Thursday, March 30, 2006


In the news: Online booze ban breaks EU law.

Sweden's ban on importing alcohol for private use breaks article 31 of the European Community Treaty, according to the Advocate General in the European Court.

The stance taken by the Advocate General, Antonio Tizzano, could have far-reaching consequences for Swedes' right to import alcohol from other EU countries. (, 03/30/06.)


Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I am planning to purchase Lee Sandstead's photograph of the sculpture, Genius of Electricity, by Evelyn Beatrice Longman. The print could fit nicely on the wall of the computer section.

"Ask for Ideas in Gothenburg" / Blue Chip Café / IdeaTank.

Read the interview (The Art Historian's Muse) with Lee Sandstead. [Via the Secular Foxhole.]


Read Diana Hsieh's post, NYU Cowardice. Here is an excerpt from the Ayn Rand Institute's press release, NYU's Surrender Underscores Need to Display Danish Cartoons.

"In a seemingly mundane decision, New York University has sacrificed the principle underlying its flourishing and the survival of civilization--free speech," said Dr. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute. NYU is refusing to protect a student group's right to display the Danish cartoons of Mohammad at a panel discussion on free speech on March 29. (, 03/28/06.)


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

On Being a Mistrusted Minority

Andy points out a small problem with a recent poll that named "atheists" as America's "least trusted minority".
The problem with this poll is that is it based upon a term which is a negative. Atheism simply describes what you are not. It does not describe what you are. Thus, when you ask someone what they think about an atheist, who knows what is in their head.
Amen, brother!

Accent Test

I run into one of these once in awhile. Although I grew up in Mississippi and have now lived in Texas for almost half my life, I scored only a "57% Dixie." (HT: Eric Scheie)

Fan Girl Returns!

In reaction to Nick Provenzo's recent posts on Jack Wakeland, Jennifer Snow does a very good job of presenting the essence of Wakeland's arguments concerning the prosecution of the war.
Mr. Wakeland's support of Bush's "Forward Strategy of Freedom", in my understanding, is based on the fact that it means Bush has recognized two truths: that the real battle here is an ideological one, and that we have to stick with it until we win. While Bush hasn't been fantastic about finding and applying the correct strategies to realize either of these goals, he HAS been consistent in maintaining that there is an ideological battle and that we have to stick with it. In that respect, his floundering efforts deserve our support.
I myself have been sympathetic to the Forward Strategy of Freedom until very recently, when it became increasingly apparent that the outcome might be that America ends up establishing Islamic states, and that Bush does not seem terribly bothered by that. In that last respect, Bush does fail to appreciate the ideological nature of this conflict. While we must battle multiculturalists at home, as Jennifer correctly points out, a result favorable to the Islamic Totalitarians is likely to backfire.

One thing I thought of during my own recent consideration of the Provenzo pieces comes up again now. It is the thing that both necessitated Jennifer's exposition of Wakeland's argument and got mentioned in the comments on Nick's blog: TIA Daily has very little of its war commentary freely available on the web. Given that Wakeland's position is not widely held among Objectivists, I think that TIA Daily is doing itself no favors by not at least publishing more of this material on the web, as it used to do regularly at its blog so people can more easily evaluate its commentary for themselves.

Much of the war commentary at TIA Daily seems more speculative to me, often being either (1) an exploration of how best our society, self-limited by incorrect philosophical ideas as it is, can fight the war or (2) along the lines of an exploration of how societies evolve from primitive tyranny to freedom. Given that Ayn Rand held that ideas move history, examining history as it unfolds can yield useful insights. This is how I have taken much of the commentary at TIA Daily, and I have never myself been under the impression that Wakeland or anyone else there preferred the Forward Strategy to a proper subjugation of our enemies.

Other bloggers who have commented on Provenzo's essays are myself, Jim Woods, and Mike N. In the last, Mike elaborates on a point that I made on whether we would, as the "Kerry Objectivists" held leading up to the election, be better off with Kerry in office now. (Specifically, I question whether we would have much access to the alternative news media we are sometimes in danger of taking for granted.) Also, Gideon Reich commented on the debate over Bush some time ago here.

On the "Kerry question" -- and speaking solely for myself here -- I have to say that I disagree with Nick when he says, that the "[D]ebate [over the '04 elections] was worth whatever the odds were that Objectivist votes could swing the election, which was somewhere between zero and nill." To the contrary, no matter who runs in the next race, it is a sucker bet we will be unhappy with his prosecution of the war. We would do well to learn as much as we can from the '04 race beforehand. Let's pay very close attention to which candidate will most likely continue to respect our right to dissent!

Allah to Moslem Mystics: Jump in a lake.

Michelle Malkin blogs about some British Moslems who claim to have seen the Arabic for "Allah" and "Mohammed" (justice be upon his minions) on a couple of tropical fish.
Leaders at the nearby Al-Rahma mosque in Hatherley Street, are in no doubt about the authenticity. Sheikh Sadek Kassem, the mosque's Imam, said: "This is a proof and a sign not just to Liverpool's Muslims, but for everyone." The fish were bought last week from a pet store in Speke by Ali AlWaqedi, 23. He spotted a squiggle on the side of one fish that mirrored the Arabic word for God - Allah.

Then he noticed another fish, in a different tank, that seemed to bear the Arabic spelling of Mohammed, known by Muslims as Islam's last Messenger. Ali said: "This is a message from Allah to me, a reminder, and now my faith is stronger. Everyone is so excited by the discovery."
I like to think that Allah is commanding his mindless servants to attempt to live in an aquatic environment.

Another Way to "Act White"

When one's peers deride a strong intellect and healthy relationships, who needs Whitey to keep him down?

Why France is in Trouble

Simon Patkin observes:
Over 500,000 students demonstrated in France last week against labour reform, but only a handful protested against Islamic threats to free speech.
(HT: Blair)

Death Worship

Amit Ghate improves upon a point I made recently.
[A] man's primary choice is to decide whether he wants to remain in existence, i.e. if he wants to live or not, and only if he does, is it essential for him to use his mind. I submit that the Palestinians and most Islamists have not even made the choice to live -- they are in fact self-avowed death worshippers. This is something that is very difficult for good people to grasp, precisely because it is so horrible, but grasp it we must if we are to win the war they are waging on us.
And be sure to stop by for a gander at the Musselman holding the "We love Prophet Mohammed more than our lives" placard.


And speaking of loving a "prophet" more than one's life, here's a prime example of mere words not even spoken consciously trumping someone's lifelong commitment, according to the dim lights of Islam.

Everyone knows about sleep walking. Just the other day, I heard about the term "sleep eating". And now, courtesy of the medieval mentality, we have "sleep-divorcing".
A Muslim couple in India has been told by local Islamic leaders they must separate after the husband 'divorced' his wife in his sleep, the Press Trust of India reported.

Sohela Ansari told friends that her husband Aftab had uttered the word 'talaq,' or divorce, three times in his sleep, according to the report published in newspapers Monday.

When local Islamic leaders got to hear, they said Aftab's words constituted a divorce under an Islamic procedure known as 'triple talaq.' The couple, married for 11 years with three children, were told they had to split.
To remarry, the couple were told that she would have to sleep with another man and be divorced by him first -- after 100 days had passed.

I'm no Islamic scholar, but if we were to see a sudden rash of Moslem women claiming that their husbands "divorced" them while asleep, I have a crazy feeling that this ruling will fail to set a precedent.

If there is any doubt that Islam is all about erasing any vestige of independent judgement in the minds of its followers, this example should put it to rest.

Second Carnival of the Objectivists

Nick Provenzo plans to host the second Carnival of the Objectivists on April 1.

-- CAV

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I visited my good friend, Christer Sjöback, this weekend. He cooked a delicious Asian dinner (beef with Szechuan pepper). We sampled beers from Thailand (Singha), Japan (Sapporo Breweries Limited), and USA (Brooklyn Brewery). We had a Margarita as an after dinner drink. I gave Christer two types of nicotiana seeds.


Talking about plants, go to my other blog and read about the new chile pepper season. If everything works well, I could harvest tomatoes, paprika (sweet bell peppers), Thai basil, and chile pepper fruits within 3 - 6 months time.

Have you had pepperoncini chocolate?


It is time for reflective thoughts...

The reflection of Morris.

Our business is now registered and ready to serve "provision" to the public. I am in the process of talking with suppliers of tea, coffee, juice, soft drinks, baked goods, sandwiches, snacks, etc. If you want to have something special on the menu, please send me an email... ;)

Here is a photo of the future library / office space / conference room and Blue Chip Café member club section.

"Ask for Ideas in Gothenburg" / Blue Chip Café / IdeaTank.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Cross-Posted from Gus Van Horn

Lost most of yesterday evening to unexpected contingencies and am running behind this morning, to this week's roundup will be on the short side....

"What's next, yellow?"

That's the question Willy Shake starts off with when he blogs on the British Royal Navy's recent decision to begin repainting its submarine fleet blue.
As unmanly as it might strike us at first, perhaps we submariners -- known for our innovativeness -- need to take a page from our USMC bastard step children brethren and "Adapt. Overcome."
One of the reasons for the change is that with the submarines appearing in warmer oceans a lot more often after the Cold War, a color that was harder to detect than black was needed.

And over at Molten Eagle, Vigilis has some further thoughts on the kinds of camouflage employed by warships.

And, Speaking of Attempts at Concealment

Ian Hamet has a very funny post up about comb-overs in mainland China.
[O]n that [first moderately windy] day, you will be confronted in the streets by masses of sad, bald-pated men with oily, foot-long strands of hair whipping about their heads, anchored just above the ears or, for the farther-gone, along the back of the skull.
I also like his comment on the likely origins of this apparently universal practice in the "face" culture of China.

Ayn Rand on Humor

Robert Tracy blogs some of Ayn Rand's extemporaneous answers to the following questions on the topic of humor, for the curious or for those too busy reading their own misconceptions into her works to notice that she is often very funny.
Humor doesn't play a major role in the lives of your fictional heroes. What is the role of humor in life? Do comedians have a value to an Objectivist? What does an Objectivist find humorous?
Go to Illustrated Ideas for the answers.

More on Smoking Bans

Jennifer Snow has a good post and thread over at her blog on smoking bans.
I don't understand it; I don't understand how anyone could want such a thing. Let me be clear: I hate smoking. I hate the smell of it, I hate how it makes me cough and gag when I breathe it, and I dislike the people that think they are entitled to smoking breaks when I'm not allowed to go to the bathroom before lunch. I think it's a filthy habit. But I will defend anyone's right to it, and smokers own public places just as much as nonsmokers do; everyone is taxed to provide for them.
Geography for Journalists

Hmmm. On second thought, that prescription comes off sounding like a course that has been watered down for a group of people who would probably flunk out of the real thing.... In any event, Lubber's Line thinks journalists reporting on the chances of New England getting a hurricane this year could use some, as and Andrew Dalton sounds like he'd probably agree.

In any event, I agree with Lubber's Line when he says the following.
Informing people they need to be prepared for the possibility of a big weather event, especially a hurricane, is important. I just don't like it when inaccurate information is added to sell a prediction.
Indeed, it defeats the whole purpose of overcoming the apathy of ignorance by inducing the kind of apathy that always greets Chicken Littles sooner or later.

The Islamization of Europe

Grant Jones has some interesting tidbits on Oriana Fallaci's The Force of Reason, specifically on her thoughts about the Islamization of Europe. He points to a very good review, from which he quotes.
How did Islam go from being a virtual non-factor to a religion that threatens the preeminence of Christianity on the Continent? How could the most popular name for a baby boy in Brussels possibly be Mohammed? Can it really be true that Muslims plan to build a mosque in London that will hold 40,000 people? That Dutch cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are close to having Muslim majorities?
And I think he hit the nail on the head when he said, "A Mohammadan in Norway makes this interesting statement, 'Our way of thinking ... will prove more powerful than yours.' Actually, his form of anti-reason is much more powerful than that adopted by the West's post-modern left."

Caught on Film

Vigilis has posted a photo of me over at his blog reaching for a brewski while performing an alien autopsy. I will, of course, deny everything.

-- CAV

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Solid Vox, the podcasting / radio show network by Prodos, is on its way... I look forward to present my first program on the Egoist.


It took some time, but Freivalds is now kicked out... "Daily Industry's" magazine, Diego, has an interview with Stefan Amér, political adviser to the former foreign minister.

Recommending reading: My post, RELIGION OF PEACE and the Ayn Rand Institute's Free Speech Campaign site.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I didn't conduct a counter demonstration this year. According to "Gothenburg's Post", about 1,000 people demonstrated against the "occupation of Iraq"... [Via InstaPundit.] Here is a picture from my solo protest last year.


UPDATE 03/21/06:

I had to clean up in front of our entrance. I removed an anti-war poster at a bus stop sign. The speakers are all active communists. Sven-Eric Liedman is a Marxist author. I had to read one of his text books during my high school years. Ida Gabrielsson is head of the youth organization of the Left Party. Henry Ascher is a member of the Communist Party and an activist pushing for a boycott of Israeli goods.




I have written this post as a mental "tie break" due to the "overtime" work with plenty of stuff... [Editor's note to self: Morris could give you instructions on how to relax...]

I was searching the blogosphere in order to find a blogger who writes about a start-up adventure. I found a blog describing his start of a café somewhere in America, but I can't find the blog at the moment. I should have made a mental note or bookmark...

We have now sent in the application for serving coffee, tea, baked goods, and "cold" ready-made food (e.g., two slices of bread, ham, and a slice of cheese put together and heated up, i.e., a toast) to the bureaucrats at the "environmental & food" agency. We have ordered broadband telephony / internet access. Blue Chip Café will have wireless hotspot so you could surf the net with your mobile smartphone (e.g., Qtek 9100 / HTC Wizard), or a laptop. I will purchase a espresso machine, coffee bean grinder and hot water tank for tea, next week.

We are planning to have a special event on May 1 (Labor Day in Sweden). We will work hard on marketing our business during next month by updating our web site, do the final touches of the logotype and create an outdoor sign for the café, and talking with a PR and marketing firm.

Blue Chip Café
"Ask for Ideas in Gothenburg" / Blue Chip Café / IdeaTank. Click on the image for a description of the photo.

I will send an invitation to Toiler of Acid Free Paper to visit our place in Gothenburg. Read his post, Café Society.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

I'm still coming off a severe schedule crunch here. Yesterday evening, coming off six hours' sleep in two days, I stumbled home, quickly posted on "Sudden Jihad Syndrome", and crashed. I really feel like getting a little more sleep this morning, but I'd like to get my blogging back on track so I can capitalize on some recent momentum.

An Army of Davids

Glenn Reynolds doesn't need my help promoting his book, but this review piqued my interest enough to make me want to buy it. (I've been ignoring the hype so far, and have not been following Instapundit as much as usual.)

The full title of the book does a good job of setting up the context for the following excerpt. An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths.
[Reynolds's] greatest strength ... is in describing what he knows best: blogging. He sees communications technology making repression steadily harder. An ordinary video camera can be confiscated and its tape destroyed. But if a video blogger were transmitting footage wirelessly to hundreds of other people as he films it -- as will soon be possible -- it would be a rash secret policeman who shoots him.

Mr Reynolds understands that the blogging revolution has ill effects as well as good. The same technology that spreads protests against tyranny can also be used to stoke sectarian riots, as happened recently in Nigeria. And there are some things the little guy cannot easily do. With a few exceptions (Mr Reynolds lauds a do-it-yourself war correspondent in Iraq), bloggers do little original reporting. Posting opinions online is cheap, but news-gathering is not. Mr Reynolds sees this changing as technology costs fall still further and bloggers find niches in local news. But the revolution is unlikely to destroy "old media" entirely. For one thing, with no MSM, what would bloggers deconstruct?
Not to be overly "deconstructive" here, but couldn't you say that all technology -- if you recall that evil people exist and technology hasn't any moral scruples -- has "ill effects"? And this being the case, mightn't it be better to frame this in terms that lay the blame where it belongs: evil men? I suspect that Reynolds won't make this very basic mistake and look forward to seeing whether I am right.

In the meantime, I do wonder whether this reviewer thinks that such "ill effects" provide a good rationale to crush -- er "regulate" -- this new "army" -- er these new technologies.

New Jersey Free -- for Now

And, speaking of an "army of Davids", this article shows this army in action in a skirmish that is taking place in New Jersey. (And pardon me if I seem be slow on the uptake here.... I do recall seeing mention of an "Internet civility bill" somewhere recently, but didn't follow up on it. I think it was this one.)
A New Jersey Assemblyman's Internet civility bill is on ice since opponents blasted it as an assault on free speech.

Assemblyman Peter Biondi and his staff said they were trying to curb malicious exchanges on some local discussion boards when they introduced a bill requiring people to provide their real names and addresses before posting on public Web sites. The bill also stated that hosts could be sued for failing to disclose the identities of people disseminating false or defamatory information.

Biondi's staff drafted the measure late last year. In was introduced in January. The bill hadn't even made it to committee before a small weekly newspaper published an article about it and Internet news providers began spreading the word. Then, callers from as far away as Canada deluged Biondi's office with complaints.
And not only does the article show the "army" in action, it shows us why we need such an army in the first place: Despite the fact that our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, our media often either fail to use it adequately (e.g., the massive failure to display the cartoons that "provoked" Moslem rioting and murder recently) and sometimes even misuse it (e.g., Rathergate. See article discussed in previous section for mention and mild whitewashing thereof.)! This is a shame since our media ought to be very interested in protecting freedom of speech by doggedly exposing government attempts to abridge it, not aiding them by inaction or collusion!

As an example of inadequate reporting, consider that if you were busy and simply skimmed the article, you'd think that the battle against this bill had already been won! However, buried near the bottom is an ominous warning that Biondi isn't done with his attempt to subordinate our freedom to "civility".
[Biondi's Chief of Staff Scott] Ross said that Biondi and his staff were responding to requests from local constituents who complained about the viciousness of local discussion boards littered with name-calling. They were shocked that the bill -- drafted to bring decorum to Internet discussions -- drew an intense response from Internet users far beyond the Garden State's boundaries.

Critics said the law would be unconstitutional and impossible to enforce. Ross said he can see things from their perspective, but he still believes people should maintain civility online.
If Ross really did "see things from their perspective", he'd understand the importance of freedom of speech and advise Biondi to withdraw his bill or even resign from his staff in protest.

Medical Experiments of Another Kind

This cost-benefit analysis of socialized medicine makes a decent point about the fact that Americans have access to more cutting-edge technology than those whose medical costs are subsidized by governments looking to cut corners.

But then it sells freedom down the river!
In my view, either single-payer health care or a return to individual responsibility represents a radical change. It would be more prudent to have individual states experiment with these alternatives before we commit to any single approach at a national level.
No! It is not any more "prudent" to "experiment" with some states violating the rights of their physicians to set the terms for which they will work than it was to "experiment" with making the income tax constitutional in 1913 so the feds could levy a 1% tax. It is a precedent made dangerous because the principle of individual rights is ignored at the outset by a myopic concern with the details of a wholly wrong scheme of government interference in the economy.

This argument plays into the hands of those who, like Ted Kennedy, would socialize our medical industry incrementally. Assuming Arnold Kling is against socialized medicine, his is not merely a strategic mistake. It is made possible by a more fundamental error: failure to vigorously support the principle of individual rights.

No citizen -- not even even a physician, Mr. Kling -- should be forced to work for any other. Not in America, or anywhere else for that matter.

Synergy: "Freedom" and "Discipline"

There's a short, interesting piece at City Journal by Theodore Dalrymple that discusses how British complacency plays into the hands of Moslems who want to snuff out the hopes and dreams of their own children. It includes the following sad vignette.
There was a strange paradox about the young Muslim women I saw in the hospital, usually after they had tried to kill themselves. Their manners and deportment were infinitely better than those of young white women of the same economic class, and they were better educated than their white peers, although they had received at least four, and sometimes as many as seven, years fewer education.

In fact, they often were often estimable young women. They wanted desperately to learn, to accomplish something, to enter a profession, and to earn a living. If I had been an employer, they were just the kind of people I would hope to find. But their truncated education clearly had the purpose -- usually achieved -- of thwarting any ambition they might have. The young women found themselves in an utterly wretched position: hence the suicide attempts.
Dalrymple could have made his excellent point even more forcefully, but it is obscured by his title, his terminology ("freedom" used to denote both actual freedom and complacency), and his final paragraph.
Here, then, is proper material for reflection, of the kind that the opportunistic Blair couple will never give it. Discipline without freedom leads to misery, but freedom without discipline leads to chaos, shallowness, and misery of another kind.
It is precisely freedom that young women like this lack. It is complacency or worse on the part of Brits, free for the moment anyway, who too willingly accommodate the religious customs of Moslems, while forgetting the better aspects of their own culture. It is not freedom, but the failure to take advantage of it, that is the problem in Britain and so many other places in the West.

Free Blog Hosting, Chinese Style

The Gaijin Biker notes that in China, even if your blog's hit totals are in a league with Instapundit, you will not make a dime from your advertising. GB invites the reader to "Take a moment to digest the wonderfully oxymoronic concept that a company should be compensated for providing a free service."

Turk Stopped at Sub Base

Bubblehead has some thoughts on a recent incident at our submarine base in Connecticut.
From another article in The Day (posted over at Rontini's BBS), it appears the guy said he was trying to visit the Sub Force Museum. At 0630. Congressman Simmons actually voices the concern that it may have been an attempt to probe base security, so someone else is thinking the same thing. [link omitted]
Bombs Away!

I fully agree with Martin Lindeskog that we should take out all the Iranian nuclear capability we can find. And do follow the link to "signs that the United States is about to bomb Iran".

I only play a kindly, wise man on TV.

Willy Shake notes (with a disappointment I share) that Issac "Chef" Hayes is quitting Southpark.

But I refuse to wallow in disappointment. Hayes's action is also an amusing admission on his part that no amount of Scientology training will ever make him able to simply will Matt Stone and Trey Parker to cease poking fun at his "religion", or otherwise supernaturally actualize his wishes. Perhaps Hayes ought to consider quitting something else. Hint: It would be the activity that is giving him a negative cash flow.

-- CAV

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


In the news: Iran's supreme leader: No retreat on nukes - USA Today.

Read Edward Luttwak's article, To bomb or not to bomb?

Here is an excerpt:

The bombing of Iran's nuclear installations may still be a bad idea for other reasons, but not because it would strengthen the hold of its rulers, nor because it would require a huge air offensive. On the contrary, it could all be done in a single night. (, 03/14/06.)

Have you heard about the "signs that the United States is about to bomb Iran"?


Wednesday, March 8, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

Welcome to what I think, going into it, will be a shorter than usual weekly roundup. I was busier than usual at work yesterday (when I wrote this) and have the morning meeting I normally do on Thursday a day early. Them's the breaks.

Another Objectivist Blogger to Go Into Business

First, Don Watkins started a magazine from his blog. Then Martin Lindeskog decided to go into business for himself. And Philip Pape ended his brief foray into the blogosphere by starting a business. And now, Zach Oakes has decided to take the plunge!

Good luck, Zach!

Veksler on the Austrian View of Economic Value

I found David Veksler's ruminations on Austrian economics interesting.
My argument is that the subjective theory of value is essentially correct, but incorrectly named, and should be distinguished from two contrasting erroneous views of economic value by calling it the objective theory of value, since market prices are in fact objective.


Note that both the intrinsic and the subjective [not in the Austrian sense --ed] theory of value are conductive to arguments for regulating the market because they claim that market prices are arbitrary. If economic values are intrinsic, then prices distract and distort the actual value of goods, and regulation is necessary to keep prices in live with the real values of goods. If economic values are subjective, then regulation is necessary to keep the capitalist bosses from exploiting the helpless masses. This is one of the reasons why it is important for capitalists to explain that prices are neither proxies for some ideal value, nor subjective choices, but objectively reveal the actual values that individuals hold.
South Dakota leaves a loophole.

Gideon Reich notes that South Dakota's new abortion ban has a loophole and concludes: "I suppose we should be grateful that the law's proponents are not yet fully consistent. But then evil never has to be."

Quite true. Just look at their reason for leaving a "grace period" for rape victims: It would be overwhelmingly unpopular to do otherwise. Why not make a good, solid case, once and for all, that a fetus is a human being, and that abortion is murder? Is this an admission that they can't? Or that they place their religious agenda above actually protecting lives and rights (by making sure they first know what these are)? Or both?

This reminds me of another recent example of the contempt held by many social conservatives for the notion that laws should protect individual rights. When Texas wrote a law to ban gay marriage, it literally was a ban on all marriage. Neither the author of the bill nor, apparently anyone else, seems to care. (And, oh yeah. Some doctors who perform abortions there are, technically, subject to criminal prosecution.)

We thus have three examples of contempt for the law: (1) The South Dakota law, which does not consistently carry out its alleged goal; (2) The law in Texas that clearly bans marriage, but is basically being interpreted away; and (3) A legal circumstance created by some other laws in Texas that is also being ignored.

The Mississippi Internet Bubble

Well, the title isn't really descriptive, but I couldn't resist it. The Gaijin Biker notes that some spammers are using some sloppy coding in the web site of the government of my home state to host trackback spam!
As you can see from the above screenshot (click to enlarge in a new window if it's too small), the trackback appears to come from, which is the official website of the state of Mississippi. But the actual URL is:

where "SPAM-URL" is the actual URL of the spammer's site, such as "" or what have you. (I've grayed it out in the screenshot to avoid giving him free publicity.)

The URL listed above will display the spammer's site within a frame on the Mississippi site. You can test this out by pasting it into your browser's address bar and replacing SPAM-URL with the URL of your choice.
Banned in Pakistan!

Martin Lindeskog, at whose blog I often cross-post my midweek roundups, can now add another country to the list of states that ban Ego! Grant Jones reports that Pakistan has joined the ranks of states quaking in their boots at the prospect that their citizens might like what someone on Blogger has to say more than what their governments do.

God's Debris

Jennifer Snow, who appears to be well on her way to becoming a book reviewer, has another intriguing bok recommendation.
Reading God's Debris will help you learn how to entertain ideas without accepting them by allowing you to exercise your skill in philosophical detection.

So, I do recommend reading it if you have some spare time and feel like flexing your mental muscles; it's an extremely important exercise. Why? Because, as [author Scott] Adams puts it (amazingly, getting it dead right):

"Ideas are the only things that can change the world. The rest is details."
Toiler makes me jealous.

I don't get to write in cafes. Ever. Wah.
So it seems that some writers enjoy the camaraderie of working with or against (competing with?) other writers. Maybe they enjoy being part of a movement. I don't know. Maybe they simply benefit from each other's enthusiasm and also share insights. I know from my own experience that this can be motivating. But that's not at all why I go to cafes. In fact, I'd rather not speak to anyone while I'm there.


That's exactly why I like to find my quiet corner and pretty much ignore everyone else. My favorite spots serve exactly that purpose.
Yep. I selected the parts of this article that appeal the most to my extremely introverted nature, but there's much more in Toiler's discussion of cafe society.

My definition of hell.

And speaking of introversion, I ran across this article on introversion vs. extroversion just before the holidays.
"Bah, Humbug, another party?" or "Happy Holidays, another party!"

Your choice of greeting you exclaim during the holidays may have more to do with your genetic make-up than your mood. For introverts living in an extroverted culture, the holidays and all they entail can be fingernails on a chalkboard. For all those who are introverted, all that holiday socializing seems to be an enormous waste of time and energy. Rather than being out there mingling at parties, introverts would rather be snuggled up reading a nice, fat book.
Or sipping a coffee, hunched over my laptop, and writing in some darkened corner of a cafe. Wah. Again.

But on a serious note, the article does do a fairly good job at explaining introverts to the overwhelmingly extroverted world without making us seem too much like sissies, or wet blankets, or misanthropes -- at least until Jonathan Rauch is quoted saying something about an "introverts rights" movement at the end.... (Rauch also says that introverts are "oppressed" here. Great. Perhaps hell is really some multiculturalist attempting to make your personality type into an "oppressed minority". HT: northstar.)

But I bring the article up because I remembered a very funny quote from it. I strongly prefer to be alone in the morning, so I particularly enjoyed this line: "Not all introverts are as misanthropic as philosopher Sartre, who said, 'Hell is other people at breakfast.'"

Not as misanthropic. I can enjoy other people at breakfast -- if I've been forewarned!

(Come to think of it, maybe I could say, "I can enjoy other people for breakfast. You've been forewarned!" Bwahahaha!)

"Never trust an Objectivist under 40."

And speaking of memorable aphorisms, I picked this one up (from a comment) over at the Software Nerd's blog, where some thoughtful discussion on understanding and integrating Objectivism has been going on.

I guess if I ever need a short blurb in my blog header, I could say, "Almost old enough for Leonard Peikoff to trust."

-- CAV

Sunday, March 5, 2006


Welcome to the Carnival of the Recipes #81. This compilation of recipes has a Danish theme. [Editor's note: Check out the cuisine of Denmark at] As a starter, I recommend you to read All For One by Amit Ghate. [Via Gus Van Horn.]

So, without further ado, please have a seat and check out the menu!



[Editor's note: You are welcome to add a suggestion for this section of the menu. Please leave a comment.]

Side orders

Main courses

Frikadeller, rolls off your tongue, just like a swear word.
Forty years ago, I helped my mother make, it seemed like hundreds, of frikadellers, for my after the wedding reception party we had back at the house, and quite a party it was too. If there is one thing us kiwis know how to do, it is party.
We made the frikadellers smaller than you see in the picture, so they could be eaten using toothpics, as I remember there were a couple of different sauces on the side.
They are especially tasty if they are cooked in bacon fat.
[Editor's comment: Mmm, How abut DANISH BACON...]

I prewrote this thinking he wanted Danish recipes. When I read the post today, I realized he is asking for Danish pastry...Well, this isn't pastry, and I'm not redoing the post. I figure you'll need a little protein to go with all that sugar so I'm submitting it anyway.
[Editor's comment: I am sorry for causing any inconvenience. I should have be more precise in the description. But, as a fun twist, I hereby announce a meme. Please send your DANISH PASTRY (a.k.a "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad" in Iran) recipes, or a photo of a pastry, and I will update the post later on.]

What is the difference between American and Danish baby back ribs? There is one more rib on the Danish ribs....13 instead of 12! The Danish hog is called the "Land Race." Mark went on to say that there are three defining points to the taste of pork ribs. The breed of the hog, what it is fed, and the age it is slaughtered.


I have the in on Danish foods, as my husband is half Danish and came from Junction City, Oregon, which has its annual Scandinavian Festival every August. Apparently, that's where all the Minnewegians who took the Oregon Trail moved.


Ok, so the theme for this week's Carnival of the Recipes is "Danish". But I wasn't sure if that meant "recipes for Danish pastry", or "recipes for Danish foods". I'm easily confused. So, I bagged out of that path altogether.
[Editor's comment: I am sorry for the confusion. It must be the Scandinavian language...;)]

How about ending this carnival by drinking a glass of Danish bitter called Gammel Dansk ("Old Danish")?

Or, maybe you prefer a glass of Matilde cocoa milk?

[Hat tip to H.M.]

Next week's edition of the Carnival of the Recipes will be announced by Punctilious of Blog o'RAM. The deadline for submissions for next week's edition is on Saturday, March 11, at noon Central Standard Time. You could send your entries via Blog Carnival, Conservative Cat, or send it by email to: "recipe.carnival AT gmail DOT com". I will update the post with the name of the host as soon as I get the schedule. If you are interested in hosting a future carnival, please send an email message to "recipe.carnival AT gmail DOT com" with the word "host" in the subject line.

UPDATE: One For The Road will host next week's edition of the Carnival of the Recipes.

UPDATE 03/11/06:

Thanks for your comments and trackback links! As promised, here is a photo of a Danish, a.k.a "Rose of the Prophet Muhammad". You are welcome to send pictures of pastries, or other sweet stuff. [Editor's comment: How about a "Havarti hottie"? [Via Michelle Malkin.]]

UPDATE 03/18/06:

Here is another recipe: Chili Van Horn by Gus Van Horn.


Morris is looking forward to the arrival of the next season. "When is spring coming?"

This week has been very hectic... I have been attending a course in logistics, getting the keys to our new business facility, and preparing for the Carnival of the Recipes. The carnival with a Danish theme will be up and running later on this day... In the meantime, have a look at our business place.

"Ask for Ideas in Gothenburg" / Blue Chip Café / IdeaTank

Wednesday, March 1, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

Netvibes is a good thing! In about thirty minutes, I've found more than enough posts to make an interesting roundup despite the fact that I've been pretty much out of the loop for a few days. Now let's see what I can put together in another thirty to forty-five minutes....

Oh yeah.... If you decide to use Netvibes, I have two pieces of advice related to the fact your user ID is an email address. (1) This may be obvious, but use a password other than that you use to access your email account. (2) Use a throw-away account or at least one with a good spam filter. I do the latter and ever since I signed up, the spam folder has needed emptying about once a week.

Freedom Remains Sexy

Can a Burqa ever be sexy? If it gets stripped off in defiance of a bunch of bearded, louse-infested, insecure imams, to reveal a stunningly beautiful bombshell, I say it does.

The Gaijin Biker has a post about a Moslem dissident you may not have heard of yet.
[I]f this video by 28-year-old UK- and US-based singer Deeyah (nicknamed the "Muslim Madonna") is any indication, the connection between freedom and sex appeal remains as strong as ever.

The video has, predictably, earned Deeyah a round of death threats from the usual suspects.
She immigrated to the UK after her act riled the Moslem community in her native Norway.

Read the whole thing and get a glimpse of what the imams deny men on earth, but use to induce them to murder themselves and others.

Is my use of the term "dissident" over the top here? I think not. Islamists want to control all aspects of everyone's life. In that sense any Moslem who wants to live a normal life qualifies as a dissident.

And speaking of brave women....

Michelle Malkin reports that twelve intellectuals, including female Moslem dissidents Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, and Talsmia Narseen, have issued a manifesto against Islamic totalitarianism. It includes this explicit rejection of cutlural relativism, which is very important.
We reject cultural relativism, which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers. [bold added]
Malkin profiles each intellectual. Talsmia Nasreen has the distinction of having a hate group named after her and being persecuted as an apostate.

Meanwhile, back in the land of the free ...

... a major city is getting ready to name a street after a domestic terrorist: "Chicago plans to name a street after a Black Panther leader who [told] people to ... "off the pig!"

We won't be the "land of the free" for much longer if we keep honoring people like this.

An Interesting Proposal

Curtis Weeks points to a very interesting proposal. called on the U.S. House of Representatives to approve by election day a resolution by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) to require that all proposed legislation be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before it comes up for floor debate.

"It's time to stop passing bills in the dead of night that nobody has read," said Rafael DeGennaro, Founder and President of "We want sunshine at the Capitol by November. Any member of Congress who opposes this 72 online reform is part of the problem in Washington, D.C."

Baird's resolution updates the current three-day rule in the House, which requires legislation to be available to members of Congress, but not the public, for three calendar days. The three-day rule is vague, obsolete and routinely waived, according to DeGennaro.

"The three-day rule encourages the insiders game in Washington, D.C. because it says that democracy is for members only," said DeGennaro. "The new 72-hour rule would use the Internet to power democracy for all. It harnesses thousands of people to read the bills and find the shady provisions."
The best way to discourage corruption in politics remains: getting our government out of the economy. My initial impression is that while this proposal has some merits, it cannot alone prevent Congress from passing bloated budgets. After all, the very people who will be reviewing legislation are the same ones who keep reelecting the members of Congress who routinely pass the pork. The average American must still appreciate why our government should not be in the business of redistributing wealth before even this legislation would have a serious impact on federal spending.

Happy Anniversary!

Eric Ryle's The Sub Report, that oasis of news for submarine aficionados, turned one yesterday.

Inalienable, and of this World

Nick Provenzo reports on a "defense" of freedom that relies on the exact same premise that animates the Islamists.
What is astonishing about Jaffa's thesis is his utter unwillingness to come to grips with intellectual history. Why, if faith in God is the fount of all individual liberty, did it take mankind almost 1,800 years to get from the Sermon on the Mount to the Declaration of Independence? Why the Dark Ages? Why the repression of scientists such as Galileo? Why the Inquisition? Why the wars of religion? And why the First Amendment, which protects the individual's right not to have a religion, if all freedom springs from faith in God?
A Question for Objectivists and Fellow Travelers

Diana Hsieh asks a more interesting question than the usual "How did you first learn about Ayn Rand?" that many Objectivists and Ayn Rand fans ask one another.
When Objectivists meet for the first time, they often inquire about each other's early history with Ayn Rand, particularly how they discovered her fiction and philosophy. That's a fine and dandy question, but here's a somewhat different one: At what point in reading Ayn Rand did you realize that she had something really significant to contribute to your understanding of the world?
That's a harder question than you might think.

As for me, I encountered Rand when I was focused on whether or not there was a God. While she was the only one I encountered who gave a definitive "No" as an answer, she also demonstrated through her writings on so many other things that that question isn't even the most fundamental one could ask. So what really got my attention was the fact that there was so much more that needed to be thought through and understood before one could answer the kinds of questions one needed to guide one's life.

Religion of Peace Roundup

Amit Ghate continues his excellent coverage of matters related to the current war that started with the Battle of the Cartoons with a rather chilling roundup. Here's a quote from just his first excerpt.
The Pakistani terrorist group Jamaat ul Fuqra is using Islamic schools in the United States as training facilities, confirms a joint investigative report by an intelligence think tank and an independent reporter.

A covert visit to an encampment in the Catskill Mountains near Hancock, N.Y., called "Islamberg" found neighboring residents deeply concerned about military-style training taking place there but frustrated by the lack of attention from federal authorities, said the report by the Northeast Intelligence Network, which worked with an Internet blogger, "CP," to publish an interim report.
Hmmm. That sounds disturbingly familiar.

Upcoming Carnivals

Martin Lindeskog will be hosting a Danish-themed "Carnival of the Recipes" on March 4, which happens to be the same day that Nick Provenzo will be kicking off the first Carnival of the Objectivists.

He had a vision!

This reminds me of that old Father Guido Sarducci skit, "Find the Pope in the Pizza".

Nature Deficit Disorder

Andrew Dalton reports on the latest attempt by liberals to claim that, if you don't agree with them, something is wrong with you. Er, I mean -- "market" their emotionalist fads.

He's back!

Toiler has returned from a prolonged vacation in beautiful New Zealand.

Not Blinded by Science

Not content to show my advancing age with one old pop cultural reference, I've used a second. Mike N. has concluded his series on the science establishment. Links to his previous posts are in the sidebar to the right. I liked this line, but it doesn't do him justice: "You know you're listening to a member of an establishment when ... [h]e says his findings are so urgent and catastrophic there is no time to verify them. Government must act now."

-- CAV