Archive for February 2009

Just Begging For John Galt To Appear

February 28, 2009

It’s Only A Novel. It’s Only A Novel

Keep repeating that to yourself as Ayn Rand’s dystopia comes ever closer to reality.  Check out this exchange in Der Spiegel Online:

SPIEGEL: What do you mean with your battle cry, “We’re not paying for your crisis”? Don’t you want to pay taxes anymore?

Passadakis: We believe that the cost of the economic crisis should be footed by those who profited most from globalization.

SPIEGEL: As a leading exporter, Germany too has profited.

Passadakis: No, the majority of people have not earned much from the boom — instead they have had to deal with restraint in their wage agreements. The rich, on the other hand, have seen strong increases in their wealth. So it is only fair that they should pay extra duties.

SPIEGEL: You want to fleece the Aldi brothers and the Klatten and Otto families (Germany’s richest people) among others?

Passadakis: Yes, they in particular should be ordered to come to the check out. We are calling for the rich to pay out between 5 and 20 percent of their wealth.

I think if you look up the word “theft” in the dictionary, you’ll find that exchange.  What I find so sad is that this is exactly the scenario Rand put to paper in the ’40s and ’50s, which led to the withdrawal of competent people from collective society.  In her novel(s), this left those remaining – the hangers-on, the bureaucrats, politicians, and many whom are now known as “the creative class” – to wallow in a misery of their own making.  Now, Rand was a megalomaniac, a moral cretin and a flake (see also, here).  Her writing is simultaneously awful and great, and in some odd way, unforgettable.  She hit a nerve and she hit on a truth that gets harder to ignore.

Who is this Passadakis character, by the way?  Is he of consequence? Alexis Passadakis is an activist from the group Attac, which is organizing demonstrations in Berlin and Frankfort with the slogan “We’re Not Paying For Your Crisis!”  We’ll see how the Aldi brothers, the Klatten and Otto families react in Germany.  It won’t be long after that we see how the Bill Gates, the Paul Allens and Warren Buffets react in this country.  It’ll be “interesting.”

March Madness Starts Early

February 26, 2009

Go Wildcats

Villanova Basketball

Villanova Basketball

My Alma Mater starts showing its stuff at just the right time convince me that they’ll make an impact in the NCAA tournament next month.  Now ranked at #10 in the AP poll (and #12 in the Coach’s Poll), Villanova got by DePaul on DePaul’s home court last night.  It was a race to the finish line.

”Come on, we got lucky,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. ”They outplayed us. They outplayed us.”

But he wasn’t knocking his team.

”We didn’t play that bad,” Wright said. ”They just played really well and we didn’t play our best game. That’s what happens in the Big East this year.”

Yeah, the Big East is that tough.  DePaul’s not a bad team, especially at home, but they’ve yet to win in the conference.  Last night, they played tough all the way to the end.

Villanova trailed by eight points early in the second half, then went on a 21-5 run to take a 52-44 lead. The Wildcats were leading 60-48 with about 6 minutes left, but rather than pull away, they had to hang on as DePaul made a late push behind Will Walker ‘s 3-point barrage.

I insist that college basketball is more fun to watch than the pros.

Hitch

February 26, 2009

Never Againing

Last week, The British Guardian reported that columnist, reporter and pundit Christopher Hitchens had been attacked and “roughed up” by neo-nazis in Lebanon, after defacing one of their posters.  He had reason; the poster displayed a variation of a swastika.

Hitchens had been drinking on Beirut’s main boulevard, Hamra Street, on Saturday afternoon with two other western journalists after attending a rally to commemorate the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri. They spotted a poster for the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a far-right group whose logo bears an uncanny resemblance to the Nazi swastika, and Hitchens decided to act.

One of the others mentioned is blogger Michael Totten, who wrote about the attack yesterday.  It’s riviting. 

I blinked several times. Was he really insulting the Syrian Social Nationalist Party while they might be watching? Neither Christopher nor Jonathan seemed to sense what was coming, but my own danger signals went haywire.

An angry young man shot across Hamra Street as though he’d been fired out of a cannon.  “Hey!” he yelled as he pointed with one hand and speed-dialed for backup on his phone with the other.

“We need to get out of here now,” I said.

But the young man latched onto Christopher’s arm and wouldn’t let go.  “Come with me!” he said and jabbed a finger toward Christopher’s face.  They were the only words I heard him say in English.

What happens next is worthy of James Bond novel, but is sadly real.  Most definitely a RTWT post (unless you want to remain naive, of course).

Honesty And It’s Discontents

February 26, 2009
Venn

Venn

The Fallout Continues

Fans of Pres. Obama are not gonna like this, but it does appear to be an honest expression of political frustrations, mal- and dis- contents.

Better, it’s concise and to-the-point in the extreme.

And it rates a ‘heh’ from the Instapundit.  What more could you ask?

You Win Some…

February 24, 2009

And Sometimes The Bear Eats You!

A NASA climatological satellite failed shortly after launch last night.  “Initial indications are the vehicle did not have enough [force] to reach orbit and landed just short of Antarctica in the ocean.”

Several news sources say the satellite fairing (the clamshell-like housing containing the satellite during launch) failed to open and separate after it was launched from Vandenburg AFB, in California.

The $273 million satellite, called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, would have collected global measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere to help better forecast changes in carbon-dioxide levels and their effect on the Earth’s climate.

The OCO also would have provided information about CO2 “sinks” — areas, like oceans or landfills, that absorb and store carbon dioxide. NASA officials said all measurements would be combined with the findings of ground observation stations, providing a more complete account of the human and natural sources of CO2.

Orbital Sciences, based in Dulles, VA, built the vehicle.

Al-Qaeda Co-Founder Blames Bush – NOT

February 23, 2009

Someone Has Had Time To Think It Through

From Don Surber, this remarkable quote from the co-founder of Al-Qaeda, Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, reported in the UK Telegraph“Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers.” He did not blame Former Pres. Bush, or Former Vice-Pres. Chaney, nor did he blame American (or European) neo-cons, nor the Israelis.  He blamed Osama bin Laden, and in particular, bin Laden’s Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

I find that stunning.

On the Sept. 11 attacks, he writes:

“Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy’s buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours? That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11.”

On Moslem and Arabic immigration to Britain and European countries, and the subsequent rise in terror-related violence (and in the case of Paris, riots), al-Sharif says:

“If they gave you permission to enter their homes and live with them, and if they gave you security for yourself and your money, and if they gave you the opportunity to work or study, or they granted you political asylum,” then it is “not honorable” to “betray them, through killing and destruction.”

These quotes are from his book, written from his Egyptian prison.

Was he tortured into writing this?  Al-Zawahiri himself apparently doesn’t think so.  He’s taken the trouble to compose a 200 page rebuttal to al-Sharif, something he wouldn’t do if the book could be easily swept aside by such accusations.

Apparently, al-Qaeda is finished.  A major source of terrorism world-wide is crumbling, and the proof is coming more obvious every day.  The War on Terrorism?  It looks very much like we won.  Who knew?

And who will get credit, do you suppose?

Kos On Buffalo, et.al.

February 23, 2009

And What He Writes Is No Compliment

Don’t do Dkos much these days (boring!).  But any mention of my hometown can catch my eye.  Here, he quotes Dana Houle from an earlier post.

Stuck in old paradigms of economic development, cities like Buffalo, New Orleans, and Louisville struggled in the 1980s and 1990s to become the next “Silicon Somewhere” by building generic high-tech office parks or subsidizing professional sports teams. Yet they lost members of the creative class, and their economic dynamism, to places like Austin, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Seattle—places more tolerant, diverse, and open to creativity.

And in the vernacular, “Hey Buffalo.  You’re bigoted and stupid and u are teh sux.  So you lose.”

Not tolerant or diverse?  Interesting, considering that the 2000 US Census figures for the city put the relevant demographics as:

  • White                               – 159,300   54.4%
  • Black or African American  – 108,951   37.2%

Looks pretty tolerant and diverse to me, at least, in the sense meant by Kos and Houle.

As an antidote to dKos, I suggest reading Verlyn Klinenborg’s The Last Fine Time.