The Muslim Terrorists Are Winning

April 28, 2010

Terrorism is an attempt to coerce behavior. We think of terrorism as violent acts—bombings, shootings, beheadings, etc. But terrorism can exist in the absence of acts of violence. The subsidence of violence may simply mean the terrorists have won. When terrorists can coerce their enemies because they fear acts of violence, then the terrorists no longer need to fly airplanes into buildings or strap C4 to their bodies and immolate themselves in subways. When just the possibility of violence is enough to cow their enemies into submission, they have succeeded.

By this standard, Muslim terrorists already have won in the United States and many other developed countries.

The latest examples, of course, are the recent episodes of South Park where Comedy Central censored not only caricatures of Muhammad, but any reference to him. This is the same network that had no qualms about South Park going after Scientologists, Mormons, Catholics, Jews, and atheists. One South Park episode featured Jesus shitting on George Bush and the American flag. Apparently this was OK with the suits at CC. But poking fun at Muhammad? No, no, you can’t do that on television.

Chesser

The only possible reason they are avoiding Muhammad is the fear of violence, in this case from a group that calls itself Revolution Muslim.  It was started by a suburban kid named Zachary Adam Chesser who has taken the name Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee. Revolution Muslim has 12 members.

The website of Revolution Muslim warned South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker they would “probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh,” the Dutch film-maker who was shot and stabbed to death in 2004 by an Islamist angered by his film about Muslim women.

Stone and Parker did not seem particularly concerned even though Revolution Muslim published their home addresses. But at Comedy Central, they censored the current South Park material, pulled a 10-year-old show that referred to Muhammad, and beefed up security at Comedy Central headquarters.

Comedy Central’s corporate cowardice is not unique:

  • A German opera house temporarily suspended performances of Mozart’s opera “Idomeneo” because it included a scene featuring Muhammad’s severed head.
  • Fox’s Family Guy censored an episode in which a caricature of Muhammad made an appearance.
  • When a Danish newspaper ran cartoons containing depictions of Muhammad, virtually no US media outlet, including the major television networks and newspapers, would show the cartoons even though there was nothing patently prurient or offensive about them.
  • Random House has canceled publication of a novel about Muhammad’s third wife.

And this is my favorite:

Yale University Press refuses to publish the controversial Danish cartoons of Muhammad in a book about the controversial Danish cartoons of Muhammad.

Our First Amendment rights have been trampled by terrorists who didn’t even fire a shot.

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Your Papers, Please

April 27, 2010

Arizona has long been a laboratory for anti-immigrant experimentation, and its demagogue leaders have become folk heroes for white supremacists throughout the United States.

Chris Newman
Legal Director
National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Poor Chris has his panties in a bunch because the state of Arizona has passed an immigration bill that makes it a crime for immigrants to have no alien registration documents. Undocumented aliens could be charged with trespassing just for being in Arizona. In fact, anyone without appropriate credentials could be charged under this law.

Obviously, this bill violates the Fourth Amendment (the right against unreasonable searches and seizures) and the Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection under the law). It is unconstitutional, racist, and will no doubt be overturned by some court, somewhere, pretty quickly.

I love this law, despite its obvious infringements on the basic rights of every US citizen who happens to wander through Arizona. It gives the police the Gestapo-like power to ask for “your papers, please.” It is racist since it is aimed specifically at illegal immigrants from Mexico, and it will be brown people whose papers are most likely to be demanded on the “reasonable suspicion” of an Arizona police officer.

So why do I like this hateful, unconstitutional, and discriminatory law? Because the state of Arizona is, in effect, saying to the United States, “Do your fucking job, or we’ll do it for you.” Oh look, someone far brighter than your humble correspondent even agrees:

If we continue to fail to act at the federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country.

Barack Obama

Even though this law ought not to remain, it offers encouragement to advocates of liberty across the United States. Individual states and their citizens have become so outraged at the intrusiveness, ineptitude, and inactivity of the federal government that they are finally standing up for states rights and individual rights.

Arizona, don’t let the bastards wear you down.


Why Make It Easy When You Can Make It Difficult?

April 26, 2010

The Food and Drug Administration is planning an unprecedented effort to gradually reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans, saying that less sodium in everything from soup to nuts would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease. The initiative, to be launched this year, would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.

Washington Post

We put salt in our food because salt makes the food taste better. Now, here comes the FDA with a hare-brained scheme to wean us off of salt by initiating a costly, difficult-to-monitor-and-enforce program. The idea is we’ll reduce some of the health problems (primarily hypertension and heart disease) associated with a high sodium intake by forcing food producers gradually to reduce the amount of salt they put in our food.

Because some of us face health risks from excessive sodium, all of us are going to have to put up with bland, tasteless food. Of course most of us will just use a salt shaker to add back the salt the government takes out, thus seasoning our food to taste and defeating another of the Nanny State’s attempts to regulate our lives.

How about this: If high sodium is a problem for you, you’re probably obese anyway. Just reduce the amount of food you eat and the sodium will take care of itself.

This might be the first mission of Obamacare. Have the few remaining doctors who don’t decide it’s easier and more lucrative to become plumbers tell their patients to lose 50 lbs or they won’t be treated for anything.

Instead of rationing health care we should ration food.


There Goes the Neighborhood…

April 23, 2010

The battle over the venture has…pitted some of the nation’s wealthiest people against each other. Liberals have squared off against fellow liberals. The most notable opponent was the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose family compound would have a view of the wind farm. The late Walter Cronkite also raised objections to those “big ugly things…”

CNN

Horrors! What could have all these rich liberals so upset? Well, it seems that one of their favorite summer playgrounds, Nantucket Sound, is an ideal location for a wind farm.

Cape Wind wants to put about 130 turbines, spaced a third- to a half-mile apart pretty much smack in the middle Nantucket Sound (see illustration). The turbines would be set on the ocean bottom in shallow water, but rise 400 above the surface, covering an area of about 25 square miles. They would be a few miles out in the Sound but visible from the expensive summer “cottages” of Hyannis, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard. The wind farm could provide up to 75 percent of the power needed by Cape Cod and nearby islands.

This is just so much fun. These are the same people who are shoving all sorts of “environmentally friendly” requirements down our throats. Now, clean energy is coming to their doorsteps and they don’t like it one bit.

Approximate Location - Cape Wind Turbine Farm (base map by Google)

“Nantucket Sound is NOT for SALE” bellows one sign that’s common in the area. Well, of course it isn’t. The sound is part of US coastal waters. What concerns the high and mighty living around the Sound is that property on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard IS for sale, and these wind turbines are not going to increase property values. Not that property values around the Sound will make much difference to you. The average cost of a “cottage” in these environs is around $2 million and that’s for a place that’s typically used only on weekends during the summer, if it’s not being rented out for $1000/day.

I love wind farms. They’re ugly as shit, they kill thousands of birds every day, and they were the darling of the environmentalists until someone actually started building them. Now they’re whining about them and are casting about for some new, expensive, untried, green scheme.

Keep in mind that it’s always the ‘next’ technology that intrigues the environmentalists. They promote the hell out of some new technology (e.g., ethanol, wind turbines) until someone starts exploiting it. Then they bitch like hell about the unanticipated consequences and want us to try something else.

There were environmentalists in the early 1900’s. Know what their darling was then? Cars and the internal combustion engine. That’s right, because the streets of most of America’s cities were knee-deep in horse shit.

There were environmentalists in the 50’s. Know what their darling was then? That’s right, nuclear power.


Volcanic Asses, er.. Ashes

April 22, 2010

You’ve heard about the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland and the disruption it caused to air travel all over the world.

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano

Shit happens, but in this Age of Victimization everyone adversely affected looks for someone else to pay the bill. In this case it’s the airlines with their hands out. They were forced by the volcanic ash to cancel over 100,000 flights over a one-week period. Now they are crying that “the government” (read “the taxpayers”) should reimburse them for their losses. Volcanoes, like bad weather, present a risk to aviation. It is not up to the taxpayers of Britain, France, or any other country to bail the airlines out just because a large piece of sky was unusable for a while. There are insurance companies that would have underwritten the risk but why should the airlines buy business interruption insurance when they can just go to the government and demand welfare?

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano - Satellite View of Ash Plume

The airlines are running the ultimate con game here. It is well known that the particular form of ash coming from Eyjafjallajokull contained a mixture of glass, sand and rock particles that can seriously damage jet engines. No airline wanted its equipment anywhere near this ash cloud as damage to aircraft and possible loss of life could have been catastrophic. The airlines would have cancelled flights on their own when the volcano started contaminating the air but their governments took action under their regulatory authority and grounded all flights in the interest of public safety.

Now the airlines turn around and have the chutzpah to insist that since it was government which announced the only sensible course of action (grounding the airplanes) it is the government (taxpayers) that should bear the cost. If government hadn’t acted first, the airlines would have grounded the planes on their own. This was a dangerous situation, a freak of nature, an act of God, a force majeure. No one in his right mind would fly a $100 million aircraft near that kind of ash whether the government told them it was OK or not.

Next, the airlines will want the government to reimburse them for flights canceled due to bad weather.

Grow up, pussies.


Getting Drunk at the Tea Party

April 21, 2010

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 24 percent of Americans now identify with the Tea Party movement. That’s up eight points in just one month. What is driving the Tea Party is fear that President Obama is changing traditional America, that the USA is becoming France, if you want to oversimplify it. Last week, tens of thousands of people turned out to rally against high government spending and high taxation. That is a message easy to understand, and the protests have gotten Mr. Obama’s attention.

Bill O’Reilly
Fox News

The Tea Party movement will cause the Democrats some problems this fall, no question. But, in the long run, the Democrats couldn’t be happier. Why? Because, for the past century, almost every third-party rebellion staged in this country has benefited the Democrats and damaged the Republicans.

For better or worse the Democrats, for the past fifty years, have glued together the oddest constituency imaginable: the super rich, the super poor, people “of color,” environmentalists, abortion rights advocates, animal rights advocates, the anti-nuclear crowd, peaceniks, mainstream religious liberals, union members, educators, gays, lesbians, anti-gun activists—the list could go on for pages.

What’s interesting is that these folks generally have little in common with one another. Further, the Democratic Party rarely lives up to the promises it makes to them. But, since they were either raised as Democrats at their mothers’ breasts or have fallen for some single issue that the Democrats have co-opted, they can’t imagine abandoning their party.

Republicans, on the other hand, generally dislike their party. They know that, at best, the Republicans either are ‘Democrat Lite’ or ‘Discount Democrats.’ People who call themselves Republicans really aren’t; it’s just that the Republicans are the only viable alternative to the Democrats. Most Republicans hold their noses while they vote. (Democrats, well familiar with the stench of politics, seem immune to the smell of their own candidates).

Republicans know that the Democrats ultimately will destroy our liberties and our economy one piece at a time. Supporters of the Republican Party probably get down on their knees and pray for the resurrection of Ronald Reagan, since it was he, not Abe Lincoln, who embodied the high water mark of Republican ideals.

Whenever Republicans get disgusted with their nominal party, and they frequently do, they are ready to jump ship and support almost anyone who promises to bring even a little common sense and fiscal responsibility back to our government. Ross Perot was the last one to screw up the Republicans. Running as an independent, Perot took 19% of the popular vote and probably put Bill Clinton in the White House rather than returning George Bush I to a second term.

Now come the Tea parties, which certainly will have an influence on this fall’s elections. In many cases, their impact will be to allow a widely-disliked Democrat to save his ass and his seat in congress by splitting the Republican vote two, three, or more ways—Libertarians, 2nd Amendment Patriots, Constitutionalists, Right to Life Coalition, etc. Sure, there are enough Democrats, pissed about the shameful conduct of their party and its president this year, who will abandon the party in 2010 but they probably won’t go to the Republicans; they’ll vote for one of the splinter parties just to teach the Dems a lesson; meanwhile, the Republicans probably will lose as many voters to the splinter groups as they gain from disenchanted Democrats. Result: Democrats might do a whole hell of a lot better this fall than you would have bet.

Odds are the Tea parties will have some impact this year; they’ll be back in 2012 (just as Perot returned in 1996) but will be largely irrelevant. Inexorably we are becoming a one-party dictatorship.

Have a nice day.


More Trouble for the Airbus A330

April 14, 2010

In early March, we reported on the status of Air France 447, an Airbus A330 that disappeared between Brazil and Africa with the loss of all souls on board.

Tuesday, another A330 was in dire straits but was saved by some good airmanship and a little luck. In this case it was a Cathay Pacific A330-300 landing in Hong Kong. About twenty minutes from the airport, one of the aircraft’s two Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines spontaneously reduced to “idle power” while the other engine remained at 70% power. This condition allowed the aircraft to continue safely to the airport but the pilots were unable to reduce the power in the operating engine prior to landing. Ultimately, this forced the pilots to land the plane at 235 kts. instead of the normal 135 kts. The landing resulted in a small fire in one of the wheel wells that was quickly extinguished by firefighters. A few minor injuries were sustained during the evacuation of the aircraft.

Airbus A330

What is particularly troubling is that this aircraft and its engines are equipped with FADEC—Full Authority Digital Engine Control. Full Authority means just that: Full Authority. There is no form of manual override available. All operating parameters of the engine are under the control of a computer. If a total FADEC failure occurs, the engine fails, even though it is technically capable of producing power. In the event of a total FADEC failure, pilots have no way of manually restarting or otherwise controlling the engines. Typically, multiply redundant FADECs are installed to mitigate against this possibility.

FADECs have significant advantages over typical engine controls, including better fuel economy, optimum performance under a broad range of atmospheric and flight conditions, and protection against operation of the engine outside its design parameters. This generally results in safer, more efficient operation and also in reduced inspection and maintenance costs, and in longer engine life.

The downside is that the failure of a computer system can render a perfectly good engine, or set of engines, useless. FADEC failures are rare but they do happen, and the results often are catastrophic. Modern transport aircraft are increasingly being fitted out with “fly by wire” systems that control not only the engines but virtually every flight surface and critical system.

It could be a coincidence that two A330’s have been involved in incidents where the fly by wire systems may have played a part in bringing on disaster or near-disaster. Or there may be a deeper systemic problem with fly by wire controls that has yet to be identified.

Passengers and investors in Rolls-Royce and Airbus Industries have cause for concern.