Tuesday, May 31, 2005
There is a campaign going on to reduce grass roots financial support for Republican Senate campaigns.
What is at the root of the campaign? Too much government spending? Nope. A lack of support for states rights? Nope. It is because the Rs can't get all the judges they want confirmed.
As a firm believer that no party should get everything it wants (including judges) I think Democrats and Republicans ought to support this campaign.
I think if successful and there are fewer Republicans in the Senate it will reduce the hubris of Republicans. When a party only listens to its core supporters (are you listening Democrats?) it tends to make mistakes that make it harder for the moderates (the centerists) to get a word in. It then loses contact with the electorate. This is not good for the Republicans. It is not good for America.
So I whole heartedly support the Not One Thin Dime campaign. You should too!
Posted by M. Simon at 5/31/2005 02:42:00 PM
Monday, May 30, 2005
I went to the dedication of LZ Peace Memorial to honor Winnebago County Veterans of the Vietnam War. Especially those who did not come home.
I talked with Nick Parnello one of the founders of Viet Now and a force in the creation and dedication of the Memorial.
Welcome home Nick.
The ceremony was beautiful and at the end they released a flock of doves.
Welcome home Vets.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/30/2005 09:03:00 PM
Just got back from the Rockford, Illinois Memorial Day Parade.
I wore my US Navy t-shirt.
Saluted all the flags. Got a nice salute from one of the vets.
We stood across from Memorial Hall which Teddy Roosevelt dedicated almost 100 years ago. We are trying to get Bush here for the 100th Anniversiary.
My daughter played saxaphone in the West Middle School Marching Band. She smiled when I saluted her.
Here is to the vets living and dead and our boys and girls in the field.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/30/2005 04:29:00 PM
Here is what the proven Koranic abuse amounts to:
A non-muslim touching the holy book.
That is it.
So I'm proposing that in the future those interested should do their best to prevent Newsweek abuse.
Don't touch it.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/30/2005 04:06:00 AM
Sunday, May 29, 2005
I was reading a number of reports from Michael Yon : Online Magazine and found this report from a Kurdish village nearly wiped out in 1988 by Saddam:
Today, Umar Bill is a village mostly of women and children. I asked Saamad the age of the oldest child. Fifteen, he said, adding that there are eighty families, most with five or more children. They are encouraged to have more.
He fell somber and disappeared for a moment into memory. Emerging with a slight smile tinted by sadness in his eyes, he said, "The Kurds are so happy to see you. The Americans are like the angels from God." But his expression changed dramatically to one of hidden anger: "The Arabs accuse the Americans of being murderers and criminals," he said with finality, "but when Americans came, they brought justice."
Posted by M. Simon at 5/29/2005 03:43:00 AM
Reuters reports that King Fahd of Saudi Arabia is in stable condition. Doctors reports are reassuring on the King's condition.
This is really good news as succession rules for the kingdom are ambiguous at best.
The latest news on Yasser Arafat is that his condition is stable as well. Doctors say his condition has not changed.
In other news from Arabia Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is reported to be in good health too.
Isn't it just amazing how these Arabs recover so well from seemingly end of life medical conditions? It must be the sand.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/29/2005 01:35:00 AM
Saturday, May 28, 2005
I posted this for Armed Forces Day 2005. If you haven't read it here is a link.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/28/2005 02:58:00 AM
Well you know what the WTO is. The World Trade Organization. What is ZOG? Let us let the Transatlantic Intelligencer explain it to us.
ZOG, as will be recalled from Karl Pfeifer’s piece on “‘Israel Shamir’ and the Austrian Left”, is an acronym much favored in anti-Semitic, including self-styled Nazi, milieus. It stands for “Zionist Occupation Government” – by which is meant not the Israeli government, by the way, but the American one and/or the network of Zionist forces that are supposed to control the latter.Well OK we know what ZOG means. Why is this important to the story? It has to do with a book which Rep. Paul Findley published 20 years ago. "They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby". Interesting no?
Well it gets better. Of course this means French. But not as in kissing. The Intellegencer says more:
But Findley’s work is not only highly respected by radical Islamists and the members of the “Stormfront White Nationalist Community”. As Gudrun Eussner points out to me, it is also admired by the foreign policy specialists of France’s prestigious state-funded Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques [Institute for International and Strategic Relations], known by its own acronym IRIS. Thus, in a contribution reproduced on the IRIS website [link in English], IRIS board member Luc Debieuvre notes approvingly: “But ‘the Middle East policy of the US is made in Israel and not in Washington’, former US Representative Paul Findley used to say (as cited by Pascal Boniface in his latest book Towards a Fourth World War?).”So what does this have to do with the WTO? I'm glad you asked.
Who is this Pascal Boniface from whom Luc Debieuvre takes the Findley quote? Has Debieuvre inadvertently cited a source from the French “far right”? A Lepeniste? Such a faux pas could surely put M. Debieuvre in difficulty with the powers-that-be at his research center. Well, M. Debieuvre need not worry. Pascal Boniface, formerly the leading foreign policy expert of the French Socialist Party, is in fact the Director of the IRIS.Now isn't that interesting?
It will also be of interest to regular readers of Trans-Int to know who the Honorary President of the IRIS is. None other than the incoming Director General of the WTO: Pascal Lamy.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Well not exactly in Iraq. In the troops returning from Iraq.
I was listening to NPR this morning (keeping an eye on enemy propaganda) and heard a report on PTSD and other mental problems in troops returning from Iraq. The news is grim. It affects 17%. Which is quite close to my estimate that 20% of the population is subject to long term PTSD problems.
The Army is doing something about it. At least as much as they can given their attitudes towards the usual remedies that people try (alcohol, pot, cocaine, etc.). In time the science of genetics will come to the rescue. First with diagnostics. And later with cures or at least the acknowledgment that drugs can help.
What the Army is doing is providing counseling on a veteran's return and at between three and six months of return. They also have a study of PTSD going on that may provide in time some answers. Serious studies by the Israeli Army have been going on for quite a bit longer.
I think we will at last get to the bottom of one of the greatest scourges of war. The scars of the mind.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Politics in America is a bidding war for the center.
The Dems made the RINOs a better offer.
Let me make this perfectly clear. Each of the RINOs wanted something for their vote. Frist unlike LBJ don't play that.
And now the Rs are going to strangle their party for funds; because they do not know how to play finesse politics. Where is LBJ when you need him?
So back to square one.
What can the RINOs and Republicans agree on? Get that passed. Forget the rest. This is not religion where absolutes rule. This is politics. And politics has its limits.
I have been saying this since May of '03. Evidently some of you have not been reading my memos and taking them to heart.
And now you want to give up the game because you can't win all the marbles.
Republicans are not going to remake the judiciary. The best they can hope for is to move things a bit in the desired direction. Isn't that enough?
Any idea why the Rs are called the stupid party?
I have been saying that the Republicans needed to be nicer to the RINOs since shortly after the election.
I had more to say.
The Danger of purges.
As you can see I had a lot to say on the subject. But , nooooooo. Nobody listens to me. It's not called the stupid party for nothing.
From a discussion over at the Captain's
Posted by M. Simon at 5/24/2005 02:52:00 AM
The side with the better bargaining position. The Poweline folks are getting down in the mouth because the Republicans have been rolled on the filibuster deal.
I said they didn't have the votes on 29 April.
The hard core Republicans need to be nicer to the RINOs. They aren't going any where without them.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/24/2005 02:15:00 AM
Monday, May 23, 2005
I have put up some energy links on the sidebar.
Here is the list:
Posted by M. Simon at 5/23/2005 11:35:00 PM
The latest Carnival of the Capitalists is up.
I discuss Micro VC. Scroll down. You might find something interesting.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/23/2005 02:13:00 PM
Fouad Ajami has some nice things to say about how America has overturned the apple cart in Arabia. And what it means for the future.
It was Iraq of course that gave impetus to this new Arab history. And it is in Iraq that the nobility of this American quest comes into focus. This was my fourth trip to Iraq since the fall of the despotism, and my most hopeful yet. I traveled to Baghdad, Kirkuk, Erbil and Suleimaniyah. A close colleague--Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations--and I were there to lecture and to "show the flag." We met with parliamentarians and journalists, provincial legislators, clerics and secularists alike, Sunni and Shia Arabs and Kurds. One memory I shall treasure: a visit to the National Assembly. From afar, there are reports of the "acrimony" of Iraq, of the long interlude between Iraq's elections, on Jan. 30, and the formation of a cabinet. But that day, in the assembly, these concerns seemed like a quibble with history. There was the spectacle of democracy: men and women doing democracy's work, women cloaked in Islamic attire right alongside more emancipated women, the technocrats and the tribal sheikhs, and the infectious awareness among these people of the precious tradition bequeathed them after a terrible history. One of the principal leaders of the Supreme Islamic Council for Revolution in Iraq, Sheikh Hamam Hammoudi, an elegant, thoughtful cleric in his early 50s, brushed aside the talk of a Shia theocracy. This Shia man, who knew a smattering of English, offered his own assurance that the example and the power of Iran shall be kept at bay: "My English is better than my Farsi, even though I spent 20 years in Iran." He was proud of his Iraqi identity, proud of being "an Arab." He was sure that the Najaf school of Shia jurisprudence would offer its own alternative to the world view of Qom, across the border. He wanted no theocratic state in Iraq: Islam, he said, would be "a source" of legislation, but the content of politics would be largely secular. The model, he added, with a touch of irony, would be closer to the American mix of religion and politics than to the uncompromising secularism of France.There is lots more good. Go read.
via Roger Simon.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/23/2005 12:53:00 PM
All the talk of Press credibility these days is very interesting.
Mistakes were made. Standards were not upheld.
The fact that the mistakes are all in one direction is telling.
Anybody seen the fake story about Bush winning the Medal of Honor?
Posted by M. Simon at 5/23/2005 07:57:00 AM
Sunday, May 22, 2005
I'm going to honor the vets with something I first wrote around Thanksgiving and posted over at 2Slick's. His mother sent me a nice e-mail. So this is for all our Armed Forces. Mothers and fathers. Sisters and brothers. Sons and daughters. And second cousins twice removed.
I was thinking today (and most other days in the past, weeks, months, and now years) about our Soldiers and Marines and Air Men and Sailors dying doing our work. And it hurts. And it makes me sad. And it makes me wonder if I have the right to call on their lives in my name.
It is a heavy burden. It weighed my heart down this Thanksgiving. There was just a little bitterness from the food. The sweets were not perfectly sweet. I think of all the Thanksgivings our young men and women are giving up to do a very dirty job for us. We have asked them to turn a sewer into a home for a bunch of people many of whom resent their help. Oh yes. Some of you are going to get killed doing the job. Not many as compared to previous sewer cleanings. But still. On the average 3 of you a day out of one hundred and thirty thousand. And how can I ask for the gift of your life. It weighs heavily on me.
And that got me to thinking. About the towers. The jumpers most of all. The jumpers. So I was thinking some more about that day and the days after. And the people on flight 93 counter attacking 90 minutes after the first attack. The counter attack was successful. But the whole attacking party died to win that victory. Not to mention those on the plane who only watched. Those are some heavy odds. And Americans rose to the challenge. After taking a vote. How American. We started that tradition in the Revolutionary War where the militia voted for its own officers. A democratic army of the people.
And I said to myself, what can I do to honor their sacrifice too? The citizen soldiers who have shown the way for our fine boys and girls.
So I have said this many times since I found out about flight 93. Silently. To myself.If I am ever in position to make a counterattack I promise to make it in the same spirit as our fine military and flight 93. Without regard to my own life.
Thank you all for all you have given to this country. And when my opportunity comes I only hope I can be as courageous and worthy.
Armed Forces Day 2005
Welcome Winds of Change readers
Posted by M. Simon at 5/22/2005 11:08:00 PM
Friday, May 20, 2005
And you thought that was the cry of the typical teenager. Well it could be if the spelling was different. This is completely different. It is about a fuel cell with no membranes. Why is this important?
The current leader in portable fuel cell technology the PEM membrane has problems. Besides efficiency highly dependant on load (high internal resistance) the membranes clog with carbonates in operation (from atmospheric CO2 among other reasons) and are not very permiable to the OH- radical.
This new type of fuel cell uses a microfluidic channel to keep the flows seperate. It takes advantage of laminar flow to control the interface of the two fluids. (BTW visit the link - they have a very nice diagram).
A new type of fuel cell can operate without a solid membrane separating fuel and oxidant, while it also works with alkaline chemistry in addition to the more common acidic chemistry.The key here is that at this point there is a lot of development to be done in the fuel cell area. This particular development may be key or it could be a dead end. It is way too early for the government to mandate a system. We may be heading for an ethanol/methanol economy rather than a hydrogen one.
Like a battery, a fuel cell changes chemical energy into electrical energy. While most fuel cells employ a physical barrier to separate the fuel and oxidant, the microfluidic fuel cell developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign utilizes multi-stream laminar flow to accomplish the same task.
"The system uses a Y-shaped microfluidic channel in which two liquid streams containing fuel and oxidant merge and flow between catalyst-covered electrodes without mixing," said Paul Kenis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.
I first saw this in Appliance Design Magazine. What this also tells you is that there is no secret cabal holding us back. It is only ignorance. And correcting that problem takes time.
Update: 20 May 05 1903z
Here are a few more links that may be of interest:
Chemical and Engineering News covers possible manufacturing methods.
Batterries Digest covers fuel cell concepts.
Fuel Cell Works covers the investment angle.
The University of Illinois reports on the research on the microchannel fuel cell and gives credit to the various researchers from the university who worked on the project.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/20/2005 06:30:00 PM
This is the first week of the Carnival of the Drug War. And what a carnival it is.
jj mollo looks at why alcohol prohibition required a Constitutional Amendment and why drug prohibition did not. He says it is due to the ever flexible Interstate Commerce Clause.
Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine chimes in with a report on a pain Doctor who was convicted of criminal distribution of drugs. Interestingly enough the jury foreman said the Doctor was not running a criminal enterprise.
And to round out this issue Why Old farts are turning to pot. Hint: it is better than Viagra.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/20/2005 12:04:00 PM
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Ending Saddams rape rooms.
Just authority - because we can.
Giving Iraqis their own government: because we want to.
Just do it.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/19/2005 09:33:00 PM
So let me see here if I get this straight.
It is accepted that prison abuse is as common as rain in American prisions and the outrage is directed at either Newsweek, the Pentagon or the Muslim whack jobs for the riots that killed seventeen.
If it is OK for Americans to be abused why not abuse Muslims with whom we are at war?
Or why not a crusade to clean up American prisons?
Where is the outrage?
Posted by M. Simon at 5/19/2005 05:22:00 AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I have decided to hold a Carnival of the Drug Wars. I'm going to call it:
Are We Winning Yet?
Submissions due by Friday 14:00 GMT. Sorry for the short notice but I wanted to get it started.
Send me a link to your best article with a short description.
My e-mail is at Drop me a line on the sidebar.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/18/2005 05:54:00 PM
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The Army is having trouble Recruiting. Yes friends and neighbors it is true. Attacks on the enemy have been called off. Too dangerous. All that is left for the recruits is suicidal attacks on civilians. Which Army you say? Why I'm glad you asked that. The jihadi Army in Iraq. Here is an amazing report translated from the Arabic on the efforts of two Saudi brothers to join the anti-American jihad.
But the brothers, according to sources, sneaked nimbly into Iraq, and they were able to make connection with the welcoming network of the fighters at the Iraqi-Syrian border. After a few days, the boys were received by the 'leader' of the fighters and they requested of him that he send them to Falluja. But he rejected this, excusing this by saying that the way was difficult and full of dangers.So one thing we know for sure - suicide bombing is not nearly as popular a sport as it is made out to be. It is only the fanatics who love death. This is a hopeful sign.
The sources added: 'At that point the leader of the group suddenly showed them the truth regarding which the young men felt the strongest bitterness. So then he said: We have a group of automobiles ready to perform suicide operations. The young men almost lost consciousness from the terror of the shock. And they said to him: how our coming to Iraq has come to this end in a suicide operation with such ease! He answered them indifferently: this is what we have now, and if you want you may look elsewhere! At that moment they decided to return to their country, and completely changed their minds about participating in what they thought was resistance in Iraq.'
No doubt there are more hard days and weeks ahead. However, I think that the idea of self rule is catching. The porous Suadi/Syria/Iraq border may not be such a bad thing if it helps get first hand accounts back to Saudi Arabia of the nature of the jihadis.
You know it may not have been Bush holding the Saudi's hand. It may have been the Saudi holding Bush's hand.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/17/2005 08:53:00 PM
Monday, May 16, 2005
Sgt. Mom has a very clear view of the Newsweek incident. Here is just a taste:
5. The Afghani and Pakistani Mullahs: No, we shall not be turning any personnel over to you for desecrating the Koran. Now, you might get the detainee who ripped up a copy and tried to clog a toilet with it— does that count? In turn, we would like you to turn over to us: The murderers of Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl… and those Palestinian cruds who desecrated the Church of the Nativity… plus a number of others to be named at a later date. Thanks for your consideration and attention to this matterof course you want to read the whole thing.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/16/2005 09:31:00 PM
Sunday, May 15, 2005
I was reading an interesting article in EE Times by MIT Professor Neil Gershenfeld. He talks about his new book "Fab - The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop — from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication" and giving classes to students who wanted to learn to use the digitally controlled tools in his lab. He found that he was spending a lot of time training students who had no intrinsic interest in material fabrication. What were they interested in?
I was spending a lot of time training students to use them all. So I started a class, "How to Make Almost Anything," which was just that — it was how to use the tools to make almost anything. But I was completely swamped with nontechnical students, who were desperate to take the class — not for research, not as a business model, but just because they had stuff they wanted to make.So they had things they wanted to make. He then goes on to talk about what a world were you can make whatever you want will be like.
The passionate response led me to wonder what would happen if the rest of the world gets access to this. So we started setting up, with National Science Foundation support, field Fab Labs, where the idea was to approximate both what was on campus at MIT and where we are going to be 20 years from now, but using tools available today. And [the program] exploded all around the world in both developed and, most interestingly, developing countries. We found the same response in the field as we found at MIT.Now all this has immense social and economic implications. Prof. Gershenfeld goes on to talk about the meaning of what he has learned about man the maker. Read the article to find out his views. What I found most interesting is what he thinks it means for the venture capital world.
These labs were not meant to be all that useful — this was supposed to be a warmup experiment — but at this point we have labs in India, above the Arctic Circle in Norway, in Ghana, Costa Rica, inner-city Boston.
This summer, we are going to South Africa, and we have demands to take these all over the world — more than we can handle.
The thing I think will emerge that doesn't exist yet is micro VC. Personal fabrication leads to the opportunity for high-tech innovation, but on the scale of tens of thousands — not tens of millions — of dollars. You'll need some of the skills of a good venture capitalist, but with the fanout of a microfinance network.I have been having exactly this problem with some projects I'm interested in. The market is there. The product is mid level tech. Not bleeding edge. The rewards are there but it may or may not be the basis for a brand and a business. Start up costs are modest; a few tens of thousands at most to first sale. Investment to full profitability a few more tens of thousands. Three to four months to full profitability. One year to cash out - 100% return on investment - if successful.
Now this is obviously not the kind of deal that the current VC set up is designed to handle. Typically they want to invest millions. Operate for three to five years and cash out - if successful - with a doubling every year of operation.
So the question is how do you make these small deals profitable? Worth the effort of the VC guys. Obviously a lot of rethinking will need to be done on the subject.
A good place to start would be to study how Grameen banks handle their micro finance ventures.
I would be more than happy to work with anyone who is interested in thinking through what is required and making it happen.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/15/2005 08:11:00 PM
Nice piece on the fall of Harvard and the rise of Chicago.
Harvard is also a much less important intellectual hub than it once was. The University of Chicago, for one, has wielded much more influence in recent decades. It is no exaggeration to say that Chicago laid the intellectual foundation for the conservative ascendancy and nurtured the ideas that now drive the debate over economic policy, legal theory and foreign affairs. The key ideas of the so-called Reagan Revolution, including monetarism and deregulation, trace their origins back to the free-market theorizing of Chicago's economics department. (One striking measure of the department's clout: Of the 55 economists awarded the Nobel Prize since 1969, when economics was added to the roster, 10 have taught at Chicago and an additional 13 either trained at Chicago or had previously taught there. Harvard, by contrast, has had four faculty winners.)via Maroonblog
One of those Chicago Nobel laureates, Ronald Coase, is acknowledged to be the godfather of law and economics, unquestionably the most influential branch of legal theory in the past quarter-century. (It applies economic reasoning to legal questions.) And while Harvard certainly has its superstars, when you look at the people who have taught at Chicago in the past 40 years or so--Milton Friedman, Richard Posner, Allan Bloom, Leo Strauss, Robert Lucas, Albert Wohlstetter, Richard Epstein, Leon Kass, Saul Bellow, Martha Nussbaum--it is pretty clear which school has been giving off more heat.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/15/2005 06:42:00 AM
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Mudmarine in the comments to this post asks a very good question:
What is the 'root' of all evil. How do we identify and then nullify the root core and source of the bullshit. Is there any hope of doing such a thing. Is it always going to be the 'big dog' syndrome?my answer to him:
The desire to be the alpha male is strong to the point of murder.
It must be civilized.
We want to limit the power of the alpha male and make succession possible without murder or war.
The system we have here in America has served tolerably well.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/14/2005 08:50:00 PM
A nice list of Rockford Area Bloggers can be found here:
LifeTrek - Honing The Passage.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/14/2005 08:25:00 PM
Drug addiction is a medical problem.
If the Coast Guard can fix it I propose we put them in charge of cancer.
If the police can fix it I propose we put them in charge of heart disease.
If the politicians can fix it I propose we put them in charge of everything.
Oh? Wait. Nevermind.
Cross Posted at Classical Values
Friday, May 13, 2005
There is a recent discussion going on among bloggers (among others) about who won WW2. I weighed in in a previous post. Yalta. And tthen I came across a Harper's May 2000 review of the John Lukacs book "Five Days in London". Now I have not read that book. However, I did read his previous book on the subject "The Duel". Both books explore the decisions made by Churchill and Hitler in the days preceeding the fall of France. Here is the money quote of the article.
...what a debt the World owes to Sir Winston Churchill. Without him, we would very likely be living in a world dominated by Hitler's heirs and Hitlers's ideas. Because of him we are not.So in light of what we have learned in the lasst few years is that true?
Hitler's ideas and heirs are doing fine. Now they are not doing too well in in Europe it is true. However in the Moslem world Hitler's ideas are as popular today as they were in Europe in the 30s. "Mein Kampf" is still a best seller - in the Arab world.
I discuss some how that came about in " Palestinian Role in the Holocaust".
Key to all this was the fact that the after the Germans defeated France, they used their control of French possesions in the Middle East to export their philosophy to the world of Islam. The export was very successful and the result is one you can see today. Fascist governments (Baathists are a direct descendent of the Hitler philosophy) and a virulent hatred of Jews.
So in fact Churchill did not defeat the Nazi philosophy. By May of 1945 it was too late. The damage had already been done. We are living today with the results of that unfortunate fact. Islam uber alles.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/13/2005 01:43:00 AM
Thursday, May 12, 2005
We are looking from 2005 back.
What we need to do is look from Feb 1945 (the time of the Yalta Confrence) forward. Every body but Hitler is tired of dying. There are a few more months left in Europe but the end is in sight.
Which is expected to be a very tough nut to crack. A million casualties. We would have split Japan with the USSR (ala Germany) to have them share in the body count.
Thank God for the bombs.
They saved 1/2 of Japan from Soviet domination.
However, at the time no one knew the bombs would work and a deal had to be made for the next 6 mos. to year of the war. With the possiblity of the war with Japan lasting as long as 18 to 24 more months.
In a way the east Europeans lost their freedom to a Japan that would not give up.
Yalta was a bad deal. It may have been the best one we could get at the time.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/12/2005 07:20:00 PM
I was visiting Winds of Change and discussing VodkaPundit's blogging burnout. He says he is tired of arguing without changing minds. I have had a little better luck with my educational stuff on drugs/PTSD. So after a rest I can come back. I do take fairly frequent rests although you can usually find me in various comment sections. I like Winds of Change a lot.
In any case Vodka is going to be much busier soon. Mrs. Vodka is expecting.
In any case the subject of drugs came up and it triggered my monomaia as one wag put it. And so it did. Here is my latest rant copied from the comments with spelling and punctuation improved. I'm discussing the topic with Fred:
I see exactly where you went wrong.
Let me start with this statement.
Drugs are maladaptive....
Here I agree. In part. Just as the chemo drugs are a deadly poison for the general population. They are in fact indicated for AIDS.
Now at least 1/2 the population in the youth cohort tries drugs. Only about 20% of that 1/2 (10%)continues with drugs. Adolescence is a time of maximum stress due to personality formation. Kids take drugs to relieve some of that stress. By age 25 or 30 only the chronic 10% are still using.
So we see that drugs are a real danger to only about 10% of the population. For the rest use is transient. So the fact that drugs are maladaptive if you don't need them is actually the way most people live. As with alcohol most continued use if any is in moderation.
What benefit do the 10% (chronic users) get from drugs?
People with PTSD get great value from not living in depression and fear. The 10% who are long term users in my estimation are victims of PTSD. For some people learned fear never goes away. We call this PTSD.
Now with all of the statements I have made I actually have research to back them up if you are interested.
Some of the statements have direct proof. Others have indirect proof (they fit in with several lines of research although not directly addressed).
For me the drug issue is not a matter strictly of liberty. Although I'd like to see more Americans as strict Constitutionalists - it is not going to happen. The drug issue for me is science. Why do people take drugs. What do we know about the brain, genetics, physical manifestations, life histories etc. etc. that would point to answers on these questions.
So I will not contest you if you think drugs are bad and the government has a duty to prohibit them.
The question then is: if only people with serious long term PTSD are chronic drug users is putting the full weight of the law on them the right thing to do - will it fix the problem?
Joe has run a number of my articles - see the side bar - on my estimation of the drug/PTSD problem.
There are more links on the side bar at my blog Power and Control
I'm happy to discuss the research with any one interested. BTW a number of medical people who have seen my work agree with me and think it is important. Of course there are those who don't.
Let me tell you how it is going. When I started out two or three years ago stating that long term PTSD had a genetic and trauma component, that idea was not widely accepted. Today it is not even under discussion.
In time the connection to drug use will be on firmer scientific ground.
I'd bet on it.
In any case I'm against persecuting the traumatized. How about you?
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
There is a discussion going on at Captain's Quarters about Janice Brown and her ruling on a California trafic stop. Here is what I had to say on the matter:
I grew up watching WW2 era movies (a child of the 50s). In those movies the Nazis were always asking "vere are your papahs?". In the America of the day that was considered an outrage.
To watch "modern" conservatives support police measures that were considered even in war time to be an outrage is interesting. You are no longer free on the streets and roads of America if you can't prove your identity. You are not a legal person if you can't prove who you are.
We've come a long way baby.
Janice Brown may have been wrong in light of California law. She was not wrong in light of what used to be conservative principles. American principles.
And it is interesting to see here how many conservatives support the Government Cocaine Price Support and Terrorist and Gang Finance Program. A program that would have at one time been more comensurate with the USSR rather than the USA.
I suppose if the police can solve drug addiction we ought to put them in charge of cancer and heart disease. I'm surprised no one has asked them to solve the alcoholism problem.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/11/2005 11:15:00 PM
There is a nice discussion going on over at Bill Rogio's about Operation Matador. One commenter wonders why there is always another battle and the end is no where in sight. I respond:
Typically these types of wars are not won with one blow.
Even against regular forces no single defeat ends resistance until the last defeat.
It is always a contest of wills. The enemy will keep scraping up forces until there are no more forces to scrape.
Think of the Indian Wars in North America.
It looks like we have figured out a war winning strategy. Clear out opposition. Train a local army. Install democracy. Hold on until the democrats and the army are well established.
Give hope to all the democratic oppositions around the world to encourage more Rose and Orange Revolutions.
All we have to do to win is to stick to our game.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/11/2005 10:36:00 AM
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Downsize D.C. has a very good idea. They are trying to get Congress to actually read the bills they pass. A truly novel idea no doubt.
Most Congressmen are lawyers, and many others are businessmen. They know what “fiduciary responsibility” is. For Members of Congress, fiduciary responsibility means reading each word of every bill before they vote.Yep. It is all a big mystery how bad laws get passed and government spending is out of control. As usual Congress will be the last to figure it out.
But Congress has not met this duty for a long time. Instead . . .
* They carelessly pass mammoth bills that none of them have read. Sometimes printed copies aren't even available when they vote!
* Often no one knows what these bills contain, or what they really do, or what they will really cost.
* Additions and deletions are made at the last minute, in secrecy.
* They combine unpopular proposals with popular measures that few in Congress want to oppose. (This practice is called “log-rolling.”)
* And votes are held with little debate or public notice.
* Oh, and once these bills are passed, and one of these unpopular proposals comes to light, they pretend to be shocked. “How did that get in there?” they say.
Downsize D.C. has figured out an answer:
“Read the Bills Act of 2005 (RTBA).Here is the text of the whole bill.
RTBA requires that . . .
* Each bill, and every amendment, must be read in its entirety before a quorum in both the House and Senate.
* Every member of the House and Senate must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has attentively either personally read, or heard read, the complete bill to be voted on.
* Every old law coming up for renewal under the sunset provisions must also be read according to the same rules that apply to new bills.
* Every bill to be voted on must be published on the Internet at least 7 days before a vote, and Congress must give public notice of the date when a vote will be held on that bill.
* Passage of a bill that does not abide by these provisions will render the measure null and void, and establish grounds for the law to be challenged in court.
* Congress cannot waive these requirements.
There is some nice parliamentary proceedure by Thomas Jefferson written into the bill:
(d) According to Section I of Thomas Jefferson's 1812 Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States (“Jefferson's Manual”), “nothing tended more to throw power into the hands of administration and those who acted with the majority ... than a neglect of, or departure from, the rules of proceeding [which] operated as a check and control of the actions of the majority [and] a shelter and protection to the minority.”If you would like to pass this on to the President or Congress here are some links:
(e) According to Sections XXII and XL of Jefferson's Manual, it was the rule of the Senate that every bill receive three readings, two full readings by the Clerk of the Senate, and a third reading of the title of the bill only in that “every member of the Senate had a printed copy [of said bill] in his hand.”
(f) According to Sections XXIV, XXV, and XL of Jefferson's Manual, it was the rule of the House of Representatives, following the parliamentary procedure of the English House of Commons, that every bill received two full readings by the Clerk of the House, and a reading of the whole contents of the bill verbatim by the Speaker of the House before the House voted on each bill.
House of Representatives
Posted by M. Simon at 5/10/2005 05:19:00 AM
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Yeah I know. That is not what you have been told. Yet it looks like it is true. I was reading Number Watch a page devoted to debunking bad statistics and bad numbers. I was looking at the April issue and came across this interesting piece about tobacco smokers. They live longer.
The 400,000-deaths figure is not a body count, but a COMPUTER-GENERATED estimate based on assumptions that are heavily biased by a political agenda of lies and loot. In different times, the people perpetrating this fraud, and their promoters, would have been arrested and charged on many counts. But not today, when these criminals are protected at the highest political level.So where did all those deaths come from? They came from the definition. According to the way the study was done if you died from a tobacco related cause your death was premature. I'm sure such a definition didn't bias the result. So what is actually happening?
More and more evidence emerges every day against the frauds of the anti-tobacco cartel. Read this powerful analysis. Download it. Distribute it to as many people as you can. People must know the truth. Consider it your duty as a citizen. People must know that there is a criminal endeavor designed to instigate persecution in society in order to extort billions of dollars from smokers, who are already carrying a greater fiscal burden than non-smokers are.
* THE SMOKING "VICTIMS" LIVED LONGER THAN THE REST OF US, BY ABOUT 2 YEARS - 71.9 vs. 70.Oooops. I hope the centers for disease control do not ge a hold of this. There is more on this subject here.
* OVER 70,000, or about 17%, DIED "PREMATURELY" AT AGES GREATER THAN 85.
* ONLY 1900, OR FEWER THAN O.5 % OF THE SMOKING "VICTIMS" DIED AT AGES LESS THAN 35, WHILE 143.000, OR 8% OF THE REST OF US DIED AT AGES LESS THAN 35.
BTW tobacco is an anti-depressant. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?
Posted by M. Simon at 5/08/2005 02:53:00 PM
There has been an interesting discussion going on over at LGF about nuke weapons. The discussion was prompted by this Tech Central Station article.
I love nuke stuff. So much so that I was a Naval Nuke. A rod yanker so to speak.
About five or eight years ago we shipped 20 TONS of plutonium to Japan. In theory the Japanese were going to "dispose" of it in a specially designed reactor. Right.
BTW that is enough Pu for at minimum 1,000 weapons. (more like 8,000 actually)
So I'd add Japan to the nuclear club for the same reason Israel is in the club. Material and know how.
The #1 reason for China to put the brakes on the Norks is the knowledge that the Japanese are an unannounced nuclear power.
It seems to me that the Nork's testing of rockets by sending them in the direction of Japan is very unwise. For the Norks.
Europe has been sending nuclear material to Japan for some time. Greenpeace made their usual stink about the danger. If they only knew.
You can't ship big chunks (not over a pound likely per container). The container needs to be large enough and strong enough to keep it away from other chunks despite colision, fire, and a flooding hold. And that is just the obvious stuff.
Here is an article on the shipments from 1999. Straight from the horses mouth Greenpeace.
Weapns grade plutonium shipments to Japan.
And it was 40 tons total not twenty. i.e. Japan is now a world class nuclear power with a weapons capability second only to the USA.
The initial shipment was 450 kg said to be enough for 50 bombs. (more like 200 if well designed and fusion boosted)
The US Japanese nuclear co-operation goes back further than I thought. It could have been policy since Regan.
The U.S.-Japan agreement provides for the shipment of plutonium extracted from spent fuel rods removed from Japanese commercial reactors. The origin of the fuel rods is the United States. The agreement requires Japan to notify the United States State Department before each transfer of plutonium and to provide the United States with a transportation plan that includes a "threat assessment and a contingency plan."American Plutonium shipments to Japan
The General Accounting Office, Congress' auditor, has weighed in with its report on the first shipment of plutonium to Japan made under the 1988 Agreement for Cooperation Between the United States and Japan Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. Senator John Glenn, chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, asked the GAO to prepare the report, which was released in June 1993.You have to scroll about half way down the page for the Japan stuff.
Interestingly enough South Korea is doing the reprocessing.
No wonder they do not see the Northern Nuke as such a threat. That would explain a lot.
Looks to me like if you are a reliable ally America will provide nuclear materials.
My guess is that all of the major Asian powers in the American orbit are nuclear armed.
That seems to be policy.
So how hard is it to design and build a weapon?
My understanding of modern plutonium based nuclear weapons is that they are all thermonuclear.
Our initial designs were developed with computers that had less power than a TRS-80. The lowest cost desktop machine of today is at minimum 1,000 times as powerful. Which says that the computations that would take a year in 1950 could be done in 8 hours or less today. And of course if you wanted to do paper tests faster of different designs just buy more computers.
FabioC adds a link to a modern nuke weapon with general design outlines, history, and lots of general guidelines for bomb design. More is easily found on the www. And there are links galore at the site.
How hard is it to design and build a nuke? You give me the Pu (say a couple of ounces accurately machined). 1,000 or 2,000 smoke detectors (to make a neutron source).
A NC machine tool capable of holding .0001" tolerance over a 5" distance (not too exotic these days). An interferometer based measuring tool.
Some test eqpt. o-scopes capable of recording around 1E9 samples a second ( again not too exotic these days).
Some test eqpt. (x-ray detectors, neutron dectectors etc)
I could work out all the required constants.
From there I buy an optics and a mechanical dynamics program and I'm off and running.
With really top notch people (don't forget this stuff was originally done with slide rules, IBM punch card machines capable of about ten calculations a second, and vacuum tubes. Feynman ran the IBM machine. It is a fascinating story.) I could get by with an eqpt budget of $20 to $40 million. Peanuts really.
The codes even done in Basic ought not be too hard. Or if you want to get really fancy Mathematica. Some one who understood x-ray grazing optics optics, stress/strain curves, partial differentials and cubic splines ought to do the trick. You go to a university and find the best politically motivated engineers and mathematicians. A team of five ought to be more than adequate. Did I mention that you need an explosive forming expert?
The reason such a big team was needed for the first one was the uncertainty and the lack of off the shelf eqpt. Everything was custom. Now a days all you pay for is the marginal cost. The R&D has already been done.
Now my training was in reactors. Weapons were mentioned in passing only from the standpoint of critical mass. But almost any engineer from open sources could figure out the requirements. Or just go to any good history of Los Alamos. (I have none to suggest).
Sunday, May 01, 2005
I'm over at Cap'n's and mostly having a discussion with myself on the ineptness of the Rs. The Cap'n says the republicans are missing a spine. I disagree. I'm quoting some of what I wrote here:
The Rs aren't missing a spine. They are missing a brain. Here is my estimate of what the typical American wants in order of importance:
1. Successful prosecution of the war
2. Efforts to streamline (reduce) Federal involvement in the economy including tax simplification.
3. Social security.
4. Culture wars
So what do the Rs put at the top of their agenda?
The culture wars.
It is not called the stupid party for nothing.
Frist and DeLay are to be complimented. They have put the hammer down and fractured their own party.
We haven't seen this much political brilliance since Richard Nixon. For the same reason. The paranoid style in the end is self defeating. We have enemies - boo hoo. We will make a list. None of them will be missed.
Funny thing is I predicted this Republican crack up in May of '03. Where I went wrong was that I figured after a big election loss in '04 the democrats would fragment. They didn't. They became hard core.
What is surprising is that the Republicans have managed to make this remnant (Nancy Pelosi?, Harry Reid?) sympathetic.
How inept can you get?
The Republicans need to leave the Inn of Comfort and get ept real quick.
Don't they know there is a war on?
Frist and DeLay need to get out of their (religious) comfort zones and spend way more time (in private gatherings if public ones would be an electoral problem) with RINOs.
They need the RINOs to win in the Senate.
The RINOs need to be wooed where possible and understood when not.
Deals need to be made before legislation is brought to the floor. Not after when positions are hardened.
Actual Republicanism on the ground is a trend not a dogma. A real politician would understand the difference.
Posted by M. Simon at 5/01/2005 10:58:00 PM