Saturday, July 10, 2004

anti-anti-vet demonstrations

Robert L. Jamieson of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a column about a parade announcer and people in the crowd abusing a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was carrying a Veterans For Bush sign, so this should be taken in context, but he was called "baby killer" and "murderer", just like the vets that came back from Vietnam.

A few weeks ago I started a post predicting that this sort of thing would make a comeback. I didn't post because I couldn't find some citations I needed. I started thinking about this when Daily Kos scorned the contractors killed in Fallujah. He said they deserved what they got because they were mercenaries. Yet somehow I doubted that Kos was really all that picky about who their employers where. I suspected that he simply feared to reveal his general contempt for US military personnel.

During that time period, Atrios said several times that he was really on the side of the troops because he wanted to bring them home, but he also wrote that he believed they were engaging in atrocities and cruelty over there.

It has become a commonplace in some Democrat circles that US servicemen are dupes. They are the underprivileged, the poor and stupid, who only join because they want an easy job or a college education. Even a couple of national Democrat politicians expressed views like this. The reason I never posted on this is because I couldn't find those quotes. I still can't, but now that Michael Moore has endorsed the idea in his enormously popular mockumentary I suppose I don't need any more evidence.

And then there was the reaction to Pat Tillman's death.

Apparently, many Democrats divide the military up into two camps, the poor, stupid, minority dupes, and the gung ho, white, patriotic warmongers. Clearly people in the second class deserved to be spit at and called baby killers. And for that matter, since all the US soldiers are committing horrible war crimes like at Abu Grahaib, the dupes don't ultimately deserve any better.

Combine this with the fact that many Democrat activists have fond memories of spitting on returning Vietnam vets, and you have the recipe for a return to the Vietnam nastiness. Until now, they have been kept in check by a feeling that swing voters would turn against them if they showed how they really feel. But over time the fringe elements will come to care less about politics and more about their own rage. Especially as the election nears and it becomes clear that John Kerry doesn't stand a chance.

If the left does start attacking vets then America needs to react better than we did after Vietnam. We need to organize counter protests. We need to be there to protect them because they were there to protect us.

genocide and Democrats

The Sudanese government has told the US to butt out of the genocide issue in Darfur. This is a direct consequence of the Democrat political strategy on the Iraq war. Their success in damaging Bush over it means that tinpot dictators around the world expect Bush to be gun-shy over military intervention.

The one-two punch of Afghanistan and Iraq could have served as a serious warning to murderous tyrants that their days may be numbered. There were signs that various dictators and oligarchies were thinking about mending their ways. But over time the Democrat political machine has ground the success into a political liability for Bush. And don't think that this has escaped any one's attention. Least of all those most concerned, the tyrants.

I started to write that this was an unintended consequence of their perfidy, but on reflection I'm not so sure it is. The people who have led this effort all tend to view American power as the problem. They may tut-tut over mass murder and genocide, but it doesn't get them all heated up like the fact of American influence.

For all the talking these people do about human rights, the only time they seem to get really exercised over it is when it is the US or Israel that is allegedly violating them. And if the group violating human rights is viciously opposed to the US or Israel, these Democrats can get downright forgiving.

It is obvious that to these people, ethics and human rights are only verbal weapons. They have no real concern for higher moral duties. The next time a Democrat gives an impassioned plea for the needs of the poor, or the elderly, or illegal immigrants, or minorities, or gays, or the chi-i-i-ildren, ask him what evidence there is that the Democratic party ever cared about any moral duties when it didn't get them money or votes.

UPDATE: read the comments. Tom Harrison makes some good points, all of which I should have made in the original post. I especially should comment on the predictable leftist response. They would, as Tom suggests, say that Bush blew his political capital by invading Iraq. This response is disingenuous because they themselves struggled so hard to make it so. It's like pushing someone off a cliff and then denying responsibility on the grounds that you told him to stay away from the edge and he ignored you. And in this case, he went to the edge to save someone else from being pushed off.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Go get 'em

Ann Coulter has an article on John Edward's legal career. The guy sounds just about as slimy as you expect a former amublance chaser to be.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

more starship residents

Here is another one of the races in the downed ET ship.

The builders are a polymorphic race, meaning that the individuals of the race come in many different shapes. Builders are strictly non-telepathic but they can be controlled by mentronic devices.

Builders hatch from enormous leathery eggs laid by the egg-layer. The egg-layer can consciously decide what kind of builders to lay eggs for, and even design new builders within limits. Most builder types cannot digest anything except a special food produced by a “mother”, a special type of builder. The mother is not only the food producer but the leader of a “family” of builders.

The builders are the “children” of the mother (technically, the builders are children of the egg-layer, but the translation devices are not aware of this technical distinction). Builders are actually asexual (except arguably for the egg-layers), although translation devices apply strict genders based on the builder type.

A clan consists of several families, each led by a single mother. Mothers cannot digest food until they are relatively mature, so they also depend on mothers when they are young (as do all builder types that can digest their own food when mature). A single builder community, called a “clan”, has several mothers. All of the mothers are daughters and granddaughters of a single mother called the “Clan Mother”.

All builders are intelligent, regardless of their size or shape, and all are individuals with their own interests and goals; a builder family is not a hive of mindless insects. However, builders do have a very strong loyalty to their family and clan, and to their personal friends, and it is extremely rare to have one act against the interests of his clan.

Builders are naturally adapted for mining and construction. They are sort of biological construction equipment. Before they were captured by the ETs, they used their skills to create huge buildings to house the colony. Now they use their skills to build ET ships.

There are three clans on board the downed invasion ship, a total of about two thousand builders. The clans have been designed to build ET ships. The three clan mothers are controlled by mentronic devices, but the other builders are not.

A few subcategories of builder are described below:

Mothers: A full-grown mother is about the size of a tank trunk and looks a bit like a twenty-legged hippo with an extra large mouth and a twenty to forty tentacles arranged in two rows down the sides of her body. She is able to move about thirty miles per hour when in a hurry, and likes to wander around to see what’s going on and to gossip with other builders. The mothers of a clan are the food producers. They can consume and digest almost any sort of organic material as well as many sorts of minerals. They produce a thick jelly-like substance which they feed to the other builders through their twenty to forty long hollow tentacles. The translation devices call this food substance “mom’s cooking”.

A builder mother is actually very motherly in an almost human way, and this is why the translation devices insist on translating the relationship as mother/child rather than leader/follower or food-producer/food-consumer. She worries about her children, scolds them when they misbehave, brags about them to other mothers when they do good. She nags them when they are not taking care of themselves, makes them feel guilty when they are not working hard enough, and generally controls the family through emotional coercion. Mothers are just as subject to this sort of control from their own mothers.

Egg-layer: The egg-layer is a builder that designs and produces other builders by laying leathery eggs about the size of large suitcase. The eggs are kept warm in the incubation room where they are watched by the egg-layer, the mother and nurses --another sort of builder. The egg-layer is able to design her offspring within certain limits by deciding what sort of eggs she wants to lay, although the decisions are usually made by the mother. Reproduction is asexual, no males required.

Trucker: a trucker is a huge beast larger than a large truck with a lizard-like body and the face of a big-eared 4-eyed beagle. It has eight to sixteen massive legs and a hollowed out back capable of carrying enormous loads of rock or other materials at speeds of close to sixty miles per hour. A trucker has a prehensile tails and huge dexterous floppy ears that they can use to help hold the cargo on their backs. Truckers love to run and to show off the size of the loads they can carry.

Loader: a loader looks something like a huge pig standing from 8 to 15 feet at the shoulder. It has a wide pig-like snout with enormous tusks. The tusks can be used like a fork lift or turned around in the jaw to dig. A loader has ears and a tail like a trucker for carrying things on its flattened back. I also has a huge prehensile tongue that is used for pulling things onto the tusks or to help in loading. Loaders love to root around in piles of rubble looking for treasures to load onto their appreciative trucker siblings. They have a tendency toward practical jokes.

Miner: a miner is a long heavily armored centipede-like creature with 16 to 50 legs and a head like a buck-tooth crocodile. The front teeth stick out and intertwine like the fingers of folded hands. They are hard enough to dig through most kinds of rock, and the miner’s neck is strong enough to drive them. A miner can even vibrate its head at high speed like an enormous jack hammer. The digger’s legs alternate from spike-footed to spade-footed to pincer-footed and are used to help in digging as well as for locomotion. Miners have unbelievably strong legs. They enjoy showing off by crushing rocks with their pincers. A miner can smell metal ores deep underground and use echo sounding to investigate the ground underneath them.

Maker: makers come in many different sizes, from the size of a single bed to the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. They are generally about the same shape as a bed or an Olympic pool and have the ability to eat various materials and produce useful goods. For example they eat metal ores and produce metal girders, fasteners, sheets, or some other useful building material. Or they eat sand and produce glass and ceramic goods. Some makers are very versatile and they compete on the quality of the goods they can produce. They also compete for the attentions of loaders since the maker with the best loaders gets the best raw materials.

Guardian: guardians are the protectors of the clan. Miners, loaders and truckers are all capable fighters but they have other responsibilities. The guardian is a special class whose only responsibility is the clan’s safety. A builder guardian is about the size of an elephant. It looks something like an enormous eight-legged bear. Each leg is equipped with enormous claws that are hard enough to rip through about anything. A guardian is unbelievably strong and quick. A builder guardian could run down and tear apart an armored personnel carrier in a matter of seconds. The guardians like to spend their time exploring the area around the working clan, looking for trouble and nice-smelling flowers.

Scouts: scouts are similar to guardians but much smaller and less friendly. They are designed to explore large areas on their own, so they are not as dependent on socializing as most builders. Scouts are some of the few builders who can digest other foods besides mom’s cooking, and in fact they can digest almost any organic material. A scout can go for weeks without eating, sleeping or drinking. Scouts have chameleon powers that would put a chameleon to shame, and when they are standing still and trying to blend they are almost impossible to see from a distance. They also have extraordinary senses including night vision, telescopic sight, hyper-sensitive hearing, sonar, detection of radio signals, infra-vision, X-ray sense, and an acute sense of smell.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

veeps, Condi, and language-learning skills

Instapundit makes a prediction:
Bush will drop Cheney from the ticket, and replace him with someone more exciting, and with less baggage -- think John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell, or, my favorite, Condi Rice.
The depressing thing about this list is that there isn't one real conservative on it. The only one on the list that wouldn't actually hurt Bush with conservatives is Condi Rice, and she's marginal. Can Bush afford to alienate his base even further, picking a VP that appeals to a center that his opponent is abandoning anyway?

Of course Condi has a big problem as the VP pick --the verbal slip where she referred to Bush as "my husband". The Democrat-controlled press will make a huge scandal out of this if she is selected as the VP candidate. It's ironic because what that verbal slip really shows is how close Condi is with Mrs. Bush.

Freudian slips --verbal errors that reveal hidden thoughts-- are extremely rare in real life (as opposed to sitcoms). Copycat slips are far more common. We continue learning language our whole life. This is largely an unconscious process. We hear an interesting turn of phrase, and the next time we need to say something similar, that turn of phrase just pops out of our mouth with no conscious thought. Or, we hear constant repetition of a certain phrase in a certain context, and find ourselves using the same phrase without knowing it. You can see this when a kid accidentally uses profanity in front of his mother because he hears his father using it all the time. He knew better, but it just popped out of his speech production center without thought. You can see it when a kid accidentally calls his friend's mother "mom". He hears his friend calling her that, and it lodges somewhere inside his head. You can hear it when a California Vice Governor uses the n-word by accident. He knew better, but he hangs around with people who use the word and it caught him up.

This is likely what happened to Condoleezza Rice. She spends a lot of time with Laura Bush. Laura Bush calls George "my husband" frequently. It got lodged in Condi's speech production center and slipped out at the wrong time. Yes, it's a clue to an unconscious process, but not to Condi's fantasy life. It's just a minor malfunction of our normal language-learning process.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Bush and women

Today I had an interesting discussion with a woman who voted for Bush. She doesn't think she can vote for him again because she thinks he hates women and mistreats them. I couldn't get a good reason from her for thinking this, but I didn't want to pry too hard. Basically, I think the reason is that she lives in San Francisco and has been subjected to four years of lying propaganda against him. It's finally taken its toll.

I wonder if whoever has been feeding her this propaganda thinks that Bill Clinton hates women and mistreats them?

Monday, July 05, 2004

Independence Day -- the sequel

Jonah Goldberg wants to know why there was never a sequel to the movie Independence Day. This reminded me that there was a sequel, only it was in the form of a role-playing game and only four people were involved. I ran a game shortly after the film that dealt with the aftermath of the movie. The ship wasn't destroyed, just badly damaged. The president had to send someone to investigate the ship and (as it turned out) stop the evil ETs from repairing it and destroying the entire planet.

I wrote up quite a bit of the game background, including the ET technology and several alien races. It was one of the most interesting RPG setting I've ever seen, if I do say so myself. My interpretation of Independence Day explains what the ETs wanted, why the armor seems to be part of the creature, why the captured ET didn't use it's telepathy more effectively, how an Apple computer was able to communicate with the ET computers, why the ET computers were so vulnerable to a virus, and why the ET aircraft couldn't lock on to the slower jet fighters and hit them with a shot.

I've been reading through the stuff I wrote and I've decided to clean it up and post it. I don't know if I'll put it on my web site or break it up and put it here on the blog. Here's a sample. There were lots of alien species in the big ship, and one of them was a Kraken:


The kraken are a race of huge deep-sea creatures about the size of a small house. They have a shell that looks similar to that of a nautilus. The kraken’s two meter long beak extends from the opening of the shell, surrounded by a bunch of thick two-to-three meter tentacles looking like whiskers. There are several different kinds of whisker tentacles, most having some sort of manipulation or sensory organ at the tip. At the top and at each side are the bases of three much larger tentacles, each about forty meters long. At the bottom is the base of a large foot that attaches to the ocean floor.

The foot contains an organ that is able to send complex ultrasound signals into the ocean floor and pick up such signals. These signals travel very long distances under the ocean, allowing kraken to communicate with other kraken hundreds of miles away. Kraken are very social in the sense that they communicate and form societies, but they are very solitary in that they seldom come into physical contact. When two kraken do come into physical contact, one of them is likely to get eaten.

Kraken reproduce like many earth sea creatures without ever coming into physical contact. They use the water to spread their sperm and eggs. A baby kraken hatches somewhere near the ocean surface and lives and grows without the benefit of a parent. Eventually the shell becomes too heavy to float and the mature young kraken sinks to the depths where he first discovers the society of other kraken communicating through the ocean floor.

The young kraken quickly learns to speak and begins to develop social relationships. Because of this development cycle, kraken view other kraken, not as creatures like himself, but as bodiless voices in the darkness. The kraken even tends to view his own body as an entity separate from himself, one that his mind just happens to live in, as his body just happens to live in its shell.

A kraken calls his physical body “the beast” and takes little responsibility for its actions. The beast pretty much cares of itself without the active attention of the kraken’s intelligent mind which is usually paying no attention. The mind is always “off somewhere” involved in social interaction or deep introspection.

Kraken cannot communicate directly but only through the ocean floor. They have no senses to tell where the communication is coming from or from how far away. Because of this, it is possible for two kraken who are best friends to meet and fight, one killing and eating the other and the victor never even noticing the event. The two kraken may well have been communicating during the struggle and the only thing the victor might notice is that his friend shows some distress and then quits talking forever.

Kerry missing the mark

Here's a picture of John Kerry (via Daimnation) after he misses a clay bird while trap shooting. The caption doesn't tell us what he's saying but I think he's yelling at someone on his security detail.

Probably calling the guy an SOB for making him miss.

Just a guess.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

home-grown terrorists

FrontPageMag has a frightening article about the recruitment and training of American "peace activists" for the Palestinian cause. Right here in the San Francisco Bay area. The author actually attended a training session and has pictures of some of the people. Some choice bits

She offered to provide us with the names and numbers of leftists in Israel who would say they knew us.

“If the border guards become suspicious, an Israeli contact will be set up to lie and say you are visiting them,” Mary summarized.
When one of the trainees asked if we as ISM volunteers favored a two-state solution to secure peace, Brian Malovany, another senior trainer from Oakland who had just joined us explained, “The idea of a two-state solution is pretty much dead.” This was an interesting dismissal of all the peace plans ever proposed by the United Nations, the United States, or the official negotiating parties of the Palestinians themselves. “There can only be one state called Palestine,” explained Molvany echoing the line of Hamas and other terrorist organizations. “And the Right of Return is non-negotiable. If people ask you about a two-state solution just tell them it’s a human rights issue.
LaRudee also provided this whopper for “queer activists” who want to go on the Freedom Summer 2004 tour: “Palestinian society is as diverse in attitudes about gender and sexuality as is U.S. society.” In fact, over 100 homosexuals who had lived under the Palestine Authority recently took refuge in Israel for fear of being killed.

Apparently the ISM doesn’t care what they say as long as they get anyone over there to make trouble and risk their lives for the cause. Now I understood the recruitment of Meredith. To these radicals the strategy is to tie any cause, any idea, any gender, environmental or social issue to the destruction of Israel.
Isn't this stuff illegal? Plotting to commit crimes in a friendly foreign country? It should be a crime against humanity too, conspiring to aid terrorists who attack civilians. Think the World Court is a threat to these people? Noooo the World Court isn't going to be political, it's just going to catch bad people. Who ever would think all those Arab dictators with all that money would even try to influence a World Court? How cynical can you get?

cheap dates

When you are sitting in an empty room and find yourself laughing out loud, something was really funny. From Back of the Envelope

I figure I might reasonably expect to sell 10 copies of each part, which, after giving Amazon its cut, should be enough for dinner and a movie for myself and a date.
This sounds wrong to me and I start to do the calculation in my head. I'm even thinking I may have to send an email to Donald asking if he takes his dates to 7/11 for dinner. Then I see the next sentence:
Assuming my date pays her own way.
There was something about being caught in mid-calculation like that. If I'd been drinking soda it would have been a nose squirter.

I hope he gets enough readers to pay for the date too. Women may say they don't mind going dutch, but I've always suspected that's like a man saying he doesn't care about breast size. It's true when he says it, but if the woman ignores him and gets, uh, ehnanced, anyway, he'll probably really like it.

the secret of happiness

I've been thinking about expanding my blog role because some sites give handshaking links and it could boost traffic to my site. The problem is that I try to read every single post on the blogs I link to, and I only have so much reading time. I'd have to give up my compulsive need to know everything that's going on in my blog roll and I'm not sure I can deal with that.

Anyway, it's not that important to increase my blog traffic. As I said in a previous post, I no longer have unreasonable expectations. La Shawn gave some great advice for how to increase your blog readership and I could try to do all of that. Maybe some day I will. But the truth is that having a large readership was never really a goal of mine, just an expectation. It's like eating a homemade tamale and not finding an olive in it. It's not like the goal of eating the tamale was to get to the olive, but you did expect one, and it's a little disappointing when you don't get it.

On the other hand, if you aren't expecting the traditional Mexican sadist special, you may be chewing happily on soft maza and chicken until you bite down hard on an olive pit and have to spit the pit out along with parts of your teeth. If I tried, I probably could extend the analogy here, but I'm not sure it's entirely worth the effort.

So where was I? Oh yeah. The point being that when I discuss minor disappointments or mention that I'm not good at self promotion or do other things that may seem like whining and complaining, I don't (usually) mean them that way. I'm extremely analytical and introspective. I mean wa-a-a-ay at the end of the curve. So the analysis of my blog progress and my personal skills seems quite impersonal to me. If I did feel deeply unhappy about it, I would keep it to myself. Girlfriends hate that, but I don't imagine blog readers will mind.

Some people have dreams. I have affectations. I tried to learn to play blues harp (harmonica in blues style). I was technically successful (meaning I can bend notes pretty well), but I'll never be a real musician. For some people this would be the end of their world. For me it's a curiosity. Something I'm not naturally good at? Who'd uh thunk?

Anyway, it's all about expectations. I never expected to become a great blues musician. If I had, I would have been slightly disappointed just like I was with the blog. But I would probably have responded the same way: "Oh well, I guess I was being unrealistic." That's the secret of happiness you know --expect nothing. Then you will never be disappointed.

Cajun (bloggers, not food)

Hey, I just followed Mostly Cajun's comment below to his blog and it's really good. I'd seen the name before but never followed the link because I wasn't interested in a food blog. Love Cajun food. Not interested in a food blog. It turns out the blog isn't about food. Go figure.

Anyway, I've added him to my list of Good Guys.