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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

EVEN PORTLAND

"Do you remember when 9/11 happened when those people were jumping from skyscrapers? I thought that was awesome."
-Mohamed Osman Mahmoud


Portland, Oregon is a pretty obscure place to most of the world. Even in America some folks aren't exactly sure where Oregon is and if they've heard of Portland it may be only because of the Trailblazers basketball team. Its unlikely that al`Qaeda knows much if anything about the place. It has no strategic significant, it isn't a major center of commerce, there is no military base.

Yet it is home to over a million people and some of those people are not very nice folks. Every year Portland has a generic non-threatening holiday display in Pioneer Square to celebrate... well I'm not exactly sure what they're celebrating but it seems to involve trees and winter, somehow. And that was enough for one Somali immigrant to decide it was the perfect place for a bomb.

He was caught trying to set off a fake bomb the FBI helped him set up, and while I'm always uncomfortable with this kind of sting, the guy clearly wanted to be a terrorist and he really tried to really kill people in a crowded downtown area of Portland with a huge bomb.

You've read about this a lot lately but what really caught my attention was an opinion piece at the Washington Examiner by Byron York who pointed out something significant about the whole affair:
What is ironic is that the operation that found and stopped Mohamud is precisely the kind of law enforcement work that Portland's leaders, working with the American Civil Liberties Union, rejected during the Bush years. In April 2005, the Portland city council voted 4 to 1 to withdraw Portland city police officers from participating in the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Mayor Tom Potter said the FBI refused to give him a top-secret security clearance so he could make sure the officers weren't violating state anti-discrimination laws that bar law enforcement from targeting suspects on the basis of their religious or political beliefs.

Other city leaders agreed. "Here in Portland, we are not willing to give up individual liberties in order to have a perception of safety," said city commissioner Randy Leonard. "It's important for cities to know how their police officers are being used."
See, the Portland government, and likely many of its very left-leaning citizens, were among the most hysterically anti-Bush loonies during the naughties. There were regular protests against a Republican being in office, there were soldiers burned in effigy for fighting terrorism, there were statements made in opposition to liberating millions of Iraqis and Afghanis, and so on.

And it was all done in the cozy blanket of comfort assuming terrorism just wouldn't ever hit Portland. Its a smaller city, unknown, on the west coast with no symbolic or strategic value. Its safe to declare that the local law enforcement won't fight terrorism. Its safe to defy the government because like most big cities, Portland declared they would not enforce federal immigration laws long ago with absolutely no negative results.

But it was the policies and efforts of the very people that Portlanders rejected, mocked, and attacked which grabbed a would-be terrorist from their midst. This guy wasn't some well-meaning person twisted by FBI tales, he wasn't a normal fellow manipulated into the act of trying to detonate thousands of Oregonians. He was a guy who flew to train with the Taliban in Pakistan and wanted to be a terrorist, he wanted to do an attack like 9/11. The FBI just gave him some help in building the means to carry out a plot, they didn't push him into anything.

In Portland, Oregon. Maybe, just maybe that crazy Bush wasn't so crazy after all. Maybe those FBI guys who want local help to fight terrorism aren't the liberty-trampling secret police that the left seemed to think.

RANDOM ACT OF CULTURE - HALLELUJAH

And He shall reign for ever and ever

It was an ordinary day at Macy's, with people shopping and eating and talking and browsing. This particular Macy's has a pipe organ installed in it, the world's largest called the Wanamaker Organ that is occasionally played. Someone started playing the organ; the opening notes to Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from "The Messiah." Then without warning, people began singing the chorus from all over the store, on all three floors.



What happened is that the Opera Company of Philadelphia along with members of local choirs set up fake shoppers throughout the store at strategic locations and they all burst into song together as a "random act of culture," the first of a thousand planned for the next three years.

The shoppers were stunned by the event, and they all stopped and listened, but everyone seemed amazed and pleased. And at the end, the Christmas Tree was lit up with lights.

This is the kind of thing we need more of in this world, I think.

King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Hallelujah.

THE SEQUEL THAT WORKED

"Film is a window to the real world but a lie that makes you believe the unbelievable."

Empire backstage
Most folks (including myself) view The Empire Strikes Back as the best of the Star Wars movies. George Lucas didn't care for its dark tone and determined that from then on he'd direct all the movies as well as write them. Empire has better character development, better acting, better story flow, and a powerful, memorable tale that puts it far above the other films. Most of the really memorable stuff from the Star Wars movies come from this one film.

And Ervin Kershner directed it. Hollywoodland at Big Hollywood has an excerpt from the Vanity Fair interview with Kershner showing why it was a better movie than Lucas' other work:
There was really only one disagreement. It was the Carbon Freeze scene when Princess Leia says, “I love you.” Han Solo’s response in the script was, “I love you, too.” I shot the line and it just didn’t seem right for the character of Han Solo. So we worked on the scene on the set. We kept trying different things and couldn’t get the right line. We were into the lunch break and I said to Harrison try it again and just do whatever comes to mind. That is when Harrison said the line, “I know.” After the take, I said to my assistant director, David Tomblin, “It’s a wrap.” David looked at me in disbelief and said something like, “Hold on, we just went to overtime. You’re not happy with that, are you?” And I said, yes, it’s the perfect Han Solo remark, and so we went to lunch. George saw the first cut and said, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. That’s not the line in the script.” I said ““I love you, too’ was not Han Solo.” Han Solo was a rebel. George felt that the audience would laugh. And I said, that’s wonderful, he is probably going to his death for all they know. We sat in the room and he thought about it. He then asked me, “Did you shoot the line in the script?” I said yes. So we agreed that we would do two preview screenings once the film was cut and set to music with the line in and then with the line out. At the first preview in San Francisco, the house broke up after Han Solo said I know. When the film was over, people came up and said that is the most wonderful line and it worked. So George decided not to have the second screening.
Lucas is kind of a control freak, he wants everything to fit his vision, and in some ways that's great: you get a consistent, fascinating world. In some ways its awful: he's no good with characterization and the actors usually have a better idea about their character than he does.

Empire filmingIrvin Kershner was better than that, like all good directors he was willing to let the actors work within the basic script to create a better final product. And a better product he created. Here are some other Kershner films you might have seen:

The Flim-Flam Man
Never Say Never Again
Robocop 2

What movie lately did Kershner think was brilliant? The animated film Ratatouille, which I really liked too. Come to think of it I usually like Pixar's stuff.

Irvin Kershner, dead at 87.

Quote of the Day

"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that, if it is comfort or money it values more, it will lose that too."
-William Somerset Maughan

Monday, November 29, 2010

ARRRRRR

In 1861, during the US Civil War, a group of sailors who were caught preying on Northern merchant vessels were captured. These men were acting as privateers, which is a sort of state-sponsored pirate with a "letter of marque" that allows them to be legal pirates acting against an enemy of the state (the US Constitution permits congress to still issue these, although they haven't for over a century).

The North refused to recognize the South as a legal entity, and tried the men as pirates. The jury deadlocked and eventually the men were traded to the South for prisoners of war (officers, naturally). And that was the last time pirates have been tried in the United States for almost a century and a half.

Now, five Somali pirates have been found guilty and imprisoned for life for piracy. They were in a skiff that attacked the USS Nicholas, mistaking it for a merchant ship. When they opened fire on the navy ship, the navy men fired back, and the pirates tried to run away but were captured.

Their lawyers argue that these men were fishermen forced into piracy by the local pirates, which may or may not be true, but piracy has long held a single specific interpretation: you help piracy, you pay. That kind of attitude is necessary to make shipping possible, to allow free trade without fear of predation by any group of punks with weapons. And the men each expected to make as much as $40,000 from ransom money.

Steve Skozatak writes in the Washington Post
Piracy and maritime law experts said news of the convictions would reach across the globe.

Ken Randall, dean of the University of Alabama School of law and a piracy scholar, wrote in an e-mail that the verdict set an important example for the world.

"On the seas, as well as in the courts, every nation should follow the US lead in redressing piracy," he wrote.
Lets hope that these pirates can be dealt with swiftly and with such strength and authority that they stop and nobody else considers taking up the trade anywhere else.

*hat tip Ace of Spades for this story

RIP LESLIE NIELSEN

"It hurts. Oh, sure maybe not as much as jumping on a bike with the seat missing, but it hurts!"
-Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear

Leslie Nielsen has died. Most people know him these days as a comedic actor, but the truth is he was a very fine dramatic actor, the sort who played authority figures very well. For example he was (as you can see in the picture) one of the guys in Forbidden Planet. The reason the Airplane movie worked so well at the time was that they took people like Robert Stack and Leslie Nielsen who were well known as serious actors and gave them comedic roles. It was really funny to see them out of type and being goofy.

Over time Nielsen become more of a clown and lost the humor in being a straight man put in comedic situations, but he was always fun to watch and seemed to really enjoy his roles. Nielsen's best comedic work was in the Police Squad TV show (which carried over well to the first movie Naked Gun). He didn't mug or do zany things, he was completely straight and delivered his lines as if he meant them... but they were hilarious and he was great at it.

So my condolences to his family and friends, and thanks for all the laughs, Mr Nielsen.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Awful ad
Apparently Robert Byrd liked this kind of bleach.

Honestly, a lot of the stuff people scream about being racist or offensive in the past is pretty harmless or just old but this one is just awful.

Quote of the Day

"The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward."
-Winston Churchill

Friday, November 26, 2010

WHY NOT

You know, we're told that airplane security shouldn't profile because that would let 87 year old white granny and 12 year old black parapalegics through with nukes onto the planes. The thing is, that's never even come close to happening, its always been some mangy obvious terrorist so far, and they've never yet been actually caught by a security guy, always some passenger or other worker.

And if you look, every single security measure that's being employed by the TSA is reactive. They didn't start checking shoes until someone had a shoe bomb. They didn't start checking liquids until there was a liquid bomb. They didn't start feeling people's naughty bits until... well honestly I'm not sure what brought that on, since the latest threat was on cargo planes.

So really, if that's your pattern for deciding what to do in terms of security, why not profile, at least until its shown that isn't enough? If you're going to be reactive anyway, all the bombers are scraggly looking Arabic males, maybe its a good idea to profile them in response?

DEFIANCE AND WISDOM

"In the words of my generation, UP YOURS!"
-Independence Day

Defiance
I don't like to do this much, and certainly not to a blog I really like, but there's some aspects of a post by Enoch Root on Piece of Work in Progress which I had to respond to in greater detail. He writes about the principle of defying authority and the need to not simply obey when you're told something by someone in power. That's part of what the United States was founded on, and like most Americans I'm at least part rebel at heart.

The problem I had was an example he gave of defiance:
A certain 13 year old I know is quite good at math. In fact, she is spookily good at it. It’s a borderline Rainman sort of aptitude.

Her teacher became furious with her for doing her homework in pen instead of pencil. She reminded the child that her work ought be done in pencil. “Why,” asked the child. “Because math homework is to be done in pencil,” said the teacher. “Why,” asked the child. The teacher should have seen she was being set up. But did not. “Because you can’t erase ink.” “What would I need to erase?” asked the child. “Mistakes,” said the teacher. “But I don’t make mistakes in math.”

The child persisted in using pen. The teacher called a conference with the parents. The parents thought it was a funny situation. Unnecessary? Maybe. Good for this particular teacher? Absolutely.
Now, like I said, I'm all for defiance, especially against arbitrary or foolish rules. And I don't know everything about this situation. Maybe the teacher is absurd and tyrannical. Maybe the parents handled it well. But when I read this, I had to disagree with Enoch Root here.

The parents should, unless there's extremely good reason, always back the teacher's rules. There's more at stake here than your child's independence or the way you view authority. There are times to fight the man and times to not, and a child's growth is the wrong hill to die on. Let me tell you a little story about a teacher and a child in response.

The child was me, and I was told in 1st grade by the teacher that we were going to do a little project. We had a rocket ship to color and then we were going to cut it out. Well my little fevered brain instantly reasoned that if we're cutting it out, it didn't matter how closely I kept within the lines, so I did a quick scrawl. The teacher came by and told me I did it wrong because we should color within the lines. I pointed out my logic, which the teacher thought was charming but she told me exactly the right answer:
The point of the exercise was to learn to follow directions, not to produce a nice looking rocket.
And I needed to learn to follow directions first, because I was a little boy. The same thing was true in learning to play the piano. My mom pointed out that I had to learn all the rules first before I could start breaking them.

See, the point here isn't that the teacher is necessarily right - although in this case he or she is; no matter how good any of us are at anything we will make mistakes. Always. The rule against using pen isn't out of some demented anti-pen fixation but the need to keep the page clean and make sure its neat and readable.

Wherever possible, children should follow the rules given them by authorities, no matter how silly they seem to the kid, unless they're being told to do something unethical. Allow me to summarize:
  • Telling Johnny to stand in line by height because the teacher finds that more aesthetically pleasing: follow the rule.
  • Telling Johnny to hide your weed because the principal is coming: disobey the rule.
Kids need to learn to obey authorities and understand the rules and structures of society before they learn to disobey them. The default should be for treating authorities with respect and submission first, then you can learn as you become more wise and understanding to discern between frivolous and necessary.

Children cannot make these kinds of decisions properly, they have to learn the tools of society and mature to the point they can make these choices first before they start to make them. Doing so too early leaves kids with no proper respect for authority and ill equips them to face life. Every job is going to force them to do things they think are stupid or wrong or weird, and they will have to do it or look for another job. Usually there are good reasons for many of these rules, even if we don't know them to begin with.

It's important for parents to form a strong union with teachers and other authorities in a child's life so that the child grows up understanding that they are working together and to learn to recognize authority and respect it. Failing to do so raises rebels without a clue, people who at a whim decide the hell with what you say, not because there's good reason but because they just don't care to do it.

Its probably not easy to do this, but kids need to be told things sometimes simply because you say so. They don't need to know why not to do some things when they are very young, just that you tell them not to. They need to grow up understanding that some things you only learn and can truly realize through experience, wisdom, and maturity. The more they understand and agree with that the easier it will be for parents and the better it will be for kids.

Failing to do so gives us the generation we have now that's been raised to tell authority to go to hell for any old reason, presuming that since they're young and the future, they know best.

Obviously you can go too far with this, and obviously as the child ages, they need to have things explained more to them. Its clear that you cannot always stand with authority, and kids need to have a voice in having their say as well. The point isn't to silence children into mindless automatons, but to develop in them a proper respect for authority in their lives which everyone, no matter who, always has to deal with. It is an essential life skill.

In past generations (way past) the pendulum was too far in the "obey authorities" side. Now its swung way too far in the "defy authority" side, to our detriment.

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Given that we have fallen within this net, how big is the net?"

Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel? That's what the IRS asked a group filing for non profit status recently. Given that this is irrelevant to the non-profit decision, this question has the called group Z Street wondering why its being brought up. Ben Smith at Politico writes:
Z Street claims that a different IRS agent reviewing its application for tax exempt status said the agency is "carefully scrutinizing organizations that are in any way connected with Israel" and that "a special unit" is determining whether its activities "contradict the Administration's public policies.'" The IRS can deny tax exempt status to groups that work against "established public policy," a precedent established in its denial of a tax exemption to Bob Jones University over racial discrimination, and Z Street is suggesting that the IRS has begun applying some such policy to pro-Israel groups.
Perhaps it was one goofball agent, or perhaps this is a larger policy by the Obama administration, who seems to be working behind the scenes to undercut Israel.

Scientists looking at the skeleton of a Pterasaur (Quezalcouatalus) believe they have modeled what it would fly like using computer analysis and aerodynamic studies. Their results are amazing, as Reid Frazier at NPR reports:
They revealed an animal that could fly up to 80 miles an hour for 7 to 10 days at altitudes of 15,000 feet. The maximum range, Habib says, was probably between 8,000 and 12,000 miles.

"That doesn't mean necessarily they did, doesn't mean necessarily a specific number, just that it would be long enough to say, cross an ocean," Habib says.
There's only a couple of problems with this work. First, all they have are bones, so they can't know what the air resistance of the animal's skin was like, what other structures were on the body to interfere with flight, what its musculature was like to hold the wings out for any length of time, what its actual specific weight was, and so on. Skeletons consist of a fairly small percentage of a body's mass, its just not sufficient to make any sort of conclusions like this. Second: computer modeling is almost always very faulty because there are so many variables to even a small study that they tend to get things wrong.

But hey, its interesting to speculate. Lets just hope that the British people didn't sink too much tax money into this speculation.

Leftists love to consider the Tea Party movement a batch of idiotic lunatics, so when Ellisa Martinez claimed to have heard a speaker at a rally then phoned schools, triggering a 300 school shutdown and the eventual resignation of the speaker from the Allen West campaign, they figured to have their poster girl for the movement. See, they're deranged anti-government freaks! Except... she's a member of the Green Party, not a conservative. Weasel Zippers points to Palm Beach newspaper article:
According to the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Office, Martinez is a member of the Green Party, a progressive left-wing group focused on environmental issues.
...
None of the 21 people she's following appear to be right-wingers.

It's actually a pretty eclectic bunch, incoluding ABC News, Chris Cornell, The Office's Mindy Kaling, and Weird Al Yankovich. Another is Chris Sacca, a left-leaning San Francisco venture capitalist. Others are British singer Imogen Heap, self-described "new media geek" Felicia Day, and indie musician D.A. Wallach of the band Chester French, who wrote recently, in the depthy style of Twitter, "The idea of being a 'conservative' is so lame to me. Why do people have such an unreasoned infatuation with the past?"

Oh well maybe they still can find a lunatic somewhere to paint the entire movement with. So far every one of them has been a leftist trying to infiltrate the Tea Party.
Zero Hedge has an interesting article up in which they run down the tax numbers and data to show that someone making $14,500 a year in America actually can bring home more take home pay than someone making $60,000. The person making just over $3000 a year can get nearly as much. Take a look at the chart; I bet in countries like Germany and England the discrepancy is even bigger.

Brent Bozell has a great column up at CNS News pointing out how the horrific Bush Gulag of horror and oppression has suddenly become perfectly acceptable to the left. Its almost as if the whole complaint was just political rather than principled in the first place, imagine that.

Having been in Seattle, I'm surprised that it only came in 4th in an analysis of Rush Hour traffic. Then again, they haven't fully implemented the Bike Boxes yet, so give them time in Washington. Pierce County is determined to make driving as miserable as humanly possible in Seattle, and the results are very noticeable. First on the list? New York City.

Finally, someone found something that Tom DeLay actually did wrong. He's been retired from congress since 2006 facing continual legal attacks, he was the left's poster boy for all that was corrupt in the Republican congress, but they never actually found anything wrong with him, until now. He's been convicted of essentially money laundering, by taking donations and running them through various bodies until they could be recycled for GOP political campaigns without triggering elections violations. I'm glad he's out of congress; that kind of corrupt crap is what we don't need. Its just interesting that it took 4 years and most of the charges leveled against him were found to be nonsense.

San Francisco's city council voted to ban toys that come with fast food meals, but the governor vetoed the vote, considering it not just silly but poorly aimed. The council overruled his veto, and the ban is in place: you can't get a happy meal for your kids with a toy. Not that this will prevent anyone from buying happy meals or make kids not want the food, but its the intent that matters to the left, not results.

Pirate Bay is one of the internet's largest and most successful peer to peer transfer sites. They host various "torrent" programs you can download and use to obtain files. However, the reason Pirate Bay is called that is because the bulk of their material seems to be pirated. Look up a movie on the site, and they'll have it - sometimes stuff that hasn't even been released in theaters yet.

Well, a Swedish court found the founders of the site guilty of running a pirate site (essentially, the law is a bit more twisted than that), and sentenced them to a year in prison each. An appeals court modified the ruling, noting that the founders of a website cannot be held completely responsible for everything people who use that website get up to, reducing their sentences by a few months each.

This is a tough case for me, because I think pirating software, movies, music, and so on is theft, so it should carry a penalty. At the same time, jail time for running a site people happen to use to trade illegal software seems a bit harsh.

Sarah Palin recently praised our allies in North Korea, a silly gaffe that she should have not made. Its being mocked a lot lately, as proof, proof that she's a vapid idiot. Those same people didn't seem terribly concerned about President Obama's 57 states or Shiela Jackson Lee's East and West Vietnam for some reason. Obama has made a lot of bonehead statements of this sort like people speaking Austrian in Austria (that's like speaking Canadian) and calling Europe a country. So? If you speak in public enough, you're guaranteed to say something stupid by accident, that's just part of the job. Joe Biden is Vice President and he's pretty much made a career out of saying idiotic crap. Palin's mistake is being a Republican, not saying something goofy.

Senator Simpson isn't shy about speaking his mind, as proven recently when he said "We had the greatest generation -- I think this is the greediest generation" about responses to the debt commission's suggestions. The slightest suggestion we raise the retirement age and start cutting spending inevitably brings out the enraged constituencies who benefit from government money, and I can't disagree with Simpson's characterization, really. Its just fun seeing a Democrat finally get the usual hate for suggesting we maybe cut some spending.

The hapless Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) in America has gotten a lot of grief lately - well deserved grief - for their idiotic response to cargo planes carrying proto bombs. However, if you're a member of the privileged elite you can avoid the full body grope down, as Michelle Malkin wrote about recently:
Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details.

Aviation security officials would not name those who can skip the controversial screening, but other officials said those VIPs range from top officials like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FBI Director Robert Mueller to congressional leaders like incoming House Speaker John Boehner, who avoided security before a recent flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport.
Meanwhile, the press is trying furiously to downplay the outrage and annoyance of travelers who have to go through the new security measures. Why? It hurts Obama. At the same time they can't help but cover the outrageous stories coming out like forcing people to clip off nipple rings, searching people after they leave the plane, and so on because the stories are so juicy.

Obama's administration has been very busy seizing land for the federal government, and the most recent example of this is an 8.3 million acre "critical habitat" in Alaska for polar bears who are more numerous now than at any time in previous recorded human history (even according to the local Native Americans). Why? Because theoretically global warming might result in reduced habitat and threaten Polar Bears at some indeterminate point in the future, maybe.

The planet overall has gotten slightly cooler over the last decade, but its tough to find an alarmist who will admit that. They are starting to admit that it hasn't warmed however. For example a Daily Mail article recently was posted which claims that warming "slowed" over the last decade, then it quotes the scientists blaming increased pollution for the slow.
  • Old and busted: pollution causes global warming
  • New and hot: pollution slows global warming

David Whitehouse at the Observatory can't quite bring himself to admit the cooling of the planet, but he does admit that warming has "stalled" and notes that, shockingly, the level of CO2 keeps rising. Its almost as if the relationship between CO2 and global temperature isn't a cause-effect simple equation or something.

Meanwhile, one of the lead authors of the IPCC's "we're all doomed unless you give us control over the world's economy" alarmist report admitted that, well yes, it is about power and socialism. Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters (courtesy Ace of Spades HQ) excerpts the man';s comments on the latest global warming vacation meeting:
This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.B
...
Basically it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War
...
But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy
.
Well yes.

Tim Blair hilariously notes something about global warming:

Faced with those temperature and atmospheric stresses, the rain forests of the time actually thrived, the scientists found, with a rapid increase in plant diversity and the emergence of new species. New plant species — including plants from the passionflower and chocolate families — appeared.
Global warming causes chocolate! How absolutely terrible.
Of course as with most of this paleo science, they don't really know when or where or even how these species appeared, they just know when they first started finding evidence of them in given areas.


There's money on that thar moon! The Moon Daily (!) reports that some of the rocks found on the moon contain gems including Spinel, a semi-precious stone. Mineral riches on the moon are something people have long expected and predicted - and something that will take horrendous battles to gain, because of the push to "leave the moon pristine and untouched by the greed of man." Hey, guess what, there's a reason people compare a really awful, barren, and dead part of earth to a lunar landscape. Its not paradise up there, its dead.

Sometimes you just can't get past the conspiracies and paranoia, but people still keep trying. In this case its Scientific American, where Michael Shemer notes that cell phones cannot give you brain cancer:
Where do cell phones fall on this spectrum? According to phys­i­­cist Bernard Leikind in a technical article in Skeptic magazine (Vol. 15, No. 4), known carcinogens such as x-rays, gamma rays and UV rays have energies greater than 480 kilojoules per mole (kJ/mole), which is enough to break chemical bonds. Green-light photons hold 240 kJ/mole of energy, which is enough to bend (but not break) the rhodopsin molecules in our retinas that trigger our photosensitive rod cells to fire. A cell phone generates radiation of less than 0.001 kJ/mole. That is 480,000 times weaker than UV rays and 240,000 times weaker than green light!
Mind you that doesn't mean they can't be harmful in other ways, just not cancerous.

The United States is essentially floating on a gargantuan sea of natural gas and helium, neither of which gets much use for some reason. You can make viable cars that drive on natural gas; the state uses them for local vehicles in Oregon. Why this isn't exploited is anyone's guess, but as recently discussed on CBS, there's a lot of the stuff available:
"In the last few years, we've discovered the equivalent of two Saudi Arabias of oil in the form of natural gas in the United States. Not one, but two," Aubrey McClendon, the CEO of Chesapeake Energy, told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl.

"Wait, we have twice as much natural gas in this country, is that what you're saying, than they have oil in Saudi Arabia?" Stahl asked.

"I'm trying to very clearly say exactly that," he replied.
And then there's this New York Times article (behind registration wall) which notes the huge new oil finds in the last few years. But we're all still doomed and the world is running out of fuel. Who you gonna believe, all the damned facts, or the peak oil alarmist.

NPR recently admitted something that is difficult to get a leftist to say: there's no such thing as a Social Security Trust Fund. Alex Blumberg and Chana Joffe-Walt write:
"They are nothing like any trust fund that any one of us would think of," says Maya MacGuineas of the New America Foundation. "It conjures up an image of really holding savings, and it doesn't do that at all."
You can also listen to the audio if you want. By even the most positive estimates, Social Security goes totally into the red within a few years. Most think it has already.

Crooked faux minister Al Sharpton's organization has been running huge debts for years - the blackmail and shakedown industry apparently has fallen on hard times. But as Douglas Feiden writes in the New York Daily News, Sharpton himself still pulls down a salary of a quarter million a year. At least, that's the amount he admits to.

Hezbollah, the Iran-created terrorist group which wants to destroy Israel and conquer Lebanon all but admitted that they assassinated its former prime minister. But then they said "that's no reason to destroy Lebanon," referring to what would happen if the Lebanese government dared to fight back against their attempt to take the country over. Killing fellow Muslims is perfectly fine to these guys, as long as they end up in charge.

Finally, in Pakistan, a woman was slated to be put to death for the heinous crime of becoming a Christian. The courts decided not to kill her, and Muslims started protesting this lack of execution. Sure, Muslim clerics have noted that Islamic law does not require the death sentence for leaving the faith, but who cares, really when its about power and control?

And that's the Word Around the Net, November 16, 2010

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Quote of the Day

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
-Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

"The worst moment for the atheist is when he's really thankful and has no one to thank."
-Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Bush Integrity

MINIMUM THOUGHTS

"For many years it has been a matter of conventional wisdom among economists that the minimum wage causes fewer jobs to exist than would be the case without it... were this not the case, there would be no logical reason why the minimum wage could not be set at $10, $100, or $1 million per hour."

Living Wage Fallacy
The general drawbacks of minimum wage increases have been well charted and explained by conservatives for decades, so there's no need to go into all that here, but I did want to touch on one aspect.

In March of 2010, Ontario Canada's minimum wage moved up 75 cents to $10.25 an hour (Canadian dollar). In 1976, the average minimum wage in Canada was $2.65 an hour. At today's consumer prices, that's the equivalent of almost $10. At present the Canadian Dollar is just about equal to the US dollar (a few pennies less), so the numbers are pretty equivalent for American economics.

Here's the aspect I wanted to write about, and it probably has some special name or law in economics which I'm unaware of. Minimum wages tend to stagnate for a while, the go up in big jumps rather than follow a steady even pattern. Over the last six years, the Ontario minimum wage has gone up almost 4 dollars, from $6.85 in 2004, and many were saying it was long past time for an increase, since the economy has grown over those years.

You see, the reason that the minimum wage stays pretty stable for a while is that it tends to outstrip the economy's ability to sustain those wages. When you force employers to pay unskilled and entry workers a greater and greater sum, that tends to damage hiring and encourage employers to not hire younger workers. A study done in the 1990s showed that every 10% increase in minimum wage increases unemployment among youth by 1-3%.

Canada's unemployment rate for younger workers is double the national unemployment rate, which is around 7.6%. Raising the minimum wage won't help those workers, because frankly why hire a questionable untrained teen when you can get some out of work older person with a work history and more stability and maturity? Its hard enough to get

That's why minimum wages tend to stagnate. Not because lawmakers and employers are money-gouging, flinty-hearted jerks, but because if the wage is shoved up too high by an eager government it needs to stay that way and let the economy catch up. Eventually, unless an economy totally collapses, inflation will inevitably move prices and wages up to the point that this artificially inflated minimum wage will become reasonable for businesses instead of damaging.

By that time, or even before it, leftists start complaining that the minimum wage hasn't gone up for so long that its cruel to workers and harmful to minorities and families, so it has to be raised. And since its been so long, it has to be raised by a lot! So the cycle begins again, and people, seeing sob stories on TV news and thinking "gosh, it has been a long time, its only fair" vote for it and support the increase. Canada's minimum wage increase is a perfect example of how the cycle works and why it is so bad for businesses.

This cycle is very damaging to economies, and as we can see it actually hurts the people its meant to help the most. So if there's any need for the minimum wage to go up at all it seems like it has to follow several basic rules, none of which are "lets help people in need" or "its been too long since the last raise:"
  1. Never during an economic downturn
  2. Slightly lower than or equal to the rate of inflation
  3. Steady rather than big jumps
The big problem is that voters look at the history and think "well its been so long since the last raise, its unfair to not have it go up with how the economy is growing" without taking into account the fact that it probably was too high to begin with.

REAL ANIMAL ABUSE

"seriously psychologically disturbed."

Bunny Crusher
The video starts out with a girl holding a bunny and singing to it, petting it and kissing it. Then the rabbit placed on a table. The camera is fixed, the view showing the rabbit looking around curiously. The girl places a sheet of glass on top of the rabbit trapping it, and sits down slowly, crushing it. You watch and wonder how they did this because it looks awfully real. It sounds awfully real.

The problem is, this isn't a stunt or something faked for the internet. It really was a rabbit being crushed to death by a girl. In fact, this isn't an isolated event, there are other videos like it being produced as part of a gruesome fetish involving pretty schoolgirls horribly mutilating and murdering animals. The animals are usually cute bunny rabbits, puppies and kitty cats, and the things done to these creatures are truly ghastly. Its called "crushfetish" and apparently has enough followers that there's good money in making these videos - about 6000 yuan per video, which is pretty good money in China.

Bunny TortureWhen internet folks saw the videos they reacted with horror and a determination to find out who these people are, but the answers came from the person who leaked the videos online to begin with. He infiltrated the video makers to find out who they were and why they did it. From the website Chinasmack we have this account:
However, due to high security within the group, he was unable to make much progress for a long time. After a lot of asking around, he obtained this group’s chat records and content and photos, as well as many of this group’s videos involving the abuse and killing of animals.

In relevant chat records, a person called (name in Chinese) made a comment regarding opinions about the video that appeared at the time in March involving a woman abusing various animals. He said: Those who like CF [Crush Fetish] are not people who like violence and murder as is commonly propagated, but rather an extension of SM [sadomasochism], a level, a desire to be trampled to death by a female, giving one’s life to her…and those who [are proponents] for legislation against animal abuse and killing, [they] should ask themselves if they are vegetarians.
...
At present, our country does not have any relevant laws to punish those who abuse and torture animals, but for the vast majority of people, they will criticize and strongly condemn this kind of behavior because it deviates from the most basic human morality.
Notice here: China apparently has no law banning the cruel abuse of animals. This isn't illegal because the nation never saw fit to actually ban actions of this sort, which likely have been going on a long time. Its not like the internet created evil, its just displaying it in a way that was unprecedented.

Until a law is passed, the only punishment these people can get is public scorn, shame, humiliation and contempt - the kind of thing the Westboro "Baptist Church" folks face. Someone slashed their tires recently and amazingly enough no one in town would fix their tires. If you're awful long enough, people just stop giving you the minimum assistance.

Quote of the day

"In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."
-Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SOUTHEAST ASIA, AGAIN

"North Korea has a pattern of doing things that are provocative. "

North Korea fired fifty artillery shells into the South Korea town of Yeonpyeong, forcing residents to flee and killing 2 people, wounding over a dozen. North Korea responded with artillery fire directed on the guns that fired at them.

The problem here is that North Korea, out of money, resources, and anyone to blame for the incredible misery its residents live in and ruled by an insane man near his life has nothing to lose from war. They might even believe that they have nuclear weapons and can't be defeated, or at least won't draw a response from anyone out of fear of being nuked.

This is seriously disturbing to me, and combined with the Chinese behavior lately with the Sankaku islands and likely missile test off the shore of the US, I'm not very comfortable with what might come in the near future. Especially with the guys in power we have now in the White House.

BIOFUEL CONCLUSION

"I was about to run for president."

I just had to pass this on. Al Gore, Mr Global Warming himself, recently admitted that the corn oil Ethanol Scam was a failure he only pushed for political reasons. Purple Avenger has the scoop at Ace of Spades HQ.

Here's the rundown of Biofuels:
  • It doesn't reduce emissions
  • It doesn't reduce fuel consumption
  • It causes slavery in some parts of the world
  • Its causing food shortages around the world
  • Its driving food prices up
And now we find it was only pushed in congress by politicians looking to throw bribe money at farmers in their states.

Look, NOBODY thinks this stuff is a good idea any longer. Can we just please stop subsidizing it? Please?

WHERE ARE THE 80S LADIES NOW?

"oh wow, I remember her"

A while back I did a bit on 80s women I really liked, just for some filler and because I need a break from politics once in a while. It still gets some hits, likely just people looking for pictures, but what has happened to those women since the 1980s?
Pam Dawber from Mork and Mindy. Married to NCIS star Mark Harmon, Dawber got fairly steady work in movies, including the hilarious but underrated Stay Tuned with the latest being 1999's Don't Look Behind You.
Erin Gray from Buck Rogers. Originally an SI model she's gotten fairly steady work including TV shows Hotel and Hunter. I saw her recently on an episode of Hollywood Treasure where she had a slightly melted model of a Buck Rogers starship.
Jan Smithers, from WKRP who hasn't gotten acting work since the 1980s. The latest news on her was being in a car collision while driving nude in her car. She was married to Josh Brolin before Barbara Streisand.
Justine Bateman from Family Ties. She was in a short-lived TV series and still gets some acting work including Psych. Bateman had some drug problems in the late 80s and early 90s but seems to have gotten her act together.



















Erin Moran from Happy Days. She did movies like Galaxy of Terror in the 80s, but didn't have much work until fairly recently when she's been in a string of movies. She's been in a few reality shows like Celebrity Fit Club which apparently sparked her career.
Holly Robinson from 21 Jump Street. She's married to football star Rodney Peete and has had steady work on TV and in movies for her whole career. Her latest work is Speed Dating. She's also done some advocacy and fund raising work for autistic children.
Saundra Santiago from Miami Vice. She's stayed fairly busy, with roles in soap operas, some TV work, but the most interesting role was Jeannie Cusamano in several episodes of The Sopranos.
Tawny Kitaen, best known from Whitesnake videos. Although she's had fairly steady work, including the short-lived new WKRP attempt, she hasn't had much good work except in voice over work from Eek! the Cat.
Molly Ringwald is still acting, she has a steady TV part with The Secret Life of The American Teenager and has been doing small parts since her huge stardom in the 80s. I didn't ever watch the show, but she was apparently on many episodes of The Facts of Life before she got into movies.
Phoebe Cates is still stunning, although she doesn't act much. Princess Caraboo could have been a breakout role but it didn't go anywhere and her last work was in 2001's Anniversary Party mostly out of a favor to director Jennifer Jason Leigh. She's still married to that lucky so-and-so Kevin Klein.
Ally Sheedy is one of the more talented members of the Brat Pack from the 80s, although she did a lot of fluff back then such as Short Circuit. She's kept really busy with steady work on TV and in movies, the latest being the upcoming movie Fugly!.
Sean Young was in a lot of movies, including one of the best of the 80s in Blade Runnerwiththe voice-over, thank you very much). Despite having a reputation as a lunatic and being unstable, she's had a lot of work and is in several projects a year. She's still pretty and still very interesting to watch, but checked into rehab recently.
Lea Thompson, the blonde in my teenage blonde-brunette (Cates)-Redhead (Rinwald) fantasy trio. Technically she's strawberry blonde, but it works. Other than the TV series Caroline In The City she's had steady work, with lots of projects every year and seems very successful.
Elizabeth Shue, from Karate Kid and lots of other work. She was a fairly big star in Leaving Las Vegas and has had steady work since her first film back in 1983 when I graduated from high school.
Julie McCullough, from Family Ties. Although she was first known as a Playboy Playmate, she has been an actress ever since in one of the few examples of someone becoming a real star from being a centerfold. Julie did a lot of bit parts until her latest role in A Letter To Dad. These days she's mostly a stand up comedian, interestingly enough.
Christina Applegate, from Married With Children has gotten pretty steady work since that role as a brainless blonde bimbo. Christina has been in some big movies like Anchorman and keeps getting regular work.
Kathy Ireland was an SI Swimsuit model, but she's done quite a bit of acting work since she learned to control her voice so it didn't sound like she was huffing helium. She's done mostly voice over work, and her most high profile work lately was Dancing With The Stars.
Elle MacPherson, another SI model, was one of the smarter ones. She set up her own modeling agency, went into business, and has made millions. She's got clothing, perfume, makeup, and so on. She's been closely involved with the Top Model reality shows, and is currently on the panel of Britain's Next Top Model (who was their first?).
Paulina Porizkova, another SI model. She has done a lot of acting since she stopped modeling, particularly some soap opera work. She's still married to Ric Ocasek and blogs for Huffington Post.
Virginia Madsen has been in a lot of movies, and she still gets work. She's done a lot of TV and movie work, and still is going strong. Her sexy voice is in a lot of voice over work as well, such as Justice League and Teen Titans.
Dianne Franklin, from Better Off Dead and other movies. One of the cutest actresses from the era, she specialized in wide-eyed innocents you had to love, and is still getting work. She even sang the national anthem at Dodger Stadium in 2004, and still looks younger than she is (she was 23 in Better Off Dead.
Daryl Hannah is known for movies like Splash and she's been working ever since in movies such as Kill Bill. Hannah still is blonde and tall but is less pretty than hard looking these days and her latest surgeon's job was not great.
Heather Locklear is best known for her poster but she has done a lot of TV work. She was in the reboot of Melrose Place but her looks are more the work of surgeons than genetics these days.
Valerie Bertinelli, from One Day At A Time. After destroying Van Halen, she has gone on to many TV movies and series, and presently is in the series Hot In Cleveland. She still looks fairly cute but its tough for me to forgive the whole Van Halen thing. She also was a guest host on the vapid chick gossip/politics show The View a few times.
Here are a few other ladies from the 80s and where they've gone since then:




Deborah Foreman, from Valley Girl. She did some small work through the 80s and beyond, until she had a more substantial part in Beautiful Loser in 2008. She's a pilates instructor in Los Angels these days.
Mia Sara was the dewy love interest in the awful Legend movie, and she's done some small scattered work since then with an occasional noteworthy role such as Ferris Bueller's Day OffTimecop. She was Dr Harley Quinn in the awful Birds of Prey comic book TV show and was married briefly to Sean Connery's son Jason.
Jennifer Jason Leigh who was in a lot of movies and still is. She is one of those women who looks younger than she is, and had a wonderful innocent quality belied by a really naughty underlayer that peeked out in movies like Flesh and Blood. Jennifer was very talented and has turned that and her looks into a very steady career which includes the TV show Weeds now.
There are a lot more like Demi Moore, Lori Singer, and Ione Skye but that's enough for now. Most of these women haven't aged gracefully, fighting desperately with the use of the surgeon's blade, injections, and makeup to appear as something they are not, but some have held up very well due to just innate natural beauty. Those interestingly enough seem to tend to be the ones who aren't acting much these days.

Quote of the Day

"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
-James Madison

Monday, November 22, 2010

FOUNDATIONAL THOUGHTS

"Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."
-James Madison

One of the things that came up several times during the last election was the idea that strict constitutionalist conservatives are somehow crazy or weird. When a strong conservative said something like "the constitution does not permit us to spend money on Social Security" people ran around screaming and calling them a lunatic and a radical, fringe, extremist.

From the perspective of the left, this is pretty crazy stuff. They've probably never even considered whether or not legislation has to be constitutional or whether welfare spending is legal. The good intent of such legislation sanctifies it; meaning well negates the need to justify it constitutionally. We saw that again and again with the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act (aka "health care reform") in which congressmen confronted on the question of its constitutionality either had no answer or absurd, vapid answers. It hadn't even occurred to them to ask.

Yet if you read the founding fathers - especially Jefferson and Madison, who were political enemies - the principles of constitutionally restricted government were foremost. That was their driving passion and the entire point of the American Revolution. Here's a few samples of their thoughts on the matter:
"A wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
-Thomas Jefferson

"They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare.... [G]iving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please."
-Thomas Jefferson

"Our tenet ever was that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money. "
-Thomas Jefferson

"[T]he powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.
-James Madison

"To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition."
-Thomas Jefferson

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
-James Madison

"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."
-James Madison
Now, why would they argue this way? What was the concern of these men that drove them to consider the constitution to only allow government to act in specific, limited ways as granted them by the document rather than anything they wished except what the document prohibited?

They understood something that we can see happening almost every year:
"Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."
-James Madison

"We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute."
-Thomas Paine

"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what is will be tomorrow."
-James Madison
Government is rapacious and endless in its hunger for power and money. This is almost always presented to us in terms of something for our own good, or to help those in need, yet it always results in less liberty and more power for the federal government.

And it wasn't like the idea of helping those in need was never considered by the founding fathers`:
"Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."
-James Madison

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
-James Madison

"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."
-Benjamin Franklin
They simply understood that the constitution wasn't designed that way, and what's more it wasn't designed that way on purpose. Helping others in need was always important to them, but they understood that if you give the federal government the power to do this, you necessarily restrict the liberty of the people, and that was not a price worth paying to the founding fathers.

Thomas Jefferson went so far as to say that if the federal government did something that was unconstitutional, it was meaningless and void:
"[The purpose of a written constitution is] to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights."
-Thomas Jefferson

"Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."
-Thomas Jefferson
He didn't believe these laws were unjust and foolish, he thought they were without validity. That they were nonsense, laws which people should just ignore because they were wholly without legal weight. Now, over time, the states took this a bit far, claiming this nullification principle to mean that the states could totally ignore anything the federal government said which they didn't care for, but the truth is, Jefferson has a point.

If the government does something it has no authority or power to do, people have a responsibility to ignore that law, treat it as if it doesn't exist. Because it shouldn't exist, and there's no authority granted the federal government to even attempt it.

There's good reason to do this. We not only have to fight the government's tyranny, but there's a high price for not doing so. Author William Somerset Maughn puts it this way:
"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that, if it is comfort or money it values more, it will lose that too."
The thought that we should give up liberty for comfort and ease, and surrender our independence for a bit more money is suicidal: ultimately you'll have neither, when the government either goes broke or abandons all pretense of democracy in the name of doing right.

That's why we need candidates and pundits and writers and teachers and all sorts of people to stand up and say unpopular, shocking things about the constitution and liberty. We need them to be willing to say things that will cause the left to call them nuts and sluts.

Did it hurt candidates to be honest and accurate in their constitutional understanding? Absolutely, this is odd to modern ears, something people don't care to hear. Yet it has to be said and there are few platforms more powerful than that enjoyed by a serious political candidate during an election. They can get ideas and concepts out to the people in a way no one else can, in a time when the press will actually print what they say and talk about it rather than simply ignore or bury it.

So the loss of these candidates means they can't govern properly, but it is offset by the fact that they're getting word out and ideas out which have laid buried under layers of socialist tyranny for over a century and need to be heard once more. The change we need cannot happen overnight or with a single election; the word has to get out more and more. Convincing, persuading, and teaching is a long-term proposal, it will take time to reach people and make any changes, if possible.

The big mistake of voting for President Obama was the idea that he could really do all the stuff he campaigned on, that he'd really fix things in Washington, and everything would be all better, if only we voted for this one guy. That's not how it works, and this is going to be a long, painful fight.

That's why I'm disappointed by right-leaning sites such as Ace when I read something like this:
Miller also talked up privatization of Social Security, which is admirable and all, but certainly he would be in a better position to advance his ideas in this area if he had... sugar coated it? Been evasive? Been dishonest?

Yes, candor is all well and good but it tends to be punished at the polls.

Why not just take a less-committed position on something that really will have to involve a Great National Debate and say "I'm looking at various reforms?" Not really dishonest, per se, so much as... less forthcoming than he could be.

Did it hurt his election? Probably, but it also served a greater purpose than one more (R) in the Senate. This kind of rhetoric moves the national dialog along and exposes people to concepts long forgotten by America, concepts we have to understand to survive as a republic.

Its not that I don't understand his frustration at the way the government has been acting and desire for guys like this to win, but the truth is one election, or two or even ten aren't going to fix this. The elections are the result of real change, which happens at home, with individual voters. Putting the Right Guys© in power won't make the changes we need to have happen in this country.

That was the mistake the left made in 2008. They thought with the Right Guys©, they could get all the Right Policies© in place, and everything would be wonderful. Who could stop them? They had all the power they needed! Except they didn't factor in the people, who fundamentally disagreed with what they were trying to do. Unless and until people learn what must be done, understand the constitution, recognize the needed policies and restrictions of government power, it doesn't matter who gets elected, whether "completely honest" or not. Or as a judge put it:
"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. "
-Judge Learned Hand
We can't win this struggle by putting guiys in power, we have to win at the cultural, the educational, the entertainment, the family and the social level. Individual voters have to understand what's right and be willing to sacrifice personally to achieve it. Anything else will simply fail, and as I keep saying this is a long fight, one that cannot be won with an election.