Wednesday, April 5, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

An Elegant Date, 4-5-6

I agree with Isaac Schroedinger that it is, but 3-4-5 was a Pythagorean date!

Harry Binswanger on Immigration

Bruno an "American-in-spirit" points to Harry Binswanger's piece at Capitalism Magazine advocating open immigration.
This is a defense of phasing-in open immigration into the United States. Entry into the U.S. should ultimately be free for any foreigner, with the exception of criminals, would-be terrorists, and those carrying infectious diseases. (And note: I am defending freedom of entry and residency, not the automatic granting of U.S. citizenship).
Via Passing Thoughts, I have learned that the piece has already been picked up by Immigration Daily.

Interesting, tangentially-related tidbit: Did you know that our President has Swedish ancestry?

Celebrating the Beautiful

Moslem clerics may say that "Reality is a mistake, we must rectify it," but I have a feeling that Andy would disagree. He not only accepts reality, he is busy celebrating the moral and the beautiful over at The Charlotte Capitalist. I especially like his post on "Russian Mardi Gras".

Iranian Weapons: All in our Minds (So Far)

Bubblehead gives the low-down on Iran's "super-fast" torpedo.
Us submariners know that such claims are either spurious (radar evading -- not hard for a submarine firing an underwater weapon) or ridiculous (a supercavitating torpedo that can "evade sonar detection"?). Vigilis has more background on the Russian Shkval supercavitiating torpedo on which this alleged weapon is supposed to be based, but even if they did make something like this, the things are basically unguidable, and are really only useful for firing down the bearing of an incoming torpedo in hopes of getting your opponent to move, or, if it's armed with a nuclear warhead, as a "revenge" weapon.
Good for propaganda purposes -- unless your opponent is a country that has freedom of speech and is home to a retired submariner who likes to throw the BS flag.

And then Cox and Forkum illustrate another of Iran's weapons, the Blixatron.

That one is only effective against a country that accepts the notion that the United Nations -- which has dictatorships from around the world as members -- has even a grain of moral authority.

Finally, Mark Steyn points out (via Unconsidered Trifles) the deadliest weapon by far in the Iranian arsenal: the unwillingness of so many in the West to speak plainly about the fact that many Moslems favor jihad.
To win a war, you don't spin a war. Millions of ordinary citizens are not going to stick with a "long war" (as the administration now calls it) if they feel they're being dissembled to about its nature. One reason we regard Churchill as a great man is that his speeches about the nature of the enemy don't require unspinning or detriangulating.

If I had to propose a model for Western rhetoric, it would be the Australians. In the days after Sept. 11, the French got all the attention for that Le Monde headline -- "Nous sommes tous Americains" -- "We are all Americans," though they didn't mean it, even then. But John Howard, the Aussie prime minister, put it better and kept his word: "This is no time to be an 80 percent ally."

Marvelous. More recently, the prime minister offered some thoughts on the difference between Muslims and other immigrant groups. "You can't find any equivalent in Italian or Greek or Lebanese or Chinese or Baltic immigration to Australia. There is no equivalent of raving on about jihad," he said, stating the obvious in a way most political leaders can't quite bring themselves to do. "There is really not much point in pretending it doesn't exist." [bold added]
Read it all! As that old Pogo line goes, "We have met the enemy and they are us."

Now. Let's start the bombing before Iran gets some weapons more directly under its control.


In Naval Nuclear Power School -- the only place I have ever had to pass a final to lift an average for a class (thermodynamics) into passing range -- test grading is especially brutal. An acronym I never got myself was RAWR, short for "right answer, wrong reason".

NNPS wasn't some slacker college course where a student could just slap down whatever he knew on paper to get partial credit. Quite to the contrary. Your underlying reasoning had to be good. This meant that even if you somehow regurgitated the right "short version" of the correct answer to a question, if what you said demonstrated that you did not know the way to get there, you lost points. All the points. Why? Because in the real world, you can't guess correctly all the time. Only a thorough knowledge of the relevant facts and the applicable principles will carry the day.

Paul Hsieh's post on "Why it's important to agree on the fundamentals" reminded me, indirectly, of that. His point carries RAWR into the arena of ideas as he points out why Objectivists make it clear we are not Libertarians. A Libertarian might, for example, oppose taxation. But then, since the Libertarian movement can't be bothered with silly details like, "Why is taxation wrong?" or even "What is liberty?" that same Libertarian might also be against our government having a military, or even against us having a government at all. Both of these stands contradict the first since the purpose of (and need for) a government is to protect individual rights. Individual rights ultimately derive from man's nature as the rational animal, his consequent need to think in order to survive, and the fact that the initiation of force by other men can prevent someone from benefitting from the use of his intellect. But without such an understanding, the Libertarian who guesses "correctly" about taxation misses the mark on other issues, to the ultimate detriment of his professed cause.

A Sexy Campaign Poster

The Gaijin Biker, of "Freedom is Sexy" fame, has the first (and only) sexy political campaign poster I have ever seen. It's from the Ukraine, the only land where you can cast your vote for a hot chick on a motorcycle!

Mother Paris?

Zach Oakes asks a question I have had before: Does Paris Hilton's facial expression ever change?

Perhaps the motion picture director who is thinking about casting her as Mother Teresa should ask the same thing!

The Sick Man, Europe

Amit Ghate has posted some interesting graphs showing how detrimental big government can be to economic growth.

-- CAV