WolfesBlogArchives: October 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

WHEN I READ THAT SAMUEL ALITO is the newest Supreme Court nominee my first thought was, "Thank heaven it isn't Gonzales."

I've just been dreading -- dreading! -- that Bush would nominate Alberto the Torturer.

I suppose if the court survived "justices" who decreed that runaway slaves should be returned to their owners, it could survive a man who writes elaborate legal justifications for torture. But still, nominating such a man would have been one step too low. Instead, I await the day when men like Gonzales -- and his employers -- are dragged before a court of real justice to pay for their war crimes. Thank heaven we haven't -- yet -- fallen to Gonzales' level of "justice."

Alito sounds at least tolerable and in some ways supportive of liberty.

Posted by Claire @ 09:07 AM CST [Link]

REBELFIRE IS #3 on the LewRockwell.com bestseller list. :-) And here I've unfairly assumed that those respectable folk over there took no notice of the likes of me.

Jeffersoniantoo posted the news on TCF this morning. Sorry for not responding over there, but I've been in a forced absence from TCF for much of the last month. My once-excellent privacy proxy has been almost non-functional, and I don't post to public or commercial sites without being proxified. (Cotse.net says the Xtreme slowness affecting me has nothing to do with their proxy, but must come from a routing problem; if I could ever master setting up SSH tunneling, they assure me the problems would magically disappear. But SSH tunneling is, at the moment, beyond me in both available time and skill. Nor have I had time to hunt up a substitute proxy service.)

Speaking of time, gotta get to work. Deadlines on top of deadlines! But real quick I thought I'd share the best of the morning's commentary:

Why are government criminals never charged with their most serious crimes? Good question.

On being poor. Damn straight, lady. Lack of money in no way excuses being dirty, ignorant, whiny, or criminal. (Thanks to Stolid for the posting.)

Why political chaos and collapse in DC is good news.

And confirmation from an uber-mainstream source that the whole damn trolley is careening off its tracks. (Thank you, AZ.)

Posted by Claire @ 08:59 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, October 29, 2005

WELL, AFTER ALL, he did promise to "vigorously pursue sex crimes."

Posted by Claire @ 10:42 AM CST [Link]

Friday, October 28, 2005

"I'VE GOT NOTHING TO SAY," says James Leroy Wilson about Valerie Plame, Harriet Miers, or 2,000 dead Americans in Iraq.

... there needs to be passion, and I don't have any for politics right now. Passion is fueled by hope, and even anti-government and "anti-political" writers retain some hope for change in the political order. It is that hope that sustains us through all the outrageous policies and stupidity we deal with. We must believe that our words are at least planting seeds for a better tomorrow.


Posted by Claire @ 08:59 AM CST [Link]


I have a client. Worked with him for a long time. Years. He's one of the most honorable, decent people I've ever met. Nice, too. As courteous as a Victorian gentlemen. Never utters a foul word. Pays his bills practically by return mail, even when times are tough. He cares about me -- and in fact we care about each other -- in a warm, concerned, strictly Platonic, but very personal way. This guy is a prince.

BUT. The instant he's got an idea on his mind, he's got to track me down and throw it at me. Not tomorrow. Not an hour from now. NOW. If I ignore his first call or email, his calls may come every hour. Three or four hours after his original brainstorm, he'll send me an all-caps, one-line email: "DID YOU GET MY MESSAGE???"

Now, this is 100 percent the opposite of the way I work. I'm one of those arty types who needs to waft for uninterrupted weeks through the serene and untroubled springtime meadows of thought. If the phone rings once in the morning with some irritating nonsense, or if a computer glitch interrupts my tea-in-bed Net browsing, I'm like, "Oh, what a madhouse! I'll never be able to get any writing done today!"

You remember the princess and the pea? Well, I might not notice the pea under 20 mattresses. But [more]

Posted by Claire @ 08:38 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

SPYCHIPS gets a very powerful review from an influential source within the IT industry.

The book is also having quite an effect on some of the RFID industry's biggest liars, as detailed in this news release (which quotes from the linked review, but has some delicious news of its own about putting deceptive RFID marketers n the run): [more]

Posted by Claire @ 04:46 PM CST [Link]

IF YOU FIND IT WEIRD THAT THE MEDIA COVERAGE of the FBI/FCC's recent decision to "wiretap" the entire Internet focuses almost entirely on money, you'll probably appreciate John Gilmore's outrage at the way rights are being treated as a throwaway issue. And be glad that electronic privacy groups are finally challenging this absurd, tyrannical fiat on more fundamental grounds.

Seemingly unrelated, the media and Congress have also been abuzz with the question of how the fedgov will "help" television owners, come 2009 when TPTB have degreed that the familiar old broadcast signal will be cut off. The question they're asking themselves is: How shall the fedgov supply conversion boxes to the 21 million households estimated to have only antenna-connected TVs so they'll be able to receive the new digital signals? Not whether the fedgov owes us all little TV boxes. But only how to deliver them.

"Seemingly" unrelated, but in fact, they're deeply rooted in the same morass -- a morass that stretches from the barrier islands of the Atlantic to the ferry docks of Seattle -- and no doubt into the Arctic circle of Alaska and the pineapple plantations of Hawaii.


Posted by Claire @ 11:18 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

IT'S 2,000 NOW. And Bush says that "we" need to make more sacrifices. By "we" I take it he doesn't mean anybody in his social circle or anybody on the board of Halliburton. Think tankers are also exempted, of course. As are lawyers who write memos authorizing torture. Senators and congressthings, of course, don't need to sac ...

Hey, wait a minute. Who is this "we," anyhow?

Posted by Claire @ 07:04 PM CST [Link]

I DON'T &^%$#@ing CARE WHO THE NEXT FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN IS. Does that make me a Bad Citizen? The name is Bernanke. I know nothing about him but what I've read in the news. I'll let Silver, if he's so inclined, ponder the specifics.

But ... let me slip on my turban and robe and grab my economist's crystal ball to make a prediction: Whatever the new Fed chairman does will distort the U.S. economy and therefore the culture and morality of the American people.

Oooooh. Oooooh. The spirits are sending me another prediction: Constitutional money will not return under Bernanke's leadership.

Oooooh. Ooooooooooh. Good heavens! The spirits are besieging me with astonishing news! They say: Inflationary fiscal flim-flammery will continue to enrich politicians and bankers while sucking the real economic substance out of individuals and nations.

Wow, amazing! Astounding! What insights! What psychic power!

And to think ... I give these heretofore unguessable Truths to the world without even asking anyone to fork over $500 a year for my financial newsletter.

Posted by Claire @ 08:50 AM CST [Link]

NO JOKE. The White House (which apparently has nothing better to do) is suing The Onion.

Posted by Claire @ 08:29 AM CST [Link]

IRWIN SCHIFF CONVICTED on 13 unlucky tax-related counts. The man has enormous courage and integrity. I don't buy his legalistic arguments against the income tax. (The real reason to refuse the tax isn't because of some obscure point of law, but because you're not a slave.) But I admire him.

Posted by Claire @ 08:09 AM CST [Link]

BUT DON'T WORRY. WHEN THEY BREAK THE LAW it's only an honest mistake. Harmless. Maybe deserving of a stern note slipped into a personnel file.

Always remember, without these heroic defenders of Truth, Justice, and the American Way, this country could be filled with people who actually flout the law! And wouldn't that be a terrible thing?

Posted by Claire @ 07:38 AM CST [Link]

SUNNI AND THE CONSPIRATORS ... THAT IS, ONE OF THE CONSPIRATORS, review How to Kill the Job Culture Before It Kills You.

First Sunni weighs in at Endervidualism.

Then here's Jorge's take.

Each review has some praise, some criticism (which I think is the most useful kind of review to get). Thank you both.

Posted by Claire @ 07:20 AM CST [Link]

Monday, October 24, 2005

BIRD FLU. Steve Trinward injects some common sense.

I can't vouch for the types of alternative medicine he mentions, but his piece is a good reality check. (And that info about why it might not be a good idea to bring down a fever with aspirin was thought provoking.)

Another observation: A number of articles have said that these "killer flus" are different in that they kill healthy young adults as readily as old people or small children. As far as I can tell, that assertion is based on the Spanish Influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918-19. That flu struck young men 18-40 particularly hard.

But the notion that those young men were healthy might be bogus. Millions had just returned from the trenches of World War I -- in other words, from months or years of exposure to brutal cold and heat, poisonous gasses, poor sanitation, and the general stresses of war. Men who'd been gassed often returned home with chronic lung problems, making them especially vulnerable to respiratory infections. "Healthy" they most likely were not when the flu hit.

Posted by Claire @ 01:54 PM CST [Link]

WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE to be a completely undocumented citizen? One young man may know.

(Thank you to Mystery Woman.)

Posted by Claire @ 01:44 PM CST [Link]

IN THE LATEST FIAT EXPANSION OF CALEA not many people seem to have groked that the new diktat also orders libraries and universities to set their members up for spying. But oh, no, the Justice Department isn't interested in stifling intellectual exploration, monitoring dissidents, or censoring research. Of course not.

Posted by Claire @ 01:42 PM CST [Link]

BRAZILIANS VOTE DOWN THE GUN BAN. Quite decisively. Although they still have some nasty restrictions on gun purchasing, this is a knockout defeat for the global "only government should have guns" movement.

The articles mostly don't say it, but Brazilians are not only well aware that their government won't protect them. They also live under corrupt, vicious police gangs who are often more feared than the freelance criminal gangs.

Posted by Claire @ 09:43 AM CST [Link]

VERMONTERS GET SERIOUS ABOUT SECESSION. They're talking about "jumping from the sinking ship of empire" and separating from a national government that's too big, too deep in debt, and has lost all moral authority.

Anybody going to be in that area this Friday? The convention is free and open to the public.

Vermont's rowdy activism suddenly makes the Free State Project's choice of neighbor New Hampshire more interesting. Er ... that might mean as in "interesting times." But definitely interesting. This "left-wing" freedom movement and NH's "right-wing" (sorry) freedom movement developing side-by-side with many overlapping goals and assumptions could also blow away a lot of political stereotypes.

(Thank you to SV for the very interesting link.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:39 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, October 22, 2005

JESUS H. FLIPPING CRACKERS!!! WHAT KIND OF GOVERNMENT IS THIS??? Not only is the U.S. setting up yet another new spy agency -- as if we didn't already have enough snooping and surveillance. But get this. Get this. You won't believe it.

The head of the new agency will be known only as "Jose" -- real name never to be revealed.

That's right. You're gonna pay his (or her) salary. But you're not even entitled to know your employee's name.

What? Do those cretins in Washington think they're all staring in a James Bond flick? Will Washington, DC, soon be filled with people called "Q" and "M" and "Jay" and "Kay"? How about "John Doe" or "Anon"? This has got to be a new low in both arrogance and paranoia. Not to mention more evidence that people at the very highest levels of the U.S. government are living in a fantasy world.

(Thanks -- although it really pains me to thank anybody for this kind of news -- to Katherine Albrecht and the CASPIAN staff list.)

Posted by Claire @ 04:10 PM CST [Link]

"STORM WARNING." Lady LIberty begins with the police-state premises Aaron Zelman and I described in The State vs the People. Then she makes an "advanced" list of her own of signs the police state us upon us. Her list includes something most of us probably thought we'd never see here: political "disappearances."

Sure, "disappearances" are being perpetrated only on "those other people," so far. The rest of us are nice and safe and as free as ever ...

(Thank you to DG for the find.)

Posted by Claire @ 12:27 PM CST [Link]

KEEP THE SABBATH, says this "weekend listen" from poet Andrei Codrescu. Not for religion's sake, but for life's sake.

(Then go out and have fun by entering the TCF Pistol Postal Match. I'm going to.)

Posted by Claire @ 08:39 AM CST [Link]

Friday, October 21, 2005


Blogispondent Ian here. I would like to remind folks that the entry deadline for the first TCF Practical Pistol Postal Match is rapidly approaching! If you are interesting in participating (and we encourage everyone to do so, regardless of skill level), please get your targets in the mail ASAP.

For those of you not familiar with postal matches, the idea is that a bunch of people all shoot the same course of fire and then mail their targets to a single person for scoring. It allows us to hold a match without needing to get everyone together at the same shooting range. For the privacy-minded, you may scan your targets and email them in rather than using a mail carrier.

Click "more" for details: [more]

Posted by Ian @ 01:16 PM CST [Link]

ON THE PASSAGE OF THE FIREARM LIABILITY BILL, the news release from Gun Owners of America says it all.

With R majorities in both houses, this could have been a "clean" bill. That the R's instead chose to pass a version with two huge Trojan horses in it is ... well, no damn big news to anyone who's been watching the R's for the last many decades.

(FWIW, although I agree that the U.S. firearms industry needs defense against sue-happy Brady Bunchers, I'm not in favor of special laws to protect any industry. Still, given our current wreck of a legal system, a "clean" bill to protect gun makers would have brought some needed, even if wrongheaded and temporary, relief. Now, the industry gets the "special privilege" of relief, while gunowners and buyers have to hold their breath, waiting to see what danger pours out of those two Trojan horses.)

Posted by Claire @ 10:00 AM CST [Link]

THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE VERY DEFINITION OF "LONG SHOT." But according to a Counterpunch article, international law requires that state leaders who authorize torture be brought to justice outside their own country (presumably because a the justice system in a country that's fallen that low would be either corrupted or cowed by debased leadership). So some Canadians are trying to bring GWB to justice in their country.

The debates about the uses of international law against a U.S. citizen or whether or not GWB directly authorized torture could go on a long, long time. Still, whether Bush officially authorized torture or merely signaled that it was a darned good idea, justice of some sort is surely overdue. After all, GWB's body count far exceeds that of Manson, Bundy, Dahmer, and BTK combined.

(News item found via the always-outstanding Rational Review News.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:44 AM CST [Link]

"GOVERNMENT RAIDS OUTLAWS." Outlaws Legal Service, that is.

Officers and federal agents stood in front of stacks of seized law books and magazines at a hastily scheduled press conference. A leather bound, Black’s Law Dictionary and a 1400 page, copy of War and Peace were the centerpiece of their exhibit. Piled among the books on display were thousands of law books, federal and state government manuals and books on United States history. Several books were found that listed all area business and private individual's names, addresses, and telephone numbers printed in columns on separate white and yellow pages. Chief Catchum said that he had never seen anything like it and the potential use for them was mind boggling. There was even a separate section covering just government offices.

"These Law and government books are instruments of war, plain and simple," said Special Agent Gregory Dupe. The law books were only used to fight government as we know it, "They have no recreational purpose. They have no legitimate civilian use."

(From F42, who's hunkered in a bunker awaiting Wilma's wallop.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:31 AM CST [Link]

THE CALEA WIRETAPPERS SCOOP IN SKYPE. And, as Simon Jester put it when he sent this item, they "rape the fetus" of VOIP technology.

There goes innovation. And it still boggles the mind that we have -- so placidly -- become a country where the national police can simply order companies to do the government's will.

Posted by Claire @ 09:25 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, October 20, 2005

SORRY I HAVEN'T BLOGGED MUCH THIS WEEK. I've been pondering that new "advisory" by Liz Michael that got so much attention earlier this week. I'm considering how and why I no longer work up many good rants like that. (It's not merely that I fear being hauled off in the government's tender embrace. Life and human motives are very complex.)

When I'm pondering Deep Thoughts I'm not too good at dealing with little thoughts. If I eventually blog something on Michael & me, it'll probably make up for the lack of recent quantity.

But more than pondering, I've been working this month on another secret RebelFire-related project. No, not a sequel. Sorry. We're a long way from that -- unless some arts patron wants to come up with a few k to fund RebelFire: Into the Light. The current thing is a long-shot project that might never go further than my own computer.

But if it does, it might be really cool. :-)

Yesterday, with some concepting from Aaron Zelman, I also drafted lyrics to a new RebelFire song.

And there, I'm afraid, I'll have to leave you. Aaron, I suspect, would rather I didn't say even as much as I just did.

Posted by Claire @ 12:45 PM CST [Link]

JOHN STOSSEL ON GUNS. What he says won't be any surprise to Second Amendment sorts. But he says it well and persuasively. It's the kind of column you could share with your doubting friends & relatives.

(Thank you, SJ.)

Posted by Claire @ 07:45 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, October 19, 2005



Raving Reporter Thunder here. Normally, making some dough wouldn't be cause for celebration, but this was special. Lightning and I bought a grain mill and ground the wheat berries ourselves.


Posted by Thunder @ 11:12 AM CST [Link]

Monday, October 17, 2005

BEING A FREEDOM WRITER IS LIKE BEING THE CIRCUS EMPLOYEE whose job is to circumcise the elephants: "The pay's not much, but the tips are big."

One of the perks of this occupation is occasionally reading a Really Good Book in pre-publication form, months before the rest of the world gets to see it. That happened recently with Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntire's Spychips. Now just this weekend I read an uncorrected proof copy of Jim Bovard's upcoming Attention Deficit Democracy. ADD is scheduled for publication in January 2006 -- "strategically timed to miss the Christmas book buying season," as Jim cheerfully explains (although copies may be available in early December).

In some ways, ADD is pure patented Bovard -- rapid-fire accounts of one well-documented political abuse after another, leavened by wit and illuminated by lightning-sharp insights. For example:

Posted by Claire @ 12:37 PM CST [Link]

THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA HAS FINALLY NOTICED that bad political news for the Busheviks is often followed quickly by some big scare or other "important" announcement in the highly useful war on terrorism. Keep the people scared and you can get away with anything.

Of course, it all might just be coincidence.

(Another from Mystery Woman.)

Posted by Claire @ 07:38 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Posted by Claire @ 04:46 AM CST [Link]

Friday, October 14, 2005


Posted by Claire @ 07:34 AM CST [Link]

LARRY PRATT SAYS be thankful for crooked cops. Uh ... well, that's one way to look at it. His article grows out of the multiple civil-rights abuses the BATFE and Virginia police conspired to commit this summer against innocent gun-show attendees.

Posted by Claire @ 07:31 AM CST [Link]

IRAQNOPHOBIA. Bitterly funny. As are many of the other definitions linked from this Urban Dictionary entry.

(Another find by Rick.)

Posted by Claire @ 07:02 AM CST [Link]

THE MISSING AMENDMENT is a new privacy-news site (just announced yesterday) from the good folks at Cotse.net. This will become one of my regular morning news checks.

The amendment -- the one that protects the right to privacy -- isn't really missing. The Bill of Rights already covers it in amendments four, nine, and ten. But the fedgov is increasingly missing the point, that's for sure.

Posted by Claire @ 07:00 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, October 13, 2005

HAVE YOU V*TED FOR YOUR FAVORITE FREEDOM FILMS YET? You've still got one more week to v*te in the Hardyville Freedom Film Festival. Results will be announced on November 1. (But rumor has it that a certain recent film is fast running away with the Science Fiction category ...)

Posted by Claire @ 11:51 AM CST [Link]


(Ever so slightly irreverent. And yes, Mark Morford is a horrible, anti-gun suck; but damn he can be funny, too.)

Posted by Claire @ 07:12 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

DUNNO WHETHER THIS BEGAN AS A CIA MANUAL as the website claims. But it's a provocative little guide to monkeywrenching and sabotage, wherever it came from. And it's on an "even I can do that" level.

(Found via the LewRockwell.com blog after being sent there by S.)

Posted by Claire @ 12:47 PM CST [Link]

THE SAGA OF FEMA'S ICE. And what happened to that spare $100 million you thought you had lying around.

(Thank you once again to SJ.)

Posted by Claire @ 10:07 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

:-) :-) :-)

Oct. 11, 2005:

Dear Mr. Zelman:

Congratulations. RebelFire Press’s 2005 novel, RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone" by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman, has been nominated by LFS members for the Prometheus Award for Best Novel for 2005.

Please pass on the good news to your co-author and the editors.

So far, only eight 2005 novels have been nominated for our Best Novel award, which will be presented at the 2006 Worldcon, so this is a select honor. Usually, about a dozen novels are nominated, of which five officially are selected by the judges as finalists, to be announced in mid-March.

Despite the smaller-than-usual number of nominees, I expect Aaron and I will be up against tough competition, including Vin Suprynowicz's popular and powerful The Black Arrow. (I haven't yet seen a list of other nominees, but surely TBA must be on it.)

After the judges choose the five finalists, LFS members select the winner. I'm honored to get this far.

Posted by Claire @ 12:06 PM CST [Link]

IT'S PATHETIC -- BUT ALSO HYSTERICALLY FUNNY, IN A WAY -- that people are still just beginning to figure out what hell the Real ID Act is going to cause. And this article doesn't even deal with the most serious issues of privacy and the loss of freedom. At least one good sign. This is the first article I've seen that raises the question: "Can the Real ID Act be implemented at all?"

Posted by Claire @ 10:16 AM CST [Link]

THIS MIGHT EXPLAIN why Serenity dropped so precipitously at the box office after its initial fan-filled weekend. But ... it's also a sign that Serenity might do well on DVD.

Posted by Claire @ 10:00 AM CST [Link]

THE INCREASE IN CREDIT CARD MINIMUM PAYMENTS is a complex issue. I blogged about this, relying on reports of highly trustworthy economics writers for my statements that the new minimum payment requirements originated in the now infamous bankruptcy law.

Claire asked me to check into the source after her own reading of the law found no such provision.

She is right, I was wrong, and I offer my apologies for misleading any readers. The bottom line is that minimum payments are indeed going up, and in many cases will roughly double, but the reasons are not as I originally stated. There are lots of great lessons here on the multiplying problems of government interventions in the free market, but chastened by my inaccurate reporting, I'll stick to the facts for now.

The tale is a complex one, and while I haven't yet followed it to the bitter end, it goes something like this. Don't read any more unless you have a high tolerance for TLAs and gov-speak.


Posted by Silver @ 05:43 AM CST [Link]

Monday, October 10, 2005

OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS both blogoneur Silver and I have reported on the coming "October surprise" -- the day when minimum credit card payments are supposed to double from 2 to 4 percent. Clear back last spring I was baffled that nobody was treating this as news, especially in an economy about to collapse under debt. Only a handful of financial writers were talking about it.

As the date approaches and the media remain mum, I've questioned whether this doubling is actually going to happen. The infamous bankruptcy law, which many writers said mandated the increase, doesn't appear to contain any such provision. In fact, the language in Title XIII clearly implies that some payments will remain below 4 percent. (Read this thing and notice how pathetically the fedgov is micromanaging the banking and credit industries.)

Yet plenty of usually reliable financial writers have stated that the doubling is coming. One throws some light on the confusion, explaining:

What happened was the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) became concerned about credit card balances that were growing, while consumers were paying down their debt with minimum payments. The net result of this behavior is that credit card debt would continue top spiral upward while credit cards would take years, decades or never to be paid back. The OCC along with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of Thrift Supervision proposed that by the end of 2005, credit card companies put in place a 7-10-year payback periods for reducing or eliminating credit card balances.

Steve Bucci, "The Debt Advisor" at Bankrate.com, says not to expect a fixed doubling of the minumum, but a 10-year amortization period. (Hm. I'll let him and the above-linked source work out why they're both using some of the exact same language.)

I'm still looking into this and have asked the busy, globe-hopping Silver if he can, as well. It seems simply too strange that shortly before this potential financial crackup is supposed to happen, the mainstream media still hasn't noticed. Only ABC's Mellody Hobson seems interested, but she's got a pretty good take on it.

The long-term effect of higher payments would be positive, of course. It would force some fiscal reality on "party now, pay never" Americans. But the change is nevertheless going to come with quite a smack.

Finance and economics are not my areas of expertise. Nor am I expert at researching laws and regulations (gag me with a federal statute!). But I'll keep poking around and will get back to you if I learn anything that changes the above picture.

Posted by Claire @ 09:04 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, October 9, 2005

CHECK OUT LibertyFilter.com. "Tim Osman" created it to make the daily browse of liberty blogs a lot easier. LibertyFilter pulls the RSS and ATOM feeds from various liberty-related sites (like Wolfesblog) and puts the info in one spot. Kudos to "Tim," who has already created several other useful sites.

Posted by Claire @ 01:04 PM CST [Link]

WALLY CONGER GIVES MY BOOK How to Kill the Job Culture Before it Kills You the kind of review every writer thrills to get.

I wish Claire Wolfe had written her new motivational how-to book How to Kill the Job Culture Before it Kills You: Living a Life of Autonomy in a Wage-Slave Society sometime during my 16-year servitude to Corporate America. I might have saved myself a few years of the suit-and-tie routine, unproductive business meetings, back-stabbing politics, and daily two-hour roundtrip commutes to downtown L.A. But since I did eventually cut loose from what Claire calls the Job Culture by my own arduous methods, let me say that the advice she offers is top-notch. If you’re now a “wage slave,” this book will save you a lot of time planning your escape.

And Wally's friend B.W. Richardson weighs in with an equally powerful one that reads like a cry from the heart:

I ordered Claire Wolfe's book from Loompanics seven minutes after I learned it existed. That's how ready I was for it.

Late in the book, when she repeated the James Madison assertion that "[t]he class of citizens, who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy," my mind wandered and the vegetable garden I intend to plant next spring gained a brother goal: I started thinking it might be fun to learn how to make my own clothes, and thus provide both my own sweet corn and my own "raiment." All of the potential money-making and money-saving ideas I've ever had, crazy and/or achievable, strolled in and out of my consciousness as I raced through the pages. I can't imagine someone reading this book without his/her mind starting to wander outside the box like that.

Posted by Claire @ 09:43 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, October 8, 2005

"THE PRISONER AND THE GUARD. A Tale of Two Lives Destroyed by Abu Ghraib." One ordinary American. One ordinary Iraqi. They came together in a hellhole, and Der Spiegel tells what happened to them both.

The article is long, but worth every moment it takes to read it, even if you're sick of hearing about Abu Ghraib, "Gitmo," and all the other horrors of Bush's wars. This is about the individuals and their transformations. Very powerful stuff. A tragedy on both sides.

Posted by Claire @ 09:08 AM CST [Link]

A SEATTLE ANIMAL VOLUNTEER GOES TO LOUISIANA,. In the daily routine of working at the Noah's Wish emergency shelter, you get an idea of both the horror and the loving dedication.

(Thank you to Mystery Woman.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:00 AM CST [Link]

I BLOGGED A COUPLE ENTRIES ON HAM RADIO after Hurricane Katrina (with the major contributions coming from experienced hams). Here's some additional info from Phil, a Coloradoan who got into radio for safety communications. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 08:56 AM CST [Link]

Friday, October 7, 2005

AH, SO THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 'NET YESTERDAY. Ominous to think that something as petty as a dispute between two providers could temporarily wreck 15+ percent of the 'Net's capacity.

Gee, just think how much better things will be [SARCASM ALERT!] when the U.N. is in charge.

(Thank you to AZ for the second link which is, indeed, "very 'Gray Zone'.")

Posted by Claire @ 09:54 AM CST [Link]

I WOKE UP ALIVE THIS MORNING. I considered it an accomplishment.

Okay, okay. I'm being a drama queen. But on Wednesday I went on my very first wild mushroom hunt. Yesterday evening, I devoured two scrumptious cupfuls of my little prizes, cooked with chopped pecans in a madiera sauce. Mmmmmm! Then I waited in suspense, really, really, really hoping those particular gourmet mushrooms were as "easy to identify" as my hunting companion assured me they were.

Despite living in the woods, I've never been much of an outdoorsperson. Survival in the woods is, I admit, the biggest gap in my preparedness plans. Nature is all fine and dandy when it's on the other side of a window and I'm on the side that's got the fireplace and the nice cup of hot tea. Nature's lovely when she's on her best summertime behavior. But basically, nature is full of dirt, bugs, and things slaughtering other things, and is nearly always precisely the wrong temperature. Not to mention it contains bazillions of alluring-looking plants that cause you to die after three days of screaming agony.

The first thing I ever learned about mushroom hunting was the adage,


Posted by Claire @ 09:29 AM CST [Link]


I think his action captured people's hearts everywhere, and when the moment came his character defined the moment rather than the moment defining him. He made the image, I just took the picture. I felt honoured to be there.

The article tells how photographer Charlie Cole captured that incredible moment in Tienanmen Square. Cole's story is a drama in itself (as are the stories of four other famous journalistic photos linked via sidebar).

In Cabin Sweet Cabin, I have a poster of Stuart Franklin's similar photo of that unknown "man with a shopping bag." That picture keeps me going on days I'm tempted to collapse in despair. I'll never be as brave as that one small man. I hope I never have to be. But merely knowing a few souls like that grace the world is cause for hope.

(Thank you to SJ for another great lead.)

Posted by Claire @ 08:52 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

WHITE PEOPLE NOT WELCOME at a public university event. Wendy McElroy gives 'em hell.

Posted by Claire @ 07:02 AM CST [Link]

BILL BONNER SAYS FISH GOTTA SWIM and empires gotta fall:

But we're not complaining. A true empire cannot help itself. It must engage in such extravagant "imperial overstretch" that it can no longer pay the costs. Even the primitive Mongol empire had to reward its troops and pay its administrators. It did so by stealing the wealth of conquered peoples and demanding tribute from them. This forced the Mongols to undertake ever more distant and more ambitions campaigns – because they had already robbed the cities under their control.

The Anglo-Saxon empire is a commercial enterprise, rather than a larcenous one. The Romans had their armies and engineers as the source of their hegemonic power. The Mongols had their horses and bowmen. The Anglo-Saxons had factories – originally, those in England and New England. But every imperial advantage is eventually dulled, worn out, emulated or rendered obsolete. Eventually, the empire expands until reaches beyond its limits...then, it either goes broke, is defeated, or both.

The Anglo-Saxon industrial advantage exhausted itself first in England and then in America. England's economy reached its competitive peak before the end of the 19th century. Then, America took the lead, and was able to compete effectively for most of the next century, achieving a positive trade balance until the 1970s. It has been downhill since then, financed no longer by commerce, but by debt. American men earn hardly a penny more, in real terms, per hour, than they did in 1971. They feel richer, but only because they owe more, work longer hours, and put their wives to work.

Posted by Claire @ 06:34 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

WHEN YOU THINK OF ULTIMATE SCARY SCIENCE-FICTION TYRANNIES one of the specific things you might imagine is having to get a government license to be "allowed" to reproduce.

Well, come peer through the gates of Dystopia. It's located right there in Indiana, where a state legislator wants to outright forbid any unmarried person to use artificial insemination, donor eggs, or any other aid to pregnancy. Even married couples seeking to have a baby with anything other than the husband's sperm and the wife's eggs would have to file a "petition for parenthood" and receive government consent before making babies. Some people are understandably ticked off about it.

Of course this is still merely some legislator's do-gooding dream. Not even out of committee yet. But it's worth noting where conditions in this increasingly Looney Land are heading -- and who's taking us there. This legislation is "for the children" and, naturally, it's the dream of one of those great, freedom-loving Republicans. You know, the people who believe in getting government off our backs, the people who believe in individual initiative and the sovereignty of the family. Let's hope it isn't also that other favorite of governments everywhere: the camel's nose under the tent.

(Thanks to Herself for the news of the weird. Just when you think things can't get any stranger ... things always do.)

EDIT 10/6: Just got word from Herself that this legislation has been withdrawn.

Posted by Claire @ 02:20 PM CST [Link]

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE STORIES YOU FIRST TAKE WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. A biohazard fills the air of Washington, DC, on the day of the big peace protest. Not the day before. Nor the day after. Just that one day. The particular "bug" -- tularemia -- is one known to be stockpiled by the U.S. government. Sounds like a wild tale for the conspiracy theorists -- except that major media back up the story. And some commentators ask pointed questions.

Another question: If sensors detected this bug in the air of the nation's capital on September 24, why weren't rapid countermeasures taken -- evacuations, quarantines, health warnings? Why just let the story meander out in the media on October 1? Apparently "official" Washington didn't even respond to the hazard until today.

I don't know how long it takes public health officials to receive and analyze data from the biohazard sensors. But had this been a human-to-human transmissible disease (which tularemia evidently isn't), imagine what deep yogurt we might already be in.

How did a rabbit disease get into the air over Washington, DC, on the day of a big peace march? Is there a perfectly ordinary, natural reason? Definitely weird.

(P.S. Thanks to Ted N. for being on Grammar Patrol.)

Posted by Claire @ 08:19 AM CST [Link]

A BIG SMILING THANK YOU TO STEVE TRINWARD for his glowing review of How to Kill the Job Culture Before it Kills You. Steve, you've really made one writer's day.

Posted by Claire @ 08:02 AM CST [Link]

DISASTERS BRING OUTBURSTS OF GOOD PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH. And spontaneous order. Now, there's something to contemplate. Dave Gross muses on a thought-provoking Harpers article by Rebecca Solnit. Too bad these are lessons government is absolutely incapable of understanding.

Posted by Claire @ 08:00 AM CST [Link]

Monday, October 3, 2005

SPYCHIPS. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntire have a bestseller on their hands -- and the book isn't even officially published until tomorrow. That's good news not only for Katherine and Liz, but for the future of freedom. This book deserves every success, as I can attest.

Its rapid rise is bad news for some major corporations, industry groups, and governments that have been lying their tails off, as this news release (and the book itself) shows: [more]

Posted by Claire @ 09:34 AM CST [Link]

NO, SCOTT. I did not take those two controversial plot developments in Serenity personally. (Link is to Scott Bieser's thumbs-up review of Serenity, which contains spoilers.) Not even close.

Completely aside from any Firefly-driven expectations or attachment to individual characters, Serenity is simply a so-so piece of work.

I was disappointed by the (surprisingly) uninspired writing, cliched and derivative plot elements, artless lighting, uninteresting art direction, lack of character development, "chain-saw" editing, cheesy special effects, and general lack of anything that raises it above an ordinary SF shoot-em-up.

Is Serenity better than Star Wars, Episode I? Yes. Is it better than half the Star Trek movies? Yes. But then, so is a root canal.

Definitely, there were good elements. Nathan Fillion has real star power, as does Adam Baldwin. A few Whedon-Fillion lines were absolutely classic. The awkward dialog between Mal and Inara (with the Serenity crew listening in) was a beautiful, promising moment (whose promise was unfortunately never fulfilled, as Inara spent the rest of the movie standing around with nothing to do). The overall message that government do-gooding is a dangerous thing is welcome and I hope 100 million people see the movie and get it. But look for the elements that make a really great example of filmmaking ... and you'll look in vain.

I realize most people don't sit in theaters and analyze a movie's lighting and editing. I don't, either, unless I'm either bored by mediocrity or dazzled by outstanding talent. But a great movie has got to have an extraordinary combination of elements, both technical and artistic. A movie doesn't have it if it doesn't have it all. And Serenity doesn't. As I keep saying: Not a horrible movie, but not an outstanding one.

Posted by Claire @ 08:45 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, October 1, 2005

"WHAT A DISASTER." The latest Hardyville column is now live. Its message: Always trust your government ... if you're looking for a certain outcome.

This column was inspired by an e-mail I received from a guy named Rifle who lives in the hurricane zone. I intended to build the article around his message -- but those damned Hardyville curmudgeons fought me and beat me. So the column is only marginally related to what Rifle wrote. But his message is still a good one, so ...

Posted by Claire @ 08:31 AM CST [Link]

FEMA has been getting a lot of bad press lately. It seems nearly everyone who was anywhere near the areas hit by hurricane Katrina has tales to tell of FEMA being FUBAR. The complaints are legion: late aid, turning away private help, refusing help from professional first responders, mismanagement, incompetence, corruption, and much, much more.

The sad truth is that FEMA did not fail, it has succeeded, and will emerge from Katrina stronger, better funded, better staffed, better armed, and more powerful than ever before. It did it before, now it has done it again.


Posted by Silver @ 06:40 AM CST [Link]

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