THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 501 January 14 - 21, 2008
Highlights this week:
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This is a Day Book. Pages are in chronological, not blogological order.
January 14, 2008
I will be all day at the Homeland Security conference at the LA Convention Center, then dinner with my colleagues, so there will be no real update here until Monday night.
The first day of the conference. Interesting, tiring. Two more days.
Things are going to be a bit thin here.
|This week:||Tuesday, January
Yesterday we started at 0 Dark thirty for the LA Convention Center and spent the day listening to presentations about security projects, research, and technology. It wasn't all dull work. We also got to give our own presentations. I didn't realize we were going to do that and had little to say. I did make the point that it would be a lot better for security if we were to treat the American people as citizens of a Republic, not subjects of an empire. "Trust the professionals and stay out of the way" is not good policy. Oddly enough, that seemed to go over pretty well.
Allison Barrie, Fox News Security Analyst and commentator, is covering the show. Allison was formerly a professional ballet dancer, and has just earned her Ph.D. in political science. She's based in London.
David Brin gives an impassioned address.
Today will be another day at the Homeland Security conference in LA Convention Center. I'll catch up sometime.
More on that MRI report when I get a chance. It's complicated.
Had a bunch of writers and DHS officials over to Chaos Manor after a long day at the conference. I'll try to get a conference report done when this is all over, but it's getting late, I have to get up, and there's just not a lot of time left before I have to get to bed.
We had our own small conference during a lull in the action. Here's Greg Bear
The Israeli general responsible for the Gaza borders gave a long report today. Of several hundred attempted suicide bombers, not one got across in his sector, of which he is greatly proud. Of course the Israelis are considerably more ruthless, and under many fewer legal restraints. They can use UAV's to patrol the border and intercept crossers. More on this another time.
January 16, 2008
At the DHS conference all day. There was a lot of mail yesterday, all worth reading.
We were down there literally all day, with an interview with Fox news after dinner. Niven and I will not be going tomorrow. I do have a medical appointment tomorrow afternoon.
We had more than two hours with Admiral Cohen, the Undersecretary for Technology of DHS, and it was a very good meeting. I am no fan of much of what DHS does; at least we have one input source, to people who listen.
I am nearly exhausted from the day. More tomorrow. But it was a good day.
January 17, 2008
I have an appointment with the neurosurgeon this afternoon. We'll find out what has to happen now.
The DHS conference continues, but Niven and I aren't going down there today. We learned a lot, and perhaps we were able to contribute.
We still have no idea of what will happen in the Republican primary elections. It's even possible that no candidate will win a majority of delegates, and the Republican Convention will be a Convention and not a coronation. The Democratic Party Convention will likely be a coronation, probably of Hillary Clinton, although she isn't doing an impressive job. Of course she is running against a junior Senator with essentially no government experience, who has an undeserved reputation for being a coalition builder and a generally nice guy; his political record shows that he's fairly typical of Illinois politicians. The Clintons are very sophisticated, and I expect they will win the Democratic nomination.
I have to confess that I believe that when Newt was Speaker and Clinton was President we had pretty good government, without huge expansion of government size, no new entitlements, and generally consensus foreign policy. I'd be pretty happy with something like that again, but the Republicans have no candidate for Speaker who seems to know what is what, and of their stable of Presidential candidates the ones I like best don't look to be able to win. But again: the new primary arrangements have made most of our experience nugatory; I don't know what's going to happen.
We're back from the neurosurgeon. Turns out he's been reading my stuff since he was in high school. Including BYTE.
More tests scheduled. New scans. I am certainly learning a lot about modern medicine.
You might find
interesting. Evolution and economics...
The notion that Fischer was a criminal for playing chess in defiance of the US government has always struck me as one of the most bizarre happenings in our history. He wasn't the personable kind of hero who might have aroused the American people in protest of what was, clearly, an unconstitutional act intended to reduce citizens to subjects: the beginning of the process that the TSA exists to continue.
He may have been the greatest chess player of all time. Certainly he was the equal of anyone living in his time. The imbecility of the US government petulantly deciding that he was a criminal because he played a chess match in defiance of the US government's policies of intervention in the territorial disputes of Europe continues to amaze me.
An anti-Semitic Jew, arrogant, violently individualistic -- and the greatest chess player of his time. He wasn't the sort of person who would win any great sympathy from the masses, or even from his admirers. He wasn't likable, and thus many who might have protested against the arrogance of the government thought it all served him right. After his government made him a criminal for playing in a chess match, his hatred of the United States made him even more odious to all. And yet, his loss of liberty is our loss.
== = = = = = = ==
Mike Flynn calls attention to this articlehttp://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12587
on national conventions. While I can easily get enough of Tyrell's contemptuous hatred of the Clintons, his observations on the value of party conventions, and in particular that they are preferable to the hideous requirements for more and more money in the current era of primaries, are very much on target. If I were Emperor I would abolish the primary elections and require states to go back to state conventions that select delegates for the national convention. Actually, if it were possible I'd go back to a time when some states had primaries thus requiring the candidates to do media campaigns, but most had conventions, thus sparing the candidates from having to do media campaigns; but that, alas, is probably not possible. Of course neither is a decree abolishing the silly primary elections.
So we now select the candidates for President on their ability to raise lots of money. That has become the sine qua non of American public office. If that reminds you of the last days of the Roman Republic, it should be no surprise. The Triumvirate consisted of a soldier, a soldier-politician heir to the Marian party leadership, and -- the wealthiest man in Rome. Astonishing!
Having encouraged this housing boom-bust by running the printing presses and making Democrats look thrifty, the Administration now wants to send six-pack money to American families in an attempt to stimulate the economy.
Better would be a moratorium on regulations. Economic freedom. But that won't happen.
It used to be that the Republicans were the Party of Depression, and Democrats were the Party of War. We need new quips, now; Bush has managed to bring us both Depression and War. The Democrats are out there shouting Me Too! Only More of it! It wasn't the Republicans who decided we needed to be involved in Yugoslavia where we had no interests whatever, thereby convincing the Russians that we hate Slavs and will never be friends to Russia, bombing a Chinese news building, and wrecking the economy of the Upper Danube for a decade. Of course it wasn't the Democrats who marched us into Iraq, then sent in Bremer.
And if you are looking for yet another cool web site try
Have you seen this page?
There are a number of other clocks available there. I don't know how accurate but the list of sources is listed.
January 19, 2008
I'm writing this Monday morning. Saturday wasn't a very good day, and I allowed it to be devoured by locusts.
January 20, 2008
I used today to pay the bills. I'd like to have used it to do the Chaos Manor Reviews mailbag, but I didn't have the energy. Saturday wasn't a very good day. Sunday we went to the LA Opera Tristan and Isolde, and in the middle of the second act I developed a cough and began feeling even worse. We left at the end of the second act skipping the cast party and a conversation with David Hockney, whose sets and lighting design were splendid.
Staging was a bit wooden, but then Wagner often is: not a lot happens in Tristan and Isolde, and often there are only two people on stage. Making that dramatic is pretty tough. Isolde looked Wagnerian, which is to say there was a bit more heft to her than one imagines would be on an Irish princess who drove men mad (and has the world's best witch as a mother).
We came home to a sleepless night. I have had trouble swallowing anyway, and the cough developed into something worse.
But I did get the bills paid, the check deposit slips made out, and the subscriptions and renewals recorded. I'll have a bit more to say on that Monday. Actually I am writing this about noon Monday.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the weekly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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