October 19, 2008

Astronomy Yes, Politics Enough Already

I just voted by mail. I'm a bit jaded by politics right now.

Here's a beautiful picture of a solar eclipse. Click on it to see the detail.

October 17, 2008


This fellow is an ajolote, or worm lizard.

It's not a snake, but a case of parallel evolution.

Various species are found in Africa, Mexico and South America. Only the Mexican ones have forelimbs.

The Swiss have a cryptid called a Tatzelwurm that seems similar, but it's supposed to have a catlike head.

October 12, 2008

Be A Maverick

I'm a maverick
She's a maverick
Wouldn't ya like to be a maverick, too?
(Be a maverick!)

October 11, 2008

The Bush Internationale

The old Internationale, the anthem of international communism and socialism, began thus (at least in the US version):
Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!
Arise, ye wretched of the earth!
For justice thunders condemnation:
A better world's in birth!
Now that George Bush is doing more for socialism than anyone since Chairman Mao, I offer the following:
Arise ye fearful of deflation,
Arise ye victims of the crunch!
Your paper suffers condemnation,
You don't have time to go to lunch!
No more the market's tides shall drown us,
Arise ye bankers, one and all;
Our bonds shall rest on new foundations--
The government will pay them all!
'Tis a right fine bailout,
Line up now for your pie,
The international rentier class
Has George Bush as its ally!

October 10, 2008

Another Casualty

Mother's Cookies--you know, those super-sweet ones with pink and white frosting--is kaputt.

Where are the sugar highs of yesteryear?

They Finally Face Facts

The Zionofascists at Commentary's contentions are finally facing facts:
Unless McCain can make a passionate and convincing case that Obama’s is not just “risky” on character and judgment but badly misguided on policy, the voters will decide he’s the best shot they have for changing course and arresting the economic chaos played out before them. Perhaps they already have.
Jennifer Rubin's recipe: personal attacks. But of course Obama comes from a pinko milieu. Wasn't that always the point? Here's another zf,  Peter Wehner:
It’s true that in politics, things can change fast. For the sake of John McCain, they better. He is now in the position of having to engineer a remarkable political comeback. It’s possible, but it’s not the place you want to be less than a month away from an election.
Maybe the country's not ready for a spade in the White House, but it's not ready for another four years of the GOP, either.

Yes We Have Bananas

In banana republics, admittedly, very often the only efficient behavior is displayed by the army (and the secret police). But our case is rather different. In addition to exhibiting extraordinary efficiency and, most especially under the generalship of David Petraeus, performing some great feats of arms and ingenuity, the American armed forces manifest all the professionalism and integrity that our rulers and oligarchs lack. Who was it who the stricken inhabitants of New Orleans and later of the Texas coastline yearned to see? Who was it who informed the blithering and dithering idiots at fema that they could have as many troops as they could remember to ask for, even as volunteers were embarking for Afghanistan and Iraq? What is one of the main engines of integration for blacks and immigrants, as well as one of the finest providers of education and training for those whom the system had previously failed? It may be true that the government has succeeded in degrading our armed forces as well—tasking them with absurdities and atrocities like Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib—but this only makes the banana-republic point in an even more emphatic way.

--Christopher Hitchens

He's an ex-Trostskyist, witty English drunk, but he may be on to something.

October 7, 2008

Debate Questions

I was asked by the Orange County Register to join a group live-blog of the first Presidential debate. They invited me back. To view the live-blog, go here.

As a preliminary question, they asked whether the candidates should address Obama's past association with Bill Ayers, an ex-Weatherman bomber, and Obama's riposte, a reprise of the issue of the associations of McCain with Charles Keating, an S&L big (and anti-porn crusader) who was jailed after the last financial crisis.

Here's my answer;
I can't say that these questions are totally irrelevant. To me, they are surrogates for the question of where the candidate comes from--does he hang out with policy wonks, good-old-boy lobbyists, fishermen, or trendy radicals? Whose attitudes does he share? The Ayers and Keating questions are snot enough, by themselves, to tell us where the candidates come from, but they can't be wholly dismissed.

Now that the question has been raised, however, we ought to hear answers. Obama seems to have soft-pedaled the Ayers connection as he did the influence of Rev. Wright.

That said, I would much rather, but doubt I'll get answers in two areas: the economy and war.

The economy. Why did both candidates allow themselves to be stampeded into this ridiculous bailout giveaway? What other steps should government take to avert economic disaster? If you believe that inadequate regulation contributed to the meltdown, what new regulatory steps would you adopt, and why? And the question neither man answered the last time, in spite of Jim Lehrer's persistence--what goodies in your endless wish list will you forego or postpone because of the ballooning deficit and the added costs of the financial crisis?

War and Foreign Policy. Looking forward, under what conditions would you go to war? When, if ever, would you launch a preemptive war? We have troops and alliances around the world, created to resist communism and an expansive Soviet Union; these are gone, so why do we need foreign entanglements around the globe? Which ones would you reduce? There are thousands of nuclear weapons in the world, mostly in Russia and the US; will you do anything to eliminate or reduce them? Would you favor a regional conference to sort out the future of Iraq? If not, what, beyond a temporary deal with Iran and bribing the Sunni tribes, do you propose by way of a political solution? How big a military do we really need, and what changes in its armament and deployment would you make? Don't you think it's crazy to provoke Pakistan, a huge nuclear-armed Muslim country? Will you end the disgrace of officially countenanced torture by Americans?

If I had time, I'd ask why we have a higher rate of imprisonment than any industrial country, at enormous cost, and what the feds can do about it, if anything? Do we need a "war on drugs"?

I doubt I'll get much substance out of this debate, but hope springs eternal.

October 6, 2008

Just Askin'

Will the next depression bring us anything as good as Fred Astaire?

Will mass unemployment solve the servant problem?

What will the moonbats do if there are not enough Republicans to kick around?

October 5, 2008


I haven’t commented much on the Sarah Palin phenomenon. Not only has the pressure of work limited my bloggery, but also I wanted to let the campaign unfold a bit before passing judgment. My deadlines, after all, are purely internal.

Now it can be told.
Palin is likeable, charming even. She is a naturally gifted campaigner, a thing of wonder to anyone who has experience in retail politics. Even her talent for evasion when necessary is a gift in the world of politics.

Palin is personally admirable in many ways. The attacks on her that have come from Obamaphiles have been wrongheaded and unduly nasty. The fascination with her is near-universal. Got to any political blog with comboxes. The number of comments on Palin articles is much higher than on most other subjects.

The criticism based on inexperience is also overstated. As others have observed, Sen. Obama is not much more experienced than she, and the experience of a Biden, being wrong for 35 years and proud of it, has little to recommend it. Dick Cheney took office as one of the most experienced Vice Presidents ever, but for those who dislike what he has done, his experience may be a negative, because without it, his bureaucratic maneuvers might have failed more often.

Where the inexperience issue is most concerning is in foreign affairs, which to a governor have little importance, the narrowness of the Bering Strait notwithstanding. To a President, on the other hand, world affairs are critical. Although I dislike the fact and would change it in important respects if I could, we are up to our neck in foreign political entanglements, and the economy and ecosystem are globalized. Here, she’s a tyro. This gap can be bridged in a few years; one does learn something being briefed for the ceremonial duties of a Vice President and participating in the councils of government. The rub is that the gap is being bridged by the crazy neocons, whose madness appears to have no antidote in Palin’s universe. Lacking such an antidote, she will be infected with the bellicosity of John McCain, which could become ingrained, rather than an aspect of the unconditional loyalty Vice Presidents owe to their Chief.

In short, the problem is John McCain, and what the GOP has become. The choice of Palin does not change the game, even if it makes the play more entertaining.

October 2, 2008


The Dow is down 348 points today. 

How does that gibe with the alleged magnificence of the Bailout?  

The 777 fall was supposedly due to the House's failure to pass the abomination.

Economic analysts want things both ways, methinks.

October 1, 2008

Bailout Mini-Rant

The bandit says to the farmer, "I'm taking your cow,  your goat, and the chickens. To win your assent, you may keep the cat."

As I find it hard to stay on one foot for long, all the rest is commentary.