Thursday, January 31, 2008

Plane vs. Conveyer Belt: The Plane Takes Off!

Sun's low magnetic activity may portend an ice age.

I was just talking about this last night and low and behold:

According to NASA, “early, well-documented records indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century" from about 1645 to 1715, during the Maunder Minimum.

“This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the Little Ice Age when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes.” It was called the Maunder Minimum, after Edward Maunder, a British accountant who saw a sunspot “like a tack in the Sun” while he was walking home, and subsequently made counting and analyzing sunspots, rather than money, his life’s work. There have been other Minimums. The Dalton Minimum of 1800 to 1810 was that period when Napoleon had his unfortunate encounter with the Russian winter.

If the Sun’s magnetic activity does not increase, and it goes dim for an extended period, it will get quite chilly. In the meantime the Canada Space Agency, the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the US Air Force Solar Optical Observing Network are all keeping an eye on the Sun.

Free university lectures.

Some of these are rather good-and for you lefties out there; there's at least one with Noam Chomsky.

Terminated: The strange death of universal health care in one of America's most liberal states.

Like collapses in Illinois, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, this one crumpled because of the costs, which are always much higher than anticipated. The truth teller was state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, who thought to ask about the price tag of a major new entitlement amid what's already a $14.5 billion budget shortfall.

An independent analysis confirmed the plan would be far more expensive than proponents admitted. Even under the most favorable assumptions, spending would outpace revenue by $354 million after two years, and likely $3.9 billion or more. "A situation that I thought was bad," Mr. Perata noted, "in fact was worse."

Germs and you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

All aboard the flying Scotsman.

I have got to get one of these things.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Headline of the week:

"Man struggles to return from the dead."

Margaret Truman dies at 83.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Margaret Truman, the only child of former President Harry S. Truman who became a concert singer, actress, radio and TV personality and mystery writer, died Tuesday. She was 83.

How to teach a tiger to doggy paddle

After a hard day's lolling around, these animals like nothing more than a quick dip.

The water-loving creatures all live at a special park for endangered species, where they have been taught to swim by Dr Bhagavan Antle, who has cared for them for 25 years.
He says: "I started swimming with tigers because I discovered it enriches their lives.

"We found we could manipulate them more easily in the water.

"Then we tried swimming with other animals, and the orangutans in particular loved it."
Another creature that adores the water at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, or TIGER, in Miami, Florida, is the aquatic tapir, from South America, which can walk along the bottom or swim on the top.

"This little one has been swimming since he was the size of a shoe box, and both his parents swim too," said Dr Antle.

Perhaps the coolest thing I've seen since "Top Gun".

For the uninitiated that's a Swiss F-18 vs. a German MiG-29.

h/t Lex.

John Edwards feeling Pretty

I knew this footage existed but I had never bothered to watch it before now. I had always said to myself "they all primp and preen-it's really not fair to judge him based on this".

I was wrong.

Via Theo.

Moral Health Care vs. “Universal Health Care”

Politicians from across the political spectrum, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, have argued that the government should guarantee “universal coverage” to all Americans, making health care a “right.” And politicians are not alone; numerous businessmen, union leaders, and insurance executives are united in saying that this will solve our problems.

It will not.

Via Maggie's Farm.

First They Came for the Gays

It’s very clear what’s going on here – and where it’s all headed. Europe is on its way down the road of Islamization, and it’s reached a point along that road at which gay people’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is being directly challenged, both by knife-wielding bullies on the street and by taxpayer-funded thugs whose organizations already enjoy quasi-governmental authority. Sharia law may still be an alien concept to some Westerners, but it’s staring gay Europeans right in the face – and pointing toward a chilling future for all free people.

For what it's worth...

The Los Angeles Republican Alliance (of which I am a member) has endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

Here's the full text of the endorsement:

After taking a survey of the core members of LARA it has become apparent that Mitt Romney is the first choice and Rudy Giuliani is a close second and may even be a tie with myself being the tiebreaker.

Personally Mitt Romney has been my number one choice since I first heard him speak at a CRP Convention in San Jose last year. I did not speak publicly about my personal choice until after the Representative’s Debate. The only objective assessment I can make is that the activists that are members of LARA and attend the meetings are so because they are Conservatives, socially, militarily and economically.

No compromising of our core Republican principals is the first thing our President and Commander in Chief must establish with the enemy here at home and abroad. John McCain has failed over and over and over with the Democrats in the Senate. What is he going to do with the war on terrorism – listen to Ted Kennedy? We know he has a breaking point a weakness that hasn’t escaped notice of the Democrats and the Terrorist. John McCain seems not to be aware that the three big issues we as a country are facing starts with settling the issue of illegal immigration and the economy and ridding America of the insidious leftists hawking their obsolete Marxist economic and social model here at home. Armed with these successes we could fight any enemy of freedom and win decisively not divisively.

Mitt Romney’s positions of the major issues are not too dissimilar from the rest of the pack, (except McCain and Paul). What differentiates him from all the rest is his background; his family and his professional career in the private sector. His positions on the economy, specifically, and most importantly, entitlement reform and immigration are well thought out and exemplary. The evolution of his ideas and policy positions has been consistent in that they are heading in the RIGHT direction. In addition, I admire his determination to defeat Islamo Fascism, which would bring stability to the Middle East.

Mitt Romney can beat Hillary Clinton not because he has a better political machine, nobody does, but because she brings so much dysfunctional baggage with her. She is like a bad girlfriend – not the needy kind but the fatal attraction kind. Romney has the resources and the national network of activist’s organizations, including this one, to push out his message and illustrate the contrast between his professionalism and her maniacal need for power.

If Obama were the Democratic nominee it would be a different strategy. Obama is JFK reincarnated in a socialist suite of armor that is severely outdated and obsolete. He is a nice guy but in need of wisdom -- compensation from age and experience. SO WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO PULLING THE LEVER MOST THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE VOTE FOR THE PCKETBOOK -- HIGH TAXES AND BIG GOVERNMENT NEVER WIN.

So my endorsement and the full power of the Los Angeles Republican Alliance will become part of the Romney team after he is nominated in the California Primary. I will suspend operations until after California votes. If California picks Rudy then I will wait until the Convention when the delegates pick our nominee.

Thank you for being Republican,

Jeffers M. Dodge
President of the Los Angeles Republican’s Alliance

McCain Beats Romney

MIAMI (AP) - Sen. John McCain won a breakthrough triumph in the Florida primary Tuesday night, gaining the upper hand in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of next week's contests across 21 states. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared ready to quit the race.

Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie

Lew Jaffe sent me a link to his very interesting site. He collects bookplates, those labels inside the book that say "from the library of..." . It's an amazing little hobby that to be honest, I didn't really know existed till now. Anyway, go over to his site and give him a look.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Climate modeling

Perhaps the clearest and most cogent explanation I've seen of why we shouldn't panic when it comes to global warming.

via Maggie's Farm.

Don't treat the old and unhealthy

Well it would lower health care costs.

Captain Ed's thoughts here.

Does cholesterol have anything to do with heart disease?

Maybe not.

via Maggie's Farm.

From the article:
So how did we come to believe strongly that LDL cholesterol is so bad for us? It was partly due to the observation that eating saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol, and we’ve assumed that saturated fat is bad for us. This logic is circular, though: saturated fat is bad because it raises LDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol is bad because it is the thing that saturated fat raises. In clinical trials, researchers have been unable to generate compelling evidence that saturated fat in the diet causes heart disease.

Animator vs. Animation

An amazing discovery by Theo over at The Last of the Few. Definitely worth your time.

Is the right right on the Clintons?

If the L.A. Times is asking the question it doesn't bode well for Hillary.

The latest tell-all autobiography from Hollywood.

It's the latest and probably the last tell-all star autobiography from Hollywood's golden age.
But this memoir is a different species entirely from the normal rags-to-riches tale of a big-screen leading man or woman - it's the life of Cheeta the chimpanzee.

Tarzan's famous co-star, who embarked on his screen career in the 1930s alongside Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan, is the subject of Me Cheeta, to be published by Fourth Estate in October.

The 75-year-old chimp, now enjoying retirement in a Palm Springs sanctuary, will not be going near the word processor personally. Fourth Estate has teamed him up with a ghostwriter but is promising a "funny, moving and searingly honest" memoir.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

How Many Christians Does it take to Change a Light Bulb?

It depends on the flavor...

I can vouch for the accuracy of the entry on Episcopalians.

Stolen from For Serenity's Sake.

Unterseeboot UC-97 lies at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

I grew up in Chicago but this story is new to me. It seems that after World War One the U.S. was allotted some captured German subs. They were examined by experts and used to promote bond drives. One, the UC-97 made it all the way to Chicago.
When it came time to dispose of her, the Navy fired 4 inch shells into her until she sank 20 miles off Highland Park. She's still there today.

A guide to Babies

Seems reasonable.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Subprime British humour

Via Maggie's Farm and Brits at their Best

Voytek, the soldier bear -- will he get his memorial?

The bear - named Voytek - was adopted in the Middle East by Polish troops in 1943, becoming much more than a mascot.

The large animal even helped their armed forces to carry ammunition at the Battle of Monte Cassino.

Voytek - known as the Soldier Bear - later lived near Hutton in the Borders and ended his days at Edinburgh Zoo.

He was found wandering in the hills of Iran by Polish soldiers in 1943.

They adopted him and as he grew he was trained to carry heavy mortar rounds.

When Polish forces were deployed to Europe the only way to take the bear with them was to "enlist" him.

So he was given a name, rank and number and took part in the Italian campaign.

He saw action at Monte Cassino before being billeted - along with about 3,000 other Polish troops - at the army camp in the Scottish Borders.

More here.

Striking writers take act to D.C.

WASHINGTON -- The striking writers behind Jon Stewart's fake news show and Stephen Colbert's fake talk show came here to explain to real lawmakers Wednesday a strike that has crippled creative television and threatens to wreck the Oscars.

But knowing it can be difficult to get a lawmaker's attention when not in a Learjet or on the links, the brains behind two of Comedy Central's most-watched shows couched the issues in terms Washington could understand: a mock debate.

On one side, in shirts, was the striking Writers Guild of America, played by "Daily Show" writers Rob Kutner, Tim Carvell and Jason Ross. On the other side, in suits, was the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, played by "The Colbert Report" writers Michael Brumm, Peter Grosz and Tom Purcell.

Crashing out of the starting gates, the shirts argued it would cost the suits less than 1% of their total revenue to give the writers everything they wanted. For Paramount Pictures, that comes to $4.6 million, or "half the amount it takes to get Reese Witherspoon into a movie."

"I ask you," one writer noted, "which is more important to a movie -- a script, or half of Reese Witherspoon?"

The studio suits thought for a second.

"Which half?"

Watch the video here.

SSC Ultimate Aero: Fastest Production Car In The World

1,183 horsepower, 256.18 miles per hour top speed (new Guiness Record), $600,000, and made in America -And the car could go even faster. NASA's wind tunnel testing facility in Langley, Va., found the Ultimate Aero to be aerodynamically stable at speeds up to 273 mph. It just ran out of road.

via Ace of Spades.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ultimate Cubicle Prank

Hardworking Lawyer Worked 30-Hour Day!

If she doesn't get disbarred, she may be on to something!

The Wonderful World of Early Computing

The history of computing spans thousands of years - from the primitive notched bones found in Africa, to the invention of abacus in 2400 BC, to Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine in 1883, to the rise of the popularity of Personal Computers (PCs) in the 1970s. For the most part, this timeline is marked by devices that bear little or no resemblance to present-day machines both in form and capabilities.

A little Friday Gilbert and Sullivan

The Mikado's song.

Foggy Bottom Apostate

Jay Lefkowitz, President Bush's special envoy for human rights in North Korea, has recently pointed out that our current approach to Pyongyang is failing. Lord help a diplomat who tells the truth.

Hitler was a Cowboys fan

My buddy Andy Heideman sent me this.

Warning: Language

Shows idled by the writers strike.

We knew it would come to this. Thanks to the strike, no new episodes are being produced, and more and more of our favorite shows have run dry. Click through this slideshow for the up-to-the-moment tally of popular series that have met their strike-induced end and see where the stories left off.

What's Happening in the GOP Race?

While the race in Florida is tight - it appears today that Giuliani is not in the lead. So, a question worth asking: if he can't win, whom does he hurt?

And the nominees are...

Well the Oscar nominations are out and having looked them over I can't help noticing how poorly they compare to previous years. Especially 1939.

On the Fahrenheit scale, do 0 and 100 have any special significance?

Researchers have gone to their graves trying to figure out what old man Fahrenheit was up to, Leslie. Here's the story as well as I can piece it together:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Collateral damage, Vietnam-style (sound familiar?)

Neo-Neocon has been reading Lewis Sorley’s A Better War, perhaps the finest treatment of the Vietnam War after the 1968 Tet Offensive. It's an excellent book. I recommend it highly.

Sorley makes a good case that, after Tet and its Vietcong excesses against South Vietnamese civilians, the population of the South became far more united against the North. Until then, many of the urban areas of the South had not experienced for themselves the true nature of the invaders and their extreme disregard for the lives of their fellow Vietnamese. The process reminds me of the way in which the Iraqi people, even Sunnis, have turned on al Qaeda in the last year after experiencing al Qaeda’s bloodthirsty viciousness for themselves.

The Rainbow Coalition Evaporates

Black anger grows as illegal immigrants transform urban neighborhoods.

Missing Cat Found in Wrong Suitcase

Rob Carter of Fort Worth, Texas arrived home from Chicago and collected his luggage at the airport -but picked up the wrong suitcase. He realized his error when he opened it at home.

Irked at his “own idiocy,” Carter leaned over to zip it shut when a kitten popped its head out of a corner of the suitcase. The wide-eyed cat took one look at Carter and bolted under the bed. “I must have jumped six feet into the air and screamed like a girl,” said Carter.

Advice For Mitt Romney

A lot of former fred supporters, and possible Romney supporters generally, acknowledge that Romney says mostly the right things. The trouble is, he seems to offer these glibly as crowd-pleasing platitudes, and they're not sure if he actually believes them.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On this day in 1879.

Disaster befell the centre column of Lord Chelmsford's army which had advanced into Zulu territory. Whilst Chelmsford was away leading a force against a reported Zulu concentration, the 1,250 British (mainly from the24th Regiment - South Wales Borderers) and African troops left behind in camp at Isandlwana were attacked by 20,000 warriors under Ntshingwayo and overrun - very few survived the massacre.

Later that day, 4,500 Zulus led by Dabulamanzi attacked a small garrison of the 24th Regiment at Rorke's Drift.

The famous defence of the outpost cost 17 lives from the South Wales Borderers, and secured the award of no less than eleven Victoria Crosses. Three Victoria Crosses, two of which were posthumous, were also awarded for gallantry at Isandlwana.

We’re Fighting the Wrong War

The Democrats are having the hardest time with the new reality. Every candidate is committed to "ending the war" and bringing our troops back home. The trouble is, the war has largely ended, and precisely because our troops are in the middle of it.

More here.

via Instapundit.

Thompson Quits.

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Republican Fred Thompson, the actor-politician who attracted more attention as a potential presidential candidate than as a real one, quit the race for the White House on Tuesday after a string of poor finishes in early primary and caucus states.

"Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort," the former Tennessee senator said in a brief statement.

Thompson's fate was sealed last Saturday in the South Carolina primary, when he finished third in a state that he had said he needed to win.

Monday, January 21, 2008

John McCain, enemy of free speech

John McCain, supposed conservative from Arizona, and Russ Feingold, ostentatious liberal from Wisconsin, may seem like an odd couple. But both have a passion to undermine the First Amendment by curtailing free speech in the political arena.

Lancet Botches Another One

The decline of a great publication is a sad thing to watch.

At last, the Smithsonian gets Colbert.

Finally America honors one of it's greatest patriots.

People of the State of Illinois v. Grodner.

The case of the lawyer who vandalized the Marine's car has been adjudicated and the record is worth a read. I particularly enjoyed the judge's lecture at the end.

via Ace of Spades.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Suzanne Pleshette, the beautiful, husky-voiced film and theater star best known for her role as Bob Newhart's sardonic wife on television's long-running "The Bob Newhart Show," has died, said her attorney Robert Finkelstein. She was 70.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Living Silent Movie Stars

Fay Ray

A few years back when Loretta Young died, I wondered to myself if there were any other silent film stars still living. I poked around the Internet but didn't find much. Eventually I forgot about it. Then in 2004 Fay Ray (King Kong's girlfriend) passed. I had by then become a huge fan of silent movies and I felt the loss keenly. To my shame I didn't even know she was still with us.

Well I finally got around to figuring out who's left and the answer is: not many. Nobody who could really have been called a star is still with us, though there are a number of working actors who continue to creek along. There are also a number of child actors who went on to bigger things in the talkie era who are still living-Mickey Rooney is perhaps the most famous example of this.

In any case, soon they'll all all be gone and with them an amazing period of Hollywood history. Their work however will live forever.

Romney and Clinton in Nevada; McCain wins South Carolina.

Well that about does it for my guy Fred Thompson. The only way I could possibly see him as the nominee now is if there isn't a clear result on February 5th. Twenty two states hold primaries that day and if nobody breaks ahead of the pack we could see a brokered convention with Thompson chosen as the compromise candidate. If that seems unlikely-it is. The last time a convention was anything more than a public relations exercise was 1976 when Ronald Reagan tried to knock off Jerry Ford. Even worse fellow Fredheads, the last time somebody was nominated by one of the major parties without having won a primary was 1968-and that was because President Johnson unexpectedly dropped out of the race AND Bobby Kennedy was killed. It's time to face's over. The Republican nominee will be John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, or Rudy Giuliani. I guess I have about three weeks to figure out which on I dislike the least.

Some additional thoughts here.

First Temple seal found in Jerusalem

A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David, a prominent Israeli archeologist said Wednesday.

What You Don't Know Could Hurt You

Another disgusting revelation about drug companies and what they do with research that shows their drug might not do much for you. You guessed it: Circular file!

In other words, the data your shrink is going by in prescribing an antidepressant might not be the whole story. Just the part that sells the drug. Even worse, drug companies bury reports of untoward side effects or get the the analysis rejiggered to make them go away (as with Vioxx).

Bill Clinton says he witnessed voter suppression

"This is ludicrous," Culinary Workers political director Pilar Weiss told Politico. She said the union is "aware that some workers aren't going to vote our way" and doesn't engage in intimidation.

"The fact that they lost a lawsuit aimed at suppressing workers' votes, and that now they're trying to hold on to these baseless claims is ridiculous," she said.

Having been involved with unions over the years and after working in politics as a Republican none of this is a surprise to me. Union goons intimidate-that what they're for. If things don't go your way-run for the lawyers and try to change the rules. What is refreshing is that, for the moment, Democrats are doing it to each other-not to me.

California Blues

At some point we Californians should ask ourselves, how we inherited a state with near perfect weather, the world's richest agriculture, plentiful timber, minerals, and oil, two great ports at Los Angeles and Oakland, a natural tourist industry from Carmel to Yosemite, industries such as Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and aerospace—and serially managed to turn all of that into the nation's largest penal system, periodic near bankruptcy, and sky-high taxes.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

I am not an expert on this, but my understanding is that the huge amounts of money lavished on AIDS in Africa have distorted some countries’ primary health care systems, resulting in a brain drain from primary care into AIDS treatment. Doctors who once saved lives through simple treatments now work in prestigious, Western-funded AIDS treatment programs that save far fewer lives per dollar.

Dying of AIDS is no picnic (I watched it destroy my father by inches) especially in sub-Saharan Africa. But it's worth remembering that death by malaria isn't much fun either-and malaria is a relatively cheap disease to defeat, yet AIDS gets all the funding. I suppose the problem is that malaria isn't sexy. Quick, name somebody famous who died of malaria...I can't name any either. Do old fashioned tropical diseases need a Freddie Mercury, Rudolph Nureyev, or Rock Hudson before somebody takes this seriously? International health organization and NGO's ought allocate their scarce resources on a cost benefit basis, not based on the demands of media and Hollywood.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Suicide of Reason in Canada

Take the the time to watch all the videos. This may be the best defense of freedom of speech and the press that I've ever seen.

Bobby Fischer Dies at 64.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) - Bobby Fischer, the reclusive chess genius who became a Cold War hero by dethroning the Soviet world champion in 1972 and later renounced his American citizenship, has died. He was 64.

California’s sweeping budget cuts draw fire

The subprime collapse has had a direct impact on state revenues: house price sales have dried up which has, in turn, reduced property tax collections. This has hit state coffers by $1bn during the past two financial years, according to Bill Lockyer, California’s Treasurer.

“The economic downturn has deepened our budget hole by preventing revenue growth from keeping pace with spending growth,” says Mr Lockyer. “And it has brought into sharper relief our ongoing, long-term structural budget problem, namely our chronic inability to match revenues with expenditures.”

I've said for a while now that the biggest impact of the downturn in the real estate market would be on state and local government. For too long public finances have been dependent on Ponzi scheme pricing. Maybe now there can be a realistic conversation about how we fund government in this country.

Esteban Colberto grills Lou Dobbs on immigration.

Eric Hobsbawm's diary

One of the left's great men discusses his experences in Weimar Germany. It's amazing that he's still at at age 90.

Hobsbawm's bio here.

The Perils of Identity Politics

Madeleine Albright has said that there is "a special place in hell for women who don't help each other." What are the implications of this statement? Would it be an argument in favor of the candidacy of Mrs. Clinton? Would this mean that Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama don't deserve the help of fellow females? If the Republicans nominated a woman would Ms. Albright instantly switch parties out of sheer sisterhood? Of course not. (And this wearisome tripe from someone who was once our secretary of state . . .)

How does one suck in a piece of spaghetti?

You're thinking, this is the lamest question Cecil has ever answered. However, this is because you lack an appreciation of the scientific issues. I blame myself.

Unmasking D.B. Cooper

On a rainy night in 1971, the notorious skyjacker jumped out of a 727 and into American legend. But recently, a chance lead to a Manhattan P.I. may have finally cracked the case.

Fear and Loathing in the Mystery Machine

Excerpts from the never-aired 1973 Scooby Doo episode with guest star Hunter S. Thompson.

Umm...Warning Language I guess.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Remembrance of embarrassments past

Just for fun, let’s recall some other embarrassing primary moments. Two obvious ones involved sitting presidents. In 1992, President Bush suffered the indignity of defeating commentator Pat Buchanan in New Hampshire by only a 52-37 margin. The fact that the early returns tended to favor Buchanan made the contest particularly disquieting for the president. And in 1968, President Johnson defeated Sen. Eugene McCarthy in New Hampshire by a margin of only 50-42, an experience that may have caused Johnson not to seek re-election. It should remembered, however, that Johnson’s name didn’t appear on the ballot – voters had to write him in.

After the Art Wars

To be sure, the NEA no longer provides direct grants to contemporary artists, and now supports them only indirectly, insulated by several layers of bureaucracy. But this further increases administrative costs and diminishes the percentage of the NEA budget that actually reaches performers and artists. A better solution would be a blanket decision to support no contemporary work whatsoever. Something like that was behind William F. Buckley, Jr.’s proposal in 1989 that no NEA funds go toward subsidizing “any putative work of art under 50 years old.” This, Buckley explained, “would distinguish the Rodins from the Mapplethorpes.”

Perhaps in 50 years we will come to recognize Mapplethorpe as a Rodin; perhaps not. In either case, the 50-year rule would permit the dust and clutter of current events to settle, and in the meantime enable the NEA better to steward America’s artistic patrimony by supporting museums, exhibitions, and performances of works validated by the cumulative consensus of time. This alone could help mend the breach between the American public and its arts community, not to mention the tragic and unnecessary division of Right and Left over what should properly be the legacy of us all.

Columbus 'gave Europe syphilis'

I think it's fascinating that if Native Americans get smallpox, they got it from Europeans, but if if Europeans get syphilis...well they got it from that evil exploiter of the New World Christopher Columbus.

By the way, it should be remembered that before the discovery of penicillin, syphilis was a very nasty disease-the AIDS of it's day.

The Case Against Hillary Clinton

One of my favorite writers, Christopher Hitchens weighs in.

What would it take to break this cheap little spell and make us wake up and inquire what on earth we are doing when we make the Clinton family drama—yet again—a central part of our own politics?

Photographic Deceptions.

Eddie Adams, the AP photographer who took it, later made this statement about it:

I won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for a photograph of one man shooting another…The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths. What the photograph didn’t say was, “What would you do if you were the general at that time and place on that hot day, and you caught the so-called bad guy after he blew away one, two or three American soldiers?” General Loan was what you would call a real warrior, admired by his troops. I’m not saying what he did was right, but you have to put yourself in his position.

The Ethical Treatment of Animals

With an extreme emphasis on Ethical…

That is supposed to be the core of Ingrid Newkirk's PETA organization isn't it?

The how come, in 2006 at their adoption facilities in Virginia, they murdered 97% of the animals given up for adoption and only found homes for twelve of them. That's right: PETA took in 3,061 animals, took the time to find homes for 12 of them and murdered 2,981 (no word on where the remaining animals went).

The truth is that it's an ugly, nasty organization.

Clinton Plays Flight Attendant

Every once and while...she's funny.

"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard the maiden flight of Hil Force One," Clinton said over the plane's intercom as it taxied down the runway en route from Las Vegas to Reno, Nev.

"My name is Hillary and I am so pleased to have most of you on board," she said. "FAA regulations prohibit the use of any cell phones, Blackberries or wireless devices that may be used to transmit a negative story about me.

"In a few minutes, I am going to switch off the 'Fasten Your Seat Belt' sign. However, I've learned lately that things can get awfully bumpy when you least expect it—so you might want to keep those seat belts fastened.

"And in the event of an unexpected drop in poll numbers, this plane will be diverted to New Hampshire.

Bad Plates Fingered in Bridge Collapse.

I could have sworn it was the fault of the Bush-Hitler Regime. Oh well, I'm sure that the media will correct the story with as much vigor as they once pursued it.

via instapundit.

Advice for Mike Huckabee-Read your Bible.

The Huckster:
"And the same thing would be true of marriage. Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life. Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?"

Christians and modern Jews do not approve of polygamy, but surely anyone who believes in the Bible has to acknowledge that it attests to the widespread existence of marriage between a man and multiple women. (Nor is Huckabee just saying "a man and a woman" as a slip for "heterosexual"; immediately after this, he goes on to distinguish "a man and three women.")

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Which Great US President Are You Most Like?

I've got to say, I couldn't be happier with this result.

Which Great US President Are You Most Like?
created with
You scored as Theodore Roosevelt

26th President, in office from 1901-1909
Born: 1858 Died: 1919

Theodore Roosevelt


Ronald Reagan


John Kennedy


Dwight Eisenhower


Abraham Lincoln


Franklin Roosevelt


Thomas Jefferson


Woodrow Wilson


George Washington


Lyndon Johnson


Harry Truman


Big win for Romney.

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) - Republican Mitt Romney cast his win in the Michigan primary as "a victory of optimism over Washington-style pessimism," setting the stage for a nomination battle with John McCain and others now likely to extend through the Super Tuesday contests on Feb. 5.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ghost Towns of Arizona.

Something to check out on my next road trip.

In Defense of Food

Michael Pollan has a new book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. One of his points seems to be that nutritonal "science" is in its infancy, and that it has little to tell us about what to eat. He recommends eating whatever you grandmother would have cooked. Sounds like my kind of book.

Another Major Stem Cell Advance

Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology announced yesterday that they've derived colonies of stem cells from human embryos without doing any damage to those original embryos.

If this pans out it'll be a very big deal-promising major medical advances without the ethical dilemmas inherent in embryonic stem cell research.

A Combative Thompson Sways Voters

Well of the New York Times said it, it must be true.

From the article:

“But then last night — we hadn’t even been thinking about him — all of a sudden it was clear he was the one,” said Mr. Berenberk, a retired teacher. “The bluntness, the forcefulness. He was really impressive.”

Drip Grind.

Taylor Clark's weak case against Starbucks.

Incidentally, a friend of mine made a documentary about one mans quest to visit every Starbucks in the world. If you get a chance I strongly recommend you check it out.

Wedding cake clone of bride.

File this one under "Creepy".

Maserati unveils special Quattroporte "Collezione Cento"

Oh my.

Why Capitalism is Good for the Soul

Where capitalism delivers but cannot inspire, socialism inspires despite never having delivered. Socialism’s history is littered with repeated failures and with human misery on a massive scale, yet it still attracts smiles rather than curses from people who never had to live under it.

Barack Obama's Race Problem: White Liberals

The white liberals who will decide the Democratic race are genuinely excited about the prospect of an African-American elected president.

They are equally, if not more, desperate not to be considered racist. But never underestimate the ability of a liberal to rationalize.

On the one hand they yearn to prove themselves racially virtuous; on the other hand is their conviction that other less enlightened Americans can't be trusted to give a black candidate a fair shake. On the one hand they claim to be champions of minorities; on the other they have developed a reflexive instinct to protect rather than promote minorities.
But won't guilty white liberals turn to Obama as a sacrament of racial absolution? Not necessarily.

Deep down, guilty white liberals feel guilty about other people's attitudes and behavior, not their own. To the contrary they are smugly certain of their own racial virtue; in fact, (they will tell themselves) they care so deeply about black people that they feel an obligation to protect them from an unenlightened electorate. Don't be surprised if many white liberals end up voting against Obama, while telling themselves they are doing it because they are so supportive of minority aspirations.

That's Obama's racial problem.

Michigan is Do-or-Die for Romney

Mr. Romney’s advisers have acknowledged that the state’s primary is essentially do-or-die for him after successive losses in Iowa and New Hampshire. He has been campaigning heavily throughout the state, emphasizing his childhood in Michigan and delivered a policy speech on Monday focused on aiding the automotive industry.

Crazed Veterans Spark Nationwide Crime Wave

At least that's what The New York Times would like you to believe. Unfortunately for the Times, the numbers just don't add up.

Do the math: the 121 alleged instances of homicide identified by the Times, out of a population of 700,000, works out to a rate of 17 per 100,000--quite a bit lower than the overall national rate of around 27.

But wait! The national rate of 27 homicides per 100,000 is an annual rate, whereas the Times' 121 alleged crimes were committed over a period of six years. Which means that, as far as the Times' research shows, the rate of homicides committed by military personnel who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan is only a fraction of the homicide rate for other Americans aged 18 to 24. Somehow, the Times managed to publish nine pages of anecdotes about the violence wreaked by returning servicemen without ever mentioning this salient fact.

Indiana Jones meets the Da Vinci Code

No one is going to produce proof that Jesus Christ did not rise from the grave three days after the Crucifixion, of course. Humankind will choose to believe or not that God revealed Himself in this fashion. But Islam stands at risk of a Da Vinci Code effect, for in Islam, God's self-revelation took the form not of the Exodus, nor the revelation at Mount Sinai, nor the Resurrection, but rather a book, namely the Koran. The Encyclopaedia of Islam (1982) observes, "The closest analogue in Christian belief to the role of the Koran in Muslim belief is not the Bible, but Christ." The Koran alone is the revelatory event in Islam.

What if scholars can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Koran was not dictated by the Archangel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammad during the 7th century, but rather was redacted by later writers drawing on a variety of extant Christian and Jewish sources? That would be the precise equivalent of proving that the Jesus Christ of the Gospels really was a composite of several individuals, some of whom lived a century or two apart.

Via Ace of Spades

Ah, those clever literary intellectuals!

And yet writers have the advantage of being highly articulate—of sounding knowledgeable even when they are not—and of having an easy way, via their works and fame, of reaching the public with their thoughts and opinions.

The Ethanol Fallacy

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.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Are we all Democrats now?

Lary Kudlow begs to differ.

NY Conservative Party To Endorse Thompson

Giuliani snubbed in home state.

The decline and fall of the music industry.

IN 2006 EMI, the world's fourth-biggest recorded-music company, invited some teenagers into its headquarters in London to talk to its top managers about their listening habits. At the end of the session the EMI bosses thanked them for their comments and told them to help themselves to a big pile of CDs sitting on a table. But none of the teens took any of the CDs, even though they were free. “That was the moment we realised the game was completely up,” says a person who was there.

Bringing Obama Back to Earth

The freest of all passes to Obama is the general neglect of the obvious central contradiction of his candidacy -- the bipartisan uniter who would bring us together by transcending ideology is at every turn on every policy an unwavering, down-the-line, unreconstructed, uninteresting, liberal Democrat.

The first jihad

The Arabs, in lightning thrusts, challenged and beat the Byzantines to the north and the Persians to the east, both weakened by their continuous wars with one another, thus imposing their control over the Christian majority in the Levant and the Zoroastrian majority in Persia, and therefore over the entire Middle East.

These stunning successes were rapidly followed by conquests of Christian and Jewish populations in Egypt, Libya and North Africa's Maghreb (Arabic for "the West"), and, in the east, central Asia and the Hindu population of northern India. Not content with these triumphs, Arab armies invaded and subdued much of Christian Spain and Portugal, and all of Sicily. Since the Roman Empire, the world had not seen such power and reach. All fell before the Saracen blades.

Most accounts of Islamic history, even that of the Lindholm's esteemed The Islamic Middle East, glide over these conquests, as if they were friendly takeovers. But the truth was very different.

The evidence is overwhelming that vast numbers of infidel male warriors and civilians were slain, and that most of those spared, particularly the women and children, were enslaved for domestic and sexual servitude. While men who willingly converted were spared, their wives and children were taken as slaves.

In conquered regions, children were regularly taken from parents, while on the borders -- especially in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa south of the Sahara -- raiding for slaves was normal practice. Of the male slaves, a substantial number were made eunuchs by the removal of sex organs, in order to serve in harems.

Remember pets when flooding occurs

If you have a question consult Genesis 6:19-20.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

State of the living dead.

California is carrying a $14 billion budget deficit and Mr. Schwarzenegger is suggesting across-the-board spending cuts. So perhaps it's unwise to introduce a new government entitlement that costs north of $14.4 billion a year. But then, you have to understand the Kremlinology of liberal health-care reform: This effort has as much to do with politics as public policy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Somewhere Beyond the Sea

The incomparable Bobby Darin.

Château Scientology

Built as the Château Élysée, a long-term residential hotel for movie stars, it is considered by preservationists to be one of the city’s grandest Norman-revival buildings. (The Château Marmont is smaller and sits on considerably less land.) Since 1973, the Château Élysée has been owned by the Church of Scientology, which calls it Celebrity Centre.

Ms. Magazine Blocks Ad Because Its Too Pro-Israel

Here's the ad. Click to enlarge.

Ms. Magazine is blocking an ad from its pages because it it too pro-Israel!Considering that the country in which these women live is in the Middle East, where women have no rights, honor killings of women is practiced, women have their bodies mutilated to deny them sexual pleasure, and cannot show their face, this is a noteworthy development. But, considering the Far Left drift of the magazine that celebrates aborting down syndrome babies maybe this is not so shocking.

7 Tech Headaches—and How to Fix Them

Jamie Hyneman weighs in.

via instapundit.

A Moral Challenge for the Democrats

At a fundamental level, the survival of the republic depends upon both political parties have basically honorable people leading the parties. Republicans got rid of Richard Nixon because he was a crook. The leadership of the Republican Party told Nixon that he had to go. He went. What the Democrats have had since 1993 is a marriage of convenience to a couple worse than Richard Nixon. In order to win power and hold power, Democrats have been unwilling or unable to free themselves from the clutches of two cynical and amoral operatives.

A Failed Attempt to Lose $100 at $3 BlackJack.

Some casinos let you split any 10's, say King/Queen, but most players don't take advantage. Two 10's is a very strong hand. The dealer gives me King/Queen against his 5.

"Split 'em."



I get Jacks on both. "Split 'em again!"

Now I'm playing four hands at once. All four hands get 10's or Queens. "Split 'em again!"

"I'm sorry sir, you can't split to more than four hands."

Now I know what the other guy felt like.

"OK, whatever."

The dealer busts, of course.


Warning : Some strong language.

Tonight, Fred Reminded Me of Roy Hobbs.

This performance was so commanding, I wanted his last answer to echo back to the lights in the back of the auditorium, blow out all the lamps and spotlights, for the theme to “the Natural” to play, and for him to trot around the stage in slow motion while sparks showered down in the background.

Thoughts on Fred's strategy here.

Anthropogenic Continental Drift: An Incoherent Truth

Industrial Nations Threaten Globe Again

A new menace to the planet has been discovered and validated by a consensus of politically reliable scientists: Anthropogenic Continental Drift (ACD) will result in catastrophic damage and untold suffering, unless immediate indemnity payments from the United Sates, Europe, and Australia be made to the governments of non-industrial nations, to counteract this man-made threat to the world's habitats.

Human Events endorses Fred Thompson

They give a quick rundown of the other candidates as well. Worth a read.

Katrina's Victims Ask for Huge Checks

Hurricane Katrina's victims have put a price tag on their suffering and it is staggering — including one plaintiff seeking the unlikely sum of $3 quadrillion.

Seems reasonable. Of course the lawyer will get a third of that.

Media Won't Drop Out, In Race for Long Haul

(2008-01-09) — Despite embarrassing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, the mainstream media (MSM) today dismissed talk of an early withdrawal from the presidential race, saying political correspondents and pollsters are “in it for the long haul.”

The unnamed MSM spokesperson blinked back tears as she described the difficulty of predicting election outcomes, not to mention the hardship of life on the road and the stress of waiting for the next gaffe or personal attack from a candidate.

“It’s hard,” the MSM source said, “because we passionately want to take the country back to the days when we controlled the message and the distribution channels.”

It's 1750 all over again.

I mean to say, here we are again, arguing about how to share the island between England and Scotland; how to deal with massive epidemics of urban drunkenness and crime; what to do with a substantial elite of incredibly wealthy financiers and merchants and an ignorant, feckless and violent underclass; trying to define and then circumscribe the role of corruption in politics (who thought that the de facto sale of titles would make a political come-back?); wondering what the monarchy is for; being sold out to foreigners by a rascally pack of radical, Utopian MPs… Throw a juicy war with France into that lot and it could easily be 1750.

Edmund Hillary dies

Edmund Hillary left, Tenzing Norgay right.

Rest in peace.

Liberal Fascism: A review by Victor Davis Hanson

I've been meaning to pick up this book for a couple weeks now. It sounds excellent and I trust Hanson's judgment absolutely.

From the article:
Given that “fascist” is the most abused term in the political lexicon, Goldberg’s first task is to correct all the misconceptions about historical fascism, the most important being that it was a “conservative” political movement, one created by bourgeois capitalism to ward off a decline created by its own contradictions and the socialist alternative.

In reality, fascism is a phenomenon of the left, not the right — an “inconvenient truth,” Goldberg writes, “if ever there was one.” This confusion about fascism’s origins if furthered by the misleading contrast usually made between fascism and communism. But as Goldberg shows, “they are closely related, historical competitors for the same constituents, seeking to control and dominate the same social space,” a space opened up by the decline of Christianity, to which both were hostile, and by the utopian pretensions of scientistic politics.

Moreover, both shared the belief that “the era of liberal democracy was drawing to a close,” that it was time to abandon “the anachronisms of natural law, traditional religion, constitutional liberty, capitalism and the like”: “God was long dead, and it was long overdue for men to take His place.”

Thus both were “utopian visions and the bearers of great hopes,” international movements attracting believers throughout the world, including America. The key difference between these two socialistic philosophies was the question of nationalism. Communism located the essence of human identity in transnational economic classes, whereas fascism “offered a new religion of the divinized state and the nation as an organic community.”

America's Secret Army

Child: "Daddy what did you do during The Great War on Terror?"

Father: "I was in the unorganized militia!"

Betty Mekdeci and "Junk Science" litigation.

Meanwhile, the persistence of plaintiffs in pursuing the Bendectin litigation despite mounting evidence of Bendectin's safety and the complete lack of valid contrary evidence, combined with juries nevertheless frequently ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, eventually became the leading cause of a severe backlash in federal courts against "junk science," culminating in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, itself a Bendectin case, and it progeny.

The reality of Ron Paul finally sinks in.

Sigh. Hanging out with libertarians now and then, I've had to learn to avoid those libertarians. The conversation usually goes something like this:

One of Those Libertarians: I'm a libertarian.

Me: I'm something of a libertarian myself. I'm not a fan of big intrusive government.

OoTL: Me neither. We've got to find some way to stop affirmative action and welfare.

Me: Oh, hey, nice to meet you but I've got a thing...

Has there ever been a true matriarchal culture?

For a while now sociologists, historians, anthropologists, and others have wrestled with a tricky question: If there's no built-in inequality between the sexes, as I'd hope most of us believe, why is it that in nearly all the societies on record the men seem to have been running things? In the ensuing effort to show that male domination of women isn't inevitable, many have looked hard for counterexamples, often coming up with results whether or not the available data complied.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Immigration 2008-Tough Choices.

The spin masters may think illegal immigration is an issue that pits conservative Republicans against liberal Democrats. But it doesn’t always.

Nowadays, worry about illegal immigration is just as likely to mean that African Americans are terrified of racist alien gangs in Los Angeles. Asian Americans are frustrated that their relatives with college degrees wait years to emigrate legally, while thousands without high-school diplomas to the south simply break the law to enter the United States.

And many Mexican Americans are probably tired of being expected to defend the indefensible of foreign nationals breaking immigration laws simply because they may share an ethnic heritage with illegal aliens.

We interrupt the campaign season for a border reality check

Thanks to a FOIA request from Judicial Watch, you can now get a clearer picture of the continued chaos at our southern border. GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo and other immigration enforcement activists have been sounding the alarm about Mexican government/military incursions at the border. These violations of American sovereignty have been going on for years. DHS Secretary Michael “Lettucehead” Chertoff’s response? Nada.

In The Year 2029

Tomorrow’s Headlines-Today!

Mystery of the Green Line to not-quite-LAX

"I used to believe in conspiracies, until I discovered incompetence."

The Surge Worked

John McCain and Joe Lieberman try very hard to not say "I told you so".


Twelve days before Christmas, Circuit Judge Aaron Bowden fired his 17-year judicial assistant, who had been on leave since August with cancer.

The Jacksonville judge said he feared her prolonged illness would leave him without an assistant at a time when the state had implemented a hiring freeze.

What are you doing here? - man asks wife at brothel

Talk about an awkward moment.

Republicans will always have Hillary.

Even in a year where the fractures among the Republican coalition have been painfully evident, everyone will unite to keep the Clintons out of the White House. While Obama may have won some moderate Republicans to his side just based on his personal appeal, none will endorse the Restoration. Fredheads, Log Cabins, evangelicals, small-L libertarians, and hawks will all find a truce to battle Hillary to the last vote.

All In A Day's Work: No Comp For Crack Dealer

Continually selling crack cocaine amounts to employment and thus is sufficient cause to terminate permanent total disability compensation, Ohio’s Supreme Court has ruled.

Once again the government messes with the small businessman.

Philip Agee, dead at 72.

Good riddance.

The Dead Bug Funeral Kit

We hope the Dead Bug Funeral Kit will provide some consolation. You may preorder this Kit for yourself or a loved one. We are working as briskly as we can to make these Kits, but there is a lot of grief in this world. And a lot of bugs. We appreciate your patience.

New World Symphony and Discord

The figure of Antonin Dvorak looms large in this story. In the throes of a New World epiphany, he impetuously espoused a future for American music based on "negro melodies." For three years, beginning in the fall of 1892, he found himself embroiled in a sustained and often bitter debate over issues of race and national identity that pitted against each other the two cities in which American classical music was born. In Boston — a Brahmin enclave with entrenched traditions, however young — the Czech composer was denounced as a "negrophile"; in New York — then, as now, a city of immigrants — he was embraced as a mentor of genius.

Diebold Strikes Again!

Is it ever going to be possible to have an election in this country where some idiot lefty doesn't believe that voting machines were hacked and the results tampered with?

Only the ones they loose are fraudulent-if they win it's a mandate for change!

Shocker-men and women are different.

It isn’t that guys don’t notice the filth, it just takes them a little longer -- like until the crud impedes access to the bathroom or the fuzz on the dishes evolves to the point where it hisses at the dog.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Voter-Fraud Showdown: How can anyone object to asking for ID?

Even modest in-person voter fraud creates trouble in close races. In Washington state's disputed 2004 governor's race, which was won by 129 votes, the election superintendent in Seattle testified in state court that ineligible felons had voted and votes had been cast in the name of the dead. In Milwaukee, Wis., investigators found that, in the state's close 2004 presidential election, more than 200 felons voted illegally and more than 100 people voted twice. In Florida, where the entire 2000 presidential election was decided by 547 votes, almost 65,000 dead people are still listed on the voter rolls--an engraved invitation to fraud. A New York Daily News investigation in 2006 found that between 400 and 1,000 voters registered in Florida and New York City had voted twice in at least one recent election.

Bold Prediction: The Impending Obama Media Backlash

We can anticipate a few weeks of "Who Is Obama, Really?" coverage to complement the "Hillary, the Comeback Queen who proved her resolution and resourcefulness on the mean streets of Portsmouth...". Yikes.

Bill Richardson quits.

Not exactly unexpected.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

How Clinton did it.

So, I spent the afternoon and evening tracking the New Hampshire results and digesting the assorted and sundry analyses and commentary.
It strikes me the so called experts have missed something. I've hit upon the principal reason Hilliary won in New Hampshire--by getting more votes than Obama.

Sen. Obama's Calls for Unity Are Not What They Seem

If those who call for unity told the whole truth, this is what they would say: "I want everyone to unite -- behind my values. I want everyone who disagrees with me to change the way they think so that we can all be united. I myself have no plans to change my positions on any important issues in order to achieve this unity. So in order to achieve it, I assume that all of you who differ with me will change your views and values and embrace mine."

Given what Sen. Obama's calls for unity really mean -- let's all go left -- it is no wonder he and his calls for unity are enthusiastically embraced by the liberal media.

For nearly eight years the media and Democrats have labeled President Bush's policies "divisive" simply because they don't agree with them. They are not one whit more divisive than Sen. Obama's positions. A question for Democrats, the media and other Obama supporters: How exactly are Mr. Obama's left-wing political positions any less "divisive" than President Bush's right-wing positions?

Clinton deathwatch.

MELTDOWN......The Clintons moved quickly into the Second Stage of Grief today.They may sit in this stage for a while.

The Stages of Grief Kubler-Ross identified are:
** Denial (this isn't happening to me!)

** Anger (why is this happening to me?)
** Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
** Depression (I don't care anymore)
** Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)

Yesterday it was denial and depression.

Bologna bubble gum

Violet says this gum is "the best $1.00 I've spent so far this year. " Link

Trying to end capital punishment

Tony Mauro reports on yesterday's hearing at the Supreme Court on whether Kentucky's method of using a three-drug cocktail to execute prisoners on death row constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Mauro doesn't think that the inmates' case has much chance of succeeding.

The Supreme Court on Monday appeared unconvinced that the lethal-injection procedure used for capital punishment nationwide poses enough risk of pain to inmates that it raises constitutional objections as "cruel and unusual" punishment.

As Justice Scalia said,
"Where does that come from, that you must find the method of execution that causes the least pain....Is that somewhere in our Constitution?"

Even Dahlia Lithwick, no friend to the conservatives on the Court, admits that this case is just a Trojan Horse by opponents of capital punishment to find some way to stop executions.

While there is nothing funny about lethal injection, the dishonesty pervading the debate about it is just this side of hilarious. Both sides engage in the kind of deception usually reserved for conversations with future in-laws, or the sale of used car parts. On one side, you have death-penalty opponents earnestly insisting they aren't against capital punishment; they just want the procedure to be closer to what you might expect if you went in, say, for a nose job. On the other side, you have states like Kentucky solemnly intoning that their lethal injection procedure is a model of up-to-the-moment medical technology, rather than a bad system conjured up on the fly by Oklahoma's medical examiner in 1977, then copied by the various states in a nationwide cut-and-paste extravaganza.

Were we honest about it, we'd all agree that no one really wants more-tender executions. Death-penalty opponents see this as a step toward a permanent ban on capital punishment. And the 38 states that allow capital punishment have largely sloughed off the unseemly administration of executions to prison staff, who have been bungling and hiding it for decades. That's why using the fight over lethal injection as a proxy for the real fight over the death penalty is doomed from the start. No healthy relationship can be based on such ridiculous fibs.

The Woman Who Changed the World

Yet despite running away with the primary, Obama still had a formidable challenge in Republican Jack Ryan. Ryan was an impressive candidate - attractive and wealthy, with law and business degrees from Harvard. After making a fortune at Goldman Sachs, Ryan left to teach in an inner city school.

Yet Ryan had a problem - during the campaign, he was going through a messy divorce from actress Jeri Ryan, of “Star Trek: Voyager” fame. Details of Jeri Ryan’s testimony contained lurid details about Ryan forcing his wife to go to sex clubs in Paris. These details were toxic to Jack Ryan’s campaign, and he saw his poll numbers plummet - eventually, Republican leaders pressed Ryan to quit the race, fearing he was toxic to the statewide ticket.

The Outer Limits Of Freedom

A proposed California building code regulation would require new homes or homes that have changes made to their heating and cooling systems to be fitted with something called a "programmable communicating thermostat". While that may sound innocuous enough, it’s not.
Each PCT will be fitted with a "non-removable " FM receiver that will allow the power authorities to increase your air conditioning temperature setpoint or decrease your heater temperature setpoint to any value they chose.

During "emergency events" the new setpoints can be whatever the power authority desires and you would not be able to alter them.

In other words, the temperature of your home will no longer be yours to control. Your desires and needs can and will be overridden by the state of California through its public and private utility organizations. All this is for the common good, of course.

Remember the reason environmentalists are called 'watermelons', they are green on the outside, red on the inside.

More guns, less crime.

Six years after new rules made it much easier to get a license to carry concealed weapons, the number of Michiganders legally packing heat has increased more than six-fold.

But dire predictions about increased violence and bloodshed have largely gone unfulfilled, according to law enforcement officials and, to the extent they can be measured, crime statistics. The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms, including suicide and accidents, also has declined.

More than 155,000 Michiganders -- about one in every 65 -- are now authorized to carry loaded guns as they go about their everyday affairs, according to Michigan State Police records.

As Glen Reynolds says: "This is surprising only to those who haven't been paying attention".

Lowering Sea Level Rise

Have you seen the latest on sea level rise? That's because nobody is is interested in data that doesn't fit the whole "Anthropogenic Global Warming is going to kill us all" theme.

Global Warming Farce Deflated by Facts

There has been no global warming for nearly a decade now. It will be interesting to see if looney-left outfits like the BBC drop the whole farce in favor of some still more urgent crisis in time to salvage even a shred of credibility.

Quote of the day

Imagine telling somebody twenty years ago that by 2007, it would be illegal to smoke in a pub or bus shelter or your own vehicle or that there would be £80 fines for dropping cigarette butts, or that the words "tequila slammer" would be illegal or the government would mandate what angle a drinker's head in an advertisement may be tipped at, or that it would be illegal to criticise religions or homosexuality, or rewire your own house, or that having sex after a few drinks would be classed as rape or that the State would be confiscating children for being overweight. Imagine telling them the government would be contemplating ration cards for fuel and even foods, that every citizen would be required to carry an ID card filled with private information which could be withdrawn at the state's whim. They'd have thought you a paranoid loon.

via Maggie's Farm

Monday, January 07, 2008

A low blow.

John Edwards... he's this generation's Dan Quayle.

DC argues that the Constitution doesn’t apply in Washington.

I find this approach somewhat novel. My understanding has always been that the 14th amendment has been interpreted as applying the Bill of Rights to the states and territories of the United States. In my poking around the Internet to confirm this I've learned that this is only partly correct.

From Wikipedia:
Originally, the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government and not to the several state governments. Parts of the amendments initially proposed by Madison that would have limited state governments ("No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.") were not approved by Congress, and therefore the Bill of Rights did not appear to apply to the powers of state governments.[23]
Thus, states had established state churches up until the 1820s, and Southern states, beginning in the 1830s, could ban abolitionist literature. In the 1833 case Barron v. Baltimore, the Supreme Court specifically ruled that the Bill of Rights provided "security against the apprehended encroachments of the general government—not against those of local governments." However, in the 1925 judgment on Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment, which had been adopted in 1868, made certain applications of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. The Supreme Court then cited the Gitlow case as precedent for a series of decisions that made most, but not all, of the provisions of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states under the doctrine of selective incorporation.

This of course begs the question of what has been selectively incorporated-or perhaps more importantly what hasn't. It seems that by the end of the twentieth century, nearly all provisions of the Bill of Rights had been declared binding on the states.

Only five provisions of the Bill of Rights had not been applied to the states: (1) the Second Amendment's right to bear arms; (2) the Third Amendment's prohibition against involuntary quartering of troops; (3) the Fifth Amendment's requirement of Grand Jury indictment in capital cases; (4) the Seventh Amendment's provision for trial by jury in civil cases; and (5) the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of excessive bail and fines.

Does this mean that states are free to ignore the Second Amendment? Hardly. All it really means is that has not yet been a Supreme Court case on point in the last eighty years or so. That may seem shocking to some given all the talk in the media about excessive litigation and whatnot. The reality is that Supreme Court has a long tradition of trying to avoid deciding politically charged cases (though some justices adhere to that tradition more slavishly than others). The last time the court addressed gun ownership rights was in United States v. Miller, in 1939. A lot has changed since then and in any case Miller is a controversial decision in the ongoing gun debate, with both sides claiming that it supports their position.

10 Most Amazing Lost Cities

Machu Picchu was constructed around 1450, at the height of the Inca empire, and was abandoned less than 100 years later, as the empire collapsed under Spanish conquest. Although the citadel is located only about 50 miles from Cusco, the Inca capital, it was never found and destroyed by the Spanish, as were many other Inca sites. Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew to enshroud the site, and few knew of its existence. In 1911, Yale historian and explorer Hiram Bingham brought the "lost" city to the world's attention. Bingham and others hypothesized that the citadel was the traditional birthplace of the Inca people or the spiritual center of the "virgins of the sun," while curators of a recent exhibit have speculated that Machu Picchu was a royal retreat.

Talk of Clinton Quitting the race.

Key players in Clinton's inner circle are said to be split. James Carville is urging her to fight it out through at least February and Super Tuesday, where she has a shot at thwarting Barack Obama in a big state.

"She did not work this hard to get out after one state! All this talk is nonsense," said one top adviser.

But others close to the former first lady now see no possible road to victory, sources claim.

Explaining The Fantasy Based Community

And that’s why the progressive movement is wary of an Obama victory. They fear that an Obama win will be remembered as a victory for some kind of fuzzy Obama-ism founded on bipartisan compromise and not the first victory of what they hope will be an enduring progressive coalition.


Photographer Carl Warner did a series of photos called "Foodscapes" where everything was made entirely out of food!
The castle is made out of cheese, the walls out of rice, and the wagon wheels out of mushrooms.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Last Post

Andrew Olmsted was a well known blogger who volunteered for active duty Iraq. He was killed in action yesterday. Before he died, he left a farewell message with a fellow blogger for publication in the event of his death. It's a worthwhile reminder of the human cost of war.

via Little Green Footballs.

Global Warming Test

Definitely worth your time.

Shamelessly stolen from The Last of the Few.

The Democratic Debate

It's hard for me to fairly judge the Democratic candidates. The things that might appeal to me are unlikely to appeal to Democratic Primary voters. Conversely the things that turn me off are the things that make folks salivate over a Daily Kos. Still, as far things like presence, poise, and clarity argument go, it's possible to draw some conclusions.

Obama is the clear winner so far. He seems unflappable and extremely confident.

Bill Richardson may have had the best lines in either debate: "I've seen hostage negotiations that are more civil than this". Still he's polling less than five percent and he seems a little pathetic.

Clinton looks good tonight. In Iowa she looked haggard. Now she seems rested and about ten years younger.

Edwards is hard for me to judge. From my perspective he's an empty suit. I have no idea what he really believes. In 2004 he was the most conservative candidate for the Democratic nomination. This year he's the darling of the left. At least Clinton and Obama seem sincere in their convictions. I have absolutely no idea what we would be getting with a President Edwards. To me he looks smarmy tonight-just like always. Still, he has his supporters, so I guess there must be something there.

Update: Clinton was just funny! When told that polls said Obama was more "likable" than her she responded: "Well that hurts my feelings".

Final Grades;

Hillary looked like she's recovered from the shock of her finish in Iowa. She was tough when she needed to be and seemed at ease with not having to carry the burden of being the front runner.

A solid performance. He did seem a little too relaxed and maybe a little cocky. I think that's a mistake on his part.

He's in a difficult position. For almost a year now Edwards and Obama have been battling to be the anti-Clinton, but with Barack leading the polls should he switch his fire to the Senator from Illinois? Tonight he kept after Clinton-and kinda looked like a jerk doing it.

He had a few good lines but for the most part all of air time seemed to be devoted to the argument that being Secretary of Energy is just about the best experience a President can have-which is so absurd that nobody even tried to argue with him about it. He really should have talked about his experiences as Governor.

By the way ABC's George Stephanopoulos seemed to think that Edwards and Thompson had the best night-pretty much the opposite of what I've said here.

Huckabee Schmuckabee

Kristee Weldon over at For Serenity's Sake has a great post on the pitfalls of voting for someone based on their supposed religious credentials.

Be sure to check out the comments too. That first one is really thoughtful and well written.