Thursday, March 16, 2017
If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.
Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
The chaos continues. The locusts that ate my morning and a good part of the afternoon were trivially dealt with, but took time, and kept popping up unexpectedly, usually as I was just sitting down to work. Fortunately the last one is over, solved by Mike Diamond’s smell good plumber for $99, the only problem t=being that in the morning they could not assure an appointment before tomorrow; fortunately they found someone, and although he took a while getting here, once here everything was done quickly and simply. The termite people kept calling, one to say they needed to schedule an appointment for an annual inspection, then suddenly realizing that she didn’t have her appointments schedule, then an inspector (from the same company) to make an appointment, only to discover he had no openings for next week, then the same office girl to offer me an appointment for next Monday. This after about five earlier variations on this theme last week and earlier this week.
So either we have a termite inspection next week, or we don’t, but I have to be ready for someone to appear at the appointed time; which is the hoped for outcome, but I can’t shake the feeling that the next telephone call will be someone telling me I need a termite inspection, when would I like to schedule it?
I discovered also that paying property taxes by having your bank send a check does not work. The bank sent the check last December, and it was received there; the bank later informed me that it had not been cashed, and yesterday I got a new tax bill, with $150 penalty for not paying before the December deadline. At the same time the bank noted the check had been cashed after all. I sent them the taxes with the $150 penalty; I notified the bank to cancel the payment sent last December only to learn that about the same time they sent me the new bill with the penalty attached, they also cashed the check they got last December. Calling the County Tax Collector got sympathy but no results, and attempts to speak to someone who could do something were to no avail. The status now is that I have sent them the payment with the penalty, which I expect will satisfy them; and they’ll someday, I am sure, figure out that I paid twice, but I am not going to worry about it. Yes, it’s a lot of money, but spending time on it does no discernable good, and certainly does not produce additional income. Eventually I suppose I’ll turn my very patient lawyer loose on it, because I want that first payment back; but since I won’t get the penalty back, I suspect I’ll end up spending even more… Ain’t bureaucracy grand? And –
But enough. You don’t need a list of trivia that devoured my time, generally with a telephone call I did not expect just as I settled down to work. The toilets work, Roberta went to her appointments and has returned, and all’s well.
It’s getting late, and I want to get this put before dinner. I’ll probably have more later; there’s some interesting mail. I have nothing useful to say about the Hawaiian judge dictating to the United States as if the judiciary were invited to consult on national security. I’d swear that should be up the President and Congress, and Hawaiian judges do not have the authority to rule for the President on national security cases involving issuing new visas and not applying to citizens; only to aliens.
Andy Jackson once answered an edict by Chief Justice Marshall: “John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.” I doubt that President Trump will go that far, but it will be interesting what the President and Congress do here. The interference of the judiciary in the political process, particularly as it is in general in favor of a defeated party which had appointed many of the judges, has caused Constitutional Crises before. FDR threatened to expand the numbers on the Supreme Court, and was appeased only when one Justice switched sides: Google “A switch in time saved nine” for details. There have been others. The original Marbury vs. Madison was deliberately decided in a way to make a Constitutional Crisis difficult to impossible.
I doubt that Ryan has the votes to impeach this Hawaiian judge, and given the Republican squishes as well as Democratic joy over the injunction, there are certainly not enough votes in the Senate to convict; but there are some Democrats who find the Courts’ interference in the political game rather alarming.
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It’s after dinner, and I’m about to be off to LASFS. I’ll try to add some mail before I go to bed. Stay tuned. This is a time when some might think there are no ways out: despite losing majorities in both Houses, most of the Governorships, even county dog catcher elections, and the Presidency, nothing seems to be happening.. The Democrats retain a claim to the popular vote (almost all of that in New York City and big cities in California). Doesn’t count. Elections matter only when Democrats win them. This is a dangerous belief.
Machiavelli had much to say on this subject; as did the Roman political writers. When a people no longer believe in elections as a means to settle disputes, the disputes don’t go away.
And here’s some mail.
I’m not all that clear on the whole “termite inspection” thing.
Is this like an ORI, or are the termites supposed to get in formation while the inspector walks through the ranks?
You’d be astonished at the lengths we go to to keep the termites sociable out here.
The status now is that I have sent them the payment with the penalty, which I expect will satisfy them; and they’ll someday, I am sure, figure out that I paid twice, but I am not going to worry about it. Yes, it’s a lot of money, but spending time on it does no discernable good, and certainly does not produce additional income.
I have found sending a strongly worded letter to your local politician gets results. Most are available by email.
Your State Senator/Representative and/or the City Council person for your district. Sometimes it takes a while to get them to
act and you might want to send a reminder. Copious paperwork to prove what has been done helps a lot.
Good advice for younger people.
The Helix Nebula in infrared – God’s Eye, indeed.
Illegal Aliens Cancel Foodstamps
Fearing deportation, certain illegal aliens will no longer take food from a program paid for by US taxes and meant for US citizens.
“This is a response to the climate of fear and terror that immigrant families are living in because of the Trump administration,” said Jackie Vimo, a policy analyst at the National Immigration Law Center.
“These are unfounded fears. But they’re based in this environment, and they’re very widespread.”
Why are non-citizens participating in SNAP? If one US citizen misses a single meal or lives with undernourishment for one second of his or her life then we simply do not have the money to be spending on non-citizens since our people need our money.
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
I think it best if I do not comment on that.
Building the first microcomputer – Computer for Apollo – Buffy Willow
Paper tapes, Hollerith cards and seamstresses with needles hand sewing magnetic core memory. Baby steps towards our world. Well told, in half an hour.
Do you remember the outrage over Trump’s comments about Islamic Radicalism causing problems “just like in Sweden?” Remember how the Swedish government screamed foul? Their “Integration Minister” claimed there were no problems.
She comes clean: Sweden’s Integration Minister admits lying when she claimed rape rate was “going down”
Sweden is in deep deep denial while it is in the middle of an existential crisis.
This is why we MUST judicially throttle all immigration, particularly illegal immigration.
‘Yarmosh’s 2-year-old son has been so enthralled by Alexa that he tries to speak with coasters and other cylindrical objects that look like Amazon’s device.’
I fear I have not learned how to use Alexa. Is it worth the effort? I suspect it is.
We still don’t know where cosmic rays are coming from:
“Scientists thus find themselves in an awkward position: apparently, the sources of high energy cosmic rays should be close—think of distances on the order of 5,000 light years, which is just a tiny fraction of the diameter of the galaxy (100,000 to 200,000 light years). But, if they are that close, we should be able to make out bright and dark spots in the sky through careful observation.<snip>”
90 authors, and nobody knows. It’s been a conundrum for 40 years, at least.
I check the local NOAA 7-day forecast several times each day. The predictions have a resolution of one degree (F).
It is common to see predictions being adjusted several times each day for what the temps will be the NEXT day, much less through the rest of the week. Those changes are often several degrees.
These are the people who claim to be able to predict the temps a century from now, with a resolution of less than a degree.
I leave others to draw their own conclusions, but I don’t see anything to put any faith in.
I still can’t get an answer to whether primary data are air or globe temperatures on land; half the people I ask didn’t know there was a difference, The data collection stations I have seen at the Santa Monica airport are simple thermistors taking air temperature in a shaded box. I am sure others are more sophisticated, and likely the Santa Monica ones are, but in the 80’s that’s what they were. Globe temperature give radically different results on a cloudy night than they do when exposed to absolute night sky. As the Romans knew when they made ice cream in the deserts.
So, the Obama FBI were going to pay for the absurd ‘Trump Dossier’.
Scott Adams: ‘Nye didn’t know.’
Doctors Who Kill
While this may be a perversion of Robert Heinlein’s 1973 Annapolis Address, it does strike me as a logical train of thought. Heinlein stipulated that moral behavior is “that which tends toward survival”, and that acts that promoted the survival of larger groups of humans were higher on the list than “mere” personal survival.
It can be shown that the severely disabled, with the rare exception (Christopher Reeves and Steven Hawking come to mind,) consume more resources than they produce. They eat, they produce waste, they require far more healthcare, and far more human labor to care for than any dog or cat; and produce little to nothing in return. The resources that would have been available for care and and advancement of healthy humans is lost, and can not be reinvested.
Did not the ancient Spartans practice infanticide of crippled or disfigured newborns, exposing them to die, or at best, enslaving them if they had any chance of survival, but not being considered fit to reproduce?
Many military members throughout history chose death before capture and torture by the enemy. I’d not be surprised if a large number of American soldiers wouldn’t kill themselves if they were about to be captured by ISIS; although I’d prefer to take a sizeable honor guard of them with me. Certainly Ghadaffi would have preferred that when his enemies got him.
This parallels the education system in the U.S. where we teach to the lowest common denominator, and nobody can excel. I think most would agree that our current public education system qualifies as being immoral. Well, in that case, so would a blanket program of providing care to all the severely disabled who haven’t paid for it already.
I personally know of several family members or friends who in the last stages of their lives, chose to refuse medical treatment because it would only prolong their pain and humiliation. (To be fair, I know several others who fought the Grim Reaper tooth and claw to the very bitter end.) And there is the euthansia movement of people who wish to have the right to self termination in the face of terminal illness. But in their case, they are the ones controlling their end, not a doctor, insurance company, or faceless bureaucrat.
I’m not God, nor a doctor, nor insurance agent, and while faceless, I’m no bureaucrat. I’m also not in chronic severe pain, or hopelessly crippled. So I don’t know if I would choose to end my own life in that situation; but if a friend were in the same situation begging me to help him die, I’d probably do so. But could I do it if he was so far gone he couldn’t even beg?
I have taken my pets on their last legs to the Vet take the Big Sleep, and occasionally done the deed myself. But those were living creatures, arguably not sentient beings, that I had total responsibility over. Infants, young children, and the severely mentally disabled also fall within the category of someone else having total responsibility over them. Do we allow those responsible to have the choice of life or death for their charges deemed less fit?
I was raised Catholic; so I have a considerable amount of indoctrination that says that it’s God’s decision whether someone lives or dies. I’ve read extensively on this. I’ve prayed about it. I don’t have an answer; other than it’s nobody else’s right to decide whether I live or die as long as I still have my faculties. Whenever I finally lose them, I’m not going to care, am I?
The bit on doctors who kill was interesting. Too bad so much is video – I don’t watch video. It reminded me of the time my consultation duties took me to the ICU. The patient was covered in tubes and his wife didn’t want him to suffer. The doctors wanted to know if he was competent to make decisions so his wife could ask them and they could turn off his machines at her behest. (If you think that does not make sense, you’re right.)
I’ll admit – I feel like a fake when I do consults on the dying. In this case, I asked one question. I got up in the man’s face and asked, loud enough that he could hear me, “Do you want to die?” He frantically shook his head No and the wife instantly changed her mind on the subject of Quality Of Life. Why did I ask that? I remember my dad, paralyzed by Parkinson’s (he called it “rigor mortis on the installment plan”) saying about a proposed brain implant, “I don’t want to die.” This from a decorated WW2 vet who had made plenty of others do just that. Well, I remembered that for the man in the hospital. Too bad the Dutch doctors do not remember their predecessors.
Subj: Washington Conjures Scientific Integrity
Owen Glendower: I can call spirits from the Vasty Deep!
Hotspur: Why, so can I, and so can any man! But will they come when you do call them?
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.