Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


So a congressman from the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts shepherds the auto bailout bill though the lower house and it dies in the Senate. Then the Pres from the party of fiscal responsibility says he'll use already approved funds to do it.

the question is, is Barney Frank a George Bush Democrat or is George Bush a Barney Frank Republican?

Monday, December 01, 2008

I felt better about myself after reading it.

I'm not all that wild about City Journal. It seems to be a bit too Neoconnish. Still, I do enjoy the articles written by Theodore Dalrymple. I especially enjoyed his The Quivering Upper Lip, The British character: from self-restraint to self-indulgence if only because I can steal from it.

Here is a couple of paragraphs extolling Brit character.

His piece praises the old Brits of all classes as models of class, but contrasts them today as people of no class.

No culture changes sud­denly, and the elderly often retained the attitudes of their youth. I remember working for a short time in a general practice in a small country town where an old man called me to his house. I found him very weak from chronic blood loss, unable to rise from his bed, and asked him why he had not called me earlier. “I didn’t like to disturb you, Doctor,” he said. “I know you are a very busy man.”

From a rational point of view, this was absurd. What could I possibly need to do that was more important than attending to such an ill man? But I found his self-effacement deeply moving. It was not the product of a lack of self-esteem, that psychological notion used to justify rampant egotism; nor was it the result of having been downtrodden by a tyrannical government that accorded no worth to its citizens. It was instead an existential, almost religious, modesty, an awareness that he was far from being all-important.

Shallow fellow that I am, all I wish to use this for is another entry in The Short Dictionary of Politics. We shall take, self-esteem, that psychological notion used to justify rampant egotism and appropriate it with a slight change.

In this country, I knew we were going to end up homeschooling our kids when in First Grade the Dare officer gave out teddy bears in a self esteem raising exercise.

So how does it all work out among Les Anglais. According to Ted

Certainly, many Britons under the age of 30 or even 40 now embrace a kind of sub-psychotherapeutic theory that desires, if not unleashed, will fester within and eventually manifest themselves in dangerous ways. To control oneself for the sake of the social order, let alone for dignity or decorum (a word that would either mean nothing to the British these days, or provoke peals of laughter), is thus both personally and socially harmful.

I have spoken with young British people who regularly drink themselves into oblivion, passing first through a prolonged phase of public nuisance. To a man (and woman), they believe that by doing so, they are getting rid of inhibitions that might otherwise do them psychological and even physical harm. The same belief seems universal among those who spend hours at soccer games screaming abuse and making threatening gestures (whose meaning many would put into practice, were those events not policed in military fashion)

Friday, November 28, 2008

You dress ‘em up, send ‘em to the finest schools, and they rip the covers off the books every time.

Dan Kennedy of Media Nation has a post praising Mark Lilla’s anti Palin Screed at WSJ. La Palin must be the most powerful person in Dan’s world as he seems obsessed by her. I’m not above schadenfreude so I take a certain pleasure in your man’s discomfiture. Dan’s called Mr. Lilla’s column “brilliant.” Moi, I found it shallow.

Lilla posits a lumpen Republican America that hates “intellectuals.” He sees it as a problem that they don’t look to their betters. He has no problem that a lot of Republicans stayed home on John because they saw him as betraying the tradition of small government while Black Americans voted in vast numbers for his opponent and wherever they could, voted against same sex marriage. Now voting against ssm is considered fundamentalist yahooism. The spin in Cali is that it was the Mormons that deep sixed it. It is not the done thing to accuse our African American citizenry of being anything but enlightened.

So just what is it that makes someone an intellectual. True to my deficient character, I took the easy way out and went to for a definition:

a person of superior intellect.
a person who places a high value on or pursues things of interest to the intellect or the more complex forms and fields of knowledge, as aesthetic or philosophical matters, esp. on an abstract and general level.
an extremely rational person; a person who relies on intellect rather than on emotions or feelings.
a person professionally engaged in mental labor, as a writer or teacher.

Gee, doesn’t say anything about attending the Kennedy School or being a professor at Columbia or a journalism teacher at a middling school in the Athens of America.

Anyway, Dan quoted this paragraph,

They mock the advice of Nobel Prize-winning economists and praise the financial acumen of plumbers and builders. They ridicule ambassadors and diplomats while promoting jingoistic journalists who have never lived abroad and speak no foreign languages. And with the rise of shock radio and television, they have found a large, popular audience that eagerly absorbs their contempt for intellectual elites. They hoped to shape that audience, but the truth is that their audience has now shaped them.

Maybe Dan nodded his head as he read it as he closely reads the advice of Nobel Prize winners in economics, but it has not been uniformly good. If his personal economic gurus had been the two that had guided LTCM he would have looked horribly foolish.

As to that praise of plumbers and builders, well I don’t think anyone was suggesting Joe be Treasury Secretary, but he did have his folk hero minute and he did not do so badly in his brief fame when he was confronted by Obama.

I’m not a Republican so I don’t know who Lilla is talking about for the journalists. He does not give instances of the exact ridicule that was dished out to diplomats so we can’t tell if it is warranted. I hope ambassadors are not above critique unless the critic speaks another dialect.

He embarrasses himself with the shock jock stuff. Imus is a shock jock but no Repub and ditto Stern. I’m not a Limbaugh or Hannity fan, but to call them shock jocks is buffoonery.

He mentions Buckley with reverence, but does not mention WFB’s judgement of the better government. Bill preferred the unwashed out of the phone book to the Harvard Faculty.

Moi, I kinda like the judgment of an intellectual, Camille Paglia,

How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don't know their asses from their elbows.

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

C’est vous, Dan.

If the cool people don’t want to accept Camille, maybe they would be okay with George Orwell’s take on intellectuals of his time,

These people look towards the U.S.S.R. and see in it, or think they see, a system which eliminates the upper class, keeps the working class in its place, and hands unlimited power to people very similar to themselves. It was only after the Soviet régime became unmistakably totalitarian that English intellectuals, in large numbers, began to show an interest in it.*

The situation is different now, but not so different that the bullying of Sarah is not despicable.

Maybe not all intellectuals, but there is no lack of shoddy practitioners. As a class they are not due homage. Only so far as he profers something of real value is a professor’s opinion of worth.

All in all Mr. Lilla gave us a faux intellectual rant. When you have fundamentalism of the left, it oft comes with a Ph.D. attached.

*Orwell, The Dollected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 4, In Front of Your Nose 1945-1950. Page 212, James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

So we have Clinton retread Holder at Justice.

La Pasionara herself at State.

Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago neocon hack as Chief of Staff.

Now, Obama and the Dem leadership have made peace with Department of Fatherland Security Committee Chairman Lieberman. Notice they did not take away the chairmanship of the committee where he can be as neoconnish as he likes.

So now exposed for the world to see is the meaning of change, Obama style. It is not in the sense of the management of a losing ball team firing the coach and obtaining different players. No, it is change in the sense of the purchase of new and more stylish uniforms for the same sad team.

Yes we can get ready for the Bush-Obama Administration.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Case for Optimism

Over at Parapundit there is a doom and gloom post that a new depression is starting. True, the tone is depressing, but I take only solace.

All the people quoted as saying the end is nigh are the from companies that were wrong in their business decisions before the current debacle so what should one expect from that track record.

People quoted:

Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO
Former Goldman Sachs Chairman
JP Morgan Chase CEO
A survey of economists
A Goldman Sachs economist

There was one discordant note. The chief of Britain's Central Bank saw nothing worse than what happened thirty years ago, whatever that was. Still, as most of the old rosy scenario crowd are now down in the mouth, I'm thinking only happy thoughts.

Unfortunately, I shall be hors de combat in the coming prosperity. As the Polish American Major who was my instructor at intel school used to say, "I have all my money in cash." In my case, change cash to coins jingling in my pocket.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

That didn't last long.

The Obama Revolution is over. Instead of vast change, there will be management of the ongoing enterprise and a few big ticket cosmetic papering overs. Maybe a few new minority friendly scholarships or some other bauble.

the voice of humility believes this is the way of big movements anyway. In our Short Dictionary of Politics we defined Revolution as

A method by which one elite manipulates the masses to transfer power from another elite due to real or perceived oppression. The success or failure of the revolutionary party, once the ancien regime is overthrown, depends on how well they manage their transition from belief in ideology to practical management of the entity they have stolen.

Now, I'm not sure this was a revolution at all, maybe just a different lineup for the same team, but no matter. The Obama transition is distancing itself from its agenda.

How do we know this. The vaunted involuntary servitude national service proposals have lost the stick and the carrot has been enhanced.

I was actually shocked at the quick abandonment of the force aspect of the proposal. That was nothing compared to the disappearance of the whole agenda as reported by Veritas over at Daily Burkeman1. Obama's website's agenda items have all been removed and just a two paragraph statement saying how cool the changes are gonna be remains. It's worth a trip over to the Daily Burkeman1 to check it out.


*New Boss Same As Old Boss.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's Over

and I'm glad.

My usual saying on the day after is the good news is one of them lost, the bad, one of them won. In truth, I was a little less scared of Obama than the bomber. Of course, I voted third party.

I think anyone would have to be crazy to want to be president now. Coming into office in the current situation of an endless war and a broke country does not augur well for the newly anointed. Obama's messiah message also is a problem. To date, no one has seen him walk on water. It's easier to advertise yourself as a god than be one. Let down time in the real world.

Still, I wish the President-elect good fortune if only because I wish it for myself.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What will redistribution mean?

So segments of the press are atwitter with statements by Obama that suggest he wants to take the earnings of people who make a few pesos more and scatter them amongst the folks who make less. The polls seem to imply the fear mongering is not working.

It does appear from the evidence that the great Himself once annointed would love to give a few farthings to his constituency. Nothing new there, it is warmed over New Deal which the children of light think to be change.

I suppose one should quake with fear, but as a man who believes everything reduces to its absurd in government, I've long thought the tension in the springs of the machine would eventually snap. I do not know the day nor the hour. And for all of my poor powers of cognition, the president apparent may even usher in a golden age.

Of course, this is the Democratic Party we're talking about here. They are ruthless about attaining power. Once in, they can be a bit incompetent about its exercise. I suspect a redistribution program will go something like this:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mr. Disingenuous

As mentioned before, Dan Kennedy's Medianation blog is not a bad source for Boston media news and some national stuff as well, Were it were a boat, You would notice a definite list to port. Fair enough, no one should have a problem with that.

When I saw the comment he left on the SaveWrko site, I almost fell off my chair,

Brian: I am not an Obama "supporter." If you guessed whom I plan to vote for, I'm sure you'd get it right. But that doesn't make me a supporter. I vote, but I support no one.

Posted by: Dan Kennedy at October 15, 2008 09:36 AM

The man might not endorse Obama on his blog, but he has dug up every bit of dirt he could find on McCain Palin and run with it as fast as he could.

To then claim he does not support the team is embarrassing and a bit shameful. He might excue it by saying gee, I wish someone else was the nominee but lesser of two evils. Still, you don't put out that much effort to blacken the other side and say I'm not a supporter.

After all, is there nothing he could report a little negative about Obama. Nah.

I don't really see how any thinking person can back either cargo cult, but Dan is a man of no balance and to me that equals support.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

From the voice of humility business and finance desk-This just in, Iceland purchased out of bankruptcy

The Republic of Zimbabwe has purchased the nation of Iceland out of bankruptcy. There were no other bidders.

When asked to comment, the Zimbabwean Finance Minister said there was a natural synergy. "We have much experience dealing with hyper inflation, getting banknotes printed quickly and all that. Our people know how to cope, a skill those Nordics are going to need. We know many rat recipes and how to make poisonous roots palatable. Trading on those skills, we could use Icelandic foods to vary our diets. Still, I don't know if I'm ready for pickled herring.

Friday, October 10, 2008

You Have to Fight for Your Right to be Apathetic

I have no grand philosophy of life. I wish I did, but at the end of the day, all I can deal with is simple concepts like "ownlife" as expressed by George Orwell,

In Principle a Party member had no spare time, and was never alone except in bed. It was assumed that when he was not working, eating, or sleeping he would be taking part in some kind of communal recreations; to do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: ownlife, it was called, meaning individualism.

1984 page 82

Yeah, go ahead and hit me with concepts like how horrible atomistic life is. Sorry, kids. If you are thinking for yourself, then a certain amount of the atomistic life is inescapable. This does not mean I'm in some ashram by myself. I get on with people, not many. There is a family I'm happily part of. I have served my time in unpaid community work. Still, at the end of the day, it's all part of ownlife if I can choose or reject it.

Ah, but there are people out there who believe the idea of being a separate independent person is pernicious. John McCain wants you to participate in "a cause greater than yourself." Gee, nothing he has ever expounded has grabbed me as a cause greater than myself, humble and worthless wretch that I am.

Obama is worse. While McCain was once for a military draft, he is smart enough to realize that whatever chance he has to be El Jefe Maximo would be gone if he uttered such sentiments now. Obama would also never give voice to the idea that he wishes to compel people to serve. No, he is smart enough to put it in terms such that you lose if you don't submit.

Per J.D. Tuccille

In fact, Obama's national service plan is "voluntary" in a technical sense -- nobody will be arrested for declining to participate. But non-participants also won't be allowed to graduate from high school, and without those diplomas, life could get a bit rough.

Obama's national service plan (PDF) says:

Schools that require service as part of the educational experience create improved learning environments and serve as resources for their communities. The Obama-Biden plan sets a goal for all students to engage in service, with middle and high school students performing 50 hours of service each year, and college students performing 100 hours of service each year. Under this plan, students would graduate college with as many as 17 weeks of public service experience under their belts.

But schools set their own policies, don't they? Well ... sort of. You see, as the saying goes, "he who takes the king's coin becomes the king's man." And most public schools depend on federal dollars. As Obama elaborated in a speech last December, "At the middle and high school level, we'll make federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs, and give schools resources to offer new service opportunities."

I know that the word fascism is overused when accusing others of something you don't like. Heck, I do it (only in the right way, of course). Still, what else can one call the forced service of youth.

Let's use the words of Benito,

everything within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.

We can quibble about whether the above quote is applicable, but a state that will reach down to compel its citizens to service comes close enough for government work.

Both candidates, as J.D. puts it,

seem to think that donating your time to a soup kitchen, a clinic or a church is less valuable than participation in a grand-scale scheme managed by the state.

We all know how it will work out. Brad and Brooke, just out of Amherst will get some chi chi gig that will resemble a policy internship and Tyrone and Crystal will be handed mops.

One of the reasons I homeschooled my kids was the clicque that ran our region were for mandatory service. There are not many ways to resist this, but you should if you can.

In the end, the lesson any kid should get out of this is might makes right. Being forced to do good is extortion.

Il faut cultiver notre jardin. Not Holy Mother State's.

Have a look at national service as it has been practiced elsewhere.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Why am I always so behind?

I just can't keep up, I just can't keep up. I feel less than because of it.

Here I thought Fair Market Value was what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller.

I wasn't paying attention. There is a new definition,

FMV is what a willing government department is willing to pay a willing well connected less than competently run financial institution.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Dems are giving the Republicans the election. Will they take it? Nah

I do not have a dog in this race. Still, just for fun, I'd like to see something interesting happen in this race. Most of the things that are happening have been done before. A national savior? Germany pioneered that in the Thirties. A war hero come to fight special interests, that also happened amongst the Deutchies in 1932.

It's gotta be something different. Not really different, that not going to happen. Even if it's a contrived diff, let's have it.

Therefore, a message to Sarah's handlers; let Sarah be Sarah. No, I mean really.

Here's the scenario,

The handlers say to La Sarah, "Mrs. Palin, what do you think about the bailout. Not as a candidate, but as the real human being you were a few weeks ago.

Her reply, "Scam"

"Okay, Sarah you can tell America that, if you can just bring yourself to say I love and respect John McCain, but."

Outside of Washington, no one thinks this not a scam. If the Republicans let her go off the reservation and the next day say something like the disagree but respect her independence and candor blah blah blah, it could work.

After all, one out of four actually appearing real could work.

This campaign season has been so ridiculous, I have not feared the Large Hadron Collider would cause a black hole. I was looking forward to it.

Something I don't get?

Up until the bailout vote, stocks were plunging.

The bailout looked sure to pass.

The bailout vote fails.

The next day stocks rise.

They are said (saw the headline on be rising because there was hope the bailout plan that saw stocks tanking in anticipation of it passing would be resubmitted.

Now, the voice of humility claims no special knowledge and his life's financial success is reason enough for him to continue in the modesty he is so justly proud of. Still, something here does not seem to follow. We are grateful to anyone who can set us straight.

Also, Upon the demise of the proposed legislation, the Fed injected 600+ Billion to little comment in our free press, the tribunes of the people. What's up with that.

Actually, I've found someone to instruct me in the intricacies of current financial news. Darn the Brits. I don't think anyone in this country could have done this. Maybe Colbert, but I doubt it.

Hat tip to the Ambler.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Man Bites Dog, well not really

Sixty percent of the party of the working man voted to protect the perks of Wall Streeters.

The rich man's party voted to not take the money of working class Americans.

I could come to some conclusions, but let's just quote the words of Lily Tomlin, "No matter how cynical I get, I can't keep up."

Monday, September 29, 2008

The World is Out to Lunch

In the movie, Men in Black, Tim Meadow's character, in a strac bemedaled uniform is asked why he is in a room taking a test he does not know the purpose of. Meadows pompously shouts in a drill field manner, "Because we're the best of the best of the best, Sir." Will Smith's starts uncontrollably giggling. Smith is asked why and reply's that Captain America "Has no clue why we're here."

So you've got Dan Kennedy, Medianation and The Guardian writing about about who thinks it was a tie and the comments of other pundits. Where Kennedy became Captain America was in the Guardian article title, "McCain's style undermines substance." Dan, there was no substance.

Full disclosure, I listened on the radio as long as I could take it. We don't have TV, so the next night, on youtube, I watched talking heads on Fox and CNN talking around everything. Colmes was much less goofy than Hannity, if only because it's impossible to be more. Hannity's McCain cheerleading was mentally aberrant.

Here's the take away; about the bailout, these guys don't have a clue. They can repeat a few facts and a few bullets someone wrote for them on how it will work out, but a real understanding, clueless. It's like my knowing, say the formula for gunpowder. I may be able to tell you the ingredients and maybe even a text book explanation of the process, but understand it, no. My brother-in-law, Professor Dave does, but he's drunk deep at the Pierian Spring with post docs in chemistry related subjects.

A hundred pages plus, the ecomomic version of the Patriot Act is about to be passed and for the same reason. They scared everybody.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We're too Humble to Claim We Called It

the voice of humility is too modest to claim to have called the meltdown over six years ago. In truth, it wasn't a prediction with precision. Rather a general pronouncement on the progression of government action,

The Iron Law of government: Everything eventually reduces to its absurd. If this is an actual law of physics that exists in nature is not known. In politics and government, it cannot be denied. Whereas in business a company can go bankrupt (unless it is publicly favored), in the realm of government, if (actually, when is more appropriate) a program attains absolute failure, it becomes a candidate for increased funding (e.g. DARE,).

This was first posted in our Short Dictionary of Politics in the old Spintech and reposted here.

Now there are some people who blame deregulation for all of our problems. Were there a few rules that were loosened so the high financiers could go to town? Possibly, if not probably. There were certainly rules like Community Reinvestment that denied reality. I knew when I heard ads for no doc mortgages that this could not end well, as the saying goes.

So what if a few regulations were let go. No one in our nation can say, "You know what, I'm getting scared we are in danger of a regulation shortage." If the current crisis doesn't get us, we've got a trillion dollar war, social security, medicaid, medicare. Sooner or later the denouement.

So I would take my chances and not support this bailout. You need other reasons?

1. Nobody can prove it will work.
2. It has all the flavor of a late night commercial,"Act now, before this valuable offer disappears forever!!!!!!"
3. The people who will most benefit are the people who screwed up.
4. Almost nobody in congress voting on it will understand what they are voting on.

Are those good reasons for opposing the bailout? Don't know. I am willing to change my mind if Messrs. Bernanke and Paulson are willing to bet all the assets they own against all I own that the plan will solve the problem for good.

Update: Commenter Gavin Andresen referenced an article by Tyler Cowen, Too Few Regulations? No, Just Ineffective Ones. As suspected, there was no dearth of regulations, but "with a growing loss of accountability and effectiveness."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This Will Be My Last Sarah Palin Post, maybe

The convention is over, "But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot " just what is it I like about Sarah Palin?

I liked her speech, even though it was twaddle. I like her, sort of, even though I won't vote for her.

She starts becoming likeable due to her enemies. A local NPR (which now stands for National Palin Radio) station, WBUR, does the tag team thing on their mid day show, Here and Now. Hostess Robin Young and Ellen Goodman* try to work over a Republican woman. How open minded is Ellen Goodman? She equates not believing in Global Warming with Holocaust Denial. Now maybe Ellen understands climatology or maybe she has just chosen whom to believe. The fact that she won't allow for honest disagreement is maybe a tad, oh, naziish, if we are going to throw around the rhetoric.

At the end of the interrogation, Robin thanked the Republican woman and then gushed that Ellen would have to come back again for her valued thoughts. Surprise, surprise. Of course, we need the fairness doctrine, don't we?

Through the day, NPR and CNN (The lefty version of Fox) radio news are constant in their revelations that Sarah is the closest thing to the antichrist for unbelievers. Waking up the next morning when the dog nuzzles me to let him out, I turn on a radio set to WFCR in Amherst and guess who they're talking about?

Sunday afternoon, All Things Considered or is it Weekend Edition, we've got a woman historian talking about whether and how Palin fits into feminism. An historian of feminism, somehow, I don't expect she will be as read as Herodotus.

I've mentioned Dan Kennedy's Medianation before. Great man for the Boston media scene, but obsessed with herself and not in a healthy way. His blog is all Palin all the time. Of course he has put Obama under the microscope for Rezko in the same manner. Surrrre.

The drumbeat is delicious because the smarmy who live a life of white privilege are scared. Charisma is okay when it's the post racial guy inspiring middle class ivies to chant the politically correct version of sieg heil. When it's babe from lumpen whitey state, well, such heresy cannot be allowed. The effect of the ad nauseum attacks makes her even more attractive in comparison.

So at the end of it all, I think one can put one's finger on it. Would you rather be stuck hanging out with Sarah Palin or discussing gender theory with someone from Smith.

*A quote from Ellen, "You can teach someone who cares to write columns, but you can’t teach someone who writes columns to care." Is this woman profound or what?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


With our vast social knowledge of the American People that we are properly humble about, the voice of humility predicts that nine months hence, maternity wards and birthing center will report a large upswing in the number of babies named Bristol.

The phenomenon will not appear in all Socio Economic Groups in the same numbers (hint, there will be less among NYT readers and more in the People Mag demographic).

Heck, if we were having another kid, I'd name her that just to annoy my lace curtain relatives.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Does Biden Palin Comparison?

Gee, it’s only been a few days and I know almost as much about Sarah Palin as I do my own wife. Well, I know what some might call the dodgy stuff about the Guv because an army of snoops want to discover it. So far, they haven’t laid a glove on her. There are legions of voters out there in Third Millennium America who have had to deal with similar stuff and think no less of the lass for the revelations.

But, enough of that. Most of America has to think about one party’s veep choice versus the other side’s. Pas moi. I live in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts. Everyone here knows who is going to win the state. Even if George Wallace was wrong and it’s a quarter or even a fifty cent piece, the difference is not enough to drive me to the polls for the major parties. As we have a foregone conclusion, it is the obligation of every intelligent citizen in the Commonwealth to vote third party. Generally, all three of us do.

Still, to the point, I’m here to help. What can one say in favor of Biden. There, assume I’ve said it. On a drive home from New York State yesterday, some talker said he “connected” with the man because of how kind he was to his mom. I grant that a fellow who savagely beat mother might not be vice presidential timber, but kindness to the old lady doesn’t speak to governance.

Joe is a goof ball. From the Kinnock theft to walking around with hair plugs for years, he’s a space cadet. He voted to go to war with Iraq and for bills that are unreadable. If doing the wrong thing and doing the wrong thing and then doing it again is “experience,” then the quality is overrated.

I wish to announce, I have enough experience to be POTUS or VPOTUS. You do too. Well, let’s give a caveat, assuming you’ve lived long enough making your way in the world. Everyone gains experience, some do not profit from it. Right off the bat, we can agree, the sixty year old in front of you in the convenience store line trying to make a choice among scratch tickets has not gained from his life’s lessons. Look closely at him for a hair transplant. You never know who you’re behind.

Let me confess, I’m not impressed with La Palin’s choice of hairdressers. Other than that, I’m not finding it easy to prove her goofier than Biden. Granted, that’s a task. The question has caused me to think about women as heads of state.

In most of history, head of state has meant king, and on occasion, queen. Queenie was rare, but the lasses that made it were often spectacularly successful. Why. Maybe it was the winnowing process. The girls who couldn’t handle it ended up in the convent or the nut house or worse. Those who made it, had proven at least an ability for political fancy footwork.

When they came into their own, the survivors had skills. Arguably, the most important is the hallmark of a truly intelligent woman, the ability to choose among men. Catherine of Russia was no slouch, and she chose for many different abilities. Elizabeth I was a women who knew her men, even if she never knew a man.

Do we extrapolate a successful reign in the event of Sarah I. I would hire her for an important job before Joey, but predicting the future is not possible. I wouldn’t have hired Liz based on her experience. Mrs. Palin seems to be able to handle the Alaskan guys with some ability, turfing out a few of them. That state trooper thingy shows some ruthlessness

The Palin choice is a shot in the dark. Biden, looks bad even if you get the lighting right. Forced to choose, I’ll fall back on women leaders of big countries in the last century. You don’t get much tougher cookies than Thatcher and Ghandi. Even if Thatcher’s hair was weirder than Joe’s.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Inauthentic is the New Authentic

Dan Kennedy is a veteran journalist covering the Boston area. When he sticks to that mission he's good.

To say he is a partisan of the Democrat Party is understatement at gold medal level if there were an Olympic event for that. When the Palin announcement came out, he was Johnny on the spot. I'm going out on a limb and say I have slight doubts that he said to himself, "Hmmmm, I'm going to research her and I do hope I only find good."

But it is older post that we are concerned with now.

On August 26 he wrote,

A presidential makeover

In my latest for the Guardian, I argue that two contrasting speeches by Michelle Obama show she understands what works in Chicago doesn't work on the national stage. Unfortunately for Democrats, the Obamas' efforts to reinvent themselves risk making them seem inauthentic and leave them vulnerable to Republican attack. (italics mine)

When the Obamas say something and get jittery, they change it and Dan is worried that mean spirited folks might notice. Noticing a contradiction in his eyes is bad form and I would not be shocked if he thinks it hate speech. He certainly feels it "wrong think" anyway.

Get over it Dan, "politics ain't bean bag."

So I commented

I don't understand the word "seem" here. Are you implying that the Obama's reinvention is genuine or only "seems" inauthentic?

Are not reinventers ipso facto inauthentic?

If that is so, then yes they are vulnerable to "genuine" attacks even from hacks like Severin*.

Another comment appeared,

Neil said....

A week or so ago Tom Ashbrook had as his On Point guest Richard Todd, the author of The Thing Itself, a kind of meditation on authenticity. I haven't read the book yet, I think it'll be on the fall pile, but he was quite witty about the slippery, even ineffable notion of what's "authentic". One caller mentioned that some Europeans come here specifically to experience "authentic" American kitsch of the sort we dismiss as worthless trash. Another talked about taking his students to Central America, where they searched for locally-made trinkets, and Indian souvenir shops selling items from China.

Last week in Montreal I nearly bought a hollow wooden frog that comes with a stick you clack across its back. For some reason I figured it was locally made. Label on the bottom: Made in Thailand. Uck no thanks, inauthentic! Had I been in Bangkok though, such a product of a local sweatshop would have been just the thing.

In short I think it's nearly impossible and maybe pointless to pick through the layers of the global economy in the search for "authentic" objects. And even more pointless to look for it in politicians who by nature must arrange themselves into configurations that the public can accept. How authentic is Ranchman Bush, or McCain and his "cabin"? The answer isn't that they are inauthentic, it's that to even imagine that authenticity can exist among such people, is absurd.

Republicans will of course attack Obama and his wife no matter how they behave, so hewing to some imaginary line of authenticity to avoid such attacks is pointless.

Et voilà, Inauthentic is the new authentic.

*Jay Severin is a goofy Boston talk show host whose buffoonery is chronicled here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A speech for the ages, The Dark Ages

Hilary's vapid promise of everything for everybody is still reaping the plaudits of the msm and will be pilloried by talk radio today. I want to discuss what is, in our nation ancient history, the night before.

Ted Kennedy appeared before the faithful and gave maybe his last speech. I have dealt with the man and his illness before and see no need to here. Suffice it to say, the man could not put two words together on his own and has always been the creature of his staff.

The other night, he was ill served. Granted, I did not pay attention, the radio was background noise. What jarred me were the words, "To change America, to restore its future."

The lad or lass who wrote those words no doubt had a lot of high priced schooling. His mom and dad should get there money back. A future cannot be restored.

FDR said he never aimed a speech higher than the level of a thirteen year old. Aim high was not the motto the other night.

You never hear something like, "We are called to leave alone those who want to be left alone." Pity.

Friday, August 08, 2008

O Canada

Mr. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Dominion of Canada

Dear Mr. Harper,

I write in the spirit of brotherhood that exists between Canada and the United States. A CBC radio program that airs here in the states unintentionally embarassed your nation. I quote the offending segment aired on August 6 of 2008,

Duration: 00:01:26

Dateline: Huntsville, TexasThe message to the international community was pretty clear. Don't mess with Texas.

Last week, As It Happens brought you the story of a Mexican death row inmate who was due to be executed within days. José Medellín was convicted in the rape and murder of two teenage girls - a conviction he never contested. Nevertheless, his case became something of an international cause célèbre. For although Mr Medellín was a Mexican national, it seems that he was never informed of his right to consular assistance. Foreigners were granted that right under the 1963 Vienna Convention - something to which both the U-S and Mexico are signatories.

Mr Medellín's lawyers and the Mexican government argued that his execution should be put off until a hearing could be held to determine whether or not his original trial was fair. And the International Court of Justice in the Hague agreed. The court ordered the United States not to execute Mr Medellín while it was reviewing his case. Even President Bush - who could not exactly be described as being soft on crime - urged Texas prosecutors to stay the execution and reopen the case.

But yesterday, the state's Republican governor, Rick Perry, offered his definitive response to their pleas. Jose Medellín died just before 10pm after being given a lethal injection. A spokesman for the governor said "the world court has no standing in Texas". For the sake of Americans living abroad, let's hope that the justice systems in other countries are more inclined to follow international law."

Is he saying that if an American commits kid murder in another country and they execute him, it will be a horrible injustice if he does not see the consul? Somehow, as dumbed down as many of my countrmen are, I hope they do not see this as a problem. Is he implying that law abiding US Americans (as Miss SC calls us) are now in trouble because other countries will rise up to avenge the noble Mr. Medellin? The implication of international barbarism is a slander on the rest of the world.

Really, Mr. Harper, tell the CBC to get a grip.

With brotherly love,

the voice of humility

Monday, August 04, 2008

Plus ça change, all over again

That stimulus check you got from the government got more than eaten up by inflation according to Marketwatch.

I'll be glad when the Dems win the White House and we can get some fiscal sanity.

Oh, wait. Isn't the O Man planning on a stimulus packages.

Change you can, oh never mind.

Friday, August 01, 2008

How Black People Became Irish

It is 1960 and morning at Parochial School. The normal orderly routine of prayer then lessons has been suspended. We are in celebration. An Irish Catholic American has been elected president. There has always been an undercurrent of "We are the better Americans, first to serve in war, yet not really accepted." Now, the validation.

Never mind that a Mick mayor and WASP Texan had done a bit of fancy footwork. That won't come out until it is irrelevant. Forget that Kennedy is not the rosary saying family man as portrayed. That also can wait till it does not matter. Nous sommes arrivé.

Sister Lucille, our teacher had been given a bit of tchotchkes as a gift. A little letter holder in the shape of a dachsund. Gushing, she told us that in celebration of the day, she would call it JFK.

Now, in 2008, in our current quadrennial search for a fuhrer, another ethnic group has their man in the battle for chief executive. And it is their man. They had plighted their troth to another family and it had been expected their support would descend on that pretender. The crown princess had been pandering for years. Yet, when someone entered the fray who bore at least superficial similarities, they abandoned their old patrons in a trice.

There is no praise high enough for Obama. The man is being likened to a deity. Yes, it's silly, but no sillier than JFKmania of my childhood. James Collier of the blog Acting White is pretty level headed even for someone who has an affinity for Nascar and weird bounty hunters, still extrapolates, "It may be that because he was born of two ancestries, one black, one white, he reached a harmony of the two that aides his leadership ability, and just maybe the country's too." Wow, the man is one with the gods. Hey, maybe he is right, maybe not.

When Kennedy won, we celebrated in the burbs, not inner city "Dawchestah"* where I was born. Our postwar dads had moved up a lot of ladders. Vatican II was making the Catholic Church into, "Unitarianism with a Pope."** Assimilation is complete enough to make the whole thing irrelevant.

So will an Obama election change things. Don't know. Is the Black American population on the verge of assimilation? Living in exurbia in self employed and under employed Swamp Yankeeness, I would not be able to say. It is over twenty years since I had any connection to an urban professional environment. People in professions tend to get along because the consequences of non cooperation are obvious. When I was mispending my youth and driving a cab, I would observe a sea of black faces and though not universally unfriendly, hardly palsy walsy. To be fair, in the old white neighborhoods, there was oft a left behind by life ambience. How much has changed?

I doubt the cleansing effect of an Obama presidency. Yeat's line at the beginning of Easter 1916, "Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart" may not have the same import as for Israel/Palestine, Sunni/Shia, or Hutu/Tutsi, but maybe it's close enough for government work.

If he wins, he has one thing going for him. Coming after GWB is not the hardest act to follow.

*English translation, Dorchester.

**D. Keith Mano

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

If you want to know what President Obama will do, Study Candidate McCain

A lot of people to the right of, oh, say Hilary Clinton are trying to scare everybody by fear mongering about what a commie Barack Obama is.

Moi, as always, I'd rather worry about life's important questions like, who wrote the book of love. Still, the need to soothe my nervous nellie countrymen and women weighs heavily on me. I shall do what I can, because I shall do what I must with all the humility I can muster.

An Investors Business Daily editorial is in a tizzy because we are about to see Barack Obama's Stealth Socialism if your man is elected. The last guy to institute socialist policies in this country called it "Compassionate Conservatism."

Anyway, IBD accuses Barry of using code words. Oh, that's never happened before. Under the rubric, "economic justice," we have a wish list,

• "Universal," "guaranteed" health care.
• "Free" college tuition.
• "Universal national service" (a la Havana).
• "Universal 401(k)s" (in which the government would match contributions made by "low- and moderate-income families").
• "Free" job training (even for criminals).
• "Wage insurance" (to supplement dislocated union workers' old income levels).
• "Free" child care and "universal" preschool.
• More subsidized public housing.
• A fatter earned income tax credit for "working poor."
• And even a Global Poverty Act that amounts to a Marshall Plan for the Third World, first and foremost Africa.

He also wants a $10 minimum wage. The shocking thing is that he didn't suggest free braces and whitening for senior citizens. If they are going to have drug induced smiles, they should at least be on straight, bright teeth.

Now, as the Democrat Party is merely a cargo cult, there is little different from what any other Dem would propose. He was talking to a black audience and was trying to get some racial cred at the time. If you think, as Mencken did of an election as an auction in advance of stolen goods, what does one expect?

So what is actually going to happen when the O man ascends to the throne? If past is prologue we know pretty well what will happen. We know because someone has figured it out.

Howard Katz, The Gold Bug has looked into the matter and it is clear how presidents act,

A study of politicians from JFK on shows that most of them fulfill the campaign promises of their enemies and violate their own promises. The left still does not want to admit that it was their beloved JFK who got us into Vietnam with a carefully planned dance of two steps forward (toward war), one step back (toward peace). LBJ followed (what he thought was) Barry Goldwater’s program for war in Vietnam. The Republicans promised no price and wage controls in 1968 and enacted them in 1971. Ditto, ditto “peace with honor” in 1972. Ronald Reagan promised that he would not negotiate with terrorists and that he would follow Milton Friedman’s prescription to limit growth in the money supply to 2%-6%. 1986 saw an 18% increase in the money supply. George Bush, Sr. said, “Read my lips; no new taxes.” Then he enacted new taxes.

Clinton said he was the “woman’s candidate,” and women voted for him in large numbers. It turned out he was the woman’s candidate, but not in the way that people thought. Instead he fulfilled the conservative program of cutting back welfare, reducing the size of the Federal Government and balancing the budget.

So, President Obama will turn out to be ......President McCain. Oh joy. Start your office pool now as to what countries Obama will bomb.

Mr. Katz makes the case for voting third party.

So to answer our original question, how to vote in 2008, voting for the major party candidate closest to one’s position is not a good option because, if elected, he will betray his promises. However, voting for the major party candidate farthest from one’s position does not work either. All politicians, from whatever party, study the results of each election carefully and estimate what each vote means. If you vote for a candidate you do not support, then your vote will be estimated by these people to stand for the exact opposite of what you believe.

Therefore, if your vote is to count for anything, you must vote for the minor party closest to your position. That is, you must vote for a man who stands up for his ideology, and in this case it is an advantage that he cannot win. These minor party candidates are men of principle, but even if one of them weren’t, he could not betray you because he is not going to get elected. The major party candidate who wins then “steals” the minority candidate’s position, and your vote for him is a winner. For example, in 1932 the 3 far-left candidates together gathered a million votes (2½%), and F.D.R. “stole” their position (as Norman Thomas later complained).

Right now there are two minor party candidates, Ralph Nader running on the program of returning society to the Middle Ages and Bob Barr running on the program of increasing the amount of liberty in our society. Both are polling about 6% in this early part of the race. Barr has never run for President before, and it will be interesting to see how he does. He has already far outpolled any previous Libertarian Party presidential candidate.

I'm not convinced. Mr. Katz rails against the Federal Reserve. His logic is convincing, but there are just too much in powerful special interests that support American central banking. Barr could get 25% of the vote and it would not change anything. The system has to completely crash for things to change and it is not certain at that point the gold standard nirvana would come.

Still, even though I agree with Loren Lomasky, that voting is like cheering, I shall duly cast my vote for Mr. Barr, despite my reservations about him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some People See a Problem, We See Opportunity

Over at Defense and the National Interest they note that the no fly list is at a million no flyers. It appears Bill Lind and his crew are not amused. To quote those skeptics,

Your first reaction might be that if the number of terrorists is into seven figures we are truly doomed — it only took 19 plus a support organization of perhaps a few dozen to carry out 9/11.

We say why fight the progression. It is foolish to do things piecemeal. Let's go for it and put everyone in the country on the no fly list. Look at the problems we take care of.

1. The oil crisis is solved.

2. We can finally stop shaking in our boots. A nation on lockdown is a safe nation.

3. It'll probably happen anyway. Better we do it at one fell swoop then taking years.

4. There will be no more problems with the frisky friskers at airports having their passionate desire to do a good job being mistaken for passionate desire.

This list of benefits is surely not exhaustive, but we at the voice of humility have only so much time to spend saving the nation.

Still, if the Department of Fatherland Security, wishes to call on us, we are here for them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fit to be Tied

Steve Sailer has a post about a New York Times article that notes violent criminals tend to be fit. Duh. Do you think someone will attack you unless he possesses force majeur?

A Libertarian Party presidential candidate once had the idea that criminals should spend the first month in jail in bed. That way, they would be less physically fit and easier to control. A riot by 90 lb. weaklings is not to be greatly feared.

There should be no physical training equipment in prisons. The diet and exercise program should be tailored to make sure the lads (and it is mostly lads) come out unfit.

Eric Nagourney, the author cites a Dr. Walker that “Those who are fit may have personalities that are more likely to make them violent.” Even if we can't expunge the propensity, I would much rather be threatened with mugging by someone who is wheezing from the effort.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Vive La France

July is here. We’ve had the fireworks and barbecues to celebrate our national holiday. Our sister republic, without whose assistance our fourth of July would have come to nothing, also celebrates its national day this month. Actually, Bastille Day est maintenant and my thoughts stray to the the glories of La Belle France. They are many and despite what some neocons might say, eating cheese has never caused them to surrender and les jeunes filles do not look like monkeys.

Much of our punditry loves to trash the French. Men who have organized their lives to be certain they never got near a battlefield, make fun of France’s Twentieth Century military record. It is true that the hundred years before the new millennium were not the epoch of La Gloire. France did have that. Les Polius were the bad boys of the late Eighteen and early Nineteen Hundreds. They ended up looking like the drunk in a bar, offering to take on the house. It ended predictably as it did for Les Boches approximately a century and a half later. It is premature to suggest that our current trajectory bears comparison, but only premature.

One thing Les Gaulles do not have going for them is their national slogan. For a nation that prides itself on logic, Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité is about the dumbest and least well thought out statement in world history.

How can liberty and equality coexist. If a man possesses liberty, than he is free to rise or fall. If he can, then he can rise above his fellows or fall below them. His freedom or his neighbor's must be curtailed if equality is the goal to be maintained.

Now the Fraternity stuff. When someone uses that word, like most Americans who never belonged to TKE, I think of Animal House. That is not what they had in mind during the Revo. That Liberty thingee, is again the problem. If I am free, I am free to not be your brother, or for that matter, your sister. Heck, a brotha is free to not be a brotha, considering black on black crime statistics. Brothers, I have none, but my sisters were glad to see the last of me, as they lack the revolutionary spirit.

So how do we stack up against the frogs. Hmmm, that Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness* thing seems okay, but the last part has a narcissistic sound to it. Anyway, it’s already contained in the liberty part except someone might scream at me, “You don’t know the difference between libertine and liberty. Ah non, mon cher. True, there are a lot of words I do not have the exact meaning of even at my advanced age. I, having attended college in this country, do know the meaning of libertine and have looked up liberty so no one could call me on it.

Thomas Jefferson supposedly changed it in the Declaration of Independence. I like the other way better, as the Civil Rights entry in our Short Dictionary of Politics has it:

Civil Rights: In truth, there can only be three: Life, Liberty and Property. Anything else is the attempt of one group to secure privileges at the expense of another group or society itself. Of the three above, Property is the most important. If the individual's property is secure, there is little reason for anyone to take his life or liberty.

*I know that’s not our official motto, but I would be okay with Life, Liberty and Property. Of course property seems a bit of Yankee conniving. So thanks to Jeff, Southern love crept into it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I wish I thought of that

Quoted below is a post on the Parapundit blog in its entirety:

Stop Calling Elected Officials Leaders

Modest proposal: We should stop calling our elected officials "leaders". We should stop referring to the "national leadership". We should stop calling for "strong leadership". We should stop seeking to be led.

I agree we should stop though I don't remember ever having called an elected official my leader.

One of the comments intelligently, if depressingly, explained the phenomenon:

Unfortunately, it is the genetic nature of the majority of the human species to need leaders, especially when there is a confusing situation that threatens the usual way of life.

For example, the 9/11 event that was an unexpected and difficult to understand situation, made the majority of the nation far more submissive and obedient to the leadership, and the nation became willing to do things that were against its best interests, without thinking.

Similar situations have occurred every time a nation suffered a major military-economic setback like Germany after WW I, of Japan facing a terrible economic collapse before WW II. The list is endless.

But the fascinating question is how exactly leaders whose IQ scores are only slightly above average, can gain so much power during crisis. It must be a combination of factors, such as charisma and intensity of personality of the leaders that easily influence the masses that are desperate to be told what to do during crisis, and also the fact that behind these leaders, there are some very intelligent people who do the calculations (always so).

This phenomenon of mass servility during crisis, is an area of psychology that must be studied more seriously and thoroughly, because history repeats itself without duplicating itself, and it is difficult to discern when and how exactly the mass servility phenomenon will spontaneously manifest itself.

A few observations,

I think "fuhrer" means leader.

If the commenter Wolf-Dog is correct, most of us are Aristotle's natural slaves. Except of course you and I.

It exists at all levels. Even Ralph Adams Cram supported FDR.

Can we as a species overcome this? Let's say together, "Yes We can!"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Change You Can Believe In

I believe. Yes, I believe that when Barack Obama says he is for change you can believe in, because when he was told to jump your man said how high,


changed his mind on foreign policy.

How can anyone not believe that change.

Anyway, as regarding his followers, anyone who would chant "Yes we can" would just as readily chant "Sieg heil."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Note to Governor Patrick, there appears to be a flaw in the State Police examination process!!

Your Excellency,

Last evening, July 2, 2008 at 8:27 Pm two Massachusetts State Policeman were stopped at the light at the intersection of Route 148 and Route 20. When the light turned green they lingered. I beeped my horn after the one in the right lane left. Instead of moving, the fellow in the cruiser in front of me jumped out and yelled, “Are you beeping at me?”

I do hope this is an anomaly and the fellow slipped through the cracks as It can only have been moi who beeped. If the examination system is allowing this to happen, I am worried.

The fellow excoriated me for not being patient as they were on police business. He said someone had been beaten up using the past tense. How his not moving along after he had finished speaking with the other officer helped the victim's situation is an excellent question, but he seemed not to be in a question answering mood.

I did mention I paid his salary, he told me not to go there implying he makes so much that I hardly covered his pay. Duh. His powers of cognition leave one to wonder if he might be overpaid.

As he walked back to the cruiser, I asked his badge number, but he ignored me. Not behavior one would expect from a public servant. No matter, his plate was either 894 or 984.

As he drove off, he did not put on his left turn signal. Not merely bad form to add to bad manners, but a ticketable offense. As the man who enforces the law should be held to the same or higher standard, I hope you will look into this.

To be fair, I’ve met many very professional state troopers and have been generally treated fairly. The bad apples need to be made aware they work for the citizens.

Thank you, Governor, for your attention.

Un Citoyen

Monday, June 30, 2008


What Would Sam Neil Say?

I'm not a Tom Clancy fan. As a Mick, I think he goes overboard in making his hero Hibernian, but he also did too much in making the man a tool of the Brits in his anti IRA screed. Still in the movie, The Hunt for Red October, There is a small scene where Sam Neill's character is talking with Sean Connery's. Neill talks about how he is going to travel from state to state in his recreational vehicle. At one point he says, "No papers?" and Connery affirms, "No Papers." I loved that.

That was of course in the old Evil Empire days. Nowadays, we are scared of everything. I saw a post at Squirmelicious detailing the decline in our privacy and the increase in our surveillance.

Kids, we're all going to die. Hate to break it to you. Get out from under the bed and face the day. After all, when you sneak out of the house, you have a greater chance of dying for your country going to the 7-eleven and getting in a car crash than being attacked by Achmed. Got a swimming pool? An undertaker wife told mine that her husband had a lot of business from his affluent clientele's drowning children. Never said international terrorism got one.

Oh, speaking about "The Troubles," they said instituting surveillance cameras in the Six Counties was just to watch "terrorists." Gee, guess what's all over Britland now. I guess your Lumpen Limeys are all terrorists, or so HMG thinks.

I don't think as Squirmelicious does that Obama is the answer as he's flipped the flop on the Mid East. I think the people are the problem. If we did not see a bogeyman at every turn, the powers that be would not run with it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Not The Meaning of Life, but Not Without Meaning

Linked from the resurrected Ilkka is a blog post about Tim Russert. Of course, by now it should be Tim Russert who? The import of the article is that Tim was fat, but he had no trouble getting on the case of deceased smokers. People talking about him are tiptoeing around his weight. Rest his soul, but he was hefty and did nothing about it and felt very good about being a non smoker.

When I was a kid, pre civil rights, there was a story told in Black American dialect that I thought contained a lot of wisdom. I suppose it might offend someone, but it is apropos and I'll recount it.

Preacher engages a ferryman to take him across a river. As ferryman is rowing the preacher asks him, "Son, do you smoke?" Ferryman answers, "Yes Rev, I does." "Son, one fourth of your life is over."

Little while later, preacher asks, "Son do you drink?" Ferryman, "Yes, Rev." "Son two fourth of your life is over."

Later, "Son, do you chase women?" "Yes." "Son, three fourths of your life is over."

The ferryman is now very nervous. So nervous and shakey, he forgets his skill on the river and hits a rock. The boat crashes and the ferryman swims to shore.

From shore he shouts to the preacher, "Hey Rev does you swim?" The preacher answers, "No son, I do not." The ferryman shouts, "Well Rev, four fourths of your life is over."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Death Conditioning

The Black Sea left the following comment on my last post.

On a more personal level, I can attest to the power of this phenomenon. Three years ago, a colleague whom I barely knew, and considered fairly odd, died in his mid-50s of leukemia. Although his death naturally received no media hype, I was surprised at how much it saddened me. I'd only ever spoken to the guy a couple of times, but still, in his mid 50s . . . (I was in my 40s, and at this point ten years passes rather quickly, so perhaps I was really premeptively lamenting my own demise).

Yep, that's us.

Contrast that with my old man. In Huxley's Brave New World there is death conditioning where kids are socialized to not worry about death. I think that happened in the world pre WWII society. My dad's brother was killed by a trolley at seven years of age. There was a lot of that in inner city neighborhoods in those days. Of the six kids my grandmother gave birth to, I only knew three.

That was a less safety conscious world. Also, it was pre antibiotic. Calvin Coolidge's son, who would have had the best treatment available died of a simple infection. Penicillin would have cured it with ease.

One of my dad's favorite entertainments was going to wakes. I have never seen the man more at ease than when conversing with friends a few feet away from a stiff.* Not for nothing do they call the obituaries the Irish Sports Pages where I come from.

His reaction to hearing about the situation Black Sea mentions. "Hey, yah hear about Mikey. Leukemia. Only 55. Got the paper? Gotta see when the wake is." He would have a hard time not appearing exhuberant.

Himself went at 93. A respectable wake, but nothing like the old days. He had been to the wake of just about everyone he knew. Other than his best friend from childhood, there was no one left.

Moi, I almost never get the paper and I never check the obituaries, if only for fear I might be in there.

*I never saw anyone partake of alcohol. Just had to get the stereotype thing out of the way.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another Blogger Notices Tim Is Dead

Tim Russert's passing affected me personally. No, I did not connect with him because he represented me on the TV in some way. It affected me because we are or were the same age. Mr. Russert was on a few different drugs for maladies that I associate with older people. Could he have saved his life by leaving his job and taking up like moi the life of the self-employed, under-employed swamp yankee? Don't know. I could keel over tomorrow, so today is lucky.

My lifestyle is the anti-Russert. I do self-medicate. A couple of cups of coffee in the morning. A glass (well, closer to two) of red wine with dinner. I follow a strict dietary regimen of using bacon fat as a cooking medium for eggs (lots of 'em). Bacon fat is the olive oil of the north and those of us melanin challenged people from colder climes ignore its healing properties at our peril.

As to Tim himself. Like Princess Di, I had no connection with him other than hearing his voice simulcast over the radio on Sunday evenings once or twice. That people say nice things about him is okay, but the deification is a bit over the top. The biggest reason he had his job, and you would realize this if you only heard him on radio, is his pleasant voice. He could savage Ron Paul and still seem a nice guy. TV is a "soft medium," he was kind of a drug. That nice guy persona helped him even if he used it in the service of a bitter partisanship.

On a newscast they played at his memorial some bit of rock noise that had been on his ipod. My first thought was why did they embarrass the man by playing his guilty pleasure of low music. Ah, but this is the Republic of Bad Taste and he was his country.

I quote the best comment about him and his class,

...professionally, he was not a "great journalist," because a great journalist searches for the truth and asks fundamental questions about the status-quo. He was successful at rebuilding Meet the Press into the highest-rated Sunday morning news program. He was successful at becoming a celebrity and making a lot of money. In short, he was a successful media animal. But his very tenure at an establishment mouthpiece like Meet the Press is de facto evidence of his real professional legacy, of which this article’s transcript, and the gushing tributes this week from establishment politicians and journalists, are further proof: Tim Russert was a shill for the state and the power elite who control it.*

Oh well, we are only supposed to get 15 minutes. He had a half hour. After the canonization is done, he will be forgotten.

*Johnny Kramer at LRC

**Justin Raimondo probably has the best titled article, Enough Already!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Prospects Dim

Third quarter earnings for Clinton Inc. are expected to nosedive. The company, founded in 2001 to take advantage of the earnings prospects of William J. Clinton who was leaving a chief executive position due to the legal limitation of length of service. He was continuing his association with Hilary Clinton. It had been a tumultuous period of service for both.

Clinton Inc. had positioned itself as a major player in the influence peddling sector and had steady growth since operations began. Hilary Clinton, however, has been rejected as the next holder of her husband's old ceo position. This is expected to cause growth to, in the words of Monty Python, "not so much fly, as plummet."

The rumors that Ms. Clinton will now separate from Clinton Inc. to found Rodham Partners as a new company are probably untrue as interest appears nil. A breaking apart of the entity, due to the different outlooks, if not incompatabilty of the two senior staff is not ruled out.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Okay, is it time to panic yet?

A few days ago, oil drops a fiver, and I'm thinking an overbought market. Yesterday, up near $11 on war rumors. It's like getting whiplash watching a tennis match, except the trend is one way.

So, if an attack happens, and the Strait of Hormuz gets blocked, we shall see if the center can hold. We'll see if we can even have a center.

A few years ago, through a friend, I sort of had a writing audition for a small Western Massachusetts newspaper. I was to review a book on the then new subject of peak oil. I flunked the assignment as the editor thought I was trying to bring a tad too much humor to the task.

Now, peak oil is out there as a subject, but like global warming, how much can a non expert know. The book, Out of Gas by David Goodstein is a few years old now, but if you are a non science geek, it is a good read. Mr. Goodstein explains it so we non nerds can comprehend it.

I liked his book, but I can't say I've learned enough to make a judgment. My doubts about peak oil are not related to science, I still don't know enough to be confident one way or the other. It's a human thing. Everybody is jumping on the peak oil band wagon. Usually, that means the crowd has joined at the wrong time in my life's experience.

Out of Gas, by David Goodstein

Repent, the end is nigh. No, this time we really mean it. Sort of. You see, the world is running out of the stuff that makes it spin. Ah, but it started running out of that stuff on the day of the first gusher in 1859. Now, however, we really do have a gasoline crisis.

According to David Goodstein, author of Out of Gas, we have used up or are about to have used up half of all the petroleum that ever will be available on this planet. In a world where demand for black gold only increases, a declining supply being fought over by nations, not to mention individuals, reminds one of the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Life may get interesting indeed.

Yeah, but some might say, we had those long gas lines in the seventies and a few years later, gasoline prices were lower, adjusted for inflation than ever. Still. I occasionally like to get my paranoa juices flowing. After all, I haven’t had so much fun since before the y2k scare fizzled. Who is this Dave Goodstein, another crank? Would that he were. Dr. David L. Goodstein, Ph.D is a physics prof at Caltech, which is not a school advertised on matchbook covers. His biography is a lengthy list of accomplishments. He is the real thing who, lucky for me, has the ability to communicate to primitives with an entertaining style of writing.

Doctor Dave, lays out the problem well. He recaps the now well discussed Hubberts Peak. For those who have not heard about it, geophysicist M King Hubbert predicted in 1960 that oil production in the lower 48 would peak around 1970. He was right. It has been downhill ever since. Recently, other geologists have been using Hubbert’s methods. Brace yourself. Peak is coming within this decade. It may even have already occurred.

What does this mean? It means more people competing for less oil, forever. The crisis does not begin when the last drop is pumped, but when the half way point is reached. And, what happens when such a competition begins. One thing is, the price starts to rise. Now the author avers that a steep inflation will occur as we all compete for all the various petrochemical products. I tend to agree with him, but for a different reason. Inflation does not occur when the price of one commodity, or even a set of commodities become scarce and prices rise, for in a system where the central bank could actually control itself, the prices of other commodities must decline. If past is prologue, don’t expect the fed to exercise restraint.

So, how do we replace the missing energy? Do we go to a methane economy, making up the shortfall with natural gas products? Will we actually be better off when spurred by higher energy prices, less polluting forms of enegy come into production? Goodstein looks at a lot of alternatives.

About that methane economy. The use of natural gas as an alternative for Texas Tea could be done, with some effort. The problem is that peak natural gas will come just a couple of decades after peak oil.

Okay, scratch that. What else? Well the author notes there is a lot of elemental carbon buried beneath our planet’s surface. The stuff is coal. You can even liquefy it for driving in a process that is energy intensive and expensive. Oh, there are a few drawbacks. It is very dirty and gives off a lot of waste such that if we go over to a coal economy and you eat a lot of tuna, you may be able to take your own temperature.

The good doctor also looks at nuclear. He actually likes it. As mentioned above, I am a primitive and that may explain a fear of nuclear power. I would not wish to live next to an atomic plant, nor would I wish that fate for someone else. Reality, however, causes me to realize that when the bulbs start to flicker, my countrymen and women will look at things in a different light, so to speak. Of course, I would not like to live next to a coal fired plant either. It is a dilemma we may be forced to choose, assuming we are even asked. The greenhouse gas spewing chimneys or a potential mountain of spent fuel.

There is even a peak uranium problem as if we go full bore on nuclear we have only a twenty five year supply tops. That little problem can be circumvented by building breeder reactors to change a form of uranium into plutonium and providing a lot of fuel and fissile material for electricity and bombs. Anyway, whatever help nuclear provides, it won’t work in you car.

There is a clean form of atomic power. It’s called fusion. The author discusses it and its arrival is devoutly to be wished. His comment on it and another hope, shale oil, is all we need mention, “It has been said of both nuclear fusion and shale oil that they are the energy of the future, and always will be.”

As to hydropower, been there, done that, at least as much as we can on this planet. Wind? It’s great stuff, and it has a place. Unfortunately, it does not have enough places. Photovoltaics gets a “needs improvement” on the prof’s report card. He has a lot of suggestions on space based solar and improving what already exists. All of them good ideas, but of limited utility if peak is occurring now.

Obviously, the poor man spends way to much time in the classroom and needs to get out more. Just doing a little sociology led me to an energy solution that will be cheaper than any Manhattan Project . You see, I watched the movie Super Size Me wherein Morgan Spurlock eats only at McDonalds and almost becomes poster child for save the whales. Well, Professor Chazz Weaver, an economist went on the McDiet for a month, but exercised an hour a day and lost weight. Morgan’s movie spent a good deal of time on the epidemic of obesity. He had statistics and a lot of visual evidence to prove there is a big (pun intended) problem in our homeland. actually, I kind of relished (I can’t believe I did that) his scenes of people whom the Good Lord should have never given tee shirts and shorts. My love handles don’t feel so bad.

Still, there is an energy crisis to solve, Anybody with a McDonald’s jones that shows within certain guidelines should be required to exercise on a stationary bicycle attached to a generator that is plugged into the electrical grid. The bike would measure the amount of effort necessary to use up enough calories to be of benefit to the rider. Business loves to tout the win/win solution to a problem. Heck here we have a win/win/win/win/win. MickeyD’s wins because its customers are now svelte. The environment wins because other than some panting much less CO2 is belched into the air to produce electricity. The health care system wins as there will be fewer ambulances rushing to emergency rooms. Big Mac lovers win as they will feel and be (sort of) healthier. I’ll win as I’ll be on my way to Stockholm to pick up my Nobel. Or maybe this paragraph explains why Doc Goodstein teaches Physics and I’m just hacking around here in hillbilly Massachusetts.

The question does remain, is David Goodstein right or wrong. If he is right, and we don’t have adequate fixes in place, our world, as we know it will come crashing down on us. His worst case is that 95% of us are superfluous. Volunteers? His best case is we go to methane as a bridge while working on newer technologies.

One bit of anecdotal evidence that we are responding to peak oil here in Nova Anglia is the increased sales of outdoor wood stoves. Recently, friends of mine have mentioned their purchases and have related it to getting out from under fuel bills. Now this may not be a response to declining energy supplies. It could be a reaction to the possibility that Mr. Greenspan might no longer be able to work his magic in restraining inflation. No matter. If either becomes a crisis our Saudi Arabia of wood here in the Northeast will be gone in short order. A logger friend of mine related a couplet that described Massachusetts in the 19th Century,

From Pittsfield to the sea
Nary a tree you could see.

So it could be again.

I have been reading about the peak oil crisis for awhile now. So far, most of the press has gone to people who are believers. It has taken a small effort, but I have found some who disagree. The best of the lot appears to be Michael Lynch, President, Strategic Energy and Economic Research, Inc., and Research Affiliate, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lynch is cited in the footnotes of Dr. Goodstein’s book. Mr. Lynch attacks the Hubbert Model as being inadequate and has fun pointing out that the peak crowd have been crying wolf for a while now. Most famously, he tells about Colin Campbell, one of the movement Gurus, prediciting imminent peak since 1989. From what I have read, I tend to agree more with Mr. Lynch. That is, up to point. The demand pressure is great what with the new Chinese and Indian middle classes wanting to join the ranks of car owners, but if the oil industry can react to demand by exploration and research, they may push the day of reckoning off for a few decades. If their efforts gradually reach a point of diminishing returns, that other technologies (some we may not be all that pleased with) will almost seamlessly take up the slack.

I would guess, if we are going to have a real life changing twenty-first century energy crisis, it will have a big political aspect to it. An invasion of Iran could do that trick.

For me, the most enjoyable aspect of this book was the review of junior high school science. Actually, it was science put in terms simple enough that an eighth grader could understand. Thanks Doc for coming down to my level. I know you had to travel.

Some biographical info below:
Dr. David L. Goodstein, Ph.D., is Vice Provost and Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Caltech, where he has been on the faculty for more than 35 years. In 1995, he was named the Frank J. Gilloon Distinguished Teaching and Service Professor. In 1999, Dr. Goodstein was awarded the Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers, and in 2000, the John P. McGovern Medal of the Sigma Xi Society. He has served on and chaired numerous scientific and academic panels, including the National Advisory Committee to the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate of the National Science Foundation. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the California Council on Science and Technology. His books include States of Matter (Prentice Hall, 1975, Dover, 1985) and Feynman’s Lost Lecture (Norton, 1996), written with his wife, Dr. Judith Goodstein. In the 1980’s he was Director and host of The Mechanical Universe, an educational television series that has been used by millions of students all over the world.

In recent times, while continuing to teach and conduct research in experimental Condensed Matter Physics, Dr. Goodstein has turned his attention to issues related to science and society. In articles, speeches and colloquia he has addressed conduct and misconduct in science, the end of exponential growth of the scientific enterprise, and issues related to fossil fuel and the climate of Planet Earth.

Dr. Goodstein has been Caltech’s Vice Provost since 1988.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Edward Moore Kennedy

When Ronald Reagan was shot, not a few left wingers made remarks about how fortuitous it might be if the man bought the farm. I remember the girlfriend of a friend making such a remark. I called her on it and she "cleaned it up" by saying, no, it would be wrong to wish for his death, but okay if he were incapacitated.

WTKK replayed the Jim and Margery show from the day after the announcement of Ted Kennedy's illness. I have mentioned Jim Braude and Margery Egan before. She center left and he, off the charts de la gauche. In Massachusetts, center left and out there lefty are terms much different than say, in Kansas.

Anyway, there were mostly encomia about what a wonderful man our senior senator is. There were also comments that even the right wingers were fulsome in praise. One might surmise that they take the high road because they are better or because they are too scared. We do not speculate as to motive.

I am glad there no comments wishing he were dead after horrible suffering. There are few in this country who have not had a family member who has gone through it. My family, has been mostly immune despite irresponsible dietary choices. A dear family friend, however, went through years of the battle and one knew that no matter the treatment torture, death would be the reward. For those years, my reaction was a heaving sigh of resignation. The cheerful smile became suffering and was then no more. Sad the person who would wish it on another as was my friend's girl's death wish for Reagan.

That out of the way, the praise of Senator Kennedy is, in itself sad. People go out of the way to praise him as the friend of the working man, the poor. He stood against this or that, ad infinitum.

Margery said of him that he dedicated his life to public service, and opined that she had not. The suggestion being this made him a great man. For all that time in the Senate, a seat he was anointed to. he received a salary. There is no record that I know of his refusing to cash paychecks out of noblesse oblige. While working so hard for us in the Senate, he had a staff paid by us. He supported laws that took taxpayer money to help those he favored. In these endeavors, he did not expend his own substantial fortune. Put aside whether or not his father made the money honestly or not, Ted earned none of his wealth. While serving us, he lived a life of privilege, not going without in the least for his office. If you think about it, his tenure kind of reminds one of Evita Peron whose praise was in the same vein.

As to an example of the vaunted public service we have the No Child Left Behind boondoggle. It has changed nothing for the better for the nation’s kids, but the educrats have done well out of it. If nothing, the senator has been an effective toady of teacher unions. The voice of humility has dealt with the oppression of the taxpayer due to the condominium of government worker unions and government. Ted is part of this ongoing civil war.

We’ll give him his opposition to Iraq. Was it principled or just political? Don’t know, but we concede the benefit of the doubt as to motive.

Margery's colleague Jim was as effusive in praise. He at one time mentioned a possible memoir that would address the elephant in the room. Chappaquiddick was mentioned less as a tragedy for the Kopechne Family, but more as a burden for Ted. The import being how all he achieved outweighed what happened on Martha's Vineyard.

Of course, who is the voice of humility to gainsay such sentiments. Churlish we would be to point out the numerous folk who opine in his favor, have not lost a child in that situation. We would pose a question to the callers and pundits who feel the value of his service outweighs a young lady's drowning. If you believe it so, and could bring back Mary Joe, would you be willing to drown your daughter for the greater good?

Mr. Braude used to excoriate Cardinal Law, the prelate who shifted pedophiles for his role in the church scandal. Though Jim seemed to take pleasure in it, he was right. Law, evaded legal problems by artful methods and escaped to Rome. Kennedy used legal means to keep Chappaquiddick from being fully disclosed. Law was abetted by the Massachusetts legal apparatus and so was Kennedy. I have to beg Jim to answer, why one should get away from the full legal treatment and one deserve it?

Cardinal Law should come back to his archdiocese and present the district attorney a full report of all he did during his reign and suffer the consequences and regain a tad of honor. Ted should release every fact of the night his passenger drowned. Whether it was an error in judgment or manslaughter, I'm under no illusions that it will make a difference to the electorate here, but it is the right thing. Whaddya think, Jim?

After all,

"Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law?
Or is there one system for the average citizen
and another for the high and mighty?"
- Senator Ted Kennedy, 1973 -

Res ipsa loquitur.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Can she control this?

In her husband's first administration she channeled Eleanor Roosevelt. It appears in this campaign, she is now channeling Tonya Harding.

Please, I beg of the Secret Service to provide sufficient protection for the frontrunner. I am already picturing him whining "Why me, why me?"

It's bad enough she has her TH moment, Barrack as Nancy Kerrigan would be the end.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Touché, Rev.

I served six years in the military.. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?

I'm still not joining your church, Rev. but that was delicious.

I don't mean to insult the Black Church, but the only time I like to listen to a sermon is to cure insomnia...

There is one black church I would have loved to be part of, Rev. Leroy's Church of What's Happenin" Now. I would say with everyone, "Make it crawl, Rev., make it crawl" at the collection.

Here's to you, Pastor Flip, wherever you are.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It Wasn't All That Depressing

The end of the world is coming. Real Estate prices are in the tank and Walmart won't sell you more than a few grains of rice. Should we panic now, or when the depression actually hits and how will we know when it does?

Mr. Howard Katz in a blog post titled Reality has a different take.

The things in reality which are generally called recessions are credit contractions; they are periods when wealth flows from the paper aristocracy back to the ordinary American. During a credit contraction about 95% of the American people get richer. (During the Great Depression real wages rose, per capita meat consumption also rose, the nation ate less margarine and more butter and gave more [per capita] to charity.) The periods designated as depressions and recessions were such for the paper aristocracy but not for the average American. And the idea was to convince the average American that he was getting poorer when in fact he was getting richer (and vice versa). This is why after two decades of “economic growth” under the leadership of someone the media described as a “miracle man,” the people of the world are rioting and killing each other for food. This does not quite fit my definition of economic growth.

I am no economist, but am the son of people who lived through the depression. I can only inflict family narratives on my few readers.

My father, at the beginning of the depression had a bit of a hard time. When he got a job with a large enterprise, through some nepotism I suspect, things changed. He had a paycheck and some relative wealth. He would speak wistfully of how low prices were during the depression.

My mom's family did not have such a good time. With her dad out of work, it was tough. Oh, her dad's loss of work was injury related not economy related.

The 95% figure sounds high as I've heard unemployment figure that were persistently high. Still, the increase in meat consumed make it hard to argue the point. After all, how many steaks can a Rockefeller eat?

I feel much better.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Not that seeing you on TV would be special, Justice K.

As someone living in a small Massachusetts town and who is afflicted with a minor elected position, I get to see collegiality at work. It ain't pretty. At our annual town meeting, every adult has a vote, yet it is poorly attended. The Woody Allen comment about showing up being eighty percent of success is evident. The members of the town boards are there and everything is adopted rather than rock the boat. If the highway department opposed a salary increase for the cops then collegiality would be shattered and no one wants that so the heck with the taxpayer.

And, of course, we see the curse of collegiality in the church abuse scandals. "Father Tom might be diddling some kid. Let's call him in to warn him and move him to Saint Swithin's. He is really wonderful except for that problem. He was in my seminary class. Quality of mercy, you know."

So it goes.

But, to some, collegiality is a virtue. The Skeptical CPA reports on an article by Nat Hentoff on Anthony Kennedy's defense of his warm relations with his fellow justices.

Y'all remember Tony. He's the guy who read into his oath of office that the constitution isn't enough and that foreign law needs to be cited. Maybe if there is a disputed election he will quote Salic Law to disqualify Hillary.

Well, Tony is worried that if Supreme court sessions are televised, things may not be cosy among the brethren and sistern of the bench.

"We teach that we're judged by what we write and by what we decide... I do not want an insidious dynamic introduced into my court that would affect the relations that I have with my colleagues.

"It would be unhelpful for the collegial relations... I don't want to think that one of my colleagues asked a question because he or she was on TV. And I don't want that temptation to exist... We (justices) think that we should be entitled to at least a presumption of correctness and to some deference in determining how best to preserve the dynamic of the wonderful proceeding that we know as oral argument."

Yeah, I guess Nino saying to Justice Bader Ginsburg, "Ruth, you’re an ignorant slut, by the way, did you get us tickets to Daughter of the Regiment?" on TV might ruin their off bench friendship.

Some points for Big Tony,

1. It is not your court. You seem to forget who pays your salary. Everybody in government does, but this is a bit of a reminder.

2. I take “I don't want to think that one of my colleagues asked a question because he or she was on TV. And I don't want that temptation to exist...” as an admission that there may be some losers on the court that need to grandstand. Not yourself, of course. Anymore of those foreign law citations coming along?

3. "It would be unhelpful for the collegial relations...” Tony, your relationship to the constitution is more important than your relationship with the other functionaries. Next time, join a seminary if it’s collegiality you want, though Benny seems to be cleaning up that act.

4. "We (justices) think that we should be entitled to at least a presumption of correctness and to some deference in determining how best to preserve the dynamic of the wonderful proceeding that we know as oral argument." Maybe your being overly presumptuous there, Tone.

Anyway, Mr. Justice, if you don't think you can hack it, maybe that Judy woman is available.