Comments by: YACCS
Thursday, July 31
Bush won’t bend on gay marriage
"President Bush has not taken a position on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but his belief that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman “is a principle he will not compromise on,” his spokesman said Thursday."Well, big whoop. I think he's got the wrong attitude on this - it's going to be drummed as a high-profile issue, and it just plain isn't except for those who need an issue to bash Bush on.
3 Forest Activists have been charged with felonies at anti GE trees lockdown! : SF Indymedia
"emotional arguments and handwaving and ducking technical issues..."I looked in on this after being gone for a while. Emphasis is mine in the exerpt above. Someone was pushing fact, and complaining about the emotional aspects of the arguement. As you can see, Auntie-N stated it was all about emotion. Such is the state of what passes for reason on Indymedia. The following response was posted...
"Taking fear for fact?Sound bites. Gotta love them. To distill an encyclopedia's worth of data down to "it's still not safe enough to bet our lives against" shuts off any further discussion of the subject. What's likely amusing is that Auntie N probably lives in California (although I have no basis for that belief) and likely got affected by the power shortages last year.
Wednesday, July 30
TIKRIT, Iraq — Skeptical Iraqis began to accept that Saddam Hussein's sons Uday (search) and Qusay (search) were dead after a new audiotape (search) attributed to the fallen dictator acknowledged his sons had become martyrs in the fight against American occupation.One of the odd things about both Osama and Saddam - they can't find anyone with a video cam. Isn't there a single one left in Baathist hands? They can't even borrow one from Al Jazeera?
One of the really nice things about audiotape - it's not a visual medium. You can cut and splice words in an audio clip easily with a good editing program. And I have to admit - I wonder if that's what's happened here, done by the US.
And if so - then I think that's a great idea. There's a dumpload of diehard Baathists who won't give up without proof - think of the Japanese guy who finally came out of the woods in the late 70s, and how there was resistance in Germany until well into 1947. This is giving them the 'proof' they need to honorably quit fighting - and I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of them were heaving a sigh of relief.
Tuesday, July 29
Chief Wiggles -- Straight from Iraq:
"Everything I have witnessed and know to be true is the antithesis of the scenario painted by the author of the article in question and many other articles in newspapers around the world, including those at home in the United States. It's very much in vogue to identify and decry mistreatment of prisoners, and there are in fact many systems which could be greatly improved. But by and large, it is a far better thing to be captured by the United States of America than most other countries, perhaps any, and we are continually working to improve our capacity for humane treatment.Again - the media is failing to do the job. You see bits and pieces of the story, but journalists are mistaking the peacetime "If it bleeds, it leads" priority's appropriateness for PEACETIME with the need of the WHOLE story to be distributed during war - or at least as much of the truth as it's possible to give, regarding opsec.
There's a big story here, about how the media is categorically failing to do what they're supposed to be doing, in favor of looking for anything they can twist into a story that'll get them fifteen seconds on the news. It's all about face time - and the devil take the hindmost...
Monday, July 28
Bob Hope has died.
You know, it's hard to imagine a time when adult movie humor didn't include foul language. Bob Hope brought us humor from a time where George Carlin's 7 words didn't make it into print, much less the movies.
And although I'm for freedom of speech, there's a part of me that quietly mourns for the time when it wasn't considered high art to sprinkle gratuitous profanity into adult humor. After a while, it all sounds the same - and as I'm trying to teach Aaron there's jokes that are funny once, and others that are funny always.
Bob Hope had a lot more of the "funny always" kind of jokes. And I think that'll be remembered long after the current crop of 'comedians' have run out of dirty words to shock us with.
Godspeed, Bob. And thank you.
Sunday, July 27
Open microphone catches California Democrats talking about prolonging budget crisis:
"Unaware that a live microphone was broadcasting their words around the Capitol, Assembly Democrats meeting behind closed doors debated prolonging California's budget crisis for political gain.Whoopsie. Dang, isn't it a pain when someone leaves a mike on?
And is anyone else sadly not surprised by the idea of politicians attempting to extend a crisis? (Or, actually the idea of Democrats extending a crisis?)
Seems to me things are pretty much at the point where although you may be suspicious of what a Republican says, you can definitly be sure a Democrat is lying...
"CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, VANITY FAIR: Well, I had been there earlier this year in late March, in fact, on the southern border, briefly. And I remember then that the whole mind set of the press, you may remember it, was that it was a quagmire. It is a better story. Remember that week when Donald Rumsfeld seemed to have lost the plot? Most of my colleagues thought, “Well, that reads better.” And I remember that mentality when I was there recently. I was in north and south and central Iraq. The press is still investing itself, it seems to me, in a sort of cynicism. It comes out better for them if they can predict hard times, bogging down, sniping, attrition.The news you won't see...
It really is rather amazing how you never hear anything GOOD about what's going on in Iraq. Rather like the 'quagmire' paradigm is the prominent one - and there's nothing that'll be reported that's less than negative. And the journalists wonder why they're not seen as 'respectable' as they used to be.
Saturday, July 26
I'm back. And Father's started having a bit of a problem with atrial fibrilation. They're going to implant a defibrilator Monday. But he IS in a rehab facility - and we'll see where that goes.
We also found a combination real estate and estate sale agent that my mother likes and can work with. I had a lot of worry over this, and am quite relieved. They're putting the house on the market next Friday (1 Aug). So if you're looking for a 2600 sq. ft. house in Albuquerque, let me know and I'll pass on your name.
It's good to be back. I hope I won't have to go out there again - but I'm keeping my bag packed.
LILEKS (James) The Bleat:
"If a judicial candidate says “I’m personally opposed to (social issue X), but it is legal, and any rulings I make on the matter will be informed by the law, not my own beliefs,” ought that not be sufficient? I want my judges to uphold the law, not contort it to fit their views. I don’t want them teasing penumbras from the emanations of the glow of the spark of the reflection of the echo of the intent of the Framers - I want them to deal specifically with the specific words of the law, as they specifically apply. So if someone accuses a judge of being unable to uphold the law because they hold a personal belief that conflicts with the law - even though that belief has nothing to do with the specifics of the case - then the accuser might be giving us a window into their own souls. The accuser might be suggesting that they would overturn a law to fit their personal morality, regardless of the fitness of the statute. Isn’t that how people behave, after all?"Nail. Hammer. Head. Hit.
There's a lot of folks who see Mr. Lileks as a lightweight, blogging about this and that and nothing of consequence. They don't read him carefully, that's all I can say. How often do you hear from the folks on judicail nominating committes that so and so is not suitable because of their personal beliefs? And it's rather amazing how the unacceptable candidates are almost always of the opposite political persuasion. Gee, how statistically unlikely is that? Obviously the comittees aren't biased in any way...
Wednesday, July 23
Father's getting transferred to Rehab today. He had a few days where he was rather weak, but he's really doing well now. I'm planning on coming home Friday, at this point.
On the Iraqi front, Saddam's sons have been confirmed dead.
And there was much rejoicing.
Saturday, July 19
Okay - quick update. I'm stuck out here in Albuquerque, and the list of 802.11b hotspots I downloaded before the trip out seem to all be dead. (Note: Flying Star cafe chain is NOT a good bet for internet access.) But enough of my problems - thank heaven for Kinkos - where I am now.
Father had his surgery yesterday. 2 valves, two arterial grafts. So far, so good there. His heart stopped again when they were prepping him for surgery, but they went ahead and he's stable.
Mother had surgery on her back on Thursday. Now she's got a bit of chest pain and a sore throat, and she's afraid her pneumonia is coming back.
I'm hoping to come back this week, but it may not be possible. I'm putting the house up for sale, and I'm trying to persuade my folks to use an estate sale agency to get the majorityy of their belongings sold. And boy, have they got the stuff....
Anyway - Daniel, Oreta and all - thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'll try to check back in a couple of days.
Thursday, July 17
Daniel Taylor here, turning the lights on until Jerry gets back.
Jerry's dad was scheduled to undergo open heart surgery (two bypasses and a valve reconstruction) when his heart stopped. Because he is in a first-rate heart facility, they got it started again.
There appears to be no brain damage, and they intend to go ahead with the surgery as planned. The risks just increased dramatically, but there is really no other option.
Jerry is in Albuquerque now. Prayers and happy thoughts are encouraged.
Sunday, July 13
What is there about facts that are anathema to the anti-nuke activists? Something to be avoided at all costs? It's kind of amazing, seeing the gyrations they'll go through to avoid dealing with ... facts.
While browsing, I ran across this thread on Indymedia. The interesting part started when a "Mr. T" mentioned nuclear power as an alternative to oil, and someone who later termed themselves "Auntie N" started going on about how a single nuke plant that went into a "China Syndrome" event would destroy the world. Not contaminate large swaths of land, but literally destroy the entire ecosphere. In her own words, ""It's no joke. It's entirely possible. It only has to happen once. We wouldn't all die at once. Most of us would die months, even years, later. We'd die slow, hideous, painful deaths from every kind of cancer imaginable. Any living thing that happened to survive long enough to reproduce would have horribly mutated offspring who would in turn die slow, hideous, painful deaths."
Shades of a '50s comic book. Think I saw that plot in an EC reprint about 35 years back...
Anyway, "Auntie N" has also been trying to duck the issues, referring to posts that rebut her emotion-based arguments as "straw men", "ad hominem" and such - when she's the one ducking the issues. Finally, someone got tired of it.
3 Forest Activists have been charged with felonies at anti GE trees lockdown! : SF Indymedia:Last post was on Friday. There could be more, but I'm thinking this particular thread's at an end. Emotion seems to be a lot more important than actual facts, and supposition is more valid than engineering or the physics involved.
Yes, I find Indymedia entertaining at times. Other times, when they're raving about the advantages of communism or the gentleness and saintly heroism of the Palestinians, it's rather disgusting. Rather like flushing a toilet, and waiting for the feces to swirl down...
Saturday, July 12
Things are not getting better with my father. He had a number of episodes of atrial fibrulation last night. I've decided I need to get out there - so we're looking at fares for Monday. If anyone's got some discount codes, I'd appreciate them. I also have to get my brother from Seattle to Albuquerque.
Sigh. Life's getting too darn interesting.
Friday, July 11
Independent Media Center -:
"Perhaps every week should be Independence From Corporate Media Week. As the effort in the U.S. Congress to reverse the FCC ruling on corporate media monopolies continues, media activists are turning up the heat on their senators and congressional reps. Even former president Clinton is taking a position against the ruling. However, FCC neo-cons like Michael Powell remain arrogant and continue fronting for the corporate media while harassing and shutting down micro broadcasters. At the same time, media corporados continue business as usual, consolidating their oligarchic death grip on the news, and touting the Whitehouseparty line, most notably on Faux News and through the Networks. Many say it's part of the global media oligopoly. "Okay, I'm breaking my long-standing custom of not putting in links to Indymedia.
Because it's clear that these folk haven't a clue when it comes to the real world. They bemoan corporate media monopolies - yet see no apparent problem with using servers on the WWW, researched and developed and made by... corporate entities. Connected by fiber, made by... corporate entities. Powered by electricity, made by ... corporate entities. Accessed through PCs, hooked up to ... corporate entities. Running software made by... corporate entities.
Yet, they rail against corporate media. Perhaps there's just SOME kinds of corporations that are bad...
More such efforts at alternative independent media, as well as grassroots direct actions confronting the corporate takeover of the public airwaves will be needed to successfully beat back the neo-con attack on freedom of the press. Let readers know what media activists are doing in your region here.It's real interesting how Indymedia folk worry about 'freedom of the press'. Take a look at the Hidden Indymedia - that's the list of articles that were posted, and then censored by the SF Indymedia 'editorial staff'. And very often, on their comment threads, anything critical of their stance (rabidly environmental, staunchly pro-Palestinian, fawningly communist or anarchistic) has a tendancy to... disappear.
Free and independent media. Right....
Re the Paternal Unit's heart attack -
They tried angioplasty - it didn't work. Now they're talking about open heart surgery with bypasses and an artificial valve.
Oh, great. Now my father will tick.
Still no idea whether I'm going out there or not. If the surgery doesn't go well, I'll be going out to close things down and get Mother moved out here ASAP.
And many thanks to those who made it to their 60th anniversary party last December. It's appreciated far more than you know...
Not quite a smoking gun - but a real interesting smell of cordite nonetheless...
And you have to wonder - why is it being basically ignored by the media?
Document links Saddam, bin Laden
Wednesday, July 9
My father's had another heart attack. Don't think I'll have to go out this time, but it's still very worrisome.
Monday, July 7
FOXNews.com - The PCspeak of Diversity :
"Ask yourself a question similar to that Orwell posed to his readers. Using Newspeak -- or pure PCspeak -- would it be possible to write the following passage?An interesting article, and it shows how the academic community, which was very concerned at one time about our nation taking on some of the more dodgy aspects of "1984" is doing rather nicely at imposing their own brand of doublethink.
Well worth reading, take a minute or two.
Now, there are some who would immediatly discount this article because it's on FoxNews. Here's a question - if you saw an article like this in your favorite paper - anything from the Marietta Daily Journal to Creative Loafing to the London Times to the Guardian - would you be more inclined to think it true, and worth looking into?
If you had a child, would you think it NOT worth looking at, whatever your political persuasion?
You hear a lot about how the US can't provide electricity in Baghdad.
Ever wonder why?
A man carrying electrical cables he had stolen is arrested by a U.S. soldier in Baghdad, July 7, 2003. Ongoing looting of utility stations, by thieves who melt the copper cables, has been a factor in keeping Baghdad without regular supplies of electrical power. (Akram Saleh/Reuters)Of course, such things wouldn't have occured under Saddam - because those cables would have been attached to the man's genitals.
Just a thought.
Bush praised for efforts to help blacks in Africa
Although Bill Clinton reveled in his image as the "first black president," President Bush has won plaudits for doing more to help blacks in Africa, which he is visiting this week.That was pretty much what Clinton did - talk. There's a certain sector of American politics which takes good intentions (as listed out in speeches) that are never acted on and sees them as being more worthy of note than actual accomplishments. Rather like the joke about the Microsoft employee's frustrated wife who complained to the sex therapist "All he ever does is tell me how good it's gonna be, and he describes things for HOURS, but we never actually DO it!" (Old joke, pre Win95.)
Actions speak louder than words. After 9/11, we could have screamed and blathered about Afghanistan, the Taliban, and Al Quaeda. We could have talked and talked and talked, and nothing would have happened.
Bush doesn't talk. He does things. You might not agree that they're the right things to do - but IMHO he's done more to advance peace in the ME by taking out the Taliban and whapping Iraq a good one than the UN's managed to accomplish in decades, and telling Arafat and the PLO that he's not going to talk with them has gotten them off the stick to the point where they're actually NEGOTIATING with Israel. (Hasn't stopped the bombings, but at least they're talking.)
Sometimes talking fails to get people's attentions. Bush knows this.
Saturday, July 5
NewsMax.com: Inside Cover Story:
" Wednesday, July 2, 2003The article... is interesting. Apparently, simply posting a flyer that someone doesn't like is now grounds for disiplinary action.
So much for freedom of expression on campus.
"Authorities at Cal Poly say it was not the content of Hickle's flier, but rather his very presence that was "disruptive."And so, the inmates run the asylum. Ain't it great? When the mere IDEA of conservatism (in a flyer being posted by a white student) gets people into trouble - it's time to take a serious look at the university policies. Not that they will, of course. Because someone might be offended, and sue the school...
Friday, July 4
I think I've finally figured out just why Communism appeals to certain segments of American academia.
Envy. Sheer, bleeding envy.
Consider your standard academic. Colleges don't pay anywhere near as much as the academics would like to be paid. They see what's going on - they see a lot of students of the hard sciences (such as engineering, chemistry and medicine) go on to really well-paying jobs. They see the graduates of the softer sciences (such as philosophy and English, and in many cases history) end up in lower paying jobs. This is not fair, because they both have 4-year (and in some cases, significantly more) degrees - obviously the value of the person is the same.
And Communism is the great leveler. All are equal, everyone gets the same. From each, according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
But who decides the needs? We've come a long way from when Communism was a Good Idea, needed to counteract the totalitarianism of the Czars. And Communism has proven to be a great leveler, that's true.
A leveler of countries. A leveler of economies. A leveler of people hopes and aspirations.
But the academics don't see that. They see what Communism promised (but failed to deliver) and they see engineers earning more than double their pay. And doctors earning more than triple.
Obviously, something is Not Right Here, and Must Be Corrected. Because they can't conceive that they are worth less than an engineer or a doctor. They are, after all, academics. They have spent decades in their careers, getting to the point in the academic food chain where THEY are tenured, THEY have survived the academic infighting - and now they're big fish in a miniscule pond. And sucess outside that rubs their noses into the fact that THEY have nowhere to go, except another academic position somewhere, paying maybe a bit more.
So Communism is seen as the answer. And they ignore where it's been applied and failed. (Which is arguably every country on earth that HAS tried it.) But failure is subjective, outside the hard sciences. And so, they keep pushing Communism - because under THAT system everyone is equal... equally miserable.
Anyway... on this 4th of July, take a moment to reflect back on the various kinds of governments the world has had over the millenia. And consider... which, aside from the US, got so much prosperity for so many? Which provided freedom for so many? Which government freed slaves when it didn't have to?
Does the US have warts? Sure it does. But the sucesses vastly outweight the failures. And show me the Communist country where that's the case.
Happy 4th of July!
Eject! Eject! Eject!:
"The ingredients for greatness, goodness, success, happiness and prosperity are not hard to find, and yet so much of the world is a political and economic disaster.There's a new one up. READ IT NOW.
Okay - you back? Fine. This man's hit the X ring so many times, it's not surprising he does it one more time. But this one's his (arguably) finest yet.
I especially love the line - "Get this through your heads, you socialist ninnies! There is not a big, limited pot of wealth that is filled with the Magic Sweat of Authentic Third World Laborers, that America uses its military to steal from when we run out of wealth here at home." And then he proceeds to show how wealth ISN'T a zero-sum game, but comes from human ingenuity.
Enjoy. Happy 4th of July to you!
Falun Dafa Clearwisdom.net
And a happy Fourth of July to you all!
We went to see the local parade today - it was quite a show. The most unusual bit was a Korean (I think, certainly Asian, and the language looked more Korean than Japanese, though it could have been Chinese) (And, with a bit of searching, it WAS Chinese) a Chinese group - the Falun Dafa. Apparently an offshoot or brother organization to the Falun Gong in China, they support freedom in China, among other things. It's interesting, looking at their website...
And consider - there are those who say that minorities can't get a fair shake in the US. Yet these guys got into that most quintessentially American thing - a 4th of July Parade. (And they were WELL ahead of the mounted policemen, to boot! Come to think of it, everyone was - except the street cleaner.) They came, they worked - and now they form a group in a parade. Welcome, folks, to America.
(BTW, one group I didn't see represented? We had black, white, Chinese, Baptists, Catholics, unicyclists and ballet schools - but no Muslims. Not that there's anything wrong with that...)
Something else I noticed at the parade...
No WW1 veterans left to march. A hearfelt salute to all those who fell in battle, through enemy action or through the slow passage of the years. Thank you for your sacrifices, and for what you've done. May God keep you in the palm of his hand.
Very few WW2 veterans are left. Again, my most heartfelt thanks. You took on a miserable job that HAD to be done, and did it with an excellence that freed the world. You and the entire country showed what we could do when the shit hit the fan.
The Viet Nam veterans are the graying ones - and a grateful salute to those. You went and did what you could - and we failed by neither giving you proper geopolitical goals or proper support. Thank you for the perseverance and the effort - it was not your fault the job ended up undone. You've earned a place in heaven because... you know the rest...
There weren't many Desert Storm veterans - a few - and thank you, guys, for the quick response when needed.
There wasn't anything on Iraq, or the WoT. Guess it's a bit early for that - it's going to be a while yet before it's finished, and there'll be time for that later.
Thank you to all veterans, everywhere. You know the costs of your service, and I thank you for it. Freedom is not free - it never has been, and thank you for taking the cost upon yourselves.
And again, a happy 4th to all!
"WASHINGTON — U.S. officials in Iraq have solid evidence of weapons of mass destruction (search) programs and details probably will be released soon, two leading Senate Republicans said Thursday, after returning from Iraq.You ever wondewr how these guys can breathe and walk at the same time? Let's see... they review info that we aren't privy to, decide it's justifiable to vote to go to war, then DISCOUNT the idea later on that Saddam's development of WMD, plus the well-documented atrocities that are coming out, PLUS Saddam's well-known ignoring of the UN sanctions, PLUS Saddam's refusal to disarm -
That's like saying that a dollar bill isn't the same as a five dollar bill. But 5 one-dollar bills has the SAME purchasing power as one five-dollar bill.
The Democrats are getting increasingly desperate - look for them to get more and more shrill as the elections approach, and their rhetoric to get further and further from reality.