Breeched Wales Bloviating in the Hot Sun

Location: Long Island, New York, United States

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

If it was your job ...

... naturally you would have done the same.

FRANKFURT - A German museum is offering art appreciation lessons to Frankfurt's sanitation workers, after garbage collectors lugged away a public art sculpture recently and sent it to the incinerator

Monday, January 17, 2005

Muslims destroying free speech

First there was Salman Rushdie, then Van Gogh, and now this.

January 16, 2005 -- The father of a murdered New Jersey family was threatened for making anti-Muslim remarks online — and the gruesome quadruple slaying may have been the hateful retaliation, sources told The Post yesterday.

They murdered the entire family. Can't have any criticism of Islam now can we.

I was actually outraged with the Salman Rushdie incident. It opened my eyes to the fact that there was no compromise between Islam and western values. The ideology of Islam is totally incompatible with the concept of free speech. As more Muslims migrate into western countries it will become less and less possible to maintain our traditions of liberty.

Did I forget to mention 9/11, ...

Update: Turns out it wasn't the Muslims that threatened them on the net that did it.

Hilarious - The UN: Bringing Lingonberries to a Needy World

Just followed a link from Instapundit over to a blog, Iowahawk, that I never saw before. Looking around I saw this hilarious post titled "The UN: Bringing Lingonberries to a Needy World".

In my native village of Fnærkjbørgěn, there is a beautiful old saying: "Lars dus kronchke issegløğg svtarkæn; bürngva ø ikea vnøongve lingenbjěrgnø ü läkramø møertäwiffe." In translation, this is to say: "Lars has been crushed by the glacier; prepare a gift of lingonberries for his lamenting widow."

In this selfish world which so often seems dominated by various stingy undertaxed global military hyperpowers, I am proud to say that the United Nations still adheres to the simple, elegant wisdom of my snowy Fnærkjbørgěner townfolk: where ever and whenever tragedy strikes, the world can count on the UN to bring the lingonberries of hope.

Nowhere is this more evident than in tsunami-ravaged South Asia. Today, less than three weeks after global warming triggered the fearsome ocean waves that devastated the region, the needy victims are experiencing another tsunami. This time time, however, it is a happy tsnunami! The life-saving tsunami of United Nations coordination and assessment.

I love the little picture he has of the "UN Assessment Team" on the beach in their swim trunks. Speedos, no less.


Some of the comments were good too.
you may sneer at the efforts of the UN but i didn't see any Australian or US volunteers offering to provide tsunami survivors with even a minimal daily ration of lingonberries.

You forgot the part where the UN organizes the survivors into permanent refugee camps...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Deceptive headlines at CNN

Don't read it yet but here is a story at CNN titled "Journalist set free after nearly 44 years". It begins ...

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana (AP) -- In the nation's bloodiest prison, Wilbert Rideau became a thinking man, an award-winning journalist who has been called "the most rehabilitated inmate in America." Now, after more than 40 years behind bars, he is a free man.

Rideau, convicted three times by all-white juries, walked free Saturday when a racially mixed jury found him guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter

At that point the reader might still be harboring some notion that his jailing had something to do with him being a journalist. It all depends on how you parse the first sentence. Did he becom a thinking man in jail, or did he become a thinking man and a journalist. These two do not neccessarily coincide. So if he didn't become a journalist in jail then was he one to start with. The headline certainly leads the reader in this direction.
"It offers hope to the black community. It's a new day," said the Rev. J.L. Franklin of Lake Charles, who has led a minister's group that has pushed for years for Rideau's release.

Presumably "a new day" where blacks aren't locked up for being journalists.
Rideau, 62, never denied that he killed Julia Ferguson on February 16, 1961, and shot two others after a botched robbery. Testifying for the first time in this trial, he said it was an act of panic.

Wow, did he accidentally shoot some people while reporting on a robbery? Forty four years for self-defense?
The jury of seven whites and five blacks deliberated for nearly six hours before reaching its decision.

Implying what? The first three all white juries took a few minutes.

Wait a second now. Three juries? Wouldn't that imply that two of the all white juries had deadlocked? Somethings fishy. It is only after reading the following that the facts become clear.
Rideau, who is black, was a janitor and eighth-grade dropout when he entered the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. Behind bars, he became a self-educated writer and helped expose the violence behind prison walls, elevating the prison magazine, The Angolite, to national acclaim.

Wait a second, he's no journalist and he wasn't a journalist at the time of the robbery. He was a thief. Those people weren't shot ... they were murdered. He works on a prison paper. Does that really qualify one as a journalist?

So this is not a case of whites locking up blacks for being award winning journalists. It is not about "a new day". It's about one jury second guessing another forty four years distant from the facts.

The story ends with the remarks of the defendants lawyer, ""He did a terrible thing, but it wasn't murder.". I guess that's where CNN wants to leave off.

Yeah, sure!

Ran into a post over at Firewolf that echo's my own. He did a much better job of researching additional details. I had assumed there were retrials of some sort and he actually bothered to find out the details. Check it out.

Interesting case of co-dependent species of ants

This is really weird. The worker caste of a pair of codependent species of ants are created by interspecies cross fertilization.

Maybe it's not about Israel

Islam is currently involved in a significant majority of the worlds conflicts. I wonder if this article is on spot. Which is summed up with the following quote.

Conventional wisdom also insists that the US is hated by Muslims because it is pro-Israel. That view is shared by most American officials posted to the Arab capitals. But is it not possible that the reverse is true – that Israel is hated because it is pro-American?

Sound outragious well read on.
When it came to ordinary people, almost no one ever mentioned the Palestine issue, even on days when Yasser Arafat's death dominated the headlines. When I asked them about issues that most preoccupied them, farmers, shopkeepers, taxi drivers and office workers never mentioned Palestine.

But when I talked to princes and princesses, business tycoons, high officials, and the glitterati of Arab academia, Palestine was the ur-issue.

The reason why the elites fake passion about this issue is that it is the only one on which they agree. In many cases, it is also the only political issue that people can discuss without running into trouble with the secret services.

The article then goes into some notable examples of other Islamic conflicts in the world that don't seem to concern the Islamic elite, twenty two of them. Many are far worse than Israel from a Muslim perspective. That is if they actually cared about loss of life.
If Muslims hate the US because it backs Israel which, in turn, is oppressing Muslims in Palestine, then why don't other oppressed Muslims benefit from the same degree of solidarity from their co-religionists?

Here's one example that the UN seems not to care about even though it just called for compensation on Israel's security wall.
During Ramadan, news came that more than 500 Muslims had been killed in clashes with the police in southern Thailand. At least 80 were suffocated to death in police buses under suspicious circumstances.

The Arab and the Iranian press, however, either ignored the event or relegated it to inside pages. To my knowledge, only one Muslim newspaper devoted an editorial to it. And only two newspapers mentioned that Thailand was building a wall to cordon off almost two million Muslims in southern Thailand – a wall higher and longer than the controversial "security fence" Israel is building.

Read the article.

Maybe the issue is as simple as where the oil money is, who is living high on the hog under an oppressive system, and who needs to keep the wool over the eyes of the average Arab. Oppressive governments always need a scapegoat. So we end up with Saudi funded mosques popping up everywhere teaching muslim children to hate America. Israel just happens to be in their neck of the woods. I think the arab elite have picked the wrong horse.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Scientists 1, Crazy Fundamentalist 0

No fundamentalist stickers on science textbooks, Yea!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Hysteric Headlines at CNN

CNN has a news story titled "Florida man faces bioweapon charge" that sounds damn serious. I was thinking perhaps he had something serious like say smallpox, or military grade anthrax. The article itself was pretty hysterical also. It's not just hysteria on the part of the journalist either.

FBI biohazard teams swept the house to ensure that no one in the neighborhood could become contaminated.

The headline had me thinking their was something serious going on till I read the article which was full of inconsistencies.
They said they also found, in a cardboard box in Ekberg's room, glass vials containing white granules suspected of being husk-less, chopped castor beans, a byproduct of the manufacture of ricin.

The FBI said Ekberg has no known ties to terrorists or extremists.

A hazardous-materials team took the substance to the Florida Health Department laboratory in Jacksonville, where it was confirmed to be ricin, the FBI said.

So what did they find? Was it "chopped castor beans, a byproduct of the manufacture of ricin" or was it "confirmed to be ricin". I doubt very much that the guy had been able to make pure ricin so it is was most likely just chopped up castor beans.
"We believe that he acquired the materials over the Internet, but we are still investigating," he said.

In their affidavit, FBI officials said they found a number of seeds in packaging that describes the material as "very poisonous."

No kidding you idiots. Not only can you get castor beans over the internet you can get them from many seed catalogs. It is only normal that they be labeled poisonous since they are. Heck I remember as a kid often seeing them in the Parks Seed Catalog. It appears they have discontinued selling them. Here's a family owned business that sells ornamental castor beans . So when is the FBI going to do a sweep of their neighborhood.

Take a look at the link they are pretty plants.

Also notice how they inserted the scare word "internet". Just one more item of evidence their ongoing campaign to regulate another aspect of our lives, the internet.
Steven Michael Ekberg, 22, had at least 83 castor beans and other byproducts consistent with the manufacture of ricin in his possession, the FBI said.

Hell, for $25 you can have one hundred seeds of the very fancy kind from the above source, or go here and get 100 for $5.95.

Even highly refined ricin would not be very useful for terrorism. Sure the stuff is very poisonous but it requires expertise to refine and discover an effective delivery mechanism. Perhaps one person has been murdered with refined Ricin (as opposed to ingestion of raw seeds) and he is mentioned at the end of the article.
In 1978, Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian writer and journalist in London, died after a man attacked him with an umbrella that had been rigged to inject a ricin pellet under his skin.
The poison was injected because you can't just spread the stuff around and expect people to die like with say nerve agents. This is why you don't hear of ricin tipped missles. Also the poison degrades fairly quickly. Castor beans themselves are no more dangerous than the toadstools that grow in your yard.

This story is about as scary as a nut with a box of rat poison. Frankly I'd be more scared of a couple of Muslims with tweezers on a Boeing 747. So why the hysteria? Don't ask me.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Tsunami of Unprofessionalism

Wow, this guy takes out the Eurotrash.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

LA Times learns wrong lesson from CBS

The LA Times has published an editorial on the CBS fiasco with this gem of a paragraph.

Maybe Rather got off easy in being allowed to honorably step down from his chair but retain a high-visibility reporting job. That might be distressing if we didn't think "reporting" would mean something different for him from now on. Then again, maybe Fox News should have inspected its acceptance of dubious anti-John Kerry allegations from the Swift boat veterans group. CBS at least investigated the forces that harmed its news-gathering.

Here the editors are repeating a lie. The Swift Vets claims against John Kerry were not dubious and many were proven correct. John Kerry was not in Cambodia as he claimed before the Senate. Kerry and his biographer were caught in many fabrications relating to Vietnam that needed to be corrected.

To compound their lie they blame Fox as credulous suckers who fell for the Swift Vets "allegations". I saw several interviews of the Swift Vets on Fox and they were not treated with kid gloves. In fact, O'Reilly was doing an attack job on the Swift Vets. As I watched these ill prepared interviews by O'Reilly I could only shake my head. It was obvious he had never even read Unfit for Command. If anything Fox was too skeptical.

There was nothing to investigate at Fox so no wonder they didn't take action. There is nothing noble about the CBS investigation since it didn't happen until it was obvious that Rather and his cronies had tried to throw an election. The end result of the investigation being a whitewash that never even admitted the fact that the memos were forgeries.

So we see that the LA Times has not learned a thing from CBSs travails. They continue to prevaricate in hopes that they can confuse their readers into accepting their partisan political positions. Michael Kinsley and the rest of the editors who contributed to this should have "Liar" tattooed on their foreheads.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Planned Parenthood Might Just Be Sabotaging You

CNN ran an article on the best brands of condoms. Guess who was handing out the only condom brand that broke in the tests.

A melon-colored model distributed by Planned Parenthood performed the worst, bursting during a test in which the latex condoms were filled with air.

Monday, January 03, 2005

A Little on Ayn Rand

I thought I would write a little criticism of Ayn Rands philosophy. I have read most of her non-fiction philosophy books, some from her anointed followers philosophy books, and also David Kelly. I found a lot of the stuff interesting. She does a good job of cutting down the arguments of many other philosophies. Although I am not sure how much of it originated with her.

The main problem I have with her philosophy however is that it is foundationalist. I don't think that one can take a core set of axioms and deduce your entire moral philosophy from it. The world is just too complex for that to work.

On first contact with Rands philosophy it seemed reasonable to me on most points. I think because it arrived at many of the same conclusions I had come to but by different means. There were certain problems however. I did not see how one could arrive at every conclusion deduction from axioms. Her axioms were compatiable with her conclusions in the books but I think they are compatible with many other possibly conflicting conclusions.

At first I thought this was a minor problem. I thought when she was using phrases like "The virtue of selfishness" she was just being provocative for the sake of book sales. Her long winded defintion of what she meant by "selfishness" was not something that seemed objectionable. She was defining it as enlighted self interest. Which really isn't something so objectionable. However when I learned about the plots of her books, her Objectivist organization, and aspects of her personal life, I realized that she was equivocating on the definition of selfishness. Sure selfishness could refer to enlightened self interest but she also applied the term to the unenlightened kind.

Let me give you an example. I have not read her fiction but I am familiar with some of the plots through other writings, and her movies. So forgive me if I get anything wrong. I found the plot of the movie "The Fountainhead" preposterous. I did not find the main characters actions in blowing up the public housing to be moral. He gave his ideas for free to someone he knew was a weak willed fool. He knew that other people who were not privy to his secret arrangement had a stake in the housing project. I cannot fathom how Rand deduced that he had any property rights in the public housing at all. Any reasonable person would have realized in this situation that the building wasn't going to get built the way he wanted. The idea that a jury would have let him off for this was laughable.

I have "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountain Head" but frankly, I found her fictional writing style not to my tastes. I started each book but was not the least interested reading past the first few pages. They didn't keep my interest.

Now the funny thing is that I accept many of her philosophical premises. For instance I believe in private property, that "ought derives from is", that the material is primary and that consciousness is secondary. However, I don't see that these along with the other beliefs of Rand's can be used to justify her plots, or her personal behavior.

As another example I don't see how she could combine the following:
1) Her beliefs in living up to ones contractual agreements
2) That she was married (a contractual agreement)
3) Her personal values which included her respect for her husband (which should include his emotional well being)
4) Her screwing around with Nathaniel Brandon.
These behaviors just aren't rationally compatible in my mind. In fact it smacks to me of just plain old unenlighted self interest. Which was something I mistakenly believed she was not advocating.

I guess that is what you get when you try to redefined settled words. Selfishness, as in "unenlighted self interest" is a known moral bad. Acting on short sighted self interest is harmful to the individual behaving in this fashion. This definition is fully compatible with the notion that "is determines ought". Using the word "selfishness" to also refer to the "enlightened" kind of self interest can only lead to confusion. Firstly, it is a barrier to communication and secondly it can lead to equivocation between the two meanings, one good the other bad.

In fact, I think Rand herself fell into this trap. She convinced herself that selfish behavior is good via equivocation. I'm not sure if she even realized that she was behaving against her more broad self-interest as she alienated her friends and her family. Somehow she thought her reputation, friends and family were not part of her self. This is not the case. Humans are social creatures and our identities are partially defined by our social relationships. That's why if she was asked who "her husband is" she would not respond with the name of some other "selfs" husband. Social relationships are indeed part of the self. By acting on her whims with regard to her relationship with her husband she was effecting herself, more specifically her 'self', and not in a good way.

This does not exhaust the problems I have with Rand's philosophy but this is a blog and frankly it isn't in my self interest to spend too much time on this.

Note: It's late, I'm posting this as is for now but will do some proofreading and editing tomorrow. That is, I reserve the right to modify this post in order to make the writing more clear.

Are We Sending Too Much Tsunami Aid?

Just read an article over at CNN titled, "Tsunami rescuers work to save dolphins", and it makes me wonder whether they have their priorties in order or are just swimming in money.

I also wonder how much of the aid money that is funneled through the U.N. will end up in terrorists hands. Why? Well, because lots of the Iraqi "Food for Oil" money that passed through the U.N. ended up with terrorists. Also, where do you think the money the U.N. gives to the Palestinian Authority goes. Yet, to the P.A. which is pretty much a terrorist organization until it gives up on the idea of killing all the Jews in Israel. Besides, several of the countries involved are Muslim and their relief organizations have often been fronts for terrorist support.

Smoking Gun on Al-Jazerra

A video tape has surfaced proving that there was a connection between the Al-Jazerra Satellite TV Network and Saddam Hussein. Article found via Front Page Magazine.

Mistaken Care Package Item Saves Marine's Life

Over at Blackfive there is a post on a male marine who gets the wrong care package. He recieves a feminine hygiene product that amazingly ends up saving someones life.

This reminds me of a funny story involving my artist wife. When she was in first grade she had a crush on boy in her class. Well it was his birthday and she decided to make him something artistic as a present. She found some cool looking plastic parts in the garbage. The pieces she had found in the garbage fit nicely together and proceeded to construct a rocket ship. Not only did she paint U.S.A. on the side, but she made it with multple stages, complete with fins. She gave it to the boy who was quite happy with it. He brought it home to show to his mom who promptly through it in the garbage. My wife was quite hurt by this and did not understand why his mean mother would do such a thing. Not till later did she discover that those little plastic parts were disposable tampon applicators.