Some people never learn

Katherine Lopez can’t get enough of the Bush family:

In conversation, at least one experienced political hand agrees that conservatives might vote for the 53-year-old term-limited governor—the first Republican governor reelected in the Sunshine State’s history. “At the end of the day, conservatives are looking for a leader with a proven record of accomplishment, an intellectual understanding of, and commitment to, conservative values with the skill and energy to lead the country in a conservative direction. Jeb is one of the few potential candidates who meets all of those criteria.” Jeb might be just what demoralized conservatives want and need….

There’s nothing in the Constitution prohibiting people who have too many family members who’ve been elected to the job. Nor should there be. As one Floridian recently e-mailed me, “I’m against these familial dynasties, but in the Bushes’ case, they’ve saved the best for last, and I see no reason to punish ourselves by not electing a capable Jeb, just because his father and brother were mixed successes at best.”

Seriously, what is wrong with these people? As if Jeb wouldn’t sell out conservatives every bit as fast as his father and brother. I hope the Republicans do nominate him, it would demonstrate once and for all what a complete fraud the American electoral system is.

Vote for anyone you like, as long as their name is Bush or Clinton.

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Free market snake oil

From the Washington Times:

A centrally planned immigrant labor market. Buried inside the guest-worker provisions is an extension of the Davis-Bacon Act, which mandates “prevailing wages” to workers in specific industries contracted by the federal government. The bill would extend “prevailing wage” laws to include immigrant workers in all private sector jobs, even those not covered by Davis-Bacon. A “Temporary Worker Task Force” made up of 10 political appointees and the secretary of Labor would choose which industries have unmet labor demands and devise a prevailing wage employers must pay to their immigrant workers.

According to the Heritage Foundation’s Tim Kane, the extension would effectively bring 5 percent of the U.S. labor market under federal control, rendering arguments coming from the right favoring a guest-worker program on free-market grounds absurd. For instance, the Wall Street Journal editorial page attacked “anti-immigration conservatives” yesterday for “showing they don’t believe in free labor markets.” If by “free” they mean markets controlled by 10 bureaucrats sitting in the Department of Labor, we plead guilty.

You’d think conservatives would have learned by now, after the bait-and-switches of the European Common Market, NAFTA and FTAA. What Washington sells as a “free market” measure generally turns out to be anything but.

More freedom for Mexicans and other foreigners, less for American citizens. That’s been the pattern of this administration since the beginning.

So, you might want to think twice when they tell you that they’re building a wall to keep foreigners out. Given the federal government’s track record, that’s the one thing you can count on being untrue.

Schadenfreude and the softness of science fiction

From “Science Once Again Nudges Science Fiction Towards Fantasy” in the Spring ’06 SFWA Bulletin:

The latest nail which science has driven into the coffin of science fiction appears in the March 2006 issue of Scientific American in an article entitled “Shielding Space Travellers” by Eugene N. Parker. Roughly, cosmic rays produce radiation expressed as “rems per year”, and at sea level we receive 0.02 – 0.04, about the equivalent of a couple of x-rays….. Our faithful robots report that interplanetary space, which must be traversed to reach Mars, experiences 13-25 rem per year, so that Martian astronauts would receive a dose of more than 80 rems per round trip….

So our space ships will need to be shielded with the equivalent of five meters of water, making them so hopelessly massive that the needed acceleration to move them from here to there is simply impossible.

As one who has always felt that the focus of most science fiction writers on “getting the science right” while getting nearly everything else from religion to basic human relations wrong was pedantry bordering on autism, this news makes me laugh.

Now, certainly several writers will invent cunning ways around this apparent limitation, but the vast majority will simply ignore it while continuing to posture ostentatiously about their commitment to scientific verity. Wny, without space travel, it will be obvious that romance novels in space are nothing but… romance novels!

For me, there is little difference between science fiction and fantasy. They are essentially the same genre wherein the point is entertainment and escapism, with an edifying theme thrown somewhere in the mix if the writer is so inclined. (I have to say, I am increasingly disinclined to do so, having rather overdone it in my first novel.) Nevertheless, it is certainly amusing that while the supernatural of which I write from time to time remains possible while the space travel that is a fixture of so much sober and serious science fiction looks increasingly improbable.