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Saturday, December 08, 2001

More sweet clarity from Rand Simberg on the newly floated idea that the Bush Recession was caused by the Bush Tax Cut.

Can these Democrats cite a single historical precedent for a recession being caused by a tax cut?
For extra credit, can they put forth a plausible theoretical mechanism by which this might occur?
No, I didn't think they could...
Oh, well, at least we can be thankful that we don't have Al Gore around any more with his mindless and oxymoronic phrase, "blowing a hole in the deficit."

Boswell: So, Sir, you laugh at schemes of political improvement?
Johnson: Why, Sir, most schemes of political improvement are very laughable things.
from Boswell's LIFE OF JOHNSON

I just wanted to share a nice moment (mostly of interest to gardeners)
Our son William has been overcome with a passion for outdoor Christmas lights. He persuaded Charlene to buy a great many of them, and has been festooning like mad. Naturally it falls to me to be the technical drudge who underpins the artistic efflorescence.

So there I was crawling under and around the muddy garden dragging cords and gadgets, grumbling and fratcheting all the while. Suddenly I noticed I was standing among some ferns, Microlepia strigosa. I have been encouraging and dividing them for years but hadn't paid them much mind lately. I usually plant them behind other plants, because they tend to grow tall and peek up from behind. But this clump was really tall, at least 5'. Chest high. There were 40 or 50 fronds, their color an almost luminous pale green, and soft and fluffy, and they were waving all around me in the breeze. "Wow, where did you guys come from?"

From somewhere in ANDREWSULLIVAN.COM
. . . If we win the war, the economy will do fine. If we half-win the war, the economy will tank at the slightest hint of aother terrorist attack. Memo to W: Ignore these domestic policy types. Veto the stimulus package; focus like a laser beam on Iraq.

Friday, December 07, 2001

How frooostrating . . .some of my favorite bloggers are sitting up with ailing computers. Could be bad news for Western Civilization. And I may have to go back to reading books.

Were I but a rich man, I would buy them new machines. Something more reliable, something simpler to use, something less prone to break mind/spirit/pocketbook by thrashing and crashing. Of course the transition to the Macintosh OS would slow them down at first. But soon the advantages would begin to manifest. More psychic energy available for thinking, more time to blog, a generally more optimistic view of life.

Egad, they could startwith the new OS-X (pronounced OS Ten). X doesn't crash at all. Your applications can and do crash, but the machine just keeps right on going, and any other open applications just keep doing whatever they do. X is very potent juju.

We Mac types listen to our Windows friends describe the things they go through, and we think, "I don't believe this. I just. Don't. Be-lieve. It. My Mac has it's problems and glitches to be sure, but this Windows stuff is CRAZY !" But we soon discover that grabbing people and shaking them and telling them their agony is avoidable does no good. (Sort of like telling a lefty that big Government programs don't solve problems.) People just smile and murmer something about those cute Mac cultists and their quaint religion.

In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is a crazy cultist.

Thursday, December 06, 2001

This is from JunkYardBlog, a new blog (or seems new to us tired veterans who started blogging in November) by Bryan Preston:

Of course, we’ve now seen that attacking the terrorists has not only left them unable to respond, but has quelled the unrest in the too-often mentioned “Arab street.” Where are the protesters of Pakistan, where are their posters of bin Laden? The protesters are staying home, their anti-American posters are still digital files on their Dell desktops. Saudi Arabia, apparently sensing that the US is serious about wiping out terrorism, is suddenly making overtures of support and even allowing its press to express limited pro-US ideas. Retaliation has worked because it has produced victory. Tribunals might work in a similar way
. . . In past, when tribunals have been used to try foreign spies, they have produced an 85% conviction rate, a few points lower than trials held in federal courts.
[ my underlining ]

EURO: The new money for the new Europe. Could they possibly have chosen a more bland and bureaucratic name? Ugghh. I can tell without looking further that the Eurocrats are not my kind of people. Europeans are stupes to let those soft-shelled sucking creatures own them.
What should they have called their new money? DUCATS, of course ! Or Thalers, or Louis d'Or. Marks, Nobles, Ecus. But of course it's best not to remind the folks of their history. Remind them that they were once splendid and dangerous; generous and rapacious; that they once waded in blood to conquer worlds, while inventing allmost everything that's worthwhile. No no no, that's best forgotten.

Hee hee. Charlene asked for a BIG (natch, if she ever asked for something little I would faint) CHRISTMAS TREE. "Get one that we have to trim to fit it into the Living Room."
And I got it! And for less than 40 bucks. Wait'll she sees it. Fat and green and almost 9' tall. When anyone asks how I did it I will smile modestly and say, " We old-timers don't have much difficulty with these things . . ."

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered altitude and spotted a man below. She descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his GPS and replied, "You're are in a hot air balloon approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude, and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude."

"You must be a Republican," said the balloonist. "I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "Everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help so far."

The man responded, "You must be a Democrat." "I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?" "Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault ."

. . . to support the theory of: Fight back with what you've got to hand. --sent by MommaBear
( Thanks! I love it. )

ANANOVA wrote: An armed robber was forced to retreat from a German baker's shop by a hail of sticky cakes and bread rolls.
The masked man walked into the bakery in Frankenthal and pointed his gun at the woman behind the counter.
He demanded cash, but she refused and bombarded him with bread and cakes until he fled the shop.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Speaking of Braintree: The Braintree of [John] Adam's boyhood was a quiet village of scattered houses and small neighboring farmsteads strung along the old coast road, the winding main thoroughfare from Boston to Plymouth, just back from the very irregular south shore of Massachusetts Bay . . .

. . . recalling his childhood in later life, Adams wrote of the unparalleled bliss of roaming the open fields and woodlands of the town, of exploring the creeks, hiking the beaches, "of making and sailing boats . . . swimming, skating, flying kites and shooting marbles, bat and ball, football . . . wrestling and sometimes boxing, shooting at crows and ducks, and running about to quiltings and frolics and dances among the boys and girls."

Quoted from JOHN ADAMS by David McCullough

Charlene has dealt with two cases in as many days where people (4 in all) were killed in auto accidents and just happened not to be wearing seatbelts.
So buckle up ! If you are smart enough to be reading blogs, while others are staring at TV, we need you in the gene pool.

The great fish swallow up the small, and he who is most strenuous for the rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the prerogatives of government. You tell me the degrees of perfection to which human nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances. --Abigail Adams, in a letter to John Adams.

In line with your promotion of 'fighting back'... like the old banner with the coiled snake saying 'Don't Tread On Me'... here's some professional support ---MommaBear
Thanks. By the way, gun people seem to have been made nervous by my suggestion for self-defense. They shouldn't be. Any sort of successful self-defense helps promote the others. Flight 93 probably did more to promote gun rights than anything done lately with firearms.

The enemy is the idea that benevolent bureaucracies can take care of us; an idea promoted with endless manic energy by water-flies who are desperate to avoid the knowledge that ordinary citizens are at least as intelligent and interesting as they are.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

has a little primer, A to Z, in today's Opinion Journal

D is for the daisy-cutter, an awe-inspiring bomb that conjures an unlikely bucolic image. It's a pity the explosive device isn't called a daffodil-cutter, or we could have amused ourselves adapting Wordsworth:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er Afghanistan,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of turbaned Taliban;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and shooting in the breeze.

Charlene says that local radio guy Micheal Savage was extra pissed off today, and with good reason. Apparently Michael rides his bicycle past the "alternative high school " in Marin County where little Johnny Jihad went. They have a big sign in their window that says This is a Hate-Free Zone. I won't even comment. YES I WILL--They're implying that the rest of America is foaming at the mouth and burning crosses on lawns and voting Republican. We are just SO LUCKY there is one hate-free enclave left. I'll just slip away and barf.

Charlene also notes that the parents of that clown don't seem to have expressed any remorse or regret. Reminds her of the parents of hoodlums in her long-ago Juvenile Court days. He's obviously the product of neglect, stupidity, and a very bad school system.

Of course she's listening to Michael because she's driving around town picking up our children at several private schools where we put them to avoid the sort of Public School craziness that Natalie just called to our attention; and which our property taxes are paying for.


The essence of pure good sense, from Rand Simberg

I will become truly concerned about China only if they show some signs of trying to open up space with free enterprise. If they do so, the US will be the only remaining space power on the planet using the failed socialist model...

Speaking of trendizoid enclaves, near here we have Marin County. And where did that wacko American kid who was captured with the Taliban come from?
Charlene says our local morning radio folks Lee Rogers and Melanie Morgan are calling him Johnny Jihad !

For some comic relief from trendiness and fads, try BELLWETHER by Connie Willis.
It's tells the screwball adventures of a researcher studying fads, while working at Dilbertesque Hi Tech in Boulder CO, and dating a "trendy cowboy" from Wyoming (Cows are out, sheep are in.) A bellwether, by the way, is the sheep the others in the flock follow.
Bellwether is full of almost prophetic wackiness (our gallant researchers get into big trouble for exposing their flock of sheep to cigarette smoke) plus interesting speculations on how scientific breakthroughs really happen.
PS: There's also a big flap at Hi Tech over "second secondhand smoke," ie. the mere air that a smoker breathes out. Look for this issue to surface soon in Maryland . . .

Monday, December 03, 2001

My brainstorm (see yesterday's 12:09 PM Post) was mentioned in InstaPundit today! Way cool. (Of course the Bear-proof suit tops everything)

Heartfelt thanks to my friends who have been spreading the idea around. And no one has said yet that it's a BAD idea. (People do keep suggesting the use of guns, and of course if you're packing one, use it. But most people in a typical crowd aren't armed.)

The germ of the idea was in a book by Laurens van der Post. He wrote about being a prisoner of the Japanese in WWII. As the war was drawing to a close the prisoners had good reason to believe that their captors were planning to kill them (along with thousands of other prisoners in other camps)

They told the commander of the POW camp that the boggy place was a health hazard, and he allowed the prisoners to bring in rocks to pave the camp. The real purpose was to provide ammunition for a last-ditch revolt. It might have worked--the Japanese had machine guns, but would have been greatly outnumbered by the rock-throwing prisoners. Fortunately the Atom Bomb intervened, and the carnage was unneccessary.

SO, if perchance my little idea is of some use to the world, why then, the very next time that someone (perhaps my Mother) says that I'm just bookworm stuffed with useless knowlege, I'll have a good answer!

Sunday, December 02, 2001

DAWSON has sent his thoughts on my what to do when someone goes postal idea.

. . . If someone breaks into MY house I'm not gonna call 911, but 12 gauge. And I think, and hope, that if I were in a situation such as you describe that I'd take the lead in decisive action. Not to flout the law here or anything, I respect most cops, but we, as a people and as individuals are ultimately reponsible for ourselves . . .
there are also more thoughts on his Weblog, plus some other very good new posts.

I thank those who have been e-mailing . . . You know, there's a reward for you if you help this idea catch on. Whazzzat? Well, suppose the very next time someone goes to shoot-up a post office, they get stoned to death by a blizzard of mail carts and parcels and rubber stamps. YOU get to smile shyly and scuffle your feet and admit modestly that some of the credit goes to you. You helped popularize the idea! You are in on the ground floor! Get busy. Spread the word.! Copy the original post and tack it on to e-mails . . .

Perry de Havilland at SAMIZDATA writes, (concerning spree-killers):

Assuming I cannot exercise the preferred option of emptying a clip of 40 cal ammo from a nice SIG 229 in the direction of the bad guy, you would be amazed at the foot-pound energy of an enthusiastically slung can of condensed tomato soup... and a dozen cans of high velocity baked beans (or whatever) are really a far from trivial barrage. Seriously. I'd sure as hell do it!
Thanks, Perry--pass it around among those sinister and heavily armed globalist Illuminati. Thanks, there's a pal . . .

I just noticed some interesting things at LIBERTYBLOG: 9/11 Opportunism, Modernising parliament, loony liberalism in Maryland, and some good tribunal thoughts:

Lewis could have written a serious, thought-provoking, well-informed, illuminating column on these matters (like, say, this one.) But instead, he chose to engage in a hysterical, slope-slipping screed that wildly exaggerates the true measure of the challenges posed by the Bush executive order. Anthony Lewis should be ashamed, if he is capable of such.

I had just posted the previous, and then checked Natalie's blog--At the speed of thought she had responded, and with a real-life example !

. . . Impractical? Suicidal? No. About fifteen years ago now shoppers and staff in my then-local Waitrose drove off a couple of thieves armed with shotguns by chucking cans at them. . .

Friends, I need your feedback.
Recently I had what I think is a genuinely good idea. (They are very rare, but I do have them) I'm referring to the post of Nov. 30th, about what people should do when someone goes postal.

If it's a BAD, idea, or just boring, please let me know, and I'll drop it.

But if it's a GOOD idea, then it needs to be spread around and talked about. It won't work unless most people have heard of it.

SO, if you like the idea, pass it about, BLOG it, improve it, (pretend it's your own idea if you like) . . . just do something.

Here it is again:

One thing is clear: hijacking is dead. Right? Anybody tries it and the passengers will yank off his arms to beat him over the head with. Right? In fact, this huge problem has been solved.

SO, what other problems might be solved just by changing the way we react?

Imagine the next time someone comes into a crowded room and starts shooting. People don't panic and scream and crawl under tables. Instead, they throw things. Anything. Chairs and tables. Computers and cell phones. Keys and coins and books and purses and shoes. The pictures on the wall.

Imagine the torrent of stuff that 20 people in a frenzy could throw. Enough to overwhelm one guy with a gun, that's for sure. Some people would get shot, but not many.

But this only works if everybody knows what to do. And is willing. Maybe now we may be willing. Airline passengers certainly are. Suppose everyone who reads this passes it on to a few friends. Soon, everyone will know what to do . . .


If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when, through no
fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

Then you are probably a dog.

sorry, I don't know who wrote this . . .

I liked this John Leo column, EVERYONE'S A VICTIM, 2001

...It's time for this column's annual roundup of new and creative breakthroughs in the everyone's-a-victim movement:

". . . The world thinks that actor Robert Downey Jr. is suffering from drug addiction, but actually he may be a victim of "acquired situational narcissism," a term coined by therapist Robert Millman. Millman says this is the result of adulation early in life, complicated by pressure and fame later on. In a sense, the real culprits are the sycophants and enablers who follow famous people around, cleaning up after them. . .
. . . In Britain, Woolworth stores believe that their Father Christmas costumes could run afoul of European gender legislation. So the stores are stocking up on Mother Christmas outfits. Possible next marketing step: nativity sets with interchangeable "Jesus and Jane" infants.