Saturday, April 30, 2005

I'm glad it didn't show up at my picnic

Wisconsin: Noted for Bears and Hippopotami

The Attorney General who wanted Ken Lay sent to prison so he could be sodomized wants serial numbers on bullets

I'm not a big fan of the quality of the news releases put out by the Citizen's Committee to Keep and Bear Arms, but they seem to be decent people, at least on guns. Bill Lockyer is the California Attorney Genereal who said in public that he wanted to send Ken Lay to prison so he could be greeted by a cellmate who would sodomize him. The man is pure scum, and former CA Governor Gray Davis should have fired him on the spot. Instead he continues in power.


A proposal by California's anti-gun Attorney General Bill Lockyer to require serial numbers on every handgun bullet and cartridge case sold in the Golden State is a backdoor attempt to make ammunition so cost prohibitive that it will essentially disarm law-abiding gun owners, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today.

"Bill Lockyer's plan to laser-etch handgun ammunition in California is a numbers game that adds up to zero," said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. "This idea is being pushed ostensibly to make it easy for police to identify criminals who misuse guns. It would not only be enormously expensive for ammunition companies to accomplish, it also amounts to a scheme to register every gun owner in California by the ammunition he or she purchases.

"California authorities can't seem to round up tens of thousands of illegal aliens, many of them gang members, and they have found it impossible to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the state," Gottlieb observed. "Criminals already disobey California's Draconian gun laws, and the laws against assault and murder, so what makes Bill Lockyer think these same hoodlums won't ignore a law that will otherwise only penalize law-abiding gun owners? If they can smuggle drugs and people into California, criminals will just smuggle ammunition into the state, too. What does Lockyer not understand about this?" Lockyer's proposal would require ammunition manufacturers to laser etch every handgun bullet and cartridge case sold in California. People buying handgun ammunition would have to sign for it. It would make it a crime for anyone coming into the state to bring such ammunition without serial numbers.

"This is not just a California issue," noted CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron. "It could cripple the entire ammunition industry. The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) thinks this idea is crazy, and we concur. Indeed, SAAMI says it would be an impossible task to serialize ammunition headed to California, and it appears this is exactly what the anti-gun lobby has in mind. It would essentially end ammunition sales in the state, and for what reason? There is no evidence that marking ammunition would have any value in preventing or fighting crime.

"If Bill Lockyer wants to fight crime by the numbers," Waldron stated, "he should hold his breath, count to a hundred and forget about this goofy scheme."

With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is one of the nation's premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States. The Citizens Committee can be reached by phone at (425) 454-4911, on the internet at or by email to
Copyright © 2005 Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, All Rights Reserved.
Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear ArmsJames Madison Building12500 N.E. Tenth PlaceBellevue, WA 98005
Voice: 425-454-4911Toll Free: 800-426-4302FAX: 425-451-3959email:

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Cool Space Pic of the Day

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is back

Very cool:
The ivory-billed woodpecker, a magnificent bird that ornithologists had long given up for extinct, has been sighted in the watery tupelo swampland of a wildlife refuge in Arkansas, scientists announced today.
Click here:Click here: The New York Times > Science > Woodpecker Thought to Be Extinct Is Sighted in Arkansas

Thanks to DMS for the lead.

I'm at the national decoy show in St. Charles, IL, and the Internet connection is pretty leisurely. Maybe another post tomorrow. Maybe not.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Cool Space Pic of the Day

There must a pile of stars in a galaxy cluster.

Click here: APOD: 2005 April 27 - The Hercules Cluster of Galaxies

In case I haven't mentioned it...

...I'm moving to Honolulu in August.

True love beckons, and shall not be denied.

More on this later.

Posting will be light for the next several days: I am off to St. Charles, IL, for the National Decoy Collectors show and auction. Back Saturday unless some peregrinating porcupine sinks its fangs into my jugular.

Click here: Midwest Decoy Collectors Association

Commies to the Right of them, Commies to..

..the left of them. Or possibly a long-suffering anti-commie. My SiteMeter claims that somebody on "China Coast Time/Russian Federation Zone 7" time spent 6 minutes and 19 seconds perusing my post on dead commie Andre Gunder Frank. (It came up 5th on a Technorati keyword search the feller ran- he came from the results page.)

Here's what the readers' time zone map looks like: Click here: Site Meter - Counter and Statistics Tracker Pretty standard. Sometimes there are a couple of percent from Europe, Central or South Asia, East Asia, but mostly as seen here.

Brian Anderson, continued

PowerLine continued its interview with "South Park Conservatives" author Brian Anderson today. Excerpt:
About 12 percent of Americans are now reading political blogs—26 million people using a medium that didn’t really exist five years ago. It’s an amazing information mutation. The blogosphere may be helping the Right indirectly, too, in that the rise of a left-wing presence on the Web is pushing the Democratic Party to the Left, hurting its electoral chances nationally.

The blogosphere has helped shape our national politics since 9/11. The cancellation of the CBS documentary "The Reagans"; Howell Raines’s downfall at the Times; Eason Jordan’s departure from CNN; the Swifties; Trent Lott stepping down as Senate majority leader; Richard Clarke’s attempted takedown of the Bush administration; of course Rathergate—the list of national controversies is long and growing in which the blogosphere has played a key role. The liberal media has been the big loser to date,...but the long-term influence of blogs will keep all news sources on their toes....I think...that over time we could see an improvement in reporting and argument. Imagine being at Fox in 2005, with so many on the left trying to bring you crashing down. You’re going to make damn sure you don’t air something seriously wrong, or if you do, correct it quick.
Blogs certainly helped John Dean raise remarkable amounts of money via the Internet, altho he wasn't able to turn that into major showings in the primaries for long. Still, the Internet will be used by all sides in the future...if the Federal Government in its infinite wisdom doesn't stop it:
PL: Do you think that the Empire will strike back against those of us exploiting the freedom of the Internet? What threats are there on the horizon?
BA: I am very worried about the extension of onerous FEC rules to cover blogs, as obviously are bloggers themselves. And John Kerry just a few weeks back was lamenting the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. A New York congressman, Maurice Hinchey, wants to restore it. Doing so would obliterate talk radio.
What was that yesterday? Ah, yes: ppl so afraid of freedom they work to destroy it before they even know what good it can bring. Bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine because it might help Democrats in the short term. There are Republicans who will help, too: they want content controls (read Censorship) of cable TV content. Censoring the airwaves is at least constitutionally sound (tho terrible policy) because the Feds unfortunatly own the airwaves. Censoring cable TV clearly is abridgement of the 1st Amendment. But then I thought that was the case with McCain-Feingold, and the Supreme Court disagreed with me.

"Weekend Voodoo Projects"

At least that was how my brain interpreted a book title as I walked past the freebie table at the museum today. Closer inspection revealed it was actually the surely worthy if less intriguing "Weekend Wood Projects".

You can't always be too sure with all the anthropological types floating around there. Several years ago I called in to a radio program in response to their request for "The Toughest Boss You Have Ever Had" and told them quite truthfully that one of my favorite bosses was so tough that she used to keep severed human heads on her desk.

For several seconds there was dead silence while the two hosts absorbed that tidbit, before I explained that she didn't sever them herself: ppl used to bring them in to her. Real ones. As gifts.

My boss worked in the anthropology department and every now and then someone (frequently a missionary's adult kid) with a shrunken head from Mom and Pop's estate would show up with one as a donation, not knowing what else to do with it. After I had the pleasure of cataloging them they would sit on Boss's desk until she had time to take it down to the storeroom. About three showed up over 18 months or so, so my boss did indeed keep severed human heads on her desk. Everybody should have such a great boss. I'm glad I did.

The New York Times and I agree:

Airline security is a fraud. The Times didn't put it quite that way, but that is the message, loud and clear.
Last week, reports from several government departments confirmed what most business travelers and other frequent fliers already knew: after spending more than $5 billion in federal funds on the agency, airport security is hardly any better now than it was before 9/11.

This is no surprise. Matches are OK but lighters aren't? Swiss Army knives are banned but you can have two bottles of duty free liquor to crack together, making a pair if razor sharp daggers? TSA marshalls must all dress alike and reveal themselves to everyone by going thru special checkthru lines? Pilots must be searched so they don't carry aboard anything with which to take over the plane which they already control? TSA is run by clowns pretending to protect us: In my book that is plain, old-fashioned fraud, and the ppl responsible shouldn't just be fired: they belong in prison.

Click here: The New York Times > Business > On the Road: More Baggage Taboos, but Little Security Enhancement

Monday, April 25, 2005

Regulation of Speech, de-regulation, and the effects they have

PowerLine, a conservative blog in the Twin Cities, today posted Part One of an interview with Brian Anderson, author of South Park Conservatives : The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias. Along the way Anderson mentioned the reason we now have the phenomenon of talk radio, but didn't before Ronald Reagan partially deregulated speech on the airwaves:
Political talk [radio is] so much part of our national fabric these days that people forget how new it is. [It] owes its existence to Ronald Reagan, whose FCC phased out the Fairness Doctrine in the late 1980s. That doctrine required broadcasters airing political opinions to provide equal time for opposing views. In practice, this would mean a station that broadcast, say, Sean Hannity, and had millions of listeners for his show would also have to air Al Franken or some other left-wing equivalent, even if the ratings stunk, as Air America’s do...What station could run the risk? Better to broadcast blandness.

With the Fairness Doctrine lifted, talk radio exploded: in the early 1980s, there were only 75 or so stations broadcasting talk shows of any kind on the airwaves; today, there’s roughly 1,400, and there are more than 4,000 hosts broadcasting.
As I recall, Reagan was roundly- and viciously- denounced for ending "fairness". It is funny how so many ppl -not all of them Democrats, by any means- are so threatened by something as simple as freedom that they demand the government end it. Putting an end to one dry little regulation had quite an effect.

What other regulations are out there which we would be better off without?

Maybe they should get their story straight

The AP on April 25th :
Expiration Of Ban Pushes Police To Get Assault Rifles. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The expiration of the nation's ban on the sale of assault rifles and the appearance of more heavily armed criminals have pushed more than 100 St. Petersburg police officers to order assault rifles of their own for official duty.
OK. Except here is Deborah Sontag in the New York Times on April 24th:
Despite dire predictions that the streets would be awash in military-style guns, the expiration of the decade-long assault weapons ban last September...has not caused any noticeable increase in gun crime in the past seven months, according to several metropolitan police departments.

The uneventful expiration of the assault weapons ban did not surprise gun owners, nor did it surprise some advocates of gun control.
So, which is it? A wave of assault weapons in crime, or no noticable increase? The NYT again:
What's more, law enforcement officials say that military-style weapons, which were never used in many gun crimes but did enjoy some vogue in the years before the ban took effect, seem to have gone out of style in criminal circles.
Bad guys with guns over running the country? NYT once more:
Gun crime has plummeted since the early 1990's. But a study for the National Institute of Justice said that it could not "clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence."
I have no problem with cops buying their own guns, but these particular guns seem inadequate for the some of the reported purposes:
The rifles may be used only in "a high-risk situation, such as...when confronted by barricaded subjects,...for felony vehicle stops."
These guns (AR-15s) fire .223 cartridges, and those are awful for penetrating barricades and cars bodies. Still, if the cops want to shell out $1100 of their own money, that's fine- so long as the rest of us can buy them too.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A catastrophic "Giant" has died.

I got a notice today via an anthropology list-serve I am on that someone I never heard of has died:
Andre Gunder Frank was a giant in the social
sciences and continued to make contributions to all of our work in
many ways more than his crucial underdevelopment concept.
I Googled him, and found one of his treatises online. If Andre Gunder Frank was a giant, no wonder Latin America has been the economic and political mess it has been for 50 years. He wrote:
I also accepted the Chinese line, because it appeared more revolutionary. The line and praxis of the Soviet and Soviet aligned Latin American Communist parties were too reformist.
That is, he considered the Soviet methods in Latin America as insufficiently revolutionary.
My article contained the then radical proposition and figures to show that Brazil and Latin America in fact were net capital exporters to the United States, which far from aiding them, thereby exploited them.
Could it possibly have been than in the 1960s any reasonable person with money in Latin America would have worked to get it out of Latin America because influential people there saw the Soviet Union as soft on capitalism?
In Brazil I wrote an article on the foreign investment 'Mechanisms of Imperialism' (reprinted 1969) to counter the gospel according to which the Third World needed foreign investment and capital. Received theory was that the principal obstacle to development was the shortage of capital.
Yep, what Latin America had was an excess of capital. So guys like this set about scaring it away. Did a pretty good job of it, too.
The upshot of all these theoretical and political reflections...was that continued participation in the same world capitalist system could only mean continued development of underdevelopment. The political conclusions, therefore, were to de-link from the system externally and to transit to self-reliant socialism internally (or some undefined international socialist cooperation) in order to make in- or non-dependent economic development possible.
Economic isolationism and self-reliant socialism: Let's produce everything we are terrible at producing, and export nothing which we are good at producing. Destroy all incentives to efficient use of resources. It is amazing that anyone even in those days could take this foolishness seriously, much less today consider him a "giant."
I also gave short shrift to how the necessarily not so democratic (pre) revolutionary means might or not promote or even preclude the desirable post revolutionary end.
Paraphrase: I have no idea why my anti-democratic revolutionary ideas might lead where I think we need to go, nor even any theory for why they wouldn't make things even worse, but lets start killing people we dislike (capitalists) and see what happens. That's responsible social activism for you.
Dependence theory and writing, including mine, also made a notable impact on and through the 'theology of liberation,' which was and still is spread through Catholic Church groups in Latin America.
Great: He turned the Latin American Catholic church into a bunch of Shining Maoists. That really did a whole lot to improve the lot of the impoverished.
Free to Choose (Milton) Friedman argued that the magic of the market (efficiency?) comes first and freedom (equity?) later. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics, not for peace. The World Bank still gives Chile pride of place for its model. For us, it has cost the assassination of literally countless personal friends, some still very recently.
This guy criticizes mass-murdering revolutionaries for killing his friends? He was the one who criticized the Soviet Union for being insufficiently revolutionary. Oh. Sorry: Revolutionary mass murder is just fine when it is Marxists doing the killing. When fascists do it, well, that is a terrible thing. But only then.

The various fascist groups in Latin America are lousy groups, but just because one opposes fascism does not make one a noble friend of the ppl. In this case the opposition was just a bunch of would-be mass-murdering Marxists, and Andre Gunder Frank was on their side- even tho he admits he had not even a theory of why their way would not result in worse oppression.
From 1974 to 1978 I worked in Germany. I was never able to get a professorship in Germany. The Minister of Culture, an ex police chief who now exercised his political judgment as arbiter of all appointments, told one university president who wished to hire me that 'this Frank will never get a professorship here.' So I left Germany in 1978.
A revelation: State control of university systems can lead to political abuses. Well, surprise of surprises. Would Frank have objected if a Maoist commisar had stopped Milton Friedman from getting a job?
About the same time in 1979 soon after we had arrived in England from Germany, my younger son Miguel observed 'England is an underdeveloping country.' I ran to my class to tell my British students, who were incredulous. After several years of British deindustrialization under the government of Mrs. Thatcher, I repeated Miguel's earlier observation to a later generation of students, who then reacted 'of course.'
Another shock: Students of an avowedly revolutionary Marxist professor thought Thatcher's capitalist reforms in Britain were a bad idea. The poor Brits have suffered thru economic booms ever since.
In 1986 I wrote that the recovery that began in 1983 generated many new problems
Damn those economic recoveries: better ban 'em.
I analyzed the rapid progress of (the reincorporation of the socialist countries into the capitalist world economy) in detail in 1976 under the title 'Long Live Transideological Enterprise! The Socialist Economies in the Capitalist International Division of Labor and West-East-South Political Economic Relations'
Now there is a catchy title for you. I wonder that I didn't hear of it at the time.
I suggested that East Germany faced, and it has indeed become the victim of...sell out to West Germans (who have 'carpetbagged' the entire East German economy and society by closing down its industries that were quite productive and competitive, precisely because they were so!
That's the capitalist way to riches: buy productive and competitive industries and shut them down. You can make lots of money by destroying your own wealth. Maybe the Germans should buy MicroSoft and Nissan and shut them down, too.
Therefore, any development 'policy' for a particular country, region, sector, group or individual must identify and promote some selected 'comparative' advantage within the world economy. The 'policy' is to find one or more niches in which to carve out a temporary position of 'comparative' monopoly advantage in the international division of labor.
For once he has said something remotely akin to reality, except that even here we can be sure that the "policy" makers will be government bureaucrats who have no shred of agility in adapting to changing conditions. They will lock in some "policy" and even if successful in the short run will in the long run destroy their subjects thru inability to adapt.
Then, it may be possible to derive some temporary monopoly rent from the same. Some specialization is necessary, because advantageous and even loss avoiding presence on all industrial and technological fronts is impossible today. Of course, it is advantageous to do so in a newly leading industry or sector, which is itself able to command temporary monopoly rents. However, each such sector, and even more so each such region or group operating within it, must count on soon losing this advantage again. For soon they will be displaced by competition from others on the world market
And that is why political direction of the economy does not work: Conditions change far faster than any central commanders can adapt.
the previously progressive political content or direction of social movements seems to be turning rightward. In Latin America, right wing evangelical fundamentalism is replacing more progressive community organization around the theology of liberation and other popular currents in the Catholic Church.
That last does jibe with something I read elsewhere recently: Evangelical Protestantism is apparently making big inroads in Latin America. If the alternative is Shining Maoists, that would be an improvement. Altho Pope John Paul seemed concerned about the lefties in the SA church and removed a lot from power, and the new Pope seems equally so inclined. Neither were/are great proponents of capitalism tho, at least from what I hear. Still, they aren't Maoists.

To the extent that Andre Gunder Frank influenced the political and economic development of Latin America he was a giant failure. Worse than a failure: He and his cohort were a catastrophe. Their good intentions impoverished millions and led to policies which will continue to promote conflict for decades. He should not be accorded more than forgiveness, for he knew not what he did.

As for that death notice I received, re-read it and think about the implications for economic and political development in the Pacific, if such Ph.Ds have much influence-and they do.