“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mysteries of the Animal World. Can Anyone Explain This to Me?


  1. There’s a new study out from the University of Montreal, that again uncovers what we already know: women are twice as likely to fantasize about public figures as men. To abuse both Acton and Kissinger simultaneously: Power arouses, absolute power arouses absolutely. Well, for ladies at least. Men tend to like to have the power rather than date it, for reasons which should now be rather obvious.

    She may "know"

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I do believe that there was a contest a few years ago to find him a wife because he did not have the time to do it himself. I bet it'd be pretty entertaining to thumb through the contestant file.

    I'm guessing she did it for the green card. Whatever the case may be, she most certainly has the nicest set of teeth in all the U.K.

  4. C'mon 2164th, we've already been through this.

  5. There are 40 cases of cancer among people who work in the same building at NASA Glenn Research Center.

    Dozens of the employees fear that their cancer was triggered by years of working in the developmental engineering building, NewsChannel5 reported.

    The union that represents hundreds of scientists and other workers said nearly half of the 100 employees on the third floor of the building have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer in the past three to four years.

    Diagnosed with Cancer

  6. Sam, we may have been through it, but I am no yet over it.

  7. I can you this, she's a well spoken piece of flesh. When I heard an interview with the two of them, she did all the talking. Just like she was running for President herself.

    I'm betting it don't last. The marriage, that is. She'll still be talking.

  8. See how his bow tie is a little a kilter, from rubbin' her bosom?

  9. Man, he doesn't have to bend over or anything to go for them titties. Easy on the back. Sweet.

  10. According to a citizen report, Csaky is in violation of a number of longstanding policies regarding encampments, precedents, liability and rights of way, the paper said. A 48-hour eviction notice posted on his hand-cobbled gate means David's days on the unused City Light-owned lot at 3100 Eastlake Ave. East are over.

    Squirrelman has nowhere to go. Officials have approached him with a list of shelters that don't accept pets — Csaky lives with pet rat "Lucky," a ferret named "Rainbow" and an off-balance squirrel called "Tilt" — but all Squirrelman really wants is to live it out for a few more years in his handmade home, the paper said.

    "How much longer am I going to be able to climb that ladder?" he told the Post-Intelligencer. "Just leave me alone for a few years and I'll be gone anyway."

    Seattle's Squirrelman

  11. Sounds like a Soundgarden song.

  12. Sounds like that guy went nuts. :(

  13. They've just introduced a global warming tax in the county I'm in here. Just in the paper last week.

  14. Democracy in action. Immediate reaction to any perceived threat, with a new tax. I fear Whit's been on to something.

  15. The 2008 Partner of the Year Awards were given to manufacturers and retailers that successfully promote and deliver Energy Star qualified products, saving consumers money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Award winners were selected from more than 9,000 organizations that participate in the Energy Star program.

    Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $16 billion on their energy bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 27 million vehicles.

    "By producing and promoting products that have earned the Energy Star, Acuity Brands Lighting and Lithonia Lighting are educating consumers about the importance of energy efficiency," said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Air & Radiation. "Their efforts in manufacturing products that earn the Energy Star make them a leader in demonstrating that consumers can have quality products that also protect the environment."

    Partner of the Year

  16. WMD's from Iraq to Syria before the war?
    The layers keep getting peeled away, just as I said two years ago.

  17. Unfortunately for McCain, the Republican bench is a little old. The pool of Republican politicians has not been thoroughly refreshed since 1994.

    That's a long time. If McCain were young and inexperienced, this might be an asset, as the vice-presidential nominee would provide gravitas.

    But he's old. He needs vigor.

    Choice for VP

  18. Hugh Fitzgerald sticks to his line--

    "This information would vindicate President Bush now wouldn't it. The death of the Anti-War/Bush mantra."
    -- from a posting above

    Not exactly. Such information, if true, would support the wisdom of the invasion that was intended to find and seize, or destroy, whatever weapons of mass destruction were to be found, by scouring Iraq. But since everyone was given to believe that such weapons, or weapons projects, did exist, there is no shame, and should be no embarrassment, about voting to give the President the authority to use military force in Iraq.

    But this does not "vindicate" or justify what happened less than a year after the initial invasion. By the end of February 2004 Iraq had been scoured for weapons (to the satisfaction of David Kay), Saddam Hussein had been captured, his two sons had been killed, his regime's leading figures had been, in a witty game of Fifty-Two Pick-Up, captured or killed) but now there was a new goal, an ill-thought-out goal, a goal both impossible of attainment -- the transplanting of "democracy" to a country which, because it is Muslim, and therefore, filled with Believers in an alien creed that also includes a politics, and that politics in part includes the idea that the legitimacy of the ruler depends not on the will expressed by those he rules, but by the closeness with which he adheres to the will of Allah, as expressed in the Qur'an, and glossed by the Hadith and the Sira.

    Not only was this messianic idea impossible of achievement, but it was related to other ideas, including that of importing American-style economics into a region where governments are routinely viewed as the sole sources of wealth, and the way to get rich is to seize, for yourself, your family, your tribe, your group, control of the government, and then distribute, to your friends and family and tribe, a large share of the national wealth that, in any case, tends in the Muslim countries most often the result of an accident of geology.

    Furthermore, the Administration hardly understood the gulf between Shi'a and Sunni, its origins, its duration, its depth, preferring to see it as something that had recently come about because of Saddam Hussein, and with him gone, that fissure would be gone. There was no understanding of how deeply the Kurds believed they would not, could not, trust the Arabs to treat them fairly, and having enjoyed autonomy for a dozen years, they now wanted independence, and were certainly intent on regaining control of some northern cities arabized by Saddam Hussein.

    There was no understanding of what was likely to happen to the Christians, now that Saddam Hussein's iron control had disappeared. He, who had seen the Christians as a group that to him posed no threat, was content to use them, either as his trusted household staff (tasters, drivers) or in positions where, like Tariq Aziz, they could be useful in dealing with the outside world.

    There was no understanding or even recognition of the smaller groups, as the Turkomans, or the Yazidis (everyone has quickly forgotten the Muslim massacre of 450 Yazidis that took place in Iraq within the year), the Mandeans (whose ancient libraries have been destroyed by Muslims).

    But, above all, there was no understanding that the enterprise in Iraq, once the WMD had either been located or not been located, was dedicated to goals that are exactly, for Americans and other Infidels, the wrong goals. We need not to unify Iraq but to allow Iraq to become a constant source of Sunni-Shi'a tension and, ideally, open hostilities, that will soak up not American men, money, materiel, and attention, but that of the Iranians and the Saudis, and other Shi'a and Sunnis, who will find themselves sending men, money, arms, to Iraq to help co-religionists, and will also find that such hostilities will affect their calculations in countries where Shi'a numbers are sufficient to threaten local Sunnis --as in Bahrain (70% Shi'a, but with a Sunni ruler), in Dubai, in Kuwait, in Yemen, in eastery Saudi Arabia, in Lebanon, even in Pakistan, where Sunni terrorists have been attacking Shi'a for years.

    The reason that there will never be "reconciliation" in Iraq is because, in Islam, the texts and tenets tell Muslims that in their battle with Infidels, there are only two possible outcomes: that of Victor and that of Vanquished. And this lesson, or this attitude, does not suddenly disappear when there is an ethnic fissure(Arabs against non-Arab Muslims, as the Kurds or Berbers or blacks in Darfur, and resentment by those non-Arabs at Arab supremacism, for which, they may not realize, Islam is a vehicle) or a sectarian one (that between Sunni and Shi'a Arabs).

    If it is true -- and it has long been reported -- that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD that he, or the Russians, transferred quickly out to Syria for safekeeping, that helps to justify the original invasion. It does not justify what became the American policy, the American goal, months after that original invasion, and that some may feel was a naive attempt to find some other justification, because of the embarrassment of not finding WMD in Iraq, for the continued American presence.

    Posted by: Hugh at April 8, 2008 11:58 AM

  19. Dan McKenzie, an analyst for Credit Suisse, said that if Delta's board dallies much longer, some shareholders are prepared to mount an effort to replace board members with those who would more aggressively move ahead on a merger.

    He said that the window for proposing a merger should be measured in days rather than weeks.

    "We are coming up against a deadline," McKenzie said.

    Merger Talks Stepped Up

  20. Deuce, THIS might be the answer.

    Seriously, though, I remember you posted a Mauna Loa chart a couple of months, ago, and I wondered if you'd seen the new, updated version. The Global Warmeners are gonna hafta find a new scam, pretty quick, I think.

  21. Next quarter's update on that chart should be interesting.

  22. Currently, Crater Rim Drive is closed from Kilauea Military Camp to Chain of Craters Road. All of Chain of Craters Road remains closed along with Jaggar Museum.

    A message on the Volcanoes National Park website said elevated levels of volcanic gas are dangerous to everyone and prompted the closures in the interest of visitor safety.

    Big Island Civil Defense said the districts of lower Puna, South Hilo, South Kohala and North Kona remain in a code yellow, which means residents who may be sensitive to SO2 should limit their exposure.

    Alert because of SO2

  23. I stand corrected.

    "In his classic work On Aggression, Nobel Laureate Konrad Lorenz argued that man is the only species that regularly kills its own kind. This concept, which contrasted the order and restraint in the animal world with the chaotic aggressiveness of man. reflected the mood of the time: the shadow-of-the-Bomb pessimism of the '50s and early '60s. But Lorenz was wrong; since 1963, when his book was published, naturalists have identified dozens of species that kill their own, including lions, hippos, bears, wolves, hyenas, herring gulls and more than 15 types of primates other than man."

    When I used to read about sharks, they often made a big deal over the fact that sharks ate their own kind.

  24. I was going to post this earlier, but it slipped my Mind