Friday, September 30, 2005

The Panglossian view of Deindustrialization

Read an article in the Economist about the decline in manufacturing both as a proportion of the economy and as a share of the labour force. The argrument is that efficiencies in manufacturing and the increased importance of services makes the decline metal bashing no big deal. That is true all things being equals. A society that finds it is cheaper to build cars will spend more money on consumption than durables.

The reverse is also true. Societies/economies that find it to be increasing expensive to provide for durable goods, like austerity in wartime will spend less on consumption to provide human and material resources to feed factories. In Island in the Sea of Time, a small town is marooned in the Bronze Age. They find they don't have all the human, material and technological resources to maintain late 20th technology. One engineer calculates that entire population could spend five years building a hydroelectric dam to power an aluminium refinery. Of course they would all starve before dam is finsihed.

The problem with American deindustrialization is not that they have discovered they can produce the same material goods using few technological and human resources. The problem is that they have decided not to run their own factories better but increasingly to buy from Chinese ones instead. Blame Walmart the traitors, although, many people don't want to, like Slate, CIO Magazine, Robert Reich, and many other apologists, paid shills and the usual suspects.

For more information on the Philosopher Pangloss go his wikipedia page.

Interesting new (to me) Blogs

After logging to blogger you can scroll around to blogs that have just been update and to blogs that some human (or bot) considers interesting. Today I came accross an interesting blog and decided to alter my links bar to add it and other blogs.

The Language Guy is a blog by a theoretical linguist and philosopher. If you remember Safire's old column you will find this interesting. However TLG, Mike Geis, focuses on wider topics then proper word use. He tries to look into the philosophical underpinnings of language use.

Jihadi Watch is a newsblog devoted to tracking the crazy psychopathic god bothers who want kill us all or/and die trying. The other alternative for the jihadis is convert everyone to their belief system or/and die trying. As Jihadi Watch proves, and other pro jihadi sites like Khilafah, Islam should not be thought of not as a religion or even a philosophy but as a universal political organization. And like communists what is unobjectionable when limited to marginalized intellectuals results in bloodshed with the power of the state. Unlike say Christianity and Buddhism which moderated the blood lust of the states it converted. Terrorist = moslem missionary.

Kirkwood is the blog of my father.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Problem with Presidents

From Ted Rall
Saw the new series "Commander in Chief". Just a couple of points and problems.

It is no accident that almost every tinpot hell hole calls its leader "el Presidente". In earlier times buccaneers would annoint themselves kings. Now after winning, killers appoint themselves president. President is just annother word for king, it doesn't have anything to do with democracy. That is why there is order of succession for the yank president. And that the american president has the powers and responsbilities of George III. A prime minister on the other hand has no set term of office but can lose any time. He or she serves at the pleasure of the legislature. A prime minister has to do more than convince people with TV Ads occaisionally but also to continue to convince people close up everyday.

Update: Listened to an Antholpological discussion on "kingship". It also brought up the problem of having presidents as temporary kings.

The Image is from Ted Rall's site, used without permission.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Jimmy Stewart the Killer

Roger Ebert's review the latest Cronenberg film, The History of Violence, has a weird simile. He writes how Viggo Mortenson's character is like Jimmy Stewart until violence erupts. This statement drew me back because Jimmy Stewart DID kill people. Stewart flew a B-24 heavy bomber in the US 8th Air Force in WWII. He piloted his own bomber and lead a bomber wing. Bomber crews don't directly kill people mostly, the machine gunners on a bomber do. They are part of a weapon system that delivers explosives hundreds of miles to cities and other military targets. In Stewart's 20 missions he delivered 120 tons of bombs. He probably killed someone.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Revolutionary Terror

I watched a NFB documentry called The Tree That Remembers on TVO. It was about a bunch of Iranian political prisoners from Iran who are now in Canada. They are political activists who were involved in Iranian Revolution. Their side lost and the mullahs took over. They all, all in the documentry, suffered and were jailed, tortured and some were executed.

I am sympathetic for a bunch of well meaning intellectuals. I can idenify with them more readily than the mad mullahs. However they are the Iranian Revolution Trotskyites. If their side had won and the mullahs lost, someone else would have been tortured, someone else would have been the torturer. The revolution reshuffled the deck of Iran and the intellectuals lost again.

Comments, Spam and Other

Since starting this blog I have received comments for many of the posts. I have brought up manybizarre and absurd topics such as the right of bears to defend their forrests. However the comments I mainly get, aside from a couple from authentic humans, is spam from advertising blogs. There probably be some lame spam comment for this post, just wait. The spam usually as follows,
Anonymous says, "I really like your blog, you are as fine an individual who has taught me much about the world and myself. Take a look at my blog of pointless advertising."

There must be some evil spambot some where that leaves pointless and meaningless advertising on updated blogs. At first I was pleased that some one cared enough comments. Now I want to hunt down creator and users of the blogspambot and crucify them. Then I play a killing game and thirst for blood is sated.

Entrepreneurial Government in Action

A mid level apparachik in Washington was arrested this week. The "man", a David H. Safavian, was in procurement. A field that allows the go getter to get what he wants.

The governing Republican party should very proud of its ideals carried out. The American Republicans believe in the profit motive as universal organizing pricipal. They also think that government is never effective. It is only matter of time that they reinstate the features of traditional government. Sale of government offices, which are then run for profit. The collection of revenues contracted out to tax farmers. The use of horrific and depressing workhouses to discourage the use of social services and thereby reduce spending on the poor. Capital punishment for crimes such as theft to defend the right of property.

Partying like its 1799.

Neutron Economics

What is the future for the industrial economies and liberal democracy. In the west they have had a shared history. For the past 250 years increases in production from the industrial revolution have led to, because of liberal democracy, to raising living standards. The high living standards of the west are not automatic consequence of production efficianies. The fight to raise the living standards for the vast bulk of the population over the last 250 years, althrough bitterly fought, succeeded only because of liberal democracy.

However industrial development and trade is not wedded to any political philosophy. Most of the political philosophies that have existed or exist now are less concerned with individual living standards of populations then our western civilization. There other animating philosophies than crass materialism and grubby vote buying. When such societies proceed down the path of industrial development the result are societies with productive capacity of the West without a means or inclination to distribute the fruits of production.

Let us look at the productive tyrannies of recent history and how successful they have been at raising living standards. Many such monsters and their appologists would protest that our aims are not their aims. They have other goals and dreams. Sometimes their goals were even more focused on industrial production. Sometimes they were fixated on some mystical ideal. And sometimes the leadership of the productive tyranny would be busy itself with personal luxury. Because of their various hobby horses these regimes didn't let increasing production from industrial development filter down into higher living standards.

There is a new political philosophy that is good for business and bad for people, sort of like neutron economics. Recently read a depressing little tract about how the west is doomed because of deindustrialization. Not because we are using less manufactures but because the factories owners are have transfered their factories to cheaper lands. The trouble is the kind of country that is willing to oppress its own populace to keep down the cost of labor is also the kind of country will violate other contracts. The countries that run tanks over their own citizens will also cheerfully nationalize foriegn assets.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Hitchens - Galloway Debate

A debate between George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens was held on Wedesday in NYC. It was a combative and an entertaining display of rhetorical prowess of two left wing Brits who know each other a little too well.

A direct link to the debate is on the front page of KPFTX, a radio station. The debate is broken down into 5 chunks. The first chunk is the pre-game commentry. Feel free to fast foward. The last file is an except of George Galloway's testimony before some congressional committee.

On BBC page for this debate there is a nice suming up. Here is the BBC's seven minute report and condensation of a 2 hour debate.
Journalist Christopher Hitchens takes on MP George Galloway in a ferocious encounter over the rights and wrongs of the Iraq War. Hitchens thinks deposing Saddam Hussein was a noble act. Galloway retorts that an illegal occupation will only create more Jihadist terrorism.

Nuclear Battery

In Mobile Magazine there is an article from an alternative time line about a Nuclear Battery for laptops. It seems only mildly crazy to me. But I used to have a summer job where I wore a radiation badge. I can almost agree with some the comments from one of the saner characters in the movie Repo Man.
J. Frank Parnell: Ever been to Utah? Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense. Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year. They ought to have them, too...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Appalling Agrument by Republican Youth

Google has a new search engine to search the blogsphere. While trying it out it I came accross a blog for something called Beltway Young Republicans. In this blog is a defense of Chickenhawks. You can detect the injured tone as the writer agrues for "principle of division of labor". The army is contracted to fight while the rulers refuse to fight, work, pay taxes, do anything constructive. The Young Republican begins to sputter when he asks.
In my opinion, what is really behind the "chicken hawk" charge is resentment. It's a way of saying, "how dare you ask others to sacrifice what you aren't willing to sacrifice." This is ridiculous and foolish.
What is annoying and pernicious about the chickenhawks is the way they are so pro war, pro military and militaristic as long as they don't have to do anything. In a Nation article, Generation Chickenhawk, one coward says.
"I know that I'm going to be better staying here and working to convince people why we're there [in Iraq]," Hauser explained, pausing in thought. "I'm a fighter, but with words."
It is as if he talking how privileges for party cadres are justified because cadres can rouse "the people" to fight for the defense of the "homeland".

A chickenhawk is a super patriot who wants somebody else to die for his country. An ancient newspaper, The New Hampshire Gazette, has created a database of these yellow bastards. It also a name for those prey on teenagers.

Favorite Internet Radio Stations

LatelyI have been listening more and more to internet radio stations. The urge to acquire music is moderated by having so many great internet radio stations out there. While wishing to let more people know about these great stations I don't want them swamped. Broadcasting on the net is narrowcasting to a limited number of recieving slots. Whereas with traditional broadcasting the cost is based on the broadcasting itself not on the number of receiving slots.

Sleepbot: Sleepbot is the radio station to fall to sleep to. It is a station mainly devoted to ambience. Here is an educational filmstrip devoted to the history of the sleepbot environmental broadcast.

Radio Rivendell: Radio Rivendell is the radio to play D&D to. Instead of station ID breaks that other stations have, Rivendell has snatches of Gandalf intoning. This station is seriously into the Lord of the Rings. It also has a archive of the music they have played, sorting music by composer, album, movie and game. Rivendell broadcasts in both the Winamp and Windows Media formats.

Blues on Air: Blues on Air is from South Korea. American bluesmen and women have often had to leave the States to get some respect. White Americans only began to listen to the blues after a bunch of Brit blues fans, Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, rose to prominence. Leave to foreigners to take American music and culture seriously.

Poolside Jazz: Since the swamping of New Orleans I sought out places to hear the city's music. I haven't found a station playing ragtime but Poolside Jazz is good jazz station. Listen here for Poolside Jazz, there isn't a link on their homepage.

There are thousands more stations out there listed on shoutcast. Nearly everly genre and style are available. As well as music there are stations with comedy, as well as more specialized venues playing only Goon Shows (off air) and Star Trek.

Then there are huge stations run by the large public broadcasters, BBC, CBC and NPR. These stations have archives of past shows, not limited to merely streaming. BBC has both news, documentry and music stations. They have streaming and archived programs. NPR is focused on news and current affairs. NPR also has a weird federalism structure where the individual stations are run somewhat like franchises only looser. The CBC is mostly offline now because of lockout. CBC has streaming accross the five time zones of Canada. Program archiving is hardy used instead transcripts are sold. As if the business unit for selling transcripts has not beeen adjusted to the internet age.

Machine Gun Ad

I long time ago I came across two documents about machine guns from WWI. The first was a official manual from the British Army about the care, maintenance and handling of the .303 Lewis water cooled machine gun. The It was stamped for official use only.The secound was a advertising flier from an American maker of machine guns. The advertising flier from the American arms maker had a picture and address of its factory. At the time I thought it was like a bad joke of enterprising Americans.

Today I came across a machine gun ad in IFilm from Dillon Aero (a maker of gatlings). I'm impressed as the helicopter flies above a long line of cars and blows them up. Like the Highway of Death in Gulf War I. Remember that quote from a door gunner in a Vietnam movie, "If they run they're VC, if they don't run they're well disciplined VC". Enjoy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Heavy Armored Lovin

Originally uploaded by Baron von Feldspar.
A group of troopers learn where new tanks come from.

Obit: Rear Admiral Robert "Bob" Denver

In SHWI I found this obit of Bob Denver from an alternative time line.

The Right to Arm Bears

Originally uploaded by Baron von Feldspar.
A young couple tangled with a bear in North Algoma. The wife was killed and the husband was injured. I am normally sensitive to the plight of my species but not in this case. (see news)

The bear was defending his home and native land. Now the "killer bear" will be hunted down and killed. When it was the bear that was at home and the hikers were where they shouldn't be. If a bear does a home invasion whack it. If a human goes where humans don't belong whack the human.

The wilds should be left to the wildlife. Humans should accept that the risks they run, if misadventure happens, should not be bourn be the wildlife. As in the latest Herzog film, Grizzly Man and in Project Grizzly. And in the Simpson episode The Fat and Furriest (EABF19), a take off on Project Grizzly. The sacrifice of wildlife over the graves of dead humans is mildly pagan. As if people want contracts put out their killers.

In 1916 an elephant killed. Because the incident happened in the American south the elephant was lynched, (see here for more elephant lynching details)

Right Wing Anarchist in the News

Grover Norquist, America's leading right wing anarchist has been in the news recently. A quotation of his shows up all over place.
"My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years," he says, "to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
Many commentators, bloggers and letter writers have remarked on the antisocial aspects of the neocon philosophy. On MaxSpeak blog this poster, and this incitement to drown Norquist. A letter to the NY Times. There has also been quibbling to follow up the source of the infamous quote. Here in something called the National Debate, where Norquist agrees he said it putting more stress destroying government than "drowning" it.

Here Norquist compares taxing rich people to the holocaust. Here a group called Citizen Solidier , which is mainly concerned with infiltration of the US by Jihadis, complains of Norquist's links with Moslem terrorists. These links are mainly with Saudi financed groups. The US right has its own terrorism, mainly right wing and focused around Operation Rescue and shading from there to assassinations and bombing.

Short Violent Joke

The Song, Its Raining Men as reality.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Brazil of the North or America in the Third World

In much of coverage of the recent unpleasantness in New Orleans locals and reporters were both asking how this could have happened. The common question for all was "are we not a first world nation?" It still needs to be asked because the US is country that has both third and first world characteristics.

America has very high tech like India. America subsidizes its aerospace industry like Brazil. It is full of the wealthy like Saudia Arabia. Unlike the rest of the first world the US doesn't have some kind of "socialized medicine", (see Malcolm Gladwell's excellent New Yorker article). The society that can ignore the problem with uninsured can ignore almost anything until a city floats away. A Blogger Kottke put it well when he wrote.

You can point fingers at what's wrong or who's responsible all day long, but the facts remain, America's health care system sucks...well, unless you're rich, in which case nothing really sucks. The BBC put it well earlier this week in writing about the crisis in New Orleans:
The uneasy paradox which so many live with in this country - of being first-and-foremost rugged individuals, out to plunder what they can and paying as little tax as they can get away with, while at the same time believing that America is a robust, model society - has reached a crisis point this week.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Terrorism, Bullies and Specious Reasoning

Saw a bit of the tape from the London Bomber leader, video, audio. He gives a long list of how he has been thwarted. How his feelings have been hurt. How all Brits are responsible, the killer claims in a British acent. "You don't listen". No, people listen but don't agree.

Using the same reasoning the Islamic Facists use we would have held Jodie Foster responsible for Reagan's attempted whacking.

Today I listened to a short documentry by a young bully. It's an revealing self protrait by a boy who doesn't fully accept the wrongness of beating up his younger brothers, 5 and 7. One point all you can hear is thump, thump thump. He also looks forward to having his own family where everything will go right all the time. I shuddered as I thought of the future family violence by this young bully.

The rationalizations of the bully and bomber for their actions boil down taking their disappointment and unhappiness on the world.