View Week 681 June 27 2011 – 3

View Week 681 June 27, 2011 – 3]


I set up a bunch of mail only to be told that it will not publish. The problem seems to be related to very long links, but I am not sure. I don’t understand cascading style sheets but then I don’t think Word and WordPress have full understanding either. I will continue to grind on this. Some of that mail may be lost, and I apologize, but I have put in the whole day on this, and I’m running out of energy. The good news is that I did have the energy and the interest to grind on this all day.

Of course one solution is to start with a new document and publish each one for each mail. That will cut down on the amount of mail I can publish because the mechanical work of putting it up takes time.

Mail is important and getting it right is important. I’ll keep working on it. Thanks for your patience.

One problem is that the only message I get is that “this cannot be published.” I will try to learn more about why that has happened. It only happened once so maybe I was just unlucky. In any event this will all work out, and I did get a bunch of mail up. We’ll continue…



Mail Week 681 June 27, 2011

Mail June 27, 2011 – 1


New design


I like the new design layout… but is there any chance you could continue using the old parch5.jpg background image – seems like it’s been around long enough to be a tradition.



It can be done, but the consensus around here is that it comes out weird colors depending on what you are looking at it with. I always saw it as parchment, but many saw an odd pink, and it changed from time to time. I like the grey for readability, and it’s probably time to give that a try. JEP



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None of the suggested formats come anywhere close to the standards set by Chaos Manor and Mail for the last 15 years. DO NOT use any of them as an example when setting up your new formats. Please come as close as possible to what you have been doing since I have been subscribing to Chaos Manor.


Chuck Anderson


Thanks for the kind words. We are trying. I really am trying to come as close as possible to what we have been doing, in part because I sure don’t want to learn something new. I do reserve the right to try various things, but I promise to get rid of them when they are ugly, as some probably will be. It’s an adventure game…

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The old format worked just fine for me, but I’m sure that I’ll get used to the new one and it will be fine too.


An unidentified reader provided the following:


“Instead, just post reader mail as it comes in along with your own comment – each in a separate post. I would think this would be simpler for you, too, by eliminating the compilation step.”


Please don’t do that. I know that many blogs allow reader comments to appear instantly. It is not necessarily a desirable ‘feature’. I like the idea that letters from your readers, mine or anyone else’s, appear because YOU read them and you, personally (It is YOUR blog, after all.), thought that they were worth passing along. If you feel that my letters, any or all, or those of your other readers that you choose not to publish, for WHATEVER reason, are better suited to the ash bin of history than to your blog, fine.


After all, I think that is what attracts many to your site: your personal involvement.


Also his suggestion that you comment on ALL of your reader mail seems mighty liberal with your time. Who was it that starved to death answering reader mail? We don’t need you as another example.


Anyway, thanks for your efforts.


Bob Ludwick


The only way to comment here is to send me mail. I get far more mail than I can publish. Some is quite good enough for publication, but it is part of a flood on the same subject. Some is flattering but doesn’t show any new perspectives. Some just doesn’t strike me as appealing to the readers. I select what I think is interesting, and the result is that I think this is one of the most interesting mail sections on the Web. We have a wide variety of readers with great perception and often great expertise.

While I try to read all the reader mail, I am sometimes a long way behind on that. I do have other things I have to get done. I wish I could comment on all the mail I select, but I often can’t. We does the best we can…

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Site Redesign




As a longtime reader, I can get along with everything I saw on the new page, except that the new page puts Saturday below Sunday. Personally, I can’t stand “blog order” – we read from the top down, and chronological order should run from the top down, not from the bottom up.


If the new software is not capable of placing the entries in logical order, the next best thing would be to recreate the “Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday” etc. links that were at the top of the old page, so readers could click a link and read Saturday first, then return to the top and click to read Sunday, instead of having to scroll futilely about the page to read in chronological order.


Best wishes for a speedy recovery.



Tom Brendel


We’re looking at this but I am not sure what to do. The calendar over there on the right is live, and it will let you go to a particular day; that may be the best we can do. For the moment we’re going to stay with what we have, but that doesn’t me we can’t revise once we see just how this works. For the moment I’m trying to get used to using what I have. Thanks.

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re: contempt of cop


It may interest you and your readers to know that in IL it is a class 1 felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison and $25,000 to record a police officer in performance of his duties.

This is on par with rape.



There is a trend in this direction. After the Rodney King incident it will not happen in Los Angeles; and I would think that the 14th Amendment give Congress ample power to defend the rights of citizens to monitor and report the actions of the local police. That is, after all, what Civil Rights is all about. Interesting that Illinois thinks that is not needed.

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Solar Windows


San Mateo based company.


The product reduces the amount of direct sunlight entering windows and converts it to electricity instead.


This product won the GE ecoimagination challenge.


John Harlow, President BravePoint


That appears to make sense. There is no point in wasting solar energy just to do that: the question is whether it is economical to try to make use of it. Thanks. Intruiging.

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Space Solar Power


Hello Jerry,


“I do know that when we did the Boeing study one of the tests was transmission of power through atmosphere using Goldstone as the transmitter to a rectenna; the efficiency of the operation, that is, the ratio of usable power out of the rectenna to the input power at Goldstone was about 90%.”

Actually, the recent spate of YouTube videos on the subject say that the rectenna produced an output of around 82.5% of the INCIDENT RF energy.


The Goldstone transmitter for the Venus tests produced around 450 kilowatts of rf. The the input power from the grid that was required to produce the rf was not reported. The best klystrons available today produce around 700 kw at an efficiency of 44% (current state of the art). The ones available in 1975 were considerably less efficient. Even granting 40% efficiency, the Goldstone transmitter tests required at least 1.2 megawatts of power from the grid to produce the 30 kilowatts from the rectenna.


Some (maybe most) of the newer proposals do away with the thousands of huge klystrons in orbit and replace them with large numbers of lower power solid state modules driving elements of a phased array. Here is a paper listing several alternatives (interestingly, the paper proceeds as if the down link were buildable).:


It includes information on the Goldstone tests, by the way.


One of the tables in the paper lists rudimentary specs for the downlink antenna. The number of transmit modules range from 97 million (NASA/DOE with 185 w/module) to 3.5 billion (Old JAXA proposal, with 1 w/module). The NASA/DOE proposal with a downlink at 2.45 GHz, a 1 km transmit antenna, and a 1 km receive rectenna is not believable; the ‘cold equations’ of aperture vs beamwidth don’t allow it. A 1 km diameter transmit antenna @ 2.45 GHz WILL NOT produce a 1 km diameter beam at a distance of 22,500 miles.


All of this sort of begs the issue: Antennas are not infinitely scalable, any more than are telescopes. At least not buildable ones. It is a little like using the specs for Hubble (8′ diameter, resolution .05 arc seconds) as ‘proof of principle’ for a telescope with a diameter of 50 million feet so that we could resolve 1 mile surface features on planets orbiting Alpha Centauri. In theory, that would work; in practice, we aren’t building a 50 million ft diameter telescope any time soon. Neither are we building, stabilizing, and maintaining a geosynchronous phased array antenna a couple of kilometers in diameter with a billion (more or less) driven elements any time soon.


Bob Ludwick


Thank you. I haven’t looked at the data in decades. I can only say that a team of us, all experienced, with a span of expertise we thought more than adequate, concluded after a lot of hard work that SSPS was economical once the capital costs – considerable capital costs – were paid. General Graham had a similar experience with his team of High Frontier staff and volunteers. So did Lawrence Livermore. I think that conclusion is still viable. Space Solar power isn’t easy – that’s one thing we have learned about space and with a vengeance, nothing is easy – but not easy doesn’t have to mean physically or economically impossible. I do not believe the dream is dead.

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Benign incompetence or competent malevolence


Hello Jerry,


“One may draw any conclusion one likes.”


True, but the sign being waved by the SEIU half of the Obama/SEIU mutual admiration society, combined by the observed behavior of the Obamunist half over the last two and a half years, should surely influence one’s conclusion a bit, I would think.


I suppose that the conclusion would also depend upon whether one thinks that stamping out a capitalist representative republic and replacing it with a socialist/Marxist/communist/fascist tyranny is benign or malevolent. (I know, socialism/Marxism et al are not identical, but one or more of them would be appropriate descriptions of ALL of the Obamunist actions since they took command–literally–of our country.)


Bob Ludwick


One does not need to impute malice to the normal operations of the Iron Law.

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View 681 June 27 Reynolds

View Week 681 June 27, 2011 – 2

The Lochner Ness Monster

I haven’t thought about Lochner v. NY since I taught Constitutional Law at Pepperdine a very great many years ago. Of course most people have never thought about it at all, so that’s hardly astonishing, and most of those who have thought about it ,ay have done so in the wrong way and drawn the wrong conclusions. David Bernstein has a new book entitled Rehabilitating Lochner, and that wouldn’t get me thinking about it either, if Glenn Reynolds hadn’t written a review in Commentary (link). Reynolds writes not as Instapundit, but as Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee. If all his lectures are as interesting as this review, he must be popular with the intellectually gifted among the UT law students. Grinds boning for simple answers may have a different view.

In the conventional law school wisdom, Lochner is paired with Plessy v. Ferguson (decided a decade before Lochner) as one of the cases limiting civil rights, and it is generally taught that way, but that’s not the real story – or at least it is not the story as I learned it from Professor Ken Cole at the University of Washington, and it’s not how I taught it in my Pepperdine courses for pre-law majors, possibly to their detriment when they got to law school.

Reynolds says

In my experience, law students exposed to Lochner for the first time, without being told that they’re supposed to hate it, tend to find it pretty reasonable: state passes law that impinges on individual freedom, court finds alleged purpose unpersuasive, strikes law to uphold freedom. That was pretty much the story of federal courts and the Constitution in the 20th century, and if Lochner had been at all unusual, that was only because it came so early on in the process. In methodology and approach, Lochner fits comfortably with all sorts of more celebrated cases, from Dean Milk v. Madison in 1951 (involving protectionism) to Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 (the privacy ruling later used against Robert Bork in his ugly confirmation hearing).

Elsewhere, as Bernstein recounts, advocates for African-Americans’ and women’s rights often made use of freedom of contract as a way to strike down laws limiting those groups’ economic freedom. Freedom of contract was a powerful weapon for dissolving the legal rules that, unsurprisingly, tended to work against those excluded from legislative power. Economic freedom, far from being a tool of the big bosses, was an important way for the underdogs to gain the freedom to compete, and to undermine the legal support that was essential to making Jim Crow and related laws work.

There’s considerably more to think about in this review. I don’t expect lawyers in general, much less the general public, to read Bernstein’s book – I hope to get to it, but I have an enormous stack ahead of it – but I think any lawyer interested in law and the constitution would find it more than worth his time to find Professor Reynolds’ Commentary review of Bernstein’s book. Freedom of contract has been neglected lately. Sometimes rather obscure legal concepts can be very important in trying to recover a proper balance of individual, States, and Federal rights and powers. This is one of those legal points worth contemplating.

“The Lochner Ness Monster” a review by Glenn Reynolds. Commentary June 2011

View Week 681 Monday, June 27, 2011

View Week 681 Monday, June 27, 2011 – 1




Is Chris Wallace a Flake?


Fox News reporter Chris Wallace, who is certainly no liberal, decided that he would throw Michele Bachmann a softball. He has now apologized. He needs to rethink that.

The talk show host posted the video apology after his “Fox News Sunday” interview with the Minnesota congresswoman, who formally announced her presidential bid Monday in Iowa. Wallace said on the Fox show that Bachmann had a reputation in Washington for making questionable statements and asked her: “Are you a flake?” (link)

Instead of answering the questions, Bachmann chose to take umbrage, and she has collected a pot full of it. She insists the question is insulting, that she is a serious person, that Wallace has not groveled sufficiently and his apologies are not accepted. As for me, I’m not an experienced news interviewer, but I am an experienced political campaign manager, and I don’t see why it was an insulting question: Bachmann, like every politician on Earth, has said things in public that she would have said differently if she had the chance to do it over, and here she had a great opportunity to say something to that effect. It was a gold plated Mulligan, and Bachmann must have been having a bad day not to recognize that. Even had the question been asked in a hostile news interview and intended as an insult it would have been a great opportunity for Bachmann.

The question doesn’t make Chris Wallace a flake. I don’t watch a lot of political television, because I generally find that unrewarding. The ability to do political interviews and photo ops and such like is a necessary quality for holding high political office, particularly the Presidency. The office requires that one have the dignitas and gravitas to do national acts like awarding the Medal of Honor and delivering the equivalent of The King’s Speech, and that has to be shown during the campaign. The Brits have the descendents of the sons of the body of the Electress Sophia of Hannover to perform national functions, but in America that’s up to the President, and when the President lays the national wreath at Arlington on Memorial Day, we really don’t want to be reminded of the times when he paraded around in a toga during undergraduate days. Whatever else a President must not be, he – or she – cannot be a flake. Wallace could have been a bit more delicate in asking this, but he’s certainly not to be condemned for asking it.

Every political candidate is going to be asked to demonstrate that he/she is not a flake. Every former gaffe is going to be unexpectedly sprung , and at any point the candidate is going to be tasked at proving the absence of flakiness. It’s inevitable. Look at the endurance tests Sarah Palin was subjected to.


Is Sarah Palin a Flake?


Not in my judgment. She has been a Mayor, a Governor, a survivor of a national campaign, best selling author and survivor of several book signing tours – known in the trade as authors’ death marches – and a national political figure while holding her family together in a big public showroom. She has already shown that she has the dignitas to perform acts of national unity. We can argue about her other plusses and minuses, but she has already passed this test. Yes, she has said a few things she’d rephrase. I bet she’d have welcomed a chance at the Chris Wallace softball.


Is Michele Bachmann a Flake?


Until this morning I wouldn’t have given that any thought. Had I been her campaign manager (and understand that it has been a while since I was a successful campaign manager in campaigns for a Mayor and a Congressman) I would have warned her to be ready for that question – it was inevitable – and rehearsed both answers and reactions to the inevitable question. That’s the sort of thing campaign managers have either to do or to be sure someone else does. It’s a very important part of a campaign.

And that’s the problem for me: no, I don’t think Congressman Bachmann is a flake, but I do think she’s working at playing one on national TV; and I do think she was insufficiently prepared to begin a candidacy for President of the United States. She clearly chose the wrong campaign staff – any competent national campaign manager would know that she was going to be asked the question not once but many times. She clearly doesn’t yet see that Chris Wallace is not the enemy; if she thinks he was trying to insult her, wait until she gets the treatment from people who really don’t like her. Perhaps she could ask Sarah Palin what that feels like.

No, I don’t think Bachmann is a flake; but I do think she has insufficient experience in both executive office and in campaigning, and if she doesn’t grow up fast she has managed to end her campaign for President the day before it formally began.

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Note on Format

Note: I am experimenting with formats, and ways of presentation. I’m trying to get a template that works for VIEW, and a style – a way to present the day’s views as coherent thoughts, not some random string of thoughts in reverse order of their creation as this systems seems to encourage – and it’s taking me a while to evolve how to do it. I have one friend who says that if I keep this up I will manage to lose all my readers in a week. I have others who say I’m not doing so bad and it stays interesting, and a few who like the new system. Me, I’m still just trying to keep things going.

Suggestions welcome. What I need to do is stop thinking about presentation and use what’s left of my brain to think about what I’m writing, not how I am presenting it… We’ll get there. Please stay with it.

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Note on Apologies

Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS is famous for saying “Never apologize. It’s a sign of weakness.” I don’t know the actual origin of that homily but Dinozo could give Gibbs a pretty good lecture on its use in movies. To the best I can tell, it originally appears as said by Captain Brittles in stories by James Warner Bellah. Brittles is the captain of a one-troop post in the Old West. He’s the hero of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Captain Brittles can’t be promoted; he has earned the hostility of some senior Old Army brass, and he is doomed to stay out there on the frontier as a captain until eventually he succumbs, probably on the trail of savages – like the captain in Spanish Man’s Grave, also by Bellah, and possibly the best army western ever written.

Colonel Bellah – one time World War I pilot, then an air commando with the Chindits and Stillwell – wrote many of the scripts for John Wayne westerns, and Wayne, having read the line, wanted it for himself. He was fond of using it off camera. In A Thunder of Drums Richard Boone gets to use the phrase but as a different captain with a history similar to that of Brittles. Thunder of Drums was written long after Yellow Ribbon.

Dinozo could come up with a lot more lore about John Wayne and the James Warner Bellah novels. I was privileged to know Colonel Bellah – he invited me to call him Jim, but I never quite dared – and I was able to publish “Spanish Man’s Grave” in, of all things, a science fiction anthology called “There Will be War.” James Warner Bellah was as colorful as any of the myriad characters he created.

Colonel Bellah died of a heart attack during a visit to his friend James Francis Cardinal McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles. I’m sure he thought that appropriate.