Saturday, November 29, 2008

Newly Discovered Element

GS Don Morris has the news over at Doc's Talk.

Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science.
The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from four days to four years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years; It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.
Great stuff, Doc!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to wish both of my faithful readers a happy Thanksgiving.

As the Pilgrims gave thanks to God (you won't find that taught in school very much any more) for their success after the first years of struggle. As Joseph Farah wrote in the San Francisco Sentinel last year (a paper that I would never normally read);
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the people responsible for the American Thanksgiving tradition. Contrary to popular opinion, the Pilgrims didn’t wear buckles on their shoes or hats. They weren’t teetotalers, either. They smoked tobacco and drank beer. And, most importantly, their first harvest festival and subsequent “thanksgivings” weren’t held to thank the local natives for saving their lives.

Do you know there are public schools in America today actually teaching that? Some textbooks, in their discomfort with open discussions of Christianity, say as much. I dare suggest most parents today know little more about this history than their children.

Yet, there is no way to divorce the spiritual from the celebration of Thanksgiving – at least not the way the Pilgrims envisioned it, a tradition dating back to the ancient Hebrews and their feasts of Succoth and Passover.

The Pilgrims came to America for one reason – to form a separate community in which they could worship God as they saw fit. They had fled England because King James I was persecuting those who did not recognize the Church of England’s absolute civil and spiritual authority.
And the there was the interesting direct comparison to centrally managed economies and free enterprise, with William Bradford's exactly correct explanation as to why one of those systems does not work.
When the Pilgrims landed in the New World, they found a cold, rocky, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, Bradford wrote. No houses to shelter them. No inns where they could refresh themselves. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims died of sickness or exposure – including Bradford’s wife. Though life improved for the Pilgrims when spring came, they did not really prosper. Why? Once again, the textbooks don’t tell the story, but Bradford’s own journal does. The reason they didn’t succeed initially is because they were practicing an early form of socialism.

The original contract the Pilgrims had with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store. Each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community. Bradford, as governor, recognized the inherent problem with this collectivist system.

“The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years … that by taking away property, and bringing community into common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,” Bradford wrote. “For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense … that was thought injustice.”

What a surprise! Even back then people did not want to work without incentive. Bradford decided to assign a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of free enterprise. What was the result?

“This had very good success,” wrote Bradford, “for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.”

As a result, the Pilgrims soon found they had more food than they could eat themselves. They set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London much faster than expected. The success of the Plymouth colony thus attracted more Europeans and set off what we call the “Great Puritan Migration.”

But it wasn’t just an economic system that allowed the Pilgrims to prosper. It was their devotion to God and His laws. And that’s what Thanksgiving is really all about. The Pilgrims recognized that everything we have is a gift from God – even our sorrows. Their Thanksgiving tradition was established to honor God and thank Him for His blessings and His grace.
So today let us thank God for what we have.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Advice for the President Elect

Of course it is well known that it has become an article of the Liberal™ faith that John Bolton is a bad guy, this because he stands for the US and is result oriented. Still, it would be very good if Senator Obama (he becomes President Elect after elected by the Electoral College) would take the advice that Mr. Bolton offers in this piece.

John Bolton: Letter to the next president

He writes about being "the decider", Iran, North Korea, and more. Further, he writes about how to manage America's image abroad;
Do not let global “public opinion” about the United States, from Albania to Zimbabwe, dissuade you from doing what you think is right for America. Your job is to defend and advance our interests and values, a task which invariably will displease our adversaries, and even many of our friends, especially those who wish we were, well, more European in our behaviour and attitudes.

What we must do, however, is more effectively advocate the policies you will be pursuing. Failure at both the political level in Washington and abroad, and at the level of the career Foreign Service, made the Bush Administration one of the most tongue-tied Presidencies in our history. We should try to shift international public opinion to support our policies, not modify our policies to try to satisfy international public opinion. The State Department will not understand this distinction. You must.
Very good stuff. Sen. Obama should read it all, and so should you.

You can also read it at the here if you care to read the comments, including the fact-free rantings of the Left™ where they congratulate themselves on how smart they are and on what evil and stupid people we Americans are (particularly the conservatives).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Solution to the Piracy Problem?

You may have already read the news of the largest prize ever taken by pirates, the Sirius Star.
Reporting from Beirut and Nairobi, Kenya -- In their most brazen raid yet, suspected Somali pirates operating deep in open waters have seized an oil tanker as long as an aircraft carrier, the U.S. military in the Middle East said Monday.

So audacious and unusual was the Indian Ocean attack that it caught the attention of America's top military official, who expressed shock at the pirates' ability to strike so far from shore.
Global fecklessness is still (ironically) strong. Iranian grain ship seized as Somali pirates hold world to ransom
Somali pirates struck again yesterday, seizing an Iranian cargo ship holding 30,000 tonnes of grain, as the world’s governments and navies pronounced themselves powerless against this new threat to global trade.

Admiral Michael Mullen, the US military chief, pronounced himself stunned by the pirates’ reach after their capture of the supertanker Sirius Star and its $100 million (£70 million) cargo. Commanders from the US Fifth Fleet and from Nato warships in the area said that they would not intervene to retake the vessel.

The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, the owner of the ship, condemned the hijacking as an “outrageous act” that required international action.

“Piracy, like terrorism, is a disease which is against everybody, and everybody must address it together,” Prince Saud al-Faisal said. Arab diplomats would meet in Cairo on Thursday to discuss what could be done in response, Yemeni officials said.

Analysts said, however, that the seizure of the Sirius Star exposed the use of foreign warships as “a sticking plaster” that would not solve the problem. “Maritime security operations in that area are addressing the symptoms not the causes,” said Jason Alderwick, a maritime defence analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Roger Middleton, a Horn of Africa specialist at the Chatham House think-tank, said that the capture was a crucial escalation. “Now that they have shown they are able to seize an enormous ship like this, it is beyond a military solution. You won’t fix this without a political solution.”
Of course a political solution is required. The lack of a functioning government in Somalia allows for the existence of safe havens ashore for pirates. These must be taken away from them. Whatever exists of a government in Somalia must be made to agree.

Lawhawk over at A Blog For All discusses the solution.
These countries aren't powerless to act. They are abdicating their responsibility to act. These pirates are indeed terrorists, and there is some indication that they are perhaps middlemen for al Qaeda or other terrorist outfits.

That would fit with my contention that the failure to deal decisively with failed states and the situation in Somalia in particular is resulting a security nightmare.

The solution is to go after the pirates and stop treating this solely as a law enforcement action. The UN Treaty on the Seas has failed to dent the problems facing worldwide commerce as a result of the ongoing piracy. Articles 100 and following deal with what governments can and should do, and yet they are doing nothing of the kind.
Go and read his entire post. he has gotten it exactly right.
In other words, if the US captures pirates and their ships, US law would apply. Similarly, if the Royal Navy captures the pirates, British law applies. Yet, as the Times Online article notes, the British government passed on the men it captured to the Kenyans for prosecution.

These pirates are lucky they were not killed while engaged in their acts of violence on the high seas. For the rest of us, we're watching as the justice system grinds its wheels slowly and can't even begin to figure out how to deal with the problem in an effective manner.
Pirates, when captured, should never again see the light of day.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Do Not Trust Your Lying Eyes, No Bias at the Washington Post

...or in any other fish wrap newspaper either. You see, we conservatives, being all immensely stupid (and racist, and classist, and sexist, and just generally evil as well) just happened to perceive a bias that is not really there. You see, because we are so completely steeped in all of those evils listed above, and mostly because we are just stupid, we cannot see that the Washington Post, the New York Times, the LA Times, et al, are just fairly reporting the news.

Here is what Deborah Howell, the ombudsman at the Washington Post, has to say;
Remedying the Bias Perception. I especially like the first sentence.
Thousands of conservatives and even some moderates have complained during my more than three-year term that The Post is too liberal; many have stopped subscribing, including more than 900 in the past four weeks.

It pains me to see lost subscribers and revenue, especially when newspapers are shrinking. Conservative complaints can be wrong: The mainstream media were not to blame for John McCain's loss; Barack Obama's more effective campaign and the financial crisis were.
She goes on to write things designed to make us feel better, even providing some examples of biased reporting. She then explains that no, it is not really reflective of any bias.

Useful Fools makes a good point;
First, the title shows a misunderstanding of the problem. To any conservative who is aware of the issues, it isn’t a “Bias Perception,” it is bias. When the generally left-ish Saturday Night Live is running skits about the media being in the tank for Obama, it’s time to pay serious attention.

Second, you assert “The mainstream media were not to blame for John McCain’s loss; Barack Obama’s more effective campaign and the financial crisis were.” Let me phrase that slightly differently with the a reasonable hypothesis: “Without the bias and outright cheerleading of the media towards Obama, he would have lost the election.” Certainly Obama ran a good campaign, but one reason is that the media simply gave him a free pass. His record was not critically examined, his questionable associations were glossed over (Rev Wright is equivalent to McCain having dedicated his autobiography to a KKK member), his past work history was unexplored. If one compares this to the treatment of Sarah Palin or George Bush, the bias is off the scale.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How About that Global Warming?

Although the members of the Religion of Global Warming will never acknowledge it, their faith took another hit this week. It seems that the general cooling of the planet that everyone (except the Global Warming believers) has noticed now has a little more statistical support.

The world has never seen such freezing heat
A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.
Don't expect to hear too much about actual global temperature data from the national press, or from Mr. Gore. Information like this will limit their ability to get rich off of the "cap and trade" scam and the various taxation plans of our incoming Leftist™ government.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day - Veterans Day

Americans burying their dead at Bois de Consenvoye, France; November 8, 1918.

Most people know that Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day. The purpose was to commemorate the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - November 11th, 1918. The armistice was signed at Rethondes, France and ended hostilities on the Western Front. The war continued across the Russian and Ottoman Empires.

The commemoration was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to remember veterans of all of the wars that Americans had to fight. The price of our freedom has been high.

We often commemorate the events of World War II, it is never far from our memory.

We have forgotten World War I, the Great War. It, like the American Civil War and WW II was a war of horrible devastation and loss of life, draining the strength of Europe and claiming many American lives. It, like the others, was also a testing ground for new advances in warfighting, most notably including the tank, chemical warfare, and aerial warfare.

I choose to remember the armistice of November 11th, 1918 not for the changes in warfighting that were characteristic of WW I, or even of that war itself, but of the horrific loss of life and the horrific ways in which it was lost. Most of us have forgotten the Great War, and we should not. It was the beginning of warfare that lasted from 1914 through 1945. World War II was set up by, and can even be seen as a continuation of the Great War. The shots, fired by Gavrilo Princip, that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie (background here), resulted in warfare that killed more than 20 million people in World War 1 and over 70 million people in World War 2.

Make no mistake, I honor and remember all veterans of all wars, but I have many other occasions to do that. After 21 years of active duty service, I know many of them personally, often talking and drinking with them. But, for me, this day will always be about those heroes of 1917, the year that we entered WW I.

For the United States, this was the "war to end all wars". That is what we believed and this is what those men fought for. However completely that idea failed, they are still heroes and we do poorly if we fail to remember and venerate them. So, for me, Veterans Day will always be Armistice Day - for them.

Read and learn (as I am still doing);
Photos of the Great War
World War One

No one hates war more than the warriors.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

National Suicide?

There has been a political process going on in Europe for many years now of denigrating one's own culture and values and apologizing for one's own history. This process is perhaps furthest along in England and is going on in liberal politics in the US.

The great Melanie Phillips has written an excellent column describing this political process as it has affected (and is destroying) the UK and how it is underway in the US. This is a "must read" for anyone who cares about American culture and values.

Preventing National Suicide
Accordingly, his government either directly promoted or did nothing to stop the long march through Britain’s institutions — the systematic undermining of the country’s fundamental values and traditions, in line with the cultural Marxism strategy of the philosopher Antonin Gramsci. It tore up Britain’s (unwritten) constitution, devolving power to Scotland and changing the composition of the upper parliamentary chamber, the House of Lords, destroying the delicate equilibrium of the balance of power.

It also set about changing the identity of the country. Promoting the doctrine of multiculturalism, it opened Britain’s doors to mass immigration. In the state-controlled schools, teachers no longer saw their role as the transmission of Britain’s historic culture, which was “racist”; accordingly, children were not taught the history of their country, but instead a concept of ‘citizenship’ which was all about changing the values of the country. It undermined marriage, promoting instead “lifestyle choice” by incentivising lone parenthood (official forms no longer refer to husband and wives, merely “partners”). It discouraged prison sentences because criminals were said to be victims of life and jail would make them worse.

Obama has talked about remedying what he sees as the flaws in the U.S. Constitution which promotes only “negative liberties,” or freedom from something rather than positive rights to something. Well, through human-rights legislation Britain has exchanged its historic concept of “negative” liberty — everything is permitted unless it is actively prohibited — for the ‘positive’ European idea that only what is codified is to be permitted.

As a result, freedom has shrunk to what ideology permits. Equality legislation has cemented a “victim culture” under which the interests of all groups deemed to be powerless (black people, women, gays ) trump those deemed to be powerful (white people, men, Christians). Since this doctrine holds that the “powerless” can do no wrong while the “powerful” can do no right, injustice is thus institutionalized, and anyone who queries the preferential treatment afforded such groups is vilified as a racist or bigot.

All this constitutes a profoundly illiberal culture in which no dissent is permitted, group is set against group and intimidation is the order of the day. And this also happens to be the culture of ACORN, of the radical groups funded by the Annenberg Challenge and Woods Fund, and the ‘educational’ or criminal justice ideas of William Ayers, endorsed by Barack Obama.
Read it all, this is very important material and must be understood by anyone who loves American values and culture. This is what conservatives in the US have been saying for some time, only to be ridiculed by the Left™ and Democrats for political advantage. I know that there are members of the Democratic Party who do not support the Left™'s efforts to do this to America but still vote with their party because their leaders tell them to, and I know that there are Republicans who, out of an effort to "be compassionate" will allow this process to go forward. They need to stop thinking about political advantage and start caring about the country.

If you think that this cannot actually happen, take a close look at Europe.

Read, and read about, Antonio Gramsci.

This is critically important.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Ok, This is Funny

I am normally not a fan of Saturday Night Live. In fact I watch very little television outside of FOX News, the Discovery Channel, and the Travel Channel, but the bit that they just did with Senator McCain the other day is really funny.

The Company They Keep

Dishonest liberals accuse us of trying to tar Senator Obama using guilt by association when we mention the people that he is close to. I don't know about you, but I learned while I was growing up that "you will know them by the company that they keep".

Everyone knows what company Obama keeps. Here is a book by some of them, Billy Ayers and his friends from the Weather Underground, courtesy of the great Charles Johnson who has the exclusive at LGF.

LGF Exclusive: Bill Ayers' 'Prairie Fire' in PDF Form

Election Prediction with a Historical View

George Will provides some thoughtful analysis in a column that he wrote a few days ago (sorry about just getting to it now). I am not going to quote much of it, but you should read the whole thing.

A Seismic Election Day - A Few States Are Apt to Change Colors

He provides an excellent perspective using results of past elections.

As a final note, he adds this;
Tuesday night might be chaotic: Elections are government undertakings, so they are not expected to be well run, and judging by the multiplying warnings that voting arrangements might buckle under the weight of large turnouts, Election Day seems to have taken many state and local governments by surprise, yet again. Such dreary developments, anticipated with certainty, must be borne philosophically.