30 September 2002

Posted by aog at 19:09 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL


I think that Steven Den Beste is being a bit disingenuous in his diatribe against the EU-nicks. Someone as widely read as he is must be aware of the steady and apparently oblivious encroachment on Britian’s civil rights in their unwritten constitution (as is frequently commented on here). If the EU-nicks are so cavalier about the rights of citizens of a member state, it’s difficult to see why they would care about those of the USA.

I think it’s not so much that the EU-nicks don’t get how important the US Constitution but that they do not understand why the conflicts matter to us. As someone else said, the standard European response to a treaty or international agreement is to sign it and forget it (such as here or here). I think the EU-nicks expect us to sign the ICC and then horse trade or politic out of any actual sticky situations. It’s what they’ll do. So why not put up the façade of agreement? Interestingly enough, this concept was brought up in this post.

Posted by aog at 06:25 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Jackson and Sharpton get clipped

Ken Layne posts on the "controversy" over the movie BarberShop, positing that the producers paid J&S to attack the movie to boost sales.

I find the conspiracy implausible, though. As someone else pointed out above, this may well shatter the "leadership" pretensions of Jackson and Sharpton and there is nothing more important to them than that. I would find it plausible that the writers deliberately added the explicit slap at Jackson to get him to respond.

OTOH, what makes Jackson and Sharpon "black leaders"? Big media far more than actual blacks, and big media will have the same basic objection to the underlying themes of the movie as Jackson and Sharpton and the same outrage over shots at civil rights icons. Maybe J&S have written off support from the broader black community and are relying on a hard core of hangers on to simulate the broader community plus favorable media coverage. Their standard extortion targets probably can't tell the difference.

Or maybe they’re just egoistical morons drunk on their own pseudo-rightousness.

29 September 2002

Posted by aog at 17:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Hobby Post

I managed to get a few good launches off this weekend. I flew my “Green Rage 3” twice, on an H97-6 and an H128-6 motor. Both were excellent flights, although the second one ended up in the road. Just some scuffed paint, no real damage. The GR3 is a PML Amraam 3 with a custom paint scheme. I managed to fly my Quest Navaho – it’s still a thrill to get it to stage successfully. Unfortunately I ripped a fin off my Fat Boy and trashed the nose cone. It’s not a hobby about flying, really, but about building…

Posted by aog at 16:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Arundhati the Bend

I did not elaborate as much as I should have about Arundhati Roy. I consider her comment to be a cheap rhetorical trick to disguise the fact that progress is being made against poverty. Using absolute numbers for one side of an argument and relative for another is a common trick. Any time you see some one writing about issue with numbers, do a unit analysis! Verify that the same units are being used for both sides. This will hardly catch all statistical tricks but it’s easy to do and catches quite a number of them.

As for Roy, my real point is that even if one grants her statement, it’s still not evidence for the growth of poverty, so I’m not really interested in whether she’s exactly right. It’s reasonable to presume that, given her biases, she presented the worst plausible view and it’s still not enough to prove her point.

Posted by aog at 16:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Jedi Ops

Winds of Change writes about how special operation force work in the real world, as opposed to the movies. However, it occurs to me that there is one set of movies that's not so far from reality - Star Wars. One can easily consider the Jedi to be the equivalent of SpecOps troops. Their combat time is obviously exaggerated for cinematic purposes, but they do spend quite a bit of time investigating and rallying others to fight. One might argue that the large battle scene with numerous Jedi is not what one does with SpecOps forces because such forces are very expensive (both in terms of locating suitable troops and training them). But is not the use of the Jedi for mass battle a key element that leads to their downfall, for precisely the same reasons that one doesn't do that in real life? Gosh, maybe I'll have to go see Episodes I and II now...

27 September 2002

Posted by aog at 16:36 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Statistical Games

HRH Damian I, House of Penny, Not Yet Recognized Despotic Ruler of Newfoundland, writes about Arundhati Roy. He complains that she claims 100 million more poor people over the last decade while other studies show a drop in world poverty. Although Ms. Roy is an Idiotarian, they, like monkeys on keyboards, occasionally emit factual statements. It is not inconsistent that world poverty has decreased while the number of poor as increased. The former is measured in percentages, while the latter is an absolute number. According to this site, the world population has increased by ~784 million from 1992 to 2002. If there are only 100 million more poor people, then in fact poverty has decreased. Ms. Roy may acting stupid or disingenuous but not obviously wrong.

Posted by aog at 16:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

If I only had a brain...

*Sigh*, I promised myself that I wouldn't weigh in on this anymore:

A Judd Brother weighs in on Stephen Gould and I, against my better judgement, respond.

OJ, selection has to work with what's there. It's not that hard to select for things that are controlled by a single gene, because you have the allele or you don't. Things that are controlled by many genes are far more resistant to selection. I find it highly unlikely that "intelligence" is controlled by one or even a few genes. The fast/slow twich muscle differences or height differences are controlled by a relative small number of genes and so are easier to select for.

OTOH there's the sigma and environment problems. It may well be that there are genetic based differences in intelligence among human demes, but that the differences in inter-demic averages is smaller than the intra-demic sigma. And we know that intelligence, more than many other genotype expressions, is affected by environment. This makes objective measurement of genetic influence difficult.

Finally, this isn't a problem peculiar to evolutionists. If you agree that there are other genetic differences in racial traits, you have the same problem with genetic determinism. The origin of those differences (evolution or God) is irrelevant.

25 September 2002

Posted by aog at 17:17 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Martialling my thoughts

My muse has posted the claim that the Marshall plan was a major contributor to the current European decrepitude. I disagree.

In particular, the German economic recovery was driven by Adenauer’s policies (or those of his Finance Minister, Ludwig Erhard) which were far more free market than any policies before or after in Germany. It was only after prosperity was restored and the Marshall Plan finished that Germany started drifting back into socialism. Britain and France were basically unaffected – the sclerosis that plagues them today had its origin before the end of WWII (Note that The Road To Serfdom was published in 1944). In addition, the Marshall plan was more loans than gifts and unlike welfare programs it was planned to be of limited duration from the start and in fact was terminated. Let’s not fall into trap of believing that everything other nations do is because of the actions of the US. Sometimes our policies are simply irrelevant.

Posted by aog at 15:34 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

The Fabric of Peace

The current issue of The New Republic has an article (not on the web) about using our economy to help Turkey as a reward for being our ally in the Caliphate War. Unfortunately the effort is being eviscerated because more than 40% of the exports from Turkey to the US consist of clothing, shoes or frabic.I think that watering this down is fundamentally stupid. As TNR points out, the US textile industry is going down and this kind of manuever isn't going to make any real difference. It will just hurt one of our allies. While many have rightly objected to "sacrifice" by the American people for the sake of sacrifice, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for sacrifice for the sake of actual results.

Reference: The New Republic, 30 Sep 2002, pg 8.

24 September 2002

Posted by aog at 13:26 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

The governor Jebs himself in the eye

The New Republic gets it exactly right. Jeb Bush screwed up big time with his ads against McBride. But that was a choice he was responsible for so it's sad to see him whining about it now. He'd better gear up for a real campaign, rather than the expected cake-walk against Reno.

Posted by aog at 08:41 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Where the art is

In a Letter From Gotham it is written

“the question: is the morality of the artist at all a factor in evaluating his or her art?

Although I don’t like the politics of the artist in question any more then D.E., in my opinion judging art based on the artist is lefty tripe. It reminds me of the Mill-Vanilli episode, where so many people who liked the music suddenly didn’t when they found out someone else had made. Did the music change somehow? I didn’t care for it myself, but I didn’t care for it any less after the news came out and I couldn’t understand why it made a difference. If art is truly art, then it speaks on its own. If it doesn’t, and one has to know the artist to decide about the art, then it is the artist herself who is the art, not the putative art object.

23 September 2002

Posted by aog at 20:41 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Komerex Zha

I look at Europe these days and I think - "that's what Reagan saved us from". We were on the path to that kind of enervation until the Reagan presidency showed that one can act and make a difference, rather than being just a leaf on the currents of history. The change was gradual but accelerated after the fall of the USSR.

I'd like to think that Thatcher did the same for Britain, but the signs are not good. Blair is sliding down the slippery slope back Eurosclerosis. The latest move by the EU just shows how close Britain is to going under. On the other hand, maybe there's still hope.

Posted by aog at 20:21 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Bits for Bits

I wrote to the Blogger Premium people asking if I could set my blog to allow non-subscribers to see all of my content. They said that that might cause confusion about the purpose of the site, but were interested in any ideas I had on it (one would think that dealing with bloggers would have discouraged them from saying things like that...). My reply is here:

That's an interesting point. The problem, I think, is that you have two types of bloggers. Some are like Bill Quick (Daily Pundit) who are professionals with large readership and are looking to get some actual income. Others are like me, who quite frankly are never going to get sufficient readership to pay for the wear and tear on my keyboard from typing my entries. I signed up for the service solely to contribute to the bloggers that I read regularly. Actually blogging myself is purely secondary. That means that the only reason I have a blog on Blogger Premium was because it was less hassle then creating an independent blogspot account or setting up my own website. What you might consider doing is allowing a Blogger Premium customer to blog on BlogSpot blogs. I would be quite happy to have my blog on the free site, even if that meant all of my blogs were there. I do like the URLs for BlogSpot better as well (much easier to remember and type).

The problem from your point of view is whether this defeats your purpose of attracting traffic to Blogger Premium by allowing content to escape. I think that that is not a major concern, because the people like me who opt out are not the ones generating traffic. Is it necessary to conflate those willing to contribute financially with those who want remuneration for their efforts? I think that that is the root of the possible confusion.

Posted by aog at 19:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Islamic Reformation

There is an interesting discussion over at Little Green Footballs on the possibility of reform of Islam.The current state of Islam is that it presents a clear and present danger to the West The Calipharians have taken over and it is not possible for the West and the Caliphate to exist at the same time because their goals are incompatible. One (or both) must be destroyed. As a libertarian I must support the West.

But what of Islam? I use the term "Calipharian" to distinguish between the current gestalt of Islam and its fundamentals. As has been pointed out, there didn't seem to be much of a danger from Islam before about 1970. So I think that something has changed. One can also look at the Sufi's for living examples of Islam that is in fact peaceful and compatible with the West. [By compatible I don't mean the strong case of living as Westerners, but at least able to co-exist with the West]. Certainly the Christian church has changed radically over the last 500 years in this regard - is it possible for Islam to do the same?

I think that such reform will be much harder than it was for Christians. There are two reasons for this. The first is that Christianity experienced its first few centuries as an oppressed cult made an effort to stamp out. In contrast, Islam achieved local dominance before its founder died and went on from there to a basically unbroken string of successes for its first few centuries. Secondly, Christianity had buried in it the separate of Church and State from the beginning - "render unto God that which is God, and unto Caeser that which is Caesers". Although the Catholic Church acquired large amounts of temporal power during the Middle Ages, most rulers were not religious leaders in the same way as in the Caliphate. They controlled the church as a result of their power, their power did not derive from their control of the church.In this same vein nationalism in Europe trumped religious affiliation.

Is there anything the West can do to help? I'm not sure. The forth right use of power does seem to do much better than compromise and negotiation. Perhaps as others have commented, smashing the Calipharians the way the Pan-Arabists lost will cause the current flames to die down. This is one of the main reason I support the invasion of Iraq. The best chance we have of not having to wage genocidal war is to help create a prosperous, non-fanatical regime in an Arab/Islamic country. Free the Sufi's from persecution and let them work on a reformation. I don't want to fight, but if I have to choose between my freedom and Islam, I will not hesitate to choose the former.

Posted by aog at 17:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Drang nach osten

There's lots of talk about the German elections and the possible end of NATO. I am still struggling to find the downside of that for the US. Why not just move our force in Europe to Poland? Everything I've read indicates that the Poles would be happy to have us. It would be as central as Germany and probably cheaper.
Realistically, though, we’ll almost certainly have to move the bulk of our European forces south east to Iraq and other nearby areas. That is where we’ll be fighting (if not literally at war) for quite a while yet. Just as Germany was the front line during the Cold War, Iraq will be the frontline during the Caliphate War

22 September 2002

Posted by aog at 20:40 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

I just don't understand

The wife made me go to a Sweet Honey in the Rock concert the other night. It was good except for some political posturing about the upcoming war with Iraq. I found that quite fascinating, since they had other sections about the evils of slavery in the US and the glory of fighting for the Union during the US Civil War. Yet is not every person except Hussein effectively a slave on the Iraq plantation? Yet apparently it’s wrong to save Iraqis from that kind of oppression. One might argue that it’s not our responsibility but I can’t see how it is morally wrong. Many slaves were killed or hurt during the Civil War but no one argues that fighting to free them was wrong on that account. It was particularly jarring to think of that as they did a very stirring rendition of an alternate version of the Battle Hymn of the Republic by Sojourner Truth. Do they not listen to their own music?

21 September 2002

Posted by aog at 10:47 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Bush pere vs. Bush fils

Orin Judd writes about the Democrats getting rolled by President Bush. The first comment contrasts Bush 41 with Bush 43. I think that this shows the power of belief in politics. I thought Bush 41 was a bad president (but not terrible) and I attributed it the fact that Bush 41 didn't seem to really believe in anything, just process and procedures. In contrast, although I was quite the doubter early on, Bush 43 seems to have actual, deeply held beliefs. This is what enables him to achieve political victories that eluded his father. An earlier post mentioned how the Democrats were surprised that Bush 43 wouldn't. The most plausible explanation is that to Bush 43, following through on what he believes is more important than making nice with the opposition. Or it could be that 43, having had a elected political career, is a tad bit less naive than 41.

20 September 2002

Posted by aog at 18:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks: View (0)Ping URL

Who is the enemy?

Steve Den Beste is at a loss for a good name to describe who our enemy is in our current war. He has settled on "Arab Traditionalism". Overall I think that the lengthy description of the enemy is correct. I think that a better term would be based on "Caliphate" because what the enemy really wants is a return of the Caliphate as it was. It is not sufficient to have an over arching Islamic empire but that empire must be the leading light of the world as it was at its peak. So I would go with "Calipharians" (or maybe "Caliphascists", but the term "fascism" has been eroded to just mean "bad people" rather than a specific philosphy of government and society).