The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Not Much To Say Today

Read this.
John Stossel is one of my favorite libertarians and, while I don't agree with him at times, he's entertaining at the least and his take on 2015 should make you think.

Monday, December 28, 2015

What System Should Amerca Adopt?

"Socialism is a social and economic system characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system."

It turns out Democrats seem to more favorable toward socialism than one might think: 49% to 37%. But less so than Republicans might think.

I must admit, I once viewed socialism in a favorable light... I was in my early 20's... then I recalled an essay I turned in during 8th grade;  in that essay I considered that socialism ignored the natural ambition of human beings... with socialism, life might be simpler but it would also be poorer. I considered that socialism essentially meant a caste system. There would be little hope for advancement unless the powers that be found you and saw some benefit in lifting you up. The odds were that you would never advance beyond what your parents did.

I don't know what attraction socialism has for these Democrats but I suspect it is rooted in anger and envy. I hear a lot of complaints about the "1%" and "the rich." We don't much like the wealthy but they seem obliged to start up and run charities... something about "Noblesse Oblige." They also create jobs, build enterprises, and gravitate toward leadership positions.

"Noblesse oblige is a French phrase literally meaning "nobility obliges". It denotes the concept that nobility extends beyond mere entitlements and requires the person who holds such status to fulfill social responsibilities, particularly in leadership roles."

Essentially, they feel obligated to give back to the community. And they feel superior to the rest of us, thinking they should be the leaders of society because of that natural superiority. It's often called "elitism."

I think we find this propensity strong in young college students. If they work, it's in low-paying jobs and they see no future in that. There is a tendency to think the odds are stacked against you and only the lucky can break out from the pack. We see success stories (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos) but dismiss these examples as anomolies. We don't see ourselves as being in their league.

I have an old Shoe cartoon strip in which a character says "high intelligence has always run in my family... Ambition, however, walks with a limp."

That was always my problem... I have very little ambition and never liked the hard work that goes with that trait.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

While not something I participate in, it is an honored tradition throughout the U.S. But beware, there are grinches out there trying to disrupt the Holiday cheer.

I just saw a report where the "Freedom From Religion" Foundation is trying to get "In God we trust" removed from police cars in my state of Florida. In my opinion, they are idiots masquerading as atheists. How can you desire freedom from something you do not believe in?

I have been atheist since I was 12 and never felt anger or annoyance with those of my friends who were believers in a religion. I spent half of my childhood going to schools in Florida where prayer was a daily exercise. Each morning, the teacher would lead the class in the "Lord's Prayer" and I would simply keep my mouth shut and wait for it to be over. It never occurred to me to even try to disrupt others as they prayed.

No one ever mistreated or teased me because I did not pray and I never saw anyone else get mistreated either. What any child felt or believed appeared to be the sole responsibility of the child.

I will grant that I got irked by the visits from Mormans, Seventh Day Adventists, and others who came to my door. But I remained polite, having no reason to offend them or their beliefs. After all, they had no way of knowing that I was atheist anymore than I knew they were whatever kind of believer they might be.

I have decided that I am offended by these self-professed atheists who are, in reality, anti-theists (they simply oppose religious trappings and rituals), what bothers me most is that they pretend to be atheist and give the rest of us a bad reputation.

There is no right to not be offended though these idiots seem to think there is.  And there is no right to be free of religion either. The First Amendment affirms that everyone has the right to practice religion but it says nothing about those who are offended by that practice. That's fine with me. As my mother used to say, "Life's not fair, get over it!"

So, MERRY CHRISTMAS! And that is about as un-PC as I want to get.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Native, Or Not, Americans

Once upon a time, Europeans sought to find a route to Asia and so they sailed west to find a route but ran into land way before they should have. Of course, they didn't know that... they had no idea how far Asia was... so they called the people they found on the land "Indians" thinking they had landed in the East Indies. You know who I am writing about, don't you?

Nowadays it is popular to call these "Indians" "Native Americans" but they aren't. What they are is immigrants from Asia. And, since there were no centralized governments back when they immigrated, we could call them "undocumented."

I am talking about North American Indians here, which Columbus probably never met (others would meet those people). South American Indians may have come from the Pacific islands, we don't know that yet but the DNA should confirm or deny that.

There is much talk about how we stole their land and all but we didn't. Not really. You see, when a tribe wanted the land another tribe was on, they would attack that tribe and take it if they could. An Indian told me that the "dominant" tribe would take the land. Well, Europeans and the later Americans (who had immigrated from Europe) were the new dominant tribe and did what came naturally. They took as much land as they could and treated the existing population like dirt. When the first of these "Indians" came to this land, apparently there were no other inhabitants. There might have been but no evidence exists to substantiate that. If there were a native people, the odds are that the new arrivals would have vanquished them and taken over... being a new tribe and wanting the land for themselves.

So, do I feel guilty about what we, as a people, did to the first Americans? Not a lot. We did what our culture and history expected of us.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Perhaps Something Lighter Today

As you may know, I play a lot of Microsoft Freecell solitaire and perhaps you know that it reset on me unexpectedly as I approached 1000 games.

I'd like you to know that I have 491 successful games now with zero losses. Of course I cheat. I found that you can back up as many times as you wish (that started with, I think, Windows 7) and that if you back up to the beginning you do not get a loss. So, that being said, it is no great feat to get to 491 games.

Friday, December 18, 2015

I Can't Figure This Guy Out

I thought I could pretty much understand what makes most people tick. That is, I had a knack for figuring what someone might do in certain situations... at least I used to be able to do it... maybe I was just fooling myself.

The guy is president Obama and he has me a bit worried. Most presidents try to make the next person's term in the Oval Office simple. That is, the current president tries to clean up as much of the mess he made as possible so the next one won't have that to deal with it. After all, the presidency is a tough enough job as it is without having to spend a lot of time trying to straighten out the results of the former president's policies.

Reagan did have to deal with Jimmy Carter's issues but, beyond a poor economy (which Carter inherited from Ford), Reagan didn't have a lot of problems handed down to him. And I give Carter credit for getting Egypt and Israel to sign a deal that has lasted quite a long time. That alone should be Carter's legacy... but he tried and I think his heart was in the right place, he was an outsider who got little cooperation even from his own party.

But Obama has me mystified. I do not understand his foreign policy (which seems to be "make nice and the others will like you", something we learn when we are toddlers but we stop doing in our teens).

Obama seems to be sticking with that policy (except when dealing with Republicans) in spite of its apparent abject failure. I think his domestic economy policy seems to be one of "benign neglect." That is, basically let it take care of itself after establishing bailouts of banks and financial institutions and pushing through a huge stimulus bill that didn't have all that much effect. I think he figured to wait out businesses until they started hiring again. After all, it was in their best interests to do so... eventually. That was pretty smart.

But the mess we have with terrorists is overwhelming and I do not see an easy solution. My idea is to go back to carpet bombing, starting with the IS oilfields and then destroying whatever infrastructure they have. The idea is to inflict so much damage on the populace that the people will want to get as far away from anything IS as possible.

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 1941

"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack." -Franklin Delano Roosevelt-
And the United States was at war. Maybe we'll also remember San Bernadino as that turning point.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Not To Worry, Everything Is Under Control

I thought, having real issues with my ego, that you folks would want to read what I have to say about the San Bernadino shooting.

What do we know as of Friday evening: we know who the shooters were (none of that "alleged" garbage here), we know how many died that day, we know how many were wounded or injured, and we know that it was planned and prepared for well in advance.

We do not know if they received outside funding for the attack but we do know how much Seyd Farook earned as a government employee of the county (about $70k a year). We have not heard if his wife (Tashfeen Malik) was employed and, if she was, how much she earned.

There has been much talk about tightening gun control laws (as we always do after a mass shooting) but I would remind you that no guns of any type we used in the attacks on 9/11/2001. Which tells me there are plenty of ways to kill if someone is determined to do so. Look at Israel to see what an attack with knives can accomplish, for example. I believe there was a knife attack in China not long ago, too. 29 deaths and 130 injured (which puts a lie to the notion that knife attacks are not as deadly).

We now know that the FBI is treating this as a terror attack. Primarily, I think because it became widely known that the woman in the attack pledged her allegiance to the head of IS.

I think they planned to go elsewhere and commit another attack, in Los Angeles or perhaps Las Vegas (each of which are easily reached from San Bernadino). Or maybe there were others who were to join them. We know that Feyd purchased the handguns but that some other male bought the AR-15s. The FBI seems to know who and where he is.

This is a bit scary, it doesn't take a lot of these attacks to make us anxious and afraid.

Update:the Farook family attorney said in a press conference that there was no link to terror.

Friday, December 4, 2015

We Shouldn't Worry, They Tell Us

Well, by now you are well-informed about the latest mass shooting incident. The Washington Post is all in a tizzy about it and a number of other things. The New York Daily News had a front page headline that implied prayer was pointless because "God Isn't Fixing This". Maybe they should have checked with the White House because Obama said the families of the victims needed our prayers.

I got to thinking about it today when I read a comment somewhere about the majority of Muslims not being radicalized. It's true. I agree. But then I thought about it a bit more, if only 1/2 of 1% of the estimated 1.2 billion Muslims are radicalized, that's 6 million we should worry about. and let's say that 5% of Muslims are sympathetic to the Jihadists... that's an awful lot of people.

As they used to say at NASA... "Houston, we have a problem."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

In Case You Were Wondering...

It's obvious, even to me, that I have been slacking in my posting. I'm pretty bored with the whole thing lately... plus I have been busy lately... I am trying to sell my car (yeah, the Mercedes).I should not have bought it, to be honest, we do not need a second car; mine has less than 4000 miles on it (3670, I think) and Faye's Lincoln has also less than 4000 miles.

It made me think a bit about my childhood when it was not unusual to have one car and one bathroom to a home. Once I reached 16, though, I wanted a car of my own. My brother had one and so did my sister (both were older than me). In fact, my brother was on his second car by the time I got my first one. I already talked about that first car... a well-used `52 Studebaker Champion that had a defective front passenger door which was held shut by a hunk of wire. You can be sure that did not impress my dates' parents.

But I was mobile! And I wandered as much as I could (good thing gas was cheap then).

I have a new doctor this year, he seems competent which is all I ask. He is also not what I expected; he's short, slight, and probably in his 60's. When I went to him the first time, I was expecting a taller, more distinguished sort and maybe a little younger. Of course, he wanted to run me through a battery of medical tests... which is good since I am fast approaching 70... and my insurance insists on them anyway.

So far, I have had some blood tests, an echo-cardiogram (which included a check of the blood flow in my carotid arteries), and a few others. I am also being scheduled for a colonoscopy... I don't want one but the insurance demands it. My hypothesis is that we form tumors and polyps all the time but most go away. I don't like the idea of messing with them unneccesarilly.

You know the old saw about "to a hammer, all problems look like a nail?" Well, I think surgeons are like that also; too quick to cut.

Well, we shall see how the next year goes... I have the strangest feeling that it is "first they take away your dignity and then they kill you."