Bunny’s Got Moves

No, really.


Don’t be fooled by the Bhutto Bandwagon

My comments don’t seem to get approved any more on Publius Pundit ever since I dared to disagree with Kim Zigfield too many times.  But part of the continuing meme that’s being pushed in various quarters, including CNN and Publius is that Bhutto is some kind of pro-democracy activist.

She is not.  The only reason Benazir Bhutto ever came to power was because her Daddy happened to be running the country with an iron fist.  Even in an era with elections, a dispassionate view of Pakistan immediately flies in the face of anything we call democracy.  Bhutto can bring tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people into the streets for her, it’s true…

That’s because they are her serfs.  Pakistan is still largely a feudal country, and those people will show up, because they’re utterly dependent upon the large landowners, and it’s their ass if they don’t.  Same thing with Nawaz Sharif:  the great “election” between these two neo-feudal clowns is simply two large factions of formerly-princely land-owning clans fighting over who gets to run the government by and for their own faction’s benefit.

Democracy in Pakistan was a sick and tragic joke long before Musharraf came onto the primary political scene.  Don’t be fooled by the out-and-out b.s. being put out by a mainstream media that seems to think that nobody has a memory lasting longer than, say, three years.

(This is especially egregious of CNN, which used to actually report on this sort of business before “I don’t know basic undergrad shit, but I can dress it up in a dangerous-sounding interview” Amanpour got her reign of continuous bullshit in charge.  But, hey, she’s married to an ambassador, so that means she knows her ass from a hole in the ground, right?  No.)


Are the ultimate “Nom Nom Nom Nom” chewing machines.


I accidentally made a LOT more work for myself grading-wise than I needed to… so if I’ve neglected anybody lately, my apologies: hit me upside the head with a brick or something (but don’t forget the slice of lemon).

Russia to Germany: “We own your ass.”

This should be getting major headlines.  Russia is continuing to play total hardball with Germany.

Rules inside Rules inside Rules

In the words of the dancers … we are wild creatures, in captivity. Living in invisible behavioral cages built by people who are not us. And we are taught that those rules are inviolable without consequence, those consequences ranging from accidentally poisoning yourself at home, to being plunged into a lake of agony and flame for all eternity.

We leave our parents, chafing at their rules. And then we re-instate them. With consequences. Or we don’t, with disastrous consequences. Or, we manage to do one better than they did, and our kids get a better boost than we got. And then, they do the same thing all over again.

What are the rules by which we live? What happens when you discover your rules… and find that they are utterly incompatible with somebody else’s rules? Whose rules get to dominate? Who gets to demand the use of force to compel their rules?

  • “The buck stops here.”
  • “Tenderness needs no excuse.”
  • “Vote.”
  • “People are sheep.”
  • “Have an open mind.”
  • “Safety first.”

And on, and on, and on. At home, I’m by far the earthiest of my peers. To Argentine and Brazilian peers, to the contrary, about normal, maybe even a little uptight. In Hungary, a hopeless optimist and dreamer. In San Francisco, alarmingly cold-blooded, hard-hearted. And I am only one insignificant example. 300 million minds in this nation, and in every mind a universe.

For that is, after all, what democracy and the hope of liberty are all about, are they not?

Some say that our society is growing increasingly disconnected. Others that the vision of the unitary society was always an illusion, as if the black man, the hindi woman, the chinese, the irish, were ever really going to identify with the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, and the latter was eventually going to have to realize that there was some significance to the fact that not all of our soldiers were blue-eyed blonds who thought Marilyn Monroe was hot. Eventually, we came to publicly accept that one could be true to one’s culture in America, so long as we all agreed to abide by certain basic ground rules.

Voilà… the Dawes Act goes away, and the Indian begins to have the freedom to be an Indian, whether he chooses the Rez or the City.

What about those who gave up their identity, in order to assimilate by the previous rules, and become a “generic American?” Who don’t know who their grandparents were, let alone their great-great-grandparents? Who are they?
What rules will they follow? What rules will they invent? And will they be allowed to make the case that the rules we follow now are keeping them from being who they are? When should somebody not be allowed to be who they are? Bundy, Dahmer, the Columbine children, let alone those who would inflict themselves upon children… these are broken, sick people, whose rules are defective. They should and must be stopped.

What about somebody who’s simply… different? Who determines the rules that determine the rules? Who allows one individual, or one group of them, to assert that their difference is in reality, no difference at all… merely another identity, hoping to live according to Who They Are, and harming none in the process? Should gays get to marry? Should cousins?

Are you what you do? Or what you choose not to do? Or… what you do not choose?

Is there progress in Iraq?

Michael Yon seems to think so.

And it’s a definite change from some other, more stable parts of the middle east.  You know what the chance of a Saudi or Egyptian muslim community helping their Christian minorities set up a church is?

Push Prizes: A better route to multi-lingua?

UPDATE:  We got linked by Speculist — check the comments, there’s an awesome link in there that I’m in the middle of trying to digest.  Hopefully, it’ll pull in results.

How about 10 grand for somebody who can come up with an actual pedagogy or course based on Bodmer’s “The Loom of Language?” I don’t have it, but I could be persuaded to pony into it if other folks got on board…

I’d like to speak a dozen or so languages, and everybody I’ve ever met who can do this (particularly philologists from East-Central Europe), seem to use the exact same approach that’s suggested here: leverage skill in one language into an ability to get around on a basic level in every related language. So if you can read a paper in English, you can read a menu and at least a few headlines in the Scandinavian Germanic languages. Or so that if you can read good French, you can function on a survival level in the other romance languages (let alone the Slavic ones, all of which as close together as French is to Italian).

Assuming, then, that you speak one of the related languages, why not build up pattern-recognition exercises designed to make foreign but related vocabulary intelligible? It won’t get everything, of course, and false cognates would be an issue. However, being able to adjust from one’s native vocabulary for a given core of language would allow for survival-level communication, thus allowing a speaker to move around while focusing on the grammar, which is what will unlock newspapers, etcetera.

It would sure make that high-school language course worth investing in.


Ron Paul’s got legs?

Well, damn.  Looks like this guy might be for real after all… 3.5MM in 20 hours?  And it’s not like the MSM and the rest of the Republican field hasn’t already pretty much hit him with the 12-inchers… his numbers basically have nowhere else to go but up.

In the words of Darth Vader, “impressive…”

Whiny self-important putz wonders why his parents still worry about him masturbating, p3

Fair warning:  this post is chock-full of absolutely gratuitous viciousness.  If  you’re a nice person,  don’t read this.  Instead, visit the following link.  You were warned. (more…)

happycrow quote of the day

“Dumb questions beget dumb debate.”

Tony Snow, Award Acceptance Speech to Media Institute.

Reminder: Leaded Gasoline is Bad for You!


Frankly, I’m mildly alarmed at what 24th-century archaeologists are going to say about the mid-to-late 20th century’s culture…

Oil prices: a conspiracy in our favor?

First off, if you haven’t already, I suggest you read this, with which I am in absolute agreement.  All kinds of emerging technology is becoming competitive due to oil’s continuing rise on the market in dollars, and the unremarked story is that the U.S. really is adjusting to increased oil costs much better than previously anticipated.  I remember absolute horror predictions made (by static analysis, of course) for what would happen when oil was a consistent 60-70/barrel.

Oil’s pushing towards $100/barrel, with no end in sight.  Yes, some of that increase, in fact, a lot of it, is driven by “sort things out with gunfire” politics in the middle east, and both major political parties are tied at the hilt to it.  But not all of it is so transient.  U.S. stocks are low, too, and likely to stay that way for a while.  Remember that a little further down…

But the other side of this… while this fuels our move away from automotive gasoline, what’s driving it?  Well, at least partially, that’d have to be the incredibly weak dollar.  That was against the Euro, and by the time folks are reading this, it may be over the 1.5/dollar mark.  That’s bad news for me personally (it means that visiting my in-laws is completely off the table financially), but as a whole, this is a global good thing.  Greenspan’s monetary inflation is destroying the petrodollar, at precisely the same time that the U.S. needs to:

  1. manufacture more at home
  2. get away from the “petro” anyway (or at least the incredibly wasteful gasoline part)


What this means is that not only is oil greatly increasing in value, but the petro producers aren’t currently getting much additional value for it.  Does that simply mean they’ll swap out into trading oil on the euro internationally?  They could… but that wouldn’t affect U.S. prices much at all (they’d still go up), and, more importantly, it wouldn’t pay back the costs of doing so, since currently they can buy up huge stocks of oil on the cheap.

Eventually that’ll mean a glut, and oil prices will drop… relative to an increasingly weak dollar.  Meaning producing countries will get:

  1. Not much profit now:  prices are jumping, but to less real profit per dollar earned (since the dollar is worth less and less anywhere else in the world).
  2. The U.S. Congress having all the “air cover” in the world to back any other pony due to domestic oil-price headlines.
  3. An eventual oil glut’
  4. Right before the U.S. goes hybrid/supercapacitor/bio-diesel, etcetera… while cooperating closely with India on perfectly clean thorium reactors.
  5. And then sits more-or-less energy-independent with a currency encouraging domestic manufacturing.

If you wanted a single recipe to completely screw over the PetroTyrants (the House of Saud, Putin, Chavez, Iran, etc.), you couldn’t come up with a more effective recipe.  Not to mention that the next possible up-and-comer, China, has a little Straits of Malacca problem we won’t be suffering from.  (Sorry guys, but securing the Panama Canal didn’t do it: we have airplanes now.)

Makes you wonder: are there some adults in D.C. actually thinking this long-term?  Or is this “happy accident” territory, and we really are better off being lucky than good?

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