Sunday, May 31, 2009
  Ineffective, isn't it?

The Voice of Russia (formerly Radio Moscow) has a much more interesting web presence than Voice of America. It's personal, inviting and interactive, just as R. Moskva had been in its shortwave heyday. I wrote to R. Moskva twice in the early '60s, trying out my self-taught Russian. They replied pleasantly, correcting my grammar and answering my questions.

On the new web version, a feature on Darwin's 200th anniversary reveals a surprisingly positive fact about human resiliency in the face of anti-Christian totalitarians.

As for Russia, half of my countrymen believe that the human beings were created by God and a quarter think that humans were parented by apes. The rest – a quarter of those surveyed – offered “hard to say” for an answer. Russian sociologists asked also this question: “What subject should be taught at school – Darwin’s theory of evolution, the Divine creation idea, both of them, or nothing at all? Only 20% advocated for Darwin’s theory as a school subject. 13% were in favor of the Divine creation as the only school subject. But the majority – 43% believed that both concepts should be offered to school kids. It will be a mission impossible for school teachers. One out of ten thinks that nothing should be taught on this controversial point.


According to this Pew article, Americans feel the same as Russians about Darwin in general, but our position on school curriculum seems to be more nuanced or uncertain. The closest version of the question is this one: "I'm going to read some areas of instruction that high schools might offer. Please say whether you think each one should be required instruction, could be offered as an elective, or should not be taught at all." Evolution gets 28% for required and 49% for elective; creationism gets 25% for required and 56% for elective. So roughly half of Americans think both views should be presented, which is slightly higher than the Russian 43%.

Overall, this means that anti-Christian schools and culture aren't nearly as effective as the elites would like. Russia had 70 years of anti-Christian schooling (1920 to 1990) and America has suffered 40 years of anti-Christian schools (1962 to present). Despite all that effort and money by Communist elites in both countries, only a quarter of the population firmly adheres to the establishment's "settled science."

This also decisively kills the idiotic notion propounded by Super-Idiot Lawrence Krauss, that ignorance of science leads to totalitarianism. Both USSR and USA taught ONLY EVOLUTION for several generations, and during that time USSR moved away from totalitarianism while USA moved toward it. So we have tested your theory with a controlled experiment, Super-Idiot Krauss.

Same treatment + opposite results = No causation.

= = = = =

Happy sidenote: Russia has not merely ended anti-Christian public schooling; it's now moving into church-school partnership!
The official paper on cooperation between the Orthodox Church and the Education Ministry was signed at the end of last year. Both the church and the school want the youngsters to learn moral principles. “We’re removing the 100-year gap between the Russian Orthodox Church and school education, — acting Education and Science Minister Vasily Kostyukevich says. – Russian literature and culture is impossible to perceive without Orthodox tradition”.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009
  Іван Берёзов Общество



Polistra has discussed the distinction between sane and crazy paranoia, as illustrated by the downfall of the John Birchers. After correctly identifying Soviet subversion in the 1950's (sane paranoia), the JBS was penetrated and neutered in the 1970's, now practicing a crazy and complex paranoia that blames everything on the Council for Foreign Relations.

And what happened to the original Birch viewpoint? Where can you find a solid and accurate criticism of the long-running Communist destruction of America? Why, you can find it in Pravda. Of course.

The article begins by calling Americans "sheeple", a trademark Birch word.

Then:

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us [Russians] about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blind the foolish.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, losses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more than ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the sheer volumes. Should we congratulate them?


The part about pop culture in schools is inaccurate: our education system is certainly dumbed down, but not because it replaces learning with pop culture. Rather, it replaces learning with flat-out falsehoods. (Oddly enough, this author missed a truly scathing and perfectly ironic comparison. Russian science and math education is based on discovery, experimentation and discussion. Typical American methods are authoritarian and top-down. The Russian method works. The American method does not.)

But the rest of the criticism is spot on, and echoes Polistra's thoughts exactly.
 
Thursday, May 28, 2009
  Thousand words

A few weeks ago Polistra wrote a long piece on the decline of small towns.

This picture on Shorpy.com illustrates the point perfectly. Yes, we still have county fairs, and we still have County Demonstration Agents or Extension Agents. But they don't matter now.

These Vigo County girls mattered, and their preserves were worth the effort of displaying artistically. (And undoubtedly worth the effort of eating reverently. Yum!) And Miriam Retherford mattered. Her artistic calligraphy and artistic arrangement helped to preserve the whole event for posterity.

In a globalized and televised world there are no small ponds. Your efforts don't matter unless you can make a big enough splash to move the ocean. Quality, slapdash, all the same. No point in preserving, no point in artistry, because your job will be handed to a fucking Chinaman tomorrow.
 
  Effective, isn't it?

Interesting to watch the standard Stalinist smashdown of Newt. His comment about Sotomayor is simply and obviously true: anyone who claims that an old white man would "reach a better decision" than other racial or sexual combinations, would be banished. He not only couldn't get confirmed for a judgeship, he wouldn't be able to find any sort of respectable job. He would be a Man Without A Country.

For a moment I wished ... Someone should directly face down these media assholes who are calling Newt crazy. Someone should point out the factual nature of the comment by citing an example. Find a politician or judge who actually said something like that, and show what happened to him.

Unfortunately this isn't even possible, because America's censorship regime is so airtight and absolute that no white politician would come within a thousand miles of such a statement. Whites know their place.

There is precisely one example in recent years, but it's not a politician, not really a public figure. James Watson, discoverer of DNA, made some plainly and provably true comments (understated comments, in fact) about the racial distribution of intelligence, and was instantly fired and banished from public life.
 
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
  Hispanic isn't white?

Listening to the CNN coverage of Sotomayor choice ... Comrade Toobin says "This is a new day for America, with an African-American president appointing a female Hispanic. America's ruling class is no longer all white men." Other commentators echo the same theme, treating "Hispanic" as a special category.

Why? Scalia and Alito are both from Italian immigrant stock, which is culturally similar to Hispanic. Yet they count as plain old white, while a Hispanic from "Buerdo Rrrrrrrico" counts as non-white.

If we're really thinking about proportional representation of American groups, we should be more worried that Sotomayor would become the SIXTH Catholic on the court. Breyer and Comrade Ginsburg are Jewish; the only remaining Protestant would be Comrade Stevens, who lists himself as merely "Protestant", indicating that religion isn't exactly a major factor in his life.
 
Saturday, May 23, 2009
  Paradise Express

A great 1937 movie about the battle between "economic efficiency" and human-sized capitalism. Small railroad is taken over by a bankruptcy receiver... I won't spoil the ending.
 
Friday, May 22, 2009
  Reich's college loan idea

Robert Reich proposes a new way to finance college. Strikes me as an excellent idea.

Even when they do find jobs, college grads have no choice but to take the job that pays the most. They can't afford to do what they might really want to do -- become, say, a social worker or writer or legal services attorney.

This problem won't go away when the economy recovers. College debt burdens have been rising for years.... So here's my proposal: Any college student can get full funding from the government, with only one string attached. Once they've graduated and are in the work force, they pay 10 percent of their incomes for the first 10 years of full-time work into the same government fund they drew on to finance their college education.

Now maybe that formula will need to be adjusted up or down to cover all the costs. ... Linking repayment to a fixed percent of subsequent wages for a limited number of years enables all graduates to follow their dreams into whatever work they want, without worrying about earning enough to repay a loan. Those who end up in relatively high-paying jobs subsidize those who end up in relatively low-paying ones.

 
Thursday, May 21, 2009
  Time to save

Shorpy is one of my daily web stops. The moderator selects high-quality old photos, mainly from WPA work. Sometimes the moderator is working a theme or a relation to today's news, sometimes he's just showing eye candy. Sometimes the picture reminds us of good things that are forever lost, sometimes the exact opposite. It's always a useful perspective point.

Today's pic clearly illustrates the problem with modern banks. The bank in this 1922 picture advertises saving, not borrowing. The Christmas Club, a one-year savings account, offered 3% interest. And the bank is quite obviously profitable.
 
  NY jihad sting

Hasn't been one of these in a while. The news coverage is interestingly mixed. Cable networks are following the usual leftist rules, protecting nobility. These particular would-be terrorists are both black and Mohammedan, therefore doubly noble. So the news must treat them as innocent victims, shield their true identity, avoid naming their purpose. Other news sources, including ABC, are more refreshingly candid, starting the article with police commissioner Ray Kelly's statement that these four "wanted to commit jihad."

Stings are always dubious. They pick up the sort of would-be criminal who hasn't quite made up his mind, and encourage him to make up his mind. More serious and determined jihadis (home-grown or otherwise) don't wait for the nicely created opportunity in a sting; they just go ahead and bomb stadiums or shoot up Jewish Community Centers. We don't catch the serious ones until it's too late.

I wonder: was the recent buzzing of NY by Air Force One part of the sting operation? Maybe the stinger was gaining street cred with the criminals by demonstrating his inside knowledge, as in "Watch this! I can tell you when the President's plane will be flying over New York, so you can shoot it down with those missiles I'm going to sell you. Pretty neat, huh?" It sure as hell wasn't a photo-op.
 
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
  Getting close to a real question

Up till now, the discussion of "torture" in our Communist media has been nothing more than an extended session of left-handed masturbation. You can hear it in Comrade Rachel Maddow and Comrade Shep Smith, the same unfaked orgasm: Oh! Oh! Oh god! Bad Republican! Spank the bad Republican! More pictures! Show me more! Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh! Oh gooooooood! Oh Yeeeeeessssssss!

All of this juicy fingerwork is based on a completely irrelevant set of events, involving our application of minor discomfort (like the least painful aspects of a dental appointment) to some actual bad guys. Most Americans, including even one member of the Communist media (Chris Mathews) don't share the orgasm; most Americans think it's fine to use any methods necessary to get important information from an actual enemy.

Today CNN finally got down to the real question. Are these detainees really worth questioning at all? Are they worth the trouble of even a friendly interview? Are they actual enemy soldiers who could tell us something about an imminent attack? This story describes the application of real torture, not inconvenience, to a man who couldn't have given us any useful information.
 
Monday, May 18, 2009
  Adam needed one of these

Lately I've been listening to good music on the local NPR station. Much better for the blood pressure and the brain than crappy cable TV.

I used to enjoy listening to college-based public stations ... the semi-literate college kids struggled with foreign words, coming up with classical boners like:

Dvorak ---> DeBorbik
Vivaldi ---> Vivialivi
Johann Bach ---> John Hann Batch
I Solisti di Zagreb ---> The One Soul-sty dye Zarjub
Concerto in A Major ---> Conquer-toe in a major
Fugue ---> Fuggó

Spokane's station, KPBX, is a professional operation, and their main classical announcer, Vern Windham, is a serious musician himself. So he doesn't make that kind of mistake. Still, this afternoon he muffed a line, sending me into a laughing fit. I probably needed a good laugh, and it's probably not all that funny out of context. Nevertheless:

"The previous hour was underwritten by Dr Jason Weinstein, Eve Consultant. Oh, excuse me, that's Eye Consultant."
 
Sunday, May 17, 2009
  The chief's daughter



Polistra is reading p. 291 of the WPA Guide to Oklahoma:

Right from Pawhuska on an unimproved dirt road is the CHIEF SAUCY CHIEF HOMESTEAD.

Nellie, the daughter of the chief, was the first Osage to be given Christian burial. She contracted pneumonia in 1885 at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania and was sent home, where she died. Major Laban J. Miles, the Osage Agent at that time, persuaded her parents to conduct the Christian rites rather than their customary procedure of burying the dead in a sitting posture on the summit of a hill. However, the Indians kept their own mourning customs, the chief wearing only a white sheet, moccasins and breechclout for a three-and-a-half-month period, despite the snow-covered ground. In preparation for the three-day dance which was to end the mourning observance, the funeral party rode out solemnly to capture the scalp of a town merchant who had ingratiatingly decided to submit himself to a mock scalping; he allowed the Indians to cut off his forelock minus the traditional accompaniment of skin. Major Miles was accorded the honor of leading the group, much to the amazement of Pawhuska citizens who saw him riding into town holding the scalp-pole with the hair flying from its top. After Saucy Chief had been bathed and dressed in warm blankets, the dance began.

Nellie's death had been properly observed, and her spirit sent on its journey with the blessing of both the white and red man's ritual.

 
  Small hooty

I've long been dubious about the constant references to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff as a major contributor to the 1930's depression. Intuitively the causation seemed wrong, and the analogy to today's situation seemed even more wrong. But I didn't have enough data to settle the question one way or the other.

Found an article that verifies my intuition with a rigorous economical analysis. The author says Canada was the only country that retaliated with its own counter-tariffs, but since Canada's economy was tanking along with everyone else, the cross-border trade was decreasing dramatically anyway. So the tariff caused real political friction with Canada, but its economic effect (if any) was swamped by the overall drop.

Thus the modern free-traders are wrong when they use historical precedent to warn us against a "trade war". And the analogy to modern times doesn't work either; as Polistra noted last year, and even the New York Times acknowledged more recently, today's most successful manufacturing countries have strong import protections. This tells us that even if import tariffs may have been harmful in the conditions that prevailed 70 years ago, they are not harmful today. Japan, Korea, China and India are smart countries with a strong focus on growth and production. If they found that tariffs damaged their own manufacturers, they would drop the tariffs in a heartbeat.

Obviously the US operates on a different principle. Our official goal for the last 25 years has been to destroy our own manufacturers and impoverish our own citizens, in order to maximize global economic efficiency.
 
Saturday, May 16, 2009
  Shorelines

Steve Sailer has been dissecting the demographics and politics of location, partly in connection with the subprime real estate bubble.

One of Sailer's main points is the link between location, politics and income: the closer you get to an ocean beach, the more expensive the land, and the more leftish the population.

This led me to wonder: is there an innate connection here? When you have the genetic combination that pulls you toward beaches, do you also have the natural equipment for material success, and the natural tendency toward leftist politics?

The latter two are certainly connected and innate. No mystery there. Top dogs are aristocrats, and the modern Western expression of aristocracy is leftist politics.

But what about the drive to be near an ocean? Natural or learned?

One quick test shows it to be a learned status symbol manufactured through advertising and peer pressure, like the taste for diamonds or caviar. If the basic sensory inputs (seeing and hearing waves, an infinite horizon, fishy smells) were linked to the talents that yield success, then lakeshores would be just as valuable as ocean shores. Lake Erie should be just as unattainable as Malibu. But it ain't.

Example: Luna Pier, Michigan, just north of Toledo. I visited there a few times when I lived in Bowling Green. It's a beautiful place, with charming cottages, lapping waves and an infinite horizon. Is it wildly expensive? Not at all. The real estate prices look similar to any solid but nothing-special Midwestern city: house by house, the same prices you'd find in Enid or Topeka.

While examining the prices, this house grabbed my attention. Showing a picture instead of a link, because I suspect the listing won't be there very long....



One block from the infinite horizon, a clean and cute place for $18k. I could afford that myself, and I'm many light-years down from Malibu-rich. (Tempted? Yes.)

I'll bet this was originally an Aladdin house; many of the 1920's seaside and lakeside cottages were built from prefab kits.

Specifically, I'll bet it's a modified version of this Aladdin model:


 
Friday, May 15, 2009
  Obama vs Notre Dame

The kerfuffle about Obama speaking at Notre Dame is rather odd when you see it in a larger perspective. In plain fact, Obama agrees with modern Catholic teaching on nearly all important questions.

On the broad goals of economics and government, he drives the Roman road all the way. Look at this excerpt from JP2's 1991 encyclical 'Centesimus Annus':

Following the destruction caused by [WW2], we see in some countries and under certain aspects a positive effort to rebuild a democratic society inspired by social justice, so as to deprive Communism of the revolutionary potential represented by masses of people subjected to exploitation and oppression. In general, such attempts endeavour to preserve free market mechanisms, ensuring, by means of a stable currency and the harmony of social relations, the conditions for steady and healthy economic growth in which people through their own work can build a better future for themselves and their families. At the same time, these attempts try to avoid making market mechanisms the only point of reference for social life, and they tend to subject them to public control which upholds the principle of the common destination of material goods. In this context, an abundance of work opportunities, a solid system of social security and professional training, the freedom to join trade unions and the effective action of unions, the assistance provided in cases of unemployment, the opportunities for democratic participation in the life of society — all these are meant to deliver work from the mere condition of "a commodity", and to guarantee its dignity.


Pretty good recipe, and Obama's speeches sound nearly the same. (For instance, his excellent ASU speech this week on the 'poverty of ambition.') On these subjects both Obama and Rome are correct.

On the treatment of enemy prisoners, Obama agrees with Rome, and both are wrong.

On capital punishment, Obama agrees with Rome, and both are wrong.

Both Obama and Rome worship the idolatrous false goddess Gaia, and both are wrong.

The only big question where Obama departs from Rome is abortion; on this one Rome is correct and Obama is wrong.

Seriously, why do American Catholics put so much heat on this one disagreement, when Obama is the first President in many years who agrees with Rome on everything else?
 
Thursday, May 14, 2009
  Silliest statement of the year

In connection with torture, Pelosi, etc:

One of the "strategists" on a cable discussion program supports the "need" to have criminal investigations of previous wartime decisions:

"If we don't expose these things to the light, we won't learn how to do it differently."

Utter nonsense. Republican and Democrat presidents do the same bad things. Some of the bad things are unquestionably necessary, others seem necessary at the time, others are purely irrational. We always expose the bad actions when a Republican does them, and we never expose the bad actions when a Democrat does them. We never learn anything from any of this ratshit. The only effect of the exposures is to make intelligence agencies more timid, more secretive, less willing to step outside the bounds when necessary. And this is irrelevant anyway because the CIA has failed to give us any meaningful intelligence since 1948. It was useless before the Church Commission of 1976, it was even more useless thereafter, and it will be evener morer uselesser (if that's grammatically or physically possible) after the current firestorm is over. Nevertheless we will continue to fund it, and we will continue to rely on its universally wrong "information".

Come to think of it, we do the same with public schools. Every "reform" makes them worse, every funding increase makes their "learning" even more negative, makes every year wasted inside the schools more viciously destructive of brainpower. We know this. The facts are openly available and indisputable. And yet we continue to "reform" the schools, continue to increase their funding, thus doing more harm to our students every year.
 
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
  TARP documents

The docs released under a FOI request from Judicial Watch are somewhat interesting but still don't answer the important questions.

The one useful piece of information: These criminal syndicates, in return for their gargantuan Hanukkah gifts, promised in writing to start lending and to help consumers modify mortgages.

The promise:

= = = = =

In support of the US financial system and the broader US economy, the [fill in name here] agrees to:

Issue Preferred Shares in the amount of 10 billion to the US Treasury under the terms and conditions of the TARP Capital Purchase Program announced today.

Participate in the FDIC .... (unimportant)

Expand the flow of credit to US consumers and businesses on competitive terms to promote the sustained growth and vitality of the US economy.

Continue to work diligently, under existing programs, to modify the terms of residential mortgages ....

= = = = =

One big question from the start of this crime was why the gov't didn't simply ORDER the criminal syndicates to resume lending. This document APPEARS to be an order to resume lending, but the gangs have NOT resumed lending, and the gov't has NOT punished them for violating this written contract.

Syllogism: These monstrous gifts were exchanged for [what looks like] a written promise. We know that the feds are perfectly capable of enforcing any decision or promise when they want to. When they get really irritated, they bring out the tanks, bombs and snipers. The feds are not irritated at all, therefore these documents were not really promises at all.

The rest is still a mystery. Was there a real promise, a real quid pro quo, outside of these documents? The banks have certainly kept silent about the entire deal, so perhaps silence was the real exchange. Or was the whole "flooding with liquidity" bit just a magician's cape to distract us from a larger crime?

= = = = =

Later: Radio talker Jerry Doyle interviewed Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch. Doyle, who has been almost alone in asking the important questions about the greatest theft in history, asked Fitton: Why was this giant transfer of money so urgently needed at that particular time? And Fitton slipped away from the question. He muttered something about "assuming good faith on Paulson's part" and then skated over into a standard pre-recorded brand-R rap about Obama The Socialist.
 
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  Maybe it's important after all

I've never been much interested in the question of homosexual marriage. My attitude has been dismissive: If you really want to strengthen marriage, take steps to make marriage an attractive option for men. Eliminate no-fault divorce, restore industrial jobs and bring back the middle class. Eliminate the idiotic assumption that males and females are identical, and reshape the culture and laws to respect the unbreakably different purposes of males and females. When all these things are done, then you can worry about irrelevant matters like a few males living together.

After watching this tyrannical display of Gay Stalinism red in tooth and claw, I've changed my mind. If Stalin and Torquemada are for "gay marriage", then I'm solidly against it.

Bravo to Prejean for continuing to stick to her guns, and bravo to Donald Trump for continuing to support her. Trump undoubtedly knows that the majority of Americans are with him, and he knows that "any publicity is good publicity" ... but even so, it's hard to stand against the roaring screeching Red Queens of the aristocracy.
 
Friday, May 08, 2009
  Fallaci on LSD?

One of the strangest and most prolific Youtube contributors is Refbatch aka Anna. She's a Russian Orthodox Christian who puts out two or three clips each day, all visually similar and all with exceedingly weird but somehow compelling English texts.

I can't decide if she is a Russian version of Orianna Fallaci documenting the evils of Mohammedanism, the tragic decline of Christendom and the tyranny of Putin ... or just a strange creature running on delusion. The English text would lead to the latter conclusion, but sometimes she also writes in Russian where she makes complete sense.

In either case, I find her fascinating and (let's be honest) rather sexy.

An example of her English text, from one of today's clips on the anniversary of V-E Day:

= = = = =

now,americans you can lauph at russia.

they do not hav vctory day.

they sold it to chechens dagetaneans and to arabs advicing ther same to you.

arabs drive hee and fobide to ex-russians as easter as their victory day-

switch on declarative all provocatons and abusement

for only t forbide to meet tis.

so usa can bomb russia easy.

we will not wm next war.

you even do not need to bomd it.

we do not exiss.

if theshop asaki of chechen nationality culd forbide me to meet vitory day of russian folk.

= = = = =
 
  Clarity

A nice sharp article by Keith Pavlischek, unraveling some of the confusion around the question of "torture".

I'd mention one more layer of confusion, maybe the worst of all. The moral hand-wringers are confusing personal morality with national morality, which is clearly an improper mix. The New Testament provides guidance for the individual, and the hand-wringers are correctly following those rules. But the New Testament also states that the government and the individual are different entities with different purposes. If you think the main goal of a nation is to provide a moral exemplar, you're missing Christ's point and you're also destroying the nation's real purpose.

A country isn't supposed to determine the morality of the entire world. It's supposed to protect the lives and property of its own citizens so that they can practice their own versions of morality within its borders. The hand-wringers, who seem to include nearly all leftists and many 'conservatives', believe that the entire country should operate under their own personal exquisite sensitivity, even if it means allowing the enemy to destroy all of us.

Got news for you: if the entire country is destroyed or overtaken by an enemy force, it sure as hell won't be showing your version of sensitivity toward anyone. Not to enemies, not to women, not to Christians, not to you.
 
Thursday, May 07, 2009
  Every now and then...

Every now and then a Federal court does something more or less right. In this case a Fed district court ruled against a public school teacher who was treating Christianity and creationism with disdain.

A federal judge has ruled that a California public high school teacher who made denigrating remarks about religion and Christianity violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment when he called creationism "superstitious nonsense."

James Corbett, an Advanced Placement European history teacher at Capistrano Valley High School, also said "when you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth." He compared prayers for divine intervention to hopes that the "spaghetti monster" will "help you get what you want." Corbett, who has taught for 20 years, also said "Conservatives don't want women to avoid pregnancies — that's interfering with God's work."

However, U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled that only Corbett's comment calling creationism "religious, superstitious nonsense" violated the constitutional rights of former student Chad Farnan.


Full story here.

I said "more or less right" because ideally schools shouldn't be universal and mandatory. In an open school system, the religious opinions of a teacher would be naturally rewarded or punished by the parents. A school that caters to atheist students would hire an obnoxious atheist like Corbett, and a school that caters to normal Christian Americans would hire normal Christian teachers. But since we do have mandatory conscription-style schools, it's imperative to keep the teachers neutral. Most Federal decisions explicitly favor atheist idiots like Corbett, so given the overall context, a pro-neutrality decision is worth a little celebration.


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Wednesday, May 06, 2009
  Why small towns fail........

I haven't been writing much here ... just sort of uninspired and dull lately.

Have been commenting often at FrontPorchRepublic.com, the first truly populist 'big blog'. One article today stirred me to thinking again, so I'll copy and expand my comment here for future reference if nothing else. Maybe it will refocus my mind.

The article at FPR was discussing the decline of midwestern small towns, proposing meritocracy as a prime cause: the best brains leave to work in brainy places like New York or San Francisco.

Earlier, I disputed the basic Charles Murray premise that academic achievement, the quality tested by IQ, is the primary determinant of national success. The same applies here. More IQ isn't the main cause of success for a nation or a town, and losing high-IQ people isn't the main cause of failure for a nation or a town. Especially a small town.

Midwestern towns have always lost a certain type of kid to New York or Hollywood. The loss didn't matter much, because those New-Yorkish types didn't steal any of the skills that really mattered to a small town. They may have removed a brain capable of high abstraction, but abstraction doesn't fix a car or settle a dispute between neighbors or put out a fire.

The main problem is that the anchors of small towns, the pins that held them on the map, have been ripped out. The ripping is partly natural, but mainly a result of Federal policies since 1962.

Picking 1940 as a baseline, what were the pins that held a town in place and kept its people from flying off?

In semi-historical order: (1) the railroad depot; (2) the church; (3) the family; (4) the school; (5) civic organizations like lodges; (6) unmovable businesses like mining, specialized farming or logging; (7) the local newspaper and radio station.

(1) Federal policy intentionally weakened the railroads to the advantage of trucking. This yanked out the fixed centerpoint for business and travel, which was the sole raison d'etre for many small towns.

(2) Leftist penetration of mainline churches weakened their appeal while Federal policy disconnected churches from education. Then non-local televangelists gave a new outlet for the Christian passion that was no longer welcome at First Presbyterian.

(3) No-fault divorce laws, feminism, and feral capitalism conspired to ruin the family. Feminism started the trend, using Stalin's classic disruptive gambit. Robber barons soon realized that they could pay half as much to each worker when both husband and wife were expected to work. Now that it's no longer possible for an ordinary man to support a wife and kids on one income, neither sex has any particular reason to stay married, thus no particular reason to stay in one place and raise kids.

(4) Federal special ed and non-discrimination mandates require each school district to have a large bureaucracy and a team of lawyers, which you simply can't manage with a small town's resources.

(5) Non-discrimination laws, social security and welfare entitlements removed the concrete purposes of civic organizations and lodges, which formerly maintained some forms of medical insurance and old-age homes. Only the social aspect remains, which isn't enough to keep people linked in mutual responsibility.

(6) Federal environmental laws make it hard to run resource-extraction businesses like logging and mining. Only the biggest ones can afford the army of lawyers to fight off the Sierra Club.

(7) In 1940, local newspapers and radio stations provided an outlet for local talent which could be read and enjoyed by local people. If you were a good writer, a good singer, a better-than-average pianist, you could exercise your gifts for pay without having to face the harsh competition of New York or Hollywood. Both of these outlets were weakened by television, then delocalized and deracinated by monopolies.

(8) More generally, as others have said, unfettered globalization and monopolies make life difficult for every small manufacturer. Even if you were doing a good enough business in the local pond, you're now forced to compete with slave labor in China and Burma. Nobody except the slavemasters can succeed for long in these conditions.

= = = = =

Later: We tend to think of gov't-caused problems as overregulation, but with one exception, all of the Federal changes that uprooted the small town were deregulation or supposed advances of "rights". The only exception is the environmental laws that made mining and logging hard; those are actual increases in strictness. Everything else is an increase in permissiveness. (1) Railroads were weakened by the abolition of the Interstate Commerce Commission, which had kept trucks and trains in balance, and had forced railroads to serve small towns. (2) Churches were removed from civic life when the black-robed saboteurs granted special "rights" to Atheist Commissar Madelyn Murray O'Hair, may she share an acid-soaked bed of nails in Hell with Betty Friedan. (3) No-fault divorce was a loosening of divorce laws, and feminism is advertised as advancing the "rights" of females. (4) Special-ed laws grant special and very expensive "rights" to stupid kids and bad kids, making it much harder to teach normal kids. (5) Because lodges were generally for one ethnic group or for men, they were killed by non-discrimination laws. Again more "rights" for females and a lower quality of life for everyone. (6) Environmental laws, the exception. (7) Specific decisions by the FCC and other agencies have "opened" the airwaves and newspapers to monopolistic ownership. Knight-Ridder and Clear Channel don't give a flying fuck about local concerns or local talent, they only care about increasing their share price.

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  Still unasked

Our alleged "news" "media" are mentioning this morning that no photos will be available from the buzzing of New York by the substitute Air Force One; and that the admin says it won't replace the original photos anyway.

This adds yet another obvious problem to the obvious problems I listed before.

1. Why in the hell would the gov't want this picture? How in the hell would a 9/11-style picture contribute to your media publicity packet? What would the caption be? "Lookie here! We're still vulnerable! You can get away with another 9/11 easily!"

2. If it was just a photo-op, why was the fighter jet apparently trying to intercept the airliner? From what I've seen, the fighter looked fairly serious. I can't imagine the Air Force risking its aircraft and pilots on a just-for-fun gag shot.

And now 3. Since the original photos were OK, since the admin itself says that photos weren't needed, doesn't that stir your curiosity just a tiny microsmidgen? Doesn't that seem to disagree just the eeeeeentsiest little bit with the whole idea that photographs were the purpose of the event?

A normal sane human would realize by now that the event was not a fucking photo-op in the first fucking place, and would then ask what the whole fucking thing was really about.

Oh, pardon me, I ended a sentence with a preposition, which makes the sentence unreadable by conservatives. Translating it into conservatese for convenience: A normal sane human would realize by now that the event was not a fucking photo-op in the first fucking place, and would then ask really about what the whole fucking thing was.


= = = = =

And another important question remains unasked and unanswered. Exactly what happened in September that supposedly placed the entire world economy in danger? We have a partial and unverified answer by Rep Kanjorski: Someone was withdrawing huge sums from money market funds, essentially a classic "run on the banks" in that sector. This sounds plausible but we still don't know if it's true, or if it was the major cause for the panic; and if true, we still don't know who was making the withdrawals. Speculators? Foreign governments? Terrorists? Teenage hackers?

This is the economic equivalent of fighting WW2 without ever asking "Oh, by the way, who were those pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor?" ... Well no, it's worse than that. It's more like fighting WW2 without even asking how most of our Navy's ships mysteriously disappeared below the surface of the sea while docked in Hawaii. We'd just accept the government's claim that the mysterious disappearance required us to make war against Japan.

Now we are asked to sacrifice the future of the country to protect against a completely unnamed and unspecified alleged threat.
 
Sunday, May 03, 2009
  Lesson?

Leaving aside the usual insane counter-contribution of the media, and thinking solely of the rational public-health response to the Mexican flu...

Seems like a strong argument for fully networked electronic medical records, covering every place that has modern hospitals.

The initial information from Mexico, based largely on rumor and anecdote, led CDC and WHO to switch into high-alert mode, which was proper at that moment. After a few days, it became clear that the high death rate in Mexico did not indicate a deadly serious virus, but rather a combination of other illnesses with a typical death rate from a large number of flu cases.

Now the CDC is trying to back away from the red alert without ruining its credibility, but the credibility is already trash.

If the correct information had been instantly available from Mexican and Texas hospitals, CDC and WHO could have given a more moderate response at the start.
 
Saturday, May 02, 2009
  Spring at last



Last winter's hellish snowload mashed down most plants and hedges in Spokane.

The rosebush on the left side of my porch bounced back, but the one on the right didn't. Both of these plants were here long before I moved in; they may be 50 years old.

I was sad to see this plant finally conquered after surviving so many seasons; I cut it down close to the ground so it wouldn't look awful.

Last week, when warmth finally returned, the "dead" rosebush began sprouting new shoots from nearly all of its canes. It won't be as tall as before, but with a little attention it will bloom through another season.

Spring music......
 
  Galileo or Bruno

Carrie Prejean has done two unusual things for a public figure. First, she gave a heretical answer during the Miss USA pageant. Predictably, the Inquisitor Prince swore an Anathema against Carrie, and she lost the pageant.

At that point, if she had been obeying the modern Catechism, she would have gone on a national Penance Tour, bowing down to every available Prince and weeping in Eternal Contrition. After several hundred public recitations of the Self-Criticism Formula, and after a year in Career Purgatory, she would then be allowed to resume public life, but only as an Official Acolyte of the Feminist-Homosexualist Orthodoxy. That's the Galileo path.

Instead, Carrie did a second unusual thing. She took the Bruno path, the Luther path. Hier steh ich, und kann kein anders. Instead of humbly submitting to Recantation and Re-Education, she has emphatically repeated the Heresy, making it clear that her initial (somewhat garbled) answer wasn't an accident. And she has joined forces with a Heretical Organization.

It will be interesting to watch the result. Some religious/ideological tyrannies are unstoppable: resistance leads to death. Others turn out to be surprisingly fragile: when people start walking through Checkpoint Charlie, the regime implodes.
 
Friday, May 01, 2009
  One word

Peter Greenberg, identified as "Travel Expert", interviewed on CNN a moment ago, speaking about swine flu panic......

"We don't have an epidemic, we have an infodemic."

Says it all in one word. Perfect coinage.
 

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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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