Do you spend all night Googling yourself and crying? Are your hands disfigured from over-Tweeting? Do you check your email during polite conversation? Then the law offices of Jacob Bradley Palmer can help you!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Nancy Pelosi vowed to drain when she led her party to victory in 2006. The GOP had been rocked by scandal, and Mrs. Pelosi and Democrats won, in part, by promising to clean up the "culture of corruption" that pervaded Washington.
Instead, Democrats now have an image problem. The real issue isn't so much Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's Senate-seat auction, as it is the focus that his scandal has directed toward a wider assortment of Democratic troubles. This isn't great timing for Barack Obama, who campaigned on cleaner government.
An ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is a shrewd thing, in an orchard or garden. And certainly, men that are great lovers of themselves, waste the public. Divide with reason; between selflove and society; and be so true to thyself, as thou be not false to others; specially to thy king and country.
-From Wisdom for Man's Self.
Much more here.
The death rate is so low that the media avoids mentioning it. Indeed, non-hostile deaths often surpass hostile deaths in certain months. When more deaths occur due to road accidents, drowning, and training mishaps than at the hands of terrorists, the terrorists are quite ineffective. If a country of 25 million people were against the presence of US troops, why are only 8-10 US troops being killed per month? Many troops report not having had to fire their guns even once in the last 90 days.
Read the whole thing.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Rhetoric about standing firm against terrorists aside, in Britain we have no more legal deterrent to prevent an armed assault than did the people of Mumbai, and individually we would be just as helpless as victims. The Mumbai massacre could happen in London tomorrow; but probably it could not have happened to Londoners 100 years ago.
In January 1909 two such anarchists, lately come from an attempt to blow up the president of France, tried to commit a robbery in north London, armed with automatic pistols. Edwardian Londoners, however, shot back – and the anarchists were pursued through the streets by a spontaneous hue-and-cry. The police, who could not find the key to their own gun cupboard, borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by, while other citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns preferred to use their weapons themselves to bring the assailants down.
Read the whole thing.
I used to ask that question of my European friends as the EU bureaucracy moved on one front after another to curtail the freedom of its subjects and impose a mind-boggling array of politically correct rules and regulations upon an increasingly supine populace.
It saddens me to say that I have begun to ask that question of my friends here at home. Consider, to take this morning’s example, the budget Gov. Paterson has just proposed for New York. Quoth the governor: “This is the worst fiscal downturn since the Great Depression.” Thanks for pointing that out, Dave! So, now that we’ve got that straight what will you, as governor, do about that? Cast a beady eye on state spending? Cut costs wherever possible? Eliminate unproductive, pork barrel programs?
You must be kidding.
No, folks are hurting. So let’s tax them some more!
Let’s have a budget that increases state spending by $1.3 billion.
Read the whole thing.
A cool site with maps, electoral college breakdowns, and popular vote totals of previous US Presidential elections. Also handy for settling bar bets like who was Hubert Humphrey's running mate in 1968. Scroll to the right to see more on the site.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Obama is ineligible to be president because he was born outside the United States. If he was born outside the United States or U.S. territories, this might indeed have been a legitimate Constitutional issue. The problem with this theory is that no one has been able to provide any credible evidence that Barack Obama was born anywhere other than Hawaii. Claims that he was born in Kenya have been based on fanciful claims woven out of thin air and a faulty translation of a conversation with his grandmother purposefully taken out of context. There is no documentation or testimony to support this claim. None.
The two government-sponsored mortgage giants have long maintained they were merely unwitting victims of a financial act of God. That is, while the rest of the market went crazy over subprime and "liar" loans, Fan and Fred claimed to be the grownups of the mortgage market. There they were, the fable goes, quietly underwriting their 80% fixed-rate 30-year mortgages when -- Ka-Pow! -- they were blindsided by the greedy excesses of the subprime lenders who lacked their scruples.
But previously undisclosed internal documents that are now in Mr. Waxman's possession and that we've seen tell a different story. Memos and emails at the highest levels of Fannie and Freddie management in 2004 and 2005 paint a picture of two companies that saw their market share eroded by such products as option-ARMs and interest-only mortgages. The two companies were prepared to walk ever further out on the risk curve to maintain their market position.
Read the whole thing.
An Italian TV station has aired the film Brokeback Mountain for the first time, but with one noticable difference. All the love scenes between Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal's characters had been cut!
This is roughly analogous to cutting the crime parts out of The Godfather. As the kids say ...LOL.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Boy George faces a jail term for falsely imprisoning a male escort.
He was told in court today that a prison sentence was 'the most likely option' after a jury convicted him of handcuffing Norwegian Audun Carlsen to a wall at his flat.
The singer, 46, whose real name is George O'Dowd, also beat Carlsen, 29, with a metal chain as he tried to escape from the flat in Shoreditch, East London after a kinky photographic session, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Mr Carlsen fled in his underpants and alerted police.
These are sad times. I mean if celebrities can't keep people chained up in their bedrooms who can?
Amazon.com has taken the PC kool-aide and is attempting to hawk its products under the banner of The 12 days of Holiday. Sadly since I don't know which holiday they are talking about I find it difficult to catch the "holiday spirit" and order lots of goodies from their website.
This is the email I sent them:
This email is to complain about your incredibly stupid "12 days of Holiday" campaign. Which holiday would that be? Why are you so afraid to say Christmas? I LOVE Amazon but this stuff really pisses me off.
I'll tell you what, I'm not going to shop at Amazon after October 31st of each year. I mean If there were a major gift giving holiday toward the end of the year you'd remind me of it right? When you you do, I'll shop on your site.
The great thing about the web is that it gives you choices. The truth is I don't need Amazon this Christmas season.
Friday, December 05, 2008
I heard it's possible to live for an extended period of time, not just short-term, on nothing but potatoes and milk. Is there any truth to this? If I could really get all the nutrients I need from just potatoes and milk, it sure would make my grocery shopping easier.
— Joshua B, Olney, Maryland
Excellent question, Josh. With hard times coming, we're all going to have to economize. The good news: A spuds and milk diet definitely has possibilities — the Irish, to cite the best-known example, got by mainly on potatoes until the infamous blight of 1845 wiped out their main course. The bad news: (1) Considering the quantities you're going to have to eat, you'd better really like potatoes. (2) If you're literally going to eat nothing but potatoes and milk, you risk — brace yourself — serious molybdenum deficiency.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military conducted a successful test of its system built to knock out long-range missiles that could be fired by North Korea or Iran, the Pentagon said on Friday.
The target missile for the test over the Pacific was launched from Kodiak, Alaska and an interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, officials said. The intercept took place at 3:29 p.m. EST .
The argument against missile defense has always been twofold: That it was technically impossible and that regardless of the technical difficulties it was destabilizing. The fact that these arguments were mutually exclusive never seemed to bother anyone that advanced them.
As it is becoming increasingly clear, what ever technical issues may remain with missile defence they are distinctly in the realm of solvable conundrums. That leaves the issue of whether or not missile defense causes instability.
There is a strong argument that nuclear weapons have a deterrent effect. Europe has (with the exception of Yugoslavia) enjoyed its longest period of peace since the Roman Empire. Despite the tensions and conflicts of the Cold War, both sides always understood that the cost of direct confrontation was far too high to be risked. In this sense, nuclear weapons helped ensure...well not peace exactly....but an absence of war. Similarly, Israel and their Arab neighbors have fought a half dozen wars since 1948. Then Israel got the bomb. Since then there have been no direct attacks by Arab armies on Israel (lots of terrorism though). India and Pakistan also used to go to war with one another every now and then. Once again though, once both nations became nuclear powers, direct warfare became to costly to contemplate. Here again though, that deterrence may have led to encouraging terrorism as as way of continuing the conflict by other means.
The fundamental assumption of a deterrence bases strategy is that your opponent is a rational actor AND that they believe that you will respond in kind. When considering opponents like North Korea, Iran, and pre-invasion Iraq the deterrence argument collapses.
History is riddled with dictators willing to inflict enormous suffering on their peoples for any number of reasons. Consider the nihilism of Adolf Hitler who was determined that Germany should be destroyed because it had failed him. Pol Pot or Chairman Mao during one of their genocidal purges or Kim Jong Il watching his people starve today. The assumption that those folks love their kids just the way we do doesn't hold water. We cannot rely on their good graces to keep us safe.
The other real problem is the credibility of our deterrent. If when we invaded Iraq, Saddam had used a small nuke and killed several thousand American soldiers...what would we have done? Responded with nuclear weapons, killing several million Iraqi civilians? That's what credible deterrence requires but somehow I really don't think that would have been an option.
The uncomfortable truth is that with a certain type of leader, you can't deter them. If a country has a leader who is willing to have his people wiped out to destroy the Zionists infidels you really only have to choices: Kill them first (the New York Times won't approve) or find a way to render his weapons useless. To do that you can either bomb them before they go online or develop a high tech solution to deal with an arsenal that already exists...i.e. missile defense.
The article is here.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
The idea behind the broken windows theory is that if people look around and see other people violating norms, they will tend to violate them as well. In the 1980s and 1990s, city governments and police departments stepped up their enforcement measures against petty crimes, such as painting graffiti, panhandling, littering, and subway fare jumping. The hope was that by minimizing public disorder, the police would help communities create crime-deterrent environments. Most of the evidence for the value of this kind of policing is based on studies of what happened to crime rates once police began to crack down on incivilities. In recent years, some analyses have questioned the broken windows theory as a strategy for effective policing.
Now, a new study (additional online info here) published in Science provides some strong experimental backing for the broken windows theory. Dutch researchers from the University of Groningen, led by social scientist Kees Keizer. conducted six experiments to see if signs of disorder would encourage people to engage in norm violation themselves.
The short answer: Yes.
Read the whole thing.
The Who, Jimi Hendrix and a Rickenbacker 360/12. Oddly enough everyone to the right of the neck of the guitar is dead (Hendrix, John Entwistle and Keith Moon). Everyone to the left is alive (Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend).
Play it safe, steer clear of Rickenbackers all together.
WHATEVER happened to the hydrogen economy? At the turn of the century it was the next big thing, promising a future of infinite clean energy and deliverance from climate change. Generate enough hydrogen, so the claim went, and we could use it to transform the entire energy infrastructure - it could supply power for cars, planes and boats, buildings and even portable gadgets, all without the need for dirty fossil fuels. Enthusiasts confidently predicted the breakthrough was just five to 10 years away. But today, despite ever-worsening news on global warming and with peak oil looming, the hydrogen economy seems as distant as ever.
In the ten months before this week’s atrocity, Muslim terrorists killed over 200 people in India and no-one paid much attention. Just business as usual, alas. In Bombay, the perpetrators were cannier. They launched a multiple indiscriminate assault on soft targets, and then in the confusion began singling out A-list prey: Not just wealthy Western tourists, but local orthodox Jews, and municipal law enforcement. They drew prominent officials to selected sites, and then gunned down the head of the antiterrorism squad and two of his most senior lieutenants. They attacked a hospital, the place you’re supposed to take the victims to, thereby destabilizing the city’s emergency-response system.
My favorite TV show of all time was Arrested Development. It was cancelled after 50+ episodes mostly because it was too smart for a mass market audience. Now it looks the they're going to do a movie...Yea!!!
In celebration here are the The 8 Best Recurring Arrested Development Jokes.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Blues are about basic stuff like "woke up this morning" or "I got a good woman." But the blues also needs trouble. So if you've got a good woman then you'd better stick something bad in next (eg: "I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town"). Then keep repeating that line until you think of something that rhymes. For example:
I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.
Yeah, I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.
He got teeth like an alligator and he weighs 500 pounds.
Read the whole thing.
If over the next 20 years or so global warming turns out to be nonsense, as some of us have been saying all along, this will discomfit the enviro-Left, revealing them to be be fear mongers, totalitarians, and power-mad lunatics, right?
Just like the Left was discredited when we didn’t actually run out of landfill space, we didn’t all starve to death in the 1970s, all the birds didn’t die from DDT, we didn’t all die from Alar, all the fish didn’t die from acid rain, the ecosystem didn’t collapse because of logging rain forests, etc., right?
No, of course not.
The MSM will sweep the whole thing under the rug.
Amid all the political and media hysteria, national output has declined by less than one-half of one percent. In fact, it may not have declined even that much-- or at all-- when the statistics are revised later, as they very often are.
We are not talking about the Great Depression, when output dropped by one-third and unemployment soared to 25 percent.
From the article:
It is not just the U.N. Charter that European nations and institutions brush aside when convenient. The most fundamental human-rights treaty is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. European governments, like the U.S. government, have declined to give effect to provisions of that treaty with which they disagree on matters ranging from immigration to hate speech, emergency powers, criminal procedure and more. European courts, too, have ignored provisions and interpretations of this treaty that deviate from European law.
Europeans have also shown a less than robust commitment to the ICC. Earlier this fall, the world witnessed the strange spectacle of the U.S., long an ICC skeptic, successfully resisting a British- and French-led attempt to corral the U.N. Security Council into delaying ICC indictments of the perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur.
Europe also has violated international trade laws when public sentiment gets riled up -- for example, in resisting importation of genetically modified foods, or beef from cattle raised with growth hormones. European countries defied adverse World Trade Organization (WTO) rulings in both cases.
More than 1.5 million workers in Germany depend on the automobile industry for their jobs. But that industry is now facing one of its worst crises ever. Respected giants BMW and Mercedes are particularly exposed as sales plummet.
It's not just us.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It's exciting that the world is so excited about Barack Obama. I'm excited, too. That he achieved the presidency says something good about America.
But the excitement also frightens me. It reinforces the worst impulse of the media and political class: the assumption that all progress comes from Washington. In a free society, with constitutionally limited government, the president would be a mere executive who sees to it that predictable and understandable laws are enforced. But sadly, the prestige and power of the presidency have grown, and liberty has contracted. That is not something to celebrate.
Read the whole thing.
I try to keep things PG-13 at their raciest here at Diminished Expectations. There are of course exceptions. This is another.
One of my dearest friends...who prefers to remain anonymous..has gone back to school recently to get teaching credentials...presumably as a prelude to corrupting our nations youth and seducing a few cheerleaders. Actually that sounds like a pretty good deal...I think I need to look into this.
Anyway... this friend who shall remain nameless is taking a comparative religion class at the moment and on this particular day they were discussing the Christian tradition of baptism. Some denominations see baptism as unnecessary (the Quakers come to mind). Others require Aspersion the (sprinkling of water on the head) or Affusion (pouring of water over the head). Still others use Submersion or Immersion. Apparently the Eastern Orthodox practice triple immersion (symbolic of death and rebirth into Christ, and as a washing away of sin).
On the day in question the instructor was quizzing the class about the various forms of baptism and finally got round to a lovely female classmate of my friend.
Teacher: "What kind of baptism to the Eastern Orthodox practice?"
Student: "Triple penetration."
After I stopped laughing, I suggested that my friend ask this young lady out. He replied with a certain sadness that she had a fiancee.
"Ah yes" I replied, "but it seems clear that she has unmet needs."
Time and again my evil plans take over the world have been frustrated by a lack of minions, henchmen and miscellaneous hangers on. I blame you my dear readers. I'm very disappointed in you. At this rate I'll never be Emperor.
Time to get with the program. The Drunk Elephant has led the way in signing up as a follower of this blog. Time for you to do the same.
Fueled by easy credit, the real-estate market had been rising swiftly for some years. Members of Congress were determined to assure the continuation of that easy credit. Suddenly, the party came to a devastating halt. Defaults multiplied, banks began to fail. Soon the economic troubles spread beyond real estate. Depression stalked the land.
The year was 1836.
The nexus of excess speculation, political mischief, and financial disaster—the same tangle that led to our present economic crisis—has been long and deep. Its nature has changed over the years as Americans have endeavored, with varying success, to learn from the mistakes of the past. But it has always been there, and the commonalities from era to era are stark and stunning. Given the recurrence of these themes over the course of three centuries, there is every reason to believe that similar calamities will beset the system as long as human nature and human action play a role in the workings of markets.
Read the whole thing.
Four years of high-school Latin would dramatically arrest the decline in American education. In particular, such instruction would do more for minority youths than all the ‘role model’ diversity sermons on Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Montezuma, and Caesar Chavez put together. Nothing so enriches the vocabulary, so instructs about English grammar and syntax, so creates a discipline of the mind, an elegance of expression, and serves as a gateway to the thinking and values of Western civilization as mastery of a page of Virgil or Livy (except perhaps Sophocles’s Antigone in Greek or Thucydides’ dialogue at Melos). After some 20 years of teaching mostly minority youth Greek, Latin, and ancient history and literature in translation (1984-2004), I came to the unfortunate conclusion that ethnic studies, women studies—indeed, anything “studies”— were perhaps the fruits of some evil plot dreamed up by illiberal white separatists to ensure that poor minority students in the public schools and universities were offered only a third-rate education.
The rest are here.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The Rambo of Nerf guns. This mean-looking, belt-feeding, fully-automatic dart gun can fire at a rate of up to three darts per second, pummeling your target (or your target's cubicle) with a barrage of toy ammunition. A removable, foldable tripod and a precision single-shot mode round out the capabilities.
I try to keep things pretty G rated here but every once in a while...I have a little flight of fancy. Anyway here's a link to the 2009 Pretty in Mink calendar.
The calender is a fundraising tool for the Clair Boothe Luce Policy Institute, a worthy cause if there ever was one. So for those of you who desperately want a pin-up of Ann Coulter, here's your chance.
How to turn water into marbles This video shows you how to make a susbance that,in contact with the air, looses your polar hability and sticks to...
Looks cool...I think I'm gonna have to try it.
Is chucking a soda can in the trash an unforgivable sin? That depends who you ask: You'll find plenty of people on both sides of the great recycling debate, each equally convinced the other side is ill-informed. The truth is that opponents and proponents alike often rely on facts that are outdated, oversimplified or simply untrue.
Click this link and find out.
That big players in global energy should be in cahoots with environmentalists and climate change alarmists came as something of a shock to Horner.
‘Though I was a fully grown man, I had yet to understand the concept of “rent seeking” or even these “baptist and bootlegger” coalitions.’ Just as prohibitionists and drink smugglers had a common interest in maintaining a ban on alcohol, so big companies that want massive subsidies for renewable energy schemes and the right to sell emissions permits – the nearest thing yet to selling thin air – can find common ground with those who want us all to reduce our ‘carbon footprints’.
I’ve seen too many peoples dismissed as not ready for self-government. First it was Asians, and then Latin Americans and Africans were there for a while. I know for a while black Americans were, too.
I’ve seen it said, well, you know: They’re illiterate; how could they vote? And then you see in Afghanistan people line up for long, long lines. Because somehow they know that making a choice matters.
Read the whole thing.
I'm against it...emphatically so in fact. We've already gone much to far down the road of bailing out poorly run companies. It's stupid and the one rule of government is you always get more of whatever you subsidize...right now we're subsidizing bad economic behavior.
The awkward fact is that if Congress gives the big three the money they're asking for, it won't change a thing. At current rates they'd run through the bailout money sometime in March and we'll be right back where we started and they'll be looking for more of your cash.
The time has come to face reality: the Big Three simply can't sustain their current business model. There have to be big changes.
Amazingly enough, the problem isn't the cars anymore. The quality is quite good by global standards. The problem is what it costs to make them. The total cost per hour of a GM employee is something like $75.00 per hour (wages+health benifits+pensions). For Honda's made in the United States the figure is more like $35.00. Obviously the difference is enormous. The question is why.
I'll stipulate that Honda is a smarter company: their executive compensation is less generous, they don't waste money on stupid perks, and labor/management relations are better than those at the big three. That's all true...and all that put together adds up 1-2 dollars of the hourly differential I mentioned above. In other words it's chump change. Rail all you want about car executives flying to Washington in private jets only to beg for tax dollars to keep their companies running...that sort of thing is only significant in the symbolic sense.
The truth is it all comes down to pensions.
Honda has been making cars in the U.S. for...twenty years? GM...considerably longer than that. GM is paying benefits to hundreds of thousands of former employees while Honda isn't.
Over the past 30 years the big Three and the UAW have agreed to a series of labor contracts that have created this mess. Both sides knew, or should have known that the numbers didn't add up, but they signed them anyway. Now that reality has smacked them in the face, they'd like you to pick up the tab. Now I like to think of myself as generous person, but after bailing out badly run banks, airlines and apparently now, folks who bought houses they couldn't possibly afford I'm feeling a little less generous than usual.
The hard truth is that we can spend the rest of forever subsidizing bad business decisions or we can let the parties take a hard look at economic reality and come to terms that both sides can live with.
Update: Actually I think I misstated the choice. It's not gutting the pensions vs. keeping them indefinitely via taxpayer subsidy. Rather it's cutting the pensions and saving the companies vs. letting the companies eventually fail after massive subsides and the workers still don't get their pensions. For those who doubt this I recommend looking at the history of government bailouts and nationalizations in the British auto industry.
It seems Mitt Romney agrees.
...I know this isn't entirely a political blog...I try to a a bunch of humor, culture and history here. I guess the election wore me out. I'm not swearing off politics or anything. It's still one of my passions...I just may write a little less about it for a while.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The reason I don't care "California's broke" is I know that means that the government of California is broke, not its citizens. Unlike everybody involved in the dissemination of news, I don't conflate the two.
Read the whole thing.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I'm sure you've heard the term "concrete shoes," mobsters' choice of swimwear for fellas with rodent traits and other individuals that ran afoul of them. Is there any truth to it?
The Straight Dope is Here.
In its heyday, the Florentine banking conglomerate was the largest in Europe. It had branches in Geneva, Avignon, Bruges and London as well as in Rome, Naples, Venice and Milan. Founded in 1397 by Giovanni di Bicci, the bank's fortune reached its peak under the wise management of Cosimo de' Medici, the famous patron of the arts.
The expansion of the banking activities continued at an extraordinary pace until his death in 1464. Gold and cash deposits along with commercial ventures and merchandise exchanges guaranteed a continuous flow for high-interest lending, which was wisely supervised. But the Bank soon began to overstretch itself.
History repeats itself. Read the whole thing.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
If ever there was an election that was not worth winning, it was the contest of 2008. While it was hard-fought on both sides, had John McCain won, it might have spelled the end of the Republican Party. As it is, the party is well-situated to come back in 2010 and in 2012, if it learns the lessons of this year.
Read the whole thing.
The idea that human beings have changed and are changing the basic climate system of the Earth through their industrial activities and burning of fossil fuels—the essence of the Greens’ theory of global warming—has about as much basis in science as Marxism and Freudianism. Global warming, like Marxism, is a political theory of actions, demanding compliance with its rules.
Marxism, Freudianism, global warming. These are proof—of which history offers so many examples—that people can be suckers on a grand scale. To their fanatical followers they are a substitute for religion. Global warming, in particular, is a creed, a faith, a dogma that has little to do with science. If people are in need of religion, why don’t they just turn to the genuine article?
I've noticed an undercurrent of that attitude on the Left since the election. It's as if they've had a terrible realization: "Oh my God! They're going to do to us what we did to them over the last eight years!"
Indeed, we are.
Despite widespread predictions of record turnout in this year’s presidential election, roughly the same portion of eligible voters cast ballots in 2008 as in 2004.
Between 60.7 percent and 61.7 percent of the 208.3 million eligible voters cast ballots this year, compared with 60.6 percent of those eligible in 2004, according to a voting analysis by American University political scientist Curtis Gans, an authority on voter turnout.
He estimated that between 126.5 million and 128.5 million eligible voters cast ballots this year, versus 122.3 million four years ago. Gans said the gross number of ballots cast in 2008 was the highest ever, even though the percentage was not substantially different from 2004, because there were about 6.5 million more people registered to vote this time around.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation's broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis.
As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, "It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can't catch a break."
Via The Onion.
More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.
More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average North American eats more bread than that in one month!
Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.
Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.
Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.
Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.
Newborn babies can choke on bread.
Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 240 degrees Celsius! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
Most bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.
In light of these frightening statistics, we propose the following bread restrictions:
No sale of bread to minors
A nationwide "Just Say No To Toast" campaign, complete celebrity TV spots and bumper stickers.
A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.
No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.
The establishment of "Bread-free" zones around schools.
Conservatives have been making this argument since...well since the Great Depression. It's always been a source of amazement to me that FDR got any credit at all for his economic management. Well it seems that some folks at UCLA agree.
Friday, November 07, 2008
I think that kinda says it all.
Here's the link.
I have a lot of Muslim friends who I admire and respect but there are times when I think we're talking past one another.
There was this fellow I knew in college who was a good friend. He was from one of the more moderate gulf states. Supported the first Gulf War, dated one of my friends and heck...he and I went to strip joints together. He was a very cool guy and I liked him a lot.
Then one day we were talking about some issue relating to gays and he announced that "all gays must be killed". He wasn't kidding and it wasn't just rhetoric...he was in deadly earnest. That's when I realized that I didn't really know him at all. I didn't have any sense whatsoever what the underlying assumptions of his world were. I'm not saying my friend was evil or even ignorant. He was a good guy but if were serious about having a pluralistic, multi-cultural society we need to a least agree on a few basic assumptions of what a civil society ought to look like.
Amy Alkon has some thoughts here.
To be sure, the American people have handed power over to the Democrats. But today there is a categorical difference between what Republicans stand for and the principles of individual freedom. Parties are all about getting people elected to political office; and the practice of politics too often takes the form of professional juvenile delinquency: short-sighted and self-centered.
This was certainly true of the Bush presidency. Too often the policy agenda was determined by short-sighted political considerations and an abiding fear that the public simply would not understand limited government and expanded individual freedoms. How else do we explain "compassionate conservatism," No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug benefit and the most dramatic growth in federal spending since LBJ's Great Society?
John McCain has long suffered from philosophical confusions about free markets, and his presidential campaign reflected as much. Most striking was his inability to explain his own health-care proposal, or to defend his tax cuts and tax reform. Ultimately, it took a plumber from Ohio to identify the real nature of Barack Obama's plan to "spread the wealth."
Read the whole thing.
When reading on the internet about Islamic terrorism, commenters often mention that there is also terrorism by Christian fundamentalists in America, where there have been bombings of abortion clinics and shootings of abortion providers.
How prevalent is this form of American domestic terrorism? In recent years there have been round about 15,000 - 20,000 murders in total per year in the US. How many of these were of abortion providers?
Guess now. Scribble your answer down.
If you had asked me a few months ago I would have said three or four murders per year.
Considered over the last fifteen years I was overestimating somewhat. According to the best-known pro-abortion organisation in the US, NARAL Pro-Choice America,
Since 1993, seven clinic workers – including three doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard – have been murdered in the United States. Seventeen attempted murders have also occurred since 1991.That figure comes from a document published in December 2007. So far as I know the figures have not changed since then.
It seems likely that post election analysis will show a strong increase in black turnout in support of Senator (now President-elect) Barack Obama. One of the paradoxes of modern American politics is that while blacks are the most loyal constituencies that the Democratic party has, they are also the socially conservative. While white Democrats tend to favor gay marriage, blacks are adamantly opposed...essentially for biblical reasons.
Politics makes strange bedfellows.
A similar take here.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
...and that's ok. I wish him all the best and hope his Presidency is a great success. I still have grave doubts about him, and suspect he and I will disagree more than we agree. Nevertheless...he's going to be the President of all Americans and we have difficult times ahead. President Obama will face unique challenges and for all our sake's I hope he is up to them.
Despite all the Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers stuff, I believe that Barack Obama is a good and decent man. We should keep that in mind going forward. When policy differences arise, attack the idea not the man. The country suffered greatly from the nasty partisanship that Democrats exhibited in opposition. We should avoid the temptation to emulate it.
We should also be grateful for another good and decent man...John McCain. He wasn't my first choice...actually he wasn't even third...but in a difficult year for Republicans, with the economy teetering on the abyss, with an unpopular war, and just general Bush fatigue, John McCain carried the banner of our party forward and acquitted himself honorably. He fought against a dismissive press, an opponent who massively outspent him, and the reservations that some of us on the right had about him. He did well and he deserves our gratitude.
Once again the republic has gone through it's miraculous ritual, where people with very real, deeply held differences come together and make choices about all our futures...peacefully.
May God bless the United States of America.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Gallup reports this morning that about 11 percent of registered voters who plan to vote already have done so, and that they're split almost evenly between supporters of John McCain and Barack Obama.
The 11 percent early voting rate is just a little higher than the 9 percent who'd voted at this stage in 2004, according to Gallup.
Interesting. You'd think with all the bad news Obama would be killing McCain in early voting. I don't know what this means...probably nothing but it certainly doesn't comport with media claims that there's this huge pool of folks dying to vote for Obama. You'd think people would be lining up around the block.
If voter fraud would ever be ripe for investigation, this would seem to be the year with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn) having been caught filing thousands of bogus voter registrations in at least 14 states. Acorn's history of deceit and the national sweep of today's scandal demand a federal probe. Safeguarding the integrity of the vote is every bit as important as protecting access to the polls, yet Democrats want Justice to pay attention only to the latter.
The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.
But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.
Why didn’t the media or McCain just ask Obama a few of the following questions: Why did you keep emailing and phoning Bill Ayers for three years after 9/11, when the country was gripped by fear of terror, and Ayers, like bin Laden, said that he had not done enough bombing, and had no regrets about the terrorism he had committed?
Why did Obama say in 2004 to the Chicago Sun-Times that he went to Trinity Church every Sunday at 11AM, and then later claim he had not been there that regularly once Rev. Wright’s venom was disseminated to the general public? Is Obama for, or not for, a simple yes or no, missile defense, nuclear power, off-shore drilling, and coal-powered electrical generation? There might be legitimate answers, but surely the public could profit by them, rather than worry over the Palin pregnancies, wardrobe, or Tasergate.
Read the whole thing.
That Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States. It's inevitable. It's his election to lose. What proof does the media offer? Public opinion polls that supposedly show Obama "winning" the race. (But see here and here.) The thousands of devoted supporters who attend Obama's rallies. The legions of blacks and young people who are more "inspired" than ever to vote for a candidate who understands their needs and interests. Etc. We all know the story by heart by now.
This is the "narrative" that the mainstream media has been imposing on this year's presidential campaign almost from the start. Remember how quickly the MSM jumped off the Hillary Clinton bandwagon and onto Obama's? Remember how annoyed and angry they became as Hillary refused to concede the nomination? The MSM decided that electing the nation's first black, socialist, anti-American president was politically and historically more important (and, for them, more exciting) than electing the nation's first female, socialist, patriotic president. And they are doing everything they can to achieve this goal.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Jacksonville police say Reginald Peterson needs to learn that 911 is not the appropriate place to complain that Subway left the sauce off a spicy Italian sandwich.
Police said the 42-year-old man dialed 911 twice last week so he could have his sub made correctly. The second call was to complain that officers weren't arriving fast enough.
Subway workers told police Peterson became belligerent and yelled when they were fixing his order. They locked him out of the store after he left to call police.
When officers arrived, they tried to calm Peterson and explain the proper use of 911. Those efforts failed, and he was arrested on a charge of making false 911 calls.
Peterson did not have a listed phone number.
Why do all these stories come from Florida?
How will this financial mess play out? No one knows for sure. Believing as I do in the resilience of capitalism and the resoluteness of the American worker, I suspect that things will sort themselves out in due course. (And how long is a “due”? That’s a good question that I cannot answer.) One thing that is becoming ever more clear, however, is that the economic situation in Europe and Asia is likely to be far worse for a longer period than in the United States. Writing in the London Telegraph today, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard observes that Western European banks hold about three-quarters of the $4.7 trillion in in cross-border bank loans to Eastern Europe, Latin America and emerging markets in Asia. This, Evans-Pritchard notes, is “a sum that vastly exceeds the scale of both the US sub-prime and Alt-A debacles.”
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Why McCain is set for a landslide victory if Obama is up by less than 6 pts in the polls before election day.
That's this guys argument anyway. I'm not sure that I'd go that far and I have reservations about his methodology but...the truth is polls are always problematic. There wrong as often as they are right.
Anyway the article is here.
Related thoughts from Michael Barone.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.
Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!
What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?
In 1948, Gallup screwed with the weighting, assuming the republicans would turn out much in much larger numbers than the democrats, but they were wrong, and badly miscalled the election. In 1952 Gallup assumed the other way, that the race would be tight and down to the wire, but they blew that call as well. In 1976, Gallup assumed the opposite, that democrats would overwhelm republicans because of Watergate, but when it became obvious that republicans would vote anyway, Gallup had to change its model to show their participation more accurately. In 1980, Gallup called Carter ahead until the very end, when they grudgingly granted Reagan a small lead, yet another case where Gallup's assumptions were well off the mark. In 1996, Gallup overstated Clinton's support and understated Dole's support throughout the campaign, and in 2004 Gallup called the race too close to call.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Six years of frustration and heartbreak. That's how Gina Rathan recalls her attempts to become pregnant.
Finally, she and her husband, Cheddi, conceived a daughter, now 3, through in vitro fertilization. About a year later, she became pregnant with a second child, naturally. Their family was complete.
Then, a year ago, the Fountain Valley couple received a bill reminding them that their infertility journey wasn't quite over. They owed $750 to preserve three frozen embryos they'd created but hadn't used.
"I don't see them as not being life yet," says Gina Rathan, 42, a pharmaceutical sales representative. "I thought, 'How can I discard them when I have a beautiful child from that IVF cycle?' "
Many other former infertility patients also appear to be grappling over the fate of embryos they have no plans to use: An estimated 500,000 embryos are in cryopreservation in the United States.
As with the Rathans, this unexpected conundrum often arises well after the infertility crisis has passed, triggering impassioned and highly personal debates about the science and ethics of human life. The discussion boils down to a fundamental question: What is this icy clump of cells smaller than a grain of sand?
The tyranny of the car seat isn't confined to the mollycoddlers in Washington. Every state in the union has laws on the books mandating the use of car seats for infants and toddlers. Thirty-eight states now have laws also mandating the use of booster seats. If anything, the laws in the District of Columbia are on the lax side.
In Massachusetts, once eight-year-olds graduate from their booster seats, they must remain in the backseat of the car, using normal seatbelts, until age twelve. In Maine, children over 40 pounds must be in a booster seat until they reach eight years of age or 80 pounds--whichever comes last. The penalty for violating these laws varies from state to state, ranging from $10 to $500 per infraction. (The District of Columbia also tacks two points onto your license for good measure.) In Nevada, you can be sentenced to up to 50 hours of community service.
Bad News: It's a Zogby poll.
Actually it's really all good news. Despite some pessismism in conservative circles and the media acting like the race is over, it's still surprisingly fluid and more importantly...close.
A lot can happen in the next 30 days. The media is finally beginning to notice the Ayers thing and sooner or later somebody is going to ask Obama why raising taxes as you head toward a recession is a good thing. Who knows, some people might even notice that we've won a war that Obama has been desperately trying to lose.
I still think McCain has structural advantages when it comes to the Electoral College and if McCain can successfully paint Obama as a risky, hard left candidate who lacks the experience to be President he'll not only win-he'll crush him.
...and there's this Humvee that is covered with promotional logos for The Bare Elegance, a Los Angeles strip joint. It's the sort of thing intended to draw your eye without being too obscene (much like the above photo). Anyway, I noticed it, the wife noticed it, a blind man would have noticed it.
I begin to pass the Hummer and the wife notices the van in front of it. In big green letters on it's side it says Fussy Painting.
The wife laughs and says:
"You know for a second there I thought it said something else"
Your humble author replies, "The funny thing is...I had exactly the same thought".
Monday, October 06, 2008
Two new studies summarized in a news article in Science magazine point to wind-induced circulation changes in the ocean as the dominant cause of the recent ice losses through the glaciers draining both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, not ‘global warming.’
Huh...good to know...still, we should all go back to living in caves just in case this global warming thing isn't the biggest hoax in human history.
Now imagine for a second your having an intimate relationship with...um...a doll. This kind of doll (link totally NOT SAFE FOR WORK). At first things are great: the sex is great, she doesn't eat much and she never complains about you looking at other women. Eventually though you realize your ready to move on. Maybe it was the rather one sided conversation. Perhaps her odd waxy skin. In any case you decide it's time for a clean break.
A) Attempt to sell your slightly used "girlfriend" eBay.
B) Put her out with the trash.
C) Give her to a friend as a "gag gift".
D) Wrap the body in a bag and bind the neck, waist and ankles-then dump it in the woods.
You can see where this is going cant you? Well some time passes and eventually a dog walker stumbles upon the "corpse". The police were not amused.
The great thing about Paris is that you can always see the Eiffel Tower from your room, whether you're an artist in a tiny garret or a millionaire in a first-class hotel. Just look out the window and there it is. We who have spent much of our lives at the movies know this to be a fact, having seen it demonstrated on many occasions.
That's a perfect example of Movie Wisdom, the information we absorb inadvertently while sitting in the dark. We may go to the movies to enjoy the actors and the stories but the experience also enlarges our view of the world. In early autumn, when the Toronto International Film Festival comes around again, it reminds me of how much the movies have taught me.
Here's my take: Obama is an extremely ambitious man. He's been interested in a national political career for many years. It's not that surprising that he wouldn't find Ayers and Wright objectionable company--in the very liberal, Hyde Park/Ivy League circles that he's traveled in since attending Columbia, people with such views are more mainstream than, say, the average conservative evangelical Christian. That itself makes Obama far more liberal than the image his campaign attempts to portray.
But what is interesting to me is that not only did Obama not personally find anything especially obnoxious about Wright's radicalism, anti-Americanism, ties to Farrakahn, and so on, or Ayers' lack of regret for his terrorist past, he apparently didn't expect that much of anyone else would care, either. How else do you explain why he didn't jettison these individuals from his life before they could damage his presidential ambitions? How else do you explain how his campaign seemed to be caught flatfooted when Obama's ties to Wright and then Ayers became campaign issues? And, perhaps most tellingly, how else do you explain that when Obama was asked in a debate with Clinton about his ties to Ayers, he analogized his friendship with Ayers to his friendship with Senator Tom Coburn, as if being friends with a very conservative senatorial colleague is somehow analogous with being friends with an unrepentant extreme leftist domestic terrorist?
In short, Obama's ties to Ayers and Wright suggest to me NOT that Obama agrees with their views, but that he is the product of a particular intellectual culture that finds the likes of Wright and Ayers to be no more objectionable, and likely less so, than the likes of Tom Coburn, or, perhaps, a Rush Limbaugh. Not only that, but he has been in his particular intellectual bubble so long that he was unable to recognize just how offensive the views of a Wright are to mainstream America, or how his ties to Ayers would play with the public, especially post-9/11.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Ted Briggs was the last of three survivors of the HMS Hood, the ill-fated battlecruiser destroyed by the Bismarck May 23, 1941. At the time of the sinking the Hood was the world's largest warship. He now joins his 1,420 shipmates.
UNTO Almighty God we commend the soul of our brother departed, and we commit his body to the deep; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the sea shall give up her dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.
-Book of Common Prayer (1925)
Daily Telegraph Obitary.
HMS Hood Association.
CIOs were asked, “What is the strangest or most unusual request you or a member of your help desk or technical support team has ever received?” Their responses included:
“Why isn’t my wireless mouse connected to the computer?”
“My laptop was run over by a truck. What should I do?”
“Can you rearrange the keyboard alphabetically?”
“How do I read my e-mail?”
“My computer is telling me to press any key to continue. Where is the ‘any’ key?”
“Can you reset the Internet for me?”
“There are animal crackers in my CD-ROM drive.”
“Can you build me a robot?”
The University of Illinois has sparked outrage by telling faculty, staff and graduate students that a 5-year-old state law designed to prevent state workers from campaigning for candidates on state time or with state resources meant they could not express support for candidates or parties through pins, T-shirts or bumper stickers while on campus. Nor could they attend any political rally or event on campus, the administration said.
The governor's Office of Executive Inspector General, which investigates ethical violations, has gone one step further, saying state law meant that university students, not just employees, were prohibited from participating in political rallies on campus--an assertion at odds with the university's interpretation.