From Pine View Farm

2010 archive

Birthing Tilted Windmills (Updated) 0

This is silly.

And the reason it’s silly is that the governor of Hawaii could show a videotape of the live birth and the loonies on the right would claim it had been doctored.

Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants to find a way to release more information about President Barack Obama’s Hawaii birth and dispel conspiracy theories that he was born elsewhere.

Abercrombie was a friend of Obama’s parents and knew him as a child, and is deeply troubled by the effort to cast doubt on the president’s citizenship.

Loons and whackjobs will not be persuaded by evidence.

Addendum, Later That Afternoon:

Andy Borowitz satirizes the silly:

Speaking to reporters in Kailua, Birther leader Orly Taitz said that Hawaii cannot be considered part of the United States “unless it can produce an authentic statehood certificate.”

Ms. Taitz said that she did a thorough title search on the islands and has concluded that rather than being a U.S. state, “the islands of Hawaii appear to be colonies of Kenya.”


“Coming into the Far Turn It’s Snow by a Nose” 0

The local rag considers why local forecasters blew it on the snow storm. (Weather dot com was much closer, revising its forecast upwards from 1-2 inches to 5-8 inches shortly before the snow started, but it’s not local; it’s cyber.)

I recall reading somewhere that weather forecasting is the only physical science in which success is judged on predicting the future, as opposed to explaining the past.


Once, there was a grizzled old man who had a reputation for being able to predict the weather with unerring accuracy. Farmers and ranchers from miles around would journey to his cabin for his help in planning when to plant and when to harvest.

One day, after a dry spell, a delegation of farmers from the next county arrived to ask him whether it was going to rain.

“Sorry,” he said. “Can’t tell you.

Read more »



Mortimer J. Adler, from the Quotemaster (subscribe here):

The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.


Sarah Palin Takes the Cake 0

KeninNY explains how she might be like Marie Antoinette.

(Part 2 is here.)


Miller Time 0

Dick Polman considers Joe Miller’s Teabagger Have Cake, Eat It Too political stance:

As Sarah Palin’s autumn stalking horse, Miller insisted that federal jobless benefits were unconstitutional. Then it turned out that his own wife had received such benefits.

Miller insisted that federal health care entitlements, including Medicaid, were unconstitutional. Then it turned out that he and his family had received Medicaid.

Miller denounced federal spending on agriculture. Then it turned out that, back in the ’90s, he had received federal agriculture subsidies for a farm he owned.

Miller assailed Denali KidCare, a health program heavily subsidized by the feds, and he rebuked Murkowski for having supported it. Then it turned out that his own kids had received Denali KidCare.

So you see the problem. The bottom line is, Joe Miller didn’t lose his Senate race because some Alaskans misspelled Murkowski’s name. He blew his Senate race because the voters assessed the chasm that separated his tea-party talk from his personal actions, and found him fraudulent. Insulting the voters even in defeat, by trying to disenfranchise them in federal court, will only cement his reputation.


Face it, wingnut candidates will say whatever they find convenient at the time, regardless of what they said and did yesterday or might say and do tomorrow.

In that way, they are electioneering equivalent of Charles Krauthammer.


Pretty Pictures 0

Over at the local rag.


Seen on the Street 0

Some pictures from my walk in the snow yesterday:

Ducks on a pond. You can see the thin film of ice that is restricting their movement.

Ducks on a Pond Very Pretty Swimming Round

As I walked around, these three entered the pond and each ended up in its own little hole in the ice.

More ducks on a pond

They seemed puzzled why they were making no headway swimming, and eventually got fed up and moved.

Ducking out

Read more »


The Galt and the Lamers 0

The fallacy of Libertarianism is that it assumes that all persons are rational almost all the time.

That’s why Libertarianism lives in a fantastickal world of the imagination. Delaware Liberal reports. (Why should I do all that work when they are ready have?)


This also applies to Objectionableism Objectivism, Ayn Rand’s peculiar Cloud Cuckoo Land.


“Foolish and Dangerous” 0

Having been a teen-aged boy and, despite what you might hear from my kids, remembering clearly what it was like (for some escapades, too clearly), I would say the “foolish and dangerous” pretty much sums it up.

Except, of course, for the “exciting and daring” part, that grown-ups never seem to get:

Police in the Australian state of Queensland have rescued three teenagers who tried to use air mattresses to float 30km (20 miles) on floodwaters.

The three boys were trying to get from Ipswich to central Brisbane via the swollen Bremer river.

Police said the trio had floated 15km before they were retrieved, labelling their actions “foolish and dangerous”.



H. L. Mencken:

A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven brag about it to persons who will never get there.


The Entitlement Society 0

The cries of the bonus babies will be deafening if this actually happens. In bankster lingo, “pay for performance” is a synonym for “gimme gimme gimme.”

Regulators (The international Basel Committee on Banking Supervision–ed.) have called for the size of bonuses to be linked to success. “Bonuses should diminish or disappear in the event of poor firm, divisional or business unit performance,” the Financial Stability Forum said in a set of principles in 2009. The organization, which brought together regulators from some industrialized nations, was replaced last year by the Financial Stability Board.

The requirement to disclose whether bonuses are reduced in line with performance is “probably the most important point” in the proposals, Lannoo said. “Now they should explain, if the performance of a bank is not what it should be, how they would adjust remuneration.”


Advice for the Lovelorn 0

From Comically Vintage.


Metamorphosis 0

Beware of those who claim God is on their side.

Too often, they make their own god, as James Carroll points out in the Boston Globe. A nugget:

The other side of this story is the way in which, again from the very start, we humans have used Jesus as a lens through which to project our prejudices and needs onto the screen of history. So when 1st Century Roman military occupation led to civil war among the colonized Jews, Jesus people purged him of Jewishness to imagine a Gentile Jesus (“His own knew him not’’), in radical contradiction to the first fact of his history — that he was a Jew through and through. When Christians found themselves aligned with the Roman empire, Jesus emerged as the embodiment of political power (King of Kings). When, in times of plague, the challenge was to make sense of inescapable misery, an agonized Jesus came to the fore (the bloody crucifix), as if God could will suffering as a mode of redemption. When Christianity remade itself as Christendom, a necessary reaction to material excess elevated a puritan Jesus (the cross without a corpus). Against cold rationalism, there came a warmly pious Jesus (the Sacred Heart). In line with racist eugenics, an Aryan Jesus emerged (blue eyed, light brown flowing hair). When the time came for the overthrow of the corruptions of the old order, why not a revolutionary Jesus (liberation theology)?


Electronic Affairs 0

This seems a little over-the-top.

A Michigan man has been charged under anti-hacking legislation designed to protect trade secrets after logging on to his wife’s email account and discovering she was having an affair.

Leon Walker, 33, faces a trial lawyers say could have significant repercussions given that nearly half of US divorce cases involve some form of snooping, such as reading emails, text messages or social networking.

Part of the question seems to revolve around whether it was his or hers.

I cannot help but think there is more to the DA’s decision to prosecute than meets the eye.


Facebook Frolics, Groupthink Dept. 0

Show your support. Join our group.

This type of crusading has become so common online that a word has been coined for it – slacktivism. It’s not a term of endearment. Definition: Activism, often done on a computer, that requires a slacker’s amount of effort and is of questionable effectiveness.

Why raise money doing a breast cancer walk when you can easily update your Facebook status with the color of your bra? (That Facebook meme happened in January.) Maybe you wanted to encourage Iran’s prodemocracy demonstrators last year. To show your support, all you had to do was tint your Twitter avatar green or add to it a virtual green ribbon.

It’s not that low-impact activism is new. For years we’ve sat in traffic and read a bumper crop of bumper stickers proclaiming drivers’ concern for the rain forest, support for a political candidate, or pride in little Eddie or Emma making the school honor roll. Walk down the street and you’ll see people making statements with T-shirts and rubber wristbands.

Or try standing outside the polling place handing out lit for candidate.

Full Disclosure:

I’ve done some of the group-joining, usually to publicize the cause via my profile; in return, I’ve learned stuff, but the causes I support tend to send out informative updates.

I put the brakes on joining causes over a year ago.

I’ve never done the profile picture thing, though some folks probably wish I would.

Change the picture, that is.

I’ve also handed out literature for my candidate.


Light Bloggery 2

Must go play in the snow.


The region is shut down. A foot of snow all at once would shut down any place for a day of digging out, even places that are used to it.

One thing I’ve noticed here is that the television news coverage of the weather is nowhere near as panicky as it was in the Greater Philadelphia-Wilmington Co-Prosperity Sphere. I’ll put it this way:

Here, TV News was saying,

A lot of snow. Stay inside. Stay off the roads. And now some pretty pictures of the snow and some weather maps.

And this is a place where four inches is a Big Deal.

In Philly, it would have been and no doubt is

OMG! OMG! OMG! The End of the World as We Know It, the White Horseman of the Apocalypse, We’re All Going To Drown, Look at the Weather Map of Horrors! Look! A Car in a Ditch! A Tree Fell Down! OMG! OMG! OMG!

Worst damned television news on the East Coast.


The New Contrition, Bankster Style 0

Dr. Gerry Mander explains:

Dear Dr Mander

I am a trader in the City, wealthy by virtue of persistent endeavour and minded to dismiss all festivity as humbug. But on Christmas Eve I was visited by three spirits of the season past, present and yet-to-be. I was reminded of the kind heart I once possessed and alerted to the ill consequences of my hardened manner. I resolved to soften it forthwith and on Christmas Day bestowed great charity on a clerk in my employment. But, the thing is, I’m due a fat bonus in the new year and quite fancy a new carriage. And maybe a winter break in the colonies. Is there a way to redeem my soul without giving all my money away?

E Scrooge

Dear Mr Scrooge

It was once considered easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. But the criteria have recently been relaxed. Instead of sustained commitment to collective solidarity we now have the “Big Society”, which means that by giving Tiny Tim a bit of turkey at Christmas you have cleansed your conscience and are free to go back to business as usual.

Follow the link for more advice from Dr. Mander.



Charles Caleb Colton:

Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase.


A White Boxing Day 0

It looks like the snow is pretty much over, though the forecast calls for the possibility of another inch or two overnight.

The AP reports a foot for Norfolk (for those of you not familiar with the area, Norfolk is about a mile that way); it looks like a foot on the railing of the deck, but I haven’t gotten outside to measure it (walking in the snow scheduled for tomorrow). That would make it half again as much as the maximum predicted and the heaviest snowfall in these parts since 1989.

night snow scene


Facebook Frolics 0


Mike Thomson

More Thompson.