Friday, February 24, 2012

Around the blogs

It's been too long since our last look around the blogs, and there are lots of posts meriting honorable mention. Here are a few of them.

Neptunus Lex reminds us that the odious Scott Ritter has been convicted of sex offenses and sentenced to a lengthy term in jail. My reaction? I'm torn between "How are the mighty fallen!" and "It couldn't happen to a more deserving fella". It's strange how a man with so brilliant a mind (and, let's face it, he really was, and presumably still is, highly intelligent) could end up deluding himself so tragically. See also 'Hubris' and 'Nemesis' . . .

We've mentioned this country's, Europe's and the world's economic problems on many occasions on this blog. I note that more and more bloggers are writing about them. Here's a selection from my recent reading.

TOTWTYTR describes the emergency medical 'Call Of The Week'. You wouldn't believe me if I told you what it was, so I'll let you click over there and find out for yourself!

In his latest 'Monday Pun', Grouchy Old Cripple serves up a threefer. It's so full of groans, I couldn't resist linking it. The comments from his other readers are also giggleworthy!

We've met industrial chemist Derek Lowe in these pages on previous occasions. I found two of his recent articles very interesting. In the first, 'When Reagents Attack!', he challenges his readers to tell their stories of how various chemicals and agents caused unexpected laboratory reactions and interactions. The result is a series of funny and frequently explosive accounts! The second, 'Ten Tons Of Sodium And Just One Lake', embeds a video report about the destruction of sodium after World War II by dumping it into a lake, where it (naturally) exploded on contact with the water. Good thing the EPA wasn't around at the time! Recommended viewing.

The Presidential elections scheduled for November this year come in for their share of fisking. Author Sarah Hoyt, blogging at Classical Values, talks about them in an article titled 'Handicapping The Syphilitic Camel Race'. Here's an excerpt.

The closer we come to the elections, the more I alternate between rage and sheer unremitting depression. This post is as much as anything a way to organize my thoughts.

There is no doubt that this year of all years we are faced with not just a very weak field, but a field that makes us wonder what we’ve done to deserve Biblical proportion retribution.

. . .

I still say we’d do best picking from the phone directory. But that’s neither here nor there.

Remember that thing about government being a necessary evil? Yeah, so are the people who administer it.

. . .

There are people who are far better but they’re not running. Some never ran. I think this is because the smarter people who could run know the next president is sort of a sacrifice. We’re killing him so the crops will grow again. Oh, not literally (I hope) but in effect. With what’s about to hit us in the field of economics, the best the next president can hope for is squeaking a second term by the skin of his teeth AND being remembered with admiration in a hundred years. But the next president is going to have to cut all goodies drastically and p*ss off everyone. And we’re going to make him eat live toads for it for the remainder of his natural life. (Metaphorically speaking, I hope. Poor toads.)

. . .

Do I like what we’re faced with? Oh Lord – I did say I’m oscillating between despair and anger, didn’t I? BUT I understand how we got here. And, as my friend Jerry Pournelle (who is considerably to the right of me, but who is an honorable and intelligent man) says “Despair is a sin and it might be needless.”

One thing we do know. We can’t endure another four years of the current “regime.” Emboldened by not having to stand election again, they will go off the rails even more than they already have.

So, your choice is Obama, a syphilitic camel, or the sweet meteor of death. And you know those damn meteors never show up when you want them to.

. . .

You know and I know the moment Obama is out of office, the statistics stop being cooked, and we see the economy for what it is. You know and I know the moment Obama is out of office, the press will wake up to how grave our financial situation is. AND sad to say, this is to the good.

So, bring on the clowns… er… the syphilitic camels. We’ll elect one of them and make him rue the day he was born!

There's more at the link. Thought-provoking reading, even for those of a different political stripe.

Borepatch also comments on the upcoming elections, and points out that most of the candidates are fundamentally fascist in their policies and perspectives.

Warren Meyer, writing at Coyote Blog, points to what he calls the 'Worst American Rail Project Ever?' Here's an excerpt.

At the end of the day, riders are paying $3.2 million of the total $65.3 million annual cost. Again, I repeat my reaction from four years ago to hearing that riders really loved the train. Of course they do — taxpayers (read: non-riders) are subsidizing 95.1% of the service they get. I wonder if they paid the full cost of the train ride — ie if their ticket prices were increased 20x — how they would feel about the service?

Of course, the Railrunner folks are right on the case. They have just raised prices, which “could” generate $600,000 in extra revenue, assuming there is no loss in ridership from the fare increases (meaning assuming the laws of supply and demand do no operate correctly). If this fare increase is as successful as planned, they will have boldly reduced the public subsidy to just 94.2% of the cost of each trip.

By the way, it is interesting to note ... that ridership on this line dropped by over half when the service went from free to paid (ie when the government subsidy dropped from 100% to 95%). The line carries around 2000 round-trip passengers (ie number of boarding divided by two) a day. It is simply incredible that a state can directly lavish $60 million a year in taxpayer money on just 2000 mostly middle class citizens. That equates to a subsidy of $30,000 per rider per year, enough to buy every daily round trip rider a new Prius and the gas to run it every single year.

More at the link. Infuriating reading - particularly when governments at all levels are bleating about how short of money they are. With waste like this, it's no wonder they're short of funds!

Chris Wild, over at Retronaut, provides a photographic essay about the reconstruction of the Truman White House from 1948-1952. He has some very interesting pictures, including this one showing how the entire interior structure was demolished, leaving only the exterior walls, before being rebuilt 'from scratch'.

More pictures at the link, and still more at the White House Museum.

Finally, the Silicon Graybeard reports that medical 'ethicists' are attempting to justify deliberately killing people who are gravely ill. He says, "I'll bet the underlying reason for this is Obamacare, which is going to force the government to decide who gets what level of care." I think he's right! Go read his whole post. It's worth your time - particularly since this may lie in your future, and mine.

That's it for this week. More food for thought from fellow bloggers soon!


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