Thursday, March 31, 2005
  a thought
I'm sure this has been said before and better, but at the moment I don't recall seeing or hearing it. Apologies to whoever said it before and better... probably Ronald Reagan, just by the odds.

At the moment our battles have a unique flavor. We don't usually see Death in such an obvious form. Most wars are fought between sides that both want to live; most court battles are fought between sides that put the same value on life. Now, we face a cult that uses suicide as its primary weapon and value. Am I talking about the bin Laden cult or the Felos cult? Pick one.
 
  Pictionary part III
..
..



A page from the Felos Illustrated Dictionary.

(I should probably stop referring to it as only the Felos Dictionary, since it is now, by force of "law", the sole permissible form of thinking.)
 
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
  Latest court
I note that the 11th circuit is enjoying itself. Giving Terri's family a last little glimmer of hope only to yank it away. Sort of like twisting the bayonet.

In their ruling the 11th sharply criticizes both the executive and legislative branches for violating the intent of the Founders. Well, I have to agree with them this time. The Constitution doesn't say a whole lot about the direct relations between judicial and other branches, but it does say something.

On one side, here are the sections that give the legislature and executive some authority over the judiciary:

-----------------------

* The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.

* The President.... shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and
* Consent of the Senate ... Judges of the supreme Court...

* The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one
* supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from
* time to time ordain and establish...

-----------------------

Now here's the section that gives the judiciary authority to make and repeal laws, and the power to overrule the other two branches:

-----------------------

*
*
*
*
*
*

-----------------------

As you can see, this latter part is jam-packed with Emanations and Penumbrae, and other types of Dark Matter which make it far heavier than the mere "words" in the sections that give authority to the legislative and executive branches.

Thanks to the 11th for bringing jurisprudence into the modern era of quantum cosmology, and throwing out obsolete Newtonian notions such as "words", "meaning", "liberty", "representation", etc.
 
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
  Oops
Sorry about the wild duplicative posting this morning. I wasn't trying to illustrate the absurdity of repetitive judicial process or anything so fancy. Just getting errors from Blogspot, and couldn't tell from external signs if the post was actually present. Finally switched over to IE and saw it.
 
  Is a bioethicist a person?
Listening to Rush's inspired discussion of bioethicists, and their strange non-scientific ideas about personhood.

So I sez Ho Kay, Bioethicists, let's apply your own standards. Awareness, for someone who claims to be a scientist, should include being aware of an extremely basic scientific idea: You're not supposed to infer inner states from observable behaviors.

B. F. Skinner is most closely associated with this idea; though his ideas have been misused by Marxists, he was essentially right.

So Terri is not aware, and thus killable? Stephen Hawking might not agree with that. Until you have tried all possible methods of communication, you don't know shit about the inner awareness of a human.

And all possible methods now includes some pretty nearly miraculous eye-gaze and brain-wave detection systems. (Hawking uses eye-gaze to write his "unaware" and "unconscious" books, which somehow exceed all previous standards of human intelligence.)

If you doubt, look at the 'success stories' at these sites:

http://www.eyegaze.com

http://www.brainfingers.com

Focus especially on Carol, near the bottom of the Success Stories at brainfingers.com. Look familiar? See the letters PVS?
 
  Non-barking dog
A useful function of blogs is to take note of dogs that don't bark. Regular news media, even aside from bias, are too busy noticing the bites.

I've looked everywhere I can think of, and can't find any public statement on Terri's case by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). As I mentioned before, speech therapy could have made a real difference for Terri. Also, in recent years ASHA has been pushing into the area of dysphagia (swallowing disorders) which has an obvious connection.

Especially puzzling because ASHA could have served their own interests. Most folks don't think about speech and swallowing therapy in a medical context like this; ASHA could have reminded the public in a general and inferential way that such therapies can often be a big help.

I have to conclude that ASHA, like [nearly] all national orgs, is mired in Beltway leftist orthodoxy.
 
Monday, March 28, 2005
  Pictionary part II
...



Another page from the Felos Illustrated Dictionary.
 
  Uphold, defend
I was getting all cranked up for a good long ramble on foolish consistency and all that, when I realized there's a shorter way to say it.

Officials in all three branches take an oath to "uphold and defend" the Constitution. Those two verbs are separate for a reason.

Under normal conditions, sticking with the process is the best way to keep things running. Every now and then, conditions get abnormal, requiring extraordinary action to defend the EXISTENCE of the land, people, and culture on which the Constitution is built.

War is the most obvious example of abnormal conditions. Another one is persistent disobedience and disloyalty by an entire branch of the government, in this case the judiciary. Terri's case is a highly visible instance of such disobedience, but we've been seeing a strong pattern of rulings that obstruct the executive's ability to wage war.
 
Sunday, March 27, 2005
  So then Augie sez........
...

Quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum,
ita desiderat ad te anima mea,
Deus clementissime et misericordissime.

Sitivit anima mea ad te Deum fontem vivum,
quando veniam et apparebo ante faciem tuam!
O fons vitae, vena aquarum viventium,
quando veniam ad aquas dulcedinis tuae!

Quando veniam de terra invia et inaquosa,
ut videam virtutem tuam et gloriam tuam
et satiem ex aquis misericordiae tuae
sitim meam!

Sitio, Domine, fons vitae, satia me.
Sitio, Domine, sitio te, Deum vivum.
O quando veniam et apparebo, Domine,
ante faciem tuam.

O dies praeclara et pulchra,
nesciens vesperum, non habens occasum,
in qua audiam vocem laudis,
vocem excultationis,
et confessionis, in qua audiam:
Intra in gaudium Domini tui,
intra in gaudium sempiternum,
intra in domum Domini Dei tui.

O gaudium super gaudium,
gaudium vincens omne gaudium,
extra quod non est gaudium.

[Meditationes divi Augustini]
 
Saturday, March 26, 2005
  How to swat a fly
I've been twitching and itching from all this discussion of Process. The word is badly misused in the current legal context; when engineers or programmers talk about a Process, they mean a system or method that senses what's going on around it, then adjusts its output to produce some desired result. Clearly, the legal version of Process means something entirely different and far more primitive.

Let's say we want to swat a fly the usual way. Sense the presence of flies, and aim the swatter toward each one. This process is imperfect; the position and timing of its output is unpredictable. But with practice and skill, it will swat lots of flies.



[Click here for a MPEG animation, though the point is obvious enough from the still image.]

http://ockhamsbungalow.com/blog/liveprocess.mpg

Now let's try to swat a fly by the Legal Process. We would first design a greer gear using a predetermined set of facts; then we would turn that gear repeatedly, over and over and over and over again, without ever accounting for any aspect of current reality.

This process is wonderfully perfect: it always hits precisely the same spot with precisely the same timing. What? It never swats a fly? Silly question.



What bothers me most of all is that many politicians -- including some who should know better -- insist that "trusting the Process" is the same thing as "rule of law". This would make sense if we were talking about a "live process", which occasionally stopped to examine reality. It would even make sense if we could count on judges to follow the basic notions of Western culture. But it doesn't make sense when the vast majority of judges are enemies of life and civilization. (This runs parallel to the common misunderstanding of "judicial activism", which I've written about before....)

--------------------


So, if you get caught under the gavel of such a blind mechanism, what do you do? If you're rich enough to hire a Johnny Cochran, you might have a chance; if you're an Islamic terrorist, the Anti-Civilization Lawyers Union will come to your rescue. But if you're just an ordinary innocent person with no aristocratic privilege, you're sunk. No part of the system will help. If your case gets famous, legislatures and executives will write symbolic gestures, exquisitely crafted to stop short of exerting any actual authority on the courts. The local police won't help; their sole job is to serve the Anti-Civilization Lawyers Union.

Well, now you have a chance, thanks to the Acme Bounty-Bot!

Visit us at Acme to pre-arrange the assistance of Acme Bounty-Bots in your time of need.



The Acme Bounty-Bot is bullet-proof, chemical-proof, and unstoppable by any known method. Its programming is even more mechanical and relentless than a judge; it's built using nano-mechanics and fluidics so that electronic jamming won't work. It storms into the place where you're being held, bearing a "Writ" in its hand. (This Writ is actually gibberish, because no real legal paper will help you; but it might fool some laymen long enough to make things easier.)



The writ-holder hand can also serve to apply a concrete Temporary Restraining Order against interfering parties.



But the primary goal of the Acme Bounty-Bot is to get you out of the Process. Toward that end, the lead Bot carries a platform, which drops down to form a trailer at the appropriate moment.



With the assistance of two other Bots, the lead Bot transfers you onto the platform then inflates a Kevlar balloon around you; the Bot team forms a cordon to haul you out to a waiting armored van.



Come see us right away! The clock is ticking!

Needless to say, there isn't any such hope. This is just a nice little sci-fi fantasy.
 
  a perspective
Here's a good short piece by a disabled Harvard student, with a rather chilling biography.....

He observes, as I did, that 'Not Dead Yet' is the only disability-activist org taking the side of life.

http://www.thecrimson.com/today/article506716.html
 
Friday, March 25, 2005
  Where are the false accusers when you need them?
If some professional sue-er brought out her kid to claim that Terri's 'silence' and 'immobility' were just clever masks, and that Terri was doing awful things in her secret life, Terri's life could be saved. Every prosecutor in Florida would jump at the chance to push a bizarre and blatantly false case against a strange celebrity, especially a celebrity tainted by Christianity. Terri would then get the best quality of state protection, suicide watch and all.
 
Thursday, March 24, 2005
  Consummatum est


Well, that's all. No surprises.

As I said, this will be helpful in the long run, because it will leave absolutely no room for anyone to claim the system works.
 
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
  Hey, let's go for a ride!


You wouldn't do this, would you? My 'spokesmodel' wouldn't either. I hated to use her for this picture, because it's such an obviously dumb concept. If you wanted to use a vehicle, you'd pick one with a chance of getting you to your destination.

Not Jeb Bush. In the middle of a case which has proved to every sentient being that the court system is on blocks, he makes a last-minute effort WHICH RELIES ON THE COURTS as a necessary vehicle.

Sorry, Jeb. If you want to be an executive, be an executive. This is PRECISELY why our system was designed with separate executives: so they could act strongly and INDEPENDENTLY in extreme cases such as saving lives.
 
  Ho Kay

Back when I was teaching electronics, I knew a fellow teacher named Chuck, who had been an Army Tech Sergeant. Chuck loved to pin me down and tell endless boring stories about his Army days. Each story was about some Lieutenant or other boss giving stupid orders, and the climax of each story was always the same: "So I sez Ho Kay, we'll do it your way." And Chuck led the other underlings in following the order precisely, with no allowance for real conditions; the Lieut finally understood and countermanded his stupidity when confronted with concrete consequences.

That's what we're seeing right now. In the long run it's a good thing that each "court" is following the letter of the law, because it will force more people to see the viciousness of the current setup. If any "judge" had allowed his decision to be shaped by a sense of mercy, or by political considerations, the public would relax. People would say "See, the system DOES work." Of course it wouldn't prove anything at all about the system; it would just let the system continue unabated. That's the normal course of affairs in hard cases like this.

I applaud Congress for attempting to assert its proper authority over the judiciary. It didn't work, which should give an error-correcting signal to Congress: something deeper needs to be fixed. Large sections of the judiciary need to be simply removed.

-------------------

A separate thought. Much of the tangled embroidery in this case involves medical definitions of various 'status' markers, like PVS. These definitions are imprecise and constantly changing, which means that we shouldn't try to base life-and-death law on such medical markers. Our ability to rehabilitate is also constantly improving. All of this is mirrored at the other end of life, in the debate over abortion. Technology has kicked out all the old "philosophical" definitions of life and death, many of which are enshrined in law. The only rational starting line is conception, and the only rational ending line is a total flatline of brain function. Any other lines are either religious in nature, involving some notion of "ensoulment", or just openly murderous, like Felos's spoon test or Pinsker's strange tests of volition.

So we see here, as in so many other areas (e.g. environmentalism) that the Left wants to rule by religious standards, while the Right wants to use strict science. Yes, I know the Left claims, even honestly believes, that it is the secular side, while the Right claims, or believes, that it is taking religious views into account. Both of those beliefs are objectively backwards.
 
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
  Pondering


While awaiting the final grim resolution, trying to sort it out, thinking like a programmer.

One obvious result is a useful polarization. We now know which politicians and pundits are for life, which are for death, and which are just gutless. For some reason, previous questions like abortion and capital punishment didn't pull the iron filings into such a nice sharp pattern.

Another obvious result: more people understand just how thoroughly broken the 'rule of law' is. I don't think we've quite reached a Berlin Wall moment yet, but it's beginning to show on the horizon. With luck, someone in authority will understand how stupid and counterproductive the system looks, before the citizenry decides to just walk around it.

There are tons of fine-grained details, most of which are irrelevant in the long run, even if they are necessary to make a legal case for one side or the other. Consider these to be 'local variables' that should stay inside the function. Exactly what do we need the black box to do?

Well, let's go back to the last time we had a collision between federalism and involuntary servitude. Dred Scott. Before that decision, slaves were escaping to northern states and finding a free life. If that trend had continued, slaveholders would have found it necessary to give up their 'peculiar institution' in a natural way. Plantations would have continued to exist, but they would have figured out the sharecropping system a few decades earlier.

But because of the decision, slaveholders could count on Northern states to send back escaped slaves. The box was closed, so the feedback signal had no way to move the system gradually. The change had to happen explosively.

Now in this case, we have a "husband" who claims the right to kill his wife as part of the marriage contract. For various and nefarious reasons, which are just starting to come to light, the captor/"husband" was able to keep his property in the same state. Her family, unwilling to break laws, felt unable to remove Terri to a state free of the strange Hemlock Conspiracy*.

So: what change in the law would fix this?


How about an alteration to the Full Faith and Credit Clause, stating that marriages must be re-validated in each state, under the laws of that state? Hmmmm.... Seems like that change is also being discussed in some other context right now....

Twofer, anyone?

-----

*Hemlock Conspiracy: a tip o' the fishing pole to JunkyardBlog.net (my Mother Ship in the blog world) for locating this invaluable narrative:.

http://hyscience.typepad.com/hyscience/2005/02/the_hapless_mis.html

-----
 
  Eat, drink and be merry, judge,


for tomorrow may never come.

---

Oops, that's not quite correct, is it?

It's Terri that has the little problem with tomorrows, not you.
 
Monday, March 21, 2005
  We shall see....
I don't have anything special to say at this point. Andy McCarthy at NRO, who knows more about the law than most folks, lays out the possible results and tells Congress what its next step should be.

http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200503210933.asp

Also at NRO, Derbyshire is showing the classic paleo-con approach. War? Defend the country? Save a life? Nah, too tiresomely active. Mustn't ever soil one's hands, just let it all sort itself out. Reminds me of 'Doctor Who'. In nearly every episode the Doc had to choose between killing an Evil Overlord versus letting the enemy destroy the universe. The Doc always maintained his own strict nonviolence. The universe was never destroyed because some other fellow, not quite so prissily self-satisfied, killed the Evil Overlord just in time. Yet the program celebrated Doc's snobbery, not the other chap's dirty hands.
 
Sunday, March 20, 2005
  Unimpressed Part III
Just found the roll-call results via Lucianne.com... As I guessed, my district's representative, Cathy McMorris, is among those who didn't bother to vote.

Banning candy cigarettes is apparently much more important than actually saving an actual life.

Gutless.
 
  An observation
Normally on big questions, both sides are fuelled by equally short and repetitive lists of talking points. Normally, you could replace any pair of 'debaters' by a pair of tape players, each containing a 20-second loop, and miss nothing.

The debate on Terri, both in Congress and on the yakkity-yak shows, is strikingly unbalanced. The Commies have exactly two talking points:

1. 19 judges have ruled
2. It's a personal tragedy, and we shouldn't insert ourselves into it.

Rather nicely, the Commies in the House are continuing to use the 19-judge point after the first Repub speaker totally debunked it; always pleasant to see fools running off a cliff. (It wasn't 19 independent judges looking at the case on their own; it was Judge Greer making the basic determination each time, and a couple of times his decisions were reviewed by panels of state or federal judges.)

But I can't distill the civilized side down to a list of talking points. Each speaker appears to have done his own homework; each has an individual passion. Some points may be valid, others not; but they all seem to come from the heart.

And speaking of hearts, a special tip o'the fishing pole to Tom Harkin. He has long served as the point man in Congress for the community of disability activists, and he appears to have undergone a true change of heart: from the standard leftist refusal to do anything that might harm the abortion industry, to an actual concern for actual human lives.
 
  de rigueur


At this particular hour, it's all the rage for conservatives to do the Soul Searching Dance, as a deterrent against leftist claims of hypocrisy.

Basic point is, I like the Constitution because I like civilization. Not vice versa. I talked about this a couple months ago in LJ, in the context of "foolish consistency":

http://www.livejournal.com/users/polistra/18280.html

On a deeper level, I'm an absolute Darwinist. The job of each individual is to live long and reproduce; the job of each family is to preserve its identity and expand; the job of each tribe or nation is to spread its DNA as far as it can. For old-fashioned tribes like the Osage or the Japanese, DNA is literal. For newer nations like USA and USSR, made up of a wild mix of tribes, DNA is more abstract. Our job is to spread our essential ideas as far as we can.

One of those essential ideas is that people are different. This requires society and government to encourage productive use of those differences and to discourage destruction of innocent humans. We are now engaged in spreading that idea to other lands, and we are spreading by force because they used force to destroy some of our land and people. We are quite properly ignoring some bits of the Constitution in order to preserve our land and spread our ideas to places that need them.

In Terri's case, we have to spread that idea to Florida, which is already within our control. Florida's state "judiciary" has demonstrated that it does not value the productive potential of each individual, so we may have to stretch the Constitution just a bit to bring Florida in line with civilization.

The idea that we must preserve the letter of the law above all, propounded by both Commies and paleo-conservatives, is the most foolish of all consistencies. Leftists push the idea cynically because they are enemies of civilization: they want to weaken our defenses and confuse our people into submission. Paleocons think this way -- I guess -- just because they're foolish. Can't think of any nicer explanation.
 
Saturday, March 19, 2005
  The choice.....


is really quite simple. Teddy Kennedy says we should obey posted signs above all. Tom DeLay says we should hit the brakes. Leaving aside the obvious irony, who do we want in the driver's seat RIGHT NOW?
 
  Latest news
Reading between the lines of the House news conf just now, sounds like they've navigated Scylla and Charybdis fairly well. Pushed on one side by the strong wind of constituents who are DAMNED TIRED of seeing zero action on important issues, and pushed on the other by legal limits ... or at least the need to avoid leaving a huge opening for enemy propaganda ... they've put together an arrangement that just might work.

DeLay also, indirectly at least, answered the one question that I've been puzzling over. Terri's family couldn't move her out of state for the same reason that they couldn't take her out in the sun. Her captor ("husband") wouldn't allow it.
 
  Perfectly right, by accident
Just now, Fox had a couple of 'balanced' commentators whose names I didn't catch. The leftist one said: "If Congress can pass laws to overrule any decision they don't agree with, who needs the judicial branch?"


P*R*E*C*I*S*E*L*Y C*O*R*R*E*C*T ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Now it's up to Congress to start doing just that, so we can start to get along without the judicial branch. I'm dreaming, of course.
 
  Some leftists bothered?
I was curious to see what the 'disability activists' had to say about Terri. Some of the websites are notably silent, but one is not. This could produce an interesting split, since those 'activists' are normally zealous and loyal Leftists. Not Dead Yet, which usually has a left flavor, has some well-formed essays. Here's one, and there are a couple others clearly linked on the same site.

http://www.notdeadyet.org/docs/schiavostatement031805.html

Update 3/19: Interestingly, Tom Harkin seems to be doing the same kind of re-thinking. Harkin has been the 'point man' in Congress for those activists for quite a while.
 
  08


Among the current lineup of 'presidentiable' politicians, only one has been speaking clearly on the question of local insubordination. Can he do anything about it? Probably not, but at least he understands the point. (For a political junkie, it pays to watch those special order speeches on C-span!)
 
Friday, March 18, 2005
  Pictionary


A page from the Felos Illustrated Dictionary.

Link to Fox video of the whole obnoxious interview:

http://www.foxnews.com/video2/player.html?031805/schiavo_attorney_031805&Your_World&Husband%27s%20Lawyer%20Speaks&acc&U.S.%20%26%20World&-1&wvx-56
 
  Litmus
Not the most critical point.... Still, I'm noticing that Terri's case serves as a neat binary 'leftist-spotter'. The test is: when both facts and morality are on one side, and courts are on the other side, which do you trust? Several commentators whose political views are normally hard to read, have shown themselves to be on the Left by trusting the courts even *while* acknowledging that the facts and morality are on the opposite side.

Shepherd Smith of Fox has gone beyond that point. Before this, I'd vaguely guessed he might favor the left, based on his choice of words for some concepts that have typical left, right, and center phrasings. But on this case, Comrade Shep is way out of the closet, simply reading the Dem talking points verbatim, and showing open contempt for any other view.
 
  Death and Engineering


Trying to figure out why the Left loves death. It's not quite that simple, but it comes down to the same thing. Thinking back to my own years on the Left, remembering my response to a birth or a death .... strictly Malthusian. Birth is bad because it means more humans, and more humans will inevitably lead to exponential accumulation. What's missing in this picture (the red graph on the left here) is FEEDBACK. Real systems, especially those involving life, always have some constraining influence, which leads their patterns to look more like the yellow graph on the right.

Rise for a while, until the feedback takes hold, then run steady or even drop. You see this pattern in micro and macro scales. Neurons follow this pattern, and many other processes in the organism do the same. World population is in fact rapidly approaching the 'mesa' of the feedback graph, and most Western countries are dropping. You can see it in economics as well; the Laffer curve is an alternate perspective on the 'mesa' pattern.

Overall, every aspect of Leftist thinking is based on a primitive failure to understand feedback, which is identical to a failure to understand the difference between life and death. Dead things, like rocks, never make choices; they never try to escape from a box. If you want a rock to move, you have to push it; if you want it to stop, you have to put a barrier in front of it. The result is a bulldozer approach to life and economics. Forced integration, price controls, central planning, static prediction: All excellent procedures for a nation of rocks. All stupid and ineffective for a nation of humans. The difference is especially direct in the environmental realm, where the whole theory of 'global warming' relies on a failure to include earth's own feedback mechanisms; and the Endangered Species Act attempts to short-circuit the natural feedback process of selection.

It's no coincidence that the modern intellectual Right arose in Britain in the 1700's. Adam Smith and James Watt are part of the same tradition. Both understood the power of negative feedback. A steam engine works on its own when you add a centrifugal governor; a nation runs smoothly without brutal rulers when you add a parliament and let the free market balance itself out.
 
  Tale of two judges
Consider two state-level judges, both in Southern states.

Judge #1 puts a rather tasteless decoration in his courtroom, featuring quotations from a well-known religious book.

Judge #2 decides to kill a person who has not committed any crime except the crime of being "defective".

Federal authority over Judge #1 is overwhelming and absolute. Ready to send in the cavalry if he disobeys.

Federal authority over Judge #2 is unwilling and dubious; looks like he'll get away with his official murder.

What's wrong with this picture? (Other than EVERY DAMN THING????)
 
  The next allowance


Following Rush's brilliant essay on "allowed to die" vs "forced to live". Here's the next logical step in "allowing" a "low-quality" life to end...... She can't eat with a spoon, so we can't "force" her to live.
 
  Latest on Terri
Things are clearer today. The House action makes good sense and doesn't create any Constitutional problems. Subpoena all the major actors to "help" with a matter that Congress wants to investigate. This puts Terri under Federal witness protection until something better can be done. Very smart!!!

UPDATE 3/19
Would have been smart if the subordinate Federal officials had OBEYED ORDERS. But they are in a state of insurrection, and Congress doesn't seem willing to do anything about it. I've posted about this before, in the context of homeland security. City and state officials are openly rebelling against GOOD federal laws with no punishment from above; but let them rebel against a BAD law, like Endangered Species, and there's hell to pay. It's no great mystery; most bureaucrats, from top to bottom, are Commies, so any attempt to push a good policy through the chain is stopped by enemy action. If we're going to win this war against the forces of death, we need to replace (or better eliminate by executive order) huge chunks of the treasonous operatives.
 
Thursday, March 17, 2005
  Huzzah for Frist. ...
Sen. Frist is pulling the whole story together from his unique medical + legal viewpoint. He mentions that rehabilitation can change things, but it hasn't been tried.


----------

Copying now from my earlier LJ entries, a personal experience with a somewhat similar
case, which seemed hopeless until rehab work caused something to 'click'.

-----------

(written 2/23)

Listening to Terri's relatives on Fox. They mentioned that she hasn't been receiving any speech therapy. Hadn't heard that before. That's pretty nearly criminal, and I can speak from experience.

Back in 1985, I was a research assistant in the speech & hearing department at Univ. of Kansas. One of the therapists asked me to build a communication device for an unresponsive case; she hadn't been able to get any progress and needed to show something concrete. (Ah, the institutional imperatives!)

The case -- call her Ellen -- had received spine and brain damage several years earlier in a car accident. She wasn't as badly off as Terri, but essentially the only thing she could move reliably was the eyes and side-to-side neck muscles.

Her family had worked out an alphabet board system, in which the other person did most of the work, using context.

I rigged up a cheap row-column device, using a Radio Shack Color Computer and a custom-made headset, so that Ellen could put letters on the screen by turning her head at the appropriate time. She didn't like the gadget, and didn't seem to like me, but the therapist nevertheless made her practice with it until she became proficient. (At that time, a commercial device to do the same job would have cost about $10K; mine was about $200!)

Further development would have included a printer, but there was no need for it, because Ellen suddenly started to move toward real speech. Who knows why..... possibly learning how to use the gadget -- or just the experience of communicating without the other person doing most of the work -- stirred up some disconnected circuits in the brain. Or she was just ready.

In any case, it took some intensive work to reach the point of speech.

Would Terri improve like that? We'll never know, because the experiment HASN'T BEEN TRIED, DAMMIT.

------- end earlier entry
 
  Hoping and praying
Just to pull out of the somewhat confused earlier entry. The joint effort by the House and Senate to break Judge Felos's iron grip on Terri's life is a landmark in American political life. Even if it's technically a stretch, we now have a rock-hard assertion of legislative power against a bad judge.

Again, I pray it will work, and I pray for Terri's continued life.
 
  Grump
This is one of those days (fortunately rare) when every attempted action is met by a cascading series of totally purposeless obstacles. Should of stood in bed, as the saying goes.
 
  random notes
I notice Rush is cleverly misusing Mark Levin's point about filibusters. Levin's point, obvious to anyone who has read the Constitution, is that the document specifically mentions only seven situations where supermajorities are needed in Congress. This means that ALL other situations are to be determined by normal parliamentary majority. Rush is mentioning judicial nominees as being outside of those seven situations, but he clearly wants to leave ordinary legislation *inside* the realm of filibustering. In fact, ordinary legislation is not among the named supermajorities either. Presumably the Repub leadership wants to continue using filibuster in general legislation.

-------

Congress is taking up Terri's cause, probably too late. I have mixed feelings about this.

Ideally, this should be left to the states; philosophically, if you want to get rid of Roe v Wade, you shouldn't be adding weight to the false notion that saving lives is a matter of Federal concern.

Practically, since Roe v Wade (and many other court decisions) *are* essentially legislation, it makes good sense to carve pieces out of that body of bad law by new legislation.

UPDATE after listening to a bit of the Senate debate. I take back the mixed feelings; this is a purely unadulteratedly horrible idea. Run all such cases through federal court? Might as well run them through a meat-grinder. Granted, the specific state judge in this specific case (Felos) sounds like a monster. He's on record favoring a standard that 'Kraft durch Freude' would have appreciated: anyone who can't eat with a spoon should be put out of their misery. But *most* state judges will be less Nietzschean than *most* federal judges.

UPDATE again (7:30 PM PST): Listening right now to Santorum, Martinez and Brownback. They're making it clear, which they didn't earlier, that this is in fact a 'private bill' meant for one specific case, but that it had to be written in a more general way to satisfy some in the House. Santorum also makes it clear that this specific judge is doing evil and must be stopped. Bravo for clear speaking, and I hope and PRAY that they can make it work.

--------

If you compare the Constitution with governmental reality, paragraph by paragraph, you'll be struck by one clear pattern. The vast majority of the document is routinely, blatantly, and daily violated by government practice. Only two kinds of provisions are actually followed: (1) Prohibitions of actions that are out of fashion anyway, like the bits about "letters of marque and reprisal". (2) Specific requirements for elective office, like natural-born president and two-year terms for Congress. For added evidence of this distinction, look at the amendments passed since 1920 or so. Except for #21, repealing Prohibition, all the more recent amendments deal with specifics of election procedure and requirements for elective officials. Conclusion: since 1920, we have been making all significant changes via court decisions; nobody bothers to put in all the work involved in amending when any district judge can make any change with a stroke of the pen.

Question remains: Why does this one narrow category of law remain out of the grasp of judges? Why do we still feel the need for amendments to change this area? I just don't know.
 
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
  Beating around the anti-bush
I wonder how much of our GDP is taken by workarounds? By this I mean parallel institutions that exist only because the "real" institutions are hopelessly corrupted by Sensitivity and other leftist poisons.

Private security is the most obvious and probably the largest. Urban police departments serve the interests of the Anti-Civilization Lawyers Union, leaving citizens who want police service to provide it separately. One statistic claims that there are more private than public police officers.

Second is private schools; in many urban areas less than half of the students are in the public system.

A more subtle and specific example: At Penn State, the engineering school genuinely wants its students to have a well-rounded education. The only way they can make this happen is via workarounds. Because the math department has its head in the clouds of abstract set theory, Engineering offers its own courses in applied math. Because English is devoted to Derrida and Deconstruction, Engineering provides its own curriculum in practical writing and communication. Because Physics focuses solely on quarks and quanta, Engineering has a whole department of "Engineering Mechanics" which essentially teaches Newtonian physics.
 
  Camp/Campfield
This blog, by a Tennessee legislator, has been bouncing around the blogosphere...

http://lastcar.blogspot.com/

Apparently it's genuine. Reminds me of a former representative from my old hometown of Enid, a banker named Happy Camp III. I knew a professor at the local college who served as Happy's speechwriter; the prof, though agreeing with Happy's political views, couldn't resist throwing in words that he knew to be beyond Happy's rather limited literacy.

Result was speeches that sounded like this:

"I know that you all are tard of the Walnut River flooding. I too am tard of the dee, dee, dee, dee, dee, dee, dee, DEE! VAST! ATION! that it causes whenever it leaves its banks."
 
Monday, March 14, 2005
  * * * * * Starting here * * * * * *



I'd been keeping a LiveJournal since last August. It began as a purely personal journal, but it's been shifting into blog territory. At this point I decided to move to Blogger.com, mainly because it's easier to post graphics and such.

Arbitrarily, I transferred the entries for March, with original dates
and times. For the earlier entries, see

http://www.livejournal.com/users/polistra/


If I can figure out a smooth way to do it, I may transfer most of those into the Archive here.
 
  Curses! Outdone!
I figured my attitude toward this Brian Nichols / Ashley Smith story was about as cold and cynical as humanly possible, but I just got beaten by the annoyingly orange Bo Dietl. When questioned by Joe Scarborough on the subject of finding religion, Bo said (not precise quote):

Well, a lot of murderers do find God while they're in jail.
When Nichols looked out that window and saw the SWAT team waiting for him, he saw God.
 
Sunday, March 13, 2005
  Business as usual
I'll bet Congress will take advantage of the killings involving judges, to skip the whole question of cleaning up bad judges.
Sort of a misplaced application of martyrdom.
From what I can gather, Lefkow in Chicago (whose relatives were killed) is a tough judge, exactly the kind we want to keep and honor.

Less certain about Barnes in Atlanta, but sounds like he was also a hard and fair judge.

The real irony is that Barnes was killed partly by bad judges. Yes, in a moral sense Nichols is solely responsible, but practically it's necessary to treat all defendants like wolverines or tornados: forces of nature that can rip you apart at any second.

Because bad judges at the Supreme level decided to put the "presumed innocence" of wolverines ahead of lives, Hurricane Nichols was able to do tremendous damage. A simple pair of handcuffs would have saved four lives. That's not speculation, it's fact. So I'm betting that Congress will welcome this excuse to step gingerly around the whole question.

Looks like they'll skip the other little frills and furbelows like border control and Social Security as well, to clear the decks for the Crucial Questions Of The Millenium: juiced-up baseball players, excess yapping by bloggers, and (gravest of all) the Tragedy of Candy Cigarettes.
 
Saturday, March 12, 2005
  Unimpressed part II

I think Rep. McMorris is trying, but not quite getting it. Some time ago I sent her an email encouraging her to do whatever is possible to control federal judges. Today I received a nicely printed form letter, with a real signature. The letter begins: "Thank you for contacting my office requesting a ban on candy flavored cigarettes....It is imperative that we prevent our young people from smoking....."

Hmmmmmmmm.... I can guarantee that my email said absolutely nothing about smoking, candy cigarettes, or any remotely related topic. In fact, if I had realized that McMorris was wasting time on such trivialities, I just might have written a letter *against* it, not for it.

 
Friday, March 11, 2005
  When will they ever learn?
Maybe when it gets personal?

Listening to coverage of the judge-killing in Atlanta.... Cavuto and Bill Bennett talked straight. Refreshing. I was genuinely surprised to hear that the Insane Clown Supremes now require defendants to be brought in unshackled and in street clothes.

Obviously this leaves plenty of room for mistakes. This rule wasn't imaginable in 1969. I was a nerdy little 120-pound white guy charged with smoking pot, but they had me thoroughly shackled and guarded the whole time. Exactly as it should be.
[Nerds aren't strong, but they are wily and rather famously vengeful. :) ]

At some point we really need to rethink the whole idea of presuming innocence. IT IS NOT, REPEAT NOT, REPEAT NOT, REPEAT NOT ANYWHERE, IN THE BLOODY CONSTITUTION, it's just a habit. And there's no proof that this habit actually helps anyone; when prosecutors feel their Wheaties, no amount of due process will stop them short of a conviction. But this habit does cost plenty of lives, as we've seen today. The idiot DA actually said that this Nichols dude "had no history of violence."
Utterly loony.
 
Thursday, March 10, 2005
  The Lone Ranger Rides Again!!! (Latest on Schiavo)
An extremely brave and creative move by Robert Herring. While the legalistic system continues its evil and inexorable grinding toward murder, Herring breaks out of legalism and reverts to an earlier, more personal form of law and justice. By making the offer a round million, Herring puts the husband in a true bind. If he refuses, he can continue to make the argument -- fooling only himself -- that he is acting on Terri's wishes; but the rest of the world will know better, and Terri's actual death will show what he's really about. If he accepts, he loses the argument, but also stops trying to kill his wife, and returns to (relatively wealthy) obscurity.

I suspect the husband's paramour will play a fairly significant part in all this.

------ Broader rambling -------

Gloria Allred's participation is interesting, to say the least. Shows that she's acting on a non-foolish consistency: a concern for all women who suffer from bad husbands, not just a need to make feminist points. By taking part in this action, Allred denies a prime directive of feminist dogma: "The wife is not the property of the husband." Herring's offer of money for surrender of rights clearly implies that the rights are in fact a kind of property that can be deeded. Because the legalistic mechanism has failed to separate the "right" to kill from the other rights, Herring had to break out of the mechanism and purchase the rights on behalf of Terri's parents, so that they can rip that particular "right" out of the package. Of course Allred is also swimming against the feminist tide in two more obvious ways.
(1) A feminist's main purpose is to maximize profits of the abortion industry; toward that end she must oppose all laws and trends that will hurt the industry. This case makes people think twice about the "right" to kill a helpless adult, and while they are thinking, some of them will also rethink the "right" to kill a helpless infant.
(2) As part of the grand cause of Lenin [now allied with Mohammed], feminists are required to hate Christians above all. Terri's side of this case is just packed with those awful Inquisitors and Crusaders, so Allred has soiled her leftist credentials badly by throwing in with their side.

------

UPDATE 3/16

Well, the husband refused the offer. I'm truly surprised and, of course, disappointed. One news item said that he had earlier refused a $10 million offer from someone else! Can we spell "premeditated"?

I *still* don't understand why Terri's parents haven't moved to another state, like Kansas or Idaho, where the right to live takes precedence over the "right" to kill. If nothing else, it would force the husband to start over.
 
  Good news and Stupid news
Good news:
The US has officially withdrawn from the World Court!
Yes, really! The State Department has guts. I hereby retract every
nasty thing I've said about them.

[I presume this is the first real taste of the State Dept's new menu:
Arroz sin Pollo.]

Stupid news:

Kofi Annan is founding a new world anti-terrorism organization.

Hey, hey! Just what we need! UN Lite. More corruption, less filling. Now here's an organization I can support with every fiber of my ... latest zit.
 
  Fumblers, Bumblers and Idiots
From an AP article: "On another topic, Mueller said it will take until 2008 and cost an unknown sum to replace a flawed computer system that was supposed to greatly improve management of terrorism and other criminal cases. "

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.

Ever hear of Excel, Mueller?

Ever hear of a government project called Arpanet, begun in 1968? It was designed to connect agencies so they can pass something called"information" back and forth securely, without breakdowns. It serves the same purpose as carrier pigeons, only a lot faster (usually). I think Arpanet evolved into something called "Intronet" or "Enternet" or something like that. Not sure what happened to it after that change, but I'll bet there are people OUTSIDE THE FBI who can explain it to you, and I'll bet some of those people could even set up a Case Management System in slightly less than 3 years. Maybe 3 days.

------ Edit: And I do mean Roosevelt in more than just an epithetical way. Bush has many similarities to FDR, but he's unfortunately dissimilar in one crucial respect. FDR was willing to use his power to get government agencies and private industries MOVING in wartime. Bush is not. Even though our businesses are more flexible, more capable of quick change now than in the '40s, nothing is pushing them. We don't have a modern equivalent of Henry J. Kaiser because there's no money to be made from defense contracts.
 
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
  Helen go blooooie
Mount St Helens is expressing her emotions again, much as she did
six months ago. The ash cloud is moving toward Spokane, but it's too small
to reach here. (All the ash will fall in the first hundred miles or so.)

Kudos to Northwest Cable Network (NWCN.COM) a combine based on
stations in Seattle, Portland and Spokane. NWCN does a splendid job of
covering the mountain's antics, with video and good science. This is what
TV was invented for!

My little animated tribute to the old girl:

http://ockhamsbungalow.com/Movies/HelenBangs.avi
 
  Continuing.......
on the subject of younger members of Congress. Have to say that I'm distinctly UNimpressed with my own district's new rep, Cathy McMorris, who is nominally a conservative Republican. During the primaries, she fumbled badly in one 'debate' (forum) when asked about the possibility of limiting the jurisdiction of federal judges. Her answer revealed that she was completely unfamiliar with the Constitution. Since being elected, she hasn't done anything visible, and didn't give even a form answer to my one e-mail.

Granted she's got some big shoes to fill: Nethercutt was as close to perfect as a congressman can get. He carried the ball for this district's economic interests at all times, and pushed for its political tastes when possible. That's exactly what a rep should do. Nethercutt also answered every letter with a personal touch, which is the real secret of keeping the 'customers' happy; and he made his voice heard on the local evangelical radio station.

A lot of what passes for ideology in politics is really just respect. Most obvious example: John McCain. His voting record was solidly conservative on the important issues, but he made it clear that he held conservatives in contempt. They responded in kind.
 
Monday, March 07, 2005
  random.....
I notice that the Michael Jackson Network (aka Fox) is very carefully ignoring the fact that Italian journalist Sgrena is a Communist, and thus by definition an enemy collaborator. They haven't mentioned it even once. This is the most important fact in the whole affair, and other news outlets have mentioned it.

UPDATE Mon aft: John Gibson is finally hitting the point, and asking all the right questions.

---------------

Adding this event to my earlier speculation about catch and release. I still don't see the full pattern, and there may not be one simple pattern... but it's blazingly clear that many of these 'hostages' are in fact volunteers on the enemy side. Not Stockholm Syndrome, just pure enemy agents from the start.

----------------

The stupidest often-quoted saying is Dorothy Parker's "There are no second acts in America." It was even stupider back in the '30s when it was first said, because immigration and the frontier were still fresh news at that time. The whole POINT of the New World, and the western frontier, was to provide a second act for lives that failed in their first act.

----------

A newer stupidity is "Hey dude, it's 2005. Get with it." I'm always tempted to respond, "Well, I'm glad to hear that you are aware of the year. Now can you tell me who was the first President? And what does 2 + 2 equal?"

The notion that certain ideas or statements are required or prohibited as of this year is profoundly Stalinist.

-------------

Listening to Williams and Sowell discussing the Repub inability to explain things. I've been harping on this for a long time. For some reason the R's always send the top Senators to do various interviews. This makes no sense. It's bad enough to have an aphasic President. When you send out explainers who say nothing more than "I think the President is exactly right", you've added nothing to public discourse. Instead, they should look at some of the younger House members. Steve King of Iowa and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee have been doing a great semi-regular dog'n'pony show on C-Span (during the special order speeches.) Blackburn is easy on the eyes and easy on the ears -- which matters on TV -- and both King and Blackburn are lively and clear teachers.

--------

And while I'm ranting and raving at random, I'm DAMNED tired of so-called 'dialog journalism', in which you grab two or three loud talkers and let them yammer at the same time. This is not Fair AndBalanced in any way, because leftists are much better at shouting and bullying. Aside from that, the basic notion that every questionhas two equally valid sides is sheer nonsense. On EVERY important question except the existence of God, plenty of facts exist, and it's possible to determine which facts are true. On political and economic questions where pure logic doesn't help, the experiments have been done, at the cost of 100 million lives. The data is in, and the data says that free-market capitalism works best, and representative government works best. Any so-called "expert" who takes the opposite side, or even a compromise position, is by definition not an expert, and does not deserve to waste any air-time.
 
Saturday, March 05, 2005
  State Songs
I wonder why the state of Iowa never adopted Meredith Willson's
splendid anthem as its official state song? Willson obviously wrote it for that
purpose, though he was also trying to stop people from saying "Ioway".
There's a short introduction or recitative at the start, serving Willson's
pronunciational polemical purpose, but after that it's sheer perfection.

Here it is, as sung by Fibber's musical group:

http://ockhamsbungalow.com/Music/iowa.mp3

If you can hear that without wanting to rush out and buy a ticket for Des Moines,
you're a tougher soul than I am.

Oklahoma has done well with Rodgers & Hammerstein's lively number. It's not
solo-singable, but high school choruses have great fun with it, and it's universally
recognizable. AFAIK, the only other state that has a decent song is Ohio, with
some variant of Beautiful Dreamer. The rest are all clunky old schoolroom pieces
with 43 verses, written by clunky old schoolmarms with three names.

[Disclaimer: Iowa is technically my home state. I was born in Waterloo,
but parents moved to Okla shortly thereafter, so I have no actual memories
or connections to Iowa.]
 
  The Semi-Pro world

I've taken a couple of off-angle whacks at this subject before, but think it deserves a more central hit....

Noticing the blogobuzz about remarks by FEC commissioner Brad Smith. The FEC, whose job is to guarantee free speech to Communists and gag everybody else, is trying to figure out how to prevent bloggers from speaking about political campaigns. This probably won't work, but they'll certainly give it the old Harvard try.

Bloggers are just one aspect of a huge phenomenon in the modern world:

Semi-pros (dilettantes, if you will) are doing much of the work that used to be restricted to professionals, and often doing it better. Look at space flight if you want the most dramatic example.

Regulators are accustomed to dealing with pros, who accept licensing and regulations in exchange for monopolistic privileges. They simply don't know what to do with semi-pros. I see the same problem in the realm of digital graphics and animation, where I'm involved as part-time pro and full-time semi-pro. (Does that make me 3/4 Pro? 27/32 Pro?) The copyright system is designed by and for pros: it gives absolute ownership to a few well-established publishing firms. Semi-pro animators who want to use pre-existing ideas or themes can get in big trouble. The worst part of the present system is the automatic granting, whereby every work is assumed to have a copyright whether it's registered or not. So if I want to use an obscure 1936 song as the basis of a cute cartoon, in theory I must clear the copyright with its owner. Of course the owner is long since dead, and there is no way to determine who might be the current inheritor of the rights. So there's no way to use this song legally.

OTOH, there's nobody alive who will start a lawsuit; but that doesn't matter in the forum where I hang out. They are deathly afraid of lawsuits (especially from that un-namable company whose icon has two big ears), so they won't allow links to any product that might contain the slightest taint of copyrightable material. Thus I can make the animation purely for my own amusement, but I can't let anyone else see it.


This is insane.

Sidebar: Against my better instincts, I have to admit that the two-ears-icon company does some fine work. I'm totally hooked on the toon series 'Brandy and Mr Whiskers', which is a modern video with an old-fashioned script. If Fibber's writers are watching from heaven, they will instantly recognize and appreciate this show. It has all the old elements: slapstick violence, sophisticated wordplay, out-of-character asides to the audience, and even (gasp) dialect characters. In fact, the dialect characters in B & Mr W are *more* stereotypical than those in the older shows.

I'm beginning to think that the Sensitivity Police have passed their peak, and humor is starting to reassert its ancient rights. Maybe the seriousness of wartime helps in this respect.
 
Friday, March 04, 2005
  I love Dover!

Dover Publications, that is. Back in 1962, I first encountered a Dover book in the grocery store. (Odd things happened in college towns.) I started saving my allowance to buy more books on science and math. Most were way over my head, but I picked up the attitude and feel of science from them.

In 1970, shortly after getting out of jail, I took a sort of vacation to the East with family friends; when we touristed in New York, I insisted on visiting the Dover main salesroom. Felt like a shrine.

Much, much later, in 1997, I was hungry for some architectural books. The postman mistakenly delivered a Dover architecture catalog to my house, and I rediscovered that noble enterprise. Since my allowance is considerably larger now, I've been able to buy all Dover books on 1920's architecture. What makes Dover so special? First, it uses exactly one method of binding, always the same, not used by any other publisher. You can recognize a Dover book in the dark. Second, it follows its own compass, regardless of passing fads. The books I bought in 1962 are still in the catalog. Dover finally joined the Web only two years ago.

This little paean was inspired by receiving my latest order, a book of architectural drawings submitted to a competition in 1912. Back then, each draftsman had a unique style, a unique typography, a unique way of mixing sketch with plan, and a unique graphic signature. I guess you'd call it a colophon. One of the colophons is a devilish-looking baby; another is a star of David; another is a swastika. One of the drawings includes the architect himself holding the (mandatory) scale measurement, while a stylish lady with a paddle examines him balefully. Kids with whips chase dogs through the houses. Some include precursors of Disney-style cartoon characters. We look back on the Edwardian period as stiff and repressive, but in fact Americans were FAR less Sensitive, far more open to a wider range of wit and humor.

Still, some things change and some don't. The competition was sponsored by a brick-building trade association, to show that attractive and inexpensive bungalows could be built of brick. After all the drawings there's a strange little parable called 'Tales of an Unbeliever' in which a wise old professor tries to teach a young fellow about the advantages of brick, and the young fellow finally learns from hard experience.

Here's a passage: "It amuses me now when I recall the lectures I used to take from Huntington in those days just before my marriage. He showed little interest in the preparations for the Great Event -- the ring I was to select, the gowns the bride and bridesmaids were to wear, and all that sort of thing -- and he refused to be excited over the question whether the word 'obey' should be included in the bride's oath."

Nothing new under the sun.....
 
  SS Birthright
I'd favor a Birthright system for SS reform.

Like this: Each baby born to parents who are CITIZENS gets
a $10K package of bonds at birth, which can't be opened until
retirement, but can be inherited. Assuming 5% return, this would
give about 12K annual income after age 65. At current birthrates,
it would cost about $50 billion per year, which is chump change by
federal standards. This would also provide one small advantage to
being a citizen. As things now stand, all the incentives are backwards.
Citizens get to vote, and they get to serve on a jury, and they get to pay
taxes. Big whoopie. Non-citizens get to work without taxation; they get
free health care, free education, and all the other privileges
of a welfare society.
 
  Economic eye-opener
Larry Kudlow just asked the type of question that makes you
screech to a halt and really think.

We're full of angst about high oil prices, caused by the ever-increasing
demand from India and China. How can we afford it? How can we keep
growing? Well, India and China are paying the same price per barrel,
and even though they're starting from a much lower level with little cash
to spare, they are growing by leaps and bounds.
So what was *our* problem again?

I like this type of self-destroying proposition. Another example:
In 1880, small businesses moaned and wailed about the threat from
mail-order firms like Sears and Wards. In 1920, small businesses moaned
and wailed about the threat from chain groceries like A&P. Since 1970,
small businesses have moaned andwailed about Kmart and Wal-Mart.
Since 1995, small businesses have been moaning and wailing that the
Web will destroy them.

What's the common factor in all of these statements?
Small businesses are moaning and wailing.
What does this tell you?
Small businesses were not in fact destroyed by any of those threats;
some individual businesses went under, but the fact that each new threat
brings forth the same hue and cry tells you that the total population
rebounds each time.
 
Thursday, March 03, 2005
  A basic leftist gambit

This is one of the most common tricks in Lenin's playbook (as translated by Saul Alinsky, Frances Fox Piven et al). Conservatives don't seem to understand it; at least I've never read or heard any indication that they do. It goes like this: Let's say the population is divided into several groups. Call them M and F, or B and W, or whatever....
Pick the one that is likely to serve as a loyal cadre for the Left. For example, Group F. Use your monopoly on culture and media to push Group F toward participating in certain jobs or institutions.... just as a hypothetical, let's say police and fire departments, coal mines, and men's athletics. These jobs and institutions are not chosen randomly; you know in advance that members of Group F will perform poorly in each one, and that the poor performance will be so obvious and important that members of Group M will have to penalize it.

Now the setup is complete. Since we "know" that all humans are precisely identical grains of sand, the criticism and rejection must be caused by Group M's evil fascist tendencies, not by any natural difference in ability. There are no natural differences. Group F now desperately needs government assistance to maintain any sort of income or dignity in the face of the fascist M oppressors.

Stalin used this method far more crudely. He just picked up entire ethnic groups and shipped them into the middle of other groups that could be counted on as oppressors. The government then had to maintain a brutal presence to keep the two groups from knifing each other to slivers, and both groups were grateful for the govt's help.
 
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
  Old story

Remembering one of my father's favorite 'jokes'.

('Jokes' in quotes because my father, being a teacher by nature and training, never told jokes purely for humor; he always had a point.)

A missionary was talking to an Indian chief.

Missionary: "You should be working instead of sitting in front of your tipi."

Chief: "Why?"

Missionary: "So you can earn money."

Chief: "Why?"

Missionary: "You can save it for the future."

Chief: "Why?"

Missionary: "When you get older, you can relax."

Chief: "I'm already doing that."


Pretty good explanation of why warrior culture persists in the modern world. When the male in charge has many females doing his work, he sees no reason to switch. And when the whole setup is supported by oil welfare or government welfare, it can hold up well in modern times. And there's a good reason for government to keep warriors on welfare: you can use them as a private army, at least in a deterrent way. This idea was quite explicit in the thinking of leftist intellectuals. Why worry about little things like persuasion and debate when you can raise the prospect of a riot?

(If you think this was just an Unintended Consequence, read Fred Siegel's book "The Future Happened Here." Siegel is an old-fashioned Democrat insider who watched the construction of the welfare entitlement by hard-left intellectuals, and he quotes their writings.)

This is why (unlike most conservatives) I hold Bill Clinton in high regard. He promised to get rid of welfare, and he did. Yes, I know Rush always says Clinton had to be dragged kicking and screaming to sign the law. Sorry, that doesn't wash. Clinton vetoed plenty of other bills, and he signed this one. Results count. (Would bobdole have signed that bill? I'd bet $1000 against it, based on his uniformly statist record.) After the 1996 reform, lots of things changed. Most important, the deterrent was shown to be empty. No riots happened. Jesse Jackson lost his empire.

Secondarily, the harem-like connection between black gangster stallions and white mares was broken. I saw this happen locally. During those years, I was riding a bus to work, which passed through a poor neighborhood. Before reform, the bus was filled with those white mares, always pregnant, and their endless vari-colored broods. When reform happened, a huge buzz broke out among the mares; their only topic of conversation was how to change from tribal culture to village culture. (Get job, get rid of the stallion, stop foaling.) A year later, the same mares were riding the bus to work instead of to the DSHS office, and they were no longer pregnant 100% of the time.

Conversion is possible!
 
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
  More idiocy
I see that, as usual, the 4 legitimate justices of the Supreme Court
have attempted to vote for sanity, while the 5 genocidal maniacs
who continue to sit within the Supreme Court have voted to kill many
hundreds of law-abiding people. (By commuting death sentences
of 17 and 18-year-old murderers.)

Hey Commies! Why don't you just go all the way? Release all
criminals and put all law-abiding people in prison. You know that's
your ultimate goal. Redistribution of wealth failed, so now you're
working toward redistribution of good and evil.

Edit: More precisely, the 3 legitimate justices attempted to vote for
civilization, and the Random Decision GeneratingFunction called
"O'Connor" happened to emit a pro-Constitution
value at this sampling point.
 
  Puzzling advertisement
The Red Cross is putting out some strange PSA ads. A dry-voiced
feminist recites "I don't talk like you, I don't dress like you, I don't
go to your church, .... but I will help you." Who is this appeal aimed at?

Other feminists? Academic multiculturalists? It certainly isn't aimed at
traditional-minded Americans, or males of any stripe.

I lost all faith in the Red Cross two days after 9/11 anyway. On 9/12
I gave a substantial contribution, then the next day the local chapter
REFUSED a contribution from a local rifle range (gun club), because
the club had put a picture of Osama on its paper targets. It was too
late to stop my check, but I'll never give another penny to this
pro-terrorist organization.

----- Update: This ad disappeared two or three days after I noticed it.
Presumably I wasn't the only person who got a negative vibe from it.....
 

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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And some leftovers here.

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March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / June 2010 / July 2010 / August 2010 / September 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 / December 2010 / January 2011 / February 2011 / March 2011 / April 2011 / May 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / August 2011 / September 2011 / October 2011 / November 2011 / December 2011 / January 2012 / February 2012 / March 2012 / April 2012 / May 2012 / June 2012 / July 2012 / August 2012 / September 2012 / October 2012 / November 2012 / December 2012 / January 2013 / February 2013 / March 2013 / April 2013 / May 2013 / June 2013 / July 2013 / August 2013 / September 2013 / October 2013 / November 2013 / December 2013 / January 2014 / February 2014 / March 2014 / April 2014 / May 2014 / June 2014 / July 2014 / August 2014 / September 2014 / October 2014 / November 2014 / December 2014 / January 2015 / February 2015 / March 2015 / April 2015 / May 2015 / June 2015 / July 2015 / August 2015 / September 2015 / October 2015 / November 2015 / December 2015 / January 2016 / February 2016 / March 2016 / April 2016 / May 2016 / June 2016 / July 2016 / August 2016 / September 2016 / October 2016 / November 2016 / December 2016 / January 2017 / February 2017 / March 2017 / April 2017 / May 2017 / June 2017 / July 2017 / August 2017 / September 2017 / October 2017 / November 2017 /


Major tags or subjects:

Aberree
Carbon Cult
Constants and variables
Defensible spaces
Experiential education
Grand Blueprint
Гром победы
Heimatkunde
Language updates
Metrology
Natural law = Sharia law
Patient things
Skill-estate
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