September 25th, 2009

#1739: What an interesting theory.

Declaring it an "emergency" that Massachusetts has only one senator, the Democrat governor of Mass. appointed a new senator.

In 2004 the Democrat-run legislature of Massachusetts changed the state law controlling how a replacement senator was to be chosen should a seat become vacant between elections. Before 2004, a senator was simply appointed by the governor of the state.

In 2004, however, John Kerry--the then-junior senator from Mass.--was running for President, and the Democrats didn't want Mitt Romney, the then-governor of Mass., to be appointing his replacement, because Romney would have appointed a Republican. So the Democrats changed the law, requiring a senator to be elected in a special election.

Fast-forward five years: Teddy Kennedy shuffles off to the great drunk tank in the sky and the Democrats need every possible vote they can muster in the Senate because they are determined to foist socialized medicine on us. They're unwilling to wait until a new senator can be elected and sworn in; besides, a Republican might win, and they can't have something as pedestrian as the will of the people standing in the way of their agenda.

If you read between the lines, that's exactly what comes out:
The issues before the people of Massachusetts have never been more vital. In the next couple of months, a host of bills will come before the Congress. Those are economic stimulus, education and securities reform legislation, climate change legislation, and a host of others.

In all of these and other ways, Congress is debating our future. Then of course, there is health care reform. These issues before Massachusetts and the nation are too important for Massachusetts to be one voice short.
...because if they are missing the vote of a Democrat senator, the Democrats might not have enough votes to get their way.

The Senate will seat the junior senator from Mass. as--again--the irregularity of the appointment suits the needs of the Democrats, who are in charge. Besides, the senate has no say in how senators are appointed to fill midterm vacancies; the Constitution leaves that matter up to the states. That's why Massachusettes can change its law as it sees fit; but it comes as no surprise that Democrats have tried to game the system at every turn.

* * *

The news here is not that the Obama administration is trying to suppress criticism of ObamaCare, but that it's actually being reported by a mainstream media outlet.

The former is par for the course. The latter is startling.

* * *

Registration always leads to confiscation, always, always, always.

* * *

I am wondering where the deficit hawks are now. During the Bush years we heard an incessant drumbeat from the left about how much of a deficit "Bush" was running up with the war in Iraq.

They're silent now. Totally silent, even though this year's deficit is more than three times the highest deficit under Bush. (The highest ever, until now, last year: $455 billion.)

Next year the budget is projected to run a deficit of $1,500 billion. Welfare alone will account for $888 billion of next year's budget, which is--in one year!--$260 billion more than the entire Iraq effort.

That's the liberal Democrat for you: in the same year, a dollar spent on defense is wasted while ten dollars spent on welfare isn't nearly enough.

* * *

Desperate to end the recession, the Fed is holding the interest rate near zero.

Loose monetary policy is only going to lead to inflation. The problems which led to the recession in the first place have not been dealt with, nor do the Democrats plan to deal with these problems in any meaningful way.

* * *

Is the government trying to manipulate the price of gold?

The dollar has been fiat currency for decades. It's not based on anything; that's why a 2009 dollar buys about 1% of what a 1945 dollar did. But its value can still be compared to the price of gold. The more dollars it takes to buy a given quantity of gold, the weaker the dollar is.

If your country has a habit of overspending, someone has to hold the debt for you; and if your currency is seen as being too weak, that "someone" may change his mind about the wisdom of holding your debt. Even if your economy is the biggest one in the world.

* * *

"The dog ate my data." Brian Dunbar writes about the latest global warming howler; and there's nothing I need to add to his comments on the subject.

* * *

"...[S]eeing a Dear Leader song is deeply, deeply disturbing."

If this were the first such song I might agree wholeheartedly; but it's not the first "Dear Leader" song. (I would say "Glorious Leader" song, but whatev.)

"We're gonna change the world", remember that?

"If before the election we had warned that our children in our schools would be required to learn songs in praise of Barack Hussein Obama, we would have been called paranoid lunatics."

Liberals will say, "Oh, this is just one school" and "you're being paranoid!"

"He said red, yellow, black or white. All are equal in his sight."

Anyone who says those of us critical of this Obama worship are overreacting, read that one line that was taught to schoolchildren. I learned a remarkably similar song when I was a child, but it was in "Sunday" school in church, not in my elementary school -- "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."

This creeps me out beyond belief. If my kids were in this school they would not have stayed there ten minutes after I found out about this. I wonder how those on the left would have reacted had a similar song, except with George Bush as the idol of worship, been taught to their kids in school. Rewind a few weeks and tell me again how those on the right overreacted to the news that Dear Leader was going to be addressing the nation's schoolchildren directly.
I guess I'm not the only person who saw the really strong religious overtones to that "all are equal in his sight" line.

* * *

Read this article.
Consider New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's telling admiration for the communist thugs who run the Chinese government:

"One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonabley enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century."

That in a nutshell is the totalitarian temptation that plagues all who would use the power of the state to impose their vision of the good society on the rest of us.
Admiration for communist dictators in the New York Times? Color me surprised.

What is "reasonably enlightened" about a government which has total control over what its people may say and do? What is "reasonably enlightened" about a country which has no freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion?

I'm sputtering helplessly at that. The leaders of the Communist Party of China are "reasonably enlightened"?

I shouldn't be incredulous at that; I really shouldn't. The big media outlets in the United States have always fawned over the communist thugs of the world, from Lenin to Stalin to Hitler (before he betrayed Stalin) to Mao to Castro, and on. The press never covers the atrocities of communism, never talks about the fact that communism killed one hundred million people in the twentieth century: an average of one million people per year were given token trials with no hope of appeal and then murdered by communist thugs. Some of the communist atrocities happened without trials, such as when Lenin starved the kulaks.

Anyone who admires communism is either evil or a complete fool.

* * *

Elizabeth Scalia poses Headline Questions. "You know, the Bush Tax Cuts expire in January. Immediate tax increases coming. Dems and President hungry for it. Pelosi actually looks ravenous. We’re in such trouble."

Tax increases in the middle of the worst recession in how long? Oh good. That's exactly what we need right now: increase taxes on an already strained economy.

What's that, Democrats? "It's not a tax increase?" Taxes are going to rise, aren't they? Oh, I see; it's not an "increase" because you're just allowing a former, "temporary" cut to expire.

I am the first to admit that I did not go to a fancy ivy-league school like many elite Democrats, and so I suppose the distinction between increasing taxes and merely allowing a tax cut to expire is lost on me. From here it appears that taxes will be higher next year; the end result of either definition is nonetheless higher taxes.

But this is how the Democrats like things: obfuscated. The Democrats get higher tax rates without having to vote for tax increases in an election year. They need do nothing and taxes will automatically increase; and the lapdog press won't ask so much as a single question about the wisdom of letting the Bush tax cuts expire when unemployment is 10% (or 16%, depending on how you figure it) and the GDP growth is still negative.

* * *

The fiancee and I watched El Hazard over two nights, and she seems to have enjoyed it. She doesn't read very quickly, so subtitled anime is kind of "out". Fortunately I have a pretty sizable pool of dubbed stuff from before I went sub-only.

As for me, despite knowing the dialogue well enough to speak it with the characters, I laughed until my posterior nearly separated itself from my body. There's a reason that series remains in my Top 5.

* * * is impossible to find a neutral switch for a 1995 Ford Escort with a manual transmission. Prove me wrong. (Please!)

I've been looking at various auto parts web sites--including Motorcraft!--and have not managed to find anything resembling the neutral switch for my car. I can find the neutral safety switch for an automatic transmission, but that's a $160 part which is not even remotely interchangeable with the one I need.

No one even has a blank spot in their catalogues for the part I need.

How the hell can I be the only person in history who has ever needed a neutral switch for this car? I assume that must be the case since I can't even find a stinking part number for it.

(Stamped on the broken one: "F525". Go crazy.)

Right now I plan to be extra-careful about making sure everything is disconnected from the engine before I remove it from the car. I can't afford to break the only other neutral switch I've got! Because from here, it looks like the freaking thing is literally irreplaceable!

* * *

SO: it's proven that there's water on the moon, about 1 lb per 1000 pounds of regolith. It means that anyone living on/in the moon will be able to mine the soil for water.

And speaking of space exploration:

Today's Day By Day strip mentions Obama not funding NASA "yet".

...I can't wait to read the news stories about this one.

#1740: Gasp! Iran's making nuclear weapons! WHAT A SURPRISE!

"Obama, other leaders: Iran has secret nuke site".

Like, OH MY GOD, Iran is making atomic bombs! Who the hell would have thought it? How could Iran be so treacherous? They said they were pursuing nuclear power for peaceful purposes, not making atom bombs! They lied to us! How shocking!

...if, that is, you're a moron.

Uranium must be enriched to about 3% U-235 in order to work well in a typical light water reactor. It must be enriched to around 90% U-235 to be weapons-grade. Which do you think is happening at this "secret" site?

If you want to build an atom bomb without spending billions on developing an implosion process, or without incurring all sorts of sanctions before you're finished, the uranium "gun bomb" is your best bet: it's cheap, easy, and you can disguise your enrichment program as a fuel program for reactors. It takes two slugs of U-235, total mass around 10 kg, and some sort of arrangement that brings them together as quickly as possible. With the right engineering you could make one from the barrel of a tank's main gun: embed the muzzle in one chunk of U-235 and fire the other one down the barrel with the right high explosive. Add depleted uranium around the muzzle for a tamper and neutron reflector. It won't be man-portable but it'll get you around 20 kilotons plus all the nifty thermal and EM effects of a nuclear bomb.

And if you want to get fancy, well, there are all sorts of ways to build a boosted-fission device that won't significantly increase the complexity of the thing and which will also up the yield by a factor of two or more.

Building a nuclear bomb, even a multi-stage device, is just a matter of engineering; all the science has been done.

OBama's answer? "When we find that diplomacy does not work, we will be in a much stronger position to, for example, apply sanctions that have bite."

"Sanctions". Oh, good. Yeah, that'll work. It worked so well with Saddam Hussein, didn't it? "Oil for Food", remember how well that worked? It worked so well that various UN members were gaming the system and buying lots of oil on the grey market from Iraq, thus enriching Saddam Hussein without doing anything to help the people of Iraq.

The only "sanctions" that Iran will understand and heed are the kind that are dropped from airplanes and have laser-seeker heads. Anything else is bloviation.

* * *

Terror attack planned for 9/11. The islamic goons are big on numerology; hence they do their damnedest to strike on "significant" dates.

* * *

For the past week, it's been amazingly humid here; today is the first time in a while that the dewpoint has been below 60°. Despite the cool temps, I ended up turning on the AC just to dehumidify the place, because the walls were damp. I mean, Jesus, enough is enough already!

When it's humid enough that there is dew forming on the drywall, it is too damned humid.

* * *

On the plus side, my gut finally stopped hurting.

It had been crampy and explody for more than 10 days, but yesterday the cramps finally receded. It's still not 100% but it's vastly better than it was, and I think a few more days will see me getting my energy back.

* * *

FlashForward had its premiere last night. I was skeptical about how good it would be; after seeing the pilot I've concluded that it's not particularly impressive but interesting enough to continue to follow, at least for now. I may change my mind as the series develops.

Tonight is the season premiere of Smallville. This year, Clark is supposed to get the Superman costume; and I fail to see how he can wear the suit but not fly.

The season premiere of House, MD on Monday was pretty good. Generally people seem to think that the writers have broken the show by "fixing" House's personality, but just because House did his best to "get better" it does not mean House is no longer going to be an acerbic misanthrope. Maybe he won't be popping Vicodin (or at least not as much) but as soon as he has to deal with stupidity the wisecracks will resume. House's goal was to "become happy", and to overcome his Vicodin addiction; not to become popular or less sarcastic. House will never be a glad-handing gregarious man, and if the writers tried to show him as such it would not work. (Hugh Laurie could pull it off, don't get me wrong, but it wouldn't look or sound like Gregory House.)

That's the sum total of my TV schedule: Monday, House, MD; Thursday, Flash Forward; and Friday, Smallville.

Oh: Saturday, Powerblock on Spike. End of list.

* * *

Finally, I can't believe September is almost over.