WolfesBlogArchives: August 2006
Thursday, August 31, 2006
RENEE BOJE is free. After years of cross-border legal wranglings and the threat of a 10-year mandatory-minimum sentence, the cannabis activist (and medical marijuana pioneer, who worked with murdered-by-government author Peter McWilliams) pleads "guilty" to possessing less than one gram of pot and gets a year's probation.
A face-saving move by persecutors? They must have found the whole Boje case an embarrassment.
Posted by Claire @ 04:32 PM CST [Link]
FROM THAT SURVEILLANCE MAD-HATTERLAND OF BRITAIN come signs and oracles of our future. And scary though that future may be, it's also ... pathetic. No more should we envision Big Brother following us around with malign intent like something out of An Enemy of the State.
Turns out he's much more interested in the weight of our garbage (is there some actual reason this had to be done covertly?). Or whether we're late for school. (There aren't any humans to notice if little Nigel's not in class? What, pray tell, are the teachers up to?)
It's true as Tom Chartier hysterically Pronounces, that there's a paranoia gap between the U.S., which still utters occasional gasps of anti-surveillance protest, and the UK, whose huddled millions should probably all just go hide under a rock somewhere to avoid all those multifarious bogeymen that seem to terrorize them of late. (Rock-dwelling would be more sensible than the latest "for the children" surveillance program, which creates a handy database of kidlets for pedophiles to consult.) But not to worry, Tom. Today, Britain. Tomorrow, Our Glorious Homeland.
(Funny, though, what finally becomes a body's line in the sand. I've got a friend who's selling his house and moving away because his Mommy Municipality demands that he allow them to replace his old water meter with one that will not only report how much water his family uses each month, but also how much they use at any given time of day. He pays his taxes. He licenses his vehicles and himself. He probably even licenses his guns. But let Big Brother monitor his daily, even hourly, water usage? Nope, that's going too far. Well, whatever it takes. It doesn't so much matter what our line in the sand is -- as long as we all get one pretty damn soon.)
Posted by Claire @ 01:45 PM CST [Link]
Monday, August 28, 2006
HARD TIMES ON THE WAY
Silver here. While my crystal ball doesn't work much better than anyone else's, there is one extraordinarily reliable indicator of a recession on the way. It gives about 6 months warning, and has been right all but one time since the cursed day when we were saddled with a central bank.
The predictor is called an inverted yield curve. Before your eyes glaze over, it's very simple.
Ask yourself this: if you were lending someone money, would you charge more interest on a loan to be repaid in 90 days, or a loan not due for 30 years? Without exception, rational people charge more for longer term loans. The reason is simple: nobody has a decent crystal ball. The future is uncertain, and uncertainty means more risk, hence a greater premium.
deadbeatdebtor in the history of mankind is the US government. Normally, when people loan the government money by buying US Treasury bonds, they demand more interest for 30-year notes than for 90-day notes. When they don't, when interest rates for short-term loans are higher than for longer term loans, it is called an inverted yield curve. To make a long story short, the market is signaling, via the buy/not buy decisions of millions of individuals who buy government bonds or influence those who do, that there is something seriously wrong.
The details as to why this works as a predictor don't matter that much. When there is an inverted yield curve, and it lasts for a month or more, a recession follows in 6 months or so. In the chart below, I've simply subtracted the yields of 90-day notes from those of 30-year notes. You can see the raw data at a US Treasury website.
I've plotted both the 2006 data as well as data from 2000. When the line goes below zero, yields are inverted. The last recession started in early 2001, and pretty much wiped out tech stocks and the dot-com bubble. Those stocks are still trading well below their peak. This year, the yield curve inverted the last day of July, and has stayed that way all but 3 days in August.
This recession will almost certainly wipe out homeowners with ARM loans, who will take the broader stock and financial markets along with them. Look out below!
Posted by Silver @ 08:19 PM CST [Link]
I CAN'T FIND A PERMALINK FOR THIS, though there are links for all its individual elements. So before the current edition of The Libertarian Enterprise goes away, you just must go over there and see the free screen cleaners. Awwwww ...
(Thank you to SJ.)
Yikes! TLE got hacked shortly after I posted this entry. But fortunately, Bill St. Clair also posted the free screen cleaners. And he's got a permalink. So go -- enjoy! (And sorry, TLE. I hope you recover soon. Hard to imagine what sort of idiots would hack an anti-war site to post an anti-war message.)
Posted by Claire @ 12:13 PM CST [Link]
YOU TAKE THE CARROT ... and they whack you with the stick. Every bloody damn time. But do we learn?Stroup, and other USDA officials, don't like to call this spying on farmers, and they prefer not to talk about farmers cheating. They say it's mostly just a way to keep their records accurate; most farmers do obey the rules. ...
Officials say they're trying to decide how much of their surveillance data they can share, without violating the privacy of American farmers.
(Thank you to Masked Woman.)
Posted by Claire @ 12:03 PM CST [Link]
Sunday, August 27, 2006
"MODEST PROPOSAL: WATERBOARD CONGRESS." Jim Bovard does it again.
He does it with tongue ever-so-slightly in cheek. But it's a truth: Those who most heartily advocate any "extralegal" or "quasilegal" or bogus-legal activities, from torture to civil asset forfeiture without criminal conviction should be the first to undergo the method.
Posted by Claire @ 10:44 AM CST [Link]
WHAT'S REALLY WEIRD about this story is this line:What was going on was the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector Generals serving a search warrant for a pell grant fraud.
There's not enough detail in this story to make clear whether this was a full-scale SWAT-type raid or merely a lesser form of overkill. But it sure wasn't two officers politely knocking on a door -- which is all the circumstances seem to merit. The Dept. of Education is now blocking off streets and conducting armed raids?
But then ... those hairdressers ... as every woman knows they can do a lot of harm with a pair of scissors and a bottle of bleach. Thank heaven we have Our Beloved Leaders to protect us.
Ah. Here's a little more on the story. Not that it makes matters any more clear. But it does make it clear that some law enforcers have been watching too damn many cop shows on TV.
Posted by Claire @ 10:21 AM CST [Link]
Friday, August 25, 2006
I DIDN'T PAY MUCH ATTENTION to the flapdoodle over last month's gutting of the national Libertarian Party platform. My political party addiction has been cured, glory hallelujah. And although important planks got tossed out, they didn't get replaced with evil ones. They didn't get replaced by anything, if I read correctly. So it was all a big ho-hum.
But boy, if this is the viewpoint of the architect of those platform changes (and it must be, since it comes from the keyboard of alpha-reformer Carl Milsted himself), the LP is even more screwed than the furious L. Neil Smiths and Tom Knapps insisted.
Posted by Claire @ 02:34 PM CST [Link]
Thursday, August 24, 2006
SECURE ACCESS WON'T PROTECT THE PRIVACY OF TCF
Bruce Schneier reports on a disturbing but unsuprising paper presented at the latest ACM SIGiR conference. The abstract of You are what you say: privacy risks of public mentions (PDF) describes how easy it is to correlate details revealed under a pseudonym with information associated with your real name. The statement that "This re-identification violates people's intentions to separate aspects of their life and can have negative consequences" is something of an understatement.
Secure access makes it harder to determine what information TCF members (or anyone else browsing "dangerous" websites) are viewing, but provides no protection against traffic analysis. Knowing that someone has viewed umpteen megabytes of material from a site can be enough to arouse suspicion, and in an age of warrantless surveillance of the entire population, mere suspicion is enough to cause plenty of trouble. TOR provides protection against traffic analysis, although it is rapidly falling victim to its own success, as too many people try to use too few servers.
Posting comments, rants, threats (always a bad idea) and opinions about anything and everything from the books one is reading, who attends what meet-ups, to where you buy your gold brings the threat of matching your real name with your screen nym(s). The paper points out that misdirection helps, but use it sparingly; too much or too obvious injection of random noise into the data set can easily be screened out, very possibly by automatic means.
Posted by Silver @ 07:07 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
HEADS UP ON TCF. Bill St. Clair reports (and I just verified) that our https (secure) connection isn't working.
You can try it and see if the problem has been fixed since this posting. But in any case, you can still access the Claire Files discussion forums by the standard link, http://www.tcftalk.com/clairefiles/index.php. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Posted by Claire @ 10:34 PM CST [Link]
FROM TIME TO TIME in my reading, I come across stories of impressive but little-known people who fought for freedom in little-known places in history. People whose courage and determination should not be forgotten.
William Wallace of 13th century Scotland is one example of such a person, largely unknown until a screenwriter also named Wallace noticed his monument in Stirling and inquired who the man was.
Another example is Boer soldier and scout Danie Theron. [more]
Posted by Ian @ 10:20 PM CST [Link]
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Raving Reporter Thunder here.
It's done. Lightning and I have officially moved. I'm quite sure there are people we work with and family members as well that all think we're nuts. Heck, I sometimes wonder if we are myself. It's hard to explain to people why you're selling your house when they've been taught for years that equity, a mortgage and owning a home are the best things ever. They find it extremely difficult to grasp the concept that owing more than you make isn't a good thing. When you are in debt, you're owned by the lender. There's no way around it. We've developed an entire culture around the concept of borrowing money from each other for things that we can't afford and probably don't even need.
Posted by Thunder @ 05:24 PM CST [Link]
Monday, August 21, 2006
RADLEY BALKO SAYS let's start a blogstorm with this 13-minute YouTube video from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. I might not agree with every word of the video. But given that guilty-even-if-you-prove-yourself-innocent outrages like this one are the inevitable and malign spawn of the drug war, I say amen, Radley ...
Posted by Claire @ 03:51 PM CST [Link]
THINKING ABOUT RIPPLES. Some of my Catholic playmates when I was a kid had this notion drummed into them that each time they "sinned" (e.g. disobeyed their parents), they hurt God's feelings. The poor helpless guy just felt wounded at their savage little betrayals.
This always struck me as a bizarre notion. Coming from the hillbilly-Protestant tradition, I had a contrary impression: God was rubbing his hands together with glee every time I sinned (e.g. disobeyed my ...). He was up there grinning and going, "I'm gonna git ya, ya l'il brat. I'm gonna pound ya flatter'n a pancake, stomp up and down on ya with hobnail boots, and then have demons poke ya'll with porcupine pitchforks while yer boilin' in hot oil. It's gonna be some serious FUN for a Sattidy night!"
(Well, okay, maybe the All-Merciful God Himself didn't talk in that sort of language, but certainly his representatives here on Earth did -- and enjoyed themselves tremendously.)
The Catholic god was still going to do all those same unpleasantly over-the-top things as the hillbilly-fundie god. He was just going to snivel first about how he didn't want to but you "made" him do it and how "this hurts me more than it hurts you." [more]
Posted by Claire @ 08:20 AM CST [Link]
Friday, August 18, 2006
TALK ABOUT SYNCHRONICITY ... On the very morning I blog my nascent curiosity about the little miracles of cannabis cultivation, I'm introduced to my area's foremost expert on growing the sacred herb.
craven thievesjackbooted drug-thugs and pencil-necked asset-forfeiture accountants get all excited, I'll tell you that this guy -- call him George after hemp-growing forefather, George Washington -- has a license to grow. He's a medical marijuana patient, and by law he can have a certain fairly generous number of plants for his own use. [more]
Posted by Claire @ 07:40 AM CST [Link]
TODAY IS THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of Jasmine's death. Even with a motley crew of mutts around, I still miss her terribly. There will never be another like her. BTW, I lied in her obituary. Her real name wasn't Jasmine Marie Wolfe. It was Jasmine Hellion Wolfe. I didn't want to defame her on the day she died, but Hellion was way closer to the reality of who she was, and it's the incorrigible Hellion who lives in my heart.
Posted by Claire @ 07:28 AM CST [Link]
WELL, I FINISHED THE NOVEL Tempus Fugit last night. I'm sorry to say the plot never did thicken. Shortly after I mentioned that the book was off to a promising start, it devolved into a lot of fairly random talk-talk. Some of the talk was interesting and worthwhile, but conversation about history, society, technology, and the body odors and sexual proclivities of the founders does not a story make.
Beyond the opening scenes, the only dramatic event in the book is unbelievable in inception and contrived in resolution, as if the author had watched a lot of TV and was mimicking familiar scenes. Too bad. A ton of historic research went into Tempus Fugit and the book was produced with great care. It just wasn't produced by a novelist.
Still waiting for the great freedom novel ...
Posted by Claire @ 07:16 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, August 17, 2006
IT REALLY DOES APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN a rare and marvelous ruling. The Busheviks are, of course, appealing.
Posted by Claire @ 06:21 PM CST [Link]
BEING PART OF THINGS. I like to know the names of things in nature. It makes me feel part of them.
Until I moved into the boondocks, I spent all my life in dreary, sterile working-class suburbs (with one brief dash into the Haight-Ashbury at the height of its glory, for which I'll be forever grateful and get to be forever at least a little, teeny bit cool, but that's another subject). The world that bore me (and bored me) had two kinds of trees: Christmas trees and deciduous. Oh, there were also specifically walnut trees. I knew because we had one in our backyard. But I couldn't have told that from a cherry tree, except by the nuts falling on my head.
Now I know the names of the dominant tree species around these parts. And because I know their names, I also know that this specific one has shaggy bark and that particular one produces a deadly poison. The names let me speak the language of the locals: "Look next to that ----- over there" or "Yeah, three -----'s came down across the road in that last wind storm."
I can see the trees differently. [more]
Posted by Claire @ 08:36 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
"SUSTAINABLE FREEDOM: SHIFTING THE WORLD." My fourth and final set of musings from the Hilltop Hermitage are now online. I owe large debts of thanks to Joel Simon and another nameless person (you know who you are) for the gems contained within this one. Its myriad faults are strictly my own.
More needs to be thought, written, and said on this topic. With continuing help from my friends and inspiration from the Grand Source of All Ideas, I intend to think, write, and say it. But not in further BHM columns. Next time: Return to Hardyville.
Posted by Claire @ 08:22 AM CST [Link]
HE WALKED AWAY FROM HIS CALIFORNIA FAST-LANE LIFE in the early 90s, detremined to experience reality. He didn't have income or investments. Didn't have a plan. And now he writes about life, spirituality, and the joys of simple things from an imaginary town somewhere in the boonies. Larry Brody, were you my twin brother, separated at birth?
(Thank you to Randall the Dreamer, who spotted the similarity and directed me from Hardyville to Paradise.)
Posted by Claire @ 08:06 AM CST [Link]
OH ONLY 15 PERCENT FALSE POSITIVES. I'm sure you future flyers will be just thrilled with that. As A.B. commented when he sent along this item, maybe we'd better change that tired old phrase about "nothing to fear if you're not doing anything wrong" to "YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR IF YOU AREN'T THINKING ANYTHING WRONG."
Can't help but notice, too, that the alleged results tell only how well (not very) screeners can biometrically catch actors pretending to be part of terrorist plots. Now really, how well is that going to relate -- or is it going to relate at all -- to real terrorists?
Oy. But then, along that same train of thought ("ALL the peasants are probably terrorists at heart"), have a look at this TSA concept video for a complete RFID-enabled airport, courtesy of Spychips authors Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntire. No, nobody's actually implementing this one yet. But it's a nice little insight into what Our Beloved Masters envision for Our Safe and Secure Future. (Just as ominous, from a writer's perspective, is that in planning to tag and bag us, Our Masters are considering partnering up with people who are so haphazard in their work that they don't even bother trying to spell properly when making a proposal to the U.S. government. And we're going to trust these guys with our credit-card data and the contents of our luggage? Did I already say "Oy"?)
Have a nice trip!
Posted by Claire @ 08:00 AM CST [Link]
Monday, August 14, 2006
LIQUID BOMBS ASSEMBLED ON AIRPLANES ARE OLD NEWS.
They haven’t had much success. One went off over 12 years ago, on Philippine Airlines Flight 434. It killed an innocent businessman on his way home, and blew a hole through the cabin floor of the airplane, but did not cause the jet to crash. The alleged bomb maker was Ramzi Yousef, who was later convicted of the first bombing of the World Trade Center, carried out 11 months before the airplane attack.
Mr. Yousef was reportedly dissatisfied with the performance of his bomb, which he mixed in the airplane lavatory and hid in the underseat pocket that holds the life jacket. He vowed to make the next bombs “10 times more powerful” but apparently never figured out how to do so. Getting a pint or so of chemicals onto an airplane isn’t hard, and never will be. Pouring two shampoo bottles together in the lavatory can be done discretely. Up the quantity to a gallon or two and things become a bit more obvious.
This threat has been known and discounted for well over a decade. No one can explain why the threat is suddenly more credible, even if those arrested were really planning an attack. Everyone seems to be carefully avoiding the fact that gallons of liquids in hundreds of little bottles are still placed on nearly every airplane before every flight. Food and drink loaded into airplanes isn’t screened in any meaningful way, and the screening of the workers who cater, clean, and load unchecked cargo onto airplanes is spotty at best.
The government/media complex is breathlessly assuring us that some 2 dozen Muslim citizens of the UK would surely have blown up 9 or 10 airplanes. “Thousands of lives” would have been lost. The record of PAL flight 434 suggests otherwise.
Posted by Silver @ 07:01 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, August 13, 2006
GOD FORBID, BUT NO SURPRISE, the Israel-Hezbollah war is turning out to be what many susptected: a practice run for a disastrous U.S. attack on Iran. Jim Bovard notes the latest Seymour Hersh findings:Israel is following its own agenda. But a Pentagon consultant informed Hersh that the Bush White House “has been agitating for some time to find a reason for a preëmptive blow against Hezbollah.” Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers last month provided the pretext for a massive bombing campaign than had been planned long before.
The Bush team is chomping at the bit to use the “lessons” from Israel’s war for its own on Iran. A former intelligence officer told Hersh: “We told Israel, ‘Look, if you guys have to go, we’re behind you all the way. But we think it should be sooner rather than later—the longer you wait, the less time we have to evaluate and plan for Iran before Bush gets out of office.’” The Bush team apparently believes that they are entitled to create a few more catastrophes before Bush’s time runs out.
Scariest of all is the giant elephant-in-the-living-room that the power-maddened fanatics in D.C. refuse to see:Hersh highlights the harebrained notion underlying the Israeli bombing campaign: “Israel believed that, by targeting Lebanon’s infrastructure, including highways, fuel depots, and even the civilian runways at the main Beirut airport, it could persuade Lebanon’s large Christian and Sunni populations to turn against Hezbollah, according to the former senior intelligence official.”
This has backfired massively. And yet the Bush administration appears to still believe that a U.S. bombing campaign in Iran would turn the Iranian people against the Iranian government.
Posted by Claire @ 10:38 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
THE DATSUN PROJECT: REPORT #4 (I'M CALLING A MECHANIC)
Blogispondent Ian here, sadly reporting that I'm throwing in the towel on the Datsun Project. Some changes in my life have led to a situation where I am more dependent on the Datsun for regular use, and I also have much less time and space to work on it. The number of important fixes has become significant enough that I think it's time to admit defeat and hire a shop to do a bunch of work. A lot of the things to be done are things that I could theoretically do, if I had more free time and work space, and it really bugs me to pay someone else to do them. But that's the tradeoff for my new living circumstances, I guess.
The list I have for the shop is thus:
* Replace rear shocks (the truck bounces all over the place when going over even minor bumps)
* Replace the carb with an aftermarket Weber unit (I already have the Weber, I just haven't gotten it installed. The old carb has a broken choke and just doesn't perform well)
* Flush or replace the radiator (the engine is getting hotter than it should, and I think the radiator may be partially plugged up)
* Replace the throttle cable (the cable in there now shows a lot of wear)
* Replace the A/C compressor (it's dead, Jim)
* Fix the parking brake (it doesn't work - dunno why)
* Flush and replace the brake fluid (this should improve braking performance a bit; the fluid in there now is in bad shape)
* Fix the wiring so that the environmental controls in the cab work
* Replace the sprayer nozzle for the windshield washer fluid (there isn't one now)
Ug. Quite a list, huh? I've got a good AAA-recommended shop picked out, and I'll get a quote from them in the next day or two. We'll see how much I can get done for the money I can put into this right now. My priorities, in descending order, are the carb, throttle cable, brakes, and radiator.
As you may recall, one of my main reasons for getting into this project was to learn some things about working on cars. That is still a goal of mine (and more so every time I have to pay a mechanic). So, I will undoubtedly find another way to meet that goal. Hopefully it'll work out better next time.
Posted by Ian @ 09:33 PM CST [Link]
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
SUBSCRIBE TO RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS. It can cost as little as $2.50 a month and helps keep the Net's very best libertarian news site alive and kicking butt. So how 'bout heading on over to Rational Review before you buy that next latte?
Posted by Claire @ 06:24 PM CST [Link]
I'VE JUST BEGUN READING TEMPUS FUGIT, a novel by Lawrence Lee Rowe, Jr. Its premise: Near the end of their lives and after their most notable accomplishments, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin are zapped into the twenty-first century. Dropped in the woods near Mt. Rushmore by their unknown temporal kidnappers, pockets stuffed with $100 Federal Reserve notes, they're faced with figuring out modern society and making their way through it.
As you might expect, this is a "what would the founders think about what happened to their republic?" book. Yet it's not as predictable as all that. Rowe -- who did an absolutely frightening amount of scholarship -- recognizes the diversity of abilities, interests, personalities, and outlook between his three larger-than-life protagonists.
Simmering differences of opinion threaten to boil over between Washington and Jefferson. Ben Franklin, scientist and man of the world, observes everything with unflappable acuity and wit. Jefferson is a languid-mannered aristocrat, Washington a muscular man of action. All are portrayed as human beings with quirks, personal proclivities, and warts (in Franklin's case, literal ones). All this is based on historic record.
Normally, lectures in the form of novels affect me like literary Sominex. This one even has footnotes. But so far I'm finding it intriguing. Though self-published, Tempus Fugit is a first-class production. It's hardbound (yet budget-priced) with a professionally designed and illustrated cover and quality typesetting. Unlike the sorry majority of freedom novels, it was thoroughly proofread (none of the "it's" for "its" and "their" for "they're" that drive a critical reader to mental mayhem). The characters come across as real people, not figureheads. And -- wonder of wonders -- a plot seems to be thickening!
I'll report again when I finish. Meantime, thank you to SJ for the lead. You can buy a copy of Tempus Fugit through our Wolfesblog Amazon.com Associates link or directly from the author.
Posted by Claire @ 11:35 AM CST [Link]
Monday, August 7, 2006
YESTERDAY I SAID THAT A CERTAIN TROLL came across like "an outlaw biker up seven days and nights on meth." That prompted a friendly letter from retired Outlaw biker Willy, who wrote:Claire that was no outlaw. That was a wannabe or a fed. I know you said acting like one, but have you met an Outlaw biker before? I never acted like they say we act, not if left alone and not messed with anyway. I'm now retired from the club and don't really ride much any more. They'll let anyone on a Harley these days!!
True, Willy. My apologies to outlaw (and Outlaw) bikers everywhere.
And thanks. You got me thinking. About feds, a bit. But mostly about outlaws, Outlaws, freedom, and finding common ground.
First random thought:
Posted by Claire @ 12:29 PM CST [Link]
Sunday, August 6, 2006
THE DETERIORATION OF GWB. Slick as it is (and considering who produced it), this 4:31 video might be paid Dem. propaganda. But that doesn't stop it from being scary.
OTOH, I can think of a number of things besides early dementia that could turn a reasonably articulate man into the famous mumbling foot-in-mouth babbler that GWB has become: drink, drugs, chronic overwork, lack of sleep, boredom to the point of ennui, etc. Of course, none of them are exactly healthy signs for the man with the proverbial finger on the big, red button.
Scarier still: Nobody cares. His dad was a famous babbler, too. It's pretty certain Ronald Reagan was going senile during his second term in office. Does it bother anybody? Maybe it shouldn't. After all, the job of the presidency is too much responsibility for the sanest man on the planet. A genius with all synapses snapping would still do more harm than good in the position. Are we that much worse off if the man in office has only half a brain?
Mmmm, well maybe in this case, considering who the man is and what he advocates ... yeah. Half a brain, whole brain. Not good.
(Thank you to kto.)
Posted by Claire @ 03:27 PM CST [Link]
OPPOSITES ALIKE. Two people showed up on TCF. Opposite personalities. Same message: "You aren't doing enough!"
Voided37 staggered in like an outlaw biker up seven days and nights on meth, spewing rage and misspellings. Republicae entered with an armload of carefully composed Pronouncements, bestowing Wisdom upon us in a series of Erudite Postings -- seeming not to notice that he was thrusting kindergarten-level freedom information at veterans of the college seminar.
Both claimed to have The Answer. For V37, it was (I paraphrase), "It's time to shoot the bastards. Anybody who says it isn't is a *&^%$#ing slave." For Republicae it was, "Millions of people must get behind my plan of resistance. Anybody who isn't with me is interrupting me."
Imagine these two in a room together. Yikes. With each being a "my way or the highway" guy the ... er, discussion could get a tad vigorous. But without doubt they'd agree on that one thing: "The rest of you aren't doing enough." Then they could tear each other to shreds over whether the "do-ing" should consist of mass murder or a mass movement.
Unfortunately, they're right, down at the core. Even we doers aren't "doing enough" by definition because freedom's dying out from under us. We may be doing all we can. We may be doing great things. But of course it's "not enough."
If Voided37 wants to start potting IRS agents, ATF jackbooterie, or even the new, more obnoxious breed of census takers (arriving with their GPS units and threats of enormous fines and imprisonment), more power to him. I wouldn't do it. Wouldn't say anybody should do it -- yet. But wouldn't mourn the varmints, either. (And it would be interesting, for once, to see one of these "we must shoot the bastards!" types actually turn out to be a man of his word rather than a poseur.) Or how about V37, masked leader of the resistance, turning up on CNN? Kewl.
If Republicae, despite his inability to persuade TCFers, has the persuasive power to talk millions of employees and employers into overtly defying the IRS ... good on him.
Doubt any of that is going to happen, though. And of course in their eyes it won't be because they lacked courage or persuasive power. Or because freedom doesn't have big enough numbers. Or because the time isn't ripe. It'll be the fault of all those other people. You know. Us. The do-nothings. The obstructionists. The ones who failed by not leading them where they wanted to follow.
Our day is coming. Sooner than even the paranoids among us may expect. Mega-government is destroying itself from within, and our job is to prepare, survive, resist, live free despite the bastards, and when the time comes push the paradigm. Meantime, it's hard to say who'll drive ya crazier, your enemies or your friends.
Posted by Claire @ 11:51 AM CST [Link]
Friday, August 4, 2006
JELLY SUCCESS! Last night's experiment with the liquid pectin had a happy ending. The syrup, which I boiled about 15 minutes, added the pectin, then boiled for 10 more before processing in a boiling water bath, was pretty liquid-y immediately after processing. But this morning it's firmly jelled in the jars.
The color is still wrong (more peach than pink), but that might be the recipe (behind the "more" link). Tonight I'm going to try varying the recipe, adding more prickly pear juice and less sugar and lemon juice.
Prickly Pear Jelly Recipe: [more]
Posted by Debra @ 11:58 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, August 3, 2006
HOW TO SHOP AT COSTCO WITHOUT BLOWING YOUR BUDGET: TIP #1
Don't get a cart; only buy what you can carry back up to the checkout line.
Posted by Ian @ 08:55 PM CST [Link]
MAKING JELLY FROM PRICKLY PEARS IS JUST AS PAINFUL AS PICKING THE %$#& THINGS. For the last several years, I've faithfully gathered prickly pears from the local environment and attempted to make jelly. It hasn't been pretty. Every version thus far has turned out like syrup (and a few of the variants where I added mint or red wine have turned out just scary -- you could get buzzed on your breakfast pancakes.)
This year I'm using a different approach. I'm making tiny little batches (so there's less to toss when I fail), and making adjustments between batches. Last night was the first batch -- the flavor's great, but it's a thick syrup, not a jelly. And the color is weird: kind of rusty-colored, rather than the bright pink of the cactus pear juice.
Tonight I'm trying again. I think there may be three factors that affected the jelling process:
- Wrong kind of cooking pot I used one of our cheapie aluminum pan to make the syrup. You know, part of the 5-pan set that college kids buy at Dollar General for $10. Most of the non-stick coating was gone, so the syrup came into contact with the aluminum. Many recipes (although not the one I was using) mention using a "non-reactive" pan and specifically advise against aluminum, so tonight's version will be made in a stainless steel pot. BTW, I also suspect that the aluminum pan, which has a tendency to rust when not dried well, was the culprit in the color change of the syrup as well.
- Not cooking long enough The recipe I used said to add the pectin after the syrup was boiling and to boil it for "two or three more minutes". I let it cook for ten, figuring that would allow for our high elevation. Skimming through other recipes after the disaster, I found several that indicated cooking times of up to 30 minutes. Since I'm at a high elevation, I figure letting it boil gently for 45 minutes should be appropriate.
- Using powdered pectin I've always used powdered pectin. For last night's recipe, I used literally double the normal amount, to no avail. One recipe I found specific to cactus pear jelly said that "unless you're a big fan of syrup, use the liquid, not powdered, pectin." So I'm going to be using that for tonight's test.
Posted by Debra @ 10:06 AM CST [Link]
GULCHERS AND OTHER PRIVACY LOVERS BEWARE. The next Invasion of the Census Takers will have them tagging the exact location of front doors using GPS units. They're specially tasked with going down every country lane and urban alley, looking for hidden dwelling units such as converted garages or unpermitted cabins.
Surely some rural dwellers will decide it's time to SS&S. But presumably the workers themselves will be GPS-tagged for their own safety. This could get interesting.
The fedgov's devouring desire for all information about all people, all animals, and all things is reaching the point where surely even a TV-besotted drone must begin to recognize it as a paranoiac control-freak's obsession.
Posted by Claire @ 08:58 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
I HAVEN'T HAD MUCH TIME TO BLOGSURF this year. But this morning I poked around a bit and was well rewarded. This lovely piece on the peaceful resistance of Rose Wilder Lane appeared at The Picket Line last week.
I knew the lady was a wonderful writer (and one of three women, who in the dark days of the New Deal, wrote important books that kept the torch of freedom burning). I didn't know she walked her walk so well.
The mention of Vivian Kellems in the article also gave me a smile. Now there was an immovable object for the cause of freedom.
Posted by Claire @ 08:34 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
AND THAT'S NOT ALL! ... Thanks to the generosity of donor Chris Hodges, we now have two Front Sight course certificates to auction for the Celata family.
One is here
The other is right here.
These are four-day certificates. One person can use a certificate to take a four-day class. Two people can share a certificate to take the same two-day class. Or ... you could buy both certificates. Then two of you could take four-day classes. Whoohoo. What possibilities, eh? Then, since Front Sight is near Las Vegas, you could play all night and have dinner at the Aladdin's all-you-can-eat Spice Market buffet. Mmmmmmmmm, those incredible desserts ...
Ahem. Back to business. See listings for restrictions and details.
Posted by Claire @ 05:51 PM CST [Link]
THOSE BRILLIANT TECH-GENIUSES IN THE U.S. HOUSE are at it again. This time -- although they seem blissfully unaware of it -- their mission is to prevent children from accessing such notoriously scandalous pedophile hangouts as Amazon.com and Slashdot. In other words, any online site that enables users to create publicly available profiles. The bill is called DOPA ... a name that just screams for some obvious plays on words. I'm sure you can think of a few.
Observes Adam Frucci:The broad scope of the bill isn't the only down side: as Ars Technica perceptively points out, the act could force kids to hide their MySpace use, keeping parents and teachers at even more of a distance from kids' online activities. Unfortunately for the millions of rational, intelligent kids out there who use social networking sites to keep in touch with friends rather than meet a 34-year-old suitor, the government is unable to force parents to be involved with their kids' lives and talk to them about their Internet use. This is what we get instead. God bless America.
(Thanks once again to SJ.)
Posted by Claire @ 02:23 PM CST [Link]
THE NEW (NON)HARDYVILLE COLUMN is now live. It's the third of a planned four columns on Sustainable Freedom. And I might as well warn you upfront that I'm leaving you with another cliff-hanger, just like I did last time. But next column, I really will wrap this topic up. Promise. After that, I leave the Hilltop Hermitage and return to Hardyville -- which rumor has it has undergone some alarming changes in my absence.
Posted by Claire @ 02:06 PM CST [Link]
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