Friday, December 30, 2011
  Random note on housing cost



Because I happened to figure it up recently, thought it might be worth planting these numbers on the web. Might serve as an example of how cheaply you can live in a decent neighborhood if you stay frugal.

I described the house and its location more fully here.

Just the numbers this time:

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

Mortgage, 15 years at 9.5% interest, paid off in 2006.

25000 basic cost of house (equity)
25000 interest, property tax, insurance
=======
50000 total

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

Repairs, mostly after the mortgage was done:

3500 replace septic tank with sewer connection in 2004
500 fix fence (poorly) in 2004
600 new water heater in 2006
2700 new roof in 2007
1500 kill termites in 2008
1100 new foundation under back wing in 2008
300 new toilet and misc plumbing in 2009
1800 cut down trees in 2011
1000 fix fence properly in 2011
======
13000 total of repairs

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

After end of mortgage,
property tax = 600 /yr,
insurance = 200 / yr.
======
Total 4000 for 5 years

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

For 20 years of living: equity, interest, taxes, insurance, repairs:
Grand total 67000 = about 280 a month.

As it happens, that's exactly what the monthly mortgage payment was... so the expense on a yearly basis has continued to be about the same with and without the mortgage.

Compare with the median national housing payment, about 1100 a month, from this source. (Interesting bit of web technology on that website: you can leave a comment on each bar of the graph!)

More appropriately, how does $280 a month compare with renting? Well, a little house two blocks away makes a good 'comp'. That house is in the same position on its block and has the same tiny lot as mine. The house may be a bit smaller than mine, but it's also a bit newer and appears to have a more usable floor plan. According to Zillow, it rented for $450 the last time it was available.
 
  Why do I hate Romney so much?

Trying to figure out why I hate Mitt so ferociously, when he's by no means the only candidate of the Wall Street Mafia. Both Newt and Obama are Goldman slaves, and I don't hate them in the same way.

Basically it's the sheer chutzpah and blasphemy when Mitt cites "capitalism" as the cure to our problems:

"I want to use the experience I have in the free enterprise system to make sure America gets working again."

He has NO EXPERIENCE in the free enterprise system. His business career consisted solely of BREAKING INTO EXISTING FREE ENTERPRISES, ROBBING THEM, TAKING THEIR CASH, AND SENDING THEIR JOBS TO CHINA. That's the experience of a criminal, not the experience of a businessman. That's the life of a man who knows how to DESTROY VALUE AND DESTROY JOBS, not a man who creates value and creates jobs.

= = = = =

But there's more to it. I've already talked at length about Romney's father, who I respected greatly. George Romney was all about free enterprise. He took over Nash in 1954 at a time of extreme crisis, when the corporate prognosis was terminal. He used the corporation's own traditions, plus American workers, plus his own talent and vision, to beat Plymouth for 3rd place. All of that in 7 years, from 1954 to 1961. Now that was a man with real experience in creating American jobs. Not only that, he pulled sales and jobs away from foreign manufacturers, because the Rambler helped to suppress the invasion of Volkswagens.

Romney Senior was also a realist. He didn't cheerily chirp about our Perfect Educational System or our Perfect Health Care or our Special Exceptional Moral Exceptionality Which Gives Us The God-Insured Exceptional Privilege To Do Any Fucking Exceptional Thing We Want. No, he simply named our problems and virtues as accurately as he could.

So the contrast between America-helping father and America-killing son is sharp and dramatic.

= = = = =

There's some personal resonance as well. Five times I've seen the devastation when Mitt types took over businesses where I worked, or colleges where I studied. In each case the business or college had a solid set of traditions that kept it going, kept its employees and customers/students in harmony. The institution had a SOUL.

In each case the Mitt type, the Numbers Man, the Turnaround Man, the Efficiency Expert, took over as CEO and destroyed the tradition, destroyed the harmony, destroyed the SOUL. The Mitt type ruled purely by NUMBERS, looking only at the bottom line and systematically tearing down the family-like connection that made the place worthwhile for its workers and customers. In each case there was a brief burst of profit, then a rapid decline as workers and customers/students abandoned ship.

= = = = =

America has been suffering the same fate for 22 years now, and it will get much worse if Mitt takes over. Bush and Obama are not expert criminals, and they don't know all the tricks of the Wall Street Mafia. Mitt is an absolute expert in cracking safes and cracking souls.
 
Thursday, December 29, 2011
  Theory dominates politics as well

Polistra constantly hammers on the idiotic dominance of pure mathematics and untestable theories in science.

The problem has also invaded politics.

Easiest example: the evangelicals who can't vote for Romney because his theology is wrong, even though his marriage is better than most Protestant marriages. There are a thousand reasons to reject Romney, but this is probably the only reason to favor him!

Somewhat less obvious: Our two Goldman Sachs labels have different theologies, but commit the same crimes in practice. Steal all productive economic activity from America. Donate the jobs to China and the money to Goldman. The two labels accomplish this evil purpose by exactly the same laws and regulations and subsidies and blackmail payments. There is no measurable distinction between the output of a Bush and the output of an Obama.

But their texts, their theologies, are quite different. Goldman Sachs dba "Republican Party" quotes verses from the Bible, the Constitution, Reagan, von Mises and Hayek. Goldman Sachs dba "Democratic Party" quotes verses from FDR, JFK, Comrade Martin Luther King Boulevard, and Paul Krugman.

These distinct sets of platitudes and quotations, all equally irrelevant to political reality, give the two labels something to "debate" and "campaign" about, so that each can have the privilege of doing exactly the same things under its own name.

= = = = =

On the state level, you can still occasionally spot a politician who understands reality, who can cut through the irrelevant verbal shit of "laws" and "constitutions" in order to improve the real situation of real people.

Here in Wash there's a growing movement away from the Fed prohibition on marijuana. As with the earlier prohibition on alcohol, the first step was to create a fraudulent "medical" exemption. This has already led to serious contradictions, with the Feds coming down hard on "medical" marijuana laws.

And now the healthy distinction between theory and reality.

Theory:
Backers of an effort to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use in Washington state submitted more than 340,000 signatures to try to qualify their initiative on Thursday, a move protested by legalization supporters who say the proposal harms medical marijuana patients.

I-502 would create a system of state-licensed growers, processors and stores, and impose a 25 percent excise tax at each stage. Those 21 and over could buy up to an ounce of dried marijuana; one pound of marijuana-infused product in solid form, such as brownies; or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids.


It's a beautiful idea on paper, especially the excise tax. Instead of pouring out big dollars for vicious "enforcement" that turns dumb kids into criminals while leaving the problem unsolved, let's earn some money from the problem.

Versus one blessedly practical politician:
Initiative opponent Don Skakie, of Renton, said the law proposed by the initiative will be pre-empted by federal law, and that he would rather see the state eliminate all state penalties tied to marijuana. The drug remains illegal for any use under the federal government.

“When you eliminate penalties, there’s no new law to conflict with federal law,” he said.

Bravo! There's a man who understands reality. No point in creating a verbal heresy that the Feds can inquisit. Instead, leave your legal formulas the same, including the requirement to impose a fine. Just make the fine equal to zero. The Feds won't be able to use their black-robed saboteurs to rewrite the law, because the law itself will still be Orthodox.
 
  Nice to know....

The best defense for Big Science has always been its ability to predict things in advance. In some important cases this has turned out to be true. Kepler's laws of planetary motion enable us to predict lunar eclipses with perfect accuracy; the equations of electricity and magnetism enable us to design new components and circuits that work.

In most recent cases, though, relying on theories and expensive instruments only blinds you to reality.

If you're willing to observe all aspects of reality, as biologists generally do, you won't go far wrong. If you totally refuse to acknowledge the existence of facts, as "climatologists", quantum physicists and cosmologists do, then you're committing a crime against science.

Seismology falls between those two extremes. Willing to read what seismographs actually record, willing to listen to real observations from non-scientists, but slow and reluctant to learn from the sensory systems of animals, which are already able to predict earthquakes.

Example of that middle-ness: A huge undersea volcano has popped up in the Red Sea near Yemen, reaching the surface to form a new island. Seismologists had no predictions of the event, and no idea it was happening. They learned about it through reports from Yemeni fishermen, and then spotted the plume on satellite photos after they heard the direct news. It's bad that their expensive computers and instruments didn't detect it, but it's good that they actually listened to people without college degrees.
 
  Fine journalism

Why do they hire illiterates to write and edit the webpages for newspapers and TV stations? It's equally true of large and small outfits, equally true in US and UK.

Wonderful example from KREM in Spokane:
Peggy and Dwaine Brown were rudely awakened Tuesday night when a car smashed into their home.

KREM 2's Ashley Korslien spent part of Wednesday with the family.

Just before midnight, a man in a stolen car led police on a pursuit, which ended in the brown's front yard.
...
Glass shards cover the carpet and half the living room wall is boarded up.

Even though their house is in ruins, the browns are staying positive. They say they'll get through it together.

Police say 21 year old, Joseph wilder, was arrested and charged with "attempt to allude," and "theft of a motor vehicle."

Hmm. Wonder what 21 year old, Mr. wilder, was alluding to? Was his artistic penetration a fairly obvious Freudian allusion with Oedipal overtones? Or was he alluding to the emptiness and bleakness of suburban life by breaking the fourth wall of the brown's dull repetitive domicile?
 
  Oh goodie.

Jesus. Here we go again. We just got clear of one useless pointless war that killed thousands of Americans to serve the interests of Israel. Now we're getting all rowdied up for another useless pointless war that will only serve the interests of Israel.

Persia is talking about blockading a waterway that is partly Persian territory. The waterway is NOT AMERICAN TERRITORY. The Gulf is ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FUCKING EARTH FROM AMERICA. It is NONE OF OUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

However, this ramp-up is entirely different from the 2002 ramp-up.

When we ramped up for Iraq (WMD, Unacceptable, Will Not Tolerate, All Options Are On The Fucking Table) the administration was wearing shirts with an R on the front.

Now that we're ramping up for Persia (WMD, Unacceptable, Will Not Tolerate, All Options Are On The Fucking Table) the administration is wearing shirts with a D on the front.

This means that the two "sides" of the propaganda machine will be saying the same things as before, but with the labels switched.

At least it's efficient and Green. You don't need to write new scripts for the TVocracy and Radiocracy. Just recycle the scripts with a little Edit-and-Replace action. Switch Republican for Democrat, and switch Iraq for Iran. Efficient!

We have always been at war with Eurasia, etc.
 
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
  What in the motherfuck is motherfucking wrong with these motherfucking idiotfucks?

What in the fuck is wrong with these fucking idiots? Local "weathercasters" will spend 5 minutes reading the temperatures in every nearby town even when they're identical (Spokane is 46, Deer Park is 46, Cheney is 45, Medical Lake is 47...) but totally ignore the other trivial bits of weather, such as the bits that can KILL YOU.

KXLY radio is the worst of the worst of the worst of the worst.

This morning we have 46 degrees, as part of a typical Chinook pattern which includes 30 to 45 mph winds. All sorts of stuff is blowing around; presumably some tree branches and powerlines are down.

Their newscaster just now said "With these wonderfully warm temperatures, bicyclists will be out and about. Be careful and watch for bikes; there's still ice on the roads in some places."

No, you fucking idiot. Bicyclists will not be out and about with a 40 mph wind. If they are, they'll be falling down for a fucking different reason, not the fucking ice.

Aaaggghhh! The traffic reporter just called in with a report of a powerline down, and still NO FUCKING MENTION OF FUCKING WHY THE FUCKING POWERLINE IS FUCKING DOWN.

Must be the wonderful tropical fucking temperature that's bringing down the fucking trees and fucking powerlines, you monstrous format-bound fuckhead. Just think, if the fucking temperature had been a frigid 45 instead of a tropical 46, we wouldn't have any fucking problems at all.


= = = = =

Later: Hmm. After re-reading the above, looks like I probably need to bite a lawn mower.

Also later: This is a perfect illustration of why wind "power" is such a fantastically stupid idea. First time this winter I've been able to turn down my electric baseboard heaters. First day I've used less electricity than normal.

Wind "power" gives you more electricity than usual at the exact times when you need less electricity than usual.
 
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
  Traitor

Rominee the Nominee, answering Newt's weak but correct promise to hold black-robed saboteurs accountable:
Romney, asked by a voter how he would curtail “extreme rulings,” said he would appoint members of the Supreme Court who would overturn extreme rulings. Romney said he would not allow Congress to subpoena judges to explain their rulings or to remove judges. “Then we make a super branch known as Congress,” Romney said. “We have a balance of power constitutionally, and I don’t want one branch, Congress, or even the president, to assume power above the other branches.”


Mitt, you are criminally insane. You are completely out of touch with reality if you think we have three branches, let alone three equal branches.

The black-robed saboteurs hold all the power, even though they can't call out the tanks and snipers directly. The other two branches have abjectly surrendered to the Soviet "judiciary" for 50 years.

Comrade Romney, you are a traitor. Comrade Romney, you need to be tried and hanged for treason RIGHT NOW.
 
  Congress does One Good Thing! (by default...)

Amid all the misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance typical of the times, Congress has actually done one thing right!!!!!! Of course they didn't actually take real action to make it happen; they just allowed the subsidy to expire. But in this case, urgent action would have been normal, while inaction required some courage.
The United States has ended a 30-year tax subsidy for corn-based ethanol that cost taxpayers $6 billion annually, and ended a tariff on imported Brazilian ethanol.

Congress adjourned for the year on Friday, failing to extend the tax break that's drawn a wide variety of critics on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Critics also have included environmentalists, frozen food producers, ranchers and others.

The policies have helped shift millions of tons of corn from feedlots, dinner tables and other products into gas tanks.

The subsidy has provided the oil and agribusiness industries with 45 cents per gallon of ethanol blended into gasoline. By some estimates, Congress has awarded $45 billion in subsidies to the ethanol industry since 1980.

Jesus. 45 cents a gallon! No fucking wonder the subsidy worked!

The envirowackos are pleased by this move, which is another small sign of returning sanity. Until a couple years ago the Greenies were all for the subsidy, because they imagined it was Sequestering Evil Carbon or some such shit. For unknown reasons they decided to admit the truth about this.

Most of all, the poor people of the world will enjoy this move. Eventually, more corn will be available for its PROPER FUCKING USAGE. It will take a while for the ethanol production system to shut down, but it will certainly shut down with the welfare stopped.

The timing of this move is most amazing of all. Just before the Iowa Caucuses, which were the sole reason for the long-running push for corn alcohol. In the '30s it was Agrol, in the '70s it was Gasohol, and more recently it's Ethanol; but under each name it's nothing more than an auction of tax money to influence the few thousand people who vote in the Caucuses.

= = = = =

Later: Nope, it was a fake as usual. One subsidy nominally went away, but it was just moved around, and the other subsidies and requirements remain.

Labels:

 
  Out Marie-ing Marie

A gang of hyper-rich hyper-thieves, mostly Jews, have banded together to "shape the national agenda."

As if they haven't already shaped our national agenda into a pile of recycled ratshit.

= = = = =

Just a few wonderful quotes:

Bernard Marcus, CEO of Home Depot, isn’t worried that speaking out might make him a target of protesters.

“Who gives a crap about some imbecile?” Marcus said. “Are you kidding me?”



John A. Allison IV, a director of BB&T Corp. (BBT), the ninth-largest U.S. bank:
“It still feels lonely."

Allison speaking about the Occupy-ers: "Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let’s call it an attack on the very productive. This attack is destructive.”



Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman speaking about lower-income U.S. families who pay no income tax: "You have to have skin in the game. I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system."

Attacking the banking system is a mistake because it contributes to “a healthier economy,” he said...

[Orwell would love you, Schwarzman. You've sliced and diced our economy into a terminal and non-recoverable puree, and you call that "healthier".]



Tom Golisano, founder of Paychex Inc: "If I hear a politician use the term ‘paying your fair share’ one more time, I’m going to vomit."



Leon Cooperman, formerly of Goldman Sachs: "Capitalists are not the scourge that they are too often made out to be” ... "the wealthy aren’t a monolithic, selfish and unfeeling lot. They make products that fill store shelves at Christmas and provide health care to millions."

[Incorrect, Cooperman. Chinese slaves make the products that fill store shelves at Christmas, so that Americans can buy the products with money borrowed from rich bankers.]


= = = = =

Marie Antoinette is a piker.

The good part, I guess, is that they don't even realize how perfectly their own statements destroy their own credibility. Maybe I should thank the Lord for self-contained elite bubbles.
 
Monday, December 26, 2011
  See what happens when you experiment?

In New Superstitionist, an interesting account of reptilian intelligence. Until recently, turtles and lizards had been tested in various lab experiments, but had performed dismally compared to any bird or mammal.

Easy assumption from "evolutionary" theory: they're more primitive, thus we can't expect them to be as smart as the later-evolved critters.

Nope.
Wilkinson and Hall were now interested in why reptiles had performed so poorly in previous cognitive studies. Taking a closer look at the reports, they found the problem. The earlier research had been done at cool temperatures, which left the cold-blooded animals feeling sluggish. Moses, by contrast, had performed at 29C, near the average temperature of the red-footed tortoise's native habitat in Central and South America. The warmer temperatures boosted Moses's metabolism, making him alert, lively and ready to conquer a maze.

Behavioral labs are designed to be comfortable for humans and rats. Nobody stopped to think that reptiles like it hot!
 
  Century temperature animated

Got bored and felt like doing something graphical, so decided to rig up an animation of Wash state temperatures. The data is derived from these NCDC sets, for the 10 'climate divisions' of Wash.

Now that I've got the graphics and data processing built, I'll re-use them soon for precip and wind, and possibly for wind turbines, bat population, and pine beetle infestations to examine this connection. For now I figured the plain temperature map might be interesting to someone.

The underlying data is annual temperature averages from 1911 to 2011, with each year starting in September. First the map in still form, with the division numbers on it:



1 is the super-rainy Olympics; 2 is ocean and the San Juan Islands; 3 is Seattle-Olympia urban area; 4 doesn't have a name that I know of; 5 is West Slope of Cascades; 6 is East Slope of Cascades; 7 is Okanogan Highlands (including Grand Coulee); 8 is lower Basin (semi-desert); 9 is Northeast Mountains; 10 is Palouse.

Spokane sits at the T between 7, 9, 10. The horizontal bar of the T sometimes shows up in storm movements as a sharp linear barrier blocking progress of a northward-moving storm. You can imagine a very high wall along that line!

= = = = =

In the animation, black is the lowest annual temp and bright red is the highest. Annuals range from 40F for the coldest year (1955, zone 5 west Cascades) to 54F for the hottest year (1934, semi-desert zone 8). So the distinction between black and brightest red is only about 14F altogether. Most of the zones stay close to 48F most of the time.

Here's the animation in an embedded Windows Media Player, which may or may not work in your browser:




If it doesn't work, or you want to play with it offline, here's the movie file by itself. It's about 2 megabytes:

Download this.

= = = = =

Now here's the annual precipitation done the same way from the same set of data. Again the dark (closest to black) is the lowest precip, and the bright is the highest.

The max and min here are much more impressive: Rainiest year was 1997 in the Olympics (zone 1) with 137.5 inches. Dryest year was 1924 in semi-desert zone 8, at 5.2 inches. Another impressive thing is the effect of the Cascades rain shadow. As Niña and Niño years alternate, the rain coming from the Pacific varies widely; but after the Cascade wringer does its job, the zones east of the mountains scarcely change.



And again if it doesn't work, or you want to play with it offline, here's the movie file by itself.

Download this.

Labels:

 
Sunday, December 25, 2011
  Must read

Via Economic Populist, an illustrated list of 50 numbers that show just how bad our situation is.

A few of the numbers are contrived or hypothetical, and some of the housing-value numbers really mean a return to normal after an unhealthy bubble. But the majority are serious indications of deadly problems.
 
  Bowl me over, Benny!

The great original theologian Benny16 has shocked the world of Christianity with his Totally Fresh And Unprecedented Raised Consciousness:

"Christmas is too commercialized."

Aaaggghhh! I can't take the astonishing shockiness! Lo yea verily, it is like unto an epiphany!

Seriously, Romans, you need to hire a leader who didn't shake hands with Moses. Find a Pope who has a couple days of lucidity before he fades into the twilight zone.

You've already bowed down to Islam and totally surrendered to the Gaian Antichrist. Far as I can tell, the only thing you stand for is diddling choirboys. Most likely you've lost the franchise already; but if there's anything still worth defending, you need to hire an African. You're far more likely to find rigorous moral thinking among Africans these days than among the dissipated effete Euros.
 
Saturday, December 24, 2011
  Wrong as usual

British satirical paper The Daily Mash thinks it's making a good point:
Hitchens cancer not intelligently designed

Hitchens passed away yesterday, prompting those he slapped up and down the street for the past 30 years to ponder whether or not he finally understood why God had invented malignant cells.

But experts said that after looking at cancer through a microscope for most of their lives they would have reassured the celebrated polemicist that it was almost certainly a result of random genetic mutations, but that if it was designed it was done so by a grade-A cretin.

Oncologist Dr Helen Archer said: "It's not very intelligent to design something and then give it cancer. It's like putting petrol in a diesel car. It is dimwitted.

Yeah okay, I get the joke. In this particular case it doesn't even begin to work.

Some cancer is truly random and stupid and tragic, but not Hitchens's cancer. He intentionally disobeyed all the available Users Manuals for living things.

All documentation, from Babylon to Moses to Jesus to Mohammed to Joseph Smith, has agreed firmly and loudly on this one point. Drink as much as Hitchens drank, use every available intoxicant and poison in huge quantities, and you've voided the warranty.

Life has limits. Human culture, the most miraculous product of life, has given us huge stacks of stored wisdom about those limits. When we follow that wisdom, we're applying an extra level of survival-enhancing feedback that isn't available to other animals.

In dying Hitchens has neatly proved that all those books he wanted to burn .... were right.
 
  Christmas at the Mill



Polistra and Happystar are celebrating again with the annual Christmas Pyrosome, representing the useful and beautiful things that happen when animals and bacteria work in reciprocity.

[Appropriate music: Here and here, and of course here.]

This year Polistra gave Happystar two lumps of coal. In civilized times it would be an insult. In Gaian times anything you can burn for heat is a joyous gift, more precious than gold. (But don't tell the EPA!)

= = = = =

2011 has been a very good year for nationalism, as all the monstrous mashups of the 20th century are coming apart. Some of them have been torn down by popular uprisings; in the Gaian world people are too weak and gutless to rise up, but fortunately the secular contraptions have consumed their own food.

As the post-Christian West writhes in its overdue death spiral, Islam starts to recapture the territory of economic and scientific rationality that it once dominated.

Tremendous things are happening in biology, while other areas of western science descend into Stalinist tyranny and Dark-age inquisition, arresting and jailing heretics who cannot follow mindless insane instantly-disprovable theories.

We can hope that negative feedback will defeat the Satanic enemies, because nobody is actively fighting them. We can hope that concrete experimental thinking will win. We can hope and pray that Life will win.

Remains to be seen.

..... And at this very moment, after a mostly dry winter to this point, we have snow. Huge cup-sized flakes. Snow-globe snow, Currier & Ives snow. I'll take this as a sign of encouragement, for lack of anything better...

Labels:

 
  Party = race

I'll treat race as a variable whenever it's a valid and important predictor (i.e. educational achievement, violent crime), but not otherwise. I'm always puzzled by people who consider race in situations where it's not a meaningful variable.

Nice opposing pair of examples today.

On one side, NRO is stoutly pushing Romney as the best candidate to defeat Obama. Why, for heaven's sake? Romney and Obama are just about identical, as McCain and Obama were just about identical. The only actual difference is that Romney and McCain are somewhat more eager to invade countries that didn't attack us, while Obama is somewhat more reluctant. Aside from that, all are perfect Wall Street slaves, perfect Gaians.

If you strongly prefer an old white Wall Street slave to a young black Wall Street slave, your preference must be based on race. (Or maybe age, but that's not likely, is it?)

= = = = =

Opposite side in an NPR feature today. A family of older black political activists discussing politics. They describe the Repooflicans and the Banksters accurately, but then they stoutly defend Obama as the Friend Of The Poor.

WHAT? Look at any statistic you want, and you'll find that Obama has smoothly continued the Bush effort to enrich the rich and starve the poor. Most of the graphs show no change of slope in 2008; on the values that do change slope, it's worse for the poor since 2008. If you are genuinely for the poor, you have to be against Obama just as strongly as you're against Bush or Romney or McCain.

If you strongly prefer Obama on this issue, your preference must be based on race.
 
Friday, December 23, 2011
  Encouraging but suspicious

Via Marketplace:

Several hi-fashion clothing firms are bringing their factories back to America. But they're having trouble finding workers.

Problem: They're setting up in Los Angeles. That's the last place you'd want to rebuild the textile industry. Textile wages aren't survivable in LA, and there's no recent history of textile work.

If you truly wanted to succeed, you'd build in cotton country, South Carolina or Mississippi, where textile wages are livable and you can find plenty of older unemployed textile workers to train the young'uns.

This LA effort, though possibly sincere, smells like an intentional failure. "See? See? We really tried to make it work in America but we couldn't. Now we're going back to China."
 
  Supposed to work this way!

News from Northwest Public Radio:
Conservationists and small eastern Washington farmers have been dealt a blow by the state's high court over the increasingly touchy issue of water rights.

Livestock operations in Washington -- even those involving large feedlots or dairies with thousands of animals -- have unlimited access to groundwater, and are not bound by permits or the rights of senior users. So said the Washington Supreme Court Thursday in a ruling involving small farmers arrayed against a 30,000-head feedlot in Eltopia, a hamlet near the Tri-Cities.

The closely watched case put the Franklin County farmers and conservationists in a blue funk. Spokane water lawyer Rachael Paschal Osborn was mystified and angered by the ruling: "When you have one type of water user who is already being told that they have to shut off their water use during a drought year how could you possibly have a stock water operation come in and begin to use water in that system? All of the water is allocated, it's all accounted for," Osborn says.

By a six to three majority, the high court ruled that the state legislature exempted livestock operations from the state well permitting process.

This is how a correctly functioning government looks. This is how 'Checks and Balances' were supposed to work.

Courts use existing law, precisely as the legislature wrote it, to determine the outcome of a case. If this yields an absurd or intolerable result, it's not the court's job to rewrite the law or ameliorate the result. It's the job of the legislature. The court is giving useful and accurate feedback to the legislature, forcing public recognition that the legislature created a corrupt loophole in the water law.

At the federal level, courts break this well-designed feedback loop by writing their own laws, which is evil in two ways. (1) It removes popular consent and destroys the point of a parliamentary system. (2) It relieves the legislature of its sole and proper job.

And that's why we have a tyrannical executive and a fucking useless legislature at the Fed level.
 
  From now on

The media and the neocons are still worrying about events in Iraq. The big explosions that herald a resumption of Sunni-Shia war, and the increasing persecution of Christians that indicates a healthy return to a monoethnic Muslim country.

Outside circles of power and idiocy, ordinary Americans are just breathing a huge sigh of relief. After 20 years of absurd all-destroying involvement in a place that never attacked us, we're finally out. A pretty good Christmas present, especially for long-suffering military families.

From now on, events in Iraq are just some dumb stuff that happens in some miscellaneous country.

From now on, it's


 
Thursday, December 22, 2011
  Small sign of progress?

Polistra always watches for constants and variables, always looks for A/B experiments.

This one seems to indicate that the Obama admin is abandoning the neocon project of invading every country and staying there forever.

Specifically: Brit PM Cameron is proposing a British invasion of Somalia, thus continuing the neocon line.

When the Euros invaded Libya this summer, Obama reluctantly dragged along for the ride. This time, it appears that Obama has bailed out of the poorly-armored neocon Hummer:
A senior US diplomat said: "We are fully behind the London conference. Yes, you could say that everyone will have their agenda, including the British. Our own Somali diaspora have links with both the good and bad guys in Somalia, the British much more so, so it's natural they want to be involved.

"Where does it all lead to after London? We'll see."

Sounds like a trial separation if not a divorce!

When A and B always move somewhat differently, you can't conclude anything for sure about their relationship. But when A and B move rigidly together for a long time, then you suddenly see B moving while A stands still, you can be sure there was a connection which has now come unglued.
 
  Prescription riots?

Listening to a highly intelligent discussion of the Arab Spring as it now stands. Both the experts and the callers generally understand the most important points: Popular consent is good. In that part of the world, popular sovereignty means Islamic sovereignty. Turning against Israel (and Israel's cute little slavebitch America) is necessary. Enforcing Islamic cultural restrictions is necessary.

One expert made the big point in a way that even cable TV viewers should be able to understand: "Israel is having a Bull Connor moment, while Egypt is having a Rosa Parks moment." Another fine phrase: "These countries are being inherited by the people who live there."

The usual response by American experts and media is weirdly confused. We still think the uprising is about "democracy", and we bizarrely misdefine "democracy" to mean "supporting Israel and supporting the same pro-feminist and pro-homosexual cultural destruction that has already ruined our own country." Even our alleged conservatives, who claim to dislike the latter ruination, get all bristly when Arabs actually free themselves from the ruination. Thus showing that our alleged conservatives are really just another brand of Commie.

= = = = =

Thinking about this, I'm still wondering what it would take for Americans to rise up against our secular puppet dictators.

In Egypt the igniting factor was food prices, as it always has been. Specifically, agri-speculation by Goldman Sachs drove up the prices in that part of the world to the point where something had to give.

In America, food prices couldn't be the trigger. Food production here is highly efficient, and food is such a small part of most household budgets that it could double without creating desperation.

What could be the trigger? Medical costs, especially prescriptions. Those costs have been rising wildly in the same way that food rose in Egypt, and everyone knows the rise is completely unjustified. Most importantly, the high prices are partly due to advantages given to foreigners. Our drug companies sell to foreign countries at low prices, and make up for it with confiscatory prices to Americans. Similarly, our hospitals give free care to large numbers of illegal immigrants, and make up for it with confiscatory rates to Americans.

Medical costs for Americans thus carry the same flavor as food prices in Egypt: A large proportion of household income, unsustainable rise, and attributable to foreign advantage.
 
  The only hope

Always fun to watch Gaian factions at war with each other.

From Oregon Public Radio:
Oregon, Washington state and the federal government all have fledgling plans to coordinate competing ocean uses.

But wave energy developers say Oregon's initial draft leaves them in a watery ghetto. Oregon is the first to produce detailed ocean maps.

Oregon Sea Grant fellow Todd Hallenbeck demonstrates on his laptop by highlighting prime fishing grounds. "There's a large area of the territorial sea that's important to fishing with the darker red colors representing some of the most important areas for each of the ports," Hallenbeck points out. ...

Hallenbeck responds, "There are not a ton of areas that seem to not have something of importance in them already. So the challenge here is finding the few areas that exist that have the least amount of conflict."

That's the nub for actual project developers. Justin Klure of Pacific Energy Ventures feels boxed out by the initial set of lines drawn on the ocean planning map.

Since nobody with any political or moral authority can oppose the apocalyptic Gaian gangsters, we have to wait for them to fight each other to a standstill, or wait for them to use up all available money. (Fortunately, they're getting close to that point!)

Like the pitiful remnants of the Roman Empire in 900 AD. Feudal warlords battling for no particular reason, totally corrupt vestigial government with no motivation to protect the ordinary people.

Frankly, our only hope is a second invasion by the Moors or Ottomans. At this point in history, just as in 900 AD, those groups are doing a better job of preserving culture and science than the ragtag Europeans, a better job of serving ordinary people.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
  If you're going to cite...

Come on, idiots. If you're going to shout about the Constitution, at least shout what's in the document, not what you imagine to be in the document.

From NPR this morning: So, Republicans voted to create a conference committee to hash out the differences between the House and the Senate. Speaker of the House John Boehner said it is a system the founders gave us, "as old as our nation and as clear as the Constitution."

= = = = =

No, Boo-hoo-ner, the Conference Committee is nowhere in the document.

Closest you get is this: "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."

Doesn't specify any mechanism for proposing or concurring.

Of course absolutely everything done by Congress is purely illegal, implicitly or explicitly, so I don't know why I bother to expect any sort of understanding.
 
  Those nasty anti-science Republicans

News item:
The U.S. government paid scientists to figure out how the deadly bird flu virus might mutate to become a bigger threat to people – and two labs succeeded in creating new strains that are easier to spread.

On Tuesday, federal officials took the unprecedented step of asking those scientists not to publicize all the details of how they did it. [They worried] that this research with lots of potential to help the public might also be hijacked by would-be bioterrorists.



If you're a D-bot:

"Nasty Bush! Nasty Bush! Censoring science! Censoring science!
Oops, it's not Bush, it's Obama...."


If you're an R-bot:

"Good old Bush! Protecting us from terrorists, no matter what it takes!
Oops, it's not Bush, it's Obama...."

Always fun to watch those agreed-on lies going down in flames.



 
  Bowdlerized Bill

One episode of Info Please in tonight's bedtime playlist included a few lines of the old song Froggy Went Acourtin. Their version was different from the one my father sang, which got me thinking....

My father came from an Appalachian heritage, constantly struggled to get away from it and join the upward-striving 1950s. He never really fitted into the mandatory culture of Bridge Games and Dry Martinis and The Right Car and The Right House and The Right Attitude.

Most of the misfit was basic temperament, not culture. He was a Sitter, inclined to work with whatever life hands you. America, especially in the '50s, was built for Rovers: ambitious, addictive, dramatic, Icarine. Fly high, melt, fly again, melt again. Roll the dice, lose. Roll the dice again, lose again. Roll again, lose again. Always expect to win, always lose. Utterly insane.

Singing old songs was, I suspect, a little act of rebellion. Turned out to be a good way of connecting with his kids and (subversively) passing on the Appalachian culture and the Sitter tendency. He often sang us the Froggy song, with some of his own verses and variations. He also insured that we had books and records of the old songs. Most of those live songs, books and records were Bowdlerized for the '50s; his version of Barnacle Bill had just as many verses as the original but none of the dirt, and his version of La Cucaracha was also cleaned up:

porque no tiene, porque le falta,
gasolina por su car!

... which actually makes more sense than the original 'marijuana que fumar'. After all, if you're going to caminar, what you need is gasolina!

Bowdler or not, I'm glad he found a way to subvert the Rovers. When I went through my burnout or mid-life crisis or whatever at 35, I belatedly understood that I've always been a Sitter, which made the Rover way of life not just uncomfortable but impossible. Without the connection formed by those songs, I wouldn't have been able to pick up the old thread.
 
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
  If this doesn't make you smile...

If this doesn't make you smile, you're probably dead.

Watch

and

Watch.

Sure cure for winter blues. No language barrier, no culture barrier.
 
  O ye innocents.

Listening to On Point about the proliferation of tiny drone aircraft. One caller said the usual sort of thing: "We The People need to stand up and say Enough Is Enough! We The People need to hold the government accountable! Constitution etc, Laws etc, Morality, etc." You can fill in the etc's, because you've heard the same naive crap as many times as I have.

Okay, fine. Stand up and shout. Assert your "constitutional" "rights". Hold The Government Accountable. Recite some laws and bible verses and Hayek quotes and Rothbard quotes and Rand quotes at full volume.

A little housefly-sized drone will fly down your throat and take up residence in your lungs, where it will hear everything you say, awake or asleep. The technology may not be quite ready today, but don't bet against next month.

The real question is not how much the authorities know. The Feds will always know absolutely everything they are able to know with current technology. The NSA has always monitored all available radio, telephone, and Internet communication. Information is cheap, so it's not the limiting factor, not the homeostatic variable.

The self-limiting factor is Parkinson's Law. What is the single sole solitary goal of every bureaucracy? To increase its budget and size every year. And what's the biggest danger to an increased budget? Accomplishing your stated mission. Thus no bureaucracy will ever accomplish more than a small part of its assigned mission, because that will destroy its real purpose.

DEA claims that it wants to eradicate drug usage. Yet it never happens, "despite" huge budgets. Eradicating drug usage would eradicate DEA, so it can't be allowed to happen.

That's why we're partially safe on average, despite total knowledge and total surveillance. Each agency will liquidate some of us each year to satisfy its particular blood-fetish, but it won't take everyone; it will always leave a 'starter culture' in each situation to guarantee regrowth of its favorite target.

= = = = =

Sidenote: Current discussion assumes that drones are a fairly new thing. The super-mini versions are new, but remote-controlled aircraft are very old. For instance, this 1946 Fibber episode is about a military experimental craft that needs no pilot. (When Fibber's writers included a gadget or scientific idea, they were sure it was common knowledge. They weren't trying to do sci-fi!) A few years before, the Krauts developed a guided missile with TV camera in its tip, capable of being controlled to any visible destination. Fortunately for Britain, the Krauts were defeated before they could mass-produce the device.
 
  Failed to follow an old rule

A well-known rule of Western governance:

If this policy directly and visibly hurts a few big people and indirectly helps lots of people, the policy won't happen. If this policy directly and visibly helps a few big people and indirectly hurts lots of people, the policy will happen.

In short, the only effects that matter are the direct and visible effects on important people. The 'general good', or benefit to the entire nation, are strictly irrelevant to Western governments.

This is why the Three Horsepersons of the Modern Apocalypse have gained so much traction for so many years. (1) Free Trade helps a few rich industries and hurts nearly all working people. (2) Die-Versity helps a few large corporations that can afford the army of lawyers to work around it, and kills small businesses. (3) Global Warming pseudoscience helps governments and a few corporations like GE that can manipulate legislators to gain subsidies and competitive advantage, and literally kills everyone else.

But now the EU has made a mistake. EU is using Global Warming Pseudoscience to implement a policy that hurts a few big Euro corporations while killing everyone else:
The ETS is “inconsistent” with international law. The EU has long said it will exempt airlines from countries with equivalent measures, but the Clinton-LaHood letter says this provision does not go far enough.

The letter does not spell out what actions the U.S. may take. Separately, the U.S. Transportation Department last week ordered U.S. and European carriers to submit ETS data to the U.S. government, in a move that many in the industry believed to be the first step in a potential U.S. retaliation against the ETS.

Should be interesting to watch. Does the EU court follow the Gaian cult? Or does it follow the big money of the airlines? Normally money would win, but when Gaia jams her cloven hooves into the situation, all bets are off.

= = = = =

Update 12/21: Well, the EU Court went with Satan. I'm not surprised, but really couldn't predict which way it would go. One thing you can rely on: the choice EU makes will ALWAYS be the most deadly choice for the people of Europe. EU's job is to exterminate Europe.
 
Monday, December 19, 2011
  Notable exception!

Couple days ago I expanded on a wonderful pithy saying by Jim Hopkins:

"Journalists never admit they're wrong; they just stop being wrong."

This is basically the journalistic side of Kuhn's paradigm shift. Bad science is never publicly refuted by other scientists; it just fades when the bad scientists die out.

In the item I mentioned several of the enviro crimes of the last century, including the acid rain scam.

Today we have a notable exception to the Hopkins rule, and it's coming from Fred Pearce, one of the New Superstitionist high priests!
Ronald Reagan was right. Well, nearly. One of the former US president's most ridiculed statements was that acid rain came from trees.

Up to half the acidity in rainfall over the US in summer does indeed come from volatile compounds given off by plants – just not the compounds Reagan was thinking of.

Formic acid is produced when we burn fossil fuels and biomass, and when plant compounds called terpenoids are oxidised by sunlight....

New satellite data shows more than 100 million tonnes of formic acid is produced naturally each year – far more than thought and 10 times the total from all known [artificial] sources.

Not only an admission of wrongness but a vindication of Great Satan Reagan!

Bravo to Fred Pearce for breaking this destructive rule, and helping to rebuild civilization.

When the high priests pull their usual fade-out routine, leaving only heretics speaking the truth, it's easy for the Establishment to ignore truth. The lies are no longer repeated every picosecond, but the truth is still coming only from Unpersons.

When a high priest comes out and explicitly admits the truth, even the other high priests have to acknowledge that something has changed.
 
  Saab dies

After a couple years of flailing around, Saab finally goes down. Chinese companies were trying to buy the brand and patents, but GM, the last owner, refused to sell the patents and technology to China. (At first I thought this was gutsy, because GM mainly sells to China nowadays. Then I realized it was just good business for a Chinese company like GM to keep its patents away from other Chinese companies.)

No loss. Overrated and overpriced. I owned a '70 Saab 96 when it was only 7 years old, and it was a terrible car. The interior was interesting, with its late '40s feel, but not nearly as comfortable as my favorite Renault. The 4-speed column shift constantly stuck in no gear at all, or in two gears at once. Sometimes the lever actually came off.

The famous Swedish traction in snow? Nope. Not nearly as good as my favorite Renault.

Auto history writers like to emphasize that car companies usually fail because of bad management, not bad cars. Saab is an exception to the rule.
 
  Understandable but wrong

Tallbloke, the climate realist blogger whose computers were seized by Brit authorities, has set up a legal defense fund.

I donated to his blog immediately after the seizure was reported, and now I wish I'd waited.

I thought he would want donations to fund his defense against the authorities. Instead, Tallbloke has decided to file a libel suit against another blogger who called him names.

Understandable in terms of preserving your honor, I suppose. But it's a misplaced effort. Other bloggers can't put you in jail. The police can and will put you in jail, and only a predatory and expensive lawyer on your side may be able to help.

Beyond that, the libel suit could misfire. The real problem here is tyrannical authorities serving the bloodthirsty apocalyptic Gaia cult. Bloggers slinging nasty names are not the real problem.

A libel suit is almost certain to start a chain of countersuits that could set a destructive precedent. Once the courts start churning, evil increases exponentially.

Is it smart to shut down the only source of free speech?

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  Kim dies

Old Kim is dead. After a careful three-year process of preparing his son to take over, the son takes over. What is this, boys and girls? Yes, it's a PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER.

According to our own Dear Leaders, this is logically impossible. Other countries do not have peaceful transfers of power. Only the Exceptional Exceptional Exceptional USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! WE'RE NUMBER 1! WE'RE NUMBER 1! WE'RE NUMBER 1! WE'RE NUMBER 1! has peaceful transfers of power.

And why is this so? Because WE'RE NUMBER 1! No, boys and girls, wrong standard platitude. It's because we're THE WORLD'S ONLY REAL DEMOCRACY!

So, boys and girls, following our own Dear Leader Logic, what do we conclude?

Yes, boys and girls, North Korea must be a Young Democracy! It hasn't yet held a Free And Fair Election Supervised By Jimmy Carter, but I'm sure that will happen soon.

Shit.

= = = = =

More seriously: If you wonder why the Kim dynasty was able to take over so firmly, remember that the oldest Kim made his revolutionary reputation by fighting against Jap occupation in the '40s. And if you wonder why that's important, listen to this dramatic episode of the NBC program 'The Pacific Story'. The series was probably a tad propagandistic about Jap atrocities, but there's no doubt that the Japs were the masters of atrocity in that part of the world, and ruled much of Asia ferociously from 1905 to 1945.
 
Sunday, December 18, 2011
  Putin gets it

Via RT: Putin talks about Comrade McCain.
All the world saw [Qaddafi] being killed, all bloodied. Is that democracy? And who did it? Drones, including American ones, delivered a strike on his motorcade. Then commandos, who were not supposed to be there, brought in so-called opposition and militants. And killed him without trial.

Mr. McCain is known to have fought in Vietnam. I believe he has enough civilian blood on his hands. Is it that he can’t live without such horrible disgusting scenes as the butchering of Qaddafi?

Mr. McCain was taken prisoner in Vietnam and was put, not just in jail, but in a pit! He sat there for several years. Any person would go nuts from that!


Yup. Polistra has made the latter observation repeatedly.
 
Saturday, December 17, 2011
  Smart Sieve would be a good invention

Some of the biotech researchers are working to develop 'microsniffers', organic materials mounted in electronic platforms that can detect all sorts of chemicals.

A neat use of this would be a Smart Sieve or a Soup Magnet. You could pass liquid or soupy food through the Smart Sieve, and it would remove all the gluten, or all the bits of onion, or all the sodium....

Wouldn't help with religious restrictions. If you're Muslim or Jewish or Vegan or whatever, you have to know for sure that the forbidden item was never in the food at all.

But it would help hugely with organic restrictions.

What brought this to mind: My old belly can't handle onions any more. I always eat the same Campbell's chunky soup for supper, and most of the time it doesn't contain any onions. (The ingredient list doesn't show onions either.) But different factories appear to use different recipes, and when I eat a can that contains lots of onion bits, I become a highly efficient methane generator.

= = = = =

Later: Come to think of it, I could probably do the filtering task with a plain old non-biotech strainer or colander. Pour the can through the strainer into the pan, and sort through the solids to pick out the onion slivers. Wouldn't be perfect, but would be easier than spotting them within the dark liquid.

Better, I could make my own soup with full control of the ingredients. I used to do that in hippie days, and it was both satisfying and cheap.

But I'll leave the dumb idea here in case it somehow inspires a not-so-dumb idea in a better mind than mine.

= = = = =

Much later: Finally implemented the make-own-soup recommendation in March 2012. Definitely worth the effort; not just a calmer belly but better health in general! (But not cheaper; costs about the same.)
 
  Suspicious snow

Writing this mainly for my own records, but seems good to put it out in a public place just in case.

Few days ago, after a 2-inch fresh snow, I noticed footprints in the yard that were not my shoes. The prints came down the street from the west, into the driveway, into the center of the back yard, then back out via the driveway. Fairly large shoes, probably male.

At first I assumed it was an Avista meter reader. They make a similar track pattern: down the driveway, take a picture of my meter, then into the back yard to take a picture of the neighbor's meter. (Presumably because the neighbor's yard is completely enclosed and has a Beware Of Dog sign.) But this track pattern seemed wrong because it didn't include a pause in front of my meter.

Today, after the snow melted, I found a cig butt at the same spot where the prints turned around in the center of the yard. Presumably it was stomped into the snow, then appeared when the snow went away.

This pretty much eliminates the Avista theory. Their readers might smoke, but wouldn't toss and stomp a butt in the middle of a yard. Unprofessional.

Cops or feds? Unlikely for the same reason, plus they're too smart to leave snowprints. Voyeur? Doesn't make sense. Anyone who has ever spotted me knows there's nothing to voy here! Thief? No, the prints didn't go anywhere near doors or windows. Voyeur or thief casing the overall neighborhood? Maybe.

Probably never know.

= = = = =

12/30/11: Another vaguely suspicious event, could be related or not. Around 6:40 PM (after dark) a knock at the door. I normally don't answer the door after dark, but for some reason got incautious this time. It was a beggar. First one in 20 years in this neighborhood. He claimed to "live in the house on the corner", but I know he's not one of the people there, and he wanted to "borrow a dollar for gas", which is a typical line for local beggars. I refused and he went away.

The most distinctive characteristic was his huge smell! After just 15 seconds at the door, his smell stayed in the house for a half hour. Apparently he doesn't realize, or doesn't care, that a smell like that would be instantly recognizable. You may not know what your neighbors look like, but you'd know that smell if it lived "on the corner" or even three blocks away!

I reported both these events to the neighborhood watch website, so they might be able to compare with other reports if any.
 
  Perfectly said

A perfectly elegant saying in this column about the quiet fade-out of Gaia, by Jim Hopkins in New Zealand.

"Journalists never admit they're wrong; they just stop being wrong."

Hopkins has stated the exact truth in a terse and Menckenish way, but he doesn't go on to say whether this is good or bad.

It's bad, because the whole point of having a press is to serve as a counterforce to the evils of the Establishment. It's supposed to provide negative feedback in a consequential way. Our press totally fails to perform that job; instead, it loyally shouts whatever the Establishment wants shouted. It's a positive feedback provider, which is always evil.

Negative feedback is an immune system, positive feedback is cancer.

In this specific case, a natural but tragic form of negative feedback has forced the Gaian cancer to stop growing, and thus forced the cancer-paid press to stop singing hymns of praise to cancer.

The cancer has sucked all the spare blood from civilization, leaving economies and cultures in a starved and malnourished and desperately sick condition. There's nothing more to eat, so it stops eating.

If the press had been functional, it would have been shouting the truth about CO2 for twenty years now, calling down the politicians and "scientists" every time they criminally claimed to have "facts" or "evidence". And the press would also have shouted the truth about speculators and bankers for 20 years, since the Gaian cancer is really a subset and symbiotic helper of the speculative cancer.

(More like 50 years if you include the closely related DDT scam, ozone scam, acid rain scam, and overpopulation scam. All of these environmental frauds were deliriously supported by the press, never once questioned or exposed by the press.)

If the press had been "afflicting the comfortable", it could have stopped this mass murder and saved millions of lives.

But no. The press comforts the comfortable, polishes the jackboots, enriches the rich, and starves the rest.

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  Silliest question of the year

BBC, discussing the EU crisis with the usual idiotic self-destructive assumptions, refuses to ask the only useful question: "Why the hell does this atrocious monstrosity need to exist at all?"

Instead, they ask "Why do the Germans always end up dominating everything in Europe?"

Silly. Because they're Germans.

Every time Krauts are united in one nation, they start marching. The only way to prevent Krauts from taking over the world is to keep them divided, whether it's the dozens of little principalities before 1870, or the two halves before 1990.
 
Friday, December 16, 2011
  Thanks to Safeway

La Niña hasn't landed on our rooftops yet this year. In the previous two LN winters (2008 and 2010) we got hit hard and early. 2008 gave us a record-breaking 30 inches in early December. 2010 didn't break records, but started in early November and continued well into April without relief.

So far this winter has been strictly average for temperature (high 30, low 20) and well below average for snow. Total is only 7 inches, none of which stayed long. And the rest of December looks to be the same, if NWS is right.

Thanks to the weather gods for giving us a break! Presumably we'll still get whacked in January, but LN has missed two whole months when she normally gives us hell. That means we've missed two whole months of shoveling sidewalks and raking roofs.

(Superstition prevents me from showing the usual animation of Polistra and Happystar with a patron saint; somehow feels like tempting fate at this point.)

= = = = =

Special thanks to the Northwest Blvd Safeway for thoroughly de-icing their entire parking lot every time it's needed. This morning the parking lot was just about the only securely walkable place in town; everything else was glazed by freezing fog. This fits into the pattern I've noticed before: NW Blvd merchants show an unusual friendliness and concern for customers.

= = = = =

Another random seasonal note: This year a half-dozen houses within my visual range have mounted rather fancy Christmas light displays, of the type that you have to put up and take down. For the previous 20 years only one house had lights, and they were always the same permanent string of lights along the eaves. The new effort at cheerfulness fits into the overall resurgence and 'brightening' in this part of town.

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  Who hates news?

Thinking about the searches and seizures of Carbon Heretics, I happened on this chart from the Committee to Protect Journalists:



Shows how many journalists are currently in jail, by nation.

One real surprise to my eyes. Israel, "the only democracy in the Middle East".

If you pro-rate these numbers by population, Israel beats everyone except Eritrea. Beats China, beats Persia, beats its neighbor Syria.

And yet Israel is our dear friend. Or more precisely our boss. So let's not mention our bossman's little peccadillos. Wouldn't be prudent. Instead, we're emulating his example.

= = = = =

Later thought, after writing this item. The fact that the journalists in those various countries are in jail tells us that the journalists in those various countries are real journalists doing the correct job of the press. They are actually questioning authority, and sometimes getting in actual trouble. No professional journalists are in jail right now in America, which tells us that 100% of the paid journalists in America are reliable slaves of the Establishment.

(One recent exception which has never been explained: Judith Miller. She was apparently helping the Bush Administration on Iraq, yet she was jailed by some part of the Bush Administration for a hard-to-define crime. Was this an accidental side-effect of an attempted coup by factions within the admin? We'll never know, because our journalists never ask real questions.)
 
  More from those innocent optimists

Those foolish naive optimists at WUWT are at it again. They're getting all happied up about a provision in the Fed budget to DEFUND the ban on light bulbs, for ONLY ONE YEAR. In their nicey-nice minds, this equates to repealing the ban.

Nope. Fed departments are never stopped by a change in funding. There's always another account to draw money from, and there's always a way to rewrite or re-interpret the regs to work around insignificant piconanotrivia like laws and constitutions.

Congress understands this perfectly, and counts on dumb deluded partisans to swallow the scam.

The only way to slow down an agency is to delete the entire agency, delete all laws and "court" decisions that support its existence, and jail all of its employees in solitary for life to guarantee that they won't recycle as lobbyists to rebuild the agency next year.



Well, actually the only way to reform DC is 100 megatons of hydrogen fusion. That might do the job for a little while.

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  Pro-life, eh?

Always nice to see Repooflicans standing up for Life. As long as it doesn't get in the way of convenience for rich dickheads who desperately need to be phoning or texting someone every minute of the day.

Hmm. Isn't that the usual argument against leftist support for abortion? You shouldn't kill a baby just for the mother's convenience? It's an excellent argument! How about applying it to yourself, Repoofs?

I have a vested interest in this particular question after being nearly killed by a dickhead who was phoning his girlfriend while driving his SUV.
 
Thursday, December 15, 2011
  Beinart's point

In discussing our "victory" in Iraq, Peter Beinart made a good solid point, which I'll extend into Orlov territory.

Beinart says we were able to win WW2 and the Cold War mainly because our industrial economy and culture gave us the advantage. Specifically, we could out-produce the Krauts in 1943 and we could out-compute the Russkis in 1983. In both cases our talent for organizing a decentralized system and our culture of innovation reinforced the purely technical and industrial advantage.

Doesn't work now. We trust our soldiers to carry the torch of competence all by themselves, but we don't give them a platform to build competence on; and we short-sheet our soldiers with inadequate equipment; and we bog them down with insane JAG rules; and finally we force them to become a gay bathhouse.

We're hanging our survival on a single institution, while we simultaneously burn down the single institution.

We can't outproduce anyone now because we've handed our factories to China and allowed our human capital to atrophy. We've lost our decentralized advantage by allowing giant corporations to monopolize, merge and financialize the economy. We no longer have a backbone of mid-sized companies like Willys, big enough for mass action but small enough for flexibility. Instead we have a few giants like Boeing, expert in manipulating Congress for monopolistic advantage but no good at developing new products in a hurry.

We can't outthink anyone because we've allowed our best young math types to be taken by Wall Street, and our best young engineers to grind away on Environmental Compliance and Ergonomic Risk Avoidance and Digital Rights Protections and similar ratshit. They're no longer thinking of new ways to build bridges and dams and generators, only new ways to work around regulations and lawsuits.

We can't outperform anyone physically because we don't get exercise or sun, and because we've destroyed our medical system with monopolies, lawsuits, and insane insurance profits. Now we're adding new Obamacare laws that combine monopolies, lawsuits and insane insurance profits with mind-numbing bureaucracy into an unspeakably suicidal toxin.

Worst of all, we don't even know how fucking dumb and fucking weak and fucking incompetent we are. Like the Soviets under Brezhnev, our stentorian overmodulated propagandists roar over and over and over: USA! USA! WE'RE NUMBER 1! WE'RE NUMBER 1! BEST EDUCATION IN THE WORLD! BEST ECONOMY IN THE WORLD! BEST HEALTH CARE IN THE WORLD! BEST INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD!

= = = = =

One paragraph in a story about the Persian drone capture encapsulates both sides of the problem:
In 2009, Taliban forces were able to hack into live video feeds coming from Air Force Predator drones by using commercially-produced hardware. Air Force officials at the time said those gaps did not extend into the aircraft's control systems. Further, service officials claimed the data encryption and security standards built into the U.S. aerial drone fleet couldn't be cracked by the Taliban or any other adversary.

It's bad enough that we can't outcompute Persians, but Persians are smart, sophisticated and well-educated. Worthy adversary, you might say, if you wanted to salve our self-inflicted mortal wound.

Trouble is, we can't even outcompute the Afghan Taliban. But by God, we can proclaim our superiority and call the Taliban "stone-age primitives" all day, while they calmly take over our equipment through digital sabotage.

Yessir, we can beat the holy shit out of the Taliban, or anyone else, on the battlefield of smugness, pigheaded self-satisfaction, and blind self-delusion. We are the Universal Champeeeeens in those categories, and if we ever have to fight a war where smugness, arrogance and self-delusion are winning qualities, we will by God utterly annihilate the enemy.

Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the rest of the world, we have no competitors at all for those qualities.
 
  Total Victory In Iraq!

Huzzah! We have achieved Total Victory! We killed lots of American soldiers and consumed 800 billions of American dollars! We weakened the American military and used up its equipment and morale! We confused and demoralized and depleted the American people, leaving the nation an empty useless hulk! As a bonus, we turned lots of Arabs against America, lots of Arabs who had been neutral or pro-American before the war!

Who's this mysterious We who accomplished every single goal that Sheikh Osama laid out for his destruction of America?

We is the American government.


= = = = =

However: leaving the nasty facts aside, I'm still sort of glad that Obama actually pulled the plug on this suicide. This is one of the few areas where Comrade McCain would have taken a different course. Comrade McCain, Ho's favorite ho, would stay in Iraq forever, expanding the forces without limit. And nobody would have stopped him because he was Ho's favorite ho, which mysteriously entitles him to do anything he fucking wants.
 
  Change of attitude

NPR feature this morning on long-term unemployment. Theme of the piece: many jobless people are finally willing to take night-shift work or move to another state. This is portrayed as an extreme sacrifice arising from extreme desperation.

Puzzling. Way back when I was young and flexible, I didn't consider night shift or long moves to be desperate last-resort actions. Maybe they weren't the ideal first option, but an easy second choice when the ideal wasn't available. I moved around and worked nights several times in the '70s and '80s, and stayed steadily employed. Didn't seem unusual at the time. I knew lots of people who did the same thing.

Is this a real change of attitude, a new sense of entitlement? Or am I simply overgeneralizing from my own experience back then?

(Must admit, though, my own attitude in recent years has been closer to the entitlement category! Around 1985 I belatedly realized that the system is rigged, realized that them as has gits. I stopped trying to be a good hard-working citizen, because goodness and industriousness are futile. Success comes from innate qualities such as attractiveness, brutality, and aristocratic connections.)
 
  Inquisition starts

The Gaian Gestapo in Britain are starting to inquisit anti-Gaian heretics.

Had to happen sooner or later. What bothers me a bit is that the commenters, both in UK and US, are remarkably innocent about how authority works. They say that the cops "don't know what they're doing", that the inquisited blogger "isn't a suspect", that the cops "don't have a warrant" ... so we don't have any reason to worry.

None of that matters. The Gestapo has the guns, tanks and bombs, and they've shown us over and over and over that they're perfectly ready to use all firepower against anti-Communist heretics of various types.

When dealing with foreign enemies or violent criminals, the Gaian Occupation Gestapo operates carefully and methodically, protecting every "right" of the enemy or criminal at the expense of the ordinary law-abiding citizen.

When dealing with domestic heretics, all options are on the table and all triggers will be pulled. No lawyers needed, no warrants needed, no due process needed, no "rights" exist. Tanks, mortars, helicopters and snipers exist.

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  Wise words from Hillary

Unlike most Secys of State, Hillary speaks in plain English sometimes. Her advice to the new nation of South Sudan yesterday was a good example of this:
We know that [oil] will either help your country finance its own path out of poverty, or you will fall prey to the natural resource curse, which will enrich a small elite, outside interests, corporations and countries, and leave your people hardly better off than when you started.

Well said, and good advice.

Wiki claims that the idea of the Resource Curse began in the 1980s.

Not so. It was around in the '40s. It's possible that Clifton Fadiman was the first to state it publicly. In a 1944 episode of Info Please, he was handling a question about various quotes, one of which was "Happy is the nation with no history." Fadiman commented that the saying really should be revised to "Happy is the nation with no natural resources", considering the fate of countries like Romania and Malaya in WW2.
 
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  Tired of this argument

Probably said this before in a different context, but it bears repeating.

Listening to neocon Max Boot criticizing Ron Paul's isolationism. Boot says "we know what happened the last time we were isolationist: Pearl Harbor happened."

Dead wrong from every angle.

(1) In the '30s we had a fairly weak army and a strong Navy. We were not busy invading other countries, but we were trying to fortify as much as possible. Pearl Harbor happened because we weren't watching closely ... or possibly because we decided to stop watching for a little while in order to guarantee our entrance in WW2. There's no way an Army or Navy presence in other countries would have prevented the attack. A stronger focus on foreign intelligence (i.e. more spies and codebreakers) might have made a real difference, though. We didn't develop a strong spy service until just after WW2.

(2) The second time we were attacked in the modern era was 9/11/2001. At that time our forces had been stationed in a hundred other countries for a half-century. Those stationed forces did absolutely nothing to prevent the attack; in fact Sheikh Osama claimed our forces in Saudi were his main reason for the attack.

In short: Non-intervention didn't cause Pearl Harbor, and intervention helped to cause 9/11. Decisively disproves the neocon claim that intervention is the way to prevent attacks!
 
  SF leads the way back to the Stone Age!

San Francisco is experimenting with composting toilets (outhouses) in public places, and will undoubtedly require them in all homes at some point. Greenies do not have a reverse gear or a feedback mechanism. When they start on an idea, they always finish us.

Best part, according to Gaian High Priest Eric Brooks: Hundreds of green jobs.

Funny, I somehow acquired the quaint delusion that modern civilization had proudly eliminated the outhouse and the honey wagon. Guess I was wrong. Obviously the 'bas outhouse' was unfashionable because it was a simple wooden shack that any peasant could build, not because it was filthy and disease-ridden. The 'haute outhouse' is highly fashionable because it costs thousands of dollars and requires special EPA-licensed design.

Similarly, the Luminiferous aether used to be an energy field that any scientifically literate person could understand. Under that guise it was unfashionable, and one form of the theory was definitely disproved. Now it has returned as a much more selective entity, but this time it's called a Higgs Boson "particle" instead of a field. This Higgs Boson "particle" is a remarkably elite "particle". It can only be understood and observed by a tiny handful of the most highly degreed physicists who command billion-dollar research budgets. This makes the luminiferous aether fashionable again.
 
Monday, December 12, 2011
  Canada confusion

Canada's government is taking two actions this week that are both good from a Nationalist perspective. But the verbal reasons for both actions come from the other direction, and seem to imply that the actions are preparatory to an even greater move toward suicidal international coupling.

(1) Canada explicitly pulled out of the Kyoto Treaty. On the surface, and perhaps in practice, this speeds the death of international Gaian insanity.

But the Environment Minister says he's pulling out because "Kyoto is not the path forward for a global solution to climate change. If anything, it's an impediment. ... We believe that a new agreement with legally binding commitments for all major emitters that allows us as a country to continue to generate jobs and economic growth represents the path forward."

= = = = =

(2) Canada has banned burqas and niqabs for immigrants taking the oath of citizenship. On the surface, this would indicate a tiny but healthy attempt to recover its traditional Christian monoculture. Much of the world is doing the same, shrugging off the chains of secular multiculti tyranny and recovering each nation's own ethnicity. Muslim nations are making life harder for Jews and Christians, Christian nations are making life harder for Jews and Muslims. The transition will be uncomfortable for each minority, but it will create healthier and saner countries when it's done.

But the Citizenship Minister says the action is primarily to advance feminist doctrine and destroy traditional norms of marriage. In other words, it's about Leninist tyranny, not about Christianity at all.

= = = = =

In the case of Kyoto, my guess is that the practicality counts and the verbiage is just a cover. Canada has decided to stop spending precious money on shit, and doesn't want to give Gaian fanatics an explicit reason to protest. It doesn't really have a new super-Green card up its sleeve.

In the case of headdress, my guess is that the verbiage is reality, and this move is more of a loss for Christian culture than a loss for non-assimilating immigrants.

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  Every now and then

Every now and then I get feeling flat and mechanical. Something is wrong, but I'm always too damn stupid to figure it out. Finally I catch on.

Music.

I tune the radio away from the endless nattering of Syria, carbon, Russia, carbon, Newt, carbon, Geithner, ca

Hit the jackpot. The local all-classic station is playing Dvořák's Serenade For Strings. All my muscles loosen, all my neurons soften up, my tear ducts pop open. Just pretty much fall apart for a few minutes.



Yup, that's the medicine.
 
Sunday, December 11, 2011
  Kudos to Spokesman-Review

Kudos to the Spokane newspaper for directly reporting new observations on bats killed by wind "power". It's rare and noteworthy when a devout Gaian institution like a newspaper dares to report a heretical fact, to tell an Inconvenient Truth about our Wall Street Mafia masters.
At a wind farm in Alberta, researchers noticed a disturbing trend – the turbines harvesting the wind sweeping across the Canadian prairie were also killing hundreds of migratory bats.

In Canada and the United States, wind turbines are believed to kill an estimated 450,000 bats each year. While bird kills at wind farms get more publicity, bat deaths appear to outpace them.

Half a million. Bats aren't likable, but that's a whole lot of insect-eating critters killed, which means a whole lot of bugs aren't getting eaten.

Just one more illustration of the wonders brought to us by our dear EPA. Returning to the Stone Age at warp speed.



Polistra watches in horror. Happystar can't bear to watch.

= = = = =

Okay, granted that bats are icky and scary.

Why should we worry about missing bats?

Let's look.

Here's a graph on Pine Beetle infestation in Wash, taken from eScienceNews.


Note that this graph starts way back in 1954. The rise in the '70s may result from the removal of DDT by the wonderful splendid dear beloved sacred EPA. Focus mainly on the exponential rise after 1996.

Here's an Excel graph of Washington installed wind power in megawatts, derived from the data on this webpage. (Before 2000 there were a few NASA experimental turbines, but they weren't hooked up, thus they weren't stealing power from the grid yet.)



Undoubtedly not the only cause, but the exponential shape looks familiar, doesn't it?

Well, is it plausible? That is, do bats eat beetles? Yup.

Makes a fairly interesting food chain when you put it together. Wind turbines eat electricity stolen from coal or natural gas power plants, and also eat subsidies stolen from ordinary people. To compensate for this dual robbery, turbines kill lots of bats. The missing bats no longer eat beetles, so the beetles multiply and eat forests. The missing forests no longer eat CO2.

Thus, if you're a mass-murdering genocidal Gaian zealot, if you think we need to remove plant food from the world, you serve The Cause by installing wind turbines. But in fact you're hurting your own lethal Cause in two separate ways: requiring more natural gas or coal power, and helping bugs to destroy forests.

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  Improved?

Noticed via one of those retro Tumblr sites: This old magazine advertisement from 1949 or so. The ad expresses optimism about future science and technology, and shows the latest and greatest forms of transportation.

How much progress have we made?

From top to bottom, the transporters are:

Airliner. Looks the same as modern airliners. If it's a military plane like B-52, many of the very same B-52s are still in use.

1947-49 Studebaker. Cars are much different in appearance, vastly improved in performance and safety.

Train. Looks the same as modern American trains; in fact many of them are still pulled by the very same diesel locomotive.

Ocean liner. Actually looks more modern than current ships to my eyes, though I'm not very familiar with ships.

Score: 1 out of 4 improved. 2 out of 4 not only unchanged but still using the exact same machines.

Why?

The center of the picture gives us a hint. It shows a man dressed in a lab coat, doing a precise engineering measurement on a bushing or bearing. The writers clearly assumed that innovation would continue to arise from applied science and engineering.

We still have engineers and technicians doing the same sort of work, but our money and focus goes elsewhere. Our innovative energy goes into new criminal financial instruments, new treasonous ways to move jobs to China, new suicidal theories about climate, new ways to stop creativity with litigation, and new ways to transmit fantastically stupefying misinformation and propagandistic "entertainment".

That's why.
 
  The real divide

Interesting to watch the absolute and total division between the Experts/Rulers and the People on both of this week's big internationalist failures.

On the British semi-pullout from EU's bailout, and on the Durban Kool-aid Festival, the Experts and Rulers are HOWLING IN AGONY at the failure to achieve perfect consolidation of tyranny, perfect loss of all boundaries, perfect Ebola, perfect destruction of civilization.

And the people (well,at least those who write in comment columns of various newspapers and forums) are nearly unanimous in cheering both failures.

The people understand facts. The people are capable of rational thought, even though the media work amazingly hard to silence all facts.

The Experts, journalists, """""""""""scientists""""""""""" and Rulers have reached a wild feral stage of psychopathic anti-factuality and anti-rationality that has never been seen in all of history.

Before this decade, there were a few crazy rulers like Pol Pot and Idi Amin who worked hard to kill their own people. But most leaders wanted some degree of popular consent, felt some need to make their own country succeed.

Now it's the other way around. Only a few countries are devoted to advancing the interests of their own people. China, South Korea, Turkey for sure. Probably a few small nations; and possibly the new gov'ts in Arab countries. Every other major country is committing rapid suicide.
 

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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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