“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."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 Christmas Card for Investors

Hattip: Telegraph


  1. Change the dates a little, and I think you will have a graph of Obama's future popularity.

  2. Blago Wishes You A Merry Christmas

    And quotes Kipling too. This video reminds me of a similar scene in an old "Miami Vice" episode, but can't recall which one.

    Give the s.o.b. a fair trial, then find him guilty.

  3. Obama is aready at 73% appoval, bob, how much higher until he peaks, then drpos back to 75%, as the graph indicates?

    No, I think it'll be a generally downward path for the soon to be President, not much upside left to create a bell curve with.

  4. Trish should like this:
    Math and Magic A couple of interesting posts at Strategy Page show how information technology has helped turn the tide in Iraq, and how it may do the same in Afghanistan — if we have the patience.

    In Iraq, video monitoring and mathematical pattern analysis have been very helpful in the largely successful struggle against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Pictures of frequently traveled sites are examined regularly by both computer software and live soldiers, and if either one sees anything out of the ordinary, they can call in the bomb squad (EOD — Explosive Ordnance Disposal) to clear the way before sending out a convoy. This system has led to the death of over 3,000 terrorists caught in the act of setting up roadside bombs, or lying in wait to set them off and attack their victims with gunfire. Hundreds more terrorists were captured, and many thousands of roadside bombs were avoided or destroyed before they could go off.
    And there’s more.

    Analysts collect all sorts of data from the field and crunch the numbers to predict, with a high degree of accuracy, which routes are most likely to be under attack on a given day. Personnel can then be extra vigilant and take added precautions. This is the same sort of mathematics used by Wall Street “quants” to find financial patterns that they can exploit; marketers use it to decide which catalogs to stuff your mailbox with. However important those applications may be, it’s good to know that it also saves lives.

    Meanwhile, in view of the recent news from Afghanistan, the headline
    Two More Years of Magic Will Do It
    at first seems sarcastic, but it’s quite serious — and clear-eyed but hopeful. The article says that while Afghanistan will never become as tranquil as a Connecticut suburb, the Taliban is vulnerable to a war of attrition, because the good guys’ firepower is so vastly superior:

    [The Taliban] can still entice poor, but adventurous, country boys to come along and raise some hell. And usually get killed by smart bombs the star struck kids cannot comprehend. Meanwhile, more and more of the tribes are getting a clue and making peace with the central government. . . .The foreign generals believe it will take another year or two of smart bomb magic to kill enough thrill seeking tribesmen, to get all the tribes on board.

    The math is simple; the foreign troops can kill Afghans much better than the other way around.

    Even the most pro-Taliban tribes eventually come to realize that, and live with it. The country will not be peaceful at that point. There will still be the drug gangs and bandits (groups of armed tribesmen out of steal or settle some feud). But that's been going on for thousands of years, and won't change until the national police get themselves pulled together. That will take another generation or two. . . .

    The Taliban continue to get slaughtered whenever they mass..

  5. OFF TOPIC...

    All I want for Hanukkah is a a bomb shelter

    Oh right, We're Jews, Get used to it...

    It's the Arabs RIGHT to kill us...

    Happy Holiday Seasons to all...

    All i wish is for the Israelis is to SHOOT back....

  6. Today is the shortest day of the year. In my part of the country, sunset is at 5:41. Winter begins.

  7. Yay! Is it spring, yet?

    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year to everyone.

    You all are great.

  8. Bobal: WiO, that Colchicine for gout sounds kinda scary. I've used Naproxem Sodium to some results, but don't use aspirin, that makes it worse. Indomethicin was prescribed for me, and worked like a wonder drug. However, I always had to get to a doctor. Teresita recommended pure black cherry juice, and it works for me, though seems to take a day or two to kick in.

    Cherry juice works most times. I have an emergency stash of Indomethicin, and I'm on Colchicine long term, but I only take half what the doctor prescribes. I spent a lot of money on co-pays and lab work and x-rays just to find out what I already knew, that it is my high blood pressure medicine causing my gout. Except that my BP medicine keeps me at 112 over 80, instead of 195 over 115. So I can choose pain or long life.

  9. Another winter storm is passing through bringing wind and cold rain. Tomorrow will be 20 degrees colder, topping out at about 53 degrees.

    The coldest winter in thirty years...fitting for the economic times. We're all weathering our own storms. This Madoff business has wiped out a lot of people and the charities they generously supported. There's a lesson there for those who engage in class envy.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Cherry juice works most times. I have an emergency stash of Indomethicin, and I'm on Colchicine long term, but I only take half what the doctor prescribes.

    taking small amounts of Colchicine was what i was on fo a while and worked much better than alopurinal... As for Indomethicin, very good and yes i need to re=up my stash, however the new MD i went to after all sorts of blood worked said to stop all daily meds and just when i feel the tingle in the leg or stiffness in the toe, knock it down with advil (Indomethicin is a much stronger anti-inflam)

    Natural methods are good to keep uric acid down, my issue aint making to much uric acid, but getting rid of it...

    so the MD told me fight the inflamation and that will relieve 98% of the issue...

    ADVIL is my 1st line of defense now... Haven had a major attack in 2 years, a couple of bothersome "dead leg" days but NOTHING like i used to get...

    gout sucks...

  12. Better Stronger Faster

  13. USA Today - Updated 9/27/2007
    19,000 insurgents killed in Iraq since '03

    More than 19,000 militants have been killed in fighting with coalition forces since the insurgency began more than four years ago, according to military statistics released for the first time.
    The statistics show that 4,882 militants were killed in clashes with coalition forces this year, a 25% increase over all of last year.

    So, doug, at 3,000 enemy KIA, that'd be 15% of those killed through 22Sep07. It is reported at Terrorist Death Watch that 1,152 have died since 9/22/2007. In other words half of all Terrorist/Insurgents KIA in the last 24 months are accounted for by that program.

    6,000 enemy KIA in the last two years, wonder how many were not Iraqis?

    We have spent a trillion dollars and killed 21,000 bad guys, mostly Iraqis, not international terrorists. Still, it works out to $47.6 million per enemy KIA.

  14. Arizona Solar Power Project, Calculations

  15. Still, it works out to $47.6 million per enemy KIA.

    Much cheaper to go with solar.

  16. dRat,

    Stick a Barrett .50 Cal on a UAV and you bring down the cost to $4 per jihadi head.

  17. Merry XMAS and Happy Hanukkah to you MLD and the rest of you as well.

  18. Interesting, Doug. I'd post it on the next Iraq or Afghanistan thread at Wretchard's. Not everyone over there is a nahncee or a whiskey and it may draw some insightful comments from others intimately acquainted, which are always the best comments. (Old Blue comes immediately to mind.)

    "Clear-eyed but hopeful," a phrase I would have largely scoffed at not long ago - five consecutive years in DC is, after all, like half a lifetime of perpetual twilight - is all that really interests me at this point. I rarely appreciated until recently that the man I married has made his way on those two virtues. And an (almost) inexhaustible fund of good humor. (Often useless attributes at the Mothership, which is why Sport and so many others were always tying bedsheets together and planning their next escape to Hairy Asscrack HQ.)

    I thought he was getting by on his looks. (Just kidding, Sport.)

    In any event, he's looking forward to this gig and the particular folks he'll be back with -- so I'm inclined to a favorable disposition. And have no. hard. feelings. toward the individual responsible. (You know who you are. Enjoy that job while you have it.)

  19. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas and Holidays to everyone.

    Still, it works out to $47.6 million per enemy KIA.

    Much cheaper to go with solar.

    Nuclear would be cheaper yet.

  20. Jim Bob fathers and Michelle delivers the 18th Dugger and there will be more on the conveyor belt.

    One must admit, they all look healthy.

    That was an interesting article Doug, maybe things will have a better outcome than expected.

  21. Albert Einstein once said: "There are two ways of looking at the world: Either you see nothing as a miracle or you see everything as a miracle."

    Chanukah reminds us that Judaism sees everything as a miracle. But Hellenism saw nothing as a miracle. To the Greeks, a miracle was an absurdity. To them, only what was reasonable, logical, and rational could be real. Miracles were illogical and, therefore, not possible.

    The Greeks could never see the light of Chanukah, the light of miracles, because they only believed in the light of logic and reason.

    And yet, they prayed to stone and wooden figures believed to bestow good fortune. So what gives?

    Merry Xmas, everyone. I hope no one here takes this nonsense too seriously.

  22. Yes, it is a minor holiday in Judaism.


    Freedom because Hellenism, the Greek lifestyle, was being adopted by many Jews who were willing to give up Judaism and our way of life. The Maccabees weren't going to take it and the ensuing battles (over several years, ending in 165 BCE) were fought over the idea of freedom for the Jews to celebrate our own culture, customs and holidays.


    The Maccabees would be so bummed.

    Irony of Hanukkah

  23. Hume


    There, I've ruined your day.

    Blake said a miracle is an imaginative response to an imaginative initiative.

  24. But an AP review of Securities and Exchange Commission filings and FAA records offers a glimpse of Wall Street firms' ownership and use of private aircraft. Among the findings:

    - CITIGROUP: Has a wholly owned subsidiary, Citiflight Inc., that handles air travel for executives. Citi spokeswoman Shannon Bell refused to comment on the size of the firm's fleet but said it has been reduced by two-thirds over the past eight years.


    - MORGAN STANLEY: Has reduced its executive jet fleet size from three planes to two since 2005, company spokesman Mark Lake said. FAA records show two Gulfstream G-Vs as registered to the company.


    - JPMORGAN: Registered as the owner of four Gulfstream jets, including a 2007 ultra-long range flagship G550 model, FAA records show. A G550 ordered for delivery that year would have cost roughly $47.5 million.

    Corporate Jets

  25. Well, mat, I'm not sure I'd be a buyer, now, being behind the curve, just one of the herd.

    Walmart dominating as top holiday retailer
    by Cathyrn Creno - Dec. 21, 2008 12:00 AM
    The Arizona Republic

    Merry Christmas, Sam Walton.

    At least one survey finds that Walmart has had as many shoppers this season as JCPenney, Sears, Target and Toys "R" Us combined.

    Britt Beemer, chairman and founder of America's Research Group, even raised his holiday sales growth forecast to minus 2.8 percent from minus 3.5 percent because of foot traffic at Walmart stores and because mores shoppers than expected are being drawn into stores by sales.

    Beemer's forecast is at the low end of this year's range. Other industry observers are predicting that sales growth will be flat, not negative.

    Walmart's "unheard of domination of the retail industry this Christmas coupled with the fact that consumers are seeing and taking advantage of . . . sales leads me to raise my forecast," Beamer said.

    Here are his numbers from a survey of where consumers shopped last weekend:

    • Walmart, 66.2 percent.

    • JCPenney, 18.1 percent.

    • Sears, 19.6 percent.

    • Target, 17.9 percent.

    • Toys "R" Us, 12.1 percent.

    • Best Buy, 10.4 percent.

    Looks like a lot of retailers will not be having a Merry Christmass.

  26. I just heard a fireman say it was a miracle no one was hurt in the burning jet that went off the runway in Denver.

    I'm listening to Reverend Manning on Plains Radio Network, and he has sent me to view his video

    Mack Daddy Explained

    "Of all the pimps and all the macks that ever lived, Obama is the longest-legged mack daddy of them all."

    Manning and Atlah Ministeries are gonna get looked at by the IRS, I predict, in the next few years. Say what you want about Manning, he's not lacking in courage.

  27. I thought I read a few people had broken bones and fractures.

  28. The Denver International Airport issued a statement on its website warning passengers of delays on Sunday and Monday because half of its runways were closed.

    Due to the accident "the airfield remains partially closed and airport officials are anticipating operational delays of 40 minutes or more as a result of an inability to use three of the airport's six runways," it said.

    Continental Airlines issued a brief statement confirming the accident and saying they are cooperating "with all authorities responding to the incident."

    Denver Runway

  29. I quess the guy said no one died. There was quite a fire on one side of the plane, from the reports.

    I was on a plane out of Honolulu when an engine blew up just as the nose was rising on takeoff. Hell of a bang, turbine flew apart I quess. Pilot aborted the takeoff, got the nose down and slammed on the brakes. Awfull smell of kerosene in the plane. Everybody silent. Pilot came on in a shakey voice, said he could have taken off with two engines, if he'd had too, but didn't. Plane was real slow making speed on the takeoff, I recall that, seemed like it took forever to get any speed up. Then, bang.

  30. Bobal any flight that lands is a good flight, and any flight that never takes off rather than crashing later is better.

    Now, I defy you not to tap your toes to these German electronic music maestros. Nothing to download, just listen.

  31. R i g h t--you want me to tap my gout-ridden toes....the dance of pain....I'll tap with a cane.

    Kinda catchy tune, I admit.

  32. For them feet, Bob:


  33. Well, then, with a form like that, it must all be legal.

  34. A carrier aircraft designed to be the first stage of a commercial spaceline system made its maiden test flight today at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.


    The hour-long test flight of WhiteKnightTwo made use of a minimum flight test crew.


    In 2004, a smaller WhiteKnight carrier plane cradled SpaceShipOne – a launch system that made possible the first non-governmental piloted rocket ship to fly to the edge of space. Back-to-back flights of SpaceShipOne that year earned the Scaled Composites team, $10 million in Ansari X Prize money.

    Test Flight

    -"Pensiero Stupendo" (1967)

  36. alBob providing green transport:

  37. Here for your viewing and listening pleasure is the original toon of Frosty The Snowman

  38. The vehicles were doing less than 20mph and the other occupants were uninjured, but Patton broke his neck and died in hospital of a blood clot.

    The general, who revelled in his nickname of Old Blood and Guts, was famously portrayed by George C Scott in the Oscar-winning 1970 film, Patton.

    His outspoken hatred of the Soviets led to him being sidelined as the war drew to a close.

    Deal Between US and USSR

  39. [url=][img] [/img][/url] [url=][img] [/img][/url]
    [url=]смотреть русское домашние порно [/url] - Сладенькая, а ты не можешь нарекать какой-нибудь подружке, для Илье было не скучно? [b]смотреть порно онлайн анал [/b] - [url=]бесплатное порно любительское [/url] - Сладенькая, а ты не можешь манить какой-нибудь подружке, для Илье было не скучно?