Monday, March 27, 2006

The Suicide Bachelors Of Polygamous Islam

A cautionary warning for those who want to redefine marriage.

Polygamy might be a handy tool in a society full of widows and orphans. However, in a settled civilization, it leads to hordes of young single men who cannot settle down, and cannot find wives because the affluent older patriarchs in the society hoard them. These young single men become violent and crime prone.

In any human society there are approximately the same number of men and women. Under monogamy, which limits each man to one wife, everyone gets a fair chance to marry. When powerful and successful men are allowed to take more than one wife, however, as they are in a polygamous society, this creates a pool of unsuccessful men at the bottom of society who are constantly in conflict with the system.

Much is made of the current warring between radical Islam vs. the Western World (and radical Islam vs. the Eastern World, come to think of it). What is the source of that fighting? Polygamy!

The history of Islam has been one continuous story of rebel groups off in the desert and deciding that the religion being practiced by the authorities and their harems back in the cities is not the “true Islam.” They come crashing back upon the palaces, overthrowing the leaders (no Ottoman Sultan ever died of natural causes) and establishing a new regime that is just like the old one, where powerful are allowed to take multiple wives.

The Prophet Muhammad had a novel solution to this problem. Go and conquer neighboring societies and requisition their women. If you die in the process, the reward will be even greater – 72 virgins waiting for you in heaven! “Jihad” has been a clever and effective way of redirecting the hostilities of the “bachelor herd” that polygamy inevitably produces.

* * * * *

"The Suicide Bachelors Of Polygamous Islam":

Terrorism and the suicidal nihilism found in Islam may have its root in polygamism. At least, this is what this interesting article suggests:

Title: The Suicide Bachelors of Polygamous Islam , By: Tucker, William,

IN MARCH, ISRAELI SOLDIERS DISARMED a 14-year-old Palestinian youth as he attempted to blow himself up at a checkpoint on the West Bank. After the bomb was cut from his body, the suicide bomber said, "I don't want to die."

In Osama, the grim cinematic portrait of life under the Taliban, currently making the rounds, a prepubescent Muslim girl passes herself off as a boy in order to get work to support her widowed mother. While on the job, she is impressed into a madras school where she and her fellows spend all day reading the Koran and training to become gun-wielding Taliban. When her disguise fails, she is sentenced to death. At the last minute, however, she is reprieved and married to an elderly mullah who already has several wives. The other wives bitterly tell her how their lives have been ruined by their forced marriages. Nevertheless, in the end, the elderly religious man leads the girl into an attic to consummate her new life of servitude.

Both these stories are emblematic of the key cultural difference that separates the world's major religious cultures--Western Christianity, Indian Hinduism, Chinese Confucianism, Oriental Buddhism, and Japanese Shintoism--from the Moslem world. This key factor is the practice of polygamy.

Anthropologists like to recount how 75 percent of the world's cultures practice polygamy. This provocative academic exercise is true but highly misleading. The vast majority of these cultures are individual tribal units counted as separate entities. Seventy five percent of the world's people live in cultures that prohibit polygamy and sanction monogamy.

Among major population groups, polygamy is largely limited to tropical Africa and the Middle East. In East and West Africa, it is a holdover from tribal society that survived into modern life. In small villages, a successful man may have three or four wives. In contemporary urban settings, leading business magnates and politicians can accumulate anywhere from 20 to more than a hundred wives.

Islam is the only major religion that specifically sanctions polygamy. This has a historical context. The nomadic desert tribes that first embraced Islam in the seventh century were already practicing polygamy (just as the Ancient Hebrews practiced a mild form of it during the wandering years of the Old Testament). The Koran's prescription that a man may have five wives is actually a limitation. (Muhammad himself had this number.) Even so, many sheiks and sultans have managed to skirt the Koran. Osama bin Laden's father had 52 children by an estimated 11 to 16 wives.

When Western Europe first encountered polygamy during the 16th to 18th centuries, the earlier flirtations of Greek and Hebrew culture with polygamy had been long forgotten and monogamy was a hallmark of Western culture. Polygamy was an error of heathenism. Then, as the 19th century concept of Evolution took shape, polygamy was perceived as a primitive form of marriage that had evolved into monogamy as humanity grew more civilized.

It was only the discovery of a few true hunting-and-gathering societies in the early 20th century that upset this thesis. True hunter-gatherers are monogamous, just like contemporary Eastern and Western cultures. Since mankind spent its first five million years as hunter-gatherers, this insight has revised the story of human sexual evolution. Anthropologists now believe that monogamy may have been the first step that led to emergence of human civilization. There are several tantalizing clues in the fossil record: (1) early humans traveled in small bands with approximately the same number of males and females; (2) with the emergence of homo erectus, males and females became approximately equal in size (a wide dimorphism usually indicates polygamy); and (3) our earliest male ancestors had lost their enlarged canine incisors, a common weapon in the intense male competition that characterizes polygamous societies.

It is now fairly certain that we emerged from five million years of hunting-and-gathering as monogamists. After that, certain cultures seem to have diverged into polygamy. (All societies have practiced it at one time or another.) But the most advanced and successful civilizations of East and West have sanctioned monogamy and made it standard practice.

This changes the equation between polygamy and primitive societies. Whereas it was once assumed that small, stagnant cultures adopted polygamy because they were backward, it may be that societies remain stagnant and backward precisely because they have adopted polygamy.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT POLYGAMY that keeps a society from advancing? The answer lies in simple arithmetic.

Biologically, approximately the same number of males and females are born into each society. If the society practices monogamy, then every male and every female has an equal chance of mating--there is "a girl for every boy and a boy for every girl."

If even a small number of predominant males are allowed to accumulate more than one wife, however, the equation begins to change. There is now a "female shortage" and competition among men for finding mates becomes much more intense.

Societies solve this problem in different ways. One is the "brideprice," a fee that families charge for an eligible daughter. (Brideprices are the signature of polygamy, while dowries--a bonus to make a daughter more attractive--are the signature of monogamy.) Brideprices encourage men to be more productive, since it costs money to get married. Older and more established men are favored. If the woman shortage becomes too intense, a society may resort to child marriage--where an adult man is betrothed to a prepubescent girl and must wait until she reaches maturity.

The more common outcome, however, is that young, single men become an unattached cohort with very little chance of mating--the "bachelor herd" of mammalian biology. Life in the bachelor herd is often nasty, brutish, and short. Status competition is endless, with males vying for the few positions where they may get the chance to mate. A handful of "social" species (baboons are the best example) have incorporated the bachelor herd into the troop as a kind of praetorian guard, banished to the perimeter but kept on hand for defensive purposes.

Human societies that practice polygamy have tried various strategies for dealing with the bachelor herd. Long stretches in the military were common. The attendants to the king's harem were made eunuchs. The Mamluks, an all-male Egyptian military culture of the 13th through 16th centuries, dispensed with women altogether and kidnapped their male progeny. The best solution, however, has always been to try to harness the violence and point it outward as aggressive defense or conquest.

IN CONTEMPORARY ISLAMIC societies, polygamy constitutes about 12 percent of marriages. This is not as high as Africa (where it can approach 30 percent), but sizable enough to leave a small, solid residue of unattached men. In Africa, these are the "school-leavers," an amorphous urban mass that creates social unrest and provides easy recruits whenever a revolutionary army arrives on the scene. In Islamic societies, on the other hand, the mass of unattached men is tightly organized by religion.

Fundamentalist Islamic societies quell unrest by attempting to control every aspect of sexual and personal life. Women are a scarce resource, to be hidden away and reserved for parceling out by families and the religious hierarchy. This is why women are required to wear burkas and veils and forbidden to show their faces or feet in public. Nothing can threaten the process of doling out this scarce resource more than a little hanky-panky in the ranks.

Young men, on the other hand, are required to repress their sexual impulses by devoting all their energies to religion. In a recent lengthy portrait in the New York Times Magazine, Mansour Al-Nogaidan, a prominent Saudi Arabian dissident, recounted his own enlistment into the ranks of fundamentalist Islam. "You can't have a girlfriend in this society," he said. "It's too expensive to marry and as a young man, all you're thinking about is sex. So the teachers tell us, 'Don't worry, no need now, when you kill yourself you'll have plenty of girls in heaven.'"

In a society where not all men will be able to reproduce, excess males have very little social value. Therefore, it is not surprising to find among this bachelor cohort three major characteristics: (1) an excess of pent-up sexual frustration, (2) an internalized sense of personal worthlessness, and (3) an extremely nihilistic--shall we say "suicidal"--disposition toward self-immolation and violence. Suicide bombers are easily recruited in these ranks.

For decades we have been taught that all cultures are equal and that intolerance of cultural differences is the only sin. This is not true. Different social customs produce different outcomes.

Monogamy is the ultimate biological fulfillment of the principle that "all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." It is a deeply rooted--although little understood--social contract which says that everyone should have a reasonable chance of finding a mate and having children. The inherent peacefulness of Far Eastern and Western societies is a result of this social contract.

The suicidal nihilism and the love of death proclaimed by Islamic militants, on the other hand, is the fruit of a long and deeply rooted social tradition which says that a certain portion of the male population is worthless, expendable, and not needed for the society to reproduce itself.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

"Capitalism and the Historians": Truth about the Industrial Revolution

...and the Gilded Age here in America, for that matter.

Anti-capitalistic versions of working conditions during the Industrial Revolution have been grossly exaggerated. For a clearer view of the actual conditions that existed at that time, several excellent works are available. One especially good source is Capitalism and the Historians, edited and with an Introduction by Friedrich von Hayek. This book includes a supplemental report produced during that period, a report that factually refutes most of the commonly taught exaggerations.

The fact is that the Industrial Revolution, which occurred in England roughly during the period 1760 to 1840, brought about the greatest improvement in the well‑being of man since the Agrarian Revolution. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the Black Death, scurvy, rickets, and other diseases regularly wiped out large segments of the populations of Europe. Farming was more often than not barely above subsistence level. For the average person, life was day‑to‑day misery.

Industrialization lifted the living standards of the masses to a level never before dreamed of. One may properly say that it lifted them to a level that, for the first time, made the average worker conscious enough of better living conditions to complain about long hours, low wages and bad working conditions. When people are struggling just to stay alive from one day to the next, as they were in subsistence farming, such thoughts do not occur to them. (Eric Hoffer referred to the former as "the working poor.")

Before the Industrial Revolution, most people knew no other life but work, and their work was almost always under "inhumane" conditions in the fields. In point of fact, it was the Industrial Revolution that changed all this. Industrialists did not roam the countryside with shotguns, rounding up workers for their factories. On the contrary, as word of the new opportunities spread, people invaded the cities by the thousands, aggressively competing for the "inhumane" jobs.

Of course wages were low by today's standards. Of course hours were long by today's standards. Of course conditions were bad by today's standards. But that misses the whole point. It was not today's standards that the eighteenth‑century laborer used as a measuring stick. What caused him to migrate to the cities to seek employment in the so‑called sweatshops were the filth, sickness, and inhumane conditions of subsistence farming that he left behind.

The conditions in the factories, by comparison, were like the Promised Land to him. Never before had he lived so well. People do not voluntarily leave one job for another if the new job offers lower pay, longer hours and inferior working conditions. The bottom line is that people gladly left their bad rural situations for the vastly improved living conditions made possible by the Industrial Revolution.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ben Franklin on "Cougars"

The phenomenon of younger men and older "Cougar" women really isn't new. No less a Founding Father than Benjamin Franklin urged young men, if they would not settle down and marry a sweetheart, and wanted to sow wild oats, to pick older women:

Benjamin Franklin, Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress (1745).

June 25, 1745

My dear Friend,

I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural Inclinations you mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper Remedy. It is the most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in which you are most likely to find solid Happiness. Your Reasons against entering into it at present, appear to me not well-founded. The circumstantial Advantages you have in View by postponing it, are not only uncertain, but they are small in comparison with that of the Thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the Man and Woman united that make the compleat human Being. Separate, she wants his Force of Body and Strength of Reason; he, her Softness, Sensibility and acute Discernment. Together they are more likely to succeed in the World. A single Man has not nearly the Value he would have in that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles the odd Half of a Pair of Scissars. If you get a prudent healthy Wife, your Industry in your Profession, with her good Economy, will be a Fortune sufficient.

But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer older Women to younger ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:

1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stored with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreeable.

2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.

3. Because there is less hazard of Children, which irregularly produced may be attended with much Inconvenience.

4. Because through more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclined to excuse an older Woman who would kindly take care of a younger Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.
5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an older Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.

6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.

7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an older Woman happy.

8thly and Lastly They are so grateful!!

Thus much for my Paradox. But still I advise you to marry directly; being sincerely Your affectionate Friend.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I voted for liberal Democrats because....

I voted Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 20% isn't.

I voted Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

I voted Democrat because Freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

I voted Democrat because I'm way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

I voted Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I voted Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of innocent people so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

I voted Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits.

I voted Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the democrats see fit.

I voted Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit those who could never get their agendas past the voters.

I voted Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my ass that it is unlikely that I'll ever have another point of view.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Our Federal Income Tax System Explained With Beer

from a David R. Kamerschen, Professor of Economics.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this...

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the Macroeconomic bar owner threw them a curve ball. "Since my brewing technology has improved and you are such good customers," he said, "I'm able to reduce the cost of the daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men? The paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the Macroeconomic bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,"but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar too. It's unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!"

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. And the tenth man promptly decided to move out of town.

When next time the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
In fairness, it should be noted that even the lowest income workers among us are getting hit with FICA payroll taxes, which for much of the population are more than their income taxes, but the analogy still stands with respect to income taxes. Bashing the wealthy *does not* help the poor in America, although it may help the poor in India....

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Debunking the "Peak Oil" hysteria

It has become a favorite slogan of those who want to force us into lower quality, overpriced, dinky and underpowered Electric Cars; "Peak Oil".

And yet, the exact date of "Peak Oil" has yet to be determined. "Doom King" Hubbert's day of reckoning has come and long since passed. From 1980 to 1994, crude oil prices (in real, currency inflation adjusted terms) fell 35 percent. Gasoline prices, in real terms, were 6 percent lower in 1991 than they were in 1972 before the OPEC price spike and embargo of 1973, and a full 25% less then they were in the massive tail-finned car year of 1963, before the beginning of more boxy cars.

And as it stands, real oil and gasoline prices (again, in real, currency inflation adjusted terms) are still lower than they were, although they have risen since the 1990's low.

It will probably prove cheaper to use synthetic fuel derived from shale or coal than it will to run electric cars with their expensive battery arrays, but you never know.

But for heaven's sake, let us NOT mandate going to Electric Cars, to say nothing of the Ethanol Boondoggle, until crude oil and gasoline prices rise enough. If we just let the marketplace do what it does, nanny statist eco-weenies, that may happen and we will be fine.

Or it may not happen. When a resource gets pricey, or cartel controlled, as crude oil and gasoline did from 1973 to 1979, we become more thrifty in our use of it. And alternative suppliers emerge to break the cartel, as oil firms in the UK, Norway, Mexico and Canada did in the 1970's. By the 1980's, the OPEC cartel had collapsed.

This might have happened *sooner* if the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations *didn't* impose asinine wage and price controls on the USA oil industry! A short price shock, to which the marketplace and people adjust, is better than a long rationed decline.

Yet when I point these facts out to the ninnies, they respond along the lines of
"Peak oil *will* happen. I don't care if the prediction is inaccurate."
Two thoughts here:

1. You really *don't* care? You know, at some point in the future we will have "Peak Solar", and after that our sun will either supernova or burn out and life on this planet may die. Timing does matter. (I say may, because we have have figured out a way to interplanetary travel and colonize other worlds by then--who knows?). If something may not even happen in our lifetime or our children's lifetime, that does make a difference, at least in the Order Of Important Crises To Handle list.

2. Will it matter? You know, they did have a "peak whale oil" crisis in the 19th century--no kidding. But  much better substitutes were found and we went on.

To quote the brilliant pundit and humorist P.J. O'Rourke:
"We run out of things all the time. We're out of whale oil. Also, out of whalebone for women's corsets. Fortunately, the government of 150 years ago didn't have presidential commissions, congressional committees, Al Gore, and the other apparatus of worry our present government possesses, or Washington might have "foreseen" this problem. Whale oil would have been rationed. A black market would have been created. Whale oil prices would have soared. All the whales would have been killed immediately. And today we would live in the dim, lampless world where Judy Collins sang about the tuna fish and every woman had a waistline like Golda Meir. Instead, coal gaslights, coal and petroleum based whale-oil substitutes, electricity, and control top pantyhose were invented. When we "ran out" of whale oil, no one even noticed."
The same economic rules apply today. There are alternatives to the gasoline internal combustion engine--but they have to become market cost effective. And no eco-fiends can help "assist" that process.

What if "peak oil" isn't a myth? Then biodiesel, shale oil and tar sand extraction, and increased alcohol fuel mixes will all become economically viable. As it stands the proven reserves of shale and tar sands are nearly boundless, farmers can't get a good price for their crops, and are sometimes even being paid not to grow anything.

Perhaps even electric cars will become viable, although right now they are just too heavy and underpowered.

We will change or modify the fuels our cars use, and perhaps the cars themselves, but no, we will NOT give them up.

The price of gasoline will rise, but even at the height of the last price spike consumers were paying in real terms (cost of living adjusted terms) a lower price than they did in 1981, and the 1981 price was a lower real price than consumers did in 1950.

However, having grown up in the 1970's on dirgelike jeremiads from these same sorts of people, all of which turned out to be utterly wrong, I doubt that it will even come to that. Remember "global cooling", caused by the same forces now said to cause "global warming"? I do. I remember being told by the "Club of Rome" that the world would "run out" of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and natural gas by 1993.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ben Stein: Oil Company Profits ARE GOOD!

The Nation's Pulse
Oil Is Well
By Ben Stein
Published 1/31/2006 2:23:20 AM

I see that the media and the left-wing foundations are in a state of hysteria over oil company profits. Exxon Mobil reported profits of about $10 billion for the last quarter of '05, and this has driven certain people who don't really know a lot about the oil business or how gasoline gets into their Volvos insane.

Kindly allow me to make a few points that won't make those people calm down but might make independent-minded thinkers think.

First, Big Oil did not make these profits " the suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina," as I actually heard someone say on the Air America (sic) radio on Monday. Exxon Mobil made these profits because it has invested upwards of $10 billion a year in exploration and development for hydrocarbons, in good years and bad, in years when they made as much as they spent and in years when they made less than they spend exploring.

That meant they had oil on hand and the wherewithal to transport and refine oil when Katrina struck. But the suffering of the Katrina victims did not make the price of oil and gasoline rise. That rise came about because oil and gasoline traders at desks in investment banks went into hysteria mode when Katrina struck and bid up the price of oil and gasoline to hysterical levels. Because the big oil companies had a lot of oil on hand to sell despite the damage to refining and production caused by Katrina, they made money on some of that oil. (They had to buy some on the world market and they did not make anywhere near as much on that oil.)

The situation is precisely what happened to U.S. wheat farmers periodically in the 1970s and 1980s. If Russia had a poor harvest and needed to import grain, wheat farmers made good profits because world wheat traders bid up the price. They did not make money off the suffering of Russian wheat eaters. They made money because world wheat traders bid up the price based on Russian wheat conditions. (Before there was a world wheat market that included Russia, Russians and Ukrainians just starved when the wheat crop was poor.)

The oil situation is exactly the same.

Or to put it another way, the oil companies do not come even remotely close to setting the price of oil and gasoline. They either benefit from high prices or get hurt by low prices, but they do not set the price. ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the U.S. (a piker compared with many nation-backed foreign companies, such as PEMEX, GazProm, or TotalFina/Elf) controls less than 3 percent of the world's oil. Does that offer a clue on how prices get set?

Next, isn't it great that there is a world oil market that allocates oil and gasoline by price? Those of us who lived through the early 1970s when low, artificially fixed oil prices meant that there was sometimes literally no gasoline or heating oil, can only give praise that there is a price system to make sure there always is gasoline and heating oil at some price. (And I assure you, I pay a stunning price for gasoline, just as everyone else does, and I am awfully darned glad I can get it, rather than having a low posted price at a gas station with no gasoline to sell.)

Meanwhile, why is it so bad for oil companies to make a profit, even a big profit? That profit doesn't go into the pockets of Dr. Evil. It doesn't go to Saddam Hussein (not anymore). It goes to tens of millions of stockholders who use the dividends and the increase in share price to pay for their RV's and retirements and their (ungrateful) kids' college education. John D. Rockefeller is long gone. Anyone in America with a few twenties in his pocket can become a shareholder of a big oil company and share in those profits. Those profits go to teachers' unions and policemen's unions and to any person on this earth who cares to speculate that the big profits will continue. Or, as my father once said to me, and I have said before, "If you think oil company profits are obscene, buy stock in the oil companies."

Then a huge slice of the profits go to federal and state taxes, running into the tens of billions of dollars. Oil companies in general pay between 30 and 40 percent of their profits in tax. That pays for a lot of "multicultural textbooks" (that no doubt teach how bad oil companies are) and a lot of hospitals for rehabilitating wounded Marines.

And vitally, lots of the money that goes into Big Oil goes to find ever scarcer oil reserves. And without them, we ain't going nowhere.

Big Oil are not our Moms and Pops. They're in it to make money. But they are not fixing prices. They are not restraining trade. They are doing an incredibly dangerous, risky thing: getting oil for us to cruise down the highway. Let's stop killing the geese that lay the golden eggs -- for the motorist, homeowner, factory worker, and pensioner. Envy never powered one car. If it did, there would be no need for gas stations in Beverly Hills.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Why Uncle Ronald Reagan Was So Good

Michael Hodges sums it up concisely. Check link for a battery of statistics:

"1. The first era in 50 years that the private sector share of the economy was not reduced by government expanding its share of the economic pie faster than economic growth. In fact, government's share was reduced for the first time." (And this in spite of obvious increases in national defense spending.)

"2. Federal social(ist) spending ratios stopped rising, and fell, for the first time in over 3 decades." (Entitlements remained a problem, but were a smaller problem in those days).

"3. The early 1980s was the first interruption in the rapid up-swing of federal regulatory activity spending in 2 decades. In fact, during the 1980s, said spending declined in real terms - - only to resume its fast upward pace in the early 1990s."

"4. Taxes were reduced by large amounts, and the economy expanded together with a new climate of competition and regulatory burden reductions."

"5. A decade of declining real median family income was reversed to the upside."

"6. Double digit inflation and interest rates were eliminated."

"7. Debt increased due to lack of congressional spending cuts following tax cut approval, but debt ratios were higher 9 years later."

"8. International terrorism was faced head-on."

"9. The Evil Empire was brought to its knees, without increasing the defense spending ratio, ending a 40-year cold war."

"10. A 2-decade slide in voter turnout and citizen trust in government was reversed, only to collapse to new lows in the 1990s."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Silicon Valley Earthquake Richter Scale

It's dated, but funny. Back when the San Jose Jerk-The-Knee News still had some decent columnists. (Scott Willis, San Jose Mercury News):

5.0: Motion comparable to upset stomach after bad burrito. Freeways impassable.
5.5: Slight fizz noticeable in refrigerated mineral water. Freeways impassable.
6.0: Difficult to jog. White cap waves in hot tubs. Freeways impassable.
6.5: Wine racks upset. Freeways impassable.
7.0: RV's overturned. Small cars upset. Tsunamis in water slide parks. Freeways impassable.
7.5: Self-storage facilities crumble. Suction-cup shades and toys jarred off car windows. Freeways impassable.
8.0: Shopping malls evacuated. Computer gamers notice the movement. Freeways beginning to clear.
8.5: Jack-In-The-Box restaurants close. Freeways clear.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Soviet Era Health Care

"America is not really freer! You're not really free when one bad accident or illness can wipe you out! Socialism makes sure people have the health care they need!"

Oh Really? You really think so?
I recently came face to face with a level of Western ignorance that I hadn't encountered since the 1980s, when Russian immigrants were still a novelty to Americans. A British-American asked my father a question that could only come from someone who has known freedom his whole life: "Why did you leave Russia?

Your family was there, you had a job, you had free health care. Why did you leave?" The questioner, a former editor with the New York Times, then proceeded to assert that today's Britain and U.S. are no longer free.
The exchange reminded me just how out of touch many who live in the free world are with the reality of life under tyranny--and why, therefore, so many Americans and Brits think nothing is scarier than war. On the subject even of that oft-cited "perk" of Soviet life, universal health care, a picture of the system in practice on its happiest occasion would shock Americans and Western Europeans alike.
My favorite quote:
In America, women often remember abortion as traumatic. My mother barely
remembers her two abortions (Russian birth control), but she can't forget a
single traumatic detail of her children's births.
When people aren't motivated by money, they don't give a whit unless they are motivated by threat and punishment. Which motivation is really better for you?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mark Steyn: Guns & Crime -- UK vs. USA

The article is old, but it is so spot on. And the Commiecrats still want us to be more like the Euros--that is, helpless and dependent!

In the Absence of Guns
(In Britain, defending your property can get you life.)
by Mark Steyn

April 2000

"Celebrity news from the United Kingdom: In April, the 85-year-old mother of Phil Collins, the well-known rock star, was punched in the ribs, the back, and the head on an upscale West London street, before her companion was robbed. "That's what you have to expect these days," she said, philosophically.

Anthea Turner, the host of Britain's top-rated National Lottery TV show, went to see the West End revival of Grease with a friend. They were spotted at the theatre by a young man who followed them out and, while their car was stuck in traffic, forced his way in and wrenched a diamond-encrusted Rolex off the friend's wrist.

A week before that, the 94-year-old mother of Ridley Scott,the director of Alien and other Hollywood hits, was beaten and robbed by two men who broke into her home and threatened to kill her.

Former Bond girl Britt Ekland had her jewelry torn from her arms outside a shop in Chelsea; Formula One Grand Prix racing tycoon and Tony Blair confidante Bernie Ecclestone was punched and kicked by his assailants as they stole his wife's ring; network TV chief Michael Green was slashed in the face by thugs outside his Mayfair home; gourmet chef to the stars Anton Mosimann was punched in the head outside his house in Kensington....

Rita Simmonds isn't a celebrity but, fortunately, she happened to be living next door to one when a gang broke into her home in upscale Cumberland Terrace, a private road near Regent's Park. Tom Cruise heard her screams and bounded to the rescue, chasing off the attackers for 300 yards, though failing to prevent them from reaching their getaway car and escaping with two jewelry items worth around $140,000.

It's just as well Tom failed to catch up with the gang. Otherwise, the ensuing altercation might have resulted in the diminutive star being prosecuted for assault. In Britain, criminals, police, and magistrates are united in regarding any resistance by the victim as bad form. The most they'll tolerate is "proportionate response" and, as these thugs had been beating up a defenseless woman and posed no threat to Tom Cruise, the Metropolitan Police would have regarded Tom's actions as highly objectionable. "Proportionate response" from the beleaguered British property owner's point of view, is a bit like a courtly duel where the rules are set by one side: "Ah," says the victim of a late-night break-in, "I see you have brought a blunt instrument. Forgive me for unsheathing my bread knife. My mistake, old boy. Would you mind giving me a sporting chance to retrieve my cricket bat from under the bed before clubbing me to a pulp, there's a good chap?"

No wonder, even as they're being pounded senseless, many British crime victims are worrying about potential liability. A few months ago, Shirley Best, owner of the Rolander Fashion boutique whose clients include the daughter of the Princess Royal, was ironing some garments when two youths broke in. They pressed the hot iron into her side and stole her watch, leaving her badly burnt. "I was frightened to defend myself," said Miss Best. "I thought if I did anything I would be arrested."

And who can blame her? Shortly before the attack, she'd been reading about Tony Martin, a Norfolk farmer whose home had been broken into and who had responded by shooting and killing the teenage burglar. He was charged with murder. In April, he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment -- for defending himself against a career criminal in an area where the police are far away and reluctant to have their sleep disturbed. In the British Commonwealth, the approach to policing is summed up by the motto of Her Majesty's most glamorous constabulary: The Mounties always get their man -- i.e., leave it to us. But these days in the British police, when they can't get their man, they'll get you instead: Frankly, that's a lot easier, as poor Mr. Martin discovered.

(He has since been released, thankfully. But get this from Wikipedia:

Martin was imprisoned in Highpoint Prison, Suffolk. When he became eligible for parole and early release, the Parole Board rejected his application without stating a reason.[7] The chairman of the parole board, Sir David Hatch, in an interview with The Times described Martin as "a very dangerous man" who may still believe his action had been right.[8] Martin challenged the decision in the High Court, where the parole board's decision was upheld.[9] Probation officers on Martin's cases said there was an "unacceptable risk" that Martin might again react with excessive force if other would-be burglars intruded on his Norfolk farm.[10]

On 28 July 2003, Martin was released after serving a total of three years of his five year sentence,[3] the maximum period for which he could be held following good

Norfolk is a remote rural corner of England. It ought to be as peaceful and crime-free as my remote rural corner of New England. But it isn't. Old impressions die hard: Americans still think of Britain as a low-crime country. Conversely, the British think of America as a high-crime country. But neither impression is true. The overall crime rate in England and Wales is 60 percent higher than that in the United States. True, in America you're more likely to be shot to death. On the other hand, in England you're more likely to be beaten, stabbed or strangled to death. But in both cases, the statistical likelihood of being murdered at all is remote, especially if you steer clear of the drug trade. When it comes to anything else, though -- burglary, auto theft, armed robbery, violent assault, rape -- the crime rate reaches deep into British society in ways most Americans would find virtually inconceivable.

I cite those celebrity assaults not because celebrities are more prone to wind up as crime victims than anyone else, quite the contrary, but only because the measure of a civilized society is how easily you can insulate yourself from its snarling underclass. In America, if you can make it out of some of the loonier cities, it's a piece of cake, relatively speaking. In Britain, violent crime in upscale areas is 5 to 10 times higher than crime in comparable areas in America. In Britain, if even a rock star or TV supremo can't insulate himself, nobody can. In any society, criminals prey on the weak and vulnerable. It's the peculiar genius of government policy to have ensured that in British society everyone is weak and vulnerable -- from Norfolk farmers to Tom Cruise's neighbor.

And that's where America is headed if those million marching moms make any headway in Washington. To paraphrase University of Chicago scholar John Lott's landmark 1999 academic study, Less guns = more crime. And more vulnerability. And a million more moms being burgled, and assaulted, and raped. I like hunting, but if that were the only thing at stake with guns, I guess I could learn to live without it. But I'm opposed to gun control because I don't see why my neighbors in New Hampshire should have to live the way, say, my sister-in-law does -- in a comfortable manor house in a prosperous part of East Anglia, lying awake at night listening to yobbo gangs drive up, park their vans, and test her doors and windows before figuring out that the little old lady down the lane's a softer touch. The late Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange was in some ways not too far off the mark, although the yobs do not dress as smartly as did Alex and his droogs.

Between the introduction of pistol permits in 1903 and the banning of handguns after the massacre of schoolchildren at Dunblane by a sick pedophile in 1996, Britain has had a century of incremental gun control -- "sensible measures that all reasonable people can agree on." And what's the result? Even when you factor in America's nut cake jurisdictions with the crackhead mayors, the overall crime rate in England and Wales is higher than in all 50 states, even though over there they have more policemen per capita than in the U.S., on vastly higher rates of pay, installing more video surveillance cameras than anywhere else in the Western world. Robbery, sex crimes, and violence against the person are higher in England and Wales; property crime is twice as high; vehicle theft is higher still; the British are 2.3 times more likely than Americans to be assaulted, and three times more likely to be raped or assaulted with deadly force. Between 1973 and 1992, burglary rates in the U.S. fell by half. In Britain, not even the Home Office's disreputable reporting methods (if a burglar Steals from 15 different apartments in one building, it counts as a single crime) can conceal the remorseless rise: Britons are now more than twice as likely as Americans to be mugged; two-thirds will have their property broken into at some time in their lives.

Even more revealing is the divergent character between U.K.and U.S. property crime: In America, just over 10 percent of all burglaries are "hot burglaries" -- committed while the owners are present; in Britain, it's over half. Because of insurance-required alarm systems, the average thief increasingly concludes that it's easier to break in while you're on the premises. Your home-security system may conceivably make your home more safe, but it makes you less so.

Conversely, up here in the New Hampshire second congressional district, there are few laser security systems and lots of guns. Our murder rate is much lower than Britain's and our property crime is virtually insignificant. Anyone want to make a connection? Villains are expert calculators of risk, and the likelihood of walking away uninjured with an $80 used television set is too remote. In New Hampshire, a citizen's right to defend himself deters crime; in Britain, the state-inflicted impotence of the homeowner Actively encourages it. Just as becoming a drug baron is a rational career move in Colombia, so too is becoming a violent burglar in the United Kingdom.The chances that the state will seriously impede your progress are insignificant.

Now I'm British / Canadian, so, as you might expect, the Second Amendment doesn't mean much to me. I think it's more basic than that. Privately owned firearms symbolize the essential difference between your great republic and the countries you left behind. In the U.S., power resides with "we, the people" and is leased ever more sparingly up through town, county, state, and federal government. In Britain and Canada, power resides with the Crown and is graciously devolved down in limited doses. To a north country Yankee it's self-evident that, when a burglar breaks into your home, you should have the right to shoot him -- indeed, not just the right, but the responsibility, as a free-born citizen, to uphold the integrity of your property. But in Britain and most other parts of the Western world, the state reserves that right to itself, even though at the time the ne'er-do-well shows up in your bedroom you're on the scene and Constable Plod isn't: He's some miles distant, asleep in his bed, and with his answering machine on referring you to central dispatch God knows where.

These days it's standard to bemoan the "dependency culture"of state welfare, but Britain's law-and-order "dependency culture" is even more enfeebling. What was it the police and courts resented about that Norfolk farmer? That he "took the law into his own hands"? But in a responsible participatory democracy, the law ought to be in our hands.The problem with Britain is that the police force is now one of the most notable surviving examples of a pre-Thatcher, bloated, incompetent, unproductive, over-paid, closed-shop state monopoly. They're about as open to constructive suggestions as the country's Communist mineworkers' union was 20 years ago, and the control-freak tendencies of all three British political parties ensure that the country's bloated, expensive county and multi-county forces are inviolable.

The Conservatives' big mistake between 1979 and 1997 was an almost willfully obtuse failure to understand that giving Citizens more personal responsibility isn't something that extends just to their income and consumer choices; it also applies to their communities and their policing arrangements. If you have one without the other, you end up with modern Britain: a materially prosperous society in which the sense of frustration and impotence is palpable, and you're forced to live with a level of endless assault, rape, and property crime most Americans would regard as unacceptable.

We know Bill Clinton's latest favorite statistic -- that 12"kids" a day die from gun violence -- is bunk: nearly all of these 11.569 grade-school moppets are aged between 15 and 19, and many of them have had the misfortune to become involved in gangs, convenience-store hold-ups, and drug deals, which, alas, have a tendency to go awry. If more crack deals passed off peacefully, that "child" death rate could be reduced by over three-quarters.

But away from those dark fringes of society, Americans live lives blessedly untouched by most forms of crime -- at least when compared with supposedly more civilized countries like Britain. That's something those "million marching moms" should consider, if only because in a gun-free America women -- and the elderly and gays and all manner of other fashionable victim groups -- will be bearing the brunt of a much higher proportion of violent crime than they do today. Ask Phil Collins or Ridley Scott.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Communist Party of 1958 = Democrat Party today?

In 1958, Cleon Skoussen, former FBI informant, revealed in his book, THE NAKED COMMUNIST, the long term goals of the communist agenda. This information is also contained not only in the Congressional Record (August 1963), but also in the records of the Communist Party USA itself. For the sake of brevity, those 27 goals are briefly listed. A few of these goals have been bypassed by history (in italics), but it is disturbing just how far many of these Communist goals are still ongoing (in standard type) and how many have been achieved since this information was outlined in 1958 (in bold):

1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2. Develop the illusion that total disarmament by the U.S. would be a demonstration of moral strength.
3. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
4. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of communist domination.
5. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.S.
6. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the United Nations.
7. Promote the United Nations as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.
8. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
9. Do away with loyalty oaths.
10. Capture at least one of the two major political parties in the U.S.
11. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
12. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current communist propaganda. Get control of the teachers associations.
13. Gain control of all student newspapers and schools of journalism.
14. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book review assignments, editorial writing, and policy-making positions.
15. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV and motion pictures.
16. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them censorship and a violation of free speech and free press.
17. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures and TV.
18. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as normal, natural and healthy.
19. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with social religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a religious crutch.
20. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the grounds that it violates the principles of separation of church and state.
21. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern social needs, and a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
22. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the grounds that it was only a minor part in the big picture.
23. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the communist apparatus.
24. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
25. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
26. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents, and toward the positive influence of the government.
27. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American traditions; that students and special interest groups should rise up and use united force to solve economic, political and social problems.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sufferin' Succotash! A sad farewell to John Katz

I always wondered what happend to a local radio host, John Katz, who went off the air a while back. Well, now I know it was due to his declining health, and he has passed away.
He had a radio show on Modesto Radio Station KCBC (770AM) called "One Man's View Of Americanism" ("One Manth View Of Americanithm") every Sunday from 4 to 6 PM. It was based upon articles from John Birch Society publications like the New American magazine. Unfortunately, Mr. Katz had a bit of a lisp, resulting in a radio voice that reminded me of an angry and grumpy version of Sylvester The Cat.

I think Mr. Katz, like the John Birchers I have met, was a well-meaning and patriotic man. However, to attribute everything to a seemingly unstoppable conspiracy involving one world order types, the Trilateral Commission, the Council On Foreign Relations, and the Freemasons is tiresome. Too much doom and gloom do not inspire; they paralyze.

The philosopher Robert Nozick distinguished between two approaches to political thought: the "invisible hand" and the "hidden hand." Those who embrace the "invisible hand" believe that people, given the freedom to make their own choices, tend to achieve social goals without being forced to do so.

Sometimes the invisible hand fails, and strong central leadership is needed. But as a general rule, free markets and civil liberties have worked well in promoting human progress. They have certainly proved better than the alternative, in the form of state control, which has produced only poverty, war, and misery.

"Hidden hand" thinkers, by contrast, believe that everything is controlled by unseen forces -- not spiritual but human in nature. Socialism thrives on such ideas. In fact, socialism depends on conspiracy theories to justify its war against personal liberty, to blame for its inevitable failures, and to cover up its own very real machinations.

Although Mr. Katz was a patriotic and free-enterprise oriented man, he sadly fell into the "hidden hand" delusion, only he came from the Right rather than the Left.

Moreover, Mr. Katz always touted the American Independent / Constitution Party, calling the Republican Party "Socialist Party B". While I grant him that RINOs do often disappoint us, American history has taught us again and again the futility of 3rd parties. Rather than pushing for patriots to get involved with the Republican Party and push it in a proper direction, 3rd party movements only squander effort.

The Modesto Bee
March 10, 2006


John Harry Katz, a lifetime member of the ultraconservative John Birch Society whose demonstrations in Modesto targeted the United Nations, died of natural causes Monday in Manteca at Kaiser Foundation Hospital. He was 70.

Katz was a resident of Modesto for more than 40 years and was the host of a weekly radio show for 26 years called "One Man's View of Americanism," where he targeted what he believed was an oppressive government trying to establish a New World Order -a global communism that would mean "total subjugation of the people of the world."

Pamela Reddington, an engineer on Katz's show at KCBC for eight years, said Katz never had a shortage of listeners wanting to call in, whether it was to show their support or start a passionate debate. And when a guest became too contentious, Katz would simply tell Reddington to "cut 'em off."
"Some of the listeners didn't appreciate the things he said, but his shows were always lively, and I was always on my toes," Reddington said.

Reddington recalls Katz once hosting his show from his hospital bed after undergoing hip surgery.

"He was trying to run the show while yelling at people coming in the door," she said. "I never laughed so hard in my life. He was always great fun one way or the other."

But to local law enforcement, Katz was a more ornery figure. In 1974, Katz was escorted from a United Nations celebration at the Stanislaus County Library in Modesto because he tried to stop Sea Explorer Scouts from flying a U.N. flag next to the American flag.

Katz, a native of Sacramento, opened an advertising agency called Inter-Related Services in Modesto and produced his own lithographing, silk screening and print work. Katz also spent three years in the Army.

Katz is survived by his children, Ken Katz of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Kim Katz and Kristopher Katz, both of Modesto, and Kurtis Katz of Thousand Oaks; brother, Ellis Katz of Sacramento; sister, Sue Biancalana of Mill Valley; and six grandchildren.

Visitation will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Monday at Salas Brothers Funeral Chapel. A funeral will be at 1 p.m. Monday at the chapel, with burial to follow at Lakewood Memorial Park, Hughson.

Remembrances may be made to Sovereign Grace Baptist Church Building Fund, 6509 Shoemake Ave., Modesto 95358.

The Modesto Bee
March 14, 2006

I was brokenhearted to learn of the death of John Katz, who died March 6 in Manteca. Like many longtime Modesto residents, I first learned of John through his Saturday morning talk show on KTRB, a weekly excursion into the far reaches of what many call the political fringe. John was an unapologetic member of the John Birch Society, and that's what he talked about, relentlessly.

Although I found much to disagree with him on politically, we eventually found ourselves on the same side of a local issue and met in person. I was pleasantly surprised to find him possessed of a keen sense of humor. We became friends. John was one of the kindest and most gracious men I've ever known.

Modesto will remember him for his politics and his talk show, and so will I. But there's much more to miss about the man than a colorful and often intimidating public persona.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Is California Doomed? Two Atomic Bombs....

I start this blog because I need to vent about the mess this world, this country, and more particularly this state, is in.

Sometimes I am told, "It's hopeless; just move out of California." But damn it, I grew up here, the weather is mostly amazing, and I don't want to give up on this once truly Golden State just yet.

If McClintock can become our next Lieutenant Governor, there is hope. Otherwise, stick a fork in Cali and turn it over....

California needs men like McClintock, and a southern border great wall / fence all the way to Brownsville, Texas. (undeniably the massive influx of immigrants, especially when illegal, has pushed the state past its limits).

OK, I can't resist...another man who may save California is...Kim Jong-il. (Yes, this is a joke)

How so? Consider the electoral maps. California is NOT as hopeless if you look at county by county voting (and precinct by precinct voting if you can find those maps). And the real political messes are concentrated in rather compact areas of the state.

Two small atomic bombs--detonated in San Francisco and that creep Maxine Water's district in South Central LA--would change the state for the better.

Four small atomic bombs--San Francisco, South Central LA, The Oakland-Berkeley area, and West Hollywood (Waxman's district)--would permanently realign the state.

Then again, Oakland / Berkeley might be fine with "the holy fallout" from an SF bomb, given prevailing westerly winds. (Remember "Beneath the Planet of the Apes"?)

Enclaves of insanity like downtown Sacramento, Davis, Marin or Humboldt would remain, but they would be insignificant on the larger California political scene, quaint museums to a quasi-Soviet hippie era past. They could even become nostalgic tourist traps for leftists throughout the USA, even the world. "Turning rebellion into money," as the song goes.

Ideally, this would happen on some mass demonstration weekend in San Francisco or West Hollywood, with all the working people out of the downtown SF and Wilshire Boulevard financial districts. The last weekend in June (Gay Pride) would be ideal. Note: It's not the sexuality as much as it it the insane politics. If they were all like J. Edgar Hoover or Roy Cohn (America's first gay patriots?), they would be just fine as far as I am concerned!

OK, I know this is bad joke hyperbole, but are you up to it, you pudgy pygmy, Krazy Kim?

But more seriously, the destructive politics are confined to mostly coastal enclaves.

Contrary to popular belief, the the real political division in Cali is not North vs. South; it is Coast vs. Interior.

The electoral maps, presidential, congressional, and by state office, are striking in this regard. Every coastal (or bayfront) county went leftward except for San Diego (heavy military presence), San Luis Obispo (CalPoly is technical and has no liberal arts weenies, and I think the crusty guards at Atascadero help too), Orange (tradition), Ventura (ditto, it's where McClintock hails from) and Del Norte (where they still chop trees and don't hug them).

Meanwhile, every interior county went rightward except for Yolo (take out Davis and that changes) and Sacramento County (take out downtown and that changes likewise).

I have trouble saying "red" or "blue" because color-wise that schematic is exactly backward, but I digress.

In any case, the less coastal, the less leftward. San Jose is markedly more "red" than SF, for example, and cross over the Caldecott Tunnel and Alameda and Contra Costa counties become "redder".

Likewise in LA county when you cross over the Santa Monica Mountains and enter "The Valley".

Orange county is actually rather purple compared to neighboring inland San Berdoo and Riverside counties.

The most rightward county by % voter registration is Placer, not Orange, and the rest of the Gold Rush / Sierra region is not far behind Placer.