Monday, March 31, 2008


Welp, I went though the posts and added tags to posts and whatnot.

The frequency of what I talk about is a bit interesting, well no it's not.

I've got a few things I want to jot down, so there's that.

At least the tags will make the content easier to search out.

Sadr's Surrender

The cable news (including Fox) seem to be totally botching the details of what's beeng going on over there with Sadr and the recent fighting.

Bill Roggio has a report that Maliki has little reason to ease up. Given how he actually won.
Dave Price has a nice peice full of links that cuts though the BS and alot of the media's double talk.

As Glen Reynolds said in an earlier (bit still full of great information) post.
"It's like deciphering coverage in the old Soviet newspapers."
Nice video in that link too. If you haven't read the Instapundit link go to it and read more.

You'll get alot more detail and information than any newspaper or TV news show.
And that's Four- Tens.

They Might Be Giants Fan Vid

Here's a Fan Music Video of a TMBG song.

It's of "Your Racist Friend"

I think you all can guess the topic on it.
Though I'd be interested if such a montage could be made about past mentors/friends of Hillay! and McCain. Depressed, but interested.

More Links and Such

The downside of running as a 'new politician" and a conveyer of hope and a harbinger of change, when someone realizes that you've been playing shenanigans and taking you for a rube they tend to get a bit... angry.

Here's a democrat's perspective on falling for BHO, falling away from BHO, and the fallout from people still in BHO's thrall.

It's not like BHO is saying he'll end the war via victory.

Politics as usual is the New Politics, and Far Liberal Stances are the New... Moderate?

Remember BHO says judgment is more important than experience. So let's see what BHO's judgment is like shall we?

And in more positive news. Maybe the judgment of young people isn't so screwed up.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

News from Basra

Here's a roundup of what's been going on in Basra.

From Glen Reynolds.

Odds and Ends

I should probably get into more of the mundane bits in my life.

So far nothing much.

I've found a good place to get some nice oak bookcases set to order.
Now I've got to figure on what couch/bed thing for my spare room. Once I get that part out my spare bedroom / library would be setup more and I can figure out the space for bookcases.

Work is work.

I've really enjoyed cooking with a cast iron pan. THey're harder to manage. Since the handle is all iron too, you can't grab it without a mit or somesuch. You also can't use soap to clean them. They also have to be oiled and seasoned properly to keep the surface finish well.

Now on the upside they provide a very even cooking surface. The material is thick enough and acts like a heatsink to really diffuse the temperature on the inner surface. This sink works in time too, so it has a slower response to temp variations.

They are a much better cooking surface than thin steel pans.

Also from the old gang Blake's got a blod "Prepare to be Underwhelmed."

In my blog news: I should really start using the tags/lables.

And I should get in those book and video game reviews I had been thinking about.

Also I need to write a post explaining the name of this blog. That day I can start using the phrases.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fear and Food

What happens when you mix ignorant fear of science former Imperical colonial powers dictaging what food is allowed?


Always lovely, that unfounded fears of science can hurt so many.

A mess of News

Jonah Goldberg on the propagation of studies into the blindingly obvious.

" Anyhow, when did victory become a distinct and identifiable Republican characteristic? I'm not saying it is - but there are certainly a lot of non-Republicans out there who believe it without question or hesitation."

Don Surber on a recent nuanced change by BHO

Ace has a different take. Relating to what BHO thinks about the intelligence of the average American.

Rachel Lucas has her own view on this.

As an aside, I'm rather irked by the current defense of Wright. That what he did was vile and racist but that it doesn't show on BHO.

I suppose it doesn't reflect BHO's judgment to have such a long and close association with this man.

Just consider if the parties were switched. And a very charismatic person on the right who had been promising change and hope and new politics turned out to have associated for such a long time with such a vile preacher.

And for fun add in the association with Rezko.

Related, Pam Meister on the effects of having your candidate go from messiah to man.

Rand talking about some "sudden" realizations the press is having about Hillary! Clinton.

Also from Rand a nice brief on the history and future of Space planes

From Strategy Page a new twist on the M-16 versus AK-47 argument

Also from Strategy Page another article entitles "Sending The Foreigners Home" It's not what you think, unless you're actually following what's going on over there.

From Victor Davis Hanson, 10 things a candidate should talk about.
I have my doubts, that they'll take the advice.

Mother of All Cultural Battles? Uh oh....

Some scary stuff from Finland via Samizdata

From Samizdata, an article about some dangerous social controllers. "Hillaries and Huckabees"

I don't really *like* McCain, and this is part of why.

Sad part is on this issue, Clinton and Obama are much worse, and the reality is one of the three (baring any strangeness like Gore) will be will be the next president. So you have to make the choice of least worst.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Technically not "Middle Classness"

What would you think of a man who is about to move into a 10,340 square foor $1.6 million dollar home in a gated community?

What if that man was awarded this house by speaking hate and racism from the pulpit?

From Gateway Pundit see Wright's new digs.

It's a funny world ain't it?

Your Money, Their Mistake

I'm skeptical on the prospect of "bailing out" people that gave out loans irresponsibly and the people that took loans to be questionable.

Especially if the money used comes mostly from people that were not irresponsible with their mortgages, or did not even take out sucha loan. For a "meltdown" the vast majority of mortgages are being paid on time.

The response from the various candidates has been interesting.

Link has more, and links to more.

My thoughts on politics.

Politics should be a pragmatic game, where you vote for the candidate that seems the least worse.

There is an alternative... to go for candidates that you emotionally like, and feel a connection too and have hope in. That seems risky to me. To delve into tautology: politicians are politicians.

They're all egotistical, opportunistic, and cheats.

The alternative, where you end up with a candidate that you really, really like, and have tremendous faith in, and feel he will change everything, and if he's someone you have a great personal attachment too...

Well, there's two options.

Either you're very Very VERY lucky, to have someone that matches what you think and is so great that he's everything you ever wanted.

Or.. you're a total fool, and you've fallen for the line your guy's fed you.

What are the odds that your guy is the one perfect and great politician?

Among other things, politicians are supposed to be charismatic. So, it's natural they get people under their spell.

But, I can still be worried about it. That's part of why I'm quite wary of BHO (and people like Ron Paul for that matter).

People shouldn't look to their political leaders as if they were anything more than politicians.

That's the irony. What I like about McCain (and Hillary! to a much lesser extent), is that the supporters don't seem to like them very much. The supporters just feel that their guy, or gal, is better than the other knobs.

I enjoy a candidate that is picked because he's the least bad choice. There isn't the sense that most of their supporters are a mass of rubes that have been snookered by a snake oil peddler.

Terrorists with Nuclear Material

Coulumbia has been making real progress against FARC.
Strategypage has good background

But it looks like FARC has gotten some stuff a bit more... alarming.

If you keep picking at it....

Scandals are a lot like sores.

If you keep picking at it, it won't go away.

Well Obama keeps poking at this Wright mess.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Models versus Reality

One of my main issues with Global Warming models is the faith people will put into computer models.

The big problem with climate science is the same as geology. It's not repeatable and thus harder to study correlations, and linking causes and effects.

I've worked with computer models and the phrase "Garbage In Garbage Out" is very true. Your inputs determine how accurate your outputs can be.

Another factor is that your assumptions and governing equations. The model will only tell you what you model it to do.

So if critical feedback mechanisms, like the effects of increased water vapor are not computed properly...

This is why I was always skeptical of people touting Climate Models. Climatology is much more difficult to model than a lot of engineering problems. Especially since simulation results on engineering problems like fluid dynamics, structural, and heat analysis can be compared to experimental tests.

Climate studies do not lend such an elegant verification method.

More information is given here.

From Ace

And rom Ed (linked by Ace)

The nice thing about moral equivalence and nuance...

Is how flexible it is.

Not only can you use it to explain why some racists are beyond the pale while others must have their hate understood within their context.

But it also allows for media bias and selective reporting.

Tamara has a related question about KIAs in the war.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Clarke, Science, and God

Give my "timeliness" I'm sure most of you know Arthur C. Clarke has died.

Despite his long life it's still sad.

Rand has some good thoughts on it.

I can really agree with the sentiment that Clarke's work helped inspire one to go into science and engineering.

He also mentioned CP. Snow's two cultures.

Now I'm going to commit the sin of posting something I got from Wiki without verification

"A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?
I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question -- such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? -- not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had."

I like the point here. Well-rounding is key, a scientist or engineer should be able to understand and appreciate the arts, but similarly someone in the humanities should at least have a basic knowledge of science and physical laws.

Rand also cited a very good short story by Clarke "The Star".

It reminds me of one things about God. You can't disprove the existence of an omnipotent being, and what's more worrying is the opposite. If there ever were proof of God... what kind of God would that be?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spitzer & Blackmail.

Well, I'm late on this subject. Rand Simberg is a source for some info on the former governor.

Independent of any morality or legality two things strike me.

First, the pure schedenfreud of a "moral crusader" being taken down by the very thing he's railed against.

Another is the potential for blackmail. Spitzer was very unpopular, being a bullying arrogant man that used his power as a cudgel. This means that a scandal would sink him, as it just did.

So anyone that had proof that Spitzer was doing these things, had great leverage against him. Regardless of any legality, there are somethings people that work with sensitive information (I'd think a governor would count) should not do, and that's put themselves in a situation where an outside force can have leverage against you.

And Spitzer did just that.

Expensive Oil

From Popular Mechanics comes a reasoned, if breif, look at what the high oil prices mean.

It takes an economic look at events and does more than just the blind panic most articles dealing with "peak oil" mention.

Higher prices in oil will decrease demand which will ease some supply issues (and more efficiency and conservation), but more importantly they will make areas that used to be unprofitable worth looking into. It also spurs development to help extract more oil out of existing sources.

The third effect, obviously, is creating interest in alternative energy sources, and ones that may be viable.

It's a nice little article on energy situations.

Hope, Change, Hate

BHO has tried to campaign almost entirely on his skills as an orator, his now almost self-parody of stating change, self-styling himself as a bipartisan healer, and an ideas of post-racial unity. He's saying he's beyond the normal politician.

For bipartisan chops... his record speaks for itself (remember that previous post about that being a dirty trick?). This is why his campaign has been fuzzy on the details and high on the savior rhetoric.

He's even got posters made up for himself using the same artist behind "Obey the Giant".
What used to be satire of Soviet propaganda is now earnestly being used to stump for the latest "Dear Leader"

For the racial healing and unity part...

Neglecting the question of if it's even the job of the US president to "save our souls", "heal our meanness", or "bring us together". Does BHO even have the ability to do it?

Consider the situation with Revered Wright.
This was a pastor in a church that BHO reached out for, one that he has gone to for twenty years, has donated to. This is the same preacher that he had marry him and his wife, that baptized his daughters, that was even the source for his autobiography (kind of odd that he's already written that).

So this is not a casual relationship.

And what kind of man is the Reverend? A youtube search can be very illuminating.
Look up things like: CIA, US government, Jews behind crack-cocaine, AIDS being made by the US government to kill blacks, that America deserved 911, that whites are responsible for a whole litany of ills.

In short, the man is a hater and a racists. He preaches hate.

I'm sure that the proper "context" would make it all better. And it's only fair. I mean when it came out that Huckabee's spiritual advisor has spewed a constant stream of racists and paranoid ranting... Oh wait that didn't happen. It doesn't take much imagination to see what would happen if a Republican had a history with a preacher of this degree of hate.

Now you'd think this, spiritual mentor, to BHO would be an ideal candidate for him to help?
But you see... that would require BHO to actually do something and take an uncomfortable stand. He'd rather have it both ways.

Just look at his tepid response to this scandal

Until this speech BHO was saying he never heard his pastor say such hateful and unhinged things. Which given the 20 years meant that BHO was either lying, massively unobservant, or astronomically lucky.

One nice thing about this speech. It clears things up, BHO was lying.

His response also shows how he tries to wriggle and two step around this issue. He won't condemn this hateful man, but he'll criticize the rest of us for not getting the context.

At least one nice thing is that this has shown that BHO is just the same old politician we can expect from the far left. Unwilling to deal with the madmen and snakes in his own party.

He's met with members of the 60's radical group The Weathermen. Unapologetic domestic terrorists.

But like the Rezko scandal and the Powers scandal (wow... BHO also touts his judgment... guess it doesn't apply to when he picks associates) this is just Obama playing politics.

He worked with Rezko, wheel greaser extraordinaire to help get further in the Chicago political machine, and he associated with this church for a long time to build up his reputation in the "Black Community".

Well it's either that or BHO really does like listening to hateful, vitriol.

He's also said he would no more disown Wright than he would his Grandma. Obama also seems to forget that while you can't pick your family (or at least his racist white grandmother) you can pick your friends. Or in this case your pastor.

Oh yes... how does BHO deal with racism in past instances?

I doubt this would mean much to those that already feel Obama will heal their souls, but to those still on the fence... it's disturbing.

It's been a very... interesting election.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Having it both ways or just "nuanced"?

It seems that OHL (Must be careful not to use his full name) is having his past examined.

Now it seems a bit "old fashioned" to judge a man who wants to be president based on past choices; it'd be much nicer if we were all to just get weak in the knees at his speeches.

Maybe we should look into the character of a man Obama saw fit to marry him and his wife, baptize his daughters, and from whom he got the title to his autobiography. Rand has some thoughts on that and what said preacher is like.

Not exactly the clergy man you'd expect a "uniter" and "post-racial" man to seek out.

Related, John Podhoretz on why Hillary! is staying in. Of course she's biding her time.