“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."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Someone needs a swift kick in the rear

Obama Riding High On Cocky Ignorance
By THOMAS SOWELL | Posted Wednesday, June 11,

Now that Sen. Barack Obama has become the Democrats' nominee for president of the United States, to the cheers of the media at home and abroad, he has written a letter to the secretary of defense, in a tone as if he is already president, addressing one of his subordinates.

The letter ends: "I look forward to your swift response."

With wars going on in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a secretary of defense might have some other things to look after, before making a "swift response" to a political candidate.

Because of the widely publicized statistic that suicide rates among American troops have gone up, Sen. Obama says he wants the secretary of defense to tell him, swiftly:

"What changes will you make to provide our soldiers in theater with real access to mental health care?"

"What training has the Pentagon provided our medical professionals in theater to recognize who might be at risk of committing suicide?"

"What assistance are you providing families here at home to recognize the risk factors for suicide, so that they may help our service members get the assistance they need?"

"What programs has the Pentagon implemented to help reduce the stigma attached to mental health concerns so that service members are more likely to seek appropriate care?"

All this sounds very plausible, as so many other things that Sen. Obama says sound plausible.

But, like so many of those other things, it will not stand up under scrutiny.

What's been widely publicized in the media is that suicides among American troops have gone up. What's not been widely publicized is that this higher suicide rate is still not as high as the suicide rate among demographically comparable civilians.

No one needs to be reminded that suicide is a serious matter, whether among soldiers or civilians.

But the media have managed to create the impression that it is military service overseas that is the cause of suicides among American troops, when civilians of the same ages and other demographic characteristics are committing suicide at an even higher rate at home.

Moreover, this is not the first time that military service overseas has been portrayed in the media as the cause of problems that are worse in the civilian population at home.

The New York Times led the way in making homicides committed by returning military veterans a front-page story, blaming this on "combat trauma and the stress of deployment."

Yet the New York Post showed that the homicide rate among returning veterans is a fraction of the homicide rate among demographically comparable civilians.

In other words, if military veterans are not completely immune to the problems found among civilians at home, then the veterans' problems are to be blamed on military service — at least by the mainstream media.

Does Sen. Obama know how the rate of suicides or homicides among military veterans compares with the rate of suicides or homicides among their civilian counterparts? Do the facts matter to him, as compared with an opportunity to score political points?

Perhaps even more important, do the media even care whether Sen. Obama knows what he is talking about?

Or is the symbolism of "the first black president" paramount, even if that means a president with cocky ignorance at a time of national danger?

The media have been crucial to Barack Obama's whole candidacy. His only achievements of national significance in his entire career have been media achievements and rhetorical achievements.

Perhaps his greatest achievement has been running as a candidate with an image wholly incompatible with what he has actually been doing for decades. This man who is now supposedly going to "unite" us has for years worked hand in glove, and contributed both his own money and the taxpayers' money, to people who have sought to divide us in the most crude demagogic ways.

With all his expressed concern about the war in Iraq, he has not set foot in Iraq for more than two years — including the very years when progress has been made against the terrorists there.

You don't need to know the facts when you have cocky ignorance and the media behind you.

Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.


  1. It makes my teeth break to hear a civilian or never have served use the term 'in theater" or call Guantanamo, Gitmo. I can picture the pretentious fop that coined that phrase. I doubt he ever had someone else's blood in his mouth or wore as much as one stripe on his arm. "In theater", as if I needed another reason to dislike Obama.

  2. Perhaps Obama wants to decide if Mr Gates should be kept on as Sec Def, after 20 Jan 09.

    If it's going to all Obama, all the time ...

    An Obama/Webb Ticket Could Take Race Talk to New Places
    By Jonathan Tilove

    As Barack Obama ponders a running mate, no choice would be as bracing and daring as Virginia Sen. Jim Webb -- not least because of his views on race.

    Webb is a gifted writer and intellectual pugilist, a self-styled tribune of redneck (he uses the term) resentment. With the 2004 publication of his book, "Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America,'' he became a one-man anti-defamation squad for the descendants, in blood and culture, of the white settlers of Appalachia and the South. He is a fierce critic of America's growing economic inequality, who two years ago switched parties to win his Senate seat.

    He is also, of late, a man who believes Obama has the potential to heal the historic rift between the Scots-Irish and African-Americans -- Webb calls them "tortured siblings'' -- and "remake American politics.''

    Think Barack Delano Obama.

    In his bid to become America's first black president, the Illinois senator has struggled, with mixed success, to mute racial controversy. For better or worse, choosing Webb might take the national conversation on race to places it's never been before -- into the heart of whiteness.

    It's a tough call. Any race talk can roil the waters, and Webb's writings are a gale of provocative ideas. Yet there is something buddy-movie tantalizing about the man from the "Audacity of Hope'' teaming up with this equally audacious great white hope.

    It could be heard in the chants of "VP, VP,'' at a massive rally in Virginia June 5, where Webb stood by Obama's side. "If you're in a fight -- and we're going to be in a fight -- you want Jim Webb to have your back,'' Obama declared.

  3. if I needed another reason to dislike Obama.

    Thu Jun 12, 06:46:00 AM EDT

    The problem, dear host, is that you have insufficient reason to like McCain.

    As shall be explained to you here for the twentieth time. Before sun up in Arizona.

  4. Sun's up, already, darlin'

    We're burnin' daylight, here

  5. The first two pieces I looked at both use the same FDR reference, in regards Obama.
    On time and target.

    While John tells US that he intends to occuppy Iraq, and that it doesn't matter, to US.

    Will the Election Be All About Obama?
    By Steven Stark

    One odd thing is already clear about the fall campaign: in it, one of the two major candidates, John McCain, is going to play only a minor role.

    Sure, he'll occasionally get the spotlight, and there are things he can do to improve his chances marginally. But in the end, this election is about Barack Obama. The country wants a significant change in direction and Obama and the Democrats are the only ones who can credibly promise to deliver it. Thus, the results in November are going to come down to one question: can a significant portion of the electorate abide Barack Obama as its next president?

    Right now, it's an open question. And for Obama to get the answer he wants, he's going to have to be another Ronald Reagan or another Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

  6. ... can a significant portion of the electorate abide Barack Obama as its next president?

  7. Getting to Know Jim Webb
    Thursday, Jun. 12, 2008

    Webb is a natural-born provocateur and a human harbinger. His political journey predicted the switch of working-class white people to the Republicans 30 years ago, and in 2006 he became the first prominent Republican—he served as Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan—to switch to the Democrats and run for high office, and win. He is also a terrific writer, of both fiction and fact. His preceding nonfiction book, about his Scots-Irish ancestors, was called Born Fighting, and I imagine if there's a sequel to A Time to Fight, it will be called The Fight Goes On, followed by a memoir, Retired but Still Pugnacious. Amid this nonstop bellicosity, there lurks a subtle and acute, if perpetually impolitic, politician. Since his election to the Senate, Webb has done two things I didn't think possible. In 2007 he gave an official response to the State of the Union speech that was not only worth watching but also more interesting than President Bush's turgid offering. And now he has written a policy book that is actually worth reading, an unprecedented feat for a sitting politician.

    Webb takes some politically risky turns in "A Time to Fight", especially his chapter on the foolishness of mandatory drug-sentencing laws.

  8. It saddens me immensely that I won't be around for your piercingly insightful commentary today.

    The Wives' Club beckons.

  9. Disliking and not liking: The last time I faced this dilemma was with Gerry Ford and Jimmy Carter. I despised Carter and was very underwhelmed with Ford. I voted for neither.

  10. Did I say piercingly insightful?

    My bad.

    I meant repetitiously ignorant, opportunistically self-serving and bat-shit paranoid.

  11. Did Carter ever write to thank you?

    Christmas card, maybe?

  12. I voted for another Mac, a Roger MacBride became the first U.S. Presidential candidate to pilot his own plane, a DC3 based at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport in Virginia. His plane was known as the "No Force One."

    I also confess to a warm spot for George McGovern, a WWII B-24 pilot who told a chanting sign Nixon supporter to "kiss my ass". That was straight talk.

  13. You need not worry. I will not repeat the errors of my youth.

  14. Have you ever flown on a gooney bird?

  15. So my score is not that good with pilots for president. Bush twice et al.

  16. Don't be too hard on Barry for using the term 'Gitmo'. He's just trying to gitmo credibility as our next commander-in-chief. Kinda like telling AIPAC that he supports an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in order to gitmo credibiltity wrt foreign policy.

    As for Webb as his VP, I'll have to ask Mrs. Stoutfellow how that will affect her liberal democratic vote. Right now she says she is being forced to vote Republican because she can't stand Barry. She's mad because he trumped Hillary, thereby eliminating the only chance in her life time to vote for a woman for the presidency.

  17. Barry is a fraud...

    That being said, he could win, after all our great nation does support and reward al sharpton, jessie jackson, jessie jackson jr, madonna, sports celeb's with millions of dollars, snoop doggy dog, rev wright & more...

    The more I learn about barry, from how he strong armed his way on to the local chicago scene to lately his every more he is exactly as I see him...

    a shark in a nice suit...

    For all those that view barry as the new coming of the messiah, they will in the end be let down and will be angry...

    I have seen it time and time again...

    false messiahs and the stupid fools who bow to them...

    as a jew I KNOW about false messiahs, there have been THOUSANDS of them...

    In the end the test is simple for those with a mind to facts...

    the REAL messiah is HEAL the WORLD

    Raise all the DEAD

    Stop all war & sickness...

    this is the real test, anyone ANYONE who did not do this AINT THE PROMISED MESSIAH PERIOD

    Now there have been lot's of people who TALK a great game...

    But TALKING and Making Sermons or speeches does not a messiah make...

    there is a true test and NO ONE has ever passed it...

    (unless you change the rules)

    So Barry what will your followers do when they look up at you on your throne and war continues? Sickness thrives, starvation is rampant?

    Sorry folks but believing in false messiahs gets you no where...

    But the pattern has been set...

    so let's watch as 30-40% of america drive off the cliff...

  18. "The New York Times led the way in making homicides committed by returning military veterans a front-page story, blaming this on "combat trauma and the stress of deployment."

    Yet the New York Post showed that the homicide rate among returning veterans is a fraction of the homicide rate among demographically comparable civilians."

    I just cant understand this sadomasochism. Why is ANYONE still reading the New York Times?

  19. The dems sabotage Trish's work in Colombia---

    Vice President Dick Cheney Wednesday slammed Democrats in Congress and running for president for opposing free trade agreements and leading the country down a "very destructive path" to protectionism.
    In a speech before the US Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Cheney said Democratic lawmakers, by refusing to bring the Colombian free trade agreement to a vote, were dealing a "tremendous setback" to a close US ally and causing "severe damage to our nation's credibility in the region."

    Led by Democrats, the House of Representatives in April delayed a vote on the trade pact in a snub to the White House that analysts said may have effectively mothballed the deal until after the November presidential and congressional elections.

  20. I don't want a messiah that raises all the dead.

  21. I will be sure not to use "Gitmo" or "in theater". I did not know it was such an egregious thing to do, but now that I do, I will conduct myself accordingly.

    I just heard a recent dennis miller interview with the former LA Prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi. The moonbat has now written a book claiming "iron-clad evidence that Bush lied" and deserves the death penalty for the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis and 4000+ US soldiers.

    I have said before and I will say it again. It won't surprise me if we have pogroms in this country. There is a significant portion of the left which reminds of the madness of the French Revolution.

  22. Whit

    heads will roll, heads will roll...

  23. Colonel Gaddafi gives Obama a kick in the rear--

    The issue of race could make Mr Obama's behaviour "more white than white people", Col Gaddafi suggested, rather than acting in solidarity with African and Arab nations.

    The Colonel Attacks Obama


  24. Bob, "I don't want a Messiah that raises all the dead."

    Hell, no; a couple of them little f*ckers might be packing a grudge. :)

  25. Bugliosi,s "Helter Skelter" was a well done book.

    Yep, self serving, I admittedly do not serve the collective. Find most that claim to are liars, they are even more self-serving than most capitialists. Anyone that has spent a career serving the collective, has served themselves, first and foremost.

    Mr McCain is unfit to be President, from my personal experience with him. He is okay with Federal Agencies operating in open disregard of Federal law. He supported the Agencies while they knowingly violated the law.

    Had to raise and spend $50,000 to allow a Federal Judge the opportunity to rule on the matter.
    McCain and the Forest Service lost.

    Happy days.

    His lack of verasity, with regards Border Security, just exemplifies his character. His actions to protect his wife from criminal prosecution, while promoting mandatory sentencing laws for drug offenders, exemplifies his double standard elitism.

    Obama, he is a joke without a resume, a true disaster in the making for the Democrats and perhaps the country, but McCain, he is a well known entity, there is no doubt that he is not qualified for the job.

    Obama may raise to the occassion, or not.
    McCain is a lead wieght.

  26. I personally like 'in theater' a little better than 'in country' though best is 'in the war zone' or 'in Iraq' or where ever the war is taking place, like 'in Europe'. I also dislike the way the British are always saying he or she was sent 'to hospital' when really we all know they were sent to the hospital. And I hate it when the same British say something is 'key' when they should be saying 'the important thing is' as in 'intelligence gathering is very important for the Army', or some such.

  27. "..Obama may raise to the occassion.."

    I can't believe you just wrote that.

  28. In short, we're focked, I agree.

  29. Here's what I read--

    Obama, he is a joke without a resume, a true disaster in the making for the Democrats and perhaps the country

    I agree. Except I'd drop the 'perhaps'.

  30. It's an unknowable, mat.

    How anyone will behave in that job.

    What the tests will be.

    Obama's resume is so thin that no one can know, for sure, just how he'll react.

    Then there is the Congress, which is a co-equal branch of the Government. Elected to represent the people.

    If the Dems gain the White House and the Congress, well who knows what they'll do, really.

    Or what the unintended consequences of their actions will be. The Republicans have certainly screwed the pooch, one hopes unitentionally.

  31. Mat and I have broken new theological ground in coming out against raising all the dead.

  32. If the Dems gain the White House and the Congress, well who knows what they'll do, really.

    My friends, we'll at least know that they won't know what the hell they are doing.

    Didn't John Edwards promise to raise the dead, when he was campaigning? I recall he came at least very close to it. And Obama has promised to bend the very seas to his will. Which is the more difficult?

  33. "It's an unknowable, mat."

    Not at all.

  34. Obama is untested and cannot be trusted. Because he is untested, betting he will rise to the occasion is like asking for an Ace when 3 are already showing in a single deck card game. I cast my lot with least I know what I will get.

  35. Kanab City Council To Denude Ordinance, Allow Bikinis

    Stripping away layers of law, the council votes to ok de nudes.

  36. I already know what Obama will do. He'll raise taxes, give citizenship to the illegals, harm the military, impose insane enviro regs, go to Africa, and make the mess in the middle east even worse. And he'll put community organizers on the court, and go for gun control as much as he can. He'll also appoint a gazillion incompetents to high posts. That's enough for me. Maybe even talk up reparations.

  37. But have no fear, as we know the Jews will bump off Obama like they did JFK.

    Jews To Kill Obama, Says Gaddafi

    They always come through in the pinch.

  38. I personally believe that all the dead shall remain dead...

    thus I aint WAITING for jack shit...

  39. Reading Ha'aretz is evil. By your own definition, Bob. :)

  40. Mat, what is the best Israeli newspaper to read? I read Ha'aretz once in a while because I don't know any others.

  41. Speaking of Guantanamo, the folks there now have constitutional rights, thanks to the US Supreme Court. An alien terrorist can demand a lawyer, and get one, with due process, and all the appeals, the whole bag of tricks.

    Not content with running the schools, the forest service, commerce and on and on, you name it, the court now makes the rules of war. And with Obama it will get worse.

  42. If we had any sense at all, we would have never taken any prisoner. The enemy doesn't. You get captured, you die. Had we used tactical nukes at Tora Bora and the training camps, their would have been no act two.

    Now we will have to repeat the process again sometimes in the future.

  43. Deuce,

    What's the local currency in Afghanistan? I would have hired an army of 100 local assassins and set them to work havoc on the Jihadi enemy and his supporters.

  44. That is pretty much what we did, mat.

    They were called the "Northern Alliance".

    I think that at Tora Bora we used the local militiamen, of dubious loyalty, not the Northern Alliance fellows. There was a "Cease Fire" and then Osama was gone.

    We chose not to insert a Ranger Bn as a blocking force, 'tween the mountain and Pakistan.
    General Franks made that decision, it's reported.

    Meanwhile opium production expands

  45. These days, dirty money makes the world go round, says Misha Glenny, an award-winning former BBC World correspondent, in his new book. Glenny spent three years travelling across five continents investigating international crime like a “journalistic Indiana Jones”, as Jonathan Maitland, who deems this “the most important non-fiction book of the year so far”, puts it in The Mail on Sunday.


    He concludes that such is the extent and variety of the shadow economy that it may now be worth as much as 20% of the world’s GDP. The statistics are startling.
    Fake goods are worth up to £250bn a year;
    China is behind 60% of the market in stolen intellectual property;
    57% of Afghanistan’s GDP stems from opium trading;
    more than 5% of British Columbia’s GDP is accounted for by marijuana cultivation and selling, with more workers involved than in the traditional industries of logging, mining, and oil and gas combined.

    Nigerian gangsters steal 150,000-250,000 barrels of oil every day. In 2005 alone, citizens in 38 industrialised countries admitted to losing more than $3bn on one of the most notorious fraud schemes of them all, the Nigerian 419 scam.


    How to stem the tide? This “racy… and highly entertaining book” makes a compelling case for legalising drugs, which comprise 70% of organised criminal activity, notes Conor O’ Clery in The Irish Times; prohibition has been a boon for crooks. More effective regulations, especially of the movement of money, are also crucial.

    It’s hard to be confident that global crime will be tackled effectively, said Max Hastings in The Sunday Times. “Too many people, including rulers of China, Russia and lesser nations, are gaining too much” from it to make reform seem “credible”.

    McMafia: Crime Without Frontiers is published by Bodley Head.

  46. To bad Barr's Convention acceptance video was so lame.

    Seems to need a little marketing help, some better packaging.

    But there is the core of the third party, if there was to be one.

  47. Beck and Barr pretty much on the same page. Beck/Barr ticket.

  48. "That is pretty much what we did, mat."

    I'm thinking on much smaller scale than the Northern Alliance. And I'm not even thinking of military operations, but assassinations on a scale and rhythum so as to keep OBL and his lieutenants engaged.

  49. Sure, but I doubt we're doing that.

  50. Miniature Jerseys
    Did one of you guys link this?
    Caint believe you never had a cow, GrainBoy.
    These beauties have a personality to match, if they are as sweet as the full sized. (says they are)
    I'd start a Maui mini-dairy if it weren't for the f...... govt.
    Neighbor milked about 5 full sized Jersey's.
    They and some heifers and a giant Castrati would mosey down the road and graze @ our place.
    Jersey milk made lots of butter.
    We made it by shaking the milk in a quart jar!
    Miniature Jersey Cows from our herd produce on average aprox. 23 lbs per milking or aprox. 12 quarts twice per day.

  51. You'd have to give up blogging, Beachboy. But your hands, fingers, arms would be like iron. Or, you'd have to get a milking machine.

  52. This has gotta mean the War is Over!

    Cat dresses up in a "Pink" Burqa, and, not only fails as a suicide bomber, He's shot dead by "British" Soldiers.

    72 Virgins?! I don't think so, 'hamed. You dig "Astro-glide" bubba?

  53. We've kept some hobby steers around my folks place, from time to time. Gramps likes to play cowboy, moving them about.

    Less hassle for him than a small herd of horses.

    As to goats
    This paper presents a brief overview of market opportunities for those interested in the meat goat industry. Overall, the opportunities for expanding and developing this market are limited. It is unlikely that goat meat will become as widely accepted by U.S. consumers as chicken or beef.
    Nonetheless there is one major opportunity. One of the major demand drivers of the food system is ethnicity. The goat industry can appeal to this demand driver in one of two ways, marketing goat meat to Hispanics, especially those from Central America and Caribbean countries. The other major group to appeal to is Muslims. In order to appeal to Muslims, goat meat must be slaughtered and processed in accordance to Muslim dietary guidelines (Halal). Given the large Muslim population in Southeastern Michigan and Northwestern Ohio, marketing goat to this group of consumers probably maximizes the probability of being successful. Another consideration of marketing goat meat is the fact that the demand for goat meat is highest around Muslim holidays. A farmer, cooperative or other goat meat marketer needs to be able to supply sufficient numbers of animals when demand is at its peak.
    The U.S. is a net importer of goat products, primarily from Australia and New Zealand.

    The Strategic Marketing Institute
    Working Paper

    Market Opportunities for Meat Goats

    William A. Knudson

  54. Llamas. Around here you'll see once in a while a small group of These

  55. That'd be fun raisin goats for Muzzies.

    Wonder which smells worse?

    Could have a little raisin goat heaven in the back shed for those that just don't have the balls to don a burqa for them raisins in the sky.

  56. Larsen had a commercial goat cheese operation!
    Sold it to a South American, as I recall.

  57. Knock Big John and you get Trish's goat.
    Gotta go.

  58. Bet he's happy about not going into the jet charter business

  59. "If we had any sense at all, we would have never..."

    ...gone to Iraq, in which case Trish would have been spared the solemn assurances of any number of bright fucking lights at Belmont that South Asia is simply insignificant. (As a practical matter, this turned out to be quite true, but that's a whole 'nuther story.)

    Offers. We get offers, mat. But they require money upfront. No executive order forthcoming.

    Our best hope there is...the dreaded McCain, who is also the only one standing between us and South American irrelevance. Darth Cheney occasionally knows what he's talking about. And we might take a moment to listen, as he's about to be sucked down the manhole of ignominy. Never to be heard from again.

  60. Bobal, there's a Llama right across the street. Used to be two, but I guess one of 'em keeled over from eating too much of the nice grass that the school kids feed 'em standing on the fence line.

  61. Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:59pm BST

    By Ari Rabinovitch

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Energy company BrightSource Energy Inc said it will open a solar "power tower" in Israel this week to test new technology it will use when building power plants next year in California.

    California utility PG&E Corp signed contracts with BrightSource in April to buy up to 900 megawatts of solar thermal power in the next few years, enough to power about 630,000 homes.

    The move is part of a PG&E push to comply with California's requirement that at least 20 percent of its electricity supplies come from renewable energy by 2010.

    A global race is on to find energy alternatives to replace fossil fuels, and entrepreneurs are scrambling for a slice of a clean energy market that analysts estimate was worth nearly $150 billion last year.

    BrightSource's development centre, with its 60 meter-high (60 foot) tower and some 1,200 mirrors, sits on about 12,000 square meters (three acres) of Israel's southern Negev Desert, chairman Arnold Goldman said.

    BrightSource did not release financial details of the complex, but said its systems are more cost-efficient than other solar power plants.

    The new power tower, which is capable of generating 1.5 megawatts, will not produce electricity for public use, but rather test the technologies that will power future plants, including a 100 megawatt plant in California's Mojave Desert scheduled to be completed by 2011, Kroizer said.

    The 100 megawatt plant will be about 50 times larger that the Negev centre.

    BrightSource CEO John Woolard said competitors, like Spanish building and energy group Acciona, were still using similar technologies to those used by BrightSource 20 years ago.

    "The new power tower based technology, we don't see any serious competition, yet, in that area," Woolard told a news conference in Jerusalem.


    Solar power towers, which have been used for decades, use mirrors to reflect and intensify sunlight, much like using a magnifying glass to start a fire. Traditionally, the system contains rows of large, curved mirrors, sometimes reaching 100 meters in length.

    The sunlight is aimed at a boiler on top of the tower and is hot enough to boil the water into steam that passes through turbines and produces electricity.

    The new power tower is surrounded by a system of smaller, flat mirrors, each with an enhanced guidance system to track and reflect the sun more effectively than the trough-like systems, Goldman said.

    "It takes huge amounts of electronics and controls and gears. The electronics industry has driven those costs down so much that you can do that today," Goldman said. It also requires about a third of the steel and cement, he said.

    BrightSource's mirrors reflect about 50 percent of the sunlight, while standard systems reflect 35-40 percent, Goldman said. As a result, the temperature and pressure in the boiler is higher and energy is produced more effectively.

    "Historic troughs can put the equivalent of about 20 suns on the tower. We have a maximum of 600 suns," Goldman said.

    Woolard also said the new power tower works at half the cost of photo-voltaic solar panel plants because it produces energy about twice as many hours in a year.

  62. "Our best hope there is...the dreaded McCain..."

    Chances of McCain approving anything so "icky" - slim.

  63. Speaking of offers, Trish,

    Solar power plant builder BrightSource Energy announced that it had received $115 million in funding from a variety of companies including Chevron.

    It's time to change the name of the game.

  64. It is a sad day indeed when the relevance of the United States, in Latin America, is predicated on the election of one man.

    It means that the current US relevance in the region is hollow.

    As duce has reported on, first hand, the Chinese and Iranians are making inroads in the Americas. More the Chinese than Iranians, but they are in Hugoland.

    And this relevance is dependent upon Colombia, because all the other SA countries in the Gran Colombian arc have already turned.

  65. Afghanistan's significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea.


    Let them make those inroads. It's a losing game.

  66. Do you think it is a 60 meter tower, or a 60 foot tower, mat?

    60 meters makes more sense, to me.

    But all the electricity in the world will not move the 300 million cars already operating in the US.

    The future there is ethanol, an E30 blend, mandated everywhere.

  67. It's a 1.5% miniature. 60 ft sounds right.

  68. "But all the electricity in the world will not move the 300 million cars already operating in the US."

    And E30 ethanol will?

  69. Costs for solar thermal may fall as low as 3.5 cents a kilowatt-hour by 2020, according to a report commissioned by the US Energy Department.

  70. Cut out the need Middle Eastern imports, Hugo's, too.

  71. There would be a long transition time, to demolish the existing fleet. The current demo rate is around 4$ annually.

    The economic loss would be to much, write off 300 million vehicles, heavy trucks included.

    While a sweet sorghum biofuel could supplement the imports in a transition period.

  72. I've heard that website is filled with disinformation.

  73. "Boehme chaos lies at the root of nature, chaos, i.e. freedom, the Ungrund, will, an irrational principle. In the Divinity itself there is a groundless will, i.e. an irrational principle. Darkness and freedom for Boehme are always correlative and conjoined. God Himself is also freedom and freedom is at the beginning of all things"

    In the beginning God created heaven and earth. The earth was of chaos and darkness on the face of the deep and God's spirit hovered on the face of the water. And God said, 'there be light,' and there was light. God saw the light as good, and God divided between light and the darkness.

  74. I'm hearing on the radio that putting the National Guard (about 6,000) on the border for the last year has resulted in about a 40% decrease in border crossing. I believe the report said it was from the NYTimes. The meaning is simple. We can control the border if we wish to do so. Put 20,000 Guardsmen down there, you'd cut it off.

  75. "...gone to Iraq, in which case Trish would have been spared the solemn assurances of any number of bright fucking lights at Belmont that South Asia is simply insignificant. (As a practical matter, this turned out to be quite true, but that's a whole 'nuther story.)"

    ...I think hearing more of the story would be useful.

  76. I keep thinking about doing a post on the Supreme Court decision but it simply makes me sick.

  77. It was disturbing that four justices dissented from this eminently reasonable decision. The lead dissent, by Chief Justice John Roberts, dismisses habeas as “most fundamentally a procedural right.”

    Chief Justice Roberts thinks the detainees receive such “generous” protections at their hearings that the majority should not have worried about whether they had habeas rights.

    There is an enormous gulf between the substance and tone of the majority opinion, with its rich appreciation of the liberties that the founders wrote into the Constitution, and the what-is-all-the-fuss-about dissent. It is sobering to think that habeas hangs by a single vote in the Supreme Court of the United States — a reminder that the composition of the court could depend on the outcome of this year’s presidential election.

    Justice 5, Brutality 4

  78. Boehme was a Lutheran more or less, more less. He had a mystical moment with a pewter dish, among other moments. He was a shoemaker in Gorlitz(sp). He said he learned more then than if he had spent years at the university. He died hearing the angels singing. The fiery wrath of God gives way to light. He's kind of a hard fellow to read, and I really don't know all that much about him.

    "In one quater of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together in a university....I saw and knew the Being of Beings, the Byss and the Abyss, the eternal generation of the Trinity, the origin and descent of the world, and of all creatures through divine wisdom."
    Boehme's famous starting point is what he calls the Ungrund. This is generally understood as a word for God as pure will, without presupposition, without goal or motive, pure divine will beyond all description. And this purity of will is no quality, nor is there a will to do, or a will to will; it is the absence of quality. It is not pure because it contains no impurity, for it contains nothing, nor is the Ungrund a container. This is God as "groundless," unrelated, absolutely nowhere, the abyss, nothingness, timeless, Being before Creation, before Time--therefore, not being at all: nothing. This Ungrund is nothing because it is like nothing, is impacted by nothing, refers to nothing, is conrasted to nothing, reflectioless because there is nothing to reflect in. It is no thing. Its existence at all is only potential; the Ungrund is actually nothing. To speak of Ungrund is to say nothing. This God does not exist; there is no God where He is. You cannot pray to the Ungrund, for there is nothing to pray to, nor anyone to pray, neither is there prayer. Nor is there there. And the Ungrund is only a word that means nothing but the source of everything.

    Welcome to the worlds of Jacob Boehme.

    from "Gnostic Philosophy" Tobias Churton

  79. It makes me sick too. On the other hand, since it's now the law, I'm trying to see some good in it. It applies, I think, basically to those people at Guantanamo. How much further it goes, I don't know for sure. I'll say this. They've been there 6 years. Something should be done. They weren't tried in a military court yet, I quess? If you do a post on it, it will force us to look into it further.

  80. The two contrary worlds of Boehme's theosophy arise from what Desiree Hirst declares to be "the most startling doctrine Boehme developed," that of the Eternal Nature. Evil does not enter the world through Adam's sin, but was there from the beginning in potentia.

    Eternal Nature exists, according to Boehme, before creation; it arises from the Abyss, the Ungrund, by God's mysterious will to know Himself. The Eternal Nature is expressed in three principles. The first two principles are defined as "with the stern Fire-world, according to the Father's Property, and according to the Light and Love world is the Sonnes Property; and yet it is, but One only substance undivided, but One God; as Fire and Light is One."

    For God to know himself, he required the manifestation of opposites (Father/Fire and Son/ Light). Once these opposite principles are manifest, their contrarium produces a reaction, a flash like a spark from force of friction, and a third is produced, the Outbirth, with a momntum of its own.

    Be it noted, however, that "Light and Darkness are in One another. We could not know what the unmanifest nature of light and dark would be, since we would first need to posit the duality. In their manifestation, God "sees" what we cannot, for we are creatures of the duality; at least, from thence we derive our senses.

    Gnostic Philosophy

  81. Grund must be something then.

  82. The image of a Big Bang, currently favored by some scientists as a good working theory for the origin of the universe, would not be entirely alien to this visualization--the archetypal spark of ignition is there. It should also be observed that there is no Manichaean-type division here between absolute principles of good and evil at the source. The whole is an interaction, in the first phase, of different kinds of dynamic good. The absolute essence of that good is not available to ratiocination, however, because, we may assume, rationality is a feature of that which is created, the Outbirth.


  83. Ungrund becomes what it is not yet. Potential becomes actual. Ungrund becomes grund, my man.

  84. ...I think hearing more of the story would be useful.

    Fri Jun 13, 12:43:00 AM EDT

    Useful in what way?

  85. Boehme's system, as his disciple Abraham von Frankenberg observed, was very close in principle to that of the Velentinian Gnostics as expressed by Irenaeus in his Adversus haereses (c.A.D. 180). Slightly closer to home is the summary of Boehme's essential philosophy made by Edward Taylor in his Jacob Boehmen's Theosophick Philosophy Unfolded(1691).:

    Principle 1. The Spring or Fountain of Darkness

    Principle 2. The Vertue(or Power) of Light

    Principle 3. The Outbirth(generated) out of the Darkness by the Power of Light.

    Represented by Similitudes, viz: (here Taylor shows how Boehme's system works from the point of view of the redeemed man)

    1. Man's Soul, giving Reason and Thoughts, signifieth the Father

    2. The Light showing the Power of the Soul and how to direct it, representeth the Son.

    3. The Mind resulting from this Light, and governing the Body, resembleth the Holy Spirit.

    1. The Darkness in us, which longeth after the Light, is the First Principle.

    2. The Vertue of the Light, whereby we see Intellectually, is the second Principle.

    3. The longing Power precedeth from the Mind, and that attracteth or impregnateth itself, whence groweth the Material Body, is the Third Principle.


    "We are hyperdimensional beings of some sort, and we cast a shadow into materiality, and that shadow is our body."