Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Angry Holiday Observers Lose Fight For Tree

Snurk.

Or, you could actually act like a PARENT!

Shouldn't "parental controls" on your PS3 be essentially, "No, you can't play that awful game?"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

When in doubt, post some old stuff from the archives

Here's a post from back in April. Kinda catchy, so I thought I'd repost it in lieu of any actual original content. It's good to be king.

Begin Old Crap:


I originally posted this in the comments section of my Rambling Flotsam and Jetsam post, wherein I had asked for some concrete evidence of the Bible-thumpin' Right's attempt to turn this country into a Christian theocracy by stacking the judiciary with rabid evangelicals hell-bent on rewriting every law on the books to conform to their own funamentalist ways.
Kel was nice enough to post several links. Unfortunately, they are mostly to The Nation, the Washington Post, and Maureen Dowd, whom I take about as seriously as Ann Coulter.

Anyway. Having finally coaxed kel into posting on my site, kind of like nursing a shy mole out of its burrow with bread crumbs, I don't want to turn around and whack 'er on the nose with the garden rake. So, I'm going to try to avoid any hint of shrillness or rabid incoherence. I hope.

So here goes.
--------------------
Here's a comment from Jesse Jackson:
Will it remain a country where the freedom to practice religion is protected by law -- a law enforced by an independent judiciary?*
Is this the same independent judiciary that is requiring states to remove religious phrases from their state seals, upholds ACLU lawsuits against schools that provide rooms for after-school bible studies, and supports hate-crimes legislation for Christians who oppose homosexuality or abortions?

I guess my question is this: If it is a "right-wing assault on the courts" to nominate judges with more conservative tendencies, what was it then when Clinton nominated a slue of judges with a liberal bent? Was that a "left-wing assault on the courts?"
The lies are compounded by the arrogance of their claim to be vessels of God's will.*
Who is claiming this? Come on. One direct quote, that's is all I ask.
Religious groups and Democrats said Frist should have played no role in the heavily promoted broadcast which they say inappropriately brought religion into a political debate. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said the move, "Clearly argues that people of one viewpoint have God on their side and all others are faithless."*
The point I keep trying to make is that you can't paint yourself as defenders of religious freedom by opposing nominees because you don't agree with their personal beliefs! The Democrat Filibusterers are the ones making this a religious issue.

A judge's job is to make rulings in accordance with the actually existing law, not his or her personal opinions, faith-based or otherwise, as to what the law should be.*
You mean like Roe v. Wade? Someone site for me the "law" that supports that decision.

That Mohler believes that his faith is the true path to redemption is unexceptional. That he believes that any effort to stop judges who want to turn their faith into the law of the land is discriminatory and should be rectified by eliminating procedural restraints is exceptional.*
So, by implication, a Christian judge is not only incapable of being objective, but will without restraint and with great abandon seek to radically alter existing laws and judicial precendent based solely on his faith? Whereas an atheist judge would not. Got it. Should we maybe take a look at the last few rulings of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals?

Nearly half of Republicans surveyed in the poll were against any rule changes*
"Nearly half" is also "less than half," depending on how you chose to word it. That's called a "leading statistic," which is used farther down in the article to show how Bush is failing in the polls. Nope. No bias there. Also, here's an indepth analysis of the referenced polling sample on PowerLine.

And the way to do so is by reaching out to the rational Republicans in the Senate*
As opposed to the irrational ones?

And in my opinion, you don't do yourself any favors linking to Dowd. Her articles are usually rambling, misdirected screeds.

"...his [Bolton's] raging-bull temperament.."*
You mean when he put his hands on his hips and spoke sternly? Whew! What a firecracker!

"Who doesn't want to see Old Yeller chasing the Syrian ambassador down the hall, throwing a stapler at his head and biting at his ankles?"*
That is Dowd's definition of reasoned discourse.

"...after they torqued up intelligence to fit the White House's theological beliefs."*
Oh for the love of...
"'He (Bolton) spoke of the U.N. as being the enemy,' Vreeland added"*
And the problem is what? By what I've read, Vreeland MIGHT be qualified to speak, although he only served as ambassador for one year. Kind of unusual. Someone needs to be asking why Vreeland was only on the job for one year, and now, strangely enough, serves as Chairman of the Board for the "leading supplier of solar energy" in the country to which he was ambassor. Additionally, Vreelands "expertise" on the matter stems from working with Bolton 14 years ago. How does that speak to his CURRENT fitness for the job?

Anyway. The gist of this whole thing is that this is an ideological conflict between the agenda the Demos want to impose, and that which the Repubs are trying to maintain. This is not about the sanctity of the filibuster process, etc. The Democrats aren't opposing these nominees simply because they are influenced by their ideology, but because they are influenced by the "wrong" ideology, which the Dems KNOW stands a good change of coming into direct conflict with the humanist, progressive-socialist bill of goods(ideology) they are trying to peddle.

Can't have that. Then they might actually be called upon to justify some of the wacked out social programs they've managed to get on the books through their OWN judicial activism.

[/fisk]

UPDATE:
Darth Misha over at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has a great post that says the same thing, only different. Great read.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Things I ask myself in the wee hours of the morning..

Why doesn't the baby bird suffocate before it breaks through the shell?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

How The Mighty Have Fallen

No, this isn't about Cindy Sheehan. {{snurk}}

For a few proud days I was an "Adorable Rodent" in the TLB.

I was a "Flappy Bird" for quite a while.

Then I was a Slithering Reptile.

Now I am merely a Crawly Amphibian. {{Heavy Sigh}}

Maybe if I actually posted meaningful content. Consistently. Pshaw. Nyaaah.

That being said, it probably wont get much better for the next two weeks. Big exercise. Lots of work. No time for frivolitites such as blogging.

So here are my recommendations for to which you are going at if not here being are you:
  • Garfield Ridge. No, there are no obnoxious orange cats involved.
  • Mitchieville. Morally reprehensible, and Candadian to boot, but hilarious nonetheless.
  • Protein Wisdom. Verbose, wordy, and exigetical. Hilarious too.
Just a paltry sampling of some of the great blogs I visit, most of whom I've added to my blog list at one time or another, but really, I'm just too darn lazy to cherry pick any more for you.

UPDATE:

DAMNIT DAMNIT DAMNIT! Now I'm a "Slimy Molusc."

Crap. It's a conspiracy, I tell ya!

It's Lonely At The Top

Then:


And Now:


Cindy book-signing a very 'lonely affair'
Photos by Associated Press, Reuters show 'Peace Mom' Sheehan waiting for buyers"


Fame is a fickle mistress.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On torture

One man's "torture" is another man's straight up ass-wuppin.

I'm just sayin.

Kurt Vonnegut: Author, activist, complete frickin' loon.

Lileks knocks one outta the park lambasting the drooling, pre-alzheimerian blitherings of atni-bushie Kurt Vonnegut, who seems to think being a suicide bomber gives you an incredible buzz, they're brave and valiant warriors, etc.

Worth the read. But you knew that, otherwise I wouldn't have linked it. Duh.

Whitey no mo'!

I intend to start a cultural revolution, one which is long overdue, I must assert and aver.

I no longer wish to be referred to as "white" in the context of race, culture, or social demographic. I find the term "white" to be too demeaning. White is so plain, so vanilla, so lacking in the kind of character that other colors enjoy. There is no white in the rainbow of diversity. White is the background, the color of the page on which the words-- which are what really matter -- are written in black.

White is the color of snow, which bears an unfortunate connotation related to cocaine, which is an illegal drug, the source of so much suffering and societal decay.

From now on, I want to be referred to as "Anglo-American." I want to start a movement to embrace the proud cultural contributions of our anglo-american ancestors. I want to be mixed in with that rich, frothy stew of hyphenated Americans which so permeates our cultural landscape today. By just being "white," I am excluded from a whole spectrum of cultural and racial benefits.

We can get an "Anglo-American Heritage Week." Schools and governments can conduct anglo-american sensitivity training to address the special needs and contriubtions of anglos. We can have posters on the walls of libraries and shopping malls heralding those downtrodden anglos who rose above their circumstances in a world all too ready to dismiss the contributions of merely "white" people.

White people are branded as the source of so much of what is wrong in this country today. Let us therefore instead embrace the Anglo-American culture, with its rich tradition of inventing things like airplanes, printing presses, automobiles, penicillin, free-market capitalism, and representative republics.

No more to be cast in that plain plaster mold, no more marshmallow-like anonymity, no more blank movie screen of conformism and group-think. We shall embrace our Anglo-American status proudly, and demand in a clear and confident voice, free of the fear that has plagued our people for so long, that we, too, deserve affirmative action quoats, in reparation for years of oppression at the hands of feminists and liberal educators on college campuses.

Anglos of the world, cast off the chains of your milky white unexceptionalism! Celebrate your anglo-ness! And let no man or woman suggest that your are a second class citizen just because of the color of your skin.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Too busy to blog

So go here instead.

Hilarious overheard "Conversations" at Defective Yeti.

New Element Discovered!

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 has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 11 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, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over 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 reorganization 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, since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.


(received in an email, original author unknown)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sound familiar?

The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writing of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States.
George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism (1945)

StolenBorrowed from SayAnything's "Bite-Size Wisdom"

403 to 3: Dyn-o-MTE!

For once, the Republicans did something right. Forcing a "put up or shut up" vote on the issue of pulling our forces out of Iraq was nothing short of brilliant.

"US OUT OF IRAQ!" they scream. "Well, I mean, not right NOW, of course," they mutter, hem, and haw.

And yet, how binding is this vote either way? When politicians get to VOTE on matters of military strategy, we set a very bad precedent indeed.

There's a clear difference between spouting talking points to keep your name in the papers, and actually doing what is good for the country.

I wish I could say that I thought this vote showed that many of these reps truly had the best interests of the country in mind. What I suspect is more likely, is that they (deep down) truly understand the folly of what they suggest. Despite the volume and content of their rhetoric, the screeching detractors realize that it would be political suicide if they forced an early pullout, had the place collapse and zarqawists take over, purge the sunnis; and have all this with their names at the bottom of it.

Whatever works.

Friday, November 18, 2005

From the "How Cool Is THIS!?" Department

Daisycutter in a can.

"it is a thermobaric mixture which ignites the air, producing a shockwave of unparalleled destructive power, especially against buildings"

"It proved highly effective in the battle for Fallujah."

Hmmm. I wonder if it's one of them thar chemical weapons we used all over Fallujah?


H/T to WhatAttitudeProblem? for the link

Welcome to the Blogroll!

Discovered a cool blog, in the usual way (a link from a link from a link, yada yada), and felt morally obligated to add it to my prestigious and elitist list of blogs I feel are worthy of note.

Welcome then, Geosciblog. Which apparently stands for:
"GeologicalScienceBlog", subjects will include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian viewpoint, and random thoughts.

Joe sounds like one of those cool guys you can't dismiss as a creationist freak-a-zoid fundamentalist bible-thumping science-hater because, well, he's a freakin' science teacher. Makes him a tad harder to dismiss out of hand.

I like reading his stuff, and as a fellow fundie, I feel like we've known each other for years. Thought doubtless he's only vaguely aware I exist, in that kind of sixth sense sort of way when you realize that you've left your wallet in your other pants, as you're standing in front of the lunch counter waiting to order.

So anyway. Go on over and check it out. Go on. First left past the kitchen, and watch out for the cat box in front of the dishwasher.

"No True Glory" by Bing West

Just starting to read this book. I was already going to buy it, but lucked out and got it for free for giving a brief to a bunch of Air Wing guys. A quick peruse suggests that it will confirm my suspicion that there were (and continue to be) some very stupid decisions by senior policy makers that make things harder than they have to be. Especially in the case of Fallujah.

Maybe I'll post a review when I finish.

Monday, November 14, 2005

That non-geocentric trans-national entity thing....

So, how does one fight one of these things, given that there are no clearly defined boundaries, it's difficult/impossible to force a decisive battle, and the makeup/players is/are continually shifting?

Where are the lines of communications? What is their source of strategic and operational strength(s)?

How do you fight what you can only roughly define? Where do you focus your efforts? How do you fight a ideological and cultural "war" that spans nations, continents, tribes and economic lines? And that is multi-generational?

And NOT fighting is simply not an option? Nor is appeasement, or capitulation.

Thoughts?

Science And Christianity

"Dodo David" over at LifeLike Pundits has an awesome post about the need to overcome the perception that Christianity is somehow unscientific, at topic I've addressed here myself.

An excellent read. Go check it out.

No, seriously.




Well!?!?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jumped the Shark?!

Okay, will someone please, Please, PLEASE explain to me just what the heck "jumped the shark" means?

Is it some sort of salacious euphemism? Some sort of aquatic double-entendre?

Is it get on board, or fell off the wagon?

Color me confused.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Your Strategic Terminology Pop-Quiz for the Day

If I say "non-geocentric trans-national entity," what's the first thing that pops into your head?

Go on, it's kind of like a Rorschach.

Okay, now, say you have to fight one of the aforementioned entities, because its membership/adherents have sworn to commit to a neverending ideological holy war?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Wait a sec. I thought this was BUSH's War?

UN extends mandate of Iraq troops

The United Nations has extended the mandate of the US-led multinational forces in Iraq for another year.

US ambassador to the UN John Bolton praised the decision, saying: "The unanimous adoption of this resolution is a vivid demonstration of broad international support for a federal, democratic, pluralistic and unified Iraq."


And more contracts for Haliburton!!!

Hey. Lefty friends. Read it again. U-N M-A-N-D-A-T-E. As in, UNITED NATIONS. Or did Bush talk all fancy, use big words, and hoodwink the UN just like he did the US Congress?

BwaHAAAchortlechoke blowmilkoutmynose!


"Hey, Jack Cafferty, this one's for you."



(Shamelessly stolen from John at Wuzzadem)

U.S. USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN FALLUJAH!!

Apparently we have seen the enemy, and it is US! (With or without the periods.)

Here I was, all ready to go to bed, but of course I just HAD to stop by ol' Joe's Place before shutting down. And what did I see!?

In a ground breaking news story, The Independent, a staunch bastion of journalistic excellence back in the Mother country, has uncovered the widespread use in of a highly toxic chemical weapon, (read: WMD) in the battle for Fallujah, known in covert and hush-hush military circles as...wait for it.....drrrrrrmmmmmmmrollllll... "White Phosphorous." The OUTRAGE! The HORROR!

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists...

Think maybe there might be a frickin' reason for that? Besides, you know, how western journalists are always covering things up for the US military.

On 10 November last year, the Islam Online website wrote: "US troops are reportedly using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in its large-scale offensive on the Iraqi resistance bastion of Fallujah, a grim reminder of Saddam Hussein's alleged gassing of the Kurds in 1988."

The website quoted insurgent sources as saying: "The US occupation troops are gassing resistance fighters and confronting them with internationally banned
chemical weapons."

The website quoted INSURGENTS?! This is one of their "sources?!" And "Islam Online" is equating the limited use of white phosphorous rounds with the wholesale slaughter of the Kurds? Got it. Read the Islam Online article. It speaks with outrage and horror about how the "...fatal weapons led to the deaths of tens of innocent civilians, whose bodies litter sidewalks and streets..." Uhm...bodies stacked up by the...tens? We had to blanket fallujah with WP to get tens of casualties? Why didn't we just drive a car bomb into a group of school children?

It also praises the "steadfast and fierce resistance put up by Fallujah people," and of course uses only unnamed sources. And yet it is referenced as a key element of evidence by the Independent's expose'.

A biologist in Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, interviewed for the film, says: "A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this multi-coloured substance started to burn, we found people dead with strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact."

Multi-coloured? Ahhhh, you must have seen the new soooper top-secret "Rainbow Phosphorous" used only by the spec ops boys from Area 51. Because last I heard, white phosporous is, well, white. And this sounds more like the effects of a neutron bomb. Which of course, we probably used too, but none of those pesky western journalists noticed THAT either.

Dr. Tareq went on to elaborate on his experience: "And then the aliens who had abducted me inserted the probe into my sinus, penetrated my anus for purely medical reasons I'm sure, and then returned me to my tent. I awoke to find myself naked, surrounded by 13 empty flasks of fermented goat urine, and my tent-mate Rashid had a big smile on his face."

The damning photos are here on the referenced website (I think). They show one airburst round. Then the last two frames are extreme close-up/zooms, which make it look like huge fireballs falling over the roofs of Fallujah. Come on, guys. Did you get your Photoshop expertise the same place as USA Today?

And hey, didn't some Italian journalist accidently get killed by US forces in Iraq? One wouldn't be so cynical as to suspect that an Italian news source might have an anti-US AGENDA now, would one?

Folks, white phosphorous (Willy Pete) has been around since before WWII. It is used for marking, screening, and yes, incendiary purposes. If you read ol' Wikipedia's description, it's hard to reconcile that with "flesh melting off the bones", while apparently leaving clothing unscathed. I have no doubt that we used WP in Fallujah...we dropped a shitload of a lot of things on Fallujah. No, you're not supposed to specifically target people with WP. But, if you drop a WP mortar round near a building from which you are taking heavy fire, and ol' Mutha Faq'r sucks in a lungful or two before the 1000 pounds of HE (high explosive) dropped from the F/A-18 caves in the effin' roof, did you really commit a war crime?

I've talked with grunts who were there. Fallujah was full of stuff right out of Saving Private Ryan. It was straight up war. Dirty, nasty, knife-in-the-throat urban combat. Did "tens" of people really die from exposure to white phosophorous smoke? Maybe. And you know what? That is sad, and tragic if they weren't combatants. But you know what else? Either way, it wasn't a war crime.

It was just plain war.

Next thing you know, they'll be using that evil dihydrogen oxide on the ususpecting innocents of Iraq. As a matter of fact, I hear we're working night and day to find all sorts of ways of pumping it right into peoples' homes! Just like the showers in Auschwitz! Luckily, the insurgents keep blowing up the pumping stations. Whew!!

One more thing to remember: Though not all civilians are insurgents, all "insurgents" are civilians.

UPDATE: Joe provided me a link to the video in question.

UPDATE II:

A realted interview here. And a quote from one of the documentary's sources, former Marine Jeff Englehart:

Well, based off where I was at, I wasn't actually involved in direct combat. I was in a tactical attack center. Basically I was danger close, which means 200 meters from a lot of the explosions that were happening.

"I wasn't actually involved in direct combat." But I'm somehow a credible source as to what was going on at the locations of those explosions.

I know for a fact I heard it being called for on the radio.

Again, this is how he "knows" we used chemical weapons. He heard a call for fire, over the radio, requesting WP. Yup, might as well have watched them pull the levers at Auschwitz.

I wonder if Jimmy Massey and Jeff Englehart hang out, have beers together?

UPDATE III:

Here is Jeff Englehart's Blog. Read it for yourself. Here's one interesting comment:

What I find to be commonplace is the people who label me a traitor, call me a coward, and then accuse me of sedition are always the misinformed, close minded, naïve and ignorant soldiers who have been deceived by their chain of command, from the President all the way down to the lowest level, into believing in a twisted cause to establish a world police force across the globe under the guise of a war against terrorism.

Cindy? Cindy Sheehan, is that you?

While I was in the army I was labeled a problem simply because I did not believe in the war, and I was vocal about it.

Ahhh. The fog begins to clear a bit...

I never could understand how anyone involved with the Iraqi OCCUPATION could whole-heartedly support it. The foul machinations behind it should be crystal clear, but then again military brain washing is rampant and seems to affect everyone with a myopic scope of reality.

Really, doesn't this sound all too familiar?

For our French Cousins

In light of the recent "unrest" in France, now spreading to the rest of Europe, I found myself recalling ever so fondly the French opposition to our dethroning an oppressive MUSLIM dictator.

I wonder if their attitude towards dealing with violent towelheads has changed to any measurable degree?

Bet they can use some of that food-for-oil money to help rebuild their charred infrastructure. Heh.

Trying to find some sympathy for the effete wine-swilling bordelo bandits. Trying.....trying.....



Nope.

Liberal Larry asks the tough questions

"WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE?"

I {{snicker}} uh, really shouldn't {{chortle}} find this article {{ guffaw}} funny, but I can't seem {{bwahaha}} to help myself.

A San Fransisco pier, or a red bio-waste bag. What's the big diff, right?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Brown's Alito letter lifted from blogger

Yes, actually, this IS a big deal.

One can only imagine the visceral glee that would ooze from cackling lefties if this were committed by a Republican Senator.

But alas, it was only a Democrat, so they can be "really sorry," and that's that.
Brown's office acknowledged that it should not have used Newman's words ithout
giving him credit.

Well November Sierra. That's why they call it PLAGIARISM!

Michael Moore's legacy lives on...

Blog O' The Moment

Yes, I realize that makes a most unfortunate acronym.

Just wanted to direct your attention to the Signaleer. Apparently a proud member of the Signal Corps, USA. Now, being a jarhead and all, I might be disposed to give an army dawg the proper ration o'grief over being, well, in the Army. HOWEVER, I must add as justification for my failure to do so that my great grandfather was a Signal Corps officer in WWI. Hooah! (Ack, I think I just pulled something..)

RTO Trainer has a lot of good gouge (info), to include stuff on all sort of cool techie gadgets, which of course is always appreciated.

Check it out. Now. Or I'll rip out your liver.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Just a thought...

In reference to the current riotous, flaming unrest in France at the hands of poor, down-trodden, misunderstood, oppressed Islamic terrorists, and apologizing for the seeming disconnect with the post immediately preceeding this one....

...at what point do you just start SHOOTING THE MUTHA FAQIRS?!

Update:

Is it just me, or are the French dealing with angry, militant Muslims in 2005 just like they "dealt" with angry, militant Germans in 1940?

I guess some things never change...

How cool is this!?

Archaeologists Discover Ancient Church
The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the ruins are believed to date back to the third or fourth centuries and include references to Jesus and images of fish, an ancient Christian symbol.

Pietro Sambi, the Vatican's ambassador to Israel, praised the find as a "great discovery."

"Of course, all the Christians are convinced of the history of Jesus Christ," he told Channel Two. "But is it extremely important to have archaeological proof of a church dedicated to him? Certainly."

Reason #237 Why I Say Give Intelligent Design A Chance

Click on this photo. It's a close-up view of this guy. Look at the detail. Some dragonflies have two sets of wings, cojoined and working in tandem. This little guy has four separate, separately articluated wings. Look at the connection points. Each wing has a pusher and puller muscle cluster. Wrapped around the body core, in essentially a canister system. Look at the conservation of space, the mutal interdependence.



Now look at this one. Look at the cells. These wings are not membranous, but open. Thousands of tiny, interlaced and interlocking ribs that look for all the world like wicker lawn furniture. Cross bracing and reinforcing struts. Light enough to move quickly, change directions on a dime without the wind resistance of a "fabric" wing, yet creating enough resistance to support flight.

The "spar" of the wing is thickest at the root, nearest the "fuselage", give it strength and rigidity. Then at the tips and trailing edges the stringers and supports are smaller, finer, where more flexibility is needed. I WISH I would have had a video cam to film his flight so I could slow it down and watch in slow motion.

Give this project to a 4th year mechanical engineering student. Challenge him to design a wing this strong and light, enabling the "vehicle" to fly forward, backwards, and hover. Four separately articulated wings. And use biological components. And make it this size.

Go on. I dare you.

UPDATE:

The Case of Behe vs. Darwin

An interesting article on the tactics, and dare I say the depths to which the scientific community will go to keep ID out of the public forum.

"Behe does not convince me in the slightest," said Michael Ruse, a Florida State University philosophy professor who wrote "The Evolution-Creation Struggle" and is in the Darwinian camp. "But he's a genial, personable guy, and he comes across as a very serious man. I don't think you can dismiss him as a crank. He is a real scientist."

I see. He's a "real scientist," but he's being very unscientific.

Although most scientists dismiss Behe, they make a big mistake if they try to demonize him, Ruse added: "We tend to think these people favoring intelligent design are all evil people, and they're not. (my emphasis)

So, supporting ID is not just foolish, and scientifically laughable, but just plain Evil?!! {{muaahahaaahahaa!}} Doesn't this sound just a tad like those wacky right-wing fundies preaching fire and brimstone branding any who oppose them as evil? Hmmm.

Plaintiffs hope to prove that adding intelligent design to the curriculum violates the Supreme Court ban on teaching religion in public schools;

Which ban was that, exactly? And how does this jive with public schools teaching Islam?

Behe's doubts grew several years later when he read a review in Science magazine of "Darwin on Trial" by Phillip E. Johnson, a UC Berkeley law professor.Johnson raised similar questions about Darwin's theories. The review "was very dismissive…. They didn't address his arguments, and simply said here's this crazy guy spreading confusion, so keep your students away from him," Behe said.

We call this intellectual gatekeeping. Of course ID will never be allowed to be viewed as scientific, nor evaluated in a "scientific" manner, if those who control access to scientifically "acceptable" venues refuse to allow it. They establish the definitions, and have arbitrarily placed ID in the category of "unscientific." Case closed.

My question is, as always, what are they so afraid of?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

9th Circuit Court at it Again: Parents have no fundamental rights.

This bit of amazing judicial flatulence discharged by that friend of the ACLU the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has begun making the rounds of the blogosphere. A couple of things stand out to me:

“We hold, and agree that there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it.”
Clearly, this case drives home the fact that if you have your kids in so-called “public schools”, the implicit and explicit understanding is that in doing so, you give up a great deal of autonomy in determining what types of information your child will be exposed to.

“We also hold that parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determination of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students.”
In other words, parents can’t force curriculum changes according to their personal beliefs. Sure. Great. It also means that they have no say whatsoever in what their children are being taught in a “public” school.

The court ruled next that the right to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance to their personal and religious beliefs” does not rise to the level of a fundamental right protected by Substantive Due Process."

“We cannot overstate the importance of these rights
(sexuality, contraception, and abortions as “rights to privacy”). They symbolize the importance of our evolving understanding of the nature of the Constitution."
Ah yes; that whole “living document” thing. Another word for “evolving understanding” is “moral relativism.”

So now, wait a minute. The “right” to abortion is considered as a fundamental right of “privacy” under Roe v. Wade, and yet a parent wanting to keep an 8-year-old out of the “Understanding Homosexuality” class doesn’t have the same right. Why? Because the parents desires conflict with the State’s interests, whereas abortion does not.

“…protecting the mental health of children falls well within the State’s broad interest in education.”
And whose definition of mental health do we get to use? The State's, of course. As determined by progressive academics and psychologists who influence our “progressive” curriculums designed around promoting diversity, tolerance and emotional health, often at the expense of actual learning. Most definitions of "neglect" I Googled include failure to provide adequate education as neglect or abuse.

The exhibit reveals that the survey was intended to gauge exposure to early trauma, and to assist in designing an intervention program to help the School District reduce barriers to the student’s ability to learn.
An “intervention” program? As in what? As in, based on the results of the survey, identify children from “at risk” home environments, and arrange home visits by DHHS representatives to “evaluate” the situation. While on the surface this may sound like a good idea, it also opens the door to a sliding scale of what is “healthy” or "appropriate”, as determined by the STATE, not the parents.

It all essentially boils down to this:

By placing your children in public schools, you commit to an implicit contact that allows the school to educate the child as it sees fit. This ruling affirms that parents have no constitutional right to determine school curriculum, or require that it conform to their ideals. Hey, great. Granted. Good on ya.

What is also says is that the State is to be considered the most effective arbiter of what is “mentally healthy” for your child.

“the State, as parens patriae, may supplement, and even in some circumstances supplant the parents interest in the custody, care and nurture of their children…”
If the interests of the State come into conflict with the interests of the parents, the State will triumph. If The State, in all its wisdom, determines that it is important for 3rd graders to be sensitized to the needs and practices of homosexuality in order to make them more tolerant, and better citizens, then you, as a parent, have no say at all. Executing their “rights” under parens patriae, The State can step in and require that the material be presented in order to “protect” and “nurture” the child.

What this case ultimately does is to re-emphasize that our “public” schools are not public, but government schools. The government determines the curriculum, requires that your child learns what IT sees fit, and puts penalties in place for parents who are too aggressive in bucking the system.

In attempting to keep your child out of these sessions, you can be accused of “abusing” your child, as your are depriving them of information or evaluation that The State has determined to be essential to their mental health. By repeatedly and willfully “abusing” your child in this way, The State can step in and take custody of your child, thus ensuring that they will receive the “education” they need. Never mind that The State has just torn apart of family in pursuit of a social agenda.

The clear subtext of this decision, and so many of the referenced precedents within it, is that The State, ultimately, is the final arbiter of what a child needs to learn in order to be a “good citizen” and a “productive member of society." Parents are delegated child-rearing responsibilities only so far as they do not come in conflict with the State’s model.

Your children are essentially wards of the state. This should also be a wake-up call for homeschoolers. Reading the text of this decision, homeschooling is not the refuge it once was from Federal intervention in your home life.

Linked at Mudville Gazette, Stop The ACLU!, and Basil's Blog

Update: How is it that one parent can complain about a football coach praying with his players before a game, or having a school holding an Easter pageant, and the whole frickin' machine grinds to a halt. But let parents complain about an intrusive extracurricular survey dealing with sexuality, violence, and other issues and they're told essentially to pound sand, you can't tell us what to do?

I just.Don't.Get it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blah Blah Blah, whatever...

Just not feeling up to blogging today. Struggling with feelings of inadequacy as I read other blogger's quality posts. So instead, I'm just gonna link a bunch of stuff.

Here's a rousing kerfuffle over at Magnolia Politics about the evils of corporate greed vs. the reapportionment of wealth to care for the poor and downtrodden, which of course isn't socialism but compassion. Definitely worth a read.

Jeff Goldenheimersteinowitz over at Protein Wisdom has a bullseye fisk on the race baiting and identity politics of the Democrats finally and unabashedly hitting their mainstream talking points. Suitable for framing. Read it.

The Anchoress has a spot on and insightful examination of the "rush to war" and the search for WMDs, with numerous quotes from Democrat leadership condemning Hussein and Iraq. (h/t to The Therapist for the link).


Now, back to my morose, petulant pity party.

Lame Duck? Hardly.

I don't understand (well, okay, I do) the lefty talking point referring to Pres. Bush as a Lame Duck. Painting him as in a downhill side, in his autumn years, on the back slope of the presidential mountain.

Huh?! The dude just got elected to another four year term as president. He doesn't have to worry about his poll numbers, so screw em!

He's got a great opportunity here. What's the downside? Run roughshod over the politically correct poobas. Give the metaphorical political finger to his opponents. What are they gonna do?

The term "lame duck" applies to a President who hasn't been re-elected, in that period between the election and the inaguration. Absolutely no application here whatsoever.