## Iran: We Lost

The bottom line is that the game is over and we lost. Talk about "sanctions" and "military strikes" are nonsense at this point. Nothing short of an all out war of conquest will prevent Iran from getting the bomb.

Frankly, the game was lost long ago. Once the Iranians had the centrifuges and raw material they needed, it was only a matter of time.

I don't think the idea of a tactical military strike to stop those centrifuges spinning was ever serious. This includes a strike by Israel, which you still hear suggested by some pundits. Get real. The Iranians are not that stupid. I am sure they have their critical devices well protected underground, away from a few lightweight fighter bombers that Israel might send at them.

And let's face it, have sanctions ever worked, anywhere, any time?

It's over.

## The gender gap

Right now, many colleges are teetering on the dreaded 60/40 student body ratio. That is, 60 girls for every 40 boys. The only schools which are holding their own are engineering schools such as Carnegie Mellon, or big sports schools like Duke. The 60/40 level is dreaded, because once you hit that, your school becomes perceived as a girls' school, which further discourages male applications.

What is even more scary is this: many schools are positively discriminating in favor of boys. In other words, boys can get in with lower grades, lower test scores, lower activity levels (such as the high school newspaper or running a food shelf) than can girls. Even with that discrimination, boys still aren't showing up on campus.

Here's Richard Whitmore from the "Why Boys Fail" blog:
No hard numbers will ever emerge on the college admissions preferences private, four-year colleges grant men, but simple math suggests it has to be larger than anything ever mounted to draw minorities into college. If that rug ever got pulled — which people such as Tom Mortenson argue should happen — gender gaps would become an explosive issue in this country.
Steve says: Six girls for every four guys? I can see an up side...

## Astounding World of the Future

Something reminded me of this video I saw several months ago. It's a hoot.

## Quotes from The Nation's Founders

And a few other guys...

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
George Washington

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.
William Pitt in the House of Commons November 18, 1783

The way to have safe government is not to trust it all to the one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent…To let the National Government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations…The State Governments with the Civil Rights, Laws, Police and administration of what concerns the State generally. The Counties with the local concerns, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of everyman’s farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.
Thomas Jefferson

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and our drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labors and in our amusements, for our callings and our creeds…our people…must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread…

This is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering…And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.
Thomas Jefferson

We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.
Abraham Lincoln

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Patrick Henry

Good stuff. Found here.

## A simple plan

On the Corner:
Regular correspondent B. J. writes (in reference to this post):
I agree that it's economically rational for a young, healthy person to refrain from purchasing health insurance. I also think that it's a deprivation of his liberty to require him to purchase health insurance (or otherwise to put money aside for health care) when he doesn't want to.

But: I want to know what is supposed to happen when Young Rational Person actually needs health care that he can't afford. . . . We'll either use public funds to help him or we'll force private institutions to help him and then force them to shift the cost of care to paying customers.

And if at the end of the day we're going to do that I'd prefer requiring him to pay in ahead-of-time so that we're only subsidizing half the cost of his care instead of all of it.
I don't think the costs and benefits are going to work out that way. A federal policy requiring all people to own a minimum level of insurance is going to raise premiums for everyone, not cut them. The modest savings that come from forcing the uninsured to pay their way will be outweighed by the gradual lobbying-driven expansion of benefits that are required to be purchased.

An alternative would be to enable people who are uninsured to purchase cheap catastrophic coverage. That would reduce the size of the hidden subsidy that people who are insured pay for the care of the uninsured. It would not reduce it to zero. But 1) I don't see any way of reducing it to zero without incurring other and higher costs. And 2) I actually don't think it's outrageous for society, having made a collective decision that nobody can be denied care, to pay a modest collective cost for this compassion—especially since, again, I don't see any better alternative.
Here's my idea: Send them the bill! Hmm...that's simple, straightforward. People understand bills. If necessary, set up a 5-year or even 10-year payment schedule. But in the end, make them pay for it.

Gee, no, that's not fair, let's completely screw up the entire health care system instead!

To be fair, when you add it to the cart, it does use the $5.70 price. ## It's About Flocking Time! Flocked wallpaper is finally making a comeback! ...thanks to advancements in the wallpaper industry, flocked wallpaper is set to surge back in 2009 with large, graphic designs. Excellent. ## Andy Richter is Smart People have posted this video as evidence that Wolf Blitzer isn't too bright. Perhaps, but I think it says a lot more about Andy Richter. Andy knows a lot of stuff, and plays the game very well. Indeed, according to Wikipedia, Andy's total winnings for this game is the second highest in Jeopardy history. ## Ho ho ho Michael Barone today: "But I have to say that I am still stunned by the conduct that filmmaker James O'Keefe and his sidekick Hannah Giles" This is really ticking me off. Barone is not alone in naming this dynamic duo like this--like it's O'Keefe's game and Giles is along for the ride. In fact it was pretty much the opposite. The idea was Giles's and she went to him with the idea. It would be more accurate to call him the sidekick. I guess when you dress up like a ho, you just can't get the respect you deserve. Barone should have been more precise in his phrasing. ## Tough to be a Journalist These Days It must be tough these days to be a reporter. You want to do all you can to support President Obama, but sometimes that means holding your tongue, biting your lip, and suppressing all of your journalistic instincts. Case in point, this amusing article in the Washington Post about Michelle Obama's trip to a farmers' market: Cowbells were rung. Somebody put a lei of marigolds around Obama's neck. The first lady picked up a straw basket and headed for the "Farm at Sunnyside" tent, where she loaded up with organic Asian pears, cherry tomatoes, multicolored potatoes, free-range eggs and, yes, two bunches of Tuscan kale... There's nothing like the simple pleasures of a farm stand to return us to our agrarian roots. So far so good, the author is keeping it together. The author's instincts for a good story can't be fully suppressed, however. In this case, it's a clear "Let them eat cake!" moment: The first lady said the market would particularly appeal to federal employees in nearby buildings to "pick up some good stuff for dinner." Yet even they might think twice about spending$3 for a pint of potatoes when potatoes are on sale for 40 cents a pound at Giant. They could get nearly five dozen eggs at Giant for the $5 Obama spent for her dozen. Imagine if you will a Republican first lady out there in a middle of a recession paying$3 for a pint of potatoes and 5 times the normal price for eggs! Twenty dollars a pound for kale is also mentioned.

I suspect the reporter misses those good old days, when he would have torn into this story like a hungry dog on a piece of red meat.

## The Obama Doctrine

Remember when Charlie Gibson flustered Palin by asking her to define the Bush Doctrine. Later commentators pointed out that there was no simple answer to his question. At least that's not true of Obama's foreign policy, which is now crystal clear and can be summed up in a few words:

## Federal option

There is a website I visit once in a while, because it is a voice of sanity in an insane world. You might remember the story of a woman about a year and a half ago, who let her 9-year-old son find his way back to their house from an outing in NYC. He had asked her if he could travel the city unaccompanied. She and her husband discussed it between themselves, asking some basic questions: Is he capable of finding his way back? Does he know the subways well enough? Does he know how to ask for help if he gets lost? And finally the big one, is the adult he asks likely to drag him into an alley rape and murder him? They thought about the actual risks to their child, realized that they were minimal, and let him do it.

He arrived home in perfect safety.

The woman, Leonore Skenazy started a movement. She has since published a book "Free-Range Kids" and a website by that name. These days she spends a lot of time pointing out that the Jaycee Duggard story is not indicative of the level of risk our kids face, and that the actual crime rate against children is as low as it was in the early 70's--a time when kids were actually allowed to be outside without supervision.

So, I visit the website once in a while to check out the latest news. It's usually about parents being arrested for letting their teenager be alone for a few minutes.

Today, though, there is this:
...sometimes the problem is not parental hysteria. Sometimes, it’s that there are no crossing guards at a busy street, or no sidewalks. Safe Routes to School is a program that addresses just such issues to make it easier for kids to get THEMSELVES to school, safely. ...Here’s a note from the deputy director there on how we can help support its efforts:
Join the Safe Routes to School “Dear Congress” campaign

## Run away! Run away!

I believe I just killed a male black widow spider...IN OUR HOUSE!!!

It built a web between the knife rack and the coffee maker.

I believe I said this a week ago...

...Why do people live in Southern California again?????!!!!

## Yes, I am going to DC!

I just booked airfare for DC. Leaving Thursday, returning Monday. I figured I'd stay Sunday to take in a little of the town.

Now, I have to book hotel. :)

## DC bound?

I'm seriously considering heading for what "the other McCain" calls "Woodstock for Conservatives"--the rally in Washington on Saturday. Air fare is reasonable, and our credit card has hotel points I could use.

## Video

Very well done video. To the tune of the Candyman, "The government takes everything we make...":

Via Tigerhawk

## DJ AM

The Corner has a post about DJ AM's death about a week ago. The bottom line from it is:
Is it a stretch to say that these pursuits of modern boy-manhood failed him? That male adulthood without responsibility in the traditional sense is disorienting, anchorless, and potentially fatal?
Now, I never met the man--though we probably were at the same party once. The party was for the son of one of his very close friends--who attends the kids' school--it was both a typical kiddie party and an atypical one. The atypical part was that it was so over the top, they probably spent tens of thousands of dollars on a 4-year-olds' birthday. But it was all about the kids that day.

I also know that DJ spent a lot of time around those kids, and even drove them to school in the morning.

My point is, it is easy to look at the public face of people like this. They intentionally leave their private lives out of the public eye. They might make the tabloids for their romantic shenanigans, but what they do with their friends and family usually remains very private. And often it is very different from their image in public.

This man had loyal and devoted friends to whom he was also devoted. He was very much a part of their families.

Bottom line is, you can't really get to know what a person is really like by reading TMZ.

## Sir Humphry In Panic Mode

Looking for a quick and easy boost in the polls, President Obama has decided to go to the one place where merit bears no relationship to adulation: the United Nations. On September 24, the president will take the unprecedented step of presiding over a meeting of the UN Security Council.
and an image formed in my brain of Sir Humphry Appleby reacting in horror to the news. The word is though that Sir Humphry retired to greener pastures some time ago.

## Narrow Escape

Thank Heaven we got out of Brookline alive:
According to Health Department reports, inspectors stopped by the Harvard Street Stop & Shop last month, and found several baked goods made with trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils. The offending pastries included an 8-inch apple pie, braided Danish, beef knish and Jamaican patty.

Who knows how close we were to ingesting that killer apple pie. Stay diligent Brookline!

## Pinky and Pinkie and a Thursday Update

"Adam's Rib" is quite a fine movie, though I prefer "Philadelphia Story" and "Bringing Up Baby"--maybe I just prefer Grant/Hepburn to Tracy/Hepburn? If the Pinky/Pinkie reference is too obscure, it comes from "Adam's Rib".

Which brings me to the evening pinkie update. The guy whose pinkie was bitten off has now spoken, and according to him, it was the pro-Obama guy who began the verbal confrontation, but the 9-figured man confesses to being the first to start shoving.

Looks like no one comes out smelling very good. Interestingly, the amputation of a finger is actually a felony, and the guy who did it could be up for some pretty serious jail time.

Fires: The sunset is still nice and red, but the moon is only a couple shades toward the yellow tonight. A couple of nights ago, it looked the color of a rose wine.

Employment: The employment report comes out tomorrow for August's data. Unfornuately, the computer I have my data on, is still getting fixed, and we haven't gotten it back yet--so, I can't run my numbers. Boo hoo!!!!

Kindle: I don't know if I've mentioned that we have a family Kindle. I love the thing and find it a great way to read. Steven has read quite a bit on it, but given a choice between a real book and a Kindle book, Elizabeth chooses the real book.

Nevertheless, our Kindle has a minor hardware problem. There is a little joy-stick-like button on it, and the button has somehow managed to crack horizontally into two pieces.

I called Kindle support today, and was amazed. First, my call was answered, and I was talking to a real person within about 30 seconds of placing the call. Second, I don't have to send the broken Kindle back before they send the new one. They are actually shipping the replacement first, then we simply put the old one in the same packaging and ship the broken one back.

Pretty cool, and very nice customer service.

Go Amazon!

## Fundamental lack of understanding

A long time ago, back during the Clinton administration, I remember writing a piece on how the cynicism of the Clintonians was infuriating. My main beef was the feeling that they thought everyone in the country were morons who just needed to hear the right words to be convinced of the glory, rightness and righteousness of the Clintonians.

In other words, people are too stupid to know what's best for them, don't bother trying to explain the policy to them, because they wouldn't understand or would just let their small-minded bitter-clinging world view get in the way. The little people should not interfere, but should let their betters take care of things for them.

They follow the George Lakoff version of politics: if you can just find the right words--like casting a confundus spell in Harry Potter--then you can make them agree with you. It's like magic! Don't call it the "public option" call it the "American Plan" and people will fall all over themselves to support it!

This, of course, is utter bunk. With a major change in the direction of the country, such as the complete reordering--on the government's orders--of 1/7th of the national economy, most people actually do look pastthe hand waving and the screaming to look at what is actually being proposed.

That's why the Tea Partiers are quoting directly from HR 3200 and bringing up specific proposals from the plan. They aren't listening to the politicians but are actually looking at the facts. (With no help from the media. Has an actual, extensive breakdown of HR 3200's proposals--all 1,000 pages of them--appeared in any major newspaper? Or is the media too fixated on the horse-race aspects? The media never seem to report on underlying proposals, just on the lies and carefully-crafted turns-of-phrase of the politicians.)

The Clintonians and the Obamaniacs both seem to be under the impression that facts don't matter, only the words you use to trick people. It drives me nuts.

This type of thinking does have one upside, though. It makes it very hard for people who think like this to actually convince people of their positions. If you think it is all hand-waving and manipulation, but if you are mistaken and it is really all about the facts and concrete proposals, you aren't even competing on the same playing field.

## Breaking news

A little breaking news happening out this way today. Apparently, at a MoveOn rally, someone opposing Obama's health care reforms crossed over to confront the MoveOn side.

Somehow, he ended up with his finger bitten off, and walking with it to a nearby hospital.

At least, that's what preliminary reports are saying.

Just a point of information for the MoveOn side: if you want to hold down health costs, don't bite people's fingers off!

Morning Update: It looks like there was a very-aggressive man on the anti-Obama side. Apparently, the geography of the area meant that the pro-Obama people had to walk through the anti-Obama people to get to their side of the demonstration, and this one man was giving them a very hard time. One of the pro-Obama people engaged with this man, and the anti-guy punched him in the face so hard he fell over into a busy street. The pro-guy got up and by the time they were done, he had bitten off the anti-guy's finger.

The initial aggression seems to have been on the anti-Obama side, and I wonder why others in that crowd didn't try to hold him back or kick him out.

Still, escalating by biting off a finger seems a bit extreme.

## Not In MA Anymore

I was at the DMV today, getting a driver's license and registering my car. I was very surprised to see this plate option:
Wow. This is more proof we aren't in Massachusetts any more.

## Red dusk

With the sun still quite high in the sky at around 6pm, the light around here was flat-out red, and looking up at the sun showed a wimpy red sun. Somehow, the smoke has managed to move from the fires in the north, around in a circle to the west, then it headed south and back east again. It looks like the smoke is making a loop around the city (of course, it's probably just perception, since looking straight up through the smoke shows it to be less thick than looking more end-on to a smoke cloud.

Still, the 7-year-old boy asked what smelled like barbecue, and he needed his inhaler a tiny bit this morning.

It's very smoky around here.