Monday, October 31, 2005

Listening to Comrade Schumer just now, speaking about the Alito appointment. Comrade Schumer is introducing the main theme of the Commie symphony: "We need a judge who will unite, not divide."

Think about that for a minute. In the first place, O'Connor didn't unite America. Loyal Americans didn't trust her, and Communists gave her faint praise while smirking behind her back, hoping (with considerable success) to pull her toward their side.

In the second place, and more importantly, why in the hell should a judge -- or any leader -- unite America with its enemies? What a monstrously peculiar and arrogant notion. Vidkun Quisling would understand it just fine.
Sunday, October 30, 2005

When you're faced with a Prosecutor, and you're a Republican, you're in trouble no matter what you do. But there are two relatively productive courses of action, and one that just won't work.

At one end of the spectrum, you can sing like a bird. This will not please your boss, but it will probably keep you out of jail.

At the other end, you can zip your lips and say absolutely nothing. This shows extreme loyalty, but is guaranteed to put you in jail.

The middle course is the worst of both worlds. If you try to say only what will serve your cause, you'll spoil your loyalty and end up in jail anyway.

I've been pleading for a long time for an end to the New Tone, with its hyperclever attempts to please enemies without enraging friends. This is just another example of what happens when you try to make those 5-corner bank shots.

No more stealth, no more New Tone. Just tell us what you're doing and why. Friends of America will understand perfectly and will be happy; enemies will also understand perfectly and will be unhappy. What the hell is wrong with that?
Friday, October 28, 2005

In the middle of this Orwellian septic tank, in which Traitor Wilson is rewarded for his treason while White House aides are punished for attempting to tell the truth about Traitor Wilson's treason..... The House of Representatives is conducting business even better than usual.

Today the House passed a genuine and solid LOSER PAYS law to slow down frivolous lawsuits!

In detail:

Rule 11(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is amended--

(1) by amending the first sentence to read as follows: `If a pleading, motion, or other paper is signed in violation of this rule, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, shall impose upon the attorney, law firm, or parties that have violated this subdivision or are responsible for the violation, an appropriate sanction, which may include an order to pay the other party or parties for the reasonable expenses incurred as a direct result of the filing of the pleading, motion, or other paper, that is the subject of the violation, including a reasonable attorney's fee.'

Legal jargon of course, but remarkably straightforward.


Not only does the bill include Loser Pays for federal lawsuits; it also includes a three-strikes provision for incurable thieves.

In detail:

(a) Mandatory Suspension- Whenever a Federal district court determines that an attorney has violated Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court shall determine the number of times that the attorney has violated that rule in that Federal district court during that attorney's career. If the court determines that the number is 3 or more, the Federal district court--

(1) shall suspend that attorney from the practice of law in that Federal district court for 1 year; and

(2) may suspend that attorney from the practice of law in that Federal district court for any additional period that the court considers appropriate.

Even more straightforward.

BRAVO, House of Reps!


Now of course the bill will descend into the Black Hole of Traitors, Fools and Chickenshit Mugwumps, where it will disappear forever.

At this desperate point in history, a competent wartime President would declare the Senate to be in a state of insurrection, and would dissolve it for the duration.


Edit: On closer examination, it's not a full-fledged Loser Pays provision; more like a Frivolous Lawyer Pays provision. Still a great step toward sanity, and a strong brake on predatory lawyers!
Thursday, October 27, 2005
  Apologies for red X's......

Sorry about the missing images. A couple days ago my computer crashed, and I had to log back into my web space provider ( with a new password. For some reason Freeservers is treating this as a new customer, which requires a special suffix on the address. This 'probation suffix' will go away after a few days, I think... In the meantime, it's not worth editing a whole lot of image tags, because I'd just have to edit them back to the original when the need for the suffix is gone.

UPDATE: Talked to Freeservers. Turns out the domain had expired but I didn't receive any notification. They will be putting it back on line in a day or two.

Saturday morning: Appears to be fixed. Relief!

  Miers out


Firmness of principle is not the same thing as mindless repetition.

Firmness of principle implies that you're acting on a principle, and nominating Miers was not an act of principle. Sticking with a bad choice only makes you look foolish to the folks who desperately want you to make a good choice.

We were told in the early days that Bush was a good poker player, and I forgave a lot of poor communication and poor leadership on the grounds that he was playing close to the chest. The last couple of months have destroyed that illusion. He doesn't know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. He finally tossed this pair of 4's down, but he (and we) have lost considerable ground while he held 'em.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
  It's all about France

I haven't been trying to follow this whole Plame / Wilson mess, because I don't give a flying fuck about 56th derivatives of speculative futures contracts in epistemological mysteries that get turned into crimes because of insane prosecutors. And my non-flying-fuckness applies equally to the Republican prosecution of Clinton, and in fact to EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE where a megalomaniacal prosecutor acts WITHOUT A POLICE REPORT of a CONCRETE ACTUAL PHYSICAL CRIME. We have achieved exactly the kind of "justice" system that the colonists fought a revolution to abolish in 1776.

But in spite of all this septic mess, today we're suddenly getting a view of the bedrock basis of the dispute. It looks like the entire boiling shit-stew originated with a French effort to cover up its OWN sales of weapons to Saddam, and to simultaneously discredit Bush.

See this article in the Telegraph. The Italian agent who supplied documents about the Niger connection, which were later "discovered" to be forged, has turned himself in and described how Paris ordered him to distribute the disinformation.


Later: This bedrock fact illuminates our basic problem with blazing clarity. If the United States had an intelligence agency, that agency would have figured out the French deception quite easily, and we would have gained a PR weapon to use against France. But the CIA acted specifically to serve France and to harm America in the middle of a war for civilization. Therefore, the CIA is not our intelligence agency. It is a mountainous molehill, a nest of traitors.
  Mousey logic

This problem is difficult for rodents to solve. Most cats can handle it, almost all dogs, and all humans with enough IQ to live independently can solve it.

When you appoint an unqualified friend to an important office, and the friend messes up royally, most humans of executive level would learn something from the experience; especially when so many highly qualified people are visible through the open door. When a chief executive continues to jump toward unqualified friends immediately after such an embarrassing experience, we're entitled to wonder.

Not that there's anything essentially wrong with gummint jobs or patronage, when used sensibly. FDR avoided national collapse during the Depression by giving gummint jobs to laborers, writers and artists. Nothing odd about that combination of trades, either. A classic revolution explodes when writers and artists detonate the mass of laborers. Even in ordinary times, patronage can keep political adversaries occupied and [nominally] loyal.

But none of that applies here. Harriet Miers is not a potential revolutionary or opponent, and the alternatives are not chancy or mysterious.

More seriously, I suppose this is an implementation of electoral engineering rather than pure lack of native intelligence. Assuming the base will just lay down and take all sorts of abuse, while trying to win over a few NARAL members with repetitive jabber about "trailblazing womyn". It's still stupid, because this one appointment was the only remaining source of hope and loyalty for the base, and those NARAL members will never vote for anyone who ever knew a Republican.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
  Alternative transportation, 2009 style?

This is just plain exciting. What's more, the research is not being done in Japan or China, but in Tennessee, and it's not even being done by temporary Chinese spies visitors, unlike 99% of the research that passes for "American"!

Anyone who knows a bit about chemistry knows that iron is combustible. So why not burn it as a fuel? Or aluminum, boron, or other metallic elements? There's no theoretical reason why not, but until now there were huge practical barriers.

At Oak Ridge Labs, Dave Beach is working to perfect a technique using extremely fine iron particles, which can be burned in a gas turbine or even an internal combustion engine. Ideally, iron should give twice as much energy per unit of volume as gasoline; aluminum should give about the same energy per unit of weight.

The critical advantage of 'nanoparticles' is that they burn at 250 C, which is easily handled by ordinary engines; also, they don't vaporize or melt, but simply become same-sized particles of rust. So they can be sucked in and blown out pretty much the same way as carbureted liquid fuel, without melted stuff glomping up the cylinder walls, and with absolutely no emission. Oxygen in, energy out.

The used particles can be scrubbed by a magnet and stored. Filling up would entail exchanging the can of rusty particles for a fresh can of pure metal. There are a number of engineering problems, but the advantages are so great that the engineering is worth the trouble.

Gives a whole new meaning to rustbucket, eh?


Edit for completeness: The ultimate goal of this setup is not to use up all the scrap iron and then be finished. The goal is a recharging system that gives high performance and no emissions. Even after 100 years of development, electric batteries aren't up to the task, and other chemical fuel cell ideas use rare or dangerous components and still emit by-products. For instance, a hydrogen cell throws out lots of water vapor, which could shroud a city in perpetual dense fog. Might not be as smelly as gasoline pollution, but far more dangerous.

With the iron system, you'd trade an oxidized tank for a fresh one, and the recharger or "refinery" would take out the oxygen.

More here.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
  Hurricane Curt

Rep. Weldon is a good old-fashioned Category 3 political cyclone. Nevertheless, his House floor speech last night continued the saga of Able Danger, with a promise of new information. It appears that he's preparing a more formal revelation in committee, based on a new witness who can pin down times and places more precisely. Most of last night's speech was devoted to the DIA's attempt to silence Col. Shaffer, which is utterly shameful but not quite the big picture. The underlying point is that all of our intelligence agencies failed, and all of our agencies are still devoting more effort to covering their incompetent asses than to gathering new information.

With Weldon and Freeh double-teaming the truth, we may actually get a full description of the real problem.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
  Faucet's dripping! Call the plumber!

What? Plumber refuses to come? What's wrong with him?

News item: Saddam's trial postponed because witnesses too frightened to testify.

This is, of course, the logical outcome of Bush's hopelessly naive desire to "catch terrorists and bring them to justice".

There is no point in applying the rule of law to fix Iraq while Saddam still has the power to destroy all the mechanisms of law.

We should have killed him in 1991. We should have killed him when we captured him. The price of those two failures is drearily predictable. He will be freed for "lack of evidence", and he will resume power.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
  Tax simplification

This guy

was having a galvanic effect on the commission:

and on the audience:

So what was he saying that turned the crowd into such a riotous mob?

..fully refundable in the year they are incurred, mkay. That is an option which our subgroup felt might lead to a risk of some abuse within the system, and might be difficult to police. What we therefore do is propose moving to a more generous structure than the current system which allows essentially loss carryforwards but doesn't credit you any interest on the loss carryforwards, and propose that one moves to a loss carryforward with interest regime, so that a firm which incurs a loss this period will indeed need to carry forward that loss, but the value of this loss will be incremented in future years by an adjustment for interest, given the return that was available in the capital markets, mkay. That has the effect, for at least the firms that don't go out of business and thus lose the loss entirely, of making the loss more valuable. So those in one sense are the key elements that need to be put together on the business side, mkay....

That's as far as I could get before I also succumbed to the wild excitement, and started running around the room barking.

Does anyone on earth believe we'll actually get simplification?
Monday, October 17, 2005
  'Roberts Court' not so bad maybe....

Breaking on Fox: Supremes turn down effort by the so-called, and I use the term loosely, and I quote, "Justice", end quote, department to steal 280 billion dollars from tobacco companies.

Amazing! Supremes actually agree that theft is illegal! Maybe we're on the road back toward sanity at last?

We DO NOT need a Harriet Miers on this court. We DO NOT need a new occupant of the bench who can "see the fifth argument when four are on the table", as Condi Rice unhelpfully described Miers.

On the big hot-button cases there is exactly one valid argument, the one provided by the Constitution. And that argument always leads to exactly one conclusion: the Federal level has no business getting involved in this law, no matter which side the Feds were trying to take. I'll grant that the majority of the court's cases -- the unexciting stuff about water rights or bankruptcy -- can have several sides, none of which is absolutely required. That's where an experienced judge is needed, regardless of ideology. Miers doesn't meet that test either.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
  OU update

Tapscott is still following the case closely. One of his links leads indirectly to this page, written a couple years ago. The author is pushing a highly dubious theory, but along the way he mentions something distinctly interesting: that David Boren, long-time Okla senator who became pres of OU in 1994, was originally George Tenet's mentor, and has lots of connections in the intelligence community. That would help to explain why the old 'nothing to see here' line came in so quickly and firmly in this case.

Another of those links cites a lot of yanked-out information. Some of it is normal: initial reports of death and injury counts are always wrong, and news organizations properly remove them. But one thing is definitely abnormal: the Wayback Machine ( has blocked the minutes of the Triangle Engineering Fraternity that gave some insight into Hinrichs's thinking in the last year. Of course, blocking anything on the web is sort of pointless, but this indicates some hard pressure from the Feds.


I'm especially intrigued by Hinrichs's father (Joel II). Something about his vocabulary, his sort of offhand and familiar way of describing violent acts and suicides .... Purely guessing, I'd say he's some species of leftist. He described his son as 'conservative', then changed that to 'apolitical'. Now there are plenty of genuinely apolitical people: ordinary folks who are deeply engaged in work, friends, and family, who barely know the name of the current President. But those folks don't use the word 'apolitical'. In my experience, whenever somebody says that he's 'just not very political', you can bet he's extremely political, and on the left end of the spectrum. It's a good shibboleth.

Think of Nick Berg, Adam Pearlman/Gadahn, and John Walker Lindh. All come from solidly anti-American families, and all got involved with the Jihad in various ways. Berg's role is less clear than the other two, but he was playing both sides at the very least. My guess: if the facts are ever known (that is, if we ever have any non-Commie historians) these family groups will be seen to fit into the same mold. Does Hinrichs fit that mold? Not nearly enough facts yet, but something smells familiar.

Why are family ties important in this context? The federal intelligence agencies may not be very good at analysis, and they're certainly not good at giving out information to authorities who need it. But they've always been VERY good at gathering information. A family that has been active in non-mainstream politics for a while has been in someone's files for a while. When the son of such a family does something dramatic, it's not going to be a huge surprise to the folks who read the files. And when a violent act is unsurprising, questions about prevention will inevitably arise.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
  We still haven't figured this out.....

The latest from Norman is a carefully worded statement that Hinrichs appears to have "no links" to terrorist organizations.

Even if the statement is true, which it probably isn't, why the hell does it matter?

A man who commits violent acts on behalf of the enemy is part of the enemy's force.

Same with the Beltway snipers a few years ago. We were supposed to breathe a sigh of relief because Lee Malvo and John Muhammad were not acting on direct orders from Osama's hierarchy. They still killed 13 non-Mohammedan Americans, and froze the Washington area for several weeks, and they did it FOR Osama. They were therefore part of the enemy's army.

As usual, we understood this point accurately in 1941. We knew that large numbers of Japanese on the West Coast were prepared to commit espionage and sabotage FOR the Rising Sun. So we quite properly kept the suspicious ones out of action, along with similar numbers of Italians and Germans who were believed to be ACTING FOR their nations. We didn't have to establish a direct chain of command and control from Tokyo, Berlin, and Rome to each of these individuals.

Can we learn anything? Maybe after the millionth death we might. I doubt it, though.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
  Polistra does Miers

Polistra has decided to perform a Predictive Interactive Impression of 'Miers on the Bench'.

This is a 600 KB SWF file, so give it a bit of time to load........


Update 10/20: considering today's revelations about Miers and the Texas Lottery Commission, maybe Polistra's little game was more accurate than funny....
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

OK, so now we get word that the informant who triggered the NYC subway scare was giving false information.

All the news stories describe this as a hoax, which indicates that we still aren't adjusted to a wartime mode of thinking. Deception and disinformation are among the most important weapons in any war. Both sides used them to great advantage in WW2, and Reagan used disinformation to bring down the Soviets. This isn't just a prank; it's an abstract bomb.

The informant should be shot publicly, as an example to others. And if Homeland Security knew in advance that it was a deliberate deception -- not just imperfect information -- they should be punished for not telling us in advance. "What did they know and when did they know it" is a tired and overused question, but this is one of the few cases where it really needs to be asked.
Monday, October 10, 2005
  Bird flu?

Something very strange is going on here. We have what appears to be a flurry of small terrorist acts on campuses (see Tapscott for details) and we have a credible threat to NYC subways, which may have been averted when NY smartly made it public and thus eliminated the surprise. (Homeland Security, always taking the stupid side, wanted to keep the information secret.) It's certainly possible that the latest two small incidents are copycats or even pranks, but there are some distinct similarities to Hinrichs at OU.

The media talked plenty about the NYC threat, which is good and proper. Maximum publicity is good. The media are not talking about the campus events, choosing to focus instead on swine bird flu, which is a purely potential threat. At the moment the actual disease is a fairly ordinary virus: kills some vulnerable folks, doesn't bother most. Some experts believe that it could mutate into a vastly more dangerous form, but there's no evidence that this mutation has happened or will happen.

Seems to be a general problem. Try counting verbs in any national network broadcast these days, and you'll hear about 80% would/could/will/gonna. Formerly, reporters were supposed to tell you about events that actually occurred, but that idea has been replaced by experts and speculators, telling us what might happen if their computer models are valid.

If discussion of epidemics leads to better public health procedures, or if it's a pretext for the gov't to relieve drug companies from litigation and regulation burdens, then it will bear fruit. Just as the Y2K threat never materialized but encouraged many people to prepare for a disaster. But right now the bird stuff just doesn't ring true. Is it a cover for a non-potential threat too scary to discuss openly?


Update: Add to the mix a mysterious epidemic of false echoes at several airports. Logan in Boston (hmm, why does that airport sound familiar?) had to cancel flights today, but several other control centers are experiencing the same problem. I hope Mister Oh-God is not in charge of the FAA investigation. And I hope somebody in government remembers that al-Qaeda has more engineers than lawyers among its troops.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
  Electoral engineering

In any form of engineering or technical work, it's important to find the right output, and then adjust your system to optimize that output.

Here we have several things happening, but Polistra is properly focusing on the effect of the static charge on the cat's fur, not on the motion of the switch handle, her elbow, or the meter needle. All of those actions may be interesting (especially if her joints are aching from constant repetition of the experiment) but she will adjust her setup to produce the desired hair-raising, regardless of the other moving parts.

One big problem with our current political setup is that presidents and their advisors have learned to focus tightly on a handful of votes in two or three states. Dick Morris and Karl Rove are both expert electoral engineers. Rove designed the pointless and counterproductive Medicare Prescription Drug plan to swing the meter needle of a few Palm Beach widows, after determining that they were the critical point in the election. So the rest of us have to spend billions of dollars for a plan that nobody wanted and nobody will actually use. Since Rove had obviously identified those few voters, it would have been far cheaper to simply bribe them.

What would happen if presidents focused on the cat instead of the meter?

How would things be different if they could declare their vision for America, and try to charge up voters in all corners of the nation, not just Palm Beach and Cincinnati? We'll never know in a large sense, because at this point both parties are so devoted to watching those tiny wiggles of the meter that each falsely believes the other will gain the advantage if the system changes. Wrong. Consider 2000. It's true that simply switching to the popular vote at the last moment would have handed the election to Gore. But it's not that simple. If the rules were based on popular vote from the start, parties and candidates would behave differently. There's no way to predict how that election would have come out if both parties had been aiming for a popular majority through the entire campaign.

We may get temporary relief from electoral engineering if Karl Rove is forced out of power.

I'm wondering if Bush's latest speech, in which he finally pulled back the Zen curtain and condescended to feed us a few actual morsels of information, shows the start of a de-engineered presidency. Will this trend continue after Rove leaves? I don't know, but I do think it would be good for the country. At any rate we'll have an interesting experiment.....
Saturday, October 08, 2005
  Alternative transportation, 1942 style

I've often compared FDR's deft approach to wartime propaganda with Bush's basically nonexistent communication. But even the Office of War Information didn't always hit the right note. In the spring of '42, OWI decided that returning to horses would be a good way to save gas and rubber, and issued a 'suggestion' to the media to push horses. As always, Fibber McGee's writers grabbed the ball and ran with it; Fibber bought a horse named Lillian, who became part of the plot. (The horse was a low-budget character, since she consisted solely of one recorded neigh.)

Returning to horses wasn't as strange in '42 as it would be now, since many farmers and a few businesses still used oat-powered vehicles. Here in Spokane, the Post Office used what Ernie Pyle described as 'chariots' for mail delivery. (I really wanted to include one in this cartoon, but couldn't find any reference pictures!)

Even so, somebody must have realized that the idea wasn't catching on, because Lillian quietly disappeared after a few weeks.

To introduce the idea of substituting horses for cars, the show's musicians came up with a rather nice little song:

Thursday, October 06, 2005
  No sir.

Joe Scarborough was interviewing Rep. Tancredo tonight.

Scarborough: "Do you trust the President?"

Rep. Tancredo: "No sir."

Can't say it better.

Let's compare the 10/1 bombing in Norman to the failed 7/21 bomb in London. For whatever reason, both attempts fizzled. In that way the events are similar. But the response of authorities is not similar.

In London, all possible participants were arrested and held, and they were assured that any further attempt would be met with deadly force. It's true that the only recipient of deadly force was (presumably) uninvolved, but the shooting demonstrated to the Mohammedans that the police were perfectly willing to shoot anything that looked suspicious. The English authorities learned quickly.

What happened in Norman? The cops questioned several of Hinrichs's Mohammedan associates and then RELEASED them. His car, apparently containing evidence of chemicals, was left out in public view, unguarded and unimpounded. Hinrichs was blatantly obvious in his preparations, and the feed store clerk did his part in notifying the authorities. The authorities dropped the ball.

Our authorities obviously have not learned a goddamn thing. Unlike the British, they are clearly not ready for the varsity.

No sir, I don't trust the President. He finally gave a half-decent speech today, in which he began to treat Americans as adults for the first time. Too little, too late.


About the picture: Polistra isn't exactly an imposing linebacker. In fact she doesn't like football much. But she loves Oklahoma and Oklahomans fiercely, and for most Okies an assault on OU football is sacrilege and blasphemy; perhaps akin to an Englishman's feelings about an assault on the Queen.


Updates, via Tapscott:

Jayna Davis at WND reports that FBI has sealed the search warrant for Hinrichs's apartment, presumably so they can maintain the Standard Lone Gunman Theory and carefully protect our enemies from public exposure. Glad to see Davis is working this story; she did a good job of covering the possible Mohammedan connections of the Murrah Building bombing. (She was too firmly convinced of her specific pet theory, but at least she reported facts we weren't getting elsewhere.) .... Also at WND is a good account of the Ramadan Offensive, which we are clearly seeing right now. The plan was openly stated by Zawahiri and Zarqawi earlier this year, but our government and major media decided not to tell us about it. ... Fox just interviewed Mark Tapscott. He did a great job of laying down the major points in the few seconds allowed him. Fox fair-n-balanced Tapscott with an 'expert' named Bill Daley who obviously knew nothing at all about the story. I guess total ignorance is a good balance for knowledge.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
  Union contest
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has announced a contest for the best way to improve the American economy.

Well, the most correct and simple answer is the one that by definition will never win the contest:

Eliminate unions.

We're getting close to Goedel territory here....
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
  OU update

Excellent video from Channel 9 in OKC, here. Pulls together known facts about Joel Hinrichs in a well-organized way. Apparently the bearded picture was earlier, around high school graduation in '02. Should have been a signal to somebody! He dropped out in '03, returned in '04. This summer he began attending the Islamic Society of Norman, and also had a Pakistani roommate who worked for the Athletic department. The last known event was an unsuccessful attempt to buy ammonium nitrate from a Norman feed store. (Homeland security bureaucracy sometimes helps!)

So there's no doubt at all about Hinrichs's intentions. But it seems unlikely that he was acting on orders, just because an organized terrorist group wouldn't pull such a half-baked attempt even as a warning or drill.

The video was sort of chilling, because I recognize all the stores and buildings from the time I worked at OU in the late '70s.... nothing much has changed in Norman. And I recognize the lonely scientific nerd only too well.

Considering that al-Qaeda is run by an engineer and likes to hire engineers, perhaps we need to be paying more attention to our own alienated young engineer types; giving them more respect, social warmth, and hope for the future.


Addendum: Since I'm being autobiographical, I should stipulate for the record -- and in an odd way for the honor of Norman -- that my own Norman years were emphatically not lonely. For some reason I took root and bloomed there, found a wide circle of friends and acquaintances of all types and all genders. Could walk into any joint around Campus Corner and start a conversation. But different folks require different soils, and it's obvious that Hinrichs failed to bloom in Norman, leaving him easy prey for the deadly parasite of Mohammedanism.


Update 10/5: No really fresh info, except that the FBI has issued the expected nothing to see here statement.

A stray thought: I wonder if the FBI is genuinely confused between Mennonites and Mohammedans. Both are long words beginning with M, both require beards on men and extremely modest clothing on women, and both claim to be a Religion of Peace. Maybe that's the problem.

Something about the Bush 'trust me' approach to the Miers nomination has been itching. Finally figured it out.

Relying on personal knowledge is a modern leftist tactic, which should not be used by conservatives or by defenders of Western civilization. It's a primitive, even tribal method of transferring information, and in the end it supports absolute rule, not democracy.

The whole point of the Enlightenment -- science, Luther, Locke, Jefferson, and all that -- is that we should be able to rely on public and universally available facts or documents for our judgments, not on personal or secret transfers of verbal authority and trust. When knowledge is personal, nobody has an honest way of denying or affirming a statement. Common sense disappears.

Of course, the Left doesn't use the tactic honestly or consistently. Most of the time you're not entitled to criticize topic XYZ unless you have personal experience with XYZ. The rule was turned upside down for Clarence Thomas: He was not entitled to criticize affirmative action BECAUSE he had experience with affirmative action.

All the more reason to refuse personal-authority appeals, no matter who is making them.
Monday, October 03, 2005

As I mentioned, Polistra has been resting, but I knew sooner or later she'd have an opinion that needs to be expressed.....



It's quite possible that Miers will turn out to be Constitutionally literate, and thus quite possible that the initial response of conservatives will turn out to be prejudicial. But why does Bush go through this? Why does he please Schumer and Reid instead of giving his would-be supporters a reason to cheer? It's a terrible tactic.

Going back to cars again:

Joe Frazer was the real heavyweight of American salesmen. He worked for most of the carmakers and left a legacy in each case. Joe named the Plymouth; Joe invented modern car financing in the form of GMAC, which has become the only solvent part of GM. In 1950, Joe was the Frazer in Kaiser-Frazer, a partnership that took over the ruins of Graham to produce a new postwar car. Responding to Nash's Rambler, Kaiser introduced its own compact, but unfortunately Henry J. Kaiser wasn't listening to Joe Frazer's advice. Joe quit in disgust, and the 'Henry J' went nowhere.

Later, speaking to auto historians, Joe diagnosed the problem. Lacking Rambler's puppyish perkiness, the Henry J was just ugly, looking like a big car that had been squished in a vise. Even worse, it didn't have a trunk opening or a glove compartment, and its interior looked austere and uninviting.

Joe said:

"I would have brought her out all dressed up and stripped her down later."

Now I'm not advising -- or even imagining, heaven forbid -- a lap dance by Harriet, but things would have gone so much better if Bush had brought her out all dressed up with citations and quotations to prove her literacy.


On Miers's religion: Apparently she belongs to some variant of the Churches of Christ. Not entirely clear from her home church's website exactly where it falls in the Campbellite spectrum, but looks closer to the Church of Christ category as opposed to the Disciples of Christ category. I'm familiar with both types; for a while in high school, came perilously close to joining the C of C, and my alma mater (Phillips Univ, now sadly defunct) was D of C. Even now, if I should somehow miraculously gain the ability to believe, I'd probably go with C of C. Among all the Protestant groups claiming to be originalist, the C of C feels closest to plain pure New Testament Christianity. The only oddity is their insistence on singing without instruments, which isn't really forced by the Bible. But every denomination needs a 'brand symbol', and this has become the C of C's brand. I think it also tends to keep them humble and simple in the best sense of both words.

The Disciples have gone in a different direction: though they still claim to be fundamentalist, in fact they are much closer to the socially-leftist Mainline churches like Methodists, and even considered merging with Methodists at one time. There is a more recent split within the D of C, with some churches sliding back toward the New Testament, but not adopting a-capella singing. None of the Campbellite churches are remotely charismatic or Pentecostal; all would consider manifestations like healing and tongues to be extraneous at best.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
  Eco-freaks getting really serious? ... Update: NO.

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - One person was killed in an explosion near a packed football stadium at the University of Oklahoma on Saturday night in what authorities said appeared to be a suicide.

The blast, in a traffic circle about 100 yards from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, could be heard by some in the crowd of 84,000, but university President David Boren said no one inside the stadium was ever in danger.

"We are apparently dealing with an individual suicide, which is under full investigation," Boren said in a statement. There was no information about the person who was killed, and no reports of any other injuries.

A police bomb squad detonated explosives found at the site of the blast. The area near the stadium was searched by bomb-sniffing dogs.

Officers cordoned off an area west of the stadium after the explosion and nobody was allowed out of the stadium for about a half-hour after the blast, which occurred shortly before 8 p.m., about halftime of the Sooners' game against Kansas State. The game continued.

Text from Daily Oklahoman [registration]. Video here, more informative.


Norman has been a center of Mohammedan radicalism since the '70s, and has a large Arab and Persian population. However: the bomb was actually closest to the Botany-Microbiology building, which puts a different color on it. Could be the Gaian branch of the 11th Century Axis instead of the Mohammedan branch. The football-game timing could be just for added drama, or it could be semantically significant. Both OU and KSU do considerable research in genetically-modified organisms.


Also, something is happening to water supplies right here in Spokane. Two water towers have been broken into (exactly how is not stated) and E. coli was found in those water supplies. A third suburban system has also issued a boil order for coliform bacteria, though no break-in was known there. It's not unusual for water systems to get contaminated at this time of year, because many people prepare for winter by blowing out their automatic sprinkler systems, which can cause backwash. But the breakins are obviously not accidental.

For what it's worth, Spokane City water was not affected because it is always chlorinated. Why don't those suburban systems maintain chlorine? Stupid.



Tapscott has some acute observations: Joel Hinrichs had an arsenal in his apartment, and the latest picture of Hinrichs shows a distinctly Mohammedan-looking beard. This isn't your modern hip-hop goatee, nor the simple loss of grooming you might associate with the image of a depressed adolescent we're getting from the media. It's a deliberate style with exactly two known connotations: Amish or Mohammedan. Since the Amish are not currently famous for suicide bombing, we have one guess remaining. Tapscott also points out that OU Pres Boren was remarkably quick with a complete "explanation", perhaps indicating that Hinrichs had been on someone's radar screen for a while.

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