Hurricane Ian Free Fire Zone

Most of you are aware that a potentially powerful hurricane is brewing in the Caribbean, and it will soon be impacting Florida. And you are probably also aware that your Curmudgeon’s vast underground facilities — including our top-secret la-BOR-a-tories — are located in that state.

A hurricane won’t interrupt our clandestine activities, but we don’t control the internet, so it may prevent us from blogging. Therefore we’re declaring another Intellectual Free-Fire Zone. Wanna talk about the British monarchy? The Ukrainian war? US politics? Something else? Go right ahead!

You know the rules. Feel free to use the comments for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it!

Copyright © 2022. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

30 responses to “Hurricane Ian Free Fire Zone

  1. In rightingamerica.net there is information about “A New Museum” by David Rives Ministries

  2. New strategy for handling creationism. You know how when they read the Bible verse that says everyone is “without excuse” to not be in their religion? And then they are like, hey it says they are “without excuse” so we can shut down our brains and not even think about if they are actually without excuse or not, and then shove it everyone’s faces that they are without excuse? Okay so the new strategy would be to tell creationists they are “without excuse” to not be evolutionists. And then they won’t know what to do and they will go around being confused all day.

  3. In spite of education being at probably the highest level in the history of mankind, we are still stuck with the deluded. Are they evolving (cough) into greater numbers? Is descent with modification meant to see their success as a new species? Will Global Warming accelerate the trend? When you think about it, religion serves a real purpose. It collects the various tribes of nutters into groups where we can keep an eye of them in case a particular brand goes off the rails. Doubt we will ever find a cure, but when did that ever stop evos from trying?

  4. Our Curmudgeon asks

    Wanna talk about the British monarchy?

    While it is true that Truss has become our Prime Minister, not by a democratic election, but by a vote restricted to the mere 170,000 members of the Tory Party, she does not actually count as a Monarch.

    But, lacking any mandate, and having been a member for the past 12 years of a series of Tory govenments whose actions she would like to repudiate, she is certainly behaving like a Monarch.

    Charles I comes to mind…

  5. @Megalonyx
    How does become a voting member of the Party? I assume that all parties are somewhat similar in this regard. Are there annual membership dues? Can one belong to multiple parties? Was there a surge in membership in the Tories before the voting?

  6. @richard, my standard approach is to tell them what it would take for them to convince me that special creation is the most reasonable explanation for the origin and propagation of life, and to then ask them what it would take for them to be convinced that it’s not. We don’t start talking about the actual subject until they do so, and if they say that they will never be convinced – which is what they frequently say – then I decline the offer to talk about it.

  7. Rita was the next hurricane to menace the Gulf after Katrina. Everybody was gun shy and there was a rush to get out of Dodge, as it were. We relocated to our condo in Austin; daughter a student at UT. Rita was a bit of a fizzle but then Gov. Rick “Good Hair” Perry declared a “travel ban” which, of course, we ignored. We took the back roads down to Houston where our neighborhood was silent, stores were closed, but otherwise undamaged; a few limbs down.

    A few years later, a much bigger hurricane came to town, Ike, but we rode it out at home. Lots of wind and rain but no real damage, until the next day when the power started fluctuating and then went out for six days. No worries. We grilled outside and listened to the BBC on the wireless until we heard, at last, “John has a long mustache.” Then the power was restored.

  8. @dweller42
    What If one changes the subject a bit?
    What reason is sufficient to change a Bible-believing Christian from some understanding of a Bible proof text, for example about the Solar System?
    Is there anything which subject to change; and if so, what is a good reason for making a change?

  9. @dweller42, If they say they will never be convinced, tell them it’s because they know the Bible and they don’t want you to be casting pearls before swine. And then thank them for not making you cast pearls before swine because the Bible says not to. The ol’ reverse psychology trick.

  10. TomS asks

    How does become a voting member of the Party?

    To join the Tory Party, one presents oneself at ones local Conservative & Unionist Party Association. There, one is offered a seat, and a small hand-held mirror held just outside ones nostrils. If a slight fogging of the mirror is then detected, you are deemed to be breathing and can be duly enrolled as a Party Member, with all the rights, benefits, privileges, easements and appurtenances thereunto–

    –which are distinctly limited, to tell the truth. For the real goodies, like a seat in the House of Lords, substantial cash donations to the the Party coffers are an absolute requirement.

    And NB: the right to voted in the last Tory leadership ‘election’ was restricted to those who had been members in good standing (i.e., with all annual dues paid up) on the day before Boris Johnson was deposed. So no, in answer to your other question, there was no rush to join the party in recent months, as that would not have thereby secured the right to vote for the leader.

    That said, given the disasterous start to Liz Truss’ premiership, and with bookmakers rating her chances of remaining in office beyond the next general election at something less than a snowball’s chances in Hades, this would be a good time to join the Party in order to qualify for a vote in the next leadership contest!

  11. @Megalonyx Did Boris Johnson ever mange to get his hair combed yet.

  12. Stripped of the very amusing hyperbole, Megalonyx is essentially deploring the fact that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is not elected specifically to that office, and never has been. Rather, the PM is that member of Parliament who can assemble and lead a cabinet of other members, to form a government which retains the confidence of a majority in the House of Commons.

    Nor is there a “fixed term” for any PM, or any other member of the Cabinet. All governments must retain the confidence of a majority of the elected House, and must fall on losing it.

    (Theoretically, the PM need not even be elected to Parliament, that is, to the House of Commons. He or she might be a Member of the House of Lords, although the last lord who was PM was Lord Rosebury in 1894-5, and it is now very unlikely.)

    A PM might resign, having suffered an intolerable reverse – like David Cameron – or having lost the confidence of his/her own party, like Teresa May or Boris Johnson, or for any other reason. In that case, given the modern party system, it is reasonable that they be replaced by another member of the same party, that being the party elected to government, and that party might apply its own rules to determine who that person is. In the case of the Conservative and Union Party, aka, the Tories, that process has fixed on Liz Truss.

    But her occupation of that office still depends on her retaining the confidence of the House of Commons, ie, she must not lose a “no-confidence” motion in the House. Given the current composition of the House, and the loyalty enforced by the modern party system, there is no prospect of such a motion succeeding – yet.

    But I agree with Megalonyx that the crash of the pound, fueled by the tax cuts, has caused Party solidarity, and even Party discipline, to be shaken. Already we hear of letters of no confidence being sent by Conservative members to Party headquarters. What will happen?

    I don’t know. Neither does Megalonyx. I don’t like the tax cuts to the wealthy any more than he does. On the other hand, we have the fact that when Reagan did the same in the US, the tax take overall, and from the wealthy especially, actually increased, because extraordinary tax avoidance contrivances became less productive. That is of course counterintuitive, but it happened.

    Will that happen here? I already said I don’t know. I do know that the pressure of events – the ongoing process of Brexit, the pandemic, the Ukraine War, the energy disaster – would challenge any government. But I also know that the British have a historical penchant for uniting in the face of any external crisis and muddling through, somehow.

    How about Sweden, Hungary, Poland and now Italy, eh? How about Ursula von der Leyen’s rather interesting comment that the EU has “tools” in case “things move in a difficult direction”? I wonder what she meant by that.

  13. @Dave Luckett Presumably she means the financial and/or other sanctions listed on the “Overview of sanctions and related tools” on the European Commission’s web site. Dunno if the link will get through the curmudgeonly filters so google “Overview of sanctions and related tools”.

  14. A Reuters’s article says, “Von der Leyen apparently was referring to last Sunday’s recommendation by the European Commission to suspend some 7.5 billion euros in funding for Hungary over corruption, the first such case in the 27-nation bloc under a new sanction meant to better protect the rule of law.”

    Of course “apparently” since she wasn’t very specific. So it’s anybody’s guess. But the EU does literally refer to sanctions as “tools”.

  15. richard asks

    Did Boris Johnson ever mange to get his hair combed yet.

    Actually, Johnson’s touselled coiffure is a carefully-crafted artifice for political effect; he had to learn to not comb his hair–although he actually did so for the occasion of the funeral of EIIR.

    See:

    The Truth About Boris Johnson’s Hair Revealed: A clever, calculated political tactic

    Boris Johnson’s hair shows he’s too posh to fail

  16. richard, that reference leads to pages that appear to specify the “tools” as sanctions, which appear to be meant to be used against non-EU governments and other entities engaged in detestable crimes, such as fostering terrorism, not for discouraging governments of member States from “moving in a difficult direction”.

    But you might be right. In the van der Leyen mind, it might be one and the same.

  17. Dave Luckett notes

    Megalonyx is essentially deploring the fact that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is not elected specifically to that office, and never has been.

    No, I actually favour the British system over the Beauty Pageant form of Presidential elections in the USA. In a general election here, I make my choice from the local candidates to be the representative of my local constituency in the House of Commons: most (but not all) of those candidates run as members of one of the political parties and are committed, if their party secures a parliamentary majority, to that party’s programme set out in its manifesto for that election, with the designated leader of that party to receive the invitation from the Head of State to form the Government. This makes it more difficult—though not impossible—for a populist demagogue to become PM. True, Boris Johnson managed to do so, but only briefly, and Nigel Farage never came close (he could never even win a seat as an MP). And there is also, IMHO, a very strong case to be made for having, as we do here, a Head of State who is not the Head of Government—but that’s another topic altogether.

    So: in 2015, Cameron was able to form a Tory government pledged, inter alia, to hold a Referendum on membership in the EU and to implement the result of that referendum—which he mistakenly believed would be the result he desired. When the result narrowly went the other way, he resigned as he could not head a government now committed to a programme with which he disagreed.

    With Cameron’s resignation, it fell to the governing party to replace its leader—that is, someone who would commit to carrying out the legislative programme set out in the Tory’s winning election manifesto in 2015. The process of choosing a leader varies from party to party: for the Tories, this initially entailed the elected Tory MP’s voting among themselves to whittle down the number of candidates from amongst their own number to two, with those final two then being put to the vote by the wider party membership. In Theresa May’s case, she ended up unopposed by other Tory MP’s in the leadership selection process, so no further vote amongst the party membership was required. And, although she had advocated Remain in the 2016 Referendum, she was pledged to implement the result, claiming “Brexit means Brexit.”

    Except, as she found out to her own—and the country’s cost—Brexit meant no end of wholly contradictory things and was undeliverable in a form acceptable to all the shades of Leavers, particularly the DUP in Northern Ireland, and so she, too, was deposed by her own fractious party. Johnson, capitalising on the general weariness from years of squabbling amongst the Leavers about what Brexit actually did mean, attempted to cut the Gordian knot and dispensing with debate about the programme by proroguing Parliament—which turned out to be illegal, and thus was had to be reversed. Instead, he found it more expeditious to simply lie—an artform in which he is an acknowledged master—and to go ahead with the arrangement May had previously negotiated, but this time claiming he had “got Brexit done.”

    Which he hadn’t—witness Northern Ireland, where the local assembly remains suspended—but that’s another story…
    As for Liz Truss: she barely scraped through the initial leadership selection process by her fellow Tory MP’s to secure one of the two places for the voting by the wider party membership, which she then won handsomely. But she was not the preferred candidate by her fellow MP’s, which guarantees that the civil war which has been raging in the Conservative party for the past 30 years will only be more intense than ever—and to the detriment of both the party and the country. She is attempting, without a mandate, to steer the government she has inherited in a direction contrary to the manifesto on which it (and she herself) had been elected in 2019.

    But setting aside for the moment the lack of democratic legitimacy: mightn’t her change of direction be justifiable if it is a good change of direction? Dave suggests

    we have the fact that when Reagan did the same in the US, the tax take overall, and from the wealthy especially, actually increased

    Except, that’s not all Reagan did, and what Truss is implementing is not ‘the same.’ Levels of taxation are only one of a myriad of factors affecting economic and social well-being: if it really were as simple as lowering taxation to ensure economic growth, then why not abolish taxation altogether and really let the good times roll? But we all know it is far, far more complicated than that!

    Truss’s economic programme is entirely driven by ideology, not empirical data, in much the same way that Creationism is founded in ideology.

  18. @TomS, I’ve done something similar. “Obviously, you don’t believe that the Earth is flat, as the Bible clearly teaches [cite passages as needed], so what is it that makes you not believe that part of the Bible, but believe THIS part of the Bible?” I’ve done so often enough that the answers all at least rhyme when they aren’t actually identical, so I don’t so all that often anymore.

    The usual reason, by the way, is that Jesus doesn’t say that the Earth is flat, which is true, and that it’s not “necessary for salvation” that the Earth be flat, but special creation is, for some reason.

  19. I thought readers might be interested in a series taking down the Discovery Institute by YouTuber professor Dave explains. So far he’s taken down Luskin, Meyer, and Behe. He’s also done others like flat earthers, Kent Hovind, and James Tour.

  20. @Dave Luckett

    bbc dot com /news/world-europe-60400112

    “Hungary and Poland lose EU funding fight over laws”

    “Hungary and Poland have lost their court challenge to an EU rule that allows billions of euros of funding to be conditional on democratic standards.”

    EU have withheld recovery funds from Hungary and Poland, both EU members, because EU doesn’t like their politics.

  21. @ richard: That’s a pretty grotesque misreading of that BBC article….

    But it’s true: the EU doesn’t like anti-democratic politics.

  22. @Megalonyx How in thee heck is it a grotesque misreading. 🙂

  23. @ richard: to say that Hungary’s current situation arises because the “EU doesn’t like their politics” is like saying, “John Doe was arrested while breaking into a house becaue the police don’t like burglary” or, better, the Allies declared war on the Third Reich because they didn’t like Herr Hitler’s politics. Those aren’t false statements, but neither are they accurate nor useful.

    If the police didn’t mind burglary, then it would be ok? Was the only problem about the Third Reich was that the Allies didn’t like it?

  24. @Megalonyx Okay.

    The reason is: “On a reasoned proposal by one third of the Member States, by the European Parliament or by the European Commission, the Council, acting by a majority of four fifths of its members after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, may determine that there is a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the values referred to in Article 2. Before making such a determination, the Council shall hear the Member State in question and may address recommendations to it, acting in accordance with the same procedure.” –Article 7, Treaty on European Union

    Aforementioned Article 2: “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”

  25. Note, I’m speculating on what Ursula von der Leyen could have meant by “tools”, in response to Dave’s question:

    “How about Sweden, Hungary, Poland and now Italy, eh? How about Ursula von der Leyen’s rather interesting comment that the EU has ‘tools’ in case ‘things move in a difficult direction’? I wonder what she meant by that.”

  26. @Megalonyx, On every photo-op with the Queen that I can find, Boris’s hair seems almost nearly undisheveled. Maybe the Queen yelled at him for bad hair practices.

  27. Megalonyx’s analogy fails as soon as it is uttered. The governments of Hungary and Poland are not engaged in burglary, nor any crime, and the EU is not the police. The EU is simply using coercive means to enforce its policies on its members – in this case, on immigration from outside the EU.

    This is power politics, pure and simple. It is garnished with pious moralising in the usual EU style, but like all EU political maneuvers, has the effect of increasing EU power over member states.

    Hungary is a nuisance, Poland an outrider. But now we have Sweden and Italy breaking ranks, electing governments that are very much less willing to concede sovereign power to the EU. Hi-jinks may very well ensue.

  28. I think Megalonyx wanted me to be more specific and thought I was too general. But I was simply trying to guess what von der Leyen meant by “tools” and then I got hit by hurricane Megalonyx out of the blue. (Just kidding.) 😁

  29. Mercifully for readers of this blog, I’m on the road for two weeks and don’t have the time to engage with Mr. Luckett’s Alice-in-Wonderland world of anti-EU conspiracy theory—which from any other source would be amusing, but coming from him is unfortunate, and well-nigh inexplicable.

    But I would invite anyone interested in the reality of the situation here to at least read, for starters, the Wikipedia article on Viktor Orbán, whose government has been eroding basic democracy and human rights in Hungary for over a decade, including electoral manipulation and direct political interference in the judiciary—all contrary, not simply to the Article 2 of the EU Treaty, but to any meaningful standards of democratic government.

    But hey, in just the way Hambo ignores the compelling evidence against a Young Earth, the political Far Right (Tucker Carlson, I’m thinking of you) hold up Viktor Orbán as a champion of freedom—which in this case means the freedom to practise anti-Semitism, nativism, discrimination against ethnic minorities, and above all, flat-out kleptocracy. International observers found that Hungary’s elections are now “free, but not fair” due to governmental gerrymandering. Do we need to mention Orbán’s tacit support of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine here as well?

    Does anyone really want to defend Orbán’s record?

    From that far-left radical rag, Time magazine: The E.U. Is Finally Standing Up to Viktor Orbán

    Or that lefty propaganda sheet, The Atlantic: Behind the American Right’s Fascination With Viktor Orbán

    But the basic point here is simple: Europe has learned from its long and bloody history the horrors of political extremism, whether on the Left or Right: Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Franco’s Spain, Soviet Russia, and the former communist satellite states of Eastern Europe. The EU is the attempt to agree a basic set of standards of democracy and human rights to prevent the rise of such dangerous extremism again, if that is possible. And one must hope that it is.

    The EU has no power to expel members from the Union, and is limited in what sanctions it can apply, subject to the process richard outlined above, to members no longer adhering to Article 2: simply withholding benefits of membership.

    Of course, Hungary is free to leave the Union, as the UK has demonstrated. And look at all the shower of advantages we now enjoy in the UK as a result!

    But that’s another story. What’s Sterling worth against the Euro and the US Dollar today?…

  30. The Curmudgeon emerges from his underground headquarters and looks around at the hurricane-ravished landscape. Then he descends again. The blog must go on!