America the Police State

America, "home of the free," actively destroys more of its citizens’ lives, per capita, through imprisonment, than any other country in the world. It puts people in jail at a higher rate than even communist China.

Based on the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Drug War Chronicle estimates
that more than 530,000 people were behind bars for drug offenses in the
U.S. at the end of last year. Drug offenders accounted for about 25
percent of jail inmates, 21 percent of state prison inmates, and 55
percent of federal prison inmates. The total number of people behind
bars was about 2.3 million, an all-time record, giving the U.S. an
incarceration rate of 724 per 100,000–the highest in the world,
according to the Chronicle, which says we even beat out China this time.

If you have any fondness for the government of this country; federal, state, or local, then you’re a fucking moron. I’m serious. Take it to heart; quote me.

Thieves, Thugs, and Mobsters…

always protect their turf and income stream.

The Supremes

Well, given no choice for actual freedom, I’ll take a judicial conservative any day over a commie activist. I’ll curse them for their damnable meddling in the private consensual affairs of adults; I’ll poke fun of their primitive and childish beliefs in fairy tales; and I’ll pray for their early and painful deaths when they conflate their religious moral values and American culture (all conservatives deserve 50 lashes in the public square for that one). But, I’ll take them over the utterly contemptible evil represented by the communist / democrat party any day.

Look, as regards politicians, I really hate them all: top-to-bottom and wall-to-wall, as I like to say. But, many conservatives truly hold values of which even they don’t grasp the fundamental magnitude. They are so woefully misguided, mixing their silly religious beliefs with objective ethical considerations — too ignorant to understand that the strength of their values comes not from unverifiable, superstitious assertions, but from the observable, factual, objective nature of man and his inviolable requirements for living a human life.

But I can’t have everything, so I take what I can get, sometimes.

Michelle Malkin is probably the best source for running commentary from around the net and assemblage of "important" views on all matters "Supreme."

Update: Frequent commenter Kyle Bennett has a very optimistic take on all of this. I’m not so optimistic, but it was pleasant engaging the fantasy for a while.

Sent Items

This just out, in email:

Me? I just can’t and have never been able to muster any energy for this event. From day one, over two years ago. Not a single word on my blog about it, ever.

My view? This is a bit different than Martha Stewart in that she was a private citizen just trying to save her own ass; and what do you expect anyone to do when prosecutors come knocking? It’s like asking someone what they’d do if, you know, both children fell in a swift river and you can only save one, etc., etc..

Libby is near the top of the top. It’s hardball, there. Those who choose that sort of thing for their lives know and understand that it’s fast, furious, and unforgiving.

He knew the stakes, took his chances, and came up short.

I got no tears.

That said, I just have a problem with this chickenshit way of prosecutorily leaning hard on someone until you can catch ’em in a lie, and then gettin’ ’em for that — and not the "crime" you were investigating in the first place.

My book? There’s a big difference between crime (i.e., doing unjustifiable harm to people), and lying about crime.

Here’s how it is, objectively: should someone go to prison for lying to me? To you? If your answer is no, then there is not a moral justification in the world for imprisoning someone for lying to the government. Do you grasp all the implications of that?


From John Stossel’s weekly email forwarded by my dad:

By the way, I’m writing another book. It will be called "Myths." Do you have any
myths you want me to research and write about?

[email protected]

And dad’s follow-up email:

Hey, why don’t you come up with some myth’s for
J.S.’s new book, Myths.

Hey, it’s not a bad idea, though judging from Stossel’s first book, there’s probably nothing I can come up with in the political / philosophical sphere that he doesn’t already know about. Besides, the myths that most concern me are the most fundamental ones, i.e., those that the logic of the current macro human culture all reduce to.

For example, isn’t it like 95%+ people who believe in a God of some sort? That being the case, it seems to me rather futile to chase around a whole lot of derivative myths (and that emphasized word has implications). The problem isn’t the facts of the matter as much as it is mythology, as such.

The core problem and issue is that the "best" mythology is pernicious. That is, it’s viral, meaning: it contains within itself all the properties necessary to defend and propagate itself. Forgive my anthropomorphizing, but I hope you get the point.

And the point — the point that I try to make each and every day — is that human freedom is about humanity — man qua man. And, there is nothing in humanity, in and of itself, that requires any sort of external authority, be it the state, the church, your favorite political party, or any or those organizations that send you mailers predicting disaster in our times and begging donations. To accept any such authority is to compromise your ability to discern reality as it really is, no matter your innate cleverness (cleverness only arbitrates winners and losers). Any compromise in that ability, your natural ability, leads to diminished lives — if not outright destruction.

Much as he might actually sympathize, I doubt John could find much use in what I have to say about myth. He does, after all, have to sell his book.

No Contradiction

The other day, someone wrote somthing about Billy Beck that could just as easily apply to me and others.

I am constantly both amused and dismayed by those who regularly
ridicule government, then take some supposed ‘long view’ of history to
justify war, which is merely the ace card of government’s stranglehold
upon citizens.

I have never really understood why he trusts government to go to
war, over against those who distrust our government–as much as does he.

I’ve never spent any real time explaining this. I’ve always just said, essentially, that it’s necessary to "kill the bad guys." That’s an imperative, and it happens that the state is the only current practical way of accomplishing such a task. There are all sorts of imperatives in my life, should I desire to live a human life, and many of those imperatives involve dealing with a government that I do not believe has any moral right to exist.

Anyway, Billy went and broad-stroked the whole thing and I encourage you to read it all. Here are some choice excerpts:

At root, there is a crucial difference between the bloody fools running this war and the mindless dipshits who stand against war — any war, in general principle — with their strictly amoral
demands for peace and no regard at all for the prospect that there
really is a right and wrong which must sometimes be resolved by main
force. And there should be no mistake that that difference is where
this thing fundamentally turns. […] …a great deal of opposition to this military episode is founded in the
outrage on the left borne of the simple fact that the White House is
not occupied by someone commie enough to suit the tastes of
creatures like Katrina vanden Heuvel and Michael Moore. Anyone who
thinks that these people are really screaming about the war is deluded.

The matter of the state security apparat is fundamentally separate from the imperative to kill the bad guys.
Read that again, and understand the thirst for blood. I’m talking
rationally applied savagery here, kids, and I don’t apologize for it:
the thing to do is to summarily destroy those who have set out to
destroy us, with all the world-original American aptitude for
going to the extremity of the thing. Nobody who cannot or will not
grasp this imperative is fit for the discussion, because they’re simply
not coming to terms with reality, and I don’t attempt to discuss
anything with insane people. There’s just no percentage in it.

You bet: every time I hear of a dead fourteenth-century throwback, shot
down in the streets of some shitty little pest-hole where actual and actualizing human beings would not live beyond the length of a desperation that would drive them out to something better, I cheer.  "Fuck ’em."  That’s my motto on the thing.  If they would attend their primitive dirt-scratching in peace, then my attitude would be exactly opposite — as it is
the opposite in the individual cases of people who are not interested
to blow me to pieces in order to get their ticket punched into Paradise.

Nothing would thrill me more than to see George W. Bush and his whole
cohort headed across the Fourteenth Street Bridge and out of Washington
D.C. with their shit strapped to the roofs of mini-vans like a bunch of
political hillbillies, as long as — and this is crucial — it would be
the last time such a mess would have to be handled in such a way.

Nobody gets to question my anarcho-cred.  I’m as heavy as anyone in the world, and way heavier than most.

But don’t mistake this: just because I hate this government, it doesn’t mean that I am not interested in the war.

They are two categorically distinct concepts, and anyone interested to
address the matter would do well to handle them competently.

Good, then. I hope it’s now clear. No Contradiction.

Up, is Down; and Etc.

For starters, I’m no Great Big Fan of the U.S Constitution, on principled grounds. That said, I coincidentally agree with a number of the general legal principles espoused therein, as well I understand the underlying basis and logic for it and respect the integrity of conservatives who strive to keep it and abide by it.

In the quest for a new Associate Justice, it seems to me that you want someone smart. Someone who can separate fact from fiction and can follow a line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and by logic, I mean: without any hint of inherent contradiction anywhere. Now, square logic and the plain language of the Constitution with what the federal government has become, in all of its "magnificence."

So it rather seems that what the Court has not received are those of clear and simple reasoning, but rather, those given extreme bouts of obtuse mental masturbation. As such seems to be the case, I have just the candidate for them in police Cmdr. Paul Watkins.

Lynnwood police concede they engaged in "rarely used" tactics during
an undercover investigation into a suspected prostitution ring.

Those tactics, which included officers allowing prostitutes to
masturbate them in exchange for cash, have raised questions among
law-enforcement officials, legal experts and the Snohomish County
Prosecutor’s Office.

Lynnwood police Cmdr. Paul Watkins said he spent a great deal of time
justifying the officers’ actions to prosecutors to prove that the
officers themselves weren’t breaking the law.

He’ll be perfect. He’ll even "spend a great deal of time" to "prove" that up is down. As backup, Bush can check the "legal experts" who are "raising questions." There might be some candidates there. After all, it’s a rare mind who can "prove" that a law banning masturbation for hire applies to both the masturbator and masturbatee, except if the masturbatee is a "law enforcement" person who is engaged in enforcing the law banning masturbation for hire. Yep, indeed, we need some "great legal minds" on the bench.

Bunch ‘a fuckwads. Don’t think for a second that I don’t see clear through every single one of you self-important assholes, and that includes you, Watkins.

Via Balko. And just so I don’t get email, prostitution — or handjobs as part of a massage "package" — are issues between consenting adults and nobody else’s business. It’s not a question of "legal" or "illegal" (those pricks can all just fuck off, every last one of them). I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy, and what miserable scum they all are. As Radley points out:

So they get a nice body scrub, a handjob, and they get to push around some immigrant women doing their best to make a living.

It Usually Begins With Theft

Want to be right most of the time, with little effort, and with hardly even thinking about it? Just attribute each and every problem you perceive with government to: theft. I can’t, offhand, think of a situation where you wouldn’t be fundamentally correct.

Billy Beck demonstrates how everyone is wrong about one problem, "inflation," and if you use my simple principle, above, you’ll be right. You’ll be right, and Alan Greenspan, for instance, will be wrong (Greenspan, of course, does know what "inflation" is, but he long ago sold out his honesty and integrity for the political spotlight).

You really should work through this yourself (here’s some help), but essentially, the rise in prices is an effect of "inflation," not a cause. "Inflation" is the government stealing your labor, as well as a portion of the return on any investments you hold, such as securities, collectibles, real estate — even a portion of depreciating assets you hold. It is, in essence, an additional tax (theft) on virtually everything that has any monetary exchange value. The government does it by printing money that’s not backed by something tangible.

This does not mean that the cause of "inflation" is the lack of some backing for the currency, such as the gold standard. It just means that it’s far easier for the government to "inflate" the currency without it.

Even on the gold and other commodity standards, governments have always found ways to steal via "inflation." Even in ancient times, with gold and silver coins, the state, in minting coins, would gradually increase the amount of alloy in the coins, stealing the gold and silver they were able to keep out. Of course, prices rise in order to adjust to the reduced amount of gold or silver in each unit of coin.

Do you get it, now? If you do, then you know that "inflation" is merely an euphemism for theft (just like "taxes"). Next time you hear talk of taxes and inflation, think: theft and more theft.

Yes, Indeed

Best single day in the market for me since I began serious short-term swing trading ’round six months ago.

I’ve learned a lot in that time; won some, lost some, but the last three weeks have been excruciating — forcing me to refine my systems considerably. I was buying good stocks/options, but my entry timing was often off, I was missing good sell signals so that winning trades often turned to losing trades, and losing trades were not exited early, when the projected reasons for getting into the trade were not quickly verified.

That’s all changed, now, and the result has been that my trading the last week has been 100% winning. We’re in the sort of choppy market that is the absolute most difficult in which to profit consistently. If you can make good returns in the sort of market we’ve had the last few months, you’ll profit hugely in a clear bull or bear situation.

OK, so, the market was up about 1.7%, today. Here’s how I did: out of my 11 positions, I’m up in 9 of them (8 of those are options plays). One position is unchanged from Fiday’s close, and I’m down one whole penny in one stock posiotion that equates to $3 for the 300 shares owned. Overall, 6.5% gain on the day. That’s better than halfway back from my losses over the last three weeks.

Hey, anyone catch Google (GOOG)? Here’s the 5-day chart:


Friday, it was up about $36 on the day, on the heels of teriffic revenues and earnings reports. But I think it’s way over-priced. Of course it’s way over priced. It’s 1999 all over again with this stock. The question is not if Google will tank, but when. Right now, analysts predict the stock going to something like $420. It might, which will only mean that it’ll be even more insanely priced (kind of like California real estate).

I stay as far away as I can get from over-hyped stocks like this. Way too much emotion dictating things — even though Google, qua company, stands upon excellent fundamentals. Revenues, earnings, growth, management, business plan. All excellent. This, of course, is a far cry from the late ’90s when the Wall Street fraudsters (yes, fraud) were issuing IPOs on companies that not only had not ever generated any profits, but in many cases, never any revenues.

Over the weekend, I half toyed with buying one November $340 Put contract for $1,190, just in case the stock dove back down to its $300 – $310 level today. Luckily, I decided to wait to see how the first half-hour of trading went, and by the time I checked, around 10:15 EST or so, it was already trading at almost $350. Had I bought that Put, I’d be out  400 bucks on the trade in one day, plus commissions both ways. Google was up almost $9 on the day, today.

Here’s a new Trading Journal Blog by a fellow INVESTools practitioner.

Good Service

It’s so nice to get good service. I find that I’m usually satisfied with the service I get, with the singular exception of getting my eggs truly "over easy" at restaurants. Every now and then, though, I get service that’s so exceptional that it just merits a mention.

Three years ago last July, we had an in-ground pool/spa built.


Nice, huh? It’s essentially a small pool, about 11′ x 7′ with a large pool size heater, so I can get it up to 100 degrees in about 15 minutes in the summer, and about 40 minutes in the winter. It was built by Royal Pools in San Jose, California, whose offices and showroom are only about 10 minutes away from us.

About a year and a half after it was completed, the temperature sensor went out, so while the controller would think it’s a hundred degrees, and it says it’s a hundred degrees, plunging into it in November or December became quite unpleasant.

I actually didn’t even think about calling Royal at first. I called around and went to various poll supply houses, like Leslie’s and such. All of the sensors they had in stock were different from mine, and it was difficult to be sure that an ordered part (about $80) was the right one. Finally, in frustration, I called Royal to ask them from where I might be able to order it and be sure to get the right one.

So, she says, "Hang on a minute….is the electric gate  combo still ****, and do you still have Rotor?" Yep. "OK, great, we’ll take care of it." Got home that afternoon and it was all done. Rotor was safe & sound. No charge. A year and a half after install.

…I’d turned on the spa jets & heater last night around 7pm or so, ate dinner, fiddled around here and there, and then thought about getting into the spa around 9 or so. Even though it had been way more than enough time to get up to temp, I check the panel anyway, out of habit, to see what the temperature is. Instead of seeing the expected "100 Deg.," I see 68. Uh, oh. So I grabs the flashlight and head on out to troubleshoot. Nothing apparent. I cycle all the breakers on the control box. No joy. I believe I’ve isolated the problem down the the ignitor. The fan stats just as it should, the gas valve opens just as it should, but it does not ignite within the 7 seconds time allotted before the gas valve shuts.

Of course, you guessed it. This time, I wasted no time in calling Royal. Their only question was whether this afternoon would be too late, or did I need them to come immediately. This, after more than 3 years since installation.

Ya think I’d ever use anyone else, or recommend anyone else?

Sent Items

You know, it’s bad enough keeping a civil tongue around people who go to the polls every coupla years in order to have their say in how I may be permitted to conduct my own peaceful and mutually consensual affairs.

I would just as soon tell most of them to go and fuck off, but such boorish behavior might perhaps rise nearly to level of the uncivilized behavior represented by dog-eat-dog democracy and its democrats. If that adjective doesn’t resonate, consider a recent exchange with Greg Swann:

"…dogs are democrats by nature." I replied: I guess the corollary would be that democrats behave like pack animals. "Indeed. The dogs’ policy is, ‘I don’t care if it is poison. If he gets a
piece, I get a piece.’ If a group of dogs suffered extreme brain damage,
they’d form a labor union…"

So, that’s all bad enough, but then I’m expected to just sit by and put up with outright lies and bullshit too? Today, I get this silly little email titled, UFW CA Endorsements: Please vote on November 8, from someone I know, but who has no ability to think on his own when it comes to matters political — apparently preferring the company of others equally willing to abandon their own rational faculties in order to "unite" with everyone else, like a pack of dogs. It’s from that outfit the United Farm Workers. You know, from the people so clever as to have thought they could successfully organize migrant labor into viable unions long term. I can just hear Javier now:

Javier, where are you going?

"I’m going to cross the Rio Grande, into America?"

To work and provide for your family? To have a better life and future?

"No, so that I can go on strike and carry a picket sign in solidarity."

Yea, right.

Of course, hard-working migrants are what kept the UFW from becoming mainstream, in spite of the brutality of the early UFW and its organizers to keep migrant workers out.

I digress. Naturally, the email is mostly a pack of lies. Look, I’m not voting, and the fate of the CA propositions will take place without me. Still, I’m not going to sit by and be lied to, even by family members, and so I reply:

…BTW, education funding has not been cut down, EVER, in CA’s entire history. It has been increased, each and every year, and will continue to be increased, each and every year.

If you libs have a case to make, why not make it on the merit of the numbers? Education eats 40% of the entire CA budget. 40 F***ING PERCENT!!! Get rid of the bloated administration and the hundreds of millions pissed away with the stupid "union" every year, and you’d have plenty to EDUCATE kids, which, is what this is supposed to be all about.

Prop 75? Yea, can’t allow public employees to decide whether or not they want THEIR OWN MONEY going to the stupid union to support political (democrat 100% of the time) causes they don’t agree with.

I’m just losing all patience with lies. I thought about it the other day. I can’t even count the number of lies I have to read or hear every day from all sources.

I’m just not putting up with it, anymore. Fair warning: if you’re in my presence, anyone, anytime, and I hear or read you repeating damn lies, you’re going to know about it, as well as everyone else in ear or e-mail shot (that’s right: ‘Reply-All’), ’cause, I know y’all don’t want to be repeating lies. To continue and persist, after the facts have been so politely pointed out to you, as I would of course do, would be to become a liar yourself. And no one wants that.

Nope, Not Surpirsed by Sheep

Nothing appears more surprizing to those, who consider human affairs
with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are
governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign
their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as
Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing
to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that
government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and
most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.

-– David Hume, “Of The First Principles of Government”

Even Jesus, the God of Western Civilization as the mythology goes, ended up willingly submitting himself to the State for execution, described in absolutely perfect metaphor:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. — Isaiah 53:7

My only quibble would be with Hume’s premise that government and those who govern have anything amounting to what I would call "principles." The concept of ‘principle’ connotes ethics, by which I mean: objective morality; by which: principles corresponding to the nature of man and his requirements for living his life as the individual human being that he is. Government is force, and therefore, there is nothing, NOTHING whatever about it that touches even lightly upon ethics, morality, or principle.

Anyway, I came across this via Beck, who told me to go read this essay by F. A. Hayek, of whom I am generally a big fan. The quote above was from Matt McIntosh.


Perfect Fools

Radley Balko is right, of course:

The Miers nomination stands in
direct contrast to everything conservatives are supposed to believe in.
Merit, opposition to identity politics, accountability in government.
The list goes on.

The right is now facing the
harsh reality that President Bush never was the conservative they
believed him to be. He’s a fightless opportunist. Not even a
pragmatist. An opportunist.

President Bush is a political
coward. He shirks from fight, as evidenced by his record-setting streak
of refusing to use his veto, and his capitulation on big, legacy-making
issues like the tax code and Social Security reform, and his refusal to
take a stand even on the more mundane, everyday issues like the federal
budget and regulatory policy.

And so is Chris Roach, whom Radley referenced:

Even if […]
she would fulfill my every dream on the bench, she still must be voted
down. The price of her confirmation is the systematic discrediting of
everything we’ve believed in and fought for in this area.

We’ve opposed identity politics and victimology.  Now we are told by our leaders that opposition to her is “sexist”

We’ve stood for standards.  Now we are told that questioning her credentials is elitist.

We’ve pilloried the Democrats for using the religion of a nominee as
a proxy for how they will behave on the bench. Now we are told to trust
her, because she’s an evangelical Christian and therefore would be good
on the bench.

We’ve maintained that judging is about the rule of law, not about
personal beliefs and desired outcome. Now we are told to trust her,
because she is pro-life and will reach our desired outcome.

We tried to end the judicial filibuster, arguing that a simple
majority vote wouldn’t make the Senate a rubber stamp for the
President, because we would use our independent judgment in weighing
the credentials and abilities of the candidate. Now we should support
this nominee because the President does.

But the think that almost no one seems to get is that all of this, down to the very last miserable bit of it is completely unsurprising and perfectly in keeping with the logic of politics. Bush is only doing what politicians do, which is to strike the political "balances" (i.e., contradictions) in such a way as to get and keep himself, his friends, his colleagues, and his party: in power. That is all there is to it.

The more interesting tragedy is how otherwise good and honest people sacrifice so much of their lives and hearts in the virtual worship of politics as their ultimate savior. What perfect fools.

Five Lights

This is Theodore Dalrymple, author of Our Culture, What’s Left of It… I thought I had blogged this before, but I guess not.

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all  their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

Now, check out the illustrations, by Billy Beck.

The title of this post is a reference to an episode of Star Trek:TNG where Picard is captured, starved and tortured. All he has to do to be granted a life of "respect" and "luxury" from his captors, in study and inquiry of the arts, sciences, and philosophy, is to affirm that he sees Five Lights. But there were only Four Lights.

Oh, Nonsense

My friend Greg Swann speaks ill of the Windows-based world. Well, at least he has some experience in it. Mine is somewhat the opposite, though I think I maybe have more tech experience on the Mac that he does on the PC. I have tons of experience in not only the Windows world, but in multiple-server networked environments. We’ve consolidated into one office recently, but at one point, we were running four enterprise-level servers here, two at another location here in San Jose, and one up in San Francisco, all networked together, which is to say that it didn’t matter in which office you were in, you were on the local network and everything looked the same to everybody. I’ve also related my own digital madness and complete silliness with respect to me home networking here on this blog.

Unfortunately, some myths just never die. While it’s true that Windows 3.x was awful in terms of reliability (not to mention networking of any kind), and Windows 95 – 98me was still problematic, Windows 2000 Professional and now XP for both home and professional are very stable platforms. I have never, ever had an OS crash since I began using Win 2000 Pro 6 years ago (XP Pro for some time now), yet, I do have to hard reboot my wife’s Macs from time-to-time.

I’ve used Macs all the way up through 10.4 Tiger, the current version on my wife’s PowerBook, and I can network all versions since 10.2 into a windows environment, with file and print sharing, etc. I can even use Entourage to link up to MS Exchange Server, and if you don’t know what Exchange Server is, then you’ve probably not yet been in a highly efficient PC-networked environment.

Still, I’m not going to slam the Mac. They seem to still hold their advantage in the graphic design world. But that’s it, as far as PC computing goes. In a networked environment that requires high load interaction with a server for file transfers, database operation, and a host of other things that go on in a client-server environment, the Mac OS just doesn’t cut it, at least not when it has to interact on a Windows network, which it must. An Apple-only network is fine, I suppose, but you’re going to find very little that a business of any real size can use. A small publishing shop that only has to move files around? Sure.

I’ve gone through the enormous hassle of trying to get Macs to work properly on a Windows network. Hard, in spite of all that was touted with the release of Jaguar. I actually had to log in as root and reconfigure a bunch of low-level stuff just to get it to share a printer with the Windows boxes. Then, oddly, for it to keep working (and this was even in the documentation), you would have to go into the system utility and toggle on/off the file and print sharing after each restart of the system. And, also, it could not remember the Windows machines for future use. Each time you wanted to print, you would have to provide a user name and password, and there was no getting around it.

Print from 10.2 to a shared printer on a Windows machine? Oh, just forget about that! After hours and hours, I had to give up, and I told my wife to get her PowerBook upgraded to Tiger, which, thankfully, is a huge improvement in networking with Windows. I had it printing to a shared printer on a PC in minutes. And, all the settings hold! Thanks, Steve.

No, I like Macs. I really do.  In terms of elegance, simplicity, and design, they are a cut above everyone. No arguing that. I really like their entry into the music business. I wouldn’t think of having anything but an iPod/iTunes combo. Fantastic. Have you seen that new Nano? I bought Apple stock when that came out (and, Apple is a fundamentally strong company right now).

Anyway, I’m glad Greg likes his Macs. But, when his new R/E Brokerage gets to have a dozen agents or more, he’ll be switching to PCs, guaranteed. I suspect that if that turns out to be the case, it’ll be one of those "problems"  Greg will just love to have.

Update: Greg shoots back. Anyone care to comment in comments? I think his "arguments" are just…old. Then there’s the assertions. He can give us a few anecdotes, but then, I have my anecdotes about babysitting the 4 Macs my wife has had (she uses Macs because she’s a school teacher). Nowadays, both are very reliable, both do some things the other won’t, and both are very well designed. As far as GUI, I have a silly little theory, which I’ll get to in a second. For the life of me, I just hate the Mac interface. I hate the way folders and files are organized. This will never change, unless the Mac changes. I hate applications that can’t be individually configured down to very precise levels because, well, we’re simple. Anyway, my silly little theory is that the difference in user preference between the Mac and Windows GUI is unquantifiable in the same way you can’t quantify why some people prefer their left hand over their right, and vice versa.

Mac users are "left handed."

Alright, Knock it Off, Already

Those who follow the markets may have noticed that the last two days have been, well, shitty. Four times as many losers as winners yesterday, and twice as many today. My ‘watch’ portfolio of about 30 strong stocks was down all 30 yesterday and 28 of 30 today.  These are all strong companies and strong stocks, mind you. Here we have September as historically the worst month of the year for the markets, and I was up almost 15% during the month. And I’ve given it all back in the first week in October.

So, investors: the sky aint ‘a fallin’. Stop sellin’ already!

I only trade fundamentally strong companies and stocks, which means the company must have a solid track record of good earnings, stock price patterns that are sane with respect to those earnings, and score high with reputable analysts that aren’t merely shills for the investment bankers.

So, once I have my fundamentally strong companies, I use technical charting analysis to know when to get in, when to get out, and where to set stop losses. There’s a lot to this — more than you’ll ever even imagine unless you actually do it — but I like it because I learn something just about every day.

OK, so for those of you who take to schattenfreude, y’otta love these two disasters. I was actually in the black on both of these just two days ago, both on option contracts, and now I’m almost more than 40% down in both.

Here we have Unit Corp. (UNT). As you can see, I pick fundamentally good stocks. I began trading this in May. From $36 to $56 in 4 1/2 months (83%). Since the $50 support level didn’t hold (see the two previous bounces off $50 in September), I’m hopin’ that support at $48 will hold, as it did three times in August. If not, and I should know tomorrow, I’ll be gone.


And now for Noble Energy Inc. (NBL). $32 to $48 since May. There’s support at $41 (see mid August), but it’s only one bounce. On the other hand, the stock traded just below $41 earlier in the day before rebounding and closing a full $1 off it’s low for the day. But if $41 doesn’t hold, this stock is fired.


For anyone interested in learning how to trade like the pros, check out INVESTools.

So, You Think I Exaggerate?

Well, here’s data points, here, and here, that says I don’t.

REPUBLICAN (emphasis, mine) lawmakers are
drafting new legislation that will make marriage a requirement for
motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal
penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant "by means other
than sexual intercourse."

must first file for a "petition for parentage"…

considered for the "gestational certificate"…

And I’m counting on these pricks and assorted "born-again" nutbars to keep us from becoming a totalitarian regime the likes of China? Oh, wait, don’t you have to get a license to have a child in China?

These fuckers can go straight to hell. Every last goddamned one of them.

The proposed law has been withdrawn. The outrage stands. Do you think that the legislator who dreamed this up, and her supporters, withdrew it because they had a change of heart? Of course not. They withdrew it because of the outrage over it, meaning, that if they could, they gladly would control each and every minute aspect of your life, fuckers that they are. Oh, and for the sake of search engine, let me be sure to name the chief fucker:
Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis.


When George Will smacks you, you know you’ve been smacked

Even though I’m neither a republican nor a conservative, as it’s commonly understood, there are conservatives who rise head and shoulders above the rest. George Will has always been one of those guys, in my book. To me, he is the epitome of what an intelligent journalist should be.

Now, I don’t agree with everything in his generally excellent hit piece on the president and his bizarre pick for the SCOTUS, and I certainly don’t accept the premise of "constitutionality," but there is often cause for decorum and at least operating within the boundaries of accepted good sense and seriousness.

     Under the rubric of "diversity" — nowadays, the first refuge
of intellectually disreputable impulses — the president announced,
surely without fathoming the implications, his belief in identity
politics and its tawdry corollary, the idea of categorical
representation. Identity politics holds that one’s essential attributes
are genetic, biological, ethnic or chromosomal — that one’s nature and
understanding are decisively shaped by race, ethnicity or gender.
Categorical representation holds that the interests of a group can only
be understood, empathized with and represented by a member of that

When is the last time you saw a mainstream journalist competently grapple with a philosophical issue of such import? None, that I know of. I seriously doubt that 1 in 10 would even be able to grasp what Will is saying, let alone the implications involved.

     The crowning absurdity of the president’s wallowing
in such nonsense is the obvious assumption that the Supreme Court is,
like a legislature, an institution of representation. This from a
president who, introducing Miers, deplored judges who "legislate from
the bench."

     Minutes after the president announced the
nomination of his friend from Texas, another Texas friend, Robert
Jordan, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was on Fox News proclaiming
what he and, no doubt, the White House that probably enlisted him for
advocacy, considered glad and relevant tidings: Miers, said Jordan, has
been a victim. She has been, he said contentedly, "discriminated
against" because of her gender.

     Her victimization was not
so severe that it prevented her from becoming the first female
president of a Texas law firm as large as hers, president of the State
Bar of Texas and a senior White House official. Still, playing the
victim card clarified, as much as anything has so far done, her
credentials, which are her chromosomes and their supposedly painful
consequences. For this we need a conservative president?

I’m beginning to see predictions round and about that this nomination will be toast within days, either withdrawn, or Myers herself will bow out. I’m beginning to believe that Bush is an idiot — his only virtue…well, I can’t really remember, anymore.

Politics Test, Part IV (final)

Continued from Part III. Or, begin with Part I and Part II.

34. Eventually, a computer will write the best novel ever written.


The fact is, I don’t know. Best to whom? By whose and by what standard of greatness? Who gets to decide? Who knows…they will probably eventually make computers fast and smart enough to assemble a story from trillions upon trillions of possible scenarios, each begetting trillions upon trillions of possibilities, and so on. But will a computer ever be able to imagine a fictional story from scratch? I don’t know for certain, but I tend to doubt it. If that happens, then what is more likely to have happened is that men will have learned to create intelligent, human-like life. Computers compute. Humans intuit and reason.

35. I should be able to sell my vote for cash if I feel like it.

Strongly Agree.

Why not? It’s the only way I know of to make my "overwhelmingly important" 1 in 270 millionth "say" actually worth something to me. Of course, I don’t vote. I don’t vote because I’m opposed to it, on principle: I’m not a thief. I’m not going to sit around and rationalize why it would be "so great" to take your money in order to accomplish "all these great things." I assume that you’re competent to decide what’s great, and if great enough, voluntarily pay what it’s worth to you. That’s how I operate, and that’s all I expect in life. Thankfully, it’s more than enough, once you get the hang of it.

36. America isn’t as free as it thinks it is.

Strongly Agree.

In many ways, social-level freedom has increased, when you consider that homosexual and interracial couples were in grave risk of their lives until relatively recently. There are many other examples, and many examples where it has gone the other way (smoking, food, recreational drugs, etc.). Economic freedom is completely non-existent. That doesn’t mean that you still can’t make a very good living, but the red tape exacts a heavy tax in terms of time, effort, focus, etc. — especially when one is just starting out. It’s theft, just like it always is. Personally, I was a rouge in every way possible (taxes, business license, employees, etc.). I would never have actually started in business had I worried one wit about "compliance." After a few years, once I was established, I went back and cleaned up the paperwork. Of course, I did it not out of any sense of obligation (the government can go fuck themselves), but only out of a cost/benefit practicality. In the beginning, the cost of compliance was infinite (I could never have succeeded). After succeeding, the cost of non-compliance became infinite (it would have eventually caused the destruction of the business by self-important pipsqueaks and clowns).

37. Employees should have the right to go on strike without the risk of being permanently replaced.

Strongly Disagree.

If employees want to go on strike without bearing the risk of any adverse consequences (have their cake & eat it too), then they ought to accumulate their own investment capital, put it at risk in their own enterprise, and then go on strike to their their heart’s content. Oh; I forgot, they’re risk averse. Well, then, I suggest they search out another "reality," where actions don’t have consequences.

Look, this has to be just about the most pernicious idiocy I’ve ever heard of in my life. You risk the capital; you risk your time; you work your ass off to build a company. Then someone comes along and proposes that they leave you high & dry and you’re supposed to leave their job open for them. Where do people come up with such insanity?

I’m not against unions, striking, or collective bargaining in principle, at all. It’s all freedom of association. The corollary is that employers have the same right, which includes the right to disassociate.

38. I think the American government should subsidize our small farms.

Strongly Disagree.

Let me qualify that. I’m fine with the state subsidizing farms, so long as it comes out of the personal pockets of all federal politicians and employees of the Department of Agriculture. Again, it’s all about theft, just under a different set of pretenses. If small farms are going out of business, then they’re not competitive. Welcome to Planet Earth! Welcome to reality. The practical reality is that subsidizing them is doing them no favors. Political whims change like the wind, and as soon as politicians find a bigger political payoff to "invest" their spoils, you’re subsidized fix is history, man.

39. The life of one American is worth the lives of several foreigners.

Strongly Disagree.

Man’s life is the standard of value, and that has nothing to do with national or geographic origin. Just wars are typically won through attrition, among other things. That’s the reality of the task, but it doesn’t speak to the worth of the soldiers on the receiving end, qua life. Every life is precious. It’s all we have as a point of reference for value at all. That said, there are some people who need to be killed because of their actions or clearly threatened actions. But nobody ever needs to be killed because their life is of less value.

40. A society is only as successful as its least fortunate members.

Strongly Disagree.

Collectivist claptrap. Individuals are as successful as they purpose themselves to be and achieve. End of story. To the degree any "society" is successful, it is due only to the success of individuals who claim membership in such society.

41. Practical considerations aside, a person who doesn’t use many government services should pay less in taxes.

Strongly Agree.

Of course, this question requires that I suspend moral outrage at all taxes of all kinds (theft). So, yes, a "progressive" tax would be one in which an individual’s net contributions to society would be accounted for and deducted accordingly. As a consequence, the rich who provide the engine of production (capital) would pay no taxes at all. Myself, as someone who employs about 30 people, puts food on their table, pays their family medical, and matches their 401K contributions would pay no additional "taxes" at all. It’s like kicking me in the teeth for doing something wholesome and beneficial for others (that benefits me too, of course). Does anyone have any idea how much personal income I forego so that I can pay highly competitive wages and full benefits, and then how much more I loose when the feds and California kick me right in the teeth with their damned corporate and personal tax bills? You have no fucking idea, do you?

42. I think everyone has a right to the basic material necessities of life.

Strongly Disagree.

Except for dependent children, everyone has a right to what they earn and own and only to what they earn and own. The better news is that everyone has an absolute and exclusive right to everything they earn and own; with no exception, on any grounds. Ever.

43. Who did you vote for in the 2004 Presidential Election?

I didn’t vote <—-
I couldn’t vote (please select this if you’re not a U.S. citizen)

Y’all are welcome to your extremely important 1 in 270 millionth say in things. I really don’t want any say at all in your life, but I want total and complete say in mine. Deal? Of course not, and do you know why? It’s because you think that the silly ritual of going into some silly little booth and running a poker through a piece of cardboard gives you some magical moral sanction to dictate the terms of my life and prosperity.

44. If you had to pigeonhole yourself as being ‘for’ or ‘against’ the following ideas, how would you do it?

a. Legal abortion?

For. I make distinctions between embryos and fetuses and between fetuses and human beings. I think that people should be responsible in their behavior, and that if they are, abortions will be rare. Still, it’s not an area where I could intervene no matter how unpleasant I believe most abortions to be.

b. The death penalty?

Against. You can’t undo an execution if you later find out that the conviction was in error. I have no moral qualms, however, with ‘a life for a life,’ so if one could be absolutely certain about the facts of a murder and the malicious intent, or, one has a solid confession, then I’d have no problem with it. In other words, I might be For if the the standard of guilt was raised from ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ to ‘beyond any doubt,’ if such a standard could even be practicable. I believe it’s probably not, so I remain Against.

c. The War on Drugs?

Against. This has zero place in a fee society. It’s just simply nobody’s business, ever.

d. Gun control?

Against. See previous comments related to how police do not protect. That’s the practical. The moral is that I have an absolute right to provide for my own defense, everywhere and at all times. The only one with a right to tell me to put my gun away is a property owner, as a condition to entry. I comply, or I find somewhere else to go.

e. War with Iraq?

For. With reservations. I don’t advocate the state, but then again, I have to get from place to place in order to live — among a whole host of other things that requires my use and/or submission to aspects of state control. If someone makes clear their intention to kill me at their leisure or first opportunity, then they give me little choice but to act, which could even involve preemptive killing. This is the moral sanction at work with regard to terrorists. We need not wait for them to carry out their next attack so that we can send in the police to pick up the pieces and decorate their personnel files with prosecutions and convictions. We kill them now, as many as we possibly can, as quickly as we possibly can, and the only way to effect that is through the military. Thankfully, it’s a volunteer force. I would not support the war if it wasn’t. There’s a lot more to say on this topic. Perhaps a separate entry later.

f. School prayer?

For. Not as a requirement or official event, of course. But, if someone wants to pray to a fantasy, or for that matter, to dance around a campfire to bring rain, I just can’t see how it’s any of your business or mine.


Did I change your mind about anything? If you’ve read all four sections, go take the test again to see if you’ve been swayed at all and report back with a comment.

Don’t Try This At Home

As regular readers know, I fly hang-gliders. I like knowing that my Dacron wing is being held in shape with some plumbing; namely, aircraft-grade aluminum tubing.

But others aren’t so particular. They fly paragliders. Same basic principle, but rather than tubing to maintain form, they employ a ram air inflated airfoil. Here’s how they work. And, as frequent commenter Doug Wolf will tell you: no, these are nothing like parachutes, and, no, you didn’t "do that" on your last vacation to Cabo (you went parasailing; different universe entirely).

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to show you the extreme end of this sport. Hold on to your stomach. If Doug catches this, I’m hoping he’ll give us a little explanation of the aerobatics involved. Check the comments for that.