Thursday, December 17, 2009

Marxism v. Freedom

The difference between Marxism and Freedom is this: Nobody wants to die for marxism, but they are quite willing to kill for it. Freedom though, is worth dying for, and we don't want anyone to be killed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

God-king, Line 1 please. God-king, line 1.

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

The Secretary of Protocol is not happy. Remember now, what Miss Manners said?

The American greeting routine used to be simple. Because we officially consider all people to be equal and equally worthy of respect, the same gesture, the handshake -- simple, dignified and egalitarian -- would do for all.

We were willing to believe, the first time (or was that the second) that your shoelace was indeed untied.

But now we really must insist that you stop this before someone thinks you are indeed treasonous.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Citizen Paul. Citizen Kane.

Love this!

(photo updated by Ms. X)

In case you draw a blank at the picture, here's our would-be Veep in action!

Kane (Glen Jacobs) is in the red/black/mask combo. Think he could take that sledgehammer to the Senate chambers? Oh the drama. It could just put the last presidential election to shame...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mrs. O to the Hula Hoops

You've all doubtless heard the story about Michelle Obama hula hooping on the White House lawn, to promote "childrens' health". In case you haven't, here's the picture:

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

And the story: Michelle Obama Hula Hoops to Promote Kids' Health

But did you see the recipes selected to represent Healthy Eating?
No? Take a look.

We have Baked Sliced Apples and Baked Eggs for breakfast. Zucchini Quesadilla for lunch and Sweet and Zesty Popcorn and Creamy Salsa Dip for snacks.

Just for fun, I put a couple into FitDay to see what came up.

By my assumptions (on serving sizes etc.) and Fitdays' calculations, the Baked Sliced Apples came in about 30 grams of carbs per serving, the popcorn snack at 81.8 grams of carbs per serving and the Zucchini Quesadilla at approximately 44 grams of carbs per serving.

Now granted these numbers will vary according to the assumptions made about ingredients and serving sizes.

However, it is no assumption that most of the recipes are low fat, calling for low fat cheddar cheese and popcorn, and only a token amount of butter in the Baked Eggs (and Potatoes) for much needed taste. I'm a little surprised they let the butter in at all, but perhaps they felt the turkey sausage was adequate compensation.

Healthy kids?

Not grown by government.

The Environmentally Friendly Way to Slaughter Animals

Remotely. From thousands of miles away. And they whine about "canned" hunts.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From Meatless Monday to Fat Friday

The Baltimore School District has taken up the banner of Meatless Mondays. This is a government (taxpayer) funded school district, feeding children.

And they are planning to intentionally deprive those children of meat at least one day a week.

Now, if that isn't bad enough, let's look at this practice in combination with some other alarming school related policies simmering around the country.

In Philadelphia, the principals are being graded on the number of Breakfasts the school district serves.

Breakfast participation will be part of the report card that rates principals each year, along with categories such as attendance and math and reading performance.

Here's a sample breakfast from the Philadelphia School District:

Rice Krispies
Graham Crackers
Pineapple Juice
1% Milk

I'm looking really hard for some protein or saturated fats. Nada. In case you are unaware of the history of the Graham cracker, take a few minutes to be amused. Of vegetarians, by vegetarians, for vegetarians. For the suppression of sexual urges. Hmm. All other health/carbohydrate problems aside, do you think maybe the school district has some ulterior motives in pushing this dish so prominently?

Back on track. So far, we have in these two school districts a real drive toward a high carb, low protein, low healthy fat diet, extended to breakfast.

Now let's not forget the president's recent push to extend the school day. If the children are going to school until 5 pm, is it a stretch at all to anticipate that soon the government would be feeding them supper as well?

Meatless, of course.

Beyond the weird anti-paleo dogma, meat is expensive. And if those anti-paleos have their way, it will be even more expensive once cap and trade sets in. So of course, school districts will jump on any band wagon that allows them to cut corners in their mandate to feed the children. Just like they are cutting corners in their mandate to feed the prisoners.

In fact, it may have already begun.

"Children are the next targets.” Fallon cites an Illinois school district pilot lunch program that is using textured soy protein instead of meat in popular dishes such as chili, spaghetti sauce, lasagna and imitation chicken nuggets.

Meatless Monday, Tofu Tuesday, Wimpy Wednesday, Tired Thursday and Fat Friday.

What everyone misses

or noone believes, summed up in this brilliant quote from J.H. Huebert:

I respectfully submit that any strategy that relies on enlightened federal officials declining to abuse their power never held much promise at all.

Whenever you try to educate people about the problems with any particular piece of government legislation, they always come back with "oh, it's well meant, and they'll never go after you for violating it".

That's wrong. Why can't more people see that?

A law in North Carolina that makes it illegal not to recycle plastic bottles. While it's wrong on so many levels, one of them in particular illustrates this quote.

State officials say ordinary citizens need not worry about being penalized if they forget to salvage every last bottle. No one will be picking through trash cans or searching for recycling scofflaws.

Any fines that would be assessed would likely come from state landfill inspectors if they spotted a trash hauler trying to dump large amounts of banned items. But even that is pretty unlikely.

For now, the state is concentrating on making the public aware of the law and encouraging more communities to set up strong recycling programs.

A law just to raise public awareness? Well why the heck didn't they just pass a binding resolution that all the politicians favored this action, and not attach any penalties or requirements at all?

Now we have a recession on, and local governments are starting to get really strict with laws they never enforced before, to raise revenue. The laws ride in on a wave of emotion, and pass because they have great potential to raise lots of money, should the state ever need it. Now that states are beginning to "need" the revenue, perhaps some people will start to think before they vote.

But go ahead, citoyen. Live your comfortable life, feel good about all the laws your government passes to raise awareness, and pray to your gods that you stay in their good favor, and their pocket books stay full on someone elses' back.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Margarine is worse than spanking.

First, we were told that spanking a kid will lower it's IQ by a whopping 2.8 points.

Then we found out that simply having a second child will force a 2 point IQ drop.

Now, we learn that reputable scientists have removed spanking from the top of the LIST OF DANGERS TO CHILDRENS IQ and replaced it with...margarine.

Margarine merits a full 3 point drop.

Of course, I'm sure the "scientists" didn't control for the fact that parents who would feed a kid margarine are probably a few IQ points short of a Mensa membership themselves.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

More on the Spanking Debate

Did you know that in 1998 Murray Straus also published a study perporting to show that kids that were spanked had lower IQ's? That one was based on work done in 1986 and 1990.

So what's the deal, has he done another completely new study? Or did he recycle old data?

Whichever, I want to see the answer to the following - 1986 was 25 (gasp, choke) years ago (REALLY). So let's see the follow up! Track down those kids from 1986 and see if the IQ disparity still remains, and more importantly, lets see what criminal status, academic achievement, net worth etc. are like. In other words, lets see how they turned out as adults.

Because there is something you should know. Murray Straus claims spanking is related to IQs a full 2.8 points lower than non-spanked children. And that, is sufficient evidence to ban spanking.


(there's always a but, isn't there)

You know something else that will result in a 2 point IQ delta? Having more than one kid.

That's right. Your first born will be nice and smart, but every sibling you create will be 2 points dumber.

How cruel can parents be.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

To spank, or not to spank

It's an ongoing question, and constantly generates much heated discussion.

And I have no doubt, much more "heated discussion" (flame wars, really) will follow the latest round of news articles about a study by noted anti-spanker Murray Straus, such as this one from Yahoo! Children Who Get Spanked Have Lower IQs.

The title is the first obvious flaw. The study of course, shows nothing of the sort. The study is a typical correlative study that PROVES NOTHING. Dr. Eades has done tremendous work educating the public about the danger of mining "facts" from observational studies. Interestingly enough, in this article the journalist and the study author himself, readily admit the limitations of this type of study.

But while the results only show an association between spanking and intelligence, Straus says his methodology and the fact that he took into account other factors that could be at play (such as parents' socioeconomic status) make a good case for a causal link.

Still, it didn't keep statements of assumption and fact from headlining the story.

The study, involving hundreds of U.S. children, showed the more a child was spanked the lower his or her IQ compared with others.

What the study actually showed was a correlation between spanking and relative IQ.

The researchers tested the kids' IQs initially and then four years later.
Both groups of kids got smarter after four years. But the 2- to 4-year-olds who were spanked scored 5 points lower on the IQ test than those not spanked. For children ages 5 to 9, the spanked ones scored on average 2.8 points lower than their unspanked counterparts.

Note that is just a relative difference, it says nothing about comparison to baseline intelligence levels.

As Dr. Eades put it "It all seems so reasonable and so scientific, but the truth is that these studies don’t mean squat."

To most reasoning people, that is.

Whether or not spanking equates with dumber kids is not known, and may never be known. That's because the only way to truly show cause and effect would be to follow over time two groups of kids, one randomly assigned to get spanked and another who would not get spanked. Barring that method, which is unfeasible, Straus considers his study the next best thing, as he looked back at a nationally representative set of kids who were followed over time.

The author of the study knows it doesn't mean squat, but is bound and determined to sell his study and push his agenda (yes, Murray Strauss has an agenda)

Next best thing? Sorry, that is not how science works. If you can't do a scientific study, then you do not have any scientific evidence, no matter how much correlation you have done. Period.

According to Dr. Eades, studies like this do have the value of generating hypothesis.

The observational study demonstrates a correlation. In our example above, the correlation is that higher vitamin C levels correlate (in this particular study) with lower rates of colds. So, from this data, we could hypothesize that vitamin C prevents the common cold. But at this stage that would be just an hypothesis – not a fact.

Once we have the hypothesis, we can then do a randomize, placebo-controlled trial.

Except, when it comes to behavior, they can't. That's not to say there are never any "gold standard" behavioral studies, there have been some, mostly on animals, and mostly on benign stuff like pigeons pecking at a bar. But studying discipline, in a "gold standard" way? Very difficult to do ethically.

So while a lot of people with degrees after their names spend a lot of time telling you how to raise your kids, just look for the real science behind their ideas.

That's what a smart kid would do.

At it again.

Dallas News reports:

Federal authorities arrested a 19-year-old Jordanian citizen whom they said placed an inactive car bomb today at Fountain Place, a 60-story skyscraper in downtown Dallas.

Wow, that is terrible. Terrorists are still alive and well in this country, and dangerously close to successfully killing great swathes of us.


Federal agents posed as members of an al-Qa’ida sleeper cell. Smadi, who was in the U.S. illegally, allegedly told them that he came to the country specifically to commit “Jihad for the sake of God.”

Wait, the al Quaida cell was made up of Federal agent (provocateurs)?

The affidavit also says that undercover agents attempted to persuade Smadi that the Jihad obligations of a Muslim can be satisfied in different ways. Smadi allegedly responded each time that he planned to commit “significant, conspicuous violence.”

Oh, so the feds weren't being provocateurs. They were trying to minister to the troubled teen. Of course. You should have guessed that, comrade!

Federal authorities arrested a 19-year-old Jordanian citizen whom they said placed an inactive car bomb today at Fountain Place, a 60-story skyscraper in downtown Dallas.

An inactive car bomb. Was he just a bad designer?

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said city officials were notified of the impending arrest beforehand.

“We were clearly communicated to that there was not going to be a danger to anybody,” Leppert said.

So either the feds knew in advance that their troubled teen was a bad designer, or, they gave him the "inactive car bomb".

Well, if they couldn't get him into heaven, at least they didn't give him a Ryder truck full of ammonium nitrate and fuel.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Purple Passion Power

Gun Owners of America (a great organization, if you're not already a member), sent this email alert to my inbox:

Radical 'Regulatory Czar' Could Pose Problems for Gun Owners

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yesterday, another radical extremist joined the ranks of the Obama administration.

Cass Sunstein, who is an old friend of Barack Obama, is now our new Regulatory Czar.
As the Regulatory Czar, Sunstein will provide the final touches on new federal regulations. No firearm or ammunition needs to be banned outright -- that would be too transparent. As the coauthor of Nudge (2008), Sunstein has already laid out how "choice architects" should carefully guide (or nudge) Americans into making better choices.

So with a little regulation here... a little regulation there... Sunstein can strengthen the iron fist of the federal gun police (otherwise known as the BATFE). Or, he can implement additional federal requirements which will result in firearm and ammunition manufacturers paying more for their merchandise.

Of course, these costs will be passed on to the consumer as new "taxes" that will "nudge" Americans away from purchasing firearms or engaging in the shooting sports.

People are starting to wake up about the malignancy of Cass Sunsteins' ideals in this role of Regulation Czar. David Kramer blogged about it on,but since he has been confirmed, it may be too little too late.

It still dumbfounds me that one can learn exactly what Cass is in mere minutes of searching his prolific writings on the internet, and still hold the position that he is a mere bean counter and regulations mean nothing in this over-regulated world.

Perhaps the term I'm looking for is cognitive dissonance.

It's the Constitution that isn't worth a hill of beans anymore.

Friday, August 21, 2009

How to get Californians out of your state, in 2 easy steps.

Step 1. Show up at "political events".
Step 2. Strap a gun on.

They'll run for the hills of Santa Barbara.

For myself, without yet suggesting that others follow me in an open boycott, I will not personally travel in a state where civilians carry loaded weapons onto the sidewalks and as a means of political protest.
Read more

Well, Arthur Frommer is a professional traveler, and I don't know where he lives, but I am certain his ideals are shared by many collectivists. And if exercising your right to keep and bear arms at a political function is enough for a boycott, surely it will work frighten those fascists back to their self-created hellholes.

One more great reason to put Freedom First.

A side note - guns at political rallies are not exactly new or novel in this country.
Just ask the Black Panthers or Sylvanus Wood.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I spy

FBI Trained an Agent Provocateur

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A New Jersey blogger facing charges in two states for allegedly making threats against lawmakers and judges was trained by the FBI on how to be deliberately provocative, his attorney said Tuesday.
Hal Turner worked for the FBI from 2002 to 2007 as an "agent provocateur" and was taught by the agency "what he could say that wouldn't be crossing the line," defense attorney Michael Orozco said.

A couple comments on this story. I'm not sure who Hal Turner is, but it doesn't matter. The federal government has long been known to have spies and plants and informants who infiltrate groups and incite them to do things they normally wouldn't.

Saul Landau writes:

Worse, FBI “informants” often doubled as “agents provocateurs.” In the 1960s, anti war and civil rights activists learned to suspect those proposing violence and labeling skeptics “chickenshit.” Such advocates regularly turned out to be FBI infiltrators. I recall a meeting during which one man screamed: “Let’s kill a pig. That’ll wake people up and show ‘em, we mean business.” Inevitably, such statements gained the support of a few nuts and indeed some violent scenarios actually took shape.

By placing such characters inside the anti-Vietnam War and Civil Rights movements, the Bureau hoped to provoke violence so as to show the public that anti-war and civil rights activists were dangerous. Most citizens opposed the war and sympathized with anti-war protests, but drew a sharp line at violence.

I recall at an anti-Vietnam War meeting someone insisted on violent action as the only means to bring about radical transformation. Later, I learned the cops had busted the person on drug charges and turned him over to the FBI, who offered to drop the charges in return for his inciting groups to commit mayhem.

Often the inciting has darker implications, when the agents supply weapons that are normally unobtainable to fringe groups, then "busts them". The news media covers the bust, and stirs public outrage about the "availability" of weapons, leading to more restrictive laws, without ever mentioning that it was the government that supplied the weapons in the first place.

Robert Dreyfuss writes:
By the now, it's maddeningly familiar. A scary terrorist plot is announced. Then it's revealed that the suspects are a hapless bunch of ne'er-do-wells or run-of-the-mill thugs without the slightest connection to any terrorists at all, never mind to Al Qaeda. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: the entire plot is revealed to have been cooked up by a scummy government agent-provocateur.


Preying on these losers, none of whom were apparently actual Muslims, the "confidential informant" orchestrated the acquisition of a disabled Stinger missile to shoot down military planes and cooked up a wild scheme about attacking a Jewish center in the Bronx.

There's a moral here folks. It's not hard to spot the federal agent. He'll be the one at the Tea Party or the abortion protest or the gun show with the big mouth, wanting some action.

Respect for the Office

I do not understand this concept, and I'm hoping some clever readers might be able to help out.

Over and over, we are told that even if we disagree with the presidents' policies, we should "respect the office". What does that mean, exactly?

Is the President, by virtue of attaining the office, somehow in possession of superior physical or mental attributes, and thus should gain extra respect on account of physical or mental superiority to the rest of the citizens?

Or maybe the Office of President requires great concentration, and puts many heavy burdens on the man who holds it, and the respect asks that I give the President a wide berth so as not to disturb or distract from the weighty tasks?

Or is the respect one of fear, because the president, by virtue of the office, is capable of wielding great power and popping me in the slammer (or worse) at whim?

Perhaps, the respect for the office comes from the idea that the "Leader of the Free World" is a great humanitarian and uses the office to do wonderful things for humanity?

Is there another angle I'm missing? The second explanation is the most logical, but I never see that approach demonstrated in the application of the phrase "respect for the office". When Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison turned down a social invitation to the White House, he was quite fulfilling the second explanation, and not taking the President away from his weighty and critical tasks, yet the Super Bowl winner was widely panned in the media for 'not respecting the office'. So, clearly not an application of the second, and most logical, interpretation.

What does it mean, then, "respect for the office"? Where does that respect come from, why is it deserved, and what does it demand that is different from respect for any other American?

Great Quotes: Death Panel

Andrew Klavan wrote "The Panel - What death by bureaucratic fiat might look like." for the Wall Street Journal. The whole thing is brilliant, but this quote, is monumental.

The people behind the long table do not know what they've become. The drug of power has been sugared over in their mouths with a flavoring of righteousness. Someone has to make these decisions, they tell their friends at dinner parties. It's all very difficult for us. But you can see it in their eyes: It isn't really difficult at all. It feels good to them to be the ones who decide.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's a Right for Every American

The debate over so-called "Healthcare Reform" has raged since the presidential debates. Obama is on the record saying health care is a right. The circus and sideshows of the past several weeks have been staged to convince us of the benefits and wonders and government largess that accompanies the "gifting" of a new right to the American people.

So just for a minute, let's stop and assume all this care and devotion were being applied to an existing right (you know, from the Bill of Rights). Just for a minute, let's imagine what that would have sounded like.


If what he really said was:
This is not just about the 210 million Americans who have no guns." Obama
said in a prepared statement at the start of that press conference.
"Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose
their gun if they get a divorce, get pulled over for a traffic stop, or
become a veteran."


If what he had really said was:

"I don't have to explain to you that nearly 210 million Americans don't
have personal self-defense weapons today. In the wealthiest nation on Earth, 210
million of our fellow citizens don't have guns. They are just vulnerable. If
something happens, they get murdered, or they don't get the protection
they need."

"Now, when we pass keep and bear arms reform, local governments will no
longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of guns and
ammunition you can buy in a given year or a lifetime. And we will place
a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses,
because no one in America should go broke because they need safety.

But let's face it, now is the hard part -- because the history is clear
-- every time we come close to passing keep and bear arms reform, the
special interests fight back with everything they've got. They use their
influence. They use their political allies to scare and mislead the
American people. They start running ads. This is what they always do.
We can't let them do it again. Not this time. Not now. (Applause.)
Because for all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary -- what
is truly risky -- is if we do nothing. If we let this moment pass -- if
we keep the system the way it is right now -- we will continue to see
3,927 Americans victimized by crime every day."


Friday, July 31, 2009

Why government schools are banning spanking

I recently became embroiled in a (futile) online discussion about spanking.

Couple it with this recent post from Brutus @ "Who's Your Nanny" entitled "Why Public Schools Must Die", and the result is the following essay.

I would propose that spanking is not being banned in government schools because it is ineffective at achieving behavioral improvements, but rather because it is successful at achieving behavioral improvements for the short term duration of the students’ academic tenure. Consequently, when the student finally leaves the high school, he also leaves behind his fear of the authoritative retributions against him. That is the real problem for the government. Governments need their populations to remain under their subjugation for their entire lifespan, and that is difficult if the human leaves his fear behind with his bad behavior when he comes of age.

However, it is entirely possible to condition that life long fear if you use the appropriate techniques. If spanking is removed from the equation, proactive controls such as random searches of personal property, metal detectors and drug tests can be justified. If spanking is removed completely from the equation, then bad behavior can be dealt with with tasers, pepper spray and padded cells, force commonly used throughout adulthood. Handcuffing a juvenile in front of his peers sends a message about lifelong compliance to “authority” to those peers that is far clearer than a spanking from a single designated authority figure.

The mom that says “wait til your dad gets home” never gets the same behavioral compliance as the dad. Pets, children, humans easily discriminate in their responses to individuals, and a parent is representative of no greater force (except God in homes that teach religion) than himself. Likewise a school principal is a “greatest force”, while a teacher is a representative of the force of the principal.

The police, on the other hand, are a universal omnipresent ‘greatest force’, and contrary to popular belief, government officials are merely representatives of the force of the police. (This is why we had checks and balances in our government system, and serious injunctions against maintaining standing armies).

Replacing spanking with police assault turns the school principal into another government representative of the force of the police.

The discrimination in responses to authorities blurs, and the police state grows.

To those who object to anyone but themselves disciplining their children, I offer you my solution, and the solution of many others, get rid of government schools.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Purple Passion Prose

Take a gander through this listing of quotes from the venerable Cass Sunstein.

As usual, you don't taste the alcohol until it's too late.

from page 9, under the heading "Taxes" . . .

"In what sense in the money in our pockets and bank accounts fully ‘ours’? Did we earn it by our own autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without the support of bank regulators? Could we spend it if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live?... Without taxes there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. [It is] a dim fiction that some people enjoy and exercise their rights without placing any burden whatsoever on the public fisc. … There is no liberty without dependency."
-- Cass R. Sunstein, “Why We Should Celebrate Paying Taxes,” The Chicago Tribune, April 14, 1999

There is an antidote. Campaign for Liberty.

"It don't matter if you're black or white"

Michael Jackson may be dead, but that quote is not.

Did you hear me Henry Louis Gates?

Stop crying "racism" just because you were arrested by a white officer. STOP STOP STOP!

(You even dragged the President into it. How little of you. He can get into embarrassing situations JUST FINE by himself, thank you. He does not need your or anyone elses' help.)

How dare you! You can make a public spectacle out of this, drag the POTUS into it and you weren't even tased! You weren't forced to the ground, you weren't pepper sprayed, or beaten or otherwise brutalized, and yet, all you can focus on is your skin color!

Open your eyes, for heavens sake. Of all the problems american citizens have with the cops, racism is such a small bit that it is beyond insulting to people like this Baptist Preacher that you blame your unjust arrest (yes, it was a wrong arrest) on your light brown, half white skin.

A cop arrested you because you mouthed off at him, and you think its all because you're half black?

You're alive. You weren't sieved by a barrage of bullets when you reached for your id. You didn't suffer any lasting injuries and wind up in a hospital or worse, you weren't mentally impaired by the ordeal.

So where do you get off blaming it all on racism? Don't you see how far you are missing this boat?

A beer with the President might cure a racist cop, but it's going to make a jackboot statist thug WORSE. And since you're problem was not a racist cop, your little diversity promotion stunt is just going to make life much, much worse for every other American, red, brown, yellow, black or white.

Now, since you and POTUS will use beer to forever solve the problem of cop-brutality-motivated-by-racism, you and POTUS will assure us that cops in the future are only brutalizing people that truly deserve it. So the brutality will get worse, and the complaints will be quieter.

Sadly Henry Louis Gates, the most likely explanation is your own years of racism, taught at your mothers' knee, searching for diversity in every interaction, have left you incapable of seeing that the police state has always brutalized whomever it could get away with, and these days that includes you.

But then again, maybe you just don't care.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I told you so.

I feel a little bit bad titling a post "I told you so", but sometimes, you just gotta say it.

What did I tell you?

Mr. Purple Passion Man was very dangerous. Mr. Burns (of Terrierman) said Cass Sunstein was a "bean counter". Nothing more.

Some of us, well, specifically yours truly, looked up Mr. Sunstein on the ol' internets, and concluded that he was a very crafty ideologically driven extremist, being launched into a very powerful position in government.

In the exchange with Mr. Burns, Ms. X labeled Cass a "purple passion" for his techniques of talking rationally while using government to "Nudge" people to adopt actions and attitudes.

This very attitude is so fundamentally dangerous. Government exists for one reason, to protect the rights of the individual to DO WHATEVER THE H*LL THEY WANT (as long as it isn't interfering with someone else's rights). Nudging, by government, well, it is evil.

So what's the proof, on which I say "I told you so"?

A recent article from the New York Times. "GAG THE INTERNET!

Columnist Kyle Smith writes:
"When it comes to the First Amendment, Team Obama believes in Global Chilling."

"Advance copies of Sunstein's new book, "On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done," have gone out to reviewers ahead of its September publication date, but considering the prominence with which Sunstein is about to be endowed, his worrying views are fair game now. Sunstein is President Obama's choice to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs."

Mr. Smith doesn't say anything about Cass being an animal rights (Peta-tic) extremist. Indeed, that attribute of Cass is far less worrisome than his concepts for quietly talking and nudging people through the paternal powers of government into approved behavior.

And what better way to harness the government power to nudge, than to be the head of a very powerful office.

Here is what Mr. Burns said about the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs:

"What does that office do?

Not nearly as much as you think.

First this is an office that was established in the 1980 Paperwork Reduction Act.

In short, it's an office about bureacracy. It's not an office that initiates anything. Congress and Federal agencies still do that.


Now, here is what Mr. Smith said:

"Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that will grant him powers that are merely mind-boggling...

"Although obscure," reported the Wall Street Journal, "the post wields outsize power. It oversees regulations throughout the government, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration." . . .

"Czar is too mild a world for what Sunstein is about to become. How about "regulator in chief"? How about "lawgiver"? He is Obama's Obama."

Here is what Ms. X found:

"the Clinton administration's executive order made explicit what had been left implicit in the Reagan and Bush executive orders -- that centralized presidential regulatory review is aimed at making agency regulations "consistent with . . . the President's priorities."

Now here is how Mr. Burns (Terrierman) interprets the job:

"Sunstein's job is simply to be a skeptical bureaucrat and point out where unintentional losses and gains might be occuring due to government action."

And this is how Mr. Sunstein himself interprets the job:

"My suggestion here is that it is always appropriate to identify costs and benefits so as to inform analysis, and even to require that benefits justify costs, but that regulators should not claim that benefits and costs must be grounded in traditional economic criteria involving private willingness to pay"

"Traditional economic criteria", who needs that anymore? This is the 21st century, man! Peace, Love and Free Speech, man! "Private" is a dirty word.

Oh, wait.

Um, what was that bit about curbing free speech online? Cass, it seems, has released (yet another) new book, this one titled On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done.

Mr. Smith:

"In "On Rumors," Sunstein reviews how views get cemented in one camp even when people are presented with persuasive evidence to the contrary. He worries that we are headed for a future in which "people's beliefs are a product of social networks working as echo chambers in which false rumors spread like wildfire." That future, though, is already here, according to Sunstein. "We hardly need to imagine a world, however, in which people and institutions are being harmed by the rapid spread of damaging falsehoods via the Internet," he writes. "We live in that world. What might be done to reduce the harm?""

Mr. Smith writes

"Sunstein calls for a "notice and take down" law that would require bloggers and service providers to "take down falsehoods upon notice," even those made by commenters - but without apparent penalty. ...

Sunstein, trying to fair, argues that libel awards should be capped at $15,000, or at least limited for anyone demonstrating financial hardship. But $15K is the limit you'd pay to your opponent. The legal bill is the scary part, and the reason bloggers already have plenty of reason to be careful about what they say, even if they don't much fear a libel conviction."

"If this happened," says Mr. Smith, "the blogosphere would turn into Pluto overnight. Comments sections would slam shut. Every writer would work on a leash shorter than a shoelace."

Hmmm. If this happened, Mr. Burns just might have to take down his puff piece on Cass Sunstein. Why? Well, there is the little part in the comments section where he repeatedly refers to Ms. X as a "puppymiller".

Hmm. Perhaps I'm the one that should rethink my position on Cass. After all, I could stand to net a cool $15K.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What Madness Rules in Brainsick Men

There is an absolutely mind boggling idiotic taxation scheme coming out of the hallowed halls of Jefferson City Missouri.

The Kansas City Star reports

Some Missouri residents and businesses soon could see a new charge on their electric bills — a fee for using less energy.

Here is how the scheme works:

The assumption is that charging consumers for those initiatives ultimately will cost less than charging them to build the new power plants that will be needed if electricity use isn’t curtailed.


Uhhh..... Okay, how much more are you going to charge exactly to deter power usage to such a degree that a new power plant will not have to be built?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that energy-saving programs offered by utilities will add about 3 percent to the average electricity rates. But it says customers who participate in the programs could save 10 percent to 20 percent on their energy bills, and even those who don’t participate might save if utilities don’t have to buy more energy or build new power plants.

3 percent? 3 PERCENT? That's going to deter significant amounts of electrical usage?

How's this really going to work?

“To save power is the equivalent of making power,” Nixon [that's Governor Jay Nixon] said, “and it’s a pretty seismic shift” in Missouri’s energy strategy.

Oh I get it. They're going to use the rate increase to build giant batteries, probably underground re the "seismic" reference. Then, when usage increases (you know, what with global cooling coming and all) they will just plug us into these giant batteries.


“It’s one of those rare utility bills that actually works out to everyone’s benefit,” said Missouri Public Counsel Lewis Mills, the state’s official consumer advocate.

Jimminy Christmas. Who, exactly, is "everyone"? Lets see.

The power companies win. They get to raise rates for no immediately obvious reason. (Don't they usually call that Price Gouging?) It's money in the bank, today, for them. And boy howdy, are they going to need it.

Public Service Commission Chairman Robert M. Clayton III said he feared that Missouri’s heavily coal-dependent electric customers will see a sharp spike in rates if federal climate legislation limiting carbon emissions becomes law.

Yeah, I think the power companies are watching the sun too. I'm betting they're NOT betting on global warming.

Oh yeah. The power companies also win because, let's face it, they will be building new coal plants in the future or face massive power shortages. And it will be expensive, and they will raise rates, and the ePetatics (e for environmental) (the god king included) will make it hell to build a new coal plant. It will be very expensive.

So who gets screwed? We do. We pay now, and we will most assuredly pay later. In fact, you could say us Middle Americans are getting doubly, triply screwed because we don't have nuclear plants, or hydro power. All we have is coal. And cap-and-trade.

There is no "me" in "Everyone".

Mike Williams wrote a pretty good summary over at Master of None.

As a final dig, the legislation will require the savings fee to be a separate line item on your bill.

'But I don’t want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can’t help that,' said the Cat. 'We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.'
'How do you know I’m mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,” said the Cat. 'or you wouldn’t have come here.' - Lewis Carroll

As someone said, 'Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Who loves ya, bunny?

I was driving down the street of my rabbit infested neighborhood last night when a hypothesis jumped into my head. It occurred to me, in twelve years of driving large, foreign four wheel drive SUVs, that no one in the household had ever ran over wildlife. (Or suburban life, in our case).

No rabbit squishy. No possum stew. No raccoon ragu. Nothin. Nada. Just several incidents that surely looked like "near misses". And yet, one morning just last summer I counted 15 rabbits in the quarter mile between my house and the exit of the neighborhood.

It's not that the neighborhood has any shortage of rabbit squishy. I see something dead just about every day, and our town has a pretty impressive roadkill removal crew.

So who are the roving roadkillers?

Hence my hypothesis. I think it's cars. Those small, lightweight, fuel efficient, low to the ground nemesis of bunnys' around the world. I suspect that when a car runs over a bunny, it tumbles the bunny, possible throwing it under the tires. When an SUV passes over a bunny, unless it happens to be in the direct tire path, it escapes unscathed.

So now, hypothesis in hand, I will begin the search for supporting data. Anecdotal data is also accepted. What say you, fellow SUV drivers? How many bunnys are notched on your fenders?

Fenders. Not Mudflaps.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Adult-Child Affectual Preferences

Or "The Creepy Case of Eno Commons"

I am sure by now everyone is familiar with the horrid story of Frank Lombard, Duke University Professor, accused of pimping his own adopted son.

So far the news media is giving us these details:

Frank is gay, and lived with his gay partner.
Frank had two adopted children, both black.
Frank lived in a cohousing community, Eno Commons Cohousing.
Frank attended an Episcopal church.

I want to just look at Eno Commons, as a cohousing community, and some of its attitudes toward children.

Then you can decide for yourself if this environment facilitated Mr. Lombard.

Paradise for Children

Children learn what they live. Our children are learning about independence, inter-dependence, diversity, ecology, consensus, and how to be good neighbors in a supportive community through their every day experiences. From the time they decide to participate at the age of two or three, children can help make some of the community rules. They clear their places at community meals, leave their shoes on all of our porches, run through the meadow (or more likely around Sam and Margaret's yard) with their friends, get homework help from all of us, follow animal tracks through the woods, or choose to be alone. (The neighborhood is good for parents too - we spend a lot less time in our cars by pooling rides and not having to takes kids to as many play dates.)

There is nothing wrong with neighbors that trust each other, and children visiting their friends houses and leaving their shoes all over the neighborhood. Under normal circumstances though, this happens after the adults get to know their neighbors and trust them. Moving into a community that promises this to strangers breaks down any natural defenses the adults might bring. Intentional or not, it grooms the parents to not be suspicious of any wrong doing.

There's more.

- We provide our children with opportunities to develop their full potential in a safe, caring neighborhood.

- We treat our children with love and respect and expect them to be active, positive
contributors to our community.

- We listen to our children’s ideas and recognize their need for good friends and
playmates, friendly neighbors, fun places to play, and appropriate community and
family activities.

Well, we know how these lofty ideals turned out. (Does this remind anyone else of some of the unparenting rhetoric?) This is a small community of a mere 22 houses on 11 acres. The community has a Common House, where residents meet at least once a week to dine together. The whole point of this community is to create openness, interconnectedness and trust. To let the village raise the child. "They stand as innovative answers to today's environmental and social problems."

Then it gets downright creepy.

'Secret Pal' brings neighbors together. (Click on "cached")
(This link only exists in Yahoo cache now, though just this afternoon it was still active on Eno Commons servers. Go figure.)

Seven years ago Suzanne started the Secret Pal week tradition to celebrate Valentine's Day at Eno Commons.

The goal of Secret Pal week is to promote interaction between adults and kids. Adults are asked to volunteer to be a secret pal and are matched with a child. During the week leading up to Valentine's Day, the adults give their secret pal children little gifts and clues, but the adults keep their identity a secret. At the end of the week, the kids prepare the brunch.

It is fun watching the kids huddling together trying to guess who their secret pal is. Can you think of a better way to connect kids with adults?

Well? Can you? Can you think of any better way to connect KIDS with ADULTS than to have secret pal exchanges . . . on VALENTINE'S Day?

Valentine's Day? Are you kidding?

Wait, isn't Valentine's Day for LOVERS? Maybe.

Our Vision For Eno Commons

• We welcome residents of all ages, races, religious beliefs, and affectional

"Affectional Preferences" is quite a different thing from "Sexual Orientation".

Valentine's Day, however, celebrated with Adult-Child Secret Pal celebrations is a yearly event (click on the "Cached" link on the first search return) at Eno Commons.

Now, you might ask, where did this, um, tradition come from?

It seems to be a favored practice of the Unitarian Universalists.

They celebrate it in Midland Texas, Gainesville Florida, and California. The position of the Unitarian Universalist Church is well known with regards to those of minority sexual orientation.

Did interconnectedness go to far?

Monday, June 22, 2009

UnParenting v. Liberty

Notice: I do not intend to equate the entire concept of attachment parenting with unparenting, or critique every participant. I do want to offer some observations about ideas that are regaining popularity in some circles, and those ideas are generally lumped under the philosophies of attachment parenting.

Let’s start with Ryan W. McMaken’s recent post on The LRC Blog.

Mr. McMaken wrote:
“My wife, an expert in early childhood education, is some kind of libertarian genius. Although she has read very little in the way of libertarian theory, she has come to thoroughly libertarian conclusions simply by studying how the brains of small children work. It turns out that children are rational beings who should not be coerced and hounded every second of their waking lives. Indeed, children have an innate sense of the importance of learning and the importance of justice. Unfortunately, most adults beat these impulses out of children as soon as they can.”

For support of this, he references Naomi Aldort and Maria Montessori. Yikes.

Stephan Kinsella weighed in in support of the Montessori “pro-peace” training method.
Now since I’m all in favor of peace, and teaching children (especially preschoolers) to peacefully resolve disputes (without buckets of tears and hating and ‘writing bad notes’ to each other) I eagerly read the Montessori peace philosophy.

“Dr. Montessori noted that scientific advances had so linked world cultures that our universal social connections were made clear, and she set forth strategies for a "universal, collective effort to build the foundation for peace."”

That sounds good. Now how is she going to accomplish that?

“Dr. Montessori's method respected the intelligence and gifts of the small child, serving her with a prepared environment and materials that engaged the senses in the learning process. Self-confidence, control of environment, joy of learning, and an understanding of connectedness with society resulted, leading, Dr. Montessori believed, to a new social order capable of directing man's technological advances to constructive uses. This would replace accepted educational practices that rewarded competition, discouraged cooperation and independent thinking, and ignored the creativity and deeply moral qualities of the child, a status quo that she believed led to a warring society, one incapable of utilizing its own scientific and technological advances.”

Just a moment. Doesn’t Competition foster independent thinking? Doesn’t competition foster advances? And I have yet to see evidence that children have deeply moral qualities. My kids learned early how to say “it’s not fair”, but what they really meant was “my selfishness is not being fulfilled”.

I’m all for peace, but my eyebrows are starting to go up. Perhaps my problem was I didn’t teach the kids enough about Martin Luther King Jr’s life.

“The peace curriculum at the Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School, developed and coordinated by Educational Director Scott Daigler, is enacted through a range of academic studies as well as the development of peacemaking skills, beginning with the youngest preschool group and culminating in the two-year adolescent program. It permits the student to study the history and science of the natural world, the beliefs and traditions of diverse world cultures, and to learn about and finally place herself within society as an active, contributing individual.“

Now that will make the eyebrows of my Christian readers go up. I’m sure many will tell you that faith in Jesus was all they needed to find their place in society.

“Conflicts are resolved verbally, using the peace pole outside the school, or the peace table in the classroom, where peace treaties are crafted by the children in conflict and kept in a binder as a record of disputes resolved and compromises reached. A ringing bell signals the agreement, bringing classroom work to a momentary standstill as students pause to applaud an act of peace. Community circle utilizes a "talking stick" to structure group discussion of conflicts or concerns involving the entire class.”

What happens when the pretty imagery, the peace pole, the peace table, the peace bell, the talking stick, all disappear? What if the “peace” behaviors become respondent to the props? In the real world, there isn’t a peace bell. We have a Liberty Bell, but no one is allowed to ring it.

Scrolling past the peace chants and the United Nation Advocacy days, we get to Martin Luther King Jr. week.

“A week of classroom focus on Dr. King's life and mission culminates in an all-school assembly with presentations by each class.“

“Acknowledged as a model for his commitment to peace and justice, Dr. King is also recognized as a person, and the assembly ends with a singing of "Happy Birthday to You, Dr. King."”

It takes a week to study Martin Luther King Jr., because the training of peaceful children requires not only an examination of his words, but his very life. If teaching peace to young girls means teaching them it’s ok for a husband to run out on his wife, frequently, then perhaps a little more training in competition is in order. Reality, of course, is that the lessons on Dr. King probably skip or at worst gloss over those night-chapters in his life.

I’m all for peace. Dr. King spoke wonderful words. But history is fast doing a “Lincoln” on him.

Purporting to study someone’s life, while looking only at specific aspects that complete the intended picture, may foster ideologies of peace, but it does little to foster independent or critical thinking.

You see, I hold the belief that what fosters libertarian philosophy, freedom and independence of the human spirit, is the ability to think independently and critically. And I question if these attachment parenting philosophies and ‘peace at any expense’ training, fulfill that.

I’m searching for the link between the tenant that “children are rational beings” and how this is a libertarian conclusion, as Mr. McMecken thinks. Maria Montessori didn’t get us to the development of individualism or rational thinking. I would settle for evidence that the innate “rational being” of children leads to rationale, critical thinking adults.

Let’s see if Naomi Aldort can do any better.

Naomi Aldort, a prolific attachment parenting proponent, writes:

“Representation of childhood in modern western culture is based on seeing children as flawed and needing to be shaped into adults. The child is seen as failing to be an adult and therefore represented as inferior and cannot be trusted to unfold correctly on her own.”

Déjà vu.

In 1983, Miss Manners Guide to Excrutiatingly Correct Behavior was published. Early in the book Miss Manners wrote: “There used to be parents who believed that a child should be allowed to develop naturally, with no artificial standards of behavior imposed on his or her innocent instincts, but we have all had a gander at the results of that.” Conclusion: they weren’t pretty, or mannerly, leading Miss Manners to publish the 711 page instruction set to restore respect for the individual.

Many practitioners of attachment parenting also decry formal schooling, even formal home schooling setups, for the same reason they decry formal parenting. They call themselves ‘unschoolers’. I call the practice of the naturally developing child ‘unparenting’.

Ms. Aldorts techniques have already born some fruit, in the form of her own children. Her longest running experiment was recounted thusly at the 22 year mark:

“Yonatan is deeply interested in social justice work and finds inspiration in writers like Richard Wright who used literature as a tool to raise awareness about injustice. Some of his recent activities towards social change include attending anti-war protests, raising money for disadvantaged youth like the Jena 6, and educating people by writing in his school’s student newspaper.”

So critical thinking of the natural, undisciplined child, leads to conclusions such as if the Jena 6 had gotten more freebies, they would have been more peaceful?

The experiment in free love has resulted in an admirer of the Communist Richard Wright, enrolled in a ‘Decolonizing the Mind’ program at a liberal university.

Not your typical libertarian success story. What went wrong? Perhaps nothing went wrong, except that somehow, all of the “hands off” parenting wasn’t as much of an educational vacuum as the parents perceived. Is it possible that some of their ideology influenced the kids despite their best efforts not to influence?
Or is it possible that children, left to their own devices, are communists (at best) at heart? Or maybe, just maybe, if we all experienced free love and unconditional living, we all would embrace the ideologies of egalitarian collectivism. Is it libertarianism that is wrong? Is our cold hearted individualism merely the symptom of our artificially constrained and forcibly respectful upbringings?

I almost think the un-parents might tell you experiments in communism are the normal, healthy result of an unfettered, “free” childhood. But will the baby commies eventually grow up?

Let’s consider another example. Many many years ago, in a case that doubtless sends shudders down the spine of every “un-parent”, a little girl of all of 4 or 5, slapped her bigger sister in the face in a fit of pique. This little girl’s father was an old school parent. He believed children should *learn* to respect their elders, be kind to their siblings etc. He did not believe in waiting around until the kid figured it out for herself. So this little girl was punished. Those expected adult behaviours were beat into her. With a belt. By her father.

What happens next is amazing. The little girl, surely now a complete train wreck of a child with no ability to think for herself, develop real compassion or act in a peaceful manner, spent the greater part of her adolescence earning money to help send that same older sister to college. Shudder.

Okay, by now you have surely guessed that this little girl was none other than Laura Ingalls Wilder, of the classic ‘Little House on the Prairie’ books.

But what about the adolescent foray into communism, that signifies the great job the ‘un-parent’ has done promoting empathy and love for your fellow man?
That, as Paul Harvey would say, is the rest of the story.

This abused, suppressed little girl grew up to mother a child that did take the commie plunge during young adulthood. That child plunged in, swam through and emerged clear thinking and rational. Brilliant thinking in fact. Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, became America’s foremost female libertarian.

Years after the communist experiment, Ms. Lane wrote

“No one who dreams of the ideal social order, the economy planned to eliminate waste and injustice, considers how much energy, how much human life, is wasted in administering and in obeying the best of regulations. No one considers how rigid such regulations become, nor that they must become rigid and resist change because their underlying purpose is to preserve men from the risks of chance and change in flowing time. Americans have had in our country no experience of the discipline of a social order.“

I would propose that the minimal discipline of a formal parenting home just might provide enough ‘discipline of a social order’, on a miniscule scale, to enable resistance to its application by any but a proper authority. And that proper authority? Parents.

Keep your peace bell. I’ll ring the Liberty Bell, thanks.

I said it first.

Yup, me. Right here is this blog

Just a couple of months ago, in April, I proposed that the swine flu might be the first casualty of global cooling. Now, it seems that, at least, "cooler temperatures" are being blamed for this flu pandemic.

An unusually cool late spring may be helping keep the infection going in the U.S. Northeast, especially densely populated areas in New York and Massachusetts, the officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

If history show us 2009 was the herald year for the 'Gore Minimum', please remember to name something "X".

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Paging the god-king

PAGING THE GOD-KING, the Secretary of Protocol would like to see you RIGHT AWAY!

Remember this incident of international indiscretion?

The venerable Miss Manners has finally taken the players to task.

Dear Miss Manners:

What should an American president do when he greets a foreign head of state? What about his wife? And would that be any different from an average American citizen greeting a foreign head of state?

A handshake and "How do you do?" seem appropriate everywhere, but what about curtsies, head nods and genuflecting? Is a bend at the waist considered different from a bent knee? If anyone can have a final say on this, I believe it would be you.

Final say? If only that were true. Miss Manners has now watched at least half a dozen administrations get this wrong. They go to one extreme or the other, behaving like other presidents' buddies or like monarchs' subjects.

Where is the Office of Protocol, for goodness' sake?

Yes, yes, Americans pride ourselves on being warm and open and spontaneous. But heads of state are the symbolic embodiments of their countries, and the greeting gesture is itself symbolic. If they improvise mistakenly, they can expect a spontaneous outburst of American disdain.

The American greeting routine used to be simple. Because we officially consider all people to be equal and equally worthy of respect, the same gesture, the handshake -- simple, dignified and egalitarian -- would do for all.

We knew it wasn't universal, but it was our way. We felt superior to people who had to bow down to their leaders. And we found it side-splitting to watch news footage of French generals bestowing kisses on their soldiers when they gave out medals.

Then, about half a century ago, came the American huggy movement. Instant intimacy was going to solve everyone's problems by making them feel good, which, in turn, would end war and strife. It took rather vigorous forms among some, but eventually infiltrated even the most staid parts of society, where the handshake had been the greeting that fathers gave their young sons.

And it spread internationally. Heads of state took to kissing and hugging one another, a truly bad idea politically. Those photographs are bound to surface when the loved one or his country does something nasty.

Symbolically, it is bad even in good times. Such bonding smacks of the days when protocol had sovereigns from different monarchies addressing one another as "Monsieur Mon Frère" or "Madame Ma Soeur," regardless of whether they had any familial ties. The idea was that they belonged to an international ruling class as distinguished from the mere subjects over whom they reigned.

And if you don't believe that, you should try a spontaneous hug on any head of state -- your own or anyone else's -- who happens to come your way in a parade or ceremony.

But symbolic subservience to a foreign ruler is worse. When Miss Manners sees American citizens delighting in bowing or curtseying to royalty, she tries to remind herself that they are just being silly, not treasonous. When an American official does it, we can only hope it was because he was noticing that his own shoelace was undone -- and not that he recognizes the divine right of kings in general, or the authority over us of that king in particular.

Police as Parents

It's a new 'keep kids out of trouble' program, coming soon to a school near you!

More than 5,000 state schools in England, including one in five primaries, have their own dedicated officer, it was disclosed.

The Government said the number was around 10 times higher than previous estimates and insisted every school in the country could eventually get its own police officer.

But Rod Jarman, Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner, said: "Partnerships have helped to make the schools and the surrounding area safer places, evidenced through significant reductions in crime and antisocial behaviour and greater confidence of young people that police will deal with their issues.

Now that's a win-win for the police state. They get to beat you up while increasing dependence on the state.

Oh yes. The police will deal with your issues all right. Just make sure you don't try to deal with them yourself.

But heck! It is better than spanking.

How Green is your Valley?

Well, if you are unfortunate enough to live in Austin Texas, you might be "green" but it won't be the color of money.

The City of Austin has recently passed legislation that will require everyone selling a home to receive an inspection from the city, and the chump change cost of $300 "to inspect windows, insulation, duct work and air filtration.”

Guaranteed to turn the City of Austins' coffers green. Now if only the housing market bubble would re-inflate so people could sell their houses.

Now that homeowners must get a green energy audit, the demand for auditors is red hot,” KXAN’s Mary Lee said. “It’s created more than 100 jobs in the Austin area".

Wow! a HUNDRED jobs screwing homeowners out of 300 dollars each that they could have spent on something USEFUL.

Why doesn't the city just hire someone to drive down the streets throwing baseballs at everyone's windows? Gosh, how many people could that employ, and the baseball manufacturers would boom, not to mention the window repair business, and the car salesmen might even get a chunk of the deal.

Maybe the Onion has the right idea > Wall off the City of Austin.

Pride in Facism...from the Top.

"We control political forces, we control moral forces we control economic forces, therefore we are a full-blown Corporative state." - Mussolini 1926

What better way to demonstrate your Pride in Facism than gloating?

And what better podium for gloating than national television?

In the segment, shown on “Tonight” late Tuesday, Mr. Williams asked Mr. Obama whether he almost canceled his overseas trip this week “to stay and watch” Mr. O’Brien’s “first week as host of ‘The Tonight Show.’’’

Mr. Obama was fully game and, referring to Mr. O’Brien’s succession this week of the former “Tonight” host Jay Leno, joked, “This is something we discussed several times in the Oval Office, how to manage this transition between Leno and Conan. And I think he’s up to the task. But I just want him to know that there is not going to any bailout coming out from Washington if he screws it up.”

Pathetically, the only concern demonstated by the Post writer Jim Rutenberg was whether there would be "blowback" from PrezBO 's coziness with the media.

What, no concern about the fact that the Executive Branch is reveling in its' facist glory?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Cookitarians hit the big time

It wasn't that long ago that I wrote a post about Grainitarians, and mentioned the "Cookitarian" philosophy in passing.

Now, they're making headlines. Headlines at Medical News Today at least.

Richard Wrangham, the father of Cookitarianism has published a book "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human".

The article states

Drawing on a wide body of research, Wrangham makes the case that cooking makes eating faster and easier, and wrings more caloric benefit from food.

This is my favorite part:

By freeing humans from having to spend half the day chewing tough raw food -- as most of our primate relatives do -- cooking allowed early humans to devote themselves to more productive activities, ultimately allowing the development of tools, agriculture, and social networks.

So this raises two questions.

One, our dogs and cats have subsisted on our cooked food for at the better part of a hundred years now. When can we expect them to stop wasting all their non-masticating time laying around the house, and do something productive for the family?

And two, what does this mean for the raw food movement? Ok, that's not really a question. I think we already know the raw food movement accepts the chains - Raw Food: "It’s not a diet. It’s a way of Life."

The Obama media bias

lowers it's ugly head.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quoteables from the web...

Trevor Bothwell over at "Who's Your Nanny" posted this on Memorial Day:

If U.S. Soldiers Die to Preserve Our Freedoms...

...then why does it always seem we lose more and more with every war?

Who killed the Neanderthals?

You. And you. And you over there. We all did!

At least, our great(^nth) grandparents did.

Ha. Take that Neanderthals.

And take that, gorillas that use sign language.

The similarities between animals and humans are constantly used as arguments for why we shouldn't eat them, or use them for our (devilish) purposes. Ever since Peter Singer published the nauseating Animal Liberation bromide

"If possessing a higher degree of intelligence does not entitle one human to use another for his own ends, how can it entitle humans to exploit nonhumans for the same purpose?"

peta-tics have crapped themselves trying to prove that animals are equally intelligent to humans, as though making the Singer argument a de facto point would make it a fact.

But in fact, if we casually consumed our closest homanid, the Neanderthal, the much stronger argument is that our own advancement depends on the consumption of the "competition".

Friday, May 15, 2009

We're all Cubans now

Every day it seems, the 44th President of the United States brings change. Straight from Havana.

Gitmo suspects may be held on US soil without trial.

Ya know, at least when W was detaining people without due process, they had the decency to do it in Cuba, where such behavior is normative. We Americans could, for the most part, go on pretending America was still free.

When O first started hinting he was going to shut down our Cuban outpost, we still naively imagined it meant the "detainees" would finally be processed, charged and executed (if found guilty).


Homer (in a loud aside): "I THINK WE CAN TRUST THE PRESIDENT OF CUBA!"

Instead, everything we loathed (but pretended not to notice) about Gitmo is being moved here, to America. O is driving a tragic ending to the W comedy.

WO. Dude.

Where's you're car?

While your busy stocking up on canned beans and rice, take a last look at the free-market selection of automobiles. Pick carefully, the next one may just have to last you 50 years.

And pick soon. The new, revived G(overnment) M(otors) is sure to ramp up the quality.

But heck, look on the bright side.

Maybe little Elian can come visit again,

and at the very least, we should get a new drink.

America Libre.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where are the Grainitarians?

It is the primary unanswered question of meat-free diets. We've all heard the arguments, about how we are soooo like the herbivores, and soooo not like the carnivores, therefore we should eat plant based foods.

The problem is, most of these herbivores eat grass. Not grain. These herbivores we are supposed to be so similar to, get into lots of trouble when their diet becomes heavy with corn, wheat, oats etc.

PBS Frontline hosted an interview with Michael Pollan that revealed what happens to our cousins the herbivores when they eat grain.

Cows are not evolved to digest corn. It creates all sorts of problems for them. The rumen is designed for grass. And corn is just too rich, too starchy. So as soon as you introduce corn, the animal is liable to get sick.

It creates a whole [host] of changes to the animal.

You start giving them antibiotics, because as soon as you give them corn, you've disturbed their digestion, and they're apt to get sick, so you then have to give them drugs. That's how you get in this whole cycle of drugs and meat. By feeding them what they're not equipped to eat well, we then go down this path of technological fixes, and the first is the antibiotics. Once they start eating the [corn], they're more vulnerable. They're stressed, so they're more vulnerable to all the different diseases cows get. But specifically they get bloat, which is just a horrible thing to happen. They stop ruminating.

So you put in the corn, and this layer of slime forms over the rumen. You've got to picture the rumen. It's a 45-gallon fermentation tank. It's essentially fermenting the grass. Suddenly your slime forms and the gas can't escape, and the rumen just expands like a balloon. It's pressing against the lungs and the heart, and if nothing is done, the animal suffocates.

So what is done is, if you catch it in time, you stick a hose down the esophagus and you release the gas and maybe give the animal some hay or grass, and it's a lot healthier. But it's one of the things that happens to cows on corn. ...

Slime. Eeewww. I've seen hams with horror movie quality slime on them (ok that's another story but still gross.) Poor cows. How cruel is it to force the poor herbivores we are sooo much like to be grainitarians. Is it more cruel than eating them?

But we don't eat grass or hay. So maybe the ruminent herbivores are not the ones we are so like after all.

I know! It's apes. They are vegetarian (or are they) and genetically very like us. They must be the herbivores we are so very like.

Well, here is dedicated carniphobe McDougall on our ape cousins.

The diets of great apes, like those of chimpanzees, our closest relative, are nearly pure vegetarian in composition; consisting largely of fruits, and in the dry seasons when fruit is scarce, they eat tree seeds, flowers, soft pith, and bark; with termites and small mammals making a very small contribution all year long. Chimpanzees eat very little starch.

Dr. McDougall, you see, thinks everything can be cured by a vegetarian diet. However, he will only hold this claim if it is a starch-based vegetarian diet. So if even says we are not like the chimpanzee, then they must not be the herbivore our vegetarian pre-disposed systems are modeled after.

Additionally, chimps have been observed eating meat in the wild. Real meat, like bush pigs, not just the better known termite fetishes.

What does that leave?

Vermin. Mice, rats, gerbils etc. Rodents.

Are we like rodents? (I don't think that is quite what the 'we're all vegetarians by design' crowd has in mind, but for the sake of full disclosure, we'll investigate.)

Small mammal nutrition tells us that rabbits eat green leafy things, they are strict herbivores and grains can lead to gastrointestinal disease (ok, sounds like cows). Yes, I know rabbits aren't rodents, to most people anyway. My dog I'm not so sure about.

Guinea pigs and chinchillas are like rabbits.

The real rodents, the climb on the chair screaming 'There's a Rodent' rodents, are a little different. They eat everything. Plants and meat and of course they are notorious for eating grain. But what happens to the mouse and rat when it eats only vegetarian foods? Well, how does cannibalism sound? Okay, what about mouse-ablism? Better? Ratablism?

The Ratablism link is a FAQ from a rat breeder. Not hard science, but breeders can make some very valid observations.

Belief: Feeding meat will make rat vicious.

Basis/Reality: WRONG. Meat products are a necessary part of a rats diet. Rats are omnivores. That doesn't mean they CAN eat both meat and vegetable products, it means they MUST eat a varied diet that contains both in order to be healthy. There is absolutely no evidence that a diet rich with meat makes rats or any other animal vicious. There is evidence to the contrary! If rats are denied meat products such as a kibble, rodent block, or a little egg or chicken in their diet, they will and have had to turn elsewhere for the nutrients they need. This may involve preying on mice (or trying their best to!) nearby or catching bugs--whatever it takes. The rare instances where rats have eaten the flesh of other rats or killed other animals often take place when the rats have an incomplete diet. (Especially in pet stores where they are fed only grains and kept in close proximity to other rodents they can hunt.) BTW, I have among the most gentle rats I've ever known, and they regularly get leftovers including bones and meat--in addition to their dry diet which includes kibble. Only a despirate or starving animal is a "vicious" animal...

So where does that leave us?

One idea is that we are just unique. We are, 'Cookitarians'. Meaning it doesn't matter what our food of choice, as long as we cook it.

Dr. Richard Wrangham, a Harvard professor of anthropology, attempts to explain why we are alive today and have not become extinct because we are so poorly designed. He thinks that humans survived because they learned to cook.

Okay. Maybe. I think the evidence comes down most strongly on the side of the carnivore. The Eskimos (Inuit) pretty much disproved the cooking philosophy. Archeologists are routing any concept of agricultural societies being healthier than hunter-gatherers.

And then there are the socialogical implications, that would be really fun to post about. For example, what happens when a agricultural based society begins to enjoy a higher fertility rate than the hunter gatherers? Oh yeah, mortality is higher, so no prob. BUT. What if we fix the mortality problems caused by the agriculture with our superior technology developed by our cooked food enhanced brains? Mortality Redux.

Hmmm. 6 Billion strong. Someday we'll figure it out.

In the meantime, I still want to know. Which obligate vegetarian mammals are we designed like again?