Saturday, January 10, 2009

Maybe it's time we outsmarted Iran instead of trying to out-piss them?

What I find entertaining about stories like this one in the Washington Post is the constant use of the adjectives like elaborate and complicated.

Let's be clear about this: This is a failing of U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism.

This stuff isn't that complicated and elaborate.

Instead of actually doing their job and stopping stupid schemes like this, the government and more specifically the CIA, would rather bellyache about Leon Panetta.

Give me a damn break!

I could set up a scheme like this in about and hour, but I wouldn't do so because I actually give a crap about my country.

The best way to deal with this sort of bullshit is to make it too costly from a social standpoint on Iran. The old way of sanctions and embargoes has done wonders, so perhaps we should try something a little less muscular (like sanctions and military might) and more intelligent (like outsmarting them).

What I suggest is that we make their people love us so much that it become too politically costly for their politicians and leaders to mess with us. If we did something like that, we'd win.

We've tried the alternative, so now we should be reminded of Winston Churchill's chestnut about Americans: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing after they've exhausted all other possibilities."

Well, we've tried and failed at the tough guy bit. Let's try actually talking to the bastards.

Alabama shows itself to be the paragon of corruption...again

Someone should explain the concept of incentives to the State of Alabama.

If you create a system where someone makes a lot of money by ignoring a responsibility, then the responsibility will be shirked. You reward irresponsibility by making it pay.

Despite the fact that Alabama Sheriffs take an oath to uphold the Constitution, when money is involved, the incentives to find every justification and rationalization for getting their grubby little hands on the cash, even at the expense of prisoners' health and well-being is irresistible.

This is exactly what happens in Alabama. The State foments this mess by authorizing Sheriffs to pocket any excess money remaining from food expenditures for prisoners housed in their jails. This corruption-driven mechanism leads to unjust enrichment of the local constabularies at the expense of prisoners.

What a bunch of idiots. When crap like this happens, we shouldn't complain about everyone making fun of the South. We do stupid crap like this and expect to get away with it.

Marry this whole scenario with a tough on crime philosophy and you have a recipe for abuse. Why? Few people stick their necks out for criminal welfare.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cool experiment if you can get over the "eww" aspect

This is a cool experiment that offers up some tantalizing evidence about human phermones and their effect.

Aside from the ick factor, it says more is going on than we consciously realize.

Job losses greatest in six decades

The economy is heading south and fast.

Job losses have reached 1945 levels. We're talking over 2 million jobs lost in the last year.

History will lay this at the feet of the Bush administration. They've been in power for 8 years, so it's hard for them to blame a previous administration.

We must all pull together in this or we'll surely hang separately.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Beghe story paints a scary picture of Scientology.

I'll probably get a lot of flak for this post, but I think it important. Just so you know, I get very few emails or otherwise related to this blog, so if that changes as a result of this post, I'll be sure to let you know.

I came across this interview on youtube with Jason Beghe. He's an actor that's been around for awhile. Anyway, he was high up in the Church of Scientology, but became dissatisfied and left. Here's a story from a British T.V. show about his very public and very noisy withdrawal from the Church.

I put this up here because I've had some odd experiences with the Church of Scientology. When I was 18, I visited L.A. right after graduation. I was questioning my faith. I got a flyer on my car talking about a free personality test.

As an 18 year old, I didn't have much to do, so I went to check it out. I spent about an hour with those people and they asked all sorts of probing questions, etc.

To make a long story short: Even though I was young and in a vulnerable state, I got the impression it was rather cult-like and had nothing further to do with them.

The Chuch had other ideas. They harassed me for years through the mail and did all sorts of things to get me to come visit them again. I threw it all in the trash. I spoke about it with a friend and she told me of a similiar experience she had with the Church while living in Britain. Scary stuff.

Now, as an affirmed agnostic and secular humanist, I see the Church of Scientology for what it is.

I post this for the edification of anyone who doesn't know.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Burris should be seated.

This whole Blagojevich mess has had me scratching my head.

Any appointment by the Illinois governor will obviously be tainted by the press and the prosecution.

Yet, I'm reminded of the Constitution when I think of the appointment of Roland Burris. Specifically, that the accused is INNOCENT until proven guilty.

As it stand, there's only an accusation of guilt. The governor is innocent under the law.

Does that mean he didn't do what he's accused of? No. It means that the burden of proving guilt is upon the government and that until his guilt is proven, he should be without legal hindrance to carrying out his duties.

Of course the politicians want him gone because of the embarrassment he represents. Yet, these politicians are charged with upholding the Constitution and the laws of the United States, so for them to convict him without benefit of trial is to ignore their duty to the law.

I know nothing of Roland Burris and his qualifications. I do know that he should be seated. Until the governor is convicted, he enjoys all the power of his position; that includes the power to appoint a Senator.

It may smell bad, but that doesn't make it illegal.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reagan era Republicanism is dead; Democrats the new pragmatists.

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post sums it up clearly with his analysis of the future of the both Democrats and Republicans.

The broader point shouldn't be ignored: Republicans should realize that the Reagan era is over and find a new pragmatism.

Democrats have embraced pragmatism and will thus survive much stronger and with greater ability to run the show as a result.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Are we truly as free as we think we are?

I came across this radio show that offered some really astounding ideas--all based on scientific research--about freedom of choice.

Here's the show. It's about 15 minutes long.

This stuff makes me giddy. It really throws some wrenches into to whole freedom thing.


Here's the link to the page with even more shows on it.