Evening Whip, May 24, 2010

A thug too far, part 1 [*1] — “Progressivism” is, at its black, evil heart simply thuggery–but thuggery with outstandingly good P.R. This kind of thing is what you’re voting for when you vote for a Democrat–or for that matter, a “moderate” Republican Gulf Backlash Beginning? [*2] — At some point, the amateurism and ineptitude of the Obama administration will take its toll.

China’s Hu tells U.S. he wants gradual yuan reform [*3] — The amusing thing to me is that this current administration seems to think it has the standing to talk coherently to the Chinese about anything . . . I never thought it would get to the point where I thought that the Chinese Communists were more dependable and responsible world citizens than my own government, but the Obama people are getting there fast . . .

A Perspective On Why Some of Us Consider Obama Insufficiently “American” [*4] — Ah, yes. Barack Obama is, in fact, a ninny.

South Korea’s Lee says to take North to Security Council [*5] — At some point, the few remaining responsible countries of the World will simply have to take out the North Korean government. As a humanitarian act, if nothing else . . .

Why we should be very afraid of Elena Kagan [*6]

If Barak really is Kagan’s judicial hero, and I think we should take Kagan at her word, then she is manifestly outside the legal mainstream (in “completely different juristic universe,” to borrow the phrase Posner applies to Barak), and should not serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her regard for Barak as a hero shows Kagan to be radical in a way that Diane Wood, for example, is not. Wood is a liberal to be sure, but she possesses a long history of generally operating faithfully within the constraints our system places on judges.

Jamaica declares emergency in capital after attacks [*7] — Come to Jamaica and feel alright?

Out with the Old: Don’t trust a congressman over the age of 50. [*8]

“since feeling is first…” [*9] — “This may seem so elementary as to be worthless. But if you’re struggling right now with a story or book that just seems flat, that isn’t working at some level you can’t identify, it may well be that you haven’t fully tapped the emotions of your main characters. I’ve been writing professionally for 15 years and I still struggle with this from time to time.”

The Sea Ice Monster: it’s a scaly thing [*10]

Necessary Secrets: A word from the author [*11]

Pennant postscript [*12] — Go Rabbits!

Writers on Writing: Manners and Wit [*13]

Worldbuilding, or world growing? [*14]

Break it Down [*15] — “If I get to the decision point and find out I’ve only written 145 words, I know I’ve probably skimped on description or internalization or I’m not increasing the conflict or tension as much as I need to. I’ll add something, a problem, a fear, some foreshadowing, it varies wildly depending on the scene and what’s needed at that point of the book.”

Malinvestment, Not Overinvestment, Causes Booms [*16] — And what is the primary instrument of malinvestment? Government.

If the S-300 Sale is Allowed, Obama’s Russian “Reset” Policy Has Failed [*17] — I think at this point the construction of the phrase needs to be “Obama’s (fill in the blank) policy has failed again.”

AT&T Almost Doubling iPhone ETF Fees Ahead Of Rumored Verizon iPhone Launch [*18]

Obama Tanks in Polls… Approval Rating Sinks to Dismal 44% [*19] — Time to start up the Obama=Miserable Failure Googlebombs . . .

‘Stress’ Protein Could Halt Aging Process, Say Scientists [*20]

Outraged over outrage itself! [*21] — Which, I think, is why I’ve switched from the previous topic-sorted Whip format to this more stream-of-consciousness, Instapundit-ish format . . . it’s easier to let the various outrages of the day wash over me this way . . .

SEIU, HuffPo and Media Matters: Is an Unholy Alliance About to Unravel? [*22] — I would be highly amused and somewhat gratified if some enterprising district attorney somewhere identified a crime that had been committed, and rolled it up into a big friendly RICO indictment of a goodly portion of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy (which, unlike the “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” actually does exist, thanks to George Soros and his friends . . .

Report: Sprint May Also Land iPhone [*23]

Another of the ‘Palin 20’ in Deep Trouble [*24] — Revenge of the ‘Cuda continues . . .

Does Congress Know What It’s Doing? [*25] — Stupid question . . .

A thug too far, part 2 [*26]

The New International Order [*27]

It is precisely this bankrupt system that Obama has set out to emulate with his giant public health care, cap and trade and immigration “reform” programs. Having imitated Europe at home, his new international order appears to emulate it abroad. The ends of his security policy — environmentalism, development and humanitarian assistance — as well as the means — diplomacy and multilateralism — are strikingly European. What the President left out of the speech was a description of how the West, once it has collectively purged itself of hard power, will can wield soft power effectively. It is like one of those scenes in a movie where two men in a shack, watching the bandidos approach with murderous intent, prepare their defense.

The unsettling thought is that the people in the Obama Administration don’t know what they’re doing. The more unsettling thought is that they do know what they’re doing.

Relive 5 Years of “Get A Mac” in Five Minutes [*28] — Personally, I think that should be “Re-live” . . .

What would we do without activist entertainers? [*29] — Um . . . let me take a shot at this . . . actually be able to go to entertainment and be entertained? Those of you who think you know everything are annoying those of us who do.

Suddenly, Democrats get queasy at new spending [*30] — Gee, after a hundred years of “progressive” throw-money-at-the-problem politics . . . the change of heart is less than totally convincing . . .

Morning Bell: The Buck Stops Nowhere [*31]

Is this any way to run a country? Should the President of the United States be passing off responsibility to “independent” commissions? Should Congress be passing off responsibility for securing our nation’s borders to an unaccountable commission of experts? How is any of this consistent with our nation’s First Principles or the United States Constitution? It’s not. The authors of our Constitution never meant to create a federal government with the power to force you to buy health insurance, let alone one where it would be unelected bureaucrats who determine what type of health insurance you could buy.

Faber: Nations Will Print Money, Go Bust, Go to War…We Are Doomed [*32] — Repost, with blockquote of particularly terrifying statements this time:

* Central banks will never tighten monetary policy again, merely print, print, print
* “The lifetime achievement of Greenspan and Bernanke is really that they created a bubble in everything…everywhere.”
* US housing bubble that Greenspan could not spot (even though he has recently spotted bubbles in Asia) stands in stark contrast to that of Hong Kong in 1997, where prices fell by 70%, yet none of the major developers went bankrupt; this was a result of a system not built on excessive debt like that of the US
* “You have to ask what they were smoking at the Federal Reserve,” during the housing bubble, as prices were increasing by 18% annually when interest rates started to steadily rise in 2004
* Over the last couple of years, when the gross increase in public debt has exceeded the gross decrease in private debt, markets have risen, whereas when private debt growth has outpaced public debt growth, markets have tanked
* The next 3-5 years will be highly volatile
* Americans must re-think what constitutes a safe asset; in a “traditional” period, one would generally rank from most to least safe assets: cash, Treasuries, corporate bonds, equities, commodities
* . . . cash and longterm bonds will be a bad place to hold one’s money; equities are an avenue to preserve wealth (but this is a risky proposition, given the effects of rampant currency depreciation); precious metals are a sound place for wealth preservation
* As for the US being the most important economy for the world, there is a sea change going on right now; recently car sales in emerging economies (such as Brazil, China) are outpacing those of the US, Europe and Japan; oil consumption in emerging markets is increasing, while in the developed world it is contracting; the whole world does not depend on American consumption anymore – 60% of total exports are now going to the emerging world when one includes E. Europe; the US is still a large economy but it is not growing, while the growth in the emerging world is and will continue to be strong
* “Everybody should have 50% of their money in the emerging world, outside the West.”; people should also keep the custody of their assets overseas
* Contrary to what the talking heads are saying, markets are not out of control, central banks are out of control printing money
* The drivers of growth in the emerging world will be the urbanization of India and China; stocks won’t necessarily rise in the short term, but there will be significant growth in Asia in the long run
* The shift in economic power from West to East has been remarkable in speed, largely due to the rapid industrialization of the emerging world and the speed at which information travels today
* There will be a massive increase in resource-intensive industries and new export markets, met with increased volatility and tension around the world
* The supply/demand characteristics of oil are great due to the need for oil in China, India, rest of Asia
* Oil is the top priority for China, as they are now a net importer
* US has a huge strategic advantage over China given that we have access to our own oil, and that of Mexico, Canada, the Middle East and off the western Coast of Africa, in addition to the ability to travel on the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean; meanwhile, China sources 95% of their oil from the Middle East, and while they are building pipelines throughout Eastern Europe for example, their oil supply points in terms of ports for example are limited, and the US has defense bases surrounding these areas; Chinese subs could sink our boats however; the Russians are also not happy about our forces being in the region, and tensions will grow as the need for natural resources in these nations grows
* Eventually, there will be war and one will want physical commodities “not paper from UBS or JP Morgan”
* In war, cities will not offer safety because one can get bombed, water may be poisoned, electricity shut off; instead, one should buy a house in the middle of nowhere/on the countryside
* The tremendous economic Sophism of the day is that a nation can print its way into prosperity; “If debt and money printing equaled prosperity then Zimbabwe would be the richest country.”
* “Mugabe is the economic mentor of Ben Bernanke.”
* Our fiscal situation is much more horrendous than it is made out to be; total debt (public and private) as a percentage of GDP counting unfunded liabilities is an astounding 800% of GDP, more than double that during 1929
* Sovereign credits in the Western world are all bankrupt, but before bankruptcy governments will print money; US government leaders will try to postpone the hour of truth, pushing the problems off till succeeding Presidents and Congressmen
* If deficits didn’t matter as many like Economist James Galbraith argue today, why should citizens even pay taxes? It would make everyone happier if they didn’t
* Faber is sure that the economists in academia are intelligent and they study the textbooks hard, but they study the wrong textbooks and are totally inconsistent in their philosophy
* In an environment of money-printing and high volatility that exists in the US and that will be created by future policy, physical gold is the best thing to own
* Once currency depreciation does take place, stocks may become very cheap, as happened when the Mexican peso depreciated by 95% in the early 80s, as the fund managers invested in Mexican equities completely undervalued them after currency collapse
* In a nutshell Faber says he is essentially bearish on everything, though he favors commodities (especially physical precious metals and agriculture), owning a house in the countryside, equities in emerging markets tied to resources (especially necessities like water and oil) and healthcare, and most of Asia including especially Japanese stocks
* There is no means of avoiding a total collapse in the West; at the first train station in 2008, the financial system went bust but didn’t die, at the next station nations will go bust (though this could take 5-10 years or less), but first they will print money as this is the most politically tenable option, and ultimately the world will go to war
* All of us will be doomed

We Are So Screwed.

The economy – what we’re facing right now [*33] — In short: We Are So Screwed.

No evidence organic foods benefit health: study [*34]

The Entitlement Spending Threat to National Security [*35] — First of all, we have to stop calling them “entitlements.” “Unsustainable but well-intentioned welfare programs” would be a better name for programs like Social Security and Medicare. These programs are not “entitlements.” They are however deeply irresponsible.

The gathering revolt against government spending [*36]

Anti-Aging Supplements May Be Best Taken Not Too Late in Life [*37]

Democrats Should Vote Against Elena Kagan [*38]

Ultra-Lib Speaker Booed During Her Commencement Lecture to University of Arizona Students (Video) [*39]

Side Effects: Seniors Will Lose Big Under Obamacare [*40]

More good news vis a vis ObamaCare – Small business’s won’t grow (update) [*41]

The Onion – Report: Majority of Government Doesn’t Trust Citizens Either [*42]

Rasmussen: ObamaCare repeal support rises to 63% [*43]

The Dalai Lama is Still a Marxist, Looks Forward to Next Reincarnation in Form That is Slightly Less Stupid Than Current One. [*44]

Jindal to Obama: We’re tired of waiting for the feds to help with the spill [*45]

Jackrabbit basketball signs point guard for 2010-11 [*46]

Obama Is Not Beholden to Big Corporations. He Is Beholden to the Executives of Big Corporations. [*47]

Deval Patrick: These darned Republicans are almost at the level of sedition [*48] — OK, I’ll play: “progressives” are anti-American. Gee, this is fun!!! The complete blank Democrats draw, failing to recall their despicable behavior during the George W. Bush Presidency is simply breathtaking. The simple truth is that Democrats can dish out political opposition but they simply can’t take it. They are the exact opposite of “democratic” in that respect. There is no group more intolerant of different beliefs and ideas than “progressives” and “Democrats.”

72% Are Not Confident Congress Knows What It’s Doing When It Comes to The Economy [*49]

Big Oil: Learning from Alaska’s Experience [*50]

Morning Whip, May 24, 2010

When It Comes to Security, Think ‘Natural’: Security Organizations Could Be More Effective If Officials Learn from Nature [*1]

Security systems could be more effective if officials looked at how organisms deal with threats in the natural world, University of Arizona researchers suggest in the May 20 edition of the journal Nature. The authors are working with security and disaster management officials to help put some of their recommendations — such as decentralizing forces and forming alliances — into practice.

Wow. Decentralizing forces. Forming alliances. Sounds kind of . . . oh, I don’t know . . . federal–with a lower-case F. It certainly doesn’t sound like a central bureaucratic behemoth of a national government arrogating power to itself and concentrating it in Washington, DC, where it’s hours–if not days or weeks–from being able to respond meaningfully to a crisis that needs a rapid response. The Custodians of Memory [*2]

The past is a treasure easily lost in the callous obsessions of the present. We are the custodians of memory, passing the wisdom and courage of our parents along to our children. We can hold those memories dear and polish them to a radiant glow, as Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and the rest of the team behind The Pacific did… or we can indulge Seth McFarlane treating them like garbage, heaping one more insult onto a generation of great American soldiers, who have been expected to quietly suffer the contempt of lesser men for too damned long.

American Apology Tour Continues [*3]

We have nothing to apologize for. If Administration officials want to apologize to anyone, apologize to the American people for the fact that after a year and a half in office, they still haven’t done anything to secure our borders, and they join our President in making false suggestions about Arizona’s effort.

The Tea Party Imperative [*4]

The American people are tired of being lied to. We’re tired of being defrauded. We’ve had it with fabulously expensive programs that do nothing but enhance the power of those who administer them. We reject the tired excuse that government only fails when it’s not big enough. We know the romance of the State is a lie. The evidence of its failure is piling up around us, at a rapidly accelerating pace.

It’s not just a matter of high taxes and choking regulation. That’s part of it, of course, but Kinsley’s caricature of the Tea Party as a mob of grouchy old men complaining about their tax returns is far from the truth – as anyone who actually attends Tea Party gatherings could tell you. Those gatherings are full of young people protesting their indentured servitude to the appetites of today’s politicians, and the future collapse of a ridiculously unsustainable system.

Americans are a generous people, unwilling to tolerate the poor dying of hunger or disease in the streets. The acolytes of Big Government insult both our intelligence and character, when they insist trillion-dollar deficits are the only alternative to despair. The energy roaring beneath the surface of the Tea Party movement springs from the growing realization that expensive government never works. The entire concept is a fraud. It doesn’t matter who tries it, or how noble their intentions are. The entrenched political elite would be much better off if their fantasies of surly voters driven by personal animosity toward President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi were true. This movement is powerful precisely because it’snot shallow.

It is not a virtue to be generous with other people’s money.

The Nationale [*5]

The most interesting question is how the Powers of Old Washington will react to the primary results. Will they double down? The Francisco Chronicle[*6] says the five important lessons from Tuesday’s elections are: Organized labor is still organized. Pete Sessions is on a serious losing streak at the House GOP’s campaign committee. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is in a heap of trouble — at home and at work. Democrats still can successfully woo working-class whites in the industrial heartland. It just might be a good year to be a geek.

Flower in a Crannied Wall [*7]

The next few years are likely to be an extraordinarily nonlinear time, when outcomes cannot be predicted accurately by reference to historical norms and success cannot be extrapolated too far into the future. We are truly at the edge of shadowy plain and it’s a case of no guts, no glory. In that circumstance those with a faster OODA loop and greater reserves will be a natural advantage.

I Feel Like I Owe It To Someone [*8]

Once Muslim clerics had made the publication of the cartoons punishable by physical violence it became obligatory to defy it. The matter had ceased to be a matter of religious dispute and became a sovereign issue, which was exactly how some Islamists saw it: Islam in their view, had always been sovereign in principle, charged with dominion over the world. What remained was the practical matter of enforcement. Some members of the Western public understood this, and while they might not have cared a fig for their countries or for nationalism in recent years, the realization that some cleric sitting in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia was claiming dominion over them, at once reminded them of why nations exist. They are there to keep just anyone from ruling over you. From the beginning of history man has stumbled under the yoke of his rulers; about all he asks for now is the privilege to be ruled by those who at least speak the same language and watch the same sporting events as he does. It is a minimal, almost pathetic request. So when the man who has to pay taxes, pick up his dog’s poop, dump his trash in the right bins, use Green Bags at shopping centers, endure public hectoring by NGOs and stop at painted lines that appear anywhere and everywhere on the road is suddenly told that to top it all, he has to obey the dictates of somebody whose name he cannot even pronounce about a subject on which he is ignorant, then something can snap.

“Islam” does not mean “peace.” It means “submission.” If you submit, then you become a Muslim, and are subject to all the rules and strictures of the Koran, apparently as interpreted by the most extreme and outlandish among the Muslim world. (The silence, if not approval, of the “moderate” Muslim world to the repeated, violent intolerance of the radical Islamists should be sufficient evidence of this.) If you don’t, you’re an infidel, and can–according to the Koran–be killed with impunity, for doing things like drawing pictures and sticking the name of “Mohammed” on those pictures.

There are people in the West who are comfortable with this concept.

They choose to submit.

There are others who aren’t, and who don’t.

One or the other. You will have to choose. Sooner or later. That is the ultimate goal of the most radical of the Islamists. Choose–submit to them in the name of their god, or die. There will be no third option.

It is not necessary to draw a cartoon of Mohammed to enrage the most radical of the Islamists. All that is necessary is for a non-Muslim (be he or she Christian, Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, agnostic, athiest, or anything else) to step up and say “I will not submit to your god.” That statement, in the eyes of the radical Islamists, is equally–if not more–sacreligious than a cartoon of a historical religious prophet.Maybe those dead old mean called the Founding Fathers were on to something after all . . .

After Dumping on Arizona Calderon Admits: “Of Course” We Ask For Papers From Immigrants (Rush Limbaugh Video) [*9]

Warriorship, Writing, and Communication [*10] — “it occurred to me that one thing writing taught me about martial arts is that you can’t use inside jargon to describe techniques and principles about the art to other people . . .”

Three Science Fiction Writing Exercises [*11] — I should probably do these one of these days . . .

King of the hill: SDSU reliever Vermeulen ranks among stingiest hurlers in history [*12] — That’s in NCAA Division I baseball history, actually . . .

How To Fix Common WiFi Problems [MacRx] [*13] — Something of a PSA (Public Service Announcement, for those of you behind on your TLA’s) . . .


Faced by the linked yet separate crises in the Middle East and in Northeast Asia the Obama administration is acting like it was shot through the central nervous system, acting in uncoordinated jerks. The alliances with Korea and Japan and the special relationships with Israel and Britain lie almost forgotten like neglected toys on the floor of a spoiled child distracted by his latest bauble. Gone are the heady prospects of Grand Bargains with the Muslim world kicked off by dramatic speeches in Cairo. Gone is the idea of a swift drawdown from Iraq; or of a comprehensive solution in the Middle East. Gone is the promise of catching Osama Bin Laden. Gone is the notion that Europe, which once hated America because of George Bush, would turn like a blossoming rose to Obama. In their place are half-finished begun threads without closure: a growing Hezbollah menace in Lebanon; a defiant Iran; a belligerent North Korea; a buffoonish but menacing Chavez; a drug war on the southern border; an Eastern Europe with the shadow of the Russian bear growing ever longer across it.

There are two possibilities: First, that Obama and his administration really are this naive and incompetent; or second, that they’re systematically destroying American foreign relations with allies and adversaries alike deliberately and with purpose. There is, unfortunately for us all no third option . . .

Obama’s map of misreading [*14] — Related to the immediately previous. . .

How Civilization Deals with Torture States [*15] — Perhaps if we brought back the concept of the “gentleman” . . . yes, yes, I know, horribly old-fashioned and probably sexist and racist as well . . .

California: The Frog in the Sub-Prime Frying Pan [*16] — Actually, I think more and more of California as that “Golden-state” anchor around all of our collective necks . . .

Is There a Culture War, or What? [*17] — The entire debate boils down to the issue of the perfectability of humanity. Classical liberals believe that man is and always will be man, fallible, capable of error as well as of truth. Progressives believe that humans–specifically, the Progressives themselves, coincidentally enough–are perfectable and hence incapable of error and that they hold the secrets to the truths that are hidden to less fortunate souls–that part would be played by you, their dupes/victims/beneficiaries.

Deep Kim Chee [*18] — In a sane world, the US would have already destroyed all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons production and testing sites (and for good measure taken out most of their Army and Navy installations) as a reprisal for their attack on the South Korean warship. The Korean War never has ended, people . . . it has been in a long, long, long cease-fire. That’s all. And the North Koreans seem to want to start shooting again. We should oblige them, in full measure. Their slave-“citizens” would thank us for their liberation from the enormous concentration camp known as the Democratic Republic of Korea.

The Penis and the Pagan: A Progressive Love Story [*19]

Famous for staging the violent shutdown of the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999 – and for helping Cindy “Peace Mom” Sheehan get chewed up and spit out by the anti-war movement – Fithian serves on the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, that enlightened coalition of wealthy, white self-hatemongers who want the US to become a lawless, nuke-free, Communist Cuba country club, no Jews allowed.

Yeah. It gets better (or worse, depending on your point of view) from there.

ICE Chief says he may not enforce immigration law [*20] — It’s one of those Zen things . . . ‘If a person sworn to uphold the law, and whose job it is to uphold the law, decides not to uphold the law, does the law exist? Does that person’s job exist? Does that person even exist? Are we not Men? We are Devo.’

Dalai Lama Admits: “I’m a Marxist” [*21] — And yes, more Zen: ‘If a supposedly admirable and respectable religious leader comes out in support of perhaps the most wrongheaded, fallicious, brutal, callous, abusive, corrosive, spirit-destroying, corrupting, malicious, disastrous economic theory ever conceived by the mind of a human being, is he really that smart, let alone ‘holy’?’ Marxism is one of those really nasty, evil ideas that sound kinda good if you don’t think about them real hard (or if you think about them too hard) but never ever work–but that doesn’t ever stop people from saying “well, we’ll do it better than those idiots who came before us. But it never gets done better. The 20th Century should be ample proof of that–at least for those who have the courage to look.

‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Is A Perfect Phrasing [*22]

Green Jobs Destroy Good Jobs [*23] — Where an Investor’s Business Daily[*24] op-ed is quoted:

A Spanish economics professor said attempts by his country to create a green economy would fail. Now a Spanish government report confirms his findings, blunting claims that the professor’s report was biased.

The professor, Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of Juan Carlos University in Madrid, produced a 41-page study last year on the European experiment of going full bore on the conservation front. He found that “the Spanish/EU-style ‘green jobs’ agenda now being promoted in the U.S. in fact destroys jobs.”

For every green job created by the Spanish government, Alvarez found that 2.2 jobs were destroyed elsewhere in the economy because resources were directed politically and not rationally, as in a market economy.

“The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,” the professor told the press.

Alvarez’s findings, of course, were rejected by the environmental left, which tried to smear him as a stooge of the oil industry.

But inconveniently for the eco-conscious, his results have been backed up by Carlo Stagnaro and Luciano Lavecchia, a couple of researchers from the Italian think tank Istituto Bruno Leoni.

The Official Scorer has changed the scoring from Home Run to an E-1 to the President for touting the wonderful, fantastic Spanish Green Jobs program in his initial State of the Union sermon. This lowers Obama’s now-dismal error rating to among the lowest seen by a sitting President since the Designated Veep rule was brought in . . .

Pondering the State of the Union. [*25] — Eight counts of moral indictment aganst Obama and the entire “progressive” agenda he tirelessly promotes . . .

VOCABULARY UPGRADE: Criminal entrants vs. illegal aliens [*26] — I like it . . .

Guarding the Northern Border [*27]

Spain Admits “Green Jobs” Program A Disaster [*28] — just another in a long, dismal line of “progressive” ideas that just don’t work in the real world . . .

The Feral Vanguard [*29]

Remember Barack Obama’s infamous conversation with Joe the Plumber, in which he said, “It’s not that I want to punish your success; I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you that they’ve got a chance to success, too. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody?” This was not merely a watery expression of Marxist principles. It was a damnable lie. Obama has no intention of spreading wealth around for the good of everybody. His objective is to transfer your wealth to the SEIU and other powerful collective organizations, to fund their lavish benefits. He even bought a car company as a gift to the United Auto Workers. The American taxpayer has pumped over $17 billion into GMAC, so it can continue to provide the UAW with wages and benefits far beyond anything those taxpayers enjoy… a wealth transfer hidden behind shell games and media manipulation.

. . .

Desperation ignites hatred into violence. The American middle class holds the power to write a different ending than the fiery death spiral twisting through the streets of Athens. That fate is only inevitable if we listen to the people who tell us we don’t have any other choices. We are a nation blessed with millions of clever minds, willing hands, and radiant hearts. There’s no problem we cannot solve, once we dismantle the failed State telling us it’s illegal to try. We can work together as free men and women, or depend on the State to loot individuals for the benefit of the collective, until they have nothing worth stealing. There are no other choices. There never were.

Misrepresenting Libertarianism [*30] — And again: Libertarianism is NOT anarchism. All libertarianism says is that force and fraud are unacceptable methods for one person to deal with another person. That’s all. That’s the complete intellectual foundation for libertarianism. So, for those of you who want to attack libertarianism, what in the foregoing statement do you actually disagree with? There’s nothing in the fundamental statement of libertarianism which denies a need for government. Indeed, a brief consideration of human nature, and the innate drive to stupidity we see daily in ourselves and in our fellows, leads us to the inevitable conclusion that anarchy alone can not be a suitable basis for human society. If everyone acted rationally, then anarchy might work. But stupid people still walk the Earth, and they will inevitably mess up Paradise for the rest of us. So, then, what to we do about the stupid people amongst us?

The answer is government–which is, in essence, the human institution that we have invented to deal with us when we act stupidly.

Of course, “acting stupidly” can be in the eye of the beholder, can’t it?

And, as an exit question: What is the recourse of the people when their government acts stupidly–repeatedly–over decades?

Leading Dem: Obama Should Make Consistent, Compelling Indictment of Conservative Ideas [*31] — When the situation begins to look desperate . . . ATTACK! You might even say that they’re calling for . . . a SURGE? (Chortle . . . )

Obama’s emerging mid-term strategy underscores his inability to lead [*32]

Revisionist History [*33] — Linked for viewing when I get home . . . Glenn Beck’s highly educational “Founder’s Friday” shows . . . can not be recommended strongly enough . . . for a self-described “rodeo clown” Beck is doing more and better political/historical work than anyone else on any “news” channel.

SDSU splits games, earns pennant [*34] — South Dakota State wins a share of the Summit League baseball regular season title . . .

Faber: Nations Will Print Money, Go Bust, Go to War…We Are Doomed [*35] — We Are So Screwed . . .

South Dakota State Earns Top Seed At Summit League Baseball Championship [*36]

A Progressive Agenda to Remake Washington [*37]

Misunderstanding Freedom [*38]

Broken Puzzles [*39]

No one has really duplicated the success of Babylon 5, whose four main seasons told a densely plotted, tightly scripted tale of war and peace, legacy and revenge, on a galactic scale. It had ancient, inhuman beings who spoke in riddles… but there were answers to the riddles, and it was worth taking the ride to learn them. The show’s weakest moments came during its self-conscious Lord of the Rings references, especially the very Gandalf-like fall and resurrection of Babylon 5’s commander, who returned to glory with a spare Gandalf in tow. Leave these indulgences aside, and forget the unnecessary fifth season, and you have a science-fiction epic that Asimov might have endorsed. It made sense, it didn’t play its audience for fools, and it rewarded time invested in puzzling over its plot twists.

2010 Panama Canal Cruise, part 9

The Panama Canal-Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco-20-night Voyage, May 6-26, Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Nine

May 15 (Saturday, Day 11, Puntarenas, Costa Rica) –

Pre-sunrise color, May 15

We all woke up early for our 8:15 departure for our Eco Mangrove River Cruise. Filbert got out on the deck for some early morning dolphin watching, and was rewarded with a couple of encounters.

More after the jump . . . We had a one hour and 15 minute bus ride to the Guacalillo estuary and Tarcoles River with Gilbert as our guide. Gilbert told us that Christopher Columbus discovered Costa Rica, which means rich coast, on his fourth journey to the New World in 1502. In 1949 the country decided to abolish all of its armed services in order to use the money for social, medical and educational facilities. A quarter of the country is designated as national parks and Costa Rica houses over 8,000 species of plants, 859 species of birds and 10% of the world’s butterflies.

We boarded our boat and started our 2-hour mangrove river tour. We saw a lot of birds (green heron, scarlet macaw, tiger hawk, etc.), a raccoon, crocodiles, a green iguana, and Jesus Christ lizards (named that since they can “walk” on water). We were hoping to see monkeys but we didn’t.

May 15 morning dolphin
Mangrove crab
Mud-colored crocodile
Raccoon in a tree
Green heron
Green kingfisher
Storks in a tree
Costa Rica’s version of a barn swallow

Next: More in the mangroves!

2010 Panama Canal Cruise, part 8

The Panama Canal-Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco-20-night Voyage, May 6-26, Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Eight

May 13 (Thursday, Day 9, Panama Canal Crossing) –

Approaching the Panama Canal

Filbert woke up around 4AM after not sleeping much due to the bad weather and waves. Snookums heard the tenders being lowered and that woke her up around 4:30AM. (We don’t know why the tenders were being moved. No one was getting off the ship. Maybe they were testing them or something?) We were scheduled to start going through the Panama Canal around 5AM so she just stayed up.

More after the jump . . .

The passengers congregate at the front of the Navigator
Captain and canal pilot check the tight fit
Panamanian checks his own tight fit
Navigator enters the Canal (Courtesy Bill[*1] and pancanal.com[*2] )

Filbert and Snookums wandered around the decks and checked out the operation of the Gatun Locks. Snookums grabbed a donut and cinnamon roll and some fresh fruit around 5:45. At 6:30 we wandered down to La Veranda for a “real” breakfast. Nothing like having two breakfasts in one day!

Photograph of a photographer, David Burnett

Snookums was scheduled to attend a fitness class but all of the classes were canceled today since the ship’s staff felt like people would use the Aerobics Room, which is on Deck 11 at the front of the ship, as a viewing area. No one did. Everyone stood outside, in front of the Aerobics Room, where the golf putting green is. It was a good excuse for Snookums to be lazy.

Our ship was the 14th ship to go through the Panama Canal today and finished going through all of the locks by 3PM. It cost $89,000 for the Navigator to go through the canal. Not including the packs of cigarettes we saw being handed off from the ship to the canal operators as the day wore on–we think.

Navigator enters the Miraflores Locks (on the Pacific side) (Courtesy Bill[*1] and pancanal.com[*2] )

The ship received souvenir items from Panama early in the morning via the pilot boat and sold them on the pool deck. The ship didn’t let anyone off in Panama, but people were buying Panama t-shirts and other souvenirs like crazy. Snookums bought some postcards and Mom bought a magnet for the room stewardess, Romaria, since she collects them. Romaria is from the Philippines and has two children.

Most of the day was spent wandering around the ship and talking to people. It was a slow day and with a lot of people not getting much sleep the night before, everyone seemed to get a bit drowsy by early afternoon. Around 4PM it started to pour like a monsoon for 30 minutes. It didn’t interfere with anything and the humidity was much less after the rain. All day it had been 90 degrees and probably 90% humidity and after it rained the humidity was probably around 60%. So far all of our days have been very hot and very humid. We are the last ship at most of the ports we’ve already stopped at for this cruise season. This ship, and others that had been doing Caribbean cruises, is re-positioning to start Alaska cruises. So, the weather is getting hotter and more humid in this part of the world which cruise passengers don’t necessarily enjoy.

No live entertainment was scheduled for the evening which meant it was Popcorn Movie Night. (Out to Sea was the movie that was being shown in the Card Lounge.) Judy grabbed some popcorn (reportedly unsalted and stale) and Mom, Dad and Judy watched a foreign film, with subtitles, in their room. Regent has “pay per view” movies that are free so there is a large selection to choose from in the comfort of the cabin. Snookums and Filbert had already watched the Michael Jackson This is It “documentary” of his concert rehearsals (don’t bother, unless you’re a MJ trufan, sez Filbert) and started watching Precious. Anyway, they watched a subtitled movie and Snookums and Filbert went straight to sleep after dinner.

May 14 (Friday, Day 10, At sea) –


Snookums and Judy went to Body Sculpt at 9AM. It is a 45-minute class that has seven stations with either one or two exercises at each station and you do each exercise for the required number of reps and then switch and do the other one and switch again and keep going for 3 minutes and then you go to the next station. It’s exhausting, even when the weights are only 5 or 10 pounds each, since you end up doing a million reps during those 3 minutes. Snookums stayed for the 30-minutes Abs Express class, too.

After the workouts Snookums decided that today would be her “lay out in the sun” day. She showered and put on her bathing suit, tshirt and shorts and the sky immediately clouded over and the temperature dropped. She kept her outfit on and wandered around the ship.

After lunch Filbert and Snookums decided it was a good day to look for sea life. Filbert listened to his short-wave radio and when he saw something, Snookums ran to the balcony. We saw a big pod of dolphins (probably around 20 or 25), a sea turtle and birds.

Boobie flying low
Oh, my gosh! A Turtle!
Turtle waving a flipper

After going on cruises in Asia/Pacific and then India/South Africa/Brazil, we realized that the best sea life seems to be found in the Mexican Riviera. It seems like we saw more today than we had seen in our last 2 or 3 cruises combined! Dad was on his balcony (adjacent to ours) and he saw the dolphins, too, before he went to “waffle teatime”.

Dinner tonight was our second time in Prime 7, which is Regent’s reservation-only steakhouse. Mom ordered the Dover sole which Dad had during our first visit. Snookums again ordered 4 side dishes rather than a hunk of meat (or fish). Dad ordered the lamb chops, Judy the fish of the day (tilapia) and Filbert had the filet mignon and lobster tail. He said that the lobster was so good it didn’t even need the clarified butter. And this from a guy who LOVES butter! (Mmm . . . butter . . . –Filbert)

After dinner Mom, Dad and Judy went to the production show, “Viva la Vida”. Regent just contracted with the Jean Ann Ryan Singers and Dancers and this cruise is the first Regent ship showing the shows. Well, a female dancer’s zipper broke, the ruffles on all of the costumes were smashed and not ruffled and the costumes for the finale looked like they were designed and sewn by a first-year high school sewing class. Both Mom and Judy agreed on all of these points. They have not been impressed with either of the production shows.

Next: Puntarenas, here we come!

Filibuster, anyone?

Tony Snow[*1] makes a couple of points about the filibuster folderol:

There is no Senate rule governing the proper uses of the filibuster. None. This means there is no rule to break or change. Instead, senators traditionally have relied on a quaint little thing called trust.
. . .
Virtually every filibuster in American history was employed for one reason only — to hold back the tide of history and to frustrate the clearly expressed will of the people. Senate Democrats filibustered the Civil Rights Act because they wanted to preserve Jim Crow. Individual senators have filibustered for causes as idiotic as preventing the government from cutting out a sweetheart subsidy for a business owned by a senator’s friend. Here’s a challenge for historical nerds in the audience: Name one filibuster conducted in order to advance a noble purpose. Jimmy Stewart’s performance in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” doesn’t count.

The long and short of it is that the “Democrats” want to subvert majority rule, a highly ironic stand given their party’s name. They seek to regain power simply by wishing away the past few elections. Therefore, W didn’t get elected (“selected, not elected–twice!”) and the Republicans don’t really have majorities in the Senate and the House (“our Senators represent more people than your Senators therefore 45 is greater than 55!!”).

It would be laughable if it weren’t so potentially dangerous.

Morning Whip, May 18, 2010

You really can’t fault me for leading with . . .

Miss USA Rima Fakih is a champion pole dancer [*1] — no, really. Not a joke . . . not even a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Tina Fey . . . Royals sock the White Sox in a 5-3 victory [*2] — ” “It’s not only about pitching and hitting,” Guillen continued. “You’ve got to play smart and know what your job is. That’s been missing for the three years that I’ve been here — this has not been a very fundamental team.” ”

Ammunition production is on the rise at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant near Independence [*3]

Shocker: Most of world’s “happiest countries” have suicide rates higher than the USA [*4] — “Happy?” I do not think the word means what you think it means . . .

Writing question: When to give up on a story [*5]

A Question of Canon-Building [*6] — Ah, the evergreen question of “what represents ‘science fiction “canon”‘” . . .

Don’t Stop the Writing [*7]

Republic CEO Bryan Bedford On the Branded Strategy (Across the Aisle) [*8]

It just got real [*9] — SDSU college baseball. It’s for real, this year . . .

The apology thing [*10] — “While I disagree with the vast majority of the things that Barack Obama says and does, nothing irritates me more than his serial apologies for the United States. It accomplishes nothing, and diminishes us.”

Yes, There Is a Hollywood Blacklist [*11] — The intolerance of the “liberals,” on display for those brave enough to just look . . .

The problem with public sector unions [*12]

These unions and the politicians they support are selling out the states and the country for increased personal compensation and pension benefits in return for political office. Whereas public sector jobs were once among the lowest paid, they’ve become some of the highest paid with unsustainable pension plans a key feature. And when budget woes hit a state and any politician has the temerity to suggest cutting those plans or benefits, he or she is roundly shouted down and organized against at the next election.

Ludwig von Mises and Free-Market Thinking [*13] — You are not an educated person if you do not know and understand Ludwig von Mises’ theories on economics and human action . . .

The Constitution or Utilitarianism? [*14]

We still have the Constitution, right? [*15]

Catalog Details 1.25 Million Species of Organisms Across the World [*16]

Paul easily beating Grayson in final KY primary PPP poll [*17]

The theory of the “Howling Mob” [*18] — “. . . Now before you start laughing, think for a moment. Which group has been treated as more of a threat by the left than the other – Islamic radicals or … the Tea Parties? Which has received the lion’s share of the left’s vituperation? Demonization? Immediate blame for the Times Square fizzle? . . . ”

Are Liberal Bloggers Finally Admitting Gladney was Beaten? [*19]

Modern Etiquette: Tips for dining for business success [*20]

Blame Glenn Beck [*21]

The Democrats in 2010 — “ideologically diverse” or running scared? [*22]

White House Bracing for Specter Loss [*23]

Nomadic People’s Good Health Baffle Scientists [*24] — I’m guessing either the lack of property tax, or the absence of the need to mow the lawn . . .

How to Make Brownies, Pentagon-Style [*25] — “Just grab a copy of document MIL-C-44072C and gather your ingredients: water that conforms to the “National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (Copies are available from the Office of Drinking Water, Environmental Protection Agency, WH550D, 401 M Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20460),” and some eggs in compliance with “Regulations Governing the Inspection of Eggs and Egg Products (7 CFR Part 59),” and you’re ready to go!”

Morning Whip, May 17, 2010

What is a Right? [*1] — If you want to know what our problem is, this is it–the fundamental misconception on the part of otherwise fairly smart people on what a right really is. The simplest way to understand it is: A right to engage in a behavior occurs when that behavior does not require another person for you to engage in that behavior. If what you want to do requires somebody else to do something, it can’t be a right, because you are dependent on somebody else to give that behavior to you. That is why being left alone is a right. You don’t need anybody else to be left alone. Life is a right–you don’t require another person to simply exist. Food, clothing, shelter are all rights only to the extent that you can obtain them without the intervention of another person.

When you must engage another person to obtain something, or to engage in a behavior, you have moved beyond the concept of a right, to the much more complex area of interpersonal behavior–which includes social interactions, economic transactions, and politics. But social interactions, economic transactions, and political actions are not–can not be rights. Rights precede all of those interpersonal transactions, and set limits upon them.

Rights are inherent to every individual, do not require another person’s action in order to exercise, and set limits upon the behaviors that one individual may perform with or for–or impose upon–another individual. Why doesn’t anyone care about the Soviet document archive? [*2]

The archives gathered by Pavel Stroilov and Vladimir Bukovsky, among others, provide evidence in stark terms of the end result of collectivist impulses — and challenge the academic conclusions about the nature of Soviet leaders, especially Mikhail Gorbachev. . .These documents have the power to destroy the carefully constructed facade of Gorbachev by his Western apologists as somehow different from his Soviet predecessors. He was not; he could hardly have risen to the Politburo had he not been an advocate of totalitarian control. He had a much better sense of his enemies than his predecessors, and knew how to charm the media better than any of them. . . The Soviet Communists killed tens of millions of people through malice and neglect over a far longer period of time (than the German Nazis), and that includes Mikhail Gorbachev, who spent decades working in that system.”

This is why it’s a problem when Barack Obama surrounds himself with avowed Marxists. They are not, at their heart, nice people.

Romancing The State [*3]

The recent demonization of Wall Street illustrates how easily Big Business can be hung from the government’s strings, and used as part of its puppet show. Not every corporation fears the destructive power of the State. Some of them dream of harnessing it against their enemies, or exploiting it to firm up the barriers of entry to their industries. Political influence is one of the most valuable resources in a politicized economy. At current levels of central control, its purchase becomes mandatory. When things go wrong, politicians love having big businesses to hide behind.

See, that’s the thing that the statists don’t want you to understand. Big business and big government are totally symbiotic–they live and feed off of one another. Big business likes the ease of buying and selling politicians in a single, centralized government–it’s cheaper than advertising and doing things right by the customer, and much cheaper than buying off lots of more local government governments in a federal system of truly distributed governmental authority and power. On the other side, big government likes having big businesses to kick around in public while they take all kinds of money under the table at the very same time. It’s a wholly incestuous relationship, and its cause is the concentration of power and money in government. Make government power and money more distributed, and you reduce the corruption. It’s as easy as that. And that’s why so many people with lots of money are very, very much against restoring traditional American federalism–with state governments holding real power to check the power of the central federal government. It is an important check, as we are in the process of discovering right now.

Elites Hate When The People Speak [*4] — Of course, in this world, the average American is the elite, compared to the drones, serfs, peasants, and slaves kept by most of the rest of the world’s “governments.” The American “elite” are allied with the dictators, revolutionaries, “progressives,” slaveholders, warlords, aristocracy, and intelligencia who already oppress the majority of humans on this planet, and who tirelessly seek to gain even more control over every single person on Earth. Including, and especially the average American, who is the greatest threat to their schemes, plans and designs for the future.

A Conservative’s Case for Sarah Palin’s Genius [*5]

After Palin finished her speech, I again thought about why left-leaning commentators mock, dismiss, and caricaturize her. And two things came to mind.

First, these critics probably have never fully listened to any of her speeches. Rather, like Attorney General Eric Holder, who recently admitted that he went on Meet The Press to criticize a law – Arizona’s recently passed immigration laws – that he has not even read or been briefed about, these critics are merely parroting popular misconceptions about Palin and thinking they are original and smart in doing so.

I have the distinct impression that most people who disdain Palin have never actually listened to more than a couple carefully edited seconds of her own speech, and have instead formed their opinions of her from the thin gruel of Tina Fey caricatures, lies and half-truths of the MSNBC nutcases, the partisans at CNN or the Old Media networks or newspapers, and the Soros-funded character assassins at Media Matters. All reflections of the vision from inside the leftist bubble, all echos from the same strident, intolerant echo chamber of liberal media. All utterly mischaracterizing what Palin says, and what she is.

Diet soda for preventing kidney stones? [*6] — “researchers found that the diet versions of several popular citrus-flavored sodas — like 7Up, Sunkist and Sprite — contained relatively high amounts of a compound called citrate.”

Where Kagan Is Better Than Stevens on Free Speech [*7] — She says the Court “made the correct decision” in United States v. Eichman, the 1990 ruling that overturned a federal ban on flag desecration. “I believe this is the only occurrence of the phrase ‘correct decision’ in her articles,” Volokh writes.

So, because she got one decision right, she’s qualified to be on the Supreme Court? Everything I see says she intends to limit your freedoms in deference to governmental power. That’s not the kind of Justice we need , is it?

Amorous Aussie roo has outback residents hopping [*8] — “An amorous kangaroo in the mood for love has female joggers hopping mad in the Honeymoon Ranges of Australia’s outback Northern Territory. . .”

U.S. rights group sues to protect right to swear [*9] — “The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the lawsuits earlier, argues that the right to use profanity is protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

It’s Like The Love Boat For Free Minds & Free Markets! Announcing Reason’s First-Ever Cruise, February 2011! [*10]

Best Luxury Ships [*11]

Left Plans Massive In-Your-Face Anti-Capitalism Rally on DC’s K Street [*12] — “The goal of the “action” –in organizing parlance— is a show of force calculated to intimidate bank lobbyists and show support for sweeping anti-bank legislation pending in Congress.”

When the right organizes to march, it is in order to be heard. When the left organizes to march, it is to threaten, bully, and intimidate. There is a difference.

BRILLIANT: Another key element of Palin 2012 rolled out quietly — THE MOMMA GRIZZLIES [*13]

A Lesson In Responsibility [*14] — “Put aside, for a moment, the merits of the issues surrounding the oil spill. The idea of Barack Obama, of all people, lecturing anyone on the need to take responsibility, rather than “finger pointing,” is hilarious. Barack Obama, to my knowledge, has never taken responsibility for anything in his life, and his administration so far has been marked by “finger pointing” to a degree that we have never before witnessed.”

College buzz: Oklahoma not interested in leaving Big 12 [*15]

Yost takes over believing Royals can turn it around [*16]

Themes in Science Fiction: Cultural Relativism and Absolute Morality [*17]

6 amazing sci-fi TV shows ruined by their freaky finales [*18]

5 Epic Science Fiction Book Series to Read This Summer [*19]

The 10 Most Harmful Novels for Aspiring Writers [*20]

Your Safety vs. Your Sanity: Carnival’s New Banned Items List Sparks Controversy [*21]

The left: Still trying to label the Tea Party [*22]

If oil spill is Bush’s fault, is 9/11 Clinton’s fault? [*23]

Kagan to Specter: One Supreme Court justice conducted a confirmation charade [*24] — “Ever since the Democrats conducted a character assassination on Robert Bork and almost succeeded in another on Clarence Thomas, the rule at confirmation hearings is to say as little as possible. With John Paul Stevens retiring, every justice on the Supreme Court will have been appointed in this post-Bork environment — and every single one of them tapdanced their way through the hearings.”

Imagine the Reaction if Bush Nominee for Supreme Court Taught a Course in ‘Presidential Lawmaking’ [*25]

Research is your friend, News Media. Try it sometime [*26] — ‘Cuda time . . .

Can we talk? [*27] — House Democrats discover that going it alone without even talking to Republicans only works for a very, very short time . . . (and that’s assuming it’s actually worked at all during this disaster of a Congress and Administration . . .

Heart and soul of the right [*28] — Doctor Zero, trenchant as always:

The path to American renewal will be extremely difficult to follow. The morale of our citizens will be a serious concern. Regardless of how awful a president Barack Obama has been, the media will present his defeat in 2012 as a tragedy, bordering on a national sin. They’ll push that meme harder as his failures pile up. We need leadership that combines good cheer, fiery determination, and intelligent mastery of the issues.

Mitt Romney is cut from polished wood, and Newt Gingrich is origami folded from a thousand position papers, blotted with ugly scozzafava stains that may never come out. At this moment in time, Sarah Palin is the heart and soul of the Right.

Did Cronkite and CBS offer assistance to anti-war movement? [*29] — “According to an FBI informant, Cronkite offered advice and CBS resources to assist the anti-war activists, including a helicopter to fly Edmund Muskie to a protest that CBS would then cover. . .”

Matt Welch: We Are Out of Money [*30]

GOV. JAN BREWER DOES IT AGAIN!… Joins With Sarah Palin For Amazing Border Ad (Video) [*31]

Kerry Emanuel and Richard Lindzen: the climatic odd couple [*32] — ” “If these two guys can’t agree on the basic conclusions of the social significance of [climate change science], how can we expect 6.5 billion people to?’’ said Roger Pielke Jr., a University of Colorado at Boulder professor who writes a climate blog.”

WHO study has no clear answer on phones and cancer [*33]

Mr. President, do your job. Secure our border [*34] — ‘Cuda time, again!

Foppish Muffinboy Jeered for Ridiculous Asshattery [*35]

Revenge of the Gold Bugs [*36]

Israel dedicates huge sea-water purification plant [*37]

In Honor of a President Few Remember [*38] — Silent Cal. Ah, to remember a day when a President of the United States knew the wisdom and power of simply shutting the hell up and letting the American people get to the business of living their lives . . .

Apologizing For Arizona [*39] — “Is it unfair to say that the Obama administration consists of a bunch of anti-American ignoramuses? If so, why?”

Forgive the schadenfreude [*40] — Gee. Venezuela elected a blowhard populist-leftist-socialist, and now their economy is cratering. The United States has also elected a blowhard populist-leftist-socialist . . . how’s all that hopey-changey stuff working out for you?

Africa’s lake Tanganyika warming fast, life dying [*41] — You have to read the article to the last line to get to the punch line . . . you’re supposed to blame the Evil Climate Change for it all, but then, there at the very end, we find that “other factors, like overfishing, may be doing more harm than any warming.” But that doesn’t fit the narrative, you see . . .

STEYN: Ignoring Islam [*42] — Yeah, all those guys who want to fly planes into buildings and otherwise kill off all the infidels . . . yeah, we can’t call them . . . well, we just can’t call them anything. Oh, yeah, we can’t draw pictures of them. Or at least of the pedophile goat-herder who may or may not have actually said a lot of stuff a long time ago. I think his name was L. Ron Hubbard. Or Jesus. Or Buddha. Or Zoroaster. Or maybe it was some other name. I really can’t recall right now. Oh, never mind . . .

No, wait, I have a question . . . if any sort of pictorial representation of Mohammed is forbidden, should that not include the pictorial representation which is composed of letters of the alphabet? If not, why not? Maybe it’s only forbidden if it’s in the Arabic script. Maybe it’s forbidden if it isn’t in the Arabic script. This is all very complex . . . maybe we non-Muslims should just completely ignore the Islamic world. But then, there’s that pesky conversion-by-the-sword thing that some Muslims seem to be prone to every so often . . . that’s rather difficult to ignore, although the Obama Administration seems to want to give it the good old college try . . .

Extraterrestrial Global Warming [*43]

Yost plans to use Soria primarily as a three-out closer [*44]

Noroviruses Identified as Common Cause of Travelers’ Diarrhea [*45]

More “good news” about the health care bill’s impact [*46] — “The point, of course, is that access to insurance doesn’t mean access to a doctor. And thus one sure way to see a doctor is via the emergency room. Lack of insurance may have kept some away from seeking services there. That won’t be the case anymore. And, given the Massachusetts example, that’s proven to be true there.”

2010 Panama Canal Cruise, part 7

The Panama Canal-Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco-20-night Voyage, May 6-26, Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Seven

May 12 (Wednesday, Day 8, Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, continued) –

Ant, in the wild

More after the jump . . .

Filbert and Snookums, having fun, dammit
Mom, Dad, machete
Mom in the cage, Dad running free. Machete location unknown. (Filbert loves this picture–Judy took it)
Three-toed sloth does not approve of machetes . . .
Faking enthusiasm on the ride home
Prison. Possibly filled with machete misanthropes
Me gustas tu!
A pleasant-looking stream, except for that whole clear-cutting the rain forest thing . . .
Chiquita means the best inside! (A trademark, it seems)

Needless to say, Phil and Janet didn’t enjoy much of the day. Luckily, though, Mom, Dad and Judy had a blast! We did all get to ride a tram through the canopy of the rainforest and we did see a 3-toed sloth. That and the bus ride to and from the rainforest were the best part of Janet and Phil’s day.

We were supposed to get back at 1:45 but got back around 3. Phil, Janet and Dad immediately went to LaVeranda and had some lunch. Phil and Dad wanted beer so Phil ordered Grolsch for each of them since it comes in a big bottle. He needed to drown his sorrows at the bust of a day!!

After dinner, Judy and Mom went to see Rodi Alexander in concert. They weren’t impressed. Then it was to bed. There was a nice lightning storm going on and the ship was rocking and rolling. Janet pretty much slept through it all (and so did Dad), but Mom was up most of the night. She didn’t get sick, though. Judy and Phil didn’t get much sleep either.

Next: A Man! A Plan! A Canal!