“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, August 21, 2010

Corcovado National Park, Osa, Costa Rica

The solitude of the middle of the night, when you decide what you want to do, a time of privacy and reflection, just you and the cock's crow.

I miss the solitude of a winter night in Labrador, not a light, not a sound, except for the moaning of moving sea ice, a place so far away, you were untouched by radio or telephone, a place where communications was an occasional handwritten letter, flown in by helicopter.

And then there is the not Labrador. There is the Osa in the Pacific tropics.

Rainy season used to keep the tourists at half throttle, not as much now, but it is still a charm. There is a place where the sounds are of the surf, of popping rain drops on broad green leafs, of Howler Monkeys replying to distant thunder.

Rainy season in the Osa Penninsula is grand. Please do not tell too many people. Peace.


Tumble in the jungle

Stanley Stewart From: The Australian July 31, 2010 12:00am

... I am in a small boat, coasting along the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. The shore is a litany of empty beaches. Above the sands rise the billowing green arms of Corcovado National Park, the largest rainforest on the Pacific coast of the Americas.

Corcovado is something of a legend. National Geographic has called it the most biologically intense place on earth. It is a tough tag to live up to and tends to create unreasonable expectations. Anyone looking for the Central American equivalent of the African plains - stampeding wildebeest, mating elephants, lions on the razzle - will be disappointed.

Corcovado is an altogether more subtle experience. This is rainforest and in its dense cover many animals take the Greta Garbo approach. They are illusive, secretive and dead glamorous.

Sadly the first animal I see is just plain dead. The dismembered body lies across the forest trail. Until very recently, it has been the size of a small dog.

The guide bends to examine the crime scene. Clumps of reddish fur adhere to the skeleton. The face, still largely intact, is frozen in a ghastly grimace. I seem to have dropped into an episode of CSI: Corcovado.

"Three-toed sloth," the guide says, at last. "Killed a couple of days ago." He walks back and forth over the scene. "The kill was here, then it was dragged this way along the track." He examines the animal's anus (as you do), then turns his gaze to the undergrowth beside the track.

He pokes at some droppings. "Puma. They wait for the sloth to come down out of his tree to defecate. We all have our weaknesses. For the sloth it is taking a shit."

We press on into the jungle. On all sides trunks soar upward towards a distant canopy of spreading foliage, splintered here and there by sunlight. Vines dangle like Tarzan props.

Down in the under-storey, where we mortals tread, great buttress roots push outward into the green shadows where a host of specialist plants thrive, many of which have another life as house plants in our world: palms and ferns, orchids and bromeliads.

We lift our binoculars to scan the canopy for birds. I follow a toucan clattering out of a tree like a refugee from a 50s Guinness ad. A couple of scarlet macaws pace up and down on opposing branches, quarrelling like the old married couple they are. When I lower the binoculars I find a tiny hummingbird, the size of a moth, poking its long beak into an orchid.

The guide is suddenly alert. "Step back," he says. He has spotted a column of army ants not far from my foot. "They swarm their victims. The columns can be 30 feet (9m) wide with up to a quarter of a million ants. They say they can take down livestock. Here, look." He picks up one of the ants and pinches its head between his thumb and forefingers. "Look at these fish hook mandibles. The native people use them as stitches to close human wounds."

If army ants are troubling, bullet ants are downright terrifying. They get their name because their bite is said to be as painful as being shot by a bullet. At the other end of the spectrum are the leaf-cutter ants, the benign farmers of the termite world. Apparently they sing while they work, and bury their dead in underground chambers.

Ahead of us now is a strange grunting chorus, like a cross between a lion's growl and a pig on heat. "Howlers," the guide whispers. We set off downhill into a grove of cecropias trees.

A troop of howler monkeys is lounging in the canopy among the big wide leaves and the ready fruit. They peer down at us with simian disdain, as if they consider us the inferior species, unable to swing through branches and mate recklessly with 20 females in an afternoon. I feel something dribbling on my neck. I look up to see a burly male waving his willy at me. He is peeing on my head.

We walk all morning through these ancient forests. We spot a boa constrictor sloping away in the undergrowth, presumably off to lunch on a deer. An iguana appears like a miniature dinosaur, lumbering through the leaf litter. Slow, deliberate fellows, they are something of a contrast to the promiscuous howler monkeys.

Apparently their courtship takes three months; the howlers get through the sweetheart stuff in three minutes.

An anteater materialises out of the shadows with its long lugubrious face. When he spots us, he climbs a tree. Half an hour later it is our turn to climb trees.

Peccaries are bush pigs that patrol the forest in large packs. You have not really lived until you have about 30 of these snarling creatures glaring up at you from the foot of a tree you have just scaled, clacking their teeth and frothing at the mouth.

As I wait in the tree, a giant blue butterfly flutters down on my arm, its touch like a whisper.

Late in the afternoon we strike up the valley of the San Pedrillo River, an enclosed separate world. Birds shriek on the opposite bank. Below on the clay-coloured mudflats bask crocodiles of the same colour. As if the crocs are not enough of a threat, bull sharks swim up this river. They are the sharks responsible for the Jersey Shore attacks that inspired Peter Benchley's novel Jaws.

Far upstream, too far for the crocodiles and sharks, we reach a pool fed by a low waterfall beneath the green vaults of the forest. It is a pristine, innocent place, decorated with orchids and lulled by birdsong. I shrug off my clothes and lower myself into the water.

When I surface, I notice a tiny female white-necked jacobin sitting on a miniature nest on a palm frond on the bank. It is as still as a statue; I study it for a moment. You could almost slip it into a matchbox and yet the tiny frame contains all the impulses of life: survival, mating and, now on a tiny nest, the instinct of motherhood. In that moment it seems the most beautiful thing in the world.

But beauty takes many forms and comes in many sizes. The next day I go diving off Cano Island. In the straits between the island and the peninsula, dolphins follow the boat, play back and forth across our bow while blue-footed boobies plummet into the waves like missiles in search of fish.

Mid-channel, a humpback whale suddenly appears, surfacing in front of us. It is a female and twice the size of our boat. Its thick primeval hide bears the barnacles and scars of a lifetime. The great curve of the body and enormous splayed tail slide back beneath the waves with a kind of lingering slow motion. The whale is accompanied by a calf, probably a month old, and already the size of a small truck. Mummy whale is leading the giant baby to the rich krill fields of Antarctica, more than 10,000km away, where the calf will prosper and grow.

Meanwhile, in the forests on the shores behind us, the tiny jacobin would be busy ferrying food to its newly hatched young, probably no larger than a bee.

The two species are spectacularly different, but the matchbox-sized bird and the 36-tonne whale share the same instincts, instincts that are also visible just outside your kitchen window.

Stanley Stewart was a guest of the Ultimate Travel Company.


  1. "The solitude of the middle of the night, when you decide what you want to do, a time of privacy and reflection, just you and the cock's crow."

    Know all about it.

    Stanley Stewart did a good little bit of writing on the Park.

    It's a gorgeous and relatively peaceful morning here. Unlike weekdays, when they begin at 6 AM, flights in and out of Reagan haven't started yet. And the Parkway is quiet.

    It's the small things.

  2. Maybe we'll get lucky and one of Martha's Pumas will catch our vacationing sloth taking a dump.

  3. My post @ BC:

    40. CPT. Charles links to an Atlas article about Steve Emerson's find of Audiotapes of Imam Rauf.

    There is a non-functional link to Emerson interview on Bill Bennet Show.

    Here is a link to an mp3 download of the interview on

    Steve Emerson has unearthed 13 hours of audio tape of Imam Rauf. Emerson and his team of investigators has spent the past four weeks going through the newly found material. Rauf is a "radical extremist cleric who cloaks himself in sheep's clothing."

    Among the shocking revelations Emerson's team will reveal next week -- they found Rauf:

    Defending wahhabism - a puritanical version of Islam that governs Saudi Arabia

    Calling for the elimination of Israel by claiming a one-nation state, meaning no more Jewish State.

    Defending Bin Laden's violence

    Demonstrating that there is a lot more to this man than merely a cleric.

  4. Nice Emerson interview.
    He'll unleash the tapes next week.

    Will Trish believe her "progressive" muses, or her lying ears?

    ...or will she just not listen?

  5. "...or will she just not listen?"

    That's a safe bet.

  6. The Know Nothings triumph again!

    Full speed ahead on the Mosque of Peace.

    ...a magnificient bridge building effort.

  7. If four planes, hijacked and piloted by 19 Muslim men, killing the crews, screaming Allah Akubar, kill three thousand Americans, hit the WTC towers, the Pentagon and miss the Capitol by the heroic actions of the passengers, does not convince the elites that rule us that there is a problem with Islam, nothing will.

    Islam is a problem because Islam is the problem.

    Leave them alone in their own cesspools. Let them drown, kill each other, stone each other, starve and murder, crash and burn in their own countries .

    They do not belong here. They deserve nothing more than a cautious tolerance when they behave and a tough response when they do not.

    The New York building trades will never let this thing be built. Good on them.

  8. I am sure my feelings are not widely shared in Martha's Vineyard, but I'll bet you a knish they are on Coney Island.

  9. "I am sure my feelings are not widely shared in Martha's Vineyard..."

    Or in lower Manhattan.

  10. We're big girls and boys.

    We can survive this.

  11. I never did believe in turning the other cheek.

  12. Poll: New Yorkers Support the Mosque, Even as They Oppose It
    Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 03:20 PM
    By Arun Venugopal

    Most of the coverage of today's Siena poll has focused on the large majority of New York voters -- 63%-- that opposes the mosque near Ground Zero. That's even higher than last week's Marist poll, which showed 53% opposition.

    But even more interesting than that first question is the follow-up, focusing on constitutionality.

    Regardless of whether you personally support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, do you believe the developers of the Cordoba House have a Constitutional right to proceed with the construction of the mosque and Muslim cultural center or not?

    The answers to that question were eye-opening: 64% of voters overall said the developers have the right to build there. That includes 67% of Dems and 56% of Republicans.

    When I asked him to reconcile that dichotomy, Steve Greenberg, the Siena pollster, said, "The majority of New Yorkers are saying 'I don't want to see it built there, but they have the right to build it there.' I sort of think it's analogous to the old saying, 'I don't like what you're saying, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.'"

  13. Trish supports Stealth Jihad in America.
    Why is beyond me.

  14. "I never did believe in turning the other cheek."

    Yeah, I had a feeling.

    Our world will not fall apart.

    Trust me.

  15. "Why is beyond me."

    I am a stealth jihadist.

  16. Wrong, Deuce:
    America is not now, nor will ever be, at war with Islam.

    Presented here in this disgusting collection of Obama utterances and actions glorifying Islam.

    Posted by Judy @ BC

  17. Well, Deuce, on 13Sep2001 it was decided that Islam WAS NOT the enemy, not even the problem.

    The problem was 19 guys with box cutters and their supporting infrastructure, which consisted of some Arabs, living in Afghanistan.

    A couple of thousand fellas, at the most. No more than that.

    Definitely not the totality of the billion and a half humans that believe Mohammad is the true Prophet of the God of Abraham.

    You are neither on time nor target.Especially if Obama is a Muslim.

    Which would seem strange, when for months you and the crew protested his style and standard of Christianity.

  18. Nidal Hassan is a morale booster for our PC military, and is not an Islamist Terrorist, according to them.

  19. The interesting thing, now that we've won the war, in Iraq, no one feels safer.

    Not any more secure from the threat of terror.

    The government of the US of A, it totally screwed the pooch, at the cost of a $Trillion USD.

  20. "Nidal Hassan is a morale booster for our PC military..."

    Are you trying to call Flatulent Bloviator back from the dead?

  21. He is a representative of the United States of America, on a three nation tour, doug.

    Get used to it.

    As to Presidential utterances, that absolve Islam of responsibility for the events of 11SEP2001, G W Bush made a million of them.

    While hosting Ramadan diners in the White House.
    While holding hands with the Saudis prince, and waving Semticly styled swords in the air.

  22. I certainly hope not.

    I was so looking forward to a pleasant weekend.

  23. GW Bush and the Saudi Prince, kissing on the lips.

    Better that he had bowed than wowed.

  24. Or this photo G W Bush doing a "Victory Dance" with the Wahhabi!

    Standing "Shoulder to Shoulder" and doing the DC shuffle with the financiers of Osama bin Laden.

  25. Looks kinda hot and humid to me.

    Might be nice for a vacation.

    Probably couldn't take it for any length of time.

    Good to see everyone at the bar is happy and chipper this morning.


  26. Florida, eh?

    Where's that place called Lange,left hand side near the bottom?


  27. "...back from the dead..."

    It will be interesting to see if Anonymous comes back.

    No, not that Anonymous, the other Anonymous.

    No dammit, I'm talking about Anonymous.

    Yea, that one.


  28. Even I feel semi-chipper this morning.

    The worst thing to do with a beautiful place is advertise it.

  29. Allen's demographic post the other day should be totally sobering. We had a few hundred thousand of the suckers here, now we have 5 million or something, even one in the White House, and Europe's in a very bad situation.

  30. No Jews Allowed

    Looks like the muzzies are planning an apartheid state, while arabs serve in the Knesset. How can this possibly be?

  31. Those Republicans and their open border policies, bob.

    You've supported the Republicans, forever.

    They've brought you to where we are, today, vis a vie the Islamoids.

    So now, there are as many Muslims in the US as Jews, about 5 million of each.
    Seems pretty equivalent, to me.
    Must have to GW Bush, as well.

    The US is committing to spend $150 million on flood relief, in Pakistan. Already given away $30 million USD, in cash money to NGOs there.

    $30 million we had to borrow from Charlie Chi-com, to give to the Pakistani. The same Pakistani that both funded and directed the Taliban, they providing sanctuary to aQ, the trans-national terrorists that attacked US on 11SEP2001.

    Yet we are not at war with Pakistan, never have been.
    They are our allies in the War on Terror.

    Beneficiaries of our largess.

  32. Whoa! Look at this. Rossi 52, Murry 45

    Never thought I'd live to see the day. Maybe the third time around is the charm for Rossi.

  33. The US providing almost $11 BILLION USD to the Pakistani since 11SEP2001.

    In either aid or tribute payments.

    Just a matter of semantics.

  34. Does this fellow, one of the 40,000 Fundamentalist Mormons taint all Mormons, everywhere?

    Polygamist Leader May Face Tougher Case in Texas

    (Aug. 12) -- Utah will have to wait in line before it gets a chance to retry polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. First he's going to a state where prosecution has been more vigorous.

    Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he believes the case against Jeffs is stronger in Texas, where he will be extradited.

    Jeffs, 54, is the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), a Utah-based group that practices polygamy according to the Mormon tradition

    Is Mitt Romney disqualified to be President, because of Warren Jeffs behavior?

    Behaviors that are based upon the core religious beliefs of the Founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

    Of which Mitt Romney is a member of the congregation?

  35. Hillary says she hopes we will have a peace agreement betwen the Israelis and the Palestinians within a year.

    As do we all. However, no one really expects it to happen.

    One wonders if she is tired, hitting the sauce again, or if that's just the way diplomats talk.

    "President Obama will embark on his deepest foray into Middle East peacemaking next month when he hosts Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a bid to achieve what his predecessors could not: a deal to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel and end the two sides' bitter conflict...

    "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are expected in Washington on Sept. 2 for what will be the first face-to-face negotiations between the sides in two years. Clinton said she thinks a deal could be reached within a year...

    "The announcement marked a small victory for Obama, who had pledged to address the conflict early in his term but faces a daunting challenge in pulling off an agreement...

    Peace Talks

    George Will list a couple of the reasons the peace talks are destined to fail.

    Two State Solution Is Dead

    This could prove tricky for Obama. Hard to say if the talks scheduled for September 2 are politically motivated due to the elections (the cynical would say they definately are). However, it carries some risks. Two months before the elections. Heck, the talks could fall apart in a few weeks.


  36. By Daphne Bramham, PostMedia News August 18, 2010

    Thank heavens for Texas.

    At the request of the Texas governor, notorious polygamist Warren Jeffs will be extradited from Utah to face charges of bigamy, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault involving two under-aged girls, who were his "celestial wives," in the Lonestar state.

    Jeffs is the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) - the largest polygamous group in North America - with large chapters in Utah, Texas, Arizona and Colorado.

    Last month, Jeffs' conviction in Utah for being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old was overturned by the state's Supreme Court. Though a Utah court is set to hear his request for a speedy retrial on Aug. 23, there are questions about whether Utah will proceed.

    And one month earlier, Arizona had dropped its own charges -including sexual conduct with minors and incest - against Jeffs.

    So now it's up to Texas, which isn't lumbered by a history of polygamy. Unlike Utah and Arizona - where mainstream Mormons are a substantial proportion of the population, many who have polygamous ancestry dating back before the church banned polygamy in 1890 -

    Read more:

  37. Kody Brown has three wives, and a fourth on the way, but only one of them is legal.

    That's the premise of Sister Wives, a new reality show from TLC — home of little people and Kate Gosselin — that amounts to a real-life version of HBO's Big Love.
    The Brown family, fundamentalist Mormons from Utah, has 13 children between them, some from other marriages, and are keeping their lifestyle a secret, though not for much longer.

    Three of the wives were raised in "plural marriages," so they're used to sharing the limelight. How do they split their time? "We just have a schedule, I'm still trying to figure it out," says Kody, an advertising executive.

    "The kids feel awesome about this," says Robyn, 31, who as the series begins is about to become Kody's fourth wife, though she still lives apart. "They call him dad ... there is a constant party going on in this family." - Gary Levin

  38. I saw a poll the other day (don't hold me to the exact numbers) showing the leading GOP candidates for the 2012 election.

    Palin 27%
    Gindrich 26%
    Romney 25%
    Huckalby 15%
    Paul 7%

    If forced to make a choice amongst the above, I would hold my nose and vote for Romney. Luckily, I can't be forced to make that choice.

    If come 2012 this is the best the GOP has to offer, Mrs. Obama may be taking another vacation on Air Force Two in 2013.


  39. Polygamists should not be forced to sit in the back of the bus.

    No more!

  40. What business does government have telling three or more consenting adults what they can and cannot do?

  41. 13 year old females, they are not "consenting adults".

    But as so far as civil unions or marriage, why is polygomy amongst adults illegal.

    The God of Abraham certainly approves of those type relationships.

    Or he used to, back in the day.

  42. Out east T?

    Hmm. Sounds like the same judge that recently refused to grant a muslim women a restraining order against her muslim husband who had raped and brutalized her because according to the judge the man was only acting in accordance with the teachings of his religion.

    I would suggest it might have something to do with the water out east except we have numerous similar examples among the fruits and nuts sitting on the Ninth Circuit in California.


  43. "If come 2012 this is the best the GOP has to offer, Mrs. Obama may be taking another vacation on Air Force Two in 2013."

    That's my bet.

    I don't think Romney's bad. Obama v. Romney would actually be an interesting match-up. Not in a WWF kind of way, mind you. More like two Ken dolls at a Forensics Club meet.

  44. Romney wears celestial underwear.

    Real men wear none at all.

  45. George Demos, GOP candidate for Congress from New York, challenged Obama to stand up for the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero that was destroyed on 9-11 and has been blocked by the Port Authority (which took over zoning for the entire area) from being rebuilt.

    Don't hold your breath.

  46. Yes, we know.

    Go commando, bob.

  47. That rotting corpse of a sloth has more chance getting elected President of the United States in 2012 than does our resident Kenyan.

  48. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters finds that just 14% disagree and think the current identification system is sufficient. Just 4% are undecided on the issue.

    Hey, wait a minute.

    What is the current system?

    I got asked to show my driver's lisence the last time I voted.


  49. "That rotting corpse of a sloth has more chance getting elected President of the United States in 2012 than does our resident Kenyan."

    Mkay. Whatever you say.

  50. I demanded to show mine, and they said no ID required, and I said well it damn well should be.

  51. There's NO good news on the horizon, Trish. I'd bet every dollar I have and will ever have that Obama's toast in 2012.

  52. "There's NO good news on the horizon, Trish. I'd bet every dollar I have..."

    Well, we could make an actual wager.

  53. Rasmussan
    52% Believe Americans are Basically Honest

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    It's often said that honesty is the best policy, and most Americans think their fellow countrymen follow that ideal.

    A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 52% of American adults believe people in this country are basically honest. Thirty percent (30%) disagree, and 18% are not sure.

    However, 65% of Adults say the average American is less honest than he or she was 25 years ago. Twenty-six percent believe the level of honesty is about the same, but only five percent (5%) think Americans have gotten more honest since then.

    There's basic agreement on both the questions across all demographic categories.

    bob thinks there's a little larceny in everybody.

  54. Yeah, let's bet a wad over the internet. :)

    What could go wrong?

  55. If you inflict enough pain on the bad guys, they will go away. It has been proven time and time again. However, the bad guys know we are not willing to inflict enough of the pain required to make them go away.

    This was realized and notated by the bad guys right after Clinton's little fight with the Skinnies in Somalia.

    We have become squeamish and will continue to pay for it until we decide to re-grow our balls.

  56. The next time you're babysitting the 4 yr. old grandchild teach it how to play cards. War, or something.

    Odds are approaching 100% that the little darling will be trying to cheat you before the game is up.

    People are, by nature, cheaters.

  57. No, I wasn't thinking a wad.

    Something more interesting than that.

  58. Johnny Rotten Makes Some Sense, Stands Up For Israel

    Now there's a neo-con punk rocker I might like. Never heard of him til now. Nice name too.

  59. "...and will continue to pay for it until we decide to re-grow our balls."

    Bob has them and even immerses them in the cold stream unprotected.

    He is the go-to guy on balls.

  60. Or a passel, or a slew?

  61. And, man, do they tighten up, when I do.

    I'm goin' back to bed before I get in trouble.

  62. Cardinal Richelieu: "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

    (Just came across that quote and it seemed appropriate. I have just pulled out my charts and am beginning Virgo. Richelieu, by the way, was a Virgo.)


  63. "I have just pulled out my charts and am beginning Virgo."

    This actually fills me with dread.

  64. Bob has them and even immerses them in the cold stream unprotected.

    Must you remind us?

  65. I'm goin' back to bed...

    That's a good idea....

    BTW - How's the smoking cessation going?

  66. Gag: If you inflict enough pain on the bad guys, they will go away. It has been proven time and time again.

    The Japs never "went away" no matter how much pain we inflicted on them, we had to kill all of them on Iwo Jima and Saipan and the like. Terrorists are cockroaches. I don't want to inflict pain on cockroaches and hope they go away, I want to kill them.

  67. Saudi Arabia's "vast reserves" are supposed to Save us. So, why are they producing almost 300,000 Barrels/Day LESS than they did one year ago?

    I'm looking at June, 2009 vs June 2010 (the last month for which we have numbers.) You, almost have to look at oil production YOY for the same month due to rhythms of field maintenance, etc.

  68. Maybe because demand is down?

  69. "Something more interesting than that..."

    Be careful Ruf, I suspect this has something to do with a hat she has been trying to get rid of.


  70. "Must you remind us?"


    And that was one of the most weirdly charming Bar threads ever.

  71. "This actually fills me with dread."

    Well it should.

    Since our friend left, I have been looking for a new foil.

    Doug is the obvious choice since he seemed always ready to tussel; however, he seems to have mellowed a little. Plus with the time difference, his appearances here are kind of unpredictable and all he seems to have time for is posting a number of articles, a couple small insults, and then goodbye. Unlike the rest of us, the boy must have actually gotten a life.

    Anon was always good for a tiff, but he seems to have departed with his friend.

    I mispelled the word "absence" in a previous post hoping you would call me out but you must have missed it. Disappointing.


  72. Obama Movies:

    * All Quiet On The Economic Front
    * Apocalypse Dow
    * As Good As It Gets
    * Barry Potter and the Deathly Panels
    * Battleship Contemptkin
    * Bridge on the River Why?
    * Citizen Kenyan
    * Crouching Tiger Hidden Taxes
    * Dick Taxy
    * Dirty Barry
    * Enemy of the States
    * E.T. The Extra Teleprompter
    * Fistful of Tax Dollars
    * Force Ten From Nairobi
    * Invasion of the Income Snatchers
    * Lost In Taxation
    * Master and Commander: The Far Side of the Left
    * Natural Born Kenyans
    * New Nightmare
    * No Country For Old Men
    * Obama Jones and the Fox Crusade
    * Obama Python and the Epic Phail
    * Obammie and Clyde
    * Raiders of the Last Cent
    * Rebel Without A Clue
    * Swindler's List
    * Tax Bandits
    * Taxes Chain Saw Massacre
    * Tax Hard with a Vengeance
    * Taxy Driver
    * Terms of Entitlement
    * The Adventures of Robbin' 'Hood
    * The Incredible Shrinking Polls
    * The Jerk
    * The Last of the Maohicans
    * The Left Side Story
    * The Left Stuff
    * The Lost Emperor
    * The Man Who Shot Liberty
    * The Man Who Would Be King
    * The Red Badge of College
    * There's Nothing About Barry
    * The Taxorcist
    * The Wrath of Con
    * This Is Wallet Tap
    * TOTUS: Artificial Intelligence
    * Treasure of the Sierra Club

  73. Nope, Demand is UP 954,000 barrels/day. Don't forget to include Venezuela. You'll have to use May's number. June wasn't available.


  74. Cardinal Richelieu: "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

    I suppose that I would have no mercy from the good cardinal for having started this.

  75. And, much More important, Oil "Prices" are up.

  76. As for betting on 2012 - let's just say Trish has caught me hyperbolating. :)

    I don't wear hats, anyway.

  77. Bastard.

    Well, heck.

    I already had the post drawn up in my head. (Sometimes drawing up two or three in advance like a chess game or like someone with too much time on his hands. Sometimes I scare myself.)

    Now the post is wasted.


  78. Okay, so maybe they were overproducing a year ago, and it went into floating storage.

  79. Crude prices have been trending down.

  80. Mexico's GDP is growing at 7.6%, while ours is anemic at 2.4%.

    Pretty soon they will build a fence to keep us from moving south.

  81. Oil prices YTD

    Plus, factor in the latest fear of a double-dip. I read that factory orders are declining again.

  82. Ever wonder why mature economies slow?

    Excess capacity is a major barrier to investment and since most of our economic growth is dependent on investment, government should do nothing that discourages it especially when there is excess capacity in production. Excess capacity is the prime impediment to investment.

    The growth theory developed by Sir William Petty, has some perverse consequences. Petty compared economies to that of a human with rapid growth in youth and slowing to a crawl in later middle age.

    Applying Petty's theory, the best way to fix the economy is to kill it and become reborn. Destroyed German cities and industry after WWII worked quite nicely.

    An example would be Florida housing and construction.

    It would only take a force 5 hurricane to come ashore in the Keys and rake the coast twenty miles inland till it got to Savannah Georgia, do a 360 towards Cuba, looping over the Gulf to recharge and then head to Pensacola.

    All would be well in the Florida housing and construction business.

  83. Israel: Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant totally unacceptable

    Of course they will now proceed to accept it, just as we accepted North Korea's unacceptable nuclear weapons tests.

  84. $50 billion in damage would require at least that amount to rebuild and over a fairly short period of time.

    $200,000 in spending should easily create one job. Do the math and our force 5 scenario would create 250,000 jobs.

    In the bizarre world of economics, a simultaneous 8.2 earthquake slightly off the California coast and an associated tsunami would be the best of all possible worlds.

  85. ...especially regarding the Doug problem.

  86. but then we would be short one barkeep. Let's try something else.

  87. Devastation on that scale would bankrupt the insurance companies and leave a lot of people "wiped out."

  88. Economics is indifferent to the casualties.

  89. Who is the Flatulent Bloviator?


    The only reminder we need.

  90. We don't need casualties. We just need some time. Time to get credit flowing, again. Time for the Animal Spirits to get built back up.

    Once that happens we'll have to solve a couple of problems, energy being the biggest, and baddest among them. The problems are solvable. Once we get our heads out of our asses.

  91. Won't Obama just blame Bushehr on Bush?

  92. Instead of taking out the Iranian 'nuklar' plants we need to take out Iranian leadership...

    Judging by Rufus' Oil Demand chart, Iran needs nuclear power 'bigtime' unfortunately they are lead by 'big mouth'.

    How about a little more subversion?


  93. Economics is indifferent to the casualties.

    That may be true but the victim aren't.

    But, you're right, much of the Florida east coast is looking a little 'frayed at the edges'. I always thought that a rising sea level would be a very good thing for redevelopment of the Florida shoreline but a Granddaddy hurricane would be the quickest way.

  94. "Instead of taking out the Iranian 'nuklar' plants..."

    Yeah, I think this is what the Admin was banking on. Or is banking on. The former and the present.

    Not gonna happen.

  95. Time for the Animal Spirits to get built back up.

    There are men making lots of money as we speak. There are always opportunities for those with a keen eye and the temperament to act.

  96. Bolton noted that he doesn’t “have a clue” as to whether Israel would actually attack, but he said, “If Israel was right to destroy the Osiraq reactor, is it right to allow this one to continue? You can’t have it both ways.”

    Bolton on Israel and Iran

    The quote was to the Jerusalem Post. So Bolton is saying Israel, you attacked a nuclear plant once so you have to attack this one or there is no justification for the first attack.

    You can't have it both ways.

    No consideration for how things have changed since the time of the Osiraq reactor and now. Some of the considerations are mentioned in the Jerusalem Post articles and others of which have been mentioned in articles posted here over the past couple of days.

    Yet Bolton lectures Israel over a policy decision which may be the biggest that will be made by the current government there.

    Bolton's harangues are funny when directed at the UN. They cease to be when directed at the Israeli government at a moment of crisis.


  97. Trish, what do you think of all this noise about Lebanon, Hesbollah et al preparing for war?

  98. "Trish, what do you think of all this noise about Lebanon, Hesbollah et al preparing for war?"

    The threat is less now I think than it was six months ago.

  99. Was he lecturing Israel? I didn't pick that up from your link, Q.

  100. Here's the basic problem with Iran having nuclear weapons.

    Spirituality at it's very very best. :(

    Finished reading my dotter's buddha books. If you've wondered why there are no, or very few, Buddhist temples or shrines in India, think muzzie. The Hindus fought back, while the Buds got slaughtered, or migrated east, and north to Tibet. This was a long time ago.

  101. Was he lecturing Israel? I didn't pick that up from your link, Q.

    Perhaps I'm reading him wrong.

    I say he is basically saying, "Hey Israel you attacked Osiraq. If you feel you were right and justified in doing that then there is no excuse for not taking out this plant. You can't have it both ways."

    The quote wasn't here on Fox. It was in a Jerusalem Post article. So he wasn't talking to us. He was talking to Israel.

    He ignores a lot of issues that make the two situations different.

    Hey, if I'm wrong in my view that's fine. But that's the way I read the article.


  102. Bolton.

    Guy's nothing more than a provocateur.

  103. It's a damn sad day for me when Kentucky Coal Country Has More Elk than our once flourishing Lolo herd. Though I'm glad they are making a comeback in Kentucky.

  104. Bolton, I could never take him seriously. What have I missed?

  105. Top This For Good Wholesome Family Entertainment

    Kinda fit the times though, as Europe does seem to be committing suicide.

  106. I like to think I give it a good name.

  107. Europe, suicide?

    Are you totally insane?

    Germany is booming, both economically and politically. Their elections are fair and free.
    And Germany leads Europe. That amounts to suicide?

    The French, they are immersed in the nuclear program you regard as the finest in all the whirled, one for US to model.
    That amounts to suicide?

    Explain this supposed Europeon suicide, the symptoms that you see that would cause such an effect.

    Shit, the Europeons are still colonizing Arabia.
    Now that may be suicidal.
    But only for the Europeons that migrate, to Arabia.

  108. To figure out where people are, he asks three questions: Whose judgment do you trust more: that of the American people or America's political leaders? Has the federal government become its own special interest group? Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors? Those who identify with the government on two or more questions are defined as the political class.

    Before the financial crisis of late 2008, about a tenth of Americans fell into the political class, while some 53% were classified as in the mainstream public. The rest fell somewhere in the middle. Now the percentage of people identifying with the political class has clearly declined into single digits, while those in the mainstream public have grown slightly. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents all agree with the mainstream view on Mr. Rasmussen's three questions. "The major division in this country is no longer between parties but between political elites and the people," Mr. Rasmussen says.

    His recent polls show huge gaps between the two groups. While 67% of the political class believes the U.S. is moving in the right direction, a full 84% of mainstream voters believe the nation is moving in the wrong one. The political class overwhelmingly supported the bailouts of the financial and auto industries, the health-care bill, and the Justice Department's decision to sue Arizona over its new immigration law. Those in the mainstream public just as intensely opposed those moves.

  109. "The French, they are immersed in the nuclear program you regard as the finest in all the whirled, one for US to model.
    That amounts to suicide?"

    The French.

    I walked in the other night and my wife is watching this cable program. It runs for about a half hour and shows couples searching for vacation homes in Europe.

    In this one, the real estate agent is showing a couple this rustic estate somewhere in France. He takes them to a second floor bathroom and the woman complains, "There is no sink."

    The agent smiles and in explanation says, "The French."

    I had to laugh.


  110. Mr. Rasmussen tells me that understanding the tea party is essential to predicting what the country's political scene will look like. "This will be the third straight election in which people vote against the party in power," he says. "The GOP will benefit from that this year, but 75% of Republicans say their representatives in Congress are out of touch with the party base. Should they win big this November, they will have to move quickly to prove they've learned lessons from the Bush years."

    They have not even begun to ask the correct questions, of the Bush years, let alone learned the lessons of their incompetency.

    Just listen to the GOP leaders, lost politicos, each and every one.


  111. U.S. restaurants starved for business

    With consumers and businesses keeping a lid on expenses, more and more small and mid-size restaurants are throwing in their dish towels and closing up shop.

    Southern California lost nearly a thousand more restaurants than it gained during the 12 months that ended in March, representing a net 2% drop that was twice the national average, according to the New York research firm NPD Group.

    Nearly all the closings were among independently owned restaurants: small, family businesses that just couldn't hold on as customers held back. Earlier in the year restaurants reported modest increases in business, but the jumps in sales were too little too late for many.

  112. The GOP can vote McConnell and Boehner out of their leadership positions. Until they do that they will continue to founder.

    Unlikely to happen.


  113. In a survey, the group found that even veteran animators in Japan typically made less than $50,000 annually. According to government data from 2005, the pay falls short of the average annual Japanese household. The average worker ages 40 to 49 made nearly $60,544, while an animator in the same age bracket pulled in nearly $47,000.

    This economic hardship has led to high job attrition.

    "Only one in 10 animators stay in the profession after the first three years," Okeda said.

    The government has long supported domestic film productions by offering grants of up to $585,700 to cover production expenses. Now, worried about the long-term health of the anime industry, the government is becoming more aggressive in trying to save anime.

    Experts warn that Japan's estimated $2.5-billion anime industry is not sustainable without continued government help. In April, Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs earmarked nearly $2.4 million for new career training programs for Japan's mid-level animators to help them gain more skills in the film and TV industry.

    "Hopefully, we can protect Japanese anime with more government initiatives to come," said Hamano, the University of Tokyo professor. "There is finally a consciousness by the government to protect and preserve this art form."

  114. Boehner was some weird shade of orange, last week or so.
    Bizarre physical appearance for a "National" political leader.

    Really pretty strange looking.
    Maybe just poor makeup, over a period of a few days, but golly ...

    That and the GOP apologizing to BP over Obama strong arming for that $20 BN damages contingency fund.

    The 14th Amendment bullshit.

    They've already gone over the edge. There is no fix for stupid.

  115. We cleaned out all the dead wood after the last election fiasco.

    ...or at least that was the plan.

    Ingraham is not amused.

  116. Rubio '12 would be our best hope.
    That and publicly censuring Graham for bringing up the 14th.

  117. I think orange is bottled suntan stuff.

  118. Rasmussen posts polls that differ from the rest.

    Four months later, the rest of the polls come around to his numbers.

  119. "I had to laugh."

    No you didn't.

    My dad was always put off by the saved bathwater in the tub of some French friends where we spent summer vacation time.
    ...she was the Governess, and he was the pastry chef at the hearst castle.
    I was her little Doggie.

    Mr. Lovey ended up running his Studebaker into a large pine tree.
    A regular at Camozzi's, the most popular bar in Cambria.

    She still cooked on a large wood stove.

  120. Nothing there, but a denunciation of your claim that there are 5 million Muslims in the US.

    From Investors Business Daily:

    We've been told for years that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America, and that the size of the Muslim population here has swelled to 6 million to 7 million. A new study pops that myth.
    The Pew Research Center just concluded an exhaustive scientific study of the size of the U.S. Muslim population. It was able to identify only 2.35 million Muslims — less than half the figure commonly cited by Muslim activists.

    Beyond that, there was nothing at that site that was verifiable, that was not religious agitation and false reporting.

  121. Nothing in that faith and fertility, bob. Not about suicide.

    The story is about cultural sustainability, as against unbridled and unsustainable growth.

    That is the root cause of the Europeon "problem". They more fully bought into the "Population Bomb" story line.

    But that is not tantamount to sucide.

    The failure of the Abrahamic religions, in Europe, to maintain social cohesiveness through a religious dismissal of pharmaceutical birth control, that is not cultural suicide.

    The Israeli, who are definitely religious and Europeon, also suffer from low birth rates, when compared to their Islamic brethren there in Arabia.

    Are the Israeli also on a path of cultural and demographic suicide, in your estimation?

  122. You are extrapolating poor reporting to even worse conclusions, based upon fear mongering and out right lies of the propagandists twisting the poor reporting.

    Little wonder you are depressed

  123. Ann Coulter called World Net Daily 'a bunch of fake Christians' for pushing the Birther thing, this after WND dropped Coulter for speaking to GOProud's HomoCon event.

  124. Fear of Islam and things Islamic just drives your thinking beyond any rational position.

    Seems to be part and parcel of this continued "War with Islam" fallacy.

    Just pure insanity, when viewed from any perspective that is based upon the reality of US behavior.

  125. As in believing that the Bushehr nuclear plant firing up is not in the "Best Interest" of the United States, when it definitely is.

    It exemplifies the type of program that we desire for the Iranians to have. One where they do not control the full fuel cycle.

    The Bushehr nuclear plant is exactly what we have been campaigning for, in regards limiting Iran's nuclear capability.

    We are getting what we asked for.
    Get used to it.

  126. This is what "Victory" in both Iraq and Iran looks like.

    Learn it, Live it, Love it!

  127. Last combat troops are coming home from Iraq, a former President greets them. The current one vacations in MA.

  128. When children are not an economic asset, but a liability, and birth control is available, women will have less children.

    That is what "Women's Rights" is all about.

    The thing that bob has claimed to triumph, Women's Rights", he now claims is cause of cultural suicide.

    Women, rather than their State or Religion, are in control of their own biology.

  129. Letting women decide.

    That, according to bob, is cultural suicide.

  130. If there was any proof that the President was less effective while on vacation, I'd support his continued time a way from the office.

    I do not think, though, that any such correlation exists.

    I do not think it makes any difference to the quality of governance where he sits, during the course of the day.

  131. The more educated the women become, the fewer children they have.

    The more affluent women become, the fewer children they have.

    The better the health care system is, the lower the infant mortality rates, the fewer children women will have.

    The greater the woman's right to control her own biology, the fewer children she will have.

  132. Has little to do with the religion of the women, except where the Religion controls the biology, and the woman does not.

    But if one advocates for "Women's Rights" then one is advocating for cultural suicide.

    According to bob's view, today.

  133. The more the male enjoys sex,
    the less likely the permanent partner is to oblige.

  134. In bob's view, the strength of the culture is measured in fertility, birth rates and population growth.

    Not quality of life.

    So he views the Islamoids as superior, culturally, thus his fear of them?

  135. The more the male likes his coffee black, the more cream the female will pour into hers.

  136. Not only the religion of peace,
    but the religion of LIFE.

  137. Doug: The more the male likes his coffee black, the more cream the female will pour into hers.

    Got Milk?

  138. I really like John Bolton and the arguments about the 14th amendment not intending anchor babies.

  139. I was her little Doggie.

    So damn cute.


  140. The logic of the argument, that the Muslims must act more like "us" while we are on the road to self acknowledged cultural suicide, that still escapes me.

    And the Islamoids do not want to take that trail. Understandable.

    That someone would argue that we should go war, to force our suicidal course upon the Muslims, and that the Muslims were barbaric to resist such a course, beyond bizarre.

  141. In bob's view, the strength of the culture is measured in fertility, birth rates and population growth.

    Not quality of life.

    So he views the Islamoids as superior, culturally, thus his fear of them?

    Jesus, rat. Don't you ever give it a rest?


  142. You favor then, whit, paternal DNA tests for every baby born in the US?

  143. The results of which, are public documents.

  144. We would have to identify the parents of every child born in the US.

    How many marriages will that crumble?

  145. Did bob's grandfather have the proper immigration documentation?

    Did yours, or mine?

    How far back are we going to go, in our search for proper breeding documentation?

  146. While most of you fellas will argue we should act more like the Muslims, than like US.

    Bizarre, truly.

  147. No need for paternity DNA tests.

    If the 14th Amendment never intended to provide for anchor babies and some Justice in 1982 mistakenly or otherwise claimed it did, we are not bound to his stupid opinion.

    We simply say that from this date forward, you must show citizenship of a parent.

  148. This is the way most other countries in the world do it and is particularly important if we are going to become increasingly socialist.

  149. Tape that Maury Show some day and watch it, at your leisure. That piece of popular culture, DNA testing on TV, exemplifies a truly dysfunctional people, and you want to bring that to every child born, in the country?

    Having to prove that the father was a legal US resident, so the child could be a US citizen.

    What are you thinking?

  150. I am not thinking that...

    You are projecting, Mr. Alinsky.

  151. We are not "Other Countries".

    That is what we rejected, out of hand. Spent thousands of lives, across Europe and Asia, to defeat those "Other Countries" standards.

    You'd surrender to internal fascism, because the French, Germans and Swedes did?

    Heaven help US.

  152. So it's Fascist to demand proof of citizenship?

  153. Dem Jews/GOP Jews WAS far more than 3 to 1 BUT NOW IT'S LESS than 2 to 1. I guess having a Muslim President helped.

  154. That is the legality that the 14th Amendment change would become.

    Paternal testing, by the Federals.

    I have read claims, here at the Elephant Bar, that Obama was not a US citizen, even if born in Hawaii, because of his father's nationality.

    We'd have to know the father of every child, to assure legality of residence.

    We have the technology.

  155. No it wouldn't require any such crap. But if you're opposed to it, you might want to claim that it will.

  156. Yes, it demands supremacy of the State over the individual.

    An official version of what is a "Real American" rather than long established birth rights bestowed upon individuals.

    The Supremacy of the State.
    That is fascism, ask Mussolini.

    An Obama will wield the power.
    Be careful what you wish for.

  157. It would certainly require paternal DNA testing.

    How else would citizenship be bestowed, if not simply by birth, but by parentage?

    That is what changing the 14th Amendment means, whit. How else could you tell who the father was, and his status?

  158. And Equal Rights demands that the father be known and held as equal to the mother.

    If the father was not a legal resident, the child could not be, either.

    Equality under the law, amigo.
    Not just the mamas would count.


  159. You cannot profile the folks,
    gotta test EVERYONE.

    Think it through.

  160. What do we do with children born without documented fathers?

    They cannot be considered real citizens, not without a father.

  161. Nonsense. The parents simply provide proof of citizenship. No DNA or paternity testing required.

  162. Prove the man that claims to be father really is. No marriage is required, so anyone could set up a nice little fatherhood business.

    Any legal resident claims to be the father, of an undocumented mother, and the kid qualifies as a citizen.

    No test required?

    Why even bother?

  163. Opening a can of worms, over a problem that is purely rhetorical.

    Write another law, the folks are still afraid.

    Even after Victory in Iraq.

  164. How many "anchor babies" are born, each year?

    How great is the number that we have to Amend the Constitution to address the issue of American birth rights?

  165. I agree.

    In fact, why bother to have a border at all or for that matter, a nation state.

    Let's all just become citizens of the whirled, free as a bird to come and go as we please, without a care in the whirled...

  166. You are a real Republican, whit.

    Right there with John McCain and GW Bush.

  167. All that has to be done, whit, is to take control of the border. Document those that enter the country.

    Pretty simple stuff.

    No Constitutional change required.

    Just control the border, we have 1.5 million soldiers, sailors and marines, figure that would be enough to control the frontier, but that is not the case.
    Certainly was not with the GOP in charge, nor now with the Democrats.

    The Federals are failing, so write another law.

  168. Well, I'm pretty sure of one thing: Running against Babies has never been a "Great" Campaign Strategy.

    One of the most interesting Demographic numbers I've seen, recently, is "Mexico's" 1.3 Fertility Rate.

  169. All you have to do is tell Obama that every illegal that crosses the border will vote republican and he'll have it sealed so tight an ant won't be able to sneak by. ( :

  170. All that has to be done, whit, is to take control of the border.

    Exactly, but since that isn't happening, let's discuss what else might be done.