“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, March 26, 2009

Elephant Celebrates Al-Bob's Maiden Launch


  1. So where did you get the classified video of the NorK missile test?

  2. Over here:

  3. Doug's link:

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — After agreeing to bury their differences and unite forces, Taliban leaders based in Pakistan have closed ranks with their Afghan comrades to ready a new offensive in Afghanistan as the United States prepares to send 17,000 more troops there this year.

    In interviews, several Taliban fighters based in the border region said preparations for the anticipated influx of American troops were already being made. A number of new, younger commanders have been preparing to step up a campaign of roadside bombings and suicide attacks to greet the Americans, the fighters said.

    The refortified alliance was forged after the reclusive Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, sent emissaries to persuade Pakistani Taliban leaders to join forces and turn their attention to Afghanistan, Pakistani officials and Taliban members said.

    The overture by Mullah Omar is an indication that with the prospect of an American buildup, the Taliban feel the need to strengthen their own forces in Afghanistan and to redirect their Pakistani allies toward blunting the new American push.


    Let me be the inverse paranoid (or simply inverse Eyeore) and say that it won't work - and not primarily due to a troop increase - that the balance of the year will not offer a repeat of last.

    {Where'd the *old* commanders go?}

  4. And what did bob do that I missed?

  5. Trish, you missed the total lack of compassion from the staff and clientele of the Elephant Bar for one of their own, al-bob.

    It was truly a disgusting performance of mirthful delight, led by Doug of course, over Bob's first post, which precedes this.

    No Christian sympathy at all and despite Bob's great support for Israel, there was not even a sympathetic murmur from the Jewish wing of the Elephant Bar.

  6. al-Bob was fooling around with Picasa trying to figure out how to post a picture here, and ended posting an original blog heading with nothing in it:)

  7. Not even the older folks supported me, in my time of need.

  8. Trish,
    Wretch has something about a warm and fuzzy plan for the Stan.
    I haven't read it yet.

  9. I completely missed it too. Doug likes to heckle everybody, so I just can't image anything to do with Bob being that controversial.

  10. Wasn't that picture about where the old commanders went?
    Taliban Heaven
    Raisins in the sky.

  11. I knew John Lennon,
    and you're no John Lennon.

  12. Ah, I see. Well. Job well done then, bob. Handshake of sincere gratitude. Keep up the good work. Etc. Etc. : )

    Yeah, I know, Doug. Not to worry. We've had and have the "warm and fuzzy" complement here in Colombia, too, along with the pokey-pointy. And we've collected gains from both ends. More auspicious circumstances, I admit. But you require both in the event.

  13. I knew John Lennon, and you're no John Lennon.

    He bag production he got walrus gumboot
    He got Ono sideboard he one spinal cracker
    He got feet down below his knee
    Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease
    Come together right now over me

  14. What do you get when you cross the efficiency of the US Postal Service with the compassion of the IRS? The Obama Health Care Plan

  15. Bob,

    What do your darts say about next week?

  16. And April's reading assignment, bob, for the naked book club is (drum roll) To Kill A Mockingbird. Which I thought was kind of cool, because how long's it been since anyone outside of seventh grade has read Harper Lee?

    Always loved the movie theme, from one of the most visually compelling movies ever made.

  17. Thanks, Trish, I knew you at least would be supportive, and understanding, and compassionate.

    To Kill A Mockingbird it is, then.

    Haven't thrown the darts for next week yet, Mat. Will report when I do.

    The darts threw me, this week. Way, way off their usual random walk. Had it going down. Maybe I had the target upside down.

  18. Trish.

    That young feller with the Hooters Bogota Tee just deployed.

    His parting reassurance to mum was not to worry. His new duty station is in Kuwait.

    Make of it what you will.

  19. Kuwait's Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shimali has said the country would face a budget deficit of KD4.8 billion ($16.5bn) in the fiscal year 2009-2010 due to the increasing expenditure and retreating revenues.


    The main feature of the draft state budget is the dramatic retreat of oil revenues by 40.6 percent compared with the revenues of 2008-2009, the minister noted.

    However, non-oil revenues are set to grow by 12.1 percent, he said, pointing out that the total value of revenues will go down by 36.3 percent.

    Budget Deficit

  20. As long as he has the t-shirt, linear, we'll be fine. : )

  21. Palin Names NRA Official As New Alaska AG

    Thursday, March 26, 2009 6:48 PM

    Article Font Size

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has picked an Anchorage lawyer and National Rifle Association director as the state's new attorney general.

    Palin named Wayne Anthony Ross to the post on Thursday.

    Ross twice sought the Republican nomination for governor. He is a former NRA vice president and current director.

  22. Fugitive U.S. Marshal Found Dead in Mexico

    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    WASHINGTON -- Federal authorities say a deputy U.S. marshal wanted for allegedly stealing a government shotgun has been found dead in Mexico.

    A spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service says Deputy Vincent Bustamante was found dead Wednesday in Juarez.

    Bustamante had been a fugitive since March 18 when he failed to show up for a court date in El Paso, Texas. He was placed on modified duty status after a pawnbroker called to report Bustamante had pawned a government shotgun.

    A law enforcement official says Bustamante was found with a gunshot wound to the back of his head.

    Over a stolen and pawned shotgun. Good grief.

    Should have gone to Canada.

  23. Palin Names NRA Official As New Alaska AG -- But in Seattle the whackjob Mayor wants to make parks "gun free" nighttime killing zones

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Feds' plan to poison banks of Rio Grande stalled

    Story Highlights

    * Herbicide was to be sprayed on cane along 1.1-mile stretch of river
    * Tall, thick Carrizo cane provides cover for illegal immigrants, Border Patrol says
    * Hispanic communities near Laredo, Texas, file suit to stop spraying
    * Residents want consideration of other methods to eliminate cane



  26. Tesla Model S

    Three different power configurations will be available, Mr. Musk said, “160-mile, 230-mile and 300-mile battery packs.” The 160-mile pack comes standard on the $57,400 base model (a federal tax credit can shave $7,500 from the price). He declined to provide pricing for the longer-range battery packs, but said they could be rented or leased “if you wanted to go on a long trip, or something.” Battery packs have a projected life expectancy of seven to 10 years and can be easily changed or swapped, he added.

    Jeeez! I can't wait to put some money down for 3rd quarter 2011 delivery of that there Tesla. Leaving home I can zoom down 99 and over the hump at Tehachapi, doin' 130 on 70 mph highways, and once in the Mojave, I have my choice of running out of electricity at three desert places, part way to Barstow, part way to Vegas, or partway to Needles.

    And, I can do it all at discount, using my $7500 federal rent seekers' tax credit. Ain't life grand!

    Eat my dust, suckers, I'm goin' green. You'll see me. Out there. Camping along the interstates, chargin' my battrees with solar panels, and drinkin' beer.

  27. My two predictions:

    1. The Obama Administration will wave the white flag and "give up" on the drug war.

    2. We will make a deal with the Taliban to provide security and control in Afghanistan.

    The drugs are killing us.

    Like Colombia before it, Mexico is currently being shaken and tested by the devil. Things got very ugly and days got very dark in Colombia. Mexico has a long way to go before it gets as bad as it was in Colombia but many people could die and the situation in Mexico could get much worse before it get better. It remains to be seen whether the Obama administration and a Democratic Congress will have the fortitude to continue the fight or will decriminalize in order remove the profit.

    In Afghanistan, drug production and drug use is rampant, affecting even the Police Forces. The Chinese and Taliban have both been successful with their "Zero Tolerance" programs. We'll simply have to cover our eyes and bite our tongues. Post Mullah Omar, perhaps we can get an agreement that protects women and girls.

  28. Remember, lineman, theu'll lease you the car for under $200 per month and GIVE you the batteries.

    Swap 'em out in just minutes at the local battery swap station. Faster than an oil change.

    EVs are almost free, I recall being told, but $57,000 USD is far from free, unless it's a subsidy Ponzi scheme.

  29. EVs are almost free, I recall being told, but $57,000 USD is far from free, unless it's a subsidy Ponzi scheme.

    There are EVs selling for $20K. And I'm very confident before not too long we'll see EVs selling for under $10K. Will that stop you winos from whining? I doubt it.

  30. Count the local battery swap stations in the Mojave Desert, or in Siskiyou or Modoc or Lassen Counties.

    Or is my sarcasm detector needing a charge?


    What brand of EV does the dentist drive?