Saturday, July 28, 2007

Boing Boing - How to Survive a Police Encounter (Because It's Bound to be Violent and Hostile)

Boing Boing simply cannot help itself when it comes to showing anti-police material and/or how to avoid being detected while committing a crime. Why the Left has such hate for law enforcement, when it's so necessary to enforce their socialist ideals, is beyond me.

NASA Allows Drunk Astronauts Into Space

Nasa has some serious housecleaning to do. Astronauts drunk and cleared for duty?


Update: Via Instapundit, this story might not be precisely true. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Transition to Digital TV To Cause Mayhem? - No Kidding

I can't imaging how any government-sponsored (i.e., forced) program such as the conversion to all-digital TV in 2009 could cause anything but confusion, frustration, and anger. This Ars Technical article discusses the topic, but of course doesn't go into the real issue: government should have absolutely nothing to do with such things.

Only the market should determine when and if a conversion from one technology to another occurs. When government does so by force, it by definition bypasses the millions of decisions that individuals would make--including whether or not to spend their money on technology that they may or may not want. It represents not only pure coercion, but also the confiscation of wealth.

And, if flies in the face of reason: how can government possibly determine the date by which the appropriate technology will be developed? With manufacturers rushing to meet the deadline, it's almost inevitable that potentially better technologies could be developed if more time were allowed (which the market would provide).

Government has one function: to protect our individual rights. Anything beyond that, including deciding what kind of TV we should be watching, is illegitimate and the cause of every economic dislocation we've experience over the past 100 years or so.

Ahmadinejad Calls Iran One of "Nine" Nuclear States

Iranian President Imajihadi (or whatever his name is) says quite a bit in this story:

He stated, "The three options are almost out of question ... Their call for suspension of our nuclear activities is not legal." Ahmadinejad said, "The West has carried out whatever measure it could and will do the same in the future but it has concluded that it cannot put Iran under pressure by imposing sanctions in an effective way as it wishes."

"The West thought sanctions would give a big shock to the Iranian nation.

"They (Western countries) issued two resolutions against the Iranian nation but as they admitted, Iranians continue their lives in peace and have no fear of sanctions."

So, okay, sanctions don't work. Check.

"Even if the number of resolutions against Iran reached 300, it cannot prevent materialization of the country's rights." He stressed, "Iran is among the world's nine nuclear states."

Okay, so, I believe that there are more than nine nations using nuclear power in general. And so, he basically just said that Iran is one of the states possessing nuclear weapons (and he apparently left out Israel, because unofficially they make the ninth already).

And finally:

"Western countries are unhappy not because of Iran's fuel production but over the issue that nuclear fuel production will make Iran have a share in management of the world."

Why would Iran's possession of nuclear fuel production intended purely for peaceful power production give Iran "a share in management of the world"? Of course, only the possession of nuclear weapons could possibly give Iran such influence.

And yet, there are people who believe that we should use diplomatic methods to contain this madman. And for those who say, "Why should America and the rest of the nuclear states have the right to nuclear weapons, but nobody else?" the answer is relatively simple. The genie can't be put back in the bottle, but that doesn't mean that every tinpot dictator who wants to blackmail his enemies should be able to control it.

Digg Report

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 2642 Diggs, is a link to a story on a Leftist site where, frankly, it's a little hard to find the point. It's anti-Bush, and I think it's something about him not going to Iraq for a photo-opp with some American soldiers. Or something.

It's one of the few political, genuinely Leftist top Diggs, though, and so I'm starting to believe that although Digg is definitely Leftist, it's really more influenced by immature teenage geeks. The Digg Report may not last forever.

Interview with Fred Thompson

Here's an interview with Fred Thompson, the non-candidate, on Fox News. My favorite quote (and it's not a bad interview, overall):

HANNITY: A few other friends, right? Let's talk about this. Right now, there's a battle going on between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, a question that came up in the debate the other night about whether we would sit down and talk with our enemies, people like North Korea and Iran and Ahmadinejad. And Hillary said that Barack Obama was naive and irresponsible for wanting to talk to some of these enemies.

First of all, what do you think of that back and forth? Because Hillary has changed her position on that just from three months ago. And what is your position about talking to Iran and North Korea?

THOMPSON: Well, as I understand it, Senator Clinton was suggesting that the thing she disagreed with was the fact that Clinton thought that they should send an envoy first to make sure that they wouldn't use it for propaganda purposes. My response to that is that I don't trust their envoy. I mean, what if he says that they won? It wouldn't mean anything.

When you are at that high a level, when you're talking about national leaders or cabinet members or something like that, there's a symbolic factor that you have to consider.

These people are killing our people. These Iranians are doing everything they can to undermine us and have been for a while, through Hezbollah and otherwise. They perceive us to be weak right now. If we met with them at those levels now, it would look like we were coming to them. It would look like that we were weak, and they would use that for sure for propaganda purposes and recruiting purposes.

On American Energy Independence

The blog Principles in Practice has a nice article on American energy independence. A quick quote:

"It is taken for granted," said Alex Epstein, a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, "that OPEC, a despicable cartel of tyrannical regimes that coercively limits their oil production to raise prices, can manipulate our energy future on a whim. But such a state of affairs is completely unnecessary; it is a product of U.S. environmental regulations that strangle domestic energy production.

"In a free energy market, the response of competing producers to OPEC-influenced high prices would be to eagerly cultivate new oil sources in America—such as the many untapped sources of oil in Alaska and on America's coastlines—and to vigorously seek to produce truly practical alternative sources of energy, such as coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. Such actions would drive oil and energy prices down, and with them OPEC's ability to manipulate prices..."

Turkey's Re-Islamification

It's a bit of a deep read, but this story about Turkey's re-emerging Islamism is worth it. It's good to be reminded that Turkey was once at the heart of the Ottoman Empire, which as I remember was involved in (the wrong side of) WWI.

Some quotes:

The ruling AK (Adalet ve Kalkınma) Party’s resounding popular electoral victory July 27, 2007 over its closest “secularist” rival parties—the CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk) and MHP (Milliyetçi Hareket) receiving 20% and 15% of the vote, respectively, to the AKP’s 47%—is further evidence of Turkey’s steady re-Islamization. Indeed this trend dates literally to the first election during which Turkish voters were offered any option other than one party rule under Ataturk’s CHP—in 1950, when Menderes’ Demokrat Party (DP) pursued a successful electoral strategy by pandering to an Islamic “re-awakening.”

And Bernard Lewis had predicted just such a path in the 1950's:

…the deepest Islamic roots of Turkish life and culture are still alive, and the ultimate identity of Turk and Muslim in Turkey is still unchallenged. The resurgence of Islam after a long interval responds to a profound national need. The occasional outburst of the tarikas [Sufi “dervish” orders], far more than the limited restoration of official Islam, show how powerful are the forces stirring beneath the surface. The path that the revival will take is still not clear. If simple reaction has its way, much of the work of the last century will be undone, and Turkey will slip back into the darkness from which she painfully emerged.

There's much more there. Set aside a half hour or so, and read it. Important stuff.

China Wants to Retain Mediocre Connotation of "Made in China"

It's funny, but China's undergoing a campaign with its producers to work to secure the reputation of "Made in China." And yet, a simple market study would show them that "Made in China" is already something of a negative here in the States, their major market.

The recent spate of literally deadly Chinese products hasn't helped much, so I suppose getting back to the status quo of "Made in China" being associated with "cheap" would be a good thing. And, of course, it would also be good if the actual quality itself improved.