“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, November 06, 2010

"We thought Obama is a trained orator and skilled in the art of mass address with his continuous eye contact,"

Sorry India, he is not what he seems to be.

Obama to use teleprompter for Hindi speech
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, November 06, 2010

Namaste India! In all likelihood that will be silver-tongued Barack Obama's opening line when he addresses the Indian parliament next week. But to help him pronounce Hindi words correctly will be a teleprompter which the US president uses ever so often for his hypnotising speeches.

According to parliament sources, a technical team from the US has helped the Lok Sabha secretariat install textbook-sized panes of glass around the podium that will give cues to Obama on his prepared remarks to 780 Indian MPs on the evening of Nov 8.

It will be a 20-minute speech at Parliament House's Central Hall that has been witness to some historic events, including first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's "tryst with destiny" speech when India became independent.

Obama will make history for more than one reason during the Nov 6-9 visit. This will be the first time a teleprompter will be used in the nearly 100-feet high dome-shaped hall that has portraits of eminent national leaders adorning its walls.

Indian politicians are known for making impromptu long speeches and perhaps that is why some parliament officials, who did not wish to be named, sounded rather surprised with the idea of a teleprompter for Obama.

"We thought Obama is a trained orator and skilled in the art of mass address with his continuous eye contact," an official, who did not wish to be identified because of security restrictions, said.

Obama is known to captivate audiences with his one-liners that sound like extempore and his deep gaze. But few in India know that the US president always carries the teleprompter with him wherever he speaks.

Teleprompters, also called autocue or telescript, are mostly used by TV anchors to read out texts scrolling on a screen and attached to a camera in front of them.

Parliament officials have had a busy week preparing for a red carpet welcome for Obama and his wife Michelle. Parliament House these days looks fresh with a new coat of paint, new carpeting and new green plants in mud vases decorating the corridors.

Sources said the Obamas will pose for a photograph with Indian leaders at one of the three well laid-out courtyards that have lush green lawns and fountains.

On the dais in the Central Hall will be Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The sources said the event will be an hour-long affair and will start with Ansari's welcome address and end with a vote of thanks by Meira Kumar after the US president's address.

The Obamas would sign the Golden Book, the visitor's diary in parliament, before leaving the eight-decade old building.

"Thank god they won't eat anything or have tea or coffee from our canteen. We would have to go through a tough security drill otherwise," quipped an employee.

Security managers in parliament also had a tough job for the high profile visit even as the house is already highly protected following a terrorist attack in 2001.

A team of US security officials, including from the CIA, were in the Indian capital and visited the complex to review security measures to be taken during the parliament event.

Parliament security officials have decided that barring special invitees and former MPs, no visitor would be allowed inside when Obama addresses the MPs.

Only journalists who have permanent radio-frequency passes would be allowed inside the Central Hall to cover the event.


  1. .
    Hey rat.

    While looking up something on Yankee Traders, I came across this URL.

    Desert Rat Scrapbook

    Thought you might be interested if you hadn't seen it before.

    (Didn't see any stories listed about bear wrangling.)


  2. India must be really dangerous.

    I imagine the Indian people are getting somewhat insulted and from the tone of this article put out and put off.

  3. Rush L. during the campaign of '08 was the first to offer to debate the teleprompter anywhere, anytime.

    I've seen clips of the guy using the prompter before a 4th grade class.

    Quirk used the written equivalent right here on the blog, the scriptiprompter.

    Then there's the horoprompter....

  4. Here's some good news
    SAN'A, Yemen – A Yemeni judge ordered police Saturday to find a radical U.S.-born cleric "dead or alive" after the al-Qaida-linked preacher failed to appear at his trial for his role in the killing of foreigners.

  5. WASHINGTON – Western officials are crediting a Saudi intelligence tip they received in early October, nearly three weeks before terrorists in Yemen managed to smuggle mail bombs onto airplanes, with heading off what could have been a series of catastrophic explosions aboard jetliners.
    The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility Friday for sending the two bombs addressed to synagogues in the U.S. and intercepted in Dubai and Britain.

  6. whit, the interesting thing?

    no one is talking about the other 24 packages...

  7. nor about the UPS cargo plane that crashed last month in the middle east...

  8. Al Qaeda is taking credit for downing that plane but 'authorities' have been reluctant to give it to them.

  9. Q, bring your last two on previous post here. They are very interesting.

  10. Why would those packages be addressed to a synagogue? Wouldn't that automatically send up a red flag on a package coming from Yemen.

    Any theories on that?

  11. We never learned what caused the crash of that French airplane over the Atlantic a couple years ago.

  12. OT but interesting to me. In the local news: radioactive rabbit found at Hanford, Washington. Back in the days of my wife's bridge club, one of the husbands was an entomologist at the U. Said all the insects out that way were radioactive. Still must be, if the rabbits are.

    They weren't very careful out there in the early days.

  13. .
    Lest we forget that we have seen a lot of this stuff before.

    French manufacturers press for a measure of free trade that will give them a foreign market comparable to that of their envied British rivals. A commercial treaty is signed with London; English tariffs are lowered on French wheat, wine, and luxury goods; French tariffs are lowered on English textiles; but British imports flood the French market, undercut domestic prices, idle the looms at Troyes, and bring widespread unemployment, producing demands for renewal of tariff protection (see 1788).

    Shays' Rebellion in western Massachusetts aims to thwart further farm foreclosures in the continuing U.S. economic depression. Heavy land taxes and mounting debts have bankrupted many farmers; hundreds have been taken to court, threatened with prison, and burdened with high legal fees. Fearing that they will be reduced to the status of tenant farmers, they call themselves "Regulators" and come together under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays, 39, who served at the Battle of Lexington, distinguished himself in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and later saw action at Saratoga and Stony Point. Some 800 farmers organize themselves into squads and companies, arm themselves with pitchforks, and prepare to march on debtors' courts, demanding circulation of paper currency. Governor James Bowdoin and Boston merchants use their own funds to field a state militia. Bowdoin warns that any interference with the legal system will "frustrate the great end of government—the security of life, liberty, and property." The militia prevents seizure of the Springfield arsenal September 26, but the rebels succeed in having the state supreme court adjourn without returning indictments against them. Scattered fighting will continue through the winter (see 1787).

    Rhode Island farmers burn their grain, dump their milk, and leave their apples to rot in the orchards in a farm strike directed against Providence and Newport merchants who have refused to accept the paper money that has depreciated to the point of being virtually worthless. The strike has little effect, since 90 percent of Americans raise their own food, growing peas, beans, and corn in their gardens and letting their hogs forage in the woods for acorns.

    A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia becomes law January 16 (see 1779; 1785). James Madison said 2 years ago, "Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate [liberty] needs them not." He has reintroduced Thomas Jefferson's measure, it has passed with only one minor change, and Jefferson will rank it among his three best achievements, the others being the Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the University of Virginia (see education, 1819).

    Paris sends the Abbé Dicquemare to report on the state of oyster beds in the gulf at the mouth of the Seine. The naturalist reports that the oysters have diminished by half "in the last forty years . . . The real causes of the deficit are the maneuvers of cupidity and the insufficiency of laws" (see 1681).

    Montreal's Molson brewery opens outside the walled city, where English-born brewer John Molson uses eight bushels of barley for malting and brews four hogsheads of ale and beer per week for the 20-week brewing season, a total of 4,230 gallons.


  14. ISRAEL is developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners.

    You step into a heavy Kevlar steel booth. It will not X-ray, you but will detonate any explosive device you have on you.

    This as a win for everyone. No need to remove shoes. No unnecessary profiling. It also eliminates the costs of long & expensive trials for captured terror suspects.

    It's so simple. It's brilliant.
    In the airport terminal you will hear a muffled explosion. Shortly after, an announcement comes over the PA system, "Attention passengers - we now have a seat available on flight number _".

  15. .
    Some of the points in the following article are obviously true. Others I'm not sure of; however, I found it kind of interesting.

    Potectionism, Free Trade, and the Civil War

    Early American Experience

    The experiences of the British blockades of both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 impressed upon many that local manufacturing was a necessity. The nation's founding fathers, in particular, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, were quick to see that the new United States, with its industrious people and rich resources, would have a role to play in this industrial revolution.

    Some examples of early American manufacturing prowess include the Springfield Armory, founded by George Washington, the Kentucky Rifle and the Cotton Gin…

    …The Free Trade America

    Today is different, of course, the United States is a free trading nation. Democrats since the reconstruction have staunchly advocated free trade, and in the 1980s Republicans capitulated and followed suit. The great fires of the iron mills in Pittsburgh and Bethlehem have been quenched. The mighty rubber factories of Akron are being converted into apartments, and the sprawling centers of Detroit produce far fewer cars, for so many now are made in Japan, and in Korea, and China. The great electronics center of RCA in Camden is gone, while new chipmaking centers emerge in Taiwan and on the mainland.

    Protectionist rivals such as China, South Korea and Japan export broadly while they invent ways to keep their own markets closed. They carefully nurture their own industrial capacity as we Americans give ours away. New York City cannot even rebuild the World Trade Center, but in China, some of the worlds tallest buildings are under construction. Chinese shipyards now turn out the 28% of the world's merchant shipping, consisting of multitudes of modern 100,000 ton container ships. The United States produced just two commercial ships of greater than 20,000 tons. Is there any doubt that those rival shipyards might not produce more aircraft carriers, more submarines, and destroyers, than our own Norfolk Navy Yard's one carrier every five years, or one submarine every two years?

    Eerily, Americans still feel secure in their security. We are deluded into the false hope that our diminished capacity to barely claw out a dozen fighter aircraft and two ships per year will present a serious challenge to nations with the latent capacities to build them by the thousand, just as America herself once did.

    Free Trade?



  16. Those clever Jews. That's excellent.

  17. What is "Occupation" said...
    ISRAEL is developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners.

    You step into a heavy Kevlar steel booth. It will not X-ray, you but will detonate any explosive device you have on you.


  18. No shit, Quirk, that's almost exactly my mental image of you.

  19. I followed the loss of AF447 over the Atlantic.

    One of the early observations, quickly muzzled, was that there had been a "probing" mission the week before iirc.

    What was reported, again iirc, was that pets loaded into the cargo hold were not checked.

    The suspect area of failure of flight 447 corresponds to that area of the cargo hold where pets were stowed.

    Again, iirc, that story was advanced by attorneys representing some of the passengers' families.

    When some asked why news of that inquiry had disappeared others opined that it might be too close to the truth..


  20. Similar theories, as have been advanced here, on the "testing" nature of the UPS freighter crash in Dubai...


  21. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hosts, Deuce and Whit, for this blog.

    It's a refreshing mind clearer...

    The comments, while often clouded by bar room bull shit, many times cause these old brain synapses of mine to spark more than usual.

    Thanks all.


  22. Quirk,

    You once said that your time in the car industry "was fun while it lasted. And then it wasn't."

    I had meant to follow that up with a "meme" oriented comment. I can't find the link right now but I had read that the EU had mandated that cars must be designed to protect pedestrians in collisions.

    Where a template, much like NASCAR uses, was required for front end design.

    Thus the "generic appliance" look of most modern automobiles.

    Which helped to take away the quirkiness (no pun intended) and uniqueness of the various marques...

    What I found interesting was the possibility of some anonymous mid level bureaucrat changing the direction of automobile design.

    Unacknowledged and unnoticed.


  23. Thanks gnossos. I'll put your beer stein up on the shelf. There is always a stool open for you.

    I did not know that about the plane.

  24. Rat,

    Again, clearing the desk, but many times you remind me of a story told about an old family friend.

    He had purchased an old quarter horse. Ostensibly for stud, But again, according to the story, because of his love for the breed and the sport.

    This old horse, named after a Texan sheriff, iirc, was a famous racer. With an unmatched competitive spirit; he wanted to win. Every time.

    So, our friend brought him out West. And raced him a few more times. I'm guessing the horse was maybe 15, 16 years old at the time...

    In one of his last races, maybe his last, he was being passed by some young pony.

    The old guy just couldn't deal with that.

    He reached over and took a bite out of the offending youth's neck.

    Hung on for a bit as the story goes. Enough to discombobulate the colt and let the old guy win...


  25. GN, You're up there. You have been coming around a long time. You need to speak up more!

  26. Duece,

    One more compliment. (Although you haven't continued it - believe me I can understand why. The effort involved.)

    In the early stages of the redesign you had associated videos posted alongside the main story.

    I mentioned that I followed the AF flight 447 crash. I was in France at the time. And staying at a place that had lebenty dozen channels on cable.

    So I was able to watch the same story (there was also some puff up in the ME at the same time I believe) on different networks; Sky News, BBC, al Jazeera, CNN, CNBC, and France24.

    It was extremely interesting to see how differently the same story was reported by the different franchises...

    Here at home, limited by Comcast, I don't get that diversity. Unless I arduously search the web...

    It was fascinating, while there in France, to switch thru the channels and see entire aspects of a story completely ignored by one network or another...


  27. Reno is pretty good, going through Idaho like knife through butter 28-3 at half time, here at home too.

    That chimney is supposed to look like the state of Idaho.

  28. .
    That chimney is supposed to look like the state of Idaho.

    Of course.

    Funny how the mental image one creates can be so far from reality.

    Say it looks like some damage up there around Moscow.

    What's that big hole where the masonry is falling apart?


  29. I don't know Quirk. The original picture is not available to me right now, and I can't see this one well enough.

    From where that's at though, you get a stunning view of the Bitterroot Mountains and the Clearwater River Valley down below.

    Up around there in the old days were little towns - villages - scattered around. All gone now, with the coming of the automobile.

  30. The big square hole down at the bottom is the fireplace of course. You go over a mile or so to the east, you look straight down, down, down to the Palouse River. Might be a good place to hang glide.

  31. So, Stella B. Starlight is the Cleaning Lady!!!

    I did not know that.

  32. .
    I close my eyes
    Only for a moment, then the momen't gone
    All my dreams
    Pass before my eyes, a curiosity
    Dust in the wind
    All they are is dust in the wind Same old song
    Just a drop of water in an endless sea
    All we do
    Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
    Dust in the wind
    All we are is dust in the wind, ohh Now, don't hang on
    Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
    It slips away
    And all your money won't another minute buy
    Dust in the wind
    All we are is dust in the wind
    All we are is dust in the wind Dust in the wind
    Everything is dust in the wind
    Everything is dust in the wind
    The wind

    Kansas -- "Dust in the Wind"


  33. Wow, Q. What inspired that?

  34. I meant to say the Potlatch River, best keep my rivers straight.

  35. Oh, duh, I guess you're were reflecting on the transient nature of life.

    Maybe only leaving a chimney for a brief while.

  36. Talk of teleprompters reminds me of the France24 newsreaders.

    Always young and female. More often than not blond.

    Immaculately coiffed and clothed.

    They're placed behind a podium in a modernist studio setting.

    I found myself mesmerized by the convolutions of their seductively full (bruised?) lips as they mouthed those lascivious French syllables...

    So much so that maybe a week went by before I noticed that that "modernist" studio design, with mirrors everywhere, had an unexpected benefit.

    The mirrors were placed, and sometimes the camera angle switched, to give viewers a profile look at those leggy beauties.

    And those high tight haunches clenching and unclenching as they restlessly shifted from one high heel shod foot to the other high heel shod foot...

    Sulkily evidencing impatience (in my viewing mind) with the mundanity of this scripted nonsense. Anxious to be freed from the studio. And to live...


    (I am an old man...)


  37. All we are is dust in the wind


    Going to go watch Idaho's failing second half.

  38. You may be old but you're not dead yet.

  39. Selah, would you give us that link to your favorite French news reader?

  40. I don't know what inspired him to put that song up but it was my first choice last night before I decided to put up Skynard for you. I swear.

  41. That is a blue song, Mel. What would inspire you to post a sad song?

  42. They didn't blow away, they just moved to the city to be closer to Albertson's and the doctors and the movie theatre and the
    venereal goddesses of the silver screen.
    It's Idaho getting blown away, 42 - 17 now, and they fumbled the ball away again.

  43. Some people believe that I guess. And it is a sad song.

  44. I was just going through some artists and the song came up. I liked it and was going to post it and thought Skynard would be much better.

  45. The doctors used to come to the farms. Now the farmers go to the doctors.

  46. Under Obamacare there won't be any doctors.

  47. How about some Honky tonk blues

    Another one for the chief…

  48. 56 - 17. Not being able to stand it any longer, I turned it off. One of our duplex guys did score a touchdown today, though.

  49. So wait…where did you get the idea that Stella is the cleaning lady? Did I miss something?

  50. Stella just can't be The Cleaning Lady. It would ruin my day. I want to know too.

  51. Yesterday I drove through the Rocky Mountains on a two-lane state route. The drive was three hours give or take over a 5100 ft pass. Descending on the east side, I rounded a shallow curve just in time to see a doe turn back from the unfenced road followed by her two young ones. I would say at least a third of the 160-mile trip was dedicated wildlife crossing.

    My heart was pounding pretty good because the turnaround episode was maybe twenty ft from the road. That doe was ready to make a run for it.

    I lowered my rate of speed just in case and drove a few more miles. On the other side of the road a couple of hunters were adjusting the sights on their rifles - an older guy and a kid that looked 12-15 yrs old.

    My view is as long as the kill is used for food, the equation balances out. But I have never seen the sport in automatic rifles.

  52. Better to get nailed by an automatic rifle than pulled down by a pack of wolves. That's my view.

    Always take quick and easy over agonizing.

  53. I was talking "sport", not the ten best ways to die.

  54. 63 - 17 Final.

    A real shellacking.

  55. that would break my heart.

    We best not tell then.

    Honky Tonk Woman. That brought smile.

  56. Being a compassionate man, I was thinking from the animal's point of view.

    None of them die from old age, in bed, surrounded by family and friends and parish pastor.

  57. bob actually said:
    It would ruin my day. I want to know too.

    Wouldn't want to do that either.

    What say you CL?

  58. As long as we know who's who the how and why doesn't matter.

  59. I need a favor from Ash or Sam. I am in search of something that is out of stock in the US and in short supply worldwide. I understand there's a chance I can find it downunder or in Canada.

  60. I hope Trish comes back.

    Nap time.

  61. Bob - your stability is fluctuating again.

    What say you CL?

    About what?

  62. I think the Stella avatar fits some of you joy boys more than it does me.

    Sleep tight.

    Don't let the bed bugs bite.

  63. Is your laptop cooking your testicles?

    By Frederik Joelving

    NEW YORK | Fri Nov 5, 2010 5:18pm EDT

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Whoever invented the 'laptop' probably didn't worry too much about male reproductive health.

    Turns out, unsurprisingly, that sitting with a computer on your lap will crank up the temperature of your nether regions, which could affect sperm quality.

    And there is little you can do about it, according to the authors of a study out today in the journal Fertility and Sterility, short of putting your laptop on a desk.

    The researchers hooked thermometers to the scrotums of 29 young men who were balancing a laptop on their knees. They found that even with a lap pad under the computer, the men's scrotums overheated quickly.

    "Millions and millions of men are using laptops now, especially those in the reproductive age range," said Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, a urologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who led the new study.

    "Within 10 or 15 minutes their scrotal temperature is already above what we consider safe, but they don't feel it," he added.

    So far, no studies have actually tested how laptops impact men's fertility, said Sheynkin, and there is no bulletproof evidence that it would. But earlier research has shown that warming the scrotum more than one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) is enough to damage sperm.

  64. The laptop cooks the testicles
    The cell phone cooks the brain
    The microwave interrupts the pacemaker
    And the cell tower bathes the terrain

    We're beginning to live in an electromagnetic soup.

    And Whitman sang the Body Electric.

    Little did he know.


  65. Power is all there is
    Saith the wise woman disguised
    As the lowly cleaning lady
    And I affirm there are she continues
    Secret powerful men in cahoots
    Scheming to escape earth
    And its bloody ways
    And its history
    And our everyday quarrels
    By building a wonder rocket
    To shoot a select few
    Outta here
    Past Antares
    To begin a quest by these new
    For a paradise in space and time
    A paradise in the modes of our own perceptions
    Which have always failed us
    A stable view
    Only known to the few

  66. The laptop cooks the testicles
    The cell phone cooks the brain
    The microwave interrupts the pacemaker
    And the cell tower bathes the terrain

    You really do write this yourself.

    I half expect Jack Falstaff, Morton and Doll Tearsheets to walk through the Elephant door.

  67. I don't remember sharing that. It's still filed in my mind as a private suspicion ... bordering on certainty.

    But the evidence does seem to be accumulating that the species has not evolved to the point of sustainability.

    The Muslim contribution being so depressing and untimely.

    Thanks for that post WiO. In my more glum moods I will think of contained explosions. I can hear the cheering and applause in my head.

  68. Speaking of which, someone tweaked me not too long ago for the paranoid suggestion that 'things' could done under the radar.

    Rumor has it that the research coming out of Los Alamos is mind-bending.

    Or choose your own word. But in the midst of the financial, geopolitical and cultural chaos that assaults our conscious collective mind 24/7, isolated enclaves are proceeding with research and innovation. And it's being done quietly.

  69. CL, a fascinating slide show. It looks as if the secret to great and increasing wealth is holding US debt.

  70. US debt, the US contribution to World progress. No irony intended.

  71. CL, don't get started on Coast to Coast, the old Art Bell Show. You won't get any sleep from worrying about Area 51.


  72. You have to pay to play Deuce.

    RE Area 51: It was either Bill Clinton or George HW Bush who let slip to a reporter in casual conversation, you wouldn't believe it if I told you. Art Bell knows.

    I'm gone for awhile.

  73. Beam me up Scottie.

    My work here is done.