Still Recovering; Musings; Remembering Arnold; Firefox and AdBlocker; and more

Chaos Manor View, Friday, March 18, 2016

“This is the most transparent administration in history.”

Barrack Obama

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.

Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.

Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.


I went to bed reasonably early, and slept through the night, woke up just before 8, didn’t need a Sudafed, went beck to bed and got up essentially just in time to be dressed by 10. Felt good enough to tell myself I was really recovering from my cold, but an hour or so later I knew better. Today was better than yesterday, and I’m pretty sure that tomorrow will be better still, and we’ll make church and brunch Sunday, but I have to take it easy. I still can’t work very long or indeed very well; which is a problem because there are parts of the book I’m doing with Niven and Barnes that I’m needed on, and I have a lot of work to do on the asteroid mining AI novel John DeChancie and I are working on, and it is about blooming time to finish the next Janissaries novel. All of them are whacking good stories and ought to sell well, which is just as well because I don’t work very fast since the stroke. I have to painstakingly correct half the words I type since I keep hitting two keys at once. It’s still faster than writing with a quill pen, as I keep telling myself.

And no, I wouldn’t be better off giving this place up, because I put in all the time I have energy for on fiction; alas, as I get older, I have less of that, but at least I can talk about scenes with my partners; that’s not as frustrating as having to correct every darned sentence so that I forget what the next sentence was going to be. I suspect I am going to have to change my work habits. Maybe it really is time to learn to dictate. Tough after all these years, of course.

I’ll have more on free trade when I can think better. Sand I haven’t forgotten education and how to resuscitate the public education system.


I wrote this in another conference in response to some comments about the former governor of California:

You misunderstand Arnold.

I first met him at an agency party (we had the same agent); he was then the strongest man in the world and that and Conan was all we knew about him. He was very pleasant, and by chance the next day he met my wife in Nieman Marcus — it was a pre-Christmas party, and she was shopping for a present for me, we just having made a big sale (may have been Hammer, it was that long ago). He spent half an hour helping her look.

I know other such stories, all true.

He ran for governor as a lark, and when he was elected he got a pretty damn good team together to draft some fundamental propositions and constitutional amendments. They were pretty damned good.

The campaign for governor didn’t get very bitter — most thought he was a joke and the pro’s didn’t bother spending any money smearing him.

But the long knives came out over those propositions. Nurses in uniform at rallies screaming curses at him although most of the health professionals I know thought his reforms were needed and good; but wow did the unions hate them. It was the same all over: organized labor in particular called him the Austrian Hitler. He hated it. It really hurt him — he has a thinner skin than you might imagine. It got uncomfortable at home, too, what with his wife being a Kennedy clanswoman.

So when his propositions failed, he said the hell with it. They want crony government and gemutlicheit they can have it. Never took the job seriously again.
I’m not excusing him; he took the job, and he didn’t resign when he lost interest in it. He spent the rest of his office years making nice with everybody. Sure he became a joke and knew it, but it was better than nurses in uniform screaming NAZI at him


I also wrote, in response to some remarks about Operation Paperclip which brought a number of German technical people to the USD after The War:

Did you ever meet any of the Paperclip people? I did. One worked for me, another was a consultant, and we all learned to respect Werner. They were Germans, but I never met a Nazi; certainly none who did not deny believing in Nazi ideals. I was Willi Ley’s successor as science editor of Galaxy; he left Germany early; but he was friends with a number of the Paperclip people who stayed. About half the Verein fur Raumshiffart stayed in Germany during the 30’s; many of the others came here and formed the American Rocket Society, and the Society for the Advancement of Space Travel. They welcomed the old VfR who came with Paperclip.

We learned a lot from them. Shouldn’t we have?


This morning’s mail opened with this:

New and improved ransomware. Swell

Eric Pobirs

Given all my frustrations I suspect that having to pay ransom for all my files would be a bit more than I could bear, and since I wasn’t being very creative this morning anyway, I decided I’d spend part of the day disarming that threat anyway. The only sure solution is backup files they can’t get out without they burn down my house, and actually even that wouldn’t do it if I do things right. The solution is to have three enormous off-line disk drives, and back up to each in rotation. One stays in the safe deposit box or a fireproof safe. The other two are in the house. They are put on line only when I am backing up to that particular drive, and it comes off line before I put another on. Then, periodically – ideally every week, but it’s more like every month – I burn an incremental update backup from the big RAID assembly Eric built and everything backs up to. That results in a fair number of disks nor; when I first started to save all my work, I could get just about everything I have ever written on one DVD, and actually if I confine myself to my own works I still can; but if I include all the Outlook pst files, it takes many.

It took about for hours to be sure I have everything redundantly backed up, but that wasn’t really time I could spend on anything else. I could read the new Robert Goldsborough Nero Wolfe prequel, in which Archie tells how he met Wolfe and came to work for him. It’s not bad; Goldsborough hasn’t got 19 year old Archie fresh from Ohio perfectly, but then that would be a very difficult task for anyone. Archie’s style changed over the years, and post-war Archie writes a lot better than Fer-de-lance Archie did – whether Rex Stout get better, or he planned it that way would be a good writing class discussion. But the Goldsborough book reads well. He seems to have forgotten that Saul Panzer was married in the early Depression era books, before Panzer became indispensable, and he’s too hard on the early Orrie Cather, but it’s a good read. If you liked the early Nero Wolfe stories, you’ll probably like this.


Rick Hellewell says:

Firefox and ad-blockers

I use Firefox (latest version), and have the settings set to block all popups (in about:preferences#content  – type in that in the URL bar), and don’t have a problem with popups.

I ignore all the ads.

I wouldn’t recommend his ‘I don’t use any other automatic updating’. IMHO, that is asking for trouble.


And in fact the hijacking of my system by Windows 10 seems to have also removed mu AdBlocker extensions to Firefox, which is why I didn’t get all those horrible popups on Alien Artifact before Windows 10, and also why I haven’t been getting them on Swan and Precious, which have always had AdBlocker going. I had to reinstall it – it’s easy – and I have no more problems. I don’t understand why anyone would pay for the popups I was getting; they’re unendurable, so the effect is to make you avoid the sites where they happen, especially if they actually take you to a new Tab and open a new site. Why would anyone ever go back to a site that did that to them? They can’t have any respect for their readers. And I had to correct every single word in that sentence. So I’m getting tired and I’ll have to close up shop soon.

Eric adds:

                Earlier today, Ace of Ace of Spades HQ ( ) was lamenting that he was at risk of having his site do something awful to one of his readers.

                This is why I run AdBlock. It is a thorny issue, in that I don’t want to deprive deserving sites of the ad revenue but the risk is just too great. These days, it looks to me that advertising feeds on web sites are the biggest source of malware infections. E-mail attachments are still a big one, too, of course.

Eric Pobirs

Considering that I grew up in a radio station announcer-salesman’s house (my father later became General Manager of WHBQ right after the War, starting as a commission only radio advertisement salesman in the early days of the Depression), I’ve got a healthy respect for advertisements and one’s duty towards the people who pay for your entertainment, but despite rumours we never put subliminal advertisements on the air.


Romney’s Trying To Help – Run Away!


I see Mitt Romney has endorsed Ted Cruz – but in what I fear is an amazingly damaging way. Tempted as I am to see deliberate GOPe perfidy here, it’s probably just more of the same utter GOPe cluelessness that disastrously lost 2012.

I’ll quote myself from a letter I wrote you in February of that year, when Romney and Gingrich were going at it hammer and tongs in the primaries:

“..Romney seems to only win so far (or effectively tie, in Iowa) by using negative ad barrages that depress Republican turnouts.”

and “This is at least assurance that Romney’s organization is competent at driving down opposition turnout, something that may well be a factor in the general election…” Only Romney wimped out in the general and treated Obama far more gently than he had his conservative primary opponents (making it abundantly clear who he saw as the real enemy.)

and “..will the beaten-down turnout among Romney’s Republican opponents linger? In Florida, that could lose the election.” There, and elsewhere, it did.

In other words, Romney not only planted the seeds of the current anti-GOPe revolt, he did it so clumsily that an amateur outsider could spot the problem (well, the immediate problem; I don’t pretend to have predicted how it would metastasize four years later) the winter before that election.

Today, Romney posted this on his Facebook page:

“The only path that remains to nominate a Republican rather than Mr. Trump is to have an open convention. At this stage, the only way we can reach an open convention is for Senator Cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining nominating elections as possible.”

“I like Governor John Kasich. I have campaigned with him. He has a solid record as governor. I would have voted for him in Ohio. But a vote for Governor Kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that Trumpism would prevail.”

“I will vote for Senator Cruz and I encourage others to do so as well, so that we can have an open convention and nominate a Republican.”

Is it just me, or might he just as well have said “vote for Cruz tactically, so we your self-appointed betters can then nominate yet another GOPe squish at the convention. We will subsequently be really surprised when once again you all stay home and we once again lose.”

Mitt, if you’re going to endorse Cruz, ENDORSE CRUZ, or shut the hell up.



I’m sure Romney thinks he is being best for the party, but his abysmal lack of understanding the voters is why Trump was able to get where he is. In a well-run party he would never have given a thought to running.


Peggy Noonan today

Every time I read an article like this, I think of Obama. Obama had no qualifications to be president and yet he was elected twice. Trump has successfully run large corporations and made money and payrolls. The problem with the political class is they really think they know best when in reality, the people who live in this country know best.

My 10 year old was studying last night for the name the states test. I got to looking at the map. There is a vast part of this country beyond the coasts!

Phil Tharp


I have always found Peggy worth listening too, but she has been in with the Republican Establishment for many years after she was first snubbed as a Reaganite by them. She gets Trump and his supporters better than most of the Washington Establishment.


Good American Thinker post

Gerald Turner


So Much For Transparency…

An article posted on MSN from the API… “US govt sets record for failures to find files when asked” (
WASHINGTON — When it comes to providing government records the public is asking to see, the Obama administration is having a hard time finding them.
In the final figures released during President Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. government set a record last year for the number of times federal employees told disappointed citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn’t find a single page of files requested under the Freedom of Information Act. In more than one in six cases, or 129,825 times, government searchers said they came up empty-handed, according to a new Associated Press analysis.
The FBI couldn’t find any records in 39 percent of cases, or 5,168 times. The Environmental Protection Agency regional office that oversees New York and New Jersey couldn’t find anything 58 percent of the time. U.S. Customs and Border Protection couldn’t find anything in 34 percent of cases.[snip]

Kevin L Keegan


How Does America “Reshore” Skills That Have Disappeared?



Roland Dobbins

Good question.


more reaping of the whirlwind

Charles Murray explaining fact vs. politics to Virginia Tech.

Phil Tharp

If you have not read this from Murray, you simply must. It’s important to follow the rules in social science or you get voodoo.


Subject: Search functions on modern computers

Jerry, the other day you quoted Eric Pobirs as saying, “The search function is designed to find, quickly, user files, not system or program files. This is how mature modern systems work. Much like the modern automobile owner doesn’t need to know much about how the stuff under the hood works. New cars are not nearly so friendly to tinkering as their ancestors but as consumer products are far more reliable and refined.”

I have to take issue with this. As you know, I run Fedora Linux on all of my computers. I use the Xfce Desktop Environment, but that’s not important here. From my point of view, and that of millions of other people around the world, Linux is a mature, modern system. I don’t know of any search function in Linux, either in a CLI or a GUI, that limits you to your own user-created (or downloaded) files. All of them allow you to search any directory you’re allowed to read, including those containing the system files owned by root. In fact, there’s a command, whereis, that will tell you exactly where any Linux command is located, and where the manual page for it is. There’s also the command which, that tells you which version of a command you get if you don’t specify the path. (This can be a help if you have a non-standard form of a command in a directory that’s either not on your path, or after the directory with the standard version.) If this is what Microsoft now considers a “mature modern system,” I’m very, very glad that I stopped using their products long ago, especially with their current attitude toward allowing users to decide if and when they’re going to “upgrade” to Windows 10.

Joe Zeff

True for those interested in the details and what’s under the hood. I just want to get my work done. I find I need Word and can use other Office tools, and they work; and they are often revised in response to security threats. I haven’t time to be a UNIX or Linux guru.







Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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