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January 15, 2010

Pentagon Steps Up Talks on Ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

A one-page memorandum drafted by staff members as a discussion point for the meeting said that the chiefs could adopt the view that “now is not the time” because of the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that the military would be better off delaying the start of the repeal process until 2011.

The same memorandum, according to a military official who has seen it, also said that “every indicator of opinion over the past 16 years shows movement toward nondiscrimination based on orientation” and that “in time the law will change.”

That’s a cop out. Now is when the bodies are needed. Especially those with critical skills. The memo is worded that way so the JCS can put off having to deal with the issue, then in two years when it comes up again, the answer will be we don’t need the bodies so leave it alone. Force them to take a stand and defend it.



Things are still horrible in Haiti but I heard on Fox that the US Navy and USMC should be on scene this morning. That will help a lot. I need to make a contribution to the Red Cross today.

Here is a question for the libertarians in the reading audience. Looking at the devastation in Haiti would the people there have been better or worse off with the infringement on their freedoms caused by things like building and electrical codes? I’m not saying they would have been but this is one of those times when you can really look at the real world consequences of theoretical discussions. Another was the collapse of the buildings on 9/11 which could have been forestalled (possibly prevented) if the asbestos spray on lagging had been used of all of the girders in the towers instead of stopping at the 60th floor.

Why is the State of The Union Address being delayed? Newsweek theorizes that it is to give Obama at least one success to point to this year. That’s assuming that health care passes and Scott Brown doesn’t get elected in Massachusetts. Both of those are looking increasingly iffy.

On the to read list – “You Are Not a Gadget,”

In 2006, the artist and computer scientist Jaron Lanier published an incisive, groundbreaking and highly controversial essay about “digital Maoism” — about the downside of online collectivism, and the enshrinement by Web 2.0 enthusiasts of the “wisdom of the crowd.” In that manifesto Mr. Lanier argued that design (or ratification) by committee often does not result in the best product, and that the new collectivist ethos — embodied by everything from Wikipedia to “American Idol” to Google searches — diminishes the importance and uniqueness of the individual voice, and that the “hive mind” can easily lead to mob rule.


Now, in his impassioned new book “You Are Not a Gadget,” Mr. Lanier expands this thesis further, looking at the implications that digital Maoism or “cybernetic totalism” have for our society at large. Although some of his suggestions for addressing these problems wander into technical thickets the lay reader will find difficult to follow, the bulk of the book is lucid, powerful and persuasive. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in how the Web and the software we use every day are reshaping culture and the marketplace.

Sarah Palin tells Glenn Beck no need for a third party. Tea Partiers weeping?

The Open Secret About Scott Brown
– He’s a liberal.

Scott Brown is not a conservative. He makes no pretension of being a conservative. He defends Romneycare, which most conservative have rejected. He is pro-choice. But he is for less government interference in the free market and less spending.

I’m confused – People who proclaimed John McCain the coming of Satan because of his liberal positions are lining up in droves behind Brown. Could it be that they have figured out it’s better to deal with someone who you agree with 50+% of the time than someone that you agree with 0% of the time. You’re a little late to that party guys.

Bill Quick asks “Do you still think I’m nuts to make reasonable preparations to avoid this in the event of a disaster? You know, those disasters that “can’t happen here,” except they do happen every year somewhere?”

That depends entirely on your definition of reasonable I guess. If you are stockpiling ammo and explosives to fight off the zombie mobs then yes you are nuts. If you are setting aside food, medicines, etc. (even weapons for personal defense and hunting) to last you a reasonable amount of time in case of disaster then no. If you have 15 years worth of food in your basement and a .50 Cal machinegun in your garage because of the coming collapse of society you need to reevaluate some of your life choices in my opinion. I don’t know where Bill fits on that scale – I would guess towards the sensible stockpiling end of things but you never know. Maybe he is like Christopher Walken in Blast from the Past secretly digging an underground lair. 😛

14 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2010 4:36 pm

    On the Brown Vs. McCain issue there are actually a number of differences that come to mind right off hand. the president can do a hell of a lot more damage than one congressman or Senator, especially if he’s as loopy as Mccain. E.G Jorge Boosh and his endless attempts to “patron”ize America of which Juan McAmnesty would indeed have been a fitting successor.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      January 19, 2010 8:47 am

      I just moved this out of spam where it was caught.

      the president can do a hell of a lot more damage than one congressman or Senator,

      and by that logic we were better off with Obama how?

      BTW – I would appreciate it if you avoid the Jorge Boosh / Juan McAmnesty slurs.

      Looking at the links on your site I am assuming that you are seriously into the white nationalist / white separatist movement. I’m not, and I am not really into the whole raciallizing issues thing.

  2. January 16, 2010 8:09 pm

    “The memo is worded that way so the JCS can put off having to deal with the issue, then in two years when it comes up again, the answer will be we don’t need the bodies so leave it alone.”

    Strangely enough (not), it also puts DADT back in the front line at a time when Obama can dangle it in front of the GLBT lobby in the run up to the next year’s elections, but insulates him from the delay in in the repeal (“I followed the recommendation of the JCS, who are the experts”).

    OTOH, as much as I’d like him to push, we do need to remember what happened when Clinton pushed the issue – it almost made things worse, and DADT was the compromise we ended up with.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      January 16, 2010 10:19 pm

      You’re right, but that’s also why those who support repeal have to hold the JCS to a position. The have had 16 years with DADT to “study” the issue. It’s time to make them face up to it.

  3. Portlandic permalink
    January 17, 2010 9:16 pm

    For the libertarians…
    (since I resemble that remark)

    I don’t believe the *state* should be enforcing building codes; as a former Miamian, with family in the building trades, I know it’s obscenely easy to pay off a building inspector. Just look at the results of Andrew, if you doubt how easy it is to evade building codes. Since building inspectors are an agent of the State, they can cloak themselves in authority and evade responsibility.

    Instead, let insurance companies enforce the building codes; try to get a mortgage on a property that can’t get insurance, you’ll see what I mean.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      January 18, 2010 8:07 am

      Good point, but corruption is an individual act not an act on the part of the state. There is no guarantee that insurance inspectors would be any more or less honest than a government employee. That however avoids the question. Is the infringement of freedom caused by a building code worth avoiding the devastation of something like Haiti.

      (Proof that such codes can have some effect can be seen in the recent quakes in Seattle, the Northridge quake in LA and the ’89 Bay area quake. Note: That I am not arguing that all the damage in Haiti could have been avoid just that some of it could have been mitigated).

      Does it change your opinion at all that for the most part the codes are developed by private entities and adopted wholesale by the states / counties?

      What if your solution was adopted and the building owner says fine I will just build without insurance? Most libretarians say individual rights stop when it effects other people. That person has notw put other people and other peoples property in jeopardy. Does the state have a role now?

      • January 18, 2010 9:05 am

        “What if your solution was adopted and the building owner says fine I will just build without insurance? Most libretarians say individual rights stop when it effects other people. That person has not put other people and other peoples property in jeopardy.”

        Of course, the tricky question with respect to building codes is “at what point does it effect other people.” House fires caused by improper wiring can spread to the neighbors houses, structural defects can cause collapses 40-50 years down the road when someone’s child or grandchild has inherited the home – all without passing through the “quality assurance” of mortgage-required insurance inspections.

        Houses (and most buildings) are multi-generational. The one I just bought is 68 years old. My parent’s home is around 60 years old, and has never been sold – it was inherited from my grandparents, who built it themselves.

        So where do we draw the line in this instance? I’ve never been able to come up with a satisfactory answer myself.

      • jenn1964 permalink*
        January 18, 2010 11:34 am

        So where do we draw the line in this instance? I’ve never been able to come up with a satisfactory answer myself.

        I don’t really have an answer either, but it’s one of those things that needs to be questioned when talking about libertarianism. My gut feeling is that if building codes / fire codes etc. didn’t have the force of law they would be essentially ignored. If it’s a trailer house on the prairie that’s one thing. An apartment building in the city is another. Just on the basis of scale.

  4. January 18, 2010 5:01 am

    Jenn, I voted for McCain, reluctantly. I did not go out of my way, the only excitement was for Sarah. Please recall that McCain got his big push when Michigan Democrats voted for him in the Republican primary due to some weirdness in their own. McCain is the kind of candidate we get when we let the media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) pick for us.

    I suspect Mr. Brown will be too far to the left in the Party to go any further than Senator or, perhaps, governor. I am pushing for his election because I think he’d be the best we can hope for in Blue Mass.

    This does not mean he won’t, or can’t evolve. Ronald Reagan, after all, was a Democrat and got his political start in California. As it is, to break their sixty vote supermajority I’d support Bobo the Simpleminded, which Brown is not.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      January 18, 2010 8:17 am

      I don’t remember it that way. I remember McCain getting a bounce in the polls after winning New Hampshire and essentially sewing it up a month later when he took 61% of the delegates on Super Tuesday.


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