January 31, 2011

Of course you never know with bloggers

...but I'd always thought Anne Althouse was taller.

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January 30, 2011

Wow

I was curious how they were going to do that Vocaloid tour.
The answer appears to be "Quite well indeed."






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Interesting Finds and Linky Luv

Steven Den Beste has just watched Havoc in Heaven and seemed to like it.


Actual footage of his reaction taken by one of our crack team of espionage beavers

Wonderduck had a rather different reaction to Rio Rainbow Gate...but it seems to have driven him over the edge, so everything's OK now.

I would normally be unlikely to give a magical girl show a second thought. However Ubu indicates that Puella Magi Madoka Magica seems to going into some very interesting (and dark) places.

Don is asking the hard questions.

Beta Waffle is back! Has been for some time...but I'm slow in noticing these things.

( For example, a few months ago I was surprised to see DVDs of Linebarrels of Iron for sale. I had no idea the show actually existed. I had thought that LOI was a joke strip by Beta Waffle parodying Anime cliche's...Actually, it was a show composed of Anime cliches that Beta Waffle was mocking/reviewing. )


Note: Frau Bow image  is unrelated to the content of this post. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. 

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Things Fall Apart...

The situation in Cairo is very worrisome.

While some seem very happy that there is a populist revolt going on, I do not share their optimism.

 Mubarak is indeed brutal and oppresses people. Like the Shah of Iran, many of the people he is oppressing desperately need to be oppressed for the good of humanity. Like the Shah, if Mubarak falls, he is likely to be replaced by a pretty radical anti-US anti-Israel group of Islamists, in this case tied to the Muslim brotherhood. 

There is a lot of criticizing of the president on his handling of this situation, but we don't know what intel he is privy to, what conversations he's had or what is being done behind the scenes. What we CAN be sure of is that the US doesn't have much sway over the situation right now and any pressure we are perceived as applying will likely make the situation worse. I don't envy the President tonight. He may indeed be out of his depth, he may indeed have a blinkered worldview, but he is now faced with a situation that has the potential to become very bad indeed, and there is very little he can do.

This has the potential to be a very big international crisis, if Mubarak falls the odds are things in the middle east will go very far south with alarming rapidity.

Egypt controls the Suez canal (not, as some have suggested, the Panama Canal) and having a Sunni version of the Iranian mullocracy control that waterway has very real implications for world trade.

Having Egypt, which shares a boarder with Israel go all Jihadi is a very bad thing.

The news services are following this pretty well but there were a couple of opinion pieces I thought merited linkage.

The mustache of justice has thoughts here.

Cdr. Salamander has a long post here.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter has a piece in Human events (via Cubachi, who has additional video)

Stratfor has extensive analysis here.

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Marketing Note

If one is attempting to convince potential customers that one should be paid by said individuals to write their dissertations, then typing...

Your blog is really helps for my search and i really like it.. Thanks a lot..
... may not be the best way to inspire confidence in ones product quality.

On the other hand, It might work. People who hire out their papers, let alone dissertations, are wastes of skin better utilized by burn victims...much like comment spammers


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January 27, 2011

Holocaust Rememberance Day



Today is the day we remember one of the most unspeakable horrors of our time.

The founders of this nation could not have imagined the sheer magnitude of the unspeakable evil that befell the Jews of Europe. However, knowledge of far lesser horrors that a government can wreak on an unarmed populace was one of the reasons this country has its second amendment.  As it was, all the Jews of Warsaw and Bialstock were only able to cobble together about a hundred weapons of various types between them when they realized that the unimaginable was happening to them. They fought like tigers, but with so few weapons the odds were impossible.

Since this atrocity was stopped, people have periodically, with great solemnity declared that this type of horror will NEVER AGAIN be allowed to stand. Since 1945, we have seen in no particular order Rwanda, Maos horrors, the Khmer Rouge,  and many other examples of the unspeakable evil in the hearts of some of our fellow men. This includes The leader of Iran who talks openly about finishing the job that Hitler started as soon as he has a nuke to do it...while the rest of the world acts with all the decisiveness of Chamberlain and Daladier. Thus, at this point admonitions about "Never again!" are poor comedy.

There are wicked people in this world. Whether attired in sheets, keffiyeh, jackboots or jaunty berets they will not be dissuaded from their evil  by harsh language, kind words, tribute or solemn promises of peace in our time. Force is the only language these monsters understand. The real lesson of the worlds history since the Shoa is that all too often the good do nothing ensuring evils occur.  This leaves the oppressed groups, whomever they may be, to their own devices.

It is widely believed that something like the above could never happen here. I certainly don't think it's at all likely.

However, it was not that long ago that strange fruit adorned southern trees, and only a little longer ago that the 5 Civilized Tribes got their answer to their request for congressional representation.

It should be remembered that Germany was one of the foremost leaders of science, reason and art yet they went mad. The Khmer Rouge were beatniks in Parisian colleges before they came to power and Robespierre was at first an idealistic humanist who was going to bring justice to all...

History can turn on a dime.  

One of the lessons of the Holocaust is that granting a monopoly of power to a government is a dangerous gamble indeed, for governments are necessarily composed in large part of the sorts of people who seek and crave power over others.

We have in this country checks, balances and the first,  second and fourth amendments. We can take some comfort in these as they greatly increase the likelihood that we will never see the likes of the above here.

But likelihood is not certainty, and never is a very long time.

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January 17, 2011

A Simple Bit of Math

I don't post as much uninformed blather on policy ideas as I used to because:
1: There are others who do it better.
2: The topic depresses me because there are few options open to us and all are varying levels of grim.
3: There are those few people who can make informed posts on policy.

CDR Salamander is one of the latter and he has a math lesson for us all.

Jack made a good point last week over at USNIBlog,
Something’s gotta give. In 2009, the U.S. spent $187 billion (more than China’s defense budget) paying off interest on government debt.


He goes on.
It's short.
Read the whole thing.

In the late 19th early 20th century when other developing countries were going deep into debt for short term gain, Japan had a pretty simple defense strategy. 

"Rich nation=strong army" 

This was the slogan of all mainstream political parties there for something like 40 years. Men of great substance and ability like
Eiichi Shibusawa were encouraged to be entrepreneurs and helped to bring Japan into the modern era.

Around the turn of the century Argentina developed a rather different policy... which I'll  paraphrase with all due malice as "hope and change". 

Argentina had many advantages over Japan, being an established republic that was on a par with the USA and only a little behind Europe technologically. 

Argentina has never recovered. 

Japan became a world power and was quite successful until they went off their trolley in the '30s. 

I see many parallels between then and now.

I do not like them.

The options we have now, as I said earlier, are quite limited. They will grow more limited as time passes. We MAY have until 2013-14 to regain steering, and turn the ship of state away from the  iceberg we are approaching. We are so close and our inertia is so great that we will suffer damage regardless, but as time passes our ability to meaningfully change course, even if we regain full helm control is steadily reduced, until oblivion is inevitable no mater what, so time is of the essence.

Of course, right now we don't have the bridge and have control  of only one engine room....so the only thing we can realistically do in the next two years is reduce our speed. 

That and review our counter flooding procedures.

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January 14, 2011

In Belarus

...fox shoots YOU!

"The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw,"


Actual footage of the fox, who does not look contrite.

Firefox tan by Umekichi

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January 12, 2011

Ummm...

I started to blog this memorial service in Tucson...but something about it is creeping me out. I'm not sure what, maybe, the logos...maybe the T-shirts.
Perhaps the cheering.

The president should be on in a moment. Thus far he has actually handled this with a good deal of class.

UPDATE: It seems to be perfectly decent speech by the President. But the cheers seem really inappropriate and off-putting.

UPDATE2: He went there.

UPDATE3: Maybe not, it actually sounds like he's trying to walk back some of the excesses of his erstwhile allies.

UPDATE4: Pretty decent speech...it just won't...end.

All in all a decent speech. It went quite long but covered all the bases and was respectful and actually presidential. It was the audience that seemed off.

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January 10, 2011

Suspended

Wait WHAT!?

As today was the first day of the new semester, last night I logged on to the school website to get the locations for today's classes.

None of my classes were listed on the Blackboard site.
I had gotten the course numbers from there Thursday when I bought my books. Indeed, I had signed up back in November, and yet here they ...weren't.

A little digging turned up some contradictory facts....
I had no holds on my record.
I had been suspended from all 5 classes on Friday.
I was a student in good standing with the university.
I had been suspended.
I was able to add/drop classes.
I was forbidden to add/ drop classes.

GHAAAAA!!

In times such as this, it is important for a gentleman to maintain a stoic visage.....so I'll subcontract the expression of my innermost feelings at that time to this young lady.


Anyway, I called in to work and burned an emergency day, and bright and early stood outside the registrars office. After getting blankly stared at, I went to student affairs, then academic continuance, then a class I was no longer registered for, then the history department, then the registrars office, at which point I had compiled enough clues that I didn't get blankly stared at, I got put into the troublemaker line...and back to the history department....and baaaack to academic continuance.....where I was told that IF everything was indeed fixed I should have computer access Tuesday or Wednesday and be reinstated into my classes. 

A few minutes ago I got a confirmation E-mail that the error had been corrected and I am registered for classes and not expelled.

Yay!

So....WTF?!

Well, last semester, I was initially taking the absolute maximum allowed course load, However, I ended up having to drop some. As I had difficulty doing it online, I had the instructors do it...and there was a clerical error somewhere between the arts and letters building and registration. I had missed this after the semester because I looked at my individual grades rather than my online transcript.  Friday, when they did a final pre semester check those drops registered as "F"s and I was suspended.

All fixed now...and I only missed half a class....and a few beats of my heart.

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