10/31/2002

No More Mister Nice Guy



In my post yesterday I said, "No more Mister Nice Guy." To prove that point, I’ve dug out something my brother sent to me a few years ago. Though authored by Dennis DeYoung, I can’t be sure which Dennis DeYoung actually wrote it. Considering Dennis DeYoung (of Styx) has been a prolific songwriter, it’s quite possible he wrote this:

__________________________________________________________________

If I Were An Evil Overlord

1. My legions of terror will have helmets with clear Plexiglas visors, not face concealing ones.

2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.

3. My noble half-brother whose throne I have usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.

4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.

5. The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box.

6. I will not gloat over my enemies’ predicament before killing them.

7. When the rebel leader challenges me to a fight one-on-one and asks, “Or are you afraid without your armies to back you up?” my reply will be, “No, just sensible.”

8. When I’ve captured my adversary and he says, “Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?” I’ll say, “No,” and shoot him.

9. After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.

10. I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will be a large red button labeled “DANGER! DO NOT PUSH!”

11. I will not order my trusted lieutenant to kill the infant destined to overthrow me – I’ll do it myself.

12. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum. A small hotel room well outside my borders will work just as well.

13. I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they pose no threat.

14. I will not waste my time making my enemy’s death look like an accident. I’m not accountable to anyone and my other enemies wouldn’t believe it.

15. I will make it clear that I do know the meaning of the word “mercy”; I simply choose not to show them any.

16. One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plans that he (or she) is able to point out will be corrected before implementation.

17. All slain enemies will be cremated, not left for dead at the bottom of a cliff. The announcement of their deaths, as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the aforementioned disposal.

18. My undercover agents will not have tattoos identifying them as members of my organization, nor will they be required to wear military boots or adhere to any other dress codes.

19. The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.

20. I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation.

21. I will design all doomsday devices myself. If I must hire a mad scientist to assist me, I will make sure that he is sufficiently twisted to never regret his evil ways and seek to undo the damage he has caused.

22. I will never utter the sentence, “But before I kill you, there’s just one thing I want to know.”

23. When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.

___________________________________________________

Oh, one more thing:

"BWU-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!

10/30/2002

It Ain't Workin'



Rereading some of my posts over the past few months, I've come to realize that this blog manages to attain a certain edginess only by accident. Perhaps I've been too nice, even when writing about Islamofascist Pinheads. My previous post (below) certainly feels like one of those "Ain't we wonderful!" fluff pieces, and I hate fluff pieces.

Maybe I've got to start drinking, carousing, and terrorizing little old ladies trying to cross the street (assuming she doesn't pull out a piece and put a cap in my ass. Again, see below).

Then again, it could be the political silly season causing this funk of...umm... niceness.

It gotta stop doing this blog the way I have and start pissing some people off. No more Mister Nice Guy!

The Safest State In America



What has been something felt to be true by many of the inhabitants of the state of New Hampshire is now known to be true: When it comes to being safe from crime, New Hampshire is the safest state in the Union.

According to an FBI study, the crime rate in New Hampshire was 45 percent below the national average in 2001. The state’s crime rate was about 2,321 crimes per 100,000 residents compared to nationwide average of 4,160 per 100,000 residents.

In an article by Riley Yates in the October 30th Manchester, New Hampshire Union Leader, it was reported that the crime rate in the Live Free or Die state for violent and non-violent crimes went against the national trend, which saw a small increase in both categories of crime.

A number of factors were cited by law enforcement officials, state government spokespersons, and a University of New Hampshire research center. Some of those factors include New Hampshire’s high income and relatively low unemployment rate, the coordinated effort between state, local, and federal authorities, as well as a rather tough set of ‘Truth-in-Sentencing’ laws which keeps criminals in prison to serve their sentences.

Yates writes:

”Ted Kirkpatrick, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Justiceworks, a research center on crime and criminal justice, credited the ‘connectivity’ of New Hampshire communities as a key factor in the state’s current and historically low crime rates.

New Hampshire has remained a relatively stable community in the past decade, Kirkpatrick said, with its population growth and demographic change remaining smaller than those of its neighbors.

The result is that most people in the state are emotionally and financially tied to where they live. “The more connected people are to their neighborhoods,” Kirkpatrick said, “the less invasive is crime.”

Kirkpatrick said other factors also played a role in the state’s low crime rate. Part of the reason probably lies in New England’s regional attitude, he said, adding that unlike in the South, there is no ‘culture of violence’ stemming from the legacy of slavery and segregation.”


But I think that there are other factors that also play a part in the low crime rate in New Hampshire.

Of course there are naysayers that believe it’s only a statistical fluke and that the crime rate will climb significantly. But historically, New Hampshire has always had a low crime rate. One of those that foresee higher crime rates is Murray Straus.

”[Straus], a University of New Hampshire professor of sociology, said that despite the state’s economic stability, crime rates will rise in the next few years. “We’re certainly very likely to experience them also,” he said.

In general, New Hampshire lags behind national trends but does not buck them altogether, Straus explained. With unemployment and population growing in the past few years — even if less than in other states — a rise in crime necessarily follows, he said.”


But I believe there are also other factors at work that had an effect on the crime rates. One of those factors is guns.

New Hampshire has very few gun laws. Any resident over the age of 18 is allowed to carry a weapon. Only convicted felons, the mentally ill, and those under a domestic violence restraining order are precluded from owning or carrying firearms. While a permit is required to carry a concealed weapon, no permit is required if you carry a weapon openly. ‘Gun control’ in New Hampshire means ‘Hitting what you’re aiming at’.

A large percentage of the residents of New Hampshire own guns. Could that be part of the reason why the crime rate is so low? The smart criminals probably know that a potential victim is likely armed, and probably knows how to use it. The dumber ones usually end up in prison, or dead.

One of the other factors that make crime a no-win situation is the fact that the criminal justice system in this state actually works. The ‘Twinkie Defense’ doesn’t work here. The “I’m a member of an oppressed minority!” defense is also a non-starter. And don’t even think of blaming your mother/father/sibling for the fact that you’re a criminal. The old saw “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” rings true up this way.

There is one crime statistic for the state that is quite worrisome, however. Unfortunately, New Hampshire is rated 18th worst state when it comes to reported rapes. Though Riley Yates’ article doesn’t break down these crimes by category (date, statutory, acquaintance, incestual, etc.), the trend has everyone worried.

Maybe the answer to that problem is that more women should carry guns.

But what do I know?

10/29/2002

Random Thoughts On Another Sunday Afternoon (Sort Of…)



Though I had actually written this Sunday afternoon, I was unable to post it to the blog because a router at my ISP had gone kablooie again. I could get mail, but connection to the web wasn’t happening.

So without further ado, some totally random thoughts.

****

As much as I love the foliage season, there are times when the leaf peepers get on my nerves. In the process they also provide lots of fodder for my storytelling. Though this incident took place a few years ago, a passing comment made by a tourist brought it back to mind as if it happened yesterday.

It was on an early October morning a couple of years ago. I was on my way to the Observatory at the summit of Mount Washington (Home of the World’s Worst Recorded Weather!) to do a pre-winter check on some two-way radio equipment installed at the Observatory. This is a yearly ritual as access to the Observatory becomes very difficult (and expensive) during the winter months. The ‘winter months’ on Mount Washington are defined as late October to early May.

Last minute checks of antenna systems and transmission lines and adjustments to the indoor radio equipment are made with the hope that there will be no failures during the harsh weather on the summit. Loss of antennas is not uncommon at a place were winds exceed 100 mph (160 kph) and temperatures can dip well below -40 degrees C. Let’s not even think about wind chill factors and rime ice.

On this particular morning I interrupted my trip to Mount Washington just long enough to stop, visit a restroom, and buy a cup of coffee and a Danish. As I was waiting in line to place my order, an older couple asked me if I knew how to get to Lake Winnipesaukee. After giving them directions, the husband thanked me and turned to leave. However, the wife had one more question for me.

“I’ve seen all of those signs along the roadways advising us to brake for moose. I think they’re so quaint! Why would New Hampshire spend all of that money to do that?”

“I suppose it could be because a lot of people are killed every year after they collide with a moose. They’re very big animals.”

I thought this would satisfy her, but I was wrong.

“Big? How big could they be?” she asked.

“Well, they can stand over 6 feet at the shoulder and weigh over 1000 pounds. You hit one of those with your car and you’re likely to end up with half a ton of angry, hurt moose in your lap. That’s how a lot of folks are killed.”

She stood there, a look of disbelief on her face when her husband rescued her.

“Oh, he’s just pulling your leg, hon. C’mon, we gotta go or we’re gonna be late.”

I watched them walk away and get in to their car out in the parking lot. I hoped they wouldn’t find out the hard way that I wasn’t kidding.

****

I’ve mentioned before that I work for a small fiber optics firm. As many of our competitors have faded away and a couple of more are circling the drain as I write this, we’ve managed to survive and actually make money. We haven’t made a lot of money, but we’re in the black.

And that brings up one of the things that makes me wince when someone in the news media mentions it.

Fiber glut.

Many of the business and general news outlets have been publishing articles about the fiber glut that has caused telecommunications to tank. The problem is that they are only partly right, and not nearly as right as they think they are.

When someone lays fiber optic cable, be it on the ocean floor or buried in a trench, the cost of laying one pair of fibers or a thousand pairs is the same. The fiber optic cable is not the most expensive part of laying the cable, it’s the least expensive. Rather, it’s the cost of actually laying it that is expensive.

Digging a trench tens or hundreds of miles long is where most of the money goes. The equipment operating costs alone runs to hundreds of dollars per hour. That equipment includes: a backhoe; an excavator; a dump truck or three; the trailer carrying the reels of cable; a splice trailer or truck (used to splice the ends of the lengths of cable together); a concrete truck (depending on the location of the dig, concrete may need to be poured to rebuild a structure in the way of the cable); and various other vehicles, including police cruisers used for traffic control.

If a company is going to lay cable, they’ll make sure it has as many pairs of fiber as they can afford inside of it. That way they only have to lay cable once, not many times as demand grows or as individual fibers fail.

This is even more so for undersea cables. During a tour that some of my colleagues and I took at the Simplex Undersea Cable plant in Newington, New Hampshire (now Tyco Integrated Cable Systems), the engineer conducting the tour stated that the ships used to lay the cable cost approximately $1 million per day to operate. Each ship carries approximately 8000 miles of cable and operates 24 hours a day while at sea. As above, if someone is going to lay undersea cable, they’re going to want the most bang for the buck. They’ll have as many pairs of fiber in their cable as they can afford.

The reports about the large number of spans of ‘dark’ fiber (i.e. unused) are accurate when it comes to the amount, but not necessarily the reason for them.

****

I attended a meeting down in the state capitol the other day. On my way there I was following someone driving a very expensive Cadillac. It was a really nice car. The only problem with it was the driver. If I hadn’t known better I would have sworn that the driver was either drunk or dozing off behind the wheel. But in this case the driver quite elderly, barely able to peer over the dashboard to see ahead of him, and not paying attention to the road! This guy was making me nervous because he was paying attention to everything but the road and that is always a formula for disaster. After following the Caddy for another 6 or 7 miles, I finally had the opportunity to pass the car. I made my move.

As I pulled even with him he honked his horn. I looked quickly to the right at the driver of the Caddy. He flipped me the bird!

I don’t know what his problem was. I hadn’t tailgated him (even though he was driving 20 miles an hour below the speed limit). I hadn’t flashed my high beams or honked my horn. I hadn’t flipped him the bird. I guess he was just pissed off at the world.

But that’s not the end of the story.

On my way back home from the capitol five hours later, I found myself behind the very same Cadillac!

It just wasn’t my day.

****

My friends Eddie and Kim decided I needed to meet someone new. My ex-girlfriend is out of the picture, on her way to Indianapolis. (We parted on good terms.) So they figured I was fair game.

Enter Lynn.

Lynn is a police officer. She has a gun. She has handcuffs.

She has a wonderfully twisted and perverse sense of humor.

She’s cute.

This is gonna be fun!

****

UPDATE: My ISP has fessed up to the cause of their router failure. Apparently some idiot had moved the power plug for the rack from the protected system (UPS and line filtering) to a ‘generic’ outlet. Every time the blowers on the HVAC system started the power line spiked, causing random and darn near untraceable errors and hiccups in a number of routers at the head end.

10/27/2002

More Politically Correct Fascism In Regards To Consensual Sex



Perry de Havilland over at Samizdata paints a hilarious, though all too realistic scenario about consensual sex in the not too distant future. I had hoped that such silliness wouldn’t make it cross the Atlantic, but it appears that no place on the planet is safe from the PC police and their Feminazi sympathizers. As I recall, I wrote about something very similar here sometime back in July:

”There was a movie some time back titled Cherry 2000. It was a comedic sci-fi picture that gave a brief glimpse of a possible future America where dating was negotiated by lawyers. The details were worked out to the nth degree, including such mundane things as holding hands, kissing, or an arm around a shoulder at a movie would be allowed, and to what extent. If a relationship developed beyond that, the lawyers would then negotiate such things as sexual relations including the type, frequency, location of said sexual acts. Observers would be present to make sure that both parties lived up to the contract. When I first saw that bit in the movie I thought it was hilarious. But now I wonder if it might actually come to pass. If it does, then we as a society are doomed. And rightfully so.”

I hereby extend my sincere apologies on behalf of all of the politically incorrect Yanks to our friends in Britain. If we had known it would spread we would have done something about it long ago.

10/26/2002

Senator Paul Wellstone, The Election, And Conspiracy Theorists



Paul Wellstone, U.S. Senator from Minnesota, his wife, a daughter, three of his staffers, and two pilots died in a plane crash Friday. Beyond the effects of the tragedy to his family, his death has also thrown the November election in to turmoil.

The fiercely liberal Democrat stood an excellent chance to be re-elected to a third term. But now a seat that was considered safe by the Democratic Party is up for grabs. Governor Ventura can appoint someone to fill the seat, but he has already stated that he won’t do that so close to the election. The Democrats in Minnesota have until 4 days before the election to decide what course of action to take. They won’t need the option the Democrats in New Jersey used, forcing a court to decide that someone else can take the candidate’s place, as the situation, and the law, is different. In Minnesota the party can replace a candidate up to four days before an election if the candidate dies. The problem state officials have is what to do about absentee ballots already cast. In any case, the Senate seat is no longer safe.

It’s looking worse for the Democrats the closer we get to Election Day. Lautenberg in New Jersey is no Torricelli and isn’t as young as he used to be. New Jersey’s Senate seat is in doubt.

The Senate race in New Hampshire is still too close to call, though last minute dirty tricks by either party can change that.

The Democrats stand to lose the majority in the U.S. Senate and they’re getting desperate.

Of course, there are probably those out there that love conspiracy theories that will look at Friday’s crash and come to the conclusion that the Republican Party is somehow responsible. Was it a missile like the one that shot down TWA Flight 800? Was it sabotage? Did a Republican controlled F-16 shoot it down? Were the pilots actually Republican Party kamikazes?

Stay tuned for more on this developing story......

10/24/2002

Big Brother Lives



I honestly thought this was a joke when I ran across it at Spleenville. All I can say is that the Left here in the US is probably wetting its pants in anticipation of being able to create such a society where the citizens can be watched day in and day out to better "protect" and "secure" them. Just what the hell does the British government think it is doing?

The U.N. Is Undermining The U.S.



Normally I’m not one to agree with columnist Jack Anderson, but this time I have to admit he’s right.

It appears that the U.N.’s goal is to reign in the U.S., no matter what. With all of the hand wringing among some of the Security Council members and verbal abuse member nations of the U.N. have been heaping on the U.S., it has become apparent that they don’t care what happens to the U.S. as long as they can control us and dictate to us what we can and cannot do to protect ourselves.

Jack Anderson writes:

” One benefit to come from all of this verbal strife is the display of the United Nation’s antagonism to the United States, as well as the inherent weakness of a body comprised of such disparate interests, economies, and political systems.”

“The original concept of creating a world body to oversee world affairs was impractical from the start. The first real attempt came with the Congress of Vienna after the fall of Napoleon’s European empire. That effort merely re-established monarchies and delayed inevitable revolutions. Then came Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations at the conclusion of World War I. That experiment actually hastened the advent of World War II, because countries took cowardly cover behind it even though it was weak and toothless, which only encouraged Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo to go on megalomaniac binges of conquest and destruction.”


So it appears that such august bodies, despite their intentions, did far more harm than good, causing greater conflicts with more death and destruction than might have otherwise occurred. Will that also be the U.N.’s legacy in the 21st century? Will it be seen as a contributing cause of widespread death and destruction in the West because it stood in the way of the U.S. and its attempts to stop a madman before he had the bomb? Will it be labeled as a pawn to morally bankrupt religious extremists bent upon subjugating the West and returning everyone to the 13th century, creating Hell on Earth?

Anderson continues:

“At the close of World War II, the United Nations was created with much fanfare, but it has never worked. Did the United Nations win the Cold War, or did the United States and its NATO partners? Did the United Nations provide troops and equipment to oust Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait, or did the United States and its allies? Did the United Nations bring peace to the Balkans, or did the United States and NATO?”

“The United Nations cannot even police itself. Its accounting practices make Arthur Anderson look wholesome. And because the United Nations is so wasteful with money, the United States has often held up payment of dues – a reasonable action considering that the [U.S.] is by far the largest contributor.”


The U.N. takes money from the U.S., then is resentful that it took the money that it then wasted, stole, or otherwise misused. And then it heaps abuse on the U.S. in the bargain. More and more, the United Nations seems to move further away from its founding ideals. Instead, it sounds more like the “Let’s All Hate America” club.

”...all of this has usually been ignored because the United States, like most other nations, has continued to conduct its foreign policy without U.N. blessing or interference. Only when U.N. assent was assured in advance has the [U.S.] sought U.N. approvals.”

“So it is one thing to keep the United Nations as a forum for nations to air their differences and even for them to come together by unanimous consent to solve international health problems. It is a very different thing to subordinate national foreign policy to United Nations dictates, as we now appear to be doing.”


I recall a time during the Reagan Administration when the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., whose name escapes me at the moment, finally got fed up with the machinations of some of the less savory members of the U.N. denouncing the U.S. for a number of perceived wrongs. It was at that point he told the General Assembly something along the lines of, “If this body feels that the United States no longer serves the purposes of the United Nations, then maybe it is time that the United Nations find a new home. I for one will be happy to stand on the pier and wave goodbye as you all sail off into the sunset.” The responding silence was deafening.

Maybe the U.N. delegates finally realized that they had come close to killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. All of the perks that go along with living in New York would disappear. All the funding from the U.S. would cease. The U.N. would become more of a hollow shell than it already was.

Maybe it’s time for us to tell the United Nations to put up or shut up. The U.S. is tired of doing all the dirty work, tired of shelling out billions of dollars to an organization that has nothing but contempt for us and our way of life.

I, too, would be more than happy to wave goodbye to the United Nations if it doesn’t get its act together, stop screwing around, and take action.

Apologies



Sorry for no posts yesterday, but it seems my ISP was having some difficulties with a balky router, making connection to Blogger (or anyplace else) damn near impossible. It appears that everything is working now, though it is still a little slow.

10/22/2002

Not So Not Much



My brother’s earlier post kind of moved me to put the fingers to the keyboard. I disagree that there is nothing really happening- it’s just that there is nothing but the same shit happening in a long, drawn-out Chinese water torture scratch another hash mark on the cell wall of life kind of way.


We are still gearing up to invade Iraq. The left and the UN think it’s a bad idea, and both are likely to be overrun by events. Nothing new there.


A nutcase is killing folks in the DC/VA area. It appears he wants money. Yawn (with a nod to the idea that folks in that area find this story riveting for the obvious reasons).


The Democrats are coming to the horrific realization that they are unlikely to capture Congress this election, and are in real danger of losing control of the Senate. Most of us who were paying attention to the underlying facts of the economy and the nation knew this was a real possibility several months ago. Not a certainty, but a very real possibility.


The Left still has no real sense of humor. What a dim, gray, joyless crowd.


The point is that none of this has any real power to motivate me to get all hot and bloggy right now. What’s going on between the Warbloggers and the Idiotarians smacks too much of my old USENET days. It’s boring, even when the arguments get colorful.


Now, AFTER the election should be pretty damned interesting. If the Democrats lose the Senate we can expect a lot of unprecedented actions. First there will be the inevitable attempts to bribe a couple of Republican Senators to change party affiliation. There’s been a lot of speculation regarding Lincoln Chaffee of RI doing just that. Still, if they need two or three seats, I’d expect them to attempt to go to court to overturn an election or two- particularly if Lautenberg self-destructs in New Jersey. The guy is no spring chicken physically or mentally, hence his reluctance to actively debate Forrester. What looked like a Democratic lock could get iffy due to the party’s lack of foresight and inability to comprehend that they need to field a honest-to-goodness candidate rather than a space-holder. “Vote for me so I can resign and let the Governor appoint somebody you wouldn’t normally vote for” is hardly a solid campaign theme. Lautenberg still leads by at lest 5 points, but who knows? Outside of New Jersey, I think one need only look at any relatively close race- if the Democrats lose control of the Senate I would expect to see major efforts on several fronts to overturn results.




Idiotarians Abound



Vegard Valberg’s excellent MiSTing of a true blue idiotarian brought back fond memories of meeting a group of adolescent idiotarians a few years back. Not that I believe my encounter with them changed their minds, but if nothing else I showed them that they didn’t know as much as they thought they did.

This is a mostly true story – though one name has been changed to protect the innocent and some of the actual dialog has been compressed for brevity and ‘enhanced’ for clarity.

****

My friends and I were out on our motorcycles on one of those spur of the moment “Hey let’s go riding!” kind of day trips. Not that we had any particular destination in mind, but chance brought us to the campus of Dartmouth College on that late summer Saturday afternoon.

The fall semester had started, so there was no lack of students walking here and there, doing whatever students do on a day off.

Our group of seven stopped not to far from the quad, parking our bikes in such a fashion as to minimize the number of parking spaces we’d take up. Kickstands were down, engines were silent, and a few of us, including me, pulled of our jackets to enjoy the warm sun.

It was a few moments later that I realized that a couple, looking like Dartmouth students, was looking our way, talking to each other and gesturing in our direction. It wasn’t until they started walking toward us that I realized that they had been looking at one particular person.

Me.

Their interest in me puzzled me until one of them approached and asked a question.

“Do you really believe what the slogan says?” asked the girl, pointing to my tee shirt.

Blazoned across the front of my tee was this rather provocative phrase:

“Politically incorrect, and right!”

Not that I had worn that particular shirt deliberately, but it was rather serendipitous.

“Darn tootin’,” I replied. “Do you have a problem with that?”

Her demeanor soured at that point.

“How can you believe that? How can you be so unfeeling?”

“Unfeeling? What makes you believe I’m unfeeling? You don’t even know me!”

It was at this point that she launched into her diatribe, telling me that other people have feelings and that I shouldn’t offend people with my uncaring attitude. She went on to imply that probably ate babies, tripped blind people, drowned kittens, and committed other horrifying acts just because I proclaimed my insensitivity by admitting that I was politically incorrect. How could I be allowed to continue offending all right-thinking people? I listened to this for three or four minutes, my friends looking on in amusement, knowing what was coming.

As she was taking a breath to continue her polemic discourse, I struck with a barb of my own.

“As I live and breathe, a real live fascist! Your parents must be so proud!”

It took her a second to realize what I had just said. She had trouble breathing, obviously confused about what to do. It was then that her boyfriend (at least I assumed he was) jumped in to the fray.

“Who are you calling a fascist, you pig!”

“Why this young lady right here! After all, she was espousing the fascist line. She wants to silence anyone who disagrees with her. She wants complete loyalty to a bankrupt and morally reprehensible ideology. I’d say that pretty well defines a fascist, wouldn’t you?”

The invective that followed would have made the proverbial longshoreman blush. The fellow recited a rather inaccurate lineage of my family (my parents are married), denigrated my education, my politics, my religion (how he knew I even had one I’ll never know), and my profession (ditto). In the mean time a group of other students had gathered around, drawn to the confrontation.

Then he made a big mistake.

He started going on about how Big Oil had wanted the Gulf War to get all of the Iraqi oil, how we had no business in the Persian Gulf, and that we had vilified Saddam Hussein to justify it. It was then that one of my friends with the group started yelling at this clueless fellow…in Arabic.

Ramzi was an Iraqi exile.

When he finally calmed down enough to start speaking English again, he cross-examined the clueless idiotarian.

“If America is so evil, let me ask you this: Has your family ever been dragged out of their home in the middle of the night by the police?”

No answer.

“Well, have they?” demanded Ramzi.

“Uh, no. What’s this got to do with anything?”

“It’s got everything to do with it! Now, has anyone in your family been imprisoned and tortured for standing up for their political beliefs?” Ramzi asked.

“Of course not!”

“Has anyone in your family ever been executed as an enemy of the state because they spoke out against their government and their leader?”

“Well…uh, no.”

“No? NO?! Then what right have you got to tell me or anyone else about how misunderstood Saddam is or how America is bad? You don’t know shit!” Ramzi turned away and went back to his bike.

It was then that the clueless one finally realized the mistake he’d made.

Ramzi had made it out of Iraq just ahead of the secret police. His father, mother, sister, and two brothers were all dead, executed by the Iraqi regime. Ramzi’s youngest brother had managed to get a warning to him before being arrested, allowing him to escape. The only family he had left was an elderly uncle and aunt in Boston. Everyone else was gone.

“Well, boy, I’d say you put your foot in it this time,” I said. “There’s a difference between the crap they shovel out here in the halls of academia and what happens out there in the real world. Once you get out there yourself, you’ll realize that everything isn’t so cut and dried. It’s easy, being nice and safe back here in the U.S., to be able to denounce everything you think is an injustice. It’s a different thing to be someplace where the things that you’re used to don’t exist. Little things like freedom of speech.”

It was at this point that we decided to get back on our motorcycles and continue on our way. We’d all had enough of the idiotarian indoctrinated know-nothings. It was time to hit the road and clear our minds.

It was time to re-enter the real world.

10/21/2002

A Day Of Not Much



These are the kinds of days I dislike - days of not much happening. I check the news on the TV and in the papers, and there’s not much new happening. I check some of my favorite blogs and it seems that they’re experiencing the same kind of day that I am.

But I'm also cognizant of that old proverb, “Be careful what you wish for.”

So, with that in mind, I’m not even going to try to sound profound. It would be a waste of time. Not that I’ve ever been profound, to the best of my knowledge. (This is where you’re supposed to say something like, “But of course you are! We all hang on every word you write and are nothing without you!”)

The most ambitious thing I did to day was rake leaves. Hmm. Maybe I could write something on the Zen of raking leaves?

Nah. Too insipid.

Maybe I’ll think of something tomorrow.

10/20/2002

A War Easier To Prevent



After World War II was over, Winston Churchill said that never was there a war that would have been easier to prevent. Will some great leader be saying something very like that after the Second Gulf War?

Comparisons have been made between Saddam Hussein and Adolph Hitler more than once. More than once the comparison has been frighteningly too accurate. The signs that Saddam is playing for time to get all of his war preparations completed are there, just as they were there while Hitler was doing the same thing.

Thomas Sowell, in his October 10th column, outlines many of the parallels between Saddam’s actions today and those of Hitler prior to World War II.

Sowell writes:

”What Saddam Hussein is doing is nothing new. Hitler played all these kinds of games during the 1930’s, while he was building up his military forces until he reached the point when he was ready to strike. He understood that he needed to buy time above all and that, when he became powerful enough, many would see the futility of resistance.”

The same kinds of people in the West who refused to see the crucial importance of time in the 1930s are today saying that we should ‘wait until’ this or that happens before we take military action ‘as a last resort.’

Military action is already a last resort. Where have these people been during the past 11 years, while Saddam Hussein played cat and mouse with the United Nations and their inspectors, who were allowed "unfettered" access until Saddam Hussein decided otherwise? “


Saddam Hussein’s so-called capitulation to the UN in allowing weapons inspectors to return to Iraq is just so much smoke and mirrors. In my opinion, it’s not much different than Hitler’s signing a 25-year non-aggression pact with Neville Chamberlain, guaranteeing “peace in our time.” The agreement was nothing more than a ploy by Hitler to gain time and was more useful to the British as toilet paper than anything else. That ‘agreement’ was just one more factor that made it possible for Nazi Germany to conquer most of Western Europe.

” Maybe it would be useful to see how this game was played by Hitler, in order to understand why time is crucial.

Germany's ability to attack other nations in Europe was stifled by a treaty which required them to station no troops in their own industrial center in the Rhineland. This meant that, if Germany attacked any other country, French troops could easily seize German industry and paralyze its economy.

Because the French army was then much larger than Germany's, since the German army's size was limited by treaty, the threat of aggression from Hitler was thwarted, so long as he lived up to these treaties. Otherwise, as the potentially strongest nation on the continent, Nazi Germany was a threat to all its neighbors.

After Hitler took the desperate gamble in 1936 of sending troops into the Rhineland, in violation of this treaty, he remarked privately, ‘If the French had then marched into the Rhineland, we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs, for the military resources at our disposal would have been wholly inadequate for even a moderate resistance.’

Moreover, Hitler understood that such a fiasco would have brought down the Nazi regime. He took this huge gamble precisely because he was convinced that the French did not have the guts to act. Neither did Britain -- especially after Hitler appealed to the wishful thinkers by offering [the] 25-year non-aggression pact.”


Sound familiar? Just change a few names and places and it sounds just like what Saddam is trying to do today.

” Those who deal with the gritty life and death choices of the real world as if they were discussing abstract questions around a seminar table said that Hitler had "just gone into his own backyard." Other nations station their troops anywhere they want, inside their own borders, why not Germany?

By the time they realized why not, Hitler had devastated half the continent and had come within a hair of destroying Britain.”


Will we make the same mistake with Saddam Hussein? Will we wait until Iraqi biological, chemical, and/or nuclear weapons have devastated some part of the world before we act?

” President George W. Bush's speech on Iraq in effect reiterated what Edmund Burke said more than two centuries ago: ‘There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.’ Today, in a nuclear age, those words apply more strongly than ever.”

You’ll get no argument from me about that. If such a war and its consequences are easier to prevent by acting now, then I say act now. If we wait then the appeasers and overly cautious may not live long enough for us to say to them, “We told you so.”

More Fall Ramblings, Part Deux



The Eddy Parents have successfully completed this round of reconnaissance, settling on one or two towns west of Concord, New Hampshire.

Traveling around to the various small towns was actually quite pleasant, leaf-peepers not withstanding. One of the towns hosts a small liberal arts college, meaning that there is quite a bit of social activity in the town when classes are in session. Of course, Dad Eddy relishes the collegiate mayhem he could wreak on campus, he being a curmudgeonly conservative (with a Harvard MBA) and a lot of time on his hands. Should that come to pass, Academia will never be the same.

One more bastion of leftist-think could be changed beyond recognition.

****

The shooter has struck again. Haven’t the news media twits realized that every time they say, “The sniper hasn’t done ‘xyz’ so far,” they cause him to react as if to say, “Oh yes I have!”

Maybe they should shut the f**k up! Don’t give this guy any more ideas, okay?

****

My friend Jane’s computer is all squared away. There is still quite a few software apps she needs to install, but her system is all better now.

She and her family stopped by on their way home from Vermont just to pick up her machine. I did give her a not too subtle warning about installing a certain utility suite. She knows that if she does it again I won’t have to fix it because she’ll be D-E-D, dead. She’ll be dead because I will have beaten her to death with her keyboard.

No jury in the world would convict me. No way.

****

At least the New England Patriots didn’t lose this weekend.

Then again, they didn’t play this weekend, did they?

****

The weekend is almost over, which means that when I get home from work tomorrow I get to rake leaves! Oh frabjous joy! I can hardly wait!!

(If you believe that, I’ve got a certain bridge in Brooklyn to sell. Interested?)

10/19/2002

More Fall Ramblings



It feels like fall in New England for a change, with somewhat cooler, windier days, and cold nights. The leaves in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire are changing colors – bright reds, yellows, and oranges sandwiched between the greens of late changing foliage or evergreens. The down side to all of this is that the leaves are also falling off the trees which means that someone – in this case, me – will be busy over the next two weeks raking them from the yard, hauling them to the compost heap, and mowing the lawn one last time.

****

The ‘summer people’ are long gone. Though there are many boats still in their slips at the marinas here on the lake, many of their owners haven’t taken them out for a couple of weeks. I expect that will be different this weekend because all of the fall colors surrounding the lake. Goodness knows there have been a lot of leaf-peepers up here taking in the foliage. Despite the less than perfect weather up this way last week, the state tourism office figured that 500,000 people visited New Hampshire over the Columbus Day weekend. Figure a like number for Vermont and Maine.

At least the leaf-peepers aren’t nearly as troublesome as the summer people. They tend to stay here for a weekend (or maybe a long weekend), driving around and looking at the sights. They aren’t inclined to get drunk and cause trouble. They’re more likely to get cantankerous when they run out of film after taking dozens of snapshots of some picturesque scene that they’ve only seen on calendars or in Yankee Magazine.

The only problem with this part of the season is the traffic. Many of the leaf-peepers take their time driving along the country roads, looking at the pretty leaves. Under normal circumstances something like that might piss me off, but I have oodles of patience when someone is admiring the beauty of the place I call home. They can take all of the time they want and spend as much money as they have.

All I ask is that once they’ve run out of money, they go home.

****

With the cooler weather, most of the outdoor activities have turned indoors. The political silly season is in full swing, with less than three weeks until the November 5th elections. One of the tighter national races is for one of New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate seats. 1st Congressional District Representative John E. Sununu defeated the incumbent, Republican Bob Smith, in the primaries. Sununu is running against Democrat Governor Jeanne Shaheen. You know it’s a tight race when NPR, MSNBC, FOX News, ABC and others are all looking closely at a contest that could decide control of the Senate. So far the polls show Sununu and Shaheen neck-and-neck.

It’s going to be an interesting, and dirty, fight.

****

There’s been so much talk about the shooter in the metro Washington, DC area. There are all kinds of theories about whom, how, why, and so on. One thing that many people assume is that the shooter is an American. They also assume that ‘he’ (a most likely assumption) has had military training. It could be. But if so, which military trained him - ours, or someone else’s?

Some have wondered why the shooter hasn’t selected high profile targets. What’s the best way to spread terror amongst the populace, assuming that’s your goal?

Shoot ordinary people minding their own business, not politicians or police officers or religious leaders. If you shoot ordinary people, then the populace won’t be able to say, “Well, I don’t have to worry. I’m not a politician, etc.” Now everyone has to worry that they’ll catch a bullet going to the post office, gassing their car, loading groceries into their SUV, mowing the lawn, or sitting at a sidewalk cafĂ© sipping on a double light decaf latte.

****

Have any of you out there (and I mean the 5 or 6 regular readers of this blog) ever wondered what it would be like to live out in the country? I hear this quite often from visitors to this state. Usually it’s from someone spending a week or two of their vacation time at the lakes, up in the mountains, at some campground in one of the many forests, or at one of the ski resorts. All they’ve seen or experienced of New Hampshire (or Vermont, Maine, or upstate New York) in the limited time they’re here is what is aimed at the tourist trade.

Many have no concept what it means to live someplace where pizza parlors and Chinese restaurants don’t deliver; where the nearest convenience store might be 20 miles away down a dirt road; where winters can be harsh and deadly; and where you haul your own trash to the dump. There are no Starbucks, Taco Bells, or tofu burgers. The closest thing to a Sak’s Fifth Avenue is the L.L. Bean outlet store in one of the shopping meccas in the heart of tourist country.

Most have never experienced cabin fever after being stuck inside for a week or more because of the brutally cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls in the winter. The same can also be said of mid-spring – the black flies are out in force making any time spent outside uncomfortable to an extreme.

Few are cut out for small town life, where everybody knows your business. For some of us hardy Yankees, it’s no big thing. But for others it can be quite trying. Up here, neighbors watch out for neighbors, even if that neighbor lives on the other side of town.

Some people have trouble with the concept of town meeting, where the residents of the town gather once a year to decide how the town will or will not spend their tax dollars. It can be a very personal thing, town meeting. Though it is local government at its best, people also have to contend with egos, feuds, and the ubiquitous anti-flatlander mentality. Most new folks make the almost fatal mistake their first time speaking at town meeting by starting their remarks with, “Back where I come from….”. Most folks at town meeting could care less about where you come from or what you did there, unless you’re going to use the reference to show how something the town is thinking of doing is a bad idea. Then they might let you get away with it. Maybe.

Something many others moving to the country end up learning the hard way is this: Never piss off the Town Clerk, the Road Agent, or the Police Chief (assuming the town actually has a police department). Getting on their bad side can make living in a small town an extremely uncomfortable and frustrating experience.

One thing anyone wanting to move out to the country will have to get used to is guns. Lot’s of folks around here own guns for hunting, protection, or just plain plinking. By association, they’ll also have to get used to the various hunting seasons. Getting all misty-eyed about the Big Bad Hunters out stalking Bambi so they can carve him in to venison steaks will earn you no points up here. It’s more likely to get you talked about.

And one other thing: You are expected to take responsibility for your own actions. It’s not ‘society’s fault’. It’s not because your mother didn’t breastfeed you. It’s not because you ate too many Twinkies. That kind of pseudo-psychological BS won’t fly out here in the sticks. Folks out in the country don’t have time for it. We’re too busy making a living, raising our kids, working on our homes, and paying our taxes.

If all of that sounds appealing to you, then we’ll welcome you with open arms. Otherwise, don’t even think of moving to any place like this. You’ll hate it.

****

Sometimes there’s an advantage to being somewhat knowledgeable about computers. Other times it’s a pain in the butt. This past week was one of those pain-in-the-butt times.

My friend Jane phoned me last weekend, her voice stressed in a barely controlled panic.

“My computer won’t boot. There’s something wrong!”

“Oh?” asked I, “What do you mean it ‘won’t boot’? “

“It gets to the Windows 2000 flash screen and stays there. I can’t even boot to Safe Mode.”

Oops. This didn’t sound good.

After continued Q&A, I was finally able to pinpoint the problem -- Norton Utilities.

It appears that Jane was having problems with the anti-virus application and couldn’t fix it by re-installing it. So she did the worst possible thing she could have done with Norton Utilities – she uninstalled it. Of course she had every intention of reinstalling it, but the damage was done. From that point on, her machine was unusable.

I’ve heard horror stories from others about uninstalling Norton from their machines and it always ends the same way – the machine won’t boot.

Even using the Emergency Repair Disk and backed up registry files won’t help. The uninstallation process for Norton does some nasty things to some of the system files. It’s almost as if it’s Norton’s way of saying, “Uninstall us, will you? We’ll show you!”

So now I have opened her computer, backed up all of her work files, and started a low-level format of her disk drive. I’ve got to reinstall everything from scratch. Once everything is done I’ll get her machine back to her.

I’ll give her the same warning I’m going to give you: “Don’t install Norton Utilities unless you believe you’ll really need them, otherwise I’ll break every one of your fingers. If you do install it, then never uninstall it. Disable it, Yes. Uninstall it, No!

****

The ever-popular Eddy Parents are here from south of the border (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut ‘south of the border’, not the Mexico kind) for one of their many regular visits. In case you wonder where my brother and I get our wonderful senses of humor, our political bent, and our intolerance of idiotarians, you need look no further than Mom and Dad Eddy. Well, you could look further, but you’d need someone like John Edward to channel the Eddy Grandparents to get an even better idea of how our respective outlooks came to be.

Though the Eddy Parents are here to visit the Brothers Eddy and enjoy the foliage, they are also here to scout out a future town of residence. They haven’t had a chance to visit their area of interest, but yours truly that will guide them through their reconnaissance. They have a list of towns they want to visit, and fortunately for me they are all in the same part of the state.

Stay tuned for further developments.

10/18/2002

Welcome back, Eddie!



The Young Socialist returns! And he promises to be bigger and badder than ever. Eddie, it was literally your last day on my blogroll- I went there one last time and then was going to reluctantly edit you out. Thank God. The left needs you, badly. And now all 3 of our regular readers will pay you a visit. Honest.

10/17/2002

Updated Manifesto



The Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto is up to version 3

On The Manifesto



The absolute first point I want to make is that what Mr. Raymond has produced is not only magnificent it is also long, long overdue. He titled it as a “Draft” so one assumes that he’s open to additions, commentary, etc. Please note that what follows falls in to the category of minor quibbles. I find the spirit and letter of the document to be quite direct and powerful.


Eric’s comment on the Right is too mild-


WHEREAS, the Right has failed us by pushing `anti-terrorist' measures which bid fair to be both ineffective and prejudicial to the central liberties of a free society; and in some cases by rhetorically descending to almost the same level of religious jihad as our enemies;


“Almost?” Nay, I say. Strike the “almost.” I know I nearly puked when Falwell and company began blaming everybody they hate for what happened on 9/11. The Fundamentalist Christian Right has done nothing to dissuade me from the notion that they would be as dangerous as the Wahabbists were it not for the normalizing influence of Western Civilization.


NZ bear makes several suggestions of additional tenets, the spirit of which I agree with. Since this is not something that requires some sort of unanimous affirmation I’d like to suggest contracting it to something along the lines of:


WE CITIZENS OF THE WEST SHALL be tireless in our resolve to move our governments towards victory, to vigilant of our own laws and lawmakers lest they be moved to excesses of power and hubris, and to ensure that the world as a whole comes to see this war as what it truly is- the first step towards world of freedom and self determination.


Next, in the comments section to Eric Raymond’s post many people suggested that he drop the reference to wolves:


WE THEREFORE AFFIRM that both the terrorists and their state sponsors have made themselves outlaws from the moral community of man, to be dealt with as wolves are.


No one there was suggesting that this might irritate the PETA crowd (though I am sure it certainly would); rather the theme seemed to be that such a comparison is unfair to the wolves. I have to agree. “Rabid Bests” and “Malignant Cancer” were two suggestions that seemed to fit the spirit.


Finally, this manifesto is geared towards support of the War, which is understandable since anyone who possesses even a passing knowledge of history and has been paying attention to events over the past 20 years understands that the world is poised upon the edge of the precipice: Western Civilization must either fight or suffer the death of a thousand cuts. Still, I would like to see this broadened to become an indictment against all who would substitute ideology for fact, who would stifle speech based on ideology or who would ignore inconvenient truth for political expediency. A tall order, but then this seems to me to be a damned good start in that direction.

10/16/2002

The Manifesto



Okay. I found this via Steven Den Beste's site- this is the estimable Eric S. Raymond's work en-toto. I chose to quote it in its entirety because, dammit, it deserves it. Take it away, Eric:

Draft for an Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto:


WHEREAS, the year since the terrible events of 9/11 has exposed the vacuity and moral confusion of all too many of the thinkers, politicians, and activists operating within conventional political categories;


WHEREAS, the Left has failed us by succumbing to reflexive anti-Americanism; by apologizing for terrorist acts; by propounding squalid theories of moral equivalence; and by blaming the victims of evil for the act of evil;


WHEREAS, the Right has failed us by pushing `anti-terrorist' measures which bid fair to be both ineffective and prejudicial to the central liberties of a free society; and in some cases by rhetorically descending to almost the same level of religious jihad as our enemies;


WHEREAS, even many of the Libertarians from whom we expected more intelligence have retreated into a petulant isolationism, refusing to recognize that, at this time, using the state to carry the war to the enemy is our only practical instrument of self-defense;


WE THEREFORE ASSERT the following convictions as the basis of the anti-idiotarian position:


  1. THAT Western civilization is threatened with the specter of mass death perpetrated by nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons placed in the hands of terrorists by rogue states;



  2. THAT the terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attack, and its lesser sequels, are motivated by a combination of religious fanaticism and a smoldering resentment of the West's success and Islam's failures;



  3. THAT no adjustments of American or Western foreign policy, or concessions to the Palestinians, or actions taken against globalization, or otherwise worthy efforts to alleviate world poverty, are of more than incidental interest to these terrorists;



  4. THAT, upon their own representation, they will not by dissuaded from their violence by any surrender less extreme than the imposition of Islam and shari'a law on the kaffir West;



  5. THAT, as said terrorists have demonstrated the willingness to use civilian airliners as flying bombs to kill thousands of innocent people, we would commit a vast crime of moral negligence if we underestimated their future malice;



  6. THAT they have sought, and on plausible evidence found, alliance with rogue states such as Iraq and North Korea; states that are known to have active programs working towards the development and delivery of weapons that would multiply the terrorists' ability to commit atrocities by a thousandfold;



  7. THAT Saddam Hussein poses a particularly clear and present danger through his known efforts to develop nuclear weapons, his use of chemical weapons even on his own population, his demonstrated willingness to commit aggression against peaceful neighbors, and his known links to the Islamic terror network in Palestine and elsewhere.






WE THEREFORE AFFIRM that both the terrorists and their state sponsors have made themselves outlaws from the moral community of man, to be dealt with as wolves are.


WE FURTHER AFFIRM that the `root cause' of Islamo-fascist terrorism lies in the animating politico-religious ideas of fundamentalist Islam and not in any significant respect elsewhere, and that a central aim of the war against terror must be to displace, discredit, and destroy those animating ideas.


WE REJECT, as a self-serving power grab by the least trustworthy elements of our own side, the theory that terrorist depredations can be effectively prevented by further restrictions on the right of free speech, or the right of peacible assembly, or the right to bear arms in self-defense; and we strenuously oppose police-state measures such as the imposition of national ID cards or airport-level surveillance of public areas;


WE REJECT the theory that `fairness' requires us not to notice and use the dominant gender, age range, ethnic character and religion of our terrorist enemies; and we urge the systematic use of such profiling to both make anti-terrorist screening more effective and reduce the overall intrusiveness of anti-terror measures on the majority of the population.


WE SUPPORT the efforts of the United States of America, its allies, and the West to hunt down and and capture or kill individual members of the Islamic terror network;


WE SUPPORT speedy American and allied military action against the rogue states that support terrorism, both as a means of alleviating the immediate threat and of deterring future state sponsorship of terrorism by the threat of war to the knife.


WE SUPPORT, as an alternative greatly preferable to future nuclear blackmail of the West, the conquest and occupation of Iraq and other nations that combine sponsorship of terrorism with the possession of weapons of mass destruction, until such time as the root causes of terrorism have been eradicated from their societies.


WE DEFINE IDIOTARIANISM as the species of delusion within the moral community of mankind that gives aid and comfort to terrorists and dictators operating outside it.


WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Left -- the moral blindness that refuses to recognize that free markets, individual liberty, and experimental science have made the West a fundamentally better place than any culture in which jihad, 'honor killings', and female genital mutilation are daily practices approved by a stultifying religion.


WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Right -- whether it manifests as head-in-the-sand isolationism or as a Christian religious chauvinism and bigotry that all but mirrors the Islamo-fascist fanaticism of our self-declared enemies.


WE ARE MEMBERS OF A CIVILIZATION, and we hold that civilization to be worth defending. We have not sought war, but we will fight it to the end. We will fight for our civilization in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds.


WE HAVE AWAKENED. We have seen the face of evil in the acts of the Bin Ladens and Husseins and Arafats of the world; we have seen through the lies and self-delusions of the idiotarians who did so much both to make their evil possible before the fact and to deny and excuse it afterwards. We shall not flinch from our duty to confront that evil.


WE SHALL SHED the moral cowards and the appeasers and the apologists; and we shall fight the barbarians and fanatics, and we shall defeat them. We shall defeat them in war, crushing their dream of dominion; and we shall defeat them in peace, using our wealth and freedoms to seduce their women and children to civilized ways, and ultimately wiping their diseased and virulent culture from the face of the Earth.


THIS WE SWEAR, on the graves of those who died at the World Trade Center; and those who died in the Sari Club in Bali; and those who died on the U.S.S. Cole; and indeed on the graves of all the nameless victims in the Middle East itself who have been slaughtered by terrorism and rogue states;


YOU SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN.



Eric S. Raymond
16 October 2002

____________________
(your signature here)


10/14/2002

Bali- A Major Miscalculation



As I write this, possibly 200 or more are dead in Bali due to a terrorist bombing outside of two tourist nightclubs in that tropical paradise. A majority of the dead are believed to be Australians.

The perpetrators of this terrorist act are thought to be members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant fundamentalist Islamic group believed to have close ties with Al Qaida. Whether the bombers thought to drive out the westerners or to send a message to Australia that ties with the U.S. is a bad idea, they have only partially succeeded.

They succeeded because the westerners are leaving in droves, crippling Indonesia’s $5 billion a year tourist industry. This is something that Indonesia can ill afford because their economy is shaky enough as it is.

If their thought was to send a message to Australia, then they sent the wrong one. If they had hoped to frighten the Aussies into staying out of the war on terrorism, they failed. What they’ve done is show Australia that their decision to support the war on terrorism is the right one. Now the terrorists have made themselves the target of righteous Australian anger and retribution. The very ones seeking to weaken them have strengthened the forces working against the Islamofascist pinheads.

As with the attack on the U.S. on September 11th, Al Qaida and its minions have miscalculated the response to their attack. Rather than causing their enemies to cower in fear, it has given them purpose. And as before, Al Qaida’s enemies are now gunning for them.

One thing you can say for the pinheads is that they constantly underestimate their enemies. They have no true understanding of their enemy’s psychology, and that will be their undoing.

10/13/2002

The Libertarians Are Coming! The Libertarians Are Coming!



In an article in the New Hampshire Sunday News, it appears that a movement based upon libertarian ideals has set the state of New Hampshire in its sights.

The Free State Project plans to move thousands of people from a number of other states to a state where they would have political sway, being able to influence, if not take control of local and state politics.

"On the checklist of freedom, New Hampshire shines consistently, say activists intent on migrating en masse to a state where their influence could bring a day of reckoning.

The plan is to have 20,000 like-minded people - many view themselves as libertarians in principle - settle in a state and use ballot power to win elective office, change local and state laws, challenge the pervasiveness of big-government and 'negotiate' with the federal government for 'appropriate political autonomy.' "


At present the organization has approximately 1200 adults signed up. When Free State's membership reaches 5000, they will take a vote to decide which state will best serve their needs. So far, New Hampshire is high on their list.

There are 10 states the project's Research Committee is looking at, all of which meet certain criteria the project feels will help them meet their goals. All of the states have populations under 1.5 million. Other criteria the Research Committee is looking at include tax structure, schools, drug, gun, and school laws, crime rate, climate, politics, and 'livability'.

" Among the ten, New Hampshire tops the field with regard to 'quality of life.' The project's benchmark is the annual 'Most Livable State' award handed out by the Morgan Quitno publishing and research firm. This year, New Hampshire was third in livability, trailing only Minnesota and Iowa, neither of which are in contention as an FSP destination."

One of the more subjective sides of the decision may be New Hampshire's state motto, "Live Free or Die", taken from a quote from Revolutionary War hero General John Stark's farewell address to his former comrades.

"In New Hampshire, people think, 'Live Free or Die,' " said Elizabeth McKinstry of Hillsdale, Mich., the project's vice president. McKinstry referred to the motto in a telephone interview where she compared some of the states on the short list.

There are detailed reports on each of the 10 states being considered at FSP's website. New Hampshire's report was researched and written by Michelle Dumas of Somersworth, a district vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.

Dumas wrote:

"Combining its high ranking in most of the objective data categories, its geographic advantages of offering both a seacoast and an international border, its possibilities for expansion into two neighboring states also under consideration by FSP, its native culture historically known for orientation toward liberty and its viability as a state where the immediate quality of life is likely to be most comfortable for free staters, we believe that New Hampshire should be considered one of the top contenders in the final decision."

In an interview, when asked about why New Hampshire rises to the top of the list, Dumas also cited the symbolism of the state's motto.

"I think 'Live Free or Die,' is really still a part of the values of the people of New Hampshire. We're known for our independence. And I think there is still a great deal of the population that would be welcoming what the Free State Project wants to bring here," she said.


So what will all of this mean to the Granite State should the FSP attain its goal, select New Hampshire and get 20 to 30 thousand people to make the move there?

Political chaos.

Not that such chaos would necessarily be a Bad Thing. As more exiles from the People's Republic of Massachusetts (or PRM) have moved to New Hampshire, many of them have also brought their 'Nanny State' mentality with them, wanting the same services and government institutions as 'back home'. Some of these geniuses still haven't figured out that someone has to pay for all of it. The political climate in New Hampshire has taken a firm shift towards the left, making it somewhat more left-moderate than in the past. A good political shake-up may be just what state needs to turn things around and get things back on an even keel.

The size of state government has grown far faster than the population, and with it, state spending. Maybe it's time to trim that back. It's possible that the FSP could help that along. I can certainly agree with libertarian sentiments when it comes to the size and reach of government. A government "that governs least, governs best."

One of the gubernatorial candidates in New Hampshire has made that a part of his campaign. "Clicks, not Bricks" is Republican Craig Benson's take on what state government should be. He believes that a well-designed computer network can handle many state government functions, eliminating many of the drones presently performing those functions. I agree with his assessment, despite weaknesses in other areas of his politics. I think many FSP members would agree, too.

Historically, New Hampshire has always been fiercely independent when it comes to politics. Granite Staters tend to lead, not follow some of the political trends within the U.S. Other times they are quite contrarian, thumbing their noses at the conventional political wisdom and going their own way. But over the past 20 years, that has diminished. Some of that can be attributed to the aforementioned exiles from the PRM.

Richard Tomasso, secretary of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party, states about the FSP:

"The goal is to create a freer state, where individual rights are respected, where there are low taxes and a growing economy. Essentially, and I guess I'm partial, the goal of the project is making more of the country like New Hampshire."

Amen to that.

But there are aspects to some of the Free State Project supporter's goals that I disagree with. One of those is secession from the Union, a possibility brought up by noted libertarian commentator and writer Walter E. Williams - an economics professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Though there have been talks from time to time about resurrecting the Indian Stream Republic and seceding from the U.S., it has been more tongue-in-cheek than a serious proposal. Apparently Professor Williams is serious.

Williams wrote:

"Are there any signs that those Americans who want to unconstitutionally control the lives of others are going to let up soon? I say no, but there's a peaceful resolution proposed by Free State Project. . . . Twenty or 30,000 Americans who love liberty would move to one state, possibly New Hampshire, peaceably take over the legislature, negotiate with Congress to obey their oath of office to uphold the Constitution, and if necessary secede from the Union."

Williams caught quite a lot of flak for suggesting such a step.

"They are really talking about negotiation with Congress to have it abide by the Constitution," he said of the project's leaders. "I'm more pessimistic. I see no evidence of Americans in general wishing to let others live free. I don't see signs on the horizon that they are willing to let Walter Williams take care of his own retirement, as opposed to Congress deciding what percentage of my income I must put away for retirement."

Personally I'd prefer to remain part of United States and work from within to change the course that was set for our country by FDR and those who follow his vision of what America should be.

If nothing else, the next few years ought to be interesting. We'll have to keep an eye on the Free State Project and its progress.



10/12/2002

What’s Next?



Let’s see.

Dubya gave his speech at the UN and warned them they’re in danger of becoming superfluous.

Check.

Dubya got his way with Congress and received authorization to use force against Iraq if needed, with or without UN sanction.

Check.

The UN is getting nervous, seeing that Dubya wasn’t kidding about dealing with Iraq with or without the UN’s blessing.

Check.

Dubya’s talking with Vladimir, working that good ole Bush voodoo on him, letting him know that we can work something out in regards to Iraq’s debt to Russia.

Hmmm. I’ll have to get back to that one.

The Pentagon has been moving troops and materiel here, there, and everywhere. Where they’ll stop, nobody (outside of the military) knows.

Check.

The anti-defense ‘peace at all costs’ leftists are in a tizzy now that they have come to realization that not many people are listening to them and aren’t interested in listening to them.

Check.

Now Dubya goes back to the UN saying ‘Put up or shut up’.

Hmmm. Looks like that one should be on the ‘To Do’ list. Maybe take care of it on Monday.

10/11/2002

And Now The Real Diplomacy Begins



Just after 1:00AM EDT this morning the US Senate passed the resolution authorizing military action against Iraq. Final tally was 77-23, a very, very comfortable margin for a resolution that pointedly does not require the US to get approval from the United Nations.


So, the bombs ought to be falling any time, right? Bush can eschew negotiation and march headlong in to war, right? The dolts at WarbloggerWatch can grab their pathetic excuses for a package as they do their best Mr. Bill impersonation: “Ohhhhh nooooooooo!!!” Right?


Right?


Wrong.


What has mostly escaped the anti-war-at-any-cost crowd is that War, and the threat of War, are potent diplomatic tools. This resolution guarantees several things:


First, there will be UN approval. If they fail to approve, they become irrelevant. As the old saying goes, the train is leaving the station and you can be on it, or under it.


Second, the most vocal opponents in the world community will silently find a way to get on board, even if only tangentially.


Third, and most important, a final round of very real, very serious diplomatic pressure will be launched on Iraq. This will be the kind of pressure that Saddaam and the Baath party understand. Saddaam has suddenly been given far more reason to fear his own underlings, people who could very well decide that the danger of keeping him around outweighs the danger of attempting to depose him, and he can no longer hope that the UN will save his sorry ass. Up until now he has had no reason to make any real concessions, but with a single vote in the Senate all that has changed. No more wriggle room.


The next two months ought to be very interesting indeed.

10/10/2002

Examples of a Free Iraq



I was listening to NPR on my way home from work yesterday and chanced to listen to a report from northern Iraq that gives a preview of what life in that country might be like without Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party.

The Iraqi Kurds have been living under the protection of U.S. and British armed forces since shortly after the Gulf War in 1991. In the past the Kurds have been the target of Saddam’s efforts to stifle all opposition to his rule. Chemical and biological weapons have been used against the Kurds as well as more conventional military weapons. But once the No-Fly zones were established and enforced, the Kurds were able to spend their time rebuilding the thousands of villages destroyed by Saddam’s forces.

It took time, but the various Kurd factions were finally able to work out their differences and institute a democratic government about six years ago. Free enterprise and entrepreneurs flourished, creating a vibrant and growing economy. What was once the poorest region of Iraq is now the richest. The per capita income in northern Iraq is many times that of the rest of the country. There is a free press and open education. Women are treated as equals.

This is a picture of what Iraq should have been. But the Ba’ath Party decided that they were better suited to run things and the citizens be damned. In the rest of Iraq it is the state that controls every aspect of life. There is no such thing as freedom of speech. Anyone speaking out against Saddam or the Ba’ath Party is imprisoned and killed. Their families are often imprisoned, tortured, or executed. Yet Saddam is glorified in huge murals everywhere one looks.

So was Adolph Hitler.

The torture, murder, and thievery continue unabated.

Maybe we should ignore the weapons of mass murder as a reason to invade and do something about freeing the rest of Iraq.

10/09/2002

War, the Clueless, the Anti-Defense Weenies, and Some Answers



Jane Galt over at Live From The WTC has an interesting series of posts about Iraq, nuclear weapons, and the anti-defense forces. Her view on these and related issues are lengthy, but well thought out. I don’t necessarily agree with everything she espouses, but she has put a lot of thought into her post. She also treats us to some interesting responses to those who believe that we shouldn’t go to war with Iraq under any circumstances.

Make sure to read all five parts of her post.

Even The Left Gets Tired OF The Leftists



There's an excellent article by Ron Rosenbaum of the New York Observer on his disgust with the Marxist apologist-America Is Always Wrong and Evil leftists. While Rosenbaum leaves no doubt that he is not a conservative, he "makes it clear that his belief that today's Left is morally and intellectually obtuse in a manner sure to warm the hearts of most bloggers."

(Thanks for the link from PejmanPundit)

10/08/2002

Hollywood on Politics



Eric Roberts was interviewed on FOXNews today to provide a Hollywood response to the President’s speech last night and he took a fairly predictable Steisandian stand on the issue. I am one of the apparently few folks who really do not get upset when celebrities spout off on political issues, even when it’s Babs. Everyone has the right to be heard and if our culture lends extra weight to the views of folks whose only claim on our attention is the ability to carry a tune, well, that’s our fault, not theirs.


No, what got me about this interview was how horribly unprepared Roberts was. I like his work (ever seen The Coca Cola Kid? Umm the critics liked it, and I have liked him as an actor ever since then), so to watch him reading prepared lines from a green notebook (and reading them badly to boot), telling the interviewer (I think it was Brit Hume) that he did not want to get caught up dissecting his “talking points” (why, then, are you there, and why did you provide you talking points to Fox in advance?), and generally failing to be coherent once the questions started flowing- it was simply embarrassing. I genuinely felt bad for the guy.


The Iraq Debate



Over the past two days I’ve had the opportunity to listen to both the U.S. Senate and House debates on the resolution authorizing the President to use force against Iraq if it does not disarm and destroy all weapons of mass destruction. Despite some posturing by members of both the Democrat and Republican parties, it seems that the resolution will come to a vote and pass before the November elections.

One Democrat in the House surprised me with his take on the whole thing. Though I can’t remember who it was, he was a representative from New York. He brought up an interesting question that at first made me wonder if he was going to spout the liberal line and say that any thought of military action was premature. But he showed that he was a thinking man and was reacting with his heart and his head.

“Why attack now? Why not attack three months ago? Why not six months from now? These are questions I would have asked, but September 11th changed all of that. I was in New York when the World Trade Center fell. I lost constituents among the 3000 people who died that day.” He went on to say that he believed that Congress should give the President the authority to use force against Iraq, with or without UN sanction.

Despite the bleating of some of the ‘peace at any cost’ lefties, it looks as if the resolution will pass in some form by the end of the week. Though Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia has vowed to delay any vote until well after the November election, I believe he lacks the support to pull it off. He dislikes the pressure being put on the Senate by the President and the electorate, feels as if he and the rest of Congress are being railroaded into voting for something he disagrees with. But it appears that the American public disagrees with him.

By some polls, anywhere between 51 (Time/CNN) and 62 (Newsweek) percent of the public supports the President in his effort to gain authorization from Congress to deal with Saddam Hussein and Iraq’s weapons of mass murder.

I’ll be one of the first to say that I hope all of this can be settled without the need to go to war, to send our sons and daughters in to harm’s way. But if it comes down to a choice between war to defend ourselves, or letting the Iraqi strongman continue to defy UN Security Council Resolutions that he agreed to and continue to create and stockpile weapons of mass murder, then I can support war.

And if it should come to war, best that it be done quickly and without hesitation.

10/07/2002

Technology and Star Trek



Dave Marinaccio has it right. Everything we need to know we can learn from watching Star Trek in all of its incarnations.




One of the latest, though not the first, clue was the announcement by Fraunhofer of what some people have been incorrectly calling transparent aluminum. It might more accurately be called transparent sapphire (alumina). First introduced in the movie Star Trek IV: The Journey Home, transparent ‘aluminum’ certainly has some interesting applications. Three times stronger than steel, very hard, transparent (though it only transmits approximately 50% of the light), and able to be cast into complex shapes, it can be used in applications we’ve barely begun to think about. Maybe portholes in space craft?

In 1998, scientists at Cal Tech, Aarhus University in Denmark, and the University of Wales were able to prove that teleportation is possible, if only on a quantum level. While not exactly teleportation of the “Beam me up, Scotty” variety, we’ve got to start somewhere.

During one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, physicist Stephen Hawking guest starred as his holographic self, playing a game of poker with Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, and Data. Before shooting his scenes, Dr. Hawking, a long time fan of Star Trek, was given a tour of the various sets, including Engineering. Looking at the warp core, Dr. Hawking’s comment was, “We’re working on it.” Though the fictional warp core requires antimatter as fuel to power the warp engines, the antimatter itself is not fictional. Though science has not been able to create large quantities of antimatter, it has managed to create and store it in magnetic containment fields.

There is something called zero-point energy, which will allow us to obtain energy from the vacuum of space. Apparently it also might explain how inertia works, the premise being controlling the zero point energy will also allow control of inertia. Think inertial dampers, or better yet, ‘impulse’ engines, which if I remember properly stands for Inertial Magnetic Pulse. We won’t have to lug a lot of rocket fuel to get around in space. There are also hints that zero point energy has a link to gravity. Could antigravity and artificial gravity be possible?

For those of you who remember the original series, what communications appliance do we carry around these days that resembles the communicators of old? How about cell phones? Being able to communicate with anyone on the planet with something that you can hold in the palm of your hand certainly fits the bill, wouldn’t you say? With enhanced 911 capabilities being built in to them, you’ll also be able to ‘lock on’ with your sensors and ‘beam them up’.

Medical science certainly seems to be catching up with Star Trek. Diagnoses that once required exploratory surgery can now be done with CAT scans, PET scans, ultrasound scans, and Functional MRIs. There’s rarely a need to open up the patient to have a look around. Organ replacement is becoming more common, with work on artificial organs continuing apace. Artificial hearts or cardiac assist pumps are being used in patients otherwise doomed to die. Work on artificial eyes to restore sight continues. Laser scalpels are being used more often, causing less pain and shorter recover times. Treatments to strengthen the immune system and turn it towards treating otherwise deadly diseases like cancer and AIDS are getting better and more efficacious every day.

Even weapons technology is looking more and more like Star Trek. High-powered lasers to destroy enemy missiles are becoming a reality. Particle beam weapons are also in the works, though probably at a much lower priority than back in the days of the Strategic Defense Initiative. Rail guns, using hyper-velocity projectiles, are also in the lab. Whether they will be practical in a military application is unknown.

Now if we could just get those replicators running…….

10/06/2002

Cell Phone Wars



Normally I wouldn’t comment on such now mundane things as cell phones. But a chance conversation with a friend of mine, and Stephen Den Beste’s dissertation about cell phone technology, compelled me to at least put a small blurb on the blog today.

My friend Art travels quite a bit. In his business he needs to keep in touch. The other day he was showing me his new cell phone, one that lets him go from country to country and not have to worry about having cell service. It’s GSM based and does what it’s advertised to do. Too bad it might become obsolete in the not too distant future.

I think I’ll keep that to myself for a while. I don’t want to dim Art’s enthusiasm for his new tool.

10/05/2002

Early Fall Ramblings



I had thought to write something about how everything we’ve seen in the various Star Trek series is coming true, one by one. Though my thunder was stolen a couple of weeks ago with the announcement by Fraunhofer of the creation transparent aluminum, I still have a number of things I’d like to ruminate about. I’m just going to do it later. Right now I have other, less important things to ramble on about.

****

With the unseasonably warm summer weather here in New England extending itself in to October, I still have that ‘summer’ feeling. It’s weird to see many of the summer attractions closed for the season when the temps are still in the 80’s during the day and the 60’s at night. Kids should be swimming in the lake, boats should be out and about pulling water skiers behind them, and jet skis should be making a nuisance of themselves. But the days are too short and there aren’t many charcoal or gas grills running, barbecuing up hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, or whatever. Folks aren’t sitting on lawnchairs in the shade of oaks or maples, or out on their deck as they consume the barbecued delights and partake of a cold brew. Where’s the potato salad? The sliced veggies with dip? The Cheetos? It’s too damn early for fall!

****

Of course the political silly season is upon us, just as it is throughout the rest of the U.S. of A. The Democrats problem with the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey has a slight resemblance to a similar problem in New Hampshire.

Fergus Cullen, Republican candidate for the New Hampshire State Senate, was ruled ineligible to run for the seat by the Ballot Law Commission. The commission stated Cullen did not meet the residency requirement. State law says that a state Senate candidate must have been a resident of New Hampshire for seven years before being eligible to run. Unfortunately, though a long time resident of New Hampshire, Mr. Cullen resided in Connecticut between 1998 and 2000 and was a registered voter in that state.

Oops.

****

I’ve mentioned in other posts that I work in the fiber optics industry, specifically fiber optic test equipment. The telecommunications industry collapsed big time during the first quarter of 2001 when it was discovered that much of the optical fiber that had been laid along the ocean floors and buried in the earth in anticipation of a telecommunications boom was going unused. Why?

It seems the giants of the telecommunications industry forgot one thing: How to actually fill all of those high-speed fiber pipelines with data. With much of the optical fiber capable of carrying up to 1.6 terabits per second (that’s trillions of bits per second), the thought of how to actually fill all of that capacity never occurred to these geniuses. Most of the telecommunications infrastructure in the US and Canada relies on the same technology that existed at the turn of the century. The last century. A vast majority of telephone and data communications makes the trip between the telephone central offices and residences and businesses the same way they did in 1902: copper wire.

Copper wire is fine for voice communications and low speed data, but doesn’t do such a great job for things like high-speed data over distances greater than a couple of miles, despite the promises of DSL providers. The twisted pair of copper wires that presently connect to what is called ‘the last mile’ isn’t really capable of handling the types of services that had been foreseen to fill the optical fiber network that has been built all over the world. How many of you out there in the blogosphere still use dial-up connections to access the Internet? How many of you out there only have a high-speed connection at work? And what do you consider ‘high-speed’?

Some of us are fortunate enough to have Internet access through our local cable TV companies. I’m not sure, but I think you’ll find that most people with high-speed Internet access in the U.S. receive that access through their local cable company rather than DSL supplied by the phone companies.

Some of the Regional Bell Operating Companies (the ‘Baby Bells’) are looking to upgrade the last mile with what is called Fiber To The Home, or FTTH. A couple of them are already deploying FTTH.

What does FTTH mean to the consumer? How about a 100 to 1000 megabit per second connection to the Internet? Would you like 1000 TV channels in HDTV? How about being able to call up any movie you want at any time? It would be great. But there are a few downsides.

A high speed Internet connection means that some of us can be dumped by women on the ‘net even faster than before. We might have 1000 channels of HDTV, but there will still be nothing on!

****

One thing I never seem to be able to escape is clueless out of state drivers. Why is it that their driving skills deteriorate the farther they get from home? Do they think that the driving laws here are so much different from their home state? Even British drivers used to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road drive better here in New Hampshire than some of the out of state folks. From some of their reactions you’d think they’ve never seen anybody use a turn signal before. Maybe the only hand signal ever directed towards them was a single finger rather than a friendly wave or a ‘be my guest’ motion at an intersection.

Today was no exception.

It seems this woman from New York (well, her car had New York plates on it, so I assumed…) either didn’t realize or didn’t care that had she parked her car across the end of a road at an intersection. People trying to turn on to the road from the main road or trying to enter the main road were blocked. She got out of her car, oblivious to the fact that she was blocking traffic, and entered the convenience store on the corner. She was in the store for almost 10 minutes (I know this because I couldn’t leave -- she was blocking me in). As she came out of the store and headed to her car one of the local police cruisers pulled up. As the officer was getting out of the cruiser, she quickly got in to her car, started it, and tried to pull around the cruiser and on to the main road. She almost made it. Almost.

She hit the police car.

There was no horrific crash, no rending of metal. But there was a lot of paint scraped off. The dumfounded police officer watched as she put her car in reverse and tried to back away, but she had turned the front wheels the wrong way, causing her car to grind harder against the police cruiser. This also had the effect of totally blocking the road and backing up traffic all the way through to the next intersection.

It took almost 20 minutes to get a tow truck to the scene and another 20 minutes to get the cars apart. All during this the police officers (about another half dozen arrived after the first officer called in the collision) were directing traffic and questioning the woman. It wasn’t until this point that she even realized that she had parked her car across a road, blocking traffic. She had thought that the other motorists were just being rude, honking their horns because she had pulled into the last good parking space.

****

Has any one out there in the blogosphere ever seen the movie ‘Stir Crazy’ with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor? I happened to catch it on the TV the other night. I had forgotten how funny that movie was. It also reminded me of one of Richard Pryor’s stand-up routines where he talked about making the movie.

The movie was shot on location at the Arizona State Penitentiary. Richard had plenty of opportunity to talk to quite a few of the inmates while shooting the movie because quite a few of them were used as extras. The only thing he could about the experience was “Thank God they’ve got penitentiaries! I asked this one brother why he had killed all of the people in this one house he’d robbed. He said ‘Cuz they was home.’ “

****

That’s it. No more ramblings. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.