I want to be jumping for joy over the Mars/Moon (pre)announcement. I want to believe that this president, and this congress can pull it off. I want to believe that it's a go.
But I've been a space fan my entire life, so I know better. To live here: you need to bring one of these:
I don't believe we have the will to do so. I know that when congress sees the bill for an Apollo type mission to Mars, they will utterly wig when they see what it will cost in conjunction with permanent manned settlement on the Moon. So they will cut the budget. And then they will trim it. And then they will scale it back and then the international partners will discover that they need to pay for an Olympics or a drug rehab center and they will pull out and pretty soon we're sending the ISS equivalent of a mission to Mars. Too little, too boring, too late.
We can't send astronauts to Mars. We can really only send settlers. Give 'em a small reactor, some Cat D10s, a hydroponic garden and our prayers. Pack along a few copies of Kim Stanley Robinson's seminal work on the subject and let them do as they see fit to survive. And don't freaking meddle in their affairs!!
But that's not in our nature. Or even in our government's nature. I guess my cynicism is such that I can really only hope for a moon base settlement out of this. And if that's what we get, then let's be damn happy for it. But don't promise a Mars mission first.
Wait until the OPEC states find out about helium 3. They are going to be pissed. (Didn't you know this was all about oil?)
I post in the best hexidecimal approximation to Martian dust that I can find.
Friday, January 09, 2004
QuantificationHow do we know what we know? For example, I thought to myself when I was biking home at 3am last night, "Man, is it cold". This morning, when I was biking in at 8:45, I thought, "Man, is it cold". I checked NWS, and found out that last night, it was 2 degrees out here, but it was -2 this morning. It could have gone either way in my opinion.
I'm not going to try to match temps with you, though.
My question is really more of "How do we quantify 'Bush gets more grief than Clinton'?"
Google News shows more hits for president, clinton, drunk / greg norman / knee / stumble than for president bush pretzel. Not a scientific study, mind you. I'm not going to do the Lexis/Nexis results thing that most journalists turn to, and I'm still waiting for Google to perfect the -opinion flag.
My first blog RFP
What are you talking about?
I remember Bill getting harangued. More than that, though, is the fact that the President getting drunk, while newsworthy, is not beyond comprehension.
In fact, I have been known, from time to time, to get a wee bit tipsy myself. ("Will the court please note that Mrs. Lovejoy is making the 'drinky-drinky' sign.")
However, it scares the hell out of me that we have clear proof that Bush is a moron and yet he controls the nuke codes.
Relive the days of yester-year, when the economy was booming, the deficit was shrinking, and jobs were plentiful!
(tick tick tick tick . . . )
"Relive the thrilling days of yesteryear wtih the American Left! Remember an America that had never heard of Howard Dean! Remember when John Edwards was going to be the next president? Go back to the days when Firefly was still on the air! You too can howl with laughter when one man choked on a pretzel - and survived! Go back to the days when the PT Cruiser was exciting and new!"
(tick tick tick tick . . . )
Dude, get some new material - Nobody ran BC down like this for stumbling drunk around Greg Norman's place.
"Barney's movie is touching, but Football in the Groin has a football in the groin!"
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Dream a Little Dream for Me
A little more from the same blog post:
Anyway, that?s where they would find me dead, knocked back in my chair, the cigar grown cold, the drink spilled, the dog licking my face.[More...]
See, the current Resident of the White House almost got to that part, not by an errant golf ball, but by a pretzel he failed to chew properly. And the dogs did not come to lick his face.
There's not a declared candidate for Republican Primary who understands the importance of chewing his food. That is why he will lose.
As scripted by James Lileks:
If I lived there, I would wear a white suit all the time with a big straw hat, and I would sit on the broad shady porch in back beneath a fan with a glass of tequila and a cigar the size of rolling pin. I would play with the children who came to offer fresh fruit to me, El Padrone. I would put down my book at sunset to contemplate the mysteries of love and life while a guitar softly played a ballad. If the guitarist displeased me, I would shoot him. Because I am El Padrone, after all, and this is the porch on which I spend my wise, cultured, rich and sentimental existence. Idiot sneaks in “Chopsticks” in a minor key because he thinks I’m not listening. Fool. Well, he has paid for his foolishness. Note to self: have servants remove the bullet before the body is buried. That was my favorite bullet. It was a gift from a very great man. Who, regrettably, I shot. But not with that bullet. Such a thing is not done, not even today when the old ways have fallen apart, and a new breed threatens to undo all we have accomplished. [More . . . ]
The only question now is the location of the porch. I'm thinking Chatham County, Georgia.
There's not a declared candidate for Democratic Primary who understands this dream. That is why they will lose.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
A touch busy at the moment
But I have time for one of my favorite wacko organizations. The article must not have mentioned the UFOs or you would have clipped it in there. The SPLC, my least favorite advocacy group, did a great Intel Report on them a while back. Gotta read the whole thing. Print it out and take it home on the train.
They were just getting going when we left Macon. Long Story short, the Feds learned from Waco and avoided another bloodbath.
Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. Or understand the law. Or read it. Or even comprehend that a world of hurt is coming down on you.
Care to Comment?
[Dwight "Malachi"] York, 58, is the head of the mostly black sect [United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors] whose compound on a Georgia farm includes pyramid-like structures. He faces 13 federal counts of child molestation and racketeering.
York's attorney, Adrian Patrick, said the case was about government oppression. He compared York's prosecution to Germany's oppression of the Jews and the British rule of colonial America.
"The government is going to attempt to make you believe the defendant is guilty because he's different," Patrick said.
The trial was moved 225 miles from Macon to Brunswick because of pretrial publicity, including months of protests by followers dressed as Egyptian pharaohs, mummies and birds.
York has unsuccessfully argued he has American Indian heritage and should not be judged by the U.S. court system. [More...]
Dude. Your old stomping grounds. Heard anything about this? Did you get to see the pyramids when you were out there?
Did you get to meet The Leader?
Those darn kids!Surely you're not still referring to the "liberated" orphanage, are you? I thought the New York Times debunked this one. There ain't no way I'm purchasing the article to send you a copy, but the web is rife with discussion on it, most of it bloggy.
North Dakota jails children as young as 10.
I belive we currently have a 13 year old at Gitmo, who may have been turned in as an Al Qaeda "operative" in order to collect reward money.
How smart are we?
I'm all for tearing down the old tyrannical regimes. I'm thrilled about the changes coming out around the globe: Libya, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and North Dakota (oops, meant Korea, but I will let the error stand). These are being achieved through diplomacy.
Here's the part that you'll love:
I really don't know how much of that diplomacy is more effective now that we've shown a willingness to reach out and whack someone, even against world sentiment, for seemingly no reason. I've heard the advice that if you end up in prison, find the biggest guy you can and try to beat them up: if you win, no one will mess with you, and if you lose, everyone will admit that you're gutsy, crazy, or both. It seems like we might have taken on the 4th largest standing army to show the muscle behind our big stick policy. It looks like it might be bearing fruit, in that case.
Back to the left of center:
But that doesn't make it right!
So much for bringing humility to foreign policy and eschewing nation building. Oh, and whatever happened to fiscal conservatism? Has the monetary policy play book been lost by the Republican team? Oh, that's right, Republican presidents complain about how fiscally ill-disciplined Democrats are and then run up their own budget deficits that Democrats then work at erasing, but never get any credit for.
The only fiscally conservative Republican these days is Arnold Schwarzenegger.
<shawn's dream sequence>Arnold licks California's problems and then runs for Prez in 2004. When the Republican party tells him no way will they run a candidate against Bush 43 in primaries, he goes independent. No one tells him he's not legally qualified to serve until he siphones off enough votes to make Bush 43 sink to the the same single-term ignominity that Pappy did.
</shawn's dream sequence>You know, Arnold seems to be an extremely capable guy....
If not Arnold, who? If not 2004, when?
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
You learn the damndest things sometimes. I went to the CIA's Factbook, which is easily the greatest atlas out there. The CIA may not be the best at predicting stuff, but they can assemble readily verifiable facts in an easy to use format any day of the week.
The reason for my research was to simply prove you wrong re: the apparent force disparity. My logic was going to be that simply put, Iraq is a much larger and more populous country then Afghanistan and requires many more boots on the ground.
Area: 647,500 sq km
Area: 432,162 sq km
Here's another answer for you, which you can observe just by watching the news. Iraq had a large standing army, the fourth largest on Earth, which had a reputation for being a bunch of hard asses. Now they have a reputation for being a bunch of unemployed pain in the asses. I believe the House of Mog tried dealing with a similar problem once during a peacetime period on the Klingon homeworld.
Afghanistan had a reputation for being a splintered bunch of armed fanatics, who were much easily defeated in the open field. Please note how much more quiet it has been in Afghanistan these last few months. The odd bombing, but nothing compared to an average evening in Bagdhad.
Why the difference? In both cases we came as liberators. In both cases it was known that there would be a long period of occupation following actual hostilities. In both cases, Islamazoid killbots run the other side, heavily financed by outside money. In both cases puppet governments run by Green Card holders have been put in place.
Here's a possibility - SpecOps came in and won hearts and minds right off the bat in Afghanistan with a ready made local opposition groups. When we came in we had ready made friends willing to take up arms for our side. Not so in Iraq. There, the only organized opposition to Saddam's regime were some 21st C. Bay of Pigsters with interests in car dealerships back in Paterson, NJ. The organized opposition to United States, otoh, started at the English Channel and ran clear across the globe to the Rockies.
Frankly, when this whole thing started, I thought it would be the other way around, but as you can see, I can't even read a map properly.
Finally, we get to the old, beaten, re-hashed, Ted Rall rant re: Al-Qaida and Saddam's regime. It was there in 1997 when Clinton made an ill-timed argument for bombing Saddam's Intel HQ, but apparently disappeared in 2003. It was there in 1998 when Kerry made the connection on the floor of the Senate during the previous sanctions debate, but it disappeared again in 2003.
So when there's a poisonous snake running loose in your house, how long do you wait to kill it? Before or after it bites a loved one? Do you just hope that it goes away? (Yeah, yeah, yeah, what if you brought the snake into the house and fed it millions in foreighn aid? Yawn.)
Jesus Christ! He ran a political prison for elementary schoolchildren!! How can you say that his removal is anything but a good thing?!?!? How many wives have watched their husbands get run through a chipper shredder since he left?!?!? Would putting him back in power assuage your guilt?
He ran a political prison for elementary schoolchildren!!
If not us, who? If not now, when?
Military Terrorism TrainingFrom some mandatory training I had to take tonight:
The specific objective of terrorist acts involving provocation is to cause overreaction on the part of government agencies. The strategy normally calls for attacking the police, the military and other government officials. These entities then increase security measures in order to prevent terrorist acts, often resulting in the loss of individual freedoms. This prompts disgruntlement from affected citizens. Attacks of this type demonstrate vulnerability to the terrorist and contribute to the loss of confidence in the government's ability to provide security.Wow. Good thing that hasn't worked here in the US!
Is this a word: unsafeguarded? It appears later in the training
The Pentagon is preparing to begin replacing the roughly 123,000 U.S. troops serving in Iraq and 11,000 in Afghanistan -- most of them soldiers -- with fresh troops. IbidWhy so many more soldiers in Iraq than Afghanistan? Was it because of the sheer number of Iraqis among the September 11th terrorists? Was it because of the terrorists using Iraq as a training and staging area? Is it because their leader was in Iraq and is still on the run?
For the mathmatically impaired, there are 1018% more troops in Iraq (who has never committed nor been shown to support terrorist acts against America) than Afghanistan (presumably still the home of Osama bin Laden).
Why are we there?
Ted Carpenter, a defense analyst with the Cato Institute think tank, said the "stop loss" decision undercuts the concept of an all-volunteer military, which America has maintained for three decades.I can see nothing but sadness from those potential courses of action.
"Clearly, if large numbers of personnel have their terms extended against their will, that violates the principle of volunteerism," Carpenter said.
"It also suggests just how strained the military is in trying to provide for the Iraqi occupation plus all the other U.S. obligations around the world."
Carpenter said if the personnel strains continue or worsen, the Pentagon may feel compelled to return to a military draft.
He suggested a scenario in which the military units that actually wage war would remain "all-volunteer" but a force of American peacekeeping troops would be created through military conscription. [More...]
And me fleeing to Canada with my boy, that is.
Red State Truths
- We will elect the next president, as we did the present one. Oh, and the one before him, too.
- Howard Dean was raised on Park Avenue, albeit in a "small, three bedroom apartment with hardly any room for the nurse" deep in the heart of Blue Country.
- Howard Dean will be the best thing to happen to this country since Ralph Nader.
- "Redneck: First word red, color of power, fire, passion. Second word neck . . . neck . . . hey I can't think of nothing for neck right now, but without that you still got red and that's something to be proud of."
The tax cut will benefit wealthy Americans, who btw, pay more in taxes then you do. It will also benefit me as more of my money will come back to me this spring and less of it will be held by the government. That's the Red State way of looking at taxes. Pay attention, you're going to hear it put that way until 2008.
Finally, on a slightly more droll note, you must watch this over and over again until you believe that Leonard Nimoy should be elected to the U.N.
What do rich H'wood types do with their expanded wealth when they end up paying less in taxes? Donate the rest to the poor? Send it to political cadidates? Spend it on coke and whores?
Monday, January 05, 2004
Conspiracy Theory ThreeBush clearly has the graces of our Martian overlords. After all, he gave huge tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% of Americans and led the next 16% of wealthiest Americans to believe that they would be getting a bigger piece of the pie.
Yet, despite his deception, his inability to find those who target and kill Americans at home or abroad, or those who jeopardize our safety at home (nice recusal, Ashcroft — anyone care to theorise on what it means?), he enjoys something like a 63% approval rating. Wow.
This is a president not duly elected, not capable of thoroughly chewing his own food so as to avoid choking to death, and an out-and-out liar and all those red states love him. Morons.
When Clinton lied, no one died.
Conspiracy Theory TwoOsama bin Laden must still be in the graces of the Martian overlords. Saddam Hussein (the guy in the region we could locate, despite the fact that he literally never did anything to us), clearly lost their favor.
How do we keep their favor? How do we know their will? Other than their desire for highly accurate sundials, that is.
Conspiracy Theory OneOK, the U.S. owns the Red Planet. We got the rover there because we can avoid "craters". The last problem we had with Mars was caused almost entirely by the metric system, a unit of measure of European origin.
Clearly, our arrangements with our Martian overlords are still in full effect.
We sent the rover with a sundial! A sundial?! And do you know who made it happen? Bill Nye, the science guy! I am not making this up!!!
Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Mr. Ray Davies
A police spokesman said [Ray] Davies [, founder and lead singer of The Kinks,] and a female companion were walking near the French Quarter at about 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday when two suspects approached them and grabbed the woman's purse.[More...]
As I understand it, he met his "female" companion in a club down in old Soho where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Cherry Cola.
Oh, come on. I couldn't help myself.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- Britney Spears filed for an annulment Monday of her two-day-old marriage to a childhood friend, saying she lacked understanding of her actions when she got hitched on the spur of the moment.[More...]
But. But they just seemed so ... happy.
I hope he at least got to sample her marital duties.