Wednesday, 7 March 2012

08:18 – Barring a miracle, it looks like Romney will take on Obama in November. Paul never had any real chance, and he knew it. Romney is a horrible choice, but at least he’s not as bad as the contemptible Gingrich. And neither of them are remotely as bad as the Ayatollah Santorum. If I were forced to choose between Obama and Santorum, I’d vote for Obama. What has the American electorate done to deserve only choices like these?

Paul Jones has a new toy. “Bought a Coronado PST in preparation for the transit (and, just ’cause). Here is a shot from this morning.  -Paul”

The Coronado PST is a small telescope that’s specialized for Solar observation. It blocks all of the light except the H-α wavelength, revealing details that are otherwise invisible. The transit Paul refers to is the transit of Venus across the Solar disk. Venus transits occur in pairs separated by eight years. The last was on 8 June 2004. We tried to observe that one, but were clouded out despite chasing it across two states. The next is on 6 June this year. Paul hopes to view that one, because the next one won’t occur until he’s 146 years old.

12:21 – Well, for anyone who’s keeping tabs on the Greek “voluntary” debt swap, with only about 24 hours left until the deadline we’re currently at 40.8% of the eligible debt being held by those who have approved the deal. The absolute minimum required is 66%. Less than that, and Greece won’t go ahead with the deal, which means a catastrophic default on 20 March. If holders of between 66% and 90% agree to the deal, Greece will enforce its so-called Collective Action Clauses to force all holders to accept the deal. Once again, that means catastrophic default. Only if more than 90% of debt holders agree will things proceed without the CACs being triggered. It’s unclear at this point what would happen to the < 10% of debt held by hold-outs. In theory, Greece could avoid formal default by paying off those bonds at face value, but the chances of that happening (or of the 90% level being reached) is so close to zero as not to matter. The real bitch is that even if the 90% level is reached, it's still insufficient to meet the terms required for the bailout to proceed. So, no matter what happens, Greece is going to default, one way or another. The next few weeks are going to be exciting.

21 thoughts on “Wednesday, 7 March 2012”

  1. Well, half the American electorate doesn’t bother to vote at all, which now includes me (see yesterday’s post, done today through the miracle of WordPress and the internet). And the other half is apparently dumb as a bag of hammers.

    I wash my hands of the whole mess.

  2. Hmmm. Surely we could come up with a good joke here. Two catholics, a mormon, and a muslim in a small boat. Shark-infested waters. Geez. Where’s a torpedo when you need one?

    None of this crap is going to change until we have a third American Revolution. We have a one-party system in this country, and have had since I can remember. There are no real differences between the Republicans and the Democrats. Both are, as OFD would say, the War Party, and both are the tax-and-spend party. And both appeal to the mediocrities who support them, which unfortunately comprise most of the voters.

  3. Third American Revolution? Did I miss the second American Revolution?

  4. I think Bob’s counting the US Civil as a revolution, albeit a failed one.

  5. Yes, of course. How could it be considered anything other than a revolution?

  6. And, yes, the wrong side won the second one.

    I remember an early phone conversation with Pournelle, probably 20 years ago, I said something about “Abraham Lincoln, of evil memory, …” Pournelle replied, “Boy, you *are* a Southern Boy.”

    Obviously, slavery was pure evil, but our Civil War wasn’t about that, as much as the revisionist historians try to make it so. Few, if any, northern boys marched off to war to put an end to slavery. They joined up and fought to “preserve the union”. That war was about states’ rights. This country was intended to be a loose confederation of states, with an absolutely minimal federal government to coordinate things. Lincoln and the other bastards were determined to trample states’ rights in favor of establishing an all-powerful federal government. Unfortunately, they succeeded. And look where that’s gotten us.

  7. A few weeks ago, a friend sent me one of the frequent manufactured outrage clips from Fox complaining that there is an African Americans for Obama and saying that there would be liberal outrage if there were a Whites for Romney. I pointed out that there probably is a “Mormons for Romney”, a “Catholics for Santorum” and a “Sanctimonious Adulterers for Gingrich”. There should be a “‘Mad as hell and not going to take it any more’ for Paul.”

    Rick in Portland

  8. Bob wrote: “Yes, of course. How could it be considered anything other than a revolution?”

    An attempted revolution. They only get to be called Revolutions if they win, like the American, Mexican, Bolshevik. Otherwise they get demoted to mere civil wars, or police actions, or even terrorist attempts.

  9. As UK Comic Andy Parsons points out, “So, Mitt Romney is edging towards the Republican nomination in America having won the primaries in Arizona and Michigan. This is the man who, in fact, lost to John McCain for the nomination in the year 2008, John McCain himself having lost in the year 2000 to George W. Bush. How sad are the Republicans, the best person they can find is somebody who wasn’t quite as good as the bloke who wasn’t quite as good as George W. Bush.”

  10. Hey, Matt. Long time, no hear.

    Parsons sums up well. We should have a choice of leaders like Tom Jefferson and Sam Adams. Or even Calvin Coolidge. Instead, we get pathetic choices like Obama, Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney, none of whom are fit to be elected dog catcher.

    I’ve been arguing for more than 40 years that “None of the above” should be a choice on every ballot. If “None of the above” wins, “None of the above” serves.

    I’ve also considered legally changing my name to “None of the above”.

  11. Four years ago, when the Prez race was down to Clinton (nominally female version), Obama, and McCain, I was not alone in asking, “300 million Americans and these three retards are the best we can do?”

    If anything, this year is worse. I don’t think I’ll be able to force myself to vote for any of the candidates except Paul, and I doubt I’ll have an opportunity to vote for him except as a write-in. Fortunately, I live in New York, so the election results are already known, so I need not bother to go vote.

  12. Sam Adams. is the current mayor of the Peoples’ Republic of Portland. He likes teenage boys, although the one he was involved with was 18 (so says the Mayor). The joke here is that Portland is the only city in the country where you only have to be 18 to have a Sam Adams.

    Samuel Adams, of revolutionary fame, and Tom Jefferson, would probably never be elected today because they would be incessantly attacked by the media and their opponents. Samuel Adams had a history of business problems. Jefferson had children with one if his slaves.

    As the Republican primaries have proven, politicians will attack their rivals even if it might damage them in the long run. When I look at our country, I fear we have the politicians we deserve.

    Rick in Portland

  13. Knowing what I do of Tom Jefferson, I’d be willing to bet that his relationship with Sally Hemings was purely a love match and in no way coercive. His wife died, and he married her half-sister. It’s said that she worked as a servant in his household until his death, but again I’d be willing to bet that both of them considered her to be managing the household as his wife, not as his servant. It’s also claimed that Jefferson kept her enslaved and that it was only after his death that Jefferson’s daughter freed Sally. Again, I’d be willing to bet that this was her choice and that he’d have freed her without hesitation any time she wanted him to.

  14. Long day out-of-town tomorrow, so I offer this in advance. Most people remember Lebanese Canadian American Andy Joachim (better known as Andy Kim) for his disco era hits. However, at the height of the psychedelic era in 1969, was this really creative zinger, produced by his co-writer buddy, Jeff Barry, and released on Barry’s Steed label.

    High frequencies on that file are lacking. Sorry — best I could find. However, it is on a Greatest Hits CD that is still available.

    This is also the same year Joachim and Barry wrote and recorded the last-ever major bubblegum hit, “Sugar, Sugar” with Ron Dante providing the lead voice to the cartoon rock group, The Archies, and Kim doing background vocals with Barry, who contributed Jughead’s bass vocals. Nice composing range those 2 guys had.

    Funny how disco was wildly popular, but has been the kiss of death to many artists. Kim changed his name to Baron Longfellow for a while, but is once again performing in Toronuh as Andy Kim.

  15. RBT wrote:

    “Again, I’d be willing to bet that this was her choice and that he’d have freed her without hesitation any time she wanted him to.”

    Boy, that’s a LOT of speculation. Jefferson was a man of his times. I’m sure you know more about him than most of us. Did he write against slavery during his lifetime?

  16. Perhaps if Ron Paul hadn’t contested the Republican nomination Johnson might have had a better chance and stayed in. He’d be infinitely preferable to the others and has a good track record. I don’t understand how the Republicans can choose the dregs *every time*.

    I’d vote for the Ayatollah if I had the choice. He’s bad but not as bad as Obama.

  17. “I’d vote for the Ayatollah if I had the choice. ”

    If you’re talking about the Ayatollah Khomeini, then yes, by all means. He’s re-formed now, and a prime example of as good as politicians get.
    If you’re talking about the Ayatollah Khamene, then not so much.

  18. I was speaking in the same context that our host was, namely Ayatollah Santorum.

    Yes, Ayatollah Khomeini is a good ayatollah *now*. I wonder how he’s liking hell.

  19. Chuck: It’s Toronah not Toronuh with the emphasis on the final syllable.

  20. I would spell it more like Tronna, like Don Cherry says… 😀

  21. I have to defer to Bill and Rolf, as I get my pronunciation from formerly Canadian relatives who have been in Hoosierland far too long for me to trust their sounds. But now that Bill mentions his spelling, I guess what they say really does sound more like Tronna than Toronuh. I get hit with it from all sides, because my stepson was born in Canada and is actually one of the last of truly dual citizens, and all his relatives live there in Tronnah.

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