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VE Day

We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing;

Quoted from: Winston Churchill

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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.


Adoptar Una Serie

TJIC sets some immigration policy directives I can support:

[T]he current disaster is the worst of all worlds: it incents folks to cross the border illegally … and then stay underground. It incents crime. It incents growth of government. It incents corruption. It casually considers thousands of dead Mexicans a year a rounding error. It (further) creates contempt for the law.

We need to build a tall and deep wall.

We need to vastly simplify the laws.

We need to create a clear and simple pathway for folks who want to come here to work, to build the future, and to become Americans.

We need to tell foreigners, employers, and constituents one, and only one, story.

It is often difficult to do the right thing. But it is usually easy to explain what the right thing is.


Delicate Perfection

Maximally optimized systems are fragile systems.

Quoted from: NZC, a regular commenter at TJIC.

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Smokey Bear Wouldn’t Even Get Out of Bed

With the current President finally on the scene of the Transocean Horizon oil spill, expect increased hysteria from Big Media. Like this story from Christian Science Monitor (from last week when the explosion was breaking news):

Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion shows new risks

The dramatic oil rig explosion and fire aboard the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coast illustrates the growing risk for oil companies as they drill ever deeper into the earth's crust to satisfy domestic and international demand for fuel.


Another Choir to Join


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.

A New Way to Run a Railroad

This ad from the 1970s (spotted on NRR’s “Vintage Ads” siding) shows big business working toward improving service to its customers:

Southern Railroad cargo-tracking ad from 1970s

The 70s were not a good time for railroads. But the Southern was certainly still a huge and powerful corporation. And we’ve heard so often about how evil corporations exist to screw people.

How does that narrative square with this ad copy (signed by Southern’s Chairman):


Follow the Pea

GM’s repayment of Federal loans is a shell game:

You may have seen the announcement yesterday by GM’s CEO that it was paying back a portion of the money it had been loaned by the taxpayers (who borrowed it to loan it) to keep the company from going under and providing it the room for the government to own 61%.

Jamie Dupree brings us the rest of the story:

The issue came up yesterday at a hearing with the special watchdog on the Wall Street Bailout, Neil Barofsky, who was asked several times about the GM repayment by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), who was looking for answers on how much money the feds might make from the controversial Wall Street Bailout.


Welcome to the Fatherland

Back in late 2008, when Congress passed the TARP bank bailout, I posted about the proper term to describe the developing relationship between government and industry:

Pundits speaking for the huge popular majority opposed to the plan seem to have decided to call it socialism, or a nationalization of banking and real estate. There is a political philosophy which combines those terms. National Socialism. Or, in a word, fascism.

Now that Barry has been elected and enjoyed a kindred Congress, I am more convinced that his vision for society is not properly called socialism. An article at The Freeman takes up the question, “Is Obama a socialist?


Passive Activity

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read.

Quoted from: G. K. Chesterton

Lifted directly from Neo-neocon

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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.

Your Government Gassed Babies

We heard a lot about evil Republicans and their willingness to use torture to protect Americans against terrorism. It seems many have forgotten that the same government, under Democrat leadership, used terrorism and tortured American children near Waco in 1993:

CS gas was used at the compound, in order, as senior White House adviser George Stephanopoulos said, echoing senior Justice Department statements, to “try and pressure” those in the compound. It was hoped, he said, that as this “pressure was increased, the maternal instincts of the mothers might take over and they might try to leave with their kids” (Washington Times, April 23, 1995).


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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It May Come, But They Do Not Ride

I observed the Northstar commuter rail service make its 4:40pm outbound stop at the Fridley station. I did not see anyone get off the train. There ten vehicles in the park-and-ride lot.

The locomotive was in the livery of FrontRunner, a commuter rail service in Utah. Perhaps there were no riders there, thus freeing a power unit to pull our empty trains.

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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.


Trust, but Verify

Suppose you decide to trust your neighbor and help her clear her driveway after a big snowstorm, with the understanding that when you are done she will help you clear yours.  Let’s say she reciprocates.  As a result of your trust in her, you’ve learned that she is trustworthy and for that reason you may engage in more frequent or more involved cooperative acts, such as picking up each other’s children from school or building and maintaining a common play area.

If she doesn’t reciprocate, well, you’ve learned that she’s perhaps not so trustworthy, and so in the future you will be careful in dealings with her.



The current President has decided his government can kill U.S. Citizens without trial:

The Obama administration has authorized operations to capture or kill a U.S.-born Muslim cleric based in Yemen, who is described by a key lawmaker as America's top terrorist threat, officials said on Tuesday.

The decision to add Anwar al-Awlaki, of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to the target list followed a National Security Council review prompted by his status as a U.S. citizen.

Officials said Awlaki directly threatened the United States. "Awlaki is a proven threat," said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "He's being targeted."

The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates:


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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