Disney is investigating whether or not rich families are hiring disabled people to help them jump ahead in line. I almost started thinking, "well, why not?" But then I realized that now Disney will have to introduce some sort of pain-in-the-ass scheme to ensure it doesn't happen anymore. When cheaters exploit trust, the rest of us lose.
On the anniversary of one of the most remarkable raids in WWII, the BBC is taking a look at just how effective the "dambuster" raids really were. Sometimes I think all these "aerial bombardment didn't do any good" histories were all written by, I don't know, navy people or something.
A new book is providing new evidence that women's sexual desires are far from politically correct. Take-away for men: even women don't understand women. Isn't that a comforting thought?
It looks like China may finally be willing to turn a few screws to get "Best Korea" to behave. Yeah, it looks like the move is more symbolic than functional, but this is North Korea we're talking about here. They almost literally live and breathe on symbols. It'll be fun to see what sort of gyrations their propaganda goes through over this.
Life in the 21st century: "Top ABC News editor Don Ennis walked into his Manhattan office on Friday in a “little black dress” and a brunette bobbed wig and announced to colleagues that from now on, he would like to be known as Dawn. " Paging Tanya Tucker, white courtesy phone please...
It looks like everyone's favorite wacky White House protestor is about to hang up her hat the hard way. I've seen her signs at least half a dozen times in the past twenty years. I had no idea what a soap opera it all actually was.
While I would've liked very much to see what happened when men did this, I thought this experiment with a sketch artist and a woman's sense of beauty was still quite moving. Yeah, ultimately it's a kind of commercial, but it's subtle and pretty well done.
An academic paper from Cornell is claiming that life in the universe probably evolved about 9.7 billion years ago. If true, it would neatly explain why the universe seems so empty... it actually is. This argument can also be made from a philosophical angle: it took something like 99.5% of the Earth's history before intelligent life evolved. If it took that long in the wider universe (and it may very well have), then intelligent life will naturally be rare, and may not be all that much more advanced than we are.
Hell on earth means many things to many people. I'm pretty sure a place with no cell service of any sort would define it for Ellen and Amber. I think the longest Ellen has gone without a cellphone is maybe three hours in the past ten years, but that could be an exaggeration. It's probably less than that.
A "proof" that time travel exists seems to have been explained. Me, I think relying on great-gramma's memories is pretty questionable, but it does seem to point the way toward more concrete proof. Just go ask the DuPont guys.
It's sometimes good to be reminded folks from the wild n' wooly '60s are in their 70s nowadays. And that, for at least some women, liberation was very liberating, indeed.
Meanwhile, Kraft is trying to get Jews to eat more cheese. No, I'd never heard of the stuff, either. But I'm not a Jewish New Yorker, so I don't think I was expected to. Slow news day? You haz it!
A new scientific survey has found Washington DC full of methane, to the surprise of absolutely no-one familiar with that city's decrepit infrastructure (or its government). I will admit, though, to not seeing any stories about manhole cover explosions, actual, in quite some time. I must be reading the wrong news sites.
In the "didn't see that coming" file, we have the story of Herman Goering's brother, and his path toward being recognized as a hero of Israel. Stories should be told, and memories preserved, to remind us that even in the depths of evil, good can be found.
Hey! Guess what? Running barefoot can cause injuries! Actually, not QUITE as "captain obvious" as it would at first seem, but I think it's pretty close. This has that "Mac vs PC Holy War" sort of feel to it, and since I got no dog in that hunt, I'll just throw it up here, let anyone else who cares take a side.
Little known fact: the dead have no right to privacy. So, when someone famous kicks it, go poke the FBI with a FOI request. Unfortunately everyone else alive still does have a right to privacy, so the files of people like Whitney Houston will be redacted all over the place, but it still gives a "peek inside."
It often seems like general histories skip from the end of WWII to 1950, with nothing much happening in between. In reality, a lot of very important things happened, some of which is chronicled in photographs. I've seen some movies set and shot in 1950s Germany, and it doesn't look THAT much better, just neater. They were Germans, after all.
We're supposed to be producing more oil than ever before, yet gas prices are near record highs. What gives? Well, if all you did was skim this natGeo article, it would be difficult NOT to blame "greedy refineries." That is, until you read a little further:
True, the price of crude plus taxes explains most of the price at the pump. "It's basically simple for the most part," Goldstein explained, "but that doesn't mean the rest is trivial. It's not." And, he notes, the "last 20 percent is complicated."
So, even though refineries are greedy and basically evil, taxes and the price of crude constitute 80% of gasoline's price. Yeah. That's a real strong cause-and-effect you got going there, sparky. But wait! There's more!
Pipelines from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast are limited, and the only vessels permitted to move goods between U.S. ports are those built, owned, operated, and crewed by U.S. citizens and registered under the U.S. flag.
The EIA report also points to planned and unplanned maintenance at refineries ... the changeover from winter grade products to summer grade products to meet U.S. emissions requirements, and very low profit margins for refiners prior to the current run-up.
Let the libertarian translate: Due to EPA regulations strangling pipeline building, Union-friendly laws strangling shipping capacity, OSHA regulations shutting down entire refineries for months at a time, more EPA regulations mandating specific fuels for specific regions, and refineries eating into their profit margin to conform to even MORE EPA regulations, gas is expensive.
Do you see what's common in all those sentences? Do you really? The author of the article certainly went to great pains to hide it.
Raymond Cusack, designer of the iconic Daleks, has died. 84 is a pretty good run! Personally, I've never found the Daleks all that scary. Interesting and weird, but never scary. Maybe it was that classic episode that had them squirting shaving cream all over the place when they died?
Modern problems: a boy has been denied permission to wear a dress to his prom. In a way, I think this is a good sign. I remember my prom being the absolute pinnacle of teen conformity, when every interest group and clique brought out the big guns. If this kid feels confident enough to try this, in the South no less, I think there may be hope for humanity after all.
China in the twenty-first century: the phenomena of "leftover women" is causing concern. When they say "under pressure to get married," they're not talking about mom calling occasionally and asking if you're dating someone. In China, the pressure to form a family is so intense it's not at all uncommon for gay people to marry just to get their parents to shut up about it. The angst is also a logical consequence of their "one child" policy. China is still a patriarchal culture, and now that it's suddenly become a seller's market for Chinese women, the men are not at all happy about their new "uppity" attitudes. Expect this sort of thing to go on over there for a long, long time.
I'm not sure what's worse: a gun-control bill that authorizes house-to-house searches, or the legislators who voted for it because they didn't read the thing closely enough. Politicians always over-reach. It's what they do. It's precisely things like this that cause the NRA to be so "reactionary." Here's a hint Mr. Progressive-pants: it's because they have to be.
A laser developed to explore Mars has been re-tasked with the more mundane effort to stamp out "honey laundering." I'm not a huge fan of the stuff, but Olivia is a honey fiend sometimes. If it means she's less likely to eat stuff smuggled in from China, I'm all for it. The Chinese don't even like that sort of thing, for very good reasons.
Captain Obvious in the NYT: Young families living in an expensive city are moving to the suburbs to find more room for less money. Yes, for us it's a repeat from 1948, 1958, 1968 ... 2013, but to the Times it's news. Why? Because HIPSTERS!
This just in: in a confusing, crowded venue, it's possible to sneak past security. I did this sort of thing all the time back in college when I was delivering pizza. Since I was actually working, I didn't stay, but it would've been child's play to put my uniform on and carry an empty box past security.
Unfortunately, since these punks decided it'd be a laugh to BRAG about it, attending an NFL game is about to become a lot more annoying. And forget about it if you need a favor from security to make your life easier.
These people aren't admirable, they're obnoxious idiots getting a kick out of ruining it for everyone else.
It turns out that, in addition to general death, cancer can kill your sex drive. No, not just temporary side-effects of the nasty chemicals they have to use, but permanent life-changing things that can shut the whole show down. The article takes the typical "this only ever happens to women" line, but it does describe things I'd never heard of, or expected. Like they say, "the more you know..."
News you can use: how to avoid getting squashed by a semi. I do all of these things, have for years. I'm constantly amazed, but not particularly surprised, at how few other drivers I see doing these things.
A "grassroots supercomputing" project has produced the largest known Mersenne prime number. The project has been grinding away at finding these things for seventeen years. The number itself is 2 times 57,885,161 minus 1, and has more than seventeen million digits. And if you understand what all that means, I applaud you. Meanwhile, time to go caption some cats...
Making the rounds: Mary Ingalls blindness was most likely caused by a type of meningitis, not scarlet fever. I can't recall actually catching scarlet fever as a child. In fact, I can't remember many references to it at all recently. Maybe it's become much rarer due to advanced antibiotics?
Want to poll your list of Facebook friends for a casual hookup? There's an app for that. The article includes the required "use that? As if" chick snark, but if girls didn't use it, the app wouldn't be this popular, eh?
The infamous case of The Black Dahlia may finally be near a resolution. In other news, there are still old houses in LA with dirt-floored basements. Me? Oh, I'm always skeptical of these sorts of things, but it'd be nice if they finally solved the crime.
And in the "Least Expected Historic Artifact" bin, we have Hitler's toilet. It's not clear, from the article, if Hitler ever actually used it. What is clear is that a whole bunch of other people have for decades. In New Jersey, no less. It just keeps getting more and more appropriate.
So, if this guy is to be believed, a liberal arts degree is actually quite valuable, indeed. My own experience lends credence to this. I got a BA in anthropology and have become quite successful professionally. However, I have a different hypothesis for why this may be so:
Liberal arts majors, perhaps alone in all the different collegiate fields, spend the majority of their study time on mind-numbing courses with little or no obvious application to any real professional field. It turns out that, in the real world, this allows one to be productive during a typical office meeting, a quite rare and valuable skill. Equally important is the ability to learn and genuinely understand nearly opaque concepts from poorly written textbooks and/or incomprehensible instructors. This translates well into more practical, albeit unrelated, fields once the degree is achieved.
In a nutshell, you become cheap to teach. Someone who says "no, I don't know how to do that, but I can learn," and actually DO that, is in my experience quite rare, and therefore valued.
Or, it could just be that I'm an extremely lucky over-educated fry cook who happened to back his way into a lucrative career. You believe what you want, I'll believe what I want.
An upcoming memoir from the famous anthropologist you've likely never heard of has prompted this retrospective on the evidence-based death of the "noble savages" myth. Chagnon's work was still being hotly debated when I was an undergrad back in the '80s. I read some of it back then and I genuinely think his "no, actually, these people suck, and I can prove it" attitude helped shoot some profound cracks through the leftist indoctrination I'd been undergoing up to that point. Liberal arts degree, FTW!
The next phase of our energy independence seems to be starting. Reviving the rust belt? Cleveland may actually end up a nice place to live after all. Don't even get me started on Pittsburgh. And, as noted previously, anything that puts hajji closer to his much-deserved breadline in the desert is A-OK with me.
In the eternal battle of law versus reality, the latest entry is a supposedly invisible tracking device that will call for help if a tree is illegally logged. It's a nice idea, but it'll fail. Someone will figure out how to spot/disable/jam it soon enough. The only way to make sure something like illegal logging stops is to give the people doing it a good reason not to. "Because we say so" is not a good reason.
The chairman of Google recently was invited to participate in a diplomatic mission to North Korea. His observations were dry as dust, but his kid's account is much more entertaining. It jibes well with other things I've read about the Hermit Kingdom, so I think it can be trusted. Well, trusted only as far as even the author admits the paranoiacs who run the place allow anyone to see anything of interest.
Speaking of things Chinese, we may get another Alfa through the back door, courtesy of their oldest car company. It doesn't exactly look "Alfa-ish," and it doesn't have an Alfa motor in it, but after yet another delay from Fiat, it's looking like about as close as we'll ever get.
Remember that whole "oh-no-they-dih-unt!!!" dust-up yesterday about the NRA supposedly exploiting Obama's kids in an advertisement? Yeah, about that. I was hoping the MSM would finally calm down and distance itself from the Democratic party once they'd all gotten Obama re-elected. Yeah, a vain hope, but it was there. As it stands, it looks like the MSM will ensure the Democrats hold the White House for the foreseeable future, while Democratic bungling will ensure the Republicans hold onto Congress. Since Americans in general seem to like divided government, I guess it's a win-win.
The apparently successful online Star Wars game is preparing to add same-sex relationship options to the game. Predictably, there are people who have a problem with it.
An extremely rare original photo of the Hiroshima bombing has been discovered. It's not much, and it's black-and-white, but somehow still manages to convey the horror and power of the thing. Well, to me at any rate.
Washington's National Cathedral will soon be hosting same-sex weddings. That said, it's not as if you can just walk up to the place hand-in-hand. We researched this a long time ago and there are still some (completely understandable) restrictions on just who can and can't use the place. I mean, expecting a couple to be actual Christians, and a member of that church? The nerve!
It passes my Four Rules, so it's officially none of my business.
Well of course I'm gonna link up an article about a guy who discovered a recently-closed mental institution never threw away the suitcases of inmates who eventually died there. For, like, the past hundred years. Best: Article appears in "collectors weekly." Why, yes, I do live in a house with someone who collects photo albums of perfect strangers. How'd you guess? Hoarders isn't scheduled to film here until August!
Looking for a cheaper place to live, with sane taxes and a low cost of living? looks like Ecuador might be for you. Bad: learning a new language. Good: Miles of beaches. Trust me, when Ellen's concerned all I have to say is "beaches" and she'll already be trying to figure out how much a U-haul rental will be.
Another day, another idiot of Facebook getting what he deserves. I've had a public on-line presence of one form or another for about twenty-five years now, and continuously for the past eleven. Nobody's got anything on me because I assume any and all correspondence is being ready by my worst enemy and/or employer (sometimes they were the same). If you don't post stupid stuff on the internet, it won't get you in trouble.
It seems 2013 won't be all fun and games for Scientology. People have been detailing the loopy weirdness that underlies Hubbard's religion for decades, so I'm not sure just how much new stuff will be in the book. Still, it seems like this author is more thorough that most, so maybe it'll bring a veneer of legitimacy to it all. Bonus: the author is also working on a play about Oriana Fallaci, our favorite angry Italian.
The Atlantic is featuring a new photo-essay about everyone's favorite hermit kingdom. Life does go on, at least in the parts of North Korea the photographers' handlers wanted them to see. Or, in the case of official photos, wanted to be seen.
The US's ongoing exploitation of innovative drilling techniques to increase petrochemical reserves and production would seem to be rattling a few cages. Energy independence has been one of those things that would be great to have but impossible to achieve. We're not hearing more about it because, of course, we're achieving it in the wrong way. Intellectual purity is always more important than actual results.
First a mother of a child like Adam Lanza came forward. Now someone who once considered himself Adam Lanza has done the same. Lots of good points in there, all strongly reminding me how lucky I am having such a normal, well-adjusted child. It also provides insight into why the main character in my first book and a supporting character in my next, who grew up in horrible isolation, act the way they do. I'm hoping the difference in their outcomes will be illustrative.
Someone who actually knows a famous person who's famously gone off track can spend some time trying to provide insight into their character. Or, they can plug their book and blame someone they don't like much. Me? Nobody forces anyone to become a world-class athlete. I'm of the opinion that, to be competitive at that level, it's impossible to be anything but an enthusiastic participant
As if you needed another reminder, the AR-15 is not a "spray and pray" symbol of child-killing anarchy. It's actually the ultimate all-in-one precision weapon. Re-chambering for the ultra-cheap .22lr round was something I knew about conceptually, but it took reading this article to understand the implication. What a concept!
Chinese government to Chinese citizens: these are not the perverts you're looking for. The communist party is conservative in the way the Roman Empire was conservative, for the same reason: it fosters control. The Internet is, for them, ultimately subversive. It's a dragon they can't control. Their main problem is they didn't realize this fact until they'd invited the dragon in and let it get nice and comfy. It won't consume them. China doesn't work that way. It will, however, eventually bring about their downfall. Unfortunately China doesn't know what comes next, and that very idea defines, for that country, soul-shattering terror.
It turns out the deadliest school massacre in US history happened in... 1927. There will always be maniacs targeting schools. Like lightning strikes or meteor collisions, aside from basic common-sense precautions, there's not much to be done about it.
Ever wonder what the men of France in 1902 thought their "women of the future" might look like? Well, ok, neither did I, but the result is still pretty interesting. Apparently they figured military uniforms would involve a lot of corsets. Who knew?
Look, folks, when it comes to government work, your choices are "fast, efficient, and effective." On good days, you get to pick two. Personally, when it comes to disaster relief I'm fine if they pick fast and effective. And I must emphasize this is only what happens on the good days. Most of the time, you don't get to pick at all.
Remember that house in China that was basically in the middle of a highway? Yeah, it's not there anymore. Conventional wisdom was that the owners must've had high-level connections to the party to hang on that long. As it stands, I'm not sure the settlement they admitted to getting was any higher than what they were refusing before they started to get all this attention.
If these UK scientists are to be believed, women spend more time checking each other out than do men. A slightly more suspect finding is men stare more at the eyes than at the figure, at least of photos or paintings. I bet if they were to somehow record the inner dialog of the observer, the differences would be even more pronounced.
Sixty years ago this weekend the first successful modern gender re-assignment surgery was announced. Of course it didn't happen here, but rather in Denmark. The lady in question went on to live a successful, somewhat famous life. Sad that she died of cancer so early.
I guess it's "picture Wednesday" around here. This time, here's a "log" of weapons-grade uranium. Weird that they were so careful to make it difficult to judge scale. I wonder how much it weighs?
Maybe those Mayans were onto something: according to at least one journalist, the Lingerie Football League is starting to be taken seriously. I didn't even know there WAS an LFL until the whole referee fiasco early this season. So, the outcome of a small union strike is awareness and attention for an amateur women's sports league. Unintended consequences, we haz dem!
You think losing your keys is bad, Google's managed to lose a whole damned island. Or did they? Look, I'm not saying it's aliens, but...
Answering the important questions: why do British and American pop singers seem to have the same accent when they sing? I remember debating this with my classmates at least as far back as junior high. We always thought it had something to do with the act of singing itself. According to this guy, that's not quite the case.
Life in the modern world: a teenaged couple in Tulsa OK each started out as the opposite sex. More power to 'em. I just wish I wasn't so worried about them being THIS open about it all. When your fame goes global, the net is wide enough that a distressingly large number of utter lunatics will now know who you are.
So, what does a commune run by computer nerds end up looking like? "[L]ess like a farm than an unhygienic encampment for overeducated misfits." A nice warts-and-all look at yet another attempt by 20-somethings to forget every single common-sense thing learned by humanity in the past fifteen thousand years. You'd think their hippie grandparents could at least teach them about hygiene.
CVN-65 is on schedule to make its very last journey. Nobody meant for it to last more than fifty years, just like nobody really gave much thought to what would finally happen to it at the end of its life. When you consider what the world was like when it was designed, I'd wager most people back then thought it'd end up a nuclear-toasted cinder. It's effectively going to die in its bed, and in the doing has helped make sure we'll all do the same. Not such a bad end, when you think about it.
Per usual, scratch a "radical progressive" movement hard enough and the red will always shine through. No, it's not what progressives want. It never is. It's just what we end up with, and we always do.
So. If they grey lady herself is finally waking up to Europe's "problem" with Jews, does that mean everyone else will? Specifically, will those sitting on the left side of our own peanut gallery allow a contrary thought or two to creep in? Like the man said, "The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe."
Problem: the gold a bank robber stole twenty years ago has risen in value so much that, now that it's recovered, it more than compensates the insurance company that covered the initial loss. What to do with the recovered cash? Well, it looks like in this particular case crime really does pay. Historic coincidences, FTW!
21st century relationships: a "failed lesbian" and a "transitioning man" seem to be doing well in a relationship with each other. It meets my four rules, so I officially don't care. But I do find it interesting, in the same way I find any other sort of people who are so different interesting. More a David Attenborough sort of thing. Education is good!
A young, straight, Christian fundamentalist who decided to pose as gay for a whole year has written an account of his experiences. Black Like Me for the 21st century? Perhaps. Anything that helps people understand we're all just people is a plus for me. But I'm one of those wacky libertarians. I'll let you get away with just about anything.
It appears that, after something like sixty years of trying, the international community has finally come up with sanctions that work. Like the author, if it means Iran gives up the bomb without anyone firing a shot, I'm all for it. Of course, since it's also helping "JOOOS!!!" there's bound to be somebody out there working to undermine it. We'll see.
It would seem, if this report is to be believed, illegal logging is earning big bucks for organized crime. Which, in my horrible libertarian mind, means we need to stop prohibiting the practice, legalize it, and tax it. Sell the land to the people making money off it so they'll have a vested interest in preserving it, and the problem will take care of itself. But nobody listens to me anyway. I'll be over in the corner. No, thanks, I already have a "pity party here" sign.
Ok, I'll agree, when examined from a purely clinical point of view sex could be considered pretty gross. So I guess it's no surprise that someone went and figured out why most people actually aren't grossed out. That said, I would've been much happier with the headline "why women aren't grossed out by sex," because it's pretty clear that's what the study was actually trying to work out. Makes me wonder if they even bothered to ask men.
And in the "people will complain about anything" file, we have a guy grousing about British words ending up in American English. It would've be nice to have a more comprehensive look at how the exchange goes both ways. As it reads, it seems like yet another invasion.
Us? We actually watch quite a few UK shows, and have been very long-time fans of Terry Pratchett. I'm actually surprised I don't use more "Britishisms" than I already do.
The aircraft carrier China bought nearly fifteen years ago that could never-ever actually be turned into a working ship no matter how hard anyone tried is now on active duty. Of course, everyone is now certain that it'll never-ever be able to launch any aircraft or be otherwise useful. Me? Like I said before, the Chinese think short-term planning is something that's counted in decades. I will not be surprised one little bit if this thing is flinging aircraft into the sky before Olivia graduates high school.
FOIA work at its finest: the hard-hitting journalists at NPR used the Freedom of Information Act to get the details of a top-secret government project. Not news, right? News: to see if beer would be safe to drink after a nearby nuclear blast. I tend to agree with the author. It seems pretty obvious at this distance but back then nobody knew anything about radiation, and I'd want to know, too!
Now, aren't you glad the main stream media has made such a big deal of the Antarctic ice sheets setting a new record? What's that? The record is for MOST amount of ice? Oh. Ok. Nevermind.
Truth be told, I actually don't disagree with the basic premise that human behavior is changing the planet's weather. What I disagree with is using this as an excuse to ram a thinly disguised collectivist agenda down our throats as a "solution."
Answering questions I didn't know anyone was asking: why aircraft carriers are so useful, and likely always will be. I'm still amused at how the MSM accepted the "no no, we're turning it into a casino" line the Chinese were handing out when they towed theirs out of the Black Sea. Nowadays? Not so much.
If a new documentary is to be believed, the rumors about someone actually surfing the wreckage of one of the World Trade Center towers as it collapsed are true. What seems inarguable is that the guy was one of a very, very few who survived right at Ground Zero. It was, almost by definition, a confusing, terrible event. If he thinks he survived it by surfing, who am I to contradict him?
Taiwan is celebrating its first same sex Buddhist wedding. This is one of those edge issues that my libertarianism causes me to act in unexpected ways. Since this is a) (presumably) legal, b) they are (presumably) paying their taxes, and c) most definitely not on my lawn, I'm fine with it. None of my business, hope the best for them. Some may disagree, even strongly, but that's cool too.
A two thousand year-old bridge is being harassed by a six year-old custom and since this is Italy it's a freaking mess to get anything done about it. They sorta look like barnacles to me. You'd think a security camera and a couple of cops would be all that's needed to fix this problem, but then you'd still be forgetting this was Italy
It's nice to know not much has changed in the past eleven years: the 9/11 museum, delayed for months due to arguments over cost, is set to resume construction after a new deal has been reached. Sometimes I wonder how we ever get anything done over all the arguing.
Toys R Us has announced a tablet computer geared specifically for children. I'm not too sure about this one. By the time Olivia was old enough to really "get" how a computer worked, she was mature enough to take care of an actual full-sized one Well, by "take care" I guess I really mean "takes as good care of one as Ellen does." Which means proving again and again that laptops can be stepped on regularly without doing lots of harm. There's a reason half the price of any laptop Ellen has is warranty. And don't get me started on her phones...
F- golf, I want the president who flies an ultralight with geese trailing him. Well, yes, I guess Putin hasn't been particularly kind to civil rights and has turned Russia's media into a sycophantic blow horn for whatever he feels like scolding them about that day, but. Now, hang on. Remind me how this is different from Obama? Oh, that's right, Putin made the media act that way.
McDonald's has announced plans to open the first two vegetarian McDonald's stores in India. The menu seems to be substituting potatoes for meat, but this is not much more than a press release so who knows? Hey, if it meets (ha!) a need, I'm all for it!
Now, I've gone on record several times that I think Apple's denizens can be a bit... overcommitted at times. But comparing the company to a character who cooks meth for a living, well, hang on a minute. That may not really be all that bad of analogy anyway. I mean, have you seen the people who go in and out of an Apple store lately?
Finally someone's taking a look at "hookup" culture without their corset and Victorian-grade attitudes on: We’ve landed in an era that has produced a new breed of female sexual creature, one who acknowledges the eternal vulnerability of women but, rather than cave in or trap herself in the bell jar, instead looks that vulnerability square in the face and then manipulates it in unexpected, and sometimes hilarious, ways.
A study using methodology which has accurately predicted the winner of every presidential election since 1980 is choosing Romney, FTW. I wonder if part of their methodology is to make sure they run the poll at the same time each election year? A lot can happen in three months, ya know?
Sometimes obvious things need to be re-stated: you'll never be Chinese. What's more, you really don't want to be ruled by the Chinese, either. A better summary of a good, idealistic progressive disillusioned by the realization that people really are all the same you will be hard pressed to find. That, and his descriptions dovetail well with what I've read elsewhere about the place. I steer clear of Chinese investments precisely because I think they're standing on the largest asset bubble the world has ever seen.
If reports are to be believed, Transformers and Indiana Jones actor Shia LaBeouf will be doing the nasty on camera for his next film. To get an R rating in the theater there will be strategic pixels involved but I'll hand them this. It'll make the NR home video version a hot item, I'll wager. It's obvious he must've made a metric shiatload of money on his earlier movies, so it's not like he has to work. Still, it'll be interesting to see how mainstream Hollywood reacts. Other, far less mainstream, "serious" actors have gotten away with this sort of thing. Who knows what'll happen when an A- or B-lister steps up with his bat in his hands?
That assumes they don't drop a couple of body doubles in the mix. That would be a pretty chicken-sh move, IMO. But it would preserve the ol' career. Meh. It's not like I'll be seeing it any time soon.
They told me, if I voted for John McCain, corporate fat-cats would have a revolving door for bailouts, and they were right! When the first bailout came around I remember reading this was the start of a standard demolition of a heavily unionized large company. Subsequent bailouts, and there would be more, allow executives and union bosses to give successive waves of workers a soft landing until the business, and its union, is too small to rattle the cages of their captive politicians.
Fair, you say? The result of a union doing the right thing to irresponsible executives? Maybe. I see it more along the lines of "forcibly taking my money to reward irresponsible behavior and bad decisions." But you already knew that.
So, Mr. Wachowski is well on the way to becoming Ms. Wachowski. This is a description of what that's like, from the inside (SFW). Again, as long as they follow the rules*, I don't care. That said, this is a couple who admit to a combined income of $30k/yr. That's only twice the poverty line. To me that means they're very young, have made exceptionally poor career choices, or are on public assistance. In other words, the kind of people who aren't skilled enough to make this sort of decision. And that, friends, is worth my judgement.
Get a better job, get on your feet, move to a place where you're accepted, and then cut off the dangly bits. Dummy.
* 1) Stay out of trouble, 2) Pay your taxes, 3) Stay off my lawn, 4) No children or animals involved.
So it would seem the Incan empire is the only known example of a successful, complex society created without markets. Which, to me, means we're missing something. Living in the mountains isolated from Western ideas does not grant immunity to TNSTAAFL. If progressive experience teaches us anything, it teaches that everything has a price, and hiding that price courts disaster. Something else is going on here.
Making the rounds: the Wachowski brothers, of Matrix fame, are now the Wachowski brother and sister. No, I don't particularly care, but I reserve the right to stare for a bit. Hey, I do the same thing with fancy cars or interesting airplanes. It's not something I see every day, so I reserve the right to be curious.
Here's one I bet you haven't heard: the latest Batman movie is actually an allegory celebrating the free market. I haven't seen it yet, but a bunch of my friends with politics all over the map have, and they all like it. I guess it's a tribute to the art of the thing, that people with such radically different views can see such radically different things in it.
All these people getting their panties in a bunch over what that chicken guy said about gay marriage? Yeah, you can wail and gnash your teeth and tear your shirt and twirl away in your bell tower for as long as you want, but you can't deny them their rights. Or maybe folks do want the government to choose who wins and loses based on what someone else wants. I'm sure the Westboro people, for example, would be all for that. Know what I mean?
New York Daily News: With a single exception, every multiple-victim public shooting in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed since at least 1950 has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry their own firearms.
Making something illegal will never prevent it from happening.
Fifty Shades made the summer of 2012 memorable for many couples out there, but what to read when you leave those characters behind? People are going into withdrawal out there!
Fear not! Here is a site that reviews what else is out there to stimulate the mind. Yeah.. the mind.
McDonalds is now denying that any physical altercation took place in one of its Paris locations. The photos would seem to indicate otherwise. If there was security video to counter the claims, you'd think they'd show it by now.
The summer obsession with 50 Shades of Grey continues, this time confirming that it actually is a reasonably good introduction to the world of BDSM. Or whatever they're calling it nowadays.
Having read the books, I'll let you all in on the main secret of their popularity. It's not the sex, or the adventure, or the love story. The books work because the love interest is a) handsome, b) stupefyingly rich, and c) broken. Because this is a woman's fantasy, it means the protagonist actually gets to fix him!
While a hunt for her airplane begins in earnest in the deep water around Nikumaroro, archeologists have already found compelling evidence that the small island between Australia and Hawaii was her final resting place. Hey, it's not like there was anyone else hauling 30s-era cosmetics around desert islands, eh? Maybe, if they have good luck finding this plane, they can use the same tech to find Flight 19...
I guess it should be no surprise that, with improvements in preservation technologies and an increasing demand for transplantable items, a global market that trades in human corpses has arisen. In abstract, I don't have a problem with this. However, I do think it's more than tacky for middle-men to boost their margins by not paying the families to whom the "parts car" once belonged.
While the greens are in a sulk trying to figure out how to bring their precious peak back from extinction, others are getting on with the work of figuring out what all this new-found energy might mean for the future. In a nutshell: time to put on the shades. Well, unless you're a member of OPEC, or Russia. Then, not so much.
Now, being an actual guy and all, I think having a SAM battery attached to the roof of my building would be pretty darned nifty. Since this is the real world, there are (of course) people who have a problem with it. F'ing condo committees.
For those of you wondering what the heck happened to the "squeezing biodiesel out of microbes" companies, here's a brief update on at least one. It's looking more and more like fracking and oil sands processing is what'll make the peak oilers move their goal posts back this time around.
Quick! Get your straight jackets ready! Apple's coming out with a new version of the iPad this fall! If you don't secure your nearest Apple fanatics quickly enough, they'll run out into the middle of the street doing their tribal dances and get hit by a car. Act now!
Call it "a peak with a yarmulke on top:" Israel stands poised on the brink of an epic oil and gas boom. Yes, folks, not only are we suddenly telescoped far away from peak oil's dystopic predictions, if we can keep the greens' and progressives' feet nailed to the floor and get on with it there's a very good chance the leading energy producers of the mid-21st century will be the US, Canada, and frikkin Israel.
It goes without saying this dream is dead in its cradle if the Democrats remain in power. See you in November!
Ok, what everyone seems to have forgotten is this is exactly how the Iranians claim to have nabbed their own purloined US drone. It must be a switch in the software somewhere, "use only GPS for navigation" or something. If it were Microsoft, that switch would of course default to ON. I would've thought other folks would do better.
Minitel, the French system which prefigured what we now think of as the Internet in many startling ways, will be shut down on Saturday. I learned about the system in the book Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong, and if that account is to be believed the French were rightly proud of it.
21st century relationships: planning a lesbian Jewish wedding. They're (presumably) staying out of trouble, paying their taxes, and aren't on my lawn. Therefore, I'm OK with this.
American Horror star Dylan McDermott managed to solve the mystery of his own mother's murder. It turns out what was filed away as a tragedy 45 years ago was something much more sinister.
Everything old is new again: instability and rapacious progressives are causing the wealthy to almost literally bury their money in the back yard. The efforts of cash-strapped governments to prohibit these moves look so much like what the Romans did at the end of the Western Empire I'm surprised the laws aren't written in Latin. It didn't work then, and it won't work now.
Another day, another attempt at stating basic economics. So, slowly this time: demand goes up, price goes up. High prices mean high profits, which attract Clever Greedy Bastards (CGB). CGB innovate, existing producers increase production, supply increases. Supply increases, prices fall. Sun rises, sun sets, sky is blue, these are things only a fanatic would argue about.
It would seem the best way to finally end those damned Nigerian scams is to answer each and every one of them. After all, it shouldn't just be stupid people who get to have all the fun!
If this detailed but thinly sourced Der Spiegel article is to be believed, all is not well at the Vatican. A closer reading, to me at least, reveals more about the assumptions and expectations of a modern secular political writer than it does about any particular set of scandals in the Curia. It's also quite striking how similar this is to the kinds of stories that come out of the Pentagon when the Secretary of Defense tries to get anything major done. Massive, insular, wealthy, and powerful organizations run by humans seem to have commonalities.
The unfortunate truth, and to me it seems that the author can't quite get his head around the fact, is that the Pope is not a bureaucrat, and he is not an elected official in the popular sense. He's the head of an independent state with an organizational memory that goes back to the time of the emperors of Rome. The papacy has survived far, far worse than whatever it might actually be going through right now. It will continue.
I guess the reason he's so good at making fun of "the 1%" is because he is one.
Speaking truth to power: "In [the interview], the inventor of Gaia theory and godfather of modern environmentalism declares that wind farms are hideous, renewables are a waste of space, nuclear power is good, sea level rises aren't a worry, environmentalism has replaced Christianity as the global religion and that we should all be "going mad on" shale gas, which he considers our best energy hope for the immediate future." More here...
A young man who wandered into Berlin claiming to have lived on his own in the woods for years, is actually just a dumb kid from the Netherlands. I guess, for some people anyway, it's just impossible not to tell a story when asked. Olivia's famous for that, but she's only 8. It'll be interesting to find out if anything else comes of this.
"Happy Days" star Erin Moran has fallen on some hard times. The money in TV is good, if you get the right deal, but it does run out eventually.
Effete Europe to China: "We har zo verreh zorry, but eef zyou do hnot clean hup your haeroplanes, zere whill be Evehnts hof Consequence fhor zyou."
Most of the time I find China worrisome, paranoid, and arrogant. But sometimes they get it just right.
Rome's famous Trevi fountain seems to be losing some of its marble. Bonus: the guy in charge of it is named "Broccoli." I kid you not. Apparently you can still drink the water from the fountain?
Victor Davis Hansen: "From Greece to Italy to California to Wisconsin to Obama’s Washington, the verdict is in: the democratic model of trying to provide cradle-to-grave benefits, administered by an elite technocratic class, using demonization to bully the opposition and redistribute income, not only does not work, but cannot ever work."
Breaking news: I'll Have Another has been pulled from Belmont. The article's pretty darned sketchy, but I'm sure the details will flesh out soon. After all the various race horse tragedies of recent years, if the owner thinks the horse needs a rest, the horse needs a rest.
Pop singer Lauryn Hill is now in trouble with the feds. Something they all learn eventually: you can rape, murder, rob, or burn and the feds won't go after you as quick or as hard as they will if you start monkeying with your taxes. Get between them and your cash at your peril.
Walter Russel Mead: "Voters in Wisconsin didn’t reject a role for the state in regulating the economy and easing the harshness of life in a market economy. But they turned decisively against the argument that well-paid armies of life-tenured bureaucrats can produce enough good government to justify the cost. And the lesson of the election isn’t that the right has too much money; the lesson is that while the left still has plenty of passion and fire, it has, thanks in part to the power of public sector unions, largely run out of compelling ideas."
Hey, remember when the MSM was trumpeting the fact that Iraqi oil production was nowhere near pre-war levels? For years? Well, obviously that's really important, so obviously it'll be great big huge news when Iraq's production starts meeting not just pre-war, but all-time highs, right? Right. Getting out of the way and letting them get on with it seems to be working pretty well. No wonder we're not hearing about it.
The hallowed institution of "un-marriage" in Quebec is under threat. It's as if all the fake Elvises in all the wedding chapels in Las Vegas cried out in terror, and then were suddenly silent.
The designer behind the iPhone and iPad, among other things, has been knighted. The way Apple-isti behave, if they could figure out how to bestow godhood on the guy they'd have done it years ago.
Because I am partial to chickens...
How did the chicken achieve such cultural and culinary dominance? It is all the more surprising in light of the belief by many archaeologists that chickens were first domesticated not for eating but for cockfighting. Until the advent of large-scale industrial production in the 20th century, the economic and nutritional contribution of chickens was modest. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond listed chickens among the “small domestic mammals and domestic birds and insects” that have been useful to humanity but unlike the horse or the ox did little—outside of legends—to change the course of history. Nonetheless, the chicken has inspired contributions to culture, art, cuisine, science and religion over the millennia. Chickens were, and still are, a sacred animal in some cultures. The prodigious and ever-watchful hen was a worldwide symbol of nurturance and fertility. Eggs hung in Egyptian temples to ensure a bountiful river flood. The lusty rooster (a.k.a. cock) was a universal signifier of virility—but also, in the ancient Persian faith of Zoroastrianism, a benign spirit that crowed at dawn to herald a turning point in the cosmic struggle between darkness and light. For the Romans, the chicken’s killer app was fortunetelling, especially during wartime. Chickens accompanied Roman armies, and their behavior was carefully observed before battle; a good appetite meant victory was likely. According to the writings of Cicero, when one contingent of birds refused to eat before a sea battle in 249 B.C., an angry consul threw them overboard. History records that he was defeated.
Read more about these amazing birds!
Victor Davis Hanson: "In postmodern America, we are all removed from mayhem, the killing of game for dinner, the sight of blood altogether. War is something “they” do, not our far more sophisticated selves, who have far greater claims on the federal treasury. Given that the therapeutic society of iPhones and Facebook believes that human nature has transcended violence, and no longer is prone to Thucydidean irrationality like fear, honor, or perceived self-interest, we believe that Libyan rebels are sort of like errant protestors of Occupy Wall Street, or the sometimes corrupt Chinese communist apparat that can be persuaded to be nice to Tibetans. That means war no longer involves good and evil, much less the elemental dirty means of using the former to destroy the latter."
Sometimes how a people go about being consumers can tell you as much about them as a whole pile of ethnographies. The trick here is that the author seems to mainly be talking about the cities, where things are changing at breakneck pace. From my other readings, China's rural population is enormous and hasn't changed very much at all in centuries.
A major Italian university has announced its intention to teach most of its courses, including all of its graduate-and-above levels, in English. The stated reason is to make the university more competitive on the global stage. The move is predictably controversial, with protests and petitions already underway.
Agreed: With more and more female candidates, the Democrats’ “war on women” meme becomes sillier and sillier. That's not going to stop them from pushing it. It's just about all that's left.
I won't go so far as to call them "Hydrocarbon Deniers" because, unlike them, I'm very conscious of the origin and original intent of the word "denier" in this context, and comparing a reasonable person's disagreement with something to a monumental mass murder has always struck me as rather gauche. I do, however, quite like the idea of "Energy Prohibitionists," although even I admit it doesn't quite have the same ring.
After decades spent fighting a homeowners association full of rich people, George Lucas has altered the deal. Georgetown, the fair definition of "limousine liberaville," kept Metro out AND kept that fact quiet for precisely the same reasons. It's all well and good to help the poor, as long as they're in someone else's back yard.
I dunno. If they managed to stop a studio from being built for twenty-five years, I can't help but think they'll make sure Consuela and her six kids aren't allowed to move in with Taqueesha and her five next door.
Hope, and football, springs eternal: the USFL is on its way back. This time, though, the idea is to be more of a minor-league organization instead of a direct challenge to the NFL. There SEEMS to be room for this sort of thing, so good luck to them.
Former solicitor John Morris, 62, has named Welsh-born Lizzie Williams as the Whitechapel monster - and claims she killed her victims because she could not have children, ripping out the wombs of three in an 'unhinged state'.
Lizzie was the wife of royal physician Sir John Williams, himself seen as a prime suspect by many other crime experts.
Interesting... I need to get the book.
An Indian teenager has managed to get the marriage her parents arranged for her when she was 1 annulled. Remarkably, this is thought to be the first time such a thing has happened. But remember, it's always very important to respect and not judge other cultures. Except, you know, the Western ones.
Having covered all other news stories, the Daily Mail would like you to know there are poor people in eastern Kentucky. The fact is that this isn't a helluva lot different than the poor section of any other small Southern town. I know because I grew up in and around a bunch of them. I'd also wager somewhere nearby will be nice houses.
I guess that "Kobe burger" I ate a few months back at a fancy brew pub was just a lying cow. I wish the author had spent less time hyperventilating under his foil hat and more time on why there has been no importing of Japanese beef for the past two years. Sniffs of a trade war, but his own link to the USDA site doesn't work.
Remember that whole, "ZOMG!!! The Republicans are gonna steal our ladyparts!!!" and "they have declared war on women!" stuff the liberals and progressives were going on and on and on about a few weeks ago? Yeah, they'll go real silent about that now, too. This is the election in which absolutely everything, everything, will be tilted toward the left. Exploiting unforced errors like this is the only way forward. It's good to see Romney's campaign is jumping up and down on this thing with both feet. A refreshing change from '08, is all I'm sayin'...
Chris Berg: "It's easy to weave the Titanic disaster into a seductive tale of hubris, social stratification and capitalist excess. But the Titanic's chroniclers tend to put their moral narrative ahead of their historical one." That seems to be the way it usually happens.
It would seem pink hasn't always been a "girl's color." Don't tell my mom. When she found out we were having a girl the pink was strong with her. When Olivia was finally born it looked like someone had detonated a 55 gallon drum of Pepto Bismol in her room. But it was worth it. You simply can't have too many onesies with a newborn.
Tell me if you heard this one: a properly leftist Oxbridge Sloane Ranger gets saved by a dashing US actor, then tells everyone to shut up about it. Look, folks, getting embarrassed by the fuss we make over celebrities is as British as it gets. It's not like they have racks of tabloids that do nothing but obsess about the latest dress a pretty well-married lady wore. Oh... wait...
US armed forces have sunk a Japanese ship in international waters. This is not a repeat from 1941. Looks like they did a real "Swiss cheese" number on it, too. Now that, my friends, is how you spend a day at the range.
Chris W. gets Davey Jone's no-prize for bringing us news that the Coasties have officially disapproved of a derelict's shenanigans. People say shooting up a junker car is a great way to pass the time. I can't imagine how much fun doing the same to an abandoned freighter must be. Plus all that large-caliber auto-fire goodness!
Having tried all other ways to get your attention about a book, ABC news has coined a new, predictable, title for it (SFW). This is probably the third or fourth full-length article I've seen about 50 Shades of Grey in as many weeks. I'm not sure who the author has hired as a publicist, but they're brilliant at it. Meh. I'm just not into the whole S&M scene. I'll just continue to wait on the next installment of my own favorite e-book.
Another year, another set of tourists who discover rural England "miraculously" has dozens of villages that're precisely one day's walking distance apart. I guess there's still a big set of Americans who really don't understand that there was once a time when the only people who DIDN'T walk to get somewhere were the ones with the swords, and sometimes not even them. Carts were meant to be pulled by oxen who didn't walk any faster and the things that served as stagecoaches didn't much look the part, were expensive, and tended to mark you out as someone worth robbing. Silly tourists are silly.
Canada has eliminated the penny. I figured one day we might do the same, but I'm not sure how happy I'll be. I can't help but think that'll turn the nickle into the "new penny." In other words, devaluing the currency by 5%. I think. Like I said, I'm not good with math.
DHS has "discovered" what we already noted around here about a month ago: a hajji-sized nuke won't be big enough to take DC out completely. The bit about the fallout is a new item, though. Still, not enough to change our personal, notional, outcome: on a garden variety week day, Ellen's likely screwed, I'll probably make it, and Olivia would be fine. Weekends when we're not downtown would not be directly disrupted, but having this go off when we're in the Natural History museum would be... bad.
An examination a year after the Fukushima reactor complex melted down after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami has found radiation levels are still lethal. Even better, the water levels are a fraction of what they were believed to be. It's so nasty it kills unshielded industrial endoscopes in less than a day. I have no idea how they're going to clean it all up, but I do wish them luck.
It's been three years since the deadliest accident in Metro's history. I was wondering why there was no big, splashy story detailing what had gone wrong. I'm not wondering any more. It's actually pretty breathtaking, to see a story that so baldly lays out what has been discovered, and what it means. Little surprise it's not the Post that's leading the way.
After that accident I started to consciously avoid the first and last rail cars, even though they are usually the least-crowded. I was thinking by now it'd be safe to use them. After reading just the first part of this story, I'm now pretty sure it's not safe to ride anywhere on that system.
I'd heard of Juliane Koepecke before. Someone who survives an airplane crash the way she did will justifiably be at least a little famous. However, I'd never heard her story in her own words until now. Harrowing doesn't do it justice.
The notorious oil tanker Exxon Valdez is heading for a scrap heap in India. Apparently it not only didn't sink, it was repaired and returned to service, changing hands and names a bunch of times afterward. The ship is not particularly old for its type, but apparently the 89 wreck, combined with damage sustained in a 2010 collision, has made it worth more as parts than as a ship.
Good to see he's still around!
It seems at least one author has suddenly noticed there's a group of people who think Jesus never existed. I've known about "mysticists" for about twenty-five years, I'm sure they've been around quite a bit longer. Still, it's nice to see the lines of evidence to the contrary gathered in a single source. No, it won't make much difference to the True Believers, but very little ever does.
A new CD released by the British Library claims to provide the sound of Shakespeare's works in the accents they were originally spoken in. The article includes a few samples. This isn't the first time I've read that Elizabethan accents were more like American ones than what's now found in the UK. What's not completely clear to me, then or now, is how they figured that out.
Remember that environmental disaster in the US involving Asian carp? The Chinese have an answer for that. We are the fiercest hunters the world has ever known. Don't combat invasive species with ludicrous schemes. Combat them by developing tasty recipes, and creating a market for their hides. Let the predator do the rest.
It seems the advent of e-readers has been a real shot in the arm for authors of erotica aimed at chicks. Ellen tends to keep her "bodice-rippers" at home, probably for the reasons cited in the article. If it helps you read what you want, why not?
Not completely sure if I believe this or not, but it would seem the Pope doesn't smell like a little old man. Your tithes at work, etc.
An advertising company has come up with an innovative way to raise awareness of the homeless as well as giving them an opportunity to make a few bucks. Will the reaction be a) appreciation, b) applause, or c) complaints of exploitation and dehumanization? Hey, this is the mainstream media we're talking about here. What a third party perceives as undignified is always far more important than what two people voluntarily agree to do for each other.
Color me unsurprised: Liberals are the most intolerant online. As someone who's almost certainly sitting in the ignore box of one of my very most liberal friends, I can definitely attest to this. You'd think with such powerfully held beliefs they'd be less fragile, but that just isn't the case. Always remember you cannot possibly disagree with liberal policies because you think they're wrong. The only obvious explanation is you're either evil or stupid. Taken in that light, I guess it makes a bit more sense.
CVN-65, better known as the USS Enterprise, has started its final deployment. She'll return to Norfolk for de-activation in the fall. As the article notes, her age and "one-of-a-kind-ness" makes her an enormous (and enormously expensive) PITA to keep operational. She's lasted fully twice as long as intended, so they've definitely got their money's worth. Unfortunately conventional wisdom says the deactivation procedures for nuclear ships means there's not going to be much left when they're done. Kind of a shame, really, that would be one heckuva museum ship.
Pacific Princess, the iconic "star" of the 70s TV series Love Boat, is heading for the scrap yard. This was definitely one of those, "what? It's still around?" moments for me. Yeah, I occasionally watched the show. Whaddaya want? I was only 12.
One of the first things people notice when they sit in one of our Alfas are the four leaf clovers. The Milano in particular has several of them prominently displayed. "Why is an Irish symbol in an Italian car?" is the typical question. Here, in a short slide show, is the answer. Bonus: avoids the Ben Stein-like droning hours-long history of the marque you'd get if you asked me instead. But, if you're wondering...
Yes. Next question? A moderate atheist is wondering if his belief system has become infested with its own bizarre kind of fundamentalist. The article includes a defense of faith quite like my own. But I'm a heathen Buddhist, so what do I know?
Another year, another candidate for "Jesus's final resting place." While interesting in a "so that's how they buried Jews back then" sort of way, it won't be his tomb. Whatever else I may think about Christianity, I am completely convinced nobody ever found Jesus's body. The religion would've turned out very differently if his first followers had a genuine, filled, tomb to gather around.
People are shocked, shocked, to find another big yoga instructor likes to get his freak on with his students. This one sounds pretty sketchy to me. I define abuse as something that continues to happen after someone says, "no," or is physically or chemically rendered incapable of saying it. That's not what this sounds like. I'm not completely sure it's even an abuse of power, since "yes" means "yes," at least to me. Sounds more like a bunch of high-minded hipsters got a nasty shock when their spiritual leader turned out to be human just like everyone else.
What's that? Oh, yeah, we tried yoga a few times. Ellen's just fine at it, but my efforts result in a lot of whooping and crashing into things, along with comments like, "really? That's as far as you can stretch?" and "you look like you're trying to crap out a bowling ball." Bicycles, man, bicycles!
Europe's fiscal crisis is, unsurprisingly, still festering. This article, finally, provides a counter-narrative to the whole, "drunken teenage country with Germany's credit card" meme. If the author is to be believed, the protesters are up in arms over Germany's callous manipulation of the entire Eurozone, which is the real cause of all their problems.
Plausible? Yes. The entire story? Very doubtful. At least now I can look at these protesters with more than, "WTF?" in mind.
Guns N' Roses, the current version, didn't seem to impress a WaPo critic. Yeah, I know, it's not always a good idea to pay attention to people who complain for a living. Still, going on at midnight? I'd pass on that even if they were handing out bags of candy.
The on-again/off-again Tesla "battery brick" story is on again. Turns out the story originates with the guy who stored his Tesla for two months and then was presented with a $40k repair bill. You'd think that, with enough disposable income to buy a Tesla, he'd have enough scratch to get a lawyer and file a class action suit or something.
The story of the "bricked" Teslas is getting some push-back. This new riposte reads to me like something The Comic Book Guy would write... sniffy corrections of detail, but not exactly a direct refutation of the original. I'm no more or less likely to buy a Tesla now than I was two days ago, but it's interesting to watch a nerd fight any day.
Who could've seen this coming: Britian's new 50% tax rate is not raising as much revenue as was expected. Once more, with feeling: making something illegal does not stop it from happening, and placing a higher tax rate on people who can move their money around will not see them handing it over. Why is this such a difficult concept to understand?
Italian authorities have seized counterfeit treasury bonds equal in value to half the current US debt. No, not our deficit, our debt. I would imagine the amount of paper required would be a pretty significant expense. Weirdly, they're dated 1934, but the article isn't clear if this was when they were actually manufactured.
To infinity and beyond, indeed: it's not where Obama started that matters, it's where his policies will lead that counts. There aren't enough rich people in the whole world to keep this going, and what can't go on forever won't. Who cares? Let's keep talking about why the Catholic church doesn't want to pay for cheap drugs. That's what's really important.
Glenn has upgraded what I have found so far to be the best summary of Obamacare's birth control mandate: "It’s as if we passed a law requiring mosques to sell bacon and then, when people objected, responded by saying “What’s wrong with bacon? You’re trying to ban bacon!!!! I'm seeing exactly this sentiment in the articles being link up so frantically by my own left-ish friends.
A new book is taking a fresh look at the private lives of tyrants. While people like Stalin and Hitler are rightly remembered as murderous monsters, these unguarded moments show they were human monsters as well.
If "anonymous sources" are to be believed, Vatican city is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. The game is definitely afoot, but I trust the MSM's ability to decode what's actually going on about as much as I'd trust Hugh Hefner's boy to understand Sanskrit. Since the Vatican is a sovereign nation, there's nothing anybody can really do about it, a truth which obviously confounds the author of the article.
Even though we're bombarded with news about how violent our world is, the truth is actually very different. Rates of violence may be in a real and long decline, but the MSM's tendencies of distortion, sensationalism, and stupidity are stronger than ever.
I've known about freediving since I saw a segment about it on Wide World of Sports (memba that?) oh, say some time in the early nineties. I knew they were crazy then, and I know they're crazy now. Pushing down into the ocean so deep you can't tell which way is up is not my idea of courage. It's more like suicide. But hey, if they're all adults and they're having fun doing it, who am I to judge?
It's not exactly the Brooklyn Bridge, but it's pretty darned close to it. Owning a tiny chunk of an iconic landmark sounds interesting, although I'm not completely sure it'd be worth it. I mean, how many times have they blown the thing up in the movies? Eventually someone's going to take it upon themselves to try it with the real thing, and THEN where would your investment be?
A portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln so well-known it features in two biographies turns out to be a fake. Sometimes I guess it's better to leave the painting dirty instead of getting it restored.
That dumb redneck who shot his daughter's laptop? He's nowhere near as dumb as you think. I thought it was a dad with anger issues but it was his kid, and I'm sure he knows exactly how to get through to his kid no matter what it looked like to anyone else. Never think you know better than anyone else. You don't.
It seems audiophiles aren't the only ones who'll fail a double-blind test involving their hobby. Props to Mark, who's coin hobby requires you to look at things. In a basement. With a goofy set of goggles on, and lights. We've always thought the evil giggles were a bit of theater on his part. I'm sorry, what was the question again?
Turns out there were snipers keeping watch during the Super Bowl. Better still, this has apparently been SOP since the Munich massacre in '72. So, if there've been professional snipers at most large public events for thirty years and nobody's ever actually been sniped, I can't see the harm. Besides, that's a nifty bit of hardware he's got right there.
First they took on the iPhone, now they're taking on the stereo. As with all such things, execution will likely determine success. They certainly scared Apple into running faster when Android phones started to hit the market, and there probably is room for another "one device to rule them all" product.
Ever wonder how they really do those ubiquitous "before, and after" shots proving various magic diet potions work? Wonder no more. I'd already guessed it was actually done in reverse, but I didn't know it could be done in just a few hours. Eat less, eat right, exercise more. Not easy, but cheap and it works.
It seems that, finally, sanctions are actually beginning to work on Iran. I see two dangers: the standard, "poor and minorities hardest hit" line that the MSM tends to reflexively lean toward, and "desperate mullahs call for desperate measures." I'd be absolutely tickled if we actually manage to make a government change its behavior by diplomacy and sanctions alone. I'm just not holding out a lot of hope.
Everyone's favorite "landmark that never quite made it" is going to be turned into a luxury hotel by none other than Donald Trump. Ellen and I have visited the place a few times over the years and, yes, the decline was quite noticeable. It's a neat old building. Here's to hoping they make it a success!
New Scientist is carrying this informative summary of the H5N flu controversy. Turns out some enterprising Dutchmen are the source of most of the worry. Well, them, and a whole bunch of really unfortunate ferrets, it seems.
A famous Orthodox Rabbi is making waves again, in his own community, for Kosher Jesus, a book emphasizing, you guessed it, Jesus as a Jew. Which is all well and good, because he was and that seems to be the first thing that gets lost in a conversation about him, in my opinion. It doesn't surprise me he's ticked off a different group of Rabbis who seem to have gotten in the habit of that with him. I'm sure any number of fundamentalist groups will put out suitably frothy press releases and then do any number of tacky thing with and because of the book.
But if it does help to build a bridge between the two faiths, I think that's a good thing.
Here comes the science: new study shows online dating has its ups and downs. In other words, it ain't perfect, but it ain't horrible either. Basically, just another way of meeting people, with about the same chance of success as any other way.
'Bout the only thing I can bring to the table is a hearty recommendation to meet sooner, really as soon as possible, rather than later. I've done it both ways and the "meet sooner" option paid off handsomely, while the "meet later" option was always a disaster.
So last year it was the Chinese who had it all over "The American Mom." This year is it the French? The actual article is far less incendiary than the title, which is to say it's a typical news article.
This past weekend Olivia and I went to the DC car show. At various times she'd want some ridiculous thing or another and when I said, "no," she'd do this ridiculous puppy dog pantomime and blink twice. I'd blink back and still say, "no."
Finally after about the sixth time this happened I said, "Olivia, does that ever even work on anybody?"
She instantly dropped it like a discarded Halloween mask and said, "Yep!"
I'm sure she manipulates me in her own special ways.
Not that you could tell, from all their caterwauling: income inequality is now lower than it was under Clinton. Inevitably, this has been caused by an equality of misery, the natural outcome of progressive attempts at social justice. Funny they don't use that as a warning label on the box their ideas come in, eh?
And for a "glass half full" perspective of the US's future, we have this WSJ op-ed. I agree with pretty much everything they say, and think the US is on the brink of roaring to the front again. Others will disagree, but that's fine. There's more than one definition of "right," you know.
Another day, another Rand Simberg piece on how to get manned space flight on a sustainable path. I keep putting these things out here because people need to start hearing about it. Far too many of you, well intentioned as you are, still seem to think NASA's "big rockets good!" way is the only way. It's not. It's not even close.
Remember all those claims that, after public sector union reforms in Wisconsin were passed, that state's school districts would descend into anarchy? Yeah, about that... Predictions of Armageddon, coming from either side, pretty much always work out that way, especially when they're trumpeted by the media.
Depending on who you believe, fifty-two years ago North Carolina very nearly got a new, conveniently circular, bay. There have been so many screw-ups related to the handling of nuclear weapons, by all sides, I'm downright amazed there hasn't been an accidental detonation. Well, yet, I mean. The Persians keep blowing the stuff to make them up, so I'm picking them as the lead candidate to accidental set off the real thing. If they have a little help, and it happens at a big convention of the mullahs, well, I can't say I'd be all that upset about it.
I'm not sure which is worse: a two-thousand word essay bitching about two spaces after a period, or the fact that I read it end-to-end. I need to get out more. Oh, and spaces? I'm a self-taught typist, and naturally rebel against anything I perceive as redundant. In other words, I've always used a single space after a period because that's how I learned to type.
At $400 billion dollars, Apple is now worth more than Greece. At the rate their going, grease will likely be worth more than Greece. Maybe Apple can build them an iCropolis? Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week!
It seems that, while none of us was looking, the tidal outflow of jobs from the US has begun to reverse. Something nobody talks enough about is how productive the US is in comparison with the rest of the world, especially the developing world. Our labor markets are expensive, yes, even very expensive, but those costs are predictable and stable. The only thing a place like China offered is extremely cheap labor, so cheap that the huge risks and uncertainties of that arrogant country could be attempted profitably. Now that the visible cost of China is rising, its invisible costs are beginning to weigh and show that country wanting.
Energy independence, the return of manufacturing, innovation and technology galore. Do we stand on a precipice, as so many on both sides gleefully shout, or at the base of a tower with stairs disappearing into the clouds above?
Ever the eternal optimist, I'm ready to start climbing.
Having a crew full of Italians may, may mean one thing. Having an Italian above you when you've really screwed up? That's a whole other thing entirely. If there were more F- bombs and G- D- its in that transcript, it would be so much like my wife it'd be genuinely scary.
For those of you who think the chaos on the cruise ship is heralding the end of civility, an alternative viewpoint. That piece definitely seems to back up these more humorous observations. Me? Oh, go watch Moonstruck, you'll learn more about Ellen in those two hours than you'll figure out anywhere else.
Agreed: The left is attacking me so they can give the Obama administration a pass–unlike what they did with Bush and Abu Ghraib. My own liberal friends are notably muted when discussing what the Obama administration is up to, while not stepping back one bit from their full-throated roars of outrage at the actions of the previous administration.
Not that there's anything wrong with that: the Advocate names the Gayest Cities in America, 2012. Those who bemoan the "benighted South" will likely be surprised by some of the selections. I know I was.
Someone had the obvious inspiration to put a gay man in charge of a Marilyn Monroe auction and not only was the auction a success, the secrets the guy discovered were pretty nifty, too.
Financial advisers are beginning to warn of a growing "shale bubble," but closer inspection seems to be indicating said bubble is fueled by overseas investors. In other words, all that money going to China to buy cheap sneakers is gradually coming back our way. Even better, we're taking that money and giving the "forners" what are essentially pieces of paper. After all, it's not like they can take a giant knife and hack out a chunk of Pennsylvania if something goes wrong. Keep that in mind the next time some chicken-little reporter starts trumpeting "ZOMG!!1!!! Teh Chinee, he owns EVAHTING!!!"
Captain Obvious has set up shop at the L.A. Times: government cutbacks are costing people jobs. Let's spin it a different way, shall we? Why should money be taken from me for the sole purpose of keeping about 2100 people in Kansas employed? Why should we be forced to pay for things the government admits it doesn't need? I say this as a person with some skin in this game: government cutbacks have already affected where I work, and likely will continue to do so. I am fortunate that they have not affected my job, but am under no illusion as to just how precarious the situation is for any government contractor nowadays.
The simple fact is we just can't afford to do these things anymore. What cannot continue will eventually have to stop. Is it hard? Yes. Is it fair? Usually not. Should we be forced to pay money we don't have to keep it all from happening? The L.A. Times thinks we should. The rest of the country? Well, I guess we'll find out in November.
Fans of American Horror Story who've already seen the season's finale are finally getting some hints as to where the series is going next year. Yes, that's a hint that if you haven't seen the finale you shouldn't click through just yet. It's actually pretty hard not to put spoilers right up here, ya know?
While nobody was looking, it seems Israel has become a net exporter to US network television. I'm not familiar with the shows mentioned in the article, probably because we don't subscribe to premium channels. That said, if any of these show up on Netflix we'll be there with bells on. Or, you know, stars of David or something.
I guess I really shouldn't be surprised when a simple lyric change causes fire to be flung down from on high. I read it as altered, yes, but still a hopeful vision of a kind of Utopia, just a different kind. Still, such outrage isn't all that surprising. Monkeying with someone's articles of faith will tend to do that. I just wish they would acknowledge it, for once.
Glenn Reynolds: "So the Obama central planners spent nearly a trillion dollars based on their projections, and now we’re supposed to ignore their wildly erroneous forecasts because they just didn’t realize how bad the Bush economy was?" Yes. Next Question?
Canadian hipster film makers plus North Korea equals win! No, that's not what Communism is supposed to be. It's what Communism actually is. Theory never measures up to reality when it's implemented by people. Especially people from the Hermit Kingdom.
A rediscovered scrap book is providing intimate details on the origin of everyone's favorite Abominable Snow Man decoy. It'll warm the hearts of everyone convinced corporate greed is at the root of, well, everything, right up to the point when the owners of the copyright just handed it to the guy who cooked it up after the death of his wife.
Federal prosecutors are so worried about jury nullification they're trying to toss an old man into jail for handing out leaflets. Some zealous new lawyers in that prosecutor's office are in the process of a much-needed lesson in How Not to Handle the Press right now, I'll wager, in addition to the classic Freedom of Speech - Not Just for When You Like It classes.
Oh, and the lesson that should get more teaching is in there as well: when the case goes to the jury, they are the law. It is absolutely legal to find a defendant "not guilty" in spite of any evidence, if you feel the law is simply wrong.
Guns and Roses is being inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame, and the LA Times managed to pin Axl down for an interview about it. It seems like, at least for that moment at any rate, Axl's finally calming down and actually having fun with it all. Chinese Democracy got good reviews but, from what I could hear, next to no air time. Maybe his tour will liven things up.
Somebody is still exploding key bits of Iran. The Revolutionary Guard are a bunch of thugs, so no tears for them. Like I said, if it keeps the mad mullahs from getting the bomb without resorting to outright war, I'm all for it!
Remember all the wailing and rending of shirts about how Obama has made it legal to toss anyone they please into jail and leave them there forever? You know, that "indefinitely imprison American citizens without charge" stuff? Yeah, about that... I thought it was rather telling that when I went digging around just to see what the hell they were so up in arms about, I couldn't find one, not one, source which detailed what it exactly was that Obama had signed.
California's latest attempt to force kids to do the right thing is having the expected result. Well, expected only if you believe outlawing something really does cause it to disappear. But there's more to it than that, check out their menu choices:
[B]lack bean burgers, tostada salad, fresh pears ... beef jambalaya, vegetable curry, pad Thai, lentil and brown rice cutlets, and quinoa and black-eyed pea salads ... Caribbean meatball sauce ...
How much does all that stuff cost? Even better:
Andre Jahchan, a 16-year-old sophomore at Esteban Torres High School, said the food was "super good" at the summer tasting at L.A. Unified's central kitchen. But on campus, he said, the chicken pozole was watery, the vegetable tamale was burned and hard, and noodles were soggy.
Cheap food is not cheap because it tastes good, it's cheap because it's easy to make. A great recipe will always taste great when prepared by a highly skilled, and motivated, kitchen. I obviously haven't seen the inside of a public school cafeteria in a long time but "skilled" and "motivated" were not words I would choose to describe the staff of the ones I did see, and I doubt much has changed.
So, let's review: at (presumably) great expense a group of bureaucrats came up with a school lunch menu that was undeniably healthy but completely ignored the practicalities of customer taste, cost of materials, and the skill of the preparation staff. Yes. These are exactly the sorts of people who should be trusted to competently and fairly redistribute the wealth of the 1% to us 99%-ers. They are doing such a stellar job at everything else, donchaknow?
I dunno, me, I think living to 105 and having statues of me scattered all through Manhattan isn't that bad of a life, especially since the lady seemed to be a complete nutter. Then again, I think the world could do without a bunch of statues of a naked, middle-aged computer programmer, so I think I'll take a pass. The whole 105 thing though, I'll hold my hand up for that.
Yup, I'm not the only one to suspect the Iranians' story of how they "hijacked" that drone is full of hooey. According to this article, the Iranians didn't even know the drone had crashed for a few days. I'm still really puzzled how it ended up so intact. As anyone who's watched a Discovery channel documentary about plane crashes (and really, who hasn't?) knows, when aircraft crash there's usually not all that much left at the end. It's almost as if it belly landed.
So, the Iranians are now claiming to have tricked that UAV into landing on its own. On the face of it, seems reasonable enough. However, drones don't have to rely on GPS for navigation, and likely don't. The ability to navigate precisely without outside reference has been in the US toolkit since ALCMs (nuclear cruise missiles) went operational in the 70s. I'm thinking a bug or an operator failure caused the drone to accidentally rely only on GPS, and after who knows how many tries the Iranians managed to make their neat trick work. In other words, assuming the story is true at all, the Iranians used a bit of skill and a great big pot of dumb luck to succeed.
Assuming it's true at all. I've always thought that drone was a really weird color, very different from the various camouflage schemes I've seen in the past. I would not be surprised if it turns out the thing is made of paper mache and tin.
We've all heard stories about guys who dated girls who turned out to be guys. This is what it's like to be the "other" party (SFW). Since this is a) happening between consenting adults, b) keeps them out of trouble, and c) is not happening on my lawn, I'm fine with it. Not that it matters to them. More power to 'em, I guess is what I'm trying to say.
A commercial satellite company inadvertently took pictures of China's new-to-them aircraft carrier on sea trials. Doesn't look like it has its air wing embarked. All I can make out is a white bus-like vehicle forward and maybe a single helicopter aft. Come to think of it, I'm not sure China has fielded an air wing for it yet.
Hey! Look! The Chinese even tried to copy Disneyland. Unfortunately for those of us wondering what an "amusing rat with Chinese characteristics" might turn out to look like, the project was abandoned years ago. The ruins are still fun to look at, although I'd tend to heed the warnings about toxic substances more than the local farmers appear to be.
"For decades, many children in this part of the Hudson Valley bypassed Santa’s lap, favoring the company of Eggbert the talking egg, a holiday fixture at Devitt’s Nursery and Supply on Route 32. Eggbert always seemed to remember their names." Ok, it seems Ellen's holiday wackiness has an origin. Yankees are weird.
Now that the voice recorder has been found, the final chapter of what happened on Air France 447 can be written. After all this time and with all this automation, it is still more than possible for smart, educated people to fly an airplane into the ground. Or, in this case, water.
I guess that, if I read it often enough, I really will get my head around this: oil companies are now set to have most of their investment, and production, in North America, Europe, and Australia. That's right, folks, we genuinely seem to be on the verge of kicking Hajji and His Merry Explosive Friends to the curb. And, the thing is, the reason why this new production is expensive now is because the companies are paying off all their R&D expenses. Once those are gone, prices will drop, and fast.
I always knew peak oil was full of hooey. I had no idea the proof would be found in North Dakota, Alberta, and off the coast of Western Australia.
... it begins, with football. When I attended the University of Arkansas, Sam Walton was still alive, Tyson's Chicken was just hitting its stride, and JB Hunt trucking was finally making people sit up and notice all these weird yellow 18 wheelers everywhere. Each one had a corporate headquarters within an hour's drive of my alma mater. When I graduated, it was still a smallish land grant school scrabbling for funds. Nowadays, it's an institution with a billion-plus endowment. Times change.
It looks like somebody, who's organization may or may not rhyme with "rossad," has struck again. Like I said before, if we can keep the Persians from getting their hands on a nuke by means other than open warfare, I'm all for it. That said, I do not doubt for a second their are people out there beavering away at finding a reason for this to all be illegal. Like it matters.
Forbes asks the important questions: what ever happened to Tang? Turns out it's doing fine, albeit not in the US. The stuff was a staple around my house when I was growing up, but I'm not even sure where it's located in our local grocery store. Surely it can't be any worse than Sunny-D?
Stalin's only daughter has died of colon cancer at the age of 85. By the sound of things, she was a colorful, but otherwise unremarkable, lady.
With gas prices at record highs and the economy in the toilet, the BBC asks a tough question: why are US teenagers driving less? I guess when your grasp of economics is left-handed answers to these sorts of questions really aren't all that obvious. Oh, and another startling find: everyone in America has stopped driving as much, but now that gas prices have fallen a bit we've started driving a little more. I'm so glad they're here to tell us these things!
It seems people are starting to notice a pit outside the Oval Office bigger than it really needs to be. We haven't been down that way in years, so I had no idea. Likely we'll be downtown to see the Christmas tree some time in the next few weeks. Maybe we'll "peer into the depths" then.
So, will Nial Ferguson's future history come to pass? I agree with just about everything in there, except for the final item of Europe somehow bailing out Israel. Their incompetence at even basic combined military maneuvers and the all-to-obvious antisemitism of its ruling classes would, to me, preclude such a rescue. The rest? It darned well could happen. If only it would happen.
I was wondering why XKCD didn't have an update this morning. Now I know why he was running late. Tip: click the graphic, then use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out. That's the only way you'll see it all. My head started spinning trying to figure out that US Household Income section, and didn't stop. Hasn't stopped.
So it would seem that, after decades of trying, the porn industry has finally stumbled across a male actor women like (article is completely SFW.) The in-depth article itself shows "James Deen" to be a likeable kid with his head screwed on straight. Let's hope he keeps it that way.
Follow-up: according to a guy who works for NASA, those weird symbols in the Chinese desert are spy satellite targets. Even better, the design of the targets may end up revealing at least some of their capabilities. I guess it's not like you can hold a calibration target in front of the camera before you start using it, eh?
David Brooks: "First came the atrocity, then came the vanity. The atrocity is what Jerry Sandusky has been accused of doing at Penn State. The vanity is the outraged reaction of a zillion commentators over the past week, whose indignation is based on the assumption that if they had been in Joe Paterno’s shoes, or assistant coach Mike McQueary’s shoes, they would have behaved better. They would have taken action and stopped any sexual assaults."
I try, very hard, to always remind myself that I should be very glad I've never been put in a situation like that. I would very much like to think I'd do the right thing. It's good to be reminded that, no matter what, human nature means there's a chance I might not. Humbling, that.
It would seem that, once again, Israel has figured out how to slow Iran down without starting a war. Unfortunately that's probably all they've managed to do, just slow them down. I'm not sure what, if anything, will actually stop them, but it is nice to think a whole bunch of Persians are having trouble sleeping tonight courtesy of "the JOOOOOS!!!"
From the "Bureau of Pissing Women Off" we have a study which concludes women are incurable gossip hounds incapable of keeping a secret longer than 32 minutes. Of course, this is like saying only women watch soap operas because we asked a bunch of women about them. Including men in the survey, I would think, would be nearly as revealing.
Carrie Fisher's new book apparently has a few revelations about the last Kennedy which are, if you've ever followed any of the Kennedys, well in line with past behavior. But what I found much more interesting was this twenty-plus years old account of what Ted Kennedy's life looked like just as the sun began to set on it. I recall reading at least part of the piece when it first came out. I think it's even more interesting now, in a kind of time-machine-y sort of way.
While everyone is (understandably) chattering about Perry's appalling gaffe in last night's debate, others are starting to mention just how well Cain did. My take-away: "When these two accusers went public, it quickly became apparent why anonymity had been to their advantage. Bialek was revealed to have a troubled financial history, having declared bankruptcy twice, been sued for bad debts and evicted from an apartment .... And it was reported that Kraushaar, after leaving the restaurant association, filed a complaint against her next employer, the Immigration and Naturalization Service ... One of her complaints was about an innocuously humorous e-mail about whether computers are male or female."
It's still very much Romney's race to lose (the Iowa Election Markets judge him 90% likely to win at this point), but I most definitely would rather Cain get the nod. That said, I've long known which candidate I'll be voting for, and whoever it is won't have a (D) near their name.
It would seem that most honey available in stores technically isn't honey. Which just makes the giant jars of the stuff Suzanne brings down from New York occasionally that much more valuable... she actually knows the beekeeper who produces it. It sniffs of a hit piece by organic growers but, considering China's safety record on, well, basically anything they sell, it would still be a cause of some concern. The more you know!
You be the judge: does this prove the occupy movement is antisemitic? They're definitely obnoxious. All it takes is the rumor of bad behavior for the media to paint the entire Tea Party movement as dangerously racist, yet with confirmed, and increasing, accounts of theft, assault, and even rape, the occupy movements are still portrayed as wholesomely innocent.
Color me unsurprised.
Surprising only because it's surprising: the US is becoming an increasingly Republican country. The genuinely unexpected: "Republicanism is most pronounced and is growing fastest among America's least well-off, most blue collar states with the bleakest futures. Democratic identification remains strongest in richer, better-educated, more-diverse, and more prosperous states.
Republicanism is increasingly the politics of the economically left behind. "
Me, I predicted the occupy movement would evaporate like dry ice when the weather turned. It seems to be going in a different, and worse, direction as time goes on.
Ellen's favorite London tabloid is carrying a rambling, but nonetheless readable, reminisce from the bronze-bikini-turned-old-white-lady chick. Getting pushed into a pool is what it takes to become Liz Taylor's friend? Yeah, I guess she really was as weird as everyone said she was.
So, when your culture's weapons of choice have included throwing stars, whipping chains, and kung-fu swords, what do you turn to for self defense? Baseball bat. It's a club shaped to maximize hitting power. What do you expect?
Color me unsurprised: when arrest records are cross-referenced with addresses, the most militant occupiers turn out to be "The One Percent." Or at least live in a house owned by one. Class warfare? Yes, but more of the “Lower Elites” vs. “Upper Elites,” not us common folk vs. some ephemeral slice of demographic.
14 cars and trucks are heading for the dustbin of history this year, are any of your favorites on the list? Ellen wanted an HHR because it was the closest thing to her dearly-departed PT Cruiser. Now it's gone as well. Aside from the ability to fool most cops who didn't look very closely, the Crown Vic didn't have anything going for it. It'd be nice to think they'll replace all these with better cars. Hope springs eternal, I suppose.
This [income] stagnation is less a statement about the structure of America’s economy than about its culture. As Ronald Haskins, also of the Brookings Institution, wrote in an essay for the publication National Affairs, “economic mobility is constrained above all by personal choices and behaviors.” He argues that society’s leaders “should herald the ‘success sequence’: finish schooling, get a job, get married, have babies.” If Americans finished high school, worked full time at a job that matched their skills and married at the rate they did in the 1970s, the poverty rate would be cut 70 percent.
Full article is here...
So, would you trust your classic car to a bunch of prison inmates? As the owner of a classic car with vague plans on having it restored some day, I'm of two minds: if the price is right and they have experience with Alfa Spiders, I'd likely consider it very seriously. That said, there's a guy in southern California who does nothing but restore Alfas, and his rates are quite reasonable. Plus I wouldn't have to worry about him getting trapped in a lock down.
And the program itself? Hey, it teaches guys with presumably poor job skills and obviously bad decision making skills a trade that requires discipline and pays well on the outside. As long as they serve their time, I'm all for it!
More evidence that Texas isn't another country, it's another planet: caesar salad cotton candy. Supposedly it's quite tasty. I'll take their word for it. The other entries look pretty tasty, though...
When did you ever think you'd read these sorts of things in a news article: "The US already meets 72pc of its own oil needs, up from around 50pc a decade ago ... Boston Consulting expects up to 800,000 manufacturing jobs to return to the US by mid-decade, with a multiplier effect creating 3.2m in total ... Volkswagen is investing $4bn in America, led by its Chattanooga Passat plant. Korea's Samsung has begun a $20bn US investment blitz. Meanwhile, Intel, GM, and Caterpillar and other US firms are opting to stay at home rather than invest abroad...
I thought putting grownups in charge of the House would allow businesses here to start growing again. It would seem not enough grownups were given the reins, but if things shape up as well as I think they will in 2012, that'll change in a whole big hurry.
Finally, someone succinctly dissects both the reaction to, and the actuality of, the "occupy" movement. The weather is finally starting to turn colder, so it remains to be seen if my hypothesis holds out. Regardless, the main article does a fine job of putting the so-called percentages into real perspective. Pity that so few will pay attention to it.
Edgar Villchur, inventor of the modern loudspeaker, has passed away at the age of 94. I didn't realize the linchpin of my oldest, dearest hobby could be traced back to a single person, but now that I do it's good to know he did a lot of fine work and lived to a ripe old age. Salut!
New Zealand is trying to stand a professional cricket series up in the US, but challenges abound. The note that the US has an unremarked built-in audience in its South Asian (SA)-born residents is well taken. Our neighborhood has a significant SA component, enough that my regular companions at my soccer-slash-helicopter-field are cricket players. I played it once, a very long time ago, and thought it was fun. Will it succeed here? Well, if curling and soccer can, I guess anyone has a chance. Versus will probably pick it up, they seem to be the home of orphaned US sports everywhere. Why not?
Prediction: The "occupying" movement will fade rapidly as ... the weather turns cold...
Observation: Wet weather curtails Wall Street protests in New York.
After a 45 year production run, Mazda is ending its line of rotary-powered cars. Reading between the lines a bit, it seems that sales are weak for their venerable RX-8, and they don't have enough money to develop a new car. Mazda has an institutional fascination with the things, though, so I wouldn't be surprised if it made a comeback if the company itself manages to turn things around.
First we hear of unions coming out to "support" the Occupiers, now they're starting to brag about getting paid. Although, since these are progressives, what they demand is far less than what they themselves are willing to pay. It'd be nice to think that the MSM will be all over this. It'd also be nice to think my Alfa will one day stop leaking oil. The latter is, of course, far more likely than the former.
"Now, of course, Columbus Day is under attack as a holiday in the United States by the forces of political correctness. This is primarily an effect of the Calvinist Puritan roots of American progressivism. Just as Calvinists believed in the centrality of the depravity of man, with the exception of a miniscule contingent of the Elect of God, their secularized descendants believe in the depravity and cursedness of Western civilization, with their own enlightened selves in the role of the Elect. " -- Jim Bennett
"As unemployment in Freedomland rises to hilarious extremes, filthy, pseudo-intellectual college hipsters concluded that the reason their liberal arts degrees weren't netting them $70,000+ salaried jobs straight out of the state university was because of the zionist one world government and their cronyism bleeding the country dry and oppressing the world, and now was the time to, like, throw off the chains of oppression, man!"
Journalist Michael Malone, who actually grew up a few streets down from Steve Jobs, has this thoughtful but far from panegyric look at the man as he saw him. It's precisely Jobs's reputation as an egomaniac which has prevented me from swooning at his passing. By reputation at any rate, he actually wasn't a nice man to be around much of the time. That said, his kids have stayed completely out of the news, which usually means they've grown up healthy and are successful. That's a better testament to the real man, as far as I'm concerned.
India and Afghanistan have announced new, closer, agreements for mutual co-operation. That sound you heard was all the heads inside Pakistan exploding all at once. Nothing the Pakistan military, and the ISI in particular, does can be understood unless you realize the main goal is to kick India in the balls as often and as hard as possible. This irrational, reflexive need is the primary destabilizing force in the region. This is likely to generate a reaction about as strong as you'd expect from the Soviet Union if Poland were to join NATO, in 1972.
Except, you know, the USSR could occasionally be effective as a state. Ah, well. It's a lot easier to get a suicide bomber into Mumbai than it is to get one into DC.
Remember when it seemed like every pundit with a microphone in their face was obsessing about how many white people were in the Tea Party? Yeah, about that... Never forget, it's only hypocrisy when they say it is.
Fans of true crime stories may find this detailed description of how police discovered who they believe was the "anthrax killer" of interest. You'll probably not be all that surprised that the accused was completely unhinged, but just how that kookiness manifested is, as with nearly all such cases, more than a little unexpected.
While it'd be easy to demonize Congress for the highly publicized new fees Bank of America, among others, is imposing, the reality is, as usual, a little more nuanced. At least we've identified the real problem, so it can be fixed after Obama and the rest of the children are put back in daycare where all the corners are padded and they're not allowed to play with anything dangerous. The grownups can fix this, once they're put back in charge.
At least not all right in South Korea, where a very long-standing cultural tradition of cramming for tests is causing leaders to worry about maintaining the country's spectacular economic progress. Turns out the NEA is right, albeit more in a "broken-clock" fashion: exclusively concentrating on test scores probably isn't the best way to educate children in a modern society. That said, one look around here will quickly reveal what we have here in the US is no alternative to brag much about.
The world's largest "renewable diesel" manufacturer is now saying the stuff is much more expensive to produce than previously thought. Exactly why this is isn't detailed in the article, presumably due to some sort of trade secret. Fortunately, as far as I know anyway, they're not the only player in the game, just one that seems increasingly likely to be sitting on the sidelines for now.
Today's attempt to smear the Tea Party will be... (spins the wheel BZZZZZZZ clickclickclick click click... click...) "the fundies will think they're the precursors of the antichrist!" And, as we all know, not only are tea partiers racist, they're also associated with all sorts of Christian wackadoos. We know this is true, because we say it is!
At no point, at no point, does it ever seem to occur to the left side of the peanut gallery that our side disagrees with them simply because they're wrong. No, sir, we're evil, fundamentalist... fascists, an immediate and dire threat to the whole country. Gonna shoot up your house and take away gramma's social security checks! Vote Democrat before we all become corporatist slaves!
Because, you know, the Democrats have done such a stellar job recycling every damned idea they've failed at for the past seventy years... again!
And now we have transgendered kids. I genuinely don't know what to make of it. It sniffs suspiciously of all that repressed memory crap that tore through the psychological landscape back in the 90s, which ruined many people's lives. On the other, hell, I hear about gay folks knowing they were gay all their lives and how painful it was hiding it. All I really know is, I'm very grateful this is not something I have to deal with in my own family. Olivia is 100% American Girl. She's even got the doll.
You say that like it's a bad thing: "Women are jumping into the sack faster and with fewer expectations about long-term commitments than ever, effectively discounting the “price” of sex to a record low, according to social psychologists."
There's a way to counter-spin it, though: birth control, sex education, and HIV's gradual transition to a treatable, chronic illness has lessened the cost of casual sex to the point women are willing to engage in it more often. A return to the swinging '70s, if you will.
A picture, and a (brief!) note from a business owner form a nice riposte to all of those smug "principled" posters of which the left is so very fond. You know, when they're not busy accusing the rest of us of being bloodthirsty fascists and whatnot. They're helpful that way, those lefties...
Walter Russel Mead: "And so I say it again to all my many friends on the secular and religious left: relax. The Christianists aren’t coming to lock you up in camps. George W. Bush was the first president to choose a vice presidential running mate with an openly lesbian daughter; the dark night of fascism isn’t preparing to fall. The Left likely must resign itself to a long term trend of less compulsory social solidarity and more individual economic freedom; the right must accept that individuals in our society can only be compelled by their own consciences on an ever growing list of social and cultural issues."
Modern Chinese axiom #23: It's only a copyright violation if someone important is getting hurt. Since everyone knows only the Chinese are important, the math becomes very simple. And yes, I know Americans are every bit as guilty of this sort of thing, but when Americans get caught there's at least a chance they'll go to jail.
Fans of Apple products big and small should find this reflection on Steve Jobs of interest. Jerry Pournelle is one of the founding journalists of the PC age, and so watched Jobs' saga first-hand. It wasn't always pleasant and it was almost never easy, but I think everyone agrees now Steve got what he wanted.
He changed the world.
Six months after a devastating earthquake, Japan is still digging out of the rubble. Oh, they'll recover. It has, after all, been worse before. But, as these pictures show, they have a very long way to go.
A pack, not a herd: a security video captured a group of bystanders working together to lever a burning vehicle off a trapped motorcyclist. Which is rightly seen as heroic. What's not so heroic is how the cyclist himself seems to have been dressed. When all the world is out to kill you by accident, you'd think some protective gear would be in order. Everyone I know who rides motorcycles uses some.
It seems the main limitation to the next generation of combat drones won't be technological, it'll be legal. I can't find the essay, but not so long ago I noted the West is rapidly reaching the point we can engage in effective warfare by pushing a button, at no real cost to ourselves. It seems that day is here.
Another one of those "I didn't know everyone didn't know this" stories: on 9-11, the nearest Air Force fighters were unarmed, but scrambled anyway, determined to do whatever it took to keep another plane from crashing into something. It didn't work out as necessary... Flight 93 had already crashed in a field when the F-16s were in the air. What wasn't discussed in the articles I read about the incident was that one of the pilots was the first woman assigned to the squadron.
It seems like at least one MSM reporter won't let the White House off the hook about Mr. Hoffa's "friendly" remarks. An NBC reporter from the White House press corps, no less. Fifty-third sign of the apocalypse, I tell ya. Go for the grilling, stay for the, "ZOMBG!!! Evil REpublicans get everything they want all the time!!!" moonbattery in the Facebook comments.
Rick Romero's on the beat: a new poll finds Obama's popularity still strong in California. I guess it would really be news if it wasn't; then again, it probably wouldn't be news at all if it wasn't. Paranoid? Me? You don't come around here very often, do you?
Yes, it's sad Bob Denver has passed. What's much more interesting is the actor, who was born in 1935, died Friday at the age of 70. At least, that's what the article says right now.
Update: Didn't notice the article was dated '05. Never trust what someone posts on facebook. Doh!
So first there's what Peter Schmuck (no, really!) thought, and then we have the very important farm report article that helps us all tell the difference between NASCAR and Indy Car. Me, I'm impressed one of the drivers seems to have been the Sun's point man. They're saying the same things they said when American LeMans came to DC, but this time around there's a five year contract. They'll be back.
For the third straight year DC area drivers have been picked as the worst in the country. Yes, traffic that can drive a third of the people on any particular road "wild with rage" has something to do with it, but so does a big cabbie population mostly born in places where driving rules apply to other people. No wonder my damned insurance rates seem high.
Numismatics in the audience (you know who you are) may find this overview and news of recent developments in the infamous "double eagle" case of interest. The rest of us will read it with a bit of fascination and wonder, waiting for previously-mentioned coin collectors to climb out of their basement to tell us all what it really means.
A new startup company thinks using hand-rolled UAVs can solve previously unsolvable problems of international aid. Primarily the "guys with guns take aid packages before they get near the intended recipients" problem. Right now even their "heavy" quad-copter is only scheduled to carry about four pounds, so I don't think they'll be replacing trucks any time soon. It also removes the potential for graft from a whole host of middle-men, both at home and abroad. But as far as pipe dreams go, hey, at least this one has radio-controlled helicopters in it!
No improving this lede: What would America be like under a Rick Perry presidency? Well, if Rick Perry's Texas is any indication, the country could look forward to 85 mph speed limits, hog hunting from helicopters and a security check "fast-lane" for concealed handgun carriers.
In other news, people can hunt hogs from helicopters! I didn't know very much about Perry until quite recently, but, judging from the shrieking and poo flinging that erupts from the left side of the peanut gallery every time his name is mentioned, he must be doing something right.
A new study has found homosexual pairs of finches form bonds just as strong as heterosexual pairs. The find strongly indicates choosing a mate (at least in finches) is far more complex than simple reproduction.
Another WWII veterans group is calling it quits. This one is special to me because I'm pretty sure the 84th infantry was my grandfather's unit during the war. I'm not sure if he ever went to any reunions, but he did remember them fondly, as I remember anyway.
Tired of that chlorine smell in the pool? There are increasingly popular alternatives to it. We don't own a pool, not yet anyway, but it's good to know technology is marching them along. I wonder if it'd work as an alternative to conventional hot-tub treatments?
Observation: people who can afford to lose a million dollars or more in a single stock trade guessed right and are making money in the market downturn. Regulators (i.e., the government) restrict certain investment vehicles to only such people. Headline: "Super rich still making money in crisis, they can access investments that are closed to the rest of us."
Wall Street Journal: [I]f equality of income is the priority, liberals should be thrilled with the last four years. It's hard to soak what's already been underwater for years.
The Oxford Dictionary is celebrating its 100th anniversary with the inclusion of words like "woot" and "mankini." "Jeggings" too, which is fine with me, because I actually didn't know what the hell that meant until Ellen explained it to me. Now get off my lawn.
No, really: when nerds attack. I absolutely could have done something like this to my previous employer. I didn't because a) I'm a classy guy and b) I didn't feel like going to jail. I will, however, admit a bit of satisfaction at what must've been several panicked meetings amongst upper management after I'd gone, all over nothing.
The conventional wisdom is Texas's job growth is real but concentrated on "bad" low-paying jobs. Someone who flat out admits he doesn't like Perry has run the numbers and found, "Texas is an incredible outlier among the states when it comes to jobs. Not only are they creating them, they're creating ones with higher wages." Go and check the data, then come back and tell me how wrong it all is.
Victor Davis Hanson: Obama is being blamed for not being liberal enough — after federalizing much of the health care delivery system, expanding government faster than at any time since 1933, borrowing more money in two and a half years than any president in history, absorbing companies, jawboning the wealthy, going after Boeing, reversing the order of the Chrysler creditors, adding vast new financial and environmental regulations, appointing progressives like a Van Jones or Cass Sunstein, and institutionalizing liberal protocols across the cabinet and bureaucracy, from the EPA to the Attorney General’s Office.
This is almost exactly the line of reasoning I see coming from the folks who teeter on the left edge of the peanut gallery. They claim it will force them to stay home. So may they all...
Remember Varyag? You know, the rotted Russian aircraft carrier that was towed in circles around the Black Sea for a few years? The one that was so far gone nobody'd ever manage to do anything useful with it? Yeah, the Chinese just got started with their first series of sea trials with it. Never underestimate a determined Asian country, and never underestimate just how wrong pundits can sometimes be.
Ok, I don't care what you think about Rick Perry. What I want to point out is what salvo two and salvo one of a series of hit pieces really look like. Ad hominem: check. Straw man: check. Argument by innuendo: check. Proof by verbosity: check. It's a fun game! See if you can spot any others!
Oh, calm down, will ya? Like I said, this isn't a comment about the (presumed) candidate, rather the crude and ridiculous attempts to smear a (presumed) candidate. I'm sure if you tried hard enough you'd find a few that went after Democratic candidates. I'm equally sure you will have to try, and hard.
Oh, and someone make sure Ron eats once in awhile as he goes a-hunting for more fallacies in the articles.
Ok, let's say, for the sake of argument, we do need to tax high earners to generate more revenue. Would you be willing to consider starting that list in a different place? Me, I'd also include that 70%+ income bracket the left side is always going on about, but starting with high earners working for any professional sports league, or who've worked for the federal government in the last, say, fifteen years.
Here's one I certainly had never heard of: King George I imported a "wild child" from Germany as court entertainment. Eventually the court tired of him, and pensioned him off to a rural farm to spend the rest of his days. Now it seems he was likely the victim of a genetic disorder instead of being raised by wolves.
Ok, even I thought pictures of where children sleep as a metaphor for where wealth and poverty live was a nifty idea. That said, I can't help but be a bit suspicious of the sampling choices. Three kids from the NYC area and two from Kentucky isn't really going to be too representative of the US. I suspect the other choices may not be particularly representative of the other countries, either.
Leave it to a chick with skin in the game to tell it like it is. Unfortunately the Chicago Machine won't go quietly, and they've got more than a year to go before we get to put the grownups back in charge. I'd like to think they'll play nice. I'd also like to think there's a pile of gold coins buried in my yard. The difference I see is that I recognize that both are fantasies. I"m not sure the folks in the White House would.
So some social conservatives decided to stick a butter knife into America's wall socket by coming up with "The Marriage Vow," which makes the admittedly incendiary assertion that, "a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President." Yet the best the New York Times can come up with is a refutation that actually doesn't refute anything in the aforementioned vow.
That life was much worse for most former slaves immediately after emancipation is something that's been known in anthropological circles for at least twenty-five years. The guy who literally wrote the book on it was my college adviser, and I handled and examined some of the evidence myself. I'm not sure it's possible to prove that black kids in the 1870s were more likely to grow up in an intact home than they were in 2009. I don't think statistics like that were kept, or kept reliably at any rate, during reconstruction.
I am sure it's possible to prove that kids of all races were more likely to be raised as part of an intact family in the 1950s than they were in the 1980s, and probably even today. Because of that I think the assertion is ham-fisted but more likely to be true than not. I'm also sure that being a professor at Princeton makes you damned good at writing an impressively intimidating thousand-word essay that never quite gets around to refuting the central point. I just wish I could figure out how to do it and get paid like this one did.
The ongoing drought in Texas has led to the discovery of a lost part of space shuttle Columbia. It sort of sounds like a fuel cell, or at least part of a fuel cell. I wouldn't want to touch it either without NASA's go-ahead. The shuttles were filled with all sorts of nasty stuff that could hurt the unprepared.
The MSM is (per usual) long on cheer-leading Team Obama and short on the details of what has actually happened with the budget. Bloggers to the rescue! This is a summary of has happened, not what anyone thinks it means (that's in a different post on his blog).
Observation: a giant Chinese tech company which has a slightly lower-than-average suicide rate among its employees has plans to use robots in its worst jobs instead of people. Lede: If the world's largest manufacturer of computer components can't stop its workers from killing themselves, it will just replace them. The mind boggles.
It looks like at least one regulatory agency has gotten its collective ass together and is getting on with it. Progressives and liberals, take note: I actually support this sort of thing 100%. I strongly believe there are a whole bunch of people who should be on trial right now over the 2008 fiasco who are instead still yukking it up on Wall Street. In an expanding, innovative economy like we usually have when grownups are in charge*, I don't think we can prevent bubbles from happening. I do think we can stop them from happening again, and this is how it's done.
* I.e., not right now.
CNN has a short feature clearly demonstrating something I've known for awhile: foreigners don't own most of the US government's debt. Now if we could just get a set of politicians who can actually work together constructively, things would be fine. Hope springs eternal!
While this article on "why my father hated India" provides a first-hand explanation of why, and how, Pakistan became the real problem in Asia, I can summarize it more succinctly: always remember the primary motivator behind any major government or military decision made by Pakistan has the singular objective of kicking India in the balls. All other priorities, incentives, or reasons take a distant back seat to this motivation.
It seems a private company with a clever take on car rentals is doing a great job "greening" the automobile. Private enterprise doing good work. Ah, geeze. I hate it when the left side of the peanut gallery has their heads explode all at once. It's really hard to keep the walls clean when they do that.
Glenn pulled a nice quote out of this riposte on a lefty criticism of "anti-Star Trek", but I have a better one: It is better to starve in the name of justice, then to dine in the shadow of prosperity. The outrage this quote generates on the left side of the peanut gallery proves I'm onto something. Well, when it's not greeted by blinking incomprehension, at any rate.
All it takes is a tomato protest to encapsulate just about everything I think the left side of the peanut gallery does wrong. To wit:
So, in this case, the alruistic Alinskyites came up with a solution: Go to produce retailers, and demand that they raise their tomato prices, so that they could then take that extra money from the customers and use it to voluntarily pay more per pound to the tomato growers, who would then take that extra money and give it to the farmworkers.
What's even more mind-boggling is the way the folks on that side of the peanut gallery are standing there with puzzled looks on their faces. Well, that, and all the poo flinging that starts when they realize we might be implying they're wrong about something. Questioning a religious faith tends to bring that out in some folks, donchaknow?
So Prince Charles's first-born marries a hottie, and now what are we told to worry about? ZOMG!!!1!!1!Eleventy!!! Hyper-psycho chicks lurv her and her sister!!! That the Middleton sisters are otherwise (seemingly) quite healthy, with Pippa recently being photographed in a bicycle race, is never emphasized. Never let chicks who are skinny due to good genes and an active lifestyle get in the way of us trying to tell them (and, by extension, you) how to live!
That guy who's wife cut his wang off and put it in the disposal? He's got more options than you think. The author must've had a specific word number to meet, how else otherwise explain the "put away the history get to the science" interlude with Osiris and Rasputin?
Slow news day over at Salon, where a small restaurant's decision to ban kids triggers a 1500 word essay. We started going out with Olivia when she was still in baby carriage, and there were many times when one of us would pick her up and walk out the door with her when she got out of control. However, that hasn't happened since she was 4 or 5, maybe even earlier. Kids do learn manners, if they're taught them.
Yes, I agree: it's utter nonsense for people who heaped scorn and ridicule on the GOP house to suddenly find "true constitutional religion". Of course, that's not going to stop them. Hell, it's not even going to slow them down.
Robert H. gets a no-prize plotter for bringing us this map of flickr picture locations and twitter tweet spots. I wonder why Taiwan is so flickr-rich but Twitter-poor.
Well, if Forbes is to be believed at any rate, the bailout of the financial system in 2008 may end up being profitable for us taxpayers. The authors of the article seem to be as surprised as anyone at the discovery. I still think a whole bunch more people should be going to jail than are currently going to jail.
The Mexicans mowing the lawn outside or remodeling a house next door may very well be legal. I especially like how the author is forced to note how changes in immigration law have reduced illegal immigration, but then just a few sentences later backtracks or obfuscates in an attempt to deny it. Getting them in here legally means they can be tracked and taxed. I'm fine with that.
Details are emerging that one man, currently known only as "John," may have been primarily responsible for figuring out where bin Laden was hiding. Things like this are notoriously dim and subject to misrepresentation, but at least it's a start.
Oh, and don't forget, Obama got Osama. The economy? What economy? He got Osama! Vote for him!
Ellen, I have found your second job. The only roadblock I see to Ellen finally nabbing the "perps" who continually fail to clean up after their pets is getting the initial DNA sample. But that... that's probably just engineering.
The UK roundabout is making inroads in the US. As noted in the article, the DC version is confusing and annoying, but the ones we've encountered elsewhere seem fine. And they do seem to be on the increase, even around here.
Update: Link fixed!
While the Obama administration keeps throwing up roadblocks to us purchasing Canadian oil, the Chinese are quietly helping to build a pipeline to the Pacific coast. The zealots strike again! My only, very cold, consolation is this sort of dithering makes it increasingly likely Obama will not see a second term. 2012 cannot possibly get here fast enough.
A recently popular New York Times article which reported "problems" with the booming natural gas industry is looking more and more like the journalistic equivalent of a drive-by. "The problem with fracking isn’t that it’s particularly new or dangerous. The methodology has been in use for decades, and it is as safe as other drilling processes. The real problem is that it could produce relatively cheap hydrocarbon energy for a very long time, and that’s what has environmentalists worried."
The apocalypse is nigh: Pope Benedict XVI is tweeting with an iPad. Chris keeps going on and on about how divine the dratted things are, but I had no idea...
China's eventual fielding of a big-deck aircraft carrier continues to generate interest here in the West. It will be very interesting to see how India reacts to this development. Their continued efforts to improve their own blue-water capabilities cannot be a coincidence. It's always important, when considering Asia, to put away our narcissism and realize there are many players in that region, and they will usually rate their immediate neighbors as a higher priority than us.
By now most folks have heard of "fracking," the drilling technique that is revolutionizing natural gas drilling, and (increasingly) oil drilling as well. By now you've also likely heard at least a few rumors of environmental disasters surrounding the technology. The truth is far from the rumor. Greens, exaggerating and misrepresenting if not outright lying to get what they want? I'll concede it's the same tactics oil companies use but, not to put too fine a point on it, it's the same tactics oil companies use. At least they don't pretend to be looking out for anyone but themselves.
It appears that all the rumors that Microsoft is walking away from .net are "teh dumb." Microsoft miscommunicated and then refused to clarify, at least until they darned well feel like it. No, this is not a repeat from 1988, 1991, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2005, or 2009.
I knew my former employer was going to lay me off almost as soon as they made the decision, and long before any action was taken. As a sysadmin, well, *the* sysadmin, I could've made a lot of trouble, but I didn't. One, because that's just tacky, and two, it's against the law. And let me tell you, they were definitely not worth going to jail over.
So, exactly what does someone do when a radical and articulate friend does a surprise 180 about his beliefs? Sometimes they write a thoughtful and relatively even-handed essay about it. Declaring one's self "ex-gay" would at first seem to be on par with "sort of pregnant," but I'm of the opinion human sexuality in particular is far too complex to fit in any number of boxes, and likely is more changeable than anyone would like to admit.
I can't remember exactly which auction it was, but I do seem to remember "the Kennedy ambulance" going past the block recently on HD Theater. Turns out it's almost certainly a hoax. I'm hoping Ellen doesn't find out that these old things are not very expensive. She's been wanting one for some time now. Property values are things other people worry about in her world :).
The US Senate has voted to end ethanol subsidies. And yes, this likely means corporate tax breaks are on the block as well. There. I said it. Would someone please hose down the left side of the peanut gallery? The shrieking and hooting I can take, but I draw the line at poo-flinging.
Ever wonder what it'd be like to go through Disney World as a vaguely left-of-center Gen-X journalist so high on weed you can't quite sew the whole experience together? Well, ok, no, I don't either, but that wasn't enough to stop the Gray Lady from paying someone who is to write up his experiences. His disapproval and sense of unease at the whole thing seems to have been flattened just as surely as his family was by the Orlando summer.
He should do what we're going to do next time we go back, and what my brother has done once a year for who knows how long... revisit in the off-season, when the crowds are gone along with the hammer-blow heat.
Headline!!! Catholic Cemeteries to Permit Gas Drilling Among Headstones. Actual article: a lease signed by a Pittsburgh diocese allows drilling into a mile-deep natural gas deposit anywhere on a 200 acre property, which includes about 5 acres of cemeteries. Well-known horizontal drilling technology will be used.
But I digress... ZOMG!!!! THEY'RE GONNA DRILL THROUGH GRAMMA'S GRAVE!!!
"One German organic farm has killed twice as many people as the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Gulf Oil spill combined." But you all knew that already, not because a blogger linked it, but because it was on all the news channels. Right?
Like the guy notes: actual response: crickets.
I agree with Fark (because it tracks well with my own experience): #2... wow, atheists are a noisy bunch, aren't they? In fairness, I think it's at least partially caused by people of faith goading them constantly. Gets reflexive after awhile, I guess.
Evolution did not equip the Stink Bug for the enclosed funnel.
A very StInKy NO-Prize to Dave at Dj Feathers for the tip!
Read entire article on the right to die.
Sometimes slow news days mean another exposed starlet, or more juvenile giggling over the latest politician caught with his wang out. Other times, you get much more important things, like a list of numbers and their various unexpected connections with history. Not completely sure just how many of them are true, since this is CNN we're talking about here, but it does make for fun reading.
Let's hear it for those green Democrats: a new report shows the government limo fleet grew 73 percent in the past two years. The article takes pains to point out some of this might be the fault of the Bush administration, then goes on to contradict the notion by revealing the biggest beneficiary was the State Department. As we say, not as we do.
I never thought I'd live to see the day when an openly gay high school student, in the South, gets himself elected prom queen. Turns out I was wrong. Meh. Why not?
A French shipbuilder has unveiled a revolutionary new submarine design at a recent defense trade show. The SMX-25 is engineered as a specialized surface ship hunter, and looks the part. Whether or not anyone's interested enough to actually buy one isn't clear.
Pope Benedict has become the first pontiff in two thousand years to ring up a space station. Turns out there are two Italian astronauts up there now, and one of them recently lost his mom. All in all, not a bad consolation, I think.
On the one hand, news that Ted Rall is having trouble getting published makes my shrunken, evil, right-wing heart feel all warm and fuzzy. Then when I read the reason is because he's calling Obama out for not being the moonbat Rall voted for... well, I have to give grudging respect. It's the same feeling I have watching the tourettes guy unabashedly ticking on the Metro. For the same reasons...
Guess what? “In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants Can Be a Plus for Both States and Students”. Who knew? That "bang" you heard was my sister-in-law's head exploding. She actually lives in MD, where a law legalizing just this sort of thing has been signed.
While not quite the same thing as getting an entire basket of groceries scanned at once, having the scanner mounted to the cart to "scan as you go" still seems like an improvement. That said, those self-check kiosks put a scale under the bagging area for a reason. I guess they've figured out some other alternative to prevent certain kinds of shoplifting.
Remember, folks, it's do what we say, not as we do. You know, like when 20% of the latest Obamacare waivers go to gourmet restaurants in Nancy Pelosi's district. Congresswoman's gotta eat, ya know?
So, let's reiterate: from my point of view, progressives and liberals think that government power is OK; the reason things go wrong is because of politicians buckling to Evil Welfare-Absorbing Corporations. As soon as we find some politicians with a backbone, everything'll be hunky-dory. The fact that we haven't consistently, or perhaps ever, found a politician with this sort of backbone for more than two centuries seems never to enter the equation.
While China's efforts to finish up that carrier they all promised would get turned into a casino proceed apace, it also reveals significant weaknesses in their navy at large. I guess "People's Liberation Army Navy" works better in Chinese, because it's a damned awkward construct in English. Oh, and put that in your "ZOMG!!! THE CHINESE ARE COMING!!!" pipe and smoke it.
People have been complaining about the lack of passing in F-1 since, well, probably at least since the late 60s, maybe longer. After literally decades of trying, the sport's governing body, the FIA, has finally stumbled into a set of regulations that have improved the situation. Result? People start biatching about how easy passing has become.
The main difficulty, really with any road course racing, is getting around someone who's just a little slower than you are. Alonso lost his championship last year precisely because of this problem. KERS and DRS seem to have neatly solved this problem, preventing slower, more desperate drivers from holding up an entire train of faster cars behind them. Quit yer griping and enjoy the damned show.
One to think about: 7 minutes versus 16 hours. Delay is fine when it's a Democrat who's doing it. That's deliberation!
California has now approved liquifaction as an alternative to cremation. And, yes, that means exactly what you think it means. Now not only can your gramma accidentally vacuum grampa up, she can also accidentally pour him on your cereal!
Problem: true or not, NYC cops are perceived as being slow on the draw figuring out who's killing hookers and tossing them on Long Island beaches. Solution: Costumed vigilantes, FTW! If the idea of a protector being nearby even slows down a homicidal maniac, I'm all for it. Just be careful, mistakes at this level tend to be... permanent...
Another day, another enthusiast explaining why cheap HDMI cables are the way to go. $1.50 HDMI cables for interconnects and 100 ft of lamp cord from the hardware store (what, $20?) for speaker wire is all anyone needs for a modern system. Full stop.
Alfa's return to the US market is delayed this time by (spins Wheel 'o Doom)... an ugly car. Ah, well. I guess I really would rather they start over again than sell a car even they don't like.
The world's last typewriter factory has closed its doors. Long obsolete in the west, the ultimate mechanical writing tool was until quite recently in widespread use in south Asia. Now even that region has modernized to the point nobody needs one. Can't say I'm all that sad to see them go.
Developing: new reports indicate Iran's nuclear centers have been completely disabled by the Stuxnet virus. If this proves to be true, it would seem SOMEBODY out there (*COUGH* JOOOS!!! *COUGH*) has the ability to take down a sophisticated industry with software alone. If it means we don't have to drop bombs on someone, I'm all for it, but I am a bit concerned that this smoking gun may not stay pointing the right way for long.
A new book is leveraging transcripts of hundreds of hours of enemy POW conversations to provide new insight into what common soldiers thought, felt, and believed about their cause. It turns out some stereotypes exist for a reason.
I have personally witnessed folks on the left side of the peanut gallery indulging in point #2. If you think I might be implying it's you, you're probably right. As it were.
Speaking of China, another economist is convinced the country is an enormous bubble set to burst "after 2013." The half-dozen or so articles I've read about gigantic ghost towns of unsold housing convinced me the dragon will not run rampant much longer. I've made sure to pick investments with low exposure to China precisely because of this. The real problem is that when China experiences social chaos, people die. Lots of people.
The boomers who were irresponsible hippies living their lives on their parents' dime are now irresponsible old people living lives on my dime. Amber worked at a pharmacy at an assisted living facility and she had many cringe-worthy stories about septuagenarian sluts and man-toys.
Latest rumors are saying Google's just as frustrated with the music industry as Amazon is. Thing is, Google has unexpected options. I'd make references to Norelco, but I'm not sure anyone under 40 would get them.
Or did she? Nearly 120 years after the gruesome double murder made headlines around the country – and spawned a true-crime nursery rhyme – a new book to be published in June may shatter the myth about the Massachusetts spinster.
The Borden tale, which has been passed down by generations, is macabre and remains a mystery. What is known is that on August 4, 1892, Andrew Borden, an affluent banker, and his second wife, Abby Borden, were murdered in the house the couple shared with Mr. Borden’s two unmarried daughters, Lizzie, 32, and Emma, 41.
The case came to a dramatic ending when a jury of 12 men returned a not-guilty verdict, an outcome that Martins believed was probably justified. "She was acquitted because there was no evidence against her," Martins said. "Any evidence they had was circumstantial."
Read entire article here.
"Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and her Fall River" looks to be an interesting read!
Let's break it down!
In a White House statement, Obama expressed his objection to two sections of the agreement, which prohibit the use of funds to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States and to move detainees into the custody of foreign countries unless specific conditions are met.
GOOD! Let them rot. They are there for a reason. I know euthasol is a pretty darn cheap drug. Hey we can save $$ that way! I'm a genius! *insert sarcasm*
"Despite my continued strong objection to these provisions, I have signed this act because of the importance of avoiding a lapse in appropriations for the federal government, including our military activities, for the remainder of fiscal year 2011," the president said.
Right... that's cause your ass is on the line in 2012. I'd sign papers too!
Under the deal, $38.5 billion will be cut from the budget, including funding from a wide range of domestic programs and services such as high-speed rail, emergency first responders and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Really? You are cutting emergency first responders? OH WAIT... you mean FEMA?? Those douches can't do anything anyway. How long did they make Katrina victims wait? Hang on... *grabs tissues*
You can read the rest of the article here.
Is this part the "Hope" or the "Change?"
A documentary maker is releasing a film documenting his discovery of the nails which were used in Jesus' crucifixion. So he claims, of course. After reading the article, what can definitively be stated is some nails from around the right period were found in a tomb that might contain the ossuary of Caiphas, the rabbi who turned Jesus over to Pilate. Quite a few "around" and "might"'s for me to take it all too seriously, but it does make for an interesting story.
Sounds about right to me: I find [being happy makes you likely to be libertarian] a plausible story. David Henderson points out that people on the left will complain about lack of choice in media and point to Fox News as an example. When he suggests that there are many other news outlets, the reply is "But some people only watch Fox News!" He concludes that the issue is not choice in media, but that people on the left are angry with other people's choices.
An indie game developer has successfully incorporated a socially-engineered piracy protection scheme. It's a lot less intrusive than the normal methods. To this day I'm amazed at how many stupid people are willing to steal $10 video games.
Actually, I'm surprised pinup artists came as close as they did to duplicating photos (SFW). It does seem to prove that fashion art has been taking liberties with the female form for much longer than the crowd so noisily disapproving of it all nowadays would lead you to believe.
"This is not an issue of sensitivity. This is just an issue of doing my job," Sullivan said Monday. "I'm a credentialed reporter. I should have been allowed in."
OK... well, I don't give a shit if you are credentialed, if someone wants privacy you need to wait outside.
You don't see male reporters in women's locker rooms do you?
I get it, times have changed yada...yada...yada.. but still, get over it.
So the Dems are talking tax increases again? I'm with Glenn: "Here’s my proposal: A 50% surtax on anything earned within five years after leaving the federal government, above whatever the federal salary was. Leave a $150K job at the White House, take a $1M job with Goldman, Sachs, pay a $425K surtax. Some House Republican should add this to a bill and watch the Dems react."
Read about a woman obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Read about a woman obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder.
We personally don't follow basketball all that much, but those who do may find this article on the origins of two of the best-known traditions in college hoops worth a look. I did know about the net thing, but thought it'd been going on longer. I don't even know how to hum the song they're talking about.
They lived next door to the zoo and raised the baby chimp as one of their own, with photographs of the nappy-clad primate with their children and other pets among the images in the family photo album from the era. The chimp went back to the zoo after two years because she had become too big and strong for them to manage, the New Zealand Herald reported. A few years later Sally was moved to Hamilton Zoo.
Now aged 94, Georgie Seccombe was reunited with Sally in Hamilton for the first time in decades yesterday - and the recognition was obvious, with the chimp bounding up to her at the sound of her call, and performing a few handstands.
I need a tissue. *SNIFF SNIFF* Is this room dusty?
A UK newspaper decided to find out what would happen if men were allowed to dress their female significant others by letting a group of men do just that. Me, I think the guys did pretty well, all told. The girls in question? They didn't all agree.
Ron T. gets a no-prize that obstinately refuses to glow in the dark for bringing us the story of a man who, fifty years ago, stood face to face with a plutonium fire and lived to tell the tale. More proof you can't kill an Englishman with a stick, far as I'm concerned.
Drug cartels may not have truly infinite money, but they do have enough to build their own submarine. Something tells me this might be the roach you find, with a whole bunch more hiding where you'll never find them.
Since many (most?) of you don't own a 2003 Little Girl, there's a good chance you have no idea who Miranda Cosgrove is or what channel iCarly is on. But if you do know the who and which, you might find this in-depth profile of everyone's favorite faux TV host worth a look. The author sometimes has difficulty hiding her envy of Ms. Cosgrove, but overall the piece seems fair enough. Nickelodeon hasn't picked as many kid stars as Disney, but the ones they have seem (SEEM!) to have their heads screwed on better. Only time will tell for sure.
Captain obvious is, well, obviously on the case: Japan has announced they will be shutting down the Fukushima reactor complex. You know, after they get it to stop threatening to summon Gozilla, that is...
Scientists have announced the discovery of seventy books which, if authentic, could represent Christian texts from before the time of Paul. Just about everyone is half convinced they're a hoax, but, if true, they would represent an amazingly important find.
Remember "Baby Jessica?" You know, the kid who fell down a hole during a particularly slow news week? She's about to cash out a pretty sweet inheritance. And hey, why not? Bonus: she's now a married mother of two. Time flies...
While everyone's obsessed with natural disasters and randomly exploding Muslims, A source of fear and sensationalism has been in a quiet decline. Leave it to the media to be vaguely wistful that they just don't build serial killers like they used to.
An airport is an airport is an airport, but Baghdad's is just that bit more. The only real way I can tell a country is doing well, short of visiting it, is where and how much coverage the media gives it. The more there is, and the closer it is to the front page, the worse off things will be. Iraq seems dangerously close to falling off the MSM radar screen altogether. Great news!
If this extended write-up of a new David Bowie biography is to be believed, the Star Man's life was even more debauched than anyone had ever imagined. Which makes visualizing him as a pensioner pottering around in his garden even more bizarre, but that seems to be what he does nowadays.
Ellen and I have loved Outsourced from the premiere episode, but it's "on the bubble" for renewal right now, and one of the writers thinks hypersensitivity may be the cause. It's risky to make fun of cultures, even deft, true, and light fun, because it's inevitable one interest group or another will see it as an opportunity to complain and get themselves noticed. Fight the good fight and watch this show!
Look out! The grownups are coming back! Quick! Everyone hide your stuff and act natural! Declaring a cease fire is not the same thing as observing it, and who knows what the rebels will do? Me, I'm interested in seeing just how good the Eurofighter really is.
Another day, another voice of reason explaining, very patiently, that Fukushima is not Chernobyl and never will be. This time, some ideas about what will be the follow-up are included. Japan doesn't love nuclear power. Japan requires nuclear power if it is to maintain any sort of real independence as a nation. If a giant natural disaster is what it takes to get fully modern reactor designs into production, well, I'd definitely count that as a silver lining.
On the other hand, this Slashdot comment seems to provide the, well, "other hand" interpretation.
PJM: "The only thing to fear is the sensationalist reporting that has the world panicked." It may very well be an inefficient way to boil water, but it's still the only viable green energy source out there.
The excitement of the MSM as it waits for something really catastrophic to happen is almost palpable. I haven't seen them this frothy since Katrina, and they had a president to blame then. I can only hope they're disappointed.
VW chief Ferdinand Piech seems incapable of passing up an opportunity to tweak Fiat about Alfa Romeo. Yes, folks, two of the largest car manufacturers in Europe are in a barely civil row over a marque that probably hasn't made money in twenty or thirty years. Now, tell me again how weird I am about these goofy little cars.
On the one hand, anything that gets a liberal this up in arms is probably an amazingly good idea. On the other, I'm not completely sure how legal it actually is to have the ability to fire elected officials at will. Because, you know, the local governments in Michigan have done such a stellar job of running things, certainly there's no need to try anything drastic or new.
A laid off Goldman Sachs employee has decided to take her own relationship experience and combine it with surveys of those of other women and write "I Got the Fever" with predictably sensational results. Does this mean America may finally be losing its eye-twitch psychosis about race? Nah, probably not, but I bet it'll make for a fun read!
Per usual, relying on the MSM would have you believing "the tiny island nation of Japan has experienced an apocalyptic tragedy," turning it into a cross between New Orleans after Katrina and downtown Port Au Prince. For an antidote, consult a local. Of course, this is Japan we're talking about. He's local by our perspective!
So Michael Moore's answer to the deficit is to treat the assets of America's "400 Mubaraks" as a national resource and simply take it. As with all liberal and progressive ideas, thinking past stage one reveals some flaws in this cunning plan.
It was a lietmotif of the opponents of the Iraq war to challenge supporters to go join the military and head on over there. So, here's an idea: if wealthy film makers are so damned serious about the government taking other people's money to solve the problem, why don't they make a start by voluntarily signing over their own assets?
Yeah, I don't think so, either.
So, are these "makeovers" actually "sexy", or is it yet another case of geezer's nostalgia? Me, I wouldn't call them anything but "different." If you were wondering what the first "look" of the 21st century really was, just take a gander at those toys.
Dog bites man: (barely) former NPR executive caught on tape spouting nasty opinions about conservatives. Bonus: he was talking to people he thought represented the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hey, it turns out slugging is actually quite rare across the country. If that sentence had you envisioning people bashing each other, you definitely need to at least skim this detailed look at an emergent, sustainable, free form of public transit. High speed rail will never work in the US for a huge number of obvious reasons, so progressive government naturally pushes it. Slugging has worked for more than twenty, and is ignored. Government efficiency at its best.
Oh, and it doesn't just happen along the 95/395 corridor. It happens along to toll road as well.
Making the rounds: Best Buy mulling over plan to implement mind control on all employees. That certainly is what it looks like when I watch anyone use the things.
So, the latest leftish line (ha!) Krugman et. al. are pushing is "Union Wisconsin GOOD! Non-union Texas BAD!" As with all the other attempts, it's only lying when our side does it. Distorting and over-simplifying? Our MSM? Perish the thought!
Another day, another guy facing time for being a douche. This sudden outbreak of common sense over people being a-holes is threatening to restore my faith in humanity. A few minutes watching Congress on C-Span should fix that...
Evidence appears to be emerging that the financial meltdown of 2008 may have been aided and abetted by hostile outside forces. In other words, some people in the intelligence community are beginning to believe that outside forces turned what would normally have been a correction into the meltdown we experienced. Economic 9-11, with predicted (and imminent) follow-ups.
Well, it's not exactly a link, but having an email I wrote get published on a big website is still a bit of a thrill. Yep, helicopter crazy is spreading and I'm one of the vectors.
Long live the American dream! There are many reasons why India and China have nothing on us. I know, I know, it's much more fun to moan about how destroyed it all is. You know, sitting in a Starbucks typing on your iPhone. But I digress...
Remember that punk who threatened the South Park guys and made the network back down over the show's depiction of Mohammed? He's going to have a long, long time to watch reruns. Yeah, I know, he'll get the sentence reduced on appeal, but he's still going to do time for being a douche. I didn't think that was possible nowadays.
Those who've noted how underpaid teachers can be will probably be interested to learn just what they make in Wisconsin. And, of course, 13 weeks of vacation.
Hey, at least they didn't have to use their AK: In Last 24 Hours Dem Protesters Have Assaulted a Young Woman, Tortured a Camel, Called Opponents “Bad Jews” & Attacked Gay Black Tea Partier. The mind boggles...
Since I've already confessed my reflexive, sysadmin-rooted hatred of all things Anonymous does, I guess it is a little hypocritical of me to find what they dug up about a specific black-ops software vendor of interest. But hey, if I was consistent I wouldn't be near as much fun, eh?
Survey results: Two-thirds of eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest. Our public school system is one of, if not the, most expensive in the developed world. Its students regularly test at the bottom of that list. The changes in Wisconsin will not solve this problem overnight. But they're a start.
It's not often that the origin of a ubiquitous word can be traced with any certainty. It would seem that "ok" is actually one of those kinds of word. I thought its origin was much more recent, having to do with it being easily understood over a poor radio connection. As with most such things, it seems I was wrong.
So, it seems the next liberal narrative is, "police and firefighter unions were given a pass in Wisconsin because they endorsed him during the election." Looks like, per usual, that dog won't hunt either. Those tables must be getting pretty battered by now, what with all the banging.
John P. Avalon: "Hyperpartisan tantrums, whether by Republicans or Democrats, are ridiculous and irresponsible. Bills deserve up or down votes. Fear-mongering should be condemned in political debates no matter what side is implicated." Which means, of course, that the party affected is flipping out.
The good news: most of the TV we watch is documentaries, so ratings don't matter all that much. The bad: what "regular" shows we watch seem to mostly be on the renewal "bubble." "No Ordinary Family" started out so promising, but won't be missed. V got boring when I realized I could actually predict lines of dialog, let alone entire episode plots. I would rather like to see Outsourced get picked up. And Human Target!
Ok, on the one hand, I think the Westboro people are basically the scum of the Earth. On the other, as a former sysadmin, I hate hackers with a pure, argent fire of chaos. So, when the script kiddies called "anonymous" declared war on Westboro I was... conflicted. Mostly because I knew that, while the Westboro church is evil, the members are smarter than most people realize. So I wasn't at all surprised to see this less than eight hours later.
Pimply-faced basement-dwellers versus Luddite cave men. Yeah, that actually was popcorn you were smelling. I'll be sitting way up in the peanut gallery to watch this one.
To steal Glenn's line: Faster, please: "The greatest anger among [Wisconsin public-sector union] demonstrators is over the portion of the bill that would strip public workers of the right to bargain for higher wages, benefits and changes to job duties. Pay raises for public workers would be subject to voter approval. Under the law, the state would also stop withholding union dues from government paychecks and make due payments strictly voluntary."
And isn't it interesting, that this is the very first time I've read what has the Wisconsin unions up in arms? And isn't it interesting that this information was buried deep in the article? I'll also wager that the first point, the "right to bargain," is a distortion. Other places I've read state the bill is stripping the right to collective bargaining, in other words (as I understand it) banning union strong-arm tactics. An important distinction.
All those people who fretted and dispaired over right-wing political "violence" are pleased to be sitting down and shutting up now. So, let's see how this goes... when conservatives protest, we're dangerous brownshirts. When a loony turns out to be left-wing, we're called on to bring "civility". When the left throws a fit, we're told it's our fault. Yeah. I get it now.
I've long believed the acid test of this Congress will be when the DC media start realizing budget cuts mean their friends are going to get pink slips, and said DC media decides to do something about that. Well, here they come. We have to punch back, twice as hard. Roll spending back to 2008 levels. That's barely three years ago, and will do substantial good toward reducing the deficit.
And no, I'm not suddenly transformed into a deficit hawk. I've long believed economic growth makes deficits irrelevant. Unfortunately two years ago obnoxious teenagers got the keys to the car and rammed it into a tree. The car won't run until it gets fixed.
Living where I do, I actually have a bunch of friends who could be adversely affected by this. Heck I may end up being adversely affected by this. The unfortunate fact is these cuts must happen, if nothing else to prove the American people are still able to control their rulers. If we don't, if the media and the elite and the left get their way and ignore us, the international bond markets will impose the required discipline, and will do so with great vengeance and furious anger. That sort of spanking will affect a whole lot more than just me and my circle of friends.
Meet Chase Britton, the boy born without a cerebellum. He seems happy enough, and certainly has known no other sort of life. Good for them!
Shame is, of course, something to be heaped on others, not to be taken upon one's self. How else explain Human Rights Watch appointing an active terrorist to a Middle East Advisory Board. Oh, don't worry, I know what your excuse will be. I just want you to let everyone else know how your apologies work.
The long, slow decline of the station wagon in the US has claimed another victim. Cars must meet different, more restrictive, safety and emissions laws than do trucks. This makes them more expensive and less practical than SUVs, most of which are little more than very tall station wagons. This is math only progressives could fail.
So, how many of these commandments has the Obama administration broken so far? Quite a nice summary of my economic beliefs. “We usually don’t have the necessary knowledge to intervene effectively in the economy, and the political process is such that, even if we did, we still likely would get bad policy, coupled with an ever-growing government sector.”
They told me if I voted for John McCain the next administration would claim rights for law enforcement far beyond the Patriot Act, and they were right! I've always enjoyed how the left gets all foamy in their public protests against government oppression. In a public park.
I'd long known Lenin's body has been on display as a kind of macabre secular incorruptible saint. However, I'd never seen any "behind the scenes" information until now. Bonus for Ellen: pictures of corpse, actual. Those look like screen shots from a full documentary. Too bad it's likely all in Russian.
Jeff gets a no-prize with a fake ID for bringing us a detailed look at what it's like being a teenager in the 21st century. Reading between the lines, it seems 1) parents still need to pay attention to what their kids are up to online, 2) this generation of young girls are much more sophisticated about on-line dangers than they used to be, and 3) guys are still mostly just interested in sex.
Which is to say, same sh-t, different day. The Kids Are All Right, as much in spite as because of their parents.
Surprising only to progressives: Catholic school students get higher test scores, while the schools spend a fraction of what the public system spends per student. The reasons? Parent choice and nonexistent unions create incentives for a sustainable, superior education. You might think implementing those incentives in the larger public school system would be impossible. That's probably because you don't know Sweden's been doing just that for nearly twenty years.
Cor, look at me, thinking the public school system is about teaching kids. When I remember the purposes are to empower union bosses and indoctrinate children in the cult of secular socialism, things make much more sense.
You knew it was going to happen some day. Yes, folks, the Catholic church now has an app for the iPhone. The particulars at first sound like something out of an SNL sketch, but viewed from the inside I guess there is a sort of logic to it. So far all I've ever met are practicing Catholics. Maybe with this thing they'll finally be able to play for real?
Big green to America: cheap Canuck oil: you can not haz. Now that grownups are in charge of the House and the rest of the brats are running scared, they might get ignored on something as important as this. Then again, these are Democrats we're talking about here. If we left them alone in the desert with an anvil for a few hours, when we got back it'd be broken.
I guess I'm just misreading this, because (if true) we should be trumpeting it from the rooftops: it looks like Canada has become our most important source of imported oil. There's a pipeline in the works that'll make us even more dependent on the Great White North, but that's naturally being held up by Greens freaking out. Putting Hajji on a breadline because his shenanigans made it too dangerous to buy his oil may actually be within reach. Now that grownups are back in charge of the House, maybe this'll finally get expedited?
And the guy with the load of fireworks he wanted to use to blow up a mosque? You know, the one with ties to "anti government organizations"? Turns out he's actually another nutter, with leftist leanings.
Ellen thought it apropos to run this pic as a reminder. Can't say I disagree with her:
Remember left side of the peanut gallery wailing about how Palin's "crosshairs" directly lead to political violence? They're half convinced the rest of us believe them, and won't notice what they're up to now. The left has always been decent words on the street backed by billy clubs in dark alleys. They reflect on the rest of us only what they wish to impose.
Ok, so I get that Obama had to bring, you know, a grownup on stage when it was time to explain his tax policy. Bill Clinton is still a charming communicator. But now the media has gotten so desperate they're invoking a dead Republican in support of The One?!? No, I don't think it's a conspiracy. Conspiracies require competence. I do think it shows just how reliant the MSM is on press releases, White House press releases especially, and how they won't even bother to change the language enough to make it sound like they came up with it themselves.
Yeah, the Republicans sounded like they didn't listen to the speech. The question is, did the MSM?
Every time I think they've finally managed to crawl out of the pocket of the Democratic party, I'm reminded that it's just so they can reach a higher diving board.
Michael Yon, via Instapundit: Marines are, quietly and efficiently, "waging death and destruction on the Taliban in a way the Taliban are not used to." Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.
Making the rounds: by exterminating people by the thousands, Genghis Kahn was inadvertently the greenest emperor in history. Which, of course, comes as a surprise to nobody who carefully reads the radical green agenda. It is, after all, what they've been advocating for years. Witness the left-wing love fest over on Slashdot for further proof.
"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as “bad luck."
-- Robert Heinlein.
Those of you looking for a counterpoint to Amy Chua's "American kids fail because they don't work hard enough" thesis would do well to read this NYT op-ed. I've read other takes on the "yeah, but how does that prepare your kid for working with others?" counter, but none as succinct. It also neatly explains why Chinese are frequently perceived as pushy, arrogant, and graceless when working with westerners, IMO.
Yeah, turns out even the Chinese are horrified at what their parenting customs read like, when distilled. It's tough when everyone, including the people who live next door, explain in great detail how horrible you all are. Welcome to Great Power status, here's your T-shirt. Why yes, it does say, "be careful what you wish for." And isn't THAT ironic?
They told me if I voted for John McCain, that vile Patriot Act would be renewed in perpetuity, and they were right! And, boy, that whole "ZOMG!1!!! DICK CHENEY'S A DICTATOR NOW!!!1!!!ELEVENTY!!" really came true too, eh?
Observation: Even if everyone, right now, and I mean right this second, turned everything off and zeroed our fossil fuel consumption, climate change will continue for another 1000 years.
Conclusion: LET'S DO IT!!!
No, really, after six paragraphs of pythonesque head-bonking, and one paragraph of motherly guilt on the successful kids, the author comes to the startling conclusion we must in fact do something that has already been predicted to fail. The mind boggles.
I do not deny climate change is happening. I do not doubt it is worrying. I believe we should do something about it.
I deny what motivates the green lobby is the environment. I doubt the judgment of people who think it is. I believe all the solutions currently proposed are actively harmful and will not work.
Find better solutions.
A media guide for the journalistically challenged.
It's deeply saddening yet strangely appropriate that the left's outrageous attempt to pin the Arizona shootings on people they hate should bring such an amazing summary of a decade's worth of political rage. Oh don't worry, I know you'll find plenty of counter-examples out there; that's not my point. My point involves glass houses, and stones.
Glenn Reynolds: "To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?"
Fortunately, my far left friend* has taken the high road on this and is treating it as it should be treated: as a human tragedy. Would that they all acted this way.
*If you're wondering who that is, it's not you.
Making the rounds: Egyptian Muslims attended Coptic Christmas services en-mass to show solidarity and act as human shields. Bullies, no matter how dangerous, succeed because people are too afraid to take them on. Once those people realize there are many more of them then there are of bullies, things begin to change.
A bunch of busybodies have figured out how to spoof wireless, keyless entry and ignition systems to steal a car. Using a receiver and transmitter to "tunnel" the key signal a long distance is so basic I'm surprised it hasn't been thought up before now.
Little girls (and probably little boys, not that there's anything wrong with that) who are tweeting death threats at Selena Gomez over her, well, whatever it is, with Justin Bieber could end up in jail. Personally I don't care either way, I'd just like to see someone tossed in the pokey for being an a-hole on line.
It seems a Chinese automaker's first self-developed sedan is actually an Alfa Romeo clone. We never got the 166 here, so I can't say I see much of a resemblance. Well, good luck to them!
I'm sure someone out there will care: both Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are scheduled to release new albums in early 2011. Spears has been quiet enough lately, guess that whole "leave dad in charge and keep the panties on" thing is working out. Gaga, in my opinion, was about sixty seconds away from an overexposure meltdown. We'll just have to wait and see how it all turns out, I suppose.
Instapundit is featuring this large, detailed, and growing list of practical disaster preparation advice. Turns out you really can buy MRE's on Amazon. I think that pretty much makes it official: you can buy anything that doesn't have a pulse over there.
Sometimes I feel bad for the left side of the peanut gallery. When you lose by a point or two, you can blame it on an off day, but when you lose by such a huge margin it just means the other side is better. Then I read things like this, and I suddenly don't feel bad at all for them anymore. Jonah Goldberg does a great job of picking it apart. Victor Davis Hanson dissects it in detail.
It seems that $20, a laptop, and a really gigantic data file is all you need to eavesdrop on cell phone calls. Fortunately, I'm not interesting enough to really warrant this sort of effort. Even if I was, well, like I said anyone who tries will find out I'm just not that interesting. Anonymity through banality, FTW!
Feeling down because, thanks to the evil BushCheney of course, America is on the skids, never to return to its former glory? Your grandparents had the same feelings, too. Except, you know, they didn't have a convenient political target to blame for everything, forever. Life's funny that way.
Problem: evil people are taking advantage of the virtuous poor! Solution: Quick, hand me The Hammer of Government! Consequence: Nicky Santoro suddenly has a lot more business. Every day I wake up glad, now that I know we've put grownups back in charge of Congress.
New York Times: "Five years ago, Matthew R. Simmons and I bet $5,000. It was a wager about the future of energy supplies — a Malthusian pessimist versus a Cornucopian optimist — and now the day of reckoning is nigh: Jan. 1, 2011."
The conclusions confirm what most of us in the libertarian section of the peanut gallery have suspected for years. Poo flinging from the green section on the left in 3... 2... 1...
Mark gets a no-prize that zigs for bringing us video of how Cadillac promotes itself in China. Nice to see the Shanghai circuit does more than just host an annual F-1 race.
There is still a few days left! C'mon celebs! Join the club!
US drones are being reported as having bagged a whopping 25 bad guys with just two attacks in Pakistan's tribal region. They don't seem to have had the time to switch out their guys with random villagers before the press got there.
Hey, did you know Bill Gates is a lot richer than the crack whores on North Capitol street? What a great idea: instead of letting rich people manage their own money with private banks that lend it to anyone they see fit, let's get the government to take their money and give it to anyone the politicians see fit. Put it another way: where do you think rich people store their money? What, you think they bury it in the back yard?
To repeat: who will do a better job managing that money, the people who made it, or the politicians who steal it?
They told me if I voted Republican, gas companies would be given outrageous special favors, and they were right! Bonus: the latest concessions will not only rot the fuel system of my ridiculous old Italian sports car, but every other damned car made before 2007.
Those of us on the right are, understandably, deeply suspicious of
the media and their agenda Fox News. Especially when we see There's nothing to worry about when all the mainstream news outlets say the same thing, with nearly the same word order, over and over again. It definitely makes should not worry me that perhaps our old friend the Journolist has definitely not reconstituted itself somehow.
That, or the whole establishment media
is so dumb is keeping our best interests at heart when they all are reading from the exact same press release that twit noble legislator Nancy Pelosi put out.
Wait a second. Suddenly
I'm I AM NOT getting the urge to change my blog password...
The president has gone a full nine months without sneaking a cigarette, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reported Thursday.
I am sure they will let us know his next bowl movment.
Problem: Massive budget deficit. Solution: Soak the rich. Unintended consequence: Rich people got wheels, ya know? Let's take a look at this graph again, keeping in mind the red line is how the left side of the peanut gallery thinks the world works, while the green line is how the rest of us know it works:
Q: Why does revenue stay comparatively flat despite dramatic fluctuations in the tax rates on the wealthy?
A: Cheaters and loopholes.
Follow up: And exactly how will your current plans to soak the rich prevent that from happening again?
I rest so much easier now that we've put grown-ups back in charge of the money.
And in the, "wtf is California up to now?" file, we have vaginal steaming. Remember, folks, if you smoke after sex, you're doing it too fast.
Changing demographics and poor timing are shaping up to make Obama's next presidential run even more difficult. Seems like that whole "tighten grip / slips through fingers" thing is actually true. Who knew?
Sandra K. gets a no-prize that's full of unintended consequences for bringing us a survey of what real, actual progressive and liberal policies can accomplish when the resources of the richest state in the union are put at their disposal.
"Oh come on! The policies would work, and work well, if it weren't for the liars, cheats, and... and... CONSERVATIVES screwing it all up!"
"Really? So, what you're saying is, the only thing holding your ideas back from their inevitable success is the people who implement them? That your side is always the victim of foul intent, for the past, what, fifty or sixty years? What's different about it this time around?"
China has very quietly announced their intention to build an aircraft carrier. The term "aircraft carrier" can be very elastic, used to define things as small as a glorified helicopter transport to our own new Ford class big-deck bad-asses. They've had ten years to pick apart Varyag, and seem to be doing what everyone once claimed could never be done by making her seaworthy again. Definitely something to keep an eye on.
Perhaps the last surviving Nazi directly involved in the execution of the Holocaust was recently interviewed by a private American citizen posing as a neo-Nazi. Even extended clips of what resulted are fascinating. I guess that, when confronted with one of the few living remains of such monstrous evil, all one really can do is ask questions, and record the answers.
So, after what must be at least three thousand words of hand-wringing and shirt tearing from Glenn Greenwald, what shocking things have we learned:
Look, even I think the guy deserves a blanket. That should be easy enough. As for the rest? Well, prison sucks, whaddayagonnado?
An Ares correspondent has written an insightful commentary on where China is, and where it might be going, in the 21st century. I personally consider it rather striking that the idea of a patriotic Chinese is somehow different from that of a patriotic American. We've made room for each other this long, I'll wager we'll continue to do so for the foreseeable future. People on the street yelling about kicking ass is great for scaring the foreigners, but, in our two countries at least, when money starts getting scared people who matter start paying attention. C.f., "US Election of 2008, The."
LinkedIn has a list of the 10 most over-used resume buzzwords. I'll have to go dig around for mine and see if any of those words are in there. I'm thinking "motivated" and "team player" may, but the rest, I don't think so.
“Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.”
- Will Rogers
It seems that, after some five hundred years, someone actually has found a secret code in the Mona Lisa. The article seems to only mention a few letters, and then veers off into discussions of da Vinci's love life and how someone is badgering French authorities into giving them a look at his bones, so no idea what it actually may mean.
And in the, "never expected to see THAT name in the Wikileaks" bin we have news that North Korea seems to have wanted Eric Clapton to play Pyongyang as a gesture of good will. "Seems to" being the operative phrase here, as analysts aren't sure if this is the real deal or some REMF trying to polish his resume or something.
Looks like the SDFD did their job right, and that house full of explosives just burned right down. I've never completely understood how "raised" and "razed" ended up meaning opposite things, but, well, there ya go.
That being, "The United State's production of oil has reached a new peak this year." And the next. And the next. And the next. It would be sweet irony indeed if the high oil prices that had peak oil believers merrily twirling 'round the tops of their towers were what tipped us onto the road of outright energy independence. Twirl faster, you loons, twirl faster!
If this graph doesn't prove soaking the rich does nothing for the federal budget, well, I guess nothing will. Faith always trumps evidence, and I expect the left side of the peanut gallery to deny this with such force it'll make a fundamentalist Christian take notes.
The best part is, they'll think it's the Christians who're being dangerously hard-headed about their beliefs.
So, for punishment, here's what they have to write on the blackboard 200 times: our taxes are not too low; our government is spending too much.
GOP to dems: lame duck agenda: not yours. Meddlesome policies: you can not haz. STFU & GBTW on the stuff that matters. Last time the GOP stood their ground in the Senate, the media worked hand-in-glove with the Clinton administration and delivered a win to the dems. Will they be smart about it this time? We'll see...
Ever wonder what really happens to a package after you hand it off to your carrier of choice? Popular Mechanics did too, and they had the smarts, and the budget, to find out. The comments follow my own experience... packaging is critical to an item surviving a trip. The shipper's guidelines are there for a reason, and not following them will nearly always result in damage the shipping company will refuse to pay for.
Turns out Charon is not just a character in a story, he's a guy with a boat on a river in China. So, does his charging for his service make him a greedy monster, or is it what keeps him and his family from starving? And just what, pray tell, makes your judgment valid, and mine not? And why, exactly, can't we push the power to judge down as far as it will go, until it's between just him and the parents who have to look at what he rolls over?
You can silently push me away, sir, but that makes my pins no less sharp.
Sometimes it's useful to engage in a dialog. Many times, it's more effective to simply ask questions, and keep asking them, until you're locked out of the comments section. But sometimes, well, sometimes it's best to just unload with both barrels. Hell, the left side does it every chance they get. Oh I know, I know. They're speaking truth to power. It's my side that's a stalking horse for fascism. I keep forgetting that part.
Tragic sea life die-off from a super-massive Gulf oil spill? What tragic sea life die-off from a super-massive Gulf oil spill? So, if you got to blame Cheney's shenanigans for the whole debacle, does that mean I get to credit Cheney's shenanigans for the resurgence of fish in the Gulf?
An obscure state-run research agency getting demonized as the most incompetent bunch of right wing deniers the world has ever known in 3... 2... 1...
A new, stealthy, anti-ship missile being developed as part of a DARPA program has been given the green light for more extensive tests. The missile itself is thought to be evolutionary, based on the JASSM air-launched cruise missile. What's thought to be revolutionary enough to hold DARPA's interest is the navigation and guidance, with the ultimate goal apparently to be full autonomy when hunting for
Chinese red-force ships.
Ron gets a sawed-off no-prize for bringing us The Zombie Research Society, your one-stop-shop for anything you might need to fight off a night of the living dead. The endurance of this fad never ceases to surprise me.
They told me if I voted for McCain, the administration would do whatever it took to cover up the next horrific environmental catastrophe, AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Again, your side thinks government stinks because the wrong people get put in charge. My point is, well, simpler than that.
To wit: "THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN WE’D JUST BE BOMBING VILLAGES AND KILLING PEOPLE. And they were right!" Is this the hope, or is this the change: Afghan Air War Peaks With 1,000 Strikes in October. Oh, don't worry. For at least thirty years kids have been taught that Kennedy did something strange with Vietnam, which Johnson sort of let slip away while he was taking the oath on that jet next to Jackie, AND THEN NIXON BOMBED CAMBODIA!!! I have no doubt at all that history will record Obama being just as innocent.
You know, at the end of his first term.
By using forensic analysis on the Trinity nuclear tests, scientists have determined if hajji ever does manage to get his hands on a bomb, we should be able to tell where he got his stuff. I'm actually more interested in what can be gleaned from the information they gathered, since (as I understand it), a great deal of information surrounding the Trinity tests is still classified.
"How can you possibly be apposed to climate change policies?!? What's wrong with you?!?" is a constant refrain from the green left. To me, this indicates a misunderstanding, so I figured How Progressives Misunderstand Much Conservative Skepticism of Climate Policy might be worth a link:
Conservative action to proposed climate policies is driven by opposition to extensive government interference in the economy.
That mandating dramatic near-term emission reductions is a more sensible ... risk management strategy than investing in technological innovation, exploring geoengineering, or preparing for adaptation is something to be shown, not blithely asserted.
If everything calls for the same big government solution, why does it matter what the problem is?
Environmentalists will be more successful enlisting conservatives (and many moderates) to their cause once they become more focused on solutions, and less insistent on government control.
And those are just the highlights. I know, I know, the fact that I'm the slightest bit skeptical of any environmentalist's claim or have even vague misgivings about government policy as the only way to fix it means I'm a denier of the first order, and therefore cannot be trusted. I just want you to say it out loud.
First we put (presumptive) grown-ups back in charge, and now the GAO is actually pleased about something. Something from the Pentagon, no less. "I'm feeling... happy, and that's a big deal... for me..."
Yeah, America's definitely becoming more segregated, more divisive, and more racist. Just ask this guy. Progress happens, as long as progressives are kept away from everyone else.
Ok, so, Congressional leadership has changed, Obama (hopefully) realizes his messiah image only works on MSNBC, and everyone on my side realizes we don't have the votes or the mandate to actually repeal Obamacare outright. Is there a third way? This guy thinks so.
Allowing any people, especially young people, any sort of choice in their health care decisions is of course anathema to progressives, but since they've now been de-fanged, could something like this have a chance? On the one hand, it makes way too much sense to go anywhere in a typical Congress. On the other, this is not going to be a typical Congress. Definitely something to watch, in my opinion.
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are having their genomes sequenced, and it turns out Ozzy may (now) be healthier than Sharon. The bit about him having Neandertal genes is a bit puzzling, since it was my understanding nobody'd found conclusive evidence of that ANYWHERE in anybody's genome. Still, if anyone were to have it, I'd definitely pick Ozzy.
Generics have cut into profit margins, so drug companies stop making things that allow people to live. This, and nothing else, is why it's so hard to apply markets to health care. If I can't afford the latest TV technology, I watch the one I have, or I read a book. If I don't have the drug I need, I frakking die. Until we manage to unlock immortality, this is where the market hits a brick wall.
Progressives will then climb to the very tip of their bell tower's spire and rain righteous hellfire down on me, but they have a problem too. Immortality is going to be expensive, in ways nobody's really figured out. The only way it's going to happen, the only way, is if the medical industry is allowed to maximize its profits. Seeking social justice now, progressives will doom us all to the grave.
There are no good answers, and anyone who thinks they have them is either insane, or selling something.
So, are terrorists nasty and clever, or are they just, well, nasty? What I think is missing from the article is the concept that terrorists are dumb now because we've killed or captured the smart ones. And we need to keep doing that, otherwise they'll start getting bright again.
Nature has done what millions of soccer fans around the world have been wishing they could do since the end of the World Cup. No, unfortunately it's not "a hurricane blowing those damned vuvuzelas up each and every one of their arses," it's the death of the world's greatest eight-armed sports prognosticator. I've always found it deeply puzzling that such a large, sophisticated creature has such a short life span. I guess that whole, "candle that burns twice as bright" thing may have something to it after all.
"So, when it comes to my comfort level as a conservative who happens to be gay, here's what I know: while many conservatives are people of faith and their religion promotes a very different point of view than mine on homosexuality (and a few other things!), I have found conservatives to be more tolerant, more curious and more understanding of those who are different to them than I ever did when ensconced in US liberal leadership."
Now that I think about it, an absolute disdain for religious conservatives seems to, as I perceive it, underpin the beliefs of every left-leaning person I know. I even understand it, since such disdain informed my political views for a very long time. It took me, well, I hate to admit it, but I guess I must say "growing up," to realize that the people who led me to that disdain were either dumb teenagers, or the parents of same. Now that I'm older, in my opinion the adults who go to church, well, the churches I've been in at any rate, are just as frightened of this world as the rest of us are, and only want to find their own way, and, gently, try to help those they see as lost find theirs.
I've always considered the symptoms of genuine intolerance to be belittling those who disagree with you, making jokes at their expense, and, if all else fails, throwing vile insults at or genuinely threatening them or the people they love or care about. With that definition, and especially when I review the comments to this particular post, I find it hard to deny that the real bigots are found among those who do not go to church.
And heck, I'm a Buddhist. We don't even have churches.
P.J. O'Rourke: "This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order." No matter how great our hopes, it's looking more and more like the Democrats will be routed from the House but still hold on to a slim majority in the Senate. It will mean we'll be unable to repeal the core of their odious "cap and trade and tax and bail and obamacare for all!" agenda immediately, but it will also mean we'll be able to at least stop it from getting any worse.
Considering the mess they managed to make up until now, I'll take what I can get.
After thirty years and some two hundred million units sold, Sony has officially ended production of its iconic Walkman cassette player line. They were too expensive for me when I was in high school, but around 1995 or so I picked one up that included an AM/FM radio. It was quite good!
It's official: The first Alfa to hit our shores will be... wait for it... a Dodge. A lot will hinge on who's engine, suspension, and styling goes in it, as to what sort of car it will ultimately be. Still, it's nice to FINALLY see progress after all this time.
WSJ: "So look past the billionaires." Will we be a "government of the public employee, by the public employee and for the public employee"? Oh, don't worry, I already know your answer. I just want you to, well, not exactly "say it out loud," but I think you get my meaning.
Another year, another academic claiming science is, and should, destroying religion and taking its place. Because if the 20th century is nothing else, it is an abject lesson in what happens when science displaces religion and is given the powers of a state. Yeah, that all turned out real well, didn't it?
Yeah, it's a question I want to ask too: Hey, Al, what happened to all the damned hurricanes? Tell me climate change is a problem, and we're contributing, and I'm all ears. Tell me it's a mega-crisis that requires massive tax increases so the government can protect us... yeah, pull the other one, it's got bells on.
I thought I was pretty well informed on the various nuclear screwups that have happened over the years, but I had only heard of two of these five incidents. History is replete with accounts of entire towns being flattened by various forms of conventional explosives when they first arrived on the scene in the 19th century. Considering the stakes, I'd say we've done a much better job than they did.
I'm not even sure this can be defined as, "a sign of the apocalypse." You see, as far as I'm concerned, when what is usually a proud and reliable mouthpiece of the Democratic party starts running positive pieces about Sarah Palin, well, bub, that pretty much defines the end of the world, far as I'm concerned.
From where I sit, Palin seems to make my center-left friends, especially the women, absolutely froth with rage. The folks who sit over on the left edge of the peanut gallery just explode impressively whenever her name comes up. It's really starting to eat into our cleaning budget, keeping up with that mess. I would have no problem voting for her, but I'm a card carrying member of The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. I'm capable of any evil as long as the end result is cutting taxes and shooting terrorists. Just ask the left side!
So, anyway, I think she has a very long way to go to sway centrist voters, but she does have quite a bit of time to travel. Like the article notes, politicians with bigger problems have overcome them to win the prize. That said, I'd feel more comfortable if the Republicans in that bunch had a more consistent track record.
"Let me go on record that I regard communism as expressed by the U.S.S.R. and its friends here and elsewhere as a grisly horror, a tyranny maintained by force and terror, utterly subversive of human liberty, freedom of thought, and dignity. I regard it as Red fascism, distinguishable from black and brown fascism by differences of no importance to me nor to its victims." -- Robert Heinlein
This is exactly how I feel about it, as well. Via Instapundit, who's highlighting yet another book pointing out just how horrible red, black, and brown really were.
Mike J. gets a no-prize strangely obsessed with the "Conner" section of the phone book for bringing us news that robots are now helping guard our nuclear stockpiles. Bah. Could be worse. Could be union employees doing the guarding. "Why is guarding important? Come, friend, strike with us for a 30 hour work week and mandated retirement with full salary at 55! No, nothing to worry about, a man in a turban took all the nasty nuclear things away..."
Victor Davis Hanson once again has a perceptive take on just where, and how, things went wrong for the Obama administration. Two things stood out, for me:
A hard-core leftist base is petulant that Obama copied Bush’s anti-terrorism protocols and broke a lot of promises in the process; they will vote only if they happen to be driving by the polls on a Tuesday afternoon.
This is exactly what I've been hearing from the people who sit so far to the left in the peanut gallery they're in danger of falling off that edge of the world. To which I can only say, "this isn't the election you're looking for. We can vote about our business. Move along..."
And then there's...
I think pundits have not appreciated the fact that this is not quite a red/blue, Republican versus Democratic race, but a historic election in which many of the Republican candidates are first-time politicians, beholden to no one, and not part of the Republican establishment.
This is what I've been saying, for months now. The Republican establishment has reacted with such outrage precisely because of it. My side's great disillusionment came at the end of the Bush years, when we came to the realization that the only real difference between the two sides was the color of the tie tacks. We don't want to put the same set of people who sucked in '07 back in charge in '11. We want new faces, and it looks like we'll get them.
Well, yes, they're gonna suck, too. But they'll suck in different ways, and before they really start to stink they may very well do some good.
When the second-most prominent mouthpiece of the Democratic party starts running pieces vaguely sympathetic to the tea party, well, that pretty much says all bets are off. I do, however, take comfort in the fact the article never once mentions a similar sort of sign survey for more recent left-ish rallies or, goodness me, any rally before 2008. They do have standards, you know.
They told me if I voted for John McCain government power would be used to silence political opposition, and they were right! I, personally, love George Soros, because he's so damned useful this election cycle when the folk on the left side of the peanut gallery start rattling their cages about giant campaign donations. You know, in this election cycle. Previous cycles? Oh, come on! They were fighting for justice then!
"The Old Testament has virtually no reference to the afterlife, to Heaven or Hell. There is a powerful sense of spirituality, but it’s all about this world, not the next world. It says that every single person has the ability and the obligation to get up in the morning and make the world better." -- David Hazony
A federal district judge has ruled the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy unconstitutional, and will apparently be issuing a global ban on it soon. The complete lack of drama this time around is a striking contrast to the ruckus that was raised when the Democrats took a run at this in the early nineties, which resulted in the policy in the first place. I don't think the country, or the military, was quite ready for gays openly serving not quite twenty years ago. A generation later, well, I'd like to think they are. Doesn't seem like they'll have much of a choice.
Iran has publicly admitted they have an espionage problem at their nuclear facilities. I'd much rather screw up their ambitions with a well-placed wrench than I would to do it with a well-placed aerial bombardment. It'd also be nice to have a little more certainty about what needs blowing up, and what doesn't.
Well, now I have to believe in Peak Oil. Why? Because there's now an official study that says it's here! It was put out by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas! They have to know what they're talking about!
The video at the end makes a good point, but my bet is it won't ever be that apocalyptic. The only thing more ingenious than a human being is a human being who sees a pathway to becoming filthy, stinking rich, and there's an entire gigantic royal family of Saudis to prove just how rich someone who can make energy can get.
Off the top of my head I can think of three or four alternatives to fossil fuels that just need more money to become viable. Put it this way... the world was surviving just fine when oil was, what, $140 a barrel, and the stories were coming fast and thick about how this guy or the other guy was beavering away at a replacement. It's not quite half that right now, so the incentives aren't as strong, but they're still there.
Oil is not the most precious resource on the planet. We are. And we'll figure this out, just you wait.
Well of course you knew it was only a matter of time until someone teased out the anal sex stats from that new sex survey. Hey, man, consenting adults, not on my lawn, go knock yourself out.
Or, you know, something to that effect. Article is SFW.
If this story is to be believed, Iran's really got a nasty computer problem. Being a bunch of religious lunatics running a program to build a nuke will, after all, tend to attract the wrong sort of attention.
"You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it's just a cage." -- Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad
Ah, I see, when my side has a few right-wing loons show up at a massive rally, they get front page coverage. When the other side has wackos show up at a rally, you have to go digging for the evidence. I know, I know. we highlight the right-wing extremists because they are the truly dangerous ones. The left's record is so much cleaner!
An ancient Italian town is at the forefront of the drive for renewable, green energy. Good for them. Yes, the taxpayers are footing at least some of the bill, but that's in the form of incentives, not mandates.
Ok, so if Fox news reports, well, anything bad about a left-wing darling it's automatically suspect. That's why this time they brought the video tape. Even better, I'm pretty sure this is where the purported Alfa SUV will be assembled. Ah, well, looks like it'll still matter what time of day, and what day of the week, the car is assembled even in the good ol' USA. Bonus: because of union rules, the guys weren't cashiered immediately, but instead will stay on Chrysler's books while the union-mandated firing procedure is followed. Let's hear it for workers sticking it to The Man!
And in the, "karma makes for strange coincidences" file, we have the Polish neo-Nazi couple who discovered they were actually Jewish. I'd think gramma would've eventually told someone, but who knows?
Strangely enough, I think "so far to the left he's going to fall off that side of the Earth" friend Kevin will agree with at least some of what VDH is talking about today. To wit:
"Or gay marriage and “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Cannot liberals run on the theme that sexual difference has nothing to do with the sanctity of marriage or the efficacy of military service, so we proudly see both issues as those of human rights?"
I mean, really, the whole point of standing up for what you believe in is, you know, actually standing up for what you believe in. "Right or wrong, my beliefs," that sort of thing.
"To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil." -- Charles Krauthammer
"Democratic leaders in Washington are in a worse position than Republican leaders in Washington. Neither likes their base, really, and both think they are smarter. But the Democrats think, deep down, that their base is barking mad. The Republicans don’t. They just think their base is a bore." -- Peggy Noonan
To wit: the White House actually holds a conference call with liberal bloggers and the MSM, and all the bloggers do is biatch at them. It's hard, you see, to understand the rest of the country simply doesn't agree with you when your bell tower is so very high and you are twirling at the top so very, very quickly.
Via Ed Driscoll through Instapundit, who really should mention to his readers that the Dodge Viper's going to be a re-skinned Alfa Romeo in 2012. I'm just sayin'...
As with most progressive attempts at, well, anything, they can't even manage to get soaking the rich right. The interesting thing about America, which is understandably never really talked much about on the left, is that most rich people here made their own money. But by all means, let's take the money they worked so hard to earn, and give it to the government. They've done such a spectacularly good job spending it so far...
Problem: Insurance companies "unfairly" exclude children with pre-existing conditions from most sorts of health insurance policies.
Solution: Make them do it anyway.
If a thing can be done profitably, in a genuinely free market it will eventually be done. If it can't, it won't. Forcing someone to do it anyway out of a misguided sense of what's fair doesn't magically make it profitable, it forces the companies suddenly under the government's thumb to flee the market.
As ever, it is always better to starve in the name of justice, than it is to eat in the shadow of prosperity. As long as it's us doing the starving, that is.
It seems even American icons are not immune to economic troubles. Fortunately they're already heavily unionized, so prying another bailout from the Obama administration should be relatively straightforward. All I can say is the motorcycle friends I have who own Harleys love them, and the ones who don't wish they could. The bikes also hold their value for a tremendously long time. I'm thinking once the economy turns around, so will Harley-Davidson.
Stymied again by the utterly inconvenient will of the people, the Obama administration has once more resorted to means of questionable legality to create a new agency and appoint an unconfirmable radical as its leader. As noted in the article, if the Bush administration had even tried a stunt like this, the whole planet would start to wobble in sympathy with the moonbats as they twirled in their towers. November just can't get here fast enough.
Lest you think the US is the only place with immigration problems, we have the story of Prata, a small Italian town inadvertently becoming the center of an all-to-familiar crisis. Let's see, progressives conspire with organized labor to ensure an industry can never be competitive, watches with feigned surprise when all growth in that sector grinds to a halt, then starts twirling from their various bell towers declaring immanent apocalypse when the entire industry moves in a direction they neither expected nor desired. Yeah, that about covers it. Wait, are we talking about Italy, or the US?
A specialized Army unit was given the mission of recovering all the unused crap scattered around Iraq before combat operations ended, and the result was some 1.8 billion dollars of stuff laying around getting put back into the supply chain. That's 30,000 containers worth, my friend. Now tell me again, how the Romans were masters of logistics.
Four words not regularly put together: drive-in sex box. And no, sorry all you amateur comedians, that's not "another way to put it." They're Germans... saying, "double entendre" makes them wonder which Frenchman made a shotgun. SFW.
Ron gets a buzzword-laden no-prize for bringing us The REAL 'Stuff White People Like', and not just white folks, but black folks, Latinos, Asians, and others. The information was gleaned from a simple survey of on-line profiles posted on a popular dating service. What they reveal about our unconscious "likes" is intriguing, not the least because I don't know who half the people anybody mentions actually is.
For every regulation supposedly meant to protect workers from the oppression of their employers, there's a consequence which impedes the rest of us from actually getting anything done. Unfortunately such consequences are only occasionally unintentional.
Fans of the old Buck Rogers TV show should be happy to hear that Erin Gray is doing just fine nowadays, helping other celebrities manage the convention circuit. Bonus: DragonCon mentions! Will a concentration on the fans instead of the producers create a friendlier sort of celebrity? Only if it works both ways. Fortunately, that sounds exactly like what's going on.
Even the Economist seems cautiously optimistic about Alfa's future. A future that now seems to assume a return to America in 2012. Considering at least two offerings are scheduled to be assembled in North America, I think this is one they won't be able to back away from. Fun times ahead!
Before we all get too enamored of "what organized labor brought us," let's take a moment to consider the consequences of not thinking past stage one. The left harps constantly about the "unjust earnings" of certain business leaders. Never once do they seem to acknowledge there might be something wrong with a lifeguard who can retire at 52 with a $147,000 a year pension. And there are a lot more lifeguards out there than there are fat business tycoons.
Happy Labor Day!
In promotion for his upcoming CBS sitcom, "@$#% My Dad Says" (really? How the @#$# am I supposed to use the Tivo to find that?!?), William Shatner has subjected himself to another in-depth interview. Having read at least a half dozen of these over the past thirty years, and seen the guy both in and out of character (albeit never in person), he seems to be exactly what he seems to be... a charming, funny, pushy guy who you either take or leave as he is. Having heard George Takei on the Stern show, I can understand see how the two personalities would never mix.
Still, the interview is quite interesting, and since the man's not quite 80 now, I can't see how we'll have him around too much longer.
Instapundit has a writeup and some extensive commentary on how Obama has gotten so bad people are starting to miss Bush. The last president I consider a complete disaster was Carter, and it took Democrats, what, twelve, fifteen years to rehabilitate him? Of course, back then it was the Republicans that got ushered into power after Democratic debacle. History has a funny way of repeating itself that way, eh?
And this comment tracks dead-on with discussions I've had with a few friends who proudly twirl along the left edge of the peanut gallery:
Every time Obama’s approval rating drops another point, [inattentive conservatives] infer validation that more and more people are seeing the light. It doesn’t occur to them that his poll number are (among other reasons) dropping because liberals are angry that Obama/Reid/Pelosi haven’t worked harder to advance the progressive agenda. Liberals disapprove of the fact that that Obama settled for Obamacare instead of embracing a true, single-payer system; because they watered down financial oversight instead of going for the corporate jugular; because they escalated the war in Afghanistan instead of forcing the new government to sink or swim on its own. The list could go on.
The Dems tossed out my side's dumb bastards in '08. It'll by my side's turn in November. I'm thinking the Tea Party just might ensure a more libertarian sort of conservative takes up residence, and if that happens I will be a very happy man indeed.
See you in November!
They told me if I voted for John McCain, the very foundations of cause and effect would fail... and they were right! "By almost any metric, our practice of locking large numbers of people behind bars has proved at best ineffective and at worst a national disgrace ... even as crime has fallen, the sentences served by criminals have grown..."
Ok, so even if his progressive slip shows, the article itself is quite, well, interesting. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the incentives that might get set up if potential criminals know the worst they'll face is a tacky ankle bracelet. That said, I'm definitely in favor of a system that sounds an alarm whenever Joey Maniac comes within a hundred yards of the former girlfriend he was convicted of threatening to beat to death.
After six years, the recipient of the first US transplant has revealed her "final look." Going to win beauty contests? Well, no. A person you probably wouldn't look twice at if you passed them at the mall? Now you're talking. And really, what the heck is wrong with that?
So, what happens when you give a very small, non-randomly selected group of panhandlers free (albeit limited) credit cards? Well, not exactly anarchy. Begging is a job like any other, and, in a modern welfare state, more than survivable.
Remember all that talk about how the Navy tried to use various marine mammals to do all sorts of security work during the cold war? When I was growing up, conventional wisdom said they tried it but couldn't make it work. In reality, it would seem the US Navy has at least forty years experience successfully training dolphins and sea lions in various forms of defensive action. Go for the utterly fascinating tale of for-real flipper heroes. Stay to see the wheels fall off the story as the reporter spins it for his hard-left audience and spends at least the final third of the piece stroking their "Now we see the violence inherrant to the system! 'elp! 'elp! We're bein' repress'd!!!" egos.
Bah. Me, I say, "take that, hajji. We got f-ing DOLPHINS after yer ass. How well does your suicide bomber SWIM?!?"
Beer? In a can? It's more likely than you think. I think one advantage of bottles is they keep the breW colder, longer. But the point that cans really are just fine for beer is well taken.
Now that oil has peaked and we've all been inundated after the collapse of the glaciers, the latest meme seems to be we'll run out of food. Looks like that one's just about as likely as the other two. It's easy for me to accept that the world's resources are finite. It's also easy for me to accept that human resourcefulness is boundless. I wish others would realize using government to conserve the former does nothing but impede the latter.
Rick gets a no-prize that makes way too much sense for its own good for bringing us this even-handed, articulate explanation of why so many Americans are against the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan. On the one hand, the libertarian in me says private property should be disposed of in whatever way the owner pleases. On the other, the internationalist in me agrees that if this thing actually manages to be built it will be seen as a triumph for huge swathes of ignorant people around the world, and a target for significant numbers of the same sorts of people at home.
How could they not have foreseen this? And, accepting that, just what is the purpose? When I run the numbers in my own head, I don't like the answer I get.
I want this sort of thing to be happening all over the place. It won't do us any good if we bench one set of elites just to allow a different set an at-bat. That's what happened in 2008, look where it got us. It will be a whole lot of fun to toss the Democrats out so hard their butts bounce twice when they hit the ground, but we'll do much better if we send new Republicans in to take their place. After all, as progressives have been chirping about since they gained power, it wasn't just the Democrats who got us into this mess.
UVB-76 has transmitted a new message. I actually picked up and listened to a few of these things back in the 70s after I figured out how to hook my old console hi-fi's radio antenna to the TV cable. Hearing these disembodied voices recite number after number in an endless drone pretty much defined creepy to me back then. Still does.
Dilbert creator Scott Adams recently tried to build a house that was as green as possible. The result? It's a lot harder than it looks. But he does love the Earth, dammit, so he bulled through it anyway.
I'm not sure which is more eye-roll-worthy, forty-somethings complaining about "these damned kids", or 20-somethings complaining back. Listen up, folks, these are nearly the exact same articles that were run in the 1990s, the 1980s, the 1970s, the 1960s, and the 1950s. The world wars broke the trend, otherwise I'm sure nearly identical bitchfests about "these damned kids" and "all these OLD people" would run continuously back to the revolution itself.
The kids will be all right. I should know, I was one of them, and I absolutely remember sets of articles complaining about how lazy my generation was being run alongside sets articles about how my generation would be the very first unable to exceed the success of their parents. Sound familiar?
Stop biatching about it, and just be glad you made enough good decisions that your kids now have the breathing space to take all the time they need to make theirs. Otherwise you just look jealous and petty. As one who watched the boomers go through this process, trust me, you have no idea what jealous and petty really looks like.
Ah, conventions. The panels. The art show. The costume contest. The speed dating. I'm sure the pickings were better there than at your typical SF convention, which is usually great for people watching, but not necessarily the kind of people you'd want to date.
Yes, it sucks that Adrianne got attacked at a Sci-Fi convention. I'm only hoping she gets a good laugh at all the, "Her knees are far too sharp, I would definitely NOT..." comments on Fark. And good on her and Chris Knight for still hanging together after all this time. We watched the series where they hooked up!
Who? Me? Oh hell, I got all I need. And then some...
Portugal's experiment with decriminalizing essentially all drugs is, according to this article anyway, a resounding success and should stand as a model for everyone, particularly in the US. Now, the libertarian in me is quietly golf-clapping that someone finally decided to take the plunge. The skeptic in me notes the US is much more diverse than Portugal, and it's very difficult to predict how such a melange of immigrants, many of whom are beholden to various expensive and ineffective forms of public assistance, will react to this sort of thing.
Bottom line, though, this is what the Democrats had a real opportunity to achieve. A genuine roll back of the ridiculous "war on drugs" Republican interest groups have managed to spend billions of dollars on in the past, what, twenty years? I'm of the opinion that most moderates and ALL progressives want that reformed, and they had the tools and the talent to do so. Instead they pissed it away on Obamacare, union empowerment, climate change, and a whole raft of other crap that couldn't please their moonbats and would never make the center happy.
Now my side'll get a chance. The optimist in me is hoping we'll usher in a more libertarian form of Republican party which will concentrate on economic liberty, which the country very much wants, instead of social conservatism, which it very much does not. The realist in me thinks the best we can hope for is gridlock strong enough to keep both sides grinding at each other while the rest of us get on with it.
Looks like, God forbid, Palin had a point. "[F]or the first time in history, an FDA-approved anti-cancer therapy may not be covered by Medicare." What's that? You say "Death Panel" is needlessly sensationalistic? Well, hey, I thought the rule was, "if that's really what the result is, why not call them out?" Hmm? Only applies when it's a progressive calling out a conservative? Oh, that's right, I keep forgetting the whole, "not as we do" thing. I'm funny that way.
The NFL is considering putting chips in its footballs to make certain types of calls more accurate. Great. Another thing for truFans to argue about at the bar.
No way: a sensationalist media and a credulous administration blew the BP oil spill completely out of proportion. "The oil industry has come to a sorry pass when its [peak-oil supporting] skeptics are its most credible defenders." Indeed.
John Stossel: In Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity, I bet my readers $1,000 that they couldn't name one thing that government does better than the private sector ... I am yet to pay. During a recent comment war, a hard-left poster held up the post office as an example of efficient, effective government supplying a service superior to the private sector. As with most arguments from the left side of the peanut gallery, it was so eye-crossingly wrong I found it difficult to quickly come up with a riposte.
"If you put a stamp on a letter," as I recall the comment went, "it will always get there."
Yes, true. For $0.44, I can mail a letter with the reasonable assumption it will arrive at its destination in 3-5 days. Fifty-seven years ago, that same letter would reach the same destination in the same period of time, for an inflation-adjusted $0.28. It might even arrive faster, since back then the Post Office delivered twice a day. The same service for 63% more of my money. That's progress right there, yup. Progressive, even...
Of course, since markets never guarantee a successful outcome for everyone, they are by definition evil. As I've said elsewhere, it is far better for a child to starve in justice than to eat in the shadow of prosperity.
Ann Coulter has been booked to healine Homocon, a DC party for gay conservatives. And no, they didn't resist the Judy Garland jokes.
Ever wonder what an earnest, deeply articulate English boomer would sound like after they were diagnosed with cancer? Wonder no more. An entire generation of over-educated college kids convinced themselves they were obviously immortal, and lit a cultural revolution to prove the point. The best made a living writing about it. Forty years later, they now confront their oh-so-real mortality with the same amount of nihilism and wit that drove their parents up the wall, back in the day.
~ You say you wanna revolution, well, you know... ~
Remember that horrific spill in the Gulf? You know, the one that lay at the root of the biggest disaster seen so far in the 21st century? The one that caused a few folks on the left side of the peanut gallery to mumble, "in China, when they pull a stunt like this the CEO gets shot"? Yeah, about that...
Oh, don't worry. I know this is all a cover up, a giant conspiracy. Big oil wins again, right? It's what we get for having Bush and Cheney in office!
I tell you what, that just never gets old.
While much of this article will send the left side of the peanut gallery shrieking to the tops of their bell towers for a furious bit of twirling, I'm linking it here for this:
[That increasing tax rates on the wealthy results in lower tax revenue from the same] shouldn't be surprising. The highest tax bracket income earners, when compared with those people in lower tax brackets, are far more capable of changing their taxable income by hiring lawyers, accountants, deferred income specialists and the like. They can change the location, timing, composition and volume of income to avoid taxation.
Not that it matters. Taxing the rich to increase revenue is not the point, and never has been. Justice always trumps prosperity, and if people refuse to understand this point then the government must be used to make them understand it.
Wow. One of journolists' better-known members is really depressed. Oh, don't worry. After admitting that maybe Democrats might be a little bit responsible, he re-establishes his cred by insinuating white people are actually trying to put Bush back in the White House this November. No, really!
A well educated guy spent some time in Pakistan to try and figure out just what the hell is going on over there. His conclusion? It's complicated, but still explainable. My paraphrase: the paks are a bunch of paranoid nutjobs looking to blame everyone but themselves, and the US in particular, for the mess they're in. No wonder they get along with the Arabs so well.
All jokes aside, this even-handed report agrees entirely with longer book-length treatises on the subject that I've read. It's a good primer that won't take long to read which will give you a much better idea of what's going on in the real hotbed of Islamic terrorism.
The unloved, unlamented cassette tape is experiencing a revival, of a sort. Like "extremophile" life forms, it seems that human technologies will survive forever, eking out an existence on the fringes of a society. Oh, and this is another bat you can use when some clueless do-gooder starts crowing about how information is doomed to be lost because its media is obsolete.
Psst... breaking news: Italy's economy is a mess. No, this is not a repeat from the '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, or '90s. It's a country that largely invented and most thoroughly implemented progressive policies to promote social justice. In other words, it's not surprising they've always been in a mess. It's surprising they've managed to succeed at all.
Michael Barone: "So the Republicans' current lead in the generic ballot question suggests they may be on the brink of doing better than in any election since 1946, when they won a 245-188 margin in the House -- larger than any they've held ever since." I've become such a policy wonk, I am genuinely excited about the potential for the Republicans to end up with a majority in both houses after November. I know my own party well enough to view the possibility of the Republicans ending up with veto- and filibuster-proof majorities with considerable trepidation.
That the Democrats can take mandates for hope and change and in less than two years turn them into a thumping not seen in more than half a century, I find not surprising in the least.
So, is Catalonia's ban on bullfighting a stand against cruelty, or a stalking horse for independence? Dude, I think US politics is confusing, and I've lived my whole life here. Another country with a tradition of democracy less than 15% as long as ours? No way.
MSNBC has finally noticed a trend my extended family has been taking advantage of for a few years now: express bus service between large metropolitan centers is a growing business. My bunch's favorite seems to be the Vamoose line, although that's not mentioned in the article.
Ganked from a Fark thread. Which will, of course, set off another round of recriminations from that weird crank who's taken permanent offense at our 403 error message. But I digress...
Those of you who think the NRA is a giant conspiracy to ensure white people stay on top are pleased to be sitting down and shutting up, now. I think the best, the best part, is that the justice who went through horrific humiliation to get his job will likely be the justice who defines liberty in the 21st century. BONUS: justifies not only the crap that makes the left squirm, but the crap that makes the right squirm, too.
While I've read a few first-hand accounts of what being a prison inmate is like, I've never found one quite this detailed before. Yet another reminder of why everyone should really, really avoid doing dumb stuff that will get you tossed in jail, eh?
It seems there's a really good chance a recent mudslide in Germany was caused by a long forgotten underground Nazi Zyklon-B factory. Hitler took everything good about one of the best cultures in Europe and harnessed it, then twisted it, into something so horrific it defines the term. And now it seems the very ground of Germany will not forgive them.
I've had an essay critiquing just why I have such a problem with what the folks on the left side of the peanut gallery are advocating for two, three years, I think. Now I don't have to write it. BONUS: Includes a riposte to various education debates I've had recently. I don't expect you to agree with it. Frankly, I'll be quite surprised if you don't run shrieking to the top of your bell tower and twirl leftward at more than mach one, ringing the bells all the while about how terrible me and mine are. It's in your nature. But this is, exactly, why I'm a libertarian.
Now it seems that the Mel Gibson phone tapes may have been doctored. The things said are so ludicrously over the top, and there are so many of them, I'm beginning to think the whole thing might be a hoax. Gibson's ex, who lived nearly thirty years with him and presumably has no real incentive to cover for him, says nothing like this ever happened to her.
Just do not mention America in the abstract anymore. After 18 months, we know that the president simply cannot reference our founding without a “but.” He seems to have forgotten that 600,000 killed each other or died 150 years ago over slavery. The Argonne, Okinawa, and Inchon are not in his lexicon. Nor is the greatest economy and defender of freedom in civilization’s history. Edison, Bell, the Wright Brothers — they might as well be Martians. If it is a question — and it sadly always is — between evoking America as dropper of atomic bombs, genocidal hegemon, enslaver, racist, anti-Muslim, etc., and not evoking America at all, then please stay quiet. ... A simple truth that we all learned in kindergarten escaped Barack Obama: America’s sins are simply those of all humankind; but only in America is the sprit of self-critique and collective betterment such that we daily strive to address and solve our innately human shortcomings rather than accept them or give into them. Instead, Obama seems to have been taught that if America alone is not perfect, then it is essentially not very good. Millions of us wince now when the president starts in on the U.S. in the abstract, since we know anything positive will always be qualified by “nevertheless,” “however,” “yet,” and “but.”
Is it November yet?
A federal agency has determined nearly all "sudden acceleration" accidents have been the fault of the driver, not the car. No, this is not 1989 all over again. Or is it?
Poor progressives. They thought they were catching a rising star, when in fact they were getting well and truly hoisted on a petard of "hope and change." How they realize it, and rationalize it, is really quite a site to behold. I let my subscription to The Washington Post lapse precisely because of the descent described in the article. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who noticed.
"Insourcing," the practice of intentional locating support businesses in low-cost areas of the US, was first noted here a full six years ago. Now it seems it is both successful and growing. What I said then still holds true today:
None of this would be possible without free markets and free trade. The rich upper-middle-class "haves" would ensure no government program would ever threaten their cushy jobs, no matter how many "have-not" lower-class single mothers would be helped out of trailer parks half way across the country. Companies having no incentive to take the risk or pay the expense of training a new work force would never even dream of moving anywhere else. Without the ability to charge a price she considered fair Ms. White would have no reason to even think of a program like this, and no government official in Washington DC could ever hope to determine that price for her.
Being right is more than just a direction, you know...
The people on the left side of the peanut gallery who occasionally come out of their yurts to yell at us whenever we mention anything about the environment will likely miss the point of this article discussing The National Academy of Sciences publishing a list of scientists whom it claims should not be believed on the subject of global warming. They'll most likely treat it as a handy shortcut to a list of people to whom they should never ever listen. Others without a strong grounding in post-WWII US history may not immediately recognize the originator of the title of this article. The rest of us can put two and two together rather quickly, and draw our own conclusions.
They told me that if I voted for John McCain, liberal weblogs, chat forums, and message boards would be subject to a new era of censorship... and they were right! Vote libertarian! We want to take over the government so we can leave you alone!
Authorities have announced the discovery of the first known instance of a drug-running submarine. The article makes hay about how this is such a game-changer, but I think it actually means we're slowly winning the war on drugs.
Drug runners are businessmen who deal in a high-risk, high-margin market. As long as their profit margin remains high, they can afford the stupendous risks involved in running an illegal trade. Submarines are not cheap, so their appearance means the various enforcement efforts undertaken by everyone involved have increased the cost of doing business enough to make such vehicles profitable.
The trouble is that drug runners have a very large but finite amount of money to spend. The United States, for now at any rate, literally has infinite money. Designing and operating a sub is incredibly expensive. Designing and operating a quiet sub is even harder, and the Navy has had sixty years experience hunting them. They are quite good at it.
It would be ironic if the greatest opportunity for legalization of most drugs came at the moment when drug enforcement reached the tipping point of its effectiveness, but stranger things have definitely happened before.
Everyone's favorite 19th century shut-in poet just got even more interesting. You might not think that's possible, but, according to this book anyway, her fame, her very existence as a linchpin of American literature, was the life's work of a woman who blew Emily's family apart, and then literally took an eraser to her poems to ensure Emily's best friend was demonized for posterity. No, really.
I know most of you don't follow political blogs all that closely, if at all. Certainly Ellen doesn't. She has better things to do. That said, even she remembered all the noise about Sarah Palin and her e-mails and who "really" fathered Trig. Meld that with the Best Question Evar, and you have yet another observation that all the preening about how progressives were nice and conservatives were horrible was just a great big steaming pile of horseshit.
Shocker: consumer habits, changed by price signals, are reducing the demand for oil faster than its price is rising. I'm not sure which is more fun, the rah-rah press release from an advocacy association, or the reporter who simply cannot bear to merely repeat it without his own "IS SO IS SO!!!" comments. At any rate, the news of "game-changing" developments in natural gas technologies is interesting.
At first I thought the idea of a "divorce ceremony" was yet another example of everyone's favorite tentacle porn authors just running it right out the other side of reason again. Then I read the article, and, well, there's a reason why the most ancient evidence we can find of human culture surrounds ceremonies. It salves something in the soul. And lord knows people need comfort during that particular time.
Of course, being Japan, they don't have to worry about one of the parties arriving armed, so I'm not at all sure how well it'd work out over here.
For a Church that still treats women as second-class citizens, it is a source of considerable embarrassment and will once again raise the question of whether Pope Joan, as she is called in medieval chronicles, really did exist.
A new movie about Pope Joan.
Ya know, you could do a lot worse than your very own 35 acre island. Yeah, it's Illinois, but still. Ellen could have all the animals she wanted, and all I'd need to do was visit. Or, you know, wave at the dock as I motored by. Cat puke likely has nothing on tiger puke, and I have the upholstery to consider.
Victor Davis Hanson is on a roll. A few of the choicer bits:
Crises, then, originate because of miscommunication and being not nice, not out of fundamental differences in belief about the way nations organize the economy, politics, or social and cultural life. Diplomacy and good intentions, not deterrence and military preparation, persuade bad actors to behave. Excuse me! — there are no bad actors, just misunderstood ones who have translated their understandable post-imperial, post-colonial grievances into anti-Americanism. They need to be contextualized rather than confronted.
The perverse was always preferred to the logical: so a Mao was better than a Churchill, Lincoln was faulted for not possessing 1999-era academic sensitivity, and FDR not WWII saved the economy from further depression. Versailles explains Hitler rather than his own insane hatreds. The Soviet and Chinese nightmares were problematic and based on misunderstandings of Marx rather than natural conclusions from him. The real fear after 9/11 is backlash, not more terrorism. The non-Christian nihilist Timothy McVeigh or the Columbine Satanists are proof of widespread Christian terrorism; the last 50 aborted Islamic terrorist plots are aberrations.
People who think this is an exaggeration are not paying attention. Why I'm surprised by this, I don't know. We've got the government to prove it!
Dr. Helen's asking are the parents of that 16 year-old stuck on a boat in the Indian Ocean negligent, or noble? My response: both are far too strong. I'm not at all surprised the progressive side of the blogosphere is up in arms. Telling other people what's good for them is, after all, their raison d'être, as is kicking people when they're down.
Ok, my view? 16 is most of the way to a legal adult nowadays, and for the past, what, two or three million years quite literally so. A wise and experienced sailor may get caught out by this great big ocean of ours, but it's quite rare... even perhaps unheard of... for one to get killed by it nowadays. And so far it hasn't managed to kill her either. Were it mine, it'd kill me, yes, but another part would be thrilled that Olivia got hung up in the Indian Ocean, and was just waiting for the rescue boat to show up.
As with all things, I refuse to judge. There are too many things they know that I don't, and it's them that's paying the price anyway. Something that costs the accuser nothing but inflicts pain on others is a leitmotif of the left, which is why they're all chattering so. If that family thought it wasn't worth it, they wouldn't have tried it in the first place.
I only hope, as I'm sure everyone in that family most fervently does, for her safe return.
The future of the iconic Astrodome would appear to have three routes, two of which seem to involve a, "kaboom." This thing was an iconic landmark of progress when I was a kid, and now it's so run down it's dangerous. Can you say, "an abject lesson on impermanence?" I knew you could...
So, as with most horrific apocalypses the media regularly waves at us, it seems that predicting the consequences of the BP oil spill requires quite a bit more nuance, and sophistication, than it would at first appear. In other words, all the chicken-little "ZOMG!!1!! EVIL OIL COMPANIES R GONNA KILL ALL THE BIRDIES IN THE WORLD FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER!1Q!eleventy!!!" hysteria may make everyone on the left side of the peanut gallery feel good, but it would appear there's a chance, and a reasonably decent one at that, that anyone who wants may be able to walk along the gulf coast five years from now, none the wiser.
John Stossle: America's current struggles notwithstanding, life here is pretty good. The left side of the peanut gallery gleefully points out various injustices and cruelties of market-driven societies every chance they get. And yet, at all points, the more "just" a society is, the less prosperous everyone becomes.
Mike J. gets a suitably nerdy no-prize for noting that the main statue of the MLK memorial bears a startling resemblance to... something. Because I definitely don't think that way. Nope, no sir. Completely normal, that's me.
A society who's obsession seems to revolve around figuring out what happened to Amelia Earhart seems to be making steady progress in resolving just that. The article doesn't make it clear if the deserted tropical island that is the leading candidate as her final resting place has a fresh water supply. I seem to remember reading elsewhere that it didn't, but I could be wrong.
Ok, let me go on record here to state that, of all the colossal screwups the Democrats in general and the Obama administration in particular are responsible for, I simply cannot believe the only thing that's sticking is the one thing that was and is entirely out of their control. Bah. I don't know why I'm so surprised. After all, people are still blaming Bush for a damned hurricane. I guess I'm just, you know, used to the MSM blaming Republicans for every bad thing that happens on any given day.
All those "innocent" protestors bringing "humanitarian aid" to Gaza, only to be shot down by those fascist, domineering Israelis? Yeah... about that... It's well and good to doubt what the Israeli government, hell any damned government, says about an incident. Unfortunately, cameras don't lie, video cameras especially. I knew all I needed to when I read accounts that the commandos were forced to shoot people with pistols. Hint: commando teams looking for trouble bring things called "assault rifles" to the party when they're expecting trouble. They are much larger than pistols. These guys got sent on a ship without them, and it darned near cost them their lives.
Me, I'd want to see whoever planned this cluster f- of an assault in front of a tribunal. But I'm reactionary that way.
Paul Ingrassia: Nobody on any point of America's political spectrum really liked this bailout. But having paid for it, let's hope that we as a nation are willing to learn from it. Unfortunately, since the lessons taught were about sustainability, incentives, and discipline, instead of power, justice, and outcomes, it's doubtful anyone on the left side of the aisle will even acknowledge there are any lessons at all.
So, lemme get this straight, some kids in Korea are getting paid to do absolutely nothing but game all day long, and they're the ones being exploited. Ok, lissen up, Sparky. A person with a constrained set of choices is not the same thing as a person being controlled by outside forces. People who enter voluntary associations are not enslaved. Forcing employers to pay wages at a higher level than what they feel is profitable does not result in social justice, it results in layoffs and closed businesses.
In other words, were I twenty years younger and single, getting paid any sort of money just for playing video games would've been very appealing. After all, the conditions described don't sound that much different from what I experienced in my first two years at college.
So, what do you think would happen if three men utterly convinced they were the Messiah were forced to live together for two years? Nowadays someone would turn it into a reality show. Fifty years ago, the situation inspired a book.
Yesterday Apple computers officially became more valuable than Microsoft. I, too, can remember when Apple's corporate image was one of a funky general store with "going out of business" signs up on the walls so long the corners had started to yellow and curl. Jobs is a well-known maniac, but he's also pretty obviously a genius. It'll be interesting to see what happens when he finally moves on, presumably feet-first in a coffin.
It seems that, even after all this time, there are still a few enduring WWII POW/prison guard relationships left to discover. Even in horror, hope can sometimes be found.
After a century under wraps, Mark Twain's autobiography is finally scheduled to be published this year. Like the guy in the article says, if nothing else, Twain knew how to make people want to buy a book.
Spin? SPIN?!? We're the Washington Post! A Paper of Record! We're a bulwark of liberty, bringing you truth. Prove that we ever spin anything, I dare you.
Every headline I've read about this gives me that wonderful, progressive, "ZOMG!!! TEH FUNDIES ARE TAKING OVER!1!!!" feel. Until, you know, I actually read what the guidelines are actually saying. Then I get that common-sense constrained voice in my head saying, "well, actually, yes, that is in fact what happened, and what people should learn, and could you please explain to me exactly why you have a problem with what it actually says??!"
I know, I know, there I go again, having independent thoughts. Such a pity.
Chris gets a damned practical no-prize for bringing us a solution to the gulf oil spill so straightforward it's no wonder the MSM isn't talking about it. Doesn't fit the narrative of villainous corporations who can only be controlled by giving the government more power, donchaknow? We can't have the common people solving our problems!!!
The only hitch I can see is this oil spill is obstinately remaining several hundred feet below the surface. Yes, this denies progressives the opportunity to nail themselves to a cross with an oily bird on their head, but it also denies these rednecks the ability to solve the problem with a bunch of their cousin's hay.
And really, if these guys had Oxford accents, or hell if they even had West End accents, you'd take them much more seriously. The fact you'd treat both types of English accents with equal weight is most of the reason why Englishmen have always been irritated by Americans.
It seems that, with two channel audio at any rate, good ol' Red Book CDs really are still the high-fidelity standard. Sorry, folks, A-B-X double-blind tests don't lie, and anyone who thinks CDs sound bad is fooling themselves. Engineers figured out how to make a true high-fidelity audio reproduction in the late 60s. The next fifteen years was spent sorting out how to bring that sound into the home. Which they did, and then made the electronics affordable about ten years later. The rest is speakers and digital-analog converters. Anyone who tells you differently is almost certainly trying to sell you something.
Now multichannel, that's different. Which is why I you'll pry my SACD player from my cold, dead hands. But I digress...
According to one Chinese historian, the Soviets and Chinese communists nearly engaged in a nuclear exchange in 1969. Bonus: it was the Nixon administration who talked them down. One of the unexpected consequences of joining the "nuclear club" is the rest of its members will make it against your best interests to use your fancy new toy to achieve your best interests. You'd think certain Persians would notice this fact but NNNOO.
It seems that, as with most... oh who the hell am I kidding, "ALL"... disasters, media sensationalism and political opportunism has vastly overestimated and oversimplified the consequences of the BP gulf oil spill. What's that you say? Well then, you tell me where the MSM accounts are that note more than a third of what's spilling out is simply evaporating outright. Yeah, didn't think so.
The Kingdom of Hermits is now claiming to have created the world's first working fusion reactor. Which would be awesome for a country that holds self-reliance as one of its bedrock beliefs, if it were true. I'm sure you won't have trouble guessing what I think of the report.
Only the MSM would be able to report the "mysterious disappearance" of pirates "released" by the Russian navy with such credulity. Nobody chatters quite as much as a sailor, so I'm pretty sure the bit about them all getting bundled onto a boat and cut loose is true. I'm also thinking that boat probably got help sinking in the form of a hole (explosively or otherwise created). Meh. They knew the risks. Actually, I'm wagering one of the reasons the pirates are so active is precisely because they're being handled with kid gloves most of the time.
The latest suspect in the B.P. oil rig blowout is methane hydrates. The thinking goes that the crew may have accidentally tripped a "blowout" of the gas-infused water ice, which is well known for expanding explosively when melted. It'll make the guys who build the rigs breathe a little easier, but it won't much help the 11 poor bastards who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It looks like the latest step into the nanny-state universe is to make unpaid interns illegal. On the federal level, natch. Process matters not if the end result is justice. That said result is fewer opportunities for poor and middle class kids to learn a trade will only be noticed as an opportunity to brickbat the people with the guts to point the contradiction out. They're better than we are, and how dare we try to point out flaws in the process?
The best part about blogging is it makes it so much easier to catch the MSM at their game. Worthless sycophants, or guardians of our first amendment rights? We report, you decide.
Newly declassified documents seem to indicate the National Guard may in fact have been fired on during the Kent State riots. The reliability of witnesses being what it is, I find the news interesting but far from conclusive.
This month marks the tenth anniversary of the "Love Bug" virus. Since I was a sysadmin at the time, I can attest that, contrary to what the article seems to say, "Love Bug" was far from the first e-mail virus, and, when it was happening, the cause was much more readily identified. Love Bug was so much bigger than previous e-mail viruses not because of some special talent of the virus's author, but instead because Microsoft Exchange and Outlook had made significant inroads into businesses in the previous, say, two or three years. As with all Microsoft products of that era, Exchange and Outlook had security holes big enough to drive a truck through, and Love Bug just happened to be the first social-vector virus written explicitly to exploit them. It would not be the last.
I made sure the network I was responsible for did NOT use Microsoft products precisely because of this reason, and because of that Love Bug simply passed us by. I do recall having to set up a basic rule in our spam filter to bounce them, though.
Roger Ebert is sick of the 3D trend in Hollywood. Since he's Roger Ebert, he's not shy about telling us why. I agree with every point, and, now that digital projectors are becoming the norm, can't help but wonder if the higher frame-per-second techniques he talks about may have another shot. Film is expensive and film projectors mechanically limited in what they can project. Hard drives are cheap and getting 48 fps out of a digital projector may just be a firmware upgrade away.
Ok, let's move past "peak oil" and look at other peaking chicken-little markets, this time dealing with various green darlings. Now, if those commodities will be saved from shortage through innovation, what makes you think oil is any different?
Oil is expensive not because it's running out, but because the governments of India and China are subsidizing the true cost of the stuff to their citizens. Without the incentives to conserve that high prices bring, the two most populous countries in the world will consume an ever-increasing proportion of the supply. Fortunately the artificially-raised prices this foists on everyone else will ultimately make such subsidies impossible for those countries to afford, and the markets will force an adjustment. Eventually.
In the meantime, think of the high price of oil as one of the bills the developed world must pay to raise something like half the population of the planet out of misery. At least this form of indirect aid has observable benefits all around, without the need for a giant, inefficient, wasteful bureaucracy (*cough* UN *cough*) to "manage" it. Which is, of course, why progressives either ignore or attack the process. Can't have people in control of their own fate, they might realize they can do a better job than the elite can!
Microsoft and phone manufacturer HTC have reached an agreement for the latter to license patents from the former. I'd like to think this means we're that much closer to having .net support for Android. I'd also like to think some day I'll own a Ferrari. Both dreams have a chance of coming true, but I'm not holding my breath for either.
What seems to have been forgotten about Microsoft is their initial success wasn't directly based on Windows. Instead, it was based on their software development tools, which were (and are) so good developers didn't care that they were getting locked in to one operating system. I'd be tickled pink if this agreement provides the bridge Microsoft needs to extend Visual Studio's reach into the Android environment, because yes it is all that and a bag of chips.
First we have the executives of the network which regularly harangues us plebes about climate change pumping untold tons of carbon into the atmosphere with their 68,000 flights. Now we get the U.N.'s "environmental ambassador" (wtf?) building a new, gargantuan mansion. History has proved time and again people who preach asceticism without practicing it are best ignored, and for very good reasons.
The already tarnished reputation of historian Stephen Ambrose has taken another hit. The plagiarism charge eight years ago put me off taking any of his books seriously. The apparently accidental discovery that he fabricated dozens of interviews with Dwight Eisenhower is therefore sad, but not particularly surprising. I think it'll eventually come to light he was a great writer of historical fiction who sold them, incorrectly labeled, in the history section.
It seems Top Gear is coming to America. On the history channel no less. I dunno... a huge part of the UK show's appeal is the strange fact that Englishmen arguing is just funny. And if Tanner Faust is their eye candy, well, he ain't no hamster I can tell you that right now.
At first, the thought of a game who's central subject is the Holocaust is repugnant, to say the least. But on finding out the reasons and rationale behind it, I'm not so sure. Some events in history are so epically tragic they are almost by definition impossible to comprehend. If it takes a game to make it more understandable, and thereby help prevent such a thing from happening again, then game on.
So now the media is trying to conflate McVeigh with libertarians in general and the tea party in particular? How about no? Gosh we must be doing something right, if they're getting this sloppy. Mah devastating facts, let me show you them...
Of course, Democrats will disagree: "People can choose to fly Spirit, or they can choose to fly someone else. If travelers don't plan on bringing a carry-on, Spirit's lower fares might be more attractive. If they need not only a carry-on but also some checked luggage, then they might look toward Southwest, which allows two free checked bags."
Common sense never has been the strong suite of progressives.
Nepalese climbers are preparing for the first-ever garbage collection climb on Mount Everest. Ellen will be so disappointed. She's always considered the corpsicles to be the most entertaining part of any Everest documentary.
Me: "Hey, Ellen... read down to the second paragraph, and stop."
Ellen does her best impression of Harpo Marx, and casts about for her horn.
Me: "Did you know... did you know... that college freshmen sometimes treat college as a place to experiment with casual sex?"
Ellen: wide eyed nods
Me: "AND... did you know, did you know, that the girls feel guilty, and the guys just try for more?"
Ellen: **Gigantic look of horror!!**
Me: "ANDDDDD DID YOU KNOW THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED?!?!?"
Ellen: *honks horn and throws a pie at a fat lady in a sequined gown*
Remember, folks, these are the same people who are telling you the tea party movement is full of dangerous racists.
Alternate: Themselves.Hoist(Themselves.Petard); I know, I know, they have a good reason for being nearly exclusively white people, we are a bunch of hate-mongering, ignorant, racist rednecks. I always keep getting that all mixed up.
Looks like psychologists are still screwing around with just what it means to have free will, or not. Makes for a nice summary of where the field is at this time. Me, I think the experiments reveal a couple of things: a) our intellect is sophisticated, but evolved. No matter how sophisticated it may seem, if you place it in conditions which have no parallel in nature, it'll break in interesting ways and b) I can find no finer critique of exactly why things like postmodernism, Marxism, and the more extreme strains of progressivism lead not to utopia but to oblivion.
So what is libertarianism? Why does it seem like such a cruel way of doing things? John Stossel has a few answers. In short, one person's cruelty is nearly always another's nanny state taking my money for its own purposes.
Wired is carrying this brief look at what a state-of-the-art ocean salvage company is capable of nowadays. They've definitely come a long way from incomprehensible green squiggles.
It would seem the tea party movement is actually quite the picture of a diverse political movement. The executives at MSNBC, especially, you know, Maddow and Olberman, not so much. Remember folks, we're the horrible racists. Because they say we are!
What he said: Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles know Donovan McNabb better than anyone. And they were inexplicably okay with moving him to another team in their own division. Every time I think Snyder has finally decided to change his meddling ways, he goes and proves me wrong again. Oh well. It's my understanding that the Redskins are one of the top three most profitable teams in the league, so Dan's doing something right. He's just not winning in the process.
Sometimes there's no improving the FARK headline: I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that people are gaming Massachusetts health insurance. This won't happen at the federal level, though. Incentives are, after all, things that happen to other, ignorant people.
Since the folks on the left side of the peanut gallery seem to think the government is the best, well ok only, agent to be trusted to combat climate change, let's just see how well they'd do at that, eh? I've long found the easiest way to spot a progressive is their advocacy for legislation which controls other people.
Slow news day... ok, time to pick from the Jeopardy Board of Standard Stories... hmmm, ok, I'll take moral outrage over something that's been around for decades for $500, Alex. The Japanese have perverse, violent sexual fantasies and express them in popular media? Really? Every time I think the MSM has taken every obvious story and milked it for all it's worth, I get proven wrong again.
Ok, let's, for the sake of argument, accept that big business is in fact evil, that it is populated with human-shaped monsters who, when they're not gassing thousands of innocent brown people in countries far away, beaver away at cheating and stealing and lying to get our money. So, if I accept this particular sacred cow, one that's been standing on the left side of the peanut gallery so long Hindus trying free it are a genuine nuisance, what I really want to know is why do you people consistently compose, and then passionately support, legislation which always empowers big business? I mean, really. It's quite confusing.
"Just shoot them," while emotionally satisfying, is unfortunately illegal when it comes to the treatment of pedophiles. These official treatments have the advantage of not landing the practitioner in jail. Note that this seems to be one of, if not the only, drug-related convict treatment which doesn't have various progressive inmate rights groups up in arms. There are, it would seem, limits for everyone.
China has now gone public about testing an anti-ship ballistic missile. Having a big missile designed to hit big ships, well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what they're aiming that at. Still, the Navy's seen this coming for some time now. What, you think they gave Aegis ABM capabilities because they didn't have anything better to do?
It seems the people who power the engine of the global warming frenzy in Europe are finally coming to their senses. Germany has been driving the environmental agenda of the EU since at least the 1980s. The watermelon greenies will blame this loss on irrational kulaks who turn tail at the first nasty cold snap. I, personally, think it has much more to do with "climategate." I doubt if the other side will see the difference.
All those times progressives claimed an elite group of people were reaping benefits on the backs of us regular folk? How income inequality was growing at an alarming pace? Well, ok, I guess I'll have to concede those:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 1998 to 2008 public employee compensation grew by 28.6%, compared with 19.3% for private workers. In the recession year of 2009, with almost no inflation and record budget deficits, more than half the states awarded pay raises to their employees.
Who's watching the watchmen, indeed.
I usually judge how well a country is doing by how invisible it is to the MSM. It seems bond investors have a more rigorous method for doing the same. Bonus: California bonds aren't much better than Iraq's. Perhaps a surge against unions and progressives would be in order?
By analyzing the size of the plates and the food in them, scientists have shown an interesting trend in depictions of the Last Supper over the centuries. Turns out the habit of up-sizing proportions is not a particularly new phenomena.
F- the health care bill. All that will do is ensure people who have no damned business running a country are kicked to the curb in nine months. We can, and will, undo what they've done, and quickly. What nobody is noticing is the Euro is flying apart like an unbalanced washing machine. People have been saying the inclusion of inflationary Mediterranean economies into the EU was a disastrous idea for northern Europe for years, but they went and did it anyway. Will ensuring survival of the only vaguely viable alternative to the dollar be worth the cost to China, India, and Saudi Arabia?
All I can say is, the sound you're hearing is the clanking of the last links of the belt, as our Particularly Interesting roller coaster comes to the top of its next hill.
LA Times: U.S. may expand use of its prison in Afghanistan. Bonus: "[It was decided it would be better to kill a suspected terrorist than take him alive] because of uncertainty over where to hold him." See, folks on the left side of the peanut gallery seem to think the reason our government is f'd is because they haven't found the right set of politicians to run the place. The folks on my side know that all politicians are f'd, and the only hope we have is to take as much power as we can away from them all, and as quickly as possible.
Skeptic extraordinaire The Amazing Randi has officially come out of the closet. In retrospect, can't say I'm all that surprised. Can't say it makes much difference to me either. But, well, there it is.
Personally, I think it's more about the hot broad hosting the thing. Humanity has a long, storied history of doing heinous things for fame and fortune. It's only surprising here because the media find it surprising.
While this Spiegel interview with a "defense expert" is interesting in and of itself, notice how he tries to have it both ways. In the beginning, he insists that the remote quality of drone warfare is at least as, if not more, stressful and emotional than conventional combat, and then at the end claims that such war is a kind of entertainment.
So, turns out the life of even a red-headed "bear" prostitute is interesting. Meh. Pay your taxes, stay out of trouble, keep off my lawn, and I'm good. It does make for some interesting stories, I'll give you that.
A radical atheist endorsing Buddhism? It's more likely than you think. Distilling the faith to its four essentials allows the jettisoning of the quirkier bits of received Buddhist tradition (reincarnation, bodhisattvas, etc.), which in my opinion are the main impediments to widespread adoption in the West. The biggest worry I have with atheism is its horrible moral track record when applied to a large society (c.f. USSR, PRC, Khmer Rouge, etc.) Grounding atheism with a true, practical, and absolute morality could be just what the doctor ordered.
Making the rounds: DNA tests have confirmed that a prime suspect in the Bail bombings has been killed. Bagged by the Indonesian police, no less.
Problem: A poorly-managed city is dotted with abandoned property.
Market solution: Design zoning and tax laws to incentivize new development, allowing the problem to essentially cure itself.
Three guesses as to which route Detroit's leadership is taking. The first two don't count.
While it starts out with an utterly horrifying anecdote, this look at the unintended consequences of son preference in traditional families running up against the capabilities of modern medicine is still quite informative. One quibble: the author continually plays up how the preference for a son rises substantially after the birth of one or more daughters as somehow exclusive to the societies being studied. On reflection, I can't think of any family who would state they'd rather have more of one sort of child than another. Then again, I'm not sure just how far a western family would go to guarantee the outcome.
Top Gear is featuring this look at a car restoration shop. The catch? It's run by the state of Nevada. Specifically, the department of corrections. That's right, it's a prison restoration shop, filled with men who many times will never be able to drive a car like the one they're restoring.
It would seem even if that 'tard had managed to light his bomb off a few months ago, the plane would've survived. Wits and psyches of the passengers, probably not so much. Includes a video of the test! Fark comments are discounting the lack of pressurization. Best comment: "This test was flawed because the bomb was not strapped to a brown person when it was detonated. Everyone knows that brown people are unstable and likely to explode all by themselves. The added 180lbs of explosive material would have made for a much bigger (and holier) boom.
Plus Allah himself would have reached down and smacked the plane out of the sky when the righteous bomb went off."
As predicted endlessly by watermelon greenies, a city is now officially running out of water. Of course, this is a city perched on the edge of a desert, with a corrupt, rickity government subsidizing the growth of a water-intensive crop, but that doesn't matter! I'm sure climate change is behind it all! Quick! Destroy industry before another inefficient, controlling government is threatened with chaos! The nanny-state you save could be your own!
It would seem this year's census will be a game of "10 questions." I still remember the carpet-bombing of TV commercials the government financed for the 1980 census.
I've always thought Olberman was a complete douchebag. I've just never seen it highlighted in quite so effective a way.
Google has been approved as a wholesale energy buyer by the feds. The stated reason, to purchase power for its datacenters directly from suppliers, seems valid enough. I'd like to think they'll be smart enough not to let their executive branch run amok, as Enron did. I also like to think progressives will wise up some day. I guess I really am an incurable optimist at heart.
What happens when you let a bunch of foodies do a blind taste test to compare Wal Mart produce to that of a more prominent "organic" grocery chain? The results surprised them likely as much as they'll surprise you. We finally got a modern Super Center installed near us, and it's definitely a lot nicer than the ones I remember in Arkansas. It's even more welcome to hear they've figured out how to make "buy local, buy sustainable" actually profitable. Will it stop the far-left end of the peanut gallery from twirling in their towers every time they see a yellow smiley? Doubtful. "If both are against you, bang on the table," that sort of thing.
Leave it to a chick to come to the startling realization that dating women is not particularly easy. The comments about relationships and "patience" are so on-target it's scary.
I've long maintained that neither side of the peanut gallery has a corner on the wacko market. Now I have proof. Passionate conviction does not an intelligent constituent make.
After some sixty years of service, the US government is officially shutting LORAN down. Short for Long Range Navigation System, the ground-based facilities which transmit the high-power signals were largely shut down yesterday, with the remainder expected to be shuttered some time this summer. An example of bureaucratic inertia, or a valuable backup to the now ubiquitous GPS? The article doesn't seem to support either view.
Everyone's favorite artist/recluse Bill Watterson has granted his first interview in probably twenty years. A strange guy with a great sense of humor, seems like.
Leave it to one of my new TV heroes, Captain Slow of Top Gear, to propose an alternate explanation for global warming. Per standard English practice, he points out the problem without actually suggesting a solution, but at least this time I don't have to worry about a bunch of academics covering up a computer model that only makes sense to them. I'll leave the UN boys for that.
Climategate appears to be the gift that keeps on giving. It seems they've forgotten one of the keys to winning the game is to stop coughing up the ball. More's the pity.
Mike J. gets a no-prize trying to balance on the gunwales of a row boat for bringing us news that haggis will once again return to our shores. Before Alfa Romeo. There is no justice in this world.
Following Fiat's disappointing but not surprising announcement Alfa isn't really coming over here is a follow-on that the marque will be merged with Abarth and Maserati. Conventional wisdom is that Alfa will likely be sold or shuttered in the next five years as the auto industry continues to wind down and reduce capacity. We'll see...
As expected, a cheap coat hanger makes for a speaker cable indistinguishable from a high-zoot Monster brand cable. At root, these are all simple electrical signals. We've known how to carry electrical signals efficiently for probably more than 150 years now. To wit: thicker cable, good copper. The rest is just marketing. Which is why I've never thought twice about using cheap, thick copper wire to connect my expensive components.
Don't even get me started about the guy who gave a positive review to a $230 power cable!
It's the kind of notoriety I wouldn't mind: "He was fast becoming one of the most hated debtors in Dallas, and part of an especially loathed minority of debtors in the country." The law is the law, people, and as long as the debtors are abiding and the collection agencies aren't, well, it stinks to be them, eh? World's smallest violin, etc.
Beer-making got a major boost during the Industrial Revolution, when steam power and artificial cooling made beers quicker to produce and easier to store. Breweries subsequently became a big business across Europe and the United States - stymied there only temporarily during the Prohibition years of 1919 to 1933.
Happy Birthday Canned Beer!
The mysterious visitor who's left roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Edgar Allen Poe's grave for the past sixty years didn't show up this year. As I recall, this guy really started to get attention about five, six years ago. The Post in particular gave the impression it wouldn't be very hard to figure out who this was if they got serious about it, but there was such a groundswell of protest at the idea they didn't really try. I think it's always been a harmless little mystery. It'd be nice to think whoever it is just had a cold this year.
Remember that hard-hitting investigative report about bible thumpers encoding secret biblical codes on the gun sights they make? Yeah, the gun folks have known about that for years. Turns out all the citations reference light, which, considering glowing tritium features prominently in their manufacture, seems appropriate. Funny, I don't remember reading any such thing in that sophisticated expose. Did you?
I'm sure all the rest of you knew Garibaldi from Babylon 5 is now a radio show host and author, but I didn't. It's good to see he's still getting work.
It seems that marijuana is replacing the poppy as a cash crop in parts of Afghanistan. I think the most important thing to note is that weed is (as I understand it) legal in most places, and no worse for you than cigarettes. Can't say that about heroin, eh?
S-c-o-t-t B-r-o-w-n. I'm such a politics nerd I'm actually excited that the very first step in rolling up the Democrats could be to take Ted f'ing Kennedy's seat away from them. It would be like, I dunno, Dan Snyder buying Cowboy Stadium for the Redskins.
3... 2... 1...
It seems even the porn industry is mulling over 3D. Ok, I'm not a particularly big fan of the technology anyway. The thought of Ron Jeremy's privates seeming to wave around in my living room? Yeah, I think I'll pass on that one.
Fewer fans hit the 11th AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, even with the Consumer Electronics Show next door.
Fan attendance at the 11th expo was down between 10% and 20% from a year, and there were 267 exhibitors this year, an 11% drop from 2009.
For some reason, I don't think pRon is going to have much of a problem.
It's been slightly more than a year ago that the SCOTUS struck down DC's gun ban. Contrary to political opinion, the city did not immediately explode in machine-gun driven mayhem. Of course, the other side of the peanut gallery would say it's because of all the restrictions. Personally, I think some of the things DC is doing are good, since I'm convinced the vast majority of accidental gun deaths are caused by stupidity, not the gun in and of itself. Of course, most of the things they're doing are stupid and infantile. Which means it'll fit right in with the rest of the crap the DC government pulls every year.
It seems even non-loony pundits are cautiously admitting the Dems might lose everything in play this November. Unfortunately, like most villains, they're on track to screw in the last bits of their Genesis Device (aka, "Obamacare") just before we're able to stop them.
It's not exactly an original story. A person is stuck in a crowd of people they don't know who act in unexpected ways. That person creates a bridge to the strange people by presenting them with a gift of food or drink, which allows them to see they have things in common. The stranger is then welcomed to the group. It's a story much older than advertising, and in fact works well in commercials, except when the stranger is white, the crowd is black, and the audience watching the commercial is American.
The one thing that can always be counted on is America's over-reaction to race. There are reasons for this, some good, most bad. That's why this ad was never intended to be seen here, and bravo to KFC for sticking to their guns and not pulling it from its intended market.
Mike J. gets another no-prize he'll have to hide from the climate change police for bringing us proof that protesting environmental policy will not stand up to big flakes of global warming raining down on people's heads. This current winter reminds me very much of the sorts of winters we used to get in the mid '70s. It remains to be seen if the trend will continue, or if we'll snap back to warmer seasons in the future.
Remember all the fuss about Second Life? Yeah, it'd been so long since anyone's mentioned it around me I'd forgotten about it too. Turns out it's still out there, and if you know where to look, it's just as seedy and weird as you'd expect.
It would seem The Next Big Thing in TVs will be 3D. Ellen gets tremendous migraines whenever we go to a 3D movie, so I don't see this ending up on our Christmas list any time soon.
It seems that on Friday, Houston could be colder than McMurdo Station in Antarctica. It's scheduled to stay below freezing all week over here. If it does this again next year, I'm expecting the media to start crowing about the coming ice age.
I'm sure we'll all remember the headlines trumpeting not one US combat death in Iraq in December. Because the media's all about honest reporting and keeping us all informed of important developments. Right?
People who claim to know how money works, i.e., diplomats and politicians, are famous for their ability to spend $10 on something nobody else would want for $1. People who actually know how money works, not so much. But by all means, let's give more power to the politicians. It's worked out so well up to now.
Mike J. gets a no-prize he better keep safely hidden from view when his progressive friends come over for bringing us news that Britain is facing one of its coldest winters in a century. Ah, but hang on then. Doesn't climate doomsday actually predicate Britain being turned into Eastern Iceland? Very well then, carry on.
It would seem that, when corrected for a variety of variables, engineers, across cultures and through history, make the best terrorists. A deep technical background, and radical beliefs held so strongly you could bounce rocks off them. A picture of an old college buddy suddenly swirls into view...
I found some sage advice from an Aviation week editor on things that might actually have a chance at preventing the next hajji from blowing up a plane.
Green energy, pristine deserts. Try as they might, they can't have it both ways. This doesn't make sense until you realize the actual goal is to empower the nanny state and make us all more reliant on government.
The last GM big-block V8 has finally rolled off the assembly line.
A computer scientist recently toured the Titan Missile Museum, and his observations are everything a gear geek could hope for. My dad helped run one of these things back in the 60s. Some of his stories are damned amusing. Others are downright terrifying. I'm glad this one is a museum. I can only hope one day they all are.
The on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again saga of Alfa's return to the US now seems to be on-again. I think. Personally, I think Alfa getting sold to a different automaker would not be apocalyptic. Far from it. But it is encouraging to hear at least some support for the idea of a return.
My main objection to global warming extremists is economic. Because they're all True Believers, they're well armed with arguments just sophisticated enough to throw off Johnny on the Street. So I'm very happy to return the f'ing favor. You talked a good talk, and scared a lot of people, but dude, let me tell you. They've been trusting you because you sound like you know what you're talking about. But they've never really liked you. And now they have a reason not to even trust you.
Poor Grendel's had an accident. So may you all.
And in the "broken clock" category, we have the ongoing de-facto legalization of marijuana, made possible by the quiet tolerance of the Obama administration's DEA. At the end of four years the business will likely be big enough to cause congressmen to squawk should a Republican end up the in the executive in 2012 and take a run at shutting it all down. At the end of eight it almost certainly will. I've thought marijuana was no more dangerous than cigarettes for years, and have the conventional libertarian desire to legalize (and tax) most if not all drugs, so I'm all for it.
Poms are quite tasty!
“I had stopped for the sign at East 29th and College when this dog came flying out of the sky right in front of my Jeep — right out of the sky,” says Jamie Padden, Davenport. “It dropped out of nowhere.”
The bishop was buried in the cathedral church in Myra, which became a pilgrimage site, but Irish historians claim the early crusaders brought his remains back to Jerpoint Abbey.
"It is a commonplace that [people] are excessively ruthless and cruel not as a rule out of avowed malice but from outraged righteousness."
-- Paul Johnson, Modern Times
Yup, I was right: the weird swirly blue thing in the sky earlier this week was a "Russian Missile Fail". Never ascribe to aliens what can adequately be explained by incompetence.
Looks like the Army is exploring nuclear energy as a way to power their bases. I think it'd make an interesting stalking horse to see just how far the greens are willing to go to allow emissions-free power. Since I'm convinced green is the new red, I'm pretty sure they'll do everything they can to stop it. Since it's a military base, I'm not sure how far they'd get.
Shocking only to the MSM: Sarah Palin is now only 1 point behind in popularity polls. Yeah, I know, this has more to do with a popular president working with his Congressional buddies to ram unpopular legislation through than it does any resurgence on Palin's part. Still, considering how diligently the MSM tried to tear her apart when the book came out, the recovery is remarkable. I guess she kept at it long enough to last into the next news cycle.
Obama to the ISI: fix your mess or we'll do it for you. It's still not widely understood just how important, and culpable, Pakistan is in the hunt for al Quaeda. As with most effectively failed states, I don't see us demanding things as doing much good. But it does at least provide some political cover when we have to move against what will inevitably be portrayed as, "an unwarranted attack on another sovereign state."
While your regular variety of wacky leftists sit in yurts and complain about economic growth, the *real* business of climate change is being discussed by people who arrived on private jets and drove to the place in limousines. Thousands of limousines. Why worry when it's becoming common knowledge the only real way to "get things done" is to force us to do them.
That sound you hear is the left side of the peanut gallery nodding, and wondering just wtf the rest of us might have a problem with this.
It seems iPods have found a competitor in the vinyl LP. If the pressings are high-quality, the sound is actually quite good, and engineers worked out how to eliminate the clicks and pops just before CDs arrived. That said, albums are a royal pain to maintain, requiring more cleaning than an M-16 in a tropical jungle. I'll stick with CDs, thanks.
Hey, man, turnabout is fair play, eh? Yeah, this guy reeks of "kook in a castle", but dangit, he's our kook in a castle. When the left does this stuff, they end up with Oscars. I guess we'll just have to settle for, you know, being right.
It seems that the Voynich Manuscript may finally be solved. Wtf? Am I the only one who knows how to use WP? Personally, I thought the idea that it was a spy report for the future aging slowly in reverse was a much neater idea. Dan Simmons fan? Why yes?
Another year, another "computers don't save you a dime, you idiot story. My reply has, and always will be, "fine. If they don't save any money, let's go ahead and turn them off, eh?" And let's start with the authors of the study, while we're at it.
That said, this is very well received: The problem "is mainly that computer systems are built for the accountants and managers and not built to help doctors, nurses and patients," the report's lead author, Dr. David Himmelstein, said in an interview with Computerworld. To which I can only say it's not just health care which has this problem. We've been inflicted with not one but two expensive purchase order systems at my workplace that are an absolute horror to use simply because it makes the 3-member accounting team's job easier.
Nicholas Kristof writes this telling piece detailing the hidden costs, and willfully ignored implications, of Obamacare:
Sure, it would be great if John had health care insurance. But at what cost to everybody else? Should women under 50 be denied mammograms so as to hold down health costs so that John can have government-subsidized insurance? How about men over 70 with slow acting prostate cancer? Should we deny them treatment on the assumption that something else will kill them first, so that the government can afford to insure John?
The point is that Kristof and his ilk are basically running a con. They want you to focus on the most sympathetic cases, while ignoring the large and amorphous mass of individuals who will be adversely affected.
All the wishing in the world will not make the fact that we have scarce resources which must be allocated carefully go away. Trying to legislate it away courts disaster, and ensuring conservatives and libertarians are around to take the blame will not clean up the mess any faster.
Looks like Obama's learning the age-old lesson of the tired husband. That being, when one is in trouble for irrational reasons, being as angelic as possible won't change a damned thing.
Patrick Stewart, of all people, has written this detailed and heart-felt account of how domestic violence marred his childhood. A chaotic, unpredictable home is definitely something no child should ever need to learn to deal with. It's sad indeed that so many do.
Leave it to The Sun to find a guy who married the woman of his dreams even after he found out she was a he. Bonus: "wife-wants-to-take-notes-on-how-that-makeup-works" pictures. Reminds me of the first time I saw Poison's debut album.
Hello? Poison? "Every Rose"?
This "kids born when that album came out now have kids of their own" moment brought to you by, well, me.
At least one doctor is calling, "BS" on that story of the guy who was "trapped" in his body for 23 years. I did think someone who could stay lucid after going through such an ordeal was amazing. It may turn out to be far too amazing to be real.
Problem: Greedy, evil corporations heartlessly refuse to provide any sort of extended benefits to the workers they thoughtlessly cast off like so many unwanted puppies.
Solution: We are Democrats! Champions of the People! Behold, Vile Corporate America, The Power of the State Compels You!!!
I don't expect the true believers sitting on the left side of the peanut gallery to even understand the point. I'm hoping those who got lured over there by the shiny trinkets they were selling you have now realized it was nothing more than paste and foil.
Jeff gets a no-prize shaped like a scale for bringing us proof the MSM will sell their soul for a good story, and then complain about the price as they're stealing it back when the story's done. It's almost enough to make me think about reading newspapers again. ALMOST.
While a gay leather master running for a state office is interesting, I'm not sure it's 2000+ words interesting. But hey, who am I to judge?
The widely read blogger and purveyor of all truth, Andrew Sullivan, was impelled to blog 17 times on the subject of Palin on the same day Americans learned that the Obama administration awarded $6.7 billion in stimulus money to non-existent congressional districts — which did not merit a single mention. To see what is in front of one's nose demands a constant struggle, I guess.
I once quite enjoyed reading The Washington Post every morning. I stopped precisely because of this sort of thing.
Well they are rather large.
Read the comments how people are arguing between cows and bull. Pretty obvious that they are male.
Washington Post today featured this surprisingly detailed account of only the fourth execution by electric chair to occur in Virginia since 1995. Counter to my bloodthirsty neo-con reputation, I'm actually opposed to the death penalty on two accounts, one practical, the other religious.
It's been widely accepted for decades that it is in fact more expensive to execute a criminal in the US than it is to house them for life. Getting those last three decimals of certainty takes decades and costs millions. Anyone who doesn't want to be as certain as humanly possible risks becoming a murder by proxy themselves.
Spiritually, one of the reasons behind the special sanctity of human life in Buddhism is humans are held to be the creatures that, given enough time, have the greatest likelihood of finding enlightenment. Shortening that rare and all too brief span is beyond abhorrent.
That said, Buddhism also believes it is possible, even desirable, to find enlightenment even on a godforsaken mountain peak or a deep dark hole. Which is where I think the worst of the worst, suitably secured and provided with the tools for their own survival, should end up.
In other words, karma's a bitch.
The title comes from the fact that, aside from the motive behind it, I think stacking a whole bunch of buckets full of pig pee and poo in front of the US Capitol and using fans to blow the stench toward it is a good idea. It'd make the physical atmosphere match the moral and political one for the first time in, what, forever? This is a frakking Democratic administration, people. There's bound to be someone we can sue and/or guilt into making this happen!
It seems that there has been a significant expansion in how police will be using DNA evidence. Using a familial DNA database to prove probable cause seems straightforward enough. I'm sure the ACLU will fuss about the potential ways it could be abused almost as fast as the cops try to figure out actual ways to abuse it.
Regulars of the Udvar Hazy annex will know about the restored Japanese fighter designed to launch from a submarine. Turns out they've found the mother ship. Again. Seems we sank it 60 years ago. More's the pity. Still, it's a little strange to see something 20 or 30 guys spent 5 years restoring in a museum I regularly take my daughter to see, and then see the thing designed to launch it on the bottom of the ocean, buried with the crew who sailed it.
Meet Mrs. Herald who, at 2'4", is the world's smallest mom. The pictures are freaky, but the story isn't. We all make our own way, and they seem to be doing OK. I just hope they're not on the dole.
Pat gets a sadly predictable no-prize for bringing us the emerging details of the Fort Hood massacre. The Muslim angle is sad, but, now that I think about it, most of these mass-murdering lunatics seem to show clear signs of coming unhinged well before they pick up a gun. The trick would seem to be recognizing them in time.
I'm quite sure there are those on the left side of the peanut gallery who have no problem at all forcing us all to spend $15,000 or go to prison. Regular readers of our site will likely know where we stand on it. And now they're trying to force it through on a Saturday.
I've always liked John Ratzenberger, but now I *really* like John Ratzenberger:
"These are Woodstock Democrats," [Ratzenberger] said at the [recent DC Tea Party rally]. "We have to remember where their philosophy comes from. It doesn't come from America. It comes from overseas. It comes from socialism. And socialism is a philosophy of failure."
Another day, another 40-something Gen-X'er bemoaning "kids these days." Meh. At least watching porn won't give you cancer. Totally SFW.
Yesterday Fiat finally unveiled its 5-year plan for Chrysler. Looks like it'll be what Fiat's been saying all along: a sharing of technology resources to jump-start the ailing automaker and set it on the road to recovery. Most of the Fiat will be clad in Chrysler badges, and the transition should be complete some time around 2012. Not a whiff of a mention of the ol' Cross-and-Serpent, but hope always springs eternal for Alfisti. We'll see...
Well I'll be darned, the KATV tower collapsed last year and won't be rebuilt. This thing was a landmark in every sense of the word in Arkansas when I was growing up. Channel 7 was the only station we could pick up at deer camp because of this tower, and it marked the half-way point between Pine Bluff and Little Rock on old Highway 65. Ah well, at least it didn't hurt anyone on the way down.
It seems there's a reason why every country, or very nearly so, uses its own electric plug. Problem is, that reason doesn't make a lot of sense. Except that it was really expensive to set this all up, and we all did it when nobody crossed borders all that often, and by the time people started it was all in place, and it's a helluva lot easier to burn out your laptop than it is to rewire a whole f'ing country, so there.
Thing is, I could swear I remember really weird plugs in really old houses back when I was a kid, especially around phones? Anyway, a bit of electronics trivia to brighten your Friday night. 'Cos you're at home just like me, right?
Hello? Oh, I see, I forgot to plug it-#$@$#@%%6
Does a new weapon system herald the end of the precision-guided era? On the one hand, I can think of no better sight than a rogue mortar shell being blasted out of the sky. On the other, I would find it really annoying if my fancy guided bomb got blown up just a few hundred feet before it hit the target.
The US Military has a new method of detecting Hajji before he plants his road side bombs in Afghanistan, and you'll never guess what they've named it. All this time I thought NASA was the king of the tortured acronym.
Could libertarians become the next significant group of swing voters? It would make my life a lot more interesting, that's for sure. "Fiscally conservative but socially liberal" describes a significant number of my friends. "Fiscally conservative and stay off my lawn" describes most of the rest, including yours truly.
Geocities, the once mega-popular free web site host service, is being shut down. AMCG's very first incarnation was as a Geocities website. I'll bet a majority of blogs our age were.
It's nice to see not everyone in the UK has swallowed the blue climate change pill.
It's not that I think global warming is fake or a sham, it's that all the currently proposed "solutions" either do too little and cost too much, or are thinly disguised retread attempts to drive the kulaks into the countryside.
In my opinion, a climate change solution that does not include China and India is DOA. Right now, economic growth in those two countries isn't making life better, it's SAVING THE LIVES OF BILLIONS OF PEOPLE.
The simple truth is these same people, when presented with the vague and controversial death by weather some time in the future, and the concrete reality of death by starvation next week, do not see this as a particularly hard decision.
Until this concrete reality is addressed, I will never sign on.
Here... you go into the building first. *bOOt*
It seems a vaguely scientific test has revealed most people can in fact tell the difference between awful sound and not-quite-as-awful sound. That is not, of course, how they're pitching it, but my "yes, actually, there is a reason hi fi sounds good" interpretation is just as valid.
Me? Oh I can't stand any of it. All the music download sites I've ever messed with have been unbearable, so bad I've never really bothered to try and hook them up to my main rig. If they ever mainstream a lossless system, I'll be there with bells on. Otherwise, I'll be sticking with my oh-so-20th-century CDs for the duration.
Making the rounds: Obama's communications chief counts Mao Tse Tung as one of her two favorite philosophers. Ya know, I always called Obama's bunch a bucket full of commies just to make a joke. I guess proves the axiom, "the best jokes start from truth."
It would seem the Democrats have dropped all pretense and are simply handing money out to whomever they please, for no particular reason at all. Considering they're already spending trillions of dollars they already don't have, what's a few more billion between friends?
It would appear that, not only is the global warming apocalypse still not happening, it's not happening in the wrong direction. Now, I'm not the sort of person who thinks climate change is just a watermelon* conspiracy. However, anyone who doesn't see the parallels isn't paying attention, or is selling something.
All that said, what I think this reveals most importantly of all is that radical change is simply uncalled for. Should we all start being more conscious of carbon footprints, and work to lessen them? Sure, why not? After all, such voluntary, grassroots efforts are far more likely to succeed than anything a government could hope to do.
It's when people start proclaiming an imminent crisis which must be addressed immediately with the most radical solutions which can be imposed by unelected world bodies that I start having a great big 800 lb. gorilla of a problem. Because everything I've read from that camp makes me think people pushing that agenda are so solidly Citrullus lanatus they're crapping seeds.
* Green on the outside, red on the inside.
If it's in black and white, it's one pail tip from the dustbin of history. But when it's in color, it's suddenly immediate. Thing is, spending all these years altering digital photos, I know from looking at them that with just a little twiddling those photos could be much more clear.
God damn you, you bastards. You took every awful little thing from every dust-darkened corner long forgotten, distilled it, and made it famous. Bah. You stopped, and they've kept going. And they raise glasses in October to the world, and the world raises one back. Because, and in spite, of you.
"[Casting Columbus as a murderous brute] is primarily an effect of the Calvinist Puritan roots of American progressivism. Just as Calvinists believed in the centrality of the depravity of man, with the exception of a minuscule contingent of the Elect of God, their secularized descendants believe in the depravity and cursedness of Western civilization, with their own enlightened selves in the role of the Elect."
This describes so many of my center-left friends so very well it's actually a bit frightening.
But only a bit.
'For centuries, the State (or more strictly, individuals acting in their roles as "members of the government") has cloaked its criminal activity in high-sounding rhetoric. For centuries the State has committed mass murder and called it "war"; then ennobled the mass slaughter that "war" involves. For centuries the State has enslaved people into its armed battalions and called it "conscription" in the "national service." For centuries the State has robbed people at bayonet point and called it "taxation." In fact, if you wish to know how libertarians regard the State and any of its acts, simply think of the State as a criminal band, and all of the libertarian attitudes will logically fall into place.'
--Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty
I'm sure the idea of the state being the prime criminal actor in human life will be surprising, shocking, and perhaps even anathema to the folks sitting on the left side of the peanut gallery. Which is too bad. We're called "the right" for more than one reason, you see...
A Chinese auto company has purchased the Hummer brand from GM for the bargain price of $150 million. It remains to be seen if this is the move of a wily up-and-comer, or yet another case of the locals soaking a carpetbagger.
Mark gets a no-prize with a tuxedo on for bringing us news that Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No, really! I had to check twice to make sure it wasn't fake! Foreign policy is where presidents nearly always do best, in no small part because that's what the founding fathers thought should be a primary responsibility of the executive branch when they engineered it.
It seems Rush Limbaugh and Dave Checkettes are making a bid for the St. Louis Rams. NFL teams are expensive, but if managed well are a license to print money even if the team itself is only mediocre (c.f. Cowboys, Dallas; Redskins, Washington). Sports reporters nowadays seem to be slightly to the left of Mao himself, so I'm expecting ESPN to start hailing the angels as they arc across the sky trumpeting apocalypse shortly.
I know, I know, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many truths must be ridiculed out of existence, and dammit no matter how many mistakes get made, it's all Bush's fault until Obama says it's not. Not even when the basic tenets of the argument don't even mention Bush, and are hard to argue against all the same. I think my problem is I keep thinking past stage one. It's a dangerous habit to have when it's ultimately the state who needs to be looking after me.
Agreed: '"I'm a Palin fan, because she irritates just the right people for me," [Dennis Miller] said.'
I'm amused by the frothing that happens when Palin is mentioned in the presence of my lefty friends. I'm very puzzled by the amazing ferocity the mere mention of Palin brings out in my center-left friends. I think that, if she tones down the religious rhetoric, bones up on the issues, and fields her own campaign team she definitely has a shot. And if she wins the Democrats will have nobody but themselves to blame, because nothing drives people center-right quite as fast as putting a darling of the left in the oval office.
Let's just call it young woman: 1, terrorists:0. Bonus: The hajji sent to his 72 virgins may end up being a high-ranking leader of the local terrorist cell. Ice Cube may be a little disappointed, but I'd call it a good day regardless.
It's like I say the words, and they become news the next day. Fortunately for the country, one state trying to soak the rich to pay for their progressive policies merely results in those rich moving their deposits, and therefore their liquidity, to friendlier states. Said friendlier states will then be able to indirectly leverage the cash for all sorts of useful things, like bond issues for infrastructure and small business loans for all of us. Progressives get disciplined, and conservatives get cash. Everyone wins!
The real risk is tax-and-spend at the federal level. There's no place to run inside the country then, so off the cash goes to some tropical location to help underwrite some corrupt third world regime. But hey, as long as it ensures the rest of us are unable live free of the progressive state, it's fine for those ingrates to leave, eh?
It turns out that, yes, they really did create a doomsday device and yes, it was fairly automated and no, they didn't tell a soul about it. At least, that's what this article is claiming. People who think we came closest to nuclear war over missiles in Cuba need to read more about the Cold War. From everything I've read, Khrushchev's folly doesn't even rank in the top 3.
Often the best sources of "real, actual, and useful" information comes from people on the ground trying to help other people get used to the ground. Such is A. L. L., "Afghan Lessons Learned for Soldiers". While all to brief, its practical advice and information taught me more about the erstwhile "Graveyard of Empires" than a dozen Newsweek articles.
Rick gets a no-prize that prosecutes with absolute malice for bringing us this collection of Apaches bringing various hajjis to their 72 wirgins, or whatever it is. Flying whirlybirds at the sharp end of the stick means never having to say you're sorry. Or, you know, something like that.
So has the Obama administration legalized pot, or not? As with most things related to Democrats, the answer is complicated, unofficial, and likely only to last as long as attitudes don't change. Me, I'm a "legalize it, tax it" kind of person. I'd be a lot happier if that's what had actually happened instead of "don't ask don't tell" in a lab coat.
Now that Congress and the media have "done their duty" (by making sure we all understand Such is the Fate of All Apostates Who Question the Holy One), let's just examine why anyone would want to call Obama a liar. This information tracks exactly with what I heard a few months ago on, of all places, NPR, so far as I'm concerned the numbers are good.
Was it enough to justify being tacky in a public forum? Well, this is Congress we're talking about here. If crass and tacky were banned from those August chambers the place would be given over to the crickets. Was it enough to justify the epithet, "liar?" Well, one of the most famous squirms in movie history should be appropriate here... "So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view. "
It would seem there's no end to the mileage cable news can get out of ComiCon. All I needed to see was the crowding. We get that at the Smithsonians during tourist season. It's no fun, and there I'm not paying for it. Still, it seems the fattie-to-hottie ratio is much higher than it is at other cons. Proof positive, I guess, that with a glamorous enough event, no number of greasy gamers can keep the chicks away.
Ya know that hajji who just got sent to his 72 whatever? You'll never guess who signed the executive order approving that op. Is this the standard "even a broken clock's right twice a day" competence of your standard Democrat, evidence "the Chicago way" may have a bright side, or perhaps the harbinger that he might be good at foreign policy? I'm not hedging my bets. Still, when's the last time you heard of a Dem signing off on anything like this AND IT ACTUALLY WORKING? I'm thinking LBJ, but I'm a cynic.
So, how does one get rid of those wonderfully green hybrid cars when they reach the end of their life? Pretty much the way you'd expect... by cutting another pound of flesh off the US taxpayer. Well, pretty much the way *I* expect, being the card-carrying libertarian bastard that I am. The rest of you, maybe not so much.
So, the question is, what if they held a protest and nobody in the media showed up. It was certainly news to me that the whole of downtown DC was shut down this afternoon. If I'd known, I would've taken Olivia down there.
Mythbusters must be getting ready to start another season. First I had to clear a 24 hour marathon off the Tivo, now I find a new interview with the principles. This time Jamie even makes an appearance!
Snap into what's inside a Slim Jim. What I think is funny is this stuff is considered nasty and gross, while I'd wager the same people would consider giant bugs that eat trash and dead stuff off the ocean's bottom a delicacy, and pay extra for it. There's just no accounting for (pseudo) intellectual tastes.
So likely anyone following the health care debate for any length of time has heard of Cuba. The question is, why haven't we heard as much about India? What's that? Health care reform is just a stalking horse for giving people "who know what's good for us" more power? Well dang, if you'd just said so to begin with...
Problem: Afghanistan being, well, Afghanistan, is resisting the obvious charisma, hope, and change of the glorious leader all but the most seditious of us love with every fiber of our being by obstinately refusing to play along.
Solution: Move the goalposts, and blame Bush.
I'm not sure who this guy is, but he seems to get on French TV regularly enough. If that doesn't define the thin wedge of the defeatist left, I don't know what does.
I dunno. I think this guy is onto something. Driving a standard transmission in Virginia's legendary highway treacle fairly forces you to create large gaps ahead. I've found there are two real problems to this strategy: 1) once the gap reaches a certain size, the adjacent lanes "collapse" into the space, like waves of surf, and 2) psychopaths behind you flip their sh*t when they see you letting traffic "get away", and try to punt you along faster. Still, I think there's likely something to all this.
I see, I see now. When you all called Bush a new Hitler, that was Ok. But calling Obama a new Hitler, that requires some serious scolding. Go for the "it's-my-foil-hat-I'll-wear-what-I-want-to" conspiracy paranoia. Stay for the shameless "of course it's OK if we do it. We're the good guys" commentary.
"Glad to see me, boys?" Doda called out cheerily. She laughed, patted Bill Yankers on the cheek and, without missing a beat, picked up the next line of her song and headed back up the room toward her band.
Forty-five years after she donned a topless bathing suit at the Condor Club one hot summer night and started the national topless dancing craze, Doda is still packing 'em in at North Beach.
As with most Hollywood fantasies of starting over, attempting to completely disappear is much harder than it would at first appear. There were a couple of times in my life, long ago, when doing just that would've been relatively straightforward. I discarded the idea for precisely the reasons stated in the article.
The Spectator: "My Grandma Is An Angry Mob -- And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt." The guy who coined that "hell hath no fury" line obviously never knew a pissed-off gramma.
Fellow Arkansans may find Blanche's schedule of interest. Especially since she seems to be changing it a lot. I wonder why that is?
The conclusions of the Obama-appointed panel to review NASA policy are beginning to leak out. My memory may be failing me, but this sounds a lot like the options being kicked around before Mike Griffen took over and rammed the Ares concepts through. Regardless, things don't look real bright for Ares I fans. From what I've read, I'm not completely sure that's a bad thing.
It would seem the author of The Lord of the Flies wasn't a particularly nice man. I guess it's one of the requisites of the English upper class, to have one's dark past revealed after one's death.
Ok, see if you know the punch line to this one... four perps run into a store, handcuff the employees, and pistol-whip the one who resists.
This being America, the punch line goes the way it should.
To me, the fact they were handcuffing everyone is very significant, and dangerous. In my opinion, it meant the perps were going to make sure nobody would be around to identify them when they were done. Any violent death is tragic; that said, some are definitely more tragic than others.
I've often heard it said a person who doesn't break the law has nothing to fear from the police. I would counter a police officer who's doing the job correctly has nothing to worry about from a citizen who knows, and plays by, the rules. Plus, the chick who plays the homeowner at the end of the film is hawt.
Oink oink oink.
The BBC's F1 Mole has more details on why Michael Schumacher had to cancel his comeback. Sounds like he would be just one solid thump away from his head falling off. Yeah, I think that would make me reconsider, too. Because you know they asked me next, right?
Yes, I do know what "delusions of grandeur" means, thank-you-very-much!
Historian Victor Davis Hanson recently visited the Mediterranean and penned these various thoughts on his journey. Useful not only for the political insights, but also for impressions and tips from someone who's visited the area many times over many years.
Ron gets a rambling but no less entertaining no-prize for bringing us a bit of left-center disgust with the shambling mound that is the Obama administration. Oh, don't worry, the author does plenty of Bush slamming too. I don't want to take you people too far out of your comfort zone.
Hey, man, I'm not attacking anyone, I just have the same questions this guy does about recent "fishy" statements about health care. I mean, the Dems keep telling me to not believe everything I'm told, because some people out there have an agenda and might be prone to distort things.
I'm not pointin' any fingers, I'm just sayin'...
Looks like Schumacher won't be making a comeback after all. The injuries sustained after a previous motorcycle accident had been mentioned when his name was first being toss around. F-1 cars are capable of more than three G's of lateral force, so having neck or upper back injuries is a very real problem when trying to race in that series.
I have no idea what to make of this, other than it's got a lot of interesting pictures, which seem to transition from black and white to color. It was interesting enough for me to scroll to the bottom.
Note: contains nekkid people.
Looks like if Obamacare passes, after retirement we can all look forward to sorta-mandatory discussions about death and dying every five years Or sooner, if it looks like we won't make it to the next five year discussion. It's not the content in particular that bothers me. It's that the state has decided that it's a good idea to remind me I'm going to die soon. And it's decided to keep reminding me, you know, in case I forget. Because, I tell ya, if it's one thing seniors forget, it's that they're gonna die soon.
US travelers thinking about going international may find this guide to "do's and don'ts" of various cultures of interest. The article is, of course, more interested in presenting colorful examples than it is in providing a consistent, useful guide, but I always find it fun to learn the details of exactly how specific countries differ from our own.
A Taliban leader in Pakistan may have been killed by a drone attack. This was the one Taliban press releases was saying killed his wife and a whole bunch of other innocent women and children. Hey, if it's in a press release, we gotta believe it, right?
Bah. Why mount up that crazy hunter's deer when you get get all artsy with it instead? Something tells me my mother-in-law would be less than pleased if one of these suddenly appeared on her wall.
So, was Van Halen's legendary "no brown M&Ms" really just a way to suss out careless promoters? Their shows always were known for incredibly complex staging.
Look out, everybody, they've turned Squeaky loose. By all the accounts I've read, she's still just as nuts now as she was more than thirty years ago when she waved a gun at President Ford. With a few notable exceptions, age tends to plane the edges off crazy, so maybe she'll fit back into society. Who knows?
Why don't I like Cash for Clunkers? This is why:
Cash-for-clunkers amounts to a rounding error in Tim Geithner's nose-hair at this point, which is probably why at least some liberals seem so genuinely baffled by the disproportionate criticism it has drawn. But for some of us it's also a nearly perfect symbol of economic statism run amok. The federal government is taking from the many, giving it to the less-than-many, destroying functional cars, funneling money to an auto industry that it already largely owns (at a hefty taxpayer price tag), then taking multiple (and multiply premature) bows for rescuing the economy and the auto industry in the process.
Now now, read the last paragraph too, because I agree with it as well. Strangely, this was not rated as "fascist" by the twirling moonbats who infest Fark's comment areas. The MSM is still on its knees in front of Obama's pants, but they now seem to be demanding a peck on the cheek before they do their duty. Could these things be marking the beginning of the end? Heck all I'm hoping for is the end of the beginning.
From the, "we-know-the-truth-lets-make-some-numbers-up-to-support-it" department, we have a report which claims kids today cost $221,000 over the (presumably) 17 year period you're responsible for. Which begs the question, who cuts their kids off when they turn 18?!?
See, Ellen? I told you we could've gotten a Ferrari!
It's nice to see that the right can be just as prurient as the left, and the political operatives of the left can be just as effete as those of the right. Those of you who think the whole business stinks and wonder why they can't all just grow the f- up should read up on how ante-bellum politics was practiced in this country. Then you'll discover the sad truth... they already have grown up.
The good news: Alfa is still working on some sort of crossover SUV. The bad: it seems we're only going to get that, and a top-of-the-line sedan, some day. If the 500 is a success, maybe that'll convince Fiat that the US is a potential market for its smaller, less-expensive cars.
American health care: expensive, but darned well worth it. I think point #10 can't be emphasized enough. In fact, I have a theory that one of the reasons why our health care is so expensive is because we're actually subsidizing all these other nationalized health care schemes. I'd like to think we could put a proviso in some policy somewhere that would prohibit the export of any US-developed medical innovation for 10 years, just to see what would happen. I can't figure out how to really enforce it, unfortunately.
I've said this elsewhere, but it deserves repeating... we all expect government to f- it up. If government f-'s up the roads, I'm stuck in traffic jams for the next 10 years. If government f-'s up health care, I die.
Me? I'm counting on the boomers' legendary narcissism and shrieking lack of spirituality to fund us all to immortality. Obamacare is going to get in the way of that, either through taxation or the oozing amber of government regulation. You only disagree with me because you think most of these people shouldn't be alive anyway.
The glamour has long faded from the job of a flight attendant, but the occupation still captures the imagination of a public fascinated by the constant travel and work above the clouds.
"A lot of passengers complain that flight attendants don't smile, but I can't tell you how many times I've stood at the boarding door with a smile on my face greeting people and they will just ignore me," said Heather Poole, a flight attendant for 14 years who writes for the travel Web site Gadling.com.
So much for my next career.
One of the few "radical" libertarian points I strongly support is the repeal of the minimum wage. However, I've had a hard time finding a succinct way of explaining why. Problem solved.
Go read the whole thing first, then come back and tell me, exactly, how wrong it is. And hold this sign while you do.
Yes, yes, I know your name is not E. L. Eetist, but trust me, you'll have a hard time convincing people it isn't.
Today's "from cringe to cure" history of medicine is brought to you by the pictorial history of dentistry. The early pictures are exclusively of tools, so it's safe-for-stomach, if not for -imagination.
I've often wondered just how market forces could be leveraged to create sustainable health care reform. Now I don't need to wonder anymore. The thin edge of the wedge is already there, and working, with health savings plans (at my workplace, at any rate). If the dollars the government takes from me for various health related entitlements, and the money I and my employer pay for "regular" insurance, were placed in a similar sort of account, I know for a fact I'd have more money to spend on my own health care than I do now.
Careful now, when you disagree with me, that you're not doing so because flyover country is too stupid to do the same. Elitism is in many ways nastier than racism, because it allows you to discriminate against the people you think aren't worthy.
The Russians have started production of a new attack sub. The first of this class was laid down in 1993 and isn't expected to be finished until 2011, so it's not like two advanced
Soviet Russian attack subs will be prowling around any time soon. Still, something to keep an eye on.
To the surprise of basically nobody, the first screaming liberal to be appointed to the Supreme Court in, well, a long damned time has been confirmed. Meh. The court's raving conservative, Scalia, has been there for 27 years, and the world hasn't ended. This won't be the end of the world, either.
We've just tipped over the edge of the first hill on this donkey of a roller coaster, folks. Hang the hell on, it's gonna be a bumpy, scary ride.
Now they're saying the MiTo won't be the first Alfa to reach our shores. Which sort of makes sense, in a way. The protections fencing the US auto market make it really quite difficult to sell a low-cost car that's not built here. Still, the new Milano is looking quite interesting. It's also nice to be seeing a, "which one?" question, instead of "are we getting any at all?"
The thing is, he's not out to convince you, he's out to help people like me give as good as we get. Which is why I'm certain this will either be ignored or pilloried in places that think they matter. The truth too often ignored is, times have changed, and the places that matter, well, don't matter quite as much anymore, if at all.
John Stossel: "It's crazy for a group of mere mortals to try to design 15 percent of the U.S. economy. It's even crazier to do it by August." What's not mentioned is this is the 15 percent of the U.S. economy that keeps you from dying. Yeah. Congress is definitely the organizational body I want to be responsible for the health of my own body. They're doing such a good job at everything else, after all...
Sometimes it really is this simple:
In short, the choice for developing countries is between mass death due to the consequences of an overheated planet sometime in the distant future, and mass suicide due to imposed instant starvation right now. Is it any surprise that they are reluctant to jump on the global-warming bandwagon?
And of course, without these developing countries on the bandwagon, you know, the ones with well over half of the world's population, nothing anyone else can do will help. Except, of course, increase misery, slow economic growth, and ensure the only place where real job growth will occur is in the public sector.
On second thought, no wonder the Dems support it so strongly.
Being a cop is all fun and games until the @#$@%'ing convenience store owner refuses to erase the surveillance tape. Even better are all the super-macho Fark comments about how this particular policeman should be a) suspended, b) fired, and c) shot.
Sorry, folks, it doesn't work that way. He kept his job because he's union, and if unions are good for anything it's making it essentially impossible to fire anyone easily, no matter how justified it is. The lady sat in jail while the cop roamed free because thousands of sh-theads accuse cops of doing all sorts of awful things every day, and it's too expensive to believe (and investigate) them all.
The truly brave person in the story is the store owner, who if nothing else now faces the prospect of a store with no police protection whatsoever. At best.
Unfortunately this is the only way it can work. Freedom of the press doesn't just keep the feds from tossing us in jail for no reason, it also keeps the local cops from doing the same. Sometimes. When it's interesting, at any rate.
Is it consistent? No. Is it perfect? No. The sad truth is, however, that this is the only system proven to be compatible with human nature. We are imperfect beings, and least-worst is often the very best anyone can hope for.
One only has to compare what police are like in more "enlightened" states to see just how good "least worst" can be.
Mark gets a run-out hourglass of a no-prize for bringing us news that some very interesting tombs in Rome will soon be for sale. They ain't cheap, and if you're not local don't even bother, but if you're well off and live in the area, well, you can buy a place that'll give you a place when you're eventually neither.
I wonder if an Anthropology student could make a Masters thesis work with this thing? "Twitter pictures posted by millions of humans reveal startling data about behavior" would be the imaginary headline, I suppose. As far as I could tell it was SFW, but I only watched it for a few minutes.
Oh, look, it seems Al Qaeda has a spy problem on its hands. Poor little hajji. The problem with attacking rich people is, if you don't kill them the first time, they spend all their money trying to kill you back.
And you see, hajji, we have so very, very much money to spend...
When I got on the airplane heading into San Francisco, the cover of The Economist was Obama heading into the Russian bear's mouth. It was going to be a big deal. Since I long ago gave up on The Washington Post as being anything but a high-class Democratic mouthpiece, I've been using Google as my news aggregator. I can honestly say the utter, and complete, lack of coverage made me forget Obama'd even gotten on an airplane. This, however, reminded me. One of the ways historians judge whether or not a chronicler, of any era, is in the pocket of his or her employer is how they report failures. The ironic thing is that the gaps in the record tell us quite a bit.
When one considers that the Russians are the ones with all the nukes, this is a very big gap, indeed.
Finally someone has done the legwork required to point out just how differently the MSM reports economic news when a Democrat is in the White House.
I like it because it really seems to take the shape down to its basic principles. Most end their lives cut into pieces. Just not pieces this interesting.
The U.S. Army was developing a new, semi-robotic, tracked howitzer, as part of the Future Combat Systems family of vehicles. But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates killed FCS, in April. The howitzer — the so-called Non Line-of-Sight Cannon — was funded separately from FCS, so wasn’t subject to the FCS termination.
Anticipating NLOS-C’s death, the Senate just voted to spend an extra $60 million, to keep the Army’s existing, M-109A6 Paladin howitzers, in service until 2050. That’s nearly 100 years after the first M-109 entered U.S. service, and 70 years after the A6 version reached the field.
I just wish the Wikipedia article detailed why it's such a long-lived system.
Remember all the righteous indignation at the Bush administration "suppressing" various government reports that confirmed climate change? Yeah, about that:
The Environmental Protection Agency may have suppressed an internal report that was skeptical of claims about global warming, including whether carbon dioxide must be strictly regulated by the federal government, according to a series of newly disclosed e-mail messages.
See, I'm a cynical bastard and a card-carrying member of The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. I expect politicians and bureaucrats of either party to do absolutely anything to advance their agenda. That's why I'm never surprised by these things.
I am, however, endlessly surprised at how diligent and clever are the efforts of both the MSM and personal acquaintances to excuse the man behind the curtain, now that he's a Democrat.
Remember that chick who got all those stars by "teh horrible" tattoo artist? Yeah, the truth was about what you'd think. Leave it to the media to actually believe anything that comes out of a teenager's mouth.
After 74 years in production, Kodak has announced it's ceasing the production of Kodachrome film. We actually have a film-based SLR, one of the last "prosumer" models Nikon ever made. Olivia will likely take it to school one day as the ultimate example of "old tech."
Ron gets a no-prize that'll twirl impressively in its bell tower for bringing us two bits of evidence that the radical left, at least, is beginning to get worried that The Wrong People may end up getting credit for whatever good may come out of the Iranian, well, whatever it is going on there:
Proof... PROOF!!! that Israelis are attempting to destabilize the existing Iranian regime. And this is bad BEEECAUUSE???
A level-headed attempt to link Israel's fascist mistreatment of those peace-loving Palestinians who are peacefully protesting their peaceful desire to peacefully push all the Jews into the sea with Obama's non-handling of the situation in Iran. Money quote: "[A radical Israeli politician who I don't like]'s expressed eagerness to bomb the Aswan dam is at least the equivalent of Ahmadinejad’s reported desire to wipe Israel off the map. "
Ok, Sparky. Here's a ruler. This is something that will provide you with something called "perspective." Equating bombing a dam with nuking a country means you really, really need it.
Ok, pop quiz. What party is this guy talking about, and when did he write it:
During campaigns, they want our money, our support... but once they win, we're not needed. Even worse, they view us as a problem. Many of them forget that they have their tax-payer financed jobs and benefits because of the work so many of us did.
The honest answers are, "any active party", and "any time after 1787." I'm just about certain I can find comments like this any time in the modern era. It's likely the same sentiments will be found all the way back to the beginning, or shortly thereafter.
See, you guys just figured it was the Republicans who acted this way because, well, most of you wavered between "they're stupid" and "they're evil." Guess what, sparky? It's not Republicans, it's politicians, and it'll only get worse this time around because everyone seems to want so desperately to love this guy.
Original article is here.
See, I'm never surprised by these things, since (contrary to popular perception) I think there's a certain type of person who's attracted to politics, who knows how the game's to be played, and party affiliation really only affects the color of the lapel pin. Therefore this doesn't surprise or bother me that much. The rest of you, quite obviously, will likely feel differently:
The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration argument that a president doesn't have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions.
Oh, don't worry, I'm sure you'll comfort yourself with some "but the Republicans are much worse!" pap. Don't forget to be smarmy when you mention it. I love it when you do that.
No, not you. The other one.
A Chinese sub recently collided with a US destroyer's towed sonar array. Those things are, as I understand it, highly classified. I'm not sure anyone knows what they really look like. This could've been a "love tap", or it could've gotten tangled up, or it could've been bashed around pretty good. Who knows?
... Mah Incentives:
Education really does pay.
An overwhelming number of schools participating in a controversial program that pays kids for good grades saw huge boosts -- up to nearly 40 percentage points higher -- in reading and math scores this year, a Post analysis found.
Since public education's true goal is indoctrinating the poor masses into the Church of Secular Humanism, the left is predictably moving the goal posts from "getting a good education" to "education should be valued for its own sake." If this shows even the slightest sign of catching on, expect identical MSM "in depth" stories about rampant cheating and kids spending their education cash on drugs. All, of course, based on the same NEA press releases using data from the same NEA-sponsored studies.
And now, 10 cars that some journalist thinks last forever. The only real surprise was the lack of a Mercedes diesel, which are utterly legendary in their stolid virtues.
Hmm? Oh, you can make an Alfa go that far. Several have. You just need to fiddle with them more.
A lot more.
Rumor has it the Tata Nano may be heading to our shores. I'm not at all sure how. According to road tests I've read in the various popular magazines, the Nano has no modern safety features. No air bags, no side-impact bars, heck I'm not even sure if it has seat belts. See, in India, doors and a roof are considered big upgrades in safety already. Everything else is expensive gravy they don't need. As the US auto market experience in the mid 70s proves, it's hard to add these things to a vehicle not engineered for them. And those add-ons were relatively straightforward, things like battering-ram bumpers and big bars inside the doors.
Nowadays the safety features often involve things that go, "bang." Sometimes in your face, and are sophisticated enough not to kill you, your grandmother, or your toddler doing it. Can the engineers at Tata handle the challenge? Can they make money on the result? Who knows? There will always be a market for cheap cars, even in the US. The trick is making money off them.
While I agree the other side of this whole late-term abortion thing needs to be told, in my opinion I think the article's author does her own fair share of glossing in the other direction. Still, I will readily admit I had a very one-sided idea of what late term abortion really means in the US until I read this article.
Me? Well, all I can really say is abortion is legal in this country, and as such a person practicing it according to the proper guidelines is completely innocent of any wrongdoing. The perpetrator of the murder should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The rest is too complex for me to pass judgment. I only wish the criminal who decided to take the law into his own hands could've decided the same.
Update: I guess I shouldn't be surprised the perpetrator isn't the brightest bulb in the bunch. That's another thing. If you're going to be an asshat and break the law because of your principles, suck it up and take the punishment like a man. One thing that annoys the s- out of me about protesters, be they right, left, violent, or peaceful, is how so many of them turn into whiny biatches the moment the cuffs go on. Hey, sparky, the whole point of being a martyr for the cause is dying at the end. At least Hajji has the decency to blow himself to bits.
Ron gets a no-prize that just looks suspicious for bringing us these 10 examples of news photographs that've been altered beyond all reason. What surprises me is how prominent the perpetrators are. I guess they're just more examples of people who are smart in one thing thinking they're smart in all things.
I'd always wondered just what Google Earth might be revealing about The Hermit Kingdom. Turns out, it's quite a lot:
A group of amateur spies has used Google Earth to provide a rare glimpse inside North Korea, one of the world's most secretive countries.
Among the most notable findings is the site of mass graves created in the 1990s following a famine that the UN estimates killed about 2 million people.
Also visible is the stark contrast between the living conditions of North Korea's elite and the general population.
~ Keep spending all our lives / Livin' in the worker's paradise... ~
Now that they're actually building the long-awaited Metro extension through Tyson's Corner, they're beginning to cut "black" wire. Definitely not the same sort of wire that makes the Milano's electrics go all wonky when it gets dirty.
The sad thing is, considering the level of debate amongst the "adults" of the internet lies somewhere between a screaming toddler and a poo-flinging chimp, this guide to "teaching children how to argue" should be required reading for, well, everyone. I know that's about as likely to happen as the MSM not asking, "what color?" every time the Obama administration yells "Sh*T!", but I can hope, can't I?
So, is the Obama administration deliberately targeting Chrysler dealerships who contributed to the GOP for closure, or is it just more paranoid ravings from the right? The Obama administration definitely has the arrogance, and the inexperience, to pull a stunt like this. After all, they doubtless have no expectation of being caught. Certainly the MSM will do nothing until the evidence is so colorful it starts to sell other people's newspapers.
I'm not sure it ever would occur to me that ebay was even in competition with sites like Facebook and MySpace. The former is for shopping, the latter for chatting. I troll ebay because I own an obscure pair of cars for which parts are difficult to find. Picking up weird stuff for fair prices was always what I thought ebay was for.
Policy wonks: the real solution to increasing and increasingly deadly mortar and rocket attacks is lasers. Which is all well and good, but nobody's managed to make an SSL that'll meet all the criteria for an effective defense. They're beavering away at it, so it may just be a matter of time.
The way most people get arrested is because of what they say to the cop. It gets interesting when a state law makes it permissible to say incriminating things to the cop, without getting in trouble. See, Ellen... all those times I've babbled at the TV about circumstantial evidence? I was right! The Mentalist, FTW!
While long on hyperbole and a bit short on actual facts, this account summarizing the theft of some of NASA's precious moon rocks is still worth a look. Considering how expensive NASA programs really are, I can't see how selling even previously contaminated rocks would make a difference. The feds took a dim view of someone using that excuse as a defense in fencing some stolen samples.
They're funny that way, eh?
One of the few people still relying on a full-body iron lung for breathing assistance has died. I remember when these things featured prominently in any number of TV shows or movies, mostly from the 60s. As noted in the article, nowadays it seems almost nobody uses them.
So, the next time someone from Japan gets in your face about how harmonious and safe their society is compared to ours, you'll now have something ask them about when they're finished. Yet more proof that our society has no monopoly on the dark side. We just talk about it where others can hear.
Mutual fund debt holders have torpedoed the Chrysler bailout plan. From various reports, it seems this was half expected, and there definitely seems to be a "Plan B" that will keep the main deal intact.
Just in time for GM's announcement of Pontiac's shuttering, Jalopnik has picked their ten greatest models from that marque. People familiar with automotive journalists probably won't be surprised to find a few models from other "ten worst" lists. Long term memory has never been much of a strong suite with journalists of any stripe.
Well, it's nice to know rice really doesn't hurt birds. I always thought that was a dumb one, but stopped noting it after it became obvious the various Bridezillas I had the temerity to contradict took it way too personally. If there's anything more dangerous than getting between a bride and her Perfect Weddingtm, I'm not sure what it is.
It would appear something's going to happen to Pontiac. It's not clear to me, from the article, if they're shuttering the brand outright, or if they're planning on spinning the division off. My brother always enjoyed the fact he had the last of the Firebirds in his '01. I'm not sure anyone expected it'd be one of the last Pontiacs.
Another day, another person without an axe to grind losing weight eating only McDonalds. Spurlock's film was a fine piece of entertainment, but a lousy documentary. Any viewer with even a lick of sense sees that in the first five minutes. Small wonder then that almost all MSM outlets portrayed Supersize Me as a serious, important commentary on our times.
Assuming the Fiat/Chrysler merger actually goes through, "what-goes-where" talks seem to be moving forward. More back-channel rumors indicate new big-3 assembly lines are extremely efficient, to minimize the impact of union-imposed restrictions. If Fiat can get the more onerous policies peeled away, it would seem to be possible to produce high-quality Italian cars here in North America in a perhaps surprisingly short amount of time.
I think it says a lot about, well, something, that a media publication thinks it can convey a meaningful portrait of an entire country through exactly eight pictures. Then again, the results are rather compelling.
Miguel P. gets a patrician no-prize for bringing us this perceptive look at what American government is, and is not. Yeah, it's a little long, but like most worthwhile lectures you really don't notice the time going by.
Even if the MSM continues to largely ignore the tea party movement, the radical left press sure isn't. Hey, you guys have Marxist wackos showing up to your rallies*, we have Fascist wackos showing up to ours. It's all good!
* Oh yes you do. Oh yes you do! Don't you make me get out the pictures of the hippies to prove it. You know what those look like...
Problem: Pirates are attacking our ships, but our liberal philosophy says we can't just shoot them outright.
Solution: Use expensive high tech!
Problem: Not so fast, moonbat-boy.
Pirates are plying their trade because, even with all the risks, it's cheaper and more profitable than any other trade to which a Somali can aspire. Only when the costs of being a pirate obviously exceed all other available options will attacks cease. Unfortunately when the risk of dying is already factored into a profession, its cost can only be raised by turning that risk into an actuality.
In other words, shoot the bastards. It's the only way to be sure.
A Europe-wide collaboration led by Roger Hardy of the Cranfield Impact Centre at Cranfield University near Bedford in the UK has developed an experimental system for cars that aims to cut this death toll and reduce the severity of injuries. When the system detects that the car is about to hit a pedestrian, it automatically raises the rear of the bonnet (hood), releasing a giant airbag in front of the windscreen.
Legislation to protect pedestrians is already responsible for the "high forehead" look of new European cars... they have to meet a certain set of crush guidelines to ensure someone doesn't, well, get crushed. This'd make, what, eight or nine airbags in a well-equipped car? These are not cheap devices!
Fiat to UAW: DROP DEAD.
Well, ok, maybe not "drop dead", but definitely "stfd and stfu."
It should be kept in mind that it's not always bad when the US Government prints money. I'm especially glad this got addressed: If that new money is supposed to make the dollar worth less, then why is the rest of the world fleeing to the safety of the dollar, instead of fleeing away from what you say is the soon-to-be-worthless dollar?
It's a question that's been bugging me for some time.
Mark gets a mysterious no-prize for bringing us news that the on-again, off-again status of the Shroud of Turin is, well, on again. Scientists will likely not be given access to the shroud again until they come up with a non-destructive dating technique, so it'll be awhile before they can re-test. Not that it'll make much difference to the True Believers, on either side.
North Korea successfully attacked the Pacific Ocean with its latest rocket. Which was all well and good, except they were actually trying to loft a satellite. Boosters do a lot of things well. Bouncing isn't one of them.
Well, if this guy is right, the upcoming Fiat-Chrysler merger stands a very strong chance of working. Can a successful Italian company succeed where a successful German one failed? A lot will depend on both sides listening to each other about how strengths and weaknesses are perceived. This is reported to not have happened during the Daimler years. It'll be interesting to see if it does with Fiat.
If this list of "Top 5 Great Men who were Great Plagiarists" is to be believed, a few of our most cherished literary figures had some very sticky fingers. That said, this is a Cracked article, long on sophomoric mud-slinging and suspiciously short of citations. The case on MLK's Dream speech in particular strikes me a more of a reference than outright plagiarism.
And score one for me, who seems to know how to spell "plagiarism" without reference to spell check. Now if I could just consistently remember where I leave my keys in the morning...
Why stop at helping companies stay afloat? We obviously know better than they do what the consumer wants:
Obama has ordered GM and Chrysler to come up with a cost and product structure that focuses on making money on small, fuel-efficient cars, traditionally a losing proposition for U.S. automakers.
My advice: find the most powerful car that fits your needs and buy it now. The days of a 250 hp family sedan are over. Performance cars with 300+ hp are going to lead them into extinction. My prediction: when the economy recovers, say in 3-5 years, there will be an explosion in classic car values that'll make the runup in the mid-80s look like a wet bottle rocket.
Because, now that the government is deciding what is and is not a desirable car, the only place to turn for what you like will be the classic car market. Since there's no increasing supply there, prices must go up. They're available new or depreciating fast right now, but once people realize the best they're going to get from now on is a Smart, that'll change in a great big hurry. Buy low, because in five years you'll definitely be able to sell high.
Chrysler says it has reached an official deal with Fiat. The trick now is to make sure Chrysler keeps its doors open long enough for Fiat to route cars through it.
The latest iteration: Chrysler goes to GM, and GM gives Saab to Fiat as some sort of weird consolation prize. I'm not completely sure this'll work all that well either, since SAAB's lineup would seem to compete directly with Alfa's. Still, I've seen more news about Fiat coming back to the US in the past six weeks than I have in the past six years. Surely something will come of it.
Boy, am I glad Bush was the last president! Otherwise we'd have nobody to blame for these horrific budget deficits. Well, except for, you know...
So now it seems at least some women are coming forward saying they experienced orgasms during childbirth. Considering the human species has been reproducing the same way for the past 150,000 years or so, you'd think someone else would've noticed before now.
I quite distinctly remember reading news articles in the mid-90s about how crazy and unfair it was for southern states to "give away" money and rights trying to attract car companies to locate there. It was, after all, just corporate welfare, pure and simple. How dare they provide billions of dollars in tax incentives to companies making a profit!
Well, I don't expect anyone on the left side of the aisle to change their tune, but at least I'll have the ammunition to shoot down those ridiculous assertions.
The story makes me think about a related "how dare they!" scenario, legalized "riverboat" gambling. Mississippi "fell" to temptation, while Arkansas remained "pure." Ten years later the differences between the "is-this-1958-or-what?" poverty of the Arkansas side and the "was-anythiing-in-this-town-even-around-last-year?" growth on the Mississippi side was striking.
Funny that the left celebrates this as a "victory" of common sense over superstition, while excoriating what's effectively the same thing elsewhere as "corporate welfare." I wonder if they'd ever even acknowledge the distinction?
It would seem the messiah has fallen into the water. Finessing Congress is fundamental to the success of a presidency. Those who manage it are nearly always seen as successful, while those who don't, well, aren't.
I gotta say, this still looks a whole lot more like Carter 2.0 than it does Bill Strikes Back.
Personally, I think it would've been cooler for him to lose the other middle finger. Still, it does provide an excuse not to wear a certain sort of ring, eh?
Mexico appears to be poised to enter a trade war with the US. The cause? Democrats allowed a "pilot program" which enabled Mexican trucks to drive on US roads to lapse. The problem? This is an absolute darling issue with a very powerful core Democratic constituency (Teamsters), the pleasing of which runs right into our tough economic times. So, do you scoff at losing some or all of $151bn worth of trade, as well as the efficiencies of a free market, or do you engage in a bit of realpolitik and jettison a loyal cadre of voters?
Well, why not hold the funeral at your house? There are more, and more varied, traditions surrounding funerals than there are surrounding marriages, in both our families, so I don't know how well this'd play in our neck of the woods. Then again, considering how iconoclastic our own marriage was*, anything's possible.
* An all-expenses package to Jamaica. Think elopement, with invitations.
Nothing like a set of century-old pictures to put it all in perspective, eh? Whenever I see collections like this, one of the more interesting things I think about is how every single person in these pictures, even (especially) the children are now long, long gone. Impermanence is the only permanent part of the human condition. We forget it far too often.
“I bet if the entire Obama Administration and Democratic Congressional Leadership were sentenced to hang on December 1, 2009, if the stock market were not above 9000 and unemployment were not below 7%, they would become raging tax-cutting pro-business libertarians overnight.”
Which is, of course, an interesting way of saying "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" and "do as I say, not as I do" at once.
Why worry about losing your wallet when something else that'll do the job can be implanted in your arm? I'm actually a bit surprised it's taken this long for someone to think it up.
Looks like Sunday will be the last day of business for Circuit City. I visited one a few weeks ago, and sadly found its selection rather similar to what it had been before they went bankrupt. What was there wasn't marked down to any remarkable extent. Yet another "I remember when..." I can tell Olivia about. If I remember.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 20 percent since Inauguration Day, the fastest drop under a newly elected president in at least 90 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
"BUT! BUT! He's only been in office 2 months!" Well, yes, but wasn't this the president widely and loudly admired for his taut, disciplined, and organized transition team? You know, one which was, compared to the previous two administrations, what the Batmobile was to a pair of Chinese fire drills?
I mean, it's all well and good to engage in just a little more Bush hating; I'm sure at least one of you out there will do just that, but GW's train has definitely left the station and the heat from its engine can't last much longer.
But wait! There's more:
Mr. Obama's $3.6 trillion budget blueprint, by his own admission, redefines the role of government in our economy and society. The budget more than doubles the national debt held by the public, adding more to the debt than all previous presidents -- from George Washington to George W. Bush -- combined. It reduces defense spending to a level not sustained since the dangerous days before World War II, while increasing nondefense spending (relative to GDP) to the highest level in U.S. history. And it would raise taxes to historically high levels (again, relative to GDP). And all of this before addressing the impending explosion in Social Security and Medicare costs.
Oh, that's right, I keep forgetting. Government is good. Economic justice is far more important than economic growth. If we engage in a dialog with the world we just won't need such an expensive defense budget. Our reliable allies will always be around to help! It's more important that gay people will be able to get married and abortion will never be threatened! People need clean air and renewable energy far more than they need jobs. It doesn't matter if you think so or not, they're the government and they know better than you, because they said so! Hey, that's what hope and change is all about!
Were all the lessons of 1977-1981 forgotten?
That's not "shoot" as in camera, but "shoot" as in gun. If it's good enough for the Messiah of the Democratic party, it's good enough for me!
So how well would your area fare if hajji managed to light a nuke off at a nearby landmark? Interestingly, both Ellen's and my workplace are just far enough away to be likely to survive everything hajji can carry in a backback. Friend Joshua's workplace, which is very close to the Air and Space museum, well, not so much.
The really big stuff would reach all the way out to the house, but I'd like to think something that big would be at least a little tough to sneak past customs.
What better way to start the day than playing with Armageddon?
Pat gets a tweedy no-prize for bringing us a rebuttal on a rebuttal to a climate change op-ed George Will published a few days ago. While wordy, I've always enjoyed this sort of slow-motion print flame war. Reminds me of my usenet days, stuck in treacle.
The Chrysler-Fiat deal continues to wobble its way forward, seemingly on press releases alone. The Italians are worried their tax dollars will somehow end up in Chrysler's accounts, while
unions "concerned parties" are trying to torpedo the deal on this side of the Atlantic to keep American tax dollars ending up in Fiat's accounts.
To which I can only say, "where's my damned new Alfa at, anyway?"
Remember that "Darth Vader" ship that made the rounds on all those 90s tech shows? You want it?
Of course, the Navy is justifiably famous for placing unending rules and regulations about the "who, what, and how" of taking one of their now-obsolete babies. They also don't pay for anything. So I'm not expecting this one tied up to the dock of anyone I know, any time soon.
So how often should you change the oil in your car? This guy did some actual research and found that most Americans are probably doing it too often.
I think I've been tinkering with cars longer than this guy, otherwise he would've mentioned something most shade-tree wrenchers like me learned long ago... when factories first began touting longer oil change intervals, they also included a "heavy use" interval that really was only 3000 miles. A cursory reading of the owner's manual would reveal that, in order to qualify for the "normal use" category, a car essentially had to be driven warm all the time on highways at 50+ mph. Everything else was "heavy use."
Now, even the newest car we own today is nearly 10 years old, which (as I recall) was before all these new high-mileage oils started coming out. It may very well be one of the last vehicles to include this "heavy use" out. At any rate, we've run synthetic in everything except the Spider*. The Milano's on its very first oil change on our watch, but I'm pretty convinced of the new Mobil 1's protection and do not plan on changing it for at least 7500 miles. The Cruiser's always been treated as an "any time after 3000 miles" car, which usually translates to 5000-7500, and it's doing fine after 150k+ miles.
The point being? Well, as long as you let the car get fully warmed up on your regular drives, and are at least mindful of oil changes, nowadays you'll probably be fine. If you drive some goofy one-off Italian sports car that was never designed to last more than five years anyway, well, you're on your own!
* Whose engine is just about 40 years old. The oil leaked out like a mistreated opera star's mascara the one time I tried synthetic in it. Maybe after a rebuild...
Bloomberg is reporting that President Barack Obama's budget cuts rely heavily on reductions in military spending, and several other news organization said the same over the weekend.
Looks like it's time to order a few of these:
At least this one's clever: reactionary bourgeois tool of the capitalist system:
Well, the obvious point [of the Obama plan to prevent foreclosures] is that it represents a massive transfer to borrowers from lenders and the rest of us.
I'm rather fond of that slogan up there. I just might turn it into a T-shirt. Anyone else interested in one?
Ron gets a virtual no-prize for bringing us the latest news about the virtual dating scene. When Ellen and I met, the best you could do was text-based MUD wannabes. Now... I mean, geeze, what's next? Virtual rabbits boiling in virtual pots?
Lord, bless Wikipedia, without which I would not have known about a far more ancient holiday at this time of year:
The festival began with the sacrifice by the Luperci (or the flamen dialis) of two male goats and a dog. Next two young patrician Luperci were led to the altar, to be anointed on their foreheads with the sacrificial blood, which was wiped off the bloody knife with wool soaked in milk, after which they were expected to smile and laugh.
The sacrificial feast followed, after which the Luperci cut thongs from the skins of the victims, which were called Februa, dressed themselves in the skins of the sacrificed goats, in imitation of Lupercus, and ran round the walls of the old Palatine city, the line of which was marked with stones, with the thongs in their hands in two bands, striking the people who crowded near. Girls and young women would line up on their route to receive lashes from these whips. This was supposed to ensure fertility, prevent sterility in women and ease the pains of childbirth. This tradition itself may survive (Christianised, and shifted to Spring) in certain ritual Easter Monday whippings.
On the one hand, it sorta makes putting Valentine's day cards into paper sacks look pretty tame. On the other, if given a choice between putting cards in sacks or being chased around the town square by bloodstained, half-naked lunatics flinging raw goatskin around... well, suddenly cards don't look so bad.
Ain't ancient history fun?
Actually, I doubt if seeing this budget graph will dent everyone's enthusiasm for Obama one little bit. Scary as it is, we're still close enough to the previous administration for them to take the blame.
From memory, it'll be about seven more months before I get to call fire and brimstone down on the current administration for the previous one's foibles. That's definitely what I remember happening, coming from people I actually know personally, with the last administration's first term.
It's left to the reader to remember which event marked the "in office, at fault" shift.
Those readers who've been to Amsterdam know all about it, but since I've never been this selection of red-light district photos was, well, I guess you'd say informative. The article is SFW, but the ads at the bottom of the page aren't.
Turns out that, when you consider the alternatives, working at Wal Mart really isn't as bad as you'd at first think. Readers on the far left of the peanut gallery (no, not you, the other one) may not like the conclusions the author reaches as to why Wal Mart has such a bad reputation.
It's been quite some time since I've read something this relevant, and good:
Two political figures dominated the final months of the 2008 presidential campaign. One was the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama. The other had been unknown to all but 670,000 Americans only a few minutes before she was first introduced by the Republican nominee.
Palin became the embodiment of every dark fantasy the Left had ever held about the views of evangelical Christians and women who do not associate themselves with contemporary feminism, and all concern for clarity and truthfulness was left at the door.
Nonetheless, Palin was embraced practically without reservation in many conservative circles. The very heat of the Left’s campaign against her made her all the more a darling of the Right ... Palin instantly became an icon of the pro-life cause.
Palin’s cultural populism put her at odds with the foe that did her the most serious damage: the nation’s intellectual elite, whose initial suspicion of her deepened into outright loathing as the campaign progressed.
Applied to politics, the worldview of the intellectual elite begins from an unstated assumption that governing is fundamentally an exercise of the mind: an application of the proper mix of theory, expertise, and intellectual distance that calls for knowledge and verbal fluency more than for prudence born of life’s hard lessons.
Sarah Palin embodied a very different notion of politics, in which sound instincts and valuable life experiences are considered sources of knowledge at least the equal of book learning. She is the product of an America in which explicit displays of pride in intellect are considered unseemly, and where physical prowess and moral constancy are given a higher place than intellectual achievement. She was in the habit of stressing these faculties instead—a habit that struck many in Washington as brutishness.
McCain’s advisers were right about Palin: she was a mirror image of John McCain. She was not a visionary politician, or a programmatic politician, but an attitude politician with an appealing biography. In the end, she was no more able than McCain to offer a coherent rationale for his presidency.
I've never read quite such a succinct summary of what my lefty friends really do appear to believe. Great stuff! Go read!
Pat gets a no-prize with a big magnifying glass attached for bringing us the story of Dr. Aribert Heim, one of the last remaining uncapture Nazi war criminals. It would seem he passed away in 1992 after living a quiet life in Cairo. Died of rectal cancer, apparently. If he actually did what he's accused of doing, well, can't say I'm all that sympathetic.
Media reports suggest Senate Republicans have become a key focus of stimulus talks, an acknowledgement that they appear to hold the balance of power in that chamber despite having only 41 seats to the Democrats' 58.
That's the way it's supposed to work, folks. It's why I was able to sleep at night after "the rapture." 60 seats and the Democrats run the world. 59 (or, here, 58) and they have to co-operate.
He'll either learn to coddle, caress, and cajole congress, or he'll fail. Will he be Carter II, or Clinton II? We'll just have to see.
Even though it seems all I hear about regarding the most recent Israel v. Hamas conflict is civilian casualties, I'm actually rather impressed at how low they are. I've been following that region pretty closely for some time. Back in the late 90s and the early part of this decade, headlines would read "Israel fires rocket, kills 1 terrorist and 30 civilians." Today it seems I'm reading headlines like "Israel fires rocket, kills 13 terrorists and 3 civilians. Now it seems I've found the reason for the sudden increase in accuracy. Not exactly a super-weapon, but it definitely seems to be more effective than a Hellfire.
US Naval Institute: "The Iowa class battleship is NOT the greatest battleship in American naval history." The article gets really technical, so I'll just nod sagely and let others get in a fight over it. Oh, and that site allows comments, so don't go posting no six page refutation here. My eyes'll cross at that just as fast as they did to the original article.
So are increase CAFE standards good for the environment, or are they simply a really crappy sort of tax on driving? Regular readers shouldn't have to try very hard to guess where I stand on the issue.
I'm sure it's harder than it looks, but this video demonstration of gun disarmament techniques still seems instructive. I've known about these sorts moves for some times now, because of a martial arts demonstration at (of all things) a sci-fi con back in 1996. A very small Japanese man, who's day job was as a physicist and who's two night jobs were dojo and sci-fi author, demonstrated that all you really need to do is move quickly and roll away from the weapon. They were using a toy gun, so the "perp" could pull the trigger, and each time said perp was simply unable to fire the weapon before the "victim" was out of the line of fire.
In other words, as the video demonstrates, guns are meant for distance killing. Get too close and you give away the only real advantage you have.
Haha... I'm NOT in the upper right corner. Eat that you Darth Vader wannabees.
My Political Views
I am a center-left moderate social authoritarian
Left: 2.3, Authoritarian: 1.44
Political Spectrum Quiz
My Foreign Policy Views
Political Spectrum Quiz
My Culture War Stance
Political Spectrum Quiz
My Foreign Policy Views
Political Spectrum Quiz
My Culture War Stance
Political Spectrum Quiz
I'm a little surprised that it didn't score me more libertarian. I'm a bit disappointed that the authors chose to break things down by foreign policy and social issues, but seemed to ignore economics. It seemed like about half the questions were economics-related.
Via Daffodil Lane, who's scores only surprised in that both are nearly as libertarian as I am, and that the chart was wide enough to keep Jamison from falling off the left side.
It'll be interesting to see if it's wide enough to keep Ellen from falling off the right side.
Well, why shouldn't there be Christian nymphos. Far as I can remember, the Bible is pretty much silent on what can and can't happen between two married, consenting adults. Of course, what I know about the Bible could probably fit in a thimble, so if anyone knows better fire away.
It would seem no matter how much preparation you do, the first day in the White House is always really hard. Note the meat of the article concerns how the press office is, or rather isn't, handling the press corps. "We don't care where your office is! Give us a press release! Now!!!" Charming.
Hey, at least the Bush people left with class. No missing "O" keys on the keyboard this time.
Is there anyone who still believes the Constitution was created to ensure each citizen liberty and the ability to pursue happiness rather than a guarantee of happiness — and a retirement fund, health care, a job, an education, a house ... ?
That was a great, big, hairy stumbling block I had with Obama's inauguration speech. It's also, when you get right down to it, why I have such a great, big, hairy problem with liberal and progressive (L&P) ideals. I believe very strongly in the former picture of the Constitution, L&P's quite strongly believe in the latter. Very few of them seem to be students of the 1960s and 1970s, or the 1930s, otherwise they'd know all of this was tried twice before and all this has failed twice before.
Because we all know the real reason these ideas don't work has nothing to do with them being, well, wrong, and is instead because Kulaks like me refuse to understand them and try to sabotage them at every opportunity. I'm not silly enough to believe the Democrats will try to muzzle my side with Stalinesque brutality; I've had a belly full of that sort of bloviating coming from the left for the past eight years. I'm simply disappointed we're going to go through yet another round of L&P experimentation just a generation after the last round failed.
For it is the doom of men, that they forget...
Fiat appears to be in serious talks with Chrysler for some sort of cross-production agreement. Fiat would get access to the US, and Chrysler would get access to a modern set of small and medium sized cars and the international markets in which Fiat is doing very well.
Alfa tried a vaguely similar deal with Chrysler back in the '80s, and it was a disaster. 2nd time's the charm? Who knows. At least with this deal they won't be selling cars through a competitor's dealer network (a-la BMW/Mini).
Who knew Diamond Crater had such a checkered history? What? You didn't know Arkansas had diamonds? Four years ago, neither did Ellen. When she found out while we were vacationing there, there was this whoosh of air around me and then the car horn was honking, suddenly loaded with wife, child, and the fifteen kilos of gear Olivia required back then. Ellen didn't find anything, but boy, was there a lot of mud!
Remember when, briefly last year, Volkswagen was the most valuable company on earth? It was on paper, at any rate. Now you can read how that happened. About ten years ago Porsche was in such financial straights the survival of the company was in serious question. They've come a long way since then.
Fun for the whole family: play "I might be a Jew" with people who care and aren't sure. This one's subversive enough it might even be fun for a few of my atheist friends, who (obviously) don't care much for religion but enjoy goofing on those who do.
When I see fake medical procedures portrayed in a fictional drama, I either ignore it or laugh at it. When the fakes are in a "hard news story" by "the most trusted name in news", I get more than a little annoyed:
The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child’s sternum a little bit with his fingers. You can’t make blood flow like that. Furthermore, there’s no point in doing chest compressions if you’re not also ventilating the patient somehow.
I also noticed how the camera seems to very carefully avoid showing the victim. The second video (as noted, at about 1:40) makes the "procedures" look even less convincing.
Now, tell me again, and slowly, because like I've said before I just must be too retarded to understand... why I'm supposed to prefer CNN over, say, Fox news?
Ares has a couple of highlights from Israel's current project in assisting Hajji hooking up with his 72 wyrgins. The first video takes quite awhile to develop, but the end is worth it.
I had a feeling it would only be a matter of time before NASA released a detailed report of what it must have been like inside Columbia during its final breakup. Yes, it was over quickly, but not so quickly people couldn't react. Space can be a dangerous, scary place.
Everyone's favorite loopy-lefty cartoonist seems to be calling for Obama's impeachment over "broken promises" made about the Iraq and Afghan wars. To be real honest, I only recall the loopy right calling for Bill's impeachment after, say, six months on the job. Mind you, back then I listened to Rush Limbaugh every day, so I was pretty cognizant of what the fringe was up to at that time. Calling for your own candidate's impeachment before he's even taken office? Must be some sort of record.
Told you ordering extra popcorn for the show was a good idea!
Never a country to let a binge drinking idea go untried, Australian adult beverage companies are now selling toothpaste tubes full of vodka. Now that, friends, is a professional party country.
Stop the presses!!! The Pope thinks homosexuality is wrong! Is the church's attitude toward homosexuals backward and counter-productive? In my opinion, yes. Have they held the same attitude, consistently and without wavering, for the past 2000 years or so? Why... yes, yes they have. Personally I think they should concentrate more on helping the poor and using Jesuits as guided hajji-moves-to-Europe-hajji-converts-to-Christianity missiles. But anyone who is surprised or gets their panties in a wad over what the Pope thinks about gays needs to get out more.
So, what happens when a general news paper decides to take on the specialized and complex world of defense spending? About what you'd think:
Today, the NYT weighs in with its prescription for a 21st century defense budget, clearly written by someone with a hazy idea of the differences between various kinds of airplanes and ships. And like any prescription written by an unqualified person, it would make you ill.
Color me unsurprised.
But, like thousands of other credit card customers around the nation, he has been notified his rate is skyrocketing. "It almost borders on loan-sharking, from my perspective," he said. In the blogosphere, writers are livid at the instant rate hikes -- called "rate-jacking."
Citigroup seems to be the target of most bloggers' venom -- partly because Citigroup issues so many credit cards and partly because Citi began sending the notices at about the same time it was getting a $20 billion, taxpayer-financed government bailout.
No one at Citigroup would talk on camera to CNN about the matter. Instead, the company issued a written statement, which said: "To continue funding in this difficult credit and funding environment, Citi is repricing a group of customers."
Read full article here.
Cut them up while you can. Pay the minimum to more than the amount owed per month and start paying cash for everything.
Lesbian youth (in Canada, at any rate) are at much higher risk of teen pregnancy than the general population. I guess it proves liking your own team doesn't make you any smarter than anybody else.
Finally this family gets some peace.
Authorities announced that they've finally solved the 1981 killing of the boy whose father later gained fame as the host of "America's Most Wanted."
Wagner said Tuesday that after a fresh review, he is ending the abduction and murder case of Adam Walsh.
At an emotional press conference with Adam's parents Reve and John Walsh, Wagner said there is no new evidence in the case that began on July 27, 1981. Still, after what he called a meticulous review of the record and talks with the original investigators, he concluded that pedophile and convicted serial killer Ottis Toole abducted and killed the 6-year-old boy 27 years ago.
Read the entire article here.
I'm not sure just how seriously A Big, Dead Place should be taken, but if it's on the up-and-up it seems to be a candid look at what life's really like at the bottom of the world. Be sure to check out the "Ask an Antarctican" section. If it's for real, seems life is actually a little more boring than you'd think down there.
Ever wonder what it's really like for a reasonable citizen to gain and use a concealed carry permit? Wonder no more.
I'm actually surprised it's taken this long: an underwear company has created a line of "slimming" undershirts for men. Best bit:
At my first appointment, I bump into my friend Crystal. “Do I look different?” “You’re standing very erect,” she says, avoiding my panting chest, as Lisa, a fashion PR, joins us. I squirm as I tell them about the body-enhancing underwear I’m sporting, to which I quickly add, “purely for research purposes”.
Both pairs of female eyes drop to my groin. “Not down there!” I cry, cupping myself like a defender before a free kick. “You know, my body, does it look better in any way?”
Nice to see the "crotch-check" is a cross-Atlantic phenomenon. What, ladies, you don't think we notice when you do that?
Obama's NASA transition team has asked the agency to comment on the implications of canceling the Ares I launch vehicle. Executives at Alliant Techsystems (ATK), the Edina, Minn.-based prime contractor for the Ares 1 main stage, seem to be doing a ROTC traffic director "everything's fine!!!" sort of thing. Are they covering nervousness, or really do believe, once all the answers are in, Ares I really is the right answer? Only time will tell.
A wife’s sympathy for a partner with a cold lasts just five minutes, according to new research.
Being a pessimist, I don't think you'll like my speculation.
If we are in fact able to bring back the recently-sequenced woolly mammoth, and if we are in fact able to fully sequence the neandertal genome, should we take the next logical step, and just what would that imply?
Personally I think the two "ifs" are a lot bigger than the article's author seems to think. Still, it is an interesting ethical question. In my opinion, one of the many arguments against slavery is that it wastes the potential of someone who is in a very real sense no different than anyone else. Suddenly, at least on paper, we are rapidly acquiring the ability to create manifestly less capable beings, which are however still related to us.
To put it another way, we don't turn chimps into slaves because they're high strung, not that clever, and can bend cold steel with their bare hands. If we are able to create a much more capable, pliable, and less dangerous hominid, what would that imply about the morality of slavery?
To me, the answer is simple, but I've been called a moralist before.
Need a job? Move to the middle of nowhere. I'm not completely sure where a few of those cities are, but I do know Midland TX is deep in the heart of the Great Texas F-all. Of course, one statistic does not a desirable job make.
Nice to know Pointy Haired Bosses aren't confined to the US. Bonus: he's a she, and definitely not much of a boss.
I sometimes get a feeling, from my liberal friends, of genuine puzzlement about my political views. I'm clever enough to seem somewhat intelligent, I definitely have no love for the religious right, and yet I still insist on supporting Republicans. I've actually been asked, more than once, why?!?
This is why: (emphasis original)
[W]hile I find the anti-freedom strains of both parties equally dismaying, the Democrats are a lot better at implementing their big-government intrusions, and there's good reason to think that this will be the case even if the Republicans get full control of the government.
Since I'm probably a bit more socially conservative, I'll take it a bit further. I'm far less worried about the religious right making it harder for Stern to broadcast a homeless man sticking his toe in a woman's vagina, harder for some busybody to sue a local school over the pledge of allegiance, and harder for gay people to finance a divorce lawyer's third yacht than I am about the far left making it harder for people to find jobs, harder for our nation to defend itself, and harder for the country to grow and innovate as it always has.
Because, like Simberg, I've been watching this for a long time and while I know fringe Republicans would like all those socially conservative things to happen, I know they're about as likely to happen as me tagging a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition cover model. Also, like (well, something like) Simberg, I've read about what happens when Democrats get absolutely everything they ever wished for, and lived through the consequences of same*.
And now we're set to watch it happen all over again. Well, it took the debacle of Carter to bring Reagan to the fore. It'd be nice to think that '76-'80, the High School Musical Edition will bring someone of similar stature to the front rank again.
* Which is why you should put your hand down and swallow that comment until you've actually read a book or two about LBJ, Vietnam, "Stagflation", and the school "reforms" of the late 60s and early 70s.
Well, one thing's for sure... putting yourself in ultimate peril can sometimes result in spectacular pictures. It's that whole "waking up dead" part that puts damper on the whole thing.
Lisa R. gets a no-prize with two very different sides for bringing us the "family friendly" sex shop. Me, I would've thought it'd be called "pre-family friendly", but whadda I know?
A nurse entered and seemed surprised to find anyone there, and it wasn't long before I found out why: Almost no one visits anymore. In his time, which was not very long ago, Mo Udall was one of the most-sought-after men in the Democratic Party. Yet as he dies in a veterans hospital a few miles from the Capitol, he is visited regularly only by a single old political friend, John McCain. "He's not going to wake up this time," McCain said.
Oh, and for the record, I've never once claimed McCain was a messiah. That's what your side does with your candidate. The sad thing is it's the one thing your side has never once denied.
Push play. It's not what you think it is.
Give it 62 seconds before you turn it off. It's a point I try to make all the time, but I either get interrupted or have had too much wine to say it that quickly.
The rest, well the rest is just as good, but I have a feeling many of you won't want to hear it.
If the latest rumors have any substance, the LA Times is sitting on a bombshell. Yeah, I agree, video of Obama actually saying, "Israel has no God-given right to occupy Palestine" and that there's been "genocide against the Palestinian people by Israelis" might just be a wee bit controversial.
That the LA Times would sit on something that explosive until after the election is unconscionable but not surprising. I wonder if it's even legal?
I’ve written about the “déjà-vu-all-over-again” phenomenon before in this space. Bill Ayers? Haven’t we done that? Jeremiah Wright? Haven’t we done that, too? Haven’t we tried Obama’s “soak the rich,” anti-business economic policies? Haven’t we tried his “can’t-we-all-just-get-along” foreign policy? Don’t we know that economics is about the creation rather than the redistribution of wealth, and that low taxes and strategies that encourage productivity and investment are best calculated to make the entire society, including the less fortunate, more prosperous? Don’t we know where appeasement and capitulation get us in foreign affairs? Don’t we remember Jimmy Carter? Haven’t we learned anything?
I rather strongly believe most of the people who are enthusiastic Obama supporters are too young to really, or even actually, remember the Carter administration. All the ones I've seen standing on street corners with signs certainly seem to come from the college student crowd. The dark side (the dem side?) is seductive, especially if one lacks first-hand memory of what it was really like the last time around.
Will the people who do remember, and take seriously, the malaise, depression, uncertainty, and humiliation of America between 1976 and 1980 turn out in greater numbers than those who don't, can't, or won't? Well, the old traditionally turn up at the polls in greater numbers than the young, so that's something. Will it be enough? I think it just might, certainly enough to give the MSM pause before they trumpet in their long-ago anointed savior.
Remember that whole, "95% of Americans will receive a tax cut" that isn't really a tax cut, but the government writing checks that may or may not have your name on them? Yeah, it's even worse than that. The Democrats, once again, are going to try complex legislation that inadvertently creates incentives for people NOT to work. Color me completely unsurprised.
See you next Tuesday!
It's going to be closer than you think. The only thing that keeps me up at night is if the Democrats gain a big majority in the Senate. The last time it all lined up for them was 1964.
Ah Christ. If any of you really understood what 1964 meant...
Don't ask me... ask the 58,0000.
I've always known that when a media outlet runs a story about how Americans are just one card swipe away from debtor's prison it's more about how slow the news is that day than it is about any real debt danger. Now I have proof. Disappearing frogs have been a harbinger of imminent environmental collapse since at least 1981 (when I first remember reading about it), and the growth of consumer debt in the US has been the final signal of economic end times since at least 1985. Like most apocalypses, history's stubborn refusal to end as scheduled simply causes our prophets to move the goal posts and start ringing their bells again.
It has, I suppose, always been thus.
After researching previously sealed reports and reams of old records, scientists have determined the bombing of Dresden did not in fact result in the deaths of half a million people. Instead, it was "only" about 18-20,000.
So Obama says he's cutting taxes for 95% of Americans. Presumably being one of those 95%, I suddenly find myself feeling "not so fresh" in my support of McCain. Then I find out what the Democrats call a tax cut is not at all what the rest of us think is a tax cut. Jerry Pournell put it much more succinctly:
Obama's "Tax cut" will actually be a payment to a rather large number of "taxpayers". That is, anyone who sends in an income tax form is considered a taxpayer; but about 40% of those pay nothing. Some number of that 40% actually receive a "refund" although they didn't actually have taxes withheld; it's called "earned income credit" although how that income was "earned" is not clear to me.
Tell me Obama's cutting my taxes and hey, I'm all for it. Tell me he's going to take more of my money but give more of it back later and while it sounds icky, yeah, I guess I'm still with him. It's only when I realize what he's really going to do is take more of my money and give it to other people, people who won't be paying any taxes at all anyway and that's when I start having a big, fat, hairy problem with his idea. That's when it starts sounding a lot less like government being nice to me and a lot more like government knows best for me. That's when it starts to sound a whole heaping bunch like he's taking my money away and using it to provide even more benefits for people who won't stop having babies and who won't get a job.
In other words, it makes him sound a whole lot less like a reasonable, charismatic moderate and a whole lot more like the old fashioned big-city political boss people who've been paying attention have been calling him all along. In other words, a Democrat.
See? Feeling fresh and clean now, eh?
Like Joe the Plumber, ACORN, and Ayers, this one seems to be sticking. Will it be enough? It just... just... might.
Via, in various ways, Instapundit.
Mr. Chavez's appointment with a public square* gets closer as the price of oil gets lower. Maybe instead he actually will end up sipping drinks on the Riviera. All I can hope is it happens sooner rather than later, because the damage caused by "real, practicing socialism" gets harder to fix the longer it's in place.
* Think this.
I'm not all that sure the Republicans are going to get much traction on this one. After all, the left has been crowing for nearly a decade now about how various Republican electioneering efforts "stole" the past two elections.
The trick, I suppose, is just how much evidence there is, and whether there are actual laws being broken. Unlike activists on the other side, I know both parties do absolutely everything in their power, legally or otherwise, to ensure a win for their side. It just seems that the Republicans are better at keeping just barely in-bounds. Will the Democrats prove as adept? Hard to say. If history is any guide the Republicans seem to get busted long after the score, while Democrats seem to cough the ball up long before they're anywhere near the goal line.
Ron asks, and we provide:
As The Wall Street Journal has reported, Ayers and Obama worked for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. "CAC translated Mr. Ayers' radicalism into practice," notes the Journal. "It required schools to affiliate with 'external partners' " for their funding.
"Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead, CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers," such as ACORN.
I mean, didn't we all learn long ago that things like math and science take care of themselves when one's children have the proper ideology and politics? I mean, it's worked so well in the past, why not try it again?
Via Instapundit (who finally seems to have seen the traction on this, even if he doesn't give proper credit!)
A Turkish creationist is offering [pinky to mouth] 7.5 trillion dollars[/ptm] to anyone who can produce an actual transitional fossil. Of course, it's "transitional" by their definition, not anyone else's. Heck, I'd offer that much money in a contest I got to judge. He's probably as likely to actually have said cash as I am.
The Obama-Ayers connection doesn't seem to be going away:
Turn on the TV news when John McCain is picking up undecided voters by invoking Barack Obama's relationship with unrepentant American terrorist William Ayers and, invariably, some liberal talking head will sniff in disgust and say Ayers is no big deal where Obama comes from.
Obama and Ayers are neighbors and they worked together on school issues with the same foundation. Obama's political coming-out party was held in Ayers' living room when Obama was running for his first political office.
One friend of Obama and Ayers is former '60s radical Marilyn Katz, now an Obama fundraiser, strategist and public relations maven. She's often a go-to quote for reporters to knock down the Ayers-Obama story.
Clearly, if she wasn't a good soldier for [Mayor Daley] her list of clients would be quite small. Katz is often aggravating, but she's also funny and smart, so I called her to submit my theory: That by buying off the political left—through PR contracts to Katz, through his own support for Ayers—Daley maintains control over message and symbolism.
"I don't see it that way," said Katz. "As kids, our issues were schools, the environment, housing—and these things are the same things that the mayor cares about. So we have this in common. The agendas that drove us pulled us together. It's about respect for each other's point of view, not what we did when we were 19."
So lemme get this straight here. Ayers doesn't count because Obama was just a kid when Ayers was running around blowing stuff up. We know this is true because one of Ayers's associates, who is a "go-to" person for a quote and helps run the Obama campaign tells us so. They just all have the same views on a range of issues like public education, that's why they've crossed paths recently. This is completely not a story, because we all know radical progressive experiments in education have turned out so well in the past.
Definitely not a story here. Not at all. Because, after all, the Obama campaign people tell us it is not.
Via Instapundit, who frequently mentions Ayers' terrorist credentials while too infrequently mentioning the destructive, recent, and (IMO) far more relevant connections with school policies.
I know he reads his trackbacks, hopefully he'll check out where the real traction is in this story. It ain't terror, it's schools.
Yeah, ok, I get it. Lots of people were radical in the 60s. A few of them even blew up the occasional mail box. You may have known some of either type. But when's the last time you talked to any of them:
"He [Obama] said they have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005" (New York Times, 10/3)
Why in the world was Barack Obama still communicating on the phone or via email with Bill Ayers up until 2005 — when in 2001 Ayers gave widely publicized interviews claiming he had no regrets about the bombing, indeed regretted that he had not done enough, and did not necessarily have any remorse either about his Weathermen career?
I take this all so seriously not because Ayers was a bomb-throwing nutjob in the 60s, but because to this day he supports radical progressive experimentation in public schools. The only place progressives really got to implement their agendas in the '60s and '70s was in the public schools systems. The results were disastrous, igniting riots and consigning who knows how many children to unemployability all in the name of their intellectually pure agendas. The echoes of that failure ring across school systems to this day.
Progressives had their shot and it failed. Now they've picked a candidate who pals around with one of the remaining relics who refuses to admit that anything ever went wrong. It is my opinion Obama is vulnerable here because of the education angle, not because of the terrorist angle. I can only hope the McCain camp starts running with this ball, because we're already past the two minute warning and we only have one more time-out left.
As expected, as soon as one candidate shows signs of pulling ahead, and only when one candidate shows signs of pulling ahead, the MSM stampedes in the opposite direction:
I'm becoming increasingly convinced they're treating this as I would a football game played by teams I don't care about... they just want it to be close, and (in their case) they root for whoever is playing defense on that particular play. Ball changes hands, they change sides. Except, of course, when I do that it doesn't actually influence the outcome of the game.
The latest news on Alfa Romeo's return to the US, well, isn't. Other than calling the 2010 deadline "firm", the rest is old news, and not particularly heartening. Putting your vehicles in the dealerships owned by a close rival and then using excess capacity in Detroit to produce them sounds like a perfect storm of "fail" to me.
Monroe police are searching for a man who robbed an armored-car guard Tuesday morning then fled with the money — down a nearby creek on an inner tube.
Police say the robber also may have recruited a host of unwitting decoys through a Craigslist ad.
As with most genuinely smart crooks, this guy hasn't been caught yet. I still think it's only a matter of time. Sending out lots of e-mail messages to decoys and having an accomplice or two most likely will leave enough of a trail to follow. It's also my understanding that a high percentage of these sorts of robberies are inside jobs, so it wouldn't surprise me if this one is too. I wouldn't want to be employed with that particular armored car company this morning, that's for sure.
The Skeptical Optimist: it's not funded by the taxpayers. This one includes nice, simple pictures for those of us who's financial knowledge is roughly at the "you have more paste to eat than I do" level.
And then he followed it up with something even Dora could understand
Fark (of all places) linked up the best explanation of the sub-prime meltdown I've found so far. Don't worry, this one's nice and neutral and doesn't mention the Clinton administration even once.
Ironically, it seems very close to this much earlier, and more colorful, explanation.
I'm not at all surprised that the NRA is going after Obama. I am surprised that the Obama campaign seems to be returning the favor. You can take the man out of the Chicago political machine, but...
At least one pundit thinks the administration's recovery plan could end up making lots of money for the government. Before the rhetoric really started heating up, I definitely read more than one economist making "buying low selling high GOOD!" comments. Still, this whole thing is so complicated I'm not sure who to believe. And Lord help us, we've got nothing but Congress to be our guide. Jesus wept.
But we're in this mess, ultimately, because our political elites thought it was good social policy to encourage banks to give mortgages to uncreditworthy people, resulting in what Sailer months ago called the "Diversity Recession" (if this doesn't work, make that the Diversity Depression).
Therefore, I propose any bailout bill start with these words: "It is the sense of Congress that credit is not a civil right."
Somehow I don't think it'll work out that way.
While this article is so far the most comprehensible account of what's going on in the financial markets right now that I've found, I still couldn't get my head completely around it. Which, I suppose, is why I don't work in the banking sector, eh?
Just about everyone knows who Andre the Giant was. I'm not sure how many know just how big he could be. I don't know how many of the stories of Andre's legendary capacity for alcohol consumption and mischief are, but they were entertaining to read. It's good to know that in the short time he had he lived his life to its fullest.
It would seem it's actually government policy, not "market failure", which is the root cause of the current financial chaos. Color me completely unsurprised. Just about every large-scale "social engineering" attempt by Democrats starts out well-meaning, and usually works for a brief time. Unfortunately, and inevitably, the wheels fall off in spectacular fashion when all the other incentives their policies create come home to roost. Come to think of it, I can't think of a single instance where this didn't happen, all the way back to the New Deal. Those who can are welcome to comment.
"I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. "
-- Milton Friedman
Everyone sees these things happen, yet most of you still persist in believing, "if only we could create the right program, and actually allow it to be fully funded by taxing all those billionaires and corporations out there a little more, by golly we'd get our government to do something right for a change."
I'd like to think it's not possible to hold a belief founded on so many false assumptions at once.
I would, of course, be wrong.
It's official, the Post ran an over-the-top attack on the Republican ticket every single day this week. I wonder just how long they'll keep it up?
Nevermind, I know. November 4, right?
Is it just me, or are the right's hysterical reactions to criticism of Palin starting to sound a lot like the left's hysterical reactions to criticism of Obama? Is this some sort of bizarre tit-for-tat "you started it!" sort of thing, or is it that everyone on the fringes is just plain nuts no matter which direction you look?
Another year, another big-money bribery scandal involving third-world leaders. Unfortunately, other countries (*cough* France *cough*) consider themselves much more "enlightened" when it comes to dealing under the table to get what they want, so this may just end up helping them instead of stopping corruption entirely.
... what the story ultimately reveals is that Palin (a) billed the state for most expenses allowed by law, including per diem when she stayed in her own home ...; (b) didn't bill the state for other expenses, when she could have done so lawfully, such as per diems for her children; and (c) spent a lot less money on expenses than did her predecessor, especially on travel and by ridding herself of the state's personal chef.
The story's headline? "Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home"
And that, dear friends, is just about the clearest case of MSM bias I've seen in this campaign season to-date. Unfortunately it's just about a certainty it won't be the last.
While the MSM has fallen back to the more standard "let's cast the Republicans as religous nut-jobs" strategy, enough people are still trying to attack Sarah Palin in whatever way they can this article separating fact from fiction was still quite useful to me. The fact that many commentators still bring up her disabled child as some sort of impediment to her ability to perform the job of Vice President is to me the epitome of unacknowledged sexism. Any time I hear it, I say the same thing, "what, suddenly she doesn't have a husband?"
I guess stay-at-home dads are only relevant when you're trying to pry more tax dollars out of the system, not when, you know, they empower women or something.
It looks like official France is finally admitting French is no longer the, well, lingua franca of the developed world. Only took them, what, a few hundred years to get around to it?
Ever wonder what a town hit by a tornado looks like on Google maps? Wonder no more. On a lark I decided to look up my old home town of Dumas AR to see if Google had updated their picture cache of it with hi-res photos. They did, and (judging by what's there) they did it because of that tornado a few years ago.
At least, I hope they've actually cleaned the place up since then. With SE Arkansas, you just never know for sure.
The Skeptical Optimist recently posted this review of the "super-important" movie, I.O.U.S.A.. Definitely not for the "debt = deficit" crowd, but everyone else may want to check it out. In a nutshell: it's economic growth that's important!
Another Olympics, another article about how they're boinking each other stupid in the Olympic Village. I first heard about this in college from a guy who actually attended the 1984 Olympics. He only stopped bragging after we threatened to toss him out a window.
It seems the Olympic medals of disgraced athletes have a pretty interesting story to tell. Who knew?
I've seen various refutations of the sensational "corporations pay no taxes" study that came out recently, but so far this one is the best. FTW:
The politics behind the GAO report are transparent—to undermine the momentum that’s building to cut corporate tax rates. As I wrote several weeks ago (“In the U.S., Selectively Applied Capitalism,” July 28), the U.S. has the second highest corporate tax rate among 30 countries in the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development. That matters because, as economists for the OECD recently concluded, the corporate tax is the most harmful to economic growth of all the levies most commonly used by member nations. That’s why GOP presidential nominee John McCain favors lowering it, but so does the powerful Democratic Chairmen of the House Ways & Means Committee, Charlie Rangel. The Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, has also said in newspaper interviews that he would consider cutting the corporate tax, but he hasn’t made that an official part of his platform.
Now, however, labor-friendly legislators egged on by union leaders are trying to derail calls for a corporate tax cut by manufacturing outrage against U.S. businesses. That’s not hard to do when you have so many journalists reporting and commenting on these issues who can’t get behind headlines that are spoon fed to them, like the editorial writer at Newsday who found the GAO report “jaw dropping.”
I wonder how long it'll take them to declare that anyone who doesn't work for a union is rich and gets taxed much more because of it? Yeah, I don't think it'll happen either, but I bet they'd sure like to try.
Kathleen M. gets a no-prize that must be rocked to sleep carefully for bringing us a different look at infant mortality rates and what they really mean about the quality of health care. Hint: people who tout them as a boost to
socialized medicine "managed health care" are selling something.
One of the most common convictions of social right-wingers is that relaxing the divorce laws in the 60s and 70s in the US lead to higher divorce rates and a very long list of social ills. Like most common convictions, it would appear this doesn't stand up to close examination:
The first surprise is that looser divorce laws have actually had little effect on the number of marriages that fall apart. Economist Justin Wolfers of Stanford University, in a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), found that when California passed a no-fault divorce law in 1970, the divorce rate jumped, then fell back to its old level—and then fell some more.
In short, nothing bad happened. But in another NBER paper, Wolfers and fellow economist Betsey Stevenson of the University of Pennsylvania report that in states that relaxed their divorce laws, some very good things happened: Fewer women committed suicide, and fewer were murdered by husbands or other "intimate" partners. In addition, both men and women suffered less domestic violence, compared to states that didn't change their laws.
The only thing I find surprising is it took this long for someone to run the numbers. Once you think about it, it all really does make sense.
When human idealism runs up against human nature, the results can sometimes be a really great deal on eBay. Homeless people trashing public facilities created for them. Nope, I didn't see that coming at all. Ha!
I'm sure lots of other people knew about it, but I definitely didn't understand the ANWR region was about as big as South Carolina. I did, however, know most of it was a barren wasteland frozen solid in the winter and covered in literal fog banks of mosquitoes in the summer. A place only a watermelon could love.
It's something I've thought a few times myself: if it's just about impossible to police athletic doping, why bother? There would absolutely have to be some changes in policy regarding age of participation. We don't want 14 year olds messing with this stuff, after all.
The best counter argument I saw over at Slashdot was "well, if we make it legal, they'll dope themselves to within six inches of death because they have to." While valid, I did think of a counter. Many auto racing rules* are meant to address exactly this sort of thing: if they didn't exist, teams would run patently unsafe vehicles simply because they had to in order to win. By making your rules pro-safety instead of anti-something (speed or dope), the incentives get turned around and, at least in auto racing, the rules work.
Would it work in people like it does in machines? I dunno, but it might be worth examining.
* Oh stop groaning! You knew I was going to say it! Sit down and listen.
Same song, different singer: politician confesses to just what he's been caught at, then gets busted again. The Post featured nothing about the Edwards scandal until the Kurtz article a few days ago. I'd make a comment about how they sang from the tops of their towers over a suspicion that McCain had an affair, but it's already been said much better in different places.
Well, except for the MSM, that is.
I love this....*sigh*
I'm voting Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending my money than I would.
I'm voting Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.
I'm voting Democrat because when we pull out of Iraq I trust the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.
I'm voting Democrat because I believe the people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.
I'm voting Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.
I'm voting Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves and their families. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the GOVERNMENT sees fit.
I'm voting Democrat because I believe five elitist liberals need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.
I'm voting Democrat because I believe that when the terrorists don't have to hide from us over there, when they come over here.
I don't want to have any guns in the house to fight them off with because someone, who had an unhappy childhood, may get hurt.
I'm voting Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my horse.
I'm voting Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 7% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 18% isn't.
Makes ya wonder why anyone would EVER vote Republican, now doesn't it?
Suck it Obama! I hope you only have 19 year old tree huggers voting for you. I'm sure the housing foreclosures will only grow since they have no idea what owning a house is like... or rather RESPONSIBILITY!
I'm JUST SAYIN'! Utter bullshit. Let's see how the boomers feel.
London's Telegraph newspaper reports that some of the fireworks which appeared over Beijing during the television broadcast of the Olympic Opening Ceremony were actually computer generated. But -- hold on -- it's not necessarily as bad as you think.
NBC gets caught doing crap like this what, every three or four years or so? You'd think by now they'd know better. This being the M-est of the MSM, you'd of course be wrong.
Update: Looks like NBC didn't have a choice. My apologies.
The revelation that certain kinds of high-security locks can be picked with plastic cut into a key pattern is, on the face of it, pretty embarrassing. However, on further reading it would seem to require an extensive knowledge of how the locks themselves are engineered before this sort of thing can even be contemplated. This is not the sort of thing a thief would really concern themselves about, since an eight pound sledge will do the deed much more efficiently.
The Italian Navy has finalized a contract with Fincantieri, worth about EUR915 million, for two more Todaro-class submarines.
Currently, Todaro is in the US, taking part in a six-month Atlantic training mission. After having called at Mayport and Norfolk, it is due to go to Groton and will conclude its US cruise in October by joining Columbus Day celebrations in New York.
Two words: inflatable church. What will those spunky Italians think of next?
This time, I found our previous reference. Lordy, this place has been around awhile.
It would seem that, once again, the McCain camp has gotten its house in order and seems to be on the road back. He, like the rest of us, will have to be forgiven for not understanding the MSM properly elected Obama about a month ago, with the upcoming election merely a formality. I'm heartened by the success record of the other four or five candidates they "elected" during the run up to and running of the primaries. One can only hope it marks a real trend.
The guy who brought the suit that ended the last DC ban is bringing another to stop the new one. The "emergency law" the DC city council rushed through is rightly seen as "banning by other means," and it's such a heavy-handed attempt only the nincompoops on that council would think it had any chance of working. Instead, it will embroil the city in another presumably very expensive and drawn-out series of lawsuits they cannot hope to win.
The 2nd amendment's language may make its intent seem ambiguous, but a perusal of the founding fathers' other writings (especially Jefferson's) clear this ambiguity like blowing fog off a mirror. Like it or not, individual gun ownership is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.
Seems like Russia is getting ambitious about its blue-water navy. Wanting six new carriers is, of course, not the same thing as actually getting them. However, after years of delay it does seem that the Great Bear is getting new weapon systems into production, so who knows?
Sit inside a little metal box with a big gun strapped on, while the hordes of the Red Army pass through. Yeah, Fritz, you have fun with that!
It seems "white flight" is no more. The article contains the standard leftist hand-wringing over the wrong sort of change, as well as a bit of statistical misinterpretation for spice. Personally, I wonder if it's not a sign that we really are, very gradually, learning to live together? That self-appointed "representatives of the black community" would bemoan this is disappointing, but not particularly surprising.
Fresh from the "making sh*t up to keep the press release interesting" department comes the prediction that the computer mouse will go "extinct" in five years. Gartner has been saying goofy things about the IT industry for as long as I can remember, and this is no exception. My prediction? The mouse isn't going anywhere, but alternative input devices will most likely prevent it making inroads into any other computer-like system.
Welcome to America, home of the 300 lb. "poor person." Now that, friends, is an inconvenient truth.
Michael Totten recently filed this detailed report on conditions in that other war-torn chunk of the world, the former Yugoslav territories. It seems that, like most places when people are allowed to do so, they're moving on. It is, however, nice to see a pro American part of Europe. Muslim too, no less.
German carmaker BMW AG (BMW.XE) said Tuesday it has signed an agreement with Fiat SpA (F.MI) regarding possible cooperation for their Mini and Alfa Romeo brands aimed at reducing costs.
Leave it to Italians to design a car specifically meant to go head-to-head with a company they just signed a co-operation agreement with.
Tossaud's in Germany is putting a wax model of Hitler up. They're portraying him in his last days, and have the statue under heavy security to prevent vandalism. When I visited the New York version of the museum, I thought it was most interesting when they had them standing up, so I could see how tall (or short) they were. Sitting down, and behind rope no less, would seem to me a bit of a letdown.
Now, I know this will shock... shock you: in order to get a really fizzing-good documentary, a production team played fast-and-loose with the facts. The horror!
To me, the controversy regarding the Gospel of Judas and National Geographic's handling of it sounds a lot like sour grapes from a group of academics quite patently not familiar or happy with the huggle-buggle dashing around of all these flamboyant commoners! Working for money, no less! The rest is the standard slow-motion slugfest common to just about any collection of academic journals when something really new shows up.
Which does absolutely nothing to dim the astonishing discovery of an entire ancient book previously known only from a single throw-away sentence written by a disapproving bishop nearly two thousand years ago. Amazing!
While not the original, Larry Harmon, the man who was responsible for the popularizing of Bozo the Clown, has died at the age of 83. We had a Little-Rock based Bozo while I was growing up. It never occurred to me there could be more than one until WGN brought in an alternative. That Bozo mug of mine might still be out there somewhere.
Annie gets a modest and well-made no-prize for bringing us news of how the FLDS ladies are making ends meet. Have sewing machine, will travel!
Personally, I've always thought it was quite possible for women to rape men. Hasn't happened to me (sound of wood knocking), but just on principles I could picture it happening even before I read this article.
The fact that more than one member of the peanut gallery has scoffed at the mere mention of the subject is why I'm linking it here. Since self-correction is something most gallery members think only happens to me, I'm not counting on much. But I can hope!
And yeah, Jason, you're pretty much going to hell. On the bright side, we have jackets!
While I'm nowhere near as optimistic as this guy, I do think it's time to break down and admit we may have started to (finally) make solid progress on the war on terror. He definitely makes some good points, in my opinion.
They subtitle says it all: Can emergence break the spell of reductionism and put spirituality back into nature? I've thought for quite some time that there are some awfully peculiar coincidences in physics and nature which could not be explained by science. It's nice to see someone much smarter than I am apparently has done a much better job of explaining them, and what just might be "behind the curtain."
Globalization worked because transportation was so cheap it allowed businesses to leverage foreign labor for domestic goods. Now that transportation ain't cheap, globalization is slowly reversing. It's happening slowly and without as much dislocation as, say, protectionist policies advocated by labor unions and various watermelon environmental groups.
It would seem the on again, off again attempts by the Army to replace its main carbine is on again. Advocates of the 7.62 round shouldn't get their hopes up... the Army long ago decided the 5.56 is the way to go, and no amount of shouting has made them budge even the slightest in, what, fifty years?
Interest on the national debt: there's a lot more to it than you'd think:
Next time someone is wondering what we bought for the interest [on the national debt], I wish they'd also wonder what we bought with the principal that interest is supporting. Although it's impossible to pinpoint, I bet we have a Nimitz carrier, a few intelligence assets, several thousand more college-educated GIs, and a few more Head Start activities in the works because of the principal we were able to borrow -- all because we have been steady and reliable in paying interest on our debt.
To paraphrase a favorite song of mine, debt isn't always evil, and it is not always wrong.
I'm not quite old enough to remember it, but I've read enough different histories of the times to agree with this without question:
I can remember how opponents of the Vietnam War simply tuned out news of American success when at Richard Nixon's orders Gen. Creighton Abrams pursued a new strategy. Opponents of the Iraq war, including Obama, seem to have been doing the same.
Sounds a lot, a lot like the conversations I've had with certain members of the peanut gallery. Even ones who agree that Abrams got the short end of the stick.
Historical perspective is, after all, something that happens to other people when The Gallery is proven wrong.
Leave it to California to take a small mess, grow it into a medium mess, and then make it a big one. I'm ambivalent about gay marriage, but I am certain on one thing: this is a matter for legislative, not judicial, action. Put it another way: it's not like you need to give the lunatics on my fringe another set of targets to bomb, eh?
whats on the other end of a 900 number.
Why aren't we hearing more from the candidates about how their proposed policies would help to grow the economy, and therefore the average worker's take-home pay -- as well as the government's tax receipts? Why doesn't Obama take the muzzle off Austin Goolsby? Why doesn't McCain fire the Concord Coalition from his team, and get them out of Jack Kemp's way?
Bonus: a brain teaser that even the luddites on the left side of the peanut gallery may finally get. Then again, I won't hold my breath waiting on them.
So just what would happen if each side of Congress had it all its own way trying to lower the cost of oil? About what you'd expect. Of course, Republicans would figure out how to piss away our money in a different way. If it weren't the world's largest demonstration of a Chinese fire drill, it wouldn't be Congress!
Mark gets a no-prize which he'd do just as well tossing for bringing us this article on seven things most people think are recyclable, but really aren't. Ellen is absolutely obsessive about putting just about everything in the recycle bin. Now, maybe not so much.
Self-professed atheist Terry Pratchett seems to have walked right out the other side and found something there. We all come to faith in our own way and our own time. While not as spectacular as meeting the savior on an old country road, finding it while walking down the stairs will definitely do.
India has premiered what it bills as the cheapest car in the world. No, it'll never play well in Peoria, but it should do the trick in the choked streets of Bombay. And get a load of the build quality when they show the inside door handle. Gaps are not your friend!
The core belief of Masonomists is in spontaneous order. We embrace change that emerges from an evolutionary, trial-and-error process. We trust the process of entrepreneurial creative destruction, market solutions to market failure, and technological progress. What we distrust is central planning by experts. And I am sure that Pete Boettke would want to remind me of our intellectual debts to Austrian economists.
If this seemingly even-handed look at the Bakken oil formation in Montana is on the right track, it would seem we're a few generations of drilling technology away from a very significant oil deposit right in our own back yard. Of course, there will be a ton of "ifs" involved, not the least of which is an environmental movement which will vehemently appose any attempt to expand supply. Will the state of Montana use it's famous "going-to-do-it-my-way-f-you-very-much" attitude to stymie the watermelons' ongoing efforts to strangle the kulaks? We'll see.
After years of big subsidies, India is being forced to raise fuel prices. This is one of the 800 pound gorillas which is actually causing the spectacular and sustained rise in gas prices. The other is China. Both heavily subsidize fuel prices, helping their countries sustain spectacular growth rates, but at the same time insulating their populations from supply signals prices provide. They do not conserve, they do not become more efficient, because they have no incentive to do so. And, as long as their respective governments continue to insulate them, they never will.
The story was, of course, buried deep inside the Post. I wouldn't be surprised to find out it wasn't reported at all in other places. It doesn't fit with the "it's the Evil Oil Companies / Vast Right Wing Conspiracy / Wasteful Lazy SUV-driving Americans that cause our suffering!!!" theme. It's not us, it's them, and until economic pressures squeeze their government subsidies on fuel out, things won't change.
Of course, Indian people aren't really that much different than American people or European people or any other people, so instead of bucking up, tightening their belts, and using less fuel, they're raising hell, blocking traffic, and jangling the cage of every politician and reporter they can get their hands on. It'll be even worse in China, because that nation does not have the mechanisms in place for peaceful regime change or even (relatively) non-destructive civil disobedience.
In other words, it's not over yet.
The Navy has finally admitted its role in the discovery of HMS Titanic in 1985. It seems Ballard's original mission was to make detailed surveys of the lost submarines Thresher and Scorpion. Ballard finished ahead of time, and, since Titanic was thought to be between the two wrecks, he sort of took the long way home.
I'm not completely sure this is all of "the rest of the story," as I recall reading vague references to Ballard's mission being used to "send a message" to the Soviets about certain capabilities the Navy had developed. Nobody that I know of has been specific as to what these were.
Another "Western Union by Other Means" test that I've heard of is STS-2, space shuttle Columbia's second flight. According to things I've read, the widely-publicized radar test which revealed the presence of ancient riverbeds crisscrossing the Sahara was actually meant to demonstrate the US's ability to image hidden Soviet bunkers and missile silos. At least, that's what I've heard at any rate. YMMV!
If The Washington Post is running unabashedly positive reports on Iraq, something good must be going on over there, eh? Lately I've noted a certain amount of bitter admiration of the Bush administration from several of his other implacable critics. However, the left side of our own peanut gallery continues to collectively roll its eyes and froth on cue whenever our not-quite-departed president is mentioned, so at least something is still right in this world.
Were it otherwise I'd start rushing outside to see if angels were arching across the sky.
A recent effort to clean up a northern California canyon overlook site has resulted in the recovery of more than 50 vehicles. Some were simply rolled down embankments, others were quite obviously launched at high speed by drivers looking for a shortcut to the start of the reincarnation line.
This sort of thing would seem to be rather common. I remember reading years ago about a murder investigation involving the search for a woman thought to have been murdered, whose body was stuffed into the trunk of a car which was then rolled off an embankment into a nearby river. A search of the area didn't find that vehicle, but it did find some dozen or more others which had been... disposed of... for many other reasons.
People will just toss any damned thing in a river, it would seem.
Annie gets a no-prize that'll shriek at her in drag for bringing us news of a sales increase in everyone's favorite "pork product", spam. I used to eat that stuff a lot when I was a little kid, and then (for reasons I can't remember) just sorta stopped. Olivia's pretty passionate about bologna, something tells me she'd probably like spam too.
I've railed against the various Democrat-sponsored (or left-wing endorsed) health care ideas many times on this site. It would appear that, finally, people have found a state-run alternative that works:
Americans have grown used to buying every kind of product from overseas. So why not “buy” foreign ideas or social institutions? Why, for instance, hasn’t the United States adopted the same healthcare system as Europe, Canada, and nearly all the rest of the developed world?
While the United States is portrayed as the outlier, the truth is that another developed nation has eschewed the European government-payer model—with a great deal of success. That nation is Singapore, a city-state with a population of just 4.6 million but a lot to teach America.
Can we create something like this? Well, in a sense I think we already have, albeit in a limited fashion, with "thrift savings" medical accounts (at least that's what I think they're called, at my workplace anyway). Not being Singaporeans, we most likely can't duplicate it, but at least it provides a template to start with that doesn't have a reputation for makin