Thursday, September 28, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

Bleg 1

Ever since changing jobs, I've had less time than I used to to keep up with my favorite blogs. I have been using netvibes, but it slowed down my browser so badly this morning that I had to close it, losing all my work.


I want to switch to another feed aggregator and if you use one you really like, I want to hear about it so long as either (a) it can run in a web browser (like netvibes -- or should I say "better than netvibes"?) or (b) if it is a stand-alone application, it is native to or has been ported to Linux. It should also cost me nothing or a low, one-time fee to use.

Bleg 2

I will be rearranging the blogroll soon. Rather than using the present division by frequency of updates, I will do one of two things. (1) I will lump all blogs together, except for newly-added blogs. (2) I will divide blogs into three broad categories (aside from newly-added blogs): "Milbloggers" (mainly fellow ex-submariners), "Fellow Travelers" (Objectivists and those sympathetic to Objectivism), and "Friends and Benefactors" (big guns like Instapundit, friends who aren't in either of my two "communities", and reciprocal linkage.

Which do you prefer and why? And if you like the second scheme, would you suggest different names for any of the categories?

New Yorkers Told What to Eat

Ed Morrissey gives us an update on something I noticed earlier in the week.
...New York City decided that consumers and food preparers couldn't be trusted to make their own decisions. The health board imposed trans-fat limits on restaurants in the Big Apple, transforming the debate from health to politics...
The Big Apple, as I said earlier, has been heading this way for awhile.

.667 may be a great batting average, ...

.. but it is not good enough in philosophical matters, as Andy points out at The Charlotte Capitalist.
[Radio anchor Jeff Katz said] something like, "If you take religion out of the equation, all you have left is moral relativism."

Jeff's point being: There is only one choice for morality and it is religion. Without religion, there is nothing -- no other alternatives.

Jeff made the mistake that most make -- that there are only two choices. The mistake begins with metaphysics. Jeff''s options are two variants of the primacy of consciousness -- that either the universe is controlled by a supernatural force or by the whims of men on an individual or group basis.
He then posts links to his fisking of The Purpose-Driven Life, for anyone who might have missed it.

Venezuela Update

We in the United States recently got to see why Hugo Chavez is known in some quarters of Venezuela as "El Loco". But at least he's not in charge here. Indeed, it might be easy after his antics to dismiss him as irrelevant. As The Counterterrorism Blog points out, that would be a mistake.
Chavez's financial support has been key to supporting extremist allies from Argentina to Cuba and everywhere in between. Venezuela has received thousands of Cuban doctors, sports trainers, and other operatives. When Bolivia, under new President Evo Morales, allied with Venezuela and Cuba, Boliva too began receiving Cuban doctors. No doubt some of these programs do some good (they are also a safety valve for Castro - doctors use the trip to Venezuela or Bolivia to slip Castro's grasp.) However, it appears the Cuban agents are mostly organizing citizen militias that Chavez and Morales can rely on in a civil conflict.

But the biggest worry is the guns. Over the summer Hugo went on an arms buying spree in which he purchased high-performance jets and helicopters (not terribly useful for a nation with no real enemies) and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. Chavez also obtained a license so he could manufacture his own assault rifles. The first client for these weapons will probably be Chavez's own Bolivarian Circles (his citizen militia) and the second will be the FARC. But beyond that there are numerous latent, and not so latent, conflicts that could erupt throughout the region. In Peru, defeated Presidential candidate and Chavez ally Ollanta Humala, is founding a movement which is best described as Inco-fascist. A few months ago, Sao Paulo, Brazil was wracked with massive gang violence which left over two dozen dead. Highly organized and extremely violent Central American gangs operate across national borders and into the United States. The combination of financial support, technical know-how, and tens of thousands of easy to use, extremely deadly, assault weapons could turn these low-level conflicts into civil war and insurgency. [links dropped]
This bothers me, and I've been keeping an eye on Chavez for some time.

Bill Clinton makes a comeback of sorts.

It would appear that Bill Clinton's famous outburst during a recent interview with Chris Wallace has put the "Comeback Kid" back on the political map -- by drawing attention not just to his failures against Islamofascist terrorism, but also to his cozy ties with certain unsavory characters.

First, via Glenn Reynolds, I learned of a Dick Morris piece referenced by Gateway Pundit. As of now, the second link does not work and I cannot find the original of the article on Clinton's possible ties to the emir of Dubai -- though it appears here.
Last February, Sen. Clinton was out front in condemning DP World, a Dubai government-owned company seeking to take over key operations at American ports. But, at the same time, Bill was advising the emir to hire his former press secretary, Joe Lockhart, to get the deal approved.

Back then, Lockhart denied working for the emir. And when Bill's role became public, Hillary claimed that she had no idea that he had any involvement in the DP World issue.

Now, it turns out that the emir's Dubai International Capital Corp. hired Lockhart's company, Glover Park Group, by last April to help with another U.S. deal -- a takeover of two defense firms. (Besides Lockhart, Glover Park's partners also include Hillary's chief political gurus, Howard Wolfson and Gigi Georges. Dubai paid the firm $100,000 for its services.)

Oddly, the lobbying contract came through a California law firm -- Morrison, Foerster. One of that firm's partners is Raj Tanden -- whose sister is Neera Tanden, Sen. Clinton's former legislative director and still a top Hillary adviser. No six degrees of separation here.
And then, of course, we have a timely reminder that Clinton pardoned some Puerto Rican terrorists in order to help his wife get elected to the Senate. Joe Connor, man who lost his father in a terrorist attack on a pub in New York, wrote the piece. (If I recall correctly. I read this yesterday.) As of now, this article appears to have been pulled, but it was referenced at RealClear Politics just yesterday as "Clinton Didn't Kill Terrorists, He Pardoned Them". These three missing articles are almost enough to make me wonder what the hell is going on.)

Privatization? In Sweden?

Martin Lindeskog blogs on the article, "Sweden's shift to right points to privatisation".

Mmmmm. Barbecue!

Bothenook recently visited Austin, a city I haven't visited in years, and reviews a couple of barbecue places I might want to check out whenever we finally do make the trip.

And if you might be in Austin some time soon, you might want to see what he says.


I made this once. The man knows his barbecue. Trust me.

Updates on the Eurpoean Front

Little Green Footballs reports on two developments: Ramadan rioting in Brussels and Germany's debate -- At least there is one! -- over self-censorship.

Is California Half-Crazy or Half-Sane?

Greg Perkins's opinion is that the glass is half-full rather than half-empty with regard to California's recent idiotic decision to sue automakers over "global warming".
Remember the recent lawsuit regarding Intelligent Design in the science classroom (a.k.a., "Scopes II" or the "Dover Panda Trial")? The top theorists and proponents from the ID movement were put on the stand and under oath, where they were definitively exposed as dishonest, fraudulent, creationist pseudo-scientists with a religious agenda. Dover was a crushing blow to the ID movement: confident and influential from long taking epistemological liberties in the court of public opinion, they were finally brought into a context where obfuscation, shoddy reasoning, and populist appeals carry no weight. (I highly recommend reading that decision. Written by a Bush-appointed judge, I didn't expect much and ended up impressed with his ability to grasp and relate the scientific and philosophical issues. His obvious anger at their mendacity was icing on the cake.)

So the Church of Global Warming wants to be put on the stand? I say that's great! Prepare for another Dover.
Mother Earth, I hope he's right!

Andy B on YouTube!

The PSU Objectivist Club has footage of their recent visit by Andrew Bernstein available for your viewing pleasure!
Yup, excerpts from the September 11th lecture we hosted are finally available online. View it above or visit the YouTube page here. Here's the breakdown:

Why small nations can be wealthier than large ones. (1:38)
Why we're the fattest people in history. (2:30)
Why conservatives can be knuckleheads. (2:59)
Why we should boycott China. (3:36)
Why Ayn Rand opposed Libertarianism. (5:18)
Why we're not running out of resources. (7:29)
And finally…a leftist making a fool of himself. (8:58)

Vote Republican

I think I will do what Zach Oakes and Robert Tracinski plan to do. Quoth Tracinski:
The best thing we can do in this election is to crush the left--because the Democratic Party adds nothing of value to the American political debate.
That will be me, holding my nose with one hand and casting votes with the other.

Where's a daisy-cutter when you need one?

This is how I would have titled this entry at Principles in Practice.

Classic Top 100 List

Bubblehead, whose blog recently turned two, puts out a list of "100 Reasons Why McDonald's is Better than Submarines". My favorite? "33) If McDonald's catches fire, you LEAVE."

-- CAV