Thursday, July 31, 2008

This falls into approximately the same zone as Self-explanatory sentences...

When some gadget or word or habit has become universal, you'll never hear an official statement saying "Everyone now has X" but you can generally pick up an indication from popular culture.

In the last few days I've picked up such implicit indications that the cell phone has become totally and absolutely universal.

1. A local radio ad features two women talking on the phone. Beth is telling Tina about some kind of new exercise place, and Tina keeps trying to interrupt her. Finally Tina gets a word in, and says "But Beth, I'm already there." This would have made no sense at all in the days when a phone was a device permanently fixed to the wall; when Beth called Tina, she would know exactly where Tina was. The idea of a surprising location would have been incomprehensible.

2. At the downtown bus station, a black man approached two white women. I thought he was going to ask for a cigarette, but instead he said "Got a phone?" Since black men have absolute authority, one of the women gave him a phone. He called one of his homies and rapped for a while, then handed the phone back. Again this request would have been incomprehensible 30 years ago. A phone simply wasn't something you carried in your pocket, available for borrowing.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Random observation, recording mainly for future reference because I'm puzzled about it.......

I've talked often, probably too often, about the ill effects of tenure in education. Supposedly tenure allows teachers "intellectual freedom" after they've paid their dues in experience. Nobody really believes this, and administrations have always found ways to fire profs with unpopular opinions. In the '50s when college admins were pro-American, they found ways to fire Commie profs despite tenure. Now, when the admins are pure Commie, they find ways to fire pro-American or anti-Gaia profs. There's always a way.

In fact tenure guarantees the opposite of intellectual freedom. Because you have to spend at least 14 years in an insecure position before you can earn the supposed security, you learn to please the Old Boys, the Silverbacks, in your particular specialty. This means that the young profs with unorthodox tendencies are pushed out, gently or otherwise, before the year when "intellectual freedom and security" begins.

Now I'm noticing a parallel to tenure among brand-R commentators. Rush and Beck recently signed new long-term contracts for unimaginable sums of money. Both of them have actually decreased their independence since signing the supposedly secure contract. Both have become ever more loyal party hacks since that point. Can't be the same mechanism as in education; Rush and Beck were past the select-out stage long ago. Nevertheless, the net effect is the same. Haven't figured it out yet!

Simplest explanation: Money buys loyalty. Lots of money buys lots of loyalty. The real question: Who's the buyer, and which Arab emirate does he live in?


Monday, July 28, 2008
  Polistra's dream, 5

Part 5 of Polistra's Dream.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4 first.

Ponca, June 1939. Polistra and Fran are still driving to the lake...

Polistra: Bye, Jimmy! See you later!

Jimmy: Goodbye, Miss Lister! Bye, Miss Fran!

Fran: Well, Jimmy looks a lot happier now. He finally got to test-drive his fine little automobile. Jimmy's family is struggling to make ends meet ... we'll visit them later on and you can see how it is.

Pol: Here's a thought. If real cars looked like Jimmy's car, sort of slapped together at odd angles, what would you think of the idea of cars in general? I'm not making fun of Jimmy, of course ... he's a kid, and this is helping him to learn carpentry. His next project will look better, I'm sure. But if the cars built by grownups looked like that, would you think cars were a good idea?

Fran: Well, of course not. Rhetorical question.

Pol: Yes. Okay, now if government actions, the products of government, were built like Jimmy's car instead of your Bantam, would you think government was a good idea?

Fran: Also rhetorical, but I'll play along. Hold on! The best part of this drive is coming up. Here we go....

Pol: Wow!

Fran: Snazzy, huh? Down into the spillway and up again, then we'll get to the boats.

Pol: Pretty fancy construction. Does this dam produce electricity?

Fran: No, the creek doesn't have enough flow. The idea here was mainly a reliable water supply for Ponca, and some beauty for everyone to enjoy. Most of all, the CCC provided useful work and training for the farm families who lost everything in the drought.

Pol: Well, as I was saying, a soapbox government is the problem we've got in 2008. The reasons are pretty complex, but we ended up with a government that does a bunch of things it doesn't need to be doing, can't find the will to do the things it desperately needs to do, and bungles horribly the rest of the time.

Fran: Good morning, sir! We'd like to rent a plain old rowboat for an hour.

Man: That'll be fifty cents, ma'am.

Fran: Here you go.

Man: Okay, you can take number three over there. Guess it's the only boat still in dock, so I don't really need to call it number three, do I? Have a pleasant jaunt, ladies!

Pol: That was easy.

Fran: Sure, why not?

Pol: Nothing is simple in my time. Everything requires identification and stacks of legal mumbo-jumbo. We'd have to sign forms to say we won't sue, forms to promise that we'll follow the safety rules, and so on. And on the other side, the rental man wouldn't dare smoke in public, and wouldn't dare pat you like that.

Fran: Well, there's not much chance of us stealing the boat ... he can see all of the lake from here. He wouldn't do much business if he acted distrustful all the time, and I thought his pat was reassuring. Actually I didn't even think about it until you mentioned it.

Pol: Yeah, but you're being logical and you're thinking like an American. Both of those qualities are gone in my time.

Fran: Gone? Entirely?

Pol: Well, okay, gone from the government, gone from the education system, gone from all the ruling institutions. Not entirely lost. But it doesn't matter if the people are mostly sensible, because the campaign experts have become so good at their jobs that they can basically order up a certain number of votes from the catalog. They don't need to bribe; nothing so crude or obvious. They just need to manipulate people very precisely. Result, politicians don't have to listen to the actual needs of their actual live voters. They can just pay the right experts and win. Which means they need lots of money for consultants and experts and advertising, and the money comes from a few rich contributors. Many of those contributors are foreign, or serving foreign interests.

Fran: Sounds a lot like the breakdown in business you were talking about before, the loss of self-sufficiency. Businesses don't need to worry about satisfying American customers or keeping American employees because they operate around the globe.

Pol: Exactly. I didn't make the connection. Thanks. The politicians themselves have changed too, or rather one side has changed. You'd recognize the Republicans, no problem. They're the same as Harding and Coolidge. The only purpose of government is to help their rich friends get richer, and a lot of their rich friends are Arabs, not Americans.

Fran: But didn't you say the Arabs are making war against you?

Pol: Yes.

Fran: And the Arabs are controlling the politicians?

Pol: Yes.

Fran: Well, that's familiar, I guess. We've got a lot of pro-German rich men now. Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Joe Kennedy.

Pol: True, but those pro-German folks stopped being pro-German after
the war started in '41. At least publicly. Our pro-Arab politicians continue
to take money from Arabs and kiss the filthy hems of those bathrobe things
that Arabs wear. Even the President does that, in the middle of a war that
the Arabs started.

Fran: Oh dear. I hope I don't live to see that.

Pol: Ack, I'm sorry. Let's don't dwell on that. Back to Jimmy's soapbox. For the Republicans a soapbox-car government is ideal because it looks awful, which persuades the voters that government is a bad thing. And then, even when a problem comes up that can only be solved by government, the people are ready to believe the claim that it should be left to the tender mercies of the stock market or the robber barons. So the government can't take over or even regulate in some areas where it's the only practical solution.

Fran: Sounds like Mr Harding, all right.

Pol: It's the politicians on the Left who have changed, who have lost track of Roosevelt's example. Their contributors are the weird Communists I keep talking about. Those contributors are rich too, but they claim to have a mantle of moral purity, and the press and TV help to reinforce that image. Most of those politicians and contributors are the sons and grandsons of gangsters and robber barons like Joe Kennedy and John D. Rockefeller.

Fran: Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.

Pol: Wonderful! Did you write that?

Fran: Wish I had. One of those ancient Greeks.

Pol: So these particular ignorant heirs drive their pet politicians toward pure chaos. They do it in the name of art and conservation and liberty and the Earth Goddess, so that it seems on paper to have the same purpose as Mr Wentz's projects or this lake. But the art is a cruel joke, the conservation doesn't conserve, the liberty amounts to encouraging crime, and the total result makes life tremendously harder for everyone who isn't a rich man's heir. These wealthy ignoramuses spend most of their time in other countries anyway, so they don't need to be anywhere near the mess.

Fran: Broken circle.

Pol: Yep.

Fran: Well, I can't imagine how we could have made it through this Depression with a government like that. Even if I take the cynical view that Mr Roosevelt is just a practical politician ... which he is, of course ... we're lucky that he decided his reputation and his party would be best served by fixing the country and preserving families, instead of destroying them.

Pol: For sure. And come to think of it, the CCC played an even bigger part than you know yet. Here in the '30s they're building dams and parks and buildings, giving the country a solid basis for advancement. In the war against Japan and Germany that will start in '41, many of the soldiers will be former CCC boys, and all of them will be relatives or friends of CCC boys. The CCC gave them skills, a sense of usefulness and purpose, and a head start on military discipline. Most of all CCC helped them to support their families, to save their families from starvation. So they'll fight with extreme loyalty and determination. They'll fight fiercely to protect their families and to protect the government that helped to keep their families intact.

Fran: I'm getting the idea that your situation is the other way around?

Pol: Yes. Our war is much smaller, and there's no draft. We're still able to recruit the sort of men who are natural soldiers and natural heroes, and we're lucky to have a few men like that. But if we had to recruit millions, it wouldn't work. The government has spent too many years protecting criminals, favoring the rich, making life hard for normal families, and favoring the enemy. That's no way to build up a reserve of loyalty. It's been good for the rich Republicans who want to get richer, and it's been good for the rich Communists who enjoy poking a sharp stick into the eyes of Christian families and hearing them scream. But it sure as hell hasn't been good for normal families.

Pardon my language.

Fran: You're pardoned.

= = = = =

Continued in Part 6 here.
  Why can't we.......

TVW, the Wash state equivalent of C-Span, shows interviews with various state candidates. I'm highly impressed by tonight's interview with the three candidates for State Treasurer. Allan Martin (R), James McIntire (D) and Chang-Mook Sohn (D).

All have deep experience, great insight and foresight, and refreshing candor about problems and advantages. A randomly chosen vote will give us an excellent treasurer.

Best point in the interview was from McIntire:

Q: What will you do to encourage financial literacy?

A: I'd start by trying to educate some of those Wall Street folks, who apparently have no understanding of basic economics. [After that, he gave a more serious answer about modernizing the financial training of high-schoolers in this state.]

= = = = =

Why oh why can't we have EVEN ONE candidate of this quality in EITHER PARTY for ANY OFFICE at the national level????? In a country of 300 million people, why can't we have a choice of equally competent candidates instead of equally and abysmally stupid and corrupt traitors and criminals?

Watch the broadcast here.
  Got interesting

I've been closely watching the new Wash state "Top Two" primary. Earlier I decided it was going to be interesting, and sure enough it is. With the influence of the major parties removed, lots of minor candidates are emerging who wouldn't have bothered before.

Two of these minors are just plain weird. Mark Greene is running under the Party Of Commons, which appears to consist of him and nothing else. His website is written like a quick memo or a dashed-off blog entry:

The Dem. Sec. of State candidate (Osgood) is against general postal mail voting & the Top 2 primary, the Dem. WA state chairman is against Top 2, and some Dems. in the WA Legislature are trying to make it harder for initiatives to get on the ballot - shame.

This makes it more compelling than a long paranoid manifesto.

Dave Blomstrom is running under the title of Fifth Republic, and has a new slant on wild-eyed paranoia. His complex conspiracy theory doesn't blame the usual suspects: Jews, Masons, Illuminati, Trilateralists. Nope, he goes straight to Satan Himself: Bill Gates! May not sound unusual, since everyone hates Bill, everyone considers Bill to be a monopolist who takes advantage of his monopoly to sell badly-designed products. But Blomstrom doesn't just hate Bill, he considers Bill to be the center of all evil, and wants Bill dead:

However, this time around, I am seeking an endorsement from one of the very few political personalities in the world that I truly admire — Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. I’ve also made an additional request of Chávez: Add Bill Gates to his hit list.

Blomstrom doesn't just criticize his opponent in the state School Superintendent race; he shows her wearing a Nazi uniform.

Yes, it's getting interesting.
Sunday, July 27, 2008

Using water heated by deep volcanic activity is not new; Iceland has been using it for decades. It's fairly new in the US, and a promising operation is underway around Bend, Oregon. The plant could supply electricity for about 100K households, which is worth the gamble of drilling at present power prices.

Story here.

Needless to say, the ecotyrants are protesting against this, even though geothermal is supposedly one of the few Gaia-friendly ways of getting power. An activist with the wonderfully hippie name of Asante Riverwind heads the Sierra Club in that area, and he's trying to get the operation stopped. As usual this gives the lie to the claim that ecotyrants are looking for "clean power". They're looking to stop civilization plain and simple.

A different form of geothermal is now being tested in Iceland. Instead of relying on water that's already stored underground, this method would pump cold water down to the hot spot, let it heat and expand, and use the temperature differential to run a turbine. Identical in principle to closed-cycle plants that burn coal or oil, except that the heat is essentially free. This should be more reliable and permanent than simply sucking out the existing water.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
  Amazing news from Italy

In WW2, our radio and newspapers were happy to tell us of successful campaigns and war efforts by our allies. Not so in the current war.

Italy is starting a dramatic project to stop an invasion, and we aren't hearing a word about it on our radio and TV.

Yesterday, the Italian government declared a “national state of emergency” over illegal immigration. A Cabinet statement said that the Government had to confront a “persistent and exceptional influx” of non-EU citizens and it had approved a proposal from Roberto Maroni, the Interior Minister, to declare a state of emergency “throughout the national territory”.

Mario Morcone, a senior official at the Interior Ministry, said that the decision had been prompted by the continuing arrival of illegal immigrants in ramshackle boats run by people-smugglers at the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, just off the North African coast. Many such boats capsize and their passengers drown.

Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister, won final parliamentary approval this week for a security package under which illegal immigrants convicted of crimes will face jail sentences a third longer than those for Italians.

Needless to say, we won't do anything of the sort, because our leaders believe in "breaking down walls", also known as "surrender".
  Random education items

1. George Leef at the ed branch of NRO says:

If you're serious about helping poorer people, get rid of policies that impede them (such as occupational licensing and other laws that hinder business enterprise), policies that raise prices artificially (dairy price supports, e.g.), and policies that slow economic growth generally (economic growth being the greatest friend poor people have ever had), but don't stick them in college classrooms.

Couldn't say it better.

I've discussed this before, but I'd add in brief form:

Break down the threats of litigation and discrimination laws, which steer employers toward college degrees as the only safe mode of selection. Let employers judge people by whatever criteria they find appropriate, and the value of a degree will decline rapidly. More people will end up in jobs that suit them.

Cut outsourcing, imports and immigration, which cheapen the lower-skilled end of the population. Bring back industry and skilled labor.

= = = = =

2. Radio talker Michael Savage recently started a firestorm by stating accurately that the vast majority of diagnosed autism is fraudulent.

News stories universally describe his accurate statement as "outrageous comments", without any of the usual hedges like "some critics say", which tells you instantly that his statement is accurate.

Anyone who has followed the progress of Special Education since 1970 has seen the same series of events in the broader categories of "Learning Disabilities" and "ADHD".

Basic logic: When you see an official change in the diagnostic criteria for a disorder, followed immediately by a vast expansion in the number of diagnosed cases of this disorder, you don't need to look for any fancy explanations. You don't need to ask if pollution or mercury or anything else is responsible for the increase in diagnosed cases.

This should be ridiculously obvious, but it apparently isn't.

Even if there is a real increase in the number of disconnected kids, there are several clear causes. First, television with its enforcement of the 6-second attention span. Second, the limitation of ordinary interactions -- and especially disciplinary interactions -- between parents and kids, teachers and kids, random adults and kids, caused by other media firestorms.

A recent study about reading fiction may indicate another cause. In short, people who read a lot of good fiction have more empathy, more ability to understand the expressions and intentions of others. This is specifically limited to reading printed fiction, as opposed to watching stories on TV. Interestingly, the effect is immediate as well as cumulative. In the study, students were divided into two groups. One group read an account of an incident in the style of a news article. The other group read an account of the same incident in good novelistic style. The passages were matched for vocabulary and length. Immediately after the reading, the students who read the novel-like account performed better on a task of interpreting facial expressions!

3. Steve Sailer, who manages to write more new and solid food for thought than anyone else, recently tossed off a brief comment that needs to be considered deeply by anyone in the realm of education and training.

Sailer observed that professional training is growing longer at an alarming rate. Doctors, engineers, and professors in serious fields, often start their actual careers at age 35.

This is well known.

Sailer's unique insight: Intelligence reaches its peak around age 24. The most original contributions to music, philosophy, medicine and science are generally made around that age. As we force professionals to spend their best years in various stages of training, we are purely wasting their talent. It's no wonder our scientific contributions are declining!
Friday, July 25, 2008
  No bark

One piece of good news today: the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is actually clamping down on oil speculators. It has filed a suit against one group of traders based in Holland and Britain. The suit is not large, but it will certainly put a nice chill on other thieves, who can expect more legal action.

This isn't secret; it's reported in lots of online sources. But I've tried in vain to find it mentioned anywhere on TV or radio. Even the 'business channels' haven't carried it -- or at least not often enough that I could catch it while wandering the channels.

So why are these dogs so quiet? By normal logic, you'd expect the R brand to crow about this, as evidence that the Bush administration is working seriously to bring down falsely inflated oil prices. I'm not on the R team any more, but I do heartily cheer the action and congratulate the administration on showing some goat glands at last!

And by normal logic you'd expect the D brand to shout about this, because it proves their contention that the inflation was largely caused by speculators.

In other words, this should be a "win-win" for everyone who claims to be concerned about the ordinary American consumer.

Why the silence then? I'm genuinely puzzled. Perhaps both "sides" are deeply indebted to the whole speculator class (not just Soros), and aren't allowed to say anything negative about their owners. Or perhaps it's more complicated than that, but I usually prefer simple conspiracies.
  Horse joke

Yesterday my own stupidity reminded me of the old Moron joke about two horses, now generally told as a blonde joke.

Here is an even newer version of the joke.

= = = = =

George Soros bought two toy politicians and decided to run them both for President.

He needed to distinguish them in some way, so he could target the advertising and the talking-point-heads for each "party" in a way that didn't look too obviously predictable.

So he started watching his two purchases.

One of them said "We should not torture enemy prisoners!" and George Soros decided this would be a good way to separate them. But then the other purchase also said "We should not torture enemy prisoners!" and Soros was lost again.

Soros noticed one of his new toys was campaigning in hostile countries while ignoring the United States. He said "Aha! Here's a distinguishing point!" But then the other toy also campaigned in hostile countries while ignoring the United States.

Soros observed that one toy was fond of saying "We should not build walls to keep out immigrants! We should welcome everyone!" and he marked this down as a good distinguishing point. But then the other toy said "We must tear down the walls that divide Christians, Muslims and Jews!" and Soros was again befuddled.

Soros heard one toy saying "Global warming is real! We must destroy the American economy and spend many trillions of dollars in order to slow down Global Warming!" And Soros thought "Well, finally a distinction that I can use." But then the other toy also said "Global Warming is a desperate crisis! We must destroy the American economy and spend many trillions of dollars to slow it down!" And Soros was lost again.

Finally Soros figured it out! He finally had a way to distinguish his new toys! What was it? The black one is younger than the white one!
  Time for a reprint.

The main blogger at Gates of Vienna, who focuses on countering Mohammedan influence in Europe, seems to be softening.

When you consider terrorist groups like the Taliban or “the youths” of banlieues like Clichy-sous-Bois, it can be difficult to come up with a real solution to the problem of those who are willing to defy the social mores of the place in which they live…simply to assert that it is they who are in control. Attempts to resolve the crises these groups present have so far proved futile.

Please don’t tell me we should “kill them all and let God sort it out.” That is a solution without any resolution. For one thing, it invalidates our own moral code. For another, such draconian measures simply feed the fire. Individuals can be subdued and obliterated, but there are always others, even angrier and more feral, to take their place.

No. The only way to eradicate a serious Fascist infestation is to "kill them all", or at least a sizable chunk of the infected population.

Polistra discussed this at length last year, and I'm going to reprint most of it now.

= = = = =

Polistra likes to learn from dogs, our perpetual teachers of civilization. Dogs get straight to the end. When the goal is truly important, a dog will take a straight line to reach it, regardless of obstacles. When there's a horse that needs herding, a border collie will leap through barbed wire to reach it. When there's a snake menacing a family member, a chihuahua will jump in front of it and take the bite.

Conservatives like to criticize leftists by saying "Marxists believe the end justifies the means." This statement is factually true but woefully incomplete. "End justifies means" is not a characteristic of Marxism; it's a trademark of Marxists because MARXISTS ARE SERIOUS ABOUT THEIR ENDS AND NON-MARXISTS ARE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT OUR ENDS. That's the difference.

Worst of all, non-Marxists generally get so tangled up in discussing and implementing the methods [e.g. insuring that judges have the last word even when we know the judges are enemy agents; following the Geneva Convention even though it was specifically meant to discourage terrorism, not to assist terrorists] that they forget about the ends entirely. Leftists are only too happy to assist our entrance into this briar patch, as when they get Nixon, Bush or AG Gonzalez immersed in discussions of that grand old question "What did you know and when did you know it?" This generates all sorts of defenses and research, and accomplishes precisely nothing except to move the enemy closer to his goal.

As said before, the experiments of history have already been performed. We have the data. We know how to convince a fierce and determined enemy to stop. Oddly enough, the proper method is democratic in a way, though it has nothing at all to do with elections. Fact is, any successful tyrant rules with the enthusiastic consent of a majority of his people. When that consent disappears, his regime collapses, though not always immediately. We accomplished this collapse in 1945, after three years of killing soldiers and generals had failed to remove the people's consent for Hitler and Tojo. What finally did the trick? Killing huge numbers of civilians, with no regard for the traditions and laws of fighting. Churchill and Roosevelt violated all the rules of civilization for several months, used totally evil methods and means for a short time, because they were certain of their own good ends. They knew that Britain and its allies were the permanent carriers of humane civilization, they had tried all lesser methods without success, and they also knew that decency and goodness would leave this earth for a very long time if the Krauts and Nips continued their enthusiastic consent for imperial fascism.

We will have to do the same thing sooner or later in the current war, because we are the people who learn from dogs, and Mohammedans are the people who refuse to learn from dogs. If we continue to agonize about the Christian purity of our methods, we will simply die and there will be nobody left in the world to carry and defend Christianity.
  Scared me

About a half hour ago (maybe 2:10 AM) I was awakened by something ... after gaining consciousness I identified the sound as a series of knocks or taps on the house next door. A few seconds later, I heard three taps on my own house. Possibly on the front door, but didn't quite sound like knocking. Perhaps somebody is going around the neighborhood checking doors.

Reported it to the police. Since nothing untoward has occurred since then, I probably should go back to sleep, but that ain't gonna happen.

Might as well start the coffee, stay up and get some work done.

This neighborhood is getting less safe. A somewhat similar incident occurred in May.

= = = = =

Update: It appears that the sounds were made by a city water meter reader! I went out in daylight to examine the location where the sounds had come from. The little black water-sensor box was open. In this context, the tapping sounds are familiar. But when you're awakened at 2 AM, your first thought is emphatically not "Oh, that's just the meter reader."
Thursday, July 24, 2008
  Stupid me

I've been wondering why the window air conditioner sometimes emits a smell similar to the adhesive on ductape, or the adhesive on Scotch tape. Today I figured out the deep dark mystery. It's because I placed ductape around the edges of the outlet.

Apparently the ductape had become such a habitual part of the air conditioner that I stopped thinking of it as an entity which might possibly send the smell of ductape into the room when you blow air across it. You might reasonably expect ductape to smell like ductape, but this outline had apparently ceased to be ductape in my idiotic perceptual system.

(Reminds me of the old moron joke, more recently translated to a blonde joke, about the two horses.)

The remaining mystery is why Sears built an air conditioner with an air outlet that can't be turned upward, thus requiring an outline of ductape to force the outlet into a useful position. That mystery I can't solve.
  Self-explanatory sentence in Berlin

I've tried to pay as little attention as possible to the Terrible Two running for President. In a sane country with a functional constitution, neither would have been allowed to continue in the Senate after showing daily evidence of loyalty to other countries. Both are deeply concerned with the welfare of Mexico, Colombia, Arabia, and Germany; neither gives a gnat's turd for the welfare of this unfortunate unbordered territory north of Mexico.

Against my better judgment, I ended up listening to Imam Obama's Berlin speech this morning.

One sentence is sufficient:

"We must tear down the walls that divide Christians, Muslims and Jews."

That one sentence, all by itself, should remove him from candidacy.

In the middle of a war, we must tear down the walls that divide us from the enemy who attacked us, the enemy who continues to work in a thousand ways to bring us down?

This is, of course, identical to Sultan Bush's philosophy, and thus also to Manchurian Candidate McCain's philosophy. No walls, no protection against enemies.

Meanwhile, the "news" networks, in the few seconds they can spare from celebrity trivia, continue to "explode the myth" that Imam Obama is Mohammedan.

Again, all you need to know:

1. He was raised as a Mohammedan.

2. If he had truly converted to Christianity, there would be official fatwas demanding his death. (The mullahs don't waste fatwas on an average Ahmed who turns apostate, but they are thorough and conscientious when important men convert to Christianity.)

3. Therefore, he has not truly converted.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
  Polistra's dream, 4

Part 4 of Polistra's Dream.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 first.

Ponca, June 1939.
Fran and Polistra are leaving the Arcade and driving to the lake.......

Polistra: Model T!

Fran: Yup, lots of T's still chugging along. Nowadays they're just an obstacle. Can't go faster than 40, and burn more oil than gas.

Pol: I've been thinking about Henry Ford lately. He didn't invent the car, of course, but he did invent one big idea that America has forgotten in 2008.

Fran: Mass production?

Pol: Well, he brought that to perfection, but really Henry's most important idea, the one we've forgotten in my time, is self-sufficiency.

Fran: Hmm? You'll have to explain that.

Pol: I expect it's so natural to you that it doesn't even seem like a concept. Henry Ford decided to pay his workers a living wage so that they could buy his cars, and buy other things. When the workers came from southern poverty, he trained their wives to be good housekeepers and helped educate their kids, so that their families could move up out of poverty and behave like good modern citizens. He also made sure that his company could produce everything it needed, from the raw iron for engines, to the trees for the wood bodies, to the cows for the leather seats, all the way through to the fully manufactured car. Keeping everything within the family, so to speak. That's what started America toward prosperity.

Fran: Come to think of it, that's how Mr Marland operated too. I was probably a little too hard on him the other day when I held him up as an example of ostentatious rich men. Compared to Mr Wentz he's --- I guess you'd say he's not public-minded. But Mr Marland did a lot for his employees, in the same way that Ford did. He paid them better than anyone else for the same skills, and gave them good working conditions, food and recreation. What made Ponca so prosperous and beautiful was not just the mansions he built for his own pleasure, but the houses that his refinery workers were able to buy, and the clothes that their wives could buy, and then the stores to supply the wives, and on down the line.

Pol: That whole idea has been lost. Some companies still pay well, but the self-sufficiency, the closed circle, is long gone. In the name of "freedom", department stores have been allowed to buy the cheapest possible stuff from poor countries, which puts American factories out of business. Many companies hire illegal immigrants....

Fran: Wetbacks?

Pol: Yes, wetbacks. We're not allowed to say that word. And workers smuggled in from Oriental countries. They're pretty nearly slaves, but the government winks and nods to satisfy the robber barons. An illegal immigrant can't complain about low wages and bad conditions. Worst of all, cheap phone service and cheap shipping by airplane has made it possible to run entire factories in dictatorial countries like China and Burma, where the employees are sometimes literally slaves.

Fran: Oh dear. And we went through all that trouble in Lincoln's War, all that destruction of lives and land, supposedly to end slavery. To eliminate the temptation to use unpaid labor. Pretty slick trick, I must say. Can't have slaves here, so let businessmen keep slaves outside the country. Yes, I can see why you had to get out of there. Or out of then, as the case may be.

Pol: As you say, it's a natural temptation. Businesses always want to lower their costs and increase their profits. We made it entirely too easy to use other countries where costs are lower, which means that entirely too much money is going elsewhere instead of going to American workers or other American businesses.

Fran: But what happened to Henry's big idea? I mean, it's a valid idea, so breaking the circle must lead to bankruptcy? Or did some kind of magic change prevent it?

Pol: No magic. We're heading straight down to bankruptcy. The big companies don't care, because they're so completely scattered among various nations that their American operations have become albatrosses. Magic is a good word, though. Plenty of "smoke and mirrors" to distract the people, and even to distract executives who might have known better if they'd stopped to think. Everyone was focused on stock prices, and companies decided that their single solitary goal was to increase their stock price. They stopped issuing dividends, so there wasn't even a visible measurement of real profit. Companies did whatever it took to increase the stock price, which distracted them from the more basic parts of business. They didn't care if money circulated within America to make Americans more prosperous, as long as the almighty share price kept going up and up and up.

Sorry, I got carried away.

Fran: I understand. Helps to talk about it. Not that I can do anything to stop it, since we're just inside a cartoon here.

Fran: That's Jimmy, my newsboy. Hey Jimmy! You look sort of down in the mouth. What's wrong?

Jimmy: Hi, Miss Fran. Yes ma'am. I built this fine little soapbox car but I'm not having much fun with it. I pull and pull and pull, and then I never get a chance to sit and coast.

Fran: Yeah, this part of town is flat all right. Meet my friend Polistra, who's visiting for a while.

Jimmy: Hello, Miss Lister. Glad to meet you, ma'am.

Pol: Say, I've got an idea. Let me get out of the car ...

Pol: Self-sufficiency!

Jimmy: Wheeeee!

= = = = =
Continued in Part 5 here.


Monday, July 21, 2008
  Nuff said

"The fundamental business of the country, that is production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis."

- Herbert Hoover, October 25th, 1929


"During the past year you have carried the credit system of the nation safely through a most difficult crisis. In this success you have demonstrated not alone the soundness of the credit system, but also the capacity of the bankers in emergency."

- Herbert Hoover, Oct 1930


"But again, it's a safe banking system, a sound banking system. Our regulators are on top of it. This is a very manageable situation."

- Henry Paulson, July 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
  Idiot astronomers

From this news story:

A dwarf planet orbiting beyond Neptune has been designated the third plutoid in the solar system and given the name Makemake, the International Astronomical Union said on Saturday. ... The red methane-covered dwarf planet formerly known as 2005 FY9 or "Easterbunny" is named after a Polynesian creator of humanity and god of fertility.

Well, good. Wonderful. Ducky. But the job isn't complete!!! As long as we're going to rename things in savage pidgin style to honor multicultural and unpronounceable gods, let's do it up brown!!!

Saturn: now called "Flavor Flav"

Uranus: now called "MichaelJacksonMichaelJackson"

Neptune: now called "GreenpeaceWarriorGreenpeaceWarrior"

Jupiter: now called "KoyaanisqatsiKoyaanisqatsi"

Mars: now called "GandhiGandhi"

Earth: now called, of course, "ThePlanetThePlanet"

Venus: now called "AllisonLapperAllisonLapper" [not a famous figure, but look her up and you'll find she fits the criterion perfectly.]

Mercury: doesn't need renaming, because mercury is contained in Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, and thus already Multiculturally Holy.

Sun: now called ... oops, we are required to omit the sun from all calculations and assumptions, so it doesn't need a name at all. It doesn't exist. It is an UnSun. Everything that happens to ThePlanetThePlanet results from the manifold sins of Western Civilization.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
  Monckton and the Two Minutes Hate

Via NRO: the Physics branch of the Gaia Megachurch has played a classic Stalinist trick. Orwell defined it perfectly: Let dissidents speak "freely", while surrounding their speech with a context of dirt, discredit, and dementia. In 1984, dissident Emmanuel Goldstein gets his chance to speak for two minutes every week, surrounded by signals that he is a crazy Jew who wants to destroy you and prevert your vital bodily fluids.

The Physics branch of the Gaia megachurch has allowed Lord Monckton to publish a paper which systematically destroys every scrap of the "facts", logic, mathematics, and philosophy of the Global Warmers, but they place the following Two Minutes Hate title on top of his paper, thus signaling their fellow Gaia zealots to hiss, cuss, and throw eggs at Monckton during his speech:

I've read through the paper, trying to keep up with the math ... not very successfully. Still, the graphs tell the story nicely. The most dramatic one is the "tropical hotspot", which is an especially sharp warming at a certain altitude in the atmosphere near the equator. All the IPCC models predict this hot spot arising from anthropogenic warming, as opposed to solar or volcanic warming. The actual facts show no heating at this altitude and latitude. Instead, the actual data most closely resembles the pattern that should arise solely from volcanic emissions.

Monckton's concluding paragraph is worth reading on its own. It's a long series of "even ifs", disassembling the "facts" and logic of the Warmers step by step.
Friday, July 18, 2008
  When the lights go on again 2

Related to the Oklahoma Classical Era that I've been discussing in Polistra's Dream. Because this happened in Tulsa in 1941, I couldn't quite jam it into the narrative. Nonetheless, it's a great story with an up-to-date Classical Revival at the end:

It was boomtime Tulsa, the summer of 1941. Close to war, patriotism was at a fevered pitch and so was the oil business. The International Petroleum Exposition held here was a major international event, and to the big boys in the petroleum industry, oil really could be personified as a "goddess." A symbolic figure holding aloft a flame was what they wanted, and Marjorie Morrow Anderson had a face and shape for it. ... "I wanted to take art lessons, and decided if I got the job posing I'd use the money to pay for them," she said. She was working two other jobs at the time. She was born on Bruner Hill in a house with no indoor plumbing, she said. She knew what it was like to grow up hungry, and she always had to earn her own way. Having known poverty, she didn't like it.

So she posed for sculptor Clarence Allen, who created a small version of the"Goddess of Oil", intended to be a 40-foot-tall centerpiece for the Exposition. But Pearl Harbor interrupted the effort.

Now a Tulsa organization is trying to build the full statue at long last.

Tulsa was once called "America's most beautiful city," and the "Paris of the Midwest." The oil barons wanted to use their new wealth to create a city that could stand shoulder to shoulder with the great cities of the U.S. and Europe. ... Downtown was a beautiful, walkable, urban village where people could work, live, go to school, and play. Some even envisioned our city as being like Florence: a center for the arts and culture. ...

Yet now, a promising new wind stirs the air. Carried on this new wind is a familiar sound. The sound of people wanting spaces where they can live, work, shop and play within a beautiful shared environment. People are pushing for Tulsa to be great again. ... The "Goddess of Oil" is not only a testament to a cherished vision from the past, but also reflects a newborn appreciation of that vision today.

The full story is here.

PS: Marjorie Morrow Anderson achieved her dream and became a successful artist. Samples of her beautiful work are here.

PS 2: It appears that Anderson died just last week. I was looking for more samples of her art and ran into an obituary, dated July 10.

The world has lost an excellent artist.

C-span was showing a discussion among top political operatives about this year's Congressional election. The brand-D operative was talking about those new hawkish Western Dems that I find impressive. He said those candidates were the third or fourth choices from the Party's viewpoint. After the losses of '02 and '04, the horizon looked dim to the "real candidates", the lifetime brand-D politicos with long state-level experience and good fund-raising connections. So the "real candidates" refused to run in '06, leaving the party to scrape the barrel. And what did they find? They found some Real Americans instead of the usual Real Party Hacks. (Apologies to Geico for the phrasing.)

You'd think the brand-R operatives would have found this instructive. You'd think they would say "Hmm... maybe we should lop off our first-tier choices and scrape the barrel to find some uncorrupted candidates, some candidates who don't resemble Duke Cunningham, Conrad Burns and Larry Craig." Nope, from the inside-the-system viewpoint, these new hawkish Dems didn't win because the voters liked them; these fresh candidates won because their records were so short that the brand-R operatives couldn't dig up any dirt on them.

Tells you all you need to know about party operatives. The concept of Representing The Voters is alien and incomprehensible to them, in the same way that a Religious Christmas Card is Martian to Barbara Walters. Party operatives are blackmailers, and the only thing they understand is extortion.
  Obey the courts? Ha!

I haven't been paying much attention to firearms lately. This caught my attention. Dick Heller is the man who brought the lawsuit against the city gov't of DC to overturn its ban on all guns. The Supremes amazingly agreed with the Constitution last week, probably by accident, and ordered the ban rescinded.

So Dick Heller wanted to take advantage of his victory, because the whole point was to own a tool of self-defense. He was among the first in line to register his gun, now that his court case reached victory.

And the city gov't of DC REFUSED HIM AGAIN.

They will get away with it. Why? Because they are black. Simple as that.

Back in the '50s and '60s, any white mayor or governor who disobeyed an order to forcibly integrate his schools was slammed to the ground by the National Guard.

In this case the Feds won't even issue a piece of paper asking DC to explain its actions. I guaran-goddamn-tee it. The DC gov't is black, therefore anything they do is automatically permitted and protected.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
  When the lights go on again

This was a favorite song during WW2. Especially poignant in England, where the Krauts were bombing constantly. Blackout conditions, to make targets harder to locate at night, were universal in England and common in the US. Houses and schools had blackout shades, streetlights were dark, car headlights were partly covered. Here in Spokane when the grand Davenport Hotel was reincarnated a few years ago, the skylights were still painted black after 60 years.

The most common rendition of the song is by Dame Vera Lynn. I find her voice a bit too Wagnerian, so I was delighted to find a different and specifically American version of the song as an "Easter egg" bonus inside one of the Eyes Aloft episodes.

I've separated out the song, which includes a prayer, for convenient listening.


"When the lights go on again" is dramatically appropriate for our current war. In this context it's a shout of defiance against the Mohammedan / Green alliance, which would have Europe and America surrender to both spiritual and electrical darkness.


Let there be light!

Christian light, nuclear-powered light, hydro-powered light!
  Are they catching on?

It's good in a way to see the media and government starting to acknowledge that our economy is no longer "Row Buss", and even stating that we should be putting money into infrastructure.

Ahem. Some of us understood this point three years ago, and didn't need any special insider knowledge to reach the correct conclusions. And candidates like Huckabee and Hunter were trying to tell the truth during the primary campaign, only to be shouted down, hissed down, and literally deleted by the Republican machine and talking-point-heads.

Vindication is nice, but it would have been much nicer, and much better for the survival of the country, if the truth-telling candidates had been given a fair chance.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
  Polistra's dream, 3

Part 3 of Polistra's Dream.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

June 1939, Ponca City.

Fran: Come on!

Polistra: Just a minute ...

Fran: We need to get on the lake before the mosquitos take control.

Pol: Hold your horses; cartoon girls need more time for vanity.

Fran: Why cartoon girls especially?

Pol: Haven't you noticed that cartoon characters are ageless?

Fran: Yes... Orphan Annie has been 12 forever. By the way, is she still around in your time?

Pol: No, Annie died in 1968. She was made of honesty and common sense, and when those qualities began to wither in America, she couldn't hold. I miss her. But she stayed the same age to the end, like all of us 'toons. Thing is, it takes a lot of work to stay the same age.

Fran: Oh. I guess that makes sense.... somehow.

Pol: Okay, I'm ready now.

Pol: Pretty fancy apartment hotel, this Arcade.

Fran: Yes, and a pretty important place. Mrs. Annie Rhodes built the middle part of the hotel up in Newkirk around 1910, then took it apart and rebuilt it here when Ponca started to boom. She added the Spanish outer parts later.

Pol: Cute car!

Fran: I love it. Brand new, bought on the installment plan. Six hundred dollars, and worth every bit.

Pol: Six hundred a month?

Fran: No, you silly. Six hundred altogether. Is six hundred a month typical in your time?

Pol: Yes, but wages have inflated too, so it's not as bad as it sounds. What kind of car?

Fran: American Bantam. The company started out making a British Austin, and gradually Americanized it.

Pol: I've heard of the Bantam. It sort of turned into a little military car called the Jeep, that became famous in the war that's coming up shortly. The Jeep basically replaced the horse for the Army.

Pol: You were telling about Mrs Rhodes and the hotel. Is she still in charge?

Fran: Yes, but Lew Wentz owns the place now. He was just another one of those wildcatters who came to Ponca to drill. He showed up here, broke and full of vinegar. Mrs Rhodes decided he had something special, so she grubstaked him and boarded him until he struck a gusher.

Pol: So he bought her out and built himself a mansion?

Fran: Nope, that was E. W. Marland who built the mansions and the monuments to his mistress. He also came here poor and got started by Mrs Rhodes. Marland built Continental, then went broke after the J. P. Morgan interests bought him out. Mr Wentz owns the Arcade and still lives on the third floor. He's a quiet man, bachelor, doesn't like showing off. He puts his money into parks and recreation for Ponca's poor folks and kids. Gives the WPA a real run for its money, though it's building here too. I don't know if any other town of this size has so much beauty and so many services available for everyone.

Pol: Interesting comparison. Two rags-to-riches men who started in the same place at the same time, and chose to use their riches differently.

Fran: What do you have in 2008? Lots of Lew Wentzes or lots of Marlands?

Pol: All Marlands. All ostentation, constantly rubbing their unattainable riches in the face of the ordinary folks.

Fran: It was like that in '29. Then after the crash even the Marland types began to realize the danger of the "Let 'em eat cake" approach to life. I don't think they understand words like unbecoming or inappropriate but they do understand survival.

Continued in Part 4.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
  Impressive Schweitzer

Listening to the National Governors Conf on C-Span. Most of the govs, both R and D, seem to think that our main problem is the need for more Carbon Sequestration, and more federal money for education. The audience wildly applauded these bizarre claims each time.

These governors should be hauled off in shackles, tried and hanged for treason. Well, no trial is needed because they have already publicly confessed to serving the interests of Russia and China over the interests of America.

The single shining exception (among the speakers in this conference anyway) is Montana gov Brian Schweitzer. He's one of those new hawkish western Dems, as Polistra has discussed before.

Schweitzer gave a brief speech, saying (very approximately transcribed):

"As governor of Montana, I connect closely with Canada. Three Canadian provinces border on Montana, and I work with them and observe how they do things. In Canada the provinces have more autonomy than American states. They have the kind of sovereignty that our states formerly had, and because of their autonomy, they do things better than we do. They have better health care, better education, and better resource management. We desperately need to learn from this example. American governors need to say No and Hell No to federal requirements when they prevent us from doing our proper job."

The audience was silent.
Friday, July 11, 2008
  The few

"These really are good times but only a few know it." --- Henry Ford, 1931

"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession. We've sort of become a nation of whiners." --- Phil Gramm, 2008

By 1931 the people had stopped listening to the few who "knew" that these were good times.

I don't think we've quite reached that point in '08, but we're pretty damn close.
  Fiery Spokane

A surprise windstorm slapped eastern Washington yesterday. Started a number of fires across the state, including one in the eastern suburbs of Spokane. At this point it's mostly controlled, after destroying a square mile of land and a dozen expensive houses.

The fire started at 5 PM, exploded into danger at 5:30. By 9:30 PM Gov Gregoire had flown into town to coordinate the emergency effort with state agencies. As I've noted before, she is a solid executive and an absolute champion in emergencies.

In a sane country, a highly competent governor like Gregoire would be the automatic brand-D candidate for President. Since this is not a sane country, we're stuck with incompetent treasonous Senators on both sides of the "election".

KREM TV has excellent videos, including one eerie shot of broken natural-gas lines forming torches that mark the location of flattened houses.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
  Правительство обладает всеми детьми. 2

The state owns all children.

Especially egregious example in Coeur d'Alene right now. A mother was trying to keep her toddler from darting into traffic while watching a July 4th parade. She apparently swatted the kid once. Eight Nazi assholes immediately complained to the nearest stormtrooper, who immediately ticketed the mother for "injury to a child".

The police chief said "We had no choice. Just think of what could have happened if we hadn't intervened." Yes, a mother might have trained her child to stay out of traffic. A mother might have helped her child to grow up into a responsible adult. We can't let that happen, can we? Much better to let kids be squashed by cars than to let those quaint prehistoric Parent Units exert any authority.


Story here.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More Oklahoma-related rambling....

Google Street View is a fun toy ... though it's rather spotty, it happens to cover several of the cities where I've lived.

I was surprised to find this house on SE 15th in OKC still looking good. I rented this house in 1972, during my brief and dismal hippie-era marriage.

Note the uniquely Oklahoman decoration in the back yard! It was noisy but somehow reassuring, because it meant the property was important to the landlord.

It was an excellent house: modern, two bedrooms, stone siding, attached garage, partial basement. A park across the street, groceries and other stores in easy walking distance. At that time I was earning about $3000 a year, and I could rent this nice house, maintain a car, and support a wife and baby. No room for major extras, but we were able to eat in restaurants occasionally and travel occasionally.

Using the official inflation figures, $3000 would multiply to about $25000 in today's dollars. Would $25K support a similar lifestyle now?

Not a chance.
  Eyes Aloft

Polistra has often bemoaned Sultan Bush's peculiar refusal to involve citizens in the war effort, and described how FDR did it.

The Ground Observer Corps, also called the Air Warning Service, kept 150,000 unpaid volunteers busy watching for Jap planes near the coasts.

A new addition to the Old-time Radio section at is a full season of Eyes Aloft, produced in Hollywood for the benefit of the Ground Observer Corps in the West. The programs were high quality mixtures of drama, comedy, and information, clearly meant to recruit more volunteers for GOC and to uphold the morale and training of existing volunteers.

But wait, you say ... we don't need all those live eyes now, because we have radar and other electronic warning systems.

Yes, and those systems failed completely on 9/11. NORAD did nothing, FAA did less than nothing. If we had a well-organized set of eyes aimed at mosques and at Mohammedans, we might be able to prevent the next attack.

Of course there's no real point in proposing any of this. Sultan Bush is not on our side.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
  Move over, Frank

Look at this. And track forward to look at the interior as well.

I'm ashamed to confess that I lived in Oklahoma for many years, in OKC for a year, and never heard of this chapel, nor heard of its architect, Duane Conner. The photographer of this set is Conner's granddaughter, presenting a gift to future generations by documenting his work.

Note that the fantastic windows were designed by returning WW2 vets attending Central State University on the GI bill!
Monday, July 07, 2008
  Amazing fact

While perusing the web for old Oklahoma pictures to use in the next installment of Polistra's Dream, I bumped into Urban Tulsa, a wonderful weekly online paper. It's written from a viewpoint somewhere between New Urbanist and Crunchy Con, if I understand those labels correctly. Editor Michael Bates is trying to steer Tulsa away from cold atomized urbanity and back toward the front-porch comfort of the '30s.

The paper features a variety of articles beyond narrowly Tulsan subjects. One in particular caught my eye. Written by David Deming, a geophysicist at OU, it's a concise attack on the Global Warming hoax. Most of the info is familiar, but this one fact wasn't familiar to me:

Immobilized by a dysfunctional ideology, we sit on vast, undeveloped petroleum resources. In the western U.S. alone, there are three trillion barrels of petroleum in oil shale. At current consumption rates, this is enough oil to provide 100 percent of our domestic oil needs for 300 years. The technology exists to bring this fuel to market for $30 a barrel in an environmentally benign manner.

Let's say it again, slowly.

100 percent of our domestic oil needs for 300 years.

The technology exists to bring this oil to market for $30 a barrel.

  Starting to appreciate Patty Murray!

Never thought I'd say that.

The national Republicans and their talking-pointheads, including Rush, are still missing a tremendous change in the opposite party. The change may be primarily centered here in the West, not easily visible in New York or Florida. Nonetheless, it's dramatic. On this side of the country, all the new Dems in Congress are hawkish and pro-American. Even the older ones, previously 100% leftish and anti-American, are picking up the new way of thinking.

I discussed the change in more detail here.

Latest example: the "new GI Bill", co-sponsored and heavily pushed by Patty Murray, formerly Osama's best girlfriend. This bill proposes to give returning vets a solid set of benefits, a concrete reward for their service. While Republicans continually repeat "Thank you for your service", the Dems are offering to provide real recompense, just as we gave WW2 vets a real recompense.

People notice these things. When one party works actively and effectively to support American defense contractors and American veterans, while the other party works actively and effectively to donate America to the enemy, people notice. People don't especially care if the parties have traded places (which they certainly have!) ... and people don't care if this change is called a "flip-flop". People only notice which party is serving American interests RIGHT NOW.

At this moment the Dems are working hardest to serve American interests, so at this moment the Dems actually deserve our support.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
  Obama's birth

Picked up on this a bit late, because I've been working on graphics stuff. Looks like a repetition of the Dan Rather National Guard story, where bloggers with expert knowledge spot a forgery.

What puzzles me: The date or place of birth wouldn't have been a reason to discard or forge a certificate. I seriously doubt that Barack's mother had a prophetic vision of her baby's destiny as President, and even if she did, the whole "natural-born" thing is fairly arcane. Most people wouldn't list it among the top ten criteria for a President.

Given that the mother and grandparents were hard-line Soviet supporters, which I've discussed before, it seems more likely that the hapless Kenyan student Barack Sr was simply a convenient placeholder. I'd guess that the real father was a prominent black Communist of less exotic origin, who had a reputation to maintain. In those days, even among Bolsheviks, illegitimacy was a serious stain.

Just for a random example, Barack Jr looks a lot like Julian Bond.
Saturday, July 05, 2008

The textbook definition of socialism is "Ownership of the means of production by government."

A poor definition, because it doesn't strike the major distinction between socialist and capitalist systems, and doesn't evoke the main problem with socialist systems. The main problem: they treat all humans as identical machines. Socialist systems can do this quite easily without claiming ownership of industry.

Nevertheless, people still use such definitions.

All right, so how would we define the American system under Sultan Bush?

"Ownership of the means of production by governments of enemy nations that attacked us."

Does that count as socialism?

No, it counts as abject defeat and surrender.

Arabia started this war. We have never lifted a finger against Arabia; instead we are supinely allowing Arabia to buy our companies, highways, and properties. China has been running a warlike economic campaign against us for 20 years. We have done nothing to fight back; instead we are supinely allowing China to buy our defense contractors, ports, and highways.

Is there a similar example in history? Sure. Eastern Europe under Soviet occupation.
Friday, July 04, 2008
  Polistra's dream, 2

Continued from Part 1.

June 1939, Ponca City.

Fran: Goat glands!

Pol: Aaah, you mean this isn't bacon?

Fran: No, no, no, goat glands is what I was trying to think of. Your Global Warming cult reminds me of Doctor Brinkley's Goat Glands.

Pol: Doctor Brinkley?

Fran: John R. Brinkley. He's a medical quack, a classic snake-oil seller with a modern twist. He started out in Milford, not far from your home in Manhattan. His big thing is transplanting the, ah, male pieces from goats into the, um, relevant area of men. He makes them think that their ... strength ... will be greatly improved, because I suppose goats represent Natural Virility or something.

Pol: Okay, but how does...

Fran: Brinkley's idea is that you can improve yourself by using the virtues of the lower animals and nature. Mere human virtues aren't enough. Goats are better.

Pol: Aha! Now I see.

Fran: Brinkley built one of the first full-fledged radio stations to advertise his various ... therapies. In an odd way he probably did more for radio than lots of legitimate folks, because he needed to fill time between his sales talks, and he needed lots of power. So he added music and other chat programs, and his engineers developed better transmitters and antennas. He also managed to bribe various congressmen and regulators, or maybe his audience was so large and enthusiastic that the regulators couldn't bring themselves to oppose it. Finally the Radio Commission found its own, um, glands and forced him to move the transmitter over into Mexico where he could run as much power as he wanted. He's still going strong in Del Rio or Juarez or one of those places.

Pol: Yes, but there's still a big difference. Here in '39 the majority of people understand that Brinkley is a fraud. You said the Radio Commission did finally enforce the law against him. Nobody is trying to declare anti-Brinkley people insane. But in 2008 the Global Warming fraud has taken control of nearly everything. Scientists, churches, governments, schools, all the radio and television networks. The anti-fraud forces have a voice, and a fair amount of money on their side, but they are the independent operators, the disreputable ones who are in danger of being shut down at any moment.

Fran: Oh, that's just sad. If ignorance is going to win in the end ... why do I bother writing?

Continued in Part 3 here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008
  Polistra's dream, 1

June 2008, at the Mill.

Polistra was heartbroken to see her home town of Manhattan smashed by a tornado. She is certain that nothing will improve. All factions of the American power structure are frozen in absolute gibbering insanity, utterly incapable of taking the most obvious steps in any positive direction. We have surrendered to Sheikh Osama, surrendered to Reckless Desire and Ruthless Greed, surrendered to every imaginable variety of falsehood and fraud, to every false god known to history, and to some never before imagined.

She prays for relief.


= = = = =

June 1939, Ponca City, the Arcade Hotel.

Fran is a free-lance magazine writer. Tonight she's working on a draft while half-listening to Information Please.

What's this? Radio overheating? Can't be. It's a nearly new Philco.


Howdy. You're surprised, aren't you? This is going to take some explaining...

And Polistra proceeds to explain the situation ... that she's a cartoon character from 2008 who dreamed her way back to 1939. Since Fran is a writer, she has sufficient imagination to encompass the idea.

Fran asks Polistra the inevitable questions.

Fran: Well, what great advances has America made since '39? Cured cancer?

Pol: No. We have lots of fancy machines and drugs, but except for childhood leukemia, which we can definitely cure, we haven't improved the survival rate in general. You could even say that the fancy machines make things worse, because people know about the cancer earlier.

Fran: That's dismal. Well, cured infantile paralysis?

Pol: Yes, in 1954.

Fran: Cured the common cold?

Pol: No.

Fran: Have you controlled weather? Built domed cities?

Pol: No. In fact we have decided to make no progress in that area. We haven't gone beyond cloud-seeding, and even though we know it works, we won't allow ourselves to do it.

Fran: Eradicated poverty?

Pol: No. The New Deal started a long-running escape from poverty, especially among Southern sharecroppers of both colors. Our entry into the war in '41, which you can probably foresee without my help, expanded that change dramatically. The poor folks moved into industrial jobs, and incomes rose steadily from '39 until 1970. Lots of other things were also improving during those years: science, education, invention. It all came to a screeching halt around 1970. What happened at that point was basically a bloodless takeover by a form of Communism, which we aren't allowed to discuss openly. It's complicated and crazy, and I doubt that I can explain it to you without driving you crazy too.

Fran: Murrr-derrrr! Well, how about fast trains? Super streetcars?

Pol: No. American trains are much slower, less efficient and less luxurious in 2008. They still carry freight well enough, but passenger trains are dilapidated junk, pretty much restricted to serving a few big cities badly. Most people travel long distances by airplane, and that system is starting to fall apart too. Streetcars are mostly gone, though again a few big cities still have good bus and subway systems. In most cities, you're out of luck if you can't drive or can't afford a car. Cars have improved a lot, for what it's worth: they're safer, more efficient, more comfortable. Most of them are made in Japan now, and General Motors is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Fran: Not to interrupt, but you look like you could use a smoke.

Pol: Yes, and thanks for your insight. Smoking is on the way out in '08, but it isn't quite illegal yet.

Fran: Well, how about colonies on Mars?

Pol: Ha. We flew to the Moon in 1969, but then the Communist ideology took over and we haven't advanced the cause since.

Fran: Are you running the country on hydropower?

Pol: No. We're still using the dams the WPA built, which I'm grateful for, even if nobody else is ... plus a handful built later in the 1950s. Worst of all, we are actually getting rid of some dams to satisfy the utterly insane theory that's at the heart of this crazy Communism.

Fran: Getting rid of dams? Why in the everloving name of God would you want to waste all that work and deprive the country of free energy??? Well, I don't mean you, because you obviously know it's wrong, but the people in your time?

Pol: Oh lord, you're not going to believe this. You've somehow understood my time-traveling, but you won't be able to absorb this.

Fran: Try me.

Pol: They want to eliminate the dams because they think the fish are more important than the people.

Fran: That's crazy all right.

Pol: It's a primitive religion, something like the old Incas or Mayas, whatever those South American savages were called. This religion considers the earth to be a goddess, and ultimately wants to sacrifice all people to the goddess. Most of our politicians and most of our churches and educators have signed on to the belief, and they treat anyone who disbelieves as crazy.

Fran: Weirder and weirder. Does this savage cult have churches?

Pol: Doesn't need any. All the main churches preach it, though I'm pretty sure the regular believers don't know where it's taking them.

= = = =

Continued here..........
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
  Utterly missed the point

This somehow marks the final bottoming-out of our bizarrely trivial political discussion. After Rush had spent most of his show repeating over and over and over and over again that Obama is diabolical, even risking a mutiny by Snerdley who clearly didn't approve of the word-game, he took a call from an older black woman (Miriam?) who was trying to steer him back toward substantial subjects. The woman complained that Rush (and the other side as well) are spending all their time on trivial junk like asking X to condemn statement Y by spokesman Z. She said that Americans are "hurting", and we need to be asking the candidates what they will do as President instead of quibbling about who failed to condemn the lack of condemnation of the failure to say "How dare you".

Rush then dismissed Miriam as "speaking female talk".

No. Exactly not. Diametrically not.

In fact Rush is doing the female thing: endless quoting of quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, endless complaints about the tone of statements and complaints about the tone of other complaints about the tone of statements.

Miriam was attempting to bring the discussion back into male territory: WHAT WILL THE DAMNED CANDIDATES DO?

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