In this 7-minute segment Shep expounds on the mysterious case of Dorian Ficadero of Miami. Ficadero suffered a concussion and then started to hear strange noises in his head. Squishes, howls, sirens, bells. Nothing mysterious so far: tinnitus is common, well-known, and sometimes triggered by a concussion. (Comedians have made good use of punch-drunk boxers hearing bells.) The mysterious part was that Ficadero's noises were audible from the outside, up to ten feet away. Shep builds this into a thoroughly scary story, appropriate for today.
For some reason the phenomenon didn't get noticed by scientists until 1978. By now it's been labeled as Oto-Acoustic Emissions and studied quite extensively, making it vastly duller than Shep's version. OAE turns out to be almost universal. Only a few people emit loud squishes and sirens like Ficadero, but every functional ear puts out very faint sounds in response to what it's hearing at the time. Thus OAE has become a valuable tool for studying the inner workings of the auditory system. It's especially useful with patients who are unresponsive, either because of physical limitations or because they're trying to establish a false insurance claim for hearing loss. OAE, properly measured, gives a good sense of what the ear is actually detecting.
I became familiar with OAE while doing electronics work for a prof at KU who was among the first to explore it; then I devoted two chapters of Audin (Lessons 701 and 702) to OAE, using it as an introduction to the inner ear.
¶ 7:11 AM
Friday, October 30, 2009
All optionsPolistra's Law of Tables:
When a government official says "All options are on the table", he always means "All evil options are being considered. We will consider doing a lot of evil, a whole hell of a lot of evil, or a nearly infinite amount of evil. We will most likely compromise on the middle choice, a whole hell of a lot of evil. Any option that might help the American people is absolutely unthinkable, unimaginable and incomprehensible, and you are officially insane for even trying to suggest it."
¶ 12:06 PM
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Today's standard conservatives always begin with the notion of American exceptionalism, the idea that America stands on a sacred principle and is uniquely blessed by God.
Think about this: when a person considers himself to be exceptional by this definition, he's a psychopath, a jihadi, or a crackhead. If I claim to be uniquely blessed by God, I don't have to listen to any mere mortals; I don't have to take care of anyone around me; I'm free to commit every crime in the world because I'm the right arm of God.
Same deal with a nation. When you have the aura of blessing, you don't need to protect your people, you don't need to preserve your industries, you don't need to follow ordinary logic. It doesn't matter if you're #33 by most objective measurements because you're #1 in the eyes of God.
= = = = =
In fact the only truly exceptional thing about America is this: We are the only country that consistently, intentionally and knowingly sabotages itself, consistently acts against its own interests. We are the country that specializes in national suicide.
¶ 3:40 PM
Many in today’s pregnancy-flaunting, soccer-cheering, organic-snack-proffering generation of parents would never spank their children. We congratulate our toddlers for blowing their nose (“Good job!”), we friend our teenagers (literally and virtually), we spend hours teaching our elementary-school offspring how to understand their feelings. But, incongruously and with regularity, this is a generation that yells.
“I’ve worked with thousands of parents and I can tell you, without question, that screaming is the new spanking,” said Amy McCready, the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, which teaches parenting skills in classes, individual coaching sessions and an online course. “This is so the issue right now. As parents understand that it’s not socially acceptable to spank children, they are at a loss for what they can do. They resort to reminding, nagging, timeout, counting 1-2-3 and quickly realize that those strategies don’t work to change behavior. In the absence of tools that really work, they feel frustrated and angry and raise their voice. They feel guilty afterward, and the whole cycle begins again.”
In the absence of tools that really work...
This fact has never before been admitted by a "respectable" writer. All the way back to Dr Spock, the standard Commie line has always been that spanking doesn't work; that spanking only "teaches the child to use violence as a solution".
Could the elites actually be learning something, instead of the normal mislearning, dyslearning and antilearning? One can always hope.
¶ 10:10 AM
Monday, October 26, 2009
MSNBC is interviewing their Science Correspondent on the subject of cancer from cell phones. He stated correctly that there's little reliable research making the connection. He then stated incorrectly and deceptively that the amount of radiation you get from a cell phone is the same as the radiation you get from a flashlight.
In terms of watts per square centimeter this may be about right, but he's missed the most important variable: the frequency of the waves.
A flashlight emits only visible light, which doesn't penetrate and interact with bones and tissues. Thus a flashlight has no possible effect on our tissues unless it's used as a baton. A cell phone radiates electromagnetic waves in the range of 800 MHz, which penetrates a few inches into tissues and wiggles atoms around. It is thus capable of heating or potentially causing chemical reactions in the tissues. In other words, its effect on our innards is more like a microwave oven than a flashlight.
This doesn't prove that cell phones cause cancer, but it emphatically allows the possibility.
= = = = =
Later: Fox covered the same story without the same stupidity. Their Dr Alvarez observed that brain tumors have recently become much more common than before, which tends to support the connection. Comrade Shep said "But what are we going to do? We all use cell phones."
What you mean we, extrovert man? I've never owned a cell phone, never even touched one. Not from fear of cancer, only because I don't need to talk all the time. I use a phone once a month or so, to make dental appointments or other arrangements that can't be handled online. My standard dosage of conversation is around one hour per year, so I truly don't understand people who need to talk one hour per hour.
I'll also admit having a direct bias against the gadgets, since the young dickhead who mashed me with his SUV last year was gabbing to his girlfriend on his cellphone at the time.
¶ 8:39 AM
If only Obama were as tyrannical as the right-wing talking point heads claim he is, we'd be better off. And if only Bush had been as fierce and anti-Arab as the left-wing talking point heads claim he was, we'd be a hell of a lot better off.
Unfortunately both Bush and Obama are pissant chickenshit cowards who refuse to take the obviously correct action.
After 9/11 the obviously correct action was to depopulate Arabia, vaporize the primitive "holy cities" of the primitive Mohammedans, and intern all Mohammedans and Arabs inside this country for the duration.
Instead, Bush started two dainty wars in semi-relevant places, and carefully prosecuted a handful of semi-relevant people.
After the 2008 meltdown of the financial system, the obviously correct action was to eliminate Wall Street, shut down all companies involved in the crime, and order the non-criminal bankers to resume normal lending or face instant jail.
Instead, Obama has subsidized and rewarded the criminal companies, encouraged them to become even more "too big to fail", and now as the crowning insult he daintily suggests that perhaps it's finally time for the banks to consider the possibility of lending money, but we won't really do anything if they don't consider the possibility.
And how do we know which actions are "obviously correct?" Easy. Look at FDR's response to similar situations, and change the names to fit the times.
= = = = =
Later thought: the lefty pointheads love to call Bush a "cowboy". Nope, exactly diametrically wrong. Bush is not a Texan but a Connecticutian. (Connecticutite? Connecticutitititian? There isn't a word for this!) More to the point, he's not a cowboy but an Episcopalian Yankee.
Cowboy rules are as follows: "You mind your business and I'll mind mine. You attack me and you're dead."
Episcopalian Yankee rules are as follows: "I'll mind your business. I care deeply for your soul, so let's work together to comprehensively reform your way of thinking until it agrees with mine in every respect. You're attacking me? Oh, I'm sure this reflects a traumatic experience in your childhood, requiring years of therapy. Let's try to talk this over until we can reach a robust consensus."
¶ 8:19 AM
Wind power is now the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme and possibly the next subprime mortgage meltdown as well. As Professor Michael J. Trebilcock, professor of economics at the University of Toronto, said in testifying before the Canadian Parliament last April:
Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone). . . . Its electricity generation costs are the highest in Europe (15¢/kwh compared to Ontario’s current rate of about 6¢). Niels Gram of the Danish Federation of Industries says, “windmills are a mistake and economically make no sense.” Aase Madsen, the Chair of Energy Policy in the Danish Parliament, calls it “a terribly expensive disaster.”
= = = = =
Repeating those figures:
Denmark now gets 19% of its electricity from wind.
This requires 50% more coal, and produces 36% more pollution than before.
In other words, "wind power" is not a source of power at all. It's a use of power. Turbines are just a fashionable hippie style, and the price of this fashion is increased use of fossil fuels and increased pollution.
Wind power advocates in America have been surprisingly honest about this; TBoone has made it clear that his sole reason for pushing windmills was to sell more of his natural gas. And yet the fucking idiots in DC continue to sell wind. (Which is what they've always done anyway.)
¶ 9:49 AM
Originally and 'lexically', the purpose of a D of E is to literally pull out all the stops. Eliminate the usual obstacles and formalities so that cops, firemen, or doctors can do their work without interference.
In recent years the procedure has usually been backwards. The typical modern D of E leaves all the rules and obstacles in place ... often clamps down even harder ... thus making quick action impossible. Instead, the gov't pumps billions of dollars into the situation, which may allow some people to work around the obstacles, but mostly goes into the pockets of big business. See Katrina.
This time the Obama team has done it the old way and the right way. No extra money, just remove the obstacles.
Where's that old American spirit? В Москве.
The Mayor of Moscow has taken control of the elements in a way that used to be described as characteristically American. Yuri Luzhkov has already used cloud-seeding to keep rain away from Moscow during important events. This winter he will be harnessing the same technology to cut down snowfall, thus saving on snowplow work and saving lives.
"You know how every year on City Day and Victory Day we create the weather? Well, we should do the same with the snow! Then outside Moscow there will be more moisture, a bigger harvest, while for us it won't snow as much. It will make financial sense."
If an American mayor suggested saving his city from snow, or avoiding a deadly hurricane, he'd be roasted alive. EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW THAT CLOUD-SEEDING WORKS, EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW HOW TO BREAK A HURRICANE, WE ARE NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO THINK ABOUT CONTROLLING NATURE. INSTEAD, WE ARE REQUIRED TO BEND OVER AND LET NATURE FUCK US IN THE ASS. THIS IS OUR HOLY OBEISANCE TO THE PLANET GODDESS GAIA [PBUH].
We are insane. We are loony. We are stark raving bonkers. We are utterly, totally lost. We have committed national suicide.
= = = = =
Polistra and Happystar, joining Russia in spirit, have volunteered to assist with the seeding....
The media monsters are going after some editorial writer who was trying to praise thrift. The writer said that Jews have the reputation of pinching pennies, and that we should emulate this example.
The enemy-controlled media has directed its flamethrowers at the writer for using an "old stereotype" which is "offensive".
This is the usual degenerate Leninist ratshit, similar to the napalm thrown at high schools who name teams after Indian tribes to honor the warrior spirit. In both cases there's an intentional side-effect of cognitive dissonance. When you know that your use of an old saying or name is meant to be positive, and the Satanic media tells you it's negative, you will be both rebellious and confused. Intended consequence.
In this case the media monsters are making two points: (1) thrift is offensive; (2) calling Jews thrifty is an old stereotype.
Point 1 takes care of the cognitive dissonance: a not-quite-explicit message that rubs against normal American beliefs. If you think pinching pennies is a good thing, you're offensive. To gain respectability, you must go in debt up to your eyeballs in order to re-inflate the derivative bubble and to keep shifting the real economy to China at warp speed.
Point 2 is unfortunately accurate, though I doubt that the media monsters wanted us to see it. The correlation between Jews and thrift is in fact an old and outdated stereotype. Modern American Jews, at least the elite ones, are no longer penny-pinchers. They are trillion-pinchers, perfectly willing to steal an entire nation to fill their Dubai bank accounts.
¶ 2:42 PM
Monday, October 19, 2009
Not so complicated after all!
From a news story this morning:
“Economic opportunity, especially job creation, is a critical part of reintegrating the foot-soldier into normal life,” Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, wrote in an assessment of the deteriorating war delivered to Obama last month.
Oh good. Maybe this will finally get the Feds to start working on economic development and job creation.
What? What's that you say? McChrystal isn't talking about our soldiers returning home to a country that has no jobs for them? He's talking about Afghan soldiers and the Afghan economy?
Well, I guess that does explain the whole mess. Our government is dyslexic. The words "America" and "Afghanistan" are sort of similar, and our government is protecting and advancing the interests of "Afghanistan" instead of "America". All we need to do is inform them of this fact, and they will straighten up and fly right.
¶ 6:53 AM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Media, schools and government constantly hammer away at preventable causes of death. Tobacco is heading toward prohibition, fatty foods and sugary drinks are heading toward prohibition, kids must be strapped down in expensive gadgets when driving, and on and on.
All of these preventable deaths are dwarfed by the largest cause of all: Doctors and hospitals. Have you heard that 50,000 Americans die each year from medical errors and hospital-caused infections? You may have heard this once or twice in the last year. CBS's 60 Minutes ran one story on the subject.
But in fact the 50K number is itself a lie. The real number is closer to 200,000 per year. This is larger than any other single cause of death except "heart failure", which is really another way of saying "natural causes". (If you don't die of anything else, your heart will finally fail. That's the default.)
This number turns out to be constant among different studies with different methods, and constant across several years.
You've never heard it on TV or radio, and you've certainly never heard a public-service announcement. If we had honest institutions, the most common PSA would beg us to avoid doctors and hospitals unless we're definitely sick. Needless to say, this will never happen.
Oddly enough, the most complete source for this subject is part of the Mainstream Media: a project called Dead By Mistake sponsored by Hearst Publishing. Thus I assume readers of Hearst papers are getting this info directly, but the rest of the media has ferociously ignored it.
¶ 2:38 PM
Saturday, October 17, 2009
NOTE FEB 12, 2012: After some evidence that people were actually downloading the program, I decided to check out the setup file just to be sure everything is OK. It wasn't OK! The setup file had acquired a virus. I located the original CD and set up AUDIN on my computer, preparatory to building up a new installer. Turns out the existing version (built in 2004, mainly for XP) crashed in Win 7. I revised the C++ code, recompiled, and rebuilt the installer in MSI form.
Now it works for sure in Win 7 and Win 2000-Server. I no longer have an XP computer for testing, but if it works in 2000-Server, it should also work in XP.
AUDIN is a program I built in 2002 under a Federal Dept of Ed contract. It's meant to be a "virtual lab" for AUDitory INstrumentation, part of the curriculum for audiologists. My favorite part is a self-teaching introduction to electricity and electronics, which was unique at the time. I suspect other self-teaching electronics apps are available now, but AUDIN is still a lot of fun to play with, and it's still my proudest achievement.
I've built larger courseware projects since then, but those are framed around text outlines and illustrations provided by others. AUDIN was mainly my own work. Some of the text was by others, but all programming and graphics were mine. Comparing AUDIN against more recent projects, it's clear that my graphics skills have improved greatly since 2002 while my programming skills have atrophied. I can make more realistic and lively pictures and animations now, but I couldn't begin to write the delicate C++ code for the interactive experiments.
I had to rename the file with a .TXT extension because the stupid website refuses to download MSI files. Download using the link, then rename it to plain old MSI and run it. After the installer runs, you can delete the MSI file.
When AUDIN starts, it gives you a choice of running with or without grades, because it was mainly meant as a classroom aid. If you're just using it for fun, pick the Ungraded choice.
The electronics self-teacher starts at Lesson 201 if you don't want to bother with the rest. It's pretty much free-standing, doesn't assume you've read the previous lessons.
Polistra and Happystar are enjoying this year's nice autumn, which consists exactly of today.
This summer was steadily way above average, and now the fall has switched suddenly to way below average without ever passing through a period of normalcy. All 90s to all 40s, without the usual month of 60s. It's part of the El Niño pattern, which will hopefully give us a relatively mild and dry winter. If that pattern holds true, no complaints about the missing autumn! The previous two winters were deadly and disastrous.
Polistra is wearing a Michael Moore cap today. Only three years ago this would have been unthinkable, but the monstrous incompetence or disloyalty of Sultan Bush has turned things around. This change of mental climate wasn't quite as sharp as the summer-to-winter snap; it began in early 2006 and was finished by mid-2008. Moore's recent book-tour appearances have reinforced the changeover. At this point Moore agrees with Polistra that Marcy Kaptur should be President, and agrees on most other things. Thus the cap.
Rush gets fooled
Haven't been listening to Rush lately, and never pay any attention to Sport, but this business of Rush trying to buy a football team is interesting.
Rather surprisingly, Rush doesn't understand the American class structure. He seems to believe his own meritocratic nonsense.
Nixon tried to play in the big leagues of politics using secret tapes and dirty tricks, exactly following the successful tactics of FDR, JFK and LBJ .... only to find that he couldn't get away with it. Rush is trying to play in the big leagues of the Sport Industry, only to find that he can't buy his way into the club.
Money brings power, and the office of the Presidency brings power, but neither money nor high office will give you total freedom. Only an aristocrat can do and say absolutely anything with absolute impunity. And in modern America, only three groups have aristocratic status: Authentic African-Americans, Authentic Homosexuals, and Kennedys. It's not enough to be black, as Clarence Thomas learned; and it's not enough to be homosexual, as Larry Craig already learned and Rush has now learned.
Before WW2 we didn't have so many illusions about our class structure. Common sense prevailed, discrimination was honest, and people knew in advance which clubs they couldn't enter. When you know which doors are open and which are closed, you don't waste time and emotional energy banging your head on locked doors.
Since WW2, Leninist propaganda has corrupted all of our institutions, planting the false guarantee of equality, the viciously fraudulent myth that "you can do anything if you work hard enough". This does not guarantee equality, it only guarantees frustration and hostility between classes and groups. As Lenin fully intended.
¶ 6:48 AM
Monday, October 12, 2009
I'll let Nicole discuss health care.
I'm afraid she's wrong about the superior qualities of Obama's (or Baucus's) plan.
She's not wrong about the need for complete change.
¶ 8:20 AM
The enemy-controlled media are Outraged and Shocked this morning by a report from the insurance industry stating that the Baucus "health reform" will lead to much higher insurance costs. The anchorblondes on CNN, taking time out from masturbating to a picture of Obama, screeched that the insurance industry is only trying to derail the reform, and asked in a blondish way if there is any way to check the numbers.
Well, of course you could check the numbers if you weren't girls, but actually it's much simpler.
The insurance industry knows that it will make more money from the Baucus bill because the insurance industry WROTE the Baucus bill. This isn't a great secret, to put it mildly.
You don't even need to know that specific fact; all you need to know is that the Baucus bill was developed by some part of the US Government in the last 30 years. Everything developed by the US Government in the last 30 years is guaranteed to make life worse for ordinary Americans and to gift more more more more more more trillions quadrillions gazillions babillions kakakakakakILLIONS of money money money money money money to a few already obscenely rich companies.
Why am I so pissed about this? Because no Baucus bill, no complicated recipe is necessary. Several correct solutions are available in other countries, such as France and Australia. Twice the quality for half the cost. We just need to pick one and adopt it instantly.
¶ 7:47 AM
People who carry guns are far more likely to get shot than those who are unarmed, a study of shooting victims in Philadelphia has found. ... Charles Branas's team at the University of Pennsylvania analysed 677 shootings over two-and-a-half years to discover whether victims were carrying at the time, and compared them to other Philly residents of similar age, sex and ethnicity. The team also accounted for further potentially confounding differences, such as the socioeconomic status of their neighbourhood.
Overall, people who carried guns were 4.5 times as likely to be shot and 4.2 times as likely to get killed compared with unarmed citizens. ...
While people who think they are at risk of getting shot may also be more likely to carry firearms, Branas speculates that guns may give a sense of empowerment that causes carriers to overreact, or encourages them to visit dangerous neighbourhoods.
First and most obvious, the study apparently didn't bother to ask if the victims were gang members. Turf wars among gangs account for a large part of gun violence in places like Philly. The "socioeconomic status of the neighborhood" is not a proxy for gang membership, because lots of unfortunate non-gangsters are stuck in gang-owned neighborhoods, and those non-gangsters are much less likely to be carrying.
Second and most fantastic, "Branas speculates that guns may give a sense of empowerment that ... encourages them to visit dangerous neighbourhoods."
Has Branas ever known an actual human being? Why in the holy hell would anyone visit a dangerous neighborhood with a gun unless he specifically intended to commit a crime? "Oh, I'm bored this afternoon. Ho hum. Think I'll go have a cup of coffee in the ghetto just to see if their coffee is better than the coffee in my upscale gated suburb. And might as well bring along the old trusty AK-47, see if there's a gun repair shop in the ghetto where I can get it tuned up and lubricated." Is this what Branas imagines?
¶ 9:44 AM
Skousen yet again
It's interesting to watch the 'conservative' establishment distancing itself (or more precisely running away at top speed!) from Glenn Beck's continual use of Cleon Skousen's writings.
(Disclaimer: I haven't watched Beck lately, so I don't know if he's sticking to the Skousen mindset or ranging way off into other unjustifiable realms. If the latter, then I can't defend him.... I'm defending Skousen here, not necessarily Beck.)
The modern establishment, conservative or liberal, in politics, religion or science, has one Prime Directive: "Any attempt to form conclusions or use logic is paranoia and must be banished."
Totalitarians always use this rule for obvious reasons. It conflates insane paranoia with plain logic.
Insane paranoia links the Illuminati, CFR, Masons, Jews and Martians to everything.
Plain logic connects Lee Oswald to the KGB, connects Betty Friedan to Stalin, connects both Obama and McCain to Alinsky, connects the Global Warming hoax to China via Maurice Strong. There's nothing conspiratorial or secret about any of these connections. Logic and known facts.
The establishment doesn't want the latter set of connections to be commonly understood, so it calls them "paranoia" and thus taints them with the schizophrenic delusions about Masons and Martians.
I participated in hard-left movements sporadically from 1969 through 1983, and everything I read in Skousen agrees with what I saw and did in those movements. When you read a book that agrees with your personally known reality at every point of tangency, you're strongly inclined to trust the entire book.
I don't know why the 'conservative' establishment is afraid to reveal facts about the long-term advance and evolution of Communist power within the United States. I can only think of two valid reasons: (1) They're stupid and gutless. (2) They're part of the advance.
¶ 7:51 AM
Friday, October 09, 2009
We know by now that the Nobel Peace Prize is given to outstanding servants of Stalin. That goes without saying. But the Nobel outfit has always been serious about the "servant" part; the prize has gone to people who have labored for decades to destroy Western civilization, often without fame and fortune. They have never rewarded a beginner before.
By the normal standards of the Nobel crowd, Bush should get this prize. Bush started two dubious wars and kept them going until they served no purpose except bleeding American resources and darkening our reputation. And Bush reduced our nuclear weapons significantly, eliminating ALL our neutron bombs to insure that future presidents will be unable to respond correctly to future Arab attacks.
Obama is continuing the two pointless wars, but he HASN'T DONE ANYTHING YET to disarm the US. I don't think he's even talked much about it.
By deeds, Bush has done far more damage to America.
Should have been an easy decision.
= = = = =
Later, listening to our enemy-controlled media: They're all over the premature nature of this award. Maybe this will cut down the credibility of future Nobels in their eyes, which will be a good thing.
¶ 6:03 AM
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Chinese Agent Bloomberg, assigned by PRC handlers to act as "mayor of New York", is serve glorious Chairman-Mao-Thought diligently! Agent Bloomberg trying to remove last vestige of Capitalist Imperialist Manufacturing from his assigned location. Specifically, Agent Bloomberg want to rip up the Deviationist-Roader Garment District and cram all business into just one building, so that Glorious PRC Peoples Army can finish take over all manufacture from Running-Dog Capitalist Imperialist America.
Way to going, Agent Bloomberg! Glorious Masses cheering wild!
= = = = =
Crappy parody aside, in a sane country Bloomberg would be tried and hanged for treason.
¶ 10:11 AM
Listening to CNN reading some responses from its viewers on the 8-year war in Afghanistan. One response from a man who identified himself as a Vietnam veteran: "I've got one thing to say to anyone who thinks we should get out: Remember 9/11."
A fine rousing sentiment, but unfortunately it just doesn't make sense.
Why did Osama want to attack us?
From the Peter Arnett interview with Sheikh Osama in 1997: (in "Messages to the World", p. 47)
Arnett: "Will the end of the US presence in Saudi Arabia ... end your call for jihad?"
Osama: "The reaction came as a result of the aggressive US policy toward the entire Muslim world and not just toward the Arabian peninsula. So if the cause that has called for this [jihad] comes to an end, this act in turn will come to an end. So the defensive jihad against the US does not stop with its withdrawal from the Arabian peninsula; rather it must desist from aggressive intervention against Muslims through the entire world."
= = = = =
Admittedly the claim of self-defense is always part of the propaganda of any warmaker. It may be true or false, but it's always laid out convincingly enough to keep the people fighting.
There are two ways to dislodge this feeling of righteous response: (1) Remove the irritant that seems to justify the response. (2) Show the people that their effort is absolutely futile and counterproductive.
We are doing neither.
In WW2 we took path #2: annihilated Jap and Kraut civilians by the millions until they finally understood the futility of their effort. In this war we've been delicate, dainty and careful, which will NEVER accomplish #2; we've only managed to validate the feeling that we are endlessly meddling in that part of the world. Now it's too late for #2 anyway, even if we somehow miraculously acquired a sane government.
We've also put a lot of effort into "Installing Young Democracies", which translates to the people as "corrupting our culture."
So the only remaining choice is #1. Remove ourselves from the region and turn our military toward protecting our own ports and borders. (If we had been monitoring and deporting Arab immigrants in the first place, we could have prevented 9/11 completely.)
After that, Sheikh Osama and his colleagues will undoubtely continue to agitate, but their agitation will be much less convincing.
¶ 8:31 AM
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Sane Australia Australia's central bank has decided to raise its prime rate to 3.25%. This isn't especially notable by itself except as a symptom of common sense. After all, the larger purpose of interest rates is to serve as a feedback mechanism, a natural cruise control for banks. Our Federal Reserve (enslaved to the Wall Street Mafia) has held its interest rate strongly and rigidly negative for several years, thus removing the natural feedback, encouraging borrowing and discouraging saving. The result was perfectly predictable, as Polistra has been saying for a long time.
Nations such as Australia, Israel, Norway and Brazil that remained relatively isolated from the economic turmoil of the past 12 months for various reasons now appear to be leaning toward tightening their interest-rate policies to head off inflation.
If anyone in DC had a non-negative IQ, if anyone were capable of observing reality, this comparison would cause a firestorm of study and investigation. Why did Australia, Israel, Norway and Brazil avoid the bubble and bust, while so many others suffered? Australia especially, since it's parallel to America in most aspects. Same origin and culture, same basic approach to economics. And why did Canada have no bank failures even though its economy is tightly linked to ours? And finally, how can we emulate these more successful countries?
Needless to say, this investigation and study won't happen. Our government and academics have upside-down brains. Show them the correct way to perform a job and they will do it backwards. Show them that flexible interest rates cause a healthy economy, and they will make zero interest a permanent law, even more unbreakable and untouchable than the Endangered Species Act.
¶ 7:39 AM
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
The real definition
The real definition of insanity is reciting the phrase "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" over and over, while doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
¶ 12:52 PM
Reading Jonathan Rauch's latest piece on extroverts and introverts in politics (pointed via Dreher) was a true enlightenment.
For one thing, extroverts are overrepresented in politics, a profession in which only the garrulous are really comfortable. Look at George W. Bush. Look at Bill Clinton. They seem to come fully to life only around other people. To think of the few introverts who did rise to the top in politics—Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon—is merely to drive home the point. With the possible exception of Ronald Reagan, whose fabled aloofness and privateness were probably signs of a deep introverted streak (many actors, I've read, are introverts, and many introverts, when socializing, feel like actors), introverts are not considered "naturals" in politics.
Extroverts therefore dominate public life. This is a pity. If we introverts ran the world, it would no doubt be a calmer, saner, more peaceful sort of place. As Coolidge is supposed to have said, "Don't you know that four fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?"
The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves.
Now I genuinely understand why politicians are so monumentally stupid, why so completely disconnected from reality, and why the teamwork principle is so powerful. Why does the wildly false theory of Global Warming continue to rule the world? Why is protecting our own industries unthinkable? Why do we continue to fight useless wars? Why are we content to remain Number 33 in the world on so many vital measurements while calling ourselves #1?
It's not campaign finance, not bribery, not corruption, though all of those things are present and problematic.
No, it's much simpler. Nearly all politicians are extroverts. This means they cannot observe reality, cannot perceive facts. They only perceive the content-free verbal excrementa of other politicians.
Rauch is one of the best thinkers around ... nearly two decades ago, long before it was obvious to most of us, he was the first to understand and describe the total paralysis of our political process. He called it Demosclerosis.
¶ 11:29 AM
Sunday, October 04, 2009
One for the Darwin AwardsIn Caldwell, Idaho a woman who had been fired from an ambulance service tried to sneak back into the building, and the building gave her a death sentence for attempted theft.
Late at night she called in a fake auto accident, presumably knowing that all the vehicles would head for the accident leaving the place unoccupied. She was waiting near the building and slipped through the garage opening just after one of the ambulances pulled out. Unfortunately she mistimed the automatic garage door and got squashed when the door closed.
Safe bet: She was trying to steal some oxycontin. Seems to be the fashionable drug these days.
¶ 12:21 PM
On CNN this morning, John King is interviewing Gen Jones about our activities in Afghanistan. King never once asked the ONLY QUESTION THAT MATTERS: "How does this make the American people safer?" When will any journalist have the guts to ask that question?
At one point King noted that Manchurian Candidate McCain has accused Jones of "playing politics" and "politicizing strategy". Jones firmly denied the charge, saying "Strategy does not belong to any political party."
Well, that's the whole goddamn problem, isn't it? If neither party is allowed to change our strategy, then why in the holy fuck should we bother to vote?
I'm ferociously tired of politicians accusing each other of politicizing a subject. You're a politician, politicizing is your damn job.
No other occupation does this. Doctors don't accuse each other of medicalizing diseases, though perhaps they should sometimes. Teachers don't accuse each other of educationalizing the curriculum, though perhaps they should sometimes.
If politicizing is forbidden, then no subject is discussable, no strategy can be changed, no law can be eliminated or modified. We will simply careen down the road toward total devastation, without steering or brakes. Which in fact we have been doing since 1973, with precisely two major exceptions.**
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** The two exceptions, the two times when a leader dared to steer us out of a skid: 1. Reagan's decision to answer Soviet subversion and sabotage with some subversion and sabotage of our own. Previous admins had answered the USSR only by increasing our stock of missiles that would never be used. 2. Newt & Bill's welfare reform. Previous (and later!) admins couldn't imagine anything except permanent increases in the welfare class.
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Update Monday: CNN's Rick Sanchez, bless him, is asking the basic question about our Afghan activities. Everyone else just debates the details while assuming the war is needed for some never-stated and never-defined reason.
... Well, I guess the reason is easily defined. If you're a Republican, we need to keep the Afghan war going because The Lord Almighty George Bush, the Most Magnificent President In History, the Most Masterful And Intelligent President Than Whom No Greater Can Be Conceived, said so. If you're a Democrat, we need to keep the Afghan war going because Lord Almighty Barack Obama, the Most Magnificent President In History, the Masterful And Intelligent President Than Whom No Greater Can Be Conceived, said so.
¶ 6:12 AM
Saturday, October 03, 2009
My attention was caught by Comrade Shep Smith at Fox mentioning the Ig-nobel Awards in the "humorous kicker" at the end of an hour. Comrade Shep, being an imbecile as well as a loyal Communist, didn't even get the basic point. He pronounced it "Eye Gee Noble", and apparently thought the prize was given for fake science.
No, Comrade Useful Idiot Shep, the Ig-nobel is given each year for real science that sounds silly, just the sort of thing that you fucked-up "journalists" love to ridicule when discussing Federal research budgets. (Admittedly, some of the prizes are just plain jokes, but Comrade Useful Idiot Shep wouldn't understand them either.)
This year's top winner is a real and useful invention by Elena Bodnar of Ukraine. Bodnar invented a brassiere that converts to a gas mask for pollution emergencies. This is a uniquely Slavic idea in two different ways: first, the former Soviet states have serious pollution problems; second, the former Soviet states still have intact families, which means that (Caution!!! Possibly offensive idea coming up next!!!!) males and females usually live together in an arrangement known as "marriage". I know this sounds weird and icky to modern Americans, but that's how they do it. The invention would be much less useful in America, because we've already controlled pollution, and our same-sex-only living arrangements would mean that males wouldn't have easy access to the gas mask.
My favorite Ig-nobel is one of the jokey items:
MATHEMATICS PRIZE: Gideon Gono, governor of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank, for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers — from very small to very big — by having his bank print bank notes with denominations ranging from one cent ($.01) to one hundred trillion dollars ($100,000,000,000,000).
Undoubtedly our Federal Reserve will benefit from Mr Gono's research in coming years, as it works day and night to reshape America toward the glorious Zimbabwe economic model.
¶ 6:06 AM
Friday, October 02, 2009
Been spending unwanted time and effort trying to unravel an identity theft. Few days ago my debit card didn't work; I assumed it was a glitch until the third time it was rejected. Contacted US Bank, found out they had caught and stopped a suspicious transaction (a large purchase from Bed Bath & Beyond in New Jersey) and suspended the card. They will issue a new one, so that's nicely settled.
Blessings to US Bank for having clever algorithms and fast response!
At the same time my telephone has stopped working, which may be coincidental or not. There wasn't any bad weather in the relevant timespan; the wires appear intact; and my bill is always paid. No response yet from Qwest. This is a good time to cancel the landline and switch over to Magic Jack anyway. For my extremely sparse telephone usage, paying $40 a month doesn't make sense. ($40 a month translates to about $20 per minute of talking, on average!)
With these two things happening simultaneously, my tinfoil hat is starting to twitch. Could this be related to my support of Prop 71? There have been several hits on those entries, unusual for a blog that normally receives no "theme-related" hits at all.
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Winter weather must be approaching quickly. The squirrels are dashing around at ground level this morning, not bothering to cross the streets via the power lines as they normally do. They're dodging cars, and unfortunately one didn't dodge fast enough. Thump-thump. Neighborhood cats are enjoying the scene, trying to get a good pounce at the squirrels but not succeeding. Probably more sport than hunger.
¶ 1:04 PM
Thursday, October 01, 2009
The comrades are creaming
Spokane's City Politburo is getting all wee-weed up over a series of "hate crimes" in recent weeks.
One of the "crimes" is the distribution of circulars by Aryan Nation. Way back in ancient times, before Old Bipolar Abe destroyed the Constitution and killed 600,000 Americans to fulfill his manic delusions, the distribution of circulars was considered to be the main point of the First Amendment in that antique and long-obsolete document.
Notice in the linked video that the Aryan circular was tossed on a lawn next to the Wednesday advertising special from the Spokesman-Review. Does that make the Spokesman guilty of "hate littering" as well? Every issue of the paper undoubtedly contains some words or phrases that someone may disagree with. Recipes for arugula in a balsamic vinegar reduction? Gakkk!! Awful!!! Can't stand that stuff! It's a hate crime! Foodist! Foodist! Foodist!
The other subject of the Politburo's wee-weed-up-ness is the appearance of a noose on the front porch of a "rights educator", aka Soldier of the Stalinist Revolution. Again note the video: the noose is made from a child's jump-rope.
I'll guarantee you that the "noose" was placed by the "rights educator" herself. All recent incidents of this type have been hoaxes inflicted by the supposed victim, and this one will be no exception. Guaran-goddamn-teed.
Comrade Mayperson Verner and Comrade Councilperson Shogan have a right to get all wee-weed up, but they don't have a right to forcibly involve the rest of us in their peculiar fetish.
¶ 6:45 AM