Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mental Health?

You have to love the Democrats. Just when Kucinich is in the news as "questioning Bush's mental health", it comes out that he saw a "large triangular UFO at Sirley McClaines house", gets asked about it in a debate, and indicates "yes, he has seen a UFO".

http://www.onthewriteside.org/2007/10/kucinich-hears-directions-from-ufos-and.html

Today he has initiated impeachment proceedings against Cheney. He is a busy man, I think the obvious question in his case wouldn't be if he has SEEN a UFO, but rather if he has PILOTED one! It only makes sense, how else would the Representative from Pluto get back and forth to his consituency?

PC Magazine 'Leopard is “by far the best operating system ever written'

In his 4.5-star (out of 5) review of Leopard, Edward Mendelson (pcmag.com) maintains that Leopard is “by far the best operating system ever written for the vast majority of consumers, with dozens of new features that have real practical value.” Mendelson “found Leopard to be startlingly fast, brilliantly streamlined, and packed with conveniences an

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Friday, October 26, 2007

ReaganLot

Many Democrats took until Bill Clinton to get over the fantasy of the Kennedy "Camelot" that never was. For liberals to create a fantasy and then try to hold reality to that fantasy is somewhat expected, but it is too easy to forget that conservatives are humans too. All too human; the beautification of Reagan seems to have really gotten into high gear on the right with the disenchantment of many with W, or maybe it just takes 20 years or so to create a good fantasy.

Here we have the supposed realist Patrick Buchanan waxing nostalgic - I'll spare a lot of copying, it really isn't worth reading, but have to bring in one paragraph:

Reagan defined conservatism for his time. And the issues upon which we agreed were anti-communism, a national defense second to none, lower tax rates to unleash the engines of economic progress, fiscal responsibility, a strict-constructionist Supreme Court, law and order, the right-to-life from conception on and a resolute defense of family values under assault from the cultural revolution that hit America with hurricane force in the 1960s

Eeek! Yes, the "good old days"! Lower tax rates? Certainly not relative to Social Security--nor even purely on general, Pat must have lost the budget deal of '86. Fiscal Responsibility? Huge deficits were a hallmark of the Reagan years. Strict Constructionist court? Does the name Sandra Day O'Connor ring a bell? Actually, I give Kennedy even lower marks, he signed on with the left on Kelo, and when private property goes, the very foundation of any rights are gone. Kelo is right in the running with Roe for worst abdication of the role of supporting the constitution in history, and we have a Reagan appointee with the majority on Kelo, and a Reagan appointee as the swing vote supporting Roe.

Abortion? Yes, the words were nice, but there wasn't even an attempt to actually move on anything. W got rid of partial birth, it shows a certain dis ingeniousness on Pat's part to not remember that Reagan did precisely NOTHING on that issue. "Family values"? Again, words are nice, but I'm not sure that I see anything of reality to point to as Reagan being any stronger than GW for example.

Republicans USED to be known as "the party of fiscal conservatism", but it was REAGAN more than anyone else that destroyed that issue for the party. I'm not saying that I "completely disagree"--it is VERY hard to win anything being "the party that says no", but making a decision and then claiming you never did takes "honesty and consistency" off the conservative table and then what you have left is called liberalism. I don't really think Pat wants to go there.

It is true that Republicans can see themselves as "victims of their success" relative to the loss of the USSR as the all-purpose enemy. It is apparent that Terrorism just isn't ideologically satisfying enough for guys like Pat, but it can take a few decades to fully develop a really good villain for some. Pat may need a few more 9-11s before he sees them as worthy of attention at a purist level, unfortunately after we take the HillBama plunge in '08, I expect that the Terrorists will help Pat see that the new evil can kill a few millions too, once you get "incompetent" folks like W and Cheney out of the way.

I'm not sure it makes any difference who is the Republican front runner. The navel gazing and wishing for the past seems like the prevalent Republican sentiment. I suspect after 4-8 years of 100% Democrat rule a few will start to realize that purity, navels and history are all nice but the real world tends to be more messy and tends to "intrude" on introspection and wishes after a bit. I don't believe in living by relativism, but only a fool thinks it isn't a factor. We tend to operate by "compared to what" and the frog boiling is always an issue.

Having said all of the above, I very much believe in Reagan and consider him EASILY the greatest President of the 20th century. The REAL Reagan, not an imaginary one. To buy into a fantasy Reagan reflects badly on the real meaning of what Reagan stood for.

Pat and many Republicans are comparing today with a vision of Reagan that never was. When they have the opportunity to compare the real experience of a number of years of HillBama, etc with the crop of Republicans running in the future, the bar will be at a different place and the tune will change. Words and ideas are powerful, but many times it takes experience before true understanding is gained.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

McCain Blogger Interview

Good short summary of a McCain interview. The Powerline argument on waterboarding (which is in opposition to McCain) is pretty hard to argue with. Anyone that doesn't give the US the "moral high ground" compared to al Quaeda is probably enough a relativist that any moral high ground they might aspire to is pretty much a swamp.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Media myths about the Jena 6

A local Jena Journalist gives another side of the MSM story of racism. Is this side all true? I have no way of knowing, but on NPR and CNN, this was a story for which there was "no other side". I'm always suspicious when a story only has one side. Much like the Duke Lacrosse team which was finally exonerated, the MSM isn't likely to go back and point out that the story isn't nearly as one dimensional as they indicated in their sensational reporting of the "racist side".

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Sharp drop seen in US deaths in Iraq

BAGHDAD - October is on course to record the second consecutive decline in U.S. military and Iraqi civilian deaths and Americans commanders say they know why: the U.S. troop increase and an Iraqi groundswell against al-Qaida and Shiite militia extremists.This is AP, so not one of the more "right wing" sources. Reading the whole article is worthwhile-lots of military and Iraqi discussion on WHY the surge is working and how we can get to overall success. Expect this news to be generally buried in the MSM as it has during the whole surge process and resulting improvement in Iraq. The MSM and the Democrats decided "Iraq is hopeless", and it isn't likely that they will give up on that track since anything like success could be quite positive for Bush and therefore negative for Democrat prospects in '08. I expect their general control over the sheep is too great, and we are still headed to a Democrat landslide and the most damaging withdrawal they can arrange. Seeing Iraq as a "Fiasco" is central to their thinking, and having facts get in the way has never been a weakness of the Democrats or MSM. When one is a liberal it is NEVER either too early or too late to declare hopelessness and defeat in any endeavor!We all have emotions, one of the cleavages between left and right is if we believe that the world MUST match our emotions. Those of the left tend say "absolutely"-the world owes them behavior that matches what they feel, both positive and negative. Those that they hate need to fail, and the one that they love the most (self) needs to always be seen as "good or victim". Those that they "love" are those that make their world view seem more real. Those on the right, believing that the highest functions are logical rational have desires, but understand that these may or not be met. Results that match with desire often require lots of effort, time, thought, flexibility and just plain old "luck". Success is never assured for anything worthwhile, and failure is always within reach by just quitting. Such is the world, Iraq is a great example of the difference between the two types of people.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Power Line: Best line of the campaign so far

"In case you missed it, a few days ago Senator Clinton tried to spend one million dollars on the Woodstock concert museum. Now, my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time."I'm not a McCain person, but it is very hard to beat this for humor in politics!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wicked

My Son's marching band performed to music from this musical, and the Sophomore-Seniors had went down to Chicago to see it last spring while my son was yet a freshman. We journeyed to the Oriental Theater in downtown Chicago to see it Friday evening.

First of all, in entertainment value, acting, music, etc, it was a great evening. They did a find job and I loved the play. At the human emotional level, it draws you in, and you identify with the "Wicked Witch" and come to understand at least a bit how things could have gone so wrong for her.

My guess though is that the author of the book and the developers of the play would like one to get a whole lot more out of the tale than just "a nice evening". Most artists would. The original is a classic morality play-Good / Evil, and good wins in the end. Like many a modern portrayal, the update is a lot more complex. Modern artists find that to be much better, more "realistic". I find that a bit interesting-do we need our art to be "realistic" in that way, or is that even a reasonable concept?

We are all well aware of the complexity of the real world-sometimes good people suffer and die horribly and the worst of the evil prosper. Like everything else, modern art wants to let us know that there is no transcendence -- the evil aren't really evil and the good are at least not as good as they seem, and maybe not even good at all. Many things aren't what we think they are, and maybe there are no answers at all. We who are alive and have some even slight level of life examination know that. Do we need art to try to drive it home as well?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Pedal-to-the-Metal, Totally Illegal, Cross-Country Sprint for Glory

Not very sensible, but kind of a good read.

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The Smartest Futurist On Earth, or at least Bill Gates thinks so.

If legendary inventor Ray Kurzweil is right, the future will be a lot brighter - and weirder - than you think.I've enjoyed his books and I've been lucky enough to hear him speak. Ray may be "out there", but it is great to hear someone positive once in awhile in this world where everyone has way more to be happy about than at any time in history, but most find a reason to be negative anyway!

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Consilience

I've been reading more books than I've been Blogging on. I just finished "Consilience" by Edward O. Wilson. A previous author of two Pulitzer prize winning books; "On Human Nature", and "The Ants". The term "consilience" refers to the "unity of knowledge", how discoveries in one field can be critical to others. One can view the physical world as a layered architecture where physics is the "base", with chemistry and biology on top, followed by all the social sciences, politics, the arts, religion, etc.

Wilson has the vision that it COULD all be linked together so that we would truly understand our universe. He strongly laments the "post modernist" view that "all points of view are equally valid" - not surprising for a scientist. He seems much more willing to entertain the potential for divinity than many scientists, even though for himself, he is a materialist. He DOES seem to realize at least part of the horror of a universe where there is no transcendence, but he sees the risks of transcendence as too high -- mostly on the environmental front. He sums up the materialist vs transcendent views as "The uncomfortable truth is the the two beliefs are not factually compatible. As a result those who hunger for both intellectual and religious truth will never acquire both in full measure".

That is an interesting statement in that I would question whether any human will acquire a "full measure" of EITHER of those areas separately either. However, to come to a conclusion of what that which completely transcends the physical can do, seems a bit presumptuous. Man is so quick to set limits on what it is that God can do, it is good God has us around to lock those limits in on infinite power since we are so intelligent. While we seem good at providing limits for the infinite, it is strange that we seem less inclined to limit ourselves.

He makes a good comment on the state of knowledge and information in the world; "We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it and make important choices wisely". I think he is right on that at some level, and he also points out in the book how important it is to place the information into context with other knowledge, and even make it into a "story". He does seem to have some real insight into human nature.

He waits until the very end of the book to get into environmental doom and gloom. He sees us as rushing headlong to destruction of the planet, and has decided that "somehow" man needs to "morally" pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and see vast control on development and technology as "the only moral thing to do".

A neat trick for a strict materialist to come up with, apparently a new form of human brain will somehow "evolve" and suddenly operate with this "environmental moral imperative" in the next few decades? It seems unlikely to me that randomness should have bequeathed us with this function, and in a materialist universe we are just going to have to wait around for a few million years of "survival of the fittest" and hope that the right kind of morals randomly fall out the back end of the random process.

If such doesn't happen, that must mean that "the right kind of morals" just didn't randomly arise at "the right time" and the great roulette wheel of randomness will just keep spinning along without us. Small loss in a cold godless universe!

It is nice to see that even strict materialists have "hope" -- I'm thinking that he may want to invest more in lottery tickets with his faith in the great god of the dice. It seems so strange that a random process would generate a brain that questions the outcome of the random process (the existing state of the world), yet somehow believes that one of the outputs of that random process (us) is somehow responsible to "fix it".

Goracle Peace Prize

Al is a Nobel Prize winner! He invented the internet, provided the model for "Love Story", personally flew down to the Texas fires with James Lee Witt, but now he has a a real win to go with some of his imaginary ones.

Given the list of people below, I think he fits right in.

2005 MOHAMED ELBARADEI -- Fantastic UN nuke inspector. Iran, North Korea, you name it, it keeps them all under control!

2004 WANGARI MAATHAI. A Kenyan ecologist who teaches that the AIDS virus is a biological agent deliberately created by the industrialized nations.

2002 JIMMY CARTER JR., Was apparently an OK peanut farmer, but that was the peak of his ability. Has never met a foreign policy situation he couldn't make even worse.

2001 KOFI ANNAN, United Nations Secretary General. Managed to preside over Saddam lining various pockets with something like $20 Billion from the UN "Oil for food" (or more accurately "Palaces for Saddam") program

1994 YASSER ARAFAT, A guy that never met a Jews he didn't want to provide as painful a death as possible.

1992 RIGOBERTA MENCHU TUM, Wrote the fake but not even close to true book "I, Rigoberta Menchu."

1988 THE UNITED NATIONS PEACE-KEEPING FORCES, Great group of folks that couldn't stop a sorority pillow fight, but are darned competent at various forms of rape and child abuse around the world.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Democrats Attack Turkey

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Turkey has recalled their ambassador since the Democrats have decided it is time to label a pre-WWI action in Turkey as "genocide". I'm sure the fact that Turkey is one of the only allies in the region in the War on Terror with 70% of the air cargo and 30% of the fuel going through there has NOTHING to do with it.

The Democrats are real "bridge builders", in this case to Armenians that have been dead since before WWI. Just a small harbinger of the kind of inciteful foreign policy that we can look forward to when they take over completely in '08.

Oh, and on CNN, the HEADLINE was some Iraqi families sue Blackwater ... this did make the side headlines if one looked, but we DO know what CNN considers important. Nobody would ever accuse the MSM and the Democrats of overtly working to assure defeat in Iraq would they? No, deciding that a time when we have troops in harms way that depend on supplies through an ally is a GREAT time to "get the record straight" on something that happened 100 years ago!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Selling to the Lowest Bidder

Powerline has a good post on Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell. It contains one piece of logic on the idea of "Uncle Tom" Blacks, a charge variously leveled against any Black that claims a conservative position at any time; Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Thomas Sowell ... all of them.

"You don't sell out to the lowest bidder". All of these people are extremely intelligent people, they are well aware of the price they pay to hold a conservative position. Given the society that we live in, accomplished Black people of their level of ability are nearly certain to be highly successful, AND, if they hold the "proper" political views, popular to the point of canonization.

Instead, people like Thomas have the strength of character to hold the positions that they believe in and face countless cruel attacks, usually with generally good humor and a lack of anger. Meanwhile, liberals and the MSM repeat like a mantra that "they have sold out". Clarence Thomas is far more intelligent than I, he knows the price he pays. I don't even have the intelligence to see through the most simple of MSM scams it seems-thanks to Powerline, I now see this one.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Best Economy Ever?

Powerline asserts that the current Bush economy may be the "Best Economy Ever". Is it? I don't have the time to go do research, but I can bet that the MSM won't be giving us any information on it if it was doing well, and they certainly seem to be avoiding that. Lots of job growth over a long period, lots of income growth and the stock market back at record highs.

In August as the sub-prime mortgage meltdown impacted the market and the Fed took actions though, the media had quite a lot to say. I notice that they never went back into the origins of the sub-prime mortgage market-a short perusal of the web looks like it showed up as a major option in the late '90s. I wonder who was President then? No doubt the whole deal was a very good idea, just "poorly executed" by the incompetent Bush.

I love how adding liquidity to the FEDERAL RESERVE system, which is "government banking" (something that one would think that liberals would LOVE) is viewed as "helping the wealthy". Avoiding a recession is pretty helpful to most everyone, and it appears that we have avoided it for at least the moment. No cause for celebration in the MSM though-keeping Clinton in was critical to the late '90s economy, even though it crashed in March of 2000, with him still in the White House. In those days though, the loss of $6 Trillion of internet bubble bursting stock market capitalization and all the econimic indicators sinking like rocks was no news story at all. In those days, only good economic news was worth printing.

I suppose if one is a liberal, it is difficult to figure out what changed.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Winnie

I'm sitting in the Hilton Austin now on business, but last week I was up at Williams Narrows Resort on Lake Winnibigosh in NE MN on the annual fall fishing trip. Fishing was "fine" from Saturday through Monday night with a reasonable number, some keepers and some in the slot at 17-20", but just average. The weather those first few days was GREAT though, so it was a lot of fun to be away from work and outdoors having fun.

Monday PM the cold front came through and there was rain, but as sometimes happens in the fall, it turned them on and the action picked up for Tuesday and Wed. Most of the fish were on bars in 15-20', but some were caught up to 30' deep and as shallow as 5'. Some action on the N shore of the main lake, but most of the action was in Cutfoot Souix.

My new 80lb thrust trolling motor worked GREAT. I've never felt that my Tyee was controllable in wind with my old troller. This one plays with it and I can put the boat exactly where I want when I want it there ... and I can pull it around to troll cranks. All agreed it was the best upgrade that I've ever put on the boat in it's the 15 years I've had it. In combination with the onboard charger and the glass mat batteries, it just worked completely like a charm.

Very odd to be out fishing from Saturday-Thursday, home Thursday night and Friday night, and now out on the road and not getting back until Friday evening. Guess I'm getting to be a homebody.