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  • Archive for July, 2009

    Petition Against Health Care Legislation

    Posted by leifsmith on 21st July 2009 (All posts by )

    I’ve been sending this to friends, many of whom voted for Obama.

    If you do a bit of research on what the health legislation actually contains, I think you may decide you don’t want it. This is a good time to pay attention. We are being fooled.

    1) We will not be able to keep plans of our own choice;
    2) We will pay more;
    3) Quality will decrease.

    This legislation will end the potential to fix problems through entrepreneur and customer driven market process.

    A starting point:

    I’ve signed this and I hope you will too:

    Posted in Politics | 12 Comments »

    Weird Colorado

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 20th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Here are some other oddball sights… in the upper left – EVERYTHING apparently costs more in Aspen – even their water (poor Boulder, CO). In the upper right – aliens have commandeered the house out in the sticks outside Crested Butte – although I’ll bet that alien is disguised as a dirty hippie in there if you look really close. In the middle left – the “Love Shack” is right in down town Crested Butte and it even has a web site right here; might be fun some time (and well located). I don’t know exactly what the “pig truck” is trying to accomplish in Leadville, but am mildly amused by the handicapped sticker on this monster(ish) truck. On the lower left – they are very particular about their altitude in Leadville, noting that it is TWO miles high as far as liquor goes (the mile high baseball field in Denver has a line in the upper deck indicating their mere one mile status). And finally, in the lower left, that species known as the coug*r (don’t want the traffic) await Kevin Costner’s band in Aspen… I didn’t even know he played (hasn’t had a movie hit in a long time).

    Cross posted in LITGM

    Posted in Humor | Comments Off on Weird Colorado

    “…their total inability to admit the possibility of a social order which is not made by political design”

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 20th July 2009 (All posts by )

    In Britain and among the English-speaking peoples … Locke’s ideas were simply combined with the old English tradition of limited government. Rather than a project for a new society and a new morality, the English revolution of 1688 and, to a lesser extent, the American revolution of 1776 were basically, though not only, a reassertion of the rights of free Englishman to live their lives as they used to live them before—under the common protection of the laws of the land. In other words, what we now call liberal democracy has emerged in the Anglosphere as a natural outgrowth of existing, law-abiding and moral-abiding ways of life. For this reason, liberal democracy among the English speaking peoples has been naturally associated with an ethos of duty—which, as Burke pointed out, is not and should not be deduced from will. For this reason, too, liberal democracy in the Anglosphere has been tremendously stable. And the English-speaking peoples have always been the first to rise in defence of their cherished liberties—their way of life.
    In continental Europe, by contrast, the idea of liberty has tended to be understood as an adversarial project: adversarial to all existing ways of life simply because, in a sense, they were already there; because they had not been designed by ‘Reason’. This has generated a lasting instability in European politics. This adversarial attitude, combined with a widespread disregard for limited government, has led European politics to be recurrently dominated by two absolutist poles: revolutionary liberals and later revolutionary socialists, on the one hand, and counter-revolutionary conservatives, on the other. They both have aimed at using government without limits to push forward their particular, and usually sectarian, agendas. Their clash—the clash between the so-called liberal project and traditional ways of life—has been at the root of the historical weakness of European liberal democracy, when compared with liberal democracy among the English speaking peoples. This weakness also explains why, differently from the English-speaking peoples, continental Europeans are not usually the first to rise in defence of our liberties when our liberties become at risk.

    João Carlos Espada, Edmund Burke and the Anglo-American Tradition of Liberty (2006)

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Civil Society, Europe, France, History, Political Philosophy, Quotations, Society, USA | 4 Comments »

    These Job Makers are Going, Boys, and They Ain’t Coming Back

    Posted by Shannon Love on 20th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Now main streets whitewashed windows and vacant stores

    Seems like there aint nobody wants to come down here no more

    They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks

    Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back to

    Your hometown, your hometown, your hometown, your hometown

    — Bruce Springsteen and E-Street Band, Your Hometown

    Obama in Michigan

    “The hard truth is that some of the jobs that have been lost in the auto industry and elsewhere won’t be coming back,” he said in a speech at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich. “They are the casualties of a changing economy. And that only underscores the importance of generating new businesses and industries to replace the ones we’ve lost, and of preparing our workers to fill jobs they create.
    He added, “For even before this recession hit, we were faced with an economy that was simply not creating or sustaining enough new, well-paying jobs.”
    But some economists believe Obama is training people for failure.

    Well, perhaps training people for his failure. The real problem is that neither Obama nor The Bruce understands what jobs really are.

    We talk about jobs as if they are physical objects. We find jobs. We lose them. We trade them. We save them. We export them by shipping them overseas. Occasionally, we believe they are stolen. Metaphors are common in language and usually harmless, but sometimes we seem to forget that they are metaphors. This in turn causes us to misunderstand the phenomenom under discussion.

    In the case of jobs, the metaphor stops us from asking what physical event actually occurs when jobs “go away” and “don’t come back.” Examining this metaphor tells us something that is very important and ignored in most political discussions.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Leftism, Political Philosophy | 35 Comments »

    Stimulus Bungle

    Posted by Shannon Love on 20th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Government as a real-world institution makes very poor decisions overall. Many people buy into the myth that individuals in government who are driven by a greed for power make better decisions than do people outside of government who act from other motives. A Fox News analysis [h/t Instapundit] provides profound evidence this is not the case.

    Comparisons between foundering California and prospering Texas are all the rage now because the differences are quite stark. Now matter what area you examine, California is hurting badly. The state was Ground Zero for the housing bust. Unemployment is exploding and people are leaving the state in droves. Texas, by contrast, escaped the housing bust, has a balanced budget, a growing manufacturing sector and low unemployment compared to most places.

    Clearly, California needs more help than Texas. (What form that help should take is another discussion.)

    Look at this Wall Street Journal table (scroll down) that breaks down the per capita stimulus spending for each state. Compare California and Texas. Texas get more money per capita from the stimulus in virtually every single category, sometimes by quite a lot. When California does get more per capita it’s not by much. When you factor in Texas’s significantly lower cost of living, the comparison looks even worse.

    How did the political system crank out such a perverse result? It can’t be political pull. The Texas federal delegation is overwhelmingly Republican and therefore locked out of the stimulus distribution. Texas has even less pull with the Obama White House. As previously noted, Obama routed money preferentially to areas that supported him, which in the main Texas did not.

    In a time of perceived national emergency and one-party rule, fans of government decisionmaking would predict that government would make even better decisions than usual, but, unsurprisingly to the rest of us, in the bizarre sausage-making nightmare of the federal political system, Texas came out with more money per capita than California. If the political system worked as well as it does in the fantasies of leftists, all of the money that went to Texas would have gone to California instead. Even those of us who believe the stimulus foolish nevertheless believe that we should at least spend the money on the people hurting.

    The guy with the surfboard needs the help not the guy with the Waverider. Why couldn’t the real-world federal political process figure that out?


    Posted in Economics & Finance, Leftism, Political Philosophy | 9 Comments »

    Cool Retrotech

    Posted by David Foster on 20th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Here’s an interesting piece about the Apollo guidance computer, which played an important role in the moon-landing mission. The computer’s read-only memory, which stored the program and various constant data, was a “rope memory,” woven by women working at a factory near Boston. The pattern of the weave determined the “ones” and “zeros” of the permanantly-stored data. (via Isegoria)

    Among the strange people who assert that the moon landing was a fake, one of the arguments used is that computers in 1969 lacked the computational capacity to guide such a mission. This ignores the fact that the guidance problem for intercontinental ballistic missiles is similar to that for space flight–do they also believe that the American and Soviet missile fleets were make-believe?

    It is interesting, though, to compare the AGC with present-day computers. The AGC clock speed was about 2MHZ…around 500 to 1000 times slower than that of the computer on which you are probably reading this. The computer’s RAM was 2000 words, or 4000 bytes (that’s bytes, not kilobytes or megabytes) and the rope-memory ROM was 36KW, or 72KB.

    And here’s a guy who built his own working replica of the AGC.

    Posted in Science, Tech | 4 Comments »

    Forty Years Ago Today

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 20th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Apollo 11 patch

    See also Alan Henderson’s retrospective.

    Posted in History, Science, Space | 1 Comment »

    “A Parliament of Clocks” Bumped

    Posted by Shannon Love on 19th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Ed Driscoll was kind enough to quote me extensively in his Pajamas Media article on Walter Cronkite [h/t Instapundit] and to link to Chicagoboyz. He especially liked my Parliament of Clocks post, so I thought I would post a link to it at the top of the blog so people could find it easily.

    A Parliament of Clocks

    Posted in Announcements | Comments Off on “A Parliament of Clocks” Bumped

    Texas and London

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 19th July 2009 (All posts by )

    I am a subscriber and a regular reader of the Economist despite their maddening tendency to recommend US presidential candidates that are left-leaning. The Economist is very useful on business and international issues and their US focused articles sometimes have a candor and simplicity that is lacking elsewhere.

    A recent cover story titled “America’s Future – California v. Texas” described the falling fortunes of virtually bankrupt and high-tax California against the high flying economy of Texas. In typical Economist style, there is a one-page editorial type summary of the article in the front of the magazine and then two special sections on California and Texas, respectively.

    One critical element of the story, however, is mentioned nowhere in The Economist’s article – that is of personal freedom vs. state control.

    London, as anyone who has visited recently will tell you, is completely blanketed with security cameras. Virtually the entire city is under surveillance. At the same time, London has completely disarmed its residents of any firearms. Even the police, for the most part, are unarmed (although they do have heavily armed police at the airport and on call for other types of engagements). And building anything in London is difficult and slow, with myriad restrictions; notably they limit the heights of buildings and also require extensive open spaces outside the cities. London also has a famous congestion tax, which hits all drivers who enter the city limits and is managed through a vast system of security cameras, as well.

    It isn’t fair to say that everyone in London is behind all of this; but these facts are generally accepted by the populace and aren’t likely to be changed any time soon.

    The Economist basically reflects many of these views; they support free markets but with a huge dosage of state control. They have limited use for other types of freedom, such as the right to bear arms, or to live your life in private, or to drive where you please without paying inordinate taxes.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Business, Economics & Finance | 27 Comments »

    Camp Hale, Colorado

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 19th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Recently I was in Colorado and drove past what was “Camp Hale”, which is where the US 10th Mountain division trained during WW2. There are a few nice historical signs on the site for those that don’t know the history of this division, which fought in Alaska (when it landed on an island recently evacuated by the Japanese) and Italy during WW2. Here is an excellent chronology of the division in WW2. On page 30 of that PDF, you can see the casualty figures for the 10th Mountain Division – over 25% of the division’s men (including replacements) became casualties during the late 1944-early 1945 battles in Italy.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Military Affairs, Personal Narrative, USA | 2 Comments »

    Who’s Left?

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 18th July 2009 (All posts by )

    The headline reads “Obama losing some support among nervous Dems”. Fair enough, but I found the following paragraph to be very interesting.

    “In Missouri, which Obama narrowly lost to McCain, Democratic strategist Steve Glorioso said hardcore base voters were as enthusiastic as ever for Obama but that there was a sense of disappointment about him among less committed Democrats and independents.”

    So the dyed-in-the-wool Dems are still rah-rah-rah for their guy, but the shine has worn off for independents and “less committed” Democrats.

    Look at it like this. True Conservatives will always balk at Obama because of his statist policies. Those who drank the Liberal kool-aide will always love their guy no matter what.

    That means the phrase “less committed Democrats and independents” actually refers to just about everyone who might change their minds. Right?

    (Hat tip to Glenn.)

    Posted in Leftism, Politics, Polls | 5 Comments »

    Looks Like Rain

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th July 2009 (All posts by )

    save energy with a chicagoboyz home lightning harvester

    (This and other new photos are at my photoblog.)

    Posted in Photos | 5 Comments »

    Leszek Kołakowski (October 23, 1927 – July 17, 2009)

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 17th July 2009 (All posts by )

    A bit of a Chicago Boy, as it turns out. Thanks to Pejman for the tip. Requiescat in pace.

    Posted in Academia, Arts & Letters, Chicagoania, Christianity, Civil Society, History, Morality and Philosphy, Obits, Political Philosophy | 6 Comments »

    Their Fear Tells Us a Lot

    Posted by Shannon Love on 17th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Apparently, for some people, there is nothing more terrifying than a couple of dozen frumpy, middle aged, middle-class white people. [h/t Instapundit]

    Honestly, they called the cops on these people? What did they think, that a church’s ice cream social had got out early and now the participants were roaming the streets in a sugar and milk-fat induced frenzy seeking to drink the blood of leftists?

    I make a point of the protesters being white because it feeds into the same perception that I touched on in the Neo-Nazi Boogyman. A lot of leftists have heaped abuse on various tea party protesters as being racist and violent based on no other criterion than that they were non-leftist whites. Clearly, these people have wildly exaggerated, hysterical fears of politically active non-leftist white people, and they lump all of these ordinary people in with the racist, left leaning, white-supremacist micro-minority.

    Somehow, I don’t think that if a bus load of leftist, African-American protesters showed up that the first response of the staff members would be to close the blinds, lock the doors and call the cops. Even though I know absolutely nothing about Senator McCaskill, this little incident tells me a lot about how the people in the Senator’s office, and therefore the Senator herself, view their fellow citizens.

    [update (2009-7-22 5:21pm): The local Charlottesville paper reports that a neighboring business called the cops not the Senators office. However, that doesn’t get them off the hook for locking the doors and closing the blinds.[h/t Dem Bones who seems to think that makes everything all right.]]

    Posted in Leftism, Politics, Society | 37 Comments »

    An Island People in a Sea of Humanity

    Posted by Shannon Love on 17th July 2009 (All posts by )

    This Forbes article talks about China being an empire, i.e., a polity composed of many different ethnic groups but trying to behave as a nation, i.e., a polity based around a single ethnic group. [h/t Instapundit] This reminded me of a mock map at the very interesting blog Strange Maps.

    The map below combines the distribution of China’s ethnic Han population (the people we think of as Chinese) with China’s geographic isolation to produce an image of the Han inhabiting an island surrounded by a sea of non-Han peoples.


    This post accompanying the map makes several very good points:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in China, Europe | 14 Comments »

    An Example For Others

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 17th July 2009 (All posts by )

    CNN has announced that they will not renew the contract for reporter Susan Roesgen. (Details here and here.)

    Ms. Roesgen became nationally famous after she vigorously argued, on air, with Chicago TEA Party protesters she was in the process of interviewing. She characterized the protests as…

    “… anti-government, anti-CNN since this is highly promoted by the right-wing conservative network Fox.”

    But it was her smug, superior exchanges with other protesters that really got people riled. Lucky thing Founding Bloggers were there to catch it all on tape.

    I wrote to CNN after the story broke, pointing out that Fox had actually fired veteran, award-winning reporter Rebecca Aguilar after the badgering she was giving to a 70-year-old man caused him to break down into tears during an interview. At the time, I openly wondered if Fox was going to prove to be the more ethical cable news channel. With Ms. Roesgen’s firing, CNN has proven that they can at least rise to the same standard set by so-called Conservatives if they strive mightily.

    Of course, Fox is being sued by Ms. Aguilar, who claims that the firing was based on racial prejudice. This is not something CNN has to worry about, as Ms. Roesgen is not a racial minority, so they certainly aren’t at much risk. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that CNN has finally done the right thing.

    (Hat tip to Glenn.)

    Posted in Blogging, The Press | 19 Comments »

    Apollo 11, launched July 16, 1969

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 16th July 2009 (All posts by )

    [The launch] began with a large patch of bright, yellow-orange flame shooting sideways from under the base of the rocket. It looked like a normal kind of flame and I felt an instant’s shock of anxiety, as if this were a building on fire. In the next instant the flame and the rocket were hidden by such a sweep of dark red fire that the anxiety vanished: this was not part of any normal experience and could not be integrated with anything. The dark red fire parted into two gigantic wings, as if a hydrant were shooting streams of fire outward and up, toward the zenith—and between the two wings, against a pitch-black sky, the rocket rose slowly, so slowly that it seemed to hang still in the air, a pale cylinder with a blinding oval of white light at the bottom, like an upturned candle with its flame directed at the earth. Then I became aware that this was happening in total silence, because I heard the cries of birds winging frantically away from the flames. The rocket was rising faster, slanting a little, its tense white flame leaving a long, thin spiral of bluish smoke behind it. It had risen into the open blue sky, and the dark red fire had turned into enormous billows of brown smoke, when the sound reached us: it was a long, violent crack, not a rolling sound, but specifically a cracking, grinding sound, as if space were breaking apart, but it seemed irrelevant and unimportant, because it was a sound from the past and the rocket was long since speeding safely out of its reach—though it was strange to realize that only a few seconds had passed. I found myself waving to the rocket involuntarily, I heard people applauding and joined them, grasping our common motive; it was impossible to watch passively, one had to express, by some physical action, a feeling that was not triumph, but more: the feeling that that white object’s unobstructed streak of motion was the only thing that mattered in the universe.
    What we had seen, in naked essentials — but in reality, not in a work of art — was the concretized abstraction of man’s greatness.
    That we had seen a demonstration of man at his best, no one could doubt — this was the cause of the event’s attraction and of the stunned numbed state in which it left us. And no one could doubt that we had seen an achievement of man in his capacity as a rational being — an achievement of reason, of logic, of mathematics, of total dedication to the absolutism of reality.

    Ayn Rand


    I watched the launch sitting on my father’s lap, on the couch in my parents’ house, on a black and white TV. I can recall it clearly.

    It was dangerous. Nixon was prepared for the death of the astronauts.

    (My mother is a Jacksonian. She has always said that if she had been in Neil Armstrong’s place, she would have claimed the moon for the USA and been court martialled when she got home.)

    The America that launched Apollo was in many ways different and better than the America of today. But “the absolutism of reality” remains as it was, is and ever will be. What matters is what we do in response to it, today, now, and going forward.

    Posted in History, Space, Tech, USA | 4 Comments »

    Nerf Herder: Sorry (1996)

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 15th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Posted in Music, Video | 2 Comments »

    Darrell Powers, 1923-2009, American Soldier

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 15th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Darrell “Shifty” Powers died on June 17.

    He was in the 101 Airborne Division. He parachuted into Normandy and Holland. He fought the Germans. He lived to tell the tale.

    What follows has been circulating as an email. I ask you to pray for the repose of his soul, and for his family.


    We’re hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services.

    I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell “Shifty” Powers.

    Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in France, Germany, History, Military Affairs, Obits, Society, USA, War and Peace | 8 Comments »

    Mindless Verbal Taylorism

    Posted by David Foster on 15th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Four customer service stories:

    1)Telephoning a restaurant. Call a restaurant on the phone–to make a reservation, check on the specials, whatever..and you will likely hear something like this:

    Thank you for calling Snarfer’s Steakhouse, where the elite meet to eat. My name is Tiffany…how may I be of assistance to you today?

    You can bet Tiffany didn’t come up with this string of words herself. She has been told exactly what to say, has to say it 100 times a day, and is so tired of saying it that she often slurs the words together:


    Often, the message is so slurred and incomprehensible that I’m not sure I’ve called the right number, resulting in a question:

    Is this Snarfer’s Steakhouse?

    This kind of thing originated with chain restaurants but can now often be found at many independent restaurants as well.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Civil Society, Customer Service, Management | 23 Comments »


    Posted by Shannon Love on 15th July 2009 (All posts by )



    From xkcd

    We all seem possessed by the fear we are not special. We cannot emotionally tolerate that each of us apprehends only a tiny piece of reality. We create a fantasy in which whatever special piece of knowledge we believe we possess grants us a superior understanding as compared to all others. This fantasy lets us view ourselves as deserving a higher status in society than all others. 

    Some people build political ideologies around this fantasy. 

    Posted in Leftism, Morality and Philosphy, Political Philosophy | 14 Comments »

    Our Enemies Use Our Own Adherence to Law Against Us — But We Knew That

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 14th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Do these Islamist fighting groups ignore the international laws of armed conflict? They do not. It would be a grave mistake to conclude that they do. Instead, they study it carefully and they understand it well.
    They know that a British or Israeli commander and his men are bound by international law and the rules of engagement that flow from it. They then do their utmost to exploit what they view as one of their enemy’s main weaknesses.
    Their very modus operandi is built on the, correct, assumption that Western armies will normally abide by the rules.
    It is not simply that these insurgents do not adhere to the laws of war. It is that they employ a deliberate policy of operating consistently outside international law. Their entire operational doctrine is founded on this basis.

    Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, Hamas, the Gaza War and Accountability Under International Law, Address to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 18 June 2009.

    Excellent article: RTWT.

    Posted in Islam, Israel, Media, Middle East, Military Affairs, Society, Terrorism, War and Peace | 8 Comments »

    “Soon, even the most ardent liberal will understand supply-side economics.”

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 14th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Gov. Palin weighs in with a good piece attacking Obama’s cap-and-trade plan.

    She sets out simply and clearly the burden this monstrosity is going to impose on the economy.

    This is a good angle for her to take, and within the scope of her experience and knowledge.

    It is good to see this.

    With some leadership and clear thinking, it is still possible to stop further structural damage to the American economy at the hands of Mr. Obama.


    Michael Barone had a good piece about how the House cap and trade vote was the 1/3 of the country that does not rely on coal imposing itself on the rest. Barone’s numbers do not add up to an Obama victory in the Senate. Good. There is blood in the water.

    Palin is attacking where Obama is weak. She trying to mobilize opposition and hand him a major defeat.

    This is not complicated, people can understand it, its a terrible plan, and Obama has exposure on it.

    A serious effort to stop it could work.

    I hope Gov. Palin goes around the country making speeches about it, or otherwise campaigns against it.

    Defeating Barack on something this big will strip away a lot of momentum, show he can be beaten.

    The enemy has been advancing steadily. I hope that he has reached the culminating point of the attack.

    It would add much sweetness to the victory if Gov. Palin was in the lead on the successful counter-attack.

    Posted in Energy & Power Generation, Politics, USA | 12 Comments »

    ATC – Getting Things Done

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 14th July 2009 (All posts by )

    Usually Carl and David are the ones with the interesting energy posts, most of which are about the doom and gloom that is going to befall us here in the US since we, in general, are not creating any new plants, nor upgrading our transmission system. I should start off by saying that I am no expert in this field, just a reporter on events.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Energy & Power Generation | 12 Comments »

    The Damned: New Rose (1976)

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 13th July 2009 (All posts by )

    “Is she really going out with him?”

    Posted in Music, Video | 1 Comment »