Tuesday, October 30, 2007
In Indiana, an eighth-grader who realized that he had inadvertently brought a Swiss Army knife to school in his jacket pocket, turned it in to the office as soon as he arrived at school, but was suspended for 10 days anyway. The principal recommended that he be expelled, even though the student had told the truth and done the right thing. Assuming that the point of the no-weapons rule was to keep knives out of school, it had succeeded when the boy turned it in. But the message his suspension sent to other students was probably to keep any weapons hidden and as far away from administrators as possible.
It seems he regrets the killing of Admiral Yamamoto.
From the Article:
Indeed, if Yamamoto's killing were analogous to the death penalty, then the death penalty should be acclaimed as a high moral imperative: Rather than wondering whether the death penalty saves innocent lives, we'd be nearly sure of it.
via Ace of Spades and Instapundit
Saturday, October 27, 2007
A man has been arrested in New York for attempting to extort funds from ignorant and superstitious people by exhibiting a device which he says will convey the human voice any distance over metallic wires so that it will be heard by the listener at the other end. He calls this instrument a telephone. Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires.» News item in a New York newspaper, 1868.
via Boing Boing
Friday, October 26, 2007
Let me begin by saying there are few people in this world that I think are more contemptible than Rev. Fred Phelps. There is simply no excuse for his conduct and that of his followers. They are scum.
Having said that I'm mystified by this lawsuit which seems explicitly contrary to basically all (no exaggeration) 1st amendment jurisprudence. In particular, the judge has a somewhat novel view of what speech is outside the protections of the amendment and what standard you use (at least according to this account).
Judge Richard D. Bennett, who is hearing the case, told the nine jurors that there are limits on free speech protection, listing categories that include vulgar, offensive and shocking statements and instructed jurors to decide "whether the defendant's actions would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, whether they were extreme and outrageous and whether these actions were so offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection," according to the AP.
It's true that the first amendment does not protect all speech. Speech that can cause a chain of events leading to (foreseeable) physical harm to others is not protected. This is the classic shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre scenario. Obscenity too can be restricted if it has prurient interest and violates community standards (ie. whats ok in New York might not be ok in Alabama). This on the other hand is political speech which at least until McCain-Feingold was thought to have fairly robust protection under the amendment. Whether or not the speech is "offensive" or "shocking" is irrelevant. Indeed, there's really not much need to have a constitutional protection for inoffensive speech. After all it's inoffensive.
The protest is I think, clearly protected by not only the speech clause but also very likely, the free exercise clause (given its religious nature) of the 1st amendment. There may be other legal issues (trespass comes to mind) or perhaps the press account has wildly misstated the facts. Based on the article though it's hard to see how this got past summary judgement.
Good for him. Our country needs more of this, a lot more, especially on the left where this particular flavor of madness tends to reside. Where people once spoke of the courage of "speaking truth to power", now it's "speaking truth to a bunch of fringe idiots". If John Kerry had had the guts to do this sort of thing he might be president now.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Well, sadly many of them don't. They call it Londistan for a reason. Anyway it seems he was having a bit of fun with a dumb reporter.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This story too by itself means little. No doubt Obama was tired or as Mark puts it:
Maybe he's been hearing it five times a day, every day, for the last year, and this time he forgot to salute. Maybe he was doing something else when they started playing—carrying a brief case, shaking hands with people in the crowd—and he just didn't go into "national anthem mode."
The effect of these things is cumulative. Combine them with his odd name (Barack Hussein Obama), his education in Jakarta and so on and you get the sense...well, you get the sense that he's not one of us. You can't say that about any of the other major candidates (well, maybe Romney-I guess it depends on how you feel about the whole Mormon thing).
I wish Obama well. He seems like a decent guy and I don't doubt he has a bright political future ahead of him. Running for President is hard work and unfortunately there are times when he acts like he's...unserious about the whole project.
The article I linked to here full of expletives and some truly horrifying pictures. You've been warned.
That someone could do this in the name of art sickens me.
This despicable piece of distended s*** tied a dog up to a wall, and let it starve. For several days the poor animal was kept there, without food or water while F***wits took photographs of it in its various stages of emaciation, right before it dropped dead infront of the viewing public.
Some scientists say the warming may be caused by changes in the sun, or ocean currents, or changes in cloud cover, or other things we don't understand. If it's all man's fault, why did the Arctic go through a warm period early last century? Why did Greenland's temperatures rise 50 percent faster in the 1920s than they are rising now?
The media rarely ask such questions.
In fairness to the media, the reason that they don't ask this sort of question is that their understanding of science is rudimentary at best. People don't go to journalism school because they're good at math and science.
"There's a real anti-incumbent, anti-Washington mood out there," he said. "Democrats cannot take for granted that just because voters are upset with the Republican administration it doesn't mean they think Democrats are much better right now."
I think that's right. Broadly speaking the electorate is deeply dissatisfied with the governing class. There have been so many outrages over the past decade or so: the mishandling of the war (Republicans), the desperate attempt to lose the war at any cost (Democrats), amnesty for illegals (mostly Democrats but McCain and Giuliani are neck deep in this too), mishandling Katrina (both parties actually but the media only seemed to notice the massive incompetence of the Bush Administration on this one), the appointment of dubious hacks to positions of enormous national importance ie. Harriet Meiers, Michael Brown, Alberto Gonzales (Republicans), idiotic opposition to massively well qualified public servants ie. Sam Alito, John Roberts, John Ashcroft, and John Bolton (Democrats).
I could go on but it's getting depressing.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
My own test for spotting a phoney liberal is as follows. If you think Bush is a fascist and Castro is a progressive, you are not a democrat. If you think cultural traditions can trump women’s rights, you are not a feminist. And if you think antisemitic rants are simply an expression of frustration with American and Israeli policy, you have learnt nothing from history.
It's always good to be prepared.
I fear the answer may be yes.
From the article:
...if you want to discuss the best way forward in the war on terror, you can't do that if the guy you're talking to doesn't believe there is a war on terror, only a racket cooked up by the Bushitler and the rest of the Halliburton stooges as a pretext to tear up the constitution.
Read the whole thing.
Rajat Parr, a prominent wine director who oversees restaurants in Las Vegas, told me that several years ago some of his customers ordered a bottle of 1982 Pétrus, which can sell in restaurants for as much as six thousand dollars. The party finished the bottle and ordered a second. But the second bottle tasted noticeably different, so they sent it back. The staff apologetically produced a third bottle, which the diners consumed with pleasure. Parr closely examined the three bottles and discovered the problem with the second one: it was genuine.
Separating rich people from their money is fun.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
When fire broke out in the morning at Credidio's Farmingville house, Jackson jumped into the tub and put his nose in the drain. Firefighters Vince Egbert and Edgar Trejo pulled aside a shower curtain and found the dog "actually sucking air out of the drainpipe, which is an old-school thing that a fireman would do," Egbert said.
"That's what really saved him, was getting his snout as low as he could and finding the drainpipe."
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
The candidate's unparalleled fundraising success relies largely on the least-affluent residents of New York's Chinatown -- some of whom can't be tracked down.
When Bill was president there were serious allegations that the Chinese government had bought enormous influence in the Clinton White House and essentially funded his reelection campaign in 1996. When Bush was elected the story went away because the new president didn't want to press the issue. Clinton was gone and he wanted to be a 'uniter not a divider". Methinks we'll be hearing a lot more about this sort of thing in the coming months.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The world now faces a challenge from a barbarism that is no less menacing than its three predecessors—and may even be more so. And in this new struggle, a post-9/11 America came—not a moment too soon—to appreciate the vital fact that India had been fighting bin-Ladenism (and had been its target) far longer than we had. That fact alone should have mandated a change of alignment away from the chronically unreliable Pakistani regime that had used the Taliban as its colonial proxy in Afghanistan. But it helped that India was also a polyethnic secular democracy with a largely English-speaking military, political, and commercial leadership. We’re only in the earliest stages of this new relationship, which so far depends largely on a nuclear agreement with New Delhi, and with the exception of Silicon Valley, the U.S. does not yet boast a politically active Indian population. But the future of American-Indian relations is crucial to our struggle against jihadism, as well as to our management of the balance of power with China.
Trust the media to find the downside to everything. I guess it's all Bush's fault.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
That guy can't catch a break.
Friday, October 12, 2007
...with nothing more to resolve from political violence, Iraqis can now settle down to gorge themselves at the oil trough—is based on two premises: Sunni acknowledgement of the failure of their insurgency and the need to reach an accommodation with the new Iraq, and a conjunction of interests between the coalition on one hand and the Kurds and Shias on the other.
An interesting take on Iraq.
My friend Admiral Burns left a comment on my earlier post about using old paintings as a tool for climate science.
Admiral Burns said...
Since you find this "cool" Mr. Stajduhar, would you please kindly explain exactly what your opinions are about global warming? Do you dismiss global warming entirely, or do you just doubt its impact?
The Admiral makes a fair point. Since I started this blog I've posted a number of things on global warming because I think the subject is...well interesting. Unfortunately, not all the articles I've linked to agree on every point. To the extent that people use these links to infer where I stand on an issue, some confusion is understandable. Therefore what follows is the quick and dirty rundown of of my views on the issue.
I think it's "cool" that old paintings can be used a scientific tool.
As for global warming, it seems fairly clear the earth has gotten about one degree Fahrenheit hotter since 1900. Whether this is part of a normal variation or something caused by man is in my opinion, an open question. As I'm sure you know, the earth's temperature has varied considerably over the course of recorded history. In the 1200's it was much hotter than it is today-England was a major wine producer and exporter during the middle ages. By the 1500's it was much colder than the present-there are paintings of people ice skating on rivers that haven't frozen in hundreds of years. Presumably neither of these extremes were caused by cars.
My suspicion is that some of the current warming trend is caused by man (though it's worth noting that Mars is also getting hotter suggesting that a substantial portion of the current trend is caused by variations in solar output). The real question is how serious is global warming likely to be, and if it is as dire as some suggest what can be done.
I think I've been fairly clear that I think the gloom and doom stories are laughable. Even funnier though are the lifestyles of some of the people running around telling me (and you) to sacrifice. One suspects that if they really believed what they were saying, they'd try to lower their own carbon footprint out of self interest. As Glen Reynolds says, I'll start acting like it's a crisis when the people who say it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis.
Indeed while global warming will have winners and losers, my suspicion is that it will be a net plus (more productive growing seasons in Europe and North America, the opening of the northwest passage to commerce etc.). I also think that most of the proposals to "fight global warming" are either A) too trivial to make a difference, B)too expensive to be practical, C) unlikely to work, or some combination thereof.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Neoconservatism is something that I've flirted with for a long time (along with Libertarianism). Like most Neocons I'm an ex-leftist. To my great shame I once handed out literature for Walter Mondale in the vain hope that he would defeat a guy named Ronald Reagan. Over time though, my views evolved and by 1988 I was campaigning for the current President's father.
Like many Democrats in those days, I was quite conservative on social and foreign policy issues. What made me a democrat was my somewhat leftish views of economics coupled with a certain amount of traditional familial allegiance. I came from working class people and it seemed impossible to align myself with a bunch of country club Republican types. Even today with my conversion complete, I roll my eyes when the wife talks about having a maid, hiring a gardener or going to dinner at the country club. I think to myself: People in my family don't have maids or gardeners, we are the maid or gardener.
As time passed two trends would strongly influence my political allegiance. Beginning in the 1980's economics as a discipline began to shift dramatically to the right. This change has been so complete many haven't noticed. By the 1990's we had a Democratic President who governed (in economic terms) as a moderate Republican. Today the left may well argue for some new program because it will further the cause of social justice, but it is rare to hear someone say that such a program will help the economy. Such programs are now almost universally understood to be a drag on the economy not a benefit. The only real question is how much of this stuff do we need in the name of fairness.
This was not always the case. Not so long ago it was widely believed that the free market was wildly inefficient at allocating resources and that government planning would produce optimal results over time. The fundamental problem with this approach is that planned economies have an appallingly bad record when it comes to making economic choices. They are unresponsive to consumer demand and wind up being massively inefficient. A glance at the economic shambles that was the Soviet Union should provide a small amount of intellectual clarity on this point.
The other major change was the radical shift to the left on foreign policy by Democrats. From Woodrow Wilson's election in 1912 until Lyndon Johnson's Presidency, it was the Democrats who embraced idealistic internationalism. They believed in American greatness and the importance of helping other nations secure the blessings of liberty. They spoke of paying any price and bearing any burden in the struggle against totalitarian darkness and they meant it. They sent our best and brightest to places like Belleau Wood, Bastogne, Chosin Reservior, and Hue. Many of them are still there. I still believe in those things but they've gone out of fashion on the left. I'll never forget watching an interview with John Mellencamp (musician/anti-war activist) a couple years after 9/11. He argued that not only were our campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq evil, but so was all war. The interviewer to his credit, pressed him "What about World War II?" Surely here was a war worth fighting. Not according to Mellencamp. Hitler should be left as master of Europe and the final solution would be completed. The interviewer, by now a bit shocked, threw him a lifeline "surely after Pearl Harbor the United States had no choice about fighting Japan." Wrong again. The United States should have used that opportunity for a dialog with Japan in hopes of finding a common understanding.
I realize most Democrats don't think this way. For what it's worth I'm not really convinced that John Mellencamp thinks this way. There's a strong possibility that having staked out an absolutist position (ie. war is always wrong) he simply stuck to his guns no matter how absurd rather than reverse himself. Still, it serves to illustrate an important point: the Gandhi/Martin Luther King approach is a fine thing, but it only works against a basically decent government which has failed to live up to its own high ideals. Against brutal dictatorships, things don't go nearly as well-just ask those monks in Burma. Unfortunately, far too many people on the left seem to be unable to understand this. It has become an article of faith that all problems can be solved through negotiation and if they aren't it must be our fault. We've gone from "My country, right or wrong" to "My country, always wrong". This is repulsive and I have no tolerance for it. The family I grew up in was unabashedly patriotic and proud of this country. I don't question the patriotism of most Democrats but I do question their intelligence. You can keep company with people like Cindy Sheehan, Noam Chomsky, and Howard Zinn for only so long before begin to wonder if you don't share their views.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Worth remembering the next time democrats complain about the unfairness of "tax cuts for the rich".
Glen Reynolds says:
I think that degree of progressivity is actually bad. I think that everyone should pay at least some tax, and it should vary each year with how much the government spends, and should be enough to give people an incentive to care.
A couple of key qoutes:
...legislation-by-anecdote is a tricky thing, and should only be done when the anecdotes actually hold some water.
The family is not as destitute as the MSM has made them out to be. FreeRepublic member icwhatudo asks the tough questions the mainstream media won’t ask. Like why a “working family” in need of government-subsidized health care can afford to send two children to a $20,000-a-year-private school.
Apparently this family made life choices which did not include insurance for their kids.That is not "need." That is "choice." In America, we try to take responsibility for our choices like big boys and girls.
As Don Surber points out: “Interesting that public schools aren’t good enough for their kids but public health insurance is.”
No, not all of us were destined to be Olympians. But each of us has the innate capacity to maximize our natural gifts and our heroes give as an example of the form. Something to look up to, a vision to chase.
Except when they cheat. Some of us lose their faith in human greatness, others give in to the siren song and lose their innocence.
But all of us lose.
Bjorn Lomborg is the smartest guy out there talking about climate science these days.
From the article:
I point this out not to challenge the reality of global warming or the fact that it's caused in large part by humans, but because the discussion about climate change has turned into a nasty dustup, with one side arguing that we're headed for catastrophe and the other maintaining that it's all a hoax. I say that neither is right. It's wrong to deny the obvious: The Earth is warming, and we're causing it. But that's not the whole story, and predictions of impending disaster just don't stack up.
Mitt to Rudy: You're a big spender.
Rudy to Mitt: You're a bigger spender.
Mitt to Rudy: No, you!
Rudy to Mitt: No, you!
Fred: Er... um... ahh.... You both spend too much!
Ron: The government should not exist!
Barack to Hillary: I was against the Iraq War before you were.
Hillary to Barack: You're unqualified.
Barack to Hillary: You're too qualified!
Hillary to Barack: You don't know what you're talking about!
John: I was against the Iraq War while a fetus!
Bill: I was against the Iraq War in a previous life!
This sounds about right.
According to Victor Davis Hanson, the answer is yes.
Helms reports that the attack was carried out by “multiple cells of local Wahabi extremists and well-paid local gunmen from Al Asa’ib al-Iraq [the Clans of the People of Iraq] that were led by Al Qaeda foreign fighters, the summary claims. Their case was bolstered by Marine signal intercepts revealing that the al Qaeda fighters planned to videotape the attacks and exploit the resulting carnage for propaganda purposes. Eleven insurgents involved in the attack are identified by name and affiliation in the details of the summary. All of them were killed or captured in the days immediately following the Haditha incident.”
More here: http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2007/10/new-york-times-reports-on-haditha-then.html
Sunday, October 07, 2007
But the yell that always thrills me,And fills my heart with joy,
When the team trots out before you,Every man stand up and yell.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Facts are stubborn things, this one was suspect from the start.
"The biggest thing I have a problem with is this implication that Katrina was caused by global warming."
Craig's case never had much hope of success in any case. Who could take seriously the argument that a US Senator didn't have the werewithal to learn the facts of his case and get legal advice in the nine weeks between his arrest and his plea? The big surprise came when Porter took the argument under advisement for several days. Perhaps he needed to stop laughing before writing his opinion(emphisis mine).
The Democrat Party was once the dominant political force in American life. It lost that position for two reasons. First, because the electorate discovered that Democrats, beholden as they are to leftist, anti-American supporters, can't be trusted to defend the country. Second, because voters also discovered that Democrats lacked the strength and the wisdom to defend our culture against all sorts of bizarre social experiment.