Friday, August 23, 2002

Check out this quote from Rep. Eddie Johnson, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, about Denise Majette, the African American woman who defeated Cynthia McKinney:

"If she comes here willing to work with us and is not skewed by the agenda of her supporters, of course we work with her, we all know we have to move past this."

Skewed by the agenda of her supporters? God forbid she actually listens to her constituents. Rep. Johnson also said:

"To have non-African-Americans from around the country putting millions into a race to unseat one of our leaders for expressing her right of free speech is definitely a problem."

Rep. Johnson really does need a lesson in democracy. Money doesn't unseat politicians, voting does. And democracy is all about voting for people you agree with and voting against those you don't agree with.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

David Gelernter responds to those who argue that size isn't everything and makes some comments about culture and architecture along the way.

"Tall buildings do not reflect brazen, adolescent cultures-on-the-make. They emerge in fact (or did traditionally) out of eminently mature cultures flaunting their wealth, technology, design genius, and sheer radiant self-confidence. America no longer wants them, that's for sure, or at least her spokesmen don't. But that is not because we are too mature but because we are too passive and tired.
...
We don't have it in us to do this sort of thing, but the wheel will turn and, who knows? The next generation might. Meanwhile, I'll tell you something, Mr. Goldberger, in strictest confidence, critic to critic: The degree to which the New York City public retains that old-time skyscraper lust is, my guess would be, 100 percent. Critics, big shots, sophisticates, and "activists" are repelled by world's-tallest-building talk, and, faced with this unified front, the man in the street goes along, for the record. But if Donald Trump had succeeded in putting the world's number-one skyscraper back in Manhattan where it belongs (he tried in the late 1980s and was beaten back by community activists), the public would have been thrilled. Opening day would have seen the public celebration of the decade. All the sourpuss harrumphing in the world wouldn't have wiped the smile off the city's face. "
Another great piece by Mark Steyn in the Spectator:

"The old-time commies at least used to go to a bit of effort to tell the Western leftie intellectuals what they wanted to hear. The Islamists, by contrast, cheerfully piss all over every cherished Western progressive shibboleth. Women? The Taleban didn’t just ‘marginalise’ women, they buried them under sackcloth. But Gloria Steinem still wouldn’t support the Afghan war, and Cornell professor Joan Jacobs Brumberg argues that the ‘beauty dictates’ of American consumer culture exert a far more severe toll on women. Gays? As The New Republic reported this week, the Palestinian Authority tortures homosexuals, makes them stand in sewage up to their necks with faeces-filled sacks on their heads. Yet Canadian MP Svend Robinson, Yasser’s favourite gay infidel, still makes his pilgrimages to Ramallah to pledge solidarity with the people’s ‘struggle’. Animals? CNN is showing videos all this week of al-Qa’eda members testing various hideous poison gases on dogs.

Radical Islamists aren’t tolerant of anybody: they kill Jews, Hindus, Christians, babies, schoolgirls, airline stewardesses, bond traders, journalists. They use snuff videos for recruitment: go on the Internet and a couple of clicks will get you to the decapitation of Daniel Pearl. You can’t negotiate with them because they have no demands — or at least no rational ones. By ‘Islam is peace’, they mean that once the whole world’s converted to Islam there will be peace, but not before. Other than that, they’ve got nothing they want to talk about. It takes up valuable time they’d rather spend killing us. "
After my rant about the damage done by enviro-icon Rachel Carson, this is certainly welcome news:

"British scientisits have pioneered a vaccine against malaria that they believe could save millions of lives.

Tests of the vaccination, which employs an innovative approach, have shown that it can produce significant protection against the infection, which is one of the world's biggest killers."
Since we've done 'Star Trek' and 'Jurassic Park' how about adding 'The Matrix':

"While Reeves and Laurence Fishburne were busy working on Matrix Reloaded in Sydney earlier this year, back to back with another gravity-defying sequel, Matrix Revolutions, Dr Nick Bostrom, a Swedish philosopher at Yale University, has leap-frogged developments in the fictional world of films by concluding that the idea of an alternative computer-generated way of life might not be sci-fi but sci-fact.

Dr Bostrom, who will conduct research at Oxford University later this year and has outlined his ideas in a forthcoming paper submitted to the journal Philosophical Quarterly, envisages three scenarios if a society develops to the point that it becomes technologically possible to mimic consciousness in a machine.

First, an extinction event might wipe out that civilisation before artificial consciousness is achieved. In this pessimistic case, we have no reason to suppose that we are in a simulation. Real life remains real - until it ends for good.

Second, the advanced civilisation will not be interested in running simulations, or may lay down laws to prohibit them. But there is another outcome, one possible in a century or so on Earth if human technology continues its pace of development. Civilisation will one day simulate consciousness - if it hasn't already - and then go on to simulate universes for artificial consciousness to inhabit. "If the last possibility is true, then it could already have happened and we are almost certainly living in a simulation," Dr Bostrom said, estimating the probability at "about 20-25 per cent".

If that is true (he has cunningly ignored the decades-old debate over whether artificial intelligence is really achievable) the chances are that it has already happened and we are living in a glorified computer game, a "historical simulation" run by our ancestors for their amusement, or even by film corporations of the future. Disturbingly for scientists, the physics of the universe that we can see may not even resemble the physics of the real world of the simulators. Of course, Dr Bostrom concedes that we may be part of the pre-simulation real world or "original history", rather than a "posthuman civilisation". But given how many simulations there will be over the lifetime of the universe, the odds are stacked against it."
The French have banned death.

"The mayor of a French Mediterranean town, faced with a cemetery "full to bursting", has banned local residents from dying until he can find somewhere else to bury them."
[more] (via The Corner)
After yesterdays 'Star Trek' items, comes this 'Jurassic Park' item:

A group of privately funded Japanese scientists has a mammoth project for Siberia — a safari park they hope might eventually feature a genetic hybrid of the extinct woolly mammals and modern-day elephants.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Silfay Hraka has a quiz for bloggers to see what member of the Hundred Acre Woods they would be. My goal is to be Tigger:

The wonderful thing about bloggers.
Is bloggers are wonderful things.
They make the journalists blubber.
Their bottoms are really big things.
They announce, denounce, pronounce, renounce,
It's fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

But the most wonderful thing about bloggers
Is that we have just begun!
The wonderful thing about bloggers,
Is bloggers are wonderful chaps.
They're loaded with vim and with vigor.
They love to shoot off their yaps.
They announce, denounce, pronounce, renounce,
It's fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
...
but I suspect I am probably closer to Eeyore.
In a few years Star Trek may be viewed as a documentary (*hyperbole alert* but amazing nontheless), first Australian scientists 'teleport' a large group of photons and now in Britain an electric "force field" for armoured vehicles that vaporises anti-tank grenades and shells on impact has been developed by scientists at the Ministry of Defence. [more] (via PejmanPundit)
Jacob Bourne has another post about the insidious, ever-increasing amount of regulation we are forced to endure. These regulations always smack of the not so subtle idea that the populace is completely unable to make the decisions or transactions without ever increasing 'help' from the gubmint. I suspect that a lot of it has to do with just job protection and ass-covering by bureaucrats. If they don't write an endless stream of new and ever more detailed regulations people might start questioning what they are doing on the public dime. I remember reading an article a long time ago that explained that the reason the army had a many paged description of the requirements for what was essentially an Oreo cookie, listing the exact diameter and sugar contents etc and which ended up having the procurement office get much more expensive custom cookies made rather than just ordering Oreos (or better yet Hydrox) was that there were people whose full time job it was to create such procurement documents and if all it said was "Buy 30000 lbs of Oreos" there would be one less person working for Army procurement.
Wish I had written this. But it's even more forceful coming from a person of color who can see beyond the black racists.reparations
MIT Tech Review has an article about an array of electronic components being developed using polymers instead of silicon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

HappyFunPundit suggests that every funding request that gets tacked onto a congressional bill MUST come with a 500 word essay explaining just how this funding relates to the bill in question. Great suggestion, it's related to a a piece of legislation that Ron Paul trys to get passed every year with no luck (I don't think it's ever made it out of committee): That every piece of legislation come with an detailed explanation of what part of the Constitution authorizes Congress to make it.
Rachel Lucas has a great rant on Hillary and taxes.

"... I guess it's finally coming to the point where Democrats don't even try to hide their desire to tax the life out of Americans.

For instance, she said, "The Republican economic strategy has consisted of two things: bigger tax cuts and weaker regulations. That is their answer to everything, no matter what ails you." I don't know about the rest of you, but I like tax cuts. I like them very much. They do in fact enhance my financial situation. So I think they should be half of the government's economic strategy.
...
And then she really lays it on thick: "Last year they asked that Congress pass their big tax cuts before we knew...what emergencies would arise, before we had an economic forecast that reflected the slowdown. As a result, we've gone from paying down the debt and securing the retirement of the baby boomers to red ink as far as the eye can see and back to raiding Social Security and Medicare for tax cuts for the wealthy."

There are so many things wrong with that statement I don't even know where to begin. First of all, I'm not sure what alternate universe Hillary resides, wherein people actually know what emergencies are going to arise ahead of time. That's why they're called "emergencies." You know, like September 11.

And she basically fumbles the ball with the economic forecast comment, because isn't it a good thing that Bush wanted tax cuts at a time when there was NO economic forecast reflecting the slowdown? By Hillary's logic, there would never be "big tax cuts", because if you can't even pass them when the economy looks just fine, when can you?
...
And can I please live the rest of my life without hearing the asinine phrase "raiding Social Security and Medicare for tax cuts for the wealthy"? Please? Nobody is "raiding" anything. What they might be doing is not pumping as many of MY tax dollars into those funds. They might be raising the age for access to those funds. Big deal. Most people these days are perfectly capable of working until about age 70. So they should work.

And what exactly is wrong with giving the wealthy tax cuts? Why is that somehow a bad thing? It is their money, after all. You're just taking less of it from them. Hillary and her Democratic cohorts try to frame it in some horrible light, as though the Bush administration is actually taking money from poor people and old people and giving it to rich people.

That's not the way it works. The federal government confiscates 28% of my income (which is paltry). They then fork it over to various people and institutions. If they simply stopped confiscating as much of my money as they do now, it wouldn't mean they were "raiding" some fund from which they dole out the money. That money was never theirs to begin with. It's mine. "
This story reads like something from the Onion.
To quote the Incredible String Band "Dust be diamonds water be wine"shine on
Greenpeace caught at fabricating a photo of "global warming" impacting a glacier that disappeared in the 1920's
According to astronomers, Pluto could be experiencing a warming trend on the surface and a cooling trend in the atmosphere. Hmmm...sounds mysteriously like trends detected on the Earth, let's see how long before the US is blamed. Time for the new KyPluto treaty. (via IpseDixit)
Grouchy Old Cripple takes the idea of slavery reparations to the logical extreme.

"OK Let's do the Indians too. How far back do ya wanna take this shit? I read somewhere that blacks claim they were the real Egyptians and built the Pyramids and all the Egyptian temples. They did a lot of that with Hebrew slaves. So lets have the blacks pay reparations to the Jews."

Okay so assume that a lifetime's labor of a hebrew slave was worth one penny. Then assume 2% interest (I'm making it a low interest rate as over long periods currency was backed by gold so there should have been little inflation) and then compound that over 3,000 years and divide by 5 as there are about five times more Jews today than there were then (according to the Book of Exodus there were 3 million Jews who made the trek out of Egypt). So I would like my $126,341,282,581,313,151,268,563.72 please Mr. Farrakhan.
Keep this in mind next time you hear the Europeans criticize what have happened to our civil liberties:

"European governments are planning to force all of the continent's telephone carriers, mobile network operators and Internet service providers to store details of their customers' Web use, e-mails and phone calls for up to two years. This data would be made available to governments and law enforcement agencies."

Never try to out-fascist a fascist.
Today is the 25th anniversary of the death of one of my all time favorite comedians: Groucho Marx.

Go here for some samples of why Groucho was one of the greatest comedians of all time. Better yet watch all his movies this weekend.

And as Groucho said and this blog amply illustrates:

"Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others."
Camille Paglia article about the problems with current Leftist thought. (via Tim Blair)
Great collection of quotes from one of my favorite writers, H.L. Mencken.
Another quality Mark Steyn piece.
Will Cynthia Mckinney ever learn? Hopefully we will be rid of her after today.

Monday, August 19, 2002

The feminist community ignored the plight of women in Taliban Afghanistan. They are silent about the practice of stoning women in Nigeria. The gay community is similarly hypocritical when it comes to the treatment of gays in the Muslim world. Their silence is deafening. Where is the outcry for the gay victims of Egyptian trials. While the gay community overwhelmingly supports the Palestinians and berate Israel they condemn their Muslim brothers and sisters to the closet or death. Perhaps Muslim gays are only important to the American gay community when it comes time to visit Marrakech or Casablanca. See where a gay Palestinian goes for safety
A well reasoned piece on why we should support practical environmentalism and not the romantic, emotional and downright sanctimoniously puritanical version.
Taking the sentimental out of primitive cultures. An important book by Roger Sandall The Culture Cult . Especially on a day when the NEA refuses to blame the actions of a primitive band of tribal thugs for their evil actions but rather romanticizes them and chooses instead to cast doubt and blame on the U.S.

For decades we have been assaulted by the moral and cultural equalizers. They sing the praises of any culture that is not modern and technological and damn those that are. They close their eyes to the horrors of slave practices in Africa. The way women are treated in the middle east and the barbarism of the Palestinian homicide bombers. Perhaps this book will signal the beginning of the downfall of these sanctimonious cretins.
A helpful dictionary for reading the Guardian or the NY Times.
Here is a bullshit cause. Slavery reparations. I'm still unclear why I should have to pay reparations to people who were never personally slaves when:

a) I've never owned slaves.
b) My family wasn't even in this country until 1979. During the time of slavery, my family was busy running away from Cossacks who were trying to kill us all.

So it sounds like I would have to pay reparations simply because of the color of my skin. Though luckily this is such a bullshit issue that they can't really even get much of a crowd for it. According to the article "hundreds" rallied for reparations. You can get hundreds of people to rally for just about anything. Free Mumia. Ban Starbucks. Flouridation of the water. De-flouridation of the water. Mandatory meditation for convicted criminals (remember John Hagelin?). And have you seen the crowds waiting to catch a glimpse of Britney Spears as she walks 8 steps from her limo to her hotel?
Just in case you didn't have enough reasons to hate the National Education Association, here is one more. They have come up with some "suggested" lesson plans for discussing September 11. Of course, America is always the bad guy:

"Compiled together under the title 'Remember September 11' and appearing on the teachers union health information network Web site — takes a decidedly blame-America approach, urging educators to 'discuss historical instances of American intolerance,' so that the American public avoids 'repeating terrible mistakes.' 'Internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor and the backlash against Arab Americans during the Gulf War are obvious examples,' the plan says."

Of course, at the same time, they try not to "blame" anyone for September 11. Personally, I love the fact that they are finally admitting that they are brainwashing the children of this country in order to alter public policy, which I think is wrong even if it is so that "the American public avoids 'repeating terrible mistakes.'" Maybe if you losers didn't spend all your time trying to change American public policy our kids wouldn't have some of the lowest test scores of the Western world.

Another story on the dangers of being single. My only comment: Owwww!

(You may wonder how I know he's single since the story doesn't mention anything specifically about it. 1) Because he's 23 and 2) because if he were married his wife wouldn't let him do anything that stupid).
The health benefits of being married are so large that single men are at greater risk of dying than smokers, says a study. [more]

I can see the story now...

Man Sues Single Women of America

Owen Smudgely, short, balding and out of work has instituted a class action suit against the single women of America on behlaf of himself and all the other undesirable single men in America. His lawyer Doug Cheatem from the firm of Dewey, Cheatem and Howe says that his clients health is being seriously threatened because women find him so unattractive that he is unable even to get a date and that a serious relationship or marriage is out of the question. Owen says his suit is on behalf of all the lonely, sex-starved dweebs of America who have to spend their Saturday nights scanning internet porn sites instead of cuddling with the woman of their dreams. In a related story Mayor Bloomberg in NYC has announced a special 150% income tax surcharge on all single men and women saying that the health of the citizens of New York was of paramount concern to him.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

The Simpsons also reminds HappyFunPundit about government.