Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Deep Throat, patriot. . . . .

So, it turns out that W. Mark Felt, who had been suspected for years and who denied it for years, was Deep Throat.

For you young'uns, Deep Throat is the secret government insider who supplied Woodward and Bernstein, newspaper reporters, the information needed to publish the Watergate mess. They were able to show that President Nixon knew about the goofy break-in by Republican operatives of a Democratic campaign office, and President Nixon covered up his knowledge and possible complicity. When the media heat got turned up, Nixon resigned the presidency. Thus was energized the notion, which has gained greater currency with the addition of leftist values, that the purpose of news reporters is to tear down government.

Who was Deep Throat? At the time, Mr. Felt was like the number 2 man in the entire F.B.I. What did he do? He had a series of secret meetings with news reporters. Why? Well, he says he was only doing his duty. And that is just B.S.

He was the number 2 man in the F.B.I., which means he was a cop. He came across evidence of an official cover-up of a crime, which is also a crime. So, you would expect that a cop would make an arrest or do a complete investigation, and turn the case over for prosecution so that the normal trial procedures and guarantees would be operative. But this law enforcemnt officer took his case to the press, instead. He says he was not trying to bring Nixon down; he was only doing his duty.

Since when is it a cop's duty to supply information to the press when the cop finds evidence of a crime, instead of using the evidence to prosecute the crime?

Perhaps Mr. Felt thought his chances in a media prosecution were a lot more likely to get the result he wanted, than any prosecution in a court of law, or even in the Senate. That is, he may have considered that he didn't have enough evidence to convict. That would explain why he took his case to the news guys instead of initiating presecution.

Or perhaps, and this is the theory I like, Mr. Felt was steamed for having been passed over for the number 1 job in the F.B.I., which could also explain his sneaking around with the press rather than enlisting the D.A. directly in the matter.

Way to go, there, crimefighter. Nice job of putting the needs of the country ahead of any personal animosity.

Irresponsible? Stupid? Or what? . . .

You know. After a while, you might be justified in thinking that describing somebody as stupid might be way too charitable. Maybe some of the the mainstream press isn't stupid. Maybe it isn't just a committed creature of the minority party. Maybe it is the enemy.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Not even one cent . . . .

So, exactly how long did the wonderful compromise over the minority using a phony filibuster last? You know. The compromise where a portion of the majority decided to sign onto the the minority team so as to prevent the majority from acting anything like a majority or like leaders? What, like a day or two?

We have one major party which can't be trusted to do what it says or even remember what it said, and the other major party walking around with their hands to their foreheads flashing the loser signs and grinning just as if they knew what it meant.

You would have to be not right bright to give one cent in contribution to either party. Neither of them deserve any support whatsoever.

And then there's John McCain, a member of the "Hey, Look at Me" party. Smile pretty, John. The press loves ya.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Flaming, roaring morons . . .

Before I moved to Portland from Cincinnati I was active in an old Rotary club. Rotary clubs are all around the world and they all work under Rotary International, attempting to make a difference in the world. As in any social club there's a great deal of silliness but in Rotary there is also an opportunity to participate in worthwhile projects. One such project was a grand plan to completely eliminate infantile polio.

If you are old enough, you remember polio. There would always seem to be one little kid in a school, flopping around with braces or crutches or doomed to having his little kid head sticking out of an iron lung because he required constant and continuous mechanical intervention just to keep him breathing in an out. For the rest of his little kid confined life.

The polio vaccines of Sabin and Salk changed that to the great relief of parents who no longer had to worry about what disease their little kids were catching at school, and to the benefit of thousands of little American kids who were prevented from having their young lives permanently twisted up into pain and disability. Vaccines were a big deal.

Rotary, as I said, wanted to completely eliminate infantile polio from the whole world, not just the West. So a grand plan was set in motion. Rotarians and Rotary clubs all over the world, collected many millions of dollars world wide from Rotarians to buy the vaccine, and then brought on board many other worthy charities and world organizations to provide the delivery mechanism. It very soon ceased being a Rotary project and it would be unfair to credit Rotary with the whole thing. But Rotary contributed an awful lot to get this thing going, and it probably wouldn't have got going without Rotary International and Rotarians world wide who contributed time and a very considerable amount of cash to the project over a span of years. The project of course, became much bigger than Rotary, which is as it should be.

I'm trying to say that a very great number of ordinary people contributed many of their leisure hours and dollars in an extraordinary attempt to eradicate a horrible disease worldwide, for the good of all. Free. Free! Children all over the world, according to the plan, would be vaccinated without cost and there would be no host left, anywhere, for polio. Even in the worst pockets of poverty children could be vaccinated against polio. And of course, once the world was successful in eliminating this disease, we would have a model of how to go about eradicating other diseases on a worldwide basis.

But we aren't going to be able to completely eradicate polio. Oh, no. We got close, but it turns out we were vaccinating against the wrong disease. There needs to be a vaccine for a disease far more lethal than polio. I refer to infectious stupidity. Take a look at this. You shouldn't be surprised at the source of the opposition to free vaccine against polio. Yup. It's the imams.

Why is it that those who are institutionally ignorant aren't content living a life of nasty mediocrity? No, these flaming, roaring morons have to infect others with their insane hatreds, causing death and suffering to those who listen to them.

Catch a clue there, Sparky. It isn't our kids who can catch polio. It will be your kids who are at risk; your kids who will suffer and die horribly and probably at your unclean hands. We are trying to export better health; you are trying to export fear, ignorance, pain, stupidity, and death.

There aren't words enough.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Marketing. Right. . . . .

This will sell hamburgers?

Call them the "urinarily challenged" . . .

Here's news. The city of Eugene is working on amending its laws so as to permit transgendered people to use the restroom of their choice, rather than restrooms of their -- well -- would you call it restrooms of their birth?

There is opposition. Some people (we'll call them "women" for now but that could change) are concerned that permitting people bearing unsuitable urinary equipage into restrooms not designed with their particularities in mind might expose "normal" people (normal, hah!) to sexual predation. Of course, the trangendered folk respond that they aren't actually sexual predators. They just want to pee in a fashion more consistent with how they always imagined themselves to be. Is that so wrong?

I have but two observations:

First, as a normal male (normal, hah!) I don't want to go into a female restroom. I don't know what you people are doing in there; I don't want to know. I think if I knew, it would scare me.

Second, if ladies are fearful of sexual predators lurking in their restrooms, they should certainly not be forced to go into those restrooms where they feel uncomfortable.

They should just hold it.

I suspect a lot of women already hold it all the time rather than go to a restroom.

Urinary retention would explain a lot of otherwise incomprehensible behavior.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Check out Bill Whittle . . . .

Bill Whittle has a new essay posted. If you haven't seen it yet, or if you haven't been introduced to Bill Whittle yet, go here. Give yourself a little time because Mr. Whittle writes essays, unlike most of us who blog mostly to pop off a little.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Just a little pat to express admiration . . .

Guess what we get to do, now, in New York.

A male sales clerk patted a female customer on the behind a couple of times, "for no legitimate reason." Hey, I understand. Sometimes those things just require that a little extra attention must be paid. (But as a matter of policy I try not to be observed observing.)

But apparently the customer determined that she had been offended in some fashion, as her mother always told her, I'm sure, that men were not supposed to put their hands on her own personal self without having first received clear permission. So she ran squalling to the cops. I'm not certain if the victim was checked for visible bruising or other marks of evidence. But the crime fighters, as required by their employment, decided to prosecute. They prosecuted under a fairly new law that criminalized "forcible touching."

Makes sense to me. Sounds kind of like an old common law battery where the degree of force required could be slight. After all, I'm sure the sales clerk's mother always told him to keep his hands to himself.

The judge, who probably had to go to school for this kind of stuff, has decided that a repeated pat on the buttocks is not a forcible touching for purposes of the law. Guess he thought that an appreciative pat is okay, as long as it is not a forcible touching.

Read it for yourself. I'm not making this up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What's the blue book market value of a teenage sex-slave, anyway?

Here's what's being reported: A guy in California was getting young girls in India or someplace, then bringing them into the U.S. where they served as unwilling sex-slaves, among other things. When he got two sisters in this fashion and one died while locked away, her parents decided to sue him for damages.

They hired a lawyer to do so. Now that the case is over, the parents now allege that before the case went to trial the defendant offered settlement for 7.5 million. That's $7,500,000.00. Count the zeros. The parents now further allege that their attorney wouldn't take the settlement, against their wishes, but held out for more, which he got! These poor parents apparently had to go through depositions, which increased the value of the case by another million or so.

You'll never guess what happens next. The parents now are suing their own attorney because he didn't do what they wanted, which was to settle the case for the $7.5 mill! The parents claim that he was interested in the notoriety the case would get him if he got a big verdict, so he put them through the delay and annoyance of the depositions.


First, as an attorney, you do what your client wants. If your client wants to settle, you do it, even as you counsel your client that he is not right bright for choosing to accept a clearly inadequate offer. It happens. The attorney's settlement authority only comes from the client.

Second. I don't believe this story. I'm assuming that this kind of case must be on a contingent fee basis. I can't imagine there are many attorneys who, for this kind of case, would turn down a 7.5 million settlement. That's probably a fee of 2.5 million or so. You gotta' write a whole bunch of wills to earn 2.5 million in a year. And notice that this would have been a compromise settlement which would have completely eliminated the risk, which would be considerable, that a jury could come back with a smaller verdict. An attorney would risk a 2.5 million fee for notoriety? Oh, c'mon! Think of the notoriety you would get if you were the smart boy who refused a 7.5 settlement and ended with a verdict of a mere 6 million, having just given away a million of your client's money. Or worse, nominal damages. I just don't believe it. If you settle a case for $7,500.000.00, the word gets around. You don't have to go to trial to get notoriety. Just don't believe it. No way.

Third. What makes these "sex slaves" worth 7.5 million dollars to their parents? Don't get me wrong. The defendant should be locked up and all of his assets should be taken from him. If he's got millions to pay in settlement, take it all and put it into the school system. Put it into counseling facilities for young girls who are sexually abused. Don't let the enslaver keep a dime. But to give it to the parents? Okay, I know. If you find out that your daughters had been taken as sex slaves, you would want the perpetrator to pay for his crime. But how is giving these parents this much money anything like justice? They didn't have to put out; the girls did. This just sounds to me as if we have the parents seeing an opportunity for a big score, capitalizing on the victimization of their daughters.

And now they want more.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Worse than we thought . . . .

Back at home, now. Some may know that I have friends and relatives of a leftish sort. Well, this weekend we went back to the midwest for a family wedding, and it comes as no surprise to me that I also have friends and relations who have a right hand thread.

I figured that would make me uniquely qualified to translate what each group has to say of their rich and rewarding culture, to the other group. And versa vica. As I was flying out of Portland, I tried to think of the one or two things that could, in a very few brushstrokes, capture the politics of the region, west coast and the midwest flyover country. I thought maybe a comparison of the bumper stickers might do it.

As you no doubt know, here on the Pacific coast we think deeply about the political well-being of the country, and we express our deep thinking cleverly through bumper stickers. There's "War is not the answer." and, "Nobody died when Clinton lied." Driving around Portland, one still sees, "Let's not elect him this time either," stickers, and of course, "Impeach Bush." And there are thousands of tasteful "Kerry/Edwards" stickers still stuck to Volvos and Subarus, and Caravans and Villagers and a Lexus or two. As you see, we are really into industrial strength political thinking 'round here.

Anyway, I planned to scan the bumper stickers of the neo-con, Christian conservative midwest, using the same sophisticated sampling methods I considered using in my Portland survey of bumper stickers, except I forgot. So I just kept my eyes open.

Being in the know about why it was Mr. Kerry had the election taken from him, I expected to see considerable evangelical activity in the midwest. I mean, it has to be there, right? So I expected to see the Evangelical Gun & Knife Show, and Evangelicals 'R' Us stores, and little signs when you pulled into the villages and hamlets, kind of like Rotary Clubs and Kiwanis do. And bumper stickers. I really expected bumper stickers. They had bumper stickers thirty years ago and there were what we called road Christians displaying the stickers. I still remember the bumper sticker I saw back then, "Jeeze if you love Honkus." But what did I see? Just one Bush sticker from the first election. Nary an evangelical bumper sticker, not even a "I'm an evangelical -- and I vote," sticker. Nothing!

But I'm pretty sure there's a secret handshake.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Smackdown in the Senate . . .

This, on national cable news (Fox, what a surprise) is seriously one of the most enjoyable and most thorough smackdowns of politicians I've ever seen. Agree, or don't, but you gotta see this. Some behinds have been well, effectively, and mercilessly kicked.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Something smells funny . . .

There's a whole lot of bad news floating around. The news of the day is that General Motors bonds have been declared junk. And there's a big recall that, I think, is following a big recall. We also have news that GM's pension/medical benefits are out of line and the company may have to dump the contract in Chapter 11. With all this bad news, you'd think that people would want to bail out of their GM stock.

But somebody is apparently still buying the stock.

Know what I think? I think somebody thinks General Motors is in play. And they might be right.

But who? Not Daimler-Benz; I think they are probably still trying to choke down Chrysler and their appetite is more than satisfied for a long time. Toyota? Why? China, Inc.? Didn't they just buy IBM PCs?

I think we are in for a wild ride.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

It's okay with me if you get serious . . .

Care to get serious, Senator?

Senator Reid said of President Bush, while the President was out of the country, "The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid said in response to a question about President Bush's policies. "I think this guy is a loser.

Mr. Bush won the last two presidential elections.

I don't think I'm alone in kind of expecting the Democrats to do a lot better in elections. But I don't see how saying silly things can help their chances.

I'm also probably not alone in thinking that the Democrats could do better if they were to propose one new idea. Just one idea that hasn't ceased being fresh and current since 1965.

President Bush and his party are carrying a lot of unpleasant baggage with them, but there was that one new idea in the strategy in the war against terror. That is, that while we try to kill terrorists, we also try to democratize the territories where the terrorists live and receive support, using military force to accomplish it. It was a new notion, quite contrary to the accepted wisdom that Islamic societies just aren't suited to democracy and will always go for the ruthless strong man type of government.

What's the result of the President's new notion? Pakistan, home to the Taliban and other assorted nastiness, is more helpful than France. (spit) Pakistan and India are exploring the possiblity of peace between them. The Afgans and Iraqis voted. They voted in Palestine. Egypt is about to have an election that looks a little more like an election than the elections they are used to. Syria has withdrawn from Lebanon, where the burkas are being discarded to reveal hot protest babes. Kaddafi has started to play nice, including giving up his program for atomics.

And the mighty holy warriors of the jihad are hopping around in front of video cameras praising Allah and beheading the odd unfortunate infidel that they happened to snatch, but mostly they are now concentrating on blowing up fellow Muslims. I suppose the thinking is that vulnerable infidels are getting harder to come by, and there's all those Muslims running around not actually killing infidels at the moment, and well, close enough. But I'm sure this pastime of blowing up cars to kill and maim Muslims standing in a line to get a job in the new police force is the kind of thing that makes a feller (fellahin?) look all desperate and pathetic. Dangerous, but pathetic. Definitely not charismatic.

So I say, give President Bush credit for having and implementing a great idea. Kick out some middle eastern repressive regimes and stuff democracy down their throats. It is working.

But there is still all that Conservative/NeoCon/Evangelical baggage. On the strength of the one good idea, I fear a whole lot of unpleasant ideas are going to be implemented. (Actually, one and a half good ideas. It turns out the tax cuts may have kicked the economy into some improvement such that recent tax revenues were much higher than expected and the deficit is being reduced much more quickly.)

I look to the Democrats to come up with better ideas. I think they should give President Bush credit for one good idea -- give him credit and support the war on terror They are looking like weenies denying what is increasingly obvious -- that Iraq and Afganistan are triumphs of American values. But then, and this is the important part, the Democrats should find some other serious ideas to run with. Name-calling just isn't serious.

It isn't as if there is a shortage of ideas that the Republicans aren't using. Here's some for free:
  • Atomic energy. The Japanese do it, and they should know about atomic energy. Even the French do it. (spit) We had just the one accident with atomic energy in this country, and it proved that the safeguards work. It's time to build some modern reactors in this country -- we are building them for other countries. Luddites be damned, even if some of 'em are my friends.
  • Prescription medicine. The single greatest cost of prescription medicine is the cost of compliance with government regulations. Of course, drug companies are cold and greedy and would mark up a beaker of talcum before they sold it to their thirsty mother. But the problem is government. If the Democrats worked up some kind of plan other than socialized medicine, they could run on it and win.
  • Conservation. Once one comes to recognize that environmental activists usually have no real involvement with land and resources, but are merely acting out some "noble savage" sophomoric idealism, one can then see that those most affected by and sensitive to environmental matters are farmers and ranchers. Land and resources in the hands of private enterprise probably does a better job than statist or socialist solutions, like zoning and punitive regulation or allotments. When a farmer has a reasonable expectation that he can pass on the family farm to his children and eventually to his grandchildren, he will damn sure take care of the land.
  • Money and banking: C'mon, don't get me started. Big banks are buying up little banks that maybe don't charge their customers all that the traffic will bear, just to get the little bank's credit card business to raise the interest rates to make more money, which is used to buy more little banks. Using our money. Feh. If it keeps going this way, pretty soon we won't be able to spend cash because there won't be any. There will just be a credit card with the bank. Just, The Bank. Only one.
  • Education. If "we're number one" in sports, why, with a population just under 300 million, do we have to import scientists and mathematicians? Oh, I know. We mostly teach values and self-esteem. These subjects are now being taught by people who, in their turn, weren't required to do much math and science, but were themselves nevertheless blessed with values and self-esteem. These are the ones who are squawking the loudest about the viciousness of competency tests for the students, as they occupy their allotted class time supervising their students in cutting out pictures from magazines to paste up collages about world peace or global warming. Well, those teachers and the parents of the students who can't pass the competency tests because their parents pulled them out of school for three weeks every year to go on a family vacation. The system is broken. The Democratic party has been supported by those who broke the system, the educationists. Education can be fixed and there are plenty of teachers who could tell you how to do it.
  • Local government. Democrats could build an unbeatable base on local government reform. Hell, they did it for years and they weren't even any good at it. And they are still doing it in a lot of cities despite being not very good at it. And I don't mean reform of corruption. I mean reform of incompetence. What would happen if the party dedicated itself to the proposition that government fundamentals are fundamental? That is, no funds should be spent to beautify the city by planting petunias and posies, until every damn pothole was first filled. No money should be spent trying to lure or keep major league sports franchises until there's enough emergency people available so a 911 call will have emergency people on the scene within three minutes of the call. A lot of Republicans would vote for them, I betcha.
Okay. Don't like all these ideas? Well, I wasn't really trying very hard. I was trying to show that it isn't all that hard to generate ideas that might make a positive difference. Pick one, or come up with one of your own. It would only take one!

But get serious. That means, stop saying silly things that appeal only to the marginal base, and start saying serious things about how to actually do things to make a positive difference for most Americans. The radical extremes of both the right and the left, no matter how highly energized they ever may be, are not enough to win a presidential election. A party has to appeal to the middle with a proposal of action, if it is to be taken seriously.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Scientific journal articles . . . or folktales?

I'm no scientist. As a civilian, I need to rely on the the scientific opinions of those better educated than I. But to me, this (in Pejmanesque)(tip: Amy Ridenour) doesn't sound scientific at all. Some scientist guy is accusing professional journals of refusing to print articles that appear contrary to the scientific notion that there is a process of global warming going on, attributable to human activity.

You might say, they won't print something you wrote? Poor baby. The magazine probably disappoints most of the people who submit stuff for publication.

Here's what bothers me. Whenever somebody publishes something in the popular press based on anecdotal events that seems counter to the current conventional science, you get the scientist types sniffing about the absence of peer review and rigid experimental controls. To be reliable information, it must have been published in professional journals. Therefore the inference is inescapable that if it isn't published in a professional journal, it is somehow not reliable information.

But scientists aren't immune when it comes to error or fraud (cold fusion).

Here's why it sounds suspicious to me. A magazine prints a study where the author says he reviewed a thousand scientific articles and X% directly support the proposition that A is A, and Y% indirectly support the proposition that A is A. This isn't science. This is sorting and counting. Of 1000 samples, how many fit into which categories? Sorting and counting, right? Then another guy looks at the very same 1000 articles and he sorts them very differently. It appears the journal prefers one result to the other, because it won't report the second "test." It sounds as if the editors either (a) have picked sides before the contest began, or (b) don't want to admit that their own editorial review of the first article was defective -- they screwed up. So much for effective peer review based on publication. C'mon. How tough is it to sort and count?

So, if us non-scientific types are told that publication in a reputable professional journal is a test for reliability, what are we to make of this? Particularly when other scientists in the field say things like this:

Prof Roy Spencer, at the University of Alabama, a leading authority on satellite measurements of global temperatures, told The Telegraph: "It's pretty clear that the editorial board of Science is more interested in promoting papers that are pro-global warming. It's the news value that is most important."

He said that after his own team produced research casting doubt on man-made global warming, they were no longer sent papers by Nature and Science for review - despite being acknowledged as world leaders in the field.

I know this. When the D.A. presents a case to the grand jury, no defense attorneys are allowed and no defense is presented. And the grand jury decides to indict damn near every time.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Commitment . . .

We've had about 100 year's worth of attempted implementation of Marxist nonsense at various places in the world, and either socialism never amounted to much or it amounted to lots of repression in an attempt to make the unworkable work. Historically and up to the present, implementation of various brands and flavors of socialism has been the cause of lots of deaths in many regimes.

It's like this. When you are pounding on a canary with a ball pein hammer to make it sing, and it doesn't sing, don't try harder with the hammer. The problem isn't your lack of commitment to the process.

On the other hand, democracy and capitalism tend to work a whole lot better. Not perfect. Just lots better.

But do socialists quit? Not a chance. They are in love with the socialist ideal (and the money and power for the top socialist is pretty good, too.) They are committed to the process. They are so committed to the process that they must enlist others in support --with or without their consent. Why, they're committed to plotting mischief in the southern hemisphere right now.

Of course, our esteemed press corps evidently finds the socialism in the southern hemisphere yet another excellent reason for their commitment to detailed coverage of Michael Jackson's trial.

Thanks for keeping us informed, guys.