Sunday, May 31, 2009
I’m assuming whole flotillas of white-clad naval officers are descending upon Champaign to talk to Dr. Fang about this technology. Hope he gets a big, fat royalty if this ends up being the Navy’s hull of the future.
GorTechie fired up his awesomely cool time machine (no, it is not solar powered) and brought back a snap shot from the 2010 Detroit auto show. Enjoy: attached is the future United States of America Attorney General Motors design for all GM cars going forward. The Obama administration wanted a car that the people could enjoy equally. Nothing too much. Nothing too big to fail.
You will buy one, too. Whether you want to or not. If you would like to pre-order yours before the appellate court-ordered rush, its the 2010 GM Bergeron.
Like the murderous abolitionists of old, these anti-abortion murderers believe they're doing God‘s work on behalf of a helpless group of people deemed subhuman. They err grievously and deserve the severest civil penalties and, one trusts, will face a higher justice as well.
May God have mercy on his soul and that of his victim, who goes to his grave up to his elbows in the blood of the innocent.
Picture: John Brown’s hanging.
Anyway, many of you have received your ticket(s), and the remainder of you should be getting them in the mail no later than Friday of this week. Please take careful note of the day and seating location on your ticket(s), as (a) seating is 100% sold, so there are no empty chairs, and (b) the Mandarin tends to electrocute those who mock him by changing seats. We do not want a repeat of last year.
The location is on your ticket face, and remember...we are in the Regent Room this year.
Doesn’t Kim Jong Il have a compelling personal story? Like Sonia, he grew up in a poor neighborhood (North Korea), yet he’s managed to become a nuclear power, shattering the glass ceiling to take his seat at the old nuclear boys’ club. Isn’t that an inspiring narrative? Once upon a time you had to be a great power, one of the Big Five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, to sit at the nuclear table: America, Britain, France, Russia, China, the old sons of power and privilege. But now the mentally unstable scion of an impoverished no-account backwater with a GDP lower than that of Zimbabwe has joined their ranks: Celebrate diversity!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
The phrase “bankrupt General Motors,” which we expect to hear uttered on Monday, leaves Americans my age in economic shock. The words are as melodramatic as “Mom’s nude photos.” And, indeed, if we want to understand what doomed the American automobile, we should give up on economics and turn to melodrama.P.J. O’Rourke writes an elegy for American automotive power.
Politicians, journalists, financial analysts and other purveyors of banality have been looking at cars as if a convertible were a business. Fire the MBAs and hire a poet. The fate of Detroit isn’t a matter of financial crisis, foreign competition, corporate greed, union intransigence, energy costs or measuring the shoe size of the footprints in the carbon. It’s a tragic romance—unleashed passions, titanic clashes, lost love and wild horses.
Attention, WSJ copy editors: it's Bucephalus with a “u” (or Bucephalos if you’re feeling Hellenic).
Picture: 1963 Chevrolet Stingray, via carstyling.ru.
- Gratuitous glitz
- Undramatic scores
- Message mongering
Farzad Kamangar, a 33-year-old teacher, journalist and human rights activist, is awaiting execution in Iran's notorious Evin prison. The Islamic regime calls him a terrorist, but his real crime is being a Kurd.
Some quick hits:
Mike Zapler of the San Jose Mercury News refers to Californias deficit, which seems to be growing by the day. Umm...Mike, if you have unpaid debt to which interest is applied, yeah, one supposes it would grow a little more each day.
Steve Holland of Reuters discusses the number of Czars (yes, we know!) in the Obama administration, and John McCains reaction that the President has more czars than the Romanovs, and then feels immediately compelled to explain to us that the Romanovs ruled Russia for three centuries, ignorant bastards that we are.
Adam Goldman of the ever-entertaining Associated Press covers the story of very-wanted bomb maker Abu Ibrahims flight from Iraq to Lebanon. Goldberg adds that some of Ibrahims accomplices remain unaccounted for, like [Abu] Zyad...[whose] current whereabouts are unknown. Seems an incredibly sarcastic coincidence that not only is he unaccounted for, but youre telling me you also dont know where he is?
The US warns North Korea not to launch a rocket over Japan. And we warn them not to do any more nuclear tests.
Okay, well, this time, SecDef Gates says that if North Korea lets any nuclear technology out of the country, the US will hold North Korea fully accountable.
Translation: and if you do it again, we will totally hold you to blame.
The Czars advice: do not bother with this oy-itll-be-on-your-head finger wagging. They know full well you wont do anything. Not a thing. North Korea has not suddenly and inexplicably gotten crazier. No: pragmatically, they have watched the POTUS bow to Saudi royalty, join a book club with Hugo Chavez, offer to reason with an Iranian scumbag who openly wants to kill every Jew and Westerner with nuclear weapons, let Chinese fishermen overwhelm a Navy ship, and apologize to any remaining Nazis if they felt we were a little too rough on them way back when.
Bullies know a pushover when they see one. You have made them stronger.
Suggestion: next time North Korea blatantly flips the bird to the United States, threaten to call the cops on em.
Make no doubt about this - we're in the middle of an Amateur Hour of the US Government. When supposed leaders can't speak for themselves and need to be repeatedly "corrected" via the Obama spin machine, it is embarassing.
A lot has been made about how smart POTUS Obama is. He's made references in the past, both in the primaries and the campaign about how important our intelligence services are to national security. Sure, there might be problems with it like any large entity (government or private) and when artificial constructs like the Office of the Director for National Intelligence (ODNI) get created in an attempt to fix some of it, other problems are introduced. Having said all that (and a hat tip to the Volgi and Michael Goldfarb), it appears that POTUS Obama didn't EVEN KNOW about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) or at least that's how I'd read his reaction. Had he been familiar, the question wouldn't be "what exactly this National Geospatial...ahh...do?". The following is from Ben Smith's column at Politico:
The video is here (the point below is at about 6:00 into the clip)
Obama: What do you do Walter?
Walter: I work at, uh, NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Obama: Outstanding, how long you been doing that?
Walter: About six years
Obama: You like it?
Walter: I do, keeps me...
Obama: So explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial...uh...
Walter: Uh, we work with, uh, satellite imagery..
Walter: [unintelligible] ...support systems, so...
Obama: Sounds like good work.
Walter: Enjoy the weekend.
Obama: Appreciate it.
According to the Defense Department:
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a Department of Defense combat support agency and a member of the national Intelligence Community (IC). NGA develops imagery and map-based intelligence solutions for U.S. national defense, homeland security and safety of navigation.
NGA provides timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security objectives. The term "geospatial intelligence" means the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. Geospatial intelligence consists of imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial (e.g., mapping, charting and geodesy) information.
Guess they're not getting much airtime in the President's Daily Brief.
NGA is critical to supporting Homeland Security missions, disaster response (i.e. Katrina, Kentucky ice storms, flooding, fires, etc.), and intelligence for both the Intel Community and the military. You would think he'd know all 16 agencies, particularly the ones of critical importance given the events in the world.
By the way, for those who haven't been to Five Guys, it's a great burger joint (providing your cholesterol level isn't too high) and it's about the simplest menu int he world. I can't believe how long it takes President Obama to order a freaking burger ..... Aaaaaa ..... with .. aaaaa .. with ..... aaaaaaa.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Janet Napolitano says that Canadas slipshod security was critical in aiding the 9/11 attacks. Canadians, by and large, throw a pretty big fit, but she later adds that the Canadian border is just as screwed up as Mexicos. When the Canadian goverment demands an apology, she openly regrets that the Canadians are too stupid to understand what she meant. Napolitano spokesperson Sean Smith says that the DHS Secretary meant to say that she was thinking of something else and would have phrased things differently.
Vice President Joe Biden, when asked about the Presidents assurances on Swine Flu, states he personally would screw that and stay the hell out of anything that had people in it. Biden spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander says that Vice President meant to say that he agrees completely with the President.
Biden also blurts out the secret location where the US executive branch sets up its emergency underground command facility for the Vice President, in the event the President is missing in action. The ever-busy Ms. Alexander says that he meant to refer to a not-at-all secret upstairs workspace.
Sonia Sotomayor makes a blatantly racial comment, and Obama (Sotomayors spokesperson) says he is certain she would have restated her comment.
When will the Presidents men and women start speaking for themselves, rather than having people explain what they were supposed to have said?
President Obama will be visiting two places in Germany on June 5: the concentration camp at Buchenwald and Dresden.Jesus fucking Christ on a Vespa this pisses your Volgi the fuck off. Here's a more reasoned statement, but what kind of a fucking narcissist do you have to be to use the Presidency to go around making ostentatious, preening (if backhanded in Obama’s style), fashionably left-wing assertions of your own moral superiority to those who came before you? Fuck. And what a colossal ignorance of Germany this reflects as well. Not only what Bromund argues in the linked piece, but it also will be a terrific boon to the skeevy, unpleasant types on the radical fringes of German politics (and many more mere sentimentalists less far from the edges) who subscribe to the theory that Germany was, really, after all, primarily a victim of the war. Fuck.
Your Volgi holds no particular brief for the bombing of Dresden, which was unquestionably horrible, but the Rubicon on bombing cities as strategic targets had been crossed early in the war and defenders of the bombing like “Bomber” Harris pointed to enough industrial and military targets that the city was not an illegitimate target by the standards of the day. They may have been wrong—mistakenly or out of vengeance—but it’s an open historical question.
And what, pray tell, will this do to our already strained relations with our primary ally in that neck of the woods? After all, the bombing of Dresden, while carried out by many USAAF planes, was ultimately an RAF operation. Obama, then, starts to look less like the heir of FDR apologizing for his predecessor (bad enough), but as an American sympathizing with German losses authorized by the British. (Against whom it seems to me that Obama may have a particular antipathy. One would really like to see those transcripts from Occidental & Columbia to see whose view of history the President may have imbibed as a younger man.)
I'm sure Obama’s statements will be nuanced within a preposition of their life and praised universally by the great and the good, but a tyro American president making a gesture that looks like a mea culpa on behalf of Churchill is just obscene.
So it fucking goes.
Update: “El Gordo” makes much the same point less incendiarily. Worth reading.
All of which raises an interesting question: Was Leon Panetta hired primarily to oversee the dismantling of the CIA?I suspect not, given that bureaucratic reform seems near, if not at, the Administration's agenda. But…it’s not a trivial question, especially given that the CIA is a bugbear in the radical/academic community in which Obama has spent his entire life. If there were an agency he‘d abolish, the CIA might be it.
But the really interesting question is—would dismantling the CIA be a bad thing? Your Œc. Vol. doesn’t think the answer is clear. While the Agency has done a lot of good things—many of which the public will never know of—and employs a whole raft of great, smart people, the fact is that its results as an institution are decidedly mixed.
Probably the single greatest failure of the CIA was completely missing the impending collapse of the Soviet Union—the Agency’s primary target over its lifetime. Indeed, if memory serves, the CIA was issuing estimates showing East German GNP surpassing that of West Germany in the ’80s. It took Ronald Reagan’s faith that the Communism was a “sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written” (1983) to turn the U.S.’s foreign policy to actively undermine the Soviets. The CIA often took an adversarial role in this process, and Reagan‘s maverick CIA director, William Casey, had to fight his own building almost as much as the KGB. (Gormogons readers will surely recall the more recent recurrence of the CIA vs. the President They Serve trope with the Agency’s obstruction of Bush 43’s foreign policy.)
The CIA contains three large, semi-autonomous directorates, Operations (DO), Intelligence (DI), and Science & Technology (DST) which sometimes work well together and sometimes seem to drift independently of each other. It has been a recurring theme of would-be intelligence reformers—that this structure is at least partially responsible for the Agency’s dysfunction. Suggestions have included taking the DO and making it smaller and more oriented towards active espionage, rather than the semi-passive recruitment of “assets” that makes up the bulk of the operatives’ work (and evaluation); shrinking and focussing the DI more sharply to produce more opinionated, sharp “product,” rather than fairly homogenized intel-by-committee that’s bureaucratically safe but fairly useless; and perhaps turning the DST over to the NSA to unify intel-technology development.
Your Volgi doesn’t vouch for any of these approaches but concedes the need for serious reform at the CIA, which contrary to its reputation is largely (though not entirely) a huge, huge bureaucracy typical of Washington, the vast majority of whose employees (none of whom I mean to disparage) live and work in Northern Virginia. It’s not a flexible organization, and its internal priorities and rules often have deleterious consequences for its critical job: intelligence gathering, analysis, and covert operations.
If Obama is attempting to dismantle the CIA (which I still doubt), then, it’s not necessarily a bad thing—with the important proviso that if he means to, he should if and only if he’s got a serious, objective, effective plan for the reconstruction of the U.S.'s active intelligence capacity (which I doubt even more).
Disclosure: Some people acquainted with various Gormogons work or have worked in intellgence in various capacities for various agencies, and the Volgi accepted a job offer from one which was abrogated based on that institution’s reliance on a pseudoscientific Magic Box. No inside or classified information, nor even simple gossip, has informed this post; it’s based entirely on familiarity with the literature on intelligence reform. Also, buy FotG Claire Berlinski’s very funny, insider-y CIA novel Loose Lips: A Roman à Claire. Now.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Case in point: small town fire chief is asked to give a speech at the official Memorial Day parade to discuss his experiences as a veteran, and how they shaped his views of the United States. The fire chief does so, and mentions that he now realizes America is approaching socialism under POTUS Obama, as well as his thoughts on the United Nations, the promotion of single parenting, and gay marriage.
Now, two local Democrats are calling for his head. Read the story here, but do not expect to see a transcript of the speech. Evidently, no one wrote it down. But indications from the comments section are that applause was fairly loud throughout.
The local Democratic leader said however that it was straight out of a right-wing extremist militia camp out in the forests of Idaho somewhere. Life in the Age of Obama: any criticism of the DoublePlusGood Leader makes you a white supremacist. And so in total fairness, the Czar concludes that anyone opposed to the chiefs speech inherently makes said critic a pot-smoking Commie pederast who hates veterans. Good for the gander, as always. Any complaints with our logic can go to the Democratic leader in that story. Please put See how you like it in the subject line of your email to him.
The Czar thinks that were this 2006, and had the chief made a comment about the Eeeevil George Bushyou know, the whole idiotic war-monger puppet routinethe comments would have been welcomed and endorsed, rather than witch-hunted. No doubt the ACLU will sit another one out. Similarly, had a local Republican leader said he felt he was at some Klan rally in Alabama, the ACLU would be fast-roping out of choppers within minutes.
Sorry, but this fails our newly-coined Bush Test.
As much as the Czar, like any Gormogon, hates open commentary, you might take a look at the comments section in that link. As of this posting they are running roughly 2:1 against the chiefs speech.
Wait, allow the Czar to correct himself...for every 20 people who write in supporting the chief, a mere two liberal activists post 40 condemnations of the speech and of all those who support him. The Czar weeps in the realization that this is getting painfully typical. You are not a majority based on the number of comments you make, but on the number of people you are. Obama was not elected by landslide. The liberalssorry, the Mandarin has pointed out that most liberals are not the problem,the progressives however think that a Democratic win constitutes an unchallengeable majority. The reaction to the chiefs speech shows otherwise: most people openly support his concerns about our country. And some of you wonder why we turn comments off here!
More evidence the backlash is already beginning.
True? Or false? Yeah, there is considerable reason for conservatives to be worried still. But evidence is mainstreaming that the liberal side should be just as concerned that a neo-Reagan revolution is gathering serious force.
Here is more proof. A hospital staff supervisor hangs a 3' x 5' flag in her office for Memorial Day (the same size you hang on your house). A co-worker (portrayed as an immigrant, but actually an American citizen) finds the American flag offensive, and her manager requires her to remove it at once. But someone does not wait, for she comes into her office to find the flag pulled down and thrown to the floor. She complains to senior management...
...who tells her to put the flag back up. Why? Because the hospital does not hate America, but instead embraces the service of our veterans and active military. A press release was issued clearly calling out that Kindred Healthcare, of Mansfield, Texas, backed the flag display 100%. Oh sure, there was some mealy language in there about the actual dispute being over the size of the flagbut goes on to say that the supervisor was told to re-hang the same flag, and invites employees to do the same. The Czar spells out the hospital name and location to make it very clear who the good guys are and where they are in this story.
Nice work, senior management! Oh, one more thing: click on the picture to buy your own 3' x 5' American stars and stripes for your office.
At Gul’s May 27 press conference with Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev, the Turkish leader said that “the most important issue of our discussions was the stability of Afghanistan.”Confucius* says, as he wrote to a friend…
He added that talks were held about how the two countries “could give our support to improve the situation” in Afghanistan.
Gul and Bakiev also signed an agreement in which Ankara and Bishkek pledge to participate in the international community’s efforts in Afghanistan.
Such strong statements about Afghanistan raised suspicions among some experts that Turkey may be trying to persuade the Kyrgyz president to allow U.S. forces to continue their operations at Manas International Airport outside of Bishkek. …
Turkey already exerts great economic and social influence in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University has the best facilities and is one of the largest campuses in Kyrgyzstan.
The Turkish-owned Demir-Kyrgyz International Bank is the largest in Kyrgyzstan, and the immense Coca-Cola Company in Kyrgyzstan is also Turkish owned, as are Bishkek's two-largest shopping complexes.
It is also worth noting that this week’s violence in the Uzbek town of Khanabad -- which straddles the Kyrgyz border -- and the threat of instability it brings to the region gives Gul’s visit and any possible talk about U.S. forces staying at Manas greater importance.
Gul would be able to tell Bakiev some of the advantages to having a U.S. military base in your country and is likely to warn him about the disadvantages of relying too much on Russia.
Hmm. Interesting. the Volgi would quibble with “strong Washington ally,” given the last few years, but this could mean that the AKP folks have finally come to terms with the fact that anti-Westernism has its limits (like empowering the psycho-fascist-nationalist MHP and hardcore-Islamist Saadet, as the last election has showen) and a realistic reassessment of the geopolitical reality that a resurgent Russia is a much bigger threat to Turkish interests than the U.S. ever could be. Your Œc. Vol. would love if they turned some diplomatic fire on Iran, as well, but I guess it's baby steps…
*For those who came in late: Confucius (孔夫子) is the given name of the Gormogons’ Œcumenical Volgi.
Picture: KC-135 on the flight line at Manas. Mostly for the Mandarin, who loves him some big-ass aircraft. (Credit: U.S.A.F./Staff Sgt. Paul Clifford, via Wikipedia.)
The Czar is starting to think that DoE Sec Steven Chu may not be the, um, intellectual giant he was presented as.
Heard this one? The way to combat the Eeeeevil Global Warming is to paint your roof white. Yeah, and also, we need to paint roads a lighter color. Seriously, says Dr. Chu.
This will raise the Earths albedo, which will increase its apparent whiteness from space and thereby reflect sunlight back into space, cooling the earth.
The Czar cannot even begin to describe how lunatic this is. Sigh. All right, its like this: even if you painted every roof white, every road white, and every parking lot white, and even painted every thing white that you could, you would not raise the albedo of Earth enough. Presently, Earths albedo is 0.367. Following Secretary Chus bit of mad science, you might get it up to 0.36701. This would be like shoveling snow with a toothpick.
Fact is, the Earth has two massive sources of albedo in operation, and has had them for some time: any photo of the earth shows them... massive swirls of white clouds and highly reflective ocean water. Even if you painted every man-made object on Earth white, you would see no change from space. The clouds and water would dwarf your best efforts. Look at the photo there. See any roads? Any rooftops? No. See clouds and shiny water? That is how it works.
Is Chu really this ignorant about science? The Czar cannot believe this is not some bizarre joke. Chu should not be making any recommendations on the earth sciences if he lacks the basic comprehension to do so.
Thanks to the Mandarin for spotting this one.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
If increased government spending with borrowed or newly created money is a “stimulus,” then the Weimar Republic should have been stimulated to unprecedented prosperity…—GorT’s imaginary grandfather, Thos. Sowell
FIVE FULL DAYS of the latest, greatest, and most pressing burning topics will be discussed by your gracious and always understanding hosts. Each day will be unique! Celebrities are likely to include (as reported) Mac Davis, Bernadette Peters, returning Anson Williams, Phillip Paley, and of course the mostly forgotten Patricia McPherson. Please note that none of these celebrities will be allowed to speak, and may not even be seen attending. They have been ordered to deny even knowing about this.
The conference will run in June at the usual secret, undisclosed conference location (not our headquarters, thank you very much, Vice President Biden). Please note that the GormogoniCon 2009 conference will be held in the Regent Room this year (the Mavrokordatos wedding is in the Starlight Room and needed the bigger stage).
Seating is limited. We will of course run another reminder in another week or so, but do not wait to purchase your tickets. Pre-ticket sales are going reasonably well, but you do not want to wind up in the back. Trust us: someone always gets croaked in the back.
'Puter has given the matter some thought, and will now be taking the following position on "fair share" of income tax advocates. 'Puter will now reply that he will be happy to pay his "fair share" of his income to the government just as soon as people taking government welfare/benefits/etc. start only taking their "fair share."
Unemployed able bodied guy? Too bad. Take the crap job at McDonalds and we'll make up the difference.
Welfare mother who has more kids while on welfare? Too bad. No additional benefits for you.
People who think they've earned social security at 62, or even better government pensions at 55? Sorry. Age limits just increased, or benefits just got lowered.
Corporate farmers getting crop subsidies? So sorry. The government teat done went and dried up.
Schools (and associated unions) putting out uneducated kids? Show 'Puter good results and 'Puter'll show you the money.
The possibilities are endless.
If 'Puter's version of "fair share" catches on, it's more likely than not that spending will decrease such that suddenly the government will find it doesn't need 'Puter's "fair share" of income.
Here's 'Puter's slightly different take on Judge Sotomayor: it's a mixed bag for conservatives.
Judge Sotomayor's opinions show her to be an unrepentant lefty activist judge. This is to be expected for an Obama nominee. More disturbing is Judge Sotomayor's stated belief that her race and gender make her a better judge than white men. To 'Puter, such a racist and sexist statement should be disqualifying. It will not be.
On the upside for conservatives, Judge Sotomayor is not known as an articulate spokesperson for leftist doctrine. That is, while undeniably smart, she is no Justice Scalia for the left. President Obama and the screaming mimis on the left would have been better served to nominate an intellectual heavyweight such as an Elena Kagan. The Supreme Court's left wing has no counterbalance to Scalia, and will not now until the next nomination.
And finally, some free advice for Senate Republicans. Get on every single news show you can find and start talking now about how you are going to treat Judge Sotomayor like any other nominee. You will examine her opinions and background and ask tough, incisive questions in a respectful manner. To do otherwise would be failing in your advise and consent role. And despite the Left's assertions to the contrary, treating the Supreme Court's first Hispanic nominee as any other nominee is a compliment to Hispanics. Hispanic nominees do not require different standards to succeed, and the media's assertion otherwise is, in fact, racist.
The Gormogons are more than pleased to announce the Mandarin’s choosing to join forces with us. A wise choice on his part, we nevertheless appreciate the analytical rigor, wide reading, and vast reserves of spleen the Mandarin brings to the Gormogonical table.
Drop him a note to welcome him! (Instructions at left.)
Just don’t touch his f—ing queue.
…quotes one parent as saying, "Our schools are a reflection of our community and world…From a very early age, children should see what exists in the world.”Incidentally, the slacky OGs wish to thank the Czar for picking up our slack over the last week or so. His petition to have the blog renamed Tsarstvo is rejected, however.
Yeah - except when it comes to ideas like competition and individual achievement. When it comes to those concepts of reality, we have to coddle those same children so that their self-esteem won't be impacted. And don't even get me started on the proselytizing of the religious left in areas of sexual politics and enviromental radicalism (two of their sacraments), while the religious right (or should I say Christians) are denied the right to prayer and on-site religious clubs? Do you suppose it would be possible for right thinking parents to object to school environmental indoctrination because it violates our religious teachings against worshipping nature over God?
Updates on GormogoniCon will be forthcoming.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The Czar is glad someone addressed North Korea today!
All the Czar can add is this.
Successful underground test of a functional, remotely detonated nuclear weapon? Check!
Successful test of an extended range rocket capable of carrying a functional, remotely detonated nuclear weapon? Check!
Lets see: NUKE + ROCKET = No reason for either the UN or the US to take action?
The Czar is growing more troubled that we are facing a horrible math lesson of trans-Clintonian proportions. And although we desperately wish it were otherwise, we are the point thatno matter what decision we choosepeople are going to die because of this. The remaining question is who.
The Gormogons wish Sonia Sotomayor the best of luck on her upcoming near-certain approval for the SCOTUS.
Like her nominator, she can be a difficult read, having more or less avoided many substantive cases that would otherwise predict what sort of judge she might be. Certainly most people seem to like her. Certainly, not all do.
Many conservatives are trying to make hay out of her glib 2005 comment that the Appeals Court is where policy is made; the Czar has heard the full quote as it was recorded, and it seems ambivalent about what she meant. A wish? An observation? Anyway, she is correct that the Appeals Court can be profoundly influential, and thinks too much is being read into this statement.
There are two items much more concerning to the Czar.
First, is her shocking dismissal of Ricci v. DeStefano, a fairly obvious case of reverse racism if the Czar has ever seen it. As you may recall, the case involved 20 firemen (white and Hispanic) who competed for 15 officer positions that opened up in New Haven, Connecticut. Seventy-seven firefighters tested for the promotion, twnty-seven of whom were black. As it happened, and for whatever reasons, not a single black firefighter passed the exam; consequently, the city threw out all the exam results, even though at least 20 others clearly did pass.
The 20 sued, saying that they were denied promotion because, in effect, they werent black. The City denied the allegations, citing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII as legitimate ground to deny all promotions. However, Rev. Boise Kimber, a prominent near-celebrity in New Haven, played the race card and pressured the City to deny the promotions. Hence the suit.
The firefighters claims were summarily dismissed, to the shock of most. They appealed. And the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals listened to the arguments. The judge was, of course, Judge Sotomayor. And she denied their claim, to the consternation of colleague Judge Jose Cabranes (no doubt you will see his name again), who felt she failed to apply a basic Constitutionality test to the arguments. This, to the Czars mind, is a fairly big gaffesufficient enough that the SCOTUS itself has taken on a review of the case.
Second, there seems to be a pervasive notion that she might not have been the best candidate. She certainly seems to be the best female candidate of color, which has led manyincluding the Czarto wonder if POTUS Obamas priorities were (a) gender, (b) race, and (c) experience, in that order. This is a fairly weak complaintcompared to our other complaints about the Presidents methodologiesbecause the Czar has no better candidates springing to mind. Maybe that judge that the Czar had when sitting on a 1997 murder trial, who would interrupt the proceedings to take numerous calls from someone named Heidi. Whoever she was, she was evidently difficult to make appointments with.
Anyway, the Czar suspects that the review process will be reasonably thorough with Ms. Sotomayor, and wishes her luck. Hope she paid her taxes.
Two bits of nit-picking with President Obamas otherwise nice introduction of Sonia Sotomayor:
Judges are not actually granted life tenure by the Constitution (about 00:43 into his speech). Rather, Article III states they shall hold office only during good Behavior. To be fair, his Oath of Office requires him to preserve, protect, and defend, but not to read the thing. The Czar suspects most people are unaware of this, too.
Also, listen in at about 00:51 seconds in, when the President says that [judges] are charged with the vital task of applying principles put to paper more than twenty centuries ago. The Supreme Court is tasked with interpreting the US Constitution, which was put to paper only two centuries ago.
Now if only President Obama could get this bumper sticker and put it on the back of his limo, then the school funding "crisis" would be solved, too.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Agenticity carries us far beyond the spiritual world. The Intelligent Designer is said to be an invisible agent who created life from the top down. Aliens are often portrayed as powerful beings coming down from on high to warn us of our impending self-destruction. Conspiracy theories predictably include hidden agents at work behind the scenes, puppet masters pulling political and economic strings as we dance to the tune of the Bilderbergers, the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers or the Illuminati. Even the belief that government can impose top-down measures to rescue the economy is a form of agenticity, with President Barack Obama being touted as “the one” with almost messianic powers who will save us.The Czar could not have said it any better.
So is POTUS Obama a figment of the temporal lobe? Time will tell.
On this day of remembrance, I'd like to post some excerpts from a member of the 506 Paratroopers, 101st Airborne, Fox Company that I think are telling of the spirit, sacrifice and dedication that these brave men and women had:
Boredom set in just as fast. In 1979, there was no Wii, no Xbox, no iPod. There were only nine channels of afternoon television, and two of them were in Spanish. The school year was still officially in progress, so the summer sandlot leagues had yet to be organized into teams of four, sometimes five, but never nine. For a sixth-grader in the Cragin neighborhood, one hope remained.
The bike was a near ideal machine in terms of its simplicity then. Hand brakes, dual suspensions, helmets, orange safety flags, chain covers, and padded handle crossbars were still generations of class action suits away. The bike then was like the cowboy’s horse: simple, loyal, and always ready for action. Riding was worry-free, and aimless—unthinkable today, unaccompanied minors would fearelssly ride the streets and alleys in no set pattern, never taking the same path twice, and therefore never seeing the same things twice. Kids would walk or ride the alleyways as eagerly as the sidewalks on the tree-lined streets.
So it was along one of those alleyways or tree-lined streets that easy rider crossed happy paths with another biker and grade school parolee, Mike. The two were in the same sixth-grade class, sometimes played on the same sandlot team, or at other times faced each other as fielder and batter. Today, however, they rode bikes together.
By another coincidence, both had a specific interest in Julie, a fifth grader at the same school. Even though she was far less interested in either of these two boys, the truth is that Julie tolerated Mike quite a bit more. He was, after all, dark-haired with black eyes and tan skin and a gentle smile, whereas the other boy once cracked her fairly hard with a ruler some years before.
After two hours of criss-crossing rides, the conversations on school, baseball, and bike-riding ran out. Julie was fortunately a topic with some substance, and they agreed to ride over to her house in the off chance she was home, or if not, riding nearby herself. The two rode at a casual rate, taking that right hand turn into the long alley that led up the big hill to Mulligan Avenue. Her house was at the top of that hill, right by the entrance to the alley.
About halfway up the alley along the hill, a garage door was open. This was by no means unusual: in the era before man caves and home theaters, thousands of Chicago retirees held court in their garages. The cars would be parked out in front of the homes, and the garages—which opened into the alleys—were a man’s private sanctuary. These garages were immaculately swept, with organized spartan work benches, wood panelling, refrigerators, and fluorescent lighting. There might be a stuffed lake trout mounted to a wooden plaque over the side door. The grand tradition held that the owner would open the big garage door to release the summer heat, plunk down a nylon mesh lawn chair, open two or three cans of beer, turn on his portable radio, and listen to the Cubs game on WGN as he did the Tribune crossword. On a given block, as many as three garage doors could be open at the same time.
Therefore, at about 3:30 in the afternoon, there was no surprise in seeing the older man in his garage chair, listening to the radio. The Cubs were playing in Philadelphia, so there was no baseball worth listening to in Northwest Chicago at that time. Yet his radio was on, tuned to WGN anyway.
The boys climbed their two-wheeled steeds up the hill, past his open garage. “You boys hear about the airplane?” They shook their heads no, and braked when the old man stood up and actually stepped out into the alley. The boys stood, straddling their tilted bikes, one foot on the pedals and one foot on the concrete ground. “Yeah, huge crash at O’Hare. I figured you boys were riding up here to see it.”
“No, what happened?” asked Mike.
“A plane, one of the big ones, crashed on takeoff. Look, you can see it; you can see the cloud from the crash,” he said, pointing to the northwest over the roofline of the houses on Mulligan. There, suddenly and surprisingly obvious, was a silvery-black mushroom cloud. It had to have been over a thousand feet tall. “They’ve been talking about it on the radio; I think it just happened.”
“Wow,” the boys agreed. The radio commercial ended, and the newsroom went right back to the scene. An American Airlines DC-10, fully loaded. Hundreds of people, possibly the worst crash ever of a single plane. A massive fireball leaving a smoky exclamation point visible all the way to the Loop. That the massive cloud and the horrifying deaths of hundreds were the same event was an equation not lost on two eleven-year-olds.
“Those poor people, and their familes, eh?” the old man wondered. The three listened to the radio, a scant twelve miles from the impact. When the older guy finished his beer, he dropped the can into the trash and went to get another; that’s when his wife came out of the house and walked through the yard over to the garage to see if he had heard what was all over the television inside. Since the news was now repeating the little they knew, and the black cloud hovered motionless at the edge of the sky, the boys continued further on. Mike called back a thanks, but was probably not heard. They rode the last two hundred feet to Julie’s, and circled around a few times in the street. The house was dark and silent. Still that cloud loomed overhead.
“She’s not home, it looks like.” Mike agreed with this, and suggested he was probably going to head back home. The afternoon had taken on a different personality, but he claimed it was getting late and he lived much further North. “Yeah, see you...on Tuesday, Mike.” Mike took off, North along Mulligan Avenue.
The other ride home alone would be quick; heading down the alley and picking up speed, one could swoop down across Mobile, dogleg over to Merrimac, and be home in less than three minutes. There were now two more retirees in that garage, gathering around the radio. Coasting past on a downhill bike, it was impossible to hear any update.
The cloud was now evident even from the driveway of home. As the news unfolded—and there was no escaping it on any of the handful of channels—we learned more about that black cloud. That it was more than smoke. It was 271 passengers. It was 13 crew members. It was even two people on the ground. That it was a port engine, which inexplicably tore away on takeoff, rolling the plane and making it nosedive into an airplane hangar and trailer park.
“You boys hear about the airplane?” We eventually heard everything. That the airline elected to speed up an engine swap out, using a forklift to hold the new engine in place while they inserted bolts into the pylon. The forklift was not in a perfect position, and the weight of the engine hanging from the pylon fatally stressed the clevis that held the pylon and engine to the wing. As Captain Lux throttled the engines to rotate the plane upward that afternoon, the engine tore off while the plane hurtled off the runway, slicing the needed hydraulic controls as well as the warning mechanisms that might have told them how to respond. We learned that the flight crew could not have even known what happened from their vantage point. Ironically, we learned that the passengers may have known more than the pilots: that they were in their seats, seeing the engine tear away, and also likely watching the cockpit camera on takeoff: on the cabin monitors, they could see the stunned and frustrated pilots vainly fight for control that could never return, until the ground jumped up to the windshield. And still later we learned that the chief mechanic supervising the engine swap killed himself in grief, and that most of his team led sad lives, ruined by drug and alcohol abuse. That American workers helping to move and transfer bodies and wreckage into a hangar continued to smell charred flesh and kerosene when they entered that hangar even 20 years later.
“You can see the cloud from the crash.” Some of us still can.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
And the school board knows this. They are not actually introducing sexual orietation stereotypes until the kids are in fifth grade, but will instead focus on teasing, gradually introducing the concepts of sexual orientation progressively, each year.
Except this is all a load of crap to the Czar. What is happening is a gradual indoctrination of the children to accepting—without question—that a small minority of adults can control their attitudes and developments.
As the Czar likes to do, let us look at logic through substitution. Supposing we substituted one liberal minority for another. Instead of introducing children to sexual orientation and the dangers of mocking it, what if we introduced children as young as five to white supremacy? You know, the First Amendment-protected idea that one small group of people must be respected, gradually, without question.
No, the Czar is not suggesting that white supremacist bastards equate to the gay, lesbian, and transgendered community (why not the intersexed or cross-dressing community, by the way? What are they, chopped liver?). The Czar is, however, pointing out that the classroom shall not serve as a bully pulpit for the few who thought elementary school was a little rough.
“Our schools are a reflection of our community and world,” says one parent in support of the idea. “From a very early age, children should see what exists in the world.”
Right. At the appropriate time. And by someone without a specific political agenda to push.
Liberals obviously feared the former, and wanted the latter. Their leader did not deliver either in their favor.
Best quote that shows how clueless they are: Rep. Lynn Woolsey, on why her colleagues won’t support restrictions against firearms: “It has to do with being afraid they’ll lose their election if they stand up against guns.” Yeah, the nerve of them representing what their constituents believe!
Check out this broad rationalization from any Psych 101 textbook: “Even as they grouse, however, liberal lawmakers acknowledge that no one factor explains last week’s disappointing back-to-back votes in Congress. The Obama administration is focused on other priorities, they say.”
That must be it. Or, here is another possibility. There is a lunch table crowd of dorks and morons in a high school lunchroom. You know, the unpopular kids that cluster together for mutual support. And the fact that they cannot sit anywhere else.
Suddenly, one of their own does something notable—writes an essay, or something—and the school gets all this recognition. Kid gets in the paper, and reads the essay to a riotously applauding crowd at the Big Game. Suddenly, a few of the jocks, the cheerleaders, and the hip kids start giving him the thumbs up, asking him to sit with them, and giving him rides home.
Then comes the first Bad Party of the school year, and the essay writer gets the big invite. He goes to the party, and everyone there knows him. Suddenly, at the door, is a large collection of the dork table. They brazenly stride into the now shocked silent party, help themselves to beer, and start nodding and pointing to everyone there. A few of the bigger guys form a wall, and start pushing them back toward the door.
“Wait,” says one of the mouthier dorks, “We’re with him,” and points at the essay writer...who glances at his watch, turns to a cheerleader, and asks if she has a ride home.
Thrown out, the unpopular crowd gathers on the driveway, at a loss. “I can’t believe he didn’t tell those guys to let us in!” “Yeah, well, maybe he didn’t hear us!” They mostly agree that this is the case, and somehow he was too busy talking to the cheerleader to hear them arrive. “Or maybe,” one of them thinks, “he’s too cool for us now.”
Perhaps, the reader thinks, you just aren’t as popular as you hoped his success would make you.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Republicans, not surprisingly, demanded a bipartisan investigation. Not surprisingly, the resolution lost.
Does not matter. The Czar knows that more is coming that will be more damaging to Madame Speaker Pelosi. And it will make this seem trvial by comparison. Gosh darn it, but she just can’t seem to avoid tanking her career.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Most of the Gomorgons are out enjoying a long holiday weekend, and the Czar came in this afternoon to discover he was in charge. Nice, because the place was left a total mess.
That said, let us do a bit of housekeeping.
As most of you know, there is the upcoming GomorgoniCon 2009 convention. No, tickets are not yet on sale, as we are still negotiating for a venue. By negotiations, of course, we mean the brutal kind. Stay tuned for announcements on this. Once we agree to a few particulars and dispose of the bodies, we will announce ticket sales and prices.
Unfortunately, due to his ferociously busy schedule, Val Kilmer will not (repeat not) be at the convention this year. We are hopeful this does not hurt ticket sales, and are looking to line up another guest celebrity. GorTechie is pretty close to landing Bernadette Peters, while your Volgi of course is a huge Mac Davis fan. However, Ghettoputer is hopeful we can get someone who was not a regular on The Muppet Show. Do not hold your breath.
Also, to our secret member Fraktur, you left your sunglasses here. The Czar will place them in the mailbox out front if you want them this weekend; otherwise, you can pick them up on Monday.
The Czar hopes your weekend plans are good and fun and safe, and will start some tidying up around here.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
We have about twenty posts on this site detailing the logic behind Mr. Obamas alleged flip-flops, and why they reflect the harsh realities of governance. He should admit so, rather than attributing everything to a mess he inherited.
He is about to make another one on the Guantanamo holding facility. (Oh, and note to the press...Guantanamo is a massive military facility. The President is not closing it, but merely closing a small portion of it. Please stop reporting the reverse.)
The Wall Street Journal has a nice editorial about the pickle Mr. Obama has createdanother campaign promise that was, shall we say, a tad over-reaching? Whatever will the POTUS do? Why, the Czar figures, he will flip-flop and leave the facility open. After all, he can point fingers saying he tried, but no one would take the detainees.
What he should say, of course, is something like The reality of the situation proved to be vastly more complicated than I, as a candidate, was led to believe. I now see the wisdom in using this facility for this purpose. Another easy prediction: he wont, so it will go down as a flip-flop. Incidentally, you can bet on this: the Czar asked GorT to travel back to the future and fight out what happens. He did, came back, and assured us that we are indeed going to be right on this one, too.
In a curious coincidence, as Dick Cheney is warning the nation that POTUS Obama is neglecting the safety and security of Americans, comes news that we averted a substantial terrorist threat in New York City. Nice work, NYPD and FBI!
The Czars question is simple: who will take credit for this? The Bush administration, who will say this is proof that there is still a real threat, or the Obama administration, who will claim detected and busted on my watch.
Well, at any rate, the Democrats have already fired off their first salvo of nonsense. Said Charles Schumer (D-NY): If there can be any good news from this terror scare, its that this group was relatively unsophisticated, infiltrated early and not connected to another terrorist group.
Yeah, but they thought they were connected: from the Bloomberg link above: The suspects dealt with a law-enforcement informant, who they believed was affiliated with a Pakistan-based terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, in their attempts to obtain weapons. And whats so relatively unsophisticated about blocks of C-4 and Stingers? These arent sparklers and bottle rockets, Mr. Schumer.
Continues the Bloomberg story: The alleged terrorist plot is the most serious in the U.S. since President Barack Obama took office in January. Obamas plan to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison has raised criticism about what will happen to as many as 240 suspected terrorists, who may have to be relocated to prisons in the U.S.
Yes, and how exactly did the four relatively unsophisticated, unconnected terrorist group concoct their plans? The suspects knew each other through prisonprison contacts for the most part, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a televised press conference in the Bronx.
Connect the dots. You put guys with real terror contacts in general population and what happens? What this should tell Senator Schumer, and the rest of the Democratic party, is that four moronswithout genuine links to international terrorists and without trainingcan still come terrifyingly close to killing hundreds of people. Now imagine, as Mr. Cheney does, what experienced, connected, and trained guys could do.
(update:) And it seems the Czar is not alone in this supposition.
The Press snorts and says, If its such an easy job, why dont you do it?
Well, folks, it is an easy job: take a look at the sheer number of blogs that have burst onto the scene in the last few years. Thousands of Americans are doing it. And this ought to be a stunning warning sign to the Press that they arent doing their job. Maybe there is no correlation between the rise of blogs and the collapse of newspapers and decreasing news television ratings. Maybe there is.
Most Americans, it seems, hate the way the news is portrayed. If you are a liberal, you suspect a corrupt media dominated by big business and its interests. If you are a conservative, you find left wing bias everywhere. And thus every attempt to provide a balanced news story goes badly wrong.
Fact is, there never was an unbiased media. In olden days, Republicans bought their newspaper, Democrats bought their own, Liberals read their liberal paper while Conservatives had their own. Fiendishly biased. Yellow journalism. And it worked, because you were reading what you wanted to read, without noise from the other side. Yes, it was tainted and corrupt, but you knew it and could read through the BS easily.
Today, there exists this academic fantasy that the news can be unbiased and factual. However, that requires (in theory) unbiased and factual reporters: these do not exist, and you would not necessarily want them to exist. Intelligent people form opinions, and opinions color the facts. To make unbiased news work, you need unintelligent, unthinking, and uncaring reporters. Those, we have plenty of. So why isnt the news balanced?
Balance, which pretends to present both sides of an argument, is a similar pipe dream, because you only exaggerate unimportant positions and give legitimacy to screwball ideassometimes solely out of the deperation to have an opposing point of view. But some things are not black and white. And some things are so darn black that it makes white unnecessary. This is how real life works, even though it offends modern journalisms delicate sensibilities.
So instead of breaking news, we wind up with broken news. Unbiased, but unintelligent. And balanced in the same way the Stooges would build a makeshift ladder by stacking mismatched furniture to dangerous heights.
The reasons the mainstream media is such a travesty are well documented here at our site. Basically, it boils down to Journalism being a refuge major, the last bastion of people who could not survive Biology, and then dropped down to Sociology, who then dropped down to History, then Communications, until they found that, too, was pretty gosh-darn hard.
And like a pseudo-elitist Ponzi scheme, you gotta go to the right school if you want to get hired, because the editor at The Muscovy Times went to USC, and he only hires USC grads. Or you could get a degree from one of the hundreds of online journalism schools just a Google search away. Yes, it is that easy to get through Journalism without ever weeding out a single idiot. Face it, there are more learn-at-home journalism degree programs out there than gun repair-cum-dental assistant-cum-medical records transcriptionist courses for those insufficiently compensated by their GED.
Look, it isnt simply a matter of the news media being filled with a hemlock blend of morons and under-challenged academic types. The newspapers are failing badly thanks to the self-immolating unions and the idiotic business decisions that still think a printed paper can compete successfully with free online content. And the television news media is so intellectually bankrupt that the most popularand reliably well receivednews program out there is The Daily Show, which has made a repetitive success simply pointing out how stupid the news networks are. Wonder why their ratings are so high when the sole formula has been the same for a decade? America doesnt wonder; they know.
The problem is that the professional press, in every medium it exists, is on the ropes and sliding toward the mat fast. While so many of us would be happy to say so long and get lostyou were never the unelected branch of government you decided you were, and now you can go out and get a real jobthe Czar disagrees.
Because America still needs you. But you need to start getting it right: the increased polarization of politics is largely the result of the media screwing it up. The media is a major contributor to economic problems, not just now...but always (although you live in rich self-denial), due to over-reporting of bad economic news that scalds the nerves of the people that fuel it. And the erosion of science and technology knowledge is due to the medias slack-jawed worship of celebrities and pop culture: all flash over substance.
Yes, you are a self-created major problem. How can we fix this?
First, get over yourselves. Most of you werent born when Woodward and Bernstein were doing what they did. Stop trying to be them, and just do your jobs, not theirs. Truth is, its been a long time since youve been that necessary. Yes, yes, the Czar knows you will throw out all sorts of examples involving Pulitzers and corrupt politicians and people in jail. But ask a real person, and not a celebrity, what was the single greatest news discovery after Watergate, and you will get a silent stare. Because you have lost yourselves in your own self-congratulating noise.
Instead, strive toward better writing, genuine research beyond an AP press release, and actually get real liberal arts educations: that way, you can finally understand the context, the links between seemingly unrelated events, and the history that drives the news. Be your own Wikipedia for once.
There are many good examples of news reporting and analysis, but you will not find them in your mainstream sources. You might instead look somewhere you rarely do: try the links on the left-hand side of this page. Those are good places to start. Relevant ones, too. Maybe turn your snarky, critical, reformist eyes toward yourselves for a change.
There will be a story there for sure worth reading.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Newt Gingrich as well as Steve King (R-IA) and John Boehner (R-OH) have been particularly public about this as well, complete with requests that the Speaker has endangered her position.
In an interesting turn, two leading Democrats have responded to these charges. The main stream media seems to describe the response as a defense, but the defensive element seems to be...well, lacking.
Says POTUS Obama: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has just been cracking the whip and, you know, making Congress so productive over these last several days. We are grateful for her," Translation: We are grateful she has helped make Congress productive. Theres a great non sequitur; one wonders if the President also pointed out Big Ben is the name of the bell, not the clock tower.
Says Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Let me be clear, so there is no misinterpretation of my view: I believe the speaker. Translation: I agree with something. Warning: Let me be clear indicates you are deliberately obfuscating.
To put it another way: your head of HR has been accused of incompetence, shredding documents, and denying involvement in a seriously public corporate scandal. Says the CEO of the company: We are grateful she helped us with the training budget. To which the assistant HR director replies, She says theres another side to the story; I guess there could be.
This is hardly leaping to the defense, as described by the fawning ABCNews.com. Rather, it sounds more like politicians sniffing that one of their herd is wounded, and starting to widen the circle as the wolves come in.
The Czar doubts this alone will lead to Madame Speakers resignation or replacement, but is quite certain that if that time should come, she will find herself very much alone in a very quiet room.