Saturday, February 07, 2004

I broke my blog

Or something. Does anyone have any idea why the sidebar is showing up in Mozilla, Mozilla Firebird and Opera, but not Internet Explorer. Yes, I know that Micro$oft blows, but I'd like those poor benighted souls who are still trapped in Windows to be able to view things properly too without having to make the Great Migration.

Any ideas?

UPDATE - TZ, I tried to paste the code in here to see how it should be modified, but Blogger won't cooperate and it doesn't show up - looks like it's either the script for the comments or the Alliance, since those are the only two. Can you email me to show they should be changed in order to work properly for everyone?

Loathsome abortionettes

The Alan Guttmacher Institute explains why women have abortions:

Woman is concerned about how having a baby could change her life: 76 percent
Woman can’t afford baby now: 68 percent
Woman has health problems: 7 percent
Woman was victim of rape or incest: 1 percent

Strange, all we ever seem to hear about are rape, incest and health of the killer. A lot of things change with marriage; if you're concerned about how your mother-in-law could change your life, is it cool to stick a fork in her head too?

Why the media hates bloggers

Tasty Manatees sums it up very well - competition, and dangerous competition at that: What's important is that Goldberg and his fellow pundits have almost no idea how the Federal regulatory process works when they write about the Environmental Protection Agency or why Senator So-and-So chose blue socks this morning. They mostly rely on the opinions of experts like me who spent years in school and practice learning how to do what we do or insiders who see what goes on behind the scenes. There are no required qualifications for writing other than knowing how to write competent and interesting prose in the English language, a task that many of the "experts" can do quite well (other than myself, of course). Now, the inside men and the experts that the journalists and pundits have relied on for years don't need them to get their points across. Most of us don't realize it, yet, but in time, we will.

It's true. I realize that most of you probably view me as a media figure, but I'm not. I've never had a regular day-job at a newspaper or magazine, and while I've got a reasonably respectable publishing history, it's pretty much been done as a hobby. I did not take a single English or journalism course throughout my college career, which is probably why I actually know something about a variety of industries - having worked in them - unlike many cradle-to-grave journalistas. I consider this blog to be as important to me as my column; more important in some ways.

There are exceptions, of course, but they are few and far between. The dirty little secret of journalism is that most career journalists have a very broad but shallow knowledge base. Interestingly enough, they tend not to be very intellectual, so they tend to be poorly read as well. Also, as verbally oriented people, they tend to overrate verbally facile people and underrate those whose intelligence manifests itself in less immediately obvious ways.

This post brought to you courtesy of Blackfive, the paratrooper of love.

It's the apophasis, stupid!

Eponymous isn't actually stupid, and even in this post purporting to deny that Kerry insulted Bush's service in the National Guard she is amusing. But if you are familiar with the art of the rhetorical insult, you will be immediately notice that the senator used a combination of apophasis and parallelism to first deny that he was making a point of that to which he specifically wished attention to be drawn, and equating National Guard service with fleeing to Canada. The statement has plausible deniability from a pure grammatical perspective, but none from a rhetorical one.

I don't blame Kerry for contrasting his service record with Bush at all; he'd have to be crazy not to. But considering that politics is nothing if not the practice of rhetoric, there's no doubt that he did insult both Bush and the National Guard. For a victorious Commander-in-Chief, Bush is very weak on the military front, but based on this little incident I don't expect Senator Kerry to be able to exploit it effectively.

I'd marry you if my phylum were Homo Harpyopsis

Desert Cat write in response to Paul Craig Roberts: Good Lord! I ought to try writing like that, just for the invigoration. There's nothing quite so invigorating as the discovery of angry hordes clamoring for your hasty demise...

Yeah, I'm anticipating a spot of that on Monday. It may actually make the response to Spiting Their Pretty Faces look downright reasonable, although perhaps not since there's almost nothing you can say to upset a woman more than telling her that she's unmarriageable. I think my favorite response to a ranting 30-something single woman who is up in arms about how breathtakingly desirable she is and how any rich, good-looking Ivy League grad would be hitting the lottery to have her is: "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll make some man very unhappy someday." In any event, here's a list of the predictable responses:

1) Assertions that women don't respect men and have every reason for not doing so. So there.

2) Assertions that I'm just bitter and hate women because I can't a) get laid; b) a date. And in truth, Space Bunny does tend to frown on the latter, although she was trying to set me up with one of her friends* recently. Is that a bad sign?

3) Assertions that I'm a) sexist; b) stupid; c) poorly educated; d) all of the above.

4) Improperly punctuated hysteria that is hard to read, much less make any sense of.

I think I'll post examples of all four this week. Yes, hatemailers of America, that's how boringly predictable you are. And while it may superficially appear as if I'm indifferent to what you have to say, it's only that I'm crying on the inside.

*Oh, relax. I'm just teaching her friend how to shoot at the range.

Toxic update

The Original Cyberpunk is out for the weekend, so don't expect any updates on the Toxic Pool until Monday evening. In the meantime, check the Comments to make sure that your date is free before picking one.


Mailvox: Gold and money supply

ME writes: Why do you care about the money supply? Did you not hear that Friedman admitted he was wrong in the June 6, 2003, Financial Times? The money supply is useless trivia unless you know the money demand also. You do realize that the demand for money changes, right? The price of gold tells you both the demand and supply, as it is the intersection point. Would you agree that as the dollar price of gold fell from over $400 in March of '96 to $257 in Sept. of '99 this signaled a lack of adequate liquidity and thus a deflation?

Because even if you only know one-half of the equation, it is still useful information. Especially when the supply curve shows a worrisome anomaly that has not often appeared before. Of course I heard about Friedman; no economist didn't. And I absolutely disagree that the decline in the price of gold signaled a lack of liquidity; the very notion is absurd considering the asset inflation that took place during that time. That decline - which has now been reversed - was a very simple matter of vastly increased "supply" as the central banks dumped the majority of their gold holdings "during" this time, so much so that Portugal, Canada and Australia are almost out. Considering how influenced the price of gold is by the furious water-treaders at the central banks, it's a very unreliable indicator of anything except of the banks' ability to keep things afloat. For the time being.

Why the quotes? Because it is starting to appear that the bullion sales may have taken place long prior, and the Washington Agreement may merely be a cover to convert the leases on the book - de facto sales - into de jure sales for the record.

”Keep in mind that when central bankers talk about selling gold, they usually mean writing off as sold their leased gold, gold that is long out of the vault and already sold into the market and a dangerous liability for the bullion banks that borrowed it.... the Bank of Canada continues to announce (almost monthly) the sale of a little more of what’s left of our gold reserves, which are now less than ten tonnes. That too is a crock. When I published my essay When Irish Eyes are Smiling: the story of Brian Mulroney and Canada’s gold, the good folks at the Bank of Canada told me that there had been no physical gold in the bank vaults for years."

Speaking of gold, the Relative ratio dropped to 1.048 at $395 yesterday before climbing up to 1.073. I hope that's not it for the trough, as I was looking to buy at $375... now $380.

UPDATE: "Gold lending was a small activity during the 1980s. It was a much bigger activity during the 1990s, so obviously it was a business that was occurring on an increasing scale. If the discrepancy was 4000 tonnes over ten to fifteen years, 300 to 400 tonnes a year---well, then it was probably 200 tonnes a year in the 1980s and it was probably nearer 600 tonnes a year by 1995. That meant supply and demand were underestimated by something like 600 tonnes a year."

Another reason to ditch Microsoft

If you're not seeing the Links, Faves and Blogrolls on the left side of the blog, it's because you're using Microsoft's Internet Explorer. It looks exactly as it should in both Opera and Mozilla. If you scroll to the bottom, you'll see that everything is there; IE just isn't recognizing the Blogger template for some reason.

Good thing Microsoft doesn't use that shoddy Open Source method of development!

Friday, February 06, 2004

Da junk in tha trunk

Americans, especially women, are consuming far more calories than they did three decades ago, and the increasingly dreaded carbohydrate food group is to blame, according to a federal study released on Thursday. The finding, revealed in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, comes amid repeated government warnings of a growing obesity epidemic in the nation as well as an explosion in the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets.... CDC researchers found that women between the ages of 20 and 74 consumed an average 1,877 calories per day in 2000, 22 percent more than in 1971. The average intake for males in the same age group was up 8 percent to 2,618 calories in 2000. The percentage of daily calories that came from carbohydrates, which include rice, bread and pasta, rose to 51.6 percent from 45.4 percent in women and to 49 percent from 42.4 percent in men during the period.

Jacqueline Wright, the lead author of the study, noted that the findings should not be seen as supporting the Atkins diet or any other food regimen that stressed low or no consumption of carbohydrates. "I think we need to focus on total calorie intakes," said Wright, an epidemiologist with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. The study also found that consumption of fat, including saturated fat, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease, represented a smaller percent of daily calories by the end of the 30-year period.

Let's see... eat 22 percent more, get fat. That's a tough one to figure out. IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT, EXERCISE MORE AND EAT LESS. Sure, it sucks. But that's your option. Atkins works because you can only eat so many protein calories before you get sick of eating, while almost anyone can knock down a bag of Oreos in a sitting, or at least a day. I'm sure a diet based on cardboard or eggplant would work too.

Liquidity trap

You want liquidity trap? You can't handle liquidity trap! Scroll to the bottom, and notice how the peak is at 08 2003. This, in spite of interest rate accomodation and smoke coming off the printing presses. If Greenspan and company can bob, duck and weave their way out of this one smoothly, I may have to reconsider my opinion on the inefficacy of monetary policy.

Don't mess with a big brain

Always fear to argue with someone who isn't afraid to say "I don't know." Chances are very high that they're playing on a completely different level.

Thomas Sowell writes: Once, after giving a talk, I was confronted by a lady in the audience who asked what some people regard as the ultimate question:

"What is YOUR solution?"

"There are no solutions," I said. "There are only trade-offs."

"The people DEMAND solutions!" she shot back angrily.

The people can demand square circles if they want. But that doesn't mean that they will get them. What they are more likely to get is the illusion of a solution by someone seeking their vote.

What he said.

Why I'm not on Townhall

Paul Craig Roberts explains a number of things, including why I'm not an odds-on bet to ever be featured on Townhall. Fortunately, I don't give the proverbial rat's patootie. I don't entirely agree with the eminent Mr. Roberts, though, as I think it is possible for a columnist to educate those who are already somewhat inclined his way, but are not as informed.

I tend to think of it more as providing ammunition. In any case, I''m just defending the mike.

It's just a matter of time

I have no doubt that the terrible news about vaccines is going to make its way out before the public eventually. There's no way that the Congress would have protected the manufacturers, distributors and docters from liability if they actually were anywhere nearly as safe as they're claimed. I hope this is the beginning of the end of the charade, but we'll see. You'd think there's far too much money at stake for the veil to fall easily, but hopefully a few honest scientists will value millions of children's lives more than their careers.

OTTAWA-- After assuring parents that additives in vaccines don't cause brain damage, scientists have found what they believe could be a "smoking gun" linking these additives to autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. In a study that was rushed to print on-line today, two months ahead of its scheduled publication in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, U.S. researchers have discovered an apparent link between thimerosal, a controversial mercury-based preservative once commonly used in childhood vaccines, to an increased risk of neurological disorders such as autism and ADHD. While most vaccines distributed in Canada have been thimerosal-free since the early 1960s, the preservative was used in the annual flu shot that doctors recommended this year for even healthy children. In tests on human brain cells, researchers found two natural chemicals -- one compound that stimulates cell growth and also dopamine, which transmits nerve signals -- are both key to a process in the brain called methylation.

Methylation helps DNA work properly and is crucial to the normal development of the brain.The team found thimerosal, ethanol and the metals lead and mercury all interfere with methylation. What's more, thimerosal did so at doses 100 times lower than a child would receive after a single shot with a thimerosal-containing vaccine. "It was by far the most potent," said investigator Dr. Richard Deth, a professor of pharmacology at Northeastern University in Boston. He said the study, which also involved researchers from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Nebraska and Tufts University in Boston, could account for the rising rates of autism since the early 1980s, when more thimerosal-containing shots were added to a child's vaccine schedule.

A recent review of vaccine-related "adverse events" in the U.S. found a"significant correlation" between shots containing thimerosal and autism,the researchers report.

KMC on "marriage"

I'm generally loathe to continue a previous day's discussion, so as to avoid beating a lifeless equine, but Kevin McCullough wanted to contribute his take by way of his column today. I don't think I buy into the concept myself; Canada is showing that there's no need for such a redefinition of marriage in order to crack down on the traditional and the faithful with newly manufactured hate crimes, while in other places, like Zurich, such "marriage" exists without any attendant speech codes and PC enforcement. As with gun control, a failure to look beyond the borders can sometimes create false dichotomies. But don't take my word for it, go see for yourself.

KMC writes: ...if a state were to give "sanctity" to an otherwise "immoral" activity then there is no need to worry about what that church says anymore. In fact, if the right hate-crime laws are passed then maybe ... just perhaps ... we can shut down those voices who say such things all together.

Maybe this argument might impress a few moderates and shaky conservatives who still believe that legality equates to morality. Since my libertarian logic rejects that concept, I'm left fairly cold by this notion. But, it is conceivable and it is true that the Stalinist nature of the American gay rights movement is surpassed only by the abortionette Left. Not being privy to the inner circles of the Lavender Mafia, I have no idea what the grand master plan behind such "marriage" is. The Norwegian and Swedish statistics suggest that most homosexuals aren't actually interested in "marrying" and are highly unlikely to stay "married" even if they do go through with it . Perhaps the Gayfather will deign to enlighten us; I'm pretty sure our non-rabid queer friends have no more clue than we do.

Speaking of columns, I just turned in next week's. I imagine we may get a few angry feminist sorts popping their noses in, assuming they aren't too bent out of shape to fit. If nothing else, there should be some amusing fodder for the cannons. Just a little something to anticipate in case you feel the need to sharpen your knives over the weekend.

Ending abortion in South Dakota

The Aberdeen News reports: Opponents warned legislators that passing the measure would be a costly mistake. South Dakota will wind up in court, and the legal fees will be huge, they said, reminding state lawmakers that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark 1973 ruling that abortion is legal.

Excellent. If the infanticidists are reduced to arguing about the cost of legal defense, the pro-life forces must have the votes to push it through. And just how much of a cow town do they believe South Dakota to be if they think no one there has heard of Roe v. Wade?

This post brought to you courtesy of The Evangelical Outpost

Why George Delano does what he do

The thing that's important to keep in mind is that most Republican politicians, for all their supply-side rhetoric, are still Keynesians. They believe that the prime mover of the economy is government spending, since C+I+G = GDP. Consumption + Investment + Government Spending = Gross Domestic Product. C and I are outside of their direct control, so therefore, G must be increased if the economy is going to grow in a dependable manner.

This is all the more true since I = S. Investment = Savings, but American savings are actually negative, since people are spending more money than they are earning thanks to low interest rates and easy debt. The post-1991 economic boom has entirely consisted of debt-funded C + lots of G + foreign I.

Now here's where we're looking at trouble. In order to pay off the interest on old I, the dollar is dropping off a cliff. This is why foreign I has dried up - remember, domestic I is nonexistent - except for the Japanese, who are playing their own bizarre Keynesian game. C can't increase much more, since everyone has already refinanced their homes several times, blown all their equity and are in debt up to their eyeballs. This leaves two alternatives, rampant inflation or a massive increase in government spending. It looks to me as if the decision has been made to pursue both at once, which shows that things may be extraordinarily fragile. Without this spending, George Delano's advisors believe the economy will tank before November despite the modest increase in C derived from the tax cuts. They don't care what they spend it on, just so it gets spent.

However, the negative reaction of the conservative base appears to be causing the Republican braintrust to rethink this strategy, which means that either a) they'll take the chance that conservatives will stay home and announce more spending; or b) they'll announce new tax cuts to attempt to stimulate C enough to make up for what they hoped to achieve by increasing G. In either case, expect federal debt to increase dramatically.

Of course, the deeper problem is that the entire Keynesian macro model is total nonsense, so the very conundrum is a false one, but until we've got Austrian-school economists from the Mises Institute in the White House, this analytical model should be useful for understanding political behavior as the Season of False Promises draws nigh.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Fun with WMD

The Original Cyberpunk writes: We *know* that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons. He used them against the Kurds and the Iranians, ergo, he had them. To argue otherwise is idiocy. We *know* that chemical weapons can stay hidden and dangerous for quite a long time. For example, just last summer, construction workers in China acccidentally dug into a chemical weapons dump hidden by the retreating Japanese army in 1944 or '45, resulting in fatalities and much hard feelings between the two countries. Ergo, this issue won't go away. We *know* that American voters have short attention spans: two months, tops. Further, we *know* that there's no point in announcing political news before Labor Day or on Halloween weekend. So, the question: WHEN *EXACTLY* will Donald Rumsfeld announce the discovery of vast stores of Iraqi chemical, radiological, and/or biological weapons? I pick Saturday, October 16, 2004:

Here's the deal. If you want in, check the Comments and go to The Toxic Pool and see what dates are taken. Nothing's up there until tonight. Then pick your date, add it to the Comments so everyone can see AND mail it to me so OC can add it to the table. Whoever is closest gets first prize, which is a signed copy of at least four of our books, the next three closest get a signed copy of Rebel Moon. Only one date per person, current or former employees of either the Iraqi or Syrian regimes are not permitted to enter. If there's no announcement, then, well, it didn't cost anything to play now, did it.

I got Monday, October 18th.

UPDATE: The Toxic Pool is up! Check it out before picking your dates.

Anonymous blogging

I seriously fail to see what the deal is here. [There's been a bit of a discussion floating around the Sphere thanks to J. Goldberg and the PuppyAbuser] You know everything you need to know about a blog from the ideas they express. I daresay that those of you who visit here regularly or have read my column for two years know who I am a lot better than half the people who primarily encounter me socially on a regular basis and with whom I only engage in meaningless small talk.

It makes no difference that we know Jonah Goldberg=Jonah Goldberg but we don't know if BloggerX=Mark Smith or Jane Weatherbee. Who cares? Ideas must be capable of standing on their own right and I hate the notion that X = true if A is black, but false if A is white. Substitute your personal identifying adjective of choice, but you get the point.

I'm not anonymous anyhow, as anyone with 30 seconds and an Internet link or a decent grasp of classical languages can figure out my private joke between me. But this is the persona that I have chosen for myself in this field, just as Desert Cat and Physics Geek have carved out their own little niches and I think that's cool. Heck, I was just talking with the White Buffalo about the right name for someone who has personally threatened me if their blogstar name is insufficiently flattering. (By the way, El Zinko Pinko, I have to tell you that he has been absolutely dying to make a Teletubbies reference and he is very sad that he doesn't know you well enough to rip you. Oh, that I were so fortunate.)

Which reminds me. There is no better set of monikers than on the radio shows when Todd Steussie was playing in Minnesota. There was "Holding On Number 73 On The Offense Guy" and "False Start on Number 73 On The Offense Guy". Space Bunny was hoping Carolina would lose just so I'd stop saying that every time they showed Steussie on TV. "Hey, false start on Number-" "Would you PLEASE shut up with that?" "But, see, the irony is that it actually was a false-" "I DON'T CARE!"

What was the point? Did I have one? Oh, right. Anonymous blogging is moral, virtuous, good and healthy. And let's face it, it's fun.

Mailvox: notions of decline

Hank writes on homosexuality and Roman decline: Speaking of false correlations here's a great counter example. The rise of Christianity tracks the collapse of the Roman empire. Perhaps Christianity is the root of the collapse. I'd guess probably not, but they both share the same space of history so we could try and draw that kind of a ridiculous conclusion.

If you'd look at how the homosexual emperors were behaving, you'd better understand the notional relationship between the moral degradation and the imperial decline. More than one emperor was murdered by his bodyguard because they couldn't stomach his behavior, which didn't contribute a great deal to political stability. Edward II met a similar fate, as well, but he was an aberration for an English king.

I think my favorite example is this. "He [Elagabulus] impersonated the Great Mother in a lion-drawn chariot and publicly posed as the Venus Pudica, dropping to his knees with buttocks thrust before a male partner.... He had to be dissuaded from castrating himself, reluctantly accepting circumcision as a compromise." His reign didn't last long or end well. Gibbons writes: "he was massacred by the indignant Praetorians, his mutilated corpse dragged through the streets of the city, and thrown into the Tiber."

I imagine that when our president begins behaving in like manner, total collapse won't be too far off. When you compare the first openly Christian emperor (Constantine) with the first openly homosexual emperor (Nero), you get an interesting picture of the different influences on the society. (Yes, I know about Sulla and Caesar, but the first kept it hidden and wasn't an emperor, in the case of the second there are only rumors and insults. I'm not sure about Tiberius, but then, neither were the Romans.)

UPDATE: by the way, I'm quite certain that Christianity helped bring about the ultimate downfall of Rome. Generally speaking, the intellectual freedom that Christianity can and has inspired in many individuals is not particularly conducive to totalitarian rule, which, no doubt, is why totalitarians tend to hate Christians and attempt to control the Church. I personally view homosexuality as a mid-to-late stage symptom of societal decline, not a cause.

Marriage and the State

Stanley Kurtz defends marriage: Because marriage is deeply implicated in the interests of children, it is a matter of public concern. Children are helpless. They depend upon adults. Over and above their parents, children depend upon society to create institutions that keep them from chaos. Children cannot articulate their needs. Children cannot vote. Yet children are society. They are us, and they are our future. That is why society has the right to give special support and encouragement to an institution that is necessary to the well being of children — even if that means special benefits for some, and not for others. The dependence intrinsic to human childhood is why unadulterated libertarianism can never work.

This is such a crock of illogic. Like Stanley, I'm 100 percent opposed to the oxymoronic concept of "gay marriage", but it's ridiculous to state that unadulterated libertarianism can never work where marriage is concerned. People were successfully married and raised children for thousands of years without state recognition.

Doesn't anyone read history anymore?

He does, however, provide interesting evidence that common estimates of the gay population are wildly exaggerated: we are dealing with a strikingly small population — too small to draw clear conclusions. In Norway, same-sex registered partnerships form only .68 percent as often as heterosexual marriages. In Sweden, registered partnerships form only .55 percent as often as heterosexual marriages (i.e. about one half of 1 percent as often).

So much for the ten percent theory. I never bought that for a second anyhow. And this is in Scandinavia, where men are even less likely to marry the mothers of their children than in America.


Dick Morris has waffled a little on his predictions of the Lizard Queen's future behavior, but he may well be onto something this time: But the big reason Hillary should run is that the Democrats might well win in 2004. If a new president takes office in 2004 - and runs for a second term in 2008 - Hillary will have to keep fresh for eight years, a hard task in the best of times. In the Senate, she would be, at best, an onlooker as the action moves to a Democratic White House. But as vice president, she would have the on-deck circle to herself and would be the presumptive nominee in 2012..... If Hillary doesn't run for vice president on the Democratic ticket in 2004, the person who does will be a strong candidate against her in 2008 if the ticket loses and a presumptive favorite in 2012 if it wins. She doesn't need the competition. Should Bush win re-election, it will likely not be by the massive margin by which he would probably have defeated Dean. There would be no shame for Hillary in running for vice president on a ticket that narrowly lost.

It now appears that I was correct when I agreed with Morris' original 2002 calculation that the Lizard Queen would not run for president this time around. I do think that there is a real chance that she'll accept an offer of a vice-presidential nomination from Senator Kerry, however. Kerry won't win - senators seldom do - but the election will be close enough that Hillary wouldn't be tainted by it and would therefore become the presumptive nominee in 2008. If she allows Edwards, for one, to claim the VP spot, she'll find it nearly impossible to beat him out in the 2008 primaries, as the sputtering failure of Clark's "amazing campaign" has demonstrated the limits of the Clinton machine. If Kerry manages to win, of course, the VP logic becomes even more pressing. And in that case, she'd also make history as the first female VP.

Gay devil worshippers

The Gayfather writes to WND: [Joseph Farah's] God is a false God, who is a homophobic bigot. Our true God gave us our homosexuality as a divinely-inspired gift and blessing, to be enjoyed to its fullest, exultantly, exuberantly, and joyously. Gay is good, Godly, moral and virtuous, and American. You homophobes are evil, unGodly, immoral and sinful, irrational to the point of utter lunacy and beyond, and unAmerican and anti-American. You don't have a clue as to what America and true Americanism are all about.

Ever since reading Sexual Personae, I've suspected that homosexuality is fundamentally a spiritual disease, an Apollonian death cult. Mr. Kameny, the self-styled Godfather of the gay rights movement, seems to illustrate this concept rather clearly. Unrepentant homosexuals do have a god, and he is the one that Jesus and Paul described as the prince of this world. In a previous email to me, the Gayfather has also argued that homosexuality is healthier than normalcy, which is, to say the least, a staggeringly abstract assertion. He takes dialectic to intellectual depths undreamed of by Hegel, Marx or Lenin. One's mind reels when imagining his conception of true Americanism, considering his redefinitions of health, morality and virtue.

1 John 4: 2-4
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

John 14: 30
I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

Mailvox: the corrupt judicial system

DD comments in response to another reader's declaration that prosecutors and judges are ambitious and out to "get their man": I've been a prosecutor for 15 years, long enough to lose any naivete. You're dead wrong. Yes, there are a FEW individuals in those fields more concerned with their own cheap ambitions than justice. However, the overwhelming majority of cops, DAs and judges are honorable men and women who could earn much more money doing something far safer, but continue to do what they do because they want to make a difference. Don't trash things about which you have no personal knowledge.

That's an anecdotal attempt to fragantize the equine ejectus, DD, and it won't stand up before those of us who do have personal knowledge. Most judges are corrupt to the core and DA's simply serve the interests of the State, not justice. In one case where I was assisting preparation, the judge overruled an objection when the Asst. DA began to offer testimony - they're not allowed to, but no bar lawyer ever challenges them on this - because, as she said, although the plaintiff's objection was technically correct, she was just gathering information and was going to admit the testimony because she wasn't going to rule on it. Then she granted the motion to dismiss on the sole basis of the testimony she'd just allowed in violation of the federal rules of court procedure. Even worse, the "testimony" was blatantly false and the Asst. DA couldn't even produce any witness because the only one was dead. I have the transcript; even the judge in the subsequent lawsuit admitted that the hearing was a joke.

I was also the sole witness in an unrelated case where there was no question whatsoever about the wording of a contract, but the judge was too bored to care, so he decided it by flipping a coin. Those have been my two personal experiences, also anecdotal, true, but my cynical view of the court system is backed up by the larger facts as well.

Judges routinely lie to the juries in their instructions to them, as permitted by the Supreme Court (Sparf v U.S. 156 U.S. 51, 1895), where "the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that although juries have the right to ignore a judge's instructions on the law, the jury shouldn't be aware of it." There's also the whole sham of administrative courts, which are designed to look like real judicial courts, but get around the protections of the common law. Which is why we have the "tax courts" and "child services courts" consisting of agents of those very services dressed up like judges and pretending to be impartial, whereas they are executive branch employees operating in overt defiance of the separation of powers doctrine.

And then, there's "case law", which judges use to redefine what the law says. For example, in one state, private property is only interpreted to mean "things that grow in the ground" thanks to one judge's baseless declaration back in the 19th century. There are hundreds of examples of this form of corruption.

The judicial system is entirely corrupt, from the United States Supreme Court down to the state district courts, which has the terrible effect of tainting the actions of even the most well-meaning people working within it. I have sympathy for these individuals, but no respect for the system whatsoever. Sure, there are good people working inside it; one of my best and oldest friends is a high-powered attorney and I've lifted weights and done martial arts with friends who are cops for years. Still, I have no doubt that there were plenty of nice, well-meaning people in the Waffen SS and the KGB too - I doubt they were doing what they did for the money either, but because they believed what they were told. There has never been a police state without police, prosecutors and judges; history demonstrates that individuals in such professions are by no means worthy of a free pass based on their occupation, indeed, it tends to suggest precisely the opposite.

This isn't to say that it is ambition that corrupts the people of the system, it's just that most of those operating within it are not especially bright and have very little idea with regards to what the law actually says or what justice actually demands. And yet, America's hope may well rest on them, on people like Joe Banister, who are courageous enough to admit that they are a small cog in a vast and corrupt machine doing great injustice to the American people.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Oh, the irony

Wired reports: Jerome Armstrong, an Internet strategist for the Dean campaign and Moulitsas' partner in a political consulting firm, first encountered Yellin on MyDD, his now-mothballed blog. Armstrong is clearly impressed by Yellin and fondly recalls the teenager's first electoral effort. "When Stephen ran for student council, he told me he had divided the school into interest groups, the jocks, the popular kids, etc., and tried to figure out where his support was and how to appeal to them," said Armstrong. "He was applying political strategy to a high school race." Despite his political smarts, Yellin did not win a seat. "I had a nice strategy," said Yellin, "but I didn't realize that the most popular people win, not the most competent."

No doubt this kid will make a fantastic Democratic analyst, being so clueless that he lost his first school election. Oh, how I loathe these young political types! In my own dabblings in this sort of thing, I won both races I managed, one my own campaign for school vice-president in elementary school, the other for my friend who was running for senior class president his junior year of college. The key to the first was realizing that all the very popular people were running for president, so I ran for VP, won, and discovered that I hated absolutely everything about school politics and the sort of kids who think they matter. The kid who won the presidential election and is no doubt a Congressman by now won the hearts and minds of the electorate by promising longer recess. In fifth grade!

The key to the second was working to my candidate's strength. He happened to be extraordinarily good-looking, so I arranged to get the Dean of Student's login and password, used it to break into the university's computer system and printed out a list of all the junior girls arranged by dorm and room number. (Mass mailings through the university's mail system weren't possible and he was going up against the popular three-year incumbent). We designed a little flyer that just basically said he was running underneath a big picture of him looking very handsome, all blond bangs, sculpted cheekbones and white teeth, then dropped a copy off under the doors of every junior girl on campus the night before the election. We got about ten phone numbers apiece and he won in a landslide the next afternoon.

Lesson: you can never be too attractive, or too cynical. Sometimes I miss not having a conscience.

This post brought to you courtesy of Clay Whittaker

Mailvox: Another easy one

AW writes: Since you are a Christian, how do you reconcile the idea of a literal hell with a loving God. I am not trying to provoke a debate, or anything of that nature. Rather, I am (was) a Christian myself, who is struggling heavily with my faith because of this. As I read the Bible, hell is a place of torture, and I just don't get it. It isn't the idea of separation from God that causes me problems, but the idea of people being tortured for eternity because of temporal crimes, or bad decisions. I realize you don't hold yourself up as a theological teacher, but since you are a person whose opinions I respect, I was just hoping to get your take or possibly a book you can recommend that discusses this issue.

Evolution, drugs and now Hell... and here I was hoping for something more on the order of: Janet Jackson, over or under the muscle?

Anyhow, let me first state that a) I don't actually know anything about this; b) neither does anyone else; c) there is information in the Bible, which also states that no one is capable of understanding these things clearly. Nor am I a professional theologian, then again, I actually believe in God. Keep your expectations low, as I'm flying free here. Please note that assuming many Christian postulates are required to play here; atheist friends, please save the "I don't believe X anyhow" for another post.

First, I think it's important to keep in mind that our opinions are utterly irrelevant. Either God and Hell exist or they do not. The truth is what it is, so even if God is a cruel, malicious psychopath who gets His rocks off by seeing humans spin their wheels, fail, die and burn forever, it is arguably in your best eternal interest to stay on His good side. Believe or don't believe, but don't disbelieve because you don't like what you perceive to be the truth. That's just stupid ostrichism unless you're actually willing to pay that inestimable price. Given that most people behave like craven sheep when threatened by an audit, I find it very difficult to believe that anyone is seriously interested in going to the mat - or rather, the Pit, over this principle.

Now, I don't think that's actually the case. The deeper problem, I think, stems from the notion that a loving, all-powerful God is some sort of control freak. I'm not a Biblical scholar, but I'm reasonably well read in the Scriptures and I've yet to read anything to indicate that supports a broad view that God is minutely managing everything. Whereas, to the contrary, there are many examples suggesting that we and the angels have tremendous free will and power. Jesus never disputed that Satan had the power to offer him all the kingdoms of the world, and both he and Paul referred to the Prince of the World, indicating that it is not God who rules over the Earth, but Satan. This is why CS Lewis referred to the concept of the Divine Invasion, which is present in both the Chronicles of Narnia and the Space Trilogy. A winter land, a shadowed planet, taken over and ruled by evil, which God must invade in order to begin restoring his original ideal.

As spirits, we have an eternal component which has been tainted by this shadow, and without being cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, we cannot approach the presence of God. Valuing free will, God does not force us to be cleansed, but merely offers such cleansing to us. There's a lot of theories about Hell, of course, but since I suspect that God exists outside of the space-time continuum, it is possible that our spirits will also exist outside the space-time continuum. Since we know nothing of it, it is possible that everything that is outside of God's presence is nothing but chaos and fire, which the damned are sentenced to dwell since they cannot approach the order of God's presence. In this case, torture is not so much punishment as it is simply an inevitable result of a bad decision. And we suffer the never-ending consequences for bad decisions all the time. The mother who leaves her baby in the bathtub for 'just a second", the father who shoots at a flicker of movement that he thinks is a deer, the teenager who turns around to talk to his friend while he's driving... I see nothing out of what appears to be the natural order in that concept.

I am not saying that any of this is the case, you understand, only that it is certainly possible to conceive of a reasonable scenario which permits the simultaneous existence of a loving God and an eternal Hell. But in any case, as I mentioned before, I don't think it actually matters from our point of view, except perhaps to assuage our feelings. It's very clear from the Bible that our task is not to understand God - which at any rate is as impossible for us as it is for the characters in a video game to understand the intentions of the designer - but to obey Him.

Staying off the doggy list

John Adler of NRO isn't afraid to take on a Republican administration: It should be no surprise that the long-coddled sugar industry -- and its hangers on -- are pulling out all the stops to derail trade agreements that could loosen import restrictions on foreign sugar. But it is nothing short of outrageous that the Bush Administration appears to be capitulating, as noted in yesterday's print WSJ. Under the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement, a small trickle of foreign sugar will be allowed in, and the Administration is apologizing to the sugar industry for it.... Americans (including all kinds of American companies that use sugar) will pay more for sweeteners, all to protect one well-connected industry. It's enough to make a free trader sick.

Another republican principle sold down the river by Republicans? Say it isn't so! Not George Delano! Slowly, conservatives begin to wake up. Slowly, but surely. Notice that these Free Trade Agreements are always anything but? There's no need for massive encyclopedic tomes, all you need is a one-page document saying: Congress shall make no law..... Of course, neither Democrats nor Republicans pay any attention to that sort of thing.

The Constitution Party on drugs

Contrary to a reader's comment, the Constitution Party does not support the War on Drugs. Their actual stance is as follows:

The Constitution Party will uphold the right of states and localities to restrict access to drugs and to enforce such restrictions in appropriate cases with application of the death penalty. We support legislation to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States from foreign sources. As a matter of self-defense, retaliatory policies including embargoes, sanctions, and tariffs, should be considered. At the same time, we will take care to prevent violations of the Constitutional and civil rights of American citizens. Searches without probable cause and seizures without due process must be prohibited, and the presumption of innocence must be preserved.

It is not identical to the very conservative Libertarian position, which seeks to return the situation to that of the period between 1789-1914, when drug use was a matter of individual choice. Of course, they didn't have opium or cocaine or marijuana back then.... In any event, the Constitution Party is clearly opposed to the anti-constitutional Federal Drug War. I lean towards the Libertarian position myself, but I regard the Constitutional's position to be very worthy of merit except for the bit about the death penalty, which I oppose on the basis of putting up every possible obstacle to the State being permitted to kill its citizens. The bit about the illegal drug flow is redundant, as the Constitution clearly gives the Federal government the power to regulate imports, legal or otherwise.

Republican whore doggies: the list

Whore Doggy: definition: 1. [n] a self-styled conservative columnist who publicly sacrifices his previously-held principles in the interest of furthering the election prospects of the Republican Party. 2. [n] a columnist who sacrifices his principles in the interest of defending a specific politician. 3. [n] a conservative columnist who has been wholly suckered by fraudulent conservative rhetoric.

Gary Aldrich, Townhall
Some might ask, “Where is the Conservative agenda we voted for? Isn’t there one good example of a Conservative agenda item in one single federal agency?” ...I hope we’ve had enough of the failed Clinton concepts for protecting our homeland. Bush should be reelected for that reason alone – and if he is not, I wonder if the Super Bowl half-time show is not a fair representation of what we have become as a people.

Dennis Prager, WorldNetDaily
I believe that this man [George Delano Bush] is changing history for the better, that he is the dam holding back the waters of chaos, that he saved this country at a time when Democrats would have failed it, and that he is both kind and strong, real and decent, powerful and humble.... Unless he is a faker -- and I believe that I can sense a faker a mile away -- it was clear that the president was moved.... I realize that I open myself to ridicule by saying that everything I had suspected about the man was reinforced in a little over a minute....

George Will, Washington Post
Some conservatives believe government strength is inherently inimical to conservative aspirations. This belief mistakenly assumes that all government action is merely coercive, hence a subtraction from freedom. But government can act strongly to make itself less controlling and intrusive, enacting laws that offer opportunities and incentives for individuals to become more self-sufficient.... Bush's presidency, which seals his party's coming-to-terms with the need to put strong government in the service of conservative values, is neither a surrender to the liberal agenda nor an armistice in the struggle over whether social policy should emphasize equality or freedom. Rather, it liberates Republicans to adopt reforms in the provision of education, health care and pensions.

Michael Potemra, National Review
I'M HEARTENED BY CONSERVATIVES... and how they are responding to the Bush NEA announcement. Jonah says that most of the e-mail he's getting-by something like a three-to-one margin-gives Bush a pass on this issue. This is a very important signal, because it shows a certain maturity of outlook on the part of conservatives: a dogged insistence on focusing on the Big Picture.

And to think George Will was once one of my heroes.... There will surely be more. If anyone has some good nominees, email them to me accompanied by a supporting quote. Conservatives, I may not be one of you anymore, as I am a Christian libertarian, but I'm telling you, I'm much closer your side than most of your so-called leaders are.

Collateral damage

Okay, conservative friends and Drug Warriors, let's see if we can pull you out of your nightmarish hypotheses long enough to take a look at the actual facts of the collateral damage issue:


Now, does anyone believe that legalizing drugs that tens of millions of people are already using is going to octuple the number of people ODing? Because clearly, we're quite willing to accept 40,000 annual deaths in the interest of easy transportation. How much more should we accept in the defense of the Constitution? And the fallacy of arguing that it should be illegal because of the possibility of more people driving under the influence should be obvious to everyone: such driving is already illegal. It's also easy to argue that drug warriors have actually worsened the collateral damage. In Oregon, deaths from illegal drug overdose more than doubled, from 70 to 183, after ten years of drug war.

There is only one serious case for the War on Drugs. It is an excellent way to get large numbers of easily frightened people who otherwise believe in liberty and the Constitution to accept massive Federal intrusions on both. It is impossible for any conservative supporter of small government to support the Drug War without some serious cognitive dissonance. I understand that these days that it is a good Republican position, but then, so is Mars, amnesty for aliens, increased funding for the NEA and the Medicare drug entitlement. Are you buying into those too?

Do try to remember, conservatives, that central government is no friend to freedom. And no conservative philosopher has ever argued that freedom comes without cost.

*clearly I was guilty of exaggeration in writing 100,000 annual highway deaths before.
** this almost surely includes many suicides. No one knows how many, but I'd estimate about 75 percent based on the fact that 11,340 of the annual 21,000 gun deaths are suicides. I also suspect that many car fatalities are suicides, but it's impossible to say how many.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Mailvox: On drugs

Katherine comments: Vox, you do nothing for improving the public opinion of the libertarian party, which is that it is a group of people who seek mostly to curb societal disapproval of the few vices they have left. After your little rant accusing "paranoid drug warriors" of being prudes because they don't support random individuals having the freedom to use every kind of hard drug they can get their hands on, I'm not so sure they were wrong. Want to bring more people to the libertarian party? Stop telling people who disagree with you that they are prudes.

I never said anything about prudes. Nothing personal, truly, but I don't think anti-drug conservatives are prudes. With regards to this specific matter, I think they're uninformed, illogical, short-sighted and, quite frequently, downright stupid. I also know from personal experience that if you repeatedly smash a person in the face with their total failure of logic on a specific matter, they will eventually wake up. I have been very successful in convincing rock-hard conservative Republicans who have never dreamed of touching an illegal chemical that the Drug War is evil, dangerous and a total contradiction of their core beliefs. As for paranoid, what else would you call someone who is more afraid of an imaginary threat than of something that is indisputably real and uniquely lethal?

I was an elite NCAA Division 1 athlete and very seldom used the drugs in which most of my friends habitually engaged. I've been 100 percent clean for over a decade, even when living in a country where marijuana is openly sold by a chain of stores. But I never said drugs are safe. They're not. And yet, 100,000 people die every year on the highways but we don't ban cars because 75 percent of those trips are unnecessary expeditions in pursuit of a shopping buzz. Conservatives wet their pants because a few people more people might OD here and there or drop out of the job market if drugs are legalized, and because of this irrational fear, they happily embrace expanding central government power, the only thing that has killed more humans this century than every drug, every car accident, every war, and every murderous criminal combined - and this despite the fact that 20 years of trampling all over civil liberties and the Constitution has only increased drug availability and potency exactly as the Prohibition experiment indicated. You can't even withdraw a measly $3,000 from your bank now without it being reported to the FBI, thanks to this "conservative" policy.

The upshot is that the Drug War is yet another example of short-sighted conservatives being snookered by statists. The centralizers burn to increase central power by any means necessary, and this has been one of their most successful tactics. Remember, back when the country actually was conservative, opium, cocaine and marijuana were all legal. There's nothing inherently conservative about the Drug War, and there's nothing inherently libertine about opposing it. I don't want drugs to be legal so that I can use them, I want them to be legal so government agents don't have an excuse to trample on the Constitution, steal private property and shoot people in the head.

My angel is a centerfold

Okay, the analogy is not quite precise, but Big Chilly and the White Buffalo will no doubt be amused to know that it has been confirmed that Jamaica Girl*, my college girlfriend from junior year, is indeed collectible. Apparently it's kind of like baseball cards, only strippers. The ironic thing is that she's not even close to the most staggeringly questionable girl I ever dated. It's always fun to have to warn your mother: "uh, Mom, you know that USA Today thing you were reading last week...."

And here Space Bunny's college boyfriends were an NBA player and a surgeon. Let's just say we count on her to provide the class in the relationship.

*"Why are there poor people here? If I were poor, I'd go live in Jamaica!"

A new fave

As most of you know, I have no fear of the Left, being more steeped in its foundations than most of its advocates and devotees. Thus, I often find Eponymous to be rather humorous, and to be honest, he deserved a link just for the Ann Coulter as vampire countess alone. I even tend to agree with him on the nightmarish Meghan Gurdon columns on NRO, which make my eyeballs feel as if they're bleeding on the few occasions I've troubled to read them.

He's generally not inclined to take me on, unfortunately, and his readers are about as intellectually sophisticated as you'd imagine, but he is the one funny left-wing blogger that I've encountered. Sure, the obsession with who Ben Shapiro and Kyle Williams are not sleeping with gets old, but one must give credit where credit is due and I happen to find it amusing. Maybe you won't, but hey, it's my blog.

UPDATE - Apparently he is a she. I was under the mistaken impression that Eponymous was a homosexual he.

Watch out for falling giants

The Atlanta Journal/Constitution reports on an evolution-in-school dispute: David Bechler, a biology professor and head of the department of biology at Valdosta State University, said the statements suggest a basic misunderstanding of science. "I don't think they understand the definition of a theory," Bechler said. "You're talking about a statement that describes a body of data that has gone through testing and proving. The theory of creation, intelligent design, or whatever you might want to call it, has not been tested and should not be discussed in science classes. It's not the same thing."

I enjoy it when scientists are just blatantly dishonest. As Joe Carter has pointed out, most people don't realize that the leading evolutionists themselves have completely rejected Darwin's notion of phyletic gradualism as an explanation for the origin of the species. As it turns out, his micro-evolution only serves to explain the origin of the breeds. Macro evolution, on the other hand, is completely untested and there is absolutely no scientific evidence for it, let alone proof of it. Apparently even Richard Dawkins, one of the foremost anti-religious champions of evolution, seeks to avoid the question of information being naturally added to DNA. In short, actual science has done in the quasi-scientific theory of Darwinian evolution. And so the secular giants of the 19th century continue to fall....

I was interested to see if my understanding of macro and micro was correct, interestingly enough, the situation is precisely the same in economics, where micro is based on observation and supported by evidence and macro is abstract theory maquerading as science, which turns out to be totally nonoperative in practice. Below is a decent start on understanding the difference between the two:

The difference between micro and macro-evolution is a major point of confusion between the Christian worldview and the Darwinian evolution worldview in today’s culture. Micro-evolution is the adaptations and changes within a species while macro-evolution is the addition of new traits or a transition to a new species. Micro-evolution is a fact that is plainly observable throughout nature. Macro-evolution is a theory that has never been observed in science.... a hypothesis introduced as a possible explanation of origins. In this article, my goal is to explain the difference between micro and macro-evolution and show why micro-evolution cannot result in macro-evolution.

Micro-evolution is a fact. This has never been disputed by anyone who understands what micro-evolution is. Micro-evolution is the alteration of a specific trait due to natural response. Take a look at Darwin’s observation of the changes in finches. Isolated in the Galapagos Island, Darwin discovered finches that had much longer beaks than those found off the island. His assumption was that evolution was changing this species. However, these finches remained finches. Princeton professor Peter Grant completed an 18 year study of the finches on this island. He concluded that during drought years, the finches with shorter beaks died off because with a limited supply of seeds, only those that could reach the grubs living under tree bark could survive. With limited resources on a small island, these finches could not migrate to find food. We clearly observe natural selection, but not macro-evolution. However, it is not a permanent change. The finch offspring with shorter beaks prospered during seasons of plenty. Natural adaptation is the function of micro-evolution. There are three plainly observable principles to micro-evolution. 1. A trait will alter because of a stimulus. 2. The trait will return to the norm if left to nature or returned to its original conditions. 3. No new information is added to the DNA.

The argument for evolution is that species will change slightly over time and eventually change into something completely different and will over eons of time eventually become a new species. [Macro-evolution] This theory was thought up as a hypothesis and as science advances, the facts have not been found to support it, but much has been provided to dispute it. There are no examples in nature that even remotely indicates a change of species through evolution. The fossil records have zero transitional forms. Even fossilized insects such as spiders and ants that have been dated to pre-historic times are identical to modern day spiders and ants. There are three critical flaws in the [macro] theory of evolution through gradual change: Dysfunctional change, the DNA code barrier, and natural selection that removes DNA information but does not add new information.

If you don't understand what those three things are, best not to even think about claiming that science "proves" evolution. I don't see why it's so shocking to think that a scientific theory developed 144 years ago would get blown out of the water as science advances. Darwinism had a pretty respectable run compared to Marxism. Even Newton and Einstein turned out to be less than flawless, after all, to say nothing of Freud. And look at how many people are still Marxists despite its obviously absurd foundation on the labory theory of value and the concept of social class, when a little observation and logic are enough to explode it entirely.

This is not a battle between ignorant religionists and truth-seeking scientists, it is a battle waged on purely scientific grounds. And as such, iIt's fascinating to see how in diverse scientific fields, it is the believers who are eager to wage the intellectual war using scientific methods, while the devotees of scientism are increasingly resorting to science fiction and inaccurate, juvenile name-calling.

Anti-legalization illogic

I find it tremendously amusing and a little bit disheartening that some conservatives are so short-sighted as to be more concerned about libertarian advocacy of drug legalization than about the Republican leadership following the Democratic lead in increasing central state power and abandoning national sovereignty to supranational organizations. As Britain has discovered, local politics don't matter one way or the other once Brussels makes its decision.

Let me grant the most paranoid conservative fear and state that even if I knew that every school child in America would immediately begin smoking pot every single day that I would still support ending the drug war. Even if I knew that every single adult in America would be riding the electric high wire on cocaine every night, I would still support ending the drug war. Because neither of those things will kill America dead beyond any hope of recovery the way that increasing the power of the central state always kills a society in the end. This has been clear since the days of Rome; it is true now.

Look, paranoid drug warrior, fire up a joint and see what it does to you. Don't forget to inhale! Are you still a freedom-loving responsible individual? Now take all your money and ask a government bureaucrat to act as your pursor, alternatively, just shoot yourself in the back of the head for belonging to a government-disapproved group. Are you still a freedom-loving responsible individual? No, you're either a dependent serf or you're dead. This is not rocket science!

Libertine hedonism is a predictable late-stage phenomenon. To focus on it is to concentrate on the symptom, not the disease. Sometimes the symptoms will grow worse as the disease is treated. But the disease must be treated or the patient will die. To make the disease worse in the name of fighting - unsuccessfully, in the case of the Drug War - the symptom is not only illogical, it is doomed to failure.

Banning abortion in South Dakota

The Evangelical Outpost rightly takes to task those of us who found the time to mention Miss Jackson, but not the fact that the South Dakota legislature and governor are taking on the US Supreme Court by banning and criminalizing abortion. This is definitely something that needs to be supported; judicial tyranny must be faced down and I'd very much like to see a state dare the Federal Government to do something about what both sides know was an illegitimate power grab by the Court and its Federal allies.

Section 1. The Legislature finds that the State of South Dakota has a compelling and paramount interest in the preservation and protection of all human life within and subject to its jurisdiction and that the preservation and protection of human life applies to all human life, born or unborn.

Section 2. The Legislature finds that since neither constitutional law nor Supreme Court decision has resolved the question of the beginning of life, it is within the proper sphere of state legislative enactment to determine the question in light of the best scientific and medical evidence. The Legislature therefore finds that unborn human life begins when the ovum is fertilized by male sperm.

You said you wanted a cause, conservatives. You said you wanted something to support. There you go. Let the legislators of South Dakota know that you support them in this.

Sure there is

Pat Buchanan writes: Let it be said: George Bush is beatable. He has no explanation and no cure for the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs at Depression rates, no plan to stop the outsourcing of white-collar jobs to Asia, no desire or will to stop the invasion from Mexico. Yet, he remains a favorite against Kerry, because Kerry has no answers, either. Both are globalists. Both are free-traders. Both favor open borders. Again, it needs to be said: There is no conservative party in America.

There is the Constitution Party, which I fully support despite being a member of the Libertarian Party. I'd very much like to see a tactical alliance between the two parties to pose right-wing challenge to the two major parties.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Mailvox: You can blame the womenfolk

Hank writes: "Women entering the work force didn't have to turn the country into the land of two income families."

Actually, Hank, it was pretty inevitable. I've done extensive research on this. Economic theory dictates that if you double the workforce and everything else remains equal, you reduce the wage rate by half as you cannot ever escape the iron law of supply and demand. Now, obviously not everything has remained equal, but the evidence very much supports the theory. In fact, the primary reason that wages haven't fallen more as women began working in large numbers is that older men left the workforce almost as fast as young women entered it. If you study the workforce numbers, a reasonably clear pattern emerges. To summarize, what we've seen over the last fifty years is that women have entered the workforce in order to make it possible for men to retire at 55+. This is particularly ironic considering that lifespans increased dramatically during this time.

Beyond that, the effect has been to reduce real wages, which peaked in the early 1970s.

Mailvox: Rush - the evidence

TZ loyally expresses doubt: Vox was and is right with his original article. Maybe his webmaster can come up with a ton of stuff, but there is nothing in the Essentials area even hinting at opposition to Bush. Maybe his subscribers can have a different view, if they have better access and can pick and choose, but I can't find the "documentation". Is there any way you can post what was attached (or links), or maybe I just can't find it.

I do appreciate it, TZ, but I'm pretty satisfied that I used a suboptimal illustration here, although the fundamental point still stands. I should have used George Will or someone else as an example. I don't expect all Republicans to immediately abandon the party, only be willing to hold George Delano accountable and be open to the idea of withdrawing their support for him. George Prayias, Rush's webmaster, was good enough to provide the supporting evidence:

Mailvox: Correcting the record

Rush Limbaugh's webmaster, George Prayias, corrects the record: I'm the webmaster at After reading your latest column on Rush - and his criticism of the Bush administration's domestic agenda - I thought you would want to be informed that contrary to what you assert in your column, Rush has been very critical of this administration's expansion of government for quite some time now. He has devoted many broadcasts over the past year to lamenting what he refers to as "The Big Theory" - the administration's effort to destroy the Democratic Party by moving the liberal agenda forward. Rush was the first commentator to point this out and critique it.....

In addition, your assertion that, "A new and metastasizing federal drug entitlement wasn't enough to convince Rush of this," is similarly incorrect. Rush was immediately critical of the Medicare drug entitlement, again devoting many shows to vociferously arguing against it, criticizing the administration for proposing it and Republicans in Congress for going along with it. I have enclosed documentation of this as well, including a transcript of a rare on-air interview with RNC chair Ed Gillespie, in which Rush challenged him directly on the expansion of government under President Bush. In short, the theme of your column, that recently proposed NEA funding is finally what "appears to have at last caused the scales to fall from Rush's eyes," is just plain wrong. Rush has been leading the criticism of the administration on spending from the start. Thank you for the opportunity to correct the record.

As I told the gentleman, I'm quite pleased to discover that I'm wrong about Rush on this regard. Now, the theme of my column is by no means wrong - contrary to Mr. Prayias' reading of it, Rush is not the theme, the Republican betrayal of conservatives is - but clearly I erred in lumping Rush in with George Will, Henry Lamb, Fred Barnes and numerous Townhall and National Review writers who have ranged from squishy to downright supine in failing to call this administration on its abandonment of conservativism. I've been saving clippings; I'll post a list one of these days. I should also mention that while Rush may have been the first to articulate "the Big Theory", he was by no means the first commentator to get down on George Delano, as both Joseph Farah and I refused to support him while he was still running for the Republican nomination.

How did I gang so far agley? Pretty simple. I don't listen to radio and I watch very little TV. Outside of the literary world, I am a pure creature of the Internet, and I'm more up on my Greek philosophers and Austrian economists than I am on CNN talk show hosts. That's why I was quite serious when I said before that I have no interest in my own TV show, since I don't know who is on them or even what they do. Clearly, however, I'll have to add Rush's web site to my reading list.

In any event, I'm quite sorry about the failure to correctly characterize Rush's past positions. I always do my homework on the Left, clearly I need to do a better job on the Right as well next time. This really blows. Not only is it personally embarassing, but it completely ruins that line about the great white whale, which otherwise worked on so many levels.

Bloody heck. Scrivero' il mio prossimo articolo in italiano.

Mailvox: the government they deserve

SB writes: The public gets the government it deserves. People will vote for politicians promising more beer and potato chips. They will vote for politicians promising to cancel all debts, and to grab money from the wealthy and redistribute it. That's why the States at first did not want to allow poor people to have the vote. We gave them the vote, and now we have the unions, the bankruptcy laws, the redistribution of wealth, and everything that anyone would expect. That's how it works. If Americans are short sighted, demand a free lunch, and for that matter demand free sex and other perversions, then that is exactly what they will get in a democracy. Perhaps our democratic experiment is a failure, and we are really demo-crazy.

Certainly everyone from de Tocqueville to Marx and Schumpeter have argued that this was the inevitable end of democracy. And perhaps it is a failure. In which case, those of us who love freedom have two choices. We allow it to die with or without protest. I imagine you probably know my position on the matter.

Mailvox: Ribbit, quoth the people

GM writes: I can only find one thing to disagree with in your column, "A Legacy of Betrayal." Power used badly is not useless, it is evil. Otherwise, you have hit the nail on the head. I've tried explaining Republican behavior to conservatives by using the analogy of "boiling the frog". The Democrats always try to drop the frog into boiling water, as in the first two years of the Clinton administration when they raised taxes, passed the Brady Bill and attempted to instantly socialize our medical care system, all at once. Came 1994 and the frog jumped out of the pot. The Republicans picked the little fella up and slipped him into a pot of nice, cool Republican water. Then they began to increase the temperature gradually with bills like Kennedy-Kassebaum and Kennedy-Hatch, passing Hillary's health care plan piecemeal, so's the frog didn't notice. George Delano has gotten the frog up to about medium rare, and the frog thinks everything's fine. If you want Socialism done right, vote GOP.

I actually get far more of these sorts of emails from Republicans and conservatives than the previous sort. Nor am I the only one, as even the whore doggies are getting a little nervous about the marked lack of enthusiasm for George Delano. I don't think it will be enough for Kerry to win, but it might help the Libertarians and Constitutionals to hit new records. And if it is enough for Kerry to win, so be it, perhaps the frog will be galvanized to leap out of the pot. In any case, sacrificing principles for pragmatism deserves to be punished.

Mailvox: You VILL be silent!

JN writes: We have the chance to reform the judiciary in the next four years: replace federal judgeships, Supreme Court appointments etc.. By having a temper tantrum you are playing right into the hand of Sen Kennedy and Leheay's. You are also jeopardizing the lives of the unborn innocents, it is unconscionable you could do this! If unborn children mean anything to you you will button your lip.

Gee, maybe if I just shut my mouth and quietly accept the long march towards global socialism, everything will turn out peachy keen! It's interesting, too, to see how a call to stand by one's principles is equated with a temper tantrum. JN has to open his eyes and realize that George Delano and the Republican Party have no intention of abiding by their publicly professed principles. "But he said he loved me," he'll sob one day, like a girl who's just been deflowered and abandoned by her smooth-talking lover. "He said he loved me!" See, the thing is, George Delano doesn't mean what he says. Nor does the Republican Party leadership. That's kind of the entire point.

Of course, if we just vote Republican, we'll get great Supreme Court judges who will fight for the unborn like Earl Warren, Warren Burger, David Souter, Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Conner... hmmm, wait a minute!

Mailvox: Not exactly new

RL writes: Okay, so GWB is bad news. So we take him down and find out that the rest of the country wants an unbelievable idiot like John Kerry. What will the country look like after eight years of his rule? Remember Bill [I didn't have sex with that women] Clinton? Remember the dragging of American soldiers in Somalia, the bombing of the USS Cole, the attacks on our embassies in Africa, Waco...etc. Do we want this repeated?!

This argument doesn't hold any water anymore. Bill Clinton actually gave us less government spending, less government intrusion than George Delano has. The question is no longer about who will create less of a problem, it's a question of not supporting anyone who is not interested in solutions. This hoary old Republican defense is akin to asking if you'd rather support Trotsky or Stalin. Even if Trotsky isn't quite as bad, are you seriously going to support him? He's not going to free you.

Never sacrifice your principles for power. Never, never, never. All you do is cut your own throat. The Green party has far more power as a result of leaving the Democratic party and pulling it to the left than it would if it obediently followed the DNC. Are Republicans truly less principled than left-wing Greens? Judging by my email, some certainly are. If you cannot stand by your most cherished principles, you stand for nothing and will be defeated easily and repeatedly. This is why the Republican Party has failed and why conservatives and others who believe in freedom, liberty and justice must leave it.

Valley Forge wasn't fun. The Boston Tea Party wasn't pragmatic. Things got worse before they got better. Significant change rarely comes quickly or easily. If the people have to immerse themselves in idiocy for another eight years before they wake up, so be it. One could argue that they have been for the last sixteen years anyhow. Look around you - this is no longer Ronald Reagan's America.

Purple People Eater in the house

Congratulations, Mr. Carl Eller.

How to identify a Republican whore doggy

You can safely write off any self-styled conservative columnist who labled the last State of the Union address a "home run". As Robert Novak, no lef-liberal ideologue, writes: These setbacks for Bush followed the most ineffective State of the Union address in recent years by a president whose previous efforts were able to utilize that event. He submitted to the bureaucratic methods that turned the speech into a laundry list. His staff permitted the former baseball team owner to further clutter the speech with an irrelevant discourse about players using steroids.

"The most ineffective State of the Union address in recent years". Considering that this includes annual performances by Bill "Midnight Basketball" Clinton, it's an impressive achievement. Those columnists who fear to write the truth about their own side should keep in mind that whether they do or not, someone will.

The game itself

1-0 Super Bowl, 7-4 playoffs. I don't think too many NFL team owners are pulling out their hair about their decisions to pass up the opportunity to hire Charlie Weis or Romeo Crennel. They're both very good coordinators, but their play-calling is by no means flawless. The Patriots should have sewn up the game much earlier, but for Weis' usual habit of getting whacky at inopportune times. This led to the direct loss of 6 probable points, with a poorly-timed reverse that knocked them out of field goal range and the interception in the end zone at a time when three points would have hurt the Panthers badly.

I was surprised that New England's secondary broke down so badly in the second half. They weren't hitting very hard compared to the game in Miami, and both Muhammed and Proehl were so open on their touchdowns that it looked as if Delhomme was playing Madden on the Rookie setting. Then again, it's possible that New England was willing to let Carolina score quickly in order to get the ball back, as Green Bay did with Denver a few years ago, although they were rushing pretty hard for that to have been the case. Regardless, Carolina scored too soon.

It was a good game, to be sure, but it shouldn't have been. And was Vinatieri pulling a Kobe Bryant to make things more exciting for himself, or is Reliant just a house of voodoo for him? Four indoor misses and they're all there? What are the odds? But the biggest surprise had to be the bargain bin New England offensive line, which delivered its third consecutive sackless performance, this time against a front-four widely considered the best in the league. They, not Brady, should have been the MVP.

I also thought it was strange that Fox was considered to have been aggressive in going for two. I didn't see it that way at all. I thought it was what TMQ calls a fraidy-cat move, telling your defense that you don't trust them to get the ball back or at least hold New England to a field goal. That decision may not have made any difference as they lost by more than two in the end, but it's impossible to say for certain. Unless you're a total psycho who goes for two automatically, save it for when it's necessary and then have a play ready. That direct snap to Kevin Faulk, for example, was brilliant.

As much as I think it was New England's breakdowns that kept the Panthers in it, I was very impressed by Jake Delhomme's cool and ability to bounce back from a bad start, the Panthers' stubborn defense and John Fox's patience with the run. I expect them to be in the playoff hunt next year as well. Another great NFL season comes to an end... sigh. Only six months until we start talking fantasy drafts....

Janet Jackson

Are MTV's program directors 12 years-old or what? I'm no prude and I am as big a fan of breast augmentation as Kid Rock, but how on Earth was any of that ridiculous halftime show appropriate for children watching the game? When Kid Rock is the performer with the most class and musical talent, you know you've got some serious problems.

It was the worst judgment I've seen since Coolio was lip-syncing on Nickelodeon. And the post-game lies are less believable than a two year-old's. You can't promise to "shock" people ahead of time, then claim that it was unplanned once it goes over like a lead balloon. What a bunch of losers.

Sunday, February 01, 2004


I haven't seen anything to make me change my mind about my original call. The New England coaching staff obviously prepared well, but are a little shaky on the situational play calling. Vinatieri's shank and the blocked FG are part of the game, but you'd think Romeo Crennel would know better than to big blitz on 3rd and 10 in that situation. As TMQ always says: "stop me before I blitz again!" I called TD on that before the ball was snapped as soon as I saw them bringing six or seven. The strange thing is that they've been getting plenty of pressure from the three down plus one. The squib kick was just stupid. He Hate Me isn't exactly Dante Hall.

Delhomme is playing tough, but the Patriots' pressure is heavier than anticipated and Davis is looking to have one of those games where he can't get untracked. Brady looks good; Carolina's pressure isn't ruffling him at all. I expect New England to pull away in the second half.

Elastic Rat guts

This guy is seriously dedicated to transparency. It's pretty brave to post your weekly caloric intake, exercise calories - presumably treadmill or the like - and weekly weight loss/gain on his blog, and all in graphic format. That's graphic as in graphs, not explicit nude photos, by the way, in case you were wondering. I don't, however, buy into BMI. Mine is 25.2, and I'm pretty sure no one would call me overweight. Meanwhile, Space Bunny's is officially underweight, and she is in perfect fitness model shape. But in any event, good luck to him.

My only advice would be to throw some weightlifting in there, or if that's just not an option to jack up the exercise calories. I usually hit around 385-425 kcal in a single session on the tread, which I do once a week in the offseason. Don't be afraid to punch in the harder programs, as it's amazing how much harder and faster you can run if you're following a variable program instead of simply trundling along on a flat manual setting.

Of course, a perverse need to beat the machine helps tremendously. It's strange, but I'll run twice as fast on a six-degree incline if a program is making me do it than I will on a flat gradient if I select the settings myself. Perhaps there's a video game theory of exercise waiting to be developed.

Mysterious motives

The Washington Times: Leaders in the legal arena even have signaled that they would like to see divorce expanded to include unmarried couples who break up. In 2002, the American Law Institute (ALI) said in a report that domestic partners often live together for a long time and share parenting duties, a residence and other assets. When such relationships end, they should be treated like a divorce, with alimony assigned to one ex-partner and property divided the same as marital assets, said authors of the ALI report, "Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Analysis and Recommendations." The new policy should apply to unmarried heterosexual couples and homosexual couples, the ALI said.

Why on Earth would non-marital relationships be treated like a marriage upon dissolution? Unlike a marriage, there's no inherent contract that's been broken, and therefore no claims to be made. Which is quite often the entire point of not getting married in the first place. Of course, non-marital divorce would generate a lot of work for lawyers....

Hopeless, just hopeless

The answer to the Madden titles question is Anchors Aweigh. First Down, Lifetime to Go is the name of Roger Staubach's autobiography. That's Roger Staubach, the Super Bowl champion, Dallas Cowboy QB and winner of the Heisman Trophy at Navy. And some of you call yourself football fans. Pah!

George gets his kneepads

I'm very disappointed with George Will's defense of what he ludicrously calls "strong-government conservativism": Today "strong government conservatism" -- "strong" is not synonymous with "big" -- is the only conservatism palatable to a public that expects government to assuage three of life's largest fears: illness, old age and educational deficits that prevent social mobility. Some conservatives believe government strength is inherently inimical to conservative aspirations. This belief mistakenly assumes that all government action is merely coercive, hence a subtraction from freedom. But government can act strongly to make itself less controlling and intrusive, enacting laws that offer opportunities and incentives for individuals to become more self-sufficient.

All government action is coercive, George. And you can't respond to a question of WHAT by responding with an answer to WHY. Republicans have not been "liberated", they have, to the contrary, stuck their necks into the noose of government tyranny. There's nothing conservative about it.
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