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


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


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


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.


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.



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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January 08, 2011

75 Years Ago

Elvis Presley was born.
I'm not a particular fan of his music but his importance to music history is undeniable.

I also think that he helped the civil rights movement  quite a bit. He was the vector by which many Americans heard black music for the first time. Even those who were raised to not give them the time of day were, primarily through Presley, made  aware that African Americans had talent. Additionally, Elvis was undeniably at ease around black entertainers. While this was not advertised due to the social mores of the time, it was not exactly a deep secret either.

This was not the march to Selma or anything of the sort of course.  However, I firmly believe that Presley's cultural contribution in the area of thinking of people of color as people, was a non trivial one.

 THAT hurdle was the big one that allowed the hard uphill struggle to gain traction.

So on this anniversary of his birth, lets all thank Elvis, for helping to bring us together.

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A Very Merry Coptic Chtristmas

With all the bad happening today one very uplifting story is getting left by the wayside.

In Egypt, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Moslems, resonse to the bloody New Years Day bombing of a Coptic church are standing as human shields to protect the Coptic churches from violence during their Christmas celebrations.

Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”

This is the most hopeful story I've seen in years.

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Representative Gabrielle Giffords Shot

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D AZ) has been assassinated. At least 6 others are also dead. A bystander tackled the assassin who is in custody.

More here, here, here, here and here, As I type this, only Fox and NPR are running this story but that should change momentarily.

Wonderduck just IM'd me that her husband was one of the Space Twins.  Gabrielle Giffords was the mother of two.

UPDATE: Now it is being reported that Giffords is still alive, but in grave condition. Not so fortunate, a child of 10 or younger in the crowd.

The Anchoress has thoughts.

It’s kind of disgusting when you hear someone is shot and the first thing you do is try to figure out how to fit the terrible news to your political worldview. Blame the gunman.

That goes to both sides.

Representative Giffords served her country by representing her district. Last year, when a lot of Dems canceled their town halls to avoid tough questions, Giffords did not, and indeed, according to reports, she was doing one of her periodic meet and greets with her constituents when this vile atrocity was perpetrated.

Stacy McCain has compiled some more facts about Giffords.

15: 40 EST Shep Smith is reporting that police in Tucson are looking for an accomplice (!?)

UPDATE2: Regards the pull quote from The Anchoress above....
There is some ghoulish and inappropriate speculation now trying to assign this guy to a political party or movement. There is speculation, fueled in part by his own list of books that influenced him, his videos of his burning the flag, as well as testimony from a random twitterette that the assassin is a lefty.
The left of course is blaming Palin and the tea party based on...umm...well...


This fuckwagons political affiliation is Lunatic.
Also, the name Loughner seems to be pronounced 'loner'. Is it a psudonym? I don't know.
They are pronouncing it differently now.

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January 04, 2011

Oh Dear

Wonderduck has...well he's embedded something that's...I....It's just wrong.

Yuno from Hidemari Sketch is suitably appalled

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While I was in the hospital, this post on anarchy appeared over at Instapundit.  It began as a quick link to this very thoughtful piece by Wretchard. Read it all.

Now the reason I bother to link to this when its been on the high traffic blogs already is that it brought to mind this piece from theBlogprof....which contains, amongst much text,  video of Ted Rall on MSNBC urging his people to arm themselves for class struggle and making the usual paranoid rants and idiotic associations involving the Tea Party...you know, those scary people who pick up trash, rather than trash the town.

Then there was the snowplow-gate and then this warning that I found going through my tabs before closing down tonight, it warns about the likelihood of  European style municipal worker strikes.

If city workers did undermine the snow-clearing effort to protest budget cuts, they may have contributed to the death of a baby girl in Brooklyn, who waited with her 22-year-old mother nine hours for emergency crews to fight their way through the snow-covered streets. A Queens woman watched her elderly mother die as she waited three hours for an ambulance to arrive.

Americans better get used to this treatment.


The emphasis is mine. The picture's from 4-chan.

And then this final tidbit. Francis Fox Piven, (Yes THAT Piven) calling for American leftist to please kill people and break things like their European counterparts.

I like the Tea Party even better all the time.

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Terminology Question

Over at The Kawaii Menace, Don asks a very good question...

By the way, what the hell is “mild thematic material” ?

Is Kagami looking at some now?

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The follow up to yesterdays post on 'videogate' is about as bad as I expected.

There is little I have to add that I didn't say yesterday, but Cdr Salamander has a good post up at USNI Proceedings.

An excerpt:

It is the height of moral corruption to tell someone what they are doing is OK one day, and then the next – to protect yourself - act as if it were horrible. It is just as morally corrupt to reprimand a person, provide corrective action, accept remediation – and then at a later date punish him again for the same act only harder; submit that person to double jeopardy for your own self-preservation.

Do read the whole thing.

Ace makes some worthy points as well.
Honors is being hung out to dry for something that was either fine with his then superiors or which he was duly critiqued for and allowed to move on in his career. Either way, this is ex post facto outrage and the senior leadership of the Navy has simply thrown a dedicated and decorated officer to the wolves.

Speaking of Honors' career...did you know he was essentially promoted twice after these videos were made? He remained at the same rank (Captain) but went from being Executive Officer of the Enterprise (the 2nd in command) to command his own ship, the USS Mount Whitney. In 2008 he led her into the middle of the Russia-Georgia war to provide relief supplies to the Georgians.

In addition to all this, the crew of the Enterprise Battlegroup is going to be walking on eggshells through this deployment. The pressure on them just got ratcheted up. 

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Strange Happenings

The bird death in Arkansas has been well reported. The initial hypothesis that it was due indirectly to fireworks or directly to severe weather was reasonable.

Then there was the report, also from Arkansas, of 100,000  dead fish turning up about 125 miles from the bird kill, with the whole area having had earthquake swarms since September.

Of course this is not in any way creepy, its just a coincidence.

...as is the bird fall in Louisiana yesterday,  The fish kills in the Chesapeake Bay, and off Brazil, or the epidemic plaguing the bats.

There is nothing odd, unusual or worrisome about any of this. There is certainly a rational explanation.

...or at least an explanation.

Beware...the munchies

Update: Instapundit is blaming grad students.

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Mr Parsons is helping print other peoples books now and he's making them all better.

"Parsons was Winston's fellow employee at the Ministry of Truth. He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms—one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the thought police, the stability of the Party depended." George Orwell 1984

Well the  oh-so-open minded types tried to do this over a decade ago and failed. Now it seems they have succeeded in getting rewrites on classic literature in order to ensure that students are not exposed to ideas not vetted for political correctness or the notion that the way we look at the world has progressed in many ways over the centuries.

Yes they are censoring Huck Finn

Twain himself defined a "classic" as "a book which people praise and don't read." Rather than see Twain's most important work succumb to that fate, Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books plan to release a version of Huckleberry Finn, in a single volume with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that does away with the "n" word (as well as the "in" word, "Injun") by replacing it with the word "slave."

Even ignoring the fact that this is just plain wrong in principal, this person is a lit teacher who should understand this particular evil is wrong from a literary sense.

One of the points of the novel is the injustice of bigotry, not specifically, slavery but bigotry. Slavery was banned, except in certain prison situations, by the 14th amendment, yet bigotry based on race, and ethnicity is still with us. Jim's problem was far deeper than just being a slave. It was that even posing as a freeman he was of African extraction. That societal problem could not be escaped, even after 1865. I would be with him where ever he went.
Slave, therefore, is not synonymous with N*##&r in the context of this novel.

I'm sure they'll get references to "Easterlings" out of LOTR eventually.

In case memories are short, Remember that the PC-left tried to pull this off on a rather grander scale (with this same book) back in the '90s. In fact, one newly elected small town mayor called in the town librarian about the time of that controversy and asked point blank if the librarian would remove certain offensive books if asked. The librarian said she would not, and would resign if necessary. The mayor told her that was not necessary and in fact she had passed a test and could stay on as librarian.

The media takeaway was the mayor, (later Governor Palin) tried to ban books.

Remember this sort of thing is only acceptable if it's double plus good.

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January 03, 2011

7.1 Magnitude Quake in Chile

Don't know much else, but it appears that the damage wasn't severe.

More here.

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