Monday, May 31, 2010

"To rule Big Oil, we need Big Government"

That was the title of a CNN article a friend pointed out to me. It was written by Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Gore-Lieberman 2000 and currently a DNC chair for something or other. She claims that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill proves that we need More Government. Presumably she thinks some of her arguments are logical. To quote Kevin Renner: "That turns out not to be the case." Ms Brazile says:
"Bobby Jindal was trying to privatize much of Louisiana's government services. Had his approach been applied nationwide, the Federal government wouldn't have the resources he's demanding it use to save Louisiana's coast."
Presumably she thinks Governor Jindal were being inconsistent. What he's actually saying is "You shouldn't have taken everything we own, and we want it back; meanwhile, since you do have it, we expect you to maintain it properly."
[The] Interior Department released a report that uncovered "a culture of cronyism" between federal regulators and oil and gas executives. [...]
So, because the bureaucrats are corrupt or incompetent, we should give them more power?
 BP failed to follow federal mandates, environmental guidelines [...] 
It sounds like the problem is not that there aren't laws in place, it's that the government didn't apply the existing laws honestly or efficiently.
What the right fails to acknowledge is that big business, by its nature, is a bully.
What the Left fails to acknowledge is that big government, by its nature, is a bully. And it's a bully that can not only cheat you and wreck your livelihood, as a business may; government can imprison or kill you. Neither tyrant is good, but if you had to choose one, which is the lesser evil?

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I was getting Memorial Day weekend food and, in addition to corn on the cob, hamburger, etc, I picked up a plantain. "Let me get something a little exotic," thought I, and so I did. Very, very little exotic. Okay, officially it's not a banana--no really, we mean it, it isn't. And maybe if I'd sliced up a banana as well as the plantain, and fried them both together, and was able to compare one with the other, perhaps I could distinguish some difference. As it is, I'm wondering if this foray into "exotic foods" merits the label "micro adventure", or if "nano adventure" would be more accurate.
For our next exciting adventure, we'll examine the difference between beige and ecru!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pork doesn't help?

An article at the Harvard Business School newsletter says "Research at Harvard Business School began with the premise that as a state's congressional delegation grew in stature and power in Washington, D.C., local businesses would benefit from the increased federal spending sure to come their way. It turned out quite the opposite." hat tip: Marginal Revolution.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mom's book

Mom has been saying for years that she should write a book. She's finally decided to take some action on that, and Diana has gone to my parent's place for the week to help her. In a nod to my ruthless editing, Mom's email to the family said "we deliberately did not ask Chris to edit as we didn't think a two sentence book would sell."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Social Security

We put in the application for Diana's Social Security benefits today. It's a good thing we're not relying on that income stream to pay the bills; it does make me wonder how people who only have SSA income manage at all.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Almost a Jazz Concert

The Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department had a free jazz concert scheduled for our local park on Friday at 6pm. When show time came around, electricians were still fooling around with the generator. So, we waited. At 6:25 three musicians came out, drums sax and trumpet; they played for about five minutes, talked among themselves for a bit; played five minutes more; and went backstage again. At that point we left, because if jazz players only have ten minutes of music in them and can't improvise beyond that, they can't be very good.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More militarized than the military

Reason Magazine has a letter from an Army officer who says that American police doing no-knock drug raids are often less sure of their targets, less restrained, and more aggressive than the Army is in Iraq. Where's all the moral outrage about civil liberties that we were hearing before the 08 elections?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Josh in Australia

Josh at a formal dinner at Griffith University. 


After a long hiatus, I've restarted my weightlifting. Presses, three reps of 200 Bowflex pounds (not real pounds) followed by seven reps at 160.


Took the kayak out for about an hour today, around noon, just wandering around the island behind the house. I saw a muskrat who'd found something worth carrying home; a brown snake, about 18 inches long, that was swimming, although he dived withing two seconds and I didn't get a photo; and a goose nest complete with mama goose. When I got within ten feet of her, she stood up and hissed at me, but she didn't retreat a step; she called in another goose, who hissed and walked around before losing interest. That's the tip of my paddle in the foreground.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lord Kalvan

Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen (with spoilers) is a classic parallel universe story by H Beam Piper. A State Police corporal, Calvin Morrison, is transported to an alternate North America with an early Renaissance level of technology. He gets involved in a war between two princes and uses his knowledge of high school chemistry (which you wouldn't get in high school now--I took chemistry and they completely omitted the "gunpowder" part) and military history and tactics to alter the course of the war. It's a really enjoyable book, and the only downside is that it ought to have a map included. There are several editions available on Amazon; there's at least one wargame rules set based on it, and I've seen a Diplomacy variant and several miniatures battles based on it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to Care for Wounds

What would you do if the medical system collapsed and you got hurt? You'd need to know how to treat wounds and avoid infections. The short form is:

  • Stop bleeding by direct pressure
  • Clean it with hydrogen peroxide, mild soap and water, or by pressure washing it with a syringe
  • Pack it with sterile gauze and bandage; don't suture
It's worth reading the rest, and the comments, if you want to be prepared for emergencies.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jonathan's Music

Here's a sample of some of my brother's music.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Stevie Ray Vaughan


Thursday, May 6, 2010


Sleep is for wimps. Happy, healthy, well-rested wimps, but wimps nonetheless.
--Michael Z Williamson, Freehold

Diana flight home

Diana's back from Canada, with no mishaps other than the second flight being delayed 1hr 20min. And it's possible the Mutt may have strained a muscle while doing her Mom is home, hurray back flips and cartwheels.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crecy AAR

Mark Boone and I played out the Battle of Crécy using Rob Markham's The Black Prince. The English hold a ridge, their right flank anchored by an impassable river, their left resting on high ground. There's no scope for clever maneuvering; the English stand in place, French line up opposite and charge. English longbows cause casualties and morale checks, and the French line is disorganized; some squadrons keep charging, some fall back. Some French make it to the stakes; a few even make it through the stakes, scattering the archers. And then...the archers easily reform and resume shooting with full effect at the French. Apparently they hauled their barrels of arrows with them while running for their lives from the marauding heavy cavalry? We were left with three isolated French squadrons, out of about 25, still fighting, while the rest of the survivors tried to reform. There may be a way for the French to win this one but I don't see it; the combat tables as given make melee basically ineffective. Not recommended.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dinner with friends

My normal social life is summed up in this post, and even more so when Diana is in Montreal as she currently is, but yesterday our friend Barbra invited me to dinner with her and Jeff, her new beau. For antipasto, Barbra provided sliced mozzarella roll and stuffed zucchini; for the main course, Jeff served chicken souvlaki with tzatziki, basmatic rice, and feta. And Barbra had a bag of caramel bites for me, which are just sinfully good. Good conversation, ranging from Plato to Halloween costumes--Jeff's most recent was as a soldier of the Champagne regiment during the War of the Spanish Succession. I've told Barbra she might as well go ahead and propose to him now.