I think Dale Carpenter has this right. It seems his principal failing is being dumb enough to plead guilty.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Good news I guess, though I don't hold hold out much hope for it's long term prospects.
Actually, it's kinda surprising this sort of thing doesn't happen more often. The world is still a very wild, rugged place. Extinction just means "we haven't seen one for a while".
Thursday, August 30, 2007
You'd think this sort of thing would get more press.
New Orleans never did make much sense as a city. Most of the city lies below sea level, surrounded by water on three sides, and as Steve Chapman points out, it's sinking. Add in the local mix of corruption and Gallic inefficiency and you’ve got a heck of a mess.
Check the story here. I cannot comment while using work-appropriate language. Suffice it to say I am not pleased. I guess I am an idiot for passing up on the suicide ARM's and sticking with a conventional thirty-year fixed. If only I had known a REPUBLICAN would swoop in and save the day, perhaps I would have joined the party.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I too have observed the shocking inability of young people to make change. I was buying something that was $10.46 and I offered $20 as payment. Then I remembered that I had two quarters ($0.25 each for my foreign readers) and gave them to the cashier as well. Innumeracy ensued. At first the cashier tried to refuse the coins say that the cash register had already calculated my change. I patiently explained how simple it was to adjust that calculation by fifty cents. Obviously embarrassed at having to rely on a machine to do basic math, his resistance crumbled. I was feeling pleased with myself. I had reminded this guy of the importance of thinking for himself.
Then he handed me $11.04. The look on his face was hopeful, but he could see in an instant that he had made some grave error. Even worse, he had no idea what the error was. I briefly contemplated keeping the extra dollar, but I realized there was no point in taking it out on this guy.
John Wayne once said: Life is hard. It’s even harder when you’re stupid.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
It’s important to remember that poverty is relative.
From the article:
Dickensian images evoked by the word poverty does not apply in the US, at least in most cases.
The poor in America live in the following conditions:
* 43% of the poor own their homes, and the average home is a three-bedroom house with a garage and 1.5 bathrooms
* Over two-thirds of households have two rooms per occupant, which belies the notion of overcrowding
* 80% of the poor have air conditioning
* Almost 75% own one car; 31% own two or more
* The average living space for the American poor is larger than the average space for all people in Paris, Vienna, and London, among other cities in Europe.
How should democracies respond to aggression? Hold dialogue. Make concessions. Apologize. Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 capitulation to Hitler at Munich taught—or should have taught—that appeasement just puts off a final reckoning, giving an enemy time to gain strength. The foundation of the Peace Racket’s success lies in forgetting this lesson. Peace studies students discover that the lesson of World War II is the evil of war itself and the need to prevent it by all possible means—which, of course, is exactly what Chamberlain thought he was doing in Munich. What they learn, in short, is the opposite of the war’s real lesson.
Monday, August 27, 2007
If there's one thing busted celebrities teach us over and over, it's that it is never too late to use the "I found Jesus" card, even if you've plead guilty to dogfighting.
I believe strongly in the power of faith and redemption. I hope Mr. Vick is sincere but I’m afraid I have my doubts.
In our own time, liberal internationalists have periodically called for new Marshall Plans. After the collapse of Communism, some economists maintained that the former Soviet Union was in need of one. More recently, there has been desultory talk of Marshall Plans for Afghanistan, Iraq, and even the West Bank and Gaza. When critics lament the allegedly modest sums currently spent by the American government on foreign aid, they often draw an unfavorable contrast with the late nineteen-forties. Yet some people, at the time of its inception and since, have questioned both the Marshall Plan’s motivation and its efficacy. Was it really so altruistic? And did it really avert a calamity?
A huge, exquisitely carved marble statue of the Roman emperor Hadrian is the latest find from Sagalassos, an ancient Greco-Roman city in south-central Turkey. Archaeologists estimate that the figure was originally between 13 and 16 feet in height (four to five meters). It is, says excavation director Marc Waelkens, one of the most beautiful portraits of Hadrian ever found.
I’ve often thought that the illegal immigration “problem” would be relatively easy to solve. The key has always been jobs. Mexico has been exporting their unemployed for 30 years now and collecting remittances to prop up a heavily socialized economy. If we every really get serious and start cutting off the jobs, illegals will deport themselves and Mexico will finally have to reform their economy. It looks like Arizona has finally figured that out.
Max Roach died while I was out of town. He was a bebop/hard bop percussionist, drummer and composer. He worked with many of the greatest jazz musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins and Clifford Brown. Roach also led his own groups, and was active in the civil rights movement. He is generally considered to be one of the most important drummers in history.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I’ll be out of town next week so postings may be a bit light for a while. It‘s my mother’s 70th birthday and I thought I should pay her a visit.
My wife Cassandra will be bloging from time to time. My readers could do worse…me for instance.
Part of the problem with media gatekeepers is that they are only useful if they know what they’re talking about. Since almost nobody in a modern newsroom has any military experience, this sort of error (or fraud) is commonplace.
Now it appears they are refusing to pay judgments against them when they lose cases.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Appeasement won’t work with these guys.
Garance Franke-Ruta’s blog. Our politics couldn’t be more different, but she’s smart as a whip and easy on the eyes to boot. More importantly, she’s actually in Iowa at the moment and always has interesting things to say about the presidential campaigns.
I’ve begun to think that Obama might be more successful if he pretended to be mute. Everybody liked him until he started talking.
Now he seems to think that NATO forces are deliberately killing civilians. Aside from his statement being a monstrous insult, it has the added problem of being untrue.
The complaint goes on to allege that Vick sold the dogs on eBay and “used the proceeds to purchase missiles from the Iran government.”
The complaint also alleges that Vick would need those missiles because he pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda in February of this year.
“Michael Vick has to stop physically hurting my feelings and dashing my hopes,” Riches writes in the complaint.
Riches wants $63 billion dollars “backed by gold and silver “ delivered to the front gates to the Williamsburg Federal Correctional facility in South Carolina. Riches is an inmate at the facility serving out a wire fraud conviction.
Umm...I wonder if we as a society need to address the issue of prisoner/nuisance lawsuits.
The real Scopes trial
Bryan took on the arduous Scopes case, even though his health was flagging, on the basis of a solid Jeffersonian principle: "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical" (Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1786). He pointed out three implications that many professors of that time were drawing from Darwin's "natural selection." Among these were not only eugenics, but also the nihilistic morals of Nietzsche (as in Darrow's complaint about the University of Chicago in Leopold-Loeb) and the "moral obligation" of "superior" races such as the Germans in World War I to overpower the weak races (e.g. the Belgians) for the future welfare of the human race.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Memo to Mike Gravel:
If you’re going to use history to support your policy position, you might want to know something about… you know…history…and stuff.
I’m not particularly worried. Then again, I’m not trying to sell my house.
Actually, I am trying to sell my house in Lincoln Nebraska at the moment. If anybody wants to make me an offer, let me know.
The Plaintiffs allege:
1) They repeatedly asked for a Quarter Pounder without cheese.
2) Based on vast experience with minimum wage employees working at the drive-through, and with full knowledge that one of their party is deathly allergic to cheese, they opted to bite into said quarter pounder in a darkened room without having first checked it, and that these actions were reasonable.
3) Like all people who discover they have been poisoned and may die at any moment, their natural impulse was to call the restaurant and complain. Perfectly natural, I’ve done it myself a thousand times. Since it’s unlikely that they happened to have the phone number at their fingertips, I assuming they had to look up the number on net, in the phone book or at least called information (unless of course they had it handy already. That would suggest they knew in advance they would be calling and that can’t be-odd). Clearly these people were determined to give McDonalds a piece of their mind, even if it meant delaying lifesaving medical treatment. On the plus side, their phone call helps establish that the allergic reaction was caused by the Quarter Pounder. Boy that was lucky.
4) Since they were slow out of the blocks because of their phone call, they had to drive in a reckless, life threatening manner to the hospital which naturally allows his mother and friend to sue McDonalds as well.
Therefore McDonalds owes them $10 million.
This story reeks.
Mapquest says Morgantown (the McDonalds location) is 38.32 miles from Clarksburg (where they consumed the food). I’ve bought a LOT of drive through fast food in my day and I’m pretty sure I’ve never driven 38 miles with it just sitting there, mocking me, tempting me with tasty goodness. Even if they weren’t hungry when they bought it, why didn’t they pick it up closer to their destination? Are we supposed to believe that there aren’t any McDonald’s restaurants in Clarksburg? Nope, according to the McDonalds store locator there are two. So the question is why would you buy food in Morgantown and drive for the better part of an hour letting it get cold?
Thursday, August 09, 2007
A brief rebuttal here.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Hmm… Maybe we hold off on shutting down civilization until we have some real data.
Let’s see, $931 million (US) for a company that makes about 7,000 cars per year. If my math is correct, that works out to $133,000 per car. The DB9 goes for between $169,750 and $183,250, depending on the options. The Vantage Coupe and Roadster go for less, but I doubt you could get out the door for less than $133,000. I’m not even going to think about the Vanquish which goes in the neighborhood of $250,000 (it’s a V-12). I guess that means its cheaper to buy Aston Martin than it is to by an Aston Martin.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
It’s kinda funny how all the mistakes seem to cut the same way.
President Bush, who has the advantage of not facing voters again, has called its earmark provisions "worthless." He should veto the bill. He may be overridden, but he will do Republicans a favor by forcing them to rethink their attachment to an earmark culture that is both destructive of honest budgeting and politically dangerous because of the inherent corruption it creates.
I’ve avoided commenting on Scott Thomas (Beauchamp) story until now for two reasons:
1) The allegations in the New Republic stories are so repulsive that I deeply hoped they were untrue and,
2) I had no independent knowledge which could confirm or deny the stories veracity-all I could offer was idle speculation that the reporting seemed fishy.
It now seems it was all a lie. That’s good I suppose, but the reputation of the United States and our armed forces have been damaged and propaganda provided for our enemies . Last time I checked providing aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war is a serious crime.
Monday, August 06, 2007
From the article:
But the case was thrown out of court as the sheep couldn't take to the stand to testify that it didn't want to have sex and had suffered emotional stress.
Under Dutch law, bestiality is not a crime unless it can be proved the animal didn't want to have sex.
God help us.
Or maybe suicidal types are more likely to go for implants. These researchers don't really get the whole correlation ≠ causation thing.
My wife (who is an attorney) has long argued that Judge Pearson should be removed from the bench for his actions in the $54 million pants case. Her theory boiled down 1) He was abusing his role as an officer of the court and, 2) His actions were so outlandish that they constituted evidence of poor judicial temperament.
I on the other hand, had my doubts. While conceding that Pearson was a total jerk and that his claim was baseless, I doubted that the Judges conduct outside of the courtroom would play much of a role in assessing his qualifications (at least in a disciplinary context).
Score one for the wife.
This supports an idea I’ve long held: that a lot of the “opposition “ to the war was really opposition to the conduct of the war. Americans are willing to expend lives and treasure to create a safe, democratic Iraq. They just have to see signs of progress. The appointment of General Petraeus has made a world of difference. Given the choice of defeat or victory I suspect the American public will choose victory.
Judging by the photo it looks like a warmed over version of the F-5 Freedom Fighter. If memory serves, the F-5 first flew in 1959. I’m shaking in my boots. Eisenhower was President for Pete’s sake. I can’t imagine this piece of junk has any advantage over a MiG-29 or a Su-37 "Super Flanker". Nor can I imagine that Putin would be unwilling to sell modern aircraft to Iran. This suggests the tantalizing possibility, Iran can’t afford new aircraft. It’s been widely reported that Iran has been late in making payments to Russia for its nuclear reactors (and as a result the Russians have cut off assistance). Putin may be evil but he still expects to get paid.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
"So here is where we are: In terms of U.S. national interests--and in terms of its own political well-being--the Republican party faces a moment when, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, honor points the path of duty, and the right judgment of the facts reinforces the dictates of honor. General Petraeus will deliver the facts in September. If Republicans can keep their nerve under media and elite assault, then they will have the honor of following the path of both duty and the right judgment of the facts. I suspect all will come out well. Americans can sometimes be impatient and short-sighted. But when a choice is clearly presented, they tend to reject the path of defeat and dishonor."
Yet another example of how poor calculation of risk can kill people. Dermatologists have been terrifying people with horror stories for decades. Throw in the environmentalists and their endless lectures about the hole in the ozone layer (anybody notice that they never talk about that any more?) and you’ve got a whole generation of people who are at higher risk for any number of cancers because of a lack of exposure to sunlight.
Skin cancer is bad, it can kill you but for most people it’s non-fatal and easily treatable.
You can't make this stuff up.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Thank goodness Pelosi promised the most ethical house ever.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
From the article:
Mr. Mugabe has cast the price cuts as a strike not against hyperinflation, but against profiteering businesses that he says are part of a Western conspiracy to reimpose colonial rule. In that view, price rollbacks are the government’s countermeasure.
I can think of worse things-the status quo for instance.
On the plus side, it's nice to see the New York Times embrace the free market for a change.
From the article:
Progressives must start recognizing the spiritual poverty of contemporary secular humanism and reexamine the way that liberalism too often now automatically defines human aspiration and human happiness in reductively economic terms. If conservatives are serious about educational standards, they must support the teaching of art history in primary school—which means conservatives have to get over their phobia about the nude, which has been a symbol of Western art and Western individualism and freedom since the Greeks invented democracy. Without compromise, we are heading for a soulless future.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I want to take you home tonight. I know it may seem impossible without the intercession of a creator, but if you’ll give me a chance, I can show you a sequence of small steps that will have the same result!
Not Safe For Work-Language
From the article:
What Khalaf and every other phony Arab intellectual want you to believe is that Zionism is the heir to Nazism. These pseudo-intellects want to portray the Arabs as pre war Jews, fighting a war of a sorts, defenseless and and persecuted, made even worse because their ‘oppressors’ are Jews themselves.
Well, Arabs are not the equivalent of pre war Jews. Prewar Jews were not engaged in wholesale violence. Prewar Jews were not engaged in bigotry and racism that targeted minority groups. Prewar Jews did not threaten to blackmail the governments of the nations they lived in with violence if their demands were not met. Prewar Jews did engage in acts of terror and prewar Jews were not rioting and committing criminal acts, encouraged by their religious leaders. Prewar Jews were not living off government largesse and refusing to adapt to the values of their new home nations.
Last week, lawmakers in Congress reached a deal on a homeland security bill to include language, crafted in response to the imams case, that would give immunity from lawsuits to people who report suspicious behavior.
Goetz said the amended complaint had "absolutely nothing to do" with the action in Congress.
Too funny for words.
This quote is telling:
Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us."
If today’s youth seems disinterested to the output of modern public intellectuals, perhaps it’s because of the awful dreck they produce. They write unreadable books; make unwatchable movies and the music…well let’s just say the less said the better.
This is of course deliberate. By making their work incomprehensible and obtuse they limit their work to elite chaste of those willing to suffer this nonsense or at least claim they do. Who would you rather read Eugene O'Neill or Noam Chomsky? Would you rather listen to Cole Porter or Phillip Glass? Once upon a time, artists actually had to succeed in the marketplace and consequently their work had to be accessible to a large audience. No longer, as our society has become wealthier it can support a high brow niche culture separate and apart from popular culture. People forget Mozart was a rock star in his day. The affection the author has for the likes of Aaron Copland is understandable. I share it myself but the broader society prefers Brittney Spears.
It is Rolling Stone after all.
More on Ag subsidies here:
"The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he must do more to shut down terrorist operations in his country and evict foreign fighters under an Obama presidency, or Pakistan will risk a U.S. troop invasion."
He’s proposing attacking a sovereign country without provocation because its military dictator may be harboring terrorists and whose government definitely has a nuclear program.
Why does this seem so familiar?
The rot that is the United Nations continues to fester.