Thursday, March 30, 2006

Gleanings 7

Q: What does "Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt." mean?

A: In Latin, it says, "When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults."

Molon Labe: A Response to Tyranny

Immigration and Naturalization - - A Four Step Plan

Update 1. Ideas converge. Important information in Hawkins post.
John Hawkins,
"If we properly staff our border patrols, build a wall, use sensors, remote controlled drones, and radar stations, we can slow the raging flood of illegal aliens coming over our border down to a trickle. It's not "impossible," in fact, it probably wouldn't even be all that difficult, we just haven't made the effort."

Update 2. Grrrrrr! On reflection I decided to paste in a portion of John Hawkins post linked above. This feckless undermining of the laws by back channel Congressional interference has me spittin' teeth ache and my hair hurts...what more can I say.
Here's Mark Krikorian giving some examples of how our lawmakers often work behind-the-scenes to thwart our immigration laws:
In ninety eight, the border patrol noticed that the work force picking onions in the vidalia onion fields of Georgia appeared increasingly to be illegals, so they did some raids, arrested a few dozen illegal aliens, and all the rest of them ran off. So the farmers were there stuck with onions in the ground and no one to pull them out. It was all their own fault, they knew what they were doing, but nonetheless, they were outraged. They called their Congressmen, and by the end of the week, three of Georgia's Congressmen and both Senators, Republicans and Democrats, wrote a joint letter to the Attorney General demanding that the Immigration Service stop enforcing the law. Because they said the INS does not understand the needs of American farmers. Which in ordinary English means, "let them pick the onions, then arrest them. Preferably before we have to pay them". Well, the INS got slapped down and stopped.

So what they tried as an alternative to raids, was something called Operation Vanguard in Nebraska. It was sort of the first effort at something like this to see if it worked. They didn't do raids anywhere, all they did was subpoena personnel records. And they didn't just pick one or two employers, they did all the meatpacking plants in all of Nebraska, so that no one of them would be inconvenienced while the others benefitted. They took the personnel records back to the office, checked the Social Security numbers, and came back with a list of people who seemed to be illegal, who did not have authorization to work. They said "we know some of these people are legit and the records are wrong. We want to fix those people's records and the ones that are illegal, have to leave of course". They came back with four thousand names. One thousand people showed up and got their records fixed and three thousand were never heard from again. They were illegal aliens. It worked really well and it was intended to be repeated every two to three months so as to wean the whole industry off of the use of illegal aliens.

After one effort like this, the political and business elite in Nebraska went insane. The ranchers and the meat packers teamed up with the governor. The governor's predecessor, now Senator Nelson, was hired as a lobbyist to put an end to this initiative. Senator Chuck Hagel made it essentially his mission in life to see that this was never repeated and it wasn't. And the Senior INS official who thought it up in the first place was invited to retire early -- and he did. If you're a bureaucrat and you have kids in college, you're going to take the hint: Congress doesn't want you to enforce the law. So the Immigration Service essentially gave up enforcing the immigration laws inside the country. They focused on the important, but narrow, issues of criminal aliens and smugglers. I'm all for that, criminal aliens and alien smugglers are the scum of the earth, but there's a lot more to the issue than just that. But, going after those parts of the issue doesn't get you in trouble politically. So that's what they did, they gave up because Congress told them to stop doing their jobs. They really haven't changed that much (since) 9/11.

1. Solving the problems begins with securing the borders. Period.
a. Begin with the high volume and most sensitive penetration corridors, based on Border Patrol experience. Work outward from these hot spots until the entire border is treated.
b. Survey and establish the line (using GPS this should take 2 weeks, start to finish, Gulf of Mexico to Pacific Ocean, get 'er done).
c. Clear brush 200-300 yards inside the line. Width of clearing would depend on space necessary to provide clear fields of fire. If the bureaucrats can't figure out how to do it, let the local 4-H Clubs and Boy Scouts have a crack at it. Defoliate if necessary. Backfiring a control line and laying down napalm would speed up the clearing operation. There are plenty of A-10 Warthogs at Davis-Monthan AFB that could help. Don't get your panties in a twist if the fire slops over the control lines in a few places. It'll all grow back. Aerial tankers on standby could provide some insurance against wildfires escaping the control line perimeter...the main thing is get 'er done.
d. With the line monumented and the secured area cleared inside the line, build the fence. Four strands of barbed wire should do for a start. If the bureaucrats can't figure out how to do it, let the local ranchers build it. Beef it up later as needed, i.e., a ten feet high cyclone fence topped with double razor wires, or whatever the traffic requires...the main thing is get 'er done.
e. Beef up the Border Patrol by providing whatever personnel and equipment the local district supervisor says he needs. Period. That includes motion detectors, search lights, and weapons, etc.
f. Establish easy to understand Rules of Engagement, i.e., 1. Tell trespassers they're under observation and will be shot if they take another step. 2. Shoot if they do. Advise Mexico that they might want to put up some warning signs in Spanish on their side of the fence. So much for diplomacy.
g. Provide military backup for the Border Patrol. Period. No details needed. They know what to do if they're called.
h. National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements can be met by Executive Order outlining a comprehensive set of Catagorical Exclusions necessary to implement the border security program elements outlined above in a. through g.

2. Deal with the 11 or 12 million illegals within this country by establishing some common sense guidelines premised on the fact that it's ridiculous to propose that the U.S. would or should deport them all. Call it amnesty, or whatever you want to call it. It's better than they had, and if they don't agree, then they are free to return to wherever they came from.
a. Require registration and proof of real or potential employment, or sponser. For individuals who cannot show employment, provide unemployment benefits under a work-fare program where real work is required to offset the cost of the benefits. Where no work-fare is available on a regional basis, require relocation to an area where work-fare labor is needed. This might help deal with problems like the kudzu infestation in Arkansas, and could definitely help with maintenance of the border clearing and wire repairs. For those who object to this provision, offer a free bus ticket south.
b. Provide clear multilingual instructions that those discovered to have avoided the registration process will be treated as criminals, and deported after due process. Due process should be simple to understand for all concerned. Are you here legally? Did you register under the 2006 Immigration Policy? A "no" to both questions gets a free bus ticket south. Etc. Just keep it clear, simple, and legal.
c. Establish a process for assimilation over a five year period, with full citizenship offered at the end for those who've proven they deserve it. The process should require that they acknowledge they are here illegally, and that they voluntarily agree to abide by the law and fulfill the procedural requirements of their situation, which is that they are technically criminals, and hence this process amounts to a form of parole, making them subject to prompt deportation after more due process in the event of parole violations.
d. Provide a fee for the processing which may be paid in installments. The fee should not be punitive, but should be adequate to cover all costs to government for administering the program. For instance, assuming about 10 million persons sign up, a $500/person fee would generate $50 billion in revenue. This is way too much to trust Congress or the Federal bureaucracy to manage, so much of it should be allocated to the states based on each state's prorata share of the new citizens. Details can be worked out.
e. There are always contingent circumstances affecting individuals, i.e. health care, education, employment, and other societal safety net provisions. Once a person is registered and enrolled in the process, these services and benefits should be available to them on an equal basis with anyone else. No more, no less. Some benefits, other than immediate health and well being needs, might be spread over the five year waiting-to-qualify period, or not. Details can be worked out.
f. Monitoring individual progress toward assimilation should be required. Most will not need supervision, afterall, no one is supervising them now. A few may need coaching and some minimal level of training to assimilate. Various advocacy groups can be a big assistance in this arena, i.e., churches, service clubs, et al.

3. Establish clear permanent immigration and green card quotas, and visa policy, on a rational basis for future admissions to the U.S. A variation of the Bracero program, or whatever seems appropriate to the needs of the U.S. labor market could be an element of this. The program might charge a nominal fee to offset cost of its administration.

4. Enforce the laws.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gleanings 6

Nancy Pelosi in December of 1998:
“Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."

Nancy Pelosi in January of 2005:
"Citing the continuing search by the Iraq Survey Group, President Bush has refused to concede what has been obvious for months: the primary justification for the invasion of Iraq was not supported by fact. Now that the search is finished, President Bush needs to explain to the American people why he was so wrong, for so long, about the reasons for war.”

Kenneth R. Timmerman, Insight Magazine, April 28, 2004:
"In virtually every case - chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles - the United States has found the weapons and the programs that the Iraqi dictator successfully concealed for 12 years from U.N. weapons inspectors."

Monday, March 27, 2006

In the case of Scooter Libby: The Potemkin Prosecution

A careless and partisan prosecutor is called out for being a loose cannon by Clarice Feldman at The American Thinker. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is an incompetent partisan hack. By his own track record he's a proven threat to national security, and we've been treated to the spectacle of him ruining the career of an innocent member of the Bush administration. It turns out that Fitzgerald's appointment was open ended, unsupervised, and probably illegal to begin with.

I'm reminded of PJ O'Rourke's advice:
"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

Don't hold your breath for MSM coverage of this.

via Tom Maguire at Justoneminute blog.

Natural Gas

A deal is in the making between Canada and Russia enabling Canada to import Russian gas, process it in Ontario, and export it to US markets via pipelines.

The United States looks to secure long-term supplies, but it lacks facilities to import the liquid and convert it back into gas.

Ask any environmentalist/liberal/Democrat why the US lacks facilities for conversion...the answers should amuse. Another question, that isn't addressed in the article, is how much of the US demand could be satisfied by known domestic reserves that are not tapped due to restrictions on exploration, drilling and field development, i.e., continental shelf and ANWR?

via polipundit

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Gleanings 5

The wellsprings of terrorism arise from certain tendencies within Islamic society itself; and unless the weeds are pruned the flowers will never grow, until we find ourselves alone at midnight in the Garden of Evil.

Wretchard, the Belmont Club (quote lifted from Dr Sanity, July, 2005)

"A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To ..."

Tim Blair offers an alert. "Pay attention, civilians. Actor Charlie Sheen has been focusing his mind..."

It's Time to Draw a Line in the Sand

Mark Steyn offers perspective, and a suggestion for the West, in dealing with the plight of Abdul Rahman, facing beheading for apostasy in Afghanistan:

I can understand why the president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would rather deal with this through back channels, private assurances from their Afghan counterparts, etc. But the public rhetoric is critical, too. At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. Abdul Rahman embodies the question at the heart of this struggle: If Islam is a religion one can only convert to, not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet.

What can we do? Should governments with troops in Afghanistan pass joint emergency legislation conferring their citizenship on this poor man and declaring him, as much as Karzai, under their protection?

In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

India today is better off without suttee. If we shrink from the logic of that, then in Afghanistan and many places far closer to home the implications are, as the Prince of Wales would say, "ghastly."

Mark Steyn's article should be read in full, especially by our leaders in Washington, and their cohorts in Ottawa, Canberra, and London.

"...let us live to make men free..."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Gleanings 4


A new element has been discovered! This hurricane mess and gasoline issues are proof that it exists. A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the Heaviest element yet known to science.

The new element has been named “Governmentium”.

Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an Atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert.

However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take more than four days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but instead, undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each re-organization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium - an element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

(See comments thread at this ClimateAudit post.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gleanings 3

"It is a gloomy moment in the history of our country. Not in the lifetime of most men has there been so much grave and deep apprehension; never has the future seemed so incalculable as at this time. The domestic economic situation is in chaos. Our dollar is weak throughout the world. Prices are so high as to be utterly impossible. The political cauldron seethes and bubbles with uncertainty. Russia hangs, as usual, like a cloud, dark and silent, upon the horizon. It is a solemn moment. Of our troubles no man can see the end.”

Sounds like Howard Dean doesn't it? ...or maybe Nancy Pelosi? ...Chris Matthews? ...PBS?

Nope. It was...Harpers Magazine, October 10, 1847.


"The doomsayers work by extrapolation; they take a trend and extend it, forgetting that the doom factor sooner or later generates a coping mechanism. You cannot extrapolate any series in which the human element intrudes; history, that is the human narrative, never follows and will always foil the scientific curve."
...Barbara Tuchman (via Bob Brinker)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

From an email to my daughters, March 14, 2006

Hi Girls,

It's snowed about 3" so far today.

I stayed up all night. Went to bed at 7. Got an uninterrupted 7 hrs sleep. Go figure.

From the late night snack menu last night, I chose a Cajun Spicy Hot Link, grilled to perfection in an authentic black iron skillet using aged bacon fat, served on toasted Pugliese Bread, smothered in melted Tillamook Pepper-Jack with Grey Poupon Mustard, and garnished with sliced Pepperoncini and Kosher dill pickles. Mmm mmm, good!

...I was in college. It was finals week of my last term. I was due to graduate, finally. There was a lot of turmoil, just chaotic activity, happening all around. I was caught up in it. Some of my final exams were "take homes". I had lots of time, so I set them aside. The due date came. I had been working on the take home exams, off and on. But some of the problems were scattered. At the hour that the exam was due to be turned in, I couldn't find some of the work I'd done. One of the problems involved a cylindrical tank of given dimensions. It was an easy problem. I couldn't find it. My exam package looked like the work of a 5th grader.

I was too embarrassed to hand it in. I couldn't say "the dog ate it." I didn't have a dog.

This is a recurring dream, varying only slightly from episode to episode.

Love, Dad

Gleanings 2

If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea...does that mean that one enjoys it? ....Anon

Gleanings--Quotes Picked Up at Random

I keep a personal file of quotes I find at various blogs and websites. From time to time, I'll drop one or more in a post when I'm too lazy to attempt intellectual fraud.

Today's inaugral offering:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings, which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing, which is more important than ... safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than him.
-- John Stewart Mill (1806-1873)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Eating Cheese at Bedtime

4:15 AM 3/12/2006

To Whom It May Concern:

I was on a train.

I'd been busy working at a computer. I'd shifted positions in the car to temporarily use a different computer for something related to what I was doing. The car was occupied, but not crowded. I was riding facing the left-side wall of the car, which was kind of an elongated computer bench with monitors at eye level. There was some conversation around me. I didn't engage in it, although I was part of the topic being discussed. I ignored everything but what I was working on.

The train stopped. Everyone got off. I stayed on board, and continued to work. The computer went into some long process that gave me time to relax. I got up, stretched, and wandered up to the front of the car. Looking outside, I saw people milling around on the platform. I took them to be the passengers who had just gotten off. I may have entered a control room on the train car. I could see out to the front and sides. The car began to move, slowly at first, but gently accelerating.

Cool, I thought. Hope those guys don't mind being left back there on the platform. Then I noticed the car was going through an area of much construction, most of it under the tracks, as the tracks were elevated, similar to the 'el' in Chicago. Most of the crews were taking their lunch break. They didn't seem to take any notice of the train passing by overhead. One guy was eating a cheese sandwich on white bread. The car had accelerated to a speed that was just above my comfort level, considering I could see out to the sides and in front, and what I saw didn't encourage me to have much confidence in what was holding up the train and keeping it on the tracks.

Suddenly the train took a siding by swerving to the left. It seemed that the construction under the tracks was less complete than it had been a few hundred yards back. False work was in place, but not much steel. Not even tracks. "What the hell? No tracks?" And then the car tilted down as it kept its forward momentum. "Oh, shit!" "It's a crash!" And, just as I thought that, it crashed into the concrete pavement of a lower level open platform type area.

It looked like the far end of a terminal facility of some sort, with the city scape of the surrounding neighborhood visible beyond a high chainlink fence. The car stopped abruptly after it had slid only a short distance on the concrete. I climbed off the train, thinking I should find my backpack with my camera in it.

A stocky gent in a blue suit came out of some double doors back up the platform a short ways from where I stood outside the car. He might have come down some stairs that looked like they could have gone up to the track level where the train had been running. There was nothing overhead. He came up to me like he was going to investigate something, but he didn't know where to start. "Is that your truck over there?" he asked, pointing to a contractor's pickup just inside the high fence. Everything was neat, for being along side railroad tracks. I don't remember many neat railroad tracks or neat rail yards. "No," I said, "I was on the train car." "You'd better write out a statement," he said.

I started to say something, like " any paper," or something else. I can't remember what. He said over his shoulder as he went back toward the big doors he'd come out of, "Something like 'To Whom It May Concern', something like that." He disappeared leaving me feeling guilty. I climbed back on the train car and found my backpack, and got out the camera. Keeping the pack, I got off.

Something else had happened before the man in the suit told me to make a statement. We'd looked over the concrete where the car had landed. It was deeply gouged, and a couple of ruts were scratched in the concrete, with loose rubble and dust piled aside the ruts. He said something when he saw the scratched concrete. I can't remember what. I decided to look for some paper to make a statement. I rolled over, and my feet hit the floor. It was dark, but the room was warm.

Thoughts on Blogger Advice re Picture Posting

Yesterday I tackled putting a picture into my profile.

Blogger, on the 'edit profile' page, suggests using the "Hello" utility and provides a direct link to it, with no mention of any alternative procedure. Nor do they advise you the character limit for adding the image URL to your profile is something like 65 characters. My bitch begins here. Skip the rant and scroll down if you just want plain advice in linear form.

After linking to "Hello" and reading their promo bullshit, I wasn't completely sold on the package, but finding no alternative, I downloaded and began. A lurking suspicion that I was going down a path I wanted to avoid started growing when I realized I'd become part of a chat network that's uncomfortably similar to Yahoo Instant Messaging. Nothing against IM for those who enjoy it. I just don't want to expose my computer to the security risks involved. Except for a brief time last year, I outgrew the instant messaging and chatroom fads sometime in the late 50's when we could hear others voices behind Ma Bell's busy tone. Remember dialing your own number to generate a busy signal, and shouting "HELLO...HELLO...WHATS YOUR NAME...WHAT'S YOURS? ...HELLO..." into the receiver until your mom told you to quit playing games on the phone? I don't remember ever getting anything back except another voice echoing my messages, but there was an addictive intrigue to the whole process. We had simpler addictions then. I digress.

After struggling through the promo b.s. and foggy non-instructions, I managed to upload an image to "Hello", and then blundered past the "Bloggerbot" instructions, and managed to put an image into a Random Traverse post, even though I had no intention of doing that. That didn't achieve my objective of adding a picture to my profile, but I discovered on my own that, by hovering my pointer over the posted image, it had its own URL. Wonderful. Now I had something to paste into the cryptic blank on the 'Edit Profile' page at the add your picture step. Pasted and executed. But, not quite Voila!

I got an error message that my URL exceeded the 65 character limit. This was both the first time I'd been advised of the limit, and the first time I realized how ridiculously long the "Hello" uploaded URL was. Since the pic involved was named "linearthinker" and is a bit long for a nic, I thought maybe I could squeeze it in by shortening the image name. After a few minutes of pointless parsing of the URL character string and discovering it was over 90 characters, I uttered a few expletives and returned to Blogger help. Note that I could shorten my image name to one character and it would still fail to load via the "Hello" utility that Blogger was promoting. And keep in mind Blogger is pitching their "Hello" package to the total exclusion of any other workable instructions for posting a picture to a profile. That there may be discussion of this issue in the Blogger help-FAQ-chat pages is irrelevant to me. I'm not going to spend my time researching via chat rooms and FAQs for instructions that should be available for the task at hand by a simple link. Blogger is just flogging a potentially compromising package on an unsuspecting user base.

I returned to Blogger help, a little wiser about the mechanics of uploading images, and finally found instructions that worked using tools available within the Blogger kit in the first place. Grrrrrrr!

Quick summary of procedure outlined in Bogger Help pages:

(1) You first have to create a post containing the image you want to eventually add to your profile.
(2) On the create post page, use the little technicolor landscape picture icon on the create/edit post tool bar for adding an image. It lets you browse your pc for the image file you want. Add this to your post, and publish.
(3) Copy the URL for the image on the post to clipboard (With pointer over image, right click, and select "Copy Shortcut").
(4) Open edit profile, and paste the image URL at the blank for adding image.

Avoid "Hello" and "Picasa". Promo script for "Picasa" tells me with fruity enthusiasm that it's not even slowed down by firewalls. Now, there's a reassuring admission (!).