Archives for the Month of June 2006 on Jeffrey Quick's Blog
Well, the new chicken coop is almost done, and the builder is still working in the dark. It's quite the structure; we could use it for a mother-in-law suite. We'll have to paint it, and wire it if we wish.
And I now have a tractor: a 1950 Ford 8N. I drove it home 3 miles, my first tractor driving ever. It shifts backwards from a car, and it doesn't seem to want to shift while in motion, so it took me a mile to find 4th. I eventually got up to 13 mph, according to Rusty, who was driving behind. No tie on, let alone a suit, but I still had my work clothes on and felt quite Oliver Wendell Douglas-ish. Now all I need are some implements so I can actually DO something with it.
With all this excitement, and the long weekend, I completely forgot that I had a choral rehearsal tonight. I feel so bad...mea culpa, mea maxima culpa....especially because I was conducting part of it.
All this work...I suppose that on some level, I'm just a bit too much like French royalty playing nymphs and shepherds. But I'm sure the Sun King never did anything the slightest bit physically dangerous, though his music director certainly did. As I do. But if it were really the case that this is just an extended fête champêtre, we'd need mzwyndi and airrelic to offer the proper degree of authenticity. BYO sheep.
Pictures when it's daylight, if I get a fast enough dialup connection.
Hypocrite on wheels
Last night, on the way home, going through Cleveland Heights, I was behind a spanking-new big black pickup with a matching cap and a bunch of lefty/greenie bumper stickers. OK, he's got his, I've got mine; it's all good. But two of them were anti-SUV stickers.
Hold on a minute.
An SUV is basically a car-ish/van-ish thing on a truck chassis. They get about the same milage as a pickup. They're styled like a pickup. So if he has a hardon about SUVs, why is he driving this?
Some people have working trucks. This was not a working truck. If you're loading things into a pickup, dings and scratches are inevitable. Maybe he felt he needed it to take his St. Bernard to the vet. I dunno. But I know working trucks. I have one: a '91 Ford F150 with advanced cancer and about 200K miles on it. I use it for hauling, and as a backup vehicle. While it doesn't get horrible milage, I don't drive it unless I have a reason to drive a truck. And getting to work is not a reason to drive a truck unless the Aspire (39 mpg highway) is down. I believe that because I respect the Earth. What the anti-SUV guy believes....I have no idea.
No cock for you!
Turks.us is keeping it clean:
• 3 Detained in Bomb Attack Against Turkish Embassy in Paris
Friday, June 23 2006 @ 10:11 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Three suspects have been taken into custody by French police in connection with last Saturday's Molotov *censored*tail attack on the Turkish embassy in Paris.
In the attack on the Turkish Embassy, two Molotov *censored*tails were thrown which caused damage to the embassy entrance but no casualties were reported.
In April this year, Turkey's Paris embassy had been the target of another Molotov *censored*tail attack carried out by unknown persons.
I admire their *censored* in admitting to censorship, though it's *censored*inine and re*censored*ulous to split up words like that. It's like the prank we used to pull in elementary school: "Say 'mother may I' and spell 'cup'."
It's comforting to know that I can still talk about having a piece of tail, though.
Apparently the US Turks are better Moslems than the Turkish Turks, who printed the article uncensored.
Thanks to Taranto.
Die, and pay for somebody else to die
Clinton . . . objected to the president's efforts to permanently repeal the estate tax. An estate tax on the richest one percent of Americans could raise $25 million to $40 million a year, enough to wipeout [sic] extreme poverty around the globe in a decade.
Hmm, let's assume the take from the death tax is at the high end of Clinton's estimate, or $400 million in a decade. How close would this come to wiping out extreme poverty? According to NetAid.org:
Over 1 billion people--1 in 6 people around the world--live in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1 a day.
Let's assume they all live on 99 cents a day, and thus need only 1 cent a day to lift them out of extreme poverty. That means wiping out extreme poverty world-wide would require a billion cents, or $10 million, a day--so that a decade's worth of death-tax revenues would alleviate extreme poverty for just under six weeks--not counting the administrative expense of distributing those 40 billion pennies.
Now, if the taxman could get his hands on Warren Buffett's estate . . .
It's unclear whether this was AP editorializing, or a paraphrase of something Slick Willie said. Either way, they need to be held to account.
On the other hand, if that much money were used to buy assassination contracts on corrupt dictators and Marxists, it's entirely possible that the currently defined level of global poverty could be indirectly eliminated. If everone who didn't support economic freedom, property rights, and a stable economy got psychosurgery with a lead probe (and I do mean everyone...here too), the entire world could probably go on a 30-hour week and still be better off than they are now.
Not that that would make the death tax right...but it would at least make it useful. Especially since death tax supporters would eventually get a contract themselves.
The Marines get it; the Senate almost didn't
Two seemingly unrelated stories about the 1st Amendment. First, the Marines have decided that singing tacky songs about offing Iraqis is not a prosecutable offence. It's true that the military has restrictions that civilians don't, but I've noticed that they tend to be persnickety about the Constitution they swore to defend, as witness their support of the Ft. Hood Wiccans against showboating Congressmen like Bob Barr.
But then there was the Senate, and their rejection of the flag-burning amendment by ONE VOTE:
"Countless men and women have died defending that flag," said Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., closing two days of debate. "It is but a small humble act for us to defend it."
To the extent that soldiers have died literally "defending the flag", it was a symbolic act, and not a terribly good use of American blood. I'd always thought our soldiers fought and died for freedom...which this is definitely not about. Giving government constitutional powers it did not previously have is a Bad Idea. This isn't just a freedom of speech issue, it's an Establishment Clause issue too, as it sacralizes an object as part of a state religion.
I've helped burn my share of flags. Not American flags; I'm kind of sentimental that way. UN flags, certainly. But it's so hard (and expensive) nowadays to get a flag that burns instead of melts. "These colors don't run" doesn't apply to nylon, evidently.
I'll probably fly the Stars and Stripes this weekend; as I said, I'm sentimental. But there's a Gadsden Flag flying in front of my house 24/7.
Slam of the day
Vox Day, in an otherwise uninspired (for him) column attributing the current boom in sex slavery to the post-Christian West:
When one considers that a pretty young blonde sells for between $700 and $2,500, it's no wonder that aging feminists rage about the low value men place on them. You could probably get Gloria Steinhem [sic] for less than the price of a decent bottle of scotch and Catherine MacKinnon for a Red Bull and a pack of chewing gum.
A whole pack of chewing gum? That damn lawyer drives a hard bargain.
Barbara Millicent Roberts is dying
She's almost 50. She's losing money. Will Mattel kill her off?
I vote for breast cancer, myself. Issue a "Mastectomy Barbie" with detachable prostheses, with 5% of the sales price going to breast cancer research. If collectors snap it up, she beats the cancer and stays in business. If it's a bust, so to speak, then they close up shop.
She's not a toy; she's an American icon. People complained about her unnatural breast and hip measurements; now she's being beat by dolls with unnatural head measurements. What does that say about us as a culture?
About 20 years ago, I wrote a long poem in blank verse called "Barbie's Baby", about the perils of throwing her and Ken into a shoebox under the bed, and the marketing problems that ensued. (No abortion; it would kill sales in the Christian market. And she couldn't DIY because those plastic coathangers don't bend. And her clothes wouldn't fit.) With her career in shambles, she contemplated suicide.
Only in the Berkeley of Michigan.
The woman wasn't sure she was ready for marriage. Life, said the man, is all about taking risks. So he jumped out of the window and ran naked across the street...which turned out to be riskier than he'd anticipated.
"They aren't getting married," my wife said, definitively.
After the 2.3 inches of rain Thurs., we got another 5/8 inch Friday. In the short respite between showers, I repaired the chicken tractor, which had broken under the weight of accumulated water (leaving Rusty to run out in the rain in her nightie to rescue Silkies), and redesigned the top to shed water. It still collects a little in the corners if they're left bungeed; if they're loose, the water runs down the inside corners.
Richard Nanes, Sim Phonyist
I was listening to Richard Nanes the other day. What brought on this fit of masochism is unclear. I had picked up the 4 symphonies at a used CD shop in NYC late in 1996. I was only going to buy 1 CD worth, but the other was $0.99, and Jeff Harrington who was with me appealed to my librarian's sense of completeness (only I wasn't yet a librarian then.) Anyway, I'd sort of forgotten what they were about, so I loaded #3 and 4 into the car changer; I figured he'd had 1 & 2 for practice.
Too much of a good thing
We'd gotten all caught up last weekend, everything planted and weeded. The last several days we got about an inch and a quarter of rain...just enough, and everyone was happy.
We got about 2.3" here since 1 PM. It's stopped now, but there's more on the way.
The other side piece on the chicken tractor cracked as well as the 2x2 crosspiece. Rusty caught the Silkies and moved them in with the White Rocks, where they have formed two seperate camps, eyeing each other warily. At least the ducks are happy; their pond is full again. And the tree frogs are in full cry. Half the garden is under water, and slugs are all over the plants, to keep from drowning. Half the elderblow is off the tree...hope they got pollinated first.
Good thing I took tomorrow off, though I don't know how much I can do. The CT has to be redesigned to shed water. I thought I could get away with my last attempt, but Rusty isn't able to dump the water as it amasses. Anything I do will add weight and shakiness.
By the looks of the news, I should be thankful that it's ALL we got.
"Mother, Child and Womb"? That's even more sexist than the old patriarchal Trinity. We suspect God will be quite angry at the suggestion that she is no more than an Incubator. It ought to be "Woman, Fetus and Body."
"Rock, Redeemer, Friend" is much better, and it's easy to remember. Rock crushes Redeemer, Redeemer cuts Friend, Friend covers Rock.
Personally, given the Presby's attitude about Israel (fortunately now somewhat modified), I'd go with "Da Jooz Parent, Da Joo, and Da Jooz Ghost."
Can't even agree on Jesus
The Rev. McDowell of the Diocese of North Carolina told VirtueOnline after the floor vote, "In the Episcopal Church we don't do up and down votes on Jesus Christ as Lord, and to do so is potentially a mean-spirited approach, to ask questions that aren't meant to be questions."Unfortunately, that's not because that theological FACT is not available for democratic decision.
And they've descended to Holocaust references...paging Mike Godwin:
The House of Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church today overwhelmingly refused to even consider a resolution that affirmed Jesus Christ as the "only name by which any person may be saved."
"This type of language was used in 1920s and 1930s to alienate the type of people who were executed. It was called the Holocaust. I understand the intent, but I ask you to allow the discharge to stay," said the Rev. Eugene C. McDowell, a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Canon Theologian for the Diocese of North Carolina.
Right now, we're rehearsing my Evening Canticles at the Mac. Old text, veddy English, right in the tradition (though the Mary of my Magnificat is a bit of a tomboy). And I can't help but feel that it's a requiem for the Episcopal Church.
If it's born broke, don't fix it
Here's a letter, allegedly from UN employees, detailing just how FUBAR the UN is. It's pretty good until the end:
Ask your Senators and Congressman to create a NEW organization that can lead the world well into the 21st Century...All Democrats and all Republicans should be able to easily agree that if deep, deep reform is not possible, the UN should be closed and a new organization should be created to truly make the world a better place.
You can hardly blame a bunch of career public policy types for wanting to hold on to the dream, for thinking that their jobs actually matter. But it's in the nature of the UN as a quasi-world government that it will be corrupt. There's just no accountability. Most of the member states are themselves corrupt in varying degrees, and those who aren't, and have enough purse-power to have leverage (i.e., the US) are "too nice" (i.e., too easily cowed) to hurt the small (and corrupt) countries by curtting funds. For the UN to do its stated mission, it has to be free from government interference, which means it is also free from government oversight.
The League of Nations didn't work. The UN hasn't worked. What makes anyone think that the third time's the charm? Yanking every last dime is the least we should do; the real answer probably involves precision bombing of some NY real estate.
Sins of the father
Which German political philosopher was responsible for these, er, charming quotes?
"Is it a misfortune that magnificent California was seized from the lazy Mexicans who did not know what to do with it?"
"It is now completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial formation and his hair, descends from the Negroes from Egypt, assuming that his mother or grandmother had not interbred with a nigger. Now this union of Judaism and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar product. The obtrusiveness of the fellow is also nigger-like."
Hint: it wasn't Hitler.
Even China has PETAoids
40 harpies swarmed into the Fangji Cat Meatball restaurant (which, as you would expect, serves cat meat) in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and forced it out of business, even though there is a tradition in Guangdong province of eating cats as a warming food in winter.
China is developing a nascent animal rights movement as more people raise pets, which during the country's Communist heyday was frowned upon as a bourgeois activity.
I hate to agree with Commies, but it IS bourgeois. So is the custom of trespassing onto another's property in order to force him to cater to your particular prejudices. Evidently the government doesn't inhibit freedom nearly enough for these women.
Now to watch the comment fireworks begin, mwahahaha!
Thanks to Taranto.
Friendly fire in the drug war
The mayor of Bridgeport CT won't quit over having used cocaine in office.
Why should he? The former mayor of DC didn't (until he had to, and then he got re-elected). And this wasn't a bust; it was hearsay from a drug dealer inadvertently (or so they say) released by the FBI.Fabrizi has allegedly been clean for 18 months.
I'm cool with letting him skate. But since it would never happen to you or I, I want a quid pro quo: no coke busts in Bridgeport for the rest of Fabrizi's term. Sounds fair to me.
Vampires in Ohio City
The allegedly-haunted Franklin Castle is again the site of strange doings, with a
developer bullshitter hard at work. But here are the real ghouls of the story:
But not if City Councilman Joe Cimperman has his way.
Cimperman said neighbors, especially the church-run halfway house for men next door to the castle, were opposed to an upscale private club.
"He's pushing crazy stuff that doesn't even exist," said Cimperman, vowing to block a liquor license for the castle. "The guy has done nothing. Stop the nonsense."
Uh, Joe, whose house is it anyway?
Whiff of fresh air in France
Sure, she has to get elected first. But a Frenchwoman expressing admiration for - gasp - Maggie Thatcher?
She is about to start a job in a small venture capital firm after graduating last week from a Paris business school. “Some of our politicians have never really done anything in the real world. I want to know what business is.”
"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ces soir?"
Tracey: not the new Vicky Gene
Rev. Tracey Lind (or "the lesbian heretic", as a congregant at a competing church calls her)of Trinity Cathedral has decided that she doesn't want to be a bishop.
I'm impressed. So much of ECUSA's problems have ultimately been about ego. For somebody to forego advancement for the sake of the church is unexpectedly good. I suspect she'll change her mind once the schism is complete, but there'll be nothing left to save then, and no reason for sacrifice.
Well played, ma'am.
Darwin and the doper
Not only were there several photos depicting marijuana plants, Giorgi explained, the subject was quoted as saying, "I have a medical condition that my doctor says I have to cure with 'green' medicine. The weird thing is that alllll of my friends have the same condition!! Haha, it's legal b------!"
You know, I hate the War on Some Drugs.But when I see a 25 year old stupid enough to brag about his pot plants on Myspace, I begin to suspect that it's fulfilling an evolutionary function.
Wisconsin's newest tourist attraction
It's his shed. If he wants to turn it into a Hitler Memorial, what's the problem? The batty old SS vet will be dead soon enough, and his family will sell the contents and go on vacation.
Government price supports for coyotes
Why not? It works for marijuana.
Black markets are by definition free markets. Anyone could have seen this coming.
Why conservatives are hopeless
..is illustrated by this unscientific poll for World Net Daily:
If you had to base your vote in November on 1 issue, which would it be?
Border security/Illegal immigration 63.43% (548)
Oust all incumbents 12.50% (108)
Abortion 7.41% (64)
Same-sex marriage 4.63% (40)
Taxes and spending 3.36% (29)
War in Iraq 3.24% (28)
Other 2.43% (21)
Property rights 2.31% (20)
Environment 0.35% (3)
Gas prices 0.35% (3)
What makes them hopeless is not the relative ranking of the hot-buttons. It's that "property rights" came in so low, given that property rights are the key to every other issue on the list...even illegal immigration, if you accept the dodgy notion of "public property". Incumbents? They don't respect property rights. Abortion? whose bady/whose life (depending on where you fall on the issue) is it? Marriage is all about property. Taxes? Whose money is it? Iraq? Whose country is it? Whose environment, whose gasoline?
That this shot right past the readership does not bode well for American conservatism.
Peter King, your mommy
And while we're at it, how dumb does Pennsylvania look for not making helmets mandatory? I heard a state legislator on the radio this morning say that this accident wouldn't cause him to change his mind. It's about human rights, he said. Riders should not be forced to wear a helmet.
I've got one for you, Mr. Politician. Let's repeal seat-belt laws, and gun laws, and minimum drinking ages, and let's just let America be the Wild, Wild West. Do what you want, when you want.
Laws are made to protect people, even when they think they don't need protecting. Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is about as basic as one can get in terms of human safety. It's irresponsible to argue the other side.
Laws are NOT made to protect people; they are made to protect RIGHTS. If it's all about protecting people, why don't we ban professional football? It's inherently dangerous; players are always getting hurt, sometimes with career-ending and permanent injuries. And why not put the government in charge of our diets? Issue everyone a scientifically-formulated MRE and ban sales of any other food. And close the frigging bars!
The "problem" with freedom is that one must accept the occasional negative outcome. That's better than permanent and consistent negative outcomes from the government. I agree, "Let's repeal seat-belt laws, and gun laws, and minimum drinking ages, and let's just let America be the Wild, Wild West. Do what you want, when you want." Certainly any big-city mayor would kill to have the crime rate of the Wild Wild West.
Thanks to Vox Day.
Battered Conservative Syndrome
Dafydd at Big Lizards knocks one out of the park in defense of Ann Coulter. No mean language, just lining up the examples. I hadn't heard the Oprah story; it certainly diminishes her. The rest of it I've lived through.
Thanks to rightwingnation.
More rigged debates in Cleveland
Names conspicuous by their absence in this article: Green Bob Fitrakis and Libertarian Bill Peirce.
All or none, Uncle Ken. I know through bitter experience how much you hate Libertarians, but fair is fair. And since Kenny hates them so much, why don't you insist on having them aboard, Ted? Afraid of losing votes to the Greens?
Hard to be positive
Evidently the Apostates Against Blackwell (aka We Believe Cleveland) are having a hard time getting moving. I guess when you aren't used to believing in much of anything, believing in a political campaign or candidate is a stretch.
We Believe has ... created a speakers bureau to respond to attacks from the religious right; and created a bank of sermons on related issues that are available on the Internet.
Hmmm, a bank of sermons on political issues, ecumenically fungible? That's funny, I thought ministers were supposed to preach the Gospel.
DHS: Any card will do
This story is a riot on several levels. First, the factual:
The Department of Homeland Security allowed a man to enter its headquarters last week using a fake Matricula Consular card as identification, despite federal rules that say the Mexican-issued card is not valid ID at government buildings.
Bruce DeCell, a retired New York City police officer, used his phony card -- which lists his place of birth as "Tijuana, B.C." and his address as "123 Fraud Blvd." on an incorrectly spelled "Staton Island, N.Y." -- to enter the building Wednesday for a meeting with DHS officials.
He's been using this obsolete-style Matricula Consular card to board airplanes for FOUR YEARS!
Some members of Congress tried to crack down on use of the card, particularly as valid ID for opening a bank account, but the Bush administration opposed that effort.
For once, Bush has it right. Since banks are private businesses, it's up to THEM to say what forms of ID they will and won't accept. If they're cool with a Matricula, that's fine. Is there some overwhelming security reason why we want illegals patronizing those sleazy check-cashing stores?
Mr. DeCell is a member of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, an organization of families with relatives who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Isn't this the sort of thing that Ann Coulter was all over? As an ex-cop, he presumably knows something about security, but that has nothing to do with his 9/11 loss. Making DHS look like utter fools probably does more for security than anything the "Witches of East Brunswick" (Vox Day, trying to one-up Coulter) have done. But neither set of actions has any real connection to victimhood.
My kind of bureaucracy
Maybe the Department of Agriculture needs to be more like Britain's Rural Payments Agency:
Staff at a government agency office have been reported leaping naked from filing cabinets and carrying out stomach-churning pranks.
Civil servants are said to have had sex in the lavatories, taken drugs, used foul language, brawled in the reception area and held break-dancing contests in working hours.
Sounds like a fun place to work, eh?
Last month Lord Bach was moved from his post as farms minister after a week in office because of the Rural Payments Agency's failure to pay £1.5 billion of European subsidies on time to English farmers and landowners.
The fiasco has pushed many farmers to the brink of bankruptcy.
Now, I'm not generally in favor of anything that interrupts the economic planning of farmers (God does a good enough job of that). But failing to pay subsidies? That's MY kind of government!
Gyorgy Ligeti RIP
Ligeti died this morning in Vienna.
Not many composers in any generation have "it" (whatever "it" is), but Ligeti was surely one, and one whose music I often actively enjoyed (instead of merely respected).
Great weekend for working, and if I hadn't had obligations late Sunday, I might have gotten the field work caught up. As it was, I cleaned out and mulched the trees in back and applied Tanglefoot against slugs. I hoed and fertilized the corn, replanting the holes in the stand. Not sure what I will do about the mangels, which are spotty at best, with only one section where I could identify plants well enough to hoe around. I put some more plants in the garden, and started clearing up the mess from my first too-early plantings. Don't trust the books, trust the weeds; they'll tell you when things will germinate. I had my first official crop failure, the German Butterball potatoes, which are packets of watery white slime, and are being replaced with Red Pontiacs because that's what I can get locally. Rusty gave up on the idea of using the pop-up camper as a chicken house, and sold it cheap to get it moved out of there. She's also planning on selling most of the Silkies.
I also bred the rabbit Sat. I put her in again several hours later "to make sure", and again Sunday morning, and she wasn't having any, so I guess she's settled.
She gets NAIS
At last night's circle the topic of NAIS came up...and everyone knew what it was and just what the problem with it was. I haven't discussed it there, but sposa mea might have. But it was the new girl who nailed it: "But they're your chickens!"
Not that that stops a hundred other outrages, so why this one?
It seems that a good question for those upcoming candidates nights might be, "Given [specific candidate position that flagrantly violates private property rights], what is your position on the right of private property?"
With luck, it might be enough rope to hang themselves.
This'll make the Demoleft REALLY love Zionists
Kadima USA (and what's with an Israeli political party having a US branch anyway?) has posted on their website policy summaries that are virtually identical to some on the site of the Texas Democratic Party.
I don't know who looks worse here, given that the TX stuff is such platitudinous boilerplate that it could be made applicable to another country in vastly different circumstances. And the Kadima dude was a bit touchy about ther discovery:
"You are making enemies with the wrong people," said Solomon Vas Diaz, executive director of Kadima USA.
Oooh! Be vewy afwaid!
Thanks to WorldNetDaily.
Ted Nugent and the Limey
The Nuge is in fine form as always. But what's really hilarious about this is the editorializing of the Brit twit, who Just. Doesn't. Get. It.
The climax is this:
What do these deer think when they see you coming?" I ask him. "Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner? Or, there's the man that shot my brother?"
"I don't think they're capable of either of those thoughts, you Limey asshole. They're only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French."
If Nugent runs for governor of Michigan (replacing the Canuck girl), I may have to move home just to vote.
Thanks to Beck.
A modest proposal on Mexican immigration
Jane Chastain is being a bit extreme here, but maybe the remedy for reconquista is mas conquista.
But if the US makes it a policy to take over every corrupt, poorly governed economic backwater, who will do the same for Ohio?
Houdini da wabbit
One of our male rabbits has figured out how to open the latch, pull back the door, and escape his cage. He's done it 3 or 4 times now, even working through a twist tie that I'd thrown on to keep the door shut. Little does he know that he's pretty much blown his chances of having a sex life. I refuse to breed a rabbit that's smarter than I am; I haven't found my way to freedom yet.
Property rights hit in Eusless OH
If you live in Euclid (and aren't moving out because of this), you'd best get some proper curtains on your windows, or be prepared for 6 months in jail and $1000 fine.
Only one of 9 councilmen had the sense to vote no. Law Director Chris Frey could not find a similar ordinance to use as a model, not even in the People's Republic of Cleveland Heights. Did he ever consider that maybe the reason he couldn't find such an ordinance was that it was a bad idea?
I hope Euclod loses an extended court fight.
PETA decries horsing around in Alabama
I'm not going to stick up for bestiality, but for PETA to insert themselves into this case raises some issues. Since PETA basically believes that animals have equal rights (and therefore responsibilities) to humans, how do they know it was cruelty? What if the pony was a kink with a thing for humans, it was consensual, and she enjoyed it?
Fighting a ghost
I've been in a discussion on Individual-Sovereignty@yahoogroups.com about Islam. This used to be quite a sophisticated discussion group, but of late it's turned into an anti-jihadist echo chamber. No problem with that as such; being anti-jihadist is like being pro-motherhood and apple pie. The problem is linguistic: most of the people there have been anthropomorphizing Islam, attributing volition and moral agency to a set of ideas. Here are some examples of such anthropomorphizing and collectivist-think:
I would like to develop a list of major excesses by islam in the last 50 years.
How do you seperate the deeds from the religion that spawned them.
Yeah Bob, our religion. 90 percent of Americans call themselves Christian.
I see several problems with this:
1. It lets I-slammers (jihadists) off the hook for their actions, demeaning them in the process by implying they are robots controlled by a religion. An example of this would be the stoning of adulteresses. We disapprove of this in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, but the Jews have the same law, and where and when have you heard of a Jewish adulteress being stoned? I haven't, ever. It denies the possibility of reform in the Islamic world. If "Islam" is pulling the strings, how can the acted-upon influence the actor?
2. If "Islam" is out to get us, we must punish it, maybe kill it if there is no other way to make it stop what it is doing. Instead of fighting a group of people, we would be fighting a holy war against an idea. This is a bad idea for two reasons. First, because such a war is unwinnable, because the Islamic world is breeding faster than the West. Even with favorable kill ratios (abetted by wasteful techniques such as suicide bombing), that's a powerful element. Second, if we accept the notion that we can make physical war against an idea, then we can make war against ANY idea, and freedom is dead. The eventual result of such thinking is that the US will become a Christian Nation (in the sense that Saudi Arabia is a Muslim Nation).
From such seemingly minor errors in language use comes the death of Western civilization, and thus of Islamic civilization. Like two non-swimmers trying to save each other, we will pull each other down.
Government bans chemistry
Well, not quite. But close:
“I don’t tell anyone about what I do at home,” writes one anonymous high schooler on Sciencemadness.org, an online forum for amateur scientists. “A lot of ignorant people at my school will just spread rumors about me … The teacher will hear about them and I will get into legal trouble … I have so much glassware at my house, any excuse will not cut it. So I keep my mouth shut.”(snip)
Gordon and Whitney soon learned that few of the items in Mr. Wizard’s cabinet could be included in the product. “Unfortunately, we found that more than half the chemicals were illegal to sell to children because they’re considered dangerous,” Whitney explains. By the time the Mr. Wizard Science Set appeared in stores, it came with balloons, clay, Super Balls, and just five chemicals, including laundry starch, which was tagged with an ominous warning: HANDLE CAREFULLY. NOT EXPECTED TO BE A HEALTH HAZARD.
“It wasn’t really something you could use to teach kids about chemistry,” acknowledges Thomas Nikosey, head of Mr. Wizard Studios, which handles licensing for the 88-year-old Herbert.
“A lot of schools don’t have chemistry labs anymore,” explains CEF educational coordinator Laurel Brent. “We want to give kids lessons that tie in to their real-world experiences without having them deal with a lot of strange chemicals in bottles that have big long names.”
Many students are ill at ease when faced with actual compounds and lab equipment for the first time at school. A study of “chemistry anxiety” in the Journal of Chemical Education concluded in 2000 that “the presence of this anxiety in our students could be a contributing factor in the overall poor performance of high school students in science.” (Commonly reported fears included “lighting the Bunsen burner,” “fire,” and “getting chemicals on skin.”) Restrictions on hands-on chemical experience is “a problem that has been building for 10 or 15 years, driven by liability and safety concerns,” says John Moore, editor in chief of the JCE.
And then The Powers That Be wring their hands and wonder why we aren't producing more scientists. I had one of those Porter chem sets in the mid 60s, and lived to tell the tale. Pretty innocuous, really. I couldn't make any explosives at all.
Po widdle Wodesia
"The United States is rolling out yet another programme tht seeks to block all avenues of donor assistance to Zimbabwe in a bid to force regime change," The Sunday Mail reported Sunday.
"In one of its recent strategic advisory documents to the US government, Havard University's John F. Kennedy School of government implores donors to withhold assistance to Zimbabwe until "recovery" is possible with new leadership." it said.
Does anyone objectively disagree that in order for economic recovery to take place, there needs to be an infrastructure of property rights, and that with the current kleptocracy in place, that simply doesn't exist? Even Somalia is better off in some ways, because with no functioning central government, they don't have the same powers of theft.
And whose money is it anyway? Do the Zimbabweans really think there is a moral imperative to steal money from US taxpayers to prop up Zanu-PF?
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba told the paper that such efforts would be fruitless.
"The US vainly hopes that they can tantalise Zimbabweans through empty offers of aid to self-destruct," Charamba said.
They're doing quite a nice job of self-destruction now. Maybe aid would speed it up.
"It is clear the US have a problem with the liberation ethos as well as its symbol President Robert Mugabe and are thus intent on reversing all that together with the gains of independence," he said.
"The overall intention is clearly to turn Zimbabwe into a neo-colony."
"Reversing the gains of independence?" I'm all for that, on humanitarian grounds. The average Rhodesian was better off under Ian Smith, who for his racism at least wasn't bulldozing slums, stealing farms for nonfarmer cronies, and running the printing press full time. And if Zimbabwe can't establish an honest and stable government for itself, I'm all for giving its administration to a country that can; Switzerland would be a good choice.
The weather has bit the big one all week, the garden is a rice paddy, and we were supposed to be on vacation. So we took in a couple auctions. Friday night was the livestock auction at Rogers. We have enough poultry for now (if not too much), but the prices were nice (lower than hatchery, for bigger birds). Then there were rabbits (which I'm not paying for unless my doe has a problem) and some little ruminants...4 Jersey bull calves, a few sheep and a bunch of goats. We had a number, and I asked Rusty to sit on my hand, which kept on jerking up. Some very nice prices, including an expectant La Mancha doe for $90.
Sat. was the tractor, equipment and stuff auction at Chalker's, just down the road. The weather was crappy (nice downpour in the middle of the tractor auction) and furniture was being rained on (including a grand piano with a totally delaminated top). Prices for old stuff were good: a nice Farmall cub for $850, a small Massey-Ferguson for $1500, 3 old Deeres for $2300-$2800. But none of the nice stuff made reserve (a nice little Deere with loader and backhoe, and a '99 Kubota). We didn't stick around for the equipment because we were hungry and I had a headache from breathing fumes and hearing a dozen tractors running with an auctioneer blabbing over them.
The thing for a person of my ignorance to do would be to buy new and get dealer support. But I've never bought a CAR new, and I use those a lot more than I would a tractor. And I'm really sick of indebtedness.
Party in Hell on Tuesday
I helped deliver beer to Hell once. Glad to see they are taking advantage of the day.
That said, the 6-6-06 thing is pretty silly, as are most manifestations of the number. In my youth, it was pointed out that if you count the number of letters in the name of Ronald Wilson Reagan, you get 6-6-6, and not even the MoveOn-ites of the 80's really thought Ronnie Rayguns was the Antichrist. The fundamentalist anti-New Age author Constance Cumbey pointed out that liberal theologian Matthew Fox's surname was 666 in the most common numerological system (and since when do fundies do numerology anyway?). You can go anywhere with this...hell, the number 6 looks like a fetus, doesn't it? What's that mean?
Darwinian blowback in Africa
Women with the most extensive female genital mutilation, which sometimes involves stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening, have a 30% greater risk of having to undergo a Caesarean section and also face a 70% greater risk of haemorrhage shortly after childbirth compared with women who have not had FGM.
Women with any degree of FGM also had a 15-55% increased risk of stillbirth or early neonatal death – with more extensive FGM causing the highest risk – compared with women who had not had the procedure.
Their babies were also more likely to die during labour. Banks observed one to two extra deaths per 100 deliveries of babies born to mothers with FGM, against a background risk of 4-6 deaths per 100 deliveries.
Anyone who would do that deserves to have his line die out, and it's nice to see that nature agrees to some extent.
Memo to Charles Windsor
You can't be "Defender of Faith" and be "Defender of the Faith".
Well, nobody much cares about the Church of England anyway, so why should its probable eventual titular head? Really, why don't they sell the churches to the congregations and close up shop? It would be better than going through the motions.
"the blogger ate my paperwork"
Another congressional candidate bites the dust because he couldn't be bothered to fill out the paperwork properly. This time, it's a 'Pug, showing that stupidity is bipartisan. But he has an excuse: a blogger was saying nasty things about him, and distwackted him. He claims he had no clue there was a filing deadline, even though he had run for public office before. If there were a political Darwin Awards, Chapman would be a winner; as it is, we win for him not being in office.
I hope we have a lot more of these. If enough Duopoly candidates stumble on the mild requirements they have to satisfy, maybe they'll consider establishing free and open elections in the USA, instead of trying to export them to Iraq.
Mini-RFK says Blackwell stole it for Bush
I guess I'll have to buy the freaking Rolling Stone.Not that I trust what one imperial house (Kennedy) has to say about another (Bush). But since everyone accuses Blackwell of stealing the election in November of 2004 (instead of Novemeber of 2003, which is when he really stole it), I'd like to see some proof.
Kennedy's article points out that CNN had predicted Kerry would defeat Bush in Ohio by a margin of 4.2 percentage points. Instead, election results showed Bush winning the state by 2.5 percent. Bush also tallied 6.5 percent more than the polls had predicted in Pennsylvania, and 4.9 percent more in Florida.
Well, duh! So was Jeb stealing too? And wasn't PA run by a Democrat then? Maybe CNN was asking the wrong people.
Of jail-making and jail-breaking
Well, I went out this morning to find Adam and Eve (or Adam and Steve or Ada and Eve...I'm not sure yet) were doing OK, so the rest of the ducks went in and are doing fine. Rusty took all the chickens out and was cleaning the brooder house. She had hers in a chicken wire circle and my little ones in a cage she found on a treelawn (maybe a ferret cage by the looks) and had me working on rehabbing the chicken tractor. I put a door in it. Got my plastic tubes up but the weren't rigid enough. I need to invent a better system. She left for a dental appt. and to get more bedding. I put Rusty's birds in the CT and put some of mine (which were smaller) in the wire enclosure (because they were WAY overcrowded in the cage). I went back and was weeding strawberries. It was getting hot and humid and I figured I should go in for water. Lo, there were about 4 chicks running loose. I caught some but then one of the Araucanas went straight up out of the cage like a helicopter. Couldn't catch it, and then it started to storm. I got the birds inside (no bedding down as Rusty had wanted things to air out). We got about 1/2". By the time Rusty got home I was in a funk because of the weather. She set up bedding in the brooder (without the strategically-placed feed bags, "which were all poopy") then went off again. After dinner she had me tearing down fencing and reconfiguring it. We quit for the night about 8. I went to feed animals and called Rusty out because almost all the chicks had worked their way into the rabbit room (from which they could get outside easily.) We got them herded in and their holes fixed. I also spotted the escaped araucana in the hen house, but he escaped again. Hopefully he will have the sense to stay with the big birds.
In a few short hours I will officially have lived Half A Century.
So sing along with me:
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)
Death and gloom and black despair
People dying everywhere
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)
Pot calls kettle black in CA
Yes, the legislature has come out with the Vampire Slayer Act of 2006.
No, it's about having to let consumers know about standby electrical power usage. If the legislature were really committed to vampire-slaying, they'd emulate that famed Californian Jim Jones and throw themselves a Jonestown FlavorAid party.
(Yes, I know Jimmy was from Indiana originally...but it was not Kool-Aid, damnit!)
I really hate fields full of brush. They're neither fish nor fowl. They bespeak an improvident owner, and wilderness raped to no good end. Yes, they're a necessary step in Nature's reclamation process. So is pus. My aging female neighbor has a field almost taken over by multiflora rose (quite the invasive species here). I've got it on my fences, and need to get rid of it.
Meanwhile, another neighbor has organized several others to get logged by some Amish guy. Supposedly I've been offered $6K for the wood in my woods, even though the previous owner had it logged fairly recently. We're not biting. That's our retirement account, and it will be far better ecologicaly to let more trees get some decent size. And I don't want things torn up...even if the guy is logging with horses, it won't be pretty. We're considering getting the place surveyed, as the lot lines aren't at all clear back there. I'm not saying that an Amishman would poach a particularly nice tree, just that clear markings will reduce the temptation to sin.