“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."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

American Exceptionalism - the last best hope for Earth?


  1. Was just listening to Pragger on the radio. He quoted that poem by Heine to the point if you kill the Judao/Christian way, some ism or other comes in to fill the void, nazism, faszism, communism, existentialism of various kinds. Nietzche said the same thing, basically. He also quoted a study that showed children of gay couples do as well, or better than, kids raised by the straights, these days. He has some university he's starting where they teach 'American' values, if we could agree what they are.

  2. Our church tomorrow is having a celebration for the 35th year of Pastor Stewarts ordination. That's a long pull, and he deserves a celebration. Most of these churches have a core group that keeps it going year after year, with a bunch of not so involved outliers like myself, around the edges. Being a working Pastor--it's not the easiest job in the world. Pay is low, demands high. As I've always liked the guy, I best show up.

  3. Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.

    In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.

    To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.

    “The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” said a US defence source in the area. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department.”

    Sources in Saudi Arabia say it is common knowledge within defence circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “We all know this. We will let them [the Israelis] through and see nothing,” said one.

    The four main targets for any raid on Iran would be the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom, the gas storage development at Isfahan and the heavy-water reactor at Arak. Secondary targets include the lightwater reactor at Bushehr, which could produce weapons-grade plutonium when complete.

    Times Online

  4. I just spent a fascinating morning on a website/blog called "cleantechnica." I've been reading through their archive of Solar articles.

    This is One - Sonoma Co. gets 4% of electricity from ROOFTOP solar.

    A really great go-to blog for Solar.

  5. My city uses the utility to supplement property taxes so they're not interested in people saving electricity. Never have been. Even when private utility companies were offering assistance on heat pump recovery units (to heat water) my 'progressive' public servants did nothing other than offer an occasional program for insulation upgrades or conversion to natural gas (there was a profit motive there, too.)

  6. Not a big Newt fan; but, on this topic, he's starting to "get it."


  7. There was a shortage of PV Panels a couple of years ago, leading to a price peak.

    I'd guess the Worldwide (Minus China, of course.) economic slowdown took care of the shortages and prices.

  8. The Courage to Leave

    There is no good news coming out of the depressing and endless war in Afghanistan. There once was merit to our incursion there, but that was long ago. Now we’re just going through the tragic motions, flailing at this and that, with no real strategy or decent end in sight.

    The U.S. doesn’t win wars anymore. We just funnel the stressed and underpaid troops in and out of the combat zones, while all the while showering taxpayer billions on the contractors and giant corporations that view the horrors of war as a heaven-sent bonanza. BP, as we’ve been told repeatedly recently, is one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the wartime U.S. military.

    Seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Monday but hardly anyone noticed. Far more concern is being expressed for the wildlife threatened by the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico than for the G.I.’s being blown up in the wilds of Afghanistan.

    Early this year, we were told that at long last the tide had turned in Afghanistan, that the biggest offensive of the war by American, British and Afghan troops was under way in Marja, a town in Helmand Province in the southern part of the country. The goal, as outlined by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, our senior military commander in Afghanistan, was to rout the Taliban and install a splendid new government that would be responsive to the people and beloved by them.

    That triumph would soon be followed by another military initiative in the much larger expanse of neighboring Kandahar Province. The Times’s Rod Nordland explained what was supposed to happen in a front-page article this week:

    “The goal that American planners originally outlined — often in briefings in which reporters agreed not to quote officials by name — emphasized the importance of a military offensive devised to bring all of the populous and Taliban-dominated south under effective control by the end of this summer. That would leave another year to consolidate gains before President Obama’s July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing combat troops.”

    Forget about it. Commanders can’t even point to a clear-cut success in Marja. As for Kandahar, no one will even use the word “offensive” to describe the military operations there. The talk now is of moving ahead with civilian reconstruction projects, a “civilian surge,” as Mr. Nordland noted.

    What’s happening in Afghanistan is not only tragic, it’s embarrassing.

  9. What a fine table you set, whit. A little camembert, a mini brie, some Danish ham, strawberries and...was that mango? Let's see...freshly made granola and that's zucchini bread in the lower left, amirite?

    Must've pressed a bag and a half of oranges for that juice.

    Should we thank the Missus or have you been thumbing back issues of Southern Living?

    Don't tell me you had it all catered. I'll be disappointed.

  10. You should move to Hawaii, Rufus.
    You'll be regarded as a Casandra until the first serious oil spike hits.

    After that you'll be regarded as the Mesiah that everyone should have listened to.

    I can't imagine any other state being as totally dependent on oil as Hawaii.

    At least we won't freeze to death.
    ...although bankruptcy and starvation doesn't sound all that much better.

  11. We tied the Brits today, BTW.

    Could've been much worse as about three quarters of the game was played within fifteen meters of our goal.

    Also, I learned a colorful new epithet: Toffee cunt.

  12. Mangos are evil.

    Related to poison ivy, some folks end up with a painful reaction.

    Pruning without protective skin covering can leave some nasty results on arms and legs.

    ...or other appendages if you're a fan of gardening in the buff.

    Stick with real American Fruits tm that served our Puritan ancestors so well.

  13. Some miscreants claim a sport with ties is like having sex with your wife.

  14. Why is Obama refusing to waive the Jones Act? He's aiding in the destruction of the Gulf

    Obama has refused to waive the Jones Act. His Administration keeps putting the blame on the Coast Guard who puts the blame on others for not requesting the Jones Act be waived.

    The Dutch offered their help 3 DAYS after the Gulf Oil Spill yet the Administration said:

    "..While there is no need right now that the U.S. cannot meet, the U.S. Coast Guard is assessing these offers of assistance to see if there will be something which we will need in the near future."

    Are they serious? This country helps every country in the world when they need it. We are always at the front line for offering aid. The one time we need expertise and equipment that we do not have in this country, Obama rejects it? Why would the President of the United States allow the Gulf to continue to be destroyed rather than getting the help here that EXISTS and is desperately necessary? By Obama refusing to waive the Jones Act, he is aiding in the destruction of the Gulf Coast.

  15. Thad Allen:
    Shit for Brains
    Government considering moving more assets to Gulf to fight oil

    "We are more than willing to consider Jones Act waivers," Allen said. "Nobody has come to me for a Jones act waiver yet, but I am prepared to consider that. ...

    That's a change from a month ago, when Allen said on a visit to the Times-Picayune that one of his biggest concerns in fighting the oil disaster was not to leave another area of the country vulnerable should a problem occur elsewhere.

    'Bout Two Months Late, Boys and Girls.

  16. Looks like an anonymous picture.

  17. Did Dennis Prager really loudly insist that if the Republicans fail to recapture the House and the Senate this year, "we lose!"

    I understand the importance of persuading your voters that civilization utterly hangs in the balance, but a tad more temperate tone - allowing some political reality to mix and mingle with the doomsaying might be in order. Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day, etc, etc. If we retake the House, it is an indication that God has not forsaken this great nation and the future is not entirely lost to the heathen horde of commie cocksuckers. That kind of thing.

  18. You are correct, that is not me.

    Not by a long shot.

    First off, there are no tats that could be used to ID me.

    Foolish fellow, that one pictured.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Isn't me either, I don't look remotely like any of those poor old bastards, I'm handsome.

  21. Only a neolib could dream that this nation could endure more than 2 years with this heathen horde of commie cocksuckers at the helm.

  22. Gee, anon. Aren't looking to throw anyone off their dinner are you?

  23. Old news, Anon, it was in my email over a month ago. I just couldn't find any pictures on the Net that weren't covered over. And you can't get the full effect, ya know, if he's all covered up.

  24. "...or other appendages if you're a fan of gardening in the buff."

    That's maybe one hobby you wanna keep to yourself.

  25. Female Daredevils in History

    Americans do a lot of talking about freedom on Memorial Day and July 4th, but if freedom is so important, why are today's playground slides encased plastic chutes rather than the open steel slides of my youth. Yes, it was a little scary, but that was the point.

    Our arms, legs and heads were free. We'd roller skate in dresses. We'd ride bikes and feel the wind in our hair. I'm not suggesting we throw away elbow pads and helmets. But please recognize that there's a trade-off for all that safety.

    I kind of changed my opinion of the 16 yr old sailor when I learned she was Zac's sister and the amount of preparation and support she had back home.

    Still irresponsible of parents to let her cross the Indian Ocean this time of year when delays caused the schedule to slip.

  26. I don't have any identifying marks, less circumcision counts.

  27. Has Quirk returned disguised as anonymous?

  28. And a full head of hair, and I don't hang around in big cities.

  29. Great circumcision story in a book I'm reading about Sandy Koufax.

    He had only 2 pitches, a rising 100 mph fastball and a 90 mph curve.

    New kid has 4 pitches to go along with his 100 mph arm.

  30. Hey, hey, hey.

    That is a brunette.

    With somewhat well-behaved summertime hair.

    I don't even go out of the house again until sometime after Labor Day.

  31. Protect the unions, Fuck the Gulf:

    Some of the best clean up ships – owned by Belgian, Dutch and the Norwegian firms are NOT being used. Coast Guard Lt. Commander, Chris O’Neil, says that is because they do not meet “the operational requirements of the Unified Area Command.” One of those operational requirements is that vessels comply with the Jones Act.
    "Yes, it does apply,” said ONeil,“ I have heard no discussions of waivers.”

    Waivers to the Jones Act were granted by the administration of George W. Bush in the days following hurricane Katrina. And today, the Obama White House said waivers might again be considered.
    “If there is the need for any type of waiver, that would obviously be granted,” said White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs. “But, we've not had that problem thus far.”

    Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is not so sure about that. He’s hearing from the folks back home in Florida, where they want all the skimmer ships they can get. He sent a letter to Admiral Thad Allen today which read in part:
    “Admiral, I believe the orange mousse of oil that is now in Florida’s waters is more than enough evidence that we need to take advantage of every appropriate global resource. Please advise as to whether we are taking full advantage of the offers of assistance from other countries.”

    When asked about this by Fox News, Admiral Allen said, “If it gets to the point where a Jones Act waiver is required, we're willing to do that too Nobody has come to me with a request for a Jones Act waiver.”
    After 50 plus days of oil flowing freely into the gulf, the question could be asked: Why do effective and proven foreign clean up ships remain on the sidelines? Carafano believes it may have something to do with the Obama administration’s close relationship with labor unions.

    “Cause this is a big thing for unions,” Carafano said. “The unions see it as … protecting jobs. They hate when the Jones Act gets waived, and they pound on politicians when they do that. So … are we giving in to unions and not doing everything we can, or is there some kind of impediment that we don't know about?

    If the Obama Administration needs an example of what can happen when global assets are allowed to tackle a massive oil spill, they need look no further than Saudi Aramco’s clean up of a massive wartime spill off the Kuwaiti coast in 1991. Aramco summoned every available ship to assist in the cleanup. The company claims it recovered 900,000 barrels of oil in roughly three months. The industry views that effort as the gold standard in oil spill cleanups.

  32. Crap, even that 900,000 barrels is a drop in the bucket for this mofo.

  33. Ah, Trish, I just had a keratin treatment on my hair.

    Mel, will now have completely trained hair all summer long. All for a whopping 350.00. Except, I can't wash my hair or put anything in it or even get it wet for three days.

  34. Hong Kong’s New Facebook for the Dead

    Thanks to a new social networking site in Hong Kong you don’t need to put much effort into having an online presence — you don’t even need to be alive.

    In fact, that’s the point...

  35. "Mel, will now have completely trained hair all summer long."

    : )

    I'd breifly thought about going with a Japanese straigtener. But I like my curls.

    Now I'll have to look into a keratin treatment.

    $350 and I can last each day past mid-afternoon?


  36. Woods Hole offered to measure the flow in week one.

    BP said no, and who are we the people to expect our Marxist Dumbo the non-flying clown to argue with BP?

  37. I love the smell of rancid 3 day old scalp oil.

    Month old dreadlocks better, but the never washed knit caps are best.

  38. Trish, you'll still have the curls with the keratin it just won't get frizzy and poofy.

  39. Doug, metro's are guys not gals.

  40. I'm gonna have the best looking hair on the beach next weekend. See, the thing is, I have short hair so I can't even put it up.

  41. You'll be a new woman, Trish. This is not a chemical treatment. It's all natural.

  42. ...then we need a word for female metros.

    To differentiate them from the clean scubbed All American Sweetheats.

    Like the sailor.

  43. "Trish, you'll still have the curls with the keratin it just won't get frizzy and poofy."

    I figured.

    After the haircut fiasco I've been waiting to go back up to western PA to the gal who saved my hair while on leave two holiday seasons ago.

    In a week or so, I think. I'll call ahead and ask about it.

  44. All natural means natural...
    Sailor pic is demonstrative.

  45. My wife still has (word for red-blonde goes here) at 65!

  46. Washed twice daily, I might add.
    Then again, she works.

  47. I have shoulder-length at the moment. Having recovered somewhat from the Butcher of McLean.

    When I had it cut in PA, she took six inches off and brought it to just below the jaw. Never missed the length one bit. And just the right weight.

    In the meantime I got a hairdresser in Key West to trim it perfectly.

    These things are not easy.

  48. "My wife still has (word for red-blonde goes here) at 65!"

    Strawberry blonde.

  49. Yeah, I was gonna guess Strawberry, but I didn't want to give MLD another chance to scold me if I guessed wrong.

  50. ...or put another way, give her something else for her to use as a distraction from my point.

  51. And all without coloring? Wow! I think I need to move to Hawaii.

  52. Which was about unwashed bods in the summertime, in case anyone forgot.

  53. I may need to evacuate, after this!

  54. Oh, no I can wash the body just not the hair.

  55. Just talking about my head shape, MLD, no harm no foul.

  56. Didn't mean to start trouble.

  57. Now, Sam, is a prime sample of a metro-sexual. I'm surprised he hasn't jumped in on this.

  58. Think I'd better go.
    Patients are non-responsive.

  59. Now I'm curious about Sam, but I still gotta go.

  60. No trouble on this end. When you said bods I thought you meant the whole body and not just the head.

  61. Was it Sam who was all about the manscaping?

    There's something to be said for it.

  62. "It's alwasys better late than never."

    Not for this Commie Cocksucker, no matter what the price.

    That would require our faultless Mesiah admitting fault.

  63. I kinda like metro-sexual men.

  64. What's the matter, Doug, don't do your hair much...or buff your nails?

  65. Betcha there's hair on the back....;)

  66. I've got a funny story about manscaping and an impending tour in Afghanistan.

  67. This is pretty much what my hair looks like, except, the front is shorter and the sides are a little longer.

  68. That's a nice haircut. And it looks so fucking easy to maintain.

    I've been valiantly if unknowingly endeavoring to mimic Marylin Monroe - had Marylin red hair. And smaller boobs. And far less charm.

    And that takes, like, a really tedious hour.

  69. Team Obamamerica was settin' BP up, for that "Criminal Negligence" case, doug.

    If the Federals had stepped in, early, than all the incriminating 'cover up' evidence would never have been produced. Now it has.

    The attempted cover up by misinformation proving the initial negligence was not accidental, but considered by BP management to be worthy of disguise and message management by misinformation.

  70. The Federals knowing, from the outset, that they were no more capable than BP to plug the leak.

    There was no reason for the Federals to "step in", they knowing knowing that overall performance would not improve, if they did.

    And the case for criminal culpability against BP would be diminished.

  71. It's not as easy as it looks, but with the new keratin, I'm hoping that won't be the case. And that's pretty close to my color, too. And it needs a cut every four weeks.

    Would you like a drink? Vodka tonight wine makes me sleepy.

  72. Doug is out getting a hair treatment and his nails done, he'll be back shortly.

  73. There was no need for the Jones Act waiver, because BP told the Federals that there was no need.

    BP official reporting on the leakage rate was understated by a factor of four or five.

    The Leviathan moves slowly, but it eventually crushes the target.

    Even if it cannot stop the leaks.

  74. I'll have vodka with mango juice.

  75. juice.

    I have ice.

  76. Didn't have to "step in," just should have allowed all mitigation efforts to proceed without interference/delay.

    Cold ass mofo cares no more for wildlife than he does for those gun hugging southerners.

  77. Gotta be Bob, or DR; I'm taller'n that. :)

  78. I love that three olives bubble up vodka. It tastes just like bubble gum. See it pays to have a 24 year old live with you.

  79. "I have ice."

    You are indispensable.

  80. I knew you were drinking, just knew it, you get talkative, every time, like my mom did:) And my aunt too. Have a pleroma on the rocks, on my tab. You look nice, Melody, you don't need no cosmetics.

  81. Pleroma on the Rocks is an exceptional American drink. But I don't know what the fixings are, for sure. Two or three will knock you right on your ass.

  82. Don't tell me you had it all catered. I'll be disappointed.

    I did all myself... Although, I must admit that I I simply copied everything that I had seen in a photograph.


    But, I cannot take credit for the music. T arranged that.

  83. And it was even better than the spread.

  84. It's Habu, down on his luck in Missoula.

  85. I just got back from an afternoon wedding followed by a reception. Fried catfish, shrimp broiled and fried, hush puppies, cheese grits,

    I had Yuengling.

    Nice young couple, she just finished college and he is going into flight school. I thought they were moving to Atlanta but it looks like she'll be staying here while he trains at Eglin.

    I got some pictures, wanna see them?

  86. Don't go anywhere. I've got to run an errand. Will be right back.

  87. Well, now you're just gonna make me weepy.

  88. Why is that people always think I've been drinking when I start running my mouth off when in fact it's just the opposite. I don't need to make excuses for the petty bullshit I talk about around here. At the end of the day when all is said and done sometimes you need to just talk about the mundane things in your life.

  89. Well, I've generally been drinking when I start running my mouth off :)

    So I apologize for projecting the behavior pattern. Won't happen again.

    It was funny though, at cocktail hour, when mom and the aunts tipped up, it sounded like the bridge club at full bore, all of a sudden.

  90. 2010 IANDS Conference Registration is OPEN!

    Blocked image

    Hello Robert,
    We are pleased to announce that registration for the IANDS 2010 Conference is now OPEN!

    This year's Conference will be held in Denver, Colorado at the Red Lion Hotel Denver Central on Thursday - Saturday, Sept 2 - 4 plus a Group Leaders Seminar on Wednesday, Sept 1 and optional Fun Day outings on Sunday, Sept 5.

    Some of the main highlights so far for this Conference are:

    * Keynote speaker Pim van Lommel & more!
    * NDEr panels on "Special Gifts", "NDEr Couples" & more!
    * A rich variety of other speakers and panels
    * 15% discount on the registration fee and Group Leader Seminar for spouse / partner
    * Fund raising dinner to benefit IANDS (optional)
    * Complete conference proceedings on audio CD are included with a paid registration, a $60 value

    We are using the Regonline registration system which is different from the sites we have used in the past. It should make your registration a little easier and you can change your registration selections at any time.

    We expect the available registrations to fill up quickly. So, we would like to offer you the opportunity to reserve your spot at the reduced early bird rate, until July 1!

    For more information and to REGISTER!

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    Thank you,

    Diane Corcoran and Debbie James
    IANDS Conference Committee Co-chairs

  91. - the last best hope for Earth?"

    Well, it certainly is not Britan
    nor her Petroleum.

    June 11 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, facing growing public anger in the US over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is considering cutting or deferring its second-quarter dividend payment, Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said.

  92. Right on course and speed.
    For a criminal prosecution.

    Coast Guard: BP must pick up pace

    ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- With oil fouling the Gulf of Mexico coastline in ugly new ways Saturday, the Coast Guard is demanding that oil giant BP step up its efforts to contain the spill by the end of the weekend, saying BP's slow pace is becoming increasingly alarming.

    In a testy letter released Saturday, the Coast Guard told BP's chief operating officer that the company urgently needs to pick up the pace and
    present a better plan to contain the spill by the time President Barack Obama arrives on Monday for his fourth visit to the coast.
    The letter, sent Friday, reflects the growing frustration over BP's inability to stop the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

  93. No need to apologize, I get that often and with my sarcasm font not working it sounded like I was pointing the finger just at you. Trust me I wouldn't be talking about hair treatments if I was drunk.

  94. MLD: Trust me I wouldn't be talking about hair treatments if I was drunk.

    Other than, "a hair of the dog that bit ya" which is recommended for hangovers.