"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Friday, March 20, 2009

The invisible hand of the market is giving AIG the finger

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.

It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

The proposal of any new law or regulation which comes from [businessmen], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it."

So just who is this commie socialist slimeball, you ask? Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations (first book, chapter 11, last section).

All credit goes to Dr. Dick, winner of all threads everywhere.

The Fellowship vs the Fountainhead

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
-John Rogers
Kung Fu Monkey

Not an aircraft carrier

This is the Hyuga, the newest destroyer to be commissioned into Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force. It is not an aircraft carrier.

Just because it is more than 10,000 tons heavier than the destroyer it is replacing and carries almost no guns and is basically a floating flight deck that is 20 m longer than the Italian carrier Garibaldi - and about 20 shorter than the HMS Invicible doesn't make it an aircraft carrier, even if if it could easily handle Harrier jets and other VTOL aircraft. Perish the thought!

Aircraft carriers are offensive weapons of war! Japan would never have one of those - it would be unconstitutional. Japan's constitution forbids the country from having the ability to make war or even have a military - just because it has the seventh largest defense budget in the world, don't think for a second it would violate the US imposed constitution! It doesn't have a military - it has a "self-defense force."

Policy at our newspaper in Tokyo is that we must never call self-defense forces personnel "soldiers" since Japan, as we all know, does not have a military. So clearly the Hyuga cannot be an aircraft carrier. It is merely a very, very large destroyer, I mean, in actual fact it is just the world's largest peace-loving civilian coast guard cutter - hurrah Japan! Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!!!1!
Also, that bird over there swimming around the pond, the quacking one with the green head, broad bill and the webbed feet? That is a special kind of chicken, not a duck.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We interupt this blog for an important news bulletin

This just in - MSNBC "pundit" Tucker Carlson is still a dick. In fact, he's an even bigger dick than previously suspected.

In other news, Generalissimo Fransisco Franco is still dead.

Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Global jam session

Watch and then go learn how, no matter how cool you thought this was, it's even cooler than that.

Much of the money raised is going to support centers for Tibetan refugees in India and music and arts programs in South Africa, but even if none of the money was going to charity, this would still be a very, very cool idea.

Special thanks to Jackson Street Books for pointing this out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A snappy dresser, sure, but infallible?

So Pope Benedict is in Africa and as popes usually do when they visit places suffering from poverty, AIDS and overpopulation, reminded Africans and the rest of the world about the church's position on birth control - specifically condoms in this case, pointing out that they are the devil's balloons and prophylactics make Baby Jesus' Mommy cry etc etc -- then things got really stupid and he claimed that condoms had actually made the AIDS crisis in Africa worse.
Naturally, just about every public health NGO and antiAIDS group in the world has jumped on this with both feet and rightfully taken the pontiff to task. But what about our elected governments? Do they dare to criticize the Vatican? One does:

But XXXXXXXXXX, echoing the reaction of some aid agencies, said it "voices extremely sharp concern over the consequences of [the Pope's comments]."
"While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

I know, you're thinking it must be Canada's brave science minister ---no way, too many Catholic voters in Quebec and Ontario! The Obama administration? Nope, can't alienate the Catholic vote and the family values crowd. Some heavily Protestant Northern European country? Atheist China? Cuba? Israel? Those godless heathens at the UN? Nope, none of the above.
How about massively Catholic France, where they know from separation of church and state and the people mostly take their theology with a dose of salt.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pot calling the kettle blonde

GOP catfight! Meghan "my daddy could have been president" McCain vs. Ann "the man" Coulter & Laura "Coulter for Dummies" Ingraham and assorted conservatard bloggers.  McCain calls Coulter "offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time"  -- it's blood off a wolverine's muzzle to Coulter, but Laura Ingram gets all "Oh no, you din't!" and "Do you think that anyone would be talking to you if you weren’t kind of cute and you weren’t the daughter of John McCain?” not stopping to think that "kind of cute and/or the offspring of someone connected" pretty much describes every conservative pudit out there. Hilarity ensues as even stupider (yes, that is possible) bloggers join the fray.

Somebody pop more corn!

Well, I'll be a monkey's (very distant) nephew

Canada's Minister of Science and Technology Gary Goodyear won't say whether he believes in evolution.

"I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Uh, Gary, no one asked about your religion, they asked about science. I don't care if you're a Christian, a Buddhist, an atheist, a Sihk or a Pastafarian -- if you don't believe in one of the cornerstones of biological science, you shouldn't be the science minister. Its sort of like having a defence minister who believes that the Prime Minister's ability to summon dragons is the reason the Russians and Chinese haven't invaded Canada yet or a finance minister that believes massive tax breaks for the rich will lead to economic prosperity for all.

“I do believe that just because you can't see it under a microscope doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It could mean we don't have a powerful enough microscope yet. So I'm not fussy on this business that we already know everything. … I think we need to recognize that we don't know.”
Asked to clarify if he was talking about the role of a creator, Mr. Goodyear said that the interview was getting off topic.

I agree that we do have to admit there are things we don't know -- but we also have to admit there are things that we do know, like the fact that the earth revolves around the sun, gravity works, light behaves like a wave and a particle, bodies in motion tend to remain in motion while bodies at rest tend to remain at rest and biological entities evolve over time to adapt to their surroundings or die out.

Goodyear was a chiropractor before entering politics. I don't want to criticize chiropractors - they certainly helped me when I telescoped my spine skydiving years ago - but ask an actual physician what he thinks of them sometime. Many in MDs consider the practice a tiny step up from voodoo. I'm not saying his previous occupation or simply being religious disqualifies him from being science minister, but if either of them mean he doesn't believe in verifiable scientific facts, then he belongs in another portfolio. Apparently, he's also more than a bit of dick as well, which I do think should disqualify him from getting elected, but seems to be a requirement to get into the Conservative Party Of Canada.

Update: Apparently Goodyear has "clarified" his remarks:

Jane Taber: So you do believe in evolution. You believe in the theory of evolution. Let’s just get this off the table right now.

Gary Goodyear: We are evolving, every year, every decade. That’s a fact. Whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course, we are evolving to our environment. But that’s not relevant. And that’s why I refused to answer the question. The interview was about our science and tech strategy, which is strong…

The appalling thing here is that if Goodyear really does believe in evolution all he has to do is say so, say "Yes, Darwin was right, man descended from apes" but he won't do that. Either because he really doesn't believe or because he's afraid of pissing off Charles McVety and his merry band of Christian Taliban wannabes. The CPC relies on the knuckledragging religious crazies in the social conservative caucus for votes, money and campaigning and doesn't dare cross them (no pun intended). So apparently in addition to being a bit of a dick, Goodyear is also a bit of a coward.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weimar Amerika?

Read this thought-provoking little essay by Robert Freeman and you'll find yourself wondering whether this kid has learned all the words to "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" yet.

In other news, Tucker Carlson is still a dick.

There's a reason they call him Dick, not Richard

Darth Cheney speaks and the stench of brimstone is overwhelming. I watched this live and if the interview had been 5 minutes longer, I'd be shopping for a new television set today.