Thursday, October 17, 2002


I typically avoid discussions with people who a) are more involved with an issue than I am, and b) have more time available than I do. But I'll break that little rule today to try to deliver on a post I pledged a few weeks ago.

Arthur Silber publishes an interesting blog called "Light of Reason". A name like that is a heavy load to carry IMO. Mr. Silber does well, but in fact has chosen a burden that cannot be borne. Reason fails him, as it must.

I don't have the time or space to go into this in great detail here. What I would say boils down to "Mr. Silber worships reason". I don't think he would find that offensive per se and it is not intended in that way. What it is intended to convey is that Mr. Silber elevates reason to heights its powers do not justify.

If I am mischaracterizing his position I'm more than willing to be corrected, but it appears that Mr. Silber believes that 1) all that is true can be demonstrated through reason, and 2) reason will never lead to falsity. Without these, he simply has no starting point to build his philosophy.

And I disagree with both statements. I would like to see how Mr. Silber defends them, without resorting to what he would call "arbitrary".

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Not a blonde joke

I usually don't bother linking to anything I find in the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web Today because I figure most of you have already seen it. But this is too good.

No Blood for Oil!

You know, intelligent, responsible people have been awfully hard on some of these leftists and their protests about our involvement in the Middle East. But we have to try to appreciate their point of view, you know.

For instance, I've heard them say 'no blood for oil'. Admit it, it's a lousy idea. It can be slippery, but it's a lousy lubricant - after a while it gets all sticky and eventually it dries out. It doesn't keep well. It doesn't burn worth a hoot. It's more edible than petroleum, but it never really caught on in the US. When you cook it, it clumps up like plastic but it's no substitute for petroleum based products. And really, we ought to use it for plasma and transfusions instead.

Well, I suppose that's kind of a stupid interpretation. But what else could they mean? Surely they don't think that we'll accept oil shortages.

Has everyone forgotten about locking gas caps? Surely I'm not the only one who remembers what gasoline tastes like. What will people do if they can't get enough gasoline to get to work or get groceries?

We have some experience from the 70's. Long gas lines. Corruption. Violence. And the economy will go down the tubes.

My conclusion is that in fact there will be blood for oil. Our only choice is whose it will be, and where it will be shed.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

It's getting to be heating season, and we've already had our first local deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

CO results from incomplete combustion combined with poor ventilation. Symptoms are headaches, nausea, sleepiness, dizziness and disorientation. In high concentrations, carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness and death. Many victims die in their sleep. It kills over 200 people every year in the US, and is a factor in fire deaths because it incapacitates people when they need to escape.

So if you have a gas or other kind of heater that has a flame, make sure there are no obstructions in the airflow going in or out. In particular, the flue might be blocked by bird nests or otherwise. If you don't feel qualified, call your handyman, heating repairman, apartment manager or whoever.

In any case, spring for a CO monitor and install it as directed. You don't need as many of these as is recommended for smoke alarms, but there should be one near the likely sources.

And if you won't listen, you can just drop dead.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Monday, October 14, 2002

Hands off my Boy Scouts

Stephen Spielberg has disassociated himself from the Boy Scouts of America. He doesn't like the policy of excluding gays.

Whatever the wisdom of this policy, the fact is that they have the right to screen their members and Scoutmasters as they see fit, and they should.

But no - gay groups have to harass the BSA over the policy. Good grief, how many Boy Scout aged boys have decided that they're gay, anyway?

Why don't these crusading groups just start an alternative to the Boy Scouts? Let their new organization practice don't-ask-don't-tell, or explicitly include gays, or be exclusively gay, or include both sexes, or whatever. Then let the parents and the boys decide if they want to join it instead of Boy Scouts.

If the project is a success, fine. But if it isn't, then it suggests that the Boy Scouts are only doing what their market is telling them to do.

So what?

Drudge offers this headline: MAG: If Saddam Disappears, Power Would Pass to His Sons Who Could Be Worse Than Father...

Maybe so. But Saddam isn't immortal - surely the spawn will be taking over sooner or later. So this isn't an argument against going in and cleaning house.

And if the sons take over? My bet is that they'll probably be like scorpions in a bottle until one manages to kill the other.

Sunday, October 13, 2002


At the moment the Packers are beating the Patriots 14-3, and I just saw a Packer wipe out trying to sack Tom Brady.

Hmm. Has anyone ever tried wrapping cleats partway around the sides of shoes? That might have kept the rusher on his feet. Then again, it might also cause a lot more leg injuries.


Richard Dawkins is a staunch evolutionist, but his existence leads me to question the theory that we're descended from anything as intelligent and gracious as apes:
Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place
That's offensive even to an agnostic like me.

But he's not through yet-this scientist is also an atheist:
The word atheism sounds negative; let me call it rationalism.
Of course he can't prove that there is no god - he must assume that there is not one, just as those who believe in gods must assume that they exist. Good luck getting him to admit that.

Link stolen from Bo Cowgill.

Attack Iraq Now II

Some time back I wrote of the passing of a friend of mine to liver cancer. I've been to a few funerals, but I wasn't prepared for the difference between the 42 year old family man I had last seen at work 3 months earlier and what I saw in the casket. I got out of there fast.

This week's dead-tree Weekly Standard points to this letter in Slate (look for 12:47), about aflatoxin. Saddam has weaponized it.

He might well be the first to do so. Nobody else is fiendish enough to want it. After all, it's useless against soldiers - it doesn't kill fast enough. But it does induce liver cancer, especially in children. And Saddam's record against the Kurds, Iraqi Shiites and Iranians shows that he will use such measures, and enthusiastically.

Saddam has at least 2200 liters of aflatoxin. And according to the letter above, they had loaded aflatoxin into two warheads capable of being fitted on Scud missiles.

Of course you don't need Scuds. You just need some irredeemable mofos willing to spread it strategically in foreign countries. Maybe even in your back yard. Voila - genocide in a bottle.

The usual Hitler/Stalin/Mao/Idi Amin/Pol Pot/Kim Jong-Il epithets simply aren't adequate to describe this man. Take him out. Now.

Attack Iraq Now

This is not a 'warblog' - others like Little Green Footballs do a far better job. But then I just finished reading 'Saddam's Bombmaker' and I'm partway through 'The Threatening Storm'. Brrrr!

Saddam's Bombmaker is a chilling story of Dr. Khidhir Hamza, an Iraqi who unwittingly made a deal with the devil when he accepted scholarships to study nuclear physics in the US. While he was gone Saddam Hussein took power and demanded that he returned home to avoid reprisals against his family.

From there he wound up involved in the Iraqi program to build nuclear weapons, and he tells how the program got started. It seems that in the early 1970's, some people wanted their budget increased, so they proposed building A-bombs. They figured it would take years to do it, by which time Saddam might be out of power.

Over time Hamza came to know much about other Iraqi weapons programs, and by the time of his nerve-wracking escape from Iraq in 1994 he had an earful for the CIA. Getting them to listen was another story (as Aukai Collins could have told him - Collins has a book of his own called 'My Jihad' that is also on my mile-long reading list). Enough, just read the book.

And when you're through with those, there's Glenn Frazier's Warblogger's Bookshelf

Just in time for Christmas

Someone you know needs this stuff.

No Australian Watermelons Allowed

Greens make Aaron Oakley see red. Check him out.

Be your own Dante

Sasha Castel posted this gem from someone who is offended by obesity. It starts with the guy complaining about the fat guy seated next to him on a plane and overflowing his seat (there's no record if he also blamed his corpulent neighbor for lousy service, bad food, laughable security and poor on-time performance). From there he goes on to tell us The Way Things Ought To Be, with fat taxes et al.

I guess we're lucky more of our vices don't leave such obvious signs behind. You can lie, cheat and steal all you want, but if you overeat and/or don't exercise enough, karma will not be denied.

There ought to be physical manifestations of other vices too. Say, if every time you lied, your tongue forked. Bill Clinton's would look like a French tickler. And according to certain women, he might like it that way.

We don't cut off the hands of thieves like certain other cultures, but it would be OK with me if their hands turned sticky and slimy. Shake hands with them and instantly you know what you're dealing with.

But I guess I'm straying into Dante territory. Which would be a good place to link to something I read recently which updated Dante's Hell, but I can't remember where it is. I don' t know what Dante did with airheads (but then I wouldn't, would I?).

Here's a chance for you to play Cosmic Karmic Enforcer. Give me a vice, and tell me how its practitioners should be labeled or where Dante should put them.