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View 646 October 25 - 31, 2010

 

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Maximum Effort

Election Day is one week from tomorrow, but with the modern trend in absentee ballots cast early it may be decided by then. This election will be decided in large part by the ground game. Who can get voters to the polls. You may be certain that in nearly every election, state or local, there will be enough people to have changed the outcome who did not vote, but would have voted for the losing candidate had they bothered. That has been true in most US elections, and it will be true in this one.

Which means, simply, that this week -- all of it, not just next Tuesday -- is a time for maximum effort for the Tea Party. It is time to harvest the votes. It is time to find the local tea party people and volunteer. If every tea party enthusiast got just one more person who shares their sentiments to the polls, the result will be a landslide. One more vote per precinct will be important. This is a maximum effort election, and this week is maximum effort week.

What the tea party needs is a landslide, not just a win: the purpose is to put some iron in the spine of wavering Republicans, who will, shortly after the election, be subject to every seductive move in the liberal arsenal, including offers from the New York Times to praise them for their "growth" when they succumb to the blandishments of the "cross the aisle" arguments. If the tea party wins its close elections, the message will be clear; and it needs to be clear.

Any close election will be contested, with recount after recount until the result is what the ruling class wants. The only cure for this is a landslide.

Maximum effort.

======================

The Bell Curve resurfaces

Murray: 'We are watching the maturation of the cognitive stratification that Richard J. Herrnstein and I described in "The Bell Curve" back in 1994.'

<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/22/AR2010102202873_pf.html>

---- Roland Dobbins

One important thing Murray does not address in this important observation is just what is taught at Harvard and the other elite schools. His most important point is that the new elites are isolated from the rest of the nation.

Far from spending their college years in a meritocratic melting pot, the New Elite spend school with people who are mostly just like them -- which might not be so bad, except that so many of them have been ensconced in affluent suburbs from birth and have never been outside the bubble of privilege. Few of them grew up in the small cities, towns or rural areas where more than a third of all Americans still live.

When they leave college, the New Elite remain in the bubble. Harvard seniors surveyed in 2007 were headed toward a small number of elite graduate schools (Harvard and Cambridge in the lead) and a small number of elite professional fields (finance and consulting were tied for top choice). Jobs in businesses that provide bread-and-butter goods and services to individual Americans, which make up the overwhelming majority of entry-level openings for aspiring managers, attracted just 1.7 percent of the Harvard students who went to work right after graduation.

<snip>

The bubble that encases the New Elite crosses ideological lines and includes far too many of the people who have influence, great or small, on the course of the nation. They are not defective in their patriotism or lacking a generous spirit toward their fellow citizens. They are merely isolated and ignorant. The members of the New Elite may love America, but, increasingly, they are not of it.

 

This isolation is quite real. I grew up in the Old South, where there was legal segregation. I was convinced that the law ought to be colorblind and there should be racial equality, but after I got to high school I never met any blacks -- Negroes, as we were taught to say in my social class; others used different terminology.  By the time I got to high school we had moved from the Capleville farm where I went to school with the children of farmers and small shop keepers and mechanics, and my best friend's father was a Watkins route door to door salesman; but when we moved back to Memphis and I went to high school, we were in a University neighborhood and Christian Brothers was the "smart kids" high school, and I didn't know many people who weren't college bound.

All that changed when I joined the Army, of course. We had conscription in those days, and Basic Training was not segregated. I met all kinds of people, from many parts of the country. The experience was enlightening. I think that doesn't happen any more.

Self government requires people willing to govern themselves.

==========================

The Henty Books

A reader with more patience than I have listened to all of the ditzy MSNBC piece that concludes that Art Robinson isn't fit to be in Congress because he has his kids read the Henty books, and that's just unacceptable. Apparently someone at MSNBC found a Wikipedia article about Henty that includes elided text, including this about Negroes:

"They are just like children," Mr. Goodenough said. "They are always either laughing or quarreling. They are good natured and passionate, indolent, but will work hard for a time; clever up to a certain point, densely stupid beyond. The intelligence of an average negro is about equal to that of a European child of ten years old. A few, a very few, go beyond this, but these are exceptions, just as Shakespeare was an exception to the ordinary intellect of an Englishman. They are fluent talkers, but their ideas are borrowed. They are absolutely without originality, absolutely without inventive power. Living among white men, their imitative faculties enable them to attain a considerable amount of civilization. Left alone to their own devices they retrograde into a state little above their native savagery." -- from By Sheer Pluck, Chapter VIII. To the Dark Continent

Note this is said by a character in a novel.

An irate fan once wrote a long tirade about the beliefs and actions of one of Larry Niven's characters. Larry, who has more patience than I do, wrote back:

"Dear Sir,

"We in the writing profession have a technical term for those who attribute a character's opinions to the author himself: we call them idiots.

"None of my best friends are idiots.

Merry Christmas."

Mark Twain might have written the same letter. As might Charles Dickens. If we restrict our reading to books in which all the characters are modern enlightened liberals -- which I suspect they do at our elite schools -- we will throw out all the great literature and all of our past.

==============

Now the pundits are joyfully (with pretended sadness) reporting that Meg Whitman's son was accused of date rape at Princeton, but acquitted of the charges. One of the gleeful pretenders keeps saying things like this happened but it ought not matter, but it will.

When I was manager of Mayor Yorty's campaign for reelection, the daughter of his opponent was arrested for shoplifting. That was immediately reported to me by the police, and I told the Mayor. His instant response was "We're not going to use that!" To which I agreed, and we never mentioned it unless asked by reporters, in which case our comment was to express sympathy for the Councilman and point out the irrelevance of the question. Of course LA Time columnists couldn't leave it alone -- they tried to somehow make it the Mayor's fault that he was even told of the event! I fear my opinion of the integrity of reporters never recovered from this. Anything for a story! Glee!

===============

Anyone in California who is aware of much would know to vote yes on proposition 23, which suspends the operation of a crazy "ultimate" carbon law in California. Apparently there is multiple advice on this in various places. Meanwhile, although the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, and Obama got the White House and supermajorities in both houses in 2008, it's still the Republicans' fault that he hasn't got his most left-wing proposals like amnesty for undocumented Democrats. The Republican remnant wouldn't support his agenda.

Now he is angling to get the Republican leadership to work with him. Fortunately not many of them have so lost their minds as to believe that they will be inducted into the ruling class if only they cooperate with Obama.

=================

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Tuesday, October 16, 2010   

I have a lot of work to get done today, and the news is all election, pretty ephemeral. I have done some mail, and I'll try to do more with comments, but I am going to take the afternoon off after lunch and work on Anvil. There doesn't seem to be anything that won't wait for a day.

I've been asked for comments on the Elizabeth Moon affair. If you don't know what that is, it's not likely to be worth your time finding out: it's a matter of concern to science fiction fans and professionals, but I don't see its importance to many others except as an illustration of ideology in action. Anyway, my comments are over in mail.

 

 

 

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Wednesday,  October 27, 2010

A Bell Curve Writer on the US New Elite

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/22/AR2010102202873.html 

Donít let the title fool you, its an interesting synopsis of Americas current elite including demographics.

David March

I commented on this article by Charles Murray yesterday in Mail. Not everyone reads the Mail every day, which is understandable. This probably ought to have been in View in the first place. The implications reach far into the future and have profound implications for the future of the Republic.

================

I got some work done on Anvil yesterday, and I hope to get more done this afternoon. I'll put up a bunch of mail first, but it's lunch time.

================

Global Warming Believers are everywhere. http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101022/full/news.2010.558.html

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday,  October 28, 2010

While I was contemplating the subject of today's essay I found this in my mail, and on reflection I offer you this:

Scientific American

Dear Mr. Pournelle,

Reading your recent comments on Sci Am, I had wondered if it was just me, but I guess not. Iíve long thought that the magazine I eagerly waited for each month and read cover to cover a few decades ago had gradually become the USA Today of science Ė pretty pictures, no content. Its political bias in favor of whatever positions looked to generate the most grant dollars also gradually became almost unbearable.

The current issue, for example, has an insane article
http://www.scientificamerican.com/
article.cfm?id=undifferentiatied-ethics

 wherein some bioethicist is warning people that the development of pluripotent stem cells from adult cells is not an answer to the ethical questions surrounding stem cell research - because those adult-derived stem cells can also be used to create clones which can then be killed for their stem cells. Um, yea Ė thatís why the moral argument has never been about the stem cells themselves, but about what you have to do to get them Ė nobody sane Iíve read has a problem with research using stem cells from adults, from umbilical cord, from animals Ė they ONLY have issues with creating and killing human embryos for their cells. So, yes, the adult derived stem cells DO present a clear ethical choice, one an individual will make based on his understanding of the status of the human life of an embryo.

But thatís the wrong answer, as it would tend to redirect funding away from embryonic stem cell research toward adult-derived stem cell research, which is certainly not the program Sci Am signed up for. And, as you have pointed out, thereís no data on the comparative value of adult versus embryonic stem cell research Ė itís just assumed that embryonic stem cell research is an inexhaustible gold mine, while adult stem cell research is an afterthought, if not a dead end.

Anyway, my main reason for writing was not to discuss stem cell ethics, but just to chime in and say how sad it makes me to see Sci Am, an important part of my childhood and young adult education, devolve into this weird sort of anti-science organ, where experiment does not rule, and a political agenda is relentlessly pursued.

So, do I cancel my subscription after 30 years? I havenít yet, even though I hardly skim through each new copy these days.

Regards,

Joseph Moore

I could not agree more. As  to subscriptions, I have about a five year subscription to Scientific American, a residual of the days when I too eagerly awaited it and read it cover to cover. I probably won't bother to renew when my subscription runs out. There just isn't enough meaningful content, and I weary of its policy opinions since they seem impervious not only to refutation but to the notion that they could possibly be refuted. I do that with a serious sense of loss.  I loved that magazine back in the days of Martin Gardiner and Phil Morrison. I didn't agree with Phil, but I respected his abilities as one of the great lecturers -- and his ability to keep his views and his physical science presentations if not separate then identifiable for what they were. I really miss the old SciAm before it succumbed to "consensus".

==============

The election draws near. Today we have the story of 2600 ballots delivered by the Cook County Democratic Party HQ to local Illinois prisons and being distributed to "voters" who under the Illinois Constitution cannot vote, and who never requested the ballots to begin with. Hardly news. Par for the course in Cook County which elected John F. Kennedy to the presidency. (Nixon wanted to contest the election, but Eisenhower thought that would be an intolerable strain on the Republic in those dangerous days of the Cold War). There will be many other such stories.

The remedy for this is a landslide against the Democrats.

Time enough to start exhorting the Republican leadership on strategies after the election. This is not the time for strategy, this is a time for getting out the vote. Maximum Effort. The ground game will be crucial in this election.

===================

 

 

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Friday,  October 29, 2010

Reich on the Tea Party

If you want to see the Clinton Democrat response to the Tea Party, Robert Reich, Clinton's Secretary of Labor and one of the house intellectuals of the Clinton wing, has published "Why Business Should Fear the Tea Party" in today's Wall Street Journal. (Link) If you're not interested in studying the kind of strained logic that liberal intellectuals have to go through to put theoretical stuffing behind their prejudices, you needn't bother. I don't know if Reich actually followed up any of his out of context quotes from others, or if he relied on lazy graduate students to do the job, but the effect is the same. He lends a bit of scholarliness to his flotation of La Calumnia. For those not opera fans, see Don Basilio's aria on how he will use calumny to destroy Don Bartolo's rival. Of course Reich's remedy is predictable:

Business leaders should be standing up to this dangerous idiocy, while actively supporting policies to relieve the economic stresses that fuel it. Their silence in both regards is bad for business and threatens the stability of our economic and political system.

Or, in other words, support Democrats. That will be good for business. See how well the Democrats have treated business so far?

==================

Well, the "We Rule" game on iPad was fun for a while, but apparently it has become too popular: their servers are overloaded, and everything takes too long. For a while it took about a minute to check things and make moves. Now that uses up quite a bit more time, most spent waiting for something to happen. Ah well. Another illustration that the demand for a free good is infinite. Of course when there's enough demand it isn't free any longer. There isn't enough of the good, so it is rationed. Customers wait. That costs time. For more illustrations look at distribution in the old USSR, or most single-payer national health schemes, and, very likely, ObamaCare when it surfaces and we can see what it is.

=============

Subject: The fate of countries

Hello Jerry,

I ran across this letter in response to a story on ABC News ( http://abcnews.go.com/WN
/tsa-pat-procedure-airports/story?id=11998304 ):

"Freedoms will not be returned. Governments collapse before freedoms get returned. Governments exist to expand the power of a small group of connected people. Our own is no exception. Throughout history, I know of no case where freedoms were returned to the people without severe threat of rebellion or outright collapse of existing government. Posted by: Scanpruf <http://abcnews.go.com/WN/
tsa-pat-procedure-airports/comments?
type=user&loginCode=%7B2FDA0C2B-
0378-4AA7-8EE0-A8B9279AC15B%7D>  Oct-28"

Scanpruf restates "The Popcorn Theory"

Bob Ludwick

I recall that when TSA was first proposed, Rush Limbaugh predicted that it couldn't last: the Bush administration would never impose such a ridiculous thing on the American people.

I thought it a perfect example of Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

The Iron Law can be got around: we did abolish the Interstate Commerce Commission after a hundred years. It can be done. The Tea Party is on the right vector for that.

The election Tuesday is one of the most important in a century. The size of the Republican victory is going to be critical. Even one vote per precinct can be important. It is important not only that the current regime loses, but loses big. Maximum Effort.

===============

I have a number of messages on this subject:

Time traveler in Chaplin move? 

There is an interesting film clip going viral. It purports to be from a DVD of some of Chaplin's work, and comes from an outtake. There is what looks like someone walking past using a cell phone. In 1928. You can skip to about the 2:00 point and watch a series of even tighter close ups.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv9f-s0KmOU 

Everybody is conjecturing about who she is talking to, and whether it is really a man in drag. Assuming for the point of argument that it is "real," I would think it more likely to be a stranded time traveler. The idea of recording something which would be meaningless to contemporaries but which would be an obvious anachronism to future viewers has been done in some classic stories.

Now, I wonder what it REALLY is?

Alan

I have no idea what is going on. I don't really believe in time travel, but certainty eludes me.

There is a variety of mail today. And this comment just in:

Re: Reich on the Tea Party

I and a lot of other business people would be perfectly fine with GE and other huge corporations being unhappy with a new GOP administration. They can roll Congress for any tax break, investment credit, R&D credit or any other tax reducing scheme they desire. They can afford to get exempted from all manner of rules and regulations. They can roll State and Local governments for incentives, tax breaks or exemptions.

Itís the medium and small businesses that are too small to garner these breaks and take advantage of this leverage. So if huge business is a bit unhappy but medium and small businesses are happier, I will be pleased. But I think large and small can agree that the past two years (4 if you count back to the Demís taking Congress and when the real mess started) have been good for no one.

Jeff Mulzer

I have already said that any business that is too big to be allowed to fail is too big and ought not exist. I would break the Big Five banks into a "not so big" fifty, and I would make it far more difficult for companies to "grow" by buying up the competition. The natural tendencies of capitalism are to monopoly with government protecting the monopoly. Marx was absolutely correct in that analysis. And the tendency of the stock market is to reward "growth" rather than good management and steady profit. There are few "blue chips" any longer -- well managed companies that bring in 7 to 10% return on investment year after year. Those do not fare well in today's market which is all about "growth", which is most often achieved by buying your competition out, not by providing better products at lower costs.

After Gingrich the Republicans were dominated by CREEPS. The Democrats became NUTS when the Clintons lost control. There are few New Democrats, and without the Tea Party the Republicans would be back on the road to creepiness.

And eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

 

 

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Saturday,  October 30, 2010

The Eve of All Hallow's Eve

.This will be brief. If you use open wireless networks, say at coffee shops or in some malls, where you just automatically connect to the Internet with no user name or password needed, don't. There is now a Firefox add-on called Firesheep that will exploit that situation and let the user see everything going on on that net; not only that, but be automatically logged in to whatever a user on that net is logged to, like Facebook. You can send false Tweets that are indistinguishable from legitimate ones provided only that someone in that cafe is logged to a Twitter account. I presume that you can manipulate PayPal accounts and transfer money if someone on the local net you have crashed into is logged into a PayPal account.

More details here. The important thing is, do not use open wireless networks. And if ever you do, remove all cookies from your system, and hope that's good enough.

I have a lot of work to do today, and Niven's Halloween party is tonight.

================

I was looking for something else, and ran across this which I had forgotten. It's worth remembering. Not all stories are entirely what they seem, and not all evidence points unambiguously, although over time it may appear to.

While you are looking that up, you might find this interesting. I've said all that other times, of course. But it is well to be aware that libertarians and conservatives are allies, not equivalents. After next Tuesday this will become both apparent and important.

============

Swan Lake...as never seen before!

By the Great Chinese State Circus

Click on link below.

http://www.nzwide.com/swanlake.htm

Marvelous. Not quite what Tchaikovsky envisioned, but marvelous. Note that this is not the Chinese Ballet Company. If their circus dancers are this good---

A note: in traditional Chinese theater, a stage manager, not in costume, sometimes appears in order to do set dressing or even to provide special effects; he is conventionally supposed to be invisible.

=============

Roland Dobbins notes that the time traveler with the cell phone is fairly obviously using an ear trumpet and talking to herself; and that if it were a cell phone, there must be two stranded travelers else how would they talk to each others. Leading to speculation about the lack of cell towers, and noting that the immediate conclusion was "cell phone" not walkie-talkie -- although a walkie talkie was just as impossible at the time.

And if all that isn't enough to read, here is a reprint of something I wrote that's still relevant. That's a followon to his collection of some of my other sayings.

==================

GET-OUT-THE-VOTE FOR VAN TRAN

 We need to retake American from the liberal left coalition that now controls the Federal Government.  This is our moment.  Will you help for 4 hours on Election Day to help save our country?

 Polls show that Van Tran is tied 39%-39% with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Winning or losing this seat will determine if Republicans take back the majority in Congress.  It will make all the difference in our efforts to replace Obama with a president who shares our values. 

But, with the race tied, we need your help. That's why I'm asking you to volunteer for 4 hours on Election Day to help Get-Out-The-Vote by walking a precinct:

 WHAT: Get-Out-The-Vote for Van Tran for Congress

DATE: Election Day ~ Tuesday, November 2

TIME: 4:00-8:00 PM ~ Victory Party to Follow

WHERE: Meet at the campaign headquarters

12942 Harbor Blvd

Garden Grove, 92840

 Please RSVP by e-mailing george.andrews@joinvantran.com <http://rohrabacher.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=4bf7f22822327e76c725614ce&id=1bf882acf8&e=9a8dfec1e4>  or calling Thuy or Paul at (714) 907-3442.

Thank you for all youíre doing for Van Tranóand for America.

 Dana Rohrabacher

I believe we have some readers in Orange County. Of course there are close races all over the country. The ground game will be decisive, and all close elections will be recounted and recounted and recounted until they are Frankenized.

 

 

 

 

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Sunday,  October 31, 2010

All Hallow's Eve

.I took the day off. I'll have something about Niven's party, and our Halloween, next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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