat, Axelrod disclosed that the Obama has spoken to Gov. Blagojevich about his replacement.
    And you can watch the video at the link.

    I think it is past time that Obama got together with his team and compared notes in order to get their stories straight.

    You know what it reminds me of? The beginnings of the Watergate scandal. Subtle details of people's stories do not match. Funny though that didn't start happening to Nixon until he had been in office for a month or two. It looks like Obama has a three month head start on Nixon.

    Can any one imagine Joe Biden as President? Or Hillary as VP?

    Thankfully the Obama administration will be the most transparent ever. Just like the Democrat Congress is the most open and honest government in history.

    Our first Black President (if you don't count Bill Clinton). And possibly our first impeached Black President (if you don't count Bill Clinton). And the possibly our first Black President to resign. And possibly our first Black President to do jail time. Unless Biden pardons him. A lot of possible firsts there. And one for sure first.

    Fortunately he is the Smartest President Ever™. We are so lucky.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:20 PM | Comments (6)

    Obama And The SEIU

    An interesting Atlantic Magazine article from 17 September 2007.

    WASHINGTON, D.C -- A charged-up Sen. Barack Obama begged politically active members of the Service Employees union to join his "movement" to reform the Democratic Party.

    "The question I ask SEIU members is, not "Who is talking about your agenda?" but "Who can change politics in Washington to make that a reality," Obama said. "Change starts by making sure a Democrat is in the White House. Change doesn't end just because a Democrat is in the White House. It's time to turn the page on the old way of doing business."

    In many ways, it was the longest sustained encapsulation of Obama's complex, primary argument that a Washington, D.C. audience has heard. It was heavy on passion and sloganeering and comparatively free of the nuance that marks that Obama's regular stump speech.

    SEIU's members are temperamentally suited to Obama; he is a longtime friend of Chicago's SEIU Local 880 and worked closely with the union as an organizer and later as a state legislator.

    Obama entered the ballroom to cheers, but he left to a sustained chorus of chants: "Obama!, Obama!" The SEIU president, Andy Stern, had to calm his members: ""Everybody take your seats, please. We have other candidates."

    Now what are the odds that the Smartest President Ever™ had nothing to do with the corruption in Illinois that involved the SEIU?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:07 PM | Comments (5)

    Blagojevich And The SEIU

    From pdf page 62 of the Blagojevich indictment [pdf] (page 60 as the indictment is numbered).

    Later on November 7, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH discussed the open Senate seat in a three-way call with JOHN HARRIS and Advisor B, a Washington D.C.-based consultant. ROD BLAGOJEVICH indicated in the call that if he was appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Services by the President-elect, then ROD BLAGOJEVICH would appoint Senate Candidate 1 to the open Senate seat. HARRIS stated "we wanted our ask to be reasonable and rather than make it look like some sort of selfish grab for a quid pro quo." ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he needs to consider his family and that he is "financially" hurting. HARRIS said that they are considering what will help the "financial security" of the Blagojevich family and what will keep ROD BLAGOJEVICH "politically viable." ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated, "I want to make money." During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH, HARRIS, and Advisor B discussed the prospect of working a three-way deal for the open Senate seat. HARRIS noted that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is interested in taking a high-paying position with an organization called "Change to Win," which is connected to Service Employees International Union ("SEIU"). HARRIS suggested that SEIU Official make ROD BLAGOJEVICH the head of Change to Win and, in exchange, the President-elect could help Change to Win with its legislative agenda on a national level.

    Advisor B asked why SEIU Official cannot just give the job to ROD BLAGOJEVICH. HARRIS responded that it would be just a big "give away" for SEIU Official and Change to Win since there are already individuals on the Change to Win payroll doing the functions of the position that would be created for ROD BLAGOJEVICH. HARRIS said that Change to Win will want to trade the job for ROD BLAGOJEVICH for something from the President-elect. HARRIS suggested a "three-way deal," and explained that a three-way deal like the one discussed would give the President-elect a "buffer so there is no obvious quid pro quo for [Senate Candidate 1]." ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that for him to give up the governorship for the Change to Win position, the Change to Win position must pay a lot more than he is getting paid right now. Advisor B said that he liked the idea of the three-way deal. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he is interested in making $250,000 to $300,000 and being on some organization boards. Advisor B said they should leverage the President-elect's desire to have Senate Candidate 1 appointed to the Senate seat in order to get a head position with Change to Win and a salary. Advisor B agreed that the three-way deal would be a better plan than ROD BLAGOJEVICH appointing Senate Candidate 2 to the Senate seat and getting more done as Governor.

    On November 8, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with JOHN HARRIS about the Senate seat. During the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and HARRIS discussed whether it would be possible to obtain a financial benefit for ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife in relation to the Senate seat. Specifically, ROD BLAGOJEVICH referred to his wife's Series 7 license and asked "is there a play here, with these guys, with her" to work for a firm in Washington or New York at a significantly better salary than she is making now. Also, ROD BLAGOJEVICH wanted to know whether SEIU could do something to get his wife a position at Change to Win until ROD BLAGOJEVICH could take a position at Change to Win.

    Now what are the odds that Obama had nothing to do with all this?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 01:36 PM | Comments (4)

    The Rezko Land Deal

    With the indictment of Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich the Rezko deal with Mr. B. Obama is back to the front burner in terms of figuring out if the Smartest President Ever™ was involved in any of the corruption.

    A former Illinois bank official, now claiming whistleblower status, says bank officials replaced a loan reappraisal that he prepared for a Chicago property that was purchased by the wife of now-convicted felon Tony Rezko, part of which was later sold to next-door neighbor Barack Obama.

    In a complaint filed Thursday in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Kenneth J. Connor said that his reappraisal of Rita Rezko's property was replaced with a higher one and that he was fired when he questioned the document.

    Mr. Connor, a real estate and commercial credit analyst at the Mutual Bank Corp. in Chicago, also noted in the complaint that the bank received a grand jury subpoena in October 2006 requiring it to produce information concerning Mrs. Rezko's purchase, including the bank's files on the property.

    The complaint also said that the grand jury wanted information on Mrs. Rezko's checking account and loan file and that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) had audited the Rezko file - although Mr. Connor's lower reappraisal had been replaced with a higher amount.

    Now what are the odds that the Smartest President Ever™ wasn't in the mix? Also note that one of the Smartest President Ever's™ union backers, the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), was involved in the corruption investigation.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 01:05 PM | Comments (2)

    Allegations Against the Governor Of Illinois

    It all started with the friend of the Smartest President Ever™ Tony Rezko. Patrick Fitzgerald was the lead US Attorney in the case.

    * Democrat Rod Blagojevich wanted the Chicago Tribune to fire editorial staff in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium which is owned by the Tribune Co.

    * Blagojevich was taking bids for the US Senate seat vacated by Mr. B. Obama. He wanted to be appointed to Secretary of Health & Human Services in the Obama administration or a fat paycheck union job in exchange for appointing a union friendly Senator favored by the (unnamed union).

    * Naming Ali Ata to a high level position in the State of Illinois in exchange for a $25,000 donation to Friends of Blagojevich. Ata was to be given a job where "he could make some money".

    * When Blagojevich was a member of the United States House of Representatives he asked Ata for his support in a run for higher office. Ata said that Rezko was very involved in fund raising for Blagojevich.

    * Joseph Cari has testified that Blagojevich wanted to run for President of the United States. Evidently the Smartest President Ever™ who was a good friend of Tony Rezko beat him to the job.

    * Cari testified that he eventually became involved in the attempted extortion of JER, a real estate investment firm that was seeking an investment from the Teachers Retirement System ("TRS"). Details regarding corruption at TRS involving one of its board members, Stuart Levine.

    * Stuart Levine a member of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board was soliciting bribes in exchange for board action. Levine testified under oath at the Rezko Trial. Levine further admitted to defrauding a medical school and a charitable organization which he controlled out of additional millions of dollars. Mercy Hospital wanted to build a hospital in Illinois. In order to get a construction permit they were required to make a donation.

    Jeeze. I'm only up to page 23 of the 78 page indictment. And the indictment does not claim to list all of Blagojevich's crimes. Only enough to get him arrested.

    Now think of what will happen if the Federal Government gets deeper into the practice of medicine. Well you know how it goes. When politicians control what is bought and sold the first thing bought and sold is politicians.

    You can read the whole indictment here.

    There is already talk in Illinois about impeaching the Governor. State Senator Dave Syverson discussed it on WNTA radio in Rockford and on a local Rockford TV station.

    You know if the friend and next door neighbor of the Smartest President Ever™ Tony Rezko spilled all the beans there is a very good chance that the new guy will not be taking office or will be taking office under a cloud.

    I'm looking forward to his "I am not a crook" speech. It should be one for the ages. If I was the Smartest President Ever™ I'd be laying low and doing nothing in the first 100 days of my administration and the other 1,361 days as well because everybody would be looking over my shoulder to see who paid for what.

    John McCain said he was going to be naming names. Evidently Rezko has dropped enough names to make that temporarily unnecessary. You know if Palin runs on a clean out the bums platform I'd vote for her next chance I got.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:53 AM

    Hitler wasn't born in Hawaii either!
    And you don't have to pay taxes!

    There's been some discussion in the comments to this post about whether the Constitution matters in the case of Barack Obama's birth certificate (which I have discussed in countless posts.

    Basically, the State of Hawaii certifies Obama was born there (which satisfies the legal standard), and the Truthers (based on unverifiable Internet rumors) say he wasn't.

    Of course the Constitution matters. But is the name of a Hawaiian hospital a constitutional issue? Furthermore, in the case of Donofrio that the Supreme Court refused to hear yesterday, the plaintiff even concedes that Obama was born in Hawaii, yet claims that the non-citizenship of his father makes him other than "natural born." While his claim may be grounded in the Constitution, it is patently frivolous.

    All the more reason for the kooks to get behind it!

    BTW, the 16th Amendment was never properly ratified! So not only don't you have to pay your taxes, paying them is unconstitutional!

    Hear hear!

    Then there's Hilmar von Campe.

    His argument is that because he was in the Hitler Youth, he knows Nazism better than most people, and because Obama's followers remind him of the Hitler Youth, America is in the last stages of the Weimar Republic, so Obama will be our Hitler!

    "Every day brings this nation closer to a Nazi-style totalitarian abyss," writes von Campe, now a U.S. citizen, and author of "Defeating the Totalitarian Lie: A Former Hitler Youth Warns America."

    "Today in America we are witnessing a repeat performance of the tragedy of 1933 when an entire nation let itself be led like a lamb to the Socialist slaughterhouse. This time, the end of freedom is inevitable unless America rises to her mission and destiny."

    So declared von Campe on the "conservative" Michael Savage's radio show.
    The Savage Nation is listed in the top 3 syndicated talk shows alongside Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, reaching 8 million listeners on 400 stations throughout the United States daily.
    Which is proof that telling people what they want to hear sells. Millions of people are attracted to what they want to believe.

    Glenn Sacks takes issue with von Campe's claims:

    "Hilmar points to events surrounding the election of Barack Hussein Obama as reminiscent of the way the Nazi regime came to power." Oh, really? Tell me, are Jews or other minorities being attacked and beaten in the streets by Obama's jackbooted thugs? Are their business and homes being vandalized or attacked? Are workers who support labor unions being terrorized? Does Obama have an army of hundreds of thousands of stormtroopers in the streets beating, attacking, and threatening all who disagree with him?

    To even compare the two is to paper over and dismiss what happened to the Jews of Germany. I'm a pretty mediocre Jew and I'm not normally sensitive to anti-Semitism, but this is too much.

    Remarking on the slaughter of civilians, Sacks concludes,
    To draw a line connecting Hitler and Obama is beyond ludicrous, and Christian Newswire should be embarassed for colluding in it.
    Embarrassed? They'll probably just turn up the volume. The point is that it sells. When people are upset, they need a tonic for their emotions. Conspiracy theories provide that tonic. (It's easier to cling to the birth certificate theories than face the reality that a majority of the country voted for Barack Obama.)

    That's why they're flexible enough to change according to the facts, and why they never go away. Obama wasn't born here, and even if he was, he wasn't "natural born." Plus, he's a Nazi!

    A leading Hitler Youth expert on the Michael Savage Show says so!

    So don't pay your taxes!

    posted by Eric at 11:45 AM | Comments (7)

    Illinois Governor Arrested

    Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been taken into custody by Federal authorities. All times are Central Standard Time Which is GMT -6.

    Updated at 9:08 a.m.: Blagojevich and Harris were arrested simultaneously at their homes at about 6:15 a.m., according to the FBI. Both were awakened in their residences and transported to FBI headquarters in Chicago, where they remained at 9 a.m.

    Updated at 9 a.m.: Blagojevich is slated to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan today at a time that has not yet been scheduled, according to Randall Samborn of the U.S. attorney's office.

    Updated at 8:57 a.m.: On the issue of the U.S. Senate selection, federal prosecutors alleged Blagojevich sought appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the new Obama administration, or a lucrative job with a union in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate.

    Blagojevich and Harris conspired to demand the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of Blagojevich in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium owned by Tribune Co.

    Blagojevich and Harris, along with others, obtained and sought to gain financial benefits for the governor, members of his family and his campaign fund in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state jobs and state contracts.

    "The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.
    "They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."

    Follow the link and read it all. You can also read the complaint here [pdf].

    If Obama is involved (how can he have avoided it?) he is so screwed.

    H/T a local friend by phone

    posted by Simon at 10:20 AM | Comments (5)

    Bubbles Are A Feature

    Virginia Postrel takes a look at economic experiments that show that economic bubbles are inevitable.

    For more than two decades, economists have been running versions of the same experiment. They take a bunch of volunteers, usually undergraduates but sometimes businesspeople or graduate students; divide them into experimental groups of roughly a dozen; give each person money and shares to trade with; and pay dividends of 24 cents at the end of each of 15 rounds, each lasting a few minutes. (Sometimes the 24 cents is a flat amount; more often there's an equal chance of getting 0, 8, 28, or 60 cents, which averages out to 24 cents.) All participants are given the same information, but they can't talk to one another and they interact only through their trading screens. Then the researchers watch what happens, repeating the same experiment with different small groups to get a larger picture.

    The great thing about a laboratory experiment is that you can control the environment. Wall Street securities carry uncertainties--more, lately, than many people expected--but this experimental security is a sure thing. "The fundamental value is unambiguously defined," says the economist Charles Noussair, a professor at Tilburg University, in the Netherlands, who has run many of these experiments. "It's the expected value of the future dividend stream at any given time": 15 times 24 cents, or $3.60 at the end of the first round; 14 times 24 cents, or $3.36 at the end of the second; $3.12 at the end of the third; and so on down to zero. Participants don't even have to do the math. They can see the total expected dividends on their computer screens.

    Here, finally, is a security with security--no doubt about its true value, no hidden risks, no crazy ups and downs, no bubbles and panics. The trading price should stick close to the expected value.

    At least that's what economists would have thought before Vernon Smith, who won a 2002 Nobel Prize for developing experimental economics, first ran the test in the mid-1980s. But that's not what happens. Again and again, in experiment after experiment, the trading price runs up way above fundamental value. Then, as the 15th round nears, it crashes. The problem doesn't seem to be that participants are bored and fooling around. The difference between a good trading performance and a bad one is about $80 for a three-hour session, enough to motivate cash-strapped students to do their best. Besides, Noussair emphasizes, "you don't just get random noise. You get bubbles and crashes." Ninety percent of the time.

    Long before the housing market crashed nearly every one knew that housing prices were unsustainable. And yet despite that knowledge prices kept rising and investments in the housing stock kept rising. And not just in America where Fannie and Freddie were pouring gasoline on the fire. It was happening in Europe (worse than America) and China too. And while the housing bubble was in full swing we had an oil bubble at the same time fueled by peak oil scares - you know - buy now because we are running out and what is left can only get more valuable. I guess the Peak Oil folks peaked a little too soon.

    My prediction for the next bubble? Alternative energy which is for sure going to be he Next Big Thing. Money has been pouring in to that sector and I'd say now was the time to get in. Then sell when your money has doubled. It may go higher but why get caught holding the bag when the crash comes?

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:25 AM | Comments (2)

    Czarist America

    Yeah. We have a Drug Czar. An Energy Czar. And coming soon to an American company near you: an Auto Czar. And no - the czar will not be into self rule. He is going to rule auto companies who take government money.

    WASHINGTON - A federal "car czar" would oversee a government-run restructuring of U.S. auto companies in return for a $15 billion bailout of the beleaguered industry under an emerging deal between the White House and Congress.

    Negotiators worked through the night Monday narrowing differences on a bill to rush short-term loans to the struggling carmakers through a plan that requires that the industry reinvent itself to survive -- and pay back the government if it doesn't. The package could come to a vote as early as Wednesday.

    The measure would put a government overseer named by President George W. Bush in charge of setting guidelines for an industry wide overhaul, with the power to revoke the loans if the automakers fail to do what's necessary to become viable.

    At least the transplant auto makers will not be involved. They have their own governments propping them up. I guess nearly all the auto companies of the world will be on equal footing now. Pity. At least for the time being Ford remains independent.

    There is one small ray of hope in this march to corporate socialism.

    Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., a key ally of the auto industry, said getting the roughly 15 Republicans needed to support the plan was an uphill battle.

    "This is a real hill to climb even if we can get agreement between the White House and congressional leaders," he said.

    I wonder why they need 15 Republicans? Ten or eleven ought to be enough to end a filibuster. Does that mean all the Democrats in the current Senate are not on board? I hope so.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:14 AM

    Born in the USA?

    Today is Obama Birth Certificate D-Day in the Supreme Court, which will most likely not vote to hear the various claims that Obama was not born in the United States (or that even if he was, that he's still not "natural born").

    David Horowitz is fed up with the Birth Certificate Truthers, and expresses his thoughts in a piece titled "Obama Derangement Syndrome -- Shut up about the birth certificate."

    The continuing efforts of a fringe group of conservatives to deny Obama his victory and to lay the basis for the claim that he is not a legitimate president is embarrassing and destructive. The fact that these efforts are being led by Alan Keyes, a demagogue who lost a Senate election to the then-unknown Obama by 42 points, should be a warning in itself.
    Horowitz doesn't think the movement is conservative so much as it is "sore loserism,"
    and quite radical in its intent. Respect for election results is one of the most durable bulwarks of our unity as a nation. Conservatives need to accept the fact that we lost the election, and get over it; and get on with the important business of reviving our country's economy and defending its citizens, and -- by the way -- its Constitution.
    They won't, though. Conspiracy theories appeal to people who want things made easy.

    At the core is emotional satisfaction. If you're unhappy or you feel screwed, it's more appealing to imagine a great plot than grapple with ordinary, often tough-to-explain realities that are sometimes little more than quirks of fate. It's like waiting in miles of congested freeway; it always helps to know that there's an accident and where it is -- not just miles of traffic. People want to find explanations, enemies, and malignant causes. (The mapping and charting instinct, perhaps?)

    That's why, if Barack Obama is an alien who "stole" the election, it's much more satisfying than if he was born in Hawaii.

    posted by Eric at 11:15 PM | Comments (6)

    We Ain't Bustin No White People

    The guy speaking is Federal Marshall Matt Fog.

    Here is a partial transcript (probably not exact but it gets the heart of the talk) starting from a little over one minute in and going for about 3 minutes:


    The numbers are atrocious when you start talking about who the drug war is targeting and who actually goes to jail.

    One story that I'm going to tell you real quick that made me bring it to reality when we were setting up our gun and drug and addiction task force over in DEA.

    We were targeting cities like Chicago, New York, Baltimore, Washington, DC.

    We would target like 7 or 8 cities and do these 90 day day dragnets where we try to go in swoop down on the communities and lock up as many people as we could.

    So I raised the issue one day and there weren't too many African Americans that were in command level positions but I was in one of those and I said but look if we are going to do these dragnet operations what about Potomac? You think they use drugs out in Potomac? And it was like - And I said What about Springfield? And places like that? I was naming all these places. I'm thinking it is like an equal opportunity enforcement operation.

    We going to attack drugs lets go get them all. Lets throw them all in jail. Lets do this thing right.

    The supervisor the special agent in charge pulled me aside and he said Fog let me talk to you for a minute. Look here man.

    And he said you know you are right. They do drugs out there.

    And I said I know they do. According to the crime statistics they do more than we. They do more than people in the the inner cities.

    He said to me. And you know what he said Fog you are right. Guess what man. We start locking these folks up. And he said you know what? We are going to get a phone call. And you know what that phone call is going to say? Shut it down. And guess what? There goes your overtime.

    And man I'm going to tell you that it hit me like a ton of bricks.

    Cause then I said man this is ethnic cleansing. I said now you got me being part of going into my neighborhood going after mine because I can't go out there because they know judges, lawyers, and congressmen. I said no that is not going to work here.

    What we got to understand when we are talking about the community - but you have a right not to trust law enforcement. I hate saying that. I spent 30 years in it.

    I had to fight bigots with badges working next to me.

    This isn't right you hit him ten times and you didn't need to hit him ten times.

    But Fog why should you care? We all making money. We doing well - it wasn't your son, it wasn't your daughter.


    So there you have it from the mouth of a Federal Marshall. The Drug War is a program for putting colored folks in jail for profit. And surprise: according to Drug War History that was the design from the beginning.

    It was never about the danger of drugs. That is a cover story. It was always about locking up minorities so cops would have jobs, Federal Marshalls would have jobs, prison guards would have jobs, judges would have jobs, lawyers would have jobs and taxpayers would get fleeced to pay for it all because of anti-drug hysteria whipped up by the government and a complicit media.

    But the funny thing is (well maybe not so funny) as a friend of mine was saying in a phone conversation last night: "no one gives a damn". Now maybe "no one" is a little strong. Hardly any one is probably closer to the mark. But for all the "we are over the race thing in America" attitudes we are now congratulating ourselves about since the last election what are the real attitudes? "Just a bunch of n****** in jail. Pay it no mind. Besides drugs are bad m'kay?" But when drugs are easier for kids to get than beer you have to ask yourself - what is the real purpose of the policy? Obviously it is not about protecting the children.

    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:05 AM | Comments (21)

    The Very Latest In Conspiracy Theories

    It is getting difficult to keep up with all the conspiracy theories floating around the 'net but, I do my best. The latest is Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars. It discusses a kind of information warfare where the warriors get populations to work against themselves.

    Silent weapon technology has evolved from Operations Research (O.R.), a strategic and tactical methodology developed under the Military Management in England during World War II. The original purpose of Operations Research was to study the strategic and tactical problems of air and land defense with the objective of effective use of limited military resources against foreign enemies (i.e., logistics).

    It was soon recognized by those in positions of power that the same methods might be useful for totally controlling a society. But better tools were necessary.

    Social engineering (the analysis and automation of a society) requires the correlation of great amounts of constantly changing economic information (data), so a high-speed computerized data-processing system was necessary which could race ahead of the society and predict when society would arrive for capitulation.

    It is clear that early computers did not have near enough capacity to map out large populations. Today? No problem.
    Energy is recognized as the key to all activity on earth. Natural science is the study of the sources and control of natural energy, and social science, theoretically expressed as economics, is the study of the sources and control of social energy. Both are bookkeeping systems: mathematics. Therefore, mathematics is the primary energy science. And the bookkeeper can be king if the public can be kept ignorant of the methodology of the bookkeeping.

    All science is merely a means to an end. The means is knowledge. The end is control. Beyond this remains only one issue: Who will be the beneficiary?

    In 1954 this was the issue of primary concern. Although the so-called "moral issues" were raised, in view of the law of natural selection it was agreed that a nation or world of people who will not use their intelligence are no better than animals who do not have intelligence. Such people are beasts of burden and steaks on the table by choice and consent.

    Consequently, in the interest of future world order, peace, and tranquillity, it was decided to privately wage a quiet war against the American public with an ultimate objective of permanently shifting the natural and social energy (wealth) of the undisciplined and irresponsible many into the hands of the self-disciplined, responsible, and worthy few.

    Of course that is always the dream of folks who imagine themselves as arbiters of Power and Control. Individual liberty is just so messy.
    In order to achieve a totally predictable economy, the low-class elements of society must be brought under total control, i.e., must be housebroken, trained, and assigned a yoke and long-term social duties from a very early age, before they have an opportunity to question the propriety of the matter. In order to achieve such conformity, the lower-class family unit must be disintegrated by a process of increasing preoccupation of the parents and the establishment of government-operated day-care centers for the occupationally orphaned children.

    The quality of education given to the lower class must be of the poorest sort, so that the moat of ignorance isolating the inferior class from the superior class is and remains incomprehensible to the inferior class. With such an initial handicap, even bright lower class individuals have little if any hope of extricating themselves from their assigned lot in life. This form of slavery is essential to maintain some measure of social order, peace, and tranquillity for the ruling upper class.

    Ah yes. Slave revolts and the elevation of serfs can be so inconvenient.


    Well you get the idea. Is there any truth to this? Maybe. I have always thought the clamor for CO2 control under the rubric of Global Warming was rather suspicious myself. Or for that matter the War On Drugs. What better way to develop a police force in excess of the requirements of crime control than to get police chasing plants and plant products. And you will note that with the advent of SWAT teams and the militarization of police in general there now exists a force ready to enforce any laws passed by the legislature. Just what any conspiracy needs. An evil army of ready enforcers.

    Well any way whether it is a conspiracy or just a confluence of interests America does seem to be heading down the path of reduced Liberty. Except for a few pesky folks always gumming up the works.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 01:14 AM | Comments (5)

    Privatizing Big Brother?

    Here's something for libertarians and privacy lovers to chew on.

    A guy living in San Francisco's sleazy Tenderloin District got so fed up with the crime outside his apartment window that he installed a live webcam with a dedicated web site. Now that the entire world can witness crimes in his 'hood, they're calling the SFPD:

    Jackson, 22, moved to the city in June from a small beach town in Florida and quickly discovered the realities of San Francisco real estate. Prices were so high that he said he "jumped on the first place I found."

    It turned out to be on Taylor Street, just across from Glide Memorial Church. It's an ideal location - for watching crack deals, late-night violence and random crazy behavior.

    "By the third night I was basically fed up with the crime and noise," Jackson said. "I didn't really have a plan. I just put the Webcam up, my girlfriend made a little Web page to display it, and here we are."

    If you haven't checked out adamsblock.com, you are missing one of the greatest at-work time-killers ever to pop up on your monitor. There are two cameras, both on 24 hours a day, and a real-time chat room that crackles with activity. And no wonder - there is always something to talk about.

    Jackson's camera has caught a man throwing himself into the side of a bus, apparently hoping to work an injury scam. It didn't work. The bus didn't stop. Viewers have also watched fights, car chases and break-ins.

    If it sounds like an idea that might attract a crowd, you're right. After clips were posted on YouTube, the original group of 50 viewers grew to more than 500,000.

    A dot-com company gave Jackson a high-resolution camera and Lefty O'Doul's, the nearby restaurant, chipped in for a microphone. Jackson got the new camera Monday and started the improved site Tuesday.

    The results have been pretty dramatic. In three days, adamsblock.com has had 80,000 views and 25,000 visitors, a remarkable 40 percent of whom live outside the United States. On Friday, a woman from the United Kingdom joined the regulars in competing to see who could be first to identify the number stamped on the trunk of taxis that drive by.

    "At any given time," Jackson said, "there is an average of over 100 people in the chat room."

    And some of the vistors are calling 911 to report crimes:
    ...With people watching at all hours of the day and night, some of them have watched crimes taking place. Viewers picked up the phone and called 911, and the police arrived in no time flat.
    Criminals have been fleeing to other neighborhoods to avoid the private camera, and a police spokesman notes that they are more effective than the government cameras. So the idea is spreading:
    Jackson knows how effective the private cameras can be. Late one night when three characters stood on his sidewalk yelling, "We're going to shoot you," Jackson knew he was on to something.

    Now Jackson, who said his day job is as a social media consultant, is eager to take this to the next level. He says if interested people in high-crime areas e-mail him ( adam@dailytechtalk.com), he will help set up a camera. He only asks that the new sites split any advertising revenue with him. Jackson envisions a network of cameras, tied together through a single Web site, so viewers can keep an eye on the streets at all hours.

    Of course, that was the original idea behind the city's cameras. The problem is that they've become so entangled in red tape that they are rarely effective. Private operators, like Jackson, may be a real alternative.

    As someone who fears big government, I like the idea of privatizing privacy concerns. Not only can you sue a private camera operator for genuine invasions of privacy, but they're not cops, so they can't make misdemeanor arrests or issue tickets for things like speeding, littering, or other infractions. However, big shot celebrity types who think they can go slumming around doing whatever they want might need to think again. These private operators can sell pictures to tabloids.

    The downside is that technology leads inexorably to a loss of privacy everywhere, and basically universal surveillance. (As Arianna Huffington and Don Fowler learned, someone is always watching.)

    Whether that's a downside would depend on who's doing what while who's watching.

    And whether more people care about the watchers, or about the watched.

    posted by Eric at 01:43 PM | Comments (7)

    Arresting The Drug War

    Barry Cooper a former narcotics officer has decided to turn the tables on his old buddies. It is not pretty. Unless of course you consider just deserts pretty. Also note that the girl they are trying to get out of jail, Yolanda Madden, is white. As I keep saying - if enforcement on the white community was handled the same way that it is handled on the black community the drug war wouldn't last a month. And occasionally the police overstep their bounds. They forget their place. They forget that white people have money and friends and damn good imaginations.
    Barry Cooper, a former Texas police officer with eight years of specialty in drug interdiction, first made waves when he released the film "Never Get Busted Again," a how-to guide for evading police drug seizures.

    Austin, Texas-based Cooper's latest project is not nearly so benign, and will likely generate for the former drug warrior an army of enemies in law enforcement.

    'KopBusters' is a reality TV program that aims to sink crooked officers.

    "KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana," claims a release from NeverGetBusted.com "When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house."

    "The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster's attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster's secret mobile office nearby.

    Of course the police need to bust a certain number of white folks to keep the drug war from looking like a racist enterprise.

    So how do police turn false arrests into convictions? Testilying.

    Testilying is U. S. police slang for the practice of giving false testimony against a defendant in a criminal trial, typically for the purpose of "making a stronger case" against someone they believe to be guilty, although it may also be for the purpose of framing an innocent defendant.

    The word and its meaning have been publicized by defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, notably in a 1994 New York Times article, "Accomplices to Perjury," in which he said:

    As I read about the disbelief expressed by some prosecutors... I thought of Claude Rains's classic response, in Casablanca on being told there was gambling in Rick's place: "I'm shocked--shocked." For anyone who has practiced criminal law in the state or Federal courts, the disclosures about rampant police perjury cannot possibly come as a surprise. "Testilying"--as the police call it--has long been an open secret among prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges.
    There seems to be little doubt that the practice occurs, is not limited to any region of the country, and that "testilying" is a common name for it. A 2003 Boston Globe editorial noted:
    In the early 1990s, the Mollen Commission peeled away layers of falsehood in the New York City Police Department, including false statements on warrant applications, creation of confidential informants out of whole cloth, and lies told to establish probable cause for stopping and searching vehicles. So-called "testilying," however, is not limited to any one area or police department. The problem has become so acute that juries nationwide routinely express skepticism about law enforcement testimony, such as drugs found "in plain view."
    The LAPD is said to call the practice "joining the liars' club."
    I'd say what we have here is a break down of law and order.

    Once the system starts turning on itself the end is nigh. Which is why organizations like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition can make such a big difference in putting an end to this travesty and tragedy. This new reality show can't hurt either.

    You can watch a YouTube video of the cops aw shit moment. And a visit to the Never Get Busted Forums might be of interest as well.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 09:13 AM

    It Was 67 Years Ago Today

    Today is Remember Pearl Harbor Day. It marks the entry of the USA into WW II.

    You can listen to a bit of Roosevelt's A day that will live in Infamy speech by clicking the link.

    At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Prange is probably the most comprehensive book on the subject. I reread it often and learn something new every time. It is by my bedside right now.

    Let me add that I am glad we are friends with the Japanese. They have been stalwart friends since the end of WW2 and I'd like to see it stay that way.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:35 AM | Comments (4)

    More unenforceable edicts and orders?

    Never known for respecting the limits of its jurisdictional authority, the Berkeley City Council is considering a resolution demanding the indictment of Boalt Law Professor John Yoo for "war crimes." And -- get this -- they're also considering "ordering" Boalt to offer alternatives to Yoo's courses:

    Berkeley's City Council will delve into national policy again next week when it votes whether to demand the United States charge Berkeley resident and former Bush adviser John Yoo with war crimes.

    Yoo, a tenured professor at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, wrote the memos offering legal justification for torture while he worked for the White House from 2001 to 2003.

    The five measures attacking Yoo were drafted by the city's Peace and Justice Commission, the same group that recommended that the city tell the Marines they were "unwelcome intruders."

    The City Council will vote Monday on the five measures. In addition to demanding that Yoo be charged with war crimes, the city will decide whether to order Boalt to offer alternatives to Yoo's courses, so no student is forced to take a class from him if they don't want to. Yoo has taught constitutional and international law at Boalt since 1993.

    Several professors teach constitutional and international law each semester, and no student would be forced to enroll in Yoo's class, said Boalt spokeswoman Susan Gluss.

    "We respect the politics of Berkeley, home of the free speech movement, and their right to debate this issue," Gluss said. "They can pass this measure, but it won't have any bearing on the university's policy."

    I guess the city enjoys looking asinine.

    To be fair, a couple of city councilmembers (councilmen? Is that the latest PCese?) have reservations based on academic freedom:

    At least two councilmen are less than enthused about the measure.

    "I certainly am not in agreement with this professor's justifications for torture, but this measure seems to fly in the face of a good liberal arts education," said Councilman Laurie Capitelli. "Taking a course from a professor with whom you disagree is a healthy intellectual challenge."

    Capitelli also said the city council should be devoting its time to issues within its own borders, such as crime and zoning, instead of national and international affairs.

    Councilman Gordon Wozniak agreed.

    "I don't think we should be telling the university what courses they can and can't teach," he said.

    Not only shouldn't they tell them, they can't.

    The Berkeley government reminds me of King Canute.

    But I love the place dearly. Here's today's sunset:


    It will set again tomorrow.

    (Yes, even if the city council passes a "sunset provision" ordering it not to....)

    posted by Eric at 08:24 PM | Comments (6)

    First We Kill All The Drug Users

    Well not exactly all the drug users, only the casual ones. If you are dressed up in a suit or even better an evening dress or a tuxedo I guess you will be let off the hook. Say isn't that the way it works already? Yes it is. The well off go to rehab the poor go to jail.

    In any case let us take a look at what Daryl "kill the casual drug users" Gates has to say.

    EL PASO -- Sometimes controversial and always outspoken, former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates said Thursday that casual drug users in the U.S. are at the root of the violence in Juarez and should be shot.

    Gates was in El Paso to speak at a ceremony for graduating peace officers.

    Gates, who led the Los Angeles Police Department from 1978 to 1992, also predicted that the violence in Juarez would spill over into El Paso and that law enforcement agencies on the U.S. side should be prepared.

    "I don't think the people in the United States are grasping what a serious problem it is. Mexico has lost more people in a very short period of time than those lost in Iraq or Afghanistan," he said.

    "I think, you know, I have such a low opinion of the people in the United States who continue to use drugs. They are really responsible for what's happening in Mexico -- they really are. We go along every day. We don't take that responsibility that we ought to assume. Somebody asked me one time about casual drug users, I said they ought to take them out and shoot them."

    I propose an alternative solution requiring a lot less killing: suppose we just shoot the prohibition enforcers and let drug stores sell drugs.

    Now there is a very novel idea. Drug stores selling drugs. Who ever thought of that idea was a genius. Well smarter than Daryl Gates anyway. In any case I think a little compromise is in order. Say we let drug stores sell drugs and let prohibition enforces find other work. Maybe they could be trained to track down murders, burglars, and General Motors executives.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:33 PM | Comments (8)

    "even if he were to produce an original birth certificate proving he were born on U.S. soil, he still wouldn't be eligible to be president."
    So argues Leo C. Donofrio, whose pending case in the United States Supreme Court seeks to have Barack Obama disqualified on the grounds that he is not a natural born citizen. According to Donofrio's novel reasoning, if one parent of a baby born in the United States is not a United States citizen, that child is not a "natural born citizen" under the Constitution and can never be president.
    No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the Office of President;
    That's it right there. (Emphasis added.)
    The Framers wanted to make themselves eligible to be President, but they didn't want future generations to be Governed by a Commander In Chief who had split loyalty to another Country. The Framers were comfortable making an exception for themselves. They did, after all, create the Constitution. But they were not comfortable with the possibility of future generations of Presidents being born under the jurisdiction of Foreign Powers, especially Great Britain and its monarchy, who the Framers and Colonists fought so hard in the American Revolution to be free of.

    The Framers declared themselves not eligible to be President as "natural born Citizens", so they wrote the grandfather clause in for the limited exception of allowing themselves to be eligible to the Presidency in the early formative years of our infant nation.

    But nobody alive today can claim eligibility to be President under the grandfather clause since nobody alive today was a citizen of the US at the time the Constitution was adopted.

    The Framers distinguished between "natural born Citizens" and all other "Citizens". And that's why it's important to note the 14th Amendment only confers the title of "Citizen", not "natural born Citizen". The Framers were Citizens, but they weren't natural born Citizens. They put the stigma of not being natural born Citizens on themselves in the Constitution and they are the ones who wrote the Document.

    Since the the Framers didn't consider themselves to have been "natural born Citizens" due to their having been subject to British jurisdiction at their birth, then Senator Obama, having also been subject to British jurisdiction at the time of his birth, also cannot be considered a "natural born Citizen" of the United States.

    I was wondering what the fallback position of the Birth Certificate Truthers would be if for some reason they received what they've been demanding -- hospital records showing exactly where Barack Obama was born.

    So now we know!

    There are no defeats and no dead ends for true conspiracy theorists, and it seems the Birth Certificate Truthers are no exception.

    All roads lead to new conspiracies.

    However, if this becomes their new position, I'm not sure it would be fair to call them Birth Certificate Truthers anymore.

    Perhaps Natural Born Anti Dual Nationalist Truthers.

    I think the Truthers ought to look into the strange case of President Chester Arthur, whose birth to an Irish father who apparently moved here from Canada was not only undocumented, but never was officially proven to have taken place in the United States:

    Chester Alan Arthur was the son of Irish born preacher William Arthur and Vermont born Malvina Stone Arthur. Most official references list him as having been born in Fairfield in Franklin County, Vermont on October 5, 1829. However, Arthur sometimes claimed to have been born in 1830 (the date is on his grave inscription and occurs in some reference works). His father had initially migrated to Dunham, Quebec, Canada, where he and his wife at one point owned a farm about 80 miles (129 km) north of the U.S. border. There has long been speculation that the future president was actually born in Canada and that the family moved to Fairfield later. Given a lack of official documentation and the seeming confusion about the year of Arthur's birth, historians have been unable to rule this possibility out. If Arthur had been born in Canada, he might not have been a "natural-born citizen" and might therefore have been constitutionally ineligible to serve as vice president or president.[citation needed] Some of his opponents circulated the Canada rumor during the 1880 election, but they could not prove it, and no proof has emerged since.
    Not to be an alarmist, but what if the Arthur administration was unconstitutional?

    What then?

    MORE: According to some people, birth in Hawaii does not constitute birth in the United States, because Hawaii is not legally part of the United States!

    Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.

    If you consider the history and believe that Hawaii is not legally a part of the United States, as many do, then one might ask, is Obama a natural born citizen of the United States?

    One could even make the argument that being born in Hawaii, he's a Hawaiian national! I believe the most compelling legal analysis based on Hawaiian kingdom and international law and precedent, is that the Hawaiian national population today is comprised of descendants of Hawaiian subjects and those foreigners who were born in the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1898....

    Now there's a thought!

    Maybe the Truthers can get on board the Hawaiian nationalist movement.

    posted by Eric at 11:40 PM | Comments (13)

    Is Your DVD Illegal?

    Live Leak reported on the DVD confiscation raids.
    Friday, May 9, 2008 Actor and comic Tommy Chong says he is linked to FBI raids Wednesday in Newport and Clermont County's Union Township. Chong tells Local 12 federal agents were after thousands of DVD copies of a documentary he recently made.

    Tommy Chong, 30 years ago, appeared in the movie that made him famous, "Up In Smoke."

    But today, Tommy Chong is 69-years-old and selling a different More..movie, called "The United States of America Vs. Tommy Chong."

    The documentary details Chong's 2003 federal prosecution and guilty plea for distributing drug paraphernalia. He was selling pot pipes online. Chong served nine months in prison.

    Wednesday night, Chong told Local 12 he's the focus of an FBI raid of two, local offices.

    "They apparently confiscated 10,000 copies of the movie, "a/k/a Tommy Chong," said Chong.

    Evidently the man is a threat to the welfare of the Government's War On Drugs. Now what are you supposed to do when you find out about something the Government doesn't want you to see? Go look of course.

    You can watch one trailer here.

    Or another trailer here.

    You can get a/k/a Tommy Chong here.

    You might also find American Drug War of interest.

    H/T Commenter Phelps from the post LEAPing To Repeal

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 05:48 PM | Comments (1)


    Inspired by Now that Obama has won, we could be in Iraq for a hundred years at the site of that master of political humor Instapundit.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:28 PM | Comments (4)

    Up with crime?

    In what I'm sure will be hailed as an astounding discovery, the City of Oakland is learning that when police stop arresting criminals, crime goes up!

    Armed robbers terrorized Oakland restaurants and small businesses in three separate crime sprees over the past year. The first wave targeted Asian eateries and struck during the 2007 holiday season. The second arrived last spring and was more indiscriminate. The third struck in July and August. All three made newspaper headlines and led television newscasts, shining a spotlight on the city's out-of-control crime problem and the Oakland Police Department's apparent inability to cope with it. In fact, the department's public response to the takeover robberies was both odd and illuminating.

    The department's mantra for dealing with the city's crime spike has been: "We can't arrest our way out of this problem." Top brass has repeated this declaration in public meetings or whenever a reporter was within earshot, as if it were a common sense, widely accepted response to this sort of crisis. "Right now, it's pretty clear we are in a time of increased crime," said Deputy Police Chief Dave Kozicki, just before he summed up the department's official response to the Oakland City Council in April. "But the bottom line is we believe we cannot arrest our way out of these problems."

    Read it all. It's as if Oakland has been transformed into a (failed) sociological experiment under the leadership of Mayor Ron Dellums.

    Considering Oakland's history of official corruption and coddling of influential criminals, I can't say I'm surprised.

    If the police are being told not to do their job, this leaves citizens with little recourse than to defend themselves.

    However, if biased media reports like this are any indication, I guess the next step will be a crackdown on citizen self defense.

    posted by Eric at 01:13 PM | Comments (6)

    The Ford Plant The UAW Won't Allow In America

    The most advanced auto plant in the world and the UAW is against having it located in America. And the UAW wants a bail out for the auto industry? Not one cent. No loans. No cash. No nothing. They helped ruin the business. They can go down with it.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:58 AM

    LEAPing To Repeal

    H/T Radly Balko

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 06:15 AM | Comments (4)

    It Can't Happen Here
    Prohibition is an awful flop.
    We like it.
    It can't stop what it's meant to stop.
    We like it.
    It's left a trail of graft and slime,
    It won't prohibit worth a dime,
    It's filled our land with vice and crime.
    Nevertheless, we're for it.

    Franklin P. Adams, 1931

    In honor of Repeal Day we bring you a story from a place affectionately known as Crook County, Illinois
    Ten Cook County sheriff's correctional officers, four Harvey police officers and a Chicago police officer are among 17 people who were charged today in a sweeping federal drug case that accuses the law-enforcement officers of working security in sting cocaine and heroin transactions, the U.S. attorney's office has announced.

    Officers allegedly were paid up to $4,000 each as they served as lookouts and prepared to step in if law enforcement cracked down on the operations, authorities said. The undercover investigation run by the FBI allegedly saw officers protecting poker games and transporting cash.

    Fourteen of the defendants were either arrested or surrendered today and are expected to make initial appearances in U.S. District Court this afternoon.

    Two of the officers are accused of selling powder cocaine, and all are charged with conspiracy to possess and sell drugs.

    We are very fortunate that Drug Prohibition is turning out nothing like Alcohol Prohibition. For instance you never heard of Alcohol Gangs beheading their rivals. Fortunately that was in Mexico. So just keep repeating. It can't happen here. It can't happen here. It can't happen here. It can't happen here.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 05:15 AM | Comments (1)

    Happy Repeal Day

    Exactly seventy-five years ago today (depending on which calendar you use) that grand social engineering program called Alcohol Prohibition was repealed. There still appears to be a market for that sort of thing but thankfully it is drying up.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:31 AM | Comments (1)

    When you've seen one blue necktie, you've seen 'em all!

    I took this presidential fashion challenge that Ann Althouse linked, and I couldn't tell whose tie was whose. (I did a pretty good job of guessing, though.)

    It's probably best not to read too much into this.

    However, if Barack Obama ever started sporting a Bush-style suspicious bulge, it would be time for his progressive base to be worried, if not very worried.

    posted by Eric at 12:24 AM | Comments (3)

    Assaulting Weapons

    Why semi-automatic rifles are not assault rifles. About 11 minutes.

    Some shooting involved.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:59 PM | Comments (4)

    How to stop gay marriage, Part II

    In a piece about shocking acts of anti-Mormon bigotry on the part of certain gay marriage activists, Jonah Goldberg warns,

    ...the scorched-earth campaign to victory pushed by gay-marriage advocates may well be disastrous, and "liberals" should be ashamed for countenancing it.
    Such tactics are deplorable, and they may very well redound to the benefit of the opponents of gay marriage.

    It's all so predictable. See my earlier post titled "How to stop gay marriage (and set back the cause of gay rights)."

    Am I allowed to see irony in the fact that angry gay activists are doing a better job of stopping gay marriage than the Mormons?

    What I'd really like to know is why is everyone so quiet about the Muslims? Was I missing something, or did they oppose Prop 8? Were they silent? Or did their opposition go unreported as usual?

    Is it possible that some Machiavellian Muslim analyst (an advocate for the covert Polygamy Lobby, perhaps) collectively pulled them over and said, "Pssst! If same sex marriage is legalized, lawyers say that this will ultimately lead to the unraveling of all restrictions on marriage including polygamy, so let's just sit this one out!"?


    I need to be working, so I should probably stop there. I've alreadly bitten off more strange bedfellows and secret conspiracies than I can chew in one post.

    posted by Eric at 12:37 PM | Comments (16)

    And what right has England to exist?

    Yesterday I spoke with a Pakistani American who told me that he thought the partitioning (by England) of India into India and Pakistan (and two independent countries) was a mistake. His view was that because there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan, the notion that Hindus and Muslims belong in two different countries is a constant irritant.

    While I agree, it is impossible to undo done political deals, especially where the formation of countries is concerned. If we consider how impossible it is to undo even relatively simple things like road tolls, rent control, or Social Security "entitlements," it is easy to understand that undoing entire nations is fantasy. Such things happen only when there's a major war, and even then, only with great difficulty.

    It was quite a coincidence this morning to see a piece in Pajamas Media which touched on the formation of Pakistan -- Carol Gould's "Mumbai Highlights Britain's Threat from Within":

    "Pakistan Simply Has No Right to Exist." Imagine if Pajamas Media had used that title for my article. All hell would have broken loose around the globe. Fatwas would have been flying everywhere.

    Well, way back on January 3, 2001, a major editorial by Faisal Bodi appeared in the Guardian newspaper entitled, "Israel Simply Has No Right to Exist."

    At the time I thought I was seeing things or that my New Year's tipple had damaged my faculties, but this was indeed the title of an article to welcome us into 2001. One of Bodi's many pronouncements was: "Certainly there is no moral case for the existence of Israel." I remember thinking, "Ah, so can we also say that there is no moral case for the existence of Pakistan, the creation of which resulted in one million deaths during partition in a fractured India of August 1947?"

    After publication of Bodi's article Anglo-Jewry did not take to the streets. Israelis did not trash the British embassy and march with inflammatory placards, burning British flags stoked by smoldering copies of the Guardian. Bodi did receive threats but he is still flourishing seven years down the line in 2008. In fact, the reaction in 2001, as usual from Anglo-Jewry, was restrained. What is so interesting about Bodi's suggestion that Israel's existence is a blot on the human landscape is that a nihilist view on Pakistan, if anyone dared articulate it, would cause an international uproar. Yet the mayhem caused by the perpetual instability of that nation, born within the same year as Israel, far exceeds the world turbulence perceived by the media as being generated by the tiny Jewish state.

    That is certainly true, and it's a huge double standard.

    Noting reports that some of the Mumbai terrorists may have been from England (where angry Pakistani Brits spout vicious eliminationist rhetoric), Gould warns of an enemy within, and concludes that Britain should wake up:

    So, what is the solution? Young Muslims need be led away from radicalism; imams who come here from abroad need to be vetted or deported. The "blame game" of seeing Kashmir, Palestine, and the Gulf as reasons to attack Americans, Jews, and Britons must stop. In the English-language UAE daily The National Dubai businessman Sultan al-Qassemi rails against the Mumbai attacks. In his article, "It's Not Enough for Muslims to Be Revolted by Terror," Al-Qassemi argues that nothing can excuse the terrorists' "bloodthirsty savagery," and that "the Islamic states must launch a psychological preemptive strike against [them], and -- more importantly -- [against] those who encourage them."

    Britain needs to put into effect the much-derided time extension on detaining terror suspects. The police must, in turn, not waste taxpayers' money arresting MPs; Tory Damien Green was, to most sensible Britons' astonishment, detained this week, accused of leaking to the media details of the government's shortcomings in dealing with terrorists. Unbelievable but true.

    Britain does need to wake up, or it might face the sort of partition it imposed on India.


    posted by Eric at 12:00 PM | Comments (3)

    Conservative Values

    A commenter at Giving up on God (sort of) by David Harsanyi said a funny thing.

    David seems to focus his energies on diminishing religion and being a booster for "medicinal marijauna", and gay rights and so forth. It is hard for Dave to admit, but those aren't conservative principles.
    I guess using God's own anti-depressant is a bad thing but getting your anti-depressants from the medical cartel is in alignment with God's wishes and true conservatism. Who knew?

    I wonder if the complainer also knows that early drafts of the US Constitution were written on hemp paper and the US Frigate The Constitution also known as Old Ironsides had hemp sails. Or that George Washington grew a lot of hemp. In fact George said "Make the most of the hemp seed. Sow it everywhere." Jeeze. It is beginning to look like our county was founded by a bunch of hippies.

    And you know what is worse: people still like to print Bibles on hemp paper for its durability. So next time you Real Conservatives™ go to church be careful. You Bible may be printed on a product of the Devil Weed. Oh. The shame.

    And rumor has it that Baron VonSteuben a German General who helped Washington at Valley Forge was a homosexual. If you consider sex with 17 year old boys pedophilia he was a supposedly a pedophile too. And horror of horrors there is a VonSteuben Metropolitan Science Center (high school) in Chicago. Fortunately Washington was so desperate for help he overlooked the Baron's alleged indiscretions. You have to wonder what our country was coming to though to allow such reputed degenerates into the military. Especially as leaders. I guess it was part of the evil gay agenda to subvert the country at its very founding.

    I guess we are fortunate that the founders were more interested in Liberty than in the True Conservative™ agenda.

    H/T Eric at Classical Values.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:37 PM | Comments (13)

    So many wars, so little time....

    I'm busy as hell today, but Davis Harsanyi has a great culture war piece in the Denver Post, titled "Giving up on God (sort of)." The question is "Do we need God in politics?":

    Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker recently penned a provocative column titled "Giving up on God," wherein she suggested that the Republican Party ditch G-O-D. The piece so rankled James Dobson (Ph.D in Divine Insight) that he compared Parker to that seditious bum Benedict Arnold.
    Right there Dobson is making an inaccurate comparison. Arnold never ditched God. In fact, his treason to the fledgling United States was aided and abetted (and given plenty of moral encouragement) by a fanatic Tory minister named Jonathan Odell. He wrote paeans to the King, and condemned the leaders of the American revolution. (He also encouraged the notorious Toryism of Benjamin Franklin's son William.)
    Among factions of conservatism, there is a general willingness to co-exist and -- sporadically -- win elections. Dobson, conversely, employs a saintly litmus test that marginalizes large swaths of his own party. He has redefined "traditional values," an essential ingredient for Republican victory, to mean "illogical rigidity."
    Damn! I saw the phrase and took the bait, and started this post without realizing that I have absolutely no time. I have retaining wall problems, roof problems and plumbing problems and much more, and I'm trying to do things all at once, and researching the finer points of Benedict Arnold's religious buddies is beyond the call of duty as it is.

    But I loved this, and wish I had more time to spend with it:
    ...if California voters proved anything, it is that voters don't feel the need to vote Republican even if they happen to recognize the stability provided by the millennia-long need to be hassled by a clingy do-gooder from the opposite sex.

    And, despite perceptions, Barack Obama did not support gay marriage. In fact, few national Democrats of note explicitly back gay marriage -- notwithstanding their demonizing conservatives. Democrats have made social issues irrelevant by simply ignoring them.


    Sure, there are citizens who oppose gay marriage -- not out of bigotry or irrational loathing, but out of a sense of tradition and faith. The problem is that the Dobson Wing hinders Republicans from offering any feasible counter-solutions. Dobson not only opposes man-on-man matrimony but civil unions, as well. He opposes adoption for gay couples. Let's face it; he opposes the existence of gays.

    Good luck with that.

    There's lots more -- a must-read for all who are interested in ths endless culture war debate. (Why, he even gets into medical marijuana, and Giuliani's drag.)

    Interested as I am in the culture war, I'm afraid that the plumbing war, the roofing war, and the retaining wall war all must come first!

    So read it all!

    posted by Eric at 04:20 PM | Comments (1)

    shadows rock at the park

    Earlier today I had a wonderful lunch with Judith Weiss (of the great Keshertalk blog) at my favorite Japanese restaurant, following which we went to the Albany Waterfront Trail Park.


    We found a beautiful little dream house that some artists built, and I handed my camera to Judith while I went inside and peered out the window.


    Then Judith climbed up and admired the dramatic view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from the roof.


    I was also interested in what our lengthening shadows were doing, and in this picture, it appears that they are being leered at by Marty Feldman, who's face is painted on a rock!


    (That's my shadow on the left, and Judith's on the right.)

    The more I looked at my shadow, the more it appeared that it was doing things beyond my control, and interacting with some of the images painted on the rocks.

    I saw a particularly forlorn-looking face on a rock which looked for the world to be afraid of my shadow, so I thought I should reassure it by petting it on the head.


    Until today I didn't know rocks had emotions, but they do!

    And I think rock emotions may be contagious, because Judith got into the spirit of things, and I caught her engaged in hugging a rock!


    (Cynics might argue that the rock had a heart of stone, but we know better!)

    posted by Eric at 11:51 PM | Comments (3)

    National Geographic Does Pot

    I got the video from National Geographic Explorer - Marijuana Nation - a review .
    Cultivation of Marijuana (hemp) stretches back from George Washington's farm when Pot was the leading cash crop in the United States, to today, with annual profits surpassing $65 billion.

    The documentary reveals more than 200 million people around the world smoke the natural herb. Producers claim two million Americans alone will try it this year.

    Users represent a cross section of our society, conservatives to liberals, teens to the elderly, from top-earning medical and legal professionals to housewives, laborers
    and truck drivers.

    It is the single most valuable cash crop in the country, spawning a shadowy multibillion-dollar industry that thrives in communities throughout America.

    Correspondent Lisa Ling goes undercover to private fields and indoor state of the art hydroponic farms talking to the very reasonable and resolute people who will not buckle under possible legal ramifications. The movement to end the draconian punishments for possession and growing increase every day, as the population is getting older and sicker, insurance is harder to obtain and pay for and who refuse to be held hostage by Big pharmaceutical companies gouging consumers for legal alternatives.

    So far 19 states have either medical marijuana laws and/or have decriminalized marijuana. Michigan and Massachusetts were added to the list this past election season.

    This article discusses the legal alternatives: Class War. The thesis is: those who can afford the costs of the medical cartel use cartel approved medicines. Those who can't go to the black market. In Round Pegs In Round Holes I look at the nature of the chemicals - legal and illegal. The short version - the chemicals all fill the same receptors in the brain. If you get your receptor fillers through a doctor from a pharmacy - you are jake. If you get them from the black market or grow your own you are a drug fiend. Same receptors - similar chemicals. Different status under the law.

    Self defense is enshrined in our Constitution explicitly. For self medication you have to rely on the vague IXth Amendment. The so called penumbras.

    National Geographic www site - an overview of the program. You can watch another preview video here.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:18 PM | Comments (3)


    My house is located in one of Berkeley's "conservative" neighborhoods.

    Just out of curiosity, I thought I would check to see how well John McCain did.

    In my precinct, he got nearly 5% of the vote, or 19 out of 521 votes, to be exact:

    President And Vice President
    Consolidated Precinct Number: 201300
    Includes precincts: 201300
    Total Votes Cast: 521
    Candidate/Race # of Votes % of Total
    DEM - Barack Obama 492 94.43%
    REP - John McCain 19 3.65%
    GRN - Cynthia McKinney 5 .96%
    PF - Ralph Nader 3 .58%
    Write-in 2 .38%
    AI- Alan Keyes 0 0%
    LIB - Bob Barr 0 0%
    Had I moved back here and voted for McCain, I could have brought his numbers up to 3.83%. (Now that's real power, isn't it?) I checked around, and discovered that McCain did best in some of the heavy student neighborhoods, where he ranged from 5% to 9%, his highest being 9.69% in this precinct in the hills next to the campus. But nowhere in the entire city of Berkeley (precinct map here) did he manage to get out of the single digits and clear 10%.

    I guess I've been living in a bubble.

    posted by Eric at 10:32 PM | Comments (2)

    Where Science Gets Down To Business

    UChicago Science Business

    To remind you of Chicago Pile-1.

    Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1) was the world's first artificial nuclear reactor. CP-1 was built on a racquets court, under the abandoned west stands of the original Alonzo Stagg Field stadium, at the University of Chicago. The first artificial, self-sustaining, nuclear chain reaction was initiated within CP-1, on December 2, 1942.
    I used to play tennis at the place where the racquets courts used to be. That would have been in 1962. There was a nice plaque commemorating the event attached to the tennis court fences. It is now suitably mounted on a small monument about 100 ft South of where the tennis courts used to be.

    H/T Chicago Boyz

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 09:57 PM

    Ant Farmers

    From time to time when I lived in the Bay Area in the late 60s and early 70s I would visit with the folks at an art/architecture collective called the Ant Farm. This was the heyday of the water bed and the Ant Farmers were big into vinyl. Not for fetish purposes but as a construction material.

    The picture that emerges from the Berkeley Art Museum's fascinating retrospective of Ant Farm, the experimental architecture collective founded by Chip Lord and Doug Michels in 1968, is one of relentless flatness. Co-organized by Constance Lewallen, senior curator of exhibitions, and Steve Seid, video curator at the Pacific Film Archive, the show overwhelms as an endless horizon of two-dimensional stuff: All matter of ephemera, expansive wall texts, and publicity material test the audience's readerly skills as much as their visual inclinations. This quite literally superficial gestalt may at first seem at odds with the group's underground ambitions. Ant Farm, after all, appropriated for its collective identity the subterranean metaphor of an insect colony tunneling beneath the earth; and in the group's repeated exchanges with the counterculture's techno-literati--among them Buckminster Fuller and Stewart Brand, the poet bard of Whole Earth Catalog fame--they might appear your prototypical hippie venture, hostile to the advances of Spectacle and insistently digging beneath the surface of things.
    Yes. They were big into the technology revolution that was just getting up to speed. Being a technologist myself their work, their workshop, and their philosophy was of intense interest to me. Every one who was "alive" in that period was inspired by Buckminster Fuller's "doing more with less" and taking care of humanity - not with politics (although the politics was mostly left) but with advances in technology and science.

    You can read more about the Ant Farm here and here and here.

    This reminisce was inspired by a new generation of techno artists interested in manipulating spaces and sustainable environments called N55 which is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Have a look at the article. There is a picture of a very interesting geodesic dome (naturally) that is a frame used to support several hammocks at various levels.

    Of course there is the usual tension between the back to the earth folks and the advanced technology for all men folks in the article about N55. In the 60s/70s I straddled both camps. These days I lean more towards the techno camp.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 09:04 PM | Comments (1)

    No Little Screw Ups Will Be Rewarded

    Fred is hilarious. Sadly. (about 8 1/2 minutes)

    You can keep Fred's videos coming by donating to Fred PAC.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:35 PM | Comments (4)

    Real men hate beer, hide in caves, and plot the murder of women and children!
    I don't know what was more of a shock -- reading that chilling declaratory remark from Glenn Reynolds or reading the underlying reason:
    In his latest tape Ayman Al-Zawahiri warned America to convert to Islam and give up beer.
    Damned if Glenn isn't absolutely right. As the cigarette slogan goes (or went), "I'd rather fight than switch!"

    No conversion to Islam for me, and no one takes away my beer!

    Glenn's link goes to Gateway Pundit, who also links these demented remarks from Al Qaeda's fascist beer-grabber:

    In the 80-minute long video, the Egyptian militant also claimed that the US military action against al-Qaeda-backed tribal regions of northern Pakistan would see no success even though more troops are being sent to neighbouring Afghanistan.

    "I challenge you [George Bush], if you are really a man, to send the entire American army to Pakistan and the tribal regions for it to end up in hell," al-Zawahiri said.

    If you really are a man? Come on.

    I guess I should say Puh-leeze.

    He just doesn't get it, does he? Would he say that to Condi Rice?

    Or Hillary Clinton?

    I'm thinking that because it matters -- and matters so very deeply -- to Ayman Al-Zawahiri whether George W. Bush is a man, the former deserves to be reminded that the reason he's having to hide out in caves is because he's at war with a country with stronger women than he is a man. A country in which a man known to dress as a woman was a serious candidate for president:


    (It would probably have to be explained to the medieval Ayman that the man is on the right. And that he was one of the few American politicians, male or female, with the balls to tell the Saudis to shove their manipulative millions up their Islamist ass.)

    Earlier today, a friend sent me a link to the following picture, asking my help in determining whether the soldier on the left was K.D. Lang, and saying, "I was wondering what happened to her!"


    Come to think of it, she does look like K.D. Lang. But for the purpose of this post, it makes no difference whether she is or not -- any more than it matters to most Americans whether she really is (or really isn't) a man.

    I think it's good that guys like Zawahiri (who think real men live in caves and plot the murder of women and children) are worrying about the manhood of their enemies.

    I want them to worry -- especially about the manhood of their most hated enemies. You know, guys like these:



    Yes, the pictures are doctored, but Zawahiri's the type who probably thinks they might as well be true.

    Such unholy and unmanly men have forced Zawahiri and company to live in fear and hide in caves while they fret assiduously via covertly issued video tapes about the manhood of their enemies, demanding they "convert," and threatening to take away their beer.


    Speaking of conversions and videos, in my ongoing conversion battle from analog to digital, I found a vintage 1991 tape in which my dog Puff and I (both unclean animals, to Zawahiri) are shown blatantly defying the beer-hating and dog-hating forces.

    Had I really been a man, I might have worn a dress.

    MORE: Incidentally, I realize that beer for dogs is controversial and said to be bad from a veterinary perspective, but Puff loved it, and lived several years past his life expectancy. I would recommend caution with smaller dogs, though, as the ill effects seem size-related.

    For whatever reason, Coco won't touch the stuff!

    MORE: Considering the long association between pit bulls and pubs and bars (and now Sarah Palin), perhaps it isn't surprising to see people talking about a beer drinking pit bull with lipstick.

    Why, there's even this very politically incorrect "Redneck-Pit Bull Beer" T-shirt for sale.


    For more froth from Zawahiri, just add lipstick!

    AND MORE: Speaking of pit bulls with lipstick, I see that the appointment of Hillary Clinton -- an avowed beer drinker -- as Secretary of State has delighted Israel's supporters, who Jennifer Rubin describes as breathing a sigh of relief.

    No word from Zawahiri.

    posted by Eric at 12:08 PM | Comments (3)

    Dying To Punish White People

    The economy of Zimbabwe is collapsing due to the policies of its President for Life Robert Mugabe.

    In another sign of the turmoil, the government rejected a ruling by a regional court that demanded Zimbabwe stop seizing land from white farmers.

    The government instead will speed up efforts to take land remaining in whites farmers' hands and redistribute it to black subsistence farmers, lands minister Didymus Mutasa said, according to the state-controlled newspaper, The Herald.

    President Robert Mugabe's often-violent land reform has forced thousands of white farmers off prime agricultural land since 2000 and triggered a food crisis from a slump in farm production.

    The Southern African Development Community's tribunal ruled Zimbabwe should allow 78 white commercial farmers to keep their farms, which had been targeted for expropriation. The Namibia-based court also said Zimbabwe should pay compensation to three farmers who already lost their land.

    The tribunal, set up by 14 countries including Zimbabwe, can hear appeals from citizens but does not have power to enforce its rulings.

    Zimbabwe once boasted one of Africa's most vibrant economies, with good health care and infrastructure built up after Mugabe won the first democratic elections in 1980. But the economy has collapsed since Mugabe began seizing white farmland in 2000, with runaway hyperinflation, mass unemployment and shortages of most major commodities, including gasoline and food.

    Some 5.5 million Zimbabweans -- half the population -- face imminent starvation due to the food crisis that resulted from Mugabe's land redistribution, the United Nations says.

    And that is only part of the collapse. Basic services such as clean water and sewage treatment are failing as well.
    A cholera epidemic has killed hundreds across the country, and an anthrax outbreak has claimed three lives.

    Meanwhile, the country's sewage and water facilities have collapsed, hospitals have closed and garbage has gone uncollected.

    The government says cholera has killed 425 people and sickened more than 11,000 since August.

    Harare, at the center of the epidemic, was without water Monday, after the state utility ran out of chemicals to treat the supply, The Herald reported.

    Anthrax has killed two children and one adult in western Zimbabwe, and is threatening to wipe out at least 60,000 livestock, according to the British charity Save the Children. It said starvation was forcing people to eat infected meat.

    Mugabe has always wanted a one party Marxist regime for Zimbabwe. He got his wish (although his rule is currently being contested). And the result is the usual. Mass murder. The experiment has been run numerous times. In the Soviet Union, in Pol Pot's Cambodia, in Mao's China. Taking the land from people who have the expertise to make it productive and famine, disease, and death always follow. Always. The funny (sad) thing is that Mugabe hates the white farmers and loves a long dead discredited white man. Karl Marx.

    Mugabe is one of those who hates capital and proclaims his love for labor. No worries there. Capital has fled Zimbabwe (why stay where you are hated?) and labor is dying in the streets. Mugabe may have the dialectic down pat but materialism is fleeing.

    This may have a good effect for the rest of Africa because it will teach them that a socialist economy is ultimately a death trap. If they are wise enough to learn.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:57 AM | Comments (5)

    USMC Rules For Gunfighting

    I was reading a post by Bob Owens about concealed carry of fire arms for self defense. Bob suggested that the first thing to do was to have a look at the US Marine Corps rules for gunfighting. Here are the first few rules:

    1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.

    2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Your life is expensive.

    3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

    4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.

    5. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)

    6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.

    7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

    And as I was going through the rest of the list I saw an addendum at the bottom called Navy Rules to Gunfighting which was a much shorter list.
    1. Go to Sea

    2. Send the Marines

    3. Drink Coffee

    Being a Navy man it cracked me up.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:50 AM | Comments (4)

    Fool me once...

    Reading through the various accounts of the Mumbai terror attack, I was suddenly struck by how easily everyone (including myself) was fooled into thinking that this was primarily a "hostage-taking" operation.

    Nonsense. It was a murder operation, and the terrorists used the "hostage" meme to full advantage:

    Evidence was emerging last night that the the gunmen killed their victims early in the siege and fooled Indian security forces into thinking that they were holding hostages.

    At the Sir J.J. Hospital morgue, an official said that of the 87 bodies he had examined, all but a handful had been killed during Wednesday night.

    (Via Glenn Reynolds.)

    I do not doubt that many of the dead were induced to surrender to the terrorists by being told they were hostages, because people facing death are desperate to believe that they are somehow going to live.

    Oh well, live and learn. (Or in this case, die and learn.) I find myself wondering how many people who imagined that they were going to be hostages cooperated fully with their murderers (and torturers, let's not forget), hoping they'd be "rescued" later.

    History shows that people are a lot easier to kill if they are tricked into believing that the goal is something else. The Nazis were masters of that game, and millions of Jews stood in line to die while thinking they were being temporarily inconvenienced on their way to some sort of long-term imprisonment. Similarly, the 9/11 terrorists convinced passengers (with the help of fake bombs) that they were "ordinary" hijackers who would not blow up the plane as long as everyone cooperated. (After all, why would they?)

    The bottom line here is that if you're an American (or a Brit, or a Jew), and terrorists say they're looking to take such people as "hostages," it's probably better to just fight for your life and die trying to defend yourself rather than let the sadists that they are enjoy slaughtering you on their terms.

    Considering what happened, I think the jig may be up for the hostage meme.

    posted by Eric at 07:25 PM | Comments (6)

    Better Batteries Begin With Sand

    Well not sand exactly. Silicon nanowires.

    Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, iPods, video cameras, cell phones, and countless other devices.

    The new technology, developed through research led by Yi Cui, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, produces 10 times the amount of electricity of existing lithium-ion, known as Li-ion, batteries. A laptop that now runs on battery for two hours could operate for 20 hours, a boon to ocean-hopping business travelers.

    "It's not a small improvement," Cui said. "It's a revolutionary development."

    You can get all the technical details by reading the article. Think of what such a development would mean for a hybrid or an all electric vehicle.

    We know doing things in a lab is a lot easier than manufacturing mass quantities. So what are the prospects for manufacturing what I call Lithium Super Batteries? Pretty good.

    Cui said that a patent application has been filed. He is considering formation of a company or an agreement with a battery manufacturer. Manufacturing the nanowire batteries would require "one or two different steps, but the process can certainly be scaled up," he added. "It's a well understood process."
    That is good news. Very good news.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 05:48 PM | Comments (2)

    Obamamania and the progressive "base"

    Is left-wing Obamamania on the wane?

    Be sure to read my Pajamas Media piece on the subject and find out!

    I won't spoil it, but I came precariously close to comparing Barack Obama to Humphrey Bogart.

    My thanks to Pajamas Media for the opportunity!

    posted by Eric at 01:27 PM | Comments (1)

    September 2011
    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1 2 3
    4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    11 12 13 14 15 16 17
    18 19 20 21 22 23 24
    25 26 27 28 29 30  


    Search the Site


    Classics To Go

    Classical Values PDA Link


    Recent Entries


    Site Credits