Friday, October 28, 2005

Indictment Day

As Glenn Reynolds said, "The mountain has labored and brought forth a mouse."

And in response to Bill Quick's indignation at the fact that the indictments don't even address the underlying crime, I became a tad indignant myself:
Have you read the indictment? Libby is essentially being indicted for making "false statements" to Tim Russert on Meet the Press!! It's like indicting George Stephanopolous for statements he made on TV after the Monica investigation started - or Rahm Emanuel or James Carville or Paul Begala. Heck, Ken Starr didn't even indict Klintoon himself, when he clearly made actual false statements to the grand jury itself. Sure, Libby should have been smarter. But this indictment, as Glenn Reynolds said, is "lame".
Continuing on Dean Esmay:
Didn't Fitzgerald seem VERY nervous, voice shaking and all, in the press conference? He's an experienced prosecutor, it couldn't have just been public speaking that got to him. I think he knows he's got nothing and he's worried - even a little ashamed - about presenting such a ridiculous case to the Grand Jury. I also don't think he did a very good job presenting the indictment. He went on about how important it was to prevent leaks of CIA agent identities, but then not only didn't indict anyone for leaks, he didn't even say a prosecutable leak had occurred. Sounds like he's worried about justifying two years of work.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Teddy is right for once?
Not hardly. Peggy Noonan is getting down in the dumps. But she just should remember, anything Teddy Kennedy says:
Do people fear the wheels are coming off the trolley? Is this fear widespread? A few weeks ago I was reading Christopher Lawford's lovely, candid and affectionate remembrance of growing up in a particular time and place with a particular family, the Kennedys, circa roughly 1950-2000. It's called "Symptoms of Withdrawal." At the end he quotes his Uncle Teddy. Christopher, Ted Kennedy and a few family members had gathered one night and were having a drink in Mr. Lawford's mother's apartment in Manhattan. Teddy was expansive. If he hadn't gone into politics he would have been an opera singer, he told them, and visited small Italian villages and had pasta every day for lunch. "Singing at la Scala in front of three thousand people throwing flowers at you. Then going out for dinner and having more pasta." Everyone was laughing. Then, writes Mr. Lawford, Teddy "took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. 'I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you guys are my age.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.' "
is wrong.
I'm optimistic. I certainly don't think things are worse than they were in, say, 1970. Now there was a year to forget, when things were really and truly going downhill and stayed down there for a long time. At least we can't rationally expect to lose a war, lose control of gas prices, see inflation at all-time highs, watch with horror the rise of disco and suffer through four years of Jimmy Carter again within the next ten years. Via the Corner.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I'm getting in a lot of my favorite ideas these days. Dailypundit reported on a Reason article extolling the individual. So I had to wonder:
What happens when the very meaning of "individual" changes? The worldview of artificial but fully intelligent and conscious brains connected to multiple sensors of all different types has to be different from that of a man with two eyes and ears and a nose. We are so used to thinking of the individual as man-sized with a head-sized brain that I'm not sure it will be easy to adapt to an individual that can sense and think like a god. What will the appropriate "unit of consciousness" be?

Well, what do you know, my security code included "666"!(looks around nervously)
Grocery stores - again

Gene Expression linked to a story about remotely controlling people's behavior, so I had to feed my two main obsessions - beer and green beans - with this comment:
Maybe competing hackers could try to remotely control you when you step into a grocery store, one making you feel like it would be such a good idea to get some Budweiser, then another taking over and making you switch to Miller. Of course, that wouldn't really constitute much of a change in behavior outwardly ... I'm sure many people will be relieved at not having to make their own decisions any more. This reminds me of the sight of shoppers in front of the cans of green beans, with a cell phone stuck to their ears, calling someone to decide for them whether they want the french cut or straight beans.
I for one welcome our new hacker overlords.
Religion and science - again

Stephen Green links to an Ann Applebaum piece about the "bird flu" doom that awaits us all. Boy is she going to look silly in a couple of years. But I just had to comment on her gratuitous slap at all things religious:
The history of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution which brought so many good things to so many people is the story of religion and science finding a way to coexist, not the story of science condemning any and every religious idea out of hand. The last three hundred years in the West have demonstrated that scientific progress is possible when religion is not exterminated, as long as it does not dominate.

Sure, I'm an objectivist. And I see much evidence that anti-scientific thinking is a worse pandemic than the bird flu ever will be. But it's truly important that those who harbor religious feelings and yet understand and work with science every day - and that means most people - be tolerated while they are encouraged to drop those silly emotional sentiments. The genius of capitalism is that it finds a way to accommodate everyone, no matter how wrong they might be, as long as they don't get physically violent. And science and capitalism are two sides of the same coin, whose substance is, do I have to say it? Logic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Nano! Nano!

Nano-science has apparently come up with a potential successor to the lightbulb. You know, those round glass things GE keeps making with shorter and shorter lives as electricity gets more and more expensive? Perhaps you've noticed leds in turn signals and traffic lights. Now, thanks to nano-wizardry every home could have not just one but billions:
Take an LED that produces intense, blue light. Coat it with a thin layer of special microscopic beads called quantum dots. And you have what could become the successor to the venerable light bulb.

The resulting hybrid LED gives off a warm white light with a slightly yellow cast, similar to that of the incandescent lamp.

Note in the whole article the interesting use of the word "magic". As in "any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic". Keep waving that magic wand, electrical engineers. Before too long our electric bills will be down to zero like our phone bills.
Bumper Sticker

What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?

Monday, October 24, 2005

OT and loving it

Shopping carts, buggies, grocery carts, whatever you call them, they are a menace, as laid out in this Dailypundit post. But I desert the topic - kid's play-themed monstrosity carts - to beat up on lonely elderlies:
Ah, shopping carts. As aisles get wider, oldsters get better and better at placing their carts just kitty-cornered enough so no one can get by on either side while they debate with themselves which of seventy-six brands of denture adhesive will get them through the day. Of course, I sympathize with their pathetic need to have some sort of interaction with another human being, even if it's just to say, "Oh, sorry, am I in your way?" since their kids haven't called in six months, but really, JUST GET YOUR DAMNED BUGGY OUT OF MY WAY, YOU OLD FART! I need to get to the beer aisle NOW!
OT is my life.
Dean's World and me

Dean Esmay had a Beatles obsequy to which I had to comment and crush Paul (I refuse to call him "Sir Paul". Nonsense.):
Paul on his lonesome justified his critics. I mean, "Band on the Run"???!!! Could anything be more banal and formulaic and out-of-ideas? It's bleeding Hanna-Barbera. And "Hands across the water" ain't much better. We won't even mention "Standing Stone". The Beatles together were far more than four times as good as any one of them singly. But Paul was/is by far the worst as a solo act.

Another Esmay post, which reminded me of something Jane Galt would put up, stimulated this somewhat incoherent mini-rant:
The State gives corporate status. The State can take away corporate status. Blessed be the Name of the State.
Why should someone's liability be limited because he's taken advantage of the State's corporate status opportunity? Now if two people could agree that they would regard assets that they put into certain entities as immune from liability, vis a vis each other, perhaps the State could legitimately enforce that agreement. Call it an anti-corporation. But for the State to say to everyone, "look, you can't reach this fellow's personal assets, because he was acting as an agent of a corporation when he did that stupid thing", with no real consent involved, well, that's just nuts.
I've been trying to get people to listen to my hatred for the corporate concept for a long time. It reminds me of patents and copyrights: They sound like a good idea, but don't really work and just strengthen the power of the almighty State.