March 31, 2010
This is pretty funny...
March 29, 2010
Some Weidner doings...
This is a video featuring my mother (with a brief appearance by my sister Mary), at Weidners Gardens, the family business, in Encinitas, CA. She made the video for a contest by the marketing company VerticalResponse, whose services she uses.
You can see the contest here. If you like the video you might cast a vote for her! (She's at the bottom of page 3.) Contest closes April 9.
I helped to build some of the things you see in the background, long long ago. I grew up working with plants, but never made it my career. The web site for Weidners Gardens is here.
March 28, 2010
"The barbarians have breached the citadel..."
Spengler puts it in a nutshell,. Cultural Obamalypse: the Attack on the Pope:
The Obamalyptic mood in the White House seems to have infected the cultural left generally. Thirty-year-old news is dragged daily into the headlines to make it appear that some dreadful truth has been dragged out of the Vatican vaults, demonstrating Pope Benedict XVI's culpability in child abuse. It is hard to avoid the impression that the nihilists have a sense of empowerment as never before.
There's something ugly in the air. The two central institutions of the West are the Throne of St. Peter and the Oval Office. That is not an exaggeration, for the Catholic model in Europe and the American model are the two modes of life that the West has developed. When Catholic universal empire failed with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, and was buried by Napoleon, the United States emerged as an alternative model; the non-ethnic nation founded on Christian principles albeit without an explicit tie to a particular Christian confession.
For the first time in history the barbarians have breached the citadel; to have Barack Obama in the White House is the cultural equivalent of electing Madonna to the papacy. America, the source of a civil religion that held together the world's only remaining superpower, is committed to its own self-demolition. Nihilists around the world are in a triumphant mood and believe that it is time to mop up the remnants of their enemies everywhere.
"The barbarians have breached the citadel." Well, yeah, but they had to do it by a trick. Obama was never elected; people voted for a phantom, and if they had known what he and the Dems were up to, John McCain would be President. The same thing is true about a lot of the Dems in Congress. They got in by deception. And I bet a lot of them are going to pay for it in November
My guess, my hope, maybe just a dream, is that the nihilists have over-reached on both fronts, and that Pope Benedict and President Palin will stand together against them just as JP-II and President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher stood against Soviet Communism, and won.
We are all Israel now...
William A. Jacobson, We Are All Bibi Netanyahu Now:
The reaction to Obama's treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ("Bibi") Netanyahu was as strong if not stronger than I have seen in the comments here and elsewhere in the blogosphere on any other issue. (I didn't let through a number of over-the-top comments.)
Why this reaction? I bet a lot of the people having this reaction only had heard of Bibi Netanyahu in passing on the news.
Who would care if our President left a foreign leader to wait in the White House while the President supposedly went to have dinner with his family? Who would care if our President broke protocol by refusing to be photographed and hold a press conference with a foreign leader? Who would care if that foreign leader left tail tucked between his legs, humiliated at home at the treatment by the leader of the free world?
Part of it certainly is that the foreign leader in question was the leader of Israel, which is tremendously popular with Americans. In Israel the clear majority of Americans see a democratic nation surrounded by implacable enemies who also are our enemies, doing what it takes to survive and thrive. In so many historical, religious and political ways Israel is our kindred spirit, more than just one among many nations....
It's more than just being a "kindred spirit." Israel is us. Israel and the United States are the only two countries that are ideas. Anyone who "gets" America's idea as expressed in the founding documents, is an American. As much so as someone whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower. If I say someone is "un-American," you would not imagine that I'm criticizing their skin color, or accent, or lack of long residence in our country.
It's much the same with Israel. Jews from obscure corners of the world, with all sorts of languages and skin colors can make Aliyah and become Israelis.
Both countries have been refuges for the oppressed. And both have been founded by those who fled the control of their "betters" in the European elites. Fled and used only their own strength and courage to build a country from nothing. Both countries were toughened by fighting against savages, and by taming a harsh landscape.
Both countries are hated by Leftists, because Leftism is about taming people, and putting them under control of self-styled elites.
But there is a deeper similarity. It is my suspicion that much of what people believe and do is not because of rational thought, but is a reflection of spiritual struggles fought on a mostly unconscious level of symbols. We are all on a sort of path that can only be travelled in two directions: Towards God, or away from God and towards self-worship. And both America and Israel symbolically represent movement towards God. Not only in the religious elements of both country's formation, but symbolically in their demand that we consider an idea to be something bigger than ourselves; something for which we might even have to sacrifice our lives.
As I've bored you by mentioning before, I think that most "Leftism" today is not really Leftism at all, that the quasi-religious beliefs such as socialism or liberalism that were the old core of Leftist thinking have drained away, leaving nothing. Leftism today is mostly nihilism. The old-time Left didn't automatically hate America or Israel, because they considered it normal to believe in an idea—they just had a different idea. To the nihilist, belief is an affront!
And more than an affront. Almost an assault. They know somewhere deep in their hearts that they were made for something bigger, and the knowledge angers them.
March 27, 2010
Live-blogging "Earth Hour"
I put my halogen work-light outside, to really get into the spirit of celebrating the top dogs in Earth's cat fight. Then was lucky to have the Earth's sidekick shining right there in the sky...
Update: Charlene says I should put it: "Earth's sidekick, upon whom only one flag has been planted." Quite right. And we claimed it, so we own it. We may possibly rent out patches to other countries, if they are nice to us.
I hope for it...
...Catholics speak of heaven as our hope. Evangelicals prefer to speak of knowing that one is saved. Although scripture uses both terminologies, actually Catholics are using the more common biblical language. Faith hope and charity are the three virtues of I Corinthians 13:13. Our hope is in Christ and his promise of heaven: "We wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:23—25). Catholic literature describes out hope as a "certain confidence."
When asked if he was going to heaven, one pope replied, "I hope so." He has been roundly criticized by Evangelicals. Yet it is a perfectly biblical response...
From Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, by David Currie.
Thought for today...
...One sign that ObamaCare is both bad and unpopular is that since its enactment--indeed, since just before its enactment--its supporters have been laboring mightily to change the subject. They're eager to talk not about their great legislative and social achievement, but about how violent, racist and all-around crazy ObamaCare opponents are....
March 26, 2010
Nice knowin' ya...
I think this is right on. Bill Pascoe, Say Goodbye to Mitt Romney:
Mitt Romney had his chance, and he blew it.
He was given the opportunity to establish himself as the Leader of the Republican Party on what has become the defining issue between the nation's two major political parties, and, in the process, solidify his position as the front-running candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination; but rather than showing the intelligence, cunning, and courage necessary to take ownership of the issue, he showed none, and blew it.
All he had to do was say six simple words, words Americans love to hear: "I was wrong. I am sorry."...
I would certainly like him a lot more if he would just admit the "Romneycare" is a turkey. But I doubt if he would be heading to the White House even so. He's boring. I can't remember anything he's said that jazzed me. In fact, I can't remember anything he has said period.
He looked good compared to McCain, but after Sarah appeared we were able to see what a non-zombie Republican looked like. My guess is that Mitt's hopes ended on 8-29-08.
March 25, 2010
Pacifism kills #339
Alan Sullivan, Pirate Update:
The hesitancy is incredible. Piracy now and piracy in the Eighteenth Century are no different. Once a coastal people has taken to piracy for a living — the best living the sea has to offer for subsistence fishermen — the only way to break the cycle is to kill a lot of pirates.
Read the article he links to. It is just steeped in the fatuous ideas that I try to pin down under slippery labels like "pacifism" or "non-violence" or "anti-war." They are the very same arguments that are used against fighting terrorists, or deposing fascist dictators, or fighting crime. And they are wrong; they encourage violence and war. Pacifism causes war.
It would have been a merciful deed, and an act of Christian Charity, to smack the pirates hard the very first time they acted, even if it meant killing people. To allow them to get away with piracy in the beginning has confirmed them in the value of a life of crime. We will be probably be fighting pirates for decades to come, probably with increasing violence on both sides. We of the West, of the developed nations, have failed our clear duty.
It is exactly the same with the War on Terror. The West should have slammed Islamic terrorism ruthlessly decades ago, as soon as it reared its head. When it was still small, and had not yet sunk deep roots. The failure to do so will probably cost millions of lives in the long run, if it hasn't already done so. And keep in mind that the terrorists kill about 10 Muslims for every westerner. So failure to stop them early was violence against Muslims.
Pacifism is murder.
March 23, 2010
A ride downtown... 1905, 1941
My son sent me the link to this film from 1905 and 1906. The unknown photographer filmed a cable car trip down San Francisco's Market Street twice. Once right before the 1906 quake and fire, and then again after it. The tower you see in the distance straight ahead is the Ferry Building, which still stands at the foot of Market Street, by the Bay.
I found it fascinating as a glimpse of how people looked, caught at a time before motion pictures were common. The absence of any traffic controls is surprising—people and cars and horses and streetcars are crossing every which-way. And of course the destruction after the fire is immense...
And this view in 1941 is also cool...
"Governmentalized health care changes... the very character of the people"
This is the best summing-up of how I feel. Mark Steyn, Happy Dependence Day!:
Well, it seems to be in the bag now. I try to be a sunny the-glass-is-one-sixteenth-full kinda guy, but it's hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished. Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage: As the graph posted earlier shows, the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be "insurers" in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and once that's clear we'll be on the fast track to Obama's desired destination of single payer as a fait accomplis.
If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history. It's a huge transformative event in Americans' view of themselves and of the role of government. You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Their bet is that it can't be undone, and that over time, as I've been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people. As I wrote in NR recently, there's plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.
More prosaically, it's also unaffordable. That's why one of the first things that middle-rank powers abandon once they go down this road is a global military capability. If you take the view that the U.S. is an imperialist aggressor, congratulations: You can cease worrying. But, if you think that America has been the ultimate guarantor of the post-war global order, it's less cheery. Five years from now, just as in Canada and Europe two generations ago, we'll be getting used to announcements of defense cuts to prop up the unsustainable costs of big government at home. And, as the superpower retrenches, America's enemies will be quick to scent opportunity.
Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon. Must try to look on the bright side...
March 21, 2010
Off the cliff....
...This is a dramatic moment in American politics, because if Obamacare passes the House, the Democratic Party is defining itself for a generation and probably two as the agent of American decline. It may be that the 1.6 trillion dollar deficit and the "stimulus"-that-wasn't has already done so, but Democrats could always blame the panic of 2008 for those incredibly harmful interventions.
Not so with Obamacare and the assault on the Constitution required to get even this far. They are breaking the American health care system and using extraordinary levels of taxation to cripple the economy at the same time. They are assaulting seniors and they are funding abortion directly with tax dollars. The president and the Speaker have redefined the party to the far left in 15 short months. The country's reaction will be entered in six more. Then the repair of the damage will have to begin.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer provides a glimpse of what House back benchers are feeling in terms of political pressure. Good. They all know that what they are being urged to do is profoundly against the will of their voters. When they are turned out in massive numbers in the fall, they will have no one to blame but themselves. The Boccieris and the Spaces and the Altmires should never have been elected in the first place and they are simply signaling their constituents their inability to genuinely represent them as opposed to the coastal elites and Chicago operators in charge of the party....
This has got to be the strangest political moment I've ever seen. I'd say that on the surface level of rational thought this mad drive off the political cliff is only explained by the expectation that putting the government in control of health care will lead to permanent political dominance by the Left. So much of our lives, especially at our most vulnerable moments, will be controlled by the state that no serious rebellion will be possible.But my guess is that the real action is on a deeper level. Symbolically America is God. God the Father. America has authority, handed down from the forefathers, and ultimately from God. She demands that we consider her greater than our individual selves, and, when necessary, that we even pay the ultimate price to preserve her.
The Leftists of old often wanted to replace this "god" with a different god, such as socialist or fascist revolution. Or with liberalism's socialism-light, or Progressivism's managerial utopias.
The leadership of the Dem Party is far-left, because they are the ones who get elected to the safe seats in "blue" places like San Francisco or Chicago or New York, and thereafter stay in office long enough to build up massive seniority and influence. And also, I'd guess, because a lot of moderate and "blue dog" Dems are faking it, and are secretly more left-leaning than they admit.
But today's Leftists are not like their grandparents at all. There is no secret program to which they dedicate themselves; nothing they consider bigger than the individual. They worship only themselves; everything else has drained away. Their only goal is to create a world where they can feel comfortable putting themselves at the center of all. This world is very socialistic, with everything wrapped in blankets of government bureaucracy. But it isn't really socialist at all. Obama is an Obama-ist; Pelosi's only program is Pelosi-ism.
Actually, if you think about the old-time Leftists and socialists who went off to fight in the Spanish Civil War, you can see that what the Left is peddling is just as much anti-socialist as it is anti-capitalist. San Fran Nan would be just as repelled by a demand that she risk her life for some socialist program as she is by the demands of America and American liberty (and God, and Western Civilization, and Israel).
People don't see this because most people are stupefyingly ignorant of history. They have never "seen" the old Leftists who often lived lives that were almost "saint-like" in their poverty, obedience to the cause. Even chastity sometimes! Martyrdom often. There's nothing like it today. Lefty politics is just another affectation of the self-indulgent, fitting in with organic foods and expensive "green" automobiles...
"The glory of God
"The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God. If the revelation of God through creation already brings life to all living beings on the earth, how much more will the manifestation of the Father by the Word bring life to those who see God?"
Sometimes you see a part of this quote taken out of context: "The glory of God is man fully alive." With the definition of "alive" just assumed from the secular or fake-Christian context to be whatever of ones little personal fantasies one might insert into the blank. Nuh uh. Read the whole thing.
March 18, 2010
"If you are pro-Israel, you are pro-American"
...Many of the arguments and perceptions that have weakened support for Israel on the left cut no ice with the populist right. The argument that just war theory forbids the 'disproportionate' use of force has absolutely no weight in much of American opinion. When somebody attacks you, especially in an underhanded terrorist way, you have a natural right to defend yourself using every weapon and every tactic that comes to hand. This is the way most Americans think about war; American public opinion on the whole does not regret the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Two-thirds of American respondents tell Pew pollsters that they favor the use of "torture" under some circumstances. Such people are not necessarily indifferent to Palestinian rights, and they may not feel that every Israeli action is well judged, but they strongly believe that as long as Palestinians engage in terrorism, Israel has an unlimited and absolute right of self defense. It can and should do anything and everything it can to stop the attacks and many Americans consider international laws against such practices as pious hopes with no binding legal or even moral force. If the terrorists shield themselves behind civilians, that only shows how evil they are — and is an extra reason why you have both the right and the duty to eliminate them no matter what it takes.
This view may be right or it may be wrong, but its cultural hold on a substantial section of the American people is a fact. It is one of the strongest and most persistent elements in the national character. It is unlikely to change anytime soon.
For many Jacksonians, Israel is a litmus test. If you are pro-Israel, you are pro-American exceptionalism, pro-western values and pro-defense. The more clearly you support Israel, the more you look like a reliable American patriot who will do what it takes to defend the country from religious violence and the more you seem to share the values of tens of millions of gentile Americans....
Using nuclear weapons against Japan saved millions of lives, and did more to bring peace on Earth than all the "pacifists" in history. it is only reasonable that we have no problem with them.
And of course, if you are anti-Israel, you are anti-American. They go hand-in-hand, and vice versa.. Read on to see what the student of Jeremiah Wright is up to...
The United States has diverted a shipment of bunker-busters designated for Israel.
Officials said the U.S. military was ordered to divert a shipment of smart bunker-buster bombs from Israel to a military base in Diego Garcia. They said the shipment of 387 smart munitions had been slated to join pre-positioned U.S. military equipment in Israel Air Force bases.
"This was a political decision," an official said
In 2008, the United States approved an Israeli request for bunker-busters capable of destroying underground facilities, including Iranian nuclear weapons sites. Officials said delivery of the weapons was held up by the administration of President Barack Obama.
Since taking office, Obama has refused to approve any major Israeli requests for U.S. weapons platforms or advanced systems. Officials said this included proposed Israeli procurement of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, refueling systems, advanced munitions and data on a stealth variant of the F-15E.
"All signs indicate that this will continue in 2010," a congressional source familiar with the Israeli military requests said. "This is really an embargo, but nobody talks about it publicly." ....
March 17, 2010
Thanks to Mike Plaiss for this link, Liberals Getting a Taste of How 'Balance' Feels: Amity Shlaes - Bloomberg.com:
...March 17 (Bloomberg) -- Lack of balance is the charge being levied against the Texas State Board of Education after it inserted changes to new standards in social studies programs in public schools. The Associated Press said in an article that a "far-right faction" of the board had succeeded "in injecting conservative ideals" into the curriculum.
The Texas flap matters because Texas is so big. Publishers will revise textbooks to win the prize Texas contract. But the debate also reminds us that our current definition of balance is distorted. After all, what's wrong with "injecting conservative ideals" into a curriculum, as long as they aren't the only ideals?
At its most devilishly aggressive -- and whatever lines it inserts about church, state, hip-hop or the Alamo -- the board will not restore true balance. It will merely manage to make the curriculum a little less skewed to the left....
It is always odd how conservatives have to spend so much fizz just battling the idea that left-liberal ideas and world-views are "normal." I suspect we ought to be doing a lot more to frame the issues. Conservative ideas are normal. Actually, most of them are American ideas that when I was a boy were held by all normal people, Democrat or Republican. When was growing up nobody thought patriotism was "conservative," because everybody was patriotic, except a few Beatnik Communists.
But once leftists started to be anti-American in the 60's, they managed to frame the argument as if the people who still loved this country had moved to the right! Had become right-wingers! Stupid, but most people don't want to think anything contrary to what the TV tells them...
They always let us know...
...who they are afraid of.
Charlene was talking to a very liberal colleague today, and he said, "You Republicans should really stay away from Sarah Palin."
Heh heh. So nice they are taking pity on us and helping us avoid mistakes....
March 14, 2010
Maybe the workers will rise up against their oppressors... Oh, and the shareholders! A failing company is being looted, to the detriment of its real owners...
Top executives at the beleaguered New York Times Company reaped hefty rewards last year, with Chairman Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger more than doubling his total compensation to $6 million.
CEO Janet Robinson got even more, reaping $6.3 million, a 31.9 percent hike.
The pay numbers were disclosed in Securities and Exchange Commission filings yesterday.
The increases come against a backdrop of declining ad revenue, layoffs, frozen pension plans, unpaid vacations and a 5 percent pay cut for most of the rank-and-file workers last year.
"Our members are really unhappy with what is happening," said Bill O'Meara, president of the Newspaper Guild of New York. "They made a voluntary sacrifice to give up some of their pay to help the company out. People are losing their jobs still."...
Suckers. Ha ha. You trusted liberals? You trusted a bunch pious frauds because they told you they are better than those horrid right-wingers? You probably trusted them because you read the NYT, and you believed your own lies.
March 13, 2010
"When you get rid of the fear of the Lord, you don't get fearlessness..."
Mark Shea, The Gift of Fear:
...On the other hand, in confirmation, God does give gifts, first among them a gift our culture despises. Sirach 1:12 sums it up: "To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; she is created with the faithful in the womb."
We don't much care for the fear of God these days. We prefer to hear about self-empowerment, self-esteem, self-affirmation and just plain self. We have whole magazines devoted to the notion that the first shall be first, that you must find your life in order to find it, and that the way to happiness is to seek first the things of this world. Fear of God doesn't fit into programs like that. It's "disempowering," don't cha know, an affront to our dignity and a relic of that nasty Old Testament God who wants everybody to cower before him like the Great and Terrible Oz. We've outgrown all that.
But, of course, there's fear and there's fear. And the funny thing is, as our civilization is discovering, when you get rid of the fear of the Lord, you don't get fearlessness. You get servile fear: fear of What People Will Think, fear of environmental disaster, plague, terrorism, political incorrectness, death, STDs, war, divorce, economic meltdown, the future, headlines and things that go bump in the night.
It is often only belatedly that we realize that the Gospel comes, in part, to cast out such cringing, crawling servile fear. When we do finally take a hard look at the fear of the Lord, we discover that Jesus feared God, but he never cowered before his Father. On the contrary, his courage has been the model of the courage of all the saints.
There is a confidence, a free and easy step, in the stride of the saints that is in sharp contrast to the craven cowardice of the bureaucrats of atheistic totalitarian regimes who began with bold promises to liberate us from the fear of God and ended in lickspittle prostration before the terrors of Mao, Hitler and Stalin. For the fear of God is the awe and reverence due what is truly good, not a mere cowering in the face of Power. If you want to get a glimmer of it, look not to the Cowardly Lion, trembling before the terrors of Oz, but to the sense of awe any sane person should feel under the immensity of a summer night — and before its Maker....
It seems paradoxical to say that fear of the Lord casts out fear. But really it's like the old legal maxim, that "The man who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client."
Something practical we can do...
We just sent a little something... to try to keep us outside the barbed wire for another generation...
Stopping Obamacare: Contribute To Tim Burns This Weekend
Tim Burns has been nominated to run in the special election to fill the Congressional seat vacated by the death of John Murtha.
Burns' homepage is here, but we need to raise him a lot of money this weekend.
If lots of contributions roll into Burns' coffers this weekend from voters trying to send a message to fence-sitting Democrats about the national support for replacing Democrats with Republicans because of Obamacare, there's a good chance that those Democrats will think twice about throwing in with Nancy Pelosi next week. Please dig deep and send Burns some money and many Democrats that message....
March 12, 2010
"The analogy is clever, but wholly inaccurate"
Defenders of the habeas lawyers representing al-Qaeda terrorists have invoked the iconic name of John Adams to justify their actions, claiming these lawyers are only doing the same thing Adams did when he defended British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre. The analogy is clever, but wholly inaccurate.
For starters, Adams was a British subject at the time he took up their representation. The Declaration of Independence had not yet been signed, and there was no United States of America. The British soldiers were Adams' fellow countrymen -- not foreign enemies of the state at war with his country.
Second, the British soldiers were accused of a crime. The constitution was not yet in place, but as I pointed out in my column this week, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy explains that the great American tradition later enshrined in the Sixth Amendment "guarantees the accused -- that means somebody who has been indicted or otherwise charged with a crime -- a right to counsel. But that right only exists if you are accused, which means you are someone the government has brought into the civilian criminal justice system and lodged charges against." Unless they have been charged before military commissions or civilian courts, the al-Qaeda terrorists held at Guantanamo do not have a right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment. They are not accused criminals. They are enemy combatants held in a war authorized by Congress....
You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.
-- John Adams
March 11, 2010
Quote for Thursday...
...The smart money is on global warming going the same way as bird flu, swine flu, Y2K, the ozone layer, the population explosion, the food crisis, the energy crisis, global cooling and the litany of Armageddon-type predictions of the past 30 years that never came to pass. ...
Don't forget acid rain. Our forests were going to be dead by now. Scientists told us so....
March 9, 2010
In a nutshell...
Dafydd sums up warmist "climate science" with enviable concision: "
Bride Mistress Tawdry One-Night Stand of Climategate":
...The hacked documents stunned the world, as they appear to demonstrate that the "consensus opinion" of climate research was not driven by strong and uncontroverted science -- as we'd been told ad nauseam since the 1990s -- but by political calculation and activism, sloppy research techniques, malfunctioning or mis-sited measuring equipment, predetermined outcomes and the "desk drawer" fallacy, bullying of peer-reviewed literature to exclude dissent, hounding and character assassination of "deniers" (skeptics), and above all, driven by the lure of hundreds of billions of dollars in "carbon credits," with all the anti-scientific pressures such massive monetary manipulation inevitably entails.
And it all began with such promise... the promise of a world cleansed of the contagion of religion, technology, Capitalism, and conservatives!...
March 8, 2010
"The needed wall of separation between race and state"
This census advice sounds sound to me...
...Fully one-quarter of the space on this year's form is taken up with questions of race and ethnicity, which are clearly illegitimate and none of the government's business (despite the New York Times' assurances to the contrary on today's editorial page). So until we succeed in building the needed wall of separation between race and state, I have a proposal. Question 9 on the census form asks "What is Person 1's race?" (and so on, for other members of the household). My initial impulse was simply to misidentify my race so as to throw a monkey wrench into the statistics; I had fun doing this on the personal-information form my college required every semester, where I was a Puerto Rican Muslim one semester, and a Samoan Buddhist the next. But lying in this constitutionally mandated process is wrong. Really — don't do it.
Instead, we should answer Question 9 by checking the last option — "Some other race" — and writing in "American." It's a truthful answer but at the same time is a way for ordinary citizens to express their rejection of unconstitutional racial classification schemes. In fact, "American" was the plurality ancestry selection for respondents to the 2000 census in four states and several hundred counties.
So remember: Question 9 — "Some other race" — "American". Pass it on.
St Augustine, Tea Partier...
From a good talk by Archbishop Chaput:
...Robert Dodaro, the Augustinian priest and scholar, wrote a wonderful book a few years ago called Christ and the Just Society in the Thought of Augustine. In his book and elsewhere, Dodaro makes four key points about Augustine's view of Christianity and politics.
First, Augustine never really offers a political theory, and there's a reason. He doesn't believe human beings can know or create perfect justice in this world. Our judgment is always flawed by our sinfulness. Therefore, the right starting point for any Christian politics is humility, modesty and a very sober realism.
Second, no political order, no matter how seemingly good, can ever constitute a just society. Errors in moral judgment can't be avoided. These errors also grow exponentially in their complexity as they move from lower to higher levels of society and governance. Therefore the Christian needs to be loyal to her nation and obedient to its legitimate rulers. But she also needs to cultivate a critical vigilance about both.
Third, despite these concerns, Christians still have a duty to take part in public life according to their God-given abilities, even when their faith brings them into conflict with public authority. We can't simply ignore or withdraw from civic affairs. The reason is simple. The classic civic virtues named by Cicero – prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance – can be renewed and elevated, to the benefit of all citizens, by the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity. Therefore, political engagement is a worthy Christian task, and public office is an honorable Christian vocation.
Fourth, in governing as best they can, while conforming their lives and their judgment to the content of the Gospel, Christian leaders in public life can accomplish real good, and they can make a difference. Their success will always be limited and mixed. It will never be ideal. But with the help of God they can improve the moral quality of society, which makes the effort invaluable....
March 3, 2010
So, what happens when the bio-tech equivalent of Moore's Law kicks in?
This is very interesting tech, but my guess is that it is even more interesting that portrayed, because the technology sounds like stuff that can get cheaper and cheaper, and simpler and simpler. Like, you know, computers do. Or digital cameras, or flat-screen TV's, or smart phones. And could head in the direction of home machines that can take a drop of your blood and report on your blood sugar or cholesterol levels. And send the results to your physician, who will see graphs of her patient's conditions, wit warning flags if something needs attention, or prescription dosages need tweaking.
What's missing? You and me buying our medical diagnoses like we buy other consumer goods.
A new device can rapidly test biological samples for genetic variations that could cause dangerous reactions to some drugs. By Erica Naone
Different people can react to drugs in different ways, and in some cases the response can be predicted from their genes. For example, the drug warfarin, often used to prevent blood clots, can cause dangerous bleeding in some patients. Researchers have identified two genetic variations that can increase this risk.
Tests for this type of individual genetic variation have been available for a long time, but in many cases they cost too much and take too long. Nanosphere, a startup out of Northwestern University that's based in Northbrook, IL, hopes to change that. Its Verigene system, which takes just a few hours to analyze DNA from blood or other material, allows doctors to test for genetic variations without having to send samples out to a lab.
A. DISPOSABLE CARTRIDGE
A single-use cartridge uses a combination of chemical reactions to isolate fragments of DNA from a patient sample and test them for specific genetic characteristics. The top half of the cartridge is discarded after this process is complete, leaving a prepared glass slide behind.
B. BAR CODE
To help keep track of samples, a bar code is printed on the test cartridge and the underlying slide.
C. REAGENT WELLS
The necessary ingredients for the chemical reactions used to process the DNA are stored in wells located around the edges of the test cartridge. After the DNA is extracted from a sample, the machine uses air pressure and mechanical valves to release the ingredients from the wells as needed. Strands of DNA that are complementary to the target sequences are used to bind those sequences to the glass slide below the cartridge, as well as to gold nanoparticles that will allow the DNA to be detected when exposed to light. The cartridge washes away any excess DNA or nanoparticles and then sets off a reaction that coats the remaining nanoparticles with silver, which makes it easier to scan for them.
D. DNA LOADING CHAMBER
A DNA sample is loaded into the port shown here. Sonic energy, applied when the cartridge is inserted into the machine that processes the samples, breaks the DNA into small fragments and separates it into its two complementary strands so that it can be captured on the surface of the glass slide.
E. GLASS SLIDE (MICROARRAY)
After the chemical reactions have finished, the target DNA remains on the surface of the prepared glass slide, tagged by silver-coated gold nanoparticles. The Verigene's reader can read the slide by shining light into it and measuring how that light is scattered by the tagged DNA. The system can be used to look for single or multiple genetic targets....