Saturday, August 31, 2013

"I Have Not Yet Made A Decision"

... but Obama made enough of a decision to throw British Prime Minister Cameron out into the line of fire. The very lowest bar of all in American foreign policy is to get the British to go along with something. President Obama had made a decision to launch strikes because you know the British PM didn't get humiliated in front of Parliament on his own. He had to have had a phone call with the American Commander-in-Chief before taking one for the team.

Way to go, genius. I'll bet Cameron will be happy to do that again.

Meanwhile, there's this. Is it satire or real news? Hard to tell.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Catican Guards Taken With A Nikon Coolpix

I love the photos this thing takes. It's a little too big to fit in your pocket comfortably, but that's because it's got a lens that goes to 22x optical zoom. Beautiful shots. The two below are cropped and then reduced more than 1/4 in size (surface area). If you click on them, you'll get a really good view of the Guards.

Now That The Brits Have Backed Out Of The Syria Thing

... Obama should rethink this whole bomb-them-gently idea. Instead, I recommend he show how he's working for peaceful change in the region and have his Silicon Valley cronies fund the opening of a satellite campus of UC Berkeley in Lebanon where Syrian refugees are given free tuition to take gay, lesbian and transgender studies classes while receiving abortions and birth control at taxpayer expense.

Hey, at least it would be consistent with what he's been saying all his life.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Clicking around the Interweb Tubes this morning, I found an article on Japan's Nikkei Index. I hadn't been watching it and discovered I've missed out on some wild drama. Dig this 1-year chart.

In 5 1/2 months, it almost doubled.
That's not the Costa Rica index or the Moldovan 20 industrials, that's Japan.

That's totally unstable.

Link Of The Day

... comes from Fr. Dwight Longenecker who shreds atheists as boring. Here's a tidbit.
Atheism on the other hand is so mind numbingly dull, and the worst kind of atheism is the self righteous, “We’re good people too you know” kind of atheism. “Oh, look at me. I’m working at the soup kitchen! I campaigned to ban nuclear power! I have a ‘co-exist’ bumper sticker on my Prius.” They pretend to be revolutionaries, but to me they seem as dull as the McMansion next door and the usual suburban, fast food, shop at the mall American. At least the old fashioned atheists followed their logic and tried to wipe out everyone who didn't agree with them. Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Pol Pot had teeth. The present day respectable atheists are about as interesting as yesterday’s oatmeal.
Read the whole thing. It puts my feeble efforts to shame.

Yes, It Is Indeed 2013

Earlier Wednesday, the U.K. introduced a draft proposal to the core nations of the United Nations Security Council seeking authorization for military action against Syria to protect civilians. But Russia and China blocked the action, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, said in a Twitter message that was verified by her spokesman. Russia, one of the council's five permanent members, is an ally of President Assad.
The US ambassador to the UN released an official statement on Twitter about a possible move towards a war in the Middle East.

What, did she forget the password to her Tumblr account?


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Assad Will Claim Victory

As I understand it, we're going to bomb Syria to punish them for using chemical weapons against the rebels, but not to destabilize or topple the regime. In effect, we're acting as NFL referees here. Assad's team Illegally Used Chemical Weapons resulting in a 23 Cruise Missile penalty and Loss of Airplanes.

Or something like that.
Meanwhile Assad will broadcast to his loyalists and allies that he withstood the might of the Crusaders and still stands, defiant and faithful to Islam and the Arabs. Of course, as B-Daddy argues, toppling the regime would be even worse than not toppling it, so there's that to consider. I'm still trying to figure out what we get out of the whole deal other than smug, self-satisfaction.

I swear, this administration never left the faculty lounge.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Professor Pepper Schwartz Needs To Watch Some East Cleveland Street Fights

... and maybe take some math and finance classes, too.

So Miley Cyrus went full porno on MTV. You can find her performance on YouTube. I watched about 3 minutes of it. The word appalling doesn't do it justice. By the end, I was thinking that anyone involved in any way with that Caligulan piece of trash should have all government benefits taken away, permanently, including social security. Everyone watching it for real at home should have their benefits taken away, too. If you want to live like that, fine, but expecting the rest of us to take care of you is not OK.

My fiscal dream will come true long before Miley's teddy bear orgy one.

Professor Schwartz, a highly decorated veteran of academian bubblery, penned a piece of fantasy wherein she recommends that we all just get over Miley Cyrus' antics and use the event as a way to counsel our kids. Great idea, Pepper. I'm sure the single moms out there will get right on it.

This, of course, is another piece of fantasy. The Pepster isn't writing for the single moms nor anyone else below the poverty line. She's writing for her peers in the Academy where the walls are high and the security guards numerous. Out in the, err, less savory parts of town, there are fewer people interested in what she has to say, but plenty whose daily intellectual intake includes Miley Cyrus and far, far worse. With predictable results.

The ultimate fantasy from Pepperoni is that she thinks she can sip her lattes, discuss Miley's marketing strategy with other charming, erudite elites (who all hold the Proper Opinions) and then find her car where she parked it because the impoverished Miley-watchers are staying where they belong and not victimizing her or her other betweeded comrades from the University.

Good luck with that.

Pepper ought to take a little time to read some history. Maybe some financial history. I don't know, like maybe any financial history where a country pays its bills with printed money while engaging in large-scale moral debauchery. When the bills finally have to be paid, the Mileyites in the hood won't be helping Pepper with the tab, they'll be helping themselves to Pepper's goodies. After all, that's what people like Pepper, who sneer at traditional morality ("I don't think we are ever going to get our teenagers and young adults back in saddle shoes"), have taught them to do.

You've got your concealed carry permit already, don't you Pepps?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Reality Is Optional

Dig this bit from an insane article in Der Spiegel.
Intersex people, that is, those who are born neither exclusively male nor exclusively female, form one of the most invisible groups in our society. Contrary to popular belief, this has little to do with their supposed rarity and more to do with the violence our society inflicts upon those who don't conform to binary and mutually exclusive "male" and "female" categories.
The rest is equally crazy.
Umm, guys? You might want to look at this.
My favorite part is not the chart above that shows how Germans have completely detached themselves from the reality of reproduction, but how a bunch of "science-based" secularists have gone off the deep end when it comes to an essential aspect of biology.

If they were talking about some animal they were studying, say, Ernst the Polar Bear (who was at this moment drowning because of Global Warming Climate Change), they would tell you Ernst was a male. They wouldn't tell you that Ernst was of indeterminate gender and still searching for his sexual identity.

So while the rest of the world goes on with life, making babies, caring for their young, raising the next generation of polar bears, spiders, Mexican feather grass or what have you, German intellectuals are objecting to the whole notion of sexual identification to ever smaller classrooms of Kinder.

Good luck with that.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rest Until You Feel Better

It's been a crazy month and a half or so here in the Catican Compound. Kids going back to college, others finishing summer school, plenty of turmoil at work, volunteering at Catholic Charities, home projects getting done, dinner parties and on and on. I don't know about you, but if I don't get some alone down-time to recharge, I gradually lose steam. Right about now, I'm at this energy level:

I think one of the reasons I've been so agitated about the way NBC has botched the English Premier League coverage is I had discovered last year that laying around watching EPL games on demand on foxsoccer was a great way to recharge. It was depressing to think I no longer had that sanctuary available to me.

Today we're going to experiment with Jedi Master Ivyan's idea for getting at it another way. In any case, the kids are all off working or at college now (save for our daughter), so a little R&R can now be had. In the past, I'd take it easy until I was barely able to get up and rush to the next task, but this time I think I'm going to lounge a bit longer. Like running around too soon after recovering from a cold or flu, that kind of thing can just wear you out even more.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Proper Context For Counter-Zimmermans

As I've blogged before, the whole Zimmerman racialism thing was like leaning into a left hook. With so many counterexamples out there to be thrown in their faces, it was just ratcheting up the "No, you suck!" contest. Personally, I've got no problem with a bit of that mud slinging, but I think it ought to be in this context:
Is this what you wanted - everyone reaching for examples of people of their race being attacked by another? How much more of this would you like to see?
Until race-mongers like Sharpton, Jackson, Obama and Holder get 10,000W yellow traffic light bulbs shining right in their eyes every time they start down this road, we're all going to be drowning in this garbage.

Before dragging race into any issue, proceed with caution. Lots of caution.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Trayvontastic Pandora's Box

... or maybe a Zimmerman Boomerang, given the most recent interracial crime to get the headlines.

White Aussie Chris Lane was gunned down by a group of black thugs, apparently just for fun. This provided the perfect weapon for people sick of the Zimmerman race baiting to counter attack as detailed by Ann Althouse. Specifically, there was this Drudge headline.

The MSM Zimmerman hysteria, which led the president and his fellow racialists to demand a National Conversation on Race, was probably the largest miscalculation of the year. The bubble these people live in must have walls 4' thick. After all, they never considered the ease with which one can find counterexamples of interracial crime, blacks being 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against whites than vice versa.

So now, instead of having a discussion about, say, the breakdown of the traditional family, we're going to spend lots and lots of time shoving interracial crimes in each others' faces.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Smart Diplomacy

Nothing to see here. Move along.
CAIRO (AP) — After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like "prisoners of war" before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.

In the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps by supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches along with homes and businesses owned by the Christian minority...

Nearly 40 churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged since Wednesday, when chaos erupted after Egypt's military-backed interim administration moved in to clear two camps packed with protesters calling for Morsi's reinstatement...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: English Premier League Soccer on NBC Sports

... it's about as bad as I'd anticipated. It's a huge step down from

NBC has paid $250M for the rights to the English Premier League. They carry all of the games on NBC sports and NBC Sports Live Extra on line. That means that if you have the right cable or satellite package, you can watch any game you want on TV if it's the premium match of the week or online if it's a second-tier game.

Note how I did not say you can watch every game you want. There is no on-demand feature like there was with foxsoccer. Since most of the games go on at the same time, you have to choose which one you're going to watch. Yesterday, I watched the Fulham - Sunderland game, hoping to see the Mackems (Sunderland) lose. They obliged, falling 1-0 to Fulham, but I missed the best game of the day, Arsenal vs. Aston Villa. The Arsenal game was total chaos in the second half with red cards, penalty kicks, a big upset and booing, unhappy Arsenal fans stalking out of the stadium before the game was over. It would have been awesome to see. Here's a sample.

Last year, I would have clicked over to foxsoccer and watched the second half of the Arsenal game at my leisure. This year, thanks to the troglodytes at NBC, I have to track down Russian video servers to watch the highlights. It's like the people at NBC never watched foxsoccer and are only vaguely familiar with the concept of digital media servers. Pathetic.

There are some solutions. The companies that own the EPL rights in both New Zealand and Australia offer all of the games on demand for up to a week after they've been played. unfortunately, you have to come at them from an Australian IP address which means finding a proxy server with reliable throughput.

Sigh. Why can't NBC just do it the right way?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Taking A Break

It's been a rough couple of weeks here in the Catican. No trauma or crises, just way more work than normal and no time to recharge. That ended last night when I delivered a talk I'd been preparing. It went well and got a partial standing ovation, but it also went over time and apparently missed a couple key points. Oh well. I had a good time giving it. Maybe more on that later. For now, it's time to rest.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I Would Watch The Republican Primary Debates If

... they were moderated by someone who, you know, had actually talked to real conservatives at some point in their lives.

There's a debate going on within the Republican party about how the debates should work in the next election cycle.
A few RNC members are even talking about ditching conventional journalists as moderators and bringing in Sean Hannity or Mark Levin
I'm completely in favor of this. I watched almost none of last year's debates, knowing they were going to get questions like George Stephanopoulos', "Should contraception be outlawed?" The candidates should have walked off the stage at that point, after flipping Georgy the bird. As long as MSM "journalists" are allowed to run these things, this is what we're going to get. Questions about sodomy laws, one percenters and why are Republicans always such racists.

At least Hannity and Levin would ask questions I'd like to see answered.

"Congressman Ryan, would you rather see gays gassed or shot?"

Thursday, August 15, 2013

We Need A Dictatorship

... to implement Obamacare.

In essence, that's what the president is saying. When asked why the administration is having to backtrack on this or that element of the law, he blames his political opposition. As the bill was rammed down our throats, passed without any support at all from his opposition, this can hardly come as a surprise to him.

So he needed total control to pass it and now he needs total control to implement it.

Sounds good to me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cheezburger of the Day

Using Sugar As A Plant Fertilizer

... is actually a pretty bad idea.

I've always thought it would be an interesting grade school science fair experiment to see what would happen if you used ordinary sugar as a fertilizer for plants. I had thought sugar contained nitrogen, a crucial element for plants, but it turns out not to be so. Sucrose, the most common table sugar, is C12H22O11. No nitrogen there.

In fact, sugar would remove nitrogen from the soil.
There are many microorganisms that can consume nitrogen as part of their natural life cycle. Researchers at Charles Sturt University say that feeding and encouraging these organisms to grow is one of the most effective ways to reduce nitrogen in the soil.
So there you have it. Don't feed your plants sugar.

(It would probably give them cavities anyway and who wants to be taking their begonias to the dentist for a filling?)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Race Relations Are Actually Pretty Good

Just a short post, noodling over an email that Mut sent me.

If I didn't have the media to inform me otherwise, I'd say that race relations in America are actually quite good. Working with the poor and homeless at Catholic Charities, I see as diverse a crowd as you could imagine. They all get along with each other. They're at stressful points in their lives, they are riddled with self-doubt and they have nothing but clouds hanging over their heads, but while they wait to be served, they chat and smile and trade helpful tips and suggestions. They give each other emotional support in all kinds of ways, from smiles to pats on the back to simply listening as one tells their story of woe.

Where's the racism?

I've tweeted this before and my buddy Dean has responded and said that at the shipyard where he works, he sees the same thing. At the church where I'm a Eucharistic Minister, I see a very diverse congregation every Sunday and they're all getting along, too. If I had never turned on a TV, I'd never have guessed that we needed a National Conversation on Race.

I've suggested before that the left is a religion in crisis. Maybe it's more like a cult in crisis. Dig this.
Many spoke of the tremendous loss they felt as the Brethren was their entire life; loss of family, friends and identity. Those who left family behind felt guilty about the hurt they had caused and some felt that they were not part of the wider world; neither one of ‘them’ nor one of ‘us.’

Fear was another common factor - fear of the outside world, fear of not being able to cope and being alone. 
"After I had stated I was intending to leave the Brethren, I had many dark warnings about the cold hard world outside, telling me that there was nobody caring, that everybody was selfish and nasty and ready to use me for what they could get and treat me as disposable afterwards."
That sounds pretty familiar when you consider the way conservative blacks are treated by the left.

Maybe we don't have to spaz out over the whole thing. When racialist carpetbaggers are down to bringing their own racist signs to political rallies because no one else will, that would seem to indicate there's not much real racial animosity out there.

Instead of a National Conversation on Race, maybe we all need to learn how to help people that are in the grip of a cult.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Something Beautiful

A while back, I was working at Catholic Charities, doing customer intake for their food resource center. Waiting to be seen was a white woman in her 80s, sitting in a wheelchair with a lined face and hair as white as snow. I had just helped a black man in his early 30s. While he was waiting to get his food, he sat in a chair next to her, leaned forward towards her, put his hand gently on her arm and the two chatted as they waited. The love and gratitude in her eyes made her face glow, a glow reflected in the man's own.

That kind of thing happens all the time. I tear up when I see it or when I remember it.

God is good. All the time.

Quite Possibly The Greatest Thing Ever


Friday, August 09, 2013

I Want Tile

Unfortunately, I'd really want to attach it to my glasses. They're the things I lose the most often. Details here.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Looking Into A Very Small Mirror

I thought this article on Wired was really cool.

We can now see molecular bonds as they form.
Using atomic force microscopy, we can now see individual atomic bonds within molecular structures. This is beyond awesome. It's like looking into the smallest mirror imaginable. You can imagine how you'd see the molecules the make up your body doing whatever it is they do all day.

Of course, if you're a pure materialist and don't go in for all of that metaphysical "soul" stuff, this means that your chances of ever finding your free will in the physical world grows ever smaller. As of now, it looks to be about a few ten-millionths of a millimeter in diameter.

Good luck finding it there.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

At This Point, What Difference Does It Make?

Anthony Weiner, front-page politician, engaged in mutual sexting with God-only-knows who all. The key word is mutual. Recently, he pranced about in the Ecuadorian Pride Parade*, apparently embracing his "scandal." That last bit is the key to me. He's taking the Sophie Tucker / Hillary Clinton point of view.

Let's be like the French. After all, what difference does a little consensual sex make?

How soon before this becomes the norm?

* - There's an Ecuadorian Pride Parade? Who knew?

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Atheism Is Wish Fulfillment

In a recent Twitter debate with an atheist (now a pair - the first called for reinforcements), we established that the atheist had no theory of free will or self nor any clear idea how they were going to arise from science. And yet, he knew that such things existed. I told him that he was describing faith. His response was that he hated the word "faith" as it implied weak-mindedness.

My response was that I had come to see non-nihilist atheism as lazy and weak-minded. None of them had thought their position through at all. Just like this character, they ended up with Tooth Fairy Atheism, where they believed in free will and believed in themselves as independent, thinking entities despite not having anything solid from materialism to back it up. His last response to me was pitch-perfect.

He said I believed in "no-evidence magic" and he wasn't weak-minded at all. No evidence, no refutation, no chain of deductions, just that. He had just gone back and forth with me over and over showing that his logical constructs were identical to mine, but with no hope of any path to get to where he needed to go - free will - and could only come back with, "No, you're a dummy!"

It's not that he doesn't believe in God, it's that he doesn't want to. Everything he has constructed in his world-view is designed to disprove God. Whether it disproves his own existence in the process is irrelevant. This isn't logic or philosophy, it's simple wish-fulfillment. He doesn't want there to be a God, so he sticks his fingers in his ears and hums.

His ally, by the way, turned out to be less than useful. Last night he came at me with this one. 'Maths (sic) and chemistry are different. In science there are no "facts" only strong evidence.' If any of you can figure out where they're going with that nonsense, let me know.


Monday, August 05, 2013

A Family Google Account

Within the Catican Compound, there are 6 adults (or almost-adults) who live here at least part-time. Coordinating schedules and sharing information may seem easy in this age of ubiquitous smartphones, but it's still been a problem for us. To deal with that issue, we created a family account on Google last night. Everyone gets access and we can all add things that affect the others to the calendar. The calendar then gets shared to our personal accounts, so we always know what's up with each other. This will include college schedules, vacation planning, soccer practice and game information, etc.

Another cool thing is that we can use Google Docs to make sure information gets shared. No more wondering if the email was received or the right information was there. Instead, we can check to see if we gave everyone the right info and correct it if it was wrong or needs to be updated.

I'm hoping this is going to make it easier to plan things and keep up to date.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Joey, Have You Ever Been In A Turkish Prison?

Charles Blow is a columnist for the New York Times. He's a big fan of marijuana, too. I was able to deduce this from his most recent column on marriage and minorities. Here's one of the reasons he gives for the annihilation of traditional families among minorities.
(M)ake no mistake: mass incarceration rips at the fabric of families and whole communities.
According to the 2011 book “A Plague of Prisons” by Ernest Drucker, a public health expert:
  • “The risk of divorce is high among men going to prison, reaching 50 percent within a few years after incarceration.”
  • “The marriage rate for men incarcerated in prisons and jails is lower than the American average. For blacks and Hispanics, it is lower still.”
  • “Unmarried couples in which the father has been incarcerated are 37 percent less likely to be married one year after the child’s birth than similar couples in which the father has never been incarcerated.”
Related to mass incarceration is the disastrous drug war, which essentially has become a war on marijuana waged primarily against young black men, even though they use the drug at nearly the same rate as whites.
So here's the situation as he sees it: In the past 20 or so years, for young, black men, marijuana use has led to imprisonment. All kinds of bad things happen to you in prison. For one, it's hard to keep a wife when you go in and hard to find one when you get out. There are other, unmentioned, downsides to prison as well, like the inability to drive over to Walmart to get a charging cable for your new Galaxy S4. There are probably many others, but I'll leave it to you to come up with them.

So now let's assume that after, say, 18 years of seeing this happen in your neighborhood, you come to the conclusion that lighting up a blunt greatly increases your chances of getting locked up. What do you do? Well, if you're Charles Blow, you seem to light up anyway because ... because ... well, because you just want to, gosh darn it!

That's Charles. How about you? Say you were taking a trip to Turkey to visit the site of the most recent protests and rioting. As you're packing, a friend comes by to borrow some cumin and library paste, hears about where you're going and says, "Well, don't wear green. In Turkey, you'll be thrown in prison for wearing green!" You look it up on the Internet and find out she's telling the truth. Do you:
  1. Pack the green clothes anyway, because, gosh darn it, you like green clothes!
  2. Pack even more green clothes just to stick it to The Man.
  3. Take every scrap of green cloth out of your suitcase and then start looking at removing yellows and blues since they can be combined to make green.
If you're Charles Blow, you pick either #1 or #2. I'd probably go with #3. After all, I can find lots of other ways to get high and have a good time fun outfits to wear that aren't green.

Friday, August 02, 2013

When You Think About It, 8800 Dangerous Felons Aren't All That Much

So California, after having built prisons until it just can't build no more, has been ordered to release 10,000 inmates from its overcrowded prisons.

How you can go on a prison-building spree and still not have enough prisons seems to be unaddressed in the media. But I digress.

Anywho, the Golden State's got to open the pressure relief valve at the prisons and let 10,000 go. Using some basic guidelines: inmates who committed nonviolent crimes, have a low risk of committing new crimes once out of prison, are not tied to a prison gang and have less than a year left to serve on their sentence, they've found 1200 such. That leaves 8800 more to release, albeit of, how shall we say it, less savory quality.

Now that may seem like a lot, but you have to remember, California is a big state. We've got 163,696 square miles of space. That works out to 18.6 square miles per dangerous, newly-released felon. If you live in the state, your chances of running into one of these guys is practically nil! Just imagine, there you are, fenced into an area of 18.6 square miles. Somewhere in that space is a dangerous criminal. Think of it as a hide-and-go-seek game. Surely you can manage to stay concealed for years, even if the criminal is really, really smart and knows all the good hiding places.

Seriously, you have nothing to worry about.

Unless you're somewhere like Plaster City where there aren't too many places to hide. Then you're screwed.
(Image source)

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Reaping The Rich, Delicious Harvest Of Zimmermanmania

So now that we've all gotten wound up about some dude we didn't know offing another dude we didn't know and everyone has taken sides according to their race, take a gander at the comment threads on any given inter-racial crime story on the web. There's lots and lots of racial animosity with Zimmerman as a reference point.

I trust you didn't think it was going to stop with Zimmerman. Getting the last word is always hard.

Maybe the best national conversation to have about race is one about the Kentucky Derby.