The Razor Celebrates 14 Years

14 years ago I bought an available domain name for Occam’s Razor, created a few HTML pages in the Dreamweaver editor, and figure out how to upload them, all because I felt that I had to let out what was inside of me. There was grief and anger of course with the World Trade Center site still a smoking heap of rubble and ash, and while my anger flamed white hot in my heart for the men who murdered those innocents, the they were not the focus of my writing and my were incidental characters in my first published essay, “Rohrschach Test for the Left.” Instead that essay, and The (Occam’s) Razor that I slowly built around it, was inspired by the self-delusion and self-hatred of the politically correct Left that justified the attacks in the days immediately after the attacks.

Coming of age in the 1980s I was subjected to PC dogma in college, and watched it infect the Left that I identified with at the time and gradually change the American Left from a grassroots supported ideology rooted in classical liberal thought into an elitist derived identity based movement we find today. Looking back it is clear to me that I witnessed the transition from the labor, class struggle oriented Left of the pre-1960s to the Academic-based neo-Marxist Left. This Left had little to do with the government programs that kept my family alive during the Depression or helped my father find a job after the War, but the draft-dodging elites of the 1960s who had survived in the Ivory Tower and  become ascendant by educating an entire generation of policy makers derived not from the working class but from the Bourgeoisie.

There was no shared experience between working class leftists like me and the Leftists that controlled the college campuses at the time. They saw me as a “Reagan Democrat” and I saw them as arrogant, narrow minded fools who had been cocooned for so long from reality that they had no concept what the world was like. The Clinton era turned out to be the last gasp of the old Left, the Democratic Party of JFK, LBJ and FDR.

The jump from America’s college campuses to the government by this elitist-derived Left was first attempted in Howard Dean’s candidacy of 2004, and was resurrected by his takeover of the DNC the eventually lead to the election of Barack Obama.

Obama is one of them. He was picked from Academia and pushed into increasingly higher levels of power by academics or their acolytes in power. Obama represented them completely. First for a group that is nearly all white but ashamed of their skin color (known euphemistically as “white privilege”) he was a minority. But unlike minority politicians like Jesse Jackson he had been educated by them and shared their belief that America is the root of all evil in the world, and that our nation could only be saved by a repentant America apologizing to the world for our sins, embracing our enemies, and dropping our allies who supported our evil in the world.

Starting with his Apology Tour in 2009 Obama did just that, following it up with the “reset button” with Russia, an extended hand to Iran and rude gestures towards American allies such as the UK and Israel. He then let Iraq fall into Iran’s hands and ignored what he once called the “good war” in Afghanistan. He put into practice exactly the foreign policy the elitist Left had been demanding for years because the Constitution grants that power to the Executive, but was stymied by domestic opponents from putting into place their domestic agenda.

Now they control not only America’s campuses but they control our government, and worse, they even control our military. If America is the root of all the world’s problems, why are the problems getting worse without American involvement? Shouldn’t they get better?

America is not the root of all evil in the world no matter how many books Chomsky writes or how many professors say it is so. America created a worldwide unseen in the world since Augustus Caesar ruled 2000 years ago. Pax Americana was not perfect, but it did allow the world to prosper, with nation after nation achieving prosperity during its watch. The ranks of the middle class grew under Pax Americana in ways that the average ancient Roman, 95% of whom lived in abject poverty, would marvel at. It also allowed the freedom of an elite to coalesce around an idea that would eventually lead to its demise.

Today a morally and economically bankrupt Russia invades any territory it desires without consequence. In the US a wealthy elite rigs the economic system against small business and the working class. A group of jihadis too radical for al Qaeda now hold sway over the very territory purchased through American blood a decade ago. Red-lines crossed in Syria and a “leading from behind” effort in North Africa creates a tsunami of refugees in Europe.  China extends its territory and influence without constraint. A decade ago the sound of North Korea rattling its cage would have made the headlines. Today it barely warrants mentioning.

14 years ago I saw the enemy and it was us – or rather the Left. At the time I was determined but hopeful that 9-11 would shake the Left off of its anti-American foundation, but it didn’t. And the results are self-evident.

I’ll admit I am pissed. Their ideology was always so naive and lacking in detail. The world could have been so much better if we had kept the levers of power from them, but we failed and now everyone from the retired nurse who’s trying to live on the pittance of interest from her pension in Chicago to the Iraqi Christian trying to stay alive in her homeland pays the price.

Happy anniversary.

Quick Thoughts on GOP Debate #2, Sept 16, 2015

  1. Why has Scott Walker’s campaign sucked so far this year, and why hasn’t he done more to pull himself into the top tier candidates? Walker was my personal choice for 2016 after his stewardship of Wisconsin aka Sweden of the Midwest. His record as governor remains impressive, but you wouldn’t know it by his wall-flower debate performance. Truly disappointing.

  2. Huckabee is still in this? Really? If he was bumped off the debate platform would anyone notice, seriously?

  3. Trump was right about Fiorina’s experience running HP into the ground, but she would make a great VP. She has become the pit bull of the party and her comment about Clinton and Obama being forced to watch the Planned Parenthood videos reads the minds of those of us sickened by them.

  4. Trump a vaccine truther? Oh for Chrissakes does this guy embrace every possible wackadoodle extremist position just to piss people off or what?

  5. When will the GOP establishment get it through their soft skulls that we do not want Jeb Bush in 2016? We do not want Jeb Bush on a plane, we do not want Jeb Bush in the rain. We do not want him in the House, we do not want him with a mouse.

September 11, 2015

Mental Drive By – Fall Edition

Hamas had a meeting at the Four Seasons hotel in Doha, Qatar in which they called for resistance against Israel in all forms, without limit. Now the Four Seasons hotel chain may be facing  prosecution for supporting terrorism. Perhaps they should change their name to Five Seasons, for Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall and Death to the Jews.

In a related note, Iranian Supreme-Double-Plus-Good Leader Ayatollah Khamenei stated Israel won’t exist in 25 years. I’m not sure about that, but I am sure that aged 76 Ayatollah Khamenei won’t exist in 25 years.

As a relocated resident of the South I’ve learned that native Southerners as a whole are decent and humble people, and I understand why they feel antagonized by the uproar over the Confederate flag. Since the church shooting in Charleston South Carolina that made the Confederate flag a symbol of hate in the eyes of many people, I can even sympathize with the urge of the locals here to show their Southern Pride by displaying the Confederate flag. These are good people, and they feel about the Confederate flag as many Irish-Americans do about the Irish flag. But one overreaction does not justify another overreaction and I’m getting kind of sick of wading through a sea of stars and bars whenever I go to local events, or being stuck behind a truck flying two of the flags behind it.

I was talking to my son and he had a similar idea: Get a pickup truck and fly the Rainbow flag alongside the Confederate flag just to see the reactions. After all one of the small towns nearby has a large lesbian contingent, so why not celebrate the confederate heritage of gay Southerners? But the locals have been pretty put upon this summer with the gay marriage ruling and the flag controversy, so they need a break. But the reaction would be interesting to say the least. Even better would be to run the social experiment in San Francisco. I’d bet we’d see more tolerance in any small North Carolina or Virginia town than we would in San Francisco.

On a related note while waiting at the mechanics for my car Matt Lauer was on the Today Show golfing with Caitlyn Jenner. The tag line at the bottom of the screen was something like Caitlyn talks make-up, dating and fashion or something like that.

Now as a libertarian I really don’t give a damn what Jenner does or what s/he wants to be called. If it doesn’t hurt anyone else I’m okay with it. In my time I’ve been around all kinds of people and even spent time at drag shows and “Diamond Nights” in Japan. Trans people don’t bother me as a rule, but there is something seriously creepy about Jenner. And it was made worse by Matt Lauer fawning all over him like some proud uncle at his niece’s bat mitzva or quinceanera.

Jenner is going to be 66 years old. I’d rather see him talking about keeping the squirrels out of his garden or how the senior discount at Denny’s just rocks out loud. But make up and dating? Maybe it’s just because I’m a generation younger than him but that just strikes me as inappropriate regardless of what bits dangle or don’t between his legs.

I have been a strong and consistent supporter of the LGBTQ-whatever community but even I’m getting sick of the attention the mass media puts on it. Being gay doesn’t make you a saint, and it sure doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to act like a pair of horny dogs in public. I don’t care what sexes you are, if the PDA gets out of hand I’m getting the garden hose. I know gays will have achieved true equality when everyone is as freaking bored with hearing about them as I am.

19 Questions for Hillary

Ron Fournier writing at the National Journal has a must read this week, “Sorry for What, Hillary” that provides a list of 19 questions that Hillary Clinton should answer regarding the usage of her private email server. Here’s a taste:

9. Ever hear of Thomas Drake? He’s the former seni­or Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency of­fi­cial in­dicted un­der the Es­pi­on­age Act for keep­ing an agency email prin­tout at his home that was not marked as clas­si­fied. He pleaded guilty to a mis­de­mean­or. Why do you and your aides keep sug­gest­ing that it mat­ters wheth­er or not your emails were marked clas­si­fied?

Read the entire thing.

Hillary for Prison 2016

Unicorn Roadkill – When Renewable Energy Activists Meet Physics

Jalte Jansen is a researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology in Kassel, Germany (that city should ring a bell for you WW2 history buffs). Jansen appears in the One Minute Interview section of my favorite socialist science magazine New Scientist, July 25, 2015 issue. In it Jansen advocates the UK implement a plan like Germany’s Energeweinde, a plan to phase out nuclear power and replace it with renewables resulting in Germany’s CO2 emissions rising at the same time energy costs are soaring. As The Economist notes, “That outcome is the exact opposite of the intentions of the original policy.” Meanwhile the US CO2 emissions have fallen due to the conversion from coal to gas fired plants, something the Germans have refused to do.

Interviewer Chris Baraniuk asks Jansen whether the UK’s power supply could become 100% renewable. Jansen answers, “Definitely,” and says the UK could base its energy needs on solar panels and wind turbines.

Is this possible? Could cloudy, northerly (for US readers the UK sits further north than Maine) Britannia supply all its energy needs from solar and wind power?

David Mackay is a physics professor at the University of Cambridge, and is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Climate Change. His 2009 book “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air” looks at this very question. His answer? No.

The first 17 chapters of his book lays out the energy needs of a typical Brit before turning to his physics background and calculating the energy densities and potentials for wind, solar, biomass, tidal and other renewable energy forms.

His conclusion? “For any renewable facility to make a contribution comparable to our current consumption, it has to be country-sized. To get a big contribution from wind, we [calculated] wind farms the area of Wales. To get a big contribution from solar photovoltaics, we required half the area of Wales… To sustain Britain’s lifestyle on its renewables alone would be very difficult. A renewable-based energy solution will necessarily be large and intrusive.”

He bases his conclusion on the fact that renewable energy sources tend not to be dense. Take a gallon of gasoline for example. The energy within a gallon of gasoline is roughly 40 kilowatt hours/day (kWh/d) and occupies less than a cubic foot of space. Assuming wind turbines were built on 10% of the UK’s land, “we would be able to generate 20 kWh/d per person, which is half of the power used by driving an average fossil-fuel car 50km per day.” Covering 10% of the landmass of the UK, planting wind turbines in moors, farms, gardens as well as on rooftops would provide the average Brit with the power equivalent of 1/2 a gallon of gas.

MacKay builds his argument around the consumption of energy by the average UK citizen, and then analyzes the available sources to provide that energy. Evaluating solar energy he estimates 100 square meters of roof space per person (roughly 1000 sq feet for those of us who were force fed metric during the Carter dark ages and rebelled against it during the Reagan Renaissance.) He writes, “Let’s give everyone 10m2 of expensive (20%-efficient) solar panels and put them on a south-facing roof. These will deliver4 kWh per day per person.”

The UK is a windy place but sunny it usually is not.  While on a cloud free day at midday 1000w of solar energy bathes every square meter of the equator, the UK receives about 5% of that amount thanks to it’s northerly latitude, the fact that it’s not midday all the time, and its propensity for cloudy weather. So adding a roof covered by solar panels only gets the average Brit another tenth of a gallon of gas.

MacKay is no fossil-fuel funded zealot. Quite the opposite. He accepts the threat posed by anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and the reluctance of politicians and the public to curb economic growth in order to live more sustainably (otherwise known as die in large numbers to reach pre-industrial population levels.) But as a physicist understands the science behind our energy needs, which is why that he advocates the use of zero carbon emission nuclear power to replace baseload power currently provided by fossil fuels. He also recommends improving conservation, and adding renewable sources like wind and solar where and when they make sense.

To paraphrase the great Democratic Party leader Daniel Patrick Moynihan everyone is entitled to their opinion, but they aren’t entitled to their own physics. Either Jansen is wrong or MacKay is wrong. MacKay lays out step-by-step how he comes to his conclusions, showing his work as it were, yet questions his own work at many steps along the way. It turns out his figures tend to be more optimistic than those posted by official “Green” or governmental sources. Jansen just throws a statement out there without any proof backing it up other than his credentials at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology. Typically the interviewer whiffed on asking him any tough questions.*

The New Scientist is up to its old tricks, selling unicorn fantasies while ignoring the very science that runs them down.

*On a side-note, am I the only one who watches or reads an interview with some public or otherwise respected figure, and can think of a dozen questions that are more challenging and interesting than the softball pitches thrown in what you are watching or reading? Have journalists as a whole become dim-witted or just ego-strokers? Or am I just becoming a cranky old man?

American Imperialist Baby Killers Racially Profile and Attack Muslim

That would be the headline of The Guardian had its way, the British newspaper that’s so far Left it makes the New York Times look like The Wall Street Journal if the Journal was run by Fox News and staffed by the Klan. But the Daily Mail reports that two unarmed US servicemen stopped a Moroccan Jihadist firing an AK47 on a crowded train in France.  The soldiers thought the guy was acting suspicious and heard the attacker rack and load his weapon in the train’s toilet, and they jumped him when he burst out firing. One soldier was injured although not seriously, as were two others on the train.

Just another day at the “office” for America’s best and bravest.


Of Course There’s Polka In Heaven

My mother passed away last night. I got the call on the highway coming back home after picking up my wife and son from the airport. My brother-in-law explained what had happened, and while there were better deaths to be had there are far worse. She had lived 94 years, the longest of any of my known ancestors. Through her I was able to touch people born early in the 19th century, and learn first hand about life before inventions like indoor plumbing, the telephone and the automobile changed the heart of America.

The loss of that history is one of the unexpected feelings I find myself thinking about today, along with the usual regrets a son has. I really do wish she had made it to our little haven here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but she was too weak to travel. Her spinal stenosis would have made sitting in an airline seat impossible. But I wish she could have seen my dogs running in the fields.

As for the title. The only non-religious music she ever truly loved was Polka – fitting for a woman of Bohemian descent who grew up in South St. Louis during the 1920s and 1930s. And one of the best memories I have as a child is of her with my eldest sister dancing the polka, laughing and whirling. I imagine that’s what she’s doing now, freed from a body that betrayed her, whirling and laughing with my beloved niece who died on the operating table at the age of 5 years.


The all-day meeting with the client is pushed back and another meeting takes its place. The teams are told by the acquisitions leader that the client is not happy with our requirements. Wagons are circled and everyone defers to their team leads. We are all to be on our best behavior and avoid mentioning timelines or other key phrases that sets the client’s teeth on edge. We are pros. This is what we do and we know this stuff, but we have a line to walk: making the client happy and supporting our own clients downstream who depend on us for their data. Acquisition Teams always sweat; I suppose it’s what they do.

A text appears on my phone. “We took mom off the bipap machine and we are giving her nasal oxygen. We have decided on hospice care because we have decided to make sure she is comfortable.”

I refocus on the presentation and the droning becomes words again as the acquisition team lead walks the client through my process flow.

The hours pass with few breaks. Once we focus on the data mapping exercise I notice the people representing the client seem relieved. The unknown always frightens people, and they were beginning to understand it wasn’t as bad as they thought.

My phone buzzes. “Just found out the insurance company will be kicking mom out of the hospital tomorrow or Saturday. We will be doing hospice at home.” I text back, “Good. Better for her to be at home.” Droning again, and I ignore it. Another text. “She is delirious today, probably from the morphine and adavan.” “Talk to the nurse about balancing her meds,” I text.

As the droning becomes words again I can feel my mother, a woman’s whose first questions always included “How is your job going?” likely because her husband wasn’t the best at holding one down for very long. Her love of her job made me move gradually towards a place where I loved my own, where the idea of working long hours didn’t really matter. She always accepted my shortened visits because she understood that as a computer contractor I didn’t get paid time off. Now I do but I don’t know how to use it.

The hours role on with very few bio breaks. 4 pm. 5 pm. 6 pm. At 6:30 the acquisitions team lead is pushing for an important technical decision. I know it’s one that we have to craft perfectly, and it will not be done after 8 hours of straight meetings. So I suggest we hold off for tomorrow or the day after. He seems disappointed but the client and the other teams have already lost focus. It’s time to call it a day and regroup later.

After 11 hours I turn off the computer. Other challenges await but important decisions were made today, some more important than others.

Hillary For Prison 2016

Bernie Sanders has surged to the lead in New Hampshire and is filling his venues to overflowing. The FBI has possession of Hillary Clinton’s email server and will presumably pull every last byte of email residue from its hard drives. They’ve already found extremely top secret satellite intelligence that is assumed to have fallen into Russian and Chinese hands. Remember, she has yet to give a full accounting as to why she operated a personal server in the first place which itself was against the law. Now highly classified intelligence was found on it, and worse, the server was completely open to the internet for 3 months.

Hillary Clinton should be done.

Now if only Jeb Bush was too…


Confessions of a Reluctant Cord Cutter

Last quarter 566,000 Americans quit cable or satellite TV. I was one of them. For the first time since 1981 living in this country I have gone without cable TV and you know what? I haven’t noticed it. That’s because for the past year I have been subscribing to Amazon Prime, Netflix and Acorn TV, adding HuluPlus just to cover some of the more popular networks. Total bill after I cancelled my service on June 23? Excluding the Amazon Prime membership which I bought for the discounted shipping, about $21. That’s 20% of my monthly satellite bill.

But honestly I was already relying upon Netflix and Acorn TV for my TV watching for a long time before I called DirecTV and told them I was leaving the country for awhile (to avoid the hard sell and begging to stay subscribed). Instead of turning on the TV and seeing what was available as I had done since I was a kid, I bought a Roku 3 and was binge watching quality shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, as well as British-only fare like Time Team and Doc Martin. Now we’re hooked on Game of Thrones, but for the price of subscribing to HBO I can rent almost an entire season of the show. When HBO Now becomes available, I’ll probably swap out HuluPlus for it (or not until I’m done catching up with the UK version of The Office). The Roku makes navigation  and selecting services easy, although searches within the apps range from tolerable (Netflix) to god-awful (Acorn TV).

The bottom line? I’m watching less TV, but the TV I do watch is of high quality, much better than 99% of the shows you will find on extended cable or satellite. Plus I’m saving money overall, even when I add in the cost of additional rentals.

I grew up with the TV an ever present sound in my childhood. I can sing the Love Boat theme or rattle off quotes from various shows of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s simply because the TV was always on. Now I spend at most two hours a day watching it, and what I watch just cannot be compared with the dross you find on TruTV or E!.

But it still took me months to work up the courage to cut the cord. “What if there’s a news event?” I asked myself. And I answered that I already get my news from the internet from several different sources including the British media including Sky News. “What about Walking Dead?” Available for rental at $3/pop as soon as the show airs. Still I dragged my feet until I opened my satellite bill, saw I was paying $103 a month and couldn’t remember the last time I had watched a show on it.

So I made the phone call and haven’t looked back. And the most illustrative fact? My teenaged son didn’t notice that DirecTV was turned off for over a month.

New Zealand Flag Ideas

New Zealand is considering updating its flag. I’m not sure why, but I guess there’s little else to do in that tiny corner of the world but whinge about America and fret about Australia, so perhaps the flag issue has little mental space to compete with.

Here are my suggestions.

We’ll get the sheep joke out of the way first.

For the Kiwis who feel it’s necessary to lecture Americans about how everything their country does is wrong.

And finally, my impression of what the New Zealand flag will look like by the end of the 21st century.

On Cecil the Lion and Planned Parenthood Videos

As an animal lover and one who has participated in the conservation of an endangered species it’s hard for me to not be pissed off at the dentist. I understand the excitement of a hunt, how much of a challenge it is to track your game, check your target and wait until you find the perfect moment. But I’ve used cameras not guns for my “kills” and the exhilaration felt was not lessened by capturing the image of the animal instead of its skull.

For those upset about the dentist killed Cecil the lion I can’t help but wonder how they feel about the abortionist making jokes about cracking the skull of a baby. I’m sure many upset with Cecil’s untimely demise aren’t familiar with the video making the rounds of the pro-life community, but I wonder if they would react a similar way, or if as I expect they would justify it as many in the hunting community have done with the lion’s demise. There’s something intrinsically screwed up with trophy hunting, just as I think there’s something intrinsically wrong with people who laugh about crushing the skulls of unborn children and make a profession of it. “Right Livelihood” is part of The Buddha’s Eight-Fold Path, and it’s hard to think of a livelihood further away from Enlightenment than the troglodytes shown in the videos. At least Cecil had more of a chance to defend himself than the kids crunched before birth.

Perhaps Cecil’s killer should have been an abortionist instead of a dentist.

Emperor Valerian: What’s Past is Prologue

Emperor Valerian was born Publius Licinius Valerianus during the reign of Septimius Severus in 195 AD. At the time of his birth the Roman empire stretched from modern day Scotland in the northwest to Sudan in the southeast, Morocco in the southwest to Armenia in the east. Although the empire had reached its greatest extent under Trajan a century earlier, Severus had arrested the gradual decline during his rule that lasted until 211 AD. Unfortunately the emperors that followed Severus accelerated that decline as mismanagement, incompetence, and vanity eroded imperial power internally while external threats grew. By the time Valerian took power in 253, the previous emperor had allowed the Goths to invade the empire and return home keeping their captives and plunder as well as an annual payment from Rome, suffering a humiliation the Romans hadn’t experienced in over 500 years.

Valerian had at his disposal a great army, the legions of the Upper Rhine, appointed to him two years earlier. Those legions declared him emperor, and after taking Rome the Senate conferred the title on him.

Valerian had inherited a mess. The empire was besieged by all sides so he appointed his son Gallienus co-emperor to rule the western part of the empire and took the eastern part on himself. Gallienus was in charge of protecting the frontier at the Rhine and keeping the Germans on the northern side of this natural boundary, while Valerian moved his army east to handle the Goths. Plague decimated his troops. Seeing the empire divided and weak the Persian king Shapur I struck, sacking dozens of Roman cities, provinces and protectorates in Armenia, Syria, modern day Iraq and Turkey. Valerian moved his forces to counter the Persians and enjoyed some initial success. But the ravages of plague and war took their toll on his army, and the eastern campaign became a quagmire for Valerian. This didn’t stop him from sending orders back to Rome commanding the execution of Christian leaders and forcing of converts to make public sacrifices to the Roman gods.

Desperate for an opportunity to sue for peace, he sent a peace delegation to Shapur, who suggested a face-to-face meeting between the two emperors. The meeting was arranged and Valerian, ignoring the advice of his generals, went to meet Shapur with a small entourage of aides.

He was never seen again.

Christian historians wrote that Valerian had been captured by Shapur and was either flayed alive or forced to drink molten gold, his skin then being used to cover a stool or filled with straw and hung in Shapur’s court. But that could reflect the desire of the historians to see Valerian punished for his anti-Christian pogroms. Others suggest that he was kept by Shapur as a personal servant or even protected from his mutinous troops and given a comfortable place in exile.

Source Wikipedia: Emperor Valerian standing at the background and held captive by Shapur I found at Naqsh-e Rustam, Shiraz, Iran. The kneeling man is probably Philip the Arab.

A mighty empire in disarray. A quagmire in the Middle East. A vain emperor and persecutor of Christians willing to make a deal at any cost with an Iranian leader.

It will be interesting if Ayatollah Khameini issues an invite to the President.

And it will be even more interesting if he accepts it.


The Council Has Spoken: July 17, 2015

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners