Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Governor Awesome!

I'm still struggling with the concept that this outstanding example of effective government is from freaking New Jersey!

It's hard to imagine a response from a politician I'd like better, to a challenge like this one:


I have so much hope for the people of the Middle East, and at the same time I'm very worried about the bazillion ways this could go horribly wrong...

Peggy Noonan, apparently fully recovered from her Obama spell, has some interesting thoughts.  One paragraph:
And youth trumps age. Egypt is a young nation, median age 24, with high youth unemployment. All revolutions, in the end, are about the young versus the old, because the young are driven by hope and the old by experience. The men who massed in Tahrir Square the first week looked to be aged roughly 16 to 35. A few days into the revolution, I received an email from a friend just back from Cairo. He told me, he'd seen a young man run out of his suburban Cairo house. He was off to the demonstrations, to take part in history. Running after him was his grandmother, who literally grabbed him by the ear and tried to drag him back inside.
Heh. I can easily visualize that grandmother!

The always-interesting Fouad Ajami has a great column, also at WSJ, which concludes:
Umm al-Dunya, the mother of the world, Egyptians and other Arabs call the fabled city of Cairo. It had been there, in that city founded a millennium ago, that Islam fashioned a civilization, made its peace with the world, outwitted and outwaited conquerors.

Egyptians know that this Arab revolution of 2011—and the upheaval has earned that name—had not begun in their metropolis, that it had travelled eastward from Tunisia. When that revolt arrived in Cairo, it found a stage worthy of its ambitions. For decades now, Egypt has been the lens through which Arabs see their history. This is the case today. A new Arab politics has spawned in Liberation Square, a movement of a piece with the modern ways of protest and reform.

It will be said that the great, enduring dilemmas of Egypt—a huge country that has lost out in the game of nations—will still be there. There will be accounts to settle, a struggle between those who were sullied by the dictatorship and those who weren't. The Egyptians will be tested again as to their fidelity to democratic ways. But if this standoff that ended in the demise of the dictator is any guide, the Egyptians may give us a consoling tale of an Islamic people who rose to proclaim their fidelity to liberty, and who provided us with a reminder that tyranny is not fated for the Arabs.
Our fingers are crossed and our thumbs are pressed (as my German friends would say), reflecting our fervent hope for a good outcome from all this turmoil.  We're also hoping that this revolutionary wind keeps right on traveling, across all the thugocracies in the region...

Code of the West...

Via my lovely wife.  There's an interesting backstory.  The code:
1. Live each day with courage

2. Take pride in your work

3. Always finish what you start

4. Do what has to be done

5. Be tough, but fair

6. When you make a promise, keep it

7. Ride for the brand

8. Talk less and say more

9. Remember that some things aren't for sale

10. Know where to draw the line
Lots to like about that...

Parable for Our Times...

Via reader Dr. Simi L.:
"Winston, come into the dining room, it's time to eat," Julia yelled to her husband. "In a minute, honey, it's a tie score," he answered. Actually Winston wasn't very interested in the traditional holiday football game between Detroit and Washington.

Ever since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its "unseemly violence" and the "bad example it sets for the rest of the world," Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be. Two-hand touch wasn't nearly as exciting.

Yet it wasn't the game that Winston was uninterested in. It was more the thought of eating another TofuTurkey. Even though it was the best type of VeggieMeat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally-forbidden foods, (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce and mince-meat pie), it wasn't anything like real turkey. And ever since the government officially changed the name of "Thanksgiving Day" to "A National Day of Atonement" in 2020 to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims' historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster.

Eating in the dining room was also a bit daunting. The unearthly gleam of government-mandated fluorescent light bulbs made the TofuTurkey look even weirder than it actually was, and the room was always cold. Ever since Congress passed the Power Conservation Act of 2016, mandating all thermostats-which were monitored and controlled by the electric company-be kept at 68 degrees, every room on the north side of the house was barely tolerable throughout the entire winter.

Still, it was good getting together with family. Or at least most of the family. Winston missed his mother, who passed on in October, when she had used up her legal allotment of live-saving medical treatment. He had had many heated conversations with the Regional Health Consortium, spawned when the private insurance market finally went bankrupt, and everyone was forced into the government health care program. And though he demanded she be kept on her treatment, it was a futile effort. "The RHC's resources are limited," explained the government bureaucrat Winston spoke with on the phone. "Your mother received all the benefits to which she was entitled. I'm sorry for your loss."

Ed couldn't make it either. He had forgotten to plug in his electric car last night, the only kind available after the Anti-Fossil Fuel Bill of 2021 outlawed the use of the combustion engines-for everyone but government officials. The fifty mile round trip was about ten miles too far, and Ed didn't want to spend a frosty night on the road somewhere between here and there.

Thankfully, Winston's brother, John, and his wife were flying in. Winston made sure that the dining room chairs had extra cushions for the occasion. No one complained more than John about the pain of sitting down so soon after the government-mandated cavity searches at airports, which severely aggravated his hemorrhoids. Ever since a terrorist successfully smuggled a cavity bomb onto a jetliner, the TSA told Americans the added "inconvenience" was an "absolute necessity" in order to stay "one step ahead of the terrorists." Winston's own body had grown accustomed to such probing ever since the government expanded their scope to just about anywhere a crowd gathered, via Anti-Profiling Act of 2022. That law made it a crime to single out any group or individual for "unequal scrutiny," even when probable cause was involved. Thus, cavity searches at malls, train stations, bus depots, etc., etc., had become almost routine. Almost.

The Supreme Court is reviewing the statute, but most Americans expect a Court composed of six progressives and three conservatives to leave the law intact. "A living Constitution is extremely flexible," said the Court's eldest member, Elena Kagan. " Europe has had laws like this one for years. We should learn from their example," she added.

Winston's thoughts turned to his own children. He got along fairly well with his 12-year-old daughter, Brittany, mostly because she ignored him. Winston had long ago surrendered to the idea that she could text anyone at any time, even during Atonement Dinner. Their only real confrontation had occurred when he limited her to 50,000 texts a month, explaining that was all he could afford. She whined for a week, but got over it.

His 16-year-old son, Jason, was another matter altogether. Perhaps it was the constant bombarding he got in public school that global warming, the bird flu, terrorism or any of a number of other calamities were "just around the corner," but Jason had developed a kind of nihilistic attitude that ranged between simmering surliness and outright hostility. It didn't help that Jason had reported his father to the police for smoking a cigarette in the house, an act made criminal by the Smoking Control Statute of 2018, which outlawed smoking anywhere within 500 feet of another human being. Winston paid the $5,000 fine, which might have been considered excessive before the American dollar became virtually worthless as a result of QE13. The latest round of quantitative easing the federal government initiated was, once again, to "spur economic growth." This time they promised to push unemployment below its years-long rate of 18%, but Winston was not particularly hopeful.

Yet the family had a lot for which to be thankful, Winston thought, before remembering it was a Day of Atonement. At least he had his memories. He felt a twinge of sadness when he realized his children would never know what life was like in the Good Old Days, long before Obama and government promises to make life "fair for everyone" realized their full potential. Winston, like so many of his fellow Americans, never realized how much things could change when they didn't happen all at once, but little by little, so people could get used to them.

He wondered what might have happened if the public had stood up while there was still time, maybe back around 2012, when all the real nonsense began. "Maybe we wouldn't be where we are today if we'd just said 'enough is enough' when we had the chance," he thought.

Maybe so, Winston. Maybe so.

Not All Entertainers Are Liberal Pantywaists...

A musical tribute to the troops in Iraq, by Gene Simmons (of KISS).  Via my cousin Mike D.:

It's Really Getting Cold Back East!

Via my mom:
I just got off the phone with a friend living in northern Maine near the Canadian border.

She said that since early this morning the snow has been nearly waist high and is still falling.

The temperature is dropping way below zero and the north wind is increasing to near gale force.

Her husband has done nothing but look through the kitchen window and just stare.

She says that if it gets much worse, she may have to let him in.

The Ultimate Cookbook...

It's 2,400 pages and 47 pounds, and costs $625.

I think I'll wait for the Kindle edition...

Mystery Solved!

How fleas jump...

Bye-Bye, Old Office...

One of my colleagues took the snap at right, showing the office where I've worked for the past couple of years.  That office was in the building we called the “wooden spaceship” because of its resemblance to the disc-shaped part of Star Trek's USS Enterprise.  We're all going to miss that old building: lots of character, and right on the beach.  Also termites, roaches, rats, and cranky heating and air conditioning, but that's all just part of the character...

Now we're in a sleek new building, albeit far more conventional.  We've leased the entire building, and the amount of space inside is breathtakingly huge compared to our old building.  It's located at 12225 El Camino Real, San Diego.  The photo below is a Google Maps view; my team's office is on the second floor where the orange arrow is pointing, facing south.  One side of our office is open (i.e., there are only three walls) and facing tall windows looking across Carmel Valley – a pleasant, sunny view with lots of greenery, but not quite like the ocean views of our old building.

I went in to the new building on Saturday to unpack and troubleshoot any problems – but also just to see what the new place was like once everything was installed.  Many of my colleagues were there as well.

There were lots of reactions to various things.  Probably the most interesting reactions were related to the kitchens – there's one on each floor, and they are stunningly well-equipped compared to our old place.  The second-floor kitchen (which my team will use) has two enormous industrial-strength refrigerators, three microwave ovens, enough storage for an army regiment, sinks, an ice machine, coffee machines, and a soda fountain.  It looks like a facility you'd find in a restaurant, except there's no range or oven. 

A Clarifying Thought...

I caught this simple assertion on a Ricochet podcast driving home from work yesterday afternoon:
Meritocracy is violative of liberal principles.
David Limbaugh was the man talking.  He's Rush Limbaugh's brother; like him, a conservative political observer and commentator.  David sounds more like an academic, and less like a talking head; the few times I've delved into his work, I've found it thought-provoking and rant-free.  He's occasionally quite funny, too.

But back to that six word assertion above.  First, I googled it and got zero hits.  It seems to be original with Mr. Limbaugh.  Second, it is highly compressed (a little inside joke there that a few of my readers will get) – I'd probably have to write several paragraphs to capture that same thought, and not so well.

That assertion (which I agree with) is a great summary of why I don't want liberals running my health care, the military, Congress, or the government in general.  Liberal governments attract mediocrity (or worse) like stink on you-know-what...