Sunday, December 31, 2006
  Madame Polisztra channels J. Edgar ... again




Madame Polisztra found a message waiting in her crystal ball this morning. It's J. Edgar again, this time with a New Year's message.

Listen to the real J. Edgar Hoover, coming through the mysterious ether from New Year's Day 1948.
 
Saturday, December 30, 2006
  Wishy-washy tour

There's something terribly peculiar about Gerald Ford's coffin zipping around the country, making cameo appearances at All The Old Familiar Places.

In an earlier era before radio and TV, the coffins of assassinated Presidents like Lincoln and Garfield were hauled around in railcars, so that the grieving masses could say their last goodbyes. Such a tour is unnecessary today, and seems out of place for a nice decent President who was neither greatly loved nor hated.

Will he show up at James Brown's funeral?

Will James Brown's coffin reciprocate?

Will the roadies and groupies get free "Final Wishy-washy Tour 2006" T-shirts?

Will this be remembered as "The day the moderation died"?

Lord, let it be so.
 
  Comes in mighty handy



Oddbody: Oh no, we don't use money up in heaven.

Bailey: Comes in mighty handy down here, bub.

= = = = =

I'm reminded of this scene when I think of the Pope's peculiarly mixed-up response to Jihad.

On one side the Regensburg speech, showing a clear understanding of the problem, and his quiet but steady construction [he is the pontifex, after all!] of an alliance with the Orthodox branch of Christianity. These moves make sense for the leader of the Church Militant.

On the other side, his moral equivalence between Israel and Palestine, and now today's idiotic criticism of hanging Saddam. These moves are not good Catholic thinking or even good Socialist thinking; they are just hippie-dippie shit.

= = = = =

This war is unquestionably a religious war. If you believe in Jehovah or Allah, you must take a side. If you don't believe, you still must comprehend that the war is being fought between the champions of Jehovah and the champions of Allah, and you must see that Jehovah's side is the source of civilization.

Regardless of belief, if you prefer the 21st Century, you must take the Jewish and Christian side. If you prefer the 11th, you must take the Mohammedan side. There is no middle ground.

= = = = =

Benedict has a powerful, nimble, and subtle intellect. So, like a dog watching a human drive a car, I'll acknowledge he may well be thinking in ways that are far above my mental pay grade.

Still, he doesn't seem to appreciate that he has "armies" and "divisions" beyond his own Church, who need to see him holding firm... who need to see him as a consistent leader who takes the side of Jehovah at all times.

In his conversations with heaven, he may not need to worry about the alignment of earthly forces, but those forces come in mighty handy down here, bub.
 
Friday, December 29, 2006
  Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh .... Rope.



Those Kurds have a very long record of bringing, shall we say, the proper gift for the occasion.

They also have a long record of persecution by tyrants and betrayal by Americans.

We owe them.

Perhaps we owe them even more than we owe the Jews.

As of this minute, Saddam is officially gone.

We should have killed him in 1991. We should have killed him when we captured him.

The Kurds have finally done it right, despite our best efforts to do it wrong.

And our pussy-ass enemy-collaborating media can't find the guts to show us the full hanging.

We'll find ways to see it, but not through our pussy-ass enemy-collaborating media.

Anyway, Saddam is gone.

This miserable year is now redeemed.




Polistra shouts: THANK YOU, KURDS!

[A footnote in case the title reference isn't clear: Though the Gospels don't specify their origin, those "Magi from the East" are believed by scholars to have been Medes, which is the old name for Kurds.]

 
Thursday, December 28, 2006
  Cultural sensitivity

Listening to an interview with Interior Sec'y Kempthorne about the proposal to add polar bears to the "endangered" list. One of the criteria he mentioned was that the Eskimos have a "cultural requirement" to eat the polar bears, and thus the Eskimos can be granted absolution for harvesting a certain number of the bears. I think that's what the Comrade Secretary said; the whole set of ideas is so anti-civilized and garbled that it's truly hard to make anything logical from them.

Nevertheless, this special cultural exemption from the Established Religion of Gaia Worship gives Secret Agent Polistra an idea.

Gather up a glob of endangered fungus, and encourage it to grow on an endangered cultural object like a cross or a Ten Commandments tablet. Since High Priest Kempthorne is absolutely committed to preserving the Holy Fungus, he will reluctantly have to give an indulgence to the otherwise blasphemous Christian object, because removing the cross would remove the Holy Habitat of the Holy Fungus.



 
  Wrong, Mitt, wrong.

Human Events interviewed Mitt Romney. On the most important question, Romney ducked and dodged.

Q: Do you think right now the U.S. is losing the war in Iraq?

Romney:The term is overly charged, I’m afraid, and so I’m not going to try and define who’s winning and who’s losing. I don’t think we’re making anywhere near as much progress as we had anticipated we would make.

There’s no question the administration was surprised by the fact that after the fall of Saddam Hussein it was a much tougher road than they ever expected. Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld, as you recall, said we’re just sweeping up a few dead-enders. Well, it turned out to be a lot more than that. We had insufficient troops in place. We had insufficient plans. We did not have the appropriate rules of engagement in place. Obviously, there were management lapses — events such as Abu Ghraib make that clear. For all those reasons, we did less than the entirely effective job that we would have hoped to be able to do. And as a result, we’re in a difficult position right now.

But to assess whether we’re making progress or not, I would presume we’re making progress, but certainly not at the rate we were hoping to make progress and, in some respects, that is disappointing.


= = = = =

Bad show, Romney. Your advantage is clarity of vision and clarity of leadership. If you're going to evade the most important question, you're not qualified to lead.

"Events such as Abu Ghraib": The only problem with Abu Ghraib is that we pussied out and stopped when the traitorous media spotlighted it. If we were serious about fighting a real war, we would have given medals to Lynndie England, and we would have recommended the "events" of Abu Ghraib as a shining example for other soldiers.

Hillary is starting to look mighty good.
 
  Random

1. Ethiopia, hardly a major player on the world stage, and not generally described as our "ally", is doing more than any of our "allies" for the Christian cause. Ethiopia's little army is quite competently pushing back the Jihadis who are taking over Somalia (again). Amazingly, George W. Vichy is not protesting against Ethiopia's violation of "due process". Maybe he hasn't noticed it yet.

2. Pakistan, always described as our "ally", is clearly not. Musharraf has been playing us for a patsy since the start. Why are we so concerned about keeping him in office? His "democratically elected" government is not on our side, but the pretense of "alliance" prevents us from going in and wiping out al Qaeda. In other words, his presence serves the enemy, pure and simple. We should be helping his assassins, in order to have an accurately described enemy regime.

3. Conventional wisdom on Robert McNamara is that he was responsible for developing the Edsel when he worked at Ford, and he was responsible for developing the Vietnam War when he worked in Washington. It turns out that both of those stories are flat wrong. Automotive historians have found that Mac believed the Edsel was a bad idea from the start, and tried to sabotage the managers who were pushing it. He didn't quite succeed, and the bad idea went ahead and proved its badness. A program on C-Span yesterday featured some of LBJ's taped phone conversations, in which Mac clearly and persistently argued against escalating Vietnam. He didn't quite succeed, and the bad idea went ahead and killed many Americans in a useless war.

I feel the need to apologize for the record, since I had joined the chorus of Mac-haters. Too bad; he's such an easy man to dislike ... but despite his generally obnoxious nature, his judgment was proved right in both of those cases.

Hmm. Maybe that's why he's so obnoxious. When you're right, but can't erase the conventional stories about your wrongness, you're likely to get bitter.

4. Via NRO: Stuart Taylor, hardly a right-wing hack, has written a powerful summation of the Nifong fraud at Duke. Unfortunately, Taylor starts out with a conventional-wisdom statement that can easily be disproved.

It's no secret that hugely disproportionate numbers of the innocent people oppressed by abusive prosecutors and police in this country are African-Americans.

Even without detailed statistics, this statement can be proved wrong. All you need is one fact: Most crime occurs in black neighborhoods. Black neighborhoods are vastly more dangerous (for the innocent black folks) than white neighborhoods. This tells us all we need to know about the prosecution. If the police were arresting too many blacks, the black-neighborhood crime rate would be lower than the white-area rate. The continued high crime rate tells us that the police are still not arresting enough black criminals.

5. Mark Belling, subbing for Rush this morning, is trying out a pretty good argument for getting out of Iraq. Essentially he's saying that we've already accomplished all that we could practically accomplish; we've passed the point of negative return. I wonder if he's trying out the argument on behalf of the government, or purely on his own? This approach certainly runs counter to Rush's perpetual team loyalty.

6. Both sides in our political structure misunderstand the Laffer Curve, either deliberately or accidentally.

Let's start with the basic fact: Tax cuts increase government revenue.

Granted, this isn't 100% absolute; some changes in tax code will either be neutral or opposite. But in terms of the 'hot button' or major changes, Laffer is valid.

Now another generally accepted pair of facts: Lefties want to increase the size of government, and righties want to decrease it. Again not absolute, because righties want the gov't to serve mainly as defender against enemies, which can require a huge budget in wartime. But in domestic terms, we can say that R wants small, D wants big.

Logically, then, R should want to raise taxes, which gives gov't less money to work with, and D should want to cut taxes, which gives gov't more money to work with.

Why doesn't this happen? John Kennedy is the only politician who seemed to understand this point properly and consistently.

I truly don't know whether the politicians since JFK are just ignorant, or playing a deeper game.
 
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
  Rohrabacher on OKC

Rep. Rohrabacher has just issued a report on his committee's investigation into possible Arab connections of Terry Nichols and Tim McVeigh. Rohrabacher concentrated on Nichols's Filipino connections, and received no help at all from FBI or Philippine authorities.

It's been clear for some time that Nichols was not just visiting his mail order bride's relatives, and that he learned something about making bombs in Cebu City.

The Rohrabacher committee has filled in the picture with several new facts, but still no conclusive proof.

The report covers some familiar territory; here are the facts that I haven't heard before:

= = = = =

On his first trip to Cebu with Shelton Paradise Tours, Terry Nichols was initially introduced to tour guide Daisy Gelaspi. They spent about four days together and, in a sworn signed statement to police and investigators, Gelaspi claimed that Nichols asked her if she knew anyone in the military or anyone else who could help him make a bomb.

Additionally, on his final trip to the Philippines just months before the Oklahoma City bombing, Nichols had with him a bomb-making book entitled The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives. Nichols’ interest in bomb making during his trips to the Philippines raises some doubt about whether he was genuinely there for a wife, or whether he was there to network with underground criminals and terrorists.

Terry Nichols’ behavior prior to his last trip to the Philippines in November 1994 also raises questions. He left a sealed note for his ex-wife that instructed her to open it in case he did not return. She opened it almost immediately and found a letter from Nichols telling her where he had hidden $20,000 for her and their son.

When asked directly about this by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, his answers were not credible; Nichols suggested the $20,000 came from babysitting money.

.....

In the December 1994 and January 1995 time period when Ramzi Yousef and Nichols were in Cebu City, it is not known where Yousef stayed; however, items found one month later by the Philippine National Police in his Manila apartment suggest that he had either stayed at or visited the Sundowner Hotel, where Marife and Terry had met years before and where Tom Shelton ran his tour-guide business. The opportunity for a Yousef-Nichols link-up during this time is clear. The proof, however, has not been established.

Note: Nichols hastily departed the Philippines immediately after the Yousef bomb operation was discovered and Murad was arrested in Manila. Shortly before, Nichols had arranged his reservations to leave at a later date. Inexplicably, his plans changed the day the Manila bomb plot was broken up. All this justifiably leads to speculation that the Bojinka bombing plot may have been tied to a more grandiose scheme. Had the Bojinka plot and the Oklahoma City bombing occurred in the same time frame, it would have been a spectacular worldwide attack on the American people. Evidence is circumstantial but serious questions remain.


= = = = =

Especially interesting:


Ramzi Yousef was in the United States for about five months prior to his attack on the World Trade Center in February 1993. His cell phone records from that time period show that he placed three phone calls to the residence of a Filipina in Queens, New York named Mila Densing, with one call lasting approximately 30 minutes. At the time of the phone calls, Densing was living in the same row-house apartment building as Adora and Ernesto Malaluan, close friends and neighbors, who were also from Cebu City. Ernesto Malaluan is the cousin of Marife Nichols and owned the boarding house in Cebu City where Terry and Marife lived during their last trip to the Philippines.

= = = = =

The committee also looked into John Doe Two, who was seen with McVeigh by many eyewitnesses in OKC and in Junction City.

Within minutes of the Oklahoma City bombing, local television reporter Jayna Davis was at the scene of the crime interviewing witnesses. In the weeks and months afterward, she continued to investigate the bombing and, in her television broadcasts, asked viewers with information to come forward. She was particularly focused on the FBI’s original sketch of John Doe Two. There are multiple witnesses in Oklahoma City who placed Timothy McVeigh with another person at the scene of the bombing. The description of this accomplice offered by the witnesses at the scene closely resembles the sketch made of McVeigh’s companion when he rented the Ryder truck. The hard fact remains that witnesses saw McVeigh with a man leading up to and on the day of the bombing. Authorities still contend that McVeigh was alone. The belief that the FBI dropped its search for John Doe Two prematurely appears justified.

Davis has presented evidence that John Doe Two, who was with McVeigh in the Ryder truck on the day of the bombing, was a recent Iraqi immigrant who lived and worked in Oklahoma City. The Iraqi in question, Hussain Al-Hussaini, was one of a group of Iraqis hired to do odd jobs for a Palestinian landlord, Samir Khalil, who owned properties throughout the area. ...

More alarming is the discovery of a published list of un-indicted coconspirators from the first World Trade Center bombing that includes the name Samir Khalil. This subcommittee asked the Department of Justice to determine if the man’s name on the unindicted coconspirators World Trade Center bombing list is the same man in Oklahoma City. A letter responding to this request stated that such a task would be too "burdensome". This unwillingness on the part of the Justice Department to look into a possible solid link between the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center attack is extremely disappointing, bordering on dereliction of duty.


= = = = =

I suppose we won't know the truth about this until the Caliphate is fully imposed; at that time McVeigh and Nichols will be celebrated as Heroes of Jihad, and their stories will become part of the curriculum in our madrassas.
 
Monday, December 25, 2006
  2006 Word Awards




Professor Polistra has been gathering up annoying words and phrases during 2006.

= = = = =

A few mispronunciations that seem to be spreading like wildfire:

DIStriBUTE. Appears to be a slop-over from the stress pattern of Distribution. A common occurrence in language, but Polistra wonders why the same change hasn't taken over CONtribute as well.

Affectionado for aficionado. Interesting because it's an unconscious translation of the Spanish back into English.

Kalishnikov. The word is spelled Kalashnikov. No excuse for this one. Russian can be difficult, but there's no reason in Russian itself, nor any reason in the normal English way of pronouncing Russian, to sound /a/ as /i/. Possibly an error in the dictionary that provides the phonetic spellings on Teleprompters...?

= = = = =

Next, a few strange or overused words:

Robust. A robust diplomatic initiative, robust economy, robust protocol. Nuff said.

Concerning (as predicate adjective). Polistra finds this one especially concerning.

Efforting. Polistra is efforting a lookup on this one.

= = = = =

Finally, the phrases.

1. Is the self-answered rhetorical question an epidemic? Absolutely. Is it annoying? Absolutely. Can we get through one hour without hearing it? Absolutely not.

2. Does Polistra wish people would avoid the self-answered rhetorical question going forward? Absolutely.

3. The X's and O's. Polistra confesses that she finds this phrase totally meaningless. She suspects the folks who use it don't know what it means either, but it's certainly common enough.

4. Homicide bomber. Specialty of Fox News and several other conservative commentators. Both redundant and inaccurate. Redundant because the concept of homicide is already contained in 'bomber'; everyone knows that a bomber intends to kill. Inaccurate because the whole reason for creating the original phrase 'suicide bomber' was to distinguish the Mohammedan bomber from others. The kamikaze is much harder to deter or defend against. Switching the term to 'homicide' removes this special reminder.

5. Can Polistra tolerate one more utterance of "Not so much"? Not so much.


Labels:

 
Sunday, December 24, 2006
  Christmas




Polistra greets Christmas - and you - from the snowy North.

This has not been a good year.

We pray for a better one.....

In the meantime, a musical reminder that other years have been worse, and America somehow pulled through.
 
Friday, December 22, 2006
  Duke

The side of truth is being carried well by the defense attorneys and many commentators..... I have only one small 'correction', one thing that isn't being said. What makes Nifong's fraud so destructive is NOT that he is assuming the defendants guilty and forcing them to prove their innocence. There's nothing wrong with that assumption. As I've said 634567853 times here, "innocent until proven guilty" is not in the Constitution, and the direction of the assumption really doesn't matter. In fact we do start by assuming guilt; that's what an arrest does.

What distinguishes a tyranny from a decent justice system is not the assumption. In a tyranny, the evidence doesn't matter at all. Whatever the authorities SAY is truth becomes the truth. And that's what we have here. Assuming these boys to be guilty would be just fine, if the system responded to the evidence by deciding them innocent. But Nifong has operated AGAINST all the evidence, for his own purposes. (One tantalizing comment by the defense attorney hints that Nifong's motives may be more complicated than vote-seeking.)

= = = = =

Zooming out for a wider view: It's clear that our entire court system no longer works. Jury trials developed over the centuries as a way to reach important decisions with credibility and broad-based respect, given a near-total lack of physical evidence. The latter condition no longer holds true. Since the advent of DNA, we can include or exclude potential suspects with 100% certainty. For any case where physical evidence is relevant, we no longer need the 'social certification' that a jury formerly provided. And for any presumed violation of law where physical evidence is not relevant, we should seriously ask whether the law itself is proper. A 'crime' that cannot be determined by physical evidence is by definition a thought-crime, and a nominally free society shouldn't be prosecuting thought-crimes.


 
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
  Random

1. The power of the Big Story. Mount St. Helens is showing a plume of steam today. Though old Helen has been puffing and snorting rather regularly in recent years, the scientists on site say this isn't even a steam puff, let alone an eruption. It's just a fog cloud caused by cold water vapor hitting the hot surface. Fox News is breathlessly watching the cloud, waiting for the eruption.

Fox never paid attention to old Helen before, but this week's BIG STORY is those (now presumably dead) idiot climbers on Mt. Hood. Mt. Hood is a Mountain. Mt. Saint Helens is a Mountain, so it must be part of the same BIG STORY. This level of logical thinking is typical of cats; most dogs and nearly all humans can do a better job of separating facts.

2. Another piece of atrocious logic, this one doing real damage. Comrade Paula Zahn at CNN has decided to destroy the town of Vidor, Texas because it had a reputation of being unfriendly to black folks back in the old days of segregation. What does this have to do with current events? Here's the connection. The Kramer asshole brought racism back into the news, so CNN needs to destroy Vidor, Texas. Is the Kramer asshole a Texan? No. The Kramer asshole is pure 100% New Yorker, like Comrade Zahn. Has the Kramer asshole ever been to Texas? I'll bet he hasn't. So it's all perfectly logical. What's that you say? The Kramer asshole's eruption says more about the racism of modern New Yorkers than about the racism of an earlier generation of Texans? Huh? What a silly idea. Everyone knows that the Kramer asshole's eruption logically requires the destruction of Vidor, Texas. Case closed.

3. Meanwhile, thousands of people are still without electricity in Washington and Oregon. Six have now died from carbon monoxide, and many older folks are on the edge of survival.

Story? Nope, no story here.
 
Monday, December 18, 2006
  The chase

Andy McCarthy at NRO has done a good job of laying out the desperate mindset of pro-war Americans. I've said pieces of this before, but McCarthy ties it together eloquently:

I am personally opposed to leaving Iraq right now, but I believe there are good faith arguments for doing so being made by a lot of patriotic people. They are not "cut and run" types (quite the opposite), and they hardly believe we have met our match or been defeated by our enemies.

Instead, they say: This is a broader war than just Iraq. The administration's narrow focus on bolstering a dubious Iraqi government does not recognize, much less provide a strategy for winning, the greater war against militant Islam and its state sponsors.

Many (but by no means all) of these people also believe a major problem we face is Islam itself: i.e., that in its most authentic and dynamic form, it is fundamentally anti-democratic, anti-West, and anti-Semitic.

Consequently, these folks collectively believe that the imperatives the Bush administration has made of supporting the Maliki government and democratizing the greater Muslim world – Iraq being a test-case thereof – are unwise. They see popular elections (which the administration tries to sell as democratic elections)raising Islamists to power, they see Maliki supporting Hezbollah and making nice with Ahmadinejad, and they say: Why the hell are we putting our best and bravest in harm’s way for this?


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Here's what it feels like:







We bought this Bushmobile on false advertising, claiming that it was a high-powered conservative vehicle that would take the war to the enemy. The slogan was "Either you're with us or you're against us." Now we've got two years left on the 8-year lease, and we've unfortunately found the Bushmobile has about 20 horsepower and seems perfectly willing to yield to all enemies, internal and external. We tried to make it go faster; we bought bonds, supported, campaigned and voted for the party, and expressed our opinions. All of the legal methods have been tried, and still it just putters along.

There are two possible outcomes.

One, we pull off the road and let the enemy take us with as little bloodshed as possible.

Two, a third-party candidate with enough fame and credibility emerges, and figures out how to release the parking brake.

Even then, it's not at all clear that our system would let him act or survive.

When the correct course of action is absolutely obvious from history and human nature, and when the existing government has proved itself to be totally incapable of pursuing the correct course of action ... at some point people will work outside the existing government to get the job done. That point hasn't arrived yet, but it will sooner or later. (Yes, we do already have people like Jimmy Carter working outside the existing government, but they are working for the enemy.)
 
Sunday, December 17, 2006
  Irritated

While a million people in Washington and Oregon are suffering the effects of last week's hurricane (Yes, I know it's not officially a hurricane, but the physical reality is identical) the media are still telling the story ONLY in terms of those three idiot climbers on Mount Hood. While hundreds of houses are damaged or destroyed, while a million people are still without power, the only thing that matters is how the weather will affect those three idiots.

What makes this especially peculiar is that the networks are ignoring the human-interest stories that would normally be the center of their coverage. This clip from KING-TV in Seattle, for instance. A rather sweet family of Somali immigrants, unaccustomed to urban living and certainly unaccustomed to cold weather, used a hibachi grill to cook their food when the electricity went out, and ended up with carbon monoxide poisoning. Luckily they all survived.

Ordinarily, the networks would take this story and run with it: Where is the Federal Government? Why does Cowboy Bush hate these Mohammedan immigrants so much that he doesn't fly directly to their apartment and help them? Nope, we don't hear any of that junk. None of the usual concern for poor people, which might actually be appropriate here. Nope, it's all about those three rich dickheads who put themselves into a position of risk, and all about how our military is wasting its resources to rescue them. Except that the stories are not calling it a waste of resources; if anything they are wishing for even more military waste.

[Incidentally, I didn't lose power or suffer serious property damage this time, thank heaven. For some reason this part of Spokane wasn't affected as badly as other areas. In most storms it's the other way around.]

-----

Update on Monday: Fox's Shep Smith, bless his syntactically peculiar heart, is finally giving some decent attention to the 'powerless masses' in Seattle.
 
Saturday, December 16, 2006
  Memory puzzle




Got a letter from the Manhattan High reunion committee; they're preparing the 40th reunion of the Class of 1967. The head of the committee added a personal note at the end of the form letter, which has given my memory cells a true workout.

Here's the note:

"Hi David - saw Mr. Guest recently - he always asks about you - we laugh about the 'Applesauce' sign." --- Linda.

I remember Linda, the head of the committee. She wasn't among the nerds or hoods, so I didn't spend much time with her, though I knew just about everyone in the class on a speaking basis. Linda was one of those nice solid mature types who clearly wouldn't change much upon reaching adulthood.

The rest is more puzzling. Mr. Guest was the sixth grade teacher at Lee School; he was about 40 then, so he must be about 85 now.

Linda's reference to Mr. Guest without explanation or context would indicate that she was in the same class.

But what in the world was the "Applesauce sign"?

After digging through piles of dusty neurons, I finally caught a glimmer of the event. Mr. Guest liked to have the students prepare and recite speeches, debates, and poems. I remember the poetry sharply because it required hard and satisfying work, but the speeches have faded from lack of recharging through the years. For one of those speeches, I decided it would be funny to use Applause and Laughter signs at appropriate points, and I must have finished off with an "Applesauce" sign replacing the "Applause". It must have been funny at the time, at least by 6th-grade standards!

What's really strange about all of this is the realization that somebody else remembers part of my life better than I do.

"I was there, so I should remember it best" seems like common sense, but it obviously isn't. In this case, the last year of plain uncomplicated childhood was probably swamped out by the next three years of extreme stress (i.e. puberty and junior high).
 
Saturday, December 09, 2006
  Gusher, maybe for real this time?





Keeping up the tradition: It appears, astonishingly enough, that both the House and the Senate have acted in concert this time ... no cute games ... to open up more of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling. The Senate approved the omnibus package including the drilling by 79-9. Of the 9 No votes, 8 were 'Republicans', which means the 'Democrats' can no longer be called the anti-drilling party.

Still no action by either Congress or the Vichy Government on opening up Alaska.
 
Thursday, December 07, 2006
  And speaking of...

While I'm thinking about rediscovering things that were hidden through the 20th century, and while I'm thinking about Italian scientists....

An Italian archeologist has uncovered the tomb of St. Paul, underneath the altar of the Roman basilica of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls.

Archeologist Giorgio Filippi confirmed that his team has completed excavations around the altar of the ancient basilica, discovering the sarcophagus located there.

St. Paul-outside-the-Walls was built in 390, on the site of St. Paul’s tomb. The sarcophagus was visible until the 19th century, when the basilica was destroyed by fire and rebuilt, with the new altar on top of the site where the old crypt was located. In 2002, the Vatican authorized an archeological dig to recover the tomb of St. Paul and make it available to the public for veneration.
(from Catholic World News)

This isn't truly a discovery, since the tomb was known to be there. Still, it's a nice bit of synchronicity, and may reveal some interesting artifacts. Scientific techniques have certainly improved even if theories haven't!
 
  Water, water, everywhere




Based on the last information sent by the Mars explorer vehicle, it now appears that Mars has water on or near its surface... which means that Mars may indeed have some kind of life.

The question of water on Mars is among the very few subjects I still remember from high-school science classes. We learned that Schiaparelli had "falsely" seen water flowing on Mars back in the 1870's, and that other astronomers had later debunked the claim. Ha, ha, ha, we learned; those early scientists were so dumb and ridiculous, and the great 20th Century Scientific Consensus is always right.

Well, old Schiaparelli has the last laugh. Mars has water, and thus possibly life.

In the end, we'll see that most of these Great 20th Century Scientific Consensi are wrong, and that the 19th century understanding of most subjects, including human behavior, atoms, and climate, was right after all.

= = = = =




Meanwhile, saline water also appears on the floor of Congress, as the Republicans illustrate graphically their complete failure to learn anything at all. They have spent the last few days serenading their departing colleagues, complete with tears, sniffles and nose-blowing. Between the weepfests, apparently as a bit of comic relief from their extreme passion, they pass desperately urgent and important laws naming the Post Office in North Sasquadaucus, New York after Mrs. Thelma Hogbert Knowles.

You'd think a losing party would want to start repairing its reputation, but no.

These idiots only show us even more dramatically why they had to be kicked out.

= = = = =

An afterthought: I've knocked NASA early and often for its continued waste of money and time on manned exploration. (Let's go to the moon! What, you mean we already did that? 30 years ago? Wow, I don't remember that!) But the robotic explorers, on Mars and other planets, have contributed hugely to science, with minimal expense. So let me say a heartfelt Bravo to the robotic side of NASA, which is doing a wonderful job.
 
Monday, December 04, 2006
  Teddy speaks ... in his own voice.




A couple weeks ago the folks over at NRO were discussing whether Newt's voice would be a disadvantage in running for President. They quoted historians to the effect that Teddy Roosevelt had a "squeaky voice" and was nevertheless elected.

Since Polistra is a fan of both Newt and TR, she decided to settle the question.

Oddly, recordings of TR are not easily available online; at least not directly via Google. So the invaluable OtrCat comes to the rescue.

Here is a brief sample of Teddy Roosevelt speaking. Apparently this was first recorded on an Edison cylinder then transcribed later to disk, and finally to digital form. Doesn't sound squeaky at all! A low tenor, pretty much the same range as Newt's voice. It does sound strange to modern ears because TR was using the sing-song intonation common to all American political speeches in that era. This 'music' was still common in the '40s; it didn't fully disappear until Reagan brought the style of radio announcers into political speech in the '50s.

Listen!
 
  Accuracy



Polistra hates mislabeling and mis-description more than anything else in this world. Any step that leads to accurate descriptions and accurate perceptions is a good thing, regardless of its other consequences.

For instance, Democrats taking Congress is a good thing because Congress has been acting in a purely leftist direction. The alleged Republicans, especially George W. Vichy, have been intentionally confusing the voters by doing exactly what Teddy Kennedy would do, then claiming to be 'conservative'. The voters weren't fooled. If Teddy Kennedy is going to be emperor, we need to have his name (or his party's name) on his decisions, so voters can see who stands for what.

And in today's news, Bolton resigning as UN ambassador is a good thing, because it explodes Vichy's peculiar delusion that the UN can be reformed, or that the UN can be used for our purposes. What did Bolton accomplish? He did say some things that need to be said, but in the end he didn't change the UN by even one millimeter. The only thing we should do with the UN is ignore it and de-fund it. Let it rant and rave without our support.

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In a war for the survival of civilization, we cannot base our actions and strategies on delusions.

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Later: The new SecDef Gates seems to appreciate accuracy. His statement that we are "not winning in Iraq" is refreshingly accurate, after all the nonsense we've been hearing from the Vichy Government. I found another of his statements, less publicized, to be even more interesting. He observed that the intelligence community under Negroponte is still functioning poorly; that several heads still need to roll within CIA; and that he (Gates) would work with the President to "help" Negroponte in rolling those bad heads. Since Gates was formerly head of CIA, he speaks with considerable authority on this subject. About damn time.

 

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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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