Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reagan Democrats

Well my Conservative friends I think it is time we had a talk. About the Reagan Revolution. About the leftward drift of the Party. About Reagan Democrats. That's right. Reagan brought a lot of Democrats into the party. Remember the years of the Big Tent? You know the years when RINOs were welcomed, reluctantly, into the party for the sake of a governing majority?

So let me ask a simple question. What is the function of a political party? Easy question. With an easy answer. Get elected. OK. So how does a candidate get elected in a particular district? In a particular State? In the nation. Another easy question. A candidate gets elected by getting a majority in a district, in a State, in the Nation. A candidate has to have views more acceptable than his opponent's to get the all important majority. If the electorate leans left the winning candidate will also lean left. If the electorate leans right so will the candidate.

So why has the party drifted left? Pretty simple. That is how you win elections.

Broad based Republican coalitions are libertarian in essence.

I would have thought the Alan Keyes debacle in Illinois would have been a learning experience. Real Conservatives™ are not popular everywhere. So how do you get a governing majority if Real Conservatives™ are not universally popular? You are going to have to support the election of Conservatives who are less than pure. Sometimes much less. In fact in some places they may actually be more like Democrats. (does the current Mayor of New York ring a bell? - a Republican for gun control? The very idea....) The important thing is the R after the name. If philosophy was critically important then Rick Santorum could get elected anywhere. He can't. In fact he couldn't even get re-elected in Pennsylvania. 'Nother clue.

So are there any principles that can unite Republicans? A minimum set that all Republicans can support at least 55% of the time? (you are expecting perfection? from politicians? you ask too much.) I think there are.

0. Smaller government
1. Lower spending
2. Lower taxes
3. Strong National defense

That is it. Period. Every thing else can depend on the district you come from.

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals -- if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
Who said that? Ronald Reagan.

Prompted by events and Is Conservatism Dead?

I was reminded by commenter Pal2Pal that Santorum was from Pennsylvania not Ohio. Fixed.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

This Is A Stickup

Yep. If you liked my post No Blood For Oil Or No Drilling For Oil? then you will love (how is that for ad copy?) No Oil where you can get a bumper sticker that looks like this:

No Blood For Oil

You can also click on the sticker to get some. I will be adding more stickers as time goes on. Thanks to Karl Egenberger of Envision Design/ Plum Creative Associates who did the artwork.

Update: 10 June 008 1426z

Let me add that you can use the above artwork on your own site if you make it clickable to link back to here.

The code should look something like the following. The text is truncated by some browsers but if you copy and paste it works fine (on the systems I tested). If you are having trouble I can e-mail you copy and help.

<a href=""><img style="width: 280px; height: 84px;" src="url of the location where your copy is stored" alt="No Blood For Oil" /></a>

If you want to use the smaller image from the sidebar the code would look something like this:

<a href=""><img style="width: 150px; height: 45px;" src="url of the location where your copy is stored" alt="No Blood For Oil" /></a>

The missing part looks like:

style="width: 150px; -----

Friday, May 30, 2008

Second City Cop

A very interesting blog by some one who purports to be a Chicago police officer.

Second City Cop

The comments are especially good.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Climate Curse

We have computers. We have code. We have scientists. The sky is falling. Give us your money.

Prompted by this discussion at Talk Polywell

Obama vs McCain On Economics

Thorley Winston at The Volokh Conspiracy has this to say about Obama vs McCain on economic policy:

On Health Care – Obama favors creating a new federal entitlement and a new federal bureaucracy to force every private health plan to conform to the “genero[sity]” of the new entitlement. McCain opposes both mandates and entitlements and favors letting consumers buy their own health insurance policies across State lines and restoring market competition to the health insurance market.

On entitlements – Obama favors raising Social Security taxes (again), thinks that Medicare Part D wasn’t generous enough, and thinks that comparatively poorer young people were put on this Earth to pay for the benefits promised to the comparatively wealthier retirees who voted them into existence in the first place. McCain opposes expanding existing entitlements, wants to means-test Medicare, and has consistently supported letting younger workers opt at least partially out of Social Security.

On farm subsidies – Obama favors farm subsidies including ethanol. McCain has consistently opposed farm subsidies even to the point of going into Iowa to denouncer ethanol subsidies.

On free trade – Obama favors backing out of our existing trade treaties unless they include more trade restrictions to benefit various special interest groups that support his campaign (read: unions). McCain has been one of the most ardent supporters of free trade to the point of talking to voters among whom it might be unpopular to convince them that they should support it.

On taxes, spending and earmarks – Obama favors not only repealing the Bush tax cuts but higher levels of taxation on top of that, favors even higher levels of spending, and supports earmarks (ask his wife’s employer). McCain has never voted for a tax increase and generally favors lower taxes, has bucked his own party on spending (particularly for popular programs) and doesn’t do earmarks.


You know, I could get to like McCain.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Clayton Cramer Is Running For Idaho State Senate

Back in late March Clayton sent me an e-mail saying that he was running for the Idaho State Senate. He and I have had our agreements and disagreements. He has always been respectful of my arguments and discussed them with wit and intelligence. The people of Idaho would be well served by electing him to office. He is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and he is vitally interested in science and technology. He practices the manual arts (machine shop work) as well. He is my ideal of the citizen politician.

He has my endorsement.

This was prompted by his blog comment to my post Civilization Comes First. It reminded me I had promised to support him and had fallen down on the job.

I should have looked more closely at his www site. He lost. A shame. We could use more like him in government. Clayton: don't give up. Try again until you succeed.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Conservative Funk

Conservatives are pining for a candidate they can vote for. What they really need is an electorate that will vote for their candidates.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Steal The Rich

How to get more taxes out of high earners:

May I suggest lowering the rate on top earners to a rate below that of other civilized countries and attracting them to the USA?

I call my plan: Steal The Rich.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Move Electrons Not People

I just got an interesting report on a technical conference that is to be held by moving electrons not people.

CISSE 2008 provides a virtual forum for presentation and discussion of the state-of the-art research on computers, information and systems sciences and engineering. CISSE 2008 is the fourth conference of the CISSE series of e-conferences. CISSE is the World's first Engineering/Computing and Systems Research E-Conference. CISSE 2005 was the first high-caliber Research Conference in the world to be completely conducted online in real-time via the internet.
As the cost of energy goes up modems are replacing travel. I expect to see more of this as time goes on. It is not just the cost of energy. Travel time goes to zero. More bang for the buck all the way around.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, May 26, 2008

Republicans Need An Alaskan On the Ticket

May I suggest Sarah Palin Governor of Alaska since 2006. She won her election for Governor by 48.3% to 41.0%. She has an approval rate of 84%. She favors drilling for oil in Alaska and bringing Alaskan Natural gas to the lower 48. She is suing the US Department of the Interior's listing of the polar bear as a threatened species. She opposes gay marriage, but has many gay and lesbian friends. She recently delivered her fifth child. Now wouldn't it be wonderful to see her breast feeding while delivering a speech? Yes. She cut spending in Alaska and favors lower taxes. Did I mention she is HOT? No wonder she has so many kids.

Sarah Palin On The Issues. Be sure to scroll all the way down to see how she rates on the World's Smallest Political Quiz.

Conservative Alaskan in the comments informs me:

She did not cut spending in the operating budget... matter fact, she grew it 23%.

You wrote she "favors lowers taxes". When she was Mayor of Wasilla she increased sales tax on groceries 25%.

As Governor, Palin proposed and pushed through the largest socialistic tax increase in the history of the world. (See ACES)

She is a disastrous governor. We hope our economy will survive her.

Republicans Need A Hawaiian On The Ticket

May I suggest Linda Lingle a two term Republican Governor of Hawaii. She won her last election in a Democrat state by 62.5% to 35.4%. She is Jewish, which might help peel NY-31, NJ-15, and FL-27 from the Democrat column. That is 73 Electoral College votes. I think the help in those states would be especially strong if Obama knocks Hillary out of the race.

Linda Lingle On The Issues. Be sure to scroll all the way down to see how she rates on the World's Smallest Political Quiz.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Peace Through War

Jefferson to Adams in a July 11, 1786, letter: "I acknolege I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace thro' the medium of war."

Jefferson was speaking about the jihadis of his day.

There Will Be War

A sad thought on this Memorial Day:

It makes no difference whether we have a peace candidate or a war candidate. As long as the jihadis want war there will be war.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mark Twain On Consensus

“Thirty-five years ago I was an expert precious-metal quartz-miner. There was an outcrop in my neighborhood that assayed $600 a ton—gold. But every fleck of gold in it was shut up tight and fast in an intractable and impersuadable base-metal shell. Acting as a Consensus, I delivered the finality verdict that no human ingenuity would ever be able to set free two dollars’ worth of gold out of a ton of that rock. The fact is, I did not foresee the cyanide process… These sorrows have made me suspicious of Consensuses… I sheer warily off and get behind something, saying to myself, ‘It looks innocent and all right, but no matter, ten to one there’s a cyanide process under that thing somewhere.’”

-Mark Twain, “Dr. Loeb’s Incredible Discovery” (1910)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What Is Wrong With Republicans?

In the primaries the Republican base did what has fractured the Democrat base. They voted for a candidate "who looks like me" (socialist Huckabee) instead of voting for the Reagan Republican (Thompson). With the conservative vote split we wind up with McCain.

The liberal wing of the party has to be satisfied (we need their votes) just as the conservative wing must be satisfied. No way in heck would Huckabee have satisfied the liberal wing. We need to give a thought to the libertarian wing as well. RR ran on a libertarian platform - lower taxes smaller government. It is something all the party can agree on. You will remember RR was a pro-abortion Governor of California.

So the "just like me" litmus tests have to be abandoned.

It is OK. Once we get totally socialized medicine and a general war in the ME Republicans will come together to save what is left. It won't be much.

Way to go guys.

The key is: every faction was looking out for itself. None was looking out for the coalition (Party). Republicans can't do coalition warfare any more. Sad.

Prompted by: Republicans: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

No Blood For Oil Or No Drilling For Oil?

Some one should start asking the leftys what they really want.

It is my opinion that if America started drilling for oil now as the price starts going through the roof we could bring the Middle East to its knees by bringing a lot of oil on line in the next few years.

Where would be a good place to start? Look at this map that shows where Cuba and China are drilling:

The Cubans have already found oil near our economic zone. We should get some of it too. To start.

Then we could start looking at the no zones for oil:
Building a few more refineries wouldn't hurt either.

You might want to contact your government and give them an earful:

House of Representatives
The Senate
The President

HT Gateway Pundit for the maps.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Economic Rebound In Second Quarter?

Wireless Week has the news.

AT&T’s CFO Rick Lindner told Reuters that he thinks the U.S economy will improve during the second half of the year. However, he said he thought the rebound will be led by businesses, before consumers. Citing mortgage issues and the high price of oil, Lindner reportedly said he expects it will take a bit longer for consumers to work through the economic downturn.

Despite reports of a rebound, Linder said AT&T still hasn’t seen any sign of slowdown in its wireless business.
With gas prices so high wireless minutes are probably cheaper than driving minutes. So it makes sense.

Nationalize The Oil Companies

Maxine Water's wants to socialize the oil companies if gas prices don't come down. Yep. Just heard the audio on radio WROK. And YouTube has the video. Drilling for American oil off America's coasts and in Alaska is off limits. Socializing the oil companies is not. And yet the American electorate looks to give the Democrats a landslide in November. Truly we get the government we deserve.

I Just Learned A New Word - 2


It means a conservative who is bitter about the choices presented in November and plans on staying home or voting for some third party candidate.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Soft Treason

Ron Nord has posted an excellent comment to my post On The Saudi Payroll? The 15 Senators he refers to were the 15 Democrats who voted against allowing oil shale projects in Colorado and Utah. Here it is with some minor edits:


While trying to find the names of the 15 Democrat Senators I wrote to Senator Allard for help, here is my letter to him.

Dear Senator Allard,

Could you please send me a list of the Democrat Senators who voted to extend the oil shale moratorium? Was my Senators Feinstein or Boxer involved in this? I have looked on the internet and can't find the break out of names. There seems to be a concerted plan or scheme to ruin the United States by the Democrats and it has been going on for a long time now. The only thing that I can figure out at this point is that the oil producing countries of Arabia are paying some in the Senate to vote the way they do. Also, just who is funding these 'greens' who are throwing the legal roadblocks, is Saudi Arabia putting up a few hundred million in order to make trillions, isn't it about time to start thinking out of the box. Has anyone driven the price of oil higher than the Democrats and 'greens', are they in pay of our enemies, what else makes that much sense? I know that both former Presidents Carter and Clinton get millions in honorariums from the Arabs and then lead the band in their behalf, isn't it wise to have laws precluding this type of "soft" treason? I don't trust my government any more to do the right thing, I look for the baseness in its actions and unfortunately am not very surprised at what is found. Are the Democrats and 'greens' in the pay of our enemies through cutouts, PAC's and all the other ways to hide the money trail?

A Fusion President?

What Presidential candidate is most up on fusion and specifically the Bussard Fusion Reactor Program. Interesting question. Which candidate was interested enough to have his staffers look deeper into it in August of 2007? The answer? John McCain.

A week ago I attended a lecture given by Sen John McCain given to the Economic Club of South West Michigan.

In the question and answer session following the lecture I asked about resuming funding for Robert Bussard's project. Sen McCain said that he was unaware of the project but would like to talk to me about it.

Afterwards a aid of his spoke with me and I emailed a summary to them.

The packet I forwarded to the aid had most of what is on the Mr. Strout's web site, except the youtube vids.

I tried to insert some summaries, such as excerpts from the "Fighting for fusion"[pdf] article, rather than simply links.
Since then of course the project has been funded and experiments are ongoing. None of the other candidates that I am aware of have evidenced any similar interest in any kind of fusion let alone the Bussard Fusion Reactor. BTW the funding resumed in late August of 2007. I wonder if John McCain had anything to do with it? Did he go to the Navy and ask what's up? Interesting speculation. Maybe we will find out some day.

Just another reason I'm going to vote for John McCain in November.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Black Box Voting

I'm reprinting in its entirety a post from Black Box Voting. Because as Joseph Stalin was once reputed to have said:

"It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes."


In this article you will find tools to help you analyze the numbers as they come in from Kentucky and Oregon's May 20 primary elections. New info: 2008

Tool Kit: Tool Kit.

You can find more Oregon & Kentucky tools, and discuss here:

Oregon & Kentucky tools

Kentucky is a big problem, Oregon is just plain strange. I'll start with Oregon's all mail-in voting system before I tell you the news about Kentucky. In Oregon, 100 percent of votes are absentee, or mail-in, although citizens do have the option to take their mailed ballot to an elections office to drop it off.



xls spreadsheet (Excel spreadsheet, huge mamajama, allow time to download. And see end of this article for tips on how to use.)

1. EVER WONDER ABOUT SIGNATURE VERIFICATION? Here's a little pop quiz: Out of 1.4 million Oregon votes in 2006, and knowing how people's signatures change over the years, how many signatures would you expect to mismatch?

ANSWER: Out of 1.4 million, the state of Oregon claims that 29 counties had ZERO mismatched signatures, and in the 10 remaining counties that reported mismatches, the grand total was (drum roll please)..... 34 ballots.

Yes, out of 1.4 million, just 34 signatures did not match. With those figures, it seems equally plausible that the dog's pawprint that made it through a couple election cycles in Washington State as would have fared just as well in Oregon. Heck, a scribble drawing or a blob of spaghetti might work fine too, we just don't know.

But what we do know is that according to data submitted by the state of Oregon to the EAC, Clackamas County had 146,968 ballots cast and not a single signature was too squiggly, scrawly or tilted to mismatch, and that Oregon has one of the lowest signature mismatch rates in America.

We're not wanting to disenfranchise people, but accepting every signature that floats in the door may not be a good thing. It puts extra pressure on the validity of the voter registration database and the postal delivery system, that's for sure.

2. FALSE: Oregon's claim that forced mail-in voting gives them higher turnout figures is simply not true. Oregon is squarely in the middle of the pack when it comes to voter turnout, when compared to the other 50 states in the same election.

3. MIRACLE POST OFFICE: Oregon also has a remarkably, some would say impossibly effective postal service. Here's what I know: Black Box Voting does periodic mailings, and we consider a mailing of 8,000 pieces to be spectacularly large, for us. Thirty-one of Oregon's counties mail more ballots in every election than we ever do, yet they never seem to have ballots arrive late or flop around battered and bruised, to be returned months later.

That's not our experience. Some of our mailers arrive late, some probably not at all, and a few look like they've taken a bruising trip to Mongolia before they belatedly return to us.

Yet out of 2.5 million ballots mailed out in the 2006 general election, Oregon reports ZERO ballots returned undeliverable, and only 54 reportedly came in after the deadline. Oddly, 44 of those were in one county. (Not Mulnomah, the biggest county, where Portland sits. It was Washington County).

4. VOTING MACHINES: Contrary to many citizens' beliefs, Oregon uses computerized voting machines statewide, almost all ES&S scanners, and if you'd like more information on the hackability of those, check out the EVEREST Report, choose the 334-page Academic Report and look up Election Systems & Software. Every component of the ES&S machines were found to be tamperable.


Kentucky never has accounted for its 2006 election math, as can be seen by examining the data reports published by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in the above link.*

(*See end of this article for hints on how to use the two EAC Inspector Gadget obstructo-matic secret decoder rings needed to make sense of this file)

That file contains the raw data submitted by each secretary of state, with details right down to the number of absentee ballots in the wrong envelope and the reasons voters were taken off lists. What it DOESN'T contain, however, is the number of votes counted in Kentucky in the 2006 General Election. When you search the minimal information presented in news reports back then, you see a glimmer of a hint that Kentucky had a statewide voting computer meltdown in 2006.

Kentucky submitted thousands of data points for the EAC 2006 survey for every one of its 120 counties but omitted -- you guessed it -- the votes. Results have been posted on Web sites, but I find myself wondering, given the all-too-real 2006 meltdown of the voting tally system in 96 counties, whether people in the Kentucky Secretary of State's office may have been reluctant to sign a federally required report committing to those very problematic results.


Bullitt County, Kentucky citizen Kathy Greenwell could have told you that was going to happen. Her husband ran for sheriff in November 2006, and while she obtained copies to match up the voting machine results tapes with the announced results she discovered they didn't match. None of them.

Here's the article by Black Box Voting on that situation:

"Elections give you: The Judge, the Prosecutor & the Sheriff"


Voters cast their votes into paperless touchscreens at the polling place. At the end of Election Day, each voting machine spits out a results tape. Then, the cartridges from each voting machine are fed into a cartridge reader. It reads all the cartridges and transfers the data into a tallying program that adds them all up. And that's when Kathy Greenwell got her dander up in 2006, because the information coming out of the tally system didn't match the results on the poll tapes for any race.

As the evening progressed, the mismatches began to hop around like frogs on electronic lily pads. In addition to wildly fluctuating results, a bunch of questionable individuals started wandering in and out of the back room, many of whom were related to the Tinnell family, which had three members of the family on the ballot (Donnie Tinnell: Sheriff; Sherman Tinnell: Mayor; Melanie Roberts: Judge Executive). All the Tinnell people won, but none of the results ever did match up.

Kathy Greenwell keeps demanding answers, but never has gotten any. At one point Bullitt County Clerk Kevin Mooney gave her a new results tape which, he claimed, made things match up. Unfortunately, this new tape only balanced the mismatch out for Kathy's husband Dave Greenwell's sheriff's race. All the other races are still out of whack.

Bullitt County -- and the other 96 counties in Kentucky serviced by a voting machine services firm called HARP ENTERPRISES -- claimed that the incorrect vote totals were due to a "fusion problem" when the computer tried to add up the totals from the old Shoup/Danaher 1242 voting machines combined with the new Hart eSlate machines.


1. Pennsylvania also has locations that use both these machines, and their fusion program works. Or at least so we are told -- Philadelphia County got the bright idea to charge the public to look at results there, restricting viewing to those who purchase a password, and we don't know if anyone did the same thing Kathy Greenwell did, matching up each tape to the published results you have to purchase.

Nevertheless, we have no evidence that Pennsylvania's system, same machines as Kentucky, is unable to match its own results up.

2. Kentucky then "solved" the problem by deciding to stop printing the reports so no one can check to see if they match.

Yes, that's what I said. Kentucky decided to use ONLY the poll tape results, hand entering them into a computer in the back room, and never put the cartridges into the reader, never generate that second report. With only one-half of the check and balance, you can neither check nor balance the poll tapes against the cartridge reader.

For "transparency", at least in Bullitt County, observers wait in a lobby with a small video picture of people sitting in a different room typing "you-can't-see-what" onto "screens-you-can't-see", with people occasionally wandering in and out of the videotaped area into completely unviewable areas, carrying items that look like poll tapes. On at least one occasion when Black Box Voting was there, they turned off the camera for a bit while they did "we-don't-know-what."


They also had the Wrangler active that night. For those of you newbies to the activity known as "election monitoring" (also accurately termed "smacking into a brick wall") -- well, here's what a "Wrangler" is in Election lingo:

Government insiders, who are in there counting votes in secret on the computers they control, have a designated wrangler, or in trouble spots a couple of them. Their job is to distract observers if something interesting is going on. Blip-lights flicker -- out comes the lady with the candy tray. I once watched the "blue screen of death" appear on a crashing King County, Washington vote tabulator and while trying to write down the time and particulars, was accosted by the Republican Party observer who out of the blue left the computer room to engage me in a stubbornly aggressive conversation about nothing. In Bullitt County, Kentucky it was the candy tray lady, a trick reported by activists in other states as well.

3. And now we get to the best part. Scratch that. The worst part. The machines used in 96 of Kentucky's 120 counties, the Shoup/Danaher 1242s, can be tampered with rather easily by anyone with access during or shortly after the testing phase, but this could be caught -- unless you skip the step of loading in the cartridges to produce the tally report.

And that's just what Kentucky decided to do. In Kentucky, it was decided to stop reading the cartridges and use only the poll tape results. And this is precisely the check and balance cited to show that these old 1242 machines are "safe."


1) Wear a helmet. You'll be running into the brick wall.

2) Ask the officials to read the cartridges into the cartridge reader and print out a report to prove to you that the cartridge results match the voting machine results. The cartridges contain what is supposed to be the actual vote data.

3) Ask to inspect or get copies of the "poll tape" results. Ask for copies of the cartridge reader results.

4) Record the order in which Kentucky counties deliver their results tonight. Late results -- especially when accompanied by a trend reversal -- are associated with fraud.

5) Get screen shots of any tallies that go DOWN as results are coming in.

6) Hunt for "impossible numbers." Here are examples of impossible numbers found by Black Box Voting, the media, and citizen observers:

a) Barnstead, New Hampshire, 2008 primary. Fifty percent more votes than voters in the Democratic Party presidential race.

b) Election location in Harlem, New York: Obama got zero votes. Greenville, New Hampshire: Ron Paul got zero votes, and when citizens came forward swearing they'd voted for him, the Town Clerk found the missing votes. Sutton, New Hampshire: Ron Paul got zero votes. When citizens came forward swearing they'd voted for him, the Town Clerk found the missing votes. Note the pattern, hunt out the zeroes, onesies and twosies because they happen in every election.


You can get lost inside that EAC data set for weeks, but in moments when you come up for air you'll be able to raise red flags that may help prevent problems this fall.

Black Box Voting is not a fan of the EAC, but the data surveys are actually quite terrific. They show that some locations are refusing to comply (like the entire state of New Hampshire, which refuses to provide even basic numbers like voter registration or number of votes). They provide at least the skeletal framework that has potential for quality control and fraud research.

And the data can be used, in conjunction with other data you find, to identify potential hotspots for trouble this fall.

Remember sixth grade math and story problems? The EAC data tables are a like a set of Lego's for constructing all kinds of interesting story problems. Which counties are most likely to binge and purge voter registration lists? You can get a good idea of that using these data tables. Which counties appear to have been stuffing the ballot box in the past? Yep, that can be divined as well. Hint: Lake County, the Indiana location that couldn't seem to find its votes for so many hours in this year's primary, is one.


And you'll need them, because they for some reason did not bother to put the labels on the columns to define what data each column contains. For that, you need to download this file:

Survey_Data_Code_Names.xls (Excel file)

Then you get to do the fun and tedious activity of looking up the secret code in the decoder table to insert it on the top of each column.

But that's just the first decoder ring. Secret Agent Natalie, from Black Box Voting, wondered why none of the data could be summed up or divided for percentage analysis, and found that the EAC, in its infinite wisdom, converted the numeric data to text. What that means is that instead of reading the number "5" your computer reads it as text, like "f-i-v-e" and since it doesn't know how to perform math functions on alphabet letters, you can't perform simple tasks like ranking smallest to biggest, or dividing one number into another to get a percentage.

Black Box Voting has applied both decoder rings to all the data, and is providing the complete decoded, correctly labeled, numerically converted EAC data table as part of our 2008 Tool Kit

* * * * *

More information:

For more on Kentucky:

Print story: The Hunt for Joe Bolton: The Hunt for Joe Bolton

Black Box Voting YouTube video - Kentucky, The Hunt for Joe Bolton: The Hunt for Joe Bolton

Moonshine Elections: Family-run Government: Family-run Government

Moonshine America: Collapse of the "Trust Me" Model: Collapse of the "Trust Me" Model

Black Box Voting YouTube video - Kentucky's Kathy Greenwell confronts New Hampshire Sec. State Bill Gardner, face to face: Greenwell confronts Gardner

Black Box Voting 2008 Tool Kit: Tool Kit

Oregon tools, thanks to John Howard: John Howard

Bev Harris Founder - Black Box Voting

Please help us protect 2008, muster up the "Dream Teams" for field work, print the Tool Kits...

We are supported ENTIRELY through small citizen donations.

to mail:

Black Box Voting
330 SW 43rd St Suite K
PMB 547
Renton WA 98057

HT linearthinker

BTW if you find any missing or bad links let me know. This was entirely hand coded from an e-mail and it is more than possible I have made errors.

Nuclear War In Three Easy Lessons

There is a wonderful (if it can be called that) discussion of nuclear war going on at Talk Polywell.

I'm not going to reprise the discussion. However, I'd like to give you some educational resources. First Wretchard's Three Conjectures. Which discusses what a rogue attack (terrorist) with a nuclear weapon would mean in terms of response.

Second are three very interesting articles by a gentleman who seems to know the inside of planning for nuclear war and its aftermath.

Nuclear Warfare 101
Nuclear Warfare 102
Nuclear Warfare 103

So actually we have two lessons of threes. Why didn't I just say four or six? I like three.

What is the worst thing I learned? It would take the world 200 years to recover from all out nuclear war. And which society would be best positioned to recover? The USA. Why? The Right To Keep and Bear Arms. I must say that the society that we would have after such a war would be very, very, ugly for at least the first 50 years, and not so pretty for 150 years. And the first year or two after? Look at the triage performed in Nuclear Warfare 103. Old women would be the least valuable members of society and young women (the most valuable) would be dedicated to breeding.

And if the attack was one sided? Kiss Islam good by. As Wretchard says in his Three Conjectures it wouldn't even take an attack on the USA. Here is a discussion of what almost happened after 9/11 and the follow on policy that evolved.

The threshold had almost been crossed. However that may be, we now know from National Security Presidential Directive 17 that a terrorist WMD attack, including biologicals and chemicals, will go over the line:
"terrorist groups are seeking to acquire WMD with the stated purpose of killing large numbers of our people and those of friends and allies -- without compunction and without warning. ... The United States ... reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force -- including through resort to all of our options -- to the use of WMD against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies."
Some reports have suggested that the US would preemptively use tactical nuclear weapons -- bunker busters -- to destroy terrorist WMDs. We're no longer in Kansas. In the halcyon days of the Cold War Soviet boomers would cruise the American coast with hundreds of nuclear weapons unmolested by the US Navy. Now a single Al Qaeda tramp freighter bound for New York carrying a uranium fission weapon would be ruthlessly attacked. The taboo which held back generations from mass murder has been mentally crossed by radical Islam and their hand gropes uncertainly for the dagger.
The upshot of all this? An Iranian nuclear weapon is more dangerous to Iran than it is to the rest of the world. They are much safer without one. Much safer. One can only assume that their desire to nuclearize is a death wish. The jihadis keep saying that they love death more than life so it figures. They may get their wish to die for Allah. En mass.

Here are some other good resources that will help in figuring the aftermath:

Makers vs Takers
Decline and Fall
Desolation Row

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Up The Theft Rate

Governments can only steal. If they want job creation they could do a little less stealing. That generally works better.

But given the Communist origins of your current South African and Zimbabwe politicians what else can you expect? The answer by these Communists is always the same: "Stealing by the government has caused a crisis. The answer is to raise the theft rate."

A comment on the "troubles" in South Africa with a H/T to Instapundit.

Down State

I'm from the Southern part of Illinois. I live 90 miles to the North West of Chicago.

To the boys of Chicago we are all "down state" even if geographically we are to the north of Chicago.

"Downstate" is a state of mind and Obama is full of it.

Inspired by Just One Minute. HT Insty

Makers Vs Takers

I just learned from Duane J. Oldsen about a book by Jane Jacobs, Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politicswhich was published in 1992. It is a fascinating look at the two major systems of morality that we find in the world. Commercial Morality and Guardian (Political) Morality. Or what I like to call Makers vs Takers. The two are complimentary (neither does well without the other) and yet stand in opposition to each other. Things get really nasty when the spheres of influence are mixed without consideration for consequences.

Let me start with a couple of references. First The Wiki which provides a short look at the major points. Second is this pdf which is much more detailed with many excerpts from the book. However, I must caution that it is somewhat hard to read due to the many typos.

I want to start first with a table of contrasting moral precepts. Which I have modified slightly from the wiki to make the contrasts a little clearer.

Moral Precepts for Systems of Survival

Guardian SystemCommercial System
Shun tradingShun force
Be obedient and disciplinedBe efficient
Adhere to traditionBe open to inventiveness and novelty
Respect hierarchyUse initiative and enterprise
Be loyalCome to voluntary agreements
Take vengeanceRespect contracts
Deceive for the sake of the taskDissent for the sake of the task
Make rich use of leisureBe industrious
Be ostentatiousBe thrifty
Dispense largessInvest for productive purposes
Be exclusiveCollaborate easily with strangers and aliens
Show fortitudePromote comfort and convenience
Be fatalisticBe optimistic
Treasure honorBe honest

I think the commercial class is rather self explanatory but the political/guardian class needs some explanation. In the American system the political class is supposed to provide oversight to the warrior class in order that those in the warrior class are kept within their proper bounds and operate with the maximum of efficiency and the minimum of corruption in their own sphere. This is their prime function. Their motives are most closely aligned with the warrior class since the political class are by definition takers. However, they are also entrusted with seeing that the commercial class is kept honest as well. This explains why we have two systems of courts. The check on the political class is that they are watched by the civilian courts and civilian prosecutors. They are also checked by being elected by the civilian population.

Science and its handmaiden engineering are inherently a commercial endeavors only more so. They depend on a level of honesty not often found in ordinary commerce. They must not be just accommodating of truth but ruthless about it. The check on science and engineering is replication of the work. It is not true science until some one can repeat the experiment and get the same result within the margin of error. Of course there is continuous effort to reduce the margin of error. That leads to economy both in engineering and science.

Well that is a nice short over view. Let's look at how the systems can fail. The number one failure within the warrior class is a failure of loyalty. In the true warrior loyalty is bidirectional. It comprises loyalty to subordinates, equals, and superiors. The reason loyalty is so important is that all warfare is based on deception. Commerce is dependent on honesty above all. Honest measures, truth in advertising, and the fitness of the goods for the purposes contracted. The good working of both systems is most ensured by promoting excellence, in people, in goods, and in services. And to make it all work the two systems must be kept as separate as possible. The peace keepers (soldiers, police) will demand loyalty from the political class and the businessmen will demand honesty from the political class and each must be satisfied in its own sphere.

I have been going on and on and you can probably see for yourself many avenues for corruption and the misuse of one system by the other and most easily the misuse of both systems by the political class who are in charge of keeping both honest. So let me end with a number of quotes from the Jacobs book extracted from the above pdf.

On Agriculture
...agriculture can be operated under either guardian or commercial ways. Wherever in the world a clamor arises for land to be divided and given to its workers, the system being attacked is the guardian type of agriculture. {But}'s basically a commercial activity.... ...when agriculture is operated in accordance with commercial precepts, placing value on voluntary agreement, thrift, productive investment, efficiency, and openness to innovations, it is much more productive than guardian-run agriculture. worker for worker, it supports its people better. Guardian ways are a drag on agriculture. ...the work's natural demands..for commercial morality. It innately requires thrift: the farmer must deliberately set seeds and breeding stock aside, even if it means going on short rations. It also requires industriousness, much unremitting drudgery day after day after day, especially before machines lightened the work. or bartering is almost invariably associated with agriculture and animal breeding. Farm households everywhere struggle to get something to market if they possibly can. This is true even when members of the household spin, weave, and practice other crafts. For a household to produce food and fibers for itself and for nobody else, and therefore by definition also supply itself with all its other needs, too -- since it isn't buying or bartering -- is so impractical it's uncommon. So impractical it's a guaranteed recipe for poverty. [Agriculture is] economic activity that is functionally and morally commercial [and] has historically been skewed to conform to the contradictory values and morals of guardian landowners. Rulers long ago became preoccupied with agriculture because it meshed with their preoccupations with territory. Tradition has perpetuated the fixation. Any ostensible reason for maintaining the tradition will do. ...once guardian largesse and controls are in place, any attempt to abandon them becomes disruptive.... ...nobody knows what agriculture would be like if it were restored fully and truly to the commercial syndrome and its workings, and everybody is afraid to find out.

Casts of Mind
...we're qualitatively different from other animals as ecological presences. But why? ... Trade! Trade pays no attention to ecosystem unit boundaries. It skips over them as it pleases, transferring surplus energy from this and that ecosystem unit into other ecosystem units.'s logical for guardian-minded people to identify a given territorial unit by the range of its top predator -- its prince. However, in the real ecosystems of the real world, obscure creatures can identify ecological units more tellingly than animals at the top of the food chain. ... If you care about putting scientific learning to constructive use...then you need guardian-minded ecologists.... And you have to take them with their habits -- fixation on territories and territorial princes, bureaucratic ways of bringing order to reality, and all. ... If something is a large, important truth, many entirely different avenues should lead to it.... Education does not guarantee a cast of mind appropriate to the training. [Referring to a team of researchers] At the institute, [they] doubt sincerely thought they were engaging in free intellectual inquiry. Yet their guardian assumptions, their guardian cast of mind, governed the root questions they were putting to themselves.

Military Engineers vs Civilian Engineers
Engineers working in the military-industrial complex are skillful at designing ingenious products but...they fail to combine this skill with thrift of means. ...trained has corrupted the abilities of most of the country's best and brightest engineers over the span of the past forty years. ...lack of cost discipline...has side effects outside the military-industrial complex. ...between 1980 and 1988, our share of machine tool markets dropped from eighteen percent to seven percent. ... American engineers have...remained marvelous at inventing in fields that can afford to support such work. ...the trouble comes from inability to produce the inventions at affordable costs and with competitive efficiency. then, even though invention has given us a head start, we lose out to Italians, Germans, Japanese, and others.... ... Pentagon contracts in the aggregate are enormous. ...engineers laid off from military work will have a 'lethal effect' in civilian production because of their lopsided experience in disregarding costs.

Mixing Guardian Work and Work for Commerce
Plato said mingling kinds of work or meddling with other people's tasks was 'the greatest wickedness,' did the ,most harm' to the community, and was the very incarnation of injustice.

Fair Competition
Fair and square competition is moral in the commercial syndrome. Not in the guardian syndrome, where largesse and loyalty take priority.

The Great Misunderstanding
Francis Bacon: The increase of any state must be upon the foreigner (for whatever is somewhere gained is somewhere lost). ... People with guardian casts of mind tend to carry zero-sum thinking with them into their attempts to understand all kinds of gains and losses.
Kind of opens the mind and shakes out the cobwebs don't it?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, May 19, 2008

Romantic Intellectualism

The New Criterion has an article on romaticism in the public schools. It is not about the study of a literary genre but a look at how bad ideas coupled with good intentions are ruining our schools for all children. The children with limited abilities. Those in the middle and those at the top. It is a very long piece (well worth reading in its entirety) so I'm going to pick out some high points that illustrate where we are, why we are where we are, and where we should go from here.

Educational romanticism characterizes reformers of both Left and Right, though in different ways. Educational romantics of the Left focus on race, class, and gender. It is children of color, children of poor parents, and girls whose performance is artificially depressed, and their academic achievement will blossom as soon as they are liberated from the racism, classism, and sexism embedded in American education. Those of the Right see public education as an ineffectual monopoly, and think that educational achievement will blossom when school choice liberates children from politically correct curricula and obdurate teachers’ unions.

In public discourse, the leading symptom of educational romanticism is silence on the role of intellectual limits even when the topic screams for their discussion. Try to think of the last time you encountered a news story that mentioned low intellectual ability as the reason why some students do not perform at grade level. I doubt if you can. Whether analyzed by the news media, school superintendents, or politicians, the problems facing low-performing students are always that they have come from disadvantaged backgrounds, or have gone to bad schools, or grown up in peer cultures that do not value educational achievement. The problem is never that they just aren’t smart enough.
Then comes a discussion of No Child Left Behind where by the government intends to make us all above average. Or at least 70% of us. You can pass a law and do that? Who knew?
No one disputes the empirical predictiveness of tests of intellectual ability—IQ tests—for large groups. If a classroom of first-graders is given a full-scale IQ test that requires no literacy and no mathematics, the correlation of those scores with scores on reading and math tests at age seventeen is going to be high. Such correlations will be equally high whether the class consists of rich children or poor, black or white, male or female. They will be high no matter how hard the teachers have worked. Scores on tests of reading and math track with intellectual ability, no matter what.

That brings us to an indispensable tenet of educational romanticism: The public schools are so bad that large gains in student performance are possible even within the constraints of intellectual ability. A large and unrefuted body of evidence says that this indispensable tenet is incorrect. Differences among schools do not have much effect on test scores in reading and mathematics.
Pretty much true. Smart kids want to learn and you can't stop them. Kids who aren't smart don't want to learn (it is very hard for them) and you can't make them.
Excellent schools with excellent teachers will augment their learning, and are a better experience for children in many other ways as well. But an excellent school’s effects on mean test scores for the student body as a whole will not be dramatic. Readers who attended normally bad K-12 schools and then went to selective colleges are likely to understand why: Your classmates who had gone to Phillips Exeter had taken much better courses than your school offered, and you may have envied their good luck, but you had read a lot on your own, you weren’t that far behind, and you caught up quickly.

To sum up, a massive body of evidence says that reading and mathematics achievement have strong ties to underlying intellectual ability, that we do not know how to change intellectual ability after children reach school, and that the quality of schooling within the normal range of schools does not have much effect on student achievement. To put it another way, we have every reason to think—and already did when the No Child Left Behind Act was passed—that the notion of making all children proficient in math and reading is ridiculous. Such a feat is not possible even for an experimental school with unlimited funding, let alone for public schools operating in the real world. By NAEP’s (National Assessment of Educational Progress) definition of proficiency, we probably cannot make even half of the students proficient.
After a bit more discussion of what the various tests and studies show we come to how we got here. It deals with the Progressive Movement (are you listening Obama?) and how it ruined education. In other words a short history lesson.
The first strand in explaining educational romanticism is a mythic image of the good old days when teachers brooked no nonsense and all the children learned their three R’s. You have probably run across tokens of it in occasional editorials that quote examination questions once asked of public schools students. Here is an example that The Wall Street Journal gave from the admissions test to Jersey City High School in 1885: “Write a sentence containing a noun as an attribute, a verb in the perfect tense potential mood, and a proper adjective.” Or consider the McGuffey Readers that were standard textbooks in the nineteenth century, filled with literary selections far more difficult than the ones given to today’s students at equivalent ages. That’s the kind of material all children routinely learned, right?

Wrong. American schools have never been able to teach everyone how to read, write, and do arithmetic. The myth that they could has arisen because schools a hundred years ago did not have to educate the least able. When the twentieth century began, about a quarter of all adults had not reached fifth grade and half had not reached eighth grade. The relationship between school dropout and intellectual ability was not perfect, but it was strong. Today’s elementary and middle schools are dealing with 99 percent of all children in the eligible age groups. Let today’s schools not report the test results for the children that schools in 1900 did not have to teach, and NAEP scores would go through the roof.
The author goes on to give a short history of fads in education and how their effect - if any - is small or very often zero.
The roots of educational romanticism go back to the beginnings of the Progressive Education movement early in the twentieth century. Its flowering in the 1960s and 1970s coincided with a zeitgeist that nurtured wishful thinking of all sorts. But I think we need to come to grips with another important historical force that made educational romanticism dominant. The effects of the triumphant Civil Rights Movement gave a special reason for white elites in the 1960s to start ignoring the implications of intellectual limitations.

It is difficult to convey to readers who came of age in the 1970s or thereafter the emotional power of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and early 1960s. The ambiguities associated with affirmative action and the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws were still in the future. The Civil Rights Movement prior to 1964 created a change in the consciousness of white elites that was felt viscerally, and it included an embarrassing awareness of just how unremittingly whites had violated every American ideal when it came to blacks. With that awareness came elite white guilt —honest, deeply felt, and warranted.

Elite white guilt explains much about all kinds of social policy from the last half of the 1960s onward, but especially about education. Until the 1960s, white educators and politicians could look at a class of white children in which a number of students were doing poorly and shrug. The schools try to teach everyone, but some kids can’t handle the material. That’s just the way the things are; it is not a problem that can be fixed. But when the class consisted of black students who were doing poorly, that reaction was not acceptable. These were children growing up in a society where all the odds had been stacked against them, and their failings couldn’t be passed off as “just the way things are.” Elite white guilt made it impossible to say that a lot of black children were going to continue to fail in school and there’s nothing anybody could do about it. Once it could not be said of black children, neither could it be said of white children. In that context, educational romanticism did not just become fashionable during the 1960s. It became emotionally mandatory.
So we are now paying for our evil with overcompensation. We want to believe that our evil if only expunged can make everything right. Only it can't. It can only make some things right. And those things are severely limited. In fact they are limited to the evil itself. But we want expatiation. So we overcompensate. And with that overcompensation comes the creation of new evils. We don't know how to make oaks grow in a desert. We can't feed men with sand. And yet our guilt makes us try and try harder when we fail.
And so, beginning with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, the federal government embarked on a series of major efforts to improve education for disadvantaged children that culminated in 2002 with the No Child Left Behind Act. Surveying that history, an analogy occurred to me that I offer as a speculative proposition: America’s federal education policy as of 2008 is at about the same place that the Soviet Union’s economic policy was in 1990.

The parallels between the trajectory of the Soviet Union’s attempt to reform its economy and the trajectory of the federal government’s attempts to reform the public education system are striking. By the mid-1980s, Soviet leaders knew that they had to introduce supply and demand into the economy, but they couldn’t bring themselves to try honest-to-God capitalism, so they tried to decentralize decision-making and permit some elements of a market economy while retaining central price controls and government ownership of the means of production. The reforms were based on premises about human nature that were patently wrong. By the turn of the twenty-first century, the educational romantics—and George W. Bush is the Percy Bysshe Shelley of educational romantics—knew that public school systems everywhere had become bureaucratically top-heavy and that many inner-city schools were no longer functional. They knew that the billions of federal money spent on upgrading education for disadvantaged children had produced no demonstrable improvements. But they thought they could fix the system. Bush’s glasnost was to implement accountability through measurement of results by test scores. Bush’s perestroika was a mishmash of performance standards and fragments of a market economy in schools, while retaining public funding of the schools and government control over the enforcement of the new standards. The reforms were based on premises about intellectual ability that were patently wrong.

Unlike the Soviet economy, American public schools are still in business, but scholarly analyses of the administration of No Child Left Behind are documenting a monumental mess.
We are now coming to an end of an era. The results are in and denial is not working. Every one knows that the crap is backed up in the pipes and is overflowing on the floor and it stinks. To high heaven.
Contemplate these results for a moment. A law is passed that, at least in the first few years, convulses educational practice throughout the nation. It is a law explicitly designed to raise test scores, if only because it produces intense drilling on how to take tests. And it produces trivial increases in NAEP’s math scores and no increases in its reading scores. No Child Left Behind has been not just a failure for educational romanticism, but its repudiation.

The good news is that educational romanticism is surely teetering on the edge of collapse. I am optimistic for three reasons. First, the data keep piling up. It takes a while for empiricism to discredit cherished beliefs, but No Child Left Behind may prove to have done us a favor by putting so much emphasis on test scores and thereby focusing attention on how hard it is to budge those scores. Second, we no longer live in a romantic age. Educational romanticism was born of forces that have lost most of their power, and façades collapse when the motives for maintaining those façades weaken. Third, hardly anybody really believes in educational romanticism even now. No one but the most starry-eyed denies in private the reality of differences in intellectual ability that we are powerless to change with K-12 education. People are unwilling to talk about those differences in public, but it is a classic emperor’s-clothes scenario waiting for someone to point out the obvious.
So what do we need to do?
For the good of our children, educational romanticism needs to collapse, and quickly. Its effects play out in the lives of young people in devastating ways. The fourth-grader who has trouble sounding out simple words and his classmate who is reading A Tale of Two Cities for fun sit in the same classroom day after miserable day, the one so frustrated by tasks he cannot do and the other so bored that both are near tears. The eighth-grader who cannot make sense of algebra but has an almost mystical knack with machines is told to stick with the college prep track, because to be a success in life he must go to college and get a B.A. The senior with terrific SAT scores gets away with turning in rubbish on his term papers because to make special demands on the gifted would be elitist. They are all products of an educational system that cannot make itself talk openly about the implications of diverse educational limits.

There is much more to be said about these harms (and I have said it, in a book that will appear in a few months). For now, it is enough to recognize that educational romanticism asks too much from students at the bottom of the intellectual pile, asks the wrong things from those in the middle, and asks too little from those at the top. It short-changes all of them.
Here is a bit I really liked out of the above paragraphs: The eighth-grader who cannot make sense of algebra but has an almost mystical knack with machines is told to stick with the college prep track, because to be a success in life he must go to college and get a B.A. And yet plumbers can make more money than most liberal arts graduates and their jobs can't be outsourced.

I have said this often but it bears repeating:

“The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.” — John W. Gardner, Saturday Evening Post, December 1, 1962

In other words not every man has equal intelligence. All have equal dignity if they comport themselves in a dignified manner. We owe the maintenance of our civilization (and it takes a lot of maintaining) to our plumbers and garbage men. We owe the advances to our scientists and engineers. What we must never forget is that we are all in this together. The man/woman who is respectful and contributes deserves our respect without qualification. The financial trader or the clerk at the grocery store.

Let me add one final point that the article didn't make that I think is vitally important and not well addressed in many communities. Hard work can make up to a 15 IQ point difference in outcomes (sorry no link). That is one standard deviation. It is not a lot. It is, however, significant. You can make up for some lack of anything with extra effort. How many times do we hear of the ball player with less than stellar abilities make up for his lack by devoting more time to practice than his team mates? What works in baseball also works in school. You can punch above your weight if you work at it.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Situation In Iraq Is Dire

The situation in Iraq is dire for al Qaeda.

Recent report from US commanders in Iraq have stated al Qaeda in Iraq has been set back by a combination of the latest offensive and the willingness of local Iraqis to turn on the terror group. Based Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape, al Qaeda central command agrees that the fight against the US and the Iraqi government is not going well.

A clearer picture of Osama bin Laden's view on the state of jihad in Iraq emerges after the release of the full transcript of Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape, Not only does bin Laden admit errors in the Iraqi leader's ability to unite the tribes and Sunni insurgent groups, he views the situation in Iraq as dire for al Qaeda. Bin Laden accuses his foot soldier of "negligence" for failing to properly employ IEDs, laments the unwillingness of Iraqis who do not wish to attack their brothers in the police and army, and closes his statement by saying "the darkness [in Iraq] has become pitch black."

Bin Laden addresses a tactical failure of al Qaeda in Iraq's IED cells. He clearly is unhappy with their performance, and indicated the failure to employ IEDs efficiently against U.S. forces is due to "negligence." He is also concerned about the infiltration of Iraqi and American spies.

Of course all we need to do to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory is to elect Obama President. Can't happen here? See Saigon 1975.

The above report was from October of 2007. For a more up to date look (it is worse for the jihadis) check out where I got the above link from: this report from Wolf Howling. It has charts and more good news from Iraq and the Iraqi Government.

War Magic

The Secret Strobe Lights of WW2 describes an interesting weapon of war. Strobe lights.

It might have been the greatest lost weapon of World War II. Major-General JFC Fuller, the man credited with developing modern armored warfare in the 1920s, called failure to use it "the greatest blunder of the whole war." He even suggested that British and American tank divisions could have overrun Germany before the Russians -- if it had been deployed, that is.

I've been looking at a new range of strobing weapons, which use flickering lights to subdue criminals and insurgents. But it turns out that the disorienting power of such lights was discovered decades before.

The secret weapon Fuller was referring to was the Canal Defence Light -- a powerful searchlight mounted on a tank, with a shutter allowing it to flicker six times a second. The 13-million candlepower searchlight -- intended to illuminate the battlefield and dazzle the enemy -- was described in a fascinating article on the CDL Tanks of Lowther castle...
I first read about it in a book about Jasper Maskelyne, The War Magician.
Another use of flickering lights in World War II was the proposal by Jasper Maskelyne, a stage magician employed by the British military. (A very colorful account of Maskelyne's role is given in the book The War Magician - reading it you might think he won the war single-handed.) The magician was given the task of making the Suez Canal invisible to enemy bombers. When the idea of constructing an illusion using mirrors was rejected as impractical, another plan was formulated, as this site on Maskelyne describes:
Maskelyne came up with the unorthodox idea of constructing 21 'dazzle lights' along the length of the Canal. These powerful searchlights, containing 24 different spinning beams, projected a swirling, cartwheeling confusion of light up to nine miles into the sky. A barrage of light to confuse and blind the enemy bombers, which Maskelyne dubbed Whirling Spray.
Fisher claims that this radical defensive shield of light was highly effective and was a major reason why the Suez Canal remained open for the duration of the war.

However, in spite of the book's claims, the dazzle light were never actually built (although a prototype was once tested). Is the power of strobe lights just an illusion based on hype, like Maskelyne's whirling spray? Or a significant new weapon that will be ignored or shelved because people are either ignorant of it or don't believe...?
I had read the story of the Canal Defense lights in the "The War Magician" about Maskelyne's exploits against the Axis Powers in North Africa and had always wondered what they were about. Now I know.

I came across this article through the following links: starting with Classical Values to Chicago Boyz to Zen Pundit to Wired

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Palestinians For Obama Are Making The Call

Here is an interesting report from Al Jazeera about Palestinians in Gaza making phone calls to Americans supporting Barack Hussein Obama.

The below television news segment produced by Al-Jazeera shows Palestinians in Gaza engaging in phone banking activities for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The segment explains how young Palestinians have banded together to call American voters at random asking them to vote for Obama.

“It all started at the time of the US primaries,” says one of pro-Obama Palestinian organizers. “After studying Obama’s electro campaign manifesto I thought this is a man that’s capable of change inside of America. As for potential change in the Middle East, he can also do that if he can bring peace to the area. At least this is what we hope.”

Townhall was tipped off to the video by American Spectator’s Phillip Klein, who wrote Tuesday “It’s been around, but I'm just now seeing this Al Jazeera report of Palestinians in Gaza phonebanking for Obama. I hear that Hamas, which has endorsed Obama, has a bit of influence in those parts.”

Ahmed Yousef, a political adviser of the anti-Israel terrorist group Hamas said Hamas supports Obama last Sunday. “We don’t mind–actually we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will (win) the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance,” Yousef said in an interview on WABC radio.
You know I don't think this is going to go over well with Jewish voters in the Democrat Party and it isn't going to help with Christian supporters of Israel either.

Interesting Tag Line

I was looking through the comments at Larry Johnson's No Quarter and came across this interesting tag line:

Clinton or McCain 08

This is one of the most interesting elections I have ever watched. The crosses and double crosses are amazing. The parties double cross the voters and the voters return the favor to the parties. Hillary donors want the money they donated to the party returned to them. Republican big money donors are working to screw McCain. It's a donnybrook. Fortunately it is not a private fight and any one can join in. Spectators welcome too. Stand back if you want to avoid the blood spatters.

From A Usually Unreliable Source

Larry Johnson of No Quarter who is is a usually unreliable hard lefty except when it come to digging dirt on Obama reports this:

I now have it from two three four sources (three who are close to senior Republicans) that there is video dynamite–Michelle Obama railing against “whitey” at Jeremiah Wright’s church. Republicans may have a lousy record when it comes to the economy and the management of the war in Iraq, but they are hell on wheels when it comes to opposition research. Someone took the chance and started reviewing the recordings from services at Jeremiah Wright’s United Church of Christ. Holy smoke!! I am told there is a clip that is being held for the fall to drop at the appropriate time. The last thing Barack and Michelle need is a new clip that raises further questions about her judgment and temperament.
Larry also says in another post:
Here’s the news short and sweet–if you have a copy of the Michelle Obama video, in which she is lambasting white people (four different sources say she uses “whitey” as an epithet) at Jeremiah Wright’s church, then there is an ultra conservative Republican billionaire who wants to pay your $1 million dollars for the tape. Why? He hates John McCain. Conservative Republicans refer to John McCain as a Marxist and a sell out (and those are the nice comments). The billionaire in question believes Barack is a very weak candidate and, if he gets the Democratic nod, then McCain will surely be President. Especially after the October “surprise” of Michelle Obama railing against whitey. The billionaire wants to preempt McCain and Rove and has put the word out thru conservative networks that there is a $1 million dollar bounty for the person or persons who produce the tape.

I got this info courtesy of a major Republican operative. I am told that Karl Rove and his political allies control the tape where Michelle Obama has a Stokely Carmichael moment of sorts. Rove and company reportedly are showing the tape to big money Republicans to loosen up their wallets and get new money to fund independent expenditure groups. That’s why news of this is starting to leak out. The money is being raised for 527 groups that will target the Democrats in the fall.
This election season is just getting weirder and weirder. I really have to ask though what kind of Republican would take a chance on a world war and a bunch of hard left Supreme Court picks just to derail the McCain Campaign? That seems a little harsh to me even if McCain leans too much towards the center for some Republicans. Especially since Republicans - at this point in time - are looking a a bloodbath in the Congressional races.

However, all is not lost. Recreate '68 could still derail a Hillary campaign in in Denver if she looks like she has any chance of getting the nomination. As I said weird. There are so many unconstrained forces loose in the land, with neither party united behind their candidate, that making any predictions at this time about anybody's chances in November is a fools errand. So what am I predicting? Sales of popcorn and beer will be at record highs through November. "Pass me the remote honey. I want to see if another network has a better angle on the action."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You Talkin' 'Bout Me?

President Bush gave a speech at the Israeli Parliament.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
And right away Obama jumps up and said Bush accused him of appeasement.
WASHINGTON - Barack Obama accused President Bush of "a false political attack" Thursday after Bush warned in Israel against appeasing terrorists — early salvos in a general election campaign that's already blazing even as the Democratic front-runner tries to sew up his party's nomination.

The White House denied Bush had targeted Obama, who said the Republican commander in chief's intent was obvious.
And you know, Bush never mentioned Obama. Now why would he chime in unless he felt guilty about his appeasement policies? You know the guy who wants to bomb our weak friend Pakistan and talk to our enemies in Iran.

I think he done slipped in some Shinola.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Zilog Gets An Offer

Those of you in at the start of the personal computer revolution will remember Zilog for its Intel 8080 clone, the Z-80, that was a much better performer than the Intel chip. The Intel 8080 and the Zilog Z-80 were both designed by Federico Fagin. The Z-80 didn't require a special clock chip and it had a lot of neat add on instructions that made writing code easier and made the code perform better and take up less space in memory. It also used fewer clock cycles for some instructions. I upgraded my IMSAI 8080 to a Z-80 processor as soon as I could.

The Z-80 was also the heart of the Sinclair ZX-81 a really cute little computer with a very creative hardware design. As I recall memory address lines were used not just for memory access but also to scan the keyboard. I had one of those and had lots of fun with it. It used a TV set as a monitor.

Zilog is now entertaining a buy out offer from power semiconductor maker IXYS.

MILPITAS, Calif. (AP) - Semiconductor maker Ixys Corp. on Friday made an unsolicited offer to buy Zilog Inc. for $4.50 per share, a 9 percent premium over Zilog stock's $4.14 closing price.

Zilog, also a semiconductor maker, in February said a $4.50 per share offer by remote-control maker Universal Electronics Inc. was too low. Zilog's stock closed at $3.62 the day before that offer.

Zilog said it received the offer and is reviewing it.

Last week, San Jose, Calif.-based Zilog said it narrowed its net loss to $1.9 million, or 11 cents per share, from $3.6 million, or 21 cents per share. Revenue fell 13 percent to $16.7 million.
Compare Zilog's revenue to Intel's billions. They were once a contender.

IXYS makes some very good power semiconductors. With those kinds of transistors the heart of hybrid autos and plug in hybrids business must be very good. The control of power is a very important part of electronics these days. It is the area of aerospace I have the most experience with.

We Owe It To Our Military

McCain made a great point at the NRA convention and he changed my mind about my on again off again support for him. We owe it to those who have fought and died in Iraq.

Senator Obama has said, if elected, he will withdraw Americans from Iraq quickly no matter what the situation on the ground is and no matter what U.S. military commanders advise. But if we withdraw prematurely from Iraq, al Qaeda in Iraq will survive, proclaim victory and continue to provoke sectarian tensions that, while they have been subdued by the success of the surge, still exist, and are ripe for provocation by al Qaeda. Civil war in Iraq could easily descend into genocide, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions. A reckless and premature withdrawal would be a terrible defeat for our security interests and our values. Iran will view it as a victory, and the biggest state supporter of terrorists, a country with nuclear ambitions and a stated desire to destroy the Sta te of Israel, will see its influence in the Middle East grow significantly.

The consequences of our defeat would threaten us for years, and those who argue for premature withdrawal, as both Senators Obama and Clinton do, are arguing for a course that would eventually draw us into a wider and more difficult war that would entail far greater dangers and sacrifices than we have suffered to date. Thanks to the counterinsurgency instigated by General Petreaus, after four years of terribly costly mistakes, we have a realistic chance to succeed in helping the forces of political reconciliation prevail in Iraq, and the democratically elected Iraqi Government, with a professional and competent Iraqi army, impose its authority throughout the country and defend its borders. We have a realistic chance of denying al Qaeda any sanctuary in Iraq. We have a realistic chance of leaving behind in Iraq a force for stability and peace in the region, and not a cause for a wider and far more dangerous war. I do not argue against withdrawal because I am indifferent to war and the suffering it inflicts on too many American families. I hold my position because I hate war, and I know very well and very personally how grievous its wages are. But I know, too, that we must sometimes pay those wages to avoid paying even higher ones later. I want our soldiers home, too, just as quickly as we can bring them back without risking everything they suffered for, and burdening them with greater sacrifices in the years ahead. That I will not do. I have spent my life in service to my country, and I will never, never, never risk her security for the sake of my own ambitions. I will defend her, and all her freedoms, so help me God. And I ask you to help me in that good cause. Thank you, and God bless you.
I think in these dangerous times McCain is the only competent war leader on the ballot. Thank you for reminding me John.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

On The Saudi Payroll?

The American Thinker asks: What do the Saudis want?

Slowly but surely it is beginning to dawn on a world mesmerized by the Democratic primary contest that an oil cartel has been picking our pocket with impunity by willfully failing to adjust its output to the additional needs of China and India. More specifically, Americans are beginning to wonder at the logic of continuing to keep Saudis safe. Hence, the US-Saudi oil axis faces a day of truth when president Bush will deliver diplomatically to his Saudi hosts the message NY senator Chuck Schumer delivered most undiplomatically:
We are saying to the Saudis that, if you don't help us, why should we be helping you?
Interesting that a Democrat would be asking that question. And asking it in relation to an American arms sale to the Saudis. We will have more on that question in a bit.

But first what do the Saudis want?
First, they want to see energy demands curtailed rather than supplies increased so that oil will continue to be able to meet that need.

Second, they want oil consumers to continue to promote investment in oil and to promise NOT to invest in or subsidize seriously the development of alternatives to oil.

Third, if alternative energy is to be developed, it should not substitute for oil, merely supplement it.

Fourth, they want "to smooth the recycling of billions of dollars in oil revenues from producers back into consuming countries." In other words, end the growing scrutiny of sovereign wealth funds.
Basically what they want is a guarantee that they can continue their leveraged buy out of the USA. I don't think that is a good idea.

Which fits in pretty well with keeping alcohol tariffs high and preventing the development of flex fuel vehicles, which I discuss at The Girls From Brazil Have A Question. They also have nice asses (and I don't mean donkeys) which you can see in the included video.

Which leads us to the final question which Instapundit asks: is Congress on the Saudi payroll? Rocky Mountain news has the details.
The Senate Appropriations Committee today narrowly defeated Sen. Wayne Allard's attempt to end a moratorium related to oil shale development in Colorado.

It was a big day for Colorado energy issues on Capitol Hill as Gov. Bill Ritter testified before a senate committee asking lawmakers to move cautiously on oil-shale development until more is known about the environmental impact and other issues.

Meanwhile downstairs, the appropriations committee was considering a massive Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill. Allard, a member of the committee, attempted to insert an amendment that would reverse the moratorium that lawmakers approved late last year.

The moratorium prevents the Department of Interior from issuing regulations so that oil companies can move forward on oil-shale projects in Colorado and Utah. Allard said the moratorium has left uncertainties at a time when companies need to move forward and in the long term make the United States more energy independent.

"If we are really serious about reducing pain at the pump, this is a vote that would make a difference in people's lives," Allard argued.

But in a 14-15 vote, the committee spilt strictly on party lines and rejected the amendment.
Don't forget that the Dems in the name of the enviro lobby have been blocking drilling in Alaska and drilling off our coasts. The funny thing is that the Cubans with the help of the Chinese don't see any problem with drilling off our coast, albeit just on their side of the economic zone demarcation line. If there is oil on their side of the line there is most probably oil on our side of the line.

So do the Saudis own the Democrats? It is as good a hypothesis as any. And what about Bush? I think he is a bad politician. He didn't stay bought. How about the Democrats? It looks like they are getting double crossed. Well crossings and double crossings are always the prelude to war. This one is going to be a real bitch.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

An Unhappy Commenter At American Thinker

The exchange speaks for itself:

do not shit in our mouths and try and call it an ice cream sundae.

I know why he is unhappy. He forgot to keep his mouth shut when they were passing out his quota of brains.

Prompted by Hawking Retro-Change and Misplaced Hope

File A Complaint

Under the Endangered Species Act the polar bear is now listed as a threatened species.

After 18 years of a law practice devoted to counseling landowners, home builders and commercial interests affected by the long arm and severe penalties of the Endangered Species Act, I am used to incredulous looks and outraged oaths from clients coming to grips with the Act's incredible burdens on impacted private citizens.

"Are you telling me I can't build my Burger King because a Delhi Sands flower-loving fly that has never been seen and is above ground only a few days a year might be near-by?"

"I can't build a connector road because the noise from construction might damage the hearing of the Stephens' kangaroo rat thus impairing its reproduction?"

"All construction in San Diego involving impacts to road ruts which might contain Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp is enjoined? All construction?"

Yes, yes, and yes. The list of situations in which the ESA has stopped otherwise legal and fully permitted projects from proceeding is extraordinarily long and getting longer. With Wednesday's decision to list the polar bear as "threatened" the burden on the American economy brought about by the ESA grew exponentially.
How about that. It looks like the socialists and luddites have won the day.
I have written here and here on the polar bear controversy. Those columns delineated how the advocates of the polar bear listing planned on using the bear to impose vast new controls on the emissions of greenhouse gases across the United States. When Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the listing, he also made a bold statement that the new status of the polar bear would not lead to such consequences.

To which the environmental activists replied immediately: "Says who?" The law is the law, they correctly noted, and it cannot be cabined by "guidance" issued by the executive branch.
I'm assuming that Bush is no dummy. So what can be done?
Because the polar bear has been listed as threatened due to alleged deterioration of its ice habitat, and because the alleged loss of the ice habitat has occurred because of global warming caused at least in part by the emission of greenhouse gases, environmental activists will argue that all emissions of greenhouse gases that flow as a consequence of the grant of a federal permit of any sort are now subject to review under the ESA and, crucially, that those permits cannot be issued unless and until the United States Fish & Wildlife Service reviews and approves of the requested permit under Section 7 of the ESA, a process which takes at a minimum months and which can cost millions of dollars even if it is successful.

Because of the generous "citizen standing" provisions of the ESA, expect dozens of "60-day" letters to begin to arrive in the offices of Secretary Kempthorne very soon, announcing that unless the Department and the Service act to invoke Section 7 vis-a-vis this or that federal permit, a lawsuit will be filed to force compliance. Expect most of those suits to be filed in the Ninth Circuit, where the appeals court has been very expansive in applying the ESA.
Well it is obvious what is to be done. Start filing those 60 day letters. As the article points out:
Swarming the courts has long been a tactic of the left, but private sector firms and sectors threatened by the threatened polar bears need to do more than sit back and wait for bills to come do and projects to be canceled.
Start a cottage industry with standard forms and get those letters out to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Don't like City Hall in your town? File a letter. Hate the Saudis? File a letter. Down on Cezar Chavez? File a letter. Don't like Chinese imports? File a letter. Don't like Al Gore's mansion? File a letter. In fact file letters even for industries you like. Bury this decision under a blizzard of paper.

Once this gets going if some one will direct me to the requirements for letter filing and standard forms or groups that will help I'll post them. The way to put an end to bad law is to get it strictly enforced. The stricter the better.

Cross Posted at Classical Values