Monday, December 31, 2007
None of which, however, require;
The attendance of a party or get together.
All counting backwards from ten in a co-ordinated manner in anticipation of the appointed hour, (you learn this at six and whilst practice does indeed make perfect I think by the age of eight one should be able to stop);
Morbid drunken introspection over the period just elapsing and the pretence that the ensuing revolution of the planet around its sun will for some bizarre reason be better than the last;
The group singing of that ghastly Burnsian dirge;
A list of resolutions to be maintained during the next cycle (although rarely in practice adhered to).
Sunday, December 30, 2007
In years past, a takeover meant hostage negotiations and standoffs; crews were trained in the concept of “passive resistance.” All of that changed forever the instant American Airlines Flight 11 collided with the north tower. What weapons the 19 men possessed mattered little; the success of their plan relied fundamentally on the element of surprise. And in this respect, their scheme was all but guaranteed not to fail.
For several reasons — particularly the awareness of passengers and crew — just the opposite is true today. Any hijacker would face a planeload of angry and frightened people ready to fight back. Say what you want of terrorists, they cannot afford to waste time and resources on schemes with a high probability of failure. And thus the September 11th template is all but useless to potential hijackers.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Mike Huckabee last year accepted $52,000 in speaking fees from a biotech giant that wants to research human embryonic stem cells, a nonprofit working to expand access to the morning after pill and a group pushing to study whether tightening gun control laws will reduce violence.
This is pretty rich considering the grief he gave Romney because his blind trust had invested in the same biotech company. This guy keeps getting worse and worse.
The popular TV personality helps Barack Obama draw big crowds while her fans fume.
Winfrey's website has been buzzing for weeks with angry postings about her involvement in the Illinois senator's campaign, something Hollywood, which always keeps its eye on the public mood, is bound to notice -- this is a town, after all, that measures success by weekly grosses and daily TV ratings.
One posting on her site, Oprah.com, accused the talk diva of being a traitor. (By Thursday, that message string had attracted more than 12,000 views.) Another poster told Winfrey to "stop pushing Obama down our throats."
I'm going to say this right now: If any topless woman who asks to see my..."stuff"...well they will. That's just the sort of nice guy that I am.
Anybody know how I can contribute to this poor devil's legal defense fund?
The idea is so appealing: We can reduce our dependence on oil—stop sending U.S. dollars to corrupt petro-dictators, stop spewing megatons of carbon into the atmos¬phere—by replacing it with clean, home-grown, all-American corn. It sounds too good to be true.
Sadly, it is.
Comparing this data, the study concludes that overall hybrids cost more in terms of overall energy consumed than comparable non-hybrid vehicles. But even more surprising, smaller hybrids' energy costs are greater than many large, non-hybrid SUVs.
For instance, the dust-to-dust energy cost of the bunny-sized Honda Civic hybrid is $3.238 per mile. This is quite a bit more than the $1.949 per mile that the elephantine Hummer costs. The energy cots of SUVs such as the Tahoe, Escalade, and Navigator are similarly far less than the Civic hybrid.
Actually, I think I've got a couple of these beat. Still there are a few gems:
After the dinner, the vat was filled to its 4,000-barrel capacity. Pretty impressive, given the grand scale of the project, but pretty unfortunate given that they overlooked a faulty supporting hoop. Yup, the vat ruptured, causing other vats to break, and the resulting commotion was heard up to 5 miles away.
A wall of 1.3 million gallons of dark beer washed down the street, caving in two buildings and killing nine people by means of “drowning, injury, poisoning by the porter fumes, or drunkenness.”
The story gets even more unbelievable, though. Rescue attempts were blocked and delayed by the thousands who flocked to the area to drink directly off the road. And when survivors were finally brought to the hospital, the other patients became convinced from the smell that the hospital was serving beer to every ward except theirs. A riot broke out, and even more people were left injured.
Sadly, this incident was not deemed tragic enough at the time to merit an annual memorial service and/or reenactment.
Ironically, these government handouts are creating the tuition problem. Tuition has risen about three percentage points faster than inflation every year for the past quarter-century. At the same time, the feds have put more and more money behind student loans and other financial aid. The government is slowly becoming a third-party tuition payer, with all the price distortions one would expect. Every time tuition rises, the government makes up the difference; colleges thus cheerfully raise tuition (and budgets), knowing the government will step in.
Megan's First Fiscal Law: spending is taxation. Economically, it doesn't seem to make much difference whether you finance that spending with taxation or debt; both exert some economic drag, though the mechanisms are different. If you want to cut taxes, you have to cut spending.
One response, however, stands apart, precisely because it doesn't deny a darn thing in the bias charge. Indeed, it concedes every empirical point - "Yes, left-wing people, left-wing ideas, and left-wing texts dominate," but it adds, "And that's exactly as it should be."
It's a refreshingly straightforward assertion. I heard it at an MLA Convention session awhile back when a young man in the audience talked about getting shot down by his professor when he voiced in class a conservative opinion. One of the panelists replied by telling him to quit complaining, then enlarged the rebuke to all conservative critics. "Look," he grumbled, "conservatives have taken over every where else [this was before the 2006 election], and now they want the campus, too, the one place where liberal values can still prevail."
I'm paraphrasing from memory, but the implication was unmistakable. We need the campus to remain solidly liberal to keep conservatism from swamping the entire present. We might call this the Adversarial Campus Argument.
You can dredge up the horrors of American slavery. You can keep stirring the Jim Crow pot, constantly reminding everyone how horrible it was that a country forcibly segregated its citizens by race and discriminated against blacks because they were black. You can wail and gnash teeth all day long, wallowing in abject bitterness because others have more than you do: looks, money, influence, opportunity, or whatever.
But you cannot, even if you lived 1,000 lifetimes, make a coherent and logically sound argument in favor of racial discrimination in the other direction. Nothing, not even the most heinous act committed against a black person by our government, justifies discriminating against other races in favor of blacks.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Considering what shining examples of good governance Hamas and the PLO have been, perhaps this number should be higher.
At one point, I considered Bill Richardson the most prepared Democrat for the Presidency, based on his extensive experience in foreign relations, Congress, and the executive branch. That experience doesn't do much good without common sense, and Richardson keeps proving his lack of it. Today, in response to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, he made us all thankful that he doesn't already occupy the White House:
Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called on President Bush to force Musharraf to step down. Until then, Richardson said the U.S. must suspend military aid to the Pakistani government.
"A leader has died, but democracy must live. The United States government cannot stand by and allow Pakistan's return to democracy to be derailed or delayed by violence," Richardson said.
The stupidity of this statement cascades through several levels.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A sharp rise in inflation has provoked fierce criticism of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—not only from his reformist opponents, but also from senior conservatives who helped bring him to power but now say he is mismanaging the economy.
In 2006, the Terry Schiavo case attracted national attention in the United States, with a conflict between a woman's parents (who wanted to care for their daughter and keep her alive) and the woman's ex-husband (who wanted her feeding tubes removes so that she would die of dehydration, and who said that he was acting according to her wishes). Right now in Canada, a similar case is playing out, with one crucial difference: all of the man's family wants him to live, while his doctors want him terminated.
This semester my employer required me to take a training course on sexual and other illegal workplace harassment. USD didn’t adopt this policy by choice; California law requires it. Alas, the course, turned out to be an annoying piece of propaganda. Here’s what I (and untold thousands of other Californians) "learned"
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I meant to write bout the Christmas truce before going away for the holiday but I didn't get around to it I'm afraid.
Today, more than 90 years after it occurred, the event is seen as a shining episode of sanity from among the bloody chapters of World War One – a spontaneous effort by the lower ranks to create a peace that could have blossomed were it not for the interference of generals and politicians.
Months beforehand, millions of servicemen, reservists and volunteers from all over the continent had rushed enthusiastically to the banners of war: the atmosphere was one of holiday rather than conflict.
But it was not long before the jovial facade was torn away. Armies equipped with repeating rifles, machine guns and a vast array of artillery tore chunks out of each other, and thousands upon thousands of men perished.
The truce began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.
The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man's Land" where small gifts were exchanged. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects.
At one funeral in No Man's Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from the 23rd Psalm:
The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
Quickly, the truce spread to other areas of the lines, and there are many stories of football matches between the opposing forces. All of this in spite of opposition at higher levels of the military. Earlier in the autumn, a call by Pope Benedict XV for an official truce between the warring governments had been ignored.
British commander Sir John French vowed that no such truce would be allowed again. In all of the following years of the war, artillery bombardments were ordered on Christmas Eve to ensure that there were no further lulls in the combat. Troops were also rotated through various sectors of the front to prevent them from becoming overly familiar with the enemy. Despite those measures, there were a few friendly encounters between enemy soldiers, but on a much smaller scale than the previous year.
What’s the appeal of these ads? Simple: they're ruined and forgotten, which gives them a certain lonely poignance. No doubt in their time the high-minded civic-virtue preachers railed against such commercial pollution. The same sorts might advocate for their preservation today.
Who knows? If they're stupid enough to raise the beer taxes, they might be stupid enough to raise them even higher when the projected revenues don't pan out. Then home brewing would skyrocket, and then they'd really have to raise the taxes. (This process is called static analysis, and it's typical of the bureaucratic mindset.)
I COME NOT TO bury Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee has buried himself. Over the next week, the Republican party in Iowa and elsewhere will decide that Huckabee may be a swell fellow, but he's not of presidential timbre. I predict this decision will be made en masse. Huckabee's support will likely crater in Iowa.
“there’s an unmistakable sense that liberal politics belonged to a small group of the rich and famous who all knew one another and knew what was best for the rest of the country, while knowing less and less about the rest of the country. . . . It’s possible, even if you agree with almost every position Schlesinger held, to find the smugness and complacency not just annoying but fatal. His crowd made liberalism a fat target for the New Right; Reagan and his heirs seized the language and claims of populism from liberals who believed that they had had permanent possession [of it] ever since Roosevelt.”
Political correctness tends to breed the sort of unaccountability that Stephen warns against. At its center is a union of abstract benevolence, which takes mankind as a whole for its object, with rigid moralism. It is a toxic, misery-producing brew.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Huckabee somberly intoned that "Sun-tzu's ancient wisdom is relevant today: 'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.'" The only problem with citing this ancient piece of wisdom is that it comes not from Sun Tzu, but Michael Corleone. Unfortunately, the rest of Huckabee's essay was silent as to what America should do about Hyman Roth and his Sicilian message boy, Johnny Ola.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
It’s not a pretty prospect, particularly for those entering their retirement years, but boomers better adjust or bust, or bust their children and grandchildren. This will be the real measure of just how selfish and self-aggrandizing is the boomer generation, as if that needed further evidence.
via Maggie's Farm
Monday, December 17, 2007
It's good to know these things.
The U.S.A. has an immigration system, under laws passed by the people's representatives in Congress. For twenty years the federal government, for reasons to do with ideology and "interest," has failed to enforce those laws. As a result, tens of millions of foreigners have settled in our country unlawfully, while other foreigners who wish to settle here but respect our laws, wait long years in their home countries for permission to enter.
A great many Americans are very angry about this. If you were to poll those angry Americans on the topic of legal immigration, you'd get all sorts of answers, from severe-restrictionist to couldn't-care-less. The center of gravity of the answers would probably be somewhere like: "Sure we should have immigrants, but it should be done legally, properly."
The anger, the shouting, the jammed Congressional switchboards, the cable-news bloviating, is about the federal government's failure to enforce federal law. To glibly dismiss it all as "anti-immigrant" is gross propagandistic distortion. . .
Oxford University Press has published a book by professor David Benatar of the University of Cape Town called “Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.” The author “argues for the ‘anti-natal’ view – that it is always wrong to have children … . Anti-natalism also implies that it would be better if humanity became extinct.” As does Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us” – which Publishers Weekly hails as “an enthralling tour of the world … anticipating, often poetically, what a planet without us would be like.” It’s a good thing it “anticipates” it poetically, because, once it happens, there will be no more poetry.
It's kinda funny that all erroneous stories seem to cut the same way. Must be a coincidence.
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, interpersonally-sensitive, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. This wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
Paulson has been criticized for saying that some subprime borrowers "will become renters again." But some borrowers put no money down on their houses, or took mortgages with negligible "teaser" rates, or accepted mortgages requiring them at first to pay only interest, not principal. Such borrowers are effectively renters.
The country launched its first lunar probe, the Chang'e 1 (named after the Chinese Moon Goddess), in October and released a photo featuring a patch of grey moon surface splotched with craters last week, hailing the mission as a "complete success".
But some Chinese Internet users have questioned its originality after comparing it with an almost identical lunar image from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Two business partners asked their lawyer to hold $20,000, making him promise to get both of their signatures before disbursing any of it.
As soon as one partner left town, the other pressed the lawyer for $15,000, citing an emergency. The lawyer reluctantly gave it to him, and he disappeared.
On his return, the other partner was irate, so the lawyer explained that he had donated the $15,000 out of his own pocket.
"Then give me the $20,000 you're holding," said the partner.
"All right," said the lawyer. "Give me the two signatures."
Accused Terrorist: We Were Hunting Loch Ness Monster
O’Donnell is no longer a liberal in the sense I understood it growing up. In fact, he runs away from defending the basic cannon of liberalism without which it cannot exist – free speech. A true liberal is a man like Flemming Rose who had the courage to defend that freedom against the onslaught of opposition to the publication of the Danish cartoons. Where was O’Donnell on that? Quivering in his corner, worrying whether he will be shot? Where was O’Donnell (a man of the entertainment industry, no less) when director Theo Van Gogh was stabbed to death by an Islamist on the streets of Amsterdam for making a film critical of Islam? Busy attacking George Bush, I imagine. The courage of Rose and Van Gogh (and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq and Wafa Sultan, etc.) is paying O’Donnell’s check from the McLaughlin Group in a very real sense. He owes them all a commission.
The two enterprising gents shown here decided prison didn't suit them, so they removed some cement blocks that stood between them and the verdant paradise known as New Jersey. They figured the warden might object to their plans, so they covered their egress with "photos of bikini-clad women." It worked.
Taxpayers hit by the AMT can't deduct state and local taxes from their federal income tax bill. Sooner or later, that puts downward political pressure on state and local spending. And that, in turn, threatens the vested interest of a key Democratic constituency, the public employee unions. Democratic voters in suburban New Jersey, for example, who feel far from rich, face a substantial tax increase if they're suddenly covered by the AMT. They may take their revenge on Democratic candidates and on New Jersey public employee union members.
Moreover, again in contrast to J.K. Rowling's books (which were criticized by some Christians for their use of magic and witchcraft), Mr. Pullman's series is bluntly anti-Christian. In the third book, "The Amber Spyglass," a former nun tells the two child protagonists, Lyra and Will, that "the Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all." The church and its members do nothing but evil.
Only a bigot would argue that every Muslim was violent or opposed to Western freedom. But only a coward or a liar would argue that there was not a profound and deeply worrying link between conservative Islam and myriad acts of terror, intolerance and hysterical anger.
It is not I who say this but the countless Muslims who take to the streets at the drop of a cartoon to scream for blood and war; or the Muslims who preach jihad in North America and Europe, where they enjoy open societies founded on Christian enlightenment.
They may represent a minority, but the harm they do is incalculable. This dysfunctional venom does not come from Christian, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist and fatuous relativism will only blind the foolish. It is time for free discussion in this free country, whether it offends or not.
I'm increasingly convinced that Mike Huckabee is basically Bill Clinton without the charm.
``I know it's unusual for a Democrat to be endorsing a Republican,'' Lieberman said at an event in New Hampshire today. ``Political parties are important in our country, but they're not more important than what's best for our country.''
Sunday, December 16, 2007
"Snow White" (1933) starring Betty Boopand featuring
Cab Calloway singing "St. James Infirmary Blues"
Directed by Dave Fleischer
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
One of the supervisors called a Walmart and ordered the cake. he told them to write: “best wishes Suzanne” and underneath that write “we will miss you”. here’s the cake that was delivered:
1. Rendition is something the Bush administration cooked up.
2. People who are "rendered" inevitably end up in a foreign slammer — or worse.
3. Step one of a rendition involves kidnapping the suspect.
4. Rendition is just a euphemism for outsourcing torture.
5. Pretty much anyone — including U.S. citizens and green card holders — can be rendered these days.
[T]here is a myth about Reagan that goes the othe direction. People-- liberals, mostly-- often claim that Reagan got amazingly positive and supportive media coverage. When President Reagan died, three years ago now, he was often credited with having received all kinds of good press during the 1980s, a rarity for a Republican. I've seen/heard this claim several times in just the past few weeks, on television, in newspaper columns, and in passing conversation.
The notion that Reagan receiving fawning coverage in the press is just plain wrong.
Given Americans’ collective recognition of religion’s legitimacy in a modern political order, one would think that we would be better able to adapt ourselves to the current situation than other, far more secular Western nations. This is not the case, and we need to understand why.
But the broader debate over Guantanamo has suffered greatly from overbroad claims of erroneous detentions there. The New York Times referred in an editorial to "hundreds of innocent men ... jailed at Guantanamo Bay without charges or rudimentary rights"--a statement it cannot possibly support.
I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: “No good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.”
For Theo who normally publishes my racier stuff but is on hiatus at the moment.
Now if I were antiwar - which in the case of Iraq I am not, though I was during Vietnam – I would run from Kucinich like the proverbial plague. The candidate is a slightly lame-brained, show-off narcissist who claims to have seen flying saucers and dances about like a Dervish, cavorting in any manner necessary to attract the attention of television cameras. It’s hard to take him seriously and the public apparently doesn’t. He barely registers in the polls. In fact, I imagine Kucinich hurts the antiwar cause considerably more than he helps it.
Now let me say right off the bat, I HATE the idea of a college playoff. It would destroy the bowl system and make the regular season irrelevant. Still, this is a fun little tool (though it fails to recognize that Illinois would win in nearly any playoff scenario).
New Rule: Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged . I have a better description for these kids: 'Lucky bastards.'
New Rule: Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Lobster?
The Congress is demanding 36 billion gallons of ethanol. Presumably, this is all from domestic sources because Congress has refused to drop the enormous tariffs on ethanol imports. But the entire corn harvest in 2004 of 11.8 billion bushels would make only 30 billion gallons of ethanol. So Congress wants us to put ALL of our food supply into our cars? Maybe we can tear down the Amazon rain forest to grow more.
When pressed by stunned reporters, Pelosi realized she'd made a mistake. She retracted the statement, saying that she meant that Republicans supported the current strategy in Iraq and supported George Bush's continuance of the effort. Pelosi then expressed surprise that the Republicans would not accede to public polls on the matter.
In other words, she can't understand why Republicans and George Bush don't sacrifice national security for political gain. That makes sense, coming from the leadership that has attempted to politicize the war for years now. If anyone can be said to "like" the war -- really a repellent notion -- it would be Pelosi and the Democrats. They manipulated it in two elections to attempt to gain political advantage, succeeding in 2006. Pelosi owes her position in part to the Democratic effort to fuel antiwar passion.
Even as we narrow our own view of warfare’s acceptable parameters, trying to harm as few civilians as possible in successful operations, our enemies amplify the concept of total war: They kill tens, or hundreds, or occasionally thousands of civilians in order to undermine the morale of millions.
The killing of 3,000 civilians on September 11, 2001 might have temporarily awakened a warrior spirit in American democracy, but such a spirit is hard to sustain in the crucible of an ambiguous conflict. In Iraq, a country of 26 million people through which more than a million American troops have passed, the loss of a few Americans and three dozen-or-so Iraqis daily in suicide bombs is enough to demoralize a homefront 7,000 miles away.
A non-warrior democracy with a limited appetite for casualties is probably a good thing in terms of putting the breaks on a directionless war strategy. That does not change the fact, however, that Americans as a people are ever further removed from any semblance of a warrior spirit as we grow increasingly prosperous and our political elite grows increasingly secular.
Over the course of his 10 and a half years as governor, Huckabee granted a staggering 1,033 clemencies, according to the Associated Press. That was more than double the combined 507 that were granted during the 17 and a half years of his three predecessors: Bill Clinton, Frank White, and Jim Guy Tucker.
It's a dark day for major league baseball. Some of the most storied names in the the game have been accused of...lets face it, cheating. The Mitchell Report is worth a read. At 400+ pages it's a bit on the long side but aside from the specific new allegations, it provides a lot of useful background for understanding how we got to where we are today.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The Wife and were debating this very point the other night in the wake of the shootings in Omaha. I guess we were ahead of the curve.
Instapundit makes a great point:
It seems to me that we've reached the point at which a facility that bans firearms, making its patrons unable to defend themselves, should be subject to lawsuit for its failure to protect them. The pattern of mass shootings in "gun free" zones is well-established at this point, and I don't see why places that take the affirmative step of forcing their law-abiding patrons to go unarmed should get off scot-free.
The wife came down against imposing this sort of liability but I have to ask: Is it any crazier than suing McDonald's for making you fat?
Goldberg said, “I’d like somebody to get rid of the death tax. That’s what I want. I don’t want to get taxed just because I died.” The studio audience started applauding, but she wasn’t done. “I just don't think it’s right,” she continued. “If I give something to my kid, I already paid the tax. Why should I have to pay it again because I died?”
The nine Victoria Crosses were taken from inside locked, reinforced glass cabinets, that were guarded by alarm systems and security cameras, in a theft that's wiped out nearly half of New Zealand's collection. The most significant medal taken in the heist belonged to Charles Upham. Only three people in history have won the Victoria Cross twice, and Upham is the only one to win them both for combat.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Must remember to do this next year.
From the article:
Remember, dystopian future travelers are very startled that they've gone back in time. Some starters:
- If you go the "prisoner who's escaped the future" try shaving your head and putting a barcode on the back of your neck. Then stagger around and stare at the sky, as if you've never seen it before.
- Walk up to random people and say "WHAT YEAR IS THIS?" and when they tell you, get quiet and then say "Then there's still time!" and run off.
- Stand in front of a statue (any statue, really), fall to your knees, and yell "NOOOOOOOOO"
- Stare at newspaper headlines and look astonished.
- Take some trinket with you (it can be anything really), hand it to some stranger, along with a phone number and say "In thirty years dial this number. You'll know what to do after that." Then slip away.
From Herb Greenberg at MarketWatch:
Even before this mortgage mess started, one person who kept emailing me over and over saying that this is going to get real bad. He kept saying this was beyond sub-prime, beyond low FICO scores, beyond Alt-A and beyond the imagination of most pundits, politicians and the press. When I asked him why somebody from inside the industry would be so emphatically sounding the siren, he said, “Someobody’s got to warn people.”
Read on here.
Hat tip to LA Land.
Ultimately, universities will have to clean their own houses. Professors need to re-embrace a culture of reasoned inquiry and debate. And since debate requires disagreement, higher education needs to encourage intellectual diversity in its hiring and promotion decisions with something like the fervor it shows for ethnic and racial diversity. It's the only way universities will earn back society's respect and reclaim their role at the center of public life.
This has been floating around the internet for a while. The idea is to make a copy of this list and highlight via boldface or underlining all the things you have done.
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree I was drunk and trying to keep from falling down but I think it still counts.
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office (Student Body President counts right?)
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life
[T]he wave of "libel tourism" — by which prominent Saudis, upset at reports linking the Kingdom to terror funding, have made a practice of finding friendly forums (like Great Britain) in which to file libel suits that, though they would be frivolous under American law, are frighteningly valid under the laws of other countries which (a) lack both a First Amendment and free-expression values, and (b) are slaves to political correctness. The suits intimidate not only journalists and scholars but the publishers and benefactors who would otherwise promote their work — and the public is ill-served because the we don't get the free flow of information on which good public policy depends.
Just when it seemed as if the storm clouds were about to burst, they began to part. As if at once, things began to turn around. And now, a decade-and-a-half after these well-founded and unrelievedly dire warnings, improvements are visible in the vast majority of social indicators; in some areas, like crime and welfare, the progress has the dimensions of a sea-change. That this has happened should be a source of great encouragement; why it happened, and what we can learn from it, is a subject of no less importance.
One of the reasons I abhor communitarianism (and tend to see my political philosophy as the opposite of that) is because it vests communitarian thinkers with the self appointed power to tell me (and others) what to do. Provided, of course, that they come up with a claim to do so in the name of what they call "the common good." "For the good of all." It's utilitarianism on stilts.
A little over 10 years ago, the paths of these three men merged in Little Rock, the state capital, where Huckabee was the new governor. With Cole's urging, and with DuMond insisting he was "born again," Huckabee played a key role in setting free a rapist who was supposed to serve many more years, say three of the seven members of the state board that paroled DuMond.
After being released, DuMond moved to Missouri, where less than a year later he suffocated the mother of three in a Kansas City suburb. Police suspect that he killed another woman there as well.
It is no surprise that ACORN preaches a New Left–inspired gospel, since it grew out of one of the New Left’s silliest and most destructive groups, the National Welfare Rights Organization. In the mid-sixties, founder George Wiley forged an army of tens of thousands of single minority mothers, whom he sent out to disrupt welfare offices through sit-ins and demonstrations demanding an end to the “oppressive” eligibility restrictions that kept down the welfare rolls. His aim: to flood the welfare system with so many clients that it would burst, creating a crisis that, he believed, would force a radical restructuring of America’s unjust capitalist economy.
...mainstream media doesn’t do much. Essays I did for The New York Times Book Review were not fact-checked at all (though they did copy edit, luckily for me). Over at the Los Angeles Times, an amusing example is an article I did on a Siberian film festival at which I was a juror. After I submitted it, the LAT fact-checker called and asked, “Did this all happen?” “Yes,” I said. “Thank you,” she said and hung up. So much for mainstream media fact-checking.
Sanchez called attention to two offensive graffiti discovered a month ago on campus. Everyone knows that most campus graffiti, even the hoaxes and pranks, provoke calls for more diversity. You are not allowed to simply erase the scrawls and dismiss their authors as morons. No, you must behave as Yale did. The deans of the college and the graduate school sent emails to all, stressing how appalled they were. "We Shall Overcome" was sung at a Rally Against hate.
There is nothing more likely to send The Wife into a flaming rage than proposals to bail out overextended home owners with adjustable rate mortgages. She believes that people who bought houses they cannot afford shouldn't be rewarded while those who were thrifty and didn't over extend themselves often got priced out of the local housing market. The tale of the ant and the grasshopper in reverse if you will. Mostly, I agree with her.
Interestingly, I'm against amnesty proposals for illegal immigrants for much the same reason: they provide a disincentive for people to obey the rules. I'm not sure where The Wife stands on that one. I guess we have something talk about over dinner.
Minutes after taking the Pledge of Allegiance, new American citizens are urged to register as voters by Democratic activists who see them as natural party supporters who could hold the key to the 2008 election.
“For a long time, immigration was OK,” said Sara Wright, 49, a seamstress from Mexico who arrived in the US legally in 1986.
“But now, no more. A lot of really bad people come from Mexico and commit crimes.
“People are coming in and having two, three, four babies and going on welfare. Some are making money here and spending it back in Mexico.
"That’s not right. They should go back to Mexico and get a permit.”
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The ideal of multiculturalism at home was echoed with an ideology of cultural relativism abroad, especially in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This evolved stealthily into a form of moral racism which held that white Europeans deserved liberal democracy but that people of different cultures had to wait for it. African dictators might do dreadful things but somehow they did not meet with condemnation from many European intellectuals, for criticism implied cultural arrogance.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
My friend Jenelle Dorner is having trouble with her dystonia.
I'm getting out of the hospital tomorrow. Pray for me. I have a new illegal drug that seems to be working but I will have to be on IV nutrition at home.
Jenelle is a wonderful woman and an old dear friend. I'm hard pressed to think of anyone I've ever known who was nicer. She acquired her condition through a mixture of bad luck and medical malpractice. Through it all she's borne it with dignity and grace.
A number of years ago, I had the distinct honor of being the best man in her wedding. It was an amazing, joyous affair. Get better soon.