Politics, culture, business, and technology

I also blog at ChicagoBoyz.


Selected Posts:
Sleeping with the Enemy
Dancing for the Boa Constrictor
Koestler on Nuance
A Look into the Abyss
Hospital Automation
Made in America
Politicians Behaving Badly
Critics and Doers
Foundations of Bigotry?
Bonhoeffer and Iraq
Misvaluing Manufacturing
Journalism's Nuremberg?
No Steak for You!
An Academic Bubble?
Repent Now
Enemies of Civilization
Molly & the Media
Misquantifying Terrorism
Education or Indoctrination?
Dark Satanic Mills
Political Violence Superheated 'steem
PC and Pearl Harbor
Veterans' Day Musings
Arming Airline Pilots
Pups for Peace
Baghdad on the Rhine

Book Reviews:
Forging a Rebel
The Logic of Failure
The Innovator's Solution
They Made America
On the Rails: A Woman's Journey

arts & letters daily
natalie solent
critical mass
john bruce
joanne jacobs
number 2 pencil
roger l simon
common sense and wonder
sheila o'malley
invisible adjunct
red bird rising
academic game
rachel lucas
betsy's page
one hand clapping
a schoolyard blog
joy of knitting
lead and gold
damian penny
annika's journal
little miss attila
no credentials
university diaries
trying to grok
a constrained vision
victory soap
business pundit
right reason
quid nomen illius?
sister toldjah
the anchoress
reflecting light
dr sanity
all things beautiful
dean esmay
brand mantra
economics unbound
dr melissa
dr helen
right on the left coast
digital Rules
college affordability
the energy blog
tinkerty tonk
meryl yourish
kesher talk
assistant village idiot
evolving excellence
neptunus lex
the daily brief
roger scruton
bookworm room
villainous company
lean blog

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010  

The attempted terrorist attack in Portland was thwarted by the FBI. Ironically, in 2005 the Portland city council voted (by 4 to 1) to withdraw their city's police officers from participation in the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Now, Portland's mayor says he might ask the council to reconsider the decision about participation in this task force. Is it because he realizes that the threat of terrorism is real, and that anti-terrorism efforts like those being conducted by the Joint Task Force were indeed justified?...ie, that Portland was wrong in its initial decision? Not at all:

"[Adams] stressed that he has much more faith in the Obama administration and the leadership of the U.S. Attorney's office now than he did in 2005"

I was reminded of something Arthur Koestler wrote about closed systems and the people who believe in them.

continued at Chicago Boyz

5:15 AM

Friday, November 26, 2010  
By Robert Robinson with Jonathan Sleven

In 1930, Robert Robinson--a black toolmaker working for the Ford Motor Company in Detroit--accepted a one-year assignment to apply his skills in the Soviet Union. He didn't get out until 1974. His first renewals of his Soviet residency were voluntary; his later residency there, not so much.

Robinson gives a detailed account of day-to-day life in the Soviet Union and of the attitudes he encountered toward blacks and Americans; he also comments on the postwar rise of anti-Semitism. His book gives a good feel for what it must be like to live in an environment where everything you can do is entirely dependent on the government. He describes, for example, the joy of the peasants when Malenkov briefly replaced Stalin and it was announced that "all peasants are free to sell to sell their personally grown agricultural products in the free market."

continued at Chicago Boyz

8:36 AM

Wednesday, November 24, 2010  

(Basically a run of an earlier post)

Stuart Buck encountered a teacher who said "Kids learn so much these days. Did you know that today a schoolchild learns more between the freshman and senior years of high school than our grandparents learned in their entire lives?" ("She said this as if she had read it in some authoritative source", Stuart comments.)

She probably had read it in some supposedly-authoritative source, but it's an idiotic statement nevertheless. What, precisely, is this wonderful knowledge that high-school seniors have today and which the 40-year-olds of 1840 or 1900 were lacking?

continued at Chicago Boyz

11:49 AM

Tuesday, November 23, 2010  

City Journal: How entrepreneurs built New York City

Bookworm: Pizza, preferences, and politics

Brendan O'Neill: The increasing hostility toward free speech on college campuses

Erin O'Connor: What should a core curriculum encompass?

Deirdre McCloskey: Respect for the bourgeoisie as the key to modern prosperity

Evolving Excellence: Creativity in the sauerkraut and supermarket businesses. I've said it before: Creativity is by no means something that is relevant only in "high-technology" businesses. Our fate, dear Brutus, is not in our SIC codes but in ourselves.

6:57 AM

Friday, November 19, 2010  

The president of the State University of New York at Albany has decided to terminate the university's programs in French, Russian, Italian, classics, and theater. Although he blames the state legislature for providing inadequate funding, it looks to me as if the president himself is not doing a very good job of making intelligent budgeting priority decisions.

In response to SUNY's action, Gregory Petsko defends the value of the traditional humanities.

John Ellis, on the other hand, argues that most universities have already dismantled traditional humanities programs in favor of a mishmash of courses driven by political radicalism, and that "defend the humanities" is hence a false flag under which to sail.

(Petsko link via Cold Spring Shops)

cross-posted at Chicago Boyz, where comments are open

6:22 AM

Monday, November 15, 2010  

Bill Waddell, a blogger and a good thinker who comments occasionally at Chicago Boyz, has a book coming out later this week. Bob Barker, president of Parker Aerospace and EVP of Parker Hannifin, summrizes Bill's book as follows:

Simple Excellence is a quick and easy read that finally describes a simple, logical, way to conduct business. Simple principles like, focusing on the customer, eliminating waste, driving costs down, and managing cash are not complex enough for academics and the latest business book gurus to deal with. It’s reassuring to know that many of the principals espoused in this book are the same concepts we focus on here at Parker Hannifin.

Previous Books by Bloggers posts here and here.

cross-posted at Chicago Boyz, where comments are open.

7:45 AM

Sunday, November 14, 2010  

Scotland is risking widespread blackouts, as nuclear, gas, and oil-fired power stations are shut down--without adequate replacement capacity coming on-line.

In Britain, economic and "climate change" concerns are driving the dimming or turning-off of large numbers of streetlights.

And in Massachussetts, a large solar (photovoltaic) facility is being installed, under the advertised belief that such facilities will eventually provide an economical replacement for the oil-burning furnaces now common in New England.

Are things like this merely a reflection of widespread technological and economic ignorance, coupled with dysfunctional politics? Or are we seeing a manifestation of a subconscious suicide instinct pervading Western civilization?

cross-posted at Chicago Boyz, where comments are open

9:15 AM

Friday, November 12, 2010  

The Great Chinese State Circus performs Swan Lake. Don't miss this--it's really incredible.

GE-Shanghai has a photography contest.

9:03 AM

Thursday, November 11, 2010  

Neptunus Lex has some thoughts.

Do not fail to follow the link to this music video: The war was in color.

9:44 AM

Tuesday, November 09, 2010  

Patrick Richardson:

Kansas is ranked second in the nation behind Montana for wind energy potential, a fact which should have environmentalists jumping for joy. Instead, they’re trying to block the construction of transmission lines to wind farms in south central Kansas and north central Oklahoma.

Why? Well it all has to do with the lesser prairie chicken. According to a story by the Hutchinson News in February of this year, ranchers and wildlife officials in the area are teaming up with groups like the Sierra Club to block the construction of the lines, which would apparently run through prime breeding territory for the bird.


Environmental groups, which are as quick to fang each other as they are dirty polluters, are lining up in opposition to the lines and to wind farms in general. In fact, they’re lining up against most current sources of renewable power: the Audubon Society hates wind farms because the blades kill birds and bats; hydroelectric covers up large swaths of land and releases “greenhouse gasses” when decaying material is exposed to the air; the Sierra Club has opposed solar plants in the Mohave. Apparently, even geothermal creates toxic waste no one wants.

Environmentalists tend to favor new energy technologies such as wind and solar as long as they're purely theoretical. Once they start to become real, it turns out that these technologies, like everything else in the world, have drawbacks, and hence, while the in-theory approval may continue, practical deployments are fought.

continued at Chicago Boyz

4:44 AM

Saturday, November 06, 2010  

Richard Fernandez contrasts Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. In a related post, Dr Sanity expands on Fernandez's thoughts, focusing on the differences between healthy and unhealthy narcissism. And Elizabeth Scalia offers some advice to Palin and to Tea Party candidates in general.

NeoNeocon has a rather unbelievable quote that illustrates just how out-of-control Obama's ego really is.

ShrinkWrapped links an article about the open racism of the future state of Palestine and adds thoughts of his own.

Cold Spring Shops writes about high-speed passenger rail.

The Wall Street Journal has an article about Gavriel Salvendy, a Hungarian-Israeli-American industrial engineer who is now working as a professor at a Chinese university--and who is apparently making very significant contributions to improving the productivity of Chinese factories. As an example, Salvendy's restructuring of operations at a Chinese shoe factory resulted in a rapid 20% productivity improvement--and this was followed by another 20% improvement, achieved by better balancing of the production line. The WSJ article suggests that improvements such as these may wind up being a more important factor in US-vs-China balance of trade than the much-more-discussed currency valuation issue.

GE researcher Bob King has been working on electric car development for 40 years.

2:50 PM

Tuesday, November 02, 2010  

Congressman Richard Kind (D-WI) shoves a blogger's camera outside an event in Wisconsin.

Previous link in this series.

6:25 AM

Monday, November 01, 2010  

Three links this morning that fall under the above category:

1) Darren, a teacher in California, says:

We have a librarian at my school only 2-1/2 days a week, as she must split her time between 2 high schools. When she's not there, parent volunteers staff the library so that it's available to students.

A union grievance was filed, and today we were told that the library cannot be open anymore when she's not there. Teachers can take their classes in there, but books cannot be checked out. The library will no longer be available for students to do make-up tests in on the days when our official librarian isn't on site.

The next time a teachers union tells you something is "for the children", you remember this story.

2)Election officials in Illinois don't seem very concerned about ensuring that the absentee ballots of soldiers serving overseas are distributed and counted properly...and this seems to be just fine with Obama's Justice Department.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Board of Elections is going to great lengths to ensure that inmates in the Cook County Jail get their ballots in timely fashion.

3)In July 2010 the National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored a workshop for college professors at the University of Hawaii. The title of the conference was "History and Commemoration: The Legacies of the Pacific War." As one of the 25 American scholars chosen to attend the workshop, Professor Penelope Blake anticipated an opportunity to visit hallowed sites such as Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial and the Punchbowl Cemetery and engage with scholars who share her interest in studying this often neglected part of World War II history. Instead, Professor Blake was treated to the most disturbing experience of her academic career, a conference which she found to be driven by an overt political bias and a blatant anti-American agenda. Follow the link to read the whole dismal story.

The above items are indeed sad and disturbing, but should not be surprising, because they are examples of trends which are growing increasingly strong: the bureaucratic micromanagement of all aspects of life, cynical and ruthless political corruption, and the rewriting of history in the name of political correctness. All three of these trends are features, not bugs, in the eyes of today's Democratic Party, and if you would like to see a future in which we have a lot more of this kind of thing, then definitely be sure to vote for every Democrat on the ballot tomorrow.

cross-posted at Chicago Boyz, where comments are open

7:07 AM

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