Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bush's Approval Rating Twice as High as Democratic Majority Congress

Now there's a headline you won't see.

Even though it's true.

Bush's approval rating is constantly cited as plummeting -- and it has slowly fallen over the past 3 years to around 30% or just under.

The new, open, clean Democratic congress?

14%.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Terrorism, the Military, and the Courts

This is an article well worth reading.

One thing I'd like to address in the article is this astute observation:
Put simply, I mean to argue that while meaningful, probing judicial review has a more substantial place in this war than the administration allows, it has a far more limited one than many civil libertarians and human-rights advocates imagine.
All very true -- I think in defense of the Administration, though, the reason it hasn't allowed as much judicial oversight as there is a place for is precisely because it is well aware of the rampant judicial activsm permeating the courts, and their responsiveness to the pressure civil-ibertarians and human-rights activists can bring to bear on them.

The administration is reluctant, in this judicial climate, to give up known high-value detainees to judical squeamishness.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Could You Care Less?

Something that has always bothered me.

Long ago, someone found a slightly more colorful way of expressing how little he cared about something came up with the phrase:
"I couldn't care less."

In other words, I care so little that it is impossible for me to care less than I care now.

Somehow, there are people who never really thought about how the phrase makes it's point -- and perhaps relying on the tone in which it is delivered, repeat it as:
"I could care less."

Which really doesn't say the same thing at all. Almost the opposite, one could argue. The point of the phrase is that you are at the zero-point of caring. If you could care less, you obviously care some. Which is probably not what you mean.

Let the smearing begin

First there was Fred Thompson: Another actor turned politician. Didn't stick too well since he is a politician turned actor. And he got his first part playing himself in a movie. Plus right now even the liberal press (but I repeat myself) looks back positively on Ronald Reagan.

So here's a new angle from that cesspool of progressive stew, the Huffington Post: Fred Thompson: The Philip Morris Candidate. The headline is what you're supposed to remember. That's right. A vote for Fred Thompson is a vote for cancer. For those eeeeevil tobacco industry tycoons who have little girls forced at gunpoint to smoke to get them addicted. They sit in huge chairs that you only ever see the back of -- save an arm with a big fat stogie smoldering away sticking out from one side. Those chairs are behind giant mahogany desks with huge picture windows overlooking expensive real-estate, as piles of money accumulate in their accounts while they laugh an internal, maniacal laugh.

Or so the narrative is supposed to go.

Know what? A lot of people like to smoke. They know it can be bad for them. They know it can kill them. But they like to do it. And as long as they're not blowing it in my face, I'm good with it. Although I don't call myself a smoker, I even smoke an occasional cigar or a pipe. Because I want to. Because I like the aroma and the flavor. And I live in a supposedly free country where Liberty is the by-word. Or so it used to be.

People like to smoke, and somebody has to grow the tobacco if they are going to smoke it. And like any other economic endeavor where there is demand, suppliers make money off of it. And there. is. nothing. wrong. with. that.

Nobody, but NOBODY -- forces anyone to smoke. It is a personal choice, and we all know the risks. Just as nobody forces anyone to go into a restaurant, be it a restaurant that allows smoking or a restaurant that does not.

But there are people who don't think anyone should smoke. The conservatives in that crowd still leave it up to the individual. The "progressives" in that crowd do what progessives love to do. Use government power to "solve" social behavior they have a problem with.

And they protest and campaign and bring lawsuits and argue that "Big Tobbacco" is the problem and smokers are "victims". The progressive narrative. The world is made up of "Big, Powerful Bullies" and their "victims". And they are here to make it all better.

Rich, white kids and black strippers. Big Oil and the doom of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Rich business men and their poor customers. Plant owners and their slave employees. You poor, poor, people. Just turn to our government and we'll fix it all for you. Just like Stalin. Pol Pot. Mao. Castro.

Let freedom ring.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bad Religion

I just saw this as a signature on a post on a discussion group:

"We can't do nothing and think someone else will make it right."
-
Kyoto Now, Bad Religion

I was immediately struck by a couple of levels of irony in this. Number 1, Kyoto was a product of bad religion in the first place -- that is, the Enviroligion that blinds so many to the actual science in favor of finding civilization, especially western civilization and industrialization -- at fault for some impending disaster that must be averted by political action.

The other irony is in the statement itself. "We can't do nothing and think someone else will make it right". Well, if you don't know what it is you're doing, or worse -- you do know and don't care, you might just find yourself creating massive new problems in your solution to a non-existent one.

Enviroligion's solution is to halt development in the developing world, and turn back and/or severely cobble the developed world. It's got that "social justice" tag of approval on it. "We shouldn't be any better off than they are."

Only there's a few problems with that. 1: Why not? 2: They would much rather have the problem solved by elevating their standard of living to ours. 3: Do you really think people living industrialized lifestyles will actually accept going back to third-world lifestyles? hint: This is the purpose behind carbon credits. At best, in reality it would end up making things just slightly less unequal. And 4: it would end up dooming millions in the third world who might've had a chance to better their lives to more starvation, illness, and the death that accompanies them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Human Need or Corporate Greed?

I saw a T-Shirt the other day, and here's what it said on the back:


Human Need
or
Corporate Greed?
The choice is clear.
Vote Democrat

So that's it, then. The Republicans are there solely to make rich people richer (who presumably have no "right" to be rich), while the Democrats will play Robin Hood and rob force them to happily give their money to people who have less. It's apparently that simple to these folks. Ah, to see the world with such polarized eyes. Probably one reason why that world view is so popular. It's easy to digest. But like most things that are easy to digest, eating that stuff alone is bad for you.

Now frankly, I as a Libertarian type have no use for government programs designed to outright benefit corporations for the sake of corporate benefit. Frankly, I have little use for most government programs, especially Federal ones. On the other hand, a government policy of not taxing them at exorbidant rates just because people feel it's not "fair" that they make so much money is fine by me. Your fair share is a percentage of what you make. (update: Brother Jeffmon asks "why is that even fair?" -- he has a good point. But while a flat tax rather than a flat tax rate could be argued as being more fair, progressives like the opposite approach which is decidedly less fair.) Anyway, why should that percentage go up just because you make more? And that's basically what they're saying. You don't have a right to be that rich. You must be doing something evil.

Ah, but there are people who simply can't afford to live if we tax them at all. Well, we already have exemptions for people at the low end of the income scale to ensure that we're not taking bread off of their tables.

People who really really think of the world in the terms that t-shirt put it should really read Bill Whittle's two-part essay "Trinity". (part 2 is here.) As a matter of fact, even people don't think of the world that way but have trouble expressing it to others ought to read it.

Cultural Heritages

Wow.

I bow down to the Great Thomas Sowell. A great mind, and a great gift for expressing it.
by Thomas Sowell

Shoot Them

Just ran across this report from Sweeden. It addresses the vulnerability the West has opened itself to by worshiping tolerance in and of itself.

When it comes to the last bit, though -- when ambulances arrive on the scene to take injured Muslims to the hospital to save their lives, the residents tell them which residents to take and which to leave behind. Who will live. Who will die. Which is bad enough.

But then when a Mosque catches fire and the Sweedish firemen come to put it out and perhaps rescue Muslims in need -- the firemen are attacked with stones.

I think Sweeden should initiate a policy: You attack firemen at a fire doing their job, the police are allowed to shoot you on sight. Period. Advertise it. Back it up with teeth. And don't apologize. That's the only way this kind of behavior will stop. Anything else will only make the problem worse. Immigrants who commit a felony are up for deportation immediately. You want to live in our society you're darned sure going to follow our rules. Or stay the hell home.

Can you tell I'm a little peeved?

The west needs to re-discover its backbone.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Quote of the day

From Michelle Malkin:
"Sensitivity" in the jihadi world is a one-way, dead-end street.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More Gun Ownership, Please

For those of you who still don't get it:

At the height of last week's fighting in Gaza, one Palestinian in 300 carried a weapon in support of Hamas - a third of one percent of the population. Now Hamas rules 1.5 million people.
That's from the article "Why Hamas Won".

This is one big reason why free people need the right to keep and bear arms. So they can use them when a small group of people try to take it away from them -- or better yet, so a small group of people will know better than to try and take it away from them.

On Science and Theories

I was reading this excellent post over at House of Eratosthenes and I had to add my two cents. And after the fact, I thought my two cents would make a pretty good post on its own. Seeing as how I've been too busy -- and a bit weary of blogging, I might add -- in the interest of efficiency and not wasting work, here's my two cents.

Morgan in his post asks a question about scientists who basically agree on one thing disagreeing on another. That got me to thinking. Here goes:

As far as the scientists disagreeing, scientists do disagree on things. One good scientist can even disagree on something with another good scientist as well. That’s because scientists come up with theories, and then they devise tests to see if the theory holds.

They disagree on the theories and the validity of the tests for those theories for various reasons.

Here’s the sticky thing — a theory can never really be “proven” — it can only be disproven. What can be done is to show that it holds true again and again in a given set of circumstances. And when this is shown, the theory becomes useful. But all it takes is for one case to fail for the theory to be disproven. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the theory is useless. Often the scientist will then come up with another theory as to why the first theory failed in that case. And then he or she tests that theory. See how this works?

If the second theory appears to hold again and again, the first theory can then be modified to account for it. But even then they are both still theories.

Another problem that can come up is that a test or series of tests might not be appropriate — and therefore are invalid, for the theory being tested. For example, “did those two ever fit together?” is a valid test to test a theory that CO2 levels are related to temperature changes. However, it is not a valid test to see whether or not CO2 levels cause temperature increases, partly because it might just be the other way around. (Now how do those two fit together and what is the relationship between the curves is a more useful — and, as it turns out, revealing — approach).

There’s another theory based on blackbody radiation theory that predicts that more CO2 will produce warmer temperatures. But it, too, is a theory. A theory which must be tested before we accept it as a useful predictor.

The question you have to ask yourself is… how has this theory been tested? Followed by, are these tests valid to show that the theory holds? And everybody’s favorite followup question is why or why not? Which basically means, “defend your answer.”

At any rate, it turns out that the CO2 –> Warming is a pretty hard thing to test on the scale we’re talking about. About the best we can do, to the extent we can do it, is go back and try to re-construct temperature and CO2 records throughout climatological history and closely observe their relationships. If they match excactly, that’s not very helpful — because it doesn’t hint at what causes what. But if they don’t … if one increase leads the other by any sort of significant amount, then you get an indicator of which one might be the cause and which one might be the effect.

And as it turns out, when we do this, we see that temperature goes up first and CO2 levels follow.

Why?

Well, there’s a theory that says that cold water absorbs more CO2 (and other gasses as well, but we’re talking about CO2 here) than warm water. And in experiment after experiment, this has never been shown not to be the case. So there’s a theory that says that the increased CO2 in the atmosphere is a result of warmer water (mostly ocean) surface temperatures because the warmer ocean can’t hold as much as it had been holding — so it must release it as gas.

Sounds like a pretty good theory. And whenever we dissolve CO2 in cold water and warm it up, it releases some. Like clockwork. Every time. That’s how real science works. Not by “graduate students, political bodies, and comedian's wives all agree”.

Science is most certainly not about voting.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Polls

If you wait long enough and read wide enough, eventually someone will come up and say something you've been wanting to say ... and say it even better. I'm going to say, before you read this example, that this applies to polls in general. Which is why I take most polls with a bag of salt -- unless I get to read the questions.
Of course, when you dig into the actual questions asked in those polls, it invariably comes down to something along the lines of “do you prefer McCain/Kennedy’s attempt to secure the borders and reform our immigration system, or are you a Nazi, child-murdering, racist who wants to round up infants in the middle of the night, Elian-style, carve them up with a flensing knife and sell their organs for medical research?”

- Misha

My observation excactly.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Am Tired

I am tired.

Tired of watching an all out assault on America, the idea. Tired of trying to pay attention to every little battle. All the attempts to further hobble the second amendment. Tired of more and more people buying the idea that Government is there to solve our social problems. Or our economic problems.

To quote from Reagan's inaugural address:
"...government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?"

Hillary -- and the rest of what makes up most of the Democratic party -- wants us to drop our emphasis on the individual and give freedoms up for the common good. In other words, Socialism.

A look at the history of socialism shows clearly that socialism must be enforced by totalitarianism. Absolute rule, absolute power. And power corrupts -- in any system of government. But absolute power, as they say, corrupts absolutely. Absolute power means the government has all the power, and the people have none. What do these anti-gun activists think "We the People" will be able to do against an increasingly powerful central government, anyway? Go vote 'em out?

What, in the end, allows us to do that? Is it that bit of paper and ink we call the Constitution?

The Constitution is, in fact, so much paper, and our founding fathers recognized that. Which is why they would not ratify it without a Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution -- which are therefore a part of that Constitution). And one of those amendments, the second one (right behind "nobody can tell you what you can and can't say, and no Church can tell the government what to do") was -- "We the People have the right to keep and bear arms". The discussions that went on in the development of this amendment clearly show that this little piece of the Constitution was a guarantee that the constitution is more than just a bit of paper. That if Government started treating it like just a bit of paper, the rest of us would have the capacity to say "Oh no you don't!" and have a fighting chance.

But people don't see that. The press, who's self-proclaimed mission is to save the world, doesn't see this as a part of their vision of the world saved -- so they never present this. To hear them tell it, guns kill people. Gun owners are just unwitting accomplices to the Guns' drive to kill, kill, kill - and gun companies are profiting on all the blood --- yada, yada, yada. How dramatic.

People kill people. If they have guns, they'll do it with guns. If they don't (in whatever fantasy world they won't even if they were outlawed) then they will do it by a myriad of other means.

I'm tired of people not even considering this and pretending that that fantasy world is even a possibility, and that we'd all play in the daisies with butterflies and the lion and the lamb and all when that day comes.

I am tired of multiculturalism. It's not that I hate other cultures, but we seem to have forgotten that our culture was to be a "melting pot", not a conglomeration of distinct cultures. We take the best from any culture that is compatible with liberty and incorporate it into our own, and we discard the other stuff!

I am tired of the racist assumption that White People Are Racist™ (and that non-whites are incapable of being racist). I am further tired of anything that can be construed a white person not approving of or accepting of a cultural practice outside of their own as being "racist".

I am tired of the hyper-rationalization of the Left that twists and contorts honor to be shame, strenght to be weakness, success to be failure....

I'm so tired I can't even write a good blog post on it.

It just seems that day after day, legislation is proposed to expand the role of government, to restrict liberty more -- and when it fails they just re-arrange the wording and submit it again, and again, and again in the hopes that one day enough people won't be paying enough attention to it -- perhaps they'll be too tired of doing it -- and it'll slip through, unnoticed. And it looks like it's working.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007