THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 442 November 27 - December 3, 2006
Highlights this week:
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|This week:||Monday, November
I have got the final draft of the column done. It will be up tomorrow. Mailbag is up at Chaos Manor Reviews today. It has been quite a week, even with taking the week off from the column.
I'll have Chaos Manor Mail done tonight. There's a lot of it. I should then be caught up, sort of, and I can take some time to write a few words about new technology and the elections and republic and empire. The good news (for some anyway; certainly for me) is that I've been turning out fiction quite regularly, and in fact I'm a bit eager to get upstairs and do some more.
More later. Column will be up at CMR tomorrow.
|This week:||Tuesday, November
Almost caught up. The column is posted at www.chaosmanorreviews.com . I have written a "reader's report" for the University of Oklahoma Press on Dwight V. Swain's Creating Characters, which is still for sale at Amazon. This is about the best book on the subject I know of. It belongs in print.
I had some thoughts reading the paper this morning but I didn't note them down, and I have forgotten the subject, so it couldn't have been all that important. What I did note on my Olympus WS-100 during our morning walk was the rest of the plot of Mamelukes including what has moved Inspector Agzaral to change policies. I don't know when I'll get to that because Inferno is moving along nicely, but it won't be all that long.
I suppose I should write a short "I told you so" for the Republicans who didn't listen to me -- I recall years ago telling some Congressmen who still listened to me that if they didn't stop spending like drunken sailors all the "social conservatism" in the world wouldn't save them. The "Reagan Democrats" mostly want to be left alone on social issues, but left the Democratic Party in part because of the Cold War, and in part because of economic issues. They wanted less government and less government spending except for defense. Reagan spent on defense, but that was key to ending the Cold War. After Reagan came Bush, who said "Read my lips, no new taxes," raised taxes and laughed in the voters' faces with a "Read my hips" message and got voted out of office. Then came the Contract with America, and the Republicans came in -- and began spending money like water. Not just on defense,. Although we certainly are not threatened now as we were when 26,000 Russian nuclear weapons were targeted on us, you can make the case that we can't cut way back on defense. We certainly need a larger navy, and better border control.
But that wasn't enough for the Republicans. They increased entitlements, increased discretionary spending, and took earmarks to a whole new level. They acted arrogantly toward their political troops. They threw sops to the political footsoldiers, and they laughed in the faces of the "economic conservatives" and Reagan Democrats. They sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind and it served them right. Alas it doesn't serve the nation right to have Mr. Dingell and Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi in charge, or at least I don't think it will. It would be a good thing if the Republicans could build a Center-Right coalition again, but it doesn't look all that good.
It is interesting that a few are listening to me again. Alas, I have books to write.
I am told that more people are murdered in the US by illegal aliens than are killed US soldiers in Iraq. I find that interesting even though there are obvious comparison flaws. But none of that gets past the fact that war in Iraq has changed, and local militias are involved.
Switzerland had its last religious wars in the last quarter of the 19th Century. They solved them by ethnic cleansing: non-voluntary deportation of Protestants from one section of Appenzall and Catholics from the other, then dividing the Canton into two half-cantons. That worked so well that most have entirely forgotten the incident.
Is Iraq headed that way? I ask seriously. Maybe it's the best solution to the problem.
Recall before we went in, I pointed out that the first thing we should do is set up locally respected courts to settle the question of who owns what. For instance: here is a house and grounds that was historically owned by a Shiite family; that family was ousted by the Baathists in favor of a secular Sunni; the Baathist Sunni then sold the house to a religious Sunni; who then sold it to a merchant of mild Shiite proclivities of no relation to the historic owners. The family of the historic owners claims it now. The present occupant insists he paid good money for it. Who owns it?
If we had protected the oil wells, there would be money in the occupation treasury to compensate the loser of the case; and local courts whose opinions are locally respected could decide the matter.
We didn't do that. It's a bit late now. But the original owners of the house still want it back.
I seem to be unable to find Parker Gel roller ball pen refills in GREEN. I have one, but it's the last, it's wearing out, and no one seems to sell the green ones any longer. I did find a source of Red, and I use those. Blue and Black are common. It's probably silly, but I did like having a Green ink rollerball pen, and any pointers to a place where I can get more will be appreciated.
THANKS! I have been directed to a place that says they have these in stock and I have ordered several. Thanks to all.
November 29, 2006
Thanks to all who found places where they sell green Parker compatible gel refills. I have ordered several.
Niven and I went up to the top of the hill today. That's about 4 miles and 750 feet climb. Bracing. Sable is out back flat as a pancake. We have lots of new material. I just need to write it up...
It's interesting to watch civilization collapse. Today the city council is dithering over whether to give a fireman who called himself Big Dog 2.7 million bucks because his firehouse comrades fed him dogfood. Big Dog's slogan at volley ball was "Feed the Big Dog." So they did. It's worth $2.7 million, he says, and he's crying because the Mayor vetoed the City Council award and now they have to decide whether to override the veto. The unstated threat is that the case will go to a "South Los Angeles Jury" and that will automatically give Big Dog a huge award without regards to the merit of the case. And all the black civic leaders are upset because Big Dog didn't win the lottery, and have appeared at city hall wearing expressions of concern and alarm and anger.
It's interesting to watch civilization collapse.
I read that those who call themselves "realist" in foreign policy are now urging us to talk to Syria and Iran about what to do about Iraq. I always thought I was a realist, but I never thought that inviting Iraq's national enemies in would be useful.
I think what I would say to Syria is "Your Excellency, we'll be leaving Iraq. We will still have, and we'll be strengthening, the army that toppled Saddam's regime in no time at all. If you take advantage of the mess in Syria or the one in Lebanon, we'll come see you. We don't care about democracy in Syria. We do care not to have really stupid people in charge there. You, sir, are not stupid, but if you were you would be replaceable, and if we don't like the replacement that replacement can be hunted down and killed. And the next replacement. Until one day comes someone smart enough to mine his own business and stay out of Iraq and Lebanon. I hope I have been clear enough. Good day to Your Excellency."
I also hear silly people arguing for democracy in Turkey. It was the "democratic" elements of the Turkish government that prevented the 4th from going into Iraq in the North. If the 4th had gone in we would have had more troops in the south; we would not have had to rely on arming the Kurds to keep stability in the North; Turkey would have less to worry about from Kurdish Iraq; and the world would be a marginally better place. Democracy in Turkey will result in Islamic government without the Army to enforce the secularization of the State. We don't really want democracy in Turkey. In Iran, yes, probably. But not Turkey.
Realist foreign policy looks to our interests. I don't know what interests other than oil we have in the Middle East. I know of even fewer in the Balkans.
Those calling themselves realists but who demand democracy and think Syria will be useful in stabilizing Iraq are anything but realistic.
November 30, 2006
More work on Inferno today. I will get mail up tonight.
The morning papers show more idiocies everywhere, but that's hardly astonishing. Anarcho Tyranny is alive and well.
A man has been sentenced to community service for false driver's license application. That's an actual perjury on a sworn statement. Martha Stewart told an investigator, not under oath, that she hadn't done something that would not have been a crime if she did it. She got prison.
This is known as the equal protection of the laws. Also imperial supremacy: it's purpose is the same as the purpose of the TSA, to make certain that we all know that we are subjects, not citizens. I do not expect the Democrats to make any changes in that doctrine as we move toward subject status. It is much easier to rule subjects than to participate in self government of citizens.
Meanwhile, I will allow anyone to feed me dogfood and make all kinds of racist remarks, including demeaning of my Norman ancestry, while I eat it. I will do this for $2.7 million, but I'll consider any other reasonable offers. So far I haven't had any takers.
December 1, 2006
I have a party at Danny Hillis' place this evening, after I record a TWIT. I must do an hour or two of work on Inferno, and Fry's has a good deal on a Core 2 Duo with Intel motherboard. I suppose I need one of those to compare with the new Intel Mac I am about to get. It looks like a busy day.
It's a full life, Charlie -- great life if you don't weaken -- any more cliches? They all fit this week. If the darned arthritis would let up it would be better, but the best treatment of that is to ignore it.
I have a bunch of mail. I will see what I can do about getting it posted. I do apologize for falling a bit behind, but I really am dancing as fast as I can...
Query: I am starting up a new system and I have forgotten how to get My Computer on my desktop other than as a shortcut. I know there is a setting but darned if I can remember it. Help?
AND I HAVE IT. Right click on the desktop and customize. I should have known that but Windows has tucked so many features in so many places that no one can remember them all. Thanks to those who reminded me.
|This week:||Saturday, December
It used to be that when I had more sites tabbed than a single line could show, it would open a second line, then a third. It still works that way on three of my machines.
On my main communications machine, there is only one line, with some arrows at the end of it. I can cause it to scroll along that line, but I have no idea how many windows are open, I can't see them all at once, and it is doggone frustrating to try to find tabs needlessly open so that I can close them. There may be a setting to change this but I cannot find it. At all. I HATE THIS. I hate it enough that I am about to junk Firefox. I may or may not then go to all the trouble to reinstall it and download all the extensions and the rest of it, a good half hour's work.
Firefox seems determined to do things to me. No two copies of it work quite the same with regard to the tabs. Some of them have a * at one end that will close the currently selected tab without my having to find that tab. Some have a * in each tab but no * at the right hand end so I have to figure out which tab is selected in order to close it; given that I now can't see all the tabs at once I can't even close the current one without scrolling through all those tabs. I am beginning to HATE this.
There needs to be a "missing manual" book on Firefox. Meanwhile, I sure need to know how to do that doggone tab display change, and I need some kind of summary of which extensions to use and which not.
But I am beginning to be more fond of Internet Explorer 7.
THANKS TO ALL who answered. The solutions are in the settings of Tools | Tab Mix Plus | Options although even those who were telling me how to do this missed one of them. But I have it behaving properly again. Thanks.
Danny Hillis had a great party last night. Mostly graphics illustrator community people, of course. Neal Stephenson's lawyer/agent was there and I had an interesting conversation with him. I note that Danny's breakfast room has a tray of vitamins and supplements that looks like mine. Roberta said "but smaller" until I showed her a second tray. Of course they have children so they'll need larger quantities. Note that I'm not giving away any secrets: I wasn't snooping through his medicine cabinet, these were out on the breakfast room buffet counter.
Subject: Sad news
Tim of Angle
Very sad. And both symbolic and inevitable. Idiots.
Eph Konigsberg makes physiological probes and transducers with amazing properties and capabilities. I'm about to take a guided tour through his lab.
My readership is better than Google. I can ask questions in plain English and get answers. With Google you have to have the terminology right. Sigh.
|This week:||Sunday, December
James Flynn and Charles Murray search for a solution.
Subject: Rumsfeld urged changes before resigning,
Rumsfeld was smarter than people thought:
In one item, he seemed to be listening to you:
"_Stop rewarding "bad behavior" with reconstruction funds and start rewarding "good behavior."
Had this been 2003, it might have been a good start.
I would have thought that one was obvious...
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