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Somebody Got to Make Some Sacrifice

Lone man halts column of tanks -- Tiananmen Square 1989

Servitude is in the mind of death and life
Don't be confused with the terms of left and right
Statism is Statism by any name the same
Apathy is suicide and we won't bear the Blame.

Today is Tank Man’s anniversary. Stand up for yourself.

Quote from Tekno Jihad by Psykosonik.

Pelican Perspective

The Boston Globe has some excellent oily bird pictures that support the Hate BP narrative. And the Google suggests the birdy body count is well over 300:

So far 300 birds, the bulk of them identified as Brown Pelicans and northern gannets have been found along the US Gulf Coast during the first five weeks of the BP oil spill, and 31 have survived. They are currently being counted as casualties because of the proximity in time and location to the spill, but are being tested to confirm results. The mortality rate is expected to rise sharply since this is the middle of breeding season.

With a population of 650,000, this just isn’t that big of a deal. We’re talking about maybe five hundredths of a percent of the pelican stock.

Relatedly, the current President is having shrimp for dinner. Cobb did a little research, and we’re not running out of shrimp, either:

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Can She Handle It?

It’s 1949, and what’s a well-dressed lady going to drive?

1949 Nash Airflyte Ad -- Long Hood

The daring ones drive a Nash Airflyte:

Its aerodynamic body shape was developed in a wind tunnel. Nils Wahlberg's theories on reducing an automobile body's drag coefficient resulted in a smooth shape and enclosed front fenders. The "cutting-edge aerodynamics" was the most "alarming" all-new postwar design in the industry.

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Selecting Perception

From an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal comes a stark illustration of how Big Media works according to a narrative:

In news reporting, it's not unusual to encounter constructions such as this AP dispatch from the presidential campaign about Sarah Palin: "She has worshipped at a nondenominational Bible church since 2002, opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest and supports classroom discussions about creationism."

That's fair as far as it goes. Just once, however, wouldn't it be interesting to see a leading newspaper write something like, "Nancy Pelosi, who opposes any restrictions on abortion, even in cases where a pregnant minor is taken across state lines without a parent's permission or where the fetus is halfway out the mother"?

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Voting on What to Steal

A recurring thought which I hope to develop someday…

Americans are trained to worship democracy. But the brilliance behind the U.S. Consititution is not that some most people get a vote. The true political innovation was that the Founders put limits on what government could do. Those limits mean the people do not get to vote on everything.

We’ve all become accumstomed to having our opinions catered to. Although the elected politicians almost universally fail our expectations, they still invoke the rituals of democratic religion. Those who wish to sell us goods ask our opinion both as a method of improving their product and as a sales technique. Once we are engaged, we are open to persuasion.

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Thank You, Soldier.

Who is largest holder of America’s debt? Soldiers. [cartoon]

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Tomorrow Was Thirty Years Ago

Cobb sees the apocalypse on the horizon. And it’s wearing a cardigan:

These days I'm trying to think back to a time when America had little faith in itself. Back to the days of Billy Jack and the Feral Motorcycle Movie, when inflation was reality, when Iron Eyes Cody cried on the side of the road and when Richard Nixon ran his White House like Russian Roulette. I remember when we used to say that we were going to see the day when we'd have to buy clean air, back when rivers caught fire and women expected to get raped after dark in Times Square. I remember when suddenly we had to drive 55 and the President told us to keep the thermostat at 68. I remember gas lines and people who stole gasoline out of your tank and Pep Boys started selling locking gas caps.

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Does Marriage Matter?

TJIC suggests that a rise in out-of-wedlock births correlates to a decline in civilization.

A commenter counters that marriage, which makes births “legitimate”, is a function of class and custom. Civilization has progressed even as legitimacy fluctuated, so the correlation does not mean what TJIC thinks it means.

I chimed in:

It’s not the state endorsement [of formal marriage] that matters. That endorsement, like the religious endorsement, strongly suggests that the parties have considered the depth of the obligation they are entering. The religious sanction still usually means the parties have deeply considered their choice. The underlying issue is personal integrity.

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Recovery Prayer

From a story about the person who led the search for human remains after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans:

With fire axes and shovels, the team would then fan out across a vast grid of destroyed homes and overturned cars, seeking the unburied. Cadaver dogs joined the search, ominously sniffing through the rubble for the storm’s departed.

“A good day is when we can ‘clear’ homes and actually let families (know) …  for sure that this person was here – or not here,” Glynn told Online NewsHour in March 2006. “I mean … that’s about the best that this mission gets.”

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The Discretion Factor

Americans will respect your beliefs if you just keep them private.

Quoted from: Bill O’Reilly

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The Scale of Evils

In the comment discussion on his post about trying to quantify the effects of racism, Cobb writes:

[T]he weight of the destruction done to the world by socialism and communism that have taken over from the demon of racism. And where modern American white supremacy's damage has been 5,000 lynchings, Stalin's victims are in the millions. And so that now terrorizes me. It set me up to be a patsy for liberty. I deal with racism of course, but I consider myself particularly robust in that regard and I don't have reasons to fear. I say of course we have a black president, I understand perfectly well where he comes from because I came from many of the same places. But does he understand Stalin out there? And the sad fact is that he didn't, and thought his blackness, his muslimness, all of that our generation knows would be sufficient. It's not.

Here’s my feeble attempt to summarize Cobb’s viewpoint. Racism used to be the biggest problem in society. It still has negative effects, but nobody can actually measure them. Without measurement, we cannot make a proper response. Nor can we assess our effectiveness.

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Nothing But Net

From the Facebook page for Deepwater Horizon Response
(post at 7:08pm, May 6th):

To help stop the flow of oil from the source, BP intends to drill two relief wells. The first well was started on May 2 and proceeding as expected. This process usually takes 2-3 months and involves going 5,000 feet to the seabed, drilling an additional 18,000 feet, and reaching a target the size of a basketball.

That’s a mile of seawater, then three miles of earth. By remote control. In hurricane season. Accurate within fifteen inches.

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Another Choir to Join

Via TJIC:

Rick Webb: "The telephone was an aberration in human development. It was a 70 year or so period where for some reason humans decided it was socially acceptable to ring a loud bell in someone else's life and they were expected to come running, like dogs. This was the equivalent of thinking it was okay to walk into someone's living room and start shouting."

Oh sweet Jesus yes. I couldn't agree more.

Can I get an Amen!

Hitler is not Amused by Your Cat

I have watched only a handful of the “Downfall” Hitler parodies posted to YouTube. They were all funny. But if you are not familiar this internet meme, it may be too late for you:

…over a hundred parody videos on YouTube of a climactic scene from the 2004 movie, "Downfall," in which Hitler displays a frightening tantrum in the presence of his officers. YouTube posters have taken to pasting humorous subtitles over the action.

No one is smiling at Constantin Film Production, which distributes the original "Downfall." It has called on YouTube to remove many of the videos because of a copyright claim.

Consumer Surplus

In essential terms, consumer surplus is getting more than you paid for. Or, in more rigorous terms:

Consumer surplus is a measure of the welfare that people gain from the consumption of goods and services, or a measure of the benefits they derive from the exchange of goods.

Consumer surplus is the difference between the total amount that consumers are willing and able to pay for a good or service (indicated by the demand curve) and the total amount that they actually do pay (i.e. the market price for the product).

The surplus may be in the form of additional goods, like the beer snit that usually comes with a bloody mary. Or it might be in additional utility, like napkins that come in handy dispenser packaging.

Basement Switchmaster

Model Train Layout from 1929

The first comment to this photo from the Shorpy Historic Photo Archive:

I can only wonder what Mr.Swartzell would have thought if he was told his model railroad would be admired by thousands of people all over the world in the next century.

Yes, indeed.

As is often the case with Shorpy photos, the subject is not the only interesting element in the photo.

I love the dogs barking at the wagon team at the bottom of the shot. God lives in detail like that.

Poor Choices

At a mega-drugstore on Central Avenue, the patron ahead of me was chatting on her mobile phone as the cashier rang up her merchandise. She bought two frozen pizzas (Red Baron brand), a few cans of soda-pop and a couple of bags of candy. And she paid by EBT card.

The politics of generosity and inclusion are a fraud. Taxes should not pay for candy in the name of charity. And if you can chatter freely on a cell phone, you’re not poor.

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Nothing to be Proud Of

The stereotype of the Catholic church as haven for perverts has no basis in fact:

Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations. Insurance companies that cover all denominations, such as Guide One Center for Risk Management, which has more than 40,000 church clients, does not charge Catholic churches higher premiums. "We don't see vast difference in the incidence rate between one denomination and another," says Sarah Buckley, assistant vice president of corporate communications. "It's pretty even across the denominations." It's been that way for decades.

Every group has a share of abusers. Catholics are not an exception, neither worse nor better than anyone else. They are a big group, so the raw numbers may lead to more frequent headlines. The Church of the SubGenius for example, with maybe 10,000 members, just will not include that many pederasts or yield many headlines about abuse.

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Will Work for Airtime

Just observed a “homeless” person camped out at a freeway exit (I-35W & New Brighton Boulevard). He was too busy with his iPhone to hold up his sign.

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Sin and Yang

From a Good Friday reflection by a committed Catholic:

The question has come my way several times in the past week: "How do you maintain your faith in light of news stories that bring light to the dark places that exist within your church?"

When have darkness and light been anything but co-existent? How do we recognize either without the other?

The darkness within my church is real, and it has too often gone unaddressed. The light within my church is also real, and has too often gone unappreciated. A small minority has sinned, gravely, against too many. Another minority has assisted or saved the lives of millions.

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