Willie Brown on the Gates kerfuffle

Willie Brown is one of the smartest politicians out there.  He’s been in the business since the 1960s and, not coincidentally, has broken a whole lot of color barriers.  While he is a die-hard Democrat, he’s also nobody’s fool.  Here’s his take on the Gates kerfuffle.

America got a good look at the Chicago side of Barack Obama last week, and boy did it set off fireworks.

I don’t want to second-guess Obama, and Lord knows I’m not one to criticize someone for shooting from the lip. But I think saying that the white cop in Cambridge, Mass., who arrested Harvard black studies scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. “acted stupidly” was a bit over the top.

Normally, the president is far more diplomatic than that. But in this case, Obama was outraged that Gates was treated as a suspected criminal at his own home, and diplomacy went right out the window.

I know Skip Gates well. He’s a small person physically, less than 150 pounds wet, but he is very big when it comes to militancy.

For many years, Gates has been one of the strongest academic voices on the black experience in this country. But, like many academics, Skip may not have had a lot of personal experience when it comes to dealing with cops.

Now he can write about the subject forever, having met up with them full force in his own living room.

I have no doubt that he used his intellect to humiliate the hell out of that cop.

The only thing that surprised me about the incident was that he didn’t have a video camera going.

I agree completely with the way in which Brown characterizes Gates’ response as a combination of ingrained identity politics militancy and academic arrogance. The same is true, of course, of Obama’s response, although Brown is too tactful (deferential?) to say so.

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  • Marguerite

    Enlighten me. I’m missing it on how he ‘used his intellect to humiliate that cop.’ It was intellect that was in short supply from one of such professorial splendor.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Willie Brown is Gates’ friend, so he’ll ascribe to intellect what we ordinary people call the intellectual arrogance of the academic elite. Gates thought he was smarter, and was willing to talk to “yo Mama” to prove it.

  • suek

    “Now he can write about the subject forever, having met up with them full force in his own living room.”

    Yeah…and this is the key line. He’s earned his black victim merit badge.

  • Bill Smith

    I’m reminded once again of my rich white grandmother who treated everyone the same. She’d say, “If you have to tell people you’re a Lady, you’re not.”

    You can almost always tell the size of a man by the size of the things that make him angry.

  • Oldflyer

    I am with Marguerite here.

    I don’t know that the cop was humiliated; and I don’t know any more about Gate’s intellect than I ever did.

    I am sorry but Professor of Black Studies at Harvard, or any other politically correct institution, doesn’t prove anything to me. Well, does prove one thing. He has a pretty damn good deal. Still he chooses to go through life with his hackles up–apparently. One thing every dog knows is that when you put your hackles up, you will get a response. The other entity may back off, or it may bite you in the butt. You take your chances.

  • suek

    That’s a very enlightening analysis of the event.

    But this line: “I have no doubt that he used his intellect to humiliate the hell out of that cop.” is interesting. Kind of like the dog that barks ferociously at the mailman, and is very satisfied with himself when the mailman leaves the property. “Boy…I really scared _him_ away! bet he’ll never mess with me again!” Even though come the next day, there’s that mailman back again. It’s really tough to get respect when you’re a chihuahua, but chihuahuas think they’re as big and tough as mastiffs.

    Male macho should never be underestimated, and it’s vital to understand the role it plays in societal interactions.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Great dog analogy there, Suek. I used to have a floofy poodle who always attacked the biggest dog in the park. Mostly, the dogs good-naturedly ignored him. One of them, however, turned on him, at which point my poodle gave a good example of the most craven, apologetic dog grovel I’ve ever seen.

  • Charles Martel

    When Willie said, “I have no doubt that he used his intellect to humiliate the hell out of that cop,” he was just signaling to the oh-so-smart liberal readers of the San Francisco Chronicle that he’s still on their side despite his criticism of Gates.

    As long as Chron readers can be assured that Hahvahd will always prevail over the townies, they’ll be willing to swallow a little unexpected castor oil from His Williness.

  • Charles Martel

    When Willie said, “I have no doubt that he used his intellect to humiliate the hell out of that cop,” he was just signaling to the oh-so-smart liberal readers of the San Francisco Chronicle that he’s still on their side despite his criticism of Gates.

    As long as Chron readers can be assured that Hahvahd will always prevail over the townies, they’ll be willing to swallow a little unexpected castor oil from His Williness.

  • Charles Martel


  • Bill Smith

    I suspect that “You don’t know who you’re messin’ with” will echo ever louder, and farther, and the good professor will come to wish he’d never said it.

    You don’t know who you’re messing with, indeed, Gates.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Book, it’s social dominance. People who are scared or otherwise feeling inferior, don’t always back off. What they do is to bluff, puff them up, and go on the attack. This is a natural reaction to a Flight or Fight response. Most people back off, because that’s what society taught them to do. But enough anger or fear will cause them to attack. But they aren’t confident, though. That’s the difference. When people lack confidence and they go on the act, they almost always overdo it or make some other mistake.

    They almost always provoke a unnecessary reaction. They almost always get people killed, sometimes themselves.

    When men fight in bars, it’s not because they want to kill each other. It’s because they don’t want to back off and lose social rank in the eyes of their friends/public.

    Target Focus Training has always taught that because you have the power to end a man’s life, whether you know it or not, you should be extremely cautious in what kinds of anti-social or social issue you will be involved in.

    Book here mentioned about road rage and how it isn’t wise to ‘teach someone a lesson’ because they may come back and try to kill you. TFT teaches that so long as you are willing and prepared to kill them, it’s not a problem. It’s when you artificially limit yourself to “I’m just going to tell him off” and when the response is violent rage, you are caught off guard and in more danger due to your actions rather than less. This is not about ethics, this is just a hard concrete analysis of potential ramifications to actions taken.

    The reason why dominant true alpha males are almost always the center of authority is because they emulate calm assertive energy. They don’t feel the need to bluff or yell or stare people in the face, because they have full confidence in their abilities. They don’t worry about losing social rank and their presence of command is more to assure than to coerce or terrorize. People of low societal hierarchy and low self-confidence gravitate towards such individuals. They are the alpha because they are natural leaders.

    Now, many people seem to think this is part of one’s personality and isn’t really changeable. Some people are more dominant than others, most would say. Some people are like women, who prefer to avoid confrontation, others seek it out like certain men in bars. Certainly such inclinations can’t be changed. But I know what can be changed.

    Once a person understands that he has power or control over issues, he is more calm. He has a less tendency to become frantic. He doesn’t need to take umbrage at social hierarchies. Why? Because he knows within himself that he has power, he has confidence in that power or the exercise of that power.

    When a person knows that they can kill, by launching an attack from surprise, anyone in arm’s reach of them, what do they need to feel uncomfortable concerning social positions for? So what if he thinks he is the boss of the damn ‘territory’, when you know you can take it away from him. You just don’t think the costs are worth it. You decide, not he decides. That is control. That is authority.

    The guy in the link about the traffic ticket knew he had power by dent of his knowledge and abilities. He didn’t feel bad being obsequious to the police, because it wasn’t being obsequious to him. He was just manipulating actors in his puppet play. Why would anyone feel shame at that?

    Gates knows that he has no real confidence in his power. His power is wholly dependent upon who he knows, rather than what he knows. Gates has to challenge the police because the police are calm and assertive, while Gates has to bludgeon using yelling, loudness, insults, and terrorist tactics. Nothing but a Hamas operative. Someone insecure in their beliefs, their religion, their views about the sexuality of women. Someone in need of killing, because they will murder as many families as they can reach, simply to sate their own helplessness in the face of sexuality, women, politics, etc etc.

    One of the benefits of liberty is that it gives control of people’s lives to the people. So that you don’t need lynch mobs, because people know and can trust in each other or the law or that justice will be done. Or at least attempted. It gives people an outlet, a forum to air their grievances. So that it doesn’t just compress into this ball of hate to be unleashed sometime in the future, as a slave result or mass murder spree (aka French Revolution).

    Obama wants to see how far he can push us before the streets run with blood. He thinks he owns this country, like he owns the White House and the Seal of the Presidency.

  • Bill Smith

    Right on the money, Y.

    Rudeness is a weak man’s imitation of strength.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The first thing sociopathic killers do is not to insult people. It’s to pull out the knife or the gun and start getting it done.

    A person that doesn’t have the capability to kill, must bluff. We all know this, whether we were told this or not.

    People talking means that they aren’t in the act of killing. Threats are just threats. It doesn’t mean anything. Actually, it means they won’t do it. Because they took the effort to even say anything. Most serial killers, as you have seen in the news over the decades, don’t say anything before they start getting to work. They’ll say a lot of stuff afterwards of course, but they don’t speak to the victims in a threatening manner.

    That’s very efficient. That’s how the real world works. We live in a bubble in which much of our social intercourse is involved in speaking, body gestures, acts of intimidation or acts of reconciliation.

    That’s not how the real world works. Or rather, that’s not how the real world works when one leaves the power and safety of the United States Constitution.

    Perhaps Gates knew he could go off because he didn’t need to control himself. He knew the police wouldn’t harm him. But would that be true if Gates had been right, that this country is under systemic racism? Would a systemic racist country, like China or Russia, tolerate uppity Negroes like Gates?

    The real world, you know.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I know Skip Gates well. He’s a small person physically, less than 150 pounds wet, but he is very big when it comes to militancy.

    This is intriguing. He tries to downplay Gates’ physicality by focusing in on the bigger, faster, stronger mythology. Meaning, if you aren’t bigger, faster, or stronger than the police (Crowley) then you aren’t a threat to the police (Crowley).

    That is completely untrue. It doesn’t matter who they are. A killer is a killer. It has more to do with the mind and the behavior than with the physicality.

    If you want an instructor’s explanation of this, check out Chris’.


    For anyone interested, Bill Smith, Book, Martel, Mike, etc. Go ahead and read it. It’s very clear. There’s no ambiguity. There’s no what ifs. It is confidence, but not arrogance. It is looking at the reality of human behavior.

    I wish it was not this way. But it is. It is.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    “Who could take a 6-year-old and murder and decapitate him? Who?” John Walsh said at a news conference on Tuesday. “We needed to know. And today we know. The not knowing has been a torture, but that journey’s over.”

    Look back on stars who lost their lives in 2008

    For years, Walsh has said he believed Toole was the killer. Now, Walsh — who launched the America’s Most Wanted television series about the nation’s most infamous criminals in response to his son’s unsolved murder — praised the Hollywood police department for closing the case, despite a botched investigation that prevented Toole’s conviction for that particular crime years ago.

    “This is not to look back and point fingers, but it is to let it rest,” he said.


    He didn’t get up to the police’s face and accuse them of racism or incompetence.

    He took leadership upon his own shoulders and tried to do something right. Something right, in the face of the horrible injustice he was helpless to prevent. Helpless to save his own child. Put yourself into his shoes. Imagine how you would feel if your children ended up that way.

    The difference between Walsh and Gates is as clear as night and day, and not for particularly superficial reasons. It is because Walsh is a strong man and Gates is a weak one. Walsh didn’t have to tear down the police because of his child. Walsh could build up, without blaming the police.

    It doesn’t matter to me whether he forgave them or not. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how he handled it. And he handled it like a man. He didn’t start a temper tantrum. He didn’t start harassing the police and seeing them as the enemy, when he couldn’t get to his son’s murderer.

    This is the difference. This is why Obama and Gates are weak and despicable.

  • Bill Smith

    You’re on a roll, Y, and you are right of course.

    Back — Waaaay back — when I carried a gun for a living — several actually — I spent many hours sitting in cruisers thinking about what ifs.

    Sometimes people would say — while acknowledging that we must have police, and they must have weapons — “Oh, but I don’t think I could ever kill anyone,” and I would say something like “Oh, yes you could if you had to.” But, I was wrong. And, there’s the crux of it, as you point out, Y. It’s not just the need to, it’s the being willing to.

    I will never forget being about 3 years old, and riding in our car. My Mom was driving. We hit some ice, skidded, threw up her hands, and we skidded into another car. I can still hear that sound. She let what ever was going to happen happen.

    Some time later I learned to ask my questioners they’d ever almost fallen to certain death or serious injury, or had an insanely close call on the highway. “Wasn’t there that moment when not just your thoughts, but every molecule in every cell in your body was totally focused on grabbing that rope, or branch, or turning the car toward a bridge abutment rather than hit the oncoming gravel truck , or….something? And you did, right?

    Well, that is the difference between fighting for your life, and killing for your life. Fighting for your life — in this context — is just flailing about. Killing for your life is doing it. I would tell people that I would never take my gun out unless I had already decided to kill the person. And I never did, or had to, thank God.

    But I had done it hundreds of times in my mind. I don’t mean taking the gun out, and firing it immediately. I mean having MADE THE DECISION to pull the trigger. And, I don’t mean that I’d kill the person even if they surrendered. I mean simply that I had, in my mind, decided to kill them. Judicious waiting, yes. Hesitating, No. Changing your mind from kill to not kill based on circumstances is fine. But, holding the weapon in your hand, in a real situation, while still trying to make up your mind is not fine. It’s hard to explain in the abstract.

    I saw a movie once where a gunfighter is explaining the facts of life to a young wannabe. He said it’s not your aim, or how fast you are, it’s being willing to pull the trigger. He was right.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Willingness is an interesting point, Bill. I think some people have another fear. The movie Lawrence of Arabia distills that different and equally worrisome fear:

    T.E. Lawrence: I killed two people. One was… yesterday? He was just a boy and I led him into quicksand. The other was… well, before Aqaba. I had to execute him with my pistol, and there was something about it that I didn’t like.
    General Allenby: That’s to be expected.
    T.E. Lawrence: No, something else.
    General Allenby: Well, then let it be a lesson.
    T.E. Lawrence: No… something else.
    General Allenby: What then?
    T.E. Lawrence: I enjoyed it.

  • Bill Smith

    I remember that scene well.

    But that fear means that you are still in a place where you fool yourself into thinking you have a choice — a flailing place. You know, that river in Egypt?

  • Bill Smith

    Also, and leaving aside Lawrence’s, um, particular problem, euphoria after having won a fight to the death is quite common. This is close, if not exact:

    “There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.”

    Winston Churchill


  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I think George Washington had much the same reaction during his first battle.

    There’s certainly no doubt that humankind is genetically wired towards war. Presumably part of this wiring is the incredible adrenalin rush of fight or flight.

    I’ve always said two things: (1) Anti-war liberals who paint America’s enlistees as helpless victims lack empathy and are incapable of understanding that many men (and some women) enjoy life threatening situations and (2) the rise of extreme sports reflects a culture that discourages its youth from joining the military.

  • Bill Smith

    Yes, and we’ve tolerated 50 years of educational institutions, and the media gradually seeding the idea that it is somehow wrong to kill to defend your own life, your family’s lives, or a stranger’s life — which is another definition of war.

  • Charles Martel

    Book, you just reminded me of Ernest Callenbach’s “Ecotopia,” which was published in 1975. It takes place in a country that has seceded from the Union in order to become truly green, and extends from San Francisco in the south all the way up through BC. Because the secessionists took over U.S. nukes before leaving, the States let them go.

    One of the most interesting parts of the novel is that Callenbach, a thorough Berkeleyite who spouts all the correct PC things, is smart enough to let extreme games remain in his peaceful green culture, so that young men (and the occasional young woman) have an outlet for their aggression.

    The games do not lead to death as in war—victory is achieved through other symbolic means, as in paintball or capture the flag—but the possibility of death is real, and all who participate must sign off on that possibility. Of course the fact this game involves real and irreversible risks is like catnip to Ecotopia’s youths, who join in it each year by the tens of thousands.

    What fascinated me most about this deeply flawed novel (blacks in Oakland were allowed to have cars because the po’ things were never wealthy enough under white oppression to see how unncessary cars really are) was that Callenbach actually acknowledged men’s potential for violence and need for aggression.

    What kind of leftist would do that? (Bearing in mind, of course, that leftists will countenance violence if it is in the hands of the proper people: Castro, Chavez, Stalin, Ho Chi Minh, Janet Reno and the like.)

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The movie Lawrence of Arabia distills that different and equally worrisome fear:

    I understand your point, Book. Perhaps I am more clear or fluid in this dynamic because I’ve spent so long thinking about it, similar to what Bill has done. But I haven’t been only thinking about the justifications behind lethal intent (an euphemism for killing people, which the police also tend to use). I have also been thinking about social limiters. The things that hold people back, not just the fact that they aren’t quite up to snuff in the moment.

    I mean, we know or have seen people hesitate. People hesitate in fire fights, especially. Remember Michael Yon speaking about this in one of his earlier dispatches? Yon was Special Forces, so he was, even though he was a reporter, able to respond with an immediate instinct to pick up a gun and start fighting. Big no no, of course, because he was a reporter…. an unarmed reporter lol. This world is oftentimes unintentionally hilarious.

    But why do they hesitate? And apart from the why, how do you train them not to hesitate so that they and their loved ones don’t just die?

    These are not issues of abstract conception in Gate’s ivory towers, of course. It’s different. It deals with people’s emotions, reactions, and behavior as it exists, right here and now, not in some mathematical construct of a Utopia or “systemic racism” studies. And you can test your hypothesis in a very concrete environment. After all, whether someone lives or not is pretty concrete, so des neh.

    In more direct response to Book’s lines, let us just say that the Left knows that they do not truly have a reign on their demons so even the thought of allowing and supporting people who do have a reign on their demons, like Bush or the US military, it is too uncomfortable and inconvenient for the Left.

    They want to keep their hands clean, not at the cost of their own life, but simply at the cost of our lives. Never theirs, just somebody else’s.

    This is irresponsible and unethical. It is unethical to promote your individual limitations to someone else, limiting and restraining their ability to defend themselves and their families. If you want to put chains on yourself when it comes to the defense of your own life and family, then I can’t say otherwise. But when you try to someone enforce your rules on me, then it’s a different matter entirely. This now encroaches upon my right to life, it is no longer simply an exercise by you of your right to life or non-life as the case may be.

    There is also an aspect of schizophrenia here, Book. We all know that if we repress certain things, we won’t be able to deal with them. We can function, yes, but denial and regressive defense mechanisms are only temporary. They can make us function, because survival demands actions not emotions or thoughts, but it is not particularly healthy. It’s like running a diesel engine on vegetable oil. It can work, certainly, but the engine might not keep working for long or perhaps just not as good.

    When it comes to violence, people are schizophrenic. There are two personalities there. There’s the personality that says that their life is valuable and that they will want to keep it. Then there’s the personality that says, I want to keep my life but only under certain limitations.

    If you are at peace with certain pacifist limitations, nobody can gainsay you on that. The Quakers let themselves be killed in the Wild West. Okay. Whatever works for em, I can’t dictate to a True Believer that they must behave and believe something else. That’d be pointless. Their life is their own. And while I regret the fact that they refuse to protect their children from such consequences, I also can’t do anything more.

    But most people, as Book herself just recently posted about, Do Not Want to Die. And they are not particularly worried about ‘conditions’ attached to that continual life.

    If you believe that you can set certain limitations on what you can or cannot do when the moment comes, you may realize that this will paralyze you. Because the time to decide what to do when your life is on the line, is not in the moment. You don’t have time for philosophy. But you do have time to argue with yourself, just enough that you’re repression of the schizophrenia breaks down. One mind will tell you to do whatever you need to do to survive. Another mind will say that whatever you need to do must be tempered by limitations and societal context or “reduction in force” (aka proportionate force).

    Okay, so you’re thinking along those lines, like a philosopher in Ancient Greece. But what’s the killer thinking about? Is he having a moment of crisis or conscience? Or has he just ignored all peripheries and started in on his work like a craftsman and not a philosopher?

    It’s fine to say in general what you will or will not do. But it doesn’t mean reality will accommodate you. This is where analysis and seeing things from another person’s perspective comes into use. If you will only see the situation from the killer’s point of view, and not the victim’s, you will perfectly understand why artificial limitations are only that: artificial.

    The military has Rules of Engagement because individuals are not fighting by themselves, but as a team. And as a team, they must be subordinate to a chain of command, with that CoC relentlessly leading with policies and so forth.

    But Americans are also citizens. They’re not just cattle. They don’t just follow the herd instinct. Be more like a feline predator, one that hunts alone rather than in a pack. Decide on your own what rules of engagement you will suffer for yourself. Decide on your own how much your life is worth. Nobody else can or perhaps should do that for you.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    But that fear means that you are still in a place where you fool yourself into thinking you have a choice — a flailing place. You know, that river in Egypt?

    Some of it is denial, certainly. Most people are uncomfortable thinking about eviscerating, executing, maiming, crippling, or de-constructing a human body. The screams are kind of disturbing, you know.

    I think much of it, however, has to do with being mislead on the reality here. People have a fantasy conception of violence. It is not that they can’t get it, nor it is solely that they don’t want to get it. In many cases, for people who DO want to defend their families, like the white man that got beat on by 50 thugs while his white family could only stand helpless as blacks vent their race war guilt-rage out on those that can’t defend themselves, they cannot do so because nobody ever told them the reality or trained them to handle.

    They weren’t given the experience necessary to deal with the real world. They were like children, kept safe and secure, only to be exposed to the brutal real world and torn up like so much kindling for the furnace of human evil.

    That’s a lot more sad than the Left’s propaganda about poverty creating terrorists and murderers like Tookie Williams.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    and I would say something like “Oh, yes you could if you had to.”

    You may have read about these particular incidents in the newspapers. But I’ll hold off on that for later.

    The TFT instructor, Chris R-Buhr, informed me of certain incidents relating to the use of violence. You see, there was a Special Forces guy, real SF not one of the fakes in bars that say they were in the Green Berets, who was at this bar in Tennesse, I believe, and some local hoods (adult age) didn’t like the particular music he was playing on the jukebox. So they got into an altercation, agreed to take it outside, and then the Special Forces guy died in a fight. No knives, no guns, no blunt force instruments. He died cause he hit his head on the concrete/ground. Causing a hematoma/concussion, and death.

    “Oops, my bad, I didn’t mean to kill him”.

    If people can kill people unintentionally, with ridiculous ‘ease’ like that, then of course people can kill when their lives are on the line. But it doesn’t mean they will. It just means they want to, but they’re not trained to.

    You’d think that they would teach Special Forces how to handle themselves in a fight, right? You’d think that the tough guys from the SERE Course could handle some local hoods, right?

    But violence doesn’t care. It doesn’t care who you are, what you know. When it is used upon you, you get injured. And if you get injured in certain fashions or to a degree, you die. Death is the greatest equalizer. You can see this as a disadvantage, yes. Or you can see it as an advantage. Why? Because it also means that no serial killer or thug or rapist is more resistant to Death than you are. They are just as vulnerable. Just as helpless once you get it used on them.

    You see, learning to think like the killer, the victimizer rather than the victim, has benefits. And people who are afraid of their inner demons, afraid of getting blood on their hands, won’t do such thinking. Which kind of makes them stupid, rather than smart. Which kind of makes their judgment on Gitmo, Torture, and crime/self-defense into rather in a new context, so des neh.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Btw, Michael Yon also killed somebody in a bar fight. And he was SF. But that doesn’t really mean anything hehe.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar


    Here is a link about Yon’s life.


    I did wonder how Yon got out of a manslaughter charge for that fight. It’s not really guaranteed that you can get out of it.

    I believe Yon hit the guy on the nose with a palm strike up. That somehow killed him. Wasn’t intentional because Yon didn’t intend it as a lethal strike, he just intended it to break the nose and land him down, presumably. Then he can dislocate the guy’s arms and render him harmless. I wasn’t there, so I can only speculate. But most people would say that a palm strike to the nose isn’t lethal.

    Well, it was, because every use of violence is potentially lethal. Reality doesn’t particularly care what you intended or not, you see. Reality has its own gig going.

    Back to Yon. I also didn’t know that he was friends with the Blackwater contractors. Although it makes sense, since many BW contractors are former SF themselves. Including SEALs.

    But Yon never talked about them from what I read of his dispatches. Guess he was never in touch with his ‘feminine’ side heh

    Matt of Blackfive has a similar story. He started the site because one of his best friends died in Iraq, a major, leading a charge into an ambush, which protected the reporter embedded in the convoy. The reporter who did not write anything about the Major in question, but did write about car bombs blowing up Iraqis.

    It’s interesting how military people are not motivated by politics, although they are not blind to it. They are motivated by human bonds.


    Charles Martel:

    This one is for you regarding your reference to Ecotopia.

    In the basement is the pulp machine, carbon footprints and all the PC crapola that give the ‘lefties’ their wet green dreams at our expense.


    Now, if could just get the ‘loons’ in DC to secede.

  • Bill Smith

    Y, if you are interested in Yon’s bar fight, he goes into it in some detail in his book, “Danger Close.”

    He did everything he could to not get into it with the jerk as a thorough investigation showed. Trust me, Army Special Forces would have dropped him like a hot rock if there’d been the slightest hint of wrong-doing on his part. There wasn’t.

  • suek

    From the article Sadie linked:

    “Buried 30 pages into the 60-page report is this pertinent information: In 2006, the House’s energy costs amounted to $15 million. In 2008, after the implementation of Green the Capitol, the House was spending over $20 million. The program claims that by 2017 it will have reduced the House’s energy use by over 50 percent, resulting in a significant annual savings.”

    Interesting. They don’t tell us if the increase of $5mil resulted in any decrease of energy used. Granting that any program is going to have a start up cost that can theoretically be averaged out over a number of years, they also don’t tell us if the reduction of over 50% of energy use will result in dollar savings or energy savings. No numbers on that.

    Costco is now offering a solar roof paneling deal. Cost is 4K per KW. My husband estimates (roughly) our daily electrical use at about 5 KW. When I say rough estimate, he bases this on what he remembers from bills – we haven’t researched it. So, assuming he’s close to correct, that’s 20K. I don’t know what our average bill is – probably between $50 and $100 per month…so payback would be somewhere between 200 months and 400 months. Or 17 to 34 years. Do solar panels require any maintenance? I have no idea. Of course, the good news is that in case of major upheaval of some sort, you’re off the grid, but that’s kind of a long bet. I hope.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Trust me, Army Special Forces would have dropped him like a hot rock if there’d been the slightest hint of wrong-doing on his part.

    I’m not plying on suspicion over the issue, of course. I only mentioned it because i had happened to remember that Yon himself was part of one of those little accidents people may or may not know about.

    The mythology of violence is always that it’ll happen because people intended it to happen. And if you don’t intend, it won’t happen. That’s like thinking if you don’t intend the gun to go off, it won’t go off if you keep waving it around loaded and with the safety off and throwing it on the ground and up in the air and sticking it in your pants.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I don’t think you are off the grid, Sadie. The electricity doesn’t actually flow to you. Instead, it flow to your power company, which buys it from you, and then pays you back in the form of a discount on your energy bill.

    As for the fact that going Green coincided with greater expense, I wouldn’t be surprised. Risk confines people’s activities. Take away the risk, and you take away control. The perfect example is with cars: the safer the cars, the more recklessly people drive. There’s some sort of magic car safety level that protects us from the hazards of the road (unlike the cars I remember from the 1960s, which were very dangerous in crashes), but isn’t so safe that drivers become reckless. I suspect the same holds true for energy upgrades. If we feel insulated from the risk of “pollution,” we may waste.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar


    I found that story about a gator. Interesting.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    People’s perceptions are open to manipulation. If you change how they perceive threat levels, you change their behavior ipso facto.

  • suek

    >>I don’t think you are off the grid, Sadie. >>

    (suek, not Sadie).

    No…you’re right. In normal times, you _are_ on the grid, and in fact supplying any excess _to_ the grid. However, you can disconnect.

    >>The electricity doesn’t actually flow to you.>>

    Yes it does. At that point, you can store it in a battery or you can have it set up to – as you say – flow to your power company. In fact, there can be problems with this – you have to do it right, or you may electrocute some poor electrician who’s working on your system or the power company’s system…I don’t remember who. I just remember it can be dangerous if not done correctly.

    >> Instead, it flow to your power company, which buys it from you, and then pays you back in the form of a discount on your energy bill.>>

    This is true for most, but if you have a battery, you can store it for use later. I understand the batteries are _very_ expensive. Same with windmills, by the way. Even those little solar landscaping lights have to have batteries, by the way. They use LEDs, and if your solar light goes out, it’s more likely that you need your battery replaced than that you need a new LED bulb…

  • Bill Smith

    If you are planning on running your house, it will not be “a battery,” it will be many, many batteries. And you will need a properly sized inverter to turn 12 volts, or maybe 24 volts DC into 120 volts AC.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Generator, transformer, woah the works. Somebody needs an associates degree in electrical engineering, heh. Unless you can contract it out.

  • suek

    I know there are people who _do_ live off the grid who use solar, but in all honesty, I don’t know what it would take.

    So effectively, if the daily waste hit the fan and the power companies when down, my theoretical solar power isn’t going to do me any good. Well, it could during the day, couldn’t it? With no storage, it wouldn’t help with the good book at bedtime, but if it would run the refrigerator and freezer, it would be an asset. Even if it only ran during the daytime. Then you’d just need a 12v-120v transformer? (note the word “just”. I understand that “just” can be a bit like “just bell the cat”…easier said than done)

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    It’d be better if you use the pebble rock nuclear generator. Iraqis tended to use diesel or something generators.

    And yes, I did say nuclear generator ; )

  • Bill Smith

    I am not an expert on this, but I did have a sailboat with a 12v system for the houselights (cabin). You do not ever run off of the solar. You run off the batteries that the solar and whatever else — like wind — that you have hooked up. FWIW, you car does not run its electrics off the alternator. The Alternator charges the battery, and everything runs off the battery.

    Batteries put out DC (Direct Current). Your house runs on AC (Alternating Current). DC is a donkey hooked to a pump and walking around, and around putting out constant force, and a constant flow of water.

    AC is you pumping a classic hand pump in your farmhouse’s front yard — up, down, up, down… Not a steady stream. AC also goes backwards and forwards like a handsaw, but we won’t get into that.

    Some stuff will run off either, like light bulbs — if the voltages match — which they won’t — but other stuff is either AC or DC, unless the appliance has a built in thing that switches DC into AC. That’s called an Inverter.

    There is, I am sure, a LOT of info on this stuff on line.