I notice some of the 'big guns'
are finally calling for Bush to emulate FDR's practices ... which are not signs of genius but just normal leadership practices.
Any competent teacher, salesman or leader follows these rules: (1) Tell people what we're going to do for you and why. (2) Explain why this is better than the other product, candidate or alternative. (3) After we've started, tell people what we've done so far and what remains to be done; and encourage them to stay with the course.
For whatever strange reason -- Christianity, aphasia, "methods and sources", incompetence -- Bush has constantly failed to do these basic things. And nobody in his administration has cared enough to fix the problem; or perhaps somebody wanted to do the right thing, but was knocked down by Rove's electoral engineering. I don't know the cause, and I really don't want to know.
In any case, I'm glad the 'big guns' are finally realizing what's wrong. Ahem. Ahem.
Addendum: Bush's speech today on immigration did
fulfill those basic principles of leadership and communication, leaving aside questions of the seriousness of the policy change. Maybe someone in the admin has figured out what's needed after all! Unfortunately, it might be too late to pick up the pieces on the Iraq war, given that it's been running for two years with a badly stated initial premise and no proper 'interim reports'. He's allowed the enemy media to define all the terms and win all the arguments.
Army of one / Congress of one
Most of all I'm thankful today that we have a fantastic, heroic, flexible, intelligent military. A military force that can switch from blasting cities to building water systems to training city councils at the drop of a hat.
Also thankful that we have a tiny handful of loyal members of Congress, who are finally starting to resist the traitors, with no help at all from the rest of the Republican legislature and executive branches. Jean Schmidt, I salute you. J. D. Hayworth, I salute you. Curtis Weldon and Duncan Hunter, I salute you.
The rest of the government is just as flexible as the military: it can switch from raw treason to criminal incompetence and back, at the drop of a hat.
The Pres's speech at Osan, finished just now, was his best. Not Lincoln or Churchill quality, but as good as anything FDR ever gave.
He's finally pulled out of his below-sea-level Katrina malaise.
No brand-new content in the speech, but a distinct difference in tone: a relentless drive that I haven't heard from Bush in a long time. No fumbling, no uuuuuuuhs, very few A's and THEE's. A second semantic change: instead of "bring them to justice", which evokes images of the ACLU and Judge Ito, he's now saying "hold them to account", which has more of a frontier feel.
One important difference: concentrating more on the enemy as agents of an evil religion, instead of a vague unnamed ideology; and concentrating less on the weapons. The most important of all: he's taking the long perspective. This war began in 1979, and Iraq is just one stage in our too-long-delayed response.
Both of these changes answer the perpetual conservative irritation with Bush's New Tone, which belonged to the liberal mindset. Liberals believe that humans will behave properly if you just set them in the proper environment and take away their weapons. Conservatives understand that the tools aren't the problem; the belief system is the problem. We will win by convincing the army of Allah that their belief system will not
succeed under any conditions.
Since it's become obvious that the establishment section of the Republican, um, association, has surrendered to the enemy, several bloggers think it's time for a third party. Or more cynically, a second party to oppose the Party of Treason.
Well, you can't start a new party or movement in the 21st Century without naming it after a color
or a flower.
So I humbly and pointlessly propose: The Sunflower
Sunflowers are a distinctly American plant, hardy and tough, self-sustaining, especially common through the Midwest. They symbolize openness and disclosure, always facing the light.
Named or not, this party already has a public face -- at least for C-Span watchers -- in the form of the 'Special Orders Gang' led by Steve King of Iowa and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. King and Blackburn are often joined by Foxx and Wolf of Virginia, Peterson of Pennsylvania, Jindal of Louisiana, and a few other semi-regulars. I don't think they've given themselves a 'Caucus' designation, but they definitely stand for openness, frugality, strong defense, energy independence, and strict border control.
Following the London model....
The imam of a Somali mosque in Seattle has been arrested on "immigration violations", but the Terrorism Task Force is involved, which indicates that he's suspected of more than overstaying his visa.
Are we beginning to follow the radical English idea of arresting the enemy, instead of the FBI's standard policy of arresting the nearest weird Christian? More here.
Hall of mirrors, part II
Tonight at the same hour:
CNN presented a painfully powerful anti-Communist documentary that tells the truth about North Korea.
Fox presented a painfully clumsy pro-Communist documentary that tells a pack of lies about science, America, and everything else.
Roger Ailes has sold his soul to the enemy for thirty pieces of Pulitzer.
I will never watch another minute of Fox.
Every Halloween or Friday the 13th, TV stations feel obligated to run a feature about 'Our Superstitions'. You know the script: the standard handful of medieval English beliefs, like ladders, black cats, 13's, mirrors. We are supposed to feel brave and modern if we don't believe in those particular superstitions.
Just plain silly. Those old English beliefs have been dead for 200 years, and nobody genuinely holds them now.
In fact each of us owns a large stock of private superstitions. We drive down Chestnut instead of Broadway because we saw a bad accident on Broadway once. We walk an extra block to pass by the First National, because we saw an interesting woman there once. We always add a certain line to each source code module because a program failed once for lack of that line. We make sure a certain folder is cleared before shutting down the computer, because we suspect that last year's system crash had something to do with that folder.
A superstition is nothing more than a crystallized piece of inductive reasoning.
A superstition isn't based on enough data to call it a theory or a statistic, but the odds are still on its side. If a bad accident happened on Broadway, there's probably something
about Broadway that favors accidents, no matter how slightly. If we saw a pretty lady in front of the bank, it may indicate something about the bank's choice of employees. If the extra line in the C++ source helped once, it stands a fair chance of helping again.
Personally invented superstitions may be wasteful, but they're essentially healthy.
Operating without superstition can be bad for your career if not your health. For instance, let's say you appointed a friend as head of FEMA, and the friend demonstrably failed. Personal superstition would lead you to step carefully away from friends on your next opportunity to appoint a major official. If you walk under that very same ladder a week later, we are entitled to question your common sense.
superstitions are both wasteful and unhealthy, because they require all of us to sacrifice money and time to serve a false correlation that exists only in the fevered imagination of certain 'experts'.
Two prime examples: Global Warming and Bird Flu. Both of these, like all superstitions, begin with a limited set of valid observations. Global warming starts from the unquestionable fact that the last decade has been warmer -- at least in urban areas -- than most decades in living memory. Bird flu starts from a genuinely fatal disease affecting third-world chicken farmers and butchers. But both of these superstitions proceed boldly into raw fraud and tyranny, based solely on somebody's desire to infect the world with fear.
The global warming superstition tries to claim that increased CO2 is the cause of our relatively warm decade, despite piles of long-term data showing that CO2 is a LAGGING variable, not a LEADING variable. Whatever it is that drives our heat cycles -- most likely solar variation and volcanos -- it increases earth temperature BEFORE it increases CO2.
The bird flu superstition is not quite so bizarrely loony, but it takes an actual disease and carries it through two stages of pure speculation. What if the virus mutates into a form that can be transferred between humans? What if the virus also becomes wildly contagious? Those are not demonstrably wrong, but they are low-probability events, and when you require two low-prob events to happen together, you're betting on a loooooooooooong shot.
Labels: Blinded by Stats
Kafka is smiling
Watching the House of Reps drift in the breeze like autumn leaves.
For what it's worth, the Rep from my district, Cathy McMorris, is holding rock-steady in these tough times. In the past I've called her unimpressive on 'social' matters, but on defense, economics and energy independence she deserves a loud BRAVO! It must be hard to resist the pressures of the eco-tyrants.
Most of the House, though, seems to be completely helpless without a leader. This indicates that most of the members have no principles at all. And where is the leader? He's being ground up by a totally pointless and totally endless court proceeding, based on laws that should never have been made.
Campaign finance laws are, of course, prima facie unconstitutional. Free speech and so on. Beyond that, it occurs to me while watching Ronnie
Earle run Tom DeLay through the blender, that this process also violates a less famous bit of the Constitution.
Article 1, Section 6: ...and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
The founders were mainly thinking of libel and slander suits, but what Ronnie Earle is doing to Tom DeLay amounts to the same thing. Using the courts to punish political actions.
Hall of mirrors
This just doesn't make any sense at all. The Senate, which normally works against America, has actually agreed to open up drilling in Alaska. When I commented on that a week ago, I just assumed that the House would go along, because the House has a strong majority of 'Republicans' plus about 30 normally pro-American Dems.
Now the House has decided to keep ANWR closed, and to prevent any expansion of Gulf-area offshore drilling. What in the name of all that is holy, unholy, and otherwise, do they think they are doing?
If the House knew the Senate would knock it down anyway, I could understand the idea of skipping the battle. One of the House 'moderates' seemed to be thinking this way: "They understand this thing won't go anywhere with ANWR in it," said Representative Charlie Bass, a New Hampshire Republican. Bass wrote a letter Nov. 8 that was signed by 25 other Republican lawmakers to House leaders asking that the Alaska provision be stripped.
But that makes no sense at all after the Senate has already approved drilling.
Well then, do they believe that Georgie will veto it, to protect Jeb's interests over America's interests? Maybe so. Maybe they understand Georgie better than the rest of us uninformed peasants.
I'm no longer convinced that we have a President at all. Frist is far from ideal, but he is at least mentally competent, and he seems to be taking charge.
I've tried hard to work up a proper Schadenfreude over the French troubles, but I can't. Just can't.
All I can find is sympathy.
It's tempting to think that the French are suffering the natural backwash of their own mistaken policies. That's undoubtedly part of the historical picture, but it's irrelevant.
True enough, the French have been playing cynical games to appease the Mohammedans, even running Traitor Joe Wilson against the Bush Administration. Doesn't matter.
We've also played cynical games, running Iraq against Iran in the '80s, running the Saudis against Russia in Afghanistan, rescuing the Mohammedan part of Yugoslavia from the Orthodox part. Doesn't matter.
What's relevant is that the Great Ramadan Offensive has finally struck France.
We can't be distracted by enemy propaganda. The goal of Jihad is not to improve American policy in the Middle East. The goal of Jihad is not to improve living conditions in Paris housing projects. No, the only goal of Jihad is to enslave the world for Allah.
We should now consider France as an ally in the fight for civilization, even though their efforts will likely be just as ineffectual as they were in WW2.
New research shows that mouse songs are as complex as birdsongs; it's just that we never tuned in because they're ultrasonic.More here.
And since I've always been good at acoustic processing and such, let's tune in on our own little mouse Georgie:Georgie-cam
It's a squeaker! It's a gusher!
The Senate has just narrowly defeated an amendment by Maria Cantwell that would have killed the House's decision to open up ANWR for drilling. This should allow action in ANWR to proceed.
Of course this does nothing for our short-term problems, unless it causes oil future prices to come down; but it will help tremendously in the long run.
Most importantly, it's a Declaration of Energy Independence: a statement that despite all indications to the contrary, our government is just barely
on the side of defending America.
ID, Dover, Derb
Intelligent design is being argued in a town in Pennsylvania, where the school board has taken a pro-choice position, giving the students a chance to see both sides of the dispute.
The "pro-science" fundamentalists are going wild, insisting that students must never be exposed to alternatives.
I notice that Derbyshire
at NRO is taking the same fundy position, and mentions an article in the New Criterion.
New Scientist mag, the house organ for Prince Charles's Gaia-worshiping acolytes, ran a similar "let's all get along" article in the 10/29 issue. Discussing the Dover, PA school board case:There is also a broader lesson for those who oppose ID... Almost everyone involved in the case against the school board is devoutly Christian, and they see no conflict between natural selection and their religion. Portraying evolution as an alternative to religion does no favours to the Darwinian cause. On the contrary, it hands supporters of ID the opportunity to portray the debate in terms of one religion (Christianity) against another (belief in evolution). It devalues science's claim to be a uniquely objective approach to gathering knowledge, and allows proponents of creationism to scare people of faith by telling them that science poses a threat to their society and their values. Atheists and believers should be able to agree that science stands above dogma. It follows where the evidence leads, something ID can never do.
Just fine until the last sentence.
Let's look at the basic question. ID theorizes that the complexity of life implies an intelligence of some kind. The science-ists theorize that there is no intelligence behind the complexity.
Which of those statements follows directly from the evidence? NEITHER ONE.
Basic logic: If statement P is outside the realm of provability, then Not-P is equally outside the realm of provability.
The science-ists are so blinded by their own religious fervor that they can't even see this basic point. Neither side is falsifiable, unless we find direct
evidence of the intelligence. We haven't found such direct evidence yet, but it's not inconceivable that some kind of watermark or signature could be coded into DNA, or into some other pattern. If we deliberately blind ourselves to that possibility, or censor all thinking that could lead in that direction, we are profoundly anti-scientific.
Neither "It's God" nor "It's random" is a theory in the strict sense. Each is merely a mindset or teaching technique, and each may help some students understand reality.