Hear That Noise?

Over at Techdirt,  Mike Masnick has a piece on Argentina's call to censor the internet:
We've noted that both Russia and China recently pushed for even more internet censorship, and both did so while claiming that it was really to "protect the children." Of course, lots of other countries are following suit.
When they say "protect the children", understand - they mean that you are children. Implying, not just that they are the only adults who matter, but that they are the only adults, period.

"For the children" is the dog-whistle of the statist.

I Wants One, My Precious

An Armageddon Pantry.

I mean, how could you not want one?  It has "armageddon" right there in the name!

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Well, no, not really.  But it was probably a close thing:
ESL sent me overseas to a secret site run by one of the company’s “customers.”  It was so secret the entire site was could have qualified as one of Dick Cheney’s “undisclosed locations.” As a going away gift my roommates got me a joke disguise kit with a fake nose, glasses and mustache...
Before long I realized that down the hall sat all the manuals for all the equipment at the entire site. Twenty times more technical reading than just my equipment. Although all the manuals were in safes, the whole site was so secure that anybody who had access to that site had access to everything – including other compartmentalized systems that had nothing to do with me – and that I wasn’t cleared for...
I was now inside the firewall with access to everything.  It never dawned on me that this might not be a good idea.

Quote of the Day

Says Coketown, over at Althouse, responding to the question, "What drives the Obama doubters and haters?":
Doubters? As though the last few years weren't enough to make doubters of us all. Obama's first attempted miracle, to turn debt into prosperity, failed miserably. Next he tried The Insuring of the 30 Million, and that was awful. Now he's treading water rather than walking on it. So, yes, doubters abound.

Low Morals, Low Standards

Sonic Charmer notes:
We’ve actually devolved to the point that large numbers of people are unable to even live up to those standards intentionally portrayed as exemplars of horrible, self-centered, and venal behavior on Seinfeld just a decade and a half ago.

"Nice school you have here..."

When you can't win by logic or law, well, there's always threats:
In a stunning move, attorneys representing the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) have threatened litigation against schools participating in the state’s voucher program.

True Stories of the Government Service

I was talking with a friend last night, who has a relative by marriage who is a naturalized citizen.  At some point, someone in the INS administration made an error in recording his date of birth.  Even though it was written out as "January 4th, 19xy" on his original paperwork, it was recorded on his INS records as 4/1/19yx instead of 1/4/19xy.


After much butting of heads, he managed to convince them that his date of birth was wrong, and got them to change it... to 1/4/19xy.

Oh, well, he thought - at least the year is right now.

Faced with further efforts to get the INS to change their records to, you know, reflect the actual month and day of his birth, he decided that it would be easier to just give up and celebrate his birthday on April 1st instead of January 4th.


I just can't wait for these folks to be involved in my health care.

Missed Chances

I was thinking about this earlier today, and kicking myself.  A few weeks ago, Obama was visiting Pittsburgh, and he stopped in at CMU to give a speech and press the flesh.  I didn't get an invitation to attend - I graduated from the CIT [1] side of the house, where people are generally expected to be able to add 2 and 2 together and get 4 instead of "magical unicorn farts!"

My wife, however, graduated from H&SS [2], which is a much more Obama-friendly portion of the college.  And so she received the mandatory "Come and see Obama - isn't he just dreamy?!?" invitation to attend The One's (TM) appearance.  Free tickets, yinz guys!  Come and see!

We didn't take them up on the offer.  As usual, we were pretty busy not building that.  You know, doing things like running a household, working a job, and so on. Amazing how much time not doing something takes up, isn't it?

Which is why I'm kicking myself.  There was a chance I could have actually met Obama.  I even knew exactly what I'd say to him, if I had the chance...
"This is such an honor.  I've never had the chance to meet an ex-president before!"
[1] Carnegie Institute of Technology.  Hasn't been called that for ages, really, but it sounds a lot better than "those odd guys who hang out in Wean Hall."

[2] Humanities and Social Sciences.

"Before I ever got those doors open..."

A recent post from a friend on Facebook, on the effect of government regulations on opening a small business...
I'm gonna address this issue one last time, then no more politics for a while. I'm getting on my own nerves. Here's the short story of opening a tiny little shop: 
In September of 2010, I made the dubious decision to buy a piece of commercial property to open a yarn and pottery shop. I had a certain amount of money (x dollars) in my coffers to accomplish this. According to my calculations, the business could be opened with a commercial loan to buy the building and then (2/3)(x) to get my starting inventory and fixtures. And that might have been true, but WAIT! Slow down. Along comes the borough. the borough tells me that I'll need to hire an engineer to draw up plans to show exactly HOW I'm going to make this building ADA compliant. Hm. It was a business before, so why me? So, engineering fees. HUGE. Then, I find out that, get this, 60% of my egresses must be handicapped-accessible. I have two egresses. The only solution? Rip off the entire front of the building to remove one egress, then make the other one accessible. To make 100% of my egresses compliant. Make sense? In government it does. So, there we have a few grand I didn't expect. Now it's looking like (4/5)(x). But wait! My bathroom sink has to be moved two inches to be compliant. "But then the door won't swing, sir!" "Then re-hang the door, and move the sink, Honey." OOPS. Now it's 1.2(x). Uh-oh. "But I just wanna sell some yarn." "This building is not grandfathered in. They used to sell mortgages, not yarn. You must comply." 
I'll cut to the chase. Before I ever got those doors open, the government was my only hindrance. I could have had a perfectly accessible shop for about 25 grand less than the government cost me. I've spent every penny I have to be compliant. And every now and then, guess who comes by to tell me which signs are violating the zoning rules? Yep. Same guy. And guess who has never come in to buy so much as a mug? The zoning guy. Neither has the mayor. Neither has the borough engineer. the government has done nothing but suck me dry. And I continue to pay them for the privilege. BUT, what have we done for ? Improved a neglected building, planted flowers, and brought consumers in from out of town, who end up patronizing other businesses.  
No thank-yous from me, government. But you're welcome. 
And with that, I drop this issue altogether. I'm sick of it.
My brother, who just opened a restaurant in Pittsburgh, and is involved in renovating a second pub out towards the airport, has similar stories.  Zoning meetings that they were required to attend, in order to hand over a piece of paperwork - just to hear "we'll get back to you".  Inspections that had to be obtained, with only one person authorized to do them... and with a 3-4 month backlog for the first inspection (and the follow up inspection as well, mind you, along with the final certification).  Paperwork (submitted in triplicate!) inexplicably lost, approvals delayed because someone was on a month-long vacation, and of course, more fines, fees, and other governmentally-approved money sinks than you would believe.

For someone who's never built a business, he's sure worked awful hard to do nothing.

Get Uppity, Y'all

Borepatch comments on academia vs. accomplishment:
Consider the education system: it is rigidly structured...
Compare to the utter chaos of the marketplace.  Well run companies go out of business all the time, as technologically driven Creative Destruction churns the economy.
This isn't a different world, it's a different universe.
It's those damn grubby mechanics, putting on airs and getting above their station.

Get uppity, y'all.

Arise and Build

Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

Interesting to note that they didn't wait for God to bless them.  They went ahead and did what needed to be doing, trusting in God to take care of His people.

How could we do less?

Arise and build, America.

Arise and build.

And let those who mock you know what they deserve: no portion, nor right, nor memorial.

Wookie Suit On Order

Well, it will be, as soon as I get the change of voter registration in the mail.

Yes, mail.  While I tried valiantly on Tuesday to find an office where I could just, y'know, change my voter registration, such a thing apparently does not exist.  At least, not in any of the locations I tried.  Turns out that you can do it at the DMV office, but only if you're getting or changing your driver's license at the time.  Because... ?

On the plus side, I did get to meet some nice gunnery sergeants in the local Marine recruiting center.  No, no sarcasm there - they were very good about the random bald guy wandering in and asking about voter registration.