Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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31 August 2005

Who Lost The Big Easy?

There's a lot of crap being written now about global warming and our failure to ratify Kyoto as being to blame for the devastation of Katrina - perhaps 'crap' is too weak a word.
But our very slow, almost hapless efforts to save people's lives and the great city of New Orleans is rather upsetting. Paul Craig Roberts, the right-wing economist who can't seem to help making logically unassailable observations, doesn't mince words on this one.

30 August 2005

Why Redheads Face Greater Cancer Risk

Scientists have found that red pigment (pheomelanin), when exposed to ultra-violet radiation, releases more free radicals than dark pigment (eumelanin). In Mutants, Armand LeRoi posits that redheads are indeed mutants, since it appears that it's essentially a defective gene (MC1R) that causes it. Since people in northern latitudes don't really need dark skin, this gene could just be randomly mutating without ill effect (at least to procreation). The whole mystery of red and blonde hair is a pretty interesting genetic conundrum. Here's a good accessible layman's overview, this one's very technical (with similar links), and an interesting evolutionary theory.
Another "mutation," lefthandedness, presents another evolutionary conundrum. A recent theory suggests that lefthanded DNA survived because lefties are better fighters.

Speaking of Roberts...

This columnist really has her finger on the pulse of the nation.

29 August 2005

My Man, Roberts

The NYT and Washington Post, in two very different articles, reaffirm my faith in the Roberts nomination.
The Times covers Roberts's reputation as an exacting grammarian and wordsmith. This is good news since even if the majority of opinions continue to go the liberal way, there will be at least another rhetorical heavy hitter to join Scalia in writing withering dissents. (Although my favorite line of the past term goes to Thomas in his Johnson v. California dissent. Contrasting the court's earlier deference to the U. of Michigan's affirmative action policies to the complete dismissal of the California DOC's prison administration, he noted that "whatever the court knows of administering educational institutions, it knows much less about administering penal ones." But this contrasted with what must surely be the absolutely most stupid statement of the year (decade? century?) in the majority decision by O'Connor: "by insisting that inmates be housed only with other inmates of the same race, it is possible that prison officials will breed further hostility among prisoners and reinforce racial and ethnic divisions.")

WaPo's article is a little more substantive. The paper reports on a memo Roberts wrote to the Attorney General arguing for a more aggressive administration response to forced busing and workplace quotas, suggestion legislation banning both. "[He] warned explicitly that Reagan's opposition to affirmative action quotas and busing to achieve racial balance in public schools "could be instantly reversed" by a new administration." While the Stalinist (and counter-productive) policy of racial busing was euthanized a few years back, it was during the succeeding Bush I administration that the 1991 Civil Rights Act (aka the Quota Bill) passed. This kind of news is going to make it real tough on Democrats, because their left wing is going to get more and more upset but voting against him is going to be hard to justify. Sure, for Kennedy, Schumer, Leahy et. al. it won't be a problem, but how is Harry Reid going to go back to Nevada and assure his constituents that he had to vote against Roberts since he was against busing?!

This memo puts Roberts to the right of Bush on civil rights issues. Another memo puts him to Bush's right on illegal immigration as well. A 1982 memo discusses the Supreme Court decision (that day) which held that a state (Texas) could not deny free, public education to illegal immigrants (I forget, sometimes, how left-wing the court used to be), and criticized the administration's decision not to file a brief supporting Texas. Yep, I think he's a keeper.

25 August 2005

Headline Writer Is Confused or Confusing

I think a small change in phrasing could have improved the readability of this headline: "Two Charged With Castrating N.C. Man, Cutting His Ears Off" (via Men's News Daily)

21 August 2005

The End of WWII - Sixty Years Ago This Month

"Carthago Delenda Est."
The Romans were so angry at the long resistance of their enemies that they slew many of the men, made all the women captives, pillaged the town, and then set fire to it. Next the mighty walls were razed, and Carthage, the proud city which had rivaled Rome for more than a hundred years, was entirely destroyed.

Thus ended the third and last Punic War, and the heroic defense of the city which the Romans had always feared, and which they would not allow to stand lest it should some day become powerful enough to rule them.

The dropping of the atom bombs on Japan has dominated remembrance of the end of the war. But there was really nothing remarkable about using the atomic weapons - to any American alive at the time, the the idea that we would have had such a destructive weapon and not have used it against our mortal foes would have been unthinkable. The obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki followed logicallly from the complete destruction wrought on Tokyo, Dresden, and other Axis cities by fire-bombing and the annhilation perpetrated by the Red Army in its invasion from the east. We had committed ourselves to seeking unconditional surrender and, given the ferocity of our enemies, that required unconditional destruction.
In the end it worked out pretty good. The destruction of the far east and Europe, combined with our good fortune in having a rival whose system of government was the most economically incompetent ever devised by man, assured America's great prosperity after the war. The afterglow of our great victory has worn off, and it is now up to us to continue to be the world's great power. Our preference for growing our population via immigration from third world countries and growing our economy via the service sector doesn't leave me particularly optimistic.

16 August 2005

On Vacation

Posting will be limited or non-existent over the next week or so as I am on vacation, enjoying the delights of the Jersey Shore. Far from the rough-and-tumble blue-collar world sketched by Springsteen (accurate at the time for his neck of the woods, Asbury Park, now being gentrified by gays), the Jersey Shore is fairly exclusive - $1 million-plus homes being the rule. It is highly segregated (as is most of New Jersey) with blacks rarely being seen, though Mexicans are becoming more visible working in the kitchens and busing tables in the many eateries. Now it could be that the rich kids just don't want to do that work, but the wait-staff is always all-American, so obviously the kids will work for a fair wage. It's not clear, however, where these migrants live - the shore communities are not readily accessible via mass-transit, so I suspect they're living quietly (for now) in the upstairs of restaurants or in specially set-aside bungalows. Thus, while New Jerseyans confidently lay out huge sums of money to enjoy beach vacations untroubled by minorities, a time-bomb could be ticking in their littoral nest-eggs as unknown numbers of Mexican immigrants collect in their midst.

Hispanic-Americans More Anti-Immigration Than Bush and McCain

According to a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center, "relatively few Hispanics favor increasing the flow of legal immigration from Latin America and a significant minority, concentrated among native-born Latinos, is concerned that unauthorized migrants are hurting the economy." McCain and Bush have no such concerns - they're instead more concerned about business profits and how tough it can be on an American company having to hire American workers. What McCain doesn't like about the current situation is "its inability to provide sufficient legal channels to pair willing workers with willing employers." As in "I'm willing to work at half the cost of an American worker" meet "I'm willing to pay you that."
The report's summary continues: "Meanwhile, separate PHC surveys conducted in Mexico show that about four of every ten adults in the Mexican population say they would migrate to the United States if they had the means and opportunity and that two of every ten are inclined to live and work here without legal authorization." So there's about 70 million Mexicans quite "willing" to move north to take a job from employers "willing" to pay them. Another 35 million Mexicans are willing to come here illegally to do so. The whole concept of a "guest worker program" is nonsense - we can't be host to 70 million guests. It's an atrocious concept that should be dead-in-the-water in Congress - but I fear what kind of payoffs will be made to turn some key lawmakers in the 11th hour.

13 August 2005

Illegal Immigrants Safe in NH; Bush Heaves Sigh of Relief

A sheriff in a New Hampshire town attempted to use a novel approach to controlling illegal immigration in his town: he arrested one for trespass. But a state judge threw out the case. I'm not a big supporter of creative uses of the law, so I can't say I support the sheriff's approach. The judge ruled, I must grudgingly admit, soundly and conservatively, that immigration control is in the federal domain, not state, and the sheriff was using the common law as a way to control immigration.
But the federal government is in no mood to help. George Bush is unconcerned that immigrants from Latin America will often crowd 30 people into a single family home. One family apartments are subdivided into 5 separate family units. Towns can use their zoning laws to fight back, but it's a losing battle. Note the clever way this article on overcrowding manages to avoid any suggestion regarding the origins of the squatters except for this little clue dropped in the middle: "Diana Mehia, director of Wind in the Spirit, a Morristown immigration help group, said ..."
When George Bush and John McCain claim that immigrants merely take jobs Americans won't do, they really mean that immigrants are willing to live 6 family's to a house rather than the spoiled American families who insist on wasting 6 whole rooms just for themselves.

More Good Anti-Drug War Rhetoric

Colby Cosh, a gifted writer from Canada, lampoons the Drug War propaganda machine.

12 August 2005

The Company They Keep

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and a number of other Republican (and some Democrat) lawmakers are in for, at best, some undesirable publicity following the indictment in Florida of super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff lobbied primarily for tribal casino interests, but that work apparently does not directly relate to these fraud charges.
Now I have to admit that if I were a congressman and was offerred a free golf tour of Scotland and only had to vote a certain way on some Indian gaming bill that no one really gives a crap about, I'd be sorely tempted to take the deal myself. But a US congressman - never mind the Majority Leader - surely must have some background-checking resources at his disposal. DeLay should have been able to find out (as this Forbes article outlines) that Abramoff and his partner were involved in a rather fiery business dispute with Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis when Boulis "was murdered at the age of 51 in a hail of gunfire in Fort Lauderdale, Fla."
He might also have found out that Abramoff's partner's "mother was murdered in the doorway of her Staten Island home in an apparent robbery attempt. Chris Paciello, a Miami night club owner and a reputed associate of the Bonanno crime family, later pleaded guilty to the murder." Another tidbit perhaps worth knowing about Abramoff's partner is that he was involved in a suit with the murdered man's estate claiming that "in the weeks before Boulis' death Kidan wrote three $10,000 checks to Anthony Moscatiello, a man once indicted for racketeering along with a brother of gangster John Gotti."
I don't know whether DeLay is crooked beyond what one would normally expect from a congressman. Earlier this year he called reports of his relationship with Abramoff "just another seedy attempt by the liberal media to embarrass me." It doesn't appear that the liberal media have to try to hard.

10 August 2005

Does Idiocy Know No Bounds?

Sportswriters are generally the most contemptible of all journalists, but few can reach the depths of idiocy displayed by this worm in USA Today. It's almost unreadably painful in its unrelieved stupidity.
For a uniquely sensible take on the issue, see Steve Sailer.

That Should Silence Those Gitmo Critics!

A 4 Star General has been relieved of command a few months shy of his retirment for having an extra-marital affair with a civilian! Pretty harsh but, according to the Washington Post:
The Army has been hurt over the past year by detainee-abuse cases and has been accused of not going after top officers allegedly involved in such abuse. Army officials said relieving Byrnes was meant to show the public that the service takes issues of integrity seriously.

I must say, all that constant whining by Teddy and Dick and Jimmy about Gitmo was beginning to get to me, but now that they've canned this general, I can't imagine what all the fuss is about.

WaPo Joins The Movement

The Washington Post has joined the fight against the madness - in this case, MADDness, to be precise. An op-ed titled "Zero Tolerance Makes Zero Sense," Radley Balko (a conservative, of course) points out the ferocity with which law enforcement can crack down on underage drinking:
A couple in Virginia was recently sentenced to 27 months in jail for throwing a supervised party for their son's 16th birthday, at which beer was made available. That was reduced on appeal from the eight-year sentenced imposed by the trial judge. The local MADD president said she was "pleasantly surprised" at the original eight-year verdict, and "applauded" the judge's efforts.

How can rational people fight back? One way is to deny these crusaders the moral high ground. If you ever find yourself in the company of someone from MADD, do something, anything, to make your displeasure with them felt. Say something - make some comment about their Stalinist organization and your disapproval of it. By God, at least don't ever make a contribution or support any institution that supports them. Fight back!

08 August 2005

NYT Columnist John Tierney Jumps on Anti-Drug War Bandwagon

Following the lead of Your Lying Eyes, John Tierney has written an op-ed titled "Debunking the Drug War." He points out the silliness of the methamphetamine scare:
"Nor is meth diabolically addictive. If an addict is someone who has used a drug in the previous month (a commonly used, if overly broad, definition), then only 5 percent of Americans who have sampled meth would be called addicts, according to the federal government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health."

He attacks the counter-productive nature of the drug war:
"It's the same pattern observed during Prohibition, when illicit stills exploded and deaths from alcohol poisoning increased. Far from instilling virtue in Americans, Prohibition caused them to switch from beer to hard liquor. Overall consumption of alcohol may well have increased."

And finally, he attacks the prosecution of convenience store clerks in Georgia for selling coffee filters, though in unsuitably measured tones:
"If you value individual responsibility, why would you send a hard-working clerk to jail for not divining that someone else might manufacture a drug? If you value autonomy and self-reliance, why would spend so much time and money to stop people from taking a substance that's less addictive and harmful than alcohol?"

For awhile now it's been conservative pundits who have agitated against the War on Drugs, but Republican politicians have not been keen to join in. Liberals, on the other hand, have generally supported the governments right to control its citizens' behavior, and have limited their criticism to unfairness, particularly regarding disparate racial imbalance. Go ahead and fight the war on drugs, just make sure you arrest equal proportions of whites and blacks!

But perhaps Tierney's article is a sign of hope - I haven't checked the blogosphere on this - there's been little mention of the Georgia disgrace, so maybe this will get the fires of liberty burning.

05 August 2005

On a Lighter Note

Here's a nice little (well, actually, somewhat lengthy but well written) retrospective on the "blaxploitation" film phenomenon of the 70's.

04 August 2005

What Kind of a Country Are We Becoming?

Ah yes, the War on Drugs marches bravely on. Forty-nine convenience store clerks have been arrested by federal agents in Georgia for selling cold medicine, "charcoal, coffee filters, aluminum foil and Kitty Litter." These items, you see, can be used to make methamphetamine. That's right - convenience store clerks! - among the economically most pathetic people in the country, have been thrown in jail for failing to properly monitor and assess the buying habits of fake customers. They were supposed to spot that these plants were likely methamphetamine manufacturers and then refuse to sell to these scary people. To make things worse, this was a "sting" operation mounted against - yes - convenience store clerks. It's not like the feds were monitoring the activities of actual drug operations and the clerks just got caught up in the net. Nope - it was good old fashioned entrapment. "Prosecutors paid confidential informants - some former convicts, others offered the promise of lighter punishment for pending charges - to buy products in stores in six counties beginning in early 2004, and drop hints that they were making drugs." Wow - so scumbags who actually made and sold methamphetamine were given a break to help the US Government throw harmless store clerks into jail. All they had to do was agree to buy perfectly legal products while muttering something about needing to "finish up a cook." For this, these poor people face 10 years in jail.

I am really beginning to despise the United States government. What kind of a despicable human being is this prosecutor, David Nahmias, to engineer such an abominable entrapment? What kind of a legal system do we have that you can be torn from your home and thrown in jail for selling perfectly legal products? "While those people may not think they're causing any harm, the harm they cause is tremendous," Mr. Nahmias said. "We really wanted to send the message that if you get into that line of business, selling products that you know are going to be used to make meth, you're going to go to prison." What a bastard - an ambitious, loathesome, bully. I'd love to see him clerk in a store and tell some seedy, scary con that he can't buy lighter fluid to "do a cook." God forbid he went after the actual dealers and manufacturers. That would be too much work - too much real detective work - too much actual investigating. Nah, just throw a bone to some low-life dealer, strap on some wires, have the transcripts typed up, and voila! - 49 notches in your belt! What a latter-day Eliot Ness we have here - a real crimebuster!

And where is the outrage. Give credit to the Times for printing this story, but in typical weenie fashion the article focuses on the unfortunate situation of the Indian immigrants caught in the sting for whom a language barrier is an obvious problem. Clearly, if not for the "Cultural Differences," this wouldn't be a story worth printing. As far as the Times is concerned, English-speaking American citizens are fair game in this hunt.

Where's the liberal outrage, great protectors of the underdogs? Oh no, these aren't muslims caught in a global conflagration imprisoned at an American military base, so who cares? Outrage - that's reserved for Ten Commandments displays and theoretical library subpoenas, not for real police-state actions.

What about the libertarians on the right? Hello? Well, unfortunately, the clerks didn't also sell cigarettes and guns to the informers - then we would have had a real brouhaha on our hands.

A couple months ago, in the War on Terror, the feds pulled off another daring sting operation where they got some M.D. to agree to care for wounded men in Saudi Arabia if needed. For this he faces a lifetime in jail.

The War on Terror, the War on Drugs - the downfall of American freedom is written in these words.

UPDATE: I am not alone, thankfully. Scientist/Science Fiction writer Jerry Pournelle has commented on this as well on his Chaos Manor website.

01 August 2005

Two Different Approaches

As we approach the P.G.A. Championship at Baltusrol in New Jersey a week from this Thursday, the Times runs a short article on Woods and Mickelson playing a practice round. It notes that Woods "prefers to practice before a major championship and will spend the rest of the week at Isleworth. Mickelson, who likes to compete in a PGA Tour event the week before a major, is entered in this week's International in Castle Rock, Colo." Say, Phil, ever consider that might not be the best approach? Sort of like reading "before a major conflict, Germany prefers to build highly mobile forces with rapid strike capabilities, while France prefers deep entrenchments with heavy fortifications along it's more vulnerable lines." You think after failure after failure you might want to try something what the guy who always wins does?