Lord Of The State?

I don’t normally read Vin Suprynowicz, but he has an interesting take on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. He thinks that it’s actually a metaphor for the virtues of limited government. I can’t get into Tolkien’s mind, but could be…

[Update, a few minutes later]

I see that on Samizdata, Perry de Havilland has made the same point today–the ring represents the State.

Jihad Charlie

According to Fox News, Charles Bishop, the fifteen-year-old kid who drove the plane into the building in Tampa, left a note in it expressing support for bin Laden.

We’ll see what his parents have to say about this. Was he just seeking his own enlightened path? Or rebelling against his last name?

High School Graduates ‘R’ Us

Also in today’s LA Times, in their lead editorial, (which unlike the Bill Press nonsense, is linkable), they are complaining about our new “professionalized” airline-security personnel being allowed to confiscate eyelash curlers and inspect wooden legs without the benefit of a high-school diploma.

Not too bad for the Times. They’ve only got two false premises in this editorial; usually they manage at least the trifecta.

False premise one: that a high school diploma has any value at all in assessing the ability of a person to read, write, compute or think, as opposed to simply having the sticktoitiveness to hang around the high school until the age of eighteen or so without formally dropping out. I don’t believe that has been the case for decades.

False premise two: that people who are intelligent and educated make better nail-file confiscators.

Nope. It’s a boring job. Anyone with a lick of imagination and intellectual curiosity will quickly go bonkers watching luggage entrails go by all day. Ideally, this is a job for pattern-recognition software that could flash out occasional warnings to people who are reasonably intelligent and can do further inspections, but until it’s developed, assuming that we need personnel to scrutinize our carry-ons and persons (I’d rather have them focus on checked baggage myself, since, unlike passengers and carry ons, the passengers and crew have no control over that once aboard), we need people who aren’t easily bored. That doesn’t necessarily translate to HS graduates.

I suspect that if they actually did a study, they would find close to zero correlation between what makes for a good airline screener and HS diplomas. But no fear of that–apparently the airline-security debate will remain a fact-free zone for now…

High School Graduates ‘R’ Us

Also in today’s LA Times, in their lead editorial, (which unlike the Bill Press nonsense, is linkable), they are complaining about our new “professionalized” airline-security personnel being allowed to confiscate eyelash curlers and inspect wooden legs without the benefit of a high-school diploma.

Not too bad for the Times. They’ve only got two false premises in this editorial; usually they manage at least the trifecta.

False premise one: that a high school diploma has any value at all in assessing the ability of a person to read, write, compute or think, as opposed to simply having the sticktoitiveness to hang around the high school until the age of eighteen or so without formally dropping out. I don’t believe that has been the case for decades.

False premise two: that people who are intelligent and educated make better nail-file confiscators.

Nope. It’s a boring job. Anyone with a lick of imagination and intellectual curiosity will quickly go bonkers watching luggage entrails go by all day. Ideally, this is a job for pattern-recognition software that could flash out occasional warnings to people who are reasonably intelligent and can do further inspections, but until it’s developed, assuming that we need personnel to scrutinize our carry-ons and persons (I’d rather have them focus on checked baggage myself, since, unlike passengers and carry ons, the passengers and crew have no control over that once aboard), we need people who aren’t easily bored. That doesn’t necessarily translate to HS graduates.

I suspect that if they actually did a study, they would find close to zero correlation between what makes for a good airline screener and HS diplomas. But no fear of that–apparently the airline-security debate will remain a fact-free zone for now…

High School Graduates ‘R’ Us

Also in today’s LA Times, in their lead editorial, (which unlike the Bill Press nonsense, is linkable), they are complaining about our new “professionalized” airline-security personnel being allowed to confiscate eyelash curlers and inspect wooden legs without the benefit of a high-school diploma.

Not too bad for the Times. They’ve only got two false premises in this editorial; usually they manage at least the trifecta.

False premise one: that a high school diploma has any value at all in assessing the ability of a person to read, write, compute or think, as opposed to simply having the sticktoitiveness to hang around the high school until the age of eighteen or so without formally dropping out. I don’t believe that has been the case for decades.

False premise two: that people who are intelligent and educated make better nail-file confiscators.

Nope. It’s a boring job. Anyone with a lick of imagination and intellectual curiosity will quickly go bonkers watching luggage entrails go by all day. Ideally, this is a job for pattern-recognition software that could flash out occasional warnings to people who are reasonably intelligent and can do further inspections, but until it’s developed, assuming that we need personnel to scrutinize our carry-ons and persons (I’d rather have them focus on checked baggage myself, since, unlike passengers and carry ons, the passengers and crew have no control over that once aboard), we need people who aren’t easily bored. That doesn’t necessarily translate to HS graduates.

I suspect that if they actually did a study, they would find close to zero correlation between what makes for a good airline screener and HS diplomas. But no fear of that–apparently the airline-security debate will remain a fact-free zone for now…

Back To The Future

Gosh, I really do have to be more diligent about keeping up with the Weekly World News. A time traveler informs us in today’s issue that by the year 2028, America will be overrun with, and ruled by, hideous mutants and freaks.

And Bat Boy will be president.

Also, “Humans become second- class citizens,” he wailed, “forced to do the bidding of their evil, mutant captors. President Boy himself has a dozen young women brought into the Lincoln Bedroom every week for God only knows what!”

My question is, in what significant way will this differ from the 1990’s?

No TV For Mr. Press

I was undecided and wavering about whether or not Mr. Moussaoui’s trial should be televised, but now my mind is made up. According to today’s print version of the LA Times (sorry, can’t find a link), Bill Press thinks it should be.

That’s good enough for me. It shouldn’t.

Please, Senators! Please Tell Me You’ll Raise Taxes

Russert had whiny and reasonable-sounding Democrat Joe Lieberman and sometime-Republican, “straight-talkin'” John McCain on today. (Translation: “straight talk” means that he says things that his constituency, the mainstream press, likes to hear, such as his continuing support for campaign-finance “reform,” which will help them maintain their virtual monopoly on political speech.) Also note that, as in the case of Tom Daschle, “reasonable-sounding” is not the same as reasonable, or sensible.

While he got both of them to say that the Bush tax cut was a mistake, it was obvious that he was almost wetting his pants in anticipation of getting one or both of them to say that it should be repealed. They didn’t take the bait.

But I am astounded by the pervasive economic ignorance being flaunted by the Democrats and their press stenographers. Daschle’s story (and so far, he’s sticking with it), is that the recession is Bush’s fault, and that it was caused by his “gargantuan tax cut.”

Well, number one, the tax cut is not all that big, in the context of the economy. Number two, it hasn’t even taken effect yet. Number three, even when it does take effect, it will be phased in slowly and ineffectively, over many years. Number four, the economy was already sliding downhill before Bush was even elected, when tax cuts were nothing but a campaign promise.

Number five, THERE HAS NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE BEEN A RECESSION CAUSED BY A TAX CUT, PROSPECTIVE, RETROACTIVE, OR OTHERWISE. Tax cuts have many effects, but recessions are never one of them. Even most liberal economists agree with that, or at least they used to.

I’m still waiting for some kind of explanation, cogent or otherwise, for the Democrats’ position. The reality of course, is that they do know better, but think that the American people are stupid. They really want to get the money back for their pet programs, and they don’t really, in their hearts, mind deficits, but they can’t say that, so they come up with this cockamamie economic fairy tale instead.

I was glad to see Bush being so emphatic on the subject in Ontario yesterday. “Over my dead body” (even with the accidental negative) sounds stronger than “read my lips,” and I suspect that he’s learned the lesson from his father’s wet betrayal of one of the tenets of the Republican Party.

Please, Senators! Please Tell Me You’ll Raise Taxes

Russert had whiny and reasonable-sounding Democrat Joe Lieberman and sometime-Republican, “straight-talkin'” John McCain on today. (Translation: “straight talk” means that he says things that his constituency, the mainstream press, likes to hear, such as his continuing support for campaign-finance “reform,” which will help them maintain their virtual monopoly on political speech.) Also note that, as in the case of Tom Daschle, “reasonable-sounding” is not the same as reasonable, or sensible.

While he got both of them to say that the Bush tax cut was a mistake, it was obvious that he was almost wetting his pants in anticipation of getting one or both of them to say that it should be repealed. They didn’t take the bait.

But I am astounded by the pervasive economic ignorance being flaunted by the Democrats and their press stenographers. Daschle’s story (and so far, he’s sticking with it), is that the recession is Bush’s fault, and that it was caused by his “gargantuan tax cut.”

Well, number one, the tax cut is not all that big, in the context of the economy. Number two, it hasn’t even taken effect yet. Number three, even when it does take effect, it will be phased in slowly and ineffectively, over many years. Number four, the economy was already sliding downhill before Bush was even elected, when tax cuts were nothing but a campaign promise.

Number five, THERE HAS NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE BEEN A RECESSION CAUSED BY A TAX CUT, PROSPECTIVE, RETROACTIVE, OR OTHERWISE. Tax cuts have many effects, but recessions are never one of them. Even most liberal economists agree with that, or at least they used to.

I’m still waiting for some kind of explanation, cogent or otherwise, for the Democrats’ position. The reality of course, is that they do know better, but think that the American people are stupid. They really want to get the money back for their pet programs, and they don’t really, in their hearts, mind deficits, but they can’t say that, so they come up with this cockamamie economic fairy tale instead.

I was glad to see Bush being so emphatic on the subject in Ontario yesterday. “Over my dead body” (even with the accidental negative) sounds stronger than “read my lips,” and I suspect that he’s learned the lesson from his father’s wet betrayal of one of the tenets of the Republican Party.

Please, Senators! Please Tell Me You’ll Raise Taxes

Russert had whiny and reasonable-sounding Democrat Joe Lieberman and sometime-Republican, “straight-talkin'” John McCain on today. (Translation: “straight talk” means that he says things that his constituency, the mainstream press, likes to hear, such as his continuing support for campaign-finance “reform,” which will help them maintain their virtual monopoly on political speech.) Also note that, as in the case of Tom Daschle, “reasonable-sounding” is not the same as reasonable, or sensible.

While he got both of them to say that the Bush tax cut was a mistake, it was obvious that he was almost wetting his pants in anticipation of getting one or both of them to say that it should be repealed. They didn’t take the bait.

But I am astounded by the pervasive economic ignorance being flaunted by the Democrats and their press stenographers. Daschle’s story (and so far, he’s sticking with it), is that the recession is Bush’s fault, and that it was caused by his “gargantuan tax cut.”

Well, number one, the tax cut is not all that big, in the context of the economy. Number two, it hasn’t even taken effect yet. Number three, even when it does take effect, it will be phased in slowly and ineffectively, over many years. Number four, the economy was already sliding downhill before Bush was even elected, when tax cuts were nothing but a campaign promise.

Number five, THERE HAS NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE BEEN A RECESSION CAUSED BY A TAX CUT, PROSPECTIVE, RETROACTIVE, OR OTHERWISE. Tax cuts have many effects, but recessions are never one of them. Even most liberal economists agree with that, or at least they used to.

I’m still waiting for some kind of explanation, cogent or otherwise, for the Democrats’ position. The reality of course, is that they do know better, but think that the American people are stupid. They really want to get the money back for their pet programs, and they don’t really, in their hearts, mind deficits, but they can’t say that, so they come up with this cockamamie economic fairy tale instead.

I was glad to see Bush being so emphatic on the subject in Ontario yesterday. “Over my dead body” (even with the accidental negative) sounds stronger than “read my lips,” and I suspect that he’s learned the lesson from his father’s wet betrayal of one of the tenets of the Republican Party.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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